More than 1,200 U.S. teens will come to Atlanta Nov. 27 to Dec. 1 for the 76th National 4-H Congress. “Each of these young people has shown leadership potential,'” said Susan Stewart, National 4-H Congress coordinator. “They all want to improve their communities and the world. That’s why this year’s Congress theme is ‘Make the Difference.'” The youths, ages 14-19, will attend educational programs and cultural events in Atlanta. They will hear from former United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young, Paralympic gold medalist and author Scot Hollonbeck and Miss America 1999, Nicole Johnson. The delegates will choose from more than 19 educational programs. The topics will range from conflict mediation and youth leadership skills to biotechnology in agriculture and global environmental policies. “All the youths at Congress will be better able to lead in their own communities,” Stewart said. “They will gain experience from the educational programs. But they will also learn from the diversity of cultural experiences National 4-H Congress offers.” Delegates will learn community service, too, from a hands-on point of view. They will divide into groups and perform projects around the city with Miss America. “These projects were a great success in Memphis, where the Congress was for the past three years,” Stewart said. “The 4-H’ers learn how they can work with others to make a difference in a community.” The youths are encouraged to start community service projects when they return home. “In the past, service groups have remembered the hard work and efforts these students gave in Memphis,” Stewart said. “Now the new Congress attendees will have a chance to make a difference in Atlanta.” Their visits will include projects with Project Open Hand, Goodwill Industries, Ansley Pavilion, Metro Atlanta Furniture Bank, Park Pride and the Truitt-Fulton 4-H Center. On the last day of Congress, the youths will have a town hall meeting hosted by CNN’s Leon Harris, co-anchor of “Early Edition,” to discuss ethics issues for young people. Over the summer, more than 1,000 4-H’ers conducted surveys near their homes. The survey, developed by the North Carolina Extension Service, will reveal the views of more than 2,000 people nationwide. It will help show how youths form ethical standards. At the 4-H Congress town hall meeting, the delegates will discuss what the survey means to them.
This week in THE DIRT: Duke pleads guilty to coal ash crimes, new documentary film on hiking the Appalachian Trail premieres, and a California woman is charged in a kayak drowning.Last Thursday Duke Energy pleaded guilty in a criminal court to nine violations of the federal Clean Water Act. The charges came after a lengthy investigation that was spurred by Duke’s accidental discharge of tons of coal ash into the Dan River in February of 2014. The spill was caused by the failure of a storm water pipe under an unlined ash pit and ultimately coated 70 miles of the Dan River in toxic, gray sludge.Duke is now ordered to pay $102 million in fines and environmental restoration fees for its illegal discharge of coal ash at not only the Dan River site but at four separate coal burning facilities in North Carolina. $68 million of that sum amounts to fines alone, while the remaining $34 is slated for river and wetland projects in North Carolina and Virginia. Among other things, the investigation found that Duke knowingly directed coal ash seeps from a pit in Asheville into the French Broad River and failed to take action for two years after employees at the Moncure plant informed supervisors of a leaking riser pipe in 2011. Read more here.A new documentary about thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail is premiering at selected venues throughout the region. Chris Gallaway’s in-depth documentation of his thru-hiking experience starts at Spring Mountain in Georgia and follows the determined hiker north for some 2,180 miles as he completes his first thru-hike in the face of on-trail struggles and monumental tribulations in his off-trail life. Stay tuned to the BRO website for more info about upcoming showings and learn more about his journey here.The Long Start to the Journey – Trailer 1 from Horizonline Pictures on Vimeo.Beyond the Blue RidgeA California woman has been indicted in New York after she allegedly tampered with her finance’s kayak, leading to his drowning on the Hudson River. Prosecutors say Angelika Graswald stand to benefit from Vincent Viafore’s life insurance policy. Searchers have yet to find Viafore’s body and bail for Graswald is set at $3 million. Read more here.
By Dialogo January 22, 2013 The Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate USS Gary (FFG 51) and its embarked U.S. Coast Guard team leveraged the capabilities of partner nations and the interagency to intercept a small drug trafficking vessel and confiscated more than 600 pounds of cocaine while on patrol in U.S. 4th Fleet while conducting Operation Martillo on January 4. The estimated street value of the seizure is approximately $22 million. “This was one of those vessels we were chasing in the dark,” said USS Gary’s embarked Naval Criminal Investigative Service Agent, Leatrice Daniels. “There was great open communication with everybody involved. Everything just flowed, from pursuit to initial contact and boarding.” Shortly after the intercept and search of the drug vessel and its contents, the ship was deemed a hazard to navigation and subsequently sunk. This case concluded a week in which the Gary’s crew successfully boarded three vessels and disrupted the smuggling of more than 2,000 pounds of cocaine destined for the United States worth an estimated street value of $272 million. Gary is homeported in San Diego and is currently deployed to Central and South America in support of Operation Martillo and U.S. 4th Fleet’s mission, Southern Seas 2012. Operation Martillo – Spanish for “hammer”- is a U.S., European and Western Hemisphere partner nation effort targeting illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus. U.S. military participation is being led by Joint Interagency Task Force South. Operation Martillo is part of the U.S. government’s coordinated regional security strategy in support of the White House strategy to combat transnational organized crime and the U.S. Central America Security Initiative. Fourteen countries are participating: Canada, Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, France, Guatemala, Honduras, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Panama, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.
By Yolima Dussán / Diálogo April 07, 2020 Colombia is fighting to contain the coronavirus spread with a robust package of measures authorities took after declaring a state of national emergency focused on a lockdown, which started at 12 a.m. on March 23.The mandatory order will last until at least April 13. The country reported its first case of infection on March 3.“These 19 days will be crucial to protect ourselves, and this situation demands our solidarity, collaboration, and discipline,” said Colombian President Iván Duque in his daily coronavirus briefing.With the support of the Military Forces, the government has taken radical measures since the outbreak began. As weeks went by, measures intensified. “Many people might see this as confinement, but I think it’s a time to gather with our families, to think of our fellow humans,” Duque added. “We are going to adopt the necessary measures to protect the population, to protect each other. We will not tolerate violations of the national quarantine.”A Colombian Army soldier distributes masks made by the military, and shares information on measures to contain the COVID-19 spread. (Photo: Colombian Army)Colombia’s measures began on March 16 with a ban on large-scale events and the suspension of classes at schools and universities. Three days later, the ban extended to restaurants, bars, gyms, and nightclubs.Leisure facilities, where human contact is greater, are a breeding ground for the virus to spread; it is necessary to close them temporarily, said Minister of Commerce, Industry, and Tourism José Manuel Restrepo in a press release.On March 17, the country went a step further and announced the closure of all land, maritime, and riverine borders. The action bans, until further notice, the entry and exit of foreign nationals.Only vehicles transporting basic products or humanitarian relief supplies are allowed to enter. Public gatherings of more than 50 people are not allowed. Only banks, grocery stores, gas stations, and hospitals remain open.The Colombian Military Forces work relentlessly to ensure compliance with the lockdown. They also deploy operations nationwide to bring supplies to communities in need.More than 30,000 police officers are patrolling the streets in cities and municipalities to help at any time. In addition, the Army has deployed 519 checkpoints with more than 13,000 service members, as well as 306 checkpoints on main roads with 7,200 agents of the National Police Traffic Department, authorities said.At these checkpoints, authorities also conduct prevention and awareness tasks to prevent the coronavirus spread. Masks made by the military are distributed at certain locations.The Armed Forces distribute water and pantry items in neighborhoods and communities to discourage people from going to more populated areas where they usually buy their supplies. The Air Force has deployed border surveillance operations to strengthen land controls and prevent the entry of people and the spread of COVID-19.“The public force continues its mission of ensuring the safety of Colombians,” said Minister of Defense Holmes Trujillo. “To our military, we send our full appreciation and honor.”The government, the Military Forces, and the population are united in a quarantine that few believe will end on April 13. Meanwhile, the state has designed a comprehensive funding assistance program for all sectors, with subsidies, downtime for payments and credits, reorganization of the national budget, national and regional funding allocations, anything necessary to contain the spread of the virus.
ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr by: Petter G. Miller and Karen LawsonAre you fed up with your bank helping itself to your hard-earned money by charging excessive fees? More and more Americans are ditching their banks for alternative financial institutions. Here are five alternatives to consider before divorcing your bank’s excessive account maintenance and overdraft fees.Consider Credit UnionsIf you’re hesitant to divorce from banking institutions completely, consider credit unions. These are banking cooperatives that are usually owned by their members. There are often membership requirements, such as working for certain employers, but some communities have credit unions that anyone can join. Fees are typically much lower than you’ll find with traditional banks and some even rebate other banks ATM fees. Car loans and mortgages often come with much lower interest rates and origination fees.Prepaid Debit CardsMore and more Americans are turning to prepaid debit cards for their banking needs. Many cards today offer very low fees, free direct deposit, and even free online bill pay. While prepaid debit cards can be a great banking alternative, fee structures vary widely from one card to the next. Pay close attention to the fine print and look for cards that do not charge fees for using the card. Other fees you’re likely to encounter are monthly maintenance fees or fees for using bill pay services. continue reading »
Charles V. Stanley Jr., 65, of Agua Dulce, Calif., will spend the next six years of his life in a federal prison for a multimillion-debt fraud scheme that victimized eight credit unions in California, Nevada and Washington, other businesses and individuals.U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez in Sacramento rendered Stanley’s sentence last week after he pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit bank fraud and wire fraud, McGregor W. Scott, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California said.Stanley owned Creditor Specialty Service Inc., an Acton, Calif.-based debt collection company. Credit unions and other businesses contracted with CSS to collect debts from members and customers.CSS filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2016. According to court bankruptcy documents, more than 30 individuals, business and organizations, including credit unions, initially made more than $20 million in monetary claims against CSS. continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr I recently made a weekday lunch-hour stop at my local Target. I was initially confused because parking lot was jam-packed on what shouldn’t be a busy day.Walking inside, I was greeted by smiling red-shirted Target employee who offered a shopping cart and directed me to a large cooler where they were giving away free water and soft drinks. While the service at Target is usually pretty good, none of these things that ever happened to me there before.I gladly took the free Dr Pepper and soon learned the reason Target was packed that day: it was move-in day at a nearby university. Target was rolling out the red carpet for incoming students and their families who were spending untold dollars that day.There was nothing wrong with the experience I received as the consumer that day. The only thing that irked me was this question: “Why don’t they treat me like that every day? Why just on a special day like this?” continue reading »
Redeemer Lutheran Church in Binghamton is one that is doing ‘ashes to-go.’ The church is also giving out bibles, prayer hearts, and sandwiches during the ashes to-go event. BINGHAMTON (WBNG) — Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, a significant day on the Christian calendar, marking the start of lent. You can pull your car up to the church between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. or even just walk up to receive ashes. While many churches in our area are offering services throughout the day, some are also offering a convenient way for you to receive ashes this year. It’s not the first year Redeemer Lutheran or other churches have done this. The church says it will have people ready to go on all four corners. She says it’s a good way to reach more people. “We’ve actually had people stop and ask if they can bring back a parent because they are not able to get into church but they can get them into a car, so it’s a service we provide for those who aren’t able to get to a church service.” “The turnout is usually pretty good. We’ve had upwards to 100 people that have stopped and not just for ashes, but we have talked and stopped and we meet the community and pray with them, and just get to know them better,” said Deacon Judy Mica Guerin.
The Bandung Health Agency in West Java has said that it encountered difficulty in carrying out contact tracing at the Army’s Officer Candidate School (Secapa) cluster in the city.”We’ve only received information about the number [of people who have been infected], but we could not enter the school [to confirm],” agency head Rita said on Tuesday as reported by kompas.com. In response, army chief spokesman Brig. Gen. Nefra Firdaus told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday that he would look into the matter. West Java recorded the highest spike with 962 new cases on July 9, accounting for most of Indonesia’s latest all-time high record of 2,657 new cases in a single day.The national COVID-19 task force spokesperson, Achmad Yurianto, said the spike came after the finding of 1,262 new cases at the army school, 991 of which were students.Authorities conducted mass PCR testing at the school after two students were diagnosed with COVID-19 as they sought medical attention for seemingly unrelated symptoms.Rita said there was a high possibility that a lot of the students from the school had visited several places in Bandung before it was discovered as a cluster, so it was important to find out where they had gone.Read also: West Java to fine residents who do not wear face masks in publicAs a preventive measure, she said, the agency had set up checkpoints in seven community units (RW) around the school.”We check the temperatures of people entering and leaving the areas,” Rita said.Separately, Nefra said on Wednesday that authorities had conducted a second round of PCR testing at the school.”As of Wednesday, we recorded 27 new cases and 116 recoveries. So in total we only have 1,026 cases, a decrease of 281 [from the previous number], at the school,” Nefra said in a statement.He said the Indonesian Military had cooperated with Airlangga University in Surabaya, East Java and the State Intelligence Agency (BIN) to conduct clinical trials for COVID-19 patients at the school.”A team of clinical trials for COVID-19 treatment from the three institutions is set to give a combination of multiple drugs and dosages for patients. The said trials will be conducted in accordance with the clinical trial guidelines from the Indonesian Food and Drug Monitoring Agency,” Nefra said.Topics :
NEW YORK state officials unanimously approved a US$12bn improvement programme for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on July 12. NY City Transit will get $9bn, with Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road splitting the rest. The package will fund track and signal upgrades and station renovation throughout the subway network, and the purchase of 1080 new cars from Bombardier and Kawasaki for $1·45 bn (RG 6.97 p362). Amongst many projects is a $5m second entrance at Grand Street station, which serves Chinatown and Little Italy in lower Manhattan and suffers from serious overcrowding. Another $15m will restore reductions in services made two years ago. Also included is $30m towards the $315m conversion of the former central post office building adjacent to Penn Station into a new Amtrak station. o