Space Kadet Gets To Grooving On Their Electrofunky New Single, ‘Generations’

first_imgAtlanta-based electronic/funk/instrumental outfit Space Kadet is a culmination of members from different bands and projects, coming together to creat something greater than the parts of its whole. Space Kadet explores genres on the spectrum from abstract dub to funk, drum and bass, chill downtempo electronic and more, all with the accompaniment of live instrumentation. Space Kadet came together to form a always changing, never ending, space odyssey.Today, this electrofunky group have released a brand new single, much to our delight. Stream “Generations,” below:Space Kadet originated in late 2014 in Auburn, AL and is now based out of Atlanta, GA. The band includes Rohan Prakash (Higher Learning) on drums and samples, Blake Catrair (Rodeo Trio) on Keys and Synth, Alex Etheridge (The Juice) on Bass and Production, Kyle Gissendaner (Ickybob) on Guitar and samples, and Phil Ordonez on Percussion. Having shared the stage with artists such as Stratosphere All-Stars, Zoogma, The Nth Power, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, The Werks, Dynohunter, The Nadis Warriors, the band is certainly posed for big things. With a full album in the works and performances at festivals like the Zen Awakening in Orlando and Reunion Campout at the Spirit of Suwannee in Live Oak, FL, things are looking good for Space Kadet fans.Don’t miss them at Montgomery, AL on Friday April 29th at The Sanctuary and Saturday April 30th at Green Bar in Tuscaloosa, AL! More information can be found here.[Single artwork via Josh Hamby, Cover photo via Arielle D’Ornellas]last_img read more

Prince’s Family Plans To Turn Paisley Park Into A Museum

first_imgOne aspect of Prince’s rich legacy was his 50,000 sq. ft. recording studio/home, Paisley Park. Situated just outside of Minneapolis, Paisley Park played host to some of Prince’s greatest moments, including late night dance parties, artist collaborations, studio efforts, and more. The Park was seemingly symbolic of Prince’s larger-than-life abilities; if he can do it all, why wouldn’t he have a home that had it all?Fortunately, fans of the Purple One may soon get the opportunity to peer into Prince’s mansion. According to a new interview with Prince’s brother-in-law, Maurice Phillips, the family has plans to turn Paisley Park into a museum. “We will turn Paisley Park into a museum in Prince’s memory,” said Phillips. “It would be for the fans. He was all about the fans — this would remember his music, which is his legacy… Prince was always private but would have wanted his music remembered.”The plan would be something similar to that of Graceland, which is a public museum devoted to the late great Elvis Presley. As of now, a timeline on the Paisley Park Museum is unclear, but opening Paisley Park would serve as an important memorial to such an enormous legacy. RIP, Prince. You will be missed.[Via The Sun]last_img read more

It’s Always Funky In Philadelphia: The Gang Plays A Slow “Llama”

first_imgFor those planning to attend some or all of Phish’s 13-night run at Madison Square Garden in NYC, make sure to check out Our Official Guide To Phish Baker’s Dozen Late Nights.[photo by Andrew Blackstein] Phish‘s summer tour rolled through Philadelphia, PA around this time last year with two shows at the beautiful Mann Center For Performing Arts. Trey Anastasio, a New Jersey native and longtime Philadelphia Flyers fan, is always quick to rave about how much the band loves playing the classic shed (as he did during the first show of the run, to the delight of the hometown crowd).Crosseyed And Mannless: Phish Debuts Three In Philly FinaleOne certain highlight of the run was the 6/29/16 fan-favorite “Llama”. The classic tune, usually played at blistering speeds, was performed in half time, turning the rocker into a slow, dripping, super-funky jam for just the second time, following last summer’s “Raleigh Llama” from Walnut Creek Amphitheatre.You can watch the performance below, thanks to YouTuber LazyLightning55a:last_img read more

Sigur Rós Hypnotizes At Detroit’s Fox Theatre [Review/Gallery]

first_imgLoad remaining images The incredibly talented Icelandic group Sigur Rós rattled Detroit’s beautiful Fox Theatre this past Saturday, October 1st, playing a sold out show to an excited crowd. The band’s previous performance in the city was back in 2013, so many Michigan fans highly anticipated this show.That 2013 show featured the previous year’s Valtari release, and the then-upcoming Kveikur release. Unlike their previous visit, which included an orchestra full of violinists and choral singers among others, the group had a much more intimate show this time around, with no musicians accompanying them on stage. This is also Sigur Rós’ first tour as a trio, as Kjartan Sveinsson, the keyboardist for the band for well over a decade, left the band after their last tour.Despite these changes, the trio performed just as flawlessly, resoundingly and incredibly as in years past, and the audience’s constant captivation proved just that. In all of my years of attending various concerts and festivals, I don’t believe I have ever witnessed an audience so engulfed in the performance as this past Saturday’s. Barely any phones could be seen pulled out, as most attendees were simply too taken aback by all of the beauty to remember that the outside world even existed.The evening consisted of two sets of performances, with a 20 minute intermission in between. No opener was scheduled, and Sigur Rós went on at 8:30pm sharp as planned. Each set consisted of a blend of new songs, off of their upcoming album whose name is still a mystery, and various adorned classics from their two-decade discography. “Saeglopur” off of Takk was a favorite, as Jónsi’s piercing falsetto silenced the venue while a bow graced along the strings of his electric guitar, creating hauntingly beautiful tones.Equally mesmerizing to the evening’s music were the light and stage setup that accompanied it. LED lights and a massive backdrop created scenes of natural beauty, far off galaxies, thunderstorms and vibrant colors which splashed the high ceilings of the historic theatre, and with it, perfectly choreographed explosions of stage lights during each dramatic strike of Orri Páll Dýrason’s drums. In the group’s second set, the trio played the first two songs behind a semitransparent visual screen, while deep, darker lights set the tone, as their instruments resonated around the entire venue.The performance had a faultless balance of calm, devastating beauty created by the band’s many serene pieces, and the dramatic, vibrant contradictory pieces that shook each member of the audience back awake from a tranquil daze. The segue from one song to another was unforgettably fluent as well, leaving no time for much clapping until the very end, at which point the audience wasted no time in jumping up for a standing ovation following the band’s last song, “Popplagið”.Don’t miss Sigur Rós in a town near you! Check out their full US tour schedule below.Sigur Rós Tour DatesOctober 3 – Toronto, ON @ Massey HallOctober 5 – New York, NY @ Radio City Music HallOctober 6 – Brooklyn, NY @ Kings TheatreOctober 8 – Philadelphia, PA @ Academy of MusicOctober 10 – Asheville, NC @ Thomas Wolfe AuditoriumOctober 12 – Kansas City, MO @ Midland TheatreOctober 14 – Phoenix, AZ @ Orpheum Theatre-Words and photos courtesy of Katie Laskowska. See the full gallery below!last_img read more

Tim Palmieri And Upstate Rubdown To Join Kitchen Dwellers in NYC

first_imgLast month, Bozeman, MT-based bluegrass outfit Kitchen Dwellers announced a full slate of Fall tour dates, with a headlining gig on Friday, November 11th at New York City jam-friendly venue American Beauty. Today, the group, who was recently on tour with Twiddle, announced that Kung Fu guitarist Tim Palmieri will be joining them for an acoustic support set.In addition to Palmieri, Hudson Valley-based Appalachian soul outfit Upstate Rubdown will also perform an opening set for the Dwellers. The show promises to be a solid night of music with plenty of opportunity for collaboration and jams.Tickets are currently on sale and can be purchased here.For additional event information and updates, check out the Facebook Event page.Kitchen Dwellers “Guilty” – Grand Junction, CO:Tim Palmieri performing Ween’s “Transdermal Celebration”:Upstate Rubdown – Otis Live:last_img read more

Neal Casal Joins Railroad Earth In Pennsylvania [Full Audio]

first_imgLast night, jam-bluegrass veterans Railroad Earth brought their annual Horn O’ Plenty Getaway back to Stroudsburg, PA’s Sherman Theater for its sixth year. Neal Casal and Circles Around The Sun opened the show before Railroad Earth welcomed Casal onstage to sit in twice during their headlining slot.First, Casal joined the band during set one for a cover of JGB mainstay “My Sisters & Brothers”. Then, after an impressive, heavily improvised “1759” > “Goat” segment, the Circles Around The Sun guitarist lent some guitar to a “Warhead Boogie” > “Wayfaring Stranger” pairing to close set two. Railroad Earth had one more surprise up their sleeves for the encore, busting out Sam Cooke classic “Keep Movin’ On” for their first time since their tenth anniversary show at The Wellmont Theatre in Montclair, NJ on 5/7/11.Thanks to taper Bill Goldberg, you can listen to the full show below:The Horn O’ Plenty Getaway continues at the Sherman Theater tonight with special guest Boris Garcia.[h/t – JamBase, photo by Sam Watson]last_img read more

Snoop Dogg And Cody Dickinson Recruit New Orleans Legends For Sequel To The Film “Take Me To The River”

first_img[H/T OffBeat Magazine] A few days ago, we reported that Snoop Dogg hit the studio with George Porter Jr. of The Meters, vocalist William Bell, and drummer Cody Dickinson for a mysterious musical project. Now, the full extent of the project seems to have been revealed.It turns out that the artists had gathered in the studio for a recording session, apparently for the film Take Me to the River – New Orleans, a follow-up to the 2014 documentary Take Me to the River. The original film focused on the musical histories of Memphis and Mississippi Delta, and, in the film, members of the blues and R&B world that emerged from those cities reunited to create new music. Snoop Dogg and Dickinson were heavily involved in the first film, with Dickinson providing the score.The info comes from an Instagram post by Silverback Music Management, which is embedded below. In the photo, you’ll see rappers Snoop Dogg and G-Eazy in Snoop’s studio in Los Angeles with a giant collection of New Orleans legends. George Porter Jr., Cody Dickinson, and William Bell are there of course, alongside other legends like Ivan Neville, Ian Neville, Cyril Neville, Terrence Higgins, “Big Sam” Williams, and Khris Royal.We can’t wait to hear the music that this group creates!last_img read more

Dead & Company Clear Skies With Tour Debuts In Burgettstown [Photos/Videos]

first_imgDead & Company brought sunshine daydreams to a rainy sky in Burgettstown, PA on Thursday night at the KeyBank Pavilion. Both sets were laced with Grateful Dead classics that were superbly played through, exemplifying the tear the band has been on this tour. Eleven shows into summer, the band used the evening to introduce a few tour debuts to the mix.With the forecast set for rain and thunderstorms all night, the band kicked off the show with purpose. The set started off with a funky “Feel Like a Stranger” and “Easy Wind.” Guitarist John Mayer rocked it, with his blues guitar and vocal prowess matching the song perfectly. Pictures of Pigpen flashed on the screen towards the end of the song, with the crowd approving mightily. It was during this song that the torrential downpour hit. It didn’t last long, but left the place wet and muddy enough to add some extra fun to the lawn.“Cumberland Blues” had percussionist Mickey Hart playing what appeared to be shoes, clapping them together throughout the song. Keyboardist Jeff Chimenti shined on his solo, tickling the ivories for the song’s solo. “Throwin’ Stones,” played at a slower tempo, allowed a euphoric peak to be hit by Mayer. The jam was heavy on the energy and that brought the set to a great closing. It was also the song’s tour debut.As the sun was setting, the grooves ensued for a second-set opening “Jack Straw” that was monstrous. Mayer kept insisting that they delay the guitar chords, and when they finally sang “Jack Straw from Wichita…,” the place erupted. It was an amazing version.“Viola Lee Blues” kept the place dancing. Besides his playing, Mayer’s stage demeanor was entertaining. The way he was moving and shaking with his own groove was impressive. “He’s Gone” was wholesome to hear. “The Wheel” had a nice jam that turned reggae, with Mayer really belting out the outro lyrics before getting incredible dark.All of the sudden, a low rumble roll escaped Oteil Burbridge’s bridge, each note increasing in tone, culminating in the beginning of “The Other One.” The way he perfectly executed it was distinct to his own playing while still reminiscent of others who have done the same thing. “Drums” and “Space” were out there, and eventually landed in the conclusion of “The Other One.” The band finally played fan-favorite “Wharf Rat” on this tour, and it was soulful as ever. “Casey Jones” ended the set with a bang. The final tour debut of the evening was the encore-appropriate “Liberty.”Watch the first few songs from the first set below, courtesy of nugs.tv.Setlist: Dead & Company | Burgettstown, PA | KeyBank Pavilion | 6/15/17I: Feel Like A Stranger, Easy Wind, Cassidy, West LA Fadeaway, Row Jimmy, Cumberland Blues, Throwin’ StonesII: Jackstraw, Viola Lee Blues > He’s Gone > The Wheel > The Other One v.1 > Drums/Space > The Other One v.2, Wharf Rat > Casey JonesE: LibertyEnjoy the gallery below, courtesy of Daniel Ojeda.Dead & Company | Burgettstown, PA | KeyBank Pavilion | 6/15/17 Load remaining imageslast_img read more

Angelique Kidjo Releases Track-By-Track Cover Of Talking Heads’ ‘Remain In Light’

first_imgAngélique Kidjo is releasing a track-by-track cover of Talking Heads’ groundbreaking 1980 album Remain In Light. As noted in a series of recent interviews, the Beninese singer-songwriter, actress, and political activist was inspired by the album’s utilization of West African musical ideas when she first heard it many years ago, and her forthcoming release reimagines the songs with that in mind. Speaking with NPR, Kidjo explains:I discovered the album [Remain in Light] when I arrived in Paris in 1983. In the middle of the ’70s, we had a communist dictatorship that took place in Benin, and suddenly the radio we used to listen to Fela [Kuti], listen to The Beatles, listen to all kinds of music, becomes a place of darkness.And when I arrived in Paris, I was determined to catch up with the music I didn’t have. I became a music junkie. I went to a party with some friends of mine and somebody started playing the song of the Talking Heads called “Once in a Lifetime” and everybody was standing and dancing weird, and me, I was grooving. And I told them, “This is African music,” and they go, “Hell no, this is rock and roll. You Africans are not sophisticated enough to do this kind of music.”Kidjo’s take on Remain In Light dials back much of the original album’s sleek new wave production in favor of a style that puts more emphasis on the record’s West African influences, even incorporating lyrics from the Yoruba and Fon languages. Nevertheless, the recreation also features appearances by American artists like Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend and British acts like Blood Orange, in addition to prominent African musicians like Fela Kuti drummer/musical director Tony Allen and Black Panther score percussionist Magatte Sow. “I always say, when you are inspired by a music, and you acknowledge that source of inspiration, it is cultural expansion,” Kidjo tells NPR. “But when you deliberately take somebody’s music and put your name on it, it’s not even cultural appropriation, it’s stealing — period. Cultural appropriation doesn’t exist.”“The Talking Heads, when they released this album, in the press release they acknowledge the fact they were listening to Fela when they did this album,” she continues. “They were reading the book [African Rhythms and African Sensibility] of [John Miller] Chernoff, and they tell people, ‘You want to understand our album? Listen to Fela and read the book.’”Kidjo’s Remain In Light will officially drop on June 8th—just 13 months after she hosted a May 2017 tribute to Talking Heads at New York City’s Carnegie Hall. However, you can listen to the full album via NPR‘s First Listen for the next few days.  You can also check out a new WNYC interview in which Kidjo and Talking Heads frontman David Byrne discuss the making of the original album, Fela Kuti, and more.Angélique Kidjo – “Once In A Lifetime” (Talking Heads cover)last_img read more

SunSquabi Announces 2019 Spring Tour

first_imgToday, Colorado-based hydro-funk trio SunSquabi announced their spring 2019 tour dates. This new run of shows marks the third leg of their Instinct Tour and the first stretch to be announced since the release of their newest album, Instinct.Related: Sunsquabi Releases “Biological-Themed Journey Of Evolution” LP, ‘Instinct’ [Listen]Upcoming tour stops will take the band through the midwest and the eastern U.S. with scheduled stops in Boston, Detroit, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and more, with support from Defunk. Scheduled SunSquabi festival stops also include appearances at Bonnaroo, M3F Fest, SweetWater 420 Fest, and Buku.$1 per ticket sold on the tour will go to the Can’d Aid Foundation, which aims to keep music and instruments in the hands of children across America. SunSquabi has partnered with the foundation and hopes to continue to inspire youth across America with instrument donations.You can check out the newly announced dates on the poster or view a full list of SunSquabi’s upcoming shows below. For information on ticketing, head to the band’s website here.SunSquabi Tour DatesJan-30 Boise, ID NeuroluxJan-31 Seattle, WA NeumosFeb-1 Bellingham, WA Wild BuffaloFeb-2 Portland, OR Wonder BallroomFeb-5 Bend, OR Volcanic Theatre PubFeb-6 Eugene, OR Wow HallFeb-7 Reno, NV Crystal BayFeb-8 Berkeley, CA CornerstoneFeb-9 Santa Cruz, CA AtriumFeb-15 San Diego, CA Winston’sFeb-16 Los Angeles, CA The MorrocanMar-2 Phoenix, AZ M3F FestMar-15 Avon, CO AgaveMar-16 Avon, CO AgaveMar-17 Crested Butte, CO Public HouseMar-22 New Orleans, LA BukuMar-27 Iowa City, IA Blue MooseMar-28 Indianapolis, IN MousetrapMar-29 Detroit, MI MajesticMar-30 Cleveland, OH AgoraMar-31 Buffalo, NY Iron WorksApr-3 Boston, MA Brighton Music HallApr-4 Philadelphia, PA FoundryApr-5 Washington, DC Union StageApr-6 Pittsburgh, PA Thunderbird Music HallApr-7 Harrisburg, PA Club XL LiveApr-11 Milwaukee, WI Miramar TheatreApr-12 Minneapolis, MN CaboozeApr-13 Madison, WI Majestic TheatreApr-14 Des Moines, IA Wooly’sApr-20 Atlanta, GA Sweetwater 420May-23-25 Chillicothe, IL Summer CampJun-13 Manchester, TN BonnarooView Tour Dateslast_img read more

Medicine Ball

first_imgIn an era when big-time college football too often is tarnished by tales of disrepute – Tennessee this week dismissed two players charged with attempted armed robbery – Murphy and seven Harvard teammates who are bound for medical school represent not only the glory of The Game but the spirit of amateur football as the Ivy League has played it for more than a century.“Sometimes there’s a myth that you can’t compete in Division 1 football and aspire to things like medical school,’’ Crimson coach Tim Murphy said as he prepared for the 126th Harvard-Yale spectacle. “We’re very fortunate to have a bunch of kids doing it. It’s a great tradition…’’Read more here (The Boston Globe)last_img read more

Too Big to Save? How to Fix the U.S. Financial System

first_imgRobert Pozen, a Harvard Business School lecturer, poses long-term solutions for solving the problems of now. From the housing slump and the stock market to the big bank bailout, this book is a blueprint for reform.last_img

Halberstam honored with square

first_imgIn life, David L. Halberstam ’55 cherished his days as a student writer for The Harvard Crimson, a gig that jump-started his legendary career as an investigative journalist whose efforts eventually won the Pulitzer Prize. Now, the late Halberstam has been memorialized near his former Plympton Street stomping grounds with the unveiling of the new Halberstam Square at the intersection of Linden, Bow, and Mount Auburn streets.Rain deterred the Oct. 6 outdoor festivity, which would have involved installing the official Halberstam Square plaque. Instead, Cambridge Mayor David P. Maher hosted the public dedication inside The Harvard Crimson, where alumni, city councilors, and Halberstam’s many admirers packed the house.“Halberstam used his education and narrative skill to expose state-sanctioned injustice and to challenge untruths coming from powerful people. His relentless questioning of individuals and institutions took immense personal courage,” said Maher, who applauded Halberstam’s lasting legacy in the Cambridge community.At Harvard, Halberstam was a sports editor and managing editor of The Crimson. Though he was a history concentrator, “David majored in the Crimson … it was his life,” said classmate Stanley Katz ’55, Ph.D. ’61.Halberstam’s daughter Julia said that, faced with a lack of an engagement ring, her father proposed to her mother instead with his Crimson medal. “The Crimson was where he learned to take the kind of risks that shaped the rest of his career,” she said.After leaving Harvard, Halberstam took a post at the Daily Times Leader in West Point, Miss., where, said Katz, Halberstam was a reporter, a photographer, and even sold advertising. There he covered the Emmett Till murder trial, and later, at The Tennessean in Nashville, wrote about the beginnings of the Civil Rights movement. The New York Times later recruited Halberstam, who, at the age of 30, won the Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the Vietnam War.Harvard Crimson President Peter Zhu ’11 said Halberstam “stands out as someone to whom we can all aspire towards.”The author of more than 20 books, including “The Children” and “The Best and the Brightest,” Halberstam was an avid sports lover, and also wrote books on Michael Jordan and the NFL. He died in a 2007 car crash in Menlo Park, Calif.Halberstam’s daughter read an excerpt from the lecture on journalism he gave at the University of California, Berkeley, the night before he was killed. “There is, I think, craft. I think you can keep learning for those of you who are starting out. How do you do it? Knowing where to look. Knowing how to build steam. Knowing how to sustain a narrative drive. How to keep a reader interested, this is a real challenge. You have to make it accurate, then you have to learn how to dramatize it, to bring it alive, to find the people and the events to make it real. So you’re not just a reporter, and you’re not just a historian. You’re a playwright, too. You’ve got to bring the drama. Impress on people why they need to know it.”last_img read more

Critical finding for skin cancer treatment

first_imgNow, a research team led by scientists at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT has unearthed one of the key players behind such drug resistance. Published in the Nov. 25 issue of the journal Nature, the researchers pinpoint a novel cancer gene, called “COT” (also known as MAP3K8), and uncover the signals it uses to drive melanoma. The research underscores the gene as a new potential drug target, and also lays the foundation for a generalized approach to identify the molecular underpinnings of drug resistance in many forms of cancer. “In melanoma, as well as several other cancers, there is a critical need to understand resistance mechanisms, which will enable us to be smarter up front in designing drugs that can yield more lasting clinical responses,” said senior author Levi Garraway, a medical oncologist and assistant professor at Dana-Farber and Harvard Medical School, and a senior associate member of the Broad Institute. “Our work provides an unbiased method for approaching this problem not only for melanoma, but for any tumor type.”More than half of all melanoma tumors carry changes (called “mutations”) in a critical gene called B-RAF. These changes not only alter the cells’ genetic makeup, but also render them dependent on certain growth signals. Recent tests of drugs that selectively exploit this dependency, known as RAF inhibitors, revealed that tumors are indeed susceptible to these inhibitors — at least initially. However, most tumors quickly evolve ways to resist the drug’s effects.To explore the basis of this drug resistance, Garraway and his colleagues applied a systematic approach involving hundreds of different proteins called kinases. They chose this class of proteins because of its critical roles in both normal and cancerous cell growth. Garraway’s team screened most of the known kinases in humans — roughly 600 in total — to pinpoint ones that enable drug-sensitive cells to become drug-resistant.The approach was made possible by a resource created by scientists at the Broad Institute and the Center for Cancer Systems Biology at Dana-Farber, including Jesse Boehm, William Hahn, David Hill, and Marc Vidal. The resource enables hundreds of proteins to be individually synthesized (or “expressed”) in cells and studied in parallelFrom this work, the researchers identified several intriguing proteins, but one in particular stood out: COT. Remarkably, the function of this protein had not been previously implicated in human cancers. Despite the novelty of the result, it was not entirely surprising, since COT is known to trigger the same types of signals within cells as B-RAF. (These signals act together in a cascade known as the MAP kinase pathway.)While their initial findings were noteworthy, Garraway and his co-workers sought additional proof of the role of COT in melanoma drug resistance. They analyzed human cancer cells, searching for ones that exhibit B-RAF mutations as well as elevated COT levels. The scientists successfully identified such “double positive” cells and further showed that the cells are indeed resistant to the effects of the RAF inhibitor.“These were enticing results, but the gold standard for showing that something is truly relevant is to examine samples from melanoma patients,” said Garraway.Such samples can be hard to come by. They must be collected fresh from patients both before and after drug treatment. Moreover, these pre- and post-treatment samples should be isolated not just from the same patient but also from the same tumor.Garraway and his colleagues were fortunate to obtain three such samples for analysis, thanks to their clinical collaborators led by Keith Flaherty and Jennifer Wargo at Massachusetts General Hospital. In two out of three cases, COT gene levels became elevated following RAF inhibitor treatment or the development of drug resistance. In other cases, high levels of COT protein were evident in tissue from patients whose tumors returned or relapsed, following drug treatment. “Although we need to extend these results to larger numbers of samples, this is tantalizing clinical evidence that COT plays a role in at least some relapsing melanomas,” added Garraway.One of the critical applications of this work is to identify drugs that can be used to overcome RAF inhibitor resistance. The findings of the Nature paper suggest that a  combination of therapies directed against the MAP kinase pathway — the pathway in which both B-RAF and COT are known to act — could prove effective.“We have no doubt that other resistance mechanisms are also going to be important in B-RAF mutant melanoma,” said Garraway, “but by taking a systematic approach, we should be able to find them.” The past year has brought to light both the promise and the frustration of developing new drugs to treat melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. Early clinical tests of a candidate drug aimed at a crucial cancer-causing gene revealed impressive results in patients whose cancers resisted all currently available treatments. Unfortunately, those effects proved short-lived, as the tumors invariably returned a few months later, able to withstand the same drug to which they first succumbed. Adding to the disappointment, the reasons behind these relapses were unclear.last_img read more

Harvard deems April Earth Month

first_imgApril is Earth Month at Harvard, an inaugural initiative featuring campuswide events and activities to celebrate and raise awareness about environmental issues. To bring it all together, the Office for Sustainability has launched its Earth Month@Harvard 2011 website. Earth Month culminates with national Earth Day on April 22, and events run through April 29. The second annual Green Carpet Awards will take place in Sanders Theatre on April 11. For more information on the monthlong series of events.last_img read more

A summer of achievement

first_imgNearly 900 children returned to schools in Boston and Cambridge this fall with a boost from the award-winning academic enrichment provided by the Summer Urban Program (SUP) at Harvard’s Phillips Brooks House Association (PBHA).SUP, which is run by Harvard undergraduates and hosts 11 free summer camps in Boston and Cambridge, received the National Summer Learning Association’s 2011 Excellence in Summer Learning Award last month. The national organization supports summertime learning and rigorously assesses programs each year.Research has established that children lose academic skills during summer breaks, and low-income students are disproportionately at risk. Education experts point to summertime programs such as PBHA’s as a way to help bridge the gap.“PBHA’s SUP fits into a broader context. It’s helping Boston close achievement gaps by closing opportunity gaps in the summer,” said Christopher Smith, executive director of Boston After School & Beyond, a public-private partnership that supports, strengthens, and expands Boston’s after-school sector.Smith noted that the camps make a difference for the hundreds of students they serve and the often-underserved populations they benefit, including students from international backgrounds and those who speak English as a second language (ESL), who can struggle at school.The camps offer seven-week programs for children ages 6 to 12. Campers work on academics, including math and literacy skills, in the mornings and attend field trips, including visits to colleges, museums, historic sites, and the New England Aquarium, during the afternoons.PBHA’s summer learning data points to progress. According to SUP evaluations, 85 percent of ESL campers have improved scores after attending the camps. Nearly 80 percent of parents reported improvements in their children’s reading, writing, and math skills over the summer. Ninety-eight percent of junior counselors (children can spend years in a program, first as campers and later as paid junior counselors) plan to attend college.The camps are led by about 130 college students. Some are Harvard undergraduates and others are local students, most of whom participated in the program as campers and stayed on to teach or help run the camps. PBHA program directors say creating a sense of community at each camp and encouraging youngsters to be agents of change in their communities are important parts of SUP. This is why SUP offers opportunities for campers to come back as junior counselors, senior counselors, and even program directors (where they also earn a summer stipend). Harvard students and local college students work together to build that strong sense of community. “Students regularly worked 12- to 16-hour days during the program to make sure the next day’s session was as enriching and fun as possible. … The level of collaboration among students in planning the program is remarkable,” said Sarah Pitcock, senior director of program quality at the National Summer Learning Association.The program was also lauded for collaborating with other programs and being part of the communities they serve.“PBHA is building communities in three levels — among the students they serve, among their staff, and at the city level, with us and other partners. They serve as a satellite summer school for Boston,” said Smith.As for the students who plan and run the camps, being recognized among the nation’s top summer learning programs is an honor, but they say the recognition goes to all involved.“This award is such a big honor, but we couldn’t do what we do without the community organizations, parents, and children we work so closely with over the summer,” said SUP program director Diana Bartenstein ’12. “There’s a lot of energy in the program, and all involved are really committed to it, and that makes the difference.”SUP began in 1980 and runs day camps in the following neighborhoods. It partners with local schools and organizations to host the programs:Dorchester: the Boston Refugee Youth Enrichment at the Marshall Elementary School and the Franklin I-O Summer Program at Frederick Pilot Middle SchoolChinatown: the Chinatown Adventure at the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent AssociationCambridge: the Cambridge Youth Enrichment Program at the Benjamin Banneker Charter School, Fletcher-Maynard Academy, and King Open SchoolSouth End: Keylatch Summer Program at Blackstone Elementary SchoolMission Hill: the Mission Hill Summer Program at Wentworth Institute of TechnologyJamaica Plain: the Native American Youth Enrichment Program at the Curley K-8 SchoolRoxbury: the Roxbury Youth Initiative at Hennigan Elementary SchoolSouth Boston: the South Boston Outreach Summer at Condon Elementary SchoolIn addition to the camps, the program provides ESL training for immigrant and refugee teens. PBHA’s Boston Refugee Youth Enrichment and Refugee Youth Summer Enrichment have been recognized by the Boston Public Schools as alternatives to summer school. Its Native American Youth Enrichment Program is the only summer camp specifically for urban Native American youth in Massachusetts.SUP receives support from a number of Harvard groups, including the President’s Office, Harvard Public Affairs & Communications, the Harvard Achievement Support Initiative, the Office of Career Services, and the Institute of Politics. The program is also supported by many community partners and citywide by the Boston Public Schools, the Cambridge Public Schools, the Boston Youth Fund, Action for Boston Community Development, the Boston Center for Youth and Families, and the Cambridge Mayor’s Youth Fund.Each year, the National Summer Learning Association recognizes summer programs that demonstrate excellence in accelerating academic achievement and promoting healthy development for young people. The PBHA program was the only entirely college student-run program among the five recognized this year.last_img read more

MessageMe test scheduled for Sept. 28

first_imgOn Sept. 28, at 11:55 a.m., Harvard will be conducting a University-wide MessageMe test. All MessageMe registered subscribers will receive a test message in the form of a text message, email, and/or voice mail message depending upon the delivery method selected by each subscriber. No action will be required as a result of this test.For more information, or to register.last_img

Guardian editor to lecture, receive honors

first_imgAlan Rusbridger, editor of the British-based Guardian newspaper, will address an audience of students, faculty, journalists, and members of the public on March 6 at the Harvard Kennedy School. The program begins at 6 p.m. in the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum, 79 JFK St., Cambridge, and is sponsored by the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy.Rusbridger will receive the Goldsmith Career Award for Excellence in Journalism in recognition of his leadership in the Guardian’s five-year investigation and exposure of phone hacking by employees of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.  He also led the Guardian’s negotiations with Julian Assange and subsequent publication of WikiLeaks documents. Rusbridger has been instrumental in the Guardian’s “digital-first” business strategy.For more information.last_img read more

A meeting of ministerial minds

first_imgOver two decades, childhood deaths have fallen significantly, from 12 million annually in 1990 to 7.6 million in 2010, a statistic that simultaneously gives cause for hope and motivation for the global health community to keep its shoulder to the wheel.“There are still too many preventable deaths,” Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) Dean Julio Frenk said Monday. “It is within our grasp to make enormous progress to ensure the survival and development of small children.”Frenk told a gathering of more than a dozen ministers of health from various nations that this is a time of opportunity to make gains in child and maternal health. The reason, he said, is that the 2015 deadline for achieving the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals is approaching, and many nations are realizing they’re not on track to achieve them, which could prompt renewed activity.The ministers gathered at the Harvard Kennedy School’s (HKS) Taubman Building for a dinner discussion that ended the first full day of the Harvard Ministerial Health Leaders’ Forum, an event sponsored by the Ministerial Leadership Program for Health, an initiative launched by HSPH and HKS in collaboration with the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation last fall. The forum is designed to allow health ministers to learn from each other’s experiences, draw on the resources of Harvard faculty members, and help the officials to achieve their nations’ health priorities.The three-day forum mixed in speeches with small-group exercises, case studies, and discussions on setting priorities and learning how to work with finance ministers to get projects funded. On Sunday evening, Michelle Bachelet, United Nations undersecretary general for women and former president of Chile, delivered the keynote speech. Ministerial Leadership in Health Program Executive Director Michael Sinclair said the hope is that the forum will help to create a network of sitting health ministers who can serve as resources for each other, sharing best practices and getting advice from each other as they tackle the difficult health problems facing their countries.“The program is to recognize the extraordinary leaders from around the world and create an environment to begin building a network of shared learning and mutual support,” said Frenk, who served as Mexico’s minister of health from 2000 to 2006.On Monday, Frenk addressed the dinner gathering, followed by with Amie Batson of USAID and Mickey Chopra of UNICEF. Batson and Chopra spoke about an upcoming meeting in Washington, D.C., a call to action on improving child health.“Child survival … is truly something that every country, every stakeholder, every family takes responsibility for,” Batson said.At the current 2.2 percent annual reduction in the rate of child death, Batson said the world will fall short of the international goals on child health, which call for a two-thirds reduction in childhood death from 1990 levels.“The question is what the world needs to do differently,” Batson said.Chopra said that rapid progress is possible if governments move maternal and child health up on their priority lists.“The gains we can make are just remarkable, if not miraculous,” Chopra said.The series of eight Millennium global goals include ending poverty and hunger; ensuring universal education, gender equality, child health, maternal health, and environmental sustainability; fighting HIV/AIDS; and creating a global partnership for development.Some discussion focused on how to best implement health programs. Frenk brought up smallpox as an example of an international success — perhaps the greatest one — though it left little improvement in overall health systems in its wake.Such a vertically oriented approach focused on a single disease and a horizontal approach focused on strengthening health systems have their drawbacks. Frenk advocated instead a “diagonal” approach, incorporating elements of both, using focused health priorities to drive broad improvements in the health system.William Hsiao, the K.T. Li Professor of Economics at HSPH, commented near the end of the discussion that we’ve known how to improve maternal and child health, and had the tools to do so, for decades. More recently, we’ve understood the best ways to deliver those tools and apply that knowledge to populations in need, through campaigns to encourage breastfeeding, to vaccinate children, and to improve hygiene. He challenged the ministers in the room, asking them to consider what the barriers are in their own nations to improving maternal and child health.last_img read more

Economist, neurosurgeon win MacArthurs

first_imgEven among Harvard faculty, few professors can claim the mantle of publicly certified “genius.” As of Tuesday, however, two University scholars — an economist who tackles public problems with hard data and a pediatric neurosurgeon whose innovative techniques have been put to use in everyplace from Cambridge to Uganda — can do just that.Raj Chetty ’00, Ph.D. ’03, professor of economics, and Benjamin Warf, M.D. ’84, associate professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School and director of the Neonatal and Congenital Anomaly Neurosurgery Program at Children’s Hospital Boston, have received 2012 MacArthur Foundation fellowships, more commonly known as “genius grants.”Chetty and Warf are two of 23 recipients recognized by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for their “extraordinary originality and dedication” to their chosen fields. The honor comes with no-strings-attached grants of $500,000, paid over five years, which recipients may use to fund the creative, intellectual, and professional pursuits of their choice.Nominations are anonymous, and recipients are not told in advance that they are under consideration — meaning that the phone calls notifying them of their awards come as a bit of a shock.“I was really surprised,” said Chetty, who was having lunch in downtown Boston with his mother at the time. “I got a call from a number I didn’t recognize. I ignored it a few times and eventually picked up.”Warf was at a hotel in Rio de Janeiro, planning to speak at a conference, when he received the news.“It was a little awkward. The [cellphone] connection wasn’t so great,” he said with a laugh. “I was floored.”Chetty is an up-and-comer who, at 28, was one of the youngest economists to be offered tenure in Harvard’s history. He has a history of precocious achievement: After graduating from Harvard College, he stayed on at the University and earned his doctorate in just three years. (He then spent several years as an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley, returning to Harvard to join the faculty in 2009.)His research agenda has been equally ambitious, touching on issues from taxation to teacher quality to unemployment. He hopes to steer public policy debate away from talking points toward data points, he said.Earlier this year, a finding by Chetty and his co-authors that the quality of a child’s teacher early in life can boost future income made national headlines and earned a mention in President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address.“We want to try to connect to the public discourse using rigorous scientific methods, so it’s not just public opinion,” Chetty said.The award frees up his time to pursue the next big ideas in public economics — such as an ambitious study of equality of opportunity in the United States that would track economic mobility from one generation to the next by ZIP code, pinpointing conditions that help to promote a level playing field.The MacArthur “has given me the freedom to pursue the types of large-scale projects that will take years,” Chetty said. “But it’s also a vote of confidence that people are interested in this type of research. I hope it’ll motivate our research team to do more of this type of work.”For Warf, the award is not a validation of a young career on the rise, but recognition of hard-won innovations made halfway across the world.In 2000, Warf, his wife, and their six children left his native Kentucky for Uganda, where he started a pediatric neurosurgery hospital under the auspices of the Christian medical nonprofit CURE International.While there, he noticed that the country’s poor children suffered an unusually high incidence of hydrocephalus, a fluid buildup inside the skull that puts pressure on the brain. He went on to publish groundbreaking research on the causes of infant hydrocephalus, linking it to prior brain infection.Warf also developed a novel technique for treating hydrocephalus. First-world doctors often rely on shunts, tubes that allow fluid to escape from the brain into the abdominal cavity — though half of shunts fail within two years of the procedure.In Uganda, where neurosurgeons are scarce and access to nearby hospitals is limited, Warf created a workaround procedure that dramatically lessened the need for follow-up emergency procedures. The technique, known by its shorthand ETV/CPC, cauterizes brain ventricle tissue so that less cerebrospinal fluid is produced, and with minimal invasion makes an opening inside the brain that reroutes the dangerous fluid buildup to the base of the brain, where it is supposed to flow.“That’s the interesting and quirky thing — a procedure that was developed and proven in terms of outcomes in sub-Saharan Africa is now starting to influence care in the United States,” Warf said. “It’s the way that I treat hydrocephalus in babies now here at Children’s. I think over the next decade or so, it’s going to increasingly become the first treatment for babies with hydrocephalus.”The family returned to the United States in 2006, and Warf came to Children’s, where he had been a fellow earlier in his career, in 2009. He has continued to oversee the Ugandan hydrocephalus project from abroad, including a program that has trained 20 neurosurgeons from developing countries in Warf’s methods. It has been an expensive and challenging juggling act that the MacArthur grant will make much easier, he said.“I feel a bit of a weight of responsibility,” Warf said. “There’s this opportunity that’s just fallen into my lap that I wasn’t expecting. I want to be able to be a good steward of that and make the most of it.”last_img read more

HSPH efforts in Africa helped lead to decade of success against AIDS

first_imgThe largest public health initiative in history dedicated to a single disease was announced unexpectedly during President George W. Bush’s State of the Union address in 2003: $15 billion over five years to fund a new international AIDS effort. For AIDS researchers at HSPH, the program known as the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) offered the opportunity to dramatically scale up their efforts in African countries hit hard by the disease.“By the early 2000s, thanks to new drug discoveries, AIDS was no longer a death sentence in the developed world. But the vast majority of AIDS patients, who were (and still are) in Africa and Asia, didn’t have access to treatment,” said Phyllis Kanki, professor of immunology and infectious diseases at HSPH. Kanki spearheaded the School’s application to PEPFAR— the largest government grant in Harvard University’s history. “PEPFAR was designed to address that gap. We couldn’t really go on thinking that we had addressed the AIDS epidemic if we didn’t do something to provide treatment to people in resource-limited countries.”The School received a total of $362 million from PEPFAR for work in Nigeria, Botswana, and Tanzania training health care workers, developing monitoring and evaluation systems, strengthening health care infrastructures, and collaborating with local hospitals and clinics that provide treatment for AIDS patients. HSPH’s PEPFAR grants wound down last year, and researchers at the School are now working with partner organizations to transition activities to full local ownership. Read Full Storylast_img read more

A splash with the spleen

first_imgThe Harvard takeoff uses the same music to ask “What Does the Spleen Do?” and speculates, through similar dance numbers and equally absurd lyrics, about the possibilities: secret male uterus, backup tongue, vestigial fin.“The Spleen” was created by a team that involved dozens of members of the second-year class in front of and behind the camera, Rome said. The spleen was selected because it’s a major organ whose functions — filtering the blood, among others — are a mystery to a lot of people.The video was created for 107th annual second-year show, which ran for three nights in December. After the show, Rome said, the creators posted the video online. Though participants mentioned the video to family and friends over Facebook, there was no effort to garner publicity. Despite that, within five days, the video had a million hits.Though dozens of students were involved, the video’s core team was Rome, Will Lewis, Lydia Flier, Eddie Grom, Ariana Metchik-Gaddis, Richard Ngo, Lenka Ilcisin, and Emily Simons, contributing writing, editing, filming, choreography, and costume design.Rome joined “The Spleen” project after helping out on a previous video, called “The Gunner Song,” a takeoff of 2012’s “Thrift Shop,” poking fun at overachieving students at HMS and the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. The videos, Rome said, are a lot of work, but they’re also a lot of fun and allow members of the class to interact in a different way.“It’s such a fun project,” Rome said. “The best part is to work with so many members of the class. It was a blast.” <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEi_4Cyx4Uw” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”> <img src=”https://img.youtube.com/vi/aEi_4Cyx4Uw/0.jpg” alt=”0″ title=”How To Choose The Correct Channel Type For Your Video Content ” /> </a> Who knew the spleen was so funny? And popular?A parody video by a group of Harvard Medical School students went viral in December, garnering a million YouTube hits in just five days and surpassing 1.7 million since.The video’s creators were astounded at its popularity, according to Ben Rome, a second-year student who filmed and edited the video. Rather than just basking in their 15 minutes of fame, however, the students are trying leverage the video’s popularity for a good cause: science education. They launched the HMS/HSDM Organ Challenge, a contest for primary and secondary school students to create a music video highlighting one of the body’s organs.The challenge, launched this month, runs through March 15. Entries will be posted online and judged by members of the second-year class, Rome said. Entrants will be judged according to accuracy and originality, not production values, so students, teachers, and families don’t need to spend a lot of money to win.“Technology today is so easy and accessible, you can make a video on your smartphone,” Rome said.The HMS student video “What Does the Spleen Do?” is a takeoff of last year’s “The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?),” which itself was a music parody by a pair of Norwegian comedians, part of the comedy group Ylvis. The slickly produced original discusses animal sounds and the mystery of fox sounds, setting a catchy beat against simple and absurd lyrics. The video went viral, getting hundreds of millions of hits on YouTube.last_img read more

Closing the gender gap in computer science

first_imgYoung women studying computer science were introduced to a group of potential role models as part of a weekend conference at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS).The event, organized by Harvard Women in Computer Science, drew some of the most successful women in the field, along with sponsors such as Google, Facebook, and Microsoft. It included keynote speeches from entrepreneurs and senior executives, mentoring lunches, and an eight-hour “hackathon” Sunday at the Harvard Innovation Lab. Students from 40 U.S. colleges and universities were in attendance.“When I was growing up, I thought the gender war was over and women had won. But it’s still not over,” said Amy Yin ’14, co-founder of Harvard Women in Computer Science.“The biases may be more subtle now, but the statistics are not. When I interned at Facebook last summer, I was the only woman on a team of 12,” added Yin, who is concentrating in computer science. “There’s a saying that ‘If you can’t see it, you can’t be it,’ which is why we wanted to develop a community of women in computer science.”The first keynote speaker was Rebecca Parsons, chief technology officer at ThoughtWorks, a Chicago-based software design firm. “Women bring a different perspective to solving problems,” said Parsons, who noted remarkable progress toward inclusiveness in her three decades in the field — which wasn’t to say the work is over.“I was told when I was in school that women were incapable of understanding math and science,” she said. “Today, saying something like that simply isn’t socially acceptable.“The biggest challenge now is that people may not fully recognize the kinds of subtle biases that still exist. When hiring, for example, people tend to look for someone like them, people they’re comfortable with.” This works against women. “If we can make talking about bias less charged, we’ll be much better off.”Margo I. Seltzer, the Herchel Smith Professor of Computer Science at SEAS, offered a similar viewpoint. “Underrepresentation leads to continued underrepresentation,” she said. “We all need to work toward making our workplaces and communities more welcoming.”Still, Seltzer has seen big advances at Harvard, where 28 percent of current computer science concentrators are women (the national average is 20 percent). “We’re delighted to see increased participation by women in our courses and concentration. I don’t think the problem is solved, but the messaging that all are welcome does seem to be helping.”Yin believes that eradicating cultural stereotypes about women and technology is a key part of the equation. “Harvard is doing a lot to encourage women to get into technology, and to be more technical in general,” she said. “It’s great, because a lot of women think you can’t be social if you’re in computer science, that people will stigmatize you as a nerd, that guys will be intimidated by you, that you won’t find a boyfriend or a husband.”And men need to be part of the solution, too, she said: “We’re about to start an ‘allies’ program based on what Harvard Business School has done. We want to get men involved in discussing their perceptions about women in computer science. We need to talk about gender-related problems, like why only 7 percent of venture capitalists are women and how this impacts what companies get funded.”David C. Parkes, the George F. Colony Professor of Computer Science and area dean for computer science, is focused on the work ahead: “We’ve managed to close the gender gap a bit, but I think I speak for all my colleagues when I say that we won’t be happy until” the gap is gone.Parkes, who helped judge the hackathon, pointed to the growing number of women in Harvard’s introductory programming course, CS 50. Women filled 37 percent of the seats in CS 50 this year — an all-time high. “Our target for the entire concentration must be 50 percent,” he said.Bringing more women to engineering and computer science is a priority for Dean Cherry A. Murray of SEAS. “We are creating a curriculum that is encouraging and embracing people from diverse backgrounds, rather than the traditional engineering school’s ‘weeding out’ atmosphere,” said Murray, who is also the John A. and Elizabeth S. Armstrong Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences and a professor of physics. “We have seen an increase of over a factor of two in the percentage of women concentrating in computer science in the last five years, which I celebrate, but we’re aiming higher — to complete parity — because we want the very best minds coming into the field.”Stanford computer science graduate Kimber Lockhart delivered the second keynote speech Saturday at the Science Center. Increo Solutions, Lockhart’s start-up firm, was acquired in 2009 by Box, a Silicon Valley company with a valuation of more than $1 billion. Just six years out of college, she is now senior vice president at Box, where she leads software engineering teams.“I hope many of you become software engineers because you want to change the world that way,” Lockhart said. “I am sometimes unable to build diverse teams because of so many women opting out” of software engineering. When Lockhart asked who in the packed house was interested in launching a start-up, about half the audience raised their hands.A young woman asked Lockhart how to overcome the “impostor syndrome,” an internalized feeling that women simply don’t belong in tech. Lockhart acknowledged its existence, but added, “You need to make decisions as if it weren’t there,” because “once you get in the door, you’ll be able to learn” everything you need.last_img read more

Carbon-fiber epoxy honeycombs mimic the material performance of balsa wood

first_img Read Full Story In wind farms across North America and Europe, sleek turbines equipped with state-of-the-art technology convert wind energy into electric power. But tucked inside the blades of these feats of modern engineering is a decidedly low-tech core material: balsa wood.Like other manufactured products that use sandwich panel construction to achieve a combination of light weight and strength, turbine blades contain carefully arrayed strips of balsa wood from Ecuador, which provides 95 percent of the world’s supply.For centuries, the fast-growing balsa tree has been prized for its light weight and stiffness relative to density. But balsa wood is expensive and natural variations in the grain can be an impediment to achieving the increasingly precise performance requirements of turbine blades and other sophisticated applications.As turbine makers produce ever-larger blades—the longest now measure 75 meters, almost matching the wingspan of an Airbus A380 jetliner—they must be engineered to operate virtually maintenance-free for decades. In order to meet more demanding specifications for precision, weight, and quality consistency, manufacturers are searching for new sandwich construction material options.Now, using a cocktail of fiber-reinforced epoxy-based thermosetting resins and 3D extrusion printing techniques, materials scientists at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have developed cellular composite materials of unprecedented light weight and stiffness. Because of their mechanical properties and the fine-scale control of fabrication (see video), the researchers say these new materials mimic and improve on balsa, and even the best commercial 3D-printed polymers and polymer composites available.last_img read more

Faculty Council meeting held Nov. 18

first_imgOn Nov. 18 the members of the Faculty Council approved the Harvard Summer School course list for 2016. They also heard a report on the legislated review of the Ph.D. program in Film and Visual Studies and a report on student diversity. Finally, they discussed proposed reforms to the General Education program.The council next meets on Dec. 9. The next meeting of the faculty is on Dec. 1. The preliminary deadline for the Feb. 2 meeting of the faculty is Jan. 19 at noon.last_img

Nieman Foundation announces 2016 Knight Visiting Nieman Fellows

first_img Read Full Story The Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard has selected eight journalists and media executives as Knight Visiting Nieman Fellows for the 2016 calendar year. Each will spend time at Harvard to work on an innovative project designed to advance journalism.The visiting fellowship program was established in 2012 to invite individuals with promising journalism research proposals to take advantage of the many resources at Harvard University and the Nieman Foundation. In 2015, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation provided a $223,000 grant to support the Knight Visiting Nieman Fellowships. Those eligible to apply include publishers, programmers, designers, media analysts, academics, journalists and others interested in enhancing quality, building new business models, or designing programs to improve journalism.The 2016 Knight Visiting Nieman Fellows are:Maya Baratz, most recently head of new products at Disney/ABC TelevisionDavid Barboza, a reporter for The New York Times who most recently served as Shanghai bureau chiefBill Church, executive editor of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and southeast regional editor of GateHouse MediaFatemah Farag, founder and CEO of Welad El Balad Media Services in EgyptWalter Frick, a senior associate editor at Harvard Business ReviewPaul McNally, a radio journalist for Wits Journalism and director of The Citizen Justice Network in South AfricaAn Xiao Mina, director of product at MeedanTara Pixley, a freelance photojournalistlast_img read more

Light beyond violence

first_imgWhen he first encountered the work of Cormac McCarthy as a college student in the mid-’90s, Matthew Potts became spellbound by the novelist, whose dark and violent narratives have led readers deep into history (“Blood Meridian”) and forward into a post-apocalyptic future (“The Road”). Potts remained enthralled for almost two decades. Now, that feeling has gained shape and texture. The Harvard Divinity School professor and Episcopalian priest recently published an academic book about his favorite writer. “Cormac McCarthy and the Signs of Sacrament: Literature, Theology, and the Moral of Stories,” draws on both postmodern theory and Christian theologies of sacrament to analyze McCarthy’s use of religious images and the moral significance of his stories.The Gazette spoke with Potts about his book and how McCarthy’s fiction helps him see the value of human goodness in the here and now. GAZETTE: You’ve said that McCarthy’s books are inflected with religion. What’s the role religion plays in his novels?POTTS: On the one hand, there are many places in his books where institutional religion is skewered and critiqued without much ambiguity. The novels show impatience with institutional religion at large and with certain forms of religious life or practices. In spite of that, the novels are also adorned with religious images, especially sacramental images, all over the place. Even at the same time that Christian religious institutions are being undermined or dismissed, when rare moments of tenderness or goodness arise, they do so alongside images or invocations of the Christian sacramental tradition: the sharing of food, baptismal imagery, images of washing, the Eucharist. For someone like me, who wants to write from a Christian theological standpoint, I can use these books because I think they expose aspects of the sacramental tradition that Christianity sometimes forgets or neglects.GAZETTE: What do you think sacraments represent, in the author’s view?POTTS: One of the things McCarthy helps me see is that Christian sacramental tradition raises the question of what it means for the holy to be present in the here and now. Take the Eucharist, for example. There are longstanding and intractable arguments in Christianity over what it means for Jesus Christ to be present at communion. Some say the bread and wine must go away to make room for Jesus, that they only appear to be bread and wine but have actually become body and blood. Others say the bread and wine can only be symbols, because how could God really be present in bread and wine? In either case, however, there is a worry over allowing these ordinary things, bread and wine, to be recognized as holy. I think McCarthy wants to challenge that worry, to ask what holiness without transcendence might look like.GAZETTE: How does all of this relate to his books?POTTS: McCarthy is often interpreted, in popular culture, as agnostic or a nihilist or an atheist, and he might be all of those things. It’s clear that he’s really impatient with institutionalized religion and doesn’t believe in any idea of a sweet hereafter or a great beyond. But I think he does want to insist that even if we can’t hold onto a notion of transcendent goodness, we can hold some notion of goodness in the here and now.GAZETTE: Where do you see that in his novels?POTTS: In “The Road,” the story is of a man and his son in a post-apocalyptic world. There’s nothing to eat, everything is dying, but they are traveling to get to the ocean because they have the idea that once they get there, everything will be fine, something good will be waiting there for them. But when they get there, it’s not any better than before, it’s just as bad.There is the common notion that a journey is redeemed by its end. That’s the way Christian theology often works, we endure the trying journey of life so we can end up in the sweet hereafter. But that doesn’t happen in “The Road.” Still, in the novel there are moments when the man and boy share bread and care for each other, and these are the moments that give meaning to their journey. The journey is not redeemed by its end, but by being with each other, that is what’s valuable. It’s not the great beyond that redeems the struggle; it’s actually the love for one another in the struggle. In my view, what he’s saying is that we don’t need to believe in the great beyond to believe in goodness.GAZETTE: Can goodness be achieved through religion? Or can someone be a moral person without religion?POTTS: Even though I’m religious, I believe that one can be perfectly moral without religion. In fact, because religion sometimes places all its concern upon another world instead of this one, I think it sometimes struggles to adequately attend to the moral problems of the world at hand. What I see in McCarthy’s novels is that he’s skeptical about the idea that the only source of goodness must lie beyond this world, and I happen to agree with that. If religion is to be of help in our world, it has to be to locate goodness in the here and now. Our task, as persons religious or not, should be to give attention to the world as it is, even if it’s broken, dying, or violent.GAZETTE: What do you make of the violence and cruelty in McCarthy’s books?POTTS: I’m unsettled by the violence because it seems gratuitous at times. I think that’s intentional, that McCarthy’s trying to unsettle us. Because although McCarthy’s violence is horrifying, it’s not fantastical. The things people do to each other in his books are things that people have done to each other in history and still do to each other today. I think McCarthy doesn’t see the value of testing the worth of goodness if the test is too easy or unrealistic. McCarthy creates the worst possible situations to make the point that if goodness still seems worthwhile under those circumstances, then maybe it really is worth the trouble. So I think he’s saying it’s worth the trouble, but it’s still trouble.GAZETTE: Would you consider McCarthy a religious man?POTTS: In an interview, when he’s asked whether he was religious, he said, “I wish I were,” which is interesting. It’s not no, it’s not yes. Michel de Certeau, the Jesuit scholar, said once, “The desire for faith is the same thing as faith.” For McCarthy to say, “I wish I were religious” raises the question whether or not he is. I wouldn’t call him religious or Christian just because I don’t know. I doubt he’d call himself one. But I think he’s useful to Christians and religious people.GAZETTE: What do you mean by that? How so?POTTS: He’s useful because of the way he manipulates the Christian tradition and exposes meanings that the tradition likes to ignore or neglect. A lot of Christians are troubled by his books and therefore put them aside or discount him as non-Christian, agnostic, atheist, or nihilist. … But in putting his books aside or reducing him to those categories, people who want to call themselves Christians may miss the opportunity to see what he’s exposing in the sacraments, miss recognizing how these sacraments might be meaningful to the Christian church and Christian lives today.GAZETTE: Could you elaborate on that? Are you referring to the value of being good?POTTS: It’s not only the value of being good, it also has to do with where the source of goodness lies. If you think about what happens at an altar, where the priest consecrates bread and wine, you could say that that ritual points to a heavenly banquet, and that what’s going on at the altar is just an imitation of that heavenly banquet. If you say that, you’re saying that the source of goodness and holiness lies outside this world. But if you say what happens at that altar is itself holiness, then you have to look at the people around you, regular people you may like or dislike, broken and fallible in all the usual ways, and maybe change your definition of what counts as sacred.In his books, there are moments when people risk a difficult thing for the sake of love, and even if they may not be rewarded for it, they do it because it’s the right thing to do. I think when he writes such violent things, what’s he’s doing is asking us to think seriously about what the stakes of goodness are. Just because you’re good doesn’t mean the world is going to be good, just because you do the right thing doesn’t mean all is going to be OK. He makes the world not OK precisely in order to ask the question, “Is this still worth doing?”GAZETTE: Many people consider McCarthy’s books very violent, but in your book you said that McCarthy defies violence and that he doesn’t celebrate it.POTTS: One way to read him is that he’s celebrating violence. I don’t read him that way. In “The Road,” again, for example, the main characters, who are father and son, love each other and care for one another, and what McCarthy is trying to say is that it’s still worthwhile for them to love each other even though the man is dying and the world is not going to get better. That’s not a celebration of violence, that’s a realistic appraisal of violence, a defiance of violence. It’s McCarthy raising the question of goodness. It’s about doing the right thing even though it might put us at risk, even though it might not save us, because it’s valuable in and of itself, not because it carries us into safety or up to heaven.GAZETTE: How do you think general readers should approach McCarthy?POTTS: Just read him. I think they should read McCarthy and not be put off by the violence. There are many moments in his novels when one might want to stop reading because there is too much violence. I’d encourage people to keep reading. I really do think that McCarthy is trying to ask questions of meaning in a violent world, and if we stop after reading the violent parts without asking the question of meaning, then the violence simply stands. If we keep reading, we may find a way to stand up to it.last_img read more

Figure it out yourself

first_imgOn the first day of class, the instructor handed out spaghetti, string, tape, and marshmallows to the eight students gathered around a table and asked them to build the tallest possible freestanding structure and place the marshmallow on top, in 18 minutes.Created by the designer and author Tom Wujec to foster teamwork, leadership, and creativity, the “marshmallow challenge” was the perfect tool for Victor Pereira Jr. to start his “Introduction to Teaching Science” course on a summer afternoon.“Science is about problem-solving and collaboration,” Pereira, a lecturer in education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), told the students. “Everything you need to know about science instruction is in the marshmallow challenge.”Students worked in groups to build the spaghetti structures. When time was up, their creations wobbled for a few seconds before collapsing under the marshmallow’s weight.“Is there something I could have done to help you succeed?” Pereira asked his students. After a brief conversation, one worried aloud that the teacher’s help would have limited their ability to learn on their own.Pereira, who has 14 years of experience teaching high school science in Boston Public Schools under his belt and who is also master teacher in residence of the Harvard Teacher Fellows Program, smiled knowingly. The answer is at the center of a long and passionate debate in education, with experts divided over whether freedom or structure is the best way to maximize learning.Irene Liu (from left), Eunice Park, and Sam Fogel use spaghetti and tape to support a marshmallow during an exercise. Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer“Do we let students discover things on their own or do we give it to them?” said Pereira. “There is room for both. Are we training students to be scientists or are we helping them become scientifically literate and informed citizens?”Students take Pereira’s class in the summer, absorbing teaching pedagogy by learning how to design inquiry-based lessons, developing syllabi and curricula, and reflecting on their role as educators. In the fall, they take a full-time session in which they focus more on teaching science.Pereira’s is among the courses offered through the Teacher Education Program, an 11-month master’s program at HGSE that aims to improve teaching in urban public schools and help students become independent learners and critical thinkers.Open to both recent college graduates and mid-career professionals, the program offers hands-on teaching experience at schools in Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, and Chelsea, with a special focus on social justice and equity issues. Along with classes on how to teach science, English, history, and social studies, future teachers also take courses on race and power in urban classrooms, urban youth, and teaching in urban schools.The social justice component was a big draw for Sam Fogel, who dreams of helping high school students examine biology and race, nutrition and health, and asthma and pollution.“The reason why I’m here is to learn more and be a better educator,” said Fogel. “Our role as educators is to make students aware of issues of inequity around the country and the world. I want my students to be aware of what’s going around us even if [it’s] not directly related to our material.”Pereira’s course also stresses the need to make science relevant to students’ everyday lives as opposed to asking them to memorize facts, theories, and formulas. Science is about making observations, finding patterns, and asking questions, all of which are applicable in any field, Pereira noted.The future teachers are sent into the field to co-teach with veteran educators and learn by doing how to prepare lessons and deliver them. For Emily Donaldson, this has proved a valuable step toward teaching with confidence.“We’re learning how to manage the classroom,” said Donaldson, who loves biology and teaching and is balancing the program with her senior year at the College. “Also, how to deliver inquiry-based instruction, facilitate discussion, and how to prepare for classes so that we’re able to anticipate anxieties.”The program has helped Erin Bleck be more mindful of the impact she can have as a teacher in city schools. “Harvard has pushed me one step further,” said Bleck, who taught before entering the master’s program, “and has made me think what it means for me and my students.”For Pereira, the program’s main takeaway is experience-based learning. In the marshmallow challenge and beyond, teachers have to help students gain the tools to discover things on their own.“Some beginning teachers, and even veteran teachers, like to be efficient and say everything to the students,” he said. “Our future teachers are learning that they have to design instruction where students are in charge of their own learning. They have to let students be the navigators in the classroom instead of the audience.”SaveSaveSavelast_img read more

Inauguration of the Max Planck-Harvard Research Center for the Archaeoscience of the Ancient Mediterranean

first_img Read Full Story The analysis of DNA extracted from archaeological remains has transformed the study of the human past. Until now the new insights have been restricted chiefly to “pre-history,” and to northern, cooler regions of the globe, where DNA is better preserved.DNA is now beginning to illuminate the period that saw the rise of civilizations in the ancient Mediterranean. Accordingly, the Initiative for the Science of the Human Past at Harvard (SoHP) is delighted to announce the formation of a new center for the study of the Mediterranean using ancient DNA and other scientific approaches.The Max Planck-Harvard Research Center for the Archaeoscience of the Ancient Mediterranean (MHAAM) is a platform to engage colleagues and students in the discovery of new data which will prompt us to re-think and revise many of our contemporary perspectives on the history of pandemic disease, cultural engagement, migration and human health.The main research sites for MHAAM are the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany (Johannes Krause’s group), and the Initiative for the SoHP, with research groups including those of Michael McCormick, David Reich and Noreen Tuross.The new center will be inaugurated at Harvard University on Oct. 10, featuring a keynote lecture by Krause on his latest, unpublished research as well as by Reich and Iosif Lazaridis on new evidence for ancient migrations. The event will include the signing of the agreement between the Max Planck Society and SoHP. For more information, contact Lisa Ransom Lubarr at llubarr@fas.harvard.edulast_img read more

Isms stalk the land, but David Brooks hasn’t lost hope

first_imgIn the late 1980s David Brooks was reporting from Europe for The Wall Street Journal as a wave of reform swept the world. Across five years he would cover the fall of Berlin Wall, the breakup of the Soviet Union, the Maastricht Treaty, Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, the end of apartheid, and the Oslo peace process.It was “all good news,” Brooks said, except for the one story he mostly ignored: Civil war in Yugoslavia.“In retrospect, that was the most important thing that happened while I was there because that led to what we’ve seen ever since, and that’s tribalism,” Brooks, now a columnist for The New York Times, told a Harvard audience on Wednesday.The rise of tribalism in the U.S. was among Brooks’ topics during a talk at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation. American tribalism and the appeal of President Trump, he said, owe largely to a shift from a community ethos to one of rugged and rebellious individualism.There are pros and cons to both, Brooks said. From 1932 to 1964, community was central to a sense of self and connectedness, and citizens put faith in big organizations — government, unions, corporations — to solve big problems.But if trust and “humility” were easier to find back then, Brooks said, so were rampant racism, sexism, and anti-Semitism, as well as more emotional distance in families, particularly between fathers and their children, and deeper conformity.The 1960s, Brooks said, produced a turn from “we are in this together” to a “free to be myself” sense of liberation that charged a range of social movements, including for expanded Civil Rights. But now, decades later, the country is “suffering a lot of the effects of individualism,” he said. Brooks pointed specifically to three social chasms: loneliness and isolation; a distrust of institutions; and a crisis of purpose.“What happens when you leave people naked and alone?” Brooks said. “Well, they do what anybody does with our revolutionary history — they revert to tribe.”,The Trump campaign understood that partisan conflict had shifted away from the size of government to a debate about the embrace or rejection of globalization. And he pounced. Deft with political theater, the future president “was good at exposing the holes of the old order … at picking every wound we have and sticking a red hot poker into it.”Brooks sees a moderating influence in organizations focused on missions such as civic education, rebuilding community, social mobility, and a better understanding of what our American purpose is “around the world.” The country needs to develop a better understanding of “why living in a democratic society is a better way of life,” he added. Perhaps most important, Brooks said, is that we look outward from our tribes in a spirit of “I commit to you.”Commitments, whether to a person or a profession, a community or a set of ideas, give us our identity, sense of purpose, higher definition of freedom, and moral character, Brooks said.Commitment to nation is the biggest challenge facing the country, he said, but it’s not insurmountable. The journalist sees hope in strong communities “rallying to action.”“People figure stuff out,” he said. “And the writers who say, ‘It’s the end of,’ ‘It’s the decline of’ — people like us, we are always wrong.”last_img read more

Graduate Commons Program honors Faust

first_imgEarlier this month the Graduate Commons community honored President Faust for her commitment as a leader and friend of the program. Throughout the program’s 10 years, organizers say, Faust has continued to put belonging and inclusion at the forefront of Harvard’s values.The Graduate Commons program is a unique interdisciplinary program that provides a “home away from home” for the Harvard graduate students, faculty, staff, and their families living in Harvard University Housing. President Faust was in attendance as the program thanked more than 60 participating Community Advisors and Faculty who support the program and host more than 400 events for the diverse residential community.In thanking Faust for her unwavering support throughout the years, Graduate Commons Program Director Lisa Valela, said, “Tonight as you prepare to move forward from your tenure as Harvard’s 28th President, we stop to recognize the gift you provided us 10 years ago, that enabled the Graduate Commons Program to begin, to grow, and now to flourish. Without your generosity and focus on building ONE HARVARD, we would not be sitting here today.”last_img read more

Planting herself in the right career

first_img The vegans are coming, and we might join them Nisha Vora was unhappy. A high-achieving daughter of Indian immigrants in California, Vora was a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, and Harvard Law School. After graduation in 2012, the newly minted attorney landed what many would consider a plum job in corporate law, but she found the hours long, the work uninspiring.What to do? Two years in, she decided to take an around-the-world backpacking trip with her partner, fellow HLS graduate Maxwell Chapman. They journeyed through Europe and Asia, including a trek through the Himalayas and visits to Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos.Vora decided to reset. She would continue in the law, but this time at a New York City nonprofit helping low-income tenants. Better, but still not quite right. “I started thinking about what actually makes me happy,” she said. “The answer always came back to food.”Recently, the lawyer-turned-food-blogger released her debut cookbook, “The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook,” which builds on her success as a chronicler of vegan recipes and photos on her popular site, Rainbow Plant Life.,“In the back of my mind, I had always wanted to write a cookbook,” Vora said. “I did not think I was qualified.”Published by Penguin Random House, the book has more than 90 recipes, many of which are accompanied by Vora’s photos.“I wanted to create a vegan Instant Pot cookbook that would be not only the bible of Instant Pot cooking, but also a beautiful book of photos inspiring you, a cookbook you share with family and friends,” Vora said.That sentiment recalls a story she tells about one of her favorite HLS professors, Todd Rakoff, himself an HLS graduate with the class of 1975. Currently the Byrne Professor of Administrative Law, Rakoff was Vora’s section leader for her first-year law classes. She remembers his advice to students: “At the end of the day, if you eat dinner with people you love, you’re doing something right.”Rakoff’s words resonated with Vora, and they remained with her. She said that the one thing that makes her happiest “is cooking for family and friends and eating together.”Around this time, Vora became a vegan after watching 10 different documentaries on the subject over several days. She said that after she learned about the meat industry — including factory farms — becoming vegan “seemed like a no-brainer.”,Vora’s renewed interest in food, and her decision to become a vegan, led her to start Rainbow Plant Life. “It was a hobby at the time,” she said, but the blog expanded to include Instagram and YouTube accounts. Readers began following Vora’s recipes and photos, and a New York healthy-food startup, Hungryroot, hired her to take all of its food photography.Many of Vora’s recipes were made with an Instant Pot, which she said “really helped me get healthier meals into my diet without having much prep. Penguin Random House noticed the recipes and contacted me.”She embraced the idea of a cookbook, but it came with a shorter-than-usual time frame.“Most cookbook authors in the U.S. are given a year,” Vora said. “My publisher wanted to fast-track it. The Instant Pot is so hot; vegan cooking is so hot. It took a little under six months to write, test the recipes, and [take] pictures.”Vora’s HLS background proved “surprisingly helpful,” she recalled, adding that her Law School experiences, including at the Journal of Law and Gender, made her a better writer. She said that HLS instilled the “nitty-gritty things” that came in handy as she worked to create “an easy-to-read, clean, easy-to-follow cookbook.”She infused the cookbook with recipes representing a unique blend of comfort food and vegan cuisine, including versions of lasagna, chocolate cake, and mac and cheese.Other recipes reflect food from around the world, including India, where her parents came from. (One of her favorites is tofu cauliflower tikka masala, a vegan spin on the popular chicken dish.) Although she describes her mother as a wonderful cook, she didn’t like much Indian food growing up. “It was the same dal, mixed vegetables, Indian bread,” she recalled, quipping, “As a child, I was already picky.”,However, she has grown to appreciate Indian food — as well as the fact that her parents’ homeland is a country of diverse regions and cuisine.“I kind of rethought my earlier, childish belief,” Vora said. “I tried Indian food when I would go back to visit my parents. I was excited to see my mother’s cooking.”The cookbook also features recipes from other parts of the globe, including Latin America (frijoles, or Mexican-style pinto beans, are among the “Satisfying Sides”) and Africa (such as the West African peanut stew).Vora says that she often cooks for non-vegans, many of whom say that the food is so delicious, it couldn’t possibly be healthy. She reassures them that not only does everything taste good, “everything’s plant-based” so “you feel good about what you’re eating.” Related How Harvard’s cooks serve up 5 million meals a year In replicating the look and taste of real meat, companies are appealing to the mainstream consumer Philosophy professor’s book asks humans to rethink their relationships with animals center_img ‘There they are, on our dinner plates’ From plants to plates What we eat and why we eat it Ph.D. students explore the culture and science of food in the Veritalk podcast last_img read more

At graduate Schools, reinvention on the fly

first_img Students reflect on the shift to online classes and unplanned move home “We talked with many friends and classmates who felt like so many changes were happening to us and that others were making significant decisions affecting our lives. That often happens in times of crisis, and we wanted to empower more students to respond and act. Students are very good at identifying needs and gaps, and we wanted to give them a platform to connect with others to innovate solutions,” said Gwendolyn Lee, who’s studying health policy at Harvard Kennedy School while also pursuing a medical degree at UCLA. Allie Lee is earning a master’s degree in epidemiology at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health.Even as the group confronts the immediate COVID-19 crisis, Gwendolyn Lee said it’s also building institutional knowledge so that it’s better prepared for future disease outbreaks, epidemics and pandemics.“More fundamentally, we would like to work toward building a model of prevention,” she said. “Students vs. Pandemics hopes to advocate for and help achieve preventive behavior so we won’t find ourselves in a situation like the one we face today.”Coming togetherIn times of struggle, many take comfort and refuge in religious and spiritual gatherings. With that currently out of the question, some religious groups at Harvard Divinity School (HDS) are considering alternatives. The HDS Disciples and United Church of Christ Worship have begun shifting the weekly worship services and prayer times online, connecting everyone via Zoom. The first online service begins today.Early last week, HDS students began contributing inspirational posts to the Office of the Chaplain and Religious and Spiritual Life’s Facebook page and Instagram accounts. So far, the posts have drawn on a variety of texts, from the Bible to Harry Potter.Design for living apartHarvard’s move to online teaching and learning presents challenges for disciplines where the work is almost entirely physical and doesn’t easily translate to 2D formats such as video — at least not without sacrificing essential components of the work.At Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), Dean Sarah Whiting and the faculty have been taking advantage of the popular Zoom platform’s draw-over and annotation tools, particularly for “crits,” the one-on-one sessions in which a professor reviews and critiques individual student work, said GSD spokesman Travis Dagenais. Rather than hanging project renderings on the usual pin-up boards, they’re turning unused laptops into digital pinboards so professors can review the work on one screen while conducting the crit on another. “I was just so impressed that even though all of their lives were sort of cast into chaos … they still were really committed to building community and finding ways to continue to connect GSAS students.” — Jacqueline Yun, executive director, GSAS Student Center ‘Unsteady,’ ‘lucky,’ and ‘overwhelmed’ The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news. The School is still determining how faculty juries will conduct final reviews, which typically involve models, large drawings, and other physical elements, without being able to see these components in real life.For those already tired of looking at home-office backdrops on Zoom, or who just want things to go back to “normal” even for a few minutes, a cheeky pair of Master’s in Design Studies students have created an assortment of colorful Zoom backgrounds from spaces in and around Gund Hall. The backgrounds have become a minor hit with students and even a dean or two.One unexpected positive is that prior to the campus closure, GSD offered only one online course, the popular “The Architectural Imagination” on edX. Now, suddenly there are dozens of GSD courses going online, adapted and produced in short order and being tweaked in an ongoing manner. It’s been a tall order. “That contrast in number and scope illustrates our challenge as designers: Design pedagogy is uniquely difficult to conduct in a purely digital format, and this shift has been nothing shy of fundamental for us,” said Dagenais.Festivities from afarFor fourth-year students at Harvard Medical School (HMS), the third Friday in March is a date they have dreamed about and worked toward for  many years. On Match Day, the National Resident Matching Program notifies graduating seniors at medical schools across the country where they will serve their clinical residencies. At Harvard, the milestone usually takes place in the atrium of the Tosteson Medical Education Center at HMS, with students and their loved ones gathered, waiting for the dean of students’ traditional bell ringing at noon that kicks off the envelope-tearing, excited squeals, and hugs. This year, the matches will arrive via email, and Dean Fidencio Saldaña’s bell will be livestreamed to the approximately 165 seniors. The School has set up a social media account so students can share their celebrations, but from a safe distance. Medical School academic, research community responds to COVID-19 pandemic Harvard’s Lipsitch urges public to ramp up social distancing, increase coronavirus tests As everywhere else, Harvard’s graduate and professional Schools have had to adjust quickly to the new realities brought on by the rising coronavirus pandemic, halting normal operations, shifting to remote learning, and creating systems that serve their own unique needs and teaching missions.Supplementing the University’s dedicated COVID-19 information website, the dozen Schools have created special sections on their own sites to communicate regularly with students, faculty, and staff about the latest announcements from deans and other senior administrators, provide links to the rapidly changing public health news and safety guidelines, and offering detailed information about the resources and forms of assistance available to members of the Harvard community.Some Schools, such as the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard Graduate School of Education, and Harvard Business School, are drawing on their expertise to gather COVID-19-focused faculty research and advice on their areas of health, K-12 education, and business to satisfy a voracious, fact-starved public. Other Schools are grappling with ways to continue critical services that aren’t so easily shuffled online. Here are some of the key shifts underway.Clinical training impactsDelivering vital medical and legal services to those who need them and providing students with essential, hands-on training are important, enriching aspects of the professional education at Harvard Medical School (HMS), Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HDSM), and Harvard Law School (HLS).But as School leaders grapple with federal, state, and local guidelines covering how best to protect students, faculty, and staff in high-risk settings or where close contact with others is unavoidable, clinical work for HMS and HDSM students has been temporarily halted or radically scaled back.Clinical rotations at Harvard’s teaching hospitals — including Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Cambridge Health Alliance — were paused through Sunday, and may be delayed longer. The move is temporary, an HMS spokeswoman stressed, but will be long enough “to give the hospitals and the clinical faculty administrators time to devise a plan for the students where they can continue to train but won’t be involved dealing with COVID patients.”On March 16, the Dental School halted all clinical services except dental emergencies for existing patients “until further notice,” said German Gallucci, Raymond J. and Elva Pomfret Nagle Associate Professor of Restorative Dentistry and Biomaterials Sciences and executive director of the Harvard Dental Center. The number of faculty, staff, and students handling emergency services has been cut back, with very few students assigned to the ER. The hiatus has dramatically reduced the clinic caseload, which had been logging 45,000 visits a year but has gone from seeing 200 patients a day down to just five for urgent care.,The scale-back will protect students, faculty and staff from exposure, while keeping emergency dental treatment going to ease the expected strain on hospitals and the health system in the coming weeks.Gallucci said that, given the pandemic’s many unknowns, he concurred with his colleague Jennifer Gibbs, director of the Division of Endodontics, who predicted, “This could be our new normal for an extended period of time.” Even when the spread of the coronavirus is under control, she said, people in dental medicine “will have to learn how to practice with this disease among us.”At the Law School, meanwhile, 44 clinics and student practice organizations continue to serve clients and work on cases, said Lisa Dealy, assistant dean for clinical and pro bono programs. The state trial courts have barred all in-person hearings and will take only emergency cases during the outbreak.Let’s keep in touch — no, reallyIn normal times, students at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) don’t have much chance to meet up what with research, teaching, studying and family obligations. So the GSAS Student Center, formerly known as Dudley House, has served as a vital social hub, hosting parties, offering arts and cultural programming, and sponsoring outdoor, athletic, and other activities to get students out of their academic bubbles and interact with students from other disciplines.After the University shift to digital learning, the 25 Ph.D. student fellows who host interactive events moved quickly to ensure that social distancing wouldn’t erode the grad students’ sense of community. Using Engage, a social engagement platform also used by the College, center fellows have begun ramping up a slate of options to gather virtually, including a weekly knitting and crochet circle, a photography workshop, and virtual exercise classes.“I was just so impressed that even though all of their lives were sort of cast into chaos in terms of moving and heading home and … maybe moving to new residence halls, they still were really committed to building community and finding ways to continue to connect GSAS students,” said Jacqueline Yun, executive director of the center.Sarah Kozel and Etha Williams, third- and sixth-year doctoral students studying historical musicology in the Music Department, decided to launch a podcast, “Distant Socialing,” after the campus closure put an end to a tongue-in-cheek “conceptual podcast” they had held over meals in the Commons dining hall, where they would discuss and rate the food and chat with whomever joined them.,“When the coronavirus crisis hit, we started trying to think about ways to maintain closeness and community amidst growing physical distance — both small-scale (social distancing and campus closures in Cambridge) and large-scale (as Sarah returned to Canada while I stayed in Cambridge),” Williams said via email. “We thought that making our conceptual podcast a ‘real’ podcast could be one way to do this.”In addition to their usual humor, the pair discuss the psychological aspects of coping with the pandemic and share some tips they learned in a Harvard University Health Services workshop, “Managing Emotions.”“I just love this because it’s so good for mental health and well-being,” Yun said of the fellows’ latest effort. “It’s hard enough to be a Ph.D. student; it is so incredibly isolating and our population has a tendency to isolate because the work that they’re doing is asking the big questions in lonely libraries. So I’m just so grateful that our students are trending forward trying to say, ‘We need to stay connected to each other during this time.’”Students vs. PandemicsWith so many feeling overwhelmed by the abrupt changes and confused by the rapid pace of information coming at them from so many disparate sources about the COVID-19 pandemic or where to find help for difficulties, graduate students Gwendolyn Lee, M.D./M.P.P. ’20, and her sister, Alexandria “Allie” Lee, M.S. ’20, thought students could use a central repository to find and share the most accurate, useful information and more easily communicate with each other. Ideally, they hoped this would empower students to take action to begin solving the many challenges of the current public health crisis.On March 13, the student-run group Students vs. Pandemics created a Google Sheet with sections on how to stay healthy, where to find resources, ideas for having fun or bringing about systemic change, and complain + fix, where problems are identified, and then go about trying to fix them. Students are encouraged to add ideas and share information on the spreadsheet. So far, more than 30 students have contributed, and they’re hoping to recruit others. Ideas include starting a COVID-19 hackathon for students to identify digital solutions, drafting policy memos to send to the Massachusetts Legislature, and helping other universities launch similar task forces. ‘Worry about 4 weeks from now,’ epidemiologist warns Officials detail University’s battle plan to combat coronavirus while education continues Q&A on Harvard’s move to online learning Homeward bound Relatedlast_img read more

Dell EMC Isilon Generation 6 for Media and Entertainment

first_imgThe Media & Entertainment industry is all about creating and delivering great media, and not about managing your technology. At Dell EMC, we continue to develop powerful yet simple-to-manage storage platforms that help accelerate creation, delivery and active archives for rapidly growing libraries of media content.Dell EMC Isilon has the power, performance and capacity to support a wide range of Media and Entertainment workflows. But, which is the right Isilon node type for your requirements? Simon Haywood – CTO for Media and Entertainment in EMEA – takes a look at the full portfolios, and explores the strengths of each node type for different tasks.For more on Dell EMC Media & Entertainment solutions, visit our Emerging Tech Solutions site.Meet me and the Dell EMC team at IBC 2018 in Amsterdam this September! Book your meeting now!last_img read more

Nokia profit dips as it sees challenges in US market for 5G

first_imgHELSINKI (AP) — Finnish telecommunications company Nokia has reported a smaller than expected drop in profit in the fourth-quarter while it acknowledged it was facing some challenges in the race for 5G networks, particularly in the North American market.  The company reported that net profit for the October-December period was down 1% to 811 million euros ($973 million). Sales were down 5% to 6.6 billion euros.CEO Pekka Lundmark, who took over the company’s top spot in August, described the fourth quarter result as “solid” but warned that the current year wouldn’t be easy for Nokia.last_img read more

SISTAR program offers student research grants

first_imgFounded in 1991, the Student Independent Study and Research (SISTAR) grant provides Saint Mary’s students and faculty members with the opportunity to create eight-week summer research partnerships. Professor Laura Haigwood, director of the Center for Academic Innovation (CFAI), said the grant was established to encourage the collaboration of Saint Mary’s students and professors. “The program was inspired, in part, by the close, collegial, teaching and research relationships that faculty and students develop at SMC,” she said. “We wanted to be able to reward and encourage that work.” The grant, which provides the student researchers with housing and a stipend, is funded by donations. Haigwood said Maryjeanne Ryan Burke, a 1956 graduate of Saint Mary’s College, is a large contributor to the program. Haigwood said the Burke endowment is offered to specifically qualified professors. “The Burke SISTAR is reserved for full-time, tenure-track faculty who are not yet tenured, and it has proved an outstanding research, teaching and learning opportunity for them and for their students,” she said. Outside of the Burke SISTAR grant, the prerequisites for student and faculty applicants are much more imprecise, Haigwood said. The program is open to all full-time students and faculty of all studies. Haigwood said although the number of applicants varies greatly from year to year, the grant is usually awarded to four student-faculty research partnerships. The grant is typically presented to a rising senior. The application process includes an interview and a written proposal. According to Haigwood, the CFAI grant committee makes the award decisions. The committee is chaired by Haigwood and includes five other faculty members that are elected by the Faculty Assembly. Last year’s four award recipients were selected from a variety of departments. Senior Ashley Feely worked with Sociology Professor Mary Ann Kanieski on a project entitled “Emerging Patterns in Relationships Between Mothers and Their Adult Children: Examining Mothers’ Self-Constructed Identity.” Fellow senior Megan Griffin partnered with Political Science Professor Patrick Pierce on a study called “Race to the Top: The Political Economy of State Tax Incentives for Business.” Brynn Thomas, also a Saint Mary’s senior, collaborated with Professor Susan Latham on a communicative disorders project. Senior Alyssa Klubeck teamed up with history professor David Stefanic on a project called “Women in Revolution: Comparing Women in the French and Irish Revolutions.” Klubeck said the experience was beneficial on an educational and professional level, as well as being enjoyable. “It was an incredible amount of fun to work so closely with one of my favorite professors and gain the experience of working with a professional academic,” Klubeck said. The grant also supports travel and related expenses for the student to attend a professional conference in the next academic year. Stefanic and Klubeck were able to present their study at a conference in Nebraska this fall. Haigwood said the idea behind the grant is to give students the opportunity to work side-by-side in a study with a professor, rather than as an assistant. “We want [the faculty and the student] to work together as genuine peers,” Haigwood said. “SISTAR students are generally more like graduate students than undergraduates in their collaborative work with faculty. We want her to be a co-researcher, or an independent peer researcher.” With aspirations to attend graduate school, Klubeck said she recognized the opportunity the SISTAR grant offered her. However, Klubeck said the program gave her more than just a resume boost. “While research and writing were invaluable, I found what I learned from Dr. Stefancic as a mentor in my work was a great opportunity,” she said. “I think that is what the SISTAR program really has going for it. The connections it builds between students and professors to work together and learn from each other are unparalleled.”last_img read more

ND listed as a top Peace Corps university

first_imgPlacing on the Peace Corps’ list of top universities nationwide for the 12th straight year, Notre Dame has established a tradition of expanding learning beyond the classroom. Notre Dame ranked 10th on the Peace Corps’ list of Medium Colleges and Universities to produce the most Peace Corps volunteers in 2011. According to a recent Notre Dame press release, 35 alumni currently serve in the Peace Corps around the world. Among that list is 2010 Notre Dame alumna Meghan Costello, who has spent the past 16 months in Rwanda.  Costello said her primary role in Rwanda is teaching English, yet her mission goes far beyond teaching itself. “Peace Corps is different from other organizations because it is so much more than the primary assignment,” she said. “It’s about integration into a community, learning about another culture and spreading American culture. Through these steps, you can find other ways to be useful in the community.” The prospect of joining the Peace Corps was something that Costello said she had always considered, and after joining, it became the perfect fit for her. “I think Peace Corps was always in my head, a little thing inside that I always wanted, but didn’t think I would ever actually experience,” she said. “When it became a part of my reality, I had the support of all my family and friends. It felt so right.” The atmosphere and the people of Notre Dame are what motivated Costello to join the Peace Corps, she said. In addition, a study abroad trip to Rome helped her realize a passion for applying her education outside of the classroom. “Studying abroad in Rome certainly helped in my desire to experience other cultures,” she said. “I wanted to understand what I was reading in class and to experience the reality of these situations, whatever the reality was.” Although Costello said life in Rwanda can be difficult and lonely at times, she finds comfort in her tasks and responsibilities. “The highlights always come with good work,” she said. “I have recently been plunging into projects in my community, and they bring me joy the kind of joy that comes after finishing a tough paper or a long run.” However, Costello said it is difficult for her to express in words how her time in Rwanda has been because she has yet to fully understand it herself. “My experience in Rwanda is impossible to describe,” she said. “It’s everything that you’d picture it would be ¾enlightening, challenging, life-changing, difficult, rewarding … it’s all those things, but different than you could ever imagine.” Looking toward the future, Costello said she is unsure of what her plans are, but her experience in the Peace Corps has broadened her perception of what careers are available in the business world.            “I am meeting fascinating people all the time here, and so many are doing great work,” she said. “There are so many cool jobs out there, and I want them all. We will have to see what life has in store for me.”last_img read more

University awards medal

first_imgKen Hackett, former president of Catholic Relief Services (CRS), will receive the 2012 Laetare Medal during the May 20 Commencement Ceremony, the University announced Sunday. The Medal, established at Notre Dame in 1883, is the oldest and most prestigious honor given to American Catholics. It is awarded annually to a Catholic “whose genius has ennobled the arts and sciences, illustrated the ideals of the Church and enriched the heritage of humanity,” according to a University press release. University President Fr. John Jenkins praised Hackett’s compassion and strong commitment to worldwide outreach throughout his tenure at CRS. “Ken Hackett has responded to a Gospel imperative with his entire career,” Jenkins said in the press release. “His direction of the Catholic Church’s outreach to the hungry, thirsty, naked, sick and unsheltered of the world has blended administrative acumen with genuine compassion in a unique and exemplary way.” After serving CRS in various capacities since 1972, including a stint as its regional director for Africa and in several posts throughout Africa and Asia, Hackett was appointed president of CRS in 1993, according to the press release. He held the position for 18 years until his retirement in December. Hackett was succeeded by Carolyn Woo, former dean of the Mendoza College of Business.  Hackett, a native of West Roxbury, Mass., became interested in international service when he enrolled in the Peace Corps following his graduation from Boston College in 1968 because he said “it seemed like an interesting thing to do.” Hackett’s experiences living in a Catholic mission and working in an agricultural cooperative project in rural Ghana demonstrated the “actual impact of American food aid on the health and well-being of very poor kids in a very isolated part of a West African country,” he said in the press release.  After completing his Peace Corps assignment, he continued his commitment to service by beginning his CRS career in Sierra Leone, where he administered both a maternal and child health program and a nationwide leprosy control program.  While serving as CRS regional director for Africa, Hackett addressed the agency’s response to the Ethiopian famine of 1984-85 and supervised CRS operations in East Africa during the Somalian crisis of the 1990s, according to the press release.  During his tenure as the agency’s sixth president, Hackett oversaw the redoubling of CRS efforts to engage the American Catholic community in worldwide service work by reaching out to Catholic organizations, dioceses, parishes, and colleges and universities throughout the country. CRS also incorporated lay people into its board of directors under Hackett’s supervision.  The organization, one of the world’s most effective and efficient in global relief and development, now operates in more than 100 countries with a staff of nearly 5,000, according to the press release.  In addition to his service as CRS president, Hackett also served as the North America president of Caritas Internationalis, the coalition of humanitarian agencies of the Catholic Church. He continues to serve as an adviser to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and as a board member of the Vatican Pontifical Commission Cor Unum. Hackett was awarded an honorary degree from Notre Dame in 2007. He also holds honorary degrees from Boston College, Cabrini College, University of Great Falls, College of Notre Dame of Maryland, Mount St. Mary’s University, New York Medical College, Siena College, University of San Diego, Santa Clara University, Villanova University and Walsh University. The Laetare Medal is named in celebration of Laetare Sunday, the fourth Sunday in Lent and the day Notre Dame announces its recipient each year. The 2011 Medal was jointly awarded to Sr. Joan McConnon and Sr. Mary Scullion, founders of Project H.O.M.E. Previous recipients include President John F. Kennedy, Catholic Worker founder Dorothy Day, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin and jazz composer Dave Brubeck.last_img read more

SMC student studies world female leaders

first_imgFor Saint Mary’s junior Lindsay Ellis, summer break will be an opportunity to explore the cultures of young female leaders from around the world. After receiving an email from the Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership (CWIL) regarding new employment opportunities on campus, Ellis said she was intrigued by the chance to interact with international female leaders. “I am really excited to share my culture with other women leaders,” Ellis said. “With this opportunity, I will be able to find out how different I am from these other young women and how our cultures compare and contrast.” Ellis will participate in a study at Saint Mary’s that examines undergraduate women leaders from Burma, Egypt, Libya, Mongolia and TunisiaUnited States State Department’s Ellis. Ellis said the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs selected Saint Mary’s for a grant to conduct the study. Titled “Educating Tomorrow’s Global Women Leaders,” the institute will consist of four weeks of intensive studies of American women’s history, leadership and intercultural skills. This will be followed by a week of educational travel, culminating in a conference in Washington, D.C., Ellis said. “I am participating in the four weeks as a student mentor on campus, beginning on June 16 and ending on July 14,” she said. “I will be sharing a room with two international participants where we will participate in all of the activities. I will basically be an American host to the participants.” Hosted through CWIL, the institute helps participants to learn about the United States and to get to know their peers, Ellis said. “The program is designed through CWIL to include student mentors like myself so that the participants will have us as their American tour guides and mentors during their stay here,” Ellis said. Strong leadership skills and excellent intercultural competence were prerequisites for becoming student mentors, Ellis said. “I am a resident advisor in McCandless Hall, and women’s studies is one of my minors,” Ellis said. “This opportunity seemed to fit right in with what I like to do.” Ellis said she thought her experience as a Resident Advisor strengthened her application for the CWIL program. “We do diversity training and are involved with a lot of conflict resolution,” she said. “We also plan many events throughout the year, so all of that sort of molds us into people who fit the job description perfectly. I can’t wait to meet the other girls in my section, because I know we all bring something different to the table.” In addition to learning about other female leaders and their cultures, Ellis said she and other mentors will receive room and board as well as a stipend for their participation in the study. “I found the incentive in applying was that I’d be able to be back on campus for a few weeks and get to travel around while meeting new friends,” Ellis said. “The opportunity to travel to places like New York, Boston and Washington, D.C. all in one summer will be amazing.” The participants and their mentors will also make weekend trips from South Bend to Chicago, Ellis said. “This opportunity to travel and get to know women from other countries is going to be an experience I will never forget,” she said. “I am really looking forward to meeting all the participants and learning more than I ever imagined … I think because I love Saint Mary’s so much, I always want to share that love with new people, so this is the perfect opportunity for me.”last_img read more

Hypatia Day commemorates women in science

first_imgWho says mathematics and science are exclusively male-dominated areas of study? Saturday at Saint Mary’s College, nearly 80 seventh and eighth-grade girls defied this stereotype as they participated in various science labs and math-oriented activities for Hypatia Day. Hypatia Day was first organized in 1991 by Sr. Miriam Patrick Cooney, professor emerita of mathematics. Hypatia Day is meant to provide a unique experience for young girls interested in careers in math and science, director of Media Relations Gwen O’Brien said. The event was an opportunity for middle school girls from seven local counties to visit Saint Mary’s and be engaged and mentored by math and science majors, O’Brien said. With the help of Saint Mary’s students and faculty from the math and science departments, students from the surrounding Michiana and Mishawaka area received an early taste of what it is like to be a science or math major, O’Brien said.Various classrooms around the campus were used to showcase the applications of math, engineering, science and other associated fields, O’Brien said.Hypatia Day is named for the first known female mathematician, Hypatia of Alexandria, who was the daughter of ancient Greek mathematician and philosopher Theon, she said. According to legend, Hypatia’s father taught her mathematics during a period in Greek history when young, female girls were excluded from education, O’Brien said. “Hypatia knew something these girls may be figuring out: Math and science are for girls too,” O’Brien said.Associate professor of mathematics and director of Hypatia Day Kristin Kuter said the visiting middle school students were treated to a special address by this year’s keynote speaker, Dr. Tracy Kijewski-Correa, who is an associate professor and chair of the Civil Engineering and Geological Sciences Department at Notre Dame. “[She] was very dynamic, down to earth, and inspirational,” Kuter said. “She focused on empowering the young women in the audience and encouraging them to continue to pursue an education in STEM, emphasizing its power.” The remainder of the day included panel discussions between participating faculty and the girls’ parents that stressed the importance of support for the girls, who participated in hands-on sessions with Saint Mary’s math and science majors, O’Brien said. A variety of activities were put on by the math and computer science clubs, which helped the girls decode encrypted messages and code in programming language.The chemistry club had the girls make “goo” and look at different colored flames produced by various substances, and the biology and engineering clubs integrated their fundamental elements into fun games, Kuter said. “The student participants seemed to enjoy the hands-on activities, and the parents were very grateful for the information we provided about the upcoming curricular choices that should be made for their daughter to continue on to college,” Kuter said.This is Kuter’s fifth year running the event since she inherited the task from her predecessor, professor Ewa Misiolek, Kuter said.“[It is important to] encourage young women, especially those that are transitioning from middle to high school, that they can do anything, including math or science,” Kuter said.Kuter believes it is all a matter of self-confidence and self-esteem in terms of encouraging girls interested in mathematics and the sciences to continue to strive for achievement, Kuter said.“Girls need to be encouraged to persevere. They need to be told they can do it,” she said. “The stereotype that girls cannot excel in math and science unfortunately still exists in society and we need to counteract those messages at every opportunity possible, before the student disengages.“Given the research, if these girls are not encouraged, they may not have the confidence to continue.”Kuter said this year’s event was a success, and she hopes next year’s Hypatia Day will include an added session for physics students. Tags: Hypatia Daylast_img read more

HISE weekend includes press box reception, shadowing classes

first_imgEmily McConville The University of Notre Dame brought students from around the world to campus from April 6-8 to partake in the Hesburgh International Scholars Experience (HISE), which provides prospective international students with a glimpse into life at the University.According to assistant director of admissions Julie Moloney, the Latin American and Caribbean council initiated the program six years ago in hopes of providing international students with the opportunity to see and experience Notre Dame prior to making a college decision.“A lot of students don’t get the opportunity to visit Notre Dame before they have to make their decision, and we all know how beautiful this campus is and how great the people are,” she said.Moloney said the international students get the chance to experience the life of a Notre Dame student through the program.“We organize a lot of different activities and events for them,” Moloney said. “They get to do college information sessions with each of the different departments with a lot of professors and some of the academic advisors in the different departments.”In addition, Moloney said students are allowed to attend up to three classes in order to gain a better understanding of the academic aspect of student life. Participants also have the opportunity to observer dorm life and student-student interactions.“They get to stay in the dorms with student hosts, so the hope is that they’re getting to see Notre Dame from all angles before they have to make that decision as to where they see themselves the next four years,” she said.On Sunday night, the students partake in the press box event at Notre Dame stadium, according to the HISE agenda.“It’s really kind of neat for the students to be able to be up there,” Moloney said. “I think some of them realize how big of a deal it is, and some don’t until they come to Notre Dame.”Another trademark event of the weekend is the closing gala on Tuesday evening, Moloney said.“There’s a nice dinner, and there’s a speaker,” Moloney said. “Then we have a big dance afterwards with a photo booth and competitions. Everyone knows that they get to come, dress nicely for that and have a lot of fun.”Notre Dame has one of the highest percentages of students who study abroad among universities in the United States, and Moloney said it is also important to have international students attend the University.“Adding diverse minds and cultures is really enriching all across the board,” she said. “I think students that come back from [study abroad] experiences are so enriched academically and culturally.“I think that it aligns perfectly with the mission of the university to be bringing these diverse minds to Notre Dame just to stir the pot a little bit in terms of students that have grown up in different parts of the world with completely different cultures and completely different university systems and education systems.”Moloney said she hopes the HISE experience shows students all of Notre Dame’s strengths and allows them to decide if the University is the right fit for them.“We have programming that really reflects around what I kind of say are three pillars of Notre Dame,” Moloney said. “The mind, heart and spirit … our tradition of academics, community, spirituality.Despite being a respected academic institution, Notre Dame is not the right fit for everyone, Moloney said, but she added that if a student is interested in community and spirituality as aspects of a college experience, then Notre Dame is a good choice.“I think every student that graduates from here, you know that you’re graduating not just with a top-notch education, but you’ve also grown a lot personally in every aspect of the way,” she said.Moloney said Notre Dame is a place where students might experience their highest and lowest moments, but through these experiences, students grow markedly.“In a nutshell, I would recommend students to Notre Dame if that sense of growing as a whole person really appeals to them and knowing that, when you graduate, you’re going to be tasked with making a difference in the world, whatever you choose to do,” Moloney said.This task falls to students in every major, whatever career path they choose, Moloney said.“We’re challenging all of our students and all of our graduates to go on and make a difference,” Moloney said. “I think that’s one of the reasons I think people are attracted to Notre Dame because it is so mission-centered and because it comes with such a heavy task but a very manageable task.”Tags: HISE Prospective Studentslast_img read more

VisionWalk raises funds for ocular disease research

first_imgThe Notre Dame Biology Club will hold the fifth annual ND VisionWalk Sunday to raise money for the Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB) in its efforts to find a cure for retinal degeneration and other ocular diseases.Jonathan Jou and Sara Hockney, both senior biology majors, are this year’s walk co-chairs. Jou said University President Emeritus Father Theodore Hesburgh served as the inspiration for the first ND VisionWalk in 2010.“Five years ago, there was a student named Maria Sellers, who went to visit Father Hesburgh during his office hours and found out he suffers from retinal degeneration,” Jou said. “She started [ND] VisionWalk [after] speaking to Dr. David Hyde, who does retinal regeneration research.”Retinal degeneration occurs when cells in the back of the eye start to die, and gradually cause loss of all central vision, Hockney said.The event is a five-kilometer walk beginning at the Irish Green, where participants can purchase t-shirts and sunglasses and participate in a silent auction prior to the walk, Hockney said.“Our big seller [in the silent auction] every year is a Notre Dame football helmet,” Jou said.All proceeds from the event go to the FFB, which supports VisionWalks all over the country, Hockney said.The FFB’s mission is to “drive the research that will provide preventions, treatments and cures for people affected by … the entire spectrum of retinal degenerative diseases,” according to its website.Last year, approximately 200 people, many of whom were residents of the surrounding South Bend community, participated in the event, Hockney said. The co-chairs said they set a course that winds through campus to offer a view of campus for visiting participants.“A lot of people are coming who are not on campus very much [and] who want to go through classic Notre Dame areas,” Hockney said.The past four walks have been successful, and last year’s event raised about $10,000, Jou said. This year, the co-chairmen said they hope to raise at least $13,000.Jou and Hockney have been involved in the event for the past few years and assuming the roles of co-chairmen was very important to them.“Research [in retinal degeneration] is making progress, but [this event] is about raising awareness and getting people involved in a cause you care about,” Hockney, whose grandmother suffers from retinal degeneration, said.“I thought [ND VisionWalk] was a way to get involved with doing things now that are going to make a difference,” she said.Similarly, Jou said the ND VisionWalk allows him to make a bigger, immediate contribution to the medical research field.“It was a way to give back to research field,” he said. “Science is trending toward philanthropic funding. I think that events like these are becoming more and more important and will carry more weight in the future.”Tags: Foundation Fighting Blindness, Macular Degeneration, VisionWalklast_img read more

Panel explores Saint Teresa of Avila’s relevance to young Catholics

first_imgFour speakers gathered Thursday night at Saint Mary’s to discuss St. Teresa of Ávila’s relevance to young Catholics as part of a spring lecture series in honor of the 500th anniversary of her birth.Teresa’s selflessness and love for others were common themes in each speaker’s presentation, but Julia Feder, a postdoctoral fellow in Notre Dame’s theology department, focused especially on false humility, which she said can produce fear and a lack of confidence in believers.“There are many opportunities to misinterpret humility,” Feder said. “False humility can produce fear and overzealous penitential practices. True humility will lead one to accept God’s blessings and courageously take up love of one’s neighbor. It will lead to activity, rather than to paralysis.”Additionally, Feder emphasized the importance of honoring God through prayer. She said conversation with God can lead to greater understanding of oneself.“Prayer is for those seeking purification,” Feder said. “It is the door to the healing works of God. The journey toward union with God and prayer is also a journey toward knowledge of the self.”Maria Surat, a master of divinity student at Notre Dame, discussed Teresa’s desire for people to follow in the example of the Carmelites and meditate each day.“Teresa taught that prayer is nothing but a conversation between friends,” Surat said. “She tells us to seek God with determination and to never give up in prayer. Prayer is not thinking much but loving much.”Surat said Teresa’s followers should consider God a close friend, for this perspective can help them to grow in faith.“Teresa teaches us to seek God’s face in the person of Christ and to cultivate intimate friendship with him,” Surat said. “We are called to friendship with God so that we might encourage others to seek him.”Surat related her own life to Teresa’s life 500 years ago and said Teresa faced challenges much like her own.“In contemporary society, we are faced with many challenges to the gospel,” Surat said. “Teresa encourages us to be strong friends of God. She too was living in a time of painful division of the Church.”Katie Bugyis, a Ph.D. candidate in Medieval Studies at Notre Dame, said Teresa’s experiences connect with those of her modern-day followers.“Teresa had to overcome opposition,” she said. ““he was even forced to abandon her efforts to retire to a monastery in Castille for four years. She quickly learned from the many difficulties that plagued her foundations and developed strategies for circumventing any obstacles.”Despite Teresa’s struggles, Bugyis said she witnessed the establishment of 17 Carmelite houses for nuns throughout Spain, where she enforced her own guidelines and principles.“Teresa’s reforming ideals were inspired by nearly 30 years of experience as a Carmelite nun at La Encarnación in Ávila,” Bugyis said. “Teresa was convinced that preferential treatment would destroy monastic communities. She insisted ‘All must be friends, all must be loved, all must be held dear, all must be helped.’”Saint Mary’s sophomore Kaleigh Ellis shared photos of her time in Ávila, where she walked in Teresa’s footsteps.“Ávila has a real devotion to Teresa,” Ellis said. “It puts history in perspective when you can walk around areas where people like St. Teresa walked around.”Although her 500th birthday will be celebrated March 28, Teresa’s legacy is ongoing, Surat said.“Teresa is a woman who has truly experienced God in her life, and she speaks to us from that experience,” Surat said. “We are encouraged to make Teresa’s dying words our own: ‘I want to see God. I am a daughter of the church.’” Tags: Saint Mary’s College, Saint Teresa of Avilalast_img read more

South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks to College Democrats at ND

first_imgSouth Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg shared lessons from his political career with the College Democrats and articulated his administration’s policy and his future aspirations for the city Tuesday in DeBartolo Hall.Buttigieg, himself a member of the College Democrats during his undergraduate years at Harvard, said while South Bend has struggled economically in the past, he thinks the city is on the right track to full recovery.“You’re in South Bend in an extraordinary moment in the history of the city, because we’re on the rebound,” he said. “We have had the fastest population growth in 25 years. It wasn’t much, but the fact that it’s positive numbers itself is pretty exciting.”Buttigieg said crucial to the recovery of South Bend — and one of the cornerstones of his administration — is the ability of its municipal leaders to listen to the needs of the average citizen. Indeed, he listed his ability to respond effectively to his constituency as one of the reasons for his election to the office of mayor in 2011.“We entered a five-way race where I was not the most credible candidate coming into it,” he said. “We built credibility by talking and listening to voters and having a message that really spoke to where South Bend is at.”He said one of the challenges he faced coming into office and even during the mayoral race itself was that South Bend was regarded by many as a dying city. In fact, Buttigieg said South Bend was listed by Newsweek magazine as one of 10 dying cities of America the very week he declared his candidacy.Buttigieg said part of the reason for South Bend’s past economic troubles was the large amount of vacant and abandoned properties still leftover from the closure of the South Bend Studebaker factory over 50 years ago.“Even though we’re best known for the University of Notre Dame, we actually didn’t grow up around education as a city. We grew up around industry,” he said.In order to combat the city’s vacancy problem, Buttigieg said his administration unveiled the “1,000 homes in 1,000 days” program, which aims to demolish or renovate 1,000 of the city’s abandoned houses over the course of 1,000 days. Already, he said, the city is on its 975th house after only about 900 days of the project being in place.“It’s kind of unsexy, but it makes a huge difference,” he said.Among his administration’s other “unsexy” undertakings, he said, is the creation of a smart sewer system.  Buttigieg said South Bend is the first city in the world to put its sewer system on the Cloud.“The rest of the world is getting more productive thanks to technology — why shouldn’t cities?” he said.But even considering its recent growth, Buttigieg said South Bend still faces a number of challenges.“Our industrial past is a great thing in terms of having brought us here, but it also means that we’ve struggled for 50 years to adjust,” he said. “It’s taken my entire first term as mayor just to get people ready to believe in the city.”Still, Buttigieg said he has seen an improvement in the outlook of South Bend since he took office in 2012, in part evidenced by the city’s recent 150-year anniversary celebration.“Honestly, what has made the biggest difference is people believing in the city, and having a celebration of our city … cemented the awareness that our city is back,” he said. “I think it was the perfect hinge point for being in the middle of this decade, which I think will go down in history — if we keep pushing — as the most transformative decade our city has ever had.”Buttigieg said he thinks this decade is particularly historic for a number of reasons, including the city’s recent push towards acceptance of all members of society. Having recently come out publicly as gay in an essay published in the South Bend Tribune, Buttigieg said one of his greatest concerns as a politician is equality.“I really want to be judged in my job based on, ‘Are we filling the potholes, and are we generating jobs, and is the city coming back?’” he said. “I will absolutely be outspoken on LGBT issues and especially when fairness comes into play.”And for now, Buttigieg said, he is exclusively focusing on the mayoral election. He said he does not currently have aspirations to run for state or federal office.“Right now, I’m just thinking about the city,” he said. “I know it’s not a job I can do forever, but I’ll do it as long as it’s the place I can make the most impact. … This may be the last office I ever run for, and it might not.”Looking towards the future, Buttigieg said he thinks the involvement of students and young people is essential to the continued recovery of the city. He said the many joint projects between South Bend and Notre Dame “could put South Bend on the map as one of the great city-university collaborations in America.”“If you could pick one thing to put in the middle of your city, as a mayor — a waterfall, an NFL team — what you would pick would be a world class university, and we have that,” he said. “Which is exactly why South Bend is not going to die. South Bend is going to grow.”Tags: College Democrats, Pete Buttigieglast_img read more

‘I thought God had presented this guy’: 20 years after reporting clergy abuse to the University, a Notre Dame survivor shares his story

first_imgReporting the abuseAccording to 2019 correspondence between Fuller’s lawyer, Richard Serbin, and Notre Dame general counsel Marianne Corr, Fuller kept in contact with the University for at least a year after reporting the abuse in 2002.During that time, University records indicate Fuller corresponded with former Notre Dame general counsel Carol Kaesebier and Fr. Richard Warner, then chief adviser to University President Emeritus Fr. Edward A. Malloy. Fuller does not have records of his correspondence with Warner and Kaesebier from the early 2000s.According to University records, Fuller met with Notre Dame in April of 2003. His sister Paula Mason and a close friend, Carol Smola, came along for support.Kaesebier, Warner and other top University administrators attended on behalf of Notre Dame. Kaesebier was part of a three-person committee Malloy founded that year to work with survivors of abuse by Notre Dame clergy.Fuller hoped his meeting with the University would help him heal. He said he asked the University to help pay for him to receive an additional degree, as he felt Notre Dame had not given him the education he had paid for.“‘You put me through some more school, help me get a degree in counseling or be a therapist, and I’ll go help people like me,’” he said. “That’s exactly what I said.”Both Smola and Mason confirmed Fuller asked the University for help with education costs at the meeting. However, the University did not fulfill his request. In an email, Kaesebier said she did not recall enough about her correspondence with Fuller or the events of the meeting to comment. Malloy said he did not remember Fuller, and Warner did not respond to multiple interview requests.In reaching out to the University for comment, Observer reporters also asked University spokesperson Dennis Brown to confirm whether Fuller asked for help with educational costs or made any other requests during the meeting. The University declined to comment.According to University records, Fuller did not stay in contact with Notre Dame after the meeting.In an Associated Press article from March 2003, the University offered a public apology to Fuller for a priest who “had sexual contact with him” while he was a student there. “We feel very bad about this,” Fr. Richard Warner, at the time director of Campus Ministry and counselor to Malloy, said in the article. “We feel even worse because … he’s lived with it quietly for all those years and has had to seek out counseling. It wasn’t brought to our attention until almost a year ago.”The article does not identify Presley as the priest in question.Fuller said he was disappointed by the apology and feels the University has yet to take full responsibility for Presley. Courtesy of Mark Fuller. A photo of Mark Fuller from a few years ago.Fuller rediscovered his lawyer’s correspondence with Notre Dame general counsel Marianne Corr from 2019 during an interview with The Observer. In the correspondence, Corr said she would be open to continue working with Fuller. He reached out to Corr in May, and the two have been in conversation.At the beginning of Lent, a volunteer came to Fuller’s work offering to place ashes on people’s foreheads. Though his relationship with the church has been damaged, he decided to take ashes that day.“I didn’t lose all my faith,” Fuller said. “Still pray.”It takes time to process trauma, Fuller said, and he’d like to see more survivors have access to professional therapy.“There’s a progression; you can’t push yourself,” Fuller said. “You can’t rush too much, you can just get hurt again in a way, in weird ways.” And, he added, if he could talk to a young survivor, he’d like to offer them hope.“I would want that person to know — to be encouraged — that it sometimes gets dark or hard,” Fuller said.He paused.“And then it gets lighter.”Tags: Catholic Church abuse crisis, Diocese of Erie, Fr. William Presley, Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, University of Notre Dame Mary Steurer | The Observer Fr. William Presley was rector of St. Edward’s Hall, featured above. Fuller says Presley abused him in the men’s residence hall. Addressing the pastIn February 2019, the Diocese of Erie launched a survivor compensation fund. Fuller hired a lawyer and filed a claim, settling later that year. A third of Fuller’s settlement went to his lawyer, and another third went to taxes, he said. “It was by no means — originally or the part [of the sum] that I netted — enough for the medications, the therapy, the missed wages, the pain and suffering, nowhere even close,” Fuller said. “I can’t even do the math.”Fuller did not disclose the amount of the settlement. The diocese had also previously offered Fuller money for counseling, but it was only enough to cover about six sessions, he told media outlets during a demonstration in Pittsburgh led by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), an international advocacy group of which Fuller is a member.However, Fuller did credit then-Bishop Donald Walter Trautman of Erie, Pennsylvania, for believing him when he reported Presley.According to news outlet goerie.com, in December, the compensation fund had paid a total of $5.9 million to 50 survivors, making the average settlement $118,000. Sums have ranged from $5,000 to $400,000.“Establishing a fund, handled completely independently by a third party, allowed us to publicly acknowledge the crimes of the past and the damage that was done,” Welsh said in a statement to The Observer. “It also gave us a way to offer some measure of justice to victims.”The diocese also offered to connect survivors with pro bono lawyers unaffiliated with the diocese’s law firm to help them through the process.Fuller’s lawyer, Richard Serbin, has represented over 400 child sex abuse survivors over the span of more than three decades. Serbin said in that time, he has seen a change in the Catholic Church’s approach to addressing sexual abuse.“In the early years when I was doing this, it was all hardball legal tactics, very aggressive tactics to fight these lawsuits,” he said.Since the early 2000s, the Catholic Church has made strides in addressing the sexual abuse crisis. However, the absence of greater regulation means there is still little consensus on what qualifies as adequate response and prevention, advocates said.Terry McKiernan, co-founder of the clergy abuse watchdog group called Bishop Accountability, said Catholic organizations should ensure comprehensive information about their abuse history is publicly available. This could include what the organization has done or is planning to do to address abuse, as well as a public apology to survivors, he said.“The message should absolutely be that the person at the top is willing to sit down with anyone who has been harmed,” he said.Former FBI executive assistant director Kathleen McChesney, who helped spearhead the creation of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Office of Child and Youth Protection in the early 2000s, recommended Catholic institutions strengthen their abuse prevention with regular background screening, increased supervision and timely response to boundary violations. “You want to do everything you can to identify who’s an abuser,” she said.The University should do more to educate students about the dangers of clergy abuse, Fuller said. He suggested inviting survivors like him or other professionals in the field of abuse prevention to come speak to Notre Dame freshmen.“Be warned,” he said. “Be aware.” ‘The color all went out of my life’Fuller and Presley stayed in contact for the remainder of Presley’s time at Notre Dame.Over the course of Fuller’s sophomore and junior years, Presley took him on trips around the country.In New York, Presley took Fuller to his first pornographic film, as well as to the Rainbow Room, a famous lounge in Manhattan.“I can’t even walk by that building without feeling sick to my stomach,” Fuller said.Fuller said during these trips, Presley often tried to initiate unwanted sexual contact with him.“He would touch me or touch my back, touch my arm, touch a leg,” he said.Presley also took Fuller to a ranch on the west coast. While there, Fuller said, Presley hired women sex workers for them.“I was so terrified and so disgusted … and just frozen. I couldn’t wait to get out of there,” Fuller said.He bought Fuller a stereo, speakers and a turntable. Disgusted by the gifts, Fuller gave them to his cousin as soon as he left college.“I think he was buying my silence,” Fuller said. Grooming victims and convincing them the abuse is a form of counseling or education is one way offenders can hold their victims psychologically hostage, convincing them to stay in an abusive situation, said Carlos Cuevas, a clinical psychologist and professor at Northeastern University. He declined to speak to the specifics of Fuller’s case but discussed the general dynamics and effects of sexual abuse.“Those are things that may not be physically keeping the individual from leaving, but certainly psychologically are making sure the offender can continue to have access to them,” Cuevas said. Sophomore year, when the abuse started, Fuller’s grades plummeted.Fuller’s friendships from freshman year also faded, and he withdrew from his extracurriculars. He wanted to drop out of school, but his father asked him to stay. “The color all went out of my life, you know, out of that campus,” he said. “It was no longer so beautiful to me.”Presley left Notre Dame in 1976, Fuller’s junior year.center_img ‘There’s a progression; you can’t push yourself’As Fuller, now 65, nears retirement, he hopes to buy a small home, perhaps a townhouse. In his ideal world, Fuller would retire by a lake and perhaps find a significant other.“I know what I think and feel,” Fuller said. “I’m aware. And that is good for communicating.”Smola described Mark as “incredibly courageous” and “resilient” as she’s watched him heal throughout the years.“All of those talents and abilities … that he’s had, he’s needed to use those to process through and keep going and accomplish all that he has,” she said.Throughout it all, he’s relied on family and friends, especially his sister.“We’re best friends today,” Mason said.Besides SNAP, Fuller is also a member of AlAnon, a recovery group for friends and family members of alcoholics. Daniel Wilson, one of Fuller’s friends from AlAnon, said he has also seen Fuller become increasingly open to sharing his story with others in the roughly 12 years they’ve known each other.“In our circle of friends in recovery, there are a lot of people who have suffered sexual abuse, both men and women, both straight and gay, and I think his experiences have helped people who have a different profile,” Wilson said. Mark Fuller, class of 1977, came forward with his experience of priest abuse in 2002. Notre Dame offered little more than an apology.Editor’s note: This story includes descriptions of sexual abuse and violence. A list of sexual assault reporting options and on-campus resources can be found on the Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross websites.Diane Park The first two times Mark Fuller visited Fr. William Presley, then rector of St. Edward’s Hall, they just talked. It was 1974, and Fuller vividly remembers sitting in an orange lounge chair in the front of Presley’s rectory while the priest asked him questions about his classes, his family and his personal life. Fuller remembers Presley offering him a soda.Then, in their third or fourth meeting, Fuller said, things changed. Presley told Fuller to wait while he went into the bedroom. When Presley called him in, he was in bed under the covers. He told Fuller to disrobe.Fuller said this was the first time Presley raped him.“He would go get a washcloth — ‘This is what you do. This is what you do with your partner,’” recalled Fuller, 65. “He was telling me how sex worked.” Presley raped him two more times during his sophomore year, Fuller said.Investigators say Presley victimized many people over the course of his career. According to a 2018 report by a grand jury that investigated sex abuse allegations against the clergy in Pennsylvania, where Presley also worked, at least five have credibly accused him of abuse. The report, which cited records from the Diocese of Erie, said Presley was known to have abused people through “‘choking, slapping, punching, rape, sodomy, fellatio, anal intercourse’ and other acts.”“It’s some kind of a soul murder, you know,” said Fuller, who graduated from the University in 1977. “It really is. It damages something so important that you can’t see.”Since the grand jury report was made public in August 2018, Notre Dame has developed several initiatives addressing the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse crisis. The University commissioned two task forces, one to facilitate dialogue on campus, another to assess research opportunities. It pledged up to $1 million to fund research on clergy abuse. The University even hosted its 2019 Notre Dame Forum on the subject.However, there has been little public discussion of Notre Dame’s own history with abusive clergy in recent years, and its own record with priest abuse remains murky. A 2003 report from the South Bend Tribune said at the time Notre Dame was aware of allegations against four priests. It is unclear if Presley, who was later defrocked and died in 2012, was one of them. Survivors like Fuller question whether the University has offered a full accounting of the cases involving clergy at Notre Dame. And, with little more than an apology decades after the alleged abuse, some, like Fuller, are left with a sense of unfinished business — which they say reflects a larger failure by the University to address the harm students suffered at the hands of its priests.The Observer asked Notre Dame how its strategies for abuse response and prevention have changed since the ’70s, particularly in light of the abuse crisis. The University did not respond and did not answer a question about how many priests working at Notre Dame had been accused of abusing a community member during their tenure.In the Presley case, Fuller reported the abuse to Notre Dame in 2002. In a statement to The Observer, vice president for public affairs and communications Paul Browne linked to an Associated Press article from 2003, where the University offered an apology to Fuller.“While we had no contemporaneous reports on file from that period, Notre Dame in 2002 reported the allegations against Presley to the Erie, Pennsylvania, diocese,” Browne said in a statement to The Observer. “The University publicly apologized to the student in 2003.”The University’s apology did little to assuage the pain Fuller has felt for nearly half a century, he said. For almost 30 years, he had refused to report Presley’s behavior to Notre Dame — largely, he said, because of a mix of fear and shame.In a series of interviews with The Observer over the past five months, Fuller shared his account of how the abuse he endured shaped his life, his faith and his perception of the university he once called home. He did so, he said, in the hopes that other survivors of clergy abuse — both at Notre Dame and elsewhere — might find the courage to share their stories. And he said he also hopes that his story might compel the University to reckon more fully with the sins of the priests from its past. Courtesy of Mark Fuller Mark Fuller’s high school senior portrait.Grooming and abuseIn the fall of his sophomore year, Fuller and his roommate were invited to a football game watch party with Presley in St. Edward’s Hall. Presley was friendly, Fuller recalled of their first meeting. There were about a dozen students crammed into the rectory watching the game. Returning for his second or third game watch, Fuller said he decided to stay behind to talk to Presley. Fuller disclosed that he was gay, and he wanted to try conversion therapy to see if he could turn himself straight. “My church, my family, everything, everybody said that I was bad,” Fuller said.Presley was quick to offer help. He told Mark he would be his counselor.Fuller left the rectory that day feeling relieved. He had been praying to find someone to help him.“I thought God had presented this guy,” he said.Presley came to Notre Dame from the Diocese of Erie, Pennsylvania, in August of 1970, according to the grand jury report, which lists him as a “graduate and student counselor” at the time. According to The Observer archives, he was named rector of St. Edward’s Hall in September 1971. University records also indicate he was a member of hall staff in Keenan Hall. The grand jury report found that Presley’s track record of abuse began as early as 1963. The report concluded the Diocese of Erie knew of allegations against Presley by at least 1987.“Not speaking specifically about this case, every allegation that we had on file has been reported to civil authorities, whether it is beyond the statute of limitations or not,” Diocese of Erie director of communications Anne-Marie Welsh said in a statement to The Observer. “We will continue to report new allegations as they are made known to us.”Presley was defrocked in 2006. He died in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 2012.last_img read more

Jamestown Area Tim Hortons Closes Dining Rooms Amid Virus Outbreak

first_imgImage by Justin Gould / WNYNewsNow.JAMESTOWN – Jamestown area Tim Horton stores are closing their dining rooms amid the Coronavirus outbreak.In a post on social media the company says they are moving to drive thru only operation.“This is not a corporate decision it is ours, we are fully committed to the safety of our employees, their families, and our customers,” the company said. “We understand this will be an inconvenience for some but we are taking all precautions to try and help this issue.” 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

Falconer VFD Receives $125,000 Federal Grant

first_imgShare: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) Stock Image.FALCONER —The Falconer Volunteer Fire Department has been awarded a federal grant of $125,238, according to Congressman Tom Reed.Reed announced the grant Thursday through the Assistance to Firefighters program.In addition, the City of Dunkirk Fire Department will receive $155,304.76.The Assistance to Firefighters Grants program is administered by the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency alongside the U.S. Fire Administration. “We recognize the services firefighters carry out every day to keep us safe and secure. Given the important role firefighters play in our communities, we care about making sure our fire departments have fair access to the resources they need,” said Reed. “These grants are crucial to our local fire departments and we were proud to fight for these funds.”For more information on the Assistance to Fire Fighters grants program visit: fema.gov.last_img read more

Sheriff Reports Uptick In Stolen Yard Signs, Warning Of Criminal Reparations

first_imgWNY News Now File Image.MAYVILLE – The Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents that stealing political yard signs is a crime in New York State.In a statement to the media, Sheriff Jim Quattrone says so far this election season there have been several reports of stolen yard signs throughout the county.The Sheriff says that taking political signs is not only a crime, it can also considered suppressing free speech, a violation of the U.S. Constitution.“As Election Day approaches there will likely be an increase in signs being put out,” said Quattrone. “Anyone taking a sign without permission could be subject to criminal charges.” Specifically, Republican District Attorney candidate Jason Schmidt reports on his Facebook page that some of his political signs have been taken.In the post, Schmidt says signs along Central Avenue in Fredonia first went missing last Saturday.The Sheriff’s Office says residents that believe a sign is hindering visibility of traffic, or if a sign is illegally placed, residents should call the municipality where the sign is located. 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

So You Think You Can Dance Finalist Carlos Garland Joins iLuminate

first_img View Comments So You Think You Can Dance finalist Carlos Garland is the latest to light up New World Stages in the off-Broadway hit iLuminate. The dancer began performances on June 23. The new 2014 edition of the show, directed, co-choreographed and co-written by Miral Kotb, opened on January 27,In addition to competing on the tenth season of the popular Fox series, Garland, along with his dance crew Systematic, won BET’s 106 & Park dance competition. He has also toured with Rasta Thomas’ dance company, Bad Boys of Dance.iLuminate, which first got attention as a contestant on NBC’s America’s Got Talent, tells the fantastical story of Jacob, a talented young artist who struggles to connect with the real world. He takes comfort in his magical paintbrush, which gives him the ability to turn the characters in his imagination into living creations. The show combines music, art, dance and technological magic to create a theatrical spectacle.last_img read more

Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Carolee Carmello & More Will Star in Tuck Everlasting

first_img View Comments Casting is now set for the previously announced world premiere of Tuck Everlasting at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre. The new production, directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, will star Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Carolee Carmello, Robert Lenzi, Terrence Mann, Michael Park and newcomer Sarah Charles Lewis. Carmello, Keenan-Bolger and Park had initially been tapped to appear in the 2013 pre-Broadway world premiere in Boston, which was subsequently canceled. The new production will begin performances on January 21, 2015 and run through February 22. Opening night is set for February 4. No official word yet on the tuner’s plans for the Great White Way following Atlanta.Featuring music by Chris Miller, lyrics by Nathan Tysen and a book by Claudia Shear, Tuck Everlasting follows a young girl (Lewis) and her friendship with Jesse Tuck (Keenan-Bolger) and his family, who become immortal after drinking from an enchanted spring. Based on the 1975 children’s novel by Natalie Babbitt, the story has twice been adapted for the screen.Keenan-Bolger’s Broadway credits include Newsies, Mary Poppins, Seussical and Beauty and the Beast. Carmello, who will take on the role of Ma Tuck, earned Tony nominations for her performances in Parade, Lestat and Scandalous. She recently appeared in the pre-Broadway engagement of Finding Neverland. Lenzi, who will play Miles Tuck, made his Broadway debut in South Pacific. Mann, who takes on the role of the Man in the Yllow Suit, earned a Tony nod for his most recent Broadway performance in Pippin; he was also nominated for Beauty and the Beast and Les Miserables. Park will play Pa Tuck; he has appeared on Broadway in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Little Me. Lewis, at just 10-years-old, recently starred in Atlanta Lyric Theatre’s Annie.Additional cast members will include Michael Wartella as Hugo, Shannon Eubanks as Nana and Liza Jaine as Betsy Foster. The world premiere production will feature a set by Walt Spangler, costumes by Gregg Barnes, lighting design by Kenneth Posner and sound design by Brian Ronan.last_img read more

Cocktails, Accordions & Shared DNA: Chart the History of A Delicate Balance

first_img The Making of a Playwright In the artistic hotbed of 1940s New York, Albee met celebrated poet W.H. Auden, who then arranged a meeting with Thornton Wilder. Albee was writing poetry at the time, but after reading his work, the famous Our Town playwright suggested that Albee consider becoming a dramatist. “I don’t think he saw the incipient dramatist in my poems,” Albee told The Telegraph in 2011, “I think he was trying to save poetry from me.” Albee’s first play The Zoo Story opened in Berlin in 1958, but it was his scorching 1962 drama Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? that secured his place in American theater history. Edward Albee turned the drawing room comedies and dramas of the 1950s upside-down with his brilliantly brutal works, including the blistering one-act The Zoo Story and his game-changing barnburner Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? But it wasn’t until 1967 that he garnered his first Pulitzer Prize for A Delicate Balance. Wealthy, WASPy older couple Agnes and Tobias live in suburbia with Agnes’ hard-drinking sister Claire, but things are thrown into chaos by the arrival of their daughter Julia, whose fourth marriage has crumbled, and their friends Harry and Edna, who are fleeing from an unnamed terror in their home. Read up on this play before it opens at the Golden Theatre on November 20, directed by Pam MacKinnon and starring Glenn Close, John Lithgow, Lindsay Duncan, Martha Plimpton, Bob Balaban and Clare Higgins. Big Shoes to Fill After a 1973 movie with Katharine Hepburn and Paul Scofield earned decent reviews but very little love in the awards department, a 1996 Broadway revival fared better. George Grizzard and Rosemary Harris were well-received as Tobias and Agnes, but it was Elaine Stritch as the boozy, accordion-playing, truth-telling Claire who left her mark (as always) on the show’s juiciest role. In the new revival, three-time Tony winner Glenn Close chose not to compete with the memory of Stritch’s performance; that honor instead goes to acclaimed British actress Lindsay Duncan. “I wouldn’t begrudge Elaine Stritch anything,” Duncan told the L.A. Times. She’s one of your legends, and as far as I’m concerned, she can have it all. Thankfully, I can only do the Claire that I can do.” When Stars Align While the number of Awards—Tony, Olivier, Emmy, Golden Globe—among this cast is staggering, no one is resting on their laurels. “All of us have come to the moment where you sink to you knees and roll on the floor,” Close said on The Today Show of working on Albee’s play. But the challenges were worth it—the production that lured Close back to Broadway for the first time in 17 years is drawing audiences in record numbers. It’s not easy to get a full cast of marquee names, so we’re guessing they all share’s Bob Balaban’s delight at being a member of this ensemble: “With the play, the director and the cast,” he said, “I’d be happy to just move scenery.” View Comments Write What You Know When Albee started writing A Delicate Balance, he ended up right back in the WASPy world he escaped—Harry and Edna were even based on a real couple of the same name who were friends of his parents. According to Albee, the play “has to do with that class, and that social and political structure that I grew up around, unfortunately, and left as soon as I could.” A Delicate Balance opened on Broadway on September 23, 1966 starring real-life married couple Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy as Tobias and Agnes, Rosemary Murphy as Claire and Marian Seldes as Julia. After mixed reviews, Seldes was the only one to walk away with a trophy on Tony night in 1967, but we’re guessing Albee wasn’t too disappointed. He’d already won the 1967 Pulitzer Prize for drama, an award many felt was overdue. Virginia Woolf had been up for a Pulitzer in ’63, but the committee deemed it insufficiently “uplifting”; several jurors resigned in protest. But A Delicate Balance wasn’t a consolation prize: “We were right then, and we’re right now,” said juror Mason Brown. To the Theater Born Albee came by his velvet-barbed language honestly. Born in 1928 in Washington, D.C., at under a month old he was adopted by a wealthy vaudeville heir and his socialite wife and moved to the ritzy town of Larchmont, NY. It wasn’t his natural environment. “When I was told that I was adopted I remember being rather relieved,” Albee told The Guardian. “I just didn’t feel that I belonged. And the older I got, the more I was able to observe the way they lived their lives and the more I was convinced that there was something very amiss there.” Young Albee was thrown out of several private schools and sent to the military academy; at 20, he left for good and found the home he’d been looking for in Greenwich Village. He never saw his father again, and it would be 17 years before he again saw his mother. Together Again In 1982, Glenn Close and John Lithgow became great friends while filming the screen adaptation of The World According to Garp. (Maybe they picked up a couple of tips on A Delicate Balance: Original stars Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy also starred in the film.) They both earned Oscar nods but haven’t worked together since, though their connection remains strong. “I’m the male Glenn Close, and she’s the female John Lithgow,” Lithgow told the New York Times, “In that we’re basically serious theater actors who have been lucky to find great material to play in film and television. We share DNA in a lot of ways, which can help create a marriage.” Related Shows A Delicate Balance Show Closed This production ended its run on Feb. 22, 2015last_img read more

Whip Yourself Into Shape with Broadway.com’s 2015 Workout Mix

first_img View Comments Be honest, things got a little rough last night, didn’t they? While watching Idina Menzel kill it on New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, you ate a few too many canapés and you drank more whiskey than one person should down in a month. It’s OK, it happens to the best of us. But don’t worry—Broadway.com is here to make you buff and beautiful! It’s time to hit the gym with our 2015 Workout Playlist, now streaming on Spotify. Just load the songs on your phone (or stream them on the Spotify iPhone app), take ‘em to the gym and get that heart pumping. You’ll look like this, or this, or this in no time.last_img read more

James Earl Jones & Cicely Tyson Will Star in The Gin Game on Broadway

first_img View Comments Show Closed This production ended its run on Jan. 10, 2016 Related Shows Tony-winning legends James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson are returning to Broadway! The pair will headline a revival of D.L. Coburn’s The Gin Game. Directed by Leonard Foglia, the Pulitzer Prize-winning play will begin previews on September 21 and officially open on October 13 at the Golden Theater.Jones received Tony Awards for Fences and The Great White Hope, and nominations for On Golden Pond and The Best Man. His other Broadway credits include the recent You Can’t Take It With You, Othello, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Of Mice and Men and The Iceman Cometh. His many film roles include Clear and Present Danger, Field of Dreams and The Man.Tyson won the 2013 Tony for Best Actress in a Play for her performance in The Trip to Bountiful and was also nominated for an Emmy Award for the 2014 television movie version. Tyson made history when she became the first African American to win an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress for 1974’s TV film The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. Her 1972 film Sounder earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. On stage, Tyson has starred in shows including The Corn Is Green, Trumpets of the Lord, Carry Me Back to Morningside Heights and Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright. Recent film appearances include Alex Cross, Diary of a Mad Black Woman and The Help.Weller Martin (Jones) and Fonsia Dorsey (Tyson) meet on the porch of their nursing home and strike up a friendship, with Weller teaching Fonsia how to play gin rummy. As they play, they share stories about the lives they led in the outside world. But when Fonsia wins every hand, Weller becomes increasingly frustrated, until their gin games and conversations become a battleground, with each player exposing the other’s failures, disappointments and insecurities.The pair last appeared on Broadway together in A Hand Is on the Gate in 1966. And in case you were wondering, Tyson is 90, Jones is 84 and they will be doing eight shows a week!The Gin Game returns to the Golden Theatre where the original production opened in 1977, starring Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy. The play last appeared on Broadway in 1997, in a production starring Charles Durning and Julie Harris. The Gin Game has also been filmed twice for television; in 1981 with original stars Cronyn and Tandy, and in 2003 with Dick van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore.Complete creative team will be announced later. The Gin Gamelast_img read more

Buried Child, Starring Ed Harris & Amy Madigan, Extends Off-Broadway

first_img Buried Child ‘Buried Child’ Buried Child is a hit before it even starts performances! Led by Oscar nominees and real-life husband and wife Ed Harris and Amy Madigan, the production will now play off-Broadway through March 27; it has previously been set to shutter on March 13. Directed by Scott Elliott, the New Group revival of Sam Shepard’s play will begin previews on February 2 at the Pershing Square Signature Center’s Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre. Opening night is scheduled for February 17.The cast will also include Taissa Farmiga, Larry Pine, Rich Sommer, Paul Sparks and Nat Wolff.Shepard’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Buried Child returns 20 years after its last major New York production. Dodge (Harris) and Halie (Madigan) are barely hanging on to their farmland and their sanity while looking after their two wayward grown sons Tilden (Sparks) and Bradley (Sommer). When their grandson Vince (Wolff) arrives with his girlfriend Shelly (Farmiga), no one seems to recognize him, and confusion abounds. As Vince tries to make sense of the chaos, the rest of the family dances around a deep, dark secret. Pine will play Father Dewis. Related Showscenter_img Show Closed This production ended its run on April 3, 2016 View Commentslast_img read more

Hamilton’s Renee Elise Goldsberry Praises B’way’s Powerful Women

first_img Hamilton View Comments Renée Elise Goldsberry Related Shows Renée Elise Goldsberrycenter_img from $149.00 Star Files Look around, look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now! There is a robust roster of wonderful tuners and plays on the Main Stem and a delightfully diverse community of performers making Broadway soar. Hamilton Tony nominee and Broadway.com Audience Choice Award winner Renée Elise Goldsberry stopped by The Today Show on May 19 to give it up to the ladies rocking the Great White Way. “I am so proud of the diversity, not only just racially, but of the powerful women that are being portrayed right now,” Goldsberry said. Not satisfied? Watch the full interview below!last_img read more

Broadway Grosses: Hamilton Remains Non-Stop

first_img View Comments Phillipa Soo & Lin-Manuel Miranda in ‘Hamilton'(Photo: Joan Marcus) Lin-Manuel Miranda took a bow in his masterpiece Hamilton for one last time on July 9, which also marked the conclusion of Tony winner Leslie Odom Jr. and Philippa Soo’s runs in the blockbuster musical. As audiences—determined not to throw away their shot at catching the three original leads—flocked to the Richard Rodgers Theatre, the show reached its highest gross yet and was the only production this week to surpass its potential. While they will be missed, the tuner will undoubtedly remain a usual suspect on the boards for some time. The Lion King still claimed the throne as the top-grossing show, and perennial hits Wicked, Aladdin and The Book of Mormon joined them in the top spots. Meanwhile, She Loves Me, following a live-streamed performance, ended its limited run with its biggest week at $712,072 and a capacity of 98.51%.Here’s a look at who was on top—and who was not—for the week ending July 10:FRONTRUNNERS (By Gross)1. The Lion King ($2,255,572)2. Hamilton ($2,053,263)3. Wicked ($1,758,107)4. Aladdin ($1,591,362)5. The Book of Mormon ($1,322,710)UNDERDOGS (By Gross)5. Jersey Boys ($489,255)4. Fully Committed ($395,188)3. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time ($369,489)2. Fun Home ($320,261)1. An Act of God ($284,709)*FRONTRUNNERS (By Capacity)1. The Book of Mormon (102.46%)2. Hamilton (101.75%)3. The Humans (99.02%)4. She Loves Me (98.51%)5. The Lion King (97.18%)UNDERDOGS (By Capacity)5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (62.39%)4. An American in Paris (61.27%)3. Paramour (60.50%)2. Jersey Boys (58.45%)1. On Your Feet! (52.79%)* Number based on seven regular performancesSource: The Broadway Leaguelast_img read more

See the Rocky Horror Picture Show Do the ‘Time Warp’!

first_imgIvy Levan, Tim Curry, Adam Lambert, Annaleigh Ashford, Staz Nair, Laverne Cox, Ryan McCartan, Victoria Justice, Christina Milian, Reeve Carney & Ben Vereen(Photos: Steve Wilkie/FOX) Fox’s Rocky Horror Picture Show remake seems to be just a jump to the left! The highly anticipated broadcast will air on October 20, and we can hardly wait to bust out our “Time Warp” moves and fishnets as we watch some of our stage faves strut and pelvic thrust across the small screen. Get a taste of what’s to come with the newest trailer, and be sure to check out Tony winner Annaleigh Ashford as Columbia, Broadway alum Reeve Carney as Riff Raff, Laverne Cox as Dr. Frank-N-Furter, Tony winner Ben Vereen as Dr. Everett Scott and Heathers hunk Ryan McCartan as Brad below! View Commentslast_img read more

Georgia Greenspace

first_imgThe GGP is a voluntary, noncompetitive, county-based program. It provides for awards of formula grants to eligible counties if they develop and implement plans to permanently protect at least 20 percent of the county’s geographic area as undeveloped green space that furthers one or more of the GGP goals.Any Georgia county can submit a greenspace program for approval if its population is at least 60,000 or its growth at least 800 people per year. A list of participating counties is on the GGP Web page (www.state.ga.us/dnr/greenspace).If your county has already qualified and applied for GGP funding, you can still get involved. There has to be a Greenspace committee. And while the membership varies, it usually includes interested citizens. All meetings should be open to the public, too.As the state’s population increases, so do the demands on our natural resources. We can’t assume there will always be good water quality. We must take steps to ensure it.Water quality and conservation are critical issues for everyone in Georgia. Active involvement of volunteers will be necessary to ensure sustainable growth and a high quality of life. Get involved, and enjoy improving your community. Protect water quality for rivers, streams and lakes.Protect against floods.Protect wetlands.Reduce erosion by protecting steep slopes, areas with erodible soils and stream banks.Protect riparian buffers and other areas such as marsh hammocks that serve as natural habitats and corridors for native plants and animals.Protect scenic views.Protect archaeological and historic resources.Provide for recreation in the form of boating, hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, running, jogging, biking, walking, skating, birding, riding horses, observing or photographing nature, picnicking or just playing.Connect existing or planned areas contributing to the goals. The Georgia Greenspace Program was created by the legislature in 2000. The state Department of Natural Resources adopted the Georgia Greenspace Administrative Rules on July 26, 2000.The final rules for the GGP help guide the DNR, Georgia Greenspace Commission and the counties, cities and towns eligible to take part in the program.This is a great program. It can help us make sure we retain enough green space to protect out natural resources. Of the nine goals of the program, five affect water quality.Greenspace as a single word is a new term. Mostly, it refers to permanently protected land and water, including farm and forested land, whose development rights have been severed from the property.The land must be in its undeveloped, natural state or developed only to the extent consistent, or restored to the extent needed, to meet one or more of the GGP goals to:last_img read more

New baby

first_imgBy Stephanie SchupskaUniversity ofGeorgiaSince her unusual start in a Petri dish, KC has matured into a very normal cow. And on the last day of 2005, she routinely gave birth to Moonshine, her second calf.“KC has done just like every other cow out there and produced a calf within 12 to 13 months of her last calf,” said Steve Stice, the University of Georgia scientist who directed the team of scientists who cloned KC. “Moonshine and Sunshine (KC’s firstborn) were both normal pregnancies and were delivered without assistance, which is important to commercial cow-calf operations that will be using cloning to improve the quality, diseases resistance and productivity of their herds.”KC is different from other cloned cows because she is the first to be cloned from kidney cells taken from a frozen side of beef. The others have been formed from living animals, Stice said.“Right now there are probably a lot of cloned cows out there having calves,” he said, “which is a good thing because it proves cloned cows do have normal offspring.”The public is still wary of cloned cows. Around the time Moonshine’s sister, Sunshine, was born in December 2004, polls indicated that nearly 60 percent of U.S. consumers opposed cloning animals, including livestock.Stice hopes that will eventually change.“The Food and Drug Administration has still not given their approval on cloned animals entering the food chain,” he said. “They have the data they need to give the clearance but other issues may be slowing this down. Once the FDA acts, I think it will mark the beginning of wider acceptance of cloned animals.”Stice is a Georgia Research Alliance eminent scholar and one of the world’s top cloning experts. He conducted the cloning research with the biotechnology firm ProLinia Inc., which was later bought by ViaGen Inc.Since cattle were first domesticated, farmers have been trying to improve their herds through selective breeding. Cloning can speed up the process by allowing scientists to make exact copies of the desired animals and their traits.According to UGA agricultural specialist Joseph Durham, Moonshine came into the world weighing 70 pounds. And although KC did all the work, various animal and dairy science faculty members got to name the new calf. “We did a survey of the animal and dairy science department,” Stice said, “and Moonshine came up on several suggestions.” They decided to move away from the disco theme that started when Sunshine was named after the rhythm and blues group, KC and the Sunshine Band. But Stice recalls that Boogie Shoes, a hit song from the band, was one of the names suggested.(Stephanie Schupska is a news editor with the University ofGeorgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)last_img read more

Family composting

first_imgBy Sharon OmahenUniversity of GeorgiaWhen it comes to recycling, you probably sort out glass andplastic products from your householdtrash and maybe even save newspapers for the local Boy Scouttroop. But what about yesterday’sbanana peel and the spent grounds from this morning’s java?Composting your household vegetable and fruit waste is a formof recycling, too. You’re keepingthose items out of the landfill and creating plant food.Compost is the organic matter that remains after microbes havedecomposed your fresh vegetablerinds and grass clippings. It doesn’t sound appealing, but soiland plants think it’s yummy. New habit formed quicklyI was amazed by how quickly I adjusted to composting. For aweek or so, I caught myself headingto the trash can with an apple core or the shriveled remains of ahead of lettuce. But before long, itbecame second nature.I was also surprised by how quickly my daughters latched ontothe concept. My 12-year-old iswholeheartedly into composting. She even questions me as towhether something fits the”composting bill.”She helps me when I break down the veggie remains before I putthem in the bin, too. (I like to speedthe progress along, so I cut my fresh vegetable waste into smallpieces.)My friend Krissy is the queen of composting. She has fourcompost bins in various stages. Shecomposts shredded paper from her office and banana peels andapple cores from her lunches. Sheeven “feeds” her bins paper towels and dryer lint.Her son Jack, a 4-H’er and Boy Scout, is just as dedicated tocomposting. When they enterStarbucks, they leave with a bag of spent coffee grounds.They also love to watch the sides of their compost bins formystery plants. Krissy has a three-foottall avocado plant that got its start in one of her bins. I had anice-sized potato plant in mine until thefirst Georgia frost killed it.For me, the true moment of composting glory was the day my16-year-old daughter slam-dunked abanana peel into the composting collection bucket. No, I wasn’tamazed by her basketball skills. Myamazement and pride came from the fact that she did so of her ownfree will.Now, if I could somehow convince both my girls that picking upafter themselves helps theenvironment. Composting newbieI have to be honest. As a science writer for the University ofGeorgia, I’ve worked aroundagricultural scientists for the past 12 years. But I’m acomposting newbie.When I decided to take the composting plunge, I gathered tipsfrom my veteran-composting friends,all of whom happen to be UGA Cooperative Extension specialists. Ilearned that a compost bin couldbe a large plastic drum, a wire bin or even just a true pile. Youcan put as little or as much moneyand effort into your compost bin as you’d like.Living on a 6-acre homestead in middle Georgia, I have a bitof an advantage over metrohomeowners. I don’t have to worry about whether my bin has curbappeal or is neighbor-friendly.My nearest neighbor is an acre away.I decided to use an old horse trough as my compost bin (yetanother form of recycling). Be sure toplace your bin in a convenient outdoor place. You don’t want itso far removed that using it will bea chore.And since you don’t want to constantly trek back and forthfrom your kitchen to the compost bin,you need a collecting bin indoors. I chose a small plastic bucketthat easily fits under my kitchensink.last_img read more

March severe weather

first_imgTemperatures were above normal across Georgia in March. Rainfall was highly variable, from a very wet month in Atlanta to dry conditions in southeastern Georgia.In Atlanta, the monthly average temperature was 55.8 degrees F (1.5 degrees above normal), in Athens 54.7 degrees (1.2 degrees above normal), Columbus 60.3 degrees (2.7 degrees above normal), Macon 57.5 degrees (1.3 degrees above normal), Savannah 60.9 degrees (1.6 degrees above normal), Brunswick 64.2 degrees (3.8 degrees above normal), Alma 61.5 degrees (0.3 degree above normal), Valdosta 63.5 degrees (3.7 degrees above normal) and Augusta 57.8 degrees (2 degrees above normal). High temperaturesRecord daily high temperatures were set at Alma March 19 and March 22, with new maximum temperatures of 90 degrees and 88 degrees, respectively. These beat the old records of 88 degrees set in 1963 and 86 degrees set in 1991. Brunswick set record-high temperatures March 22, 23, 24 and 27. Augusta set a new record of 90 degrees March 19, breaking the old record of 84 set on that day in 1997. Columbus and Savannah also tied record daily highs during the month.The warm conditions caused earlier-than-normal greening of vegetation across the state, according to the National Weather Service. This leads to increased use of soil moisture by thirsty plants and reductions in runoff to the effect of leaf cover.Abundant rain and a few forest firesPrecipitation in March varied quite a bit. The wettest areas were in the northern and western regions. The driest area was the southeastern corner of the state, where five counties reported forest fires associated with the lack of rainfall and severe drought conditions.The highest monthly total precipitation from National Weather Service reporting stations was 9.06 inches in Atlanta (3.68 inches above normal). The lowest was in Brunswick at 1.73 inches (2.20 inches below normal). Valdosta received 5.50 inches (0.07 inch above normal), Athens 6.65 inches (1.66 inches above normal), Alma 4.57 inches (0.23 inch below normal), Columbus 5.30 inches (0.45 inch below normal), Macon 4.03 inches (0.87 inch below normal), Savannah 4.44 inches (0.80 inch above normal) and Augusta 5.01 inches (0.53 inch above normal). This was the ninth wettest March in Atlanta since records began at the airport in 1940.Columbus reported a new daily rainfall record of 1.44 inches March 9, breaking the old record of 1.43 inches set that date in 1978. Alma reported a new record of 2.19 inches March 30, breaking the old record of 1.98 inches set that date in 1991.Dillard gets most daily rainfallThe highest single-day rainfall from Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network stations was 4.44 inches north-northwest of Dillard in Rabun County March 6. Two observers in Rabun Gap nearby reported 4.37 and 4.19 inches on the same day. An observer on Tybee Island observed 4.18 inches March 28. The highest monthly total of 15.81 inches was measured by the Dillard observer who also had the highest daily rainfall. Thirty other CoCoRaHS observers in Georgia reported 10 or more inches of total precipitation this month. Severe weather was reported on seven days in March. A weak tornado was reported March 9 near Doerun in Colquitt County. Hail was observed in northern Georgia March 19. Strong winds and small hail were reported on several other days in scattered locations across Georgia.A couple of tornadoes and a huge hailstoneThe biggest outbreak of severe weather came March 26-27. The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center had 8 reports of EF0 and EF1 tornadoes across Georgia, including one that crossed Lake Blackshear in Sumter County and one that was observed at the Middle Georgia Regional Airport in Houston County. During the outbreak, large, damaging hail was reported in many locations, including a 4.25-inch hailstone reported in Coweta County, a record hailstone for Georgia in March. Despite concerns about potential frost damage due to early blooming of fruit trees and scattered frost reports in northern Georgia this month, no significant losses have been reported this year so far. However, the danger of killing frost, particularly in northern Georgia, continues well into April.last_img read more

Salvanelli’s Authentic Italian Specialties Offers Gourment Italian Food Baskets

first_imgSalvanellis Authentic Italian SpecialtiesP.O. Box 65155Burlington, VT 05406-5155Telephone 802.951.2523E-mail: giftbaskets@salvanellis.com(link sends e-mail)Web site: www.salvanellis.com(link is external)For Immediate Release Contact: Gloria Salvanelli Tel: 802-951-2523Salvanellis Authentic Italian SpecialtiesOffers Gourmet Italian Food BasketsBurlington, VT — December 2, 2005 — Its been said that the problem with Italian food is that, after you eat it, five or six days later youre hungry again. The point, of course, is that Italians are as passionate about food as they are about good wine and true love. Esse nufesso qui dice male di Maccheroni. In other words, He who speaks badly of macaroni is a fool.Authentic macaroni and other Italian delicacies are now available at Salvanellis Authentic Italian Specialties in Burlington. Salvanellis Italian Baskets are personally selected and filled with only the very finest imported Italian foods available, from antipasto to dessert. Three specific baskets, Antipasto, Pasta and Dessert baskets are available, as well as customized baskets. Whether your customized basket is based on budget, food specialties, business or personal, Salvanellis will create the basket to fit your needs.All products are authentic Italian, either imported from Italy or made from original Italian recipes by Italian Americans. Imported products include Ravida Estate Bottled Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Illy coffee (Italys finest espresso), Villa Bellentani Balsamic Vinegar, Soppressata Calabrese Salami, Benedetto Cavalieri Tagliatelle, Sicilian Honey and Parmigiana Reggiano.The pasta basket, Nona Lenas Table, also includes DellAmore Pasta Sauce, made in Colchester by Frank DellAmore, but produced from a recipe of his grandmother, Filomena. Another regional Italian product is Croccante, Italian Almond Crunch, produced by Tre Noci in Boston, using a recipe from her Calabrian grandmother.Our antipasto, pasta and dessert baskets make delizioso holiday, wedding, hostess, and birthday gifts. We are happy to create custom baskets for any occasion. Salvanellis also caters to corporate clients for company functions and events, or a special client.Salvanellis Authentic Italian Specialties can be reached at 802-951-2523, or via e-mail at giftbaskets@salvanellis.com(link sends e-mail). Their web site is www.salvanellis.com(link is external). — 30 —last_img read more

Municipal Law Basics publication to help local officials

first_imgSecretary of State Deborah Markowitz today announced the publication of Municipal Law Basics, an easy-to-read handbook designed to help citizens better understand the basic laws that apply to Vermont s municipalities. Markowitz said, If you have ever wondered who oversees local government, or whether you are allowed to tape meetings of your selectboard, or whether citizens may petition the school board to change a policy, then Municipal Law Basics is a publication for you.Markowitz will be using the handbook during the upcoming Town Officers Education Conference series, sponsored by the UVM Extension Service. I receive many calls from people wanting to know how our cities and towns work, says Markowitz. Some of these callers are municipal officials who want to know where their responsibilities begin and end; some are members of the public who want to get involved and who need to know their rights as citizens or the mechanics of the process of governance. It is my hope that this booklet will be a useful resource for local officials and members of the public to help answer these important questions.Municipal Law Basics is available online at www.sec.state.vt.us/publications.html(link is external), or contact the Secretary of State s Office at 802-828-2363 to order a hard copy.last_img read more

New unemployment insurance claims lower than previous week

first_imgWeek Ending April 04, 2009. There were 1,370 new regular benefit claims for Unemployment Insurance last week, a decrease of 191 from the week before. Altogether 18,500 new and continuing claims were filed, 99 less than a week ago and 7,555 more than a year earlier. The Department also processed 1,979 First Tier claims for benefits under Emergency Unemployment Compensation, 2008 (EUC08), 24 more than a week ago. In addition, there were 1,184 Second Tier claims for benefits processed under the EUC08 program which is an increase of 44 from the week before. The Unemployment Weekly Report can be found at: http://www.vtlmi.info/(link is external) Previously released Unemployment Weekly Reports and other UI reports can be found at:  http://www.vtlmi.info/lmipub.htm#uc(link is external)last_img read more

Douglas at White House over medical home plan modeled on Vermont ‘Blueprint’

first_imgVermont Governor Jim Douglas and Blueprint for Health Director Craig Jones, M.D., joined Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at the White House today for the announcement of a new federal initiative modeled after Vermont s innovative Blueprint for Health.  The announcement could have positive financial implications for Vermont, as it will enable Medicare to join Medicaid and commercial insurance carriers in state multi-insurer efforts to support primary care medical homes and community health teams.  When Medicare, Medicaid, and the private sector work together, physicians will face consistent incentives to change their practices to enhance their ability to promote prevention and wellness, utilize existing information technologies, and coordinate care across multiple parts of the health care system, explained Secretary Sebelius. Governor Douglas, like many others, has recognized that when primary care is improved and care is coordinated, the overall quality is increased and costs are lowered.Vermont s Blueprint Integrated Pilots currently include all major Vermont insurers, with the exception of Medicare.  This is a tremendous opportunity, explained Governor Douglas.  With Medicare participation, we would have the option to expand the Blueprint beyond the current pilot phase, enhancing the delivery system reform we started here in 2006.  The Blueprint has developed an advanced model of primary care and prevention that includes health teams that provide coordinated services through multiple primary care practices in a community, as well as enhanced fees for primary care based on performance and outcomes. A lot of Vermont s delivery system reform is about common sense connecting of the dots, said Governor Douglas at the White House.  For many of us, a visit to our family practice physician or internist takes place in one silo, while visits to specialists and even hospital procedures happen in another.  The primary care medical home, connected by health information technology to the specialists, labs, and hospitals we visit, means your personal doctor gets automatic updates on your care, test results, and medication prescriptions, whenever and wherever those services are delivered.  Duplicative and by extension unnecessarily costly lab tests are eliminated, and potentially adverse medication interactions are flagged immediately.  Your primary care doctor is given the information he or she needs to be at the center of your care team, ensuring coordination that will lead to better quality and outcomes.Douglas added: It is a tribute to all of our partners Vermont s Congressional delegation, commercial insurance carriers, legislators, and the Vermont medical community especially the leadership of Dr. Jones that we now see the Blueprint s innovations recognized as a national model for delivery system reform.Under the demonstration program, states that meet specified criteria will be provided an opportunity to add Medicare’s support to their efforts to enhance primary care.  Applications will be solicited later this fall for Medicare participation that is slated to begin early next year.Vermont, while it will have to apply to be included in the demonstration program, is extremely well-positioned to be included in the effort.Pasted below is the full transcript from today s event.WHITE HOUSE OFFICE FOR HEALTH REFORM DIRECTOR NANCY-ANN DEPARLE : It’s my honor to welcome Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Jim Douglas, the governor of the great state of Vermont.Secretary Sebelius and I have been working together to advance the cause of health reform, and we’ve been honored to have Governor Douglas by our side. I had the pleasure of going up to Vermont to moderate a White House regional forum on health reform with the governor, and I want to thank him for his leadership as we’ve worked to make health reform a reality.Governor Douglas and many of his colleagues know that we can’t afford to wait for reform. Today, our nation spends $7,421 per person on health care, but yet there are millions of Americans who can’t get coverage. According to one government analysis, if we do nothing, health expenditures in the United States could grow from $2.5 trillion a year in 2009 to more than $7 trillion in 2025.And we know that families are suffering. And those of you who are primary-care clinicians today know that better than anyone, because you’re on the front lines.Yesterday, a new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research and Educational Trust indicated that premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance have continued to rise. The average cost of a family policy in 2009 increased to $13,375, and on average employees pay $3,515 and employers pay a whopping $9,860. And in the past 10 years, health insurance premiums have increased by 131 percent, far outpacing wage gains or inflation.But cost isn’t the only issue. Millions of Americans who have insurance know they could lose their health care at a moment’s notice. These Americans don’t have the security or the stability they need. They know that an insurance company could eliminate the coverage they need when they need it the most, when they’re sick.Every day, 14,000 Americans lose their health insurance. The president and leaders like Governor Douglas know that the status quo can’t continue.President Obama’s health insurance reform plan addresses three simple goals: If you have health insurance, it will give you security and stability. If you don’t have insurance, it will give you quality, affordable options for the first time, and it will lower the cost of health care for our families, our businesses, and our government.Today, we’re closer than we’ve ever been to enacting health insurance reform. I know that Congress is working hard to move forward, and I’m confident that we’ll succeed. But as we move forward in the legislative process, we’re also using the tools that we have to improve health care for all Americans.As a former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, I know we have the ability to make constructive changes that will strengthen care for all Americans. And today, I’m pleased to introduce Secretary Sebelius, who will discuss an important demonstration project we’ll be launching in the days ahead.Madam Secretary?KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: Well, thank you, Nancy-Ann. And it’s great to be with my former colleague, Jim Douglas, again. Jim and I were elected together in 2002, re-elected together in 2006, and then I made a slight detour, but pleased to continue to work together on these important issues.You know, there are a lot of people who tell me every day that they don’t really believe that we can lower health care costs and produce better care at the same time and say, how can that possibly be done? And the answer is really pretty simple.We spend 50 percent more per person on health care than any country in the world, and yet our health results are pretty poor over and over again. So we’ve got a lot of room for improvement in what we’re doing.And today we’re making an announcement about a new initiative that will help us deliver higher-quality patient-centered care at no extra cost to Americans. It’s a model for care that’s already in play. It’ll be better for doctors, better for patients, and better for our national balance sheet, which is why this program has such widespread endorsement.It’s a model that achieves many of the same goals that we’re trying to accomplish with health insurance reform, the legislation pending at the Congress. The model is called the advanced primary care or medical home model. And here’s how it works in a state like Vermont.Doctors are encouraged to coordinate care in the same way they do in high-performing, integrated health care systems, like Geisinger in Pennsylvania. And what we know is, when doctors work together in teams and share information more freely, patients are more likely to get the care they need and less likely to get duplicate or unnecessary care.Patients just don’t care from their doctors in this plan. They also get care from community health teams, staffed by nurses, social workers, and behavioral health counselors who check up on patients to make sure they’re managing their chronic conditions.So let’s take a patient with diabetes. Instead of being told at your doctor visit you need to exercise more and eat better, and I’ll see you in six months, you have providers actually working with that patient in the intervening time to help him or her stay healthy. What you get is a new model of health care that really could work for the entire country.It’s a model that patients like, because they get better care and more time with their doctors. It’s a model that physicians like, because they can concentrate on keeping their patients healthy, which is why they went into medicine in the first place. And it’s a model that’s good for families, businesses and government, because it delivered efficient care, effective care, and saves dollars.And it’s not just the state of Vermont that’s doing this, although Governor Douglas was a real leader in this area. In Maine, they started their own medical home pilots in January and got an overwhelming response, with more than 60 primary care practices applying to participate. Massachusetts is also following this model. In Colorado, they’re currently testing the medical home model of 16 primary care practices across the state, and they already have some impressive preliminary results.When children were enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP, were treated at medical homes, the medium health care costs went down 25 percent. But more importantly, those children were three times as likely to get a well child visit. So better intervention, better check-ups, and lower costs.It’s results we’ve seen over and over again in advanced primary care models across the country, lowering costs from chronic disease, lower costs from emergency room visits, more preventive care, and higher patient satisfaction.Now, the medical homes that are currently in operation are made possible by agreements between the public and private insurers in states to change incentives for providers to reward them for keeping their patients healthy. Earlier this year, Governor Douglas and several of our fellow colleagues who are governors wrote me in my new position to say, “We’ve got a great model, but currently we can do this only with Medicaid, with SCHIP, and with private insurers in our state. We think Medicare should participate in this program. We think there’s a real opportunity here to expand to Medicare patients.”And so we took a look at what they were saying and took a look at these impressive results. So today, I’m announcing that Governor Douglas had a great idea.(LAUGHTER)Does that come as a surprise?GOV. JIM DOUGLAS (R-VT.): Thank you.SEBELIUS: And we’re launching a new initiative that will allow Medicare to join with Medicaid and private insurers to support these advanced primary care models. States will be able to apply to participate in the initiative, but they’re going to have to meet several qualifications, including guaranteeing that the model will actually produce better results with lower health care costs. And a lot of the criteria that actually is being put together models what is already in place in these states.So we’re excited to take Governor Douglas and his colleagues up on their effort for help for the same reason the administration is so supportive of health — health insurance reform, because we believe it’s both possible, but essential to build a health care system that delivers better, smarter care to Americans at a lower price.It’s why you see explicit support for the advanced primary care model in some of the reform bills in Congress. And you also see these priorities being echoed in the bills that are under consideration.Health reform helps to limit co-pays for preventive care, which will help us catch small problems before they become big problems. And it helps invest in health I.T. to help doctors and hospital systems work more closely together, share information, identify complications, make sure that the patients are appropriately responding to treatments.We’re moving more toward bundled payments to hospitals and other care providers, to eliminate avoidable readmissions and reward better quality of care over quantity of care.Yesterday, as Nancy-Ann has said, we got new evidence for why we urgently need health reform. And I just want to repeat some of the information from the Kaiser Family Foundation, because it is quite accurate and quite a gloomy picture of what Americans are facing.Premiums up 130 percent over the last 10 years. Companies preparing to shift even more costs to workers; 4 in 10 say they’ll raise premiums and co-pays; more than a third say workers will pay more for all the out-of-pocket expenses.You know, former President Ronald Reagan used to say that status quo is Latin for “the mess we’re in.” And President Obama has made it incredibly clear that the status quo is unacceptable and unsustainable, and that’s why he’s proposed reform that will give Americans stability who have insurance coverage, changing the rules for insurance companies who now can kick people out or lock people out of the market, and reform is also — and maybe most importantly — about improving the quality of care for all Americans, making sure that they have access to high-quality health care systems, and get the primary and preventive care that can avoid high costs at the end of the day.We know that this 21st century health care system is achievable, because we see it in places around the country. We see it in Vermont, in Colorado, in Maine. We see it in great health care systems delivering high-quality, lower cost care. We need to move health reform forward to ensure that that care is available to all Americans and use the tools that we have to put these great models in place.So it’s now my pleasure to introduce Governor Jim Douglas from the state of Vermont to talk a little bit about the advance care model.(APPLAUSE)DOUGLAS: Thank you. Secretary Sebelius, thank you so much. It’s a real honor and privilege to be here with you today. It’s, I think, important to have someone from the ranks of the governors serving in your role, because you understand fully not only the challenges that are faced by states in this difficult economic environment and with the health care issues that we’re confronting, but also the opportunities. And that is evident in the announcement that you’ve made today. So thanks so much for — for your leadership at the Department of Health and Human Services.The Medicare pilot program that the secretary has announced today will help states like Vermont achieve our vision of high-quality, affordable health care for everybody across our state. This is something we’ve been pushing for, for some time, and I’m delighted that the secretary and her team have made it happen today.I’m so pleased that this progress is taking place now. I have the honor of serving as chairman of the National Governors Association, and each year the incoming chair of the association selects a topic for focus during his or her term. And I’ve decided, not surprisingly, that health care is the issue that we’ve got to focus on as an association. And so the announcement today comes at a very welcome time. We have to work together to ensure that we have a system that is affordable, accessible, and accountable to the American people.In 2003, we launched a program we called the Vermont Blueprint for Health. It’s the state’s vision for transforming our health care system. Building on the Blueprint, we passed a comprehensive health reform measure three years later.Our reform efforts were the product of extensive bipartisan negotiation and collaboration by my Republican administration and by the Democratic leaders of our legislature and by private-sector participants in our health care system across the state. We’re all united in a common desire to arrest the spiraling growth of health care costs.In Vermont, as in many states, that’s an increasing percentage of our public spending, and especially in these tough fiscal times, we have to get it under control if we’re going to be able to meet the other legitimate needs in education and environmental programs, in transportation, and the other services that are so important to the people we serve.So we worked together across the political aisle to compromise, to craft a successful health care reform package, and I think it’s equally important that everybody work together in Washington, D.C., to achieve health care reform that will be meaningful and accepted by the American people.I want to thank the efforts of the administration for reaching across the aisle, participating on a bipartisan basis in this debate, and I hope that, in the end, we’re able to work together to find the solution.Well, the bill that we passed three years ago encompasses over 60 different initiatives, including the availability of new subsidized coverage for low-income, uninsured individuals, investments in health information technology, and the Blueprint, which will benefit most greatly from the announcement that we just heard today. A lot of our delivery system is about breaking down barriers. For many of us, a visit to a family physician takes place in one silo, while a visit to a specialist or a hospital is in another silo. So we’re utilizing the health teams to which the secretary referred to break down these silos and provide coordinated services through primary care practices, both for those with chronic diseases and for those whom we want to — for whom we want to promote prevention and wellness.The primary care medical home is critical to coordinating these services. By using health I.T., your primary care doctor in Vermont receives updates on your care by connecting to the specialists, labs and hospitals that you visit, no matter where those services might be delivered. Duplicative and, by definition, unnecessary and costly tests are eliminated, and dangerous medication interactions are flagged.Commonsense coordination leads not only to better quality, but saves money throughout the whole system. For example, in a hospital in the city of Rutland, Vermont, doctors in the emergency department now have electronic access to a patient’s medication history. They’re able to diagnose more quickly a possible adverse drug reaction and avoid the need for costly tests, which can save time, money, and even lives.The Blueprint’s primary care model means a different health care experience for patients and physicians. From the patient’s perspective, they have a more thorough and less hurried primary care visit. Their community health team is there to make sure they understand their care plan and connect them with the community services that they need.The primary care providers are being paid for better care, not more care, through incentive payments. In our Vermont pilots, which now cover about 10 percent of our population, participating providers receive a larger fee for higher performance. From the primary care providers’ perspective, they now have the tools to fulfill the mission that motivated them to choose their profession in the first place. With all insurers supporting this model of care, physicians can make sure that patients’ individual needs and concerns are addressed.Medicaid and all the private insurers in the state, as well as large employers, participate in the Blueprint. And with today’s announcement, Medicare will now be able to participate in this type of exciting and innovative state-led reform.These aren’t just theories about what will happen some time in the far-off future. These reforms are having a real impact on people’s lives today.Nancy-Ann mentioned the White House forum, and I want to thank her and the president for inviting me to be one of the few governors to host a forum earlier this year. But at that forum, a young woman from the town of St. Johnsbury, named Rhonda Rose (ph), explained how her community care team has improved her life and her health. Rhonda had struggled for years to get a handle on her chronic disease. As a recipient of Medicaid and other state programs, her struggle had a financial impact on the state. Now, through a doctor, a social worker, and others on her community health team, she’s taking necessary steps to prevent expensive emergency department visits, and her health has improved, and she’s back to work.Ultimately, that’s really what health care reform is all about: slowing the growth in costs, enhancing the quality of care delivered, improving the lives of individual Americans, and helping to ensure a strong economic recovery. I know this is what the president is trying to achieve, and I appreciate his partnership with the states and encourage my colleagues on both sides of the political aisle to move forward to accomplish these vital goals for the American people.Our reform efforts need to be a true partnership between the states and the federal government and between policymakers of both parties. Today’s announcement is certainly a great step forward, and I want to thank Secretary Sebelius once again for her leadership and for making this pilot available. I know it’s going to make a difference for a lot of people across our great country.Thank you, Kathleen.(APPLAUSE)DEPARLE: Thank you, Governor, for leading us forward on this new model. And thank you, Secretary Sebelius. And thank everyone for comingSource: Governor’s office. 9.16.2009last_img read more

New Champlain ferry operation imminent

first_img Residents in the area surrounding the Lake Champlain Bridge share family, friends and business relationships on both sides of the lake, Vermont Governor Douglas said. Establishing this new, free ferry service will allow these relationships and commerce to resume more normally.   On B-Day, December 28, 2009, it took longer for the clouds of smoke, rust and paint to settle than for the 500-plus shaped charges of MRX high explosive to cut enough weakened steel beams to bring down the Champlain Bridge. In its place, work on a new bridge is expected to start this spring. In the meantime, a new ferry located at the same spot was expected to begin operations by the end of January.The implosive demolition opened the way for a set of operations more complicated than dealing with the old bridge, whose remains by mid-January had been fished out of the crossing to the point where a 20-foot-deep channel was available for future boat traffic. (A 1,000-foot safety zone has been declared around the bridge removal operation no ice-fishing shanties, either which is supposed to be completed by April 15). Attention had turned to the project of creating a ferry at the same crossing a project that had begun before the implosion and was on track to be done by the end of January–and to strategic decisions that would shape the Champlain Bridge s replacement.The Ticonderoga ferry had been kept running through December 27 usually it closes after fall foliage season, and ice had briefly forced owner Michael Matot to shut it down on December 17 by Jeff Provost s company Dock Doctors. The Ferrisburgh firm, which employs about 35 people in the colder months and as many as 50 in the summer, does manufacturing in Vermont but sells more of its products in the Lake George area of New York, where it has a branch office.Thus Dock Doctors found itself among the businesses who had employees or markets or suppliers that required crossing Lake Champlain, and saw the lake become a divide when the bridge was closed October 16. Since the summer, usage had been limited to one lane, with no trucks over 40,000 pounds allowed. The generally accepted figure is that in normal operation, there were about 3,400 trips across the bridge each day.Provost made himself known to the public when he announced, at a states-sponsored hearing in Addison following the steel bridge s complete shutdown, that he could swiftly put up docks capable of serving barges like this in use on the Hudson river, which could handle (as could the docks) both heavy truck traffic and winter ice.Neither state took him up on the offer, but in the weeks that followed, Dock Doctors ice-managing craft and two bubbler lines went to work pushing back the ice then keeping the crossing open between Larabee s Point and Ticonderoga. It took them time to come around to it, Provost said in a recent interview but a lot of ferry users won t forget the sight of the channel passing between acres of ice like the Biblical parting of the Red Sea.Bubbler lines are used all over the world, Provost said. A compressor pushes air through hoies in a hose running along the bottom of the body of water, the air bubbles enlarge as they rise (less pressure), and soon there is an upward draft, similar to that of a ceiling fan, except it is sending water upward. The lake bottom and the water near it are warmer, he said which is why some kinds of fish plow into bottom mud to survive and creating a circulation that brings up the warmer water maintains a wall that prevents ice from forming.The Ti ferry could have run all winter, between its two bubbler lines, plus propeller devices that move water near shores, and their barge and its small crane to deal with any loose floating ice, Provost said. In fact, there is a bubbler operation they began 12 years ago in Pittsburgh for the Army Corps of Engineers, to keep 100 boat slips open, which is still going.But no insurance company would continue the Ti ferry s insurance, Provost said, because of one risk assessor. He didn t even come and look. Instead, based on the fact that the Ti ferry s quarter inch steel hull wasn t meant to run through ice, he recommended against insuring the operation even though there was no ice, Provost said.A NYS-DOT bulletin announced that on January 14, Lake Champlain Transportation would deploy one of their ferries to the future ferry crossing between Chimney Point and Crown Point, to cruise back and forth and keep ice from blocking the channel. Two days later it was there, doing exactly that.John Zicconi, VTrans director of planning, outreach and community affairs, had no doubt that the ferry could double as an ice-breaker; the company keeps a crossing open in the Champlain Islands with one, he observed. Provost said it seemed a huge waste of money to him, running a ferry rather than a few compressors, but we have to look to the future.The future of the crossing is unfolding as three concurrent efforts: removing the remains of the bridge (no one has said how the concrete piers will be taken down); finishing new ferry docks at Chimney Point and Crown Point and starting regular ferry service (which Zicconi said is on track to start by the end of January); and designing, planning, permitting, and building a new bridge (to open in 2011 if many things go well, or in 2012 if not).One key decision was made, as promised, a few days after the January 11 closing of a public comment period regarding the design of the new bridge. The projected cost of a new bridge had gone from the NYS-DOT s rough estimate of $50 million prior to discovering a fatal flaw in one of the unreinforced concrete bridge piers to a rough estimate in mid-January of $111 million, counting the costs of building and operating a ferry and subsidizing travel on the existing ferries. With the Vermont, New York and the country as a whole facing major deficits and a stalled economy, there was every chance that budgetary issues would trump aesthetic considerations and the effect of replacing a National Historic Monument with something of Spartan simplicity on the area s attractiveness to tourists.HNTB, the Kansas City firm contracted to design the new bridge, put forward six potential bridge renderings. The long-span steel girder bridge and sequential concrete bridge, both with the roadway as the highest point, resembled Interstate highway construction; the steel composite cable-stayed bridge and concrete extradosed bridge both had the roadway supported by cables connected to high towers (one such cable-stayed bridge is visible in the heart of Boston; for a spectacular example, look up the Millau Bridge in France, which spans a valley rather than a river); and the network tied arch bridge and modified network tied arch bridge both had the middle of the roadway held up by cables tied at a steel arch.The modified arch drew overwhelming support from the public and from the citizens advisory group, a panel of New York and Vermont state and local officials plus business representatives. On each side its arch extended down past the roadway to a pier and from there continued upward in check-mark fashion to support more of the roadway; the concept seemed to suggest a higher highway with a better scenic view, and the overall profile was stylish rather than severe. In mid-January, the two state transportation agencies looked at the results of the informal survey, and chose the same arch design the public had favored. But that did not settle all the issues.The reason for putting a new bridge where the old one had been was, officials said, largely to avoid the time and expensive of archaeological investigations Lake Champlain and its shores having been historically important corridors for at least 400 years. Deviating at all from the previous footprint even at the same crossing–would set in motion federally required processes.That set off alarm bells for cyclists and pedestrians, a group that has grown substantially with the strengthening conviction the country should support and enhance means of transportation that do not increase global warming by burning fossils fuels. If the width of the bridge is not increased, to avoid increasing its footprint, how could there by room for adding cycling lanes and sidewalks?Zicconi said that whatever is true for the base of the bridge, the traveled way will have 11-foot vehicular lanes, five-foot shoulders, and sidewalks; unusually wide vehicles, such as farming machinery, would utilize shoulder space. Asked if the curbs for the sidewalks were being designed to allow cyclists to leap from the shoulder to the sidewalk when confronted by a dangerous situation a standard safety maneuver for cyclists he said no one had brought up that issue.The strongest pressure for accelerating ferry and bridge construction has come from the business community, where loss of bi-state business and employee travel have been serious issues. All sorts of improvisations and adaptations have helped keep the impacts from becoming extreme: Basin Harbor quickly arranging a pedestrian ferry; public transit agencies on both sides of the lake adding bus routes between towns or businesses and ferry landings; the state paying ferry charges so those fees wouldn t increase the cost of commuting; businesses or nonprofits assisting employees who commute (Middlebury College and the Porter Medical Center, for example); carpooling; and in the case of places like the West Addison General Store (hurting but still going, said owner Dana Franklin) and the Bridge Restaurant in Addison, voluntary supportive purchases by area residents.Even where successful, the effort has been strenuous. At Porter, where 75 employees were from New York State, only two people left because of the bridge situation, according to spokesman Ron Hallman. It hasn t been easy, he said, especially for people leaving or coming onto a shift at 11 pm. Nor has the $250,000 they have spent in employee assistance as of mid-January been easy budgetarily. He summed up: It s big issue.Much was made early on of three Vermont farmers with operations or fields or cows across the lake (make that four: part of the Bridge Restaurant s popularity comes from featuring local farm beef). But the bigger agricultural impact might arrive later for Bourdeau Brothers, the business name used for Bourdeau Brothers in northern Vermont, Bourdeau & Bushey in Middlebury, and Feed Commodities International, and for their customers. Jim Bushey, who manages in Middlebury, said that if there is no effective means of reaching their New York State customers by spring, when services like seeding and fertilizing are needed, the situation could become serious. Sending feed trucks through Whitehall, at the southern end of the lake, has been a considerable expense, he said.It may never be possible to get a good figure for the total impact, said Andy Mayer, executive director of the Addison County Chamber of Commerce. But their Middlebury office, which has been an information relay point, send out a survey in the late fall, not aimed at affected parties but simply using their contact list. The 83 surveys returned indicated losses of $60-$300 per week. Some help is anticipated from the state s economic development resources; early on, business people said they were more interested in grants than loans, but the feeling has swung the other way, that loans with low or no interest would help, he said.When the bridge closed, both states declared transportation emergencies, but so far there has not been a push to declare an economic emergency. As for funding the new bridge, the formula repeatedly cited would have an 80 percent federal share matched by 20 percent from the states, with each paying 10 percent. Efforts are underway to secure some sort of appropriation or earmark that would defray all or part of the state shares.The unexpected bridge closure and demolition, for safety reasons, brought attention back to the VTrans’ 2007 Road to Affordability and its premise that repairing and maintaining infrastructure promptly is much cheaper, in the long run, than allowing emergency situations to arise. A recent online FAQ for that plan states that The Agency has $1.5 billion in highway, bridge and culvert projects already identified and under development. At our current pace of spending $60 million annually on roadway projects and $50 million annually on structures like bridges and culverts, it will take about 15 years to complete everything on our books. And this does not account for inflation or needs that will surface between now and the year 2022.The upcoming Legislature will have to decide whether increased bonding would amount to increased deficit spending, which would hurt the state s bond interest rate, or whether prompt attention to infrastructure needs would help in the long run.Despite the recession, a we ll get there spirit has prevailed. At the telephone number for the Bridge Restaurant, owner and operator Lisa Cloutier thanks people for calling The No Bridge Restaurant, which she says is closed for the time being because the loss of the bridge minimized traffic along the corridor (her restaurant is at the junction of Routes 17 and 125, a few hundred yards from the crossing). However, the message insists, Make no mistake about it: once the ferry comes into this corridor, this restaurant will be back open again.Source: Vermont Business Magazine. Story by Ed Barna. Ed Barna is a freelance writer from Middlebury. New York Governor David Paterson traveled to Crown Point, NY, today and was expected to announce that a new ferry operating at the location of the former Champlain Bridge was expected to begin operation by the end of January, in other words, by Sunday at the latest. Full, regular service is expected first thing Monday. This has been a long-time coming for those commuters using circuitous travel routes to reach destinations to and from Vermont, and for those businesses on both sides of Lake Champlain who count on those commuters. The free service will run around the clock and every day. The crossing will take about 15 minutes.last_img read more

Cleanup plan for Burgess Brothers landfill Superfund site in Bennington August 16

first_imgEPA (Boston, Mass. ‘ July 29, 2011) ‘ A public informational meeting and hearing will be held on Tuesday, August 16, 2011 at 7 pm in the Bennington Free Library in Bennington, Vermont. The meeting is an opportunity for residents to learn about proposed changes to the cleanup plan for the Burgess Brothers Landfill Superfund Site. In 1998, EPA signed a Record of Decision (ROD) which called for placement of a landfill cap and construction of a soil vapor extraction system to address groundwater contamination. Contaminants were detected in the groundwater in upper thirty feet of soil at the site.  Primary groundwater contaminants include trichloroethene (TCE) and tetrachlorothene (PCE).  The groundwater in the bedrock remains unaffected. Since the ROD was signed in 1998 and the original cleanup plan was implemented, levels of contamination in the groundwater have increased and moved beyond the landfill.  For this reason, EPA is proposing an amendment to the remedy.  Additionally, as the changes in the remedy will impact a site stream and possibly wetlands, the public is invited to comment on this aspect of the cleanup plan. last_img read more

Lawsuit Argues FirstEnergy Is Shorting Nuclear Cleanup Fund

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Plain Dealer:FirstEnergy’s power plant subsidiaries have not put enough money into federally mandated decommissioning trust funds to pay for the shutdown and cleanup of each of its four nuclear reactors, charges an environmental group with a reputation as a legally effective environmental advocate.The Chicago-based Environmental Law and Policy Center, or ELPC, made that charge in a petition filed in March with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The ELPC’s intervention in the Peabody Energy bankruptcy led to the court requiring that company to purchase $1.2 billion in surety bonds to guarantee clean up.The ELPC wants the NRC to hold parent company FirstEnergy Corp. responsible for bankrolling what it argues could well be a multi-billion reactor cleanup shortfall, which taxpayers or customers could be forced to pay.The ELPC petitioned the NRC just days before the FirstEnergy Solutions Corp. filed for bankruptcy protection on March 31 and the FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Co. told the NRC it would close its nuclear plants within two years. Now the ELPC, joined by the New York-based Environmental Defense Fund, the Ohio Environmental Council and Ohio Citizen Action, have intervened in the bankruptcy case under way in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Ohio.The groups want Judge Alan Koshik to “lift” the normal “stay” on legal action that companies seeking bankruptcy protection are normally afforded. “[We] are not seeking a money judgment, but, instead, are seeking leave to continue pursuing the legal and administrative remedies afforded them under federal and state laws and their constitutional right to petition their government,” the environmental groups argued in their 96-page petition filed with the bankruptcy court. In other words, they want the judge to allow their action at the NRC to continue unimpeded by a decision in the bankruptcy case preventing it.More: FirstEnergy Must Guarantee Nuclear Clean Up, Environmental Groups Tell Feds Lawsuit Argues FirstEnergy Is Shorting Nuclear Cleanup Fundlast_img read more

NextEra CFO: Battery storage is starting a ‘real revolution’ in electric industry

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Magazine:1.5 cents per kilowatt-hour. That’s how much NextEra Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jim Ketchum estimates that batteries will add to the cost of solar and wind projects that the company has built over the last six to 12-months, as revealed in the company’s results call yesterday.But that’s not all. Ketchum further added that he expects this cost to fall to around half a cent per kilowatt-hour in the middle of the next decade. “Early in the next decade, mid-next decade, it’s going to probably be about $0.005 a kilowatt hour add, maybe $0.01, but probably closer to about $0.005. And so if we find ourselves in a marketplace where we are selling wind right around $0.02, I mean, a combined wind and solar product probably looks roughly around $0.025. Solar, into the next decade, probably looks more like a $0.03 product, sub-$0.03 in some markets. You add half a penny on that on the high end, you’re probably at about $ 0.035 a kilowatt hour.”NextEra CEO Jim Robo added to this, noting that batteries are allowing the company to provide “firm” power. “We’re right at the beginning of, I think, a real revolution in this country in terms of how electricity is – how storage interacts with electricity on the grid, and how we’re going to start delivering much different, firm, renewable products to our customers going forward,” stated Robo on the results call.CFO Ketchum elaborated on that statement, noting that the economics of wind and solar are going to allow these resources to out-compete existing conventional power plants – and potentially knock them off the grid. “As battery cost declines and efficiency gains are realized during the four-year start of construction period, we continue to expect that in the next decade new nearly firm wind and solar, without incentives, will be cheaper than the operating costs of traditional inefficient generation resources, creating significant opportunities for new renewables growth going forward.”These confident statements about the costs and abilities of solar and wind plus storage come as the company has reached a record backlog of 7.4 GW of solar, wind and energy storage projects. This includes nearly 2 GW of solar projects that the company has contracted to put online through 2020. During the quarter NextEra added 692 MW of solar projects and 90 MW of battery storage to its backlog.The large majority of this, at 1.48 GW of solar and 75 MW of battery storage, is planned for the 2019-2020 timeframe, however NextEra is also planning projects after 2020, and notes that the new IRS guidelines on the beginning of construction allow the company to claim the full 30% Investment Tax Credit for projects that it puts online as late as 2023, as long as they have started construction in 2019.More: NextEra expects storage to add half a cent to solar in mid-2020’s NextEra CFO: Battery storage is starting a ‘real revolution’ in electric industrylast_img read more

Wood Mackenzie: 2019 was a record year for battery storage across the U.S.

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:The U.S. energy storage industry capped off its biggest year of installations with its largest single quarter in Q4.U.S. energy storage installation topped 522.7 megawatts/1,113 megawatt-hours in 2019 as a whole and 186.4 megawatts/364.2 megawatt-hours in the fourth quarter, according to the newly released Energy Storage Monitor, produced by Wood Mackenzie and the Energy Storage Association.For years, those in the industry have argued that the ability to store and release electricity nearly instantaneously offers great operational benefits, not just for the adoption of intermittent renewables but also for more efficient grid operations. The latest numbers suggest that this argument is starting to resonate as utilities across the nation contract for large battery plants and an unprecedented number of homeowners seek solar-battery combinations to keep the lights on in an outage.Indeed, the home battery sector delivered the most striking growth, the Energy Storage Monitor reported. Fourth-quarter residential installations doubled year-over-year to 40.4 megawatts/90.3 megawatt-hours, marking its third consecutive record-setting quarter.Eight states now contain utility-scale storage facilities adding up to more than 50 megawatts. Another 11 states operate more than 10 megawatts each. Only 15 states have yet to adopt any advanced storage in front of the meter, according to WoodMac’s data.Overall, U.S. storage installations are expected to nearly triple in 2020 and more than double in 2021. Residential numbers, in particular, will triple this year compared to last year. This year could also be the first in which the annual storage market surpasses $1 billion. In 2019, storage investments totaled $712 million; this year, they are poised to jump to just shy of $2 billion.[Julian Spector]More: U.S. storage industry achieved biggest-ever quarter and year in 2019 Wood Mackenzie: 2019 was a record year for battery storage across the U.S.last_img read more

Renewables provide 52% of Germany’s electricity in first quarter, a new record

first_imgRenewables provide 52% of Germany’s electricity in first quarter, a new record FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Clean Energy Wire:Germany produced nearly 52 percent of its domestic electricity consumption with renewable power in the first three months of 2020, marking the first full quarter in which renewables covered more than half the country’s power needs, utilities association BDEW and the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) reported. That’s up from about 44 percent in the first quarter of 2019.The numbers were driven by record wind power production in February, unusually high solar production in March, and a dip in overall energy use tied to the coronavirus crisis. Because of those unusual circumstances, BDEW warned it’s too soon to project whether the numbers might hold going forward. “The performance of renewables is very encouraging. However, we should always bear in mind that this is only a snapshot and includes many one-off events,” BDEW head Kerstin Andreae said in a statement. But BDEW also noted that the numbers reflect several underlying policy shifts, including the shutdown of nuclear and coal power plants that were taken offline in late 2019.The numbers, combined with increased renewable generation in 2019, put Germany on track to meet its 2020 target for increasing renewables’ share of total energy consumption (which includes not just electricity, but refers to all energy, for example fossil fuels used in transport and heating). Germany has pledged to produce 18 percent of its total energy consumption with renewables by the end of the year. “The EU renewable energy target of 18 percent in 2020 is within reach,” economy minister Peter Altmaier said in the statement. “We must now work to ensure that we achieve the targets on a sustainable basis and further increase the share of renewable energy.”Overall, Germany used a total of 148 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity in the first quarter of 2020, down about two percent from the same period in 2019 (151 billion kWh). Renewables made up 51.9 percent of that total, BDEW and ZSW said. The majority of Germany’s renewable power came from onshore wind, which supplied 28.9 percent of the country’s electricity needs, up from 23.7 percent in the first quarter of 2019 (see graph). While this is the first full quarter in which renewables have covered a majority of the country’s electricity needs, Germany has crossed that threshold before during individual months, BDEW said.Meanwhile, the grid operator 50Hertz announced several new regional records for renewable energy in the first quarter. In February, wind and solar power together covered 85 percent of electricity needs in 50Hertz’s area of operation, which stretches from the Baltic Sea to the Ore Mountains near the border with the Czech Republic. And on March 23, the utility delivered a record 8500 megawatts (MW) of solar power without having to shut down any photovoltaic systems, it said.[Rachel Waldholz]More: Germany marks first ever quarter with more than 50 pct renewable electricitylast_img read more

Healthy Tip#89432: Grab a Headlamp

first_img headlamp headlamp The fun doesn’t have to end when the sun goes down; the night can provide just as much of a playground as any afternoon sun. Follow this week’s healthy tip and let your pupils adjust, play under the starlight, and grab a headlamp.Are you afraid of the dark, the mysterious noises and lack of sight? What is it about the darkness that evokes an embedded worry to our hearts? The blindness, the loss of a sense that drums on your ears, that paralyzing uncertainty of the unknown, it all adds up to a lot for just an absence of light.But alas, sometimes to discover new things you have to walk in the dark. So grab a flashlight, find a full-moon to guide your way, and light up those darkened corridors.. Explore what lies out of sight long enough and your eyes will adjust as you start to understand that the only thing hiding in the darkness is the light.Go, shine a flashlight, and explore the unknown.-BDLcenter_img headlamplast_img read more

Commit to the Trip

first_imgA common occurrence in the active community is a little known ailment that goes by Insufficient Commitment Disorder. There are many brief spots in history where I have fallen victim to this pandemic. Someone will be riled up about a trip, hut-to-hut skiing perhaps or a biking afternoon at Carvins Cove, and I’ll be equally as excited and often times exclaim “that sounds awesome, count me in.” But as the adventure draws nearer, and excuses bubble to the top, somewhere in my head I know I’m not going to go on the trip.Everybody experiences this, the dissonance between “yes I’m going” and getting in the car. There are always many excuses readily available, but like elbows, everyone has them (and they don’t look that different from each other.)Maybe Insufficient Commitment Disorder can be looked at from a higher perspective. If I could live out all the lofty goals and expectations I have verbally committed to, I would be doing just fine for myself. Talk is cheap, and I love it, but action and movement are what will truly define your voice.Figuratively and literally easier said than done I’ve realize from experience. But now I think twice when asked to commit to the trip, think twice about the difference between “yes” and going, and realize that no matter what I say, it’s what I’ll do that will keep me moving.last_img read more

Weekend Pick: Volunteer on the John Muir Trail

first_imgSaturday is National Trails Day, a nationwide series of events hosted by local trail clubs, individuals, and organizations dedicated to keeping the United States Trail System in good working order. Throughout the country, events will be held encouraging people to get outside and hit the trail. Although National Trails Day is organized by the American Hiking Society, mountain biking, paddling, bird watching, trail running, and anything else that involves a trail are all supported by the program. Not only is this a celebration of our trail system and a chance to get more people outside and on the trail, it is also a chance to recognize the thousands of volunteers who spend their time keeping the 200,000 miles of U.S. trails in good working order. They are the ones out there on weekends and evenings doing the manual labor and maintenance it takes to make the trails passable and beautiful.To that end, this weekend give a little something back and volunteer to help clear or cut a trail on public lands this Saturday. There are numerous opportunities to do so in North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee with all the national park and national forest land and you can find a map of official National Trails Day clean up events on their website. We recommend heading for Ducktown, Tenn. and volunteering with the Tennessee Wild Helping Hands to clear up the eastern end of the John Muir Trail. The John Muir Trail is a National Recreation Trail, but is in need of rebuilding, reshaping, and other basic trail repairs. No previous trail maintenance experience is necessary and all tools and safety gear will be provided. Just bring your work boots, lunch, and enthusiasm – long pants would probably be a good idea also.Give back to the trails that have given so much to you and make this Saturday a day of service. You’ll feel good, get some exercise, and set the tone for future generations of trail users.View Larger Maplast_img read more

The Magic Kingdom of Wilderness

first_img“When are you going to take your family to Disney World?”Every fall, my cousin and I watch football games in his “man cave” equipped with sports memorabilia, X-Box, a fully stocked bar and the crown jewel, an HD 70-inch television. As a lifelong Southerner who loves college football, this is nirvana.And for about six years, my cousin pops the Disney question.You see, I have a 10-year-old daughter who has never been to Disney World.The window is closing fast.A year or two ago, American Girl dolls traveled with us everywhere. Planning for a trip to the grandparents in Chattanooga was like organizing a bus load of tourists. In our case, dolls and stuffed animals.These days, fewer and fewer American Girls dolls are joining us, and my cousin, who has an older daughter, has warned me that the Disney princesses are not going to be as appealing come this fall and spring.I have nothing against Disney World or princesses, but this past summer my family decided to do something different. We celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act by visiting the Citico Creek Wilderness area in the Cherokee National Forest, near Tellico Plains, Tennessee.We literally traded castles and mouse ears for waterfalls and salamanders.We hiked into the Citico Creek Wilderness ending up at Falls Branch Falls, a spectacular roaring 70-foot waterfall. Nurse logs, moss, mushrooms and wildflowers abound. We also snorkeled in the wilderness-fed, Citico Creek, donning wetsuits, floating and exploring for hours in a rushing three-foot clean and clear stream. I will never forget the moment my daughter grabbed my hand when she saw her first colorful darter—a moment of joy and discovery we would experience a hundred times that morning and afternoon.For my entire family, the wilderness became our Magic Kingdom.Disney World in Florida and the Wilderness Act are about the same age. The Wilderness Act passed in 1964; after several years of development, Disney World opened in 1971.Both are uniquely American.We all know the story of Disney, but many of us do not know America’s wilderness story.Fifty years ago this year, Congress passed and President Lyndon Johnson signed into law The Wilderness Act of 1964. The Act established the National Wilderness Preservation System and allowed Congress to permanently protect some of America’s most special and beautiful places as wilderness.Today there are 757 distinct wilderness areas located in 44 states and Puerto Rico, designated to preserve and protect wildlife and natural systems for hiking, camping, backpacking, picnicking, rock climbing, hunting, fishing, kayaking and nature photography. These special places provide us clean air to breathe and clean water to drink.Big Frog and Little Frog, Linville Gorge, Shining Rock, Cohutta, Sipsey, and Shenandoah—these are the special names of just a few of our southern wildernesses.And there is one key difference between Disney World and these wilderness areas. Disney is owned by shareholders and is a multinational corporation. We—all Americans—own the wilderness areas.It’s all public land. It is our treasure. Our inheritance. We all have a stake in it. We are responsible for it, and future generations are counting on us to pass it down protected and preserved.In the age of Facebook and social media, my cousin has seen pictures posted of my daughter standing beside waterfalls, big trees and in a wetsuit. He hasn’t mentioned Disney this fall in the “man cave.” But we have talked about our Magic Kingdom–America’s wilderness.In fact, I’ve been asking him, “When are you going to take your family to the wilderness?”—Pat Byington is Executive Director of Wild South (wildsouth.org)last_img read more

Watch: “Our Theory of Human Motivation”

first_imgLooking for a little weekend inspiration? In this skillfully composed collection of outdoor adventure film clips, founder of the outdoor-themed podcast Dirtbag Diaries, Fitz Cahall, articulates his theory of human motivation—the ins and outs of what gets outdoor adventurers like you out of bed and on top of the next summit, over the next pitch, back out on the trail, or just back into the woods in general. Plenty more inspiration can be found by checking out Fitz’s critically acclaimed podcast, The Dirtbag Diaries. Throw on an episode of DBD next time you’re facing a long drive to the trail head and watch the time fly by.last_img read more

Two species thought to be extinct re-discovered + Dolphins get high on purpose

first_imgToday marks 100 years since the Grand Canyon was designated as a national park. To celebrate, the park will host special events and programs at the park and throughout Arizona during the centennial year. Although afforded federal protection in 1893, the Grand Canyon did not achieve national park status until 1919, three years after the formation of the National Park Service. The Grand Canyon National Park Act, which officially made the Grand Canyon a national park, was signed by President Woodrow Wilson and considered an early success of the conservation movement. Today the Grand Canyon is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and welcomes more than 6 million domestic and international tourists a year. Grand Canyon National Park Turns 100 Elephants get drunk on overripe fruit, horses eat hallucinogenic weeds, and now, it appears, dolphins may get high off of pufferfish. Footage from a new BBC documentary, “Spy in the Pod,” reveals dolphins purposely coming into contact with toxic pufferfish, which release a potent defensive chemical when threatened. In small doses, the toxin appears to put the dolphins into a trance-like state. The dolphins were filmed playfully passing the toxic pufferfish between them for 20 or 30 minutes and at one point were observed floating just beneath the surface of the water, apparently mesmerized by their own reflections. A zoologist with the film said that the dolphins’ handling of the pufferfish implied that it was not their first time interacting with the fish in this way. Another species feared extinct, the Fernandina Giant Tortoise, was also discovered last week on a remote Galapagos Island. The species had not been seen in more than 110 years when scientists found a single female tortoise, believed to be more than a century old. Scientists think there may be more living Fernandina Giant Tortoises on the island due to tracks and scat they found. The tortoise was taken to a breeding center for giant tortoises on Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos. Cue Beyoncé’s “All the Single Ladies.” A single female Wallace’s giant bee, feared extinct for 38 years, was discovered on the Indonesian island of the North Moluccas last week. The world’s largest bee, four times the size of a honeybee, was found living inside a termite’s nest in a tree. The bee’s habitat is threatened by deforestation, and its size makes it a target for collectors. Two species, both thought to be extinct, recently re-discovered in Indonesia and Ecuador Dolphins may use toxic pufferfish to get highlast_img read more

Outdoor Updates: Dominion Energy strikes deal to turn cow manure into energy

first_imgDominion Energy strikes deal to turn cow manure into energy Goldman Sachs says it will not finance new oil projects in the Arctic The WSJ reports that the gas extracted from cow manure, called biogas, is in high demand among consumers, businesses, and local governments that want to lower their emissions. Although producing biogas is more expensive than producing natural gas from shale, it can generate carbon offset credits for buyers, making biogas profitable for energy companies.  Dominion Energy has entered into a $200 million pact with a renewable energy producer and the Dairy Farmers of American Inc. to extract natural gas from cow manure, the Wall Street Journal reports. The utility will fund construction of organic-waste processing facilities, connect the facilities to natural gas distribution pipelines, and sell the gas.center_img This week, Goldman Sachs announced it would not finance new oil drilling or exploration projects in the Arctic, the Sierra Club announced. It’s the first time a US bank has made such a commitment. The move comes after the bank revised their environmental policy. The commitment also includes a ban on financing for new thermal coalmines around the world. The bank made the shift citing “potential impacts to critical natural habitats for endangered species” as well as the negative effects drilling can have on Indigenous communities. Previous to Goldman Sachs announcement, US banks have been some of the top financiers of fossil fuel projects.last_img read more

Asheville’s Bent Creek River Park closed for six weeks for natural gas pipeline replacement

first_imgAccording to the Aspen Times, the knuckle huck is a competition that “allows for, encourages and celebrates the flair, the style and the fun at the heart of snowboarding as riders huck themselves off the “knuckle,” or rollover, of the big air landing before landing in the formal landing area. The park says that each of the three primary entrances near Gatlinburg, Cherokee and Townsend all saw an increase in visitors, but the secondary entrances also helped contribute to the large number. “Secondary park entrances experienced tremendous growth, due primarily to the new section of the Foothills Parkway between Walland and Wears Valley,” the park said in a news release. “Over one million visitors enjoyed this new driving experience.” Bent Creek River Park on Brevard Road in Asheville will be closed for up to six weeks while Dominion Energy replaces a natural gas line. Josh O’ Conner, Director of Buncombe County Recreation Services, told WLOS that they worked with Dominion to close the park during the slowest time possible, since Bent Creek River Park is a popular spot for kayakers and tubers to put in during warmer months. Read the full story here: https://wlos.com/news/local/bent-creek-river-park-to-temporarily-close-for-up-to-6-weeks  Read the full story here: https://www.wbir.com/article/entertainment/places/great-smoky-mountains-national-park/great-smoky-mountains-national-park-sets-visitation-record-with-125-million-visitors/51-1c6762a5-cb32-4ee0-aff2-3da87fda17db Great Smoky Mountains National Park breaks visitor record in 2019 Twenty-year-old snowboarder Zeb Powell won gold in Wendy’s Snowboard Knuckle Huck at the X Games in Aspen last week. According to Powell’s Red Bull athlete profile, he grew up skiing at Cataloochee Ski Area where he learned to ride with “creativity, flow and style.” His signature blend, states the website, is “of a super-smooth rail game with shifty spins and tweaked-out grabs.”  Asheville’s Bent Creek River Park closed for six weeks for natural gas pipeline replacement In a statement, Dominion Energy said, “as the regulated natural gas provider in the area, our responsibility is to ensure system reliability and safety in compliance with regulations, and this project is a part of that. We apologize for the inconvenience and will work diligently to complete the project in a timely manner, weather permitting.”  Waynesville, NC native wins Gold at 2020 X Games The country’s most visited national parks keeps getting more popular. In 2019, Great Smoky Mountains National Park saw record visitation numbers, welcoming 12,547,743 visitors. That’s up from a record-breaking year in 2018 which saw 11,421,203 visitors.last_img read more

How to Safely Go Outside

first_imgBe Prepared—Medical and emergency service professionals are already feeling the strain as the virus makes its way through communities. Don’t add to their workload. Pack plenty of water, snacks, and a basic first aid kit. Reduce potential accidents as much as possible. If you are going out on a new trail, do some research on what to expect before heading out. Be Kind and Considerate—This is a stressful time and everyone is affected by closures in a variety of ways. Be respectful of other people’s health and safety by keeping your physical distance and being kind to the people ensuring you still have access to the outdoors. Stay Local—Think of the small communities that are on the edge of your favorite park or forest. Help stop the spread of the virus by staying local and not visiting communities more vulnerable to an epidemic. Remember the 7 Leave No Trace Principles—Plan ahead and prepare, travel and camp on durable surfaces, dispose of waste properly, leave what you find, minimize campfire impacts, respect wildlife, and be considerate of others.  As states begin to lift restrictions and parks are reopening, we encourage folks getting outside to continue practicing social distancing guidelines and to use common sense as COVID-19 continues to affect communities around the region and the world. Use other resources out there like the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, CDC, and your local officials to help you get outside safely during this time. As the situation changes, make sure you are getting the most up to date information regarding your health and the outdoors. Photo by Ellen Kanzinger National ParksAppalachian TrailGeorgia State ParksKentucky State ParksMaryland State ParksNorth Carolina State ParksPennsylvania State ParksSouth Carolina State ParksTennessee State ParksVirginia State ParksWest Virginia State Parkscenter_img More Information Pay Attention—The situation is changing daily as state and local officials make adjustments and announce new openings/closures. Before heading outside, check guidelines in your own community to make sure it is safe where you want to go. There Will Be Closures—Many trailheads, visitor centers, and recreation areas closed down to avoid exposing staff and visitors to the virus. Don’t expect all of the amenities, like water, restrooms, and campgrounds, to be open during this time. Plan ahead, pack everything you need, and abide by closure signs. Have a Plan B—As more people turned to the outdoors to find peace during these uncertain times, we saw parking lots and trails overcrowded with no way to stay six feet apart. If there are already a lot of cars at the trailhead, don’t add to the congestion. Find another trail to hike, come back at another time, or go for a walk around your neighborhood. Recreate Responsibly—It is important to maintain your distance from others, at least six feet apart, and narrow trails don’t always allow for this. Avoid groups larger than 10 people and stick to recreating with the people you live with. Pack a mask, gloves, and hand sanitizer just in case.Love the Trail—While avoiding crowds, make sure to stick to designated trails. Wait for wide sections to pass people while still maintaining your distance. Help keep your impact on the trail to a minimum.Pack it In, Pack it Out—You should always pack out everything you bring in. But it is especially important to take care of all your trash as park and maintenance staff is reduced at this time.  photo from Getty Imageslast_img read more

Castroneves Wins Third Indianapolis 500 Title

first_imgBy Dialogo May 26, 2009 Nice article also much informative.Is it magical race as this was the best race of the month. This wasn’t just a race, it was vindication. Helio Castroneves crossed the finish line Sunday beneath an overcast sky at the Indianapolis 500, then loosed enough tears to float his race car another 500 miles down the road. He cried because a third win gained him entry into a charmed circle of champions, only nine of whom have been lucky and courageous enough to capture that many in the 93 times the race has been run. And he cried because the crushing weight of a three-month legal battle with the Internal Revenue Service was finally, unmistakably in his rearview mirror. But mostly, Castroneves cried because his fate once again rested in his own two hands. “You guys don’t understand,” Castroneves roared from the winner’s circle as a 250,000-strong crowd roared back just as loudly. “You guys kept me strong.” A lesser man might have been broken by what Castroneves went through. In March, he was standing trial for federal income tax evasion and looking at six years in prison. He was acquitted, but the final charge against him wasn’t dropped until Friday, two days before the biggest event in his sport. Compared to that ordeal, the race could not have seemed all that taxing. Castroneves grabbed the lead coming out of a restart with 17 laps to go and never faced a serious challenge after that. He started on the pole, played it safe through the middle while ironing out a gearbox problem, then saw his opportunity and grabbed it by the throat. Then just like Rick Mears, one of three four-time Indy 500 champions that Castroneves will train his sights on next, he deployed smarts and patience to choke every last bit of drama out of the race. The resemblance is hardly coincidental. Owner Roger Penske gave both men their shot at the big time and won their loyalty forever. He stood by Castroneves throughout his fight with the IRS and keeps Mears on the payroll as a driving coach and consultant. To no one’s surprise, the two drivers found common ground and became fast friends. “He’s always taken to this place like a duck takes to water,” Mears said. “He’s a competitor, but he’s a big picture guy also. And that’s what it takes … around this place. He’s very good, and what I mean by that is that he rarely puts a wheel wrong around here. He makes very few mistakes.” Both men are masterful in the maelstrom of a race, sifting through clues swirling around them at 220 mph and collecting just enough pieces to solve a tough puzzle. Yet Mears conceded he couldn’t imagine the emotions Castroneves worked through in the quiet moments away from the racetrack, nor the joy he must have felt coming down the home straightaway in front this time. “I know he was just glad to be here. But to have everything fall into place like it did,” Mears said, “is just amazing.” Yet Castroneves’ rivals sensed something different when he returned to the track. The bubbly Brazilian who electrified crowds at Indy Racing League stops and won an international following by waltzing off with the title on “Dancing With The Stars” two seasons ago was noticeably subdued. “Just the kind of hug you get from him” is how IRL glamour girl Danica Patrick described it. “After what he’s gone through, it was a different kind of hug. “So I’m very happy for him,” she added. “We’re glad to have him back, and obviously he’s very good for the sport.” It’s funny how things work out. Just last week, former NFL star Michael Vick walked out of federal prison still vilified and nearly broke, a disgraced former con with no guarantee there will be a place for him in pro football if and when he’s ready to go back. Castroneves, on the other hand, was acquitted, then welcomed back to racing with open arms and the benefit of the doubt. With a quarter of the race left, his sister stood behind Castroneves’ pit, her eyes shut tight and hands clasped in prayer. In short order, Helio’s parents and his girlfriend locked hands and joined the vigil. Given the chance to pick up where he left off, the Brazilian climbed back behind the wheel and wrote the perfect ending to what could have been a Hollywood script. Except that it was all true. “Towards the end,” Castroneves said. “I didn’t touch anything on the car. When I got in the front, it was, ‘Never look back.'” He paused one more time to choke back tears. “This race is magical. It was a tough beginning,” he added, “but this is the best month of May ever.”last_img read more

Cuba and US Hold Dialogue on Migration in New York

first_imgBy Dialogo July 16, 2009 NEW YORK, 14 July 2009 (AFP) – The United States and Cuba, which have shown timid signs of a thaw in their relations since President Barack Obama took office, resumed a dialogue on migration issues that had been suspended since 2003 in New York on Tuesday. During the meeting, the United States and Cuba committed to promoting “safe, orderly, and legal” migration, as the State Department and the Cuban chancellory indicated in separate statements. The diplomatic talks that were held twice a year at a technical level — alternating between the United States and Cuba — had been suspended since the period of tension with George W. Bush’s administration. The dialogue was broken off by the United States. At the time, Cuba was also afraid of an American military invasion, as President Raúl Castro later revealed to the Nacional Defense Council. After arriving at the White House, Obama sent a friendly signal to the island in April when he authorized U.S. citizens of Cuban ancestry to travel and send money to Cuba. Subsequently, the State Department indicated that representatives of both countries had opened unofficial discussions with the aim of trying to relaunch the dialogue on migration issues. Nevertheless, despite this rapprochement, both Washington and Havana continued to signal their mutual distrust, each side waiting for gestures from the other before moving forward. The Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, recently reiterated that the United States will not lift the embargo it has imposed on the island for almost half a century if Cuba does not release its political prisoners and respect human rights. The anti-Castro exile community in Florida, the influence of which has declined in recent years, calls on Washington to keep up pressure for democratic change in Cuba and considers the migration dialogue to be an incentive in the opposite direction. According to the State Department, upon resuming the migration meetings on Tuesday, the United States reaffirmed its interest in “pursuing constructive discussions with the government of Cuba” on matters of common interest. Regular talks began in 1995 to coordinate measures intended to avoid mass Cuban emigration to the country to the north. The United States committed to granting around 20,000 annual visas to Cubans, and Cuba agreed to take back and not take reprisals against individuals who attempted to escape from the island and were captured at sea by the American coast guard. In New York, the Cuban delegation indicated in a statement that it “presented a proposal for a new accord to the American side,” without specifying the proposal’s content. The Obama administration, for its part, specified that it addressed with the Cuban representatives not only points of “successful cooperation,” but also the “obstacles to the full implementation of the accords.” Washington identified assurances for the full functioning of its interests section in Havana, access to a deep-water port for repatriating migrants, assurances of their welfare, and the ability to return migrants with a criminal background as among its priorities. “The United States views these talks as a venue to achieve practical, positive results that contribute to the full implementation of the accords and to the safety of our citizens.” The U.S. delegation was headed by the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Craig Kelly. The Cuban delegation was headed by the Vice-Minister of Foreign Relations, Dagoberto Martínez. “We had a productive working session that validates the usefulness of the mechanism,” Martínez said.last_img read more

Report Shows Afghanistan Plan is Working

first_imgBy Dialogo November 01, 2011 The Defense Department’s latest report to Congress on Afghanistan details steady progress and shows the plan there is working, a senior defense official speaking on background told reporters in Washington D.C. The Report on Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan — commonly called “the 1230 report” for its citation in the law that requires it — is the latest congressionally mandated report card on Afghanistan to Congress. The reports, which have charted the state of security in Afghanistan, began in 2008. “We have been describing the situation on the ground as it is,” the official said. In June 2008, the report said the Taliban had regrouped. In January 2009, the report said conditions had deteriorated and continued to do so in June 2009. The April 2010 report said the decline in security had stopped and the November 2010 report said there were modest gains in security. “In this report, we’re saying there are important security gains [and] reversed violence trends in the country, except the area along the Pakistani border,” the official said. The bottom line is the plan President Barack Obama rolled out in December 2009 is working, the official added. “It was about reversing that deterioration, it was about reducing violence through a combination of military and civilian surge working together on the group in Afghanistan,” he said. “Where we’ve been least successful is in [Regional Command] East, where we put the fewest [surge] troops and where the safe havens in Pakistan are.” The Afghan security forces have been crucial to the progress, the official said, noting these forces are increasing in numbers and quality. Two years ago, few people enlisted in the Afghan army or police. Now, he added, the Afghan government turns away thousands who can’t meet the new higher standards required by the security forces. “Their performance is the key to our ability to continue the withdrawal … by the end of 2014,” he said. Afghan forces are in the lead in seven areas of the country covering 25 percent of the population, the official said. Afghan President Hamid Karzai said he will announce the next areas to transition to Afghan responsibility Nov. 2 during a meeting in Istanbul. Afghanistan still has problems, the official said, noting the insurgents there are resilient. But, he added, the insurgents have been significantly weakened. The safe havens in Pakistan are a major stumbling block, the official said, but in all other areas of the country and by almost any measure, he added, conditions in Afghanistan have improved.last_img read more

USSOUTHCOM Honors Partner Nation Liaison Officers

first_imgBy Dialogo February 13, 2012 February 10 marked the culmination to their assignments as Military Liaison Officers to the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) for Brazilian Navy Commander Paulo Petró, Peruvian Army Colonel Juan Carlos Liendo and Chilean Navy Captain Luis Felipe Bravo. SOUTHCOM honored the country representatives in a ceremony to thank them for their service and bid them farewell. U.S. Air Force General Douglas Fraser, USSOUTHCOM Commander also recognized their distinguished service by awarding Cmdr. Petró and Capt. Bravo with a Joint Service Commendation Medal on behalf of the Secretary of Defense. In his opening remarks, Gen. Fraser said, “This program is very important to the United States…the benefit we gain mutually will pay us dividends in the future,” and was quick to add that the relationships established with the liaison officers and the work achieved together have already paid both sides important dividends. “We have learned a great deal from each other as we worked with the Armed Forces of their countries.” The same medal was presented to Col. Liendo in a previous ceremony on February 3, by U.S. Air Force Brigadier General Steven Shepro, Director of SOUTHCOM’s Strategy, Policy and Plans directorate, according to a press release published by the command’s Public Affairs Office. The Partner Nation Liaison Officer (PNLO) Program began in 1998 with a focus on fostering a better understanding among partner nations and facilitating the ability to integrate and synchronize operations among them by assisting in the transfer of vital information, enhancing mutual trust and developing an increased level of teamwork among the countries. Since then, according to the press release, seven South American countries, in addition to Canada have assigned military liaison officers to the command. Cmdr. Petró, a Marine officer and naval aviator (helicopter) who celebrated 28 years in the Brazilian Military on the same day, was assigned to SOUTHCOM on February 7, 2011, and will head back to his home country as Commander of the Amphibious Assault Vehicular Battalion in Rio de Janeiro. “As an aviator I have flown across open seas, over the Amazon jungle and over the snowy southern Andes, but if I have to mention one highlight in my career, it would have to be my time in Miami as part of the SOUTHCOM family,” said the Brazilian helicopter pilot, while stressing his admiration for “the U.S. for the bravery of the American people.” Chilean Submariner, Capt. Bravo, served as PNLO to SOUTHCOM since February 13, 2010, providing invaluable service as the primary link to the Chilean Command Authorities during the 8.8-magnitude earthquake that struck his country only 10 days after his arrival to Miami. Capt. Bravo thanked his family and the command staff, expressing, “All of you [the U.S.] bring hope to many nations; you really, truly foster regional stability with your efforts in the region.” “You make this world a better place in which to live and I feel honored to walk alongside you,” he concluded. Capt. Bravo’s next assignment will be as member of the Staff to the Chilean Commander of Naval Operations in Valparaiso, Chile. Col. Liendo, a fully qualified Military Intelligence Officer and Professor at the Peruvian Army’s Command and General Staff College, Military Academy and Intelligence and Analysis School in Military Intelligence, History and Strategy, served SOUTHCOM since February 8, 2010 and retired from his military career on December 31, 2011. In addition to serving as advisor to various directorates within the command, Col. Liendo also contributed greatly to a CHDS Seminar on Security and Defense during his assignment to SOUTHCOM.last_img read more

Colombia Opens Door to Talks with Guerillas

first_imgBy Dialogo June 19, 2012 The Colombian senate’s approval June 14 of looser terms in peace talks sends a strong message to leftist guerillas who have been battling the government for half a century, experts said. The constitutional reform proposed by President Juan Manuel Santos, which must still pass the House of Representatives and Constitutional Court, allows for the possibility of amnesty for demobilized guerillas. It also sets out provisions to provide restitution to victims of the decades-long conflict and opens the door for former guerillas to gain political office so long as they did not perpetuate crimes against humanity. “It is essentially a message to the guerillas — they’re saying here is a way to make peace,” Fernando Giraldo, a political science professor at the Javeriana University. Colombian law currently imposes hefty prison terms on guerilla leaders accused of terrorism and bars them for life from political office. Amnesty is only offered for non-violent political crimes. “It’s a law for peace,” said Ariel Avila of Corporación Nuevo Arco Iris, a think-tank promoting peaceful resolutions to the Colombian conflict. “It opens a door to dialogue and offers a legal grounding to support it.” The approval does not signal that talks are imminent, cautioned Giraldo. “Society needs a pathway to escape this interminable armed conflict, but peace is not around the corner,” he told AFP. In public speeches this week Santos urged the military to attack guerillas with force and insisted that if a dialogue is opened “it will be on our conditions and under our controls.” Colombia has been riled in a bloody internal conflict that has killed, injured and displaced hundreds of thousands of people over the past 50 years.last_img read more

Brazil Crime Gang Spread through Most of Country

first_imgBy Dialogo November 27, 2012 Brazil’s largest organized crime gang has now spread across most of the country, according to a Justice Ministry report on November 25. The gang called the First Command of the Capital is now present in 22 of the country’s 27 states, as well as in Paraguay and Bolivia, said the report quoted by Brazilian newspaper O Globo. The group was formed in 1993 by drug traffickers doing time in a prison 140 kilometers from São Paulo. It is blamed for a wave of violence ravaging São Paulo state. In response, authorities have transferred jailed leaders of the gang to maximum-security facilities elsewhere in Brazil. The report quoted startling numbers: the gang takes in $32 million a year in drug sales and boasts 13,000 members, 6,000 of whom are held in jails in São Paulo state. It said that of the 152 jails in São Paulo state, 135 are controlled by the gang. Members who are not in prison have to contribute $400 a month. The increase in violence blamed on the gang is sobering: So far this year, around 100 people have been killed in São Paulo state, compared to 47 in all of 2011.last_img read more

The War at Home – PART II

first_img Dani Ticktin Koplik, founder of dtkResources, a professional training and coaching firm, believes that for veterans’ outcomes in the job market to change, they should strive to understand the context and needs of the civilian workplace. He also said it’s important for veterans to avoid using military jargon, citing O*NET Online as a good resource to help veterans convert their military skill sets into civilian terminology. There are numerous resources available to military veterans searching for employment. Here are a few: “They often have the attitude that they are owed a job, and are under the impression that their skill set is more valuable than their civilian counterparts,” Graves said. “They have to understand that you can’t take a CEO of an organization, put stars on their shoulder, and expect them to be a successful general. Just like they can’t take their rank and walk in to the top of the chain of command in a civilian organization.” Feds Hire Vets: This veteran employment website was created as a direct result of the Executive Order signed by President Barack Obama regarding the employment of veterans in the federal government. The site includes information for veteran job seekers, transitioning service members, and veterans’ family members. By Dialogo April 03, 2013 Veterans Green Jobs: Founded in 2008, this organization connects military veterans with training and employment opportunities in the green sector. Any military veteran who served 180 days or more and was discharged under honorable conditions is eligible for the programs they offer. Career Resources for Veterans “In the civilian workplace, competence is assumed and progression through the ranks is often a function of personal relationships, of visibility, and of the softer skills such as displaying emotional intelligence, being able to communicate and build rapport, and establishing trust.” Sara Sutton Fell, founder of FlexJobs, a professional job finding service, suggested that veterans market their supervisory experience to employers. “It is all dependent on the career field of the member, but many gain extensive professional certifications that can translate into the civilian sector. Some such certifications are found in areas such as legal, hazardous materials, healthcare, engineering, transportation, accounting/finance, and information security.” “The reality of the civilian workplace – what it looks like, what it values, how it operates – is quite different from the military reality,” Koplik said. “Very simply, if vets want to secure employment, build a career, and succeed in the civilian sector, they have to accept what today’s business reality looks like. Business now is highly relational, collaborative, and interdependent which means that employers also look for candidates who ‘fit’ into their corporate culture, who understand and embody their corporate mission and buy into their corporate values.” Koplik said this is often foreign to vets who succeeded in a military culture based on merit, in which expectations for performance are well-articulated, clear, and consistent. Citroen said she encourages veterans to become active on LinkedIn and other networks, both in person and online. “Military personnel have extensive supervisory experience as they move up in rank. Not only do they perform as a supervisor and manager, often for numerous projects, programs, or units, but also as a mentor and professional development instructor,” she said. Interestingly enough, Graves, a Navy veteran, said that the largest obstacle for finding a job is often the veterans themselves. Wounded Warrior Careers Program: Offered through the National Organization on Disability (NOD), this program’s purpose is to help veterans with serious disabilities achieve meaningful, rewarding and sustainable careers in the civilian sector. Career specialists work with the veterans, providing support and guidance to help them identify and achieve their career goals. Fell also stressed the importance of certifications obtained while in the military. Daywalt stressed that there are more than 200 skill sets used in the military needed by civilian employers, with leadership being the main skill. VetJobs: Sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), VetJobs is a job board which allows employers to easily reach all members of the military community. VetJobs was established in 1999, and receives 20,000 visitors a day. A Sense of Entitlement Recent efforts by the National Guard have already proven effective in putting Minnesota’s military veterans in civilian jobs, as reported by Minnesota Public Radio. Acting proactively, a team of military officials accompanied government, education and business leaders to Kuwait where they spent a week on a military base and led troops through a rigorous set of exercises designed to help prepare them to job hunt. The exercises included sessions on resume writing and career planning and mock interviews. Of the more than 500 service members who returned from the Middle East without civilian jobs, guard officials said only 35 are still looking for work. Bonds of Courage: With a staff that includes veterans themselves, Bonds of Courage offers a variety of assistance to veteran job-seekers – from networking to preparation for answering difficult interview questions. Identifying and Leveraging Advantages “They should join community groups and business networks,” she said. “There are great jobs that are not advertised, and the traditional ‘say and spray’ model of shooting out resumes is not as powerful at helping recruiters find you.” last_img read more

Ten Fugitives from Rio Favela Captured in Paraguay

first_img The operation was conducted after several days of armed confrontations that left 37 individuals killed. More than 2,600 Police and Army members seized Complexo do Alemão on November 28, 2010, with the support of armored vehicles and helicopters, and restored this drug trafficking stronghold back to the hands of the state. About 8,000 community police officers have been assigned to UPP in 179 poor neighborhoods, according to the police, which intends to setup other 40 stations by 2014. Since 2000, Rio de Janeiro has raced against time to ‘pacify’ the city’s poor neighborhoods that are controlled by drug traffickers and paramilitaries, before the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games. Pacifying Police Units (UPP) are being setup in the occupied favelas, with officers trained to address problems within retaken communities. “We only have the names of the detainees and confiscated equipment,” Jorge Santos Figueiredo, Chief of the Federal Police of Mato Grosso do Sul, stated. At least five of the criminals are members of transnational gang Comando Vermelho (Red Command), the largest criminal organization in Brazil, which is mainly involved in international drug and weapons trafficking. The operation started six months ago with thorough intelligence work, which involved members of the Paraguayan Army and the counter drug department, who worked in conjunction with the Brazilian Federal Police, according to O Globo. By Dialogo May 23, 2013 The criminals were detained in the border town of Amambay, a marihuana-producing region, which is generally disputed between Paraguayan and Brazilian gangs that fight for control over the drug and weapons market. Additionally, the soccer Confederations Cup will be held in June and one month after that Pope Francis will visit the country. Ten alleged drug traffickers from the Complexo do Alemão favela in Rio de Janeiro, who escaped to Paraguay after the police occupied this shanty town in 2010, were captured by Paraguayan authorities, Brazilian newspaper O Globo reported on May 21. A sophisticated arsenal of war rifles, automatic pistols, shotguns, and ammunition was confiscated by the police, according to the newspaper. last_img read more

Security cameras help Salvadoran police fight street gangs MS-13 and Barrio 18

first_img The surveillance cameras will help security forces keep track of the criminal activities of the two largest gangs in El Salvador – Mara Salvatrucha, which is also known as MS-13, and Barrio 18, which is also known as 18th Street and M-18. Both of these gangs engage in killings, extortion, armed robbery, kidnapping, and micro-trafficking of drugs. Mara Salvatrucha and Barrio 18 have both formed alliances with international drug trafficking groups, such as the Sinaloa Cartel and Los Zetas, which operate in El Salvador and other parts of Central America. The gangs help drug cartels transport cocaine and other drugs north to Mexico, the United States, and other destinations. The Sinaloa Cartel and Los Zetas, two Mexican transnational criminal organizations, have expanded their operations in recent years in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Monitoring MS-13 and Barrio 18 Training, coordination, and intelligence Technology is essential to the security forces of any nation, Aviles said. For example, London has used closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV) for years to monitor the streets of the city. The new cameras will be phased in, authorities said. The first phase began May 20, when authorities began installing 360 security cameras, which the National Civil Police (PNC) will use to monitor city streets for criminal activity, according to the Ministry of Security. Each surveillance camera can cover as much ground as 22 police officers on patrol, Jose Ricardo Perdomo, the minister of justice and public security, told reporters the day authorities began installing the devices. Authorities installed many of the cameras on streets that led into and out of San Salvador. “In the past, it was easier to point to specific areas that could be dangerous. Unfortunately, crime is spreading geographically,” Aviles said. “San Salvador is a sensitive area again.” The government plans on placing up to 6,500 cameras in the capital city and outlying areas. Images captured by the security cameras can be stored in a database for up to eight years. Authorities will be able to use images to monitor crimes as they occur, to identify potential criminal suspects and victims, and to check the registration of vehicle license numbers. Each camera has a range of about 800 meters. The ability of cameras to cover large amounts of territory will allow police who monitor the cameras to conduct “virtual patrols.” The cameras will send images to the PNC’s central command and control center. PNC authorities will monitor the images to respond to dispatch officers to crimes in progress and to gather intelligence. A pledge to fight crime Using technology to fight crimecenter_img On June 10, Minister of Justice and Security Benito Lara pledged the government is doing everything it can to fight crime and improve security.in every part of El Salvador. “Our policy is clear, we will develop everything in our power to combat crime. We will deploy more police officers in areas where gangs operate,” Lara said. The combination of improvements in technology and cooperation between the police and the residents of El Salvador should lead to improvements in public safety, Aviles said. “Any action to prevent insecurity and violence brings results,” he said. “In the near future the crime reduction is expected.” The security cameras are an important tool in the fight against crime, but they are part of a larger effort which involves improved training, intelligence gathering, and cooperation between citizens and the PNC, as well as between Salvadoran and U.S. security forces, according to Aviles. “Technology alone will not solve the problem of gangs or organizations of transnational organized crime,” Aviles said. “Technology needs to be accompanied by good training for all members of the security forces, equipment, weapons, vehicles, advanced communication, coordination and intelligence to successfully combat these criminal organizations.” Before they began installing large numbers of security cameras, authorities tested the surveillance system by installing a small number of the devices in San Salvador, according to the Ministry of Security. Those first cameras helped police capture a gang of car thieves, stop a drug transaction, and identify extortion suspects. Video and images from security cameras can be important tools in the fight against crime, Aviles said. Police and prosecutors can use video and photographic images from security cameras to identify criminals and bring them to justice. Video and photographic evidence can be crucial in criminal trials. The security camera system cost more than $5 million (USD), according to the Ministry of Justice and Public Safety. The camera surveillance system is equipped with the most sophisticated technology available and is protected against cyber-attacks. Salvadoran authorities are increasing their use of technology to fight crime. For example, authorities have blocked cellphone service at 10 prisons throughout the country to fight crime. Cellphones are prohibited inside prisons, but some incarcerated gang leaders have had friends or relatives smuggle the devices to them inside prison. The gang leaders have used the smuggled cellphones to direct the criminal activities of their gangs. Providing the best in technology is part of government’s broad strategy to fight gangs, international drug trafficking groups, and common criminals. In addition to the surveillance camera system, the government in recent years has provided the PNC an automated ballistics and fingerprint identification system, which helps police conduct criminal investigations. By Dialogo July 21, 2014 Salvadoran authorities plan to install more than 6,000 security cameras in the capital city of San Salvador and outlying areas in the coming months to improve public safety. The cameras will help security forces monitor and confront violence by gangs, transnational criminal organizations, and common criminals, according to Educational Foundation for the Prevention of Drug Abuse (FORESEE) executive director Carlos Aviles. “The use of video surveillance cameras will enhance the effectiveness of law enforcement against drug trafficking, extortion, kidnapping, common crime, theft and other emerging threats,” Aviles said. “It will strengthen (crime) prevention in San Salvador.” last_img read more

Northern Triangle Country Militaries Train on Humanitarian Principles and the Use of Force

first_imgBy Honduran Secretariat of National Defense February 24, 2017 Universal norms will be integrated into the military’s public security tasks in the region’s three countries. Training is the result of a memorandum of understanding signed by the Honduran Secretariat of National Defense and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Twenty-five officers from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala will attend the specialized course from February 7th-24th to strengthen their theoretical and practical knowledge on the application of international standards on the use of force. The lectures will deal with the role of the armed forces in public security, public security in Central America, the rule of law, and the use of force, and will be led by national and international guest panelists. “Participating in this type of training gives the personnel added value when they put these techniques and procedures into practice when using force. We aim to correctly apply this knowledge during operations so we can ensure human rights are respected,” said Cavalry Colonel Juan Ramón Barahona Uriarte, head of the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat of the Honduran Armed Forces Joint Staff. “The ICRC as an impartial, neutral and independent humanitarian institution seeks to promote the knowledge and integration of international standards on the use of force, including the use of firearms, arrest and detention, doctrine, teaching, training and equipment, and internal oversight systems of the armed forces and the security forces,” explained Eduardo Ubierna, ICRC head of mission in Honduras. The instructor training course for the armed forces and security forces is part of the ICRC activities in Central America. In the past three years, these forces have developed processes for teaching and integrating international standards on the use of force. To date more than 6,000 military members who participate in public security operations in support of the national police have been trained as a result of the instructor training and the collaboration between the Armed Forces Human Rights Directorate and the ICRC.last_img read more

Withdrawal from Anti-drug Agreements Benefits Cartels in Venezuela

first_imgBy Diálogo May 20, 2020 On February 25, in a combined operation, the Colombian Navy and Aruban security forces seized more than 5 tons of cocaine hidden inside a compartment of the cargo ship Aressa. The vessel that sailed under a Cameroonian flag had departed from Guaranao Port, in the Venezuelan state of Falcón, and was bound for Greece.The Aruban news portal 24ora said it was the largest cache seized in the island, according to the Aruban Attorney General’s Office.Mildred Camero, former president of the Venezuelan National Commission against Illicit Drug Use (CONACUID, in Spanish), said that this operation was possible thanks to coordination among Colombia, Aruba, and the United States, without the participation of Venezuelan security forces.This is another example in which first Hugo Chávez and now Nicolás Maduro, have broken off with international cooperation to counter narcotrafficking, in order to participate fully in this activity.The isolation process began in 2005, when Chávez ordered to halt the agreements signed with the U.S. Department of State’s Narcotics Affairs Section. These conventions governed, among several issues, the activities of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in the country.Camero was in the United States when Chávez announced the decision. “When I returned to Venezuela, I knew I had been dismissed,” she said.From then on, Venezuela also withdrew from multilateral anti-drug cooperation forums of the Organization of American States and the Andean Community. In 2008, Chávez threatened to leave Interpol, when technicians of that institution validated evidence from computer files seized during a raid in northern Ecuador. The files linked the Chávez government with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.International cooperation for drug interdiction and drug use prevention, as well as money laundering detection, has been declining until reaching the current situation, in which it is “nonexistent,” Camero said.Complicit service members At the same time, several high-ranking officers, who were leading the fight against trafficking organizations, began to favor these groups, taking advantage of their positions of power. One of them would be Bolivarian National Guard Major Néstor Reverol, current Interior minister and former head of the National Anti-drug Office (ONA, in Spanish), the institution that replaced CONACUID in 2008.An indictment filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in January 2015 says that Reverol, together with Brigadier General Edylberto Molina, “alerted narcotics traffickers to future drug raids or locations of law enforcement counter-narcotics activities, so that the narcotics traffickers could change the storage locations of narcotics or alter transportation routes or times and thus avoid detection by law enforcement.”Molina was the ONA’s general director during Reverol’s tenure. Later, when Maduro designated Reverol as Interior minister, he also appointed Molina as deputy minister of the Integrated Police System (VISIPOL, in Spanish).Camero said that Major General Hugo Carvajal, former director of Military Counterintelligence, was conducting a similar activity that favored cartels.In mid-March 2020, U.S. Attorney General William Barr accused Reverol, Carvajal, and Molina of contributing to building Maduro’s “corrupt regime.”With Venezuela’s withdrawal from international drug cooperation efforts — and the fact that more than 50 countries, including the United States and Venezuela’s neighboring countries, do not recognize the Maduro regime — other tactics have been implemented to prevent illegal shipments from leaving the country. International authorities have been using electronic surveillance and confidential informants with greater intensity. According to Camero, this helped detect the preparations for the cocaine shipment on board Aressa in December.José Luis Pirela, head of the Venezuelan National Assembly (AN, in Spanish) Subcommission for the Fight Against Drugs, Terrorism, and Organized Crime, shares this view, adding that the increase in surveillance over the country explains why large drug seizures are taking place in the Caribbean and ports of destination, such as Spain and France, rather than in Venezuelan territory.“The breakdown of international cooperation mechanisms has allowed narcotrafficking to reach alarming levels in Venezuela,” he said.The lawmaker believes that it is necessary to resume Venezuela’s participation in all international forums for both drug interdiction and drug use prevention.He added that the AN speaker, Juan Guaidó, who is recognized by the United States and more than 50 countries as Venezuela’s interim president, should seize this opportunity to renew these accords, and also create a parliamentary space to allow discussions to resume on the drug issue.last_img read more

Insurance disclosure form proposed

first_imgInsurance disclosure form proposedA proposed disclosure form to be given to insurance company policy holders when they are sued and a Bar rule to implement how the form is used are being presented to Bar members for comment.The Board of Governors got its first look at the implementing rule at its April 7 meeting. It will come back — along with the form which was reviewed by the board at its February meeting — to the board for final approval June 2 in Naples.Board member David Bianchi, chair of the Insurance Practice Special Study Committee, said the form, the first such in the nation, is attracting the attention of other states.“If the board votes to approve it at the next meeting, and I hope you will, we will be the model for the country, because other states are lining up waiting for us to roll it out,” he said.The form would let policy holders know of their rights and responsibilities when they are sued and their insurance company appoints a lawyer to defend them.Bianchi said it was presented to the Bar’s Citizens Forum at its April 6 meeting and forum members were enthusiastic about the document.“I’m very happy to tell you they loved it. They said it was fabulous and they wanted to say how appreciative they were of the language that was used and the tone. They said it was precise and clear,” Bianchi said. “Two of them had recently been sued in small auto accidents and they said they wished they had had this.”Comments on the form and proposed rule may be sent to Mary Ellen Bateman, Bar Unlicensed Practice of Law Counsel, 651 E. Jefferson Street, Tallahassee 32399-2300. Comments may be e-mailed to mbateman@FLABAR.org. The proposed form and rule change follows. IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR RIGHTS, PLEASE ASK FOR AN EXPLANATION. April 30, 2000 Regular News Insurance disclosure form proposedcenter_img RULE 4-1.8 CONFLICT OF INTEREST; PROHIBITED AND OTHER TRANSACTIONS(a) Business Transactions With or Acquiring Interest Adverse to Client. A lawyer shall not enter into a business transaction with a client or knowingly acquire an ownership, possessory, security, or other pecuniary interest adverse to a client, except a lien granted by law to secure a lawyer’s fee or expenses, unless:(1) the transaction and terms on which the lawyer acquires the interest are fair and reasonable to the client and are fully disclosed and transmitted in writing to the client in a manner that can be reasonably understood by the client;(2) the client is given a reasonable opportunity to seek the advice of independent counsel in the transaction; and(3) the client consents in writing thereto.(b) Using Information to Disadvantage of Client. A lawyer shall not use information relating to representation of a client to the disadvantage of the client unless the client consents after consultation, except as permitted or required by rule 4-1.6.(c) Gifts to Lawyer or Lawyer’s Family. A lawyer shall not prepare an instrument giving the lawyer or a person related to the lawyer as parent, child, sibling, or spouse any substantial gift from a client, including a testamentary gift, except where the client is related to the donee.(d) Acquiring Literary or Media Rights. Prior to the conclusion of representation of a client, a lawyer shall not make or negotiate an agreement giving the lawyer literary or media rights to a portrayal or account based in substantial part on information relating to the representation.(e) Financial Assistance to Client. A lawyer shall not provide financial assistance to a client in connection with pending or contemplated litigation, except that:(1) a lawyer may advance court costs and expenses of litigation, the repayment of which may be contingent on the outcome of the matter; and(2) a lawyer representing an indigent client may pay court costs and expenses of litigation on behalf of the client.(f) Compensation by Third Party. A lawyer shall not accept compensation for representing a client from one other than the client unless:(1) the client consents after consultation;(2) there is no interference with the lawyer’s independence of professional judgment or with the client-lawyer relationship; and(3) information relating to representation of a client is protected as required by rule 4-1.6.(g) Settlement of Claims for Multiple Clients. A lawyer who represents 2 or more clients shall not participate in making an aggregate settlement of the claims of or against the clients, or in a criminal case an aggregated agreement as to guilty or nolo contendere pleas, unless each client consents after consultation, including disclosure of the existence and nature of all the claims or pleas involved and of the participation of each person in the settlement.(h) Limiting Liability for Malpractice. A lawyer shall not make an agreement prospectively limiting the lawyer’s liability to a client for malpractice unless permitted by law and the client is independently represented in making the agreement. A lawyer shall not settle a claim for such liability with an unrepresented client or former client without first advising that person in writing that independent representation is appropriate in connection therewith.(i) Acquiring Proprietary Interest in Cause of Action. A lawyer shall not acquire a proprietary interest in the cause of action or subject matter of litigation the lawyer is conducting for a client, except that the lawyer may:(1) acquire a lien granted by law to secure the lawyer’s fee or expenses; and(2) contract with a client for a reasonable contingent fee.(j) Representation of Insureds. When a lawyer undertakes the defense of an insured in regard to an action or claim for personal injury or for property damages, or for death or loss of services resulting from personal injuries based upon tortious conduct, including product liability claims, the Statement of Insured Client’s Rights shall be provided to the insured at the commencement of the representation. The lawyer shall sign the statement certifying the date the statement was provided to the insured. The lawyer shall keep a copy of the signed statement in the client’s file, and shall retain a copy of the signed statement for 6 years after the representation is completed. The statement shall be available for inspection at reasonable times by the insured, or by the appropriate disciplinary agency. Nothing in the Statement of Insured Client’s Rights shall be deemed to augment or detract from any substantive or ethical duty of a lawyer, nor affect the extra-disciplinary consequences of violating an existing substantive legal or ethical duty; nor shall any matter set forth in the Statement of Insured Client’s Rights give rise to an independent cause of action or create any presumption that an existing legal or ethical duty has been breached. STATEMENT OF INSURED CLIENT’S RIGHTS An insurance company has selected a lawyer to defend a lawsuit or claim against you. This Statement of Insured Client’s Rights is being given to you to assure that you are aware of your rights regarding your legal representation. This disclosure statement highlights many, but not all, of your rights when your legal representation is being provided by the insurance company. 1. Your Lawyer. If you have questions concerning the selection of the lawyer by the insurance company, you should discuss the matter with the insurance company and the lawyer. As a client, you have the right to know about the lawyer’s education, training, and experience. If you ask, the lawyer should tell you specifically about the lawyer’s actual experience dealing with cases similar to yours and give you this information in writing, if you request it. Your lawyer is responsible to keep you reasonably informed regarding the case and promptly comply with your reasonable requests for information. You are entitled to be informed of the final disposition of your case within a reasonable time. 2. Fees and Costs. Usually the insurance company pays all of the fees and costs of defending the claim. If you are responsible for directly paying the lawyer for any fees or costs, your lawyer must inform you.3. Directing the Lawyer. If your policy, like most insurance policies, provides for the insurance company to control the defense of the lawsuit, the lawyer will be taking instructions from the insurance company. Under such policies, the lawyer cannot act solely on your instructions, and at the same time, cannot act contrary to your interests. Your preferences should be communicated to the lawyer.4. Litigation Guidelines. Many insurance companies establish guidelines governing how lawyers are to proceed in defending a claim. Sometimes such guidelines affect the range of actions the lawyer can take, and may require authorization of the insurance company before certain actions are undertaken. You are entitled to know the guidelines affecting the extent and level of legal services being provided to you. Upon request, the lawyer or the insurance company should either explain such guidelines to you or provide you with a copy. If the lawyer is denied authorization to provide a service or undertake an action the lawyer believes necessary to your defense, you are entitled to be informed that the insurance company has declined authorization for the service or action. 5. Confidentiality. Lawyers have a general duty to keep secret the confidential information a client provides, subject to limited exceptions. However, the lawyer chosen to represent you may also have a duty to share with the insurance company information relating to defense or settlement of the claim. If the lawyer learns information indicating that the insurance company is not obligated under the policy to cover the claim or provide a defense, the lawyer’s duty is to maintain that information in confidence. If the lawyer cannot do so, the lawyer may be required to withdraw from the representation without disclosing to the insurance company the nature of the conflict of interest which has arisen. Whenever a waiver of the lawyer-client confidentiality privilege is needed, your lawyer has a duty to consult with you and obtain your informed consent. Some insurance companies retain auditing companies to review the billings and files of the lawyers they hire to represent policyholders. If the lawyer believes a bill review or other action releases information in a manner that is contrary to your interests, the lawyer should advise you regarding the matter.6. Conflicts of Interest. Most insurance policies state that the insurance company will provide a lawyer to represent your interests as well as those of the insurance company. The lawyer is responsible for identifying conflicts of interest. If at any time you believe the lawyer provided by the insurance company cannot fairly represent you because of conflict of interests between you and the company (such as over coverage of the claim), you should discuss this with the lawyer and explain why you believe there is a conflict. If an actual conflict of interest arises that cannot be resolved, the insurance company may be required to provide you with another lawyer.7. Settlement. Many policies state the insurance company alone may make a final decision regarding settlement of a claim, but under some policies your agreement is required. If you want to object to or encourage a settlement within policy limits, you should discuss your concerns with your lawyer to learn your rights and possible consequences. No settlement of the case requiring you to pay money in excess of your policy limits can be reached without your agreement, following full disclosure.8. Your Risk. If you lose the case, there might be a judgment entered against you for more than the amount of your insurance, and you might have to pay it. Your lawyer has a duty to advise you about this risk and other reasonably foreseeable adverse results. 9. Hiring Your Own Lawyer. The lawyer provided by the insurance company is representing you only to defend the lawsuit. If you desire to pursue a claim against the other side, or desire legal services not directly related to the defense of the lawsuit against you, you will need to make your own arrangements with this or another lawyer. You may also hire another lawyer, at your own expense, to monitor the defense being provided by the insurance company. If there is a reasonable risk that the claim made against you exceeds the amount of coverage under your policy, you should consider consulting another lawyer.10. Reporting Violations. If at any time you believe that your lawyer has acted in violation of your rights, you have the right to report the matter to The Florida Bar, the agency that oversees the practice and behavior of all lawyers in Florida. For information on how to reach The Florida Bar call (850) 561-5839 or you may access the Bar at www.FlaBar.org. CERTIFICATE The undersigned hereby certifies that this Statement of Insured Client’s Rights has been provided to [name of insured/client(s)] by [mail] [hand delivery] at [address of insured/client(s) to which mailed or delivered] this day of, 20___. [Signature of Attorney] [Print/Type Name]Florida Bar No.: Comment–Transactions between client and lawyer As a general principle, all transactions between client and lawyer should be fair and reasonable to the client. In such transactions a review by independent counsel on behalf of the client is often advisable. Furthermore, a lawyer may not exploit information relating to the representation to the client’s disadvantage. For example, a lawyer who has learned that the client is investing in specific real estate may not, without the client’s consent, seek to acquire nearby property where doing so would adversely affect the client’s plan for investment. Subdivision (a) does not, however, apply to standard commercial transactions between the lawyer and the client for products or services that the client generally markets to others, for example, banking or brokerage services, medical services, products manufactured or distributed by the client, and utilities services. In such transactions the lawyer has no advantage in dealing with the client, and the restrictions in subdivision (a) are unnecessary and impracticable. Likewise, subdivision (a) does not prohibit a lawyer from acquiring or asserting a lien granted by law to secure the lawyer’s fee or expenses. A lawyer may accept a gift from a client, if the transaction meets general standards of fairness. For example, a simple gift such as a present given at a holiday or as a token of appreciation is permitted. If effectuation of a substantial gift requires preparing a legal instrument such as a will or conveyance, however, the client should have the detached advice that another lawyer can provide. Subdivision (c) recognizes an exception where the client is a relative of the donee or the gift is not substantial.Literary rightsAn agreement by which a lawyer acquires literary or media rights concerning the conduct of the representation creates a conflict between the interests of the client and the personal interests of the lawyer. Measures suitable in the representation of the client may detract from the publication value of an account of the representation. Subdivision (d) does not prohibit a lawyer representing a client in a transaction concerning literary property from agreeing that the lawyer’s fee shall consist of a share in ownership in the property if the arrangement conforms to rule 4-1.5 and subdivision (i).Person paying for lawyer’s servicesRule 4-1.8(f) requires disclosure of the fact that the lawyer’s services are being paid for by a third party. Such an arrangement must also conform to the requirements of rule 4-1.6 concerning confidentiality and rule 4-1.7 concerning conflict of interest. Where the client is a class, consent may be obtained on behalf of the class by court-supervised procedure.Acquisition of interest in litigationSubdivision (i) states the traditional general rule that lawyers are prohibited from acquiring a proprietary interest in litigation. This general rule, which has its basis in common law champerty and maintenance, is subject to specific exceptions developed in decisional law and continued in these rules, such as the exception for reasonable contingent fees set forth in rule 4-1.5 and the exception for certain advances of the costs of litigation set forth in subdivision (e).This rule is not intended to apply to customary qualification and limitations in legal opinions and memoranda. Representation of Insureds As with any representation of a client where another person or client is paying for the representation, the representation of an insured client at the request of the insurer creates a special need for the lawyer to be cognizant of the potential for ethical risks. The nature of the relationship between a lawyer and client can lead to the insured or the insurer having expectations inconsistent with the duty of the lawyer to maintain confidences, to avoid conflicts of interest, and otherwise to comply with professional standards. When a lawyer undertakes the representation of an insured client at the expense of the insurer, the lawyer should ascertain whether the lawyer will be representing both the insured and the insurer, or only the insured. Communication with both the insured and the insurer promotes their mutual understanding of the role of the lawyer in the particular representation. The Statement of Insured Client’s Rights has been developed to facilitate the lawyer’s performance of ethical responsibilities. The highly variable nature of insurance and the responsiveness of the insurance industry in developing new types of coverages for risks arising in the dynamic American economy, render it impractical to establish a statement of rights applicable to all forms of insurance. The Statement of Insured Client’s Rights is intended to apply to personal injury and property damage tort cases. Even in that relatively narrow area of insurance coverage, there is variability among policies. For that reason, the statement is necessarily broad. It is the responsibility of the lawyer to explain the statement to the insured. In particular cases, the lawyer may need to provide additional information to the insured. Since the purpose of the statement is to assist lay persons in understanding their basic rights as clients, it is necessarily abbreviated. While brevity promotes the purpose for which the statement was developed, it also necessitates incompleteness. For these reasons, it is specifically provided that the statement shall not serve to establish any legal rights or duties, nor create any presumption that an existing legal or ethical duty has been breached. As a result, the statement and its contents should not be invoked by opposing parties as grounds for disqualification of a lawyer or for procedural purposes. The purpose of the statement would be subverted if it could be used in such a manner. The statement is to be signed by the lawyer to establish that it was timely provided to the insured, but the insured client is not required to sign it. It is in the best interests of the lawyer to have the insured client sign the statement to avoid future questions, but it is considered impractical to require the lawyer to obtain the insured client’s signature. Establishment of the statement and the duty to provide it to an insured in tort cases involving personal injury or property damage should not be construed as lessening the duty of the lawyer to inform clients of their rights in other circumstances. When other types of insurance are involved, or where there are other third-party payors of fees, or where multiple clients are represented, similar needs for fully informing clients exist, as recognized in rule 4-1.7(c) and rule 4-1.8(f).last_img read more

State’s lawyers and judges catapulted to international fame

first_imgState’s lawyers and judges catapulted to international fame State’s lawyers and judges catapulted to international fame Associate Editor One day, Palm Beach County Judge Charles Burton was a rookie judge handling routine shoplifting and trespassing cases. The next thing he knew, the whole world watched as he chaired a canvassing board dealing with baffling butterfly ballots. He pulled 17-hour days, as they recounted by hand presidential votes, amid flare-ups of mass confusion and partisan passions. The election debacle snagged him not only a seat on the witness stand at a Tallahassee trial where the judge declared him a “great American,” but a ringside spectators’ seat at historic oral arguments at the United States Supreme Court. While boarding a plane in Washington, the airline agent took Judge Burton’s ticket and held it high to get a look at it through the light, mimicking his now-famous chad-checking pose. Judge Burton got a big laugh out of that, along with the stunning realization that he was now famous. “Total strangers are stopping to thank me. People are coming up to me taking pictures, wanting me to autograph sample ballots,” Judge Burton said. “It was clearly an awesome experience.” Judge Burton joins dozens of Florida lawyers and judges flung into the limelight or toiling behind the scenes during the 36-day rollicking ride to fill the nation’s top job. A global audience hung on every live-broadcast word from Dexter Douglass’ homespun quotes draped in Southern drawl to Second Judicial Circuit Judge N. Sanders Sauls’ jovial exchange over a speaker phone with Miami-Dade Assistant County Attorney Murray Greenberg about the logistics of trucking ballots upstate. When Pat Roberts, president of the Florida Cable Telecommunications Association, looked out at 19 television satellite trucks parked near the Florida Supreme Court, he described the ratings as “off the chart. . . the largest media TV-viewed event in the history of the United States,” bigger than the death of Princess Diana or the Gulf War. Now that the hoopla has faded, what did it really feel like to be a sleep-deprived, adrenaline-fueled Florida lawyer playing a starring role in this high-stakes national drama? We caught up with a few of the celebrity players and supporting cast in George W. Bush v. Al Gore and its many twisting subplots. Toiling in the Trenches “The largest peacetime mobilization of legal talent in the country’s history” is how Benjamin L. Ginsberg, general counsel for the Bush campaign, described the throng of lawyers descending on Tallahassee after Election Day. More than 100 lawyers working for Bush took over the top two floors of the Florida GOP headquarters in Tallahassee, as well as the downtown Greenberg Traurig law firm and Gray, Harris and Robinson on Kleman Plaza. Jason Unger described the hectic scene at Gray, Harris and Robinson as setting up three law firms overnight, complete with a full technology studio, staffed with lawyers from Houston, Denver and Chicago firms. It was exhilarating to be around so many high-caliber legal minds who had clerked for Supreme Court justices, Unger said. Add in an array of expert witnesses, paralegals and secretaries, and it was jammed-packed organized chaos while years of litigation were smashed into a month of fast deadlines, hurtling them through the dizzying ups and downs of quick-changing victories and defeats. “We had to have name tags to know who was who,” said Unger, who described himself as “a hard-core Broward County Jewish Republican, one of three.” “Every day, I had this surreal moment of coming off the elevator and walking into our office, which was transformed into an absolute war room,” he said. All pictures were stripped from the walls, replaced with posters plotting their entire legal strategy and assignments focusing on the military ballot recount in 67 counties. Little cards helped keep track of all the lawyers telling who was where and who they were with and what they were up to. “I got at least three or four hours of sleep each night. And the out-of-state lawyers had a choice of crashing on the couch in the office or going back to the hotel. Most of the time, they just crashed on the couch,” Unger said. “I lost track of the days of the week. No one knew whether it was Thursday or Sunday. It didn’t matter. We were always in court.” A block away, the legal team for Al Gore crammed into the offices of Berger, Davis & Singerman (later moving to an extra empty office next door to Dexter Douglass’ law firm) where John D.C. Newton II, former president of the Tallahassee Bar Association, found himself in the thick of things. He was filing briefs for Gore, hanging out with top legal eagle David Boies and Warren Christopher. One of many bizarre moments Newton will never forget was when he’d drafted the first brief for the Florida Supreme Court, a partner in Washington was doing final revisions, and the printer and copier were cranking out pages while the TV blared. “The image of the Supreme Court came on the screen, with the banner: `Gore brief due in 15 minutes,’” Newton recalled. “It was an incredibly surreal moment to watch your life in real time on national television.” Another surreal moment, Newton recalled, was sitting with two other lawyers in front of the TV watching the trial in Judge Sauls’ court, while they all worked on the brief for the appeal when the trial was over. Newton’s two-person law office bustled 24 hours a day, crammed with 17 lawyers and staff sitting at card tables with laptops. Besides that group of legal talent, Newton said, they were helped by what they dubbed “The Elves,” lawyers all over the country who volunteered their time to do legal research and help make deadline with tidbits of info in calls and e-mails. Adding to the craziness was being the father of a 3-year-old daughter, who sometimes came to the law office and sat on the floor with a crayon and colored the briefs, master of a dog that had to be dropped off at friends because there was no time to walk or feed him, and son to a mother who suffered a heart attack and was stunned to get a call from Gore himself in her Sebring hospital room, just weeks before she passed away. Despite the personal crises, Newton will cherish memories of this once-in-lifetime case. “It was wonderful to sit in on a conference call with the Vice President as he’s reviewing a speech he’s about to give on national TV to make sure it’s accurate,” Newton said. “We were in the middle of a historic case, and it was exhilarating.” On the last day, when the last brief was filed with the Florida Supreme Court, Newton recalled, “There were a lot of middle-aged people pulling an all-nighter, including me. When I left around 5 a.m. to go home for a quick shower, I looked around the room. Four lawyers are typing away. One is sitting with his feet on another chair snoring. Later, the brief goes out the door. Kendall Coffey and I are sitting alone in the now quiet room and Kendall says: `You know, this is sort of it. People will start trickling back to their homes and practices. This will be the end of what we’re doing. We’ll see each other in courtrooms and airports. We will remember each other and this time. But we’re coming to the end of a rare and precious moment in time. And it’s all something we shared together.’” Celebrity Lawyers on Live TV While legal troops toiled in trenches behind the scenes, Tallahassee Greenberg Traurig lawyer Barry Richard was out front and center, gaining celebrity status as he appeared in as many as five courtrooms in a single day, representing George W. Bush in more than 46 cases, as well as making oral arguments at the Supreme Court. “It was strange,” Richard said. “I said to my wife, `One day I feel like I’ll wake up and suddenly say, “Boy, was that a strange dream!”‘ Most of the time I was too busy just doing what a trial lawyer does to focus on the significance of what was happening.” He stayed so busy and focused on leading a team of 50 lawyers, he said, that “I never had the opportunity to watch TV or read the newspaper to know what the exposure was. It wasn’t until a couple of weeks afterwards, when I began to see copies of stories, and somebody sent me the “Nightline” and “Today Show” tapes, that’s when the extent hit me.” Greenberg Traurig’s marketing department in Miami kept track: Richard had 2,753 television “hits,” actual times his voice was heard on television, and 147 total hours of network coverage that included live trial work. He had 1,141 media print hits. And his total media exposure included cable networks, wire news services, the top 20 print media outlets and all major networks. During the frenzied six weeks of constant litigation, one day Richard agreed to wear a wire so that his every word could be heard unless he switched off a little knob so he could confer confidentially with his partners, for an ABC “Nightline” story. Even the minutia of personal grooming couldn’t escape the public eye. Newsweek reported that when talk-show host Don Imus dubbed him, “Little Richard,” for the rock-and-roll performer’s pompadour, the next day Richard took a seat in his barber’s chair. With his reputation as a great First Amendment lawyer, Richard sympathized with journalists scurrying around for tips, but he found it a bit unnerving to walk down a street and have hundreds of people swarming him for a quote or a photo op. When he moved to the other side of the street, so did the crowd. “I like reporters, and we get along fine,” Richard said. “But it got to the point where I actually couldn’t leave the office.” He’s proud to say that except for two nights, he was able to rush home in time to tuck into bed his 2-1/2-year-old twins, Jonathan and Jeremy. “In terms of the litigation itself, it was unlike anything I’ve ever done. Later, when I look back, I just can’t believe it,” Richard said. “In terms of impact, it was the biggest case of my career. But the only thing about it that was unusual was the number of cases and the rapidity in which they were being moved along. The issues were no different than any other case. They were not, in themselves, that complex. The actual work was not that unique. It was the clients and the ultimate ramifications, and the surrounding circumstances, and the media and the demonstrators that made it so different.” Fan mail poured in more than 2,000 e-mails and letters. “And only five of them were negative,” Richard said. “Some were funny. One was from someone who said he hadn’t seen me since high school. Many were from Democrats hoping I would lose, but saying I was doing a good job.” After oral arguments at the Florida Supreme Court Nov. 21, George W. called him at home and said: “Keep up the good work.” Later, when a stranger remarked: “It must have been hell,” Richard replied: “Actually, it was like Disney World. I enjoyed it.” So did Dexter Douglass, one of the big guns on the other side of the courtroom, who once served as general counsel to the late Florida Gov. Lawton Chiles and chaired the state’s second Constitution Revision Commission in 1997. “It was a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience for a lawyer,” Douglass said. “I’ve been in a lot of trials in the 46 years I’ve practiced that were very intense, fast-moving and required long hours. But this one took the cake.” And the day he turned 71, Douglass was in trial. “I had to look at Judge Sanders Sauls on my birthday,” Douglass said, letting out a big laugh. “Best birthday I ever had, doing what I love to do with great people for a good cause.” There was no panic riding the ups and downs. “We’d win, and three hours later we were losing. We just went back to work. We had it right in our grasp and away it went. But that’s not nearly as bad as being the lawyer for someone you think is innocent who gets convicted. That is a real crusher. Or to lose a big civil case about a personal injury that’s devastating for a client that’s much more crushing than this.” When the Gore legal team set up an office in his building, Douglass said, “I walked around and acted like I was in charge.” But he said he agreed totally that Boies should be the lead counsel and make most of the public presentations. “Remarkably, the large egos of fine lawyers did not interfere with the case,” Douglass said. “At the outset, I did a lot of the trial. As the trial went on, I thought it’d be better to keep Boies up front. He was probably most outstanding of anybody in the trial. Our styles are so different. He’s very precise. I tend to be, as the Northern press calls it, `down-home.’” Several times he appeared on “Larry King Live,” and he got a lot of public feedback, not all positive. “Some guy told me I was one of the most un-American people he’d ever seen. I told him I thought he just hadn’t seen many,” Douglass said. But the funniest moment, Douglass said, was while he was in court and on television and some guy called his home and spoke to his wife of 45 years, Terese. “I’m calling to tell you your husband is one of the sorriest excuses for a lawyer, making such outrageous statements about George Bush. What do you think about that?” And Terese Douglass calmly answered: “Yes, sir, I agree with you.” Douglass got a big kick out of that, when his wife told him: “That’s the way to get rid of those nuts. When I agree with them, they think they have the wrong number.” A Jarring Judicial Experience “The experience of a lifetime and hopefully the only one like it in this lifetime!” is how Second Judicial Circuit Judge Nikki Clark, a member of the Florida Bar Foundation Board of Directors, described her role presiding over the Seminole County case involving absentee ballots. Lawyers for the Democrats alleged elections officials improperly allowed Republican workers to add missing information to hundreds of absentee ballot applications for Republicans. Kicking off her unprecedented experience was the motion from lawyers for the Republicans asking her to recuse herself, fearing she might not be objective because Gov. Jeb Bush didn’t appoint her to the First District Court of Appeal. She said she was not persuaded, stayed on the case and ended up ruling against the Democrats. As soon as the 5-foot tall woman sat in her judge’s chair, she was struck with the momentousness of the case before her, how every word she uttered was broadcast live, how every gesture and grimace was frozen in time by the incessant clicking of cameras. “But after the first 15 minutes, I couldn’t think about the press or the people or the attention, because the case was so intense and so fast-moving,” Judge Clark recalled. “It was really easy to put all that to the side and concentrate 100 percent on the case. And there was lots to read and digest and make sense of,” Judge Clark said. “The intensity of it all actually made it easier to get through it, because there was so little time to think about the pressure and the intensity of it all.” Like everyone involved in the presidential election contest, she was putting in 16-hour days. “I didn’t know what my daughter looked like for a week and a half,” Judge Clark said. After a long day in court, she was delivered to her front door by a sheriff’s deputy. When Jesse Jackson walked into her courtroom, her focus was mostly on shushing spectators all abuzz. She made sure that some of the seats reserved for the press went to several kids she knows and mentors, including her 17-year-old daughter Kianna Ferguson. “I didn’t want that part of history to go down just for the press,” Judge Clark said. After court, she held a little Q-and-A session with the teens. “They found it to be a wonderful experience, and two of the kids told me they are planning a legal career,” she said. Total strangers called her at all times of the day and night just to give their opinion. “I heard from some very unpleasant people,” she said. “One guy in particular was way too weird.” That’s when Judge Clark, after being on the bench for more than seven years without a problem, was forced to switch to an unlisted phone number. The barrage of calls and e-mails included those from people she hadn’t heard from in 30 years, to the daily pep talks from her oldest sister who was constantly asked by family and friends, “Is that our little Nikki?” Then, there were the people who messaged her to declare: “You need a makeover!” After the case was finally over, the first African-American and the first woman named to the circuit bench in the Second Circuit, described the feeling as “relief and a sense of survival.” “I want to get a T-shirt that says, `I survived Election 2000,’” she said with a laugh. For Second Circuit Judge Terry Lewis, being assigned to preside over the biggest case of his career meant enduring an exhausting schedule. The first week of December, when he got the Martin County absentee ballot case, Judge Lewis was determined to keep his prior commitment to teach three classes at the circuit judges’ conference in Amelia Island. “I did a few hearings from the conference by telephone,” Judge Lewis said, describing how judges at the conference gathered around the TV to watch Judge Sauls preside over his trial. One thing Judge Lewis said he learned is that a judge is “considered a hero or a goat depending on the result of the ruling.. . . If you are an ardent partisan, you think everyone else is. You view everything with suspicion and don’t look at the analysis, and that’s very troubling for the long-term effectiveness of the court.” With that in mind, Judge Lewis said he wished he had explained himself better in how he reached his second ruling. “It just reinforces that a judge should explain a ruling in a way that both parties understand why, so it seems reasonable, even if people disagree. You don’t want someone to think of us as political hacks,” Judge Lewis said. E-mails and letters, he said, ranged from “You’re an American hero” to “I hope you burn in hell and have a slow, miserable life until then.” His stint presiding over the big case included a glowing editorial in the New York Times calling his November 14 order “a model of common sense” when he said the secretary of state could not arbitrarily refuse to accept recount results that arrived after her hard-and-fast deadline. “People would send me pictures of me in the newspaper in Tokyo. You realize that everybody is looking at what you’re doing. . . It’s certainly unprecedented. Something like this will never happen again in my lifetime.” One extra benefit from all the media exposure was that a Baltimore Sun reporter actually read Judge Lewis’ novel, Conflict of Interest, published in 1997, a mystery about an alcoholic lawyer, and gave it a pretty decent review. Any plans to craft a novel about political intrigue swirling around a close presidential election? Judge Lewis said with a laugh: “No, no, I won’t be writing a novel about it. It’s not my type.” Parting Thoughts The legal experience of a lifetime left many Florida lawyers waxing philosophical. Mitchell Berger, who served as a chief trial strategist for Gore, said, “The thing I took away from it was how precious the right to vote is and how important it is that we honor and cherish that right.” For Judge Burton, the silver lining in the storm of protests was how deeply people cared, even young people so often branded as apathetic. Outside the highest court in the land, he was both amazed and heartened to see college students curled up in sleeping bags to save their place in line, not for tickets to a rock concert, but for a chance to witness history in the making. For 27-year-old Chanta Combs, part of the Bush team working on the military ballot issues, it was a test of her six-month marriage to a staunch Democrat, lawyer Bert Combs, whose uncle was once a Democrat governor of Kentucky. “I understand now about not talking about politics with family,” Chanta Combs said. “I really did get to see the Constitution come to life,” she said. “It was such a historic and monumental thing, and the whole world was watching. We spent so many hours in the office that we took it for granted that you knew more than the rest of the world knew and what the rest of the world wanted to know.” Having graduated from Florida State University’s College of Law a mere two years ago, she said with a sigh: “Anything less than fighting for the presidency seems mundane. The next 40 years will seem incredibly boring.” February 1, 2001 Jan Pudlow Associate Editor Regular Newslast_img

Computer Law Committee joins Business Law Section

first_img September 1, 2001 Regular News Computer Law Committee joins Business Law Section Computer Law Committee joins Business Law Section The Computer Law Committee has relinquished its position as one of the Bar’s substantive law standing committees, but it hasn’t disappeared. The committee has become part of the Business Law Section and is now accepting members. “The Business Law Section had been courting us for a couple of years to come over and join them,” said Stephen Krulin, chair of the committee. And thanks to the hard work of people like Sam Lewis, the immediate past chair, and Jose Rojas, another former chair, the committee did just that. Prior to becoming an official committee of the Business Law Section, the committee was governed by Bar guidelines which limited the membership to 50 people and imposed a six-year term limit for members. Because the committee was created in the early 1980s, many of its more experienced members were forced to step aside, according to Krulin. The committee also was financially limited, which allowed it to conduct only one CLE offering per year. Krulin said this made it hard for members to present information about current trends in the ever-changing field of computer law. The committee has always been comprised of people who know a great deal about computers and computer law, and who are, for the most part, at the cutting edge of computer-related arbitration, litigation, and mediation, Krulin said. “We approached our CLE efforts as an opportunity to open this experience to the Bar in general. Now, with the section, we’ll be open to providing additional programs,” Krulin said. With the reorganization, the committee will have access to the section’s CLE funds. The committee may also accept as many members as they’d like, including those seasoned members who previously left the committee. “We’re very happy to have them join our section,” said Business Law Section Chair David Felman. “We’re going to invest some money to help them do whatever they want.” Krulin likened the committee’s previous situation to a large plant in a small pot. “The more that we bloomed, the tighter it got. We wanted to expand, and the only way left to us was to become a section, which became impossible,” he said. The Computer Law Committee had sought section status for several years, but a lack of sufficient funding hampered its progress. Many members of the Business Law Section represent technology companies, and some were among the early Computer Law Committee members, which makes for a good pairing, according to Felman. The committee leaders weren’t nearly as confident about the match early on in the process, though. “We’ve got people who teach computer law, who work for businesses, who work for Internet companies, who work in the criminal sector. There’s a wide variety of people who aren’t strictly business lawyers,” Krulin said. “We polled the old-time members, the former chairs, former vice chairs, and posed the question.” The majority of committee members agreed it was a good idea, and when it came down to the final vote, the committee was unanimous. The Computer Law Committee’s first meeting as part of the section commenced at the section’s retreat in Naples in late August. Plans to offer the committee’s experience and knowledge to benefit the legislature’s consideration of upcoming technology and privacy issues were presented.last_img read more

Bar investments post gains

first_imgA new investment policy begun by the Bar almost 12 years ago has weathered two recessions while more than doubling the Bar’s initial investment.And despite turbulent markets in recent months, it has made money for the Bar in the past year.Investment Committee Chair David Bianchi told the Board of Governors recently that the Bar started in September 1990 with an investment account of $9.2 million. The new policy allowed the Bar to invest in stocks and bonds, where previously it had been restricted to certificates of deposit.Since that time, the Bar has earned $9.8 million, of which about $5 million has been used to finance continuing Bar operations and the remainder left in the investment pool, which is now nearly $14 million, Bianchi said.In the past 12 months, the Bar has received a 5.8-percent return, he said, while the indexes the Bar uses to measure performance have averaged 3.8 percent.The committee recommended, and the board approved, a change in the way short-term investments are made. Bianchi said the Bar’s financial advisors recommended no longer investing in short-term commercial notes, but continuing to invest in money market accounts while adding one-to-three year term U.S. Treasury notes and bonds in a bond mutual fund. Bar investments post gains June 15, 2002 Regular Newscenter_img Bar investments post gainslast_img read more

Notice: Proposed Rule of Judicial Administration

first_img Notice: Proposed Rule of Judicial Administration Notice: Proposed Rule of Judicial Administration August 1, 2002 Noticescenter_img The Florida Rules of Judicial Administration Committee proposes an amendment to the Rules to add a rule governing the appointment of interpreters in certain cases. After reviewing the comments received in response to this publication, the Committee may submit its proposal to the Florida Supreme Court. Please send all comments to the Honorable Peter D. Webster, Chair, First District Court of Appeal, 301 S. Martin Luther King., Jr. Blvd., Tallahassee, FL 32399-1850. You may fax your comments to Judge Webster at (850) 488-7989. Your comments must be received by August 15, 2002, to ensure that they are considered by the Committee. Rule 2.073. APPOINTMENT OF INTERPRETERS FOR NON-ENGLISH-SPEAKING PERSONS (a) Criminal or Juvenile Delinquency Proceedings. In any criminal or juvenile delinquency proceeding in which a non-English-speaking person is the accused, an interpreter for the non-English-speaking person shall be appointed. In any criminal or juvenile delinquency proceeding in which a non-English-speaking person is a victim, an interpreter shall be appointed unless the court finds that the victim does not require the services of a court-appointed interpreter. (b) Other Proceedings. In all other proceedings in which a non-English-speaking person is a litigant, an interpreter for the non-English-speaking litigant shall be appointed if the court determines that the litigant’s inability to comprehend English deprives the litigant of an understanding of the court proceedings, that a fundamental interest is at stake (such as in a civil commitment, termination of parental rights, paternity, or dependency proceeding), and that no alternative to the appointment of an interpreter exists. (c) Witnesses. In any proceeding in which a non-English-speaking person is a witness, the appointment of an interpreter shall be governed by the applicable provisions of the Florida Evidence Code. (d) Compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In making determinations regarding the appointment of an interpreter, the court should ensure compliance with the requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. (e) Qualifications of Interpreter. (1) Appointment of Interpreters when Certified or Duly Qualified Interpreters Are Available. Whenever possible, a certified or duly qualified interpreter, as defined in the Rules for Certification and Regulation of Court Interpreters, shall be appointed. (2) Appointment of Interpreters when Certified or Duly Qualified Interpreters Are Unavailable. If, after diligent search, a certified or duly qualified interpreter is not available, an interpreter who is neither certified nor duly qualified may be appointed if the judge or hearing officer presiding over the proceeding finds that: (A) good cause exists for the appointment of an interpreter who is neither certified nor duly qualified, such as the prevention of burdensome delay, the request or consent of the non-English-speaking person, or other unusual circumstance; and (B) the proposed interpreter is competent to interpret in the proceedings. (3) On the Record Objections or Waivers in Criminal and Juvenile Delinquency Proceedings. In any criminal or juvenile delinquency proceeding in which the interpreter is neither certified nor duly qualified, the court shall advise the accused, on the record, that the proposed interpreter is not certified or duly qualified pursuant to the Rules for Certification and Regulation of Court Interpreters. The accused’s objection to the appointment of a proposed interpreter, or the accused’s waiver of the appointment of a certified or duly qualified interpreter, shall also be on the record. (4) Additional on the Record Findings, Objections, and Waivers Required at Subsequent Proceedings. The appointment of an interpreter who is neither certified nor duly qualified shall be limited to a specific proceeding and shall not be extended to subsequent proceedings in a case without additional findings of good cause and qualification as required by subdivision (e)(2) of this rule, and additional compliance with the procedures for on the record objections or waivers provided for in subdivision (e)(3) of this rule. (f) Privileged Communications. Whenever a person communicates through an interpreter to any person under circumstances that would render the communication privileged and such person could not be compelled to testify as to the communication, the privilege shall also apply to the interpreter.last_img read more

Briefs

first_imgBriefs The Bar’s Law Office Management Assistance Service recently received meritorious recognition from the ABA’s 2003 Louis M. Brown Award for Legal Access.LOMAS provides consulting services on a wide variety of practice management issues designed to improve the effective delivery of legal services and to enhance lawyer-client relationships. The program steps in where law school leaves off and targets newly admitted lawyers and those who become “suddenly solo.” The Florida Bar program has also been a source of technical assistance to bar-provided practice management programs among the states, where there are now 17 similar programs.The Louis M. Brown Award for Legal Access is sponsored by the ABA Standing Committee on Delivery of Legal Services, which is dedicated to improving delivery of lawyers’ services to people who do not qualify for subsidized legal assistance yet lack the discretionary income to pay for traditional legal services.“The cost-effective delivery of legal services to those of moderate income depends on the use of efficient practice management tools and techniques,” said Mary K. Ryan, chair of the ABA panel. “LOMAS is a vital resource to the practitioner and one of the most important services a bar association can provide to its members.”Section legislative agendas It may not survive the budget wrangling of a tight fiscal year, but a bill to help assistant state attorneys and public defenders pay back law school loans has cleared its first legislative committee.SB 96, sponsored by Sen. Skip Campbell, D-Tamarac, was passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 4. It authorizes the state to spend up to $3.65 million to help pay back the student loans of defenders and prosecutors.Campbell told the committee it would allow for $3,000 a year after the third year of employment, increasing to $5,000 after six years, with a maximum payout of $44,000 over nine years.The state could save more than the $3.65 million on training costs if it slows down the high turnover in state attorney and public defender offices, Campbell said, although he had no exact figures.Committee Chair Sen. Alex Villalobos, R-Miami, a former prosecutor, agreed. “A lot of people go into those state attorney and public defenders’ offices and are paid very, very poorly,” he said. “There is a lot of money spent on training and two years down the road. . . the student loans come due and you have a young family. You can’t afford to stay. Someone comes along and makes you an offer and you’re gone.”Sen. Rod Smith, D-Gainesville, said he was concerned that minority law students wind up with higher law school debts than nonminorities, and that makes it harder for them to take public service jobs.“I’m a believer that the state attorneys’ offices and the public defenders’ offices ought to look like the population they serve, but minorities have disproportionally high student loans,” he said. “People come out of law school with $80,000 to $120,000 of loans; they can’t afford these jobs.”But while praising the bill, Smith, who chairs the appropriations subcommittee that oversees the budget for the judicial system, expressed doubts the money could be found.“There’s not a great likelihood this is going to be funded this year because of constraints,” he said.Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-West Palm Beach, and a former assistant attorney general, said he would like to see the program expanded for attorneys in that office as well. Smith said it could serve as a model in other areas where the state needs to encourage employment, such as nursing or teaching.The bill next goes to the Government Oversight and Productivity Committee and then to Smith’s appropriations panel.Broward Legal Aid holiday project helps 35 familiesLegal Aid Service of Broward County’s Holiday Adopt-A-Family project was a record-setting success this year thanks to the generosity and effort of 21 adopters who were matched with 35 families.One hundred and twenty children and three senior citizens and their parents or caretakers received gifts and donations of food certificates or food baskets. Many adopters bought Christmas trees and decorations. One compassionate attorney learned that his adopted family did not have a stove to prepare the food arriving in the food basket he was donating and he rallied to purchase an oven that was delivered to the client’s home in time for holiday cooking.For the third year in a row, the children and faculty at Sawgrass Elementary School adopted several families. The children made crafts which they sold at a school bazaar to raise the funds for their Christmas shopping. Their principal, Alonzetta Gibson’s office was filled with over $2,000 in gifts which included bicycles, electronics, clothes, games and other toys and gift certificates for food and other items. The children adopted 36 other children. This year teenage girls living in a group foster home were adopted by the children.This year’s adopters included Emerson Allsworth, the Ft. Lauderdale office of The Florida Bar, Dominique Levy, Robert Lochrie, Kim Marjenhoff, Valerie Judd, Oppenheim Pilelsky, Keiser College, Bonnie Meskel, Ellen Gilbert-Rose, Greg Starr, Unlimited Healthcare Services, Florida Renegades Youth Soccer Team, Sawgrass Elementary School, Deborah Carpenter-Toye, Diane Centorino, Alysia Keating, and the law firm of Vezina, Lawrence & Piscitelli which adopted four families.“Each year we are overwhelmed by the generosity of our adopters,” said Tony Karrat, Legal Aid’s executive director, “and that was the case again this year as we heard one story after another about the extra effort and incredible generosity that each person and group demonstrated. We feel a partnership with each of the adopters and are inspired by their compassion and beneficence.”Stetson captures tax moot court crown New workers’ comp. rules approved March 1, 2003 Regular Newscenter_img A legislative package proposed by the Family Law Section aimed at fixing glitches in Florida’s new adoption law has been reviewed and allowed by the Bar Board of Governors.The board also reviewed and okayed proposed legislative positions from several other sections at its January 31 meeting. The 2003 Regular Session of the Florida Legislature starts March 4.Under Bar rules, the sections are granted broad authority to take legislative positions. They can advocate those positions unless the board, with 45 days of section action, specifically rejects their legislative positions.Legislation Committee Chair Jesse Diner said the adoption positions taken by the section revolved around the most controversial aspects of the law. Those provisions require single mothers who don’t know where the fathers are and who are seeking to put their children up for adoption to take out a newspaper ad revealing their sexual history. Intended to give fathers a say in adoption proceedings and to avoid legal complications when fathers contest the adoptions, the provision provoked a storm of controversy, including charges it violated mothers’ privacy rights.“This is an effort to fix some of the glitches and solve some of the problems,” Diner said.Former Sen. Fred Dudley, who now lobbies for the Family Law Section, said the positions also are significant because they heal a rift between family law and adoption lawyers, who had split over provisions of last year’s legislation.“This is not only an effort to clarify the law and adopt what will become good public policy, but it is an attempt to get our practitioners in this area back together again,” Dudley said.The positions do away with the public notice requirements by mothers and instead set out a series of steps that unmarried fathers must follow to have a say in any adoption, including signing up with a confidential registry.The father would have to file a notarized “claim of paternity” form with the Department of Health’s Office of Vital Statistics and to block an adoption the father would have to affirm a willingness to support the child.The proposed legislation would create a new F.S. § 63.056 which would establish the registry, and amend several other sections of Ch. 63 as necessary.Aside from the adoption issue, the Family Law Section was allowed to lobby on three other issues:• Adding this sentence to the state law on rotating custody: “There shall be no presumption for or against an award of rotating custody.”• Deleting the words “or mediation agreement” from the law on custodial arrangements, F.S. 61.30(1)(a), since those will always be contained in or ratified by a court order, and the language could cause confusion.• Opposing any legislation that would move determination of paternity to an administrative court or agency outside of the judicial branch.The Public Interest Law Section was allowed to lobby on two positions:• Opposing, in principle, “zero tolerance” policies that have a discriminatory effect, or mandate either expulsion or referral of students to juvenile or criminal court, without regard to the circumstances or nature of the offense or the student’s history. The section favors policies that are strongly against weapon possession but leave school administrators with discretion that includes due process and allows alternatives to prosecution if that will not compromise school safety.• Supporting modification of the statutory provisions of the Road to Independence Act to enhance and expand the transition program to provide an option for continuation of foster care to youth ages 18 through 23, and to provide reasonable accommodations for youth with disabilities.The Criminal Law Section was allowed to lobby in opposition to SB 90 on the evidentiary privilege for parent-child communications because the privilege is so limited in the bill that it would not be effective.The Health Law Section will lobby for allowing the Board of Medicine to exercise discretion when imposing costs on any party, to provide methods of determining costs, and excluding attorneys’ fees from allowable costs.The Business Law Section in conjunction with the Department of State will provide technical assistance and lobby the legislature for various reforms within Ch. 607, regarding Florida business corporations.All section positions, as well as Florida Bar positions, are on the Bar’s Web site, www.flabar.org, under the “Legislative Information” section.Loan assistance bill offered New procedural rules for workers’ compensation cases have been approved by the Division of Administration Hearings after they went unchallenged during a recent public comment period.The rules became effective February 23, according to Judge Scott Stephens, deputy chief judge of compensation claims for the Division of Administrative Hearings. Judges of compensation claims have discretion on using them during the transition period, which ends April 1.The new rules, as well as the DOAH rulemaking process, have been endorsed by the Florida Conference of Judges of Compensation Claims, Stephens noted.Stephens said the rules are intended to speed the resolution of disputes without affecting the rights of any party, and to have compensation judges interfere less with attorney-client matters.The complete rules are posted on DOAH’s Web site, at www.jcc.state.fl.us/jcc/rules.cfm.The Florida Bar’s Workers’ Compensation Section last year filed a petition with the Florida Supreme Court challenging DOAH’s authority to promulgate procedural rules, but the court has dismissed that action.Rafael Gonzalez, who monitors legislative activities for the section, noted the court added a footnote to its November opinion revising workers’ comp rules saying the rules were only provisional until DOAH enacted its rules. He said the section will likely ask the legislature to amend state law to make the court again responsible for those rules.LOMAS wins ABA access award Stetson University College of Law won the recent National Tax Moot Court Competition in St. Petersburg Beach, taking the championship for the overall competition and the award for top brief.Stetson’s team consisted of students Beth Linea Carlson, Brittan Mitchell and Paige Ward, and was coached by Professor Janice Lawrence and Adjunct Professor Joe Rugg. Stetson defeated Ohio Northern University in the final round and University of Alabama in the semifinals. Sixteen law schools across the U.S. participated in the contest. U.S. Tax Court Judges Renato Beghe and Peter J. Panuthos presided over the final round.last_img read more

Hogenmuller to lead the FPAA

first_imgJohn Hogenmuller has been named the executive director of the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association.Hogenmuller, who comes to the FPAA from the Office of the State Courts Administrator where he was with legal affairs and education for the past eight and one-half- years, succeeds outgoing Executive Director Steve Urse.“I’m extremely confident in John,” said incoming FPAA President Willie Meggs, the state attorney for the Second Circuit. “He has all the talent, experience, and leadership we need in an executive director.”Hogenmuller is a native of Miami and earned his undergraduate and law degrees from Emory University. In his 35 years as a member of The Florida Bar, Hogenmuller has served as an assistant attorney general, a division director at The Florida Bar, and has been in private practice.“It’s not too often you get to work for an association as remarkable as the FPAA,” Hogenmuller said. “Prosecutors are absolutely committed to safer streets through effective prosecution.”Hogenmuller lives with his wife, Janice, and has two grown children. Hogenmuller to lead the FPAA Hogenmuller to lead the FPAAcenter_img June 1, 2003 Regular Newslast_img read more

UPL Update

first_imgUPL Update October 15, 2003 Regular News The advisory opinion processcenter_img Jeffrey T. Picker Assistant UPL CounselI am often asked whether a certain activity constitutes the unlicensed practice of law. The answer to this question can be found primarily in case law. But what if there is no case law addressing the particular activity? This is where the formal advisory opinion process comes into play. The next few columns will discuss this process.Rule 10-9.1 of the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar sets forth the formal advisory opinion process in UPL matters. The rule requires that a written request for a formal opinion be submitted in the form of a hypothetical, providing all the relevant facts to the UPL Department, The Florida Bar, 651 E. Jefferson Street, Tallahassee 32399-2300. The question must not be the issue in a pending lawsuit and must ask whether the activity is the unlicensed practice of law.If the request complies with the above requirements, it will be placed on the agenda of the next meeting of the Standing Committee on Unlicensed Practice of Law. The standing committee usually meets three or four times per year. At the meeting the committee will decide whether to hold a public hearing on the request. In the past, the committee has voted to hold a public hearing in matters of first impression or of statewide importance.The next column will discuss what happens at the hearing and after.last_img read more

Flanders Tire Slashings Part of Fisherman ‘Turf War,’ Cops Say

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Commercial fishermen who had their tires repeatedly slashed in a Flanders parking lot waited in the bushes until they caught the alleged tire slasher in the act and called police, authorities said.John Lombardi was arrested Sunday and charged with criminal mischief as a felony.Southampton Town Polcie said the 60-year-old Flanders man told investigators he did it because of a “turf war” between commercial fishermen, some of whom he believes take in more fish than the law allows.The fishermen who police said caught Lombardi told investigators that they watched him walk up to one of their trucks, look into the flatbed where horseshoe crabs—which commercial fishermen use as bait—in the back and then use a knife to puncture two tires.The witnesses held Lombardi until police officers arrived and took him into custody. He was released Monday on $500 bail.Detectives are continuing the investigation prior tire slashings.last_img read more

Fugitive Model Agency CEO Nabbed in Fla.

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York James MunizThe fugitive CEO of a Hicksville-based modeling agency accused of defrauding dozens of clients out of more than $250,000 was apprehended Tuesday in Florida and is facing extradition back to Long Island.James Muniz, who prosecutors said was staying with relatives in Hialeah, Fla., is facing 21 charges in Nassau County, including 20 counts of grand larceny and one count of scheme to defraud.Three of the 44-year-old Roslyn man’s employees had surrendered to authorities last month on similar charges. They include 26-year-old Jennifer Santiago of Queens, 31-year-old Jennifer Diaz-Domenech of Brooklyn and 42-year-old Michelle Alperin-Smith of Nesconset.Prosecutors alleged Muniz’s company, New Faces Development Center, Inc. and Model Talent Development Corp., which closed in November, had scouts tell victims they had the “look” to succeed in modeling or acting, would not be charged for the companies’ services and that only a few were offered such opportunities through the agencies—but scouts signed up anyone who’d pay for contracts costing $550 to $3,000. Both companies are facing the same charges as the four suspects.The New York Attorney General’s office, which sued New Faces for $250,000 in restitution in 2006 when it was owned by Muniz’ ex-wife, opened a new investigation into the company last year before the case was consolidated with a similar probe by the Nassau County District Attorney’s office.Muniz is being held in a Miami-Dade County jail until he is extradited to New York. He and the three employees face up to seven years in prison, if convicted. Each company faces fines of up to $10,000, plus possible restitution.Since the arrests were announced, investigators have received about 300 phone calls from other clients of the modeling agency, leading to 85 formal complaints that are now being reviewed.The investigation is continuing, and anyone who thinks they may have been similarly victimized should contact DA Rice’s Complaints Unit at 516-571-3505 or the Attorney General’s Office at 516-248-3301.last_img read more

Rosie O’Donnell Hosts Rare Standup Special Saturday

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York In her long and somewhat bumpy career, Rosie O’Donnell was never afraid to wear her heart on her sleeve. After all, it was the Commack native’s vulnerability that made her early work so memorable to audiences and producers alike.Almost seven years after her last stint of televised standup, on the short-lived variety program Rosie Live, O’Donnell will be returning to her roots to bare it all in the HBO special Rosie O’Donnell: A Heartfelt Standup.The special revolves around issues O’Donnell dealings with every day life—motherhood, marriage and health. While the comic may be naturally funny, there is more of a tell-all tone to her routine than typical standup. O’Donnell referred to it as a “heart-to-heart” on her Instagram.The special may have trouble finding an audience besides her most loyal fans because of the loftier issues, some critics have said.“She hasn’t shaped the comedy well enough to prevent a lot of this from feeling more like a public-service announcement than a stand-up performance,” Variety reported.But, the trailer of the special reveals some hilarious moments. O’Donnell entertains the audience with anecdotes ranging from the lesbian dating scene to her son masturbating.In the final 20 minutes of the show, O’Donnell openly discussed her recent heart attack. O’Donnell admittedly used this time to promote life saving and preventive measures for women with heart problems. She even performed a rap dedicated to the symptoms of heart disease.“When the doctor said I was having a heart attack, I’m like, ‘Shouldn’t that feel like Mike Tyson punched me in the tit?’” O’Donnell recalled.The special airs just two days after O’Donnell’s final appearance on The View. Viewers celebrated her re-taking a platform that enabled her to speak her strong opinions.O’Donnell was originally on The View in 2006, but left the show after multiple on-air disputes and an infamous celebrity feud with Donald Trump. Despite getting along with new co-workers and patching things up with Barbara Walters, O’Donnell made the decision to leave on her own this time.“The truth is I had a heart attack two years ago,” she said in a YouTube video, addressing her fans. “And stress is very bad for a heart attack.”In addition to the stress of hosting one of America’s most watched day-time talk shows, O’Donnell is also going through a divorce to second wife, Michelle Rounds.Fans hoped she would provide an explanation on The View this week, she said. However, O’Donnell rejected the idea and her departure was not mentioned.She used the video as a more personal address to her fans. O’Donnell also used it as an opportunity to continue spreading awareness of heart attack symptoms.“Survivors: You should minimize your stress, maximize your exercise and control your diet,” O’Donnell said. “That’s what you need to do for a healthy heart.”This new turn for O’Donnell may just be the next step of her evolution as a performer and a person. She’s played many roles in her life including comic, Star Search contestant, movie star, talk show host and gay rights advocate. No one’s career is certain, but for now O’Donnell is putting her family and her health first.Rosie O’Donnell: A Heartfelt Standup premieres 10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 14 on HBO and HBOGO.com.last_img read more

Baldwin Crash Leaves Driver Dead

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A 42-year-old man died after he crashed his car, causing it vehicle to burst into flames in his hometown of Baldwin over the weekend.Nassau County police said Gregory Balmir was driving a Toyota Camry southbound on Grand Avenue when he crossed over two lanes of traffic at the corner of Woodside Avenue, where he crashed into a utility pole and a building shortly after 4 a.m. Sunday.The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.First Squad detectives are continuing the investigation and ask anyone with information regarding this crash to call Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS. All callers will remain anonymous.last_img read more

Massapequa Man Convicted of Murder

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A second gunman was convicted Thursday of killing a 44-year-old man outside of the victim’s North Amityville home and wounding two others nearly five years ago.A Suffolk County jury found Shawn Lawrence, of Massapequa, guilty of second-degree murder, attempted murder and criminal possession of a weapon.Prosecutors said the shooter gunned down James Terry and wounded two other men during a confrontation in the Andpress Plaza housing complex parking lot on Jan. 12, 2010.His codefendant, 27-year-old Alan McGhee of North Amityville, pleaded guilty last year to first-degree manslaughter and assault. McGhee was sentenced to 12 years in prison.Lawrence faces up to 75 years to life in prison when he is sentenced June 22 by Judge William Condon.last_img read more

Bay Shore Man, 26, Killed in Motorcycle Crash

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A 26-year-old Bay Shore man was killed Friday night when his motorcycle crashed into a tree in Calverton, Suffolk County police said. The motorcyclist was identified as Darien Grasman. Police said Grasman was riding his motorcycle eastbound on Mill Road, west of Edwards Avenue, at approximately 7:45 p.m., when he lost control of the motorcycle, skidded off the roadway and struck a tree. Grasman was transported to Stony Brook University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said. The investigation is continuing, police said. Anyone with information on the crash is asked to call Seventh Squad detectives at 631-852-8752.last_img read more

North Bellport Man Shot Dead

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A 52-year-old North Bellport man was shot to death early Thursday morning, Suffolk County police said.Officers responded to a ShotSpotter alert on Bellport Avenue and upon arrival, they found Robert Burks lying dead in front of a Bellport Avenue home just north of Montauk Highway at 12:54 a.m., police said.Investigators have not identified a suspect.Homicide Squad detectives are continuing the investigation and ask anyone with information about this incident to call them at 631-852-6392 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS (8477). All calls will be kept confidential.last_img read more

Service Fully Restored on Long Island Rail Road

first_imgCrews had been working since Saturday’s blizzard to have the railroad fully operational by the beginning of the week.Rail yards were buried in two feet of snow and tracks were blanketed in mounds of white stuff due to the powerful Nor’easter that rolled in on Saturday. On Sunday, officials said they were hoping to have full service restored by Monday morning. But five branches remained closed Monday and only one other line was restored in time for riders to head back to the Island for the evening commute.Nowakowski said thousands of railroad employees had been working to clear snow and repair damaged equipment.“I thank them all for a job well done fighting a snowstorm that hit us harder than expected,” Nowakowski said.The delays Nowakowski had warned riders about materialized early Tuesday morning. There were scattered delays of up to 10 minutes due to ongoing effects from the storm, the LIRR said.About an hour later, however, service was running on or close to schedule. Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Relief finally came to Long Island Rail Road riders Tuesday as the railroad returned to full service following a headache-filled commute a day earlier.All LIRR branches were fully restored in time for Tuesday morning’s commute, railroad officials said. The restoration of service comes one day after riders were forced to deal with cancellations, delays, and packed trains following this weekend’s blizzard.“We expect to have all segments of all branches operating Tuesday morning, but customers should allow extra travel time and check for the potential for weather-related delays before traveling,” LIRR President Patrick Nowakowski said in a statement.last_img read more

ERM is a journey

first_imgLet’s imagine for a moment that you’ve been asked to lead a group of settlers. Your team will be traveling through uncharted territory and will begin in Fresno, Calif., and head east. The goal is to reach Santa Fe, N.M., where the group plans to build a home. There has never been a group attempt to reach Santa Fe from the west. What should you do at this point? You could:accept the risk and begin the journey without knowing what lies ahead;mitigate the risk by sending a scout team ahead to inform you of any obstacles;transfer the risk by contracting experienced guides to help lead the group; oravoid the risk and refuse to lead the group.In this case, let’s assume you’ve decided to accept the leadership role and forge ahead and mitigate the risk. A scout team is moving ahead of the group. Runners are relaying messages back to the group leader. The group has been traveling for several days through the desert and conditions are beginning to improve. The group is anxious to hear what the runners have to say. On this particular day a runner reports a huge canyon just a few days ahead. continue reading » 12SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

41 biggest personal finance lessons from 2015

first_img 18SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr 2015 is almost over and it certainly has been an interesting year. Between Black Monday, Donald Trump’s Republican presidential candidacy and the Volkswagen scandal, there’s a lot to learn about the economy and your money. Here are the top 41 events of 2015 and what personal finance lessons you can learn from them.1. Interest Rate Hike TalkThroughout 2015, investors and consumers have been waiting with bated breath for the forthcoming interest rate hike. But while the Federal Reserve has said they might raise interest rates in December, the truth of the matter is you don’t know when rates will change.Interest rates affect every aspect of American finance from the government’s budget down to your personal checking account. “Interest rates affect consumers because people use debt to fuel purchases. When rates are low it’s a great time to get a loan or use a credit card,” said Tiffany Welka, vice president of VFG Associates. For consumers on tight budgets, she suggested reviewing your finances to see how a potential rate increase could affect your finances. continue reading »last_img read more

7 must-haves for your employee handbook

first_img 15SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr An employee handbook is a vital part of your business, but it can also be overwhelming to develop when you consider all of the information that should be included.An employee handbook sets the tone for your new hires and can (should) be a valuable resource for existing employees to go to review policies and find pertinent information that they may have forgotten, such as your FMLA policy or disability benefits. Further, some federal, state, and local laws require you to inform employees in writing about certain policies, so you should familiarize yourself with those requirements by visiting the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).Whether you are starting your first employee handbook, or you are revamping your existing handbook, take a look at a few of the must-haves to make sure you have a complete handbook that will protect you legally and give your employees a thorough understanding of your company and the expectations you have for them. continue reading »last_img read more