Month: July 2019 Page 1 of 7

Historic building weathers grocery owner former Facebook exec

first_img 0% After years of disrepair and neglect, a historic building at 18th and Mission streets is in the process of trading ownership from a former Facebook executive to a commercial developer. Once a hub of the Mission’s Miracle Mile, the building may now become a dialysis center.Mike Conn, senior vice president of Meridian Property Company, a commercial developer based in San Ramon, confirmed his company is in negotiations to purchase the property, which has been empty for more than ten years.“We are in escrow to purchase the property,” Conn wrote in an email, referring to the step before a final closing.Constructed in 1911, the building at 2205 Mission Street housed appliance and furniture stores during the heyday of the commercial district known as the Mission Mile that bustled along Mission Street in the 1950s. A dialysis clinic now has plans to move in.  This is the story of how two  earlier owners failed to accomplish the plans they envisioned for 2205 Mission St. Tags: Business • construction • development • mission street Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%center_img Conn, who has met with the Department of Building Inspection and the Historic Preservation staff at San Francisco Department of Planning, has no illusions about the process ahead. He gave no date for work to begin on the building, stressing that Meridian has “a long approval process with the City, the community, and our Tenant.”A medical clinic will be the third proposed use for this building. Two previous uses – an organic grocery store and a vegan restaurant and brewery – were proposed by the building’s last two owners – first the grocery store owner Guadalupe Hernandez, and later an LLC involving Owen Van Natta, a former chief operating officer of Facebook.But after seven years of troubled property management and intermittent construction, the damaged building remains empty as complaints and violations pile up.“I don’t know what’s happening over there. But it doesn’t look good,” said Howard Ngo, whose grocery store Duc Loi sits directly across the street from the building.Ngo purchased his property in 1991. It was a mess: needles, trash and feces were everywhere, Ngo said. He and his wife Amanda cleaned it up and opened a produce market, later adding a 28-unit apartment building.Ngo said that the owner of the property at 2205 came in to seek his support a few years back.“I asked him if he’d done this kind of thing before and he said no,” said Ngo. “He was a tall guy. Nice. But I haven’t seen him since. I tried to get in touch with him, to ask what was happening, but got no response.”Van Natta owns multiple properties in the Mission District, including 2205 Mission Street, which is managed by Tom Van Loben Sels.Sels is a founding partner of Apercen Partners LLC, a tax-consulting and wealth management firm in Palo Alto. Requests for an interview sent to 2205 Mission Street LLC went unanswered as did attempts to reach Van Natta.Mismanagement of the historic building, however, started before Van Natta purchased it. In 2010, Hernandez, who owns other grocery stores, purchased the building, formerly the 99-cent Depot store, and filed a permit to open an organic grocery store. In the application he described the building as having a stucco exterior.Department of Building Inspection staff called that description “misleading,” according to a Department of Inspections document.  It obscured the existence of historic tiles, which had been put on in 1937. The tiles had been painted over by the building’s previous owners in the years before the building achieved historic status.In a 2010 application to put the neighborhood on the National Historic Registry, the city writes: “Among the most impressive examples of Modernist architecture were the Streamline Moderne remodel of the older commercial building at 2205 Mission Street with iron enamel panels, rounded corners, and a marquee/tower sign.”That same year, neighboring merchants filed a complaint with the building inspection department, which found that the building was listed on the city’s roster of historic buildings and issued a violation notice to Hernandez, stopping all work on the building and ordering that he restore the original exterior. This restoration never happened.In February of 2014, Hernandez sold the building to Van Natta for $5 million and the building’s permits changed to reflect the vision of the new owner. The plan was to make it  the permanent home to Citizen Fox, a “full service brewery and restaurant.”  In a 2016 piece by Lauren Smiley on Mission Street, Van Natta’s broker – and later property manager – Bennett Mason described Van Natta’s vision for his Mission properties:“His idea is a cool thing, contributing to the community and doing something that would make his two daughters proud,” Mason said at the time. But the building’s troubles continued.Between December 2014 to March of this year, four complaints, and three notices of violation were filed against 2205 Mission Street LLC. The complaints came both from Mission Street merchants and the Board of Supervisors. Workers were doing work “in a dangerous manner” that went “beyond the scope of permit,” the complaints alleged.According to the first complaint in December, 2014, workers erected unsafe scaffolding, removed paint from the metal trim on the building, and were dropping “side panels” in an unsafe manner.Building Inspector John Barnes visited the site three times between December 18th and December 29th, halting work on his final visit, and issuing a notice of violation. Barnes issued a second notice in February, 2015. Matters appeared to come to a head in June when Mason appeared at a hearing to explain the lack of progress on the building and lack of compliance with the first notice.In a recording of the hearing, Mason can be heard blaming the planning staff, alleging that “no one at Planning” – presumably the historic preservation staff that he’d been working with for nine months – wanted to sign off on further work. “It’s a quasi-historic building,” he says in a tone of voice clearly indicating sarcasm “as are all buildings in San Francisco. We have to restore it to the way it was in built in the thirties,” he said.Material to restore the exterior was being shipped from Tennessee, he said. In the meantime, he’d directed a worker to remove paint from the metal trim that wrapped around the building. “I didn’t think a permit was required,” Mason said at the hearing, arguing that the historic preservation staff had told him to remove the paint.    When Inspector Barnes visited the site and stopped the work, he says at the hearing, “The painter got in a fight with the inspector. And that’s why we got a notice of violation.”Mason was given 30 days to remedy the violations. Within two months, more complaints were made, one by the Board of Supervisors, and another by an anonymous person who complained about pieces of glass hanging precariously from the second floor and an unsecured entrance on 18th street.The most recent complaint was made last month by city planner Dario Jones, who described the building as an “abandoned and derelict structure.” He noted in his complaint that SF Planning had issued a permit to restore “unauthorized façade work” back in 2015.“Today, the property remains out of compliance,” Jones wrote in the same complaint.  Since then, a third notice of violation has been sent to 2205 Mission Street LLC. At least one more was issued this month for broken windows hanging over the right of way, according to Inspector John Romaidis.In February in 2016, Citizen Fox announced it would not be opening at 18th and Mission as planned, after briefly operating in a smaller location at the other end of the block. Deborah Blum, founder of Citizen Fox and co-owner of several restaurants in San Francisco, noted the glut of restaurants in the Mission – “The restaurant environment in San Francisco is a bit saturated.  Expenses are incredibly high and there is such strong competition,” Blum wrote in an email.Blum also cited dissatisfaction with San Francisco’s Planning Department, stating that she thought the time to secure new permits was “extraordinarily long.” She added that her “boss” – presumably Van Natta owned the building – had decided to sell it.Building inspection records show that two building permits that were never paid for, including one permit in May of 2015 that was filed to comply with the violation notices. According to Joe Duffy, senior building inspector, paying for the permits is the final step in the application process.“You start on the first floor, work your way up and leave through check out,” Duffy told me in his office, “check out” being the Central Permit Bureau. The department sees applications for at least 66,000 permits each year.Accordingly, the Department of Building inspections must operate, at first, on trust.“We have believe that people are going to do the right thing,” Duffy said.It’s unclear why the property has fallen behind on compliance. Money is likely not the issue – Van Natta, a current director at Boku mobile payments, was included in Fortune’s 2011 “Highest Paid Men” list.  The 2205 LLC has paid $2,052.96 in fines, according to city records.One owner who has property nearby and asked for anonymity says Van Natta approached him last year with a request that he sell his property, said the fines weren’t enough to provoke action.“I told him I didn’t want to sell my property. And I don’t really know why he wanted it,” the business owner said. “What is he doing with his own building? It’s just sitting there.”He cited Van Natta’s wealth as a reason for inaction.“A couple of thousand of dollars in fines isn’t going mean anything to that guy. He can just pay the fines and let his building sit there. The rest of us can’t afford to ignore the city,” he said.Both this man and Ngo expressed the same sentiments about working with the city: It’s not that hard. Ngo, who arrived in America in the mid-seventies as a refugee from the war in Vietnam – “I’m a boat person,” he told me proudly – worked with the Planning Department when he bought his property.“I took a lot of risks. But the people in the planning department were very helpful, very nice. I would like to tell the owner of that property that he should work with the planning department. The neighborhood would look better,” Ngo said.The other property owner agreed.“When you get into the business of buying properties on Mission street, you know what you’re getting into. It’s like driving in traffic: You know there’s traffic lights. It’s the same thing with historic buildings.”“I wish this man the best. But I hope he can find a solution,” Ngo told me, adding that he wondered if the owner didn’t have enough money. “My customers have asked me about the building. I don’t have anything to tell them. I don’t know why he lets it sit.”Left, an interior shot. Right, the clock. Photo by Elizabeth CreelyA broken widow. Photo by Elizabeth CreelyOwen Van Natta’s tech hub on Mission St. Photo by Elizabeth Creely last_img read more

SAINTS have announced an unchanged squad for Frida

first_imgSAINTS have announced an unchanged squad for Friday’s First Utility Super League match with Salford Red Devils.Nathan Brown retains the same 19 that was named ahead of last week’s game against Huddersfield.He will choose from:2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Jordan Turner, 6. Lance Hohaia, 7. Luke Walsh, 8. Mose Masoe, 9. James Roby, 10. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 11. Sia Soliola, 12. Jon Wilkin, 15. Mark Flanagan, 17. Paul Wellens, 23. Joe Greenwood, 24. Gary Wheeler, 25. Anthony Walker, 26. Matty Dawson, 27. Greg Richards, 28. Luke Thompson, 29. Jordan Hand, 31. James Tilley.Iestyn Harris will choose his Salford side from:2. Danny Williams, 4. Junior Sa’u, 5. Francis Meli, 6. Rangi Chase, 7. Tim Smith, 8. Adrian Morley, 9. Tommy Lee, 10. Lama Tasi, 11. Tony Puletua, 12. Gareth Hock, 15. Darrell Griffin, 16. Andrew Dixon, 18. Steve Rapira, 19. Matty Ashurst, 21. Jordan Walne, 23. Greg Johnson, 26. Niall Evalds, 35. Logan Tomkins, 37. Greg Eden.The game kicks off at 8pm and the referee will be Robert Hicks.Tickets for the game remain on sale from the Ticket Office at Langtree Park, by calling 01744 455 052 or by logging on here.last_img read more

SAINTS have won their last 15 meetings with Castle

first_imgSAINTS have won their last 15 meetings with Castleford.The Tigers’ last win was on April 6 2008 when they edged home 30-24.Last 10 Meetings:St Helens 21, Castleford 14 (SLR3, 27/2/15)St Helens 41, Castleford 0 (SLQPO, 19/9/14)St Helens 38, Castleford 16 (SLR17, 22/6/14)Castleford 28, St Helens 30 (SLR8, 11/4/14)Castleford 24, St Helens 40 (SLR21, 7/7/13)St Helens 48, Castleford 18 (SLR10, 1/4/13)St Helens 44, Castleford 12 (SLR25, 17/8/12)Castleford 12, St Helens 18 (SLR11, 9/4/12)Castleford 26, St Helens 46 (SLR23, 31/7/11)St Helens 22, Castleford 20 (SLR12, 25/4/11)Super League Summary:Castleford won 4St Helens won 34 (includes wins in 1999 and 2014 play-offs)1 drawHigh and Lows:Castleford highest score: 36-22 (H, 2002) (Widest margin: 35-16, H, 1997)St Helens highest score: 72-4 (A, 2006) (also widest margin)Career Milestones:Jon Wilkin needs one try to reach a career century of touchdowns.His total of 99 has been scored as follows: 8 for Hull KR (2000-2002), 90 for St Helens (2003-2015) and 1 for England (2004-2005, 2008-2009 & 2011-2012). Wilkin also made 6 non-scoring appearances for Great Britain (2006-2007).Try-Scoring Runs:Castleford’s Denny Solomona (4-1-2) and Saints’ Adam Swift (1-1-1) have scored tries in their sides’ last three matches.Winning Runs:Saints have won their last five matches. Their last defeat was 33-26 at Catalans Dragons on May 9.Consecutive Appearances:Mose Masoe has the longest run of consecutive appearances amongst Super League players, with 49.He made his Saints debut as a substitute in a 38-18 win against Hull KR at Langtree Park on March 7 2014 and has been ever-present.1 Mose Masoe (St Helens) 492 Danny Washbrook (Wakefield Trinity Wildcats) 413 Elliott Whitehead (Catalans Dragons) 374 Jermaine McGillvary (Huddersfield Giants) 345 = Paul Aiton (Leeds Rhinos), Chris Hill (Warrington Wolves) 33First Utility Super League Leading Scorers:Tries:1 Joe Burgess (Wigan Warriors) 182 Tom Lineham (Hull FC) 153 = Ken Sio (Hull Kingston Rovers), Tommy Makinson (St Helens), Jordan Turner (St Helens) 136 = Kevin Brown (Widnes Vikings), Dominic Manfredi (Wigan Warriors) 128 = Zeb Taia (Catalans Dragons), Kieran Dixon (Hull Kingston Rovers), Albert Kelly (Hull Kingston Rovers), Josh Mantellato (Hull Kingston Rovers) 11Goals:1 Scott Dureau (Catalans Dragons) 592 = Danny Brough (Huddersfield Giants), Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers) 564 Kevin Sinfield (Leeds Rhinos) 545 Matty Smith (Wigan Warriors) 536 Josh Mantellato (Hull Kingston Rovers) 517 = Stefan Ratchford (Warrington Wolves), Marc Sneyd (Hull FC) 379 Jack Owens (Widnes Vikings) 3610 Josh Griffin (Salford Red Devils) 33Goals Percentage:1 Kevin Sinfield (Leeds Rhinos) 85.71 (54/63)2 Danny Tickle (Widnes Vikings) 84.61 (11/13)3 Tommy Makinson (St Helens) 82.60 (19/23)4 Scott Dureau (Catalans Dragons) 80.82 (59/73)5 = Danny Brough (Huddersfield Giants) (56/73), Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers) 76.71 (56/73)7 Josh Griffin (Salford Red Devils) 75.00 (33/44)8 Marc Sneyd (Hull FC) 71.15 (37/52)9 Craig Hall (Wakefield Trinity Wildcats) 71.05 (27/38)10 Gareth O’Brien (Warrington Wolves) 69.56 (16/23)Points:1 Josh Mantellato (Hull Kingston Rovers) 1462 Luke Gale (Castleford Tigers) 1373 Danny Brough (Huddersfield Giants) 1264 Scott Dureau (Catalans Dragons) 1245 Kevin Sinfield (Leeds Rhinos) 1226 Matty Smith (Wigan Warriors) 1207 Jack Owens (Widnes Vikings) 968 Stefan Ratchford (Warrington Wolves) 949 = Tommy Makinson (St Helens), Marc Sneyd (Hull FC) 90last_img read more

CFPUA crews working to replace asbestos pipe

first_imgCFPUA (Photo: Hannah Patrick/WWAY) NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — An asbestos pipe broke while a contractor was doing storm drain work in the Mohican Trail area.The CFPUA says crews responded and decided to cut out the asbestos pipe and replace it with ductile iron pipe.- Advertisement – CFPUA spokeswoman Peg Hall Williams says crews are trained to cut and remove asbestos pipe.  Williams says there are no health effects related to asbestos pipes, asbestos-related health issues are only a concern when the asbestos becomes airborne.Williams says CFPUA is working to offset the pipe and hopes to have a permanent solution completed soon.Meanwhile, there is a precautionary boil water advisory for 301-722 Mohican Trail.Related Article: NC environmental chief: Chemours must change its waysThe advisory will be in effect until water quality testing has occurred and service returned to normal.last_img read more

Speaking Books New Initiative Targets Support to Ugandas communities with Low Literacy

first_imgAdvertisement They combine clear and impactful text and images with recordings, so that each page can be listened to as well as read.Speaking books are recognized across the world for their success and are endorsed by, among others, the World Medical Association, UNICEF, the International Council of Nurses, the African Pharmaceutical Forum and the Global Fund.  They are produced by Books of Hope in the US and SADAG in South Africa.With these multi-sensory and multilingual education tools, it is easier for healthcare professionals and community health workers to reach rural and disadvantaged communities and to communicate complex health issues in a user-friendly and understandable way. – Advertisement – Emma Andrews, Director of External Medical Affairs at Pfizer says: “We believe that our responsibility to patients continues beyond the medicine itself. We want to make sure that everyone, everywhere, whatever their level of literacy, can get the best from their medicine and that means knowing some simple but vital facts – and that is why Pfizer is proud to be launching the Safe Use of Medicines speaking book.”The ‘Safe Use of Medicines’ book has been produced with content relevant to local challenges in Uganda –using artists and voices from sub-Saharan Africa. It includes important information on how best to use, store and take medicines; the dangers of counterfeit medicines and the importance of following advice from healthcare professionals.Mrs Regina Kamoga, Uganda’s IAPO representative commented: “The Safe Use of Medicines Speaking Book meets an important and urgent need in our communities, supporting our Association’s work to improve the quality of patient-centered healthcare for all patients in Uganda.We’re really looking forward to using the books!” Pfizer is launching the books during the Uganda Nurses and Midwives Union (UNMU) Scientific  Conference in Kampala (June 9th-11th 2011).last_img read more

Social media giant sued over alleged private message scanning

first_imgAdvertisement Facebook is facing a class action lawsuit over allegations that it monitors users’ private messages.The lawsuit claims that when users share a link to another website via a private message, Facebook scans it to profile the sender’s web activity.It alleges that Facebook systematically intercepts messages to mine user data and profits by sharing it with data aggregators, advertisers and marketers. – Advertisement – Facebook said the allegations were “without merit”.We will defend ourselves vigorously, the world’s biggest social networking site added.The lawsuit is claiming the greater of either $100 (£61) a day for each day of alleged violations or $10,000, for each user.‘Profitable opportunity’ The lawsuit, filed earlier this week, cites independent research that, it claims, found Facebook reviews the contents of its users’ private messages “for purposes unrelated to the facilitation of message transmission”.Representing to users that the content of Facebook messages is “private” creates an especially profitable opportunity for Facebook, it says.It says this is “because users who believe they are communicating on a service free from surveillance are likely to reveal facts about themselves that they would not reveal had they known the content was being monitored.“Thus, Facebook has positioned itself to acquire pieces of the users’ profiles that are likely unavailable to other data aggregators.”Criticism Facebook has come under attack over its privacy policies in the past.In September last year, it faced criticism over a proposed change to its privacy policy which would have allowed ads to be created using the names and profile pictures of Facebook users.The firm had claimed that its proposal merely clarified the language of its privacy policy, rather than making any material changes to it.Facebook undertook to change the wording in the wake of a legal action launched in 2011 which saw it pay $20m to compensate users who claimed it had used their data without explicit permission.last_img read more

Equity Bank issues mobile banking smart SIM powered by Taisys Technologies to

first_imgAdvertisement Today, Taisys Technologies Co., Ltd has announced that Kenya’s leading bank Equity Bank will be issuing a ultra-thin mobile banking smart SIM with patented technology from Taisys.Equity Bank customers can now enjoy funds transfer, micro-payments and other mobile financial services that are agnostic across mobile devices, including traditional basic-feature phones using Taisys’s “mBanking” and “duoSIM”.The technology also allows the bank to extend to customers mobile telecommunication services approved by Communications Authority of Kenya. – Advertisement – Traditionally, banks providing mobile banking services rely on the telecommunications provider to issue smart SIMs. Besides substantial investments from the bank in product development, the banks do not have direct control over the platform, making day-to-day maintenance difficult and creating customer experiences that are less than ideal.With Taisys’s patented ultra-thin smart SIM – duoSIM – can be directly attached the surface of an existing telco-issued SIM, and placed into the mobile device. Taisys’s duoSIM can then be used to execute mobile banking transactions, releasing the bank from the limitations of a telco-issued banking SIM.The unique nature of Kenya’s financial market provided the ideal environment for the rapid growth of mobile micropayment provider M-Pesa. Equity Bank is determined to challenge the M-Pesa’s monopoly in this area. By adopting duoSIM technology, Equity Bank can now provide an alternative mobile banking and mobile money solution to consumers. By successfully securing a license to be a mobile virtual network operator, Equity Bank becomes the first financial services institution in Kenya that is also licensed to provide telecommunication services.CEO of Taisys, Jason Ho expresses great optimism in Kenya’s market potential. “With a population of 40 million, and 14 million mobile money users, Kenya is a mature market with users familiar with mobile financial services. Taisys sees this as a great impetus for growth in mobile banking,” he says. He also sees Taisys’s collaboration with Kenya’s largest bank as a strategic partnership to expand the offering of mobile banking services, and providing such services to a wider population in Kenya.last_img read more

Skype Cancels Support for Smart TVs

first_imgSkype Tv. Image Credit: YouTube Advertisement The advent of the internet of (all) things (IoT)saw major drives to integrate technology and especially social networking into every aspect of our day to day lifestyle. Now the question isn’t the feasibility or even the relevance of gadgets like smart TVs since we have long since caught on and are indeed enjoying these ‘luxuries’ every day of our good lives. However our long time video and voice instant messaging platform, Skype is pulling out this drive to bring families and friends across the world closer on the large screen.Microsoft-owned Skype is pulling its support from Smart TV software , owing to the public’s preference to communicate via mobile devices as opposed to the larger screens. Will the corporate users of the service suffer from this adjustment or not? That waits to be seen. Syke will however maintain the service until June this year.TV manufacturers including Samsung, LG, Panasonic, Sony, Sharp, Philips and Toshiba which integrated the service will then be free to remove it from their devices thereafter. Samsung has already announced that its TVs will stop offering the app starting 2nd June, 2016. – Advertisement – The Skype for TV chapter which was generally rosier on paper than in our living rooms now closes leaving the app to the stiff competition of the market with Google Hangouts and Facebook’s Messenger whose uptake on mobile devices continues to see an upward shift.last_img read more

Try as I might…

first_img[dropcap]T[/dropcap]here’s always the chance of an upset, it’s the FA Cup, right? Wrong.Try as hard as I can, I can’t find an ounce of evidence to suggest that Coventry can be given an earthly tonight at the Emirates and take issue with the Racing Post’s page 99 headline that suggests “Sky Blues won’t roll over easily”.I can probably find 99 reasons why they will, and trust me I want to TRY and find some reasons for thinking against the masses to try and get maximum value from the match.But when this pair last met it was 6-1 to Arsenal at the Emirates….HEAD TO HEAD(Last 10 only)Sep 2012 Capital One Arsenal 6-1 CoventryFeb 2001 Premiership Coventry 0-1 ArsenalSep 2000 Premiership Arsenal 2-1 CoventryMar 2000 Premiership Arsenal 3-0 CoventryDec 1999 Premiership Coventry 3-2 ArsenalMar 1999 Premiership Arsenal 2-0 CoventryOct 1998 Premiership Coventry 0-1 ArsenalJan 1998 Premiership Coventry 2-2 ArsenalNov 1997 League Cup Arsenal 1-0 CoventryAug 1997 Premiership Arsenal 2-0 CoventryIt was 2001 that these two teams last met at the top level and Coventry’s subsequent freefall has been well documented.However, they are playing well in League One at the moment, despite being docked 10 points by the FA at the start of the season for entering administration, and it’s certainly not inconceivable that they could get into the play-offs even with that hefty handicap.Furthermore, Coventry have lost just one of their last 11 and won at Barnsley in round three of the Cup.But they face an Arsenal side who have conceded just one goal in their last NINE home matches and are currently proudly sitting at the top of the pyramid of English football.Arsene Wenger has indicated he will play a strong side tonight and will no doubt be keen to avoid a repetition of last season’s shock defeat by Championship side Blackburn.There’s always the ‘romance’ of the cup to consider, but even so, with home advantage, it’s hard to see anything other than a convincing win for the Gunners and I’m backing them with Star Sports at the first odds-against opportunity on the handicap (-3 goals) at 7/4.RECOMMENDED BET (1-10 points)6 points ARSENAL (-3) at around 7/4 with Star SportsRUNNING RETURN (JANUARY): PROFIT 2.53 POINTSWhat’s your view? CALL STAR SPORTS 08000 521 321last_img read more

Rice University health care experts available to comment on Supreme Courts impending

first_imgAddThis ShareDavid Jeff Rice University health care experts available to comment on Supreme Court’s impending Affordable Care Act rulingHo and Marks: Stakes are high for all Americans  HOUSTON – (June 19, 2012) – As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to rule on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) this month, the stakes are high for all Americans. What the nine justices decide, and exactly how they craft their lengthy opinion, has been the topic of much speculation.Two health care experts at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy can speak about the potential ruling’s local and national implications and why Texas is an example of what the nation will look like without ACA:Vivian Ho, the James A. Baker III Institute Chair in Health Economics.Elena Marks, the Baker Institute Scholar in Health Policy.Ho’s key points:“Some of the nation’s most highly regarded economists with years of experience in health economics promoted the inclusion of the individual mandate in the ACA. The mandate is a vital partner to the ACA’s requirement that insurers accept all customers in 2014 regardless of pre-existing conditions. Without the mandate, people could forgo the purchase of health insurance while they are healthy, then buy insurance if they fall seriously ill and require significant medical care. Their costs would drive up costs for insurers, who would then have to pass these expenses on in terms of higher health insurance premiums to all of their customers. Thus, the mandate prevents free riders from taking advantage of honest customers as well as taxpayers, who foot the bill for many of the uninsured through local public hospitals and clinics. That said, the overwhelming majority of the ACA can still stand without the mandate.”“If the entire ACA is struck down by the Supreme Court, health care costs will continue to consume a larger portion of our nation’s economy and a larger share of workers’ paychecks for the foreseeable future. The legislation is a dramatic attempt to solve a dramatic problem facing our economy and the well-being of our citizens. There are no easy to solutions to the problem. The ACA was written with the advice of some of the best health economists in the country, based on years of research and the best data available.”Marks’ key points:“Texas is an example of what the rest of the US will begin to look like without ACA: The goals of the ACA were to increase access to care and rein in costs that routinely outpaced all other indices. The primary mechanism for increasing access was to increase insurance coverage — for poor people through a Medicaid expansion, and for others through changes in the health insurance industry. The insurance industry changes would be effected through the combination of the mandates (there are large employer mandates as well) and new industry regulations including guaranteed issue, community-rated pricing, medical loss ratio requirements and premium setting rules. These reforms would have benefited Texas more than any other state –because we have the largest percentage of uninsured. Texas is a poor state — with 25 percent of the population living in poverty, compared to 16 percent nationwide. Thus, Medicaid expansion would have benefited Texas more than most states. Of the 6 million uninsured Texans, 2.6 million would be covered under expanded Medicaid.” “An additional 2.8 million Texans living just above the poverty line would qualify for subsidies with which to purchase private insurance in a market subject to consumer-protective regulations. Currently, health plans in Texas are not required to spend any particular amount of premium dollars on medical care, and they are not even required to report to their customers how they spend premium dollars. They are also allowed to raise their premiums as much as they want without regulatory approval. Because of the ACA, in 2012, 92 percent of the Texans who purchased plans in the individual market will receive rebates of approximately $127 million from insurance companies that did not meet the ACA’s medical loss ratio requirements. This is more than any other state; the next highest was Florida at $29 million.” The Baker Institute has a radio and television studio available for media who want to schedule an interview with Ho or Marks. For more information, contact David Ruth at or 713-348-6327.-30-Related materials: Ho biography: biography: in 1993, the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University in Houston ranks among the top 20 university-affiliated think tanks globally and top 30 think tanks in the United States. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute sponsors more than 20 programs that conduct research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows and Rice University scholars. Learn more about the institute at or on the institute’s blog, read more

Rice to receive 107 million from Kinder Foundation for education research

first_imgShare3Rice UniversityOffice of Public Affairs / News & Media RelationsDavid Ruth713-348-6327david@rice.eduAmy McCaig713-348-6777amym@rice.eduRice to receive $10.7 million from Kinder Foundation for education researchHOUSTON — (April 18, 2017) — The Kinder Foundation has awarded a $10.7 million grant to Rice University’s Houston Education Research Consortium (HERC) to expand its innovative work to additional school districts in the Greater Houston region.Ruth López Turley. Photo by Jeff Fitlow.HERC is a research-practice partnership between Rice and the Houston Independent School District (HISD) that aims to improve the connection between education research and decision-making. The center’s research has included topics such as the benefits of pre-kindergarten, the effect of teacher evaluations, the impact of school closures, and the predictors of dropping out of school. Established in 2011 and housed in Rice’s School of Social Sciences and Kinder Institute for Urban Research, HERC’s ultimate goal is to close socio-economic gaps in achievement and attainment.“We’re extremely grateful for this opportunity to develop a regional research agenda together with school district leaders,” said Ruth López Turley, HERC director, associate director for research at the Kinder Institute and a professor of sociology in Rice’s School of Social Sciences. “There are many issues that can’t be addressed through a single school district, but using research to collaborate across districts within the same region is promising, and having the resources to do this work is rare. This is truly a meaningful gift to children in the Houston metropolitan area.”The grant will allow HERC to continue its research with HISD while extending the center’s analytical reach to several additional districts, Turley said.  She said HERC will work in partnership with school district leaders to develop a research agenda focusing on issues of regional importance, such as segregation, effective curriculum and programs, and bilingual education.“Dr. Turley represents the very best of how universities can collaboratively engage with communities to take on the world’s most complex challenges. HERC has already shed light on a number of important educational topics, and this generous gift will expand HERC’s good work in service to our community’s children. We are grateful to our school district partners and to the Kinder Foundation for making this important work possible,” said Rice Provost Marie Lynn Miranda.HERC will also facilitate data sharing and disseminate research findings that can benefit the region. Finally, HERC will consult with state agencies, including the Texas Education Agency, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, and the Texas Workforce Commission for supplemental data and information sharing that affects the region.“This is an extraordinary grant not only to Rice University, but also to the entire Houston metropolitan area,” said Rice President David Leebron. “Rich and Nancy Kinder’s incredible support of HERC will impact lives for generations to come by addressing the area’s most important education issues.”“Under the leadership of Dr. Ruth López Turley, HERC has excelled at bringing together the right decision-makers and quality analysis to improve K-12 education,” said Nancy Kinder, president of the Kinder Foundation. “Broadening HERC to include more districts will have far-reaching positive implications for children growing up in the Houston region.”Turley said HERC focuses on creating a direct line of communication between education researchers and decision-makers to ensure that all children have access to a high quality education, regardless of their economic status or where they live. HERC’s research agenda is shaped by the needs of local education leaders, and the decisions of these leaders are informed by the research produced by HERC and its affiliates. For more information on HERC, visit is currently funded by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation and Houston Endowment. The new seven-year, $10.7 million grant marks the largest contribution the Kinder Institute has received since 2010, when it was founded with a $15 million gift from the Kinder Foundation.The Kinder Foundation, a family foundation established in 1997 by Rich and Nancy Kinder of Houston, provides transformational grants that impact urban green space, education, and quality of life. For more information, visit news release can be found online at Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.Related materials:Houston Education Research Consortium website: link: credit: Rice University.Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,879 undergraduates and 2,861 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for happiest students and for lots of race/class interaction by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to you do not wish to receive news releases from Rice University, reply to this email and write “unsubscribe” in the subject line. Office of News and Media Relations – MS 300, Rice University, 6100 Main St., Houston, TX 77005 AddThislast_img read more

NSF funds Houstonbased teams quest to better understand the brain

first_img Jacob Robinson (left) and Caleb Kemere (Photo courtesy of Rice University)More information is available at:BRAIN Initiative: Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNewsLocated on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,879 undergraduates and 2,861 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for happiest students and for lots of race/class interaction by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to you do not wish to receive news releases from Rice University, reply to this email and write “unsubscribe” in the subject line. AddThis Xaq Pitkow (Photo courtesy of Baylor College of Medicine) Genevera Allen (Photo by Tommy LaVergne/Rice University)center_img Ankit Patel (Photo by Jeff Fitlow/Rice University) ShareRice UniversityOffice of Public Affairs / News & Media RelationsNEWS RELEASEEDITORS — Links for high-resolution images are included at the end of the news release.MEDIA CONTACTS:David Ruth713-348-6327david@rice.eduMike Williams713-348-6728mikewilliams@rice.eduNSF funds Houston-based teams’ quest to better understand the brainTeams will use math, statistics, AI and neuroscience to decipher neural networksHOUSTON — (Aug. 2, 2017) — The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a total of $5 million to two Houston-based research teams to develop new tools to better understand the behavior of neural networks.The range of brain imaging technologies available today presents neuroscientists with a conundrum: They have an unprecedented ability to measure the brain in action — from single cells to entire brain scans and at time scales ranging from milliseconds to days — but they do not have the statistical and mathematical tools to fully understand what they measure.To spur the systematic, interdisciplinary research needed for a comprehensive, transformational understanding of the brain in action, NSF awarded a $4.4 million five-year grant to a team of mathematicians, statisticians, computer scientists and neuroscientists from Rice University, the University of Houston, Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Notre Dame. The grant was part of NSF’s Next Generation Networks for Neuroscience program, or NeuroNex, a component of the BRAIN Initiative.NSF also awarded a NeuroNex grant of $800,000 to a team led by Rice engineer Jacob Robinson for the study of magnetic techniques to stimulate specific, genetically modified neurons in lab animals without restricting their behaviors.“The amount of available data has expanded enormously,” said Krešimir Josić, a mathematical biologist at the University of Houston and the principal investigator on the five-year grant. “Now that we have it, the question is, What do we do with it? The important thing isn’t the data. It is understanding what the data mean to us.”In addition to Josić, who’s also an adjunct professor of biosciences at Rice, the grant research team includes three co-principal investigators with joint appointments at Rice and Baylor: Genevera Allen, associate professor of statistics at Rice and the Neurological Research Institute at Baylor, and Xaq Pitkow and Ankit Patel, assistant professors of neuroscience at Baylor and of electrical and computer engineering at Rice. Additional co-PIs are Notre Dame mathematician Robert Rosenbaum, who earned his Ph.D. in Josić’s lab at UH, and Baylor neuroscientist Andreas Tolias.Allen said the grant will fund 10 researchers — either graduate students or postdoctoral fellows — three in her Rice lab, and her group will interact regularly with groups from other labs. She expects all the students to get together on a monthly basis to share what they’re learning.Josić agreed that the interdisciplinary nature of the team will be central to meeting the goals of the NeuroNex project. “This is not something you can do in isolation in an office,” he said.He said the initial work will involve using data gathered from the visual cortex of mice and later move to data captured in more complex situations. Josić and Rosenbaum will study the link between cellular activity and brain function, and they will develop theoretical models to interpret the data. Allen will lead development and validation of the proposed statistical techniques, while Patel, whose work is focused on machine learning, will train artificial neural networks at tasks that parallel those in the experiments. Pitkow will lead the application of graphic models to the analysis of neural activity, stimuli and behavior for artificial and biological neural networks engaged in tasks.Allen said the team hopes to create graphical models and other types of models to both explain how neural networks are behaving in recorded tests, as well as to predict how they will behave under specific circumstances. And she said that to help validate whether those models are correct, the team will use maps that Tolias’ group is creating of the physical connections between individual neurons in 1 cubic millimeter of the brain.“Because every single one of those neurons has connections outside the field of scope to other neurons that you cannot see or image, you’re never going to be able to see every connection,” she said. “Instead, we have to develop different network models that somehow account for everything else that’s going on in the brain. We hope to get creative with developing some new types of models that are specifically suited to this data. And then the next step after that will be to relate what we’re seeing back to stimuli and behavior.”She said the goal is to look beyond individual neurons and instead focus on the interactions within and between neural networks. As an example, she cited research into the behavior of neural networks in the visual cortex of mice.“We don’t just want to be able to look at the movies and predict what the mouse was seeing,” she said. “We want to know what changed in the network that allowed us to make those predictions. How are the neurons communicating within networks? Because the ultimate goal is really to understand how the brain works.”The innovation grant to Robinson’s team will develop a technique they call “magnetogenetics.” Their goal is to genetically modify select brain cells so that they respond to magnetic fields that can freely penetrate bone and tissue.They’ll start small, with flies, said Robinson, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and of bioengineering.“There is much that we still don’t understand about how magnetic fields activate specific cells, but fruit flies provide an excellent test bed for studying magnetic sensitivity and developing tools for neuroscientists,” Robinson said. “Because flies have a rapid life cycle and we have a number of technologies to manipulate the fly genome, we can a create variety of genetically modified flies and study their response to magnetic fields.“These studies will help us understand how to engineer magnetically sensitive brain cells and lay the foundation for technologies that could remotely control neural activity in model organisms like rats and mice,” he said.Ultimately, the team hopes that the ability to use magnetic fields to activate or inactivate specific brain cells in freely behaving animals will help reveal fundamental principles of brain function that are conserved across species.Co-investigators on the award are Caleb Kemere, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Rice, and Herman Dierick, an assistant professor of molecular and human genetics at Baylor College of Medicine.-30-High-resolution IMAGES are available for download at: Researchers will use mathematical models, like this 3-D printed representation of a neural network, to help explain how brain circuits operate. (Artwork courtesy of Xaq Pitkow)last_img read more

Rice U event to highlight new book about political life in allAmerican

first_imgShareRice UniversityOffice of Public Affairs / News & Media RelationsMEDIA ADVISORYDavid Ruthdavid@rice.eduAmy McCaig713-348-6777amym@rice.eduRice U. event to highlight new book about political life in ‘all-American town’HOUSTON – (March 30, 2018) – A new book from Rice University’s Bill Fulton, director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research, offers an account of what life is really like for a local elected official. The Kinder Institute will host a launch for the book, “Talk City: A Chronicle of Political Life in an All-American Town,” April 3 at 7 p.m. as part of its “Urban Reads” series. Return to article. Long DescriptionThe event will feature a conversation between Fulton and the Houston Chronicle’s Lisa Gray and will take place at Rice’s BioScience Research Collaborative. To register, visit             “Urban Reads” series event: “Talk City: A Chronicle of Political Life in an All-American Town.”When:            7 p.m. April 3.Where:           Rice’s BioScience Research Collaborative, 6500 Main St.The book is a collection of blog posts authored by Fulton during his time as a local elected official in Ventura, Calif. Fulton served as a city councilman from 2003 to 2009 and mayor from 2009 to 2011. The blog on which the book is based was created by Fulton in late 2006, not long before he announced his re-election campaign for the Ventura City Council. The posts chronicle his life representing what he described as a “typical American city.”“Most people thought [the blog] was just a campaign stunt, but in fact I had a different idea in mind,” Fulton said. “I wanted to make sure my constituents understood the reasoning behind my votes, and the time and space to do that explaining simply weren’t available during the high-profile, high-pressure Monday night council meetings.”The blog’s focus shifted over time and covered issues ranging from his style in managing city council meetings to dealing with issues related to the Great Recession. The entries range from short posts to well-developed essays. Fulton said the blog accurately conveys what life was like in the trenches as an elected official in a typical local government.More information about the book is available at A Rice News article about the book is available online at interested in attending the event or interviewing Fulton may contact Amy McCaig, senior media relations specialist at Rice, at 713-348-6777 or a map of Rice University’s campus, go to news release can be found online at Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.Related materials: Bill Fulton bio: Institute website: link: credit: Rice University/Jeff Fitlow/Solimar BooksLocated on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,970 undergraduates and 2,934 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is just under 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for quality of life and for lots of race/class interaction and No. 2 for happiest students by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to you do not wish to receive news releases from Rice University, reply to this email and write “unsubscribe” in the subject line. Office of News and Media Relations – MS 300, Rice University, 6100 Main St., Houston, TX 77005 Bill Fulton book artworkcenter_img AddThislast_img read more

Senator Army Corps Told to Approve Dakota Pipeline Easement

first_img BISMARCK, N.D.—The acting secretary of the Army has ordered the Army Corps of Engineers to allow construction of the Dakota Access pipeline under a Missouri River reservoir, a North Dakota senator said, the latest twist in the months-long legal battle over the $3.8 billion project.The Standing Rock Sioux, whose opposition to the project attracted the support of thousands of protesters from around the country to North Dakota, immediately vowed to return to court to stop it.Sen. John Hoeven announced late Tuesday that Robert Speer directed the Army Corps of Engineers to “proceed” with an easement necessary to complete the pipeline. Hoeven said he also discussed Speer’s order with Vice President Mike Pence, just a week after President Donald Trump signed an executive order signaling his support for the project.A spokesman for the U.S. Army did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday night. Hoeven spokesman Don Canton said Speer’s move means the easement “isn’t quite issued yet, but they plan to approve it” within days.The crossing under Lake Oahe, a wide section of the Missouri River in southern North Dakota, is the final big chunk of work on the pipeline designed to carry North Dakota oil through South Dakota and Iowa to a shipping point in Illinois.Law enforcement officers (L) drag a person from a protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline, near the town of St. Anthony in rural Morton County, N.D., on Oct. 10, 2016. (Tom Stromme/The Bismarck Tribune via AP) Law enforcement officers (L) drag a person from a protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline, near the town of St. Anthony in rural Morton County, N.D., on Oct. 10, 2016. (Tom Stromme/The Bismarck Tribune via AP) The pipeline has been the target of months of protests led by the Standing Rock Sioux, whose reservation lies near the pipeline’s route and who have argued that it’s a threat to water and tribal artifacts.The tribe has vowed to challenge any granting of the easement in court, and Chairman Dave Archambault renewed that vow Tuesday night.“If it does become a done deal in the next few days, we’ll take it to the judicial system,” Archambault said. He added: “This is a good indicator of what this country is going to be up against in the next four years. So America has to brace itself.”The developer, Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, said the pipeline would be safe.An environmental assessment conducted last year determined the crossing would not have a significant impact on the environment. However, then-Assistant Army Secretary for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy on Dec. 4 declined to issue an easement, saying a broader environmental study was warranted.Law enforcement vehicles line a road leading to a blocked bridge next to the Oceti Sakowin camp where people have gathered to protest the Dakota Access oil pipeline in Cannon Ball, N.D., on Dec. 3, 2016. (AP Photo/David Goldman) Law enforcement vehicles line a road leading to a blocked bridge next to the Oceti Sakowin camp where people have gathered to protest the Dakota Access oil pipeline in Cannon Ball, N.D., on Dec. 3, 2016. (AP Photo/David Goldman)Energy Transfer Partners called Darcy’s decision politically motivated and accused then-President Barack Obama’s administration of delaying the matter until he left office. Two days before he left the White House, the Corps launched an environmental impact study of the crossing that could take up to two years to complete.On Jan. 24, just four days after he took office, Trump signed an executive action telling the Corps to quickly reconsider the Dec. 4 decision.The company appears poised to begin drilling under the lake immediately. Workers have already drilled entry and exit holes for the Oahe crossing, and the company has put oil in the pipeline leading up to the lake in anticipation of finishing the project, its executive vice president Joey Mahmoud said in court documents filed earlier this month.Hundreds and at times thousands of pipeline opponents calling themselves “water protectors” have camped on federal land near the crossing site since August, often clashing with police and prompting more than 625 arrests. The camp’s population has thinned to fewer than 300 due to harsh winter weather and a plea by Archambault for the camp to disband before the spring flooding season.  LINKEDINPINTERESTREDDITTUMBLRSTUMBLEUPON   Senator: Army Corps Told to Approve Dakota Pipeline Easement By The Associated Press February 1, 2017 Updated: February 1, 2017 Share This Monday, Jan. 30, 2017, photo from video provided by KXMB in Bismarck, N.D., shows cleanup beginning at a North Dakota encampment near Cannon Ball where Dakota Access oil pipeline opponents have protested for months. (KXMB via AP) center_img Share this article Show Discussion US last_img read more

Trump Responds to News That Paul Ryan Wont Seek ReElection

first_img  QualityAuto 1080p720p480p360p240pRewind 10 SecondsNext UpLive00:0000:0000:00ChromecastClosed CaptionsSettingsFullscreen  click to watch video Follow Ivan on Twitter: @ivanpentchoukov Recommended Video: President Donald Trump’s Weekly Address, April 7, 2018 President Donald Trump lauded House Speaker Paul Ryan for his achievements after learning on Wednesday that Ryan won’t seek re-election.“Speaker Paul Ryan is a truly good man, and while he will not be seeking re-election, he will leave a legacy of achievement that nobody can question,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “We are with you Paul!”Ryan (R-Wis.) announced on Wednesday that he won’t seek re-election in November. Ryan will retire in January after serving his full term, Fox News reported, citing a statement from his office.“After nearly twenty years in the House, the speaker is proud of all that has been accomplished and is ready to devote more of his time to being a husband and a father. While he did not seek the position, he told his colleagues that serving as speaker has been the professional honor of his life, and he thanked them for the trust they placed in him,” Brendan Buck, counselor to the speaker, said in the statement.Ryan was instrumental in passing Trump’s tax-reform bill, something the speaker had pushed for years. The new legislation will reduce the tax burden on Americans and companies by $5.5 trillion over the next decade.Ryan was Mitt Romney’s running mate in the 2012 presidential election. Over the years, Ryan has gained a reputation as an advocate for limited government and balanced budgets. He worked to repeal and replace Obamacare and passed several bills to dismantle it, the most significant of which failed in the Senate last year.Ryan’s departure will open the House leadership seat. The frontrunners for the position are believed to be House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and GOP Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).Ryan has been in Congress since 1999 and became the House speaker in 2015. WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 20: President Donald Trump (L) greets Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-WI, as he arrives on stage to delivers remarks at the National Republican Congressional Committee March Dinner at the National Building Museum on March 20, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images) Trump Responds to News That Paul Ryan Won’t Seek Re-Election By Ivan Pentchoukov April 11, 2018 Updated: April 11, 2018 Share this articlecenter_img Trump Presidency  LINKEDINPINTERESTREDDITTUMBLRSTUMBLEUPON   Share Show Discussionlast_img read more

Armed Cartels Decimating California Wildlife With Massive Pot Farms Official Says

first_img Trump Presidency Armed Cartels Decimating California Wildlife With Massive Pot Farms, Official Says By Charlotte Cuthbertson May 17, 2018 Updated: May 17, 2018 WASHINGTON—Cartels are setting up armed camps in California forests and growing massive crops of marijuana, according to Stacey Montgomery, District Attorney of Lassen County, California.“They are armed. They’re setting up camps, and they’re growing mass amounts of marijuana on our public lands,” Montgomery told the president during a roundtable at the White House on May 17. “A large portion of these people that are coming in to do this are illegal immigrants.”Lassen County is a heavily forested area situated in northeastern California, with a population of around 31,000. Lassen County is a heavily forested area situated in northeastern California, with a population of around 35,000. (Google Maps/screenshot)“Because of the legalization of marijuana in California, now we’re seeing those same individuals working with other criminal groups—the Asian groups, the Russian groups, the motorcycle groups—all kinds of organized crime.” Montgomery said the groups are decimating the environment and causing generational damage.“They are killing wildlife. They’re diverting streams. The damage that they’re causing, both to the economy and to our public lands, is going to be generational,” she said.She blames both the legalization of marijuana and the state’s sanctuary policies that shield illegal immigrants, including many convicted criminals, from federal immigration authorities.“The legalization made it worse,” she said. “I’ve been appalled, as a district attorney, someone who’s sworn to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the state, that we have fallen so far in California.”She said her office works with the Department of Fish and Wildlife, which files charges and does as much as it can, but the impact is limited.“These people are coming into our forests, they’re endangering our citizens,” she said. “There’s not a thing we can do.”She said California’s sanctuary laws are frustrating law enforcement and her office.“We are prosecuting an illegal immigrant right now who has been deported several times and has had a violent criminal history, who hit and killed a 16-year-old kid—a boy in our community—and fled the scene. So his case is pending right now. After I brought the suit, I was promptly served with a gag order to prevent me from talking about the case,” she said.“In the last four years, I have seen California become a disaster. It’s been tragic to watch my state pass laws that basically have sent our communities into a very dangerous place.”Recommended Video:  LINKEDINPINTERESTREDDITTUMBLRSTUMBLEUPON   Share this article Share A view of Lassen National Forest with the Diamond Mountains in the background, on Nov. 4, 2008. (Pacific Southwest Region 5/Flickr) Follow Charlotte on Twitter: @charlottecuthbo Show Discussionlast_img read more

Dunkin Donuts Worker Stabs Attacker in SelfDefense Gets 18 Months in Prison

first_img  QualityAuto 720p480p360p240pRewind 10 SecondsNext UpLive00:0000:0000:00ChromecastClosed CaptionsSettingsFullscreen  click to watch video Share Share this article A man who was assaulted by three teens while working at Dunkin’ Donuts in Connecticut received 18 months in jail after stabbing one of the assailants.Jeffrey Sumpter, 21, of Bridgeport received the sentence on Monday in a Stamford courthouse, reported The Connecticut Post.Sumpter was convicted of felony first-degree assault, and after his release he’ll have to spend three years on probation. If Sumpter breaks the law during that time, he might have to serve a 42-month prison term.In the incident that unfolded last October, Sumpter was jumped by three males. In the assault, he stabbed one of them in the leg, according to the Post.“I was defending myself,” he explained during a court hearing.Judge John Blawie told Sumpter that he believed him, but he stated that he has to follow the law. Connecticut doesn’t have a “stand-your-ground law” and “instead requires an individual to retreat when able to do so,” according to a legal research document.“Under state law, the use of deadly force that might otherwise have been justifiable is not warranted if someone ‘knows that he can avoid the necessity of using such force with complete safety … by retreating …,” according to the document.Twenty-seven other states, including Florida, have a stand-your-ground law that allows victims to use deadly force in self-defense. Dunkin’ Donuts Worker Stabs Attacker in Self-Defense, Gets 18 Months in Prison By Jack Phillips July 6, 2018 Updated: July 6, 2018 US News center_img  LINKEDINPINTERESTREDDITTUMBLRSTUMBLEUPON    Watch Next: First Lady Makes a Plea to Promote Compassion to Children Show Discussion Jeffrey Sumpter. (Norwalk Police Department) last_img read more

Letter Arrives From Florida Girl Who Vanished Five Years Ago Family Says

first_img  LINKEDINPINTERESTREDDITTUMBLRSTUMBLEUPON   Share Show Discussion (Bay County Sheriff’s Office) Share this articlecenter_img The mother of a girl who ran away from home in 2013 believes she has heard from her daughter.“To all our friends and extended family, we want to let you know that we have heard from Emily,” wrote Pam Massimiani on Facebook.Massimiani confirmed to the Panama City News-Herald that her daughter sent her a letter. The family is keeping the details of the letter private for now.It’s the first time the family has heard from Emily Paul since she packed a suitcase and fled her Southport, Florida home, leaving a note that she was leaving.“There’s a lot of mixed emotions and a lot of feelings,” Massimiani said.Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford said that, based on the contents of the letter, he’s also confident it’s from the missing girl. Investigators said that Paul studied websites that teach youth how to successfully run away and stay undetected. For instance, she has not been on her Facebook account since she vanished and she took her Xbox, which investigators believe she uses as a communication tool.She also ditched her cell phone shortly after leaving her house.Massimiani told Oxygen in 2017 that the note Paul left said something to the effect that she might return home when she turned 18. But she hadn’t reappeared or gotten into contact when she turned 18.“I used to feel hopeful, real hopeful,” she said. “But she’s 18 now and I haven’t seen her.”Massimiani also said her instincts told her that Paul was coerced into running away.“I believe she may have thought she was going into something good and when she got to whatever it was, it wasn’t as good as she thought it would be,” she said. “That’s my gut feeling.”At the time of the disappearance, the sheriff’s office asked the public for help locating Paul, describing her at the time as standing 4 foot 10, weighing about 100 pounds, with brown hair with green and purple highlights and blue eyes.“Her family stated that leaving home and failing to return is very unusual behavior for Emily, as she has never run away before,” the office stated.From Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber Letter Arrives From Florida Girl Who Vanished Five Years Ago, Family Says By Zachary Stieber August 1, 2018 Updated: August 1, 2018 US News last_img read more

By Alan Levin Peter Robison

first_imgBy Alan Levin & Peter Robison The U.S. Transportation Department began an investigation of how Boeing Co.’s 737 Max was certified to fly passengers before the latest crash in Ethiopia involving the new jet, according to a person familiar with the probe.The investigation was prompted by information obtained after a Lion Air 737 Max 8 crashed shortly after takeoff from Jakarta on Oct. 29, said the person, who wasn’t authorized to speak about the investigation and asked not to be named.The investigation has taken on new urgency after the March 10 crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max 8 near Addis Ababa that killed 157 people. It is being conducted in part by the department’s Inspector General’s office, which conducts both audits and criminal investigations in conjunction with the Justice Department.Boeing shares were down 2.6 percent to $369.22 at 12:44 p.m. March 18  in New York, heading toward a new low since the deadly crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on March 10.Separately, the Wall Street Journal reported that a grand jury in Washington, D.C., on March 11 issued a subpoena to at least one person involved in the development process of the Max. And a Seattle Times investigation found that U.S. regulators delegated much of the plane’s safety assessment to Boeing and that the company, in turn, delivered an analysis with crucial flaws. Ethiopia’s transport minister said March 17 that flight-data recorders showed “clear similarities” between the crashes of that plane and Lion Air Flight 610 last October.A possible criminal investigation during an aircraft accident investigation is highly unusual. While airline accidents have at times raised criminal issues, such as after the 1996 crash of a ValuJet plane in the Florida Everglades, such cases are the exception. U.S. Federal Aviation Administration employees warned seven years ago that Boeing had too much sway over safety approvals of new aircraft, prompting an investigation by Transportation Department auditors who confirmed the agency hadn’t done enough to “hold Boeing accountable.”The 2012 investigation also found that discord over Boeing’s treatment had created a “negative work environment” among FAA employees who approve new and modified aircraft designs, with many of them saying they’d faced retaliation for speaking up. Their concerns pre-dated the 737 Max development.In recent years, the FAA has shifted more authority over the approval of new aircraft to the manufacturer itself, even allowing Boeing to choose many of the personnel who oversee tests and vouch for safety. Just in the past few months, Congress expanded the outsourcing arrangement even further.“It raises for me the question of whether the agency is properly funded, properly staffed and whether there has been enough independent oversight,” said Jim Hall, who was chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board from 1994 to 2001 and is now an aviation-safety consultant.At least a portion of the flight-control software suspected in the 737 Max crashes was certified by one or more Boeing employees who worked in the outsourcing arrangement, according to one person familiar with the work who wasn’t authorized to speak about the matter.Both Boeing and the Transportation Department declined to comment about that inquiry.In a statement on March 18, the FAA said its “aircraft certification processes are well established and have consistently produced safe aircraft designs,” adding that the “737 Max certification program followed the FAA’s standard certification process.”Ethiopian CrashThe Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed minutes after it took off from Addis Ababa. The accident prompted most of the world to ground Boeing’s 737 Max 8 aircraft on safety concerns, coming on the heels of the October crash off the coast of Indonesia that killed 189 people. Much of the attention focused on a flight-control system that can automatically push a plane into a catastrophic nose dive if it malfunctions and pilots don’t react properly.In one of the most detailed descriptions yet of the relationship between Boeing and the FAA during the 737 Max’s certification, the Seattle Times quoted unnamed engineers who said the planemaker had understated the power of the flight-control software in a System Safety Analysis submitted to the FAA. The newspaper said the analysis also failed to account for how the system could reset itself each time a pilot responded—in essence, gradually ratcheting the horizontal stabilizer into a dive position.Boeing told the newspaper in a statement that the FAA had reviewed the company’s data and concluded the aircraft “met all certification and regulatory requirements.” The company, which is based in Chicago but designs and builds commercial jets in the Seattle area, said there are “some significant mischaracterizations” in the engineers’ comments.Certification ProcessThe newspaper also quoted unnamed FAA technical experts who said managers prodded them to speed up the certification process as development of the Max was nine months behind that of rival Airbus SE’s A320neo.The FAA has let technical experts at aircraft makers act as its representatives to perform certain tests and approve some parts for decades. The FAA expanded the scope of that program in 2005 to address concerns about adequately keeping pace with its workload. Known as Organization Designation Authorization, or ODA, it let Boeing and other manufacturers choose the employees who approve design work on the agency’s behalf.Previously, the FAA approved each appointment. Under the new approach, which was fully implemented in 2009, the ODA representatives are still under U.S. legal requirements and the FAA has the authority to oversee them and request that their management be changed.In 2012, a special investigator of the Office of Inspector General at the Department of Transportation sent a memo to the FAA’s audit chief warning him of concerns voiced by agency employees about the new process. Some allegations were made in anonymous faxes sent to the inspector general’s office, and the office followed up by interviewing employees in the FAA’s Transport Airplane Directorate.The agency doesn’t have the budget to do every test, and “the use of designees is absolutely necessary,” said Steve Wallace, the former head of accident investigations at the FAA. “For the most part, it works extremely well. There is a very high degree of integrity in the system.”There is strong support among airlines for the 737 family, based on its long history as a reliable, dependable aircraft, said John Strickland, an independent air-transport consultant. It’s not easy to suddenly “switch horses, sort to speak.”Airbus’s order book is full for several years, and airlines have fleet philosophies that affect training, the pilot force, and maintenance, for example. “Having said that, obviously airlines need to have the confidence in the aircraft that they can fly,” he said. “That equally reflects in confidence in their own customers and the traveling public.” Probe of FAA’s Oversight of Boeing 737 Began Before Second Crash By Bloomberg March 18, 2019 Updated: March 19, 2019 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are parked at a Boeing production facility in Renton, Wash., on March 11, 2019. (David Ryder/Reuters) Companies  LINKEDINPINTERESTREDDITTUMBLRSTUMBLEUPON   Share Show Discussion Share this articlelast_img read more

Tom Fennario APTN News Elders from across Quebec t

first_imgTom FennarioAPTN NewsElders from across Quebec travelled to the Huron-Wendat territory to share their knowledge with young people who also travelled from different parts of the province.More than 100 youth met with Elders to learn traditional ways of hunting and cooking as an example.The weekend’s event was years in the making.tfennario@aptn.a@tfennariolast_img

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