Meet the Coal Miner’s Daughter Taking on Joe Manchin for Senate in West Virginia

On Dec. 27, 2017, self-professed “hillbilly” Paula Jean Swearengin flew from her hometown of West Virginia to the posh enclave of Beverly Hills, Calif., to participate in a forum of reform-minded women running for Congress. But Swearengin, who is running in the Democratic primary for West Virginia Senate against incumbent Joe Manchin, has more in common with feisty fictional Southern union organizer Norma Rae than with the Clampetts of “Beverly Hillbillies.”

Unlike the oil rich Clampetts who struck “black gold” on their land, Swearengin is critical of the energy industry, especially coal, which she told the forum's standing room-only crowd had led to her relatives' deaths by way of black lung disease. “I saw my grandfather suffocate to death,” thundered the 43-year-old single mother of four. “I'm not going to worship a black rock.”

The forum, billed as a “Nearly New Year's Revolution Party,” was organized by the Justice Democrats, a federal political action committee which has endorsed 51 Senate and House candidates, including Swearengin, who all oppose the Democratic Party's corporate wing and have pledged not to take donations from corporations and SuperPACs.

Meet the Predators

Hawks, falcons, eagles, owlsMeet the Predators was first posted on January 16, 2018 at 7:12 am.


Memphis school leaders say diversifying business contracts will help in the classroom, too

Winston Gipson used to do up to $10 million of work annually for Memphis City Schools. The construction and mechanical contracts were so steady, he recalls, that his minority-owned family business employed up to 200 people at its peak in the early 2000s. Looking back, Gipson says being able to build schools was key to breaking through in the private sector. “When we got contracts in the private sector, it's because we did the projects in the public sector,” said Gipson, who started Gipson Mechanical Contractors with his wife in 1983. “That allowed us to go to the private sector and say ‘Look what we've done.'”
But that work has become increasingly scarce over the years for him and many other minority and women.

Mercy Connections executive director Dolly Fleming to retire

News Release — Mercy Connections
January 10, 2018
Marissa Strayer-Benton
Director of Communications and
BURLINGTON, Vermont – John Bossange, Chair of the Mercy Connections Board of Directors, today announced that Dolly Fleming, the nonprofit's Executive Director for the last seven years, will be retiring July 1 of this year. In a statement to donors, volunteers, and other members of the Board, Bossange said, “Dolly is an outstanding Executive Director who represents the spirit of Mercy Connections. Her experience in the community and wise leadership skills, combined with her passion for the mission of the organization and compassion for those who benefit from her “radical hospitality”, are what make her such a special individual.”
Having spent 45 years in human services work, Fleming is looking forward to a slightly slower and different pace with new opportunities. “I cherish Mercy Connections and it has been a remarkable honor to serve the organization in this leadership role,” she said. “I am confident that Mercy Connections will continue to have deep and sustained impact in the greater Burlington community.”
In the past 7 years, hundreds of participants have been served at Mercy Connections with classes, workshops, events, and trainings in 3 program areas: Education & Transition Programs, Justice & Mentoring Programs, and the Women's Small Business Program.

Mexican Cartels Will Profit if U.S. Cracks Down on Pot

While recreational pot markets brace for a potential crackdown stemming from orders by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, former law enforcement officials say another group is celebrating: Mexican drug cartels. “They are, right now, mapping out a plan to fill this hole,” Arthur Rizer, a former Justice Department narcotics prosecutor, tells McClatchy Newspapers. “There are meetings going on. They are watching the same TV panels we're watching and taking notes on what other Republicans are saying.” Marijuana sales made up at least half the cartels' drug revenue a few years ago. The amount sold into the U.S. has decreased since states started legalizing marijuana.

Miami Still Waiting for Federal Windfall Over ‘Sanctuaries’

When Attorney General Jeff Sessions flew to Miami in August, he promised “more money for crime fighting” as a reward for Miami-Dade dropping “sanctuary” protections from immigration violators at county jails. After nearly a year as one of President Trump's most lauded counties, Miami-Dade is still waiting for its federal windfall, the Miami Herald reports. Mayor Carlos Gimenez cited billions in rail funds he hoped to secure from Washington in defending the county's immigration switch days after Trump took office. Trump's transportation secretary said that “resources are an issue.”
Chicago is suing the Trump administration over Trump's funding threats for sanctuary jurisdictions, but the Windy City received the same $3 million police grant from the Justice Department that Miami-Dade did in November. Before Trump became president, both jurisdictions rejected federal requests to detain people who were booked on local charges while being sought for deportation.

Michelle Bachelet, Outgoing President of Chile, Gets a WHO Post

President Michelle Bachelet of Chile, whose term ends in mid-March 2018, is to chair the board of the World Health Organization's Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health. GOVERNMENT OF CHILE PHOTO
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet has agreed to chair the board of the World Health Organization's Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health after she finishes her government role on March 11. The announcement came after a Jan. 10 meeting at the presidential palace in Santiago, during which the WHO leadership offered Bachelet the position. “This is a major honor for PMNCH,” Helga Fogstad, the Partnership's executive director, said in a statement.

Michigan House passes bill that will help local charter in its fight against the Detroit district

GOP State House representatives today fast tracked a bill that will help local charter Detroit Prep in its fight against the Detroit Public Schools Community District. The bill, which was passed without the support of a single Democrat, clarifies language on deed restrictions, making it illegal for government entities, including school districts, to use them to block educational institutions from acquiring former school buildings. The district rejected the charter school's use of the abandoned former Joyce Elementary school in September, despite it having already been sold to a private developer. The district invoked a stipulation in the property's deed that required the district to sign off any non-residential use of the property. Detroit Prep, seeking more room for its growing student population, then filed suit in October against the district.

Michigan landowners’ long-shot lawsuit has high stakes for wind industry

An unlikely legal win by neighbors of a Michigan wind farm would have the potential to chill wind energy development in the state, legal experts say. A group of landowners filed suit in state court in August alleging a wind project near Lake Michigan in the Upper Peninsula is causing adverse health effects. These include sleep interruption and deprivation, stress, “extreme fatigue, anxiety and emotional distress.”
Those claims will be difficult to prove, legal experts said, but if the landowners are successful it could have significant implications. That's why clean energy groups are closely watching the case, which resurfaced in circuit court a month after being dismissed by a federal judge in July. “If someone got a judgment that windmills contributed to some adverse health effects people suffered, I would think that would be a pretty significant ruling,” said Ross Hammersley, a Traverse City attorney with Olson, Bzdok & Howard who specializes in environmental and real estate law.

Michigan unveils ‘data dashboard’ to help parents quickly compare local schools

Michigan parents now have a new way to know what's happening in their local schools. State education officials on Tuesday unveiled their new “data dashboard” that allows parents to a see a host of information about individual schools on a single computer screen including test scores, graduation rates, attendance rates, as well as the percentage of graduates who've enrolled in college. Users can click through to get answers about other school details, such as the ratio of students to teachers and the number of student expulsions, and can compare what's happening at one school to statewide averages and to averages for schools with similar student populations. This is a helpful feature in a city like Detroit where most schools fall far short of the state average on state exams but could be outperforming the school up the street. All of that information has long been available on the state website but the dashboard is designed to make it easier for parents to understand it, and to access it on mobile devices.

Mid-year state budget proposal includes Woodside, vets’ home

Commissioner of Finance and Management Adam Greshin. Photo by Elizabeth Hewitt/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Adam Greshin" width="300" height="200" srcset=" 300w, 125w, 768w, 610w, 1024w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" data-recalc-dims="1">Commissioner of Finance and Management Adam Greshin. Photo by Elizabeth Hewitt/VTDiggerThe Scott administration is proposing increasing appropriations for the state's juvenile rehabilitation center, the Vermont Veterans' Home and making other changes as part of the annual budget adjustment process. The proposal also would put money into a reserve fund and would help pay off a deficit associated with the fiscally troubled Vermont Life magazine. Lawmakers on the House Appropriations Committee began considering the administration's $6.2 million proposal to adjust the current year state budget last week.

Middle-School Film Series

Jan. 5 screening on climate changeMiddle-School Film Series was first posted on December 31, 2017 at 7:56 am.

Mike Mrowicki: The governor’s wild pitches

Editor's note: This commentary is by state Rep. Mike Mrowicki, a Democrat who represents Windham-4 (Putney, Dummerston and Westminster) in the Vermont House of Representatives. This time of year, for baseball fans, is called the “Hot Stove League.” It's wintertime for a summer game when speculation warms interest in the coming season. There's all sorts of media speculation and conjecture among fans, about what team will do what next. It's kind of like that now as Vermont's political season gets under way. Media, town school and select boards, and state legislators wonder what will unfold.

Military Surplus for U.S. Cops ‘Saved Lives’ after Hurricane: Houston Chief

Nestled in Texas' southern Brazoria County, the city of Alvin boasts a quaint historic depot, 12 grassy city parks and a red-brick community college along its neat gridwork of tree-lined streets. The city of 26,000 also has six reconnaissance robots, a mine-resistant vehicle, six mine-detecting sets and three $14,000 army combative kits—all military hand-me-downs acquired since 2014. “You know, it never hurts to be prepared,” Alvin Police Chief Robert Lee said last summer. “Back when the last hurricane hit, there was a lot of this stuff we could have used.”
Before the wrath of Hurricane Harvey, that may have seemed like a stretch. But when the storm dumped more than 50 inches of water over Southeast Texas last August, law enforcement agencies like Alvin came to the rescue with their ambush-protected vehicles, Humvees and five-ton trucks all obtained through a controversial Department of Defense excess property giveaway program.

Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn Retires

Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn has announced his retirement, capping a turbulent period during his tenure as the city's top cop, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. Flynn, 69, made his announcement one day after the 10th anniversary of his appointment and days before he was scheduled to go before the city's Fire and Police Commission for a performance evaluation. His retirement is to be effective Feb. 16. The chief is in the middle of his third term, which was scheduled to expire Jan.

Minneapolis and St. Paul’s school-attendance boundaries help to lessen racial segregation. A little.

Greta Kaul

Since at least the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling set into motion school integration efforts, public education has been a focus area for the fight to end racial segregation in American society.Today, most districts that had court-issued desegregation orders issued in the wake of that ruling are no longer under them, but that hasn't ended questions about racial integration in the public schools, or the expectation that school boards would work to mitigate this ongoing problem.Wondering how, absent a legal mandate, school districts were doing on their integration efforts prompted University of California, Berkeley economics PhD candidate Tomas Monarrez to design a study to determine whether school districts were more or less segregated than their surrounding neighborhoods.Monarrez's research was featured in a widely circulated Vox piece out last week. The piece generates maps and charts that help visualize the effect school district boundaries have on racial integration in major U.S. cities.So how did Minneapolis and St. Paul fare? Monarrez found that the school districts in the Twin Cities appear to do slightly more than average to mitigate racial segregation in local housing patterns, leading to attendance boundaries that are a bit less segregated than if kids attended the school closest to their home.But before you share the article and brag, note that it's not by a whole lot.Measuring desegregation effortsMonarrez's study works by comparing the racial makeup of elementary schools as school attendance boundaries exist (using data from 2013-14), to a hypothetical scenario where kids go to the school closest to where they live.“We're comparing two maps,” Monarrez said. “One is hypothetical and one is real.

Minneapolis’ lakes are a major asset — so how are they doing?

Jay Walljasper

The motto Minneapolis proclaims to the world is: City of Lakes.Jay WalljasperNot City of Six Fortune 500 Headquarters. City of World-Class Arts Institutions. City of Well-Plowed Streets. Or City of Super Bowl LII.Yet often it feels things like these (while certainly important) dominate our attention and local pride, while the lakes are taken for granted.For the record, more than 40 Fortune 500 companies are based in New York City, not to mention many of the world's top museums and performing arts venues. Burlington, Vermont, beats us gloves down when it comes to snow removal (the city plows sidewalks as well as streets).

Minnesota expected to see significant drop in refugee admissions in 2018

Ibrahim Hirsi

Resettlement officials in Minnesota are expecting a drastic decrease in the number of primary refugee admissions during the 2018 fiscal year. Last year, the U.S. Department of State notified the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) that the state's preliminary approved refugee placement for 2018 was to be 1,385. That figure was based on a projected 50,000-person limit that President Trump set as part of the so-called travel ban executive order signed shortly after he took office. That limit slashed by more than half the planned 110,000 refugees expected to arrive in 2017. Then, in September, the administration further reduced the initial 50,000-person cap to 45,000 — which means that Minnesota will actually receive fewer than the previously anticipated 1,385 refugees by the end of this year.To determine the exact figure, the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Population Refugee and Migration “will be working to revise and decrease” the preliminarily approved resettlement number, DHS told MinnPost.

Minnesota gymnast was sexual assault victim of former Team USA doctor

MinnPost staff

A Minnesota connection to a horrible story. WCCO reports: “Maggie Nichols, a Little Canada native and former U.S. national team gymnast, has publicly come forward as a sexual assault victim of former Team USA's Dr. Larry Nassar. … In a statement released Tuesday, the Oklahoma University sophomore says she's sharing her traumatic story and joining forces with her friends and teammates ‘to bring about true change.' … Nichols, 20, says she was the first to alert USA Gymnastics officials about Nassar's alleged criminal behavior. … ‘Up until now, I was identified as Athlete A by USA gymnastics, the US Olympic Committee and Michigan State University.

Minnesota immigrants react to Trump’s ‘shithole’ comments

Ibrahim Hirsi

President Donald Trump's comments referring to Haiti and nations in African as “shithole countries” has spurred sharp criticisms and a social media uproar from black immigrants in Minnesota to heads of state in Africa. The news surfaced on Thursday after Trump reportedly told lawmakers that he'd rather have immigrants from Norway than from “shithole countries” like Haiti and African nations during a meeting to discuss a deal that would in part protect immigrants with Temporary Protected Status. “It was extreme racism,” said Jean Dumas, a first-generation Haitian-American who studies at St. Cloud State University. “For him to attack the whole continent of Africa and Haiti, that says a lot about him.”Dumas wasn't surprised when he learned about the comments, adding that it wasn't the first time that Trump has employed despairing comments against immigrants and people of color.

Minnesota Orchestra to tour South Africa; ‘Carmina Burana’ coming to the Cowles

Pamela Espeland

In May 2015, the Minnesota Orchestra was the first U.S. orchestra to play Cuba since 1999. This summer, it will be the first professional U.S. orchestra ever to tour South Africa. Soon after Sommerfest – which this year will honor Nelson Mandela on the centenary of his birth, as part of a worldwide celebration – the orchestra will leave for South Africa and concerts in Cape Town, Durban, Pretoria, Soweto and Johannesburg.The seeds for the South Africa tour were planted before the Cuba tour, which together led to a major shift in the orchestra's strategic plan.In 2014, Music Director Osmo Vänskä conducted the young musicians of the South African National Youth Orchestra on SANYO's 50th anniversary. For Vänskä, this was an unforgettable experience. “I knew then that I wanted to return to South Africa with the Minnesota Orchestra,” he said in a statement.In Cuba the following year, Minnesota Orchestra students played a side-by-side rehearsal with a Cuban youth symphony and took part in musical exchanges with students.

Minnesota Senate to honor Bill Salisbury and Jim Ragsdale

The Minnesota Senate on Monday will honor two long-time political journalists — Bill Salisbury and Jim Ragsdale.Salisbury is retiring, sort of, after 40 years covering the Capitol for the Pioneer Press. He says he'll still work part-time.Ragsdale, a veteran of the Pioneer Press and Star Tribune, as well as a frequent Almanac contributor, died in November of pancreatic cancer. He was 64.Senate officials said they will honor the work of both men with resolutions during Monday's floor session, which starts at 11 a.m.After the session, there will be a reception in Room 107 of the Capitol.

MinnPost is hiring a Washington correspondent

CC/Flickr/Wally GobetzMinnPost is seeking a Washington correspondent.As our D.C.-based reporter, your primary responsibility will be to keep tabs on Minnesota's 10-member congressional delegation and other Minnesotans making news in the capital, along with assessing the impact of administration and congressional action on Minnesota.We give our journalists a lot of freedom to find and tell the stories they believe are worth telling. But we also demand a high level of responsibility: you should be comfortable balancing shorter posts with deep-dives on politics and policy issues of interest to Minnesotans.An intimate knowledge of Minnesota is not required, though a willingness to learn about the state's unique political culture certainly is. Candidates should be self-starters, with a capacity for working independently and a proven ability to write compellingly about politics and policy for an engaged audience.To apply, send a cover letter, resume and at least three samples of your work to MinnPost Executive Editor Andrew Putz at

MinnPost Picks: on 2017, competitive parking, and the Machiavelli of Maryland

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

MinnPost Picks: on Florida prisoners, Penn Station, and freezing to death

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

MinnPost Picks: on Islam, Appalachia, and putting Coates v. West into context

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

MinnPost reporter Ibrahim Hirsi receives MLK Commitment to Service Award

MinnPost staff

MinnPost staff writer Ibrahim Hirsi received on Monday the 2018 MLK Commitment to Service Award at the annual Governor's Council on MLK Day celebration in St. Paul.The award honors public servants who are making a difference in Minnesota. Hirsi was among 14 award recipients honored at the event, which was held at the Ordway Center. Other honorees include Bill Blackwell of Bemidji State University; Luz Maria Frias, president and CEO YWCA-Minneapolis; and Rep. Ilhan Omar.Hirsi joined MinnPost in 2016 as a staff writer, covering workforce and immigration issues. Prior to joining MinnPost, he reported on the challenges and contributions faced by marginalized communities and people of color for the Twin Cities Daily Planet, St.

MinnPost Social: Gregg Aamot to discuss Minnesota’s urban-rural divide Jan. 24

Laura Lindsay

In the aftermath of the 2016 election, there was a lot of talk about the “urban-rural” divide in Minnesota. And yet, as we kick off another important election year, there still isn't much agreement on what that phrase means — or how it affects the state's policies, politics or economy.To answer those questions (and more), join us for our next MinnPost Social on Jan. 24, which will feature Gregg Aamot, who spearheads our coverage of economic issues in Greater Minnesota. Moderated by MinnPost Editor Andy Putz, the event will run from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Happy Gnome in St. Paul.This lively question and answer session is part of our 2018 MinnPost Social event series, presented by RBC Wealth Management, in which MinnPost journalists share insights with audience members in a casual atmosphere that includes a cash bar — and free appetizers.Presale to MinnPost members begins Jan.

MinnPost Social: Jan. 24 urban-rural divide discussion sold out to members

Laura Lindsay

Our next MinnPost Social on Jan. 24 sold out during our members-only presale.At the event, MinnPost reporter Gregg Aamot will discuss Minnesota's urban-rural divide with editor Andy Putz.The event, sponsored by RBC Wealth Management, will take place at the Happy Gnome in St. Paul from 5:30 to 7 p.m.MinnPost members who didn't get tickets and members of the public who would like to attend may add their names to the waitlist.More information is available on our event page.

MinnPost Social: Minnesota’s Urban/Rural Divide

01/24/2018 5:30pm - 7:00pm

In the aftermath of the 2016 election, there was a lot of talk about the “urban-rural” divide in Minnesota. And yet, as we kick off another important election year, there still isn't much agreement on what that phrase means — or how it affects the state's policies, politics or economy.To answer those questions (and more), join us for our next MinnPost Social on Jan. 24, which will feature Gregg Aamot, who spearheads our coverage of economic issues in Greater Minnesota. Moderated by MinnPost Editor Andy Putz, the event will run from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Happy Gnome in St. Paul.This lively question and answer session is part of our 2018 MinnPost Social event series, presented by RBC Wealth Management, in which MinnPost journalists share insights with audience members in a casual atmosphere that includes a cash bar — and free appetizers.Pre-sale to MinnPost members begins Jan.

Missing elderly GV woman found safe

A Green Valley woman with diabetes and memory issues who had been missing since Monday morning was located and is safe. Rosalina Caballero, 77, was last seen walking with her small Chihuahua near Esperanza Boulevard and South La Cañada Drive.

Mississippi booming to The MAX in Meridian

The view from the 22nd Avenue bridge in Meridian has changed dramatically over the past year. The iconic U Needa Biscuit sign painted on the side of an abandoned building is being upstaged by construction of the Mississippi Arts + Entertainment Complex on Front Street and 22nd Avenue, overlooking the railroad tracks. “It's going to change the look of downtown Meridian,” said Bill Hannah, president and CEO of the East Mississippi Business and Development Corporation. “With an estimated 200,000 visitors the first year, The MAX (as the complex is known) will have a tremendous impact on downtown Meridian, as well as Lauderdale County.”
Across downtown Meridian, sidewalks are being resurfaced, newly sold old buildings are being brought back to life with restaurants and retail, and residents are exuding a feeling of excitement. Construction on The MAX in downtown Meridian
“All these sleeping giants in downtown Meridian are waking up,” said Mark Tullos, executive director of The MAX, who came to the east Mississippi city from Louisiana, where he oversaw the state's museums.
“One of the things that attracted me to the job is the inventory of wonderful real estate in Meridian, such as the remarkable Three Foot Building,” he said.

Mississippi may impose work requirements on Medicaid beneficiaries

The Trump administration Thursday announced it would allow states to impose work requirements for Medicaid beneficiaries, a major policy shift that could have significant implications for low-income beneficiaries in the program. Seema Verma, the administrator for the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said she was responding to requests from Medicaid officials in 10 states that want to run demonstration projects testing requirements for work or other types of community engagement such as training, education, job search, volunteer activities and care giving, according to an article Thursday in the New York Times. Those 10 states are Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin. Mississippi also requested a waiver for work requirements in December, the state Division of Medicaid confirmed Thursday. That request is currently pending with the federal centers.

Mississippi Medicaid receives nation’s first 10 year federal waiver

The federal government has granted its first ever 10-year waiver to Mississippi's Division of Medicaid. The waiver, which is for family planning services, is one in a series of anticipated moves by the federal agency to increase the autonomy of state Medicaid programs.
The decision, announced Friday by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, will allow Mississippi Medicaid to continue providing family planning services such as birth control and emergency contraception to residents with incomes up to 194% of the federal poverty level. Previous federal waivers in this state and others had maxed out at five years. “We are extremely pleased to have received the 10-year extension of the Family Planning Waiver by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The primary objective of this waiver is to reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies and subsequent births by providing eligible individuals access to family planning services,” said the Division of Medicaid in a statement to Mississippi Today.

Missouri attorney general accuses Stenger of violating state’s open records law

Missouri's attorney general has accused St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger of multiple violations of the Missouri Sunshine Law. In a lawsuit filed Wednesday, Josh Hawley, a Republican, accuses Stenger, a Democrat, of failing to respond to records requests by the deadline set in state law. Stenger's office is also accused of failing to have one person handle all records requests.

Missouri bird lovers join annual Christmas Bird Count

The National Audubon Society's annual Christmas Bird Count is in full swing, with more than 2,500 counts taking place worldwide. Since 1900, bird enthusiasts have been tracking and counting the status of bird species in the St. Louis region and around the world and during the winter holiday season. This year, the count is taking place on Dec. 14 to Jan.

Missouri foster children top agenda for first lady Sheena Greitens

Since Missouri voters elected Eric Greitens governor in August 2017, his wife Sheena Greitens has been working on behalf of a group that doesn't usually get much attention from high profile advocates: The 13,000 children in the custody of the Missouri Department of Social Services Children's Division. The children include those placed with relatives, adoptive families, residential care and foster care. The first lady invited advocates for Missouri children to the Governor's Mansion soon after moving in, recalled Colleen Polak, director of of legal services for Voices for Children in St. Louis. “It was very remarkable,” said Polak, whose agency trains and coordinates advocates for children in foster care.

Missouri History Museum commemorates the state’s Emancipation Day

This Thursday, Jan. 11, marks 153 years since slaves in Missouri were finally freed from bondage. Missouri's Emancipation Day will be commemorated at the Missouri History Museum, in a collaborative event between the museum and Greenwood Cemetery. On Tuesday's St. Louis on the Air , host Don Marsh will discuss the event at the Missouri History Museum , which will highlight the lives before and after emancipation of six individuals buried in Greenwood Cemetery, located on St.

Missouri House sends three bills to the Senate, including a ban on lobbyist gifts

It was a short but busy day for the Missouri House, as they sent three bills - on lobbyist gifts, human trafficking and hair braiding - to the Senate on Wednesday. For the third year in a row, the House passed legislation banning most gifts from lobbyists to elected officials . The exceptions allowed in the lobbyist gift ban include flowers for weddings, funerals and similar events, and free food at catered events as long as every lawmaker and statewide elected official is invited.

Missouri legislature prepares for state budget, more bills, keeps an eye on Greitens scandal

One busy week leads to another as Missouri lawmakers wrestle with tax credits, a major ethics bill, and next year's state budget. The House this week sent a proposed lobbyist gift ban to the Senate, which is conducting a public hearing on it next week. The bill has died two years in a row over concerns that accepting a piece of gum or a slice of pizza could become illegal. But Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, said he's committed to crafting a gift ban that the full Senate can support.

Missouri’s spending on early childhood education could increase, but not by much, school leaders say

Missouri is set to increase the amount it spends on public preschool, but education officials say even if the funds are put in the next budget, the small increase will have only a marginal impact. By hitting a benchmark for education funding during last year's budget process, state lawmakers set off a provision that requires more funding for pre-K in the following fiscal year.

MLK’s final sermon: ‘I’ve Been to the Mountaintop’

Monday, the nation remembers Martin Luther King Jr. Perhaps the greatest of his speeches, from a man renowned for his uplifting words, was one given extemporaneously on the last night of his life, April 3, 1968: "I've Been to the Mountaintop."

MNsure signups hit all-time high

Brian Lambert

Get it while you can. Says Kyle Potter for the AP, “Minnesota's health insurance exchange announced Wednesday that it enrolled more than 116,000 residents in private plans this year, a record number that comes amid cuts and uncertainty for health care nationwide. Open enrollment ended Sunday, and MNsure's signups in its fifth year narrowly beat its previous high of nearly 115,000. But this year's strong figures came in an enrollment period more than two weeks shorter.”The party does love to talk about entrepreneurial spirit. Another AP story by Potter says, “The new chairwoman of Minnesota's Republican Party is seeking a 10 percent commission from large donations to the party, according to a memo obtained by the Associated Press.

Mobile home park residents accuse park manager of reporting tenants to ICE

MinnPost staff

Today in the immigration debate. The Star Tribune's Mila Koumpilova reports: “Immigration agents arrested Miguel Aguilar shortly after he and four other men left a New Brighton mobile home park on their way to work laying carpet last spring. Two weeks earlier, an anonymous tipster had called immigration authorities with Aguilar's name and address. … A group of residents at Oak Grove Mobile Home Park say that tip came from a park manager and kicked off a string of arrests and deportations last year. Amid an intense national debate on immigration, the allegations have reverberated well beyond the park, triggering a state human rights investigation and reaction from top New Brighton officials who now face a possible defamation lawsuit.”Gotta be particularly noticeable in such a small community.

Mobius and supporters to host National Mentoring Month celebration at the Vermont Statehouse on Jan. 31

News Release — Mobius
January 17, 2018
Media Contact:
Office: 802-658-1888
Cell: 802-249-8316
Montpelier, VT—Mobius will host youth mentees, volunteer mentors, and mentoring supporters for its annual Youth Mentoring Celebration at the Statehouse on Wednesday, January 31, 2018 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This event marks the culmination of National Mentoring Month festivities in Vermont, and is made possible by support, for the fourth straight year, from lead event sponsor Redstone Commercial Group and other business supporters. This year's event will feature the signing of a Mentoring Month proclamation by Governor Phil Scott and presentation of the 2018 Vermont Mentor of the Year Award by Comcast. Additionally, the Celebration will include the reading of a Mentoring Month resolution ratified by the Vermont House of Representatives and Senate, a civics lesson for youth mentees led by Lieutenant Governor David Zuckerman, an interactive musical performance by Jon Gailmor, and guided statehouse tours for youth mentees and their mentors. “We are excited to celebrate the service of the more than 140 mentoring programs and 2,300 volunteer mentors throughout the state,” said Chad Butt, executive director of Mobius. “Comcast believes strongly in the power of mentoring, and is dedicated to giving back to the communities where our customers and employees live and work,” said Daniel Glanville, Vice President of Government, Regulatory and Community Affairs for Comcast's Western New England Region, which includes Vermont.

MoBot scientists use DNA testing to bring an African plant out of extinction

DNA technology has helped scientists discover a species of plant in Madagascar that's long been classified as extinct. The Missouri Botanical Garden reported Monday in the journal Oryx that researchers found a few populations of the Dracaena umbraculifera . It's classified as extinct by the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List, but there are specimens living in botanical gardens around the world. Identifying the plant, however, can be tricky because it can only be truly identified by its flowers. It has not flowered in any botanical garden.

Modernizing 911 Systems Could Increase ‘Swatting’

A fatal police shooting in Kansas focused attention on how so-called swatting — prank 911 calls designed to get SWAT teams to deploy — puts lives at risk and burdens police departments. There are more than 7,000 911 centers in the U.S. that get 600,000 calls a day. Police say revolutionary changes in the works for the system could make swatting an even bigger problem, NPR reports. Detective Richard Wistocki, an internet crimes investigator in Naperville, Il., says what often drives them is people playing video games trying to get revenge on rivals. They make it look like the emergency phone call is coming from the victim's home, which is what many believe happened in Wichita when a man made a hoax call to 911.

Monday: Nick Pistor’s ‘Shooting Lincoln’ book details photography during the Civil War

On Monday's St. Louis on the Air , we rebroadcast host Don Marsh's discussion with Nick Pistor , author of “Shooting Lincoln: Mathew Brady, Alexander Gardner, and the Race to Photograph the Story of the Century” recorded Sep. 27 before an audience at Left Bank Books. In the book, Pistor argues that photographers Mathew Brady and Alexander Gardner were media pioneers who had a lasting impact on the industry that can be traced to TMZ, paparazzi and film. St.

Money woes, new competition may end Drew’s campaign

The gubernatorial campaign of Middletown Mayor Dan Drew is teetering with more debt than cash and the prospect of new competition for the Democratic nomination from two fundraising juggernauts, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin and Susan Bysiewicz, and a third candidate with the resources to self-fund a campaign, Ned Lamont.

Monsanto touts increase in demand for dicamba-resistant seeds in letter to farmers

Monsanto announced this week that the number of acres of a new soybean seed planted in 2018 is expected to double to 40 million acres, according to an open letter to “farmer-customers” by Monsanto Chief Technology Officer Robb Fraley. This is nearly half of the U.S. soybean market. U.S. farmers planted an estimated 89.5 million acres of soybeans in 2017, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The announcement comes after Monsanto posted record profits in Fiscal Year 2017, largely because of a demand for its new generation of genetically modified soybean and cotton seeds. Read the full letter on Monsanto's website The RoundupReady 2 Xtend soybean and Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton seeds, which were engineered to be resistant to the herbicide dicamba, were released in 2016.

Months after Maria, relief center helps more than 1,000 arrivals

More than three months after Hurricane Maria left widespread devastation and wiped out power across Puerto Rico, Connecticut is still seeing displaced evacuees arriving from the island in search of aid and stability. MaryAnne Pascone is managing director and the director of community education at Capitol Region Education Councils Relief Center. In this Sunday Conversation she spoke about the challenges and conditions facing the islanders seeking the center's help.

Montpelier announces finalists for major art installation at One Taylor Street

News Release — Community Engagement Lab
January 9, 2018
Paul Gambill, Executive Director, Community Engagement; 802.595.0087
Two Vermont artists and two artist teams have been selected as finalists to design, create and install a permanent work of art at the One Taylor Street Redevelopment Project. They are: Michael Zebrowski of Morrisville; Miles Chapin of Westminster West; Rodrigo Nava and Gregory Miguel Gomez of Putney; and a six-member team headed by Elizabeth Courtney of Montpelier and Michael Singer of Wilmington. In March, 2017 the city announced that – In collaboration with Montpelier Alive and the Community Engagement Lab – it had received a $50,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, part of a $150,000 project to create a master plan for public art, and to commission the city's first major public work of art. A seven-member selection committee was appointed to review applications, which were due on November 1, and to select the finalists. Each artist and team will receive a small stipend to create a concept of their proposed art installation to present to the public on January 31, 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. at City Hall.

Montpelier fire forces tenants from eight-unit building

Photo by Cate Chant/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Montpelier fire" width="610" height="424" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 1280w, 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Photo by Cate Chant/VTDiggerMONTPELIER — A fire that started when a maintenance person was thawing frozen pipes has forced an unknown number of tenants of an eight-unit building out of their apartments. Montpelier Fire Department Lt. Dana Huoppi said the fire broke out in the basement of the four-story building at 197 Main St., at the corner of Main and Loomis Streets, mid-morning and quickly spread between the interior and exterior walls. Two apartments on the bottom floor, which is below ground level in the front of the building, are a total loss, Huoppi said. The fire spread up through the floor of the first-floor apartment. Other apartments in the building are uninhabitable because of smoke and water damage, he said.

Moore gives large developers a pass on parking lot rule

New state Agency of Natural Resources Secretary Julie Moore listens to permitting complaints Thursday, March 2, 2017, at a meeting in Brattleboro. Photo by Mike Faher/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Julie Moore" width="610" height="458" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 150w, 1024w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Agency of Natural Resources Secretary Julie Moore. File photo by Mike Faher/VTDiggerJulie Moore, the Agency of Natural Resources secretary, told lawmakers Wednesday that she missed a Jan. 1 deadline for new rules that would require developers to build stormwater systems for 3-acre parking lots. The secretary asked the House Committee on Natural Resources, Fish and Wildlife for a one-year extension on stormwater enforcement rules for the parking lots.

More CT residents sign up for Obamacare than last year

Access Health CT CEO Jim Wadleigh and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman viewed the new enrollment figure as a victory, especially in light of challenges from Washington, D.C., where the Administration and Republicans in Congress have been working to eviscerate Obamacare.

More details on changes to teacher health benefits

In forcing the city's teachers' union to accept cuts to its members' health care benefits, the School Reform Commission said the move will allow the financially battered School District to inject $44 million dollars back into schools this year. To seek clarity on the legal authority of breaking the collective bargaining agreement with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, the District the and state Department of Education filed suit asking the Commonwealth Court for a declaratory judgment that affirms the SRC's right to make its unilateral move. The brief, filed the same day the new terms were announced, provides a look into the District's legal argument and relevant portions of the state's public school code. It argues that state legislation in 2012 clarified the legislature's original intent to allow the SRC to cancel a collective bargaining agreement (page 23 of the brief). The brief also gives concise explanations for each of the changes to PFT member health benefits and how much savings are expected.

More money for poor students and cuts to central office: A first look at the Denver school district’s budget plan

Denver district officials are proposing to cut as many as 50 central office jobs next year while increasing the funding schools get to educate the poorest students, as part of their effort to send more of the district's billion-dollar budget directly to schools. Most of the staff reductions would occur in the centrally funded special education department, which stands to lose about 30 positions that help schools serve students with disabilities, as well as several supervisors, according to a presentation of highlights of a preliminary budget. Superintendent Tom Boasberg said he met with some of the affected employees Thursday to let them know before the school hiring season starts next month. That would allow them, he said, to apply for similar positions at individual schools, though school principals ultimately have control over their budgets and who they hire. The reductions are needed, officials said, because of rising costs, even as the district is expected to receive more state funding in 2018-19.

More money for poor students and cuts to central office: A first look at the Denver school district’s budget plan

Denver district officials are proposing to cut as many as 50 central office jobs next year while increasing the funding schools get to educate the poorest students, as part of their effort to send more of the district's billion-dollar budget directly to schools. Most of the staff reductions would occur in the centrally funded special education department, which stands to lose about 30 positions that help schools serve students with disabilities, as well as several supervisors, according to a presentation of highlights of a preliminary budget. Superintendent Tom Boasberg said he met with some of the affected employees Thursday to let them know before the school hiring season starts next month. That would allow them, he said, to apply for similar positions at individual schools, though school principals ultimately have control over their budgets and who they hire. The reductions are needed, officials said, because of rising costs, even as the district is expected to receive more state funding in 2018-19.

Morning Report: 1 Block, 5 ‘Party’ Houses for Rent, No Fuss

With all the industry and low-income homes around, the neighborhood of Stockton near the interchange of highways 15 and 94 may not seem like Party Central. Yet in one block, five homes advertise themselves for rent as party houses, just the sort of waking nightmare that worries activists who are fighting Airbnb-style rentals. We took a closer look to see how the neighborhood has reacted to their new neighbors. In a new VOSD story, our Kinsee Morlan reports what we found: No muss, no fuss. Yes, “on the surface, the block appears to confirm some of the biggest fears and complaints of those who oppose vacation rentals in San Diego.” They fear nuisances next door, and they worry that Airbnb is making the local housing crisis worse instead of helping homeowners to make extra money to afford to live here.

Morning Report: A Border Agent Opens Up

Border Patrol agent Chris Harris stands next to a stormwater runoff channel that goes under the U.S.-Mexico border fence. / Photo by David Maung
The U.S. Border Patrol has a reputation for being one of the most opaque agencies in the country. But in a new profile, our Mario Koran gives us a poignant glimpse into the world of Chris Harris, a local union rep who lives between worlds. “Harris encapsulates a host of contradictions,” Koran writes. “When his union endorsed Trump, Harris had misgivings about how it would politicize border security.

Morning Report: A New Convention Center Idea

Professional signature gatherers have a new job this week: Get a measure on the ballot that would raise the hotel tax to fund a Convention Center expansion and more services for homeless people. Local business and labor leaders hammered out a deal on the measure that the mayor said is the most important decisions voters will make this year. Now, we are learning more about one of the biggest parts of that deal. The initiative has a new definition of the Convention Center that enables supporters of expanding it to pursue an option they've long resisted – and another approach they had previously never considered, writes our Lisa Halverstadt. The initiative allows them to build anything as long as it's connected to the Convention Center.

Morning Report: Big Change at MTS

An MTS trolley makes its way through downtown San Diego. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz
The traditionally risk-averse Metropolitan Transit System board elected a new chairwoman yesterday: Georgette Gomez, who is perhaps the most liberal member of the San Diego City Council. As our Andrew Keatts writes, Gomez's ascent is a sign of changing dynamics in San Diego's political culture. Former Councilman Harry Mathis, a Republican, had been chair of the 15-member MTS board since 2006. Another sign of the times: Mayor Kevin Faulconer showed up at the meeting.

Morning Report: Big Rogue-Cop Settlement Changes Little

Morning Report: Big Rogue-Cop Settlement Changes Little
The attorneys for Jane Doe, a victim of a rogue San Diego cop who sexually attacked women, said they wanted more than money. They also wanted more reform in the Police Department beyond the fixes it put in place. Well, at least they said they did. They didn't get what they wanted. The settlement announced Thursday — $5.9 million, with about half going to lawyers — doesn't include “additional oversight or reforms beyond what the department has already implemented, including an ongoing voluntary U.S. Department of Justice review of SDPD misconduct policies,” writes VOSD reporter Liam Dillon.

Morning Report: Bill Targets SDPD Juvenile DNA Loophole

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher / Photo by Adriana Heldiz
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher introduced a bill targeting a San Diego Police Department policy that permits officers to collect DNA from minors without the knowledge or consent of their guardian. The proposed legislation comes after VOSD contributor Kelly Davis revealed SDPD's practice last year. Davis wrote about a case of a group of black teens who were detained by police after a basketball game at the Memorial Park rec center, which is in Gonzalez Fletcher's district. Police searched the boys and swabbed each of their mouths for DNA after the search turned up an unloaded gun in one of the boy's duffel bags. State law already limits when police can obtain a DNA sample from a minor.

Morning Report: Chula Vista’s Making Headlines

Image via Shutterstock
When Chula Vista took over the Olympic Training Center from the U.S. Olympic Committee, city leaders saw an opportunity to get a developer to build new dorms for the center for free. In exchange for covering the cost of the dorms, the developer, Newport Beach-based Baldwin & Sons, could check off a big chunk of its affordable housing requirements related to a housing project the firm is building at Otay Ranch in Chula Vista. The deal required the city to redefine its affordable housing rules, essentially letting the developer build a lot less affordable housing than it would under normal circumstances. In the beginning, both the city and the developer thought they were getting a good deal. But as our Ry Rivard reports, things haven't shaken out that well for either party.

Morning Report: From Drought to Awash in Water Quality Questions

Stormwater runs into Auburn Creek in San Diego. / Photo by Jamie Scott Lytle
In 2015, the drought became Californians' top concern. In 2017, after a record-setting winter helped pull the state out of the drought, San Diego stopped worrying so much about whether it would have enough water and started worrying about what was in the water. I took a look back at a year in which lead in schools and sewage in rivers became a dominate concern for parents, surfers and politicians. Now, San Diego Unified is taking aggressive action to test for lead and repair any plumbing causing the toxic metal to show up in water.

Morning Report: Hepatitis A Forced City Leaders to Act, But Big Homeless Issues Persist

Workers power-wash a sidewalk near the Midway area. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz
San Diego's reputation as a nice tourist destination was tarnished this year when an historic hepatitis A outbreak made international news. The city's homelessness crisis fueled the spread of the disease, and while city and county leaders had been holding meetings, writing memos and making plans to house the growing number of people sleeping on our streets, little was being done until San Diego's hep A problem made its way into headlines. In her latest story, Lisa Halverstadt revisits how hep A forced city officials to set aside their usual bureaucratic processes and try to get people off the streets. New shelter tents have gone up, but it's unclear what will happen next for the folks who move into them — or for the hundreds of others who chose not to.

Morning Report: Issa’s Out

Demonstrators celebrate Congressman Darrell Issa's retirement announcement. / Photo courtesy of Ellen Montanari
Congressman Darrell Issa won't be seeking reelection. The unexpected retirement announcement Wednesday caused San Diego County Republicans to scramble to save the seat. Assemblyman Rocky Chavez quickly announced he'd be making a run to represent the 49th Congressional District, which includes parts of northern coastal cities in San Diego County and stretches up to coastal Orange County. (Union-Tribune)
Our Jesse Marx talked to sources inside the local Republican party who said there were several other Republicans well-positioned to run.

Morning Report: Law Harshes Mellow for Pot Delivery Drivers

Marijuana delivery service supporters rally for legality and regulation for the pot industry. / Photo by Kinsee Morlan
Pot is now legal in California, but that doesn't mean your corner store has a handy supply. The number of licenses is limited, and many would-be sellers are being frozen out — the ones who want to bring weed to your house. City leaders haven't yet bothered to deal with the status of these drivers, who aren't attached to pot stores, so they're in both limbo and jeopardy. The situation has “left hundreds of independent drivers, who previously operated in a grey area of the law, with three options: partner with one of the few legal storefronts, shut down the business altogether, or join what some have begun ironically calling ‘team black market,'” reports our reporter Jesse Marx in a new VOSD story.

Morning Report: More Budget Cuts Coming for Schools

San Diego Unified had a protracted discussion last year about how to cut $124 million from its $1.4 billion budget. But that was last year. The district is preparing once again to cut services so it can balance its budget. It sent a community survey to parents and other stakeholders outlining up to $53.45 million in hypothetical cuts, asking them to rate how essential they consider each category of services, as Ashly McGlone reports in a new story. Among the school services on the chopping block: $9 million in health services, $8 million by eliminating preschool in certain areas, $7 million in custodial services, $5 million in non-mandated special education programs, $4.5 million from music and art.

Morning Report: NIMBYs Triumph in 2016

We'll need to need to cram a lot more homes into our fair county if we want to meet demand and keep housing close to affordable. But the failure of two high-profile measures on the ballot in 2016 suggests citizens aren't on board. “The rejection of Measure T in Encinitas and Measure B countywide sent a message that many county residents simply aren't open to new development — whether it happens in established metro areas, or in rural spaces,” reports our Maya Srikrishnan in one of our year-end roundups. “The fact that the proposals even went to the ballot drives home the paralysis elected officials face when it comes to building more housing.”
Our Favorite VOSD Stories of 2016
Earlier this week, we rounded up some of the most impressive journalism about San Diego from other news outlets. Now, it's time for VOSD staff members and contributors to reminisce about our own favorite stories that we each wrote in 2016.

Morning Report: No Stadium Deal Yet for SDSU Football

San Diego State can continue to play their football games in Mission Valley at SDCCU Stadium through this year. But after that, things get murky. Scott Lewis reports the university and city of San Diego have entered the second year of negotiations on this point and the dilemma is dragging. SDSU pays a fraction in rent of what it costs the city to operate the stadium. Other events don't do much better.

Morning Report: Private Prison In Otay Mesa Plans To Grow

Detainees in orange uniforms may have
The private detention center in San Diego County is looking to grow its population of detainees, despite recent California laws that halt the expansion of for-profit detention centers in the state. The Otay Mesa Detention Center, owned by the private company CoreCivic, is able to do that thanks to a deal it struck years ago. The facility “can continue to expand as long as CoreCivic has the space on its property and Immigration and Customs Enforcement continues to contract with the facility,” Maya Srikrishnan reports. CoreCivic used to be known as Corrections Corporation of America. Their facilities have been in the center of controversies, which were part of the reason California lawmakers have moved to end the use of private prisons and block their expansion.

Morning Report: Private Prison In Otay Mesa Plans To Grow

Detainees in orange uniforms may have
The private detention center in San Diego County is looking to grow its population of detainees, despite recent California laws that halt the expansion of for-profit detention centers in the state. The Otay Mesa Detention Center, owned by the private company CoreCivic, is able to do that thanks to a deal it struck years ago. The facility “can continue to expand as long as CoreCivic has the space on its property and Immigration and Customs Enforcement continues to contract with the facility,” Maya Srikrishnan reports. CoreCivic used to be known as Corrections Corporation of America. Their facilities have been in the center of controversies, which were part of the reason California lawmakers have moved to end the use of private prisons and block their expansion.

Morning Report: Raising Fists with an Embattled Labor Leader

The Oct. 4, 2017, delegates meeting of the San Diego Working Families Council. / Image via San Diego Working Families Council Facebook page. Despite the accounts of women who accuse Mickey Kasparian of sexual misconduct, many of the region's most prominent Democrats continue to have the local labor leader's back. VOSD's Andrew Keatts found a photograph taken Oct.

Morning Report: San Diego and ICE

California's on a mission to bat back President Donald Trump's immigration enforcement crackdown and starting this week, there's a new tool in its arsenal. The California Values Act, also known as SB 54, limits who state and local law enforcement agencies can detain following requests from federal immigration officials. And as Maya Srikrishnan writes, the new law will be particularly impactful in San Diego County where a patchwork of federal law enforcement agencies have a significant presence and regularly partner with local law enforcement on special operations and task forces targeting border-related crimes. Sheriff Bill Gore acknowledged he's grappling with what the new law and the politics surrounding it mean in practice. He worries the law could “get in the way of public safety” but also doesn't want his deputies enforcing immigration laws.

Morning Report: Tax-Hike Proposal Hazy on Details by Design

San Diego Convention Center / Photo by Adriana Heldiz
A quick note: We have implemented a new commenting system on our website. Old comments that were created before Jan. 17 may be missing while we complete the migration to our new system. Otherwise, readers should be able to login with your current account to leave comments on our stories. If you have any issues, let us know.

Morning Report: The Legal Weed Market Needs the Black Market — For Now

Urbn Leaf has hired a company to pick up tourists in Pacific Beach and other areas. / Photo by Vito Di Stefano
San Diego's marijuana industry is not exactly a unified force. It's made up of disparate, and occasionally rival, interests who aren't afraid to throw elbows. But they all agree that at the moment, the black market is serving a crucial role for the city's legal marijuana industry. As I wrote Friday, San Diego is home to 17 medical dispensaries — 13 of which have gotten approval from the state to sell recreationally — and about 1.4 million people.

Morning Report: The Lighter Side (Yes, There Was One) of 2017

In this first Morning Report of 2018, I wanted to wish all readers a happy New Year. We met our fundraising goals for the year and have already begun some interesting planning sessions for 2018. We have a mandate to do more, do better and reach more people. Thank you so much to those who donated in this final push and our many other donors. There is a lot of uncertainty in the news industry these days.

Morning Report: The Year San Diego Unified Rejected Transparency

The campus of La Jolla High School. / Photo by Sam Hodgson
Last year, San Diego Unified School District announced a record-setting 92 percent of its students were on track to graduate. In 2017, we set out to understand exactly how that feat was accomplished, and it was in the course of that coverage that the district set itself apart as an agency overtly hostile to public transparency. Request after request for documents, seeking information as mundane as basic staffing data or as specific as emails relating to budget shortfalls, have either gone unanswered by the district or have languished for hundreds of days before concluding. “Such obfuscation isn't just a problem for reporters.

Morning Report: Trial Offers Glimpse into Neighborhood Market Association

Mark Arabo / Photo by Dustin Michelson
Since the ‘90s, the Neighborhood Market Association has empowered small grocery and liquor stores in San Diego to compete with larger chains in the region and to lobby officials on policies that affect them. But there's long been mystery around the association and its leader Mark Arabo, who took over the group in 2008. Last month, a judge issued a scathing ruling against Arabo and the NMA. Some association members sued Arabo in 2015 after the NMA board authorized $250,000 in payments to Arabo on top of his salary, while the association's finances were dwindling. Court documents from the lawsuit offer a window into the operations of the group – and the fact that its plunging membership has been sending the association's finances into a downward spiral since 2011.

Morning Shift: NFL continues efforts to improve domestic violence policies

UIC professor Beth Ritchie has joined the committee working with the league to improve the way they handle incidents of domestic violence and sexual assault by players. Ritchie explains what's needed. And, a young, acoustic act shares songs filled with wisdom. [View the story "Morning Shift: NFL continues efforts to improve domestic violence policies" on Storify]

Mortgage holder seeks to foreclose on Pownal track site

The grandstand at the former Green Mountain Race Track in Pownal. A loan servicing firm wants to foreclose on the 144-acre site. Photo by Holly Pelczynski/Bennington Banner
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Green Mountain Race Track" width="610" height="425" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 1500w, 1280w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">The grandstand at the former Green Mountain Race Track in Pownal. A loan servicing firm wants to foreclose on the 144-acre site. Photo by Holly Pelczynski/Bennington BannerPOWNAL — A complaint filed in Bennington Superior Court Civil Division seeks to foreclose on the former Green Mountain Race Track property.

Most popular inewsource Data Center posts in 2017

As 2017 comes to a close, we're highlighting our top five databases of the year, as measured by pageviews. In all, these databases include more than 12.3 million data points on topics ranging from education and specialized taxes to details about fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border. Much of this was possible due to the inewsource ... The post Most popular inewsource Data Center posts in 2017 appeared first on San Diego news from inewsource.

Most popular inewsource stories of 2017 — and the impact they made

There was a lot of talk this year about “fake news” and the role of the news media in keeping the public informed. At inewsource, our stories are built on a foundation of in-depth reporting, documents and data. Accountability journalism takes time, persistence, precision and patience to get right. As 2017 draws to a close, ... The post Most popular inewsource stories of 2017 — and the impact they made appeared first on San Diego news from inewsource.

Moth rediscovered in Malaysia mimics appearance and behavior of bees to escape predators

Polish researchers have rediscovered a moth in Malaysia that was previously known only from a 130-year-old museum specimen collected in Indonesia. The Oriental blue clearwing (Heterosphecia tawonoides) was rediscovered in Malaysia's Taman Negara National Park by Marta Skowron Volponi, a Ph.D. student at Poland's University of Gdansk and lead author of a paper about the moth recently published in the journal Tropical Conservation Science. When Skowron Volponi first encountered the Oriental blue clearwing and noticed the blue sheen of the moth's wings as well as its reflective, metallic blue scales, she knew right away that the discovery was unique. She and co-author Paolo Volponi (Skowron Volponi's husband) have now observed 12 Oriental blue clearwing individuals in the wild. Clearwing moths are known for their bee-mimicking appearances, and the Oriental blue clearwing is no exception.

Mouths to Feed: Tracing My Taginealogy

What made me drop tagine from my repertoire?Mouths to Feed: Tracing My Taginealogy was first posted on January 9, 2018 at 9:30 am.

Move Over, Corporate Democrats. A New Wave of Left Populists Is on the Rise.

In spring 2016, a U.S. presidential candidate made the above prediction to Businessweek. That candidate was none other than Donald Trump, and he was speaking of the GOP. His words seem ludicrous, but Trump's anti-corruption pose, populism and vaguely left-sounding economic rhetoric would ultimately take him all the way to the White House. Trump was also openly racist, misogynistic and unencumbered by facts. But he foregrounded economic decline and corruption—and the tight link between them— with a rhetorical force and consistency that always eluded his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Movie Music Magic

Improv bootcamp will score short filmsMovie Music Magic was first posted on January 8, 2018 at 9:34 am.

Mueller Adds Cybercrime Prosecutor To His Team

Special counsel Robert Mueller added a veteran cyber prosecutor to his team, filling what has long been a gap in expertise and potentially signaling a recent focus on computer crimes, the Washington Post reports. Ryan Dickey was assigned to Mueller's team from the Justice Department's computer crime and intellectual-property section. He joined 16 other lawyers, some of whom have come under fire from Republicans wary of some of their political contributions to Democrats. Dickey's addition is notable because he is the first publicly known member of the team specializing solely in cyber issues. The others' expertise is mainly in other white-collar crimes, including fraud, money laundering and public corruption.

Murder in America: a Few Neighborhoods Lead Trends

Murder in America is deeply local, the Wall Street Journal concludes in a two-part series published this week. Homicides in the U.S. rose about 9 percent last year, according to the FBI, and more than one-third of the increase was concentrated in a cluster of Chicago neighborhoods. Meanwhile, improvements in a cluster of Los Angeles neighborhoods accounted for one quarter of the 13 percent drop in U.S. murders between 2002 and 2014.The paper analyzed the locations of thousands of homicides in four cities: Chicago and Baltimore, where violence has risen to or near 1990s levels in the past two years; and Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., where meaningful declines in violence have been sustained since the 1990s. The data show that the neighborhoods where killings have soared in Chicago and Baltimore share worsening poverty, high numbers of vacant houses, and a lighter street presence by police following officers' high-profile killings of young black men. In Washington and Los Angeles, gang interventions and community policing, which seeks closer contact with residents to gain trust and even information in to address crime, have helped produce long-term reductions in murders.

Murder Rate Down in Camden, N.J., Prompting Optimism

Killings in Camden, N.J., have fallen to the lowest level in more than three decades, offering some hope that change is finally on the horizon for a city long plagued by violent crime, reports the Wall Street Journal. There were 23 murders in the city of 74,000 last year, down 66 percent from 2012, when 67 people were killed and elected officials moved to reorganize the troubled police department. There now are more than 400 sworn police officers in Camden, a city spanning about nine square miles, with cops told to approach the job “as guardians and not warriors,” said Police Chief J. Scott Thomson. “We're changing the dynamics of neighborhoods, not by trying to arrest our way out of the problem but by trying to empower people in the city,” he said. “We view our service weapon and our handcuffs as tools of last resort.”
Residents and social service providers credit the revamped police force and its emphasis on community policing with helping lower crime.

Murphy taps GOP help in ‘Buy American’ campaign

WASHINGTON — In an unusual alliance with the Trump White House and GOP senate colleagues, Sen. Chris Murphy on Tuesday introduced a “Buy American” bill aimed at helping small American companies, including many in Connecticut, get their fair share of federal government business.

Musician Storm Large’s upcoming concert in St. Louis feels like ‘coming home’

When singer, songwriter and author Storm Large is not with her band Le Bonheur, she fronts Pink Martini and symphony orchestras. Her varied interests include performing music from Broadway, the American songbook, rock music and her own originals. On Wednesday's St. Louis on the Air , producer Alex Heuer talked with the singer about her career and her performance in St. Louis on Jan.17 .

Musicians Named Williams

Jazz Unlimited for Sunday January 14, 2018 will be “Musicians Named Williams.” Williams is the third most common surname in this country. Jazz musicians names Williams have made significant contributions to jazz history. We will feature music by Clarence Williams, Count Basie with Claude Williams, Sidney Bechet with Johnny Williams, Sandy Williams, Cootie Williams, Rudy Williams, Joe Williams, Mary Lou Williams, Buddy Tate with Jackie Williams, The Jazztet with Tommy Williams, our own Terry Williams, Jimmy Williams, Ptah Williams, Billy Williams, Chauncey Williams, Todd Williams, Eric Dolphy with Richard Williams, Jessica Williams, James Williams, Dr. Lonnie Smith with Jamire Williams, John Williams (of “Star Wars” fame, Art Pepper with David Williams, Bruce Williams and Hal Russell with Mars Williams.

Musicians Needed

Orchestra plans April concertMusicians Needed was first posted on December 28, 2017 at 7:30 am.

MUW president resigns

Mississippi University for Women President Jim Borsig will leave the school in June. Borsig, who is in his sixth year at the Columbus school, did not specify his reasons for stepping down, but he and his wife expect to relocate to Maine. Here is the complete story from The Daily Journal.

Myanmar to target illegal charcoal trade with China

Myanmar has pledged to stem the massive tide of charcoal being illegally harvested, produced and exported from their forests to Chinese factories. Last week a senior official from the country's Department of Forestry told the Myanmar Times that the charcoal trade has “exacerbated” deforestation. Certain forestry products like charcoal are not allowed to be exported from Myanmar. The country has struggled to protect its natural forests from rapid and widespread illegal logging. In 2010, Myanmar had the third-highest rate of forest reduction in the world according to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Namibia’s low cost, sustainable solution to seabird bycatch

Many years ago I joined my cousin, the mate on a sporting vessel, on a fishing trip off the North Carolina coast. We were trolling baited lines in hopes of catching striped bass. I was in the wheelhouse when a mighty expletive arose from one of the three paying client fishermen. Looking astern, I saw a large white bird floundering in the sea — it had dived to take one of the towed baitfish and now was hooked. The client angrily jerked the rod, reeling in the struggling animal, a Northern gannet.

Nappier fears CT may lose discipline on funding pensions

As she begins her final year as state treasurer, Denise L. Nappier fears Connecticut may be retreating from the gains it's made over the last decade in responsibly tackling its huge retirement benefit liabilities.

Nappier Not Expected To Seek Reelection

Another top elected office is opening up in state government, as State Treasurer Denise Nappier has reportedly decided not to seek a sixth four-year term.

Nappier to end 20-year tenure as CT’s treasurer

Hartford Democrat Denise L. Nappier, Connecticut's longest-serving state treasurer and the first African-American woman in the nation to hold that post, announced Wednesday she will not seek a sixth term.

NASA: Global surface temperatures in 2017 second-hottest on record despite no El Niño

An analysis of global temperature data by scientists with the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) found that 2017 was the second-hottest year on record since 1880 — which the scientists say is especially significant given that there was no El Niño last year. According to scientists at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City, global average temperatures in 2017 were 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit (or 0.90 degrees Celsius) warmer than the 1951 to 1980 average, which makes 2017 temperatures second only to 2016. “Despite colder than average temperatures in any one part of the world, temperatures over the planet as a whole continue the rapid warming trend we've seen over the last 40 years,” Gavin Schmidt, director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said in a statement. In their own analysis, scientists at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) determined that 2017 was the third-warmest year on record, behind 2016 and 2015. Despite the small discrepancy in rankings, which is due to the different methods each team employed for analyzing temperature data, both agencies' analyses find that the five warmest years on record have all occurred since 2010 and that Earth's long-term warming trend continued through 2017.

Natalia Pressman: The music flows from Argentina to California

Pressman first discovered the piano while exploring an old house in Argentina. The Hollister resident is now a professional piano accompanist in San Jose.

Nation’s largest janitorial company faces new allegations of rape

ABM Industries Inc. continues to face allegations that it ignores sexual abuse in the workplace.Credit: Matt Rota
America's largest janitorial company, ABM Industries Inc., faces new allegations that it ignores sexual abuse in the workplace, years after it agreed in numerous legal settlements to change how it handles such cases. Three times since 2000, the federal government had sued the company for failing to prevent sexual violence in the workplace. Each time, it agreed to make improvements. Then, in a separate settlement in 2015, ABM promised to change how it responded to on-the-job rape allegations. But three current cases out of Fresno, California, highlight a persistent phenomenon: Female janitors say that their supervisors exploit their power – and the isolation of the night shift – to violently harass them, while their employer looks the other way.

Nation’s largest janitorial company faces new allegations of rape

ABM Industries Inc. continues to face allegations that it ignores sexual abuse in the workplace.Credit: Matt Rota
America's largest janitorial company, ABM Industries Inc., faces new allegations that it ignores sexual abuse in the workplace, years after it agreed in numerous legal settlements to change how it handles such cases. Three times since 2000, the federal government had sued the company for failing to prevent sexual violence in the workplace. Each time, it agreed to make improvements. Then, in a separate settlement in 2015, ABM promised to change how it responded to on-the-job rape allegations. But three current cases out of Fresno, California, highlight a persistent phenomenon: Female janitors say that their supervisors exploit their power – and the isolation of the night shift – to violently harass them, while their employer looks the other way.

National Guard leaders say free tuition would boost readiness

Maj. Gen. Steven Cray is the Adjutant General for the Vermont National Guard. Photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Steven Cray" width="610" height="407" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 1280w, 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Maj. Gen. Steven Cray is the adjutant general for the Vermont National Guard. Photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDiggerWaiving in-state college tuition for National Guard members would boost recruitment and expand the state's workforce, said supporters of two bills at a news conference Thursday.

National Park Service advisory panel disintegrates

The National Park Service is the latest federal environmental agency to lose most of its advisory board. A January 15 letter signed by nine members of the board detailed why they were stepping down from service. Three remained for various professional reasons, such as finishing current projects. The nine resigning board members said they were beset by delay upon delay in trying to accomplish the goals of their positions. “For the last year we have stood by waiting for the chance to meet,” wrote board chair Tony Knowles in a letter published by the Washington Post.

Native Mexican corn growers advocate local crops over global imports

Silvia Jiménez Pérez, a member of Mujeres y Maíz, a group of women who produce tortillas and other corn-based products, prepares food in her work space. (photo by Marissa Revilla)by Adriana Alcázar González, Senior Reporter and Marissa Revilla, Senior Reporter
TEOPISCA, MEXICO — By the time the first rays of sunlight cross the sky, Silvia Jiménez Pérez is already boiling corn kernels that are the key ingredient of the food she'll sell in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, the cultural capital of Chiapas state. “I make tamales, taquitos, memelitas, pozol and everything that occurs to me out of corn,” she says. “That's my business.”
Jiménez Pérez, 44, grows all the corn she uses. “I like to go out to harvest.

Natural World Heritage Sites in trouble, especially in the Tropics

Elephants in Garamba National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo. Photo by ENOUGH Project on Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-ND More than a third of United Nations World Heritages sites with natural Outstanding Universal Value are under threat, according to a recent report by the IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The first assessment of all 241 natural World Heritage sites globally found that 29 percent are of “significant conservation concern,” while a further 7 percent are worse off, with “critical concerns.” Famous heritage sites evaluated to be at risk include Indonesia's Komodo National Park, Ecuador's Galapagos Islands, Australia's Great Barrier Reef, and Peru's Machu Picchu. The report found tropical sites to be among the most critically threatened, especially in Africa, where developing nations often lack the funds to properly protect the preserves. World Heritage Sites are chosen by UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization for having exceptional cultural, historical, scientific or other significance, and the sites are legally protected by international treaties.

Nature’s frontline: Environmental news for the week of January 12, 2018

Tropical forests Virgin Atlantic has stopped buying REDD+ carbon credits from a conservation project in Cambodia (Phnom Penh Post). Orangutans use plants to treat pain (Borneo Nature Foundation). Elections seem to spur tropical deforestation (American Geophysical Union). Law jeopardizes biodiversity hotspot in the Amazon (Current Biology). Scientists investigate elephant decline in Indonesia (The New York Times).

NC Health News’ Most-read Stories in 2017

12. Potential Buyers Walk The Halls, Review Financials at Morehead Memorial
When Morehead Memorial Hospital President and CEO Dana M. Weston started at the hospital in December 2015, she knew that the answer to the hospital's financial woes was probably to become part of a larger health system. Morehead Memorial CEO Dana Weston. Photo credit: Mark Tosczak“I knew they had challenges,” she said. “I thought, sure, we can do a few things and turn it around — right the ship.”
She didn't know that a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing would be required to get buyers interested.

NC Health Stories to Watch in 2018 – Part 1

By Rose Hoban & Taylor Knopf
In today's political climate, it can be a dangerous thing to try to predict the future. But each NC Health News reporter looked at what trends and stories they'll likely be following in 2018. Today, we take a look at federal and state policies that could change the health care landscape. How will health care in NC be affected by Congress' actions? Just before decamping for home from Washington, D.C., Congress left a big bill under President Donald Trump's Christmas tree in the form of a massive tax cut.

NC’s Maternal Mortality Strategy Relies on ‘Medical Homes’

By Michael Ollove
When Hannah White first showed up at the Mountain Area Health Education Center in Asheville three years ago, she was in trouble. She was 20 years old, a couple months into her first pregnancy and on the run from an abusive husband in Texas who already had broken her ribs in an attempt, she said, to kill her unborn child. She also has a form of hemophilia which prevents her body from producing platelet granules that stem bleeding. That disease had robbed her of her Malawian mother when Hannah was three months old, which ultimately led to her adoption by American missionaries. “I was a mess,” White recalled when she first showed up at MAHEC, which serves a 16-county area of western North Carolina.

Nearly a year after FBI raid, Texas Sen. Carlos Uresti heads to trial to face 11 felony charges

SAN ANTONIO — After hundreds of legal filings and three separate trial delays, Democratic state Sen. Carlos Uresti will finally get his day in court next week to face felony charges of fraud and money laundering. Jury selection begins Thursday in the criminal case against Uresti, a two-decade veteran of the Texas Legislature charged with 11 felonies. The case is rooted in the San Antonio lawmaker's ties to FourWinds Logistics, a now-bankrupt frac sand company alleged to have perpetrated a Ponzi scheme against its investors. Uresti — a personal injury lawyer who took notes on a yellow legal pad alongside his three defense attorneys at a pretrial hearing Wednesday — performed legal services for FourWinds and was a 1-percent owner of the company. He also earned commission for attracting investors to the organization, according to court documents.

Nearly half of New York City students stayed home Friday following ‘bomb cyclone’ storm

Less than half of New York City students made it to school Friday, when Mayor Bill de Blasio reopened schools following a so-called “bomb cyclone” winter storm that had blasted the city with snow and freezing winds the previous day. After de Blasio declared a snow day Thursday, many New Yorkers called for another: A petition urging him to cancel school Friday garnered over 150,000 signatures. Many educators predicted that large numbers of students would stay home if schools were reopened. On Friday, they were proved right: Attendance citywide was just 47 percent, according to education department figures. (A department spokesperson pointed out that there have been five winter days with attendance between 45 and 70 percent since 2009.)
Some teachers took to social media on Friday to show off empty classrooms and auditoriums:

As of 8:00am out of 500 students, about 35 came in.

Ned Lamont, who failed to beat Malloy, joins race to succeed him

Ned Lamont, who burst into politics with an anti-war campaign against Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman a dozen years ago, opened a campaign for governor Wednesday with an early-morning email blast and a two-minute, slickly produced video calling Connecticut a beautiful state “that's been failed by the political class for 30, 40 years.” Lamont, 64, the […]

New ‘ghost’ scorpion among several species recorded for the first time in Malaysian rainforest

In a first-of-its-kind expedition, a team of more than 100 scientists and students have surveyed the largely unexplored Penang Hill in the Malaysian state of Penang. The landscape of rolling hills is covered by a large expanse of old-growth tropical hardwood trees and lies just 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) from George Town, the state capital. Yet remarkably the 130-million-year-old rainforest is believed to have never been cut before. Over a span of two weeks last October, a 117-member team climbed tall trees, searched the forest floor and scoured the dark, mysterious depths of caves to discover a treasure trove of animals and plants. They recorded more than 1,400 species, including four likely new to science — a scorpion, a fly, a bacterium and a water bear — and at least 25 species of plants and animals that were recorded in Penang Hill for the very first time.

New agreement removes last legal barrier to Scottrade Center upgrades

St. Louis Comptroller Darlene Green has dropped her legal challenge to a judge's ruling that ordered her to approve financing for upgrades to the Scottrade Center. A deal approved earlier this week clears the last remaining hurdle to the city issuing $100 million in bonds to cover the renovations, including new plumbing for the ice rink and updates to the lighting and sound systems.

New almanac helps Missourians learn about the state’s facts and history

Did you know that Missouri was once a mecca for health conscious people, that there is a town in the state named Tightwad or there is still a law on the books that cattle can't graze on airport runways? These and a plethora of other facts and histories can be found in the new book “Missouri Almanac 2018-2019.” Carolyn Mueller and John Brown, two of the book's five authors, joined “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh to share highlights and the genesis of the book. Mueller explained the idea for the almanac came from discussions with school librarians. “They all spoke about how kids gravitated toward the ‘National Geographic Almanac' and ‘The Guiness Book of World Records' and these trivia books about random things,” she said.

New Artistic Director Joins Opera San Antonio

Opera San Antonio is undergoing its second leadership change in recent months, with the hiring of Adam Diegel as artistic director. Diegel replaces Enrique Carreón-Robledo, who had been general and artistic Director of the company. The post New Artistic Director Joins Opera San Antonio appeared first on Rivard Report.

New board president wants a “world-class education” for every student in Indianapolis Public Schools

A new leader has been chosen to helm the board of Indianapolis' largest school district. School board member Michael O'Connor was unanimously selected Monday to serve as president for 2018. He replaced Mary Ann Sullivan, who had served as president for two years. O'Connor was initially appointed to fill a vacant seat on the board in 2015 and elected in 2016. He is currently the senior director of state government affairs at Eli Lilly and Company and previously served as deputy mayor under Mayor Bart Peterson.

New checklist catalogs every vascular plant in the Americas

Scientists have compiled a list of every known vascular plant found in North and South America, providing a new tool to understand how species are distributed throughout the two continents. “This is the first time we have a complete overview of the plants of the Americas,” Carmen Ulloa, a botanist with the Missouri Botanical Garden in the U.S., said in a statement. “It represents not only hundreds of years of plant collecting, and botanical research, but 6,164 botanists who described species that appear on this list.” A picture of Inga uraguensis, found in the Southern Cone, a region comprising Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. Photo by Fernando Zuloaga/Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology. Beginning in 2015, Ulloa led a team of 24 researchers who pulled together information from plant checklists across the two continents, using a database at the Missouri Botanical Garden called Tropicos to stockpile the incoming data.

New Contract Saves SA Symphony Musicians’ Salaries, ‘Almost’ Entire Season

San Antonio Symphony musicians ratified the contract at its concert rehearsal Thursday – an agreement that preserves current salaries and does not cut any players. The post New Contract Saves SA Symphony Musicians' Salaries, ‘Almost' Entire Season appeared first on Rivard Report.

New Convention Center Measure Could Accommodate Union Backed Bayfront Hotel

The San Diego Convention Center and Harbor Drive / Photo by Adriana Heldiz
Convention Center boosters are adamant that they remain focused on a long-wanted waterfront expansion of the facility but they're also acknowledging a new hotel-tax measure would let them pursue an option they've long resisted – and another approach they had previously never considered. That new approach, an expansion in the facility's front yard, maybe up to or over Harbor Drive, also is convenient for union leaders backing the project who could end up with more union jobs as a result.
The hotel and hospitality workers' union, UNITE HERE Local 30, which also represents some Convention Center workers, has even signed an agreement that ensures it will only support an expansion if it happens on the Harbor Drive side of the current facility, rather than behind it as boosters have long envisioned. The union supports construction of a hotel on Fifth Avenue Landing, a parcel of land necessary for the previously envisioned expansion. It is port land that a partnership has long leased. The partners sub-leased it to the city for purpose of the expansion but the city lost control of the land after failing to pay rent.

New Cuba Policy Strikes Blow to Anti-Castro Lobby

This screen shot taken from live video from the TN channel shows President Barack Obama, right, and Cuba's President Raul Castro addressing their nations at the same time, from Washington D.C. and Havana, on Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. Obama announced the re-establishment of diplomatic relations as well as an easing in economic and travel restrictions on Cuba Wednesday. (AP Photo)

The Obama Administration dealt a major blow to the anti-Castro Cuba lobby today, announcing the United States and Cuba would engage in a regular diplomatic relationship for the first time in more than 50 years. The announcement came following the release of Alan Gross, an American contractor for USAID incarcerated in Cuba since 2009 for illegally importing electronics and acting against the state.

New documents about Jehovah’s Witnesses’ sex abuse begin to leak out

Dozens of confidential documents apparently leaked from Jehovah's Witnesses archives appeared online Tuesday, providing a rare window into how the religion's child abuse policies favor accused sexual predators at the expense of the victims.
FaithLeaks, a group pushing for more transparency in religious organizations, posted the documents in tandem with a story published by Gizmodo. The documents detail the accusations of two sisters who say they were sexually assaulted by their father when they were growing up in the Jehovah's Witnesses religion. One says her father tied her down and molested her. The other says her father raped her repeatedly over a period of years. Most of the 33 documents are letters between local leaders and the religion's global headquarters in New York — The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.

New Evidence Links Medicaid Expansion to Lower Crime Rates

New economic research ties Medicaid expansion to lower crime rates and billions of dollars in “crime reduction benefits,” adding to the small body of empirical evidence on the effect of health care on criminal behavior. Using state- and county-level data from FBI Uniform Crime Reports between 2010 and 2016, economist Qiwei He, of the John E. Walker Department of Economics at Clemson University, compared states with Medicaid expansions to those without, and found that access to health care decreased homicide by 7.7 percent; burglary rates by 3.6 percent; motor vehicle thefts by 10 percent; robbery by 6.1 percent; and aggravated assault by 2.7 percent. According to the study, which was first published in late December and updated last week, Medicaid expansion saved states nearly $10 billion in one year. The analysis was carried out concurrently with another investigation of Medicaid expansion and crime, covered in Oct 2017 by The Crime Report. While both studies conclude that access to health care reduces crime rates, He writes that his analysis shows a somewhat weaker effect.

New FBI records show U.S. concern about terrorist threat from undersea sleds in wake of 9/11

By Dan
FBI reports released under the Freedom of Information Act detail government concerns that terrorists had obtained, or were seeking to obtain, undersea submersibles capable of attacking U.S. ships. The post New FBI records show U.S. concern about terrorist threat from undersea sleds in wake of 9/11 appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

New Haveners Get Missouri Parking Tickets

Some New Haveners have a plausible excuse for not paying their latest parking tickets: They were nowhere near St. Louis on Dec. 11.

New Haveners Of The Year: Under-30s

Watch out, baby boomers. Twenty-something New Haveners began stepping into leadership roles in 2017, suggesting a long-overdue transfer of power may not be far away.

New in Tennessee: one-stop shopping for the latest school data

Anyone with online access can now look up the first year of comprehensive results under Tennessee's new standardized test for 1,800-plus schools, 146 districts and the entire state. Tennessee's Department of Education unveiled the latest version of its State Report Card on Wednesday, providing TNReady results from 2016-17, the first year that the test was completed by all grades. The previous year, only high schoolers finished TNReady due to a series of online and logistical failures. The latest scores were released publicly last fall, but the new report card displays the information in a more useable and accessible format. State officials say it's the most comprehensive snapshot yet.

New Laws Affecting Kids Should Be Vetted By Body of Experts to Avoid Unintended Consequences

Judge Steven Teske
It is a natural human emotion to be scared of what we don't understand. And sometimes the fear is too great and we check our brains at the door. The “superpredator” scare of the '90s is a great example of checking our brains at the cloakroom. When Jerome Miller shuttered the youth prisons in Massachusetts, the '90s outcry that a wave of “superpredator” kids would rape and pillage homes and families as if Armageddon was upon us shuttered the movement to shutter youth prisons. But the evidence shows that he was on the right path.

New Leaders in Putnam, Beacon

Representatives in Carmel, Beacon sworn inNew Leaders in Putnam, Beacon was first posted on January 6, 2018 at 12:25 am.

New Owner Stays Course On Wooster Sq. Project

The new developer of a Wooster Square property said he plans to move forward on schedule to build 299 new apartments and 6,000 square feet of stores as planned on land at the gateway to Downtown.

New Philly DA Krasner Fires 31 in ‘Broad Reorganization’

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner ousted 31 members of the office Friday, a dramatic shake-up and the first major staffing decision announced by the city's new top prosecutor, just three days after he was sworn in, reports Spokesman Ben Waxman said the dismissals were part of a “broad reorganization” of the office's structure and a way to implement a culture change in an institution Krasner frequently criticized during the campaign. The sweeping change affected lawyers of all ranks and could represent a 10 percent reduction in the number of prosecutors. As many as a third of the office's homicide prosecutors were asked to leave. During his campaign, Krasner pledged to reduce the number of people behind bars, never use the death penalty, and seek to end use of cash bail — goals that earned praise from fellow Democrats and liberal criminal justice observers, but skepticism or scorn from other law enforcement officials.

New poll shows our desperate need for a political center

Eric Black

A year ago today, as I prepared to watch the inauguration of a president whose unfitness for the job horrifies me, I wrote a post wondering whether there was still a center in American politics, a place where people of good will from the left and the right could find the kind of reasonable compromises necessary to govern when there is little consensus on what is to be done. And I quoted the haunting line from W.B. Yeats' poem “The Second Coming:”“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold …”I hate to tell you, but the very next Yeatsian line, which I left out last year, was:“Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.”I'm not a centrist. But I believe that – perhaps especially in America with our increasingly rigid two-party system in which party lines have hardened while moderates and centrists have mostly disappeared – our nation's governance badly needs a center right about now, lest mere anarchy be loosed upon the world.Yet I fear the latest trends in public opinion augurs ill, which is how I felt to see current trends in polarization reflected in this latest poll result from Morning Consult.When asked to grade the work of President Donald Trump at the end of his first year in office, 64 percent of Democrats gave him an “F.” Another 15 percent, gave him a “D.”But 43 percent of Republicans gave him an “A” and another 29 percent gave him a “B.”Few of us, (14 percent, and only 19 percent even of self-declared independents) gave him a middling “C.”Since mid-April — around the 100-day mark of Trump's presidency, when Morning Consult and Politico first asked the question, Republican voters have become 10 points more likely to give Trump an “A,” while Democrats who give him an F have risen from 48 percent then to the 64 percent now.(If you're wondering, there was also a 10-point jump, from 21 to 31 percent, of independents who gave him an F.)Sure, I blame Trump, too. I'd give him an “F” too. I'm surely not arguing that he presents any kind of a “center.” When asked for a one-word description of Trump's performance in office, I always end up with “horrified.”But I'm also pretty close to horrified about this level of polarization and the lack of a middle in which governing can occur.I'm for health care for all.

New Position at HHLT

Karen Doyle to address policy and planningNew Position at HHLT was first posted on December 23, 2017 at 8:33 am.

New posters at UVM draw fire as ‘racist’

One of seven posters found on the University of Vermont campus that appeared to be directed at immigrants and were deemed “offensive and racist by university officials. " data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="UVM Posters" width="640" height="480" srcset=" 4032w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 610w, 1376w, 1044w, 632w, 536w, 1280w, 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px" data-recalc-dims="1">One of seven posters found on the University of Vermont campus that appeared to be directed at immigrants and were deemed “offensive and racist by university officials.On the first day of the semester Tuesday, seven anti-immigration posters that University of Vermont officials deemed “offensive and racist” were hung around the central green on the Burlington campus. The posters pictured three different people of color with the words: “Stop importing problems, stop exporting solutions.” Next to each picture, there are three words: attempted murder, rape and murder. The posters immediately prompted new conversations about racial justice on campus, a theme that has recurred frequently since September. The university administration, including President Tom Sullivan, Provost David Rosowsky, Vice President Wanda Heading Grant and Vice Provost Annie Stevens, sent a campus-wide letter condemning the posters, a move that drew support from student leaders.

New Program Couldn’t Keep Him Alive

Two New Haven police officers found Mark Cochran, 55 — the first person targeted for help in an experimental program to keep nonviolent offenders out of jail — slumped over and intoxicated behind Trinity Church on the Green.

New public noticing system puts environmental permitting information on online hub

News Release — Department of Environmental Conservation
January 17, 2018
Jessica Mendizabal
Department of Environmental
MONTPELIER – Once considered out-of-sight, the state's environmental permitting system just got a massive makeover that's turning heads. The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently launched the Environmental Notice Bulletin (ENB). Now, for the first time ever, there is an online hub that gives anyone the ability to easily track permit applications and add public comments. DEC issues more than 9,000 permits annually. Nearly half of these permits will be publicly noticed on ENB in the coming year, making the entire process more straightforward and transparent.

New radio station aimed at Somali-Americans listeners

Minnesota's youngest radio station, KALY 101.7-FM, aired its first news segment this week for thousands of Somali-speaking audience members in the Minneapolis area.The low-power FM station — which is operated by the nonprofit Somali American Community — opened its doors in September, making KALY the first Somali-American station licensed by the Federal Communication Commission. “Media is a powerful tool … and we need to be part of that power,” said KALY Executive Director Mahamed Cali. “You'll be respected when you're able to tell your own stories.” Cali and his team of volunteers operate from a tiny south Minneapolis studio, but their service is making a mark on local community programming: The station broadcasts a daily mix of Somali music, Islamic lectures and Somali language talk programming throughout the day.KALY's mission, Cali explained, is to provide Somali-Americans with information about weather, important announcements, new laws that affect them and discussions about social issues. Prometheus Radio Project, a Philadelphia-based media justice advocate group, helped set up KALY station, which rebroadcasts the daytime programing at night.Other community radioKALY isn't the only local station that has recently hit the airwaves in the name of community service. According to the Prometheus Radio Project, St.

New Research Casts More Doubt on Risk Assessment Tools

Two computer scientists have cast more doubt on the accuracy of risk assessment tools. After comparing predictions made by a group of untrained adults to those of the risk assessment software COMPAS, authors found that the software “is no more accurate or fair than predictions made by people with little or no criminal justice expertise,” and that, moreover, “a simple linear predictor provided with only two features is nearly equivalent to COMPAS with its 137 features.”
Julia Dressel, a software engineer, and Hany Farid, a computer science professor at Dartmouth, concluded, in a paper published Tuesday by Science Advances, that “collectively, these results cast significant doubt on the entire effort of algorithmic recidivism prediction.”
COMPAS, short for Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions, has been used to assess more than one million criminal offenders since its inception two decades ago. In response to a May 2016 investigation by Propublica that concluded the software is both unreliable and racially biased, Northpointe defended its results, arguing the algorithm discriminates between recidivists and non recidivists equally well for both white and black defendants. Propublica stood by its own study, and the debate ended in a stalemate. Rather than weigh in on the algorithm's fairness, authors of this study simply compared the software's results to that of “untrained humans,” and found that “people from a popular online crowdsourcing marketplace—who, it can reasonably be assumed, have little to no expertise in criminal justice—are as accurate and fair as COMPAS at predicting recidivism.”
Each of the untrained participants were randomly assigned 50 cases from a pool of 1000 defendants, and given a few facts including the defendant's age, sex and criminal history, but excluding race.

New safeguards to be implemented following Detroit district’s $6.5 million snafu

A $6.5 million mistake made during schools chief Nikolai Vitti's transition last summer has prompted a new system for setting deadlines for the Detroit district. Vitti plans to use the new strategy to prevent missed deadlines like the one the finance department mishandled in August when they failed to submit paperwork on time to receive a reimbursement from the state. Vitti told Detroit board members at the meeting tonight that his staff is working on a plan to put safeguards in place to prevent another costly error. The mistake isn't likely to affect the district's 50,000 students because the money was owed to the old Detroit Public Schools, which was replaced in 2016 by the new Detroit Public Schools Community District. The old district has no schools or students and exists only to pay off debt.

New satellite data reveals forest loss far greater than expected in Brazil Amazon

The Brazilian Amazon lost 184 km2 of forest in December 2017, according to the country's Institute of Man and the Environment of the Amazon (Imazon). The data, obtained exclusively by the Brazilian news network GLOBO, show a significant increase in deforestation over that of December 2016, when just 9 km2 of deforestation was recorded. More than a new surge in deforestation, this massive increase actually reflects an improvement in Brazil's capacity to measure rainforest extent. Imazon, an environmental NGO that monitors the Amazon region, now incorporates radar imagery from the European Space Agency (ESA)'s new Sentinel-1 satellite. Launched into space in 2014, the Sentinel-1 is used to monitor everything from the Arctic thaw to earthquakes, oil spills, and volcanoes.

New study reveals why some people are more creative than others

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

New Survey Confirms That 1/5 Of College Women Are Sex Assault Victims

One in five female undergraduates at 27 prominent universities said this year that they were victims of sexual assault and misconduct, echoing findings elsewhere, found one of the largest studies ever of college sexual violence, the Washington Post reports. The Association of American Universities survey drew responses from 150,000 students at schools that included most of the Ivy League. Armed with extensive data on the scope of the problem at their own campuses, leaders of big-name universities said they are mobilizing to confront sexual assault as never before. Yale University President Peter Salovey said he found “extremely disturbing” results indicating more than one-quarter of undergraduate women his school were victims of sexual assault and misconduct. Eleven percent of female undergraduates reported incidents of penetration or attempted penetration, half of them saying it happened by force.

New Symphony Board Abandons Transition Agreement

The future of the San Antonio Symphony is in limbo after three of its largest donors pulled out of a transition agreement on Wednesday. The post New Symphony Board Abandons Transition Agreement appeared first on Rivard Report.

New transportation contractor for Medicaid patients off to bumpy start

Since Jan. 1, when a San Diego-based called Veyo took over a program of driving Medicaid recipients to medical appointments, patients have had to wait hours on hold when calling for rides; have been late for or missed entirely critical medical appointments like dialysis, or were stranded at medical facilities when return rides didn't arrive. The company is scrambling to fix the problems, its president said.

New Warming Center Earns Its Name

Kelly Munson and Kraig Patzlaff have been a couple for three years, for most of that time homeless.They can kiss and even cuddle—although no sexual activity is permitted—and quietly listen to their favorite music together in the city's newest warming center.

New Wave Of Electric 2-Wheelers Hits U.S. City Streets

As car companies make strides toward expanding the reach of electric cars in the U.S., the same is happening in the world of two wheels. Outside the U.S., motorcycles, mopeds and scooters are vital, affordable forms of transportation that alleviate congestion. They also run on fossil fuels, and many of the smaller motors are more polluting than regular cars. In the U.S., these smaller vehicles largely have been leisure devices. But as battery technology improves and cities get denser, some startups are seeking to produce cheaper and greener mopeds, scooters and motorized bikes.

New Year, New Art

Buster Levi group show continues through Jan. 28New Year, New Art was first posted on January 6, 2018 at 6:51 am.

New Year, New Cuts Contemplated at San Diego Unified

Parents and community members attend a San Diego Unified school board meeting. / Photo by Jamie Scott Lytle
Sharp budget cuts are once again coming to San Diego's largest school district. San Diego Unified School District leaders are eyeing millions of dollars in cuts to preschool, counseling, music and art programs and custodial and other services to close next year's anticipated budget gap. Details about what's on the chopping block at California's second largest school district come from a new community survey sent to parents and other stakeholders last week. Survey takers are being asked if they are comfortable with a variety of potential cuts, which were each assigned a range of dollar savings.

New Yoga Class at Fred Astaire

Includes "wine meditation"New Yoga Class at Fred Astaire was first posted on January 7, 2018 at 10:21 pm.

New York AG Battles a Native Son Enemy: Donald Trump

Eric Schneiderman, New York's attorney general, has emerged as a national leader in challenging the initiatives of President Trump, reports the New York Times. By moving to sue the FCC over net neutrality this month, Schneiderman's office took its 100th legal or administrative action against the Trump administration and congressional Republicans. His lawyers have challenged Trump's first, second and third travel bans and sued over such diverse matters as a rollback in birth control coverage and a weakening of pollution standards. They have also unleashed a flurry of amicus briefs and formal letters, often with other Democratic attorneys general, assailing legislation they see as gutting consumer finance protections or civil rights. “We try and protect New Yorkers from those who would do them harm,” Schneiderman said.

New York City students share why they’re fighting for school integration

Students filled the New York City council chambers earlier this month to share their experiences in segregated schools and offer solutions. But they faced a mostly empty dais: Only two members of the council's education committee stayed to hear the students' testimony. New York City schools are among the most segregated in the country, and students are playing a growing role in the budding movement to do something about that. After much prodding from integration advocates, the de Blasio administration released a plan this summer to spur more diversity in city schools. On Dec.

New York City Sues Fossil Fuel Companies for 200 Years of Climate Destruction

New York City mayor Bill De Blasio announced on Wednesday that the city's pension fund will divest its roughly $5 billion in fossil fuel holdings. The Big Apple will also sue five major oil companies—BP, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Shell—for climate damages past, present and future, calling climate change “perhaps the toughest challenge New York City will face in the coming decades.”

Court filings for the suit explicitly cite the fact that just 100 companies have been responsible for around 70 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions since the industrial revolution. Asking oil majors to pay, the document argues, will “shift the costs of protecting the city from climate change impacts back on to the companies that have done nearly all they could to create this existential threat.”

And there's a lot to be paid for: A study released earlier this week found that 2017 broke the record for the cost of natural disaster, with weather and climate-related damages in the United States totaling $306 billion. Several climate change effects drove up the total, from the storm surges to the dry and hotter-than-average conditions that sustain wildfires. Cities and states on the U.S. mainland and in Puerto Rico are still struggling to rebuild after hurricanes, droughts and an unusually powerful wildfire season.

New York City will add dual language options in pre-K to attract parents and encourage diversity

Education Department officials on Wednesday announced the addition of 33 dual language pre-K programs in the 2018-19 school year, more than doubling the bilingual opportunities available for New York City's youngest learners. The expansion continues an aggressive push under the current administration, which has added 150 new bilingual programs to date. Popular with parents -- there were 2,900 applications for about 600 pre-K dual language seats last year -- the programs can also be effective in boosting the performance of students who are learning English as a new language. Another possible benefit: creating more diverse pre-K classrooms, which research has shown are starkly segregated in New York City. Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña said the new programs reflect the city's commitment to serving all students, even as a national debate rages over immigration reform.

New York Vineyard Takes A Risk On Ice Wine For A Sweet Reward

There are few regions in the world where you can make true "ice wine," a sweet, dessert-style vintage. You need warm summers to grow quality grapes. But the fruit must be picked and pressed when it's well below freezing. So you need frigid winters. Most of the ice wine in the U.S. is imported from Canada or Germany.

New York’s most segregated school districts can now apply for integration training

Though New York's schools are among the nation's most segregated, few districts are doing much about it. But now, the state education department is making them a deal: If you commit to integrating your schools, we'll show you how. The state's most segregated districts can apply for training grants of up to $70,000, which will allow school and district leaders to attend workshops on how to identify the causes of segregation in their local schools and come up with plans to reduce it, the department announced Wednesday. Among the 22 districts eligible to apply for the grants are 11 in New York City, including ones on Manhattan's Lower East Side and Upper West Side, gentrifying sections of Brooklyn and Queens, and Staten Island. Many of those districts are home to a diverse mix of students of different races and classes, but they are spread unevenly among the schools.

New York’s Cuomo Vetoes His Own Education Bill

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has vetoed the bill he once supported that would have banned the use of student test scores in the firing of bad teachers. Just last June, Cuomo proposed the bill that he said would “protect New York's standing as a national leader in teacher evaluation.” And yet now Cuomo has now vetoed that same bill, saying it does not “fix the foundational issues with the teacher evaluation system.”
The bill would have provided teachers and principals placed in the bottom two rankings on the state's new teacher evaluations with a “safety net.” Teachers and principals who receive one of these two rankings, developing or ineffective, in this school year and next, would have had those ratings recalculated without using the portion that takes into account student test scores. The higher rating of the two would have been used. Teachers who are given the rating of ineffective for two years in a row can be fired. “This is just disrespectful to teachers,” Karen E. Magee, president of the teachers' union, New York State United Teachers, said Monday night.

New Zoning Laws Lead to Quick Redesign

Plans approved in 2014, but Beacon developer had to reviseNew Zoning Laws Lead to Quick Redesign was first posted on January 12, 2018 at 4:53 pm.

News Poetry: “2018: The Year in Review”

At Garrison Keillor's Hague trial for fixing The World Cup, Justice Gorsuch mistakenly referred to George Papadopoulos as “George Pocahontas”. In the ensuing melee, North Korea fired a ballistic missile, which struck and ruptured the Keystone XL Pipeline, spilling nine-hundred-thousand gallons of Alberta tar sands crude. During the cleanup, five Black Lives Matter volunteers were shot in the back and killed by North Dakota State Troopers, each of whom was acquitted by a grand jury, as all the body cam footage was destroyed in back-to-back Category 6 hurricanes. At which point, President Trump rose, tossed back a twelve-ounce tumbler of liquid oxycontin, cried out, I LIKE LITTLE GIRLS, then fell back into the arms of a bare-chested and weeping Vladimir Putin, and subsequently died. From the Poetry Editor: We are starting 2018 with a few news poems by Antonito poet, Tony Alcantara.

News Poetry: “resolution”

I have one
now that the killings are
within city blocks of me
blood spilled
yards from my kin
dawn breaking
New Year's Eve
my grandsons waken
stunned by gunfire
dreaded screams
SWAT team banging doors
ordering residents
“Stay down!”
Officers and residents shot. One policeman, dead. Our closest encounter
but not the first…
–my children's former teacher
lost in #Columbine
–my daughter's doctor, father
of #ChurchMassMurderer
–my friend-of-friend's teenager
blown away at #ArapahoeHS
–my son's co-worker's sister
slaughtered #AuroraTheater. I write; I call Congress
weekly (weakly);
I demand stronger #GunControl
in Colorado, in the nation;
I march;
I deride those who carry guns
to the park, the grocery store;
I revile glorification of weapons. Still, what I do isn't enough.

News Poetry: Homeless at 7th and Santa Fe

1. Black plastic bag, no tote, no backpack
One pair of shoes, no socks, no laces
Plenty of sunshine today, no raincoat
One glove, one cold, bare hand
Toothache, no aspirin
One quarter and three dimes,
No nickels, no ones, no fives
Cracks in the sidewalk, no looking up
Lest he fall and no one will help him
2. Another man froze to death overnight
on a sidewalk in Boulder. Science says
a gentle way to die, with his old boots on,
homeless on a hard bed. He'd slept out before
and had reason to hope he might wake up
with the sun.

News Poetry: Made in America

You have the right to bear arms
to bear poverty
to bear discrimination. You have the right to assemble
in free-speech zones
behind well-marked chain link fences. You have the right to the free exercise
of shopping and driving. You have the right to a fair trial,
and if you cannot afford one,
some other arrangement will be made. You have the right to work
in a department store,
a fast-food restaurant,
a for-profit prison.

News Poetry: Senbazuru

God folds the world along pre-creased lines,
pressing one edge against another, before scoring. Sometimes she folds one way, opens, then reverses. That's how we get extra dimensions. That's how we get different colors. It's not an exact science.

News Poetry: Sparrows

I sip tea while men declare war
in my living room. They raise fists
on evening news, set a flag alight. It burns, small country, in their hands. Cameras cut to a young man in jeans,
spit curdling on lips like snowdrift. He opens his mouth and cries.Sparrows, remarks my husband,
and I turn to catch them
through the window, chestnut wings,
heads hooded and striped.

News Poetry: The Eye of the Beholder

The one on the left, with the pink backpack,
carrying the C-4, is wearing a headset
under that checked yellow scarf,
receiving final instructions. The one on the right, with his hand to his temple,
is radioing in the coordinates. The one in the middle, with the murderous eyes,
his hand in his pocket, has his finger on a trigger,
on a button. And the other one, with his arm
around the other one's neck, whispering in his ear,
urging him on. Do it, he says, do it!

News Poetry: Upon Learning that Butterflies Existed Sixty Million Years Before Flowers

We must now amend our theories of desire,
our understanding of what transforms
flesh so that it may feed on the nectar
hidden deep within the recesses of beauty. We have had it all wrong, assuming that form
follows folly, that the long hollow tongue, the six
spindly legs, the weightless grace of wings,
evolved to plunder the extravagance of flower. Now we know that it is not hunger,
but the desire for hunger that is paramount,
that what animates flesh is not the need
to consume, but the need to be consumed. We know that flowers did not create butterflies,
but the monarch that created the milkweed;
the lion, the lamb; the lost and lonely,
the grieved and groveling, their gods. ____

Poetry Editor's Note: On January 10, 2018 National Public Radio reported that due to a recent discovery of butterfly and moth fossils, scientists have proven that the proboscis that draws nectar from flowers preceded the existence of flowers by millions of years.

Nirenberg Forms New Group to Tackle SA’s Air Travel Shortcomings

Many business and tourism travelers say San Antonio International Airport lacks direct flights to and from other major cities. The post Nirenberg Forms New Group to Tackle SA's Air Travel Shortcomings appeared first on Rivard Report.

Nirenberg Talks Science With Neil DeGrasse Tyson in Live Q&A

San Antonio might want to adopt a new tourism slogan after Mayor Ron Nirenberg's conversation with celebrity astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson: Best City in the Multiverse. The post Nirenberg Talks Science With Neil DeGrasse Tyson in Live Q&A appeared first on Rivard Report.

Nirenberg, Wolff Promise Leadership, Support for Symphony

Nirenberg was frank about the challenges in developing more robust community support, raising money for the current season, and developing a long-term sustainable business plan. The post Nirenberg, Wolff Promise Leadership, Support for Symphony appeared first on Rivard Report.

Nirenberg: Attacks on Police Chief are ‘Political Theater’

McManus' handling of of a Dec. 23 human smuggling case involving 12 migrants in a tractor-trailer has drawn criticism from local and state leaders. The post Nirenberg: Attacks on Police Chief are ‘Political Theater' appeared first on Rivard Report.

Nirmal’s navigates a Northwest take on authentic Indian tastes

Dungeness crab with tamarind and mustard seed is a highlight on a menu that blends Northwest ingredients with Indian flavors at Nirmal's. (Courtesy photo)Indian food in Seattle doesn't normally conjure up notions of fine dining and elegance. For the most part, it's a pretty standard assortment of palak paneer and tandoori chicken with fairly consistent flavors Punjabi food, appropriately Americanized. As someone who grew up mostly eating South Indian food, I often find myself commenting to my friends that they are missing out on a huge amount of cuisine that India has to offer. But that's all about to change when Nirmal's opens later this fall in Pioneer Square.

NJ Becomes Fourth State With Racial-Impact Law

Changes to criminal-justice laws in New Jersey now require an analysis of their impact on racial and ethnic minorities, the Wall Street Journal reports. A bill mandating the analyses, which outgoing Gov. Chris Christie signed Monday, requires the state's Office of Legislative Services to prepare racial-impact statements for policy changes that affect pretrial detention, sentencing and parole. Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat who was sworn in Tuesday, is interested in legalizing marijuana and at ending mandatory minimum sentences. Under the new law, such changes would require impact statements. The legislation notes that criminal-justice policies, “while neutral on their face, often adversely affect minority communities.”
New Jersey has the nation's largest disparity between white and black incarceration rates, says the Sentencing Project, which advocates reducing the prison population.

NM legislators should protect working families

It's been a rough few years for New Mexico's working families. A stagnant economy has meant high unemployment, low wages and cuts to key programs that help families survive. But it appears the state's economy and revenue picture have begun to recover. With the current revenue outlook it is time the Legislature made New Mexico's […]

NMID’s best 2017 stories: Criminal Justice, Child Welfare, Good Government

New Mexico in Depth highlighted the work of our fellows earlier this week, but there was a lot more going on in 2017. Here are just a few highlights. Criminal Justice: Feds' sting ensnared many ABQ blacks, not ‘worst of the worst'. After a 2016 drug sting, agents from the federal bureau of Alcohol Tobacco […]

No bidders emerge for Pownal land eyed for conservation

A sign in Pownal marks the beginning of forestland owned by the city of North Adams, Mass., which will seek proposals to purchase about 218 acres. Photo by Jim Therrien/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Pownal" width="610" height="458" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 1376w, 1044w, 632w, 536w, 1280w, 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">A sign in Pownal marks the beginning of forestland owned by the city of North Adams, Mass., which asked for proposals to purchase about 218 acres. File photo by Jim Therrien/VTDiggerPOWNAL — No bids came in for 218 acres of forested land in Pownal that the city of North Adams, Massachusetts, is looking to sell. “Strangely, no proposals were received,” said Michael Nuvallie, the city's Community Development office special projects coordinator. Responses to a request for proposals were due Friday.

No CodeNEXT Election in May

No CodeNEXT Election in May
Four weeks after saying petitions would befiled by mid-January, IndyAustin is punting
by Ken Martin© The Austin Bulldog 2018Posted Thursday January 18, 2018 7:33pm
Though still fired up about forcing an election that would give voters a loud voice in whether—or when—a major revision of Austin's land development law could go into effect, petitioners are backing off the statement made December 21 that petitions would be filed with the City Clerk by mid-January to force a May 5 election. IndyAustin petition organizer Linda Curtis said in an email today that the decision has been made to instead shoot for a November election. Curtis provided three reasons for shifting the election to November:
First, the group wants to avoid costing the City an estimated $800,000 to have a May election when nothing else would be on the ballot and the City would have to bear the entire financial burden. Second, Curtis said, there will be a far larger turnout for a November general election. That's when U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, all U.S. representatives, Governor Greg Abbott, and many other elected officials will be on the ballot—including Austin Mayor Steve Adler and Council Members Ora Houston, Sabino “Pio” Renteria, Ann Kitchen, Ellen Troxclair, and Kathie Tovo, all of whom are up for reelection.

No matter what Trump’s doctor says, we should all know our waist circumference

Susan Perry

At a press conference Tuesday, White House physician Ronny Jackson told reporters he did not measure President Trump's waist circumference during the president's annual physical last week. He said he felt there was no reason to do so.Media pundits and others have questioned why Jackson omitted that measurement, particularly given the fact that the doctor acknowledges the president's reported height (6-foot-3) and weight (239 pounds) gives him a body mass index (BMI) of 29.9, which is just 0.1 shy of being obese.Indeed, in recent years a steady stream of scientific studies have pointed to waist circumference as an important assessment tool for determining an individual's risk of deteriorating health, especially heart disease.But it may be because the president is obese (that tenth of a point is kind of meaningless) that Jackson didn't take out the tape measure and wrap it around the president's waist. Yes, the result would have helped sate the public's curiosity on the matter, but would it have provided any additional useful medical information? Specifically, would it have changed the doctor's recommendation to Trump to get more exercise, improve his diet (no more Starbursts and Big Macs) and shed 10 to 15 pounds?I doubt it.Also, research has shown that a too-big waistline — generally defined as more than 35 inches for women and more than 40 inches for men — is most strongly associated with poor health for people with a normal BMI.What the research showsMy concern about this whole “girther” issue is that because of Jackson's seeming lack of concern regarding President Trump's waist circumference, some people will think they don't have to worry about their own girth.The evidence says otherwise. For example:In 2009, Swedish researchers found that middle-aged women who carry a lot of fat around their waist are more than twice as likely as their smaller-bellied peers to develop dementia after the age of 70.A 2010 study, involving 100,000 men and women aged 50 and older, reported that having a too-big waistline, no matter what people's BMI category, was associated with increased risk of premature death by respiratory disease, heart disease and cancer (in that order).

No punishment for Warren Love over controversial Facebook post

A state representative from rural Missouri won't face any punishment for a controversial Facebook post he made last summer. The House Ethics Committee considered sanctions against Rep. Warren Love, R-Osceola, for a Facebook post in which he said vandals who defaced a Confederate monument should be “hung from a tall tree with a long rope.”

No ticket for cop clocked driving Ganim at 87 in a 55

The Connecticut state police say a trooper was within his rights Wednesday in declining to issue a ticket or written warning to a city police officer clocked going 87 miles per hour in a 55-miles-per-hour zone on I-84 in Southington while driving Bridgeport Mayor Joseph P. Ganim to a gubernatorial campaign event.

No-Bid Contracts Clear Committee

A Board of Education committee gave the green light to a no-bid $200,000 contract added to its agenda at the last minute, in a vote that may have violated legal rules for public notification.

No-strike bill fails to advance in Senate Education Committee

Burlington High School teachers respond to honks of support from passing motorists on North Avenue in front of the school on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017. Photo by Bob LoCicero/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Burlington teachers strike" width="610" height="407" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 1280w, 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Burlington teachers picket in front of the high school last fall. File photo by Bob LoCicero/VTDiggerA bill that would have prohibited teacher strikes and prevented school boards from imposing contract terms was shelved Tuesday by the Senate Committee on Education. The bill, S.157, also would have required that collective bargaining occur in public.

No, Iran’s Islamic Republic is not on its last legs

Mark Porubcansky

There are few things as heartening in global affairs as seeing a foe suddenly beset by internal problems. So the protests across Iran in the past week made for big, daily headlines.For Americans, the protests are a sign that Iranians are fed up with an overbearing and corrupt theocracy. For Iran's Sunni Muslim competitors in the Middle East, primarily Saudi Arabia, it will be seen as a comeuppance for Tehran's efforts to expand its influence in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.There is some truth in both views. But the meaning of this unrest can be easily obscured by wishful thinking and rhetorical nonsense. The protests do amount to a warning that Iran's politics are not working for many people. But that does not mean they constitute an immediate threat to the system.

No, really, Joe Ganim is running for governor

A spokeswoman for Bridgeport Mayor Joseph P. Ganim said Thursday he will formally announce his candidacy for governor next week, but that a "Ganim for Governor" account opened Wednesday on Twitter was unauthorized and appears to have been the work of "an enthusiastic supporter."

Nonprofit group hopes to buy, run Prospect Mountain Nordic center

A local nonprofit group hopes to purchase the Prospect Mountain Nordic Ski Center in Woodford from the longtime owners. Photo by Holly Pelczynski/Bennington Banner
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Prospect Mountain" width="610" height="341" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 1280w, 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">A local nonprofit group hopes to purchase the Prospect Mountain Nordic Ski Center in Woodford from the longtime owners. Photo by Holly Pelczynski/Bennington BannerA nonprofit group has a contract to buy Prospect Mountain Nordic Ski Center in Woodford from the longtime owners. Members of the newly formed group said Tuesday they will continue to operate the cross-country center and expect that seller Steve Whitham and staff members will stay on. Whitham owns the center with Andrea Amodeo.

North Carolina Dreamers Volunteer, Mentor Young People

SANFORD, North Carolina — After midnight one Saturday, Teresa Rivera and her mother Juana Capcha had just fallen asleep on the overstuffed couch in their living room in Huancayo, Peru. Suddenly they were jolted awake by the sound of a door slamming shut as Rivera's father stormed into the house — reeking of beer. He staggered over to Rivera's mother and began an angry tirade. “He said she'd been out seeing other men,” Rivera said. Then he pulled Capcha's hair and slapped her across the face.

North Carolina Group Keeps Dreamers’ College Goals Alive

SANFORD, North Carolina — As a high school sophomore and DACA recipient, the connections Danny Roda made through his mentorship program were invaluable to helping him understand the challenges he would face paying for college. “I first found out I couldn't receive [public] financial aid through public institutions” from the North Carolina Scholar Latino Initiative (NC Sli), he said. “I was never told that until I had a conversation with other students at the Sli event.”
Having that conversation early on helped him focus on securing scholarships from private institutions, Roda said. NC Sli also helped by providing writing workshops that helped make his scholarship essays more competitive. Today, at 21, he is a junior at Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina, and wants to be a lawyer.

North County Report: Carlsbad Edges Out San Diego in Rental Prices

Carlsbad welcome sign. / Image via Shutterstock
A new report released by the national apartment listing website RentCafe puts up-to-date figures behind the housing crunch. Not only is San Diego among the most expensive large cities in the country, it had some of the highest rental hikes, with a 5.5 percent increase over the previous year. And as goes San Diego, so too does North County: Every city in the study saw their rents go up. At $2,185 — marking a 4.7 percent increase — Carlsbad edged out San Diego's own $2,069 rent.

North County Report: Carlsbad Police Using Automatic License Plate Readers

San Diego highways / Photo by Sam Hodgson
Carlsbad's 14 stationary automated license-plate readers, as well as six mobile units, have been fully activated and have led to three arrests plus the recovery of three stolen vehicles, NBC 7 reports. While the Carlsbad Police Department is “very happy” with the technology, many people, including the ACLU, are not. They've expressed concerns about privacy. The policies governing Carlsbad's use of the license plate readers come from two sources: the Automated Regional Justice Information System, a coalition of the county's law enforcement agencies, and the city's own internal guidelines. Those sources deviate on some key points.

North County Report: Digging into the Escondido Council’s Salary Increase

Sam Abed, left, takes part in a candidate forum held by the held the Escondido Chamber of Citizens and League of Women Voters alongside Kristin Gaspar and Dave Roberts. / Photo by Jamie Scott Lytle
When the Escondido City Council voted to increases its own salaries by 10 percent over the next two years, Mayor Sam Abed made a couple of comparisons to justify the decision. “The Chula Vista mayor makes $150,000. We're making $60,000 here,” Abed said. “We should be confident enough to say we're taking a reasonable compensation.

North County Report: Issa Won’t Seek Reelection

Rep. Darrell Issa holds a town hall in Oceanside, March 2017 / Photo by R. Adam Ward
With his decision Wednesday not to seek reelection, Congressman Darrell Issa joined a long list of Republicans retiring from Congress this cycle. The California's 49th Congressional District is the target of national Democratic attention, but VOSD's Jesse Marx writes that Republicans are still hopeful they can keep it. Several politicos have already jumped in the race. One is Assemblyman Rocky Chávez, from Oceanside, who briefly ran for the U.S. Senate race in 2016. Republican strategists believe Chávez stands a good chance against Democrats if he can get past his own party's leaders, who've expressed frustration over his support for a cap-and-trade bill last summer and more.

Northern Vermont University-Lyndon Transfer Student Day in Jan. 11

News Release — Northern Vermont University
December, 2017
Sylvia Plumb: 802.626.6459,
LYNDON CENTER, VERMONT — Students interested in transferring to Northern Vermont University-Lyndon are invited to an information day Jan. 11, 2018, on campus. The event begins at 3 p.m.
Those who attend the free information day will have a campus tour, attend information sessions, and talk with admissions representatives. Students who submit an online NVU-Lyndon application and send their transcripts before the event can get an on-the-spot admissions decision. NVU-Johnson is holding a similar event on Jan.

Northside ISD Mulls What Could Be Largest Bond Proposal in History

Northside Independent School District is considering a bond election totaling more than $800 million for new schools and renovations of existing ones. The post Northside ISD Mulls What Could Be Largest Bond Proposal in History appeared first on Rivard Report.

Northwest Arkansas Judges Cite Alternative Programs As Key in Reducing Youth Lockups

Arkansas Nonprofit News Network
(This is two of four parts.)
Over the past decade, two counties in Northwest Arkansas have drastically reduced their juvenile incarceration rate. In 2007, Benton County committed 29 delinquent youths to the state Department of Human Services' Division of Youth Services. In 2017, the number was five. “It saves money, it saves resources, but more importantly, the data shows that once you start locking up a kid, the propensity to get locked up [again] increases tenfold,” Benton County Circuit Judge Tom Smith said. “[Our] philosophy is lock up last, not lock up first.”
In Washington County, Circuit Judge Stacey Zimmerman has presided over a similarly steep decline in state commitments — from 20 in 2007 to seven in 2017.

Northwest immigration activist calls her deportation case “intimidation tactic”

Maru Mora Villalpando, center, speaks to supporters and the press in the Department of Licensing building in downtown Seattle. (Photo by Goorish Wibneh.)Prominent immigration activist Maru Mora Villalpando has received an order to appear before immigration court, raising anxiety among her supporters that the government is retaliating against her. She was joined by more than 100 supporters Tuesday morning who held a protest and press conference in downtown Seattle about the proceedings initiated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “To me, it was a clear sign that ICE wants me to stop my job,” Villalpando told the crowd. “It's an intimidation tactic for the very successful movement that we have here in the Washington State against detentions and deportations.”
Villalpando is the spokesperson of NWDC Resistance, a local volunteer group that campaigns against deportations, forefront of many pro-immigrant demonstrations and protests against the Northwest Detention Center, the privately held facility where ICE detains people who are awaiting detention hearings.

Norwich University elects new trustee, Vice Admiral Patricia A. Tracey

News Release — Norwich University
Jan. 2, 2018
Daphne Larkin
Follow us on Twitter
NORTHFIELD, Vt. – Norwich University officials announced that Navy Vice Admiral Patricia A. Tracey (Retired) was elected to the Board of Trustees at the Board's October 2017 meeting. In 2004, Vice Admiral Tracey, who was the first woman to reach three-star rank, left the Navy after a distinguished 34-year career. Tracey worked as and subsequently retired from her position as Vice President, Homeland Security and Defense, for HP Enterprise Services, U.S. Public Sector.

Norwich University promotes Kathleen Murphy-Moriarty to VP of Communications

News Release — Norwich University
Jan. 16, 2018
Daphne Larkin
Follow us on Twitter @NorwichNews
NORTHFIELD, Vt. – Norwich University President Richard W. Schneider announced the promotion of Kathleen Murphy-Moriarty to Vice President of Communications beginning Jan. 1, 2018. Murphy-Moriarty has led Norwich University's Office of Communications since August 2013, when she was hired as Director of Communications and Marketing.

Not A Dream

Not A Dream

Not-For-Profit Seeks Support To Keep Rebuilding In Hill

A city not-for-profit that has spent nearly 40 years rehabilitating historic houses and supporting stable homeownership in the city's poorest communities is looking for another round of federal grant money to help it continue its housing renovation and education work in the Hill, Newhallville and Dwight neighborhoods.

Novelists band together to launch book by the late Howard Frank Mosher

News release — VCFA
Jan. 9, 2018
Montpelier, Vt.—Vermont College of Fine Arts (VCFA) will host a special event honoring the late Howard Frank Mosher and the release of his final book, “Points North,” on Thursday, Feb. 8 at 5 p.m. in Alumni Hall. The event is free and open to the public. Mosher, who passed away in January 2017, was the award-winning author of 13 books of fiction and nonfiction that mostly took place in and around Vermont's Northeast Kingdom.

Now running: Boughton, Connolly and a man named Smith

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, former Veterans Affairs Commissioner Sean Connolly and a businessman, Guy L. Smith IV, kicked off gubernatorial campaigns within an hour of each other Tuesday, underscoring the unprecedented free-for-all to succeed Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. They are the 23rd, 24th and 25th candidates to declare.

Number of Americans With Felony Records Rises Sharply

Every state has seen a dramatic increase in recent years in the share of its population convicted of a felony. That leaves more people facing hurdles in finding jobs and housing, and is prompting some states to revisit how they classify crimes, Stateline reports. In Georgia, 15 percent of the adult population was a felon in 2010, up from 4 percent in 1980. The rate was above 10 percent in Florida, Indiana, Louisiana and Texas. The data come from a University of Georgia study published in October.

Number of art teachers in New York City schools hits 12-year high

The number of art teachers in New York City classrooms reached a 12-year high last academic year as schools devoted a larger share of their budgets to arts education, officials said Monday. Last school year, city schools employed 2,770 full-time art teachers, 89 more than the previous year. Schools collectively spent $416 million on arts last year, a $17 million increase from the year before. “The arts are not a frill, they're not an add-on,” schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña said Monday at Manhattan's P.S. 51, where she visited a music class before releasing the education department's annual Arts in Schools Report. “The reality is we need more arts not less arts.”
Fariña emphasized art education early in her tenure, responding in part to a 2014 comptroller report that found roughly 20 percent of city schools didn't have even a part-time art teacher, leaving many schools out of compliance with state law.

Number of flu cases remains high in St. Louis County

After a record number of influenza cases in St. Louis County in the last week of 2017, the numbers have dipped, but only slightly. The St. Louis County Department of Public Health reports 1,282 cases of influenza in the first week of January. That's compared to 1,304 in the last week of December, a record for the county.

Number of Latino business owners on rise in Arizona

The number of Latino-owned businesses in Arizona doubled from 2007 to 2015, according to recent data released by the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. And the group has more purchasing power than ever.

NY state launches probe into possible propane price gouging

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — An investigation is underway into whether somepropanecompanies engaged in price-gouging during the recent cold spell while others left customers freezing in their homes because of shoddy delivery service, New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman told The Associated Press on Tuesday. The probe also will look into possible misconduct bypropanesuppliers who insisted customers had to buy a newpropanetank before fuel could be delivered, Schneiderman said. "I will not allow any business to exploit a weather emergency and leave New Yorkers in the cold," he said in a statement to the AP. The investigation comes after an Arctic cold front sent temperatures plunging well below zero last week, with wind chills making it feel like minus 30 to minus 40 in some upstate areas. The brutal cold accompanied several feet of snow that has fallen on parts of western and central New York since Christmastime.

NYC Crime Plunges Again; How Low Can It Go?

It would have seemed unbelievable in 1990, when there were 2,245 killings in New York City, but as of Wednesday there have been just 286 in the city this year — the lowest since reliable records have been kept, says the New York Times. In fact, crime has fallen in New York City in each of the major felony categories — murder and manslaughter, rape, assault, robbery, burglary, grand larceny, and car thefts — to a total of 94,806 as of Sunday, well below the previous record low of 101,716 set last year. If the trend holds just a few more days, this year's homicide total will be under the city's previous low of 333 in 2014, and crime will have declined for 27 straight years, to levels that police officials have said are the lowest since the 1950s. The numbers, when taken together, portray a city of 8.5 million people growing safer even as the police, under Mayor Bill de Blasio, use less deadly force, make fewer arrests and scale back controversial practices like stopping and frisking thousands of people on the streets. Franklin E. Zimring, a law professor at Cal-Berkeley, said the downturn was an “astounding achievement,” but it raised another question: How long and low will crime fall?

O’Rourke, national press association call for Mexican reporter’s release

The last time Bill McCarren saw Mexican journalist Emilio Gutiérrez, the reporter was in Washington, D.C., speaking to hundreds of people after receiving the National Press Club's John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award in October. On Friday, McCarren, the National Press Club's executive director, could only see Gutiérrez at a detention center in El Paso after he was nearly deported and then hauled away to the center with his son two weeks ago. “It was a time of high emotion in the room,” McCarren said at a news conference Friday afternoon. “He wanted us to know that he's strong in his conviction. But he'd very much like to be free.”
McCarren's pre-holiday trip to the border was part of an ongoing effort to rally national support for Gutiérrez, who fled the border state of Chihuahua in 2008 when his reporting on cartels and military corruption there led to death threats and intimidation.

Officer shooting in St. Albans under investigation

Jack LaPlant, 26, of St. Albans was shot by St. Albans Police Department officers on Monday evening. LaPlant was carrying a rifle and gun shots had been reported in the city, according to a press release from the Vermont State Police. When police encountered him, there was an exchange of gunfire and LaPlant's abdomen was grazed by a bullet.

Officials encourage flu vaccinations as cases spike

(This story by Nora Doyle-Burr was published by the Valley News on Jan. 18, 2018.)
The number of cases of flu and flu-like symptoms appear to be peaking in the Upper Valley and beyond in recent weeks. As the number of cases peak, public health officials are urging those who have not yet gotten a flu shot to get one and benefit from whatever protection it might afford, despite the fact that this year's vaccine isn't a great match for the most common flu strain. This season appears to be worse than others in recent years, said Dr. Michael Calderwood, the regional hospital epidemiologist at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire. “We have been seeing a significant spike in flu cases this year,” Calderwood said.

Ohio utility AEP never notified public about rate-case hearings

After nearly a year and a half of deliberations with Ohio utility regulators, environmental groups, and customer advocates, American Electric Power appears to have agreement from most parties on the terms of its latest rate case. There's just one problem: The company forgot to invite the public. The utility began working with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio on a new rate case in September 2016. The case will set rates and rider fees through 2024 for the company's nearly 1.5 million customers in the state. When the time came for public hearings, the company was supposed to publish formal notices in local newspapers to let the public know about the meetings.

OK Seeks Two New Prisons as Reform Efforts Lag

As Oklahoma remains the state with the nation's second-highest incarceration rate, advocates for criminal justice reform hope this year's legislative session will prove more fruitful than the last, The Oklahoman reports. Only Louisiana has a higher ratio of its residents behind bars, at 760 per 100,000 people, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Oklahoma sits at 673 per 100,000. Kris Steele of The Education and Employment Ministry said the report underscores the need for reforms. Steele led a campaign in 2016 to reduce Oklahoma's drug possession penalties and fund community rehabilitation programs. “Oklahoma families deserve more,” Steele said. “Limited taxpayer dollars are better spent providing mental health and substance abuse treatment to address the root causes of crime instead of building new prisons.”
The state continues to incarcerate women at a rate higher than any other state.

Oklahoma Female Prisoner Total Keeps Growing

Oklahoma incarcerates more women per capita than any other state—about 151 out of every 100,000 women, double the national average. Since 2011 the state's female prison population has grown 30 percent, the Wall Street Journal reports. The total prison population reached 28,850 in June 2016. Voters passed two measures affecting inmates, and both went into effect in July despite lawmakers' efforts to repeal them. One reduced some low-level crimes, including drug possession, from felonies to misdemeanors punishable by treatment instead of jail time.

Old Highway 90 Event Celebrates Westside History, But Not Name Change

"Remembering Old Highway 90" event brought together the Westside community to share memories of life on this stretch of road between Highway 151 and Commerce Street. The post Old Highway 90 Event Celebrates Westside History, But Not Name Change appeared first on Rivard Report.

Ole Miss students take on Capitol press corps role

LaReeca Rucker, Meek School of Journalism & New MediaOle Miss students taking a winter session course offered by the Meek School of Journalism & New Media on covering state government pose outside the Capitol in Jackson. Eight students from the University of Mississippi's Meek School of Journalism & New Media spent the first two weeks of January in an intercession class focused on reporting about state government and public policy issues. The class, led by Meek journalism professor LaReeca Rucker and Mississippi Today Co-editor Fred Anklam Jr., included several days each week in Jackson covering activities at the Capitol and interviewing leading state officials. The course was held in conjunction with the Mississippi Press Association, of which Mississippi Today is a digital affiliate. The course is designed to give students a firsthand experience in both the daily and long term responsibilities of covering state government and issues impacting the state.

Olga Hernandez: A Failure in School Board Leadership

A jury found former school board member Olga Hernandez not guilty of taking bribes from an insurance contractor doing business with the San Antonio Independent School District, but that doesn't mean she is innocent. The post Olga Hernandez: A Failure in School Board Leadership appeared first on Rivard Report.

On Chess: St. Louis universities dominate Collegiate Chess Championships

The 2017 Pan-American Intercollegiate Chess Championships saw St. Louis teams prevail yet again. The tournament was held in Columbus, Ohio, Dec. 27-30. Sixty teams from all over the U.S., Canada and Mexico took part in the six-round Swiss tournament.

On Chess: The Pro Chess League returns

The inaugural Pro Chess League season ended with a resounding victory by the Saint Louis Arch Bishops last year. The Pro Chess League, originally the U.S. Chess League, used to be an online chess tournament where American Chess Teams, from different states and cities, competed for first place., the founder of the Pro Chess League, decided to innovate and expand on this league by inviting players from other cities, countries and continents. The first event was a great success, as teams from all over the world joined to play. There were contestants from cities like Paris, London, New York and, of course, the Chess Capital of the U.S., St.

On Chess: The role of chess in the creation of the op art movement

When Victor Vasarely, the father of op art, first began to experiment with optical illusions, he needed a canvas on which to put down his thoughts. That canvas had to be square. His two other choices were round, which was totally impractical, or rectangular, which would beg the question: Which way to hang the finished work? So he chose the shape of a chessboard, the square. Vaserely then had to draw something that could be thought of as optical art.

On Climate Change, UN Secretary-General António Guterres Swipes at the US

António Guterres, United Nations secretary-general, said at New York University on May 30, 2017, “The climate conversation should cease to be a shouting match.” “Allow me to be blunt,” António Guterres, the United Nations secretary-general, told his audience to an uneasy laugh. “Our world is in a mess.”Although Guterres could have been speaking to any audience anywhere, he was addressing a crowd gathered at the Stern Center for Sustainable Business at New York University on May 30, one of his first public appearances in New York since he became secretary-general on Jan. 1.Fittingly, he spoke in straight, uncomplicated terms about climate change as the Trump White House prevaricates on whether to remain a party to the Paris Agreement, the international pact combating global warming.“Countries and communities everywhere are facing pressures that are being exacerbated by megatrends — population growth, rapid urbanization, food insecurity, water scarcity, migration. . .

On Coulter, quiet desperation, and child tax credits

Mary Stanik

In 1854, Henry David Thoreau wrote that “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Since a large mass of American men and women at that time were either enslaved, unable to vote or own property, and/or working all day just to meagerly feed and shabbily clothe themselves, quiet desperation was an almost gentle way to describe their lives.Mary StanikSome 163 years later, conservative commentator Ann Coulter, in reference to a proposal made by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., to expand child tax credits, said that single people such as herself “live empty lives of quiet desperation and will die alone.” She added that “now Rubio is demanding that we also fund happy families with children who fill their days with joy.”As one of the 109 million Americans aged 18 or older who were counted as single by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2016, I was more than taken aback by Coulter's assertion about quiet desperation, especially since I felt Thoreau employed the term in a more accurate fashion.For one thing, whenever I've felt desperation or something akin to it (too many times during my life over jobs and boyfriends unworthy of such anguish), I've never been quiet about it.Secondly, I've never had a problem with paying taxes to support things that benefit everyone regardless of marital status, things such as public education or health insurance for children who may or may not fill people's lives with joy and who come from families happy, sad, functionally dysfunctional, or something else better left unspoken. Though it must be said that single people pay more taxes than married people, taxes that pay for things such as public education. I'm not complaining about that point, but am just pointing it out to be fair. Lots of single people may not have kids but many of us are paying to help kids grow up in a decent world so that they might build a better world.Lastly, I don't feel really desperate, quietly or not, about being single. And I suspect a good many of the other millions of single Americans aren't feeling any sort of desperation either.

On King Day: Reminders that we have a long way to go

Eric Black

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day, or perhaps we need to reference a more complex emotional term than just “happy.”I didn't recall, until I just looked it up, that the Rev. King gave his iconic 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech very close to the 100th anniversary of the date in 1863 on which President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. King actually started the speech with a reference to this fact, and to the fact that he was speaking near the Lincoln Memorial.In the almost 55 years since then, our nation has undoubtedly made progress toward legal racial equality, but King's dream certainly has not yet fully come true. And progress has stalled since the election of the most racially bigoted president since at least Woodrow Wilson. (Wilson tried to explain to the most prominent civil rights leader of his time that the segregation of federal agencies in his administration was a benefit to the blacks.)Two of King's close aides testified on at least two of the Sunday morning shows, with the nation buzzing over Trump's recent statements characterizing a wide array of nonwhite nations as “shitholes.”On ABC's “This Week With George Stephanopoulos,” U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, who took beatings from police during his years as a King lieutenant, passed his judgment on Trump: “I think he is a racist … we have to stand up, we have to speak up, and not try to sweep it under the rug.”But on NBC's “Meet the Press,” Andrew Young, another veteran civil rights leader and King lieutenant, (who went on to serve as a congressman, a mayor, and as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations) was asked directly whether Trump was a racist. Young, replied:I'm of the opinion that we were born in a very complex, multicultural situation.

On New Year’s Day, Many Low-Wage Workers Will Celebrate With A Raise

As midnight strikes on New Year's Eve, many minimum wage workers will have an extra reason to celebrate: They'll be getting a raise. In 18 states and 20 localities, lawmakers are forcing up the minimum wage on Jan. 1. For years, a large number of state and local governments have been driving up wages in response to federal inaction. Congress has kept the federal minimum wage at $7.25 an hour since 2009.

On Tom Friedman, cognitive computers, and what Trump has done to us

Eric Black

This is what a certain occupant of the White House has done to us, and, in this, case by “us” I mean those of us who scribble about politics.Thomas Friedman, the Minnesota boy made good and longtime New York Times columnist, wanted to write a column about the rise and future of the “cognitive computer,” like Watson, the IBM computer that defeated all-time champ Ken Jennings on Jeopardy in 2013.Friedman's latest column isn't about President Trump. Not even slightly. Except that Friedman felt he had to start the column by apologizing for and explaining why the column wasn't about Trump.Here's Friedman's first paragraph (after which he doesn't mention Trump again until his last paragraph):Donald Trump poses a huge dilemma for commentators: to ignore his daily outrages is to normalize his behavior, but to constantly write about them is to stop learning. Like others, I struggle to get this balance right, which is why I pause today to point out some incredible technological changes happening while Trump has kept us focused on him — changes that will pose as big an adaptation challenge to American workers as transitioning from farms to factories once did.After that, Friedman proceeds to make his argument about the change of epic proportions that “cognitive computing” will bring to the next generation:Quantum computers process information, using the capabilities of quantum physics, differently from traditional computers. "Whereas normal computers store information as either a 1 or a 0, quantum computers exploit two phenomena — entanglement and superposition — to process information," explains MIT Technology Review.

On Trump, Oprah, and the morphing norms around presidential candidates’ prior experience

Eric Black

Before Donald Trump, every president had experience in the high levels of government. Specifically. Every pre-Trump president had held one or more of the following jobs: vice president, member of Congress, member of the Cabinet, governor of a state, or general of the U.S. Army. Most presidents had prior experience in more than one of those jobs.The Constitution, of course, imposes no requirement other than that a president be at least 35 years old and native-born American.It wasn't a law; it wasn't a rule. But, for all of U.S. history before 2016, over 57 quadrennial elections, it was in some vague, collective sense deemed necessary for a president to have some prior experience in the governing game.

Once​ ​devastated​ ​by​ ​Tropical​ ​Storm​ ​Irene,​ Berlin mobile home park purchased by residents

News Release — Weston's​ ​Mobile​ ​Home​ ​Cooperative,​ ​Inc.
December 29, 2017
Leandro Perojo, President, Weston's Mobile Home Cooperative Board of Directors
Andy Danforth, Housing Program Director, CDI (401) 439-9795
Annik Paul, Cooperative Development Specialist, CDI (802) 851-0110,
Paul Bradley, President, ROC USA, LLC (603) 513-2818
Becomes​ ​203rd​ ​networked​ ​resident-owned​ ​community
Berlin,​ ​Vermont​ ​– Once devastated by Tropical Storm Irene, residents of Weston's Mobile Home Park achieved a once unimaginable dream of cooperatively owning their rebuilt community, and took a major step toward securing their financial futures when they collectively bought their neighborhood as a resident corporation this week. “We worked very hard to form a community-owned park. The advantage of this is that we have a say in the future of our lives in the park. We can keep it a good place for our families to live. A lot of residents can't afford to buy a house or rent an apartment and the park provides a clean, safe and affordable place to live.

Once rare, snow days have become more common under New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio

Mayor Bill de Blasio tends to err on the side of caution when it comes to cancelling school during winter storms.
Under him, snow days have become more common: He has declared five during his four years in office -- the same number that his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, ordered during his nearly 12 years as mayor, according to the city education department. Some of that caution might stem from the time four years ago when he kept schools open before a severe winter storm -- and faced a withering backlash. And so when de Blasio saw that six to 10 inches of snow were expected to begin falling on Thursday just as children and teachers would be commuting to school, along with strong winds and freezing temperatures, he went with the safer course. At 6:36 p.m. Wednesday, he sent a tweet cancelling school. “I felt very confident about the decision,” he told reporters Thursday, adding that he considers the safety of students and school workers, along with the needs of parents, when deciding whether to close schools during winter storms.
Schools will reopen Friday, the education department announced Thursday afternoon.

One Dreamer in New Mexico Is Social Worker By Day, Dance Instructor By Night

SANTA FE, New Mexico — Mauricio Lopez-Marquez hadn't wanted to be carted from Mexico City to Santa Fe when he was an undocumented 14-year-old. His parents talked about the amazing opportunity he and his brother Gustavo would have. But Mauricio felt isolated in this strange new place. He didn't want to learn English. He didn't want to go to high school.

One in Eight Inmates Serving Life or Lengthy Sentence

Oklahoma has one in eight inmates who are serving a life sentence or a sentence of at least 50 years, a new report using 2016 data shows. The report, released by advocacy groups OK CURE and The Sentencing Project, found that 2,908 people are serving life sentences and 682 are serving 50 years or more, comprising 12.4 percent of the inmate population. Those figures include life sentences that are eligible and ineligible for parole. “Oklahoma's leaders must wake up to the reality that we are wasting millions of taxpayers' dollars on a failed criminal justice policy that needs reforming,” Kevin Armstrong, president of OK CURE (Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants, known as OK CURE, said in a written statement. “There are better ways to deal with crime than simply locking up people for the rest of their lives.”
Nationally, 13.9 percent of all state and federal prisoners are serving life sentences or terms of at least 50 years.

One Last Look at San Antonio in 2017

The year's top story in San Antonio for this journalist is an easy call: Politics. The post One Last Look at San Antonio in 2017 appeared first on Rivard Report.

One Minnesota contribution to the war effort in World War II: 22 navy ships built in Savage

William Ellis

In 1942, the US military re-purposed the Cargill shipyard at Savage to produce ships to serve in World War II. By the end of the war, the Savage shipyard had produced twenty-two ships. In 1975, many of these were scrapped, but some eventually saw service overseas.The Navy's decision to build ships at Savage was a consequence of the skill of local shipbuilders. Shipbuilding in northern Minnesota was a tradition that dated back to the early 1870s. Prior to World War II, Cargill, Inc. had become known for building large barges to haul grain.

One problem with pitting Greater Minnesota vs. the metro: There’s more than one Greater Minnesota

Greta Kaul

To hear some politicians tell it, there are two Minnesotas: There's the Twin Cities, land of lattes and light rail and the beneficiary of untold state-sponsored largesse, and then there's Greater Minnesota, long-suffering home to real Minnesotans, stolidly laboring along in spite of consistent neglect from the powers-that-be in St. Paul. There's a lot that's not quite right about that narrative, not the least of which is the assumption that “Greater Minnesota” is one big, uniform place. In reality, Greater Minnesota contains regions that are distinct from one another because of the land they sit on, because of the people who settled them and the people who live in them now; how rural they are; what businesses they're home to, and many other factors. A new report from Minnesota Compass looks at some of those differences across six different parts of the state: the Central, Northland, Northwest, Southern, Southwest and West Central regions.

One system to apply for IPS and charter schools? Nearly 4,000 students gave it a shot

A new website designed to help families across Indianapolis apply for schools drew applications from 3,862 students in the first round. The applications to OneMatch slightly exceeded the goal of 3,500, marking the successful launch of a project that has been in planning for more than two years. The deadline was Tuesday for the first application window using the new system. The OneMatch application, which is run by the nonprofit Enroll Indy, aims to make it easier for families to choose and apply for schools in a city where there is a growing selection of options for students. It allows families to apply for more than 50 charter and Indianapolis Public School district schools through the same website or enrollment office.

Online Common Core Testing Marred by Glitches

A number of schools across the country have been reporting technical issues concerning the implementation of the new online system for state exams tied to the federal Common Core standards. In Georgia, an unknown number of students were affected by such issues, causing the state superintendent to say he is considering what steps to take next. “It is still unacceptable to have even one district having a problem when our testing contract calls for a robust online testing program,” Superintendent Richard Woods said in a message to districts. “We will be holding CTB McGraw-Hill accountable for this mistake, I assure you.”
The state signed a $107 million contract with McGraw-Hill last year to create the exam. However, the state is allowed some form of repayment in the event that the company is unable to deliver, writes Kathleen Foody for The Washington Times.

Only 4 days left to support VTDigger. $49K left to end this drive.

Thank you to more than 100 donors who gave in the past two days to help us secure a $15,000 match Wednesday evening. We are truly grateful that they have chosen to support us. This brings us closer to ending this fundraising plea. We have $48,779 left to raise by Dec. 31.

Only One in Six Cincinnati Gunshots Yields 911 Call

New gunshot-detectors deployed in August confirmed the fears of Cincinnati police: People only call 911 a small fraction of the times guns are fired, reports the Cincinnati Enquirer. For the first four months, ShotSpotter detected 257 gunfire incidents in and around the city's Avondale area. Only 40 resulted in a 911 call – about one in six incidents. Assistant Chief Paul Neudigate said that if it weren't for Shotspotter, police wouldn't have known about 92 percent of the incidents in November. Last year, the city spent $225,000 to cover three square miles with a network of listening devices used to triangulate the location of gunshots.

Only Partial Support for More GenX Funding

By Catherine Clabby
With additional reporting by Taylor Knopf
In a bipartisan response to outrage over contaminated drinking water, members of the North Carolina House of Representatives voted unanimously Wednesday to give state environmental regulators more money to prevent pollution. A proposed $1.3 million fund would not be a huge boost to the state's $77 million share of the Department of Environmental Quality's budget. It would, however, be a small reversal of a seven-year trend in the General Assembly to trim state environmental protection programs.
Will it become law? Not soon, if at all, apparently. The Senate adjourned Wednesday before the high-profile House Bill 189 even cleared the House appropriations committee, frustrating House backers.

OP-ED: Attorney General’s Legacy Needs Shoring Up

Let's take a moment to review the accomplishments and legacy on youth justice issues of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. After six years, he announced his intentions last week to step down. The ones that come to mind first are civil rights investigations in juvenile justice, the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) regulations and the Attorney General's Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence. Holder is perhaps best recognized in the youth justice category for his reinvigoration of the U.S. Department of Justice's (DOJ) Civil Rights Division. An example of this is the administration of justice case in Shelby County, Tenn.

Op-Ed: CL&P’s rate increase request outrageous, morally indefensible

Connecticut Light and Power Company has proposed an increase in its fixed monthly residential charge from $16 a month to $25.50 a month, an increase of nearly 60 percent. With surprising candor, the company has admitted that it wants to make up for revenues that are lost when people take the initiative to make their homes more energy efficient or install solar panels. Now that might seem like a reasonable business decision, but CL&P is no ordinary business. The state of Connecticut guarantees it a monopoly in its service area, which means the majority of Connecticut families and businesses have no option of leaving CL&P for another company. That is why the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) is charged with ensuring that CL&P operates in the public interest.

OP-ED: Juvenile Courts Are Losing Opportunities to Create Better Futures

I recently learned of two traumatic events — both are connected to juvenile court but not to each other. I share both as further evidence of the need for best practices to take hold in our juvenile system. Because I do not have first-hand information and because there may be additional developments in each case, I will not disclose identifying information. The first was the suicide of a child held in a temporary detention center. Not yet a teenager, the boy had been in trouble for some time.

OpenGov Voices: Tools and NGO collaboration push Georgia to redefine “FOI as usual”

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the guest blogger and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not reflect the opinions of the Sunlight Foundation or any employee thereof. Sunlight Foundation is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information within the guest blog.Jed Miller, Digital and Communications Strategist, Open Society Foundations. Image credit: Ahri Golden
Technology, advocacy and policy share a common limitation: None of them alone can make social change happen. In the quest for more open government, advocates must seek change in all three fields at once. While digital tools are never a complete solution, conceived and deployed deliberately, tech can change both the pace of public reform and the balance of power between officials who can withhold information and citizens and NGOs who lack the leverage to demand it.

OPINION: Looking Back At 2017

As San Benito County Supervisor for District One, Mark Medina reports to the community on his first year in office.

OPINION: Make a Difference – Run for Public Office

Win or lose, merely running for public office can give you insight and stir your imagination.

OPINION: Tax Preparation is Big Business

With CPAs, self-help software, and 38 registered preparers locally, tax preparation is big business

Opioids: ‘I’m Tired of Dying Every Day’

When Kristina Davis walked into her daughter's parent-teacher conference high on heroin, it was a moment of truth. She knew things had to change. The 31-year-old had tried to get sober before, but nothing stuck. So on Wednesday, she tried something new. Sleepy-eyed but hopeful, Davis arrived at the Texas Clinic before 7 a.m. for her first injection of Vivitrol, a drug administered once a month to combat addiction.

Opioids: Chronic Pain Sufferers Seek a Voice

The “opioid epidemic” has created a nightmare for many chronic pain patients. They are met with roadblocks at pharmacies— and that's if they can even get a prescription. Doctors in Nevada are fearful they will be targeted by law enforcement for running “pill mills.”
In “The Other Side of Opioids,” KLAS-TV takes a closer look at the numbers and discovers that many of the deaths attributed to opioids in Nevada involve illegal drugs like heroin. That raises questions about many of the restrictions currently imposed as a result of the “opioid epidemic,” and law enforcement's proper role in dealing with the crisis. The one-hour special program interviewed a number of chronic pain patients who worried what a legal crackdown on opioids would mean to their lives.

Oprah’s long and problematic history of embracing pseudoscience

Susan Perry

As was made clear during the Golden Globe awards ceremony on Sunday night, Oprah Winfrey is a powerful and inspiring speaker. She is also a highly successful businessperson, a talented actress, a generous philanthropist and, by all accounts, a warm and engaging person.But over the years, Winfrey has also been a purveyor — through her many media platforms — of dubious medical advice.It's that history that has scientists and others who believe in evidence-based medicine shaking their heads in disbelief as rumors circulate that she might make a run for the presidency in 2020. After all, we already have a president with a history of huckstering pseudoscientific nonsense. Dr. Oz: a ‘pariah in the medical community'Since Sunday, several articles have been written about Winfrey's past willingness to embrace people promoting junk science.As all the articles point out, Winfrey was instrumental in launching the media career of Dr. Mehmet Oz — “Dr. Oz” — who has become “a pariah in the medical community” for endorsing nonscientific treatments, including a green coffee bean extract for weight loss.“The product was peddled by supplement marketer and frequent show guest Lindsey Duncan, who had a financial stake in the companies making the extract,” writes STAT reporter Megan Thielking. “The study that Duncan cited as evidence was ultimately retracted, and an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission ensued.

Orangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probe

JAKARTA — Conservation authorities in Indonesia are investigating the death of an orangutan whose headless and apparently tortured body was found earlier this week in a river in central Borneo. A villager in South Barito district, in the province of Central Kalimantan, discovered the bloated body of the male Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) on Monday, according to Adib Gunawan, the head of the provincial wildlife conservation agency. He said it appeared the body had been in the water for two days before being found. The body was decapitated and hairless, and covered in lacerations. Its arms were also nearly severed, indicating it had suffered extensive abuse before it was killed.

Ordway names new producing artistic director; Art Shanty Project to open on Lake Harriet

Pamela Espeland

One night in August 2017, Rod Kaats (rhymes with gates) went to see the Bob Dylan musical, “Girl from the North Country,” at the Old Vic Theatre in London. Later that night, when he checked his messages, there was one from the Ordway's President and CEO, Jamie Grant. When Kaats called Grant back, one of the first things he said was, “It's so weird that you would call tonight, because I've just seen this musical that's all about Minnesota and it's fantastic.”On February 1, Kaats starts work as the Ordway's Producing Artistic Director, succeeding James Rocco, who spent 12 years in the role. Call it a simple twist of fate.Of course, getting hired took more than coincidence. Kaats' résumé is as long as your arm: producer, director, and writer; former VP of programming for Pace Theatrical Group, now Broadway Across America, the nation's largest presenter and producer of touring Broadway shows; a founder of The Booking Office, the leading booking agency for Broadway tours; a manager and/or producer for various Broadway, off-Broadway, Las Vegas and touring shows; artistic director of the Helen Hayes Theatre Company; director at many regional theaters.

Organizers of 2nd St. Louis Women’s March try to address diversity concerns

The first National Women's March was help in Washington, D.C., one year ago. That's when thousands of pink pussyhat-clad people filled streets in the nation's capital and cities across the country to rally for the rights of women. But some observers strongly believed women of color, trans women and women of different abilities, and the issues they care, about were marginalized at the marches. With that understanding, there has been a concerted effort by St. Louis Women's March for Truth organizers to mobilize support for the city's second march in the face of lackluster support.

Ori Alon Begins Residency

Matteawan hosts artist in JanuaryOri Alon Begins Residency was first posted on January 6, 2018 at 7:53 am.

Orleans County celebrates cost-saving energy efficiency projects

News Release — Efficiency Vermont
Jan. 16, 2018
Jeff Buell
Efficiency Vermont
802-540-7662 (o)
Courthouse, Sheriff's Department Building Reduce Energy Usage by more than half
Jan. 16, 2018 – Newport, VT – Orleans County officials, Efficiency Vermont staff, and local contractors gathered at the Orleans County Courthouse Monday to celebrate energy efficiency improvements that will save county property taxpayers an estimated $8,500 a year in energy costs incurred in the operation of the two buildings. The group toured the Orleans County Courthouse to highlight substantial energy efficiency improvements throughout the building, including:
Spray foam insulation to seal the old stone foundation
Heat pump water heater
Boiler room hot water pipe insulation
LED bulb replacement
Heat pump heating and air conditioning
LED lighting upgrades (interior and exterior)
Motion-sensing light switches
Efficiency Vermont estimates that the annual energy use will be reduced by 57 percent at the Courthouse, and 59 percent at the Sheriff's Department. “Our ability to reduce the cost of operating these buildings for taxpayers was a big motivating factor for doing this project, but the benefits we're discovering go even farther than our budget,” said Mary Ann Fletcher, County Treasurer.

OSHA cites outfitter in death of Yellowstone kayak guide

Wyoming's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited an outfitter in the death of a kayak guide on Yellowstone Lake last summer, seeking $38,672 in fines for eight safety violations. OSHA cited OARS West Inc. for violations associated with the June 14, 2017, death of Timothy Hayden Ryan Conant, 23, of Salt Lake City. Conant died of hypothermia while guiding an OARS kayak trip from Grant Village to the West Thumb Geyser Basin and back, OSHA reported. He was helping rescue a client who had fallen in the water when he, too, went into the lake. Neither OARS nor OSHA personnel would comment to WyoFile, citing ongoing negotiations over the proposed fine and any abatement the company is undertaking.

OSHA cites outfitter in death of Yellowstone kayak guide

Wyoming's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited an outfitter in the death of a kayak guide on Yellowstone Lake last summer, seeking $38,672 in fines for eight safety violations. OSHA cited OARS West Inc. for violations associated with the June 14, 2017, death of Timothy Hayden Ryan Conant, 23, of Salt Lake City. Conant died of hypothermia while guiding an OARS kayak trip from Grant Village to the West Thumb Geyser Basin and back, OSHA reported. He was helping rescue a client who had fallen in the water when he, too, went into the lake. Neither OARS nor OSHA personnel would comment to WyoFile, citing ongoing negotiations over the proposed fine and any abatement the company is undertaking.

Otto, House’s Lead Budget Writer, Announces Retirement

After a decade in the Texas House and fresh off his first session as chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee, state Rep. John Otto, R-Dayton, announced Tuesday that he is not planning to seek re-election. “I want to thank the voters of House District 18 for their support and encouragement over the years," Otto said in a statement. "This was not an easy decision, but I never intended for this experience to be a lifelong endeavor. After accomplishing much of what I set out to do when first elected, the time is right for me to step aside." Otto, 66, joined the House in 2005 after stints on the Dayton City Council and Dayton Independent School Board.

Our 5 Best Podcast Episodes of 2017

Photo illustration by Adriana Heldiz
We stepped up our podcast game this year. In July, we launched I Made it in San Diego, a podcast about the region's businesses and the people behind them. It's more than a straightforward interview show: we spend hours editing each story, adding voiceover narration and taking time to drill into the moments where local business owners seek funding, make a tough sale and watch orders come in for the first time. Many of the folks we've talked to so far have carved their way toward success in a series of fits and starts, hitting just as many lows as highs. We also built out the Voice of San Diego Podcast Network, an affiliation of podcasts produced in San Diego that cover local topics and share resources and support.

Our readers had a lot to say in 2017. Make your voice heard in 2018.

Last year, some of our most popular pieces came from readers who told their stories in a series that we call First Person. For instance, Carl Schneider wrote about the 2015 viral photograph that showed him walking his students home from school in a low-income neighborhood of Memphis. His perspective on what got lost in the shuffle continues to draw thousands of readers. First Person is also a platform to influence policy. Recent high school graduate Anisah Karim described the pressure she felt to apply to 100 colleges in the quest for millions of dollars in scholarships.

Out with the Old

How to dispose of old electronicsOut with the Old was first posted on January 10, 2018 at 7:56 am.

Outdoor Gear Exchange expanding, no big tenants likely set for Macy’s space

The Panera Bread space on Church Street in Burlington, which is about to be taken over by its neighbor and landlord, Outdoor Gear Exchange. " data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Panera/OGE" width="640" height="360" srcset=" 4608w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 610w, 1280w, 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px" data-recalc-dims="1">The Panera Bread space on Church Street in Burlington, which is about to be taken over by its neighbor and landlord, Outdoor Gear Exchange.BURLINGTON — Venerable Church Street retailer Outdoor Gear Exchange will be expanding into the Panera Bread space after the national bakery-cafe chain decided to close its downtown store. Outdoor Gear Exchange announced the decision to expand in a news release Thursday. The company, which has been in Burlington since 1995, owns its storefront building facing Church Street where Panera Bread is a tenant. Panera recently approached the landlord about the closure, said store floor manager Greer Ferguson.

Outrage and conspiracy claims as Indonesia, Malaysia react to EU ban on palm oil in biofuels

JAKARTA — Officials in Indonesia and Malaysia, the world's biggest producers of palm oil, have lambasted the European Parliament's decision to phase out the commodity from motor fuels over the next three years due to environmental concerns. Indonesian Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita said Thursday that the vote to reduce to zero “the contribution from biofuels and bioliquids produced from palm oil” by 2021 was misguided and unfair, given that Jakarta had taken steps to address the environmental impact of the palm oil industry. “They can't eliminate palm oil exports so easily because demand is very high,” he told reporters at the Indonesian parliament. “If it's suddenly stopped, then what about Unilever detergent [which uses palm oil]? We don't want to be the target of a negative campaign all the time.” Enggartiasto urged the European Union to open a dialogue with the Indonesian government over its concerns about the impacts of the palm oil industry on the environment.

Overdoses Keep “Emergency 2” Racing

For several minutes, the man stopped breathing. In a Beaver Hills apartment, he'd flooded his body with heroin.

Overdue: Congress must deal with Trump’s unfitness for office

On Jan. 2, Trump tweeted:North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!This is terrifying from many angles. The leader of the free world is having a shouting match on the internet over the size of his nuclear button.It is overdue that Congress acts to check this imbalance and misuse of power. Our Founding Fathers anticipated a person unfit for office; they just didn't expect to have a Congress with no conviction.What will Rep. Erik Paulsen do?MinnPost welcomes original letters from readers on current topics of general interest. Interested in joining the conversation?

Oversubscribed northern Vermont power grid costing utilities millions

A map on the wall in Green Mountain Power's control room can spot power outages at intersections in its service territory. File photo by John Herrick/VTDiggerGreen Mountain Power suffered “several millions” of dollars of lost revenue over the past 18 months because northern Vermont's electrical grid isn't robust enough, the company's director of power planning said Thursday. Washington Electric Co-op experienced a similar setback for the same reason, with around $600,000 in lost revenue over the same period, said Patricia Richards, the utility's general manager. Executives made these remarks in Montpelier at a workshop to aid the Public Utility Commission's investigation into what's known in electrical utility parlance as the SHEI — the Sheffield-Highgate Electrical Interface. Most of Vermont's electrical utilities are feeling at least some revenue pinch because the SHEI — a series of electrical transmission cables encompassing Highgate, Newport, Lyndon and points in between — has reached its capacity, executives said.

Packetized Energy announces Scott Johnstone as CEO

News Release — Packetized Energy
January 17, 2018
Scott Johnstone, or 802-266-0701
BURLINGTON, Vt. –– Packetized Energy is pleased to welcome Scott Johnstone, formerly of the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC), as CEO. The energy start-up works with utilities installing systems designed to enable electricity demand to balance, in real time, with renewable supply. With a resume that includes executive experience across public, private and nonprofit sectors, Johnstone is a “perfect fit” for the company, according to Packetized Energy President Paul Hines. As the CEO of VEIC for nine years, Johnstone expanded energy efficiency and renewable programs nationwide while building partnerships with government entities and utilities, work which led to reduced greenhouse gases and increases in clean energy jobs.

Paid family and medical leave insurance takes center stage at the Statehouse

News Release — Main Street Alliance
January 12, 2017
WHAT: A showing of upcoming documentary film Zero Weeks and panel discussion to highlight the need for a statewide family and medical leave insurance program. The panel discussion features local business owners, legislators, and community members who have been impacted by a lack of family leave. Attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions of the panel. The Zero Weeks screening will set the stage for the panel discussions. Weaving powerful stories together with insightful interviews from leading policy makers, economists, and researchers, Zero Weeks lays out a compelling argument for guaranteed paid leave for every American worker.

Paid Family Leave Law takes effect January 1st

Starting January 1st, the new Paid Family Leave law allows workers to take time off to care for a newborn, or a sick family member, or help loved ones when a family member is deployed abroad on active military duty. US Employee Benefits Services Group is a benefits consulting firm serving upstate New York. Account manager Kristen Coolbaugh says paid family leave differs from disability leave. “Unpaid family leave is for care for a family member. So family members include children, parents, in-laws, grandparents, grandchildren, and domestic partners and spouses” she said.

Paint the town purple: who decides how and when to change the light colors on Minneapolis’ bridges

Greta Kaul

This weekend, the Twin Cities will paint it purple to celebrate the Vikings' first real shot at getting to the Super Bowl in years — and the chance to be the first team in NFL history to play in the championship game on home turf.Lots of landmarks have been getting into the Vikings spirit of late, from the I-35W bridge to the the IDS Center, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Nicollet Mall, the Lowry Avenue Bridge, the Mall of America, the now-re-lit Grain Belt sign and Target's headquarters.As you might have noticed, this is a fairly regular occurrence — whether it's red, white and blue for the Fourth of July, maroon and gold for the Gophers, or rainbow colors for Twin Cities Pride.Whether you knew it or not, there are actually protocols that dictate when and how some Twin Cities landmarks — particularly the public ones — are lit.Perhaps the most striking lit-up landmark is the I-35W bridge, spanning the Mississippi east of downtown Minneapolis. Starting this afternoon, the 607 LED light fixtures on the bridge's span will be lit up Vikings purple for the weekend, while the 32 on its piers will go gold, said Steve Misgen, a district traffic engineer for the Minnesota Department of Transportation's metro district traffic office. The lights, which were just replaced, are controlled at MnDOT's facility in Roseville.It's not just any occasion that gets this treatment. There are calendars that dictate when the 35W Bridge (and the Lowry Avenue Bridge, under Hennepin County's jurisdiction) diverge from their default blue hues.Both MnDOT and the county take requests to light up the bridges in specific colors, but the requests aren't always granted. The authority to grant or deny requests for 35W rests with the Minneapolis city council (due to a policy change, it'll be MnDOT's soon, though, Misgen said) and with the county administrator in the case of the Lowry bridge.Generally, it has to be an event of regional or national significance — like Breast Cancer Awareness day — in order for a request to be entertained.“We won't do it for your birthday or your wedding,” Misgen said.Creative Commons/Tony WebsterThe authority to grant or deny requests for the Lowry Avenue Bridge rests with the county administrator.The lights can be lit up nearly any color.

Pam Mazanec, champion of parent rights, to resign from Colorado State Board of Education

Pam Mazanec, a Larkspur Republican and adamant supporter of school choice and parental rights, is resigning her seat on the State Board of Education effective Jan. 31. Mazanec provided a copy of her letter of resignation to Chalkbeat. In a separate statement, Mazanec said she is leaving her post to focus on her family's small business. Her term would have ended in 2019.

Panama at the Crossroads

Guido Bilbao, Sol LauríaHeavy machinery is cutting a new road to untouched Caribbean beaches. Extractive industries are threatening the Darien's forests. Who owns these lands? Their ancestral inhabitants are ready to fight.

Pandemonium, devastated silence, and then … the Minneapolis Miracle

Section 310, row 20, seats 11-12. I excuse my way past 10 Viking fans, all with wet lips and a hopefulness that has culminated amidst 56 years of playoff malfunction. I arrive at my seat, where I will witness what has since been coined the Minneapolis Miracle.My old high school friend Tucker — a kid in the graduating class above mine, who wandered the halls of our small high school in upstate New York with his puffy Vikings jacket — was accompanying me to our fourth Vikings game together. All of them wins.This was my sixth Vikings game inside of U.S. Bank Stadium. As excited as I was for the game, I was equally anticipating the “Bring It Home” towel that fans had waiting for them at their seats.

Panel backs saliva testing to screen for driver marijuana impairment

Tom Anderson, commissioner of the Department of Public Safety. Photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Tom Anderson" width="610" height="407" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 1280w, 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Tom Anderson, commissioner of the Department of Public Safety. Photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDiggerA commission empaneled by the governor to advise him on issues related to marijuana legalization is advocating for legislation to allow law enforcement officers to use saliva testing to detect the presence of drugs in motorists. The recommendation was one of several discussed at a Governor's Marijuana Advisory Commission meeting Tuesday morning at the Statehouse, and also included in the panel's first report to the governor issued later in the afternoon. The panel's report also called for increased drug education and prevention efforts and bolstering data collection initiatives.

Panel creates ‘roadmap’ to combat opioid abuse

Jolinda LaClair, Gov. Phil Scott's director of drug prevention. File photo by Erin Mansfield/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Jolinda LaClair" width="610" height="441" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 150w, 1280w, 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Jolinda LaClair, Gov. Phil Scott's director of drug prevention. File photo by Erin Mansfield/VTDiggerA panel charged with coming up with ways to combat the opioid crisis in Vermont has developed recommendations it will now work with others to help turn into reality. The Governor's Opioid Coordination Council has compiled a draft document which is expected in the next couple of weeks, with some editing changes, to become the group's final report and recommendations to be presented to Gov. Phil Scott. “I think we've come up with a strong first set of strategies,” Jolinda LaClair, the governor's director of drug prevention policy, said this week.

Panel urges taking custody of offenders under 18 from DOC

A state panel that oversees juvenile justice has recommended transferring supervision of youths prosecuted for serious crimes in adult court from the prison system to the Judicial Branch. Advocates say the change would provide the youths with better mental health treatment, education and other services.

Paper giant and its ‘suppliers’ are essentially one and the same, investigation finds

An investigation by The Associated Press has uncovered ownership ties between one of the world's largest paper producers and more than two dozen tree-plantation companies linked to devastating fires and deforestation in Indonesia. The news agency used hundreds of pages of corporate records to determine that Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) – an arm of the family-run Sinar Mas conglomerate – has “extensive behind-the-scenes ties and significant influence” over a vast network of suppliers that the paper giant had consistently asserted were independent entities. Twenty-five of APP's suppliers were found to be owned by 10 individuals, including six current and two former employees of the conglomerate, several of whom work in its finance department. The suppliers are controlled, according to an article published by the news agency last week, “through layers of shareholding companies that are almost always based in Sinarmas offices and in most cases have Sinarmas employees, ranging from top executives to humble IT workers and accountants, as their directors and commissioners” – some of whom are descendants of 96-year-old Sinar Mas founder Eka Tjipta Wijaja, whose billionaire family still owns the conglomerate. The Associated Press even found an internal Sinar Mas document describing its own “significant influence” over an unspecified number of its suppliers through long-term purchasing agreements, loans, asset and service transfers, and trades lacking financial justification.

Parents still wary of Normandy schools, despite upgrade in academic standing

Last Tuesday was supposed to be a monumental day for Normandy's public school district. It was kicking off 2018 with a distinction it had not enjoyed in almost five years: It was no longer unaccredited in the eyes of the state school board. Instead, school was canceled because of below-zero morning temperatures. Leadership at Normandy Schools Collaborative, as the district has been known since a reconfiguration in 2014, still took a few minutes to acknowledge the milestone.

Parking Ban Declared For Storm

New Haveners citywide will need to move their cars overnight as officials prepare for what could be a major snowstorm.

Party Time

Jazz Unlimited for December 31, 2017 is “Party Time.” New Year's eve is always a time of parties celebrating the end of the year and the coming of the New Year. The parties range from sedate to out out of control with people imbibing too much. We will celebrate the New Year with party music to fit the occasion and will start one hour later due to the symphony broadcast. Music by Bluesiana Triangle, Ramsey Lewis, Dinah Washington, Monty Alexander, Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, Art Blakey, Lee Morgan, Cassandra Wilson, Jimmy Smith, Gene Ammons and Ray Charles. The Slide Show contains a photo of the Monty Alexander Trio.

Pass Christian school principal named Milken Educator

Dr. Robyn Killebrew, principal of Pass Christian High School, was awarded a Milken Educator Award, which carries with it an unrestricted $25,000 cash prize and national recognition. Killebrew is the only Milken Educator Award winner from Mississippi this year, and she is one of 44 honorees for 2017-2018. about Killebrew's award here. The post Pass Christian school principal named Milken Educator appeared first on Mississippi Today.

Patrick Leahy: The clock is ticking

Editor's note: This commentary is by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who is the vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Once again Congress finds itself lurching toward another manufactured made-in-Washington crisis. We are four months into a new fiscal year, and our government is still operating under last year's fixed funding levels with little flexibility to adapt to today's world. We have not reauthorized the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), putting the health care of 9 million children, including more than 4,700 Vermont children, at risk. And 800,000 DREAMers live under a cloud of uncertainty and fear of deportation.

Paul Ralston: High-tech manure management part of water quality solution

Editor's note: This commentary is by Paul Ralston, of Middlebury, a local entrepreneur who is the owner of Vermont Coffee Company and a former member of the Vermont Legislature. The Vermont Coffee Company purchases 100 percent of its electricity from Vermont Cow Power farms. Vermont Coffee Company is a contributor to VTDigger. What will it take to solve Vermont's water quality problems? We don't know. The problem of water quality is one issue in which there's consensus among Vermonters.

Pawlenty says he won’t run for Senate

Brian Lambert

Tpaw out. At Politico, Kevin Robillard writes, “Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Tuesday he won't run in a special election for the Senate later this year. Pawlenty, now the CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable, a powerful bank lobbying group, ruled out a run during an appearance on Fox Business Network. ‘I'm interested in continuing to serve,' Pawlenty said. ‘There's a variety of ways to do that, [but] running for U.S. Senate this year won't be one of them'.

Pedestrian Struck

A driver struck a pedestrian on Orange Street Tuesday afternoon, leading to backed-up traffic at rush hour.

Pennsylvania Police Chief Arrested in Sex Sting

Leechburg, Pa., Police Chief Mike Diebold, 40, was arrested Friday after attempting to rendezvous with a 14-year-old girl who was actually an undercover agent, according to the state Attorney General's office, reports the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The news came as a shock to friends and family who have stood by Diebold during the turbulent six months since he was injured in a fireworks accident and lost part of one arm. Diebold is being held under protective custody at the Westmoreland County Prison. He is charged with unlawful contact with a minor and criminal attempt to commit involuntary deviate sexual intercourse. Diebold had reached an agreement at the end of December with officials on what steps he needed to take to return as chief.

Pension Fund Showdown Highlights Gaps

A quest to fund city cop and firefighter pensions better collided with a quest to hire more female and minority-owned investment firms, putting two unrelated issues on the same table.

Peoples Trust Company presents goal-setting seminars with Tom Murphy

News Release — People's Trust Company of Vermont
Dec. 28, 2017
Jay Cummings, Peoples Trust Company of Vermont,, 802-752-1848
Tom Murphy, Sweethearts & Heroes: 802-309-9539,
A year from now, you'll wish you started today. Learn more on 1/3 & 1/4, 2018. ST. ALBANS, Vt.

Perfectionism has risen dramatically among young people since 1980s, study finds

Susan Perry

The drive for perfectionism among young people in the United States, Great Britain and Canada has risen significantly since the late 1980s, according to a study recently published online in the journal Psychological Bulletin.Current college students in those three countries are much more likely to demand perfectionism of themselves — and of others — than students of earlier generations, the study found.That is particularly true of young Americans attending college.The finding is troubling. Other research has shown that perfectionism — defined by the authors of the current study as “an irrational desire to achieve along with being overly critical of oneself and others" — takes a toll on mental health. In young people, perfectionism is associated with an increased risk of depression, anxiety, eating disorders and thoughts of suicide. And, indeed, those mental health issues have been increasing among young adults in recent years. Study detailsFor the study, researchers analyzed data collected from 41,640 American, Canadian and British college students who had completed a questionnaire that measures perfectionist traits.

Perhaps Obama Ordered Trump’s Microwave Oven to Spy On Him

A few days ago, Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway talked to the Bergen Record about the possibility that Trump Tower had been wiretapped:

What I can say is there are many ways to surveil each other now, unfortunately. There was an article this week that talked about how you can surveil someone through their phones, through their — certainly through their television sets, any number of different ways, and microwaves that turn into cameras, etc., so we know that that is just a fact of modern life. Conway repeated this claim yesterday on one of the Sunday chat shows, and she has a point. You can aim a concentrated beam of microwaves at a window and make out conversations on the other side.1 This is hardly science fic—wait. What?

Personal data of 52 New York students is comprised after testing-company breach

More than 50 students across New York had their personal information comprised in a recent data breach, state education officials said Thursday, blaming the incident on a private testing vendor that has recently come under fire in other states for testing mishaps. The vendor, Questar Assessment, Inc., suspects that a former employee illicitly accessed the names, student-identification numbers, schools, grade levels, and teachers of at least 52 students who took state tests on computers last spring, according to state education department officials. The breach occurred between Dec. 30 and Jan. 2, though Questar first notified the state on Tuesday, officials said.

Peru declares a huge new national park in the Amazon

LORETO REGION, Peru — Starting yesterday, 868,927 hectares of forest in Peru's Loreto Region will be protected through the creation of Yaguas National Park, comprising a mega-diverse ecosystem that, until yesterday, was protected as a “reserved area.” The order that confirmed this declaration was signed by the Minister of the Environment and the President of the Republic in a Ministry Council meeting earlier this week. For 30 years, the communities that live around Yaguas have worked toward national park status for the highly biodiverse area, which they consider sacred. Yaguas National Park comprises 870,000 hectares of Amazon rainforest in Peru's northern Loreto Region. As deforestation has expanded and approached from the south, Yagua has remained relatively intact. Stakeholders hope its upgrade to a national park will help keep it that way.

Pesticide buffer zones crop up in other states but none in Midwest

Hundreds of rural schools in Midwest states nestle against fields of corn and soybeans that are routinely sprayed with pesticides that could drift onto school grounds. Health experts say those pesticides might pose risks to children, and nine states in other regions of the country have been concerned enough to pass laws requiring buffer zones. But states in the Midwest do not require any kind of buffer zone between schools and crop fields and seldom require any notification that pesticides are about to be sprayed, a review of laws by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting has found. But Marc Lame, a professor in the school of public and environmental affairs at Indiana University said Midwestern states could benefit from adopting similar legislation. “In general, our pesticides here, as far as the type of pesticides, are just as dangerous or have the ability to drift or anything else as the pesticides out west,” said Lame.

Pesticide Buffer Zones Crop Up In Other States But None In Midwest

Hundreds of rural schools in Midwest states nestle against fields of corn and soybeans that are routinely sprayed with pesticides that could drift onto school grounds. Health experts say those pesticides might pose risks to children, and nine states in other regions of the country have been concerned enough to pass laws requiring buffer zones. But states in the Midwest do not require any kind of buffer zone between schools and crop fields and seldom require any notification that pesticides are about to be sprayed, a review of laws by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting has found. But Marc Lame, a professor in the school of public and environmental affairs at Indiana University said Midwestern states could benefit from adopting similar legislation. “In general, our pesticides here, as far as the type of pesticides, are just as dangerous or have the ability to drift or anything else as the pesticides out west,” said Lame.

Peter Berger: ‘This President’

Editor's note: This commentary is by Peter Berger, an English teacher at Weathersfield School, who writes “Poor Elijah's Almanack.” The column appears in several publications, including the Times Argus, the Rutland Herald and the Stowe Reporter. Every Christmas Poor Elijah treats himself to “A Christmas Carol.” Ebenezer Scrooge is a powerful man. His tyranny extends over his debtors, his workers, his family and London's huddled masses. Happily by the story's end, thanks to three guiding spirits, Scrooge comes to his senses, repents, and becomes as good a man as the good old city ever knew. Like my friend, I've always taken that to mean that there's likewise hope that each of us in our human folly, our error, and our own excursions into iniquity can come to our senses and heed the voices of our better angels.

Peter Berger: The fault in ourselves

Editor's note: This commentary is by Peter Berger, an English teacher at Weathersfield School, who writes “Poor Elijah's Almanack.” The column appears in several publications, including the Times Argus, the Rutland Herald and the Stowe Reporter. I teach analogies to my students. Solving analogies involves statements like “hot is to cold as up is to …” where you have to come up with a word that completes the thought. Arriving at the correct answer requires knowing what all the words mean and recognizing their relationship to each other, which in this case is they're opposites, which is why the correct answer is “down.”
Analogies commonly involve less familiar words and more complicated connections. Analogies are valuable because they reflect the way people think, in that they require students and the rest of us to identify ideas and articulate their relation to one another.

PFOA health survey in Bennington area will continue longer

BENNINGTON — A deadline for residents to take a questionnaire about suspected PFOA-related health issues has been extended to Feb. 28. Also, Dr. David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the State University of New York at Albany, is joining the research team. Carpenter and his graduate students will help get people who are affected by PFOA (perflourooctanoic acid) contamination in Bennington — as well as Hoosick Falls and Petersburgh, New York — to fill out the questionnaire. “PFOA and related compounds are very dangerous chemicals that increase the risk of several diseases, including cancer,” Carpenter said.

Philipstown Collects $2.5M in Early Tax Payments

Governor pledges state efforts to ease burden of deduction limitsPhilipstown Collects $2.5M in Early Tax Payments was first posted on January 6, 2018 at 6:22 pm.

Philipstown Obituaries

Deborah Bozsik, June Gilleo, Sister Eileen WaldronPhilipstown Obituaries was first posted on January 15, 2018 at 9:56 pm.

Philipstown Obituaries

Jean Bradford, Joe O'Toole, Gloria VarricchioPhilipstown Obituaries was first posted on January 2, 2018 at 8:39 pm.

Philipstown Obituaries

Vito Chirico, Elizabeth HynesPhilipstown Obituaries was first posted on January 8, 2018 at 10:12 pm.

Philly Homicides Top 300 as Other Violence Drops

Violent crime in Philadelphia continued to fall in 2017, with offenses including rape, robbery, and aggravated assault likely to rival last year's notably low totals, reports For the first time since 2012, the city recorded more than 300 homicides — an uptick of nearly 15 percent and the only category of violent crime to rise substantially. Police officials and criminologists are hard-pressed to explain why murders were up when other crime was down, particularly because fewer shootings were reported in 2017 than the year before. Officials point to several factors that could have contributed to Philadelphia's 2017 homicide spike, including the opioid epidemic, a police department that had been several hundred officers short of what Commissioner Richard Ross believes is an adequate staffing level, and easy access to guns. Two of the city's most violent police districts — the 24th and 25th — intersect in Kensington, in the heart of the city's open-air drug markets and where heroin users have flocked amid a national opioid epidemic.

Phoenix Books holds celebration of Howard Frank Mosher and his final book

News Release — Phoenix Books
Jan. 9, 2018
Kristen Eaton
Phoenix Books
802.872.7111 (p)
Burlington, Vermont – January 9, 2018: Phoenix Books Burlington will celebrate beloved author Howard Frank Mosher, and his final book, Points North, at a reception and reading on Tuesday, January 30th at 5:30pm. Local authors Chris Bohjalian, Stephen P. Kiernan and Stephen Russell Payne will read from Points North and share reminiscences of Mosher and his work. Phoenix Books co-owner Renee Reiner will host and MC the event. Light fare will be provided.

Phoenix Books to host Lauren Markham, author of ‘The Far Away Brothers’

News Release — Phoenix Books
Dec. 28, 2017
Kristen Eaton
Phoenix Books
802.872.7111 (p)
Burlington, Vermont – December 28, 2017: On Thursday, January 18th at 6:30pm, Phoenix Books Burlington will host Lauren Markham for a talk on her new book, The Far Away Brothers, an urgent chronicle of contemporary immigration. Growing up in rural El Salvador in the wake of the civil war, Ernesto Flores had always had a fascination with the United States, the faraway land of skyscrapers and Nikes, while his identical twin, Raul, never felt that northbound tug. But when Ernesto ends up on the wrong side of the region's brutal gangs, he is forced to flee the country, and Raul, because he looks just like his brother, follows close behind—away from one danger and toward the great American unknown. In The Far Away Brothers, journalist Lauren Markham follows the seventeen-year-old Flores twins as they make their harrowing journey across the Rio Grande and the Texas desert, into the hands of immigration authorities, and from there to their estranged older brother's custody in Oakland, California.

Phoenix Homicides Up, Reflecting National Trend

Phoenix homicides rose again in 2017 after a disturbing spike in 2016, the Arizona Republic reports. There were at least 152 homicides through mid-December, compared with 146 in all of 2016. The uptick comes on the heels of a sharp increase in 2016, when homicides rose 29 percent from a historic low of 113 in 2015. Although 2017 lacked many of the sensational multi-victim crimes that occurred the previous year, a steady number of shootings pushed the tally higher than it's been in a decade. While experts say the increases are troubling, the number of Phoenix's homicides is still far below the death toll seen in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Phone lines for Department of Labor’s Employer Services & Program Integrity Units repaired

News Release — Vermont Department of Labor
January 10, 2018
Lindsay Kurrle, Commissioner
Department of
The Vermont Department of Labor's Employer Services and Program Integrity Units within the Unemployment Insurance Division experienced technical difficulties last week involving public phone lines. Those technical issues have been resolved, and all phone lines have been repaired and are functioning. The Program Integrity Unit can be contacted by calling 802.828.4333, and the Employer Services Unit can be contacted by calling 802.828.4344. The Employer Services Unit handles all business inquiries regarding Unemployment Insurance tax contributions and liability determinations and the Program Integrity Unit handles unemployment claims auditing, including the collection of overpayments and unpaid contributions. Read the story on VTDigger here: Phone lines for Department of Labor's Employer Services & Program Integrity Units repaired.

Phone lines for Employer Services & Program Integrity units temporarily down at the Department of Labor

News Release — Vermont Department of Labor
January 5, 2018
Lindsay Kurrle, Commissioner
Department of
The Vermont Department of Labor's Employer Services and Program Integrity Units within the Unemployment Insurance Division are currently experiencing technical issues involving the public phone lines for both Units. The Department of Labor is currently working to resolve this issue as quickly as possible; however, in the interim, callers will be unable to get through using 802-828-4333 or 802-828-4344. Employers and members of the public are being asked to use the Department's General Line, 802-828-4000, Option 1, to reach the Unemployment Insurance Division. The Employer Services Unit handles all business inquiries regarding Unemployment Insurance tax contributions and liability determinations and the Program Integrity Unit handles unemployment claims auditing, including the collection of overpayments and unpaid contributions. Read the story on VTDigger here: Phone lines for Employer Services & Program Integrity units temporarily down at the Department of Labor.

PHOTO GALLERY: VTDigger’s top photos of 2017

From the Northeast Kingdom to Washington, D.C., VTDigger's original photography helped us tell stories throughout the year. Explore the gallery below to read more about our favorite shots from 2017. Newly elected Senate President Pro Tempore Tim Ashe, right, greets outgoing Gov. Peter Shumlin in the House on Wednesday. Photo by Elizabeth Hewitt/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="">
<img width="125" height="75" src="" alt="climate change" srcset=" 1600w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 610w, 150w, 1280w" sizes="(max-width: 125px) 100vw, 125px" data-attachment-id="192646" data-permalink="" data-orig-file="" data-orig-size="1600,959" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta='{"aperture":"2.4","credit":"","camera":"iPhone 5c","caption":"","created_timestamp":"1483963998","copyright":"","focal_length":"4.12","iso":"50","shutter_speed":"0.00222222222222","title":"","orientation":"0"}' data-image-title="climate change" data-image-description="Demonstrators march Jan. 9, 2017, on Church Street in Burlington in protest of President-elect Donald Trump's Cabinet members who deny climate change.

PHOTOS: A Marade in which boots spoke the loudest

Coloradans have been marching in memory of Martin Luther King, Jr., for 35 years now. Some “Marades” have been headier than others. Like in 1992 when skinheads and white supremists swore at and spit on marchers, prompting chaos in the streets. And in 2009, when Barack Obama was about to swear-in as the first black president. And in 2016, when Black Lives Matter commandeered an event its members said had become co-opted by corporate sponsors and elected officials who've forgotten their roots.

Photos: Top 20 new species of 2017

There's still so much we don't know about life on planet Earth that scientists discover new species with whom we share this planet nearly every day. For instance, this year scientists described a new species of orangutan in Sumatra — just the eighth great ape species known to exist on planet Earth. Sometimes we discover new species that have been hiding right under our noses — like the six new species of silky anteater that were mistakenly lumped in with the one known, widespread species in Central and South America. Then there are new species that surprise even the scientists who discovered them — such as the new butterflyfish recently discovered in the Philippine's Verde Island Passage, even though butterflyfish are a relatively well-studied group. Some new species are named after famous people or characters in an attempt to draw more attention and awareness to the natural world — including new spiders named for David Bowie, Barack and Michelle Obama, and Bernie Sanders, as well as a new bat sometimes referred to as “the Yoda bat” because of its resemblance to the diminutive Jedi Master from the Star Wars films. A lot of newly discovered species can certainly use the attention, given that they are already facing severe threats from human activities, even though we just learned of their existence — as is the case with the a new catfish found in South America and the newly discovered orangutan species.

PhytoScience proposes new site for Bennington pot dispensary

Vacant space in this retail center on Depot Street in downtown Bennington is being considered for the town's first medical marijuana dispensary. Photo by Jim Therrien/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="medical marijuana" width="610" height="373" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 1280w, 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Vacant space in this retail center on Depot Street in downtown Bennington is being considered for the town's first medical marijuana dispensary. Photo by Jim Therrien/VTDiggerBENNINGTON — The group that holds Vermont's newest medical marijuana license is focusing on a different Bennington site for a dispensary, after a residential Elm Street location met neighborhood opposition. PhytoScience Institute LLC has applied for town permits to operate a dispensary in the former state Department of Motor Vehicles space within the retail center at 120 Depot St. The permit request is scheduled to go before the Development Review Board on Feb.

Pianist Igor Levit to return in October; ‘Great Divide II’ to open Pillsbury House season

Pamela Espeland

The acclaimed and exciting young Russian-German pianist Igor Levit made his Schubert Club debut in February 2016. Last week, he won the Gilmore Artist Award, a $300,000 prize given every four years for extraordinary piano artistry.Barry Kempton, the Schubert Club's artistic and executive director, was a member of the five-person Gilmore selection committee for the past two years, something he had to keep under wraps as he traveled the U.S. and Europe to hear pianists perform. On Monday on his Schubert Club Insider blog, Kempton shared the news of his involvement with the Gilmore – and leaked the news that Levit will be part of the Schubert Club's 2018-19 International Artist Series, returning in October 2018.Los Angeles Times music critic Mark Swed heard a recital Levit gave in Costa Mesa a few days after the award was announced. “It was stupendous,” Swed wrote. “From the very first note, he so radically changed the atmospheric pressure in the hall, it was as if he had packed a keyboard bomb cyclone in his suitcase.”The 30-year-old Levit is known for his politics as well as his artistry.

Picking Up a Book Helps Kids Learn a Second Language

SAISD is accepting applications for Mark Twain Dual Language Academy and Irving Dual Language Academy through Jan. 31, 2018. The post Picking Up a Book Helps Kids Learn a Second Language appeared first on Rivard Report.

Pinnacles National Park Announces New Fee Changes

The changes will start Jan. 1.

Pinnacles National Park seeks new interns and Ranger Corps members

Pinnacles National Park is hiring youth for a Trails Internship, a Habitat Restoration Internship, and Ranger Corps positions.

Pinnacles National Park to Offer Free Admission on Four Days in 2018 

The entrance fee days are in the month of January, April, September, and November.

Plan Previewed For Deepened Harbor Channel

You dredge, deepen and extend the New Haven harbor channel to bring in bigger ships leading to more efficient business.Then you take the sand, silt, and other stuff you've hauled out of the depths and use it to shore up washing away beaches, to create new shellfish habitats and salt marshes. Who knows? Maybe you even find three of Fort Hale's three missing 1779 cannon.That rosy picture of an invigorated harbor all depends on one big “if”: If the dredged out material is biologically safe —non-toxic, and suitable for such beneficial uses.

Planned project would nearly double Michigan’s solar capacity

This former GM plant site in Lansing, shown here in 2006, is among the locations being considered for a 20 MW solar array by the city's utility. (Photo by Keith Kris via Creative Commons)
Developers and Michigan's largest municipally owned utility could nearly double the state's solar energy portfolio by partnering in what would decidedly be the largest single solar project here. An official with the Lansing Board of Water and Light confirmed with Midwest Energy News Wednesday that the utility has selected a developer for a 20 MW solar project. The original request for proposals, which was sent out last summer and attracted more than a dozen responses, was for a 5 MW project. The state's largest solar projects operating or under development are less than 1.5 MW, while roughly 23 MW of commercial-scale solar statewide is tracked by the Michigan Public Service Commission.

Poachers blamed as body of Sumatran elephant, missing tusks, found in protected forest

PALEMBANG, Indonesia — Wildlife activists in Indonesia suspect poachers poisoned an elephant found with its tusks hacked off in a protected forest in southern Sumatra. The body of the male Sumatran elephant (Elephas maximus sumatranus), believed to be about 10 years old, was found Sunday by local farmers in a community plantation within the Mount Raya protected forest area, which borders Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park in South Sumatra province. The park is also home to critically endangered Sumatran tigers (Panthera tigris sondaica), rhinos (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) and orangutans (Pongo abelii), all of which faced increased threats from greater human incursion into their habitats as a result of road projects. A male elephant on Sunday found dead with its tusks hacked off in a community plantation in southern Sumatra. Photo courtesy of Jejak Indonesia.

Poets Ride A Wave Of Words

Hartford-based artist and poet Zulynette Morales looked down at a sheet of paper in front of her, then back up at the standing-room-only crowd packed into the mineral hall on the third floor of the Peabody Museum Monday afternoon. “Peace to Puerto Rico,” she said. Then she began to sing from a Willie Colón song from the 1970s. “Pronto llegará / El día de mi suerte / Sé que antes de mi muerte / Seguro que mi suerte cambiará.” I know my luck will change before I die.

Police & fire scanners

Monitor local police and fire department radio traffic on our scanner page.

Police Fatally Shot Nearly 1,000 People in U.S. Last Year

For the third year in a row, police nationwide shot and killed nearly 1,000 people, which the Washington Post calls “a grim annual tally that has persisted despite widespread public scrutiny of officers' use of fatal force.” Police fatally shot 987 people last year, or two dozen more than they killed in 2016, found a Post database project that tracks the fatal shootings. Since 2015, The Post has logged the details of 2,945 shooting deaths, culled from local news coverage, public records and social-media reports. While many of the year-to-year patterns are consistent, the number of unarmed black males killed in 2017 declined from two years ago. Last year, police killed 19, a figure tracking closely the 17 killed in 2016. In 2015, police shot and killed 36 unarmed black males.

Police leaders want Legislature to delay vote on legal marijuana

(This story by Jordan Cuddemi was published by the Valley News on Jan. 9, 2018.)
Law enforcement officials in Vermont are urging lawmakers to put the brakes on a fast-moving marijuana legalization bill that is poised for Senate passage this week. The bill, which would legalize the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana and allow Vermonters to grow up to six plants, is set to go before the Senate on Wednesday, and Republican Gov. Phil Scott has indicated he would sign it into law. Representatives from the Vermont Police Association, the Vermont Association of Chiefs of Police and the Vermont Sheriffs' Association all say legislators should wait — at the very least — until a Scott-established commission releases its study on public health, safety and other topics related to marijuana legalization. The commission was formed after Scott vetoed a similar bill in May, and its preliminary report was set to be released next week.

Police misconduct voted top story of ’17

Posted in Organization NewsReaders have voted Daniela Porat's story about misconduct by Buffalo police as Investigative Post's best story of 2017. Buffalo police who cross the line, published and broadcast Sept. 20, documented how the department's Strike Force and Housing Unit conduct illegal searches and sometimes submit dubious testimony. Defense attorneys described some officers as “vigilantes” with a “cowboy mentality.”
Reported Porat:
“I think they have a complete disregard for the Constitution of the United States, and most importantly, the Fourth Amendment,” said Michael Stachowski, a Buffalo defense attorney. “They just seem to roust kids in the street, chase people, and hope they find contraband.”
Investigative Post reviewed ten criminal court cases involving Strike Force and the Housing Unit in which judges tossed out evidence seized by officers on the grounds police had no reasonable justification to conduct the searches.

Police: Robbery suspect killed in Montpelier standoff armed with BB gun

Vermont State Police say that a pistol a man displayed during a standoff Tuesday on a field at Montpelier High School, prompting nine officers to open fire and kill him, was a BB gun. A day after the shooting, police said Wednesday their investigation has identified the handgun Nathan Giffin, 32, of Essex was holding at the time he was fatally shot by officer as a Umarex 40XP BB pistol.RELATED STORIESUPDATED: Suspect dead after credit union robbery, standoff at Montpelier High School
Police say Giffin had fled to the field at the high school Tuesday morning after robbing a nearby credit union. Police confronted Giffin and standoff ensued. Police said they tried to negotiate with Giffin, who was making threatening statements toward law enforcement as well as suicidal statements. In a release issued Tuesday police said, “Giffin continued to display the handgun and ignored orders from officers to surrender his handgun.

Political fallout of Hurricane Harvey could begin this year in Houston

The latest drama involving President Donald Trump may dominate the political conversation in every major America city, except one – Houston. There, where a handful of Congressional races are heating up ahead of the Texas March 6 primary, there's another name on voters' minds: Harvey. In Texas' largest city and its suburbs, incumbents and candidates alike are making the case to voters why they can best represent a region that continues to reel from last year's devastating hurricane. “It seems likely that this issue of the flooding will be an issue both in the primary and in the general, particularly for Congressional candidates,” said Bob Stein, a Rice University political scientist. There are at least three Houston-area U.S. House races where Harvey is emerging as a leading issue: the open seats to replace retiring U.S. Reps.

Politically Speaking: Parson on redefining his office and his relationship with Greitens

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio's Jason Rosenbaum welcomes Lt. Gov. Mike Parson to the program. Parson recorded the episode of the show from his office in Jefferson City. He won election to the statewide position in November 2016, defeating well-funded general election and Republican primary challengers.

Politically Speaking: Rep. Quade on what uncertainty over Greitens means for the legislature

On the latest episode of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio's Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to welcome state Rep. Crystal Quade to the show for the first time. The freshman legislator is the only Democrat to represent a House district in southern Missouri. She is a member of the powerful House Budget Committee, which makes big decisions about the state's financial future.

Politically Speaking: Reps. Kendrick and Stevens on the lay of the land for Missouri Democrats

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio's Jason Rosenbaum is pleased to welcome state Reps. Kip Kendrick and Martha Stevens to the program. Rosenbaum recorded the show with the Columbia Democrats at KBIA's studios on the University of Missouri-Columbia campus. Both lawmakers represent fairly Democratic-leaning districts that take in portions of the city of Columbia.

Politicians, Activists Join San Antonio’s Community of Marchers on MLK Jr. Day

Tens of thousands of people marched on San Antonio's Eastside on Monday, paying homage to the late Martin Luther King Jr. half a century after his fatal shooting. The post Politicians, Activists Join San Antonio's Community of Marchers on MLK Jr. Day appeared first on Rivard Report.

Politics Report: Ward Predicts SDSU and SoccerCity Mutual Destruction

Our managing editor, Sara Libby, is out on maternity leave for a couple months. We'll let her weekly column, What We Learned This Week, go on hiatus until she's back. To fill in we're going to do a weekly roundup of the best insider tidbits we can gather from local politicians and policy discussions. This is temporary, but if it goes well, we may keep it going or provide it in a different format. If you like this, and want to keep receiving it, update your email preferences here.

Politics Report: Ward Predicts SDSU and SoccerCity Mutual Destruction

Our managing editor, Sara Libby, is out on maternity leave for a couple months. We'll let her weekly column, What We Learned This Week, go on hiatus until she's back. To fill in we're going to do a weekly roundup of the best insider tidbits we can gather from local politicians and policy discussions. This is temporary, but if it goes well, we may keep it going or provide it in a different format. If you like this, and want to keep receiving it, update your email preferences here.

Politics Report: What the Mayor Didn’t Say in His Big Speech

File: Mayor Kevin Faulconer delivers his 2017 State of the City speech. / Photo by Jamie Scott Lytle
One of my favorite things we do is our annual annotated copy of Mayor Kevin Faulconer's State of the City Speech. Several reporters contributed to the 2018 edition. So check that out for a comprehensive look at the speech. The most remarkable part of his speech: “America's Finest City will no longer tolerate the use of a sidewalk, a riverbed or a tarp as a home.” This is quite a claim.

Poll: Majority of Minnesota voters believe Franken harassed women; less than half think he should have resigned

Brian Lambert

Yes, people are capable of nuance: Jennifer Brooks and Maya Rao write for the Star Tribune: “A majority of voters in the state believe Al Franken groped or sexually harassed multiple women, but more voters believe he should not have resigned from the U.S. Senate than those who think he should have, according to a new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll. … Sixty percent of the 800 registered voters statewide who participated in the poll said they believed that Franken did grope or harass multiple women. But only 41 percent said he should have resigned, while 48 percent said he should not have.”We've got the beet(s). Says the AP, “Minnesota farmers produced slightly smaller corn and soybean crops last year than in 2016, but they produced a record sugar beet crop. The Agriculture Department reports Minnesota's sugar beet crop at 12.5 million tons, up slightly from the previous record in 2016.

Poly-Fil brand manufacturer will bring more than 100 new jobs to St. Louis

Fairfield Processing, the manufacturer known for its Poly-Fil brand of synthetic stuffing material, will bring more than 100 new jobs to St. Louis' North Riverfront. Wednesday's announcement came after the manufacturer moved its facility from Granite City, Illinois to St. Louis last summer. The relocation brought 50 full-time jobs with it, but company officials said they plan to add another 100 jobs in the next five years.

Pope set to visit site of deforestation, indigenous struggle in Peru

Pope Francis will visit one of the Peruvian Amazon's most threatened regions today, where the leader of the Catholic Church is expected to address escalating deforestation and uncertainty about indigenous peoples' rights. “The Holy Father has a special concern for the Amazon and therefore put as the first point of his journey an encounter with indigenous groups to dialogue, to give a sign of hope,” Salvador Piñeiro, president of the Peruvian Episcopal Conference, said in an article published by Mongabay LatAm. “These topics concern the Pope and he feels them very closely.” Deforestation resulting from gold mining in Madre de Dios. Photo by Agencia Andina. After a visit to Chile earlier this week, the pope is scheduled to fly Friday morning from Lima to Puerto Maldonado, the capital of the Madre de Dios region.

Popular Mission 10 Race takes off Jan. 27

Registration ( now open for 35th Annual Mission 10 Race, sponsored by Hollister Rotary Club. All proceeds benefit local scholarships and charities

Post-Irene novel illuminates ‘spiritual substance during dark times’

Marlboro writer Robin MacArthur is set to tour the state for a series of public readings. Photo by Tyler Gibbons
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Robin MacArthur" width="610" height="436" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 1582w, 1280w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Marlboro writer Robin MacArthur is set to tour the state for a series of readings. Photo by Tyler GibbonsMARLBORO — Robin MacArthur seemingly won the lottery when New York publisher HarperCollins offered her a contract to pen a novel that depicts how climate change — and, specifically, 2011's Tropical Storm Irene — can alter the course of land and life. Then the 2016 presidential election hit her with an equally hard wallop. Could a leader of the free world actually doubt the science behind her book, the Marlboro writer wondered, and who would want to read fiction when reality had turned so surreal?

Pot bill advances on session’s first day; heads to full House

Rep. Maxine Grad, D-Moretown, is the chair of the House Judiciary Committee. Photo by Bob LoCicero/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Maxine Grad" width="610" height="407" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 1280w, 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Rep. Maxine Grad, D-Moretown, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, leads the panel in consideration of a marijuana bill Wednesday. Photo by Bob LoCicero/VTDiggerA bill that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Vermont is heading to the House floor Thursday after clearing a preliminary step on the first day of the 2018 legislative session. The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday morning passed H.511, a measure that would allow for the possession of small amounts of marijuana and the cultivation of a few plants by adults 21 or older.RELATED STORIESPot bill advances on session's first day; heads to full HouseHouse Speaker Mitzi Johnson's opening remarksUPDATED: Johnson opens session with pitch to pull together on problems
If approved by the full House, the bill would then head back to the Senate, which approved essentially the same language in June. The House committee voted 8 to 1 to approve the measure.

Pot Wars: Will Fear Trump Voters’ Decisions?

Voters in 29 states (plus the District of Columbia) have so far approved medical marijuana, and eight states have similarly legalized recreational pot. But many state governments, and most recently the feds, don't appear to be listening. In Florida, legislators tried to limit marijuana availability to pill form. In Michigan, it took the legislature almost nine years after medical marijuana was approved to craft a licensing process. Then it threatened to deny licenses to any of the existing dispensaries that didn't shut down before applying for one.

President Winfrey? Here’s what we know about Oprah’s education outlook

When Oprah Winfrey delivered an emotional, inspirational speech at the Golden Globes on Sunday, many viewed it as an introductory address for a possible presidential run. Indeed, after years of denying any political ambitions, people close to Winfrey now say she's open to running for office, according to CNN. (She again denied plans to run on Monday.)
So what would a President Winfrey look like when it comes to education? As with most policy issues, she hasn't taken a firm stand — but her background, personal giving, and guests on her show, which aired from 1986 until 2011, all offer clues. Here's what we know.

Pressing question for CT: A state tax break for private school tuition?

The federal tax overhaul may have triggered an automatic state tax break that would allow parents to avoid paying state taxes on some of the money they put aside to send their children to private K-12 schools. Forces already are lining up to back or resist a change.

Prince Harry becomes president of conservation group

Prince Harry is joining African Parks as President of the South Africa-based wildlife conservation organization, according to an announcement made today during a BBC Radio 4 program guest-edited by the royal. Prince Harry has been working with African Parks since July 2016, when he assisted in the translocation of a group of elephants and other wildlife in Malawi, where the organization manages three protected areas. As President, Prince Harry will work with the leadership of the African Parks, according to Robert-Jan van Ogtrop, the conservation group's chairman. “Prince Harry will work closely with our Board and Peter Fearnhead our CEO, to advance our mission in protecting Africa's national parks,” said van Ogtrop, Chairman of African Parks, in a statement. “He'll be able to help shine a light on the most pressing and urgent issues wildlife are facing, and most importantly, what people can do to help.” Elephant calf in Africa.

Private Schools’ Policies, as Posted

While public schools accept and enroll any student regardless of need, private schools select students through an application process. The state's Equal Opportunity Education Scholarship program prohibits participating schools from discriminating against students with disabilities, but some schools say they don't have the capacity to educate these students. Here are some schools' positions, in their own words:
Altus Christian Academy (Altus): “Altus Christian Academy reserves the right to select students on the basis of academic performance, religious commitment, lifestyle choices, and personal qualifications, including a willingness to cooperate with ACA's administration and staff and to abide by its policies … ACA may accept a student with special needs if the school's program can sufficiently meet those needs. School officials will make this determination.”
Immanuel Lutheran Christian Academy (Broken Arrow): “Immanuel Lutheran Christian Academy may not be able to meet the educational needs of the significantly physically, emotionally, mentally challenged or learning-disabled student. In those cases, the administration will meet with the parents and teachers to review all documentation and information to determine if the student can be enrolled.”
Oklahoma Christian School (Edmond): “With respect to students and prospective students with disabilities, it may be necessary for Oklahoma Christian School to decline enrollment to such students because the school does not now or in the future any longer find it economically feasible to provide educational, athletic or other co‐curricular programs which would meet the needs of students with certain disabilities.”
Peace Academy (Tulsa): “Peace Academy currently does not provide special education/ESL or alternative programs and as such will not be able to enroll students recommended for these programs.”
Wesleyan Christian School (Bartlesville): “Wesleyan Christian School will consider the acceptance of children with special needs on a case-by-case basis.

Program to promote renewable energy gets new scrutiny

More than 50 people took a Green Mountain Power tour of its Kingdom Community Wind project, Vermont's largest capacity renewable energy project on Wednesday, July 3, 2013. Green Mountain Power is offering the public weekly tours of the turbines through the end of August. Photo by Andrew Stein/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="" width="610" height="405" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 330w, 150w, 250w, 660w, 1024w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">More than 50 people took a Green Mountain Power tour of Kingdom Community Wind project, Vermont's largest capacity renewable energy project on Wednesday, July 3, 2013. Photo by Andrew Stein/VTDiggerA program meant to spur renewable-energy development is receiving scrutiny from the state's top energy regulators, following the Public Utility Commission's end-of-the-year order calling for a review of Vermont's “standard offer” program. Supporters of the program say it's an important tool for putting cheap renewable energy generators on the ground in Vermont.

Progressives renew push for $15 wage as heart of economic agenda

Vermont's Progressive lawmakers made a pre-emptive strike ahead of Gov. Phil Scott's State of the State address Thursday, laying out a legislative agenda in opposition to the Republican's less-is-more philosophy.RELATED STORIESProgressives renew push for $15 wage as heart of economic agenda
While Scott has focused on reining in state spending as the path to economic stability, the Progressives proposed that government act to directly boost residents' incomes and lower health care costs. “We need to remind people that cutting state programs does not make Vermont more affordable,” said Sen. Anthony Pollina, P/D-Washington. In his speech Thursday afternoon, Scott said he would continue to prevent any increases in taxes or fees. Pollina said afterward that he disagrees with Scott's approach. “I think he believes falsely that if we just hold the line on fees and taxes, somehow that's going to make it easier for families to pay their bills and make ends meet,” he said.

Promise of fireworks fizzles as special session’s focus shifts

RALEIGH — The promise of fireworks over judicial elections and constitutional amendments at this week's brief legislative session fizzled as General Assembly leaders opted to delay action […]
The post Promise of fireworks fizzles as special session's focus shifts appeared first on Carolina Public Press.

Property taxes: To pay early or not to pay early

Residents in Irondequoit and other towns have many questions about whether they should pay their 2018 property taxes in advance, because of the changes in the tax law. Town Supervisor David Seeley has this advice for taxpayers over whether they should pre-pay or not: "Make an informed decision about this. I don't want people to feel compelled that they have to pay their town and property taxes early. In a lot of cases, it might be to their advantage, but in some cases in might perhaps not," he said. Seeley says they estimate they have some 15,000 taxpayers who don't pay taxes through escrow.

Proposed A-F grading rules would make test scores even more important in Indiana

Indiana state officials are again suggesting changes to the state's A-F grading formula that would place even more importance on passing tests, and many were unaware about what was coming. The proposed formula would factor in more strongly the number of students who pass tests and remove the measure of test score improvement for high schools, which educators have said they think is valuable. The changes come as Indiana works to create a plan comply with new federal education law, known as the Every Student Succeeds Act. Scot Croner, superintendent of the northern Indiana Wa-Nee School District, said he doesn't understand why educators — particularly the 15-member committee that helped the state draft its plan — weren't involved in the discussion. “It just seems like a lot of behind-the-scenes and not very transparent,” said Croner, who helped with part of the original plan's development.

ProPublica Illinois Q&A: Meet Editor-in-Chief Louise Kiernan

by Andrea Salcedo
Louise Kiernan, who came to ProPublica Illinois from Northwestern University, where she taught journalism, and previously the Chicago Tribune, believes the most rewarding aspect of being an editor is helping journalists become great storytellers. In the 12th of a series of Q&As with ProPublica Illinois staffers, Kiernan talked with ProPublica Emerging Reporter Andrea Salcedo. What inspired you to become a journalist and eventually an editor? Editor-in-Chief Louise Kiernan
(Michael Schmidt, special to ProPublica Illinois)
I should have known I wanted to be a journalist long before I did because I was involved in school newspapers in one way or another from the time I was in elementary school. But I actually didn't realize I wanted to be a journalist until I was one.

Prosecutor’s parents face charges in Nebraska marijuana bust

Chittenden County Deputy State's Attorney Justin Jiron. Photo by Elizabeth Hewitt/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Justin Jiron" width="610" height="457" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 150w, 632w, 536w, 1024w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Chittenden County Deputy State's Attorney Justin Jiron. File photo by Elizabeth Hewitt/VTDiggerBURLINGTON — The Chittenden County state's attorney is sticking up for one of her deputies whose parents are charged with trying to bring about 60 pounds of marijuana through Nebraska to Boston and eventually Vermont. Sheriff's deputies in Nebraska said they pulled over Patrick Jiron, 80, and Barbara Jiron, 70, of Clearlake Oaks, California, on a traffic violation Dec. 19 and caught a strong scent of marijuana when they went to speak to the couple, according to local news reports.

Prostitution Scandals, Police Chases, and an Alleged Love Child: Welcome to the Louisiana Governor’s Race

On Saturday, Louisiana voters will elect a new governor—Republican Sen. David Vitter or Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards. They'll also celebrate the end of one of the strangest campaigns in recent history. It has included prostitutes, an alleged love child, a coffee-shop spying scandal, a low-speed foot chase, an IHOP affidavit, the FBI, Santa Claus, and a fake terrorism scare. Edwards is leading in most polls by double digits in the deep-red state—a testament to the supreme unpopularity of the current Republican governor Bobby Jindal, and to Vitter's own shortcomings. In some ways, they're not so different.

Public defender: 4,191 poor could go without representation

If the Legislature doesn't provide the Office of the Public Defender money to hire more lawyers, 4,191 people who can't afford an attorney will be turned away, the state's top public defender said Thursday. Those refusals would plunge the state deeper into a “constitutional crisis,” Diane Lozano said. The attorneys who work for Lozano around the state are overwhelmed by their caseloads and increasingly unable to provide adequate representation to their clients, she said. The public defenders office provides representation to those who can't afford it — a constitutional guarantee. Today, “the public defender's office is essentially in an ethical and a constitutional crisis,” Lozano told lawmakers on the Joint Appropriations Committee Jan.

Public defender: 4,191 poor could go without representation

If the Legislature doesn't provide the Office of the Public Defender money to hire more lawyers, 4,191 people who can't afford an attorney will be turned away, the state's top public defender said Thursday. Those refusals would plunge the state deeper into a “constitutional crisis,” Diane Lozano said. The attorneys who work for Lozano around the state are overwhelmed by their caseloads and increasingly unable to provide adequate representation to their clients, she said. The public defenders office provides representation to those who can't afford it — a constitutional guarantee. Today, “the public defender's office is essentially in an ethical and a constitutional crisis,” Lozano told lawmakers on the Joint Appropriations Committee Jan.

Public Event: Book launch and pop-up exhibit for ‘The Design-Build Studio: Crafting Meaningful Work in Architectural Education’ at Norwich University

News Release — Norwich University
Jan. 17, 2018
Daphne Larkin
Follow us on Twitter @NorwichNews
NORTHFIELD, Vt. – Norwich University will celebrate “The Design-Build Studio: Crafting Meaningful Work in Architectural Education,” a new book edited by Assistant Professor of Architecture Tolya Stonorov, with a reception on Wednesday, Jan. 31, at 4 p.m. at the Sullivan Museum and History Center Rotunda. Refreshments will be served.

Public hearing on increasing minimum wage is Jan. 25 in Montpelier

News Release — General Assembly
January 17, 2018
Kayla Dewey
Phone: 802-828-3803
Public Hearing on Increasing Minimum Wage,
Thursday evening January 25, 2018, 6:00-8:00 PM
State House, Montpelier
Montpelier, Vermont. The Vermont Legislature will hold a public hearing on Increasing the Minimum Wage on January 25, 2018. The hearing will be held at the State House in Montpelier, from 6:00 to 8:00 PM. The hearing is being held by the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Housing, and General Affairs in room 11. The hearing will be held in room 11.

Public hearing regarding Vermont firearms laws is Jan. 30 in Montpelier

News Release — Vermont General Assembly
January 12, 2018
Peggy Delaney
Phone: 802-828-2278
Fax: 802-828-2424
Public Hearing Regarding Vermont Firearms Laws
Tuesday Evening, January 30, 2018, 5:30 PM
State House, Montpelier
Montpelier, Vermont. The Senate Committee on Judiciary of the Vermont General Assembly is holding a public hearing about Vermont firearms laws on January 30, 2018. The hearing will be held at the State House in Montpelier, from 5:30 to 7:30 PM. The hearing will be held in the House Chamber, second floor. Witnesses may start signing up to speak at 4:30 PM.

Pump House That Harnessed San Antonio River’s Flow To Be Preserved

San Antonio's first water works structure is beginning to crumble, but a new agreement between the city and the San Antonio Conservation Society will preserve it. The post Pump House That Harnessed San Antonio River's Flow To Be Preserved appeared first on Rivard Report.

Putney dog attack spurs renewed action on statewide laws

Sarah Cooper-Ellis lounges with her beloved Posy on her lap. Posy's cousin guards the pair. Photo courtesy Sarah Cooper-Ellis
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Sarah Cooper-Ellis" width="610" height="813" srcset=" 610w, 94w, 225w, 768w, 1122w, 840w, 687w, 414w, 354w, 1125w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Sarah Cooper-Ellis lounges with her beloved Posy on her lap. Posy's cousin guards the pair. Photo courtesy Sarah Cooper-Ellis(This story by Harmony Birch was published in the Brattleboro Reformer on Jan.

Putting a Face to the Name

Vietnam Memorial looking for photosPutting a Face to the Name was first posted on January 16, 2018 at 7:54 am.

Q&A: ‘Corporate Prairie Fire’ Led to Plan for Fixing State Budget

Photo provided.BancFirst Executive Chairman David Rainbolt introduces the Step Up Oklahoma plan at a news conference Friday at the Oklahoma History Center. A broad-based coalition of Oklahoma business and civic leaders are the latest group to offer a specific plan to end the state's ongoing budget impasse. The proposal is sweeping and dramatic, and is backed by some of the most prominent and powerful industry interests in the state. Whether it will fly with legislators and citizens remains to be seen. Step Up Oklahoma unveiled a package of tax increases and changes in laws intended to improve state governance at a news conference Thursday at the Oklahoma History Center.

Q&A: Michigan energy director on Mackinac pipeline, renewables

Since Gov. Rick Snyder took office in 2011, Michigan's energy sector — like those across the country — has undergone a major shift. Utilities plan to have closed dozens of coal units by 2020, renewable energy and efficiency are playing a bigger role in the state's portfolio, and utilities are rethinking their traditional business models in a shift away from expensive, centralized power plants. Valerie Brader, whom Snyder appointed to lead the Michigan Agency for Energy when it was created in 2015, has been at the forefront of these issues. She began working for the administration in 2011 as deputy legal counsel and senior policy advisor to the governor. Entering Snyder's last year as governor (he is term-limited at the end of 2018), Brader says the implementation of comprehensive, bipartisan legislation passed at the end of 2016 will be a top priority for the agency.

Quinnipiac has Trump, Clinton leading in Connecticut

Fresh off decisive wins in New York, Republican Donald J. Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton each have significant leads among likely voters in next week's Connecticut primary, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday.

Rainforests: the year in review 2017

Between America's abandonment of leadership on conservation and environmental policy, Brazil's backtracking on forest conservation, massive forest fires worldwide, and the revelation of a sharp increase in global forest loss in 2016, 2017 was a rough year for tropical rainforests. Still, there were bright spots, including the establishment of new protected areas, better forest monitoring and research, and continued progress in recognizing the critical role local and indigenous communities play in forest conservation. The following is a short review of some of the more notable developments and trends for tropical forests in 2017. This review is not exhaustive, so feel free to add developments we missed via the comment function at the bottom. Forest loss As reported in Mongabay's last year-end review, there wasn't a major update on global forest loss in 2016.

Raise the Age, But By How Much?

The popularity of Raise-the-Age reforms, which have increased the age at which juvenile offenders can be tried in adult court, illustrates a long-overdue policy shift across the U.S. away from punishment and towards the rehabilitation of young offenders. Now, some states, like Connecticut, Illinois and Vermont, are attempting to go further, by increasing the age of criminal majority from 18 to 21. But these policies are not costless exercises, and states should be hesitant before moving in that direction. Expanding the jurisdiction of the juvenile justice system allows more young offenders to benefit from rehabilitation-focused services. Unlike adults, juveniles are usually offered a range of counseling, education and employment services, and do not receive permanent criminal records.

Rancher trying to help Crystal River flows runs into ‘bizarre’ conundrum

Bill Fales is a self-described “sucker for experiments.”
The soft-spoken, unassuming 64-year-old grows alfalfa on his 600-acre ranch just west of Carbondale. For 45 years, Fales has irrigated the fields of Cold Mountain Ranch with water from the Crystal River, which flows 35 miles from its headwaters in the Elk Mountains to the Roaring Fork River. In spring 2016, the Colorado Water Trust, a Denver-based nonprofit devoted to improving river health, announced a new water conservation initiative to ranchers in the Crystal River Valley. Fales was eager to jump on board. It sounded simple enough: The Water Trust would compensate any ranchers willing to leave some of their irrigation water in the Crystal River to boost flows during dry times.

Randolph principal under investigation for misconduct involving former student

David Barnett, co-principal of Randolph Union High School. " data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="David Barnett" width="500" height="500" srcset=" 500w, 125w, 300w, 32w, 50w, 64w, 96w, 128w, 470w" sizes="(max-width: 500px) 100vw, 500px" data-recalc-dims="1">David Barnett, co-principal of Randolph Union High School.(This story by Rob Wolfe was first published in the Valley News on Jan. 4, 2018.)
RANDOLPH — David Barnett, a co-principal at Randolph Union High School, has been placed on paid leave as law enforcement authorities investigate allegations of misconduct involving a former student, according to information provided to parents by school officials. “The district takes any allegations of misconduct directed against students very seriously,” Orange Southwest School District Superintendent Layne Millington said in a districtwide letter on Tuesday. “We are committed to student safety as our highest priority.

Rauner cites property taxes, workers’ compensation fraud as small business woes

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner pledged Tuesday to help small business owners by addressing “punishing” high property taxes and “too many” regulations. Calling taxes and regulations burdens that drive small businesses to the neighboring states of Missouri and Indiana, Rauner said he wants to curtail them to bring businesses back. “Every challenge we face in Illinois could be overcome if we have faster economic growth,” Rauner said after speaking to business owners in Edwardsville.

Ray Keck to step down as president of Texas A&M University-Commerce

The president of Texas A&M University-Commerce, Ray Keck, announced Thursday that he will step down from his position effective Aug. 31. "It is time to redirect passion and energy, to return to teaching and to continue to assist, in every helpful way, a new leader for A&M Commerce," Keck said in a statement. He will take a year of leave and then return to the campus as a faculty member, according to a news release. The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents will name a search committee in February to find a successor, the release said.

Read a Senator’s Desperate Attempt to Stop the Deportation of a Mom and Her 5-Year-Old

"It's urgent," Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) tweeted just after 9 o'clock Wednesday morning. A Honduran family—a mother and her five-year-old son—were about to be deported after seeking asylum in the United States. Back in their native country, the woman had witnessed the murder of her cousin and was pursued by gangs. She fled with her son and arrived at the southern border more than a year and a half ago and was detained. "This child and his mother fled their home country in fear of their lives, and face a real possibility of violence in being returned there," Casey wrote in a letter calling on President Donald Trump to intervene.

Read Legal Aid’s Lawsuit To Stop East Harlem Rezoning

Environmental Impact Statement, Department of City PlanningAn outline of the city's East Harlem rezoning. On Thursday, the Legal Aid Society filed a lawsuit in New York County Supreme Court that seeks to halt the East Harlem rezoning, which was approved on November 30 by the City Council. The lawsuit, like the one filed by Legal Aid against the Bedford Union Armory project in Crown Heights in November, argues that the city's environmental analysis of the rezoning fails to accurately assess the risks of “indirect displacement”— displacement caused by changing market conditions and rising rents. Specifically, it argues that the city's manual for conducting environmental assessments was developed without legally required public input, that the manual ignores the risks of displacement faced by rent-stabilized tenants, and that the manual “ignores the undertows of gentrification and how this compounds with rezoning to exacerbate housing pressures and accelerate tenant displacement.”
A press release sent yesterday was accompanied by quotes of support from a member of Community Voices Heard, the president of East Harlem Preservation, and representatives from the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board, Tenants and Neighbors, New York Communities for Change, and Picture the Homeless. Legal Aid says its seeks to join the lawsuit with its litigation against the Bedford Union Armory, which will have its day in court this March.

Read the Book: Exploring San Antonio History in the Tricentennial

San Antonio is best known for the Alamo, but a deeper appreciation of its history is found by reading about the people and events that defined the city. The post Read the Book: Exploring San Antonio History in the Tricentennial appeared first on Rivard Report.

Read the FBI Report on Its Spying Campaign Against MLK

FBIA key conclusion from the 1977 report. There are many worthy ways to observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day—most of them involving watching, hearing or reading the slain civil rights leader's speeches, which not only maintain their oratorical brilliance nearly five decades after his death, but often bear messages uncannily apropos to the current moment. The words of nameless federal bureaucrats can hardly compete against those speeches for eloquence or moral clarity. But the 1977 FBI report critiquing the bureau's investigation into King's assassination, and the six-year “security” investigation that preceded it, establishes with remarkable clarity the immense challenges King faced thanks to the deeply personal suspicions and resentments harbored by J. Edgar Hoover and other top officials. The security investigation was predicated on the suspicion that the Communist Party had infiltrated the civil rights movement, embodied by two King advisors whom the FBI had tabbed as “ranking members” of the CP.

Readers Favor Public Safety, Health Matters For Top 2017 IowaWatch Stories

Donate now and News Match will double the amount to support IowaWatch's journalism and training program. Help us reach our goal:

IowaWatch reporters covered a wide range of topics throughout the year, with stories focusing on how law enforcement officials handle their public safety duties to how to deal with health care leading the list of five most-read 2017 IowaWatch stories. Readers decided which of the more than 80 stories we produced in 2017 at and in our weekly radio program, the IowaWatch Connection were the most intriguing. Google Analytics data revealed the top five most-read from 2017:

“Iowa Sheriffs State Concerns About Handgun Law Impact,” By Krista Johnson

“Controversial Criminal Interrogation Technique Suspected Of Producing False Confessions Under Fire,” by Krista Johnson

“Effectiveness Of Sexual Assault Prevention Education For High School Students Questioned,” by Fenna Semken
Photo by Rachel Mummey, for HuffPost
“Alzheimer's Tsunami' Threatens Growing Dementia Care Demand As Medicaid Funding Gets Tighter,” by Cindy Hadish
This story also reached a wide national audience via HuffPost, which selected IowaWatch as its news partner during a 2017 ‘Listen to America' tour. “Mental Health Issues Growing Among Iowa High School Students,” by Fenna Semken, Clare Rolinger, Sophia Schillinger, Mina Takahashi, Taylor Shelfo, and Stephen J. Berry
Thanks to support from readers, and opportunities like the national NewsMatch fund-drive, IowaWatch plans to continue producing high-quality journalism like the pieces listed above.

Readers’ picks for top news stories of 2017

Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, along with tools that measure readership on every VTDigger article, make it easy to see which stories resonate the most with our audience. Earlier this week, we posted our editors' picks for the most significant stories of 2017 and a selection of pieces about inspiring Vermonters. This list represents the top VTDigger articles of the year, as chosen by you. We tallied up the page views on every article and took into account the shares, comments and reactions we see on social media. Here's what you picked:
Top stories on
Jane O'Meara Sanders, former president of Burlington College, celebrated her husband's presidential campaign kickoff at Waterfront Park in Burlington on Tuesday.

Real populism seeks social and economic justice for all

Jeff Kolnick

A South politician preaches to the poor white man "You got more than the blacks, don't complain You're better than them, you been born with white skin, " they explain And the Negro's name Is used, it is plain For the politician's gain As he rises to fame And the poor white remains On the caboose of the train But it ain't him to blame He's only a pawn in their game— Bob Dylan, 1964.Jeff KolnickWhat are the origins of racial consciousness? Recent comments by our president make finding answers to this question urgent. Historians generally agree that humans lived for millennia without thinking about race. There is little evidence of concern for the color of a person's skin until about 1400 AD. Race consciousness and racism began with the colonial enterprise of Europeans in the 15th century.

Receiver: USCIS denying green cards for some Jay Peak EB-5 investors

Michael Goldberg at a Statehouse news conference in April 2017. Photo by Anne Galloway/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Michael Goldberg" width="610" height="420" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 300w, 150w, 632w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Michael Goldberg at a Statehouse news conference in April. Photo by Anne Galloway/VTDiggerSome EB-5 immigrant investors in the Statewide condo village project at Jay Peak Resort, which is at the center of a massive fraud scandal, have had their applications seeking permanent green cards denied by a federal agency. Michael Goldberg, a court-appointed receiver now overseeing the resort and other projects in the Northeast Kingdom caught up in the alleged fraud case, revealed news of the denials by the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services in a court filing this week. “Although the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) has started approving Phase VI investors' I-829 petitions,” Goldberg wrote, “the USCIS has also issued some Phase VI investors ‘Notices of Intent to Deny' (“NOIDS”) their I-829 petitions due to USCIS's belief that the Stateside Project did not create enough jobs.”
Goldberg added that he and his immigration counsel believe that USCIS's position was based on outdated information.

Record Amazon fires, intensified by forest degradation, burn indigenous lands

An area nearly double the size of San Francisco, 24,000 hectares (59,305), lost tree cover within the Kayapó Indigenous Territory from October to December 2017 due to fires, while the nearby Xikrin Indigenous Territory lost roughly 10,000 hectares (24,710 acres) over the same period. Photo courtesy of IBAMA There were nearly 26,000 fire alerts in the Brazilian Amazon state of Pará over a single week in December of last year, according to Global Forest Fires Watch. And as of September, Pará had seen a stunning 229 percent increase in fires over 2016, as reported by the Guardian newspaper, with 2017 on track to be Brazil´s worst ever fire year, according the World Resources Institute (WRI). But statistics tell only part of the story: Brazil's likely record wildfire season last year incinerated vast swathes of valuable trees, habitat and wildlife, sometimes within indigenous territories, natural resources which native communities rely on for their survival. WRI estimates that an area nearly double the size of San Francisco, 24,000 hectares (59,305 acres), lost tree cover within the Kayapó Indigenous Territory from October to December 2017 due to fires, while the nearby Xikrin Indigenous Territory lost roughly 10,000 hectares (24,710 acres) over the same period.

Record number of New York City students take SAT after city offers test for free

A record number of New York City students took the SAT last spring thanks to a new initiative that allows all high-school juniors to take the exam for free during the school day. Nearly 78 percent of last year's 11th-graders had taken the test at least once during high school -- a 25 percentage point increase over the previous year's cohort, according to education department data released Thursday. The $2.2 million-per-year initiative is designed to get more low-income students to take the test, which most selective colleges require applicants to take. (The ACT is another option.) Known as “SAT School Day,” it frees up students from having to sign up for the test, pay the $46 fee or request a waiver, and travel to a testing site on a Saturday, when the test is normally given. “With more NYC students taking the SAT than ever before, our efforts to eliminate any barriers on any child's path to college and careers are working,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement.

Reef bleaching five times more frequent now than in the 1980s, study finds

Coral bleaching has accelerated to a clip at which established reefs can no longer keep up, reports a team of scientists Thursday in the journal Science. Severe bleaching can blot out the color of huge sections of reefs and lead to the death of the constituent corals, destabilizing entire ecosystems. It's a phenomenon that's now happening to tropical reefs five times more frequently than it did just a few decades ago, said Terry Hughes, an ecologist at James Cook University in Australia and the study's lead author, in a statement. Previously, once every two to three decades was typical, and usually only at local scales; now, it's occurring every 6 years. “Before the 1980s, mass bleaching of corals was unheard of, even during strong El Niño conditions,” Hughes added, “but now repeated bouts of regional-scale bleaching and mass mortality of corals has become the new normal around the world as temperatures continue to rise.” A little goby perches on bleached coral at the height of the 2016 bleaching event, Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef. Photo and caption by Greg Torda.

Reefscape: Building a better way to monitor coral reef health globally

Coral reefs are special places. They contain thousands of species often assembled in kaleidoscopic patterns that defy both our scientific understanding and our imagination. Reef ecosystems feed millions of people and protect our shorelines, acting as buffers to waves and storms. The corals, fish, invertebrates and other creatures residing in reef ecosystems vary greatly from region to region, generating an exciting global-scale tourism industry: a trip to the Caribbean turns up species that can't be found in the Pacific Ocean; swim off a beach in Indonesia, and you'll find reef inhabitants different from those in the Red Sea. Coral reefs are said to be the rainforests of the ocean, and indeed, the untrained eye often finds that discerning coral species on a reef is similar in experience to telling tree species apart in the jungle. Coral reefs around the world.

Reeves remains silent on roads as House rushes funding bills to Senate

For the prospects of a roads bill, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves now represents one of the last remaining roadblocks or the light at the end of the tunnel. The House passed three bills Thursday afternoon, each authored by Speaker Philip Gunn, who has mentioned repeatedly that road and bridge funding will be a priority this session. Fred Anklam Jr., Mississippi TodayLt. Gov. Tate Reeves
Mississippi TodaySpeaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton
Reeves and Speaker Gunn, R-Clinton, came to loggerheads over an infrastructure funding package last session. That the House got to work so soon, during the typically sleepy first week of the new legislative session, underscored that Gunn is determined to make roads his signature issue and in turn force Reeves' hand. The bills, which now go to the Senate await committee assignment:
—House Bill 357, authorizes the sale of bonds to help municipalities pay for infrastructure repair.

Regulators seek to ‘streamline’ hospital project reviews

Susan Barrett, executive director of the Green Mountain Care Board, testifies on pay parity language at a Senate Finance Committee hearing May 2, 2017. Photo by Erin Mansfield/VTDigger ​
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Susan Barrett" width="610" height="429" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 150w, 1024w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Susan Barrett, executive director of the Green Mountain Care Board, testifies on pay parity language at a Senate Finance Committee hearing Tuesday. Photo by Erin Mansfield/VTDigger ​A law that governs hospital projects may be headed for an overhaul. The Green Mountain Care Board wants to “streamline” the so-called certificate of need process for hospitals and raise the financial cutoff for regulatory review. Vermont's certificate of need statute requires hospitals to seek regulatory approval for expenditures on buildings, equipment and technology projects.

Rehab Facility Opens Doors To Citydwellers

A residential rehab program with a proven record of treating young people flown in from other states is now looking to replicate its success for adults in New Haven — despite the inherent challenge of maintaining sobriety in the same setting that triggered the initial drug use.

Relatives report inadequate heating at more than 30 Texas prisons

More than 30 Texas prisons had heating issues during a cold snap that brought freezing temperatures to much of the state this week, according to reports by inmates' family members.The Texas Inmate Families Association, a support and advocacy group, compiled reports by inmates' relatives that blamed poor insulation, broken windows and nonfunctioning heaters for the cold conditions in the facilities. Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Robert Hurst said Wednesday that all prison units were “operating with adequate heating.”
Several of the advocacy group's members reported that prison officials had recently fixed broken heaters at their loved ones' facilities, but many continued to report problems with prison heating Wednesday. Two women told The Texas Tribune that relatives had been without heat for more than a month at the Allred Unit near Wichita Falls. The women, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation against their relatives, said separately that they were told by inmates and prison officials the prison was waiting on parts to fix a broken heater. Both said guards worked in hats, gloves and heavy jackets.

Reliance on Detention for Juvenile Justice a Lazy, Uninformed Habit That Must Be Broken

In a recent trip to my cardiologist's office, the hazards of one's (my) choice of double cheeseburgers as a regular dietary mainstay was called into question as a primary health risk affecting several organs and overall life expectancy. An immediate dietary adjustment was ordered. What? Yes. A comfortable and tasty habit needed to be broken and substituted with a healthier alternative for the good of my entire system.

Reliance on natural healing cultivates respect for nature in Indonesian village

SULAWESI — In a remote village on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi lies a small garden of near-mythic repute — a place whose stewards grow not mere plants, but hopes and cures that have served the community for generations. Packed into a single hectare (2.5 acres) in Pakuli Induk village, in Central Sulawesi province, are 400 different types of herbal plants, first collected and grown by Sahlan, a shaman, or sando, from the Kaili tribe. Like a real-life Getafix, Sahlan relied on plants that grow in the area to treat the needs of the villagers, venturing deep into the forest to pick the ingredients for herbal remedies for everything from sore eyes to kidney problems to ovarian cysts. The son of shamans, he was bequeathed the small lot for a garden in 1999 by the local chief, who was taken by Sahlan's passion for his craft. Nearly 20 years on, Sahlan now practices traditional medicine in Palu, the provincial capital, and has left the running of the garden to the children and young adults of the Assyfa orphanage.

Rep. Dan Huberty’s primary challenger declared ineligible to run

State Rep. Dan Huberty's only primary challenger was on Friday declared ineligible to run to represent House District 127. In a summary judgment, Harris County District Court Judge Bill Burke declared Reginald C. Grant Jr. did not meet the residency requirement outlined in the state's Election Code. Grant's name will remain on the ballot. Should he win the March 6 primary, district precinct chairs will vote on a replacement candidate. Huberty's attorneys first filed suit after discovering through public documents that Grant had not lived in the district for six continuous months prior to filing for candidacy, as required by the Election Code.

Rep. Joaquín Castro Commends STEM Students for Award-Winning App

U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-San Antonio) came back to Edgewood Independent School District to recognize the local winners of a coding competition. The post Rep. Joaquín Castro Commends STEM Students for Award-Winning App appeared first on Rivard Report.

Report finds poverty and income gap growing in Vermont

Economic gains in Vermont are not improving the lives of most residents, according to a new report from the Public Assets Institute, a left-leaning Montpelier think tank. The group's annual analysis of economic and quality-of-life indicators says that benefits from the state's economic growth mainly go to those who are already doing well. From 2006 to 2016, average nominal income for the top 5 percent of Vermont earners rose 42 percent. Over the same period, the bottom fifth of earners saw an average increase of 6 percent. The report also emphasizes that high numbers of Vermonters still struggle to pay their expenses, with more of a burden falling on specific groups.

Report looks at how legislators propose to improve education

Mississippi's legislators have proposed dozens of bills this year aimed at improving education in the state. The Hechinger Report looks at some of the education bills from the current session. Read the report here.

Report road hazards, graffiti & other issues

Is your drive home less than smooth? Use our mapping tool from SeeClickFix to report everything from potholes and graffiti to broken streetlights and overgrown weeds and keep watch over your neighborhood

Report Shows ‘Meticulous’ Planning of Las Vegas Attack

In the months leading up to the Las Vegas mass shooting, Stephen Paddock scoured the internet. “Biggest open air concert venues in USA,” he typed into a search browser in May. “How crowded does Santa Monica Beach get.” A Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department report released Friday lists other searches Paddock made in September, including expected attendance for the Life is Beautiful music festival in downtown Las Vegas, “How tall is Mandalay Bay,” and expected attendance for the Route 91 Harvest festival, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. He ultimately opened fire on the country music festival, killing 58 and injuring hundreds before killing himself. Paddock also searched Las Vegas SWAT tactics, “do police use explosives,” and how certain bullets perform over different distances.

Report: Blake Farenthold waiting to pay back sexual harassment settlement

WASHINGTON - U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold, a Corpus Christi Republican, hasn't yet paid back the $84,000 in taxpayer dollars the federal government gave his former spokesperson in a sexual harassment settlement, according to a new CNN report. A Farenthold spokeswoman told CNN on Wednesday "that he has not yet written a check, and on the advice of counsel is waiting to see what changes the House will make to the Congressional Accountability Act before repaying those funds." In early December, Farenthold told a local Corpus Christi television affiliate that he would take out a personal loan to pay back the settlement money. Later, he announced that he plans to retire at the end of his term. Even after the announcement, Farenthold faced strong pressure in Texas and among Washington Republicans, though he insisted that he did nothing wrong.