WNY 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)
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 Fund
A 30% cap on foreign currency exposure has hit Austrian Pensionskassen investment returns in recent years, according to consultancy Mercer.“The cap has limited the domestic pension funds considerably and lost them chances for additional returns,” said Michaela Plank, retirement expert at Mercer Austria.In a low interest rate environment in developed markets it was particularly important for institutional investors to seek returns in other areas of the world, she added.All existing investment caps for Austrian funds will be lifted when the country implements the EU’s IORP II directive, now scheduled for October. The necessary revisions to the Austrian law governing pension funds – known as PKG – was due to pass through parliament before summer but a technicality means it will have to wait till October.However, the Austrian pension fund association FVPK told journalists this week that the amendments, including the abolition of quantitative investment caps, would be agreed on by a majority. Andreas Zakostelsky, FVPKCredit: Franz HelmreichAndreas Zakostelsky, chairman of the FVPK, confirmed that the two coalition parties in the government, the conservative ÖVP and the far-right FPÖ, were “in full agreement” on the package.Regarding other amendments demanded by the IORP II, Austria had “almost no need for amendments”, he added. Most of the EU directive’s standards for transparency, information, governance and risk management are already part of the domestic legal framework.Mercer’s Plank also emphasised that Austrian pension funds already had the risk management in place to be given free rein regarding their investment allocations.Under the proposed amendment to the PKG, every pension fund would have to set down its own allocation guidelines, which would then be approved by the financial market supervisor FMA.Regarding reforms, however, the FVPK was much more excited about next year as the government promised a major tax overhaul. This is expected to include incentives for companies to set up pension plans and an improved tax treatment of additional member contributions.“The time is ripe for a balanced three-pillar pension system,” said Zakostelsky.He said the government had been “pleasantly clear” in its commitment to this goal when it published its agenda last year.So far, however, the coalition was more focused on other topics including Austria holding the rotating EU presidency until December.
When Lida Dianti turned on the news and saw Syrian children losing their homes, their families and their very lives, she wanted to help in a sustainable way. Her purpose became to give young Syrians something that could never be taken away from them: education.Dianti founded the USC chapter of Students Organize for Syria in Fall 2016. The organization tutors students in English as part of their Students Teach for Syria program and co-hosts donation drives with UCLA to support families in El Cajon, a city near San Diego. The Syrian Civil War is currently in its sixth year, and millions have been displaced from their homes. Three years ago, the United Nations called the Syrian Civil War “the biggest humanitarian crisis of our era.” Because of the prevalence of information about the war, Dianti is adamant that the purpose of her club is not to raise awareness. “People know,” she said. “It’s 2017; we all have iPhones. People are well aware of what’s going on. I’m done having dialogue. I’m done raising awareness. I want action.”Action is an understatement for Dianti’s role in the club. She spends all her free time on SOS, whether she’s picking up lunch ingredients for the kids, brainstorming ideas for new projects or driving down to El Cajon to help out — a trip she makes every weekend. The dozen or so families she works with in El Cajon know and expect her; they have her number, they know her name and they know her car.The focus of Dianti’s club is education as she believes it is crucial for refugee children to continue their studies. As a senior majoring in international relations, she had been closely following the conflict. Over a year ago, she began tutoring a Syrian student, someone she still considers a very close friend. After meeting her, Dianti had a personal stake in the war.“She changed my whole life,” Dianti said. Dianti wanted to start a tutoring program here on campus because of the high demand for English speaking tutors. In her experience, there are a variety of reasons Syrian children want English tutors. Primarily, students want to be prepared for placement exams so they can get into universities and make a life for themselves outside of their unstable country. Students also need English assistance to fill out applications for jobs, for asylum and for colleges. A third group simply wants to practice their speaking. “[When studying a foreign language], it’s very common that reading and writing is easy, but speaking, that can only come from experience and practice,” Dianti said. “The best way to do that is with a native speaker.”Sofia Deak, vice president of SOS, first got involved as a tutor. “I had been looking for a way to help out with the crisis going on in Syria and have a lasting impact on the people who were suffering there,” she said. Deak then helped expand SOS’ work to El Cajon and coordinated volunteers for their donation drives, and has had memorable interactions with refugees on each trip. Families invited her in for Arabic tea or coffee (which Dianti raves about), and one family even insisted Deak stay for dinner. Kids hugged and kissed her after receiving gifts, and one man cried of joy after the volunteers bought glasses for him after he was unable to fill his prescription.“He was grateful for something that we thought was small,” Deak said.Deak has been studying Arabic for two years, but knowledge of Arabic is by no means a requirement for tutors or volunteers, given the high demand. “My Arabic is so bad, but they just want to hang out with you,” Dianti said of her frequent trips to El Cajon. She visits nine to 15 families each week and has gotten to know each family well. On Jan. 6, she took a young boy to In-N-Out, and they were laughing and eating together despite the language barrier. She would try to speak Arabic, and he wouldn’t understand. The boy would speak English, and she would get confused, but they would both learn a little as they laughed a lot. “It’s genuinely fun,” she said. “It’s like hanging out with family. They need compassion. They need to be treated like human beings because that hasn’t happened to them in a very long time.”Dianti graduates this year, but she still has new plans for SOS in the works. Her latest is a program that allows USC students to improve their colloquial Arabic skills and allows refugees to earn some money. Students can study Arabic in school, but she feels that it’s focused on reading and writing formally, not conversing casually. Ideally, USC students could have Skype Arabic lessons from, for example, a Syrian mother with young children who can’t leave the house to work, and pay them $15 to $20 an hour. It’s essentially the inverse of the English tutoring program they have in place, but unlike the English program, there isn’t a huge demand for tutors. According to Dianti, the hardest part of working with refugees is making promises that are difficult to keep. She said the executive board has no shortage of passion and enthusiasm, but there is a shortage of volunteers, forcing the few dedicated members to overextend themselves and work long hours to ensure they don’t let the refugees down. And yet, they keep doing it, over and over.“It’s the best thing I’ve done with my life, honest to God,” she said. “They just want people to hang out with, they want to meet Americans, they want to practice English, they want to feel like they’re a part of the community.”