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130 People Were Arrested In Connection To A Musician Gear Theft Ring

first_imgWhen a number of touring bands (including The Black Lillies, Zane Williams and more) had gear stolen in Houston, TX, the police department began an undercover effort to investigate. What they discovered was absolutely shocking, as over 130 individuals were arrested and over $2 million was recovered.The multi-departmental effort focused on the stealing and black market resale of all sorts of equipment, including vehicles and musical instruments. According to Lt. Mike Osina of Houston Police Department, “These thieves were stealing anything and everything they could put their hands on. They went after trailers they saw parked on the streets of Greater Houston. They stole four wheelers, quad runners, lawn equipment, motorcycle equipment.”Country artist Zane Williams was quoted in the Click2Houston report on the arrests, talking about how his van and 100-year-old violin were stolen after a performance in Houston. “Yep, they stole my van and everything in my van, then they stole my trailer too… I’m really glad they got picked up.”Titled “Operation Wheels And Deals,” many of those connected to the robberies are also connected to gangs. According to the report, there are more charges and arrests to come. Hopefully acts of justice like this will make it safer for artists to hit the road.last_img read more

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The String Cheese Incident Welcomes Scott Sharrard At Scorching Summer Tour Closer

first_imgAfter a fun first night at the Kings Theatre, the String Cheese Incident returned to Brooklyn last night to complete their two-night run and their Summer tour to a close. The show was filled with thrilling moments, excellent jams, spot-on covers, and a high octane guest spot from Gregg Allman Band’s Scott Sharrard.Coming out of the gate hot, the band opened with a thumping, extended version of “Valley Of The Jig” that really got the crowd moving. The soulful and funky “Black And White” came next, and the band took that song out for a walk before segueing into a fun, Latin-tinged “Yo Se”. After a quick version of “Farther”, the band played “Sweet Spot”, a track from the band’s new SCI Sound Lab project. SCI kept the newer songs going with a fun take on the Kyle Hollingsworth tune “Stop Drop Roll” before finishing up set one with a huge, locked in version of their classic “Round The Wheel”.After a short break, SCI returned to the stage and immediately picked up where they left off. “Desert Dawn” was the perfect set two opener. After a spirited run through the song’s form, the band performed easily the jam of the night, moving as a unit through several unique, progressive rock-like sections before bringing the song to its natural end. The impressive improv section was a true highlight in a show filled with them.After the raging set two opener, the band returned to their Sound Lab to perform another new track, “Get Tight”. After a short-but-sweet version of the new song, the band picked things back up with a funky version of “Rain” that gave the band another opportunity to stretch out their improv muscles, with Michael Kang coming in at the perfect time to bring the jam to its climax.Rhythm guitarist / singer Billy Nershi then stepped up to the microphone to introduce a special guest, none other than Scott Sharrard. Sharrard played the entire Allmans Family Incident with the band at The Peach Festival on Friday, serving as band leader as the band worked through a set of Allman Brothers classics. The band seemed to be loving the Allman Brothers musical vibe, and kept the party going with incredible versions of “Hot’Lanta” and “Southbound” that simply had the audience going bananas. Sharrard was particularly impressive, trading lead solos with Michael Kang in true tension-release fashion, creating an enormous amount of energy in the room. Anyone who was at The Peach on Friday was gifted with some bonus Allmans material, and anyone who missed The Peach was absolutely blessed to catch some of the magic from that performance. Sharrard and SCI also managed to slip in a version of “On The Road” in between the two covers, and overall created a huge, non-stop segment of musical magic.Watch “Hot ‘Lanta” below, courtesy of Gabe Sokker.Sharrard left the stage to raucous applause, and the band kicked into the evening’s final segment. Starting with “Way Back Home”, the band moved quickly into “Whiskey Before Breakfast” before landing on an out-of-left-field, set-closing cover of Led Zeppelin‘s epic rocker “Kashmir” that left the crowd begging for more.The band took a short break before delivering a three-song encore to finish their summer tour. Opening with “Honky Tonk Heroes”, the band then turned in a quick version of “Hobo Song” before creating one more opportunity to rage with their fans, bringing things to a close with a huge version of “Rosie” that had the crowd dancing all the way out of venue and into the streets of Brooklyn.After a great summer that saw the String Cheese Incident bring their carnival-esque live show across the country, the band capped off their summer with an excellent show that found the band truly locked in and in command of their collective sound. The fun covers, spirited jamming, and all-around positive vibes all add up to a band that’s currently at the top of its game.The String Cheese Incident will now take a few months off before they play three nights at Suwanee Hulaween this October.The String Cheese Incident | Kings Theatre | Brooklyn, NY | 8/15/2016Set 1: Valley of the Jig, Black and White > Yo Se, Farther, Sweet Spot, Stop Drop Roll, Round the WheelSet 2: Desert Dawn, Get Tight, Rain, Hot ‘Lanta[1], On the Road[1] > Southbound[1], Way Back Home > Whiskey Before Breakfast > KashmirEncore: Honky Tonk Heroes, Hobo Song, Rosie[1] Feat. Scott Sharrard on guitarlast_img read more

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moe. Treats Raleigh To A 30-Minute “Recreational Chemistry” & More Highlights [Review/Gallery]

first_imgThough they started the night announcing that the coming hurricane would be cancelling the last two shows of their tour, moe. seemed hell bent on making the most of the time they did have. Armed with a set list of classics and newer tunes alike, they took the Lincoln Theatre stage in Raleigh, NC last night to uproarious cheers from a packed house of fans ready to defy the storm gods and get lost in the epic jams sure to come.They didn’t have to wait long, as guitarist Al Schnier got things started with the familiar strains of “Moth,” signaling a fun show to come. Not even halfway through the much loved tune, the band took a sideways turn and morphed into “Mar-DeMa,” with the instrumental tune giving each member a chance to purge the pent up energy and frustration from being forced to cancel shows. Schnier had a impressive evening, taking numerous fiery solos and generally sounding like he was at the top of his game.Continuing the uninterrupted flow the band seamlessly went into “Y.O.Y” before stretching out with a “Sensory Deprivation Bank” that gave another perfect platform for some long jams and intense back and forth between guitarists Chuck Garvey and Schnier. Garvey, as always, was fleet of finger and ambitious in intent with his jams, mirroring the aggressive nature of the set list itself. Closing out their lengthy opening stanza by completing the “Moth,” the band took a moment to catch their breath and soak in the appreciative cheers and applause raining down on them from the crowd.The mellow intro of “Brittle End” and its languid pace in general was offset by the fierce fretwork by Garvey during his solo, as if he was single-handedly trying to change the intent of the tune itself. Strangely, his efforts created a dichotomy that enhanced rather than distracted, and the piece was made stronger by his work. Garvey and Schnier had their usual rock solid platform built by drummer Vinnie Amico and percussionist Jim Loughlin under them to operate on. That dependability enables all of the exploration that moe. so clearly loves.For their first set closer, the band chose “Plane Crash,” a song they have played roughly three gazillion times in the past. Such familiarity famously is ripe to breed contempt, but thanks to the space their beat keepers give them the string players are free to work on keeping the tunes interesting for themselves and the audience. With things like the opening sandwich and the twists and turns “Plane Crash” took on its spiral towards set break were far reaching and provocative, thanks as always to the free wheeling, bass slapping style and raucous vocals of Rob Derhak.For a band nearing the end their third decade of existence, one could understand passions waning, but their appetite for exploration and improvisation is still strong. Still hungry after their first musical sandwich, moe. started the set with what most see as their definitive song, “Rebubula,” before wandering into the true highlight of the evening, a thirty plus minute “Recreational Chemistry.” The night’s take on the song was full of musical misdirection, with traditional roles being swapped and the tour-long positive energy permeating everything the band tried.Some of their more recent creations, “White Lightning Turpentine” and “Paper Dragon,” showed that even more recent compositions are open to change, and even the tiniest of alteration seemed to give moe. a charge that was directly felt in the vibe of the room. The Garvey penned “Four” and its droning chorus settled the crowd into an appreciative trance, setting them up perfectly for the welcome surprise of the closing of the set’s musical loop, firing right back into the waiting “Rebubula.”After the always stirring closing chorus the band excused themselves to catch their breath moe. ventured back out, calming the calamitous demands of the still hungry fans with a special two song encore. While the “New York City” was spirited enough on its own, the happy blast of energy that accompanied the churning and surging “Okayalright” had everyone singing along at the top of their lungs and dancing with the fervor of a fan base desperate to savor every last possible musical drop of joy out of the evening.In speaking with fans who have seen this entire fall run, the sense was that the band is not just firing on all cylinders, but seeming to be having a great time in the process. That assumption was certainly backed up by the evidence on display during the three hour performance, and with the abbreviated tour closer coming the next night the band, had no reason to leave anything in the locker room.It’s uplifting to see the power of music sustaining its purveyors and helping elevate them to new heights and moe. is showing no signs of slowing their endless trips around the country and the world. Here’s hoping the road never ends for the five guys from New York named moe.! See you tonight in Asheville.Setlist: moe. at Lincoln Theatre, Raleigh, NC – 10/5/16I: Moth > Mar-DeMa > Y.O.Y. > Sensory Deprivation Bank > Moth, Brittle End, Plane CrashII: Rebubula > Recreational Chemistry, Do Or Die, Paper Dragon, White Lightning Turpentine >(nh) Four > RebubulaEnc: New York City, Okayalrightlast_img read more

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Joe Russo’s Almost Dead Welcomes Nicole Atkins For Their Ryman Auditorium Debut [Setlist/Videos]

first_imgJoe Russo’s Almost Dead played at the famed Ryman Auditorium last night in Nashville, Tennessee. The Grateful Dead tribute band, continuously reinventing old tunes into new, is on the road this week, hitting Charleston’s Music Farm tonight, and two Florida appearances this weekend with the Sunshine Blues Music Festival in St. Petersburg and Boca Raton.The southern run started off strong last night, with appearances from Nicole Atkins throughout both sets. The vocalist sat in on “The Music Never Stopped” and “Dancin’ In The Streets” during set one, and returned for “The Stranger (Two Souls In Communion)” during the second set.A few clips have surfaced on the Internet with from these YouTube and Instagram users, including this snippet of “Terrapin” and more! Setlist: Joe Russo’s Almost Dead | Ryman Auditorium | Nashville, TN | 1/12/17Set 1 (7:51PM – 9:08PM)Truckin’ (SM) ->Tennessee Jed @ (TH) ->The Music Never Stopped (SM & NA)>Dancing In The Streets (SM & NA) ->Brown Eyed Women (TH)Set 2 (9:47PM – 11:30PM)Help On The Way (TH) ->Slipknot! $ ->Throwing Stones % (SM) ->Dark Star Jam ^ ->Throwing Stones Reprise (SM)The Stranger (Two Souls) (NA) >Let It Grow & (SM) ->He’s Gone (All) >Terrapin Station * (TH)ENC: GDTRFB (All with NA) ->WBYGN (Instrumental ending)@ – With unknown tease MB# – With a “Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough” (Michael Jackson) Jam (Band)$ – TH broke a string% – With a Dancin Tease (TH)^ – With a GDTRFB Tease (TH)& – With a “Norwegian Wood” (The Beatles) Tease (SM) & a “Kashmir” Jam (SM & Band)* – With Ruben & Cherise Teases (MB then Band) an “Eleanor Rigby” (The Beatles) Jam (TH & Band)[photo via @doranseladams on Instagram]last_img read more

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Willie Nelson Is Forced To Cancel More Tour Dates As A Result Of Illness

first_imgAfter canceling three shows set for February 6th, 7th, and 8th at Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace in Bakersfield, California, Willie Nelson has been forced to cancel more dates due to his undisclosed illness. Nelson had shows set for Friday, February 10th at the Desert Diamond Casino in Sahaurita, AZ, and Saturday, February 11th at the Route 66 Casino in Albuquerque, NM, and, unfortunately those shows have now been canceled, according to a report in Rolling Stone.The report did mention that Nelson’s team is working on re-scheduling the dates and that he is still on pace to make his show at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo on Thursday, February 16th.Our thoughts are with Willie Nelson, and we hope he makes a speedy recovery!last_img read more

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Jamiroquai Announces First U.S. Show In 13 Years

first_imgAbout a year ago in the middle of January 2017, Jamiroquai announced their triumphant return after years outside the spotlight. In March of last year, the group released Automaton, a follow up to 2010’s Rock Dust Light Star marking the band’s eighth studio album. To complement their new album, Jamiroquai embarked on a global tour in 2017, hitting Tokyo and Seoul in addition to major cities across Europe. However, North American cities were conspicuously left off of Jamiroquai’s 2017 come-back tour, leading many to hope that 2018 will see the group hitting the U.S.. After Coachella announced that Jamiroquai (April 13 & April 20) would perform at the 2018 edition of the California music festival, rumors of more North American tour dates began to grow, as promoters on the West Coast, as well as band members themselves, heavily hinted at more dates to come.Today, Jamiroquai officially announces a show at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, CA, marking the first time the group has performed their own show in the United States since November of 2005, “in what will be one of their three North American dates in 2018.” Pre-sale for the April 17th show begins this Thursday, January 18, at 6pm GMT with the password “automaton”, with general on-sale on Friday, January 19 at 6pm GMT. Ticketing information can be found here.Earlier this morning, Jamiroquai released a new Bonus Track from Automaton, “Now We Are Alone”. Check it out here!last_img read more

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Khruangbin Announces 2018 Fall Tour

first_imgKhruangbin has confirmed a new set of fall tour dates in support of their sophomore album, Con Todo El Mundo. The outing will bring the band through much of the West Coast as well as parts of the Eastern Seaboard between November 6th and December 12th.Khruangbin’s newly announced dates will put them back on the road a month after they wrap up a tour in support of soul and R&B singer Leon Bridges. That run will kick off on August 9th at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, marking the trio’s debut at the picturesque Colorado music venue.Known for their laid-back, instrumental brand of world music, Khruangbin has been slowly built up its fanbase over the past five years. The group released its debut album, The Universe Smiles Upon You, in 2015 to much critical acclaim, while their latest effort, Con Todo El Mundo, was released earlier this year. Last week, the trio put out a new music video for the the single “Cómo Me Quieres,” which appears on Con Todo El Mundo.Tickets for all of the fall tour dates (except Oakland) will go on sale on June 15th. More fall dates will be announced in the near future. Khruangbin Fall Tour Dates:August 9 – Morrison, CO @ Red Rocks Ampitheater ^September 11 – Los Angeles, CA @ Greek Theatre ^September 12 – Santa Barbara, CA @ Santa Barbara Bowl ^September 14 – Seattle, WA @ WaMu ^September 15 – Troutdale, OR @ Edgefield ^September 16 – Vancouver, BC @ PNe Ampitheater ^September 18 – Missoula, MT @ Big Sky Brewing Company ^September 20 – Saint Paul, MN @ Palace Theatre ^September 23 – Milwaukee, WI @ BMO Harris Pavilion ^September 24 – Chicago, IL @ Aragon Ballroom ^September 25 – Detroit, MI @ Fox Theatre ^September 27 – Toronto, ON @ TD Echo Beach ^September 28 – Montreal, QC @ Place des Arts – Wilfrid Pelletier Hall ^September 30 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Fillmore ^October 3 – Washington, DC @ Anthem ^October 4 – Boston, MA @ Agganis Arena ^October 5 – New York, NY @ Radio City Music Hall ^October 6 – New York, NY @ Radio City Music Hall ^November 6 – Phoenix AZ @ Van BurenNovember 7 – Las Vegas NV @ VinylNovember 9 – Oakland CA @ Fox TheatreNovember 10 – San Diego CA @ Observatory North ParkNovember 11 – Los Angeles CA @ The WilternNovember 17 – Portland OR @ Crystal BallroomDecember 1 – Columbus OH @ Newport Music HallDecember 8 – Brooklyn NY @ Brooklyn SteelDecember 11 – Raleigh NC @ Lincoln TheatreDecember 12 – Atlanta GA @ Variety Playhouse^ supporting Leon BridgesView All Tour Dateslast_img read more

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Tune Into Free Video & Radio Streams Of LOCKN’ Festival This Weekend

first_imgLOCKN’ Festival opened its gates on Thursday morning, and fans were eager for the festival to announce a webcast, as the beloved Arrington, VA festival has done in past years. Luckily for fans unable to attend the festival this year, LOCKN’ has confirmed multiple options to watch and listen to the weekend’s festivities, including both the main stage lineup and late-night sets.SiriusXM and Relix have offered two different options for fans. SiriusXM’s Jam On (channel 29) will be broadcasting select sets throughout the weekend, starting on Friday, August 24th, at 2 p.m. (ET). SiriusXM’s coverage will include both of Dead & Company’s headlining sets, Widespread Panic with Margo Price, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Spafford, George Clinton & P-Funk, Toots & The Maytals with Taj Mahal, Sheryl Crow, Turkuaz, and many more. SiriusXM’s full schedule for the weekend can be found below. You can listen live here.Additionally, Relix has partnered with Ben & Jerry’s and Airstream to webcast a free stream from LOCKN’. As of press time, Relix has yet to share their full webcast schedule for the weekend. Follow Relix’s YouTube channel below for LOCKN’ coverage throughout the weekend. You can tune in to the LOCKN’ webcast via www.relix.com/live.Relix LOCKN’ Festival Webcast 2018 [Video: Relix]Relix and LOCKN’ Festival are encouraging viewers and fans to register to vote. Festival organizers explain, “#TheFutureIsVoting, and your voice matters!” Register to vote by texting ‘VOTER’ to 40649. Already registered? Get location election alerts: text ‘VOTER’ to 40649. Want to help register voters at concerts? Text ‘VOLUNTEER’ to 40649.Click here to see the full weekend schedule.Lettuce (left) and Umphrey’s McGee (right) mid-transition on night 1SiriusXM’s Jam On (channel 29) Lockn’ Festival 2018 Broadcast Schedule (All Times ET)Friday, August 24th2 p.m. Ghost Light4 p.m. Turkuaz5 p.m. Moon Taxi6 p.m. Toots & The Maytals with Taj Mahal8:45 p.m. George Clinton & P-Funk10 p.m. Widespread Panic with Margo PriceSaturday, August 25th3:05 p.m. BIG Something4:05 p.m. Keller & The Keels5:05 p.m. Pigeons Playing Ping Pong6:05 pm. Foundation of Funk7:05 p.m. Tedeschi Trucks Band9:15 Dead & CompanySunday, August 26th12:30 p.m. Keller Williams’ Grateful Gospel2:15 p.m. Spafford3:15 p.m. Matisyahu4:15 p.m. Blues Traveler5:25 p.m. Sheryl Crow6:35 p.m. Tedeschi Trucks Band8:45 p.m. Dead & CompanyView Full SiriusXM Schedulelast_img read more

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The Milk Carton Kids Play Intimate “Duo” Show At Tarrytown Music Hall [Photos]

first_imgOn Sunday, The Milk Carton Kids played an intimate “duo” show at Tarrytown, NY’s Tarrytown Music Hall, in support of their recent fourth studio album, All The Things That I Did and All The Things That I Didn’t Do.Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan have been touring with a band over the past few years, so it was nice to see the stripped-down indie folk duo perform a selection of originals, as well as a special cover. The evening was highlighted by noteworthy takes on “New York” and “Michigan”, followed by a special cover of Pink Floyd‘s “Wish You Were Here” in the encore slot.Check out a beautiful gallery of photos below from The Milk Carton Kids’ Tarrytown show, courtesy of photographer Andrew Blackstein.Head to The Milk Carton Kids’ website for a full list of upcoming tour dates and ticketing information.The Milk Carton Kids | Tarrytown Music Hall | Tarrytown, NY | 2/24/2019 | Photos: Andrew Blackstein Load remaining imageslast_img read more

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Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters And Nick Mason Reunite At New York City’s Beacon Theatre [Watch]

first_imgFormer Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason and his band Saucerful of Secrets were at the Beacon Theatre in New York City on Thursday night for the latest stop on their North American tour. Unbeknownst to fans in the audience, the band, which performs Pink Floyd material from their pre-Dark Side of the Moon era, Roger Waters was also in the venue last night, and gave everyone a joyous surprise when he came out to sing on “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun” towards the latter half of the set. The song originally appeared on the band’s 1968 album, A Saucerful of Secrets.Related: Forty-Two Years Later, The Message Of Pink Floyd’s “Animals” Still ResonatesThe rare reunion between former bandmates (the two’s first since 2011) began following an introduction of Waters to the stage by Mason, who banged away on a gong located behind his drumset during an ominous red-themed opening. The audience gradually erupted into applause as Waters made his way onto the stage to share a hug with his old friend. The thrilling performance of the mystic rock tune stretched out to a mesmerizing 13-minutes in length, with Waters finding his way over to the gong after finishing the song’s lyrical section. Fans can check out the video below to watch the entire reunion performance from Thursday’s show.Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets with Roger Waters – “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun”[Video: allbearsrule]Waters would reportedly return to the stage to take a bow with the band following the show’s encore.Tickets for Nick Mason’s Saucerful Of Secrets’ sold-out return to the Beacon Theatre on Friday are likely in pretty high demand on the secondary market today following last night’s thrilling guest sit-in. The band will then head to Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. this weekend for the final two shows of their winter/spring tour.[H/T BrooklynVegan]last_img read more

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HBS’s Charles Christenson, 80

first_imgCharles J. “Chuck” Christenson, a specialist in managerial accounting and control, died of natural causes at his Cambridge, Mass., home at the age of 80. At the time of his death, he was the Royal Little Professor of Business Administration Emeritus at Harvard Business School (HBS).A member of the active HBS faculty for almost 40 years, Christenson had a distinguished career as an innovator, teacher, and scholar. His research focused on organizations as learning systems, corporate adaptability, and the applications of social sciences to business.“He had a deep intelligence and broad training in the philosophy of science, which encompasses the social, physical, and biological sciences and examines ‘how we know what we know,’” said Baker Foundation Professor Robert S. Kaplan. “Most accounting scholars are familiar with accounting and maybe economics, but Chuck pulled from diverse disciplines to understand management behavior.”He taught the first-year M.B.A. courses in managerial economics and control. He also taught in the Owner/President Management Program for executives and a doctoral seminar on the theory and development of complex systems. He is the author of several books.“Chuck was a brilliant, gifted man, who brought a rigor and ambition to his thinking about the nature of organizations and how you derive truth from theory,” said Regina E. Herzlinger, the Nancy R. McPherson Professor of Business Administration and a former student of Christenson’s.Born on Sept. 25, 1930, in Chicago, Christenson made his first scholarly contribution at the age of only 22. He graduated from Cornell in 1952 and graduated from HBS with high distinction as a Baker Scholar in 1954.A private memorial service will be held in Chicago. Donations in his memory may be sent to Boston Baroque, 68 Leonard Street, Belmont, Mass., 02478.To read the full obituary.last_img read more

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Wyss Institute project targets sepsis

first_imgThe Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard has been awarded a $12.3 million, four-year grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop a treatment for sepsis, a commonly fatal bloodstream infection. Sepsis is a major cause of injury and death among combat-injured soldiers in the field, as well as patients in hospital intensive care units.The proposed treatment would involve a miniaturized, dialysislike device that could rapidly clear the blood of a wide range of pathogens, much as a living human spleen does, without removing normal blood cells, proteins, fluids, or electrolytes. This novel “Spleen-on-a-Chip” would be portable, self-contained, and easily inserted into the peripheral blood vessels of a septic patient or soldier.The award, which was announced Sept. 28, is part of DARPA’s Dialysis Like Therapeutics (DLT) program, which seeks to develop ways to dramatically decrease the morbidity and mortality of sepsis. Worldwide, more than 18 million cases of sepsis are reported every year, with more than 6 million resulting in death.“We are very proud to partner with DARPA to pursue a research effort that could potentially transform how we treat patients with sepsis and save lives by quickly cleansing blood free of pathogens while simultaneously treating with antibiotics,” says Donald Ingber, Wyss Institute founding director and principal investigator on the grant. “This is a tremendous example of how the Wyss Institute works to bring together outstanding faculty members, expert technical staff, interdisciplinary resources, novel technologies, and clinical partner institutions, such as Children’s Hospital Boston, to bear on critical medical problems.”The project also includes George Church, a Wyss core faculty member and professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School; Joanna Aizenberg, a Wyss core faculty member and Amy Smith Berylson Professor of Materials Science at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Professor at the Radcliffe Institute; and Michael Super, a member of the Wyss Advanced Technology Team, as key co-investigators.Researchers plan to incorporate several of the Wyss Institute’s novel technologies in the proposed sepsis dialysis device. The sepsis therapeutic device will leverage recent Wyss Institute advances in organ-on-chip technologies in which key microstructural features of complex organs, such as the spleen, are replicated in microfluidic circuits using microfabrication techniques.Also key to the technology is the use of magnetic nano- and micro-particles coated with a human opsonin — a key component of the body’s innate immune response — that will remove pathogens from flowing human blood using magnetic forces. The opsonin is being genetically engineered to improve its already broad pathogen-binding capacity using directed evolution strategies developed at the institute.In addition, the sepsis therapeutic device will incorporate a “super” slippery surface that was developed by institute researchers as a novel material to prevent the adhesion of ice, crude oil, or even dirt. This technology, which is modeled after the slippery surfaces of carnivorous plants that trap insects sliding into the digestive juices of the plant, will be modified to prevent blood clot formation so that patients will not need to be treated with anticoagulants, such as heparin, when attached to the sepsis therapeutic device.The Wyss Institute is a division of Harvard University. Operating in collaboration with Harvard Schools, Harvard-affiliated hospitals, Boston University, and the University of Massachusetts Medical School, the Wyss Institute conducts broad interdisciplinary research into the principles that living systems use to build, control, and manufacture, and applies these insights to develop novel materials and devices in areas as diverse as architecture, medicine, robotics, manufacturing, and the environment.last_img read more

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Talent on the sidelines

first_imgEvery year on May 1, high-achieving high school seniors around the country face the final deadline for college commitment. For many middle- and upper-middle-class students, the date marks the end of standardized-test taking, application essay writing, campus visits, and financial aid planning — the complex process otherwise known as the college admissions game.This spring, the conversation about the ever-more-fraught competition for a spot in one of America’s top universities has shifted to an often-overlooked group, thanks to research by Christopher Avery, Roy E. Larsen Professor of Public Policy and Management at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS). If admission to elite colleges is a game, Avery and his longtime colleague Caroline Hoxby found, it’s one that low-income students with high potential are too often sitting out.In a National Bureau of Economic Research paper presented in March, Avery and Hoxby, an economist at Stanford University, reported that promising but poor high school students (those who scored in the top 10 percent among SAT takers and whose families make $41,472 a year or less) often do not apply to any selective universities — despite the fact that those colleges, on average, would be more affordable than less-selective schools thanks to their robust financial aid policies.“These low-income students’ application behavior differs greatly from that of their high-income counterparts who have similar achievement,” they wrote. “The latter group generally follows the advice to apply to a few ‘par’ colleges, a few ‘reach’ colleges, and a couple of ‘safety’ schools.”In short, Avery and Hoxby wrote, low-income high performers “exhibit behavior that is typical of students of their income rather than typical of students of their achievement.”The paper spurred a wave of media coverage, much of it critical of the selective colleges Avery and Hoxby studied. If poor students weren’t applying to good schools, the logic went, then it must be the fault of those colleges for not trying hard enough to attract them. In some corners, their work was taken as a sign that the country’s higher education system was broken, or as evidence that growing wealth inequality was stifling opportunity for young people at the bottom of the economic ladder.“I can see why some people take the paper that way, but I don’t see it that way,” Avery said. “We know the colleges are trying really hard to attract these students, but they’re facing a problem that is systematically very challenging. This problem is too large for a handful of selective colleges to solve on their own.”High-achieving, low-income students often live far from major urban centers and from areas with high concentrations of colleges, such as the East Coast, he said. Colleges can still reach students through mailings, “but these students are getting piles and piles of brochures,” Avery said. “They may have heard of Harvard, but there are lots of other great colleges that they haven’t heard of, and they can’t distinguish within this pile where to apply.”Compounding the issue, he said, is the fact that many of these students are the first in their families who plan to go to college. Without any insider knowledge of selective colleges from friends or family members, low-income, geographically isolated students often don’t know what their options are, Avery said — a theme that has appeared in his research on college admission over the past two decades.Avery, who attended Harvard College and received his doctorate at Stanford, hadn’t intended to study higher education when he joined the HKS faculty in 1993.“I was trained in game theory, which is about strategic interactions and incentives,” he said. “I realized the college admissions system had evolved into a situation where there was a lot of strategy involved.”At HKS, Avery began working with a mid-career student, Andrew Fairbanks, whose interest in the economics of college admissions had been sparked by his time as an admissions officer at Wesleyan University. In 2003, with co-author Richard Zeckhauser, HKS’s Frank P. Ramsey Professor of Political Economy, Avery and Fairbanks published “The Early Admissions Game,” the first academic book to fully explore the growing practice of early admission.After studying half a million applications to 14 elite colleges, the authors found, somewhat controversially, that applying early gave students a documentable advantage over peers who applied by “regular decision” deadlines.“We were estimating that at a lot of the colleges we studied, applying early was the same as increasing your SAT score by 100 points,” Avery said. More important, he added, “was that experienced college counselors at private schools already knew this. In a sense, it wasn’t a level playing field.”Since the book’s publication in 2004, many colleges have stepped up their efforts to recruit students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds by raising awareness of their early decision and financial aid programs. Harvard, with its Financial Aid Initiative, was at the forefront of the movement, Avery said.Still, colleges and students alike have opportunities to boost the numbers, he said. Selective colleges that lack broad name recognition can tap alumni to reach out to high school students in isolated towns where admissions officers can’t afford to travel. Low-income students can request application fee waivers, allowing them to apply to several more colleges than they otherwise would and to then compare their financial aid packages.“It’s like looking at a couple of houses,” Avery said. “You may need more than one option.”Working with the Strategic Data Project at Harvard’s Center for Education Policy Research, Avery advises fellows who analyze data for some of the nation’s largest public school districts. Through the project, he has become more involved in tracking students of all achievement levels as they move from high school into college — or not.“I now see that there are a lot of students who could go to good colleges but who don’t go to college at all,” he said. One of the Strategic Data Project’s goals, he said, is to help school districts track former students to see how many actually pursue higher education — instead of relying on self-reported plans — and to develop interventions to help graduating students follow through on their college goals.Collaborating with researchers from across Harvard, from the Graduate School of Education (GSE) to the Economics Department, has broadened his work over the years, he said.“There’s a growing community here of people who are really dedicated to these problems,” he said. “We’re trying to figure out what we as researchers can do to lower the barriers that have been keeping talented people from making it to college and graduating from college.”last_img read more

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Soledad O’Brien Class Day | Harvard Commencement 2013

first_imgEmmy-winning journalist and Harvard graduate Soledad O’Brien addresses graduating seniors at Harvard’s Senior Class Day ceremony on May 29, 2013.last_img

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Jesse Berlin to receive Lagakos Award

first_imgThe Harvard Department of Biostatistics has announced that Jesse Berlin will be this year’s recipient of the annual Lagakos Distinguished Alumni Award. Berlin is the vice president of epidemiology at Janssen Research & Development LLC. He will be presented with the award and will deliver a lecture on Oct. 31, preceding the kickoff of the 2013 HSPH Alumni Weekend and the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association in Boston.The Lagakos Distinguished Alum award is given in recognition of Berlin’s achievements in education, scientific collaboration, and statistical methodology as well as his leadership in the pharmaceutical industry.For more information.last_img read more

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Something doesn’t smell right

first_imgFor most animals, the scent of rotting meat is powerfully repulsive. But for others, such as carrion-feeding vultures and insects, it’s a scent that can be just as powerfully attractive.The question of why some animals are repelled and others attracted to a particular scent, scientists say, gets at one of the most basic and poorly understood mysteries in neuroscience: How does the brain encode likes and dislikes?Harvard scientists say they’re closer to unraveling that question with the discovery of the first receptors in any species evolved to detect cadaverine and, two of the chemical byproducts responsible for the distinctive — and to most creatures repulsive — smell of rotting flesh. The study is described in a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.“This is the first time we’ve identified a receptor for these chemicals,” said Associate Professor of Cell Biology Stephen Liberles, a senior author of the paper. “The larger question we’re interested in is: What does it mean that something is an aversive or attractive odor? How are likes and dislikes encoded in the brain? Understanding the receptors that respond to those cues could give us a powerful inroad to understanding that.”Graduate School of Arts and Sciences student Zecai Liang with Liberles in his lab. Liberles is trying to unravel the scent question: How are likes and dislikes encoded in the brain?Though researchers have long understood that olfaction involves receptors, which detect odors and in turn activate brain neurons, Liberles, together with Nobel laureate Linda Buck, recently discovered a second family of receptors, dubbed trace amine-associated receptors, or TAARs.Though fewer in number than other odorant receptors — mice, for example, have 15, versus more than 1,000 odorant receptors, while humans have 350 receptors and just six TAARs — Liberles said the functions of the TAARs remained largely unknown.“We knew they were olfactory receptors, but we didn’t know what ligands might activate them,” Liberles said of the TAARs. “We know in the taste system there are different families of receptors for bitter and sweet, so we thought the TAARs might be doing something specific in olfaction.”To understand how the TAARs function, researchers sought to identify scents that would activate them, hoping they might offer clues into why a second olfactory system evolved. In recent years, scientists working in Liberles’ lab identified odors that activated six TAARs in mice and seven in rats, nearly all of which were highly aversive.To check TAARs in fish, Liberles’ team worked with colleagues in Germany to implant olfactory receptors in cell cultures and test them against hundreds of possible odorants, hoping to identify which ones activated the receptor.What the researchers discovered, Liberles said, was that one particular receptor appeared to act as a sensor for diamines — a class of chemicals that include cadaverine and putrescine — nearly all of which are notoriously foul-smelling. Later tests using live zebrafish showed that when researchers marked part of a fish tank with the scent of rotting fish, the fish were highly likely to avoid the area.“What’s also interesting is that this odor — like the predator odor we identified in mice — was aversive the very first time the animal encountered it,” Liberles said. “That suggests the aversion is innate — it’s not learned — and that it involves genetic circuits that are genetically predetermined, that exist, dormant, in the animal waiting for it to encounter the odor.“You might like the smell of baking cookies, but it’s only because you’ve learned to associate it with their taste, or the sugar rush you get from eating them,” he continued. “But this aversion is there from birth. That suggests there is some developmental mechanism underlying these circuits. The question is, what is that?”Though researchers have thus far only shown that the TAARs are activated by amines, Liberles said it’s unlikely that is their only role in olfaction.“We’ve been hunting for a unified theme for what the TAARs might be doing,” he said. “One model is that they’re amine receptors, and another is that they’re all encoding for aversion. I don’t think either is quite correct. I think they may have started as amine receptors, but they have since evolved to do other things.”Understanding how odorants like cadaverine and putrescine work in the olfactory system could also shed light on why some scents — such as rotting meat — repel some creatures, but attract others.“Species-specific behavioral responses suggest that somehow the neural circuits are changing from species to species,” Liberles said. “For instance, tests in our lab have shown that trimethylamine is attractive to mice, but highly aversive to rats. Something similar might be happening with cadaverine.“How does that happen? It’s not known,” he continued. “We don’t understand, as a field, how aversive and attractive odors are differentially processed … but identifying the receptor gives us a handle on the neural circuits that are involved. Now that we have the receptor, we can ask basic questions about aversion and attraction circuitry in general. From there, we can begin to understand how attractive and aversive stimuli are differentially encoded, and cadaverine is about as aversive as you can get.” <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oaC2P7IU8dU” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”> <img src=”https://img.youtube.com/vi/oaC2P7IU8dU/0.jpg” alt=”0″ title=”How To Choose The Correct Channel Type For Your Video Content ” /> </a>last_img read more

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Malaria: Down but not out

first_imgMalaria is like a metal spring compressed by the massive effort to suppress it, one analyst said. Authorities have to finish the fight against the disease or it will rapidly uncoil and roar back, as it did after the failure of 1950s-era eradication efforts.“If we relax our efforts, even for a moment, this thing will come back and be worse than before,” said Sonia Shah, a science journalist and author of the 2010 history of malaria, “The Fever.”Shah acknowledged that malaria is a difficult opponent, partly because it is so widespread — with 207,000,000 cases in 2012 and 627,000 deaths — partly because its biggest impact is in parts of the world with few resources, partly because traditional healers are often the first to treat sufferers, and partly because many people in malaria-endemic countries have already gotten the disease so often they can be blasé about it.Shah compared it to driving a car in this country: Many people die in car accidents, but people drive so much that most don’t worry about the dangers when they hop behind the wheel. That perception that malaria is low-risk is partly due to familiarity, but also because many adults who have had repeated cases have developed some immunity to it, so their cases are relatively mild.Shah was part of a panel that discussed malaria on Monday at the Barker Center’s Fong Auditorium. The event, “In Our Blood: Challenging Millennials to End Malaria,” was sponsored by the Harvard Undergraduate Global Health Forum, along with the Harvard Defeating Malaria Initiative. It featured Shah, Kate Otto, a global health consultant with the World Bank, and John Brownstein, associate professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Harvard-affiliated Boston Children’s Hospital. It was moderated by Maggie Koerth-Baker, a science journalist and Nieman Fellow at Harvard this year.Panelists questioned whether today’s strategies are most effective at the community level, or whether the success of certain strategies in attracting funding may make them more popular than others that might be just as effective. Shah said that the final eradication of malaria in the United States is often attributed to the discovery of the pesticide DDT, but malaria here was actually on the decline before DDT came on the scene. It was put on the run by practices such as draining wetlands, upgrading housing, and paving dirt roads, where standing water provided potential breeding sites for mosquitoes.Panelists said institutional failures have hampered efforts to fight malaria and resulted in rising drug resistance in the parasite, widespread counterfeiting of malaria drugs, and insecticide resistance in the mosquito that delivers the parasite. They also said solutions must reflect local concerns and values to be effective.But there have been positive developments. Recent renewed efforts have pumped billions of dollars into the fight against the disease at a time when technology has provided what Otto called “one of the greatest discoveries of the 21st century” — the cell phone. The communications revolution in the developing world has led to drastic changes in just the past five years, Otto said, providing new ways to communicate, to reach patients and providers, to order supplies, and to perform other functions that previously weren’t easily possible. Today, Otto said, she can reach someone in a rural Ethiopian village as quickly as she can a colleague down the hall, a change that provides immense opportunity.Otto urged students eager to join the fight against disease to consider whether their efforts are directed in areas that are truly useful, or instead are in areas that are appealing because they offer a quick result.“When we aim to do good in the world, we look at what it is that we can do and achieve rather than what is really needed,” Otto said. “We’re encouraged to move quickly and think quickly, to move at the speed of technology.”Brownstein added, however, that technological innovations are still needed in public health and that there are many areas where a small improvement can make a difference, even through “a little chunk at a time.”Bianca Mulaney, co-president of Harvard Undergraduate Global Health Forum, said she hoped the event would provide insights beyond just malaria.“We’re hoping this discussion is not relevant only to malaria but to all global health issues,” Mulaney said.last_img read more

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To improve bicycle safety, crash reports need to capture more data

first_imgHarvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researchers are calling upon police in all states to improve their reporting of crashes involving vehicles and bicycles, according to a new study. Currently, details on crashes are handwritten by police on paper and there are few bicycle-relevant codes. The researchers are calling for police to use electronic tablets that would include more options to gather bicycle-specific data, such as drawings of the scene and additional codes that could indicate, for example, if the bicyclist was riding inside a painted bike lane and ran into a driver’s open car door. This detailed information about each vehicle/bicycle crash could be automatically uploaded into spreadsheets for later analysis. Analysis, especially when combined with big data, could then guide the building of safer bicycle environments, encouraging more people to cycle, the authors said.The study was published online April 2, 2015 in Injury Prevention.“Self-driving cars have been invented and apps tell cyclists of approaching vehicles but the vehicle/bicycle crash details are still hand written and drawn on the police crash report template, making crash analysis labor-intensive. To equal other technological advancements and improve the safety of bicyclists, multiple bicycle-crash-scene codes should be created for immediate data entry,” said co-author Anne Lusk, research scientist in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard Chan. Read Full Storylast_img read more

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Harvard fencer heads for Olympics

first_img Touché: Harvard fencing “He had an immediate impact on the program right from Day One,” said Brand, who is in his 16th year with the Harvard program and who has coached three other Harvard Olympic fencers, including Emily Cross ’09, a silver medalist with the U.S. women’s foil fencing team at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing. Not only was Dershwitz “an excellent individual fencer,” said Brand, “but he was an excellent team person, which is sometimes very difficult to find in an individual sport like fencing.”Dershwitz honed his drive and devotion after taking up the sport at age 9, eager to emulate his older brother, Philip, whose regular routs and hard hits brought him to tears but strengthened his resolve. “[Philip] really pushed me to be better; he was a great role model,” said Dershwitz. “He also made me want to push myself even harder.”As Dershwitz excelled with his sword, other sports fell away. In high school he committed himself exclusively to fencing, traveling to competitions and working with his coach to “to compete at a higher level.” The commitment paid off. In 2015 he won gold at the Junior World Championship in the saber, as well as gold at the Pan American Championships. He sealed his spot on the Olympic team with another gold medal finish at the Grand Prix in Seoul in March, one of a series of fencing’s senior world cup events.“I am really happy to be able to represent my county and my school,” said 20-year-old Eli Dershwitz. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff PhotographerCompetitive fencing includes the foil, the épée, and the saber. Each comes with its own style and rules. Saber fencing involves the smallest of the three blades. Unlike épée or foil fencers, saber fencers can use the edge as well as the tip of their weapons to score points or “touches” against their opponents. The target area for the saber is the body above the waist, excluding the hands. The winner of a match is the fencer who scores 15 points or who has the most points when the three-minute match expires. Saber fencing is considered the most aggressive of the three weapon styles, with quick cutting and slashing motions and explosive movements that are key to victory.“It’s a lot faster-paced — fast reactions, fast touches, a lot of sprints,” said Dershwitz, who loves the saber’s mix of speed and complexity. “That always got to me, the amount of physical and mental ability it took at the same time, to be able to be explosive but also to be able to react quickly to what your opponent was doing.”These days a typical Olympic workout for Dershwitz includes a morning routine of weights, endurance training, and sprints, one-on-one training with his coach in the afternoon, and 2½ hours of fencing at night. When he wants to relax, the Sherborn, Mass., native often heads back to Cambridge to train or just kick back with friends. “Living so close to Harvard and being so close to all my friends and roommates from last year, it’s definitely been a big support.”Many of Dershwitz’s Crimson teammates will travel to Rio to watch him compete, including Duncan O’Brien ’16, who trained at the same fencing club where he watched Dershwitz blossom into “an unbelievable talent.” He would arrive early to jog, stretch, and practice his footwork, and he “wanted to fence until the coach turned the lights off … he inspired everyone,” recalled O’Brien, who encouraged Dershwitz to apply to Harvard.Between schoolwork and fencing for Harvard and in international competitions, freshman year was “very hectic,” said Dershwitz. He credits his family and friends with helping him through and supporting his Olympic dream. The final step is to just do his best in Brazil.“I want to look back and say I gave it everything I had … and hopefully,” he said, “I come back with a medal.”The Olympic men’s saber competition will be lived streamed at nbcolympics.com. There’s “no crying in baseball,” actor Tom Hanks famously quipped in the 1992 film “A League of Their Own,” but some fencers have been known to shed a tear. Just ask Eli Dershwitz.The Harvard undergraduate admits he has “teared up” while watching Team USA during the last three Olympic opening ceremonies. There’s a good chance he’ll be emotional again when the games kick off in Brazil next month, but this time he’ll be in the procession.Tears of joy could flow for the youngest member of the U.S. Olympic men’s fencing team during the competition as well. As the top-ranked saber fencer in the United States and current tie for 11th in the world, Dershwitz, 20, will begin his quest for a medal on Aug. 10 at the Carioca Arena 3 in Rio de Janeiro.“A lot of things have fallen into place; a lot people have helped me along the way, and I am really happy to be able to represent my country and my school this summer,” said Dershwitz, a rising sophomore who fenced for the Crimson as a freshman before taking a year off to train in his sport full-time. “I am just looking forward to putting all the hard work and dedication, all the hours of blood, sweat, and tears over the years … into one great tournament.”For many participants, those years of training culminate in a tournament that ends in a flash. Fencing matches last a maximum of three minutes, but their lightning-fast pace means bouts are often decided in 60 seconds, sometimes fewer.“You prepare yourself for four, eight, 12 years to get this one shot at the Olympic Games … and in a lot of cases you end up fencing that one match and you’re out,” said Harvard’s head fencing coach, Peter Brand, who recruited Dershwitz. The single-elimination Olympic saber competition will begin with 32 competitors and end with just two thrusting and slashing along the piste, or fencing strip, in pursuit of the gold.Eli Dershwitz is the No. 1 ranked saber fencer in the U.S., and currently tied for 11th in the world. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff PhotographerBrand calls Dershwitz the kind of fencer you see “once maybe every 100 years,” and predicts he has a good shot at the podium.“Eli is an absolute phenom. I’ve never seen anything like it before.”Experts agree it’s unusual for such a young fencer to succeed in the senior ranks; most who excel at the sport typically peak in their late 20s. Dedication, talent, and hard work have all fueled Dershwitz’s swift success, said Brand, but it’s his mental toughness that sets him apart.“That’s something you can’t teach, and he’s just wired that way,” said Brand. “He does not get rattled.”Dershwitz’s composure was key during the Crimson’s 2014-15 season, when he helped the men’s team lift the Ivy League title. He performed as both a fencer and coach, competing and leading footwork sessions during practice for his fellow fencers.center_img Relatedlast_img read more

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Preserving a culture, one speaker at a time

first_imgThousands of indigenous languages are in danger of disappearing before the end of the century, including most of those spoken in North America, according to a report from UNESCO. This is part one of a two-part series of discussions with Native American language preservationists and their efforts to revive their ancestral tongues.When Richard Grounds began the Euchee/Yuchi Language Project (ELP) in 1996, it was no light undertaking. Grounds wanted nothing less than to prevent his tribe’s cultural extinction, and he knew he must start with its words.“We are an original people,” he said. “Our elders tell us our language is a gift from the Creator, and it is our special responsibility to care for that gift and pass it on to our children.”The Yuchi people, also known as the Coyaha, traditionally inhabited eastern Tennessee, though their origins remain a mystery and their language is a linguistic isolate that does not resemble any other Native American tongue. During the 17th century the Yuchi moved south, and in the 1800s they were forcibly relocated to Oklahoma, currently one of the worst regions for language loss. A concerted assimilation effort after World War II saw thousands of Native American children enrolled in boarding schools where they were only allowed to speak English, and could be punished for using their native languages. Like many indigenous peoples, the Yuchi came close to losing their language in a single generation.Grounds, who delivered the 2015 Greeley Lecture at Harvard Divinity School and returned this year to participate in the School’s Native American Speaker Series, does not believe this was unintentional. For centuries, the U.S. government, academics, and settlers told Native American tribes that their culture was on the brink of extinction, and treated them accordingly. Yet it only became a reality when they were prevented from learning their languages.Grounds at the Yuchi Knowledge Bowl, featuring “Yuchi Einstein” who spreads the message to the community that they are as smart as he is if they can speak their language. Courtesy of the Euchee/Yuchi Language ProjectBefore the first Europeans came to the Americas, thousands of native languages were spoken across the continent. Today only about 150 remain, and three out of four are spoken exclusively by people born before World War II. When Grounds began his program there were fewer than two dozen fluent, first-language speakers of Yuchi, and all of them were grandparents of non-speakers. Only three remain, each over 90 years old.Today’s parents grew up hearing their grandparents speak Yuchi, said Grounds, but did not learn or pass it on to their children. “What we’re fighting against is a sort of internalized colonialism. People have been anaesthetized to the value of their language.”Growing up, Grounds remembers his grandmother speaking Yuchi to him and his siblings, but as children of non-speakers, they never picked it up. “We had a feel for the language, maybe a few words and phrases, but we were never fluent,” he said. Grounds went on to learn several languages, passing graduate proficiency exams in French, German, Greek, and Hebrew, “But there was no funding to learn the language of my grandmother. It wasn’t important on the scale of European intellectual history.”Grounds sought out elders and learned Yuchi from them, but he knew that few of his tribespeople would have the privilege, time, and energy to do the same. With the help of the elders and concerned Yuchis, Grounds founded the ELP as a nonprofit to pay for student transportation and class materials. But because the Yuchi are not a federally recognized tribe, there is little reliable funding available to the program. It relies heavily on grants and donations.Centered around the Yuchi House — “more or less a hothouse for growing and teaching the language,” Grounds said — the ELP provides immersion classes for Yuchi children of all grades, free of charge. Community classes for curious adults are also offered.“Maybe they spoke as kids and they want to pick it back up now that they’re adults, but they’re not ideal candidates,” Grounds said of the adult students. “The ideal situation is to get to them before they learn English.”The sense of hope in the Yuchi community is matched only by the sense of urgency. Not only have nearly all their native-speaking elders died, but none of those who remain live particularly close to each other. Simply getting them to and from classes can take more time than the classes themselves, Grounds said.Elder Maxine Wildcat Barnett teaches the children a story about shat’anA (fox) during an immersion class. Courtesy of the Euchee/Yuchi Language ProjectThe program has been able to make a few adults fluent enough to teach the roughly 60 enrolled children, but the gap between the last generation of first-language speakers and the next is so large that the program will be dependent on second-language speakers for many years to come.To make matters worse, Yuchi is a notoriously difficult language to learn. It has no known relative to compare with; it is agglutinative, so an entire sentence can be contained in one verb; glottal stops are integral, drastically changing the meaning of words that sound homonymic to an untrained ear; it is not only gendered but has different registers for men and women, and different pronouns for tribespeople and non-Yuchis.Like many Native American languages, Yuchi originally had no orthography, or standard written language. Linguists in the 20th century attempted to decode the language, but were unsuccessful until a phonetic transliteration was created in the 1970s. Grounds designed the orthography specifically as a teaching aid — the native-speaking elders do not use it outside of the classroom — knowing that there was little room for phonetic ambiguity.“The underlying concept of the writing system was to use something that would require minimum stretch for kids who were just learning to read. We had a linguist come in and pretty heavy-handedly insist on a direct IPA [International Phonetic Alphabet] system,” he said. But it would have meant that the kids would be learning that the letter E sounds like “eel��� at public school but “hey” at Yuchi House. “For the sake of young learners, we needed to minimize the shift from their already nascent expectations, [so] we went with one symbol/one sound.”He also wanted it to be easily typed, which is how the (@) symbol found its way into the Yuchi alphabet. Written Yuchi uses capital and lowercase letters to differentiate between long and short vowels, respectively, but there was still an odd sound out. In IPA, the A sound in words like “bat” or “cap” is represented by a grapheme called “ash” (æ). Æ is an official letter in a few North Germanic languages, and was used in most English-speaking countries until the 19th century, but fell out of favor when it was omitted from the first typewriter keyboards for space.Students read a prayer in Yuchi. Courtesy of the Euchee/Yuchi Language ProjectNeeding a symbol to represent the æ sound, Grounds looked at his keyboard and realized the answer was literally under his nose. It even kept with his desire to keep the letters intuitive. What better letter to signify the A sound in “at” than the symbol that means “at”?“It turned out to be very functional,” said Grounds. “Now kids are texting each other in the language.”The result of these efforts may seem modest, Grounds concedes, with the number of fluent Yuchi speakers up to just 16, but the real successes are less quantitative. In addition to daily after-school classes for children in grammar school, the ELP has started working with toddlers to create a new generation that speaks Yuchi before learning English. Grounds’ own grandson is the first child raised speaking only Yuchi in nearly 70 years.“The cultural health of our community is measured by the status of our language. It really matters in terms of our young people growing up as confident, healthy, self-fulfilled people who are able to succeed in life. It matters that they be grounded in their culture and their traditions, and nothing does that like knowing the language and being able to speak to the elders,” Grounds said.“We literally think of it as keeping the world spinning.”last_img read more

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Great War left an enduring legacy across Harvard

first_img Additional Veterans Day events Harvard Law School Thursday, 4 p.m. — Disabled American Veterans Distinguished Speaker Series: Chief Judge Robert N. Davis, U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, WCC 2036 Milstein East B, Harvard Law School. Harvard Graduate School of Education Thursday, 2-3 p.m. — Veterans and Servicemembers Virtual Information Session. Prospective students will have a chance hear from and ask questions of an admission liaison and financial aid representative in addition to current HGSE students who are veterans and servicemembers. Register online to receive a login: https://apply.gse.harvard.edu/register/military2018 U.S. Army Cpl. Arthur Briggs Church, 32, was killed on a French battlefield during an attack on Germany’s fortified Hindenburg Line on Sept. 28, 1918.Marine Lt. Carleton Burr, 26, was leading his men in an advance on the battlefields of Picardie, France, when he was struck and killed by shrapnel on Sept. 20, 1918.And in the skies over Chamery, France, on Bastille Day 1918, Lt. Quentin Roosevelt, the 20-year-old son of President Theodore Roosevelt, was shot down and killed in a dogfight with a flock of German planes.Church, Burr, and Roosevelt, who all died in the final months of World War I, are just three of the 372 students, alumni and faculty whose names are engraved on the granite walls of the Memorial Room in Harvard’s Memorial Church.The Great War left an enduring legacy on the Harvard campus. The Memorial Church, its bell, and the Memorial Room are all testaments to the sense of loss the University community felt in its wake.“The Memorial Room commemorates the Harvard men who died in World War I, and to whom the church is dedicated,” said Edward Elwyn Jones, Gund University organist and choirmaster. “The Memorial Church holds such a prominent place on Harvard’s campus, and it is first a church dedicated to peace, but also to sacrifice. I think it is wonderful for us, especially this year, to be mindful of that sacrifice.”,Over the next several weeks, Memorial Church will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the war with a series of performances featuring the music and composers of the era. The performances, which will all take place in the church sanctuary, are free and open to the public.Friday, noon — Uppsala University Chamber Ensemble musicians and French pianist Paul André Bempéchat present a concert of chamber music by Swedish romantic composers, including Wilhelm Peterson-Berger, Dag Wirén, André Chini, Christer Hermansson, and Gunnar de Frumerie.Saturday, 7:30 p.m. — Massachusetts vocalists Deborah Selig and David McFerrin and pianist Clifton J. Nobel present “Angel Spirits: Music of World War I.”Sunday, 4 p.m. — Harvard University Choir Concert, “Remembering,” featuring the music of Lili Boulanger and Charles Hubert Hastings Parry and the U.S. premiere of a new choral piece, “In Flanders Fields,” by Gareth Treseder.Friday, 9 a.m.‒noon; Saturday, 8 a.m.‒7:30 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m.‒4 p.m. — Exhibition of the wartime etchings of Alphege Brewer.Dec 4, 8 p.m. — The Tactus Ensemble, “Songs of Farewell.”The concerts offer a teaching moment about the war’s impact. The carnage decimated a generation, including its artists. The English composer Parry, for example, lost many of his former students, Jones said.“I talk a certain amount to our students about the history of the war itself, but also the artistic endeavors and reactions to the war,” he said. “Many artists and musicians fought during the war and many lost their lives. But the ones who were left behind were deeply affected by it. Parry’s reactions to the war are very visceral and we hear that in the music.” That deep sense of loss and sacrifice also permeates the Memorial Church, which was dedicated in 1932 to honor those in the Harvard community killed in World War I.Inscribed at the top of the wall of the Memorial Room are the words of Harvard President A. Lawrence Lowell, who also donated the church’s bell: “While a bright future beckoned, they freely gave their lives and fondest hopes for us and our allies that we might learn from them courage in peace to spend our lives making a better world for others.”The Memorial Church recognizes the service and sacrifice of all Harvard veterans, especially during Veterans Day weekend. The walls of the sanctuary are dedicated to more than 1,000 members of the Harvard community who died in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.,The Rev. Jonathan L. Walton, Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church, said every time he steps into the church sanctuary and the Memorial Room he is reminded of the words of the Rev. Phillips Brooks, the longtime rector of Boston’s Trinity Church and namesake of Harvard’s Phillips Brooks House.“‘How carefully most men creep into nameless graves, when occasionally one or two forget themselves into immortality,’ Brooks wrote,” Walton said. “Etched on the walls are the names of men and women who were able to live a life that was worth living because they found a cause and a purpose greater than themselves. We continue to honor their service, their sacrifice, and their memory.”On Sunday, members of Harvard ROTC will speak at the Faith & Life Forum at 9:30 a.m. in the Buttrick Room. The Commemoration of Benefactors and of the War Dead will take place during the Sunday Service beginning at 11 a.m. Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval L. Patrick will preach. The church will also be open on Veterans Day from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Morning Prayers, which begin at 8:30 a.m., will feature U.S. Army veteran Richard Martinez ’21.last_img read more

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Finding rhythm in reverence

first_img The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news. This is one in a series of profiles showcasing some of Harvard’s stellar graduates.If one mission of a minister is to bring people together, Aric Bernard Flemming Jr., M.Div. ’19, was born to the role. Only, perhaps not precisely in the way he or his family envisioned.The son and grandson of pastors, Flemming began preaching in his grandfather’s Atlanta church during his freshman year at Morehouse College. Flemming’s father, for whom he was named, had been poised to take up the leadership of the church when he was killed by a drunk driver in October of 1993. His son was born five months later and, as he finishes his degree, seems destined to take up the family mantle.Flemming’s pastoral agenda is, thus, personal as well as professional, but, for a while at least, he has other plans. “For a long time, I have wanted to do music,” says Flemming, who both sings and composes. “But growing up, there was always a disconnect between being able to do music and do ministry,” he explains about his grandfather’s church, “If you were a preacher, you couldn’t sing, and if you were a singer, you couldn’t preach.”Flemming was musically active through high school, singing with a rap group that released an EP. When he went to college, however, he believed he had to put away such dreams. In their place, he looked for ways to turn individuals into reverent communities. At Morehouse, he befriended other young preachers with whom he practiced honing his ministerial skills.“Before I knew it, I was ready to actually develop a whole sermon,” says Flemming. “I had them inside of me. My grandfather knew it the entire time.”Flemming’s skill and determination flourished at Harvard Divinity School, in terms of both secular and spiritual leadership: he has served as vice president of the Harvard University Graduate Council and as a seminarian. When a group of students sought a black worship service, he helped create the Black Student Ministry, which is now sponsored by the Memorial Church. He cited the diversity of the Harvard community as helping him grow spiritually as well as intellectually: “Moving away from exclusive practices and seeing value in everybody, in the sacred dignity of every human being.” As Commencement approached, he talked about upcoming plans to facilitate a BGLTQ Bible study with the BGLTQ office.“Students are spiritually hungry,” he says, reflecting on his experience as a proctor and in the Office of Student Life. “I’ve seen students in need of spiritual spaces where they can engage.”Flemming had originally intended to continue this work by pursuing a doctorate. When he decided on a master’s, however, he realized he had a year to himself. Committed to another season as a proctor in Wigglesworth Hall, he is giving himself over to what he calls his “year of creativity.”“I’m just going to pour myself into my art and not really worry about the future,” he says. “Performing, recording, writing — just everything I can get my hands on, I’m going for it. I’ll probably never have a wide-open opportunity like this again,” adding that moving from the structure of academia to a world of artistic exploration is “scary, but I have to find courage to go forth in this. It’s a real leap of faith.”Flemming has already released several songs on Spotify and recently made the move to iTunes. He points out that music is an extension of — rather than a diversion from — his ministerial outreach.His music, he says, “is rooted in my gospel self. It’s rooted in where I come from and the preacher in me. I’m writing the songs but they’re really sermons.”Citing as influences the gospel-rooted soul and rhythm and blues of artists like Aretha Franklin and Luther Vandross, he has come to believe art can create another kind of sacred space.“What I’m realizing,” he says, “is that I want a spiritual experience for everybody who comes in contact with my music.”Preaching, he explains, is not that different from singing. “I want to bring those methods to a concert space,” he says, “where we can create a euphoria within a moment, a collective experience for everybody.“I feel like that is spirit. I feel like that is God. I feel like that is everything about just being in community with people and having a shared experience.”This upcoming musical year may not be what Flemming or his family had initially expected. It is in many ways, however, the culmination of his time at Harvard Divinity School. When he receives his diploma, he will see his father’s name in his. “I want to carry him,” he says, as he makes his own first steps into his future.“Harvard Divinity School has been very, very instrumental in working through my own identity,” says Flemming. “Harvard Divinity School has helped to not only shape my identity, but has helped to shape how I understand people and life, living, and spirituality.”last_img read more

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As measles cases crack 1,000, a look at what to do

first_imgMeasles was declared eliminated in the U.S. in 2000, but by early June, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 1,022 cases in 28 states, the most since 1992.The disease is occurring in clusters of unvaccinated people who, for religious, personal, or medical reasons, have refused to be vaccinated or to have their children vaccinated.Though global measles deaths are down significantly from more than half a million in 2000, the disease still killed 110,00 in 2017, according to the World Health Organization.Barry Bloom, former dean of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Juliette Kayyem, Belfer Senior Lecturer in International Security at the Harvard Kennedy School and a former Department of Homeland Security official, agree that additional steps are needed to address the crisis, but Bloom comes at the problem from the public-health viewpoint, and Kayyem from that of public safety.They sat down with the Gazette to share their thoughts on the outbreak and likely ways forward.Q&ABarry Bloom and Juliette KayyemGAZETTE: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that there are seven ongoing measles outbreaks in the U.S. What’s the difference between an outbreak and an epidemic? And is a measles epidemic possible in a population with the level of vaccination that we have?BLOOM: Technically, anything over three cases is an outbreak for these reportable diseases. And because over 90 percent of Americans are vaccinated, it is unlikely we’ll see an epidemic.But there are still big pockets in districts that have very poor vaccine coverage. So that leads to bigger outbreaks than three people: several hundred in New York state, for example, and prior to that in California, Minnesota, and Washington. But it’s unlikely there will be an epidemic in the sense of spreading both within those states and across the country.GAZETTE: Is there something about this moment that makes measles among the unvaccinated U.S. population more likely?BLOOM: Every outbreak but one has been attributed to someone who came from abroad. And the one exception is a direct child-to-child transmission.KAYYEM: What we haven’t seen before — or at least it’s much more intense now — is the extent to which a foreign power, Russia, is utilizing the sense of division in our country, using social media, websites targeting low-information communities, isolated communities, to propagate an unhealthy status for Americans.It’s disinformation, not unlike what we saw during the presidential campaign. But the idea that the Russians come out only every two years is nonsense. They’re waging this effort and we’ve seen it move from the election — the politics space — to the public-health space.It’s not new. During the Ebola outbreak, there were more than hints of this. But we’re seeing it now because we’re looking for it. “Since these outbreaks began, the vaccination rate in some of these communities has gone up — voluntarily — by 40 percent, suggesting that their ideological belief is only strong when it doesn’t matter. It’s just crazy. This is where I get so angry.” — Juliette Kayyem GAZETTE: So, this has been going on, potentially, for some time?KAYYEM: With the Ebola outbreak, there was a campaign launched by Russia and others to create skepticism about health care workers and their objectivity. This has always been a concern. I think what’s unique in this instance is that it targets U.S. citizens in outbreaks that are already ongoing.But it’s not like the anti-vax movement is new, just in the same way racism isn’t new. The Russians have a way of being able to bring out the worst in us.GAZETTE: And the anti-vaccine movement has been traced back to a particular — discredited — study, linking vaccines to autism?BLOOM: The first anti-vaccine association or society was created in England in 1866 and they’ve been doing great mischief ever since. So the anti-vaccine movement is hardly new.There was this dreadful paper in 1998 by [British gastroenterologist Andrew] Wakefield that is famous for making an association between the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and autism. How that paper got published is totally unclear to me.The subjects were a dozen kids attending a birthday party at his house, eight of whom were selected at some level and were probably autistic to start with. Then it was shown that Wakefield had selected and falsified data and had a financial interest in the insurance claims from that set of injuries.The other thing unexplained is why it took The Lancet 15 years to retract the paper and for Wakefield to lose his medical license — only to appear in Texas and at every anti-vaccine rally that he could muster the travel fare to get to.GAZETTE: It seems that there was fertile ground waiting for the anti-vaccination message. What is it about vaccinations that puts certain people off or about a portion of the American character that is willing to believe these sorts of things? Or is it just the luxury of the success of vaccines over recent decades?KAYYEM: Since these outbreaks began, the vaccination rate in some of these communities has gone up — voluntarily — by 40 percent, suggesting that their ideological belief is only strong when it doesn’t matter. It’s just crazy. This is where I get so angry.The public-safety side has a very different approach to this and a lot of people don’t like it. I grew up in California, where there’s always pockets of this wacky mysticism [and] where there are lower vaccination rates than in Sudan. These are not low-information communities. These are self-centered communities, these are people who have access to the best information.The other thing, at least more recently, is the sense that big, bad pharma exists only to make money. That’s what’s clearly animating at least some part of the anti-vax movement.GAZETTE: So, there’s anger there?KAYYEM: They think, “It’s a hoax, fake news.” It’s this idea that “two plus two doesn’t equal four anymore, no matter what you tell me.”They think this hoax is being led by pharma and big, bad government. That’s clearly what’s animating parts of this.Then, of course, there’s an incorrect assumption by people on the outside that some religions prohibit vaccinations, and that’s not accurate. Religious communities have been very, very good about trying to push back against all of this stuff.GAZETTE: But it also seems as if there’s real anger out there. “You can’t make me do this. This is America.” It goes back to a fundamental belief. Why should this fundamental belief not apply in this case?BLOOM: There is a fundamental-values issue that we should take seriously. And we have to take the anti-vaccine people and parents who are hesitant seriously.Because when we say vaccines are safe — and they are extraordinarily safe — there are always some adverse effects, as there would be with aspirin or any other medical intervention.There’s a feeling that there are three sets of enemies. One is the government, which doesn’t respect individual freedoms. The second, as Juliette has said, is industry, manipulating people solely for profits and exploiting children in the process. And there’s a third group of enemies, which is us, experts.One of the questions I spend a lot of waking nights worried about is how you answer the question: “How can you scientists and experts be so sure of everything that you say?” And that’s really hard.The FDA tries to look at a vast number of studies, at many, many trials of these vaccines, and to get them to the level of one adverse event per million. That would be ideal. Some have somewhat more adverse events than that, but none is anywhere close to being a high-probability event.GAZETTE: The flip side of that question, then, is to what extent do we all need to recognize that we’re part of a community and need to do things that benefit that community?KAYYEM: Every society sets rules about acceptable behavior to protect the greater good. Israel has universal conscription — everyone’s making a sacrifice.Here, seat-belt laws were passed because your freedom to fly through your windshield if you get in an accident should be limited because we, as a society, are going to have to clean it up.So, even assuming that there’s some risk to vaccination, whatever risk I’m willing to put my child through is for the greater good, including that of the anti-vaxxers and the anti-vaxxers’ child.BLOOM: Massachusetts is at the center of critical decision-making on the issue of individual rights versus the public good.One of my favorite cases that has nothing to do with vaccines had a connection to Massachusetts: Schenck v. United States, in 1919. The judge who wrote the decision is an old Harvardian named Oliver Wendell Holmes. The issue was anti-war anarchists publishing stuff that was detrimental to the war effort. In a two-page decision, the court ruled that even the First Amendment — and other amendments, in principle — has limitations. In this case, public safety trumped an individual’s right to say whatever he wanted. And that’s where the famous quote came from where you cannot yell “Fire!” in a theater.A second case, Jacobson v. United States, in 1905, was an anti-vaccine case. It was the first classic case where a person refused to accept vaccines and the court decided that the public safety and security preempted the individual right to do that. That allowed mandatory vaccines before entry to schools, now the law in all 50 states, and it’s been controversial ever since.GAZETTE: That was in the case of smallpox, wasn’t it?BLOOM: That was in the case of smallpox vaccination, the world’s greatest killer up to that time, and now eradicated globally since 1977.GAZETTE: Today, people might say, “Oh, that was smallpox. Everybody should get vaccinated for smallpox. But measles …”Should the state have a limit on its power based on the nastiness of whatever it is you’re vaccinating for, or can the state say, “Everybody needs a flu shot”?BLOOM: That’s the dilemma: What is the limit of protecting the public good?As Juliette pointed out in talking about Ebola, the four cases that occurred in the U.S. were not a lot of cases.But if you don’t do anything, it’s not four cases — it’s 40, or 400, or 4,000. And then the ability to deal with that is very different. The example for that, right in front of our eyes now, is Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.We have a vaccine for Ebola. It has been proved to be close to 90 percent protective. But because of distrust of government and breakdown in security, the disease has now gone endemic. It’s there, in a form that has the potential to spread almost no matter what you do. It will be continuing for some time. GAZETTE: And isn’t measles one of the most infectious diseases?BLOOM: It’s about the most infectious. If there’s a child with measles in an average-sized room with 10 other people who have not been vaccinated, nine out of 10 will get measles. That’s how infectious it is.GAZETTE: So, where do we go from here? The number of cases keeps climbing.KAYYEM: On the public-safety side, what’s going on now is a combination of extremist ideologies with social media platforms. But there’s a third factor that’s unique: These ideas are publicly tolerated, they are danced with, they are not sufficiently rejected in the public sphere.From ABC — one of their top actresses is anti-vaccine — to a high-profile Kennedy to a president who, until two weeks ago, never had talked about the necessity of vaccine. Without being too political, the public forum matters. And leadership matters. Even the president seems to have woken up to the necessity of saying, “Get your shots.” That stuff festers in silence. “Both sides-ism,” honestly, is dangerous.BLOOM: The challenge is that turning things around is preferably done by incentives and education rather than punishments.I think a big push should be public information from credible people, not just from experts, and we don’t have resources for that now. We don’t have the social marketers that know how to sell Juul or cannabis advocating for vaccines. We have to get some of those people talking about vaccines to ordinary people.One more positive step is that we really don’t know how many kids actually have their vaccines. When I was a kid I got a card for vaccines. Today, something like that card can lead to data sets to identify clusters of people or schools which, in various local communities, are at risk. We could anonymize the data to protect privacy, but still allow us to head off outbreaks. That would be hugely beneficial.Committed ideologues are not going to change their minds. But I believe every parent wants to do what’s best for their kid, and there’s an awful lot of people who need to see that this is not the wool being pulled over their eyes by experts or greedy vaccine companies. We all have a responsibility to do what is best, not only for our own kids, but for our communities as well. GAZETTE: And there we’re seeing serious anti-vaccination efforts, with public health workers being killed.KAYYEM: Another thing we have to remember is that if you don’t have a certain amount of your population vaccinated, then it’s like having your [whole] population not vaccinated. This goes back to the idea of “herd immunity.”That’s important because there are groups of people who can’t get vaccinated. They have certain immunodeficiencies, certain vulnerabilities, certain allergies.So, when you think about the collective good — to protect the most vulnerable — that’s also a compelling state interest. And if I have a strong belief in anti-vaccination, that actually makes more people vulnerable.GAZETTE: So people who can get vaccinated, should get vaccinated?BLOOM: No kids younger than 1 year old can get vaccinated because their immune systems aren’t developed enough and the MMR vaccine contains live, attenuated strains of measles and mumps.So that’s one population that will remain unvaccinated. A second is any child with leukemia or immunodeficiency. We also talk about vaccines being highly protective — and they are — but nothing in biology is 100 percent. So within any population, even among the vaccinated, there is a very small percentage who, if exposed, will get the disease.KAYYEM: That raises the question — and we deal with this a lot in national-security spaces — [of] knowing there will be exceptions to any rule, what do you want your rule to be? If it’s too permissive … both the anti-vaxxers and the free riders, I’ll call them, won’t get their children vaccinated.But there’s a community effort that’s needed to make this work. In my opinion, you want to make the rule the most restrictive possible. Let people fight for exemptions based on whatever core beliefs they may or may not have, rather than lowering it.GAZETTE: So make it a last resort, not a first resort?KAYYEM: You want the barrier to be high for exemptions. “When one surveys parents who are hesitant about vaccines and they’re asked ‘Where do you get your health information?’ a significant percentage of the vaccine-‘hesitants’ say they get it from the internet. The vast majority of vaccine acceptors get it from their physicians and nurses.” — Barry Bloom Despite new vaccine, Ebola responders in Africa must first work on trust The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news.center_img Related Inoculating against misinformation I want to put the onus on the parents to be responsible and educated.One way to do that — which we’re starting to hear about, at least in Germany — is you become much more penal. Monetary fines, much more aggressive isolation; you don’t have these exemptions.We have the benefit today that there’s not a lot of people dying from this. But if it came to that, you would view this very differently — you would see this as just absolutely careless behavior.BLOOM: That’s a particularly easy choice when we don’t see polio anymore. We don’t see kids dying of measles pneumonia anymore. No mom sees a kid’s death from mumps or whooping cough. That’s the price for success and we are paying it right now.KAYYEM: I travel around the world and other countries envy our lack of these diseases and our relatively low rates of death for some of them.BLOOM: Take measles. Forty years ago we had about half a million cases, 1,000 hospitalizations, 500 deaths, per year.There’s another point that you never see talked about: Who pays for all of this? This is not cost-free.We talk about vaccinations and they’re not terribly expensive. But these are not benign conditions. For those who come down with measles, between one in 10 and one in 20 gets hospitalized. Kids get pneumonia, kids get encephalitis, and they really require high-tech treatment.We’re talking about $125,000 to $140,000 per child who is hospitalized with measles. And for each infected child that enters a community, the CDC may have to track down 500 or 1,000 contacts, for which the CDC and the states have little surge money. “If there’s a child with measles in an average-sized room with 10 other people who have not been vaccinated, nine out of 10 will get measles. That’s how infectious it is.” — Barry Bloom BLOOM: We now have a circumstance where all 50 states require children to have vaccines before they go to school. So that’s the bar. Every child entering school is supposed to have a vaccine.It is widely accepted in every state that kids with leukemia or immunodeficiency or other serious medical conditions have medical exemptions. What’s new over the past 20 years are religious and personal exemptions.It might seem reasonable in some cases to consider them legitimate, but they’re not used in that way. In some states, you can just have a parent sign a piece of paper and say they have a personal objection and that kid in that school doesn’t get vaccinated.KAYYEM: And there’s no notification requirement to the other families.BLOOM: And nobody knows how many kids in any school in this country have been vaccinated. So, if you have a child with leukemia who’s mainstreamed, that kid is at risk. That was the basis for a lawsuit in California [in which the state] just took away all nonmedical exemptions, religious and personal.I would point out there are only two states in the U.S. that never had them: Mississippi and West Virginia. And none of them has had a recent outbreak of any of the vaccine-preventable diseases.KAYYEM: And the personal exemptions, you can go online and find a doctor who will give an exemption. In fact, there’s a doctor in California whose records have just been subpoenaed. In cases like this, I like the use of the criminal justice system.GAZETTE: So it’s like people going “doctor shopping” for opiate prescriptions?KAYYEM: He’s just a big fraud …BLOOM: This is a serious issue. There are constraints on parents to vaccinate their kids. But there is no constraint on physicians giving away exemptions for money.Israel has just clamped down on that and I think we should start thinking about it.There has to be some justification that medical exemptions are legitimate. Most distressing, there are doctors — pediatricians — who advertise that in their practices they do not give vaccines.In my view, that is withholding potentially life-saving care. This is a violation of the medical code of ethics.KAYYEM: That is exactly right.GAZETTE: Let’s talk about how to address the problem. Barry, you’ve written about eliminating exemptions, and I know Washington state just got rid of them.BLOOM: And California.GAZETTE: And California. Do you see that being a broad movement across the country?BLOOM: I think that would make a great deal of difference. Absolutely.GAZETTE: How about other solutions?BLOOM: The other major solution is education.With regard to misinformation, what’s really different than it was 20 years ago is the internet and social networks. We have no way to control what’s on the internet and how people are targeted, whether by the Russians, by a variety of ideologues, or people with vested interests.There is a movement, increasingly, to control what comes over the internet. That would have a very helpful effect. When one surveys parents who are hesitant about vaccines and they’re asked “Where do you get your health information?” a significant percentage of the vaccine-“hesitants” say they get it from the internet.The vast majority of vaccine acceptors get it from their physicians and nurses.KAYYEM: That’s interesting.BLOOM: Again, we believe in freedom of speech and the First Amendment. But that’s why I mentioned Schenck v. United States. It’s a case where total freedom to say anything can be constrained if it harms others.GAZETTE (to Kayyem): And your stance is a little bit harder, looking at it from a public safety viewpoint?KAYYEM: I think all the things that Barry says are absolutely right. You want to engage and educate and get this misinformation offline. But ignorance is no defense under the law, so you can think about a much more penal approach to it.I want to distinguish between two types of people. One are those in low-information communities. I think they’re rare here in the U.S., but those you can work on educating.But then there are people who are educated and searching out this stuff online.I could read online — I’m sure I could find it — that it’s unsafe to put seat belts on my kids. Or more kids die with bicycle helmets on than with helmets off. I can find that stuff if I want to. But ignorance is not a defense against being charged if my kid dies in a car accident. “I want to put the onus on the parents to be responsible and educated.” — Juliette Kayyemlast_img read more

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IDC: Cisco Leads the Pack in x86 Blade Servers

first_imgIDC has released a new report naming Cisco the No. 1 vendor in the Americas x86 blade server market. Five years ago, Cisco revolutionized the data center with the introduction of the Unified Computing System (UCS). Through continued innovation and a strong partner ecosystem, Cisco UCS is recognized as the industry leader, providing a key foundational component of VCE Vblock Systems. Check out this video from Chris Sullivan, VCE VP of global channels & investor alliances, for perspective on why UCS has been a knockout success only a few years after its introduction.last_img read more

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Performance Redefined! Introducing DSSD D5 Rack-Scale Flash Solution

first_imgToday we are delivering a quantum leap in flash storage with the announcement of EMC DSSD D5, a Rack-Scale Flash solution. DSSD D5 provides a new architecture and game-changing flash performance to meet the needs of traditional and next-generation applications, opening up the new category of Rack-Scale Flash for customers.DSSD D5 was built from the ground up to support the increasingly intense latency demands of enterprises at the cutting edge of big data and high-performance analytics and applications.So why DSSD D5, and why now?Applications today have evolved significantly from the previous client-server era; they’re built to leverage diverse data types and support an order of magnitude increase in users, devices and data to support business objectives. This has led to a fundamental change in infrastructure requirements supporting these applications. DSSD D5 is purpose-built to meet these requirements.DSSD D5 is designed specifically for the most data-intensive analytical applications –, if you will. DSSD D5 moves a step – perhaps two, or more – beyond existing architectures to cater to high-performance needs with a performance-centric, dense and shared flash solution that offers diverse and native data access along with enterprise reliability. DSSD D5 delivers performance faster than direct-attached flash while delivering operational efficiency, a larger and denser shared pool of flash and centralized management.DSSD D5 delivers multiple industry-first software and hardware innovations. And the result is enterprise-ready, next-generation performance in a dense 5U appliance.Key workloads and technologies that will immediately benefit from DSSD D5 are:High Performance Databases and Data WarehousesHigh Performance Applications Running on Hadoop andCustom Applications, such as SAS, or applications running on a variety of high performance file systemsEach of these categories on their own may not be able to support an entire analytical workflow, and organizations typically use a combination. To add to the complexity, each of these workloads has different performance profiles and constraints, so customers leveraging a legacy infrastructure are forced to create workarounds that are complex, underperforming and inefficient. With its next-generation performance, DSSD D5 enables the world of real-time analytics and applications.To learn more about the DSSD D5 click here:Want to learn more? Check out the DSSD homepage and follow @EMCDSSD on Twitter for our latest announcements and content.Check out the DSSD infographic.last_img read more

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New Dell EMC Ready Solution Powers SQL Server, the Complete Performance Platform for Your Databases

first_imgWorking on the new Dell EMC Ready Solution for SQL Server was like going from 0 to 60 mph in under 3 seconds. The exhilaration of being pushed into the seat as the road roars past in a blur is absolute fun. That’s what the combination of Dell EMC PowerEdge R840 servers and the new Dell EMC XtremIO X2 storage array did for us in our recent tests.The classic challenge with most database infrastructures is diminishing performance over time. To use an analogy, it’s like gradually increasing the load a supercar must pull until its 0-to-60 time just isn’t impressive anymore. In the case of databases, the load is input/output operations per second (IOPS). As IOPS increase, response times can slow and database performance suffers. What is interesting is how this performance problem happens over time. As more databases are gradually added to an infrastructure, response times slow by a fraction at a time. These incremental hits on performance can condition application users to accept slower performance—until one day someone says, “Performance was good two years ago but today it’s slow.”When reading about supercars, we usually learn about their 0-to-60 mph time and their top speed. While the top speed is interesting, how many supercars have you seen race by at 200+ mph? Top speeds apply to databases too. Perhaps you have read a third-party study that devoted a massive hardware infrastructure to one database, thereby showing big performance numbers. If only we had the budget to do that for all our databases, right? Top speeds are fun, but scalability is more realistic as most infrastructures will be required to support multiple databases.Dell EMC Labs took the performance scalability approach in testing the new SQL Server architecture. Our goals were aggressive: Run 8 virtualized databases per server for a total of 16 databases running in parallel, with a focus on generating significant load while maintaining fast response times. To make the scalability tests more interesting, 8 virtualized databases used Windows Server Datacenter on one server and the other 8 databases used Red Hat Enterprise Linux on another server. Figure 1 shows the two PowerEdge R840 servers and the 8-to-1 consolidation ratio (on each server) achieved in the tests.Figure 1: PowerEdge R840 serversQuest Benchmark Factory was used to create the same TPC-E OLTP workload across all 16 virtualized databases. On the storage side, XtremIO X2 was used to accelerate all database I/O. The XtremIO X2 configuration included two X-Brick modules, each with 36 flash drives for a total of 72. According to the XtremIO X2 specification sheet, a 72-drive configuration can achieve 220,000 IOPS at .5 milliseconds (ms) of latency with a mixture of 70 percent reads and 30 percent writes using 8K blocks. Figure 2 shows the two X-Brick configuration of the X2 array with some of key features that make the all-flash system ideal for SQL Server databases.Figure 2: XtremIO X2Before we review the performance findings, let’s talk about IOPS and latency. IOPS is a measure that defines the load on a storage system. This measurement has greater context if we understand the maximum recommended IOPS for a storage system for a specific configuration. For example, 16 databases running in parallel don’t represent a significant load if they are only generating 20,000 IOPS. However, if the same databases generated 200,000 IOPS, as they did on the XtremIO X2 array that we used in our tests, then that’s a significant workload. Thus, IOPS are important in understanding the load on a storage system.Response time and latency are used interchangeably in this blog and refer to the amount of time used to respond to a request to read or write data. Latency is our 0-to-60 metric that tells us how fast the storage system responds to a request. Just like with supercars, the lower the time, the faster the car and the storage system. Our goal was to determine if average read and write latencies remained under .5 ms.Looking at IOPS and latency together brings us to our overall test objective. Can this SQL Server solution remain fast (low latency) under a heavy IOPS load? To answer this question is to understand if the database solution can scale. Scalability is the capability of the database infrastructure to handle increased workload with minimal impact to performance. The greater the scalability of the database solution, the more workload it can support and the greater return on investment it provides to customers. So, for our tests to be meaningful we must show a significant load; otherwise, the database system has not been challenged in terms of scalability.We broke the achievable IOPS barrier of 220,000 IOPS by more than 55,000 IOPS! In large part, the PowerEdge R840 servers enabled the SQL Server databases to really push the OLTP workload to the XtremIO X2 array. We were able to simulate overloading the system by placing a load that is greater than recommended. In one respect we were impressed that XtremIO X2 supported more than 275,000 IOPS, but then we were concerned that there might have been a trade-off with performance.The average latency for all physical reads and writes was under .5 ms. So not only did the SQL Server solution generate a large database workload, the XtremIO X2 storage system maintained consistently fast latencies throughout the tests. The test results show that this database solution was designed for performance scalability: The system maintained performance under a large workload across 16 databases. Figure 3 summarizes the test findings.Figure 3: Summary of test findingsThe capability to scale without having to invest in more infrastructure provides greater value to customers. Would I recommend pushing the new SQL Server solution past its limits like Dell EMC Labs did in testing for scalability? No. Running database tests involves achieving a steady state of performance that is uncharacteristic of real-world production databases. Production databases have peak processing times that must be planned for so that the business does not experience any performance issues. Dell EMC has SQL Server experts that can design the Ready Solution for different workloads. In my opinion, one of the key strengths of this solution is that each physical component can be sized to address database requirements. For example, the number of servers might need to be increased, but no additional investment is necessary on XtremIO X2, thus, saving the business money.If I were to address just one other topic, I would pick the space savings achieved with a 1 TB SQL Server database. In figure 4, test results show a 3.52-to-1 data reduction ratio, which translates to a 71.5 percent space savings for a 1 TB database on the XtremIO X2 array. Always-on inline data reduction saves space by writing only unique blocks and then compressing those blocks to storage. The value of inline data reduction is the resulting ability to consolidate more databases to the XtremIO X2 array.Figure 4: XtremIO X2 inline data reductionAre you interested in learning how SQL Server performed on Windows Server Datacenter edition and Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server? I recommend reading the design guide for Dell EMC XtremIO X2 with PowerEdge R840 servers. The validation and use case section of that guide takes the reader through all the performance findings. Or schedule a meeting with your local Microsoft expert at Dell EMC to explore the solution.Why Ready Solutions for Microsoft SQL?The Ready Solutions for Microsoft SQL Server team at Dell EMC is a group of SQL Server experts who are passionate about building database solutions. All of our solutions are fully integrated, validated, and tested. Figure 5 shows how we approach developing database solutions. Many of us have been on the customer or consulting side of the business, and these priorities reflect our passion to develop specialized database solutions that are faster and more reliable.Figure 5: Our database solutions development approachI hope you enjoyed this blog. If you have any questions, please contact me.Additional Resources:Microsoft SQL Server Info Hub—A list of recent Dell EMC solutions for SQL ServerDell EMC Ready Solutions for Microsoft SQL—A good resource for all Dell EMC solutions for SQL Serverlast_img read more

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Inspire with STEMAspire: A Mentees Perspective

first_imgIn October 2018, Dell EMC Glasgow launched their second 12-month mentoring program called STEMAspire. The program is aimed at undergraduate females from the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and is focused on providing them with support that enables them to finish their education and progress on to the world of work.Molly Nock, one of Glasgow’s STEMAspire mentees is studying Digital Design and Web Development at the City of Glasgow College. Molly tells us that she is thrilled to be part of the program and has become more confident as a result.Meet Molly “Since joining the program, my long-term aspirations and goals have never been clearer. I have received so much support and encouragement from my mentor and other mentees.”“The quarterly events held at the Dell offices have covered workshops on technical skill development and personal growth. I particularly enjoyed, the CV building workshop from the last quarterly event. It really opened my eyes to how I can best come across during an interview.“My mentor Cheryl Craig has taught me to have the confidence to put myself forward for opportunities that will benefit me in my career. I have also learned that it is ok to say no, staying true to who I am and what I want even though it may scare me.”“I recently joined a student association at my college called STEMGirls. It was created by one of the other STEMAspire mentees, who was inspired by Dell’s program. Through STEM GIRLS, female students can speak to other people who share similar experiences in a safe space. A space where there is no judgement or intimidation. A place where we can help and support each other.”“So far, being part of the program has been a really positive experience. Knowing that I’ll have a place in the tech industry without the feeling of intimidation or dismissal is only just the start – above that, there is so much more opportunity for every woman to grow within STEM.”last_img read more

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World Food Program chief warns of vulnerable supply chains

first_imgTHE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The head of the World Food Program says that the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need to strengthen vulnerable supply chains to impoverished nations struggling to feed their populations. David Beasley, executive director of the United Nations’ Nobel Peace Prize-winning food program, warned Wednesday that the pandemic put further stress on supply chains getting food to the hungry. He has told a World Economic Forum panel discussion that “We’ve got to continue to work the system, we’ve got to make certain that we are … less vulnerable to COVID type impacts.” Beasley stressed that the food supply system is “not broken” but that 10% of the global population is in extreme poverty and needs to be reached by suppliers.last_img read more

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An experimental COVID-19 vaccine from Novavax appears to offer strong protection in late-stage UK, South Africa studies

first_imgWASHINGTON (AP) — An experimental COVID-19 vaccine from Novavax appears to offer strong protection in late-stage UK, South Africa studies.last_img

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Tense calm in northern Lebanese city after violent clashes

first_imgTRIPOLI, Lebanon (AP) — A cautious calm prevails in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli after a violent night that saw rioters set fire to several buildings. The fires capped days of confrontations, as anger over growing poverty made worse by the coronavirus lockdown boiled over. Lebanese troops have been deployed in the country’s second-largest city in an effort to quell the rioting. The riots have led to repeated confrontations with security forces. One person has been killed and more than 250 have been others injured. The protests target the strict lockdown measures but also reflect growing anger over the authorities’ indifference in the face of Lebanon’s economic meltdown.last_img read more

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Haiti opens debate on proposed constitutional changes

first_imgPORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti has unveiled multiple proposed changes to overhaul the country’s Constitution that officials plan to present to voters starting this week for an upcoming referendum that looms amid growing unrest. The public meetings are scheduled to be held across Haiti for the next three weeks, ahead of the April 25 constitutional referendum, which would be the first one held in more than 30 years. One of the biggest changes is an omission in the draft issued by an independent commission tasked with creating the constitutional changes that have angered many. Haiti’s current Constitution bars presidents from serving two consecutive terms, but the draft only states that a president cannot serve for more than two terms; it says nothing about whether they can be served consecutively.last_img read more

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4 backcountry skiers killed in Colorado avalanches in 4 days

first_imgThe bodies of three backcountry skiers buried in a large avalanche in southwestern Colorado were found Wednesday, and a slide near Vail Mountain Resort on Thursday killed another skier. Officials say the skiers in the first slide between the towns of Silverton and Ophir were located under more than 20 feet of debris. The bodies were left where they were found for now because bad weather prevented the helicopter from transporting them. The slide happened Monday. The skier killed in Thursday’s avalanche exited the resort through a backcountry access gate. Eight backcountry skiers have died in avalanches in Colorado this winter.last_img read more

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Efforts to end Myanmar’s ethnic conflicts shaken by coup

first_imgJAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — The coup that removed an elected government and reimposed military control in Myanmar has raised even more uncertainty about a fragile peace process aimed at ending decades of conflict between the military, armed ethnic groups and militias. Over 20 ethnic groups have been fighting the military over control of predominantly ethnic-minority borderland areas. They want more regional autonomy, while the military and militias aligned with it have fought for centralized power. Negotiations spearheaded by Aung San Suu Kyi have brought some progress, though fighting still has continued. Now, the military coup and the detainment of Suu Kyi and other elected officials have sparked criticism and concern the peace process could break down.last_img read more

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Students, University respond to arrests

first_imgIn response to the large number of students recently arrested and incarcerated for underage drinking, representatives from the University and student government met with the South Bend Police Department (SBPD) this week.  “It’s the pattern to me that is of most concern,” he said. “We need to make sure that our students’ rights and their dignity is protected and that’s why we went down to meet with them face to face.” He added that it is not excise officers’ protocol to incarcerate people for underage drinking, but certain conditions may provoke it. Doyle asked students, especially those who are underage, to be “model citizens” in the community this weekend. Trent expects complaints will subside once the weather cools down because parties will move indoors and residents will sleep with their windows shut.  Indiana State Excise Police Commander Lt. Tim Cleveland said excise police will also be in St. Joseph County this weekend, but does not have plans to step up enforcement. Doyle said the University met with police because students repeatedly shared stories in which they felt their rights or dignity had been violated when interacting with law enforcement officers.  These meetings opened communication channels and resulted in small changes in SBPD procedure, Fr. Tom Doyle, vice president for Student Affairs said. The recent trend to incarcerate students — rather than issue citations — stems from the fact that police hold a certain amount of liability for students who are allowed to go home, Trent said. “There were lots of conversations we can work on within student government that can lead to greater changes,” she said. “As long as they’re in proximity to the car, there will be an audio account,” he said. “This is for the officer’s security and this is for everybody’s security.” “I expect my officers to be respectful of those that they’re citing or arresting, and likewise we expect those who are being issued summons or arrested to be respectful as well,” he said.  South Bend police officers will wear and activate body microphones, Doyle said. “We’re not in a situation any longer where we can just shrug and allow 50 or 100 students in a residential neighborhood to just disperse,” Trent said.  Trent said officers are responding to noise complaints and are “not trying to hinder or put a stop to the college experience.” “From our perspective, we’re getting calls from people and they’re saying ‘I’m trying to sleep and there’s a mob behind my house,’” he said. But Doyle also said there are two sides to every story and used the University’s meeting with police Tuesday as an opportunity to hear from the other side.  Cleveland also encouraged students to work with law enforcement officers and said “a little cooperation goes a long way.”  “If they’re not cooperative or they’re too intoxicated, then I’ll leave that to my officers discretion as whether to incarcerate,” he said.  Going into the first home football weekend, there will be 25 South Bend police officers patrolling the city Friday and Saturday night, Soler said.  “They have a very hard job to do and we understand that,” he said.  Doyle said SBPD was “receptive” and Soler agreed. She said student government plans to meet with police again within two weeks.  For example, if a group of people are stopped on Washington Street, two miles from campus, they would have a lengthy walk back to campus after being issued a citation and could potentially get into trouble. Police have also noticed younger students appear “profoundly drunk,” even when they have low blood alcohol contents, because of their lack of experience with alcohol.  SBPD spokesman Capt. Phil Trent attributes this change to circumstances, rather than a “conspiracy.” Trent said Notre Dame student off-campus housing used to be concentrated around Eddy Street and Notre Dame Avenue, as were the bars and night spots for students.  Now, students live in more residential neighborhoods and parties draw more complaints. Student body president Catherine Soler met with the SBPD Thursday night, and said the aim of this meeting was to decrease tensions between the student body and law enforcement officers. Both the University and police recognized the attention to, and punishment for, alcohol related violations this year is different than it has been in the past. “Our hope is that we can get through this weekend without significant incident or conflict, that we can start to build the kinds of communication channels between administration and students and law enforcement where we’re not so much in conflict with one another,” he said. Soler said the student body can expect an e-mail from student government detailing the meeting with SBPD sometime today.  “They are going to continue to do their job, but with a bit more of an understanding of the student’s perspective,” student body president Catherine Soler said after Thursday night’s meeting. “There is definitely going to be more discretion in the situations involving arrests and ticketing.”last_img read more

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Saint Mary’s prepares to welcome mothers

first_imgThis weekend Saint Mary’s will continue the tradition of welcoming mothers from across the nation as it celebrates Junior Moms Weekend. The weekend, sponsored by the class of 2013, will feature fine dining, tea and a ring blessing ceremony. Victoria Thompson, president of the class of 2013, said she is looking forward to this weekend’s activities. “[Vice president] Taylor Hans, my board and I started planning Junior Moms [Weekend] in November,” Thompson said. “It’s been a long process, but well worth it knowing that everyone will enjoy it in the end. “ A wine and cheese party kicks off the events Friday, she said. A silent auction will follow the tastings. “I am excited for the wine and cheese [party and the] silent auction,” Thompson said. “Due to the generosity of parents and some local businesses, we were able to put together 45 great baskets. I am anxious to see how much money we will be able to raise.” Thompson said Saturday’s events will be highlighted by the blessing of the rings ceremony. The tradition has not been held for several years, she said. “We really pushed for the ceremony because we felt that our class rings are an important part of our connection to Saint Mary’s, as current students and after we graduate,” she said. Other events for the weekend include a tour of the Riedinger House, a tea party and a formal dinner at the Hilton Garden Inn, she said. “We were able to come up with some really great ideas this year,” Thompson said. “We have a photo booth, a candy bar, [2011 Notre Dame graduate] Zach DuBois will be performing and our place cards are photo booth-sized picture frames for everyone to keep.” Junior Caroline Keep said she has looked forward to this event since freshman year. “I’m looking forward to spending the weekend with my mom and having her meet all my friends and their moms,” Keep said. “I think junior moms weekend is a wonderful tradition at Saint Mary’s … and it will be a memory we hold onto forever.” Thompson said this tradition supports the college’s emphasis on strong women leaders and role models. “I believe it’s common that many daughters look up to their mothers as a role model,” Thompson said. “Each student is able to meet her friend’s mothers and learn about each of them, what they do in their every day lives and increase her knowledge of what women can do to have a positive effect on our world.”last_img read more

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Week-long game returns to campus

first_imgNerf gun? Check. Balled-up socks? Check. Orange armband? Check. The moderated tag game “Humans vs. Zombies” (HvZ) is back for its fifth annual session at Notre Dame. Senior Alex Muench, the game’s primary moderator, has helped run the event hosted by WVFI radio station since Notre Dame’s first game in the spring of 2011. “I’d say it’s a week long game of team-based tag. With Nerf and zombies,” Muench said.  The game involves campus-wide strategy and is played at colleges throughout the United States. According to the rules listed on the game’s website, everyone who signs up to play is automatically registered as “human” and is distinguished by an orange armband tied around his or her arm. When the “Original Zombie” tags the first “human,” he or she becomes “infected” and must play on the “zombie” side, the website stated.To protect themselves, some humans buy large Nerf guns or carry socks. If they “kill” one of the zombies, they earn a 15-minute time out. Zombies hit with a projectile must move their bands down to their neck to show they’re inactive and cannot “feed” on other humans, the website stated.There are also missions every night when the humans come out to complete tasks that can create more safe zones for humans to hide from zombies or earn longer time-out times to prevent zombies from attacking. It all comes down to a huge showdown on Sunday night: If any humans are left standing at the end of the mission, humans win, the website stated. Despite the formulaic procedure, Muench said every game is unique. “What really makes a difference is the players,” said. “A small sub-group of friends can gain notoriety and change the course of the game this semester. And that’s what always makes things interesting.” Into its third year at Notre Dame, HvZ is closing in on just over 150 players. This year’s game runs from Sept. 25 to Sept. 29.  The game is open to all students at Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross.  Sign-ups are accepted until Sept. 21 and can be accessed at www.hvzsource.com/nd. Contact Charmagne Solomon at csolomo1@nd.edulast_img read more

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Observer finds success at ICPA

first_imgThe Observer won third place in the Division I “Newspaper of the Year” category at the Indiana Collegiate Press Association (ICPA) awards ceremony held Saturday at Indiana University in Bloomington. Staff members took home 20 other awards. Former Assistant Managing Editor Andrew Owens was named the Brook Baker Collegiate Journalist of the Year, making him the third Notre Dame student in four years to be honored. The award, which began in 1999, is named for a deceased student journalist at Vincennes University. Owens placed in the “Best Entertainment Feature Story” category as well, winning second for his Oct. 22 piece “College GameDay.” The Observer took second place in the “Best Single Issue” category for the Nov. 27 issue “Miami Bound,” published after the football team’s victory over USC. First place in the “Best Stand-Alone/Pullout Section” category went to The Observer’s “Pre-national championship coverage.” The 2011-12 Observer Editorial Board took first place in the “Best Staff Editorial” category for its April 27, 2012, piece “Jenky should issues a formal apology.” The former board also won second place in the same category for the Sept. 14, 2012 editorial “Getting serious about sexual assault.” Former Assistant Managing Editor Sam Stryker won second place in “Best News Feature Story” for “Gay students discuss coming out at Notre Dame,” the second in a three-part series in The Observer last year. Stryker also took third place in “Best Entertainment Feature Story” for his coverage of Student Union Board’s Seth Myers comedy show in September, titled “Seth Myers brings the laughs at Stepan.” 2011-12 Managing Editor Sarah Mervosh, class of 2012, won third place in the “Best Breaking News Reporting” category for “University addresses LGBTQ concerns,” published April 26, 2012. Assistant Managing Editor Matthew DeFranks took second place in “Best News or Feature Series” for “Waking the Echoes,” a series highlighting past Notre Dame football players and their lives after graduation. Scene Editor Kevin Noonan took second place in “Best Entertainment Column” for his piece on the film saga’s move to Disney, titled “Star Wars moves to the dark side.” Kirby McKenna, multimedia editor, won second place in “Best Feature Photo” for her August Boys Like Girls concert photo “Boys Like B1.” Former Multimedia Editor Sarah O’Connor took third place in the same category for her September photo “Seth Myers at Notre Dame.” Former Photo Editor Suzanna Pratt took first place in “Best Sports Photo” for her action shot during the Oct. 27 football game against Oklahoma, called “Statement win.” Second place in “Best Blog” went to “Observer Passport,” featuring the study abroad experiences of former Editor-in-Chief Allan Joseph, former Managing Editor Megan Doyle, Assistant Managing Editor Marisa Iati, Saint Mary’s Editor Kaitlyn Rabach, Photo Editor Grant Tobin, News Writer Mel Flanagan and Scene Writer Troy Mathew. O’Connor and Web Editor Kevin Song won first place in “Best Video” for “Bengal Bouts 2012,” showcasing the experiences of members of Notre Dame’s men’s club boxing team. Former Graphics Editor Brandon Keelean won first place in “Best Design of Black-and-White House Ad” for “Congratulations.” Keelean also took first in “Best Design of Full-Color House Ad” for “Final Four.” The Observer took third place in “Best Rate Card,” crediting Keelean, Joseph, Advertising Manager Emily Kopetsky and former advertising manager Monica McCormack. All four were also honored with first place in “Best General Media Kit.” Other University publications represented at ICPA were Scholastic, which took first place in “News Magazine of the Year,” Dome Yearbook, which won second place in the Division I “Yearbook of the Year” category and The Juggler, which took second place in “Literary Magazine of the Year.” The Observer’s award-winning submissions are available on its website, www.ndsmcobserver.com.last_img read more

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Student runs race for charity

first_imgSaint Mary’s junior Maddie Helman isn’t celebrating her 21st birthday like most young women. Helman will be running the Walt Disney World Marathon on Jan. 12 to raise money for Girls on the Run, a non-profit organization that provides guidance through running to young girls ages third through fifth grade. In addition to the marathon falling on her 21st birthday, Helman said this year’s marathon marks the 20th anniversary of her mom’s first marathon at Disney. Jamie Helman said she ran her first marathon at Disney two days before her daughter’s first birthday. As a baby, Maddie Helman was hospitalized at Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis three weeks before the marathon, and Jamie Helman said she shifted her focus from training to her daughter. Fortunately, Jamie Helman said her daughter recovered fully before the race. “It was a great accomplishment for us both, and I know running this marathon together on her 21st birthday, in 2014, will be an even greater cause for celebration,” Jamie Helman said. Maddie and Jamie Helman have partnered with the Michiana Council of Girls on the Run through a program called SoleMates, which teaches health and nutrition to the girls and trains them for a 5K race over the course of 12 weeks. according to the Girls on the Run website. SoleMates raises money by encouraging runners to get sponsors, according to the Girls on the Run website. Maddie Helman said her goal is to raise $2,100 in honor of her 21st birthday, and Jamie Helman said her goal is to raise $2,000 in honor of the 20th anniversary of first running the Disney marathon. Maddie and Jamie Helman’s impact on the organization goes beyond just fundraising. Jamie Helman said she serves as the co-chair for development for Girls on the Run, and Maddie Helman said she is a coach. As a coach, Maddie Helman said she understands the direct impact her fundraising will have on the girls. When her team finished the 5K last spring, she knew what she was doing something meaningful, she said. “You could see the sense of accomplishment on their faces,” she said. Maddie Helman said running is a prominent part of her life and her inspiration comes from her favorite running partner: her mom. “My mom inspires me to dig deep and keep going even when it’s not fun,” Maddie Helman said. Maddie Helman said she started running in seventh grade and didn’t enjoy it at all, but she grew to love it and ran her first half marathon in eighth grade. “It’s about mind over matter; it’s about never giving up,” she said. Maddie Helman said her love for running has only grown since, culminating in running her first marathon in Chicago in 2011. “I can’t go for a run and not say thank you,” she said. “It automatically makes the day better.” For more information on Maddie Helman’s training and fundraising, visit her blog at http://twentyseventhmile.wordpress.com/.last_img read more

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Junior class welcomes parents to campus

first_imgMothers and fathers of members of the junior class are traveling from all around the country for Notre Dame’s annual Junior Parents Weekend (JPW).“I want this weekend to be really special, and I want parents to have a magical experience at Notre Dame,” JPW chairperson and junior Shannon Hagedorn said. “This is one of the three big events for parents and students, and I have been trying to do everything I can to make sure it is fabulously wonderful.”Junior Christian Knight said JPW offers a rare opportunity to bring families together on campus. Keri O’Mara | The Observer “With there only being three events on campus — Frosh-O, graduation and JPW — that bring all the parents on campus, it will be cool to have them here one last time before graduation,” Knight said.The weekend will kick off with an opening gala Friday night, held in the Joyce Center, according to the JPW website. Each undergraduate college will host events throughout Saturday afternoon, and families can attend JPW Mass at 5:30 p.m. in Purcell Pavilion, followed by a President’s Dinner, the website stated. The weekend will conclude with a closing brunch Sunday morning.Junior Shane O’Connor said he timing of JPW allows parents and students to enjoy the weekend together while the juniors still feel committed to campus life. He said the special events would complement the time his family has to relax and explore Notre Dame.“I am excited for JPW so that I can have the chance to show my parents what life is like while I’m actually at Notre Dame and not when I’m about to leave.” O’Connor said. “I think that JPW is a nice tradition and I’m most excited to cut a rug at the gala.”Junior Maggie Miller said she looks forward to showing her parents a typical Notre Dame weekend.“I’m most excited about having time on campus with my parents when it’s not a game,” Miller said. “To just hang out, the three of us, without all of the tourists on game day.”Hagedorn said when the junior parents weekend tradition began many years ago, University President Emeritus Fr. Theodore Hesburgh would deliver the benediction at the JPW brunch.“He often spoke about the humble origins of JPW, created under his administration and leadership,” Hagedorn said. “The first JPW was simply a dinner at the Morris Inn for a relatively small number of families, and it grew from that humble beginning.”Hagedorn said she is in charge of a committee of 13 juniors who work together to ensure the weekend goes smoothly.“In a nutshell, my job has been to coordinate everything for the weekend, including recruit a committee of chairs, delegate the jobs for the different events, coordinate various items with multiple vendors, arrange tables for the meals, respond to the emails to the JPW account and make sure that everything is taken care of for the weekend,” Hagedorn said.She said she is most looking forward to seeing her own parents and watching all of the students and parents meet each other.“I can’t wait to see the Notre Dame family and personal families come together and share the special moments of the weekend,” Hagedorn said. “There has been a lot of planning and coordinating, and I’m ready to see the product.”Tags: Community, family, JPW, Junior Parents Weekend, Notre Dame, parentslast_img read more

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Students, faculty remember Cathy Pieronek

first_imgLast Thursday, Catherine “Cathy” Pieronek, an associate dean in the College of Engineering and the director of the women’s engineering program, passed away suddenly at the age of 52.According to College of Engineering Dean Peter Kilpatrick, Pieronek proved to be a champion of the women engineers on Notre Dame’s campus, but also on a national level. Students have recalled her dedication to the engineers and also to the school as a campus leader who sought to continually improve the University and, specifically, the College of Engineering.In an email, Kilpatrick described one of Pieronek’s large contributions to the women’s engineering program that dealt with residence halls. When Pieronek joined the engineering faculty in 2002, female enrollment in the college was lower than it was now, and each women’s residence hall only had “one to two” engineers living in it.“This meant that women who wanted to study with their classmates and other engineers would have to go to another residence hall (often a male residence hall) and when the parietals require women students leaving male dorms at midnight (despite whether the homework or studying was all finished), this placed a hardship on the women engineering students,” he said.“So Cathy, in concert with others in the College, got [the Office of Residence Life] to start clustering women engineers in fewer dorms so women could develop natural study partners in their own residence hall. This strategy, and many others, has led to a dramatic increase in both the retention and the numbers and percentages of women in engineering here at Notre Dame. We are now well over 30 percent, a remarkable increase in the last 10-plus years. Cathy played by far the dominant role in this transformation.”Kilpatrick and others recalled her tendency to be extremely direct with students in her role as an advisor.“I have so many memories of Cathy, but perhaps my favorite memory was when I shared with her recently how grateful a parent was for the direct and forceful advice that Cathy gave his son on the occasion of struggling academically and disciplinarily and the way the young man had been able to turn things around with Cathy’s support and encouragement,” he said. “Cathy gave me a simple ‘aw, shucks’ response and immediately deflected the accolade.“This was classic Cathy. She did what she did for our students because she was deeply committed and cared about them as persons. In this regard, Cathy taught us how to be fully human and fully Christian.”Senior Cecilia Ruiz said she met Pieronek when she was a first-year engineering student and member of the First Year Engineering Council.“What I remember the most is her passion to education and her devotion to her students,” Ruiz said in an email. “She touched many lives with her advice and picked up many of us who struggled through some of our semesters.“Always understanding, but firm, she encouraged me to continue in my endeavors and challenged all whose lives she touched to be the best version of themselves. I can’t think of a better role model to follow as an aspiring female aerospace engineer, and I am grateful for her presence in my life.”Senior Maggie Miller said her relationship with Pieronek began during her freshman year. She said Pieronek took an interest in her summer job with Notre Dame’s Introduction to Engineering Program and talked to her frequently throughout the summer.“Most of the conversations we would have were about how we could make the College better, how we could improve the perception of engineers on campus,” Miller said in an email. “This was especially pertinent to me as I have been heavily involved with various performing arts groups during my time at Notre Dame, and Cathy always took a surprising interest in this and in other students that were leaving their mark on campus in areas other than engineering. She wanted us to feel like we were students and to get away from seeing ourselves as nerds who could only sit in their rooms and study.“She fought relentlessly for the students in the College, and even though she was often very hard on struggling students they were always better for it. Tough love was definitely her approach, but it was in fact a deep love that she showed the students.”Miller said Pieronek was especially important for the women of the College, which she witnessed firsthand as a student representative on the College of Engineering Council.“I remember in one meeting looking around and realizing that Cathy and myself were the only women in the room of 20 or so other people, and Cathy always played a large role in running those meetings,” Miller said. “She became someone I very much wanted to emulate in her confidence and in her caring.”Senior Ryan Griffin said Pieronek cared about all her students in the College of Engineering, which led to a tough but rewarding mentoring style.“She expected you to own up to your mistakes and act like an adult,” Griffin said in an email. “But if you were capable of doing that, Cathy would match you every step of the way working with you, teachers, the department, advisors, you name it, in order to help you succeed. She was also an incredible mentor to the students who got close to her.“Those of us who were lucky enough to call her a mentor will forever treasure the advice she gave us and carry her words with us in our careers.”Tags: Cathy Pieronek, College of Engineering, SWE, Women’s engineeringlast_img read more

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ND seniors receive fellowships, grants

first_imgThirteen students from the class of 2015 have received fellowships this year from prestigious programs such as the Fulbright U.S. Student Program and the National Science Foundation, Dr. Jeffrey Thibert said.“This success is a testament to the outstanding undergraduate education that our students receive, not only in terms of their academic work but also in terms of the scholarly engagement activities that they pursue beyond the classroom both in the U.S. and abroad,” said Thibert, the assistant director of national fellowships for the Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement (CUSE).“CUSE looks forward to continuing to work with the Class of 2015 as they become alumni — it’s never too late to apply for some of these fellowships, and every year, alumni receive major awards like the Rhodes Scholarship, the Gates Cambridge Scholarship or the Fulbright.”The Fulbright U.S. Student Program provides grants for international research or study projects and English teaching assistant programs, according to the program’s website. Nine seniors received Fulbright grants this year, and Notre Dame had 17 recipients as an institution, the most the University has ever had, Thibert said.Claire Donovan will travel to Togo in West Africa to research “Micronutrient Fortification and Maternal Health in Togo: A Model for Sustainable Aid” on a fellowship.Christina Gutierrez received the Fulbright/Casten Family Foundation Award to study at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy. Gutierrez is a Hesburgh-Yusko Scholar, as well as a Kellogg Institute International Scholar.(Editor’s note: Gutierrez is the business manager for The Observer.)A Kellog Institute International Scholar, Alexis Palá will be studying in Chile on a Fulbright.Three students earned English Teaching Assistantship grants from the Fulbright program: Leila Green, Kendra Reiser and Ryan Schultheis. Green will be teaching in South Africa, Reiser in Indonesia and Schultheis in Mexico.The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships provide funding for research-based study leading to a master’s or doctoral degree in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math), according to the Fellowships’ website.The program receives more than 16,000 applications for 2015 and awarded 2,000 fellowships.The three recipients of the fellowship were Ashley Armstrong, a mechanical engineer; Patrick Marino, a physics and mechanical engineering double major; and Annie Stephenson, a physics major.Tyler Barron, a sociology and American Studies double major, was awarded the Udall Native American Congressional internship. The internship provides American Indian and Alaska Native students an opportunity to understand the government-to-government relationship between Native Tribes and the federal government, the program’s website said. Barron is the first recipient from Notre Dame in the school’s history, Thibert said.Two students received the Austrian Teaching Assistantship, which provides graduates with an interest in Austrian students to work at secondary schools throughout Austria, the website said. Eric Donahue and Rachel Ruddick, both majors in biological sciences with minors in German, both declined for the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.Eric Donahue also was awarded the DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst, German for ‘German Academic Exchange System’) Study Scholarship.CUSE encourages the class of 2015 to continue to apply for fellowships; alumni are eligible to apply for scholarships such as the Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships, Thibert said.“These fellowship opportunities can significantly enhance a recipient’s profile while advancing their academic and professional trajectories in unique ways and connecting them to future leaders in a variety of fields,” Thibert said.To learn more about these opportunities, visit http://fellows.nd.edu/fellowships.Tags: Austrian Teaching Assistantship, Class of 2015, CUSE, DAAD Study Scholarship, Fellowships, Fulbright U.S. Student Program, NSF Graduate Research Fellowships, Udall Native American Congressional Internshiplast_img read more

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University explains assault report process for study abroad

first_imgEvery year, Notre Dame students travel abroad to more than 30 sites in more than 20 countries. According to the University’s admissions website, more than 50 percent of its students will participate in one of these programs. While studying abroad offers students the opportunity to learn from another culture, the immersive experience also includes new risks and can bring students face-to-face with sexual harassment and assault.Tom Guinan, associate vice president for administrative operations for Notre Dame International, said much like for students studying on the main campus in South Bend, preventing sexual assault is emphasized to those traveling abroad.“This is one of the most important topics that we address prior to students going abroad, and we have mandatory training sessions for all students going abroad,” he said. “We have them in the spring and fall and summertime … we have Keri Kei [Shibata, deputy chief of safety services] and some of the other folks around campus advise students on just prevention.”According to Guinan, there are three main types of study abroad programs: students who are fully enrolled in an overseas institution, third party providers who put students into places where they want to study and “global gateways,” such as the London program, where Notre Dame staff are actually “on the ground” to work with students. The first two categories have their own “mechanisms for reporting, preventing and dealing with sexual assaults that happen on their campuses,” Guinan said.“The one obvious complicating factor here is that St. [Joseph] County and [Notre Dame Security Police] typically would be involved in the criminal investigations,” he said. “We have relationships with offices in each location so the students know legal remedies they might pursue in those countries and the laws related in each country to sexual assaults are different.”Guinan said if a student is assaulted abroad, especially if the complainant and respondent are both Notre Dame students, resources are available on campus for them to use. Once a student reports an assault to the University, the priority is to help the student receive any necessary medical attention, he said.“In any of those circumstances, if a student is a complainant, and the respondee is a Notre Dame student, to the extent we are notified about this, either on campus or through our through third party providers and the folks overseas, the first step we take is to be sure the student is aware of medical resources overseas,” he said.“We then contact the student in varying ways, based on where they actually are and offer them pretty much the same types of services we would offer if they were on campus,” Guinan said. “If it’s a known Notre Dame situation, we would actually refer them back to the Title IX coordinator on campus, because even though the host institution has their own protocols and wants to take action, it is something that would come back to Notre Dame and the resources available through the Title IX Coordinator would be made available to that student.”Even with these resources available, Guinan urges students to be more vigilant abroad than they might be while on campus.“We remind the students, both before they leave and when they arrive on site, that they are still Notre Dame students and so that the expectations and standards of conduct are still with them as they go abroad.”Tags: Global Gateway, NDSP, sexual assault, study abroad, Title IXlast_img read more

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2016 Election Observer: Matthew Hall

first_imgEditor’s Note: Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, The Observer will sit down with Notre Dame experts to break down the election and its importance to students. In this sixth installment, News writer Rachel O’Grady asks professor of political science and director of graduate studies Matthew Hall about the consequences of the results of the Nevada caucus and the upcoming Super Tuesday primaries.  Rachel O’Grady: Trump just pretty handily won Nevada, and this is his third win in a row. What does this mean for the Republican Party? Can Trump secure the nomination?Matthew Hall: I’d say it means two things for the Republican Party. First, the anger and frustration the party’s base feels toward the party elites has [been] reaching an unprecedented boiling point, and the voters are rejecting their leadership’s direction. Second, if Trump succeeds, it may mean a fundamental redefinition of the party’s stance on issues such as trade, taxes and foreign policy. Can Trump win? Of course he CAN win. Technically you or I CAN win — the votes haven’t been cast yet, and anything could happen if this election goes to a brokered convention. Will he win? There’s no way to tell for sure, and if this election has taught us anything, it’s that experts can’t predict what is going to happen.ROG: Super Tuesday is this coming Tuesday. What should we be looking for? How much does it matter?MH: Ordinarily, Super Tuesday favors candidates who can compete on a large scale. Unlike the early states, in which retails politics can propel an unknown candidate into the spotlight, on the Super Tuesday the advantage goes to candidates with name recognition, media attention and money. That means it should be even easier for Trump to win big. The real questions: Can Rubio or Cruz win any state at all — other than Cruz winning Texas? If not, Trump appears to be unstoppable.ROG: Looking more at the Democrats, Sanders beat Clinton significantly on young women 18 – 24 years old. What does this mean for either one of their campaigns? Will this hurt Clinton long term?MH: I doubt Clinton’s lack of support among young voters — or specifically, young women — will hurt her if she secures the nomination. I’d wager that most of these young voters will support Clinton in a general election. The critical questions moving forward are: 1. whether young people turn out to vote in large numbers and 2. whether younger Hispanic and African American voters continue to move toward Sanders. If either or both of those things happen, Clinton may have a difficult time securing the nomination.ROG: In your research and opinion, what do you think will be the most important issue in the general election?MH: I think it largely depends on world events, which I cannot predict. What happens in Syria. What happens on the stock market. Usually, events drive the discussion more than anything else, so I can’t predict what the discussion of issues will look like. If it’s Trump vs. Clinton, I would expect little focus on issues at all. Instead, I’d expect a campaign of insults, posturing and scandals.ROG: Taking it back to college campuses, particularly here at ND, primaries in many of our home states are coming up. What is something we, as college students, should be paying particular attention to?MH: Everyone should be figuring out right now where and how they can vote. Can you register here in Indiana? Can you vote absentee back home? Our current politics look the way they do because young people don’t participate. If every college student who talked about the election on soil media actually voted, we would get wildly different outcomes. Tags: 2016 Election Observer, Clinton, Matthew Hall, Nevada caucuses, Sanders, Super Tuesday, Trumplast_img read more

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Panelists reflect on history, tradition of Sisters of the Holy Cross

first_imgViewing injustices through the lens of those who endure mistreatment can help realities click and breakthroughs come into focus, Sister Mary Turgi said at a panel discussion about the Sisters of the Holy Cross, which took place in Rice Commons on Thursday.Turgi said her role as director of the Holy Cross International Justice Office affords her the rewarding opportunity to attend to relevant societal issues and develop action strategies.“[The Sisters of the Holy Cross] have a very strong and long-standing commitment to working toward systemic change,” she said. “That tends to be where our congregation has done the most work.”The irrepressible desire to seek avenues for reform, Turgi said, motivates her congregation to address issues such as human trafficking, climate change and immigration.“We have a number of corporate stands, one on water as a human right,” she said. “Even though I trained as a mathematician, most of my ministries in my 54 years in the congregation have been working in some form with social justice activities.”The Holy Cross International Justice Office, she said, has promoted what it considers to be worthy causes ever since its conception.“Back in the late 1990s, there was a movement among the congregation to bring some project together that would really, really force our unity and our working together, and a committee was set up to organize that,” Turgi said. “The idea of creating an office that would support the idea of justice surfaced very quickly, and after a lot of discussion and dialogue, they decided that that’s what they would do. … In total, we serve 20 countries in the world.”Senior Katherine Soper said she has observed firsthand the love and dedication that radiates throughout the Holy Cross community. As a first year, she joined an organization known as Friends with Sisters, which promotes bonding and camaraderie between students and sisters by allowing them to share conversations and meals.“For those of you who haven’t been over [to the convent] for dinner, it’s amazing,” she said. “You sit in that room, and you know you’re just surrounded by women of God who are doing everything that they can to support human dignity — which is, I believe, the bottom line of social justice.”The sisters’ support and encouragement, Soper said, led her to apply for the Uganda Summer Practicum — a service-oriented study abroad program that allows education and nursing majors to work alongside sisters in the Moreau Nursery and Primary School and the Kyembogo Holy Cross Health Centre.“My time in Uganda was eye-opening,” she said. “I saw the sisters going each and every day and giving their all and looking at those students in the eyes and believing in them and telling them ‘You don’t know what your future is. You don’t know what God’s plan is for you, but let’s take the first step right here by learning two plus two.’”Senior Therese Dudro also partook in the Uganda Summer Practicum, though she assisted Holy Cross nurses at the health clinic — an opportunity she said she learned of during the first tour she took of Saint Mary’s and one that swayed her college decision.“I just knew that I wanted to do that,” Dudro said. “[The sisters] don’t ask for anything in return. They just do it out of love because they know Christ’s love, and they want to share it with everyone.”Dudro said observing the sisters’ grace and compassion under all circumstances showed her how to embrace the unexpected.“Every day, [the sisters] walk into that clinic, and they don’t know the challenges that they’re going to be faced with, but they face them with smiles on their faces, and they just exude love wherever they go,” Dudro said. “They fight for all their patients.”The sisters exemplified selflessness and recognition of a common humanity, Dudro said. “We had some patients whose families could not afford the care that we were giving, but the sisters do not care,” she said. “They said ‘No, your child is getting this treatment. You’re not going anywhere. We don’t care what you’re going to say. We’re going to treat the patient.’”Soper said the sisters’ influence was not solely academic or medical, for their spiritual example resonated with the students too.“I’ve never seen anyone pray as hard as those students do,” she said. “The joy they show in their faces while they’re praying was very inspiring and makes the work that the sisters are doing and that Saint Mary’s students are able to experience there worth it.”Tags: Friends with Sisters, Kyembogo Holy Cross Health Centre, Moreau Nursery and Primary School, Sisters of the Holy Cross, Uganda Summer Practicumlast_img read more

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Student Peace Conference strives to promote peace-building initiatives

first_imgThe annual Notre Dame Student Peace Conference, a Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies sponsored event, took place Friday and Saturday at the Hesburgh Center to encourage students to have discussions about peace-building and social justice.The conference was organized by senior co-chairs Elizabeth Hascher and Erin Prestage, who said they have been planning the event since September.“Something that’s hard when you plan anything this big is that you have to rely on other people,” Hascher said. “There were some bumps along the way, but ultimately we had so much help from our professors, our advisors [and] the other students on the committee who showed up early and stayed after we told them go home.” Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Hascher Professors, advisors and co-chairs present at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies’ annual Student Peace Conference. The conference took place April 13 – 14 and was themed ’Toward Just Peace.‘In addition to professors and advisors, the co-chairs said they worked with students who were part of the academic committee, hospitality committee or publicity committee.“I think with any event it’s always challenging because obviously not everyone is going to be as excited as we are because we spent the last eight months working towards this,” Prestage said. “I definitely think our committee members rose to the occasion and made sure that what we envisioned the conference to be like not only would go that way but would go so much better.”This year’s theme was ‘Toward Just Peace,’ a topic chosen by Hascher and Prestage, they said, because of its applicability to other areas of interest outside of peace.“We were hoping to get more presentations and papers talking about the intersections between justice and peace,” Hascher said. “We had felt that this was something that can be overlooked in a lot of conversations because sometimes justice and peace are not necessarily compatible, and we want to challenge people to think about getting to a place where they are.”The universal nature of their theme attracted a more diverse group of students to the conference this year, Prestage said.“I think our theme was so inclusive towards justice rather than just different ways of peace, which is what it has been in the past,” Prestage said. “It focused a little bit more on the compatibility between the two themes; I think it welcomed a lot more majors that otherwise wouldn’t really be interested in just a conference about peace.”Hascher and Prestage said that although the conference’s goal was to promote discussion about issues related to justice and peace, they hoped it would accomplish more than conversations.“It’s one thing for us to have these conversations, but we’re really hoping that people will feel compelled to go out and do something,” Hascher said. “Because if we’re just talking about it, if we’re not actually doing something, we’re not showing up, we’re not speaking out, we’re not protesting and organizing and generally engaging with experiences of violence, we kind of lose the point.”The highlight of the weekend for Hascher and Prestage, they said, was their keynote speaker Alexis Templeton, an activist who they discovered in the documentary “Whose Streets?” when the Center for Social Concerns sponsored a screening of it last semester.“Their presentation exceeded all my hopes for this conference,” Prestage said. “They really provided a wake-up call to everyone who was at the conference to that fact that words only mean so much if you’re not showing up and actually putting action to what you’re talking about.”Tags: Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, peace building, Social justice, Student Peace Conferencelast_img read more

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Jamestown DPW Announces Additional Street Projects For This Year

first_imgJAMESTOWN — The City of Jamestown Department of Public Works has announced additions to the annual streets program that are being made possible through an increase in anticipated funding through the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program, known as CHIPS.These new projects, in addition to the previously announced streets, are planned to be completed by the end of the summer-fall season, depending on the weather, the flow of public funding, contractor availability and the changing price of materials.The additional street projects are as follow:Mill and Overlay (Starting Aug. 24)South Main Street from the Arterial to the Main Street Bridge; Delaware Avenue from Summit Avenue to Newland Avenue;  Prather Avenue from the Arterial to Main Street.; Crescent Street from Second Street to Bishop Street..Curb and Brick Improvements on Ellicott Avenue from Pullman Street to King Street.Curb Improvements on Andrews Avenue from Harding Avenue to Third Street. Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Mainly Quiet Labor Day Weekend Ahead

first_imgJAMESTOWN – Labor Day weekend will be mainly dry with seasonable temperatures, before a warm-up takes shape early next week. For today, partly to mostly cloudy with a slight risk for an afternoon shower. Highs in the lower-70’s.Tonight, mostly cloudy with a early evening shower possible. Lows in the lower-50’s.The weekend will close out on Sunday with sunny skies and highs near 75. Temperatures will begin to rise for Labor Day. Partly cloudy skies with highs near 80. A slight risk for a shower or storm is possible.Through mid-week it will remain sunny with temperatures in the lower-80’s and moderate humidity levels.WNYNewsNow is a proud Ambassador for the NOAA Weather-Ready Nation program.Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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John Lloyd Young to Star in London’s Jersey Boys

first_imgTony winner John Lloyd Young will star as Frankie Valli in the West End’s Jersey Boys when it moves to the Piccadilly Theatre on March 15. Young, who originated the role on Broadway in 2005 and won a Tony Award for his performance, will headline the London production through April 27. The cast of the Tony and Olivier-winning musical, which follows the rise of Frankie Valli and his chart-topping group the Four Seasons, will also include Matt Nalton as Nick Massi, Edd Post as Bob Gaudio and Jon Boydon as Tommy De Vito. Michael Watson will play the role of Frankie Valli at certain performances. 

Young earned a Tony Award and a Broadway.com Audience Choice Award for his Broadway debut as Frankie Valli. He starred in the indie film Oy Vey! My Son Is Gay! and appeared on Glee. His off-Broadway credits include The Summer of Swans and Sarah, Plain and Tall. He revisited the role of Frankie Valli in Clint Eastwood’s film adaptation of Jersey Boys, due out in June 2014. Jersey Boys opened in London at the Prince Edward Theatre in 2008 and will play its last performance there on March 9.center_img The cast at the Piccadilly will also feature Nicola Brazil, Sophie Carmen-Jones, Thomas Goodridge, Lucinda Gill, Matthew Hunt, Mark Isherwood, Charlotte Jeffery, Ben Jennings, Stuart King, Sandy Moffat, Sean Mulligan, Tom Senior, Emma Stephens, Matt Thorpe, Graham Vick, Ben Wheeler and Rob Wilshaw. View Commentslast_img read more

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Courtney Love Reveals Kurt Cobain Musical ‘Very Likely’

first_img View Comments Nirvana formed in 1987 and went on to establish itself as one of the most famous grunge bands in the world, releasing a number of successful songs like “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “Heart-Shaped Box,” “About A Girl,” “Come As You Are” and “Lithium.” Love has been embroiled in several legal battles with the surviving members of the band over song rights. Why did Love change her tune? She revealed that she had been “swarmed by tons of Nirvana fanmail and social media posts pushing for a musical to become a reality.” The key to the production getting off the ground? Love said that “there would have to be a story, and a great story, one that hasn’t been told before.”center_img Broadway might be smelling like teen spirit! The Kurt Cobain bio-musical, which was reported to be in the works before the idea was quickly squashed by the late musician’s wife Courtney Love, is back on. Love spoke with NME as part of the magazine’s tribute to the Nirvana frontman and said that if she could get the right people involved “then a Broadway musical is very likely to happen.”last_img read more

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Oscar Winner Christopher Walken Will Star in NBC’s Peter Pan Live!

first_img View Comments An Oscar winner for The Deer Hunter, Walken is no stranger to bringing Broadway musicals to the screen, having starred in this summer’s Clint Eastwood-helmed Jersey Boys and the film adaptation of Hairspray (produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who will reunite with Walken for Peter Pan). Walken’s  many films include Stand Up Guys, A Late Quartet and Seven Psychopaths. The actor began his career in the 1950s as a Broadway dancer. He received Tony nods for his performances in The Dead and A Behanding in Spokane. According to The Hollywood Reporter, NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt confirmed at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour that the titular role will be played by a woman, as it is traditionally performed. The network honcho revealed that Frozen star Kristen Bell was at one point considered for Peter, saying, “she was interested but she’s doing House of Lies. It’s tricky finding the right person in the schedule that we need but we’re actually close.” “I started my career in musicals,” Walken said in a statement, “and it’s wonderful after all this time, at this point in my career, to be in this classic musical I watched as a child and to work with Neil Meron and Craig Zadan again after Hairspray. It’s a chance to put on my tap shoes again.”center_img A Great White Way family classic, Peter Pan premiered on October 20, 1954 at the Winter Garden Theatre, featuring a book by J.M. Barrie, music by Mark “Moose” Charlap and Jule Style, lyrics by Carolyn Leigh, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, direction and choreography by Jerome Robbins and Mary Martin in the lead role of the boy who won’t grow up. NBC has broadcast the musical live a total of three times previously: in 1955 (when it reached 65 million viewers), 1956 and 1960. The musical has been revived five times on Broadway since. Who’s the swiniest swine in the world? Oscar winner and Tony nominee Christopher Walken will headline NBC’s previously announced Peter Pan Live!. Walken will take on the role of the self-proclaimed “greatest villain of all time,” Captain Hook. The Peacock Network’s follow-up to the highly rated Sound of Music Live!, which starred Carrie Underwood along with many Broadway favorites, Pan will broadcast on December 4. Additional casting will be revealed at a later date.last_img read more

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Tickets Now Available for A Walk in the Woods Off-Broadway

first_img Show Closed This production ended its run on Oct. 18, 2014 Related Shows Tickets are on sale now for Lee Blessing’s A Walk in the Woods. The Keen Company mounting marks the first major New York revival of the Pulitzer and Tony-nominated play. Jonathan Silverstein will direct the show, which begins performances on September 9 at off-Broadway’s Clurman Theatre at Theatre Row, where it will run through October 18. Opening night is set for September 30. View Comments The drama tells the story of a Russian veteran and an American newcomer who meet informally after long, frustrating hours of peace talks. Kathleen Chalfant will take on the gender-swapped role of Botvinnik; Paul Niebanck will play John Honeyman. Chalfant garnered a Tony nomination for Angels in America: Millennium Approaches. She also starred in Wit off-Broadway and appeared in Painting Churches with Keen Co. Niebanck’s stage credits include In the Next Room on Broadway, as well as RX, Blood and Gifts, Shockheaded Peter and Bill W. and Dr. Bob. A Walk in the Woodslast_img read more

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Lessons of the Week! Jeremy Jordan, Kelli O’Hara & More

first_imgIt’s time to rip off your work clothes (preferably like this) and change into sweatpants…because it’s finally Friday! Yay! To celebrate, Broadway.com is bringing you a recap of all the weird stuff that happened this week. From Sarah Jessica Parker’s house-sized closet to the food obsessions of our favorite Broadway stars, it’s all right here in the Lessons of the Week.Matt Morrison & Adam Jacobs Are in a CultBefore going the clean-cut route in Aladdin and Glee, these Broadway bros were apparently involved in some dark stuff. In college at NYU, the stars belonged to a creepy sounding group called “The Tribe,” which Jacobs joked was “a secret cult.” Hey, you guys need some more members? We’ll drink that Kool-Aid any day of the week.The Secret Brought Sailors to BroadwayHow do you get a musical on Broadway? No, don’t bother asking for donations from your rich friends—just pick up a copy of The Secret! You know, that book from your aunt that you re-gifted to Goodwill 10 years ago? On the Town’s Jay Armstrong Johnson insists that the Law of Attraction got the show to Broadway. You think if we put this on our vision board, he’ll show up too?Wanna See If/Then? Pray.If your If/Then vision board doesn’t score you tickets to the hit musical, saying a Hail Mary might help. James Snyder took a field trip to the If/Then lottery this week and discovered that praying actually helped one hopeful audience member snag tickets. Hey, it worked for Jean Valjean. Didn’t work so well for Tricia in A Chorus Line, though.Glenn Close Is Still Ready For Her Close-UpMr. DeMille, it might have been two decades since the three-time Tony winner appeared in Sunset Boulevard, but she’s still making it clear she’d love to reprise the role of Norma Desmond in the film adaptation. You’ve convinced us, Glenn! Now you’ve just gotta convince the Material Girl.Jeremy Jordan Has a Secret TalentThe Last Five Years movie star is really great at a lot of things, including nailing that high note in “Santa Fe” and growing beards. But did you know he can also drive while simultaneously ripping his clothes off and making out with Anna Kendrick? That’s some serious coordination, Jeremy. Like, Cups-level coordination.Kelli O’Hara Needs Side-Eye LessonsBroadway darling Kelli O’Hara is about to become a TV darling, too! The Tony nominee will play, um, Mrs. Darling in the Peter Pan telecast on NBC. Will Sound of Music star Laura Benanti show O’Hara how to steal scenes with her shady side-eye? Will the world make thousands of O’Hara GIFs? We’ll find out in 83 days and counting.SJP’s Closet Is Bigger Than Your HouseWe always assumed Sarah Jessica Parker had some old Sex in the City costumes lying around, but it looks like she made off with the whole wardrobe trailer. She and Matthew Broderick (currently in It’s Only a Play) just put their townhouse up for sale, and SJP’s closet is bigger than some small countries. Will we be seeing any of that stuff at the BC/EFA Flea Market, SJP?Broadway Stars Are Food-ObsessedWhen we asked the cast of On the Town what they’d do if they were in New York City for only one day, we were surprised to hear almost every single answer revolved around food. Hot dogs, pretzels, Katz’s, Rosa Mexicano, soul food, the list is endless. Wow, you guys have a one-track mind! (It’s OK, we can’t go a week without thinking about peanut butter cups.)It’s Cool to Sleep Through The RiverA bunch of Broadway stars have made it clear that they’re not exactly thrilled about audience members talking, crinkling wrappers, clinking ice and filming bootlegs during their shows. Hugh Jackman, on the other hand, totally understands if you need to take a nap during The River. Great, we’ll just snuggle up to this, this and this.Don’t Mess with Angry Broadway FansWe’ve said it before and we’ll say it again—never, ever make a Broadway fan angry. Case in point: When the Broadway League ruled that they would not dim marquee lights for the late Joan Rivers, you spoke up and the decision was totally reversed within 24 hours. Great job, guys! This is one gang you do NOT want to run into in a brightly lit alley. View Commentslast_img read more

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See Honeymoon’s Brynn O’Malley Shop ‘Til She Drops on Say Yes to the Dress

first_img Show Closed This production ended its run on April 5, 2015 View Comments It’s wedding bells for Honeymoon in Vegas star Brynn O’Malley—no, she’s not getting hitched in real life just yet, but she’ll Say Yes to the Dress on the hit TLC wedding reality show on March 6. O’Malley enlisted the help of co-stars Tony Danza and Rob McClure to pick out the perfect wedding dress to wear onstage in the hit musical. Check out these photos of O’Malley looking radiant in white, then see her and the gorgeous dress in person at the Nederlander Theatre! Honeymoon in Vegas Related Showslast_img read more

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Happy Birthday, Grease! 37 Fun Facts About Rydell High

first_imgSandy, Danny and the Rydell High gang are turning 37 today! The smash-hit movie Grease was released June 16, 1978, starring John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard Channing and Jeff Conaway as the coolest high schoolers in history. Filmed on a shoestring budget, the movie adapted from the hit Broadway musical by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey went on to become the highest-grossing movie musical ever. Isn’t it the most, to say the least? Check out these 37 automatic, systematic, hydromatic facts all about our pals at Rydell High.1. The 1978 film was based on the 1972 Broadway musical of the same name, which originally ran for 3,388 performances and has since been revived twice.2. Several changes were made for the big-screen adaptation—the “Burger Palace Boys,” as the greasers were called in the Broadway show, were changed to the much catchier “T-Birds” in the movie.3. Originally, producers had the idea to make Grease an animated movie—they settled on a live-action film with animated opening credits instead.4. Four Grease film stars also appeared in the Broadway production: John Travolta (Doody on Broadway and Danny in the movie), Jeff Conaway (Danny on Broadway and Kenickie in the movie), Barry Pearl (Sonny on Broadway and Doody in the movie) and Jamie Donnelly (Jan on Broadway and in the movie).5. The majority of the cast hadn’t seen the inside of a high school in quite a while: John Travolta was 23 at the time of filming, Olivia Newton-John was 28 and Stockard Channing was 33.6. Frankie Valli sang the film’s title song “Grease,” which plays during the opening credits.7. Henry Winkler was considered for the part of Danny but he turned it down because he didn’t want to be typecast after starring on Happy Days.8. Susan Dey (The Partridge Family) and Deborah Raffin (7th Heaven) were both considered for the role of Sandy.9. John Travolta was initially star struck by singer Olivia Newton-John—he went to her house to convince her to co-star in the movie and was very impressed that she had a pool.10. To capitalize on Olivia Newton-John’s popularity, the film’s creators opted to keep her Australian accent and change Sandy’s last name from Dumbrowski to Olsen.11. Elvis was originally offered the role of Teen Angel, but he turned it down. It was played by Frankie Avalon in the movie.12. Another Elvis connection: In the play, “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee” had a reference to Sal Mineo, but he was murdered in 1976, so the reference was changed to Elvis for the film. Elvis died on August 16, 1977, the same day the scene was filmed.13. Dinah Manoff, who played Marty, couldn’t dance, so she was conveniently missing from most of the dance scenes.14. Lucie Arnaz was the studio’s original choice for Rizzo, but her mother Lucille Ball refused to let her do a screen test.15. Gerald Ford’s son Steven was initially cast as Sandy’s jock boyfriend Tom, but even though the part had no lines, he decided he was too nervous. The role went to Lorenzo Lamas instead.16. During the movie’s shoot, the cast reportedly chewed 100,000 pieces of bubble gum.17. “You’re the One that I Want” was filmed at a traveling carnival that was only in town for the day. Portions of the carnival had to be re-created later for close-up shots.18. The hickeys on Rizzo’s neck in the diner scene were authentic, given to Stockard Channing by Jeff Conaway, who played Kenickie. Talk about method acting!19. The song “Greased Lighting” was originally supposed to be sung by Jeff Conaway, but John Travolta convinced producers to let him sing it instead.20. In Mexico and Venezuela, Grease was released under the name Vaselina.21. John Travolta was disappointed when the last shot of the song “Sandy” ended with a cartoon hot dog jumping into a bun. “He wanted a close-up [on him],” director Robert Kleiser told The New York Post. “But that hot dog was fantastic. I didn’t want to shoot the close-up because I loved the hot dog. That was a battle, but I won.”22. The movie soundtrack had two number-one singles: “Grease” and “You’re the One That I Want.”23. Although he was taller than John Travolta, Jeff Conaway slouched when he was filmed with the star so he would appear taller.24. Most of the dancers had character names like Sauce, Trix, Cee Cee, Woppo and Bubba, even though they were never used in the movie.25. It was 116 degrees during the filming of the Rydell prom scene, which took two weeks to film in downtown Los Angeles. Several extras were treated for heat-related illnesses.26. In the final carnival scene, Eddie Deezen, who played Eugene, was filmed on a spinning ride. Afterwards, he got sick and threw up in the middle of the carnival lot.27. Annette Charles (Cha Cha), who had been in the hospital undergoing tests for pain, checked herself out to film the drag race scene. That night, she was rushed into surgery for an ectopic pregnancy.28. Sandy’s pants in “You’re the One That I Want” really belonged to Olivia Newton-John—they were 25 years old and she had to be sewn into them when her zipper broke.29. The producers had hoped for a product placement deal with Coke, but it fell through. There are several shots of Coca-Cola products and signs in the scenes taking place in the Frosty Palace that have been blurred out or digitally removed.30. After the success of the movie, Paramount had plans for a Grease franchise, featuring three more movies and a TV series. But when Grease 2 flopped in 1982, these plans were put on hold.31. The writers of Grease were inspired to write the song “Beauty School Dropout” after seeing a news story about a teenage murderer who had recently dropped out of beauty school.32. Kleiser originally wanted to direct the song “It’s Raining on Prom Night” as a Singin’ in the Rain-esque sequence with Sandy, but that was vetoed in favor of a new ballad, “Hopelessly Devoted to You.”33. The actors behaved almost like real high-school students on set. “We were so bad,” Susan Buckner, who played Patty Simcox, told People. “Almost everybody would come in two, three hours late. They had to bring us all in and give us a lecture.”34. Jamie Donnelly had prematurely grey hair, so she had to dye it black to play Jan.35. Jeff Conway (Kenickie), later married Rona Newton-John, Olivia’s sister.36. Grease 2 had double the budget ($13 million) of the original film but only earned $15 million at the box office.37. Grease only cost $6 million to make, but has taken in $400 million internationally to date, making it the highest-grossing movie musical of all time. View Commentslast_img read more

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Off-B’way Hit The Humans Sets Main Stem Dates & Theater

first_img View Comments The rumors were true! Stephen Karam’s The Humans will move to the Main Stem’s Helen Hayes Theatre with the cast from the current off-Broadway Roundabout production—including Reed Birney and Jayne Houdyshell—intact. Directed by Joe Mantello, the show will begin performances on January 23, 2016 and officially open on February 18.In addition to Birney (Casa Valentina) as Erik and Houdyshell (Fish in the Dark) as Deirdre, the company includes Arian Moayed (Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo) as Richard, Lauren Klein (Other Desert Cities) as Fiona, Cassie Beck (Picnic) as Aimee and Sarah Steele (The Country House) as Brigid.The Humans follows Mr. Blake, who, after a sleepless night, brings his family from Pennsylvania to his daughter’s new apartment to celebrate Thanksgiving. Family tensions reach a boiling point as things start to go bump in the night. The production is currently playing an extended engagement at the Laura Pels Theatre through January 3, 2016.The creative team includes sets by David Zinn, costumes by Sarah Laux, lighting by Justin Townsend and sound by Fitz Patton.Dames at Sea will vacate the Helen Hayes on January 3, 2016.last_img read more

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Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton Will Launch Tour in September 2016

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s blockbuster Broadway musical Hamilton will launch its first national tour in Chicago. The production will kick off with an open-ended run at the Windy City’s newly named PrivateBank Theatre beginning September 27, 2016. According to The Chicago Tribune, a second production will launch on the West Coast before continuing to cities across the country. Casting and further dates for the tour have not yet been announced.”I’m going to bring to Chicago a production of the same size, volume and quality as the one at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York,” lead producer Jeffrey Seller told the Tribune. “Chicago is the biggest theater market after New York. I wanted to sit down in a city that could support the show for a long term.”Directed by Thomas Kail and featuring a book, music and lyrics by Miranda, Hamilton is inspired by the book Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. The new musical follows the scrappy young immigrant who forever changed America, from bastard orphan to Washington’s right hand man, rebel to war hero, loving husband caught in the country’s first sex scandal to Treasury head who made an untrusting world believe in the American economy. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Eliza Hamilton and lifelong Hamilton friend and foe, Aaron Burr, all make appearances in the tuner about America’s fiery past.Starring Miranda in the title role, the Broadway cast of Hamilton includes Christopher Jackson as George Washington, Leslie Odom Jr. as Aaron Burr, Phillipa Soo as Eliza Hamilton, Anthony Ramos as John Laurens and Phillip Hamilton, Daveed Diggs as Marquis De Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson and Renée Elise Goldsberry as Angelica Schuyler. Javier Muñoz plays Hamilton at select performances. Lin-Manuel Miranda Star Files View Comments read more

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Nathan Lane & Matthew Broderick Reprise Producers Roles to Send Up Trump

first_img View Comments Star Files Nathan Lane Matthew Broderick & Nathan Lane Bialystock and Bloom are at it again! Tony winners Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick reunited on Jimmy Kimmel Live to give The Producers a 2016 election season makeover. Take a look at their sendup of a certain presidential campaign, complete with musical numbers, “checkies” from Cloris Leachman and a whole lot of Trump masks. You can catch Lane on stage on March 7 in White Rabbit Red Rabbit and on screen in American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson.last_img read more

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Tix On Sale for Rockettes’ New York Spectacular

first_imgRadio City Rockettes in ‘New York Spectacular'(Photo courtesy of MSG Entertainment) View Comments Related Shows NY Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettescenter_img Tickets are now on sale for the Rockettes’ New York Spectacular’s welcome return to Radio City Music Hall! The 75-show engagement will begin performances on June 15. Three-time Emmy winner Mia Michaels has been tapped to direct and choreograph while Douglas Carter Beane will pen the musical love letter to the Big Apple, which is scheduled to run through August 7.The production, which celebrates the magic of New York City, debuted in 2015, where it was headlined by Tony winner Laura Benanti and Derek Hough. Casting for this year’s run will be announced later.New York Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes celebrates New York City in the summertime centered around the trip of a lifetime for two kids, who, while on a vacation in New York, are separated from their parents. The city magically comes to life to show them its many splendid wonders and helps to reunite their family in the end. Show Closed This production ended its run on Aug. 7, 2016last_img read more

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Odds & Ends: Phillipa Soo’s Next Eliza Project & More

first_img Here’s a quick roundup of stories you may have missed today. Phillipa Soo’s Next Eliza Hamilton ProjectHamilton’s Phillipa Soo is non-stop! The 2016 Tony nominee and future Amélie, who as we all know by now originated the role of Eliza in the Tony-winning tuner, will contribute a foreword to a new children’s picture book biography about her. “I have lived and breathed Eliza’s story for the past two years,” said Soo in a statement. “I could not be more thrilled to be included in her narrative for young readers.” Margaret McNamara’s Eliza: The Story of Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton will be published in 2017 by Schwartz & Wade Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books.Juliet Stevenson & Lia Williams Switch It UpTwo queens. One in power. One in prison. It’s all in the execution. Juliet Stevenson (Truly, Madly, Deeply) and Tony nominee Lia Williams (Skylight) will trade the central roles of Elizabeth I and Mary Stuart, decided at each performance by the toss of a coin, in Friedrich Schiller’s Mary Stuart at London’s prestigious Almeida Theatre. Adapted and directed by Robert Icke, the production is scheduled to play a limited engagement December 2 through January 21, 2017. Opening night is set for December 9.Emma Watson’s Cursed Child VisitEmma Watson went to see the West End’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, starring Noma Dumezweni as Hermione, and what she had to say about it was everything. “Some things about the play were, I think, possibly even more beautiful than the films,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “Meeting Noma and seeing her on stage was like meeting my older self and have her tell me everything was going to be alright, which as you can imagine was immensely comforting (and emotional)! The cast and crew welcomed me like I was family and Noma was everything I could ever hope she would be.” The play is currently in previews at the Palace Theatre, with the opening gala scheduled for July 30. If you fear you won’t be seeing the show anytime soon, the official script will be published on July 31. #KeepTheSecrets View Comments Phillipa Soo(Photo: Emilio Madrid-Kuser) Phillipa Soo Star Fileslast_img read more

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Euan Morton Will Lead National Tour of Hedwig

first_img Star Files View Comments Euan Morton Come on, Sugar Daddy, bring it home! Tony and Olivier Award nominee Euan Morton will headline the national tour of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, beginning November 29 at the Civic Theatre in San Diego. In addition, Hannah Corneau will take on the role of Yitzhak. Following the engagement in San Diego, the Hedwig tour will continue to play major cities across North America through July 2017 with Morton and Corneau.Morton earned Tony and Olivier nominations for his performance as Boy George in Taboo. He’s also appeared on the New York stage in Cyrano de Bergerac, Sondheim on Sondheim and Atomic. Corneau is making her Broadway national touring debut.Featuring a book by original star John Cameron Mitchell and a score by Stephen Trask, the touring production of Hedwig will also feature the members of Hedwig’s band “The Angry Inch”—aka “Tits of Clay”—including music director Justin Craig (guitar and keyboards), Matt Duncan (bass), Tim Mislock (guitar) and Peter Yanowitz (drums), all of whom originated their roles on Broadway. Rounding out the company are Mason Alexander Park, Shannon Conley, Dylan Fusillo and Matt Katz-Bohen.Broadway.com Audience Choice Award winner Darren Criss and Tony winner Lena Hall kicked off the national tour of Hedwig, reprising their Broadway performances as the titular transgender rocker and Yitzhak, respectively, at San Francisco’s SHN Golden Gate Theatre on October 2, where it’ll run through October 30. The show will then move to the Hollywood Pantages Theatre in L.A. from November 1 through November 27, starring Criss and Hall, before Morton and Corneau take over the roles.Directed by Michael Mayer, Hedwig and the Angry Inch tells the story of a fictional rock ‘n’ roll band, fronted by Hedwig, a transgender woman from communist East Berlin. Between rock songs, Hedwig regales the audience with both humorous and painful stories about her life, including her botched sex change operation. Trask’s score features “Tear Me Down,” “Wig in a Box,” “Wicked Little Town,” “The Origin of Love,” “Angry Inch” and more.The 2014 Broadway revival of Hedwig ran for over 500 performances and won four Tony Awards, including Best Musical Revival. Over the course of its run, the role of Hedwig was also played by Neil Patrick Harris, who won the Best Actor in a Musical Tony Award for his performance, Andrew Rannells, Michael C. Hall, Darren Criss, Taye Diggs and creator Mitchell. Euan Mortonlast_img read more

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Making Burgers Safe

first_img“The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends cooking ground beef to 160 degrees,” hesaid. “That allows for a margin of safety.” “It’s easy to eliminate the risk of contaminated hamburgers,” said Mike Doyle, director of theUniversity of Georgia Center for Food Safety and Quality Enhancement. “Just make sureyou cook them properly.” “I continue to tell people to cook a hamburger until it’s no longer red inside and the juices rungray or are no longer pink,” he said. “But there is evidence that color isn’t always reliable.” Checking hamburger patties with most meat thermometers is hard, if not impossible. “Thereare some new ones that cost about $10,” he said. “They’re thinner and can be inserted into apatty easier than standard meat thermometers.” Young children, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems are the mostsusceptible to foodborne illness. UGA studies have shown that heating ground beef to 155 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 secondswill kill E. coli bacteria, Doyle said. While scientists work on ways to stop E. coli 0157:H7 contamination of food products, it’seasy to protect yourself. The latest USDA recommendations call for using a meat thermometer to check the internaltemperature. And Doyle concurs that it’s the only perfectly safe way to check. E. coli 0157:H7 causes severe stomach cramps and diarrhea which oftens turns bloody aftertwo or three days. The symptoms usually go away by themselves after six to eight days. But Doyle said just getting a 160-degree reading isn’t a perfect indicator. “There can be a10-degree variation from one spot to another in some hamburgers,” he said. “The coldest spotisn’t always the center.” In a small number of people, most often children, the E. coli strain can cause a rare butserious problem called hemolytic uremic syndrome, which can lead to kidney failure anddeath.last_img read more

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Griffin Field Day.

first_imgThe Agroforestry and WildlifeField Day Sept. 28 in Griffin, Ga., has something for everyone,whether you’re a forest landowner or a wildlife enthusiast.The event was previously calledthe Land Use and Forest Management Field Day. But the name andprogram have been changed to reflect the trend of landowners usingtheir land to make the most of the environment. This includesgrowing trees and crops together and allowing wildlife to flourishon the same property.ForHunters and Wildlife EnthusiastsFor hunters, the field day willoffer information on managing deer, wild turkey and bobwhite quail.Wildlife enthusiasts can learn about the benefits of attractingwildlife, creating a backyard habitat, controlling wildlife damageand managing threatened or endangered species.Forest landowners will benefitfrom the information on prescribed burning, forest health, marketingand selling timber, Georgia’s Forest Stewardship Program, bestmanagement practices for forest roads and annual pine straw removal.Those with wetlands on their propertywill want to attend the sessions on pond construction and renovation,waterfowl management and best management practices for streamsides.Leavell to Speakand EntertainChuck Leavell, 1998 American TreeFarm Program’s Outstanding Tree Farmer and keyboardist for theRolling Stones, will be guest speaker for the field day. Leavellwill also perform for the field day crowd during lunch.A $15 fee covers the presentations,lunch, a program booklet and field day hats to the first 300 registrants.The field day is sponsored by the University of Georgia Collegeof Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and Warnell Schoolof Forest Resources, the Georgia Forestry Commission, U.S. Departmentof Agriculture – Natural Resources Conservation Service and theGeorgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division.For more information, call (770)228-7318. Or visit the AWFD Web site at www.griffin.peachnet.edu/awfd.last_img read more

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Food Prices.

first_imgThe Consumer Price Index for all foodincreased 2.3 percent in 2000 and should rise about the same amountin 2001, say University of Georgia experts. After near-recordgrowth last year, beef and pork price increases are expected toslow. Other food items should see only small increases.”The slowing economy during the last quarter of 2000 is aforecast of a slower rate of economic growth during 2001,”said Bill Thomas, an agricultural economist with the UGA Collegeof Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “Because farm commodities account for only 20 cents of eachretail food dollar, it’s more important to look at what’s happeningin the rest of the economy than to focus on farm prices,”Thomas said.What’s Driving Cost? Photo:USDA Americans can expect food prices to rise about 2 percent to 3 percent during 2001. Higher energy prices last year won’t necessarilytranslate into higher food prices, because transportation andenergy costs are small components of the total food marketingbill.”The total marketing bill equals 80 cents for every dollarconsumers spend on food,” Thomas said. “Transportationcosts are 4 percent and energy costs 3.5 percent of the marketingbill. If energy costs continue to be this high through 2001, another0.2 percent could be added to the rate of inflation in food.”Food price changes are a key to determining the portion of consumers’income that is spent on food. In 1999, consumers spent 10.4 percentof their household disposable income on food, with 6.2 percentfor food at home and 4.2 percent for food away from home. “During 2001, the long-run downward trend should continue,resulting in consumer expenditures for food amounting to only10.3 percent of their income,” Thomas said.Item-by-item CostThomas and other UGA economists make theseforecasts for individual food sectors:Meat Products: A booming economy continues to fuel demand for meatproducts, and overall meat prices were up 5.6 percent in 2000.Large meat supplies should limit gains to 3 percent to 4 percentin 2001.Fish and seafood: Prices should climb 2 percent to 3 percent in2001. A strong domestic economy is boosting sales in the restaurantand food-service sectors, which claim a growing share of totalseafood sales.Eggs: Prices will rise as much as 1 percent in 2001. Higherproduction levels and slower growth in exports have led to lowerretail prices the past four years.Dairy products: The CPI is expected to increase 1 percentto 2 percent in 2001. Strong consumer demand for gourmet ice cream,cheese and butterfat products, is expected to continue into 2001.Fresh fruits: It’s too early to know the full impact ofthe freezes in Florida on citrus prices. However, continued demandfor fresh fruits and normal production levels for major fruitsin the United States should boost the fresh-fruit CPI 2 percentto 3 percent in 2001.Fresh vegetables: After low farm prices in 1999, farmersreduced acreage in 2000, and prices climbed. Farmers took note, and shipments are expected to decline during 2001. Assuming normal weather and continued strong demand, the fresh-vegetable CPI should increase 2 percent to 3 percent in 2001.Processed fruits and vegetables: Adequate supplies of mostfruits and vegetables for processing is expected to limit theCPI increase to 2 percent to 3 percent in 2001.Sugar and sweets: Relatively low inflation, along withincreased production and lower retail for selected sugar-relatedfood items, is expected to limit the index increase to 1.5 percentto 2.5 percent in 2001.Cereal and bakery: With grain prices lower this year andinflation-related processing costs modest, the CPI is forecastto rise 2 percent to 3 percent. Most of the costs to produce cerealand bread products — more than 90 percent in most cases — arefor processing and marketing. Grain and other farm ingredientsaccount for a fraction of the total cost.Nonalcoholic beverages: The CPI is forecast to rise 2 percentto 3 percent. Prices of coffee and carbonated drinks, which accountfor 28 and 38 percent of the index, rose 3 percent (coffee) and4 percent (soft drinks) in 2000. Recent near-record arabica beanproduction in Brazil should lead to larger U.S. stocks and continuedmoderate consumer prices.last_img read more

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Blueberry ‘farm’acy

first_imgBy Gerard KrewerUniversity of GeorgiaFor more than 60 years, the University of Georgia’sblueberry-breeding program has developed varieties adapted to thestate, where farmers now have the fifth-largest blueberryproduction in the nation.Growers have planted millions of blueberry bushes as a cash crop.Homeowners have planted countless bushes, too. Everyone knew thedelicious berries were great to eat. But only recently has theirhidden health value been revealed.It turns out that this humble fruit, native to the river basinsof south Georgia, is one of the world’s great health treasures.AntioxidantsBlueberries are one of the richest sources of antioxidants, whichhelp human bodies prevent cancer, heart disease and stroke.Scientists have long known that blueberries contain vitamins A, Cand E. This is where some of the antioxidants are located.However, anthocyanins and other compounds, some of which providetheir rich blue color, are blueberries’ major sources ofantioxidants.Researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and TuftsUniversity have shown that blueberry extract can improve themotor skills of both mice and humans.Mice fed blueberry extract had improved memory, too. Research isunder way to see if blueberries can improve human memory.Still moreBlueberries also contain the cancer-fighting compound, ellagicacid. And they have significant amounts of dietary fiber, whichhelps prevent colon cancer.Recent research by the UGA food scientists indicates thatphenolic compounds found in blueberries work against colon cancercell lines.These amazing berries contain a compound that helps preventurinary infections, too, by keeping bacteria from attaching tothe urinary tract lining.As you can see, blueberries have benefits from the top to thebottom. The harvest is in full swing in Georgia, too, so you canget fresh blueberries now from the grocery store or producemarket.Freeze ’emFrozen blueberries are another economical source of healthbenefits. You can pick you own at many Georgia farms and freezethem. Or you can buy them in plastic bags at the store.For the past year, I’ve been eating them almost every day with mybreakfast cereal. I’ve much felt better since I started regularlyincluding blueberries in my diet. If you’d like to plant blueberries in your yard, they’re fairlyeasy to care for and can provide years of health-enhancingberries.The on-line Georgia Extension publication, “Home GardenBlueberries,” (pubs.caes.uga.edu/caespubs/pubcd/l106-w.html)can show you how to grow them.Or ask your UGA Extension Service county agent, who can alsodirect you to any nearby pick-your-own blueberry farm.(Gerard Krewer is an Extension Service horticulturist with theUniversity of Georgia College of Agricultural and EnvironmentalSciences.)last_img read more

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Bountiful blueberries

first_imgBy Faith PeppersUniversity of Georgia A late spring freeze followed by heavy rains were a blessing for some Georgia blueberry growers. But they brought more hard work to others, according to University of Georgia experts.The heavy rains delayed harvest of the southeast Georgia crop, causing some early concerns about highbush berry quality. “We had to work harder to make grade due to the heavy rains this spring, but it’s turning out to be good year for rabbiteye growers,” said UGA Cooperative Extension blueberry agent Danny Stanaland.“We grow two blueberry crops in Georgia – highbush and rabbiteye,” Stanaland went on to explain. The highbush crop in some areas of southeast Georgia, which is the state’s major commercial production area, “was hit hard by the late freeze and will produce only about 35 to 50 percent of the crop.” Robust rabbiteye cropFortunately, blueberry fans all over Georgia can expect a bumper crop from the rabbiteye variety. “It will be the largest crop of rabbiteye blueberries we’ve had in several years,” Stanaland said. That’s especially good news for Georgia’s 300 blueberry growers. The majority of the crop is rabbiteye variety, and about 10 percent of the total crop is highbush variety. “The highbush variety blooms and fruits early, making it more susceptible to the low temperatures and rain,” Stanaland said. “But, May 20 we finished harvesting highbush. That crop is gone.” Growers are now harvesting rabbiteye berries in three phases. “The early rabbiteye berries were wet and had some grading issues because it required more selective picking to get the good berries,” he said. “Now that it’s dry again, it’s much easier to harvest and grade, and fruit quality is very positive. We have the heaviest rabbiteye fruit set we’ve had in years. So, while we were short on highbush berries, we are going to be long on rabbiteye.”Pick-your-own timeIn the northern half of the state, where most blueberry operations are pick-your-own, growers are reporting larger-than-normal berries and an abundant crop, just in time for many markets to open this weekend. In 2008, Georgia blueberry growers harvested more than 14,000 acres of blueberries with an off-the-farm value of close to $61 million dollars, slightly above the five-year average. This year, growers expect to harvest between 12,000 and 14,000 acres, but that figure could surge as high as 15,000 to 20,000 acres, according to Stanaland and county Extension agent reports. About 75 percent of those acres are in southeast Georgia. Prices are holding steady in spite of the abundance of available fruit this year, which usually drives prices down. Growers are getting about $14 per flat — or $1.40 per pound — for fresh berries, only a shade lower than last year’s price.last_img read more

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Homegrown herbs

first_imgSpaghetti sauce would be lost without oregano. Salsa just wouldn’t be the same without cilantro. Rosemary chicken would just be, well, chicken without rosemary.All these dishes are made possible by herbs that can be grown in home gardens.Herbs “are actually fairly easy to grow in Georgia,” said Paul Thomas, a University of Georgia horticulturalist. “We have the perfect temperature, the perfect sunlight and acceptable humidity. As long as you do the appropriate soil adjustments, herbs can be excellent garden plants to grow.”Many herbs originated in the Mediterranean’s sandy, well-draining soil, not the hard-packed red clay encasing much of Georgia. To make herbs happy here, most gardeners need to add a few soil amendments and plant in pots or spots in their gardens that drain well.Thomas manages well-drained soil in his potted herbs by adding lots of sand and compost to the soil. He also plants herbs that spread easily, like mint and oregano, in containers.Out in the garden, Thomas digs a long trench two feet deep and fills it with thoroughly mixed compost, sand and native soil. In it he plants herbs that need a large root system, like fennel, rosemary and dill.“The goal is to make sure when it rains or I irrigate, the water goes right through the soil and does not accumulate where the roots are,” Thomas said. “South Georgians will actually have to add more compost to the sand.”Thomas’ favorite herbs are mint, basil, chives and rosemary. He adds mint to sweet tea, basil to turkey stuffing, pizza and salads and chives to soups, hamburgers and potatoes au gratin.Although rosemary is one of his favorites, Thomas warns that rosemary shrubs can grow quite large. Even small plants can spread to three or four-feet wide.Perennial herbs include rosemary, chives, oregano, marjoram and mint. Cilantro and parsley are annual herbs. Dill can be biennial.To master herb growing, Thomas says follow these 10 rules:1. Herbs do not like to sit in wet soil. An easy way to keep them happy is to plant them in a raised bed. Because the soil is above ground, it will drain very easily.2. Water herbs thoroughly when they start flagging. They will tolerate drought but their flavors won’t be as strong. Never allow herbs to go more than two weeks without water.3. Always plant herbs in full sun. If either their leaves or the soil doesn’t dry out after a rain, they will become more susceptible to diseases.4. Never crowd an herb garden. Plant herbs a foot apart so air can move between the plants.5. Never apply full strength fertilizers. If the package says 1 pound per 100 square feet, use half. Fertilizer minimally – once at the beginning of the growing season, four weeks later and then again another four weeks later after four weeks (about July). Follow treatments with a thorough watering.6. Always harvest herbs in the morning. The cut surfaces of herbs need to be bone dry by mid afternoon or disease will take over.7. Use a hose, not pesticides. If you find bugs on your herbs at 7 a.m., use a water hose and apply a spray from the side. The sideways water stream will wash the bugs off, and most never get a chance to return.8. Leave the black and green and yellow striped caterpillars on fennel and dill. They are black swallowtail caterpillars. Keeping the larva on fennel will result in butterflies later in the summer.9. Don’t let weeds crowd herbs out. This includes grasses as herbs cannot compete with them.10. Never mulch herbs with leaves or other debris. Winter-mulched herbs do not survive well. Thomas’ herbs survive over winter because he rakes all the leaves out of his herb garden.“You’ll find the more you use herbs, the more you treasure them,” Thomas said.last_img read more

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UGA turfgrass

first_imgWayne Hanna beams from ear to ear when he talks about Tifton turfgrass. Some might say he’s a proud papa, and rightly so.“We develop them, and to see them succeed, it’s just like a parent whose child succeeds … it’s the same experience to see grasses you’ve developed and tested over time,” said Hanna, a retired turfgrass breeder with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.One of those grasses, Tifway 419, is a bermudagrass variety developed in the 1960s by former USDA turfgrass breeder Glenn Burton. It’s most often used on golf course and athletic fields and currently covers the field at Sanford Stadium in Athens, home of the Georgia Bulldogs football team.“The turf is off the chain,” said Georgia football coach Mark Richt, who was in Tifton on Wednesday to speak at the UGA Day event held at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center. “When we line up against South Carolina (in next year’s home opener), it’s going to be looking great.”Hanna said Tifway’s ability to withstand extreme pressure from collegiate athletes is why it has succeeded as UGA’s playing field and other fields throughout the country.“It’s dense, real wear-tolerant and it recovers fast from damage from athletes,” Hanna said. “Tifway is pretty disease resistant. It just doesn’t have a whole lot of problems.”UGA turfgrass breeder Brian Schwartz agrees. “It’s a fine textured, dark green grass that’s been used successfully for about 50 years. The football field there in Athens is probably the best looking one in the SEC, in my opinion,” he said.Tifway’s name comes from a combination of Tifton and fairway, meaning it is highly suited for golf courses. It is also highly recommended for lawns, making Tifway a versatile variety.“It doesn’t take any type of special care. It does well under a broad range of managements,” Hanna noted.Tifway 419 is used in other football stadiumsaround the country, including at Texas A&M and at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fla. But none compare to Georgia’s field, though, according to Schwartz.“(Richt’s) got a beautiful field,” Schwartz said. “Many stadiums are torn up later in the season and his is just looking great. They do a good job there.” For more on UGA-bred turfgrass varieties, see the website at www.georgiaturf.com.last_img read more

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Cotton Variety Selection

first_imgWith so many options on the market, growers have had to learn how to manage different varieties. In Terrell County, McGhee used different seed varieties from different companies, planted them in field trials and harvested the crops to see what variety worked best in his county. “We rely heavily on cooperation with our county agents to get these trials planted and harvested,” Whitaker said. “We use the information from these trials implemented by our agents to get an idea of how well varieties perform across the state.” Nick McGhee, Terrell County Extension coordinator, is one of those cooperating Extension agents.“This program is something that a lot of the growers in Terrell County can benefit from. Cotton variety selection is an important decision that they face every year,” he said. With cotton prices plummeting below 60 cents this winter, selecting a variety to plant for the upcoming season is a critical decision for Georgia farmers. The University of Georgia Cotton Variety Selection Program provides growers with the research-based information they need to produce the state’s No. 1 row crop.UGA Extension agronomist Jared Whitaker, who helped start the program, said he has seen the right variety choice add $100 an acre or more to a farmer’s bottom line. In 2014, DP 1252 B2RF, CG3783 B2RF and PHY 333 WRF were the varieties with statistically similar and highest average lint yield when averaged across all 20 trials. With regards to consistency across those trials, those same varieties had yields within the top three of 12 varieties evaluated in at least 45 percent of the 20 trials. For more information about variety performance from this program, contact your local county agent or visit the UGA Cotton Web page at ugacotton.com.The data produced from the cotton variety selection can be seen at ugacotton.com/cotton-variety-selection/.According to UGA’s Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, Georgia produced more than $1.2 billion in cotton in 2013. “We started the program so that we could evaluate a small set of promising varieties across a large number of locations and environments to observe performance in various situations and get an idea of where varieties perform best and which are most consistent,” Whitaker said.Jeff Davis County cotton farmer Wayne Herndon has helped with the program since its inception. Whitaker uses Herndon’s land to plant and test different cotton varieties.center_img “The program allows us to see what variety works best in different types of soil and environments,” Herndon said. “And it has helped me decide what varieties to plant.”Rather than growing cotton in just one part of the state for the UGA program, Whitaker aims to grow cotton in different counties across Georgia to see how the different varieties perform in various environments. Cotton seed can be expensive, and yields can be attributed to the variety that farmers choose. According to McGhee, cotton producers have the potential to increase their gross revenue by more than $3.5 million annually in Terrell County if they choose the right variety. “They were all planted in the same field and managed the same way, which determined what variety yielded the best,” McGhee said. (Jordan Hill is an intern with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)last_img read more

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Beautiful Buckwheat

first_imgBuckwheat adds nitrogen to garden plots, produces beautiful flowers and delicious pancakes.Each year I start my garden with grand visions of endless bounty. Something happens around the first part of July, though.By then, I’ve had plenty of squash and cucumbers, and even had a few choice tomatoes; basically, my stomach gets too full to keep up.Now, the spring vegetables are petering out, as well as some of those early squash and cucumbers. The stifling heat and humidity make going out in the garden almost impossible before 7 p.m.This year I have a plan to keep those garden beds from turning into pastureland. No, it’s not mountains of mulch or more hours with the hoe and tiller. It’s buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum).Buckwheat is an unusually fast-growing plant produced by commercial agriculture for its grain-like seeds. In the home garden, it is one of the best summer cover/green manure crops available.George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were some of the first American farmers to grow buckwheat, as they recognized its benefit in a healthy crop rotation. Native to Russia, the flexibility and adaptability led buckwheat to be grown on more than a million acres in the U.S. in the late 1800s.The grain is ground into flour and used in a variety of foods, from noodles in Japan to breakfast staples like cereal and pancakes in the U.S. I even had pillows made from buckwheat hulls when I lived in the tropical Pacific. The pillows are meant to be cooler because of the increased space for air. I never got past the crinkling noise I heard each time I moved.Buckwheat is easy to grow. Simply broadcast the seeds and lightly rake them in. A pound of seed is recommended per 500 square feet of garden space, or 3 ounces of seed per 100 square feet. You can’t really put too much seed down. Since it’s usually sold in bulk from the local feed store, it’s better to err on the side of too much. Buckwheat does not require highly fertile soils but will benefit from modest levels of nitrogen. Its many fine roots are well adapted to find lower levels of phosphorous, and when crop residues are returned to the soil, it becomes more available for other plants.Germination begins in about three to four days, and within 10 to 14 days, the ground should be fully covered with emerging leaves. This quick leaf cover protects the soil from erosion, retains moisture and shades out those dastardly weed seeds.Now just sit back, drink some iced tea and wait for the best part: the floral display that begins three to four weeks after planting. A large, dense planting will literally stop traffic. My neighbors tell me they always slow down to admire the 5-by-100-foot strip I planted along the roadside.The prolific flowers on buckwheat are a good nectar source for honeybees and other pollinators. The resulting honey is dark-colored and distinctly different in taste from clover or wildflower honey. The timing of flowering is also very beneficial to bees because midsummer is usually when there is less native forage available.Remember that those prolific flowers turn into a seed if allowed to develop and dry on the plant. If you do not want buckwheat carrying over into your next planting, cut the plants or till them under two to three weeks after flowering. Some farmers cut it and leave the plant residue on the surface as mulch, which will provide a premulched area for new transplants.last_img read more

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Hackett , Future Planning Associates merge

first_imgHackett & Company and Future Planning Associates, Inc. MergeWilliston, VT – on November 1, 2004, South Burlington-based Hackett &Company’s retirement plan and administrative group will merge with FuturePlanning Associates, Inc. of Williston, bringing together two of Vermont’sleading retirement consulting and administration firms with over 60 yearsof combined service.The merged company, with a combined staff of 20 “qualified plan”specialists, will operate as Future Planning Associates, Inc. under theleadership of Suzanne Stewart as chairman and Luther F. Hackett as ViceChairman. The other directors of the merged company include Jan Emmons,Marilyn Jae Lehto and Loretta Wood of Future Planning Associates and PattyBarry, Erin Helmken and Daryl Straw from Hackett & Company.”We believe that by combining our two companies we will be able to providethe full array of retirement and benefit planning services andadministration that are required in this increasingly complex field,” saidHackett. “As retirement planning takes on even greater complexity, aswell as importance to individuals and employers, our goal is to providesound advice and practical solutions that meet their needs,” he added.”Outstanding client service is our primary objective,” said Stewart in anoutline of the goals of the merged company. “In the same way that wecreate plans for our clients that are both long-term and future-oriented,this merger will ensure that Future Planning Associates will continue toprovide strength and continuity for the long term. By bringing together abroad array of individual expertise in talented staff and state-of-the-artdata systems, we will provide superior service to all of our clients,”added Stewart.With the November 1st merger, the company will operate in expandedquarters at the current site of Future Planning Associates, Inc. at 600Blair Park (P.O. Box 905) in Williston.Future Planning Associates, Inc. is a regional consulting firmspecializing in the design, implementation and administration oftax-qualified Retirement Plans, Section 125/Cafeteria Plans, HealthReimbursement Arrangements and COBRA requirements.- 30 –last_img read more

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Exchanges that will be 100 percent covered by FairPoint by 2010

first_imgCountyExchange NameTelephone Number Prefixes Milton893 Underhill899EssexIsland Pond723 Enosburg Falls933 Waterbury241, 244OrangeNewbury866 Essex Junction288, 878, 879 Vergennes877BenningtonDorset867 Vermont 100 PercentBroadband Exchanges in 2010 Fairfax849 Salisbury352 Williamstown433 Washington883 Lunenburg892ChittendenBurlington338, 651, 652, 654, 655, 657, 658, 660, 859, 860, 862, 863, 864, 865, 951, 985 AddisonMiddlebury382, 388, 443 Richford848 Manchester362, 366CaledoniaConcord695 St Albans524, 527 v\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);}o\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);}w\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);}.shape {behavior:url(#default#VML);}Vermont 100 Percent Broadband Exchanges in 2010 v364051 Timothy McQuiston 2 23 2008-09-23T21:43:00Z 2008-09-30T21:07:00Z 2008-09-30T21:07:00Z 1 204 1168 Verizon 9 2 1370 10.2625 MicrosoftInternetExplorer4st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:”Table Normal”; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:””; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:”Times New Roman”;} Swanton868Grand IsleGrand Isle372LamoilleStowe253 Norton822FranklinEast Fairfield827 Morrisville888last_img read more

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Remarks of Senator Patrick Leahy at the Economic Recovery Conference at Champlain College

first_imgThank you, President Finney and Champlain College, for hosting us at this timely conference today.  We welcome this opportunity to offer Vermonters, Vermont businesses, and Vermont communities a chance to learn more about how they can take advantage of the recently passed federal economic recovery act.  And the more rapidly and effectively that Vermont puts these resources to work, the better we will be able to keep Vermonters working today, and the better we will be able to lay the groundwork for growing our economy for the jobs of tomorrow.   I d like to thank the Vermont Procurement and Technical Assistance Center and the Vermont Small Business Development Center for sponsoring and helping to organize this event.  For those of you who don t know about the great work these organizations do and the many other organizations represented at this conference today I really encourage you to take advantage of their superb knowledge and expertise about doing business in Vermont.  I also want to thank Governor Douglas, Legislative leaders, and so many Federal and State officials for being here today.  The Congressional Delegation worked closely with the Governor and the Legislature under the leadership of Senator Peter Shumlin and Speaker Shap Smith and with State agencies to make sure that the economic recovery plan is a good match for Vermont s job needs today and in the future. Vermonters are hurting today because of the economic and financial crises gripping the world.  We have a rising unemployment rate.  The State s budget, local municipal budgets and local school budgets are all stretched to the breaking point.  Our roads and bridges are strained and worn.  And hard-working families are struggling to put food on the table.  This really is one of the worst economic messes our country has seen since the Great Depression. As President Obama so clearly told the nation last week before a joint meeting of the Congress, rebuilding the foundation of a strong economy won t be easy.  It will take sacrifice, and it will take wise, concerted and sometimes courageous action.  And this economic recovery package is just one part of the solution.  We still have to stabilize our financial markets, our housing market, and consumer confidence in our overall economy.Some want these efforts to fail.  Worse yet, some pundits and even some politicians seem determined to try to make these efforts fail.  We cannot afford that kind of corrosive negativism in the best of times.  And when it comes to setting right an economy that has been going off keel for many years, this is anything but the best of times.  As for this Vermonter — and I think as for many, many Vermonters — I want this President and this country to succeed.  Some of the tools we need for economic recovery are in this legislative package, and the workshops where these tools will be put to work are right here in Vermont and in other states.  If Vermont gets a little head start on other states — that s OK by me.  This conference, which we re told is the first statewide conference of its kind, can help us jump off the starting block.   And I must say that the interest you have shown in being here is a sign that Vermonters are ready to lead the way back to economic vitality.  The economic recovery package is bold action taken by the Federal government to help put Americans back to work and we must be prepared to quickly and constructively take advantage of it. The package includes tax relief for working families and for businesses.  There are investments for broadband deployment, for job training, for electrical smart grids, for water and transportation infrastructure, for better schools, for housing, for first responders, for new energy sources, and for a whole host of other items that will help cushion pressures on the State budget, and for helping to lay the groundwork for a renewed and vibrant Vermont economy.In all, we expect Vermont will receive more than $700 million in direct federal funding under this economic recovery package, with hundreds of millions more coming to the State through competitive grant programs and tax reductions for individuals and businesses.President Obama has ordered Federal agencies to detail all of their economic recovery plans on the www.Recovery.gov(link is external) Website a site that I suggest you all bookmark on your computers.  According to the site, most of the Federal funding won t be released to states or noticed for competitive bidding until May.  But all of Washington has been impressed by the quick and competent way that formula grant funds already are flowing to the states, including millions of dollars to Vermont. Nevertheless, we hope that today s sessions will give you a sense of the breadth of opportunities available in the economic recovery package, will help you get a sense of how these resources will be directed, and will get you started thinking about ways your business, your organization, your municipality, or you yourself can take advantage of these opportunities.I ll caution you now — we probably won t have answers to all of your questions today.  As this bill goes into implementation it s impossible to know the details of everything.  My staff, the governor s staff, and our workshop panelists will do their best with the information they have available.  Most Federal and State agencies are still working on their rules and distribution plans right now, so please feel free to follow up with any of us in the weeks and months ahead. Again, thank you all for coming.  We appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedules to be here today.  I hope you ll find this a worthwhile conference because the economic recovery package really is a unique opportunity to save and create jobs and to make life better here in Vermont. Thank you.last_img read more

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EPA sends $2 million in brownfield clean-up funds to Vermont

first_imgVermont s congressional delegation announced today $2 million in Brownfields grants for the state.  Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.) said the Environmental Protection Agency funding, $400,000 of which came from the economic stimulus plan, will go towards clean up of and reinvestment in properties blighted by hazardous waste. The City of Burlington will receive a $200,000 grant; the City of St. Albans will receive $400,000 in cleanup funds, and the New England Youth Theatre in Brattleboro will receive a $200,000 cleanup grant.There are also four regional recipients. The Windham Regional Commission will receive $400,000. The Lamoille County Planning Commission will receive $400,000. The Northwest Regional Planning Commission will receive $200,000. And the Rutland Regional Planning Commission will receive $200,000.The EPA defines a brownfield site as a location where the presence of a hazardous substance may complicate the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of the property. Cleaning up polluted site takes development pressures off of undeveloped open land.  It also improves and protects the environment.Details of the Vermont grants are available here.  To learn more about the Brownfields program, visit the E.P.A. Web site here.last_img read more

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Legislation would bolster successful SBA loan program

first_imgRep. Peter Welch unveiled legislation Monday morning aimed at freeing up credit to small businesses by expanding a successful Small Business Administration loan program. At Burlington s Chittenden Bank, Welch and members of Vermont s business and banking communities outlined details of Welch s bill, which is intended to bolster the popular SBA Express Loan Program. By increasing the SBA Express program s current cap of $350,000 to $2 million, the legislation would significantly increase access to credit for Vermont s small businesses. Welch will introduce his bill in the House this week.Small business owners throughout Vermont have struggled since the start of the current economic crisis with securing and retaining lines of credit. At a small business roundtable in Bennington last month, business owners told Welch that the tight credit environment was the single greatest difficulty they faced in expanding their businesses. Vermont small businesses need access to credit in order to weather this economic storm and right now, they don t have that, Welch said. By expanding the highly successful SBA Express Loan Program, I believe we can give our small businesses a key tool to survive these difficult economic times.Established in 1995 to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of SBA s lending programs, SBA Express reduces the amount of required paperwork and accelerates the approval process for small businesses. Because it significantly reduces costs for lending institutions, SBA Express has thrived during the economic crisis, even as other lending programs have not. The program s current loan cap of $350,000, however, has constrained the potential of SBA Express, experts agree.Bennington Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Joanne Erenhouse and Chittenden Bank SBA Loan Officer Robin Shanahan joined Welch at Monday s event to reiterate the importance for both small businesses and lenders of expanding SBA Express. Franklin County Regional Development Corporation Executive Director Tim Smith and Rutland Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Jamie Stewart also attended the event.Source: Welch’s office.last_img read more

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United States Senate passes Travel Promotion Act

first_imgThe United States Senate passed the Travel Promotion Act (TPA) late last week by a vote of 78-18. The House already passed the bill which is now on its way to President Obama who is expected to sign the bill into law sometime this week.   This is a major accomplishment for the hospitality industry, said Vicky Tebbetts, Vice President of the Vermont Chamber s Hospitality Council. This legislation is important for the continued growth and success of the travel and tourism economy in Vermont and across the United States.    The TPA will aggressively promote international travel to the United States by creating a public-private partnership campaign to market the country as a premier travel destination with the goal of increasing the number of international visitors. The Vermont Chamber s Hospitality Council commends Senators Patrick Leahy, Bernie Sanders and Congressman Peter Welch for supporting the Travel Promotion Act and recognizing the important role the tourism industry plays in Vermont, Tebbetts added.The Vermont Chamber s Hospitality Council would like to thank Congressman Welch for his efforts in getting this important piece of legislation passed. At the urging of the Vermont Chamber s Hospitality Council, Welch joined the Congressional Travel and Tourism Caucus last summer in order to represent Vermont s vibrant hospitality industry.  Welch is one of nearly 100 members in the Caucus which has worked on the Travel Promotion Acts of 2007 and 2009, promoting the brand of America to the rest of the traveling world and increasing international travelers to the United States.  In 2007, visitors made an estimated 14.3 million person trips to Vermont for leisure, business or personal travel and direct spending by visitors for goods and services totaled $1.6 billion. In addition, visitor spending entirely supports an estimated 37,490 jobs for Vermonters (approximately 12% of all jobs in our state).The TPA aims to create 40,000 new jobs in the United States to handle the 1.6 million new visitors to this country.  Travel represents 40 percent of fine dining restaurant sales in the United States, 25 percent of both family and casual dining segment sales, and 15 percent of quick service sales.  This industry also employs 13 million Americans.Source: Vermont Chamber of Commerce. 3.1.2010last_img read more

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Challenges for Change school budget reduction targets $23.2 million

first_imgThe Vermont Department of Education mailed FY2012 individualized education spending reduction targets Monday to each supervisory union, supervisory district, and the three technical center districts across the state, as required by Act 146 of the 2010 Legislative session. Overall the recommendations are for a 2.34 percent reduction across the state in education spending in order to meet the goal of saving $23.2 million dollars. District-level recommendations range from a 0.5 percent reduction to a 2.68 percent reduction.The determinations were made at the district levels, but aggregated to the supervisory union level as the law requires. The determinations considered factors outlined in the law, such as per pupil spending, student-to-staff ratios and demonstrated fiscal restraint. The department examined data from the past four budget cycles on· total education spending,· spending per equalized pupil,· student enrollment to direct instruction staff,· direct instruction staff to administrative staff,· and student enrollment to administrative staff. ‘We expect most school districts and supervisory unions to take these recommendations seriously,’ said Commissioner Vilaseca. ‘And they will do their best to meet them, just as they responsibly reduced spending last year. This is new territory, both for our department and for local school districts.’The boards of each supervisory union and district shall notify the commissioner on or before December 15, 2010 whether their combined budgets will meet the recommended reductions. By January 15, 2011, the commissioner shall report to the legislative education committees the total projected amount of FY2012 budgets, with a detailed proposal by which the Legislature can ensure the targets will be met.See Page 76, sections E1 and E2, for this specific requirement at http://www.leg.state.vt.us/DOCS/2010/ACTS/ACT146.PDF(link is external). A complete explanation of the formula begins on the following page.Challenges for Change School Budget Reduction Targets Calculations Brief overview of methodologyFor any given data element, the percent change between any two consecutive years was calculated (i.e., the percent change in netted education spending from FY2010 to FY2011). Percent changes were capped at plus or minus 50 percent to compensate for very large percentage changes resulting from small changes in very small districts. Additionally, some data were either clearly entered incorrectly or not entered at all, resulting in very large or low percentage changes.The four years of data resulted in three percentage changes. Those three changes were averaged for a district. Again, to accommodate small districts, the averages were capped at plus or minus one standard deviation from the mean. As supervisory unions are different from school districts and perform different functions, a separate mean and standard deviation was calculated and used for supervisory unions and supervisory districts. School districts and the three technical center school districts used a mean and a standard deviation based on their combined data.The resulting average (capped if necessary) was divided by the relevant group mean to normalize the data. This figure became the weight for any given factor. The exception was the factor for direct instruction FTEs per administration and support staff FTEs. That factor had a low mean for the school district and technical center (0.15%), resulting in disproportionately large weights for a modest average (e.g., with a mean of 0.15%, an average of 10% results in a weight of 67). Therefore, the DI per Admin & Support weight was decreased by a factor of 0.50 to mitigate the effect of the small mean.Weights from the various factors were aggregated. To account for the varying magnitudes of education spending (Burlington versus Eden, for example), the total weights for a district were multiplied by the ratio of the district’s netted education spending to the netted education spending as a whole.Some districts had a negative total weight, resulting in a negative factor after applying the relative netted education spending factor. Statistically, it is valid to add a constant to transform the negative values to positive. This was done by adding a constant of 1 to all weighted totals. This result was then multiplied against the ratio of the required $23,200,000 reduction versus the netted education spending total (2.348%), to give a weighted percentage for reduction.That weighted percentage was multiplied by the netted education spending for all districts, SUs, SDs, and technical center districts. The aggregated targets for the State exceeded the $23,200,000, so a reduction factor of the legislated target divided by the calculated target state total was applied to each district, bringing the targets to the $23,200,000 figure.Source: Vermont DOE. 8.4.2010http://education.vermont.gov/new/html/dept/press_releases.html(link is external)center_img OverviewSection E2 of Act 146 of the 2010 Legislative session specifies that FY2012 education spending will be reduced by $23,200,000 from the FY2011 level, while achieving the outcomes for education listed in section E1. The commissioner of education is directed to develop reduction targets for each supervisory union and technical center school district.These targets were developed by looking at the member districts of supervisory unions, the supervisory unions themselves, and the three technical center school districts. Additionally, supervisory costs for Supervisory Districts were removed from the school costs (e.g., supervisory costs for the Montpelier Supervisory District were removed from the Montpelier School District costs).Entities excludedSchool districts excluded from these targets were districts that:did not operate a school and tuitioned all grades;belonged to a union school and tuitioned all other grades;were members of two unions offering combined grades K ‘ 12;were members of joint school agreements as individuals but data were aggregated to the joint school level and were included; andunorganized towns and gores.Data elementsData used were the most recent available for the following elements and are as reported by the districts:education spending (FY08-FY11);equalized pupils as calculated with the maximum allowable 3.5% loss (FY08-FY11);enrollments (FY07-FY10); andteacher / staff data (FY07-FY10)direct instruction ‘ all licensed teachers in the classroom;administrative and support staff ‘ central office staff personnel for both school and general administration, including paid teachers aides.Education spending for school districts was decreased by supervisory union assessments, costs for grades tuitioned, capital debt, and costs for technical center students.Factors usedThe above data elements were used in the following six factors:netted education spending (after removal of aforementioned costs);netted education spending per equalized pupil;enrollment per direct instruction staff FTEs;enrollment per administration and support staff FTEs;direct instruction FTEs per administration and support staff FTEs; andnetted education spending as a percent of total netted education spending, applied to the aggregated weights from 10 – 14.last_img read more

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Vermont Senate committee assignments announced

first_imgLieutenant Governor Phil Scott, Senate President Pro Tempore John Campbell, and Senator Dick Mazza, members of the Senate Committee on Committees, announced the Senate committee assignments for the 2011-2012 legislative session.Those committee assignments are:AgricultureSen. Sara Kittell (D-Franklin), ChairSen. Harold Giard (D-Addison), Vice ChairSen. Philip Baruth (D-Chittenden), ClerkSen. Bobby Starr (D-Essex-Orleans)Sen. John Campbell (D-Windsor)AppropriationsSen. Jane Kitchel (D-Caledonia), ChairSen. Dick Sears (D-Bennington), Vice ChairSen. Bobby Starr (D-Essex-Orleans), ClerkSen. Diane Snelling (R-Chittenden)Sen. Vincent Illuzzi (R-Essex-Orleans)Sen. Alice Nitka (D-Windsor)Sen. Hinda Miller (D-Chittenden)Economic DevelopmentSen. Vincent Illuzzi (R-Essex-Orleans), ChairSen. Timothy Ashe (D/P-Chittenden), Vice ChairSen. Peter Galbraith (D-Windham), ClerkSen. Bill Carris (D-Rutland)Sen. Bill Doyle (R-Washington)EducationSen. Kevin Mullin (R-Rutland), ChairSen. Ginny Lyons (D-Chittenden), Vice ChairSen. Philip Baruth (D-Chittenden), ClerkSen. Bill Doyle (R-Washington)Sen. Sara Kittell (D-Franklin)FinanceSen. Ann Cummings (D-Washington), ChairSen. Mark MacDonald (D-Orange), Vice ChairSen. Sally Fox (D-Chittenden), ClerkSen. Dick McCormack (D-Windsor)Sen. Timothy Ashe (D/P-Chittenden)Sen. Rich Westman (R-Lamoille)Sen. Randy Brock (R-Franklin)Government OperationsSen. Jeanette White (D-Windham), ChairSen. Claire Ayer (D-Addison), Vice ChairSen. Peg Flory (R-Rutland), ClerkSen. Anthony Pollina (D-Washington)Sen. Peter Galbraith (D-Windham)HealthSen. Claire Ayer (D-Addison), ChairSen. Kevin Mullin (R-Rutland), Vice ChairSen. Anthony Pollina (D-Washington), ClerkSen. Hinda Miller (D-Chittenden)Sen. Sally Fox (D-Chittenden)InstitutionsSen. Bob Hartwell (D-Bennington), ChairSen. Dick Mazza (D-Grand Isle), Vice ChairSen. Joe Benning (R-Caledonia), ClerkSen. Bill Carris (D-Rutland)Sen. Harold Giard (D-Addison)JudiciarySen. Dick Sears (D-Bennington), ChairSen. Alice Nitka (D-Windsor), Vice ChairSen. Diane Snelling (R-Chittenden), ClerkSen. Jeanette White (D-Windham)Sen. Ann Cummings (D-Washington)Natural ResourcesSen. Ginny Lyons (D-Chittenden), ChairSen. Mark MacDonald (D-Orange), Vice ChairSen, Joe Benning (R-Caledonia), ClerkSen. Dick McCormack (D-Windsor)Sen. Randy Brock (R-Franklin)TransportationSen. Dick Mazza (D-Grand Isle), ChairSen. Jane Kitchel (D-Caledonia), Vice ChairSen. Peg Flory (R-Rutland), ClerkSen. Rich Westman (R-Lamoille)Sen. Bob Hartwell (D-Bennington)###last_img read more

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Construction contracts increase in both VT and NH

first_imgStatistics show that although construction in Vermont during the month of February looked to be slowing, overall contracts for future construction are above last years values. This includes residential, non-residential and nonbuilding construction. February and year-to-date data for Vermont:Similar statistics for the state of New Hampshire also show a significant increase in future construction contracts for the year 2011. February and year-to-date data for New Hampshire:Source: McGraw-Hill Constructionlast_img read more

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Op-Ed: Montana Is Blessed With Vast Renewable Energy

first_imgOp-Ed: Montana Is Blessed With Vast Renewable Energy
 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Jeff L. Fox for the Billings Gazette:The Bozeman Daily Chronicle recently editorialized that it’s “Time Montana realized coal’s limitations.” Similarly, The Billings Gazette recently ran editorials claiming that “Montana can’t stake its future on coal,” and Montana’s economy and energy sector must “Diversify or die, it’s our choice.”The editorials ran in response to the state’s grappling with the reality of a shrinking coal sector. Both editorial boards correctly identified that the challenges facing Montana’s coal sector extend far beyond the EPA’s “Clean Power Plan” carbon regulations. Both also correctly identified that Montana’s economy is diverse, and that further diversification will help us shrug off any coming coal losses. However, neither fully captured the opportunity that renewable energy development can play in building a brighter future for Montana.Montana is blessed with one of the best wind resources in the United States, which can help power our state and large portions of the economies of Washington, Oregon and California, just like Montana’s coal currently does. Additionally, our solar energy resource is more than adequate to meet a sizable portion of our own in-state demand, if we get serious about utilizing it.People who want to invest in and help build Montana’s renewable energy future are already here, ready to bring forward the clean energy that is in demand. Reviewing the interconnection requests on NorthWestern Energy’s system reveals every utility-scale electric energy project being actively developed (more than 50 in total on NorthWestern Energy’s system) is either a wind or solar energy project. Not every project currently being developed is likely to be successful, but the fact that all are renewable is an indicator of where we are going and where we should focus our efforts.Tallying up proposed wind projects statewide reveals there are more than 2,000 megawatts of wind energy being actively developed right now in Montana. If built, 2,000 megawatts of installed wind energy would probably represent something like $3 billion in capital investment, more than 11,000 construction job years, and more than 500 permanent jobs, based on the “Employment Effects of Clean Energy Investments in Montana” report authored by energy consulting firm Synapse Energy.Two thousand megawatts is a good starting point, but we have nearly limitless low-cost wind potential in Montana that can complement the renewable resources in neighboring states. How much wind resource we develop is really up to us, but commitment to even a modest goal could provide significant economic impact to help with our energy transition.Matching coal’s economic footprint would provide support for Montana’s rural communities, pumping tax dollars, local spending, landowner payments and, most important, jobs into small towns, without disrupting their character. A wind project in every county would help keep small town schools — the lifeblood of rural Montana communities —in good health.Meanwhile, Montana is seeing our first utility-scale solar projects being developed and community solar projects taking off with rural electric cooperatives leading the way. The rooftop solar market is experiencing sustained double-digit growth in Montana and today there are already more than 50 main street Montana-based businesses involved in selling, installing and connecting rooftop solar energy systems.Finally, large pumped hydroenergy storage projects proposed for Montana could further increase the value of wind and solar energy potential.The transition to cleaner energy is happening all across the country. It can happen here, too.Nationwide the solar industry already employs more workers than the entirety of the coal industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects wind energy technicians to be the fastest growing occupation in the nation through 2024.None of this is to suggest the challenges facing coal communities aren’t real and potentially painful. Together, we all must ensure that utilities, mine operators, and politicians do right by the workers if those jobs disappear or are phased out. But, Montana also has enormous benefits to realize in the clean energy transition, if we are open to seizing the opportunities.Guest opinion: Renewables can diversify Montana’s energy economylast_img read more

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Green River Takeover

first_imgAnother Women’s Green River Takeover is on the books and it was bigger and better than ever. We had a total of 78 women put on and paddle the Upper Green together, with 32 of those women continuing through the Class 5 Narrows section.The idea behind the event is simply to get as many women as possible out on the water together in an effort to connect all of the amazing lady paddlers in the area and increase camaraderie and support in the community. It’s about meeting new friends, mentors and role models in the community. It’s about smiling.daniel-brasuell-dsc02421The day wouldn’t be the same without the assistance of the world’s finest shuttle bunnies. The help of these men should not be understated. They volunteer their time for the day to help out with shuttles, but in a bigger picture way, are there to show their overwhelming support of the women’s kayaking community. These guys are awesome.chad-blotnerIn addition to getting the women’s kayaking community together, the Takeover is also about remembering and channeling the spirit of Shannon Christy, a friend and fellow lady kayaker who we lost to the river a few years ago.Shannon always had a big smile on her face, and made sure you knew that “you are beautiful.” At the end of the Takeover, we do a big raffle with prizes donated from the event’s numerous sponsors to raise money for the Shannon Christy Memorial Fund, a fund that supports organizations and grants that build confidence and empower women and girls in our communities. This year we raised $2,800 for the fund, which was over 3 times as much as we have in the past.chad-blotner-7786This day really wouldn’t be possible with out the support of so many people and so many companies through their assistance with logistics, shuttle vehicles and raffle prizes. Thanks to all of the sponsors and shuttle drivers for supporting this community event. A special thanks to Dagger Kayaks and Adventure Technology paddles for being the main sponsors of the Takeover and continuing to provide the support to keep this event happening every year. I’m looking forward to next year’s Green River Takeover which I expect will be even bigger and better.last_img read more

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MountainTrue Brings All-Women Adventure Film Festival to Brevard, Boone and Asheville

first_imgMountainTrue is Western North Carolina’s premier advocate for environmental stewardship. Their staff and volunteers are committed to keeping our mountain region a beautiful place to live, work and play. MountainTrue members protect forests, clean up rivers, plan vibrant and livable communities, and advocate for a sound and sustainable future for all residents of WNC. For more information: https://mountaintrue.org No Man’s Land Film Festival (NMLFF) is the premier all-women adventure film festival based out of Carbondale, Colorado and on tour internationally. In its fourth year, No Man’s Land Film Festival has reached audiences in nearly every US state and has breached international borders with events ranging from Canada to Australia. A Woman Knows Her Place features extreme kayaking out West. The screenings kiff off in Brevard at Oskar Blues Brewery on April 3 with a free event that will feature a pre-show panel of women discussing their experience in the outdoors. Then on April 13, the festival will screen inside Boone’s Center 45 climbing gym. The Asheville event on April 25 will be the largest with an all-inclusive ticketed screening at New Belgium Brewery which includes indoor seating, hors d’oeuvres, a full-length film screening and your first beer compliments of MountainTrue. Weather permitting, films will also be screened for free on the lawn in front of the Brewhouse. Since the event is in late April, the weather could choose to be uncooperative, so MountainTrue encourages Asheville attendees toto purchase a ticket to ensure they get to see the films and to support the work of MountainTrue Vivid and etherial In Perpetual Motion is about the remarkable beauty when time stands still for just a moment.  No Man’s Land Film Festival – the premier all-women adventure film festival – returns to Western North Carolina for a second year, but this time with three screenings throughout the region. The Festival features short films about women adventurers who will inspire you with their tenacity and spunk – all interwoven to showcase the full scope of woman-identified athletes and adventurers. Tickets for all three screenings are available athttps://mountaintrue.org/nmlff19 In Mountain Bike Meets Painting, artist and mountain biker Micayla Gatto takes the viewer on a harrowing and surreal trip along ridge lines and down winding single track. No Man’s Land Film Festival Excites and Empowers “No Man’s Land Film Festival champions women in the outdoors. Through the film festival, we want to inspire women to lace up their hiking boots, strap on a climbing harnesses or hit the trail.” explains Julie Mayfield, co-director of MountainTrue, a Western North Carolina-based environmental conservation nonprofit. “Our mountains and rivers need more champions, and those of us who spend time playing in the outdoors are more likely to fight to protect the outdoors.” MountainTrue, a Western North Carolina-based environmental conservation nonprofit, is organizing three screenings throughout our region this spring and hope that the No Man’s Land Film Festival will inspire more women to spend time in the outdoors and, in turn, take up the cause of environmental conservation and protection. The NMLFF mission transcends the films presented, acting as a platform for powerful and progressive movement in the outdoor industry. For more information: http://nomanslandfilmfestival.org Shirin tells the story Shirin Gerami who pursues triathlon while adhering to Iran’s dress regulations for women. Becca Droz plays hip hop on the Mountain Top in Hip Hop Gone Wild NMLFF celebrates the full scope of woman-identified athletes and adventurers, looking to undefine what it means to be a woman in adventure, sport and film. NMLFF champions women with grit, hustle, determination and boundless passion, investing them with the respect, support and media recognition they deserve. Through human collaboration, No Man’s Land strives to implement and inspire change in the outdoor, sport and film industries, while cultivating a deep interest in exploring the vastness of the planet from a woman’s point of view. last_img read more

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Cocaine Paste Abuse Threatens Families Throughout Southern Cone

first_img MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay — Authorities in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Chile are fighting to contain the growing abuse of cocaine paste — a cheap, yellowish cocaine smoked by thousands of people throughout South America’s Southern Cone. In all four countries, the abuse of cocaine paste, also known in Argentina as paco, is far lower than that of marijuana or cocaine. Only 0.8 percent of Uruguay’s 3.4 million inhabitants use cocaine paste, according to the National Home Survey on Drug Use; that compares to 4 percent for cocaine and 12.2 percent for marijuana. Cocaine paste is often linked with criminals and those living on the fringes of society, authorities say. In fact, the proportion of cocaine paste users rises to 8 percent in the poorest neighborhoods of Montevideo, according to that same survey. Milton Romani, a Montevideo psychologist and substance-abuse expert who in April finished a six-year term as secretary of the Uruguayan National Drug Board, suggests that the abuse of cocaine paste is “a sign of the times” that first appeared in Argentina with that country’s 2001 peso devaluation, then spread rapidly across the Río de la Plata to Uruguay. “The financial crisis gave birth to a new market for drug traffickers. Cocaine base is a low-cost product that could penetrate a particular market segment, because drug trafficking follows market rules,” said Romani, an international human rights adviser. “Traffickers have to change with the times. Since they can no longer acquire large quantities of precursor chemicals, they must look at the way they make cocaine: the large laboratories in Bolivia are broken up into several drug kitchens throughout Bolivia and Argentina.” In fact, the strong dollar caused the cost of powder cocaine to skyrocket throughout the region, as did the 1998 decision to ban precursor chemicals, which by 2000 was having an impact. Both made cocaine paste a cheaper and more readily available alternative, authorities say. Between 2001 and 2005, according to a study by the Amsterdam-based Transnational Institute, the use of paco in Argentina jumped by 200 percent, with more than 150,000 youths taking it regularly. Even so, its users represent only 0.5 percent of Argentina’s population, said Mariano Donzelli of the Secretaria de Programacion de la Drogaddicion y la Lucha contra el Narcotrafico (Sedronar). That compares to cocaine, which is used by 2.6 percent of Argentines, and marijuana, which is smoked by 6.9 percent of the country’s inhabitants. In Chile, cocaine paste is abused by 0.4 percent of the population, compared to 0.7 percent for cocaine and 4.6 percent for marijuana, according to CONACE (Consejo Nacional para el Control de Estupefacientes de Chile). Its principal consumers are men aged 18 to 34 and from low-income groups. Cocaine paste is obtained from an intermediate phase in the transformation from coca leaf to cocaine hydrochloride. “When precursor chemicals were blocked in producer countries, those countries began to find it difficult to manufacture their final product, so they began to cut [the cocaine] with just about anything,” said Uruguayan judge Jorge Díaz, who specializes in organized crime. “Instead of exporting already purified cocaine from Colombia, they now export the cocaine paste — since production levels continue to be high — and they finish it later.” Romani said each kitchen is a small cog in the network that exports cocaine hydrochloride, which continues to generate the most business for drug traffickers, since that cocaine is shipped to Europe or the United States. Several variants of cocaine paste exist throughout the region, each with its own brand and distinct ingredients. It’s a very cheap product; a quick high costs less than $3.00. Users smoke it in a homemade pipe, and a single dose weighs less than a gram. The drug takes five to eight seconds to reach the brain, but the high generally doesn’t last for more than 10 minutes. Even so, it has devastating short-term effects including anorexia, antisocial and violent behavior, psychoses and hallucinations, according to a 2010 report by Uruguay’s Clemente Estable Biological Research Institute. “The first time a person uses cocaine paste, the pleasure is very fleeting,” Romani said. “Users then consume more of the drug to calm their anxiety and ill feelings.” Authorities say those living in poor neighborhoods eke out a living trafficking in cocaine paste, often as part of small, family-run networks. “This occurs in vulnerable sections of society because the factors that lead to all micro-trafficking are occurring there,” Romani said. “These are sustenance level networks that arose in the midst of the crisis.” The same pattern is found in Brazil, and it’s beginning to take root in Bolivia as well. Criminal organizations with specific characteristics are necessary to coordinate the importation, transportation, exportation and sale of cocaine. The effort requires a large initial investment. For example, in Uruguay one kilogram of cocaine powder costs $7,000 to $7,500, according to local officials; cocaine paste, by comparison, costs $2,000 per kilo. Díaz said shipments never exceed 30 kilos, and that shipments of 25 to 30 kilos are attempted only by very sophisticated trafficking networks. Smaller deliveries, which constitute the vast majority of shipments, usually employ “mules” or human couriers. “They find jobless youths, often drug addicts, and they pay them 10,000 pesos [about $550] per trip. The courier goes to Argentina, usually to Buenos Aires,” he said. “They even go and return by bus, bringing 10 or 15 kilos.” By Dialogo July 22, 2011 The paste is delivered to a certain area of Montevideo and from there it’s distributed to various neighborhoods that same night, since the points of sale receive their supplies on a daily basis. The mules make two or three trips a week, saving up money and getting to know their dealer. After awhile, they begin to buy some of the drugs for themselves. They transport 10 kilos for the dealer who hired them, and generally keep one kilo for their own use. Over the past few years, said Díaz, the trafficking business has spread like wildfire, and this has made it difficult to eradicate. “It’s very difficult to fight these dealers, because the dealers transport small amounts that they divide up quickly. Second, there are many small groups involved in trafficking. A sort of cottage industry has sprung up in the poorest areas: the families live off of this.” Even after a raid, he said, a family will keep selling drugs, “because if you prosecute the husband, the wife will take over; if you prosecute the wife, her mother will take over.” Added to this is the danger that small-time neighborhood trafficking rings might save up enough money in order to later export and traffic cocaine. However, few mechanisms or structures currently exist to encourage regional cooperation in battling cocaine paste. “We enforce laws on precursors, we prevent cocaine from being exported [to Europe or the United States], we have to combat coca cultivation, and we get stuck with this junk too?” Romani said. Recently, the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission — a unit of the Washington-based Organization of American States — has embarked on an initiative, spearheaded by Brazil with U.S. support, to deal with the spread of cocaine paste. The joint platform involving Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay consists of a first stage for technical and scientific cooperation to determine which substances will be targeted; a second phase for coordination of specific police and interdiction operations, and a third stage for medical treatment. Yet drug abuse alone doesn’t necessarily lead to a rise in violent crime, said Mario Layera, director-general of the Uruguayan Drug Trafficking Enforcement Bureau. “What I have seen in my area is that when drug abusers don’t have money, they will try by any means necessary to get their fix. First they sell everything they have, and later they start to steal other’s property to get money,” Layera said. “But I think those actions are better classified as simple theft and not as violent crime. To put it simply, using drugs isn’t what makes me a thug or mugger. Rather, it is other factors related to my actions or my personality that lead me down that road. I think violence is caused by many factors, and we should study all of them.” Alcohol and drugs accounted for 36 percent of crimes committed by Uruguayan prison inmates, according to a recent study by the Uruguayan National Drug Board. Half of those were alcohol-related; the other half were related to cocaine paste. This means that only 18 percent of the prisoners surveyed attributed their crimes to cocaine paste. Unfortunately with cocaine paste, the first target of the violence it creates is the user’s own family. Someone who abuses cocaine paste “begins stealing from his immediate family,” Romani said. It is very important to understand certain issues, mainly drugs, especially coca, where they really originate, where they go and what routes criminals use to get them to the desired location. It is very important that southern cone countries never stop combating this social ill! It is difficult for one country to fight it alone. Cooperation between all South American countries is necessary. Without this, there won’t be any results!last_img read more

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Brazil’s Armed Forces Plan to Launch Geostationary Satellite in 2014

first_imgBy Dialogo July 22, 2011 Brazil plans to launch a geostationary satellite — GOES — that would connect all the country’s defense and security organizations and allow for more secure communications among them. In late June, Defense Minister Nelson Jobim announced that the satellite would be launched in 2014. The satellite will provide direct links between Brasília, the border platoons and submarines in the Atlantic Ocean, he said. It will also speed up the transmission of images from remote areas. Jobim, in a recent public hearing before the Brazilian Defense and Foreign Relations Commission, said the geostationary satellite is of vital importance for national security and will make Brazil self-sufficient in such matters. The hearing was especially important because of the presence of 10 senators who are also members of the Amazon and Border Sub-Commission — two areas that would benefit significantly from the new satellite, if all goes as planned. Borrowed images Currently, the Brazilian government leases satellite channels from a Mexican mobile phone group that sends the images per request and without exclusivity. This service costs around $28.3 million per year. “Today, when we want an image, the Mexicans send it to us in 36 hours,” Jobim said. Building, launching and maintaining Brazil’s new satellite will cost $443 million, but it also will link 1,800 isolated communities to the Internet for the first time. The Defense Ministry envisions GOES sending audio and images from remote locations to federal authorities, while permitting real-time communication with and among all branches of the Armed Forces and all units in mission — including those on foreign soil. “While Brazil has other satellites, none of them is under the control and for the exclusive use of the government,” said Defense Ministry spokesperson Roberta Belyse. “This satellite will have military transponders in Band X and transponders for government use in Band Ka.” What’s a GOES A geostationary satellite or GOES is anything but stationary. It actually circles Earth in the same direction and speed of the planet’s rotation; this way the satellite’s location is always above a specific spot on the globe. Since all geostationary satellites are positioned directly over the Equator, only a limited number of such satellites can be placed in orbit. They’re located in the geosynchronous plane about 22,300 miles above Earth, which offers an unobstructed view of the planet. GOES’ continuous monitoring is essential for intensive data analysis. Being fixed above a single point allows the satellites to chart atmospheric changes that precipitate tornadoes, floods, hurricanes and other severe weather conditions. Brazil’s space program began 50 years ago, making it the fourth country to enter the space race after the United States, the former Soviet Union and France. Even today, Brazil is one of the few countries with a comprehensive space program that includes the development of rockets, satellites and launching centers. Brazilians are, indeed, very proud of their space history. However, a recent study, Caderno de Altos Estudos, by the Senate’s Science, Technology, Communications and Informatics Commission, urged the government to invest more to keep pace with current needs, as well as with international partners. Between 2012 and 2016, Brazil plans to launch three satellites, the Cbers 3 and 4, for earth observation, and the Amazon 1. Total cost for all three launches: $200 million. Good neighbors share resources Jobim emphasized on how GOES will help Brazil collaborate with neighboring countries, particularly with respect to border security. “Some of the satellite’s capabilities would be shared with other nations,” said Jobim, who announced the plans for GOES in the context of a broader presentation to the commission of the government’s Strategic Border Plan. He also recounted his recent visit to Colombia, which resulted in the first steps towards a binational plan for border security between the two countries, with a focus on protection of the Amazon. The Brazilian military devotes significant efforts to protection of its rainforest, and satellite images are an invaluable resource. In early July, Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) released satellite images showing that 268 square kilometers of Amazon rainforest had been cut down in May 2011 — twice the amount of clearing as in May 2010. This follows reports that deforestation had increased to 593 square kilometers in March and April 2011 from 103 square kilometers in the same period a year earlier. “The GOES satellite would allow the sharing of security plans and real-time information of air, land and sea borders,” explained Belyse. In addition, she said, it will connect remote populated areas with emergency services and let them receive important government communications. In addition, these geostationary satellites serve other functions such as meteorological monitoring, feeding of GPS systems and provision of TV and mobile phone signals. Excellent information, today telematics will provide us with more security for our development on different socio-cultural level through geostationary satellites. I am sure that the Peruvian Government should take advantage of such benefits for the population. Hello, It’s a pleasure speaking with you, but I have a question. Why is Brazil so far behind in terms of security and technology?last_img read more

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U.S. Reserves Right To Meet Cyber Attack With Force

first_imgBy Dialogo November 17, 2011 The United States reserves the right to retaliate with military force against a cyber attack and is working to sharpen its ability to track down the source of any breach, the Pentagon said in a report made public on Tuesday, November 15. The 12-page report to Congress, mandated by the 2011 Defense Authorization Act, was one of the clearest statements to date of U.S. cybersecurity policy and the role of the military in the event of a computer-borne attack. “When warranted, we will respond to hostile attacks in cyberspace as we would to any other threat to our country,” the report said. “We reserve the right to use all necessary means – diplomatic, informational, military and economic – to defend our nation, our allies, our partners and our interests.” Hostile acts, it said, could include “significant cyber attacks directed against the U.S. economy, government or military” and the response could use electronic means or more conventional military options. Cyberspace is a particularly challenging domain for the Pentagon. Defense Department employees operate more than 15,000 computer networks with 7 million computers at hundreds of locations around the world. Their networks are probed millions of times a day and penetrations have caused the loss of thousands of files. The report said the Defense Department was attempting to deter aggression in cyberspace by developing effective defenses that prevent adversaries from achieving their objectives and by finding ways to make attackers pay a price for their actions. “Should the ‘deny objectives’ element of deterrence not prove adequate,” the report said, “DoD (Department of Defense) maintains, and is further developing, the ability to respond militarily in cyberspace and in other domains.” Key to a military response is being able to quickly identify the source of an attack, particularly challenging due to the anonymous nature of the Internet, the report said. In an effort to crack that problem, the Pentagon is supporting research focusing on tracing the physical source of an attack and using behavior-based algorithms to assess the likely identity of an attacker, the report said. U.S. security agencies also are grooming a cadre of highly skilled cyber forensics experts and are working with international partners to share information in a timely manner about cyber threats, including malicious code and the people behind it, it said. Before moving to offensive action, the United States would exhaust all other options, weigh the risk of action against the cost of inaction and “act in a way that reflects our values and strengthens our legitimacy, seeking broad international support wherever possible,” the report said.last_img read more

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Colombian Minister States FARC Fails at Ceasefire

first_img On November 26, Colombian Minister of Defense, Juan Carlos Pinzón, said that the guerrillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) did not comply with the ceasefire announced on November 19 in Cuba, around the peace talks being carried out with Juan Manuel Santos’ government. “There is evidence showing that they have not complied with the dispositions,” Pinzón told daily El Tiempo from Bogotá. The official also said in the interview that the insurgents “historically have lied to Colombia over the years.” “I hope they would negotiate and, once and for all, declare a permanent ceasefire,” he added, after pointing out that “the Military and Police forces will remain constantly vigilant.” This was the minister’s response to the FARC, which accused Pinzón of sabotaging the peace talks from Havana on November 25. Regarding Pinzón’s accusations, the FARC’s 36th Front and Western Block sent communiqués, in which they confirmed their commitment with the truce, even though the 36th Front took responsibility for an attack on two energy towers, arguing that they were not aware of the ceasefire order. “The attacks on the energy towers in Reposo, municipality of Campamento on November 20, took place because the ceasefire order had not reached the guerrilla unit that was in charge of these actions,” they claimed. Santos’s government did not join the ceasefire, and from the beginning, stated that the Military forces would not stop combating the insurgents and other illegally armed groups while the talks aimed at ending the armed conflict with the FARC were taking place. By Dialogo November 29, 2012last_img read more

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Peru Aims to Eradicate Record-Setting 22,000 Hectares of Coca in 2013

first_img LIMA — Peru’s government wants the world to know it’s dead serious about eliminating illegal coca crops used to produce cocaine. Interior Minister Wilfredo Pedraza announced Jan. 14 that his government will eradicate at least 22,000 hectares of coca in 2013. This is 4,000 hectares more than the original target for the year, and well above the record-breaking 14,100 hectares destroyed in 2012. Meeting the ambitious eradication target would be a major step in reversing the upward trend in Peruvian coca production that began around 2005. While previous governments met eradication targets, coca-growing farmers replanted at a faster rate. The government’s new plan includes a much broader reach for the eradication squad, known by its Spanish acronym CORAH, an increase in the budget for coca eradication and drug interdiction, and a program to dramatically boost the state’s presence not only in zones where coca is currently grown, but in areas where it could be grown. “We are developing post-coca and preventative strategies,” said Mario Ríos, head of the promotion and monitoring unit at state anti-drug agency DEVIDA. “We need to provide alternatives to farmers leaving coca, and make sure coca does not spread to other areas.” It’s still unclear if the CORAH eradication brigades will move into Loreto. Zarate said an eradication program similar to the Upper Huallaga would be too costly, because of the remoteness of the area. An alternative would be periodic eradication missions, as well as anti-drug operations coordinated with Brazilian and Colombian authorities. Peru and Brazil set up a task force late last year to develop protocols for joint police and military operations in border zones, given the fact that the two countries share nearly 3,000 kilometers (1,800 miles) of jungle border. Peru recorded 62,500 hectares of coca in 2011, according to the annual report presented by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), an increase of slightly more than 2 percent over the previous year. That gain came despite the eradication of more than 12,000 hectares in 2010. Peru is the world’s second-largest coca producer, according to UNODC figures — right behind first-place Colombia, with 64,000 hectares under cultivation, and ahead of Bolivia, with 27,200 hectares. President Ollanta Humala has declared he’d like to see Peru fall to last place by the time he leaves office in July 2016. While estimates differ on production, most analysts believe Peru produces between 350 and 400 metric tons of cocaine annually. TThe Peruvian government had kept eradication brigades out of the VRAEM for fear of a social explosion, fueled not only by the Shining Path and drug traffickers, but also due to the lack of a state presence. Yet the Humala government, faced with increased violence and the spread of coca crops in the Belgium-sized zone, ultimately announced a major offensive for 2013. The Humala administration has earmarked $1.1 billion for the VRAEM this year, more than double the previous year’s budget. This includes major outlays in roads, water, electricity systems, education and health care. Defense Minister Pedro Cateriano announced in late December that the state would also incur $300 million in new debt in 2013 to fight terrorism and drug trafficking in the zone, including the construction of eight anti-terrorism bases and acquisition of boats and aircraft. Former coca farmer Teodoro Rojas said extending eradication to the VRAEM is contingent upon the government following through on its development pledge. “Coca can be eradicated, but the state also needs to eradicate the root cause behind coca-growing, which is poverty,” he said. “If the root cause is not eliminated, coca will only spread elsewhere.” Ríos said that Loreto is “a troubling new scenario. We are seeing a spread of coca and [opium] poppies happening at a fast pace.” Retired Police Gen. Juan Zarate, who coordinates CORAH, said the VRAEM and Loreto pose different challenges. The issue in the VRAEM, according to Zarate, is security, and the eradicators will require protection. This should be helped by legislation passed by Congress in late 2012, which gives Peru’s Armed Forces a role in fighting drugs. The government estimates that it will need at least six years to get a firm grip on the coca-cocaine problem in the VRAEM. The Humala administration has budgeted about $15 million for CORAH in 2013. This may not seem like much, but it’s the first time the program has its own line item in the budget. In the past, CORAH has been funded primarily by international donors led by the United States and the 27-member European Union. CORAH extends coca eradication efforts to VRAEM By Dialogo January 21, 2013center_img This year, Peru plans to extend its forced eradication program to major hotspots. The eradication brigade, CORAH, has focused exclusively on the northern Upper Huallaga Valley since its founding. Ríos said the coming year will see eradication in the valleys formed by the Apurímac, Ene and Mantaro rivers, known as the VRAEM, and possibly in the Putumayo zone, in the department of Loreto, along the northern border where Peru meets Brazil and Colombia. In 2012, the VRAEM was home to nearly 20,000 hectares of coca, said the UNODC report, accounting for 32 percent of Peru’s total land devoted to coca cultivation. Coca crops have been on the rise there since early in the past decade. The area — the last bastion of leftist Shining Path rebels — has also been under a state of emergency since June 2003. Last year saw a jump in Shining Path violence, including the mass kidnapping of gas pipeline workers in April, and the killing of 20 police officers and soldiers. While coca crops in Loreto represented just 7 percent of land used for coca in the UNODC report, they have expanded rapidly, increasing from 1,209 hectares in 2008 to 4,450 hectares in 2011; that same year, coca output jumped by 40 percent. “This is the first time there will be eradication in the VRAEM and it has to be done correctly, accompanied by a state platform that provides all the necessary services. Isolated programs will not work,” said Ríos. Authorities say eradication will succeed only if coca farmers have viable alternatives and markets for what they grow. Peru has already replaced coca with coffee and cacao; other alternative products that show promise include rubber, biofuels and tropical fruits. “Alternative development is working and we are focusing on cooperation, not only in financial assistance but cooperation for technical assistance, creating markets and certifying products. We have to guarantee a diversity of products and markets for farmers,” said Carmen Masias, the director of DEVIDA. Project gets $1.1 billion in funding this year last_img read more

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Cyber War, a Strong Future Trend

first_img Currently we are under the impression that if there is a new world war, it will probably be in cyberspace, where there are neither laws nor restrictions, which can be a great advantage. The Internet also shows its dark side, maximized for use in military actions of espionage and sabotage, either by nations or any other non-governmental entity. The cybertroops may be used for both defense and for an ample offensive, hitting all sectors where there are connections and vulnerabilities. The problem is so present, that the United Nations studied a project to protect the state structures on the Internet and the organization of Cyber-Centers in NATO, anticipating the possibility that this new type of conflict will occur, and it is more possible today than a nuclear war. The threats generated by computer networks can be classified into five types, or what we call the 5Cs. A cyber threat is an effort to obtain non-authorized access to an online system, with the objective of extracting or manipulating data, violating the confidentiality, authenticity, integrity, or availability of the data within the system. Generally, it is performed by spyware, which may be introduced via legit software or via a Trojan virus. The same concept may be used for cyber espionage. Cyber war is defined as a group of actions adopted by countries against computer systems of other countries, with the objective of causing damage or interruption of services (see the Estonia case, in 2003, the first registered occurrence). Finally, Cyber terrorism is the use of the Internet to organize and execute attacks against critical computer networks, systems, and infra-structures, aiming to destroy or incapacitate them, as ideological motivations, causing chaos in the economy and inflicting fear in the population. We left cyber crime out, because of its criminal nature. In a way, their weapons are more precise and lethal than conventional weapons: until the super viruses are detected, they have already caused much irreparable damage to the opponent, similar to the effects of bacterial virus. A common characteristic of cyber war, as well as of other virtual threats, is that it becomes almost impossible to detect who initiated or sponsored such actions, because the trails left behind, most of the time, are part of the disinformation practice. However, the biggest threat to all countries is that they can also be triggered by non-governmental parties, driven or not by different motives, breaking a historical paradigm which governments previously initiated via their Armed Forces. *André Luís Woloszyn, Strategic Affairs Analyst By Dialogo February 12, 2013last_img read more

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First Results of the Operation Ágata 7 on the Brazilian Border

first_img Another front engaged in civic-social actions in the northern region. The partial results indicated that 25,955 people were treated and 4,608 medications distributed. Before the end of the operation, there will be medical, dental, and hospital assistance in Porto Murtinho, Mato Grosso do Sul state, and in Tabatinga, Amazonas state, as well as other locations to be determined by the military commanders from the west and south of the Amazon. Regulated by President Dilma Rousseff’s Strategic Border Plan, Operation Ágata remains under the command of the Ministry of Defense and the coordination of the Armed Forces Joint Staff, supported by 12 ministries, approximately 20 governmental agencies, police forces, and agents from 10 states and 710 cities. By Dialogo May 28, 2013 The stability of the first five days of Operation Ágata 7 indicated that the military raided 42,200 vehicles and 2,778 vessels along the 10,000 miles of the entire Brazilian border. With 31,263 military Soldiers and civilians – the largest headcount ever used in a federal government operation -, Operation Ágata also seized 43.5 pounds of marihuana, 11 pounds of cocaine, and 1.8 pound of cocaine paste. Four aircraft were intercepted and subsequently released after no irregularities were discovered. center_img The seizure of $ 260,000 by the 14th Motorized Infantry Brigade is an important accomplishment. The money, of unknown origins, was in a plastic bag, under the driver’s seat of a BMW car. The crime occurred on a highway in the city of Maravilha, Santa Catarina state. Operation Ágata began on May 18, between Oiapoque, Amapa, and Chui, in Rio Grande do Sul state. The initial plan was to use 25,000 Soldiers, but the current count shows a mobilization of 31,200 civilians and Soldiers, along Brazil’s border region. The operation started prior to the country hosting the Confederations Cup and the visit from Pope Francis, as part of World Youth Day, two large upcoming events in the country.last_img read more

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Costa Rican authorities arrest Augustin Reyes Aragon, alleged leader of ‘Los Tarzanes’

first_img Reyes Aragon has been wanted for drug trafficking since 2010, when Nicaraguan police issued an arrest warrant for him. The OIJ had been investigating the activities of Reyes Aragon and Los Tarzanes since 2012, according to OIJ Director Francisco Segura Montero. Los Tarzanes, which is allegedly is run by Reyes Aragon and his six brothers, is suspected of smuggling cocaine from Colombia and marijuana from Jamaica into Costa Rica. Authorities believe Los Tarzanes operatives store the drugs in Limon for later shipment by boat or truck to Honduras and Mexico, or for sale in Costa Rica’s domestic illicit drug market. Los Tarzanes In addition to the arrests of the suspected members of Los Tarzanes, Costa Rica police and security forces have scored a number of successes against transnational criminal organizations engaged in the drug trade. For example, on June 10 and 11, 2014, the Costa Rica Coast Guard seized more than 4 tons of cocaine found on Costa Rican fishing boats off the Pacific Coast. The seizure was reportedly the largest in the country’s history. Costa Rican drug seizures have more than doubled since 2011. Costa Rica security forces have dismantled more than a dozen international drug trafficking operations since 2006, according to published reports. The capture of Reyes Aragon and the increase in drug seizures may indicate that Costa Rican security forces are improving their effectiveness in fighting drug trafficking, said Armando Rodríguez Luna, a security analyst at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Costa Rican security forces have improved their effectiveness in fighting Los Tarzanes and other organized crime groups “because they have improved their ability to protect the country’s border in the fight against drug trafficking, and they have continued to collaborate and exchange information with other governments in joint border operations,” according to Rodríguez Luna. Julieta Pelcastre contributed to this article. Costa Rican authorities have arrested the alleged leader of a Nicaraguan drug trafficking group known as Los Tarzanes. Agents of Costa Rica’s Judicial Investigation Body (OIJ) arrested Agustin Reyes Aragon, 40, on June 12. They arrested Reyes Aragon during a series of raids in the Caribbean coastal province of Limon. Security forces also detained three other suspects: a Nicaraguan man, a Honduran man, and a female whose nationality was not immediately determined. OIJ agents confiscated two AK-47 assault rifles, a vehicle and currency in the amount of $14,000 (USD) and one million colones during the raids. Wanted in Nicaragua center_img Los Tarzanes was founded in the mid-1990s as part of a drug trafficking network operated by the now defunct Norte del Valle Cartel in Colombia, Nicaraguan police have said. Operating primarily as transporters, Los Tarzanes operatives use go-fast boats and vehicles to move shipments of Colombian cocaine and precursor chemicals for methamphetamine production north for eventual sale to Mexican transnational criminal organizations such as the Gulf Cartel (CDG). Los Tarzanes was originally based along Nicaragua’s southern border. In recent years, as Nicaraguan security forces have increased patrols in that region, the drug trafficking group has increased its operations on the Costa Rican border. Costa Rican security successes By Dialogo July 02, 2014last_img read more

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Fuerzas Comando takes place in Colombia

first_imgBy Dialogo July 24, 2014 Special operations and commando forces from Belize, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States and Uruguay will participate in the competition. The opening ceremony for the 10th Fuerzas Comando exercise kicked off the competition, July 23. Prior to the start of the competition, the teams spent two days validating the events and their equipment in preparation for the exercise. The grueling eight-day competition will test the elite forces in areas such as physical fitness, weapons marksmanship, aquatic skills and tactical capabilities. The exercise concludes with a multi-national airborne operation and wing exchange ceremony, July 30, and the closing ceremony, July 31. The Countering Terrorism Fellowship Program or CTFP will take place simultaneously during the competition. This year, senior military and government officials from more than 20 nations will gather in Bogota, July 28-30, to discuss regional challenges such as transnational organized crime and illicit trafficking. The Fellowship Program is designed to improve military-to-military relations and provides a collaborative environment for regional military leaders. Both the exercise and Fellowship Program are aimed at enhancing training and strengthening regional and multinational cooperation, mutual trust, readiness and interoperability of special operations forces in the Western Hemisphere.last_img read more

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Colombian Navy launches first domestically manufactured vessel

first_img Other Navy ships built in Colombia “What we have today with this ship, which is 100 percent designed, manufactured and built in Colombia, is the dream of many people who put their hearts, hands, minds and efforts to transform steel into monuments for the homeland, peace, development and security,” said Pinzon. Thanks to the construction of these and other vessels, the Colombian naval industry is respected throughout the world by countries which purchase vessels manufactured in the country. The main mission of the Punta Espada will be to carry out maritime interdiction, patrol and surveillance operations in Colombian waters. Security forces will use it to detect, intercept, and inspect suspicious vessels. . “At the tactical and operational level, Colombia has responded to a number of needs that conflict and drug trafficking have been creating,” said Néstor Alfonso Rosania, a security analyst at the Center for Studies in Security, Defense and International Affairs of Colombia. The Armed Forces of Colombia will continue to receive the best available equipment and technological tools “because they are the ones who have put Colombia on a path towards peace,” the defense minister said. Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón, and the commander of the National Navy, Admiral Hernando Wills, presided over the launching ceremony of the Punta Espada in Cartagena. “Colombia has entered a select group of countries that have the technology and knowledge to build these kind of vessels,” said Rear Adm. Roberto Sáchica, the president of Cotecmar. The ARC Punta Espada – the first CPV produced entirely in Colombia – touched water for the first time October 31. It was produced by the Science and Technology Corporation of Naval, Maritime and Riverine Industry Development (Cotecmar) in conjunction with the Social and Enterprise Defense Group (GSED), which is part of the Defense Ministry. By Dialogo November 28, 2014 “The coastal patrol boat responds to needs from armed conflict and transnational drug trafficking It will provide the Navy with more mobility and achievements in operations against threats facing the country. This boat is not only fundamental to Colombia’s Navy, but it is also important to the Colombian military industry at the international level.” “It is a great start that this patrol boat is already sailing,” Rosania said. “This boat is the result of scientific and technological development that the Colombian government has been implementing in recent years. The Navy understands the need to build vessels to monitor both oceans and prevent drug trafficking from continuing in these areas. Authorities are concentrating their efforts on developing new technologies to combat threats of transnational crime and various related offenses.” “What we have today with this ship, which is 100 percent designed, manufactured and built in Colombia, is the dream of many people who put their hearts, hands, minds and efforts to transform steel into monuments for the homeland, peace, development and security,” said Pinzon. The Colombian military industry has built other Navy vessels. For example, in February the Colombian Navy launched the ARC 20 de Julio, the largest ship built in the country. It was designed and built by Cotecmar. For example, in September 2012, Brazil bought four LPR-40 patrol boats which were manufactured in Cartagena. It is important and interesting that countries like Peru and Colombia are becoming more technical with respect to the Navy. I read about ESMERALDA, a Chilean sailing vessel in AGORA, which until now was the largest, but according to what I read now it will be the UNION. Congratulations to both governments for their interest in becoming one of the big players in this area. Your information is very timely. I work in the National Port Security Commission in Honduras as head of Port Security Audits (APIP in Spanish)… I hope you continue to contribute with more information. “I congratulate everyone who has contributed to these projects, which were no simple feat,” Pinzon said. “These are projects that carry the vision of great people of this country, officers, non-commissioned officers, engineers, sailors and good Colombians, who have visualized Colombia’s real and strategic capacity in naval and maritime matters for several years.” “It is a great start that this patrol boat is already sailing,” Rosania said. “This boat is the result of scientific and technological development that the Colombian government has been implementing in recent years. The Navy understands the need to build vessels to monitor both oceans and prevent drug trafficking from continuing in these areas. Authorities are concentrating their efforts on developing new technologies to combat threats of transnational crime and various related offenses.” The main mission of the Punta Espada will be to carry out maritime interdiction, patrol and surveillance operations in Colombian waters. Security forces will use it to detect, intercept, and inspect suspicious vessels. . The ARC Punta Espada – the first CPV produced entirely in Colombia – touched water for the first time October 31. It was produced by the Science and Technology Corporation of Naval, Maritime and Riverine Industry Development (Cotecmar) in conjunction with the Social and Enterprise Defense Group (GSED), which is part of the Defense Ministry. Other Navy ships built in Colombia Thanks to the construction of these and other vessels, the Colombian naval industry is respected throughout the world by countries which purchase vessels manufactured in the country. “At the tactical and operational level, Colombia has responded to a number of needs that conflict and drug trafficking have been creating,” said Néstor Alfonso Rosania, a security analyst at the Center for Studies in Security, Defense and International Affairs of Colombia. “The coastal patrol boat responds to needs from armed conflict and transnational drug trafficking It will provide the Navy with more mobility and achievements in operations against threats facing the country. This boat is not only fundamental to Colombia’s Navy, but it is also important to the Colombian military industry at the international level.” Improving Colombia’s strategic capacity The Punta Espada will help the Armed Forces continue on that path. Military officials appointed Naval Lt. Cmdr. Henry Mauricio Barón Franco as the patrol boat’s commander. He will take command of a vessel that measures 45.25 meters in length, 7.1 meters in beam and 1.84 meters in draught. It can accommodate a crew of 23 people, and is powered by two diesel engines which drive a fixed pitched propeller. It’s also outfitted with a 25-mm caliber cannon and two 60-mm caliber machine guns. Colombia’s security forces recently obtained an important tool in their fight against international drug trafficking – a coastal patrol vessel (CPV). Improving Colombia’s strategic capacity Colombian manufacturers used global technology to build the patrol boat, which has the capability of refueling rapid response boats. The Punta Espada will help the Armed Forces continue on that path. Military officials appointed Naval Lt. Cmdr. Henry Mauricio Barón Franco as the patrol boat’s commander. He will take command of a vessel that measures 45.25 meters in length, 7.1 meters in beam and 1.84 meters in draught. It can accommodate a crew of 23 people, and is powered by two diesel engines which drive a fixed pitched propeller. It’s also outfitted with a 25-mm caliber cannon and two 60-mm caliber machine guns. “Colombia has entered a select group of countries that have the technology and knowledge to build these kind of vessels,” said Rear Adm. Roberto Sáchica, the president of Cotecmar. The Armed Forces of Colombia will continue to receive the best available equipment and technological tools “because they are the ones who have put Colombia on a path towards peace,” the defense minister said. Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón, and the commander of the National Navy, Admiral Hernando Wills, presided over the launching ceremony of the Punta Espada in Cartagena. The Colombian military industry has built other Navy vessels. For example, in February the Colombian Navy launched the ARC 20 de Julio, the largest ship built in the country. It was designed and built by Cotecmar. Colombia’s security forces recently obtained an important tool in their fight against international drug trafficking – a coastal patrol vessel (CPV). “I congratulate everyone who has contributed to these projects, which were no simple feat,” Pinzon said. “These are projects that carry the vision of great people of this country, officers, non-commissioned officers, engineers, sailors and good Colombians, who have visualized Colombia’s real and strategic capacity in naval and maritime matters for several years.” For example, in September 2012, Brazil bought four LPR-40 patrol boats which were manufactured in Cartagena. Colombian manufacturers used global technology to build the patrol boat, which has the capability of refueling rapid response boats. last_img read more

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Joint Operation Dismantles Criminal Alliance Between ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán, FARC in Panama

first_img Cooperative framework to fight crime In recent years, Panamanian authorities have focused on fighting money laundering to protect the country’s financial sector. By Dialogo December 11, 2015 And they said it wasn’t so. Juanpa assures us the FARC are angels, that they don’t have even a cent for victim reparations, shame on them. MAY MEXICO FREEDOM PEACE AND JUSTICE While the peace talks continue, these Colombian “FARC” terrorists go on committing crimes here and outside of Colombia and if that weren’t enough, they’re raising the cost of services and the VAT to support these scoundrels paid for by us, the Colombians.Definitely, President Santos, you’ve screwed the country up. The cynicism of the “Colombian revolutionary forces” FARC, is unheard of. How can a group call itself revolutionary when it is clearly a drug trafficking group? I am, openly, in favor of the peace process airing in Havana, Cuba. I maintain hope that in the FARC group there are still idealists who want a decent homeland, respectful of civil rights and a democratic model of governance. They themselves should denounce the drug traffickers comfortably embedded in their ranks. The rest of us, the Colombians, openly and sincerely, will unite to fight them.Germán Sánchez Bernal If these FARC bandits aren’t going to go to jail for all the crimes they have it’s useless while someone goes to jail for stealing a soup packet from a supermarket to make broth to satisfy their hunger. Which of the two has committed more crimes, it’s anyone’s guess. It’s urgent for the communities to pressure their government leaders to unite in their actions and once and for all get rid of this scourge. It is important that those responsible in each country set up rules to keep public officials from getting involved in this scourge which are drugs. If that were to happen, an official would be banned for life from any public activity And where do you think the insurgent groups go to finance the wars. To the black market for all kinds of things: mining, oil, gas, weapons, drugs very interesting… What does your sour puss comment have to do with the article??? Where the laws are useless against those who steal the money from a country and go in pursuit of more money to be able to pay for their whims. MY FRIENDS, IT IS MY PERSONAL OPINION THAT WE WOULD SPEND LESS MONEY ON LEGALIZING THE USE AND CONSUMPTION OF DRUGS, BECAUSE I SEE AT THE RATE WE’RE GOING, IT’S A WAR WITH NO END. LET’S DO A WORLD-WIDE STUDY AND YOU’LL SEE I’M RIGHT. These terrorists have hurt us too much to be allowed to go on as if they had done nothing FOR GOD’S SAKE! SOMEONE DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE DAMN DRUGS THAT ARE KILLING OUR YOUTH The news are very good If controlling the mafias by legalizing the production and sale of alcohol helped the USA by taxing them and this way strengthening the economy. Why don’t they legalize drugs, tax them, and sell them all over the place and they’ll put an end to so-called micro-trafficking and with this revenue increase health services for the people and this way control the evil that can come from using drugs, I let you ponder. The fewer fleas a dog has, the less he scratches Interesting articles in the magazine starting in 2016. Congratulations. Coca leaves are used as medicine. Unscrupulous people are the ones who use it for evil, in order to profit. Nothing can ever be done because the big countries are the main consumers and in addition they are the ones who move this whole mafia, the money from this business is what moves all the countries together. No matter how many strict laws we pass it will never change. The powerful traffickers are the big governments, that is why drug trafficking will never end. SOS for the drug addicts. This scourge that is overwhelming humanity and dragging us evermore toward destruction will have to be stopped. If not, we might end up exterminating the human race as a whole, since human ambition has no limits. What has been stated is very good Go hard on that crime against humanity MY FRIENDS.- THE WAR AGAINST DRUGS IS USELESS TOO MUCH EFFORT IS MADE, THEY HAVE BEEN FOUGHT FOR MANY YEARS AND THEY WILL CONTINUE TO BE FOUGHT AND WILL NEVER BE STOPPED COMPLETELY, THE EASIEST WAY TO FIGHT THIS EVIL IS A WORLD-WIDE DETAILED STUDY TO LEGALIZE DRUGS I hope the same is done in Bolivia in order to improve its image. I take this opportunity to say to national authorities that coca has never been millenary. It’s true that they used it just for rituals but not to consume because it was prohibited by a decree from the Inca. Bolivia has many natural resources that are not exploited due to a lack of support for investment. The exploitation of agriculture with advanced technology is a solution to capture financial resources that would help my country grow. Very good and great. That hurts youth eradicate that junk Legislating the use of cocaine would put an end to those large businesses since the price would go down and those who hold large quantities would have everything tumble down and they would lose large amounts of money. If someone wants to hurt themself, it’s their issue because cigarettes are as harmful as cocaine. God willing that the current authorities aren’t mixed up with drug trafficking and the ministries don’t shield them. That is the worst evil for the development of countries because those who have financial power seek political power to violate the rights of the citizens. It’s not enough we still have to fight on all fronts Good news, dismantle criminal gangs. IT IS TIME TO PUT AN END TO ORGANIZED CRIME WHICH IS HURTING OUR SOCIETY SO BADLY This subject, more than politics, the military and the economy, needs something better; such as for example having sophisticated means and material that monitor conversations by politicians, economists, etc. etc. everyone. Since it’s impossible to control drug trafficking through all its channels, there is, it is possible to speak of the extraterrestrial invasion which truly is an undoubtable presence in the world. Just as now where they try to hide these facts, they also try to hide monitoring drug trafficking. The question is why aren’t they controlled, who benefits from these cases and why. Otherwise let’s develop sustainable projects with drugs and vitamins derived from coca, because they would benefit in particular poor countries very much. And, let’s stop investing so much money in things politicians, investors and multinational institutions cannot control.Sincerely,ANONYMOUS Propper information which prevents crime How can it be that there is no follow up in Colombia of all suspicious foreign nationals who enter the country seeking drug negotiations, who function as links with drug cartels abroad, particularly in Mexico To foster continuing cooperation in the fight against transnational organized crime, Mexico and Panama approved a memorandum of understanding on November 25. The Mexico-Panama High-Level Group document, which was signed by Min. Aguilera and Mexican Internal Affairs Secretary Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, spells out a cooperative framework for the countries to work together on public security, intelligence, international security and terrorism, legal cooperation and justice, crime prevention, customs, and immigration. Following a joint, 18-month investigation, Panamanian authorities announced on November 4th the arrest of 50 suspects allegedly engaged in drug trafficking or money laundering for the Sinaloa Cartel – the world’s largest transnational criminal organization – or the FARC. Two Mexicans residing in a wealthy part of the Panamanian capital allegedly served as the go-between in drug deals between the two organizations, and that connection led authorities to dismantle the network, Panama National Police Commissioner Omar Pinzón told local and international journalists. Panamanian security forces confiscated two tons of cocaine, $500,000 in cash, five go-fast boats, and 40 cars during the operation. The cooperation among the three countries “allowed us to dismantle this gang which, we have proven, was led by El Chapo Guzmán from Sinaloa,” Panamanian Minister of Public Security Rodolfo Aguilera stated. El Chapo has been wanted in Mexico and the United States in connection with drug trafficking, homicide, and other crimes since escaping from a maximum-security prison in Mexico in July. Panamanian security authorities said he hasn’t been seen in Panama. “We detected Mexican drug cartels with connections to the FARC,” Commissioner Pinzón said. “Security operations such as the one that uncovered the nexus between El Chapo and Panama are the result of the mutual trust that has been established among the various governments, which has allowed us to share accurate and timely security information.” In cooperation with Colombian and Mexican authorities, Panamanian security forces captured dozens of suspects who were allegedly part of a criminal partnership between the Sinaloa Cartel, led by drug kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia’s (FARC) 30th Front. “We in Panama comply with all rules established by the International Financial Action Task Force (FATF-GAFI) to shield our financial system and keep it from being used by criminals for their illegal activities,” Donadío said.last_img read more

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Brazilian Army Officers Fulfill Unprecedented Mission in the Central African Republic

first_imgBy Taciana Moury/Diálogo April 23, 2019 Major Felipe Biasi Filho, Captain Pedro Henrique de Araujo Bezerra Mendes, and Captain Albemar Rodrigues Lima, all from the Brazilian Army (EB, in Portuguese), are part of an unprecedented Brazilian mission to the Central African Republic (CAR). The officers are part of a group of 180 service members from 12 nations, who work at the European Training Mission in the Central African Republic or EUTM RCA (RCA being the French acronym for the African country). EUTM RCA, with headquarters in Bangui, the country’s capital, is a peacekeeping operation that works in coordination with the United Nations Integrated Multidimensional Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic and other international and nongovernmental organizations. The goal is to overhaul the defense department and national security through planning and execution of consulting, training, and operational training activities for the Central African Armed Forces (FACA, in French). “In general, our function is to support the development of FACA’s capabilities, to make it self-sustainable to fulfill legal requirements in the defense and security department,” said Maj. Biasi. The Brazilian officers arrived in the African country in January 2019, and will remain there until January 2020. For administrative purposes, EB service members are linked to the Portuguese contingent. A bilateral Brazil-Portugal agreement approved by the European Parliament secured Brazil’s participation in the mission. History The conflict in CAR started in December 2012. The predominantly Muslim Seleka—a coalition of armed groups from the north of the country, whose name means alliance, in Sango, the region’s creole language—conducted an offensive operation toward the capital and assumed power. Violent incidents led to the emergence of Anti-Balak, Christian allegedly self-defense groups, which aggravated confrontations. EUTM RCA activities are based on three pillars: strategic advice, to aid planning and execution of activities at the Armed Forces General Staff and Defense Ministry levels; educational, to train FACA’s officers and noncommissioned officers (NCOs); and operational training to plan and execute training for segments of FACA units. Within this organization, Brazilian service members occupy strategic advisory positions with Capt. Albemar, and educational advisory positions with Maj. Biasi and Capt. Pedro Mendes. “Capt. Albemar performs logistics advisory functions through the implementation of planning and participation in meetings with the Armed Forces General Staff, the Ministry of Defense, and logistics companies within the country to find solutions and promote the strengthening of the sector,” said Maj. Biasi to Diálogo. “I teach intelligence courses and Capt. Pedro Mendes is in charge of International Humanitarian Law and English,” he said. The officers teach their respective areas in officer training classes, short-term internships, and refresher classes for officers and NCOs who are part of FACA’s Territorial Infantry battalions. At EUTM RCA’s base, the official language is English, used for internal documents and daily briefings. However, French is the language for courses, meetings, reports, and interactions with agencies and local institutions. Preparations for the mission took place in two phases. The first was under the coordination of the Land Forces Command, an EB unit with headquarters in Rio de Janeiro. Participants underwent psychological tests, among others, and received all the material for individual protection, uniforms, and medicine needed for the trip. In December 2018, the second phase took place at the Portuguese Army’s 1st Anti-Aircraft Artillery Group in Queluz city, Lisbon. The unit prepares the Portuguese contingent. “We receive instructions on the current situation in CAR and on the specifics of EUTM RCA. We do target practice with individual weapons (rifle and pistol) from the Portuguese Army, combat first aid and psychological first aid training, and attend French classes,” said Maj. Biasi. Challenge According to Brazilian service members, the unprecedented nature of the experience was the main challenge to overcome. “We must keep the high standards of professionalism and dedication of Brazilian service members who were part of a UN [United Nations] peacekeeping operation,” said Maj. Biasi. “The fact that this activity has a different characteristic from what we are used to with the UN also makes it difficult.” “There is no room for failure; After all, it’s important to be able to contribute to the development of the armed forces of a country that’s temporarily unstable,” said Capt. Albemar. “The best part is to see the initial results of this work on site, with the assurance that this effort contributed, directly or indirectly, to save lives.” Capt. Pedro Mendes pointed out that the sacrifices and risks related to this type of activity are real, but the magnitude of the mission is motivating. “We can honor one of the principles of our profession, which is to avoid war. We help a country devastated by civil war and with serious social issues,” he said. “To be a peace instructor in one of the countries with the worst HDI [Human Development Index] in the world is, without a doubt, one of the most noble missions I was assigned in my life.” The officer also highlighted the importance of Brazilian service members working with different armies worldwide. “This is a way of expressing Brazilian military national power, showing that we are on equal footing with other countries in the world,” said Capt. Pedro Mendes. “The professional exchange enables the training of EB’s human resources.”last_img read more

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Local bars keep an eye on judicial campaigns

first_imgIn Broward County, the Broward County Bar Association at (954) 764-8040. Local bars keep an eye on judicial campaigns In Dade County, the Dade County Bar Association at (305) 371-2220. In Orange County, Blackwell at (407) 422-2472 or his co-chair, Ava Doppelt at (407) 841-2330. In Palm Beach County, the Palm Beach County Bar Association at (561) 687-2800. September 1, 2000 Regular News Local bars keep an eye on judicial campaigns Patterned on a similar successful program in Dade County, the Orange County Bar Association has for the second time set up its Judicial Campaign Practices Commission to monitor six local judicial races. Two other local bars, in South Florida, also are running similar commissions to the Dade and Orange county efforts. Even before the filing period began, all 20 Orlando area circuit and county judges who faced reelection this year signed forms vowing to follow the edicts of Canon 7 of the Code of Judicial Conduct, according to Orlando attorney Bruce Blackwell, co-chair of the Orange County campaign commission. They also agreed to submit any complaint over campaign activites to the commission, which in turn promises to issue a ruling within 72 hours. After filing, which resulted in six contested races, all but two candidates signed the entire agreement. One challenger agreed to follow the canon, but refused to allow the commission to resolve any dispute. The other candidate, also a challenger to an incumbent judge, refused to sign the agreement. Ironically, in both cases the Orlando Sentinel has endorsed the incumbent judges, said Blackwell. “We formed this commission in 1998 to be patterned after the Dade County commission, which has been incredibly successful in upgrading the judicial races in Dade County,” Blackwell said. “When we did it in 1998, we didn’t even have a phone call. Everyone signed it, but we didn’t even receive a phone call. “This time I have received a number of phone calls from sitting judges and candidates, in effect saying `Is it all right to say this?’” he added. “The process is working, because people are wanting to make sure they are very careful not to violate Canon 7.” The commission, Blackwell said, is set up to do what the Bar or the Judicial Qualification Commission cannot do — give fast advice or review of a proposed or actual campaign action. He, as well as lawyers involved with similar programs in other counties, said the campaign monitoring program also works well with the Supreme Court and Florida Bar’s seminars held in July for judicial candidates. Those meetings, held in every circuit in the state with contested elections, went over Canon 7 and state laws as they pertain to judicial races. Dade County began its program in 1986, and Dade County Bar Association Executive Director Johnnie Ridgely said every candidate signed its form this year. Marcus D. Jimenez, chair of the Dade Judicial Campaign Practices Commission, said the Dade Bar changed its pledge form a couple years ago. “We required them all to sign a pledge to campaign with dignity and go beyond what the canons require,” he said. So far for this year “these complaints are kind of tame down here,” he added. Complaints have been filed about some candidates using the word “judge” as a verb instead of a noun in campaign literature and signs. Those will read something like “Judge [the candidate’s name]” in large type followed by small type saying “by his or her experience,” Jimenez said. Such things are covered by the canons as well as a state law, he said, and the commission encourages candidates to avoid anything that could be misleading. Jimenez, a member of The Florida Bar’s Judicial Administration, Selection and Tenure Committee, also said he’s glad to see other local bars pick up the program and noted JAST had promoted it. Ted Deckert, chair of the Palm Beach County Bar Association Commission, said that program began in 1996 and all candidates signed for the first two elections. The bar was still collecting the signatures for the current election as this News went to press. He said the program is a boon to candidates. “For those who want to do it right, this is what they need,” Deckert said. “They need a place to go ahead of time before they make a mistake.” The Palm Beach County Commission has had no inquiries this year, but has issued opinions in past years, although none on major issues, he said. He praised the Supreme Court and Florida Bar education sessions held in each circuit for judicial candidates. “They made it abundantly clear to the candidates they were not going to tolerate rules violations and they [the court] would consider any appropriate sanction, including removal from office,” Deckert said. “They made it very clear to the candidates that if you cheat to win, they may take away your victory.” That in turn, he said, heightens candidate interest in the campaign commissions as a way to avoid violations. Cynthia White, executive director of the Broward County Bar Association, said that organization was still collecting signatures this year, but had had 100 percent participation since beginning its campaign commission in 1996. “I think it has helped,” she said. “We got some good publicity in the newspaper the very first time we did it. “We actually had a hearing on a complaint the first time,” White added. “Both candidates denied they had done anything [wrong] and said it was their supporters and they would put a stop to it. There were no complaints in 1998.” For more information about the various programs contact: last_img
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Board considers ethics of advance funding

first_img Senior Editor The debate over how much, if at all, lawyers should be involved in advance funding schemes for their personal injury clients has reached the Bar Board of Governors. And after a vigorous discussion, the board postponed taking action so members can review past drafts of ethics opinions on the subject. The matter was brought to the board at its October 19 meeting by the Board Review Committee on Professional Ethics, which reviewed the appeal of Proposed Advisory Opinion 00-3 from the Professional Ethics Committee. (The BRCPE also presented advertising appeals and other issues to the board.) PAO 00-3 says an attorney may tell a client about the existence of companies that offer advance funding and, with the consent of the client after consultation, may provide confidential information about the case to those companies. While an initial draft of the opinion said the attorney at the client’s request could issue a letter of protection to the funding company, the final opinion passed by the PEC said the attorney could not issue a letter of protection but could honor such a letter executed by the client on his or her own. BRCPE Chair Richard Tanner reported that his committee was recommending restoring the letter of protection section to the advisory opinion. Advance funding companies, which are apparently expanding rapidly both in Florida and nationwide, offer loans to clients secured only by expected recovery in an ongoing personal injury case. Board member David Bianchi said he looked into an advance funding company for a client and was shocked that the annual interest rate was more than 80 percent, and that with other companies it could be 100, 200, and 300 percent. “They get away with it because they tell everyone it’s not a loan, and therefore it’s not an interest rate,” he said. “They say they are buying a piece of the case and only get paid if there’s a recovery. That’s their justification. “We need to think very carefully about what we think lawyers should be able to do. We should then think about appointing a committee to look at how many funding companies are in Florida, what they have done in Florida, how many cases have they been involved in, and what’s been the experiences of the borrowers.” If there have been abuses, Bianchi said, the board might want to approach the legislature about regulating the industry. “We are not here to legislate morality,” board member Louis Kwall countered. “If these are legitimate, lawful companies, what right do we have to interfere in the relationship between one of these companies and a client?” Board member Jesse Diner added, “I personally don’t like people lending money at usurious rates. . . but I don’t think that’s for us to decide here.” Board member Chobee Ebbets said lawyers should not issue the letters of protection, arguing, “If I give a letter of protection to that company, I am buying into that.. . . I would never issue a letter of protection because I feel it is in direct conflict with a client’s best interest.” “This activity borders on the outer edge of appropriate conduct,” board member John Cardillo said. The board approved a motion by board member Kelly Overstreet Johnson to table the issue until it reviews prior drafts of PAO 00-3. On other matters, the BRCPE presented recommendations on three advertising appeals, and all were approved by the board: • The board and BRCPE said it was okay for a law firm to include in its ads the statement, “If you have been involved in an accident, you need an attorney fighting for your rights.” Bar staff and the Standing Committee on Advertising had found the “you need an attorney” phrase potentially misleading. • The board and BRCPE upheld the standing committee which said a Yellow Pages ad featuring a photograph of the advertising attorney must be submitted to the Bar for review and the $250 late review fee paid. The attorney had argued the review and fee were not needed. • The board and BRCPE upheld the standing committee that the use of a non-law firm member’s voice in an electronic ad violated Bar rules because the ad was not, as contended by the law firm, a public service ad. Tanner also reported to the board that at its November 29 meeting, the BRCPE will revise existing procedures clarifying that the board can request ethics opinions from the Professional Ethics Committee. The Bar Procedures for Ruling on Questions of Ethics were vague on that point. He noted that the proposed procedure will maintain Bar members’ ability to request opinions about their own prospective actions. The BRCPE considered further expanding who could ask questions of the PEC, but decided that “members with their fact patterns and the board raising specific questions is the best approach without throwing it wide open.” The issue arose after the board several years ago requested the PEC to look at issues surrounding insurance companies’ use of staff and outside counsel. After the PEC issued three opinions which were appealed to the board, the board declined to act because of the vagueness of the procedures. Board considers ethics of advance funding Board considers ethics of advance fundingcenter_img November 15, 2001 Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Regular Newslast_img read more

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71 lawyers file to run for legislative office

first_img September 1, 2002 Regular News 71 lawyers file to run for legislative office Seventy-one lawyers have filed to run for state House and Senate seats in this fall’s elections.Seventeen lawyers have filed for 13 seats in the Senate, while 54 have filed for 43 races in the House.That means, for the 2002-04 legislature, there will be no more than the current 13 lawyers in the Senate, while the lower chamber could see an increase from its current 31 attorney members.Those figures are from a preliminary Bar analysis of candidates who qualified for legislative seats in July. (Because this is a reapportionment year, all 40 Senate seats, instead of 20, are on the ballot, as well as all 120 House seats.)The records show that five lawyers are running unopposed for Senate seats, while six are unopposed in House races. Several more are challenged only by minor party candidates, largely due to the Libertarian party qualifying dozens of candidates in House races, including two Bar members.Primary ballots will be cast on September 10, and the general election will be on November 5. Under a one-time law passed by the legislature, there will be no runoffs in state races; the leading vote-getter in the primary will advance to the general election, even if he or she failed to get 50 percent plus one of the votes.(To find out what legislative district you live in, check your new voter registration card. Or check online maps: http://enight.dos.state.fl.us/maps/Senate/2002/index.shtml for the Senate and http://enight.dos.state.fl.us/maps/House/2002/index.shtml for the House. Each site has links for detailed maps of each district.) Senate Filings Elected in the Senate without opposition were incumbent Sens. Rod Smith, D-Gainesville, Steven A. Geller, D-Ft. Lauderdale, Walter “Skip” Campbell, D-Tamarac, Burt Saunders, R-Naples, and Alex Villalobos, R-Miami.In other races, attorney and former state Rep. George Albright faces Jon Marc Creighton and Rep. Evelyn Lynn, R-Ormond Beach, in the Republican primary for District 7. The winner faces Democrat Jim Ward in November.In District 19, Rep. Gary Siplin, D-Orlando, and Alton Lightsey, both lawyers, are contesting Jerry Girley in the Democratic primary. The winner will face attorney and Republican Anthony “Tony” Suarez, and Beulah Farquharson, who listed no party affiliation, on the November ballot.In District 21, attorney and Democrat D.J. Czala will face the winner of the Republican primary between Rep. Mike Bennett, R-Sarasota, and Rep. Mark G. Flanagan, R-Bradenton.In District 23, attorney and Sen. Lisa Carlton, R-Osprey, faces Democrat Lawrence P. Milford in November.In perhaps the most widely publicized legislative race in Florida, Attorney General Butterworth faces Rep. Jeffrey Atwater, R-North Palm Beach in November for the District 25 seat.In District 27, attorney Dave Aronberg faces Scott Edwards in the Democratic primary. The winner faces the survivor of a five-way Republican primary.In District 30, attorney and Sen. Ron Klein, D-Delray Beach, faces Republican Steve Hatch in November.In District 36, attorney and Rep. Carlos Lacasa, R-Miami, faces Mike Gorrie, and incumbent Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami, in the Republican primary. The winner will square off against two write-in candidates on the November ballot.In District 39 Rep. Cindy Lerner, D-Miami, former Rep. John Cosgrove, and former Rep. Ron Saunders, all attorneys, face former Rep. Larcenia J. Bullard, and Donald Jones in the Democratic primary, with the winner of that contest taking on the winner of a two-way Republican primary. House Races Attorneys elected without opposition in the House were Speaker-Designate Johnnie B. Byrd, Jr., R-Plant City, Reps. Jerry Paul, R-Port Charlotte, Joe Negron, R-Stuart, Chris Smith, D-Ft. Lauderdale, Timothy M. “Tim” Ryan, D-Dania Beach, and Marco Rubio, R-Miami.In contested races, in District 2 attorney and Democrat Jim Reeves faces Republican Dave Murzin and Libertarian Barbara J. Bujak in November.In District 3, attorney and Rep. Holly Benson, R-Pensacola, faces Libertarian Tom Petrone in November.In District 9, attorney and Rep. Loranne Ausley, D-Tallahassee, faces Libertarian Mitch Covington in November.In District 16, attorney and Rep. Mark Mahon, R-Jacksonville, faces Libertarian Scott Palmer Carter.In District 21, attorney and Rep. Joe H. Pickens faces Democrat Jerald Cumbus and Libertarian Thomas F. Luongo.In District 26, attorney Pat Patterson faces Bob Dahlen in the Republican primary. The winner faces the winner of a two-way Democratic primary and Libertarian Jill Bradley in November.In District 33, attorneys Dean Mosley and Mickael K. Rathel are in a five-way Republican primary, with the winner facing Libertarian James T. Coakley in November.In District 36, attorney Ali Kirk faces Sheri McInvale in the Democratic primary, with the winner taking on attorney and Republican Patrick Howell and Libertarian John F. Kennedy in the general election.In District 37, attorney and Rep. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, faces Libertarian Timothy Moriarty.In District 39, attorney Tiffany Moore is in a four-way Democratic primary, with the winner taking on the victor of a two-way Republican primary and a write-in candidate in November.In District 47, attorneys Kevin Christopher Ambler and Bill Mitchell face one other Republican in the primary, while attorney Michael A. Steinberg has two other opponents in the Democratic primary. The winners will be on the November ballot with Libertarian Rob Schwartzberg.In District 48, lawyer and Rep. Gus Michael Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor, faces Libertarian A.J. Brent.In District 49, attorney John “Q” Quinones faces Joe Mantilla in the Republican primary, with the winner taking on the victor of a two-way Democratic primary.In District 54, lawyer and Rep. John Carassas, R-Largo, faces Green Party candidate Kurt Gratzol.In District 57, attorney and Democrat Scott Farrell will be on the November general election ballot with the winner of a three-way Republican primary and Libertarian Tyson Richmond.In District 59, attorney and Rep. Arthenia L. Joyner, D-Tampa, faces Libertarian Rex Curry.In District 63, attorney and Republican Dennis A. Jones faces Libertarian Jason A. Downs.In District 64, attorney John Stargel faces Jerre Wilson in the Republican primary, with the winner taking on Libertarian Michael A. Krech.In District 67, attorney Steele T. Williams is in a three-way Republican primary, with the winner taking on a write-in candidate and a Libertarian in November.In District 68, attorneys Bill Galvano and Dave Miner are in a four-way Republican primary, with the winner taking on a Democrat and Libertarian in the general election.In District 73, Rep. Bruce Kyle, R-Ft. Myers, and Mike McQuagge, both attorneys, meet in the Republican primary, with the winner taking on a Democrat and Libertarian in November.In District 74, attorney and Rep. Jeff Kottkamp, R-Cape Coral, is in a three-way Republican primary, with the winner taking on Democrat Linda I. Parnell and attorney and Libertarian Thomas Clark.In District 75, Rep. Carole Green, R-Ft. Myers, is being challenged by attorney and Libertarian Aaron J. O’Brien.In District 76, attorney and Rep. J. Dudley Goodlette, R-Naples, faces Libertarian Leslie Edward Sutter.In District 86, attorney Barry Silver faces Rep. Anne M. Gannon in the Democratic primary, with the winner facing a write-in candidate in the general election.In District 87, Peter Feaman and Adam Hasner, both attorneys, are in a four-way Republican primary, with the winner taking on the victor in a two-way Democratic primary and a Libertarian.In District 89, attorney Elliot Shaw faces Mann Killian in the Republican primary for the right to take on the winner of a two-way Democratic primary and a Libertarian in November.In District 92, attorney and Rep. John P. “Jack” Seiler D-Ft. Lauderdale, faces Libertarian Nathan “Nick” Lipschultz.In District 96, attorney and Rep. Stacy J. Ritter, D-Coral Springs, faces Libertarian Roger K. Eckert.In District 101, attorney and Democrat Gary Shirk faces Republican Mike Davis and Libertarian Michael Shane O’Brien.In District 104, attorney Yolly Roberson is in a five-way Democratic primary, with the winner facing a Republican and two write-in candidates in November.In District 105, Rep. Kenneth “Ken” Gottlieb, D-Miramar, and Martin Zilber, both attorneys, meet in the Democratic primary with the winner facing Libertarian Britt Craig in November.In District 108, attorney and Rep. Phillip J. Brutus, D-North Miami, faces Kevin A. Burns in the Democratic primary, with the winner taking on attorney and Republican Val Screen in November.In District 114, attorney and Rep. Gas-ton Cantens, R-Sweetwater, faces write-in candidate Acevedo Ramsis in November.In District 115, attorney and Republican Juan-Carlos “J.C.” Planas faces Rep. Renier Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami, and Manuel “Manny” Alfonso in the primary, with the winner taking on Libertarian Thomas William Glaser in November.In District 116, attorneys Marcelo Llorente and Jose Luis Rodriguez are in a five-way Republican primary, while attorney Patrick Vilar is in a two-way Democratic primary.center_img 71 lawyers file to run for legislative officelast_img read more

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Judge Milton honored for his work with children

first_img Judge Milton honored for his work with children Associate EditorWhen a lawyer or judge does something special for children, Chief Justice Harry Lee Anstead likes to send a thank-you note.And so it was, when long-time juvenile judge, the now retired W.A. “Bill” Milton of Grand Island, received the R. David Thomas Child Advocate of the Year Award.“Hopefully, by your example, other leaders and communities throughout Florida will recognize the importance of caring for all of our children,” Justice Anstead wrote to Judge Milton.“Surely, if there is a silver bullet for our social ills, it rests in the care of our children.”Caring for children comes naturally to Judge Milton, the father of three daughters and grandfather of four, the past president of the Florida Council of Juvenile Court Judges, the founder and charter member of the Lake County Boys Ranch and the Leesburg Boys Club, now the Boys and Girls Club.Judge Milton began his two dozen years on the bench in 1961, when he became county and juvenile judge of Lake County and ended up handling 8,633 children’s cases.As longtime friend Bill Mills said: “He was a progressive and innovative judge. He was unlike any other in Florida. Things that are being adopted today are the same things he was doing in the 1960s.”Besides handling a heavy caseload as a juvenile division judge, Milton also supervised the operation of the Juvenile Detention Center for Lake County. He helped turn it from a bare-bones operation into an innovative program that was only one of two centers in Florida that had a teacher assigned by the school board so that detained children could continue their schooling.Of 17 juvenile centers in the state in the mid ’60s, Lake County was one of only two counties that had a contractual working relationship with the school board to define truancy and develop written guidelines for detaining and helping turn around chronically truant children.Judge Milton also saw to it that a full-time mental health professional was assigned to the juvenile court staff. And he also instituted the first defensive driving school for juvenile offenders in Lake County.“During my years on the bench, I learned early on that the only chance we had to reduce our crime rate was to practice early intervention with ‘at risk’ children,” Judge Milton said. “I also believed that the only way our courts could be effective was to recruit the good people of the community as volunteers. Lake County was recognized many times for its volunteer programs for youth during my years on the bench.”As a 42-year member and past president of the Kiwanis Club, Judge Milton volunteered his time to the World’s Greatest Baby Shower, Clothes for School Kids, Backpacks for School Kids, and Books for Children.The Children’s Home Society of Florida not only nominated Judge Milton for the award created by Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy’s, but a second honor by the Lake County Citizen’s Commission for Children.When Judge Milton sums up his many years working to help children, he said: “I felt it was the most important work that a judge could be involved in.”That attitude is what prompted Chief Justice Anstead to express in his letter: “Thank you for caring for our children.” December 15, 2002 Jan Pudlow Associate Editor Regular News Judge Milton honored for his work with childrenlast_img read more

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Journal directory errors noted

first_imgJournal directory errors noted A number of corrections to the 2004 Bar Journal directory have been noted to the editorial staff. To set the record straight: Jennifer Lynn Charak ’s e-mail address is jjacobs@prtc.net (p. 113). Maria V. Feliu Maurrasse should have been included on page 179. Her address is 10621 S.W. 117th Ave., Miami 33186, phone 305-779-5041; fax 305-271-4085, e-mail mariaFeliu@aol.com. Michael Steven Greene of Coral Gables was inadvertently omitted from the directory. His address is 269 Giralda Ave., Ste. 201, Coral Gables 33134; phone: 305-444-2610; fax: 305-444-2655; e-mail: msg@msgreenelaw.com. Cristina Elena Groschel ’s phone number is 954-735-0000 (p. 226). Stephen K. Halpert ’s e-mail address is shalpert@law.miami.edu (p. 233). Joseph James Huss ’s phone number is 954-761-3454 (p. 262). Joyce A. Julian ’s phone number is 954-467-6656 (p. 276).Due to an inaccuracy regarding her name, Shelly Wald Schwartz ’ information was printed out of order on page 538 and her name was incorrect on page 35 of the certified lawyers section. Ms. Schwartz is with Redgrave & Oliver LLP, 120 E. Palmetto Park Rd., Ste. 450, Boca Raton 33432; phone: 561-347-1700; fax: 561-391-9944; e-mail: sschwartz@boca-law.com. Robert Soifer ’s phone number is 407-236-0567 (p. 491). directory errors noted November 1, 2004 Regular News Journallast_img read more

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Elder Law Section, FAWL support gay adoption lobbying

first_imgElder Law Section, FAWL support gay adoption lobbying Elder Law Section, FAWL support gay adoption lobbying Senior Editor The Bar’s Elder Law Section and the Florida Association for Women Lawyers have become the latest organizations to endorse the Family Law and Public Interest Law sections’ request to lobby for the repeal of the Florida law that bans gays from adopting.The FAWL executive council at a recent meeting endorsed a resolution supporting the two sections, which want both to repeal the gay adoption ban and adopt a best-interest-of-the-child standard.The Elder Law Section Executive Council decided at its October 4 meeting to support the two sections’ request to push their position at the legislature.The matter is pending before the Bar Board of Governors, which exercises a general oversight of lobbying by sections. The two sections presented their case to the Bar Legislation Committee in August, but the committee tabled the matter with members saying they were concerned the matter raised deep philosophical differences among Bar members.Under Bar policies, sections, which have voluntary membership and dues payments, are given wide latitude on subjects they wish to lobby. Those positions must not contradict a Bar-wide legislative position, and must not create deep philosophical divisions among Bar members. The sections must also make it clear they are representing only themselves and not the Bar as a whole.Legislation Committee members said they were not concerned with the propriety of repealing the ban on gay adoptions and having a best-interest-of-the-child standard, but were worried that the repeal issue could create deep philosophical divisions. Members suggested the two sections approach other sections for their views and support their contention that seeking the repeal would not produce deep philosophical divisions.The Public Interest Law and Family Law sections had planned to take their case to sections during the Bar’s General Meeting, but that was postponed because of hurricanes, and most sections did not meet during the rescheduled meeting.Evan Marks, chair of the Family Law Section, said the two sections have sent letters to other sections asking them to look at the issue.“Our goal is not to get every section to say that the gay adoption law should be repealed, although if they did, that would be wonderful,” he said. “At the very least we would like the sections to say this is not so divisive within a substantial section of The Florida Bar as to prohibit the Family Law Section from lobbying.”Marks said he was happy that FAWL and the Elder Law Section had acted. He noted the section executive council not only supported PILS and the Family Law Section lobbying the issue, but concluded that the issue was not divisive of Bar members. Both section actions were by unanimous vote.The Family Law Section has posted information about the issue at its Web site, www.familylawfla.org. The date includes 11 major organizations, from the American Medical Association to the American Psychiatric Association, that support gay adoptions.Marks said he doesn’t think the gay adoption issue is any more divisive than the Bar’s support a few years ago of merit appointments for all trial judges and its recent vote to oppose Amendment 3 — which limited contingency fees in medical malpractice actions — on the November 2 ballot.He also noted that as this News went to press, the Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors was scheduled to debate the issue, and make a recommendation for the Board of Governors’ December meeting.So far, although several individual lawyers have contacted Bar leaders and written letters to the editor in the Bar News, no legal organization has voted to oppose the two sections’ requests, Marks said.Aside from the Elder Law Section and FAWL, the two sections’ efforts have also been endorsed by the Equal Opportunities Law Section and the Bar’s Legal Needs of Children Committee. November 15, 2004 Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Regular Newslast_img read more

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Bar’s annual fee statements are on the way

first_img Bar’s annual fee statements are on the way Members may now pay their fees online at www.flabar.org Mark D. Killian Managing Editor Florida Bar members soon will receive their 2005-06 fee statements, reflecting no increase in annual fees and only minor modifications to the form.The fees are payable July 1 and are late after August 15.Members will receive one of two fee statements: one designed for active members and another for those who have elected inactive status. Annual fees are $265. Inactive members pay $175.“Members should be aware that the fee statements are two-sided and must be completed both front and back and be mailed along with their payment to cover their fees and sections joined,” Bar Finance Director Allen Martin said.Under the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar, fees postmarked after August 15 will be assessed a $50 late fee. Members who do not pay by September 30 will be deemed delinquent. The delinquency may be cleared by petitioning the Bar, paying the fees, the late fee, and a $150 reinstatement fee. Online Payment Members have the option to complete their annual fee statement and pay their fees online via the Bar’s Web site at www.flabar.org, an option exercised by more than 8,500 members last year. But to do so, members must first be registered on the Bar’s Web site. If you have not registered, go to www3.flabar.org, click on the “register” link and then follow the prompts. Instructions for paying Bar fees online also are includedwith the paper form mailed to your official Bar address. Challenge for Children Members also have an option to make a voluntary $45 contribution to The Florida Bar Foundation’s Lawyers’ Challenge for Children campaign to help bring the benefits of the law and of lawyers to the lives of poor children. The Foundation will dedicate Bar members’ contributions to legal assistance to children through grants to legal aid and legal services programs across the state, according to Bar President-elect Alan Bookman. (See story above.) Last year, Florida lawyers contributed more than $180,000 to the Challenge for Children campaign. Pro Bono Reports This year’s fee form again includes a pro bono section for Bar members to report if they have met the Supreme Court’s aspirational pro bono goals. The court asks lawyers to provide 20 hours of pro bono service or donate $350 to a legal aid program each year.A series of questions promulgated by the court appears on the fee statement, depending on what option the attorney selected. The court wants to know:• How many hours of pro bono service the lawyer donated and if the work was done through an organized legal aid program or on the lawyer’s own.• If the lawyer’s firm provided pro bono collectively under a plan operated by a circuit pro bono committee, with an indication of how much was allocated to the member.• If the lawyer has contributed to a legal aid organization in lieu of performing pro bono work.• Whether the attorney was unable to provide pro bono service or met the provision for being deferred.• How the lawyer fulfilled his or her service if done in some manner not specifically envisioned by the plan. Community Service This year’s fee statement again features a purely voluntary section that allows members to report the community and public service they have performed over the past year. The purpose is to obtain data to show contributions lawyers make by way of community service. Lawyers may voluntarily report whether they have provided service to the legal community, religious organizations, civic organizations, or other charities and the number of hours donated.The community service questions are separate from the court’s pro bono reporting requirements, and answering these questions does not constitute compliance with the required pro bono responses. Trust Accounting The statement requires that all lawyers indicate whether they comply with the Bar’s trust accounting requirements and the interest on trust accounts rule.answering the trust accounting question, members certify compliance with Bar rules that mandate, “All nominal and short-term funds belonging to clients or third persons which are placed in trust with any member of The Florida Bar practicing from an office or other business location within the state of Florida shall be deposited in one or more interest-bearing trust checking accounts in an eligible financial institution for the benefit of the Foundation.”The Florida Bar Foundation may be contacted at (800) 541-2195 (for in-state members only) or (407) 843-0045 to answer IOTA questions. Installments Members who meet eligibility requirements may pay annual fees in three equal installments. The first payment must be postmarked by August 15. To be eligible, members must be in the second or third year since admission to the Bar or be employed by a government agency in a nonelected position that requires the individual to maintain membership in good standing with the Bar. Only annual fees or prorated fees may be paid in installments. Section dues must be paid in full.The three payments must be postmarked by August 15, November 1, and February 1, 2006. The Bar will send statements for the second and third installments. A $50 late fee will be assessed if the second or third installment is received late. For more information on paying in installments, see Rule 1-7.3(c). Other Options Bar members also may join sections and the Out-of-State Practitioners Division using the fee form. The attorney’s current membership in a section is indicated on the form. To join other sections, members may darken the circles next to the section they want to join and include the appropriate amount with their membership fees. Note that several section have increased their membership fees this yearThe fee statement provides lawyers the opportunity to reduce their section dues by joining combinations of the Government Lawyer Section with the Administrative Law Section and/or the Criminal Law Section or the Administrative Law Section and the Criminal Law Section.Members may opt for inactive membership by marking the inactive status proclamation located near the bottom of the front page of the active membership statement and paying their fees by a postmark date of August 15. Active members may not elect inactive status online.Those who chose inactive status on last year’s statement will receive an inactive membership fee statement this year. It has many of the same features as the active membership fee statement, but does not allow the inactive member to join sections. Inactive members, however, can become affiliate members of the Out-of-State Practitioners Division or the Administrative Law, Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law, Environmental and Land Use Law, and Tax sections.choosing inactive status, Bar members will reduce their annual fees by $90 and receive automatic exemptions from continuing legal education requirements. They will, however, give up a number of privileges, including the privilege to practice or advise on Florida law or hold a job that requires a Florida law license; to participate in the Bar’s certification program; to vote in Bar elections or be counted for purposes of apportionment of the Board of Governors; and to receive Bar publications, including the Journal and annual directory.Inactive members continue to receive The Florida Bar News. Inactive members who wish to become active again must call the Bar’s Membership Records Department at (850) 561-5832 or (800) 561-8060, ext. 5832. May 15, 2005 Managing Editor Regular News Bar’s annual fee statements are on the waylast_img read more

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Comp Claims JNC taking applications

first_img July 1, 2005 Regular News Comp Claims JNC taking applications The Statewide Nominating Commission for Compensation Claims Judges is now accepting applications for one attorney from the territorial jurisdiction of the Fourth District Court of Appeal to serve a four-year term commencing July 1.All applicants must be members of the Bar who are engaged in the practice of law. No attorney who appears before any judge of compensation claims more than four times a year is eligible to serve on the commission. Commissioners are also not eligible for state judicial vacancies filled by the JNC on which they sit for two years following the expiration of their term. Commissioners are subject to Florida financial disclosure laws. Meetings and deliberations are open to the public.Those interested may download the application from the Bar’s Web site at floridabar.org or should contact the Bar at (850) 561-5600, ext. 5757, to obtain the proper application form. Applications may also be obtained by writing the Executive Director, The Florida Bar, 651 East Jefferson Street, Tallahassee 32399-2300.Completed applications must be received no later than the close of business July 29. Resumes will not be accepted in lieu of the required application. Comp Claims JNC taking applicationslast_img read more

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Two join Foundation

first_img T wo join Foundation The Bar Board of Governors has appointed Miami attorney George F. Knox and reappointed Sarasota attorney and former Young Lawyers Division President Michael Faehner to seats on The Florida Bar Foundation Board of Directors.The two will serve three-year terms beginning July 1. The board acted at its February meeting in Tallahassee. April 1, 2006 Regular News Two join Foundationlast_img read more

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Two-tier plan for paralegals taken one step further

first_imgTwo-tier plan for paralegals taken one step further June 15, 2006 Regular News Approved by the board, it’s now before the court Gary Blankenship Senior Editor A two-tier plan for regulating paralegals has been approved by The Florida Bar Board of Governors and will be forwarded to the Supreme Court for its review.The board, at its June 2 meeting in Key West, approved the proposal from the Special Committee to Study Paralegal Regulation. The committee, made up of attorneys, paralegals, and legal educators, has been working on the issue since last August.“I present this to the board as a well-reasoned and a well-compromised plan,” said board member Ross Goodman, chair of the special committee. “The paralegels and attorneys worked well together to come up with a very good program.”“The general description is this sets two tiers, one for paralegals as they presently exist [in Bar rules] and the second tier is for what we call registered paralegals,” he added. “The closest analogy [for registered paralegals] would be to board certification [for lawyers].”Board members initially received the report from the special committee at their April 7 meeting. The proposal would create Chapter 20 in the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar.Under the two-tier system, the first tier would encompass paralegals based on the definition in Bar Rule 10-2.1, as someone with education, training, or work experience who, under the supervision of a lawyer, performs delegated substantive work for which the lawyer is responsible, Goodman said.Tier two paralegals would have to meet education and experience requirements or be certified by the National Association of Legal Assistants or the National Federation of Paralegal Associations and then could hold themselves out as “Florida Registered Paralegals.” They would also have to meet continuing education requirements, he said.The proposal’s grandfathering provision would allow paralegals who can show five years of substantial experience, but who don’t meet the education or certification requirements, to become registered paralegals. That provision is limited to the first three years of the program.The grandfathering provision was necessary because, “You’ve got some paralegals who have been doing it for 20 years and that paralegal is more qualified than any 20 attorneys in town on that one area of law, but does not meet the other qualifications to be a registered paralegal,” he said.Goodman said the proposed rule also creates a disciplinary system and a code of ethics for paralegals. It was also reviewed and approved by the Disciplinary Review, Program Evaluation and Rules committees.In response to a question, he said the rule will probably need more work, such as setting standards for paralegal programs whose graduates will qualify to be registered paralegals. That will be needed, he said, because there are many “fly-by-night” paralegal education providers.The special committee began meeting last summer after bills were introduced in the 2005 Regular Session of the Florida Legislature that proposed a regulatory scheme for paralegals. Those bills, pushed by paralegal organizations, would have had regulation preformed by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.That legislation specified that courts, when awarding fees, could only award paralegal fees for services performed by state-licensed paralegals.Lawmakers agreed not to push those bills when the Bar said it would study the issues, and the paralegal committee, appointed by President Alan Bookman, was the result.The committee met throughout the fall and had a public hearing. It initially proposed creating a Bar section for paralegals, which could then study further issues related to paralegal regulation.But paralegal members of the committee said it didn’t go far enough in recognizing the training and accomplishments of paralegals and the committee agreed to reconsider that recommendation.The committee then came up with the two-tier plan, which attempts to meet the needs of both lawyers and paralegals.retaining the definition of paralegals based on the language in Chapter 10 of Bar rules, it allows lawyers to retain control of who is considered a paralegal in their law firms. And by setting standards to be a “Florida Registered Paralegal” it encourages paralegals to meet minimum education, training, and continuing education standards — and law firms to encourage their paralegals to meet those standards.The proposal as adopted by the board must be reviewed by the Supreme Court in a rule amendment petition.center_img Two-tier plan for paralegals taken one step furtherlast_img read more

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LIRR Service Back to Normal for Evening Commute

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A Long Island Rail Road employee cleaning off the platform of one of the railroad’s branches. (Photo credit: MTA)If all goes to plan, lovestruck Long Island Rail Road commuters traveling back to the Island won’t have to postpone any Valentine’s Day plans.Helpless romantics received good news Friday afternoon when the LIRR said it will operate a regular evening rush hour schedule. Commuters can send their Cupid-themed thank you cards to LIRR personnel who worked around-the-clock to clear heavy snow deposited on tracks during Thursday’s nor’easter.Still, the LIRR advised lovebirds to allow extra travel time and use caution on platforms and stairs while boarding and leaving trains.As of Friday afternoon, the railroad was reporting good service across the board.This should be welcome news to commuters who earlier in the day were forced to adjust to a modified weekday schedule. Officials canceled 14 trains due to the storm, affecting nearly all of its branches.Thursday’s storm also caused scattered 15 to 20 minute delays systemwide, but service improved later in the day.Railroad officials suggested that travelers seeking real time train information should download the TrainTime app or check the MTA’s website. Customers can also call 718-217-5477.last_img read more

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Driver in Fatal Northern State Crash Identified

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A 27-year-old Oyster Bay man died Friday morning after striking a tree on the Northern State Parkway, State police said. The driver, identified as Nicholas Maniscalco, was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. The fatal crash occurred just before 9 a.m. Friday, police said. Maniscalco lost control of his Mazda east of Sunnyside Boulevard, struck a Mercury and then slammed into a tree on the center median, police said. No one else was in the car, police said. The driver behind the wheel of the Mercury was uninjured, police said. All eastbound lanes at Exit 37A were closed following the accident. The parkway was reopened around 1 p.m., police said. Any witnesses are asked to call State police at 631-756-3300.last_img read more

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Long Island Muslims, Faith Leaders Condemn Paris Attacks

first_imgThe US takes in nearly 70,000 refugees annually, according to the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement. And since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, the United States has resettled 784,000 refugees, according to the independent nonprofit Migration Policy Institute. Out of that number, only three “have been arrested for planning terrorist activities—and it is worth noting two were not planning an attack in the United States and the plans of the third were barely credible,” the organization said. ISIS’ meteoric rise in the last few years has many concerned that radicalized individuals overseas could come to the United States and carry out attacks similar to the one that shocked Paris on Friday. Sixty-eight alleged ISIS sympathizers have been arrested within the United States—80 percent of whom were home-grown citizens, according to The Center on National Security at Fordham Law. The charges range from providing material support to conspiracy to kill to fraud, immigration violations, and drug crimes. Three of those arrested were categorized as refugees or asylum seekers. Humanitarian aid groups believe seeking refugee status in the US is actually the most difficult way of entering the country. “Refugees are the most security vetted population who come to the United States,” the New York-based International Rescue Committee said in a statement Tuesday. “Security screenings are rigorous and involve the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and the Department of Defense.” Similar statements were made by a bevy of aid groups. But the fear of further terror attacks has made Obama’s Syrian refugee program one of the most politically-charged initiatives of his presidency, with some expressing utter shock that the White House would even consider allowing Syrians in. For others, opening up the United States’ gates to 10,000 refugees, they say, is the best way to respond to bloodthirsty criminals hoping western nations forsake their values out of fear. “It is clear what we oppose, it is clear what we denounce, it is also clear what we promote,” Sniffen, of the Cathedral of Incarnation in Garden City, said Friday. “We promote communities of diversity, of love, and of faith commitments of every persuasion rooted in love of God and love of neighbor.” Even so, a poll conducted in 1939 found that 61 percent of those polled were not in favor of allowing 10,000 refugee children into the United States. Ben Carson, who is also seeking the GOP nomination, compared some Syrian refugees to “rabid dogs” before later softening his tone. Rep. Ted Cruz (R-Tx.) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush suggested the United States should focus on protecting Christians over Muslims, and more than two-dozen governors have opposed President Obama’s plan to bring in 10,000 Syrian refugees who have been fleeing unconscionable slaughters, rapes, barbaric beheadings, and poverty, as their home country continues to be soaked in blood. Denouncing extremism and xenophobia on Friday was Dr. Isma Chaudhry, president of the Islamic Center of Long Island, who said all faiths should stand together as a united front. “This is not a social or a political calling,” she said, “for us Muslims this is a religious calling, to stand together in solidarity with all faiths against injustice, against terrorism, against bloodshed.” Chaudhry argued that the fissure of fear being created only empowers terror groups like ISIS. “I urge you to think and reflect,” she implored. “This is a small group of self-proclaimed people, a small group of criminals, who in the name of Islam have done barbaric acts of violence.”“We as Muslims strongly condemn these un-Islamic actions,” Chaudry continued. “This is not Islam. ISIS is not Islam. Muslims are not violent, barbaric people. This is a small group of criminals and we, by dividing ourselves, are making them big.” RELATED: No Syrian Refugee “Tent City” Coming to Long Island, Local Aid Group InsistsImam Ibrahim Negm, a visiting scholar and preacher, said Muslims worldwide denounce the slayings in Paris. “Islam is a faith that promotes peace, that brings about stability to societies,” he told about two dozen onlookers, “not the distorted image of Islam that are propagated by these radical few which is creating terror and havoc throughout the world.” Dr. Faroque Khan, an ICLI co-founder and board member, said ISIS’s self-declared caliphate was illegitimate. “There is nothing Islamic about them, and it’s an illegal state,” he said. Speakers also took exception with recent comments and actions by elected officials who question the logic of permitting refugees entrance into the United States, despite claims from resettlement agencies that anyone seeking refugee status goes through multi-layered security as part of a rigorous process that takes 18 to 24 months to complete. On Thursday, the House of Representatives voted on a bill to further strengthen refugee security protocols, a measure the White House has threatened to veto. Rev. Lukens said denying destitute refugees is not only un-American but it goes against God’s teachings. “All people of faith and goodwill have mourned these past weeks, the terrible atrocities that were committed in Paris, Beirut, Nigeria and in Baghdad, atrocities that were committed by people whose creed is terror and hatred and whose aim is to sow fear,” Lukens said. “And in the face of that, people of faith and goodwill of every faith have a decision to make about how we will move on—whether we will grant these terrorists victory by letting our own fear diminish us as people, diminish our faith, turn us against one another, cause us to turn our back on the innocent in their hour of need. “The teaching(s) of the Gospel are clear and unequivocal,” he continued. “We are our brother and our sister’s keeper and we are taught as Christians that Christ himself is found among those who are called the least of these—the stranger, the outcast, the refugee—and that we will be judged by how we behaved toward these people at times precisely like these.”The Very Rev’d Michael Sniffen, dean of the Cathedral of Incarnation in Garden City, said acts of terror should inspire people of all faiths to follow their hearts, rather than be consumed by fear and selfishness. “In this time when our brothers and sisters across this world flee acts of terrorism and genocide,” Sniffen said, “we who stand in a privileged nation such as this cannot walk by on the road and call ourselves faithful. We must stop what we’re doing and look at our neighbor in need and pick them up and treat them as we would treat our own child.” For groups like ISIS, Khan said, it’s their hope that nations like the US to deny refugees access. “This xenophobia is not what American values are all about…it’s a violation of the spirit of our constitution, and most importantly plays into the strategy of ISIS,” he said, “which is trying to create a religious divide and anti-refugee backlash so the billion-plus Muslims will feel alienated and some will turn to extremism. If so, then our leaders are following a script and a trap put forth by ISIS and are becoming their best recruiters.” Recent polls have found that the majority of Americans do not support Obama’s plan to bring in 10,000 refugees, just a tiny fraction of the overall 12 million displaced Syrians—and 4 million who have fled, half of whom are children. The United States has a long history of accepting refugees, though the program has historically been unpopular, even going back to World War II. According to a recently uncovered poll conducted in 1938, nearly 70 percent of US respondents opposed German and Austrian refugees—the majority of whom were Jews displaced by the Holocaust—entering the US. The poll was conducted in the early years following the Great Depression, so many Americans may have been consumed by economic concerns. center_img Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Standing on the steps of an archway leading to a sun-splashed courtyard at the Islamic Center of Long Island on Friday, about a dozen leaders from various faiths delivered an impassioned condemnation of last week’s terror attacks in Paris, and voiced a striking repudiation of the so-called Islamic State and the vile atrocities the group commits in the name of Islam. Armed only with Biblical verses, Koranic teachings, heavy hearts, and signs that proclaimed “ISIS Does Not Represent Islam,” Christians, Jews, and Muslims gathered outside the Westbury mosque to denounce extremism and call on America—a country of immigrants—to welcome war-ravaged Syrians fleeing the 4-year-old civil war back home. “Let us show these disciples of death, these murdering ISIS thugs, how a truly great nation and her people behave in the face of terror. Islam is not our enemy,” said Rev. Mark Lukens, chair of The Interfaith Alliance of Long Island. “Fear is our enemy. Hatred is our enemy. And we defeat that enemy with faith, with courage, with unity and with love.” Their remarks came exactly one week after terrorists killed 129 people in Paris and injured more than 300 in coordinated strikes on cafes, restaurants, and a packed music hall.The attacks have prompted an outpouring of support for Parisians, but has also fueled what many consider anti-Islamic statements from US presidential candidates out of fear that members of the self-declared Islamic State could use the historic flow of refugees from Syria as cover to enter the United States. Donald Trump, vying for the Republican nomination, has said he’d consider shutting down mosques and implementing a database of Muslims in America, before suggesting the latter wasn’t his idea. last_img read more

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Tech Time: Preventing potential hacks

first_img 4SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr It takes more than just your IT staff to make it happen.by: Jim DeitchThe Sony, Home Depot, Target and other recent cyberhacks have credit union executives asking, “What can we do to prevent similar hacks to our systems?”And it’s a good question.Notably, most hackers don’t enter the security perimeter through traditional IT security systems. The “headline hacks” almost always begin with an employee or vendor inadvertently providing access. Lesser known financial services hacks have resulted in significant losses:A financial institution employee at work clicked on a link from an email that was supposedly from the president of that institution. The link inserted malware, which a hacker used to obtain complete network compromise, customer data, and a gateway into other systems in a federally insured financial institution.An employee clicked on a “spoofed” Wi-Fi connection that was thought to be secure. Logon information was stolen, and systems were compromised through insertion of malware into the initial compromised laptop. continue reading »last_img read more

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Leadership: It’s more than a business plan

first_imgRecently, a colleague shared with me a TED Talk by Bill Gross, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Idealab, a business incubator in California that has started over 100 companies, including Citysearch, NetZero, PETsMart and Tickets.com. In his talk, Gross shares the results of his research regarding what factors matter most for a company’s success. Specifically, he explores the product/service ideas, team, business model, funding and timing of both Idealab companies and high profile non-Idealab companies that have succeeded and faltered.Spoiler alert: If you would like to hear the results from Mr. Gross before I reveal them here, you can easily find the video through an online search. Otherwise, let’s move on…The number one factor in success for the companies studied was timing, followed by the team and execution around the idea. The idea itself ranked as the 3rd most important factor. This means that business model and funding were the bottom 2 factors.What?! The business model is 4th? I know, right?!Funding, I understand. But as leaders we spend a significant amount of time thinking about our business model, crafting strategy, designing 90- and 180-day project plans, forecasting and analyzing data.And, of course, there’s the team. You have to have a good team and with that, I’d say an equally positive culture. But even the idea is 3rd! That’s another big thing we spend time on… thinking of, vetting and promoting our ideas.Perhaps time for a deep breath?Maybe it’s not so shocking, as many business books discuss timing as important, at least in some degree, to the success of most enterprises. That’s where terms like bleeding edge, leading edge and fast follower come into play. Depending on the product, service, and other specifics relative to the business, any or all of those approaches may come into play through an organization’s lifespan.I also think this breaks down further to leadership success. Two of the books I’ve read somewhat recently come to mind when thinking of the importance of timing in leadership.In The First 90 Days, by Michael Watkins, which was recommended by a friend and sent to me by another shortly after my arrival at the New Jersey Credit Union League, there is indeed a focus on having a plan. In this case, not a business plan per se, but a personal plan of action in transitional periods. There are windows, of course, where one may aspire for x, y, and/or z by day 30, 60, etc. However, there is a constant undertone that deals with timing.Through learning, negotiation, team building, and more, a leader looks to move people towards the vision he or she has for the organization. The book also notes the importance of matching strategy to situation, which is also strongly relevant in this sense. While there may be a 90-day plan, as the book title suggests, making sure the team and operational environment is prepared for the steps that need to be taken to move towards the vision is essential. At times this will mean slowing down and veering from your plan to assess and advocate for your idea. In other instances, it may simply be time to move forward so that an opportunity is not missed. In either case there is importance on timing, and as the leader, it is of the utmost importance to be aware of this.Another friend from “credit union land” sent me the book It’s Your Ship, by Captain D. Michael Abrashoff, a retired Navy Captain. As a Naval Commander, Captain Abrashoff speaks to the necessity of accountability in his role and that of his team. There are deadlines to be met and long-held expectations and processes associated with military command and execution. At certain times he challenged the status quo in areas ranging from hierarchical expectations to onboarding procedures and even missile training activities. Most importantly, he says, he listened to his team to best understand the areas where his ship could improve.Throughout, Abrashoff references timing, both in the opportunities presented to him in his professional career and as it relates to the transformation of the ship under his command, the USS Benfold, from the bottom of the fleet to the Navy’s top performer. There were instances where he had thoughts on what may inspire his team or improve operations, yet he did not act until the appropriate opportunity arose to provide the highest likelihood of success. The Captain had an action plan which, in the traditional structure of the armed forces, was certainly significant. However, as a leader, he used timing and team, the same 2 elements found at the top of Bill Gross’s list, to drive success.The takeaway, I believe, is that you must have resources, ideas and, most certainly, sound planning to succeed in business. But to move an organization to a point of distinction, a strong team and culture blended with an astute sense of timing, is essential. 30SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Greg Michlig Greg Michlig joined the New Jersey Credit Union League as President/CEO in May of 2013. He has a strong background in the credit union, association and related financial services … Web: www.njcul.org Detailslast_img read more

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What can you do about those late credit card payments?

first_img 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr I am a firm believer in not making the same mistake twice; I prefer to make new ones instead.  In that vein, please do me a favor and double-check the way your credit union handles delinquent credit card accounts.Late last week, a federal district court in Massachusetts ruled that American Airlines Federal Credit Union violated both the Truth in Lending Act and a similarly worded Massachusetts state law by seizing funds in the member’s account after she became delinquent on credit card payments due to the credit union.  A recurring question that the Association’s Compliance Department fields is just what steps credit unions can take to “offset” member funds when they fall behind on credit card payments.  The case provides a great opportunity for everyone to remember the basic rules and double-check their procedures.  (See Martino v. Am. Airlines Fed. Credit Union, No. 14-10310-DPW, 2015 WL 4920015, at *4 (D. Mass. Aug. 18, 2015)).The most important thing to keep in mind is that the Truth in Lending Act extends added protections to credit card holders.  Consequently, if you want the option of claiming funds to recover delinquent credit card payments, there are several steps you must take ahead of time.  Fortunately, this is one area where the regulations are self-explanatory. continue reading »last_img read more

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