This summer is surely shaping up nicely, as the newest festival to announce their lineup is High Sierra Music Festival. The four night excursion will take place from June 30-July 3rd in Quincy, CA, capitalizing on the beautiful Northern California climate for an early summer throwdown.Headlining the festival will be Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Thievery Corporation and Joe Russo’s Almost Dead. The full lineup is stacked with sets from Dr. Dog, Greensky Bluegrass, Femi Kuti & The Positive Force, JJ Grey & Mofro, Xavier Rudd, Leftover Salmon, Lettuce, North Mississippi Allstars, ALO, The Floozies, The California Honeydrops, DRKWAV (John Medeski, Skerik & Adam Deitch), The Motet, The New Mastersounds, Turkuaz, Elephant Revival, The Soul Rebels and more! TAUK, Twiddle, The Main Squeeze, Break Science are also featured on the bill.Considering this is just a phase one announcement, we’re certainly optimistic for this great festival. Tickets and more informaion are available via the High Sierra Music Festival website.
This year’s Sloss Music & Arts Festival will take place at the Historic Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark in Birmingham, Alabama on July 16 & 17. Headliners for the 2016 festival include The Flaming Lips, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Death Cab For Cutie, and Ryan Adams, with supporting performances from White Denim, The Arcs, Dr. Dog, Ghostland Observatory, Shovels & Rope, and many more.You can peep the full lineup in this video announcement:With over 30 bands, 3 stages, in just 2 days, the event also features handcrafted cocktails from Redmont Distillery, a new collaboration between Starr Hill Brewery and Trim Tab Brewing Company, crafted especially for the 2016 Sloss Fest. Also new this year is a technology-focused event presented by BBVA Compass and TechBirmingham. For more information, visit the festival’s website. Tickets go on-sale March 4th. Full lineup below:
Load remaining images Setlist: Greensky Bluegrass at The Castle Theatre, Bloomington, IL – 3/16/16Set 1: Help!, Lose My Way, Windshield, Working on a Building, Wheel Hoss, The Four (1) > Wings for Wheels, All Four, DemonsSet 2: In Control, That’s What Love Will Make You Do, New Rize Hill, Casual Wednesday, Cold Feet, Leap Year (2), Old Barns, Hit Parade of Love, Bottle Dry, Better Off, Living OverE: Gumboots(1) Extended jam out of “The Four”(2) Bustin’ Loose teasesFull gallery of images below: There’s just no denying that Greensky Bluegrass is a band on fire. Their live shows continue to bring a passionate intensity, and fans everywhere can’t get enough of their music. The group recently rolled in to The Castle Theatre in Bloomington, IL, playing their hearts out for a fun-loving show. The group opened up with a cover of The Beatles’ “Help!” and went into newer songs “Lose My Way” and “Windshield,” keeping up the energy throughout. A cover of Jerry Garcia’s “That’s What Love Will Make You Do” and Jimmy Martin’s “Hit Parade Of Love” punctuated a great second set full of Greensky originals.Thanks to photographer Rily Cochran, we have a gallery from the performance. Dig it:
For anyone who was hoping Simon & Garfunkel reunion, don’t hold your breath. In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Paul Simon was asked about any possibility of working with Art Garfunkel in the future.Simon sternly responded, “No, out of the question… We don’t even talk.”The singer/songwriter also talks about how he plans to craft setlists for his upcoming tour, saying that fans should expect a selection of songs from Simon’s new album, Stranger to Stranger, which is due out on June 3rd. The new release sounds rather exciting, actually, as Simon explores one-of-a-kind instruments and unique tonal structures.Of course, all of the classics will also be in store. “They wanna hear ‘You Can Call Me Al,’… So I play it. It’s not like I would pick out ‘You Can Call Me Al’ and play it because I really want to, but people like it so much that I’m like, ‘Of course I’ll do it.’ I’ll play ‘Me and Julio [Down by the Schoolyard]’ too, though I actually like ‘Me and Julio.’”Simon’s tour kicks off at Jazz Fest next week, and runs until June. Tour dates can be seen here.[Via Rolling Stone]
With such a lengthy and successful career as Neil Young’s, it’s surprising that anything he does could be a “first” anymore. Then again, Young did just release the first live album to be mixed with choirs, animal noises, traffic and more (read the review here), so it is readily apparent that the singer/songwriter is continuing down a path of novelty, even at age 70. Whether the rejuvenation comes from his work with Promise of the Real, from within, or from somewhere else, it’s quite nice to see Neil Young hard at work.Today we’ve learned that Neil Young will make another first, performing with Promise of the Real at Town Park in the beautiful Telluride, CO. From September 30-October 1st, Young will hit the stage with POTR for what is sure to be two magical evenings of music. The Colorado town has hosted the likes of Phish, Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan and more during its musical tenure.Telluride tickets go on sale next Tuesday, July 26th in Telluride, and will be released to Neil Young’s fan club on the 27th, before a general on sale one day later, on July 28th. Seeing Neil Young’s first-ever Telluride performance is sure to be a memorable experience! All the information can be found here.
Just when you thought all hope was lost for the music business, it turns out that some things do, in fact, get better. Last week, during the 48th week of 2016, vinyl album sales beat digital downloads in the UK for the first time ever. This new statistic, brought to us by the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) and The Vinyl Factory, expresses a huge growth in the vinyl market in just one year’s time.Vinyl sales in the UK tallied £2.4M to digital’s £2.1M in sales last week. For comparison, last year’s sales during the 48th week of the year saw £1.2M in vinyl sales to digital’s £4.4M. This shows a huge shift in consumer preference, as the popularity of vinyl amongst music lovers seems to be growing exponentially.This comes directly after Record Store Day Black Friday and the overall beginning of Christmas season, which may influence results in some way, but the outcome is all the same. Vinyl, at least for a week, is king. While the sales of digital downloads and CDs are plummeting, the sales of vinyl records are on the rise in a huge way.[photo courtesy of David’s Used Books]
Gov’t Mule brought their Southern rock style out West last night, performing at the Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas along their ongoing late winter tour. Mule put down a great performance in Sin City, calling on blues guitarist Chris Tofield and Chris Vos, of opening band The Record Company, for a memorable night of music yesterday, March 4th.The collaborations began when Mule called on Tofield at the end of the first set, jamming out the song “Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody’s Home.” Vos would join in during the encore, letting loose on the blues standard “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl,” before Tofield joined again for the finale, “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man.”Check out some YouTube videos of the collaboration as well as the setlist, all posted below. Setlist: Gov’t Mule | Brooklyn Bowl | Las Vegas, NV | 3/4/17Set One: World Boss, Mr. High & Mighty, Steppin’ Lightly, About To Rage, Whisper In Your Soul, Doing It To Death, Time To Confess, Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody’s Home*Set Two: Railroad Boy, She Said She Said, Tomorrow Never Knows, Fallen Down, The Other One Jam, Kind Of Bird, 30 Days In The Hole, I Don’t Need No DoctorEncore: Good Morning Little Schoolgirl&, Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man*&* = With Chris Tofield& = With Chris Vos[Photo by Rex-A-Vision]
When Strange Design’s Adam Chase and Matthew Chase decided to put together their Phish and James Brown tributes, Jazz Is PHSH and The James Brown Dance Party, it was anybody’s guess that both concepts would take off as much as they have. But performance after performance, the Brothers Chase have brought in some of the most talented musicians from across the jam, funk, and jazz spectrum, and each show is always a treat for spectators who can’t get enough of the two projects. With a performance at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York, serving as their backdrop, both acts are primed and ready to take things to the next level on Saturday, June 3rd. We have a feeling you’ll want to be at The Capitol Theatre when it goes down, particularly when considering Fred Wesley of James Brown Band and the J.B.’s, Eric “Benny” Bloom of Lettuce, and Kofi Burbridge of Tedeschi Trucks Band have all been confirmed for the evening, with more even announcements about special guests on the way (purchase tickets here).Across the various iterations of the James Brown Dance Party and Jazz Is PHSH, both groups have boasted guests from stellar acts such as Snarky Puppy, Trombone Shorty, Galactic, Trey Aanastasio Band, The J.B.’s, James Brown Band, Bootsy Collins Band, Lettuce, Aquarium Rescue Unit, Victor Wooten Band, Break Science, Pretty Lights Live Band, Kung Fu, and more. The rotating cast of all-star musicians just gets better and better each time either tribute comes together, and The Capitol Theatre show will be no different.Clearly, The Capitol Theatre performance is fixing to truly be a heater of a show! Tickets for James Brown Dance Party and Jazz is PHSH show on Saturday, June 3rd are currently on-sale and available at the venue’s website. For show updates and additional information, join the Facebook Event page.[cover photo courtesy of Andrew Scott Blackstein Photography]
Pink Talking Fish is kicking off 2018 with a national winter tour, rocking through a mix of northeast ski destinations, a run through Virginia, and visits to Colorado and New Mexico. The ten-stop tour will culminate with a blowout show at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York with a very exciting show. Following the momentum from last year’s celebration–when the band hosted a 3+ hour performance of the Talking Head’s film Stop Making Sense with special guests from The Meters, Turkuaz, Deep Banana Blackout, and more–Pink Talking Fish have officially one-upped their own game. On February 10th, the Capitol Theatre will present Pink Talking Fish: The Wall.Pink Talking Fish: The Wall will be a full rendition of Pink Floyd’s masterpiece The Wall with Phish and Talking Heads songs intertwined through the album cuts. Like last year, this will be a marathon performance and this interpretation of The Wall promises to explore uncharted territories beyond comprehension. As special guests for the evening, Dopapod guitarist Rob Compa, as well as Sammi Garett and Shira Elias from Turkuaz will be special guests for this event, with many more surprises in store.Here is a full list of upcoming Pink Talking Fish Tour dates:FALL TOUR:11/15: Charleston SC at The Pour House11/16: Charlotte NC at The Rabbit Hole11/17: Birmingham AL at Old Car Heaven11/18: Asheville NC at New Mountain AVL11/19: Atlanta GA at Terminal West11/30: Columbus OH at Woodlands Tavern12/01: Columbus OH at Woodlands Tavern12/02: Columbus OH at Woodlands Tavern12/14: Asbury Park NJ at The Stone Pony12/15: Saratoga Springs NY at Putnam Den12/16: New Haven CT at Toad’s Place – Kung Fu’s Annual Toy’s For Tots BenefitNEW YEARS RUN:12/29: Portland ME at Aura – double bill w/ Kung Fu12/30: New York NY at Irving Plaza – Phish Afterparty12/31: Worcester MA at The Palladium – Big Ball Jam w/ Keller Williams, Percy Hill & Bearly DeadWINTER TOUR:1/12: Plymouth NH at The Flying Monkey1/13: Mount Snow VT at The Snow Barn1/18: Roanoke VA at 5 Points Music Sanctuary1/19: Richmond VA at The National1/20: Norfolk VA at The NorVa1/27: Jay VT at Jay Peak Resort2/03: Crested Butte CO at The Tap Room2/04: Taos NM at Taos Mesa Brewing Company2/05: Denver CO at Cervantes Other Side2/10: Port Chester NY at The Capitol Theatre4/19-21: Live Oak FL at Wanee Music Festival
On June 19th, a new book on the Grateful Dead will be released titled Fare Thee Well: The Final Chapter Of The Grateful Dead’s Long, Strange Trip. While numerous books have been written on the Grateful Dead—ranging from near-academic chronological accounts of the band’s long-storied history to highly specific tomes dedicated to single shows—Fare Thee Well sets itself apart, diving deep into the frequently turbulent relationships among the surviving members of the band following Jerry Garcia’s death in 1995.Written by Joel Selvin, a noted music critic who came to fame with his weekly column in the San Francisco Chronicle, Fare Thee Well holds nothing back in detailing the frequently messy lives of and in-fighting among the surviving Grateful Dead members from 1995 up to the Grateful Dead’s final, historic Fare Thee Well concerts in 2015. With a focus on Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann, and Mickey Hart, the book’s approach is specific yet expansive, tracking other key figures in the extended Grateful Dead family as they weave in and out of the Core Four’s post-Jerry lives.As a fan of the Grateful Dead, in all honesty, the book can be difficult to get through; it shows our musical heroes from the storied band at their sometimes-best but frequently worst, leaning into all the messy details and drama that plagued the Grateful Dead following Jerry’s death. If Amir Bar-Lev’s recently released documentary, Long Strange Trip, implied that Deadhead’s god-like reverence of Jerry Garcia played a hand in the drug addiction that finally did him in, Fare Thee Well refuses to let readers see the surviving members of the band as anything but truly and deeply human.The tales told in the book range from feel-good to hauntingly sad, cringe-y to enraging. Perhaps most interestingly, the book establishes early on the moral code that the Grateful Dead adhered to while Garcia was alive—the all-for-one mentality and the band’s strict adherence to a code of silence when it came to the personal relations among the band—and slowly shows how many of these chief principals decayed with Jerry’s loss. As a reader, this is inherently guilt-inducing: knowing that the band at one point wanted to keep these secrets close to their sleeves, then reading through a 268-page book laying out all the dirt for fans to consume.In fact, Selvin recognizes this in the acknowledgments section of the book,Even all these years later, the remnants of the band’s code of silence remain. People around the musicians continue to be reluctant to openly discuss personal matters or band politics. Many declined the opportunity. Most of the people would have likely demurred had it not been for long-standing personal relations.While the acknowledgments offer a rundown of well-known figures close to the Grateful Dead, it seems as though only Bobby and Mickey spoke to Selvin for the book. That said, Fare Thee Well seems well-researched, though it’s difficult to tell how much contributors’ long-standing resentments have shadowed the “truth” of the book.It seems glaringly obvious throughout that Phil Lesh and his wife, Jill, had very little if anything to do with the project. The writing on them is unforgiving, and Lesh frequently plays the antagonist in Fare Thee Well, with him and his wife depicted as egotistical, combative, unfair, and, at many points, cruel. While it’s likely that they were menaces at points in the years after Jerry’s death, it’s interesting to see how the book is so quick to vilify them.While many passages go deep into the various terrible things the Leshes exacted on the other members of the band—and this is not to defend some of their actions, because they range from annoying (declaring themselves the only ones capable of carrying on the Grateful Dead’s spirit) to despicable (Jill Lesh yelling at a backup singer on tour in front of her child that the singer will always be a nobody)—one wonders what is lost by not having the Leshes’s perspectives on certain situations.At one point late in the book, after paragraphs have been dedicated to outlining various fights between the Leshes and other members of the band, in less than a sentence, Selvin offers why Phil and Bill Kreutzmann had such an on-going tense, if not bad, relationship: Phil always held onto the fact that Bill Kreutzmann had drunkenly groped his wife’s breasts backstage at a show. That incident is glossed over, shockingly so in the era of #metoo, and never referenced again outside that one sentence—highlighting how eager the book is to find the bad guy without contextualizing the various hurts they might have experienced.However, the book is more than a collection of accusations levied against the Grateful Dead bassist. There are charming stories, like a brotherly fight between Mickey and Bobby, with spaghetti central to the fight itself and the way the two lovingly made up the next day. There are stories that are so terrible it’s almost funny, like Bob Weir unceremoniously using a hose to spray Jerry Garcia’s ashes off the side of a boat during an ash-spreading ceremony gone truly awry (“You’ve got to get it all in the water!” he tells those on the boat). There are stories that are truly devastating, like most passages with Vince Welnick, who is a hauntingly sad presence throughout Fare Thee Well.Overall, Joel Selvin’s Fare Thee Well: The Final Chapter Of The Grateful Dead’s Long, Strange Trip is a captivating and fairly comprehensive summary of the Core Four’s years after Jerry Garcia’s death. It’s not necessarily a pretty read—it can brutal at points—but if anything, it will make readers so grateful for the Fare Thee Well shows and that we have been able to see the four of them performing altogether, knowing that will never happen again.You can read a description of Joel Selvin’s upcoming book on the members of the Grateful Dead and their lives after Jerry below. You can also pre-order the book, which is due out on June 19th, via Barnes & Noble.The Grateful Dead rose to greatness under the inspired leadership of guitarist Jerry Garcia, but the band very nearly died along with him. When Garcia passed away suddenly in August of 1995, the remaining band members experienced full crises of confidence and identity. So long defined by Garcia’s vision for the group, the surviving “Core Four,” as they came to be called, were reduced to conflicting agendas, strained relationships, and catastrophic business decisions that would leave the iconic band in shambles. Wrestling with how best to define their living legacy, the band made many attempts at restructuring, but it would take twenty years before relationships were mended enough for the Grateful Dead as fans remembered them to once again take the stage.Acclaimed music journalist and New York Times bestselling author Joel Selvin was there for much of the turmoil following Garcia’s death, and he’ll offer a behind-the-scenes account of the ebbs and flows that occurred during the ensuing two decades. Plenty of books have been written about the rise of the Grateful Dead, but this final chapter of the band’s history has never before been explored in detail. Culminating in the landmark tour bearing the same name, Fare Thee Well charts the arduous journey from Garcia’s passing all the way up to the uneasy agreement between the Core Four that led to the series of shows celebrating the band’s fiftieth anniversary and finally allowing for a proper, and joyous, sendoff of the group revered by so many.
Next month, Rooster Conspiracy will make its San Francisco debut, with guitarist Eric Krasno, bassist Reed Mathis, keyboardist Todd Stoops and drummer Jay Lane offering up their psychedelic, improvisations. Rooster Conspiracy’s San Francisco debut is scheduled for July 26th at The Independent—the night in between Phish’s highly anticipated West Coast performances in San Francisco and Los Angeles.Rooster Conspiracy was actually born from Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann‘s good intentions and celebratory spirit during the first few days of 2017. Having just rung in the new year in a friend’s backyard in Hawaii with a band that included his Billy & the Kids bandmate Reed Mathis and Mathis’ Electric Beethoven bandmate Todd Stoops, Kreutzmann was in the mood to keep jamming. When he heard that Eric Krasno just arrived on his little island of Kauai, he invited the guitarist to join in.In the time since the project’s inception, Rooster Conspiracy has taken on a life of its own. While the Grateful Dead drummer is often unable to make performances on the mainland, Kreutzmann’s presence is still felt in the band’s song selections, which frequently use Grateful Dead songs as a jumping point for creative, exploratory jams. In Kreutzmann’s stead for the upcoming San Francisco show, the band has once again tapped Ratdog and Primus drummer Jay Lane, who has become a staple of the project, previously performing with Rooster Conspiracy at the group’s East Coast debut at Brooklyn Comes Alive in 2017 and more.Tickets for Rooster Conspiracy’s upcoming San Francisco debut at The Independent on July 26th go on sale on Thursday, June 28th, at 12 p.m. (PT) via Ticketfly.
Following their first three-night run ever at The Gorge Amphitheatre in picturesque George, WA, Phish returned to San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, a venue that’s become a favorite for the band and fans alike in the 3.0 era. 2018 marks the fifth run Phish has played at the Bill Graham, yet the first time they’ve played only 2-nights, rather than the usual three-night run. Only five shows into tour, Phish is quickly finding their groove, displaying an impressive amount of guts paired with extreme syncopation and precision.“46 Days” got the show off to a roaring start, as the band took the stage right after 8 p.m. Pacific Time. Being an 8,500 capacity, entirely general admission venue gives the Bill Graham a very special feeling, aside from being in the heart San Francisco, a city rich in rock and roll and psychedelic history. Trey Anastasio‘s tone is sounding impeccable these days, and “46 Days” was a perfect example, as Page McConnell kept pushing Trey to continue peaking during the opening number of the night. Giving Anastasio a chance to catch his breath, McConnell tickled the opening notes of “McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters”. Page laid down some serious work on the grand piano throughout the song, leading the way through the breezy Gamehendge journey.Trey’s opening riff to “Pigtail” rang out next, and the crowd seemed loose and settled-in, singing along to the Anastasio/Tom Marshall tune, which was debuted at the DCU Center in Worcester, MA 12/28/2010 but only recently entered a semi-regular rotation in the band’s live shows. With fairly little improvisation, the band was quickly on to “Cities”, with Mike Gordon hammering away, looking lean and mean. Following the main-theme of the Talking Heads tune, the band slowly crept into blissful territory with a sprinkle of some dark-Phish, taking the “Cities” jam out for a ride. Jon Fishman‘s almost metronome-like attentiveness allowed for Anastasio and Gordon to lock into a solid groove before pumping the breaks and moving on.The band changed gears from there, with Gordon taking vocal duties on “Nellie Kane”, the classic penned by bluegrass pioneers, Hot Rize. Trey laid down some seriously aggressive licks, before hopping into a funk-filled bowl of “Gumbo”. McConnell quickly took matters into his own hands, standing up and tinkering away on the clavinet. When Page stands, everyone stands, and the intimate room roared as McConnell kept soaring higher and higher. Crashing back into the chorus, the band kept their momentum going, marching into the sweet-sounding opening of “Guyute”. Phish nailed “Guyute”, reciprocating the crowd’s raucous energy at the first indoor venue of the tour. Anastasio’s lofty peaks in the final minutes of “Guyute” bounced off the walls, with Fishman keeping up the perfect pace.Following in the “animal” theme of the first set, “serpents, snails, and slugs” of “Axilla” came out to play, leading way to another creature, “The Dogs”. With Page’s signature dog-howling effect taking charge, Trey seemingly mimicked the dogs on his Languedoc, blasting off into a fierce and fiery solo on the Chilling, Thrilling tune. The setlist did not have any crazy Type 2 improv, but the song selection was on point, as things kept flowing into the emotional opening whistles of “Dirt”. Free from push and shove, the rowdy mood of the Bill Graham toned down, and Phish showed off their vocal prowess as Gordon and McConnell blended a tasteful harmony behind Anastasio’s lead. Everyone needs a moment to reflect on all of life’s gifts and sometimes hardships, and “Dirt” last night provided just this. Changing gears once again, “David Bowie” brought set one to a close, highlighted by some soaring guitar peaks, as Big Red continued to pick up the pace through the jam’s final climax.Phish came back out for second set opening with “Moma Dance”, marking only the third time the band has opened second set with it since 2009, the other two times being in 2009. This “Moma Dance” also marked the first repeat of 2018’s summer tour, as well as the first “Moma” at the Bill Graham since 2014’s memorable rendition, when Phish worked in a “We Are The Champions” jam to resounding applause as the local San Francisco Giants simultaneously wrapped up their World Series game 7 victory in Kansas City. Harnessing the Bill Graham’s unbeatable energy, Anastasio ripped through “Moma”, getting the dance party fully engaged.Smoothly segueing into “A Song I Heard The Ocean Sing”, the band prepared for liftoff and took the jam deep into a realm of exploratory sonic textures. McConnell kept the upbeat “ASIHTOS” rolling, as his three bandmates followed behind his delicate work on the organ. This led the way to a massive explosion by Anastasio, letting it all hang out. With the building practically in flames, Anastasio and McConnell pushed back into the main theme of the song, delivering a final verse and chorus.“Mercury” has quickly became a favorite second-set staple in the Phish catalog since its 2015 debut, and last night the band worked through the complex and ambitious jam precisely, with Anastasio putting on a show with his washy Leslie speaker effect that he’s been thoroughly enjoying utilizing since the tart of summer tour. The jam patiently worked its way into a spacey-voyage, with Trey sustaining bold, peaking notes, allowing Gordon and Fishman to create a complex rhythmic backbone. Things kept escalating and growing, with McConnell tickling the ivories in between Anastasio’s monstrous solos, leading to a massive peak.The heavy jams kept coming as “Carini” approached, quickly moving into a fast-paced funk bounce, with Anastasio providing splashy riffs behind an infectious Gordon groove. Tuesday’s “Carini” had a unique flow, harnessing speed and tenacity from start to finish. The jam cruised into a feel-good segment out of the funk, with Anastasio taking full reins as his bandmates followed attentively, leading to a gargantuan, explosive Anastasio peak. There are moments when Phish starts sounding perfect—and last night’s “Carini” was A+, top-notch, perfect Phish.The jam slowly fizzled out, and the San Francisco crowd erupted, leaving nothing for the band to do but drop into another fast-paced favorite, “Maze”. As Fishman’s opening signature drumbeat grew louder, “Maze” took off, and the race between Anastasio and McConnell was on. The energy of the night never stopped growing, as Trey’s final peaking segment of “Maze” could have shattered any glass window within 500 feet. As Mike’s sticky bass tones signaled the start of “Boogie On Reggae Woman”, any thought of a slower song getting in the way of this top-notch Phish set was in the rearview mirror.The “Boogie” was short-lived, but seamlessly flowed into the opening of “Harry Hood”. Picking away delicately and effortlessly, Anastasio glimmered beneath Chris Kuroda‘s spectacle of a light show, with the 8,500 person crowd bouncing along in unison. Continuing in the theme of the night, Anastasio and McConnell interlocked in an exploratory space voyage, with McConnell charging to the finish line on the grand piano, forcing Anastasio, Gordon, and Fishman to chase him down. Everyone at last nights show can feel good about Hood, and the band sure as hell did, too. Phish came back out for their encore with “Squirming Coil”, letting McConnell steal the show one more time as Fishman, Anastasio and then Gordon, slowly exited the stage, leaving the Chairman of the Boards to take the final bow.Phish returns to the Bill Graham tonight for their second of two performances tonight, which they will webcast free of charge. Next, they’ll head south to The Forum in Inglewood, CA for a pair of performances on Friday and Saturday. For a full list of Phish’s upcoming dates, head to the band’s website.Setlist: Phish | Bill Graham Civic Auditorium | San Francisco, CA| 7/24/2018Set I: 46 Days, Mcgrupp And The Watchful Hosemasters, Pigtail, Cities> Nellie Kane, Gumbo, Guyute, Axilla, The Dogs, Dirt, David BowieSet II: The Moma Dance> A Song I Heard The Ocean Sing> Mercury> Carini> Maze, Boogie On Reggae Woman> Harry HoodE: Squirming Coil
[Video: LazyLightning55a]Grammy Award-winner, Maurice “Mo Betta” Brown, is a renowned trumpeter who defies genre, having performed with huge names from the worlds of jazz, blues-rock, and hip-hop. Formerly of Tedeschi Trucks Band (with whom he won a Grammy for Best Blues Album in 2012, after arranging the horn parts on the group’s debut album, Revelator), Mo Betta has recorded with Aretha Franklin, Wyclef Jean, De La Soul, Macy Gray, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Lettuce, and The Roots, among others, and produced tracks for Talib Kweli, Omar, and Prodigy. The sensational performer is also a veteran of Brooklyn Comes Alive, having served as an unofficial artist-at-large last year when he was invited up as a surprise guest for numerous sets across the weekend.Herbie Hancock Tribute featuring Maurice Brown – “Watermelon Man” – Brooklyn Comes Alive 2018 Trumpet star Maurice Brown, improvisational virtuoso Dave Harrington, and the Disco Biscuits‘ keyboard wizard Aron Magner have all been announced as Artists-at-Large for this year’s edition of Brooklyn Comes Alive. All three musicians will be on hand throughout the day to sit-in with the many supergroups, tribute sets, and once-in-a-lifetime collaborations that Brooklyn Comes Alive has to offer.In addition to being one-fourth of one of the most celebrated jam bands in the scene, The Disco Biscuits’ Aron Magner has become a staple at Brooklyn Comes Alive. The versatile keyboardist has been a fan-favorite player and collaborator for years, frequently performing with a number of heavy-hitting super jams and rare side projects—such as Breaking Biscuits, a group featuring the Biscuits’ Aron Magner and Marc Brownstein and Break Science‘s Adam Deitch and Borahm Lee, which he debuted in 2016 at Brooklyn Comes Alive— and supergroups, such as his tenure as a member of Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann‘s 2014 solo project, Billy & The Kids.Breaking Biscuits – “Little Fluffy Clouds” – Brooklyn Comes Alive 2018 The fourth-annual Brooklyn Comes Alive will return to Brooklyn’s beloved Williamsburg neighborhood on September 29th for an all-day music marathon at Brooklyn Bowl, Music Hall of Williamsburg and Rough Trade. Inspired by the vibrant musical communities of Brooklyn and New Orleans, Brooklyn Comes Alive brings together more than 50 artists, allowing them to carry out passion projects, play with their musical heroes, and collaborate in never-before-seen formations. Tickets are on sale now on Eventbrite. Visit BrooklynComesAlive.com for more information. [Video: Live For Live Music]The third and final artist-at-large at Brooklyn Comes Alive 2018 is Dave Harrington, who is also scheduled to appear with the Karina Rykman Experiment at the festival along Robert Walter of the 20th Congress. A critically acclaimed multi-instrumentalist and improvisational guru based out of New York City, Harrington blurs genres, blending sounds in a unique way that makes him one of the more exciting and unpredictable players on the scene. He is a former member of Darkside, which featured him and frequent collaborator Nicholas Jaar, and also often plays with Joe Russo, occasionally performing together as an experimental duo. Dave Harrington is also a BCA vet, having led Dave Harrington’s Merry Pranksters last year, which was one of the most psychedelic and buzzed-about sets of the weekend.Dave Harrington & Joe Russo – Nubul – New York, NY – 3/2/2018 [Video: LazyLightning55a]
Tedeschi Trucks Band has announced their first fall tour dates for 2019, as the 12-piece band will play a trio of shows in the Southwest this November.Tedeschi Trucks Band will open up the run at Tulsa, OK’s Brady Theater on November 12th, followed by a show at San Antonio, TX’s Tobin Center for the Performing Arts on November 14th. TTB will finish out the run with a performance at Austin, TX’s Bass Concert Hall on November 15th.A fan pre-sale is currently underway using the code “TRUCKS.” Tickets go on sale to the general public this Friday, March 1st at 10 a.m. (CST).Tonight, Tedeschi Trucks Band continues their winter tour with a performance at The Met in Philadelphia, PA. On Thursday, the band will then head to Birmingham, AL’s Alabama Theatre, followed by shows at Augusta, GA’s William B. Bell Auditorium and Asheville, NC’s Thomas Wolfe Auditorium this weekend.Head to Tedeschi Trucks Band’s website for a full list of upcoming tour dates and more information.
The B-52’s have announced an extensive world tour in celebration of their 40th anniversary, which began in 2018 and will continue through this fall. OMD and Berlin will offer support at select U.S. stops along the tour.The B-52’s will open up their tour in May with festival appearances at West Palm Beach, FL’s Sunfest (5/4); Arlington, TX’s KAABOO Texas (5/12); and Nashville, TN’s Nashville Boogie Vintage Weekender, followed by a series of European performances throughout June and early-July.The band will open up their extensive North American run of shows at Costa Mesa, CA’s Pacific Amphitheatre on August 1st, and will continue through September 24th with a special tour-closing performance at New York City’s Summerstage – Central Park.“Who knew that when we played our first house dance party in Athens, Georgia in 1976 that we would be still be rocking the house in 2019?” vocalist Kate Pierson explains in a press release. “Visiting over 10 countries to perform for our fans around the globe makes us so incredibly happy. Let’s rock!” vocalist Cindy Wilson adds.Additionally, Billboard notes that the band has teamed up with producer Fred Armisen and director Craig Johnson for a forthcoming documentary.Head to The B-52’s website for ticketing and more information.The B-52’s 2019 World Tour Dates:May 4 West Palm Beach, FL Sunfest*May 12 Arlington, TX KAABOO Texas*May 26 Nashville, TN Nashville Boogie Vintage Weekender*June 21 Vitoria, Spain Azkena Rock Festival*^June 23 Amsterdam, Netherlands Paradiso**^June 24 Brussels, Belgium Ancienne Belgique**^June 26 Cologne, Germany E-Werk**^June 27 Berlin, Germany Columbiahalle**^June 29 Gateshead Sage, UK Gateshead Sage**^June 30 London, UK Eventim Apollo**^July 2 Nottingham, UK Royal Concert Hall**^July 3 Manchester, UK O2 Apollo**^July 5 Paris, France Olympia**^July 7 Argeles Sur Me, France Festival les Deferlantes*^August 1 Costa Mesa, CA Pacific Amphitheatre**August 3 San Diego, CA Bayside Summer Nights @ Embarcadero Marina Park**August 4 Los Angeles, CA Microsoft TheaterAugust 6 Portland, OR Oregon Zoo AmphitheaterAugust 7 Seattle, WA BECU ZooTunes Concert SeriesAugust 8 Missoula, MT Kettlehouse AmphitheaterAugust 10 Bend, OR Les Schwab AmphitheaterAugust 11 Murphys, CA Ironstone AmphitheatreAugust 12 Saratoga, CA TheMountain WineryAugust 14 Phoenix, AZ Comerica TheatreAugust 16 Salt Lake City, UT Red Butte Garden AmphitheatreAugust 17 Dillon, CO Dillon Amphitheater**August 18 Greenwood Village, CO Fiddler’s Green AmphitheatreAugust 21 San Antonio, TX The Majestic TheaterAugust 22 Austin, TX Bass Concert HallAugust 24 Sugarland, TX Smart Financial CentreAugust 25 New Orleans, LA Saenger TheatreAugust 28 Clearwater, FL Ruth Eckerd HallSeptember 6 Greensboro, NC White Oak Amphitheatre at Greensboro Coliseum ComplexSeptember 7 Atlanta, GA Cadence Bank Amphitheatre at Chastain ParkSeptember 8 Huber Heights, OH Rose Music Center at the HeightsSeptember 11 Grand Rapids, MI Fifth Third Bank Summer Concerts at Meijer GardensSeptember 13 Toronto, ONT, CA Sony Centre for the Performing ArtsSeptember 14 Detroit, MI Meadow Brook AmphitheatreSeptember 17 Washington, DC The AnthemSeptember 19 Philadelphia, PA Mann Center for the Performing ArtsSeptember 20 Mashantucket, CT Foxwoods Resort Casino – Grand TheaterSeptember 22 Asbury Park, NJ Sea.Hear.Now Festival*September 24 New York, NY Summerstage – Central ParkAll dates are with The B52s, OMD and Berlin unless noted below.*Festival Date^European Tour**Headline DateView Tour Dates
“This is a wonderful story of collaboration and imagination,” said Harvard President Drew Faust, moments before cutting a ribbon yesterday afternoon to open the new Harvard Center for Biological Imaging (CBI).The facility, on the second floor of the BioLabs at 16 Divinity Ave., is not just another room filled with microscopes. For everything about the facility is unique, from its conception, to its open design, to the fact that its equipment will be replaced every 24 to 36 months.But what may be the most important aspect of the CBI, Faust said, is not its collection of cutting-edge scientific instruments, but rather that “it makes the instruments the instruments of collaboration, as well as the instruments of science. And that, to me, is tremendously important.” The fact that the new center is furthering interdisciplinary, collaborative science at Harvard is why Faust offered to help provide funding for it.Jeremy Bloxham, the Mallinckrodt Professor of Geophysics, professor of computational science, and dean of science in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, told those attending the ribbon cutting that “as I look back over the last five to 10 years, there’s a real change to how science is supported at Harvard. It used to be that individual investigators were supported, [and] equipment would disappear into their labs and wouldn’t be used by anybody other than the members of that particular lab group.“Now, we have a much stronger emphasis on building centers. We do that not just [because it’s] financially more effective to build centers, but because it’s scientifically more effective to build centers. … It’s having people interact with each other … having people bump into each other while using the instrumentation [helps to ensure] that new ideas emerge and people find new ways of doing things,” Bloxham said.Quoting 18th century satirist and essayist Jonathan Swift, Faust noted, “‘Vision … is the art of seeing things invisible.’ I thought of this not just because the center is dedicated to making the invisible visible,” Faust said, “but also because every step in its creation … was made possible by this ability to make the invisible possible.”The envisioning of the center began with Jeff Lichtman, a professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB), asking first himself, and then colleagues in his and other departments, what doesn’t work about the way most imaging is done, and what might correct that.“I’ve been a director of imaging centers for 20 years,” said Lichtman, who is now the director of the new CBI, “so I know what their strengths and weaknesses are, and there were a number of weaknesses I wanted to address. One serious problem,” he said, “is that the expense of these devices [the microscopes] is enormous — they literally cost what a house costs. And with the pace imaging technology is moving forward, within three or four years they’re out of date.“We needed an evergreen imaging facility,” Lichtman said in an interview. As an observer of the “sociology of science,” Lichtman said, “Laboratories know certain technologies, but when you have a field that’s moving forward rapidly, you can have a mismatch between the gray-head lab heads and the microscopists. The students are young and open-minded … but normally there’s no opportunity for students using one piece of equipment to have real exchange with people using others.”Lichtman, MCB assistant professor Sharad Ramanathan, and MCB chair Catherine Dulac, the Higgins Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology, proposed creating a center with a unique open architecture. Rather than have individual microscopes sequestered in closed rooms, the center’s scopes would all be at stations in an open space, with direct-down lighting, and easily moveable 5-foot-high partitions around the instruments. With that arrangement, scientists and students would all be exposed to all of the technologies being used, and the work going on, in the center. The CBI eventually will have a dozen microscopes, including several that have been placed there by individual researchers, including Dulac and Doug Melton, the chairman of the new Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology (SCRB).Additionally, they developed what Lichtman calls a unique “health club” model for the use of the center. “Normally, facilities work on an hourly rate, typically $30 to $60 per hour to use the equipment,” he explained. “That is a tremendous damper on students trying to learn to use devices; they spend 10 hours, and it’s $600. Instead, labs wanting to use the CBI will purchase annual memberships at $2,000 per year per person. That works out to about an hour-and-a-half a week at $30 an hour, and most labs use way, way more than 1.5 hours per week,” Lichtman said.Then came the question of how to ensure that the CBI is always filled with state-of-the-art equipment. Jim Sharp, president of Carl Zeiss Microimaging, came up with a unique solution to that problem: Rather than purchase microscopes, at upwards of a half-million dollars each, the CBI and Zeiss worked out a leasing arrangement that not only guarantees that the microscopes will be replaced with the latest equipment every 24 to 36 months, but also provides for a Zeiss engineer to be at the CBI full time, maintaining the delicate instruments and helping the researchers work through any problems with them. Additionally, Zeiss will ask Harvard scientists working in the CBI to evaluate Zeiss equipment still in the alpha and beta stages of development.“We would like to learn from you; we’d like to look over your shoulder so we too can improve,” Sharp said during the ribbon-cutting ceremony.Though the new imaging facility is in the BioLabs, it is open to researchers from all across the Cambridge and Longwood campuses, as well as to those with laboratories in affiliated hospitals throughout the area.One of those attending the opening was CONTACT _Con-3C179B75AAE Jeffrey Macklis, a professor in SCRB, whose laboratory is moving from Massachusetts General Hospital to the Bauer Building in Cambridge. Macklis said he’d been talking about such a facility with other members of SCRB for some time, so when he heard the idea of the center, he embraced it, and has already purchased CBI memberships for 20 members of hislab. “We’re very excited about coming together with our MCB colleagues,” Macklis said. “Just having Jeff Lichtman thinking about our microscopy is worth the membership alone.”
HLS Dean Martha Minow received the Gold Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Public Discourse from the College Historical Society of Trinity College, Dublin at a ceremony on Nov. 13, 2012. The College Historical Society, popularly referred to as “The Hist,” is one of the world’s oldest undergraduate debating societies, established in 1770. It is “built on a belief that discourse and intellectualism are vital to the program of society.”Minow received the award for her leadership in the area of human rights and her advocacy for members of racial and religious minorities, women, and persons with disabilities. Upon accepting the award, she gave a lecture on the question, “Should Child Soldiers be Forgiven?”Previous recipients of the Gold Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Public Discourse include Iranian judge and civil rights activist Shirin Ebadi, Burmese politician and democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, author, activist and philosopher Noam Chomsky, economist Jeffery Sachs, economist Joseph Stiglitz and former president of South Africa F.W. de Klerk.The late Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy was also a recipient. Upon receiving the medal, he stated, “I consider this occasion one of the greatest honors of my public life, as well as an opportunity to express myself in matters that I feel are vital to our time.”
When the American runner Jesse Owens outdistanced the competition on his way to winning four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Nazi leader Adolph Hitler’s response was to suggest a possible link between Owens’ performance and the fact he was African-American.This led the anthropologist W. Montague Cobb to publish the 1936 article “Race and Runners,” which was intended to dispel the idea that Owens’ winning performance was somehow related to race. Through numerous measures and physical tests, Cobb found no distinct evidence that would attribute Owens’ abilities to his race.Cobb’s study, along with many other examinations and investigations of differences in human physiology — such as noses, hair, sweat glands, ears, and feet, and reactions to many diseases — are examined in “The Nature of Difference: Sciences of Race in the United States from Jefferson to Genomics” by Harvard College Dean Evelynn M. Hammonds. The book examines the many instances throughout history where race played a role in the scientific investigation of human differences.Hammonds discussed her book Friday in Sever Hall before about 50 students. She said her intention in putting the book together was to show that over time, society’s preconceptions of race have played a role in many scientific, medical, and anthropological studies.“When people think about science, they think about it being objective. Therefore, the idea that something like race could be part and parcel of scientific questions is not intuitive for many people because science is supposed to provide unambiguous answers and not leave you with lots of questions,” she said.Hammonds, the Barbara Gutmann Rosenkrantz Professor of the History of Science and professor of African and African American studies, presented her talk as part of Wintersession, the time between terms that allows students who have returned before the start of classes to experience unusual opportunities. A College-led programming initiative, Wintersession offers students a wide range of elective activities, allowing them to pursue artistic or creative passions, explore a career interest, or participate in recreational activities with friends.Hammonds told the students she was surprised that after the Jamaican Olympian Usain Bolt won successive gold medals in 2008 and 2012, questions about what made him excel were raised, similar to the way they were raised about Owens.“All humans have differences. Why is it so hard to leave it at that? Why can’t that answer be the definitive end one about our differences?” she said. “It still surprises me that a fraught, imprecise, historically contingent concept like race is still offered as an explanation for human differences in the 21st century. When I first read about Jesse Owens, I wasn’t surprised at what happened in 1936. But when I saw sportswriters were asking similar questions about Usain Bolt, I couldn’t believe that people are still asking questions about the relationship between race and athletic performance.”After the talk, the students said the information Hammonds discussed was eye-opening.“This was a really good talk. I thought the different physiological studies of the 1800s was kind of surprising,” said Kimberly Mihayo ’15. “The persistence of the question of race, and why the discussions about race have not changed over time, I also found interesting.”“The Nature of Difference” republishes several studies of human dissimilarities, from the time of Thomas Jefferson to the present. Hammonds stressed it is important to look at the long history of the study of differences in humans because even though scientific methods and societal perceptions change, the study of such differences has tried continuously to answer the same questions.“If there is one thing we hope students learn from this book, it is we are these debates. We are the ones who keep raising these questions in the same ways, over and over again,” Hammonds said.The first 40 students received copies of the book, with a chance to have Hammonds sign them. But the chance to hear directly from the scholar is what brought most students to Sever Hall during Wintersession.“I thought it was really fascinating. I know people who have had her in class, and I have heard really good things about her as an intellectual. Not only is she the dean, but she is also a scholar, so this was a good opportunity to hear her speak,” said Elise Baranouski ’15.
For those who practice medicine, the fee-for-service business model and “production pressure”—the requirement to see as many patients in as little time as possible—are impediments, according to Lucian Leape, adjunct professor of health policy at Harvard School of Public Health and a leader of the patient safety movementIn a Q&A with MedPage Today, Leape was asked for the most important advice he could give to medical students or new doctors. “Don’t let the paperwork, red tape, data collection, and bureaucratic nonsense keep you from enjoying the reality of taking care of patients,” he said. Read Full Story
In 1994, Richard Lazarus was named to the Environmental Protection Agency’s newly created federal advisory committee on environmental justice. Among its responsibilities: helping implement President Bill Clinton’s executive order on environmental justice. But the task force’s first act, recalled the Howard and Katherine Aibel Professor of Law, amounted to a coup.Then-EPA chief Carol Browner????s decision to have the head of a state agency lead the group was “a major misstep” said Lazarus, and the committee promptly rejected her choice. “You don’t put the head of a state agency in charge of anything to do with environmental justice.”The rebuff highlighted a glaring disconnect within the environmental justice movement at the time, Lazarus said. “The whole problem was that mainstream environmental groups and agencies had not been paying attention to the needs and distinct interests, from the environmental protection perspective, of low-income communities and communities of color in the United States.”When the student-led Harvard Environmental Law Society (HELS) hosts the 26th annual National Association of Environmental Law Societies Conference Friday and Saturday at HLS, decision-makers representing a range of sectors in the environmental justice movement will be part of the discussion. In recognition of the 20th anniversary of Clinton’s executive order, the two-day event will explore the current environmental justice landscape, as well as strategies to uphold environmental law as a national priority.“Unlike the EPA back in the 1990s, the students got it,” said Lazarus who praised the conference planners for bringing together community organizers with “people who have been major players and inspirational leaders in this area from all walks.”“This is not just something where there are going to be a bunch of national leaders who run the show. It is all about community empowerment.”In preparing to bid for the national conference, a team of students led by HELS co-presidents Genevieve Parshalle ’15 and Cecilia Segal ’15 considered a framework built around a hot-button issue such as climate change or hydraulic fracking. They opted instead for a subject they think has received less attention, but could “gain traction” with other students.“Environmental justice is more interdisciplinary and touches on things like social justice, civil rights,” said Segal. “A lot of people are passionate about those topics and we realized we would get a much broader appeal with a topic like this; this is actually more about humans affected on a daily basis.”Among the roughly 200 attendees will be social scientists, lawyers, community organizers, representatives from state and federal agencies, grass-roots activists, and students.“I am thrilled to be attending Harvard Law School’s Environmental Justice Conference,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator for EPA New England. “Environmental justice is such an important topic, one that is in fact critical to EPA’s mission.”The first day of the conference will explore the roots of the environmental justice movement and include a talk by Texas Southern University’s Robert Bullard, whom many consider the father of the environmental justice movement. Lisa Jackson, former EPA head and now vice president of environmental initiatives at Apple, will also speak.On Saturday, the discussion will turn to specific issues of food justice, urban environmental justice, and access to clean energy. The event will conclude with a series of informal discussion sessions with Spalding and representatives from other federal agencies. Organizers plan to blog about the conference for the EPA’s website.“I think it is just an amazing opportunity to see what happens when you get all these people together with the express purpose of thinking about what’s worked, what hasn’t worked, and how can we move forward on this topic,” said Parshalle. “It will be really exciting to see what suggestions come out of it, and to see if we can really help move the conversation forward.”Harvard is emerging as a national presence in environmental law, said Lazarus. In 2005, the School hired Jody Freeman, a leading scholar in administrative and environmental law, to launch its environmental law program. Today the program includes a clinic and the Environmental Policy Initiative, a resource for federal and state officials.“It would have been unimaginable anytime before now since 1970 to have Harvard host this meeting,” said Lazarus. “But the fact we are really is a statement about where the program has come.”Both the Law School’s commitment to the issue and the students involved in the environmental program were critical in securing the conference, he added.“The students are extraordinary. They put in the bid. They came up with the environmental justice theme. They did it. … It’s a wonderfully, sensitively constructed program.”Asked about the status of environmental justice 20 years after Clinton’s order, Lazarus said, “In the mid-’90s there was a tremendous sense that we were going to see a sea change in the ways that environmental laws were administered and enforced. I think that those very optimistic sentiments have been realized, but only in part.”To learn more about the conference, visit the NAELS 2014 website.
Anne Peretz, founder of Parenting Journey (formerly The Family Center, Inc.), and Chris Byner, interim executive director of Boston Centers for Youth and Families (BCYF), will be honored at this year’s Summer Urban Program Auction, an annual fundraiser held by Phillips Brooks House Association (PBHA). The auction, which will take place at Harvard University’s Knafel Center on April 15, raises money for PBHA’s award-winning summer camps for low-income families, while celebrating community members whose work enriches the lives of youth and families in Boston and Cambridge.Peretz is the founder of The Family Center, Inc., a family therapy clinic and family support program geared to low income and immigrant families. The Family Center (now known as The Parenting Journey) has also developed powerful curriculum for new parents, as well as training social workers and teachers in how to support families more effectively. There are currently over 500 Parenting Journey sites in several cities and Peretz has recently developed a comparable program in Burundi.Byner oversees BCYF’s network of 35 community centers, located in nearly every neighborhood in Boston. Byner is a former manager of the Streetworkers Program, a national model for effective youth violence prevention and intervention services. The success of the Boston Streetworkers Program has caused community and police groups to seek Byner’s help in setting up similar programs in other cities across the country. Read Full Story
On Saturday nights, Mark Mauriello ’15 sprinkles an eerie magic in Oberon, the black-box space of the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.). Painted in gold and green, dusted in glitter, and swirling on roller skates, Mauriello portrays Dr. Wheelgood, a fairy-like creature with a love of foreign substances in “The Donkey Show,” Diane Paulus’ disco-inspired version of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”But this week, Mauriello will forego his skates for a turn as playwright and author Oscar Wilde during a three-night run at Oberon of his show “OSCAR at The Crown and the love that dare not speak its name.” The production, his senior project, is the culmination of his four years in Cambridge, he said, where he crafted his own concentration in theater arts and performance and immersed himself in Harvard’s rich arts scene, working closely with the A.R.T. and the Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club.“It’s like a combination of the work that I’ve done here in my special concentration,” said Mauriello, “living between a world of theater and theater studies, dramatic-arts courses and dramatic literature courses in the English department, and also taking some art-history courses, and VES [visual and environmental studies] courses that are studio-based.”It was one of those courses that led him to Wilde, in a sophomore seminar that explored his work and his successful yet tragic life. The story was meant for the stage, said Mauriello, whose play opens on Wilde at the height of his career and charts his destruction following three very public trials, his conviction in 1895 for gross indecency for having sexual relations with a man, and his sentence to two years of hard labor. One of the show’s main themes, said Mauriello, is the notion of the public versus private persona, and how far people go to control their image: “In the beginning of the play, Wilde is at his peak. He has immense control over himself and the way he was being perceived by others, and the way he interacted with the world.”Mauriello, who also directs the show, thinks the piece will resonate with audiences familiar with the ubiquitous form of self-expression known as the selfie, and the desire to present a picture-perfect image to friends, relatives, and even strangers via social media. But he also hopes to offer them something unexpected. “The idea behind the show is that as [Wilde’s] life and his world begin to deteriorate, the show starts to deteriorate,” Mauriello said.The first act opens with a party-like atmosphere. Singers and dancers appear onstage alongside Wilde, who acts as if “he owns the room.” Once the party devolves, a brief video interlude fills in the story of Wilde’s three trials. In the third act, the dancing girls, electronic music (composed by Mauriello’s friend Andrew Barret Cox, an Emerson College graduate), and flashing lights are gone. In their place is Mauriello, alone on stage with a piano.“Even the theatrical structure, like character, get teased apart,” said Mauriello, who wants to leave his audiences wondering, “Is that Oscar Wilde? Is that an actor playing Oscar Wilde? Is that Mark?“My hope for the audience … is that we kind of surprise you with where we go.”Mauriello’s concentration looks a lot like the new theater, dance, and media concentration recently approved by members of Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences. He said he likely would have chosen that option had it been available when he was a sophomore, but Harvard’s flexibility and support enabled him to chart his own artistic course regardless.“I feel like I’ve found the right path, and looking back it was exactly the right thing for me. It feels good to get to the end and think, ‘OK, I think I did it right.’”Still, Mauriello is thrilled for the students coming up behind him who can take advantage of the new concentration.“Harvard has done so much for the arts, especially in recent years, to recognize them and to elevate them and make them an important part of our culture … I think just putting them on this equal plane with other academic fields says a lot.”“OSCAR at The Crown and the love that dare not speak its name” runs April 15 and 16 at 8 p.m. and April 17 at 10:30 p.m.
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) recently announced the election of seven Harvard faculty members among its 84 new members and 21 foreign associates. Members are chosen for their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research, and will be formally inducted into the NAS at its annual meeting next year.The newly elected members of Harvard include:Robert H. Bates, Eaton Professor of the Science of Government in the departments of government and African and African American Studies. Bates’ research focuses on the political economy of development, particularly in Africa, and on violence and state failure.Catherine Dulac, Higgins Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology, investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dulac’s group uses molecular, genetic, and electrophysiological techniques to explore the molecular and neuronal basis of innate social behaviors in the mouse. They investigate the architecture and functional logic of neuronal circuits underlying pheromone signaling and the phenomenon of genomic imprinting in the brain.Scott V. Edwards, professor of organismic and evolutionary biology, curator of ornithology, Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology in the Museum of Comparative Zoology. Edwards’ major interests include multilocus phylogeography and speciation in birds, genome evolution during the transition from reptiles to birds, host-pathogen interactions, the evolutionary consequences of disease outbreaks, and statistical models for inferring multilocus phylogenies, and historical demography.Alfred L. Goldberg, professor of cell biology, Harvard Medical School. Goldberg’s major discoveries have concerned the biochemical mechanisms and physiological regulation of protein breakdown in cells and the importance of this process in human disease. His laboratory first demonstrated the non-lysosomal ATP-dependent pathway for protein breakdown, now termed the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway.Jeannie T. Lee, professor of genetics and pathology, Harvard Medical School, molecular biologist, Massachusetts General Hospital, investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Lee specializes in the study of epigenetic regulation by long noncoding RNA using X-chromosome inactivation as a model system. Her lab has made several contributions toward understanding how RNA directs chromatin and gene expression change.Bruce Western, professor of sociology, Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Professor of Criminal Justice Policy, director of the Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy, faculty chair of the Criminal Justice Policy and Management Program, John F. Kennedy School of Government. Western’s research broadly studies the relationship between political institutions and social and economic inequality. He has long-standing interests in criminal justice policy, incarceration, and the effects of incarceration on poor communities.Hao Wu, Asa and Patricia Springer Professor of Structural Biology, professor in the Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School, and Boston Children’s Hospital’s program in cellular and molecular medicine. Wu’s lab focuses on elucidating the molecular mechanism of signal transduction by immune receptors, especially innate immune receptors. Her lab uses X-ray crystallography in conjunction with other biochemical and biophysical methods, such as electron microscopy, to elucidate the protein-protein interactions involved in these processes.The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit institution that was established under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. It recognizes achievement in science by election to membership, and — with the National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council — provides science, technology, and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations.
In the opening sequence of “Love Story,” a voiceover declares that the film is about a young woman named Jenny Cavalleri who dies at 25. That young woman, played by Ali MacGraw, loved “Mozart, Bach, the Beatles … and me.” The “me” is Oliver Barrett IV, played by Ryan O’Neal.Depending on whom you ask, the movie is either corny or enduring. But when “Love Story” was released in 1970 it became a zeitgeist hit, a modern “Romeo and Juliet” that lifted its young leads to stardom.And it all started at Harvard — the movie, written by Erich Segal ’58, A.M. ’59, Ph.D., ’65, was one of the last granted permission to film throughout campus, in spots as iconic as Harvard Stadium and alongside University students.In the 45 years since its release, “Love Story” has remained a touchstone for people who came of age in the ’60s and ’70s, as well as incoming Harvard freshmen, for whom a pre-semester screening has become a rite of passage.Some of those freshmen turned out at Kirkland House on Monday for an Office for the Arts-sponsored discussion with MacGraw and O’Neal, who pulled up in a vintage MG convertible like the one Oliver commandeers in the film. Draped in a crimson and ivory scarf, O’Neal could have been Oliver returned to campus for his 50th reunion and, if not for her character’s premature demise, MacGraw might still have been Jenny — the Radcliffe musician from a working-class family who upends Oliver’s world. Hand in hand, they strode across the street looking the same, but older.Of course the cameras were there to receive them, and when a passing student asked what was happening, he looked confused when the cameraman prattled off the actors’ names.“Google it!” the cameraman said with a laugh.Inside Kirkland House, the Harvard Arts Blog’s editor-in-chief, Alicia Anstead, led a discussion with the stars that ranged from their early impressions of Harvard to working together again after all these years. MacGraw and O’Neal are currently mid-tour for A.R. Gurney’s “Love Letters,” which runs through Saturday at Boston’s Citi Performing Arts Theater.O’Neal called Harvard “a character in our story,” and MacGraw noted that it still looked the same.The actors, now in their 70s, have weathered divorces and deaths and everything in between. MacGraw married producer Robert Evans and then her co-star Steve McQueen; bad boy O’Neal finally settled into a decades-long romance with Farrah Fawcett, who died from cancer in 2009.“I had done one film — zero experience — and this was my second film. It was this joyful experience,” recalled MacGraw. “I might tell you in the ensuing decade it was rarely duplicated in terms of fun or optimism.”She was paid just $20,000. “Not enough to pay my alimony,” quipped O’Neal.The success that followed the low-budget film, including Academy Award nominations, surprised them both. “We were just hardworking people who got lucky and became actors,” said O’Neal. “You have to keep your feet on the ground because it’s easy to lift off and behave badly. And I know.”On set, the two clicked immediately, said MacGraw. When pressed by Anstead to explain why, she answered: “There’s a chemistry and a caring, and we’re both Aries —”“She’s a good kisser,” O’Neal interjected. “Wow!”The longstanding mutual affection prompted one brave audience member to wonder aloud whether there was more to their story. Though they were both married at the time, “We had tremendous crushes on each other,” revealed MacGraw.As for Jenny’s famous line — “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” — MacGraw said, “I never questioned that — except for the next 45 years.”
In his book “Being Mortal,” Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Professor Atul Gawande explored how conversations between patients and doctors can make end-of-life care more meaningful. In an effort to bring this message to a broader audience, the California Health Care Foundation (CHCF) and the John and Wauna Harman Foundation organized a series of community screenings of the Frontline documentary based on the book. Held in 39 communities around California, these events reached a higher percentage of viewers from communities of color than the documentary did when it aired on public television last year. In a post-screening email survey, 81% of respondents said that they had spoken to someone about their wishes around end-of-life care after viewing the documentary.Gawande, a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and executive director of Ariadne Labs, told CHCF that he is “incredibly gratified” by hearing the stories of people who have applied “Being Mortal” to their own lives. In an interview published online February 8, 2016, he said, “They are feeling that they can have these conversations that defined what mattered most to them or to their family — and in many cases, translated into the doctor’s office, where they can advocate for themselves. I’m definitely also seeing the conversation among my colleagues — doctors and nurses — who are finding the words to ask people about their fears and hopes and the limits that they would place around what they’re willing to endure.” Read Full Story
Back home earlier this summer, I walked around the Los Angeles Leadership Academy, a public charter high school in Lincoln Heights, Calif., and gazed up at what looked like the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. It was my first day as an operations intern at the school’s massive hillside urban oasis, affectionately dubbed LALA Farm.I had applied from Trinity College in Dublin, where I was studying during the spring semester, for a number of internships through Harvard’s Center for Public Interest Careers. The center organizes almost 100 paid summer fellowships with public-service organizations nationally, along with international opportunities and postgraduate fellowships, including the Mindich Service Fellowships, which funded my internship. Generally, the center compensates student fellows with a stipend of $3,000 to $5,000 for 10 weeks of work, supplemented by online readings and reflections designed to challenge students to engage intellectually with their experiences, while developing skills and knowledge through their own and their peers’ work in the nonprofit sector.As I sat in the library in Ireland during exam period so far from home, I felt extraordinarily unable to envision what I might do this summer — my last as a Harvard undergraduate. Spending it at home in Los Angeles was not a part of my travel-minded agenda. Then, about a month before leaving Ireland, I got an email offering me the chance to garden, work with high school students, and seek funding for an interesting project in food justice, all in one package. It was a perfect fit for my skill set, and my family missed me. So I accepted. Still, my worldly mind maintained its reservations as I packed my bags: How much could my home city really teach me, in comparison to far-flung lands?That’s how I found myself staring up at a quarter-acre of terraced hillside tucked next to a basketball court, a wavering line of stairs climbing toward a priceless view of downtown L.A. I had worked on a full-scale organic farm before, but I realized I knew nothing about what I was getting into. The farm was revitalized a year ago when Britt Browne, a local artist and grower, came on as manager. She began an after-school farm program and had the hillside terraced, increasing its production capacity.Roger Lowenstein, a Harvard Law School alumnus (J.D. ’68), had founded the school, which is located in a low-income area of L.A., in 2002 as a social justice-themed academy focused on developing leadership skills.I quickly saw that I too would grow over the summer. During the week, I worked directly with Britt, while Roger played the role of mentor extraordinaire. As Britt and I watered, transplanted, and tended to the plants early each day, the farm flourished before my eyes. But there is nothing easy or simple about growing organic, on the side of a hill, amid residential surroundings, in an area that has been experiencing a four-year drought. Pests constantly attacked our corn, onions, and cucumbers. The heat scorched our lovely young native California trees. A neighbor’s dog dug up the strawberries. Sometimes it was a daily battle, making it difficult at times to remember why it was so important to refrain from using pesticides, to pursue small-scale, diversified farming, and to share that information.Nourishing the plants and soil sustainably was satisfying. But the most unexpected, beautiful, and rewarding part of my internship came in spending time with the LALA students, rather than the LALA vegetables.‘Learning a little about an unfamiliar area from a new point of view challenged me to search for the needs and assets in my own backyard just as diligently as the ones further afield.’ — Amanda BeattieFor 20 days in mid-summer, 10 to 15 LALA high school students showed up every day, eager to farm. We’d pump the tunes and enthusiastically dig, plant, build, harvest, learn about food justice, and brainstorm for the Lincoln Heights Farmers Market, where we soon began to sell bunches of herbs and other treasures from the farm’s first summer.The students were smart and dedicated, coming up with products for the market, unashamed to ask questions about farming, and working with more wholeheartedness than our organized volunteer groups. A student named Rene shared how he took his health into his own hands in middle school, through reading about the food system and changing his eating habits, Jen and Brenda came up with a best-selling product, and Brian diligently took notes on customer buying habits at the market in order to improve our marketing. The students switched easily between English and Spanish to engage customers. They all had their own trials to negotiate, but their joy and passion were contagious.I could simply say that it was rewarding to encourage high school students to believe in themselves and to learn to grow their own food (in an urban setting, no less), or that it was invaluable for me to learn how to locate and apply for grant funding and use that knowledge to secure backing for LALA Farm’s future. I could say that working at the intersection of education, food justice, nonprofit work, and even art, all in the heart of my own city, has deeply influenced my life and career trajectory. And all of that would be true. It turned out that working “at home” afforded just as many challenges and nuances as studying abroad, and learning a little about an unfamiliar area from a new point of view challenged me to search for the needs and assets in my own backyard just as diligently as the ones further afield.But if I’m being honest, what will stay with me the longest are the excited faces of Rene, Jen, Brenda, Brian, and all of the other students at LALA as they worked alongside me, sharing glimpses of their lives along the way. They reminded me in their actions that though life and high school can be pretty difficult, often the most powerful thing we can do is show up, share our true selves with each other, and be willing to give what we can to a good cause. We weren’t about to solve the world’s problems. But we were real people trying to have an impact, however small. To me, that humble willingness of the human spirit to do what we can to help each other is what sustains all good nonprofit work — at home or abroad.Amanda Beattie is a Harvard College senior with a concentration in the comparative study of religion, focusing on religion and society, with a secondary in ethnicity, migration, and rights. Mindich Service Fellowships and internships at Harvard’s Center for Public Interest Careers are available in various locations, and all interested students are invited to apply. SaveSave Students prepare bouquets of crimson clover, a cover crop grown on the farm to enhance soil structure. Photo by Amanda Beattie Seedlings were nurtured in the hoop house on the roof of Los Angeles Leadership Academy before being transplanted into the hillside beds. Photo by Amanda Beattie Students harvested beets for the weekly Lincoln Heights Farmers Market. Photo by Amanda Beattie The view of Los Angeles from the LALA Farm. Photo by Amanda Beattie
Read Full Story Harvard University opened its first cross-disciplinary research center in Sub-Saharan Africa, building a new platform for African and Africanist academic exchange. Working with its companion office on Harvard’s Cambridge campus, the Harvard University Center for African Studies Africa Office will lower barriers to research for African and international scholars across the continent and serve as a resource for the increasing number of Harvard students and faculty members conducting research and traveling to Africa.The office will also facilitate and strengthen relationships with business, cultural, and academic leaders across the African continent. A key objective for Harvard CAS is to build upon existing connections with universities and other educational institutions by facilitating inter-faculty research and student exchange, both on Harvard’s campus and on the African continent.As part of the opening of the office, University Provost, Professor Alan M. Garber, the Center for African Studies’ Faculty Director Emmanuel Akyeampong, and Obenewa Amponsah, the recently appointed Africa Office Executive Director, facilitated a roundtable discussion of academic leaders from Harvard and academic institutions from across Africa. Participants convened to discuss mutual areas of research and to develop strategies for educational development. The Center for African Studies also hosted its Second Annual Hakeem and Myma Belo-Osagie Distinguished African Business and Entrepreneurship Lecture, which draws lessons from prominent African leaders.
Braxton Shelley believes in the holy power of sound.Harvard’s newest assistant professor of music brings years of experience as a composer, pianist, choir director, and minister to his intellectual pursuit of spiritual music.“Having a strong academic study of religion beside the vocational life has enriched me; it adds to the music,” said Shelley, who is also the Stanley A. Marks and William H. Marks Assistant Professor at the Radcliffe Institute. “There’s another level of rigor and sophistication that I think matters because a lot of what animates gospel music is inseparable from the articulation of belief.”The Rocky Mount, N.C., native, whose “Groove” may be the best-named course in the fall catalog, said that all of his formative music experiences took place in church. His first piano teacher was the church musician, and by age 9 Shelley played piano or organ every Sunday at Rocky Mount’s Church of the Open Door-Baptist.Being equally passionate about social justice, he planned to study law and become a politician, but a music theory course provided intellectual depth to the somatic understanding of sound he’d internalized for years.“I knew chord symbols and how to talk about harmonies, but a lot of my early church playing was by ear,” said Shelley, whose second album “I’ve Gotta Tell It” comes out later this year. “A lot of the work is still by ear. Theory put words to what I felt. And at the same time, some of my brighter curiosities related to the social and religious phenomenon coalesced with my interest in music.”Performing provides a constant source of inspiration, Shelley said, pointing to a 2013 concert at Mt. Level Missionary Baptist Church in Durham, N.C., as an example. The show featured original compositions by Shelley, including a fast-paced, groove-based song called “Mighty God” in which an ecstatic shout-and-dance broke out. Shelley sees these moments as “sacraments, extensions of divine presence.”“I was at the piano, watching what I spent a year and a half trying to put to words manifest before my eyes,” he said. “That was a nugget of experience that said to me, ‘Yeah you’re on to something.’”Though he plays piano and organ, sings, and has a master’s in divinity and a Ph.D. in history and theory of music, Shelley said his musical strength lies as a composer.“I have written songs during a church service, sitting at the organ playing,” he said. “I’ve written songs at the piano during practice time during chill meditative moments, and I’ve just heard melody or words and pitch and then I’ll go work it out.“I’m really patient. I routinely let songs sit in my head six to eight months. I don’t write them down until they’re done, and I know when they’re done. I could finish a song if I wanted to, but I prefer them to work out themselves, so I wait to feel inspired and it’s kind of completely itself.”In “Groove,” a graduate seminar, students will examine the interrelation of rhythm and movement across a historical span reaching back to 17th-century dances such as the passacaglia and chaconne.“The phenomenon of groove is embedded in a long history of music and dance,” Shelley said. “At some level groove is thought to result from the interaction between instrument and/or performers. In this case, groove seems to be understood as both a feeling and a musical entity that facilitates the production of that feeling.“In a broader sense, it’s a cut or ridge that facilitates movement, so I want to see what happens when we put together all of the conversations of the way we think of groove.”Music professor Braxton Shelley directs “Due Glory”
In a time when a U.S. president has been known to call journalists the “enemy of the people,” the everyday work of reporting the news has rarely been more challenging. That’s how Margaret Sullivan, the media columnist for The Washington Post, sees it.Following the death of New York Times media analyst David Carr in 2015, Sullivan is one of the few national voices in print and on the web who speaks hard truths about the embattled news industry’s shortcomings and offers thoughtful remedies amid heightened public skepticism about the value that journalists bring to society.Sullivan, former editor of The Buffalo News, rose to national attention in 2012 when she became the first female public editor of the Times, charged with holding it ethically accountable for its actions. She moved to The Post in 2016.On campus this week for a visit to the Shorenstein Center at Harvard Kennedy School, Sullivan spoke with the Gazette about the state of the news business, why it was a mistake for The Times to eventually eliminate the public editor position, and what young journalists should know about the craft.Q&AMargaret SullivanGAZETTE: The media have been a big part of the news in the last year or two. What’s the state of journalism today? What should reporters and editors be doing that they’re not?SULLIVAN: I think we are in a period of incredible turmoil. And in some news organizations I would even go so far as to say chaos. But we’re in a time of great change. We’re under attack, certainly, from the president.On the issue of trust, I have a more nuanced point of view. I spent this past summer really trying to talk to non-coastal, regular folks about their feelings about the news media. I came away feeling like the reality wasn’t quite what I had seen portrayed in public opinion polls. It was a more nuanced picture than that. A lot of people don’t think the news media is perfect, but they do feel like they can get credible information from their own news media. There is sort of a split between this idea of “the media” that’s out there and “my media,” which is more trusted. So, if you read The Boston Globe and look at The New York Times online and listen to NPR, you feel like, “Yes, I know what’s going on.” But if I were to ask you about “the media,” you might get this idea that I’m talking about all kinds of things: Facebook, Sean Hannity, CNN. So I don’t think we’re defining it well. I think it’s extremely misleading to talk about “the media” as if it’s some sort of cohesive entity. It isn’t. I think it needs to be examined a little more closely, and that [will begin] to give us a better picture.In terms of what journalists should be doing at this point, part of what’s going on is we’re covering a president who is unlike any other. And so, we can’t really just do things the same old way and expect that to work. Some of the things I’m seeing that I think are good involve the new emphasis on fact-checking. Fact-checking done in real time is extremely important. Any kind of explainer journalism is very helpful. Take this whole thing with the [Rep. Devin] Nunes memo: If you asked people to explain that to you, I think they would have a hard time doing so except as a fight between the president and Republicans in Congress and the Democrats. Can people really describe what the issues are? Probably not. So I think we need to do a better job of catching people up on issues so they can have a better understanding.GAZETTE: There was much hand-wringing after the election about the press coverage. Has the media learned lessons from the start of the 2016 presidential campaign?SULLIVAN: I think we’re doing a better job with paying attention to some of the parts of the country that we weren’t very much in tune with — at least some news organizations are. I can speak about The Washington Post for one, which has something called the America Desk, that makes an effort to cover all of the United States and get away from just the Acela corridor. The Post was doing that before as well, but now we’re doing more of it. Part of the reason for that is that we know we didn’t capture the feeling of the country fully, and election night was a big wake-up call.GAZETTE: At a time when trust in the news is low, and demand for accountability and reader engagement are high, why have so many newspapers, including The Post and The Times, done away with the public editor or ombudsman position? That seems counterproductive.SULLIVAN: I think news organizations find ombudsmen/public editors to be something of a burr under the saddle. You’re there to critique them, basically, and it’s not very fun to be critiqued. And it’s worse, in some ways, when it’s coming from inside.But I think that the biggest news organizations, and I would certainly include The Times in this, did benefit from the role because it made readers feel like they had an advocate inside the paper. I don’t accept the argument that, “Well, there’s so much outside criticism that that should take care of it. All we really need to do is bring that criticism to the surface and answer those questions.” That’s not the same thing as having an experienced journalist able to go to the top people and get some answers.GAZETTE: Last month, you wrote a column critical of The Times in which you talked about the paper being “addicted” to its unique access to power, and how that has harmed its coverage, exacerbating what appears to be a crouch the paper enters when people criticize it. For example, there was a 2017 feature story about a white supremacist that appeared empathetic, and a recent opinion page given over to Trump voters. Those drew flak for seeming to accommodate a “both sides” equivalency. Why are they defensive about criticism?SULLIVAN: The Times is a unique institution, and one of the reasons I wrote that column was that I think that what The Times does is very important. It affects the entire media system. And so, it’s especially important for them to be transparent, it’s especially important for them to own their mistakes. All journalists make mistakes, and all news organizations make mistakes. The Times also attracts a tremendous amount of criticism.Someone observed, when I was public editor, that criticizing the Times is a form of performance art. It’s kind of like, “Here’s a way that I can get attention, too — by criticizing The Times.” So all of those things are part of the mix. The Times does a lot of things extremely well, but I do say they have a tough time fully owning their mistakes. And that’s why I think having a public editor there, although it may not be pleasant, is useful.GAZETTE: There’s a fascinating piece in Politico magazine that explains how the #ReleaseTheMemo hashtag was a coordinated campaign, an example of computational propaganda with ties to Russian bot networks and aided by U.S. residents and others on social media and conservative media. The goal of computational propaganda, the piece explains, is to shape news coverage, frame issues in a favorable way, and shape the behaviors of both lawmakers and the public. By that measure, #ReleaseTheMemo wildly succeeded. Do you think people working in news understand that newsgathering and other trappings of news (exposes, analyses, punditry) are being used as a tool of information warfare and that in some cases, as with Russia, straight-ahead reporting is being used to advance an agenda?SULLIVAN: I think we’re beginning to grapple with that. It’s a huge change in our business and one that’s very hard to get your head around and extremely important to do so. I’m not sure how it translates into action, actually, because O.K., even if you know that this is going on, how is it supposed to change? You can certainly write about it, you can explain it to people, you can take it into account. But in the end, you’re doing your best to gather the news and present it as truthfully as possible. There may be some brilliant answer to how to deal with this new reality, but I don’t know what it is.GAZETTE: Has the industry sufficiently recognized how President Trump has been able to control the news cycle by getting outlets to chase tweets and remarks that serve his interests, but that may have no real public policy implications? His “treason” remarks this week about Democrats who didn’t clap for him at the State of the Union address is an example. Related Trump’s language, unseemly to critics, reassures his base First as candidate and now as president, his word choices and stances are regularly directed at the worried working class, professor says SULLIVAN: When the president of the United States speaks, especially speaks in an unusual, outrageous, accusatory way, we have to pay attention to that and also point out, in this case, what the actual meaning of treason is, and that this isn’t treason. Treason is right up there with calling the press “the enemy of the American people.” It’s a very harsh kind of criticism to level. The president has a relationship with language that’s nontraditional, to say the least. He uses expressions and descriptions in a way that are very exaggerated. Do we overreact to that sometimes? Yes, I think we do.I don’t think that we should be in the business as journalists of chasing every tweet and writing stories about every tweet. But when President Trump is tweeting, these comments become part of the political record. These are statements from the president, who’s extremely powerful and influential, and I don’t know how we ignore them. But I don’t think we have to react to each one of them as if we’re responding to a five-alarm fire.GAZETTE: What advice do you give aspiring young journalists? Should they go into the industry and, if so, what should they know and know how to do?SULLIVAN: I’m generally encouraging to students who are really committed to being journalists. If they have a passion for it and they’ve done the internships and the student newspapers and all the things you have to do, I think there are still opportunities out there. Certainly, the work couldn’t be more important than it is now, so I never want to say to someone who is a passionate student journalist, “Forget it; you need to go to law school.” I wouldn’t and I don’t say that. But I do think we need to be realistic. The old path is not there anymore: the idea that you might go to work for a small-town paper and quickly get yourself to a regional and then move on to a really big paper. That path, while it hasn’t disappeared entirely, is much less dependable than it used to be.Some of the digital-only news organizations based in New York or Washington, they aren’t very fulfilling places to work because their business model is based in part on volume of readership, also known as clicks, and so the writers have to generate a lot of work. It’s kind of a hamster wheel, in some cases, so that is not always very satisfying. But I also know a bunch of young journalists who have managed to get really good jobs and do fine work. I do think they need to master the old skills and also need to be able to do a lot of the newer things. They have to be strong on social media. They might need to be able to shoot their own videos or do others things like that. They need to have a combination of the old and the new.This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
According to polls conducted last year by the Pew Research Center and The Wall Street Journal/NBC News, many Americans are souring on higher education. There is a concern among many that college is becoming an opportunity limited to the privileged, and a growing sense that the expense doesn’t justify the return. Other detractors paint colleges as anti-American barracks in the culture wars.Harvard is perhaps the best-known institution of higher education in the U.S., but with that popularity comes a vulnerability to stereotypes.Harvard students are some of the brightest and most ambitious, but they are still regular people who need to relax and pursue interests outside of school. Harvard’s new Instagram series, #HarvardUnwind, seeks to showcase that lighter side of the student body. Students like music and TV that they are reluctant to admit to. They have profound thoughts but also puzzling pet peeves, and, just like anyone who has been working hard, they are eager for an excuse to take a break.Follow #HarvardUnwind on Instagram to see how Harvard students unwind.,Dan Kim ’19Q: How do you take a break?“I like to run, I’m actually going to go on a run later today. It’s very therapeutic, and there are a lot of really nice running routes around here. Like Fresh Pond, down the river. There’s a castle all the way down in Somerville. It’s just a way to stop thinking about things.”,Sarah King ’21Q: If Harvard had a smell, what would it be?“Mulch. It doesn’t smell like mulch ever, really, but when I came for Visitas, I think they redid the mulch. I came in through Agassiz, and they have really good landscaping, so I think they had fresh mulch. So that was the first thing I smelled here, and now every time I smell mulch I’m just like [inhales], ‘Ah, Harvard.’ ”,Haley Daniels ’18Q: What’s a strong opinion you have about something trivial?“I get furious if someone doesn’t tell me that they are going to cut their hair before they get a haircut. Because I’m being affected the most by having to watch you have different hair. That’s jarring. I should at least get a warning.”,Sam Benkelman ’20Q: What blows your mind?“There are a few languages in the world that use clicks in them, and that phoneme is a remarkably easy one to produce. Everyone can do it; children will do it automatically when they’re growing up. Yet it’s only found in a few thousand native speakers. So that’s kind of mind-blowing, to wonder why don’t more languages have clicks in them.”,Riya Sood ’20Q: What’s your guilty pleasure?“Probably occasionally listening to pop music because I claim to be a very big alternative fan — which I am — but we all have our moments. I generally go to throwbacks, so pretty much anyone who was singing in the early/mid-2000s, that’s great: Britney, Demi Lovato, Jonas Brothers, the fun stuff.”,Mollie Todt ’18Q: What’s taking up too much of your time?“That’s a really difficult question because I’m such an organizer. I really delegate well. So, I guess I would have to say sleep. I wish I could get less of it, but I have to have nine hours in order to be able to function. I work over at St. Peter’s School in Cambridge, so I’m up at 6:30.”,Julian Nunally ‘17, J.D. ’20Q: What’s something you’re interested in that most people don’t know about?“I went here for undergrad; I studied comparative religion. Now I’m in the Law School, and I want to be a minister. Most people don’t see the connection there. I think law and religion have a lot of things in common, basically in how you interpret the text, whether you use the literal meaning or you use context to imbue meaning into that text, whether reading either a statute, or a contract, or a holy text. I think that’s really cool.“So, in practical use, I really want to be a minister of a church, but I also want to run non-profits off of that. There’s a lot of laws surrounding what a non-profit can or can’t do, and so the ability to manipulate those laws in order to do more good is where the Law School comes in. But also, there’s a lot of moral issues that law can’t fix. So, in order to fill in those holes, I think religion gives you that morality to fix.”,Gabby Sims ’18 and Kirsi Anselmi-Stith ’18Q: What’s your favorite show right now?Anselmi-Stith: We’re on a “Bachelor” kick right now.Sims: We’re really into the latest season.Anselmi-Stith: It’s just smutty TV to distract from any larger goals.Unfortunately, the subject matter of this interaction lapsed before the roll out of #HarvardUnwind could be finalized, and was not posted to Instagram.,Jessie Laurore ‘18Q: What’s your favorite spot on campus?“My room in Cabot, hands down. I meditate there. I really like decorating, so I took my time. I’m very proud of it. I have my plants. I dunno, I just try to make it a space where I feel really at home: very warm.”,Kun Luo, M.Arch. ‘20Q: What’s something you loved as an undergrad that you never thought you’d give up?“I was a drummer. I had a band, I was kind of a drum teacher, and I had performances every weekend. But now I totally lost all of that. I never play drums anymore.”
“Wait times were much shorter than we expected. We think this implies that interventions to increase awareness of available prescribers could provide a short-term boost for access to addiction treatment,” said Barnett.Other Harvard Chan School researchers included Tamara Beetham and Marema Gaye.Funding for this study came from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Pharma-to-doc marketing a vulnerability in opioid fight Harvard-Michigan summit on issue explores addiction, policy First-time opioid prescriptions drop by 50 percent Related Yet this all-or-nothing approach may not be to patients’ advantage Buprenorphine-naloxone (buprenorphine), a highly effective, evidence-based treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD), is difficult to access in states with high rates of death associated with opiates, according to new research led by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The study also found that access to buprenorphine is especially challenging for patients with Medicaid coverage.“We were surprised to find roadblocks at every step of the process of getting buprenorphine, from finding a clinic with any prescribed, to finding one that will take public insurance,” said Michael Barnett, assistant professor of health policy and management at the Harvard Chan School.The findings were published online June 3 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.Improving treatment for OUD is a national priority. Use of buprenorphine, which can be prescribed in both office-based and outpatient settings, has been associated with substantial reductions in opioid overdose deaths and greater likelihood of long-term recovery among OUD patients. However, numerous barriers limit access to the treatment.For this study, Harvard Chan researchers and colleagues at Harvard Medical School and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health wanted to assess real-world access to buprenorphine among uninsured and Medicaid-covered patients. To do so, they created an audit survey, also known as a “secret-shopper study,” in which each health care provider was called twice, once by a caller posing as a Medicaid enrollee and once as an uninsured patient. The calls were limited to providers in six areas of the U.S. that have high burdens of OUD, including Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, West Virginia, Ohio, and Washington, D.C.Overall, there were 1,092 “patient” contacts with 546 buprenorphine prescribers. The findings showed that 38 percent to 46 percent of callers who reported current heroin use were denied an appointment, which the authors said may represent a substantial barrier for patients who are hoping to access care rapidly. The study also found that only 50 percent to 66 percent of clinicians booking new appointments allowed buprenorphine to be prescribed on the first visit. Additionally, a smaller percentage of callers with Medicaid coverage than those paying with cash were offered appointments.The researchers said that the scarcity of clinicians accepting new patients is a prominent barrier to care. However, among clinicians who were accepting patients, wait times were generally less than two weeks, indicating that there are opportunities to improve access to buprenorphine.
The positive effects of optimism Julia Boehm, a former research fellow at Harvard Chan School and current associate professor in the Cream College of Health and Behavioral Sciences at Chapman University, agrees that staying upbeat these days can be a challenge. “It’s something I’m working hard on in my own life. The thing to do is to hold onto what we can in these unusual circumstances. We might be losing something in terms of larger social relationships but there are ways of cultivating that, like having game nights over Zoom and really holding onto the people in your bubble. We can still practice kindness toward others in this time, which is something that’s shown to produce feelings of happiness. And you can always say, ‘The sun still rises every day, and the sunset still looks beautiful.’”Optimism may not come easy, but evidence is growing that it makes a measurable difference. “What we have done is to understand that optimism is in some way protective for health,” Kubzansky said. “Higher levels of optimism been shown to be associated with lower risk of developing diabetes, coronary heart disease, and poor lung function. And it can contribute to greater likelihood of achieving exceptional longevity — as well as healthier aging. This is important, because living longer but sicker is not something anyone aspires to. We have documentation of these associations, and we’re looking more closely into the mechanism.” More risk of physical, psychological damage, less access to health care unevenly tip scales Lower risk of depression with elevated exercise Mindfulness meditation and relaxation response affect brain differently Beyond its intrinsic value (that is, being optimistic is a positive facet of mental health in its own right), optimistic people tend to make healthier decisions. “They tend to be more goal-orientated, willing to delay gratification: ‘It may be more fun to sit on the couch and eat bonbons, but I also have this goal of being fit, so I’m going to the gym’ and optimism can help keep people focused on their larger goals. Data suggest this is the case. Optimism is linked with better health behaviors, a better diet, less likelihood to smoke. So behavior is one pathway, but we are also looking at potential biological pathways that might link optimism to better health including cellular markers. Some initial findings suggest some biological pathways are plausible. For example, people who are optimistic have healthier lipid profiles, and less risk of developing hypertension.”Boehm adds that studies have indicated that a positive attitude reduces the risk of heart disease by anywhere from 10 to 40 percent. “Let’s be honest, optimism is not going to stop you from getting cancer if you have a history in your family and aren’t taking care of yourself. Where it comes into play is there are often factors that encourage us to take actions that help our health. And people who are optimistic tend to engage in healthier behavior than people who are not.”A devil’s advocate could certainly argue that there are a lot of old cranks out there. The caustic Dorothy Parker outlived most of her Algonquin Round Table colleagues, and Bob Dylan just released one of his darkest albums at age 79. “There are always going to be people who appear to be the outliers,” says Boehm. “But maybe that cranky person is the one walking around with some resolve for the future.” 35 minutes a day of physical activity may protect against new episodes, even in the genetically vulnerable Related Positive thinking linked to reduced risk of cardiovascular events COVID’s triple whammy for Black students Study finds a host of health benefits accompany an optimistic attitude Study found that each program showed unique patterns of brain activity Protecting the heart with optimism Bad day, or week? Or maybe it’s the endless eon that 2020 and the first month of 2021 have felt like?A Harvard expert has some advice, and it doesn’t involve diving ever deeper into coverage of the pandemic or politics.“Try to have some perspective,” says Laura Kubzansky, Lee Kum Kee professor of social and behavioral sciences at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH). “If you look at the history of world events, things are always changing. So it helps to avoid saying things like, ‘This will never change, we’ll be in this situation forever.’ And it helps to recognize where the silver linings are — which I’d say the news media is especially bad about doing.”If you can’t conjure up some optimism, she says, try focusing on the hopeful things in your life. “Sometimes it’s just about realizing there’s a certain amount of randomness in the world and you need to roll with it. Maybe now that the world is disrupted, you can find out things about your kids that you wouldn’t have learned otherwise. Maybe you can notice that it’s a beautiful foliage season, and spend time outside. And maybe you can think that we’ve just been too driven, we all need to slow down.“Finding perspective isn’t just about optimism — it’s also about the things that travel with it, in terms of feeling a sense of meaning and purpose. And that goes with the understanding that you’re not going to feel good all the time — that’s OK. It’s a hard time and nobody’s saying ‘Look on the bright side every minute.’” “Higher levels of optimism been shown to be associated with lower risk of developing diabetes, coronary heart disease, and poor lung function.” — Laura Kubzansky, Harvard Chan School The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news.
Next week VCE will join thousands of IT professionals and innovators at VMworld 2014 in San Francisco. As a trailblazer in virtualization, at VMworld VMware will explore the next evolution of the software-defined enterprise as well as new innovations in the hybrid cloud and end-user computing.VCE is transforming the way our customers deliver IT by providing the ideal infrastructure foundation for rapidly deploying new workloads and applications with the highest performance and availability and lowest total cost of ownership.VCE is a Gold-level sponsor this year and will be discussing a key use case for converged infrastructure on Monday, Aug. 25 at 3:50 p.m. PT and Wednesday, Aug. 27 at 8:30 a.m. PT. Jay Cuthrell from the VCE office of the CTO will explain how to leverage converged infrastructure, a policy-based management framework and other enabling technologies to virtualize SAP landscapes and rapidly achieve ROI in Virtualizing SAP: Real Enterprise Experiences on VCE Vblock Systems. Jay will also be participating with George Viebeck of VCE in a Tweet Up on Aug. 26 at 5:00 p.m. PT at the VCE booth 1043 to discuss virtualizing SAP.“Attendees should join us in the VCE booth to see Michael Somerville of the University of San Diego discuss the school’s Vblock System implementation, as well as other VCE experts who will provide demos and presentations on VCE solutions for VDI, big data, SAP and Oracle (view the full list).ShareWith so many sessions to see at VMworld, here’s a snapshot of additional VCE presentations attendees won’t want to miss:Building Heterogeneous Private and Hybrid Cloud Environments to Drive Today’s Business Demands (HBC3159-SPO) – This session we will cover the considerations for building private clouds on heterogeneous environments as well connecting those resources seamlessly across multiple private clouds and into the public cloud. Monday, Aug. 25, 11:30 a.m.Virtualizing SAP: Design Guidelines and How They Are Used in EMC IT’s Successful SAP Implementation (VAPP2309) – This session will cover guidelines for sizing and architecting the SAP stack on vSphere and then show how some of the guidelines were used in EMC IT’s successful implementation of virtual SAP. Monday, Aug. 25 1:00 p.m.McKesson OneCloud – The One Cloud to Rule Them All (MGT2385) – McKesson will discuss the evolution of its true private cloud to enable data center consolidation of multiple business units through VCE converged infrastructure, VMware orchestration and automation and HyTrust security policy controls and visibility. Tuesday, Aug. 26, 4 p.m.Moody’s IT Transformation: The Journey, the Process, Achievements and Benefits (OPT2089) – Moody’s is in the midst of a transformation to become a broker of IT services. This journey is starting through the implementation of VMware vCloud Automation Center. Tuesday, Aug. 26, 12:30 p.m. How to Build and Deploy a Well Run Hybrid Cloud (INF3037-SPO) – Learn how customers can leverage best practices to assemble intelligent components to rapidly deploy a hybrid cloud through integrated VMware and EMC solutions. Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2:30 p.m.If you’d like to learn more about VMworld activities, keep a close eye on the VCE Vblog for live blogging and videos during the show, as well as our events page for full coverage and our Twitter feed. We’re looking forward to seeing you there!
Last time you heard from me, I was headed to Strata, excited to be announcing the coming of the Dell EMC Ready Bundle for Hortonworks Hadoop. This week at DATAWORKS SUMMIT, I’m proud to announce it has arrived. The Dell EMC Ready Bundle for Hortonworks Hadoop was released for general availability last week – it is now available! This solution is uniquely delivering real value to customers, focusing on three key pain points:Faster time to value to get to a fully-implemented solution: Dell EMC delivers an end-to-end solution guide to simplify the architecture, use case and configuration for customersReduce the risk: The Dell EMC Ready Bundle for Hortonworks Hadoop enables increased productivity with the delivery of a certified architecture and infrastructure guideControl costs: Realize greater return on investment by reducing the total cost of ownership while seamlessly integrating with existing investmentsWhile this is valuable, customers that want to leverage Hadoop often do not know the critical pieces needed to make it real for the business. The business needs to see the value of investing in new technologies like Hadoop. When I say “value,” what I really mean is do more with less. Bill Schmarzo, Dell EMC’s Dean of Big Data, has a great saying when talking to the business folks about Hadoop, “Don’t make it about the 3-Vs, for the business it has to be about-Make Me More Money!”If you’re ready to “show the business the money”, then please come have a conversation with the Dell EMC and Hortonworks folks at the DATAWORKS SUMMIT.Let’s start with a business problem that is an issue across many vertical markets –- data management. Gartner research found that 70% of all Enterprise Data Warehouses (EDW) are performance and capacity constrained. Software processes that clean and transform data before it can be used are eating up way too many resources in the EDW. Gartner says that up to 80% of the EDW capacity is being driven by data integration and transformation jobs. This results in longer data ingestion and preparation times, inability to meet SLAs for business reporting and excessively long ad hoc query response times leading to fewer business insights. This is a pain of which both Hortonworks and Dell EMC are keenly aware.Many people only think about Hadoop only in terms of data storage and analytics, however Hadoop Distributed File System and MapReduce together with technology from Syncsort form a high performance data cleaning and transformation alternative to the “best practices” for traditional EDW ETL approaches.“Enterprise Data Warehouse has become an organization’s central data repository built to support business decisions. Yet, the complexity and volume of data poses significant challenges to the efficiency of the existing EDW solution, causing a huge impact to the business. Hortonworks is excited to partner with Dell EMC to help solve this problem with the Dell EMC Ready Bundle for Hortonworks Hadoop in the ETL Offload use case configuration.” – Nadeem Asghar, Field CTO and Global Head of Technical Alliances/Partner Engineering at HortonworksWe will be highlighting the Dell EMC Ready Bundle for Hortonworks Hadoop in the ETL Offload use case configuration with Syncsort at the DATAWORKS SUMMIT. Let us show you how it is uniquely suited to solve this business problem with lower cost and more performance than traditional ETL approaches.It’s been 7 years since the initial release of Hadoop Version 1 by the Apache Software foundation but there is still a shortage of people with experience in all aspects of Hadoop including design, implementation and operation. Since 2011, Dell EMC has helped organizations solve this Hadoop skills gap by providing expert guidance and knowhow to streamline the architecture, design, planning, and configuration of Hadoop ETL environments. Dell EMC and Hortonworks help customers by-Removing Barriers-Avoid code generation, making it easier to deploy and maintain with no performance impactFast Tracking Projects – Allows customers faster time to value by reducing the need to develop expertise on Pig, Hive, and Sqoop, instead using SILQ for creating ETL jobs in MapReduceClosing The Skills Gap – One of the biggest barriers to offloading from the data warehouse into Hadoop is legacy SQL scripts built and extended over time. SILQ takes an SQL script as an input and then provides a MapReduce output without any codingSyncsort DMX-h was designed from the ground up to make big data integration simple – combining a long history of innovation with significant Syncsort contributions to the Apache Hadoop ecosystem. With Syncsort’s DMX-h, users can begin developing Hadoop ETL jobs within hours, and the system can become fully productive within days by using a drag-and-drop interface rather than learning additional complex technologies. Adding to this convenience, the SILQ offload utility helps to obtain drilled-down, detailed information about each step within the data flow, including tables and data transformations. This can reduce expert analysis from 20-plus hours to less than 30 minutes.All the Dell EMC Ready Bundles for Hadoop enable companies to reduce Hadoop deployment times from unpacking the equipment to full productivity within days. The new Ready Bundle for ETL offload expands the impact of our offering to include reducing development time of ETL jobs to hours instead of days or weeks.At the Dataworks Summit, we encourage you to stop by to discuss your Hadoop implementation and learn how we can help you build a solution that will “Show the Business the Money!” Gartner. “The State of Data Warehousing in 2014.” June 19, 2014.
1 “The Total Economic Impact of Dell EMC Ready Solutions Hadoop,” commissioned byDell EMC | Intel, May 2018, https://www.emc.com/collateral/white-papers/forrester-total-economic-impact-study-dell-emc-ready-solutions-for-hadoop.pdf2 “Access to instant, personal clusters,” BlueData, August 2018, https://www.bluedata.com/product/solutions/3 “Streamlined operations,” BlueData, August 2018, https://www.bluedata.com/product/solutions/ It’s a big data boom with Ready Solutions for Big DataIt has taken years, but big data analytics has evolved from the latest IT buzzword into a core part of the enterprise. While the term “big data” has been around for quite some time, the big data market is still booming with hundreds of competing technologies in every stage of the data pipeline. Organizations are starting to realize that big data success is not about implementing one application or one piece of technology, but instead requires an optimized technology stack that allows them to get more performance and flexibility out of IT investments, and to scale more quickly and cost-effectively as business needs grow.At the same time, the perception that “everything should go into the public cloud” because it’s cheaper and easier requires a reality check. When it comes to handling big data, the public cloud is often more expensive and slower than on-premises private cloud solutions, and many times security and compliance policies dictate where data must reside. You can survive the big data boom with a big data as a service (BDaaS) solution that provides the self-service, economics and simplicity of public cloud with the on-premises security and compliance organizations demand.Dell EMC has worked closely with customers and its partners, BlueData® and Intel® to create an elastic architecture named Dell EMC Ready Solutions for Big Data. This architecture provides self-service access to a variety of Big Data analytics and data science workloads — such as Hadoop, Apache Spark®, Kafka, Cassandra and more — at the same time, on the same infrastructure without sacrificing performance. It includes the latest PowerEdge servers with Intel® Xeon® Processors for maximum scalability and throughput. Dell EMC Ready Solutions for Big Data come with the software, hardware and services needed for IT to provide on-premises BDaaS so your team can save up to 12 months in standing up new big data analytics systems.1How can you use Dell EMC Ready Solutions for Big Data?Dell EMC Ready Solutions for Big Data enables the following use cases:Consolidation of multiple data analytics deployments — Multiple data analytics environments can be difficult and costly to scale while the demand for analytics grows.Create an on-demand consumption model for big data infrastructure and applications — Allow data teams to quickly and easily create big data environments while simplifying IT resource management.Enable self-service job creation — Data scientists and analysts can run a variety of jobs against their data.Leverage the right big data tools for every job — Dell EMC Ready Solutions for Big Data enable data teams to use their favorite tools for big data analytics. It supports Cloudera® Hadoop, Hortonworks® Hadoop, Spark, Cassandra, Kafka, MapR®, TensorFlow™, and custom images for other services. It’s even possible to create multiple environments using different Hadoop distributions, as well as set-up different versions of the same distribution on the same infrastructure.The ultimate goal of Dell EMC Ready Solutions for Big Data is providing self-service data analytics, lowering costs and simplifying deployment and support.Self-service analyticsSpeed is a key element of success. Data scientists, analysts and developers require on-demand access to real-time analytics to support business needs. Siloed legacy resources can’t deliver the same on-demand access as public cloud providers, but the public cloud has trade-offs, too. On-premises infrastructure integration and deployment for big data analytics applications can be complex and can take months.Dell EMC Ready Solutions for Big Data give data analysts on-demand access to infrastructure resources and analytics tools — such as Hadoop, Spark, NoSQL, Apache Cassandra®, Apache Kafka® and others — in minutes.2 This enables IT to provide self-service data analytics with the performance, compliance and security of an optimized on-premises solution. Data teams can quickly and easily provision their own resources, run jobs using their choice of tools, and even run multiple analytics workloads simultaneously thanks to multi-tenancy enabled by policy-based automation and management. Lines of business can create and execute their own use cases from a single pool of resources with the responsiveness required by modern big data analytics applications.Lower costsWhen it comes to containing costs for big data analytics, customers are caught between legacy IT that requires increasing resources to maintain, and paying skyrocketing monthly fees to a public cloud services provider. Dell EMC Ready Solutions for Big Data offer a balanced approach by providing an automated, self-service portal built on a bedrock of Dell EMC servers and networking infrastructure delivered by Dell EMC deployment experts.Because Dell EMC has optimized and integrated the solution stack, you can reduce stand-up time from months to weeks.1 The savings continue past deployment, with reduced management complexity and no unpredictable, recurring monthly charges. The ability to scale compute and storage resources independently, as well as run multiple analytics instances on the same infrastructure helps eliminate costly cluster sprawl and maximize utilization rates while reducing cost. BlueData® reports that you can save up to 75% compared to bare-metal deployments while increasing server utilization by up to 350%.3Simpler deployment, simpler supportReliability and operational simplicity are critical to supporting any enterprise IT environment. Dell EMC Ready Solutions for Big Data include everything you need to provide BDaaS, including the hardware, software, consulting, deployment and support services, so you can spend more time on strategic projects. How much time? Customers report that if they tried to implement on their own, it would have taken up to 12 months longer to hire the expertise, figure out the correct configurations, and deploy a solution.1Dell EMC consultants work with customers from the onset to identify the analytics use case that will have the most business impact, gather requirements and design the solution architecture.Dell EMC has partnered with BlueData to deploy its EPIC™ (Elastic Private Instant Clusters) software on Dell EMC servers, networking and storage. Our teams install, configure and integrate the hardware and software into the customer’s environment for the prioritized use case, saving the months of time required to configure your own analytics environment. BlueData enables you to spin up or down environments for analytics in minutes.2 The software provides a simple and easy way to provide self-service provisioning, policy-based automation, and push-button upgrades.Customers also receive Dell EMC ProSupport to help ensure optimal system performance and minimize downtime through comprehensive hardware and collaborative software support. They can also opt for ProSupport Plus to get a Technology Service Manager who serves as a single point of contact for the entire solution.For more information, please visit Dell EMC Ready Solutions for Big Data.
BERLIN (AP) — A German state governor has apologized for referring to Chancellor Angela Merkel as “little Merkel” during a recent online event, saying he had unintentionally displayed macho behavior. Bodo Ramelow, who governs the state of Thuringia, told German weekly Die Zeit that he greatly regretted using the term “Merkelchen” while talking chatting with other politicians and the public on the social networking app Clubhouse. Zeit on Wednesday quoted Ramelow saying that he should have used the diminutive form in reference to male politicians and doing so for a woman was “was dumb and appeared disrespectful.” The 64-year-old has also faced criticism for playing the game “Candy Crush” during lengthy video meetings with Merkel and other governors to discuss the coronavirus pandemic.
TORONTO (AP) — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Justin is trying reassure Canadians his plan to vaccinate them is working despite what he calls are short term delays and criticism his government is not moving fast enough. Trudeau said that while there is a lot anxiety, Canada is still on track to get 6 million doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines by the end of March and 20 million in the spring. He reiterated that all Canadians who want to be vaccinated will be by September.
Excitement builds around campus as the Saint Mary’s community prepares for the first Notre Dame home game of the season, as the Irish prepare to square off against Purdue on Saturday. For many first-year students, this will be their first experience attending a Notre Dame football game and their first time in the student section. “It will be my first game,” first-year student Mary Margaret Artman said. “All I know is that I’m very excited … I’ve heard a lot of great things from the other students.” Even though she is from Georgia, Artman said she is prepared for game day. “There are actually quite a few people from where I’m from in Georgia who are Saint Mary’s College alumnae,” Artman said. “They gave me some advice on what to expect from the Notre Dame-Saint Mary’s connection.” Artman said she is prepared for an exciting game day. “I have jerseys, tattoos, all the decor for the football game,” she said. “I’m going to go all-out. I might look a little ridiculous, but it’s all for team spirit.” Some of the pre-game traditions Notre Dame has to offer are especially exciting to Artman. “One of my roommates’ parents are having a tailgate, so I’m probably going to stop by there,” she said. “Apparently Notre Dame tailgating is the best, so I’m very excited!” Artman is not alone in her enthusiasm on campus. Saint Mary’s senior Megan Lord said she is excited to cheer on the Irish with her friends. “I have six roommates, so I’m sure all of us will go together,” Lord said. “We have a large group in our section … It’s just fun, we all get out, cheer for [the] team … Usually we’ll end up dressing weird.” Lord, who grew up in the area, has a long personal history with Notre Dame football. “My family goes to the games,” Lord said. “I grew up around Notre Dame football. My first game was probably when I was six … The student section is always great; since I’ve been a [first-year] I haven’t missed a game. Everyone’s more into it!”. Football rivalries between Notre Dame and other colleges are something Lord said she understands very well. “Purdue versus Notre Dame is a big game around here,” Lord said. “I expect a great outcome.” In addition to the actual competition, Lord said she enjoys many pregame traditions. “My favorite aspect is the tailgating [and] getting to meet everybody’s family,” she said. After graduation, Lord said she plans to get season tickets and continue attending games, but she said it will be different from sitting in the student section. “The student section is the life of the stadium,” she said.
With the election approaching rapidly, undecided voters must hone in on the issues most important to them. For some, that paramount issue might be gay rights. Political science professor Geoffrey Layman said gay issues have played a limited role in this year’s election, despite major developments in gay and lesbian rights recently. “Like all other issues, they have been dwarfed in importance by the economy,” he said. These issues have also been sidelined due to Republican hesitation to broach a topic that would likely benefit the Democrats more than their own party, Layman said. “Public support for same-sex marriage and for gay and lesbian rights more generally has been increasing rapidly,” he said. “These things are very unpopular among the activist base of the GOP, but are much more popular among the undecided voters on whom general election campaigns focus.” Further, Layman said the limited space in the public mind for moral issues has been occupied by topics besides gay rights. “The controversies over President Obama’s health care program and especially the HHS mandate have brought abortion and reproductive issues once again to the forefront,” he said. Layman said the limited focus on gay issues in this election is similar to the 2008 election. Then, as now, the election was dominated by economic crisis. But in the 2004 election, Layman said the issue of gay rights was a crucial topic that was addressed frequently. “Same-sex marriage was more important for the 2004 election because key battleground states – Ohio in particular – had same-sex ballot initiatives and those affected the turnout of supporters and opponents of those initiatives in the presidential election,” Layman said. Although several states had same-sex initiatives on the ballot in 2008, Layman said they did not largely impact the election because they were not battleground states. Despite the increased prevalence of gay issues in today’s culture, Layman said he does not believe they typically have a large impact on an individual’s vote. “To the extent that people consider issues at all, they base their voting decisions far more on economic issues than on cultural and moral issues like gay rights, same-sex marriage and abortion,” he said. He did acknowledge these issues play a large role in determining the votes of certain groups of people. “For example, gay and lesbian voters themselves and the traditionalist Christian voters who are staunchly opposed to same-sex marriage and other advances in gay and lesbian rights,” Layman said. Layman said it is difficult to determine for certain whether homosexual citizens tend to ally with a particular party due to the small number of self-identified gay and lesbian voters in national sample surveys. “However, the existing evidence suggests that gay and lesbian voters lean strongly toward the Democratic Party,” he said.
The five-time Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks arrived on campus Thursday for their second straight training camp trip to Compton Family Ice Arena, with public practices on Saturday and Sunday.Tom Nevala, general manager of the Compton Family Ice Arena, said the training camp was first set up last year through discussions with Blackhawk’s manager Stan Bowan, a 1995 Notre Dame alumnus.Observer File Photo “With the facilities we have available to them, the campus environment, they thought it would be a great way to start the season,” Nevala said.The team completed physical testing at the United Center in Chicago Thursday morning before traveling to the University, where Nevala said they will reside at the Morris Inn for the duration of their visit.While at Notre Dame, Nevala said the team will participate in both private and public events.“They are doing some things, but they are private functions on campus,” he said. “They are doing some things in the community as well. I think they’ll go to the Robinson Learning Center, I want to say on Friday afternoon.”Team practice on Friday will be closed to the public, but faculty, staff and students from Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross are welcome to join the team for an exclusive practice at the Compton Family Ice Arena from 10:00 a.m. to 12:50 p.m. The training camp itself will take place on Saturday and Sunday from 10:15 a.m. to 12:40 p.m.“Hopefully it’s a chance for everyone [to benefit],” he said. “That’s why we have the Friday event specifically for Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross students, faculty and staff. It’s a great chance to get out and see these guys live in a much smaller venue than the United Center.”Nevala said hosting the team is a special experience that “certainly comes at a great price.” According to the Notre Dame website, the now sold-out general admission tickets for the weekend scrimmages were available for purchase for $10.“I think, more importantly, the 60 guys who come here as part of the Blackhawks enjoy being around the atmosphere that you enjoy every day,” he said. “Maybe a third of an NHL team played hockey in college, most of them [now] have the opportunity to experience the college environment and enjoy kind of being like you guys.”Nevala said the team seems to enjoy the training program set up at Notre Dame.“Before they’ve even started camp this year, they’re already looking forward to returning again next year,” he said.Tags: Chicago Blackhawks, Compton Family Ice Arena, Training Camp
Katherine Robinson Wednesday evening, professor of anthropology Agustín Fuentes delivered the first annual Sorin Scholars Lecture at Hayes-Healy Center. Each year, the Sorin Scholars organization picks a theme to encourage discussion and reflection on an intellectual problem. In light of this year’s theme, inequality, Fuentes discussed the relationship between race and inequality in his lecture “Race, Inequality, and Reality: What We Know and Why It Matters.”Fuentes said one of the biggest problems the United States has had and still has today is the inability to talk effectively about race.“Race and inequality have a particular relationship in our present and in our history,” Fuentes said. “…This is one [issue] that has a very high potential for change in the future. This is not a fixed reality, but it is an important one.“If we don’t understand it, think about it, talk about it, [and] engage with it; it is not going to change. Because right now, it is not sustainable, and it is not right.”Fuentes said in our society, almost everyone believes that Black, White, Latino, Asian, and others are distinct biological entities.“I want to demonstrate what we know from rigorous scientific studies, that races as we use now are not biological entities,” Fuentes said. “We all have 100 percent of the same genes. What varies is that each gene comes in multiple forms – two, 17, 140 – and it’s the variation in the presence of those different forms in a population that is human genetic variation.”Fuentes said that most racial definitions perceived by society, such as gene types, body forms, skin colors and genetic diseases, are not backed by biology.“All of our racial definitions are socially constructed,” he said. “We made them up, and we use them, but they have real effects. Race is not biological, but race is distributed and impacted in unequal ways by the structures – the political, historical and social structures.”Social contexts and the expectations of individuals in a society can have a massive impact on health, he said.“Race is not biological, but it can become biology,” Fuentes said. “Racial inequality creates biological differences in people.”Fuentes stated that we are not in a post-racial society, and that race matters in our society.“So when you are with a cluster of your friends, or your family, or in a classroom – if someone said something that is wrong, that is not true, that is not based on the biological and social historical facts that we have available, it is your response to act,” he said.Tags: agustin fuentes, biological issues with race, racial issues, sorin scholars lecture
The Department of Education at Saint Mary’s College and the Michiana Writers’ Center are teaming up to host a teen writing conference Saturday called Get Inked on Saturday in the Carroll Auditorium of Madeleva Hall.The conference, open to students in grades 8 to 12 and held on the Saint Mary’s campus, will run from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The event will feature keynote speaker Tracy Bilen, author of the young adult novel “What She Left Behind.”Kathy Higgs-Coulthard, director of the Michiana Writers’ Center and education professor at Saint Mary’s, said the conference hopes to strengthen teens’ writing skills with engaging workshops and guest speakers.“The Get Inked Teen Writing Conference is designed to provide teen writers with the same types of experiences adult writers get at their writing conferences,” Higgs-Coulthard said. “Our guest author, Tracy Bilen, is a huge draw.”The teens attending the conference will not only get to hear Bilen speak, Higgs-Coulthard said, but will also be able to write with her in small group sessions.Saint Mary’s junior Teresa Guerrero will co-teach some of the workshops.“As an English major and Secondary Education minor, my involvement in the conference is to help teach a brief lesson about the workshops I am helping to conduct and help students with any[thing] they may need,” Guerrero said.According to a list provided upon registration, students can choose from workshops covering a variety of topics including how to find inspiration, write body language, establish effective settings and write compact stories. Beyond traditional story themes, the conference will address additional topics relevant to teens through a college essay workshop.Higgs-Coulthard said the biggest benefit for the attending students will be the opportunity to meet like-minded teens.“The conference is geared toward students in grades 8-12 because those writers are usually functioning at a more sophisticated level of writing — both creatively and analytically — than younger students,” she said. “Those students are often able to adopt new strategies into their writing and consider suggested revisions.”Guerrero said she is excited to work with the students who are willing to devote their Saturdays to writing.“I was motivated to get involved with the conference because of the students who are coming,” she said. “Hopefully I can incorporate some of the ideas presented at the conference into my own teaching one day.”The conference is also going to be helpful for writing teachers, Higgs-Coulthard said.“Area teachers are invited to attend the morning session for free in order to learn more about teaching writing,” she said. “Mary Nicolini, the site director for our area’s National Writing Project, will be on hand to answer questions.”Additionally, most presenters are not just teachers, but writers themselves, Higgs-Coulthard said. This gives the presenters an increased understanding of the struggles the teen writers are facing, she said, which will help make them more able to help the teens.She said this is the second year for what she hopes will become an established annual conference.“The conference exists to celebrate and support teen writers,” Higgs-Coulthard said. “While sporting events showcase athletes and other events like band concerts and theater plays showcase performers, there is nothing else around to showcase the talents of Michiana’s young writers.”The Get Inked registration website advertises an autographed copy of Bilen’s novel, “What She Left Behind,” for each attendee. The $40 registration fee covers a full-day’s attendance and lunch.“Saint Mary’s education students are invited to attend the morning session from 8-11:30 in Carroll Auditorium for free,” Higgs-Coulthard said, but must email her at [email protected] to RSVP.“I hope that students will take away new ways to write,” Guerrero said. “I am still learning … just as these students are.”Tags: Department of Education, Get Inked, Kathy Higgs-Coulthard, Michiana Writer’s Center, Tracy Bilen, Writing Conference
Saint Mary’s hosted an interactive panel Tuesday called LeadHER, featuring Indiana Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann and her Chief of Staff, Tonya Brothers-Bridge, to discuss topics including fearless leadership and the power of women mentorship. Along with Ellspermann and Brothers-Bridge, panelists included president and CEO of Michiana Partnership Regina Emberton, president and CEO for the YWCA North Central Indiana Linda Baechle, senior business major Ambar Varela and senior global studies major Eleanor Jones. The discussion was moderated by associate project director of the Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative (WEI) Joan McClendon.“Saint Mary’s College has educating women leaders since our founding in 1844,” College president Carol Ann Mooney said in her welcome. “I wasn’t at all surprised to learn that after attending the WEI leadership event in the spring, Tonya Brothers-Bridge from the Lieutenant Governor’s office realized that Saint Mary’s was the perfect place to return to and talk about women’s leadership.”Both Ellspermann and Brothers-Bridge talked about their experiences as women in the professional world and in politics specifically. They both said they do not try to step away from who they are as women but rather work to gain respect as women in male-dominated fields. Ellspermann said she tries to bring in new ways of thinking and problem solving from her female perspective and thinks it is important to bring in other minorities because everyone has something new to offer.Jones posed the question of whether or not fearless leadership exists and what fears Ellspermann and Brothers-Bridge face in their careers in politics. “I think a career life is meant for taking on the fearless opportunities,” Ellspermann said. “It’s taking on a job you’re not sure you can do and realizing that each time you do it, you get confidence for the next position.” Brothers-Bridge said that she does not believe fearlessness exists. “I think if you’re not scared, your goals are not big enough or your dreams aren’t lofty enough,” Brothers-Bridge said. “I don’t try to go through life fearless. I try to go through life taking the appropriate risks and managing those risks.”The women also discussed the power of women mentorship; both attested to its importance in paving the way for future generations of women leaders. “Mentoring to me is having a very personal, sincere, open, honest relationship with someone that you trust,” Brothers-Bridge said. “I love to mentor others. I’ve had some really terrific mentors in my life, and I feel that is a way I can give back. “We take it seriously that we should mentor other people,” Ellspermann said. “We should encourage them, and when they step forward [in leadership roles], we should get behind them. … We need to be active in that role so that our daughters, my four daughters, won’t see politics as ‘that ugly thing.’”Ellspermann said the way for women to advance to leadership position is to not be afraid to ask for it. She said women should not lower expectations or accept lesser pay when they deserve more. “Life is too short,” Ellspermann said. “You need to be doing something where you’re making a difference, where you’re loving to get up everyday, where you’re loving to engage in what you’re doing.“As women, we try to prepare the way so that those who are out there can do whatever they want to. Whether you want to be a stay-at-home mom, or whether you want to be a Ph.D., or whether you want to be the president of a bank or whether you want to start your own business. We want all of those options out there.”Tags: LeadHER
Associate professor emeritus of finance Adam S. Arnold Jr., the first African American faculty member at Notre Dame, died April 14 at the age of 94, the University announced in a press release Monday.According to the press release, Arnold joined the department of finance in 1957 after serving in World War II and spent 30 years as a University faculty member. As well as being the first African American faculty member, he was also the first to receive tenure.Arnold spent much of his youth in Danville, Kentucky, according to the press release. He met his wife, Helen, while attending West Virginia State College. He was drafted into the U.S. Army after graduation and left it at the rank of staff sergeant. Afterwards, he earned his MBA as well as a doctorate in finance at the University of Wisconsin.In a statement in the press release, University President Fr. John Jenkins said Arnold was a groundbreaking faculty member.“After serving in the Army in World War II, Dr. Arnold came to Notre Dame in 1957 and served on our finance faculty for the next 30 years,” Jenkins said in the press release. “He was a pioneer who served Our Lady’s University with distinction. Our prayers and best wishes are with his family.”Arnold received the William P. Sexton Award — which is “given to non-alumni faculty or staff whose lives exemplify the spirit of the University,” according to the press release — in 2003, the press release said.A memorial funeral service will be held for Arnold at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Hampton, Virginia, at 11 a.m. on May 5.Tags: professor emeritus dies
Tucked away at the edge of campus on a shady hill lies the modest cradle of Notre Dame — Old College.Old College is the oldest standing building at Notre Dame. Founded by Fr. Edward Sorin, and constructed in 1843, the building is coming up on its 175th anniversary this spring. In the past, Old College housed the Congregation of Holy Cross sisters, brothers and priests, including Fr. Sorin himself. According to the Notre Dame archives, in addition to dorms for students and Holy Cross priests and brothers, Old College once held a classroom, a clothing room, a bakery and a dining hall. Molly Chen | The Observer Old College, pictured, hosts a seminarian program that aims to foster community. The building is Notre Dame’s oldest standing structure.There are not many Old Collegians, as even the building itself is small compared to other residence halls on campus.“Physically, we could probably only fit about 18 or 20 [people],” sophomore seminarian Keenan Bross said.But such a small number has fostered a tight-knit community, sophomore seminarian James Mahoney said.“It’s smaller than dorm life, but we’re a family,” he said. “I expected formation and growth, and I have seen that. I expected a life of preparing yourself for religious life, and I really do see that in Old College. That’s how it’s structured in our community life.”Bonding naturally takes place as a result of this arrangement, Bross said.“It really is like a family, which is what we’re preparing for: to live with one another for our whole life … and live in a small, tight-knit community where there’s a lot of love, accountability, taking care of and being aware of one another, nourishing one another and just having fun sometimes,” he said.Seminarian Daniel Simmons, now in his second year at both Notre Dame and Old College, said he fell in love with the program during his senior year of high school.“Having a community of 10 guys like we do as [undergraduates] is really nice because they’re all going through the same things,” he said. With only 10 men in the program, Notre Dame’s Old Collegians are of top merit and are held to high standards. Men who decide to apply to Old College must be accepted into the program separately from Notre Dame or Holy Cross, Bross said. Before they start their undergraduate degrees, Bross said, the men are required to write essays and make two separate visits to Old College: one informal, where prospective seminarians get information about the program and the second formal, consisting of five separate interviews. Bross said this extensive application process ensures Old College will thrive.“They really want to know who you are to make sure that they’re bringing in someone who … is going to fit in with the community here,” he said. “It was a lot, but you aren’t trying to be impressive in the way you are in a college application. Sure, I wrote a 12-page essay about myself, but it was just kind of like, ‘This is me.’ I wasn’t trying to be fancy or elegant.”Once accepted, the life of an undergraduate seminarian is busy with activities such as Mass, morning prayer, holy hour and rosary, Simmons said. “It’s not the typical college experience,” he said. “For the most part, we’re normal college kids, except we have a really busy schedule.”Bross said he finds fulfillment from a tight schedule.“While being very busy, it’s very nourishing,” Bross said. “Everything that’s on our schedule, whether it be Mass or community meals together … it’s all really nourishing. So in a way, yeah, I’m the busiest I’ve ever been … but I love it. It doesn’t feel like work having to do all of the things that we do.”Aside from the focus on community and inclusion within the seminary, Bross said what makes the program at Old College distinctive is that apart from being required to take 30 philosophy credits and 12 theology credits, Old Collegians can major in any of the undergraduate programs Notre Dame or Holy Cross offers. “Something beautiful about Holy Cross is … that we understand the world in such a way that all is gift from God and all is truth, and it’s really good to be learning things like physics, it’s really good to be learning things like French,” Bross said. “These all contribute to our understanding of our creator and are things that can be useful in the future for a practical sense. I might teach physics in the future as well as be a Holy Cross priest or brother.”Simmons, who is majoring in music theory, history and philosophy, said he appreciates having the opportunity to pursue his passions.“I really did not want to study just theology and philosophy,” he said. “I have other interests than that. We can major in whatever we want to, which is rare for an undergraduate seminary. Normally, kids have to do philosophy and theology as undergrads.”Mahoney said he has found the entire program to be enriching, and the community plays a big part in this. “[The community is] a great group of guys around your age under the guidance of some great Holy Cross priests and brothers who want to prepare you for life as a Holy Cross religious, and above all, to help you know where the Lord is calling you,” Mahoney said.As campus continues expanding, the history of Notre Dame still revolves around Old College, Simmons said. “I think a lot of times it’s a little forgotten point of campus,” Simmons said. “The Dome and the Basilica tend to be the focal points, when [Old College] was the cradle of the University.”Tags: Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Congregation of the Holy Cross, old college, Rev. Edward Sorin, the Dome
Holy Cross College will extend online classes for the rest of the semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic, College President Fr. David Tyson said in an email sent out to students Thursday. “Like you, I was hoping and praying that the College community would be able to reassemble for the last part of the semester,” Tyson said in the email. “Unfortunately, we simply cannot do so if we are to exercise proper vigilance and prudent judgment at this time.”Distance learning for Holy Cross will continue until May 1, and final exams are scheduled to take place from May 4-8, according to the email.Tyson said in the email he intends “to do everything in [his] power to make sure that graduation takes place,” though extenuating circumstances regarding the COVID-19 progression may affect these plans. “I again ask your continued good will and patience during these days and in this somewhat unprecedented situation for Holy Cross College, our country, and, indeed, the world,” he said.The campus will remain closed until further notice, and information regarding the move-out process and room-picks for the 2020-2021 academic term will come in the next few weeks, dean of students Andrew Polaniecki said in a follow-up email.Due to the closing of the residence halls, the College plans on prorating room and board expenses, Polaniecki said, but the administration is still working out the details.Tags: coronavirus, COVID-19, fr david tyson, Holy Cross College
University President Fr. John Jenkins wrote a letter Friday to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging the State Department to expedite the process for international students to obtain student visas. In the letter, Jenkins noted he and University personnel had determined it would be safe to reopen campus to students in the fall. However, he said Notre Dame international students are facing more difficulties in regard to the global pandemic as many visa appointments are not scheduled until October or November, months after Notre Dame’s fall semester start date in August. “Approximately 400 international first-year students and graduate students who Notre Dame expected to enroll have been seriously delayed. Some academic departments will lose more than half of their incoming cohort of graduate students if visa appointments are not scheduled in the next few months,” Jenkins said. One of the nation’s leading universities for Fulbright Scholars, Jenkins said Notre Dame would have no scholars in the Fulbright program on campus in the fall if this issue is not resolved.“I ask that you help us in continuing the storied success of public diplomacy that the Fulbright program has come to represent,” he said. Tags: Mike Pompeo, pandemic, State Department, student visas, University President Fr. John Jenkins
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 [email protected]
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 protected] 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 ([email protected]) 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.