­DJ Hellerman : On John Killacky’s ‘Embodied Voice: Video Narratives’

Editor's note: This review is by DJ Hellerman, curator of Art & Programs at the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, New York. Introduction
Many of us know John Killacky as the executive director of the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts or as a frequent commentator on VPR, often using his relationship with his pony, Pacific Raindrop, to convey wise life lessons. A retrospective exhibition, currently on view at the Champlain College Art Gallery, is an opportunity to get to know yet another part of John — John the filmmaker, the actor, the dancer and the poet. EMBODIED VOICE: VIDEO NARRATIVES, through Feb. 16, Champlain College Art Gallery, Center for Communication and Creative Media, 2nd Floor, 375 Maple St., Burlington.

‘Bitter Rivals’: A provocative Frontline examines the complicated Iranian-Saudi conflict

Eric Black

The Mideast is a mess. What else is new? At least since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire during World War I, the region has spawned more than its per capita share of wars, near wars, civil wars and revolutions, terrorist movements, etc.To American eyes, watching that region from afar, it's hard to find a starting point for understanding. Is it ethnic hatreds between Arabs, Turks, Persians, Kurds, Jews etc.? Is it religious hatred?

‘Black Panther’ becomes cultural moment for many in St. Louis

Welcome to Wakanda, the technologically advanced fictional nation that is the setting for an upcoming superhero, blockbuster film. If you are not sure where that is, try asking the thousands of people who pre-ordered tickets to “Black Panther,” the film with the most first-day presales in history. Theaters across the country are holding “black carpet” events to premiere the film. In St. Louis, the nonprofit organization Mocha Moms will hold their black carpet this evening at the Regal St.

‘Emotionally exhausted’ yet inspired by students: A Memphis educator and gun-control advocate reacts to Parkland

By the time America realized the scope of the school shooting that killed 17 people last week in Parkland, Florida, Kat McRitchie was already weary of responding to gun violence. A Memphis educator and gun-control advocate, McRitchie had spent the evening before at a candlelight vigil for two Memphis teens gunned down near their high school the previous Friday. She'd spent the weekend reeling from that killing. And as part of a group called Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, she'd spent countless hours lobbying for policies that could stem the shootings that claim dozens of young people in her city every year. “Honestly, my emotional reaction to Parkland was, ‘Ugh, this is terrible.

‘Hamilton,’ ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ may boost Hennepin subscriptions; Intermedia Arts seeks offers

Pamela Espeland

The huge Broadway hit “Hamilton” is coming to Minneapolis – not for a few days, but for six weeks (more accurately, five and a half). And so is another huge Broadway hit, “Dear Evan Hansen,” making Hennepin Theatre Trust's 2018-19 Broadway on Hennepin season one of the most exciting in recent memory.We've known that “Hamilton” would show up here sometime this season. Hennepin Theatre Trust put out the first teaser in December 2016, and people have speculated on the dates ever since. But “Dear Evan Hansen” was a surprise. A six-time 2017 Tony winner (including Best Musical and Best Original Score) and 2018 Grammy winner (Best Musical Theater Album), it features a score by “La La Land” composers Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.The “Hamilton” dates are Aug.

‘I want to send this picture to my family’: New program in Anoka gives homeless folks a [head] shot

Jim Walsh

Wednesday afternoon, the 66 men and women who live at the Stepping Stone Emergency Housing facility in Anoka were offered the chance to take part in a professional photography session, complete with pro makeup and hair. About 30 of the mostly twenty-somethings took advantage, transforming the institutional walls into a flurry of activity worthy of any upscale salon or studio.“I've been here for six years, and we've never done this before, and after today, we're never not gonna do it again,” said Julie Jeppson, executive director of Stepping Stone, whose dream made “Headshots for the Homeless” happen.“Ever since I've been working here, I've wanted to do this,” she said. “Putting your image out there on the internet and social media is essential right now, and these individuals don't have the privilege of getting the opportunity to have a really nice picture taken.“So I talked to Aveda, and I talked to some photographers, but to get a photographer to come and do this pro bono is a lot to ask; getting makeup artists and hair stylists to do it [free] is a lot to ask; so it just never worked out — until I met Brady Whitcomb [of BW Portrait Art in Andover], who is huge into philanthropy. I asked him and he said, ‘Yes, absolutely,' and he rallied some friends, and here you are.”Stepping Stone is the only homeless shelter serving adults in a five-county area: Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Scott, and Washington. It has a waiting list of 250-plus names, and Headshots for the Homeless is but one of several programs at the facility that work to break the cycle of homelessness.“Specifically in suburban homelessness, there's a lot of barriers in people's ways; jobs and transportation being the two biggest ones,” said Jeppson.

‘I was too black:’ Discrimination, segregation perpetuate income inequality in St. Louis

On his first job out of college as a corrections officer for St. Louis County in 1984, Perez Maxwell noticed that no black men had social work roles. When he sought a promotion to social worker two years later — a position he said he had the education and training to win — he hit a wall. That was just the first of several jobs where Maxwell observed that he and his black colleagues lost out on leadership roles that went to white counterparts with similar education. He can't help but think that helps explain why many black people in St.

‘Just business’: After months of political battles, party leaders all smiles during preview of 2018 Minnesota Legislature

Briana Bierschbach

On Tuesday, at the start of an annual gathering of all four Minnesota legislative leaders and the governor, Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt took out his cellphone and snapped a photo of the line of reporters who had gathered in a Senate hearing room to ask questions. Then he turned the camera around on himself and DFL Gov. Mark Dayton, who was just sitting down. They wrapped their arms around each other's shoulders and grinned for a selfie, which Daudt promptly sent out over Twitter.It was a warm moment between two men who have often been at odds over the last four years, fighting over everything from tax cuts and the state budget to how the other one conducts himself in private negotiations. “Separating the personal and the professional or political is really important,” Dayton said. “I have great respect for the speaker.”The moment also set the tone for a decidedly friendly presession briefing between the governor and all four of the caucus leaders, who head into the 2018 Legislature on Tuesday.

‘Make Believe Neighborhood’ is enchanting; ‘Tuesdays With Morrie’ to open

Pamela Espeland

It's about time Fred Rogers became a puppet. Several puppets. In “Make Believe Neighborhood,” the enchanting new show at In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre, there's baby Fred and boy Fred, young man Fred, grown-up Fred, praying Fred, swimming Fred and Fred as Mr. Rogers, creator and host of the long-running PBS series and lifelong advocate for children. All puppets. And, in the show's second half, a series of larger-than-life-size Fred masks worn by Seth Eberle and Masanari Kawahara that are motionless yet magically expressive and wise.Written and directed by Bart Buch, HOBT's director of youth and community programs and a 2017-18 McKnight Theater Artist Fellow, “Make Believe Neighborhood” is a portrait of a good man in a time when they're hard to find, at least in the news.

‘Never, ever dreamed I’d go to the Olympics’: Clayton resident remembers Lake Placid

Stacey Smith is an Olympian. The former figure skater competed for the U.S. at the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid. As the ice dance competition wraps up at the Winter Olympics in South Korea, the Clayton resident is watching with a mix of pride, patriotism and accomplishment. Smith recently spoke with St. Louis Public Radio about how she started in the sport, her memories of Lake Placid and the importance of embracing St.

‘Super blue blood moon’ eclipsed over Tucson

Tucsonans looking skyward Wednesday morning got a rare treat: a trio of lunar phenomena could be seen as a total lunar eclipse occurred during a blue moon and a supermoon.

‘Adaptation Bangladesh: Sea Level Rise’ film shows how farmers are fighting climate change

This is a story of hope. Bangladesh is extremely vulnerable to climate change. Threatened by rising sea levels, storms and cyclones, floods have become commonplace, with seawater encroaching both homes and agricultural farms. But Bangladeshi people have found ingenious ways of adapting to the rising sea level. A recent documentary, “Adaptation Bangladesh: Sea Level Rise“, explores one such example of resilience. To keep their farms from flooding, Bangladeshi farmers have been building floating gardens — farms made of water hyacinth and bamboo that float on water, no matter what the water level.

‘All eyes are on Newark’: As the city regains control of its schools, a look at what’s to come

For years, votes cast by Newark's elected school board carried mostly symbolic weight. On Thursday, as the board reclaims full control of New Jersey's largest school district after a 22-year state takeover, even its smallest decisions will acquire new significance. A preview of that transformation was on display at a board meeting last week, as members debated when to hold their next round of elections. Moving them from April to November, when other local elections are held, could save the school district about $250,000 per election. But doing so could also politicize the board race, discouraging ordinary citizens from throwing their hats into the ring.

‘Brain drain’ relief bill advances in House

The House unanimously approved a measure Wednesday that backers say could help stem brain drain — the phenomenon of young professionals leaving the state, taking their talents and skills with them. The legislation, HB 1550, would allow recent college graduates to receive a deduction on their state income taxes within a year of graduating from a four-year school. Those people would be able to receive the credit for up to three years if they continue living and working in the state. If they remained in state and purchased property, they could receive the tax break for and additional two years under the bill. Gil Ford PhotographyRep. Trey Lamar, R-Senatobia
“We're hoping this entices some of our best and brightest to stay here.

‘Conversation’ with District 9’s John Courage Set for Tuesday

The Rivard Report's "Conversations with the Council" series features moderated discussions with each of the City Council's 10 members. The post ‘Conversation' with District 9's John Courage Set for Tuesday appeared first on Rivard Report.

‘Eye of Papua’ shines a light on environmental, indigenous issues in Indonesia’s last frontier

JAKARTA — Zely Ariane, an editor at the Tabloid Jubi newspaper in Indonesia's easternmost region of Papua, gets frustrated each time an acquaintance travels there and asks to meet up on short notice. None of them, it seems, realizes just how vast the region is. “My friends always say, ‘Hey, I'm in Papua, let's meet up!'” Zely said in Jakarta recently. “But where in Papua, though? If someone was to ask to meet you in Java, they'd surely say where [specifically], no?” The name Papua typically refers to the western half of the island of New Guinea, which is split up into two administrative regions: the provinces of West Papua and Papua.

‘Hub and spoke’ patients show big drop in drug use, overdoses

Vermont Health Commissioner Mark Levine. File photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/IMG_3416-7.jpg?fit=300%2C200&ssl=1" data-large-file="https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/IMG_3416-7.jpg?fit=610%2C407&ssl=1" src="https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/IMG_3416-7.jpg?resize=610%2C407&ssl=1" alt="Mark Levine" width="610" height="407" srcset="https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/IMG_3416-7.jpg?resize=610%2C407&ssl=1 610w, https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/IMG_3416-7.jpg?resize=125%2C83&ssl=1 125w, https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/IMG_3416-7.jpg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1 300w, https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/IMG_3416-7.jpg?resize=768%2C512&ssl=1 768w, https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/IMG_3416-7.jpg?w=1280&ssl=1 1280w, https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/IMG_3416-7.jpg?w=1920&ssl=1 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Vermont Health Commissioner Mark Levine. File photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDiggerThe first in-depth survey of those enrolled in Vermont's medication-assisted treatment program for opioid addiction shows “dramatic reductions” in drug use, overdoses, hospital visits and arrests. The study, based on interviews with 80 people, also found improved “family life, housing stability and emotional health” among those who are participating in the state's hub and spoke program. The report also makes recommendations for improvement, and State Health Commissioner Mark Levine said he's taking those seriously.

‘I just always thought I was stupid’: Indiana considers early screening for students with dyslexia

State lawmaker Erin Houchin knew early in her son's schooling that he struggled to read. But it would be years before she'd know why. “He would bring papers home and say, ‘I got every answer wrong because I couldn't read it,'” said Houchin, a Republican senator from Salem. Her school reassured her that her son was a “typical boy” — that he was smart, and he'd grow out of it. Still, for years, he continued to struggle.

‘Immense’ Contributions of Canary Islanders Worthy of Tricentennial Tribute

Were it not for the passion for a better life that drove these “earliest civilian colonists of San Antonio,” our beloved city would not be what it is today. The post ‘Immense' Contributions of Canary Islanders Worthy of Tricentennial Tribute appeared first on Rivard Report.

‘Invisible No More:’ The Other Women #MeToo Should Defend

Minority victims of sexual assault by law enforcement have often been ignored by reformers seeking to improve police-community relations, says attorney Andrea Ritchie. In a conversation with TCR, Ritchie, who assembled a database of 300 such cases, including transgendered, lesbian or gay victims, argues the issue should also be part of the nationwide focus on combating sexual harassment.

‘It’s our home’: Pygmies fight for recognition as forest protectors in new film

The word “pygmy” conjures images of hunter-gatherers living deep in the Congo rainforest, far removed from the modern world. But that modern world is closing in on them, as the forests in which they live fall to provide the rest of the world with timber and make way for huge industrial farms. Now, the pygmies of the Democratic Republic of Congo are coming together to demonstrate both the value of the forest to their society and their role as stewards of this resource. “It's the place of spirits, invocations, incantations and reincarnation,” says Marie Lisenga in a recent short film, Pygmy Peoples of the DRC: A Rising Movement. “It's our home.” The documentary is part of the If Not Us, Then Who? project, with its mission to showcase how communities are critical in protecting forests and tackling issues such as climate change.

‘Jackpotting’ Schemes Take Cash From ATMs in U.S.

ATM “jackpotting” — a sophisticated crime in which thieves install malicious software and/or hardware at ATMs that forces the machines to spit out huge volumes of cash on demand — has long been a threat for banks in Europe and Asia. Last week, the U.S. Secret Service began warning financial institutions that jackpotting attacks have now been spotted targeting cash machines in the U.S., Krebs on Security reports. To carry out a jackpotting attack, thieves first must gain physical access to the cash machine. From there they can use malware or specialized electronics to control the operations of the ATM. On Friday, NCR sent an advisory to customers saying it had received reports from the Secret Service and other sources about jackpotting attacks against ATMs in the U.S. The company said, “This represents the first confirmed cases of losses due to logical attacks in the U.S. This should be treated as a call to action to take appropriate steps to protect their ATMs against these forms of attack and mitigate any consequences.” The Secret Service is warning that organized criminal gangs have been attacking stand-alone ATMs in the United States using “Ploutus.D,” an advanced strain of jackpotting malware first spotted in 2013.

‘Journey to the South Pacific’ highlights world’s most diverse marine ecosystem

Writer, producer and director Mark Krenzien's 40-year-film career has led him on a long list of adventures. He's worked on the “Making Michael Jackson's ‘Thriller'” documentary, swam alongside humpback whales and often filmed in far-flung locations, including war-torn Iraq, earthquake ravaged Haiti and a giant NASA clean room. He produced the IMAX film, “Journey to the South Pacific,” now showing at the St. Louis Science Center through May . On Tuesday's St.

‘Legal Equalizer’ App Helps People Stopped by Police

You're driving and a police officer turns on blue lights. You hear sirens and pull over. The officer approaches. If the officer suspects you've been drinking, can you refuse to take a field sobriety test or blow into a blood-alcohol reader? If the officer wants to search your car, can you say no?

‘Mary Janes: The Women of Weed’ debuts in Burlington

News Release — Heady Vermont
February 14, 2018
Monica Donovan
Heady Vermontmonica@headyvermont.com
Burlington – Local CBD Company Elmore Mountain Therapeutics is bringing “Mary Janes: The Women of Weed” to Merrill's Roxy Theater in Burlington VT on February 17, 2018 at 7 pm. The film presents stories, insights and strategies from cannabis industry leaders. Alongside legalization in Vermont comes a wave of enthusiasm for cannabis. Directors, farmers and innovators looking to enter the industry will be able to learn from the experience of these pioneers. This special screening is full of icons sharing their tips for success.

‘No doubt about it’: Mother of Mary Jo Trokey says postpartum disorder led to homicide-suicide

The mother of a south St. Louis woman believed to have shot her infant, her husband and herself earlier this month says that her daughter suffered from postpartum illness. “There's no doubt about it,” Polly Fick told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh on Thursday when asked if her daughter had postpartum depression. “But because of her background and working as a social worker, I think she was of the opinion that she could handle things.” On Feb.

‘Nothing ever dies’ at the Roundhouse, except maybe transparency

Gov. Susana Martinez wants each state lawmaker to disclose how much he or she spends on projects around the state. Making their emails public would be nice, too. However, the governor isn't keen on sharing information about legal settlements the state negotiates. As for state lawmakers, they aren't rushing to support calls from Martinez or […]

‘Our kids are in crisis:’ St. Louis youth face challenges in school, health, juvenile system

The Women's Voices Raised for Social Justice advocacy program continues to bring awareness to critical issues in the region – this time for injustices disadvantaged youth in St. Louis are facing. Their upcoming program Juvenile Injustice: Kids in Crisis from School to Courts will address inequities in quality of education, rate of school suspensions and more.

‘Our kids are in crisis:’ Youth in St. Louis are facing challenges in school, health, juvenile syste

The Women's Voices Raised for Social Justice advocacy program continues to bring awareness to critical issues in the region – this time for injustices disadvantaged youth in St. Louis are facing. Their upcoming program Juvenile Injustice: Kids in Crisis from School to Courts will address inequities in quality of education, rate of school suspensions and more. On Wednesday's St. Louis on the Air , host Don Marsh talked about those injustices with Karen Anderson, pastor at Ward Chapel AME Church and president of Metropolitan Congregations United (MCU), and Kathryn Banks, lecturer in law and director of the Children's Rights Clinic at Washington University School of Law.

‘Photo Ark’ a quest to document global biodiversity: Q&A with photographer Joel Sartore and director Chun-Wei Yi

At turns haunting, humorous or just downright bizarre, the studio portraits of the thousands of animal species that photographer Joel Sartore has collected are more than just a catalog of life on Earth. When someone sees one of his photographs for the National Geographic Photo Ark, Sartore wants the encounter, often with an animal looking directly into the camera's lens, to be inspiring. A recent three-part film documents the lengths to which he'll go to take the most compelling images and showcase our planet's biodiversity. “RARE: Creatures of the Photo Ark” follows Sartore through jungle treks and sittings with ornery birds, and the filmmakers will be honored Thursday for Best Conservation Film at the New York WILD Film Festival, held at the Explorers Club in Manhattan. An endangered Malayan tiger (Panthera tigris jacksoni) at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Nebraska, taken for the National Geographic Photo Ark.

‘Power abhors a vacuum’: What’s a 2018 Colorado GOP state assembly without Tom Tancredo?

Want to see how a Trumpist candidate drops out of a governor's race in the battleground state of Colorado as the fortunes of his former “boss at Breitbart,” Steve Bannon, smolder 1,700 miles away in Washington, D.C. and President Donald Trump battles negative headlines and poor approval ratings? Hey Sniwflakes. You can come out if your safe spaces! — Tom Tancredo (@TancForGovernor) January 30, 2018

Tom Tancredo, the former Congressman and immigration lightning rod, once again shook up the big race for Colorado governor when he announced Tuesday he is done campaigning because he couldn't raise enough money. Why not?

‘Routine’ Shooting Victims Have Trouble Getting Aid

Hours after a gunman killed 58 people and injured hundreds more in Las Vegas last October, donations for victims and families began pouring in. A GoFundMe campaign raised $11 million in three weeks. At least $28 million was donated after the massacre in Newtown; $2.4 million after San Bernardino; $31 million after Orlando. Mass shootings are not the norm. Each year, tens of thousands of people are wounded in incidents of gun violence.

‘Stacked against people of color;’ Review confirms Broward more punitive toward blacks

By Josh SalmanSarasota Herald-Tribune
Vexed by a recent Sarasota Herald-Tribune investigation showing Broward County sentences blacks busted in drug-free zones to more prison time than whites, prosecutors disputed the findings.The newspaper must have erred, they said. But a monthlong review by the Herald-Tribune and State Attorney's Office found Broward County's own records are riddled with errors... The post ‘Stacked against people of color;' Review confirms Broward more punitive toward blacks appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

‘They made sure I didn’t give up’: How an Indianapolis high school raised graduation rates

The sprawling campus of Arsenal Technical High School is an easy place to get lost. But if the rising graduation rate is an indicator, fewer seniors are falling through the cracks. Two years ago, one in three students wasn't graduating at the high school, which enrolls nearly 2,000. But educators at the largest high school in Indianapolis Public Schools have led a campaign to increase the number of seniors earning diplomas and boost the school's graduation rate over the last two years. And it's paying off.

‘Trump Inc.’ Podcast: Money Laundering and the Trump Taj Mahal

by Heather Vogell, ProPublica, and Ilya Marritz, WNYC
Just months before Donald Trump announced his bid for president in 2015, federal regulators announced they were slapping one of his longtime Atlantic City casinos with a record-setting $10 million fine for lack of controls around money laundering. The problems went back years. The penalty was actually the second record-setting fine for the Trump Taj Mahal involving money-laundering oversight. What exactly did the Taj fail to do? Casino officials admitted to “willful and repeated” violations of the Bank Secrecy Act: As federal authorities put it in a settlement:

Trump Taj Mahal admitted that it failed to implement and maintain an effective AML [anti-money laundering] program; failed to report suspicious transactions; failed to properly file required currency transaction reports; and failed to keep appropriate records as required.

‘Trump, Inc.’ Podcast Extra: Trump’s Company Is Getting $175 Million Annually in Previously Undisclosed Rent

by Andrea Bernstein, WNYC and Eric Umansky, ProPublica
Forbes reporters figured out that the president's company pulls in an estimated $175 million in commercial rent annually. One of Trump's major tenants: a state-owned Chinese bank. In this bonus episode of our “Trump, Inc.” podcast, Forbes' Dan Alexander talks to WNYC's Andrea Bernstein about how he dug through financial documents and even measured square footage to detail the little-known, big payments to the president's company. Subscribe here to “Trump, Inc.” or wherever you get your podcasts. Listen to the Podcast

And remember, we want to hear from you: We're always eager for tips.

‘Trump, Inc.’ Podcast: Russia, Trump and ‘Alternative Financing’

by Jesse Eisinger, ProPublica, and Andrea Bernstein, WNYC
Subscribe to “Trump, Inc.” here or wherever you get your podcasts. After special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russians for an intensive, elaborate effort to interfere with the 2016 elections, President Donald Trump reacted as he has before — with bluster and bellicosity, at everyone but Russia. This week on “Trump, Inc.,” we're exploring the president's, well, persistent weirdness around Russia: Why has Trump been so quiet about Russia and its interference? Glenn Simpson has a theory — that one cannot understand the Russian collusion scandal without understanding Trump's business. Simpson is the head of Fusion GPS, the investigative firm behind the now-famous Trump dossier.

‘We still have tremendous need,’ Hopson tells state lawmakers of Memphis schools

State-mandated education programs that don't include extra money to pay for them are the ire of school leaders, and the head of Tennessee's largest district is reminding state lawmakers that they have a chance to begin addressing a big one this year. Superintendent Dorsey Hopson told members of two House education committees Tuesday that Shelby County Schools spends about $17 million annually on a personalized learning program that was approved by the State Board of Education in 2014. Response to Instruction and Intervention, or RTI, aims to keep struggling students from falling through the cracks and is in its fourth year in Tennessee. But the model has not inspired the state to set aside one extra penny so far to pay for it and, even as the Department of Education recently reported progress through RTI, the program is a sore point for district leaders. For the first time, Gov. Bill Haslam has included just over $13 million in his proposed budget for RTI, but it's only enough to fund the cost of about one interventionist per district, along with some additional resources, trainings, and tools to strengthen the program.

‘Wow, this is fascinating’: Yoknapatawpha Arts Council wins Governor’s Award

Paint brushes meticulously place droplets of watercolor on paper, elementary school-aged kids twist and turn fingers to learn to knit, a musician belts out a note that's been practiced all week and a writer scribbles notes in a journal. The Yoknapatawpha Arts Council, headquartered at Powerhouse in Oxford, doesn't discriminate. Every artist is welcome, and all art forms are encouraged. Behind the scenes, in a humble office shared with all of the full-time and part-time (five) YAC staffers, is Wayne Andrews. Mississippi Arts CommissionYoknapatawpha Arts Council executive director Wayne Andrews, left, and Mississippi Arts Commission executive director Malcolm White
Before Andrews began his role as YAC executive director approximately nine years ago, he and his wife weren't in Oxford, but they knew the town well.

“Bathroom bill” fizzles as Republican primary issue

The "bathroom bill," once touted as a surefire issue for the 2018 Republican primaries, is barely registering in them with less than a month until Election Day. Last year, state lawmakers waded into an intense, emotional debate over whether the state should restrict which bathrooms transgender Texans could use, a priority of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick that ultimately factored into a special session called by Gov. Greg Abbott. Amid months of all-night hearings and boisterous protests — culminating in the bill's failure — Republicans on both sides of the issue were bracing for every candidate's position on the "bathroom bill" to be a sort of litmus test in the 2018 primaries. Yet as of now, it is hard to find a GOP nominating contest for the Legislature where a candidate's position on the issue has emerged as a major point of contention, a far cry from the tone set the last time lawmakers met under the pink dome. "Let them go home and face the voters for the next 90 days," Patrick said on the last day of the special session, referring to lawmakers who had not been thoroughly supportive of the bathroom bill's various forms.
Patrick also recalled a recent conversation he'd had with House Speaker Joe Straus — the bathroom bill's biggest obstacle — toward the end of the special session.

“Political” Police Reforms Embolden Criminals, Union Official Charges

The head of Cleveland's police union blamed gunfire involving police and gun-related arrests near the scene Sunday on an ever-expanding anti-police narrative that will make officers targets, reports the Northeast Ohio Media Group. Steve Loomis, head of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association, said federally mandated police reforms, a Cleveland judge's finding of probable cause for charges against the officers involved in the Tamir Rice shooting and the Cuyahoga County prosecutor's release of the investigation materials in that case were "politically motivated." "What it's doing, and what all these sideshows and unprecedented events are doing, is emboldening the criminal element," Loomis said. "It absolutely is going to get somebody killed; one of us or one of them. Neither is a good thing."

“Buyer’s Remorse” On Bike Ads

The City Plan Commission took up the ongoing debate over the large advertising signs that accompany the city's new bike share stations, even as itgave the green light for the third phase for the project.

“CT Public” Moves In

New Haven's downtown gateway to higher ed has become a gateway to the statewide radio airwaves, as well.

“Hamilton” $10 ticket lottery brings show prices down to earth — for some

Touring company of Hamilton. (Photo via Hamilton: An American Musical's Facebook page.)For Seattle fans of the wildly popular musical “Hamilton,” but who are also priced out of the current $255 to $1,361 range, there's some hope. Starting on Sunday, fans hoping to score $10 tickets to the hot show can enter in an online lottery. The lottery will make 40 tickets available — out of about 2,800 seats — at for $10 at every show during its run at the Paramount Theater from Feb. 6 to March 18.

“Homeownership Matters” Effort Launches

When city firefighter George Chin saw the brick house in Wooster Square, it was love at first sight. Thanks to a new program that gave him $10,000 toward a downpayment and closing costs, he'll soon be moving in.

“Lake in crisis” targeted with new legislation

Lake Carmi has been closed for three months this year because of toxic algae blooms caused by pollution from local dairy farms. Photo by Mike Polhamus/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/cyanobacteria-lake-carmi.jpg?fit=300%2C200&ssl=1" data-large-file="https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/cyanobacteria-lake-carmi.jpg?fit=610%2C407&ssl=1" src="https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/cyanobacteria-lake-carmi.jpg?resize=610%2C407&ssl=1" alt="Lake Carmi" width="610" height="407" srcset="https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/cyanobacteria-lake-carmi.jpg?resize=610%2C407&ssl=1 610w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/cyanobacteria-lake-carmi.jpg?resize=125%2C83&ssl=1 125w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/cyanobacteria-lake-carmi.jpg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1 300w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/cyanobacteria-lake-carmi.jpg?resize=768%2C512&ssl=1 768w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/cyanobacteria-lake-carmi.jpg?w=1280&ssl=1 1280w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/cyanobacteria-lake-carmi.jpg?w=1920&ssl=1 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Lake Carmi was closed for months because of toxic algae blooms caused by pollution from local dairy farms. Photo by Mike Polhamus/VTDiggerLake Carmi is facing a “crisis” due to pollution from the surrounding dairy farms, according to a bill discussed at the Statehouse week that would call for emergency action from the state. Residents living around the state's fourth largest lake say pollution is not only making it unusable and unattractive — having been turned green by toxic bacterial blooms — but is also posing health risks and causing property prices to drop. One of these bacterial blooms, caused by liquid manure runoff used by surrounding farms, prevented swimming in the lake for months last summer, according to the state health department. It was an extreme example of a worsening problem that has been “devastating to the local economy,” according to Franklin Watershed Committee President Peter Benevento. “We need to stop the agricultural practices that are destroying Lake Carmi,” he said.

“Marriage and Love Have Nothing In Common”: Emma Goldman on Romance and Sexual Freedom

The popular notion about marriage and love is that they are synonymous, that they spring from the same motives, and cover the same human needs. Like most popular notions this also rests not on actual facts, but on superstition. Marriage and love have nothing in common; they are as far apart as the poles; are, in fact, antagonistic to each other. No doubt some marriages have been the result of love. Not, however, because love could assert itself only in marriage; much rather is it because few people can completely outgrow a convention.

“Marriage and Love Have Nothing In Common”: Emma Goldman on Romance and Sexual Freedom

The popular notion about marriage and love is that they are synonymous, that they spring from the same motives, and cover the same human needs. Like most popular notions this also rests not on actual facts, but on superstition. Marriage and love have nothing in common; they are as far apart as the poles; are, in fact, antagonistic to each other. No doubt some marriages have been the result of love. Not, however, because love could assert itself only in marriage; much rather is it because few people can completely outgrow a convention.

“New Urbanist” Westville Zone Proposed

An assisted living facility would be OK, but not a boarding house. An apartment building could rise four stories and have a first-floor pharmacy — but no convenience store. Boutique hotel? Fine. Motel?

“Office Hour” Stares Down The Barrel Of School Shootings

Office Hour opens with a short scene that primes the audience to anticipate a terrifying event — a shooting at a university — and then delays that event as long as possible. In playwright Julia Cho's astute hands, though, that delay becomes the point: It is the trauma we bring to the play, not the fear it invents, that she is asking us to examine.

“Sunset Baby” Looks Back In Anger

Damon is a drug dealer and a robber, but a scholar too. He reads academic treatises in his spare time, it turns out. It's enough to surprise former revolutionary Kenyatta Shakur. First they trade street talk. Then they trade ideas.

“They’re just setting those babies up for the penitentiary”: How minor offenses feed overcrowding at Houston youth jail

HOUSTON — Throughout Texas, it's clear: Even as the state's population has skyrocketed in recent years, kids are getting into a lot less trouble with the law. Prosecutors are filing fewer criminal charges against them. Statewide, juvenile prisons are holding fewer youth. And counties are keeping fewer kids in detention while they wait for their cases to get resolved. So why has the the juvenile detention center in Harris County — home to Houston, America's fourth-largest city — been bursting at the seams?

“We Won’t Let Him Sleep”: The Dreamers Hounding Chuck Schumer.

Protesters headed to Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's New York home January 23 after Democrats agreed to end a government shutdown without securing DACA protections. In These Times spoke with Ricardo Aca, a 27-year-old student at Baruch College with DACA status, who took part in the protest. Tell me about what motivated the action. The name of that rally was “Our Lives Are On The Line, Chuck!” because that's the reality. Many of us can't return to our countries because of natural disasters or civil strife.

#BlackGirlMagic panel aims to empower women Feb. 9 at VLS

News Release — Vermont Law School
February 2, 2018
Maryellen Apelquist, Director of Communications
Vermont Law School
South Royalton – The Black Law Students Association (BLSA) at Vermont Law School will present “#BlackGirlMagic: Black, Intelligent, and Educated—Now That's Power,” a celebration and panel discussion from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9, in Yates Common Room at VLS. The event is free and open to the public and press, and will be streamed live at vermontlaw.edu/live. The Huffington Post defines #BlackGirlMagic as “a term used to illustrate the universal awesomeness of black women. It's about celebrating anything we deem particularly dope, inspiring, or mind-blowing about ourselves.” The #BlackGirlMagic event at VLS will celebrate Black History Month with women who lead in law and education, and include a panel discussion, light reception, and recognition and awards to honor achievement.

#MeToo founder talks the future of the movement at Webster University lecture

The #MeToo movement isn't about what you think it's about, founder Tarana Burke told an audience at Webster University's Loretto-Hilton Center on Monday. Burke dispelled three common misconceptions she believes have overshadowed the message of #MeToo, including who the movement is for and what it's supposed to accomplish. “This is not about taking down powerful men,” Burke said. “That was a corporate response. The women who stood up have just wanted to be heard and believed.”

#MeToo Needs to Include #GirlsToo

I recently read an Associated Press interview with singer and actress Mary J. Blige in which she shared her personal account of sexual harassment, beginning at age 5. “From age 5 to 17, I [went] through hell with sexual harassment … By the time I got to the music business, it was like, ‘Don't touch me or I'll kill you,'” she said. This statement resonated deeply with me. It highlights what I believe is the next logical step for the #MeToo movement — a frank and explicit discussion of what was initially included by Tarana Burke but then overshadowed in the movement's current iteration, namely, that #GirlsToo experience sexual violence and abuse. Beginning early in my life, I felt the lack of safety, control and ownership of my body impressed upon me.

$15 an hour minimum wage bill likely to pass Senate

Sen. Michael Sirotkin, D-Chittenden, listens to testimony on a medical pay parity bill at a Senate Finance Committee hearing May 2, 2017. Photo by Erin Mansfield/VTDigger ​
" data-medium-file="https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Michael-Sirotkin.jpg?fit=300%2C200&ssl=1" data-large-file="https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Michael-Sirotkin.jpg?fit=610%2C407&ssl=1" src="https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Michael-Sirotkin.jpg?resize=610%2C407&ssl=1" alt="Michael Sirotkin" width="610" height="407" srcset="https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Michael-Sirotkin.jpg?resize=610%2C407&ssl=1 610w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Michael-Sirotkin.jpg?resize=125%2C83&ssl=1 125w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Michael-Sirotkin.jpg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1 300w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Michael-Sirotkin.jpg?resize=768%2C512&ssl=1 768w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Michael-Sirotkin.jpg?resize=150%2C100&ssl=1 150w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Michael-Sirotkin.jpg?w=1024&ssl=1 1024w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Sen. Michael Sirotkin, D-Chittenden. File photo by Erin Mansfield/VTDigger ​A bill that would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024 is on a path to passage. Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe said Tuesday morning that he's confident that he has the votes for the pay increase that he says will significantly boost the fortunes of low-income Vermonters. “I think an increase in the minimum wage will pass … because I think people know that $10, $15 an hour is not an acceptable wage for adults who work full-time to live on in the state of Vermont,” Ashe said.

$23.5 million funding pledge aims to protect critical West African national park

Benin's Pendjari National Park, one of West Africa's largest remaining strongholds for the elephant and the critically endangered West African lion, has now received a major funding boost. Four groups — the U.S.-based National Geographic Society and Wyss Foundation, South Africa-based African Parks, and the government of Benin — announced on Jan. 31 a combined commitment of more than $23 million to secure and restore the Pendjari National Park. This partnership hopes to “revitalize Pendjari's extraordinary landscape through increased operational effectiveness, scientific research, innovative technology and visually compelling storytelling,” according to a press release from African Parks. “Today's announcement is a testament to the power of partnerships,” Gary E. Knell, president and CEO of the National Geographic Society, said in the statement.

$339K Boosts City Youth Programs

Arte Inc. BIMEC Believe in Me Corp. Bregamos Theater. Higher Heights Youth Empowerment Program. Kidz Kook Association, Inc.New Haven Reads Community Book Bank. New Haven Symphony Orchestra.

1,814 & Counting

The kindergarteners through third-graders at Fair Haven School read 1,814 books since Dec. 22 — and they kept the number growing on Thursday.

10 million acres added to Chile’s national park system

Yesterday, as a herd of guanacos grazed in the distance, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet declared, “With these beautiful lands, their forests, their rich ecosystems, [we] expand the network of parks to more than 10 million acres. Thus, national parklands in Chile will increase by 38.5% to account for 81.1% of Chile's protected areas.” A buzzard eagle soared above as a guanaco in the grasslands behind her took a dust bath in seeming approval. The announcement marked the culmination of a plan agreed to in March 2017 by Bachelet and Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, President and CEO of Tompkins Conservation, to create a network of five new national parks in Chile, and the expansion of three others. Tompkins Conservation is a US-based foundation aimed at preventing biodiversity loss and was founded by Kristine and Doug Tompkins, business leaders of clothing brands The North Face, Esprit, and Patagonia. Doug Tompkins passed away after a kayaking accident on Chile's Lake General Carrera in 2015, and Kristine has carried the mission forward.

10th Annual Student Leadership Conference returns to Lyndon State College

News Release — Lyndon State College
February 5, 2018
Media Contact:
Sylvia Plumb, Executive Director of Communications – Sylvia.Plumb@LyndonState.edu, 802.626.6459
LYNDON CTR., Vt. – Lyndon State College's Department of Student Life will host its 10th Annual Student Leadership Conference February 10. The free conference is open to students, staff, and faculty of colleges throughout Vermont and nearby states as well as area high schools. Last year more than 160 students traveled to Lyndon for the daylong event. This year's theme is Voices of Leadership: Defining Your Story.

11 School Contracts Tabled

The cash-strapped Board of Ed held off on renewing 11 facilities contracts that would make a major dent in next year's budget, while it recommended hiring a consultant that nicked into this year's already-overdrawn budget.

11th Annual On & Off Fredericksburg Road Studio Tour: Let the Art Begin!

It's time for the annual On & Off Fredericksburg Road Studio Tour, set for Saturday, Feb. 17, from 11 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 18, from noon-5 p.m.
The post 11th Annual On & Off Fredericksburg Road Studio Tour: Let the Art Begin! appeared first on Rivard Report.

13 Long-Awaited New Cop Cruisers Arrive

Some relief has arrived for cops used to responding to calls in cars that have holes in the floor or steering wheels that come off. Thirteen new cars are parked in the city's police car garage, but it will be up to alders to decide how much more relief might come before the year is over.

13 Russians, Three Firms Charged In 2016 Election Probe

The special counsel investigating Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election charged 13 Russian nationals and three Russian organizations with illegally using social media platforms to sow political discord, including actions that supported the candidacy of Donald Trump and disparaged opponent Hillary Clinton, the New York Times reports. Prosecutor Robert Mueller said the 13 individuals have conspired since 2014 to violate laws that prohibit foreigners from spending money to influence U.S. federal elections. the indictment charges that the foreigners falsely posed as U.S. citizens, stole identities and otherwise engaged in fraud and deceit in an effort to influence the U.S. political process. “The nature of the scheme was the defendants took extraordinary steps to make it appear that they were ordinary American political activists,” said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Though the Russians are unlikely to be arrested, they are wanted by the U.S. government, which makes it hard for them to travel or do business internationally.

14-year sentence for Vietnamese activist over chemical spill protests

On Tuesday, a Vietnamese court sentenced Hoang Duc Binh to 14 years in prison for activism related to a chemical spill that resulted in a massive fish kill in 2016. The sentence appears to be the harshest so far in a series of punitive measures the Vietnamese government has taken against citizens protesting or blogging about the spill. “Hoang Duc Binh was convicted of abusing democratic freedoms to infringe on the interests of the state, organization and people and opposing officers on duty, lawyer Ha Huy Son said,” the Associated Press reported on February 6. News reports gave conflicting accounts of the exact activities that landed Binh in trouble with authorities. The Associated Press reported that Bihn had livestreamed video of fishermen marching to file a lawsuit over the spill.

17 Killed in South Florida High School Shooting

At least 17 people were shot to death and several others wounded Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in a horrific episode of school violence that ended with the arrest of a former student, reports the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Panicked parents streamed to the school in an affluent part of Broward County, as news helicopters broadcast the incident live and students congregated on streets, many crying, hugging and calling friends and family on their phones. “Oh, my God,” a man could be heard yelling, in a grainy Snapchat video from the school, as the pop-pop, pop-pop of four gunshots range out and students screamed. The gunman was identified as Nicolas Cruz, 19, who had been expelled from the school for disciplinary reasons. He was taken into custody off campus without incident, said Broward Sheriff Scott Israel.

2 Childhoods, 2 Challenges

Elizabeth Nearing fought with her sister, until her parent's health problems made them learn to make peace. Lee Cruz learned to fight for his education after his parents moved to Puerto Rico

2018 Campaign Finance Dashboard

With an open contest for the governor's office, two open U.S. Senate seats, and up to five U.S. House races considered competitive by national groups, one thing's certain: Minnesota is going to see a lot of campaign fundraising this year. To help make sense of all this, we're keeping track of two key numbers — amount raised by the candidates and cash on hand. Of course, this is only one part of the campaign spending picture, as political parties, PACs and outside expenditure groups are sure to play a big role in the 2018 election. We'll keep updating this dashboard throughout the election year as new data become available.

2018 legislative preview: Tickets to MinnPost Social now available to general public

Laura Lindsay

Tickets for the general public are now available for the next MinnPost Social, which is planned for 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 19, at Elsie's in Minneapolis. The event will feature MinnPost's state politics and government reporter Briana Bierschbach as she shares her insights and takes audience questions about the upcoming legislative session, the Minnesota political scene and the big election this fall.This lively Q&A session is part of our MinnPost Social event series, presented by RBC Wealth Management, in which MinnPost journalists share insights with audience members in a casual atmosphere that includes a cash bar — and free appetizers.Tickets for the general public are $10 each.MinnPost Silver, Gold, and Platinum members can claim their free tickets using the promo code emailed to them last week. Those who do not receive the email, or who become MinnPost members prior to the event, may contact Tanner Curl to request the promo code.More information is available on our event page.Powered by Eventbrite

2018 marks Vermont’s Wayside Restaurant’s 100th anniversary

News Release — Wayside Restaurant
February 15, 2018
Brian & Karen Zecchinelli
802-223-6611, ext 7eat@waysiderestaurant.com
Montpelier – In 1918, the Allies declared victory in World War 1, Babe Ruth pitched 29 1/3 scoreless innings for the Red Sox in the World Series, Woodrow Wilson was President, color movies were invented, and Effie Ballou opened the Wayside on the Barre-Montpelier Road. Originally just a roadside eatery, the Wayside Restaurant has withstood the test of time and is ready to celebrate its 100th Anniversary this year! In an industry where 70 percent of all restaurants fail after 10 years, the Wayside has defied the odds. Throughout the year, there will be meal and dessert specials. In July, the actual month the Wayside opened; there will be a Customer Appreciation Party on July 29th from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm.

2018 Oscar shorts to open at the Uptown and the Riverview

Pamela Espeland

The Oscars are coming. Sunday, March 4, is the date when we'll learn who won and who didn't, hopefully without any envelope screw-ups. Between now and then – less than a month – some of us will scramble to see all the best picture nominees, which sometimes intersect with the best actor and actress nominees, and then there are the nominees in all the other categories: supporting actor/actress, animated feature, documentary feature, foreign language film, director, cinematographer, and on and on. It's a big commitment. Who has the time?Or you can see the shorts.

2018 Pulitzer Center-CUGH Global Health Film Festival

Thursday, March 15, 2018 - 6:00PMNew York, NYUnited StatesRebecca KaplanPulitzer Center-supported journalists and student fellows screen films and discuss their global health related reporting, from climate change to domestic violence.

2018 Tyler Prize awarded to two US-based biological oceanographers

It was announced today that the 2018 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement will go to two biological oceanographers based in the United States: Paul Falkowski, a professor of Geological and Marine Science at Rutgers University in the U.S. state of New Jersey; and James J. McCarthy, professor of Biological Oceanography at Harvard University in the state of Massachusetts. Julia Marton-Lefèvre, chair of the Tyler Prize Committee, said that the two scientists were receiving the award in recognition of their pioneering work aimed at understanding and communicating the impacts of human activities on the global climate. “Climate change poses a great challenge to global communities. We are recognizing these two great scientists for their enormous contributions to fighting climate change through increasing our scientific understanding of how Earth's climate works, as well as bringing together that knowledge for the purpose of policy change,” Marton-Lefèvre said in a statement. “This is a great message for the world today; that U.S. scientists are leading some of the most promising research into Earth's climate, and helping to turn that knowledge into policy change.” Falkowski has published a number of papers on the role played by microbes in shaping Earth's global climate cycle.

3 San Antonio Chefs Nominated for the ‘Oscars’ of Food

Chefs Diego Galicia and Rico Torres of Mixtli and Steve McHugh of Cured are among 20 nominees in the category "Best Chef: Southwest." The post 3 San Antonio Chefs Nominated for the ‘Oscars' of Food appeared first on Rivard Report.

33 Minnesota groups get NEA grants; Graywolf author wins big PEN prize

Pamela Espeland

Soon after the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced its first round of grants for fiscal year 2018, we started hearing from Minnesota arts organizations.The Mankato Symphony Orchestra will receive $10,000 for a concert called “Inside Out” to be held in April. Here's how MSO describes it:The key concept … is to break down barriers between performers and audience … [Listeners] will be seated on the stage among the orchestra musicians. They can watch the players perform, read music over their shoulders, and hear the individual sounds the instruments make. The purpose of this project is to draw increased first time concertgoers from our primarily rural region, many of whom are unfamiliar with classical music and instruments.Franconia Sculpture Park will receive $20,000 to support its artist residency and exhibition program. Some 150,000 people, including a lot of kids, visit Franconia each year, wandering through (and often climbing on) the large-scale sculptures.

38 Texas legislative primary races to watch

Races for the Texas House and Senate are drawing some of the most attention ahead of the March 6 primaries. Here are snapshots of some of the most interesting legislative races.

3M asks for delay in trial over groundwater pollution in east metro

Brian Lambert

Kirsti Marohn at MPR reports, “3M is asking a judge to delay a trial scheduled to start next week in the state's $5 billion lawsuit claiming the company polluted groundwater in the east Twin Cities metro. The Maplewood-based company said it needs time to respond to a report released this week by the Minnesota Department of Health. The agency said it analyzed health data and found no unusual increase in rates of cancer and adverse birth outcomes in the area where the groundwater contamination occurred. In its motion, 3M said those findings ‘undermine (if not destroy)' the state's claims.” It certainly didn't help.Nobody knew taxes could be so complicated. Also at MPR, Martin Moylan says, “The IRS still isn't saying if Minnesotans who paid property taxes early can deduct those payments on their 2017 tax returns.

3M settles Minnesota lawsuit for $850 million

MinnPost staff

UPDATE: 3M has settled the state of Minnesota's suit against it for $850 million. [Star Tribune]Stay tuned for news at 3:30. The Star Tribune's Josephine Marcotty reports: “Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson and 3M Co. are expected to make an announcement Tuesday afternoon on what was scheduled to be the opening day of a long-awaited trial over the decades-long contamination of groundwater in Washington County. … Jury selection was scheduled to begin Tuesday, until Hennepin County District Judge Kevin Burke said there would not be a trial Tuesday.

4 Qualities of a Successful Public-Private Partnership

On the surface, the concept of a public-private partnership is solid, but when put into practice, however, the results are decidedly mixed. The post 4 Qualities of a Successful Public-Private Partnership appeared first on Rivard Report.

4-H student educates the public about opportunities at SBC Free Library

Wanting to help educate the community on free-opportunities in San Benito County, local student Safia Bootwala teamed up with the San Benito County Library to put on an "Arts and Crafts and Informational Event"

41 Apartments Condemned; 80 Tenants Relocated

Eighty New Haveners had 45 minutes to pack up their belongings and flee their homes Thursday night when officials temporarily condemned a 41-unit apartment complex on Norton Street Thursday night because of unsafe conditions.

41 New Firefighters Chosen; 83% Local

More women, and more New Haveners, will fight fires in New Haven as a result of a new round of fire academy cadets chosen Tuesday.

5 Questions: Erin Drakontaidis

Speed-dating coordinator5 Questions: Erin Drakontaidis was first posted on February 18, 2018 at 9:21 am.

5 Questions: Judith Enck

Former EPA administrator for Region 25 Questions: Judith Enck was first posted on February 9, 2018 at 9:46 am.

5 Questions: Tyler Mell

Aspiring actor gets Broadway moment5 Questions: Tyler Mell was first posted on February 3, 2018 at 8:15 am.

5 takeaways from Senate infrastructure proposal

Just two days before their own deadline to act, Senate leaders proposed a 282-page bill that they say would devote more than $1 billion to infrastructure in the next five years. The Senate voted 36-14 to pass the bill Tuesday after three hours of debate. It now goes to the House, where it faces a later deadline. Mississippi Today spoke with the bill's authors and detractors to compile these key takeaways:
• Takeaway 1: In order to create the biggest pot of money in the proposal – $600 million over five years for the Strategic Infrastructure Investment Fund — legislative leaders are contradicting their previously stated commitment to growing the state's reserve fund. The “98 percent rule” legally requires that the Legislature's amount of total spending not exceed 98 percent of collected revenues for a fiscal year.

5 things to know about the 8th Ward special election

Voters in St. Louis' 8th Ward will go to the polls on Tuesday to pick their new alderman. The seat has been vacant since November , when long-time alderman Steve Conway resigned to become the city's assessor. The ward covers parts of the Shaw, Tower Grove East and the Southwest Garden neighborhoods. Two candidates — Democrat Paul Fehler and independent Annie Rice — are vying to fill the rest of Conway's term.

6 issues to watch as the legislative session gets under way

Briana Bierschbach

There's a certain ebb and flow to governance at the Minnesota Capitol.For lawmakers, the odd-numbered years are the heaviest lift, with a constitutional requirement to pass a balanced budget. It's an exhausting debate over billions of dollars in state spending and services that usually ends in acrimony, not to mention overtime.By the time the second year of the biennium rolls around, legislators are hungry for something quick and relatively painless. Sessions in even-numbered years convene late and occasionally adjourn early, with an election year ahead in the fall. The even-year sessions are left open to tackle a whole different set of issues, like the bonding bill, a borrowing package for construction projects across the state. They are also heavy on policy issues that have either cropped up since last session, or even more likely, that were left on the table during the chaotic budgeting process.This year, while there may be a budget surplus and other tax conformity issues to address, a handful of policy issues are already teed up to get plenty of attention during the 2018 session, which convenes on Tuesday.

6 of 7 police oversight board nominees confirmed, next steps include setting policies

Update with confirmation - Six of the nominees to the Civilian Oversight Board for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, sailed through Board of Aldermen confirmation Friday. The seventh, DeBorah Ahmed, withdrew her name from consideration.Ahmed is an executive director at Better Family Life, which has received thousands in city money over the last decade. Her nomination had been criticized for possible conflicts of interest. This means that the mayor will have to find a new nominee for the third district, in north-central and northwest St.

6-year-old receives Texas’ first legal delivery of medical cannabis oil

A six-year-old Texan on Thursday became the first person in the state to receive a legal delivery of medical cannabis — more than two years after Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed a law legalizing the sale of a specific kind of cannabis oil to Texans with intractable epilepsy. State law now narrowly allows for the sale of oils with low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive element in marijuana known as THC, and high levels of cannabidiol, a non-euphoric component known as CBD that is used to treat epilepsy and other chronic medical conditions. In late 2017, the Texas Department of Public Safety authorized a total of three dispensaries to begin growing and distributing the product. Knox Medical, a dispensary in Schulenburg, made Thursday's delivery. “For Texans suffering from intractable epilepsy, the wait for medical cannabis is finally over,” said José Hidalgo, the founder and CEO of Knox Medical.

60% Fault Congress, Trump for Inaction on Shootings

More than 6 in 10 Americans fault Congress and President Trump for not doing enough to prevent mass shootings, finds a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Most Americans continue to say these incidents are more reflective of problems identifying and addressing mental health issues than inadequate gun laws, the Post reports. In the poll conducted after a gunman killed 17 people at a Florida high school last week, more than three-quarters, 77 percent, said they think more effective mental health screening and treatment could have prevented the shooting. The poll also finds that 58 percent of adults say stricter gun control laws could have prevented the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. There was no rise in support for banning assault weapons compared with two years ago and the partisan divide on this policy is as stark as ever.

69% Less Recidivism in NY Community Mentoring Program, Report Finds

NEW YORK — Youths on probation who participated in a community mentorship program run through the New York City Department of Probation had a lesser chance of recidivism than those who didn't, according to a study published this week. Youths between the ages of 16 and 24 who went through the Arches Transformative Mentoring Program while on probation had a 69 percent lower recidivism rate within 12 months of starting their probation than youths who did not participate in the program, the study said. After 24 months, it was 57 percent. The strongest impact was seen with participants ages 16 and 17. Carson Hicks
“We've never really seen the effects of this magnitude, particularly for this population,” said Carson Hicks, the deputy executive director of the Mayor's Office for Economic Opportunity, the city agency that commissioned the Urban Institute to do the study.

7 Cop Promotions OK’d

Seven cops have moved up the ranks in New Haven's police department, including a woman whose promotion had been previously delayed.

8 Ways to Increase Donations with Gift Ladders

Editor's Note: For non-profit media routinely engaged in fundraising, developing a stream of individual gift-giving is important. Here's good advice on how to build and market a “gift ladder” — a series of donation levels that goes from quite to modest to major grants. This piece was originally posted on the Greater Public blog, a US-based group which helps public media organizations advance their missions by ensuring a sustainable financial future. Whether online or in the mail, the gift ladder is often one of the final items to be set before a campaign is launched. Or, in some cases, a gift ladder is the one thing that hasn't been changed in years.

A brief history of St. Paul ice palaces

Bill Lindeke

After much budgetary and climatic drama, a St. Paul ice palace rises again. With the annual Winter Carnival open now, the icy structure stands ready to showcase the winter-loving spirit that sometimes thrives in the hearts of urban Minnesotans. To me, the palace is a delightful sight because, though St. Paul ice palaces have been around for over a century, it was always in an intermittent way.

A Brooklyn school on the chopping block will get one more chance to improve

A low-performing Brooklyn high school slated for closure is getting a new lease on life. Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday that the city would give Brooklyn Collegiate: A College Board School a one-year reprieve, citing community pressure. The small high school in the Brownsville neighborhood was among 14 schools that education department officials recently moved to close after this academic year. Along with eight other schools on the city's chopping block, Brooklyn Collegiate is part of the mayor's Renewal program, which attempts to turn around struggling schools by investing extra resources in them and providing additional learning time. Officials also plan to combine another five Renewal schools that enroll very few students.

A Chicago Cop’s Facebook Posts and a City’s Struggle With Racism

by Jodi S. Cohen

The Chicago Police Department says complaints against officers for making racial and ethnic slurs and other discriminatory comments have declined in recent years. But as a story we published this week shows, it's a stubborn problem in a city that has long struggled with racism. We wrote about Officer John Catanzara, a 23-year veteran who, over the years, two superintendents have tried to fire. In September, he was reprimanded for a controversial Facebook post. Now, he is under investigation for two other complaints about his social media conduct.

A Correction Officer’s Conviction Signals Deeper Troubles at Brooklyn’s Federal Jail

Adi TalwarThe Metropolitan Detention Center, Brooklyn is a federal detention facility that houses prisoners serving brief sentences, and prisoners with cases pending in the District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Last Friday, Carlos Richard Martinez, a former lieutenant and corrections officer at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, was sentenced to life imprisonment after being found guilty on 20 counts, including sexual abuse and deprivation of an inmate's civil rights. The indictment is the latest episode in the saga of Brooklyn's largest jail, which has attracted attention over allegations of poor conditions and a track record of sexual abuse, as brought to light in investigations by advocates and media, and documented in countless legal testimonies over the past several years. But if the trial of Martinez has reached an end, the case has only added grist to a growing outcry over conditions at the MDC, and the failure to prevent sexual assault both there and nationwide. “Carlos Martinez willfully abused his position of power as a federal correctional officer by repeatedly raping a female inmate entrusted to his care at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn,” said U.S. attorney Richard P. Donaghue in a press release issued by the Department of Justice.

A Crescent City institution: Longtime voice of the Saints is retiring

Jim Henderson, play-by-play announcer for the New Orleans Saints
When the erudite and so, so friendly Jim Henderson became the play-by-play broadcaster of the New Orleans Saints, Archie Manning was his first sidekick as the color commentator. This was 1985. Says Manning, “Jim and I never had a bad day together. Actually, I don't know how you could have a bad day with Jim, who's such a good guy and such a consummate professional.”
This is not to say Henderson and Manning didn't have a few near misses. There was their first game together, Saints vs.

A DACA Solution Would be Good for Texas – And the Country

Why would we contemplate sending DACA recipients to foreign countries and allowing those countries to reap the rewards of our investment? The post A DACA Solution Would be Good for Texas – And the Country appeared first on Rivard Report.

A Day on Capitol Hill, Through a Rural Health Lens

By Taylor Knopf
It was a cold, wet, windy day as rural health advocates from North Carolina walked toward Capitol Hill earlier this month. They had back-to-back meetings in the offices of six N.C. congressmen: Sens. Thom Tillis (R) and Richard Burr (R), and Reps. David Price (D), G.K. Butterfield (D), Alma Adams (D) and George Holding (R). The group was in Washington D.C. for the annual National Rural Health Association conference, where the discussion centered around the health disparities and crumbling financial landscape in rural America.

A Detroit high schooler is among 13 young adults steering two national student protests against gun violence

Among the 13 teens and young adults spearheading two nationwide student protests against gun violence is a Detroit high schooler who says guns have created fear in her neighborhood. Alondra Alvarez, a senior at Detroit's Western International High School, is on the steering committee for two student walkouts being planned in response to last week's school shooting in Parkland, Florida. The March 14 Women's March Youth EMPOWER Walkout will last 17 minutes to symbolize the 17 lives cut short in that shooting, while a full-day walkout on April 20 will commemorate the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting. Alvarez, who says she once considered herself a “shy Latina girl,” has become a fierce warrior for young people in Detroit and beyond. She spoke at the Women's Convention in Detroit last October and has since stayed involved in the youth initiative of the Women's March, launched last year to resist the Trump administration.

A Final Salute

NYPD officer, a Cold Spring native, laid to restA Final Salute was first posted on February 9, 2018 at 8:35 am.

A first for Illinois: An openly transgender judicial candidate

Jill Rose Quinn campaignJill Rose Quinn speaks in her video response to gubernatorial candidate Jeanne Ives's controversial campaign
When Jill Rose Quinn saw a recent political ad widely criticized as mocking transgender people, she knew what she had to do. “I thought, ‘You know what, I've got to say something,'” said Quinn, a Democratic candidate running for the Cook County Circuit judicial seat in the 10th subcircuit who is making history as Illinois's first openly transgender judicial candidate. The commercial, supporting Republican state Rep. Jeanne Ives' primary challenge to Gov. Bruce Rauner, features a deep-voiced man wearing a dress who thanks Rauner for “passing legislation that lets me use the girls' bathroom.”
Quinn, a Northwest Side attorney, said at first she feared that responding would bring more attention to the commercial and Ives's candidacy. And, of course, Quinn is running in an entirely different race. But, she said, the bigotry unleashed by President Donald Trump's campaign compelled her to offer a counter perspective.

A former superintendent wonders: What’s missing from the discussion about the portfolio model?

I recently had the pleasure of visiting Sharif El-Mekki, the principal of a Mastery Charter School campus in Philadelphia. We walked the hallways and talked about how to infuse social justice, social-emotional learning, and other priorities into the everyday life of the school. As we popped into classrooms, it struck me that the teachers all seemed to share a vision for what students should be learning and how they should be learning it. The instruction that I saw was not just excellent but also consistent. The rest of our discussion focused on how specific practices in use at Mastery might be adopted successfully by traditional high schools.

A fresh history of modern green politics, overlooked because of timing

Ron Meador

Frederic C. RichIf you are interested in understanding the battering quality of American environmental politics in recent times, “Getting to Green” could be the book for you. Especially if you haven't been around since the first Earth Day in 1970, and are wondering how we could possibly have gone from such extraordinary short-term progress to what seems, more days than not, like permanent gridlock.By “recent times” I do not mean “currently,” quite, for a key disadvantage of Frederic C. Rich's analysis is that he completed it shortly before our last presidential election.In a Twin Cities appearance a few months ago, Rich acknowledged that the ascent of Trumpism has essentially suspended, at least temporarily, the opportunities he sees for restoring political cooperation. Perhaps it has also limited the book's reach; to say “Getting to Green” has been lightly reviewed is to put it generously.And that's too bad, because there is a lot of useful history and perspective here — even if you find it, as I did, less than persuasive in delivering on the subtitle's bold promise of “a bipartisan solution [for] saving nature.”Rich is a retired a Wall Street lawyer who represented multinational corporate clients in the fossil-fuel sector, especially, and also has had a long personal involvement with the land-trust movement and various environment-minded organizations and government panels.He describes himself as a “reasonably firm fiscal and smaller-government conservative” and as a Republican “with no sympathy for the ‘culture war' agenda” of his party. (He has been a blogger for Huffington Post and on his own website, and has written a “dystopian Christian novel.”)That background was the main reason I wanted to see what he was up to in “Getting to Green;” another is that the book was sent me by an Earth Journal supporter who knows both book and author, and whose insight and judgment I respect.The 'Great Estrangement'Rich's central conclusion is that environmental progress in America reached its zenith in the 1970s and has been stalled, in terms of important national legislation, since enactment of the Clean Air Act of 1990. This is the result of what he terms the “Great Estrangement” betweena conservative movement donated by those deeply suspicious of Green goals and hostile to virtually all policies advocated by environmentalists; and a Green movement that all too often appears hostile to business and economic growth.The environmental movement has lost its way, he says, by selecting global climate change as its key issue and then making essentially no progress on it.

A German Diplomat, Wolfgang Ischinger, Is Honored for Disarmament Work

Wolfgang Ischinger, who was Germany's ambassador to the United States from 2001 to 2006, was awarded the Nunn-Lugar prize for promoting nuclear security at the Munich Security Conference, Feb. 16, 2018. KUHLMANN/MSC
A prestigious prize related to nuclear disarmament that has been given to Americans and Russians in the past has been awarded to a German, Wolfgang Ischinger, for the first time. The Nunn-Lugar Award for Promoting Nuclear Security honored Ischinger, a 71-year-old former diplomat, at the annual Munich Security Conference this month. The prize “recognizes individuals and institutions whose work has helped to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and reduce the risks of their use,” according to the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, who originated the award and presented it to Ischinger in Munich on Feb.

A giant leap: How one Colorado community plans to double its child care spots in three years

It sounds a little like a car race, but it's more like a care race. Child Care 8,000 is one Colorado county's ambitious new effort to create thousands of new licensed child care slots and significantly improve the quality of its child care programs over the next three years. The initiative in Mesa County has drawn interest and praise from early childhood leaders around the state, with some hoping it could serve as a model for other Colorado communities. At the same time, there are questions about the feasibility of such a lofty plan in a county that has lost scores of child care slots over the last year and that isn't enjoying the same economic surge as the state's Front Range. One thing everybody agrees on is that child care is hard to find in the western Colorado county where Grand Junction is the county seat.

A giant leap: How one Colorado community plans to nearly double its child care spots in less than three years

It sounds a little like a car race, but it's more like a care race. Child Care 8,000 is one Colorado county's ambitious new effort to create thousands of new licensed child care slots and significantly improve the quality of its child care programs over the next three years. The initiative in Mesa County has drawn interest and praise from early childhood leaders around the state, with some hoping it could serve as a model for other Colorado communities. At the same time, there are questions about the feasibility of such a lofty plan in a county that has lost scores of child care slots over the last year and that isn't enjoying the same economic surge as the state's Front Range. One thing everybody agrees on is that child care is hard to find in the western Colorado county where Grand Junction is the county seat.

A Larger Role for Midwives Could Improve Deficient U.S. Care for Mothers and Babies

by Nina Martin
In Great Britain, midwives deliver half of all babies, including Kate Middleton's first two children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte. In Sweden, Norway and France, midwives oversee most expectant and new mothers, enabling obstetricians to concentrate on high-risk births. In Canada and New Zealand, midwives are so highly valued that they're brought in to manage complex cases that need special attention. All of those countries have much lower rates of maternal and infant mortality than the U.S. Here, severe maternal complications have more than doubled in the past 20 years. Shortages of maternity care have reached critical levels: Nearly half of U.S. counties don't have a single practicing obstetrician-gynecologist, and in rural areas, the number of hospitals offering obstetric services has fallen more than 16 percent since 2004.

A last try: Lawyers ask Supreme Court to reconsider school ruling

Lawyers representing the coalition of parents, teachers and locally elected officials suing the state argue that the trial provided abundant examples of deficiencies in school districts. The coalition also asks the court to reconsider its conclusion that the state is not constitutionally responsible for paying to help students overcome societal deficiencies such as poverty and other issues at home.

A Life Taken: Community Remembers Clara (Yoon) Ji

Ji was tragically murdered in December. A GoFundMe has been started help the daughters during this difficult time.

A Look at Lowry Mays: Risk-Taker, Broadcaster, Billionaire, Philanthropist

Learning on the fly helped Mays build a super-sized legacy. An astute understanding of business models and timing enabled him to amass a fortune. The post A Look at Lowry Mays: Risk-Taker, Broadcaster, Billionaire, Philanthropist appeared first on Rivard Report.

A loud start to the quiet year at the Minnesota Legislature

Briana Bierschbach

As Minnesota legislators filed in to the House and Senate chambers Tuesday afternoon, they could hardly hear each other over the chants.Protesters dressed in bright red shirts filled the hallways outside both chambers, handing any legislator who passed them a “Welcome Back” card calling for action on gun control legislation this year. The protesters, from the group Moms Demand Action, shouted “you work for us” and “save our kids” so loudly they could be heard through the heavy wooden doors of the House and Senate chambers, as lawmakers took the pledge of allegiance and gaveled in the first day of the 2018 legislative session.And this was supposed to be the quiet year.After a drawn-out battle over Minnesota's state budget last session, legislators expected this year to be reserved for the debate over bonding projects, a few policy issues and little else — a quick and painless session ahead of a competitive election year. But when lawmakers returned to the Capitol on Tuesday, they were greeted with a roar of protesters, an ongoing debate over sexual harassment in state politics and a massively complicated tax bill that could take the entire session — or maybe longer — to work out.“Normally we come in and do some cleanup stuff, the bonding bill and start door knocking at the end of May,” Greg Davids, the Republican chair of the House Taxes Committee, said. “This year is quite different.” ‘These shouldn't be partisan issues'On opening day, the reminders that this year is different were everywhere, including the swearing in of two new lawmakers. Democrat Karla Bigham was sworn into the Minnesota Senate to represent a southeastern Twin Cities suburban district that includes Cottage Grove and Hastings, while and Republican Jeremy Munson was sworn in to the House to represent a rural southern Minnesota district.

A Minnesota voter’s 2018 election calendar

Briana Bierschbach

The Nov. 6 general election is still eight months away, but candidates have already been on the trail for months: meeting activists, scoring endorsements and raising money. They're preparing for a pivotal 2018 cycle in Minnesota, an election that will include both U.S. Senate seats, an open governor's race, three other constitutional offices, eight congressional seats, and the entire 134-seat Minnesota House of Representatives. With so much at stake, it will be a hard-fought, high-dollar election, and the first major step is just around the corner: Precinct caucuses are Feb. 6.There are plenty of hurdles candidates need to clear between now and election day, however, as well a lot of deadlines and events that voters should keep in mind as the 2018 campaign heats up.

A near-term prognosis for the world’s most dysfunctional big-power relationship

Mark Porubcansky

Washington is in an uproar again over the Russia investigation. The CIA director expects more meddling in this fall's elections. Meanwhile, Russia complains that U.S. publication of a list of government and business elites is a poisonous effort to influence its presidential election next month.So what's the near-term prognosis for the world's most dysfunctional big-power relationship? Look for some bluster, but nothing intentionally provocative from Russia, which will want a period of calm through the summer. There may even be some opportunities to cooperate.

A New Survey Finds 81 Percent Of Women Have Experienced Sexual Harassment

Back in October 2017, women took to social media to share their experiences of sexual harassment. The #MeToo movement went viral, spurring a national and global discussion on the issue. Many women have since come forward with their experiences of being sexually harassed by colleagues and bosses, costing influential men in the entertainment industry and the media — including journalists here at NPR — their jobs. And yet, there has been little data collected on the national prevalence of sexual harassment, says Michele Decker , director of the women's health and rights program at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. As a result, many people have asked, "Where's the evidence?"

A popular new Montessori program in Detroit’s main district may expand into its own separate schools

Detroit's main district is considering expanding its popular Montessori program, including possibly creating free-standing Montessori schools designed to draw students from around the city. The possible changes could represent a major shift for the two-year-old program, which now operates in 17 classrooms in six schools. Montessori parents have been on high alert in recent weeks. Told that changes are coming to the program, they've been worried that new Montessori schools would mean an end to existing programs.
“My son keeps asking ‘where am I going to school next year?' ” parent Maria Koliantz told Chalkbeat last week.

A preview of the 2018 legislative session discussed at MinnPost Social

MinnPost staff

Over 75 MinnPost members and readers braved ice and snow to gather Monday evening at Elsie's in northeast Minneapolis to discuss the upcoming Minnesota Legislative session with MinnPost reporter Briana Bierschbach.Bierschbach will be covering her eighth session — her fifth for MinnPost — and said the session is the public policy precursor to the 2018 election in which the governorship, other statewide offices and all House seats will be contested.Given that the even-year session is not a budget session, Bierschbach said there is room to take on emerging issues such as abuse in senior care facilities and sexual harrassment in the House and Senate. There will also be attention to another bonding bill to invest in state construction projects, once the DFL and Republicans agree on how large that bill should be.It will also be the first in-session opportunity for DFL Gov. Mark Dayton and the Republican-controlled Legislature to resolve contentious issues that led to a veto of legislative funding last spring and a dispute over the vacant office of lieutenant governor.The event was moderated by MinnPost reporter Peter Callaghan. It was part of the 2017-18 MinnPost Social series, sponsored by RBC Wealth Management, in which MinnPost journalists share their insights with the public. The events are free for MinnPost members, $10 for nonmembers.

A real dog-bites-man story: Study says risk of being bitten by a dog almost three times greater than previously thought

Susan Perry

The risk of being bitten by a dog is much greater than currently estimated, although the likelihood that a bite will send a victim to a hospital is low, according to a new study by British researchers.The study also found that men, dog-owners and people with nervous personalities are more likely to be bitten than other people.This is the first study to report an association between personality and dog bites.The findings have public health implications, the study's authors point out, because the incidence of dog bites appear to be on the rise — in the United States as well as in Great Britain. By better understanding the factors involved in dog attacks, officials may be able to develop more effective — and targeted — efforts to prevent them, the authors add.The last dog-bite survey conducted by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was in the early 2000s. It found that 4.5 million dog bites occur annually in the U.S. Based on 2008 data, an estimated 316,000 Americans seek emergency care for dog bites each year, including 9,500 who are hospitalized because of the injury. That's 866 emergency department visits — and 26 hospitalizations — each day. Another indicator of the damage caused by dog bites comes from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

A Recovering Steve Rodgers Opens The Door

In the summer of 2017 Steve Rodgers, then owner of the Space, the Outer Space, and the adjacent Ballroom, began to lose his voice. And he made a big decision.“I needed to step away from the all-ages Space — the Space Space — by the end of the year,” he said.

A Report Card For The San Antonio River

Since 2010, the San Antonio River Authority has been evaluating itself based on what its managers call a River Health Index. The post A Report Card For The San Antonio River appeared first on Rivard Report.

A Room Above the Spoon

Five hotel rooms open over Cold Spring cafeA Room Above the Spoon was first posted on February 13, 2018 at 9:39 am.

A run-on for sand leads to a creeping crisis worldwide

Every day, miners remove 5,500 to 6,000 truckloads of sand (about 20 tons each) from the scenic beachfronts and 17 river basins of Tamil Nadu in India, according to the state government. India is hungry for sand. Fueled by a real estate boom estimated to generate $180 billion annually by 2020, India is digging 500 million metric tons of sand every year, feeding an industry worth more than $50 billion. And India's hunger is bound to increase, as the government plans to build about 60 million new affordable homes between 2018 and 2024. But this sand boom has left locals and ecosystems hurting: river and beach-dependent communities in Tamil Nadu see their livelihoods continuously threatened, while habitats and local food chains lose their balance.

A Scorecard for Criminal Justice Reform

This story will be updated periodically. About a dozen new and holdover bills that would overhaul Oklahoma's criminal justice system are in the legislative pipeline. Although it's too early to tell, there are indications the bills have momentum. In her State of the State address, Gov. Mary Fallin again endorsed bills recommended by the Oklahoma Criminal Justice Reform Task Force and urged, “Send them to me to sign.” House Speaker Charles McCall later assured, “Criminal justice bills will move forward.”
Advocates for changes in the system are cautiously optimistic but recall what happened in the 2017 session, when eight of a dozen key criminal-justice bills got bottled up in committee and were held over for this year. Another bill died; three passed and were signed by Fallin.

A Sexual Assault Claim at Unaids Suggests a Cover-Up by Management

António Guterres, the UN secretary-general, meeting with UN staff members at New York headquarters, Jan. 25, 2018. Accusations of sexual abuse and harassment by UN personnel or people connected to it continue to roil the UN. MARK GARTEN/UN PHOTO
As allegations of sexual abuse and harassment in the offices, field operations and peacekeeping missions continue to plague the United Nations, a case that has recently come to light reveals that in 2016 a woman who worked for Unaids accused a high-level official of the entity of sexual assault. The woman's claim has been publicized this month by AIDS-Free World, an American-based nonprofit group that advocates for ending impunity for sexual abuse by UN personnel. The process for handling the accusation by the Unaids employee appears to have been seriously mismanaged by Unaids, as more details have been disclosed by AIDS-Free World.

A shared future: Kirkwood residents look ahead

Ten years after Charles Lee “Cookie” Thornton opened fire at Kirkwood City Hall, some residents hope the city is learning to empathize with the experiences of non-white people and encourage understanding across racial and socioeconomic lines. Thornton shot and killed five people and wounded others at Kirkwood City Hall on Jan. 7, 2008. Two police officers and two council members were among those killed. Police killed Thornton at the scene.

A shared past and present: Kirkwood residents reflect on relations 10 years after shooting

Ten years after Charles Lee “Cookie” Thornton opened fire at Kirkwood City Hall, some residents hope the city is learning to empathize with the experiences of non-white people and encourage understanding across racial and socioeconomic lines. Thornton shot and killed five people and wounded others at Kirkwood City Hall on Jan. 7, 2008. Two police officers and two council members were among those killed. Police killed Thornton at the scene.

A Socialist Case for Curbing Consumption To Stop Climate Change

This is a response to Your Carbon Footprint Doesn't Matter (Unless You're Michael Bloomberg) by Kate Aronoff. I am giddy at the prospect of banning yachts and private jets. But once the millionaires and the billionaires have been driven from their ski resorts and Michael Bloomberg's helicopters have been sold for spare parts, we'll find that net carbon emissions still aren't at zero. Part of the reason is, in fact, “the red meat on your plate.”

For starters, while solar and wind may eliminate carbon emissions in many industries, there's no viable commercial- scale technology ready to bring about, say, a low-carbon cattle ranch or airplane. At least some of the structural changes we need to fight climate change—a cross-country network of renewable-powered rail to replace commercial airplanes, or ramped-up recycling and reuse efforts to avoid the emissions associated with manufacturing and landfill waste—will have to be geared toward reducing, or at least altering, consumption.

A Storied Church Adorned with Radiant Frescoes Gets a Facelift

Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church is a storied jewel just blocks from San Fernando Cathedral, though far less well-known. The post A Storied Church Adorned with Radiant Frescoes Gets a Facelift appeared first on Rivard Report.

A tale of four famines.

Climate and conflict have left tens of millions with little to no access to food in South Sudan, Nigeria and Somalia. And across the Gulf of Aden, Yemen is also facing a shortage of food driven by war and the changing environment.

A Tale of Two Interviews: Chris Matthews Grills Bernie Sanders, Tosses Softballs to Hillary Clinton

Three weeks ago, a mere seven days from Super Tuesday, Bernie Sanders sat down with the host of MSNBC's Hardball, Chris Matthews, for a contentious interview about the viability of his policy platform and his readiness to be commander in chief. The interview was a great example of adversarial journalism at its best, with Matthews cornering Sanders and forcing him to get specific about how he would enact his ambitious platform, and how exactly his calls for “political revolution” would translate in practice. Rather than letting Sanders dodge and bloviate, as politicians are wont to do, Matthews repeatedly pressed Sanders and forced him to answer the questions at hand. Last night, on the eve of the March 15 primaries, Hillary Clinton sat down with Matthews and received a similar grilling from the MSNBC host, who put her feet to the fire and refused to let her wriggle out of any question he asked or dubious claim she made. Just kidding.

A tale of two otters: settling in Singapore, suffering in China

Few urbanites have seen an otter. Fewer still have seen a “romp” of them. Yet in Singapore, the most urbanized country in the world, commuters can watch whole families breakfast on fish just a few minutes from the city center. After gaining independence in 1965, Singapore almost immediately began cleaning up its rivers, according to N. Sivasothi, a senior lecturer of biology at the National University of Singapore (NUS). At this point, otters had become extinct on the island.

A Taste Of Paris Comes To Broadway

Adil Chokairy is hoping that if you're famished before or after a busy day of shopping in the Broadway District, you'll fuel up with a crêpe.

A trip down memory lane of the 1904 Olympics held in St. Louis

The St. Louis Sports Commission (SLSC) announced that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is granting each city that has hosted the games the chance to display two grand sculptures of the Olympic rings. St. Louis is among those cities and was even the first city in the United States to host the historic athletic competition. On Thursday's St.

A trip down memory lane: The 1904 St. Louis Olympics

The St. Louis Sports Commission (SLSC) announced that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is granting each city that has hosted the games the chance to display two grand sculptures of the Olympic rings. St. Louis is among those cities and was even the first city in the United States to host the historic athletic competition. On Thursday's St.

A Trove of Resources for Navigating Our Angry World

Donald Trump in 2006. As president of the United States, he epitomizes populist leaders who are trying to intimidate journalists and curtail the exchange of information across the globe. In the dark shadows of rising populism and hypernationalistic leaders, attempts to intimidate reporters and curb the exchange of information are taking on less visibly crude but still dangerous forms. The menace, highlighted in the United States by Donald Trump's contemptuous accusations against the press, television and social media, has global echoes. There is no region unaffected by the trend, no longer just in predictably totalitarian systems like China, North Korea, Vietnam, Eritrea or Cuba. From democracies around the world — in Australia, India, Russia, Central Europe, Turkey and Brazil, to name just a few — reports emerge of governments devising new control measures or tightening laws, employing more surveillance and scaling up arrests and detentions to silence commentators, investigative journalists and ordinary beat reporters trying to do their jobs.

A Turning Point from Space

Protest and the Apollo missionA Turning Point from Space was first posted on February 3, 2018 at 7:18 am.

A year in, Cedar Riverside Opportunity Center exceeds expectations for job placement

Ibrahim Hirsi

When Minneapolis' Cedar Riverside Opportunity Center opened for business last March, Mohamed Ali wasn't totally sure how many jobseekers would come to the site for employment services, at least at first. “Our goal for the first year was to have 150 people find jobs,” said Ali, a program director at the center. “But we exceeded that number. We had a really successful year.”The Opportunity Center is a product of a public-private partnership that seeks to increase employment participation for residents of Cedar Riverside neighborhood, which has long boasted one of the highest unemployment rates in the state.The partners include the city of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, EMERGE Community Development and Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC). Representatives from these partners are on-site each day to provide wrap-around services for unemployed and underemployed residents, connecting them to job opportunities and career training programs.During its first 10 months of service, the center managed to assist nearly 500 people to find jobs, according to data the agency provided to MinnPost.

Abbott announces sweeping plan to combat sexual misconduct, human trafficking

Gov. Greg Abbott announced Tuesday a sweeping proposal aimed at better protecting people from human trafficking as well as tackling sexual misconduct allegations at the Texas Capitol and throughout state government. Abbott's "Preventing Crime, Protecting Texans, Punishing Criminals" plan includes allocating $22 million to the Department of Public Safety to create regional squads to investigate human trafficking cases and train local law enforcement. He also wants to target the state's backlog of sexual assault evidence kits, calling for lawmakers to allocate an additional $14 million in the next two-year budget to clear the backlog of kits. "You have my commitment that I will continue to work to heal victims, to help prevent these despicable crimes and to punish the criminals who commit them," said Abbott in a news release. Abbott also waded into ongoing efforts to address a pervasive culture of sexual misconduct at the Texas Capitol that regularly goes unchecked.

Abbott Doubles Down on ‘Liberal Lyle’ in Appearance with Challenger

Gov. Greg Abbott isn't holding anything back in his support of Hollywood Park Mayor Chris Fails, who's challenging State Rep. Lyle Larson. The post Abbott Doubles Down on ‘Liberal Lyle' in Appearance with Challenger appeared first on Rivard Report.

Abbott Endorses State Rep. Lyle Larson’s Primary Challenger

Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday endorsed Hollywood Park Mayor Chris Fails in his Republican primary challenge of four-term state Rep. Lyle Larson. The post Abbott Endorses State Rep. Lyle Larson's Primary Challenger appeared first on Rivard Report.

Abbott plunges deeper into House primary challenges

BELLAIRE — If the three House primary challengers Gov. Greg Abbott has endorsed lose their races on March 6, it won't be for a lack of trying on the governor's part. Free of serious primary opposition in his re-election campaign and sitting on a staggering $43 million war chest, Abbott has made it his main political project in recent weeks to unseat three fellow Republicans in the House who ran afoul of him last year: state Reps. Sarah Davis of West University Place, Wayne Faircloth of Galveston and Lyle Larson of San Antonio. His involvement in the races has spiked already this week, with him hitting the campaign trail for all three incumbents' opponents and going on TV in Larson's district — after previously dropping $161,000 on advertising in Davis' district. It's a remarkable degree of primary involvement by a governor and underscores his hunger for revenge after a special session last year that saw half his agenda stall in the House, where he had already been clashing with lawmakers like Davis and Larson over ethics reform.

Abolish middle school? Not so fast, new study says.

The push to combine elementary and middle schools into K-8 schools has seemed like a heartening example of policymakers making decisions based on hard evidence. Rigorous studies have suggested that scrapping traditional middle schools is good for students. And some districts like Boston have moved to merge schools, trying to eliminate some of the elements of middle school make it miserable for many tweens. New research says, hold on a second. It suggests that past studies have overstated the benefits of K-8 schools, and offers a warning to districts moving to eliminate middle schools — as well as a parable of how complicated it can be to make decisions based on the shifting findings of education research.

Abuse case at juvenile detention center prompts vow to improve

Judge Patrick L. Carroll III, chief court administrator, calling the abuse incident an embarrassment, said the Judicial Branch would make necessary modifications to “prevent anything like this ever happening again.”

Accel-VT to graduate first climate economy business cohort

News Release — Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund
February 6, 2018
Rachel Carter, Communications Director
Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund
Burlington – Eight entrepreneurial start-up companies will convene next week at Burlington Electric Department's Spark Space for the final “sprint” of Accel-VT—a business accelerator providing support, mentorship, and access to capital for early stage companies committed to climate economy innovation. The businesses were competitively selected to participate in Accel-VT to help solve the challenges related to the monitoring and control of distributed energy (e.g., storage, electric vehicles, solar, community scale wind, combined heat and power) and include Packetized Energy of Burlington, Dynamic Organics of Putney, and businesses from Maine, New Jersey, Illinois, Georgia, Florida, and Texas. Next week is the third and final time this cohort of Accel-VT entrepreneurs will work together in person to improve their business plans, network with renewable energy industry leaders, meet with potential clients in Vermont electric utilities, and fast track their way to securing financial investments so they can grow or possibly relocate their business to Vermont. Additionally, two of the companies will be selected by their peers to each receive a $25,000 cash prize. “Accel-VT entrepreneurs have really worked hard over the last 3 months to hone their investment pitch, strengthen their business and product value proposition, and learn to think like an investor.

Access, funding of primary care are on Vermont legislative agenda, Jan. 31

News Release — Bi-State Primary Care Association
January 25, 2018
Georgia Maheras
Bi-State Primary Care Association
Montpelier – Next Wednesday, Jan. 31, physicians and directors representing Vermont's Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) and rural health clinics statewide, will attend meetings throughout the day with elected officials about the importance of access to comprehensive primary care services to Vermonters at community-based health care providers. Bi-State Primary Care Association and its members will also host a reception for Vermont Legislators in the State House cafeteria from 2-4 pm. In meetings with Administration, Green Mountain Care Board, and Legislative leadership, physicians will share their knowledge and experience with primary care in the treatment of chronic disease, mental health, and substance use disorders in their patient population of more than 200,000 Vermonters. Georgia Maheras, Esq., Bi-State's director of public policy in Vermont, will present data demonstrating the utilization of services, health outcomes, and economic impact of Bi-State's members, as reported by Vermont's FQHCs annually to U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration.

ACLU sues Burlington police over public records access

police car/flickr
" data-medium-file="https://i1.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/police-2.jpg?fit=300%2C200&ssl=1" data-large-file="https://i1.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/police-2.jpg?fit=610%2C407&ssl=1" src="https://i1.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/police-2.jpg?resize=610%2C407&ssl=1" alt="police car" width="610" height="407" srcset="https://i1.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/police-2.jpg?resize=610%2C407&ssl=1 610w, https://i1.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/police-2.jpg?resize=125%2C83&ssl=1 125w, https://i1.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/police-2.jpg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1 300w, https://i1.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/police-2.jpg?resize=768%2C512&ssl=1 768w, https://i1.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/police-2.jpg?w=1280&ssl=1 1280w, https://i1.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/police-2.jpg?w=1920&ssl=1 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Suit stems from a witness's concern over a confrontation between police and youth./flickrThe ACLU of Vermont has filed a public records lawsuit against the Burlington Police Department for refusing to release, free of charge, records of an arrest a Burlington resident witnessed in 2017. The suit, which the ACLU filed in January, comes from an arrest that Burlington resident Reed Doyle witnessed on June 17, 2017. Doyle was walking his dog near Roosevelt Park. when he noticed Burlington police officers in a confrontation with a group of young adults. One, a juvenile, had been arrested for disorderly conduct before Doyle arrived.

Activists put Northwest Detention Center on trial

One activist performs a blessing ritual on another person about to visit detainees at the Northwest Detention Center on Sunday. (Photo by Gavin Amos-Lopez.)With a grey overcast and the looming barbed wire fences in the background, a crowd began to gather outside the Northwest Detention Center. They walked around with their signs and met newly found allies, as they prepared for a People's Tribunal. Before a panel of five community judges, these activists would put Immigration and Customs Enforcement on trial. The event was organized by the Northwest Detention Center Resistance in order to support the immigrants detained within the walls of the detention center, as well as the 800,000 DACA recipients in the country, and the 11 million undocumented immigrants that are at risk of deportation.

Activists: Palm oil must not get wider access to EU under Indonesia trade talks

JAKARTA — Environmental activists have called for the issue of palm oil to be excluded from discussions taking place this week between the Indonesian government and a European Union trade delegation. They fear that favorable terms for Indonesian palm oil to enter the EU market, under the auspices of the Indonesia-EU Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (I-EU CEPA) currently being hashed out, will only exacerbate the issues of deforestation and land conflicts that have long dogged the palm oil industry in the Southeast Asian nation. Palm oil must be excluded from the negotiations, said Yuyun Harmono, campaign coordinator for the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), “because open market access will benefit corporations and worsen climate change and social conflicts.” A key sticking point for activists worried about a freer flow of Indonesian palm oil into the EU market is the issue of efforts to improve environmental sustainability in the industry. Paul de Clerck, head of the economic justice team at the European chapter of the world's biggest grassroots environmental network, Friends of the Earth International (FOEI), said he had seen a leaked document from the Indonesian government which laid out the government's proposals for palm oil in the I-EU CEPA negotiations. He said the pitch called for the EU to ditch both tariff and non-tariff barriers, including prevailing environmental and health standards, to allow full access for Indonesian palm oil to the 28-nation EU market.

Add The Current to Your Phone

How to create an icon on your home screenAdd The Current to Your Phone was first posted on February 20, 2018 at 8:45 am.

Advised to be vigilant, Minnesotans maintain Paris plans despite attacks

The terrorist attacks that shook Paris Nov. 13 week aren't stopping Minnesotans from traveling to the City of Light, according to local travel experts.Sandy Lovick, owner of several Travel Leaders locations throughout the Twin Cities, noted Wednesday that her own associate was on her way to Paris, which has been nursing its wounds since the Nov. 13 attacks that claimed the lives of at least 130 people.“They certainly had problems in Paris, but not necessarily in the very midst of the most popular tourist spots,” said Lovick, speaking of the reason travelers are still packing for France.She added: “But certainly, there are people who are going to think about going, and we would tell them to be most vigilant to their surroundings.”Agency sees no cancelationsLovick, who has nine travel-agency offices in Minneapolis and St. Paul, sent messages to her employees after the attacks, checking to see if clients wanted to change their flight dates. So far, the agencies have not heard a word from people wanting to cancel or delay their plans.“While there are people who probably hesitated [to travel to Paris], we — at our own offices — have not had any changes from any of our clients,” she said.Lovick added: “We have not had on any reports of any delays on our flights to Europe.

Advocate Martin Was Accused of Sexual Misconduct

Glenn E. Martin, founder of the advocacy group JustLeadershipUSA, is an ex-convict who earned a college degree in a New York prison while serving a sentence for armed robbery. He has been an advocate ofclosing New York City's Rikers Island jail complex. As his reputation as a fund-raiser and advocate grew in recent years, so, did talk that he was using his professional prominence to pursue sexual relationships with women who were drawn to the criminal justice reform movement, and in some instances engaging in sexual misconduct, the New York Times reports
The organization found no misconduct by Martin, but in December, he quit, telling the board that his leaving was in the best interests of the organization. The Times reports that an employee of the organization was paid $25,000 in 2015 as part of an agreement that concealed her allegations that Martin had groped and propositioned her in his apartment during what was supposed to be a work meeting. Two other women, both of whom work for criminal justice nonprofits, said they were subjected to lewd acts by Martin.

Advocate urges more regulation for urgent care centers

From left, Sen. Claire Ayer, D-Addison, chair of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee; Rep. Bill Lippert, D-Hinesburg, chair of the House Health Care Committee; and Rep. Anne Donahue, R-Northfield, a mental health advocate, listen to testimony at a hearing Tuesday evening about mental health workers. Photo by Erin Mansfield/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/IMG_3743-e1486587485454.jpg?fit=300%2C190&ssl=1" data-large-file="https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/IMG_3743-e1486587485454.jpg?fit=610%2C387&ssl=1" src="https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/IMG_3743-e1486587485454-610x387.jpg?resize=610%2C387&ssl=1" alt="Lippert Ayer Donahue" width="610" height="387" srcset="https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/IMG_3743-e1486587485454.jpg?resize=610%2C387&ssl=1 610w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/IMG_3743-e1486587485454.jpg?resize=125%2C79&ssl=1 125w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/IMG_3743-e1486587485454.jpg?resize=300%2C190&ssl=1 300w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/IMG_3743-e1486587485454.jpg?resize=768%2C487&ssl=1 768w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/IMG_3743-e1486587485454.jpg?resize=150%2C95&ssl=1 150w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/IMG_3743-e1486587485454.jpg?resize=140%2C90&ssl=1 140w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/IMG_3743-e1486587485454.jpg?resize=220%2C140&ssl=1 220w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/IMG_3743-e1486587485454.jpg?w=1280&ssl=1 1280w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/IMG_3743-e1486587485454.jpg?w=1920&ssl=1 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Rep. Bill Lippert, center, chair of the House Health Care Committee. Photo by Erin Mansfield/VTDiggerState lawmakers are considering whether the Green Mountain Care Board should regulate a relatively new type of health facility – independent urgent care centers. The Office of the Health Care Advocate is proposing that the care board review significant construction and expansion projects at “freestanding walk-in clinics,” as it does at hospitals. Ironically, the proposal to increase regulation comes as lawmakers consider ways to streamline the care board's “certificate of need” review process.

Advocates for marijuana sales point to big economic boost

Advocates for legalizing recreational marijuana use in Connecticut — and taxing its sales — are hoping a holistic, economic argument will win the day this year. Supporters say the potential to bolster the state's tourism industry, create jobs, and even encourage young professionals to locate here, should attract votes for an issue that couldn't get […]

Advocates Hopeful Rikers Will Close in 3 Years But Concerned About Juvenile Programs

NEW YORK — A damning report out of Albany and a surprise announcement by Mayor Bill de Blasio have renewed hopes among activists and advocates that the long-sought goal of shutting down Rikers Island could come sooner than expected. The move would affect the 120 juveniles currently imprisoned there. The city plans to transfer all inmates to other facilities that will open in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx. Now that the state Commission on Correction has reported that violent crimes at the Rikers Island jail complex increased in the past year, New York state may accelerate the mayor's 10-year plan and close it in just three years. The shuttering of Rikers Island, the largest jail complex in the country, has been the goal of many criminal justice and juvenile and reform activists for years.

Advocates Look to Pick up the PACE of Seniors Using Comprehensive Program

By Rose Hoban
Earl Smith's voice cracked when he started describing his former life. “It had got to the place where I was sitting at home all day long, while the wife was at work,” he said. “It was depressing, and I had got right about to the suicide stage.”
Around that time, late last summer, an outreach worker in Chatham County contacted Smith to talk to him about the local PACE program, located in Pittsboro. PACE, short for Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, provides health care for seniors frail enough to qualify for nursing home care. Instead of winding up in a nursing home people who attend PACE programs come to the center several days per week, where they get meals, have activities, and receive all their health care.

Advocates Look to Pick up the PACE of Seniors Using Comprehensive Program

By Rose Hoban
Earl Smith's voice cracked when he started describing his former life. “It had got to the place where I was sitting at home all day long, while the wife was at work,” he said. “It was depressing, and I had got right about to the suicide stage.”
Around that time, late last summer, an outreach worker in Chatham County contacted Smith to talk to him about the local PACE program, located in Pittsboro. PACE, short for Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, provides health care for seniors frail enough to qualify for nursing home care. Instead of winding up in a nursing home people who attend PACE programs come to the center several days per week, where they get meals, have activities, and receive all their health care.

Affordable housing initiatives hurt by lagging Bennington economy

The People's United Bank in downtown Bennington. Bennington Banner file photo
" data-medium-file="https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/IMG_2042.jpg?fit=300%2C225&ssl=1" data-large-file="https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/IMG_2042.jpg?fit=610%2C458&ssl=1" src="https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/IMG_2042.jpg?resize=610%2C458&ssl=1" alt="Putnam Block" width="610" height="458" srcset="https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/IMG_2042.jpg?resize=610%2C458&ssl=1 610w, https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/IMG_2042.jpg?resize=125%2C94&ssl=1 125w, https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/IMG_2042.jpg?resize=300%2C225&ssl=1 300w, https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/IMG_2042.jpg?resize=768%2C576&ssl=1 768w, https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/IMG_2042.jpg?resize=1376%2C1032&ssl=1 1376w, https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/IMG_2042.jpg?resize=1044%2C783&ssl=1 1044w, https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/IMG_2042.jpg?resize=632%2C474&ssl=1 632w, https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/IMG_2042.jpg?resize=536%2C402&ssl=1 536w, https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/IMG_2042.jpg?w=1280&ssl=1 1280w, https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/IMG_2042.jpg?w=1920&ssl=1 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">The People's United Bank in downtown Bennington.Bennington Banner file photoBENNINGTON — Affordable housing initiatives face new challenges in the region, including a stagnant local economy, low wages, aging housing stock and an elderly population. Advocates highlighted these problems at the Southern Vermont Housing Summit Friday at Bennington College. Stephanie Lane, of Shires Housing in Bennington County, and Peter Paggi, of the Windham and Windsor Housing Trust, described their efforts to better the lives of low-income residents in the area. “Poverty is certainly an issue here,” Lane said, citing Bennington area statistics.

AFL-CIO chief suspects fiscal panel is anti-labor

Connecticut's top labor official questioned publicly Thursday whether the state's new fiscal sustainability study panel is biased in favor of business and against labor, but the panel's co-chairs say they want to hear from everybody.

African-American presence growing ‘slowly but surely’ in classical music, say visiting musicians

Fewer than 2 percent of musicians in professional orchestras in the U.S. are African-American, and the Florida-based Ritz Chamber Players are eager to change that. On Wednesday's St. Louis on the Air , three members of the all-black ensemble talked with host Don Marsh about the presence of African-Americans in the genre and how they've seen that presence slowly grow over the course of their careers.

After criticism, Denver will change the way it rates elementary schools

Facing criticism that its school ratings overstated young students' reading abilities, the Denver school district announced it will change the way elementary schools are rated next year. The district will increase the number of students in kindergarten, first, second, and third grade who must score at grade-level on early literacy tests for a school to earn points on the district's rating scale, and decrease how many points those scores will be worth, officials said. The changes will lessen the impact of early literacy scores on a school's overall rating, while also raising the bar on how many students must ace the tests for a school to be considered good. Denver rates schools on a color-coded scale from blue (the highest) to red (the lowest). “We want to see more students making more progress,” Superintendent Tom Boasberg said.

After deadly school shooting in Florida, NYC schools chief calls for classroom discussions about the ‘unthinkable tragedy’

In the wake of a school shooting in Florida that left 17 people dead, New York City schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña reassured families on Thursday that the city's schools are safe and encouraged educators to talk about what happened. “Within our classrooms, I have asked educators to engage in the challenging questions and conversations about tragedies like this one,” Fariña wrote in a letter. “As an educator who has always strived to help children grow, succeed, and live out their potential, what happened yesterday cut me to the core.”
Fariña said that the education department “works in lockstep” with the police department to keep schools safe, and that all schools are required to conduct safety drills — including one between Feb. 2 and March 15. Following the shooting in Florida, principals will be expected to review their schools' safety plans with their staffs.

After Father’s Plea, TX Panel Seeks to Stop Execution

In a rare move, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles voted Tuesday to recommend a lesser sentence for a death row inmate facing execution, the Texas Tribune reports. The board voted unanimously in favor of clemency for Thomas Whitaker, a man who is set to die on Thursday evening. The decision now falls on Gov. Greg Abbott, who can approve or deny the recommendation to change Whitaker's death sentence to life in prison. The last time the board recommended clemency for a death row inmate was in 2007. Whitaker, 38, was convicted in the 2003 murders of his mother and 19-year-old brother as part of a plot to get inheritance money.

After FBI report on agent’s death, Cornyn warns against jumping to conclusions

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said Thursday that the results of an FBI investigation into the death of a Border Patrol agent who died late last year should serve as a cautionary tale against jumping to conclusions. Border Patrol agent Rogelio Martinez, 36, died in November after sustaining severe head and body trauma while on patrol in the West Texas town of Van Horn. His death prompted some lawmakers to quickly call for increased border security after they assumed the death was a result of foul play. But the FBI's El Paso field office on Wednesday said that after several hundred interviews, the agency has concluded that the agent's death was more likely the result of an accident. The FBI findings were first reported by The Washington Post.

After Florida shooting, Texas Sen. John Cornyn plans to talk gun policy with a leading Democrat

WASHINGTON - Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said on Thursday that he wanted to sit down with one of the leading Senate Democrats to talk gun policy in the wake of Wednesday's mass shooting at a South Florida high school. At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, brought the issue to the fore. "Let's take some action," she said. "We cannot see this continue on." She then mentioned two areas where compromise might be reached.

After four weeks, state Sen. Carlos Uresti’s criminal fraud case heads to the jury

SAN ANTONIO — If a businessman takes the ostrich approach — burying his head in the sand — to avoid evidence that his colleagues are perpetrating a fraud, is he also guilty of that fraud? Probably — but state Sen. Carlos Uresti is no ostrich, defense attorneys insisted Tuesday morning in their last opportunity to sway the jury. The San Antonio Democrat, who's been on trial for the past month on 11 felony counts including criminal fraud and money laundering, sat expressionless Tuesday morning as prosecutors and defense attorneys quibbled one last time over whether he was aware of the Ponzi scheme being perpetrated at the now-defunct oil field company FourWinds Logistics, where he served as general counsel, a 1 percent owner and a recruiter of investors, according to court documents. That question is now in the hands of the jury, which began deliberations Tuesday afternoon in a case that has the potential to end Uresti's career in the Senate. Standing beneath several courtroom screens showing a colorful cartoon image of one of those ignorant ostriches, Uresti's attorneys argued the government hadn't proven that Uresti was aware of the company's shady dealings — even aware enough to, ostrich-like, intentionally avoid learning more.

After land office inks Harvey contract, Land Commissioner George P. Bush gets donations from contractor

The government's seemingly sluggish response to Hurricane Harvey has been a headache for Land Commissioner George P. Bush, whose office plays a major role in getting Texans back into damaged homes. One company that is trying to help him out — in more ways than one — is Horne LLP, a big accounting firm that provides disaster recovery services to governments. On Oct. 30, 2017, the company signed a $13.47 million contract with the agency Bush oversees, the Texas General Land Office, to help with Harvey recovery efforts. Three days later, more than two dozen Horne LLP executives helped out Bush with his re-election campaign, sending him $27,500 in political cash — including $1,000 from the Horne partner who signed the contract.

After Latest Mass Shooting, Schools Stress Importance of Preparedness

After the Florida school shooting, San Antonio public schools continue to institute safeguards against potential threats to students. The post After Latest Mass Shooting, Schools Stress Importance of Preparedness appeared first on Rivard Report.

After lawsuit, Texas plans to install air conditioning in a stifling prison

The state of Texas plans to install air conditioning in a notoriously hot prison after reaching a settlement with inmates in a federal class action lawsuit, an attorney for the inmates said Friday. The air conditioning will go into the Wallace Pack Unit southeast of College Station, where temperatures regularly exceed 100 degrees in the summer. Inmates argued in court that the prison shouldn't get hotter than 88 degrees. “It's a big day for the inmates who suffered through those summers at the Pack Unit,” said Jeff Edwards, attorney for the prisoners. “They're not going to be in fear of dying from heat stroke anymore.”
Edwards said the agreement details that the department will install temporary air conditioning for the coming summer, with permanent units in place by May 2020.

After no-bid deal falls apart, Texas Education Agency review calls for clearer contracting procedures

An internal review of the Texas Education Agency's contracting regulations found this week that the agency needs a more concrete process for determining whether or not to bypass competitive bidding when it enters into a new contract. Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath ordered the review after a controversial no-bid contract to overhaul special education fell apart last month. More than $2 million had already been spent on services rendered through the deal before it was axed. TEA's internal audit division found Thursday that the agency's contracting manual "basically follows" state regulations but needs more clarification and development to "reinforce best practices." “Following a comprehensive review of our contracting policies and procedures, a number of areas have been identified where the agency can strengthen its practices.

After Parkland

Welcome to Chalkbeat's national newsletter. We're Matt Barnum and Sarah Darville, Chalkbeat's national team. Our goal is to help you make sense of the messy, fascinating, often controversial efforts to improve education for poor students across the country. Did a friend forward? The link to subscribe is here.

After years of delays, state of Minnesota’s lawsuit against 3M goes to trial

Brian Lambert

MPR's Kristi Marohn writes, “many … across Minnesota and the U.S. will be watching closely this week as the state's $5 billion lawsuit against 3M for polluting natural resources finally goes to trial after years of delays. Jury selection is expected to start Tuesday in Hennepin County District Court in Minneapolis. The trial is expected to last four to six weeks. The state alleges that 3M knew decades ago about risks linked to its chemicals that wound up in the groundwater in the east metro. Whether those chemicals have actually caused health problems for Minnesotans is expected to be a key question in the trial.”Driving toward a ban.

After-school Programs on Trump’s Chopping Block Once Again

In a replay of last year, President Donald Trump proposed scrapping the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative, the federal funding for after-school and summer learning that reaches 1.7 million children. It's part of his budget proposal that would slice domestic programs, ramp up military spending and add to the deficit. The loss of after-school funding “would be absolutely devastating,” said Jeff Davis, executive director of the California After School Network. 21st Century funding mostly serves kids who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools. “What that means in California is that it would completely eliminate 750 [after-school] programs,” he said, including 300 sites that serve high school students.

AG asks court to halt Scottsdale school construction over procurement violations

The Arizona Attorney General's office filed a civil injunction Thursday against Scottsdale Unified School District seeking to prevent further construction on Hohokam and Cheyenne elementary schools, following multiple investigations into possible procurement and conflict of interest violations that have roiled the district's administration.

AG asks CT Supreme Court not to reconsider its school-funding ruling

The state says the Connecticut Supreme Court should decline to reconsider its recent decision upholding state spending on education as constitutionally adequate and reject a request from a coalition of parents, teachers and local municipal leaders to rehear the case.

AG leads challenge to restore funds for woodstove upgrades to federal settlement

News Release — Office of the Attorney General
February 1, 2018
Nick Persampieri
Assistant Attorney General
(802) 828-3186
Leading a coalition of 11 attorneys general, Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan opposed the elimination of $3 million in funding for woodstove upgrades from a proposed settlement between the federal government and Harley-Davidson. The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency (WA) joined the attorneys general in the brief. The proposed settlement between the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and Harley-Davidson resolved a claim filed by the DOJ on behalf of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that Harley-Davidson manufactured and sold “tuners” that, once installed, caused motorcycles to emit excess amounts of certain harmful air pollutants—hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides. The settlement was originally proposed and lodged with the federal court for public comment in August 2016. As originally proposed, the settlement provided that Harley-Davidson would cease sale of the tuners, offer to buy back tuners remaining in dealer inventory, pay a civil penalty of $12 million, and mitigate excess emissions by funding a $3 million project to reduce air pollution by retrofitting or replacing higher polluting wood-burning appliances such as woodstoves.

AG Lori Swanson won’t run for governor

Brian Lambert

Swanson stays put. MPR's Brian Bakst writes: “Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson erased doubts Sunday about her political intentions, announcing her plan to run for a fourth term rather than try for an open governor's office. ‘I am a candidate for re-election as Attorney General,' she told supporters in an email obtained by MPR News. She said she appreciated the encouragement she was getting to run for higher office but said she has too much important work on her plate. ‘I must focus all my energy and attention on that work,' Swanson wrote, citing cases against pharmaceutical companies, for-profit colleges and President Donald Trump's restrictions on travelers from certain foreign countries.”KSTP reports: “Metro Transit officials say a woman has died after being hit by a light rail train on Sunday afternoon in St.

AG won’t refile domestic assault charges against police chief

Daniel Brunelle was hired several months ago as Randolph's police chief after working for the South Burlington Police Department for 19 years. Photo by Mike Donoghue/Courtesy of the Valley News
" data-medium-file="https://i1.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/b7ad67aa8ff6480db7690446c069c17d-e1501710102242.jpg?fit=300%2C222&ssl=1" data-large-file="https://i1.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/b7ad67aa8ff6480db7690446c069c17d-e1501710102242.jpg?fit=610%2C467&ssl=1" src="https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/b7ad67aa8ff6480db7690446c069c17d.jpg?resize=610%2C467&ssl=1" alt="Daniel Brunelle" width="610" height="467" data-recalc-dims="1">Daniel Brunelle was hired several months ago as Randolph's police chief after working for the South Burlington Police Department for 19 years. Photo by Mike Donoghue/Courtesy of the Valley NewsThe Vermont Attorney General's Office will not refile domestic assault charges against the police chief in Randolph after reviewing a case that was previously dismissed by the former Washington County state's attorney. Assistant Attorney General Bram Kranichfeld confirmed Monday that his office would not be bringing charges against Daniel Brunelle. “We considered the materials that were sent to our office and we're declining prosecution,” Kranichfeld, chief of the attorney general's office criminal division, said Monday.

Agency of Natural Resources Secretary Julie Moore invites public to discuss key environmental issues

News Release — Agency of Natural Resources
February 20, 2018
Elle O'Casey
Vermont's iconic landscape, including its mountains, woods, water, and wildlife, are some of the many reasons people choose to call the Green Mountain State home. This spring, Agency of Natural Resources Secretary Julie Moore invites the public to join her for a series of conversations about Vermont's land and water. “I come to work every day ready to protect, sustain and restore the health and beauty of these natural resources. As Secretary, my goal is to look out for Vermont's special places, to do right by the land for both this and future generations,” said Secretary Moore. “I'm inviting the public to join me by attending one, two or all three community forums to discuss current environmental challenges and talk about crafting a better Vermont together.”
One year ago, Secretary Moore hosted a listening tour, traveling to towns across the state to hear directly from Vermonters about a range of natural resource issues.

Agents told Steve Azar he was ‘too Mississippi’; turns out it’s his best asset

Country music star and Greenville native Steve Azar caught the blues and soul bug through osmosis, not genetics. Though his Lebanese genes didn't factor into his deep-seated love for the Mississippi Delta, his childhood time spent behind a liquor store did. It was his grandfather's business, Jigger and Jug. As the first legal liquor store in the state, it attracted many interesting folks with whom young Azar became friends. One he remembers distinctly is Eugene Powell, aka “Sonny Boy Nelson.”
“I say Sonny Boy was a mentor, but really he just let me hang out, and I was cool with that,” Azar said.

Aging Crisis in Japan

Shiho FukadaThis project examines social and economic crises in a super-aging Japan.

Agriculture agency events at the Vermont Farm Show

News Release — Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets
Jan. 29, 2018
Alissa Matthews
Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets
(802) 505-1661
January 29, 2018 / Montpelier, VT – The Vermont Farm Show, founded in 1931, is an annual gathering that allows both agriculture professionals and the public to meet with vendors, preview products and machinery and network with the farm community at the Champlain Valley Fairgrounds in Essex Junction. This year's Show begins tomorrow, January 30th at 9am, and runs through Thursday, February 1st at 4pm. On Wednesday night, January 31st, the 7th annual Consumer Night will take place, which celebrates the diversity of Vermont agriculture with the Winter Buy Local Market and Capital Cook-Off. The Winter Buy Local Market, which takes place in the Blue Pavilion from 4-7pm Wednesday, will feature nearly fifty farmers and producers of local cheese, meat, milk, maple syrup, jams, culinary oils, honey, wine, beer, spirits, wool, and handmade crafts.

Ahead of Rezoning Hearing, Inwood Groups Release Merged Platform

A map of the alternative rezoning proposal in Uptown United's platform
On Tuesday, a coalition of Inwood neighborhood groups and residents released the Uptown United Platform, a 16-page document that reacts to the Economic Development Corporation's proposed rezoning of Inwood and proposes an alternative plan. These Inwood stakeholders join a number of other neighborhood coalitions who have reacted to the de Blasio administration's proposed rezonings with their own plans and white papers over the past three years, including the Coalition for Community Advancement in Cypress Hills and East New York, the Bronx Coalition for a Community Vision, the steering committee of the East Harlem Neighborhood Plan and the Movement for Justice in El Barrio, among others. Like the plans before it, the Uptown United Platform describes a variety of initiatives related to several facets of community well-being, while also calling for more comprehensive protections for existing tenants and more affordable housing than can be guaranteed under the city's new mandatory inclusionary housing policy. Given the de Blasio administration's negotiation process in other neighborhoods, it's likely the administration will take some of Uptown United's recommendations to heart, but the administration will also likely disagree with one of the platform's central demands: that the city require 100 percent affordable housing on any upzoned property. The administration has in the past stated that requiring private properties to provide 100 percent affordable housing would be likely ruled unconstitutional.

Air Guard pushes back on F-35 ballot measure

Maj. Gen. Steven Cray says the ballot measure opposing the F-35 basing uses misleading language. Photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/IMG_4647-1.jpg?fit=300%2C200&ssl=1" data-large-file="https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/IMG_4647-1.jpg?fit=610%2C407&ssl=1" src="https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/IMG_4647-1.jpg?resize=610%2C407&ssl=1" alt="Steven Cray" width="610" height="407" srcset="https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/IMG_4647-1.jpg?resize=610%2C407&ssl=1 610w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/IMG_4647-1.jpg?resize=125%2C83&ssl=1 125w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/IMG_4647-1.jpg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1 300w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/IMG_4647-1.jpg?resize=768%2C512&ssl=1 768w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/IMG_4647-1.jpg?w=1280&ssl=1 1280w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/IMG_4647-1.jpg?w=1920&ssl=1 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Maj. Gen. Steven Cray says the ballot measure opposing the F-35 basing uses misleading language. Photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDiggerVermont National Guard officials spoke out on Friday against a ballot measure that will allow Burlington voters to signal opposition to basing F-35 fighter jets at the Burlington Airport.

Alabama Firm Selected to Rebuild Sutherland Springs Church

Efforts to rebuild the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs are moving forward under the management of an Alabama-based design and construction firm. The post Alabama Firm Selected to Rebuild Sutherland Springs Church appeared first on Rivard Report.

Alabama Juvenile Crime Is Down, But Not Number of Kids in System, Report Says

Juvenile crime in Alabama has dropped by 27 percent in the past five years, but the number of kids in the state's juvenile justice system hasn't declined, according to a report drafted by a legislative task force.State lawmakers in 2018 could debate a juvenile justice reform bill — similar to the state's 2015 prison reform plan — to fix the problem, one lawmaker says, according to The Anniston Star.

Alamo Colleges Announces Palo Alto President As Next Chancellor

The Alamo Colleges board of trustees on Thursday named Palo Alto College President Ruben “Mike” Flores as the lone finalist candidate for chancellor. The post Alamo Colleges Announces Palo Alto President As Next Chancellor appeared first on Rivard Report.

Alamo Colleges, Texas A&M Plot Cheaper Route to Engineering Degrees

The Alamo Colleges District is partnering with Texas A&M-College Station and Chevron to make engineering degrees more affordable to San Antonio students. The post Alamo Colleges, Texas A&M Plot Cheaper Route to Engineering Degrees appeared first on Rivard Report.

ALARA 2018 World Congress to be held at Norwich University in June

News Release — Norwich University
Jan. 29, 2018
Daphne Larkindlarkin@norwich.edu
Follow us on Twitter @NorwichNews
ALARA 2018 World Congress Announces Keynote Speakers and Call for Proposals
NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The Action Learning, Action Research Association Inc. (ALARA) will host its 10th Action Learning Action Research and14th Participatory Action Research World Congress on the Norwich University campus in Northfield, Vt., June 17 – 20, 2018. Set to coincide with Norwich University College of Graduate and Continuing Studies' Residency Conference, the ALARA World Congress will offer panel discussions and speeches featuring a slate of internationally-renowned scholars and action research practitioners. ALARA is currently accepting proposals for participation in the 2018 World Congress.

Alcántara on the Inwood Rezoning, Fixing Rent Regulations, and the IDC

Office of State Senator Marisol AlcántaraState Senator Marisol Alcántara
State Senator Marisol Alcántara, who represents Inwood, Washington Heights and parts of the West Side, is wrapping up her first term in office, and it's promising to be a demanding year. Her district is facing a rezoning, the state is facing a budget crunch, and as a member of the embattled Independent Democratic Conference, she's facing a challenger in the 2018 elections. Alcántara, a former labor organizer, is a self-described progressive, but during her 2016 campaign for the 31st district she announced her intention to join the IDC, a breakaway group that shares power with the Republicans in the State Senate. That power-sharing coalition, which leaves Democrats in the Senate minority, allows IDC members more say on the budget, what bills get to the floor, and perks like higher-paying committee leadership positions. The IDC describes itself as a coalition that passes progressive bills by working in a bipartisan fashion with Republicans, but critics say that the IDC empowers Republicans, preventing other progressive legislation and budget proposals from being considered.

Aldermanic vote on changing St. Louis’ residency requirement delayed

St. Louis aldermen will wait a few months before voting on a bill that would change the city's residency requirement. A committee heard public testimony on Alderwoman Carol Howard's bill earlier this month but did not take a vote. The current session of the board essentially ends in March, and Howard, D-14th Ward, now says she will wait until lawmakers come back after the break for a new session in April to get a different version approved.

Algorithms and Justice: Scrapping the ‘Black Box’

The justice system is increasingly turning to complicated computer algorithms to help make decisions about bail, sentencing and parole. But many question whether paying private software companies to use secret algorithms in criminal justice is in the public's best interest. Last month, New York City passed the country's first legislation to subject such algorithms to greater public scrutiny. Known as the Algorithmic Accountability Bill, it established a task force to examine how algorithms are used by city agencies. Lauded by some as a watershed moment for ending the algorithmic bias of so-called “black box” systems in the justice system and elsewhere, it was called too ambitious by others.

Amarillo-area nuclear weapons plant affected by cost overruns for federal program

Consolidating the management of two critical sites where nuclear weapons are assembled would yield huge taxpayer savings, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) promised in 2013 – as much as $3.27 billion over a decade. Hundreds of millions of dollars in savings were to be spent on the modernization of the nuclear weapons production complex, and billions of dollars were to revert to the public treasury. The government was so pleased with the promised benefits that in 2015, it gave one of the department's highest awards to the 14 sharp-eyed officials who processed the single-contract paperwork. But four years after the consolidated contract was won by Consolidated Nuclear Security (CNS) LLC, a group of corporations led by Bechtel National Inc., there's not much to celebrate, government documents and reports show. In particular, much of the promised quick savings haven't shown up, while the annual federal costs of running and overseeing the two sites – the Pantex Plant in Texas and the Y-12 site in Tennessee where nuclear weapons are disassembled and modernized – have risen more than 30 percent from nearly $1.85 billion to $2.48 billion.

Amazon rainforest hit by surge in small-scale deforestation, study finds

A study out this week finds small-scale deforestation in the Amazon rainforest have been increasing over the past decade, with new hotspots emerging in Bolivia and Peru. The news somewhat dampens Brazil's touted successes at combatting deforestation, with researchers saying the country's forest monitoring system is not capable of detecting small forest loss events. Over the past decade, numbers from Brazil's National Space Research Institute (INPE) have have shown big drops in deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon. After a spike of around 27,000 square kilometers of forest lost in 2004, INPE data indicate deforestation declined precipitously to less than 5,000 square kilometers in 2012. Since then, the data show deforestation in the region has remained relatively low compared to years past, with experts attributing the decline largely to the strengthening of environmental regulations in the mid-2000s.

Amazon, JPMorgan Chase and Berkshire Hathaway Pursue The Health Care ‘Unicorn’

When Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett and Jamie Dimon get together to make an announcement (any kind of announcement!) it's sure to grab attention. So people perked up Tuesday morning when the CEOs of Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase said in a press release that their companies are going to partner in a nonprofit venture to figure out "ways to address healthcare for their U.S. employees, with the aim of improving employee satisfaction and reducing costs." The details are scarce. The announcement described "technology solutions that will provide U.S. employees and their families with simplified, high-quality and transparent healthcare at a reasonable cost." Those goals are hard to argue with, yet have proven difficult to achieve.

Ambitious fundraising goal set for a milestone year at the YMCA of the San Benito County

Financial assistance for memberships, summer camp, diabetes prevention, summer camp and more supported through donations to the Annual Campaign

Ameren Missouri plans to close all coal ash ponds but will leave the waste in place

Over the next five years, Ameren Missouri plans to close the ponds it uses to dump the byproduct of its coal-fired power plants. The company has 15 ponds among its four power plants. Ameren closed two out of the nine ponds at the Meramec Energy Center in St. Louis County earlier this year. Coal-fired power plants have traditionally used water to handle coal ash, but recent advances in technology are allowing utilities such as Ameren to use dry systems instead.

America ‘Can’t Arrest Its Way Out of the Opioid Epidemic’

America “can't arrest its way out of the opioid epidemic,” a top official of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) said Thursday. Paul Cell, First Vice President of the IACP, called for an increase in collaborative efforts among law enforcement, health care workers and social service providers to address an epidemic that is costing more American lives each year than automobile crashes. “We have to put our egos in check,” Cell said at a conference on “Justice in the Heartland” at John Jay College in New York. “Our children are dying. The time for silos is past.”
Chief Paul Cell
Cell, who serves as chief of the Montclair (NJ) State University Police and will become president of the 30,000-member IACP next year, was speaking at the John Jay/Harry Frank Guggenheim Symposium on Crime in America, which brings together journalists, academics and justice practitioners for discussions on criminal justice issues.

America’s appalling reality: we don’t care about our children

Susan Perry

We don't care about our children in this country. Not really.If we cared about our children, a baby born in the United States wouldn't have a 76 percent greater risk of dying before their first birthday than one born in other wealthy, democratic countries.If we cared about our children, a child aged 1 to 19 wouldn't have a 57 greater risk of dying before adulthood than elsewhere in the developed world.And if we cared about our children, when we heard that UNICEF had ranked us 26 out of 29 developed countries (higher than only Lithuania, Latvia and Romania) with respect to overall child health and safety, we would feel a collective shame and rush into action to fix the situation.But we don't really care about our children. We continue to be content to let them die at greater rates than children in Spain or Slovenia or England or Estonia. Indeed, babies born in the U.S. are three times more likely to die from complications related to an early birth and twice as likely to die of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) than those born in other Western countries.Yet, we're not bothered by those deaths. Instead of doing everything we can to help women — particularly those living on low incomes — have healthy pregnancies and care for their newborn babies, we make it difficult, if not outright impossible, for them to access quality health care or to have paid pregnancy and maternity leave or to live in safe, healthy environments.And if we don't care about our babies, we certainly don't care about older children.

America’s ‘Shadow’ Vigilantes

What do the Three Strikes law, mandatory-minimums for drug offenders, the Stop Snitching campaign, and private police have in common? According to Paul H. Robinson, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, they are all expressions of a “shadow” vigilantism that has spread in the contemporary U.S.—usually in response to perceived failures in the justice system. The forthcoming Shadow Vigilantes: How Distrust in the Justice System Breeds a New Kind of Lawlessness, which Robinson co-authored with his wife Sarah, a former sergeant in the US Army and social worker, explores how the impulse to take the law into their own hands has been a feature of Americans' behavior since the Revolution. In a conversation with TCR's Julia Pagnamenta, Robinson explains why the history of vigilantism is more nuanced than the traditional view which defines vigilantes as groups like the KKK and white supremacists, and why vigilantism will continue to operate when disenfranchised individuals in society feel that the system is ignoring their concerns. The Crime Report: Your book suggests that acts of vigilantism are very much tied to early American history.

Amid DACA uncertainty, more than 150 Minnesotans chip in to help cover applicants’ fees

Ibrahim Hirsi

For the past six years, Maria Ibarra, who's been protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, has had to face the task of renewing her immigration status every two years. It's a daunting and expensive process, but Ibarra didn't have to pay anything when she filed her most recent application to renew her DACA status, which is set to expire in May. That's because she's among dozens of Dreamers who have received financial assistance to file their applications from ordinary Minnesotans who wanted to help.In fact, even as most of the country's focus on DACA revolves around debating whether individuals like Ibarra brought to the U.S. as children should be allowed to lawfully reside and work in the country, many of those DACA recipients themselves have far more pragmatic concerns: Amid all the uncertainty over the program, is it really worth the time and investment in the renewal process?To do so, DACA recipients have to pay $495 to the Department of Homeland Security in application fees. That's often on top of the $500-$1,500 they also have to pay for legal services and other fees.Enter Kara Lynum, an immigration attorney in St. Paul.

Amid gun debate, Colorado sheriff angry at ‘liberal politicians and Hollywood elite’ he says are hypocritical for not speaking about against abortion

“Garfield County's sheriff says he's angry at ‘liberal politicians and Hollywood elite' who are calling for gun control after last week's shooting deaths of 17 people at a Florida high school, and suggests they're hypocritical for failing to similarly speak out against abortion,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “Sheriff Lou Vallario, a Republican, voiced his views Monday in his latest “Just the Facts” video posted to the county Sheriff's Department Facebook page, drawing dozens of comments from critics and supporters. He said while he's angered by yet another tragic school shooting, ‘I'm also angry about how almost immediately people want to politicize this topic and liberal politicians and Hollywood elite want to jump on this bandwagon of gun control. They immediately want to blame guns; they don't want to look at the real issues. They don't want to look at the evil, they don't want to look at the criminal mind, they don't want to look at things like that.

Amid mounting debate over toll lanes, transportation commissioner says it’s time for ‘new blood’

DALLAS — One of the state's most influential transportation officials on Thursday said he's stepping down from the board that oversees the Texas Department of Transportation to make way for “new blood.”
Texas Transportation Commission member Victor Vandergriff, who said his resignation is effective Friday, is the second person since last week to announce their exit from the five-person board. The departures come after Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who appoints transportation commissioners, told the body not to use toll lanes to help fund highway expansions and renovations throughout the state. That directive came hours after The Texas Tribune reported that TxDOT officials considered classifying the tolled and non-tolled portions of some highway rebuilds and expansions as separate construction jobs to get around a constitutional prohibition on using some state tax revenues on projects that have toll lanes. Vandergriff is one of many state transportation officials and regional planners who have long said that managed toll lanes alongside non-tolled highways can help fast-track construction projects needed to keep pace with population growth in the state's urban areas. Vandergriff said state leaders at some point will have to be forthright with Texans that congestion is only going to get worse unless toll projects continue to be built or legislators raise the state gas tax.

Amputees Organize

Brenda Novak and Herb Kolodny were lucky: They got insurance coverage for their new limbs. Now they're working on ensuring that other people who lose arms and legs have the same opportunity to restart their lives in full rather than be confined to wheelchairs.

Amy Hardberger Among Three Mayoral Picks for SAWS Board

The nominees are banker David McGee, engineer Eduardo Parra, and water law professor Amy Hardberger. The post Amy Hardberger Among Three Mayoral Picks for SAWS Board appeared first on Rivard Report.

An unlikely rebuke of the General Assembly over election laws

With a blandly titled “informational forum,” a Democratic state senator choreographed an unusual rebuke of the General Assembly and its leadership Friday, eliciting testimony about the systematic weakening of campaign finance laws in Connecticut, most recently by provisions inserted into the bipartisan budget adopted in special session last fall.

An update on campus free speech in Colorado

During last year's legislative session, Democratic and Republican legislators came together in a unanimous kumbaya moment to pass a new law expanding free speech on public university campuses— although they might have approached the issue from different perspectives. The new law abolished so-called “free speech zones” on campuses across Colorado. From an explainer we wrote for The Colorado Independent last year about the new law:
In the past few years, college campuses have become high-profile battlegrounds over issues like race, guns, gender identity— and free speech. Around this time last year, news of a Mizzou professor trying to block student journalists from covering a student demonstration, and her subsequent firing, roiled an already busy news cycle about safe spaces on college campuses. Then, the 2016 presidential campaigns tore across the country, often using college campuses as a backdrop, and bringing with them a residual trail of controversy— and proposed laws.

Analysis: “You come at the king, you best not miss”

Editor's note: If you'd like an email notice whenever we publish Ross Ramsey's column, click here. With little to lose in his own primary this year, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is finding his risks lower on the ballot by taking sides in three races against state representatives who have directly or indirectly challenged him on ethics issues. That headline is a quote from Omar Little, a dangerous character in The Wire. Legislators and governors aren't royalty, and most of them aren't gangsters, either. But the logic still applies: Winning is sweet, but losing a fight against someone with power breeds trouble in the future.

Analysis: A cloudy day for sunshine laws in Texas

Editor's note: If you'd like an email notice whenever we publish Ross Ramsey's column, click here. It might deflate your confidence in the state of Texas to find that the people protecting your access to government information have their thumbs on the scale. That they're playing favorites. That they put requests from their enemies on the slow track. Or that they advise the agencies who come to them for advice to act that way.

Analysis: Changing Redistricting Rules Could Change Who Texas Sends to Congress

Drawing clever political districts is one way politicians in Texas and elsewhere avoid accountability – by protecting themselves from voters who disagree with them. The post Analysis: Changing Redistricting Rules Could Change Who Texas Sends to Congress appeared first on Rivard Report.

Analysis: Changing redistricting rules could change who Texas sends to Congress — dramatically

Editor's note: If you'd like an email notice whenever we publish Ross Ramsey's column, click here. Drawing clever political districts is one way politicians in Texas and elsewhere avoid accountability — by protecting themselves from voters who disagree with them. They do this by stuffing weirdly shaped geographic districts with voters who agree with them. A new examination of redistricting shows how effective legislators have done that nationally — and in Texas, and how changing the rules for drawing political maps could dramatically change who represents you at the state and federal Capitols. FiveThirtyEight unleashed a fascinating series of maps for their Gerrymandering Project series Thursday as the U.S. Supreme Court considers several cases that could solidify or disrupt redistricting practices in Texas and other states.

Analysis: In Texas elections, size matters

Editor's note: If you'd like an email notice whenever we publish Ross Ramsey's column, click here. The two big political parties are often presented as equals, each in position at any given time to prevail in an election. But the Republican Party in Texas has been bigger than the Democratic Party for a long time, and unless hundreds of thousands of new people show up or huge numbers of the majority party's voters decide to change sides, statewide victories will keep going to the red team. The blue wave some Democrats hope for has to be big enough to top the red seawall that protects Republicans. The Democrats don't need a wave in 2018 — they need a tsunami.

Analysis: Legislative efforts to boost child well-being often mired in partisanship

The big idea — a plan to close the achievement gap between low- and upper-income students — jumped off the pages of a magazine. It was 2003, and then-Rep. Mimi Stewart, an Albuquerque Democrat and former schoolteacher, read an article by the late leader of the American Federation of Teachers union, Sandra Feldman. She proposed […]

Analysis: On Texas’ high property taxes, there’s plenty of blame to go around

Editor's note: If you'd like an email notice whenever we publish Ross Ramsey's column, click here. Texas state senators are touchy, touchy, touchy when it comes time to hand out blame for rising property taxes. They've spent a decade hacking away at the state's share of public education spending, and their current refrain is that the local districts have run amok by raising property tax bills. What they don't like is having anyone — especially an official someone — pointing out the relationship between the state's declining per-student education spending and the rise in local property taxes. To cap that, the latest flare-up came from Tarrant County, the most populous red county in the Republican state of Texas — a big jewel in the GOP's crown and an exception to the trend of urban counties becoming more Democratic.

Analysis: Tax breaks and big red fire trucks

Editor's note: If you'd like an email notice whenever we publish Ross Ramsey's column, click here. The dispute between the state of Texas and local governments isn't always about money, but that's where the real fighting takes place. Reduced to its essence, the state is arguing about price. The locals are arguing about product. Prices — property taxes are the bane of the moment — are rising too quickly, the state contends, with voters cheering in the background.

Analysis: Texans won’t have to wait for November to know who’s winning

Editor's note: If you'd like an email notice whenever we publish Ross Ramsey's column, click here. It only stands to reason that, if the state's general elections generally fall to the people from one political party, much of the competition would move to the party primaries. And that, with a speaker of the Texas House deciding not to seek re-election, the factions within that majority Republican Party would be vying for supremacy now — the better to control who succeeds the outgoing speaker. Or that the state's chief executive and his number two — frustrated last year by resistance from the socially moderate wing of their party — would be acting to silence some of that wing's louder voices with endorsements, campaign advertising and any other means they can find. That's the layout, more or less, for the primaries that a select few Texans will be voting in starting next Tuesday.

Analysis: Texas Republicans confront an enemy within

Editor's note: If you'd like an email notice whenever we publish Ross Ramsey's column, click here. Texas Republicans, with as big a political advantage as any party in the country, are eating their own tail. In House districts where the Democrats haven't been putting up a fight, they're running Republican challengers against Republican incumbents — with Republican Gov. Greg Abbott endorsing some of the challengers. And a couple of incumbent Republican senators are battling challengers being advised by political consultants affiliated with the Texas Senate's own presiding officer, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. The Republican Party of Texas added its official institutional punctuation to the GOP's purist purge last weekend, when the State Republican Executive Committee voted to censure the more moderate Republican House Speaker Joe Straus.

Analysis: Whose side are you on, anyway?

Editor's note: If you'd like an email notice whenever we publish Ross Ramsey's column, click here. Growing political parties must remain ready to catch undecided voters, the turncoats leaving other parties, the misfits who either haven't found or can't decide on a permanent ideological home. They're like places of worship in that way, open to converts. It's hard to do when the regulars are yelling about the differences between true believers and newbies. The latest case involves Andrew White, a Democratic candidate for governor who, as it turns out, contributed to Kentucky Republicans several years ago “as a business owner.”
That was Tessio's big line in The Godfather, right?

Andrew McCabe Out as FBI Deputy Director

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, a target of President Trump's ire dating to the 2016 election, has stepped down as he nears the date in March when he can retire with full pension benefits. He is expected to be succeeded by David Bowdich, who led the agency's response to the San Bernardino terror attack.

Andrew McCabe Out as FBI Deputy Director

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, a target of President Trump's ire dating to the 2016 election, has stepped down as he nears the date in March when he can retire with full pension benefits. He is expected to be succeeded by David Bowdich, who led the agency's response to the San Bernardino terror attack.

Andy Kennedy would be a slam dunk on TV

Bryan Lynn, Icon Sportswire via APAndy Kennedy's 12 years of court side experience at Ole Miss – and his quick wit – make him a natural for TV commentary. Don't know what Andy Kennedy will do next, but I know what I would do — and it wouldn't be recruit teenagers. Ever. Again. No, I'd do what AK does so wonderfully, which is talk, analyze a sport he knows so well, be quick, clever, glib and intelligent — and get paid handsomely for it.

Annotating Fallin’s State of the State Speech

Joe Wertz / StateImpact OklahomaGov. Mary Fallin delivers her final State of the State address Feb. 5. By Trevor Brown, Ben Botkin, Paul Monies, Jennifer Palmer, Jeff Raymond and David Fritze
In her eighth and final State of the State address Monday, Gov. Mary Fallin made no bones about the central point she wanted to make: Pass the Step Up Oklahoma plan proposed by business and civic leaders. Her address was shorter than previous ones, and much of it was devoted to budget issues, which have consumed the time and passions of people occupying the 149 House and Senate seats and untold numbers of Oklahomans over the past few years. Fallin, who is term-limited, presented her case as virtually a do-or-die moment in modern state history.

Annual lobbying ritual during session tops $200,000

Lobbyists and their employers reported spending of $207,215 during the just-concluded legislative session. That's just a slice of the total spending to influence legislation, as amounts spent under $500 won't be filed until May. Many of the expenditures were on events or gifts that are almost rituals at this point, annual occasions where lawmakers are […]

Another Appeals Court Rules Against Trump Travel Ban

A second federal appeals court ruled against President Trump's latest travel ban executive order, but the decision has been overtaken by action at the Supreme Court, reports Politico. The Richmond-based 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled, 9-4, that the Trump directive limiting visitors from six majority-Muslim countries and two other nations is likely unconstitutional because it was driven by anti-Muslim animus. The judges' split fell largely along party lines and divided the court in nearly the same fashion as the decision the same judges issued, 10-3, last May against an earlier version of Trump's travel restrictions. “Plaintiffs offer undisputed evidence that the President of the United States has openly and often expressed his desire to ban those of Islamic faith from entering the United States. The Proclamation is thus not only a likely Establishment Clause violation, but also strikes at the basic notion that the government may not act based on religious animosity,” said Judge Roger Gregory.

Another Haldane Track Record Falls

Winne breaks 15-year-old mark in 600 metersAnother Haldane Track Record Falls was first posted on February 2, 2018 at 8:04 am.

Another Senator accused of sexual harassment as other investigations drag on

Allegations of sexual misconduct continue to rattle the state Capitol this session. Sen. Larry Crowder, R-Alamosa, became the fifth lawmaker this session to be publicly accused of sexual misconduct on Thursday night, the same day Democrats made demands that another Senator, Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs, should resign following an inquiry that reportedly found sexual misconduct allegations against him to be credible. Rep. Susan Lontine, D-Denver, filed a formal complaint in November that Crowder made “unwanted physical contact on the floor of the House of Representatives and an inappropriate sexual comment,” according to a statement Thursday. “I hoped the matter could be handled privately, that Sen. Crowder would acknowledge that his actions were unacceptable, that he would accept an appropriate punishment and that the investigation would be a part of the record should a pattern of behavior exist or present itself,” Lontine said. “But in a meeting this week with Sen. Crowder and Senate President Kevin Grantham, Sen. Crowder expressed little remorse and he didn't take responsibility for his actions.

Another UMD coach leaves position

A resignation that makes you say hmmmm: Annette Wiles, the University of Minnesota-Duluth women's basketball coach, resigned Monday and is the third female head coach to leave the university this year. Matt Wellens of the News Tribune reports that she was with the Bulldogs for seven seasons, taking UMD to the NCAA Division II tournament in 2010 and 2012, and finishing with a 109-86 record. She follows Shannon Miller, the former women's hockey coach, and Jen Banford, who served as women's hockey director of operations and head softball coach. Wiles cites an unhealthy work environment at the university. Miller and Banford have filed a complaint against the university with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights and Wiles is expected to join them.The folks in Austin are taking a deserved victory lap after former TV and radio news director, Riverland Community College instructor and former mayor John O'Rourke has been named to the Minnesota broadcasting Hall of Fame.

Anti-abortion group deletes state senator’s video after questions of legality raised

An influential anti-abortion group this week abruptly deleted a Twitter video ad featuring GOP Sen. Bob Hall's voice after The Texas Tribune began asking if its paid messages adhered to laws restricting the use of corporate “dark money.”
The group, Texas Right to Life Committee, also filed last-minute corrections to its December campaign finance reports indicating that it had “inadvertently” attributed about $38,000 in radio ads to its corporate entity instead of its political action committee. In the video, Hall's voice says the advertisement was paid for by the Texas Right to Life Committee, a politically active non-profit corporation that doesn't have to disclose its donors. The text that scrolled on the bottom of the Twitter video also said it was “paid for by Texas Right to Life Committee, Inc.”
Voters in Hall's northeast Texas district said they heard a similar or identical advertisement played over the radio in December. The Tribune saved the audio of the ad and a copy of the Tweet before they were deleted. Hall, a Tea Party-backed candidate from Edgewood who defeated Sen. Bob Deuell four years ago, is one of a handful of Senate incumbents facing a competitive primary race this year.

Anticipated increase in ICE detainees puts Vermont out of state inmates in limbo

The Vermont Department of Corrections is having difficulty finding a new location for out of state prisoners because of an anticipated influx of immigrant detainees. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement is looking to lease beds in locations across the country, Vermont officials say. State prison commissioner Lisa Menard told the Senate Appropriations Committee this week that federal demand for prison beds is impacting the search for a new placement for Vermont prisoners held out of state. Lisa Menard, commissioner of the Department of Corrections. Photo by Elizabeth Hewitt/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/DSC_1416.jpg?fit=300%2C201&ssl=1" data-large-file="https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/DSC_1416.jpg?fit=610%2C409&ssl=1" src="https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/DSC_1416.jpg?resize=300%2C201&ssl=1" alt="Lisa Menard" srcset="https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/DSC_1416.jpg?resize=300%2C201&ssl=1 300w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/DSC_1416.jpg?resize=125%2C84&ssl=1 125w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/DSC_1416.jpg?resize=610%2C409&ssl=1 610w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/DSC_1416.jpg?resize=150%2C100&ssl=1 150w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/DSC_1416.jpg?w=1024&ssl=1 1024w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" data-recalc-dims="1">Lisa Menard, commissioner of the Department of Corrections.

Antonio Pomerleau dies

Tony Pomerleau speaks at his 100th birthday party. Also shown on his son Ernie Pomerleu, Gov. Phil Scott and Karen Marshall, Chair of the Lake Champlain Sailing Center Board of Directors. Photo by Bob LoCicero/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="https://i1.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Pomerleau2.jpg?fit=300%2C200&ssl=1" data-large-file="https://i1.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Pomerleau2.jpg?fit=610%2C407&ssl=1" src="https://i1.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Pomerleau2.jpg?resize=610%2C407&ssl=1" alt="Tony Pomerleau" width="610" height="407" srcset="https://i1.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Pomerleau2.jpg?resize=610%2C407&ssl=1 610w, https://i1.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Pomerleau2.jpg?resize=125%2C83&ssl=1 125w, https://i1.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Pomerleau2.jpg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1 300w, https://i1.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Pomerleau2.jpg?resize=768%2C513&ssl=1 768w, https://i1.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Pomerleau2.jpg?w=1280&ssl=1 1280w, https://i1.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Pomerleau2.jpg?w=1920&ssl=1 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Tony Pomerleau speaks at his 100th birthday party in September. Also shown on his son Ernie Pomerleu, Gov. Phil Scott and Karen Marshall, Chair of the Lake Champlain Sailing Center Board of Directors. Photo by Bob LoCicero/VTDiggerReal estate tycoon and philanthropist Antonio Pomerleau has died.

Antwan Wilson, D.C. schools chancellor and former Denver educator, forced to resign

Antwan Wilson, a former Denver educator who served for the past year as chancellor of the high-profile Washington, D.C. school district, was forced to resign Tuesday. According to the Washington Post, Wilson skirted Washington, D.C.'s competitive school lottery process so his oldest daughter could transfer to a high-performing high school. “I wish I could go back and look up and talk to as many people as I could about the challenge I was facing,” Wilson told the Post a day before he resigned. “I failed miserably. It wasn't a mistake out of anything other than trying to ensure that my daughter's well-being was taken care of.”
The Post called Wilson's resignation “a stunningly swift fall for an educator hailed as the heir to the school reform agenda crafted by Michelle Rhee,” and noted that it's a political blow to the mayor who appointed him chancellor last year.

Appeals court mostly upholds ruling against Harris County bail practices

A federal appellate court on Wednesday mostly upheld a ruling claiming that Harris County's bail practices unfairly discriminate against poor misdemeanor defendants. In October, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held an hour-long hearing in New Orleans on the pretrial system of Texas' most populous county, where arrestees who can't afford their bail bonds regularly sit in jail — often until their cases are resolved days or weeks later — while similar defendants who have cash are released. Last April, U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal called the county's bail practices unconstitutional and ordered the release of almost all misdemeanor defendants from jail within 24 hours of arrest, regardless of their ability to pay their bail amount. The 5th Circuit upheld Rosenthal's findings but said the injunction on the county was "overbroad." The court also dismissed the Harris County sheriff from the suit.

APT Enlists Cops To Quiet Clinic Corner

A controversial methadone clinic in the Hill is paying the city for extra police presence in an attempt to deter potential illegal activity from happening outside of its doors.

Are the Opioid Crisis and Murder Increases Linked?

The U.S. murder total rose in 2015, 2016, and the first half of 2017. Meanwhile, an opioid epidemic has led to the deadliest drug overdose crisis in U.S. history, with nearly 64,000 drug overdose deaths in 2016. A criminal justice expert says that these two crises may be related, reports Vox.com. The connection isn't obvious at first glance. Drug and opioid overdoses have been increasing for decades, while the increase in the murders has been going on for only a few years.

Are those rural North Carolina hospitals really necessary?

As NC hospitals in some rural areas face pressures that challenge their ability to stay open, the question of whether they are needed becomes more urgent. The post Are those rural North Carolina hospitals really necessary? appeared first on Carolina Public Press.

Argentina offers new help to teens leaving state care

Tatiana Lustig Da Silva, 23, right, laughs with friends at the Buenos Aires headquarters of Doncel, an organization that trains young people who age out of the state institutional care system. She is joined by Jasmín Pérez Ccasani, 18 (center) and Florencia Rodríguez, a coordinator at the program. (Photo by Lucila Pellettieri, GPJ Argentina)
By Lucila Pellettieri, Senior Reporter
BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA — At 16, Jasmín Pérez Ccasani knew that she had to leave home. Family life was bad, she says, and teenagers her age can formally separate from their parents if the state agrees. In her case, the state did agree, so Pérez Ccasani moved into a group home run by Catholic nuns.

Arkansas passed a law banning suspensions for truancy. Then it was largely ignored.

What if an education law passed, but nobody followed it? That appears to be the bizarre situation in Arkansas, which in 2013 enacted a straightforward law banning out-of-school suspensions for truancy. But three years later, nearly 1,100 students were still suspended for not showing up to school. Many Arkansas schools were simply not complying with the law, according to a new study. What happened?

Arming Teachers? Trump’s Idea Won’t Happen

President Trump says he is “very strongly” favoring arming teachers and other school staff, but that won't happen any time soon, even in states that would allow guns in schools, Politico reports. Lawmakers in at least half-a-dozen states — including Florida — are considering legislation that would ease restrictions on firearms on campus. Such attempts nearly always hit strong opposition from teachers and community members. Even in states that have passed laws allowing school districts to make the decision, few school boards have bit. “The vast majority of schools superintendents and boards don't even blink before saying, ‘Thanks but no thanks,'” said Kenneth Trump, a school safety consultant not related to the president.

Around Town (Photos)

Danger at Bear Mountain, New York Guard honored, film editor winsAround Town (Photos) was first posted on February 3, 2018 at 8:20 am.

Arrests Made In Wake Of K2 Overdoses

Police arrested eight alleged street drug dealers and are looking for a ninth in the wake of an unusually high number of overdoses connected to the synthetic cannaboid known as “Spice,” “fake weed,” or “K2.”

Art of Colonial Mexico Illuminates SA’s Complexity, Tricentennial History

San Antonio's complicated family history will be on display at the San Antonio Museum of Art, in a survey of the art of Mexico covering 100 years of the “viceregal” era. The post Art of Colonial Mexico Illuminates SA's Complexity, Tricentennial History appeared first on Rivard Report.

Art of the Mind

Psychologist returns to early passionArt of the Mind was first posted on February 20, 2018 at 9:31 am.

Art Quivers From Cupid’s Arrow

The lips are just graphite on paper, but maybe because of the cigarette dangling from between them, they convey a sense of iconic allure and danger. You want to draw the rest of the face. Maybe it's a classic dame from a film noir movie. But maybe it's nothing so stylized as that, just a woman on her lunch break, or waiting for the bus. Or maybe she's sneaking a smoke after dinner.

Artist is open to changes in controversial Burlington mural

Mural on Leahy Way in Burlington. File photo by Roger Crowley/for VTDiggerBURLINGTON — The artist behind a now-controversial Church Street mural says he is not opposed to modification of the piece but maintains that outright removal would be a “sad outcome.”
Pierre Hardy, 56, had not previously addressed the wrangling over the “Everybody Loves a Parade” mural but agreed to discuss it in an email exchange with VTDigger.Get all of VTDigger's political news.You'll never miss a political story with our weekly headlines in your inbox. Daily
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The mural, which depicts figures from Burlington's history, was done in 2012 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Samuel de Champlain's arrival in the Champlain Valley in 1609. Last October, Burlington activist Albert Petrarca spray painted the words “Off the Wall” on the mural as a political statement.

Artists Eyed For $40M “Clock Shop Lofts”

A developer is seeking a 15-year tax break and $400,000 in city environmental clean-up help to transform a long-vacant clock factory complex on Hamilton Street into 130 low- and moderate-income apartments for artists.

Arts Council Announces County Arts Showcase

The San Benito County Office of Education and the San Benito County Arts Council invite the community to attend its County Arts Showcase.

Arts note: Trova family collection to be displayed at Washington University

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 8, 2012 - Various iterations of "Falling Man" and other works by Ernest Trova will soon land at Washington University's Modern Graphic History Library. The Trova family collection will include sketches, models, photographs, casting molds, blueprints and correspondence. Trova, a self-trained St.

As Broward Health bleeds, doctors warn mismanagement is affecting health care

By Dan ChristensenFloridaBulldog.org
Broward Health's top doctors have warned the district's leadership that the medical staff's ability to function "is being compromised to the detriment of Broward Health as a viable health care system." The post As Broward Health bleeds, doctors warn mismanagement is affecting health care appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

As chancellor search continues, Weingarten dismisses Orlando schools chief as ‘Joel Klein type’

After several months of searching for a new leader for the nation's largest school system, Barbara Jenkins, the superintendent of Orange County Public Schools in Florida, emerged this week as a contender for the job. City Hall is still courting the Orlando schools chief, according to a source. But there are several big reasons why Jenkins might not be New York City's next school's chancellor — as well as some unusual behind-the-scenes discussion that could help draft Jenkins or other out-of-state superintendents. One is that Jenkins has voiced concerns about taking the job, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the search. Some said she signaled weeks ago that she was not interested.

As Conservative Group Grows In Influence, Financial Dealings Enrich Its Leaders

by Mick Dumke, ProPublica, and Tina Sfondeles, Chicago Sun-Times
Well before John Tillman began running the Illinois Policy Institute a decade ago, the nonprofit think tank was calling for major reforms to state government, especially its finances. But few in Springfield — or elsewhere in Illinois — paid attention. That changed when Tillman relaunched the institute in 2007. The organization steadily expanded its work and influence after the conservative activist took over, while contributions shot up from about $341,000 in 2007 to $6.4 million in 2016 — a nearly 19-fold increase in a decade. Tillman was also able to ratchet up the group's output of research and advocacy.

As CPS irons out school budgets, charters will also get more cash

CPS is increasing the per-pupil funding provided to charter schools for this year in order to “equalize” funding between them and traditional schools. Charter school operators say that even with the slight increase, some of them are down so many students that they have had to shift spending around to create a balanced budget. CPS will spend an additional $7.8 million on charter schools, but spokesman Bill McCaffrey says he is not sure how much more per-pupil that amounts to. The decision is in response to the late September announcement that CPS would not cut traditional school budgets even if they had less than the projected number of students. Under student-based budgeting, schools get a stipend for each student, but ever since implementing the new strategy two years ago, officials have declined to take money away from schools that enroll fewer students than expected.

As deadline looms, Congress prepares for another government shutdown — at least for a few hours

The federal government was headed for the second shutdown of the year on Thursday night as U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, held up a Senate vote over federal spending. The stakes are high for Texas. A long sought-after $90 billion in federal aid for disaster relief that included money for Texans affected by Hurricane Harvey was part of the original agreement. U.S. House GOP leaders projected that their chamber could take up the legislation in the early morning hours Friday. But as the night wore on, Paul continued blocking a vote on the bill using Senate procedure as he advocated for spending caps and fought against raising the debt ceiling.

As doctors drop opposition, aid-in-dying advocates pick next battlefronts

When the end draws near, Dr. Roger Kligler, a retired physician with incurable, metastatic prostate cancer, wants the option to use a lethal prescription to die peacefully in his sleep. As he fights for the legal right to do that, an influential doctors group in Massachusetts has agreed to stop trying to block the way.

As election day nears, Burlington candidates highlight differences

Infinite Culcleasure speaking at the Burlington Mayoral Forum on Livability, Feb. 15. Photo credit: Bob LoCicero. " data-medium-file="https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Burlington-Mayoral-Debate-2-15-18-2850.jpg?fit=300%2C200&ssl=1" data-large-file="https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Burlington-Mayoral-Debate-2-15-18-2850.jpg?fit=610%2C407&ssl=1" src="https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Burlington-Mayoral-Debate-2-15-18-2850.jpg?resize=610%2C407&ssl=1" alt="Infinite Culcleasure" width="610" height="407" srcset="https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Burlington-Mayoral-Debate-2-15-18-2850.jpg?resize=610%2C407&ssl=1 610w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Burlington-Mayoral-Debate-2-15-18-2850.jpg?resize=125%2C83&ssl=1 125w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Burlington-Mayoral-Debate-2-15-18-2850.jpg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1 300w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Burlington-Mayoral-Debate-2-15-18-2850.jpg?resize=768%2C512&ssl=1 768w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Burlington-Mayoral-Debate-2-15-18-2850.jpg?w=1280&ssl=1 1280w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Burlington-Mayoral-Debate-2-15-18-2850.jpg?w=1920&ssl=1 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Infinite Culcleasure speaking at the Burlington Mayoral Forum on Livability, Feb. 15.

As Greitens touts tax cut proposal, he declines to get behind fuel tax increase

Gov. Eric Greitens reiterated Thursday that his plan to cut the state's tax will not be paired with a fuel tax increase. The governor's comments to members of the Missouri Press Association come as both Republicans and Democrats are getting behind the idea of raising taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel to pay for fixing the state's roads and bridges.

As horror goes mainstream, Late Night Grindhouse finds new audience for classic horror films

Once a month, the Moolah Theatre and Lounge in Midtown St. Louis slowly fills with moviegoers wearing punk gear and movie poster T-shirts. Screams ring out past the theater doors, and the screen casts neon green light on the seats. The words “Late Nite Grindhouse,” written in font that looks like oozing snot, splash across the screen. After a year of box-office wins and award nominations, horror films are receiving more mainstream recognition.

As horror goes mainstream, Late Nite Grindhouse finds new audience for classic horror films

Once a month, the Moolah Theatre and Lounge in Midtown St. Louis slowly fills with moviegoers wearing punk gear and movie poster T-shirts. Screams ring out past the theater doors, and the screen casts neon green light on the seats. The words “Late Nite Grindhouse,” written in font that looks like oozing snot, splash across the screen. After a year of box-office wins and award nominations, horror films are receiving more mainstream recognition.

As Indonesia gears up for elections, activists brace for an environmental sell-off

JAKARTA — Environmental issues in Indonesia will once again be both bargaining chip and valuable stake this year as the country prepares to hold sweeping elections, according to an environmental outlook released last month by the country's main environmental watchdog, the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi). Voters in the world's third-largest democracy will head to the polls in June to vote for 17 provincial governors, 115 district heads and 39 mayors. Up for grabs: control of natural resource-rich regions, including in Indonesian Borneo, Sumatra and Papua. Elections at the local level in Indonesia have long been marred by corruption: business lobbies bribe their favored candidates with the expectation of a quid pro quo once in office; incumbents engage in pork-barrel programs and blatant vote-buying schemes; and in each region, the promise to permit the plunder of natural resources — timber, coal, land, water — forms a central part of each candidate's platform. “In this political year, there will be a great amount of money circulating,” says Even Sembiring, the policy assessment manager at Walhi.

As Lyme Disease Spreads, Danbury Lab Focuses On Diagnostic Tools

For nearly nine years, scientists inside the boxy brick Western Connecticut Health Network Research Center have been working to develop a more accurate test to diagnose the scourge of the Connecticut woods: Lyme disease. Lyme disease is carried by the tiny blacklegged tick, commonly known as a deer tick. When a blacklegged tick infected with Lyme bites a human, it can transmit a tiny microscopic organism, called a spirochete, that moves around the human body, evading easy detection. Derek Torrellas Photo.Dr. Paul Fiedler, chair of pathology and laboratory medicine at WCHN, looks through a microscope as a spirochete is displayed on a monitor. Researchers in Danbury have been trying to detect that spirochete, similar to those that cause syphilis and other diseases, in people's blood.

As March Primary Nears, Study on Cook County Property Tax System Still Under Wraps

by Jason Grotto, ProPublica, and Hal Dardick, Chicago Tribune
An independent study to gauge the fairness and accuracy of residential property tax assessments in Cook County was scheduled to be completed in mid-December, records show, but now its first findings may not be delivered until the end of February — days after early voting commences in an election that could be affected by the results. The study was ordered nearly seven months ago by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle after the Chicago Tribune published the first three parts of “The Tax Divide,” an investigation that found high error rates in residential property valuations produced under Assessor Joseph Berrios. The assessments also burdened poorer homeowners with unfairly high tax bills while giving wealthier taxpayers a break. Planning documents from August show that the independent study is based on the same kind of statistical analysis carried out by the Tribune with the goal of determining whether assessments under Berrios have met standards used in municipalities around the world. Several of the country's leading experts in assessments said that kind of study should take no longer than one or two months.

As nesting beaches warm, sea turtle populations are turning female–how scientists found out

Is Australia's Great Barrier Reef losing its male sea turtles? A new study has found that green sea turtle hatchlings in one of the world's largest colonies are increasingly female, and this trend has been ongoing for decades, with warming global temperatures the suspected culprit. Sea turtles, as well as some other reptiles, lack sex chromosomes. Their gender is determined by the environment of the nest while the embryos are incubating, and by nest temperature in particular. Warmer sand tends to produce higher numbers of female hatchlings, making sea turtles and other reptiles particularly vulnerable to a warming Earth.

As Recent Scandals Prove, Public Officials Fail at Due Diligence

When it comes to public policy, it is easy to get caught up in the “scandal of the day” and miss the larger picture. The post As Recent Scandals Prove, Public Officials Fail at Due Diligence appeared first on Rivard Report.

As Republicans aim to loosen state gun laws, Democrats shoot efforts down

Students across the country are calling for stricter gun laws following the deadly shooting in Parkland, Fla., last week. But here in Colorado, Republican lawmakers moved forward with three bills that would loosen gun restrictions. House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, who was a sophomore at Columbine High School in 1999, the year of a deadly shooting, again proposed a bill to allow concealed-carry permit holders to bring guns inside K-12 schools. Currently, the law says a gun can be brought onto school property but has to remain in a vehicle. But the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs committee voted 6-3 against this proposal along party lines Wednesday night.

As research suggests greater FASD prevalence, local advocates push for change

Andy Steiner

The common perception is that Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is relatively rare. A new in-depth study of 6,639 first-grade students published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) turns that perception on its head, finding that as many as one in 20 first-grade students from four unidentified U.S. communities have been affected by prenatal alcohol exposure.Sara MesseltIf those numbers were extrapolated to Minnesota, that would mean that up to 3,200 first-graders in the state have FASD.These findings support what many FASD advocates have felt for years: Rates of prenatal alcohol exposure have been greatly underestimated. Sara Messelt, executive director of the Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (MOFAS), said that shame and misinformation about the negative impact of even light alcohol consumption on the developing fetus has contributed to an underestimation of the number of American children with FASD. “This study is really groundbreaking,” Messelt said. “For once it identifies in a general population that FASD is much more common than people think it is.

As state Sen. Carlo Uresti’s fraud trial drags on, one defrauded investor’s testimony could be key

SAN ANTONIO — It was a young, grieving mother, prosecutors hoped, who would make the difference in the federal government's case against state Sen. Carlos Uresti, sending the longtime Democratic legislator to serve prison time instead of continuing to serve the people of Senate District 19. And as the third week of the criminal trial against the San Antonio lawmaker started Monday, the testimony of that key witness, 38-year-old Denise Cantu, slogged on. She first took the stand Thursday, and remained there until the end of the day Monday describing how she invested $900,000 in a now-defunct frac-sand company called FourWinds Logistics at Uresti's suggestion — and then lost nearly all of it. Uresti, who defended Cantu in a wrongful death suit after a 2010 car accident killed her son and daughter, has been accused of defrauding investors — including Cantu — in a Ponzi scheme perpetrated by the company. He faces 11 felony charges, and has claimed that he wasn't aware of FourWinds' illegal dealings.

As states target drug prices, Pharma targets lawmakers

With federal officials seemingly unwilling or unable to come up with legislation to control skyrocketing drug prices, that task is increasingly moving to the states. But so is pharma muscle and money opposing the measures, regulatory disclosures and corporate filings from the last two years show.

As Sweden and Canada Push Their ‘Feminist Foreign Policy,’ Other Nations Resist the Label

In Baidoa, Somalia, a delegate receives her accreditation to vote in an election to choose Parliament members, Nov. 25, 2016. As part of Sweden's feminist foreign policy, it helped Somalian women win 30 percent of seats in the federal body. SABIR OLAD/AMISOM
After years of civil war, Somalia is beginning to build democratic institutions with support from the West, even as horrific violence repeatedly strikes the capital, Mogadishu. Help from foreign countries and regional groups — such as the European Union, Italy and the United States — was provided in Somalia's 2016 election, where electoral processes and security were great concerns.

As Trump doubles down on call to give teachers guns, the growing #ArmMeWith movement offers an alternative

Counselors, time, diverse classroom libraries, money — these are some of many things American teachers say they need in their schools instead of guns. The pleas are coming via a social media hashtag, #ArmMeWith, that has spread quickly this week as teachers grapple with the aftermath of last week's school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Some lawmakers and advocates — including President Donald Trump — have responded to the shooting by arguing that teachers should be armed. That idea has drawn scorn from educators who argue that more guns in schools would make students less safe and do little to address the underlying issues that contribute to violence in schools. Now thousands of those educators are offering an alternative, using a template that two teachers shared on Instagram on Tuesday.

Ash and Dash: Drive-thru church service offers ashes on the go

Millions of Christians throughout the world will fill church pews in observance of Ash Wednesday. The day marks the beginning of the time of fasting and repentance 40 days before Easter (not counting Sundays.) Around St. Louis, and elsewhere some churches will observe this first day of Lent with a modern twist. Manchester United Methodist Church in west St. Louis County is calling it Ash and Dash.

Ashe says 6-3-1 dispute with Scott is thing of the past

Senate leader Tim Ashe sought to move on from a tit-for-tat with Gov. Phil Scott over Vermont's workforce woes on Wednesday, but said he remained unconvinced by the administration's plans to address the issue. Scott has driven home his commitment to growing the state's workforce through a “6-3-1” slogan — even making it the number on his official car's license plate. The six represents the number of workers he says the state has lost every day since he took office in January 2017. Get all of VTDigger's political news.You'll never miss a political story with our weekly headlines in your inbox. Daily
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Assessing 2 years of medical marijuana in Illinois

Regulators and dispensary operators are taking stock of medical marijuana in Illinois as the state's program hits the two-year mark. The Illinois Department of Public Health says it has approved approximately 31,500 patients for the program, compared to more than 36,000 who have completed the application process. It has also approved more than 50 dispensaries throughout the state, including HCI Alternatives in Collinsville.

Association Health Plans Draw Interest, Scrutiny

By Mark Tosczak
Earlier this month, the Trump administration proposed new rules that could make it easier for businesses to band together to provide health insurance to their employees. These “association health plans” could provide some North Carolina small businesses a more affordable choice for group health insurance, employee benefits consultants say — a prospect that has business organizations taking a hard look at the plans. “We're interested in anything that businesses of all sizes can do to get some predictability” in health costs, said Gary Salamido, vice president of government affairs at the N.C. Chamber of Commerce. Health care costs are usually the No. 1 or No.

At Colorado utilities hearing, an overwhelming plea for renewable energy

Farmer and rancher Jan Kochis knows what it's like to live by the whims of the market. Her farm in Elbert County grows dryland corn, millet and wheat — and, as she put it, “Commodity prices are kind of in the tank right now.” Even when prices are high, natural disasters like droughts and floods create significant uncertainty for agricultural producers. Relief, for Kochis, has come in the form of 30 wind turbines that will soon operate on her shared family farm as part of the Rush Creek Wind Project. Construction is already underway, and she says she's looking forward to the turbines becoming operational. “Some people say they don't like to look at them, but I'll be able to see one right outside my kitchen window.

At East Texas debate, embattled Texas agriculture chief Sid Miller in hot seat

TYLER — Embattled Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller spent the better part of a Republican primary debate Tuesday night defending a volley of perceived missteps that have plagued his first term. And the pressure wasn't just coming from his opponent, Trey Blocker, a longtime Austin lobbyist and conservative podcast host. Moderator JoAnn Fleming, one of the state's most prominent Tea Party activists, peppered Miller, a former state lawmaker, with questions about a variety of actions he's taken during the past three years that would appear to stray outside the bounds of traditional conservatism. Among them: Why did Miller raise fees on farmers and ranchers while also doling out hundreds of thousands of dollars in bonuses to agriculture department employees? Did doing so somehow violate agency policy?

At forum, German ambassador serves as a foil for Sanders

Peter Wittig, German ambassador, spoke in Vermont last week. Photo by Bob LoCicero/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/GermanAmbassador.jpg?fit=300%2C200&ssl=1" data-large-file="https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/GermanAmbassador.jpg?fit=610%2C407&ssl=1" src="https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/GermanAmbassador.jpg?resize=610%2C407&ssl=1" alt="Peter Wittig, German ambassador" width="610" height="407" srcset="https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/GermanAmbassador.jpg?resize=610%2C407&ssl=1 610w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/GermanAmbassador.jpg?resize=125%2C83&ssl=1 125w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/GermanAmbassador.jpg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1 300w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/GermanAmbassador.jpg?resize=768%2C512&ssl=1 768w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/GermanAmbassador.jpg?w=1280&ssl=1 1280w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/GermanAmbassador.jpg?w=1920&ssl=1 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Peter Wittig, German ambassador, spoke in Vermont last week. Photo by Bob LoCicero/VTDiggerBURLINGTON — It isn't often that Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., comes across as a moderate. Sanders, a self-avowed social Democrat, has long burnished his lefty credentials with the promotion of universal health care, protections for Social Security, free college tuition and higher taxes for the wealthy to support programs that would benefit society at large. Sanders' proposals have not gained traction in the House or the Senate over the course of his 27-year career in Congress, but his ideas galvanized a a Millennial movement when he ran for president last year.

At Koch network retreat, Cornyn acknowledges need for tax reform sales job

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, acknowledged Saturday that Republicans will need to fight to sell their tax overhaul that was recently signed into law by President Donald Trump, saluting plans by the influential Koch network to spend up to $20 million to promote the new law's benefits. "I'm delighted that the network is going to be committed to helping us tell that story because we're going to have to continue to combat the misinformation and the naysayers — the people who want this to fail," Cornyn said. He was speaking during a panel at a three-day donor retreat in the California desert hosted by powerful donor network associated with the conservative billionaire Koch brothers. Polls showed public opinion was against the tax bill when Congress passed it late last year, though more recent surveys suggest support may be ticking up.

At Parkway Central, Stacks Cleared To Make Way For Public Space

The Free Library of Philadelphia's Parkway Central Branch is honing in on the needs of the 21st century patron with modern upgrades and robust public programming. Michael Bixler bids adieu to the grand library's massive book retrieval system that was recently dismantled to make way for three new centers of interactive social space

At Sciences Po in France, a Lack of Gender Studies Rankles Some Students

The entrance to the prestigious Sciences Po on rue St.-Guillaume, Paris. A gender program in the university's master's program in international relations is sorely missing, say some female students there. The university disagrees. CREATIVE COMMONS
PARIS — Women outnumber men in international affairs graduate programs across the world and are increasingly demanding that curriculums reflect feminist thinking and include gender mainstreaming. Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) in New York, Sciences Po's School of International Affairs in Paris and the London School of Economics are three of the world's top universities granting master's degrees to students who are pursuing careers in diplomacy, development and human rights, among other avenues.

At St. John’s/St. Ben’s, a politically diverse group will watch State of the Union together

Liz Fedor

In homes, bars and other gathering spaces, President Donald Trump's supporters and critics will watch the State of the Union speech Tuesday with like-minded people.A much different dynamic will unfold in Sexton Commons on the St. John's University campus in Collegeville, Minnesota. Students who are Democrats, Republicans and independents will voluntarily watch the speech in the same room. Then they will listen to each other and discuss what they heard in a respectful, civilized manner. This is a plan that was conceived by students who are interested in public affairs.

At state budget hearing, Mayor de Blasio says he won’t ‘crowdsource’ chancellor search

Mayor Bill de Blasio intends to keep his search for the new schools chief under wraps, he said Monday, despite calls from some parents and advocates to let the public weigh in on the process. “I don't think it's appropriate -- in a personnel decision -- to crowdsource it,” de Blasio said during a state budget hearing in Albany. Current schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, who announced in December that she plans to retire in the coming months, testified before lawmakers last week. On Monday, it was her boss's turn. During his three-hour testimony, he continued to push for more education funding than Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed in the state budget plan for the coming year.

At the State of the Union, Republicans got the Trump they love — and Democrats the Trump they loathe

Sam Brodey

In a lot of ways, President Donald Trump's first official State of the Union was vintage Trump: He talked viscerally of the imminent dangers of gangs, drugs, and criminals, called for a big wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, and advocated “rebuilding” America's nuclear weapons arsenal. From his podium, Trump even waded into the past year's culture wars, winking toward protests by professional athletes by declaring “we proudly stand for the national anthem.”But if the president's big speech to Congress was something like a greatest hits album, the volume seemed a little softer, the tone a little subtler, and added in were some new tracks: While Trump was forceful in advocating his trademark positions, he called for Democrats and Republicans to join together and compromise on the big issues facing Washington this year, from immigration to infrastructure to the opioid crisis.Trump also took a victory lap for the achievements of his first year in office — namely, a sweeping package of tax cuts that he boasted is sparking the U.S. economy to resurgence. “This is our new American moment,” Trump declared.This State of the Union, then, was music to the ears of Republicans, who gave their president standing ovations 75 times over the course of his 80-minute speech, and favorable marks afterward for highlighting shared values and common goals in American politics.But the address struck jarring and off-putting notes to Democrats, who had a hard time reconciling Trump's rhetoric about unity and compromise with Trump himself — who, over the past year, has often led the charge in attacking enemies and scuttling deals. First District DFL Rep. Tim Walz, in a statement after the speech, even said it was impossible to respond to Trump's address “as if it is a normal State of the Union.”The president's party and the opposition always differ in their reactions to a State of the Union. But it was as if Minnesota's Republicans and Democrats heard two different speeches on Tuesday night, making prospects for compromise in 2018 — an election year that has already seen a government shutdown — even dimmer.A ‘fantastic job'If Trump's speech didn't unify red and blue, it did elicit a uniformly positive reaction from Republicans, including two members of the Minnesota delegation who have often differed in their approach to Trump: Reps.

At The Winter Olympics, Robots Are Here To Help. But Don’t Assume They Work All Hours

Directions, weather reports, water bottles – those are some of the things we've seen robots offering at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, helping to host thousands of visitors and media. They're also helping South Korea present itself as a tech-savvy nation with an eye on the future. Most of the robots we've seen in Pyeongchang and Gangneung – the two areas where the Winter Games are being held – weren't made to look human. Instead, they present a wide range of looks — and autonomy. Some of these bots were made to look like a white tiger ( Soohorang, the Olympic mascot ), with an informational screen embedded in its belly.

At University of Texas, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson calls for modernizing NAFTA

The North American Free Trade Agreement is an important accord for the region — but it's also due for an update, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Thursday during a speech at the University of Texas at Austin. “I'm a Texan, a former energy executive and also a rancher. I understand how important NAFTA is for our economy and that of the continent,” Tillerson said. But, he added, “it should come as no surprise” that a 30-year-old agreement negotiated before the advent of digital economies and China's rise to prominence on the world economic stage would “need to be modernized.”
The former ExxonMobil CEO visited his alma mater on the cusp of a weeklong swing through Latin America. He heads Thursday evening to Mexico, and then on to Argentina, Peru, Colombia and Jamaica.

Attorney for Teen Murder Suspect Says Tennessee County May Be Sued for Keeping Her in Solitary

Juvenile justice reform advocates were able to claim a partial victory after a Tennessee judge ruled that a 16-year-old can't be kept in an adult prison while she waits for trial on murder charges — but they stressed that the real struggle for her humane treatment has only just begun. Teriyona Winton, of Memphis, Tennessee, is charged as an adult in the April 3 shooting death of 17-year-old Deago Brown. She was 15 at the time of the slaying. Since her arrest, she's been shuttled back and forth between the Shelby County Jail and a women's prison in Nashville, Tennessee, kept mostly in solitary confinement. Last week, a state judge ruled that Winton doesn't have to wait in the adult prison, and will instead be transferred back to Shelby County jail's East Wing.

Attorney General asks court to halt Scottsdale school construction over procurement violations

The Arizona Attorney General's office filed a civil injunction Thursday against Scottsdale Unified School District seeking to prevent further construction on Hohokam and Cheyenne elementary schools, following multiple investigations into possible procurement and conflict of interest violations that have roiled the district's administration. The post Attorney General asks court to halt Scottsdale school construction over procurement violations appeared first on Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting.

Attorney General asks court to halt Scottsdale school construction over procurement violations

The Arizona Attorney General's office filed a complaint Thursday against Scottsdale Unified School District asking a court to prevent further construction on Hohokam and Cheyenne elementary schools, following multiple investigations into possible procurement and conflict of interest violations that have roiled the district's administration. The post Attorney General asks court to halt Scottsdale school construction over procurement violations appeared first on Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting.

Audio: Can Texas voters loyal to one party cause chaos in the other party’s primary?

If you're loyal to a particular political party, have you – or a fellow Democrat or Republican – at least thought about voting in the opposing party's primary? Maybe for a person you think would be a weaker candidate in the general election? Or maybe just to mess with the other team? Texas is one of 15 states that hold open primaries. This means you don't have to declare a party affiliation until you get to the polls.

Audio: Exploring the minds and inner lives of animals

On this episode of the Mongabay Newscast, we speak with the co-author of a new book about the minds and lives of animals — their memories, how we know that they dream, how some even like to get drunk — and we'll hear all about Mongabay's newly launched bureau in India. Listen here: Our first guest is Sy Montgomery, the author of two dozen books for adults and kids about animals including the classics Journey of the Pink Dolphins, The Good Good Pig, and The Soul of an Octopus, which was a National Book Award finalist in the U.S. Montgomery recently teamed up with her friend and fellow animal writer Elizabeth Marshall Thomas to write Tamed and Untamed: Close Encounters of the Animal Kind. The book is a collection of essays about dogs, hawks, house cats, lions, octopuses, sharks, snails, and more — and Sy Montgomery is here to share a few of the stories from the book with us. Our second guest today is Sandhya Sekar, program manager for Mongabay India, the newest addition to the Mongabay family of environmental news sites, joining those based in Indonesia, the U.S., and Latin America. Sekar joins us from the capital city of the southern Indian state of Kerala, where she's based, and is here to tell us about the environmental challenges India is facing and what kinds of coverage you'll find at india.mongabay.com.

Audio: Sarah Davis’ re-election bid, Ross Ramsey’s hot list

On this week's TribCast, Emily, Ross, Patrick and Emma talk to state Rep. Sarah Davis about Gov. Greg Abbott's efforts to unseat her, Ross' primary hot list and a state Supreme Court justice's quick-turn candidacy.

Audio: The cutting-edge technologies allowing us to monitor ecosystems like never before

On today's episode, we discuss the cutting-edge remote sensing technologies used to monitor ecosystems like rainforests and coral reefs. We also listen to a few ecoacoustic recordings that are used to analyze species richness in tropical forests. Listen here: Our first guest today is Greg Asner, who leads the Carnegie Airborne Observatory (CAO) at Stanford University's Carnegie Institution for Science. Asner invented a technique he calls “airborne laser-guided imaging spectroscopy” that utilizes imaging spectrometers mounted on the Carnegie Airborne Observatory airplane to produce highly detailed data on large and complex ecosystems like tropical forests. Asner used that 3-D imaging technique to discover the tallest tropical tree in the world back in 2016, but he's also used the technology to create ultra-high-resolution maps of coral reefs.

Audio: Where’s the “bathroom bill” in the 2018 primaries? (podcast)

On this week's TribCast, Emily talks to Patrick, Abby and Jay about the noticeable absence of the "bathroom bill" on the 2018 primary trail, the hottest congressional races, and a particularly timely campaign contribution received by Land Commissioner George P. Bush.

Audit: Company behind Texas ‘clean coal’ project used federal funds for liquor, limousines and lobbying

A now-bankrupt company that received a major federal stimulus grant to build a “clean coal” power plant in West Texas spent millions of taxpayer dollars on alcohol, lobbying, spa services and other questionable — or clearly unauthorized — expenses. That's according to a report released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Inspector General, which found that the department's Office of Fossil Energy — under the Obama administration — demonstrated blatantly lax oversight of a $450 million grant the agency awarded in 2010 to Seattle-based Summit Power Group for the “Texas Clean Energy Project.”
The coal-fired carbon-capture power plant — slated for a 600-acre plot near Odessa — was never built. It was championed by former Dallas Mayor Laura Miller, who went to work for Summit after leaving office in 2007. She left the company in mid-2016 after the Energy Department — now headed by former Texas Gov. Rick Perry — froze grant funding as the project struggled to get off the ground; it was nearly $2 billion over budget, years behind schedule and unable to find financing. The Energy Department spent about $116 million on the project before pulling the plug. The audit released Tuesday found that the Office of Fossil Energy reimbursed Summit for more than $38 million in expenditures without requiring or reviewing documentation to show the charges were allowable and necessary for the project.

Audit: Mental Health Administration failed to check patients’ eligibility and patient information is not secure

By Charlie Hayward
State auditors found that the State Mental Health Administration found that the MHA failed to:

Keep documentation showing patients who received over $16 million in mental health services were eligible
Assure timely reviews/audits of provider claims and perform regular bank reconciliations
Maintain adequate security over computers and sensitive patient data
Keep adequate internal control over cash receipts

The Mental Health Administration delivers comprehensive care, treatment, and rehabilitation of individuals with mental illnesses, either through a network of hospital facilities operated by MHA or through community service agencies. MHA spent $788 million during fiscal year 2013. MHA receives funding from multiple federal and state sources and each funding source can have different eligibility rules. Because of this, MHA must keep detailed records about patients so the funding source is correctly matched to each patient service. Eligibility documentation missing; important statistics not kept
MHA utilizes an Administrative Services Organization (ASO) to review its mental health services.

August Wilson’s “Two Trains Running” at Seattle Rep covers timely themes

Eugene Lee (Memphis), Nicole Lewis (Risa), and David Emerson Toney(Holloway) in Seattle Repertory Theatre's production of August Wilson's TwoTrains Running. (Photo by Nate Watters.)August Wilson's play “Two Trains Running” takes place in 1969 on the heels of the civil rights movement, but the production currently running at Seattle Repertory Theater couldn't be more timely. “Freedom is heavy,” says Memphis, the main character played by actor Eugene Lee. “You got to put your shoulder into freedom. Put your shoulder to it and hope your back hold up.”
Memphis faces the pressures of the city wanting to tear his restaurant down and a lottery runner — someone who handles money for gambling institutions — who hopes to buy his land.

Aurora parents who need translation services describe tears, missed connections, and a bureaucratic tangle

When teacher Velia Muñoz wanted to get an interpreter for a community event she was helping plan at an Aurora school, she didn't know where to start. One call led to another and another, she said. “It was like going through all these hoops,” Muñoz said. In Aurora Public Schools, there's no one place to call for help with interpretation or translation. Translation services for parents of a student with special needs are handled through the department that oversees those programs. Translation services for the family of a student who is learning English as a second language are provided by the English language development department.

Aurora school board rejects superintendent’s proposal in first big decision on school turnaround

Aurora school board members voted against the superintendent's plan to improve school performance at Lyn Knoll Elementary School after weighing competing recommendations Tuesday. The vote — a split decision with two veteran members voting against the majority — was the first major decision for the new school board and could signal a new direction for how the district will handle low-performing schools. Four of the seven board members were elected in November as part of a union-backed slate. Two weeks ago, Aurora Public Schools staff and Superintendent Rico Munn presented the board with a turnaround recommendation for Lyn Knoll, a school that enrolls fewer than 240 students and that earned, for the first time, the lowest quality rating from the state this year. The district's proposed plan was to contract with an external manager to help the school improve instruction, teacher training, and family engagement and to do marketing and recruitment to attract new students to the school.

Aurora superintendent says no to charter school locating near marijuana shop

A charter school looking to move out of a church basement as it expands into more grades next year has halted its plans after the Aurora school district rejected the school's desired location — near a pot shop. City and district officials say it's the first time the issue has come up in Aurora since marijuana retail businesses began opening in the fall of 2014. State law prevents marijuana stores from opening within 1,000 feet of a school, but it doesn't address schools opening near existing marijuana businesses. Vega Collegiate Academy's contract with the district states the superintendent must approve any relocation. In this case, he didn't.

Austin has mandated paid sick leave for workers, but Texas lawmakers are already working to reverse it

The Austin City Council on Friday approved a new rule requiring businesses in the city to provide paid sick leave for employees, but movement is already afoot in the Texas Legislature to kill the ordinance. At a meeting where over 200 people came to testify — a majority of them supporting the ordinance — the council voted 9-2 to implement the policy. But hours after the rule was passed, state Rep. Paul Workman, R-Austin, sounded off against the bill, saying the ordinance is “declaring war” on small private businesses. “It's not the role of the government to mandate for employers to do this," Workman said. The new rule mandated that private employers allow their workers to accrue up to 64 hours, or eight days, of paid sick leave per year.

Austin’s Royal Blue Grocery to Open Store in Downtown San Antonio

San Antonio will get its first Royal Blue Grocery at the corner of Houston and Soledad streets on the ground level of the historic Savoy Building. The post Austin's Royal Blue Grocery to Open Store in Downtown San Antonio appeared first on Rivard Report.

Author at Mississippi reading: Step out of your comfort zone to build community

On a trip to the library when he was 12 years old, Eric Motley recalls meeting an elder, wheelchair bound white man. An African-American aide at his side, Wheelchair Man, as Motley describes him, seemed as curious about about the boy as the boy was curious about the familiar-looking old man who looked as if he “was bearing heavy burden.”
Eric Motley gives a reading from his memoir, “Madison Park: A Place of Hope” at Lemuria Books in Jackson. After the library closed, Motley was excited to tell his grandfather about the encounter with who he eventually realized was George Wallace, the segregationist then-Alabama governor who survived an assassination attempt during a failed presidential campaign. Motley's grandfather, whom he called Daddy, did not speak ill of Wallace who toned down his racist views later in life. “I think he changed his mind about black people,” after the failed assassination, Daddy said.

Author Sam Harrington ‘At Peace’ Book Talk

Wednesday, March 07, 2018 - 5:30PMUnited StatesAnn PetersAuthor uses anecdotes and examples from his more than 30 years of medical practice to consider 'choosing a better death at an advanced age.' RSVP Today

Autism Treatment Center Expansion to Boost Services for Growing Community

To accommodate the increase in autism diagnoses in Bexar County, the Autism Treatment Center of SA has begun construction on a new Learning and Opportunity Center. The post Autism Treatment Center Expansion to Boost Services for Growing Community appeared first on Rivard Report.

AVSBM hosts conference on alternative governance structures for schools, Feb. 24

News Release — The Alliance of Vermont School Board Members
February 14, 2018
Jack Bryar, Research Director
The Alliance of Vermont School Board Members

Grafton – On February 24, The Alliance of Vermont School Board Members (AVSBM) will be convening a conference to help school systems attempting to institute what are called alternative governance structures, or AGS's. The conference will take place on February 24 at the Montpelier High School beginning at 10 am. Roughly a third of Vermont school systems either have or anticipate petitioning state government officials to approve these “AGS” proposals in preference to forced consolidation under Vermont's Act 46. The fate of these proposals is uncertain. Much of the debate about “Alternative Governance” has focused less on the quality or efficiency of different local governance models and instead have centered around how to craft proposals that will be accepted by state authorities.

Az medical-marijuana marketing moves more mainstream

The industry's marketing efforts have matured since Arizona voters legalized marijuana for medical use in 2010, industry experts said. In addition to introducing “softer” terms to describe their products, dispensaries now offer such conveniences as online ordering and delivery.

Az public schools still working to get lead out of drinking water

Since state officials identified dozens of Arizona public schools with elevated levels of lead contamination in water fixtures, nearly half the schools still are undergoing repairs or tests for levels that could affect students, faculty and staff members.

Baby and … Cat

Not just a baby, not just a cat, but both…Baby and … Cat was first posted on February 3, 2018 at 8:18 am.

Baby and Dog

Not just a baby, not just a dog, but both...Baby and Dog was first posted on January 27, 2018 at 9:06 am.

Baby and Dog

Not just a baby, not just a dog, but both...Baby and Dog was first posted on February 17, 2018 at 9:39 am.

Baby and Dog

Not just a baby, not just a dog, but both...Baby and Dog was first posted on February 10, 2018 at 8:48 am.

Baby photos of 10 of the world’s rarest turtles from the zoo trying to save them

Everyone loves turtles. Turtles and tortoises are often depicted as tranquil creatures possessing wisdom and longevity. These reptiles are indeed ancient survivors with a fossil record dating back over 200 million years. But today, many species are in danger, with more than half of the world's freshwater turtles and tortoises on the brink of extinction. While some of these species can still be found in small numbers in the wild, they are already “functionally extinct”.

Bachmann rules out run for U.S. Senate

Brian Lambert

No return call. Mark Zdechlik and Cody Nelson at MPR report the news. “Former Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann has ruled out a run for U.S. Senate seat next fall. Bachmann's reasoning: She didn't have any ‘sense from the Lord' that she should try for the seat, which was left vacant after Al Franken resigned following allegations of sexual misconduct. ‘It became very clear to me that I wasn't hearing any call from God to do this,' Bachmann told radio host Jan Markell.

Back from Nowhere, Ride delivers at the Riv

If the primary measure for the validity of a band's reunion is whether the group left unfinished business in need of completion, a strong case can be made for the return of Ride, the groundbreaking Oxford quintet that was one of the most vital in the shoegaze/dream-pop scene of the early '90s.As dedicated manager Dave Newton noted in the balcony of the Riviera Theater Friday night, Ride only played Chicago twice in its first incarnation. When the band asked for a show of hands for how many had seen it back in the day, a mere handful in the packed crowd shot up. And as great as it is on the four albums it produced between 1990 and 1996, it was always louder, harder, and much more intense—almost overwhelming in the style of its peers and Creation labelmates My Bloody Valentine—onstage.The enormously talented Andy Bell, who fronted the group with fellow guitarist-vocalist Mark Gardener, went on to become a hired hand with Oasis, then Liam Gallagher's Beady Eye. He likely played to more people at some festivals than had seen Ride on the entirety of its first U.S. tour, and that just ain't right: Think of John Lennon joining Herman's Hermits.The influence of the group's swirling guitars, seductive harmonies, and driving rhythms looms large on the current rock scene, with Montreal's Besnard Lakes, which opened with a strong set on Friday, just one of a dozen worthy examples. And though Ride's last album Tarantula represented a bit of a retrenching, number three, Carnival of Light, is an unjustly overlooked gem that significantly broadened the trademark hazy sound, offering a dozen new directions that could still have been explored if Bell, Gardener, frenetic drummer Loz Colbert, and stoic bassist Steve Queralt hadn't gone their separate ways for a time.So, hell, yeah, it was great to have the original foursome back at the Riv.

Bad bedside manna: Bank loans signed in the hospital leave patients vulnerable

This content is for MinnPost members onlyCurrently, member content is not available in our RSS feeds. If you are a member, please log in or register on minnpost.com to access it.If you haven't yet, become a MinnPost Member at Silver or above to access this content, starting at $5 per month.

Bail reform meets little resistance in committee hearing

Rep. Maxine Grad, D-Moretown, is the chair of the House Judiciary Committee. Photo by Bob LoCicero/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/VT-Leg-Open-Session-1-3-17-0205.jpg?fit=300%2C200&ssl=1" data-large-file="https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/VT-Leg-Open-Session-1-3-17-0205.jpg?fit=610%2C407&ssl=1" src="https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/VT-Leg-Open-Session-1-3-17-0205.jpg?resize=610%2C407&ssl=1" alt="Maxine Grad" width="610" height="407" srcset="https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/VT-Leg-Open-Session-1-3-17-0205.jpg?resize=610%2C407&ssl=1 610w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/VT-Leg-Open-Session-1-3-17-0205.jpg?resize=125%2C83&ssl=1 125w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/VT-Leg-Open-Session-1-3-17-0205.jpg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1 300w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/VT-Leg-Open-Session-1-3-17-0205.jpg?resize=768%2C512&ssl=1 768w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/VT-Leg-Open-Session-1-3-17-0205.jpg?w=1280&ssl=1 1280w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/VT-Leg-Open-Session-1-3-17-0205.jpg?w=1920&ssl=1 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Rep. Maxine Grad, D-Moretown, is the chair of the House Judiciary Committee. Photo by Bob LoCicero/VTDiggerA panel of lawmakers heard pros and cons as well as quite a few suggestions last week on a proposal that seeks to reform bail statutes in Vermont. The House Judiciary Committee heard testimony last week on the bill, H.728, from a range of people who work daily in the state's court system, including prosecutors, defense attorneys, victims' rights advocates, corrections officials, and a judge. After hearing two days of testimony, House Judiciary Committee Chair Rep. Maxine Grad, D-Moretown, said she was optimistic the bail reform measure will move forward, perhaps with a few changes.

Baltimore Cops Convicted; 16 Face Sentencing

The conviction of two Baltimore police detectives on racketeering charges — six others pleaded guilty without a trial — opens a new phase in the federal prosecution of the city's formerly elite Gun Trace Task Force, the Baltimore Sun reports. U.S. District Judge Catherine Blake will hand down prison sentences for eight officers, a five-man drug crew, one bail bondsman and two other civilians. All were linked in a web of crime that stretched from peddlers of deadly heroin to a celebrated unit of plainclothes police. A Philadelphia officer still awaits trial in Baltimore. Prosecutors said Eric Troy Snell, a former Baltimore cop, partnered with the rogue cops to sell cocaine and heroin they seized from Baltimore's streets.

Baltimore Police Corruption Case Going to Jury

Federal prosecutors told jurors that the Gun Trace Task Force corruption case is about “equal justice for all,” and asked them to convict two Baltimore police detectives who believed they were “above the law” and victimized people they believed were “beneath the law,” the Baltimore Sun reports. Assistant U.S. Attorney Derek Hines pointed to the last government, a young detective who testified that he rejected a proposition to join the group in their crimes. “At some point during the career of these two men, they were given that exact same opportunity to make that choice,” Hines said. “But they did not.”
Six members of the task force have pleaded guilty to federal charges that include racketeering, robbery and firearms violations. Detectives Daniel Hersl and Marcus Taylor are fighting the charges.

Baltimore Starts Predictive Policing ‘Nerve Centers’

California researchers started with a question: Can algorithms that predict earthquake aftershocks be used to forecast crime? The answer led to advances in predictive policing, a futuristic approach that uses data analysis and artificial intelligence to interrupt crimes before they are committed. Predictive policing has won over police chiefs around the U.S. and stirred debate among civil libertarians. Now Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh is bringing an architect of the strategy to her city, the Baltimore Sun reports. Sean Malinowski, a deputy police chief in Los Angeles, has built a national reputation as a forward-thinking commander.

Ban on coyote-hunting contests moves ahead after lengthy debate

A coyote in Yosemite National Park. Photo by Christopher Bruno/Wikimedia Commons
" data-medium-file="https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/coyote.jpg?fit=300%2C171&ssl=1" data-large-file="https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/coyote.jpg?fit=610%2C348&ssl=1" src="https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/coyote.jpg?resize=640%2C366&ssl=1" alt="coyote" width="640" height="366" srcset="https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/coyote.jpg?w=1280&ssl=1 1280w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/coyote.jpg?resize=125%2C71&ssl=1 125w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/coyote.jpg?resize=300%2C171&ssl=1 300w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/coyote.jpg?resize=768%2C439&ssl=1 768w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/coyote.jpg?resize=610%2C348&ssl=1 610w" sizes="(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px" data-recalc-dims="1">A coyote in Yosemite National Park. Photo by Christopher Bruno/Wikimedia CommonsA bill banning coyote tournaments survived unchanged after two hours of debate on the House floor Wednesday. It would be the first law in the US that imposes possible jail time on individuals taking part in the competitive hunting of coyotes. The bill still needs final approval from the House before moving to the Senate.

Barrios granted two-year stay, but his case is ‘an exception’

Federal immigration officials have granted Luis Barrios, a Guatemalan native who has spent decades living in Derby, a two-year stay of his deportation, giving him ample time to formally pursue asylum in the United States. His reprieve may prove to be an outlier under new Trump administration deportation policies, however.

Basketball Teams to State Tournament (Updated)

Beacon boys and girls fall; Haldane teams play TuesdayBasketball Teams to State Tournament (Updated) was first posted on February 16, 2018 at 8:03 pm.

Baylor University says “incendiary” allegations that it destroyed evidence are unfounded

Lawyers for Baylor University said a suggestion that school officials destroyed records was “incendiary” and false, and that documents used to make the claim were unrelated to a wide-ranging sexual assault scandal that has dogged the private Waco university for years. The response was made in documents filed in federal court Wednesday evening, the latest exchange in one of several ongoing lawsuits against the school. Claims that Baylor officials destroyed evidence, made last week in a different court filing, are “serious accusations that lack any reasonable basis in fact,” Baylor's filing says. Lawyers for the school attached internal emails to back their response. “The solution is further investigation and discovery in accordance with the rules of civil procedure — not the publication of incendiary allegations based solely on speculation, misinterpretation, and unwarranted leaps in logic," the filing says.

BCA child-sex-trafficking sting nabs 43 in advance of Super Bowl

MinnPost staff

Busted. The Star Tribune's Dan Browning reports: “A law enforcement sweep arrested 43 people on felony prostitution and child sex-trafficking charges leading up to the Super Bowl, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said Wednesday. … A multiagency task force coordinated what it called a ‘sting' operation through social media platforms in the nine days leading up to Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis. Undercover officers chatted with suspects, and authorities arrested those who arrived at an arranged meeting place for an encounter, the BCA said Wednesday in a statement.”Kudos. KSTP's Josh Rosenthal reports: “Officials at Minneapolis-St.

Beacon Fire Victims Stable

Blaze raises question: Enough firefighters?Beacon Fire Victims Stable was first posted on February 16, 2018 at 10:17 am.

Beacon Names New Police Chief

Mayor critical of ‘leaks' about decisionBeacon Names New Police Chief was first posted on February 9, 2018 at 10:45 am.

Beacon Obituaries

John Raymond Jr., Al ZimmermanBeacon Obituaries was first posted on January 31, 2018 at 7:40 pm.

Beacon Obituaries

Sister Rita Donahue, Stephanie Merritt, Julia LucasBeacon Obituaries was first posted on February 16, 2018 at 4:15 pm.

Beacon Obituaries

Alejandrina Gonzalez, Larry O'BrienBeacon Obituaries was first posted on February 9, 2018 at 7:38 pm.

Beacon Police Blotter

Select incidents from Jan. 12 to 25Beacon Police Blotter was first posted on January 26, 2018 at 10:12 pm.

Beacon Police Blotter

Select incidents from Jan. 26 to Feb. 14Beacon Police Blotter was first posted on February 16, 2018 at 11:12 pm.

Beacon Proposal Would Restrict Tree Cutting

Council also weighs waiver to affordable housing lawBeacon Proposal Would Restrict Tree Cutting was first posted on February 2, 2018 at 9:22 am.

Beacon to Study Airbnb Rentals

Council will revisit issue raised three years agoBeacon to Study Airbnb Rentals was first posted on February 10, 2018 at 9:13 am.

Beacon Track Results

Section 1 championships; Davis breaks Hartford recordBeacon Track Results was first posted on February 18, 2018 at 7:58 am.

Beacon Wrestlers Show Mettle

Cohn and Crawford score big wins for BulldogsBeacon Wrestlers Show Mettle was first posted on January 26, 2018 at 8:28 am.

Before Families for Excellent Schools’ sudden implosion, waning influence and a series of stumbles

Years before its public implosion this week, Families for Excellent Schools stood at the center of New York's charter-school sector and the rough-and-tumble politics surrounding it. At its peak in 2014, the pugnacious charter-school advocacy group deployed thousands of parents and teachers to Albany to flex the sector's political muscle and promote charter-friendly legislation. It launched a multi-million dollar ad campaign slamming New York City's new charter-skeptical mayor, Bill de Blasio. And it helped secure a major policy victory that provided public space or rent money for the city's new charter schools. Now, four years later — and over a period of just a few days — Families for Excellent Schools has come crashing down.

Before kicking Patriots to Super Bowl, Gostkowski scored at Madison Central

Paul Spinelli, APNew England Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski kicks a fourth quarter extra point that gives the Patriots a 24-20 lead during the AFC Championship NFL playoff football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars Jan. 21, 2018 in Foxborough, Mass. This was August of 1998 and, as usual, then-Madison Central football coach Mike Justice was welcoming a multi-talented, powerhouse team to fall camp at the state's largest high school. There was just one problem. “We didn't have anybody to kick off,” Justice, now retired, remembered Wednesday morning.

Before Your Time: From communes to commerce

The original Jogbra, invented in Vermont in the late 1970s, is now in the collections of the Vermont Historical Society. " data-medium-file="https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Jogbra.jpg?fit=300%2C225&ssl=1" data-large-file="https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Jogbra.jpg?fit=610%2C458&ssl=1" src="https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Jogbra.jpg?resize=610%2C458&ssl=1" alt="Jogbra" width="610" height="458" srcset="https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Jogbra.jpg?resize=610%2C458&ssl=1 610w, https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Jogbra.jpg?resize=125%2C94&ssl=1 125w, https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Jogbra.jpg?resize=300%2C225&ssl=1 300w, https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Jogbra.jpg?resize=768%2C576&ssl=1 768w, https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Jogbra.jpg?resize=1376%2C1032&ssl=1 1376w, https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Jogbra.jpg?resize=1044%2C783&ssl=1 1044w, https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Jogbra.jpg?resize=632%2C474&ssl=1 632w, https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Jogbra.jpg?resize=536%2C402&ssl=1 536w, https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Jogbra.jpg?w=1280&ssl=1 1280w, https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Jogbra.jpg?w=1920&ssl=1 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">The original Jogbra, invented in Vermont in the late 1970s, is now in the collections of the Vermont Historical Society.Before Your Time is a podcast about Vermont history. Every episode, we go inside the stacks at the Vermont Historical Society to look at an object from their permanent collection that tells us something unique about our state. Then, we take a closer look at the people, the events, and the ideas that surround each artifact. The 1970s are often remembered in Vermont as the decade that thousands of new transplants made the state their home.

Behind Janus: Documents Reveal 15-Year Conspiracy to Kill Public-Sector Unions

THE ROMAN GOD JANUS WAS KNOWN FOR HAVING TWO FACES. It is a fitting name for the U.S. Supreme Court case scheduled for oral arguments February 26, Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Council 31, that could deal a devastating blow to public-sector unions and workers nationwide. In the past decade, a small group of people working for deep-pocketed corporate interests, conservative think tanks and right-wing foundations have bankrolled a series of lawsuits to end what they call “forced unionization.” They say they fight in the name of “free speech,” “worker rights” and “workplace freedom.” In briefs before the court, they present their public face: carefully selected and appealing plaintiffs like Illinois child-support worker Mark Janus and California schoolteacher Rebecca Friedrichs. The language they use is relentlessly pro-worker. Behind closed doors, a different face is revealed.

Behind The Data: How We Analyzed Louisville Trash Complaints

Our latest Next Louisville story started with a question: how problematic is trash and litter in Louisville's neighborhoods, and is it worse in areas with higher rates of poverty? We answered that question by combining data already publicly available with open records requests — and we discovered an interesting correlation. About 73 percent of all trash complaints reported to the city's MetroCall 311 service are not within one block of a trash can — and there are far more trash cans per mile in downtown or tourist-friendly spots than in those with a higher concentration of poverty. (Read “The Next Louisville: What Trash Cans Tell Us About Poverty“)
In some spots west or south of downtown Louisville, a pedestrian could walk 12 blocks without any place to toss a soda can or food wrapper. To reach these conclusions, we used spreadsheets and the open source mapping program QGIS.

Behind the Explosion in Socialism Among American Teens

TAMPA, FLA.—In a fluorescent lit classroom with handmade posters covering one wall, approximately 15 high school students are chanting the words of black revolutionary Assata Shakur: “It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and we must support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.” With some embarrassed giggling, they recite it once, twice, three times, led by their visiting speaker, Pamela Gomez of the Hillsborough Community Protection Coalition, an alliance of local progressive groups. These students are some of the 40-odd members of the Blake High School chapter of the Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA).

Behind the Headlines: 2018 Illinois governor race ‘on track’ to being most expensive yet

The state of Illinois' general primary elections are set to take place on March 20, 2018. On Friday's St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh went Behind the Headlines to discuss the Illinois governor's race and other political issues in the state. Joining him for the discussion was WWTW “Chicago Tonight” correspondent Amanda Vinciky to talk about campaign specifics.

Behind the Headlines: Residents hope to see full removal of hazardous waste at Westlake Landfill

On Friday's St. Louis on the Air , host Don Marsh went Behind the Headlines to discuss the aftermath of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) decision on a partial removal of World War II-era radioactive waste at the West Lake Landfill, in northwest St. Louis County. Joining him for the analysis was St. Louis Public Radio's engagement producer, Lindsay Toler, and the Missouri Coalition for the Environment's (MCE) policy director, Ed Smith.

Belief in conspiracy theories linked to anti-vaccine skepticism

Susan Perry

When people believe in conspiracy theories — that Princess Diana was murdered, for example, or that the American government had prior knowledge of the 9/11 terrorist attacks — they are also more likely to think that vaccines are unsafe, according to a study published recently in the journal Health Psychology.The study's findings underscore the challenges facing health professionals who are struggling to find ways to help people overcome myths and unfounded fears about vaccines. “Vaccinations are one of society's greatest achievements and one of the main reasons that people live about 30 years longer than a century ago,” says Matthew Hornsey, the study's lead author and a social psychologist at the University of Queensland, in a released statement. “Therefore, it is fascinating to learn about why some people are so fearful of them.”Participants from around the worldFor the study, Hornsey and his co-authors surveyed 5,323 people in 24 countries, including the United States, Argentina, India, China, Japan and Germany. The survey, which was conducted online during the spring of 2016, asked people about their attitudes toward vaccines. Participants rated (on a scale of one to five) whether they agreed with such statements as “children get more vaccinations than are good for them,” as well as how concerned they were “that any one of the childhood vaccines might not be safe.”The participants were also asked about their beliefs in four conspiracy theories: that Princess Diana was murdered, that the American government knew in advance about the 9/11 attacks and chose to do nothing to stop them, that President John F. Kennedy's assassination was part of an elaborate plot rather than the work of a sole gunman, and that a shadowy group of international elites are plotting a new world order.

Ben Carson’s small-dollar donors could keep yielding big money

Ben Carson's presidential bid has failed. But the retired neurosurgeon's campaign succeeded wildly at one thing: collecting personal — and lucrative — information from more than 700,000 donors and millions of fans. This database is a potential post-campaign money machine: The remnants of Carson's campaign could wring riches from a legion of small-dollar supporters for years to come, as other campaigns have done before it. How? By renting supporters' information to other candidates, political committees — even for-profit data brokers — that may, in turn, use it to raise money.

Benefit for Sharon

Will be held at Foundry CafeBenefit for Sharon was first posted on February 21, 2018 at 8:20 am.

BenitoLink Junior Journalism Project: Baudelio Banuelos

Seventh grader Victor Sanchez writes about why he admires his grandfather, Baudelio Banuelos who lives in Mexico.

Bennington celebrates local hospital’s centennial

The first graduating class from the new School for Attendant Nurses poses on the Putnam Memorial Hospital campus in 1948. Photo courtesy of “A Century of Caring.”
" data-medium-file="https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/centrurytwo.jpg?fit=300%2C275&ssl=1" data-large-file="https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/centrurytwo.jpg?fit=610%2C560&ssl=1" src="https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/centrurytwo.jpg?resize=610%2C560&ssl=1" alt="Putnam Memorial Hospital" width="610" height="560" srcset="https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/centrurytwo.jpg?resize=610%2C560&ssl=1 610w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/centrurytwo.jpg?resize=125%2C115&ssl=1 125w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/centrurytwo.jpg?resize=300%2C275&ssl=1 300w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/centrurytwo.jpg?resize=768%2C705&ssl=1 768w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/centrurytwo.jpg?w=1280&ssl=1 1280w, https://i0.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/centrurytwo.jpg?w=1920&ssl=1 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">The first graduating class from the new School for Attendant Nurses poses on the Putnam Memorial Hospital campus in 1948. Photo courtesy of “A Century of Caring.”BENNINGTON — The story of Bennington's hospital, which is marking its centennial this year, can be traced to mid-1800s California, where a young entrepreneur named Henry Putnam started building his fortune by selling bottled drinking water to those who had journeyed west in search of gold. With an expanding business empire based in New York City, Putnam quickly made himself known after moving to Bennington in 1864, building a home, maintaining manufacturing plants, winning a selectmen seat and eventually becoming the largest property owner in town. RELATED STORIESNorthshire study group readies campaign for proposed merged school district
In 1918, he opened the Putnam Memorial Hospital, an institution that despite many setbacks and financial struggles would steadily expand over the next century, becoming what is known today as Southwestern Vermont Medical Center.

Bennington debates changing its government

Londa Weisman addresses a public hearing Monday on a binding referendum question to install mayoral government in Bennington, which Weisman said she would oppose. Photo by Jim Therrien/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/004.jpg?fit=300%2C225&ssl=1" data-large-file="https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/004.jpg?fit=610%2C458&ssl=1" src="https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/004.jpg?resize=610%2C458&ssl=1" alt="Bennington mayor hearing" width="610" height="458" srcset="https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/004.jpg?resize=610%2C458&ssl=1 610w, https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/004.jpg?resize=125%2C94&ssl=1 125w, https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/004.jpg?resize=300%2C225&ssl=1 300w, https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/004.jpg?resize=768%2C576&ssl=1 768w, https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/004.jpg?resize=1376%2C1032&ssl=1 1376w, https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/004.jpg?resize=1044%2C783&ssl=1 1044w, https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/004.jpg?resize=632%2C474&ssl=1 632w, https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/004.jpg?resize=536%2C402&ssl=1 536w, https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/004.jpg?w=1280&ssl=1 1280w, https://i2.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/004.jpg?w=1920&ssl=1 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Londa Weisman addresses a public hearing Monday on a binding referendum question to install mayoral government in Bennington, which Weisman said she would oppose. Photo by Jim Therrien/VTDiggerBENNINGTON — A proposal to change Bennington's system of government — substituting an elected mayor for a town manager hired by the town — drew strong opinions, most opposed to the move, at a public hearing on Monday. About 60 residents attended the hearing, the first of two the town Selectboard is required to hold before a binding referendum on March 6.Get all of VTDigger's political news.You'll never miss a political story with our weekly headlines in your inbox. Daily
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Bennington man pleads guilty to assault of woman

Editor's note: This story by Ed Damon was published in the Bennington Banner on Feb. 19, 2018. BENNINGTON — A local man with what a prosecutor called a “frightening” history of domestic abuse has been sentenced to two to 10 years in prison after admitting to assaulting a woman in 2016. Quondell Knight, 30, pleaded guilty in Bennington criminal court on Friday to aggravated domestic assault with a prior conviction. Two other felonies, including an attempted second-degree murder charge, were dismissed.

Bennington medical marijuana dispensary wins swift approval

Marijuana. Photo by Andrew Kutches/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="https://i1.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Marijuana-2-AK.jpg?fit=300%2C211&ssl=1" data-large-file="https://i1.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Marijuana-2-AK.jpg?fit=610%2C429&ssl=1" src="https://i1.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Marijuana-2-AK.jpg?resize=610%2C429&ssl=1" alt="marijuana" width="610" height="429" srcset="https://i1.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Marijuana-2-AK.jpg?resize=610%2C429&ssl=1 610w, https://i1.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Marijuana-2-AK.jpg?resize=125%2C88&ssl=1 125w, https://i1.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Marijuana-2-AK.jpg?resize=300%2C211&ssl=1 300w, https://i1.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Marijuana-2-AK.jpg?resize=768%2C540&ssl=1 768w, https://i1.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Marijuana-2-AK.jpg?resize=150%2C105&ssl=1 150w, https://i1.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Marijuana-2-AK.jpg?w=1024&ssl=1 1024w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Marijuana has been approved for the treatment of a variety of medical conditions. File photo by Andrew Kutches/VTDiggerBENNINGTON — Members of the town's Development Review Board asked few questions, and deliberated only briefly, before approving southwestern Vermont's first medical marijuana dispensary at its regular meeting on Tuesday. No members of the public attended the meeting. There was a brief deliberative session before the vote, which took only a few minutes, and PhytoScience Institute, LLC, was granted a change of use permit to open a medical cannabis dispensary in a small commercial center at 120 Depot St.

Bennington Select Board unanimous in opposition to mayoral system

Stuart Hurd, the town manager of Bennington. Courtesy photo
" data-medium-file="https://i1.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/StuartHurd.jpg?fit=300%2C200&ssl=1" data-large-file="https://i1.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/StuartHurd.jpg?fit=610%2C407&ssl=1" src="https://i1.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/StuartHurd.jpg?resize=610%2C407&ssl=1" alt="Stuart Hurd" width="610" height="407" srcset="https://i1.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/StuartHurd.jpg?resize=610%2C407&ssl=1 610w, https://i1.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/StuartHurd.jpg?resize=125%2C83&ssl=1 125w, https://i1.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/StuartHurd.jpg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1 300w, https://i1.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/StuartHurd.jpg?resize=768%2C512&ssl=1 768w, https://i1.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/StuartHurd.jpg?w=1280&ssl=1 1280w, https://i1.wp.com/vtdigger.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/StuartHurd.jpg?w=1920&ssl=1 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Stuart Hurd, town manager of Bennington. Courtesy photoBENNINGTON — Members of the Bennington Select Board were unanimous in their opposition to changing the town charter to install a “strong mayor” form of government, after hearing more comments from voters at a public hearing. The hearing Monday evening was the second of two required before the matter is put to the voters on the March 6 ballot. Voters will be asked to say yes or no to amending the town charter to replace the current town manager, who is employed by and answerable to the Select Board, with an elected mayor.Get all of VTDigger's political news.You'll never miss a political story with our weekly headlines in your inbox.

Bernie Sanders Has Been the Most Influential Insurgent Candidate Since the 70s

Win or lose (hint: he's going to lose), Bernie Sanders should feel pretty good about his success in pushing Hillary Clinton to the left during the primary campaign. She's now against the TPP; she definitively favors a large hike in the minimum wage; and she supports expansion of Social Security. These may not seem like huge changes—and they aren't—but they're a lot more than most candidates accomplish. Dennis Kucinich ran twice without having any measurable effect at all on the Democratic race. Now Bernie can take credit for one more move to the left:

“I'm also in favor of what's called the public option, so that people can buy into Medicare at a certain age,” Mrs. Clinton said on Monday at a campaign event in Virginia.

Best Arab Investigative Journalism — 2017

Not Free: Freedom House Index 2018
It's no secret that the Arab world is one of the world's most dangerous places to be a journalist. But that's what makes this list of top investigative stories so impressive. A quick scan of the map from Freedom House's latest Freedom in the World report sums up the dire situation: most countries in the Middle East and North Africa are colored a depressing purple, for “not free,” with a rogue's gallery of bad actors against the free press. According to Reporters without Borders, Syria is the single deadliest country on the planet for journalists, while Egypt and Bahrain are where journalists are most likely to be imprisoned. Brutal cops, corrupt judges, thin-skinned autocrats, violent extremists, weak-kneed bosses and lousy work conditions — the region seems like hell for a journalist.

Best Investigative Stories from Latin America — 2017

From uncovering Big Pharma's influence on healthcare to investigating child rape in El Salvador or documenting Mexican families tracking their “disappeared” loved ones, Latin American muckrakers had a busy year in 2017. The hard digging has come at a cost. Across the region, investigative journalists are under attack. Reporters Without Borders rated Mexico — alongside worn-torn Syria — as the world's deadliest country for journalists. Meanwhile, journalists from Peru's Ojo Publico and Venezuela's Armando Info are under fire from people accused of narcotrafficking as well as government agencies.

Best Investigative Stories from the Former Soviet Union — 2017

It's been a year since GIJN launched its Russian-language social media with Facebook and Twitter and while we've been growing followers — and our Russian-language resources — we've also been closely watching the stream of investigations by our colleagues throughout the region. Despite the challenges faced by independent journalists in the region — physical threats, legal harassment, intimidation and lack of resources — we think you'll agree that these reporters continue to do world-class investigations into organized crime, corruption and other abuses of power. We've rounded-up some of the most interesting investigative stories of 2017 — courageous reports which uncovered crucial facts, displayed innovative investigative methods and won international and regional awards. And so, in no particular order, as each of these deserve special attention, here are our top picks from GIJN's Russian language editor, Olga Simanovych. Propaganda Factories
Propaganda Factories: Re:Baltica's investigation
GIJN member Re:Baltica conducted a series of investigations in 2017 which consistently exposed fake news stories, propaganda factories, pseudo-information portals propelled by social networks and pro-Kremlin publications working in the Baltic countries over the past year.

Beth Stern: The unspoken ‘ism’ — ageism

Editor's note: This commentary is by Beth Stern, of Marshfield, who is executive director of Central Vermont Council on Aging. The recent focus in our nation on issues regarding race and gender roles has brought to the forefront two “isms” – racism and sexism, both major challenges in our society that need to be addressed. Conspicuously missing from this discussion is “ageism.” Aging simply isn't a topic that most of us discuss, but in fact, aging is one thing we all have in common, no matter how old we are. Ageism permeates how we look at older adults and how they look at themselves. Commonly used terms such as “the elderly,” or “the aged,” perpetuate stereotypes of frailty.

Bethel University celebrates five years of success and community building

News Release — Bethel University
February 19, 2018
Rebeca Sanborn Stone
Bethel – Less than five years ago, Bethel University opened its doors as the world's first free community pop-up university. It opens again next month with 55 free classes for the community, by the community. Courses this year include everything from hemp cultivation to sushi rolling, dodgeball to wilderness first aid. “BU” classes are held in Bethel during the month of March, taught by community members from Bethel and beyond. “Professors” range in age from elementary school students to elders and include both seasoned teachers and those who just have a passion to share.

Beto O’Rourke adds state Rep. Joe Moody to U.S. Senate campaign

State Rep. Joe Moody is joining fellow El Paso Democrat Beto O'Rourke's campaign to unseat U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. Moody, the chairman of the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee, starts Monday as O'Rourke's statewide political director, according to a campaign official. O'Rourke and Moody are well-acquainted through El Paso politics. O'Rourke has represented the area in Congress since 2013, while Moody is serving his fourth term in the state House. News of Moody's hire comes a day after O'Rourke announced he raised over $2.4 million in the fourth quarter of last year — more than Cruz did by a healthy margin.

Beto O’Rourke raises $2.2 million in first 45 days of 2018

U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-El Paso, announced Friday that he raised over $2.2 million for his U.S. Senate campaign in the first 45 days of 2018. The massive haul is almost as much as O'Rourke raked in during the previous, twice-as-long period — the fourth quarter of 2017. O'Rourke easily outraised U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, during that 92-day stretch, $2.4 million to $1.9 million. Cruz has maintained an advantage over O'Rourke in money in the bank, though the gap has been narrowing. O'Rourke did not release his latest cash-on-hand figure Friday, but after the fourth quarter, it was $4.6 million to Cruz's $7.3 million.

Betsy DeVos made a covert visit to Indianapolis last week. Here’s why.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos made a secret visit to Indianapolis last week. DeVos' public calendar for Feb. 5 said she had “no public events.” There were no press releases marking her trip to Indiana. Even the local school district did not know the U. S. Secretary of Education was coming. But unbeknownst to most of the city, DeVos was visiting Cold Spring School, a public elementary school with an environmental science focus.

Beulah Housing Plans On Hold

Plans to build affordable housing on two Munson Street lots are on hold, following a City Hall meeting Wednesday of the Livable City Initiative's Property Acquisitions and Disposition Committee.

Bexar County Family Justice Center Gala Postponed; Commissioned Play at Issue

A gala benefiting the Bexar County Family Justice Center gala was postponed because a play commissioned for the event "didn't align" with the organization's mission. The post Bexar County Family Justice Center Gala Postponed; Commissioned Play at Issue appeared first on Rivard Report.

Bexar County Softens Punishments for Marijuana Misdemeanors

The cite and release program allows Bexar County Sheriff's deputies to treat five Class B misdemeanors as citable offenses. The post Bexar County Softens Punishments for Marijuana Misdemeanors appeared first on Rivard Report.

Beyond Hollywood: Domestic Workers Say #MeToo

“I HAD NOT PERSONALLY MET MERYL STREEP BEFORE I CHECKED MY VOICEMAIL AND HEARD HER SOFT VOICE, familiar from so many of my favorite films, introducing herself,” wrote Ai-jen Poo, executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), in a January 9 blog post for Cosmopolitan. “There she was, asking to discuss the possibility of attending the Golden Globes together. Yes, Ms. Streep, we can definitely discuss that.”

Streep didn't cold-call Poo. The actress Michelle Williams had invited Tarana Burke to the awards show in recognition of Burke's decade-old “Me Too” campaign to empower young women of color who have experienced sexual violence. At Burke's suggestion, seven other stars brought activists as their plus-ones, including farmworker advocate Mónica Ramírez, Restaurant Opportunities Centers United co-founder Saru Jayaraman and Poo.

BEYOND THE BOOM: An economic mobility panel discussion with Tina Griego

On Wednesday, Feb. 7 at 5:30 p.m., the Bell Policy Center presents “Beyond the Boom: Telling the story of economic mobility in Colorado.”
Despite a strong economy, major changes to the way we work, shrinking public investments, shifting demographics, and growing inequality make it harder for Coloradans to get ahead. No one knows this better than members of Colorado's media. Join our own managing editor, Tina Griego, as well as Dominic Dezzutti from Colorado Inside Out and Brian Eason of the Denver Post, for this important panel discussion on the complex intersection of these forces — and possible solutions to prepare us for the future. The event will be at the Colorado Health Foundation, 1780 Pennsylvania Street.

Beyond volleyball, what else should be part of a re-imagined Rash Field?

In 2013, when the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore unveiled its Inner Harbor 2.0 makeover for the city's tourist waterfront, one aspect of it set off a howl of protest – moving beach volleyball off of Rash Field. Now, under a $3 million Rash Field renovation, which the Partnership promises will not spike volleyball, the group […]

Bid now: Digital auction open for two tickets to Super Bowl LII and pre-game party

Andrew Wallmeyer

A generous MinnPost supporter has donated two tickets to the 52 Live Pre-Game Party and Super Bowl LII on Feb. 4. We're putting them up for a digital silent auction to the highest bidder, with the proceeds going to support MinnPost's nonprofit newsroom.The pre-game party starts at 1 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday at the Armory and will feature a performance by Kelly Clarkson and all-inclusive food and beverages curated by Andrew Zimmern.The tickets to Super Bowl LII are in Section 324, Row D, Seats 5 & 6, at U.S. Bank Stadium. (seat view). The fair-market value for each ticket is $4,999, plus a $99 fee.Anyone interested can review full details and make your bid by 4 p.m. CST on Friday, Feb.

Bid to bar enforcement of marijuana laws gets aldermanic committee hearing

Legislation that would bar, in most instances, St. Louis from expending resources to enforce marijuana laws attracted mostly positive comments from city residents at an aldermanic committee hearing Tuesday night. But Alderwoman Megan Green's legislation received a less favorable reception from some of her colleagues, including the chairman of the committee hearing the bill.

Big announcement in 3M case expected at 3:30 on Tuesday

MinnPost staff

Stay tuned for news at 3:30. The Star Tribune's Josephine Marcotty reports: “Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson and 3M Co. are expected to make an announcement Tuesday afternoon on what was scheduled to be the opening day of a long-awaited trial over the decades-long contamination of groundwater in Washington County. … Jury selection was scheduled to begin Tuesday, until Hennepin County District Judge Kevin Burke said there would not be a trial Tuesday. Lawyers for both sides are expected to release more information at 3:30 p.m., in what could indicate a settlement.

Big blow to Indianapolis Public Schools’ bid for tax increase: Realtors aren’t sold

A politically influential group representing real estate agents is taking the rare step of opposing Indianapolis Public Schools' $725 million proposal to raise property taxes to increase school funding. The opposition deals a harsh blow to the referendums, which have faced criticism and received little public support — driving the district to downsize the request earlier this week. “Most importantly, we are concerned that property owners have not been given enough detail or clarity on the individual impact,” said the statement from the MIBOR Realtor Association. “The recent change to the proposed dollar amount only elicits more concern with IPS moving forward with their short timeline.”
The association opposes the request because it would be burdensome for Indianapolis residents, CEO Shelley Specchio said. She also criticized the district for not providing clear enough information on how the tax increase would impact individual property owners and how it would be used in schools.

Big fundraising totals for Minnesota incumbents and challengers alike confirm: 2018 is going to be an expensive election

Sam Brodey

There wasn't any congressional election in Minnesota in 2017. But Minnesota's members of Congress, and their would-be challengers, were raising money like there was one.Newly released federal campaign finance reports from 2017 revealed that candidates across the state, from U.S. Senate races to U.S. House races, spent the year raising piles of money to support campaigns for an election that looms a year away.Five candidates for U.S. House, including one challenger, raised over $1 million in the off-year, and several challengers for House seats hauled in totals of a half-million to a quarter-million dollars. Those totals are indicative of a fundraising bonanza for this election cycle around Minnesota — at this point in the 2016 cycle, many of these same candidates had raised a fraction of what they put up in 2017.If money talks, what it's saying here is an unequivocal confirmation of what political observers in Minnesota and beyond had anticipated: that 2018 is going to be an intensely competitive, and perhaps historically expensive, election cycle. And Minnesota, a state where two U.S. Senators are up for election and there are more competitive U.S. House races than not, will be a national battleground.The stakes are high for both parties: Democrats spent 2017 fired up in protest against the presidency of Donald Trump and the Republican majorities in Congress, and are itching to unseat as many Republicans as they can. Meanwhile, the GOP — energized by the tax cut bill passed at the end of the year — is looking to solidify their gains and ward off a blue wave that could wipe out their majorities.Raising more, and earlier, for 2018Any way you slice it, 2017 represents a high water mark in Minnesota for campaign fundraising in a non-election year.

Big Pharma greets hundreds of ex-federal workers at the ‘revolving door’

Alex Azar's job hop from drugmaker Eli Lilly to the Trump administration reflects ever-deepening ties between the pharmaceutical industry and the federal government. A Kaiser Health News analysis shows that hundreds of people have glided through the “revolving door” that connects the drug industry to Capitol Hill and to the Department of Health and Human […]

Big tobacco is finally forced to tell the truth

Fact: Cigarettes were manipulated by tobacco companies to make them more addictive.Fact: Rather than quit, many smokers switched to “light” cigarettes because they were promoted as less harmful. They are not.Fact: Smoking kills 1,200 Americans every day. More people die from smoking than from murder, AIDS, suicide, drugs, car crashes and alcohol combined.You may have heard recently how the tobacco industry is being forced to share those facts, under court order. Here's some quick background; it's a saga stretching back two decades, but stick with me.A long time comingWay back in 1999, the U.S. Department of Justice filed suit against the nation's largest cigarette manufacturers for fraudulent and unlawful conduct. In 2006, a federal judge found the tobacco companies in violation of the RICO Act, which combats racketeers like the Mafia — and Big Tobacco.The judge ordered them to run “corrective statement” ads to address areas where they defrauded and deceived the public, including: the harm of low-tar or light cigarettes, the addictive nature of nicotine and how the companies manipulated it to create and sustain dependence, and the harmful effects of smoking and secondhand smoke.Then, teams of tobacco industry lawyers fought for more than a decade against the court-ordered ads.

Big-City Murders Down Modestly in 2017

The collective homicide toll for the 50 largest U.S. cities dipped slightly in 2017, reports USA Today. The FBI's compilation isn't due until later this year, but a review of police crime data shows that killings decreased in large jurisdictions compared with 2016. The modest decline comes after FBI data showed back-to-back years in which homicides rose sharply in large cities. Homicides in cities with 250,000 or more residents rose by about 15.2 percent from 2014 to 2015, and 8.2 percent from 2015 to 2016. There were 5,738 homicides in the 50 biggest cities in 2017 compared with 5,863 homicides in 2016, a 2.3 percent drop.

Bike Share Set To Roll

Starting next week, city residents and visitors will be able to rent a bike with the swipe of a phone and peddle around New Haven to get to work, complete a chore or just enjoy the city outside the confines of an automobile.

Bill behind gay marriage controversy in Sundance dies unheard

House leadership dropped a bill to update Wyoming statutes to reflect the U.S. Supreme Court's legalization of gay marriage, disappointing House Minority Floor Leader Cathy Connolly (D-Laramie). Connolly's bill died when the House adjourned about 3:30 p.m. Friday before some bills were given introductory votes. Friday was the last day for bill introduction in the 2018 budget session. “That was an important bill to get heard after what happened in Sundance,” Connolly told reporters after the House adjourned at 3:30 without votes on a number of bills, including House Bill 190 — Codification of marital rights. Connolly said she had slimmed the bill down from a broader version that failed to receive sponsorship from the Joint Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee after heated testimony against it during a Nov.

Bill could make Mississippi the first state to ban abortions after 15 weeks

A House committee moved Mississippi toward having one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation. Google StreetviewThe Jackson Women's Health Organization, the state's only remaining abortion clinic. On Tuesday afternoon, the Judiciary B Committee passed HB 1510 — the Gestational Age Act — which would ban most abortions after 15 weeks of gestation. Mississippi would be the first state to enact such a law, although other states are considering similar legislation. The bill defines gestation as “the time that has elapsed since the first day of the woman's last menstrual period,” although there is significant debate over establishing legal definitions related to abortion.

Bill creates ‘fast-track’ clearance of misdemeanor pot convictions

A prominent lawyer hopes to make it easier for people with misdemeanor marijuana convictions to clear their names. Robert Sand, a Vermont Law School professor and former Windsor County State's Attorney, is promoting a bill, H.865, that would create a “fast-track” expungement process for people who have misdemeanor convictions. The legislation follows the enactment last month of H.511, which legalizes the possession of up to 1 ounce of pot and the cultivation of two mature and four immature marijuana plants. Legalization goes into effect July 1. The new law permits a person to possess up to an ounce of marijuana.

Bill de Blasio Explains Why Encounters with Police Are “Different for a White Child”

In his call for Americans to begin an "honest conversation" about broken race relations in America, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio defended earlier statements he made explaining why his biracial son Dante needs to be especially careful in encounters with law enforcement. "What parents have done for decades, who have children of color, especially young men of color, is train them to be very careful when they have a connection with a police officer," de Blasio opened up to ABC's George Stephanopoulos on Sunday. "It's different for a white child. That's just the reality in this country. And with Dante, very early on with my son, we said, look, if a police officer stops you, do everything he tells you to do, don't move suddenly, don't reach for your cell phone, because we knew, sadly, there's a greater chance it might be misinterpreted if it was a young man of color."

Bill Gates’ curriculum conundrum

Welcome to Chalkbeat's national newsletter! We're Matt Barnum and Sarah Darville, Chalkbeat's national team. Our goal is to help you make sense of the messy, fascinating, often controversial efforts to improve education for poor students across the country. If you enjoy this, tell a friend! The link to subscribe is here.

Bill Schubart: An addicted America

Editor's note: This commentary is by Bill Schubart, a regular commentator for Vermont Public Radio and a former board member of the Vermont Journalism Trust, the umbrella organization for VTDigger.org. This piece was first aired on VPR. Recently, the leader of a major Eastern university observed that 25 percent of his incoming class this year is on some form of prescribed psychotropic medication for ADHD, depression or anxiety. Seventy percent of all Americans are taking some form of prescription medication, and 10 percent of them are on antidepressants. Among women between 40 and 50, the number is 25 percent.

Bill that would provide free lunch for more Colorado students moves forward

A bill that would expand a state subsidy for school lunches passed the Senate Education Committee on Thursday. Colorado already picks up the cost of school lunch for elementary-aged children who qualify for reduced-price but not free meals under the federal lunch program. This bill would expand the benefit to cover middle school students. The five yes votes included two Republicans, state Sen. Bob Gardner of Colorado Springs, one of the bill's co-sponsors, and state Sen. Kevin Priola of Brighton. That's enough Republican support to get this bill out of the Senate and over to the House, where Democrats have a majority.

Bill to incentivize giving to Colorado child care providers advances

A bill that would extend a state tax credit that incentivizes donations to Colorado child care providers passed the House Finance Committee on Monday and will now move to the House Appropriations Committee. Under the bill, approved in a 9-4 vote, the Child Care Contribution Tax Credit would be extended five years, through 2024. The tax credit, which first took effect in 1999 and has been reauthorized once since, allows donors to claim an income tax credit worth up to 50 percent of their contribution. In other words, a donation of $200 to a qualifying child care provider would yield a state tax credit of $100 for the donor. The bill's House sponsors include James Coleman, a Denver Democrat, and James Wilson, a Salida Republican.