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),Why are we not just saying we will run our county the way we feel is right. I vote we tell Cuomo to put it where the sun don’t shine.,If phase 4 is the last and final stage… why isn’t everything open 100%,Where are banks in this? Pixabay imageMAYVILLE — While the Chautauqua County Executive is disappointed gyms and mall are not reopening early in New York’s fourth phase, he vowed to keep pushing to change that.Wendel, State Senator George Borrello and Assemblyman Andy Goodell issued a joint statement Thursday in which they blasted Gov. Andrew Cuomo for what they call arbitrary decision making.“I’ve been advocating for gyms since this started. I feel no reason why gyms should not be open,” County Executive Wendel told WNYNewsNow during an interview Wednesday. “The point that they made is they weren’t going to be open on day one of phase four.”“We want to make sure our voices are heard,” he said. WNY News Now Image.“Obviously I enjoy working out, but when we’re looking at people and you want to get their health motivated, you want to get people moving that have been shut down for three months,” Wendel said, adding “The industry itself lends itself to sanitation and cleanliness and hygiene, so I beg to differ.”Local businesses have been stifled for the last several months, he said.“I’ll be pushing,” he said adding that if people can go to big box stores “There’s no reason you can’t go to a gym.”“It is incredibly disappointing that the Governor is once again making arbitrary, last-minute decisions on New York’s reopening process. After waiting patiently for months and investing great time and resources towards developing reopening plans, deep cleaning their facilities and reconfiguring their spaces to meet strict safety protocols, businesses previously scheduled to open in Phase 4 are once again on hold per guidance issued by the state last night,” the joint statement read.“It is hard to fathom why a cavernous shopping mall cannot open in Phase 4 when similar-sized big box retailers have been allowed to operate from day one. Or why safely managed and capacity-limited gyms and movie theaters present more of a risk than restaurants or nail salons. This latest directive will likely be the last straw for many businesses who have been hanging by a thread but were determined to push through as Phase 4 drew closer.”“These illogical directives are more than an inconvenience for consumers and the public, they are a blow to the livelihoods of thousands of small business owners and their employees and a barrier to our economic recovery. We urge the Governor to rethink this decision and allow these businesses to reopen as planned.”
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),Stop locking people up for victimless crimes, and you won’t have to worry about a budget increase. Image by Justin Gould/WNYNewsNow.MAYVILLE – Chautauqua County Sheriff Jim Quattrone is seeking an expenditure increase of more than $520,000 from the 2020 adopted budget, according to the 2021 County Executive Tentative Budget. Quattrone told members of the Chautauqua County Legislature during a budget review last week that he budgeted 2021’s jail expenditures in anticipation of more call-offs, etc. should COVID-19 restrictions continue to loosen.For years, the Chautauqua County Jail budget has experienced a degree of fiscal stress due to overtime costs and other salary expenditures.Quattrone says, however, that the overtime costs in 2020 has decreased significantly from years past. According to the Tentative Budget, the 2020 amended jail budget is more than $450,000 less than the 2020 adopted budget. He explains that there were multiple reasons for the decrease.“Part of (the lower costs) is because of the lower jail population (because of bail reform),” Quattrone said. “With COVID, people have taken less time off, less call-in time. Last year, we increased the number of full-time staff and reduced the number of part-time staff.”Quattrone says he budgeted 2021’s jail expenditures in anticipation of more call-offs, etc. should COVID-19 restrictions continue to loosen. The Sheriff is seeking an expenditure increase of more than $520,000 from the 2020 adopted budget, according to the Tentative Budget.Legislator Terry Niebel asked Quattrone why there hasn’t been a cost-reduction in the jail budget as a whole despite the lower jail population. Quattrone says that the overtime costs, as well as increase in base pay for employees, are the major reasons.The Sheriff acknowledged that he’s been approached before about closing parts of the jail in an effort to reduce staffing costs. He says his office has done that to an extent, adding that he also has to consider various requirements from New York State when considering those moves.Additionally, the Sheriff confirmed during the review that three SRO’s were recently laid off due to some school districts pulling from agreements due to COVID budget concerns. He says that two of the three SRO’s were hired by the Jamestown Police Department.The third SRO, meanwhile, is working on logistics in an effort to obtain employment, according to Quattrone.
Watch out Winter Storm Janus, it’s about to get hot in here. Broadway fave Christopher Sieber will take it all off lead the cast of Broadway Bares dancers in Winter Burlesque. As previously announced, the winter show will get the 24th season of Broadway Bares off to a start with two performances on January 26 at XL Nightclub. The season also includes Broadway Bares: Solo Strips in May and Broadway Bares 24 in June at the Hammerstein Ballroom. Star Files View Comments Joining Sieber and Zarley are dancers Cesar Abreu, Matt Anctil, Kristine Bendul, Patrick Boyd, Barrett Davis, Elizabeth Dugad, Carlos Gonzalez, Benjamin Horen, Anne Otto, Waldemar Quinones-Villanueva, Daniel Robinson, Michael Scirrotto, Justin Smith, Billy Steeves, Jena VanElslander, J. Morgan White, Ryan Worsing, Sidney Erik Wright, Heather Lea Bair, Julius C. Carter, Anthony Rooar Decarlis, Rashaan James II and Matthew Rossoff. Directed by Michael Lee Scott, this year’s Winter Burlesque show, entitled Calendar Girl, will follow the dancers in a stirring strip-a-month trip through the calendar. Tony nominee Sieber will open the show, leading the company in an number celebrating his reasons to love each month of the year. The evening’s finale will feature Broadway vet Matt Zarley singing his single “Everybody 4 Somebody.” Afterward, Sieber will direct Bares’ famous “rotation,” where the cast freestyle dances for individual donations. Christopher Sieber
Grease 2, the 1982 movie sequel of Grease, tells the love story of Pink Lady Stephanie Zinone and English transfer student Michael Carrington. The musical follows their road to romance from bowling alley to burger joint, sing-a-long-a-sex education class to talent show, and long (and beautifully lit) romantic motorcycle rides to a slightly incongruous luau ending. View Comments One-night-only was clearly not enough for fans of Grease 2. Cool Rider, the stage adaptation of the cult musical sequel to Grease, is to return to the west end for one-week-only. Ashleigh Gray and Aaron Sidwell will once again sing the roles of Stephanie and Michael, immortalized on screen by Michelle Pfeiffer and Maxwell Caulfield. The concert will play at the Duchess Theatre April 15 through 19, with opening night set for April 16. The concert will feature the songs “Who’s That Guy?,” “Score Tonight,” “Cool Rider” (which will be sung precariously atop a step ladder without the aid of wires for safety), “Girl for All Seasons” and the haunting melody of “Rock-a-Hula Luau (Summer Is Coming).” Cool Rider is directed by Guy Unsworth and choreographed by Matt Krzan, with musical direction by Lee Freeman, lighting design by Charlie Morgan Jones and costume design by Christopher Wilmer. Further casting will be announced in due course. At least one member of the Broadway.com team is already booking his flights to London.
Mala Hierba will run July 14 through August 10, with an opening night set for July 24. Liliana has a sparkle few can deny and no one can resist. The trophy wife of a border magnate living in Texas, she’s seemingly impeccable. But beneath that polished exterior lies a fierce determination to survive at any cost. When Liliana’s true desires break the surface, she’ll have to decide between the value of obligation versus the price of freedom. American Hero is a supersized dark comedy about life, liberty and the pursuit of sandwiches. The show will run May 13 through June 8, with an opening night set for May 22. At a toasted subs franchise in the local mall, three up and coming “sandwich artists”—a teenager, a single mom, and a downsized refugee from corporate banking—are perfecting the mustard to cheese ratio according to the company manual. But when their shot at the American dream is interrupted by a series of strange events, they become unlikely allies in a post-recession world. View Comments Two new American plays are set to have their New York premieres as part of Second Stage Theatre’s twelfth annual Uptown Series this summer. First up will be Bess Wohl’s American Hero, directed by Leigh Silverman. This will be followed by Mala Hierba, penned by Tanya Saracho (HBO’s Looking and Girls) and directed by Jerry Ruiz. Both productions will be run at the McGinn/Cazale Theatre.
View Comments Oscar, Olivier and Golden Globe winner Sam Mendes will be honored at the Roundabout Theatre Company’s 2014 Spring Gala, In Here, Life Is Beautiful. The event, where Mendes will be presented with the Jason Robards Award for Excellence in Theatre, is set for March 10 at the Hammerstein Ballroom. Mendes’ association with Roundabout began by directing the Tony Award-winning Cabaret in 1998, and he is currently working on the Broadway revival starring Cumming and Michelle Williams. Mendes’ other multiple stage credits include Oliver!, Company, Gypsy and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He has helmed films including American Beauty, Road to Perdition and Skyfall. The evening will feature an all-star tribute to Mendes including performances by Ethan Hawke, Bernadette Peters, Marc Shaiman, Alan Cumming, Brian d’Arcy James and Aaron Krohn. Appearances will also be made by Helen Mirren, Jeremy Irons, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Cynthia Nixon, Kathy Bates, Dylan Baker, Richard Easton and more.
Knight is making her West End debut in The Bodyguard. Known as the Queen of British Soul, she has sold over a million albums in the U.K., scoring several top 10 hits and four gold certified albums. Knight has released six studio albums to date and her hit singles will include “Greatest Day,” “Get Up!” and “Come as You Are.” She appeared on BBC One’s Just the Two of Us and performed at London’s 2012 Paralympic Opening Ceremony. The Tony-winning musical Memphis is heading to London’s West End, with Beverley Knight headlining the production. According to the Daily Mail, Memphis will open at the Shaftesbury Theatre in October. Knight is currently starring in The Bodyguard at the West End’s Adelphi Theatre and will depart the tuner on May 31; the show will remain at the venue until August, when it makes way for the stage adaptation of Made In Daghenam. Memphis takes place in the segregated ’50s, where a young white DJ named Huey Calhoun fell in love with everything he shouldn’t: rock and roll and an electrifying black singer. The show won four 2010 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. View Comments
The curtain is coming down on Kirstie Alley’s (televised) Broadway career. According to The Hollywood Reporter, her TV Land series Kirstie has been canceled after one season. The show, which featured Alley as a high-maintenance Broadway star, concluded its 12-episode season in February, after which time creator and showrunner Marco Pennette left the project. During the show’s first (and only) season, guest stars included Kristin Chenoweth, Cloris Leachman, Jason Alexander, Kathy Griffin, John Travolta and George Wendt. The series followed Madison “Maddie” Banks (Alley), a Broadway diva whose life is flipped upside down when the grown son she gave up for adoption (Broadway alum Eric Petersen) tries to enter her life after the death of his adoptive mother. Additional cast members included Rhea Perlman and Michael Richards. View Comments
Related Shows Here’s a quick roundup of stories you may have missed today. GOT’s Alfie Allen Set for Jesse Eisenberg’s The SpoilsThis is some lineup! Alfie Allen (Game of Thrones), Katie Brayben (Beautiful, King Charles III) and Annapurna Sriram (Billions) will join the previously announced Jesse Eisenberg and Kunal Nayyar in the European premiere of The Spoils. Directed by Scott Elliott, the off-Broadway hit, penned by Eisenberg himself, will play a limited engagement May 27 through August 13. Opening night for the millennial comedy is set for June 2 at the West End’s Trafalgar Studios.A Better Place Pushes Back Start DateOff-Broadway’s A Better Place will now begin performances on May 5; it had previously been set to start on May 4, but the performance has been canceled owing to the need for additional technical rehearsals. Directed by Evan Bergman and starring Edward James Hyland, the show will officially open on May 15 at the Duke On 42nd Street. Broadway.com customers with tickets to the cancelld performance will be contacted with information on refunds or exchanges.Chita Rivera Schedules Encore Shows at the Café CarlyleCouldn’t make the dates work in getting to see Chita Rivera’s turn at the Café Carlyle? Well fear not, the Broadway legend has announced four encore performances at the New York hotspot, May 18 through May 21. Rivera will be joined by music director Michael Croiter (percussion and guitar), associate music director Michael Patrick Walker (piano), Jim Donica (bass) and Dan Willis (reeds). And just because you deserve an extra treat on this Tony Tuesday, here’s the two-time Tony winner’s classic performance of “I Got Plenty O’ Nuttin'” on The Judy Garland Show. You’re welcome. View Comments Show Closed This production ended its run on June 11, 2016 A Better Place Alfie Allen(Photo: Ian Gavan/Getty Images)
Reed Birney View Comments Jayne Houdyshell Arian Moayed, Joe Mantello, Stephen Karam, Cassie Beck, Sarah Steele, Jayne Houdyshell & Reed Birney(Photo: Emilio Madrid-Kuser) Star Files With six Tony Award nominations, The Humans’ cast and creative team have much to celebrate. The stars, scribe Stephen Karam and director Joe Montello recently assembled at Sardi’s Restaurant as Tony nominees Jayne Houdyshell and Reed Birney were honored with caricatures. The Theater District institution’s owner Max Klimavicius presented the pair with their portraits. Houdyshell’s Broadway credits include Fish in the Dark, Romeo and Juliet, Dead Accounts, Follies, The Importance of Being Earnest, Bye Bye Birdie, Well and Wicked while Birney’s include Casa Valentina, Picnic and Gemini. Congrats to these stage regulars, and be sure to catch Karam’s hilarious and heartfelt play at the Helen Hayes Theatre!
P.S. Tony nominee Josh Gad will be joining Tony winner Leslie Odom Jr., Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Judi Dench and more in Kenneth Branagh’s film remake of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Gad is set to play the slightly alcoholic, nervous assistant to Depp’s character.P.P.S. The 28th Annual Gypsy of the Year competition will take place on December 5 and December 6 at the New Amsterdam Theatre. Produced by and benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, the event celebrates ensemble members. Sophie Okonedo(Photo: Bruce Glikas) Here’s a quick roundup of stories you may have missed today. Sophie Okonedo to Star Opposite Damian Lewis in The GoatSophie Okonedo will join the previously announced Damian Lewis in a new production of Edward Albee’s The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? in the West End. She won a Tony for A Raisin in the Sun and garnered a Tony nod for The Crucible earlier this year; Okonedo also received an Oscar nomination for Hotel Rwanda. Directed by Ian Rickson, the show is scheduled to play a strictly limited 12-week season at London’s prestigious Theatre Royal Haymarket from March 24, 2017 through June 24.Sell/Buy/Date Extends Off-BroadwaySell/Buy/Date, the new play written and performed by Tony winner Sarah Jones, has extended by a week off-Broadway through November 20. Directed by Carolyn Cantor, the limited engagement, an exuberant new show inspired by the real-life experiences of people affected by the sex industry, is playing at New York City Center’s The Studio at Stage II.Daveed Diggs & More Set for The 24 Hour PlaysTony winner Daveed Diggs (Hamilton), Justin Bartha (The Hangover), Jason Biggs (Orange is the New Black), Paul Schneider (Parks and Recreation), Raúl Castillo (Looking), Thomas Sadoski (The Newsroom), Tracie Thoms (Falsettos), Jenna Ushkowitz (Waitress) and so many more have boarded this year’s The 24 Hour Plays on Broadway. The event, which brings together talent that writes, directs and perform six original plays within 24 hours, is slated to take place at the American Airlines Theater on November 14.Fox’s Rocky Horror’s Ratings InPreliminary ratings are in for Fox’s The Rocky Horror Picture Show and they’re down on the 12.2 million viewers that Grease: Live picked up for the network. The remake garnered 4.9 million total viewers, landing in fourth place compared to other stations, although it moved up to second in the all-important 18-49 demographic. The Wrap reports that CBS won the night with its football coverage.Watch Heidi Blickenstaff in Freaky FridayCheck out below a sneak peek video of Broadway favorite Heidi Blickenstaff singing “After All of This and Everything” from the second act of Disney’s Freaky Friday. Penned by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, Signature Theatre’s world premiere production is running through November 20 in Arlington, VA. View Comments
Related Shows Show Closed This production ended its run on Jan. 8, 2017 In the corporate world, employees leaving a job are often asked to sit through an exit interview with HR about their time at the company. That concept doesn’t exist for Broadway performers, but we love checking in with stars as they finish up a successful run. Danielle Brooks received a Tony nomination for her delightfully boisterous Broadway debut as Sofia in The Color Purple. Brooks will leave the Tony-winning revival at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre on November 13. In her Broadway.com Exit Interview, Brooks shares why she’s leaving, what she’ll miss and how the role has changed her.How did you feel when you first got this job?I was super elated. I couldn’t believe it. When my manager told me they had offered me the job, I kept saying “Are you serious? No, are you serious?!”How do you feel now that you’re leaving?I feel ready. I’m going to miss working with my castmates and John Doyle. I feel like I have gained so much from this experience as an actress and as a person and have given a lot of myself every night onstage in service to those who come to see our play. Now, it’s time for the refueling of my mind, body and spirit.What are three words you would use to describe your experience?Spiritual. Taxing. Earned.What was the easiest thing about this job?I don’t think there was anything easy about this job. I can’t think of anything.What was the hardest thing?Every night it’s been something different. Sometimes it’s difficult to release the character at the end of the night; sometimes I’m vocally tired and I have to push through. Other times, I’m tired of laughing and all I want to do is cry, and others I’m tired of crying and all I want to do is laugh.What was the highlight of your time at this job?Getting to perform for my family. Having both my parents watch their first born live their dream was a highlight. And also my baby brother getting to see his big sister in his first Broadway show. That I will forever cherish.What skills do you think are required for future job applicants?Number one: she has to be honest. Don’t come in not being authentic. She has to have a sense of humor, an old soul, backbone, grit and a lot of heart.What advice would you give to future employees in your job position?For anyone ever tackling the role of Sofia, you have to come from an honest place. Don’t ever play for laughs and don’t allow the character to ever have pity on herself. She represents strength and perseverance. She’s the strongest bird in the pack that looses her wings, so it’s even more challenging for her to gain her strength back.How do you think you’ve grown?After doing this play over 400 times, I am finally convinced that I am and have always been capable of playing Sofia. What people might not know is that the casting director asked to see me; I didn’t ask to be seen. I had so many doubts and fears coming into this project that I had masked from the hardcore desire to play this part. Some days it took everything in me to step on that stage; I had so much anxiety the first few months of the show, but then something happened in my spirit. Maybe it was the audience, maybe it was the words of the play, but I realized my purpose is greater than my fears. So from then on, I was ready to go out there and share myself without any hesitation.Why are you leaving?I’m leaving because it’s time. I’ve stretched myself and grown as much as I could in this play. It’s time to learn new lessons from another character. I’ll be back to engulf in the bliss of the Great White Way again. Danielle Brooks(Photo: Matthew Murphy & Bruce Glikas) The Color Purple View Comments
Christopher Hampton’s Les Liaisons Dangereuses will now close on Broadway on January 8, 2017; the Josie Rourke-helmed production had been scheduled to end its limited engagement on January 22. Headlined by Tony winners Janet McTeer and Liev Schreiber, the show began performances at the Booth Theatre on October 8 and opened officially on October 20.The dark comedy, based on the 1782 novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, followers lovers-turned-rivals La Marquise de Merteuil (McTeer) and Le Vicomte de Valmont (Schreiber) as they challenge each other to games of reputation-ruining seduction. Among their targets is the young convent girl Cécile, whose love for her music teacher is exploited to thwart her engagement.The cast also features Birgitte Hjort Sørensen as Madame de Tourvel, Raffi Barsoumian as Le Chevalier Danceny, Ora Jones as Madame de Volanges, Elena Kampouris as Cécile Volanges, Katrina Cunningham as Émilie, Josh Salt as Azolan, Joy Franz as Victoire, David Patterson as Major-domo, Laura Sudduth as Julie and Mary Beth Peil as Madame de Rosemonde.Broadway.com customers with tickets to canceled performances will be contacted with information on refunds or exchanges. Les Liaisons Dangereuses Related Shows View Comments Show Closed This production ended its run on Jan. 8, 2017 Janet McTeer & Liev Schreiber in ‘Les Liaisons Dangereuses'(Photo: Johan Persson)
It’s not easy to fool a pecan tree. And if pecan lovers will be equally hard tomislead, Georgia growers could be headed for a big year.”We didn’t have any cold damage at all,” said Tom Crocker, a horticulturistwith the University of Georgia Extension Service.Late-winter freezes almost never hurt pecan trees. That’s because they’re so slow toact when the weather warms.”The old adage is that when the pecan trees start budding out, spring is here forsure,” Crocker said.That slow response to warm days serves the trees well. “The last year we sufferedreal cold damage was 1955,” he said.So unlike the state’s peaches, which the late freezes hit hard, Georgia pecans are offto a strong start. “We’re looking to have a big year,” Crocker said.A big year for Georgia pecans is truly a big year. Trees here produce more pecans thanin any other state — about a third of the nation’s total.That leaves the state’s growers to tend to their trees and hope the people who buytheir crop aren’t fooled by a few detractors.The new food labels’ focus on fat has led some people to pan pecans. But these nuts arehealthy.Pecans may actually help lower your risk of heart disease, said Holly Alley, a food,nutrition and health specialist with the University of Georgia Extension Service.”It’s true that pecans are high-calorie foods,” Alley said. “And theyget nearly all of their calories from fats. But pecans are low in saturated fats and highin monounsaturated fats.”It’s the mono fat that may make pecans a good-for-your-heart food.”Monounsaturated fats may have a useful role in the dietary prevention of heartdisease,” Alley said.She cited studies in which people who ate nuts one to four times a week hadthree-fourths the heart-attack risk of people who almost never ate them. People who atethem five or more times a week had half the risk.The mono fats may help reduce high blood triglycerides, a risk factor for heartdisease.People with diabetes often have high triglycerides, Alley said. For them, the mono fatsin pecans can be helpful.A one-ounce serving of pecans, she said, contains 190 calories. Of 19 grams of fat, 12are monounsaturated. Less than two are saturated. Five are polyunsaturated.One cup of pecans is about 3.5 ounces. Five pounds of unshelled pecans yield aboutthree pounds shelled. Each shelled pound is about 4.5 cups.”Pecans are fairly high in dietary fiber, too: 1.8 grams per ounce,” Alleysaid. “That may be another reason people who eat them have lower risk of heartdisease. We’re not really sure why the risk is lower.”The best way to put pecans in your diet, she said, is to replace foods high in otherfats.”Pecans can be more satisfying than low-fat foods,” she said. “Andthey’re better for you than foods high in saturated fats.”
Can’t use it, can’t lose it. That’s the dilemma farmers have faced for years withcanceled chemicals and empty pesticide containers.But two programs run by the University of Georgia Extension Service and the Georgia Department of Agriculture (DOA) offer alegal, low-cost option that helps farmers protect the environment.”The Pesticide Container Recycling and Georgia Clean Day programs help farmers whoreally want to do the right thing,” said Paul Guillebeau, an Extension Serviceentomologist with the UGA College of Agricultural andEnvironmental Sciences.”They know it’s best to safely dispose of containers and pesticides,” hesaid. “But they haven’t always had a good way to do that.”Hundreds of tons of canceled chemicals and empty pesticide jugs sit in or behind barns,shelters and outbuildings on farms across the state. Canceled pesticides were once-legalproducts that have become illegal because of Environmental Protection Agency regulationsor voluntary action by the manufacturer.Farmers must get rid of them carefully to keep from contaminating groundwater or soil.Guillebeau works with Jarrell Jarrett, aDOA special projects coordinator. They arrange to safely dispose of high-densitypolyethylene jugs and farm chemicals all around the state.Jarrett said the jugs are fairly easy to take care of.”They have to be rinsed properly by the farmer, collected, chipped and shipped toa facility in Texas,” he said. “There, they’re melted and recast into plasticgoods like pallets and fence posts.”That’s an aspect Guillebeau likes best about the program. “The products arereused,” he said, “but also end up saving wood by replacing it in products thatare otherwise made from trees.”Farmers have two legal ways to get rid of pesticide jugs: recycling or landfills.”But they take up so much space in landfills,” Jarrett said. “And manylandfills won’t take them because of pesticide residue concerns.”In 1997, Georgia farmers recycled 200,000 pounds of containers, or more than 260,0002.5-gallon jugs.Safely disposing of the canceled pesticides takes a little more effort. Georgia CleanDay began in 1991 to help farmers get old chemicals to a safe disposal site.Jarrett works with Guillebeau and county extension agents to plan collection days. Theagents arrange a place in the county and advertise the Georgia Clean Day.Farmers must make reservations. They fill out a form telling the kind and amount of thechemical and the condition of its container.The agents tally the amounts and send it to Jarrett, without names. “This programis anonymous,” he said. “On the collection day, you don’t even have to get outof the truck.”The waste pesticides are collected, sorted, stored and shipped to a contractedhazardous waste disposal company.Guillebeau said the products are usually incinerated. The company burns them at veryhigh temperatures. It pipes the smoke and fumes through air scrubbers to remove any toxinsbefore they reach the atmosphere.Both programs are free to farmers. The DOA, Extension Service and United Ag Productsteam up to fund the pesticide and container collection and disposal.In 1998, for the first time, the Georgia legislature funded the Clean Day. Theyallocated $240,000 to expand the program to more sites. “That funding will allow usto safely dispose of 162,000 pounds of chemicals,” Guillebeau said.The programs are for farm chemicals only. But Guillebeau and Jarrett hope to expandthem to include other toxic products such as household pesticides. The main barrier ismoney. “We simply don’t have the funds right now to cover it,” Jarrett said.Want to know more about safely getting rid of such chemicals? Call your countyextension office. Ask for the “Guide to Best Management Practices for HouseholdHazardous Waste.”
By Brooke HatfieldUniversity of GeorgiaOrganic farming is on the rise in the United States, and it could change the way U.S. farmers tend to their soil.”With an organic farm, we have a whole-farm approach,” said Luanne Lohr, associate professor of agricultural and applied economics with the University of Georgia.”You don’t choose one practice and apply it,” she said. “You have to come up with a combination of things you can do that work for your particular farm ecology.”Organic farming is defined as an ecology-conscious system that strives to minimize the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals.For a vegetable crop to be “certified organic,” a state or private certification organization accredited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture must vouch for it.According to the USDA, sales of organic fruits and vegetables increased from $181 million in 1990 to $2.2 billion in 2000. Sales of organic livestock and milk are also increasing.Lohr said this is due partly to consumer support, citing a 20-percent annual growth in retail sales for each of the past 12 years.Large companies like Pillsbury and Heinz have entered the organic market as well. This not only makes shoppers more aware but puts more organic food into mass-market grocery stores.More information for farmers on converting regular farmland to organic farms and on the regulations on growing organic crops is also available .Health reasonsMany people choose to go organic for health reasons, Lohr said. But the benefits of fruits and vegetables grown without synthetic chemicals could extend beyond the consumer.”One can expect to have better overall farmer health with reduced exposure to chemicals,” Lohr said.Organic farming can help the environment. “(With conventional farming) there are greater water-quality concerns, both for drinking water and for (water used in) recreation,” she said.As organic farming expands its foothold in agriculture, more limits are being placed on chemicals used on all farms.”The Environmental Protection Agency is now reviewing all organophosphate insecticides,” Lohr said. “Many uses are becoming more restrictive, particularly in fruits and vegetables that will be consumed raw.”Starting a farmGetting an organic farm up and running can take more time than starting a regular farm.”Choosing an organic method requires some practice,” Lohr said. “It requires a slow pace to get established. It requires that the farmer to know a lot about his own property and farm ecology. Most farmers know that information, but maybe they aren’t applying it yet.”An organic farming community helps ease the transition.”Organic farmers tend to share information very freely and are more likely to network,” Lohr said. “About 98 percent of organic farmers get information from other farmers about practices to try on their own farms.”Future of organicOrganic farming is growing. “Farmers are looking for alternatives,” Lohr said.This increase may help conventional farmers. “It isn’t necessarily true that only organic farmers benefit from organic methods,” Lohr said.”Aside from some methods that are experimental on farms,” she said, “(about a dozen organic) methods can be applied on a farm that does use chemicals as a way to reduce chemical use.”The Southern Organic Horticultural Workshop will be in Statesboro, Ga., Feb. 21-22. It will include a roundtable discussion and isn’t restricted to organic farmers.The workshop will be followed Feb. 23-24 by the Georgia Organic annual conference, also in Statesboro. For more information, go to www.georgiaorganics.org. For information on late registration, contact George Boyhan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Stephanie SchupskaUniversity ofGeorgiaOpen the door to any Halloween party, and the basics — costumes and candy — still swirl around the room. But it’s not just kids enjoying the festivities. Increasingly, adults are adding to the dangers.“More and more adults are having Halloween parties,” said Don Bower, a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension human development specialist. “More and more adults are hosting or going to these parties. It’s becoming more common.”Parties involving adults have the usual concerns of drinking and driving. Add trick-or-treating children to the mix, and the danger is even greater. “Having kids out walking the streets and adults driving who may not be completely sober is a dangerous mix,” Bower said.With the holiday falling on Monday this year, most adults will plan their parties for the weekend. This will help alleviate the problem, he said.As in any situation, though, people who drink should find a designated driver. And those who drive should watch out for the extra children wandering up and down the roads.Safety on Halloween, however, isn’t just about the adult-children mix on the roads. For parties involving adults or children, health concerns often roll back to the kitchen.”To serve your food safely at your party, keep hot foods hot using warming trays, crock pots or Sterno cans,” said Judy Harrison, a UGA Extension food specialist. “Keep your hot food at 140 degrees Fahrenheit or above. Cold foods should be kept at 40 degrees or below.”Harrison suggests ways to hosts safely prepare party foods.To clean, “wash your hands before you prepare the food,” she said. “And make sure surfaces are clean when you prepare food for the party so there is less risk of contamination.”If you have raw meat in the kitchen, “make sure you’re keeping it separate from other food that’s ready to eat,” she said. “Use separate cutting boards for meats and ready-to-eat foods like cheese, fruits and vegetables. Or wash your used cutting board thoroughly in hot, soapy water and then sanitize it in one teaspoon of bleach in a quart of warm water or by using the sanitizing cycle of your dishwasher.”When cooking, “use a food thermometer to make sure foods you prepare are thoroughly cooked,” she said. “Meats like beef and pork need to reach 160 degrees and poultry 180. For ground poultry, the temperature should reach 165.”To chill, “make sure you keep cold foods cold,” she said. “Use a refrigerator thermometer to make sure your refrigerator is keeping food at 40 degrees or colder.”She suggests dividing foods into several small serving dishes you can store at the proper temperature until needed. “This way,” she said, “you can replace the dishes on your serving table often, to reduce the chances for contamination and the time for bacteria to grow.”Be especially mindful of temperature when serving foods such as tuna and egg salad and other salads or hors d’oeuvres that contain meat.”Don’t leave perishable foods at room temperature for more than two hours,” she said.(Stephanie Schupska is a news editor with the University ofGeorgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)
By Faith PeppersUniversity of GeorgiaJ. Scott Angle, dean and director of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, announced today that Steve L. Brown will be interim assistant dean of the UGA Tifton campus.Brown, a professor of entomology and UGA Cooperative Extension program coordinator, will serve in the position being vacated by David C. Bridges, who was recently named president of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College.A national search will be conducted for a new assistant dean for Tifton.”Dr. Brown brings a wealth of experience to the position, having spent nearly 16 years working on the Tifton campus,” Angle said. “There are many new programs just getting under way on the campus, and I look forward to working with Dr. Brown to move each of these forward.”Brown played a key role on a team of scientists that developed practical programs and management strategies for tomato spotted wilt virus, a deadly plant disease that attacks tobacco, tomatoes, peppers, peanuts and other Georgia crops.He developed the UGA Spotted Wilt Risk Index, a planning tool that helps growers assess and lower their crop’s risk for the disease. Economic analysis shows that Georgia farmers who use the risk index can see a net return of as much as $280 per acre.Brown is also a leading expert in the Southeast for insect control in stored grains, peanuts and cottonseed. He oversees the South’s only demonstration grain treatment and storage facility, which provides hands-on training for UGA Extension county agents and growers.The UGA Tifton campus is home to the Coastal Plain Experiment Station, Tifton Conference Center, CAES academic programs and the Rural Development Center.Brown will begin in his new role in mid-June. The search for a permanent assistant dean will begin following a review of the structural relationship between the CAES operations in Tifton, Griffin and Athens.”This review is a part of an ongoing effort to better align the administration of our college to meet the needs of our students, our researchers and the public we serve,” Angle said. “Our aim is to develop a structure that will help us run more efficiently and be more effective in meeting our mission.”
University of GeorgiaWhether you’re managing 10 acres of land or 200, the Agroforestryand Wildlife Field Day Sept. 28 offers valuable information on theUniversity of Georgia campus in Griffin, Ga.This all-day event is designed to show private landowners, huntersand those in forestry or agribusiness how to make the most of theirland.You’ll hear research-based updates from experts with UGA, theGeorgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife ResourcesDivision, Georgia Forestry Commission, U.S. Department ofAgriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service and Fort ValleyState University.The field day enables landowners and other outdoor enthusiasts totalk with wildlife biologists, entomologists, agronomists and otherspeakers. They’ll discuss quality management of various wildlifespecies and the ways wildlife can benefit their land. And they’llshow ways the participating agencies can help them better managetheir land. Some of the more than 25 topics include:* Wildlife opening management.* Managing nuisance wildlife problems in Georgia.* Pond management.* Managing for wild turkeys.* Pine straw production.* Prescribed burning.* Cost-share assistance programs.* Bobwhite quail habitat management.* Thinning tree stands.* GPS/GIS.* Invasive insects, diseases and plants.The cost is $30 per person before Aug. 29 and $40 after that. Thefee covers lunch, field day presentations and a program bookletwith a short synopsis of each topic. If you preregister, you’reguaranteed a field day ball cap, too.You may choose which presentations to attend and board trams tolectures and demonstrations. You may also visit with agency andsponsor representatives and others at an exhibitor booth area.For more information or a registration form, visit the AWFD Website at www.caes.uga.edu/events/awfd06.
By Sharon OmahenUniversity of GeorgiaDesigned to help Georgians save water during a drought, the state’s outdoor water-use regulations include some helpful exemptions.Under the level-2 schedule, for instance, you can water your home food garden any day. And you can water newly installed turfgrass or landscape plants every day for 30 days.University of Georgia water specialist Rose Mary Seymour says there are ways to complete your outdoor tasks without breaking the law.Certain days, timesGeorgia is now using its level-2 outdoor water-use schedule. Outdoor water uses are allowed only from midnight to 10 a.m. on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at odd-number street addresses and on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays at even-number addresses. Outdoor watering is banned all day on Fridays.”If you install new plants or new sod, you’re allowed to water it for 30 days,” she said. “You can water any day, as long as you do so during the designated hours.”Irrigating “home personal food gardens” is exempt from outdoor watering regulations, too. “Personal food gardens would cover both vegetable and herb gardens,” Seymour said.Use creative sourcesUsing captured or reclaimed stormwater or water from your cooling system is also exempt from the rules. Reuse of gray water is exempt, too, as long as local ordinances allow its use.”Gray water is water from washing machines, sinks, showers or anything household, except the toilet,” Seymour said. “You just have to check to be sure your local water purveyor allows gray water usage.”Many businesses exemptCommercial businesses have several exemptions.”Certain businesses are exempt from many of the rules because they rely on water for their livelihood,” Seymour said.Commercial businesses exempt from the watering regulations include professionally licensed landscapers, irrigation contractors, sod producers, ornamental growers, retail garden centers, fruit and vegetable growers, hydro-seeders, construction sites, food and fiber producers, car washes, power washers and other activities essential to daily business.”At this level, homeowners are still allowed to wash their cars and fill their swimming pools,” Seymour said. “But you can’t use water to wash off your driveway or deck.”
By Megan ForgraveWorld Food Prize FoundationWashington, D.C. – The World Food Prize Foundation awarded its Borlaug Medallion to the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities today. The award was presented during a ceremony in Washington D.C. celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Morrill Land-grant Act of 1862. Written by Senator Justin Smith Morrill of Vermont and signed into law on July 2, 1862, by President Abraham Lincoln, the legislation provided grants of federal lands to the states for the establishment of public universities and agricultural education programs nationwide, and led to the democratization of higher education. “Land-grant institutions have played a critical role in inspiring multiple generations to attain the highest levels of education and scientific research; fostering the most prolific era of agricultural production ever recorded in human history; and providing a model for emulation around the world as we endeavor to eliminate the scourge of hunger from the face of the earth,” said Amb. Kenneth M. Quinn, president of the World Food Prize.Quinn presented the award to Scott Angle, chairman of the APLU Board on Agriculture Assembly and Dean of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. The World Food Prize is the foremost international award recognizing the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world. The Borlaug Medallion honors those organizations and Heads of State who would not ordinarily be eligible for the World Food Prize, but who have made an especially noteworthy contribution to improving the world’s food supply and ensuring adequate nutrition. In the past it has only been presented to King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand; the Sasakawa Family and its Nippon Foundation of Japan; and Kofi Annan for his leadership of the United Nations.Quinn noted that Dr. Norman Borlaug – Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, founder of the World Food Prize, and known as the “Father of the Green Revolution” – was a graduate of a land-grant university.“APLU should be extremely proud of its stewardship of the universities across our country, and of the critical work and research that continues to occur at institutions across America,” Quinn said. “We continue to make great strides in science and agriculture, and we are committed to working with you to inspire future generations to take on the complex issues that we face around the globe.”The sesquicentennial celebration featured a keynote speech by Bill Gates; U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack also participated in dynamic panels about the future of education. There are currently 106 land-grant universities, including at least one in every state.Details about the World Food Prize Borlaug Medallion and a downloadable image of it are available online at www.worldfoodprize.org/borlaugmedallion.
Leading plant genomics researchers and breeders from the University of Georgia and across the world will meet May 18-21 at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville, Alabama, to discuss the latest genomic technology in plant breeding and crop improvement. Presented by HudsonAlpha and the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the CROPS 2015 conference will focus on improving crop sustainability through genomics. The conference will be co-chaired by Jeremy Schmutz, HudsonAlpha faculty investigator and manager of the Genome Sequencing Center, along with Scott Jackson, director of the UGA Center for Applied Genetic Technologies, and Peggy Ozias-Akins, director of the UGA Institute of Plant Breeding, Genetics and Genomics.CROPS 2015 will bring together leading researchers who are applying genomic-based techniques to crop improvement, plant molecular breeding experts and traditional breeders interested in applying these techniques within their crops of interest.“We are honored to partner with the HudsonAlpha Institute to bring the best researchers in the world—working on the application of genetics and biotechnology to crop improvement—to share their cutting-edge research with crop scientists from around the world,” Jackson said. Tremendous progress has been made in plant genomics in just a few short years. Plant researchers have gone from generating a single reference genome for a single plant to generating hundreds of reference plant genomes. “Applying genomic technology in plant research is very powerful because we can actually breed plants to achieve a desired outcome,” Schmutz said. “With the advancement of genomic technology, we are able to identify the target traits in a plant that may be crossed to produce coveted characteristics.” For more information about speakers, abstracts, poster submissions or to register, visit www.CROPSconference.org.
Athens, Ga. – Steven Stice is leading researchers at the University of Georgia’s Regenerative Bioscience Center in a newly funded research consortium designed to hasten the development of advanced cell therapies for a range of chronic diseases, including heart disease and cancer.With $20 million in funding from the National Science Foundation, the Engineering Research Center for Cell Manufacturing Technologies, dubbed CMaT, will bring together RBC researchers, industry partners, clinicians, engineers, cell biologists and immunologists.”Partnerships of this nature-that span different universities and sectors-are critical to advancing human health around the world,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead, “and I want to congratulate Dr. Stice and his team at the University of Georgia for helping to drive this important research center.”The flow of innovative ideas and techniques from this regional “manufacturing hub” based at the Georgia Institute of Technology could create a pipeline of therapies and lifetime cures for an aging population challenged by escalating chronic diseases.”We have a richer set of engineering resources to draw on than ever before, due in large part to the incredible talent UGA has been able to attract from across the country and around the world,” said Stice, a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar and D.W. Brooks Distinguished Professor in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “Working alongside seasoned veterans like GRA Eminent Scholar Art Edison in the university’s Complex Carbohydrate Research Center, we can break through manufacturing bottlenecks and bring a new approach in CAR-T cell therapy to treat cancer.”Georgia Tech is able to host this research thanks in part to a previous gift of $16 million from the Atlanta-based Marcus Foundation to build a research center for therapeutic cell characterization and manufacturing. Additional funding from the Georgia Research Alliance and Georgia Tech sources bring the total investment in the center to $23 million.”The support of the Georgia Research Alliance and investments by the University of Georgia in talented faculty members who are committed to working with colleagues across the state and beyond is cementing Georgia’s reputation as a hub of research activity,” said UGA Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Pamela Whitten.UGA is one of three major partners, including the University of Wisconsin and the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus, as well as affiliate partners such as the University of Pennsylvania, Emory University, the Gladstone Institutes and Michigan Technological University. Additional international academic partners, as well as industry and the U.S. national laboratories, also will be critical to this large-scale, collaborative effort.CMaT’s vision is to bring together a diverse group of scientists who can yield new levels of efficiency and productivity to make cell therapies more affordable and, therefore, more accessible.UGA’s College of Engineering Dean Donald J. Leo noted the benefits of the partnership for CMaT.”The distance between discovery and delivery is dramatically shrinking,” said Leo. “Now is the time to bring people with different expertise together to work as one-something we’re all really excited about.”Numerous clinical trials with various types of cells already have been completed, and many others trials are underway. However, the next “scalable method” as highlighted by the group, points to the translational challenge of creating a reliable, mass-produced “living cell” supply chain.”Unlike pharmaceuticals and other products now used in medical treatments, cells are living entities that can significantly change depending on nuances in the way they are grown, stored and otherwise manipulated,” said CMaT Director Krishnendu Roy. “The center will develop new engineering tools and scalable methods to better characterize, expand, transport and store cells so they provide consistent therapeutic effects, allowing them to be used in standardized therapies by clinicians to serve large numbers of patients worldwide.”In research laboratories and hospitals across the country, therapeutic cells often are processed in small non-uniform batches, a very expensive and time-consuming process with limited capacity to service large population groups affected by disease. “The field is maturing to a point where we can now say it’s no longer at the developing stage,” said Stice. “We’re past the discovery point. Now is the time to scale-up, streamline and become more efficient.”CMaT research has three primary goals.The first is to advance new innovations and tools, such as predictive cell therapy, in which properties or biomarkers of a given type of cell “predict” its safety, efficacy or potency. Tools like this could aid in the development of patient-specific therapies.The second goal is to develop regulatory guidelines and standards that will reduce the time it takes for technologies to move from the laboratory to commercial scale.The final goal centers on workforce development and the use of education as an instrument to recruit, inspire and train the next generation of engineering innovators and leaders.”CMaT’s leadership will create more agile partnerships across universities, the healthcare community and the biotech industry,” said UGA Vice President for Research David Lee. “By creating a regional hub, we are bridging the innovation gap and making it easier to advance ideas that spur economic development.”Regenerative Bioscience Center The Regenerative Bioscience Center at UGA links researchers and resources collaborating in a wide range of disciplines to develop new cures for devastating diseases that affect animals and people. With its potential restorative powers, regenerative medicine could offer new ways of treating diseases for which there are currently no treatments-including heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and stroke. For more information, see www.rbc.uga.edu.
A dual degree master’s program that evolved from a partnership between the University of Georgia and the University of Padova (UNIPD) in Padua, Italy, has also led to collaborative research between the two institutions.Katrien Devos, a professor with joint appointments in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences on the UGA campus in Athens, Georgia, coordinates research on the genetics of economically important grasses, including switchgrass as a bioenergy crop, seashore paspalum as a salt-tolerant turfgrass, and millets as subsistence food crops for the developing world.Her lab also served as the proving ground for research by Fabio Palumbo, a graduate student from UNIPD, working under the supervision of professor Gianni Barcaccia. During his Ph.D program, Palumbo mapped the male sterility gene in leaf chicory to better understand the genetic bases of this reproductive barrier that acts in flowering plants and to exploit it for breeding new F1 hybrid varieties, specifically in leaf chicory. A leafy vegetable that is widely cultivated in Europe, well-known types of leaf chicory are Belgian endive, sugarloaf and Italian radicchio.Barcaccia’s lab developed plant materials and performed experiments for genomic data production, while Devos’ lab assisted with genetic mapping analysis and data interpretation, and provided significant input during the manuscript preparation for Palumbo’s research. The two institutions published a joint paper this spring that detailed the first high-density linkage map construction through genotyping by sequencing in leaf chicory. This research project was funded by an Italian seed company that collaborates with UNIPD and that now uses this information for marker-assisted selection programs.Genotyping by sequencing, also called “reduced representation sequencing,” is a technique where a fraction of the genome is sequenced. The key is to sequence the same fraction of the genome in all samples so that the results can be directly compared. The sequence data can be used to develop markers that can be analyzed for their association with traits of interest.Many of the techniques and analyses methods that the Devos Lab normally implements can be transferred to other non-model species, such as chicory.“The six months spent with Professor Devos’ group were really important. First, they helped me a lot to improve my bioinformatic skills, with a special thanks to Dr. Peng Qi for his patience,” Palumbo said. “Secondly, Professor Devos involved me in two projects; one in switchgrass and one in aspen. This mutual cooperation was really fruitful.”Because of his collaboration with Devos and her research group, Palumbo was able to characterize the putative gene and understand some of the genetic bases of this reproductive barrier that acts in chicory and other flowering plants, as well as develop molecular assays of importance for breeding F1 hybrid varieties.“It was terrific working together. We had tons of molecular data, they had strong bioinformatic skills, and by putting everything together, it was possible to achieve excellent results. That’s a brilliant example of how university collaborations should work,” he said.Devos said she was impressed with Palumbo’s “scientific drive, level of independence and work ethic.”“This particular project provided training on a technique, and knowledge on this technique has now been transferred to Padua,” Devos added.For more information about the research project, visit https://bit.ly/2KhrS29.Palumbo worked with UGA through an existing partnership between the UGA Department of Crop and Soil Sciences and the UNIPD Department of Agronomy, Food, Natural Resources, Animals and Environment in Italy. The two-year program that allows students to earn dual master’s degrees simultaneously at UGA and at UNIPD.Aaron Bruce of Lakeland, Georgia, and Samuele Lamon of Moniego Di Noale, Italy, graduated from the program this spring. They are the third and fourth students to graduate from the program.For more information about the dual degree program, see https://t.uga.edu/4Zs.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, families and young people struggled to find time in their busy schedules to be outside. Coined in 2005 by Richard Louv, nature-deficit disorder is a nonmedical term used to describe the disconnect more and more humans are experiencing with nature. Hunter-gatherer and agrarian societies were directly tied to the land. With the industrial age and advancements in technology over the last two centuries, humans are spending less time outside and more time on electronic devices.When young people spend time outdoors, they gain a greater appreciation for the natural resources around them. They can explore and be creative and curious — whether that means observing a worm wiggling on the pavement, looking at the different shapes of tree leaves or spending time digging in the dirt. A growing body of research suggests that there are numerous physical and mental health benefits to spending time outside, such as reduced stress, greater cognitive functioning and increased physical activity.Technology is powerful. Children and youth can read books, listen to podcasts, access the news, watch educational videos and even play cognitive games. These devices have been a tool during this time of quarantine and social distancing, connecting friends and family members through online meeting spaces. With many school systems switching their delivery mode to a virtual or hybrid model, there is even more concern for young people to have intentional time for screen disengagement. The following are some easy ways to take breaks from screen time. Make time to be outside. Can youth take their devices outdoors for instruction time? Can they read a book sitting on a bench in the public park or build a homework fort in the backyard? Finding intentional ways for kids to be outside while completing their required studies can help provide clarity and focus.Schedule breaks. Sitting in front of a screen for too long can cause eye strain and anxiety. If children are participating in virtual education, consider building in time for breaks. Even a quick stretch or walk around the block can increase their focus once resuming a task. Using a timer or device to schedule breaks can add fun and spontaneity.Involve the entire family. Instead of a Friday night movie, plan a hike instead. Create a fun and healthy snack to enjoy on a blanket in the backyard instead of eating at the kitchen table. Could you meet a relative or friend at the park for a picnic dinner? Engage in a civic science project — like monitoring the weather — that families can complete together.Allow unstructured play. It’s great for kids to complete an outdoor scavenger hunt or try to identify birds based on their songs and calls, but allowing some unstructured playtime outside encourages exploration. If the environment is safe, have young people simply wander and use their observation skills. Turn over a fallen log and see what is living under there. Dig in a hole in the dirt and feel the soil. Run around and enjoy the natural surroundings.At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., Richard Louv, co-founder of the Children and Nature Network, compiled a list of activities to help families at childrenandnature.org.As with anything, having an intentional approach is the key to success. Start with small, incremental changes and track your family’s progress over time. Involve children and youth in the decision-making process — perhaps they have some ideas of their own. Helping young people to realize that technology can be beneficial but must be balanced with outdoor time is critical to their development.
Charleston and Church won the grand prize in the University of Georgia’s 2020 Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest for its savory Cheddar Rounds snacks.Warren and Jen Simmons, owners of the Atlanta company, developed the product in 2016 from a handwritten recipe by his grandmother, who was an avid hostess of friends and family at her home in Charleston, South Carolina. The couple topped the savory snack food with Georgia pecans to complete a “deliciously Southern” treat, as the package reads.The couple were among 30 finalists who gave virtual product pitches from their businesses and home kitchens to a panel of socially distant judges who sampled submitted products in Athens on Oct. 27. The final round of judging was postponed from the original judging and awards date of April 7.A signature event for UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Flavor of Georgia has launched many market-ready and established products into success, often garnering increased sales and publicity for businesses.“Contestants represent the intersection of culinary skill and entrepreneurial spirit. Both ingredients are essential to bring a new food product into the marketplace and for the overall viability of the business,” said CAES Interim Dean Joe West during the virtual awards celebration.Entries are judged on technical aspects such as flavor, texture and ingredient profile. The judge also consider consumer appeal including packaging, innovation or uniqueness, and how well the product represents the state of Georgia.The winners by category, product name, company and city are listed below.Barbecue Sauces: Strawberry Balsamic and Rosemary Barbecue Sauce, Aubs Company, DecaturBeverages: Georgia Grey Black Tea, Thistle & Sprig Tea Company, AtlantaCondiments and Salsas: Georgia Peach Balsamic Vinegar, A&A Alta Cucina Italia, Johns CreekConfections: Georgia Fried Peanut Cluster – Vanilla, Georgia Fried Peanut Company, EdisonHoney and Related Products: Wildflower Honey, White Oak Pastures, BlufftonJams and Jellies: Apple Fig Pepper Jelly, Wisham Jellies, TiftonMeats and Seafood: 920 Pork Sausage, 920 Cattle & Co., MillenMiscellaneous: Lemon Cream Cheese, Bootleg Farm, SpringfieldSauces and Seasonings: You Saucy Thing Soy Ginger Vidalia, Chinese Southern Belle, SmyrnaSnack Foods: Cheddar Rounds, Charleston and Church, AtlantaThe winners and finalists include a mix of new and returning contestants, who often come back to compete with different products or flavors. A&A Alta Cucina Italia won the grand prize and salsas, chutneys and condiments category in 2015 with Balsamico Al Mirtillo (blueberry balsamic vinegar). This is the second year winning for the Georgia Fried Peanut Company in confections — their chocolate flavor won in 2017. Bootleg Farm’s feta cheese was a finalist in 2018. White Oak Pastures began entering the contest in 2008 and was a finalist in 2016 with chorizo sausage and again in 2018 with grass-fed beecon grind; their organic pepper jelly and spicy pork snack stick were also finalists this year. Chinese Southern Belle’s My Sweet Hottie (Mild) Homestyle Sweet & Sour Sauce won the sauces category in 2013 and the Wild Wild East Asian BBQ Teriyaki Pineapple was a finalist in barbecue sauces last year. Wisham Jellies won jams and jellies previously with the Wild Mayhaw Pepper Jelly in 2016 and the people’s choice award in 2015 for its Cranberry Pepper Jelly. Aubs Company took home the people’s choice award in 2019 with its signature AubSauce barbecue sauce.All winners and finalists earn the right to have their products stamped with the Flavor of Georgia logo and the signature contest apron.Since 2007, more than 1,600 products have been submitted to Flavor of Georgia. A total of 117 products were entered this year, all of which are featured in the annual directory on the contest website.“The phrase ‘culinary delights’ takes on a whole new depth this year,” said contest coordinator Sharon P. Kane, an agricultural economist for the college. “Many people turned to food and drink for nourishment and comfort this year, and it’s more important than ever that we support these local businesses.”Food and drink manufacturing businesses represent nearly 10% of employment in Georgia’s agricultural system and is the largest manufacturing sector in the state for employment, sales and value-added products, according to Kane’s research.The contest is supported by sponsorships from the Georgia Agribusiness Council and the Georgia Department of Agriculture and its Georgia Grown marketing program, to which finalists receive a one-year membership.More information about the contest is available at www.flavorofga.com and by following the contest on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram @flavorofga.
Morrisville VT Responding to steady growth and expansion, Union Bank is very pleased to announce the following promotionsand responsibilities.Cynthia Borck, Executive Vice President, will lead the Banks Product Development, Item Processing and Deposit Operations departments. Ms. Borck is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Bank. She has been with Union Bank since 1987 and residesin Wolcott.Stephen Kendall, Vice President, returns to the Banks Main Office to lead the Consumer and Retail Mortgage Lending activities. Mr. Kendall has been serving as Branch Manager at the Banks Fairfax office. He has been with Union Bank since January of 2002 and resides in South Burlington.Jeff Coslett, Vice President, currently heads the Banks Human Resources department and will add Branch Administration to his duties. Mr. Coslett joined Union Bank in February 2003 and resides in Jeffersonville.Lorraine Gordon, Assistant Vice President, will lead the Banks Training programs and assist with Human Resource responsibilities. Ms. Gordon returns to the Bank from New Zealand to assume this very important role. Ms. Gordon became a part of Union Bank in May 2001 and resides inMilton.Peter Eley, Senior Vice President, will focus on the Banks fast growing Electronic Banking/ATM and Security department. The increase in E-Commerce, telephone, Internet and ATM traffic; as well as its many levels of risk management are important aspects of Mr. Eleys many responsibilities. Mr. Eley joined the bank in September of 2003. He resides in Stowe.Don Goodhue, Information Systems Officer, will consolidate his responsibilities into managing the Banks network and information systems. Mr. Goodhue is responsible for all telephone and data connections in all the Banks 14 facilities. He has been with Union Bank since May 2002 andresides in Morrisville.These individuals represent a combined banking experience of over 120 years, and are a valued asset to the Banks long history of service to the community. Union Bank, with headquarters in Morrisville, Vermont, offers deposit, loan, trust and commercial banking services throughout northern Vermont and New Hampshire. As of December 31, 2005,Union Bank had approximately $375 million in consolidated assets and operated 12 banking offices, 30 ATM facilities in Vermont and loan origination offices in St. Albans, Vermont and Littleton, NewHampshire. The Bank has 170 members on its team. For more information, please call Joann Tallman, Assistant Secretary, at(802) 888-6600.
Customers interested in signing up for Greener Mountain Power can go to www.greenmountainpower.biz(link is external) or callGreen Mountain Power at 1-888-TEL-GMPC (1-888-835-4672.)Greener Mountain Power is a five-year commitment,by calendar year. Customers may withdraw at any time, but cannot sign up againuntil the end of the original five-year period. GREENMOUNTAIN POWER INTRODUCES NEW RENEWABLERATE David OBrien, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Public Service, said,We are very pleased that Green Mountain Power is implementing a green rate.This is an ideal way to offer consumers a choice of what energy sources theywish to support. Green Mountain Power Corporation (www.greenmountainpower.biz(link is external)) is aVermont-based energy services company serving 90,000 electriccustomers. Green Mountain Power will purchase certified renewable resources on theNew England power grid equal to the portion ofelectricity customers designate to purchase through Greener Mountain Power. Theprice of those resources will be locked in for five years, which will helpstabilize the Greener Mountain Power rate. When Vermont projects are available, they willreceive a priority. Likely candidates for inclusion would include wind, biomassand biogas. Green Mountain Power worked closely with the Vermont Department of PublicService and Renewable Energy Vermont in developing the program. The program is available to residential, commercial and industrial customers.Residential and small commercial customers can choose to have 25 percent, 50percent or 100 percent of their power come from renewable resources. Largeindustrial customers may choose a ten percent level, but greater amounts requirepermission from the Company. Our customers have expressed interest in being able to choose renewableresources and Im pleased that we will now be able to offer them that choice.Green Mountain Powers overall power mix is already low in fossil fuels, butunder our new program, customers can choose 100 percent renewable resources,said Chris Dutton, President and Chief Executive Officer of Green MountainPower. Weve called the program Greener Mountain Power to reflect thatgreener choice. -30- Customers pay a premium for the renewable resources of just over four cents perkilowatthour. For residential customers using 750 kilowatthours a month, signingup for 25 percent of their use under Greener Mountain Power would add $7.88 totheir $97.55 monthly bill, for a total of $105.43. March 14, 2006 Due to the laws of physics, actual electrons flow to the nearest need and cannotbe directed to specific locations. Through Greener Mountain Power, customerswill be financially supporting qualifying new renewable energy sources connectedto the New England electric grid but that powerwill not necessarily flow to their home. Andrew Perchlik, executive director of Renewable Energy Vermont, said, We werepleased to work with Green Mountain Power to develop this new renewable rate. Wethink it is important that Green Mountain Power customers now have the option ofa green rate to support renewable energy in Vermont and NewEngland. COLCHESTER, VT . . . Green Mountain Power Corporation(NYSE:GMP) announced today that its customers now have the choice of buying allor a portion of their power from renewable resources. The Vermont Public ServiceBoard has given its final approval to the program, effectiveimmediately. For further information, please contact Dorothy Schnure, Manager of CorporateCommunications, at 802-655-8418, David OBrien, Commissioner of VermontDepartment of Public Service at (802) 828-2321, or Andrew Perchlik, ExecutiveDirector of Renewable Energy Vermont at (802)229-0099.
LaborCommissioner to RetireGovernor Praises Her Commitment to Public Service Montpelier, Vt. — Vermont’slabor commissioner Patricia McDonald will retire from state governmenteffective May 31, the office of Governor Jim Douglas announced April 3, 2006. During her career in state government, she has worked for threeGovernors and has held seven appointed positions. In addition to thepositions noted above, she has also served as Secretary of Transportation;Deputy Commissioner of Education; Commissioner of Motor Vehicles; andCommissioner of Personnel, a position she held twice. In addition to serving Governors Snelling, Dean and Douglas, McDonaldworked with legislatures controlled by both Republicans and Democrats. “And all admired her for her ability to work with them, and to get thejob done,” Douglas added. “Pat hascertainly earned her retirement, but I do hope that she will seek other ways toserve our wonderful state.” She is a former member of the Berlin Planning Commission, CentralVermont Regional Planning Commission, and Vermont Council on RuralDevelopment. She is married to Retired Captain J. Bruce McDonald, VermontState Police and has a daughter, two stepsons, and two grandsons. Prior to her public sector career, McDonald enjoyed a nineteen-yearcareer with CIBA-GEIGY Corporation, where she held several key managerial andadministrative positions within the corporate and human resourcesoffices. She was also employed by the Merchants Bank for more than threeyears and served as Vice President of Human Resources and RegulatoryManagement. ABOUT PATRICIA MCDONALDPatricia A. McDonald was appointed Commissioner of the VermontDepartment of Labor on July 1, 2005. Prior to this appointment, she wasCommissioner of the Department of Employment and Training. Her primaryfocus was to oversee the merger of the Department of Labor and Industry and theDepartment of Employment and Training. Ms. McDonald serves as Chair of the Vermont Employment Security Board,the Governor’s Interagency Workforce Development Committee and the StateApprenticeship Council. She is also a member of the Governor’s JobsCabinet and the Human Resources Investment Council. Ms. McDonald resides in Berlin, Vermont and is Chair of theBerlin Selectboard. She also serves as Chair of the Berlin Capital BudgetCommittee and is a member of the Town Center Task Force. McDonald, who has worked in state government for more than 13 years,has served three governors in a total of seven appointed positions. “Pat has had a remarkable career,” Governor Douglas said.“She has served the state in so many ways; as commissioner of both theDepartments of Human Resources and Motor Vehicles, as secretary of the Agencyof Transportation, and most recently she undertook for me the challenge ofmerging the Department of Labor and Industry and the Department of Employmentand Training.” The merger is one which had been discussed foryears, but Douglas credits McDonald’sskilled leadership for making it happen. Jason GibbsGovernor’sCommunications Director109 State Street ¨ The Pavilion ¨ Montpelier, VT 05609-0101¨ www.vermont.gov/governor(link is external)Telephone: 802.828.3333 ¨ Fax: 802.828.3339 ¨ TDD: 802.828.3345 ###
This year marks the fifth consecutive year that the University of Vermont has seen record-breaking enrollment numbers. Approximately 13,100 students will begin classes on Monday, Aug. 31, a number that includes 10,200 undergraduates, 1,450 graduate students, 450 medical students and 1,000 non-degree students. Also breaking records in numbers this year are UVM’s ALANA (Asian-American, Latino, African-American, Native American and multi-racial) students. Approximately 1,090 ALANA students are expected to enroll this fall, a 13.8 percent increase over last year. That gain is in large part attributed to a 51.9 percent increase in first-time, first-year ALANA students, up to 313 from 206 last year, making the Class of 2013 the most diverse in UVM history.The evening before classes begin, the university will celebrate the new academic year with a convocation ceremony on Sunday, Aug. 30 at 6 p.m. in the Patrick Gymnasium. This year’s keynote speaker is Tracy Kidder, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World. The event is free and open to the public, however, tickets are required.Visit the convocation website: http://www.uvm.edu/~presdent/ceremonies/convocation/(link is external) to learn more about the event and acquiring tickets.After convocation, which will also include remarks from campus leadership, participants are invited to process down Main Street to a candlelight induction ceremony for the Class of 2013 on the UVM Green. The ceremony is just one of the events the approximately 2,620 first-year students will participate in over Opening Weekend, an annual program that helps acquaint new students to college life. The incoming first-year students, who will arrive on campus for Opening Weekend on Friday, Aug. 28, are one of the brightest classes to enroll at UVM; 29 percent were among the top 10 percent of their graduating high school class and 66 percent were among the top 25 percent.Several changes in academic programming are new this year. The Area and International Studies Program has become the Global and Regional Studies program, an expansion of the program that will allow students to complete a major in one of six areas of study ranging from Asian studies to Latin American studies and/or a minor in one of eight. UVM students will now be able to pursue a bachelor of arts in engineering, allowing for more educational breadth in the liberal arts than is possible with the various engineering bachelor of science degrees. Other new degree and certificate options include a minor in public communication, a master’s degree in accountancy, and a certificate of graduate study in complex systems. Also new this fall: students are no longer required to complete two credits of physical education.Students will return to campus to find progress on James M. Jeffords Hall, the $55.7 million, 97,000 square foot research, laboratory, and classroom building scheduled to be completed in March 2010 and two completed construction project: the McAuley Hall renovation on Trinity Campus which returned the building to its former state as a residence hall and the infill of the Given Courtyard, which added 30,000 square feet of space for College of Medicine faculty and staff. All three projects are registered for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certification.
NBT Bank President and Chief Executive Officer Martin Dietrich announced that Matt Durkee has been hired as regional president of NBT Bank’s operations in Vermont. In this position, Durkee will develop and manage all of the bank’s activities in the state. The bank has opened a regional office at 150 Bank Street in Burlington, where Durkee and the team he is assembling will be based. Later this year, the bank plans to open a branch at the same location. “We are very happy to have Matt Durkee at NBT Bank,” Dietrich said. “His extensive banking experience and knowledge of Vermont’s business environment will help us establish and expand our presence in this attractive market, which complements our operations in northern New York. For more than 150 years, our community banking approach has focused on highly personalized service, responsive decision making and a wide array of products and services. We look forward to bringing this approach to individuals and organizations in Vermont.”Durkee has more than 23 years of banking experience. Before joining NBT Bank, he was senior vice president of regional financial services and president of Chittenden Canada for People’s United Bank, based in Bridgeport, Conn., and its predecessor, Chittenden Bank, based in Burlington. He began working for Chittenden Bank in 1985. Over the years, he oversaw functions related to commercial banking, international banking and consumer banking as well as trust and insurance services.A resident of Williston, Durkee has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Green Mountain College and a graduate degree in banking from the American Bankers Association Stonier Graduate School of Banking. He is involved in several community and professional organizations, including the United Way of Chittenden County, the American Heart Association and the Commercial Finance Association.NBT Bank provides personal banking, asset management and business services. The independent community bank, based in Norwich, N.Y., has 84 offices in upstate New York. The bank recently expanded into Vermont by opening a regional office in Burlington. NBT Bank’s parent company, NBT Bancorp Inc., had assets of $5.4 billion as of June 30, 2009.Source: NBT. NORWICH, N.Y. (OCTOBER 22, 2009) –
As elevated levels of radioactive isotopes continue to leak into groundwater surrounding the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, one of Vermont’s leading environmental organizations today filed a motion to intervene in the docket before the Public Service Board on the matter.The Vermont Natural Resources Council cites the organization’s interest in protecting the state’s groundwater – a resource legally held in trust for the common good of all Vermonters –and the critical need to assure the state interprets the new groundwater public trust law correctly.“Protecting Vermont’s groundwater is the responsibility of the state, and it is imperative to safeguard our state’s primary drinking water supply and an invaluable resource for farming, recreation and much more,” said VNRC Water Program Director and Legal Counsel Jon Groveman. “The recent news that underground pipes at Vermont Yankee are leaking increasingly elevated amounts of radioactive tritium into area groundwater spurred us to intervene. VNRC is deeply concerned that this radioactive material could contaminate drinking water supplies of neighboring communities as well as the Connecticut River.”VNRC successfully helped lead a four-year effort that culminated in 2008 to statutorily declare Vermont’s groundwater a public trust resource. The public trust provision for the state’s groundwater – which was been afforded Vermont’s surface waters for more than a century – offers an important layer of legal protection to help safeguard the resource.“Legal protection for Vermont’s groundwater is crucial, especially right now,” said VNRC Executive Director Elizabeth Courtney. “The source of the leak at Vermont Yankee continues to elude investigators. The contamination has rapidly increased. And the underground plume appears to be spreading. This is a startling and potentially dangerous picture.”“VNRC and all Vermonters have a serious stake in how the state negotiates this issue,” said Groveman. “That’s why it’s incumbent upon the state to fulfill its obligation to protect and manage Vermont’s groundwater for the good of all Vermonters. In this case, that means the state has a responsibility to consider the impact of relicensing Vermont Yankee on groundwater. Clearly, with the serious and significant levels of radioactive materials leaking into Vermont’s water recently, this is an issue of grave concern and importance.”About the Vermont Natural Resources CouncilVNRC is an independent, nonprofit research, education, and advocacy organization founded in 1963 to protect Vermont’s environment, economy, and quality of life. Nearly 6,000 households, businesses, and organizations have joined VNRC in support of our mission to establish an approach to development that strengthens communities, enhances economic opportunity and protects Vermont’s irreplaceable natural resources.Source: VNRC. 2.9.2010###
The Honorable John BoehnerSpeaker of the HouseU.S. House of RepresentativesWashington, D.C. 20515 The Honorable Mitch McConnellMinority LeaderU.S. SenateWashington, D.C. 20510 The Honorable Nancy PelosiMinority LeaderU.S. House of RepresentativesWashington, D.C. 20515 Governor Peter Shumlin, along with the other five governors of New England states, has sent a letter to Congress urging members not to reduce funding for the Low Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Governor Shumlin made the following statement regarding the letter: ‘As winter draws closer, I am very concerned that federal funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) might be reduced. A decrease in LIHEAP funding would put additional stress on our most vulnerable Vermonters, at a time when we are already stretched thin from the effects of Tropical Storm Irene. This issue cuts through party lines, as demonstrated by all six New England governors coming together to urge Congressional leaders to maintain LIHEAP funding at $5.1 billion. As New England Governors, we recognize that Northeast households face some of the nation’s highest home heating bills due to the long winters and high price of delivered fuels. In our letter to Congress, we outline the urgent need for this modest but vital relief for households already struggling with unaffordable energy bills. I cannot emphasize enough the need to fund this important program so all Vermonters get the heat they need this winter.’ Please see the letter below: The Honorable Harry ReidMajority LeaderU.S. SenateWashington, D.C. 20510 Dear Majority Leader Reid, Leader McConnell, Speaker Boehner, and Leader Pelosi: As our states prepare for the coming winter heating season, we are deeply concerned over reports that the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding in FY2012 could be reduced by as much as 50 percent. This reduction would jeopardize meaningful assistance for the most vulnerable low income households struggling to pay unaffordable home energy bills. We recognize that you face difficult budget decisions in the coming days. However, as home heating fuel prices continue their upward trend, we respectfully urge you to support LIHEAP funding at the level of $5.1 billion, the last level Congress authorized. Households in the Northeast face some of the nation’s highest home heating bills due to the long winter heating season and heating fuel prices that typically exceed national average prices regardless of the fuel used. Households in our states are more likely to be dependent on expensive delivered fuels, such as home heating oil or propane. In August, home heating oil prices in the Northeast were approximately $3.80/gallon ‘ a 15 percent increase over 2008 prices and a more than 25 percent increase over 2010. The Energy Information Administration projects that the price of home heating oil will reach $4.00/gallon this winter. At these prices, the cost of filling a typical tank is over $1,000. If LIHEAP funding in FY2012 is reduced to the level of $2.57 billion, our states will be required to take drastic measures that will endanger the most vulnerable LIHEAP households. As outlined in the enclosed fact sheet prepared by the Coalition of Northeastern Governors (CONEG), these include reducing benefit levels from 25 to up to 50 percent, tightening eligibility standards, or delaying payments until the coldest part of the winter or shutting the program down when the weather is still cold. Each option holds potential risks for the households, particularly the 60 percent of LIHEAP households in the Northeast with income below the federal poverty level of $15,000 for a two-person household. Changing LIHEAP eligibility standards could cut off households from other public and private assistance such as shut off moratoriums and assistance with paying down arrearages. If the basic LIHEAP benefit is reduced as much as 50 percent this winter, it would not cover the cost of the minimum delivery required by home heating fuel dealers. We urge you to support a funding level of $5.1 billion in FY2012 so that this vital program can continue to offer modest yet urgently needed relief to millions of our nation’s most vulnerable households struggling with unaffordable energy bills. Sincerely, Dannel P. MalloyGovernor of Connecticut Paul R. LePageGovernor of Maine Deval L. PatrickGovernor of Massachusetts Peter ShumlinGovernor of Vermont Lincoln D. ChafeeGovernor of Rhode Island John H. LynchGovernor of New Hampshire
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Utility Dive:A Colorado electric cooperative filed with state regulators Thursday to ditch its coal-heavy generation supplier in pursuit of cheaper renewable energy, part of an industry-wide move toward wind and solar.The Delta Montrose Electric Association (DMEA) asked the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to adjudicate a fair exit price to end its generation contracts with the Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association, a multi-state power provider that requires member utilities to purchase 95% of their power from its largely fossil fuel fleet.DMEA’s exit could prompt moves from other Tri-State members, who have pressured the utility in recent years to allow more local renewable energy investment. Two of Tri-State’s rival utilities in Colorado this week pledged to move to 100% clean energy, and a recent economic analysis of Tri-State’s fleet suggests wind and solar could undercut its existing coal plants. DMEA’s decision to leave Tri-State demonstrates how the increasing competitiveness of renewable energy is upending the economics of power production in the American West.In a statement Thursday, DMEA officials said their primary motivator for splitting from the generation supplier is to limit costs to their customers. “Tri-State’s annual reports show that average member rates have increased 56% since 2005, which is more than double the increase in the Consumer Price Index over the same time period,” the co-op said. “This stands in stark contrast to the overall energy market in which prices have decreased significantly over the same period.”More: Colorado co-op seeks exit from coal-heavy Tri-State to pursue renewables Colorado distribution co-op wants out of coal-heavy power supply contracts
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:Germany’s solar market witnessed its strongest growth in half a decade during 2018, adding almost 3 gigawatts of capacity, according to industry figures.The German solar association Bundesverband Solarwirtschaft (BSW) said the 2018 figures represented a 68 percent increase over those for the previous year. The capacity additions mean there are now 46 gigawatts of solar power installed across the country.This makes Germany the fourth-largest PV market in the world. Germany ranks behind China, which has 174 gigawatts of solar capacity, the U.S., which has 63 gigawatts, and Japan, which has 60 gigawatts, the Associated Press reported.Tom Heggarty, senior solar analyst at Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables, said much of the growth in 2018 was from commercial and industrial energy consumers. Along with residential PV system owners, these companies benefit from feed-in tariffs for solar energy, he said.Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables expects between 3.3 gigawatts and 4.1 gigawatts of solar to be installed per year in 2021 and 2022, compared to an annual average of around 1.6 gigawatts between 2014 and 2018. The upward momentum in Germany’s solar market is being helped by significant reductions in the cost of technology. Global PV module prices fell by around 30 percent between 2017 and 2018, said Heggarty.More: Germany sees solar installations spike to nearly 3GW in 2018 German solar installations topped 3GW in 2018
Sunrun lands big contract for linked residential solar-plus-storage systems in Hawaii FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:Sunrun won another big deal to deliver residential solar-battery systems at grid scale, this one fine-tuned to serve utility Hawaiian Electric’s unique island grids.Sunrun, the leading U.S. residential solar installer, announced Wednesday that it has pledged to install up to 1,000 of its Brightbox home solar-battery systems on the island of Oahu by 2024, as part of a contract with Open Access Technology International (OATI). That is the Minneapolis-based grid technology provider that’s running HECO’s new “demand response” program, which looks more like a miniature version of what a transmission grid operator like PJM or CAISO does than the traditional definition of demand response.The 1,000 Brightbox battery systems Sunrun will install over the next five years will add up to about 4.3 megawatts of capacity on Oahu, out of the 17.8 megawatts of capacity and grid services that OATI has pledged to deliver on the island, according to figures provided by Sunrun.This isn’t the first time that Sunrun has bundled solar-battery systems for grid needs. In February it won a bid to deliver 20 megawatts of capacity to ISO New England by 2022, which it intends to deliver through a network of about 5,000 homes across the grid operator’s six-state region. And in July, Sunrun landed two contracts in California — one with community choice aggregator (CCA) East Bay Community Energy to deliver 2 megawatt-hours of residential solar-plus-storage capacity, and another with municipal utility Glendale Water & Power for 12.8 megawatts of capacity.The new Hawaii deployment will expand on the scope of services Sunrun has been asked to provide from its aggregations so far, Robert Harris, Sunrun director of public policy, said in an interview. That’s largely because HECO, which faces a 100-percent-by-2045 renewable mandate, faces challenges that mainland utilities don’t in stabilizing its grid to manage this rising share of renewable energy.“This is a bit more sophisticated than what we’ve done in the past,” Harris said. While Sunrun’s New England and California contracts are focused on multi-hour capacity, HECO and OATI will need to call on its resources for so-called “fast frequency response,” or FFR, as well.More: Sunrun lands another big virtual power plant deal, this time in Hawaii
Controversial Keystone XL pipeline project still faces serious economic questions FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Omaha World-Herald:The Keystone XL pipeline has faced bureaucratic hurdles, court challenges and the determined opposition of environmental groups. But the biggest challenge to the project at this point could come from basic economics.Weak oil demand and cheap alternative sources mean pipeline developer TC Energy should consider putting construction plans on pause — perhaps forever, said Charles Mason, chair in petroleum and natural gas economics at the University of Wyoming. “I don’t know if it’s dead,” Mason said of the pipeline. “It’s absolutely on life support.”The Keystone XL would transport up to 830,000 barrels a day from the oil sands of western Canada to a terminal in Steele City, Nebraska. It would ultimately supply oil refineries on the Gulf Coast.TC Energy has pushed back on skeptics who suggest that the pipeline is obsolete. While it has yet to make a “final investment decision,” the company says it is planning for construction to start this year.Major pipelines require a huge upfront investment that is based on a future stream of supply and the revenue that comes with it. Those contemplating new oil sands projects face similar arithmetic. Spending more than $60 to extract a barrel of oil that’s worth less than $50 is a tough way to make money, after all. The uncertain future of oil sands development was illustrated when Teck Resources recently announced that it is abandoning a major project.“The Canadian oil sands aren’t the only game in town, and I think their time has sort of come and gone,” Mason said. “It’s a remote deposit that’s hard to get to market in a world in which there are increasingly more attractive and more accessible sources of supply. The economics just don’t really stack up for the oil sands right now.”[Joseph Morton]More: Will simple economics deal fatal blow to long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline?
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Wall Street Journal ($):Wind and solar farms are attracting interest from investors hungry for low-risk, stable-yield opportunities at a time of extraordinary market volatility.That interest is a boon for renewable projects, and could give them a financial boost in coming months and years. However, developers could face challenges in getting additional new projects financed and built amid the turmoil created by the new coronavirus.It might seem an odd time for a renewable-energy uptick, given the economic slowdown and a historic crash in oil prices that is making fossil fuels cheap. But wind and solar farms experienced a similar surge after the 2008 financial crisis, when investors seized on the projects as safe-harbor investments with yields in the mid-single-digit percentages.Wind and solar farms have contracts to sell their electrical output to utilities and companies with good credit ratings for a decade or longer, making their returns stable and relatively low risk.Corporations contracted for 46% of the 20.2 gigawatts of renewable energy added to the U.S. grid last year, according to the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance, a group that represents corporate purchasers. The largest buyers last year were Facebook Inc., Alphabet Inc. unit Google and AT&T Inc. Corporations have been contracting for renewable energy because prices are low and because many have made pledges to lower their carbon output. “No one has yet indicated that they intend to slow their purchase,” said Miranda Ballentine, the group’s CEO.“Renewable-power generation is largely uncorrelated to oil and natural-gas markets, which further strengthen their overall appeal, and may well be one of the first assets classes to unfreeze,” said Keith Derman, co-head of Ares Infrastructure and Power at Ares Management Corp.[Russell Gold]More ($): Wind, solar farms are seen as havens in coronavirus storm Interest in low risk, stable yield renewable energy projects remains strong—market participants
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PVTech:Some of the world’s top green energy players have tabled ultra-low bids under the second round of Saudi Arabia’s renewable energy programme, set to contract 1.47GW all in all. The kingdom’s Renewable Energy Project Development Office (REPDO) recently identified the firms and consortia shortlisted to develop a slew of solar projects across the country, with some proposing tariffs below the 2-US-dollar-cent-per-kWh threshold.At 600MW in planned capacity, the Al-Faisaliah PV project is the largest of the lot and will be either contracted to a consortium led by Saudi player ACWA Power, or a rival partnership led by United Arab Emirates-headquartered firm Masdar.According to REPDO, the bids for Al-Faisaliah from either side were “extremely close”. The gap between the figures for levelized costs of electricity (LCOE) each had produced was, the government agency said, “within statistical margin of error”. REPDO’s next step for the 600MW project will be to have the two consortia compete under a ‘best and final offer’ approach. The tendering results for this particular project will be revealed at some point in April 2020, the Office added.Held under the so-called National Renewable Energy Program (NREP), Saudi Arabia’s tenders are part of a plan to drive a renewable boom in the space of a decade. Previously floated targets would have the country reach major volumes of installed solar (40GW) and wind and others (20GW) by 2030.The country – which relies on oil revenues to prop up national budgets – has recently seen sharp declines in reference barrel prices, as lockdown plans enacted due to the COVID-19 crisis forced downwards revisions of demand for the fossil fuel. Analysts believe however that solar growth will be forthcoming, amid predictions the country will be one of a few global “growth engines” – installing 1-GW of PV every year – by 2024. NREP’s round-one already delivered the 300MW Sakaka PV plant, while round-three is set to unlock a further 1.2GW.The solar bids of US$0.0162/kWh now being touted in Saudi Arabia mirror the tariffs of US$0.016953/kWh scored last October by a 900MW project in Dubai. The Middle Eastern solar milestones emerge after similar numbers were reported for PV tenders in Brazil and Portugal.[José Rojo Martín]More: Bids of US$0.0162/kWh emerge as Saudi Arabia shortlists firms for 1.47GW solar tender Saudi solar solicitation attracts ultra-low bids, with prices at $0.016/kWh
New Jersey gas utility takes delayed PennEast pipeline out of financial outlook through 2024 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Natural Gas Intelligence:New Jersey Resources Corp. (NJR) has pulled the PennEast Pipeline from its financial growth projections through 2024, citing ongoing delays that have plagued the natural gas project.“PennEast is an important project for the Northeast,” said NJR CEO Stephen Westhoven during the analyst day in late November. “But uncertainty around an in-service date requires us to take this action.” He noted that the company remains committed to the pipeline, adding that the project could eventually offer upside for cash flow if it does move forward.Through subsidiary NJR Pipeline Co., the company holds a 20% stake in the project. PennEast is one of the last major Appalachian greenfield pipeline projects fighting for completion as the natural gas industry’s opponents step up their efforts to halt gas infrastructure with increasing success in the Northeast.NJR subsidiary New Jersey Natural Gas Co. is among the project’s largest customers with 180 MMcf/d of capacity secured on the line. Capital expenditures, Westhoven said, would be “prudent and minimal” as the project works toward approval and construction. While 90% of NJR’s future projected earnings are expected to be generated by utility New Jersey Natural Gas and subsidiary Clean Energy Ventures, Westhoven said the company was forced to exclude PennEast given the inability to “see exactly when construction and commercial operation would take place.”New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration has resisted the project. As hurdles mounted, PennEast earlier this year laid out a plan to build the pipeline in two phases. Construction on the first 68 miles entirely within Pennsylvania is expected to start next year. The pipeline would originate at a point near shale fields in the northeastern part of the state to a terminus in Northampton County. The second phase would include the remaining route that would stretch into New Jersey.About one-third of PennEast would be built in New Jersey’s Hunterdon and Mercer counties. It’s been in the works for roughly five years and has battled New Jersey at other turns, where it has also yet to secure key regulatory approvals. The system would move more than 1 Bcf/d of Appalachian natural gas into New Jersey and parts of Pennsylvania.[Jamison Cocklin]More: New Jersey Resources pulls PennEast natural gas pipe from projections as delays persist
Everyone knows that fishing from a boat is superior to wade fishing. You can cover more water, get out farther, land more fish, and when your spouse calls to berate you for spending all your time fishing, there is no easy exit back to the car. Unfortunately, johnboats are cumbersome, canoes tend to tip over, and drift boats are impossibly expensive and require a trailer. The good news is that there’s another option that’s underutilized, accessible, affordable, and gaining popularity around the country: fishing from a kayak.Photographer Chris Funk began kayak fishing as a means to limit the fishing costs mentioned above and is now a member of the Jackson Kayak fishing team. He spends 99 percent of his days on the Chattahoochee River, but he has fished all over the South, including the Gulf Coast and Mobile Bay Delta. For him, catching fish is just one advantage of fishing from a kayak.“The older I get, the more therapeutic it is,” Funk said. “Just the drip of the water off the paddle is soothing. I can get to places no other vessel can get to. It’s just a true joy to put that little plastic boat on the water, paddle it wherever I want to go, and have a good day to myself or with friends.”With major kayak companies like Jackson, Hobie, and Native manufacturing models specifically designed for fishing, accessibility is at an all-time high, and getting better. Funk breaks down the advantages of the fly fishing kayak into three simple categories: simplicity, shallows, and stealth.Lightweight and streamlined, the kayak can get you where you want to go without any extra bells or whistles. Funk loves being able to grab a couple rods, a box of flies, and his paddle and hit the water without having to worry about trailers or gas. Because of the light weight, it is also easy to put into a river where another type of craft would have trouble. “The places that I launch in are my favorite spots. They have no launch so the boat has to be carried,” said Funk.A kayak also rides high on the water, allowing a paddler to maneuver over rocks and access spots that others cannot. Kayaks also make minimal noise on the water and have virtually no wake, allowing you to sneak around without spooking fish.“The kayak is so stealthy that I find I can get closer to my target,” Funk explains. “You’re not going to spook as many fish. I’ve had large bass get underneath my boat almost like I was a log instead of a vessel.”If you want to break into kayak fly fishing, borrow a friend’s boat and head to a lake to get acquainted with the technique. Careful, you may get hooked.
With August arriving, the temperatures climbing, and the humidity choking off all motivation to hit the trail in any capacity, outdoor recreation is relegated to the river. Not that this is a bad thing, but running whitewater is not for everyone, nor is it the most economical activity to be involved in. Kayaking takes years to master, canoeing can get too dang hot, and hiring a rafting trip can put your weekend over budget in a hurry. Luckily, there is one water activity anyone can master in minutes – nay, seconds as we have practically evolved to do it – takes little to no money, and is as refreshing as it is enjoyable: tubing.Tubing a river is as American as apple pie and as Southern as fried chicken. If you look back at the annuls of Southern water sports, the pond rope swing and monthly bath are probably the only activities that date the tubing trip. There are few things that can be as exciting as they are lazy – combining running a river and maybe a Class I rapid or two, with just sitting in a rubber donut. This weekend, grab your cutoffs, sunscreen and river shoes and head for Cherokee, North Carolina to tube the Oconaluftee River outside Great Smoky Mountains National Park.The Oconaluftee River begins as a mountainside spring in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but by the time it reaches the town of Cherokee, it’s a broad, pristine playground ripe with trout, swimming holes, and tubing. Check out the two-mile trip that begins at the Big Cove Bridge on the tail end of the Raven Fork River and ends just before reaching the town of Cherokee. You’ll float under the Blue Ridge Parkway, bump through small rapids, and have access to The Beach, a local hangout with a sandy river bottom and rope swing. This stretch of river is banked by Great Smoky Mountains National Park on one side and the Cherokee Reservation on the other, so development is minimal. Tubers have even been known to see elk drinking from the river. If you’re looking to test your extreme tubing skills, ask Cherokee Rapids to take you to the class II chute on the Raven Fork just above the typical put-in.Nearby: You’re in the Smokies, so hiking trails stretch in every direction. Check out the Smokemont Loop Trail for a six-mile loop hike through a historic community that thrived before the park was established.Closest Town: Cherokee, N.C.Directions: Cherokee Rapids (cherokeerapids.com) is located off of Highway 441 in Saunooke Village.View Larger Map
Just because temps are starting to drop doesn’t mean you have to stable your trusty steed. Biking to work is the best thing we can do for our mental and physical health and for the environment. So gear up and keep on trucking with these products from Tern Bicycles, BioLogic, and Ibex — you and your bike will be more than ready for whatever Autumn throws your way.Tern Eclipse S18This fully equipped folding bike was designed to survive a zombie apocalypse. It contains an integrated lighting system which uses a powerful 41 lux and 150 lumens front light powered by the BioLogic Joule 3 dynamo hub, among the best of its kind on the market. This is an especially great feature to have as the days begin to get darker faster – the setting sun can’t ruin your ride! It also comes with award-winning BioLogic PostPump 2.0, stealthily concealing a high-capacity floor pump in its seat post. Bigger tires mean better traction, so you’ll stay safe on those icy morning roads. Plus, the Tern Eclipse folds for an easy carry in your arms, on the train or metro, or in the back of your car or taxi if the weather really gets too harsh! www.ternbicyles.com (MSRP $2100)BioLogic Bike Mount WeatherCaseThe WeatherCase fits like a glove on your handlebars with the help of the strong AnchorPoint mount, and protects your phone from rain, snow, sweat, and grime. Made from sonically-welded TPU with rain-proof zippers, nothing can get through these walls. Easy access is key – the touchscreen, front and rear cameras, and side volume/power buttons are all handy, and a flexible top opens easily to slip the phone in and out of the case. Double zippers allow access to headphones/charge port while the phone is in the case and CushionFit padding keeps phones nice and snug. You can even make calls through the WeatherCase without losing a bit of sound quality – but don’t forget to keep your eyes on the road! www.thinkbiologic.com (MSRP $ 34.95, available for iPhone, Galaxy and XL smartphones)Ibex Men’s 4th Street Boucle CardiganThe Merino wool cardigan will take you from the streets to the office and back again. Welted hand pockets and reinforced elbow patches give this cardigan a fashionable touch while also providing a warm and durable layer on your ride. A sneaky back pocket also keeps both you and your belongings safe with a strong zipper and a reflective flag for heightened visibility. No need to change after your commute, just throw on the Ibex 4th Street Cardigan and take on your whole day. www.shop.ibex.com (MSRP $175, sewn in the U.S.)Muni Wool CapYour head’s pretty important, so keep it warm with the Muni Wool Cap. Wool twill makes this cap warm and durable, but also keeps you looking good no matter where you wear it. A flexible bill blocks the sun and glare, and an elastic headband holds the cap in place come hell or high water. Soft and strong with just a little stretch, you’ll want to wear the Muni Wool Cap wherever you go. www.shop.ibex.com (MSRP $40, sewn in the U.S.)Shak City RollerThe signature Ibex Shak is designed specifically for urban commuters without sacrificing style. Made from New Zealand Merino wool, this layer is guaranteed to keep you cozy from start to finish. Whether you wear it as a light jacket before winter sets in or as a mid-layer on colder days, the soft knit composition will serve you well. Reflective stripes, zippered pockets, and a full zipper seal the deal to make the Shak City Roller a perfect choice both on and off the bike. www.shop.ibex.com (MSRP $185, sewn in the U.S.)Lastly…check out these bike commuting tips and techniques from our friends at People for Bikes!
In our December issue of Blue Ridge Outdoors, which is hitting outdoor shops, coffee shops, grocery stores, gyms, libraries and other door steps this very minute, you’ll meet Virginia’s comeback kid: two torn ACLs haven’t stopped Olympic freestyle skier Ashley Caldwell from soaring to new heights.You’ll also be introduced to four awe-inspiring adventure families from the Blue Ridge who push their limits together.We highlight other inspiring outdoor people this month as well: A handicapped hiker crawls through bear country to discover something that not even a disability can take away. After running from the law —and himself—an angler finds healing in the wild waters of Appalachia. And our travel editor shares ten hard-earned lessons from living out of a vehicle for six months.We also take readers into the fields and kitchens behind Barbara Kingsolver’s farm-to-table restaurant; and we tackle big questions about the future of Appalachia: should cougars and wolves be reintroduced to the Blue Ridge? And can Tennessee’s Upper Bald River Gorge Wilderness finally be protected?featuresLAST CHANCECan the Upper Bald River Gorge finally be protected? A longstanding wilderness bill hangs in the balance.COMEBACK KIDTwo torn ACLs haven’t stopped Olympic freestyle skier Ashley Caldwell from soaring to new heights.NATURE AND NURTUREMeet four awe-inspiring adventure families from the Blue Ridge who push their limits together.ROAD LIFE 101Jess Daddio shares ten hard-earned lessons from living out of a vehicle for six months.ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, RESTAURANTWander the fields and kitchens behind Barbara Kingsolver and Steven Hopp’s farm-to-table experiment in Abingdon.STUCK IN THE MUDA handicapped hiker crawls through bear country to discover something that not even a disability can take away.LONG WAY BACKAfter running from the law—and himself—Jackson Buchman finds healing in the wild waters of Appalachia. departmentsEDITOR’S NOTESpeak for the trails: 70 percent of NC’s national forests may open to logging.FLASHPOINTShould cougars and red wolves be reintroduced to Appalachia?THE GOODSPeek inside the backcountry pack of snowsports guru Randy Johnson.THE DIRTSinglespeeder rides the Divide / Surprise anchor to Blue Ridge RelayTRAIL MIXThe Mantras’endless jam quest + New Year’s Eve Shows in the South
We are excited to announce the date for Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine’s 20th anniversary birthday bash! Come and dance the night away with our staff on Saturday, May 23, 2015, at the nTelos Wireless Pavilion in Charlottesville, Va. Old Crow Medicine Show will be headlining the event with an opening act to be announced in the coming days.“At Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine, roots music is a big part of our coverage of mountain culture,” says Blake DeMaso, President at B.R.O. “To celebrate our 20th anniversary, we wanted to present a show for our readers with a musical act that embodies the best of the Blue Ridge. We can’t think of a better band than Old Crow Medicine Show, a group with roots in the region, a band that once impressed Doc Watson while busking on a street corner and that is now headlining large venues across the country.”To give our readers a jumpstart on the festivities, there will be a PRESALE PERIOD FROM WEDNESDAY, APRIL 8, 2015, AT 10 AM UNTIL THURSDAY, APRIL 9, 2015, AT 10PM.Buy your tickets early here before it sells out! Use the presale code MYBLUERIDGE to access your early ticket purchase. Regular ticket buying for the general public will open up again on Friday, April 10, 2015, at 10 a.m. in case you miss the presale, but don’t get caught in the rush — mark your calendars, set your Google reminders, wear a rubber band around your wrist, write a reminder on your mirror in lipstick, do whatever it takes to get your ticket early and ensure your place among the crowd at what is sure to be one of the rowdiest outdoor events of the season.Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more details surrounding our 20th anniversary celebration. We’re in the final stages of the planning process, but we can assure you there will be good music, craft beer, fine people, a raging after-party, and plenty of opportunities to go outside and play with the B.R.O. staff.Happy adventures,– The B.R.O. Team
In its new state park, Tennessee plans to build a large road on a steep mountainside, which would damage stream water quality and threaten wildlife.Rocky Fork Creek/photo by Joye Ardyn DurhamThe cleanest water, the rarest species, the most secluded hiking and biking trails in the region, and a new state park. You can find all this and more at Rocky Fork in the northeast corner of Tennessee. Now is the time to visit this remote and virtually undiscovered wilderness—and to help protect it.Go to Mount Mitchell, highest peak in the east, in the late afternoon and look directly west: the mountains you see in the sunset comprise the Rocky Fork watershed. Or pick up the Appalachian Trail in the Smokies and hike northeast along the spine of the mountains that divide Tennessee and North Carolina for about four days, and you’ll come to Rocky Fork, a Smokies-like swath of forest that offers an ideal getaway for hikers, backpackers, mountain bikers, trout fishers, horseback riders, birders, and anyone simply seeking solitude in a pristine mountain setting.Until you actually go “up in Rocky Fork,” it’s hard to understand just what a magical place it is. From the moment you enter the narrow passage that leads into a mossy-green-and-grey labyrinth of rock-strewn waterways, you are enchanted—even haunted—by an ancient energy force that is mysterious yet welcoming. It’s palpable and undeniable: this place has been special to people for centuries.Rocky Fork is Appalachia at its very best. Part of Cherokee National Forest, the 10,000-acre Rocky Fork watershed is about the size of DuPont State Forest in Henderson and Transylvania counties of North Carolina. It adjoins the Bald Mountain Roadless Area, the largest area of its kind between Great Smoky Mountains and Shenandoah national parks. Its former owner was a timber company whose logging tracks crisscross the property in a network of unimproved, overgrown forest roads, ideal for hiking and exploring the remote backcountry. Many of these trails are suitable for mountain biking and horseback riding; some are only fit for foot traffic to protect the many fragile streams and springs.“Surrounded by wilderness, national forest, and the A.T., the Rocky Fork tract has the potential to become a mecca for trail users with almost limitless options,” says John Beaudet, an A.T. thru-hiker, trail maintainer, and sawyer who moved to Flag Pond a decade ago to live near Rocky Fork. “A number of trails originate in the park and continue into the Cherokee National Forest. Some loop back to the park, and others traverse the remote backcountry connecting to the A.T. as well as to trails in the Sampson Mountain Wilderness. This allows for a wide range of choices—from short day hikes to longer loops that stretch day hikers’ limits to overnight backpacking trips with camping on Forest Service land.”Who lives in Rocky Fork?Unlike many people in other parts of the world, we in Southern Appalachia are fortunate that, in some places, we can actually find naturally occurring, clean water. Rocky Fork Creek has the cleanest water of any tributary in the Nolichucky River Watershed, which feeds into the French Broad and in turn feeds the Tennessee River, flowing all the way across the state and into the Mississippi.Clean water contributes to healthy biodiversity—and it’s an important reason Rocky Fork has been inventoried and studied by scientists as a biodiversity hotspot. Its cove forest interlaced with pristine mountain streams is a bear sanctuary, home of the Southern brook trout, and a haven for salamanders including the Yonahlossee, hellbender and red-spotted newt. There are charismatic fireflies, a variety of frogs, bats, and delicate pink and yellow lady slipper orchids, among many other species.Blue Ghost and Synchronous fireflies are found in Rocky Fork. photo by Radim Schreiber, FireflyExperience.orgPerhaps the most iconic species to make its home in Rocky Fork is the peregrine falcon, a raptor with a fabulous conservation success story. Brought back from the brink of extinction due to DDT poisoning in the 1950s and ’60s, literally hand-raised one at a time until viable populations were reached, this indomitable bird is now once again flying over much of its former range. A species that traditionally has not tolerated human disturbance, it seeks out remote, wild, unpopulated areas like Rocky Fork and can be seen near the watershed’s jagged cliffs.New owner, new threatThose who know Rocky Fork have likely read about how this “hidden jewel of the Blue Ridge wild” was saved a decade ago from developers who would have carved up the tract into lots for trophy homes. But the story doesn’t end there. This special place is under threat again, and this time the would-be developer is the state of Tennessee, which already owns a fifth of the tract, and created Rocky Fork State Park—renamed Lamar Alexander Rocky Fork State Park in January of this year.While the 2,076-acre park is only a chunk of the 10,000-acre watershed, it provides the best point of entry for everyone who enjoys the entire tract, the rest of which was added to Cherokee National Forest. The small Rocky Fork State Park (RFSP) currently has no facilities and only limited parking. It is accessed via a narrow one-lane paved road, tightly wedged between the gorgeous Rocky Fork Creek on one side and steep-sloping embankments on the other.The park’s iconic entrance is comprised of a field and wetland on the right, the spectacular creek in the center, and the steep slope of Flint Mountain arcing up from the creek on the left. Last November, after a three-year silence, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) announced plans to replace the natural entrance of the park with a modern visitor center and parking lot on the right, a new auto bridge over the creek, and a massive road cut into the steep slope of Flint Mountain for a two-lane, 24-foot-wide access road leading three quarters of a mile ostensibly to an overlook and primitive campground. What would this cost taxpayers? About $15,000,000.“Before and after its establishment, Rocky Fork State Park was envisioned as a ‘primitive state park,’ one in which preserving the abundant natural and wild characteristics of the site would be paramount. It was to be a park that emphasized low-impact recreational use that included hiking, nature study, mountain biking, and hike-in camping,” says Dr. Foster Levy, an East Tennessee State University biologist who attended early stakeholder meetings about the park’s development, along with mountain bikers, equestrians, and representatives from the U.S. Forest Service, Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), Unicoi County Commission, and TDEC. “Without exception, all supported the concept of a primitive, low-development park. None were in favor of road development within the park.”Levy says the newly proposed visitor center would impinge on one of the few natural wetlands in the Rocky Fork tract. “This wetland supports the star-nosed mole as well as several noteworthy plant species. Runoff from the parking lot and other paved or graveled areas would flow directly into Rocky Fork Creek, increasing pollution and sediment.”The site is also the breeding and hatching ground of blue ghost and synchronous fireflies. Lynn Faust of Knoxville has spent nearly three decades doing firefly research in the Appalachians, authored Fireflies, Glow-worms and Lightning Bugs, and created the system that scientifically predicts the peak of firefly activity in the Smokies each spring. While she says that “both Photinus carolinus and Phausis reticulata exist in other parts of the watershed, the proposed visitor center site is the most user-friendly spot for viewing since currently it is a sort of natural amphitheater where people do not have to tread on the actual areas the beetles emerge from in order to witness and enjoy them. Once earth moving and habitat destruction occur—followed by pavement, buildings, parking, heavy foot traffic, and lighting—the populations in this, the most ideal place to showcase the species’ displays to the public, would never recover.”Red-spotted Newt / photo by Sharon MammoserSmall park, big roadThe biggest problem would be the road up Flint Mountain, according to architect and rural resources planner Taylor Barnhill of Madison County, N.C. “Construction of the road is an engineering folly, an extreme waste of taxpayer money, and cannot avoid serious environmental damage,” he cautions. “Sediment and debris run-off into Rocky Fork Creek cannot be controlled under storm conditions. The steepness of this road—at 17 percent grade for much of the length—would be dangerous for any type of vehicle, especially RVs. Despite the statement that this road is not for an RV park ‘at this time,’ the future intent is clear to those who have followed this planning process from the beginning.”Hugh Irwin, landscape conservation planner with The Wilderness Society, points out that “direct and indirect impacts of the visitor center and the proposed road could potentially impact many species found in the park, including state-listed species. They could also impact wetlands, stream water quality, and the primitive and natural characteristic of the park environment.”Johnny Cosgrove of Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning, an environmental advocacy organization based in Oak Ridge, Tenn., says the state’s current plans for Rocky Fork could cause serious damage to 15 streams, five springs, four wetlands, and three seeps within the project limits. Also in harm’s way are more than 70 plant and animal species within a four-mile radius of the project that are designated as endangered, threatened, of special concern, or in need of management—including the federally endangered Indiana bat and threatened Northern long-eared bat.“The geology underlying the path of the proposed road is fairly unstable, and it also has the potential to seriously damage the aquatic life in adjacent creeks,” says Josh Kelly, public lands biologist at Mountain True, an Asheville-based conservation group that serves the Watauga, French Broad, Nolichucky and Pigeon River watersheds.“There is a high risk of erosion, landslides, and slope failures due to the construction of the proposed road. Rocky Fork is an exceptional aquatic resource that should not be jeopardized by the development of a road meant to help people enjoy the very stream the road threatens.”Rocky Fork needs your helpOur planet is now facing the sixth mass extinction of plants and animals in its history, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. Roads are one of the greatest impediments to habitat connectivity, which is necessary for wildlife to thrive. Four million miles of public roads cross the U.S. alone and kill roughly a million vertebrates every single day, according to the Wildlands Network.“Rocky Fork is one of the last remaining pure wilderness areas in our region, definitely a wild place worth saving—again,” says Beaudet. “If there is any place on earth where we do not need another road, it’s here.”In 2006, the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy prepared the application for a $6 million grant from the Tennessee Heritage Conservation Trust Fund. Co-signed by the U.S. Forest Service, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, and The Conservation Fund, the grant secured the majority of the money used to purchase the lands now comprising Rocky Fork State Park. “As a conservation organization, we share and celebrate the vision of Tennessee State Parks, which were established to protect and preserve the natural, cultural, and historic resources of Tennessee—promoting diverse recreation while conserving the natural environment. Rocky Fork is a regional treasure and affords an opportunity to provide a unique park experience,” says Carl Silverstein, Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy’s executive director. “Rocky Fork’s best feature is its solitude, its adjacency to other protected land, and access to a backwoods recreation experience. We believe that with careful planning and promotion, this minimally developed park can become a cultural and economic driver for Unicoi County.”Dr. Levy says those involved in the early stakeholder meetings favored private development of campgrounds, accommodations, and restaurants in the area surrounding the park to spur economic development in the county. In a 2014 steering committee meeting, Levy presented a plan for electric vehicles to transport visitors to the park features, “eliminating the need for wide, paved roads and minimizing environmental impacts while providing access to members of the public unable or disinclined to walk. These electric vehicles could be run as a privately operated concession that would draw visitors and preserve the fragile watershed at a fraction of the cost of the newly proposed 24-foot-wide road.”Barnhill believes that charging in-park fees and sending visitor dollars to Nashville would only hurt the local economy. “With half of its resources in public lands, Unicoi County should serve as a gateway community to those lands. As such it has the potential for significant economic development through private businesses that would support visitation to RFSP and the Cherokee National Forest.” He adds that the state could greatly enhance those efforts by partnering with Unicoi County to support development of private enterprise like RV campgrounds on private land.“This park does not yet have a comprehensive management plan that considers future uses and stakeholders. No road, visitor center, or campground should be built without this plan and without first considering building the infrastructure on property adjoining the current park boundaries,” says Cosgrove. “If properly managed as a rustic state park, and protected through low-impact, eco-conscious development, Rocky Fork can remain one of the last pristine wildlife refuges in Southern Appalachia.”What you can doThose who do not want to see Rocky Fork over-developed are following the next steps, which will likely include a permitting process for the road-building project, followed by a public hearing and a 30-day period for public comment. Many more voices are needed to be able to protect Rocky Fork.Learn more about Rock Fork and what you can do to help at the Rocky Fork Journal web site and the Rocky Fork Watershed Almanac Facebook page. Frances Figart is the Interpretive Products and Services Director at Great Smoky Mountains Association. The views expressed here are her own and not those of GSMA or GSMNP.
Enjoy chef-prepared farm-to-table meals, drawing on world cuisine, and prepared with fresh produce from our organic greenhouses, botanical garden and fruit tree orchards, helping you stay nourished and balanced. With social distancing, contact-free and other protocols in place to keep you safe and healthy, Eupepsia’s boutique resort in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains provides a safe haven that allows complete privacy on the welcoming, open 256 acres grounds, with an integrated approach centered around countless outdoor wellness activities, personalized immunity boosting programs, assessments and one-on-one consultations coupled with delicious, organic plant-based cuisine savored al fresco on the property’s many outdoor dining settings. YOGA AND FITNESS Set on a nature walk, lose yourself in the sounds, colors and scents of the forest, and experience deep mindfulness and connection with nature. Or grab your bike and cycle to the top of Big Walker Mountain, where you can enjoy a breathtaking, panoramic view of five neighboring states. BOOK NOW AND ENJOY EUPEPSIA WELLNESS STAYCATIONS AT SPECIAL RATES. FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY. Find out more at https://www.eupepsia.com/special-offer. Call 276-722-0584 or Email email@example.com Relax and unwind with our water leisure activities: Enjoy canoeing and pedal boating on the Eupepsia Pond. Savor breathtaking views whilst kayaking down the New River or swimming in mountain creeks and waterfalls. ASSESSMENTS, CONSULTATIONS & WORKSHOPS OUTDOOR SPA, TREATMENTS AND THERAPIES Eupepsia’s 2020 Wellness Staycations focus on nature therapy to promote physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Appealing to anybody keen to re-balance and boost their immunity, Eupepsia Wellness Staycations are also ideal as Wellness Sabbaticals for professionals who are working from home or want to combine work with wellness to improve their health. Book a Eupepsia Wellness Staycation today and Experience the Eupepsia difference, which has earned the boutique wellness resort the #2 Best Wellness Resort ranking nationwide from voters in USA Today’s Readers’ Choice awards. Guests with more specific wellness needs can also book specialized assessments, such as Ayurvedic evaluations, and one-on-one consultations. Experience a meditative yoga session in Eupepsia’s open-air yoga studios on the pond or in the pergola. Breathe in the fresh air and enjoy quiet contemplation in our gardens or relax by the creek to experience full tranquility and serenity. Discover the healing and detoxing power of water therapy in Eupepsia’s outdoor spa and relish the endless nature view while swimming in our hydrotherapy pool or soaking in our outdoor power jet pool. Head outside for a fitness session and experience the benefits of “green exercise”: enhanced vital energy, focus, mental and physical strength as well as increased stamina, lower blood pressure, uplifted emotions, increased blood flow and improved lung capacity. Take a guided hike along the forest trails starting on the property. Breathe in some of the purest air in the nation on one of the 7 hiking trails in and around the property, connected to the Appalachian Trail and nearby Jefferson National Forest. WATER LEISURE AND ADVENTURE Eupepsia’s Wellness Staycations are part of the Virginia Wellness Lifestyle focused on the great outdoors, living with nature, for nature, by nature. Bland County specifically, the home of Eupepsia, and neighboring Giles County are known as a nature’s paradise, with endless scenic vistas, historical landmarks, outdoor activities, and abundant rivers, lakes and streams and with numerous hiking and biking trails connected to neighboring counties. To complement their activities and treatments, all guests are invited to attend a variety of transformative talks and workshops during their stay at Eupepsia. Engage in gardening therapy in our organic greenhouses. Join our horticulturist on a tour of our vegetables, herbs and Ayurvedic plants and learn about organic gardening hands-on. Pamper yourself with one of our signature massage and re-balancing treatments in our outdoor Cabanas and relax to the soft trickling sound of the nearby creek. COMFORT AND SAFETY ALFRESCO DINING With its mission to help people strengthen their health naturally to achieve inner and outer balance – and taking advantage of the glorious summer weather—the award-winning Eupepsia Wellness Resort launched Outdoor Wellness, a full-fledged offering of personalized wellness staycations, harnessing the positive impact of nature on health and wellbeing. Now at Special Rates. HIKES, BIKING AND NATURE WALKS Eupepsia is our home away from home for our guests, and keeping them safe is our highest priority. Our Contemporary Guests rooms have been designed with this in mind, opening directly onto the outdoors, offering direct access to open spaces with ample fresh air and privacy and with contactless features, allowing guests to be safely on social distance.
By Dialogo August 27, 2009 Mexico City, 24 August (EFE).- A second-ranking leader of the La Familia Michoacana cartel, one of the most active and violent groups in Mexico, was captured by soldiers and law-enforcement agents in the western state of Colima, together with five of his bodyguards, the federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) announced today. The detainee is Luis Ricardo Magaña Mendoza, alias “El 19 1/2,” considered “one of the principal leaders” of La Familia Michoacana, a direct subordinate of the gang’s top bosses, Jesús Méndez, “El Chango,” and Nazario Moreno, “El Chayo,” the PGR said in a joint statement with the National Defense Ministry. He is at the same level as Servando Gómez, “La Tuta,” the criminal who became famous some weeks ago when in a telephone call to a television news program in the state of Michoacán, in the western part of the country, he called on the government to come to an agreement, a proposal that was rejected by the authorities. “El 19 1/2” and his five bodyguards were captured yesterday, Sunday, in Manzanillo (Colima). Soldiers and federal agents also seized two plastic bags containing white powder, apparently cocaine, eighteen cellular telephones, and an unspecified amount of money in cash. According to the authorities, Magaña Mendoza was responsible for controlling the traffic in synthetic drugs (“crystal meth”) to the United States on behalf of La Familia Michoacana, as well as engaging in extortion, kidnapping, and the co-opting of municipal, state, and federal authorities in several municipalities in Michoacán. He was also La Familia’s local boss for the municipality of Zamora, Michoacán. La Familia’s operations are concentrated in Michoacán, Guerrero (in the south of the country), and Mexico State (in the center of the country). It is considered the principal cartel trafficking in synthetic drugs.
By Dialogo April 14, 2010 Operation Angel Thunder started on April 12 in Tucson, Arizona (US). Seventeen members of Brazilian Air Force (FAB) units that perform search-and-rescue missions are participating in the exercise. During the training, they will have the opportunity to share experiences and improve procedures, via exchanges with military personnel from participating countries, in rescue operations (Combat Search and Rescue, C-SAR) and humanitarian actions. “The Brazilian Air Force (FAB) already possesses a strong doctrine on this type of mission, and this exchange will allow us to observe the tactics used by other countries and to draw from this comparison new lessons, better adjusted to our reality,” explains Major Potiguara, Commander of the 2nd/10th Aviation Group, one of the FAB’s main aviation units for search-and-rescue operations. For Lt. Colonel Lubas, Commander of Parasar, an elite rescue unit, operating alongside Special Forces from the United States, Venezuela and Chile will provide a new approach to the squadron’s work, since it will allow a new vision of the use of special operations in humanitarian actions. “The whole experience in this exercise, the largest and most complex in the world, is very valuable for our air force, since we will be able to compare what we do to the latest developments in these operations to rescue people in a hostile environment,” said the Commander of the 5th/8th Aviation Group, Lt. Colonel Marques. Operation Angel Thunder will continue until the 24th, with 1,200 participants expected, including military personnel and civilians, and the use of 60 aircraft in actual air missions.
By Dialogo March 02, 2011 Colombia, Mexico, and the United States are moving forward on a joint operation directed toward “cutting the lines of communication” between drug-trafficking groups and focused especially on the fugitive head of the Mexican Sinaloa cartel, Joaquín Guzmán, alias El Chapo, the Colombian police revealed on 28 February. The operation has enabled the identification and inclusion on the so-called ‘Clinton List’ (the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control) of forty-five companies in Mexico, Ecuador, Panama, Spain, the United States, and Colombia. The trinational operation began the last week in February and has made it possible to issue three arrest warrants for purposes of extradition for Guzmán’s liaisons in Colombia, the commander of the Colombian police, Gen. Oscar Naranjo, announced at a press conference. According to Naranjo, the operation has enabled the detention of more than sixty individuals, including Sergio Antonio Mora, alias El Toto, a leader of the Mexican Los Zetas cartel who is allegedly responsible, he said, for the death of Jaime Zapata, a U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement agent. With regard to Colombia, Naranjo indicated that through Operation Mercury, Interpol has issued an international arrest notice for the brothers Jorge Milton, Dolly de Jesús, and Hildebrando Alexander Cifuentes Villa, who are sought for extradition by the United States on drug-trafficking and money-laundering charges. The operation’s second phase is focused on seeking and locating the members of the support network of the Sinaloa cartel boss, for whom the United States is offering a thirty-million-dollar reward, the Colombian police commander indicated.
By Dialogo March 17, 2011 On 15 March, President Juan Manuel Santos announced that in an operation carried out the previous day in San Miguel (Putumayo) by the Armed Forces, alias ‘Oliver Solarte,’ suspected by the authorities of being the FARC’s liaison with the Mexican cartels, was killed. “He was a very important person within the FARC. He was the counterpart of ‘Negro Acacio’ [‘Black Acacio’] in the Southern Bloc. He handled all the drug trafficking and arms trafficking for the FARC’s Southern Bloc. He was between the Central Command and the Secretariat and was responsible exclusively to the Secretariat,” the head of state revealed in statements to the press from the Casa de Nariño, the presidential residence. The president also said that the slain guerrilla was the point of contact with the Mexican cartels and the Norte del Valle cartel, for drug trafficking and obtaining financing for the terrorist group. Alias ‘Oliver Solarte’ was a militia leader in the FARC’s Front 48 and had been sought by the authorities for a long time. Santos Calderón characterized the operation as “a very significant blow,” not only for the impeccable way it was carried out, but also because “it was a coordinated operation by all forces: intelligence from the police, the Navy, the Army, and the operation was also a joint operation.” President Santos warned those who persist in their allegiance to the FARC that the Armed Forces will not let down their guard and that there are more operations underway. “I want to say to them once again that if they continue as they are, they’re going to fall one after the other, because we’re not going to let down our guard here, and we have our eye on many more of them,” the president indicated. For his part, the commandant-general of the Armed Forces, Adm. Édgar Cely, explained that the operation took place on Monday, 14 March, at 11:30 in the morning, in the area of the El Azul trail, in the municipality of San Miguel (Putumayo). “At that location, in addition to the death of this drug-trafficking terrorist, some administrative and communications materials, six grenades, several chargers, and eleven cell phones were seized,” the commander affirmed. The slain guerrilla was a member of the FARC for twenty years, was the subject of an extradition request from the United States on drug-trafficking charges, and had three arrest warrants pending against him for terrorism, kidnapping for ransom, rebellion, aggravated homicide, aggravated robbery, and property damage.
In 2011, illegal armed groups made up of former paramilitaries had a presence in 406 municipalities within 31 Colombian departments, that is, 147 more than in 2008, according to a report by a non-governmental organization. According to the Institute of Development and Peace Studies (Indepaz), “The Rastrojos [Stubble], Urabeños, Paisas, Águilas Negras [Black Eagles], and Erpac are the narco-paramilitary groups that have succeeded in consolidating their position throughout Colombia’s national territory, of which the first two have the greatest impact.” In statements to AFP, Indepaz director Camilo González said that “the analysis allows us to demonstrate that these groups have continued reproducing since 2006,” when the so-called United Self-Defense Units of Colombia (extreme right-wing paramilitaries AUC) were demobilized. González even noted that “in the last four years, there’s been a permanent presence of these groups, under different names, in 271 municipalities (out of the 1,100 that exist in Colombia).” “They inherited the [drug-trafficking] business and the areas of influence and mobility of the groups demobilized in 2006. There was a mutation, and that allows us to talk about partial and even false demobilizations. There was fraud in turning over lists [of demobilized individuals] and weapons,” he explained. The Indepaz report also notes the presence of leftist guerrilla groups and indicates that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) are active in 249 municipalities; the National Liberation Army (ELN) in 65; and the Popular Liberation Army (EPL) in seven. The report highlights the fact that “within the logic of the conflict, the FARC and ELN, the two most important insurgent groups in the country, have occasionally joined forces to confront the narco-paramilitary groups, reclaiming rural areas in the Colombian south and southwest.” Nevertheless, it adds that there are areas in the eastern part of the country, where “the existence of alliances with groups such as Erpac, in order to divide up the drug-trafficking business, is clear.” González specified that even if the FARC has fallen back territorially over the last eight years, toward the country’s south and east, that rebel group (with around 9,000 armed men) has intensified its presence in urban sectors between 2010 and 2011, by way of militias. By Dialogo February 24, 2012
By Dialogo November 08, 2012 Italy and Colombia will sign a cooperation agreement to facilitate the seizure of mafia assets, as well as profits obtained from drug trafficking by criminal organizations, Italian Chief of Police Antonio Manganelli announced on November 6. The statement was made during the annual INTERPOL General Assembly held in Rome. “We have to recover by force what was stolen from us,” said the Italian Police Chief, known for the excellent results in the fight against the Cosa Nostra Sicilian mafia. Later on, Manganelli held a bilateral meeting with the Colombian delegation headed by General José Roberto León Riaño, chief of the Colombian Police, to which the Italian official confirmed the “synergy” between both police forces. Both countries aim at signing a collaboration agreement to take advantage of the experience gained during the fight against the mafia. Every year, Italy confiscates thousands of millions of euros in assets from mafia organizations, such as mansions, luxury automobiles, yachts, art collections, businesses, warehouses, and houses. After a lengthy process, Italian Law allows the confiscated assets to be transferred to the State, which has the faculty of deciding over them, as in the case of land, which can be given away to nongovernmental and cooperative organizations for commercial use. The INTERPOL General Assembly brought together about 100 Justice, Interior, and Security ministers from all around the world to the Italian capital to discuss the criminal violence that has been manifested in all kinds of crimes, from human trafficking to terrorism. The four-day meeting (November 5 – 8) opened under the theme “Challenges for Police Facing Contemporary Criminal Violence,” and served as a discussion forum for over 1,000 delegates from about 170 countries to determine realistic strategies to effectively prevent, suppress, and confront the changing nature of violence and crime in the contemporary world. According to INTERPOL’s Secretary General Ronald K. Noble, about 500,000 people are murdered each year in violent situations.
The operation occurred “when the cell had just received a weapons and explosives cache that was to be used for designated killings, linked to vendettas among drug traffickers,” according to the same source. By Dialogo February 26, 2013 A group of Colombian professional assassins was routed in Madrid Do you believe that these offices dedicated to organized crime, are one and only in Spain, or are worldwide. The Spanish Police arrested a ring of Colombian hit men based in Madrid who were supposedly hired to kill particular drug traffickers, informed the Spanish Minister of Interior on February 22. During the operation, several arrests were carried out, the ministry added in a statement. In September 2010, the Spanish Police had already detained two Colombian hit men that also “belonged to ‘collection agencies’ paid by drug cartels, and had settled in Spain to continue with their activities.” These “offices” are organizations linked to Colombian drug cartels that executed selective killings, extortions, and kidnappings, among other crimes, by the request of drug trafficking organizations, the Spanish Police explained.
PANAMA CITY, Panama – A United Nations (UN) team launched a probe on Aug. 13 to determine whether a shipment of Cuban arms found hidden aboard a North Korean freighter violated UN sanctions, officials said. The Chong Chon Gang was boarded and searched on July 10 as it passed through the Panama Canal on suspicion it was carrying narcotics. Instead, inspectors uncovered an undeclared shipment of Cuban weapons, including two MiG-21 fighters. Cuban officials later said the weapons were being shipped to North Korea to be refurbished. “The UN mission is in the country now and began work early,” Panamanian Security Minister José Raúl Mulino said. The UN experts will report on their findings to the UN Security Council, which will decide whether the shipment violates a ban on arms transfers to North Korea. The six-member team is led by Martin Uden, a former British ambassador to South Korea who is currently the coordinator of the UN experts group charged with monitoring enforcement of sanctions against North Korea. The weapons systems were found in 25 containers buried under tons of sugar. Besides the MiGs, the shipment included anti-aircraft and guidance systems, missiles, explosives and command-and-control vehicles. Thirty-five North Korean sailors have been detained on arms trafficking charges that carry maximum sentences of up to 12 years in prison. The ship is moored at the port of Colón, but Panamanian authorities have kept secret for security reasons where the arms shipment is being held. [AFP (Panama), 13/08/2013; Telemetro (Panama), 09/08/2013] By Dialogo August 14, 2013
SOUTHCOM carries out joint medical readiness training exercises (MEDRETEs) in Central America every year. The aim is to strengthen civilian-military cooperation between the seven Central American countries through humanitarian assistance operations. These exercises also test the capabilities of JTF-Bravo to quickly provide humanitarian assistance during disasters, such as earthquakes or hurricanes. Since October 2012, Honduran military doctors and dentists and physicians from JTF-Bravo have conducted five MEDRETES in the country, providing medical and dental treatment to more than 5,300 people in La Cuesta de la Virgen, El Aguacate, Barra Patuca, Usibila, El Rodeo, Raya, El Ciruelo, and Las Liconas. . The medical assistance that the Joint Task Force-Bravo provides in collaboration partner nation military and civilian authorities is part of an effort to improve ties with the people of the region, said Iñigo Guevara, a security analyst with the Collective for the Analysis of Security with Democracy (CASEDE) based in Mexico City. “Having these kinds of mechanisms like medical brigades can often mean the difference between life and death for many people” Guevara said. The collaboration between JTF-B and the Health Ministry of Honduras and Honduran military doctors and dentists is important because the effort directly benefits civilians, most of whom are in rural areas where medical care is scarce, Guevara said. MEDRETES are part of the ongoing cooperation between Honduras and the U.S. on security issues, which range from fighting organized crime to providing medical care for people in need, Guevara said. “Honduras and the United States maintain a deep relationship of cooperation in intelligence, defense, security, and humanitarian aid,” Guevara said. Interesting article. It’s good to find that that the armed forces provide this type of humanitarian relief instead of spending millions of dollars in absurd wars. Medical brigades: a collaborative effort Military doctors and dentists treat hundreds of patients Annual training A great need for medical services Medical brigades are “invaluable” because they provide the opportunity for military doctors and dentists from partner nations, such as Honduras, to work together, said U.S. Army Capt. Vicki English, a MEDEL member. English is a veteran of several medical brigades, according to a statement from the U.S. Embassy in Honduras. “We were part of an exercise to validate JTF-B’s relief efforts; we all worked together,” English said, according to the statement. “Many of these people usually do not have health care within reach. For many of them, it is the first time they have been seen by medical staff.” Hundreds of Hondurans of all ages gathered around a shabby, wooden building in the department of Gracias a Dios, where military personnel set up a makeshift medical clinic. The military doctors and dentists, along with representatives from the Honduran Health Department, worked under difficult conditions, with no air conditioning, in a hot and humid climate, according to U.S. Army Lt. Col. Hu Luu, MEDEL commander for JTF-Bravo. Luu was quoted in the JTFB website. The doctors, dentists, health department workers, and volunteers “often worked all day without stopping to rest or eat,” Luu said, according to the website. Military physicians provided routine check-ups and treated patients with diarrhea, high blood pressure, respiratory conditions, skin infections, nutrition disorders, and chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure. Military dentists provided cleanings and treated infections. Military doctors and dentists also provided classes on hygiene, nutrition, basic gynecology. There are virtually no roads in the region. Some patients walked more than 10 kilometers for medical and dental care. Patients expressed their gratitude to the doctors, dentists, and volunteers, Luu said. “People are grateful that we care enough to come, listen, and provide consultations,” Luu told the website. The military doctors and dentists provided services which are greatly needed in Honduras. Honduras has an average of 8.7 doctors per 10,000 inhabitants, which places it in last place among Central American countries, according to a report prepared in 2011 by the National Commission for the Defense of Human Rights in Honduras (CONADEH). Most of these doctors are concentrated in urban areas, according to the report. There are no doctors in at least 74 of the 298 Honduran municipalities, where more than 500,000 people live. . “There is so much need for medical care in these regions that often the only way that people can access health care is by swimming across rivers or walking through swamps,” said Dr. Yuki Pravia Navas, a Honduran general practioner. By Dialogo January 12, 2014 The Honduran Health Ministry and the Armed Forces of Honduras (FAH) recently collaborated with the U.S. Southern Command’s (SOUTHCOM) Joint Task Force-Bravo’s Medical Element (MEDEL) to provide medical care to hundreds of people in two remote villages. The Honduran and U.S. soldiers delivered the care from Dec. 2-5, 2013, during a Medical Readiness Education and Training Exercise (MEDRETE). A team of Honduran and U.S. military physicians combined their skills to provide basic health care to more than 1,200 people in the communities of Auka and Tipimuna, two remote regions in the municipality of Gracias a Dios, officials said. Joint Task Force Bravo (JTF-B) is based at the Soto Cano military base in Honduras. JTF-B transported medical supplies, equipment, military physicians and dentists and support personnel to the villages.
Diálogo:met with the Chief of the Colombian Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Juan Pablo Rodriguez Barragán, to talk about this and other issues. General Rodriguez: There is no question that the use of new technologies is beneficial to preventing and controlling drug trafficking in the region. Also, the effectiveness of troops deployed to conduct the mission will reinforce the results and seizures made in the fight against illicit trafficking. These systems will improve real-time information sharing between regional countries and will allow us to focus efforts and coordinate different ways to combat the threat posed by transnational crime. Diálogo: How do you expect the new Regional Domain Awareness and Cooperative Situational Information Integration systems will help/benefit your country and the region in the fight against transnational illicit trafficking? General Rodriguez: Since the current government took office and until 2013, we’ve trained more than 18,000 members of the Armed and Security Forces from 63 countries. In other words, we trained about 6,000 Americans, 9,000 Central Americans, over 500 people from the Caribbean, 2,800 South Americans and over 300 people from Asia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Oceania. In 2013, specifically, we trained more than 8,000 people from 48 nations, while the Colombian Police and Military have cooperated with members of the Mexican, Costa Rican, Peruvian, Salvadoran, Honduran, Guatemalan and Panamanian Armed Forces, among others, with a greater focus on those areas related to citizen security, prevention and crime control, reinforcement of military and police specialties, and the fight against international drug trafficking. In early April, military leaders from 12 nations gathered in Guatemala City to attend the 9th Central American Security Conference (CENTSEC), where they discussed the potential issues and strategies of Operation Martillo, as well as the transformation that the armed forces must undergo to confront the new threats, involving Cyber Warfare and Energy Security. Diálogo: What are the contributions currently made by the Colombian Armed Forces to Operation Martillo, and what are the long term plans? General Rodriguez: First of all, I intend to continue with a task already underway, which is a priority not only for the Ministry of National Defense, but also for the Armed Forces’ leadership, which aims at the wellbeing and legal security of all men and women in the institution. Secondly, I intend to continue to strengthen intelligence as the main way to protect military forces, especially from current threats such as cyber warfare and cyber terrorism. Also, as my predecessors have done, I would like to continue strengthening inter-agency and joint operations, which have allowed the current government to conduct the peace process. General Rodriguez: To continue the military disruption against terrorism, so that we can continue to obtain strategic results to allow the national government to continue its positive dialogue for the benefit of the Colombian State, with an absolute respect for human rights and International Humanitarian Law. Diálogo: What is the main current challenge of the Colombian Armed Forces? Diálogo: What are your immediate goals as commander of the Colombian Armed Forces? Diálogo: What does it take to defeat this and other threats? General Rodriguez: Colombia is the main contributor in the fight against drug trafficking. We have disrupted powerful cartels that used to smuggle huge amounts of drugs into the United States and Europe. With other countries, we are helping to close routes and control the air space, hence preventing the transit of drugs from our country towards consumer nations. Presently, we are a leader in training countries to counter drug trafficking. Diálogo: What collaboration programs do the Armed Forces of Colombia have with those of other countries in the region? Diálogo: What is the impact of illicit trafficking in military and security environments? Diálogo: What are the benefits of working with other nations, such as the United States, to confront illicit trafficking and other regional threats? General Rodriguez: In the military arena, the threat [terrorism] uses drug trafficking as its main source of funding due to the profit obtained with that activity; in the field of security, they use logistic resources to attack the civil population and the economy of the country. General Juan Pablo Rodriguez Barragán: The Colombian Military Forces have an illicit crop eradication strategy, known as “Plan Resplandor,” (Radiance), based on spraying, using mobile eradication groups as well as soldiers and police officers to do it manually. We are also reinforcing the Counter Drug Special Brigade (BRACNA), which will have a fourth battalion with the aim of strengthening spraying efforts for this year. It is important to point out that the BRACNA is confronting the drug trafficking chain in a comprehensive way. Likewise, we are reinforcing the blockade and interdiction efforts made by the National Navy, with sea patrol boats built with nationally developed technology; and by the Air Force, by using their radars in strategic areas. Diálogo: What is the participation of the Colombian Armed Forces in the fight against drug trafficking? General Rodriguez: Undoubtedly, for a country like Colombia, technology transfers are essential, as well as knowing which transnational organizations are directly involved with drug trafficking. General Rodriguez: States should conduct a higher joint effort to educate new generations, in view of the risks involved in drug trafficking in all its stages, and the impact of which has an enormously high cost for the development of societies in the world. By Dialogo May 07, 2014
The FARC’s ‘illusions of power’ On July 21, Colombian National Police agent captured Martín Leonel Pérez, a suspected FARC operative who is also known as “Richard.” He allegedly managed about 60 percent of the FARC’s drug trafficking enterprises, according to La Prensa. Before he was captured, Richard allegedly transported large amounts of cocaine and marijuana to Central America, Mexico, and the United States. He also smuggled weapons to the FARC. The curtailment of FARC capabilities can be credited in part to the captures in recent months of important FARC leaders: For instance, even as they fight FARC terrorists, the government is providing social, educational, and economic assistance to the civilian population in vulnerable regions. In the last four years, as part of the implementation of the Sword of Honor program, the Defense Sector has provided nearly $15 billion (USD) to invest in some of the country’s most remote areas. They’re working in coordination with the head of the Military Engineers, who build high schools, highways, bridges, and houses throughout the country. FARC and the National Liberation Army (ELN) do not have the capability to carry out large-scale military actions in the regions where Sword of Honor troops are providing security, according to the report “Six theses on the recent evolution of the armed conflict in Colombia,” which was released on September 23 by the Ideas for Peace Foundation. In addition to neutralizing so many FARC operatives, Sword of Honor troops have improved public safety by maintaining a presence in 1,103 municipalities in the departments of Putumayo, Arauca, and Catabumbo. They protect both the civilian population and the local oil-production infrastructure – a frequent target by the FARC, which tries to extort money from petroleum companies and disrupt the economy. They’ve also made a dent in regional drug trafficking by seizing 235 tons of cocaine. In those regions – La Guajira, Tolima, Meta, Catatumbo, Tumaco, Bajo Cauca antioqueño, Nudo de Paramillo, the southern and northern regions of the Cauca Valle, Arauca, Caquetá, and Putumayo – FARC operatives are instead focusing on small-scale criminal enterprises, such as extortion and theft, according to Ideas for Peace. For instance, even as they fight FARC terrorists, the government is providing social, educational, and economic assistance to the civilian population in vulnerable regions. In the last four years, as part of the implementation of the Sword of Honor program, the Defense Sector has provided nearly $15 billion (USD) to invest in some of the country’s most remote areas. They’re working in coordination with the head of the Military Engineers, who build high schools, highways, bridges, and houses throughout the country. I like that the government is constricting the FARC’s lust for power. They should fight them….because what Colombian is going to want a president who comes from the FARC with all the police they have assassinated and so many civilians as well as the people who have had limbs amputated by the land mines that these miserable guerrilla fighters have buried all over the country. “Put an end to them now”. I think the news is very interesting because that’s how we know what’s going on all around our planet Of course, MoÃ±ito!!!! For more than 50 years we’ve read and heard the same story and the FARC are still there like nothing. Those who tell the story today do it to make people who don’t know the history of the war believe that the peace process has no reason to exist and that the guerrilla forces should be eliminated by blood and fire because they are on their knees. Nothing could be further from the truth. You can’t just read the official story, you also have to get information from other sources, different from the press releases read line-by-line that come out of the brigades. The fight for peace is a necessity and glory for Colombia. It’s good peace is sought through social investment, far away from weapons They’re like the Islamic group that now, like the Islamic State, has horsewhipped the countries of Syria, Iraq and part of Turkey. The difference is that that Islamic group assassinates human beings individually and systematically by public beheadings, whereas the FARC commit mass assassinations, most of whom are innocent and defenseless victims, by launching cylinder bombs and putting bombs under motorized police and National Army patrols. In the end, worse crimes than those in the Islamic State. the people that cannot be said they do and stop doing it when they decide it Insofar as the national government continues to give space to these cynical, unabashed thieving criminals, they’re going to take advantage of it. That is why we all of the civilian population have to unite and present a strong front to this whole plague that only causes the country pain with so much murder, drug trafficking and terrorism THIS IS THE RESULT OF A CONSTANT STRUGGLE WITHOUT REST UNTIL PEACE IS ACHIEVED To Santos’ ear: Malala, the Pakistani girl did not receive the Nobel Peace Prize for trying to silence the guns of Al Qaeda, rather for asking for the right to study for Muslim women. So, in the end, President Santos, gives up on the dream for peace and gets to work governing. We have serious and urgent difficulties, such as overcrowding in the prisons, a strike in the judicial system, a strike in INPEC. “If it’s not Capas” QUIT. I don’t understand how the FARC, the most powerful assassins in this country, can dare to aspire to become part of the government. Of course, with the kind of president we have it’s not at all strange. As far as I know the history of my country, I have never seen such a liar and a hypocrite as Santos. He needs to stop the circus he’s got going on in Havana. Timochenco is an assassin with several warrants to arrest him out he lets him leave the country he has no shame and he didn’t say anything about it. Look at how he deceives the people, how painful to our homeland Over the years of history of this country, I have never met a person who was a greater liar and hypocrite than Santos. The guerrilla force attacking the villages, killing civilians in seconds and they need years to make a decision. Stop the circus going on in Havana, taking money from the people to support these assassins. The way he had the issue of Timochenco put away, he didn’t tell the country about the travels this assassin made to Cuba and as if this were not enough, two more are traveling now. Definitely, in this country the criminals have it better than the good people who are starving to death like the children in La Guajira, but he doesn’t care about this, he’s looking for a Nobel Prize. I hope to live to see if they give him one. Mr. Uribe’s biggest mistake was to leave you in charge as President of this country, what a shame. I hope they keep weakening the guerrilla structure this way…Since what we can see from the peace talks is that they’re going nowhere and the guerrilla bosses have had more than two years off now on the Cuban beaches while their soldiers continue to weaken and die for a war that they don’t understand while their bosses are enjoying themselves in good hotels and on Cuban beaches….Let’s think about it, boys. I hope what they say is true. If so, congratulations. Because the circus in Havana has been going on almost three years and they haven’t done anything but talk. I would like to know who is paying for that circus in Havanna… Thank you. This problem is really complicated because they are forces with ideologies that go against the common good of the citizens and they rely on drug trafficking and extortions and other things used to be able to finance their terrorist acts. In any case, the state does as the law says but it also in a way is turned into a great deceiver of the work of the Colombian people and both forces intend to do their own thing so that the war has turned out to be a good deal for them, for some it’s legitimate, and for others it’s not. Both forces claim they defend the interests of the citizens but it’s “freedom” because we are not freed of anything. Santos, you are a disgrace for this country. When you were Defense Minister you were able to do something because you were backed by Mr. Uribe. You lack you-know-what to govern. You let the FARC brainwash you. What hope could the people have, giving those assassins champagne at the expense of the people. Why don’t you take from your own pocket to support the circus? There’s something, Timochenko has some reason to ask SantoFARC not to include Alvaro Uribe or the Centro DemocrÃ¡tico in the peace accord (discord) What peace? So he can intervene with the government in the talks. I don’t think Uribe and his advisors will allow him to do anything in this regard for two reasons: because you don’t give dogs wisdom and experience. And secondly: you don’t attack weak enemies, you let them die all on their own without attacking them. So let’s let Santos, who got into this by himself, save himself on his own, and the Centro DemocrÃ¡tico watch over as it is supposed to and enforce the Constitutional mandate. Congratulations to the Military Forces of Colombia. These are positive reports which bring us peace to our daily lives. I think that Mrs. Gabriela Osorio and many everyday Colombians are unaware of the history of violence in our country, from the wars for independence (in which very young men fought) followed by the two-party wars of the 19th century, in which the leaders also murdered farmers and illiterate fighters, in which among the troops minors fought, recruited in the Plaza de BolÃvar, followed by a very cruel war at the time, which was the two-thousand day war whose guerrilla fighters (who used other names, and who killed each other in great numbers without knowing why). These wars and all others in Colombia are the result of frustrated revolutions in the struggle for power by a dominant class since the time of the conquest, to the Republic, to today. How many victims did these conflict have? Thousands in the history of our country. Too bad President Santos gave them a second chance and didn’t opt for putting an end to those assassin narcoterrorists once and for all. It’s completely the opposite. Now they’re working under impunity for the bosses. The article is good on how the FARC are seen currently. But the army doesn’t do it all. If you didn’t know, the national police also has anti-guerrilla groups better known as the EMCAR, which are also in conflict areas and very dangerous areas. The EMCARs are in dangerous areas more than the army itself. I invite you to research a bit more on who are the anti-guerrilla police groups. AN IRON FIST AGAINST ALL THE TERRORISTS…!!! The State deserves to be recognized for this work. The military forces have earned our respect and affection; the civilian population now enjoys more peace, opportunities to study, means of communication and other services that it did not have before. Thank you for all of that. During the Uribe administration, all the municipalities in Colombia were free of this plague. What is the honor of the current administration in militarizing certain villages ?- I don’t believe any of the crap in this article. The s.o.b. government under Santos the scourge, wretched traitor he’s creating a farce to turn power over to these double s.o.b. guerrilla fighters, bastardly murderers, mangy dogs s.o.b.s God bless them for the sake of our children and grandchildren. But I would like it if the big international and national tribunals would judge and condemn that cowardly fighter Henry Castellanos who thought one day he’d take BogotÃ¡ and sent children to the flanks of attack and rearguard so they could be canon fodder confronting the Colombian Army!WORLD NGO FOR THE DEFENSE AND PROTECTION OF CHILDREN IN COLOMBIA AND IN THE WHOLE WORLD !. ORG …. director ….jose andariego…the poet True, they should be harsh with criminals in general, in addition to social service and community service and good works, too. WE HAVE TO KEEP BEING HARSH WITH THEM. IN ONE HAND A CARROT, AND IN THE OTHER, A STICK. The bad ones need to be taken away and put somewhere else and cut off their communication. Keep thinking that the police is in the most dangerous places compared to the glorious army, which goes around obsolete The truth is the guerrilla has never been honest or honored almost no one believes them, but we have to give peace a chance. If they don’t know how to take advantage of it, the armed forces will come down very heavily on them and the Colombian people will hate them. It will then be their loss, but if they become socialized and live in peace creating benefits for humanity. There will be a lot of favorable things for those armed groups, opportunities that not even men and women who have served the homeland wholeheartedly have had. Sadly, in Colombia every day we see how that narcoterrorist band gets stronger and kidnaps more children to increase their troops and with the indirect support they receive from the government. Today they’re at the summit, paid for with the taxes good people all their leaders in Cuba and they get stronger and stronger politically. Uribe is the only president who knew how to get results, all the rest in the past 50 years look like fools. It’s sad that RCN would publish an article with so many lies and statistical errors. For example, he speaks of 1103 municipalities in just three regions. He speaks of a support of 15 billion dollars, an exorbitant amount which the U.S. has never supplied to Latin America as a whole. Otherwise, the writing is incoherent There needs to be more strategy Some say Uribe’s comments are very to the point, I wonder: Why did he enter into agreements with the paramilitary forces? Were they the best assassins? How is it that Mancuso assassinates 900 people and states his connections to the military and serves 8 years in prison? Right now, in the U.S. they’re serving time for drug trafficking and from there they organize assassinations in Colombia, the organize the gangs, then what can Uribe say? This peace process is the biggest farce. The Colombians sleep while the clown we have for a president does whatever he wants with his dog paddling, giving the country away to those criminals. Why didn’t he take the true victims of the conflict to Cuba???? What a ruinous and contemptible stage play. Let’s wait for the surprise those criminals have for us, to get what they want and leave our country at their mercy. WHEN THE GUERRILLA FIGHTERS HAVE SPOKEN OF PEACE WITH THE THEY HAVE EVIL IN THEIR HEARTS THEY DON’T THINK ABOUT PEACE, JUST IN THE CHILDREN THEY RECRUIT TO ENGAGE IN ASSASSINATIONS….. All this is a farce, perpetrated by the poorly called President of Colombia, who, along with the Minister of Defense and all his committee, come up with these lies so the people can be deceived again with the story about peace. Meanwhile, the FARC spend their budget on bodyguards, armored cars, good hotels, the freedom to come and go from the country whenever they want. The people continue to suffer hunger, more violence, no hope. They go on kidnapping, killing, extorting and bleeding the country drier. And this poorly called President talking about false but yearned-for PEACE. Santos does not deserve to be the president of this country. It is shameful. In my view, the government should help to create jobs. Not just for youth but also for people of different ages and sectors. This is a way to give money to the population and employ it, keeping more people away from causing crime and adding new members to the revolutionary forces. If I live well and have what I need, why would I cause damage? There must be many who think the same way and just a few who do not. Really great As long as we don’t change the way we think (being negative, being pessimistic, being intolerant, being prideful, etc.), there is no reason to think about a change in our country… If we all were to opt to do the opposite, if we all pull in the same direction, if we all think the opposite, we’re positive… Be assured that change will be seen or will be noticed to be a certain percentage higher, and this change wouldn’t be for just a few, but for all, because it is in the interest of all of us, and the country would live in harmony, and with a deep peace, which is what we all desire. It doesn’t matter who is in charge now or who was in charge before or who will be in charge later; here what is important is that we all unite and each one of us contribute his or her little grain of sand and let us get out of this misnamed war crisis which in the end are criminal groups that hurt us every day… Please, Colombia, don’t blame anyone for the situation we’re in, let’s us speak nicely about our country no matter where we are, let’s not be prideful and you will see how well it will go for us… “We are all brothers, sons of our beautiful Colombia”. that is the best thing that could happen to Colombia, that they continue to attack those terrorists Peace doesn’t come from signatures and agreements with the terrorists. It will be achieved when in the country corruption, smuggling, drug trafficking, trafficking of minors is determined, when there is justice, education, employment, health for all, and not the band-aids the government gives us from those rights. We don’t want to see the President in the newspapers and newscasts giving out free houses, there are hardly enough. The photos of the thousands who have no houses. When there are no claims on these points in Colombia: WE WILL SIGN THE PEACE AGREEMENT. In 8 years Uribe brought the country back from the hands of the guerilla forces and in 5 years Juanpao gave it back. Too bad. I agree IF WE’RE WEAKENING THE FARC, ACCORDING TO YOUR NEWS, WHY ARE WE GOING TO TURN THE COUNTRY OVER TO THEM. YIELD ON EVERYTHING TO THE ASSASSINS WITH WHOM SANTOS’ CASTRO-CHAVEZ GOVERNMENT IS VACATIONING AND TALKING TO IN HAVANA. Very good article. I agree that the FARC and ELN have been decimated. The Military Forces should increase their actions against these groups without neglecting the Criminal Groups. Don’t forget that these subversive groups are nourished financially through drug trafficking. The government should have more of a presence, promoting social, economic, cultural development and equality in all the regions affected by the armed conflict. This article is not only disrespectful, it’s also contradictory. Can’t you see reality? Every day they blow up oil pipelines, they kill and kidnap military and civilians… they want more?That so-and-so character that you elected as President doesn’t fit the country very well. And as if that wasn’t enough, he put together a circus in Cuba which some idiots call a peace process… And still, those who oppose Santos don’t believe in the reduction in force the Colombian army has wrought on the FARC and they attribute the outcome to Uribe. Say anything you want about former president Uribe, but thanks to him you can go out wherever you want, to rivers and ravines, on the highways, since we were all kidnapped inside the cities,. Why don’t you acknowledge it, “ignoramuses”. You’ll realize the situation this country is in when this administration leaves, which is kneeling before its friends the FARC. We’ll pay the victims’ reparations with our own money while the FARC enjoy their wealth, out on vacation and drinking whiskey with the Congress’s and the President’s blessing. For God’s sake, wake up, open your eyes, long live our forefather. Enormous congratulations to all the members of the “SWORD OF HONOR” for all their achievements. GOD PROTECT YOU. What game are the FARC playing? Killing and kidnapping Alberto Puello, you sure are naive, don’t you watch the news?Attacks, kidnappings, assassinations, blowing up oil pipelines, etc. Get informed and wake up! Many, if not all, the members of the military forces have very low morale, because for Santos, the supporter of Castro and Chavez, an s.o.b. guerilla fighter is more important than a soldier for the homeland. Excellent way for me to keep up to date because sometimes I don’t have time to sit down and watch the news. Fot Juan Diego Oviedo, he must be related to Uribe, according to the comments against Santicos I think the FARC are mocking Santicos and sticking fingers in him let’s see if he has teeth. He should ignore them. And ask for advice from Mr. Petro, let’s see if he knows how it’s being played, because they don’t know the meaning of the word Peace. IGNORE THEM, don’t be so naive. The language used in this comment is highly offensive to the Colombian society: Here excuses are made for narco terrorism and a genocidal criminal group like the FARC is exalted, calling it so-called “revolutionary armed forces…”!!!! What in the world is that????? But, in addition, it would seem to be expressing a “message of great concern,” by pointing out the “financial weakening” of that horde of genocidal murderers!!!!!!!… Anyone would say they’re reading the “news correspondent of that criminal group!!!!!” It is high time now to let the country go forward. Let’s do ourselves a favor so all can reintegrate into society and we forge ahead with a better future for our children. PUT DOWN THE WEAPONS OF WAR. The only thing it creates is poverty and there are lots of mirrors to look into. You will see the change. My grand Landazabal sustained: the bandits sit down to talk only when we’re beating them militarily and politically. What’s going on in Cuba will not result in anything The thing about investments is just a pantomime. In the areas where the guerrilla fighters are, the army stigmatizes the rural people with the law force The mind and the heart of man without Christ is like an animal and is diabolic, because it doesn’t have the most beautiful thing God gave man: loveJustice, truth to achieve true peace. It is offensive to the nation to call them Revolutionary Armed Forces, when they’re a bunch of terrorist drug traffickers with a very high negative percentage among the Population. That’s great news;.”But”, what’s going on with everyday crime why hasn’t the government built new jails, so there’s no over capacity or over crowding. The money seized from drug trafficking should be used to get these jails built. I feel embarrased by Santos. How can we possibly believe in those peace talks? What’s going on in Havana is a circus. How does the FARC explain to us that they continue to kidnap and kill law officers and our soldiers. Please, Colombia, let’s wake up. What kind of country are we going to leave our grandchildren? President SANTOS is a clown. One of the agreements should be for them to say which people, institutions and others have been backing them, sponsoring them, publicly, since we are all victims. I am glad the Colombian army is decimating the FARC forces that way they’ll be reduced and brought down to little. Of course it’s just a saying, because the malice of A.K.A. Timonchecko has no limit, can’t you see how he gets all puffed up and prickly and towering, to talk the sh.. he speaks. And [cre]pontificate, like Osama Bin Laden The guerrilla-assassins of indigenous people of soldiers and police and kidnappers of unarmed civilians, speak a diabolic tongue and appear legitimate in their actions when in truth everyone watches in horror as they carry out their crimes. They call extortion a contribution to the economy and kidnappings a retention. When society reacts, they call it a temper tantrum in order to wave away wilful misconduct. These talks will have no result. It’s not pessimism, it’s that they themselves know that they won’t pay for their crimes in Colombia. Another authority will require it from them, like the Nazis and the Narcos, and they won’t do it. It’s been two years and this government will go and they’ll delay as long as needed. Non one believes them, not even themselves. In addition to this work being done by the army and the national police, which we acknowledge has great value, because that is what it is all about, to continually undermine their financial power so they are constantly forced to yield on their absurd expectations at the negotiating table in Havana. Meanwhile, I wonder: why is the Attorney General worried about giving them complete impunity, when he should be investigating their properties, among which are millions of hectares of lands acquired illegally with the proceeds of drug trafficking or forced displacement of thousands of unarmed rural people whose lands they took away, the long-time kidnappers who give no information on their victims, the massacres, including the one in TacueyÃ³ which happened 29 years ago without any punishment of the responsible parties, the assassination in cold blood of the Valle representatives, the bank accounts this illegal group has abroad that the state should take over, etc. While it may be true that their political participation should come as a result of the negotiations, it makes no sense that people accused of committing crimes against humanity should expect to occupy elected positions and in addition and what is immensely painful, is the shameful disqualification and lack of recognition of innumerable victims they have left all over the country. Definitely, the enemies of the peace process are not the DEMONIC CENTER nor the extreme right forces, but the FARC itself. THEY HAVE NEVER BEEN THE PEOPLE’S ARMY, THEY WILL PERMANENTLY MASSACRE THE PEOPLE I hope all this marvelousness is truly for the good of the country I wish all this cruelty would end, in this country and Santos doesn’t have the guts to have war end in this country, so much violence. Keep voting for that idiot The truth is that we residents of Colombia do not see this security reflected anywhere. On the contrary, we feel more insecure each day even in our own homes, because we don’t know when a bomb is going to explode on us or these terrorists are going to kidnap us, since they even kidnap Generals of the Republic. In case they know where they are they don’t go after them Congratulations to our armed forces who give us security. But as long as the laws aren’t changed, and they change out those who are more corrupt than the judges or magistrates because all they’re after are benefits. Look at everything they’ve taken from the narcos which ends up in the hands of relatives or friends. The other thing with jails is that they should be like in other countries he who enters without anything like in the story without any clothes and no conjugal visits and I hope they don’t bump into him, visit him and you’ll feel it to commit The guerrilla force can be a terrible evil, but it is not the only one. The worst evil can be in a lack of education and an excess of time. We have to dedicate to matters that aren’t very important. In other words, there is no mass media that delves deeply, the truth is not told and this, we can do nothing to change it. AND IN SPITE OF ALL THAT BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, THE FARC STILL HASN’T BEEN EXTERMINATED AND THEY CONTINUE TO HOLD SWAY. ALL THIS IS NOTHING BUT OFFICIAL PROPAGANDA. IF THE PROPAGANDA WAS TRUE, THEN WHY DO WE HAVE A CONTINUOUS DEPLOYMENT OF A GREAT NUMBER OF COMBAT UNITS AND THE FARC SIDE DOES NOT CEASE WITH ITS ARMED ATTACKS. I believe that if the government would put an end to terrorism, it would be a resounding success, since it has enough strength. But the problem lies in the interests the high ranking politicians, capitalists, media and members of law enforcement itself have, who for half a century have taken the conflict as a way of life. These subjects are not interested in peace in Colombia. Why is it that while they speak of peace, on the other hand they take the lives of police and soldiers? What is President Santos thinking? You can’t hold a dialogue like this. How many families of police officers and soldiers from the north of Santander have lost their sons in this war which is a business and don’t even count. How many men have died up to now in the country. There is no number that would allow us to verify the truth Well, it offers a deeper look at what truly is happening in our country In brief, all the FARC want is a new role in the world. Wake up, Colombia. The more peace offerings made by the FARC and the ELN groups, the higher the demand for war, not just in Colombia, but all over the world Too bad the head of the executive branch has brought the country to its knees before the subversives with the acquiescence of the judiciary. I can absolutely relate to JosÃ© JoaquÃn’s view True peace does not originate there, but it does in educating our children for tomorrow and creating employment sources for young people to work and support themselves and their families, and the big government leaders just try to fix the problem with warm towels, no, the problem has to be attacked at its roots (sources of employment, easy access to education in all three stages, continuous campaigns against drug addiction and above all guarantee a basic, comprehensive life system for each individual.) That is true peace. THAT IS PURE PROPAGANDA BLAH BLAH BLAH, MORE FALSE POSITIVES. JUST LOOK AT THE CASE OF GENERAL PAPAYA PRETENDING TO DO SOCIAL WORK WHEN WE REALLY KNOW THAT THE MILITARY ARE NOT WELCOME IN MOST RURAL POPULATIONS WHO ARE TERRIFIED OF A FALSE POSITIVE (AND SANTOS, ONE OF ITS INTELLECTUAL AUTHORS, UP THERE) Sooner than later, if it’s not human justice, it will be divine justice that will take care of them. They will have to pay for everything at once with their accomplices the current jelly government. EstÃ¡ usted en necesidad de un prÃ©stamo urgente? Si es asÃ, el contacto (firstname.lastname@example.org) para obtener mÃ¡s informaciÃ³n The operation, launched in 2012, was created to combat violence by the FARC and the ELN, and to attack their financial structures. Since then, the Colombian Army has neutralized more than 11,000 FARC operatives – among them 57 commanders of different ranks. The neutralized FARC members includes operatives who were captured, who demobilized by surrendering, and who were killed by military and police forces. FARC and the National Liberation Army (ELN) do not have the capability to carry out large-scale military actions in the regions where Sword of Honor troops are providing security, according to the report “Six theses on the recent evolution of the armed conflict in Colombia,” which was released on September 23 by the Ideas for Peace Foundation. The “Sword of Honor” offensive by the Colombian National Army against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has been an enormous success, cutting into the terrorist group’s capabilities by 26 percent. The operation, launched in 2012, was created to combat violence by the FARC and the ELN, and to attack their financial structures. Since then, the Colombian Army has neutralized more than 11,000 FARC operatives – among them 57 commanders of different ranks. The neutralized FARC members includes operatives who were captured, who demobilized by surrendering, and who were killed by military and police forces. By Dialogo October 14, 2014 On August 12, Army troops captured William Torres, the leader of the FARC’s 15th Front. He’s suspected in the June 2 killing of Army Capt. Gustavo Enrique Ortíz Lozada, who was assassinated while performing social activities in support of the civilian population, reported Info7. On July 21, Colombian National Police agent captured Martín Leonel Pérez, a suspected FARC operative who is also known as “Richard.” He allegedly managed about 60 percent of the FARC’s drug trafficking enterprises, according to La Prensa. Before he was captured, Richard allegedly transported large amounts of cocaine and marijuana to Central America, Mexico, and the United States. He also smuggled weapons to the FARC. The FARC’s ‘illusions of power’ Sword of Honor impacting terrorists In addition to neutralizing so many FARC operatives, Sword of Honor troops have improved public safety by maintaining a presence in 1,103 municipalities in the departments of Putumayo, Arauca, and Catabumbo. They protect both the civilian population and the local oil-production infrastructure – a frequent target by the FARC, which tries to extort money from petroleum companies and disrupt the economy. They’ve also made a dent in regional drug trafficking by seizing 235 tons of cocaine. Sword of Honor impacting terrorists “Although the FARC seeks to construct illusions of power, force, and territorial control, the state has greater military capacity and better tools at its disposal,” said Néstor Alfonso Rosanía, director of the Center for Security Studies, Defense, and International Affairs in Colombia. On August 12, Army troops captured William Torres, the leader of the FARC’s 15th Front. He’s suspected in the June 2 killing of Army Capt. Gustavo Enrique Ortíz Lozada, who was assassinated while performing social activities in support of the civilian population, reported Info7. The curtailment of FARC capabilities can be credited in part to the captures in recent months of important FARC leaders: The “Sword of Honor” offensive by the Colombian National Army against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has been an enormous success, cutting into the terrorist group’s capabilities by 26 percent. In those regions – La Guajira, Tolima, Meta, Catatumbo, Tumaco, Bajo Cauca antioqueño, Nudo de Paramillo, the southern and northern regions of the Cauca Valle, Arauca, Caquetá, and Putumayo – FARC operatives are instead focusing on small-scale criminal enterprises, such as extortion and theft, according to Ideas for Peace. “Although the FARC seeks to construct illusions of power, force, and territorial control, the state has greater military capacity and better tools at its disposal,” said Néstor Alfonso Rosanía, director of the Center for Security Studies, Defense, and International Affairs in Colombia.
The Argentine National Gendarmerie (GNA) has arrested an alleged high-level leader of the powerful Italian ‘Ndrangheta mafia, which has extensive connections in Latin America. Pantaleone Mancuso, 52 – known as “The Engineer” – was arrested August 29 in the Argentine border city of Puerto Iguazu as he attempted to cross into the Brazilian city of Foz do Iguacu aboard a tourist bus. At the crossing, officers of the Argentine National Directorate of Migration (DNM) noted irregularities in Mancuso’s papers, which identified him as an Argentine named Luca Bortola. Upon searching him, GNA officers found (US) $130,000 in cash. A fingerprint check confirmed his true identity as Pantaleone Mancuso, who was the target of an international arrest warrant. An Argentine judge ordered Mancuso held until Italian officials commence extradition proceedings. He had been on the run for more than a year after Italian prosecutors charged him with organized crime activities, as well as the 2008 attempted murders of his aunt and cousin in a bloody family dispute. It’s unclear how long Mancuso had been in Argentina, or whether he was simply hiding out in that country or trying to establish new organized crime connections. Mancuso is allegedly a top capo in the powerful Mancuso clan of the ‘Ndrangheta, which is based in the Calabria region of southern Italy. The ‘Ndrangheta is considered one of the world’s most powerful criminal organizations, controlling an estimated 80 percent of all the cocaine entering Europe, according to a 2013 report by Fox News Latino. Its revenues from drug trafficking, money laundering, extortion and other crimes are estimated at up to $50 billion per year. And it has reportedly established ties with the Mexican drug cartel Los Zetas, as well as the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) paramilitary group and other Colombian drug trafficking cartels. The arrest highlights the continued presence in Latin America of the ‘Ndrangheta – and it’s only the latest in a number of recent captures of the organization’s capos in Latin America. In June, 2014 Colombian security forces detained Domenico Trimboli, who is also known as “Pasquale,” on drug trafficking charges. Police said Trimboli is a high-level member of the ‘Ndrangheta mafia who maintained ties with both Colombian and Spanish drug traffickers and organized the trafficking of drugs to Italy and other parts of Western Europe. That same month, police in Lima, Perú arrested Pasquale Bifulco, also known as “Spaghetti,” an Italian national accused of being a major cocaine trafficker for the ‘Ndrangheta. He allegedly conspired to move large amounts of cocaine from Perú and Brazil to Europe via cargo ships. And in April, 2014 police in the Dominican Republic arrested Nicola Pignatelli, head of the Mazzaferro Ursino Aquino branch of the ‘Ndrangheta, in the resort town of Juan Dolio, about 30 kilometers east of capital Santo Domingo. Dominican officials said Pignatelli, a fugitive who had been sentenced in Italy in 2011 to 13 years in prison for drug trafficking, was in the Dominican Republic to open a new route for trafficking of cocaine from Central and South America to Europe. By Dialogo October 07, 2014
The training exercises were designed to help the men and women of the nine naval forces improve cooperation and operational efficiency as they carry out joint missions at sea in support of ground initiatives. For example, in one exercise, amphibious and air transport teams worked together to provide humanitarian assistance to the civilian population – including medical care, food and water. During the simulation, a group of Chilean military staff and four U.S. Marines generated different scenarios to test the skills and responses of the naval forces. They arrived on the beach at Pichidangui on an LCU, known as the “Canave,” and LCMS which are known as “Reyes” and “Fuentes,” respectively. As the exercise continued, service members were transported aboard a LSDH-91 Sargento Aldea, an amphibious assault vessel, a barge, a Chilean Navy multipurpose frigate, a Mexican Navy ship, a Mexican Navy helicopter, two AS-332L Super Puma helicopters belonging to the Chilean Navy, and four CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters from the U.S. Navy, according to Infodefensa. Training at the Partnership of the Americas 2014 wasn’t limited to drills. “Before the practical part, the exercise included lectures by experts in different areas. That is the challenge when operating with other navies,” said Rear Admiral Arturo Undurraga, Commander of the Amphibious Taskforce. The navies of nine countries from the Americas – including seven from Latin American nations –gathered in Chile August for “Partnership of the Americas 2014,” a series of joint training exercises featuring drills on providing humanitarian assistance to civilians during natural disasters. About 1,500 participants from Colombia, Paraguay, Argentina, Perú, Mexico, Ecuador, Brazil, Canada and the United States measured their ability to respond during a simulated 8.8 magnitude earthquake and tsunami. Natural disasters cause countless deaths in Latin America and the Caribbean. “It is critical to strengthen regional partnerships and improve the capabilities of these security missions,” said Brigadier General David Coffman, commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces South. Coffman made his remarks during the closing ceremonies of the program, which was held August 12-22 in the coastal towns of Valparaíso and Pichidangui. By Dialogo October 01, 2014 Improving cooperation and efficiency A history of cooperation Partnership of the Americas 2014 was coordinated by the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), which works with Latin American and Caribbean security forces to help civilian populations during natural disasters, such as earthquakes and hurricanes. For example, the navies of Latin America coordinated relief efforts to help Haiti after that country was struck by a 7.3 magnitude earthquake in January 2010. The earthquake killed about 316,000 people in Haiti and destroyed or severely damaged 250,000 homes and 30,000 commercial buildings. At its peak, SOUTHCOM’s response to relief efforts included 22,000 soldiers. Many of the Armed Forces of countries in the Americas and in the Caribbean also cooperate in the fight against transnational criminal organizations, such as Los Rastrojos, the Clan de Usúga, and Mexican transnational criminal organizations like the Sinaloa Cartel and Los Zetas. Partnership of the Americas is not the only cooperative training exercise for Latin American navies. The multinational training exercise known as UNITAS is also coordinated by SOUTHCOM. Such training exercises help navies throughout the region establish trust and improve their coordination, which means they can respond more quickly to a regional or global crisis. “These exercises are necessary for all agreements in order for interoperability and joint efforts,” said Raúl Benítez Manaut, a security analyst at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). “It involves a division of labor where each naval force makes their greatest contribution. Latin American armed forces have to train and be prepared to respond to a country when necessary.”
The government’s initiatives to improve the training and equipment of police forces are improving public safety, according to César Ortiz Anderson, president of the Association for Public Safety of Peru (APROSEC). Peruvian police “have (registered) significant successes in the fight against criminal organizations,” Ortiz said. The creation of the Genesis Group is part of the Peruvian government’s five-year National Citizen Security Plan 2013-2018, which calls for restructuring the PNP. Police agents noticed that the occupants of a black Chevrolet vehicle, license plate number C9C-560, were behaving in a suspicious manner. Police intervened and captured them before they could commit the robbery. Peruvian police captured the three suspects on September 26 as they allegedly attempted to rob a gas station in San Martin de Porres district of Lima, according to an Interior Ministry press release. Julieta Pelcastre contributed to this article. The police operation demonstrates the increasing professionalism and effectiveness of the country’s security forces, according Peruvian Interior Minister Daniel Urresti. Alianza, Saltarín, and Junior were part of a robbery gang known as the Gunman of Callao, a group of about ten armed and dangerous individuals based in the port city of El Callao, which is part of the Lima metropolitan area. At a press conference announcing the arrests, Urresti praised the 22 members of the Genesis Group, the Criminal Investigation Division (DIVINCRI) and the National Police of Peru (PNP) who participated in the capture of the three alleged robbers. Police officials created the Genesis Group in 2013, as an intelligence unit under the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (Dirincri) of the PNP. The Genesis Group is comprised of highly experienced investigators who police commanders chose from the 140,000 officers and employees of the PNP. The Genesis Group is mandated with identifying, tracking, locating, and capturing suspected killers, gang members, kidnappers, and robbers. Police officials created the Genesis Group in 2013, as an intelligence unit under the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (Dirincri) of the PNP. The Genesis Group is comprised of highly experienced investigators who police commanders chose from the 140,000 officers and employees of the PNP. The Genesis Group is mandated with identifying, tracking, locating, and capturing suspected killers, gang members, kidnappers, and robbers. Agents with the National Police of Peru (PNP), including investigators with the elite Genesis Group recently acted quickly to capture three members of an armed robbery gang known as The Gunmen of Callao. Julieta Pelcastre contributed to this article. In addition to relying on experienced personnel, the Genesis Group also makes extensive use of the PNP’s Integrated Ballistics Identification System (IBIS) and Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS). In his Independence Day message to the nation in July 2014, Peru President Ollanta Humala hailed the efforts of Peruvian security forces. Peruvian police captured the three suspects on September 26 as they allegedly attempted to rob a gas station in San Martin de Porres district of Lima, according to an Interior Ministry press release. The government is continuing to do all it can to improve public safety, the president said. The government plans on adding 30,000 more officers to the PNP in the next few years and providing them 10,000 new vehicles. The government will also remodel more than 300 police stations and provide new communications and video security systems to the PNP. The government is continuing to do all it can to improve public safety, the president said. The government plans on adding 30,000 more officers to the PNP in the next few years and providing them 10,000 new vehicles. The government will also remodel more than 300 police stations and provide new communications and video security systems to the PNP. Peruvian police formed the Genesis Group to fight organized crime. Many officers in the unit have experience gathering intelligence. The Genesis Group is designed to fight organized crime with the same methods and techniques that are used by the PNP’s national intelligence unit (GEIN), which focuses on battling terrorism. Peruvian police formed the Genesis Group to fight organized crime. Many officers in the unit have experience gathering intelligence. The Genesis Group is designed to fight organized crime with the same methods and techniques that are used by the PNP’s national intelligence unit (GEIN), which focuses on battling terrorism. “Have confidence that we will continue fighting this scourge which is a threat to the state,” the president said in August, after Peruvian security forces dismantled an international drug trafficking ring. “It was a very professional job, very fine, (an operation) of much patience which was achieved in a short time,” Urresti said, according to the Andina news agency. Police said the three men are also suspects in September 16 robbery of more than (USD) $2,000 from a pharmacy in the San Martin de Porres district and the assault and robbery of a Banco de Crédito del Perú employee in the Cercado de Lima district. The Interior Minister identified the suspects as Carlos Alva Mayekawa, 33, who is also known as “Alianza,” Ricardo Carrasco Sánchez, 47, who is also known as “Saltarín,” and Walter Torres Santiago, 30, who also goes by the name “Junior.” All three had extensive criminal backgrounds, according to the Interior Ministry press release. Police seized firearms, ammunition, surgical gloves and several packages of drugs during the arrest. In his Independence Day message to the nation in July 2014, Peru President Ollanta Humala hailed the efforts of Peruvian security forces. An ongoing battle against crime The police operation demonstrates the increasing professionalism and effectiveness of the country’s security forces, according Peruvian Interior Minister Daniel Urresti. Police said the three men are also suspects in September 16 robbery of more than (USD) $2,000 from a pharmacy in the San Martin de Porres district and the assault and robbery of a Banco de Crédito del Perú employee in the Cercado de Lima district. The Interior Minister identified the suspects as Carlos Alva Mayekawa, 33, who is also known as “Alianza,” Ricardo Carrasco Sánchez, 47, who is also known as “Saltarín,” and Walter Torres Santiago, 30, who also goes by the name “Junior.” All three had extensive criminal backgrounds, according to the Interior Ministry press release. Police seized firearms, ammunition, surgical gloves and several packages of drugs during the arrest. Alianza, Saltarín, and Junior were part of a robbery gang known as the Gunman of Callao, a group of about ten armed and dangerous individuals based in the port city of El Callao, which is part of the Lima metropolitan area. From July 2013 to July 2014, Peruvian police had arrested 160,000 people for various crimes, dismantled 4,767 organized criminal bands and seized smuggled and pirated goods worth more than $200 million (USD), the president said. The PNP had also broken up 153 gangs that engaged in assault and robbery on the national road network. “It was a very professional job, very fine, (an operation) of much patience which was achieved in a short time,” Urresti said, according to the Andina news agency. At a press conference announcing the arrests, Urresti praised the 22 members of the Genesis Group, the Criminal Investigation Division (DIVINCRI) and the National Police of Peru (PNP) who participated in the capture of the three alleged robbers. “Have confidence that we will continue fighting this scourge which is a threat to the state,” the president said in August, after Peruvian security forces dismantled an international drug trafficking ring. The creation of the Genesis Group is part of the Peruvian government’s five-year National Citizen Security Plan 2013-2018, which calls for restructuring the PNP. Agents with the National Police of Peru (PNP), including investigators with the elite Genesis Group recently acted quickly to capture three members of an armed robbery gang known as The Gunmen of Callao. By Dialogo October 23, 2014 Peruvian police “have (registered) significant successes in the fight against criminal organizations,” Ortiz said. Police agents noticed that the occupants of a black Chevrolet vehicle, license plate number C9C-560, were behaving in a suspicious manner. Police intervened and captured them before they could commit the robbery. From July 2013 to July 2014, Peruvian police had arrested 160,000 people for various crimes, dismantled 4,767 organized criminal bands and seized smuggled and pirated goods worth more than $200 million (USD), the president said. The PNP had also broken up 153 gangs that engaged in assault and robbery on the national road network. The government’s initiatives to improve the training and equipment of police forces are improving public safety, according to César Ortiz Anderson, president of the Association for Public Safety of Peru (APROSEC). In addition to relying on experienced personnel, the Genesis Group also makes extensive use of the PNP’s Integrated Ballistics Identification System (IBIS) and Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS). An ongoing battle against crime Everything destined to repress crime is positive. it is very good We can appreciate the effort to improve by the police and an increase in captures. But, what about the Judicial Power??? We see that the same criminals who should be in jail are free and committing crimes because they were freed out of corruption. The Judicial power needs reform and to start with cleaning it out.
By Julieta Pelcastre/Diálogo November 14, 2017 On October 15th, 2017, the USNS Spearhead completed its training and humanitarian aid mission to Guatemala through the Southern Partnership Station 2017 (SPS 17). The mission: help the local population and promote enduring relations through exchange of ideas and experiences with the Central American nation. SPS 17—an annual series of U.S. Navy missions and deployments—is a U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM)-directed operation planned by U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (USNAVSO). Their efforts focus on exchanges with military members and security services of partner nations. This year, SPS 17 visited Guatemala, Honduras, Chile, and Colombia. “All courses taught—particularly Combat Medic courses—are valuable for the personnel who carry out tactical missions where stepping up intensity is necessary,” Guatemalan Navy Captain Mario Artemio Veliz López, commander of the Caribbean Naval Command (CNC), told Diálogo. “These courses can save lives when conducting operations against transnational crime.” For the mission, the USNS Spearhead landed a detachment of 80 service members, their equipment, and machinery at Puerto Barrios in the department of Izabal. According to a press release from the Guatemalan Army, U.S. marines, in coordination with the Guatemalan Army, worked on various issues—rescue, hygiene and health, medical emergencies, well drilling—and subject matter expert exchanges with medical personnel and civilians. For more than six weeks, U.S. service members taught various courses, such as the Newborn Infant Care Course to help babies breathe, the Emergency Cardiac Treatment Course, the First Aid Course, and the Rescue Course. Guatemalan service members and civilians attended the knowledge and experience exchange. U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Joshua Perry, commander of the ground mission, appreciated the opportunity to strengthen regional partnerships and recognized local representatives from the Ministry of Public Health and Welfare, first responders, and interpreters. “We set out on SPS 17 to work with our Central and South American military and civilian partners, to exchange knowledge, and increase our countries’ interoperability,” said Lt. Cmdr. Perry. “The continued cooperation makes Central America a stronger, safer, and more prosperous region, and it was a success.” Through the Guatemalan Navy, the Ministry of National Defense provided the necessary support to hold coordination, reconnaissance, and preparation meetings to guarantee the success of the operations. Planning for the ship’s visit began in June 2017. “The most important part was working with the U.S. Navy to bring aid to communities in need,” Vice Admiral Juan Randalfo Pardo Aguilar, commander of the Guatemalan Navy, told Diálogo. “We exchanged experiences on naval topics and trained together to face current transnational threats, making use of the same knowledge at the regional level.” For the first time, U.S. service members and members of the Guatemalan Army Corps of Engineers drilled a well to provide potable water to local populations. They participated in a joint initiative to rebuild housing. A preventive medicine team from the Navy Entomology Center of Excellence (NECE), of the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps, also instructed local residents and service members on preventing insect-borne diseases and pest control management. “Southern Partnership Station is an annual humanitarian, training, and interoperability mission conducted in Guatemala and other partner nations” said U.S. Navy Captain Steven Stacey, SPS 17 mission commander. “The Southern Partnership Station concept is based on the premise that strong, open, multilateral partnerships enhance regional stability and security, in support of the U.S. maritime strategy. In Guatemala we engaged with local health units in municipalities around Izabal. We engaged in Subject Matter Expert Exchanges on mosquito control, environmental health, basic life support, and perinatal protocols for neonatal respiratory care and prevention of postpartum bleeding.” Various Guatemalan government agencies joined the mission, including the Ministry of Public Health and Social Services of Izabal, the Elisa Martínez Children’s Hospital, and the Japan-Guatemala National Friendship Hospital. The CNC provided the use of its facilities for the U.S. delegation to set up camp. A Guatemalan Marine Corps brigade provided ongoing security for U.S. military personnel on their way to different assignments. Social outreach “The United States works closely with Guatemala to meet the daily needs of our citizens,” Vice Adm. Pardo said. “Through USNAVSO, the United States has conducted humanitarian aid and engineering work at educational centers through medical assistance and surgery campaigns in Puerto Barrios since 2014.” The USNS Spearhead visited Guatemala twice in 2017—first in February, as part of the Continuing Promise mission, then with SPS 17. SOUTHCOM sponsors both missions annually to provide medical treatment, humanitarian aid, and civic support to communities in Latin America and the Caribbean. The USNS Spearhead is a 103-meter-long catamaran with a 600-ton container capacity. The vessel participates in Operation Martillo, a SOUTHCOM-led initiative to counter drug trafficking in the Pacific and Caribbean waters. The ship also assists with humanitarian aid and natural disaster operations throughout the region. “More than 11,000 people have benefitted from Continuing Promise and Southern Partnership Station 2017,” Vice Adm. Pardo said. “This demonstrates the United States’ strong commitment to Guatemala—a commitment that promotes interoperability and security in the region.” “These missions strengthen the bonds of cooperation and friendship between both nations through their naval forces, which provide social outreach for the people of the department of Izabal, especially in the municipality of Puerto Barrios,” Capt. Veliz added. “It gives us the opportunity to interact and have new experiences that will serve us well in the future.” “On behalf of the entire SPS 17 team, I am grateful for the support we received during our time here in Puerto Barrios,” said Lt. Cmdr. Perry. “I want to congratulate the naval forces of Guatemala and the United States on a job well done.” Successful Mission According to Vice Adm. Pardo and Capt. Veliz, SPS 17 was a success. The objectives set out were amply met, both in matters of community cooperation and the knowledge the U.S. personnel shared with their Guatemalan counterparts. “The personnel’s goodwill was seen at all times in this mission through the support provided in various situations raised, which highlights coordination and teamwork,” Capt. Veliz concluded. “We must consider other integration activities with U.S. personnel to strengthen our bonds of friendship.”
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A 37-year-old Brentwood man was allegedly drunk when he crashed his car in Dix Hills Sunday seriously injuring his passenger, Suffolk County police said.Raphael Guerrero, who was charged with driving while intoxicated after the crash, was driving a 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe south on Deer Park Avenue when he lost control of the car at 4:50 a.m., police said. Guerrero hit a curb, went up on a grass embankment and hit a large stone and telephone poll before the car overturned, police said.He was transported to Huntington Hospital for treatment with non-life-threatening injuries, police said. His 24-year-old passenger, Cesar Montano, was taken to the same hospital with serious injuries, police said.The Tahoe was impounded for a safety check and the investigation is continuing, police said. Anyone with information regarding the crash is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls are anonymous.
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Long Island can expect up to another 5 inches of snow Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014 during the morning commute. (Timothy Bolger/Long Island Press)In what is becoming an all-too-real re-run of the plot to 1993’s Groundhog Day (and more than enough reason to seriously question the psychic abilities of our furry, somewhat cute meteorologists Malverne Mel and Holtsville Hal), Long Islanders can again expect…wait for it…more snow.And this new snow will fall…wait for it…wait for it…just in time for tomorrow’s morning commute.The National Weather Service has issued yet another Winter Weather Advisory and Hazardous Weather Outlook for parts of Long Island and the region, in effect for Tuesday, Feb. 18 from 4 a.m. till 4 p.m., forecasting snow accumulations of 2 to 4 inches with as much as 3 to 5 inches possible.The snow will develop prior to daybreak Tuesday, it warns, and will fall moderately to locally heavy during the morning commute. The snow will gradually mix with and changeover to rain as the day progresses, it continues, before tapering off sometime in the afternoon.“Snowfall will make travel treacherous,” it states, “especially during the morning commute. In addition, heavy wet snow may cause some weak flat roof structures to collapse. Tree branches will also be susceptible to falling.”“A Winter Weather Advisory means that periods of snow sleet or freezing rain will cause travel difficulties,” it explains. “Be prepared for slippery roads and limited visibilities and use caution while driving.”The new storm rolls into the region on the heels of the last, which dumped up to 8 inches of the white slippery stuff on parts of the Island Saturday. Temperatures in the upper 40s and reaching even the low 50s are expected later in the week.How did that movie end, again? Guess it’s worth watching at least one more time.
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A drug addict believed to be responsible for a spate of 18 knife-point robberies on Long Island over the past three months was arrested immediately after robbing another store in Huntington Station on Monday night, police said.Shane Cashmore, 30, who is homeless but has connections to Lake Ronkonkoma, will be arraigned in both Nassau and Suffolk counties on 18 counts of first-degree robbery, officials said. While being escorted out of the 2nd Precinct in Huntington Tuesday morning, Cashmore told reporters that he suffered from heroin addiction.“We have no doubt that Mr. Cashmore is responsible for these 18 robberies and we are glad to bring this spree to an end,” said Suffolk County Police Commissioner Timothy Sini during a joint press conference with acting Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter.Two other suspects were also arrested Monday night—Juliana Panteleone, 31, and Paul Drab, 26, both of Levittown—but authorities did not elaborate on their roles in the robberies. They were charged only for the Monday night robbery in Huntington Station in which they were described as getaway drivers.At the time of their arrest, Panteleone was preparing to inject herself with heroin, authorities said. Sini noted that there was evidence that suspects were suffering from substance abuse and “likely committing robberies to fuel their addiction.” The investigation is continuing.Cashmore is accused of robbing 18 businesses across the Island from Feb. 13 through May 1. Stores he allegedly hit included Carvel, Subway, Baskin Robin, TCBY, Dunkin’ Donuts, and The Barn, among others, police said.“Over these several months and weeks, small business owners and workers at these small businesses have been on edge, but today they can rest a little more peacefully,” said Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas.The big break in the case came in mid-April when investigators learned that Cashmore had been driving a rare Hyundai model called the Tiburon, which was only in production between 1999 and 2008.Police began looking into each of the 200 Tiburon’s registered in New York City and Long Island and were briefing individual officer’s when one came forward with information about an arrest he made in March that fit the description of the car, a 2006 version, in which Drab was driving. Drab was charged with possession of a controlled substance for that incident.The car, which was registered by Panteleone, was placed under around-the-clock surveillance, and authorities followed the car’s every movement: when the suspects took cans to scrap, to New York City, and to Panteleone’s place of work.Investigators followed that car Monday night to Oyster Bay, but the suspects became spooked by officers in the vicinity and instead drove to Huntington Station. After Cashmore allegedly committed his 18th robbery, he was immediately placed under arrest, police said.Krumpter said they were unable to prevent Sunday’s robbery in Lake Ronkonkoma because the car wasn’t used.Sini and Krumpter said their respective department’s willingness to work in tandem created an environment that contributed to Monday night’s arrests.The collaborative efforts of Nassau’s Robbery Squad and Suffolk’s Pattern Crime Unit is a “model” of how such investigations should work.In the first two cases attributed to the suspect, he allegedly robbed a Carvel in South Farmingdale 20 minutes after trying to rob a Dunkin’ Donuts five miles away in Seaford, police have said.
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York More than 250 healthcare technology industry leaders will meet July 12 to discuss exciting and challenging new trends in their field, such as the digitalization and personalization of modern healthcare.The Health Tech 2.0 Summit brings together chief technology officers and other senior executives from prominent hospitals, health networks, and technology corporations, including leaders from private and public sectors. Dr. Purna Prasad, Chief Technology Officer and Vice President for Information Technology at Northwell Health — Long Island’s largest employer — is the featured keynote speaker, who will discussthe future of healthcare technology and its role in patient participation.“Patients traveling to a clinic to get their physiological [vitals] monitored is a thing of the past,” Dr. Prasad said. “Digital technology revolution commoditized medical equipment and made it affordable for the community to monitor themselves at home with acceptable clinical accuracy.”The panel agenda will cover healthcare innovation in the realms of tele-health systems, wellness apps, and cybersecurity. Speakers aim to navigate issues of commoditization in a more digital healthcare system, as well as the upcoming healthcare revolution as a result of emerging technologies.“The glut of monitoring, diagnostic and therapeutic gadgets in the hands of the consumer is confusing and overwhelming,” says Dr. Prasad. “A panel of experts will help unclog the complexity of these technologies and help consumers maintain a good quality of health.”The event is sponsored by SVAM International, the Long Island Software and Technology Network (LISTnet), the Long Island Press and its parent company, Schneps Communications. It will begin with a breakfast and networking session from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., with the panel scheduled for 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.The Health Tech 2.0 Summit will be held 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Thursday, July 12 at Simplay, which is located at 180 Commerce Dr. in Hauppauge. Parking is free. For more information on packages, sponsorships and tickets, contact Joanna Austin at 516-284-3331 x237 or email@example.com
8SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Rebecca Secor Rebecca Secor came to Member Loyalty Group from Educators Credit Union after developing their Net Promoter Program. During her time at Educators, she was a Marketing Specialist, Member Experience Auditor … Web: www.memberloyaltygroup.com Details How Customer Effort Scores Can Complement Your Member Feedback ProgramA number of credit unions have asked recently whether they should be measuring Customer Effort Score (CES) in their surveys. CES was introduced by the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) in 2010 in a Harvard Business Review article. The methodology was revised by the CEB in 2013 after further research showed the need for adjustments to the question wording and scale.The essential idea behind CES is that reducing the effort required for your members to do business with you will result in fewer detractors and a better member experience, thus improving loyalty. How do you determine where you need to reduce effort? By asking members that recently interacted with you if you made it easy for them to handle your issue.The scores, especially when segmented by the types of interaction (question, problem, technical support, etc.) or channel (phone, web, mobile), can highlight the areas of your business where members have to put forth high effort to get what they need done. Think of those times when you’ve had to call a service provider back multiple times to get an issue resolved, or you try to find a solution on a website…but you’re forced to call in and try to use the touch tone phone tree. High effort erodes loyalty.Some may ask, is CES better than Net Promoter Score (NPS)? We think both metrics (and also Customer Satisfaction or CSAT) have merit when building a member feedback program. NPS is, by nature, a relationship-oriented metric. When members consider how likely they are to recommend the credit union, all of their past experiences are rolled into the rating they choose. As credit unions analyze NPS and the comments that go along with the scores members provide, they are often able to uncover the root cause of service issues and make adjustments.However, CES (or CSAT) can also be beneficial when used to measure member experience within a specific channel or touchpoint. Consider this, a member may have had a multitude of great experiences with the credit union and be highly likely to recommend. However, their recent experience with your online banking was very difficult and took way longer than they anticipated. This very loyal member, may indicate that they needed to put forth a lot of effort to use online banking. Imagine if this member continuously had issues with the online banking channel…one would guess that this would impact their overall loyalty at some point. CES (or CSAT) can be used as a spotlight to highlight current high effort experiences in your member journey. When used over time, it can provide an early warning signal to loyalty eroding, high effort interactions.The reality is… a metric alone cannot improve a credit union. It’s how you use the feedback and take action that creates the impressive results that NPS, CES or any other metric promises.
ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr In one of her first public appearances since taking office February 18, Oregon Governor Kate Brown visited with advocates at Oregon Credit Union Day at the Capitol.“Congratulations,” said Governor Brown. “I understand we have 1.63 million members.”Credit union advocates are very familiar to Gov. Brown, who has served in state government roles since 1991. Prior to becoming Governor she served as Secretary of State, and as Majority Leader of the Oregon State Senate.When asked if she thought the state budget could be balanced without a tax increase, Governor Brown was quick to share her thoughts.“I think the short answer is no but I think they’re looking at some targeted price increases… We need additional resources for career and technical education,” she said, “so I think you may see some fee increases. I think you won’t see an entire overhaul of the Oregon tax system.” continue reading »
6SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr The new year marks an important turning point in the Fiserv history of delivering excellence to clients in the wealth management industry. As 2016 unfolds, look for additional timely information on The Point, including resources that drive results and improve relationships with your investment clients.To better serve you, our Investment Services division began a business transformation in 2015, revisiting everything we do and exploring how we can be more responsive to better serve and provide greater value for our clients. Revamping a business is complex; however, our mission is simple: leverage our leadership position in fintech innovation to deliver unequivocal first-in-class wealth management solutions.We are determined to bring our clients the best that technology can offer and recognize that innovations change at the speed of life. Consistently ranked among top technology partners to the financial services industry, the scale and leadership of Fiserv allows us to make unparalleled investments in our division from product research and development to client outreach and long-term strategy. continue reading »
40SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr I’ll admit that there is no such thing as a perfect financial plan. While it may be difficult to achieve perfection in our planning, there are things we can do to avoid making the big mistakes. Here are three examples of financial mistakes that people often spend decades trying to recover from: Thinking that you don’t need a budget (or it’s impossible to follow one for your situation)“I know that budgeting is important, it just hasn’t worked for me.”“It’s too hard to follow a budget.”“I have a general idea of where my money is going but not a written plan.”Similar statements are shared in financial planning meetings and during meaningful discussions between friends and family on a regular basis. We all have life goals and a vision for how we think our money should be aligned with those things that matter the most to us. The problem is that the lack of a budget is a major obstacle standing right there in the middle of our path. continue reading »
52SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Elry Armaza Elry Armaza is passionate about finding proactive solutions in a financial industry riddled with disruption. As Impact Director, he brings the best of Filene’s research and innovation into action. … Web: www.filene.org Details Have you noticed how much power the rating of an app has? Think about it, the last time you were looking for a GPS, exercise tracking, or mobile game. You likely based your decision to download the app (even at a cost) on its rating.We have grown comfortable relying on others’ opinions and we assume that these anonymous raters offer unbiased insights. After all, this is what we do with other experiences, from what restaurant to choose for dinner tonight to the hotel selection for your next family vacation.What about a mobile banking app?I have been investing much time lately (between November 2015 and February 2016 I studied 75 mobile banking apps) helping credit unions through the work we do at Filene with our Digital Strategies program. In that effort, I have uncovered a trend among app ratings in Apple’s App Store. The rating of the app had more to do with the users’ expectation rather than the app’s functionality.I found financial institutions with a robust app platform, built from scratch, offering good user experience, and with innovative features, with low ratings. In fact, the top 10 largest national banks averaged 3.1 stars out of 5. And the top 10 largest credit unions averaged 2.8 stars. If Angry Birds had this type of ratings, the world wouldn’t have experienced the eighteen versions that they since launched.At the other side of the spectrum, some medium size and small credit unions’ mobile banking apps with the highest ratings (4.5 stars and up) shared the same interface developer. The ratings are the complete opposite. The features perform well, but are rather basic, there are no bells and whistles here, and yet these apps enjoy high ratings.Why are mobile banking app ratings not directly tied to the innovative features or strongest and most robust experiences?My hypothesis based on the verbatim comments in the ratings is that we have one set of people rating the apps of the large and innovative financial institutions as if they were rating features in a luxury SUV, while a distinct group of people is rating the apps of the medium size credit unions as if they were rating features available in a small economy vehicle.Some of the harshest reviews given to the top 10 banks and credit unions are comparisons to other financials within this same group. They are based on advanced features like the ability for the mobile app to offer money management tools, predict future balances in real time, and activate and deactivate a card from the app. Members’ reviews given to the medium size or small credit unions for their app interface used phrases as “being easy to use,” “reliable,” and “meeting the expectations for everyday banking.”This ratings story emphasizes the importance of building for your members and solving their biggest problems and challenges. Also, who are building for? Is it the member of today or the member you want to attract for tomorrow? In either case, don’t let a positive rating “fool you” into believing that the mobile experience is exceptional. If your credit union is working on redesigning your mobile banking app and your goal is to offer innovative digital solutions to your members, let’s say closer to a “crossover vehicle” experience, pay close attention to members’ feedback. If you see a decline on your app’s rating with members pointing to new functionality that the app is missing, you might indeed be attracting a new segment of members. And that lower rating might be a positive indicator that your program is going in the right direction.
A primary concern of credit unions and their 103 million members is ensuring that the nation’s retailers have the data and cyber security standards necessary to protect consumers’ information, wrote NAFCU’s Brad Thaler to House Small Business Committee leaders ahead of today’s hearing on cyber threats.Thaler, NAFCU’s vice president of legislative affairs, said NAFCU supports many of the efforts to strengthen existing cyber mechanisms, such as the work of the Financial Services Sector Coordinating Council and the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center, both of which NAFCU is a member. However, Thaler said more needs to be done on the data security front.“Data security is an important part of the cyber security discussion,” Thaler wrote in his letter to committee Chairman Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, and Ranking Member Nydia Velázquez, D-N.Y. “Every time a consumer uses a plastic card for payment at a register or makes online payments from their accounts, they unwittingly put themselves at risk.” continue reading » 29SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
5SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr An agreement between the Brookfield, Wis.-based core processor Fiserv and the San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco will enable integrated communications capabilities for financial institutions, allowing them to execute future branch strategies including virtual interaction and a universal banker model, the companies said.Fiserv said it plans to offer these hosted communications and infrastructure solutions through its portfolio of managed services, Sentry Performance Solutions. The portfolio includes network services, hosting services, network security services, hardware and software life cycle management, and unified communications services. continue reading »
One of my pet peeves is when people arrive late – whether to a meeting or even a dinner reservation. I’m not sure if the same rings true for you, but I think most would agree that being late stalls productivity and can be just plain annoying.The Express Tribune’s Umnia Shahid recently published an article listing five habits of people who are never late. Habits include:1. They don’t blame their situations. “Being late is 100% your fault,” Shahid writes. “It’s always possible to be on time when it matters.”2. They value other people’s time. Being late is rude.3. They’re pessimistic about the clock. “Chronic latecomers abide by what are called time unicorns: unusual situations in which they made it somewhere or did something in record speed,” Shahid writes. “The solution: For various situations, set a timer from the moment you begin until the minute you finish.” continue reading » 13SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
18SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr A home is always a good investment. Several experts pointed to the notion that buying is better than renting as a bit of money wisdom everyone should ignore. “People think ‘if I rent, I’m a loser,’” says David Schneider, a certified financial planner at Schneider Wealth Strategies in New York City. On the contrary, renting can save money in the long run, says Pete Lang, an investment advisor and founder of Lang Capital in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Homes come with steep transaction costs and maintenance expenses. Plus, there is no guarantee they will appreciate in value. continue reading » You should always go for the highest return. Of course you want to make the most money possible off your investments, but going for the highest return isn’t always a smart strategy. “It may not necessarily suit your goals,” says Michelle Hutchison, money expert for personal finance site Finder.com. The risk on these investments may be too high, or they could come with significant fees. Not all money advice is helpful. Some so-called tips could even set you up for financial failure. U.S. News spoke to five finance experts and asked them which money tips they think people are better off ignoring. Here’s what they said.
9SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Happy Friday everyone! The Legislative Affairs team is taking over the Compliance Blog this morning to bring you updates on the Financial CHOICE Act – a piece of legislation that has gotten quite a bit of news recently. At nearly 600 pages, the Act contains dozens of detailed provisions – some NAFCU is in favor of, and some not. To save you the trouble of reading through the entire bill and enduring the portions that aren’t relevant to credit unions, I thought I’d write this blog to give you a brief summary of the salient parts, what to expect in the coming weeks, and what NAFCU is doing to make sure the bill helps your credit union.But before we get started, I want to provide a bit of context. First introduced and passed in the House Financial Services Committee last year, the CHOICE Act is designed to replace large portions of the Dodd-Frank Act. Although the bill passed Committee last year, it never made it to a full House vote. Fulfilling his promise in this new Congress, Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) reintroduced the CHOICE Act on Wednesday as H.R. 10. This version contains several changes to last year’s version – hence the informal moniker, CHOICE 2.0.NAFCU is supportive of the Financial CHOICE Act as it contains a number of regulatory relief provisions for credit unions. Issues we are pleased to see covered in CHOICE 2.0 include: continue reading »
continue reading » 26SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr CUNA Credit Union Magazine announced today that James Schenck, President and CEO of PenFed Credit Union, will be honored as the 2017 Credit Union Hero of the Year. Schenck believes wholeheartedly in the cooperative spirit of the credit union movement.“It is an honor to receive this recognition on behalf of the 2,500 employees at PenFed,” said Schenck. “PenFed employees are the true heroes who are making a positive difference in the financial lives of our members every day—and who selflessly volunteer their time and resources to lead in their respective communities throughout the year. At PenFed, we are proud and honored to support the brave men and women who volunteer to fight and win our nation’s wars, our local communities, and the credit union community at large. There is no industry more noble or that does more good than America’s credit unions, and there is absolutely nothing more rewarding than joining together and helping others Do Better.”Since becoming CEO in April of 2014, Schenck has led PenFed’s asset growth from $17.6 billion to over $22.5 billion. A true believer in leading by example, he has expanded the reach and impact of the PenFed Foundation to address unmet needs facing our nation’s Veterans, active military and their families. One of its hallmark programs was raising funds to help the PenFed Foundation build the Defenders Lodge in Palo Alto, Calif., for former military personnel going to the Veterans Affairs Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center. Since it opened three years ago, the lodge has provided more than 75,000 bed nights at no cost to Veterans of all wars.
continue reading » 30SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr New research shows the majority of small businesses are planning for growth, which they anticipate funding through lines of credit and business loans. According to the Raddon Research Insights: Winning Small Business Customers study, 79 percent of small businesses plan to grow over the long term, which could create lending opportunities for financial institutions.“When looking for a loan small businesses tend to look to their primary financial institution, so attracting small business deposit accounts can serve as the entry point for future loan business,” says Bill Handel, VP/research at Raddon, Lombard, Ill., a Fiserv, company. “Financial institutions can win small business customers by demonstrating that they understand business owners’ challenges, have the expertise these customers need, and can deliver the technology and service to help small businesses grow.”Small Business Growth Creates Lending OpportunitiesOf the 79 percent of small businesses planning for growth, about a third (38 percent) said they plan to use a business line of credit for funding, whereas 22 percent said they plan to use a business loan. These percentages rise to 50 percent for a business line of credit and 26 percent for a business loan among larger small businesses with $2 million to $10 million in annual sales.
Columbus Day. I can say with certainty it’s kind of a joke holiday. I lease my land from the Cochiti Tribe. My title report had a copy of Abraham Lincoln’s signature on the land deed that gave the Cochiti BACK their land. Oops, my bad, you were here first. But it has become a popular day for credit unions to take advantage of the fact that no one “celebrates” this day, it’s not patriotic, religious or really significant so while the branch is closed (because the Fed is) let’s turn this into a day of learning, celebration, recreation and of course food.I have spoken every year for at least the last ten years and this year is no exception. I was asked to kick-off the event for Central Willamette CU in Albany, Oregon. The CEO is fairly new, and they will be going through the first core conversion in over 20 years – lots of change. These days don’t just “happen” they take a lot of coordination and imagination to have a good celebration! This is one of the best All Staff Days I’ve had the privilege to be a part of. My observation of the formula that works:Food. They had breakfast ready when employees arrived and a DJ in the lunch room to “pump things up” because it’s a Monday after all. They also have BOWLS of snacks in the conference room. Sugary, salty, nutty…..chocolate. All the food groups. Lunch was catered by a local favorite. 90 minute lunch with activities. This credit union had the most amazing diversity of activities during lunch:A representative from Costco (with cookies) so employees could sign up to become members…did I mention they brought cookies?The YMCA – again to sign up memberships. Encouraging wellnessFlu shots! Their insurance covers it so why not? Investment in attendanceSilent auction. Departments pooled together their money to create theme baskets to auction off with proceeds going to their foundation that supports charities like Credit Unions for Kids. 90% off the baskets contained liquor…..very popular. They raised $1,195.00! KITTENS!!! A local animal shelter brought a litter of kittens and a rescue pup for people to cuddle, play with and yes, two were adopted. The puppy was a bonus. So raise a glass to Christopher Columbus and even though we know you did not DISCOVER America, we are happy for the day off so we can keep America’s credit unions growing and staff motivated to continue to serve our members. Balance. Their agenda was a good balance between honoring their history (they showed a Legacy member video that brought me to tears), rewarding employees, and looking to the future (that conversion….) They are converting to Corelation’s Keystone product so after the presentation of timeline for training to conversion they played Bingo for Beer – The Bingo cards had key phrases used during conversion and the winner got a case of Keystone beer. 37SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Denise Wymore Denise started her credit union career over 30 years ago as a Teller for Pacific NW Federal Credit Union in Portland, Oregon. She moved up and around the org. chart … Web: www.nacuso.org Details
Women’s Equality Day is celebrated on Aug. 26 each year. It commemorates the 1920 adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment granting women the right to vote and has been celebrated in the U.S. since 1973. While much progress has been made in the area of gender equality since that time, digging a bit beneath the surface unearths some telling trends.The bad newsHere are some global stats, based on research conducted by Filene, to consider as it relates to gender parity:Women generate 65 percent of consumer discretionary spending, but their presence in the economy and representation in leadership roles remains unbalancedWomen are 20 percent less likely than men to have a formal bank account and often lack access to savings, credit and other financial servicesThe World Economic Forum predicts the gender gap will not close entirely until 2186When it comes to the credit union industry, some progress has been made, but not enough. Women are still very under represented in senior leadership positions within the industry, and the disparity becomes especially apparent when you look at credit union asset size. In the U.S., women make up 70 percent of credit union employees, yet only 53 percent of all federally insured credit unions have female CEOs and 20 percent have female board presidents. continue reading » 6SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
“We cannot become what we want by remaining what we are”- Max DepreeAre You the CEO of an Organization Seeking Transformation? If yes, you must encourage data-driven dialogues and nurture dialogue-driven leaders on your teams.Organizations looking to transform themselves to address data-driven and technology-driven change need, more than ever, CEOs who are willing and able to adopt new ways of planning, acting, communicating and learning, with the goal of becoming both servant leaders and chief learning officers.CEOs Must “Learn and Serve” if They Wish to LeadCEOs must work to make their organizations’ strategic processes participatory, inviting employees’ input into the planning process to surface ideas and concerns, and to spot emerging threats and opportunities. CEO’s must lead the building of teams composed of both learners and leaders who can adapt to externalities and adopt internal processes that promote agility.In the late 1980s Max DePree, Chairman and CEO of Herman Miller, wrote about the art of leadership and of the leader’s role as servant to those one wished to lead. Today, more than ever, Max DePree’s ideas hold sway because information and change come at us faster than ever and no one person can effectively cope. Thus, CEOs must adopt a new role as Chief Learning Officer and chief mentor if they are to succeed at understanding the relevance and value of the changes happening around them. And from this position, they must encourage the same behavior in their teams. They have to show everyone the path to learning and adapting – the agile path. Only then can they serve, lead and succeed.Traditional Approaches to Planning Won’t WorkTraditional strategic and competitive planning (the purview of the CEO) focused on and put effort toward the puzzle pieces of organizations – company strengths, weaknesses and culture; customers; competitors; collaborators; and the context in which they all interacted. Various consultants and management educators often advocated for one “C” category over another to differentiate their thinking or offering, or to show agility in the face of changing times. That agility has never been more necessary than it is today because data- and technology-driven disruption has created an evolving environment that demands agile, vigilant responses.Organizations faced with industry disruption must address first and foremost the wants and needs of their customers and, more than ever, their employees. They must address each of the above “C” categories, but with an emphasis on solving for the needs of their customers. And CEOs must add to their processes efforts to engage fully the people within their organizations. To do this, CEOs must transform how they lead their organizations to think and act.In the face of digital and data disruption, CEOs can no longer focus solely on internal efficiencies and cost savings to promote profitability. Nor can they focus chiefly on branding or pricing to overcome their acknowledged competitors. Instead, today’s organizations must compete within themselves to meet the needs of current and targeted customers; and they must work to “do it right” and not simply to “do it better.” This means internal teams, departments and other groups must compete with each other and cooperate with each other to transform the customers’ experiences by empowering employees to think and act in ways that, ultimately, transform the organization itself. And to do this, those teams need leadership from the top that promotes thinking critically, communicating transparently, and acting with agility.CEOs Need to Reinvent Planning and Decision-MakingThe changing role of the CEO includes promoting change to the organization’s planning processes. Gone are annual planning cycles and 3-5 year roadmaps. Organizations focused on traditional thinking and acting will not spot the opportunities available to them, nor the threats confronting them. Today’s CEO must insist on continual strategy review, and put in place mechanisms, and digital tools, to gather “outside-in, real-time” intelligence from customers, competitors and employees. CEOs must insist of themselves and others, that experience, not received opinion, will inform decision-making.CEOs Need to Communicate Strategies Holistically to Transform BusinessFor today’s CEOs, the challenge isn’t just to learn about digital disruption and technological change. The challenge is to act upon it without isolating it, without making it a “parallel path for planning and investing.” They can’t think of digital strategy as something separate from the rest of their strategies and tactics, even if they give it more import. Rather, they must find a way not to mention “digital.” Instead, they must lead their organizations to think and act holistically when describing market forces, evaluating capabilities and seeking new ways of working. When confronting digital disruption, CEOs must not focus their organizations on a narrow response to digital technology and disruption. They must, instead, incorporate new ideas and technologies into their efforts to transform organizational structure, business practices, culture and leadership, with the goal of creating an adaptive, learning organization.CEOs Must Harness People if They Wish to Harness Digital TechnologiesTo help their organizations adapt, today’s CEOs must challenge their employees and themselves to understand customers’ needs and the power of technology to amplify customers’ influence on each other. Technology provides valuable communication channels for both customers and employees, and CEOs must learn to use these channels to gain insights on what works, and what doesn’t.CEOs, as chief learners, need to work to fill their organization with leaders of teams that learn to problem solve based on information and interaction gained collectively. It requires rewarding thoughtfulness and creativity; but it starts with hiring people different from those you sought before. Look for creative types, and for people with experiences different from those already represented in your organization. If you hire the right people, they will seek ownership of problems and solutions. Let them have that ownership and let them create the teams needed to enact those solutions, learn from them, and grow with them. As Max DePree said long ago “we cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.” 73SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Greg Crandell Greg Crandell provides strategy, market planning, business development, and management consulting to financial technology firms and their clients – Credit Unions and Banks. For more years than he wishes to admit, … Web: queryconsultinggroup.com Details
It’s a truism that consumers tend to make health and physical fitness resolutions at the beginning of the year. But did you know that many of them also make financial resolutions? After more than a month of holiday spending, consumers are eager for ways to save and are open to new resources to learn how to. In fact, the first quarter of the year typically sees peak consumer interest around savings and retirement planning. For credit unions hoping to attract new account-holders and engage existing members in 2018, the timing of these New Year’s resolutions makes January the perfect month for engaging in a content marketing campaign around savings and retirement planning. And when it comes to content marketing for credit unions, there’s nothing more effective than financial education. Why? Let’s take a look. Consumers Struggle to Save—and Financial Institutions Can HelpCurrently, more than 50 percent of Americans have less than $1000 in their savings accounts. And nearly half of all Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck, carrying credit card debt, car loans, and student loans that leave them tapped out at the end of the month. Consumers know they should be setting aside money for the unexpected, but they don’t know where to start. A National Foundation for Credit Counseling 2017 survey showed that 80 percent of Americans feel they would benefit from professional advice about basic financial issues. Consumers are displaying a strong need for financial education—and credit unions are in the perfect position to provide it. Empowered with quality financial education, consumers can take control of their finances, make more informed decisions, and, eventually, realize their financial potential. Consumers Aren’t Financially Prepared for RetirementLonger lifespans and increasing choice and control over financial services are also making retirement planning more complicated than ever before. In today’s workplace, many employees are offered the ability to participate in a 401k savings plan, in which they need to be able to contribute to the plan and make their own investment decisions over time. But many workers don’t understand what 401k plans are, or how and where to begin.A lack of knowledge about retirement planning and programs has led to a generation of retirees that just does not have enough saved. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the average annual spending by retirement-age adults is roughly $47,000, but less than half of adults 55 and older surveyed have more than $50,000 saved.Adding to this problem is that fact that younger people are often unaware of the need to save for retirement, let alone how much to save or various strategies for doing so. Without financial education, this gap in consumer knowledge can be expected to worsen over time. A Complex Consumer Financial LandscapeCompounding the issues of savings and retirement planning, consumers today also face a bewildering array of financial options. Countless financial products vie for consumers’ assets and attention: banks, credit unions, brokerage firms, insurance firms, credit card companies, mortgage companies, online payment apps, financial planners, and more. In this complex landscape, consumers feel overwhelmed, lacking both the knowledge and time to research and select the best options. Financial Education as a Content Marketing ToolWhile today’s financial landscape is a fraught one for consumers, the good news is that with a foundation of even basic financial literacy, consumers are suddenly empowered to make much more informed choices about saving, retirement planning, investing, borrowing, and more. And as trusted institutions with track records in their communities, credit unions are in the perfect position to provide this much-needed financial education for consumers. To do so, institutions should leverage the best practices of content marketing and integrate financial education into their marketing strategy.At its most essential, content marketing is the practice of creating and distributing valuable content for the purpose of both educating and helping your target consumers. Because content marketing is so helpful and valuable to consumers, it works to establish trust and credibility in your brand over time—and this is especially true of content marketing programs that are educational. In fact, one study found that consumers who engage in online learning programs are 29 times more likely to buy a product from the program sponsor, while 94 percent said they now have a more positive impression of the sponsor’s brand.When creating content for your blogs, videos, articles, and emails, then, education should be a top priority. Where are the knowledge gaps in your own consumer base? What topics are your consumers desperate to learn about? From a series of blog posts on retirement savings to a “Mortgage 101” video, content marketing that offers concrete educational value will satisfy your consumers while increasing their likelihood of coming to you for answers—and products. For credit unions, financial education represents a golden opportunity. By moving away from “salesy” marketing and product pushes and toward helping consumers develop financial skills, teaching them how to execute savings strategies, and inspiring them to make financial security a priority, financial institutions are not only helping create a stronger and healthier consumer population—they’re also building their own brands and attracting new, and more educated, account-holders. The final result is a powerful win that can’t be ignored. To learn more about how to create a strategic annual marketing plan that’s built around financial education, download The Ultimate Guide to Financial Marketing Success in 2018 here. 83SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Mike Lovell Mike Lovell is the Vice President of Digital Marketing at EVERFI. In his role, he works directly with d credit unions to build and improve upon financial education and digital … Web: everfi.com Details
continue reading » It is normal and perfectly acceptable that credit unions should evolve, CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle wrote to Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). Nussle responded to a letter Hatch sent NCUA Chair J. Mark McWatters last week with questions about the state of the credit union movement.“It is perfectly acceptable for credit unions to evolve – the whole financial services industry looks different than it did in 1934,” Nussle wrote. “Credit unions need to remain relevant to consumers in order to fulfill their mission, and they’re working to remain relevant within a charter that is overly restrictive and burdensome.”Nussle detailed the background behind credit unions’ tax status, and how that mission has not changed. He noted that credit unions’ expanding their product offerings reflects ongoing change in technology and the financial services marketplace.In the letter, Nussle also noted: 8SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
Holding oneself accountable is more than a slogan or bumper sticker. A fundamental tenet extraordinary leaders embrace is that the degree to which they hold themselves accountable dictates the extent of their empowerment and ability to effect positive change. When this perspective is primary, it forwards actions and builds trust. When it’s absent, it not only feeds a blame game but narrows executives’ perspectives about how to make an impact.This principle reverberates through many aspects of strategic execution. “So-and-so department is in charge of that project and we’re just waiting for them (to get their act together)” is a perspective that dictates a lack of empowerment. Contrast that with, “Yep, they’re assigned this project and yet I know they need help, so we will step in.”As a common yet largely underappreciated example, we hold that you are accountable for managing your mood. Period. It’s easy to rationalize a bad mood by pointing to a stressful work assignment, a pushy colleague or a harried commute. But that looming deadline and the driver who cut you off on the highway don’t have the authority to determine your emotional outlook and attitude for the rest of the day. 2SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading »
CUNA staff will host a post-election webinar Thursday, where CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle, Chief Advocacy Officer Ryan Donovan, Chief Political Officer Richard Gose and Deputy Chief Advocacy Officer for Political Action Trey Hawkins will give a comprehensive breakdown on how the election results will shape CUNA advocacy efforts going forward.Registration is now open for the webinar, which is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. (ET) Nov. 8, and is free for CUNA members.Items covered will include:CUNA’s political and grassroots efforts to secure a credit union-friendly majority in both chambers for the 116th Congress;How the results will impact credit union advocacy priorities, including potential leadership changes and new committee members. continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Patronage dividends are a direct reflection of a credit union’s cooperative structure. Nowhere is that reflection brighter than at $6 billion asset CEFCU in Peoria, Ill., which lives by the words, “Not a Bank. Better.”The credit union distributed a record $50 million “Extraordinary Dividend” to members Nov. 30. The amount each member received was determined by dividends earned and interest paid during the first 11 months of the year.Among credit unions offering patronage dividends, the median amount is $316,000, according to June 2018 data reported by CUNA’s Member Benefits report. At that time, these payouts ranged from $1,200 to $40 million.Over the last 19 years, CEFCU has returned $280 million to members through Extraordinary Dividends.
continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Working from home has its perks—no commute, more family time and (possibly) fewer distractions. But it can also be difficult to lead a team that you don’t see in the office every day. Several leaders have expressed frustration that some of their team members aren’t as responsive or lack follow through since they have been working from home during the pandemic. The lack of personal interaction can make it more challenging to check in with team members who don’t seem to be pulling their weight.So how do you instill a sense of ownership and accountability in a virtual environment?Establish goals and outcomes. Although there may be fewer distractions—chatty coworkers, ad hoc meetings, etc.—when employees are working from home, it also can be challenging to focus. As a leader, it is important to set clear goals, outcomes and deadlines for projects and tasks so that each of your team members know exactly what your expectations are. Focusing on outcomes allows an employee to take ownership of a task or project and relieves you from having to micromanage the process. When setting a desired outcome, think about what the end result should look like and communicate that to the employee. At the beginning of the week, communicate exactly what you are expecting each team member to complete, the due date and how they should submit their work.
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York It will be theater in the ‘rough’ in more ways than one when Bonney/King Productions brings Lyle Kessler’s dark drama, “Orphans,” to Conklin Barn in Huntington for a two-week run opening Thursday.Hosting the show is the circa 1830 Conklin Barn, one of the few surviving hand-built shelters from the early days of the Long Island settlers, which was moved from Laurel Hollow to its present location in 1990. The rugged structure provides an intimate venue suited to theater in the round and for this drama, which explores the vagaries of the human soul and longings of individuals who are rough around the edges.“It is a diamond in the rough,” said Sean King of Smithtown, who co-produced and stars in the show as Harold, a complex father figure.The story line follows two brothers, Treat and Philip, orphaned at an early age, who are living in an unconventional world of their own creation in a dilapidated North Philly row house. Treat supports the pair through petty thievery while Philip, instilled by his brother with fear of the outside world, is a virtual shut-in. The dynamics shift when Treat brings home Harold, an inebriated businessman who has reasons of his own for assuming the uneasy role of surrogate father to the two dysfunctional young men.Treat, the volcanic brother, played by Aaron Dalla Villa, and the child-like, sensitive Philip, played by Jay William Thomas, were cast after 600 actors saw the ad in Backstage magazine, and turned out to audition in a Manhattan studio.“Orphans” is the second summer theater production that King and Jim Bonney of Huntington have staged at the Conklin Barn. Bonney is at the helm again as director.King and Bonney’s first production, “Prisoners and Criminals,” played to a sold-out house last summer. Based on an original script by Canadian playwright Jared Wright, “Prisoners and Criminals” garnered 2014 awards for Long Island’s Best Play, Actor and Director from Broadway World for Bonney and King.Following this triumph, Bonney—electrified after he saw the Broadway revival of “Orphans” with Alec Baldwin and Ben Foster—was determined to bring it to Huntington audiences.King, who has made a career of playing tormented souls, is equally excited about producing this show with Bonney.“’Orphans’ premiered on stage in Los Angeles in 1983 with Joe Pantoliano of Sopranos’ fame and the late Lane Smith, who starred as Richard Nixon in ‘The Final Days,’” King said. “‘Orphans’ went on to be produced all over the world, including a very successful London run. It was nominated for a Tony for Best Revival of a Play.”The story of lost boys who live on the outskirts of society, yet crave a normalcy, still resonates today, Bonney said of the drama with comic overtones.The basis for the 1987 film starring Albert Finney and Matthew Modine, King said that this hard-hitting drama established Kessler as a playwright and showcases some of his finest writing. The playwright will be in attendance at the Sept. 4 performance, which will be followed by a question and answer period.It is all part of King and Bonney’s vision to bring theater that takes audiences out of their comfort zones to Huntington.“Audiences need to be exposed to all kinds of theater,” Bonney said. “We want to create a theater collective, a space where new playwrights can see their work come to life.”The Conklin Barn is located at 2 High St. off New York Ave. in downtown Huntington. The show opens on Aug. 20 for a 12-performance run through Sept. 5. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at brownpapertickets.com.
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York After hours of contentious debate, Suffolk County Legislators approved a resolution Tuesday that encourages government entities to work together on large projects.The aim of the resolution, which was approved 10-7, is to speed up the process for Projects of Regional Significance, such as the Ronkonkoma Hub, because they affect more than one town and require cooperation among multiple government agencies to be successful.Opponents called it a power grab that would take zoning power away from local authorities and put it in the county’s hands.“No one is in favor of this,” exclaimed Legis. Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue). “It’s another layer of government imposed on planning and zoning initiatives. It’s red tape. It’s unnecessary.”The resolution encourages, but won’t require, town leaders to communicate and work together on Projects of Regional Significance. It requires membership in the Alliance in order to secure county funding for projects.Several lawmakers wondered if it’s necessary to pass a law that suggests officials talk to one another, and if they even had the authority to do so.Krupski also said the town supervisors that he spoke to about the proposal don’t support it. Legis. Lou D’Amaro (D-Huntington Station) shot back that if there are town supervisors against the resolution, it’s because they don’t understand it, they’re either misinformed, or uninformed.The resolution’s perceived vagueness was debated at length. Lawmakers called on Counsel to the Legislature, George M. Nolan, repeatedly to help them interpret certain sections’ meaning.Legis. William J. Lindsay, III (D-Holbrook) introduced the resolution in July to assist with the Suffolk County Master Plan. The Plan was adopted as a guide for future development and recognized that Projects of Regional Significance involve several levels of government entities.Proponents urged the Legislature to pass the bill as soon as possible to accelerate a billion dollars’ worth of projects already approved but awaiting funds to start work. Proponents contended that investors would rather spend their money in communities that can get projects done quickly, and that’s why Long Island’s willing investors are decreasing.The resolution’s other provision creates a list of prequalified consultants to perform work on the projects. This will eliminate the need for formal Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for such consultants.The bill now goes to Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York By John DundonThe Barclays has come and gone at Bethpage State Park. The Black’s reputation of being a tough play even for the world’s best golfers held true this past week. Perhaps the most talked about aspect of the tournament, aside from anything golf related, was the raucous crowd that flooded the out-of-bounds areas Thursday through Sunday for the PGA tournament.“[The crowd] was loud, it was a lot of fun. It felt like you were almost playing football, it just kind of sets the tone,” said tournament winner Patrick Reed after he completed his final round on Sunday. Golf traditionally hasn’t been known to be a sport where crowd noise is a factor. Exactly the opposite, actually. Fans are expected to respect the rules of the course—no talking, yelling or chanting while a player is over the ball. Comparing spectators at a golf tournament and fans at an NFL football game isn’t something that happens every day on the PGA tour. Reed wasn’t the only golfer who was outspoken on the topic last weekend. Needing a birdie to clinch a spot on the US Ryder Cup team, Rickie Fowler stepped up to the tee box on the 18th hole. “It was a little loud up there on 18,” Fowler said semi-seriously. The resulting drive ended up way right in the high fescue. It pretty much eliminated any hope of him birdieing the hole, and Fowlers shot at being a Ryder Cup lock slipped away. And don’t even get started on the hundreds of mustache jokes directed at Fowler Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Some golfers, like Phil Mickelson, relish the chance to play at the Black exactly for what makes it unique—the highly inebriated and very loud crowds. It’s become the identity of Long Island golf’s crown jewel. As one usher put it, “were you here for the US Open? Combine a New York crowd and beer, this is what you get. It isn’t like this in most places.”You’d be hard-pressed to find a golf course that plays host to rowdier fans in golf than Bethpage Black. And, yes, maybe it is a little annoying for those participating in the events. It’s also something the players, if they haven’t already, will need to learn to deal with. The majority of poorly timed, out of place shrieks and chants were committed by one particular demographic: young people. This is important to note because, whether golf wants to recognize it or not, the sport desperately needs to attract the interest of millennials to keep the industry alive.Before the Tiger Woods days that propelled golf into the most popular and profitable place it had ever been in, it was a boring game that was played almost exclusively by well-off white men. Since then though, the sport’s horizons have expanded exponentially. The industry is carried now not by old white dudes, but by a group of 20-something year-olds. In other words, the world’s best golfers right now are the same age as guys who are likely to get drunk, loud, and create lively atmospheres. In fact, many of the tour’s best and most popular golfers like Jordan Spieth, 23, Rory McIlroy, 27, and Jason Day, 28 are all under 30. It could be that golf needs more of this, not less. The loud crowds and football-like atmosphere make the game more exciting, and certainly more attractive to perspective beginners. Kids don’t want to sit still and quiet. They want to make noise and chant for their favorite golfer.We should welcome, not shun, the boisterous fans who line the fairways and greens. After all, it’s all about having fun. In the words of Jack Nicklaus: “This is a game, that’s all it is.” (Featured photo credit: John Dundon)
Things are heating up at the American Legion Post 80 in Binghamton where the 30th year of the dinner will take place. “Over the course of those five days, we roast about 150 turkeys. Give or take, because it’s by pound. It’s about 3,000 pounds,” said Bandera. “Setting the stage so that volunteers have a clean place and a fun-filled place to help us do turkeys,” said Bandera. While the work leading up to Christmas can be a lot, it’s all worth it in the end. “People by hand are chopping 300 pounds of celery, 300 pounds of onions and that’s a whole day or day and a half process. And that gets sauteed and cooked so everything like that is a step. One step at a time and then we put it all together,” said Bandera. He says he wants everything to be perfect for when the day of the dinner comes. Each year, the Bandera Christmas Dinner also provides meals for delivery. “There’s something about this year being 30 that really speaks to my heart,” said organizer Bill Bandera. “Sometimes you get the feeling like, oh man two weeks of work and 20 minutes of eating and it’s over. But that 20 minutes lasts a lifetime for a lot of people and I say this all the time, it’s not just about the people we serve it’s about the people serving them. And it’s a win-win for everybody,” said Bandera. Throughout the first five days, the focus is the main meal. “It’s a staple in this community now and I would feel like I’m letting them down if I wasn’t able to continue at the same level that we’ve done for the past 30 years,” said Bandera. Preps start so far out because everything is homemade. BINGHAMTON (WBNG) — It’s that time of year again, with Christmas two weeks away, preparations are underway for the annual Bandera Family Christmas Dinner. Preparations take 10 to 12 days and it starts with cleaning up the locations where dinner is being served. This year dinner is being served at three locations including the American Legion Post 80 in Binghamton, the American Legion Post 189 in Norwich, and at the St. Ambrose Church in Endicott. For more information, or if you would like to volunteer, click here.
Now General Manager Ryan Rennells is making a promise to the community Home Central has served for more than a decade. He says it’s too early for a timeline as to when the Vestal store will be rebuilt and back up and running, but they are currently working on picking up the pieces and sorting through what’s next. “We keep a warm room area for products that can’t freeze out in our warehouse, and we think it started there but we don’t know yet,” said Rennells. He says the people are a huge reason to stay positive. The blaze destroyed the store’s warehouse and took hours to put out. “We kind of pride ourselves to be that local hometown hardware store and so it’s important to us,” he said. “We wouldn’t be in business without the support of our community and we try a lot to give that support back out to them, so it means the world.” The cause of the fire is still under investigation. VESTAL (WBNG) — Late last week, flames ripped through the Vestal Home Central location on Stage Street. “It was really important that we had to go forward solution for them, so we brought all of the employees over here to Owego or our Candor location,” said Rennells. Now, Rennells and Home Central are vowing to give back. “They’ve got families to feed and we feel like we do good in the community.” The fire broke out Thursday afternoon. “It was a gut punch. It hurt. It didn’t seem real. I was actually out of town at the time at a buying show and you feel helpless, you’re so far away from home. We got back as quick as we could and started to take care of all of the pieces that we needed to to rebuild,” said Rennells. Thankfully, nobody was hurt. In the meantime, Rennells encourages people to come out to both the Owego and Candor locations. “We’re going to rebuild. We’ll be back. As quick as they let us,” said Rennells. While employees made it out safely, they were hit with the uncertainty of having a job.
If you don’t have many marketable skills, or would like to gain new ones for better jobs, the office can help you with that too. The Broome County Office of Employment and Training is still helping residents find employment by connecting them with local businesses and offering them training to get the job of their dream. As of Thursday afternoon, there are 430 openings in the Binghamton area in both the private and public sectors, all of which are looking to hire people right now for jobs like nurses, truck drivers, or cooks. The office, specifically the Broome-Tioga Workforce, works hand-in-hand with the state department of labor to find resources available and help the unemployed. “How to interact with, you know, prospective employers, but also providing services through let’s say BOCES training, training with SUNY Broome, and the Metrics, which is an online course we have now opened up to everyone in Broome County,” said Robert Murphy, the Executive Director of Broome-Tioga Workforce. For information on how to get started with the office and for more workforce resources, please call 607-778-2136, or visit their website. (WBNG) — Despite the large scale unemployment happening during the coronavirus crisis, there are resources available locally to help people find jobs.
“I kind of flipped and started making hand sanitizer for the local community,” said LizAnn Mcewen. BINGHAMTON (WBNG) — When the coronavirus pandemic began, local vendor LizAnn Mcewen began to make sanitizer from her house. “In Waverly, we have an older folks home so that and the church I would donate as much as possible,” she explained. The owner of ‘Body Delights by LizAnn’ saw the need and wanted to make a difference, so she used ingredients in her house to make the product. Mcewen has been selling her product at the Broome County Farmer’s Market as well as donating it to people and places in need. “When everything happened and everyone was buying up all the alcohol, there was nothing in the store, but I had a stock pile and I used it for the local community.” She has also kept the hand sanitizer off her website to be able to keep it in the community. Mcewen said it was a natural fit for her to be able to use her product to help the community she calls home.
Approaching every one of those clients gives you support traffic for your website, especially for the new content you upload. At the point when you post another blog or update your website page, it can require a long time to get visitors with Google. That hints that not many clients will realize the new content is there on your website until whenever they’re looking for your product or services.Posting about it on social media gives tells your audience as well as potential visitors to know when your new website content is here and how to navigate to your website.What’s more, in light of the fact that those posts will fundamentally appear in the feeds of your followers and individuals loyal on your product, that traffic is regularly very focused on. It won’t simply increase your traffic numbers — it will tell you what sort of visitors you need to draw in.- Advertisement – In times like today, not having a social media presence can be harmful for your brand awareness. From building your brand loyalty to getting more sales, social media can do a lot for building your brand’s presence on the web. This blog highlights some of the main reasons why social media tools are important for your marketing campaigns.A research found out that 90% of all marketers say social media marketing has increased their business exposure. And 66% of marketers that spend at least 6 hours on social per week have seen more leads and hence more sales. No matter what you sell and who you sell it to, using social media as a marketing tool can help you grow your brand and generate more leads. But it’s also not limited to that! In times like these, not having an active social media presence is like wanting your business to stay behind in the market. If this pandemic has taught us anything it’s that having a social media is anything but not good for your business if you know what to post, how to post, as well as when to post. Here are some of the most compelling reasons why social media tools are extremely necessary and important for your campaign and brand:Social media brings in targeted trafficA recent study found that 68% of American who are adults have Facebook. Among 18 to 24-year-olds, 78% use Instagram and 45% are on Twitter. Indeed, even among Americans 65 and more years older, 37% are social media users. So, along these lines, whatever your business industry, section or audience, a generous bit of your audience and leads are on social media.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – Madhurima Nag is the Head of Social Media at Gadget Flow. She side-hustles as a digital marketing lecturer/speaker and loves to voice her opinion on marketing, crowdfunding and gadgets (of course!) in general. The traffic advantages of social media advertising can be very beneficial.Power of social media tools in marketing campaignsIt helps your website SEO.Search engine crawlers realize which pages are reliably procuring traffic and which are simply skimming out there, overlooked and disregarded. In spite of the fact that your awesome content creating technique is the most significant factor in your SEO search rankings, directing people from social media to your optimized content will make them climb the search list a lot quicker.- Advertisement – A ton of times, this can be as basic as re-sharing evergreen content. Obviously, also sharing your new content when it goes live. You can upload about your website content updates in addition to redirecting your social audience on your website. With Facebook’s schedule tool or different scheduling apps for Twitter, Instagram, etc. you can set the posts of a whole month at the same time and you’re finished.It helps you to understand your audience.Part of what makes your social media like Twitter and Instagram compelling marketing tools is the connection you have with your audiences. By noticing their tweets as well as posts, you’ll gain bits of knowledge into their every day lives and buyer practices, and hence can answer questions like –What items they are purchasing and why?What leisure activities do they love?What sorts of posts do they love to share?What sites do they visit? Etc.These bits of knowledge have obvious marketing benefits. At the point when you understand your audience, you can compose better content and all the more convincing posts, which beings in more traffic. However, the advantages can once in a while go a long ways past marketing, helping you recognize client problem areas, improve sales transformation and even refine your product strategy.Social media marketing toolsIt helps to connect with your audienceConsumers see Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as social media, not promoting sites. They would prefer not to be pitched to — they want legitimate connection. You help your audience by responding to their enquiries, engaging and advising them with related content and also shaping bonds over shared interests.If you do follow social media marketing best practices, you’ll get a huge load of exposure. That exposure then gets new leads. After some time, those leads then become followers, followers become consumers and consumers become committed brand supporters, proceeding with the cycle. And after some time, you’ll become more than a brand — you’ll turn into a part of a community.But for that to happen, you need to remain active on your social media, fast client response time isn’t an option any longer. In an event that there’s an issue with your product or services, your clients expect that you should comprehend it immediately. But just a few businesses are meeting those desires.A study found that clients want reactions from social media business under four hours, yet the normal reaction time is 10 hours. This isn’t only a minor thing for your clients — it directly influences your profits because a Twitter study demonstrated that clients are happy to pay nearly $20 more for future tickets if aircrafts react to their tweets inside 6 minutes.Also, this isn’t it either. Study after study has demonstrated that buyers reward organizations that react to consumer complaints effectively. A strong and engaging social media presence will assist you with keeping consumers happy, and keep your brand image positive.Social media ads focus on targeting and re-targeting.Since social media platforms offer profoundly targeted promotions, which can be tweaked around your clients’ needs it’s essential to use it to your benefit. Facebook promotions, for instance, can target clients by factors like age, area, instruction level, industry and even client conduct — for example the pages a client has liked. Using an ads management tool will further broaden the insights into your advertisement campaigns. Interfacing your ads to a CRM will permit you to see precisely which advertisements are transforming leads into consumers.You can likewise introduce a Facebook pixel on your site to follow how your promotions influence client conduct, and re-target your advertisements in that manner. After some time, Facebook will realize which clients are bound to click your ad or purchase an item, showing your ads to the individuals who has a strong possibility to change over into a leads and hence increasing sales.It builds brand loyalty.A university report found that brands with good social media presence have more faithful consumers. It’s simple: when you’re drawing in people on social media, you’re building bonds and understanding. You’re setting aside the effort to give your followers valuable data, help and amusement, without asking for anything back.That shows clients you respect them, as a source of income, but also as individuals. Clients will start to think of you to be a person that thinks about them, and has qualities, character and vision. Also, in a cutthroat market, that can have a huge effect.Finding powerful client and subsequently getting more sales.Social media advertising lets you look out for clients searching for data related with your item — even if they aren’t aware with your organization. A study found that 70% of business-to-consumer advertisers have obtained clients through Facebook. Also, 84% of CEOs as well as VPs state they use social media to help create buying choices.Of course, when you remain in front of your client base, they’re bound to buy from you when they need the items you sell, yet social media advertising does more than increase brand presence. You can impact client buying choices at various points along the business funnel, from enhancing the reach of white papers and websites focusing top of the funnel, to responding to client questions and tackling pain points, to boosting buyers with coupon codes. We even believe it’s vital for real estate agents to jump on social media — and remain active!Conclusion.No promoting tool or procedure plays a greater part in affecting your brand view than social media. Hence, keeping your social media up to date with your company details and updates, new products and services available and what’s coming for consumers in the near future is important. Routinely engaging with followers, writers, idea and taste-creators can build your profile, improve your public picture and give your brand the sales it ought to have plus much more.So here were the 7 reasons why social media marketing tools are extremely necessary as well as important for your campaign. These tools can enhance your brand by a great deal. We hope this helped you!If you have know any other reasons why they are important, do let us know in the comments below!
2. Growing up, my family’s political connections didn’t extend to the local school board — I was the first senator I ever knew.3. One of my favorite jobs was working at a public pool in Wilmington, Delaware.4. I was elected to the Senate at age 29, but turned the constitutionally required age of 30 before being sworn in.- Advertisement – 5. I love baseball and football, and was one of the leading scorers on our undefeated football team during my senior year.6. If I had a different career — and the talent — I’d have been an architect.7. I love Corvettes and still own a 1967 Corvette that my dad financed for me as a wedding gift.- Advertisement – President-elect of the United States Joe Biden, the inaugural recipient of the Joyful Heart Foundation’s Finnegan Award in 2016 for his commitment to ending domestic violence, shared 25 interesting things about himself with Us Weekly.1. I had a debilitating stutter as a kid that I overcame by reading and reciting Irish poems.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – 8. One of my biggest accomplishments in the Senate was writing and passing the Violence Against Women Act.9. Some of my closest friends from the Senate have been Republicans — folks like Bob Dole and John McCain.Johannes Simon/Getty Images10. As the chairman or lead Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, I’ve overseen more Supreme Court nominations than any other living person.11. My biggest vice is chocolate chip ice cream, no mint.12. My wife, Jill , is a Philly girl and a die-hard Flyers fan.13. Jill and I have a German shepherd, Champ.14. I wear small rosary beads around my wrist, the ones my son Beau wore the day he passed.15. I’ve had a rule since the Senate: I will interrupt any meeting, even with the president, if my children or grandchildren call.16. I’ve been focused on foreign policy my whole career, and have flown more than 1.1 million miles on Air Force 2 since becoming VP.17. I not only serve with the president, but we are close personal friends — as are our families. His children and my grandchildren are best friends.18. I always have Ray-Ban aviators, which I’ve been wearing since I was a lifeguard in the ’60s, on me.KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Image19. I like working out and try to do it regularly.20. My younger sister, Valerie, has managed all of my campaigns.21. My father said we must stand up to the worst sin: abuse of power. This has been the guiding principle of my career.22. I love meeting children when I’m on the road. It brightens my day!23. My favorite drink is orange Gatorade.24. My favorite meal is pasta.25. My biggest accomplishment is my family. Jill has taught community college full-time while serving as second lady. My daughter Ashley  has a master’s of social work and heads the largest criminal-justice nonprofit in Delaware. My son Hunter  is a lawyer and runs World Food Program USA. And my son Beau was attorney general of Delaware and a decorated war veteran.Listen to Us Weekly’s Hot Hollywood as each week the editors of Us break down the hottest entertainment news stories!
The president-elect vows to protect the healthcare law Republicans have been keen to dismantle.- Advertisement –
Kick off 7:45pm The FA said in a statement: “We are pleased to confirm that following discussions with the relevant authorities next Wednesday’s UEFA Nations League fixture against Iceland will go ahead at Wembley Stadium.”The Department for Transport said in a statement: “The government has also announced a limited exemption for a small number of Danish and Icelandic national football players to travel from the UK to Copenhagen and back, without the need to self-isolate, to take part in upcoming international football fixtures. England will be allowed to play the UEFA Nations League match against Iceland at Wembley on Wednesday.The national stadium will host England’s final Group A2 game after the UK Government gave the Iceland squad “elite athlete exemption” to fulfil the fixture.- Advertisement – Entry from Denmark is currently banned for non-British residents after a new strain of coronavirus – thought to have originated in mink farms – was found in the country.The FA had lobbied the Government for “elite athlete exemption” on Iceland’s behalf, which will allow them to enter the UK under strict rules.Albania was another option put forward by UEFA, but the FA has confirmed the national stadium in London can now host the match.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – “This temporary and extremely limited exemption will allow the relevant players and essential staff support to be exempt from the new requirements and will help reduce any disruption for England’s upcoming Nations League fixtures.”- Advertisement – Wednesday 18th November 7:00pm
“It hurts to announce that at this moment, we have mutually decided to separate,” the former reality stars wrote in their joint February statement. “Never did we imagine this scenario, but we’ve come to a point where we both need to work on ourselves. We are best friends that love and care for each other so deeply. We’ve appreciated everyone’s love and support so far throughout our journey and we just ask that you please respect our privacy as we navigate through this.”Chris Randone and Krystal Nielson Broadimage/ShutterstockNielson filed for divorce in August, and she became Instagram official with her boyfriend, Miles Bowles, the following month. The Montana native announced in a Wednesday, November 11, YouTube video that she is pregnant with their first child.- Advertisement – Poking fun. Chris Randone responded to his ex-wife Krystal Nielson’s pregnancy news on Thursday, November 12.When fellow Bachelorette alum Dylan Barbour tweeted, “Y’all getting a house is insanely difficult lol,” Randone, 32, replied, “Try a divorce.”- Advertisement – “Awwww!! Omg we are BURSTING with joy to finally share this wonderful news!!,” the Bachelor alum went on to caption her Instagram baby bump debut alongside Bowles and her dogs. “I can’t believe it. I’m going be a MOMMY!!! Thank you all for being a part of my journey. Miles, Wayne, Chucky and I cannot WAIT to share this new chapter with you!!”Before she and Randone split, the former couple exclusively talked to Us Weekly about their future family plans. “She let it be known that she’s off birth control, and I didn’t know that,” the Dominant Sales Training founder said in August 2019.Nielson chimed in at the time: “We’re going to spend the rest of the year just detoxing, putting good stuff in our body. We want to start trying for a family at the beginning of the year. So we’re just using the rest of the year to get situated get our new home [and] take our honeymoon.”Listen to Here For the Right Reasons to get inside scoop about the Bachelor franchise and exclusive interviews from contestants Barbour, 26, responded with muscle emojis, while another Twitter user added, “Omg this is the best response ever. Try getting a divorce and your ex-wife gets knocked up by her new boyfriend.”Randone replied to the tweet with a GIF of an athlete sitting on the sidelines of a game, shaking their head and shrugging while watching.The Florida native met and fell in love with Nielson, 33, on season 5 of Bachelor in Paradise. The exes got engaged on the ABC show and tied the knot in June 2019. They were married for eight months before calling it quits.- Advertisement – – Advertisement –
“Some US and Western elites are indeed behind the times in their way of thinking — they think of China as an ‘expansionist empire’ and see all China’s expanded cooperation with whichever country or region as part of its ‘expansion strategy.’ In fact, they have really misread China, the times as well as the world,” it added. China’s Premier Li Keqiang (center) looks on as Chinese Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan (right) signs the massive trade agreement, as seen on a TV monitor, during the ceremony for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade pact at the ASEAN summit that was held online on Nov. 15, 2020.Nhac Nguyen | AFP | Getty Images Ideas such as so-called “decoupling” with China are nonsense, and the RCEP illustrates that nations who pursue such are likely to end up on the outside of the world’s economic gravity. The signing of the world’s largest trade deal proves that China is not the “expansionist empire” that the U.S. and some Western countries have made it out to be, said Chinese state-backed tabloid Global Times.Instead, the mega pact — the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership or RCEP — showed that China can work with other countries “in an effective and mutually beneficial way,” the tabloid said on Sunday.“This is the fundamental way for China’s development. China has been seeking a win-win and all-win mode from the very beginning and, like rolling snowballs, has accumulated a large number of common interests around the world,” said the Global Times in an opinion piece posted on its website.- Advertisement – Similarly, CGTN — the international arm of state-controlled broadcaster CCTV — said China defied the portrayal of “Western media” by showing that Beijing’s approach to the region is not “aggression,” but “well contemplated diplomacy.”Chinese state media often act as a mouthpiece for the Chinese government.“In addition, what the West should understand is that China is integral and core to the regional and global economy, and that this trade pact is an affirmation of that,” CGTN said in an opinion piece published Sunday on its website.“Ideas such as so-called ‘decoupling’ with China are nonsense, and the RCEP illustrates that nations who pursue such are likely to end up on the outside of the world’s economic gravity,” it added, making a reference to the U.S. and Chinese economies splitting due to their trade and tech conflict. RCEP, which covers nearly one-third of the global economy and the world’s population, was signed by China and 14 Asia-Pacific countries on Sunday. The other 14 participating economies are the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.- Advertisement – CGTN highlighted other trade agreements that Beijing has negotiated since U.S. President Donald Trump took office in January 2017. Under Trump, the U.S. slapped punitive tariffs on several of its major trading partners, including China, Canada and the European Union.In contrast to the U.S., China clinched new agreements with Cambodia as well as the Eurasian Economic Union comprising Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan, said the broadcaster. China also upgraded existing trade deals with New Zealand and Singapore, it said in defense of Beijing.Those deals would “diminish American attempts to decouple China from the global economy,” it said.“China has in effect responded to the American challenge, not through confrontation as the media sensationalize it to be, but through deepening its integration with others and staking out its trade future,” said CGTN.“The RCEP includes multiple U.S. allies; their agreement to the deal is an affirmation that China will remain an intrinsic economic partner for them and that the region will ultimately work and cooperate together,” the state-owned broadcaster said. – Advertisement – – Advertisement –
The contracts will launch the Atopic Dermatitis and Vaccinia Network (ADVN), consisting of two groups of medical institutions and one private research firm, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). The Animal Studies Consortium will establish animal models of atopic dermatitis and study their immune responses to vaccinia and other skin viruses. Institutions and principal investigators in the Animal Studies Consortium include “Previous studies suggest that both innate and adaptive immunity are impaired in patients with atopic dermatitis, but the specific defects that increase the likelihood of eczema vaccinatum have yet to be explained,” said Daniel Rotrosen, MD, director of the NIAID’s Division of Allergy, Immunology and Transplantation, in the news release. The research is expected to generate information that will “greatly influence the design of a safer smallpox vaccine.” May 20, 2004 (CIDRAP News) An arm of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded more than $40 million worth of contracts for research to reduce the risk of eczema vaccinatum (EV), a rare but severe complication of smallpox vaccination. EV, which can be fatal, occurs almost exclusively in people who have a history of atopic dermatitis, the chronic skin condition also called eczema. EV can occur when eczema patients are exposed to vaccinia virus by receiving a smallpox shot or coming in contact with someone who has recently had the shot. Children’s Hospital Boston; Raif Geha, MD, and Hans Oettgen, MD, PhD CDC fact sheet on adverse reactions to smallpox vaccinehttp://www.bt.cdc.gov/agent/smallpox/vaccination/reactions-vacc-clinic.asp May 19 NIAID news releasehttp://www.niaid.nih.gov/news/newsreleases/2004/Pages/advn.aspx The Statistical and Data Coordinating Center will support the clinical and animal studies by analyzing research data, coordinating trials and regulatory activities, and developing a registry of atopic dermatitis patients, the NIAID reported. The center will be operated by Rho Federal Systems Inc. in Chapel Hill, N.C., with Susan Lieff, PhD, as the principal investigator. Current estimates are that about 3% to 5% of the general population have eczema, according to Bocek. Historically, 10 to 39 cases of EV occurred per million people receiving their first smallpox shot, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The NIAID statement said eczema vaccinatum can be fatal in 1% to 6% of cases, and the death rate may range up to 30% in children under 2 years old. Current safety summary of US military smallpox vaccination programhttp://www.smallpox.mil/event/SPSafetySum.asp Bocek said the research contracts were awarded through a competitive process in which groups of institutions submitted proposals, which were evaluated by NIAID committees. University of Bonn, Germany; Thomas Bieber, MD, PhD Harvard Skin Disease Research Center, Boston; Thomas Kupper, MD, and Robert Fuhlbridge, MD The primary aim of the research program is to provide information that will help in the design of a safer smallpox vaccine, the NIAID said in a news release yesterday. National Jewish Medical and Research Center; Donald Leung, MD, PhD, and Erwin Gelfand, MD The clinical studies group will investigate why people with eczema are susceptible to EV by studying their immune responses after natural exposure to less harmful skin viruses such as herpes simplex, the NIAID said. The institutions and principal investigators in the Clinical Studies Consortium are Children’s Hospital Boston; Lynda Schneider, MD See also: Oregon Health and Science University, Portland; Jon Hanifin, MD The NIAID said the research network will consist of a Clinical Studies Consortium, an Animal Studies Consortium, and data coordinating center. The contracts cover a 5-year period, according to Petr Bocek, a medical officer in the NIAID Division of Allergy, Immunology and Transplantation. Bocek told CIDRAP News the funding includes about $20 million for the clinical studies group, about $11 million for animal studies, and about $10 million for data coordination. In the US military smallpox vaccination program, no cases of EV have occurred among the more than 623,000 people vaccinated since December 2002, according to the latest Department of Defense safety report. The CDC reported no EV cases among the 39,213 civilian healthcare workers who received smallpox shots in 2003. Bocek noted that the criteria for excluding people from smallpox vaccination are much stricter today than in the past. Johns Hopkins Asthma and Allergy Center, Baltimore; Lisa Beck, MD University of Illinois at Chicago; Lawrence Chan, MD La Jolla (Calif.) Institute for Allergy and Immunology; Toshiaki Kawakami, MD, PhD National Jewish Medical and Research Center, Denver; Donald Leung, MD, PhD University of California at San Diego; Richard Gallo, MD, PhD
Dec 18, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – Authorities from Cambodia, Bangladesh, and Egypt reported that the H5N1 avian influenza virus has struck poultry again, according to new reports.Kao Phal, an agriculture ministry official in Cambodia, said the virus was detected in poultry in a village in Kandal province, where a 19-year-old man got sick after handling a dead chicken, according to an Associated Press (AP) report yesterday. The outbreak is Cambodia’s first since April 2007, according to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The man’s illness was reported last week.The ministry said three ducks and one chicken tested positive for the H5N1 virus and that veterinarians have culled about 320 birds to stop the spread of the disease.Ly Sovann, an avian flu expert with Cambodia’s health ministry, told the AP that the man is recovering but remains hospitalized.Meanwhile, livestock officials in Bangladesh reported yesterday that the H5N1 virus struck two commercial poultry farms, one in Rajshahi district, in the northwestern part of the country near the border with India, and one about 30 miles northeast of Dhaka, the capital, according to a report from the OIE. The country’s last outbreak occurred in late September, striking a different poultry farm in Rajshahi.Veterinary workers culled 3,781 birds at the two farms to contain the outbreak.Elsewhere, animal health authorities in Egypt reported on Nov 27 that they had detected the virus in chickens in Minya governorate in central Egypt, according to a report that appeared today on the Egypt-based Strengthening Avian Influenza Detection and Response (SAIDR) Web site. SAIDR is a Johns Hopkins University project designed to help Egypt coordinate avian flu efforts with its international partners.The outbreak involved 15 backyard birds in a village in Minya’s Beni Mazar district, according to the SAIDR report. The birds had been vaccinated in August.Though the H5N1 virus is endemic in Egypt, the country’s last reported outbreak occurred in mid-June among backyard birds in Luxor governorate, according to the OIE. The country’s most recent human case, in a 16-year-old girl whose death was confirmed by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Dec 16, was in Asyut governorate, about 50 miles south of Minya.According to an incident report on the SAIDR Web site detailing the veterinary investigation that followed the girl’s death, several birds near her home had been sick or died before she got sick. Neighbors had discarded the dead birds in a nearby drainage ditch. The girl’s family said they had recently bought and eaten two ducks. After one of the ducks died, the family quickly slaughtered the second one.In other developments, animal health officials in India today said they sealed part of its border with Bangladesh to help control the spread of the H5N1 virus, according to a Reuters report. Anisur Rahman, animal resource minister of West Bengal state, told Reuters the border closure affects the crossing between Malda district, where authorities have culled about 10,000 birds following recent outbreaks, and Bangladesh.He said the virus could have been spread by chickens and ducks smuggled from Bangladesh, Reuters reported.India is also battling outbreaks in Assam state.Meanwhile, an official from Indonesia’s agriculture ministry told the Jakarta Post yesterday that the government plans intensive measures against avian flu for the next 3 years hopes to stamp it out by 2014, Xinhua, China’s state news agency, reported yesterday.Tjeppy D. Soedjana, the ministry’s director general for animal husbandry, told the Post, “If all goes well, the nation will be free of the highly pathogenic bird flu virus by 2014.”According to Xinhua, he said the ministry has stopped the spread of the virus in only two of its 33 provinces: Gorontalo, in North Sulawesi, and North Maluku..Agriculture ministry records show that 294 regencies in 31 provinces have had avian flu outbreaks so far this year, which is up from 158 regencies and 25 provinces hit by outbreaks last year, according to the Xinhua report.In other avian flu news, officials in Germany on Dec 12 reported an outbreak of a low-pathogenic H5N3 virus at a commercial turkey farm in Cloppenburg, in the northwestern part of the country, according to an OIE report. The virus sickened 45 birds, and 8,400 others were culled to control the outbreak.Authorities did not identify the source of the virus. In October an H5N3 virus was detected at a zoo and another site in Leipzig in eastern Germany, according to OIE reports.See also:Dec 17 OIE report on Bangladesh outbreakDec 12 OIE report on Germany’s low-path outbreak
Aug 19, 2009New York state requires health workers to get flu immunizationsThe New York State Department of Health has adopted an emergency rule requiring healthcare workers who have direct contact with patients to be vaccinated against seasonal and novel H1N1 influenza, the New York Times reported yesterday. The rule affects hospitals, home health agencies, and hospices but not nursing homes. The state’s largest healthcare union protested the rule, saying the policy could become punitive for workers who shun vaccination for religious or cultural reasons.http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/19/health/policy/19swine.htmlAug 18 New York Times storyH1N1 vaccine orders in northern hemisphere top 1 billion dosesA World Health Organization (WHO) official said yesterday that northern hemisphere countries have ordered more than 1 billion doses of H1N1 vaccines, Agence France-Presse reported. The WHO’s Melinda Henry said a few countries, such as Greece, Canada, and Israel, have ordered enough doses to cover their whole populations, while others, including the United States, have ordered less.http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gdBOZC-UGXAiFXfH-TLW4JcEV_zAAug 18 AFP storyAustralian government expects first H1N1 vaccine doses next weekThe Australian government expects to receive its first 2 million doses of H1N1 vaccine by the end of next week, the Adelaide Advertiser reported today. Pregnant women, health workers, and chronically ill people will be first in line for the vaccine. It is expected that immunizations could begin Sep 7, pending approval from national health authorities. They are awaiting safety data from the vaccine manufacturer, CSL, which is also making vaccine for the US government.NIAID to launch trials of H1N1 vaccine in childrenFollowing approval from a safety monitoring panel, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said it would launch two trials of novel H1N1 vaccines in children. Plans for the trials were announced in July. The safety committee reviewed data from two adult trials that started Aug 7 and found no problems that would preclude the tests in children. One trial will test two different doses of an H1N1 vaccine, and the other will involve giving an H1N1 vaccine with seasonal flu vaccine.http://www.niaid.nih.gov/news/newsreleases/2009/Pages/H1N1pedvax.aspxAug 18 NIAID announcementBritish agency says Tamiflu plus warfarin may increase stroke riskBritain’s Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is concerned that oseltamivir (Tamiflu) may interact with the anticoagulant warfarin to increase the risk of uncontrolled bleeding and stroke, according to a report by the Daily Mail newspaper. The agency has advised health professionals to be alert for such cases. The story said the MHRA has received reports of 12 suspected adverse reactions to oseltamivir that involved interactions with warfarin.http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1207513/Tamiflu-puts-600-000-greater-risk-stroke.htmlAug 19 Daily Mail reportAustralian survives near-fatal H1N1 case with help of IV zanamivirA 20-year-old Australian who has asthma survived a nearly fatal case of H1N1 flu after he was treated with an experimental intravenous form of zanamivir (Relenza), the Adelaide Advertiser reported today. The man’s lungs had filled with mucus and his stomach had shut down, ruling out treatment with oral oseltamivir, the report said. So his doctors decided to try IV zanamivir, which had to be flown in from the United States. The drug is normally taken with an inhaler.
The proposed decisions on the adoption of the annual and three-year Concession Plan only plan the possibility of granting concessions on the beaches of Saccorgiana, Ferial Alliance, Ambrela, Punta Verudela, Splendid Zlatne stijene, Valkane and Stoja beach – without the possibility of closing the beaches or charging them. CITIZENS AND THEIR CHILDREN HAVE THE RIGHT TO FREE BEACHES – I Love Pula Initiative As they point out from the city of Pula, with the plans for annual and medium-term granting of concessions of the City of Pula, which are currently at a public consultation, the beaches remain open to all citizens and visitors to Pula. “This is ensured by the spatial plans of the City of Pula, which prohibit the fencing of beaches, so, as they have been so far, Pula’s beaches will be available to all visitors in the future. ” point out from the city of Pula in a statement and add that in the event that for an individual location is expressed interest in granting a concession, in accordance with the law, the City of Pula will again seek the opinion of the interested public. So last week, organized by the I Love Pula Citizens’ Initiative, over 300 people gathered for a public debate on whether the people of Pula want concessions on public city beaches at all. Initiative I love Pula: No concessions on Pula pages At the City Council session at the end of November, the Decision on the adoption of a medium-term (three-year) concession plan for the period 2019-2021, as well as the Decision on the adoption of the Concession Grant Plan for 2019 were to be adopted. However, as it is necessary to conduct a public consultation with the interested public before making such decisions, the I Love Pula Initiative was launched, which already held a small protest performance at the Forum during the session with beach towels and warned city leaders to skip this crucial step. before making such decisions at a City Council session. The City of Pula then withdrew the Decisions from the agenda, and launched an online consultation with the public on the plan to give Pula’s city beaches in concession for economic use, from 11 December 2018 to 11 January this year. All information, drafts of the proposed Decisions and explanations are available in the attachment. The consultation will take place in the period from 11 December 2018 to 11 January 2019, and the e-mail address to which comments from the interested public can be sent is: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Cover photo: City of Pula You can watch the whole discussion at the public forum HERE The tribune on behalf of the City of Pula was attended by Deputy Mayor Robert Cvek, who pointed out that the plans for annual and medium-term concessions of the City of Pula, which are currently in public consultation, the beaches remain open to all citizens and visitors to Pula.The spatial plans of the City of Pula prohibit any fencing of beaches. They have been open and free to use so far, and will continue to be so in the future”, Pointed out Cvek. Photo: Initiative I love Pula Draft proposal of the Decision on the adoption of the concession plan for 2019 “Then all citizens of Pula will have the opportunity to comment on each specific proposal and conditions of concession, when all the key parameters of potential concession location, such as coverage, activities, deadlines and more. Only after the citizens express their views for each individual location, the City Council of the City of Pula will decide by special decisions whether any of the mentioned beaches will really be given in concession and under what conditions.”The statement said. In accordance with the Law on the Right to Access Information, the City of Pula today started conducting a Consultation with the interested public with the aim of informing the general public and obtaining opinions, remarks and proposals on the Draft Proposal of the Decision on Concession Plan for 2019. As of 11 January 2019, a public consultation with the interested public on the Draft Proposal of the Decision on Adoption of the Concession Grant Plan for 2019 and the Draft Proposal of the Decision on Adoption of the Medium-Term (Three-Year) Concession Grant Plan for the Period 2019-2021 in the City of Pula . Side dish: Draft proposal of the Decision on the adoption of the concession plan for 2019 As they point out from the Initiative, the goal of the public tribune was the desire to inform as many citizens as possible about the planned concessions and to explain the way to send comments and objections to the city’s decisions on a kind. “For the first time in the history of Pula, it is planned to give such a large number of city beaches in concession, which represents a kind of privatization of the public good. In addition, the above decisions do not show the exact area planned for concession, land plots are not presented on the copy of the cadastral plan, it is not stated which part of the area refers to the sea and which to the land, and there is no reasonable explanation beaches generally plan to give in concession. It makes a big difference whether it is only concession approvals for parts of beaches or the sea, which in no way restricts or excludes the general use of these parts of beaches, or concessions for maritime property which excludes part or all of the area from general use and gives for special use or economic use ” said Dušica Radojčić from the I Love Pula Initiative for Glas Istre.
In the same period last year, a turnover of 21.545.079 vehicles was recorded, and tolls were collected in the amount of HRK 1.182.974.451,63 without VAT. Vehicle traffic increased by 3,81% while the amount of toll collected increased by3,08% compared to the same weekend last year. If we compare traffic and tolls on all highways from the beginning of the year to 15.9. turnover increased by 4,85% while tolls collected increased by 4,64% compared to the same period last year. The unit price of toll in the off-season period is reduced by 10% for vehicles IA, I. and II. groups (motorcycles, personal vehicles, personal vehicles with trailers and campers) or returns to the old price. From 15 September (from midnight from Saturday to Sunday) for motorcycles and personal vehicles begins the application of off-season toll prices on motorways managed by Hrvatske autoceste doo (HAC) and Autoceste Rijeka-Zagreb (ARZ). OFF-SEASONAL TOLL PRICES APPLY FROM SUNDAY During the summer tourist season in the period from 15.6. – 15.09.2019. On all motorways under the jurisdiction of Hrvatske autoceste doo and Autoceste Rijeka – Zagreb dd, a turnover of 22.365.127 vehicles was recorded and a toll was collected in the amount of HRK 1.219.424.373,60 without VAT.
Cruise ships Thus, according to the data from the official website of the Port of Dubrovnik Authority, 58 ships will enter Dubrovnik in the mentioned period, which should bring about 70.000 passengers, or a tolerable 460 passengers on average per day. But let’s go in order. Image by Ivan Bagic from Pixabay Flights will not return to normal until March next year, when all seven destinations will re-establish continuity in rotations towards Dubrovnik. According to available information, out of a total of about 50 hotels, about 10 of them should be open in Dubrovnik during the winter, possibly slightly less, while the capacities in private accommodation will be mostly closed. The exception is about 10 days between Christmas and the Feast of the Three Kings, when better occupancy is expected, so in that period can be expected to put on the market a larger number of capacities in private accommodation. Dubrovnik is one of the Croatian destinations that has all the realistic prerequisites for extending the tourist season. If there are no events in the destination, at least according to the state of the CALENDAR OF EVENTS at the end of November, then it is completely logical that there is no interest in the destination, which consequently leads to a lack of winter airlines. Also, why the CALENDAR OF EVENTS if it is not harmonized between the competent institutions? Although it is difficult to get accurate data, it is estimated that out of a total of more than 600 catering facilities, by the end of the DUBROVNIK WINTER FESTIVAL (November 30.11.2019, 06.01.2020 – January 50, XNUMX), a smaller number will be open. Thus, only about XNUMX restaurants should be open. It is also to be expected that after the end of the FESTIVAL, most of them will close their doors, mostly by the beginning of March next year. Just for comparison, Venice, with which Dubrovnik is often compared, will be directly connected to a total of 60 world destinations in the same period. The question arises, how should a casual traveler cope in such a confusing situation? Respecting the effort and effort that the City of Dubrovnik is investing in order to make positive changes, objectively there is still a lot of room for better winter business. The key lies in the agreement of the public and private sectors, their joint agreement on the strategic goal that Dubrovnik must have a year-round tourism business. Continuously. The action plan that would follow should define tasks, activities, mutual obligations with the corresponding schedule of activities… Honest approach to this issue, creating an experience in the destination and better air connectivity would, among other things, certainly create the preconditions for such, better winter business. Regarding the number of destinations with which Dubrovnik will be connected by direct flights during the winter period 2019/2020, it is a total of seven. Here we are talking about an identical number of destinations compared to last year, not a single new one, with the difference that Madrid was “dropped” from the list, but now Athens is appearing in Greece. However, what is worrying are the interruptions in rotations in the period when they should be the least, and that is the period of January and February. Namely, there were not so many long breaks last winter in the same period. Thus, Vueling from Barcelona interrupts its rotations towards Dubrovnik in the period 06.01.2020-15.02.2020, which makes a total of 41 days, then again British Airways in the period from 14.01.2020 – 11.02.2020, which makes a total of 29 days, Vueling from Athens in the period 05.01.2020 – 24.02.2020, ie a total of 50 days, while Vueling from Rome interrupts its rotations towards Dubrovnik in the period from 08.01.2020 – 15.02.2020, which makes a total of 38 days. Nominally, Dubrovnik will be connected to seven world destinations during the winter period 2019/2020, while in reality during November and December 2019 there will be occasional interruptions in rotations from several destinations, while during January and February next year the interruptions will be more significant. , so that in that period Dubrovnik will remain continuously connected by direct airlines with only 3 world destinations, namely Frankfurt, Istanbul and Warsaw. For cruises in the period November 2019 – March 2020, the ships will enter Dubrovnik with reduced intensity and no higher numbers are expected, which is expected for the mentioned period. Approaching the end of November, the question arises as to what and how much has been done in order to be as ready as possible for the Dubrovnik tourist winter. How many, in fact, new direct winter airlines have been established, how many hotels and restaurants will be open during the winter, how many and what kind of events, how many ships will dock for cruises during that period…? Photo: Pixabay.com Istanbul and Frankfurt are significant regional hubs (HUB network of lines), through which Dubrovnik is accessible to guests from remote parts of the world during the winter. However, compared to direct air connectivity, connectivity via such hubs implies, among other things, higher travel costs, which ultimately increases the cost of the overall arrangement per passenger. Photo: Pixabay.com According to all of the above, an average Dubrovnik tourist winter awaits us, without a dramatically larger increase in the volume of work compared to previous years. The greatest intensity of work should traditionally take place between Christmas and the Feast of the Three Kings, followed by a decline in the fact that the DUBROVNIK WINTER FESTIVAL will close its doors. Hotels Restaurants Given the already mentioned situation around direct winter lines and calendar of events, it remains to be seen how many winter physical indicators will be in question, and whether the planned number of beds will be sufficient to accommodate all guests who intend to visit Dubrovnik in winter. AUTHOR: Tonći Skvrce Direct winter flights Unfortunately, when it comes to winter direct air connectivity, another post-season was missed without concrete initiatives aimed at increasing the number of direct winter air routes, which objectively leaves no preconditions for a significant increase in physical and financial indicators. Following this, the City of Dubrovnik has designed a very clear CALENDAR OF EVENTS, which can be found on their website. However, although it is already the end of November, the CALENDAR OF EVENTS for the period 01.11. 2019 – 31.03. 2020 is still half empty, with the proviso that in the period from 05.01.2019 – 31.03.2019 there is not a single planned event. To make the confusion bigger, the CALENDAR OF EVENTS on the pages of the Tourist Board of the City of Dubrovnik does not correspond to the one on the pages of the City of Dubrovnik, which is further confusing. It remains to be seen whether individual tour operators, as announced, will have a reason to “raise” charters to Dubrovnik, what volume will be discussed, and what can Dubrovnik expect from these operations at all? Calendar of winter events Until such an agreement is reached, we are left with missed opportunities for the realization of jobs of lower intensity during the winter, but jobs of continuity. Instead of better ones, half-results thus become generally accepted. What else to say but – a shame. It is to be hoped that the situation from previous years will not be repeated, when visitors to the historic core had problems finding open catering facilities during January and February. Conclusion Comparing the number of rotations, it is clear that November and December 2019 will have a slightly higher number of rotations compared to the same period in 2018, which is great. Namely, during the same period last year, Vueling from Barcelona had major interruptions in rotations, a total of 45 days in a “piece”, British Airlines from London a total of 35 days, and Vueling from Rome a total of 45 days. According to official data from the Dubrovnik Airport website, there will also be interruptions in rotations this November and December, but less. Thus, only British Airlines will have a longer break lasting a total of 32 days in a row (November 07.11 – December 08.12.2019, 10), while Vueling from Barcelona will have a break in rotations to Dubrovnik of XNUMX days in mid-November this year. As for the winter of 2019/2020, it is clear from all the above that the preconditions for better physical and financial results will only be partially met. As for open restaurants, it is expected that most of them will close as the year progresses, regardless of the stimulating decision of the City of Dubrovnik regarding the exemption from paying rent for public areas of caterers who are mainly engaged in serving food (restaurants, taverns, pizzerias) in the historic core, if they carry out their activities from 1 December 2019 to 29 February 2020. A prerequisite for any meaningful business during the winter period, in parallel with the establishment of a network of winter direct lines, should be quality programs, national and international cultural and other projects, which would be the reason for the arrival of guests at the destination. Cover photo: Jaxson Bryden from Pexels.com
Categories: Editorial, OpinionI have a New Year’s confession.I retweeted President Donald Trump with approval, not something I had expected to do, especially on the subject of Iran.But Trump has been right to get behind the brave Iranian protesters calling for political and economic change. These are the largest popular protests since the Iranian uprising in 2009 against a fraudulent election. I was in an enormous crowd (estimated in the millions) that marched from Tehran’s Enghelab (Revolution) Square to Azadi (Freedom) Square three days after the vote.Fear evaporated in that throng.I asked a young woman to whom I’d been talking what her name was. “My name is Iran,” she replied. The memory still gives me goose bumps.For a few days, the Islamic republic stood on a knife’s edge.I have often asked myself what would have happened if Mir Hussein Moussavi, the leader of the reformist Green Movement who was later placed under house arrest, had told that crowd to march on the seats of power in the name of the ballot box over theocratic whim.Signs of disarray were palpable before the regime led by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei cracked down through the thugs of the Basij militia. The tweet in question read: As I wrote at the time, “There’s nothing more repugnant than seeing women being hit by big men armed with clubs and the license of the state.”In Tehran, then, the silence of the Obama White House was deafening: too little, too late. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed regret over this in 2014.Excessive caution was the mother of the Obama administration’s worst failures, not least in Syria.The slippery slope school of foreign policy has its limitations. Inaction, in the name of the ninth unanswerable “And then what?” question from the president, is as emphatic a statement as action.President Vladimir Putin, among other American rivals, took note.So Trump — even if he understands little or nothing of Iran, even if his talk of Iranian “human rights” sounds hollow from a sometime advocate of torture, even if his support of the Iranian people today is grotesque from the man who has wrongheadedly barred most Iranians from entering the United States — is right to speak up in solidarity and tweet that the “wealth of Iran is being looted” by a “brutal and corrupt Iranian regime.” It is.Given where American-Iranian relations stand, there is not much downside to this bluntness. The Revolution that promised Iranians freedom in 1979 has withered.The monopoly of force will probably be enough to sustain the Islamic republic.A crackdown is probable at some point. The real crisis of the regime will likely come at the moment of Khamenei’s succession.Still, the courage of Iranians should never be underestimated, nor the deep roots of their quest for freedom, and anything is possible.What has not changed since 2009 is the bravery of Iranians.I watched in awe as women stood their ground and faced down baton-wielding police officers.Today, protesters are chanting that Khamenei should go. They are chanting death to the Revolutionary Guards. They are chanting, “Independence, freedom, Iranian republic.” Among the most powerful slogans of demonstrators have been those expressing fury at money wasted in Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere when President Hassan Rouhani had promised jobs, not more of the surrogate wars of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.The demonstrations, this time, are different.They are smaller, but more widespread. They reflect the economic woes of the working class more than middle-class disaffection.They are happening, as Karim Sadjadpour has pointed out in The Atlantic, in an Iran of 48 million smartphones, against fewer than 1 million in 2009 (which is why the regime is trying to block the hugely popular Telegram messaging app).They originated in Mashhad and went on to Qom, two traditional regime strongholds — a sign of the regime’s ideological bankruptcy.The West-leaning middle class, fed up with the hypocrisy of the mullahs, has long sought political change.But the working class has been a pillar of the regime — manipulated with handouts and slogans. If they have shifted now, all the aging Khamenei has left is the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij. Trump’s White House should keep up the pressure.It should bring European allies in behind its condemnation and warnings.It should stop berating the nuclear deal, which gave Iranians hope and deprives the regime of a convenient scapegoat (it could always say times were hard because of Western sanctions).It should not, whatever happens, impose new sanctions: They only benefit the Revolutionary Guards.And it should learn, finally, that Iran is not, as Steve Bannon told Joshua Green, “like the fifth century — completely primeval” — but rather a sophisticated society of deep culture full of unrealized promise better served by engagement than estrangement.Roger Cohen is an op-ed columnist with the International New York Times.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?
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