Blue Cross Tightens Rules on Opioid Prescriptions

By Mark Tosczak
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina announced changes to its opioid prescription policies, in part because the company said it still processes thousands of prescriptions each month that violate limits enacted by the state legislature last year. Blue Cross announced Thursday it would limit first-time prescriptions of short-acting opioids to seven days. First-time prescriptions for long-acting opioids will require pre-authorization. And the company said it would start to cover Sublocade, an injectable drug intended to treat opioid addiction. The changes go into effect Sunday.

Blue takeover of Congress? At least 3 factors complicate that narrative for Dems in ’18

Eric Black

Heading into the 2018 election, Democrats have the wind at their backs. Republicans are stuck with an unpopular president, but are mostly afraid to distance themselves from him for fear of alienating “The Base.” All polling data, the evidence from recent special elections that Democrats have won in unlikely places, and the history of midterms (which show that the sitting president's party usually loses ground in the midterms), all suggest that, if the election were held today, Democrats would be favored in a lot of races.Without question, as of now, Democrats have a big lead in enthusiasm, which is evident not only in polling but in turnout for all the recent special elections, new registrations, appeal to young voters and others who have not always participated, and pretty much all the ways that political analysts attempt to discern the direction of the political winds.If you aren't cautious, you could convince yourself that Democrats are holding a pat hand. (That's like getting dealt a straight or a flush in poker.)But the Dems are not holding a pat hand. (In the fall of 2016, a lot of analysts thought Hillary Clinton was holding a pat hand. The excellent analyst Stu Rothenberg wrote in mid-October 2018 that Donald Trump's path to victory was not “narrow,” but “nonexistent.”) I respect Rothenberg and often learn from his work, but in writing that particular column he went beyond mere analysis and convinced himself that he knew the future.

Blumenthal’s son running for Tong’s House seat

Matthew S. Blumenthal, the oldest son of U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, has opened a candidate committee to run for the state House of Representatives from the 147th District of Stamford and Darien.

Blunt visits Missouri Capitol, says he hopes DACA deal can be reached

Missouri U.S. Senator Roy Blunt is expressing disappointment at President Donald Trump's tweet this week, which said a federal program that allows undocumented children to remain in the U.S. is effectively “dead.” The Republican Senator told reporters in Jefferson City Wednesday he hopes it's not too late for a solution that allows them to stay.

Blunt visits Missouri Capitol, says he hopes DACA solution can be found

Missouri U.S. Senator Roy Blunt is expressing disappointment at President Donald Trump's tweet this week, which said a federal program that allows undocumented children to remain in the U.S. is effectively “dead.” The Republican Senator told reporters in Jefferson City Wednesday he hopes it's not too late for a solution that allows them to stay.

Blunt visits Missouri Capitol, says he hopes solution can be found for DACA students

Missouri U-S Senator Roy Blunt is expressing disappointment at President Donald Trump's tweet this week, which said a federal program that allows undocumented children to remain in the U-S is effectively “dead.” The Republican Senator told reporters in Jefferson City Wednesday he hopes it's not too late for a solution that allows them to stay.

Board approves merging two Whitehaven schools into K-8 amidst parent division

Two Memphis schools are combining into one kindergarten through eighth-grade school next year. Manor Lake Elementary School will close and students will be assigned to Geeter Middle School, which is about a half-mile away. The name of the new school will be Geeter K-8. The decision from the Shelby County Schools board Tuesday came after a community group charged with overseeing a group of low-performing Whitehaven schools proposed the consolidation to prevent an outright closure that would have scattered the elementary students. That proposal was opposed by elementary school parents who were worried about the influence of older students in the building.

Boasberg explains his decision to bring back Antwan Wilson: ‘He has so much to contribute’

The expertise and integrity Antwan Wilson displayed over a decade working in Denver schools led the district to bring him on as a consultant after he was forced to resign as chancellor of Washington, D.C., schools, Denver school superintendent Tom Boasberg said Friday. Wilson left the D.C. job in February amid board calls for his resignation after admitting he had evaded school-enrollment policies so his daughter could attend a sought-after school. Asked whether that gave him pause, Boasberg told Chalkbeat: “This is someone who had worked for over a decade in the public schools in Denver with absolute integrity and dedication and had such an extraordinary track record. Yes, of course, we are aware of what happened in D.C. And of course we're aware of the decade-plus that he served with such integrity and such a record of achievement and compassion here in Denver Public Schools.”
Pressed again, and asked directly about concerns about the decision, he said, “I hear the concern, I understand the concern, it's an important and it's a valid concern … and I'll just leave it at that.”
After Wilson resigned, David Suppes, the Denver district's chief operating officer, contacted him to gauge his interest in working as a consultant on CareerConnect, the district's career and technical education program that Wilson was instrumental in starting, Boasberg said. Boasberg said the district turned to Wilson after investigating doing work with other consultants — including one it had worked with previously on a pro-bono basis.

Bob Bick: Are safe injection sites part of the solution to the opioid epidemic?

Editor's note: This commentary is by Bob Bick, of Shelburne, who is the CEO of the Howard Center in Burlington. Beginning last summer Vermonters seeking medication assisted treatment for opiate use could get access to treatment almost immediately. While there still may be delays in first appointment scheduling, long waiting lists at the treatment centers known as hubs have been all but eliminated. Around the same time, Vermont instituted new policies that limit opiate prescribing and encourage doctors and their patients to explore alternative pain management solutions. The result has been a dramatic reduction in the number of prescriptions written for opiates in Vermont.

Bob Stannard: All alone at the ball

Editor's note: This commentary is by Bob Stannard, an author, musician and former lobbyist. This piece first appeared in the Bennington Banner. No one knows you at all And you're alone at the ball You're all alone at the ball– Neil Diamond
Imagine you're the first lady waking up, turning on the TV and seeing your husband standing with a porn star with whom he had an affair shortly after you gave birth to his fifth child. While you were nurturing your new baby the father of this child was sneaking around behind your back with many other women. What emotional stages do you go through?

Body Found in Wappinger Identified

Police looking for anyone who had contact with Brooklyn womanBody Found in Wappinger Identified was first posted on March 30, 2018 at 5:54 pm.

Bombs Aren’t the Answer: A Case for Vigorous Diplomacy in Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen

The United States has intervened militarily in civil wars in Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen to defeat Al Qaeda, associate America with a democratic “Arab Spring” and support the ambitions of friendly Middle Eastern governments. Yet little progress towards these objectives has occurred, partly because American policies were misplaced. Central Al Qaeda has long been located in Pakistan, not Afghanistan, and the Arab Spring proved ephemeral. Meanwhile, intervention has damaged many fundamental American interests. It has strained relationships with U.S. partners, stoked interstate tensions, threatened to plunge the U.S. into new military commitments, burdened America's complex relationship with Russia, contributed to tremendous losses of human life and aggravated U.S. budgetary deficits.

Book Festival: Univision News Anchor Jorge Ramos To Explore Immigration

Jorge Ramos will discuss his book Stranger: The Challenge of a Latino Immigrant In the Era of Donald Trump on April 7 at the San Antonio Book Festival. The post Book Festival: Univision News Anchor Jorge Ramos To Explore Immigration appeared first on Rivard Report.

Book Review: ‘Everyday Desistance: The Transition to Adulthood Among Formerly Incarcerated Youth’

Everyday Desistance: The Transition to Adulthood Among Formerly Incarcerated Youth | Laura S. Abrams and Diane J. Terry | Rutgers University Press | May 31, 2017 | 256 pages
“We are marked. Forever. All of us. No matter how much the transformation.” —Oscar
“Everyday Desistance: The Transition to Adulthood Among Formerly Incarcerated Youth” sheds a critical light on the winding journeys into adulthood of 25 formerly incarcerated young adults ages 18 to 24 in Los Angeles County. Their work is based on stories that speak powerfully to the societal failures that lead children into the juvenile justice system and is thought-provoking, stirring and bold.

Book Review: Beijing Bastard

Beijing Bastard

By Val Wang


In her drifter memoir of leaving home in order to find it, Chinese American author Val Wang struggles between head and heart as she tries to make a living—and a life—in Beijing, burdened by the expectations of her forebears yet buoyed by the spirit of youth. In the process, she shows us a China full of contradictions: at once glamorous and grungy, ancient and modern, ambitious and loafing.

Border Report: A Wall Won’t Stop Cyber Attacks

A solar dish project once tied closely to SDG&E's Sunrise Powerlink helps carry power from across the border through a series of other connections. / Photo courtesy of Sandia National Laboratories
The conversation about border security has been missing one important element, former “border czar” Alan Bersin told me: cyber security. “We've been focused on cross-border flows for a long time but usually are thinking in terms of people or goods — from the aftermath of 9/11 to the immigration issues receiving heated attention right now,” Bersin said. “The old border lines on a map don't tell us from where the intrusive activity is launched but only the location of where the harm is done.”
Bersin spent nearly five years as the attorney general's southwest border representative, responsible for coordinating federal border law enforcement from South Texas to Southern California under President Bill Clinton. He oversaw a crackdown on illegal immigration and drug smuggling and the construction of much of the existing border fence.

Border Report: Small Steps Forward on Border Sewage Solutions

An empty plastic bottle bounces across several feet of water that flooded Monument Road in the Tijuana River Valley in 2013. / Photo by Sam Hodgson
Tijuana sewage spills have been a problem in the San Diego-Tijuana region for generations, and the issue is flaring up again. Tijuana is built into hillsides, where rainwater — or sewage when the wastewater system breaks or fails — naturally drains toward the U.S.-Mexico border and into the Pacific Ocean. The city has grown rapidly for decades and its water infrastructure hasn't kept up, exacerbating the problem. Last year, beaches along the border were closed for as many as 167 days due to Tijuana River contamination, according to the Union-Tribune.

Bornean bantengs feeling the heat in logged forests, study finds

The endangered wild cattle of Malaysian Borneo have eased back on their daytime activities because of higher temperatures brought on by loss of forest cover — a finding that has important implications for the species' well-being. The findings, in a report published April 12 in the open-access journal PLOS One, showed that recently logged forests in Sabah state were hotter, reaching temperatures of up to 44 degrees Celsius (111 degrees Fahrenheit), for longer periods of time in the day than forests that had experienced regrowth for longer. This temperature differential, it turns out, affects the activity of the Bornean banteng (Bos javanicus lowi). The researchers, from the Sabah Wildlife Department and the Danau Girang Field Centre (DGFC) in Malaysia, Cardiff University in the U.K., and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Germany, carried out the study from 2011 to 2013 in three secondary protected forests in Sabah: the Malua Forest Reserve, Maliau Basin Conservation Area Buffer Zones, and Tabin Wildlife Reserve. Bantengs foraging in the early morning in an open degraded area.

Boston Archdiocese, Catholic Parishioners Battle Over Church Eviction

When walking into the front vestibule of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Church in the seaside town of Scituate, Mass. it doesn't look or sound like the average church."What the hell are you doing," an actor from The Young and the Restless shouts on a big screen TV. Two recliners are set up in front of it, all right next to a stained glass window.Nancy Shilts is one of more than 100 parishioners who have taken turns holding vigil in the church, night and day, since the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston announced nearly 11 years ago it wanted to close the church."We have a TV here.

Boynton Health: A 100-year-old model for today’s health challenges

Courtesy of the Minnesota Historical SocietyDr. Ruth BoyntonOn March 15, 1918, the University of Minnesota Board of Regents approved “the immediate establishment of a University Public Health Department” funded by a student health fee of $3 per semester. Following the Regents' action, U of M President Marion Burton commented on the importance of the Health Service to the university's mission: “The Health Service is indispensable to the operation of a large institution. It exists to protect the health of students and prevent disease ... it puts a heart into the university.”Dr. John Sundwall, the first director of the health service, noted that “the best scientific treatment and care of illness and injuries must be one of the major concerns of the Health Service, but (it must also function) in a more progressive and advanced state, in the vanguard of the public health movement.”With this aspiration, the Health Service developed a unique service model that not only contributed to the overall success of the University and its students but to the development of the field of college health throughout the country. That model continues in Boynton Health, renamed in 1975 in honor of Dr. Ruth Boynton, a public health legend and the first woman to head a major college health service.Framework starts with community needsThe Boynton Health model was built upon a public health framework that starts with community rather than organizational needs.

Brackenridge Park’s Historic Miraflores Garden Opens to Public View

The once-neglected Miraflores garden will open to the public Thursday evening for the Brackenridge Park Conservancy's fundraising event. The post Brackenridge Park's Historic Miraflores Garden Opens to Public View appeared first on Rivard Report.

Brad Smith: The case for neurodiversity

Editor's note: This commentary is by Brad Smith, who is executive director of the Vermont Learning-Support Initiative, a Hardwick-based nonprofit offering strategic support to diverse learners who aspire to a college degree. He taught writing at Johnson State College for many years, and has a child with learning issues who is a recent college graduate. Doing anything special for Neurodiversity Day on April 15? OK, so this might be the first you've heard of it. Being something new, it's definitely not as well known as Tax Day.

Branagan to retire; Parent hopes to pick up Franklin County Senate seat

Rep. Carolyn Branagan, R-Georgia. Courtesy photo
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Carolyn Branagan" width="610" height="457" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 330w, 150w, 300w, 1376w, 1044w, 632w, 536w, 1024w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Rep. Carolyn Branagan, R-Georgia. Courtesy photoSen. Carolyn Branagan, a Republican lawmaker from Georgia, is retiring after 16 years. She says it's time to hand off the role to someone new. And there is already a contender for her seat — fellow GOP member Corey Parent.

Brattleboro coffee roaster Mocha Joe’s buys warehouse for $1 million

People celebrate as Pierre and Ellen Capy, owners of Mocha Joe's, win the auction for the old Cultural Intrigue building in Brattleboro for $1 million on Tuesday, April 3, 2018. Photo by Kristopher Radder/Brattleboro Reformer
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Pierre Capy" width="610" height="491" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 1280w, 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">People celebrate as Pierre and Ellen Capy, owners of Mocha Joe's, win the auction for the old Cultural Intrigue building in Brattleboro for $1 million on Tuesday. Photo by Kristopher Radder/Brattleboro ReformerThis story by Bob Audette was published in the Brattleboro Reformer on April 4, 2018. BRATTLEBORO — The owners of Mocha Joe's purchased the former warehouse of Cultural Intrigue for $1 million at auction Tuesday and plan to use part of the building at 35 Frost St. as a coffee bean roastery and storage facility.

Brattleboro Common Sense hosts “Apartheid: From Gaza to the reservation”, April 29

News Release — Brattleboro Common Sense
April 10, 2018
Brattleboro – Brattleboro Common Sense presents a discussion with Middle Eastern Scholar Norman Finkelstein and Lakota Sioux Elder Alex White Plume on Sunday, April 29th at 2:00 pm. at the First Baptist Church, located at 190 Main Street in Brattleboro, Vermont. The discussion will focus on the parallels between the treatment of Palestinians in Gaza and Native Americans here at home. BCS founder Kurt Daims will serve as moderator for the talk. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door and can be purchased by mailing
payment to Brattleboro Common Sense, 16 Washington Street, Brattleboro, VT 05301.

Brazil creates four massive marine protected areas

Brazil will soon have four vast marine protected areas (MPAs) in the Atlantic Ocean, covering an area of more than 920,000 square kilometers (355,200 square miles). The new designation will increase the coverage of Brazilian MPAs from 1.5 percent to about 24.5 percent of the country's waters, exceeding the international target of protecting at least 10 percent of marine areas by 2020. “This measure will help safeguard our rich biodiversity, and renew our commitment to a more sustainable world,” President Michel Temer said in a video address to the 2018 World Ocean Summit held in Mexico last week. Trindade and Martin Vaz is an archipelago located in the Southern Atlantic Ocean about 1,100 kilometers (680 miles) east of the coast of Espírito Santo, Brazil. Photo by Flavio Forner.

Brazil, Argentina may fill the U.S. soybean export gap

Argentina and Brazil may fill China's soybean needs if China imposes a 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybean exports. Chad Hart, an agriculture economist at Iowa State University, said the impact depends on what happens during negotiations. “It is so hard to say, ‘This is what is going to happen.' There are so many other moving parts,” he said. “This is a disagreement between the U.S. and China, but it has ramifications for Argentina and Brazil.”
Earlier this month, the United States and China both announced taxes on billions of dollars worth of imported goods — China is seeking tariffs on $50 billion worth of U.S. products that include soybeans and pork, while the U.S. announced taxes on $150 billion worth of 1,300 Chinese products, including electronics.

Brazil’s actual forest-related CO2 emissions could blow by Paris pledge

Primary forest in Mato Grosso state, Brazil. Primary forests are more efficient at storing carbon than secondary forests. Photo credit: Paulisson Miura on Visualhunt / CC BY Brazil is likely underestimating its actual emissions of carbon and other greenhouse gases in its annually reported United Nations statistics, say scientists interviewed by Mongabay. If this missing data were included in official reporting, they add, it would show Brazil unlikely to meet its Paris Climate Agreement carbon reduction commitments. Low-resolution satellite forest surveys and overlooked sources of emissions, especially those due to forest degradation and wildfires, mean that Brazil's reported national greenhouse gas emissions statistics may be too low.

Brazil’s Agência Pública: Where Journalists Innovate and Collaborate

Pretty in Pink: Casa Pública is Brazil's cultural center for journalism, and the home of Agência Pública. Since March 2016, a pink two-story, 300-square-meter house on a tree-lined street in Botafogo, in the southern area of Rio de Janeiro, has been a haven and a venue for both Brazilian and foreign journalists and those interested in journalism and the ongoing changes surrounding the profession. It is Casa Pública, the first cultural center for journalism in Brazil and a project of Agência Pública, a pioneering independent agency for investigative journalism. The house is also a temporary home for foreign reporters, an incubator for new storytelling ideas and an important space for discussion on the future of journalism in Brazil and Latin America. Since its creation five years ago, GIJN-member Agência Pública has promoted a revolution not only in its country of origin, but around Latin America.

Brazil’s high court curbs executive power to dismember protected areas

Provisional Measures (MPs) were originally instituted as a means of taking emergency action. But over the years, MPs have been employed by the executive branch to dismember conservation units in the Amazon rainforest and elsewhere. Last week's Supreme Court ruling disallows that practice. Photo by Rhett A. Butler / Mongabay In a ruling welcomed by environmentalists, Brazil's Supreme Court decided unanimously on 5 April that it was unconstitutional for the executive branch to have used MP 558, a Provisional Measure (Medida Provisória), to reduce the size of seven conservation units by 100,000 hectares (247,000 acres). Five of the units are located beside the Tapajós River, in one of the Amazon's most biodiverse regions.

Breaking: Governor will ‘pursue all legal avenues’ to keep Sawyer locked up

Gov. Phil Scott speaks to reporters Tuesday. Photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Phil Scott" width="610" height="407" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 1280w, 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Gov. Phil Scott speaks to reporters Tuesday. Photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDiggerGov. Phil Scott says he is working with law enforcement and prosecutors to “identify any all legal avenues to keep” the keep Jack Sawyer, accused of planning to shoot up a high school in Fair Haven, in custody in light of a Vermont Supreme Court that could lead to his release. The governor made the statement in a strongly worded release issued late Friday afternoon. “Based on the evidence in the public record, it is clear the individual intended and still intends to carry out a horrific crime.

Breaking: Prosecutor seeking extreme risk protection order in Sawyer case

Jack Sawyer is greeted by defense attorney Kelly Green as he appears in Vermont Superior Court in Rutland on Tuesday. (Pool photo by Glenn Russell/The Burlington Free Press)A prosecutor is seeking the first extreme risk protection order under a new law that became effective Wednesday in the case of Jack Sawyer, who police allege was planning a mass shooting at Fair Haven high school. Rutland County State's Attorney Rose Kennedy is asking a judge in Rutland Superior family court to grant the petition in the wake of a Vermont Supreme Court ruling that could lead to Sawyer's imminent release from jail and the dismissal of the charges against him. Kennedy attached to her petition an affidavit by Vermont State Police Detective Sgt. Henry Alberico, similar to one submitted in the criminal case against Sawyer in which the teenager tells detectives about plans he had been making for a mass shooting at Fair Haven school.

BREAKING: Prosecutors drop felony charges against Sawyer

Jack Sawyer, 18, appears in Vermont Superior Court in Rutland on Friday. Pool photo by Ryan Mercer/Burlington Free Press
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Jack Sawyer" width="610" height="444" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 1280w, 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Jack Sawyer, 18, appears in Vermont Superior Court in Rutland on Feb. 16, 2018. Pool photo by Ryan Mercer/Burlington Free PressRUTLAND – Rutland County State's Attorney Rose Kennedy has dropped four felony charges, including attempted aggravated murder, filed against Jack Sawyer, who is accused of threatening to shoot up Fair Haven Union School. The filing by Kennedy comes on the heels of a Vermont Supreme Court decision earlier this month that cast doubt on the charges, ruling that merely planning commit to an offense doesn't rise to the level to an attempt under Vermont case law.Get all of VTDigger's criminal justice news.You'll never miss our courts and criminal justice coverage with our weekly headlines in your inbox.

BREAKING: Tennessee lawmakers take matters into their own hands on TNReady testing problems

It was an extraordinary day on Capitol Hill in Nashville and, in many ways, unprecedented. After hearing reports of more testing problems with Tennessee's standardized test in their schools back home, members of the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly for a sweeping measure to pull TNReady scores from this year's accountability systems for teachers, students, schools, and districts. The state Senate, which already had recessed for the weekend, is expected to pass the measure on Monday, and a spokeswoman for Gov. Bill Haslam said he would sign it. The votes circumvented the legislature's committee process but, after days of technical problems with the state's re-entry into online testing, lawmakers were determined to come up with a legislative remedy. They rose to their feet and one after another railed against the Department of Education and its testing company, Questar, for their oversight of the beleaguered test.

BREAKING: TNReady testing launches with early reports of online issues

Tennessee's return to statewide online testing started off bumpy on Monday, with reports from multiple districts that students were having trouble logging on to take their TNReady exams.
About 600,000 students in grades 3-11 will take TNReady this year, but only about half are scheduled to test on the state's online platform known as Nextera. “We are aware of issues with Nextera and are investigating,” the state Department of Education wrote in a brief morning email to districts. “Students currently testing should continue to test.”
Education Commissioner Candice McQueen ordered a gradual multi-year return to online testing after a failed statewide switch two years ago. This spring, all high schoolers are to test on digital devices, along with some younger grades in schools where districts opt in. Last week, state officials said they were confident about the online transition heading into the three-week testing window.

Breakthrough New York Celebrates 19 Years of Charting “The Road Ahead” for Thousands of Students, Honors Inspirational Leaders, at Sixth Annual Gala on Tuesday, May 8

Breakthrough New York will celebrate 19 years of helping students to navigate “The Road Ahead” and succeed in their schools, careers, and lives at its sixth annual Gala on Tuesday, May 8. The evening's honorees are: Andrew Marks, Area Senior Executive Vice President – New York City, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. and Rory Post, TBD of Dreamweb. Award-winning CBS 2 News Anchor Cindy Hsu will emcee the event. “At Breakthrough New York, we believe that every student deserves an on opportunity to succeed on the road of life, which is why we this year's theme is ‘The Road Ahead',” said Beth Onofry, Executive Director of Breakthrough New York.

Breast Cancer Rates in Bexar County Vary Dramatically By Zip Code

Of the estimated 925 Bexar County women who will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2018, as many as 180 will die from the disease. The post Breast Cancer Rates in Bexar County Vary Dramatically By Zip Code appeared first on Rivard Report.

Brenda Siegel: Minimum wage increase is a win win

Editor's Note: This commentary is by Brenda Lynn Siegel, of Newfane. She is executive director of the Southern Vermont Dance Festival, vice chair of the Newfane Democratic Committee and delegate to the Windham County Committee. Imagine a Vermont where all of our friends, neighbors and family members have what they need. Imagine a Vermont where our businesses are patronized and our economy thrives. This Vermont can only happen if we choose to create policies that lift all of us up; it is not possible in a state where our citizens can't afford basic needs.

Brian Shupe: In veto of toxics bill, Scott put the interests of industry before children

Editor's note: This commentary is by Brian Shupe, who is executive director of the Vermont Natural Resources Council. Last week Governor Scott surprised the Legislature and public health and environmental advocates by vetoing S.103, a bill that would do two simple and important things: Ensure Vermonters have safe drinking water by requiring that new wells be tested for certain toxic contaminants; and protect children by fixing a program that addresses chemicals of high concern in children's products. S.103 was developed to address gaps in protections for Vermonters from toxic pollution that were revealed following the discovery of PFOA contamination of drinking water in Bennington. The bill had worked its way through the Legislature for two years. It was reviewed by several House and Senate committees and passed by both bodies twice with support from across the political spectrum.

Bring the Kids

KidVenture set for April 28-29Bring the Kids was first posted on April 24, 2018 at 3:07 pm.

Bronin sends level Hartford budget proposal to CT oversight panel

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin proposed the city's first budget Monday since the state committed to retire more than $540 million of Hartford's debt to help it avert bankruptcy, offering a $567.3 million plan that pays cash for all capital improvements.

Broward Health goes dark; Gov. Scott clams up

By Dan
Things are getting stranger at Broward Health. On Friday, the taxpayer subsidized public hospital system began refusing to provide requested public information. On Monday, the governor's office declined to explain why Rick Scott hasn't suspended indicted district leaders. The post Broward Health goes dark; Gov. Scott clams up appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

Broward PD Finkelstein says bond court judge Hurley must go; Chief judge says no

By Dan Christensen,

Broward County Court Judge John “Jay” Hurley Photo: NBC6 Miami

John “Jay” Hurley, a Broward County judge who's gained a measure of online celebrity for his brand of televised justice, will keep his post in bond court despite a call for his removal by Broward Public Defender Howard Finkelstein. Finkelstein complained to Chief Judge Peter M. Weinstein last week in a letter that Hurley should be booted out of magistrate court for “expressing his contempt for the homeless and members of my office.”
Saying Hurley “has crossed the line,” Finkelstein asked Weinstein to transfer him in a letter recounting five incidents from October 7-15. DVD recordings that Finkelstein said depict “Judge Hurley's rash and troubling behavior” accompanied the four-page letter. “Each DVD shows Judge Hurley over-reacting, abusing his judicial authority and acting in a manner unbecoming a judicial officer,” Finkelstein wrote. “His behavior is clearly intended to bully and intimidate the attorneys and prevent them from effectively representing detainees.”
But in a Sunday telephone interview, Weinstein rejected Finkelstein's request.

Bryant orders 83 bridges closed in emergency declaration

Rogelio V. Solis, AP“These bridges have been deemed unsafe for the traveling public,” Gov. Phil Bryant said in a statement about his order to close 83 bridges. Gov. Phil Bryant on Tuesday declared a state of emergency, issuing a proclamation that orders the Mississippi Department of Transportation to immediately close 83 city and county bridges that have been judged deficient by federal National Bridge Inspection Standards and the Mississippi Office of State Aid Road Construction. The announcement comes almost a week after the U.S. Department of Transportation notified the state that the Federal Highway Administration is concerned that the bridges remaining open constitutes an unacceptable safety risk requiring immediate federal, state and local action, the statement said. The bridges expected to close are in Amite, Carroll, Clarke, Greene, Hinds, Humphreys, Itawamba, Jasper, Jones, Lauderdale, Leake, Lincoln, Newton, Pike, Smith and Wayne counties. However, specific bridges that are slated to close are unknown at this time.

Budget panel won’t pass spending plan — again

For the second consecutive year, the legislature's Appropriations Committee will not recommend a new budget before its deadline. But Democratic and Republican leaders from the House and Senate said lawmakers will continue working between now and the session's end on May 9 to close a projected shortfall in the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Budget upheaval at Minneapolis Public Schools: What’s going on?

Erin Hinrichs

The Minneapolis Public Schools board hasn't even had an opportunity to review the complete budget proposal that its financial team, with help from Superintendent Ed Graff, meticulously prepared using public input over the last six months. But board members have already taken action on the budget in a pretty dramatic fashion.At the last regular board meeting, held on April 10, the board directed district staff to restore $6.4 million to middle and high schools. The resolution, presented by Board Member Rebecca Gagnon and supported by four others — Bob Walser, Siad Ali, Kerry Jo Felder and Ira Jourdain — passed in response to testimony from parents and students who were upset about the deep cuts made to their schools' budgets for the upcoming school year.But not all board members, or community members, felt the reallocation was warranted. The district is facing a projected $33 million budget deficit for the upcoming school year — a reality that meant all schools were going to feel the impacts through measures like staff layoffs and cuts to programming.While Gagnon and her supporters quickly hailed the reallocation a win for all middle and high schools — since the reallocation restores $469 per pupil to 16 secondary schools — critics say it reinforces some longstanding inequities between schools within the district.Over a third of the $6.4 million was restored to schools in District 6 — the whitest, most affluent subset of schools in the district. For instance, Washburn High School, represented by the the parents who first approached Gagnon with the resolution, ended up restoring a large portion of its budget.

Builders, trades launch ad to bolster CT’s transportation program

Though the text of the new ads from Move CT Forward — which are airing on television, radio and online — don't specifically endorse establishing tolls and raising gasoline taxes — one of the key sponsors of this coalition is backing Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's proposals to do both.

Burlington CEDO Director Noelle MacKay is leaving

News Release — Office of Mayor Miro Weinberger
April 13, 2018
Katie Vane
Mayor Miro Weinberger Announces CEDO Director Noelle MacKay is Departing City to Accept Position as Chief Operating Officer of the Regulatory Assistance Project
MacKay to Conclude Successful Tenure on May 25; City of Burlington to Conduct Open Search Process for Successor
Burlington, VT – Mayor Miro Weinberger today announced that Community & Economic Development Office (CEDO) Director Noelle MacKay will be accepting the role of Chief Operating Officer at the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP), and will be concluding her successful tenure with the City on May 25. RAP is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to accelerating the transition to a clean, reliable, and efficient energy future, and has offices in Montpelier, Europe, and China. As CEDO Director since 2016, MacKay played a critical role in a number of important community and development projects, including leading the City's engagement with the CityPlace Burlington and new marina projects, overseeing CEDO's lead program, and supporting the growth and development of the My Brother's Keeper initiative and restorative practices in partnership with the Burlington School District. “I am grateful for Noelle's service to the City of Burlington and our community,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “Noelle has done skillful work advancing projects that will transform our downtown and waterfront, as well as overseeing impactful community initiatives, all of which has helped Burlington better realize its promise as a city of opportunity for people of all backgrounds to live, work, and thrive.”
“Serving the City of Burlington has been an incredible privilege,” said Noelle MacKay.

Burlington celebrates National Community Development Week

News Release — City of Burlington
April 3, 2018
Marcy Esbjerg, Assistant Director for Community, Housing and Opportunity Programs,
Burlington, VT – Mayor Miro Weinberger today issued a proclamation supporting the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program and the HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) Program by recognizing National Community Development Week, April 2-9, 2018. Spearheaded by the National Community Development Association (NCDA), National Community Development Week serves as an opportunity for the City of Burlington to celebrate its significant successes in providing housing, economic resources, and community services to thousands of Burlingtonians under federal grant funding. This year marks the 44th anniversary of the national CDBG program. Now in its 27th year, the HOME program provides grants to over 600 local jurisdictions to create safe, sanitary, and affordable housing in communities nationwide. Both programs are administered nationally by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Burlington Electric Department alerts customers to phone scam

News Release — Burlington Electric Department
April 16, 2018
Mike Kanarick
Burlington – The Burlington Electric Department today is warning customers about an ongoing bill payment phone scam targeting a variety of Burlington businesses and is encouraging its customers to sign up for scam alert notifications from the Attorney General's Office. In a new wave of calls today, Burlington Electric customers, including restaurants, a funeral home, and a jewelry store, have been receiving calls threatening disconnection if payment is not made immediately. These calls are not from Burlington Electric, and customers should hang up if they receive a call with such demands. If customers have any questions about their account status, they should call Burlington Electric at 802.865.7300. Utilities follow very clear state rules when working with customers about paying past due bills and do not demand credit card information or alternate payment mechanisms from a customer for any purpose.

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger’s State of the City address

Good evening and welcome to Contois Auditorium for our annual celebration of democratic renewal and reflection on the well-being of Burlington, Vermont, a city of opportunity. I am very grateful to the people of this city for the chance tonight to take the oath of office for a third time. I will work very hard for the next three years to make good on the trust you have placed in me. Thank you to Attorney General TJ Donovan for being part of this ceremony. Burlington is proud to have one of its own sons leading the State on immigration and law enforcement issues.

Burlington School Board report finds no evidence of racial bias

Burlington School Board member Jeff Wick voiced opposition to the holding of the emergency meeting Sunday. Photo by Gail Callahan/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Jeff Wick" width="640" height="480" srcset=" 3896w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 610w, 1376w, 1044w, 632w, 536w, 1280w, 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px" data-recalc-dims="1">Burlington School Board member Jeff Wick, whose alleged comments were at the center of the investigation, is shown here voicing opposition to an emergency meeting held on April 1. File photo by Gail Callahan/VTDiggerBURLINGTON — The Burlington School Board has decided to release the findings of an investigative report that determined comments allegedly made by a board member did not constitute illegal discrimination. On the advice of the district's attorney, the board said in a resolution that if members decided not to release the entire report — or if it redacted portions other than the name of the person lodging the complaint — Vermont courts would order disclosure. The district has not yet said when it would release the report, which had been sought by VTDigger through a public records request.

Burlington School Board to discuss release of racial bias report

Yaw Obeng, superintendent of the Burlington school district, and Stephanie Seguino, vice chair of the Burlington School Board listen to a speaker. Photo by Cory Dawson/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Burlington school district" width="610" height="407" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 150w, 1280w, 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Yaw Obeng, superintendent of the Burlington school district, and Stephanie Seguino, who just stepped down as chair of the Burlington School Board. File photo by Cory Dawson/VTDiggerBURLINGTON – The Burlington School Board is expected to discuss the public release of a report on an investigation of racial bias at its regular meeting on Tuesday. Newly-elected School Board Chair Clare Wool said that new board members would be given a chance to read the report, and that there would be a discussion about it, and a paraeducator contract, in executive session. Under Vermont's Open Meeting law, formal or binding action cannot be taken in executive session, except in real estate transactions.

Burlington School Board waits for attorney’s opinion on report release

Burlington School Board member Jeff Wick voiced opposition to the holding of the emergency meeting Sunday. Photo by Gail Callahan/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Jeff Wick" width="300" height="225" srcset=" 300w, 125w, 768w, 610w, 1376w, 1044w, 632w, 536w, 1280w, 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" data-recalc-dims="1">Burlington School Board member Jeff Wick voiced opposition to the holding of the emergency meeting Sunday. Photo by Gail Callahan/VTDiggerBURLINGTON – The school board here is waiting for a legal opinion from its attorney before deciding whether to release an investigator's report regarding a racial discrimination complaint lodged by the superintendent against a board commissioner. Newly-elected board Chair Clare Wool said no decision will be made until she hears from district attorney Joe McNeil regarding the release of the report compiled by independent investigator Daniel Troidl, a former Vermont State Police officer. The board launched an investigation in February after former Chairman Mark Porter made accusations of racial bias against fellow school commissioner Jeff Wick, who is now the board's vice chair.

Burlington schools chief vows better communication, two financial audits in first 100 days

Yaw Obeng, who was hired by the Burlington School District as the new superintendent after serving 20 years in educational leadership roles, began his job the week of August 31, he said. Photo by Jess Wisloski. BURLINGTON – New Burlington schools superintendent Yaw Obeng, who decamped from a Canadian district with 27 schools to oversee 11 here, has his sights set on improving educational equity and stabilizing the district's finances. “Building on a strong foundation, Burlington School District will serve as a model for the state, by increasing student achievement and narrowing the achievement gap through 21st-century classrooms,” he said at a news conference Thursday. Announcing his 100-day leadership plan, Obeng, 45, outlined his organizational strategy for the turbulent district while speaking in a classroom at the district's offices on Colchester Avenue.

Burlington Telecom opens new storefront in Ethan Allen Shopping Center

News Release — Burlington Telecom
March 27, 2018
Abbie Tykocki
Burlington Telecom
Burlington – In an effort to better serve their customers in Burlington's New North End, Burlington Telecom has opened an additional storefront in the Ethan Allen Shopping Center on North Avenue. The new satellite space offers BT's exceptional in-house customer service and technical support, with a few noticeable upgrades. Customers can lounge, living-room style, in a new OTT Test Lab where a Cord-Cutting specialist will provide demonstrations of the latest and greatest in over-the-top streaming technology to help customers discover which combination of devices and services will work best for their viewing habits and budget. For parents stopping in to pay a bill or pick up new equipment, there is a chalkboard wall along with toys, games and books to entertain the kiddos. BT's new location is also home to a Virtual Reality classroom, complete with a permanent HTC Vive Virtual Reality gaming set-up and another Oculus Rift VR kit.

Burlington the No. 5 solar city in new report

News Release — Environment America
Wednesday, April 4, 2018
Emma Searson,, 617-747-4414
Bret Fanshaw,, 602-252-9225
Burlington, Vt. – The City of Burlington ranks number five for solar energy per capita in a new report, landing it among the nation's leaders for installing clean energy from the sun. “Cities like Burlington are leading the way to a future powered by clean, renewable energy,” said Bret Fanshaw with Environment America. “By tapping into more of our vast solar energy potential, we can benefit from cleaner air and fight climate change.”
Burlington ranked ahead of Las Vegas, Nev., and just behind Indianapolis, Ind., for megawatts of solar energy per capita as of year-end 2017. “For the last six years, one of our major goals has been to encourage the installation of more solar in Burlington,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger.

Burlington’s mayor starts third term with a little reshuffling

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger. File photo by Bob LoCicero/VT DiggerBURLINGTON — Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger has begun his third term with a number of staff changes, starting with the elevation of Jordan Redell, the 2014 University of Vermont grad who managed his campaign, to the position of chief of staff. Redell replaced Brian Lowe, whom Weinberger named as the city's chief innovation officer. Lowe replaced Beth Anderson, whom Weinberger named as the city's chief administration officer. “The start of a new term is frequently a time of some change in staffing,” Weinberger said in an interview on Wednesday.Get all of VTDigger's political news.You'll never miss a political story with our weekly headlines in your inbox.

Business leaders push back on anti-F-35 resolutions

Frank Cioffi, left, head of the Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation, with Win Smith, CEO of Sugarbush Resort. Photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Frank Cioffi, Win Smith" width="610" height="407" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 1280w, 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Frank Cioffi, left, head of the Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation, with Win Smith, CEO of Sugarbush Resort. Photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDiggerBusiness leaders from Chittenden County and beyond gathered at Burlington International Airport Tuesday to hit back at recent resolutions opposing the F-35 fighter jet basing. Three cities adjacent to the airport have passed resolutions requesting that the Air Force cancel its plans to base F-35s in Burlington in 2019, and provide the Vermont Air National Guard with an alternative mission. City councils in South Burlington and Winooski passed resolutions last week.

Business Owners Are Caught in the Crossfire of State and Federal Immigration Laws

Image via Shutterstock
As a general contractor and owner of an architecture firm, I know the importance of the relationship between a business owner and his or her attorney. To be a good employer and stay profitable, it's necessary to navigate a complicated, ever-changing maze of legalities. Especially in my industry, the laws that determine how we do business are constantly in flux. Based on what we saw in 2017, immigration laws will likely have a major, direct impact on businesses this year. Some of the changes have been announced, and business owners can anticipate more changes.

BVAC Brunch

Fundraiser for ambulance corpsBVAC Brunch was first posted on April 10, 2018 at 7:10 am.

By the Numbers

Schools, jobs, energy, billsBy the Numbers was first posted on April 11, 2018 at 9:29 am.

Bysiewicz challenges Lamont over campaign financing

NEW HAVEN — A sharp moment in an otherwise collegial candidate forum Sunday probably reflected the current pecking order in the crowded Democratic race for governor: Invited to challenge any rival with a question, Susan Bysiewicz targeted Ned Lamont, the decisive winner of a recent Connecticut AFL-CIO straw poll.

Bysiewicz ends exploration, commits to race for governor

Former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz opened a gubernatorial campaign committee Tuesday, ending an exploratory campaign that began as a precursor to a run for state Senate and quickly grew more ambitious.

CA High Court Upholds Taking DNA From All Arrestees

Civil libertarians had hoped to end California's practice of taking DNA from people arrested on suspicion of a felony and storing that genetic information in an offender database, regardless of whether suspects were acquitted or had charges dropped. That fight suffered a major setback on Monday when the California Supreme Court let stand a provision of a 2004 voter initiative, the Los Angeles Times reports. On a 4-3 vote, the court refused to throw out part of Proposition 69 that has led to the storing of DNA profiles of tens of thousands of people arrested but never charged or convicted. A majority of states collects DNA from arrestees, and the U.S. Supreme Court approved the practice. Privacy advocates argued that California's law was more invasive than rules in other places.

CA Voters Could Face Dueling Crime Initiatives

California crime victims and law enforcement leaders are urging urged voters to support a ballot initiative that would roll back parts of 2014 and 2016 measures that critics say impede investigations and free violent offenders too soon, the Associated Press reports. Crime Victims United of California President Nina Salarno Besselman says the rollbacks are needed “to restore balance to our criminal justice system.” On the opposite side, a reform group wants to scale back further what was once the nation's toughest law targeting repeat offenders. Both initiatives could be before voters this November; backers are gathering the 366,000 signatures needed to put each on the ballot. The tug of war comes amid get-tough rhetoric from the Trump administration and against a backdrop of court decisions that capped the state's prison population. One proposed ballot measure would reinstate DNA collections for people convicted of certain property and drug crimes, allow prison sentences for serial thieves and bar the earlier release of criminals convicted of crimes including child sex trafficking, assault with a deadly weapon, attacking police, and raping an unconscious person.

California Should Lead Nation by Setting Minimum Age Standard

In most U.S. states, children of any age can be processed through the juvenile justice system. This year, proposed legislation in California — a state with no established age minimum — seeks to bring needed protections to children ages 11 and younger by prohibiting their prosecution in juvenile court. If successful, Senate Bill 439 will lessen the harm of unnecessary justice system involvement by allowing young children to receive age-appropriate supports through alternative systems, including schools, community-based health providers and child welfare agencies. Juvenile justice systems were designed for older adolescents, not children. Subjecting the very young to formal processing undermines the effectiveness of treatment and increases the likelihood that they will return to the justice system.

California’s DNA Ruling Helps Fight Crime, Victims Say

Ashley Spence was 19 when she was brutally raped, and almost killed, by an attacker who broke into her apartment at Arizona State University. There was a pillow over her face the entire time, and afterwards the perpetrator got away, free to commit more heinous crimes. The case remained unsolved for seven years until one day, the same man was charged with resisting arrest while breaking into another woman's apartment. He was taken into the police station, and the inside of his cheek was swabbed for DNA. It matched the DNA found in Ashley's rape kit.

Call for Crackdown on ‘Rent Fraud’ in Rezoning Neighborhoods

Beyond My KenBuildings containing rent stabilized units on Broadway in Inwood, Manhattan. Benjamin Warren has faced his share of battles as the tenant association president at 1511 Sheridan Avenue in the western Bronx. As the rent-stabilized building has traded hands among investors, he says residents have suffered from deplorable conditions, rent overcharges and unwarranted eviction cases. Asked recently whether he was getting any help from state government in fighting the landlords' abuses, his reply evidenced decades of frustration. “They don't inform the tenants of their rights, how they're supposed to go about obtaining their money…They don't enforce anything…They've never come out to check anything,” he says of the New York State Department of Housing and Community Renewal (HCR).

Call for questions on upcoming BenitoLink – Farm Bureau Election Forum

BenitoLink and Farm Bureau seeking questions from the community for the local June Primary Election Forums being held May 3.

Calls for change in handling abuse allegations at top conservation group

There are two versions of the story, and both of them are true. In one version, Conservation International (CI) is an idealistic, energetic and challenging place to work and grow if you want to help save the planet. The pay is on the high side for comparable non-profits or global conservation organizations. It's also prestigious: its CEO dines with world leaders, its board includes movie stars, and it just announced a partnership with NASA and legendary grunge band Pearl Jam. It gets funding from USAID, the National Science Foundation, NOAA and the U.S. Department of State.

Cambodia’s Floating Villages

Ben MaukIn Cambodia's floating villages, tens of thousands of ethnic Vietnamese eke out precarious lives on the Tonle Sap. Born into statelessness, they are not permitted to vote, work, or even live on land.

Camera trap videos capture biodiversity of conservation area in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula

Ejidos are part of a land tenure system in Mexico by which land is communally managed by local villages. Many ejidos, such as Ejido Caoba in the state of Quintana Roo on the Yucatán Peninsula, run sustainable forestry enterprises on their land, harvesting and selling wood for the benefit of the entire community and replanting the trees they cut down in order to ensure the health of the ecosystem as a whole. One way to measure how well an ecosystem has been maintained is through the levels of biodiversity the land is capable of sustaining — and by that measure, Ejido Caoba's efforts to preserve the ecosystem appear to be quite successful, as the camera trap videos below suggest. There are 311 ejidatarios in Ejido Caoba who collectively manage the nearly 68,000 hectares of land owned by the community. Ejido Caoba has been certified for sustainable forest management by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) for the past 25 years.

Campaign Launched For Female Inmates

Keesa Figgs-Desilva found herself locked up in pre-trial detention because she couldn't afford the $5,000 bail bond. Then a New Haven-based bail fund helped her pay off the bond, return home to her children, fight her court case from outside of prison, and ultimately get all of the charges against her dropped.Now New Haveners are ponying up to help other women also behind bars for the crime of lacking money to post bail.

Can ‘Court Watchers’ Help Reform America’s Flawed Justice Systems?

In the upper room of an old bar in Brooklyn, a 66-year-old African-American man who has been in and out of the criminal justice system his entire life sits across from a young public defender in New York City, just starting out in her career. While their normal lives might never bring them together, here they are deeply involved–along with a handful of their fellow New Yorkers—in a passionate discussion about what they believe are the disparities and flaws of their city's court system—and how to fix them. It's a weekly debriefing of New York City's Court Watcher program. Although the program is less than two months old, participants already believe they are making a difference. “For a long time people have focused on the back end of things–sentencing, jails, and policing, before you even get into the courts” said the public defender who, like some of the other Court Watchers interviewed for this article, asked that her name not be used.

Can a Democrat not named ‘Walz’ win in Minnesota’s First District?

Sam Brodey

In southern Minnesota's 1st Congressional District, DFL Rep. Tim Walz was able to win seven terms in Congress over the last decade — an achievement in this historically Republican region.The keys to Walz's success in this mostly rural district that stretches from the Mississippi River to South Dakota have been his relatively moderate politics, intense focus on district issues like agriculture, and an affable, accessible style that even his detractors found hard to resist.That approach kept CD1 in DFL hands, even as Democrats in other parts of rural America have gradually been wiped out, and even as Walz's constituents preferred Donald Trump by a 15-point margin in the 2016 election.But this time around, Walz is running for governor of Minnesota, making CD1 an open-seat contest — and Republicans are ready to pounce and claim a seat they believe is rightfully theirs.Republicans have two candidates vying for that shot: Jim Hagedorn, who lost to Walz in 2014 and 2016, and state Sen. Carla Nelson. They're running on strongly conservative platforms and hugging Trump, believing voters will reward one of them for it in November.Meanwhile, six Democrats are in the running for the party's nomination, a field that includes a former Barack Obama administration official, a former state legislator, a former military attorney and a clean energy advocate.Most of the DFL candidates speak admiringly of Walz, and the leading candidates are attempting to emulate his playbook, emphasizing a parochial focus on the district's issues that is informed by conversations with constituents.Everyone agrees that CD1, like many pockets of rural America, has plenty of tough issues to deal with: skyrocketing health care costs, declining farm income, and the opioid crisis are just the start. The dominance of local issues could insulate the district from the national mood in November, but as a top GOP pick-up opportunity, southern Minnesota will be on the front lines of the battle for control of Congress.Red by the numbersTo hear some of the Republicans involved in the race tell it, CD1 is a fundamentally Republican district, conservative in character, and Walz's decade representing it was an aberration.Jim HagedornIn the past 80 years — a period in which CD1 generally comprised parts of southern Minnesota — the district has sent just two Democrats to the House, Walz and former Rep. Tim Penny, who served for a combined 23 years.But look elsewhere on the ballot, and CD1 is harder to pin down: Trump won in 2016 with 53 percent of the vote compared to Hillary Clinton's 38 percent. But Barack Obama carried CD1 in 2012 and 2008, former Sen. Al Franken carried CD1 in 2014, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar won by a 30-point margin in her 2012 re-election campaign.The Cook Report's Partisan Voter Index, which calculates the partisan leanings of congressional districts, finds that CD1 prefers Republican candidates by an average of five points. That is a stronger GOP preference than Congressional Districts 2 and 3, both held by Republicans, and Congressional District 8, another one the party wants to flip.State Sen. Carla NelsonThe CD1 track record both sides talk a lot about, though, is Walz's.

Can gun-control advocates translate post-Parkland passion into results at Minnesota polls?

Briana Bierschbach

Sydney Lewis used to be just another theater kid at Eden Prairie High School.That changed February 14, when 17 students were shot and killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Now, Lewis is an activist, leading her fellow students on marches out of the classroom and meeting with her local congressman to talk about gun issues.Frustrated with lack of progress on the issue, the high school sophomore is also now a campaign organizer, working to vote out lawmakers this fall who don't support changing the state and nation's gun laws — a group that includes her congressman, Republican U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen.“Adults, we took to the streets, now it's your turn to take to the polls,” Lewis told a group of more than 300 people gathered in a Brooklyn Park high school auditorium on Saturday.The event was a part of Town Hall For Our Lives, a series of meetings held in cities across Minnesota and the nation on Saturday where students aimed to take their frustrations on the gun control debate and use it to increase turnout at the polls this fall.The size and sustained momentum of the movement in the wake of the Parkland shooting has surprised some political pundits, but many are wondering if the sense of urgency can continue for another eight months, when Minnesota will have an open governor's race on the ballot, all eight congressional seats, two U.S. Senate seats and more. “I think that's the million dollar question,” said University of Minnesota Political Science Professor Andrew Karsch. “Historically there has been overwhelming support for a lot of these actions but these supporters tend not to vote on the gun issue.” “I think that the attention that the Parkland survivors have been able to maintain has been unusual from the perspective of previous events, which seemed to have a moment of salience but not much of a lingering impact,” Karsch added. “It seems like the high school students in particular are very savvy and seem to be quite skilled at organizing events that keep the issue front and center.” Turning apathy into energy For years, lawmaker's decisions on guns were often influenced by an assumed apathy, at least on one side of the issue.

Can poetry save your life? Literary Witnesses thinks it can

Pamela Espeland

It's National Poetry Month. Who cares? What good is poetry, anyway? Poet Gregory Orr believes it can save your life.When Orr was 12, he shot and killed his own brother in a hunting accident. Two years later, his mother died after a routine surgery.

Can SA’s Charm Outweigh Alamodome Woes For More Final Fours?

After hosting tens of thousands of people for the NCAA Men's Final Four last weekend, what's next for the 25-year-old Alamodome? The post Can SA's Charm Outweigh Alamodome Woes For More Final Fours? appeared first on Rivard Report.

Can schools encourage students to be more involved citizens? A new study suggests yes they can.

In a city of roughly 1,800 schools, many have names that have little to do with what students experience. Not so for Democracy Prep, a network of charter schools that a new study concludes makes students far more likely to vote once they turn 18. The study, conducted by independent researchers commissioned by Democracy Prep, took advantage of New York City's charter school admissions rules to examine the impact of applying to, getting accepted to, and enrolling in the network's schools on later civic participation. Looking at more than a thousand students who applied between 2007 and 2015 who were old enough to vote in 2016, the researchers found that just being selected in the admissions lottery was correlated with a slight increase in voting rates. Students who were chosen voted 6 percent more often than students who were not.

Can top charters truly ‘replicate’? In Boston, yes — elsewhere, it’s not so clear

Excel Academy in Boston started as a single charter school in 2003. Nine years later, its leaders created a second school in the city, bringing their philosophy and some original staff members to the offshoot. The network now spans four schools, and Nina Cronan, who once worked at the original campus and currently leads one of the newer schools, said they have key similarities: their college pennants on display, their exams and curriculum, even their policy that teachers rotate classrooms while students stay put. “We have shared and used a lot of the existing systems from the flagship campus in our school, even though we are a different building,” she said. Excel's expansion was part of a two-year growth spurt for charter schools in Massachusetts, after the state law changed in 2010 to help charter schools with successful track records add new sites.

Canary in the Coal Pond

by Talia Buford
In tests conducted in late 2017, one in three coal-fired power plants nationwide detected “statistically significant” amounts of contaminants, including harmful chemicals like arsenic, in the groundwater around their facilities. This information, which utility companies had to post on their websites in March, became public for the first time under an Obama-era environmental rule regulating coal ash, the waste generated from burning coal. Mixed with water and stored in ponds and landfills at nearly 300 facilities across the country, coal ash has been found to contain carcinogens and toxins like mercury and lead. For decades, people living near coal-fired plants have feared the ash was seeping into the ground and contaminating their drinking water. But now, just as residents are getting their first indication of whether neighboring plants might pose a threat, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is advancing a proposal to amend the rule, giving states the authority to lessen consequences and weaken requirements for polluting power plants.

Candidate claims support of dead voters in attempt to get public campaign funding

In early March, Democratic legislative candidate Larry Herrera filed 255 signatures to qualify for public campaign funding. Among them was a form signed on Feb. 3, 2018, by Bernadine Barbara Misiak. Except Misiak died in November 2016. And she was one of four deceased identified on the forms.
The post Candidate claims support of dead voters in attempt to get public campaign funding appeared first on Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting.

Candidates backed by powerful coalition sweep Newark’s historic school-board election

A charter-school teacher, a community organizer, and a PTA president swept Newark's school-board election Tuesday, according to preliminary results, earning spots on the first board to wield full control over the city's schools in over two decades. The new members -- Asia Norton, Yambeli Gomez, and Dawn Haynes -- will help select a new superintendent for the 36,000-student district and oversee its nearly $1 billion budget. Those powers were restored to the board in February, when the state officially ended its 22-year-long takeover of the district. The winning candidates were part of a slate backed by a powerful alliance between Mayor Ras Baraka, North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos Jr., and pro-charter school groups. By uniting behind three-candidate slates over the past three elections, those once-rival factions have managed to reshape the board: With this election, all nine board members will have been endorsed by the coalition.

Candidates Rich and Poor Competing

Candidates Rich and Poor Competing
Occupational income, investments, debts, real estate,business interests, and much more detailed in filings
Investigative Report by Ken Martin© The Austin Bulldog 2014Posted Tuesday, September 30, 2014 2:54pm
Mayoral candidate Stephen Ira “Steve” Adler is clearly the wealthiest candidate running for city office, while his two chief opponents, incumbent Council Members Sheryl Nelson Cole and Michael William “Mike” Martinez, are merely well off, comparatively speaking, based on a review of their sworn financial statements. These financial statements are separate and apart from the contribution and expenditure reports required in connection with election campaigns. Personal resources provide a significant advantage if candidates choose to invest in their campaigns. But that advantage is diminished if not accompanied by the work it takes to build a broad base of support. Campaigns are not won with checkbooks alone, but according to Campaign Finance Reports filed July 15, which reflected fundraising and expenditures through June 30, 21 candidates had already loaned their campaigns a combined half-million dollars—$504,911 to be exact.

Capitol Art Competition

Deadline is April 20 for annual contestCapitol Art Competition was first posted on March 28, 2018 at 7:22 am.

Capitol Report: As Colorado teachers prepare to march, one bill would ban teacher strikes

Good evening, and welcome to another edition of Capitol Report. This week gave Colorado a little taste of the teacher activism that's rocked other states. The several hundred teachers who came to the Capitol on Monday used what started as a lobby day related to proposed changes to the pension system to march around the Capitol, rally on the steps, and call for more school funding in general. They were joined by House Democrats who urged them to help pass a $1.6 billion tax increase for education this November. A lot more teachers are expected to come to the Capitol this coming Thursday and Friday, from Jeffco, Denver, Cherry Creek, Adams 12, Poudre, and more.

Capitol Report: Colorado Democrats put out the unwelcome mat for education reform at their state assembly

Good evening, and welcome to the post-state assembly edition of Capitol Report. It's been an emotional week in education news and one that brought together many of the crosscurrents and tensions in the work to make sure every child gets a good education. As you might have heard by now, the delegates at the Democratic state assembly voted to reject Democrats for Education Reform by calling on them to stop using "Democrats" in their name. This move is largely symbolic, but the vote revealed a growing divide between party activists and establishment politicians on education policy. One of the speakers against Democrats for Education Reform was Vanessa Quintana, a political activist whose high school career was shaped by the closure of Manual High School.

Capitol Report: Colorado’s school accountability system is due for some fixes

Good evening, and welcome to the Front Porch Edition of Capitol Report. If I can't get out and enjoy this weather in the real outdoors, I will at least write outdoors. The budget debate continues this week as the Joint Budget Committee must reconcile the House and Senate versions of the long bill. After initially rejecting an amendment to add $35 million for school security, a few minds got changed over the course of a few hours Wednesday, and the Senate ultimately adopted an amendment very similar to the one in the House. The footnote attached to this allocation says it should be used for "resource security officers" and for physical upgrades to school facilities that enhance safety.

Capitol Report: Why school security isn’t ‘less political’ than gun policy

Good evening, and welcome to Capitol Report. I hope whichever spring holiday you're celebrating this weekend – even if it's just "the weekend" – that it's been a good one. Before we get started, a confession and a promise. As a journalist, I have to be alert to fake news on April Fool's Day, and it's particularly hard these days to know what's real and what's not, given how crazy reality can be. But I got played.

Capstone Community Action announces $91,000 raised for Fuel Your Neighbors

News Release — Capstone Community Action
April 12, 2018
Yvonne Lory
Capstone Community Action
Barre – The Fuel Your Neighbors campaign provided $91,000 in 2018 for central Vermonters in need of food and heating assistance. Capstone Community Action partnered with VSECU, the National Life Group, The Point FM radio and many community members and businesses to surpass last year's campaign total of $67,000. The funds raised were able to “fill the gap” for thousands of individuals and families seeking assistance from Capstone Community Action during this long, cold winter. The State's increased restrictions on heating assistance have made this campaign even more critical to our most vulnerable Vermonters, the majority of whom are children and seniors who would otherwise have to go to sleep cold or hungry. The call to action posed to the community resulted in a resounding success.

Cardinals home opener at Busch Stadium will feature all the traditional trimmings

After a cold and wet start to the season, Major League Baseball finally sloshes into the Gateway City at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, when the Clydesdales take their first strut of the season around the warning track at Busch Stadium. The St. Louis Cardinals are promising all of the traditional trimmings for their home opening ceremonies: Motorcades will deliver the Hall of Famers and the 2018 team to home plate. There will be a color guard, a giant American flag at center field, and — weather permitting — a flyover by a KC-135 Stratotanker, an Air Force refueling aircraft.

Care board backs plan to boost mental health system

Central Vermont Medical Center in Berlin is part of the UVM network. Photo by Erin Mansfield/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="hospital" width="640" height="428" srcset=" 3872w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 610w, 150w, 1280w, 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px" data-recalc-dims="1">Central Vermont Medical Center in Berlin, part of the UVM Medical Network, could be the site of a new psychiatric facility. File photo by Erin Mansfield/VTDiggerThe Green Mountain Care Board has endorsed an ambitious, expensive and still-evolving plan to boost Vermont's mental health treatment system. The care board's backing came in the context of hospital budget regulation: Four of five board members voted Wednesday to allow the University of Vermont Medical Center to use $21 million in excess revenue to “measurably increase inpatient mental health capacity in Vermont.”
It's a signal that the board wants the University of Vermont Health Network to move forward with designing a new acute inpatient psychiatric facility that could be located on the campus of Central Vermont Medical Center in Berlin. “I'm pretty optimistic about UVM's proposal and the opportunity it brings to maybe alleviate a crisis that we see in the mental health system,” board member Jessica Holmes said.

Carmen Fariña says farewell after 52 years in New York City schools

When Carmen Fariña walked out of the education department headquarters on Friday, it marked the end of a half-century-long career dedicated to New York City schools. In a short and sweet send-off in the stately rotunda of the Tweed Courthouse, Mayor Bill de Blasio proclaimed it Carmen Fariña day and handed her a thick bouquet of purple flowers. In about 10 minutes, her career as a teacher, principal, superintendent and chancellor was brought to a subdued end. PHOTO: Christina VeigaOn the day she retired, Mayor Bill de Blasio proclaimed it Carmen Fariña Day. “It's really been a privilege, and it's something that I really have enjoyed doing.

Carmen Fariña’s final score: More New Yorkers see her tenure as a failure than a success

As Chancellor Carmen Fariña prepares to step down from running the nation's largest school system, many New York City voters won't be sad to see her go, according to a new Quinnipiac poll released Thursday. In all, 38 percent of those polled said Fariña's four years as chancellor were “mainly” a failure, while 34 percent considered her tenure a success. By comparison, 46 percent of voters considered Joel Klein's eight-year run a success, according to a poll released weeks after he stepped down in 2010. Fariña was more popular among educators than Klein, whose policies frequently targeted them, but she was far less visible to New Yorkers, preferring to focus her energy internally at the education department. A similar poll released last October found that 44 percent of likely voters approved of Fariña's handling of the city's schools, while 32 percent disapproved.

Carranza discourages student participation in Friday’s gun violence walkout — which could come with consequences

Last month, 100,000 students streamed out of city classrooms to protest gun violence, demonstrations condoned by the mayor and education department officials. Similar but scaled-down protests are being planned for Friday, but with a major difference — students are more likely to face consequences for walking out of their classes this time. For the March 14 walkout, held on the one-month anniversary of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting that killed 17, city education department officials laid out clear rules meant to facilitate student participation. Anyone who left school for the scheduled protest but returned immediately afterward would not be marked absent. This week, students who are not in school will be marked absent, according to the education department.

Carranza promises parents he will be a ‘provocateur,’ ask tough questions of mayor

In his first town hall meetings with students and parents, schools Chancellor Richard Carranza said Monday he would be a “provocateur” and ask tough questions of the mayor — and promised school communities would play an important role in the policy process. “While he may be the mayor I'm the chancellor and he's giving me the opportunity to lead in this organization, not as a top down leader, but as a consensus builder, and in some cases a provocateur.” Carranza told parents Monday night. This was the latest time in his short tenure that Carranza has been willing to stake out some independence from his boss, Mayor Bill de Blasio. In an interview with Chalkbeat last week, he raised questions about whether the mayor's high profile and expensive turnaround program has a clear “theory of action.”
On Monday evening, Carranza took questions from parents and students during back-to-back town halls at Brooklyn Technical High School. Community members from across the city quizzed him about school safety, segregation, special education, and standardized testing.

Carranza stands by NYC’s ‘Renewal’ program for struggling schools, but asks, ‘What’s our theory of action?’

After a week and a half on the job, New York City schools chancellor Richard Carranza said the city needs to be clearer about how it intends to boost performance at struggling schools — a pointed assessment of Mayor Bill de Blasio's high-profile "Renewal" program. “What's our theory of action? I keep asking that question, and I get different answers,” Carranza said about the city's Renewal schools during an exclusive interview with Chalkbeat Wednesday. “They're all great answers, but my perspective is you should have one theory of action.”
A “tight, cohesive” theory of action, Carranza said, would spell out exactly what the city's 78 current Renewal schools are expected to do to improve student performance and what the measures of their success are. Without clearer guiding principles, he added, “it makes it difficult to talk about what really are the outcomes that we're looking for.

Carter: a $15 minimum wage for St. Paul is ‘already decided’

Peter Callaghan

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter said Wednesday that the city will adopt a minimum wage ordinance — and that he expects to sign it by the end of the year.Carter's comments came at a Midway Chamber of Commerce economic development summit, in response to a question he was asked during the end of a presentation he made at the gathering. While some of the details of the ordinance still need to be discussed, Carter said, the basic question of whether St. Paul will adopt a $15 minimum wage “has been asked and answered.”The minimum-wage position reflects the consensus from the 2017 election, in which 98 percent of votes went for mayoral candidates who had endorsed the local minimum wage, he said. He joked that the last time such a large consensus had been gathered was when high school students voted on whether to have homework.“We are going to raise the minimum wage in St.

CASA: Making a difference in the lives of foster care children

CASA Advocate Ron Martin and Executive Director Esther Curtice share the joys and breadth of being a child advocate for foster care children in San Benito County.

Case challenging teacher tenure in New York will go on, despite union’s objections

New York City's teachers union was dealt a setback Wednesday as a lawsuit challenging the state's tenure laws got a green light to proceed. An appellate court decided to let the Davids-Wright case move forward, upholding a lower court's decision. The teachers union had sought to dismiss the case, but the ruling means that the central question, whether teachers in New York should be guaranteed the job protections they currently enjoy, will continue to be debated in court. The suit is actually the merger of two separate pieces of litigation filed in 2014, just after a high-profile lawsuit challenged teacher tenure in California. First, a parent advocate, Mona Davids, filed suit alleging that New York's tenure rules cause poor students of color to have low-performing teachers.

Casella Waste Systems appoints James E. O’Connor as lead independent director

News Release — Casella Waste Systems
Oct. 19, 2015
Casella Waste Systems, Inc.
Ned Coletta, 802-772-2239
Chief Financial Officer
Joseph Fusco, 802-772-2247
Vice President
Sard Verbinnen & Co. Mark Harnett/Zachary Tramonti, 212-687-8080
RUTLAND, Vt.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Casella Waste Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq: CWST) (“Casella” or the “Company”), a regional solid waste, recycling, and resource management services company, today announced that James E. O'Connor, a waste management industry veteran who joined the Casella Board in July 2015, has been appointed to serve as lead independent director of Casella's Board of Directors (the “Board”) effective immediately. Mr. O'Connor succeeds Gregory B. Peters, who continues to serve as a member of the Casella Board. “Jim is extremely well-suited to serve as the Board's lead independent director and I and the rest of the Casella Board look forward to working with Jim in his new role,” said John W. Casella, Chairman and CEO of Casella.

Casey Gell (1995-2018)

Haldane grad attended Ithaca CollegeCasey Gell (1995-2018) was first posted on April 6, 2018 at 8:37 pm.

Castleton University announces new agreement with Landmark College

News Release — Castleton University
April 10, 2018
Jeff Weld, Dean of Advancement
Castleton University
Castleton – Castleton University and Landmark College, a private institution located in Putney, Vt., have formed a collaborative agreement creating a pathway for degree completion. The agreement makes the transition for graduates of Landmark College to Castleton seamless and affordable. “As we seek to be innovative and collaborative in our growth, agreements like these are essential,” said Castleton President, Dr. Karen M. Scolforo. “Our admissions team works tirelessly to cultivate these partnerships that provide pathways to students who might not have continued on in their educational pursuits, previously. We are committed to ensuring a Castleton University education remains accessible, affordable, and meaningful as we prepare our students for the global workplace of tomorrow.”
The agreement guarantees admission to all Landmark College students who graduate with an associate's degree and who have achieved a 3.0 grade point average.

Castleton University study abroad program receives seal of excellence

News Release — Castleton University
April 12, 2018
Courtney Widli, Assistant Director of University Relations
Castleton University
Castleton – More than doubling the number of Castleton students taking advantage of study abroad opportunities, the Castleton Study Abroad Office was recently awarded the Generation Study Abroad Seal of Excellence from the Institute of International Education's global organization Generation Study Abroad. Castleton, along with 32 other institutions, made strategic commitments to the Generation Study Abroad campaign, with the goal of accomplishing their commitments by the end of the decade to help double the number of U.S. students who study abroad. Beginning with 5 students in January of 2016, the University not only met, but exceeded, their goal with 23 students who took advantage of study abroad opportunities during the 2017-18 academic year. “Castleton works very hard to make sure that students have the opportunity and resources to student abroad,” explained Study Abroad Office Coordinator Ana Alexander, adding the office coordinates monthly study abroad promotional booths and hosts several study abroad fairs throughout the academic year. “We always work to have a strong presence on campus.”
Generation Study Abroad is an initiative, launched in 2014, of the Institute of International Education (IIE) to mobilize resources and commitments with the goal of doubling the number of U.S. students studying abroad by the end of the decade.

Catamount Trail Association announces Matt Williams as new executive director

News Release — Catamount Trail Association
April 2, 2018
Catamount Trail Association
1 Mill Street #350
Burlington, VT 05401
The Catamount Trail Association (CTA) announces the selection of Matt Williams as its new Executive Director. Williams replaces Amy Kelsey who will step down in April after admirably serving the CTA for over 9 very successful years. Matt comes to the CTA from Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC, where he has most recently served as Director of Strategic Initiatives in Athletics, and as Head Cycling Coach. A native of Sharon, Vermont, Matt grew up on a small sheep farm skiing, sledding, mountain biking, and hiking out the back door. While much of Matt's life, and career, has been spent in the racing world (mountain biking and Nordic skiing), he's always been passionate about finding new ways to connect places through his outdoor pursuits.

Catholic University Priest Accused of Misconduct with Female Students

A Catholic priest is accused of sexual misconduct on the campus of St. Gregory's University in Shawnee and former students and faculty have questioned whether officials at the now-shuttered college failed to properly investigate complaints. Two women have filed a lawsuit against the university, which closed and filed bankruptcy in December, and St. Gregory's Abbey, where the priest resides. The university investigated complaints of sexual misconduct involving the Rev. Nicholas Ast, and he was cleared of wrongdoing, according to an attorney for the abbey and the former university board president.

Catsup bottle festival comes to an end in Collinsville

After 19 years, an annual July event to mark a Metro East roadside attraction is no more. Organizers have pulled the plug on “The World's Largest Catsup Bottle Festival” in Collinsville, saying it's become too much work.

CDC: Workplace noise linked to high blood pressure and high cholesterol

Susan Perry

High blood pressure and high cholesterol — two risk factors for heart disease — are more common among workers exposed to loud noise in their workplaces, according to a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).The findings, which were published in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, add to growing concerns that the health hazards from noise exposure go beyond an increased risk of hearing loss.Indeed, other research has suggested that loud noise triggers a stress response that, over time, can have a harmful effect on the body's blood vessels and lead to an increased risk of heart disease.About 22 million workers are affected by loud noise each year, making it one of the most common workplace hazards in the United States. Noise is considered hazardous, according to the CDC, when it reaches a level of 85 decibels or higher — a level at which a person would have to raise his or her voice to speak with someone three feet away. “Reducing workplace noise levels is critical not just for hearing loss prevention — it may also impact blood pressure and cholesterol,” said Dr. John Howard, director of the CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), in a released statement.“Worksite health and wellness programs that include screenings for high blood pressure and cholesterol should also target noise-exposed workers,” he added Linking noise to health problemsFor the current study, NIOSH researchers analyzed data from a representative sample of almost 23,000 U.S. workers who participated in the 2014 National Health Interview Survey. That year's survey was chosen because it was the most recent one that included questions about occupational noise and hearing problems.The researchers specifically looked at how many of the workers were regularly exposed to loud noise, how many had hearing problems, and how many had high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Here are the key findings from the analysis:About 25 percent of the workers had a history of on-the-job exposure to potentially damaging levels of noise, and about 14 percent of them had been exposed to such levels of noise during the previous year.About 12 percent of the workers had a hearing loss.

Celebrate the History of the Saddle Horse Show and Rodeo Parade

The parade route has changed over the years, but the excitement of previewing performers and their mounts hasn't changed since 1932.

Celia Paul Paints Her Biography

“I'm going to read a piece today that discusses Celia's life just as she's becoming an artist,” said critic Hilton Als to an overflowing auditorium at the Yale Center for British Art, in a lecture about the life and work of British painter Celia Paul. “I thought you might know enough about her from newspaper interviews and the like. Her association with Lucian Freud, her child [with Freud], the years of struggle with security. I thought that I would let others write that, and I would write about the spirit and energy and grace in her paintings, and her lifestyle that led up to all of those things.”

Census 2020: Local Africans, African-Americans consider how to respond to questions about origins

The 2020 census is still two years away but there is plenty of buzz about what the federal survey will ask, including questions about citizenship and country of origin. For the first time people will be able to write in their origins in a blank box on the census instead of just checking a race. The survey, which happens every ten years, is designed to count the population so federal funds can be allocated across the country. But, the new questions about where people come from can generate confusion or suspicion--especially from African Americans, who may not know where their ancestors originated, or immigrants who believe their responses might be used against them in the future.

Census question on citizenship challenged in court

The U.S. Census bureau announced plans to include questions about citizenship on the 2020 Census. (Photo by U.S. Census Bureau.)Washington is one of 19 states filing a legal challenge against the Trump administration's decision to add a question about citizenship status in the 2020 U.S. Census. The challenge, filed in a New York City federal court on Tuesday, alleges that the citizenship question will discourage undocumented residents from participating in the Census. California filed a similar lawsuit on Monday. In a press statement, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said “the Census Bureau's own research reveals asking people about their citizenship situation could significantly undermine its constitutional mandate: an accurate count of everyone in the United States, regardless of immigration status.”
In the same news release through Ferguson's office, Gov. Jay Inslee added that “between under funding the 2020 Census and making changes that will suppress participation by already under-represented populations, it's clear this administration is trying to sabotage a critical tool for making informed policy decisions and ensuring fair representation.”
OneAmerica, Seattle-based immigrant advocacy group, and Rep. Pramila Jayapal, shared similar concerns in their own press releases.

Center for Public Integrity founder Charles Lewis to receive I.F. Stone Medal

Center for Public Integrity founder Charles Lewis has been chosen to receive this year's prestigious I.F. Stone Medal for Journalistic Independence. The award, administered by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, will be presented to Lewis on May 3 during a ceremony in Cambridge, Mass. It honors the life of groundbreaking investigative journalist I.F. Stone and is presented annually to the journalist “whose work captures the spirit of journalistic independence, integrity and courage that characterized I.F. Stone's Weekly,” a muckraking outlet that was published from 1953 to 1971. “For nearly four decades, Chuck Lewis has led the reporting of groundbreaking journalism to uncover government corruption, cronyism, cover-ups and crimes,” said Florence Graves, chair of the medal selection committee. “A pioneer in nonprofit news, he has worked tirelessly to raise funds to help others do the same and to protect the independence of their work, free from the constraints of news organizations beholden to special interests.”

A former ABC News and CBS “60 Minutes” producer, Lewis founded the Center for Public Integrity in 1989, and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in 1997.

Center for Public Integrity names Trina Ramsey as its chief development officer

Veteran fundraising executive Trina Ramsey, who's been skillfully serving the Center for Public Integrity in various capacities since early 2016, has been named the organization's chief development officer. “Trina's an excellent choice to lead us into the next phase of the Center's strategic development,” said CEO John Dunbar. “She's an outstanding fundraiser with an excellent sense of the big picture going forward. We're in good hands.”

Ramsey had been serving as interim chief development officer since the departure in late January of Deborah Dubois, who became president of the Open Doors Foundation. Ramsey joined the Center in 2016 as Director of Annual Giving, and in that position led the Center's strategy for attracting, retaining and upgrading individual and major donors with great success.

Center for Public Integrity sues EPA over public-records delays

The Center for Public Integrity filed suit Friday against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, seeking a variety of public records the Center has been seeking for up to eight months. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, alleges the EPA failed to respond in timely fashion to 25 Freedom of Information Act requests filed by Center journalists in 2017 and early 2018. In its online system, the EPA “does not list realistic estimated dates of completion for FOIA requests it receives and does not update estimated dates of completion after the listed dates have passed,” the complaint says. Nor did the agency respond to the Center's requests for an updated schedule. Under FOIA, agencies are required to respond to records requests, generally within 20 business days.

CEO Gets New Monitor, Faces Uncertain Future

The city's Commission on Equal Opportunities finally has a new “utilization monitor” to visit construction sites and hold builders' feet to the fire for hiring women and minorities on building jobs. But who will lead the commission in the future remains uncertain.

Cerrado Manifesto could curb deforestation, but needs support: experts

A single tree is all that remains of native vegetation cleared for soy production in the Cerrado. Photo by Jim Wickens, Ecostorm / Mighty Earth In October 2017, global companies, especially supermarkets and fast food chains including McDonalds, Walmart, Marks & Spencer, METRO, Tesco, Nando's and Unilever introduced a Statement of Support (SoS) for the Cerrado Manifesto. In that document they called for action to halt deforestation and native vegetation loss in Brazil's Cerrado. Seen as the uncharismatic sister to the Amazon, the Cerrado biome has been under-appreciated by conservationists, and significantly under-protected by government, for decades. Once seen as mostly worthless savannah east and south of the Amazon, the Cerrado is now known to support significant biodiversity including 10,400 species of plants, nearly half of which are endemic; 935 species of birds; 780 freshwater fish; 113 amphibians; 180 reptiles; and nearly 300 mammal species.

Cerrado: abandoned pasturelands fail to regain savanna biodiversity

Cerrado landscape, characterized by sparse trees dotting a continuous grassy ground cover. Image by Alex Costa/Mighty Earth Once Cerrado savanna has been converted to pasture it does not fully regain its former flora and fauna, even after a quarter century, recent research has found. The Brazilian Cerrado biome, east and south of the Amazon biome, once covered 2 million square kilometers (772,204 square miles), but rapid conversion by agribusiness means less than half remains today. The region's native vegetation and soils are important for storing carbon and curbing global warming. The new study, published in the Journal of Applied Ecology sampled 29 Cerrado tracts which had previously been used for agricultural purposes, but had been abandoned for anywhere between 3 and 25 years.

Cerrado: U.S. investment spurs land theft, deforestation in Brazil, say experts

Twenty years ago, these men lost the basis for their livelihoods. Possessing little money, they relied on the land on which they farmed to provide them with food. Today, they only get by with the support of state assistance. Photo by Alicia Prager This is the sixth of six stories in a series by journalists Alicia Prager and Flávia Milhorance who travelled to the Cerrado in February for Mongabay to assess the impacts of agribusiness on the region's environment and people. Edjarsson Cardoso places folders full of documents — some more than 20 years old — on the pool table of a dimly lit bar in the rural Brazilian town of Riachão das Neves.

Certified weaknesses: The RSPO’s Liberian fiasco (commentary)

It's late March and the latest news about the future of communities' traditional lands has yet to reach the towns and villages in southeastern Liberia. On February 13, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, the industry certification system for production of conflict-free palm oil, confirmed what many in rural Sinoe County have been saying all along: Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL), a palm oil company operating since 2010, did not properly receive the consent of local communities to acquire their traditional lands. A letter issued to GVL by the RSPO Complaints Panel says that the company coerced and intimidated community members into signing agreements ceding their lands, did not conduct adequate participatory mapping, destroyed communities' sacred sites, and continues to develop disputed lands, all in violation of RSPO Principles and Criteria. The charges against GVL and its parent company, Golden Agri-Resources, are not new. The first complaint filed against GVL with the RSPO came in 2012.

Chamber Dinner

Four awards to be givenChamber Dinner was first posted on April 19, 2018 at 11:52 am.

Chamberlain’s Children Center presents Stand Up for Kids Comedy Night

Proceeds from the event will go towards raising community awareness and to supplement the program's needs.

Chancellor Carranza’s opening statement to New York City educators: I’m one of you

Richard Carranza used his first public address to emphasize that while he is now the leader of the nation's largest school system, he's still an educator at heart. “I still consider myself a teacher,” Carranza told hundreds of educators packed into an auditorium at Stuyvesant High School, who were participating in a training program during Spring break. “I just teach a little taller and older people now.”
Carranza's brief remarks showed an eagerness to maintain consistency with his predecessor, Carmen Fariña, who often spoke of her experience as an educator and made it her mission to boost teacher morale. Under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, being an educator was not a prerequisite for the job, and he sought to dramatically reshape the education system in part by ratcheting up accountability for teachers and principals. “I don't want you to read anything that says American education is failing — we're not failing,” Carranza said to applause.

Chances Are, You’re Eating Halal Meat And Don’t Know It

Wearing a heavy smock and rubber boots, Amadedin Eganwa stands over a large conveyor belt that's carrying unconscious lambs. He faces east, towards Mecca, gently lifts the animal's head in the same direction and under his breath he quickly says a prayer — bismillahi allahu akbar , or “in God's name” — before swiftly cutting the lamb's throat.

Change in Accreditation Plan at Southwest School of Art Prompts Concern, Shrugs

The Southwest School of Art's inaugural class of 11 students graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in late April will obtain degrees from a non-accredited school. The post Change in Accreditation Plan at Southwest School of Art Prompts Concern, Shrugs appeared first on Rivard Report.

Chapel West 2.0

Chapel West has done a remarkable job. Basically replacing the city as much as possible and providing services to us property owners. May I suggest the next step?

Charles Barkley’s gift pays off for Mississippi Delta students

NBA Hall of Famer and TV analyst Charles Barkley donated $250,000 to the Hernando-based Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi to help fund a digital history course on the contributions of African Americans in the sciences, academia, the arts, music and sports. The course will be taught to 4th-12th graders in the Mississippi Delta as part of the Community Digital Scholars Program, a partnership between the Community Foundation and EVERFI, an education technology company. “I was born and raised in rural Alabama at the dawn of the Civil Rights era,” Barkley said in a statement, “and I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to American heroes like Medgar Evers, John Lewis and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Tom Pittman, Community Foundation president and CEO, said Barkley's production company, Round Mound Media, will help create documentary content for the course in conjunction with Wondros, a Los Angeles-based creative and production agency. “We're incredibly excited to work with the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi and Charles Barkley to offer this digital initiative that makes African-American history readily available and allows students in the Mississippi Delta to re-imagine how they see themselves through the lens of history,” said EVERFI CEO Tom Davidson. Tom Pittman is a member of Mississippi Today's board of directors.

Chicago Murders Are Down, So Why Doesn’t It Feel That Way?

This story originally ran on Medill Reports:
Murder in Chicago is down—following an sharp 17.5 percent decrease from 2012 to 2013. And with two-and-a-half months to go before the close of 2014, the city is on target for an additional 3 percent drop in its murder count. The trend Chicago is experiencing is national, as violent crime is down across the country. Yet many Chicago residents are painfully aware that the city's struggle with violent crime continues. And youth advocates say the crisis does not feel any different, or any less prevalent than it did in 2012.

Chicago’s Gang Database Is Full of Errors — And Records We Have Prove It

by Mick Dumke
ProPublica Illinois reporter Mick Dumke looks at the state's political issues and personalities in this occasional column. During January 1984, the Chicago Police Department labeled more than 700 people as suspected gang members following arrests for various crimes. One was in his early 30s and identified as a member of the Black P Stones. By last fall, nearly 34 years later, that individual was 77 — and still in what police commonly refer to as the department's “gang database.”

In fact, the 77-year-old was one of 163 people in their 70s or 80s in the database, which now includes information about 128,000 people and counting, according to records I obtained through a series of requests under the state Freedom of Information Act. It's hard to fathom that there are so many elderly, active gang members in Chicago who need to be tracked by police.

Chicago’s Gang Database Isn’t Just About Gangs

by Mick Dumke
What is a gang, anyway? That's one of many questions raised by the huge amounts of data collected and maintained by the Chicago Police Department. As I wrote in a column this week, nearly 129,000 people are identified as gang members in what's commonly known as the department's “gang database.” The gang data is marred by inconsistencies and mistakes — 13 people in it are listed as 118 years old, for instance, and two others are supposedly 132. The errors can lead to lives being upended by incarceration and deportation. “It's really affecting people in a lot of different ways, and in ways we don't even know because we don't know how this information is shared,” said Vanessa del Valle, a clinical assistant law professor at Northwestern University law school's MacArthur Justice Center.

Chief Calls LA Police Video ‘Shocking,’ Fires Officer

Baton Rouge police released a graphic video of the Alton Sterling shooting, including officer-worn body camera footage that offered a more complete account of the deadly encounter that ignited national protests two summers ago, The Advocate reports. The recordings show a disturbing struggle in which Officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II sought to subdue Sterling outside the Triple S Food Mart. The officers had been responding to a 911 call that a man matching Sterling's description had threatened someone with a gun. The materials also included surveillance video from the convenience store, which showed Salamoni quickly becoming physical with Sterling, placing him in a headlock within seconds of arriving on the scene and drawing his service weapon almost immediately after. Police Chief Murphy Paul described the newly released footage as “shocking to the conscience,” even though it does not “tell the whole story of the investigation.” The chief fired Salamoni on Friday, saying the officer disregarded the department's “training and organizational standards.” Paul suspended Lake for three days.

Chief Calls LA Police Video ‘Shocking,’ Fires Officer

Baton Rouge police released a graphic video of the Alton Sterling shooting, including officer-worn body camera footage that offered a more complete account of the deadly encounter that ignited national protests two summers ago, The Advocate reports. The recordings show a disturbing struggle in which Officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II sought to subdue Sterling outside the Triple S Food Mart. The officers had been responding to a 911 call that a man matching Sterling's description had threatened someone with a gun. The materials also included surveillance video from the convenience store, which showed Salamoni quickly becoming physical with Sterling, placing him in a headlock within seconds of arriving on the scene and drawing his service weapon almost immediately after. Police Chief Murphy Paul described the newly released footage as “shocking to the conscience,” even though it does not “tell the whole story of the investigation.” The chief fired Salamoni on Friday, saying the officer disregarded the department's “training and organizational standards.” Paul suspended Lake for three days.

Chief Calls LA Police Video ‘Shocking,’ Fires Officer

Baton Rouge police released graphic video of the Alton Sterling shooting, including officer-worn body camera footage that offered a more complete account of the deadly encounter that ignited national protests two summers ago, The Advocate reports. The recordings show a disturbing struggle in which Officers Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II sought to subdue Sterling outside the Triple S Food Mart. The officers had been responding to a 911 call that a man matching Sterling's description had threatened someone with a gun. The materials also included surveillance video from the convenience store, which showed Salamoni quickly becoming physical with Sterling, placing him in a headlock within seconds of arriving on the scene and drawing his service weapon almost immediately after. Police Chief Murphy Paul described the newly released footage as “shocking to the conscience,” even though it does not “tell the whole story of the investigation.” The chief fired Salamoni on Friday, saying the officer disregarded the department's “training and organizational standards.” Paul suspended Lake for three days.

China doesn’t want a trade war either

Mark Porubcansky

Let's not get too worried just yet that threats of retaliatory tariffs by the United States and China will ignite a damaging trade war between the world's two largest economies.Sure, it could happen. If recent months have taught us anything, it's that anything is possible. But more likely, as Chinese President Xi Jinping signaled this week, China will cast itself as the responsible, forward-looking party — and then make just enough concessions to defuse the crisis.Why? Because in some important ways, Donald Trump is the U.S. president China wants. He's distracted, transactional and uninterested in human rights.

China Trip Taps Transit, R&D Prospects

The owners of two Chinese agricultural-products companes plan to visit New Haven this summer, the first potential fruits of a trip local officials took last week.Twenty-two New Haveners made the trip to China in a delegation led by Mayor Toni Harp.

China’s Belt and Road poised to transform the Earth, but at what cost?

Donald Trump speaking at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland. One of Trump's first acts as president was to withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, greatly weakening U.S. influence in Asia. Image by Gage Skidmore on Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0 license. President Donald Trump second guessed himself this month, as he announced a decision to revisit his withdrawal of the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), one of the first acts of his controversial presidency. The agreement, already signed by 11 states, would eliminate 98 percent of tariffs in a Pacific marketplace worth close to $14 trillion, even as Trump aims U.S. tariffs at Asia.

Chloe Learey: For our future leaders, look to the ‘march for our lives’

Editor's note: This commentary is by Chloe Learey, executive director of the Winston Prouty Center for Child and Family Development in Brattleboro, and a member of the Building Bright Futures State Advisory Council. The Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce recently named her Entrepreneur of the Year. Regardless of where you fall on the political continuum as it relates to the issue of gun control or gun rights, witnessing high schoolers from coast to coast demonstrating leadership on these thorny issues offers a great opportunity to consider where and how leadership skills emerge. Many have questioned how students in their early to late teens successfully coalesced into a movement in such a short time, including a national march in Washington, DC. For those who say they are puppets of adults pushing an agenda there is not much to discuss.

Chloé White: Vermont needs to end wealth-based incarceration

Editor's note: This commentary is by Chloé White, who is policy director at the ACLU of Vermont. Every day in Vermont we imprison people who have not been convicted of a crime simply because they are poor. That may sound surprising, but it is the inevitable result of our cash bail system, where those accused of crimes must trade money for their freedom. If they don't have the cash, it can mean days, weeks or months of pre-trial imprisonment. In Vermont, around 400 people every day are incarcerated pre-trial, many because they cannot afford to pay bail.

CHP to conduct DUI checkpoint on April 21

Drivers passing through the checkpoint will be checked for impairment and arrested if determined to be under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.

CHP to conduct enhanced enforcement operation focused on school bus pedestrian safety.

The project is designed to educate and remind motorists, parents, and students of the importance of school bus pedestrian safety.

Chris Murphy: Illegal Air Strikes Won’t Work

Connecticut U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy came out this past weekend against the Trump administration's bombing in Syria, on both legal and strategic crowds. Here's how he laid out his case in an email to supporters:

Christine Cornered

New Haven Sunday honored the rich and ongoing legacy of Christine Alexander, the beloved founder of New Haven Reads, who died at age 66 in 2011, by officially naming the corner of Bristol and Ashmun streets in her honor.

Church Street murder suspect seeks to represent himself

Public Defender Leroy Yoder and Chittenden County State's Attorney Sarah George appear in court. Photo by Morgan True / VTDigger. " data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 150w, 2000w, 3000w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Public defender Leroy Yoder and Chittenden County State's Attorney Sarah George appear in court Thursday for the arraignment of Louis Fortier. File photo by Morgan True/VTDigger.BURLINGTON — The man charged with first degree murder in a fatal stabbing on Church Street told a judge Thursday that he wants to represent himself in the case. Louis Fortier, 36, was identified by witnesses and surveillance video as the person who repeatedly stabbed Richard Medina, 43, at the Church Street Marketplace on Wednesday afternoon.

Cindy Hyde-Smith to meet with White House officials

Cindy Hyde-Smith, appointed by Gov. Phil Bryant to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, is scheduled to meet with White House officials Wednesday, according to a report by the Washington Post. The selection of Hyde-Smith, a Republican, to be the first woman to represent Mississippi in Congress, came under fire as it was being announced with reports that the White House had concerns about the selection. Read the complete story here. The post Cindy Hyde-Smith to meet with White House officials appeared first on Mississippi Today.

Citizenship Question on Census Is Wasteful and Harms Texans

The U.S. Department of Commerce recently announced that it would add a citizenship question to the 2020 decennial census. The post Citizenship Question on Census Is Wasteful and Harms Texans appeared first on Rivard Report.

City Approves $50 Fee for Dirty Diapers in Recycling Bins

Solid Waste Director David McCary says that diaper contamination costs the city $1.2 million a year in charges from its recycling contractor. The post City Approves $50 Fee for Dirty Diapers in Recycling Bins appeared first on Rivard Report.

City Budget Cut $10M — In Theory

Opposed to a tax increase, Gary Doyens slashed New Haven's proposed city budget Wednesday night. He zapped a new social media expert. Canceled the “Escape” teen center's lease. Killed a health clinic expansion. Took an axe to the police force.

City Charter Changes: Who Cares?

City Charter Changes: Who Cares? Commission's public hearings in northwest, southeastand central Austin draw total of only three speakers
by Ken Martin© The Austin Bulldog 2018Posted Monday April 9, 2018 10:24am
If you were waiting for the last call to make comments about nine proposals to change the Austin City Charter, this is it: the Charter Revision Commission will hold its final public hearing April 12 at the Asian American Resource Center at 8401 Cameron Road in northeast Austin. Many of the Commission's recommendations being aired are of major importance. For example:
Should the City establish an Independent Ethics Commission that has the power to issue subpoenas, compel depositions and production of evidence, investigate and hold hearings, all under the oversight of a commission whose members are drawn from a pool of applicants and will be empowered to act without other oversight? Should the City Council establish a Budget and Efficiency Officer with a small staff that would report directly to and advise the council on financial matters?

City Council Committee Chooses Three Candidates for VIA Board

The full San Antonio City Council will vote April 12 on appointing the candidates – Brian Dillard, Ezra Johnson, and Amanda Merck. The post City Council Committee Chooses Three Candidates for VIA Board appeared first on Rivard Report.

City Council to Consider Re-Adopting a Decriminalized Youth Curfew

City Council will consider re-adopting San Antonio's youth curfew ordinance, but with changes that seek to decriminalize violations. The post City Council to Consider Re-Adopting a Decriminalized Youth Curfew appeared first on Rivard Report.

City Department to San Antonio Residents: Tell Us About Your Potholes

Pothole patrol crews are aggressively targeting potholes in April with the goal of filling 7,500 across all 10 of the City Council districts by the end of the month. The post City Department to San Antonio Residents: Tell Us About Your Potholes appeared first on Rivard Report.

City Limits Announces two Additions to its Reporting Staff

Evelly/Coleen JoseJeanmarie Evelly (l) and Sadef Kully. City Limits has hired two experienced journalists to deepen its youth-training program and carry on the website's comprehensive coverage of the politics and policy of land. Jeanmarie Evelly joined the staff this spring as youth program manager/reporter. She runs CLARIFY (City Limits Accountability Reporting Initiative for Youth), which provides paid internships to up to 40 high-school students who learn the basics of public-interest and investigative reporting as they research and write articles for publication. Evelly's own reporting will supplement and extend the work that the teen reporters contribute.

City Market, Onion River Co-op celebrates Earth Week

News Release — City Market
April 13, 2018
Allison Hope, Director of Community Engagement
City Market
Burlington – City Market is celebrating Earth Week Monday, April 16 – Sunday, April 22 by partnering with Seventh Generation, Cabot Creamery, Frontier Co-op, and Albert's Organics to give away free, reusable tote bags to highlight and promote the Co-op's sustainability efforts. For this celebratory week, City Market will not have paper and plastic bags available at the registers at either of their Downtown or South End locations, in the hope that customers who receive a free, reusable bag will remember to bring them back on future visits to the Co-op. John Tashiro, City Market's General Manager says, “The month of April holds a particularly special place in my heart with the celebrations of the globally recognized Earth Day on April 22nd. While the day may come and go for some, here at the Co-op we try to celebrate its spirit every day by recognizing how truly magnificent our planet is! Every action, whether big or small, can make a difference and that lots of actions end up becoming pretty significant.

City of Burlington to support workforce, businesses during CityPlace Burlington construction

News Release — Office of Mayor Miro Weinberger
April 10, 2018
Katie Vane
Burlington – Today, Mayor Miro Weinberger, Community and Economic Development Office (CEDO) Assistant Director Gillian Nanton, and Director of ReSOURCE YouthBuild Andrew Jope announced two initiatives to support Burlington's workforce and businesses during the CityPlace Burlington (formerly Burlington Town Center) and other upcoming construction projects. On February 9, 2018, the Vermont Department of Labor awarded the City of Burlington and CEDO a $65,000 Workforce Education and Training Fund (WETF) Grant for Fiscal Year 2018 for the purpose of training under-represented population groups in construction trades and safety training. The Board of Finance approved accepting this WETF grant at its meeting on Monday, April 9. CEDO has also been working on a new Business Assistance program paid for by Devonwood Investors to provide support to businesses adjacent to the CityPlace Burlington project, with the goal of helping to minimize construction impacts and allowing these businesses to thrive during construction. Support will include workshops, one-on-one assistance, and promotional events catered to the needs of the area businesses.

City Seeks Federal Grant Aid for Soap Factory Residents

City officials are looking at ways to assist tenants who face possible displacement as a result of rising rents at a downtown apartment complex. The post City Seeks Federal Grant Aid for Soap Factory Residents appeared first on Rivard Report.

City Taps Local Startups Reckon Point, Kinetech Cloud to Take On Tech Issues

Two homegrown startups – one uses robots to create indoor maps, the other wants to automate utility bill assistance – will take up residency at the City of San Antonio for 16 weeks. The post City Taps Local Startups Reckon Point, Kinetech Cloud to Take On Tech Issues appeared first on Rivard Report.

City, County Leaders Announce May Commemorative Week Events

More details were released Friday about the Tricentennial's citywide Commemorative Week, May 1-6. The post City, County Leaders Announce May Commemorative Week Events appeared first on Rivard Report.

City’s Water Testing Program Relies in Part on City Employees Testing Their Own Homes

Image via Shutterstock
The discovery of lead in the water at a San Ysidro elementary school last year frightened parents and residents and ultimately inspired a new state law mandating more testing. Yet when the city of San Diego conducts its own tests for lead in homes across the city, as it's required to do by law, it has rarely done so in San Ysidro. Indeed, over the past 20 years, the city may have done more tests of its own employees' homes than it has done in some entire neighborhoods, like San Ysidro, a low-income neighborhood along the border. The city water department said it's been asking some city employees to test their own homes for lead and copper. Last year, three of the city's 67 samples came from employees' homes, but it has not provided information on previous years.

CityViews: As City’s Sikhs Celebrate, They Hope for New Action to Stop Bullying

Michael Appleton/ Mayoral Photography OfficeMayor Bill de Blasio visits the Gurdwara Sikh Cultural Society in Queens in 2017. Surveys indicate that Sikhs in New York City suffer widespread harassment. April is the holiest month on the Sikh calendar, and on April 28th more than 50,000 brightly costumed Sikhs will celebrate Vashaki (also called Baisakhi) at the annual Sikh Day Parade on Madison Avenue. A joyful and festive celebration of the baptism by the tenth Sikh Guru, the parade gives many Sikhs the opportunity to show their Sikh pride, and offers non-Sikhs a window of understanding into the world of Sikhism. This urgent need for understanding is a backdrop to the parade, on the minds of many Sikhs even as revelers arrive at Madison Square Park at the end of the parade to participate in langar—or the offering of free foods, where 50,000 Indian vegetarian meals will be distributed to anyone who wants one—because bias attacks against Sikhs, both adults and school children, are far too familiar to many in the community.

CityViews: City’s Win in Court Won’t End the Need for Youth Shelters

DYCDInside one of DYCD's borough-based drop-in centers for homeless youth. With little notice, April 5th brought a decisive defeat to a longstanding lawsuit brought by Legal Aid – initially pressed in 2013 against the Bloomberg administration – for a right to age-appropriate shelter for homeless youth. Individuals monitoring the case received a notice of “Activity” in their email box, notifying them that the judge granted a partial summary judgment motion, requested by the municipal Law Department, for dismissal of the core issue in the suit – the claim for a right to age-appropriate shelter for youth between 18 and 20 years old. Years of labor to force the city to house runaway and homeless young (RHY) people in small shelters with people in their own age bracket disappeared in a moment. A right to population-specific shelter is not unheard of in New York City – there is a right to service-enriched, population-specific shelter for individuals who are HIV positive (HASA beds), and a right to shelter for families who are pregnant or parenting minors (through the Department of Homeless Services).

CityViews: Council Can Foster Clean Water, Healthy Residents With Vote on Gowanus Tank

Mr. NygrenThe Gowanus Canal, seen from Union Street. Over 350 million gallons of raw sewage and other toxins overflow from our sewer system into the Gowanus Canal every year. It creates horrible odors and several health hazards that thousands of local Gowanus residents – including over 4,000 public housing residents – have been living with for decades. As part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Superfund clean-up of the Gowanus Canal, the City of New York was ordered to install two combined sewer overflow (CSO) retention tanks, which hold the combined sewage and storm water until the rain passes and then pump the CSOs to a sewage treatment plant, rather than releasing them untreated into the Gowanus Canal. These tanks are crucial new public infrastructure – but they will also occupy a significant amount of space in a changing industrial neighborhood that lacks adequate public and green space.

CityViews: Done Right, Inwood Rezoning Could Be Good For Working Families

Adi TalwarCorner of 204 Street and Seaman Avenue (Upland Core, Inwood). Inwood has been my home since I first arrived 15 years ago in New York City as a new immigrant from the Dominican Republic. This neighborhood is where I have raised my kids, gotten a good job and created the life I dreamed of living when I first arrived. When I found out that the City is planning a rezoning for the neighborhood I wondered what that would mean for me and my family and also for all of my neighbors, many of whom are hard-working immigrants just trying to provide a bright future for our kids. What I've come to realize is that there are many opportunities here for us if this rezoning is done in the right way and the new buildings in our neighborhood provide the affordable housing and good jobs that we need.

CityViews: Fixing NYCHA Means Scrapping Project-Labor Agreements

NYCHANYCHA chairwoman Shola Olatoye (in black dress) at a September 2017 groundbreaking for Sandy recovery work at NYCHA sites in Coney Island. This winter, hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers went without heat or hot water at one point or another during the frigid winter months in NYCHA properties – totaling roughly 80 percent of NYCHA residents. This has prompted an intense discussion across the state about the best ways to make positive changes and repairs to the beleaguered system. One of those solutions is the proposed implementation of a design-build system for NYCHA. On its own, this is a positive step forward that the state should not hesitate to enact.

CityViews: Government Can Close the Parole-to-Shelter Pipeline

XamrebClinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, N.Y.
Every year, 26,000 people are released from prison on parole and come home to New York City. More than 75 percent have histories of substance use and/or mental health needs; many are from abusive or neglectful homes as children and then “graduate” from institutional care into juvenile facilities and adult incarceration. More than half of people released on parole after serving time for felonies are homelessness and end up in large, dehumanizing barracks-style shelters rife with violence and drug use. These are the very issues that they must overcome to successfully reenter the community. Because of a tangle of federal, state and city regulations and funding decisions, the already limited housing alternatives available to homeless or very low-income individuals are far more limited for people coming home after incarceration.

CityViews: It’s Time for New Yorkers to Take a Stand for Age Justice

Radical Age Movement'Some of us were the radicals of the sixties. ... Today, we are over sixty; it's time for us to wake up our fellow Americans again.' Recently, there was a wine and cheese party held in a well-lit, mid-town lobby. From the outside, one might assume it was a fund-raiser for an arts program or youth group.

CityViews: New Yorkers Should Support #CountMeIn’s Fight Against Corporate Greed

CountMeInNYC'#CountMeIn is sending a message to developers that they cannot divide, separate or ignore us in our fight for fairness – and for what we deserve. '
In recent years, there's been plenty of conversation in America about income inequality, and the 1 percent versus the 99 percent. People have asked how corporate and CEO incomes can rise so high, while working-class and middle-class wages stagnate. When will corporate greed reach such levels that workers truly fight back? We recently witnessed arguments in a Supreme Court case—funded and pursued by billionaire Republicans – that would devastate public-sector unions.

CityViews: Project Labor Agreements Will Lower Costs and Improve Results for NYCHA

NYCHAA capital project at NYCHA's Johnson Houses in 2012. The other side:CityViews: Fixing NYCHA Means Scrapping Project-Labor AgreementsRead it here. New Yorkers have recently been getting a lot of one-sided and inaccurate information about project labor agreements, or PLAs. If we are going to address the challenges facing public building projects, let's at least start with some facts. PLAs are negotiated by management— that's right, management—in the form of project owners or their representatives, and unions representing trades employed on these projects.

CityViews: Trump’s Move to Send Liberians Home Causes Pain on Staten Island

Thousands of Liberians came to the United States running away from not one, but two civil wars that killed 250,000 people and displaced close to one million. The years of political unrest in the 1990's completely destroyed my country's economic infrastructure. Since the last internal conflict that ended in 2003, the West African nation has struggled to recover. To make matters worse, in 2014 and 2015 it experienced a deadly Ebola outbreak. DED beneficiaries have literally nothing to go back to if they are deported.

CityViews: Why City Cyclists Should Support Congestion Pricing

Anita Singh
Almost every weekday morning I haul my hybrid 12-speed bike down from my Carroll Gardens Brooklyn apartment to Clinton Street. Usually, I'm good to go by 8:30—rush hour— when this one-way residential street is bumper to bumper with private automobiles, box trucks and a slew of cars-for-hire darting for fares, all inching towards Manhattan. I join a steady stream of cyclists on our two-foot-wide designated strip of asphalt marked by two continuous strips of white paint, a typical New York City unprotected bike lane. Inside each of those cars, which takes up space that four, perhaps five bicyclists could fit into, there's usually just one, maybe two people, inching slowly along. This being New York City, demand for real estate will always outweigh supply—and that includes the streets themselves.

Claire Maroney: Want safe schools? Start with student mental health

This commentary is by Claire Maroney, age 20, an Environmental Studies Major at the University of Vermont. On March 29, 12 of my University of Vermont classmates and I went to the Vermont Statehouse to talk to Governor Phil Scott about gun control. For thirty minutes, we sat in his office and shared our concerns, ideas and research. Within minutes, the conversation shifted from guns to the issues underlying gun violence, specifically mental health. Gov. Scott said that passing new gun reform bills can only do so much; he asked us for ideas.

Clark Was Shot in Back Six Times, Autopsy Finds

Stephon Clark was shot six times in the back and eight times total by Sacramento police officers, according to a private autopsy released Friday by his family's legal team, a finding that increased tensions in a city already on edge over the shooting of the unarmed black man, reports the Sacramento Bee. The review concluded that Clark was facing a house with his left side to officers when they opened fire and hit him first in the left side under the arm. The force of that round spun him around with his back to officers, and six rounds penetrated his back moving in a forward trajectory, the Clark family legal team said. The last shot struck his left thigh area as Clark was falling or had fallen. Clark family attorney Benjamin Crump said the autopsy “affirms that Stephon was not a threat to police and was slain in another senseless police killing under increasingly questionable circumstances.”
The review was conducted by prominent pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu, the former chief medical examiner in San Joaquin County best known for his research on football-related concussions.

Clark Was Shot in Back Six Times, Autopsy Finds

Stephon Clark was shot six times in the back and eight times total by Sacramento police officers, according to a private autopsy released Friday by his family's legal team, a finding that increased tensions in a city already on edge over the shooting of the unarmed black man, reports the Sacramento Bee. The review concluded that Clark was facing a house with his left side to officers when they opened fire and hit him first in the left side under the arm. The force of that round spun him around with his back to officers, and six rounds penetrated his back moving in a forward trajectory, the Clark family legal team said. The last shot struck his left thigh area as Clark was falling or had fallen. Clark family attorney Benjamin Crump said the autopsy “affirms that Stephon was not a threat to police and was slain in another senseless police killing under increasingly questionable circumstances.”
The review was conducted by prominent pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu, the former chief medical examiner in San Joaquin County best known for his research on football-related concussions.

Clarksdale blues museum gets $460,000 boost from NEH grant

CLARKSDALE – The Delta Blues Museum here received $460,000 in grant funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities to expand its exhibits focusing on people who's music has had an impact on “societal changes,” reported by The Local Voice, a biweekly newspaper distributed in Oxford, Ole Miss, Water Valley, Lafayette County, Yalobusha County, and parts of Panola and Marshall counties. The grant also supports hiring a staff person for two years. Read more here. The post Clarksdale blues museum gets $460,000 boost from NEH grant appeared first on Mississippi Today.

Clean Elections, Gambling Split Candidates

Susan Bysiewicz could have worded the pivotal question of a gubernatorial debate in New Haven Sunday this way: “What makes you think you should be the hero of progressive Democrats when you're pouring your own millions into the race instead of running clean?”

Climate change causing big shifts in tropical forests

It's well known that climate change is significantly affecting the world's oceans as sea level rise and water acidifies. But forests are also experiencing big impacts. Shifting precipitation patterns are bringing droughts to the Amazon rainforest, and warmer winter temperatures are allowing tree-killing beetles to move farther north in boreal regions. Now, new research finds that climate change may be making tropical forests "move." A study published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that over the last decade, tropical forests in north-western Colombia have been shrinking and changing directionally with time as a likely response to climate change.

Climate change viewed as serious threat to ski industry

Spruce Peak ski area in Stowe. Photo by Jim Welch/VTDiggerBENNINGTON — The ski industry New Englanders have enjoyed for decades is sliding toward a meltdown, according to researcher Elizabeth Burakowski. The level of severity, she said during a lecture at Bennington College, depends on whether climate warming can be halted through a shift away from fossil fuel energy sources. “Ultimately, this comes down to reducing [carbon] emissions,” she said. An earth scientist who says she expressed a fascination with snow from an early age, Burakowski is an assistant professor at the University of New Hampshire.

Climate change: The importance of making it personal

As it turns out, conversations about climate change aren't about how well you can talk, but rather how well you can listen. In order to have a rich dialogue about this issue, we need to be willing to learn from each other. This is especially important when trying to connect with someone who may have a different viewpoint than yours; aligning our values helps us break down barriers and find common ground.Megan Van LohFor a long time, society has talked about and reported on climate change from mostly a scientific perspective. Yet personal stories are the best way to connect such a broad issue to people's lives. It's actually when we balance the stories with the science that we can place the facts and figures into context.

Climate Stories

Share your own, or just listenClimate Stories was first posted on April 15, 2018 at 11:51 am.

Clinic Expansion Questioned, Praised

Does the city need to run its own public health and urgent care clinic for 12 hours a day, seven days a week, at a time when area providers are already working to consolidate their own primary care services independent of city involvement?

Clock ticking on a bipartisan scramble to curb drug costs

With only two weeks left in the legislative session, a Democratic lawmaker and the state comptroller are feverishly working to bring to the House floor proposed legislation that is considered Connecticut's most comprehensive effort so far to control high prescription drug costs.

Closing Arguments in Murder Trial of Attorney “Tex” McIver Set Today

Closing arguments in the murder trial of Georgia attorney Claud “Tex” McIver are set to take place Tuesday in Atlanta. McIver is facing allegations that he intentionally killed his wife, Diane McIver, on Sept. 25, 2016. McIver, who has admitted that he shot his wife but insisted it was an accident, is charged with murder, felony murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony, and one count of influencing witnesses surrounding the death of Diane McIver. The McIver case has attracted nationwide attention and has been compared to “something that Tom Wolfe might dream up” in a southern version of Bonfire of the Vanities.

CO Community-Based Reentry Program Lowers Recidivism: Study

Why has crime declined in the U.S. over recent decades? A new Urban Institute report on a Colorado program called Work and Gain Education and Employment Skills (WAGEES) program, suggests the role played by communities affected by crime in developing their own public safety strategies is consequential. Early results of the program, created in 2014, shows that only 2.5 percent of WAGEES program beneficiaries have returned to prison for committing new crimes, according to Ryan King, a co-author of the report. In an article for The Hill, King argued that community organizations which invest in diverse strategies such as economic development, treatment and counseling, healthy neighborhoods, and expanded green space have been a critical factor in reducing violent crime. He adds that focusing public safety investments narrowly on policing and incarceration strategies, which may not necessarily align with community needs, can contribute to existing disadvantage and instability.

CO Supreme Court denies El Paso sheriff’s appeal in ICE detainer case

The Colorado Supreme Court has denied the El Paso County Sheriff's appeal of an order demanding that he stop detaining inmates for immigration authorities. Sheriff Bill Elder recently was the subject of a class action lawsuit, filed by the ACLU in February, alleging that he was holding arrestees in his custody beyond their scheduled release dates at the request of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. In March, after state judge Eric Bentley ruled that Elder's agreement with federal immigration authorities violates state law, Elder vowed to fight the injunction, arguing that, “We do not have a sanctuary county.”
On March 23, Elder filed an appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court. The Court issued a ruling on Thursday denying that appeal. The ACLU suit challenged a new arrangement Elder entered into with ICE in which the federal agency signs a contract with a local jail, agreeing to pay a daily rate in exchange for the jail housing federal detainees.

Coachella, Alternativo

En la primavera de 2016, mientras Trump se aferraba a su nominación como el candidato republicano para la presidencia, yo manejaba hacia el este del Valle de Coachella, en busca de un jornalero llamado Roberto. Mi celular se había quedado sin batería y no pasó mucho tiempo antes de que me perdiera entre los caminos rurales, en los que rara vez me topaba con otro vehículo. Cuando por fin encontré a Roberto, lo hallé de pie junto a su remolque esperando pacientemente, llevaba un sombrero vaquero en la cabeza y una sonrisa divertida en el rostro. Al norte y oeste del remolque se podían ver otros más estacionados; mientras que en los flancos sur y este, el jardín de Roberto* desembocaba en el desierto, en donde se podían encontrar algunos campos de lechuga y viñedos. Esta era la tierra que Roberto había trabajado durante los últimos 20 años.

Coachella, Underground

In the spring of 2016, as Trump was clinching the Republican nomination for president, I drove east into the Coachella Valley, looking for a 48-year-old farmworker named Roberto. My cell phone had died and I soon became lost, meandering along country roads where I rarely passed another vehicle. When I finally found Roberto, he was standing outside a single-wide trailer, waiting patiently in his cowboy hat, with an amused smile on his face. To the north and west of his trailer were more trailers. To the south and east his yard opened into the desert, which gave way, in places, to lettuce fields and vineyards.

Coahoma schools fire superintendent, mum on details

CLARKSDALE – The Board of Trustees of the Coahoma County School District fired superintendent Xandra Brooks-Keys at a special called meeting earlier this week. Coahoma County School DistrictXandra Brooks-Keys
Nathaniel Armistad, attorney for the school board, confirmed in a phone call with Mississippi Today that the board did fire Brooks-Keys at the Tuesday meeting. John Mac Curlee, former conservator in Aberdeen and Tate County districts, will replace Brooks-Keys as interim superintendent until further notice, said Armistad. No reason was given for the firing of Brooks-Keys and long-term plans for the position were not disclosed. Patrick Campbell, school board president, said the district hopes to keep Curlee for at least a year, during a telephone conversation with Mississippi Today.

Coal ash regulations too weak and could be getting weaker, environmentalists say

As environmentalists voiced concerns in Washington about possible changes to the Environmental Protection Agency's rules on disposing coal ash waste , some in Missouri chose to express their opposition by staging a protest at a major utility corporation's doorstep. The Missouri chapter of the Sierra Club gathered a small band of supporters Tuesday at Ameren Missouri's headquarters in St. Louis. They held large signs that showed images of Ameren's four power plants in Missouri and listed details about the toxic heavy metals that coal ash contains, such as arsenic. Ameren Missouri announced recently that it plans to close all of its coal ash ponds by 2022 .

Coal company fined 2 billion rupiah for illegal waste dumping in Borneo

Residents of villages in Indonesian Borneo who have long complained that a coal company is polluting local waterways have won their first victory in court, but activists say the sanctions against the company don't go far enough. On Dec. 4, 2017, the Tenggarong District Court in East Kalimantan ordered PT Indominco Mandiri to pay a fine of 2 billion rupiah ($145,400) after finding it guilty of dumping waste without a permit, a violation of Indonesia's Environmental Protection and Management Act. The court found Indominco had dumped some 4,000 tons of fly ash and bottom ash, both residues of burning coal and classified as toxic and hazardous waste, in the vicinity of its coal-fired power plant. Indominco operates mines in three districts in East Kalimantan province: Kutai Kartanegara, Bontang and East Kutai.

Coalition aims to ease city of St. Louis’ vacant property issue

The city of St. Louis has more than 25,000 vacant and abandoned properties, attracting crime and arson, lowering property values and reducing tax revenue for the city. On Tuesday a coalition of neighborhood, city, and non-profit agencies announced the “Neighborhood Vacancy Initiative" at a press conference at Saint Louis University's School of Law. "We have convened a diverse group of stakeholders ranging from neighborhood residents, neighborhood associations, academia, community and government leaders along with various community organizations that have been working together to create tools and resources to address the problem of vacancy in St. Louis,” said Sundy Whiteside, board president of the St.

Cold Spring Tag Sale

Get ready to clean the closetsCold Spring Tag Sale was first posted on March 30, 2018 at 7:08 am.

Cold Spring Teen Arrested for Vandalism

Charged with damage that occurred March 30-31Cold Spring Teen Arrested for Vandalism was first posted on April 6, 2018 at 8:35 pm.

Coleman returns with Legacy Big Band

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 27, 2011 - Throughout the 1990s, one of the premier jazz orchestras in the St. Louis area was the Legacy Big Band, conducted by founder and clarinetist Bob Coleman.

College Catch-Ups

Richard Kish (track), Tyler Giachinta (lacrosse), Tony Romanelli (baseball)College Catch-Ups was first posted on April 15, 2018 at 9:25 am.

College Info

Butterfield, Beacon to host workshopsCollege Info was first posted on April 23, 2018 at 7:05 am.

Colombia grants ‘historic’ protections to rainforest, indigenous groups

In a move described as “unprecedented,” Colombia's president Juan Manuel Santos announced Tuesday that the country intends to add 8 million hectares (80,000 square kilometers or 31,000 square miles) to its protected areas. That same day, Santos also signed a decree granting indigenous communities the ability and autonomy to govern their own territories. According to a speech by Santos, these new protections will increase Colombia's protected area coverage by 30 million to 38 million hectares – or by 27 percent. He said this expansion will protect forest against the encroachment of agriculture and will include strategic areas for biodiversity conservation. The announcement comes as agricultural activity has rushed to fill the vacuum left by demobilization of the FARC rebel group, the presence of which held off development in much of the Colombian Amazon for decades.

Colon Slams Slumlords, Praises Hill Model

Drawing on her own story as a working single mother who ascended to the middle class, the co-chair of the Black & Hispanic Caucus called out slumlords and put high-end developers on notice that affordable housing needs to be part of their plans for the Elm City.

Colorado bill would open records on completed police internal affairs investigations

Colorado would join a dozen other states that require public disclosure of internal records on police misconduct under legislation introduced in the House on Wednesday. House Bill 18-1404 would open files that examine a law enforcement officer's in-uniform or on-duty performance once an internal affairs investigation is complete. A requester would have access to records related to a “specific, identifiable incident of alleged misconduct involving a member of the public,” including witness interviews, video and audio recordings, documentary evidence, transcripts and final departmental decisions. Any private information, such as Social Security numbers or an officer's home address, would be redacted and police would have discretion to black out information they believe would compromise the safety of officers, victims or informants. Rep. James Coleman
A study released in early February by a University of Denver law professor and her students found that many law enforcement agencies in Colorado routinely reject public records requests for internal affairs files, leaving Coloradans “largely in the dark with regard to allegations and investigations of police misconduct.”“It's about transparency and it's about accountability,” said Rep. James Coleman, the Denver Democrat who is sponsoring the bill.

Colorado Democrats overwhelming reject Democrats for Education Reform at state assembly

Delegates at the Colorado Democratic state assembly Saturday sent a clear message to the state chapter of Democrats for Education Reform: You don't have a place in our party. After booing down the head of the education reform organization, who described herself as a lifelong Democrat, delegates voted overwhelmingly Saturday to call for the organization to no longer use “Democrats” in its name. While it's unclear how that would be enforced, the vote means a rejection of DFER is now part of the Colorado Democratic Party platform. The one-sided platform fight revealed a growing divide among party activists and establishment politicians on education policy that could have implications for the governor's race. Cary Kennedy, a former state treasurer who has the backing of the teachers unions, got 62 percent of the vote at the assembly, easily securing a place on the ballot alongside U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, who got 33 percent of the vote.

Colorado Dems overwhelmingly reject Democrats for Education Reform at state assembly

Delegates at the Colorado Democratic state assembly Saturday sent a clear message to the state chapter of Democrats for Education Reform: You don't have a place in our party. After booing down the head of the education reform organization, who described herself as a lifelong Democrat, delegates voted overwhelmingly Saturday to call for the organization to no longer use “Democrats” in its name. While it's unclear how that would be enforced, the vote means a rejection of DFER is now part of the Colorado Democratic Party platform. The one-sided platform fight revealed a growing divide among party activists and establishment politicians on education policy that could have implications for the governor's race. Cary Kennedy, a former state treasurer who has the backing of the teachers unions, got 62 percent of the vote at the assembly, easily securing a place on the ballot alongside U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, who got 33 percent of the vote.

Colorado Earth Day 2018

On April 21st, thousands of Coloradans and a diverse collection of leaders will come together to celebrate Earth Day with the Sierra Club. Together, we can show progress and commitment to climate change action while strengthening our community to reach a 100% clean energy future. When members and leaders of the community are willing to stand up against the environmental injustices imposed by the federal government, Colorado can emerge as a leader in environmental protection and climate action. Head to the Denver capitol at 9 a.m. feature yoga, live music by the Broadcast and the Other Black, an opening ceremony by Four Winds Native American Council, and guest speakers including Olympic gold medalist and coach Justin Reiter, Tay Anderson and Colorado State Representative Joseph Salazar. The day will include beer garden, children's zone, vendors and local merchandise, as well as thousands of motivated individuals looking to make a difference for the Earth.

Colorado gubernatorial hopeful Mike Johnston, known as an education reformer, says what schools really need is money

Former state Sen. Mike Johnston, known as an architect of the state's most sweeping education reforms, says that what Colorado's schools really need is money. Now a Democratic candidate for governor, Johnston released an education platform this week that hinges on a major tax reform and calls for free full-day kindergarten, more access to preschool, and higher pay for teachers, as well as two years of higher education or career training, debt-free, in exchange for community service. In an interview with Chalkbeat, he said the unifying theme is equity, “from the youngest kids to the 55-year-olds who have only known being a coal miner for three generations.”
A former teacher and charter school principal, Johnston was the author of Colorado's still controversial teacher effectiveness law and a key figure in the passage of the READ Act, which created a new system to identify students in kindergarten through third grade with reading disabilities. He also found bipartisan support to pass the ASSET bill, which provided in-state tuition for students who were born in another country. He's drawn support from backers of education reform.

Colorado House approves budget that cuts spending for private prisons despite projected rise in inmate population

Lawmakers are rolling the dice in an effort to drive down the state's prison population. The $28.9 billion state budget approved Thursday includes no money to lease private prison beds despite a warning from the Department of Corrections that the plan could lead to prison overcrowding. Instead, lawmakers cut spending to lease private prison beds by about $4.4 million and put up an additional $4 million to pay for more beds in community corrections, also known as halfway houses. This is part of a broader effort to force the Department of Corrections to transition more inmates out of prison. “I'm very concerned with mass incarceration and the proliferation of our private prisons,” Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver, told The Colorado Independent.

Colorado lawmakers see a budget threat in the promise of early colleges

Lawmakers are looking to reign in Colorado's early college programs as districts have expanded their offerings in ways that encourage students to stay in high school for a fifth and sixth year, on the state's dime. The same law that created Colorado's concurrent enrollment program, which allows students to take college courses while in high school, also allowed for early colleges. In these programs, students earn 60 hours of college credit or an associate's degree before they earn their high school diploma. The State Board of Education has authorized 20 so far, including five that were grandfathered in 2009. Keith King, the administrator of Colorado Early Colleges who pioneered this model, said the goal has always been to graduate students in four years, though he acknowledged between 20 and 30 percent of his students take longer than that.

Colorado mining bill aims to protect water quality near mining operations

Recently appointed District 26 Rep. Dylan Roberts, D-Eagle, has introduced a bill he says will help make sure maintaining water quality is a priority, even after hard-rock mines shut down. Colorado House Bill 18-1301 aims to protect water quality from the adverse impacts of mining by requiring reclamation plans to set an end date for water quality treatment to comply with water quality standards. The bill would also require mine operators to prove they have enough financial backing to protect water quality and could not use self-bonding as a financial assurance. “When a mining company is calculating the amount of bonding they need to operate and successfully close the mine, they need to make sure that water quality is always a part of that calculation,” Roberts said. “We have to make sure the companies have the money to clean up and monitor water quality because, if they don't, it's left to the taxpayers to pay for that.”
Roberts' co-sponsor on the bill is District 59 Democrat Barbara McLachlan.

Colorado snowpack thin in south; Colorado River basin at 86 percent

ALAMOSA – The members of the Rio Grande Basin roundtable got a disheartening report this week about this year's snowpack and likely runoff in the Rio Grande River basin, as well as an update on a 30-year warming and drying trend. “We're going to have low stream flows,” Craig Cotten, the division engineer for the Colorado Division of Water Resources in the Rio Grande River basin, told the roundtable Tuesday at its monthly meeting in Alamosa, just a few blocks from the Rio Grande River. “I'm sure we're going to dry up the Conejos (River) and maybe the Rio Grande, in some spots.”
To put the Rio Grande's situation in context, Cotten shared snowpack data taken from snow telemetry, or SNOTEL sites, around Colorado, which measure the amount, and weight, of the snowpack at specific locations around the state. The data from the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service on April 11 showed a decline in snowpack as one travels from north to south in Colorado. The North Platte River basin, to the northeast of Steamboat Springs, was at 102 percent of the median level for that date.

Colorado state budget clears conference committee, but disagreement remains over how to spend some of the money

Lobbyists, politicos, aides and interns filled the Joint Budget Committee room on Wednesday, spilling out into the hall and taking seats on the floor — all eyes on state budget writers this week as they put some of the final touches on the $28.9 billion Colorado budget. The six-member conference committee passed the budget unanimously after rejecting several House and Senate amendments that threw it out of balance by tens of millions of dollars. But in doing so, the committee kept $4.8 million to help ex-offenders with mental health disorders get housing assistance, and $35 million for school security upgrades and staff training to help students who may be a danger to themselves or others. To pay for these school security measures, lawmakers tapped a fund used for education spending rather than the General Fund. They also reduced proposed spending on housing assistance for middle-income homebuyers and affordable housing construction grants from $5 million to $1 million, and eliminated money for air quality monitoring near oil and gas wells.

Colorado teachers can claim an unwelcome distinction: most underpaid in the nation (or close to it)

Teachers from West Virginia to Oklahoma and Kentucky have staged protests or walked off the job in recent weeks to agitate for better pay and more money for their schools. But the teachers who are the most underpaid in the nation – at least when compared to their peers with similar education levels – are in Colorado. A recent study from the Education Law Center, a group that advocates for more school funding, ranked Colorado dead last in the competitiveness of its teacher salaries. The typical 25-year-old teacher at the beginning of her career in Colorado makes just 69 percent of what her peers with similar education levels who work similar hours earn. In Facebook comments, in speeches on the floor of Colorado General Assembly, in asides made during interviews, teachers and policy makers have started to connect low pay here and labor unrest elsewhere.

Colorado teachers can claim an unwelcome distinction: most underpaid in the nation (or close to it)

Teachers from West Virginia to Oklahoma and Kentucky have staged protests or walked off the job in recent weeks to agitate for better pay and more money for their schools. But the teachers who are the most underpaid in the nation – at least when compared to their peers with similar education levels – are in Colorado. A recent study from the Education Law Center, a group that advocates for more school funding, ranked Colorado dead last in the competitiveness of its teacher salaries. The typical 25-year-old teacher at the beginning of her career in Colorado makes just 69 percent of what her peers with similar education levels who work similar hours earn. In Facebook comments, in speeches on the floor of Colorado General Assembly, in asides made during interviews, teachers and policy makers have started to connect low pay here and labor unrest elsewhere.

Colorado teachers can claim an unwelcome distinction: most underpaid in the nation (or close to it)

Teachers from West Virginia to Oklahoma and Kentucky have staged protests or walked off the job in recent weeks to agitate for better pay and more money for their schools. But the teachers who are the most underpaid in the nation – at least when compared to their peers with similar education levels – are in Colorado. A recent study from the Education Law Center, a group that advocates for more school funding, ranked Colorado dead last in the competitiveness of its teacher salaries. The typical 25-year-old teacher at the beginning of her career in Colorado makes just 69 percent of what her peers with similar education levels who work similar hours earn. In Facebook comments, in speeches on the floor of Colorado General Assembly, in asides made during interviews, teachers and policy makers have started to connect low pay here and labor unrest elsewhere.

Colorado teachers plan more walkouts, and Jeffco canceled classes one day next week

Teachers from Colorado's two largest school districts are planning back-to-back walkouts next week to call for more funding for education – and they could be joined by other districts. Jeffco Public Schools canceled classes for April 26, next Thursday, after many teachers there said they plan to go to the Capitol, while the union representing Denver classroom teachers said they plan to walk out midday April 27, next Friday, to rally at the Capitol early in the afternoon. In a press release, the Denver Classroom Teachers Association said Denver teachers would be leading a statewide walkout. Corey Kern, the union's deputy executive director, said he's not sure yet how many other districts will be represented. The announcements come after hundreds of teachers marched at the Capitol during a day of action Monday to protect their retirement benefits and call for more school funding.

Colorado’s grand bargain to create a national model for redistricting

Two groups that were readying for a major battle on your ballot in November over how Colorado draws its political lines have laid down their swords and joined forces in a grand bargain they say will end partisan gerrymandering. The March 27 announcement of this negotiated pact between a group called Fair Districts Colorado and another called People Not Politicians is a stunning turnabout after six months of saber-rattling, and, at times, accusations of bad faith. Related: A group says it wants to end partisan redistricting in Colorado. Would its plan really do that? The compromise means the two groups have joined behind two new proposed ballot measures they say could end gerrymandering by changing the state Constitution.

Colorado’s Growing Suicide Rate Thrown into Relief by Williams Tragedy

Suicide is a rising public health dilemma in Colorado, where 1,004 residents took their own lives last year, according to the state health department. The state's suicide rate has jumped 19 percent in the past decade, and is particularly high among middle-age and older men.

Colorado’s Spanish spelling bee is growing as more students, from different backgrounds, take on the challenge

Almost 50 Colorado students are getting ready to compete this weekend in a spelling bee where they'll be spelling words in Spanish. In addition to breaking down words letter-by-letter, in Spanish, students must include special marks, such as accents or capital letters, in the right places. “One of the common misconceptions is that it is easier to spell in Spanish than it is in English, but it absolutely is not,” said Jorge Garcia, executive director for the Colorado Association for Bilingual Education, the organization hosting the state spelling bee. “They don't just memorize words. Cognitively, it's a good exercise for them.”
Most students who participate are native Spanish speakers, but a handful of students are native English speakers who learn Spanish as a second language.

Colorado’s state preschool program doesn’t serve English learners well, report finds

Colorado's public preschool program fails to meet most targets for effectively serving young English learners, according to a new state-by-state report released today. Besides having just two of nine recommended policies in place for serving such youngsters, Colorado also doesn't know how many of the 22,000 preschoolers in its state-funded slots speak a home language other than English. These findings come from the “State of Preschool 2017” report put out by the National Institute for Early Education Research, or NIEER, at Rutgers University. This year, in addition to the organization's usual look at state preschool spending, enrollment, and quality, the report includes a section on how states are serving English learners. Nationwide, 23 percent of preschool-aged children fall into this category.

Columbus House Goes Solar

A crane is extended and solar panels are busily being installed just in time for spring at Columbus House.

COLUMN: 2040 Draft Regional Transportation Plan Funding Has Some Real Eye-Openers

COMMENTARY: Developer fees are forecasted to supply $263 million, 54%, of local funding and local funding is the largest source of transportation funds.

COLUMN: Understanding the role of a Realtor

What should your Realtor do for you?

Comcast introduces gigabit internet service in Vermont

News Release — Comcast
April 18, 2018
Elizabeth Walden
Montpelier – Comcast announced that it is launching a new internet service that will deliver speeds up to 1 Gigabit-per-second (Gbps) to residential and business customers in Vermont, These speeds will be among the fastest and most widely available and include access to the nation's largest Wi-Fi network of more than 19 million hotspots. Comcast plans to launch 1 Gig service to the majority of its service areas in Vermont throughout 2018. The service is now available in Berlin, Bethel, Braintree, Brookfield, Calais, Duxbury, East Montpelier, Greensboro, Hardwick, Hyde Park, Johnson, Middlesex, Montpelier, Moretown, Morristown, Morrisville, Plainfield, Randolph, Rochester, Walden, Waterbury, Worcester and Woodbury, Vermont. Comcast's new 1 Gigabit Internet service uses DOCSIS 3.1 technology that makes it possible to deliver ultra-fast speeds over the existing communications lines that are already in most homes and neighborhoods. To enjoy the service, all customers need to do is install a new DOCSIS 3.1 cable modem.

Coming soon: VTDigger’s new commenting platform

Sign up now to test VTDigger's new commenting system before we launch it next week.VTDigger is changing its commenting platform — again. Starting next week, comments on this site will be supported by Talk, a tool created by The Coral Project. This platform was developed in collaboration with several major news websites and is supported by Mozilla, the company behind the Firefox web browser. Wait a minute. Didn't you just switch commenting platforms?

Commentary: A hidden danger on campus

Meningitis is a disease that can be fatal, and infections often occur in young adults. Rubin
Yet many college students aren't vaccinated for meningitis B, which accounts for about 40 percent of cases, says Dr. Mitzi Rubin of Marietta. In a new GHN Commentary, Rubin says that “parents may think their children are protected when they leave for college, not realizing that the current meningitis vaccine doesn't cover the B strain.”
“Parents may need to ask specifically for the meningitis B vaccine in order for their students to receive it,'' she adds. Here's a link to her Commentary. By Andy Miller for Georgia Health News, 2016.

Commentary: Improving accountability in St. Louis city hall

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 30, 2011 - Those who follow St. Louis city politics were probably shocked, but not surprised, to learn about the latest scandal involving the treasurer's office. In September, a federal grand jury indicted Fred W. Robinson, a treasurer's office employee, with stealing $250,000 from a defunct charter school.

Commentary: Rivas endorsed by grassroots Democrats

Watsonville's Pajaro Valley Cesar Chavez Democratic Club chooses local Supervisor for state Assembly

Commentary: Top quality musical theater abounds in St. Louis

Whether you are a lover of musical theater or not, one can't help but notice that it surrounds our culture. Last year "La La Land" won academy awards galore and this year we have "The Greatest Showman" up for awards in the major film award shows. And you would have to be living in a vacuum to not know something about "Hamilton,” the big Broadway bash which is currently playing at the Fox and travelling around the country, and of course we are about to celebrate the 100th anniversary of The Muny. According to Mike Isaacson, director of The Muny, "The musical is now one of the world's greatest and most beloved forms of entertainment and art. Born from an American restlessness, an American zeal for variety and the cultural polyglot that continues to define America, the musical sometimes unites, sometimes smashes together different artistic disciplines-music, drama , the visual arts-to create something wholly new and fresh and inspiring.

COMMENTARY: Will the County Walk Away from CalPERS? Not in this Lifetime

Huge CalPERS unfunded termination estimates show how much the system bets on high investment returns to fund future obligations.

Commissioner: Rushed BLM leasing threatens our way of life

For the past several years, Sweetwater County has requested that the Bureau of Land Management manage our federal lands in a balanced manner that supports our mineral economy while protecting the open spaces, wildlife and outdoor recreational opportunities that help sustain our high quality of life. Wally JohnsonCurrently, this balance may be threatened by potential BLM oil and gas lease sales within the Greater Little Mountain Area and the Hoback to Red Desert Migration Corridor. This is especially true if these lease sales occur prior to the BLM Draft Rock Springs Resource Management Plan and Record of Decision. If these sales occur prior to the publishing of the Draft RMP and ROD, the development of these leases may compromise the valuable open spaces and wildlife resources of the Greater Little Mountain Area and the Hoback to Red Desert Migration Corridor. On March 20, 2018, Sweetwater County sent a letter to Governor Mead requesting that he consider asking the BLM to delay these proposed GLMA and Migration Corridor oil and gas sales until the public has had an opportunity to provide comment on the Draft RMP.

Commissioners Agree to Let Lawyer Defend LaHood Against Complaint

Bexar County Commissioners voted to approve a professional services agreement with the law firm to represent District Attorney Nico LaHood. The post Commissioners Agree to Let Lawyer Defend LaHood Against Complaint appeared first on Rivard Report.

Common Sense Media Strives to be ‘AARP for Kids’

A California nonprofit organization which rates children's media recently announced that it plans to become an advocate for educational technology, early childhood education and other issues. The San Francisco-based organization, Common Sense Media, offers free reviews and ratings of children's media, including television shows, movies, video games and apps. The organization's founder and chief executive, James P. Steyer, said he plans to use the 65 million users as “an army of advocates for kids.”
“Our goal is to be AARP for kids,” Steyer said in a telephone interview Monday. “We're going to ask people to step up and make kids and education the number one priority in this country.”
Steyer added that the group plans to urge state lawmakers into action on a broad range of topics including access to digital classroom technology and the privacy of student data in order to improve upon career and technical education, as well as childhood poverty, writes Emma Brown for The Washington Post. “We have a simple mission: to make kids and education the nation's top priority,” said Steyer.

Communities divided over proficiency based learning

Rep. David Sharpe chairs the House Education Committee. File photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="David Sharpe" width="610" height="408" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 1280w, 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Rep. David Sharpe chairs the House Education Committee. File photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDiggerFor almost 150 years, teachers, parents and students in Vermont tracked progress using a percentage system. The higher the better, and as long as you got a certain score at the end of the year, and spent enough hours in class, you passed to the next grade. A few years ago, the state decided the old way of doing things wasn't working anymore, and in 2014, the State Board of Education adopted education quality standards that, along with proficiency based learning, are meant to ratchet up student knowledge and skills before they head off to college or enter the workforce.

Community angst growing as decision on new Sheridan superintendent nears

As the Sheridan school board looks to replace its long-serving superintendent, some teachers and parents say they are eager for change and a leader who will be more representative of the district. Board members must decide between staying the course after some improvement or taking a chance on bigger changes. Superintendent Michael Clough, who is retiring in June, led the tiny Sheridan district just south of Denver's west side for the last decade as a vocal proponent for increased school funding, and was sometimes at odds with state officials. He helped the district earn a higher performance rating just in time to avoid state sanctions. But the district of about 1,400 students, where almost 25 percent of students are experiencing homelessness, is still considered low performing by several measures, and many teachers, parents, and students are asking for bigger changes.

Community Health Centers of Burlington announce Medication Assisted Treatment Program reaches 400-patient milestone

News Release — Community Health Centers of Burlington
April 23, 2018
Kim Anderson
Director of Development and Communications
BURLINGTON, VT – The Community Health Centers of Burlington (CHCB) are proud to announce their Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Program has reached a milestone of serving over 400 patients in need of addiction recovery care, nearly tripling their numbers since 2013. As a non-profit primary care organization, CHCB delivers the largest office-based opiate treatment program in Chittenden County. The MAT Program, which is offered free of charge for patients, incorporates buprenorphine (Suboxone) together with education, counseling and other support needed to manage opiate addiction for a lifetime. Medication Assisted Treatment for opiate addiction is an ongoing process, much like treatment for any other chronic illness. “Our MAT teams offer the kind of chronic disease management for addiction that we would offer to any patient with another chronic medical condition, like diabetes or cardiovascular disease,” says Naya Pyskacek, CHCB's Director of Integrated Behavioral Health Programs. “Additionally, MAT staff help patients access resources for housing, employment, counseling, and provide general support to patients in their recovery process.”
Mayor Miro Weinberger recently visited with CHCB's MAT staff to celebrate their landmark achievement.

Commuter trains coming to Hollister. Really?

School district superintendent's idea for bus yard on Leatherback site is derailed because city is entertaining the idea of commuter train service downtown.

Company Looking to Introduce Shared Electric Scooters to San Antonio

Blue Duck Scooters, a San Antonio-based startup, aims to put up to 1,000 of the dockless shared vehicles on downtown streets. The post Company Looking to Introduce Shared Electric Scooters to San Antonio appeared first on Rivard Report.

Compromise Reached On SRO Moratorium

A Board of Alders public hearing on a proposed moratorium on the conversion and demolition of boarding-room units in the city will continue as the proposed language continues to take shape. The rehabilitation of the Hotel Duncan from a boarding house into a luxury “boutique” inn will continue, too.

Concerned about over-testing, Tennessee will eliminate two high school exams

Tennessee will drop two end-of-course exams for high schoolers next school year in its most significant reduction of state testing in recent years. The state's testing task force voted Monday to eliminate standardized tests for chemistry and English III — essentially cutting by more than half the amount of state-ordered testing for students in their junior year of high school. Eleventh grade is considered the state's heaviest testing year because of additional exams for the ACT, Advanced Placement courses, and dual credit exams, in addition to current state assessments in U.S. history, English III, chemistry, and sometimes other subjects too. Educators agree that, by their junior year of high school, most students are more focused on doing well on their college entrance exam than in prepping for state-mandated assessments that have been part of their testing regimen since the third grade. Education Commissioner Candice McQueen said these two exams are the logical ones to cut because it would make a big dent in 11th-grade testing.

Concerns about long days add to a bumpy week for New York state tests

The state's efforts to cut testing days and give students unlimited assessment time was meant to appease testing critics, but now some parents and teachers are worried there's a catch: young students spending multiple hours at a time taking the tests
The state's English tests, which were supposed to take on average 60 to 90 minutes to complete, took some students three to six hours to finish, according to teachers who spoke to Chalkbeat and numerous reports on social media. “It's very emotionally taxing on the kids,” said Ruben Brosbe, who teaches fifth grade at P.S. 194. “The level of stress that they go through, it's hard to watch as an adult that cares about them.” Brosbe said about a quarter of his class was still working at the end of the day — about six hours after testing began. One middle school teacher said that the majority of her students took at least three hours and that some took until the end of the day to finish. “It becomes an endurance test, not a reading and writing test,” said Christine Sugrue, who teaches sixth grade.

Confederate States President’s Photo Album Ends Up in Iowa

Joseph Riley from Erie County, N.Y., was in a train station in New Jersey in 1873 when he overheard a conversation between two men sitting on a bench across from him. They were reminiscing about their experiences in the Civil War. One of the men had fought with the Union and said he had been stationed at Fortress Monroe during the final days of the war and that he had guarded the captured president of the Confederate States, Jefferson Davis. He said he had in his possession a family photo album that belonged to Davis. He guessed that Davis would be willing to pay dearly for the stolen piece of family history.

Confronting Possible Gas Attacks in Syria, the UN Security Council Succumbs to Chaos

Vassily Nebenzia, Russia's chief diplomat to the UN, on April 9, 2018, the first of many meetings during the week in the Security Council to confront the recent alleged gas attack in Syria and to respond to retaliatory military threats by America. To his left are diplomats from Sweden, the United States and Britain. MARK GARTEN/UN PHOTO
In a week of reversals, semireversals and blatant backtracking by some of the most powerful countries on earth, diplomacy showed its head-spinning underside in the United Nations Security Council, as three Western allies — Britain, France and the United States — conveyed their outrage against Russia for its perceived role in allowing the Syrian government to unleash fatal chemical weapons on its own people. Russia reacted in kind against the Westerners, spreading invective all around. The drama began on Monday, April 9, as the Council responded to the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma on the previous weekend, in which dozens of people were reported killed and many more were wounded.

Confused about the Greitens investigations? Here’s what you should know

Attorney General Josh Hawley announced Tuesday that he had found evidence Gov. Eric Greitens broke the law when he used a donor list from his charity, The Mission Continues, to fundraise for his campaign. Have questions about the Greitens case? Ask them here and we'll answer them on the Politically Speaking podcast.

Congress moves to tighten food stamp rules

WASHINGTON — A massive farm bill being considered in the House Agriculture Committee would end food stamp benefits for many childless adults in 114 Connecticut towns, unless those beneficiaries get a job or work training. Republicans said the change would encourage more recipients to move out of poverty while Democrats said it was a mean-sperited degradation of a critical part of the social safety net.

Congress to Consider Texas-Style Prison Reforms

Stalled efforts to reform the federal criminal justice system are getting a second look in Washington after the White House saw how much money Texas and other states saved overhauling prisons, McClatchy Newspapers reports. President Trump campaigned on a promise to be tough on crime, and rejected Congress's sentencing reform plans that drew support from both parties. After months of behind-the-scenes lobbying from Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, Trump has come around to some of their ideas. The White House says the president supports reforms like those Texas implemented more than a decade ago, which since saved the state more than $3 billion and has resulted in the closure of prisons and a lower crime rate. South Carolina has saved $500 million with similar changes.

Connecticut House passes bipartisan pay-equity bill

The House of Representatives overwhelming approved a bipartisan pay-equity bill Thursday that would place Connecticut in the small but growing ranks of states that bar employers from asking applicants about their pay history. It now goes to the Senate, where a similar measure died last year without a vote.

Connecticut House weakens, then passes affordable housing bill

The House of Representatives voted 76-72 Tuesday to approve and send to the Senate an affordable-housing bill sought by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to push two dozen Connecticut communities to end their prohibition on multi-family housing. The bill was stripped of financial penalties before passage.

Connecticut’s Math Scores Don’t Add Up

Most of Connecticut's grade-schoolers were stumped by questions on a national math test; state officials are equally puzzled about what to do about it.

Connolly: An open letter to Miro Weinberger about the F-35 fighter jet

Editor's note: This commentary is by Lena Connolly, a sophomore at the University of Vermont and a lifelong Burlington resident. My name is Lena Connolly. I am a sophomore at the University of Vermont, and I have lived in Burlington for my entire life. Surrounded by a loving and compassionate community, unbeatable natural beauty, and numerous activities both in the city and the outdoors, I am sure you know that Burlington is a phenomenal place to live. However, like any place, Burlington is not perfect.

Consejos y herramientas para investigaciones: Disponible en cinco idiomas, incluido el español

La Red Global de Periodismo de Investigación lanzó una serie de videos sobre técnicas de investigación, con consejos y herramientas por parte de periodistas expertos en el tema. Entrevistamos a especialistas en periodismo de datos, registros públicos, estrategias de búsqueda en línea, verificación de datos y más. Ahora forman parte del Centro de Recursos de GIJN. Nos complace anunciar una importante adición a este conjunto de mini-seminarios: nuestras editoras regionales los han traducido a cuatro idiomas: árabe, chino, español y ruso. Tenemos nuevos lanzamientos programados, un video cada semana.

Conservation District offers information on Japanese knotweed

News Release — Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District
March 23, 2018
Corrina Parnapy, District Manager
Winooski Natural Resources Conservation
Invasive Japanese Knotweed 101
Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica), which closely resembles giant knotweed and the hybrid Bohemidan knotweed, looks very similar to bamboo, although it is not related. Knotweed can be found along many roadways, stream corridors and along fields within the Winooski Watershed. Thanks to extensive erosion from Irene and other storms, Knotweed has spread far and wide throughout Vermont, impacting water quality and soil health. This fast growing herbaceous perennial invasive originates from Asia. It was first introduced in the 1800's as an ornamental species for gardens and has been used to control erosion (which it turns out actually contributes more to larger erosion events).

Conservation Effectiveness series sparks action, dialogue

Some strategies for protecting forests and wildlife, such as protected areas and community forestry, have become immensely popular around the world. But do these conservation strategies truly achieve the objectives they set out to realize? How much scientific evidence do we have about their effectiveness? What is the quality of that evidence? What are the information gaps?

Conservation Law Foundation details Vermont Yankee concerns

The Vermont Yankee nuclear plant in Vernon. Photo courtesy Vermont Business Magazine
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Vermont Yankee" width="640" height="408" srcset=" 1024w, 125w, 330w, 610w, 150w, 140w, 220w, 250w, 660w" sizes="(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px" data-recalc-dims="1">The now-idled Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon. Photo courtesy of Vermont Business MagazineThough a recent settlement deal quieted criticism of Vermont Yankee's proposed sale, at least one group is maintaining staunch opposition. In recent documents filed with the state, the Conservation Law Foundation raises financial, liability and transparency questions about Entergy's sale of the idled Vernon nuclear plant to New York-based NorthStar. Three state agencies and several other groups signed a memorandum of understanding endorsing the sale last month.

Conservationist known as a caretaker for Kenya’s orphaned elephants dies at 83

Daphne Sheldrick, a conservationist known for her work to care for and return orphaned elephants to the wild, died of breast cancer on April 12 at the age of 83. Her husband, David, was the first warden at Kenya's largest national park, Tsavo East. After his death in 1977, she started the Nairobi-based David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Daphne Sheldrick pioneered methods to rear milk-dependent elephant and rhino orphans. The organization, responsible for rearing more than 200 baby elephants to date, said that other orphanages around the world have used this knowledge to save other animals separated from their mothers.

Conservative ‘dark money’ group faces IRS complaint over tax filings

A conservative “dark money” organization hasn't been filing its federal taxes, and two watchdog organizations are asking the IRS to levy penalties. Americans for Job Security, a nonprofit trade organization that spent millions of dollars boosting Republican congressional candidates, hasn't filed its taxes in three years, according to Issue One and the Campaign Legal Center, which filed a formal complaint this morning. Not filing tax returns is a failure to comply with federal rules governing nonprofits, Issue One Executive Director Meredith McGehee said. “The IRS should not let this, or any other dark money group, off the hook for failing to follow these simple rules,” she said. Brendan Fischer, director of federal and Federal Election Commission reform at the Campaign Legal Center, said in a statement that Americans for Job Security “has long deprived the public of information about the sources of its funding as it spent tens of millions of dollars influencing elections.”

Americans for Job Security, which the Center for Public Integrity profiled in a series of articles earlier this decade, didn't respond to requests for comment.

Conservative watchdog seeks ethics probe of Esty

WASHINGTON — A conservative watchdog group, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, filed a complaint Thursday with the Office of Congressional Ethics requesting an immediate investigation into Rep. Elizabeth Esty's handling of a former chief of staff accused of abusive and threatening behavior.

Constitutional amendment to fund road construction projects clears first hurdle

Briana Bierschbach

It was less than 24 hours before a key deadline — and six weeks into the 2018 Minnesota legislative session — when Scott Newman finally got his bill in front of lawmakers for the first time. But that's often how things go with amendments to the Minnesota Constitution, Newman said. They're a big deal, and it takes time to get people on board.“Frankly, I didn't know that the coalition was going to come forward in time to move on this year,” Newman, a Republican senator from Hutchinson, testified Wednesday infront of the Senate Transportation Finance Committee, where the bill was being heard. “It's hard to get a lot of people organized and in agreement on any given issue.” Newman's proposed amendment would ask the voters this fall if they want to dedicate sales tax revenues generated from auto parts and repairs toward fixing roads, bridges, highways and other transportation projects. Currently, that revenue goes into the state's general fund, where it can be used on anything from roads to health care and education programs. Last year, as part of a transportation funding deal, lawmakers passed a law that dedicated sales tax dollars from vehicle leases and rentals toward transportation projects.

Construction set to begin on Colchester surgery center

Amy Cooper is executive director of HealthFirst. Photo by Erin Mansfield/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Amy Cooper" width="640" height="450" srcset=" 1024w, 125w, 300w, 610w, 150w" sizes="(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px" data-recalc-dims="1">Amy Cooper is project manager for the Green Mountain Surgery Center. File photo by Erin Mansfield/VTDiggerAfter years of planning and permitting, construction is set to begin on Vermont's second independent surgical center. Crews may begin building the Green Mountain Surgery Center in Colchester before the end of this month, said project manager Amy Cooper. Opening is projected for this time next year, if all goes well.Get all of VTDigger's health care news.You'll never miss our health care coverage with our weekly headlines in your inbox.

Content Drives Revenue: The Art of Brand Integration

Now more than ever it holds true that content drives revenue, and well executed, expertly produced content is both valuable and measurable. The post Content Drives Revenue: The Art of Brand Integration appeared first on Rivard Report.

Conversation on race: Untold history of Northerners’ fear of black migration

Aallyah Wright, Mississippi TodayEugene Dattel (left) and Otis Sanford talk about growing up in the Missisippi Delta. OXFORD – Addressing the troubling history of race in America, two native Mississippi authors — a seasoned historian and a veteran journalist — dive into race relations in the North and South and how much hasn't changed in today's society. “A Conversation About Race” is one of many conversations hosted at the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics at the University of Mississippi in the lead up to the 50th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King Jr. in an effort to reflect on a time that changed the course of history. Throughout the conversation, Eugene Dattel, cultural and economic historian and author, talked about a recurring theme of how white people in the North did not want to see African-Americans prosper economically, educationally or politically and wanted to keep them in the South. He added that this attitude of white Northerners is an ignored part of history.

Cooperative agroforestry empowers indigenous women in Honduras

GUALCINCE, Honduras — The Lenca call it a sacrificial stone, where their indigenous ancestors went to make offerings to deities. A triangle of rock with different circles inscribed on its surface, it has remained intact despite the passage of time. The woods that surround the village of Gualcince, almost at the border with El Salvador, bear marks of their past, too. It was here on Congolón Mountain that Indio Lempira, the famed Lenca leader of Honduran indigenous resistance, died. Lenca culture flourished here in the pre-Columbian epoch, and people still find ancient artifacts.

Cops Accuse Yale Of Snatching Union Flyers

Following a clash on College Street in front of visiting prospective Yale parents, campus cops are calling on the university to grant them to same First Amendment rights granted to students.

Cops Walks Fair Haven To “Bridge Gaps”

In 2011, Daniel Hunt's cousin, Fair Havener Marquell Banks, was just 13 years old when he was shot in the head with a shotgun inside a home. His was the 26th homicide out of 34 in the city that year.Seven years later, Hunt was out on Fair Haven's street with a crowd of cops seeking to prevent more tragedies like the one that his family experienced.

Cops’ Phone Line Down

The police department's non-emergency phone line (203-946-6316) is not working Tuesday morning.

Corps of Engineers study shows that overbuilt levees are raising flood risks in northeast Missouri

Data from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are supporting northeast Missouri residents' suspicions that overbuilt levees along the Upper Mississippi River have led to increased flooding for vulnerable communities. The Corps of Engineers last spring surveyed levee heights in the Rock Island District, which runs from Keokuk, Iowa, to Thebes, Illinois, and discovered that 40 percent of the levees exceeded regulation. The federal agency released a model at the end of January that measured the impact the overbuilt levees have on river flooding. The model, however, requires an experienced engineer to operate, so environmental advocacy group American Rivers hired a consultant to do so this month. The Corps of Engineers' model revealed that some areas, such as Pike County and Hannibal, would suffer the worst raises in floodwaters if it were to face another event like the Great Flood of 1993.

Could Dayton’s recent letter to legislative leaders improve state government? Possibly.

Released just after the long Easter recess, as the 2018 session heads into its closing weeks, Gov. Mark Dayton's April 9 letter to legislative leaders [PDF] included some positions that could be the start of finding a way out of the gamesmanship between the state's executive and legislative branches that has really escalated over the past few decades.John P. AugustineOne of the Merriam-Webster definitions of gamesmanship is “the use of ethically dubious methods to gain an objective.” Both the executive and legislative branches have provided plenty of recent examples.The most recent example would be the refusal of the legislative minority caucus and the governor to agree to a deal that would have let the governor fill the lieutenant-governor vacancy with a senator from his own party, in the hopes of forcing a resignation by Sen. Michelle Fischbach to create a vacancy that would result in a temporary 33-33 partisan stalemate in the Senate. In turn, the response from the Republican Senate to was ignore the language of the current Minnesota Constitution so that Fischbach would not resign from the body even after being made lieutenant governor.In 2017, both sides dropped any scruples to manipulating the system in attempts to gain leverage over the other side. When the ratification of state employee contracts got thrown into a multi-subject special session bill, the governor vetoed the bill containing the contract ratifications, but his administration announced it intended to implement them anyway, betting correctly that Republicans would not be willing to mount a legal challenge to the contracts. Legislative leaders, frustrated by the governor deciding on a technicality to veto in 2016 an omnibus tax relief bill that he had agreed in closed-door negotiations to sign if the Legislature approved his supplemental budget requests, deployed a tactic that made it nearly impossible for him to do that again. Included in the 2017 omnibus state government finance bill was language that made appropriations for running the Department of Revenue contingent upon the enactment of the omnibus tax bill.

Council Committee Considers Sidewalk Master Plan for San Antonio

City staff is working on a conceptual Sidewalk Master Plan, a first for San Antonio, to address the problem of aging or non-existent sidewalks. The post Council Committee Considers Sidewalk Master Plan for San Antonio appeared first on Rivard Report.

Council Delays Vote on Historic Designation for Gas Station

City Council decided to delay starting the historic designation process for a long-vacant gas station, giving the owner more time to sell. The post Council Delays Vote on Historic Designation for Gas Station appeared first on Rivard Report.

Council Hears About Possible Budget Surplus, Discusses Property Taxes

City of San Antonio officials are forecasting a $13.2 million budget surplus for fiscal year 2018, but recommended that City Council save it. The post Council Hears About Possible Budget Surplus, Discusses Property Taxes appeared first on Rivard Report.

Council Member Ellison joins Rep. Ellison for MinnRoast 2018 number

MinnPost staff

Rep. Keith Ellison performing a parody to the tune of "People Get Ready" at MinnRoast 2015.Council Member Jeremiah Ellison.Rep. Keith Ellison joined us via video last year, but he's got his guitar tuned up, and will perform another parody on stage at this year's MinnRoast on April 27. Backing him on percussion will be his son, Minneapolis Council Member Jeremiah Ellison.MinnRoast has become a highlight of the Minnesota political calendar, bringing politicians, actors, singers and journalists together at the Historic State Theatre to poke fun at the state of our state in parodies, video sketches, and monologues.Joining the Ellisons in this year's show: Gov. Mark Dayton, Speaker Kurt Daudt, actresses Sally Wingert and Michelle Hutchison, Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, Rep. Tom Emmer, Prairie Fire Lady Choir, actor Tyler Michaels, radio personalities Gary Eichten and Brian "BT" Turner, and many more. Buy MinnRoast 2018 tickets Multi-ticket sponsorships – which include a VIP pre-show reception – start at $500. MinnPost Gold and Platinum members receive a 25% discount on show-only tickets.

Council Report Lays Out Agenda to Address NYC’s Segregation

An infographic from Desegregating NYC
A new City Council report released Tuesday presents segregation as one of the city's most significant problems and lays out a 12-point policy agenda to tackle segregation as it relates to housing, schools, and infrastructure. The report, Desegregating NYC: Twelve Steps Toward a More Inclusive City, was co-authored by Councilmember Brad Lander and Policy and Budget Director Annie Levers in partnership with 10 other councilmembers. Its release comes a few weeks after the de Blasio administration announced that it would launch a process to assess the city's compliance with the Fair Housing Act as required by an Obama-era rule, despite the Trump administration's efforts to delay that process. The report is, however, critical of De Blasio for not making integration “a strong feature of his work to combat inequality and make NYC ‘the fairest big city in America.'”
It notes that while other cities have become more integrated since 1980, New York City's integration levels have remained stagnant, with only 1 in 4 New Yorkers considered to live in integrated neighborhoods. Schools are even more segregated than neighborhoods, and school segregation has also worsened over time, with the number of schools that are intensely segregated increasing by 70 percent between 1989 and 2010, according to the report.

Council to Consider New Viewshed Rules in Wake of Hays Street Bridge Debate

City staff received the go-ahead Wednesday from a City Council committee to continue work on viewshed protections for areas surrounding cultural landmarks. The post Council to Consider New Viewshed Rules in Wake of Hays Street Bridge Debate appeared first on Rivard Report.

Council to Review ‘Interpretive and Design’ Plans for Alamo Plaza

A team of design experts expects to have a redevelopment package for Alamo Plaza ready to show City officials as early as next month. The post Council to Review ‘Interpretive and Design' Plans for Alamo Plaza appeared first on Rivard Report.

Council: Short-Term Rental Ordinance Not Yet ‘Fully Baked’

San Antonio City Council got its first collective look at rules proposed for short-term rentals Wednesday. For the most part, Council members didn't like what they saw. The post Council: Short-Term Rental Ordinance Not Yet ‘Fully Baked' appeared first on Rivard Report.

County and cities in exclusive negotiations with Recology for $100-million contract

Hollister, San Juan Bautista, and county enter into exclusive negotiations with Recology for $100 million contract. Only Hollister includes GreenWaste Recovery as backup if negotiations fail.

County commissioners association should stand up to Cheney

In 2015, the Wyoming County Commissioners Association launched the Wyoming Public Lands Initiative with a simple, but time-tested premise: Wyoming residents, working together in good faith, could find common ground to help resolve the status of Wyoming's last remaining Wilderness Study Areas. It was, and is, the right idea. Having local people from all backgrounds develop real solutions by working together? This is the Wyoming way. Over the past two and half years, The Wilderness Society and many conservation, sportsmen, and recreation partners have participated in good faith in the process.

County Leaders Will Consider Joining Trump Lawsuit

Photo by Sam Hodgson
San Diego County leaders will soon consider getting involved in two lawsuits between California and the Trump administration. “As Chairwoman of the Board, I have asked County Counsel to add the sanctuary city and census lawsuits to our next closed session meeting scheduled for April 17,” Supervisor Kristin Gaspar told VOSD in a statement Wednesday. Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Justice sued California over three state laws passed last year, which attempt to hamper the federal government's immigration enforcement crackdown in the state. The lawsuit targets SB 54, which limits how local law enforcement and federal immigration official can interact; AB 405, which prohibits private employers from granting Immigration and Customs Enforcement access to worksites or documents without a judicial warrant; and AB 103, which created a state inspection system for immigration detention facilities located in California. On Monday, California filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration for adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

County Loses Another Bid to Haul a Journalist Into Court

Image via Shutterstock
Just weeks after a judge quashed the county's effort to force a reporter to give up her confidential sources, prosecutors have lost a bid to force another journalist to appear in court. This time, a judge ruled that a local TV news photojournalist didn't abandon his role as a reporter when he acted as a good Samaritan while filming a stalled car on the freeway. At issue: When is a journalist on duty? And when is he or she just a civilian who isn't protected by the California reporter's “shield” law, which strictly limits when attorneys can haul journalists into court to testify about their work? The dispute over the rights of KGTV/10News staff photojournalist Paul Anderegg unfolded during court proceedings Thursday in the case of a man named Israel Morales, who's been charged with three misdemeanor counts, including two allegations of drunken driving, regarding an incident that happened in the early morning hours of July 18, 2017.

County redesigns ballots to encourage voter participation and security

The San Benito County Registrar of Voters completely redesigned voter materials, hoping to resolve confusion while providing security and encouraging more residents to come to the polls and vote this election season.

County Supe Candidates, Left and Right, Want to Spend County’s Reserves

Nathan Fletcher and Ken Malbrough are both running for a seat on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz
The county will soon raid its large piggy bank to invest more in combating the region's homelessness and housing woes if candidates vying to replace longtime County Supervisor Ron Roberts have their way. Each of the five candidates hoping to represent the district that covers much of the city of San Diego pledges to encourage future colleagues to dip into the county's $2 billion reserve. For decades, the Republican-led County Board of Supervisors has bolstered its savings as part of a long-term strategy to address some of the county's most looming budget challenges. They set aside hundreds of millions of dollars to bankroll new county facilities and in more recent years, to shield the budget from pension bills.

County voters will likely decide whether to raise sales taxes to help St. Louis Zoo

The St. Louis County Council is close to placing a sales tax hike on the November ballot to pay for improvements for the St. Louis Zoo. While council members appear to want to let the voters decide, the one-eighth of one cent sales tax could face sharp questions later this year — especially since only St. Louis and St.

Court Making Tough Call on Health Insurance

The Supreme Court could wipe away health insurance for millions of Americans when it resolves the latest fight over President Barack Obama's health overhaul. But would the court take away a benefit from so many people? Should the justices even consider such consequences?

Court orders Wetterling investigation documents returned to FBI

MinnPost staff

Back to the feds. The Star Tribune's Dan Browning reports: “A district judge has ordered Stearns County to return to the FBI thousands of pages of investigative documents related to the disappearance of Jacob Wetterling, overruling objections from a coalition of news media and others that sought to review them pursuant to state open records laws. … The decision does not foreclose the release of the records, but means that they must go through the more complicated and lengthy review established by the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The Star Tribune requested the documents from the FBI more than a year ago; that request remains pending.”What's up with this? MPR's Nina Moini reports: “The Minnesota Department of Corrections is investigating after 11 officers were attacked by prisoners in the last week.

Courtney draws ‘Quiet Corner’ challenger

WASHINGTON – Dan Postemsk, an Iraq War veteran and chairman of the Hampton Republican Town Committee, said on Wednesday that he plans to challenge Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District.

CoverageCo looks to stay alive with new plan

CoverageCo “radio” devices provide cellular service on rural roads. Courtesy photo
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="CoverageCo box" width="610" height="466" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 1536w, 1280w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">CoverageCo “radio” devices provide cellular service on rural roads. Courtesy photoVanu CoverageCo, a company that in recent years expanded a cellular network into rural sections of Vermont, is working to restore downed microcells and crafting a plan to improve its service. But it needs the state's help, and a deal with AT&T. This week, CoverageCo's Interim CEO, Richard Biby, spoke to committees in the House and Senate and met with the governor to present a proposal that he believes will help the struggling company right its ship.

Covered Wagon Camping at the State Fair

Over $3000 in premiums
Cashmere goats
Over 1600 entries
It was the Iowa State Fair of 1860 — the seventh ever held. The state was young — only 14 years old. The American Civil War had not yet started in 1860. The capital had only recently been moved to Des Moines from Iowa City. The population of the state was not quite 700,000.

Craftsbury hosts “must-see” visual presentation of current climate degradation

News Release — Craftsbury Energy Committee
April 13, 2018
Craftsbury Energy
Craftsbury Common – In recognition of Earth Day, Sterling College, Craftsbury Energy Committee and WonderArts will host Michael Billingsley with a presentation on climate change, including the most recent “Cyclone Bomb” storms this past 2018 winter. Using satellite data visualisations, weather radar images and other technologies through NOAA, National Weather Service, and others, one aspect of Michael's presentation shows the wind direction, precipitation, air temperature and wind speed/gusts of these storms off the Atlantic and how they affected the melting of Greenland and the rest of the Arctic region. The presentation will take place Friday, April 20th, 6:45 PM, Simpson Hall, Sterling College, Craftsbury Common. One big road block for getting current information from climate scientists on the rapidly changing climate is that publishing data takes an average of 10 years to research, peer review and publish the info. Michael's information is taken from publicly available sources and shows what is happening in real time.

Creative Space

Beacon artists to open studios this weekendCreative Space was first posted on April 24, 2018 at 4:34 pm.

Crime Cartels Exploit Opioid Crisis to Market Cheaper Heroin: Study

While doctors are prescribing fewer opioids, criminal organizations have been capitalizing on the nation's rising opioid dependency by producing and distributing an abundant supply of illicit and lethal drugs, says a new study. The research, published by the American Action Forum, found that fatalities from heroin and black-market synthetic opioids soared between 2013 and 2016, when the number of opioid overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids grew by 84.2 percent each year. “One reason is that users often unknowingly ingest [the synthetic drugs]” said the authors, Ben Gitis and Isabel Soto. Gitis is director of labor market policy at the American Action Forum. Synthetic opioids are generally either mixed in with the local heroin supply to increase its potency and value or pressed into pills made to look like prescription opioids or other medication.

Critics of Texas’ “sanctuary cities” law ask federal appeals court to reconsider case

Opponents of the state's immigration enforcement legislation have asked a federal appeals court to reconsider a decision that allowed most of the controversial measure to go into effect. Attorneys with the American Civil Liberties Union, Travis County and the city of Austin on Tuesday asked the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear the case, en banc, which means that the entire court would consider the lawsuit. The move comes two weeks after a three-judge panel of the same court allowed most of the bill, Senate Bill 4, to go into effect after major portions of the bill were initially blocked by a federal district judge in August. The ACLU represents the small border city of El Cenizo, which was the first to file suit last year to stop the bill's implementation days after Gov. Greg Abbott signed it into law. SB 4 allows local law enforcement officers to question the immigration status of people they detain or arrest and punishes local government department heads and elected officials who don't cooperate with federal immigration "detainers" — requests by agents to turn over immigrants subject to possible deportation — in the form of jail time and penalties that exceed $25,000.

Critics say proposed changes to Mexico’s Forestry Law threaten sustainable forest management by local communities

The call goes out over the radio: An unknown car has entered Ejido Cruz de Ocote, a community-managed forestry operation in the state of Puebla, Mexico. A short time later, Constantino Cortés Martínez, chief of surveillance for the ejido, discovers what the occupants of that unknown car were after: “Tell Mario, and everyone else, to return here. Someone just knocked down a tree here,” he says into his walkie-talkie. After inspecting the damage, Cortés Martínez concludes that, “I think they heard us and left. We did not see anyone.” The would-be illegal loggers didn't even have time to harvest the tree they had felled.

Cross-border Conservation Land Grabs

Fiona Macleod, Estacio Valoi, Jacopo Ottaviani, David LemayianHas a laudable transnational anti-poaching initiative been hijacked by organized crime? This project investigates claims the Kruger National Park poaching wars are used to create eco-cocoons for the mega-rich.

Crowdfunding site creates financing options for St. Louis startups and investors

Ask any entrepreneur to name the hardest part of launching a business, and the answer, inevitably, will be, "money." Some of the greatest startup ideas fizzle for lack of funding. Nvsted , (pronounced: invested), a hyper-local crowdfunding site, aims to make it easier for St. Louis entrepreneurs to find investors, and vice versa. The St.

Crump: Fight Injustice With Action

A civil rights attorney who has represented the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and most recently Stephon Clark — all unarmed black men killed by police officers — told New Haveners that they're obligated to fight injustice.

Crusading Public Defender Tom Ullman Dies While Hiking

Thomas Ullmann, a crusader for justice who made Connecticut's legal system fairer, had watched friends die before they had a chance to enjoy life beyond work.So this past September he decided to retire as New Haven's top public defender after 43 years of tireless advocacy, and got to work traveling with his family and enjoying nature.Friday, a mere seven months later, his body was found on an Appalachian hiking trail. He was 67 years old when he died.

CT among highest states in Pentagon per-capita spending

WASHINGTON – Pentagon spending on contracts in 2015 was $2,504 for every man, woman and child in Connecticut, more per person than in any other place except Virginia and the District of Columbia, according to a recently released report by the Pew Charitable Trusts. But a key lawmaker warned Thursday that lean years are coming for the Pentagon's budget.

CT Army Veteran Gets Discharge Upgrade

Connecticut veterans' leader and decorated soldier Stephen Kennedy has won his eight-year battle to have his Army discharge status upgraded to honorable. Kennedy, of Fairfield, president of the Connecticut branch of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA-CT), will continue his federal class action lawsuit on behalf of Army veterans nationwide who received less than honorable discharges for behavior later attributed to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Stephen Kennedy
Kennedy said in an interview that his Army service “was really central to my identity. I was really proud of that. To have them say it was less than honorable, to have that kind of stamp on it…has been a cloud over the memory of my service.”
“It's hard not to really take that to heart,” he said, adding that having the upgrade “really feels great.”
The Army Discharge Review Board reversed Kennedy's previous status called “general under honorable,” which deprived him of veterans' education benefits and the pride and respect connected to an honorable discharge.

CT budget panel going down to the wire again

With last year's failure to recommend a new budget still fresh in their minds, the leaders of the legislature's Appropriations Committee were uncertain this week whether they could avoid a repeat.

CT Dems help derail GOP’s balanced-budget amendment

WASHINGTON — House Republicans failed on Thursday to pass a balanced-budget amendment the GOP hoped would rebrand the GOP as the party of fiscal responsibility. Connecticut Democrats helped torpedo the effort.

CT lawmakers differ on airstrikes on Syria, but agree Trump needs approval from Congress

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Chris Murphy on Saturday had some of Capitol Hill's the harshest criticism of U.S. airstrikes on Syria, calling them “illegal,” and counterproductive, leading to more attacks by Bashar al-Assad on the Syrian people and “a bloodier, more brutal war." Other Connecticut lawmakers were more supportive of the strikes, but called on the White House to seek authorization from Congress for further military action and devise a “comprehensive” strategy on Syria.

CT legislature shines a light, if not too brightly, on harassment

On a day when the New York Times and New Yorker shared a Pulitzer Prize for public service for the reporting that forced a searing assessment of sexual harassment, the Connecticut General Assembly examined its own policies on sexual conduct, none of which prohibit romantic relationships between lawmakers and their employees.

CT opioid lawsuits advancing in face of settlement effort

WASHINGTON — Nearly two dozen Connecticut cities and towns are scheduled to soon confront Purdue Phama and other opioid makers in court over what they say are the pharmaceuticals' deceptive practices. Meanwhile, there is an effort by a federal judge in Ohio to negotiate a massive settlement for the hundreds of federal lawsuits across the nation targeting the opioid makers for their marketing practices.

CT’s performance on ‘Nation’s Report Card’ doesn’t budge

Connecticut's performance this year on the so-called 'Nation's Report Card,' the country's most comprehensive assessment of what students know, was remarkably the same as it was the last time the test was given two years ago. The average student's performance and the gaping gaps in achievement between different groups of students were largely unchanged.

Culturally meaningful mind-body-spirit approaches address childhood, historic trauma

Suzanne KoepplingerOprah Winfrey's recent “60 Minutes” interview with Bruce Perry, M.D., Ph.D., and founder of the Child Trauma Academy in Houston, Texas, was a watershed moment. When Dr. Perry spoke about the impact of childhood trauma on the developing brain – one of the highest-profile features of this issue in the mainstream media – it was truly a welcome development.Dr. Perry spoke of how children are much more sensitive than adults to violence and abuse wherever it occurs, and Oprah shared her perspective on surviving childhood abuse. The episode offered insight into how to reduce the developmental impact of toxic stress, such as the importance of positive relationships and access to therapy.But there is so much more to this issue that was not reported by “60 Minutes,” including the solutions we are finding to prevent or reduce childhood trauma – and it's happening right here, right now, in our community.According to the Minnesota Department of Health's 2013 Health Disparities report, adverse childhood experiences “cause changes in the architecture of the brain that affect everything from physical growth to emotional development to the capacity to make healthy decisions as an adult.” Moreover, multiple adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, such as growing up with domestic violence, mental illness or substance abuse in the home, increase the risk of alcoholism, depression, liver disease, interpersonal violence and suicide.Tracking positive outcomesOver the past three years, the Catalyst Initiative, previously at the George Family Foundation and now at The Minneapolis Foundation, has been tracking positive outcomes from its investment in community-based, culturally meaningful healing practices in response to both childhood and historic trauma.Here's what we have found:We all have the innate capacity to heal, but this requires intentionality and support. Access to culturally meaningful mind, body and spirit practices that are community led is fundamental.There is a growing body of evidence demonstrating that trauma lives in the mind, body and spirit; therefore the healing must take place in the mind, body and spirit.We need to invest in building cultures of healing in the community and provide consistent, ongoing support; regular opportunities to train and try new tools; share what works – and gently shift social norms. Change takes time.Catalyst nurtures our innate power to heal and be well through two primary approaches. The first is seeing self-care as primary care: We invest in disease prevention, stress management and normalizing healthy behaviors.

Culture Report: An Artist Builds a Moment of Zen

Artist Adam Belt was inspired by how light reflects off water ripples for his new public art installation. / Photo by Kinsee Morlan
City dwellers looking for respite often make their way to the waterfront. The end of a pier in downtown San Diego can offer a few quieter, calmer moments – a quick escape from the bustling city. Adam Belt is playing up those restful waterfront moments with his new public art piece opening this week. The artist is building a temporary pop-up installation at the end of Broadway Pier called “Sojourner.” The artwork was commissioned by the Port of San Diego through its public art program.

Culture Report: ArtWalk Refuses to Rest on Its Laurels

Artist Carly Ealey will be leading ArtWalk attendees in a community mural-making project. / Photo by Javier Luna
Mission Federal ArtWalk has been around for nearly 35 years, but organizers of the annual art fair are still experimenting. ArtWalk is happening between Ash and Grape streets in Little Italy from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, April 28-29. This year, alongside about 350 tents filled with local, national and international artists showing their work, thefair is cranking up its interactive and participatory elements. Organizers have also added a live spoken word and poetry event for the first time, plus an experimental tent called The Space, which will host an avant-garde fashion show, a ceviche competition, a textile installation and more art and experiences curated by the arts nonprofit Vanguard Culture.

Culture Report: Forced to Downsize, an Artist Trashes His Work

San Diego artist Richard Allen Morris said San Diego sucks for artists. Almost every inch of Richard Allen Morris' 2,000 square-foot basement studio in Golden Hill is packed with art, books and records. The prolific artist has been living in the unfinished basement for more than 30 years. His landlords have long looked the other way, allowing him to turn the gritty space into a makeshift apartment and art studio. Exposed water pipes leak, industrial electric equipment is everywhere – nothing's up to code.

Culture Report: The Vinyl Resurgence Is Real

Brendan Boyle and his partners are gearing up to open a new record store and community space in City Heights. / Photo by Kinsee Morlan
Brendan Boyle has a plan for every inch of his new 2,500 square foot record store in City Heights. Boyle and his partner Harry Miller are gearing up to launch Jupiter Records & Tapes at 3610 University Ave. They hope to open in May, maybe June at the latest. Boyle has thousands of used records piling up in what's become an eclectic collection.

Cuomo chooses unions over grass-roots progressives

The Working Families Party split up over the weekend, with some of the last remaining major unions leaving the group. The progressive political party announced it is backing Cynthia Nixon for governor, while Gov. Andrew Cuomo withdrew from consideration, saying he's sticking with the major unions, for now. The choice seems a safe bet for the incumbent governor. Cuomo apparently has made the strategic political decision that he can get further in his re-election bid with established unions than the progressive activists in his party. Unions have thousands of members who often volunteer to staff phone banks, go door to door with campaign literature and help encourage voters to go to the polls.

Cuomo, Now an Advocate for Saving NYCHA, Oversaw Public-Housing Demolition as HUD Chief

Office of the GovernorGov. Cuomo visiting Forest Houses in the Bronx on March 22. During a sunny Saint Patrick's Day weekend, reporters gathered anxiously outside of the monolithic Taft Houses in East Harlem waiting for the day's main attraction: Governor Andrew Cuomo. When he finally arrived, in grand fashion with a posse of local politicians behind him, reporters were treated to an exclusive tour of some of the decaying apartments in the enormous complex. The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) has been in a state of crisis over the past year, dealing with a massive budget deficit of $286.6 million as well as being rocked by a lead-paint scandal that saw the firing of top officials. Responding to the crisis, Cuomo has positioned himself as NYCHA's savior-in-chief.

Curious Louis answers: What happens when an animal at the St. Louis Zoo dies?

Rachel Duncan doesn't remember the first time she visted the St. Louis Zoo, but she's pretty sure she was an infant. “There's not a summer in my life that I have not come to visit the St. Louis Zoo and enjoyed what it has to offer,” said Duncan. “It's a part of my entire life.” Like many St.

Curious Louis: The future of St. Louis’ ‘unofficial’ Chinatown

St. Louis once had a thriving hub for Chinese immigrants moving to the city. Historical records show in 1894 there were about 1,000 people of Chinese heritage living in St. Louis, many of whom had moved to the region from California in the middle part of the century. A St.

Cut & Paste: Award-winning St. Louis actor Omega Jones says, ‘I’m taking care of me’

Growing up in and out of foster care, St. Louis singer and actor Omega Jones managed to find a silver lining: self-reliance. It's a trait that helps him confront racism as a young black man — and handle the ups and downs of musical theater. “I know at the end of the day, I'm taking care of me; no one else is,” he said. Jones channels his experiences into his acting roles, including that of Coalhouse Walker, an early 20th-century pianist who challenged the status quo in the musical “Ragtime.” For his portrayal in the Stray Dog Theatre production, the 26-year-old, McCluer High School graduate won the local Theater Circle award for Outstanding Actor in a Musical.

Cut & Paste: ‘Stitching the city together’: St. Louis youth process gun violence through art

In Emeara Burns' north St. Louis neighborhood, gun violence is a way of life. People in her area have grown used to the sound of gunshots, Burns said. But repetition doesn't make it less traumatic. To work through the stress, the 20-year-old graphic design student writes poetry and performs hip-hop with an artists' collective called Saint Louis Story Stitchers , co-founded by Susan Colangelo.

CVMC launches real-time, interactive energy kiosk

News Release — Central Vermont Medical Center
April 19, 2018
April 25 event celebrates debut of interactive energy use displays at hospital
Berlin, Vt. – The University of Vermont Health Network – Central Vermont Medical Center (CVMC), in partnership with Efficiency Vermont, Liebert Engineering, Inc. and Control Technologies Inc., will unveil an interactive energy kiosk that graphically displays CVMC's energy usage and costs in a real-time dashboard. The kiosk will also help staff, homeowners, tenants and businesses discover ways to reduce energy consumption and costs at home and at work. The free public event, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Wednesday, April 25, takes place in CVMC's main lobby at 130 Fisher Road. Free Efficiency Vermont refrigerator thermometers will be available to all attendees.

CVOEO holding Second Annual Karibu benefit event

News Release — CVOEO
April 17, 2018
Joan White,; 802-862-2771, ext. 744
Burlington, VT. Don't miss CVOEO's Second Annual Karibu on Saturday, April 28 at Main Street Landing Film House. Karibu is Swahili for Welcome! The evening opens to the beat of Africa Jamono's drumming.

Cyber security tools to keep you safe online (and off)

Certain online habits can leave users vulnerable to hacking, tracking or identity theft. Here's how to protect yourself today and in the not-too-distant future. The post Cyber security tools to keep you safe online (and off) appeared first on San Diego news from inewsource.

D.C. Memo: Administration assures public that North Korea discussions will be extremely high

Sam Brodey

You can get the D.C. Memo delivered to your inbox on Thursdays. Sign up here.This week in Washington, Trump hung out in Florida and played golf, Congress was in session a whole two days, and journalists celebrated the annual Pulitzer Prizes, which let us congratulate ourselves even more than we usually do.This week in WashingtonGreetings from Washington. No huge news this week — at least not yet, 5 PM on Friday is still ahead of us — but a lot of important things in the mix this week.Last Friday, the U.S., along with France and the United Kingdom, launched airstrikes on Syrian government targets. This joint action was in response to overwhelming evidence that the regime of dictator Bashar al-Assad conducted chemical weapons attacks against civilians.Since those attacks, President Donald Trump had indicated there'd be a strong response from the U.S., even though he said just days before that he wanted to pull U.S. troops out of Syria as soon as possible.Indeed, Trump himself has been pretty much all over the place on the Syria issue and has made U.S. aims there muddled, but the strikes were applauded by much of the mainstream foreign policy establishment (and most of the U.S. public) for upholding a tough line on the use of chemical weapons, which the international community has worked to stigmatize.In tweets after the strike, POTUS said everyone did a super great job and declared “mission accomplished.” (I wish I could make a joke here. But I can't.

D.C. Memo: Longtime federal employee Paul Ryan set to retire at 48 with benefits

Sam Brodey

You can get the D.C. Memo delivered to your inbox on Thursdays. Sign up here.This week in Washington, the Speaker of the House announced he will be putting aside his gavel at the end of this year, having achieved his lifelong dream of slashing the corporate tax rate by nearly half and helping ordinary Americans get more take-home pay from their pass-through corporations. Happy trails, Paul!This week in WashingtonCongress is back and it's a big, big week in news from Washington. Let's start with Paul Ryan, who's had enough of Washington: the sitting Speaker of the House of Representatives announced on Wednesday morning that he will not seek re-election, and that 2018 will be his last year as Speaker and as a member of Congress.The news was not especially surprising: since December, plugged-in reporters from Politico and HuffPost published detailed stories indicating that Ryan was eyeing the exits, having put his biggest priority — a sweeping tax cut — into law. Ryan's office dismissed these stories as inaccurate hearsay until the Speaker confirmed them this week with his announcement.

D.C. Memo: Stop-making Pence

Sam Brodey

You can get the D.C. Memo delivered to your inbox on Thursdays. Sign up here.This week in Washington, the President continued his staff shake-up and says he's close to getting the administration he wants. See who survived and who was voted off the island in this week's episode of The President!This week in WashingtonGreetings from Washington, where Congress is in the middle of its two-week Easter recess. It's quiet up on Capitol Hill, but there's some movement down the street at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, which has generated pretty much all of D.C.'s news this week.The staff shakeup at the White House is relentless: last Friday, President Donald Trump fired his top national security adviser, H.R. McMaster. That POTUS fired the Army general was no surprise, as McMaster had seemingly rotated between "on the chopping block" and having the "full confidence of the president" for months.The bigger surprise is who Trump replaced him with: John Bolton, who briefly served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations during the George W. Bush administration, and has most recently been spending a lot of time at conservative think tanks and Fox News.In Washington, Bolton is known as much for his signature mustache as he is for his extremely hawkish foreign policy views.

D.C. Memo: With Fox and Friends like these, who needs enemies?

Sam Brodey

You can get the D.C. Memo delivered to your inbox on Thursdays. Sign up here.This week in Washington, Trump tweeted a lot of things in all-caps, affirmed the U.S. can't lose a trade war, and assured the public of his “confidence” in the chief of the Environmental Protection Agency, which means he's got about a week until he gets fired.This week in WashingtonWith Congress off again this week, President Donald Trump was on his phone — and on the warpath. Seemingly each day brought a fresh, fiery tweetstorm: one day against immigrants, Mexico, and Democrats, the next against China, or another against Amazon and its merciless robbery of the Postal Service. Need wall!Let's break it down: ensconced at Mar-A-Lago over the Easter weekend with his most hard-line adviser on immigration, Stephen Miller, Trump set some new immigration policy priorities in a series of tweets, as he continued to fume over Congress' spending deal failing to advance his immigration priorities and granting just $1 billion for his beloved border wall.It now appears the president's focus is now on securing the border with Mexico: he has made clear his intent to send the U.S. military to guard the border in response to what he seems to believe is an urgent crisis in which massive flows of migrants are heading north.“Honduras, Mexico and many other countries that the U.S. is very generous to, sends many of their people to our country through our WEAK IMMIGRATION POLICIES,” Trump declared on Monday. “Caravans are heading here.

Dairies need to make ‘tough decisions’ about herd size

Milking time at Island Acres Farm in South Hero. File photo by Josh Larkin/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Dairy farms" width="500" height="332" srcset=" 500w, 125w, 330w, 150w, 250w" sizes="(max-width: 500px) 100vw, 500px" data-recalc-dims="1">Milking time at Island Acres Farm in South Hero. File photo by Josh Larkin/VTDiggerThere are more cows in Vermont than the state's agricultural land can accommodate under current practices, according to a new study from a UVM research fellow. And the best solution to the problem would place a financial burden on struggling dairy farmers. The study recommends “precision feeding” as a promising approach to reduce dairies' rate of water pollution without reducing herd sizes.

Dan Kinney of Catamount Solar honored by peers with distinguished Jim Grundy Award

News Release — Renewable Energy Vermont
February 19, 2018
Austin Davis
Renewable Energy
Montpelier, VT – At a reception in the coverflowing the Vermont State House's Cedar Creek Room, Renewable Energy Vermont presented co-founder of Catamount Solar, Dan Kinney with the 2017 Jim Grundy Award for generosity of spirit and integrity in bringing renewable energy to his community. “For the last 20 years, every day Dan has shown his commitment to quality; quality work, quality installation, and quality jobs,” said Jeff Forward, Chair of the Renewable Energy Vermont's board of directors as he announced the award. “Dan always speaks at length about putting people first, whether his customers or his employees doing good work, technically challenging work that makes our communities and the world a better place.”
Dan Kinney co-founded Catamount Solar, a Randolph, Vermont based worker cooperative in 2011 after nearly a decade of work at groSolar and teaching future solar installers as an adjunct professor at Vermont Technical College. Catamount Solar annually donates 5% of its profits to local charities. Though a long-time advocate for renewable energy, this award was special to Dan for more than just recognition from his peers.

Darby Bradley: Assault rifle ban is needed

Editor's note: This commentary is by Darby Bradley, of Calais, who is the former president of the Vermont Land Trust. We owe a debt of gratitude to students in Florida and around the nation for their demand for action on firearm regulation following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, to Gov. Phil Scott for re-invigorating the debate here in Vermont, and to the Vermont Legislature for enacting S.55 and other sensible legislation on gun safety. These are sensible steps forward, which give me hope that, finally, we are beginning to find the right balance between our Second Amendment rights and public safety. But there is still one essential piece missing: a ban on assault rifles. Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association is fond of saying: “The only thing that will stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” What he chooses not to say is that a bad guy with a modern assault rifle can cause a lot of carnage before the good guys arrive.

Dartmouth dissolving University Press of New England

Dartmouth Hall at Dartmouth College. Photo by Geoff Hansen/Valley News
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Dartmouth College" width="610" height="407" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 300w, 750w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">University Press of New England has been based at Dartmouth College. File photo by Geoff Hansen/Valley NewsEditor's note: This story, by Matt Hongoltz-Hetling, first appeared in the Valley News on Apr. 19. LEBANON — Dartmouth College is dissolving the University Press of New England, a decision that will eliminate 20 jobs in the consortium's Lebanon offices.

Dartmouth hosts ‘Scenes from a Life: From the Auschwitz Death March to the International Court of Justice,’ April 19

News Release — Dartmouth College
April 15, 2018
Amy Olson
Hanover, NH – Darmouth College is hosting:
Scenes from a Life: From the Auschwitz Death March to the International Court of Justice
Thursday, April 19, 4:30pm
Filene Auditorium
Co-Sponsored by the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding, the Tucker Center, and made possible by a gift from Marina and Andrew Lewin '81. Thomas Buergenthal, one of the world's leading international human rights experts. International Court of Justice in The Hague, The Netherlands, 2000-2010. Professor Emeritus of Comparative Law and Jurisprudence, George Washington University. Survivor of Auschwitz and Sachsenhausen, author of A Lucky Child: A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Boy.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock to study improving care for multiple sclerosis patients in U.S.

News Release — Dartmouth-Hitchcock
April 5, 2018
Mike Barwell
Follow on Twitter: @DartmouthHitch
Lebanon, N.H. — Dartmouth-Hitchcock hopes to improve the quality of care for people living with multiple sclerosis (MS), an incurable and debilitating disease of the central nervous system, through a three-year, national multicenter study of 5,000 people with MS.
“MS is a progressive, disabling, costly and incurable disease that can cause a variety of physical and emotional challenges, including fatigue, pain and depression,” says Brant Oliver, PhD, MPH, APRN-BC, the principal investigator of the new Multiple Sclerosis Continuous Quality Improvement (MSCQI) Collaborative. “We are attempting an innovative approach using quality improvement methods to optimize evidence-based care for people with MS at system and population levels.”
Oliver, a Dartmouth-Hitchcock nurse practitioner and assistant professor at The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice and the Geisel School of Medicine, says the program is in the first year of the study to investigate system-level health care performance variation and improvement across participating MS centers. The goal is to accelerate the rate of improvement in MS care by sharing aggregated data across MS health centers to inform improvement efforts. It is among the first U.S. quality improvement research collaborative studying MS.
Dartmouth-Hitchcock is conducting the study in collaboration with Biogen, a leader in the research and development of treatments for people living with MS. Participating MS centers include Massachusetts General Hospital's Multiple Sclerosis Center, in Boston; the University of Vermont Multiple Sclerosis Center, in Burlington; the Multiple Sclerosis Center of Greater Orlando, in Maitland, FL; and the Concord Hospital Multiple Sclerosis Specialty Care Program in Concord, NH. Four additional sites are expected to join MSCQI this year, increasing the total study size to greater than 10,000 people with MS.
“In his role as a Dartmouth-Hitchcock nurse scientist, Dr. Oliver will lead the work of this improvement science research collaborative which aims to improve the quality and value of care for individuals with MS,” says Dr. Susan Reeves, Chief Nursing Executive at Dartmouth-Hitchcock.

Data in the Desert: 4 Middle East Projects that Are Digging In

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All in the Family: Journalists gather for the first Arab Data Journalism Conference in Cairo in March. Egypt isn't known for being the most open of societies, or the friendliest country for journalists. Far from it. Last year, Reporters without Borders dubbed it one of the world's largest prisons for those working in the media. The local authorities' most recent move was shuttering independent news website Masr al-Arabia for its coverage of the country's presidential elections and arresting its editor.

Data is the lifeblood of journalism but it’s in short supply in Indian Country

I was on deadline, with all of the accompanying signs of the d-word: sweaty palms, clenched gut, my children watching too much television while I worked overtime, when I realized, with two days until the issue closed, I was facing an intractable roadblock. To ensure the accuracy of one sentence in the story, I would have to visit each federally recognized Native American tribe and Alaska Native community in the United States. That's 567 tribes in nearly as many locations. The article, “Reckoning with the ‘Native Harvey Weinsteins,'” which will be published tomorrow, is about the unique circumstances that make it difficult for tribal members who experience sex discrimination in Indian Country to report and end abuse. Part of the issue is that as a nod to tribal sovereignty, Congress has exempted tribes from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the law that prohibits sex discrimination, including sexual harassment and assault, in the workplace.

Data Miners See Poverty Gradations; and More Cases of Harassment at the UN

A homeless shelter in Tehran, 2018. Although poverty has been reduced globally in the last few decades, nearly two-thirds of the world's population live below $10 a day, according to a new data study. International organizations, governments and a vast army of nongovernmental organizations justifiably welcome the sharp reductions that have been achieved in global poverty in recent decades. Data researchers show, however, that when it comes to defining who are the poorest, poverty is not a monolithic state. Two analysts from the online site Our World in Data, a project based at Oxford University, recently studied various levels of poverty and focused on how the poor were faring above the extremely poor level of less than $1.90 a day.

David Keary: Pioneer, savior and champion at the barre

Dance of the Mirlitons from The Nutcracker frosts the ballet studio with a confectionery Christmas feel. A half-dozen plucky 12- to 14-year-olds, up en pointe, fluidly sliding to and fro, move with a light, lithe grace that'll only get more precise, more seemingly effortless with time and polish. Photo by Melanie ThortisDavid Keary, artistic director of Ballet Mississippi, joined Jackson Ballet in 8th grade as its first male dancer. David Keary, Ballet Mississippi artistic director, barely takes his eyes off their steps as he edges to the side. “These dancers are percolating on a certain level that's really rewarding,” he says, all smiles and admiration.

​David Schoales: Move from property tax for ed funding

Editor's note: This commentary is by ​David Schoales, who is a longtime member of the Brattleboro Town School Board and ​beginning his fifth year on the Brattleboro Selectboard. The views here are his own. Our elected officials in Montpelier are once again looking for ways to reduce the cost of educating Vermont's children. They are considering raising a little of that revenue from our progressive income tax. This is generally a good idea, so why not make it really simple by building on the current income sensitivity approach and moving it all away from the property tax?

David Stoll: A rush to judgement?

Editor's note: This commentary is by David Stoll, who is a professor of anthropology at Middlebury College. His books include “El Norte or Bust! How Migration Fever and Microcredit Produced a Financial Crash in a Guatemalan Town” and “Rigoberta Menchú and the Story of All Poor Guatemalans.”
Seven years ago, Americans were horrified to learn that a retired Penn State football coach had molested children on an almost industrial scale. Jerry Sandusky recruited thousands of potential victims, then groomed dozens of them, by running a program for troubled boys called Second Mile. His machinations unraveled after he was discovered having sex with a 13-year-old boy in a Penn State shower.

De Blasio critics rally, asking Carranza to hit the ‘reset button’ on education policy

As Chancellor Richard Carranza meets publicly with friendly crowds during his first days in office, critics of the mayor descended on City Hall to demand the new chancellor reject his boss's education agenda. Hundreds of parents stood in the rain on Tuesday to lob criticisms at de Blasio's handling of city schools, from his rocky relationship with the charter sector to his efforts to improve struggling schools. Those at the rally -- which was organized by frequent de Blasio antagonist StudentsFirstNY -- said they are counting on Carranza to take the school system in a different direction. “We are here today to tell Chancellor Carranza parents are not satisfied with de Blasio's school system and we expect more from you,” said DeWayne Murreld, a StudentsFirstNY senior organizer and a public school parent. “It's time to hit the reset button on Mayor Bill de Blasio's failed education policies.”
One-by-one participants detailed a litany of concerns about the mayor's education agenda.

Deadline extended for Missouri lawmakers investigating Greitens

The Missouri House committee investigating Gov. Eric Greitens now has more time to do so. The deadline for the committee to wrap up its investigation and recommend action has been extended to May 18th. That's four days after the Republican governor's trial for invasion of privacy is set to begin, and the last day of the 2018 legislative session.

Deadly Bat Fungus Spreads to County Just North of Bexar

A fungal disease that has devastated bat populations across the eastern half of the United States has spread as far south as Kendall County. The post Deadly Bat Fungus Spreads to County Just North of Bexar appeared first on Rivard Report.

Deadly oil spill in eastern Borneo spreads to the open sea

JAKARTA — An oil spill in Borneo that began over the past weekend has now spread across an area greater than the city of Paris and is heading out to the open ocean, the Indonesian government says. The spill, first reported on March 31, stems from a pipeline operated by state-owned oil firm Pertamina in the city of Balikpapan, in East Kalimantan province. A report released April 4 by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry said the slick was spreading out from Balikpapan Bay and into the Strait of Makassar, covering some 130 square kilometers (50 square miles). Pertamina, which for days had denied responsibility for the disaster, finally admitted on April 4 that one of its pipes used for transporting crude oil was the source of the slick. “Our preliminary investigation had indicated that the oil was ship fuel, but it was only until [the evening of April 3] that we got confirmation that it was from us,” Pertamina general manager Togar M.P. told reporters.

Dear Poet…

Students in grades 5-12 invited to respondDear Poet… was first posted on April 24, 2018 at 5:04 pm.

Dear San Diego Officials: Embrace the Scooter

A motorized scooter in San Diego. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz
I have seen the future of downtown transportation, and it is fun. The electric scooters from Bird and Lime are the greatest mode of travel in San Diego since my grandma rode through Balboa Park in a convertible or cruised Broadway in a hot rod. The value of scootering is three-fold. First, getting around the city faster, easier and cheaper than in the old expensive convertible or gas-guzzling sports car is a big deal.

Dear White Parents

A leading writer on race challenged white liberals to put their kids where their ideals lay: by sending them to public schools with more black and brown children.

Deb Markowitz: Where you stand depends upon where you sit

Editor's note: This commentary is by Deb Markowitz, of Montpelier, who is a visiting professor at the UVM Rubinstein School of Environment and Natural Resources and a former Vermont secretary of state and secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources. One of the best parts of serving in public office is getting to hear from Vermonters from every part of the state, and all walks of life. Not only was it interesting to hear about their aspirations and struggles, but it was important for me, as a leader, to see how their lives could be impacted by decisions we were making in Montpelier. Sometimes, after one of these conversations, I would see an issue in an entirely new way, and it would lead me to change my mind about a policy I was considering. When I first heard that Gov. Phil Scott changed his mind about gun control, I was reminded of advice I got when I first ran for secretary of state.

Debate over statewide teachers health care contract is back

Rep. David Sharpe, D-Bristol, chair of the House Committee on Education, at a meeting of the committee on Feb. 14, 2018. Photo by Bob LoCicero/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="" width="610" height="394" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 1280w, 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Rep. David Sharpe, D-Bristol, chair of the House Committee on Education, at a meeting of the committee on Feb. 14, 2018. Photo by Bob LoCicero/VTDiggerThe issue that led to a veto session last spring is back: a statewide teacher health care contract.

Deborah Bucknam: Allowing non-residents to vote equals voter suppression

Editor's note: This commentary is by Deborah Bucknam, of Walden, who was the Republican candidate for attorney general in November. She is a graduate of Vermont Law School in private practice in St. Johnsbury and past vice chair of the Vermont Republican Party. Secretary of State James Condos' principal obligation is to ensure Vermont's constitutional mandate “that all elections ought to be free and without corruption” is enforced. Secretary Condos' directives concerning voter eligibility allow non-residents to vote in Vermont elections, thereby suppressing Vermont residents' voting power.

Defining the Delicate and Often Difficult Relationship Between Reporters and Sources

by Steve Mills
At the beginning of the year, we asked ProPublica Illinois readers what they wanted to know about how we do our work. Thoughtful, challenging questions have been rolling in ever since, and we've been answering them in an occasional series of columns. In this dispatch, Deputy Editor Steve Mills answers a question about how journalists deal with sources. I would like to know how journalists manage their sources in an ethical and responsible way. What do you do if you have a quote from someone, or information, that they do not want published?

Defying earlier expectations, runoff to replace Rep. Blake Farenthold could be a toss-up

In December, U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold drew national attention when, in the middle of a sexual harassment scandal, he announced he was not running for another term. Yet the race to replace the Corpus Christi Republican has been one of the state's most under-the-radar contests. That was, in part, because many have assumed Bech Bruun, the former Texas Water Board Commission chairman and most prominent candidate in the 6-way Republican primary, was a safe bet to take over the seat. But last month, Bruun just narrowly placed first in the March 6 primary, with 36 percent of the vote. Close behind him was former Victoria County GOP Chairman Michael Cloud at 34 percent.

Delaney’s Squeaks To Final Approval

Westville Village's nightlife is poised to change dramatically, after the zoning board Tuesday night gave the green light for two restaurants, Delaney's Taproom and Manjares Fine Foods, to proceed with building and expansion plans.

Delays with computer-based state tests cause headaches at some New York schools

Some New York state schools experienced delays receiving computer-based state tests Wednesday morning, officials confirmed, potentially causing some schools to postpone the exams.
Questar Assessment, Inc., which develops New York state's third-through-eighth grade reading and math exams, “experienced delays in the delivery of computer-based tests to students in some schools this morning,” according to Emily DeSantis, a spokeswoman for the state's education department. “Questar has been working to resolve this as quickly as possible.”
It was not immediately clear how many or which schools were affected, but DeSantis said those schools are allowed to postpone the exams. Officials added that the state successfully administered computer-based tests to 32,000 students on Tuesday. The problem did not affect students in New York City since none of the city's students take the computer-based tests, according to Will Mantell, an education department spokesman. This is not the state's first problem with Questar: In January, state officials revealed that Questar experienced a data breach that affected roughly 50 students. While only 28,000 students took last year's state exams on computers (and another 60,000 took computer-based trial tests), the state hopes to eventually move all students to computer-based testing.

Delete Paper

Lions to hold shredder dayDelete Paper was first posted on April 20, 2018 at 1:40 pm.

Democratic Party leader quashes effort to disqualify Howard Sherman

State Democratic Party Chairman Bobby Moak told the party's executive committee members on Thursday that they would not consider a petition to disqualify U.S. Senate candidate Howard Sherman. Jackson attorney Sam Begley, a longtime Democratic voter and operative, filed a petition on Thursday with the state Democratic Party, saying that Sherman is violating the state Democratic Party's constitution and should be barred from the race. Six Democrats have filed for the party's June 5 primary that will select a challenger to incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker. “I double checked with the Mississippi Secretary of State to confirm that the candidate qualifying deadline was March 1, 2018,” Moak said in a text message to the executive committee members on Thursday afternoon. “Therefore the ten (10) day rule for a challenge passed on March 11, 2018, so the petition is out of time and will not be considered by the committee.”
Alex J. Berliner, ABImages via APHoward Sherman and Sela Ward in Beverly Hills, Calif., in 2016.

Democratic proposal would boost spending for towns, education, health care

Democratic leaders of the legislature's Appropriations Committee proposed a new spending plan Friday for the upcoming fiscal year that would restore dollars for municipal aid, social services and education. But it remained uncertain whether that $20.87 billion plan would survive the partisan gridlock that has plagued the committee for the past two years.

Democrats again push for local control over the minimum wage

A person earning Colorado's minimum wage — $10.20 per hour as of January this year — would have to work more than 100 hours to afford the median monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Denver. Put another way, more than 60 percent of that person's monthly income would go to rent. The rising cost of living in the Mile High City is one reason why Democratic lawmakers are pushing to allow towns, cities and counties in Colorado to set their own minimum wages. In 2016, voters approved a minimum wage increase that will reach $12 per hour in 2020. That same year, a report by the Colorado Housing and Financing Authority found that nearly half of Colorado renters are cost-burdened, meaning they spend more than a third of their income on rent.

Democrats debut pension reform plan sparing workers from contribution increases

Teachers and state workers would be off the hook for propping up the state's pension plan under a proposal approved by House lawmakers on Monday. Instead, annual pay raises for retirees would be cut and an additional $225 million per year in taxpayer dollars would bolster the pension fund, which does not have enough money to pay our current and future benefits to all its members. The House solution, which passed out of the finance committee on a 10-3 vote with three Republican joining Democrats, rejects the approach approved by the Senate earlier this session. That previous plan asked the pension's 585,000 members, which includes teachers, city workers and state employees, to pitch in three percent more of their paychecks to shore up money for the pension, which is managed by the Public Employees' Retirement Association, or PERA. The pension has a $32 billion to $50 billion unfunded liability.

Democrats file conspiracy lawsuit against Trump, Russia, Wikileaks

The Democratic National Committee filed a lawsuit against Donald Trump, his campaign, Russian, Wikileaks, and advisors such as Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, Roger Stone and others, alleging a conspiracy to interfere with the 2016 election. Read the complete document:

Denver has welcomed school autonomy, but some teachers are now saying no thanks

For the first time ever, teachers at two Denver schools voted this year against renewing “innovation plans” that allowed the schools to set their own calendars, choose their own textbooks, and in the case of one school, waive parts of the teachers union contract. Teachers at a third Denver school voted to shed the school's unique “autonomous” status, which allowed similar freedoms. That status, first put in place more than a decade ago, paved the way for the state law that permits district-run schools to adopt innovation plans. The votes at Bruce Randolph School, Place Bridge Academy, and Legacy Options High School are anomalies in a school district nationally known for its “portfolio strategy.” That strategy involves giving schools more autonomy in exchange for increased accountability. The theory is that freeing schools from bureaucracy will make it easier for them to improve. The votes against autonomy come at a time when national portfolio proponents have questioned whether Denver Public Schools is backing away from its more aggressive school improvement strategies.

Denver superintendent honored for serving Hispanic students

The leader of Colorado's largest school district, where 55 percent of students are Hispanic, is being honored by a group of school administrators for serving Hispanic students well. Tom Boasberg, superintendent of Denver Public Schools, has been named the Hispanic-Serving School District Superintendent of the Year by the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents. The group will recognize him at a gala in Washington, D.C.
Boasberg has helmed Denver Public Schools since 2009. His nomination form notes that four-year graduation rates for Hispanic students have increased in the past 10 years from 30 percent in 2007 to 64 percent in 2017. The five-year graduation rate is 79 percent.

Denver to dismiss students early as teachers rally for more school funding

The Denver school district will cut short the school day on April 27 after the local teachers union announced its members would join an afternoon rally at the Colorado Capitol to advocate for more state education funding. District-run schools will have an “early-release” day with students being dismissed sometime between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., Denver Public Schools spokeswoman Jessie Smiley said. Exact dismissal times will depend on a school's transportation schedule, she said. Innovation schools, which are district-run schools with additional autonomy, can opt out of the early dismissal and operate on a normal schedule, according to a letter from Superintendent Tom Boasberg that explains why the district is declaring an early-release day. Denver Public Schools is the largest school district in the state, with 92,600 students.

Denver touts record participation in school choice process

Even as more Denver families participated in the annual public school lottery this year, about four out of five still got into a first-choice school, district officials announced Thursday. More than 27,000 families submitted school choices, up 17 percent from last year. Officials attributed the big jump to several factors, including additional help the district provided to families to fill out the choice forms, which were online-only this year. The window of time families had to submit choices was also pushed back from January to February, which gave families more time to tour schools and rank their top five choices. Match rates – or the percentage of incoming elementary, middle, and high school students who got into their first-choice schools – dipped slightly from 82 percent last year to 81 percent this year.

Despite dissatisfaction, committee sends energy bill to the floor

The Energy and Technology Committee Thursday voted to send major energy legislation to the full legislature for consideration, despite widespread dissatisfaction with the bill as it exists now. The approval came after assurances from committee leadership that the bill would be revised further before it's debated on the floor.

Despite its small size, there’s a lot to learn from studying a Triceratops brain

On a late morning at the St. Louis Science Center, ecology educator Brian Thomas showed two elementary school students a fossil that looked like a very old, mangled piece of rock. It was a partial skull of a young Triceratops. "Inside here is where the brain would sit," Thomas told the boys. "And it's not a very big brain."

Despite Problems, Private Prisons Are Growing

The private prison field is dominated by a few companies that have swallowed the competition and entrenched their positions through aggressive lawyering, intricate financial arrangements and bribery and kickbacks, the New York Times reports. Private prison companies house 9 percent of the nation's prisoners. They emerged in the 1980s, when the number of inmates was outstripping capacity, and they have an outsize influence in several states, including Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, Mississippi and New Mexico. Despite hundreds of lawsuits, findings that private prisons save taxpayers little to no money, and evidence of repeated constitutional violations, the number of privately housed inmates has risen faster since 2000 than the overall number of prisoners. In 2016, the number rose by about 1.5 percent.

Despite top scores in quality standards, Michigan’s early education programs neglect English language learners

Michigan's 4-year-olds have some of the highest quality education and care available in the country — that is, if your child can speak English. Michigan was one of only three states to meet all 10 quality benchmarks designed by a national advocacy organization that released its annual State of Preschool Report this week. However, the state met only one out of 10 benchmarks for English Language Learners. Four-year-olds enrolled in privately funded programs are not included in this data. The enrollment of 4-year-olds and state spending per pupil stayed largely constant from the same report last year.

Detroit district adding grades K-2 to summer school to help youngest students boost reading scores

For the first time in years, the Detroit district summer school program will start in kindergarten. District Superintendent Nikolai Vitti recommended younger school children, in grades kindergarten to second grade, be included in the summer school program at the academic subcommittee meeting Monday. The move is meant to help prepare young students for a new state law hanging over the district. The law will prevent third-graders who aren't reading at grade level from advancing to fourth grade starting in 2020. This is a daunting prospect in a district where last year about 10 percent of Detroit third-graders passed the state's annual English Language Arts exam.

Detroit has schools named for a slaveholder, a convicted former politician, and a Trump cabinet member. Here’s how that might change.

Despite the passion fueling the debate over renaming schools like the Ben Carson High School of Science and Medicine, members of the Detroit district school board proposed a deliberate, and slow, approach to changing any school names. Just charting the path toward stripping names from district schools won't begin until the second week of June at the earliest, Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said at a special meeting Tuesday. Last year board member LaMar Lemmons recommended removing the names of living people from district schools. “Quite frankly, it is a political thing,” said Lemmons, a former Democratic state representative, of his proposal to rename the the Benjamin Carson High School of Science and Medicine. “We named a school after an individual who is in the Trump administration.”
Carson, a Republican and neurosurgeon, is secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Detroit has schools named for a Trump cabinet member, a convicted former politician and a slaveholder. Here’s how that might change.

Despite the passion fueling the debate over renaming schools like the Ben Carson High School of Science and Medicine, members of the Detroit district school board proposed a deliberate, and slow, approach to changing any school names. Just charting the path toward stripping names from district schools won't begin until the second week of June at the earliest, Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said at a special meeting Tuesday. Last year board member LaMar Lemmons recommended removing the names of living people from district schools. “Quite frankly, it is a political thing,” said Lemmons, a former Democratic state representative, of his proposal to rename the the Benjamin Carson High School of Science and Medicine. “We named a school after an individual who is in the Trump administration.”
Carson, a Republican and neurosurgeon, is secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Detroit teachers will finally get paid what they deserve if agreement holds up with district

Good news for Detroit district teachers stuck at a low pay level: The finance committee of the school board Friday recommended an agreement with the city's largest teachers union to raise pay for the first time in years. “This is a major step for the district to fully recognize experience,” Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said. “A lot of the adult issues have been put aside to focus on children.”
The changes will be for members of the Detroit Federation of Teachers, the city's largest teachers union. In the past, Detroit teachers have bargained for contracts that severely restrict the pay of newly hired teachers who could help alleviate the shortage. New teachers could only get credit for two years' experience they accrued working in other school districts.

Developer at center of court filings on solar project

Allco's Sudbury Solar project in Vermont. Photo by Allco Renewable EnergyBENNINGTON — Legal firefights continue to flash over the multiple solar projects Allco Renewable Energy proposes in Bennington. The developer's latest salvo, filed in Chittenden Superior Court Civil Division, is a suit against the state and VTrans. Allco Renewable principals Michael Melone and Thomas Melone are seeking to overturn project setbacks the state agency is requiring between a planned solar array and a rail corridor right-of-way. Meanwhile, in another venue, the town of Bennington and the Bennington County Regional Commission seek reimbursement for legal fees expended fighting complaints the developers filed and later dropped in state and federal courts.

Development Commish Sees The Upsides

New Haven has hundreds of new apartments that most people can't afford to rent? Not to worry — other rents may go down as a result. And no one's being displaced.An out-of-town company bought a local factory and is sending its workforce to Meriden? Not to worry — the workers will keep their jobs, and a new owner will bring more jobs than before the local factory.

DHHS to Inspect Cary Birthing Center

By Rose Hoban
North Carolina's Department of Health and Human Services has asked Baby+Co. if they can perform an investigation of the organization's Cary-based facility where three newborns have died in the past six months. HHS Sec. Mandy Cohen told a legislative oversight committee Tuesday any such review of the facility would be strictly voluntary because “we do not have regulatory authority here for freestanding birth centers,” the term for facilities where women can give birth outside of hospital walls. Cohen said she would like to send in a regulatory team, such as those that visit hospitals after incidents, “to do an inspection of their policies and procedures, as well as look at patient records, all in the service of understanding what may have happened related to these children's deaths.”
She said her department had contacted Baby+Co.

Did computer testing muddle this year’s NAEP results? Testing group says no; others are unconvinced

A critical question has hung over this release of scores on national math and reading tests: Can state trends be relied on, given this year's switch to digital tests? For the first time, the vast majority of students took the National Assessment of Educational Progress on tablets in 2017. Students can be affected by how they take a test, something researchers call “mode effect” — and NCES, the federal agency that administers the tests, says it's gone to great lengths to ensure that comparisons over time are fair. But NCES has found itself having to defend its own methods publicly, as a state education chief raised questions about the comparisons and even asked outside researchers to analyze the data before its official release. Louisiana superintendent John White registered concerns regarding NAEP's digital switch and what that meant for students with less familiarity with digital assessments in a March 23 letter.

Did Donald Trump really ‘take over’ the Republican Party?

Eric Black

“Trump's Takeover,” the latest documentary from the great PBS “Frontline” series, premieres tonight (KTCA-Channel 2 in the Twin Cities, 9-10 p.m.).The “Takeover” in question is that of the Republican Party, which foundered in early 2017, when the drive to repeal the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) failed because President Donald Trump and the various factions of the congressional Republicans couldn't get together.But then, according to Frontline, Trump's takeover of the party was consummated with the passage last December of the big tax bill.The argument is too strong for me. I think the Republican Party is still in turmoil over Trump and Trumpism; I doubt Trump even knows the details of what's in that tax law; I think he needs more than one major bill signing to demonstrate that he has “taken over;” and I still see evidence that plenty of Republicans harbor feelings ranging from ambivalence to disgust about Trump and Trumpism, if you can even say that there is anything coherent that can be called “Trumpism,” other than the glorification of its figurehead and namesake.I'm not saying there is anyone other than Trump who is more influential in the Republican Party at present. But I'm sure that many Republicans, including many in Congress, find him personally offensive and ideologically incoherent. The big tax bill did not make that go away.Compared to other democracies in the world, the American system is a relatively weak party system. Party platforms are almost meaningless.

Did Donald Trump really ‘takeover’ the Republican Party?

Eric Black

“Trump's Takeover,” the latest documentary from the great PBS “Frontline” series, premieres tonight (KTCA-Channel 2 in the Twin Cities, 9-10 p.m.).The “Takeover” in question is that of the Republican Party, which foundered in early 2017, when the drive to repeal the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) failed because President Donald Trump and the various factions of the congressional Republicans couldn't get together.But then, according to Frontline, Trump's takeover of the party was consummated with the passage last December of the big tax bill.The argument is too strong for me. I think the Republican Party is still in turmoil over Trump and Trumpism; I doubt Trump even knows the details of what's in that tax law; I think he needs more than one major bill signing to demonstrate that he has “taken over;” and I still see evidence that plenty of Republicans harbor feelings ranging from ambivalence to disgust about Trump and Trumpism, if you can even say that there is anything coherent that can be called “Trumpism,” other than the glorification of its figurehead and namesake.I'm not saying there is anyone other than Trump who is more influential in the Republican Party at present. But I'm sure that many Republicans, including many in Congress, find him personally offensive and ideologically incoherent. The big tax bill did not make that go away.Compared to other democracies in the world, the American system is a relatively weak party system. Party platforms are almost meaningless.

Did Steve Harshman save public schools or mortgage their future?

On February 22 a group of Torrington's Trail Elementary School students visited the Wyoming Legislature. Schoolchildren from around the state frequented the House and Senate galleries throughout the recent budget session. From high school government classes taking notes to elementary students marching in neat lines down the hallways, Wyoming's youth came to Cheyenne to witness their Legislature in action. And though they didn't all realize it, the core of that action was a battle over public education funding. The images of young faces watching through glass partitions as solons on the other side argued over their future were striking.

Did Trump Lawyers Discuss Pardoning Flynn, Manafort?

A lawyer for President Trump mentioned the idea of Trump's pardoning two of his former top advisers, Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort, with their lawyers last year, the New York Times reports. The discussions occurred as special counsel Robert Mueller was building cases against both men. They raise questions about whether lawyer John Dowd who resigned last week, was offering pardons to influence their decisions about whether to plead guilty and cooperate in the investigation. The talks suggest that Trump's lawyers were concerned about what Flynn and Manafort might reveal in any deal with Mueller in exchange for leniency. Mueller's team could investigate the prospect that Dowd made pardon offers to thwart the inquiry, although legal experts disagree about whether such offers might constitute obstruction of justice.

Dining and Shining on Taxpayer Dollars

Dining and Shining on Taxpayer Dollars
Central Health spent more than $111,000 for sponsorshipsthat have nothing to do with providing indigent healthcare
Investigative Report by Ken Martin© The Austin Bulldog 2018Part 6 in a SeriesPosted Friday March 30, 2018 4:06pm

Central Health, the Travis County agency that levies property taxes to pay for indigent healthcare, has spent more than $111,000 to sponsor various community events in fewer than four years. Much of that money put Central Health in the spotlight as it laid out cash for lavish galas at high-end hotels that included fine food, entertainment, and awards presentations. As the above photo shows with Central Health Board of Managers member Rosie Mendoza, some events were attended by Central Health board members and executives. It is not clear whether these attendees paid to attend or their tickets were included in the sponsorships. The managers and Central Health Board of Managers who would know have declined to comment.

Disaster Prep

Training on how to respondDisaster Prep was first posted on April 12, 2018 at 7:03 am.

Discipline Policies Complicate Response to Violent Episodes at Lincoln High

Nicole Stewart, a former Lincoln High vice principal, said she believes students receive inconsistent consequences for violent behavior. / Photo by Jamie Scott Lytle
The afternoon of Jan. 23, near the end of the school day at Lincoln High, a student took a knife and slashed his classmate's neck. Police officers quickly arrived. Television news crews descended on the scene and filmed the blood drops left behind.

Dismantling of Confederate Memorial marks the end of two years of promises, planning and protests

Former St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said he'd take down the Confederate Memorial in Forest Park in 2015. That didn't happen, so it fell to Mayor Lyda Krewson, who promised a plan to get it done almost as soon as she took office in April. Two months later, the 32-foot-tall granite and bronze memorial is being taken apart — slowly, as some pieces weigh as much as 40 tons. Some say the credit for the quick action doesn't belong to Krewson but rather members of the community who've been vocal in recent weeks.

District Judge Rejects Pleas in Favor of Juries

In an opinion published Thursday, a federal judge explains why he is rejecting plea deals that transfer criminal adjudications from the public arena to the prosecutor's office just “for the purpose of expediency.” Sentencing Law and Policy blogger Douglas Berman flagged the decision as “remarkable” and a must-read, wondering whether this means a return to more jury trials in the future. Explaining his ruling, Joseph Goodwin of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia wrote that, “Plea bargains like this one perpetuate the ongoing metamorphosis of the criminal justice system into nothing more than an administrative system controlled entirely by bureaucrats, where judge and jury are merely stage props to convince the general public that the criminal justice system they see nightly on television is being busily played out in the big courtroom downtown. “The United States criminal justice system is about far more than just punishment, and it was never intended to place all the power of accuser, judge, and jury into the hands of the government,” he writes. Reflecting on the “near-total substitution of plea bargaining for the system of justice created by our nation's Founders,” Goodwin said that, “the scales of justice tip in favor of rejecting plea bargains unless I am presented with a counterbalance of case-specific factors sufficiently compelling to overcome the people's interest in participating in the criminal justice system.”
“The Founders clearly intended and articulated a preeminent role for the people's direct participation in that criminal justice system,” he writes.

Divided Council Confirms Willis Mackey to CPS Energy Board

Former Judson ISD Superintendent Willis Mackey will join the board of the municipally owned electric and gas utility after a 8-3 council vote in his favor. The post Divided Council Confirms Willis Mackey to CPS Energy Board appeared first on Rivard Report.

Dixwell Dodges “Double Burgers”

The Stetson Library narrowly avoided a “double helping of hamburgers” on Wednesday night when city planners nixed, for now, a proposal to put up a second McDonald's ad panel alongside the Dixwell Avenue bike share station.

Do charter schools suspend students more? It depends on how you look at the data.

A few weeks ago, a government watchdog agency released an extensive report on discipline in U.S. schools. It drew headlines for underscoring how black students, boys, and students with disabilities are much more likely to be suspended. But there was one question that the report helped answer that didn't get much attention: are charter schools more or less likely to suspend their students? It's a fraught topic, particularly as so-called “no-excuses” charter schools across the country have been criticized for what some see as overly harsh discipline. And the answer turns out to be complicated.

Do environmental advocacy campaigns drive successful forest conservation?

When a final agreement to protect the Great Bear Rainforest was announced in February 2016, it was hailed as a major victory for First Nations and environmental activists. More than 85 percent of the vast temperate rainforest on the Pacific coast of British Columbia, Canada, was made off-limits to industrial logging, and the rights of First Nations as decision-makers on their traditional lands were codified into law. The impacts of the Great Bear deal will likely be felt far beyond British Columbia. “They really set a global precedent for large-scale conservation,” Nicole Rycroft, executive director of the Vancouver-based environmental group Canopy, told Mongabay at the time. “The fact that it's human well-being alongside large landscape conservation means it can be applied to places like [the] Leuser [Ecosystem in Indonesia] where millions of people live on the land and depend on it.” At 3.6 million hectares (13,900 square miles), the Great Bear Rainforest represents roughly one-quarter of all intact temperate rainforest left in the world.

Do Private Prisons Have a Future?

Private prisons are one of the most controversial areas of the justice system today. Although the Department of Justice made efforts to limit them during the Obama administration, the private corrections industry has regained influence under the current administration, which has proposed expanding privately run detention facilities for undocumented immigrants. But private prisons are not new. As Lauren-Brooke Eisen, senior counsel at New York University's Brennan Center's Justice Program, writes in her recent book, Inside Private Prisons: An American Dilemma in the Age of Mass Incarceration, the privatization of corrections can be traced back through American history to the convict-leasing system and slavery. In a chat with The Crime Report's Julia Pagnamenta, she discusses the expanding role of the private corrections industry in today's mass incarceration system, how prison privatization in other countries such as Australia and the UK is used to incentivize reductions in recidivism rates, and whether they can be models for reform-oriented US corrections policy.

Do we need a 28th amendment to limit campaign funds from corporations and billionaires?

A series of U.S. Supreme Court decisions including Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission struck down long-standing campaign finance laws. The rulings determined that the use of unlimited money to influence the outcome of an election by individuals, corporations, unions and other entities is free speech protected by the First Amendment. The organizations American Promise and American Constitution Society have launched a national town hall tour to garner support for election financing reform which could result in a proposal for a 28th amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Do We Really Think People Choose To Be Poor?

I have spent 50 years as a journalist asking questions, listening to the responses, and closely observing the people and events around me. Somewhere along the way, my observational skills must have failed me. Apparently, I have missed a lot. Otherwise, I would have noticed those lines of people eager to join and remain in the ranks of the poor. Randy Evans
Randy Evans is the executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council.

Doctors say seizure no bar to Boughton’ campaign

With a graphic and detailed presentation from his physicians, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton moved forcefully Wednesday to reassure voters of his fitness to continue campaigning for governor, addressing his seizure at a campaign event two weeks ago and his surgery last summer to remove a benign tumor.

Doctors Without Borders calls US bombing of its hospital a crime against humanity

The Pentagon changed its story today, and the humanitarian group demanded an independent international inquiry.Doctors Without Borders is calling the incident a crime against humanity.“Under the rules of international humanitarian law, a hospital is a hospital and the people inside are patients — to target a medical facility in this way is a violation of that, whatever the circumstances,” Vickie Hawkins, executive director of the UK branch of Doctors Without Borders, tells The Takeaway. “The statements that have been coming out of the Afghan government in the past 24 hours would lead us to believe that there was some kind of intent behind the attack. We can only presume, on this basis, that that constitutes a war crime.” The US says the strike in Kunduz, which is under investigation, was issued after Afghan forces came under fire near the hospital and then called for help.“An airstrike was then called to eliminate the Taliban threat and several civilians were accidentally struck,” the American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John F. Campbell,