Vermont House passes protective wetlands bill

first_imgThe Vermont House gave final approval April 15 to legislation that will significantly increase the number of wetlands nature s water filters that will be protected under Vermont law.The bill, H.447, will require inaccurate state wetlands maps to be updated and also mandate better protections for wetlands. This legislation shows what Vermonters with widely divergent interests can accomplish when they sit down, roll up their sleeves and focus on what s good for Vermont s natural resources over the long haul, said Kim Greenwood, staff scientist for the Vermont Natural Resources Council. All parties here have made compromises for the greater good of improving the regulation of our wetlands, Greenwood said.At the urging of legislative environmental leaders, in 2006 the state Water Resources Panel brought a broad group together to address issues of wetland classification in Vermont as a result of a Vermont Supreme Court decision relating to VNRC s effort to reclassify the Lake Bomoseen wetland. VNRC saw the court decision as an opportunity to correct a deficiency in Vermont s wetland protection laws that left many wetlands unprotected simply because they were not included on state wetland maps.More than a dozen groups including VNRC, the Vermont Realtors Association, other business groups, the Agency of Natural Resources, Agency of Agriculture utilities, and others, spent three years hearing testimony on the issue and negotiating a solution to improve protection for Vermont s wetlands. VNRC was the only environmental group involved in a two-year negotiating process that led to the bill.Specifically, the bill that passed the House:Authorizes ANR to update the Vermont wetland maps with information it has accumulated in recent years, including using wetlands maps that towns have created.Allows ANR on its own or at the request of a citizen to protect unmapped wetlands as they are identified in the fieldRequires the state to update the rules to require more protection for wetlands that are not on the maps but are similar in size or type to those that do appear on the maps, the protection of vernal pools for the first time ever in Vermont, and better guidance for landowners in locating wetlands.The bill should now head to the Senate, and then to the Governor s desk.Currently, Vermont regulates wetlands that appear on federal maps, known as Vermont Significant Wetlands inventory maps. The problem has been that those maps are outdated. Up to one-third of important wetlands are not shown on those maps and up to seven percent of the areas mapped as wetlands are not, in fact, significant wetlands. Consequently, people using the maps are making decisions based on inaccurate information.Between 35 and 50 percent of the wetlands that existed in Vermont before European settlement have been lost or severely damaged due to draining, dredging, and filling for development and agriculture.Wetlands filter Vermont s drinking water, help control floods, comb out polluting sediment from water flowing into our streams, and provide wildlife habitat, among other benefits.last_img read more

From gangster to guardian: How a bullet led one man from the streets of NY to law school

first_img From gangster to guardian How a bullet led one man from the streets of NY to law school Associate Editor It’s hard to think of Azim Ramelize as paralyzed, the way he maneuvers up the courthouse steps on his crutches lickety-split.And there’s no stopping his passion to speak up for children, his voice rising to make a point as a member of the Bar’s Commission on the Legal Needs of Children. He knows the whole court system, drawing on his experiences as an assistant state attorney, assistant public defender, and now as assistant general counsel at the Department of Juvenile Justice in Davie — oh, yes, and as a member of a gang playing out the high drama of gunfire and bloodshed on the streets of Brooklyn’s Crown Heights.The story behind his crutches is a wrenching, life-changing event that happened on his 17th birthday. Originally from Trinidad, he was a member of a gang called the Jolly Stompers, and they were as close as family. In a tough neighborhood where it was commonplace to get held up for grocery money or go to school with a coat and come home in shirt sleeves, the gang members learned young to arm themselves with guns, knives, or brass knuckles.On this fateful night, Ramelize was defenseless when he was shot in the back, the bullet chipping a bone that splintered into his spinal cord, leaving him bleeding on a street grate in front of a store.“I saw the life falling out of me,” he said, describing how his whole young life flashed before him, swirling around like the lights in a patrol car siren, beginning with the image of him as a baby in a crib.“And I said, ‘Oh, God, I’m dead.’ Then something inside of me said: ‘You’ve got to fight.’”And fight he did — during a whole year of recovery in the hospital, where gang members visited him every day. Another gunshot victim, an older man in the next bed, had such a bedsore he had to drive his wheelchair on his stomach.Another patient named Pearl had both legs amputated and inspired him when she said: “You give out, but never give up.”Young Ramelize — known on the street at Bud — thought: “Here I am running the street and playing gangster and people are just suffering. I was throwing it away. When I get out of the hospital, I’m not looking back, and I’m going to do something with my life.”Borough Manhattan Community College, he said, was “the place I realized I had a brain.” From there, he went to Cornell University, where a special American history professor, Nick Salvatore, had him write a paper every week just to catch up on his reading and writing skills.More than once, Ramilize told Salvatore that in an odd way, getting shot was the positive turning point in his life. If he hadn’t been shot, Ramelize still says matter-of-factly: “I would be dead or in prison.” And many times, the student taught the teacher about finding the source of strength inside.“Azim was one of the first non-playing blues musicians I ever met in my life,” said Salvatore. “What he’s able to do without being Pollyanna, he is able to find transcendence in the midst of the pain. He doesn’t deny the pain. The crutches are real. It is not denial, but understanding, and insistence on going beyond. That’s the essence of the blues.”Ramelize went beyond graduating from Cornell to getting his law degree from Loyola University in 1990.“What drove him to the law was his own experience,” Salvatore said. “He can be a very passionate advocate and also has a stern understanding that when you mess up, there are consequences. He doesn’t fit into pigeonholes.”Society is too quick to label children, those who will succeed and those who won’t, Ramelize said, shaking his head when he recalls the rehabilitation counselor who urged him to just settle for a trade, like learning to fix watches.Whenever he has a chance, he tells kids, including his own 8-year-old son, Malik: “Never give up on your dream.”What he tells lawyers and judges and anyone else who will listen: “One place you can make a difference in people’s lives is in juvenile court. Really, if you want to change a person, you have to start young.”Yet, he said sadly, “A lot of lawyers say, ‘I don’t want to practice in kiddy court. Don’t waste my time.’”In his office, filled with black history artwork and drawings given as gifts by clients, he keeps the words of federal Judge Learned Hand: “If we are to keep our democracy, there must be one commandment: Thou shalt not ration justice.”“In juvenile court, there is a lot of rationing of justice going on,” Ramelize said. “I see so many judges with ‘robitis’ — they put on a robe and that’s it.”That reminds him of the words of social worker Alice Miller, who said, “The truth of our childhood is stored in our bodies. You can drug it, deny it, but some day the body will present its bill.”“That’s the way we treat kids,” Ramelize said. “If we store good things in their bodies — like education — good things will come out.”His boss, DJJ General Counsel Robert Sechen, said: “Azim has enough energy to light a small city. When he’s focusing his energy, he’s phenomenal. Azim brings a toughness and energy into play into everything he does. I think Azim would be a very rich plaintiff’s or defense lawyer for tort cases, if he chose to, because he would stand in front of a jury and they would be totally attentive to him. But he chooses to work with us and kids, and that’s a nice thing.”In his spare time, Ramelize is working on a book about his gang days. The first chapter will be about his nephew, shot 17 times — one bullet for every year of life cut short by violence.“I tried to tell him, ‘You’re wasting your life.’ He didn’t listen. His pain brought back my pain,” Ramelize said.Researching his book has kept him in touch with some of the boys in the ’hood.Cornel Reid, 43, was a member of the Jolly Stompers gang — known as “Sweet.” Shot in the neck in 1988, he’s a quadriplegic.“I tell Azim all of the time: ‘You are my role model.’ I know Bud is out there trying hard, so I have to try hard. I don’t want him to think I’m a punk.”He got his GED and certificate in computer training,“Now, I’m working with kids. I do a lot of counseling and I have a basketball team here on Long Island,” Reid said.Another member of the Jolly Stompers who made it out alive is Richard Jones, an award-winning chief engineer at Grubb & Ellis in Sunrise, Florida.“I’m surprised that Azim is a lawyer today not because I didn’t think Azim had the potential,” Jones said. “I’m surprised because in those days our life expectancy was 25.”After Ramelize was shot, Jones said, it triggered a lot of shootings in the neighborhood.“There were many funerals after that. What wasn’t witnessed as a funeral was substituted as a jail term. To this day, it surprises me that somehow he and I avoided that,” Jones said.“Every time I look at Bud — I still call him Bud — I know how serious it was. I have a few stitches on my arm. Bud says to me one day, ‘You know, you are the dream of our entire gang. You’re the lucky one.’ I said, ‘You’re the one who’s the state attorney. And you call me lucky?’“And his next comment shut me up forever: ‘Yeah, but I’m on crutches.’”What Reid said he and Ramelize learned from the streets were tenacity and courage.What Ramelize learned from his own mistakes was to summon that inner strength to make his mark — and it’s a mark that speaks for justice and hope for every child. From gangster to guardian: How a bullet led one man from the streets of NY to law school May 1, 2002 Jan Pudlow Associate Editor Regular Newslast_img read more

Long Island Chick-fil-A to Open October 7

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Chick-fil-A, the controversial Atlanta-based chain of fast-food chicken restaurants, plans to open its first Long Island location in Port Jefferson Station on Oct. 7, the company said in a statement Tuesday.The first 100 local customers over 18 years old  will win a “year’s supply of Chick-fil-A” in the form of 52 certificates for free meals, plus other giveaways. The fast-food line officially forms at 6 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 6—24 hours before the grand opening.“Personalized customer service and freshly prepared food have been the hallmarks of Chick-fil-A since the day founder Truett Cathy opened his first restaurant,” said Stan Abrahamsen, local franchise owner of the location at 5184 Nesconset Highway. “My team members and I are committed to those same ideals.”The store, which features a double drive-thru, is scheduled to be open 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Saturday. Its dining room has seating for 126 customers and its parking lot can hold about 130 vehicles. It will create about 80 new full-and part-time jobs, with hiring underway.Brookhaven town officials had approved the location on the site of a former auto dealership. Local gay rights activists have protested the move on the grounds that Chick-fil-A’s founder has publicly opposed marriage equality. Company officials have said it’s expected to be the first of many Long Island Chick-fil-As.The restaurant will be one of more than 1,900 in 42 states, with the closest current location at New York University in Manhattan. Three years ago, Cathy said in an interview that he opposes gay marriage—a statement that sparked protests nationwide and highlighted his donations to groups sympathetic to that position.“Chick-fil-A has a long history of being taken to task for its donations,” David Kilmnick, CEO of the Long Island GLBT Services Network, had told Brookhaven officials during a 2013 public hearing on the planned LI location, which Kilmnick opposes.Cathy, who has made no secret of incorporating Christian values into his eatery—it’s closed on Sunday, so workers can attend church, for example—later expressed regret that his sandwiches had become a symbol of the gay marriage debate.At the public hearing for the LI location, a company representative tried to appease the critics who spoke out against Chick-fil-A, known for their cow mascots urging patrons to “Eat Mor Chikn”“We’re not anti-anyone,” said Scott Thigpen, Chick-fil-A’s director of restaurant development, at the hearing in Brookhaven. “We’re literally here to serve everyone with honor, dignity and respect. It doesn’t matter about their race, creed, sexual orientation.”last_img read more

Malvertizing threats infect the web: KnowBe4

first_imgThe Clearwater, Fla.-based security firm KnowBe4 has warned of new breed of ransomware disguised as online advertisements. The phenomenon, dubbed “malvertizing,” involves hackers who load poisoned ads onto Adspirit.de, a publishing network employed by websites such as Drudgereport.com and wunderground.com.The malware-laced ads redirect to a Microsoft Azure website. Malvertizing has apparently spread to eBay, Yahoo and AOL.com – sites visited by millions of users – according to security researchers at MalwareBytes and SC Magazine.KnowBe4 CEO Stu Sjouwerman said, “The same cybercrime lowlifes that infected the Yahoo website a few weeks ago have struck again, and were serving poisoned web ads which either dropped CryptoWall ransomware or infected the PC with adware.” continue reading » 9SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Best customer experience in banking blends digital with human touch

first_imgPeople frequently beef that you can order almost anything in the world on Amazon, but you can’t have a conversation with a real human being at the ecommerce giant. The inability to easily talk to a person is a flaw shared by many financial institutions’ websites, according to Alyson Clarke, Principal Analyst at Forrester.“You can’t find a phone number anywhere,” says Clarke of the typical financial institution site. “The avenue of help is hidden. It’s kind of gone away.” Too often, the push is towards self-service.This is important because for both full-service and online-only banking institutions the ability to make an emotional connection with an employee is critical for maintaining an ongoing relationship, according to a research report by Clarke and August du Pont, Researcher at Forrester.But Amazon does something many financial institutions haven’t mastered, or do at all: solid chat. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading »last_img read more

Human case of avian flu reported in Vietnam

first_imgDec 30, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – A 16-year-old girl in southern Vietnam is seriously ill with H5N1 avian influenza, according to reports from the World Health Organization (WHO) and news services today.The WHO said it had received informal reports of a laboratory-confirmed case of H5N1 avian flu in the girl, who is from Tay Ninh province. Hers is the 28th human case in Vietnam this year, the agency said. Twenty of those cases have been fatal. Another 17 cases, 12 of them fatal, have occurred in Thailand.Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported that the girl was in critical condition with respiratory failure at the Hospital of Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City. An unnamed doctor was quoted as saying the girl might have contracted the virus when she killed a chicken and prepared it for cooking. He said there was no evidence of infection in other members of the girl’s family.Tran Tinh Hien, deputy director of the hospital, said the girl was on a respirator but in stable condition, according to a Reuters report. The WHO said the patient was hospitalized Dec 26.Vietnam has reported poultry outbreaks of avian flu in six southern provinces in the past month, but Tay Ninh was not listed as one of them.”As avian influenza viruses become more active at cooler temperatures, further poultry outbreaks, possibly accompanied by sporadic human cases, can be anticipated,” the WHO said. “Poultry marketing, transportation, and consumption increase in Viet Nam with the approach of the lunar New Year in early February. These activities create conditions favouring the spread of poultry outbreaks and call for heightened control measures.”The WHO said today’s report marks the first human case of avian flu in Vietnam since early September.All but one of the human cases this year are believed to have resulted from exposure to sick poultry rather than from person-to-person transmission. The WHO and many disease experts fear that the H5N1 virus could trigger a human flu pandemic if it evolved into a form that could readily spread from person to person.See also:Dec 30 WHO statementhttp://www.who.int/csr/don/2004_12_30/en/last_img read more

HHS issues guide for using call centers in emergencies

first_imgNov 8, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently released a guide to help communities retool their health-related call centers into systems for meeting the needs of the public in homes or shelters during emergencies such as a pandemic or bioterrorist attack.Published by the HHS Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the 224-page guide is aimed at boosting the capabilities of poison-control centers, nurse advice lines, drug information centers, and health agency hotlines. It focuses on four main scenarios: anthrax attacks, pandemic influenza, plague, and food contamination.”Community call centers have long been a credible source that people can turn to for health information,” said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, MD, in an Oct 26 press release from the agency. “Leveraging these existing resources will allow clinics, outpatient departments, and emergency departments to devote their attention to caring for those in most need of help.”The report was developed for the AHRQ by Denver Health, a member of the agency’s Accelerating Change and Transformation in Organizations and Networks (ACTION) project, the press release said. A national advisory panel of experts in emergency call center services, public health, preparedness planning, and other fields helped draft the guidance.Few resources exist to guide the development of emergency call centers, the report says. However, the authors were able to draw from published reports on the experiences of officials in Toronto and Taiwan during the SARS epidemic.Guidance in the report assumes that the community infrastructure would remain intact so that call centers would be operable. Though the document doesn’t address absenteeism among call-center workers, it covers features, such as interactive response systems, that might reduce the number of employees needed to staff the centers.For communities that have little healthcare call-center capacity, the authors offer suggestions on how to enlist the help of local corporate call-center systems.The report focuses on six response capabilities:Health information to augment risk communications and alleviate the burden on the healthcare system; call centers could direct callers toward medication- or vaccine-dispensing locations and answer frequently asked questionsDisease or injury surveillance to help health officials identify emerging health threatsTriage or decision support to reduce unnecessary hospital visits and reduce costsQuarantine and isolation support to those self-treating or receiving medical care in their homesOutpatient drug information and adverse-event reportingMental health assistance and referralAuthors of the report also developed a tool set to enable public health officials to assess the call-center demand they would face during a public health crisis and what resources they would need to meet it. The set includes checklists and Microsoft Excel worksheets.See also:Oct 26 AHRQ press releasehttp://archive.ahrq.gov/news/press/pr2007/callctrpr.htmAHRQ report on adapting call centers for crisis supporthttp://archive.ahrq.gov/prep/callcenters/last_img read more

Vice squad: East Java Police officers reported for marital infidelity

first_imgA top official at the National Police’s internal affairs division revealed that a large number of East Java Police officers had been reported for marital infidelity.Sr. Comr. Budi P. said that the East Java Police had recorded the highest number of infidelity cases in the country. “At the National Police headquarters [in Jakarta], the East Java Police are famous for the many officers that are unfaithful,” the official said on Tuesday on the sidelines of a visit to the Probolinggo police department headquarters, as quoted by kompas.com. “After we checked the data, it turned out that it was true; East Java has the highest number of police infidelity cases in Indonesia.” Budi did not say exactly how many cases of police infidelity had been reported in the province.He said that police departments in almost every regency and municipality in East Java had reported cases of adultery. “We have passed through Madiun, Kediri, Blitar and Malang, and all them have [cases of police marital infidelity],” he said.He warned that those caught could be dishonorably discharged from the institution, “especially if they are cheating with policewomen, police officers’ wives, or civil servants”.  Sex between a married person and a person who is not his or her legal spouse is outlawed under the current Criminal Code and carries a maximum sentence of eight months of imprisonment. The law, however, also only allows the husband or wife who has been cheated on to report the crime. A revised version of the Code, currently being deliberated by the House of Representatives, would outlaw all forms of sex outside marriage, including consensual sex between two unmarried people. (vny)Topics :last_img read more

Canada contracts with Novavax for 76 million vaccine doses for 2021

first_imgThe deal comes as the US government granted Novavax US$1.6 billion to help fund development and manufacture of the vaccine, giving the US priority for the first 100 million doses.Maryland-based biotech Novavax has already signed partnership or vaccine delivery agreements with Britain, Japan and India.Canada, meanwhile, has also concluded agreements with Pfizer and Moderna for deliveries of millions of doses of their experimental vaccines, now in Phase 3 trials — among the most advanced.Early tests showed Novavax’s vaccine candidate was “generally well-tolerated” and elicited a “robust antibody responses,” Novavax said. The Canadian government announced Monday a deal with American biotech firm Novavax for 76 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine in development, if it proves to be effective against the new coronavirus.The NVX-CoV2373 vaccine candidate, which is currently in Phase 2 clinical trials to evaluate its safety and immunogenicity, could be delivered in the second quarter of 2021, Ottawa and the company said in a joint statement.Procurement Minister Anita Anand said the deal “will give Canadians access to a promising COVID-19 vaccine candidate.” “We are moving forward with clinical development of NVX-CoV2373 with a strong sense of urgency in our quest to deliver a vaccine to protect the world,” said company president Stanley Erck.As of Monday, Canada reported nearly 128,000 cases of Covid-19 and some 9,150 deaths.center_img Topics :last_img read more

PREMIUMWhat recession means for you and the economy

first_imgLog in with your social account Forgot Password ? recession economy COVID-19 contraction unemployment household-consumption The Indonesian economy is set to enter its first recession since the 1998 Asian financial crisis, bringing two decades of economic expansion to an end as the coronavirus pandemic has caused a sharp economic slowdown, throwing millions into poverty and out of jobs.Economists define a recession as contractions in two consecutive quarters, marking a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy.   This means there are fewer jobs, people are earning and spending less and businesses have stopped expanding or even shut down.Individuals and businesses in tourism, transportation, accommodation and food and beverage may be feeling the greatest pinch as Statistics Indonesia (BPS) data show that they were the worst-performing sectors in the second quarter this year.The transportation and warehouse sectors contracted 30.8 percent from a year ago as… Facebook LOG INDon’t have an account? Register here Google Topics : Linkedinlast_img read more