Illegal Pot Shops Still Have to Follow Access Laws, Suits Argue

The landlord for Club 64, a pot dispensary in Spring Valley, was hit with a suit alleging discrimination related to disability access. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz
Karel Spikes wanted to buy marijuana. He just couldn't get his wheelchair through the door. Since September, the San Diego-based entertainer has filed nine civil rights lawsuits against properties hosting unpermitted marijuana storefronts. Citing state and federal disability laws, Spikes alleges that the landlords are discriminating against people like him because they haven't provided handicap-accessible parking and entryways.

Illinois court panel breaks new ground in condemning police deceptions

An Illinois Appellate Court panel opinion this week was groundbreaking in challenging police use of deception when interrogating suspects, experts said. “This is really one of the first times I've seen an appellate court cite the detrimental effects of lying to police-community relations as a serious concern, in an opinion,” said Steven A. Drizin, legal director at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law's Center on Wrongful Convictions. “I have never seen such a statement before in a court case,” said Miriam Gohara, clinical associate professor at Yale Law School, adding the court's consideration of community trust in law enforcement was “refreshing.”
At issue is the court opinion overturning the conviction of Jesus Sanchez, an 18-year-old suspect in a 2013 murder, finding he falsely confessed to the crime after police repeatedly insisted they had evidence he fired the gun. The opinion of the three-judge panel, authored by Justice P. Scott Neville, calls for police to “renounce the use of deceptive practices in law enforcement so that the members of the community learn that they can trust police officers to treat them honestly.”
The U.S. Supreme Court long has permitted officers to use deception to get suspects to incriminate themselves. Five decades ago, the court upheld the murder conviction of a former U.S. marine named Martin Frazier who confessed after police falsely told him that Frazier's cousin had given a statement implicating him.

Illinois environmental agency suffers deep staff cuts

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has slashed its staff almost in half over the past 15 years, resulting in less monitoring of environmental health and safety throughout the state. Overall, the number of full-time employees at the agency has dropped from 1,260 in 2002 to 635 last year, according to state records. The environmental agency has steadily lost manpower and support since former Gov. Rod Blagojevich took office in 2003, a review of state records by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting found. And since Gov. Bruce Rauner took office in January 2015, the agency has seen further cuts. The agency lost 190 full-time employees between July 2014 and December 2017.

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan Builds Power From the Ground Up — And Sometimes From The Basement

by Mick Dumke
ProPublica Illinois reporter Mick Dumke looks at the state's political issues and personalities in this occasional column. At first it didn't seem to make sense. There were no obvious signs of a polling place, even though it was primary election day. I was in the 44th precinct of Chicago's 13th Ward, where Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan usually racks up some of his biggest vote totals, helping him keep the legislative seat he's held since 1971. I wanted to ask voters a simple question: Why do you still support him?

Illinois medical marijuana businesses scrambling as bank pulls out

The owners of a Metro East medical marijuana dispensary are trying to ease concerns in the banking industry. HCI Alternatives won't be able to make any deposits at the end of next month if it doesn't find a new financial partner. The company's current bank is severing ties with the industry.

Immigrants in Texas are among the least likely to have a lawyer, most likely to get deported

As the White House continues to expand deportations and push measures to curb illegal immigration, many Texas immigrants are forced to navigate the immigration system without the help of an attorney. From October 2000 through February 2018, less than 30 percent — 213,197 of the 733,125 — of immigrants in deportation proceedings in Texas had representation, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University. That rate is one of the lowest in the country, behind only Arizona and Louisiana among the states with the most deportation cases. Nearly 70 percent of the Texas cases during the time frame studied ended with a removal order. By comparison, 74 percent of defendants in New York had a lawyer, and just 27 percent received a deportation order.

Immigration arrests draw new accusations, protests

Lawyer says agents blocked access to immigration clients after arrests. Protesters converge on agent picnic. ICE spokesman responds to criticism. Congressman condemns arrests. The post Immigration arrests draw new accusations, protests appeared first on Carolina Public Press.

Immigration arrests spark outrage across North Carolina

Federal immigration agents arrest dozens in Piedmont and mountains, drawing condemnation from public officials and advocacy groups. Feds say most arrests due to criminal issues. The post Immigration arrests spark outrage across North Carolina appeared first on Carolina Public Press.

Immigration Detainers in NYC: The Numbers

The city honored more than 3,000 such detainers over a recent 12-month period, declined to enforce 1,200 and received $42 million less than it wanted for doing Washington's immigration-enforcement grunt work.

Immigration judge says quota mandate will do more harm than good to an already clogged system

A mandate handed down by the Trump administration designed to speed up activity within the country's clogged immigration court system will instead create a larger backlog of cases, immigration judges and their supporters said on Wednesday. The U.S. Department of Justice announced on Tuesday that the country's immigration judges must complete at least 700 cases annually in order to earn a satisfactory job rating. The effort comes as the backlog of cases has swelled and President Donald Trump's administration continues its effort to crack down on illegal immigration and the alleged “loopholes” Trump says allow people seeking asylum or waiting on hearings to stay in the country. “This is going to invite unnecessary scrutiny and undermine the very integrity of the court,” said Judge A. Ashley Tabaddor, the president of the National Association of Immigration Judges. “Parties who appear before the court will be wondering: ‘Is the judge issuing the decision because she's trying to meet a deadline or a quota?

In 2010, Blake Farenthold beat a Texas Democrat who seemed invincible. Will a Republican face the same fate in 2018?

In early October 2010, Washington political analyst David Wasserman began to sense the political winds were turning turning toward Republicans in such a big way that he posed an absurd scenario to Democrats across town: Was Solomon Ortiz in trouble? Ortiz, a Democrat, represented Texas' 27th congressional district and had easily coasted to re-election for decades. His Republican opponent was a brash radio host named Blake Farenthold making his first run for office. But Wasserman, armed with a GOP internal poll showing Ortiz down by eight points, felt compelled to ask a perplexed Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee staffer if there may be an actual race unfolding down in Corpus Christi. “He's fine,” the operative wrote of Ortiz.

In a land untouched by mines, indigenous holdouts fight a coal invasion

BATUTANGGA, Indonesia — Stretching across the slopes of the Meratus mountains, where the indigenous Dayak people strip rubber and harvest mountain rice, Central Hulu Sungai is the last district in Indonesia's South Kalimantan province free of mining and palm oil. Locals in this remote part of Indonesian Borneo say protecting their land has tested their stamina, and they're worried they may no longer be able to hold out against a new threat. In Indonesia, local governments retain broad rights to decide the fate of their land, and the struggle to curb questionable land deals often pits regulatory agencies in Jakarta against lax enforcement by provincial officials. But here in the forested slopes of Batutangga, a collection of villages islanded by karst towers, local people have found the opposite. In December 2017, despite the objections of local officials, the central government issued a mining permit to PT Mantimin Coal Mining (MCM), a nebulous coal company that has been trying and failing to obtain the required environmental impact assessment (EIA) for a decade.

In Betsy DeVos’ home state, a program that steers public dollars to private school students is under fire from the governor

Roughly once a week for much of the school year, 14 children have been gathering at the Spring Creek Equestrian Center in the western Michigan town of Three Oaks to learn about caring for horses. “They clean the stalls, groom them, feed them … they learn the mechanics of the horse, how you care for them,” said stable owner Alison Grosse. “It's not just a fun activity. It's a whole experience.”
And the best part? Aside from a $40 riding fee that families contribute, the program is completely free for participants, paid by the state of Michigan through a program called “shared time” that allows private school and homeschool students to take free classes through their local school district.

In blow to Kingdom, U.S. judge rejects Saudi effort to escape 9/11 lawsuit

By Brian P.
A federal judge in New York has rejected Saudi Arabia's effort to be dismissed from a massive lawsuit accusing the kingdom of complicity in the 9/11 attacks. The post In blow to Kingdom, U.S. judge rejects Saudi effort to escape 9/11 lawsuit appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

In Dallas County, life continues to be harder for people of color

DALLAS — As North Texas and its affluent suburbs help fuel the state's continued population growth, Dallas County is seeing a growing divide in the economic opportunities available to its residents, and it's becoming more difficult for the poorest people — who are far more likely to be people of color — to pull themselves out of poverty. Those are among many findings in an “economic opportunity assessment” of the county released Tuesday. The report was compiled by the nonprofit Communities Foundation of Texas and the left-leaning Center for Public Policy Priorities. “Dallas County has high levels of geographic segregation by race-ethnicity, income, educational attainment and wealth,” the study says. “What this means for low-to-moderate income Dallas residents – and for people of color who are disproportionately represented in that category – is that where they live profoundly influences their access to opportunity.”
The report paints a stark picture of economic disparities in a county that now has 11 Census tracts where most of the residents are living below the national poverty line — and minorities make up the majority of the population in all of them.

In Germany, It’s Hard to Find a Young Adult in Prison

Germany is probably the “grandfather” of special treatment for emerging adults in all of Europe. In 1953, German law was changed to allow youth up to age 21 (when they committed their offense) to be tried as juveniles. Responding to the “fatherless generation” of young people following World War II, German leaders decided not to institutionalize youth in great numbers; but rather to rehabilitate and shield them from some of the harsher aspects of their adult system. But the most far-reaching changes have emerged slowly. Initially, the percentage of youth ages 18, 19 and 20 retained in juvenile court hovered at around 20 percent (while the rest were sentenced as adults).

In House, Texas Republicans grill Zuckerberg some more on whether Facebook is censoring conservatives

WASHINGTON – On the second day of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appearing before a panel of congressional lawmakers Wednesday, two Texans followed in the footsteps of Sen. Ted Cruz from a day earlier, criticizing the social network for allegedly censoring conservative content. A total of five Texans serve on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which convened to question Zuckerberg in the wake of widespread criticism of Facebook's response to an enormous data breach and concerns about the platform's privacy controls. Those members include one Democrat, Gene Green of Houston and four Republicans: Joe Barton of Ennis, Michael Burgess of Lewisville, Pete Olson of Sugar Land and Bill Flores of Bryan. Following a high-stakes Senate hearing Tuesday, Wednesday's affair was more muted in tone. But that did not stop Barton, the vice chairman of the committee, from accusing Zuckerberg of political censorship.

In Nepal, sex trade thrives in transport hubs

Bibina Meya holds her 2-year-old daughter, Swastika. Meya is a sex worker, but she only works during the day so she can care for her daughter at night. (Photo by Shilu Manandhar, GPJ Nepal)
ITAHARI, NEPAL — Soft morning light seeps in through the single window in the small room which Bibina Meya rents for herself and her 2-year-old daughter, Swastika. Kohl outlines Meya's eyes. Her lips are a bright shade of orange.

In other news: Environmental stories from around the web, April 13, 2018

Tropical forests A government agency in Indonesia aims to restore peatlands and help communities (CIFOR Forests News). Planting cocoa trees could help farmers and ranchers avoid further deforestation in the Amazon (Reuters). Leeches help scientists assess the array of species present in forests (The New York Times). CITES finds that some reptiles and amphibians sold as “captive bred” are actually captured from the wild (The New York Times). Pollution appears to be changing the chemistry of the air in the Amazon (Phys.Org).

In other news: Environmental stories from around the web, April 20, 2018

Tropical forests Zimbabwe's Matobo National Park is a haven for birdwatchers (The New York Times). Drinking water threatened by logging in the Solomon Islands (Wildlife Conservation Society/EurekAlert). A campaigner who took on the palm oil industry has been killed in Brazil (The Guardian). Fishing and rampant tourism are threatening the biodiversity paradise in Indonesia's Komodo National Park (The Guardian). Peru's president wants to move forward with mining to capitalize on commodity prices, but says that communities will have a say (Reuters).

In other news: Environmental stories from around the web, April 6, 2018

Tropical forests A construction magnate in Thailand has been charged with poaching (Reuters). Restoring forests requires the right tools, and we don't have them all yet (CIFOR Forests News). Might all the world's wilderness disappear in the coming decades? (Outside Magazine). Rising vanilla prices have led to deforestation and violence in Madagascar (The Guardian).

In other news: Environmental stories from around the web, March 30, 2018

Tropical forests Questions arise about new agreement to protect the Congo Basin's peatlands (REDD Monitor). Dozens of ancient villages, possibly home to 1 million people, found in the Amazon rainforest (New Scientist). Laughing gas emissions from peatlands no laughing matter for climate change (University of Birmingham/EurekAlert). More than 3 billion people at risk as a result of biodiversity and ecosystem services loss from land degradation (IPBES/EurekAlert, Reuters, The Wall Street Journal). Research aims to find the carbon footprint of Easter eggs and other chocolate (University of Manchester/EurekAlert).

In Pennsylvania, It’s Open Season on Undocumented Immigrants

Deborah Sontag and Dale Russakoff for ProPublica
QUAKERTOWN, PA — From the time they first flirted at a party, Anne and Ludvin Franco were inseparable. It did not matter that Anne, a waitress, was Pennsylvania Dutch going back generations, while Ludvin, a cook, had grown up in the scrublands of eastern Guatemala. It also did not matter to Anne or her open-armed family that Lulu, as they called him, was undocumented. At their wedding in 2013, the Americans and the Guatemalans danced the night away with Latin DJs imported from Queens. On lawyers' advice, the Francos waited to start legalizing his status through their marriage until late 2016, after he had lived a productive, crime-free decade in the United States.

In plea deal, man admits killing UVM student over drug debt

An illustration of Richard Monroe, right, and his attorney Mark Kaplan in federal court in Burlington. Pool image
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Richard Monroe" width="610" height="458" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 150w, 1376w, 1044w, 632w, 536w, 1280w, 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">An illustration of Richard Monroe, right, and his attorney Mark Kaplan in federal court. Pool imageA man has pleaded guilty to killing a University of Vermont student more than three years ago over what police say was a $6,000 drug debt, reaching a plea deal for a 25-year sentence, according to federal prosecutors. Richard Monroe, 25, entered his plea Wednesday in U.S. District Court in the death of Kevin DeOliveira, 23, on Jan 2, 2015.Get all of VTDigger's criminal justice news.You'll never miss our courts and criminal justice coverage with our weekly headlines in your inbox. Daily
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In recovering Sutherland Springs, Cornyn touts gun background check bill

SUTHERLAND SPRINGS — The flag they raised over the church Friday morning came from Washington, D.C., as did the law they were there to celebrate. Five months after a gunman killed 26 in this town of about 650, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn returned to it Friday morning to meet with survivors and tout the measure he said might have averted the tragedy. Neighbors, in Lone Star earrings and military veteran hats, joined a gaggle of reporters outside the First Baptist Church to hear from the Texas Republican, whose background check bill made it into law this month after months of delay. That bill — called “Fix NICS” after the National Instant Criminal Background Check System — targets problems with the federal database that's supposed to disqualify individuals with certain criminal backgrounds from purchasing firearms.
But an Air Force reporting failure in that “broken system” meant it didn't catch Devin Kelley, the gunman who killed 26 people at this church in November, Cornyn said. He filed the bill to close those loopholes.

In renewing superintendent’s contract, Aurora board president says he didn’t run to ‘fire Rico’

Aurora's school board had a last-minute discussion Tuesday about the superintendent's contract before a 6-1 vote to approve a two-year contract extension. It was the first time every board member spoke publicly about the process, the district's future, and their confidence in Superintendent Rico Munn. Many praised the superintendent's skills, but then talked about concerns that the district's culture needs to change. “Open communication and trust are sorely lacking,” said board member Debbie Gerkin. “We need a superintendent who will dramatically change the climate.

In Rush to Buy Clean Energy, Coal and Gas Have Hidden Role

Community choice aggregation supporters rally in downtown San Diego. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz
Across California, local governments are trying to slow down climate change by starting their own agencies to buy and sell energy. In some cases, though, the green power they buy may be replaced with dirty power. These government agencies are known as community choice aggregators, or CCAs. Solana Beach is about to start one.

In Shift, Ex-House Speaker Boehner Joins Pot Firm

Former House Speaker John Boehner is joining the board of Acreage Holdings, a firm that cultivates, processes and dispenses marijuana in 11 U.S. states, reports Politico. The move marks a significant shift for the former lawmaker, who said seven years ago that he was “unalterably opposed” to marijuana legalization. He now says his views on the drug have “evolved.” Boehner tweeted, “I'm convinced de-scheduling the drug is needed so we can do research, help our veterans, and reverse the opioid epidemic ravaging our communities.”
Acreage Holdings, one of the nation's largest cannabis corporations, said Wednesday that Boehner and former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld were appointed to its board of advisers. Weld was the running mate of Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson in 2016 and has long supported loosening federal regulations on marijuana. Acreage founder and CEO Kevin Murphy said appointing Boehner and Weld “will help shape the course of this nascent but ascendant industry.” Republican Boehner's endorsement of a shift in federal policy on marijuana comes as the Trump administration has moved to stifle the proliferation of marijuana decriminalization and legalization efforts in various U.S. states.

In Small-Town America, the Public Housing Crisis Nobody’s Talking About

by Molly Parker, The Southern Illinoisan
It's a Sunday morning in late February at the tiny Baptist church atop the hill in Thebes, a remote village of about 400 people in the southernmost part of Illinois. I'm here for a story assignment, but to know people is to worship with them. Faith is as much a part of these small communities as the rivers that run outside their doorsteps. My heart twists seeing the church's sign out front that reads, “Pray for America.”

It twists a little tighter when the pastor calls the dozen or so people gathered that morning to lay hands on Laverne Williams because she's about to lose her home, through no fault of her own. Key Dates in the Alexander County Housing Authority Scandal


In smaller gun violence protests, hundreds of students walk out of NYC schools to mark Columbine anniversary

From Brooklyn to the Bronx, students left their classrooms Friday to protest gun violence in demonstrations that were smaller but no less than passionate than last month's massive walkout. This time around, school officials weren't giving a free pass to students for skipping school to protest — the Department of Education said there could be repercussions and Chancellor Richard Carranza urged students to stay in class because “you don't have to be out of school all day to make your voices known. You've already made your voices known.”
According to the Department of Education, attendance on Friday was 89.89 percent, down just slightly from Thursday's attendance of 91.36 percent. But that number might not account for students who briefly left school to attend protests after the school day started. The walkout was designed to protest gun violence and planned for the 19th anniversary of the Columbine school shooting.

In southern Minnesota’s 1st District, Democrats unify ahead of competitive race on Trump turf, while GOP faces primary

Sam Brodey

Dan FeehanIn southern Minnesota's 1st Congressional District — considered a must-win U.S. House race by both parties — Republicans and Democrats wrapped up their convention business in short order last Saturday.But they set the table for two very different election-year circumstances: the DFL quickly coalesced behind one candidate, and though Republicans overwhelmingly endorsed one candidate, they'll get a months-long primary fight that could turn bitter and contentious.In Le Sueur on Saturday, Dan Feehan, a former Department of Defense official under Barack Obama, picked up the DFL endorsement following two rounds of voting by delegates, and a unanimous pledge of support from his main rivals.In Mankato, meanwhile, Republican activists met and endorsed Jim Hagedorn, the GOP candidate here in 2014 and 2016, on the first ballot. As expected, state Sen. Carla Nelson, his main rival, declared her intent to take the nominating decision to voters in an August 14 primary.A no-fuss nomination is a welcome development for 1st District Democrats: incumbent Rep. Tim Walz, who has kept this district blue since 2007, announced last year that he'd vacate this seat to run for governor of Minnesota — putting his familiar name off the ballot, and his formidable presence off the campaign trail.Democrats now have the spring and summer to build a general election campaign that can compete in CD1, which despite Walz's success has historically preferred Republicans, and voted for President Donald Trump by a 15-point margin in 2016.Republicans believe this district should be safely in their hands — some GOP operatives call CD1 their best pick-up opportunity in the country — but a looming primary will complicate their effort to make that happen.With three other highly competitive U.S. House races elsewhere in Minnesota — not to mention two U.S. Senate races — demanding national attention and donor dollars, both sides will have to make the case for CD1's relevance in determining control of Congress this fall.Brief conventionsFeehan headed into Saturday's convention a favorite to pick up the party's endorsement: he'd consistently posted the strongest fundraising numbers out of the four leading candidates, picked up support from a large group of local party figures, and earned the backing of key interests like public sector employee unions.Competing with Feehan for the endorsement were attorney Rich Wright, clean energy advocate Joe Sullivan, and former state Sen. Vicki Jensen. On the first ballot at the convention, Feehan got 54 percent of delegate support — just below the 60 percent threshold needed to secure the endorsement — while Sullivan got 18.5 percent, Wright got 16.7 percent, and Jensen got just under 11 percent.Delegates voted a second time, but before the results were released, Wright, Sullivan, and Jensen addressed the convention to concede the endorsement and announce their support for Feehan, who then officially secured the party's backing by acclamation.Feehan told MinnPost on Sunday he believes the party is unified and ready to work to keep the seat in their hands. “The feeling everyone had leaving the convention was powerful,” he said, adding that he believes Democrats are energized to win in a way they were not in 2016. “The energy in the room matched every county convention and caucus night. That energy is there in a way… It's outside your control, but gosh, it's nice to have.”At Mankato's Verizon Center, Republicans finished their endorsement business in a similarly quick fashion: on the first ballot, Hagedorn got 76 percent of delegate support over Nelson's 21 percent.

In Spite Of Wipe-out In Iowa, Early Twentieth Century Journalist Proves Women Just As Gritty As Men

“The west certainly surpassed all my expectations, and Iowa is great,” Cy Woodman claimed after traveling from New York to Iowa on a Flanders 4 motorcycle in October 1912. Ethel “Cy” Woodman had ridden cross country to follow through on a dare. The
freelance journalist had been at the New York City Press Club one day when a fellow journalist dared her to ride a motorcycle from New York to San Francisco. The dare came after Woodman boasted that women were just as “gritty” as men. Iowa History, a weekly column, appears at IowaWatch on Saturdays.

In stump speech at polluted Lake Carmi, Ehlers takes aim at Scott

Gubernatorial candidate James Ehlers by Lake Carmi in Franklin on Earth Day Photo by Mike Polhamus/
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="James Ehlers " width="610" height="407" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 1280w, 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Gubernatorial candidate James Ehlers by Lake Carmi in Franklin on Earth Day Photo by Mike Polhamus/VTDigger.orgFRANKLIN — In an Earth Day press event with supporters, held near Lake Carmi, the most polluted body of water in Vermont, gubernatorial candidate James Ehlers took aim at the dairy industry. Speaking from the porch of Franklin residents Judith McLaughlin and Rob Cormier a stone's through away from Carmi, Ehlers said industrial farming has been a bad deal for Vermonters. Get all of VTDigger's political news.You'll never miss a political story with our weekly headlines in your inbox. Daily
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Lake Carmi was closed for several months last year because of toxic algae blooms fed by manure and commercial fertilizer from farms near the lake.

In Texas, census citizenship question becomes a political fault line of its own

Funding for schools, roads and housing. Political clout in Congress. The state's ability to prepare for natural disasters. That's what experts and activists warn is at risk now that the Trump Administration has announced that it will add a question about citizenship to the 2020 census questionnaire — a move that opponents say will likely depress response rates among Texas immigrants and their families and lead to an undercount in the once-in-a-decade count of every person living in the United States. That warning was issued by state lawmakers, lawyers and immigrants that gathered at the Texas Capitol on Wednesday to urge state and federal leaders to push back on the inclusion of the citizenship question.

In the Canary Islands, a good seed disperser is hard to find

It may seem like yet another set of picture-perfect tropical islands: high cliffs and modest hills rolling into the brilliant blue Atlantic Ocean. Scrubby bushes and small rocks dominate the entire landscape, and everything acquires a lovely tinge of warm sunshine. These vistas draw millions of people to the Canary Islands every year. But not everyone is here for the scenery, however lovely. Ecologists Néstor Pérez-Méndez from Río Negro National University in Argentina and Alfredo Valido from the Doñana Biological Station (EBD-CSIC) in Spain are more interested in the islands' scrubby plants — and the plants' surprising seed dispersers.

In the Colorado governor’s race, Republican Cynthia Coffman collapses. Walker Stapleton and Greg Lopez make the ballot.

BOULDER — The rough-and-tumble Republican primary for governor narrowed down considerably in Colorado on Saturday with a tag team of stunners. Greg Lopez, the former Mayor of Parker who was running an underfunded underdog bid, joined front-runner and state Treasurer Walker Stapleton to push five other candidates off the ballot, while the campaign of Attorney General Cynthia Coffman burned to the ground in spectacular fashion. Coffman, the sitting statewide public official whose mixed-message campaign had tried to thread a needle of appealing to unaffiliated voters and to the conservative activist base took a face-plant when the party's delegates gave her only 6 percent of support on Saturday. Cynthia Coffman speaks at 2018 GOP state party assembly on April 14, 2018. Photo by Amanda Clark.

In the Trump-Comey spitting match, is anyone winning or is everyone losing?

In the midst of the longest run of self-inflicted wounds known to man, Donald Trump caught a huge break. And then, of course, he tossed it away. Trump's nemesis, Jim Comey, has a book out — “A Higher Loyalty” — currently being supported by Comey's impossible-to-miss TV extravaganza, from which the headline is that Trump is “morally unfit to be president.” That's a fairly obvious message, but still devastating when it comes from the former head of the FBI, even if the former head was, in fact, fired by the morally-unfit guy. But the story does not end there. In the course of explaining Trump's inarguable unfitness, his need to lie at every turn, his constant demand for personal loyalty, Comey, who trades on his well-known rectitude, ends up in a spitting match with the champion Twitter-spitter himself.

In this program, artists help prepare children for kindergarten — and their teachers learn, too

Teacher Jeanette Samuel stands up before a Head Start class and begins bouncing and chanting a song aloud in a lilting voice, “Can we go OVER it? Yes, we can. Can we go UNDER it? Yes, we can.”
While the children gather around to sing with “Miss Jeanette,” Katy Schoetzow, a performing artist, uses props to transform other parts of the room into an adventure to follow Felix the mouse to a circus. The 3- and 4-year-olds track a hand-drawn map and line up to go around an imaginary lake, under a tower, through trees and across a pond.

In tribute: Barbara Bush’s telling moment with me

Chuck Slocum

We judge character by the best intentions and most noble acts.Chuck SlocumOn that count alone, I have a vivid memory from nearly 40 years ago that came to me as I learned of the passing of former first lady Barbara Bush.In 1980, Barbara's husband, George H.W. Bush, had been tapped by presidential nominee Ronald Reagan as his running mate at the Republican National Convention. Bush had, until very late in the game, been running directly against Reagan, corralling enough delegate votes to garner significant attention at the Kansas City confab.Bush, however, decided to drop out of active contention for the RNC nomination when Reagan's delegate hard count indicated he would be nominated very early in the balloting. This was the gentlemanly thing to do, though hard-core partisans of Reagan's had never really forgiven Bush for some of the rough and tumble campaign rhetoric.Barbara, too, had spoken quite candidly for years about some of the issues and candidates, often without conferring with her husband or his handlers. Though far more charmingly candid, she was definitely less gentle in style than her husband. She would continue this practice for the rest of her storied life.An October stop in MinneapolisAs the campaign against incumbent President Jimmy Carter and Minnesota's own Walter Mondale, the vice president, bounced back-and-forth nationally, Reagan's presence was concentrated in his must-win, closely contested states.

In Two High-Profile Arrests, Border Patrol Accused Immigrants of Human Smuggling But Never Turned Over the Cases

A Border Patrol agent patrols the primary fence separating the United States and Mexico. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz
When outrage swelled over a recent video that showed Border Patrol agents arresting a mother in National City – and leaving her daughters on the sidewalk watching in anguish – the agency had an explanation ready: The woman was involved in human smuggling, it said. She had been identified as a “human smuggling facilitator who recruited drivers to transport illegal aliens from a remote border area in Eastern San Diego County to a stash house in National City as part of a larger transnational criminal organization,” Border Patrol said in a statement responding to the backlash. Border Patrol said at the time that Perla Morales-Luna could be presented to the U.S. attorney's office for prosecution, or it could simply start deportation proceedings. Border Patrol never ultimately presented the case to federal prosecutors.

In wake of Cambridge Analytica revelations, new momentum behind Klobuchar’s Honest Ads Act

Sam Brodey

During his marathon grilling on Capitol Hill last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said a lot about privacy, transparency, and how his platform was manipulated to influence Americans' political attitudes in the run-up to the 2016 election.In particular, Facebook has promised to do something about that last point, thanks to abundant evidence that sneaky online tactics — notably, by entities linked to the Russian government — were used to amplify divisive political views and spread disinformation in the U.S.Facebook is enthusiastically embracing a proposal from Congress that would impose a new regulatory framework governing the political ads that appear when you scroll through your news feed. Last year, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia introduced a bill, called the Honest Ads Act, to regulate online political ads the same way that political ads are regulated on print, TV, and radio — with clear disclosure requirements and a public record of ads.That bill hasn't even received formal committee consideration yet, but Facebook is implementing a lot of the legislation's provisions on its own, with the goal of giving the public more knowledge about who is running and paying for political ads — along with tougher requirements for getting those ads in front of users' eyeballs in the first place.That all constituted a remarkable about-face for Facebook: just months ago, the tech giant was saying it had serious concerns about the legislation and waging an all-out lobbying assault to stop it. After recent revelations of how users' personal data was manipulated by political actors, however, there is even more pressure on Silicon Valley to implement new rules governing politics on their platforms.With another crucial election just months away, advocates are hoping new rules can be put in place — both by law and by the companies themselves — to protect the online space from opaque, misleading political communication. But there are lingering questions about how effectively these tech giants can achieve that goal — and how much of a difference, in the big picture, it would even make if they did.Facebook clicks ‘like' on greater transparencyOn April 6, two Facebook executives, Rob Goldman and Alex Himel, outlined in a post the company's plans to boost transparency and counter election interference.In doing so, Facebook basically implemented the pillars of the Honest Ads Act voluntarily. The legislation, introduced last October, would require clear labeling of political content online, and require platforms with at least 50 million monthly viewers — from Facebook to Yelp — to keep a publicly-accessible file of all political ads purchased by an entity that spends more than $500 on ads.

Inclusion programs earn Special Olympics recognition for high school

San Benito High School will receive a banner recognizing it as a "Unified Champion School" for providing an inclusive environment for students of all abilities

India: This draft national forest policy too gives short shrift to grasslands

In 1987, Asad Rahmani, ornithologist and the former director of the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), wrote in the journal Oryx that the greatest threat to the great Indian bustard was the loss of grasslands in India. The bustard, likes open land with short vegetation. The sandy deserts of Rajasthan, open scrub forests of Maharashtra and semi-arid grasslands of peninsular India, Rahmani noted, were ideal habitat for this endemic bird. A year after this study in 1988, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) released a revised version of the National Forest Policy of 1988 (NFP-1988). The policy set a vision for covering one-third of the country in forests by planting trees in non-forest lands such as river banks, lakes, beaches and the “semi-arid, and desert tracts,” that bustards love.

India’s new forest policy draft draws criticism for emphasis on industrial timber

The Indian government has initiated the process of revamping its national forest policy, but the new draft has critics on edge. The current National Forest Policy 1988 (NFP-1988) was announced 30 years ago. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has now published the Draft National Forest Policy 2018 (DNFP-2018), open for public comments until April 14. The new draft policy's overall goal is to “safeguard the ecological and livelihood security of people, of the present and future generations, based on sustainable management of the forests for the flow of ecosystem services.” The draft policy also aims to maintain at least one-third of India's total land area under forest and tree cover. In the hills and mountainous regions, the policy's goal is to maintain two-thirds of the area under forest and tree cover to both “prevent soil erosion and land degradation and also to ensure the stability of the fragile ecosystems.” The draft policy lists multiple other objectives, including the maintenance of environmental stability and conservation of biodiversity; reversal of the degradation of forests; improvement of the livelihoods of people through the sustainable use of ecosystem services; and meeting India's greening goals under its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).

Indian Congress urges Zinke to act on CT tribes’ casino issue

WASHINGTON — The National Congress of American Indians came to the support of Connecticut's Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes Thursday, urging Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to approve a change in their gaming compacts that would clear the way for the tribes to operate a new casino in East Windsor.

Indiana lawmakers are bringing back a plan to expand takeover for Gary and Muncie schools

It's official: Lawmakers are planning to re-introduce a controversial plan to expand state takeover of the Gary and Muncie school districts when they come back May 14 for a one-day special session. Indiana Republican leaders said they believe the plan, which would give control of Muncie schools to Ball State University and strip power from the Gary school board, creates opportunities for both districts to get on the right track after years of poor decision-making around finances. “Two state entities year after year ignored requests from the legislature to get their fiscal health in order,” said Senate President David Long. “We understand there's going to be some politics associated with it.”
But Indiana Democrats strongly oppose the takeovers, and House Minority Leader Terry Goodin, a Democrat from Austin, said bringing back the “heinous” takeover plan is too complicated to be dealt with in one day. Democrats had cheered when the bill unceremoniously died last month after lawmakers ran out of time during the regular session and lambasted Republican for calling for an extension to revisit it.

Indiana students’ scores lag after transferring to charter schools, new study shows

A recently released study raises questions about whether charter schools improve academic achievement for students in Indiana more than traditional public schools. Researchers from the Indiana University School of Education-Indianapolis examined four years of English and math ISTEP scores for 1,609 Indiana elementary and middle school students who were in a traditional public school in 2011 and transferred to a charter school in 2012. The main findings were that students who transferred had lower math and English score gains during the first year or two in their new school than if they had stayed in a district school. The researchers were able to draw the conclusion by using a type of statistical analysis that enabled them to compare students' actual score gains at the charter school to potential gains had they not transferred from a traditional school. But for the students who stayed in charter schools for three years or more, some of those gaps disappeared, and students caught up with where they would have been if they hadn't transferred.

Indiana-based farm issues recall for more than 200 million eggs

An Indiana-based company has recalled more than 206 million eggs over reports of illness related to a strain of salmonella. Rose Acre Farms of Seymour, Indiana, issued the voluntary recall Friday of eggs produced from its Hyde County, North Carolina farm after an investigation by the Food and Drug Administration traced the rare strain back to the farm. The eggs are sold under multiple brand names, including Coburn Farms, Country Daybreak, Food Lion, Glenview, Great Value, Nelms, and Sunshine Farms. Recalled eggs were also sold to restaurants, according to the FDA. Salmonella Braenderup is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.
Healthy individuals infected with Salmonella Braenderup can experience fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. As of Monday, 23 people have become sick, the Center for Disease Control reported.

Indianapolis innovation schools must follow a new policy after one lost its nonprofit status

As principals in Indianapolis Public Schools take on more responsibility, they are tasked with new administrative duties — and sometimes things may fall through the cracks. The issue was crystallized last month at a school board meeting, when it was revealed that Global Preparatory Academy at School 44 lost its tax exempt status because leaders had failed to file paperwork to maintain it. As one of eight Indianapolis Public Schools campuses that have converted to innovation status over the past three years, Global Prep is a new kind of school. It is under the umbrella of the district, but the school also has a charter, and its leader has administrative responsibilities that would not typically fall to a district principal. Maintaining the school's 501(c)(3) status is one of those new responsibilities, said founder and principal Mariama Carson, who previously led a neighborhood school in Pike Township for seven years.

Indianapolis Public Schools budget plan could include layoffs and salary freezes

Schools across Indianapolis's largest district could face hiring freezes and layoffs as the district seeks to balance its budget, according to a document published on the district website. The finance update, which is expected to be presented Thursday for discussion to the Indianapolis Public Schools Board, outlines a plan for cutting nearly $21 million from the cash-strapped district's $269 million general fund budget for 2018-19. Some of the potential cuts include educator layoffs based on subject area, salary freezes, and reductions in custodial services and substitute teachers. It is not clear whether all the potential cuts will be made. The district declined to immediately comment on the proposal but said staff would be available to answer questions Tuesday.

Indianapolis Public Schools offers buyouts to up to 150 teachers

Indianapolis Public Schools is offering teachers $20,000 payments to retire in a bid to cut costs amid a severe deficit. About 250 educators are eligible for the payout, which would be contributed directly to retirement plans for teachers who take the offer, said Rhondalyn Cornett, president of the Indianapolis Education Association. Indianapolis Public Schools did not immediately confirm the details of the buyout. But the proposal is outlined in an email the district sent to teachers and obtained by Chalkbeat. The agreement requires a minimum of 100 and a maximum of 150 educators to accept the offer.

Indianapolis Public Schools’ Lewis Ferebee is a finalist to lead Los Angeles schools, report says

Indianapolis Public Schools Superintendent Lewis Ferebee could be a finalist to lead the Los Angeles school district, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday. But he doesn't appear to be the frontrunner for the job at the nation's second-largest school district, the newspaper reported. The newspaper named former investment banker Austin Beutner as the leading candidate and said that Ferebee and former Baltimore Superintendent Andres Alonso are “the other two apparent finalists.”
Indianapolis Public Schools spokeswoman Carrie Black said Tuesday she could not confirm that Ferebee was a contender for the superintendent's position in Los Angeles. School board member Kelly Bentley said she was not aware of whether he was a finalist for the position. Ferebee has made a name for himself nationally by overhauling Indianapolis Public Schools, converting low-performing schools into “innovation schools” run by outside charter operators but still under the district's umbrella.

Indigenous environmental activist killed in Myanmar

Indigenous and environmental activist Saw O Moo was reportedly killed in Myanmar's Karen State on April 5. According to the Karen Environmental and Social Action Network (KESAN), Saw O Moo, who worked with KESAN as a “local community partner,” had attended a community meeting that day to help organize humanitarian aid for villagers displaced by renewed hostilities between Myanmar's military and the Karen National Liberation Army (KNLA), an armed ethnic group. Despite a nationwide ceasefire agreement signed in October 2015, recent hostilities between the two sides are said to have displaced as many as 2,300 local people. Saw O Moo was reportedly returning to his home in Ler Mu Plaw village by motorbike when he offered a ride to a soldier of the KNLA who was assigned to provide security for Karen civilians in the Ler Mu Plaw area. “At 5:20 PM, just as the two men were nearing Saw O Moo's home in Ler Mu Plaw, they were ambushed and shot at by Burma Army soldiers at a place called Wah Klo Hta on the edge of the T'Ri Plaw plain,” KESAN reports.

Indonesia investigates deadly oil spill in eastern Borneo

JAKARTA — The Indonesian government has launched an investigation into a major oil spill in Borneo amid reports linking the incident to the deaths of four fishermen and an endangered dolphin. The spill in Balikpapan Bay, in East Kalimantan province, was first reported on the morning of March 31, when local fishermen noticed a strange smell near an offshore refinery operated by state-owned oil and gas company Pertamina. Workers later attempted to clean up the slick by setting it on fire, but the blaze grew out of control. Four people were killed in the fire, all believed to be fishermen. One other person was seriously injured, while another is missing.

Indonesia land swap, meant to protect peatlands, risks wider deforestation, NGOs say

JAKARTA — A program under which pulpwood and logging companies in Indonesia must preserve and restore any peat habitats that fall within their concessions could lead to greater deforestation, NGOs warn. Up to half the land that could potentially be awarded to these companies under a land swap scheme is classified as natural forest, the groups say. This amounts to 9,719 square kilometers (3,753 square miles) of forest, an area roughly the size of Lebanon. “We fear that vast areas of natural forest, especially in Kalimantan [Indonesian Borneo], Sumatra and Papua will be designated for land swaps and converted into pulpwood plantations in the name of peatland restoration,” the coalition of NGOs said in a statement. The biggest concern among activists is Indonesia's easternmost region of Papua, home to 35 percent of Indonesia's remaining rainforest and the last untouched swaths of pristine forest left in the country.

Indonesia may achieve renewables target, but still favors coal for power

JAKARTA — Indonesia, the world's fifth-biggest carbon emitter, has significantly scaled back its electricity output plans to boost the share of renewables, but will remain heavily reliant on coal. The administration of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has introduced a new 10-year electricity procurement business plan (RUPTL) that will see it add 56 gigawatts (GW) of electricity capacity across the archipelago between 2018 and 2027, down 30 percent from its previous target of 78 GW. The scale-back is driven largely by the fact that demand for electricity in Southeast Asia's largest economy have failed to live up to expectation, Ignasius Jonan, the energy minister, said at a media event. Due to weak demand and sluggish economy, Indonesia has significantly cut target to install new electricity capacity across the archipelago, but most of which still rely on coal. Photo courtesy of Aldi Pagaruyung/Flickr-Creative Commons.

Indonesia to punish state firm over litany of failures behind Borneo oil spill

JAKARTA — The Indonesian government is preparing to punish state-owned oil and gas firm PT Pertamina over a major oil spill stemming from one of its undersea pipelines in eastern Borneo last month. An official investigation of the spill in Balikpapan Bay, in the province of East Kalimantan, which was first reported on March 31, found faults in the company's operational procedures. Among the findings by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry: the Pertamina refinery in Balikpapan, which was served by the pipeline, lacked both an early-warning system and an automated monitoring system. “If the system was good, there wouldn't have been [a delay] of five to seven hours [before the oil spill was detected] and no need [to wait] until a fire broke out,” Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar said on the sidelines of a hearing at the House of Representatives in Jakarta. An automated monitoring system would have alerted Pertamina immediately to changes in the pressure level in the pipeline, and thus allowed the firm to respond swiftly, Siti said.

Indonesia’s crackdown on illegal fishing is paying off, study finds

JAKARTA — Tough measures by Indonesia to protect its fisheries from foreign poaching vessels are proving effective in helping replenish fish stocks, a new study says. Seizing and blowing up illegal foreign fishing boats and banning fish transfers at sea have eased the pressure on Indonesia's intensively fished waters. The country, the second-biggest marine capture fisheries producer in the world, can serve as an example for other nations plagued by illegal fishing, according to the report published last month in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution. The report showed that foreign fishing activity in Indonesia declined by more than 90 percent, and total fishing by 25 percent, since 2014, when the government banned foreign fishing boats from its waters, among other restrictions on fishing. Indonesia lost an estimated $4 billion per year to illegal fishing before 2014, the study noted.

Indonesia’s dying timber concessions, invaded by oil palms, top deforestation table

JAKARTA — The rate of deforestation in selective-logging concessions in parts of Indonesia has unexpectedly overtaken those of pulpwood and oil palm concessions, a new study shows. A study by the NGO Forest Watch Indonesia (FWI) in the provinces of North Sumatra, East Kalimantan and North Maluku showed a combined loss of 7,180 square kilometers (2,770 square miles) of these forests between 2013 and 2016. Seventy-two percent of that deforestation occurred in areas under one of four types of concessions: selective logging (for timber); pulpwood (typically acacia, to make paper); oil palm; and mining. Selective logging, which the researchers believed to be a declining industry relative to the booming oil palm and pulpwood industries, experienced the highest rate of deforestation over the study period, losing 838 square kilometers (323 square miles) of natural forest. This was followed closely by mining concessions (833 square kilometers), palm oil concessions (760 square kilometers) and pulpwood concessions (370 square kilometers).

Indonesian billionaire using ‘shadow companies’ to clear forest for palm oil, report alleges

The owner of Indonesia's largest conglomerate has been accused of participating in the illegal deforestation of Borneo's Ketungau peat swamp to make way for oil palm plantations. The Salim Group, owned by tycoon Anthoni Salim, Indonesia's fourth-richest man according to Forbes, is reportedly linked either by ownership or association with the two companies that cleared nearly 10,000 hectares of the protected rainforest. The Salim Group notably includes Indofood, a joint-venture partner with major brands such as PepsiCo and Nestle, as well as First Pacific, the joint owner of Goodman Fielder, a leading food producer in the Asia-Pacific region. In a new report released today, Aidenvironment, a sustainability consultancy, said that the Salim Group's continuing reliance on “shadow companies” to sidestep legal oversight also raised questions over the complicity of major banks, such as Citibank, Mizuho, Standard Chartered, BNP Paribas and Rabobank, that finance the Salim Group. “This report provides clear evidence of shady business dealings and inaction at the highest levels of business, all while tropical rainforests continue to fall for Conflict Palm Oil,” said Gemma Tillack, forest policy director of Rainforest Action Network (RAN), which commissioned the research along with Rainforest Foundation Norway (RFN) and SumOfUs.

Indonesian conservation bill is weak on wildlife crime, critics say

JAKARTA — Environmental activists have warned that proposed revisions to Indonesia's conservation act could provide new loopholes for wildlife traffickers, who already enjoy a thriving trade in one of the world's most biodiverse countries. The revision of the conservation act, formally the Natural Resources Conservation Law of 1990, was widely anticipated to help authorities crack down harder on the illegal wildlife trade. And the latest draft submitted by parliament to the government for review does make some moves toward that goal: it would ban the trade in species not mentioned on Indonesia's list of protected species but that are regulated by CITES, the main international treaty on endangered animals and plants. For instance, it could help close a loophole that allows traffickers to move items such as African elephant ivory through the Southeast Asian country with impunity. But critics point to a longer list of problems with the bill.

Indonesian oil palm smallholders sue state over subsidy to biofuel producers

JAKARTA — Oil palm farmers in Indonesia are mounting a legal challenge to get a bigger share of a government fund they complain is being misused to subsidize biofuel producers. The Indonesian Oil Palm Plantation Fund, or BPDP-KS, was set up in 2015 to manage an export levy imposed on exports of crude palm oil and processed palm oil products. In 2017, it collected 14.2 trillion rupiah ($1.03 billion) in funds, which, under its charter, it is obliged to use for “human resource development, research and development, and rejuvenation of plantations.” But representatives of the main union of oil palm farmers in Indonesia, the SPKS, say the government has failed in carrying out the last part of that obligation, and are now challenging the constitutionality of the fund allocation in court. “The fund allocation right now looks very unjust and harms farmers,” Marselinus Andry, head of the union's advocacy department, told reporters in Jakarta. Rather than being used to help small farmers replace their aging palm trees with higher-yielding variants, he pointed out, the collected levies are largely used to subsidize major producers of biofuels that use palm oil.

Industrial Waste Makes for ‘Troubled Waters’ in Texas

The Texas Commission for Environmental Quality has classified more than 9,400 miles of streams and 638,000 acres of lakes in Texas as impaired. The post Industrial Waste Makes for ‘Troubled Waters' in Texas appeared first on Rivard Report.

Indy Cop Crowdfunds DNA Test; Pulled From Case

Though he is not a cold case investigator, Detective Sgt. William Carter of the Indianapolis Metropolitan police used his own time over the past two years to look into the unsolved rape and murder 22 years ago of Carmen Hope Van Huss, 19. The city agreed to pay the $1,600 cost of a DNA test that Carter hoped might identify a suspect. But when that test went wrong and the city balked at paying for another, Carter set up an online crowdfunding page and asked for donations, reports the Indianapolis Star. Seven hours after he began asking for donations, he had exceeded his goal.

Inmate at Vermont prison commits suicide

Southern State Correctional Facility. Photo by Phoebe Sheehan/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Southern State Correctional Facility" width="610" height="407" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 150w, 1024w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Southern State Correctional Facility. Photo by Phoebe Sheehan/VTDiggerAn inmate at Southern State Correctional Facility killed himself on Friday night. Nicholas Lynch, 37, met with mental health staff about anxiety related to contact with “bad people in the outside world.”
Lynch was put in a single person cell Friday in a segregated unit at the facility, according to a press release from the Vermont State Police. That day, correctional officers found Lynch in his cell at 6:44 p.m. He had apparently hanged himself and was pronounced dead at 7:30 p.m., according to a press release from the Vermont Department of Corrections.

Innovation: beyond the ‘genius inventor’

Antar SalimInnovation is at the heart of business success. It is an essential element of growth. Yet many businesses are still uncertain how to find it, create it or obtain it, as if innovation were tied up in a charismatic leader or some magic elixir to acquire. On April 24, the Hendrickson Forum at Saint Mary's University of Minnesota will host a luncheon with renowned author and business innovation consultant Jackie Freiberg. Her talk and the discussion following it will explore how organizations can foster and create cultures that embrace innovation well beyond creating a new product or a new way of doing business.What does it mean to lead from an innovation culture?

Inside a Secretive Lobbying Effort to Deregulate Federal Levees

by Lisa Song, ProPublica, Patrick Michels, Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, and Alex Heeb, The Telegraph of Alton, Illinois
Nearly a year after record Midwestern floods killed at least five people and caused $1.7 billion in damage, a secretive lobbying effort funded by Illinois and Missouri drainage districts is underway to roll back flood regulations, documents show. The effort targets the authority of the Army Corps of Engineers, which oversees the nation's federal levees — large hills that are typically built or strengthened by the Corps and are subject to its rules, but are managed by local drainage districts. Any time a district wants to permanently raise the height of a levee for more protection, it has to seek approval from the Corps, which considers whether a request would be “injurious to the public interest” before issuing a Section 408 permit. The process is intended to prevent “levee wars,” in which communities race to build ever-higher levees at the expense of their neighbors. Levees constrict rivers, narrowing them and blocking off the floodplains that allow the water to spread out.

Insiders Say Obama’s ‘Community Trust’ Session Worked

When the 33 invited participants to Wednesday's “White House Convening on Building Community Trust” filed into the ornate Eisenhower Executive Office Building, they discovered they would be placed next to improbable seatmates. Rashad Robinson, a black political activist, had Pittsburgh's police chief, Cameron McLay, on one side of him and Anaheim, Ca., Mayor Tom Tait on the other. Fraternal Order of Police director James Pasco was placed between NAACP President Cornell Brooks and Harvard University economics Prof. Roland Fryer, reports the Washington Post. It was diversity “by design,” as President Obama said, an unorthodox, four-hour experiment in policymaking through the kind of emotional exchanges that are more often associated with therapeutic encounter sessions than bureaucratic seminars. Interviews with participants suggested.

Inspire Performing Arts Academy wins coveted Studio Sportsmanship Award

Inspire Performing Arts Academy is selected by Onstage Tournament judges for the "Backstage Studio Sportsmanship Award"

Instant Success for Beacon Camp

In only its second year, city program fills quicklyInstant Success for Beacon Camp was first posted on March 30, 2018 at 9:30 am.

Insurance Exchanges Launch With Few Glitches

A Los Angeles furniture store worker who had never had health insurance enrolled in a plan for $75 a month that will cover both him and his son. An unemployed accountant in Charlotte, N.C., who tried and failed to sign up last year found coverage for $11.75 a month. A self-employed house contractor from West Palm Beach, Fla., found a health plan that will cost him nothing.

Intensive method to remove Asian carp finds early success at Creve Coeur Lake

Federal and Missouri state wildlife officials have successfully used a new technique to remove the majority of Asian carp from Creve Coeur Lake in St. Louis County. Earlier this year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Missouri Department of Conservation and St. Louis County Parks and Recreation deployed a method to extract the invasive species from the lake. Asian carp has invaded many Midwestern lakes and rivers, outcompeting native fish populations and tainting water quality.

Interfaith lunch attendees to consider ways to address mental illness within congregations

Andy Steiner

For 17 years, the Jewish Community Mental Health Conference at Temple Israel in Minneapolis has provided support, information and connection for people wanting to know more about mental illness and its impact on society.While the conference has always been open to all faith traditions, most participants have been connected to Judaism. After last year's event, inspired in part by Muslim American author and activist Melody Moezzi's keynote presentation, the conference's organizing committee decided to plan a luncheon where people from different religious traditions could come together to discuss ways to support congregants struggling with mental illness.Julie Jacobs, a member of the Jewish Community Mental Health Conference advisory committee, said that organizers were intrigued by Moezzi's message that faith traditions that deny or ignore the presence of mental illness among their members do so at their own peril.“In Judaism, mental health used to be not talked about at all,” Jacobs said. “It is even more that way in the Muslim community. But we know that not talking about mental illness only makes things worse for people who struggle. That's how the idea of having an interfaith discussion came about.”The luncheon, called “Learning From Each Other: An Interfaith Conversation on Mental Health,” was held at Mt.

Internal memo offers candid postmortem of charter fight in Massachusetts

Massachusetts charter school advocates had the wind at their backs as they set out to lift the state's cap on charter schools in 2015. Polls showed strong support, deep-pocketed donors stood ready to fund their efforts, and a popular governor was set to champion their cause. A year later, their effort would end in humiliating defeat. The ballot initiative known as Question 2 was shot down by 62 percent of voters, and opponents ended up with an anti-charter playbook that could be put to future use across the country. National charter advocates saw it as a major setback, while opponents were emboldened.

International Talent, Questions Follow Louisville’s New Basketball Academy

Head coach Jeremy Kipness, center, huddles with players for the Aspire Academy Wizards during the Grind Session World Championship in Owensboro, Kentucky on March 10, 2018. The DeSales High School gym is all orange and brown, with horseshoes — for the DeSales Colts — decorating the basketball court. But on a Sunday afternoon this fall, the gym's other home team was announced with red lasers and crimson fog. The Aspire Academy Wizards team was making its Louisville debut, and all eyes were on one player: 6-foot-11 Nigerian Charles Bassey, one of the top high school recruits in the nation. The reason Bassey is in Louisville, playing for a two-year-old basketball prep academy, slipped onto the court without fanfare.

Investigation Into PE Teacher Ends In Resignation

Critics say authorities failed to act when allegations of inappropriate behavior with girls first surfaced in 2009

Investigative Post recruiting to hire a reporter

Posted in Organization NewsInvestigative Post is looking for a hard-nosed reporter to join its award-winning team. Based in Buffalo, Investigative Post has earned a reputation as one of the leading local nonprofit investigative reporting centers in the country. We do newspaper-quality investigative reporting and produce stories for print, online, television and radio, and our reporters are adept in producing pieces for all platforms. Our partners include the NBC and NPR outlets in Buffalo and our audience reach of up to 265,000 readers, viewers and listeners per story is the largest of any news outlet in upstate New York. Our work has been cited for excellence by the likes of Investigative Reporters & Editors, the Edward R. Murrow Award, the Society of Environmental Journalists and the National Association of Black Journalists. Spree magazine honored our staff last year as the best print journalists in Western New York, citing our “intensively researched stories on vital topics.”
Candidates do not need to have TV experience, but must be ready to learn how to do broadcast work.

Iowa Doctor Embroiled In Early Twentieth Century Austrian Radium Smuggling Case

To people in Muscatine, Iowa, in 1916 Dr. D. Powell Johnson was a hometown boy they were proud to claim. He had grown up there, and his mom still lived in Muscatine. A graduate of the University of Iowa in the class of 1888, Johnson had made a name for himself in the medical world in the United States and Europe. He had been living in Vienna, Austria, for over a decade. Iowa History, a weekly column, appears at IowaWatch on Saturdays.

Iowa Governor Wrong To Think Silence Will Work

Here we go again. The ink is barely dry on the $1.75 million check the taxpayers of Iowa had to write last fall to settle a sexual-harassment lawsuit won by an employee of the Iowa Senate Republican staff. The leader of the Senate Republicans, Bill Dix of Shell Rock, resigned March 12, a few hours after photos and a video were made public showing him kissing a lobbyist for the Iowa League of Cities. Randy Evans
Randy Evans is the executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council. He is a former editorial page editor and assistant managing editor of The Des Moines Register.

Iowa’s Mental Health Care Efforts Have Plenty To Heal

A car crash that left her son with broken limbs, a fractured jaw and skull, and internal injuries requiring multiple surgeries was a telling point for Kristin Ertzinger. Emergency personnel and hospital staff worked diligently to save her son's life, but in the years leading up to that crash, and the aftermath, Ertzinger and her son experienced a different story with Iowa's mental health system. Photo shared by Kristin ErtzingerThe car Simon Ertzinger was in during a February 2017 traffic accident. “There are no other illnesses where patient history is treated with such utter disregard,” she said of her son's battle with depression, anxiety and suicide attempts. Simon Ertzinger, now 19, continues to heal physically from the crash that almost took his life in February 2017, but the struggle to find appropriate mental health care is ongoing.

IowaWatch Collects Eight Iowa Broadcast News Association Awards For News Excellence

The IowaWatch Connection radio program collected eight awards for large market radio reporting during 2017 at the annual Iowa Broadcast News Association convention in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, April 21. Jeff Stein, IowaWatch Connection host/producer
Each week, program host and producer Jeff Stein and IowaWatch reporters examine a story in depth during a 23-minute program that airs on 20 radio stations and then serves as an podcast. The program's winning entries were:
First place: Farm and Business reporting, for a report on foreign farmland ownership in the Midwest that featured a Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting story on that topic. First place: General Reporting, for a report on Iowa's capacity for future rail traffic. Second place: General Reporting, for a report on the growing instances of Alzheimer's disease in Iowa.

IowaWatch Connection: Pork producers differ over antibiotic use in hogs

Adequate data do not exist for making clear decisions about antibiotic regulation in the hog industry, a key researcher says in a recent IowaWatch story. The IowaWatch Connection, a weekly, statewide news and public affairs radio program airs on participating stations across Iowa. Learn more about the IowaWatch Connection and previous programs at this link.Adequate data do not exist for making clear decisions about antibiotic regulation in the hog industry, a key researcher says in a recent IowaWatch story. “Sales data, in general, cannot provide. .

IowaWatch High School Journalism Projects Featured By Columbia Journalism Review

Read what Columbia Journalism Review had to say in an April 3, 2018, article about IowaWatch's work with high school journalists. “Iowa high schoolers power statewide investigations” by Micah Fields
“More than any one-off accomplishments that may be credited to IowaWatch's name, the success of its high school programming speaks to the growing necessity for initiatives that raise media literacy among young Americans,” Fields writes in the article. Later, he notes: “What seems exceptional about IowaWatch is the empowering chain of mentorship it affords without instruction getting in the way.”


Ire and ore: Demands grow for clarity around Cambodian gold mine

A gold mine in the remote northern Cambodian province of Preah Vihear is being opposed by local people who claim they have lost their land and are being manipulated by authorities acting for the mining company. On January 12, residents from the affected village of Tropeang Tontem in Rovieng district submitted a petition to the government Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction. It complained about their treatment by local officials and the company allegedly responsible, Delcom Cambodia Pte Ltd. According to the Phnom Penh Post, the petition statement was signed by 56 families. Translated from Khmer to English, it states that government and company officials “forced us, coerced us and cheated us into thumb-printing a document that stated that we were farming on part of the company‘s land.” The statement requested that the document be “annulled in its entirety.” The mine site near Tropeang Tontem.

IRS online filing system experiencing glitches on Tax Day

The Washington Post is reporting that the Internal Revenue Service's electronic system that allows tax returns to be filed online has partly failed, complicating last minute filing for millions of taxpayers. Read the complete story here. The post IRS online filing system experiencing glitches on Tax Day appeared first on Mississippi Today.

Is ‘power posing’ back?

Susan Perry

In 2010, Harvard sociologist Amy Cuddy reported that standing for just one minute in a “high-power” pose — particularly the hands-on-hip “Superman stance” — was associated with changes in hormone levels (higher testosterone, lower cortisol) and an increased tolerance for risk-taking.Cuddy went on to present a hugely popular TED talk on the topic, followed by a best-selling book (“Presence”).But other researchers weren't able to replicate her findings. Then, in 2017, the authors of a review of 33 published studies on the topic concluded that the existing evidence was too weak to “advocate for people to engage in power position to better their lives.” Cuddy quickly became the “poster girl” for methodological problems in psychology research. A deeper dive into the dataWell, if you haven't gotten rid of your Superman — or Wonder Woman — cape, you may want to bring it down from the attic again.Cuddy and her colleagues have recently published their own review — a meta-analysis — of the existing studies. In addition to including 21 studies to the 33 in the earlier review, their analysis also examined the effect of posture on how people feel, something not studied in the 2017 review.The findings, published this month in the journal Psychological Science, are unlikely to end the controversy surrounding power posing's effects on changing people's behavior and making them more willing to take risks. But the results do seem to support Cuddy's earlier findings regarding the effect that power posing has on how people feel about themselves.In an article for BPS Digest, a website run by the British Psychological Society, science reporter Emma Young summarizes what the new meta-analysis found:While Cuddy appears to be softening her claims about what power-posing can achieve, she and her colleagues argue that their new analysis shows that there is strong evidence that posture affects emotions in particular, and that power-posing is likely to have a meaningful impact on people, and should not be discounted.

Is #MeToo a Movement or a Moment?

During a time of heightened media attention towards sexual misconduct in the workplace, women have an unprecedented platform to share their stories of abuse. Time Magazine named these silence breakers ‘person of the year'. Social media exploded with survivors posting #MeToo on their profile pages. Men and women at the Golden Globes paraded in black to show their support for the movement. But will it all last?

Is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Dead?

A defender of human rights in Guatemala, participating in a Human Rights Day celebration, Dec. 10, 2017. The author of this essay, a former UN high commissioner for human rights, writes that governments profess adherence to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but they fool no one. OHCHR-GUATEMALA PHOTO
When the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted 70 years ago, the hopes of its drafters and of people across the globe was that it would help transform the world into a place of freedom and justice. Sadly, the declaration is now being challenged as it has never been before.

Is there such a thing as normal aging?

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Island logging must go beyond current ‘best practices’ to avoid erosion: New study

For logging on islands to be sustainable, it must adhere to clearly defined parameters that limit the impact on water quality and soil erosion, according to new research in the Solomon Islands of the southwestern Pacific Ocean. “Saving tropical forests worldwide depends upon tighter regulation of national laws and policies, as well as local buy-in for forest management,” Stacy Jupiter, one of the study's authors and the director of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Melanesia program, said in a statement. “This study nicely illustrates why we need to take action now to protect the world's remaining intact forest landscapes in order to preserve their biodiversity and important ecosystem services for people.” Active logging area on slopes of Kolombangara Island in the Solomon Islands. Image by Joe McCarter/WCS. It's no secret that island ecosystems are especially delicate, as are the clean water, habitat and resources they provide.

It Doesn’t Matter Which Diet You Choose

In the category of "news you can use," Emily Oster summarizes a new study that compares weight loss on various diets. After cutting through all the muck, we get the chart on the right. The answer, it turns out, is that all of the diets are about equally effective. So which one you choose is mostly a matter of preference. If you think you can stick to a low-carb diet, choose one of those.

IT Guy Turns To Mastering Building Code

The roof might last another year, the inspector told Paul Kuriakose. Kuriakose decided not to take any chances.

It Looks Like Bill Gates’ Devotion to Child Welfare Doesn’t Extend to Children in Yemen

On the front page of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation website, the philanthropic organization identifies a key priority for disbursing its unparalleled $40.3 billion endowment: “Ensure more children and young people survive and thrive.”

Yet today Bill Gates welcomes Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, who is overseeing the mass starvation and death of children in Yemen. As part of his U.S. tour, the crown prince—who also serves as Minister of Defense, among other titles—is slated to travel to Seattle, where Gates is reportedly hosting him on March 30 at a meeting focused on technology. The visit comes just days after the three-year anniversary of the Saudi-led war on Yemen, which has left nearly all of the country's children “in desperate need of humanitarian assistance,” according to UNICEF. Abetted by U.S. vessels, a Saudi naval blockade has choked off food and medical supplies, driving a famine and the largest-ever recorded cholera outbreak. Meanwhile, the Saudi-led coalition—which includes the United States, United Kingdom and Gulf allies—has unleashed a vicious bombing campaign on Yemen's civilian infrastructure, hitting hospitals, weddings and funerals.

It’s about recognition: In ‘Islandborn,’ Junot Diaz writes for immigrant children

For more than 20 years, novelist Junot Diaz has explored the immigrant experience. From his debut 1996 novel, “Drown,” a semi-autobiographical work on the life of a young Dominican transplant to the United States, to “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2008, Diaz has found inspiration in the culture that surrounds him. His work has won him more than just accolades. He is a MacArthur “genius grant” winner and teaches creative writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In his books and in person, his use of language is very much for an adult audience.

It’s not easy being Green: Third party faces long odds to make it onto Texas ballot

Texas third parties typically face an uphill battle during election years as they struggle to compete with the state's two dominant parties. But a big shadow hangs over the state's Green Party as members prepare for their state convention this weekend. In order to get their candidates on the general election ballot without a petition, third parties must have at least one candidate win more than 5 percent of the vote in a statewide race during the previous election cycle. Libertarian petroleum engineer Mark Miller barely cleared that hurdle for his party in 2016, winning 5.3 percent of the vote in the race against Railroad Commissioner Wayne Christian. But the Green Party, which meets in Houston this weekend, didn't hit the mark.

It’s official: Pawlenty joins race for governor

Brian Lambert

Back to the future. In The Washington Post, Micheal Scherer reports on the return of Tim Pawlenty: “Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty announced Thursday that he will run this year for a third term as leader of the state. ‘I have the strength and experience to solve problems and bring us together', the Republican announced in a video posted to his website. ‘I want to finally put those in the middle first'. … After mounting an unsuccessful presidential bid in 2012, Paw­lenty became the leader of the Financial Services Roundtable, a trade group that represents major banking, insurance and investment companies in Washington.” For the AP, Kyle Potter's story says: “Despite his unparalleled fundraising ability and name recognition, Pawlenty still faces a climb.

It’s bad enough that snowbirds get to skip out on suffering through Minnesota’s winters. Now they might also cost us a House seat

Greta Kaul

Looking forward to the 2020 Census, there's a chance Minnesota could lose one of its U.S. House seats.The state's population just isn't growing fast enough relative to other states to be certain to keep its eight seats in Congress. Midwestern states like Minnesota, Illinois and Michigan stand to lose to fast-growing states like Florida and Texas.It wouldn't take much. The deciding factor could be between 10,000 and 30,000 people, according to the most recent projections by Election Data Services, a consulting company that works on redistricting.Perhaps more than 30,000 in number, 0ne group that's big enough to help tip the scales in one direction or the other is so-called snowbirds, people whose permanent homes are in Minnesota but who fly south for the winter, often not returning until April or later — well after Census forms are sent out, typically in March.“It's really going to be tricky because snowbirds will receive a form at their house in Florida, or Arizona, or California and they'll just have to know they're a Minnesota resident and they should be filling it out as a Minnesotan, for their usual residence,” said State Demographer Susan Brower.Apportionment mathStates are guaranteed two U.S. Senate seats, but they're apportioned some of the 435 seats in the House based on the size of their population: For the most part, each district is designed to include the same number of people.Minnesota has had eight congressional districts since the '60s, a sign that its population has been relatively stable in size relative to the rest of the country since that time (it previously had nine).Whether Minnesota loses a seat comes down to not just its own growth, but other states' too.Minnesota's population has grown by about 5.1 percent since the 2010 Census, just below the national average of 5.5 percent. But that's dwarfed by gains in states like Texas, the fastest growing in the union, which gained 13 percent, and Florida, which gained nearly 12 percent in that time period.Current projections about population growth in other states say that whether Minnesota ends up with seven or eight seats in the House could come down to a population of just 30,000 people, according to estimates by Election Data Services. Under some projections, that threshold could be as low as 10,000.“Minnesota is very, very close to losing a seat.

It’s John Bolton’s First Day in the White House. We Must Stop Him From Escalating War in Syria.

Today, fanatic war proponent John Bolton is taking office as President Donald Trump's National SecurityAdviser—and it comes at a perilous moment for international security. The volatile situation in Syria significantly raises the danger of a major intensification of direct U.S. military involvement. Over the weekend, the opposition's extremist Jaish al-Islam group reached a deal with the government to leave its territory, paving the way for the Damascus regime to reclaim control over Douma, the last opposition-held area in the capital's suburbs. Following Saturday's alleged deadly chemical attack on civilians, which Trump immediately blamed on Assad backed by Russia and Iran, Trump said his administration is considering military retaliation, which could come within 24 hours. Early Monday morning saw air strikes on a Syrian military base, possibly carried out by Israel, further escalating the danger of an intensified conflict.

It’s Not Just the ‘Sanctuary State’ Bill: The Trump Lawsuit Challenges These Laws Too

County Supervisor Dianne Jacob has said she'd support the county joining the Trump administration's challenge to California's sanctuary policies. / Photo by Sam Hodgson
If the San Diego County Board of Supervisors decides to join the Trump administration in challenging San Diego's so-called sanctuary policies, it'll be taking on more than the one law that's gotten the lion's share of attention. The Trump administration is suing the state over three laws passed by the state Legislature last year that limit cooperation with federal immigration enforcement efforts. The Justice Department argues the laws violate the Constitution's Supremacy Clause because they are designed to stop the federal government from enforcing its laws. The Board of Supervisors will discuss whether to join the lawsuit on Tuesday.

It’s now easier for siblings to attend the same NYC school. Here’s how that could affect transfers, gifted programs and diversity.

The education department has quietly expanded an admissions preference to siblings of some older students, continuing a push to make it easier for families to transfer schools. Starting in the 2018-2019 school year, students applying for pre-K or kindergarten at schools that include middle and high school grades will receive priority if they have a sibling who will attend the school for at least one more year. Before the change, preference was given only to students who had siblings in fifth grade or below. The number of families impacted is likely small since only about 140 schools enroll students from kindergarten through middle school or high school. But the policy could change the calculus for parents angling for a spot in competitive gifted programs and other highly sought after schools -- and make it harder to meet school diversity goals.

It’s official: Detroit’s enrollment grew for the first time in over a decade, even after adding the state-run district

What Detroit district leaders have been saying for months is true: After many years of losing students, enrollment in the Detroit district grew this year while charter enrollment fell. State data released earlier this month show that district enrollment is up about 2 percent over the last five years while Wayne County charter enrollment is down about 2 percent. It's the first time in over a decade that the district has gained students. The data are final audited enrollment numbers that the state uses to determine how much money it pays out to schools. Detroit district Superintendent Nikolai Vitti boasted at a press conference last fall that the district's enrollment had exceeded the gains from the newly absorbed students in the dissolved state-run Education Achievement Authority schools.

It’s Time for Different Strategies to Fight Racial Disparities

Those of us who have spent months and years working to make responses to youthful law violations effective, equitable and more just have much to be proud of. The volume of philanthropic investments working in sites directly, supporting research, advancing science, incentivizing advocacy and in some cases organizing have made a significant difference in youth justice practices. There is no doubt that changes regarding objective decision-making, managing by data, introducing and understanding human development, strengthening legal representation, focusing on conditions of confinement and raising awareness about sexual orientation, gender identity and expression have resulted in documented improvements. All these improvement efforts have required persistence and a commitment to overcome deeply entrenched norms that drive the administration of justice. As is the case with any effort to make institutional change, work on youth justice has seen its share of frustrations, setbacks and recalcitrance.

It’s Time for the San Diego Democratic Party’s Ideals to Match Its Actions

Democratic candidates for governor take part in a debate hosted by the San Diego County Democratic Party. / Photo by Vito Di Stefano
Women have been rising in the ranks of political activism in recent years, and 2018 is a record year for the sheer number of women running for office. Many first-time candidates, especially Democrats, cite the Women's Marches of 2017 and 2018, disgust with the Trump presidency and the powerful #MeToo movement as their impetus to run. Activism, employment and candidacy within the San Diego County Democratic Party, however, remains unsafe, rife with potential for unchecked sexual harassment and worse, despite several attempts to create fair internal systems of accountability since the resignation of disgraced former Mayor Bob Filner in 2013. We have had enough.

It’s time to confront the collusion between the palm oil industry and politicians that is driving Indonesia’s deforestation crisis (commentary)

Two decades on from the fall of the Suharto dictatorship, Indonesia's transition to democracy is regarded as a global success story. But lurking beneath the surface is an ugly truth. A now irrefutable body of evidence shows that regional elections, for the town mayors, district chiefs and provincial governors who hold huge sway over the lives of citizens in a decentralized state, are overwhelmingly corrupted by dark money. Political scientists, civil society observers and enforcement agencies have documented the race to the bottom as candidates compete to outspend one another, employing an array of nefarious and illegal methods collectively referred to as “money politics.” Indonesia Corruption Watch, a non-profit that monitors elections across the country, has described regional elections as “brutal and shambolic.” Many informed observers believe the phenomenon is growing worse. This system pushes to the top of the pile the candidates with the greatest tolerance for the dark arts of money politics and the ability to find wealthy backers.

Ivey award-winner Tyler Michaels rehearses MinnRoast’s opening number

MinnPost staff

Tyler Michaels reprises his breakout role as the emcee from "Cabaret" to perform the opening number at this Friday's MinnRoast.Ivey award-winning performer Tyler Michaels will add some star power to the show when he reprises his breakout role as the emcee from "Cabaret" to perform the opening number at this Friday's MinnRoast.Joining Tyler in this year's show: U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer, Gov. Mark Dayton, actresses Sally Wingert and Michelle Hutchison, Mayors Melvin Carter and Jacob Frey, Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt, Prairie Fire Lady Choir, radio personalities Gary Eichten and Brian "BT" Turner, former Vice President Walter Mondale and many more. Buy MinnRoast 2018 tickets Individual tickets start at $14. MinnPost Gold and Platinum members receive a 25% discount on show-only tickets. Become a Gold member by donating $10 or more per month.

Jacksonville Sheriff Uses Misleading Data to Defend Pedestrian Ticketing

by Topher Sanders, ProPublica, and Benjamin Conarck, The Florida Times-Union [Jacksonville]
Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams in recent months has repeatedly defended his department's enforcement of pedestrian violations. Claims of a racial disparity have been overstated, he has argued. There is no policy targeting people of color, he has insisted. He's made his case before the City Council. Most recently, Williams had a report supporting his claims hand-delivered to a local NAACP official.

Jake Mangum – the Rebel killer – does it again

Rick ClevelandMississippi State Bulldogs celebrate, Governor's Cup Trophy in hands, by singing “Hail Dear Ol' State” after Tuesday night's thrilling victory over Ole Miss. That's Jake Mangum with his right hand (taped wrist) holding the the trophy. PEARL – Mike Bianco answered my question before I finished it. “(Jake) Mangum's beaten us enough over the years,” Bianco said. “Somebody else was going to have to do it tonight.”
Somebody else did.

James Ehlers: A return to cherishing the land

Editor's note: This commentary is by James Ehlers, who is the executive director of Lake Champlain International and a candidate for governor, a U.S. Navy veteran, a water quality and public health advocate, and an environmental and veterans affairs adviser to Sen. Bernie Sanders. I read with great interest Kate Bowen's recent foreboding piece on the future of agriculture in Vermont. We all should not only heed her words but consider how we ourselves can be the change we wish to see. I've also worked the land for a living. For several years, I grew produce for local restaurants, cut timber for landowners and firewood for homeowners, and sugared for the tourists.

James Hall: Silent majority will be heard in November

Editor's note: This commentary is by James B. Hall, of Rutland, who is a retired sergeant major from a 28½ year career with the Vermont Air National Guard. He has served on selectboards in Royalton and Rutland Town and currently serves on the Board of Civil Authority in Rutland Town. The track record of Gov. Phil Scott has been deeply disappointing — not his record at Thunder Road, but the one under the golden dome. This record of disappointment goes back to the campaign, when he was extremely slow to put forth any plans for the state under his leadership. This was frustrating, and looking back on it, his actions since election have told a different story than was being expected.

James Maroney: Statehouse Dems not following party platform on agriculture

KWEditor's note: This commentary is by James H. Maroney Jr., who has a master's degree in Environmental Law & Policy from Vermont Law School and is a former farmer. A month or so before the election, I received an email from the Vermont Democratic Party asking for my views on the platform. I had not read the platform so I did, and found quite a lot of florid language about the importance of agriculture, clean water and the environment. The platform says in its Statement of Principles: “the VDP believes the right to clean water is essential to a robust democracy and non negotiable.” It then says VDP:
• “supports measures that encourage sustainable farms … and sustainable and ecologically sensitive uses of Vermont's natural resources” (A.1.2.);
• “VDP will encourage the review of environmental land use” (A.3.1.) and will “actively seek to identify and resolve conflicting regulations” (A.3.4.);
• “A healthy environment is essential to overall public health … as a party we are committed to environmental health” (B.);
• “We respect private property rights and support regulations and laws that discourage pollution; promote conservation of Vermont's working landscape.” (B.2.1.)
• “We must establish systems to control or mitigate problematic runoff from all sources to create cleaner watersheds.” (B.2.3.)
I had never read the Republican Party platform either, so in the interests of fairness, I did so and found this plain language on the environment: “We value Vermont's economic environment with the same respect that we value our natural environment.”
By now everyone in Vermont knows that Lake Champlain is not clean. We know too that the Legislature has been trying to “clean up” the lake for the past 60 years.

Jaquelyn Ziegler Fernandez Rieke: Higher minimum wage lifts all boats

Editor's note: This commentary is by Jaquelyn Ziegler Fernandez Rieke, who is owner of Nutty Steph's in Middlesex and Onion River Campground in Plainfield. I'm concerned about the challenges faced every day by thousands of workers in Vermont who don't earn a living wage. Raising the minimum wage would present a two-fold benefit for business owners like myself. I would have a more dignified and less stressed workforce to employ, and I would sell more when Vermont workers, with expendable income, buy more of our high quality chocolate and granola. In fact, they will spend a lot of money on Vermont products, and this will strengthen my small business and many others.

Jay Craven: Listen to the young

Editor's note: This commentary is by Jay Craven, of Peacham, a filmmaker and director of Kingdom County Productions. He teaches at Sarah Lawrence College. This piece first aired on VPR. The sudden surge of high school-driven youth activism, focused on issues of gun violence, reminds me of the 1963 Birmingham Alabama Children's Crusade, which changed the course of history and moved President John F. Kennedy to take a dramatic stand against racial segregation which had refused to yield – in Alabama and elsewhere. Thousands of students, some as young as 7 years old and trained in nonviolence, fanned out into the streets just several weeks after the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. marched in Birmingham, was arrested, and wrote his powerful “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” These legions of children protested peacefully, asking to meet with the Birmingham mayor.

Jay Craven: Will politicians act on data mining?

Editor's note: This commentary is by Jay Craven, of Peacham, a filmmaker who is the director of Kingdom County Productions. He teaches at Sarah Lawrence College. This piece first aired on VPR. Mark Zuckerberg's testimony this week before Congress reminds me of a conversation I had, some 40 years ago, with my part-time neighbor, the late Richard Barnet, who worked in JFK's State Department and co-founded Washington's Institute for Policy Studies. I ran into Barnet one August afternoon at Harvey's Lake in West Barnet.

Jay Peak receiver reaches $1.5M settlement with PeakCM

A federal judge has approved a $1.5 million deal between the court-appointed receiver for the Jay Peak Resort projects and PeakCM, one of the contractors for a series of developments at the resort. President and CEO of Williston-based PeakCM, Jerry Davis, originally sought $2.7 million in payment for work performed for a proposed biomedical facility in Newport. That project was swept up in a federal regulatory action, along with Burke Mountain and Jay Peak developments.RELATED STORIESUPDATED: Quiros says state EB-5 officials have ‘unclean hands'Commissioner says probe into alleged China arrest turned up nothingScott won't commit to an investigation into child sex claimsDonovan demands evidence of child sex crime chargeUPDATED: EB-5 investor lawyer says state official committed child sex crime in China
Federal regulators determined in April 2016 that AnC Bio Vermont was “nearly a complete fraud.”
Since then, PeakCM has waited for payment for contracting expenses he incurred for the Newport facility. Jerry Davis, CEO of PeakCM. Youtube screenshot
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Jerry Davis" width="300" height="221" srcset=" 300w, 125w, 150w, 500w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" data-recalc-dims="1">Jerry Davis, CEO of PeakCM.

Jazz Spirits Live On

The soul of the late great jazz bassist and composer Charles Mingus hovered in Yale Law School's auditorium Sunday. So did that of the late Stan Wheeler, watching over from an enlarged photo projected on a screen, as two generations of musicians kept their spirits alive.

Jeff Beverly: Football’s Unexpected Gift to UTSA Basketball

Jeff Beverly came to the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) in 2015 to play tight end on the football team. So how did he become the leading scorer on the basketball team? The second leading rebounder? The Roadrunners' go-to guy in the paint? How did Beverly, all 6-feet-6, 250 pounds of him, become […]
The post Jeff Beverly: Football's Unexpected Gift to UTSA Basketball appeared first on Rivard Report.

Jeff City student, two others return home after Egypt release

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 11, 2011 - The last of three American students to arrive home after a "scary" police detention in Egypt, Derrik Sweeney of Jefferson City was greeted by family and friends late Saturday at Lambert Airport and told journalists that he had been hit and threatened after being taken into custody in the midst of Cairo demonstrations.

Jeff Hochberg: Who’s making money from prescription drugs?

Editor's note: This commentary is by Jeff Hochberg, who is president of the Vermont Retail Drug Association, a pharmacy lobbying and action group whose members are mostly owners of independent pharmacies in Vermont. Coming up with ways to keep prescription medicines affordable and accessible is a priority of our lawmakers this session. They're looking at several ways to control costs, from importing drugs from Canada, to holding drug manufacturers' feet to the fire. But the truth is, they are looking in the wrong directions. What they should be looking at is the relationship between health insurers and the pharmacy benefit managers who work with them.

Jefferson County could be canary in coal mine for Missouri GOP

Control of the United States Senate could depend on how well Democrats like Bob Butler fare in Jefferson County. That might sound like hyperbole, but it's not too far from the truth. Butler, an attorney who unsuccessfully ran for the House in 2014 and 2016, is one of two Democrats seeking to oust state Sen. Paul Wieland, R-Imperial. Democrats like U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill and state auditor Nicole Galloway need strong performances in Jefferson County to win their elections — and will depend on people like Butler to bring Democratic voters to the polls.

Jeffrey Reel: We don’t drive technology; technology drives us

Editor's note: This commentary is by Jeffrey Reel, of Lyndon Center, who is the general manager of Natural Provisions in St. Johnsbury, and the former sustainability manager of the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York. I moved to the bucolic Northeast Kingdom several months ago and have enjoyed being educated to the region through the information provided by VTDigger. I have noticed in these pages the back-and-forth opinions regarding renewables vs. fossil fuels and the technology required, and desired, to carry us into the 21st century.

Jen Duggan named director of CLF Vermont

News Release — Conservation Law Foundation
April 23, 2018
Media Contact:
Jake O'
(617) 850-1709
Brings Experience Cleaning Up Pollution from Industrial Facilities
April 23, 2018 (Montpelier, VT) – Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) announced today that it has named environmental attorney, Jen Duggan, as the Vice President and Director of CLF Vermont. “Jen Duggan is a tireless defender of the right of all communities to have access to a clean and healthy environment,” said Bradley Campbell, President of Conservation Law Foundation. “Jen has a lengthy track record of holding polluters accountable, including successfully limiting toxic discharges from coal plants and oil refineries. Her experience developing and executing campaigns to clean up illegal pollution from industrial facilities, combined with her leadership in government to protect Vermont's natural resources and safeguard communities, make her uniquely qualified to advance the work of CLF.”
Before joining CLF, Duggan was the General Counsel for the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. Prior to her position with the Agency, Jen was Managing Attorney for the Environmental Integrity Project, where she managed the organization's Coal-Free Waters Campaign and represented community groups and other organizations in permit proceedings, citizen enforcement actions, and federal and state rulemakings.

Jepsen turns up the heat on Facebook

Upon revelations that Cambridge Analytica had harvested extensive psychographic information from about 50 million Facebook users, Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen demanded that Facebook Chairman Mark Zuckerberg answer the questions many Americans were asking: "How and why was their personal data exploited?" He spoke with the Connecticut Mirror about why he launched a multi-state inquiry.

Jessie Leyse: The importance of infant immunizations in protecting children

Editor's note: This commentary is by Jessie Leyse, M.D., a practicing physician at Central Vermont Medical Center in Berlin and an infectious disease specialist. She worked in a children's emergency department in Liberia during her residency, and two years later took a leave of absence to assist with the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone. Thanks to vaccines, most parents have never seen the devastating effects of diseases like polio, measles or whooping cough. It's easy to think these are conditions of the past, but children in the United States still can—and do—get these diseases. It's difficult to imagine a baby with tetanus or measles; most people have never seen these illnesses.

Jewish Community of Greater Stowe holding annual Yom HaShoah Holocaust Remembrance Day Commemoration

News Release — The Jewish Community of Greater Stowe
April 2, 2018
The Jewish Community of Greater
Annual Yom HaShoah/Holocaust Remembrance Day Commemoration
Sunday, April 15, 1:30 p.m.

STOWE (April 2, 2018): The Jewish Community of Greater Stowe (JCOGS) in conjunction with the Greater Stowe Interfaith Coalition and the Vermont Holocaust Memorial (VTHM) invites the public to participate in the annual Yom HaShoah Holocaust Remembrance Day Commemoration taking place at JCOGS on Sunday, April 15 at 1:30pm. Memorial candles in memory of the six million Jews and millions of others put to death during the Holocaust will be lit as we honor the lives and legacies of those lost, and focus on stories of survival. The feature of this year's commemoration is the screening of the 2014 Academy Award winning Best Documentary Short Subject film: “The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life,” followed by an exclusive discussion with executive producer, Frederic Bohbot. This special memorial event is free, accessible and open to the public. JCOGS is located at 1189 Cape Cod Road in Stowe.

Jewish Community of Greater Stowe hosts author Anastasia Goodman, April 24

News Release — Jewish Community of Greater Stowe
April 13, 2018
Stowe – On Tuesday, April 24th at 2pm the Jewish Community of Greater Stowe (JCOGS) presents author Anastasia Goodman in a discussion of her books Loose Ends and The Sasha Perlov Mystery Series. Anastasia Goodman is a Russian-born author who left the Soviet Union as a toddler to resettle along New York City's beach communities. She loves her adopted country but remains tied to her former life in Russia returning occasionally to witness the enormous changes that have occurred. Ms Goodman was always interested in writing fiction, and in 2003 began her first Sasha Perlov mystery about a Russian born NYPD detective. For more about Anastasia Goodman see
This event at JCOGS is free, accessible, and open to the public.

Jim Condos: Non-Residents Should Not be Allowed to Vote

This commentary is by Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos. Recently, St. Johnsbury attorney Deborah Bucknam penned an editorial attacking me, titled “Allowing non-residents to vote equals voter suppression.”
While I agree that non-residents voting in Vermont elections would dilute the votes of Vermonters, I could not disagree more with her premise that my office provided guidance to allow or encourage this activity. She used careful and selective editing to make her case. To the contrary, we work every day to train and assist Vermont's hard-working city and town clerks who administer the voter registration process to ensure that only eligible Vermont residents are added to and remain on the voter checklist.

Jim Douglas: Portability is about equality

Editor's note: This commentary is by former Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas. The demographic challenges facing Vermont have been a long time in the making. As governor, I was sounding the alarm over 15 years ago: Vermont must do what it can to attract and keep young people in our state. My administration saw it in terms of a state economy driven by well-paying jobs, an excellent educational system for Vermont families and – most importantly – a shared understanding that Vermont actually needs to be affordable for people to live and work here and to raise their families. In fact, leaders across the political spectrum have worked tirelessly to break down the barriers that limit hope and opportunity for low- and middle-income Vermonters.

Jim Hood, Tate Reeves renew political sparring, teasing a 2019 race

Neither Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves nor Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood have formally announced bids for the 2019 governor's race, but the two renewed their political rivalry Thursday with attacking press releases. Hood initiated the drama Thursday morning, sending to reporters his reaction to the 2018 legislative session that ended on Wednesday. He used the platform to criticize Republican leaders – and calling out Reeves specifically, but without using his name – for failing to address key issues like infrastructure and mental health. Attorney General Jim Hood
“Unfortunately for the taxpayers of Mississippi, the Senate leadership was bought and paid for this legislative session by giant corporations with little interest in the well-being of our citizens,” Hood said in the release. “As an example, campaign finance reports from 2010 through 2017 show that our lieutenant governor has raked in $193,750 in contributions from the companies that were awarded the contracts for the state's Medicaid program.

Jim Hyde: Mentoring is where magic happens

Editor's note: This commentary is by Jim Hyde, a Charlotte resident and a volunteer mentor with the Connecting Youth programs at Charlotte Central School and Champlain Valley Union High School. He was recently named the 2018 Vermont Mentor of the Year by Comcast and Mobius. Chances are if you are like many of us, there was someone you met along the way growing up who made a major difference in your life. Perhaps it was your aunt, a soccer coach, a neighbor, or a teacher at school. Whoever it may have been, you likely felt transformed, motivated or excited in ways that you hadn't experienced before.

John Bolton Skewed Intelligence, Say People Who Worked With Him

by Sebastian Rotella
In early 2002, as the Bush administration hunted for Osama bin Laden, pressed its war in Afghanistan and set its sights on Saddam Hussein's Iraq, John Bolton saw another looming threat: that Cuba was secretly developing biological weapons. Bolton, who was then the State Department's undersecretary for arms control issues, included a warning about the Cuban threat in a draft of a speech and sent it around the department for the necessary clearance. A biological warfare analyst wrote back that Bolton's proposed comments overstated what U.S. intelligence agencies really knew about the matter, and, as routinely happens, suggested some small changes. The analyst was summoned to Bolton's office. “He got very red in the face, and shaking his finger at me, and explained to me that I was acting way beyond my position,” the analyst, Christian Westermann, recalled later during a Senate inquiry.

John Bolton’s super PAC faces heightened scrutiny over ties to Cambridge Analytica

John Bolton's political committee is facing increasing scrutiny after Washington ethics organizations filed two complaints with federal regulators late this week. Bolton, President Donald Trump's pick for national security adviser, has been under fire since a March 20 Center for Public Integrity analysis revealed his super PAC paid embattled voter profiling company Cambridge Analytica more than $1.1 million since 2014 for research. Today, the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center lodged a complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleging Bolton's super PAC violated the Federal Election Campaign Act when it worked with embattled data voter profiling company Cambridge Analytica and North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis' campaign committee in 2014. Separately, the nonpartisan government watchdogs Democracy 21 and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint Thursday with the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI requesting an investigation into whether the John Bolton Super PAC and Donald J. Trump for President Inc. violated criminal laws. The two watchdog groups called on the agencies to investigate whether Cambridge Analytica, its U.K.-based parent company SCL Elections, its former CEO and British national Alexander Nix, and its former vice president Stephen Bannon criminally violated the Federal Election Campaign Act by “directly or indirectly participating in the decision-making process of the John Bolton Super PAC and Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.”

>> John Bolton — eyed for Trump post — leads super PAC that employed Cambridge Analytica

Federal laws prohibit foreign nationals from participating in elections in the United States.

John Freitag: Avoiding another showdown over education spending

Editor's Note: This commentary is by John Freitag, a member of the Strafford Selectboard and moderator of the Universalist Society of Strafford. He was Facilities Manager for the Strafford School District for 33 years. It appears that the Democratic Legislative leaders and the Governor are heading for another end of the session showdown over education spending. This does not have to be the case. From the start of his administration, Gov. Scott has made it clear that after years of spending above the rate of inflation and economic growth, his priority was no new taxes or fees.

John Killacky: Dance journalism in the 21st century

Editor's note: This commentary is by John R. Killacky, executive director of the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts. It was first published in the Burlington Free Press. Sharry Underwood has been a seminal figure in Vermont's dance community as a dancer, enthusiast and journalist since moving here in 1952. Now retired, she sent me some of her dance writing published in the Burlington Free Press decades ago. How I wish for this kind of art criticism today.

John McClaughry: Reducing future school shootings

Editor's note: This commentary is by John McClaughry, the vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. In the wake of a Florida school shooting and a thwarted attack targeted on Fair Haven High School, the Legislature and governor have enacted into law a bill touted by its advocates as “gun violence prevention.” Its main features are required background checks for firearms transfers among all but immediate family members, a ban on high capacity magazines, and barring the sale of a firearm to a person under age 21, unless that person has completed hunter safety training. The bill is founded on the view that guns are the problem, and if the government can keep guns out of the hands of “the people (that the government determines) shouldn't have them,” there will be less “gun violence.”
Well, yes, probably so, but it's not likely there will be a significant reduction in gun violence no matter how intense, expensive and intrusive the government's enforcement of these provisions may become. In a nation with 300 million privately owned firearms, determined people will acquire firearms to commit illegal acts, like murder. The Florida school shooter bought his guns after passing a background check.

John McClaughry: What the ESSEX carbon tax would do for Vermont

Editor's note: This commentary is by John McClaughry, the vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. With much fanfare, climate change activists have presented the Legislature with two bills (H.791, S.284) to implement their latest (seventh!) version of a Vermont carbon tax. It's called the ESSEX Plan, which stands for “Economy Strengthening Strategic Energy eXchange.”
They firmly believe that carbon dioxide released by humans burning fossil fuels – gasoline, diesel, heating oil, natural gas and propane – will cause catastrophic climate change a century down the road. The ESSEX Plan is designed to make Vermonters stop burning fossil fuels. Let's take a close look at how this is intended to work.

John Rodgers: Wilson’s claims ‘unfair and unfounded’

Editor's note: This commentary is by state Sen. John S. Rodgers, a Democrat representing the Essex/Orleans District in Vermont. Laura Wilson missed the mark in her recent editorial. Wilson said that I was “bitterly casting blame (as he sees it) on newcomers to Vermont.” I would like to know what qualifies her to know how I see things. Some of the best Vermonters that I know and some of my best friends grew up in and came from other states. I welcome people from anywhere as long as they do not attack longstanding Vermont traditions and try to take rights away from law-abiding Vermonters.

Join Our Team in Illinois: We’re Looking for an Engagement and Social Media Reporting Fellow

by ProPublica
We're adding to ProPublica Illinois' engagement team and looking for someone to help us reach more people with our investigative journalism. Working closely with Engagement Reporter Logan Jaffe, you'll scheme ways to get ProPublica Illinois' investigative journalism in front of people in two key ways:

You will help grow ProPublica's Illinois' audience, particularly via social media. That means you will be doing smart social journalism — including distribution, social-first content creation and social strategy around project launches. You will work on investigative projects in collaboration with ProPublica Illinois reporters throughout the full life-cycle of projects, beginning with story conception. You'll help identify what communities and audiences we need to reach, how we can reach them and the best ways to to involve them in our reporting.

Join us Tuesday at 7: St. Louis journalist Sarah Kendzior in conversation with Don Marsh

Join St. Louis on the Air , Left Bank Books and Maryville Talks Books at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 17, at Left Bank Books. Host Don Marsh will talk with St. Louis-based freelance journalist and author Sarah Kendzior. Kendzior is the author of “The View from Flyover Country: Dispatches from the Forgotten America.” Many people have come to know Kendzior due to her robust Twitter presence as well as her prescient writing about the mood of America and prediction that Donald Trump would be elected president.

Jorge Ramos: ‘This Is Not a Time to Be Silent’

Although "it's a difficult time to be a Latino in this country," Jorge Ramos said, he has hope that the millennial and younger generations can act as change agents. The post Jorge Ramos: ‘This Is Not a Time to Be Silent' appeared first on Rivard Report.

Journalism’s Deep Web: 7 Tips on Using OCCRP Data

The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) Data Team has developed new features on OCCRP Data in the past six months and brought together more than 200 different datasets. Its new software is now configured to let reporters search all of those at once. OCCRP Data, part of the Investigative Dashboard, offers journalists a shortcut to the deep web. It now has over 170 public sources and more than 100 million leads for public search – news archives, court documents, leaks and grey literature encompassing UK parliamentary inquiries, companies and procurement databases, NGO reports and even CIA rendition flights, among other choice reading. (All this is publicly available.

JPS wants feedback on what makes a perfect superintendent

Kayleigh Skinner, Mississippi TodayThe JPS Better Together Commission
The Jackson Public Schools Better Together Commission met Thursday to lay out timelines for upcoming community engagement efforts. Commission member Ed Sivak, who is also a member of the school board, gave an update on the district's superintendent search. Earlier this month, the board hired Omaha, Neb.-based McPherson and Jacobson LLC to conduct the search. On April 16-17 district plans to host four community meetings to ask stakeholders about what's going on in their communities and schools, what qualities they believe a superintendent should have, and what issues the district's next leader should be aware of. A survey will also be circulated in Jackson, he said.

Judge agrees to freeze Quiros properties in Bahamas, Colombia in EB-5 case

Vermont Assistant Attorney General Kate Gallagher. File photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Kate Gallagher" width="610" height="407" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 1280w, 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Vermont Assistant Attorney General Kate Gallagher. File photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDiggerA Vermont judge has sided with the state in its bid to freeze the assets of Jay Peak developer Ariel Quiros, issuing an order Monday that applies to property in Vermont as well as outside the state and country. The order against Quiros freezes not only five properties in the state, but others in Florida and Colorado as well as Colombia, the Bahamas and Puerto Rico. RELATED STORIESVermont AG to ‘move on' after lawyer empty-handed on child sex claimsVermont judge freezes Quiros' assets in EB-5 caseJay Peak receiver reaches $1.5M settlement with PeakCMUPDATED: Quiros says state EB-5 officials have ‘unclean hands'Commissioner says probe into alleged China arrest turned up nothing
The state had asked a judge to freeze the assets valued at roughly $8 million as they seek disgorgement, or “ill-gotten gains,” from Quiros in its case against him for allegedly defrauding investors in a series of EB-5 funded projects in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom.

Judge Cites Trump ‘Racial Slurs,’ Keeps DACA Case Going

Citing President Trump's “racially charged language,” a federal judge in Brooklyn ruled on Thursday that a lawsuit seeking to preserve a program that protects hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants from deportation could continue, the New York Times reports. The order by Judge Nicholas Garaufis was the strongest sign so far of judicial support for the program known as DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which has been the subject of a heated debate in Congress. Justice Department lawyers asked to dismiss the case, saying that a coalition of immigration lawyers and a group of Democratic state attorneys general had failed to make a persuasive case that DACA was rolled back in September because of a racial animus toward Latinos. Rejecting the motion to dismiss, Garaufis noted Trump's numerous “racial slurs” and “epithets” both as a candidate and from the White House, saying they had created a “plausible inference” that the decision to end DACA violated the equal protection clause of the Constitution. “One might reasonably infer,” Garaufis wrote, “that a candidate who makes overtly bigoted statements on the campaign trail might be more likely to engage in similarly bigoted action in office.” In February, Judge Garaufis ordered the Trump administration to keep DACA in place as he considered the legal merits of the suit.

Judge denies Palmer charter’s request for more funds; school’s future uncertain

A Common Pleas Court judge refused Wednesday to order the Philadelphia School District to immediately pay Walter D. Palmer Leadership Learning Partners Charter nearly $1.4 million in disputed funds, endangering the school's ability to stay open. Featured Image

Photo Credits:

Harvey Finkle


Image Caption:

Walter Palmer at a meeting of the School Reform Commission in April 2014. read more

Judge dismisses Dallas Republicans’ lawsuit to kick Democrats off the November ballot

A Dallas judge has dismissed a case that aimed to kick more than 80 area Democrats off the November ballot, putting an end to a dispute that could have upended the midterm elections in one of the state's Democratic strongholds. The Dallas County Republican Party sued in January, alleging that Carol Donovan, the Democrats' county chair, did not sign the candidates' ballot applications before submitting them, as required by law. But State District Judge Eric Moyé ruled Monday that Dallas County Republican Party Chairwoman Missy Shorey did not have standing to bring the lawsuit, handing Donovan and the Democrats a win. Democrats dismissed the lawsuit as a partisan attack, saying Republicans aimed to win in court because they knew they could not win at the ballot box. And some criticized the lawsuit — whose Democratic targets were largely minorities — as an attempt to disenfranchise voters of color.

Judge dismisses Delmonico defamation lawsuit against Hodges

MinnPost staff

Seems kind of obvious. The Star Tribune's Adam Belz reports: “A judge has dismissed a defamation lawsuit filed by Minneapolis police Lt. John Delmonico against former Mayor Betsy Hodges over text messages she sent to former police Chief Janeé Harteau in April. … Hodges blocked Harteau's decision to appoint Delmonico, a former police union leader, as inspector of the Fourth Precinct, and the dispute between the chief and mayor over the appointment was carried out mostly by text message. … Hennepin District Judge Jacqueline Regis wrote in a decision filed Tuesday that Hodges had good reason to discuss the appointment candidly with Harteau, the messages were ‘integral to the performance of her job,' and therefore her text messages are immune from defamation claims.”Inhumanity is more the thing these days. The Minnesota Daily's Helen Sabrowsky reports: “In line with national trends, the University of Minnesota's arts and humanities majors have seen falling enrollment rates, leading the school to explore possible solutions.

Judge dismisses EB-5 investor lawsuit against state

Superior Court Judge Thomas Carlson. File photo by Anne Galloway/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Thomas Carlson" width="610" height="407" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 1280w, 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Superior Court Judge Thomas Carlson. File photo by Anne Galloway/VTDiggerA superior court judge dismissed an EB-5 investor case against the state Friday that alleged officials were negligent and violated state and federal securities laws. Lamoille County Superior Judge Thomas Carlson ruled that the state is not responsible for harm caused to investors by the fraud at Jay Peak Resort. Ten state officials and two agencies named in the lawsuit are immune from claims made by the investor plaintiffs in the case, Carlson said in court documents filed Friday in Hyde Park.

Judge extends order blocking ban on abortions

U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves has extended his temporary block on the Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks. Gov. Phil Bryant signed the law, the strictest in the United States, on March 19. The state's only abortion clinic, Jackson Women's Health Clinic, sued the state immediately afterwards. Reeves issued a temporary restraining order March 20 to block the law for 10 days. On Wednesday, he extended the block until April 13, giving attorneys for the clinic and the state more time to work on legal arguments.

Judge lets Sawyer charges stand for now; his attorneys pledge appeal

Jack Sawyer is greeted by defense attorney Kelly Green as he appears in Vermont Superior Court in Rutland on Feb. 27, 2018. Pool photo/Glenn Russell/Burlington Free PressRUTLAND – A Rutland judge has denied a motion from attorneys for Jack Sawyer, deciding against dismissing the four felony charges against him for lack of probable cause, including the offense of attempted aggravated murder. The decision by Judge Thomas Zonay follows a ruling last week issued by the Vermont Supreme Court that the charges did not meet standard for “attempt” crimes in the case of the 18-year-old Poultney man accused of planning to shoot up his former high school in Fair Haven. Defender General Matthew Valerio, whose office is representing Sawyer, said Tuesday afternoon that Zonay's decision will be appealed to the Vermont Supreme Court.

Judge Orders FL to Overhaul Felon Voting Right System

A federal judge ordered Florida Gov. Rick Scott to dismantle Florida's “fatally flawed” system of arbitrarily restoring voting rights to felons and to replace it by April 26, the Miami Herald reports. Judge Mark Walker issued a permanent injunction in support of the Fair Elections Legal Network, which sued the state a year ago. The group successfully challenged the constitutionality of the state's 150-year-old voting rights restoration process for felons in the nation's third-largest state. “This is a victory for the principle that the right to vote cannot be subjected to officials' gut instincts and whims,” said the network's Jon Sherman. “We are also heartened that the court prevented Florida from following through on its threat to be the only state in the nation with an irrevocable lifetime ban on voting for all former felons.”
A spokesman for Scott defended the current system.

Judge orders investigator to show up Thursday to redo deposition

An investigator who interviewed several witnesses in Gov. Eric Greitens' invasion of privacy case will have to show up to be re-deposed on Thursday. A judge also ruled that an attorney that represents a key figure in the case can't also be that investigator's attorney.

Judge orders Wetterling investigation files released

MinnPost staff

Release the files. The Star Tribune's Dan Browning reports: “A Minnesota judge has ordered the release of state files related to the 27-year investigation into the kidnapping and murder of Jacob Wetterling. … Family members had objected to the release of certain documents they considered too personal, but District Judge Ann L. Carrott ruled Thursday that a Minnesota law unambiguously states that investigative files become public once a case has concluded, unless there's a specific exception in the law.”Oh, we're still doing the tax return thing? The Pioneer Press's Dave Orrick reports: “U.S. Rep. and Democratic candidate for governor Tim Walz released his 2017 personal income tax returns Thursday, using the occasion to urge Republican candidates, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, to do the same. … Johnson, as well as Walz's top Democratic rivals in the field — state Rep. Erin Murphy of St.

Judge places partial gag order on participants in Greitens felony trial

The judge in Gov. Eric Greitens' invasion of privacy trial is ordering attorneys, witnesses and parties to stop talking publicly about certain aspects of the case. St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner sought and received an order from St. Louis Circuit Judge Burlison on Tuesday that prevents “counsel, the parties, and endorsed witnesses” from “making any public statements outside the courtroom regarding the identity of witnesses and their expected testimony, references to specific evidence to be offered at trial, and any personal belief in the defendant's guilt or innocence.”

Judge refuses to throw out felony charge against Greitens

A St. Louis judge is allowing the criminal case against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens to move forward, rejecting a move by the governor's lawyers to dismiss it. Circuit Judge Rex Burlison on Thursday disagreed with defense attorneys that the conduct by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner and an investigator she hired was so bad that the only way to protect Greitens' rights to a fair trial was to dismiss the felony invasion of privacy charge.

Judge reverses course on felony charges in Sawyer case

Jack Sawyer, 18, of Poultney appears in Vermont Superior Court in Rutland on Tuesday. Pool photo by Ryan Mercer/Burlington Free PressA Rutland judge Wednesday morning vacated an order he issued a day earlier on whether four felony charges, including attempted aggravated murder, should stand in the case of Jack Sawyer, accused of planning to shoot up Fair Haven high school. Also, Sawyer's attorneys said Wednesday morning they plan to appeal a ruling made Tuesday by Judge Thomas Zonay setting $100,000 bail in the case. Zonay, in an order released Tuesday, denied a motion by Sawyer's attorneys to dismiss the four felony charges for lack of probable cause. On Wednesday morning, the judge issued an order vacating that order.

Judge sets bail at $100,000 for Sawyer; attorney says it won’t be posted today

Jack Sawyer, 18, appears in Vermont Superior Court in Rutland on Friday. Pool photo by Ryan Mercer/Burlington Free Press
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Jack Sawyer" width="610" height="407" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 1280w, 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Jack Sawyer, 18, appears in Vermont Superior Court in Rutland on Feb. 16, 2018. Pool photo/Ryan Mercer/Burlington Free PressRUTLAND – A Rutland judge set bail at $100,000 for an 18-year-old Poultney man accused of planning to shoot up his former high school in Fair Haven, and if posted ordered that he be released into the custody of his father. Should the bail be put up, Judge Thomas Zonay prohibited Jack Sawyer from entering the town of Fair Haven.

Judge shutters a neighborhood nuisance

Posted in Co-produced with WGRZ,Featured,News
A State Supreme Court judge has at least temporarily shut down Battaglia Demolition, long a plague on the Seneca Babcock neighborhood. The plant, located about one mile south of downtown, crushes and otherwise processes concrete, bricks, asphalt and other construction and demolition debris. Residents have long complained that the plant and trucks that service it are the source of dust, noise – even rats. Two years ago the state filed suit against the plant owner, Peter Battaglia, contending the facility was a “public nuisance” and lacked necessary permits. On Monday, Judge Deborah Chimes issued an injunction that ordered the plant closed until it has obtained the necessary permits.

Judge to consider extradition case of former Colombian official Andrés Arias

Jeanne Kuang / Injustice WatchAndrés Arias Leiva is jailed at the federal detention center in Miami, left, next to a federal court building where his hearing was held Monday
MIAMI — A federal magistrate judge on Monday heard attorneys argue for the release of a Colombian former cabinet member who is facing extradition to serve a prison term, his claim that he is being politically persecuted still unheard. The hearing was based on the claim by Andrés Arias Leiva that Colombia officials built a false case of corruption against him for political reasons, and that he and his family came here in 2014 to seek political asylum. Arias, who had been agriculture minister and a presidential candidate in Colombia, contends that U.S. State Department officials assured him before he fled to the United States that they knew the corruption charges were politically motivated, and encouraged him to seek asylum. But instead, he has been locked in the federal detention center in Miami as officials take steps to return him back home. In the latest in what attorneys anticipate will be a lengthy legal battle, Arias's attorneys argued to Magistrate Judge Andrea M. Simonton of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida that because Colombian courts have held since 1986 that the treaty was not properly ratified, federal courts lack authority to order Arias's extradition to Colombia.

Judge to decide Thursday if Greitens trial continues

The judge in charge of Gov. Eric Greitens' felony invasion of privacy trial said he will rule on Thursday whether to dismiss the case. The governor's defense team is asking for the dismissal, claiming misconduct by the prosecution team. Officials with St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner's office acknowledged that an investigator they used created a “terrible appearance,” but added that his actions don't change the fundamentals of the case.

Judges Called ‘Last Line of Defense’ for Mentally Ill in Justice System

When police and prosecutors are unable to act, judges must be the “last line of defense” for mentally troubled individuals who run afoul of the law. That was one of the conclusions at a conference of leading prosecutors and jurists at New York University's School of Law examining the plight of the seriously mentally ill who are trapped in the justice system. The use of jails and prisons as frontline treatment facilities for individuals with serious mental illness—for lack of adequate alternatives—is a “horrible American tragedy,” Judge Steven Leifman of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court of Florida said. Christina Klineman, a Superior Court Judge in Indianapolis, added that if local authorities fail to provide diversion programs that police or prosecutors can use, judges should still try to find ways of ensuring the mentally ill are kept out of jail. They are “the last line of defense” for protecting the mentally ill, she said.

Jules Rabin: Schools’ expanding role requires spending

Editor's note: This commentary is by Jules Rabin, who came to Vermont in 1968 to teach at Goddard College and 10 years later shifted to baking bread in a wood-fired oven. He lives in Plainfield. Dear Gov. Scott,
I‘m writing you in connection with your frequent remarks about what you consider to be a lopsided student-teacher ratio in Vermont's schools. I don't question the fact that our student-staff ratio is high and may be among the highest in the nation. I do question your conclusion that we should therefore point-blank cut back on teaching and support staff.

Jumaane Williams, East Flatbush Residents Call for Contextual Rezoning

Abigail Savitch-LewJumaane Williams and residents of East Flatbush held a press conference at 1509 New York Avenue on April 21, 2018. On Saturday, Brooklyn Councilmember Jumaane Williams, residents and community board members of East Flatbush gathered outside a construction site to urge the Department of City Planning to initiate a contextual rezoning of the neighborhood. Contexual rezonings usually include height limits and other restrictions to preserve neighborhood character. The construction site, at 1509 New York Avenue, will soon be redeveloped with an eight-unit, five-story apartment building. To local residents, especially homeowners, this structure and even taller ones slated for the area are examples of the kind of-out-context development that is encroaching on what used to be a neighborhood of one-to-two family homes.

Jury Acquits Orlando Mass Killer’s Widow

Noor Salman, the widow of the gunman who killed 49 people at a gay Orlando nightclub, was acquitted Friday on charges of lying to the FBI and helping her husband in the 2016 attack, the Associated Press reports. Salman, 31, began sobbing with joy when she was found not guilty of charges of obstruction and providing material support to a terrorist organization . Salman was married to Omar Mateen when he attacked the Pulse nightclub. Police killed him. Prosecutors said Salman and Mateen scouted out potential targets together — including Disney World's shopping and entertainment complex — and she knew he was buying ammunition for his AR-15 in preparation for a jihadi attack.

Jury hears testimony in UVM gender discrimination case

Old Mill, University of Vermont, Burlington. Photo by Bob LoCicero/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Old Mill, University of Vermont" width="640" height="427" srcset=" 3300w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 610w, 1280w, 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px" data-recalc-dims="1">University of Vermont, Burlington. File photo by Bob LoCicero/VTDiggerBURLINGTON — A Chittenden Superior Court jury began hearing testimony this week in a gender discrimination case brought against the University of Vermont by a former employee. Cynthia Ruescher, an information technology specialist, filed suit against the university in December 2014, claiming nine violations of Vermont's Fair Employment Practices Act and other laws. A grievance she had filed earlier with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission led to the lawsuit.

Just Don’t Call Them Gargoyles

Yale's Hidden Treasures." alt="David P. Ross Photo">Michael Stern noticed a judge dressed as a bulldog, a surveyor riding a mule, and a court jester blinding justice hiding in plain sight in New Haven.

Just in time for Earth Day, a bunch of stuff to remind you how a simple idea got so completely, and farcically, commercialized

Ron Meador

Every year around mid-March the Earth Day-themed product pitches start flowing my way.And not so long ago, some of these new goods or services seemed at least marginally thoughtful alternatives to the commonplace, with a plausible capacity to avoid waste, expand recycling or reduce pollution.Or, best of all, to cut consumption, period — rising resource consumption being, after all, our most intractable environmental problem and the driver of most others.One memorable example: the multi-use “paper towels” that looked just like the roll on your kitchen counter, except thicker, but were made from bamboo fiber and could be wrung and reused a dozen times or more ….But, people, we are no longer in the era when April brings the rollout of fabric shopping bags, ultra-low-watt lighting, indoor composting setups and natural cleaning products so harmless you could drink them with breakfast. And I am out of patience with manufacturers, retailers and PR shops that use eco-friendliness as a lever to move stuff that offers no significant environmental benefit.It's not that I'm especially loyal to the ongoing Earth Day campaign. The annual observance hasn't been prominent on my calendar for a long time, although I do remember both the first observance in 1970, and creator Gaylord Nelson, with much fondness. Even during my decade as a Strib editorial writer — focusing on environment! — I'd often forget it was April 22 until Eric Ringham came to the morning meeting wearing a big grin and 25-year-old Earth Shoes.Still, it rankles to see the simple, graceful notion of Earth Day — that we might pause ever so briefly to act a wee bit more kindly toward the planet — become so completely, pervasively and often farcically commercialized.So, herewith, a representatively awful sample of the pitches from this very spring:Your Pico Model C is a countertop home-brewing appliance that makes five liters of beer in one to two weeks more or less automatically, without requiring the brewer to learn anything about brewing beer.

Just This #6: Behind the Numbers on San Antonio’s Millennial Growth Rate

In this week's podcast we examine a story by our data editor Emily Royall on a Brookings Institution study showing that San Antonio ranks second in the nation for its growth rate among millennials. The post Just This #6: Behind the Numbers on San Antonio's Millennial Growth Rate appeared first on Rivard Report.

Just This #8: Can ConnectSA Solve San Antonio’s Future Traffic Snarls?

This week, Rick and I discuss the mayor's formation of a nonprofit aimed at drumming up public awareness for mass transit solutions in the region. The post Just This #8: Can ConnectSA Solve San Antonio's Future Traffic Snarls? appeared first on Rivard Report.

Just This #9: Fiesta! Of Kings, Queens, Charreada, and Cornyation

This week in Just This, we discuss the more than century-long history of San Antonio's annual Fiesta celebration – its kings, queens, parties and festivals from La Villita to Market Square to the Alamodome. The post Just This #9: Fiesta! Of Kings, Queens, Charreada, and Cornyation appeared first on Rivard Report.

Just This Episode 7: Few Seats At The Table For Female School Superintendents

This week in Just This, Rick and I discuss a groundbreaking story about the paucity of women superintendents in Bexar County's 15 public school systems.
The post Just This Episode 7: Few Seats At The Table For Female School Superintendents appeared first on Rivard Report.

Justice Department threatens subpoena over ‘sanctuary’ documents

Tom Anderson, a former U.S. Attorney, is the commissioner of the Vermont Department of Public Safety. Photo by Anne Galloway/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Tom Anderson" width="640" height="427" srcset=" 640w, 125w, 300w, 610w, 150w" sizes="(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px" data-recalc-dims="1">Vermont Public Safety Commissioner Tom Anderson maintains the state is not violating federal policies. File photo by Anne Galloway/VTDiggerWASHINGTON — The Department of Justice is seeking more documents from the state of Vermont about policies the federal government believes may be in conflict with immigration laws. If the state Department of Public Safety does not turn over the documents, the DOJ warned in [a letter last week] that it would subpoena the material.
The move is part of a broader crackdown by the Trump administration on so-called sanctuary policies, under which municipalities and states limit local law enforcement cooperation with federal civil immigration authorities.

Juvenile Arrested in Shooting that Killed Johnie Lee Resper

A teenage boy has been arrested in connection with the shooting death of Johnie Lee Resper on October 1, MPD announced Wednesday. The juvenile was not identified by police. He is suspected of second-degree murder, police say. Resper, 18, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland was found suffering from multiple gunshot wounds near the intersection of the 200 block of Adams Street Northeast. A copy of the police press release is after the jump:

Arrest Made in Homicide: 3rd and Adams Streets, Northeast
(Washington, DC) – Detectives from the Metropolitan Police Department's Homicide Branch announced an arrest has been made in the homicide of 18-year-old Johnie Lee Resper of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, which occurred Wednesday, October 1, 2014 near the intersection of 3rd and Adams Streets, Northeast.

Juvenile center, ‘costly relic of Rowland era,’ closes

The Connecticut Juvenile Training School — the product of bid-rigging, outdated thinking and poor execution by administration of Gov. John G. Rowland — closed Thursday as the last of its three young occupants left the sprawling detention center for home or private residential facilities.

Juvenile Justice Big Data in the Era of Big Policing

WASHINGTON — Big data has already come to big city policing. The technology may be new, but some juvenile justice advocates worry that it may already be compromised by an age-old tech problem: Garbage in, garbage out. “You definitely see the vast majority of people who are being targeted by person-based, predictive policing are young people — young people of color, young people in poor areas, in minority areas,” said Andrew Ferguson, a former public defender who teaches law at the University of the District of Columbia. “The idea of trying to identify people who are at risk and trying to do something about it — that's legitimate. The question is, is policing really the remedy you want?”
Ferguson has just published a book, “The Rise of Big Data Policing: Surveillance, Race and the Future of Law Enforcement.” In it, he traces the contours of what he sees as an emerging set of challenges for the justice system.

Kamasi Washington, Chastity Brown to be at Rock the Garden; expert picks for MSPIFF

Pamela Espeland

We've known since December that Father John Misty would headline this year's Rock the Garden, but we had to wait until Tuesday to learn the rest of the lineup. It was worth waiting for. The big news from our skewed point of view: Kamasi Washington will perform at 5:15 p.m. on the main stage on the Walker Art Center campus. And Chastity Brown will grace the Garden Stage in the Sculpture Garden starting at 6:20.Jazz saxophonist and groundbreaker Washington made headlines in 2015 with his triple album “The Epic.” It didn't hurt that he'd been musical director for Kendrick Lamar's massive hit “To Pimp a Butterfly.” Hip-hop is in Washington's blood and bones. He's fluent in both J Dilla and John Coltrane.

Karl Meyer: An ill wind blows for a great river

Editor's note: This commentary is by Karl Meyer, of Greenfield, Massachusetts, a writer and journalist who writes regularly about issues affecting the Connecticut River ecosystem. He has been a member of the Fish and Aquatics Study Team in the current FERC relicensing process for the Northfield Mountain and Turners Falls projects since 2012. In April, Massachusetts will take a big step toward meeting its energy responsibilities in the era of climate change. A company will be selected for the first phase of long-term production and delivery of 1,600 megawatts of clean, renewable wind power. The three bidders all tout environmental benefits from constructing an offshore wind farm and the undersea cable necessary to deliver energy to coastal urban centers.

Kathleen James announces candidacy for Vermont House of Representatives

News Release — Kathleen James
April 9, 2018
Kathleen James has announced her candidacy for the Vermont House of Representatives from Bennington-4, a legislative district that comprises Manchester, Arlington, Sandgate and western Sunderland. The chair of the Manchester Democrats, James will challenge incumbent Brian Keefe (R) for one of the district's two seats. “I've lived and worked in the Northshire for 22 years, and I know how hard it can be to make a living here,” says James. “I've owned a small business, worked for small businesses, and been selfemployed. I know what it's like to juggle two jobs as a working mom in a small-town, rural economy.

Kaziranga’s rhino census finds the population is growing, but more slowly than expected

The good news for conservationists is that the population of greater one-horned rhinos in India's Kaziranga National Park is still on the rise. According to the official rhino census, concluded on March 28, the park's population now stands at 2,413, up by a dozen from the last tally in 2015. The not-so-good news, however, is that officials had anticipated a higher number. “The results indicate that there has been undercounting and there are plans to conduct the census once more next year,” said N.K. Vasu, chief wildlife warden of the state of Assam. The total number of greater one-horned rhinos (Rhinoceros unicornis) counted in the park included 642 adult males and 793 adult females, plus 206 adults whose sex could not be determined.

Keillor says he wants to take ‘Prairie Home Companion’ back on tour

Brian Lambert

He's not going away, quietly or otherwise. Says Laura Yuen at MPR, “Garrison Keillor says he's ‘ready' to resurrect the two radio shows he founded. But it's unclear whether that'll actually happen. On Monday evening, Keillor posted on his Facebook page: ‘I'm ready to start up The Writers [sic] Almanac again. I get the idea that public radio stations will never carry it again and so we'll need to find a way to do it through social media.

Keith discusses IBM Buffalo Billion deal on WBFO

Posted in Broadcast on WBFO,Radio interviewCharlotte Keith of Investigative Post discusses her recent reporting on the struggles of IBM's Buffalo Billion-funded office, including a recent shakeup in staffing, with Jay Moran.
The post Keith discusses IBM Buffalo Billion deal on WBFO appeared first on Investigative Post. Leave a Comment

Ken Fredette: Let school boards do their job

Editor's note: This commentary is by Ken Fredette, of Wallingford, a member of the Vermont School Boards Association, who has been a member of the school board in Wallingford for 18 years. He served as chair of the elementary and supervisory union boards for many years. ​
Earlier this year I warned property owners that we all should prepare to pay the fiddler for the efforts in Montpelier to push down fiscal 2018 property tax rates at the end of the last legislative session. Said efforts left a hole in the education fund, and now that hole must be backfilled. I also predicted that Gov. Phil Scott and others would be blaming school boards for not controlling education spending.

Kennedy and Polis clear Dem assembly to make primary ballot; Underwood out

Conventional wisdom held that former state treasurer Cary Kennedy would easily win enough delegate votes to make the June Democratic primary ballot. She did that — and then some. Kennedy took 62 percent of the delegates at Saturday's Democratic party state assembly, winning the top line spot on the ballot. That was twice what she needed, a convincing victory for a candidate in a crowded and competitive primary for Colorado governor. Congressman Jared Polis took 33 percent of the vote, also guaranteeing his position on the ballot.

Kentucky Cabinet Sues KyCIR Over Withheld Sexual Harassment Records

Franklin Circuit Court recordsPetition filed by the Kentucky Finance & Administration Cabinet on 3/28/2018
The Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet is suing the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting to prevent the release of unredacted documents relating to sexual harassment complaints. The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, like WFPL, is part of Louisville Public Media. The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Franklin Circuit Court. It's in response to a ruling from Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear ordering the cabinet to allow the AG's office to review unredacted versions of records that were given to KyCIR. “Kentuckians should have access to records kept by their government, and the law makes clear these records should be public,” said Louisville Public Media Interim President Stephen George in a written statement.

Key gubernatorial appointees urge Gov. Scott to sign Toxics Bill to protect kids

Press Release — VPIRG
April 11, 2018
Paul Burns, Executive Director
Montpelier – Four members of the Chemicals of High Concern to Children Working Group are calling on Gov. Phil Scott to sign S.103 – legislation that will offer greater protections for children from toxic chemicals found in toys and other products marketed for kids. The Working Group, established under Act 188, which was passed in 2014, includes members of the Scott administration as well as private individuals with expertise in children's health, chemical toxicity, chemical regulation and manufacturing. The letter takes note of children's particular vulnerability to toxic chemicals, and adds, “This can include toxins in toys and other products marketed specifically for use by children.”
Two of the authors of the letter are preeminent medical experts in this field – Dr. Ira M. Bernstein, M.D., of the Robert Larner, M.D. College of Medicine at the University of Vermont and UVM Medical Center; and Philip J. Landrigan, M.D., M.Sc., of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. The two other authors are Martin Wolf, Director of Sustainability and Authenticity at Seventh Generation, and Paul Burns, Executive Director at the Vermont Public Interest Research Group. The letter goes on to state that, “The science is clear that exposure to toxic chemicals early in life can trigger otherwise avoidable disease and dysfunction in children and adults.

Kim Stanley Robinson Makes the Socialist Case for Space Exploration

There's something about Mars. It tickles the imagination like no other planet; in our stories about it, fact and fiction tend to blur. Nineteenth-century astronomers believed they saw canals on Mars, proof of intelligent life. In 1938, an Orson Welles radio play convinced some listeners that a Martian invasion had kicked off a war of the worlds. NASA and its robots feed us tantalizing tidbits suggesting liquid water in some distant past, and the public runs with it: In 1999, 35 percent of respondents told Gallup they believe there's currently life on Mars.

Kimberly Hackett: Kids demand leadership

Editor's note: This commentary is by Kimberly Hackett, of East Montpelier, who is a therapist, writer and parent coach. This past weekend, kids stood up in front of thousands of other kids and adults and said: “Enough is enough. Do something!” Their call to action is to we adults who are failing them. Kids today live in an upside-down, chaotic, dangerous world. How are we protecting them?

Kindergarten Registration

Beacon district ready for new classKindergarten Registration was first posted on April 4, 2018 at 7:18 am.

Known carcinogens found in wells serving Rutland businesses

Firefighters spray down a mock aircraft with foam. Foam used in a 1986 crash may be a source of the PFAS in the water. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jarad A. Denton)The Department of Environmental Conservation said on Friday that water from wells used by several businesses in the Rutland Airport Business Park has been found to contain known carcinogens. Department officials said a likely source of the contaminants in the well water is the Rutland-Southern Vermont Regional Airport. The contaminants were identified as belonging to a group of chemicals known as perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS.

Kushner Push on Prison Reform Gets Resistance

Jared Kushner met with Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill Wednesday to build momentum for prison legislation that could advance to the House floor as soon as next week. He has a problem in the Senate, where members of both parties are pushing a broader criminal justice package and are loath to scale it back despite entreaties from President Trump's son-in-law-turned-adviser, Politico reports. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has shown little eagerness to accommodate the Trump administration's interest in a smaller-scale bill that excludes sentencing changes. Kushner urged lawmakers to treat the prison reform bill as a down payment that would boost the prospects for an overhaul of sentencing rules. “You get the rock rolling, [then] you can do other things,” said Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA).

KyCIR Wins Peabody Award, Radio’s Most Prestigious Honor

Peabody Awards
The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting has won a Peabody Award, which recognizes the nation's most powerful storytelling and is considered the Pulitzer of radio. The award was announced Tuesday for “The Pope's Long Con,” a five-part series and podcast reported by R.G. Dunlop and Jacob Ryan and produced by Laura Ellis. A grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism supported the work. “This incredible podcast about a local politician known as ‘the Pope' demonstrates the importance of checks and balances—and of dogged local journalism,” the Peabody judges noted in their comments. The investigation was one of five winners in radio/podcast category, among a total of 30 winners in 2017.

KyCIR, ‘The Pope’s Long Con’ Named a Peabody Award Finalist

The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting has been named a finalist in the 2017 Peabody Awards, which honor the nation's most powerful storytelling in television, radio and digital media. “The Pope's Long Con” is among 60 nominees for the the Peabody, and was chosen from more than 1,200 entries. All nominees must receive a unanimous vote from Peabody's Board of Jurors. The winners for news, radio and public service will be announced on April 24. “Being named a Peabody Award finalist is an extraordinary honor for KyCIR and
R.G. Dunlop
Louisville Public Media, and it's a major national validation of strong local journalism,” said LPM interim president Stephen George.

KyCIR’s ‘The Pope’s Long Con’ Wins National Investigative Award

The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting won a national award for investigative journalism for “The Pope's Long Con.”
Investigative Reporters and Editors named the finalists for its IRE awards Monday. This is the third straight year that KyCIR has won the small radio category. The IRE awards recognize the best investigative reporting in print, broadcast and online media. The judges called the project “a powerful and ultimately heartbreaking entry,” and noted that KyCIR handled itself “with compassion and sensitivity” in the days after the story aired. The five-part series was reported by R.G. Dunlop and Jacob Ryan and produced by Laura Ellis.

LA Blazing Path With Diversion Programs to Lessen Racial Bias for Youth of Color

. All children make mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes get them in trouble with the law. It happens in all kinds of families and in all kind of neighborhoods. But when the upper-middle class, mostly white kids we knew as our children and grandchildren were growing up made questionable decisions, they often had resources to help them avoid the youth justice system. They got second chances, learned from their mistakes and were able to recover without serious repercussions.

Labor support not enough to keep Mike D’Agostino in A.G. race

Two weeks after winning a straw poll at an Connecticut AFL-CIO political convention, state Rep. Michael D'Agostino, D-Hamden, ended his exploratory campaign for attorney general Friday. He instead will seek a fourth-term in the House of Representatives.

Labounty: Collective bargaining rights are under attack

Editor's Note: Karl Labounty is president of AFSCME Local 1343 and vice president of the Vermont AFL-CIO. He is on the maintenance staff of the Burlington School District. As President of AFSCME Local 1343 and as Vice President of the Vermont AFL-CIO, I take the rights of working people seriously. Like most Vermonters, I believe our democracy is best served when workers have more (not less) opportunities to vote on the issues which directly impact their lives. I myself labor for the Burlington School District as part of their maintenance staff.

Lack of progress for NC students’ test scores called ‘frustrating’

Fourth-grade math scores decline in North Carolina, while others are stable on national test. Poor and minority students' scores lag well behind other students. The post Lack of progress for NC students' test scores called ‘frustrating' appeared first on Carolina Public Press.

Lake Champlain Basin Program awards more than $1.5 million for Watershed Improvement Grants

News Release — Lake Champlain Basin Program
April 9, 2018
Eric Howe
Lake Champlain Basin Program
(802) 372-3213
Grand Isle, VT – The Lake Champlain Basin Program is awarding $1,599,842 in grants to communities and organizations in Vermont and New York that are implementing projects to improve water quality, reduce impacts from invasive species, and expand interpretation of the culture and heritage of the Lake Champlain watershed. Funding for these grants originates from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and the National Park Service. Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, whose support was essential in securing the funds for these grants, commented, “I am so proud that these 85 towns, cities and local organizations are stepping up to protect and restore our great Lake Champlain. Lake Champlain is a treasure and I will continue to defend and expand funding for Lake Champlain through my work as Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee to enable this work to continue across the Basin.”
“Local NGOs and municipalities will use these funds to complete projects across the Lake Champlain watershed,” said Dr. Eric Howe, LCBP Director. “Watershed groups and community partners rely on education and citizen action at the local level to help prevent phosphorus and other pollutants from entering the watershed,” said Howe.

Lake Champlain traditional passenger sailing boat undergoes restoration

News Release — Whistling Man Schooner Company
April 3, 2018
Captain Mathias Dubilier –
Whistling Man Schooner Company – 802-825-7245
The press is invited, Thursday, April 12, at 1 p.m., to attend a ship restoration celebration at 42 Sumner Lane, Georgia, Vermont. Pizza and refreshments will be provided. Lake Champlain's only traditional passenger sailing boat is undergoing a stem-to-stern restoration. The 36-year-old Friend Ship is a replica of 1904 boat that used to be the typical type of workboat of New England. In a warehouse in Georgia, Vermont, Mathias Dubilier and his business partner Hannah Langsdale have disassembled the entire ship.

Lance Armstrong to Pay U.S. $5M in Settlement

Cyclist Lance Armstrong agreed to a $5 million settlement with the federal government on Thursday over a lawsuit charging that he defrauded the U.S. Postal Service, which sponsored his athletic team, by using performance-enhancing drugs en route to his record victories at the Tour de France, reports Politico. The agreement closed a drawn-out legal battle in which the federal government said the postal service was defrauded by millions of dollars. Armstrong was stripped of his record seven Tour de France titles in 2012 after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency found that he used banned substances during his historic cycling streak in the late 1990s and early 2000s. “No one is above the law,” said Chad Readler, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Civil Division. “A competitor who intentionally uses illegal PEDs not only deceives fellow competitors and fans, but also sponsors, who help make sporting competitions possible.

Land trust rejects Norwich creamery’s proposal as farm purchase from VTC approaches

Chris Gray, of Norwich Farm Creamery talks with Susanne and George Abetti who stopped at his booth to sample the milk, yogurt and cheese he had on offer during Vital Communities' Flavors of the Valley event at Hartford High School in White River Junction, Vt., Sunday, April 8, 2018. (Valley News – James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to " data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Norwich Farm Creamery" width="610" height="407" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 300w, 749w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Chris Gray, of Norwich Farm Creamery, talks with visitors during Vital Communities' Flavors of the Valley event at Hartford High School in White River Junction in April.

Landmark Record Store On Ridge Avenue Razed

Webb's Department Store, a renowned Black record shop and celebrity hot spot in Sharswood, is currently being demolished. Michael Bixler has the details

Lara Merchant: When is too much too much?

Editor's note: This commentary is by Lara Merchant, of Montpelier, who is an early childhood special educator. Columbine, 1999. Two teens murdered 12 students, one teacher and wounded 21 others with multiple types of firearms in a 35-minute span. Aurora Movie Theater, 2012. A 24-year-old murdered 12 people and wounded 58 with multiple firearms, including a semi-automatic rifle in just seven minutes.

Large achievement gaps in Denver highlighted by new national test data

Compared to other large, urban school districts, Denver has among the biggest achievement gaps in the country between white and Hispanic students in reading and math. That's according to data released Monday from the tests known as “the nation's report card.” The tests are given every two years to a sample of fourth and eighth graders in each state. Scores from 27 urban districts, including Denver Public Schools, are reported separately. This is the first year Denver's scores have been broken out that way. Denver scored roughly in the middle of the pack of the 27 districts, with its students posting slightly higher than average scores in reading and slightly lower than average scores in math.

Latam Eco review: Colombian reserves fail large vertebrates

Below are summaries of the most read stories by our Spanish language service, Mongabay Latam, from the week of April 9 – 15. The top two articles reported on high expectations for Peru's new environmental minister, and the two sides of Colombian conservation, from a history of great success to threats to its most iconic species, the jaguar and the Andean bear. The image above, of an African penguin (Spheniscus demersus) — the only species that lives in Africa, from the vast Mongabay Latam archive, was the most popular on its social networks. Zero Hour: What direction will Peru's new environmental minister take?? Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra and new Environment Minister Fabiola Muñoz.

Late addition: Sen. Amy Klobuchar to appear in MinnRoast 2018

MinnPost staff

MinnPost's biggest event of the year just got bigger: Senior Sen. Amy Klobuchar has agreed to join MinnRoast on April 27 at the Historic State Theatre in Minneapolis. Check out her hilarious monologue from last year:MinnRoast has become a highlight of the Minnesota political calendar, bringing politicians, actors, singers and journalists together to poke fun at the state of our state in parodies, video sketches, and monologues.Joining Sen. Klobuchar in this year's show: Reps. Tom Emmer and Keith Ellison, Mayors Jacob Frey and Melvin Carter, Gov. Mark Dayton, vocalists Maria Jette and Tesfa Wondemagegnehu, Speaker Kurt Daudt, radio personality Brian "BT" Turner and many more. Buy MinnRoast 2018 tickets Multi-ticket sponsorships – which include a VIP pre-show reception – start at $500. MinnPost Gold and Platinum members receive a 25% discount on show-only tickets.

LaunchVT announces 2018 cohort

News Release — LaunchVT
April 13, 2018
John Antonucci, Executive Director
802-863-3489 ext.
Burlington – On Thursday LaunchVT announced the eight Vermont startups that will be participating in its 2018 cohort. This is the sixth cohort of startups to come through LaunchVT's early stage acceleration program and pitch competition. Over the past five years LaunchVT has provided mentorship and over $400,000 in cash and in-kind services to accelerate 35 Vermont startups. Over the next seven weeks, entrepreneurs in the LaunchVT cohort will work with a dedicated coach, strategic advisors, and each other to refine their business models and hone their pitches.

Laura Wilson: Rodgers doesn’t speak for us

Editor's note: This commentary is by Laura Wilson, of Guildhall, who is a trial lawyer in the Northeast Kingdom and the chair of the Essex County Democratic Committee. The Essex County Democratic Committee is a diverse group. We come from all walks of life. We are farmers, teachers, veterans, retirees, artists, lawyers, retail workers, clergy, municipal officials and more. Many of us are gun owners who value the traditions of hunting and gun ownership.

Law Curbing Sex-Trafficking Websites Signed by Trump

President Trump signed a bill on Wednesday that gives federal and state prosecutors greater power to pursue websites that host sex-trafficking ads and enables victims and state attorneys general to file lawsuits against those sites, the Washington Post reports. Addressing the victims and family members, the president said, “I'm signing this bill in your honor. … You have endured what no person on Earth should ever have to endure … This is a great piece of legislation, and it's really going to make a difference.”
The impact of the bill, nicknamed “FOSTA” for its title, “Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act,” was already being seen as sites shut down sex-related areas and stopped accepting sex-related advertising. The signing came after seven executives of were arrested on a 93-count indictment that alleges the website aided prostitution and laundered tens of millions of dollars in profits, and that teenage girls were sold for sex on the site. Some girls were killed.

Law Enforcement Training, Interviewing Skills With Pre-teens, Adolescents Must Be Improved

While considerable progress has been made among law enforcement to treat young victims differently, too many police and prosecutors still fail to recognize that in the delinquency setting, young children do not perceive, process and experience the world as adults do and also need to be treated differently. Just as the medical profession has created pediatrics and adolescent medicine to address the unique needs of these age groups, law enforcement agencies need to train and guide law enforcement officials to handle cases with youth with the skills, resources and information necessary to avoid results leading to severe miscarriages of justice resulting in traumatic impacts. Lisa Thurau
Daniel Pollack
This was made clear by a recent decision by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in B.R., et al. v. McGivern, et al.. In her concurring opinion, Judge Jane Branstetter Stranch wisely concluded, "This case presents an opportunity to consider alternate methods of addressing the problems that children, growing up in today's world, experience or cause.

Lawmakers add $35 million to Colorado budget for school officers, security upgrades

Colorado lawmakers agreed late Wednesday to spend $35 million next year on police officers in schools and security upgrades to school buildings. It was the most significant change to the state's $28.9 million budget in hours of debate Wednesday, and it represents a major allocation to schools in a year when lawmakers touted a $150 million increase in K-12 spending as historic. The revision came after thousands of students descended on the Colorado Capitol to protest gun violence twice in two weeks, as part of a national movement inspired by a Florida school shooting that killed 17. Many of those students were calling for gun control measures, but the political dynamics in the Capitol make new gun laws unlikely. This year, though, legislators have money to spend.

Lawmakers advance bill to protect nutrition assistance program

Debbie Ingram, a candidate for state senate in Chittenden County. Courtesy photo. " data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="" width="640" height="640" srcset=" 2400w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 610w, 150w, 32w, 64w, 96w, 128w, 50w, 1280w, 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px" data-recalc-dims="1">Se. Debbie Ingram, D-Chittenden, says the program helps meet the needs of 75,000 Vermonters. Courtesy photoLawmakers have advanced a bill that aims to provide an administrative safety net for Vermont's nutrition-assistance program.

Lawmakers advance two gun bills with unanimous support

Vermont students rallied at the Statehouse in February to push for stricter gun control measures. File photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Student gun rally" width="610" height="407" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 1280w, 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Vermont students rallied at the Statehouse in February to push for stricter gun control measures. File photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDiggerLawmakers advanced two bills Thursday that allow police to seize guns from people in certain situations, approving both with unanimous support. The House approved a bill, S.221, that allows law enforcement to confiscate weapons from people deemed to pose an “extreme risk” of danger to themselves or others on a vote of 136-0 Thursday afternoon.Get all of VTDigger's political news.You'll never miss a political story with our weekly headlines in your inbox. Daily
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Lawmakers crafting bill to promote blockchain in Vermont

Rep. Bill Botzow, D-Pownal, speaks during a meeting with several representatives from state agencies to discuss economic development in Vermont. File photo by Holly Pelczynski/Bennington Banner
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Bill Botzow" width="640" height="404" srcset=" 3436w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 610w, 150w, 220w, 1280w, 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px" data-recalc-dims="1">Rep. Bill Botzow, D-Pownal, chairs the House Committee on Economic Development, which is considering a blockchain bill. File photo by Holly Pelczynski/Bennington BannerLawmakers in the Vermont House are working on a bill that could pave the way for businesses and other organizations in the state to use blockchain technology. Blockchain is widely known as the technology underlying cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin. But tech experts and politicians see opportunity to apply blockchain to a variety of other industries.

Lawmakers delay first vote on overhaul of Colorado’s school finance formula

Over the course of four hours of testimony, advocates called it a “monumental, fundamental shift” in how Colorado allocates money to schools and a “once in a generation” opportunity to do right by Colorado kids. A bill sponsored by state Rep. Dave Young and backed by 171 of Colorado's 178 superintendents would fundamentally change how the state distributes money to its schools. Those high stakes led Young, a Greeley Democrat, to ask the House Education Committee Monday to postpone a vote on the bill. The proposal faced skepticism from Republicans and Democrats alike, though for different reasons, and Young said the superintendents had worked too hard on the proposal to field amendments on the fly. No date has been set for when the House Education Committee will vote on the bill, and if it makes it out of the Democratic-controlled House, it faces worse prospects in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Lawmakers fiddle as Michigan burns

The public wants Lansing to fix the roads, improve education and keep our water safe and clean. In response: Nothing.

Lawmakers look to revise state attempt law after Sawyer decision

Senate President Pro Tempore John Campbell speaks on the Senate floor Thursday. Photo by John Herrick/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="John Campbell" width="610" height="376" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 300w, 150w, 1024w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">John Campbell, executive director of the Department of State's Attorneys and Sheriffs. File photo by John Herrick/VTDiggerSix days after the Supreme Court ruled that an 18-year-old former Fair Haven High School student's alleged plan to shoot up the high school did not constitute an attempt to commit a crime under existing Vermont law, state lawmakers set out to change the law, and discard a century-old legal precedent. Gov. Phil Scott has announced that he wants the revised law ready for his signature by the time students return from school vacation next week. Get all of VTDigger's political news.You'll never miss a political story with our weekly headlines in your inbox.

Lawmakers not buying Scott’s one-time spending solution

House Speaker Mitzi Johnson discusses proposed changes to the education finance system. Photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Mitzi Johnson" width="610" height="408" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 1280w, 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">House Speaker Mitzi Johnson discusses proposed changes to the education finance system. Photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDiggerHouse leaders are heading into the final two weeks of the legislative session with no clear path to a deal with the governor on school spending. Gov. Phil Scott last week floated the idea of agreeing to buy down tax rates this year in exchange for legislators committing to longer term cost containment through a statewide health care benefit or other initiatives. Speaker of the House Mitzi Johnson, D-Grand Isle, and House Education Committee chair David Sharpe, D-Bristol, said in interviews on Monday they weren't convinced the plan was even possible, let along pragmatic.

Lawmakers plan to return to the Capitol over the summer to revise statehouse policy on sexual harassment

Lawmakers will hold off on making any potential changes the state's sexual harassment policy until the 2019 legislative session, leadership decided on Wednesday. House and Senate leadership voted to set up an interim committee to review the Capitol's harassment policy over the summer. Any proposed changes will be put into a resolution and voted on by lawmakers during the 2019 legislative session. Lawmakers have said repeatedly that the state's sexual harassment policy should be changed in the wake of accusations brought against at least five lawmakers so far this session. The only lawmaker to face any consequences, former Rep. Steve Lebsock, was expelled from the House of Representatives on March 2 over allegations of sexual harassment by five women and for retaliating against them after these complaints were filed.

Lawmakers pursue two courses of action in wake of Sawyer decision

Maxine Grad speaks to fellow House Judiciary Committee members while taking testimony on new domestic terrorism crimes on April 19, 2018. Photo by Colin Meyn/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">Maxine Grad speaks to fellow House Judiciary Committee members while taking testimony on new domestic terrorism crimes on April 19, 2018. Photo by Colin Meyn/VTDiggerHouse and Senate judiciary committees are taking two paths as they look to respond to a court ruling that may lead to the the most serious charges being thrown out against an 18-year-old Poultney man accused of threatening “mass casualties” at his former high school. The Senate panel on Thursday approved making changes to the state's anti-terrorism statutes to address threats of mass killings in light of a decision last week from the Vermont Supreme Court in the case of Jack Sawyer of Poultney. Get all of VTDigger's criminal justice news.You'll never miss our courts and criminal justice coverage with our weekly headlines in your inbox.

Lawmakers seek to attach strings to rural Internet grants to ensure net neutrality

About a quarter of homes in rural Colorado lack basic Internet, but under a proposed law, these homes would be among the first to get a net neutrality guarantee from Internet providers. Democratic lawmakers want to prevent Internet companies from blocking or slowing down access to certain websites and online content. Proposed legislation also addresses “paid prioritization” by prohibiting providers like Comcast or CenturyLink from charging companies like Netflix more for speeding up their streaming services for users. The bill would attach strings to state money used to build new Internet infrastructure — rather than applying these net neutrality principles to existing service. Over the next six years, about $150 million is expected to be available for telecom providers to connect homes in rural Colorado to the Internet.

Lawmakers unveil proposal to redefine what sexual harassment means in Minnesota

Briana Bierschbach

On paper, it looks like a simple change. But it could be the most significant update to Minnesota's sexual harassments laws in years — one that could impact employees and employers in every industry across the state.A proposal from House Republican Majority Leader Joyce Peppin would add a single new line to the Minnesota Human Rights Act's definition of sexual harassment: “An intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment does not require the harassing conduct or communication to be severe or pervasive.”That language would nullify in the state a decades-old “severe or pervasive” legal standard used by judges to determine if any sexual harassment case could be actionable — or even heard — in court. In all workplaces, employees have the opportunity to take a sexual harassment claim to court through the state's human rights act or the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. And many want to, especially if they feel they were harassed and unfairly terminated or didn't agree with the findings of their human resources department.But appeals in the courts often end before they even begin, Peppin said. “Lawyers talked about how they would have potential clients and they would outright tell their clients, ‘Well this isn't enough, this is not going to even be a case,'” said Peppin, R-Rogers.

Lawmakers urge Scott to sign chemical regulation bill

Sen. Brian Campion, D-Bennington, has sought to pass legislation that would apply strict liability to companies for their contaminants' effects. Photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Brian Campion (chemfab)" width="610" height="407" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 1280w, 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Sen. Brian Campion, D-Bennington. Photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDiggerBENNINGTON — Members of the Bennington County delegation are urging Gov. Phil Scott to sign S.103, a bill that originated after PFOA contamination was discovered in groundwater here around two former ChemFab Corp. plants. The legislation, proposed by Sen. Brian Campion, D-Bennington, passed the Senate and House late last month and was officially sent to the governor's office on Tuesday.

Lawmakers weigh changing Texas law that lets rent-to-own stores file criminal charges on customers

After hearing tales of shady dealing and criminal charges being filed against Texans who fall into the crosshairs of rent-to-own companies, the chairman of the state House Business and Industry Committee said Wednesday that his panel will “aggressively” consider changing the law that can turn missed sofa payments into a quick trip to jail. Rep. René Oliveira, D-Brownsville, the committee chairman, said he was "stunned" to learn that a Texas Penal Code provision written in the 1970s by rental industry lobbyists is so stacked against consumers. Under the law, people are presumed to have stolen rented items if they sign a rental contract, don't return them as required and then don't respond to a certified letter sent by the company. The law doesn't require receipt of the letter — only proof that it was sent. A months-long investigation by The Texas Tribune and NerdWallet found thousands of rent-to-own customers across the country — many of them in Texas — have had police reports filed on them under similar theft-of-service provisions.

Lawmakers: Change state law that bars Texans in default on student loans from renewing work licenses

The Legislature's most conservative members say changes should be made to a state statute that bars Texans from renewing their professional licenses if they are in default on their student loans. “Next session the Legislature needs to address this issue head on and ensure that Texans who can't pay student loans aren't further crippled by government actions,” the conservative House Freedom Caucus, chaired by state Rep. Matt Schaefer, R-Tyler, said in a statement Tuesday. “Students should be responsible for repaying their debts, but taking away one's ability to earn money in a licensed profession only exacerbates the problem.”
State Rep. Briscoe Cain, R-Baytown, a member of the caucus, called the provision "harmful to our economy and the lives of Texans." "If Texas is going to live up to its reputation as a business-friendly state, we must remove barriers like this and others that prevent Texans from working," he said. The reaction follows a report published in The Texas Tribune that found thousands of nurses, teachers and other professional license-holders in the state are at risk of losing their license each year because they're in default on their student loans.

Laws Keep Mentally Ill From Buying Guns, But Gun Suicides Continue Apace

Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma WatchHeadstones are shown at Fairlawn Cemetery in Oklahoma City. The victims number in the hundreds across Oklahoma every year, each one a casualty of the state's epidemic of suicide by firearms.
The youngest last year was a 12-year-old Spiro boy. The oldest was a 97-year-old Bartlesville man. Both died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, state data show. The average age of the 433 Oklahomans who used a firearm to commit suicide in 2017: 46.5 years.

Lawson’s Finest Liquids celebrates 10th anniversary

News Release — Lawson's Finest Liquids
April 10, 2018
Sean Lawson
Warren – Lawson's Finest Liquids is pleased to announce that their 10th Anniversary celebration raised $10,884 for two local non-profits! Beer fans from Vermont and throughout the Northeast congregated in Waitsfield this past Saturday, April 7th at the Valley Players Theater for another successful and fun-filled day and evening of music, great food from Canteen Creemee and unique specialty brews! Every year, this event benefits a different set of charitable causes. This year's beneficiaries are Mad River Valley Television and the Mad River Path Association. Each will receive a check for $5,442 to support their efforts in our local community.

Lawsuit expands to challenge other Mississippi abortion restrictions

Abortion-rights advocates have expanded their lawsuit challenging Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban to include dozens of other Mississippi restrictions, according to an article by NPR. Read the complete story here. The post Lawsuit expands to challenge other Mississippi abortion restrictions appeared first on Mississippi Today.

Lawsuit filed against founder of Hermitage Club

The Hermitage Club in Wilmington. Photo by Kristopher Radder/Brattleboro Reformer
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Hermitage Club" width="610" height="453" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 1280w, 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">The Hermitage Club in Wilmington. Photo by Kristopher Radder/Brattleboro ReformerEditor's note: This story by Bob Audette was first published in the Brattleboro Reformer on Friday, March 30. WILMINGTON — More than $2 million advanced to the Hermitage Club at Haystack Mountain was expected to go toward the construction of three townhomes at the private ski club founded by Jim Barnes. RELATED STORIESState shuts down Hermitage Club over unpaid taxesHermitage Club facing foreclosureState deploys ‘rapid response' to Hermitage Club layoffsMembers consider taking ownership of Hermitage ClubWhistleblower complaint filed against Hermitage Club
Instead, an investment firm, an LLC based in Vermont and a man who lives in New Jersey got nothing more than a concrete foundation.

Lawsuit Issue: Can Defender Work Too Hard for Clients?

Can a lawyer work too hard to defend a client? A Galveston, Tx., criminal defense lawyer , says he was pulled off cases defending poor clients because he spent too much time on them and requested funds to have their charges investigated, reports the New York Times. Judge Jack Ewing told lawyer Drew Willey, “You overwork cases.” Though an estimated four of every five U.S. criminal defendants use court-appointed lawyers or public defenders, many indigent defense systems have been criticized as desperately inadequate, leading to false guilty pleas and overincarceration. Lawyers who represent the poor can be required to juggle hundreds of cases, accept pay far lower than the market rate, or take cases for which they have little experience. The Willey case poses another problem: Indigent defense lawyers often get their assignments from the judges in whose courtroom they appear.

Layoff Plan Reveals Paperwork Problem

A decision to eliminate the jobs of 25 retired educators working part-time has revealed a longstanding problem at the Board of Education: a failure to follow proper procedures in filling positions with retirees.The reason it matters: The process is supposed to ensure that no new teachers, with the potential of creating a needed pipeline of talent, are available for positions that instead go to retirees who double-dip on pensions and paychecks.

Leadership drops “critical infrastructure” as committee topic

The Legislature's Management Council voted Thursday not to take up “critical infrastructure” protection as a topic for committee study in the months before the next legislative session. The Management Council, which is made up of leading lawmakers from both parties, voted 7-6 against ordering the Joint Judiciary Committee to examine stricter laws to protect infrastructure from sabotage and protestor interference. The topic had been requested by Senate Judiciary Chairman Leland Christensen (R-Alta), who sponsored Senate File 74, the controversial “critical infrastructure” bill during the last legislative session. That bill would have punished protesters with felony charges, and organizations supporting them with large fines for “impeding” oil and gas, agriculture, water development and communications infrastructure, among many other categories. It died following Gov. Matt Mead's veto.

Leading through basketball: How a YMCA director is mentoring young adults on the court

For Marcus Wilson, basketball is more than just a game — and he has the career to prove it. Before becoming the executive director of the Monsanto Family YMCA, Wilson learned that basketball could take him far in life and away from the rough neighborhood he came from. Now he wants to make sure others have that same opportunity. Every Saturday morning, Wilson opens the court of his YMCA off of Page Blvd., free of charge for anyone wanting to play basketball.

Leah Fury: What’s in a name? History, violence and agency

Editor's note: This commentary is by Leah Fury, of Barre, who volunteers as a member leader with Resource Generation, and works as a loan and outreach officer for the Cooperative Fund of New England. This commentary is a response to the column by Jon Margolis published by VTDigger on March 25 entitled “Much Ado About Names.”
While doing research on my family genealogy, I learned that my late grandfather, a child of German Jews, was born with the middle name Adolph. I knew that his family had changed their last name from Slawitsky as his father, my great-grandfather, faced insurmountable anti-Semitism while serving in the U.S. military against the German Nazis due to his surname. What I didn't know was that when making the anglicized legal switch from Slawitsky to Lawton, the family had also changed my grandfather's middle name from Adolph to Tilden, defiantly distancing him from a dangerous oppressor while assimilating to avoid discrimination. While I do grieve the loss that my family suffered through the assimilation of our last name, I also celebrate the agency that allowed my grandfather to feel liberation from one of the most despicable practitioners of violence and hate.

Leahy and other appropriations leaders meet with NATO officials on national security threats

News Release — Sen. Patrick Leahy
March 29, 2018
David Carle
Washington, D.C. – Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and other members of the Senate and House Appropriations Committees will meet today and Friday with NATO officials, at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, about national security issues facing the United States and its NATO allies. The meetings come as the United States and the NATO allies are acting to counter a variety of security threats, especially from Russia, which include interference in elections, the conflict in Syria, cyber warfare, and the attempted murder on English soil of a former Russian intelligence agent. Great Britain, the United States and other NATO powers attribute the assassination plot to the Russian government. The United States this week joined other NATO members in expelling dozens of Russians with diplomatic passports. They will also discuss cybersecurity and privacy issues, including the recent Facebook disclosures.

Leahy asks Sessions to recuse himself from Cohen probe

Sens. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., left, and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., talk during a recent judiciary hearing. Photo courtesy of Leahy's office
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Sessions Leahy" width="640" height="510" srcset=" 3552w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 610w, 150w, 1280w, 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px" data-recalc-dims="1">Then-Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., left, and Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., talk during a Judiciary Committee hearing in January 2017. Leahy has asked Sessions, who is now attorney general, to recuse himself from the Michael Cohen investigation. Photo courtesy of Sen. Patrick Leahy's officeWASHINGTON — Sen. Patrick Leahy has called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from a probe of President Donald Trump's personal attorney.

Leahy Comment on Justice Department’s Announcement Regarding Private Prisons

News Release — Sen. Patrick Leahy
Feb. 24, 2017
Comment of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.)
On The Announcement by the Department of Justice Regarding Private Prisons
February 24, 2017
[This week, Attorney General Sessions reversed a Justice Department policy to reduce and then end its use of private prisons. That policy, announced in August 2016 by then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, was responsive to a DOJ Inspector General report finding that private prisons “incurred more safety and security incidents per capita” than federal facilities. During his confirmation Attorney General Sessions told Senator Leahy that that he would “carefully evaluate” the private prison policy, yet his one-paragraph announcement this week made no mention of the IG report and cited no evidence in support of his decision.]
“In a one paragraph announcement this week, Attorney General Sessions made clear that this administration thinks that even our prison system should be a for-profit business. For too long, the conditions found in many private prisons have placed inmates and officers at risk.

Leahy spent more than $100,000 on junkets

Sen. Patrick Leahy, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Rep. Peter Welch. File photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Vermont Congressional delegation" width="610" height="407" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 150w, 1280w, 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Sen. Patrick Leahy, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Rep. Peter Welch. File photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDiggerWASHINGTON — Members of the Vermont delegation have traveled around the world — from Cuba to Kuwait — on official congressional business. Trips taken by Vermont's two senators and single U.S. House representative over the past five years have spanned five continents, according to a VTDigger analysis of the delegation's publicly funded travel.Get all of VTDigger's political news.You'll never miss a political story with our weekly headlines in your inbox. Daily
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Leahy, others urge Trump administration to finalize EB-5 regulatory reforms

News Release — Sen. Patrick Leahy
Thursday, April 5, 2018
Grassley, Goodlatte, Leahy Urge Trump Administration to Finalize EB-5 Regulatory Reforms
WASHINGTON – In a joint letter to the Secretary of Homeland Security, Senate and House Judiciary Committee chairmen Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and former Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) urged the swift implementation of regulations that would drastically curtail the amount of fraud and abuse that has become common in the EB-5 regional center program. “As we have noted several times since the publication of these proposed regulations, they would, if finalized, dramatically reform the EB-5 program and re-align the program with what Congress envisioned in 1990. We were, and remain, supportive of these regulations,” the group wrote. In their letter to Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, the lawmakers noted their longtime, good-faith efforts at finding a legislative fix for the fraud-ridden EB-5 program, but also stated that those efforts have collapsed because of special interest groups. The lawmakers ask Secretary Nielsen to continue to do everything within her authority to clamp down on abuse of the program, and encourage her to issue the regulations without further delay.

Leahy: USDA reopens enrollment for much-improved dairy safety net

News Release — Sen. Patrick Leahy
April 3, 2018
Press Contact:
David Carle
(202) 224-3693
Leahy: USDA Reopens Enrollment For Much-Improved Dairy Safety Net Under Recently Enacted Leahy Reforms
. . . Leahy-Cochran Legislation In Bipartisan Budget Act Made Significant Changes To Dairy Margin Protection Program
(TUESDAY, April 3, 2018) — Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Tuesday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will be reopening the enrollment next week for the much-improved Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy). The changes implement improvements that Leahy included in the Bipartisan Budget Act in February to give Vermont dairy farmers a far more cost-effective risk protection option.

Learning How Fiesta Rolls at My Very First River Parade

Several San Antonians had advised fleeing Fiesta. But Fiesta parades? “Well. You should try it.” I'm glad I did. The post Learning How Fiesta Rolls at My Very First River Parade appeared first on Rivard Report.

Leech Lake Ojibwe: Line 3 pipeline recommendation is ‘attack on sovereignty’

Brian Lambert

Today in Enbridge Line 3. Says Dan Gunderson for MPR, “The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe was strongly critical of an administrative law judge's recommendation to build a controversial pipeline project through the reservation, according to a statement released Tuesday. ‘This is a clear attack on sovereignty and Tribal communities. We hope people see this recommendation for what it truly is and stand with Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and other tribal nations who have pipeline risks threatening their lands,' the statement said.”Like a scene from the movies. S.M. Chavey in the PiPress says, “As smoke filled the hallways of his 24-unit apartment complex on Sunday afternoon, a North St.

Legal aid program for detained immigrants to be suspended

Immigrants and asylum seekers released from the Northwest Detention Center find themselves on the street in industrial Tacoma, thousands of miles from home, with few resources. But now welcome center in a 36 foot RV is their to help. (Photo by Alex Stonehill)A program that helps immigrants in deportation proceedings will be on hold starting April 30 for an unknown period of time after the Justice Department ordered an audit. The federally funded legal orientation program provides limited legal guidance through the immigration court system and access to low-cost or pro-bono lawyers. The Vera Institute of Justice, which provides the service by partnering with 18 other immigration nonprofits, has helped an estimated 50,000 immigrants per year nationwide, according to KUOW.

Legal Bills Pile Up at San Diego Unified

San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten / Photo by Jamie Scott Lytle
The amount the San Diego Unified School District spends on outside lawyers rose by $1 million in the last two years alone, despite expansions to the district's in-house legal services intended to keep costs down. Public school districts rely on legal advice to navigate the state, federal and local laws they must follow to educate kids every day. Districts also need attorneys when they get sued by those who claim they've fallen short. Sometimes litigation comes from students, former employees, local residents or even media outlets, like Voice of San Diego. From 2012 through 2017, San Diego Unified School District paid law firms more than $12.7 million, or more than $2 million per year on average, district records obtained by Voice of San Diego through the state's public records laws show.

Legal wrangling could pose challenge to proving racial profiling claims

On her last day as chief of the U.S. District Court for New Mexico in February, Judge Christina Armijo granted a motion from the lawyers representing Lonnie Jackson and Diamond Coleman. Prosecutors, the order said, must turn over all background checks run through the National Crime Information Centers (NCIC) database during a 2016 law enforcement […]

Legislation Alone Won’t Decarcerate America, Warn Advocates

Changing state and federal guidelines on sentencing and bail won't be enough to reduce America's prison population, according to two of the nation's foremost advocates for justice reform. “It's going to involve litigation, it's going to involve organizing, it's going to involve academia, (and) it's going to involve elevating and honoring the voices and efforts of those who are most impacted by the system,” says Robin Steinberg, a co-founder of the Bronx Freedom Fund, which has been a prominent player in the movement for bail reform in New York City. “There is no one strategy that works,” Steinberg, who is now CEO of The Bail Project , a national effort to reduce racial inequities in bail, told a panel last week at the NYU School of Law's Brennan Center for Justice. “So it's going to involve the media, it's going to involve certain communications strategies….whatever leads us to change the narrative.”
Judith Greene. Photo by John Ramsey/TCR
Steinberg's comments were echoed by Judith A. Greene, a former Soros Senior Justice Fellow and contributor to the new book, Decarcerating America: From Mass Punishment to Public Health, who described how a combination of “organizing, litigation, public education, and ballot measures” was responsible for a 31 percent decline in New Jersey's prison population between 1999 and 2014—one of the highest decarceration rates in the country.

Legislative Auditor: State public health bidding was legal, but some changes are needed

The Legislative Auditor's office reports today that the Minnesota Department of Public Services appears to have followed the rules in a new competitive bidding process for public health programs. But improvements are suggested.The changes in bidding for Medicaid and MinnesotaCare resulted in the lost of business by UCare, prompting a lawsuit that said the process was unfair.In a letter with the report today (pdf), Legislative Auditor James Nobles, said:We concluded that DHS followed existing legal standards for scoring competitive bids and accurately calculated the total bid scores and top rankings of the proposals that were submitted. We do not offer recommendations related to this aspect of the process. However, we think the Legislature needs to address certain other procurement policies and do so prior to the next round of competitive bidding for public health care programs.He said the Legislature should clarify requirements "regarding the participation of county-based purchasing organizations in competitive bidding and counties' authority to purchase or provide public health care."State DHS Commissioner Lucinda Jesson said the Legislative Auditor's report underscores "the integrity of the bid process," and said the department "will be partnering with counties, legislators and other key stakeholders to develop even stronger methods to increase both the quality of care delivered to our enrollees and the cost-effectiveness to taxpayers."

Legislators change course, suggest removing proficiency-based diploma requirement

AUGUSTA — Lawmakers who oversee state education policy voted 9-3 Friday to no longer require high schools to issue proficiency-based diplomas, a move in response to push back from parents who say the system is not working in some districts in Maine. […]
The post Legislators change course, suggest removing proficiency-based diploma requirement appeared first on Pine Tree Watch.

Legislators Delay – Again – On NC School Nurses Report

By Thomas Goldsmith
Students at North Carolina's public schools would benefit from far greater access to school nurses who could treat injuries, dole out medicine, and monitor chronic illness, according to a report that legislative staff completed last May, based on a September 2016 request. In January, the General Assembly's Program Evaluation Oversight Committee heard a short version of the long-delayed report by the nonpartisan Program Evaluation Division. The report was next scheduled to be brought forward at a February meeting that was canceled. Chairman Rep. Craig Horn, a Weddington Republican, previously said he “couldn't comment” on the nurses report until the committee discussed it, but cited his “record of supporting school nurses in every school in North Carolina and recognizing its importance.” At the time of this quote, Horn said the committee would discuss the report this past Monday, but once again, the school nurses discussion was delayed. Legislative staff said that the committee, who are charged with evaluating new and existing programs to determine whether they meet legislative intent, will consider the report at its next meeting on April 9.

Legislature agrees to streamline Reach Up program

Sen. Debbie Ingram, D-Chittenden. Courtesy photoLawmakers have approved changes designed to help families in need more easily navigate the state's Reach Up benefits program.Get all of VTDigger's political news.You'll never miss a political story with our weekly headlines in your inbox. Daily
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The Senate on Wednesday gave final approval to H.673, which modifies Reach Up's work, education, vehicle-ownership and case-management requirements. The House approved the bill in February.

Legislature continues working on bills as deadline arrives for committee investigating Greitens

Missouri lawmakers worked through dozens of bills this week as the end of the 2018 session starts coming into view. They include a proposal designed to evenly split most child custody arrangements. The so-called “equal parenting bill” became law in 2016 , but supporters of this year's bill say it's not being properly enforced in some courts.

Legislature proposes finding out why a staggering number of Native American women in Minnesota are murdered or go missing

Briana Bierschbach

Mysti Babineau's mother went missing when she was 2 years old. The police never found her. Babineau, a member of the Red Lake Nation in Minnesota, was thrust into the foster care system. She was raped when she was 9, and when she was a middle schooler she was attacked with a knife, giving her a scar she still bears on her shoulder today.When she was 20, Babineau went missing herself. She was kidnapped in Isanti and brought to St.

Legislature slow in embracing Scott’s plan to attract new residents

Commerce Secretary Michael Schirling. Photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Michael Schirling" width="640" height="427" srcset=" 5616w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 610w, 1280w, 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px" data-recalc-dims="1">Commerce Secretary Michael Schirling. Photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDiggerAlthough it's been widely touted as one of Gov. Phil Scott's key economic development proposals, his administration's plan to attract hundreds of new residents to Vermont is struggling to gain traction in the Legislature. ThinkVermont/MOVE — an effort to lure new residents through a data-driven marketing campaign and financial incentives — failed to make it into the House budget proposal and the governor's office is hoping to find a path forward in the Senate. The administration originally recommended spending $3.2 million on the program, which it hoped to launch in fiscal 2019.

Legislature to tackle school safety

Sen. Dick Sears listens to testimony on new gun control legislation at a public hearing Tuesday. Photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Dick Sears" width="610" height="407" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 1280w, 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Sen. Dick Sears listens to testimony on gun control legislation. File photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDiggerThe Senate Judiciary Committee will begin work this week on a bill that tackles school safety, school discipline and laws related to threats of mass violence. Sen. Dick Sears, D-Bennington and chair of the committee, said he intends to take a now-irrelevant House bill on gun violence, strip its current language, and use it as a foundation for efforts to prevent school violence. Get all of VTDigger's political news.You'll never miss a political story with our weekly headlines in your inbox.

Less talk, more action; fewer candidates, too

As the Connecticut legislative season advances, there has been less talk and more voting at the State Capitol. (Well, more voting anyway -- and some thinning of the political herd.)

Let’s solve the right problems for Detroit’s students with disabilities — not recycle old ones

First Person is a standing feature where guest contributors write about pressing issues in public education. Want to contribute? More details here. As Superintendent Nikolai Vitti approaches his first anniversary of leading the struggling Detroit Public Schools Community District, I commend him for his energy and vision. In particular, I applaud his focus on developing a robust curriculum and hiring great teachers, the foundations of any great school district.

Letter from Pope Francis thrills Nogales student volunteers

Teenaged members of a binational humanitarian initiative in Nogales recently got recognition from the biggest name in Catholicism: Pope Francis. The students sent letters and a video to the pope in October, describing their experiences on the border and the plight of the people they see on their regular visits to a shelter for migrants.

Letter: Going Green

Beacon should enact standards to promote smart buildingLetter: Going Green was first posted on April 2, 2018 at 7:21 am.

Letter: Haldane Safety

Writer: Does school need more police?Letter: Haldane Safety was first posted on April 10, 2018 at 8:15 am.

Letter: Kudos to Highway Department

Beacon crew stayed on top of snowLetter: Kudos to Highway Department was first posted on March 31, 2018 at 8:18 am.

LETTER: Responding to Marty Richman on the NRA

A letter in response to another from Mr. Marty Richman in the matter of weapon violence and finding solutions to the ongoing problem.

Letter: Voting Reforms

Writer: It's time to allow early votingLetter: Voting Reforms was first posted on April 8, 2018 at 7:59 am.

Letters: The Last Straw

Writers: More restaurants should drop plasticLetters: The Last Straw was first posted on April 8, 2018 at 9:01 am.

LGBTQ Inclusion In School Curriculum Proposal Still Up In Air

LGBTQ rights advocates have been pushing a measure they say would amend school code in a way that would be beneficial when it comes to noting the community's role in state and national history. Last week those representing groups like Equality Illinois urged lawmakers to pass the proposal, which has yet to reach a vote outside of committee.

LGBTQ Youth More Likely to Become Homeless, Latest Chapin Hall Report Finds

WASHINGTON —Lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual and queer youths have nearly double the risk of winding up homeless as their straight peers — and they're twice as likely to die on the streets once they get there, a new study finds. Homelessness amongst LGBTQ youth is highest amongst the black and brown, researchers at the University of Chicago's Chapin Hall concluded in their new report, “Voices of LGBTQ Youth,” which was released today. Nearly one in four black or brown LGBTQ people between the ages of 18 and 25 had been homeless in the previous 12 months, researchers found. “It really reinforces the importance of understanding the intersecting subpopulations that are at risk,” said Matthew Morton, principal researcher on the report and a fellow at Chapin Hall. Chapin Hall has been studying youth homelessness for the better part of two years.

Liberal Decisively Wins Wisconsin High Court Seat

A strong turnout by liberal voters carried Milwaukee County Judge Rebecca Dallet to a convincing Wisconsin Supreme Court win over conservative Sauk County Judge Michael Screnock, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. After a January state Senate win for Democrats and other recent national wins, the Supreme Court victory for liberals immediately raised talk of a blue wave this fall. “Tonight's results show we are at risk of a Blue Wave in Wisconsin,” tweeted Gov. Scott Walker, calling on Republicans to “share our positive story.”
It was the first time in 23 years that a liberal candidate who wasn't an incumbent won a seat on the high court. “I attribute it to Wisconsin voters standing up to special interests,” said Dallet. With 88 percent of wards reporting, Dallet led Screnock 56 percent to 44 percent.

Liberal Dems Are Divided Over How Obama Should Respond to ISIS

On Wednesday night, President Barack Obama will lay out his plan to take down ISIS, the Islamist group that has conquered vast swaths of Iraq and Syria and recently beheaded two American journalists. Obama is expected to outline a strategy that will involve working with a coalition of other nations, continuing air strikes, and training and advising the Iraqi military—but not reintroducing US ground troops. Yet even before the speech, a group of progressive lawmakers in Congress were voicing opposition to greater US military intervention in Iraq and Syria, while other liberal Democrats were supporting Obama's steps toward more extensive, though limited, military action against ISIS. Though recent public opinion polls show a majority of Americans supporting air strikes against ISIS and the sort of military action Obama is adopting, his expansion of the US military role in Iraq (and possibly Syria) is threatening to split his own party. Progressive Democrats opposed to greater US military intervention in Iraq tend to note that they share the widespread revulsion for ISIS, but they maintain that ramping up US military action is not necessary to protect US national security, would likely be ineffective, and could enmesh the nation (once again) in a prolonged and costly conflict.

Liberians Prepare for New Year with Parties and Prayer: ‘Let This Ebola End.’

Brian Castner

As the heat finally broke on the afternoon of New Year's Eve, word went out across Monrovia that Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf had lifted the months-long curfew, for just one night. Introduced in September at the height of the Ebola epidemic to help curb spread of the disease, the midnight to 6am curfew has shuttered dance clubs across the country. When even handshakes are dangerous, sweaty grinding could be lethal. There were rumors before the official announcement. New Year's Eve and Day are prominent holidays on the Liberian calendar.

Library Director Misled Library Commission

Library Director Misled Library Commission
‘Austin Monitor' reported Roosevelt Weeks saidpetitioning banned at ‘most urban libraries'
Investigative Report by Ken Martin© The Austin Bulldog 2018Posted Thursday April 12, 2018 9:36pm

It appears that Austin's library director vastly overstated the numbers of urban libraries in this country that ban people from gathering petition signatures on library property. The Austin Bulldog reported on discussions of library policies at two meetings of the Austin Library Commission. In both meetings Library Director Roosevelt Weeks argued against allowing petitioners to gather signatures outside the city's public libraries. In fact, police issued criminal trespass notices to two men, at different library locations on different dates, who were approaching library patrons for signatures on the CodeNEXT petition. As reported by The Austin Bulldog March 10, 2018, the City later backed off on issuing trespass notices for such activity and agreed to rescind the notices already issued.

Lieutenant governor lawsuit won’t be heard till after legislative session

MinnPost staff

Gears of justice grind slowly. MPR's Brian Bakst reports: “Minnesota's legislative session will have been over for more than two weeks before a Ramsey County judge hears a legal challenge to Senate President Michelle Fischbach's ability to serve in the Legislature and as lieutenant governor. … The first hearing is slated for June 5 in a lawsuit filed earlier this month. The lawsuit is the second to contest Fischbach's dual roles; the first was tossed in February before the 2018 session began. … Fischbach, a Republican senator since 1996, involuntarily ascended to the lieutenant governor post in January.

Life In Fast Lane Crashes Into Prison

Running a family drug-trafficking organization in Fair Haven with his brothers netted a dealer two race-cars, plane tickets to the islands, and as much cash as a federal judge had ever seen — then, in the end, 12 years in slammer.

Like, Maybe They’ll Get Around To Voting

Advocates for the legalization and regulation of cannabis in Connecticut are pushing for the Board of Alders to move faster than the stereotypical stoner on a resolution in support of such efforts in the state.

Linda Mulley: We must see the drug crisis as the national health emergency it is

Editor's note: This commentary is by Linda Mulley, an autism educator who has taught at University of Vermont, Dartmouth College and the Vermont Higher Education Collaborative; she is the co-author of “All Children Matter.” This piece was first published in the Valley News on Sept. 9. Thirty years ago, the AIDS Memorial Quilt project documented the many lives lost to AIDS and raised awareness of the devastations of this disease. This grassroots movement started by a handful of people in San Francisco grew to attract the attention of the entire nation and to raise millions for AIDS service organizations. Perhaps it's time we considered a new quilt project to commemorate in a similar way those lost to substance use disorder.

List of 100 most unique and endangered reptiles released

What do the world's tiniest chameleon, a color-changing snake, and a turtle that breathes through its genitals have in common? Each of these reptiles sits perched on its own unique branch of life and, according to Zoological Society of London (ZSL), is headed for extinction unless urgent steps are taken for their protection. The ZSL has released a list of 100 Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered Reptiles through its EDGE of Existence program. Using a formula published in a PLOS ONE Study, each species receives a score that takes into account how evolutionarily unusual it is as well as its risk for extinction. ZSL hopes these rankings will provide a scientifically rigorous and standardized method to assign conservation priority to vanishing species.

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

Wednesday marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of 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: "I've Been to the Mountaintop." Here's a recording and the text of that sermon.

Lit fuse: First lawsuit this election cycle drops over petitions in Colorado. Will it be the last?

A lawsuit that challenges the petition-gathering tactics of a candidate for Congress in Colorado might have lit the fuse for another ballot-access bomb in the race for governor. This week, five voters from Republican Congressman Doug Lamborn's district, which is anchored in Colorado Springs, allege in a lawsuit against the Secretary of State that people the campaign hired to gather petitions for him didn't meet the legal requirements to do so. At the heart of the complaint is whether about half a dozen of those people technically lived in Colorado or just registered to vote here —as required— at the time they helped gather signatures for him. Lamborn, who has been in office for a decade, is in a five-way primary with Republican State Sen. Owen Hill, El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, retired Texas judge Bill Rhea and Tyler Stevens, a former mayor of Green Mountain Falls. The lawsuit, filed against the Secretary of State and not Lamborn or his campaign, asks a Denver District Court judge to order the Secretary of State to reject enough petitions to keep Lamborn off the ballot.

Little Kids Offer Big Help For Stetson Library Campaign

All 40 of the preschoolers and their teachers from the Harris and Tucker School in Newhallville were dressed in their going-on-trip shirts.The were waiting for the van to arrive to take them all to the Stetson Branch Library. They were going there not just to have a reading program, which they often do, but also to fulfill an important mission.However, beneath the onslaught of torrential squalls the van refused to start.

Littwin: In the Colorado Senate, the #MeToo movement turns back into the #NotUs

If you don't remember the bad old days — you know, like last year — the Colorado Senate is here to remind us how sexual harassment used to be handled before the #MeToo movement. In which an accusing woman has her credibility challenged, the process for her to be heard is disparaged and the accused man walks away with job, and reputation, intact. As the Senate debated a resolution to expel Sen. Randy Baumgardner, we were back in the familiar he-said, she-said situation, and since the “he” was on the majority team, that's how Baumgardner survived an accusation that he slapped and grabbed the buttocks of a legislative aide. He got every Republican vote but one, which leaves GOP Sen. Ray Scott as either a party-hating turncoat or the lone person on Baumgardner's side who bravely put truth ahead of party. It didn't matter that an investigator (and Scott) found the accuser credible.

Littwin: It’s a new election cycle, but with Stapleton’s blunder, it looks like the same old GOP

As Jimmy Breslin wrote of the stumbling 1962 Mets, I write of the blundering 2018 Colorado Republican Party: Can't anyone here play this game? Walker Stapleton, the so-called frontrunner in the GOP primary race for governor, is the latest to answer the question with a resounding not-a-chance. As you must have heard, Stapleton was forced to toss away the thousands of signatures that he (or, rather, the people he was paying) had collected to petition his way onto the ballot because, well, the signatures were tainted, by which I mean fraudulently collected. I would hope the papers would be recycled, but then I wonder who would actually dare touch them. Don't take my word for the fraud.

Littwin: On The Denver Post, vultures and superheroes

Some credit the line to the great A.J. Liebling, others to the maybe even greater H.L. Mencken, but in either case it's undeniably true: “Freedom of the press is limited to those who own one.”
Or it was true— until Sunday's edition of The Denver Post, when the inmates took charge of the asylum, when the owners of the Post presses were wondering what the hell had just hit them and when Chuck Plunkett, the paper's editorial page editor, turned into a journalistic superhero. It was an act of bravery and an act of theft. In an editorial headlined in the online version, “As vultures circle, The Denver Post must be saved,” Plunkett demanded that the hedge-fund vultures who own the Post sell it to someone who cares about Denver and about journalism. It's not exactly a radical thought. The vultures reside in the New York offices of Alden Global Capital, the hedge fund called out by Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan as “one of the most ruthless of the corporate strip-miners seemingly intent on destroying local journalism.”
As you've no doubt heard, the Denver Post has just laid off 30 more employees, bringing the number of journalists in the newsroom to fewer than 70.

Littwin: Who’s the bigger culprit in sexual harassment report—Boob Grabber or Grantham?

Which is the bigger scandal — that yet another investigator has concluded that Randy “Boob Grabber” Baumgardner is a serial sexual harasser or that Senate Republican leaders may have hidden the results of the second damning report at the time of the vote on whether to expel him? Most of us learned nothing much from the new report, except to expand the range of female body parts that most interest Baumgardner. We knew from the first report, which Senate President Kevin Grantham and Majority Leader Chris Holbert dismissed as inaccurate, inconsistent or biased, that Baumgardner had repeatedly grabbed and slapped a legislative aide's buttocks. In this report from a different investigator, one that no one has yet called inaccurate, inconsistent or biased, we learn that Baumgardner inappropriately hugged staffers in a “tight and/or clingy” manner, inappropriately brushed against their breasts, earned the nickname Boob Grabber and, furthermore, is a very bad man to work for. For consistency's sake, he was also accused of leering at buttocks.

Littwin’s Official Unofficial #CO2018 governor’s race rankings, Week Four

Illustration by Mike Keefe
Let's get straight to the big news. For the first time in the brief, if glorious, history of the Littwin Official Unofficial #C02018 gov rankings, we have a new leader. It's not on the GOP side, of course, where Walker Stapleton survived his fraudulent-signature disaster to win the top line at the state assembly and keep the top spot in our rankings. That was just the sideshow. The main event at the Republican assembly was the complete meltdown of Cynthia Coffman, who was knocked out of the race and out of the Littwin standings but into the hearts of everyone who has a soft spot for — to quote our president — a complete loser.

Littwin’s Official Unofficial #CO2018 governor’s race rankings, Week One

At last, the day you've been waiting for. We bring you the initial clip-and-save (or, I guess, here in cyberworld, it's cut-and-paste) Littwin's Official Unofficial #CO2018 governor's race rankings. It is brought to you by, well, me, but only with the help of the best political panel in Colorado that money theoretically could buy. (Editor's note: not that we're paying any.)
We'll do this poll every Friday until the primaries on June 28, giving you the inside dope on the ups, the downs, the sideways. As you don't need a panel to tell you, this is the most wide-open governor's race in memory.

Littwin’s Official Unofficial #CO2018 governor’s race rankings, Week Two

Illustration by Mike Keefe
The big story in the gov race is probably not going to change anything, but it's the best we can do here at the Littwin Unofficial Official governor rankings for this week's just-waiting-for-the-assemblies-to-finally-get-here edition. As you may have heard, Rep. Doug Lamborn's petitions have been attacked for possibly using ineligible collectors to gather the signatures. This looks like it could be serious, and Lamborn, who always faces a primary challenge, has got a serious one this year in the 5th Congressional District. Owen Hill, Darryl Glenn, anyone else with a pulse. You may be wondering how this might connect to the governor's race.

Live weather radar

Live weather radar for Tucson and the rest of Southern Arizona from the National Weather Service.

Living out the legacy of Dr. King, as told by three Memphis students

During a daylong tribute to Martin Luther King Jr., a Memphis student took the stage in front of hundreds of onlookers. How did she see herself living out the legacy of King? Through school discipline reform. “I've been organizing since I was 15 years old,” said Janiya Douglas, 18, a senior at White Station High School. “I want to tell you about the school-to-prison pipeline and how students are being suspended, over-disciplined, and led into the juvenile justice system.”
Janiya spoke from the balcony of the Lorraine Motel — now the National Civil Rights Museum — in the very place King was assassinated on this day, April 4, 50 years ago.

Liz Curry: Burlington School Board’s emergency meeting explained

Editor's note: This commentary is by Liz Curry, who is a Burlington school commissioner from Ward 3. The consternation about the former Burlington School Board's emergency meeting is justified. The public deserves a rationale for a public body invoking the emergency meeting exception provided by Vermont's open meeting law. At the same time, accusations of racial prejudice that affect an employment decision create an urgent need to investigate as thoroughly and responsibly as possible, and this was the former School Board's obligation. Racial tensions in the district have created a harsh environment for staff of color, who undergo daily micro-aggressions and worse.

Local Artists Welcome Visitors During Annual Open Studios Art Tour

29 San Benito County artists will open their studios April 14 and 15 for visitors during this free, family-friendly event.

Local Cannabis Regulations Are Creating Pockets of Prohibition

A contestant in a joint-rolling contest shows his entry at a budtender appreciation party in San Diego. / Photo by Vito Di Stefano
At long last, cannabis is officially legal in California. The consumption of cannabis, however, is still prohibited in many places. Not only does that undermine consumer rights but it enables volatile black market pockets across the state. Just earlier this month, the city of West Hollywood announced it was taking steps to reverse this by permitting cannabis consumption lounges.

Local educators attend school safety workshop at San Benito High School

Event at San Benito High School brought together law enforcement and educators from around the county

Local Female Tech Leaders Say Women Should ‘Lean In’ with Humor

Women in technology who work in male-dominated business environments should "lean in" with humor, empathy, and confidence, said an all-female panel at a local technology conference. The post Local Female Tech Leaders Say Women Should ‘Lean In' with Humor appeared first on Rivard Report.

Local Filmmakers Bring Color to San Antonio Screens

San Antonio is blazing a trail among minority filmmakers, with two recent productions by Michael L. Jackson set for a local premiere Friday. The post Local Filmmakers Bring Color to San Antonio Screens appeared first on Rivard Report.

Local NGA leader prepares for new headquarters and more demand for analysis

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has a new executive for its NGA West headquarters in St. Louis. Brett Markham was recently named deputy associate director and west executive. He has been with the agency since 2012 and now oversees the current NGA West headquarters in Soulard, an operation in Arnold, as well as some employees at Scott Air Force Base. The total workforce in all three locations is about 3,600.

Local nonprofits step up to help animals in need in San Benito County

Local non-profits work with the community and Hollister Animal Shelter in efforts to support abandoned, lost, abused, and surrendered animals in San Benito County

Local research, upcoming conference seek to address many forms of school violence

Mass shootings in U.S. schools continue to occur and make headlines. Other types of school violence, typically affecting one or two students at a time, garner less attention and more often end in suicide than homicide. That's according to University of Missouri–St. Louis criminologist Finn Esbensen , whose recent research in St. Louis County schools alongside colleague Lee Ann Slocum suggests that many young people struggle with school attendance out of fear for their safety.

Long Kept Secret, Amazon Says Number Of Prime Customers Topped 100 Million

For years, this has been one of Amazon's biggest secrets: how many people pay for the Prime membership. A big round number appears to have prompted CEO Jeff Bezos to finally lift the veil: "13 years post-launch, we have exceeded 100 million paid Prime members globally," he wrote in this year's letter to shareholders . He added that in 2017, more new members joined Prime than in any other year. The membership generally costs $99 a year in the U.S. and lures people in with free two-day shipping and access to video and music streaming. Last year and earlier this year , Amazon added discounted Prime rates for recipients of Medicaid and government assistance programs. Prime subscribers are known to be more lucrative to Amazon, estimated to spend twice as much money every year than non-members, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.

Long Wharf And Stetson Make A Village

On Wednesday night at Stetson Branch Library on Dixwell Avenue, Ife Michelle was explaining the plot of Crowns, the upcoming play at Long Wharf Theatre, and how it continued to relate to mentoring in the community today.

Long-term filtering may be only solution to Pownal pollution

The current well site of the Pownal Fire District 2 water system stands in a field off Route 346 next to an enclosed carbon filtering system installed last year after PFOA contamination was discovered. The district is eyeing a site for a replacement well. Photo by Jim Therrien/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Pownal well" 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">The carbon filtering system is located next to the Pownal Fire District 2 well. File photo by Jim Therrien/VTDiggerPOWNAL — Pownal Fire District 2 board members learned on Monday that district water customers may have no option but permanent filtering to rid their drinking water of PFOA, the compound that has been found to contaminate numerous wells in southwestern Vermont. Representatives from Unicorn Management Consultants, which was hired to solve the district's water problems, said there has been no resumption of talks with the owner of an alternative well site that had been under consideration late last year.

Looking Back in Philipstown

What happened this month 10, 25, 50, 75, 125 and 150 years agoLooking Back in Philipstown was first posted on April 7, 2018 at 9:13 am.

Looking beyond football: Research and regulations are changing our views about concussions

Here's what we know about concussions:
The risk is everywhere. From gym class to car and bike accidents, silly antics, falls and, of course, sports. Kids who play more sports are at higher risk, simply because their exposure to injury is higher. But overall, the rate of concussion in sports is not astonishing. Research in 2012 by Dawn Comstock, a leading sports epidemiologist at the University of Colorado, and her colleagues found that in 10,000 sports practices or games — what experts call “athletic exposures” — only 2.5 concussions result. Five years later, a second set of researchers revised that figure upward to 3.89.

Looking to capitalize on Vermont’s ‘creative economy’

The Southern Vermont Creative Meeting on Monday drew 120 local, state and federal attendees to the Next Stage Arts Project in Putney. Photo by Kevin O'Connor/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Creative Meeting" 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">The Southern Vermont Creative Meeting on Monday drew 120 local, state and federal attendees to the Next Stage Arts Project in Putney. Photo by Kevin O'Connor/VTDiggerPUTNEY — You think because Robert McBride is an artist he simply creates pretty pictures? As someone who restored and runs a downtown Bellows Falls business and apartment block, he knows better. “The creative economy is a hidden economic driver,” says McBride, head of the Rockingham Arts and Museum Project.

Looming State Elections Met With Apathy by Many New Yorkers

Voters heading to and fro the polling place at the Van Dyke Senior Center on Dumont Street in Brooklyn. This story is a product of the City Limits Accountability Reporting Initiative For Youth (CLARIFY), supported by the Pinkerton Foundation. Learn more about the program here. New York state elections will take place this fall, giving residents the chance to cast a vote for federal representatives as well as candidates for state senate, assembly, governor and other statewide offices. But some New Yorkers are indifferent about the upcoming election, saying they either don't know who the candidates are or don't follow local politics enough to care.

Looney, other state Dems, demand Esty resign

Rep. Elizabeth Esty defiantly said on Saturday she had no intention of leaving Congress as several state Democrats, including the highest-ranking member of the state Senate, called for her to resign.

Los Angeles and Beijing Are Teaming Up to Fight Global Warming

The story was originally published by the Guardian and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. China's mega-cities and major US metropolitan areas will pledge swifter and deeper cuts in carbon pollution on Tuesday, shoring up a historic agreement between presidents Barack Obama and Xi Jinping. Beijing and 10 other Chinese cities will agree to peak greenhouse gas emissions as early as 2020—a decade ahead of the existing target for the world's biggest emitter, under a deal to be unveiled at a summit in Los Angeles on Tuesday. Seattle will commit to go carbon neutral by 2050, with more than a dozen other major metropolitan areas in the US, and the entire state of California, pledging an 80 percent cut in emissions by mid-century. Atlanta, Houston, New York, Phoenix, and Salt Lake City also put forward new climate commitments.

Los Angeles Housing Patterns That Reinforced Segregation Reverberate to This Day

LOS ANGELES — Land remains the starkest turf of bigotry in American life. Blacks have been kept out, locked in, preyed upon and segregated by their most basic need when slavery ended: housing. There were entire coastlines that blacks weren't allowed to set foot on, let alone buy property on. Bridging the DivideChristopher West
In the early 1900s, Southern California had vibrant black communities on this coastline, where Venice and Santa Monica had “considerable African-American businesses and residency,” said Christopher D. West, an assistant professor of history at Pasadena City College. But local whites — police, homeowners and business owners — fought Inkwell Beach, the integrated beach near Santa Monica's first black church, from the early 1920s through the 1950s.

Los Angeles Hunts for Police Chief with the ‘Right Stuff’

When Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck retires in June, he'll leave to his successor the best police department in the city's history—one that's no longer the hated, pugnacious symbol of repression it once was, or a primary instigator of the class and race volatility that once made the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) infamous throughout the world, and ignited two of the bloodiest American riots of the 20th century. The principal reason for the old LAPD's notorious reputation was myopic, insular leadership, sometimes megalomaniac and self-servingly driven, sometimes stubbornly, existentially dead, and deadly racist in its intent and execution. This was particularly true of those who led the department in the half century between 1950 and 2002. As the Los Angeles Police Commission and Mayor Eric Garcetti begin the selection of a new chief, the rest of the country should be carefully watching. First, because the dramatic demographic, economic and social changes experienced by Los Angeles over the past half century are shared by many other urban centers across the nation.

Los Angeles Hunts for Police Chief with the ‘Right Stuff’

When Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck retires in June, he'll leave to his successor the best police department in the city's history—one that's no longer the hated, pugnacious symbol of repression it once was, or a primary instigator of the class and race volatility that once made the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) infamous throughout the world, and ignited two of the bloodiest American riots of the 20th century. The principal reason for the old LAPD's notorious reputation was myopic, insular leadership, sometimes megalomaniac and self-servingly driven, sometimes stubbornly, existentially dead, and deadly racist in its intent and execution. This was particularly true of those who led the department in the half century between 1950 and 2002. As the Los Angeles Police Commission and Mayor Eric Garcetti begin the selection of a new chief, the rest of the country should be carefully watching. First, because the dramatic demographic, economic and social changes experienced by Los Angeles over the past half century are shared by many other urban centers across the nation.

Los Angeles’ Vast Child Welfare System Has a Lot to Teach Rest of Nation

LOS ANGELES — You can only find the entrance to the RightWay Foundation if you're really looking for it. Hidden deep within the parking structure for a South Central Los Angeles shopping plaza, the foundation aims to help foster youth learn basic life skills (how to open a bank account, for example), get counseling for the trauma they've likely endured and navigate the transition to young adulthood. “The foster care program is broken right now,” said Franco Vega, the foundation's executive director. The solution, he said, is for Los Angeles County's Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) — the largest child welfare system in the nation — to make sure its employees are “trained properly” in dealing with foster kids. “It just comes down to no one knows how to work with our babies, especially in South Central,” he said.

Louisiana Legislators Are Earning Big Money From Government Agencies — But Don’t Have to Disclose It All

by Rebekah Allen, The Advocate
When the Louisiana Legislature isn't in session in Baton Rouge, state Sen. Danny Martiny spends his days in his small law office 80 miles away defending law enforcement agencies. His biggest client, bar none, is the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office. In 2016, the Sheriff's Office and its insurance company paid Martiny's firm $836,266 for this work, according to public records. But on legally mandated disclosure forms that legislators must file with the state ethics office, Martiny listed far more modest earnings from the sheriff that year: $13,328. Martiny, a Metairie Republican, is complying with the state's ethics laws, but the wide gulf between what he was paid and what he disclosed shows how these rules are full of loopholes and allow legislators to minimize the income they've received from public sources, ethics experts said.

Louisiana vouchers have led to big drops in test scores, but they also might boost college enrollment

Students who won a school voucher in Louisiana to attend their top-ranked private high school were 6 percentage points more likely to enroll in college than students who lost the lottery, according to a new study. The findings are reasonably good news for voucher supporters, who recently had to confront huge drops in test scores because of Louisiana's program. Still, the results were not statistically significant — meaning the researchers can't confidently say that the voucher made the difference. It's the latest attempt to quantify the effects of school vouchers, which allow students to attend private school using public dollars. They are a favored policy of U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, albeit one she's so far had little success at pushing from Washington.

Love in the Air

Center to host play readingLove in the Air was first posted on April 3, 2018 at 7:03 am.

Low runoff into Colorado River could be hard on endangered fish

Federal officials told regional water managers last week not to plan on coordinated reservoir releases this spring to help endangered fish in the Colorado River near Grand Junction as there's likely not going to be enough water. “It's difficult for me to find the water in my forecast,” said Victor Lee, a hydraulic engineer with the Bureau of Reclamation during a meeting and conference call March 27 with regional water managers. For the past three years, 29,400 to 35,700 acre-feet of “surplus” water has been released out of various combinations of Ruedi, Wolford, Williams Fork, Green Mountain, Homestake, Willow Creek and Granby reservoirs to bolster spring flows. The water is released in early June to help maintain critical habitat in a 15-mile stretch of the Colorado River between Palisade and Grand Junction, above the river's confluence with the Gunnison River. Big peak flows clean the cobble on the river bottom where endangered fish lay their eggs.

Ludlow condo among holdings of company linked to Sean Hannity

Among the real estate holdings of TV host Sean Hannity is a condo in the Jackson Gore development, shown here, near the Okemo Mountain Resort in Ludlow. Photo from Okemo Mountain Resort websiteA shell company linked to Fox News host Sean Hannity purchased a condominium near Okemo Mountain Resort in Ludlow for more than twice the assessed value, according to state records. The condo is one of hundreds of properties that shell companies linked to Hannity purchased over the last decade, according to a report in the Guardian.Get all of VTDigger's political news.You'll never miss a political story with our weekly headlines in your inbox. Daily
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The companies came to light in the wake of the revelation that Hannity sought legal guidance from Michael Cohen, the embattled longtime personal lawyer to President Donald Trump.

Lummi artist interprets traditions through glass

Dan Friday blasts a glass basket with more heat. The basket is getting to its final stages and soon the artists will open it up to create the basket shape. (Photo by Emily Gilbert.)Lummi artist Dan Friday honors the Coast Salish tradition of woven cedar baskets through a very different medium. He makes them in glass. He's studied the designs at the Burke Museum and he also finds a lot of inspiration from his aunt Fran James' basket patterns, a Lummi master weaver.

Lynne Macgeorge (1933-2018)

Longtime nurse at Planned Parenthood in BeaconLynne Macgeorge (1933-2018) was first posted on April 6, 2018 at 8:26 pm.

MacKenzie Machine Mills Into The Sunset

A, historic New Haven business with the motto “Doing it right since 1864” has closed up shop, along with an old-fashioned way of making and repairing metal parts.

Magnet schools and Vista Unified: How we crunched the numbers

An analysis by KPBS and inewsource of state and federal data suggests that Vista Unified's white, more affluent families are disproportionately benefitting from a district push to have parents choose where they enroll their children, instead of taking them to their nearest school. The post Magnet schools and Vista Unified: How we crunched the numbers appeared first on San Diego news from inewsource.

Main and Soledad To Go Two Ways Starting Monday

Downtown's Main Avenue and Soledad Street haven't had two-way running traffic lanes in decades, but that is set to change Monday. The post Main and Soledad To Go Two Ways Starting Monday appeared first on Rivard Report.

Major ivory trader arrested in Sumatra

[dropcap type="2"]A[/dropcap]uthorities in Indonesia arrested a major ivory trader who had been operating across the southern half of Sumatra island, police announced this week. The trader was picked up in the coastal city of Bintuhan, a “notorious transit point for ivory, tiger skins and other wildlife contraband," according to a statement from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), a US-based nonprofit whose Wildlife Crime Units assist law enforcers in Indonesia. Bintuhan is located in Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park in the province of Bengkulu. The trader was said to have sourced ivory from dealers in Riau and Lampung provinces and sold carved objects in South Sumatra, Bengkulu and Lampung provinces as well as in the capital of Jakarta. He allegedly moved at least 1.5 kilograms of carved ivory smoking pipes per month and 15 tusks worth of carved "swagger sticks" in the last five years.

Making Public Service Work: A Podcast With Former U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin

? Tom Harkin left the U.S. Senate in January 2015 after serving 30 years there and another 10 in the U.S. House but keeps busy checking in on work being done by The Harkin Institute at Drake University. The institute, which houses documents from Harkin's work in public service and supports research and programming, was created to provide information for informed discussion about public policy in the following areas: labor and employment, people with disabilities, retirement security and wellness and nutrition. The IowaWatch Connection caught up with Harkin recently for a wide ranging interview about the influence of money, new methods of communicating such as social media and other things that go with public service, but also work being done at the Drake institute bearing his name.

Malloy nominates 11 Superior Court judges

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy nominated 11 lawyers as judges of the Superior Court on Tuesday, including former state Rep. James F. Spallone, D-Essex, and Robert W. Clark, a top adviser to Attorney General George Jepsen. His latest group of nominees has five women and six men. Malloy said he intends to make further nominations to the trial court, which has 42 vacancies.

Malloy nominates Robinson as chief justice

BREAKING: Gov. Dannel P. Malloy today nominated Associate Justice Richard Robinson to become chief justice of the state Supreme Court. He would be the court's first African-American chief justice of the state's highest court. The governor also nominated Judge Steven D. Ecker to succeed Robinson as an associate justice.

Malloy: GOP candidates are undermining judicial independence

The unwillingness of Republican gubernatorial candidates to commit to Connecticut's longstanding tradition of reappointing judges, absent serious ethical or performance issues, undermines the judiciary, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Thursday.

Malloy’s final class: 30 nominations to Superior Court

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy added another 14 names Friday to the final class of judges he is nominating to a Superior Court system heavily populated his nominees. Malloy has sent 30 trial-judge nominations to the legislature in recent weeks, while he is leaving open nine judgeships that are funded in the current budget.

Man hospitalized after police shooting on West Side

A man has been taken to a Tucson hospital after a police shooting on Tucson's West Side. Tucson Police Department officials said no offices were injured in the incident Wednesday night.

Man Killed by Train Near Beacon

Apparent suicide just south of stationMan Killed by Train Near Beacon was first posted on April 9, 2018 at 9:54 pm.

Man using pack horses to smuggle drugs intercepted by TOPD

A Tohono O'odham Police officer arrested a man Wednesday afternoon near the village of Santa Rosa, about 63 miles northwest of Tucson, when he discovered him leading two horses carrying burlap sacks stuffed with narcotics worth more than $123,000.

Man, 35, Shot Dead

Police are investigating a homicide that took place Tuesday afternoon in the West River neighborhood on Chapel Street between Winthrop and Norton.

Manchester Community Library hosts Poetry Salon

News Release — Manchester Community Library
April 12, 2018
Cindy Waters, Adult Services Librarian and Programming Coordinator
Manchester Community Library
Manchester Center – The Poetry Salon celebrates its 3rd National Poetry Month Anniversary at Manchester Community Library's Café Commons on Friday, April 27, at 6:30 p.m. Writers, listeners, and lovers of poetry are all welcome. Please bring a poem or two of your own work to read, and enjoy listening to the diversity of the spoken word. The Community Poem will be read during the Salon, there will be books by local and guest poets for sale and signing, and a reception afterwards. Our guest poets will be donating a percentage of their book sales to MCL. The tradition of The Poetry Salon offers poets a safe space to read their work, receive questions about its inspiration and creation, and share conversation, laughter, and the celebration of our lives in the universal language of poetry.

Manchester hosts Independent Television Festival, October 10-14

News Release — Independent Television Festival
April 16, 2018
Meredith Whatley
Mountain Media
Manchester – The Independent Television Festival (ITVFest) called “the Sundance of independent television,” welcomes thousands of attendees to the Green Mountains of Vermont for five days of screenings, lively panel discussions, and networking events with some of the television industry's best independent producers, content creators, and executives. The festival is lauded for both its intimacy and camaraderie as well as the ‘can't-find-anywhere-else' opportunities afforded to independent television creators. Thousands of filmmakers from around the globe submit their comedy and drama pilots throughout the summer. Approximately 70 of the best shows are chosen and screened at the festival. Winners of the Best Drama and Best Comedy categories presented at the festival's awards ceremony each receive development meetings with HBO executives as their prize.

Manchester Music Festival announces impressive season

News Release — Manchester Music Festival
April 18, 2018
Manchester Music Festival
Manchester – The Green Mountains will come alive with glorious classical music on July 12 when the Manchester Music Festival raises the curtain on its highly-anticipated 44th season at the Southern Vermont Arts Center. Artistic Director Adam Neiman expressed his enthusiasm for what he called, “a summer of world-class music.”
“I am so looking forward to it,” he said. “We have booked the greatest musicians in the world to headline every concert. The music will be sumptuous, lush, powerful, deeply moving, and exhilarating.”
The headliners will include such virtuoso favorites as violinist Stefan Milenkovich, pianist Vassily Primakov, and violist Ara Gregorian. On the MMF stage for the first time will be the Escher String Quartet who serve as Season Artists with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Maestro Michael Stern (son of Isaac Stern) as the conductor for the Orchestral Evening, flutist Helen Tara O'Connor, and violinist Jennifer Frautschi, a two-time Grammy Award nominee and Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient.

Manhunt Under Way for TN Waffle House Shooter

Four people are dead and at least four others were wounded Sunday after a shooting with an assault rifle at a Waffle House in Antioch, Tn., near Nashville. The shooter remains at large and a manhunt is underway, reports the USA Today Network Tennessee. Police have identified Travis Reinking, 29, as the suspect. At the time of the shooting, the gunman was wearing only a green coat. He dropped the coat near the scene and fled on foot, naked.

Manna Gallery Presents “Stria by Zoya Scholis

Manna Gallery is pleased to introduce South Bay artist Zoya Scholis. Her exhibition opens Friday, May 11 and continues to June 19. The gallery will host a reception for Zoya on Saturday, May 12, from 2 to 4 pm when she will be present to greet visitors and discuss the concepts behind her latest body of work. Zoya's artistic output encompasses many lines of inquiry and Manna Gallery chose to focus on her series of watercolors which are both commanding and delicate, large in scale and intimate, changing in expressive quality as you move in to view the work more closely. Zoya is an artist whose paintings feature grids and natural forms – birds, leaves and petals.

Manufacturing Solutions Inc. is awarded VEGI Incentive

News Release — Manufacturing Solutions, Inc.
April 17th, 2018
Keith Koehler, Business Development Manager
Manufacturing Solutions, Inc. (MSI)
Morrisville – Manufacturing Solutions, Inc. (MSI) has been accepted into the Vermont Employment Growth Incentive (VEGI) program by the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development. MSI received support and assistance throughout the process from the Lamoille Economic Development Corporation. This incentive will support the company's plans to expand space and improve tooling, resulting in new and improved jobs. A key to manufacturing success is having adequate space and production capability available in order to respond swiftly when production demands increase abruptly. As a contract manufacturing solutions provider, MSI provides both space and production services to other companies and manufacturers.

Map: Near Potential Long Island City Rezoning, Fate of Waterfront Draws Concern

A rendering of the proposed TF Cornerstone project in a press release from the Economic Development Corporation. The Long Island City rezoning study has been moving slowly, with no public meetings held since last summer. In the meantime, much attention has turned to nearby waterfront parcels, where several projects have been proposed by private developers and by the city. This comes as much of the Long Island City waterfront to the south has already been redeveloped with river-facing towers. Over the past couple months, a recently formed group called the Long Island City Coalition, backed by other community groups and elected officials, have held rallies to protest the Economic Development Corporation's selection of TF Cornerstone to develop two waterfront parcels, decrying TF Cornerstone's plan as one that would “add thousands of new housing units to an already developed neighborhood” and one that lacks “any meaningful public review and input.”
A press release for a rally describes the TF Cornerstone project as “one of seven segmented and unrelated large rezonings now at play in Long Island City.” The group identified for City Limits seven particular projects or rezoning proposals (eight, if you include two that overlap with each other), the majority of which would require city approval, though a few sites were already zoned residential and could potentially still be redeveloped without a rezoning.

Maples Dreams (Photos)

The syrup was flowing at Little Stony PointMaples Dreams (Photos) was first posted on March 31, 2018 at 8:38 am.

Marathon public hearing illuminates debate on proficiency-based learning

AUGUSTA — For close to six hours Monday afternoon, the Joint Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs at the State House heard arguments from an overflow crowd of concerned teachers, parents and students on the pros and cons of proficiency-based […]
The post Marathon public hearing illuminates debate on proficiency-based learning appeared first on Pine Tree Watch.

Margolis: Gender in politics has been rendered inconsequential

Early next month a new United States senator will be seated. On the basis of all known evidence, this new senator will oppose abortion rights, compulsory paid medical or family leave for workers, or federal funding for Planned Parenthood.Get all of VTDigger's political news.You'll never miss a political story with our weekly headlines in your inbox. Daily
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Windham County

On these and other matters of special concern to women, the new senator's views differ from those of Sens. Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders and Rep. Peter Welch, the three Vermonters in the United States Congress.

Margolis: Gun bill signing was a political winner for Scott

Gov. Phil Scott sig2018,ns gun legislation on April 11, at the Statehouse. Photo by Bob LoCicero/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Gun Law signing" width="610" height="407" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 1280w, 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Gov. Phil Scott signs gun legislation on Wednesday at the Statehouse. Photo by Bob LoCicero/VTDiggerYou don't suppose Gov. Phil Scott is running for President? Surely not. He's the little-known (outside Vermont) one-term governor of the second smallest state in the union, and the current president, who is running for re-election, is a Republican like Scott.Get all of VTDigger's political news.You'll never miss a political story with our weekly headlines in your inbox.

Margolis: Guns don’t protect freedoms, people do

Members of Vermont gun rights groups hold a banquet in the Statehouse cafeteria. Photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Gun rights groups" width="610" height="407" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 1280w, 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Members of Vermont gun rights groups hold a banquet in the Statehouse cafeteria. Photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDiggerEditor's note: Jon Margolis is VTDigger's political columnist. Like so many public debates these days, the argument over guns now roiling both Vermont and the rest of the country has become more tribal than substantive, with each side trying harder to score points than to make them.Get all of VTDigger's political news.You'll never miss a political story with our weekly headlines in your inbox. Daily
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Margolis: Scott likely to win big in November

Phil Scott talks to the media after his election Tuesday. Photo by Erin Mansfield/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Phil Scott" width="610" height="407" srcset=" 610w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 150w, 1280w, 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 610px) 100vw, 610px" data-recalc-dims="1">Phil Scott talks to the media after winning the 2016 gubernatorial race. File photo by Erin Mansfield/VTDiggerEditor's note: Jon Margolis is VTDigger's political columnist. OK, enough for a while of all this chit-chat over minimum wages, family leave, getting the goop out of the lake, and guns (especially, mercifully, guns). Let's turn to one of the eternal verities: politics.

Margolis: The art of the deal, Vermont version

Soon it will be quiet again. File photo by Roger CrowleyEditor's note: Jon Margolis is VTDigger's political columnist. All good things must come to an end, they say. All not-so-good things, too.Get all of VTDigger's political news.You'll never miss a political story with our weekly headlines in your inbox. Daily
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Margolis: Vermont Republicans love talking about the carbon tax

Rep. Sarah Copeland Hanzas, D-Bradford, pitches a carbon dioxide pollution tax Wednesday morning in Burlington. Photo by Mike Polhamus/VTDigger
" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" src="" alt="Sarah Copeland Hanzas" width="640" height="427" srcset=" 5184w, 125w, 300w, 768w, 610w, 1280w, 1920w" sizes="(max-width: 640px) 100vw, 640px" data-recalc-dims="1">Rep. Sarah Copeland-Hanzas, D-Bradford, is chief sponsor of the carbon tax bill. File photo by Mike Polhamus/VTDiggerGo to the Republican State Committee website and you will be greeted by a “Stop the Carbon Tax Petition,” which reads as though it might be the last bastion against the designs of “Vermont Democrats and their radical friends.”
Wander the corridors of the Statehouse and it is hard to find a Republican who will not mention the carbon tax and point out that re-electing Republican Gov. Phil Scott could be the last chance to avoid the imposition of this dreaded levy. The Republicans obviously see this as a winning issue, attracting both voters and campaign contributions. They may be right, but at the risk of being the grouch at their party, it should be noted that their struggle overlooks one detail: there ain't gonna be no Vermont carbon tax.

Mark Hughes: Systemic racism article missed the mark

Editor's note: This commentary is by Mark Hughes, who is the co-founder and director of Justice For All VT, a grassroots organization that peruses racial justice within Vermont's criminal justice system. He is a tri-chair of the Vermont chapter of the New Poor People's Campaign and serves on the board of Rights and Democracy. He is a retired from the military where he specialized in cryptography and has had an extensive career in cyber security. The article “Anti-racism bill sparks debate” by Mike Faher did us a disservice. The title of the bill mischaracterizes the reality on the ground under the golden dome.

Mark Skelding: Separating religion and politics?

Editor's note: This commentary is by Mark Skelding, of St. Albans, a retired educator who most recently was a faculty member for Southern New Hampshire University's Graduate Program in Education. He previously worked at Food Works/Two Rivers Center for Sustainability. Separation of church and state is fundamental to democracy. But separation of church and state isn't the same as separating our religion (which for Americans is primarily Christian) from our politics.

Marketing on a Budget

Consultant to provide tipsMarketing on a Budget was first posted on April 15, 2018 at 4:12 pm.

Martha Heath: Local control is key to public education success

Editor's note: This commentary is by Martha Heath, of Westford, who is a longtime school board member and a former member of the Vermont House. Twenty years ago Vermont made a firm commitment to retain local control of decisions about school spending. This carefully considered choice came in the wake of the Brigham decision in 1997, when the Vermont Supreme Court ruled the state's education funding system was unconstitutional. The decision made it clear the state had the ultimate responsibility to ensure the Vermont's schoolchildren had equal educational opportunities. To satisfy the court, the Legislature crafted a funding system that recognizes that we are all responsible for educating all of the children in the state.

Mary Cushman: Sugary drink bill could help curtail child obesity

Editor's note: This commentary is by Mary Cushman, MD, of Shelburne, who is a professor of medicine at the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont and a practicing physician at UVM Medical Center. She has worked at these institutions for 21 years and leads a research group focused on prevention of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. She is a longtime volunteer with the American Heart Association, having served recently on its national board of directors. Sugary drinks are stacking the deck against children and the price our kids are paying is obesity. Nearly a third of our children are overweight or obese.

Mary Glassman jumps into suddenly open 5th CD race

Mary Glassman, the former first selectman of Simsbury and two-time Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, was the first Monday to declare her candidacy for Congress in the wake of the decision by U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-5th District, not to seek re-election. Glassman is unlikely to be the last to enter the race for a suddenly open seat.

Matt Birong: Bill would smooth path for small businesses

Editor's note: This commentary is by Matt Birong, the chef/owner of 3 Squares Cafe in Vergennes who is a board member of Main Street Alliance of Vermont. Tax Day — and often the week that leads up to it — can be a point of stress and uncertainty for many as they scramble to pull together document after document, chasing down one person for one filling and another person for another. As a small business owner in Vermont, I do what I do because I care about the product I produce, the community I share my businesses with, and the people I employ. But the reality of running a small business in Vermont means having to navigate the often convoluted permitting and tax-filing processes — and time spent doing that means time I'm not investing back in community and in my café. You will read it in every commentary I write and almost every conversation you have with me on this topic, but it can't be said enough: Vermont is a small business state.

Matzah Break

The Independent is taking a publishing break Friday in honor of the religious holiday.

Max & Murphy: Marc Molinaro Announces Bid for Governor

Ben MaxMarc Molinaro, the Dutchess County executive, announces his bid for the Republican nomination for governor in Tivoli. Tivoli, by the admission of its favorite son who announced his candidacy for governor there on Monday, is in the middle of nowhere. But Marc Molinaro says his grandfather used to joke that it's better to be in the middle of nowhere that somewhere out on the edge. And the one-time boy-mayor of tiny Tivoli (population 1,118) who then represented the area in the Assembly and now serves as Dutchess County executive says he wants the GOP line to challenge Andrew Cuomo because too many New Yorkers are living on the edge of nowhere right now. Glistening with sweat in a stifling third-floor meeting hall, Molinaro cast his decision to join the Republican field (which also includes State Sen. John DeFrancisco and former Pataki administration member Joseph Holland) in sweeping terms: New York is at “a dangerous crossroads” and so his campaign will be “for the people and the very soul of New York.”
It's typical for announcement speeches to reach in their rhetoric, and Molinaro–bursting with energy as he spoke for just over 20 minutes–didn't disappoint on that front, promising to do no less than “redefine democracy.” There was, however, an interesting roster of specific (though not detailed) policy ideas, like a tougher ethics law, a “truly independent” ethics watchdog for Albany, new procurement rules and a third-party auditor, term limits, and broader initiative and referendum mechanisms.
He emphasized special education, in particular the needs of families with children on the autism spectrum, as well as bolder action to deal with the opioid crisis and to help people with disabilities.

Max & Murphy: NYCHA Tenant Leader Demands a Place at the Table

Ben MaxElie Hecht of At Risk Community Services, left, and Danny Barber, chair of the Citywide Council of Presidents of NYCHA tenant associations
If it were a shortage of monitors that most plagued NYCHA, the authority's problem would be well on its way to being resolved. Besides the Department of Investigations and city comptroller, which have issued many a critical report about the authority, the newly empowered City Council Oversight and Investigations Committee, led by top NYCHA critic Ritchie Torres, will surely be keeping an eye on the agency, as probably will the Council's Committee on Public Housing. A special master appointed through a lawsuit against NYCHA over mold inspections already has some oversight duties, and is now empowered to appoint a separate independent ombudsperson for complaints. The new state budget permits the hiring of a state monitor. A federal investigation of NYCHA could result in the appointment of a new federal one – a prospect NYCHA's chairwoman, Shola Olatoye, has welcomed.

Mayor Appoints 15-Member LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee

Fifteen members will form a new committee tasked with formulating policy recommendations for Mayor Ron Nirenberg pertaining to LGBTQIA people. The post Mayor Appoints 15-Member LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee appeared first on Rivard Report.

Mayor de Blasio’s to-do list for Richard Carranza: Sell my agenda and boost literacy

Mayor Bill de Blasio offered hints about his new schools chief's to-do list Wednesday, saying Chancellor Richard Carranza will be “obsessively” focused on students reading at grade level and will spread the word about the mayor's education agenda. In the coming weeks and months, the mayor said, he and Carranza will press their case for his “Equity and Excellence” agenda, referring to a suite of initiatives launched in 2015. “The Equity and Excellence vision really lays out a roadmap, but it's not one that's well enough known,” de Blasio said. “I think [Carranza is] going to have the ability to talk to students, to talk to parents, to talk to community members in a powerful way and help them join into this Equity and Excellence vision,” the mayor added. De Blasio's comments, which came during his first formal weekly meeting with Carranza since he officially took the helm of the city's schools Monday, suggested that the new chancellor will be primarily responsible for shepherding the mayor's existing agenda.

Mayor Miro Weinberger’s public appearance schedule for April 16-20, 2018

News Release — Office of Mayor Miro Weinberg
April 13, 2018
Katie Vane
Mayor Miro Weinberger's public appearance schedule for April 16 – 20, 2018:
Monday, April 16
5:00 pm Board of Finance Meeting – Conference Room 12
6:00 pm City Council Meeting – Contois Auditorium
Tuesday, April 17
No public appearances scheduled
Wednesday, April 18
8:00 am Mornings with Miro – The Bagel Café, 1127 North Avenue – Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo to attend on behalf of the Mayor
8:00 am Burlington Partnership for a Healthy Community Annual Roots of Prevention Award Celebration – ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain
11:00 am Greenride Bikeshare Official Launch Event – Church Street Top Block
Thursday, April 19
8:00 am Charlie, Ernie & Lisa Radio Show – WVMT 620AM
Friday, April 20
No public appearances scheduled
Read the story on VTDigger here: Mayor Miro Weinberger's public appearance schedule for April 16-20, 2018.

Mayor Miro Weinberger’s public appearance schedule for the week of April 2

March 30, 2018
Mayor Miro Weinberger's public appearance schedule for April 2 – 6, 2018:
Monday, April 2
7:00 pm City Council Meeting and State of the City Address – Contois Auditorium, City Hall (Mayor's annual State of the City address will be delivered after the swearing in of the Mayor and newly elected and re-elected City Council members)
Tuesday, April 3
12:00 pm National Service Recognition Day Lunch – Old North End Community Center, 20 Allen Street
Wednesday, April 4
8:00 am Mornings with Miro – to be held at the new Burlington Telecom Storefront, 1127 North Avenue, Unit 36
5:30 pm Community Development Open House Recognizing the Winners of the Herb Bloomenthal, Ken Schatz, and Peter Clavelle Awards – Contois Auditorium
Thursday, April 5
12:00 pm Vermont League of Cities & Towns Board Meeting – Montpelier
5:00 pm 40th Annual Burlington Business Association Dinner & Awards – Hilton Burlington, 60 Battery Street
Friday, April 6
No public appearances scheduled
Read the story on VTDigger here: Mayor Miro Weinberger's public appearance schedule for the week of April 2.

Mayor Miro Weinberger’s public appearance schedule for the week of April 9

April 6, 2018
Contact: Katie Vane
Mayor Miro Weinberger's public appearance schedule for April 9 – 13, 2018:
Monday, April 9
5:30 pm Board of Finance Meeting – Conference Room 12
Tuesday, April 10
9:00 am Lake Champlain Steering Committee Meeting – Hilton Burlington, 60 Battery Street
Wednesday, April 11
8:00 am Mornings with Miro – The Bagel Café, 1127 North Avenue
5:00 pm Vermont League of Cities & Towns Listening Session – Contois Auditorium
Thursday, April 12 – Friday, April 13
No public appearances scheduled
Read the story on VTDigger here: Mayor Miro Weinberger's public appearance schedule for the week of April 9.

Mayor Morrison’s On Call

Stubby crew to town." alt="Contributed Photo">New Haven's mayor was in China Monday pitching potential new local investors and sealing the deal for a new sister city.New Haven's mayor also welcomed the governor to Wilbur Cross High School Monday.

Mayor to Employers: Hire Summer Interns, Help Economy Grow

Mayor Ron Nirenberg challenged San Antonio employers to hire local students as interns this summer. The post Mayor to Employers: Hire Summer Interns, Help Economy Grow appeared first on Rivard Report.

McCabe Lying Case Referred to U.S. Attorney

The Justice Department inspector general referred his finding that former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe repeatedly misled investigators to the U.S. Attorney in Washington, D.C., to determine whether McCabe should be charged with a crime, the Washington Post reports. The referral was made after the inspector general concluded McCabe had lied to investigators or his boss, then-FBI Director James Comey, on four occasions, three of them under oath. The referral raises the possibility that McCabe could be charged for his alleged misconduct, perhaps with Comey testifying as a witness against him. McCabe's attorney, Michael Bromwich, said that, “Although we believe the referral is unjustified, the standard for an [inspector general] referral is very low.” Bromwich said a prosecution is unlikely “unless there is inappropriate pressure from high levels of the administration.” President Trump, apparently referring to comments Comey made on CNN saying he could be called as a witness against McCabe, wrote on Twitter: “James Comey just threw Andrew McCabe ‘under the bus.' Inspector General's Report on McCabe is a disaster for both of them!

McCaskill, Stenger among Missouri’s top money-raisers

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill is expected to have widened her financial lead over her best-known GOP opponent, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, which likely will prompt more allied Republican groups to spend money on his behalf. The Senate candidates' latest campaign-finance filings, which were due at midnight Sunday, show that McCaskill has just over $11.5 million in the bank. McCaskill provided St. Louis Public Radio with a requested copy of her official summary sheets filed with the Federal Election Commission . Hawley declined to provide copies of his report, which may not be displayed on the FEC's site for days.

McCaskill, Stenger and Hawley among Missouri’s top money-raisers

(Updated at 12:30 p.m. April 19 with Hawley's campaign-finance numbers) U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill has widened her financial lead over her best-known GOP opponent, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, which likely will prompt more allied Republican groups to spend money on his behalf. The Senate candidates' latest campaign-finance filings, which were due at midnight Sunday, show that McCaskill has just over $11.5 million in the bank. That compares to $2.13 million for Hawley. In both cases, the candidates' totals include aid from other political-party committees, as well as individual donations. Hawley's money also includes his share of the donations collected during President Donald Trump's visit to the St.

McCollum delivers a win for Minnesota families and outdoors

Rep. Betty McCollumA rare thing happened in Washington on the way to passing a federal budget; Congress rejected Trump's assault on our health and the environment, funding the Environmental Protection Agency to help keep Minnesota's air and water clean. Families across the state have Rep. Betty McCollum, D-4th Congressional District, to thank for listening to their voices. She deserves a Lake Superior-size amount of credit for championing these safeguards and delivering a budget that protects Minnesotan kids and future generations.The budget President Donald Trump signed is a far cry from the draconian proposal he offered and the deep cuts that Republicans pushed just to provide more giveaways to industry polluters and special interests. Trump had proposed gutting the EPA budget by 30 percent, defunding it to a level that would make it nearly impossible to carry out its mission to protect human health and keep the environment safe and clean. At the local level, these cuts would have meant the elimination of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and would have posed other threats to Minnesota's environment and the health of its communities.An outspoken advocateYet Congress pushed back against Trump's assault on the EPA and managed to pass a spending bill that did not cut funds for environmental protection.

McConnell Blocks Bill to Protect Mueller from Trump

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) says he will block bipartisan legislation intended to protect special counsel Robert Mueller from being fired by President Trump, the Los Angeles Times reports. “I'm the one who decides what we take to the floor,” McConnell told Fox News, adding, “We will not be having this on the floor of the Senate.” McConnell said that while he wouldn't support Mueller's removal, he doesn't think Trump would take that step. The president in the past has ordered aides to fire Mueller or he considered doing so. “This is a piece of legislation that's not necessary in my judgment,” McConnell said. Though there is debate on whether Congress can limit the president's power over the executive branch, a bipartisan group of senators has drafted legislation that would write into law current Justice Department regulations holding that only department leaders can fire a special counsel.

McGill University Global Health Workshop

Friday, April 27, 2018 (All day)Montreal, QCCanadaSeema Yasmin, Allison Shelley, Rebecca KaplanJoin the Pulitzer Center and McGill University Global Health Programs for a global health communications workshop featuring journalists Seema Yasmin and Allison Shelley. Register

McSally alleges sex abuse by high-school track coach

Rep. Martha McSally was sexually abused by her track coach while was a 17-year-old high school student, the Republican congresswoman said in a report published Monday. The coach denied the accusations, telling the Wall Street Journal that McSally is "scheming."

Meant to Bean: How Lee Wallace brewed up the deal to buy Peace Coffee

Peace Coffee, one of the Twin Cities best known local coffee brands, is undergoing an ownership change.The brand's current CEO Lee Wallace, along with a partner, is purchasing the company from its nonprofit owner, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) and Wallace spoke to TCB about the making of the deal.The IATP launched Peace Coffee in 1996 as a wholesale company that sourced and sold its coffee in accordance with principles of sustainability, fair trade, organic ingredients and local thinking. In need of an interim leader for Peace in 2006, the IATP hired Wallace, whose work as a consultant reflected those same principles.“[It was at] a time when other people weren't really focusing as much as people do now on the idea that you can use business practices to raise money to fund a mission – there's that intersection between mission and money,” Wallace told TCB. “I was one of the few people in town at the time doing that.”The hiring was meant to be temporary, but Wallace said she fell in love with the company and the people who worked there. They hired her as a permanent fixture in June of 2017.According to Wallace, it was the IATP that made the decision to sell Peace Coffee. The reason, she believed, was the coffee company had grown to a size potentially to laborious for the nonprofit to manage.In 2017 alone, Peace Coffee purchased over 860,000 pounds of organic, fair trade coffee from 25 farmer cooperatives and roasted over 700,000 pounds of coffee.

Med Board Fines Newtown Psychiatrist, Ansonia Doctor

The state Medical Examining Board on Tuesday disciplined three doctors, including fining a Newtown psychiatrist $15,000 for submitting false insurance claims.
In 2016, the doctor, Naimetulla Syed, paid $422,641 to resolve allegations that he submitted false claims to Medicare and Medicaid between 2009 and 2013, state and federal officials said in a news release at the time. An investigation revealed that he used a code for psychotherapy sessions lasting 45 to 50 minutes when in most cases, he only saw the patients for five to 30 minutes, the release said. The medical board also placed Syed's medical license on probation for a year in connection with the false claims. Syed, who also has an office in Glastonbury, must complete courses in medical documentation. The state Department of Social Services had audited 100 of Syed's patient charts and found that each chart lacked a treatment plan, according to a consent order cover sheet. Of those, 65 charts lacked basic patient demographic information and Syed's signature.

Medals by Monarch: San Antonio’s Tiny Trophies of Fiesta

Monarch trophy starts the process of creating Fiesta medals in July every year, working continuously through the annual Fiesta season. The post Medals by Monarch: San Antonio's Tiny Trophies of Fiesta appeared first on Rivard Report.

Medical Cannabis Patients Are Being Pushed Into the Black Market

Point Loma Patient Consumer Cooperative dispensary manager Matt Freeman shows off products. / Photo by Jamie Scott Lytle
As of Jan. 1, adult-use cannabis sales have been legal in San Diego, and many visitors have traveled long distances to witness the inside of an above-ground weed store. Business for legal cannabis storefronts is booming and the tourists are smiling; that is definitely a win for San Diego. But there are some very real unintended consequences to these newstate and local adult-use — meaning 21 and up — cannabis laws that continue to cause great concern.

Medical marijuana could ease Wyoming opioid crisis

The biggest controversy over medical marijuana in Wyoming should be why legislators haven't already legalized it. Here's the reason: many of our lawmakers don't understand the issue. They remain blinded by the rhetoric of long ago when marijuana was thought of as a “gateway drug” as harmful as heroin. Those arguments are still made today by Wyoming legislators who rely on thoroughly outdated propaganda and incorrect information to keep medical marijuana illegal. Opponents of marijuana use in the 1960s and 1970s maintained that it did not have any medical benefits, but now we know from scores of scientific studies that their claims were wrong.

Medical marijuana’s ‘Catch-22’: Federal limits on research

While 29 states have legalized marijuana to treat pain and other ailments, a growing number of Americans who use marijuana and the doctors who treat them are caught in the middle of a conflict in federal and state laws — a predicament that is only worsened by thin scientific data.

Medios emergentes en Cuba: desafíos, amenazas y oportunidades

Surgieron entre 2001 y 2017, y ya son 14 los medios que toman relevancia dentro y fuera de la Isla. La mayoría de sus equipos no rebasa una docena de empleados, muchas veces voluntarios. Todos estos medios tienen periodistas que trabajan desde La Habana, pero el 50% tiene oficinas o redacciones en ciudades extranjeras como Miami, Valencia y la Ciudad de México. Abordan un espectro amplio de temas: política, sociedad, medioambiente, economía, tecnología, cultura y deportes. A su vez, la mayoría ha sufrido amenazas o han sido acosados en las redes sociales por perfiles falsos.

Meek Mill’s Release Called Spur to Reform ‘Punitive’ Community Corrections

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court's decision Tuesday to release rapper Meek Mill from prison, where he had been held for the past five months for violating his terms of probation, adds further urgency to the movement to reform the “punitiveness” of the state's mass supervision system, says reform advocate Vincent Schiraldi. “Although the High Court's action should be applauded, 296,000 people are still on probation and parole in Pennsylvania—almost the population of Pittsburgh,” Schiraldi, a former probation commissioner in New York City who now co-directs the Columbia University Justice Lab. “They were filling Pennsylvania's jails and prisons yesterday, and will continue to do so tomorrow and the day after that, until policymakers reduce the size and punitiveness of mass supervision in Pennsylvania.”
The jailing of Mill, 30, spurred a massive protest after a judge revoked his probation last November for “technical violations” that included testing positive for drug use, new arrests for low-level crimes (one for popping a “wheelie” on a dirtbike and one for a fight), and failure to abide by travel restrictions. He had no new criminal conviction. His release coincides with a new Justice Lab report which found that Pennsylvania has the nation's third-highest combined rate of community supervision (probation and parole).

Meet a top New York state policymaker working to integrate the state’s severely segregated schools

Growing up in Brooklyn, Regent Judith Johnson vividly remembers being the only student of color in many of her classes. She was selected for gifted programs, which meant exposure to different students and new opportunities throughout her schooling experience. Meanwhile, she watched most of her African-American peers fall farther and farther behind. “I get to move into the quote American middle class. My African-American friends did not,” Johnson said in a recent interview with Chalkbeat.

Meet Aurora’s new chief academic officer, whose plans include more training for principals

Andre Wright has a sizeable task ahead: Help all of Aurora's schools improve their academics. The district's new chief academic officer, Wright was appointed this month by superintendent Rico Munn. He's not brand-new to the job, having served in in interim basis since September. And he's familiar with the community, too, having previously overseen several schools, including Hinkley High School and East Middle School, as one of the district's learning directors. But it's still a time of uncertainty for Aurora, where school officials are trying to increase the district's academic momentum.

Meet Patrick McAlister, the policy wonk in charge of the mayor’s education agenda

For six months, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett has been searching for someone to manage his primary education responsibility — overseeing most of the city's charter schools and shaping the district-charter partnerships that are a nationwide model. This week, seasoned Indiana education policy director Patrick McAlister joined Hogsett's team to do just that. He is the former policy director for the Indiana Department of Education and TeachPlus, a teacher leadership program, and a former member of Teach for America. As the director of the Office of Education Innovation, McAlister will be in charge of monitoring and holding accountable the 35 mayor-sponsored charter schools, several of which partner with Indianapolis Public Schools as innovation schools. He'll also lead any city plans to improve education.

Meet the ‘Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’ of birds – in Forest Park

Millions of people visit St. Louis' Forest Park every year. But the park is home to two very special owls that naturalist Mark Glenshaw has named Charles and Sarah.“There's connecting with nature in general and then connecting with these great horned owls,” Mark Glenshaw told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Thursday. “They are beautiful animals.

Meet the journalist who’s ‘like a dog with a bone’ on The Denver Post’s hedge-fund owner

In the midst of a savage season of unrelenting newsroom layoffs around the country, including in Denver, one investigative journalist has found an unconventional outlet for focused reporting on the carnage. Julie Reynolds, a freelance reporter in the Monterey Bay area and a Center for Investigative Reporting alum, has been cranking out stories, not for a newspaper, but instead for the online site #NewsMatters— a project of the News Guild-Communications Workers of America labor union. For months, her beat has been the financial dealings and impact of a secretive New York City hedge fund called Alden Global Capital that controls Digital First Media— nation's second-largest newspaper chain. DFM has lately been responsible for a massive new hemorrhage of job cuts at its newspapers. In February, the Bay Area News Group saw two dozen journalists and support staff get the ax.

Meet the man behind MSP Votes, the world’s greatest Twin Cities voter guide

Peter Callaghan

Sure, it's a cliche and all, but for Ryan Johnson necessity did breed invention.Johnson is the guy who built and maintains MSP Votes, a data-driven guide to elections created last spring to track the Minneapolis municipal election, and which is now looking to do the same with local races on the ballot this year. “It arrived accidentally and slowly,” he says of the site. “I'd been working on this on the side, on and off. It was like, ‘Okay, let's put some data in this.'”Last year, MSP Votes eventually came to feature vast amounts of data on both the Minneapolis and St. Paul municipal elections: endorsements, forums, contributors and donations, much of it cross-referenced.

Meet the new stink bug afflicting crops — and overrunning homes — across U.S.

Ron Meador

First of two partsIf I were a screenwriter aiming for a horror/fantasy blockbuster, I'd pass on an 8-foot-tall amphibious biped from the Amazon who possesses razor claws, a glowing hide, and the godlike powers to read humans' minds and heal their lethal wounds.Ditto the progressive-seeming white family in a modern-day suburban plantation, wherein they ensnare and enslave young African-American men via unspeakable surgeries. I mean, how could you build a plausible plot on such far-fetched main characters?Better to center on, say, a mass of insect invaders — bugs ­­— because most everything about them is not only inherently scary to the average filmgoer, but also mysterious (including the difference between insects and bugs).Pick a six-legged alien that's large enough to inspire fear, but small enough to infiltrate wherever it pleases, undetected until it's too late. They'd be relentless, resistant to insecticide and — hey! — able to foul attacking humans with a skunk-like stench if captured or crushed.The script could bring them out of the fields and into homes, through the tiniest cracks, to gather by the hundreds on drapes and bedding, hiding in cookpots, behind paintings, burrowed into books, shoes, socks, underwear ….Just one problem. This “Invasion of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug” would have to be a documentary.

Meet the Startup Fighting for the Future of Russian Media

A New Russian Voice: Homepage of The Bell
Two important news stories emerged in December on a topic that most mainstream Western media outlets have been reporting in minute detail for months: how Russia tried to influence the 2016 presidential elections in the United States. One article alleged four men arrested on treason charges in Moscow in late 2016 passed information to the US about hacking – in other words, it identified possible high-level human assets controlled by US intelligence agencies at the heart of Kremlin cyber-operations. A second article a few days later brought to light the case of Konstantin Kozlovsky, an alleged Russian cyber-criminal who claimed in court he hacked the US elections. The reporting caused a flurry of interest in both Moscow and Washington and was picked up by dozens of media outlets. But the two articles were not the work of a powerful US television network or an established Russian media outlet with high-level sources.

Meet the winners of the 2018 Goldman Environmental Prize

The Goldman Environmental Prize, the world's most prestigious award for grassroots environmental activism, has announced seven winners this year. Six of the winners are women. Dubbed the Green Nobel Prize, the annual award honors grassroots environmental heroes from Europe, Asia, North America, Central and South America, Africa, and islands and island nations. This year's winners include activists who built a coalition to stop the South African government's “secret” $76 billion nuclear deal with Russia; a former journalist and filmmaker whose advocacy campaign resulted in a European Union-wide ban on deep-sea bottom trawling; a leader of the Afro-Colombian community who helped stop illegal gold mining; an activist who helped support Vietnam's transition to more renewable and sustainable energy solutions; a stay-at-home mom who exposed the Flint water crisis in the U.S.; and an environmental activist whose advocacy campaign was instrumental in helping enact lead-safe paint regulations in the Philippines. The winners will be awarded the prize at the San Francisco Opera House in California, U.S., on April 23.

Melanie Stultz-Backus: Dorothy Canfield Fisher’s imperfect pitch

Editor's note: This commentary is by Melanie Stultz-Backus, a retired high school teacher who was born in Burlington and lives in Bristol. Among Dorothy Canfield Fisher's many accomplishments was her fluency in five languages, yet she might have heeded the reflections of her reputed namesake from George Eliot's “Middlemarch,” Dorothea Brooke: “I don't feel sure about doing good in any way now: everything seems like going on a mission to a people whose language I don't know.” Canfield Fisher's ostensible linguistic aptitude masks a flaw: her well-intentioned efforts to reform society were marred by a conviction that her conception of Yankee culture should be pre-eminent. Born in Lawrence, Kansas, in 1879 and brought up in the then-hinterlands of Midwestern academia, she followed an ambitious road towards sophisticated scholarship in the East and in Europe. When she and her husband chose to settle in Vermont, her romantic reclamation of her forebears' ancestral home shows her susceptibility to sentimentality in equal measure with her adoption of progressive values. She memorialized the spare, taciturn, thrifty, hard-working and emotionally reticent Vermont character.

Melissa Bauer comes home for Fisher House benefit concerts

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 13, 2012 - It's been an interesting - and eclectic - musical journey for St. Louis native Melissa Bauer. She began performing at the Muny Opera at age 4.

Members of Congress to EPA: Act now on deadly chemical

South Carolina's two U.S. senators and one of its congressmen are urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to stop delaying a decision to largely ban a toxic chemical in paint removers — calling the proposal an “urgent matter” after the death of a constituent last year. The letter, sent to the EPA last week and made public today by consumer advocacy groups, was signed by U.S. Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott and U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford, all Republicans. The lawmakers expressed alarm that more than 50 people have died since the 1980s while using the chemical methylene chloride, a fact uncovered by the Center for Public Integrity in a 2015 investigation. More have died in the two-and-a-half years since then, including Drew Wynne, 31, a small business owner in Charleston, S.C.

“Given the apparent danger of this chemical, we urge the [EPA] Secretary to immediately and fully address the already identified risks of methylene chloride … and prevent any further harm from coming to the American public,” the three members of Congress said in the letter.

Members of The Hive to discuss alternatives to 911, April 20

News Release — The Hive
April 12, 2018
Jennifer Ansart
Brattleboro – On Friday, April 20, 12:30 pm, members of The Hive, a grassroots mutual support network dedicated to creating spaces for people to support each other to survive and thrive outside of systems and services, will discuss alternatives to calling 911 when handling emotional and mental distress. This is part 1 of a 2-part program being held at Inclusion Center. The Hive grew out of a community dialogue in February 2014 as people got together to discuss how they could make peer-to-peer support accessible to people in the Brattleboro area. The Hive is not a non-profit organization, does not have defined membership and will always be free. Please join Inclusion Center for this discussion and to hear about The Hive and its activities.

Memphis district’s first academic plan since 2013 is out for review. Take a look

A huge academic plan that's meant to “reset” Tennessee's largest school district is out for review. District leaders on Tuesday gave Shelby County Schools board members a first copy of an academic blueprint that's been shepherded by Sharon Griffin, who was named chief of schools last year. The plan is the first for the Memphis district since the 2013 merger of city and county schools, and its goal is to get the district on track to reach its Destination 2025 goals, an ambitious plan introduced in 2015. (We have included a full copy of the draft of the academic plan at the bottom of this article). “This is a kind of reset for the district,” Griffin said.

Memphis school board discusses dropping TNReady scores from teacher decisions after testing failures

School board members in Memphis on Tuesday evening expressed their outrage after a second day of state testing failures, with calls ranging from creating a local version of the high-stakes exam to not using TNReady scores in evaluations of teachers in the district. “If the state can't be of assistance to us in that process,” of teacher evaluations, board chairwoman Shante Avant said, “I don't think they need to be a part of the process.”
Board member Teresa Jones said Shelby County Schools ought to look to alternative measures to evaluate teachers. “I don't think we can make human capital decisions and have evaluations until we have a test that is actually functioning at a level that we can trust,” Jones said. The board did not vote on changing teacher evaluations. The angry declarations came after two days of glitches in state testing in Tennessee — first with login problems and then what the state called a “deliberate attack” on its testing vendor's data center.

Memphis school segregation worse than 50 years ago

Schools in Memphis have become increasingly more segregated over the last 50 years, according to a Chalkbeat analysis. A little more than half of Memphis schools are highly segregated, in which 90 percent or more of students are black. That's up from about 40 percent in 1971 when a Memphis judge used those statistics to call for a plan to end school segregation. Add in Hispanic children, whose share of the student population has dramatically increased since then, and more than 80 percent of schools are highly segregated. Share of highly segregated Memphis schools
Note: The racial demographic data of Memphis schools comes from the Tennessee Department of Education for Shelby County Schools and Achievement School District for the 2016-17 school year.