How scuba diving is helping save disabled veterans’ lives

first_imgiStock/Loren Mariani(LOS ANGELES) — Kelly McCumiskey will never forget the day she decided to try scuba diving.Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and confined to a wheelchair, the Air Force veteran hoped that her first dive would be her last.“I was just not a happy person,” McCumiskey, 60, from Los Angeles said. “My idea was I can kill myself and nobody would realize that I did it so I don’t shame my family or the military.”But instead of dying, diving saved McCumiskey’s life.“We go down and we hit 35 feet and I was like, I must have died — there’s something majorly wrong,” McCumiskey said. “I didn’t realize the feeling I was having was I was out of pain. When we came back on the boat and I didn’t need any pain meds at all, my life changed.“Diving actually saved my life.”McCumiskey is one of the founding members of Dive Warriors — a nonprofit based out of Long Beach, California that teaches disabled veterans how to scuba dive. Once a month, the group takes former armed service members to the Pacific Ocean where they dive as a team, free of charge.“Every time I hit the water, I go he-he-he,” McCumiskey said. “I never realized they could literally hear me from the boat laughing underwater as I’m going down through my bubbles. It totally brings me back to life.”The program provides essential water therapy for those who need it. Jared Lemon, 39, from Temecula, California, lost an arm during his second deployment with the Army in Afghanistan. He said he struggles with phantom limb pain and PTSD.“The second I go underwater — Boom!! It goes away,” Lemon said. “It is straight up therapeutic and when I come up, it’s like a reset before the pain begins to build back up again.”Therapy isn’t the only factor that brings the group together. Many veterans say the program lets them experience the camaraderie they felt while serving. Mike Randell, 50, from Las Vegas, is a Gulf War veteran who has been a part of Dive Warriors for three years now. He drives more than four hours each way just to be a part of the mission.“It’s an extremely special bond,” Randell said. “A lot of us have the same injuries. We understand the pain, the horror, the misery each of us experienced. It’s about the team here and it gave me a whole new outlook on life. Dive Warriors really saved my life.”A recent government study found veteran suicide on the rise in the United States and a rate of death much higher than the civilian population. More than 6,000 veterans took their lives in 2017 alone, a 6% increase than the year before. Dive Warriors hopes to change that by providing a support network that veterans feel they can rely on.“You build a special bond because you’re back to your military mindset,” McCumiskey said. “You got their six no matter what happens. That’s your battle buddy right there. When you get that call at 3 o’clock in the morning because somebody’s suicidal that night, you’re able to talk them off the ledge because of that relationship and military mentality built from dives like this.”If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Screen test

first_imgScreen testOn 1 Apr 2000 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Unipart has invested £1m in staff welfare, with new healthcare facilitiesand services. As a result, stress levels have dropped, loyalty has risen andless people are off sick.  By Kate Rouy There can’t be many organisations where the average employee findsthemselves pedalling away on an exercise bike next to the chief executive atlunchtime. Or where alternative therapies share the same status as traditionalones in the company’s health provision. This is the case at Unipart Group of Companies, where there is a holisticapproach to employee welfare. The company has invested around £1m in a range ofhealth and welfare facilities and services for its 1,500 employees. Such an approach is paying dividends, according to Unipart health andwellbeing manager Helen Sellings. Sickness absence levels, for example, are”well below the national average”, she says, with staff turnoverextremely low. Sickness absence rates are measured by division throughout the group, whichhas a total of 12 divisions, and depend upon the division and whether or notthe work is manual or non-manual. Obviously figures around the group vary, andthe rates claimed are difficult to measure directly as a result of the gymfacilities, but the OH team is convinced it is a contributory factor. Fitness focus Employees at Unipart, one of Europe’s leading independent logistics,automotive parts and accessories companies, which occupies a vast site inCowley, Oxford, are indeed fortunate. The firm’s focus is on the maintenance ofhealth and fitness as opposed to treating sickness, and is regarded as abusiness strategy and not a peripheral project. This approach manifests itself in an impressive array of facilities foremployees, including a fully equipped gym – The Lean Machine – and The Orchard,the company’s wellbeing centre which offers a range of therapies fromreflexology to Chinese medicine. Employees are charged a nominal fee, and areable to use the facilities at any time. Membership also extends to theemployee’s family. The company’s occupational health service, which is housed in a newly builtcentre, was opened last year by chairman of the Health and Safety Commission,Frank Davies, and runs parallel to these facilities. A pressure managementprogramme completes the four elements of health service offered by Unipart. Business case Helen Sellings and the Dean of core faculty, Sue Topham, welcome theposition occupied by occupational health in the company. “We are a designated area and we have a voice,” says Sellings.”Back in 1991 we recognised that people needed to be physically andmentally equipped for the pace of change,” Topham says. In the knowledge it was facing global competition from more demandingcustomers with more choice, Unipart was forced to think about its futurestrategy, and the need for people who were fit and healthy. “There was astrong business case for investing in the health of the people in thecompany,” Topham adds. Thus the gym and wellbeing centre were originally set up in order to helpUnipart employees stay both mentally and physically fit in order to cope withthe pressures placed upon them by a fast changing business environment, saysUnipart. The company also believes that the facilities available to employeesand their families gives it some very real business benefits, includingimproved enthusiasm, motivation, and valuable networking opportunities, as wellas pride in their place of work. It also claims that there is clear evidence ofemployee motivation and involvement within Unipart through its quality circleprogramme, “Our Contribution Counts” and an employee recognitionprogramme which rewards those who go above and beyond the call of duty forcustomers. These things are all tied up with a healthy mind, healthy bodyapproach, it says. The new on-site facilities include a counselling venue, a larger healthscreening area incorporating lung function testing and ergonomic riskassessments, a conference room and an improved first aid facility. Theadministration facilities have also been improved and enlarged upon with allcomputers networked, so accessibility to OHAs is now easier. According to Topham the four elements fit well together. “The whole programme on offer here continues to evolve,” she says.”Helen’s remit when she joined was to transform occupational health from areactive treatment service into a proactive department and she has done that. Ouremphasis, as far as occupational health is concerned, is to look at the widerelements. For example, with the use of technology. Technology is changing theway we work, and we are beginning to understand that and to encourage it.”Technology Technological developments at Unipart include the establishment of a healthand wellbeing intranet site, the development of “de-stress” software– by which employees can measure their responsiveness to stress through aninteractive computer test, and an investment in a computerised OH database. “We are getting very efficient sickness absence data, which we arecontinually developing,” says Sellings. “The results go to the board,and we have been able to identify trends and develop intervention methods tosolve them.” Collaborative work These include a phased return-to-work programme, rehabilitation programmesand the continued development of a liaison service with GPs and other outsideagencies. The OH department also works closely with the human resources department.”I think it is fair to say that we are continuing to raise the profile ofOH practice,” says Sellings. Other profile-boosting activities include a monthly health promotion and anannual summer fair. “We try to be proactive, we want to get out there andstop problems before they begin,” says Topham. “We believe ourapproach is very flexible, and the facilities in place encourage loyalty andcommitment. As a result we have a very motivated workforce, and the company hasbeen able to attract and retain high calibre staff. This is one very tangiblebenefit of this kind of investment.” In terms of occupational health, those in the department are encouraged tocome up with new ideas to push the service forward. “OH here is allowed toflourish and expand,” says Selling. Stress management One area in which OH has prospered is in its treatment of stress at thecompany. A stress management programme was devised in 1996, as it becamehighlighted as a dominant workplace issue. “The model was proactive and preventative,” says Topham,”with the emphasis on the primary level – the management of theorganisation which causes unnecessary stress.” Stress relief The programme’s secondary level involves educating those under pressure.”And if these two levels are working well, there is a limited need for thetertiary level, counselling,” adds Topham. A number of educational workshops are also run by the department, tailoredto specific needs. It has also introduced a pressure management mentoringscheme, in which certain employees undergo training to enable them to spotsigns of stress among their colleagues. “We have seen the trend for counselling going down and the forworkshops going up, which is exactly what we wanted,” says Sellings. Despite feedback suggesting that the majority of stress cases originate fromdomestic issues, if a problem is arising as a result of work pressures the team”take it to senior management and expect them to do something aboutit”. Measuring results But does this emphasis on fitness alienate sections of the workforce at theCowley site, which covers manufacturing, warehousing and logistics as well asthe office based services such as marketing, finance, legal, office servicesand personnel? The company believes not, with the Lean Machine boasting a 56 per cent takeup by employees, encompassing all age ranges and all areas of the company. Itclaims strong anecdotal evidence that the facilities provided on site help toattract and hold on to good people, although recognises that the information isqualitative rather than quantitative and cannot be isolated from other factors.While hard data is being collected about absence levels and its causes, it ishard to provide supporting data that such a large capital investment has paidoff. In terms of the overall health and wellbeing programme operated by Unipart,however, Topham is emphatic. “This is not just a “nice to have” programme, this is part ofthe spirit of the organisation,” she says. “It is about people.People will give you the competitive advantage and the sooner people wake up tothat it really will make all the difference.” Unipart Group health service team factfileThe Unipart team includes: Sue Topham                 dean of core faculty Helen Sellings               health & wellbeing manager Fiona Cheyney             pressure management co-ordinator Kirsty Summerby          health &wellbeing co-ordinator Anne Todd                   occupational health adviser Roma Horwood           occupational healthadviser Dr Paul Galloway         company medicaladviserNumber of employees responsible for 1,500 Achievements By taking a holistic approach to staff welfare, the teamhas aided recruitment and retention and has reduced stress and sickness absencefigures. Four major steps have been taken to achieve this:– Opening a new occupational health facility– Providing a gym – The Lean Machine – Providing a wellbeing centre – The Orchard– Establishing a pressure management programmeAlongside these, the OH team has developed the department’s IT systems,setting up an intranet site and an absenteeism database. Goals To continue to move away from a “reactive” departmentand towards one that is “proactive”.  Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Comparative nutritional ecology of grass-feeding in a sub-Antarctic beetle: the impact of introduced species on Hydromedion sparsutum from South Georgia

first_imgSouth Georgia has many introduced plant and animal species, a consequence of its long history of human habitation. Introduced reindeer have a strong effect on the vegetation of the Stromness Bay area by causing the replacement of indigenous species by grazing-tolerant grasses such as the exotic Poa annua, and in certain circumstances, the indigenous Festuca contracta. Recently it has been argued that an introduced predatory carabid has contributed to declines in the abundance and an increase in the body size of adults of the indigenous perimylopid beetle Hydromedion sparsutum. However, it also appears that body size of these beetles is smaller in areas where exotic grasses predominate compared to undisturbed areas. Here we test the hypothesis that by causing the spread of poorer quality grasses, especially the exotic Poa annua, reindeer may be having an indirect effect on H. sparsutum. To do this we examined the nutritional ecology of H. sparsutum larvae on four grass species which form a major part of its diet, viz. the indigenous Parodiochloa flabellata, Phleum alpinum and Festuca contracta, and the exotic Poa annua. Larvae showed the highest growth rate on Parodiochloa flabellata, followed by Phleum alpinum, F. contracta and Poa annua. These differences are due to poorer absorption of the exotic grass, and poorer utilization of the absorbed material in the case of F. contracta. Poor growth of larvae on F. contracta appears to be due to its low water and nitrogen contents, whereas in the case of P. annua a combination of low water content and high nitrogen content may be responsible for low growth rates. Low growth rates associated with poor-quality food may lead either to a prolongation of the life cycle or of the length of feeding bouts of an insect. Neither option appears to be feasible for H. sparsutum, and this means that the outcome of feeding on poorer-quality foods would be a reduction in final adult size. This has fitness consequences for the beetle. Hence it appears that by causing the spread of grasses that are unsuitable for growth of H. sparsutum, reindeer may be having an indirect effect on this beetle species.last_img read more

Two pilots injured in US Navy T-45C crash at NAS Kingsville

first_img Two pilots injured in US Navy T-45C crash at NAS Kingsville View post tag: US Navy A US Navy T-45C Goshawk training aircraft crashed at Naval Air Station Kingsville, Texas, on Friday, May 10.According to the navy, two pilots, an instructor and a student, suffered minor injuries and were transported to a local medical treatment facility for care.The pilots safely ejected from the aircraft-capable trainer just before it crashed just short of the runway inside the airfield perimeter fence.The navy said an investigation into the incident is underway. Back to overview,Home naval-today Two pilots injured in US Navy T-45C crash at NAS Kingsville navaltoday May 13, 2019, by View post tag: T-45C Authorities Share this articlelast_img read more

Happy People?

first_imgThe reason this research into national happiness needs to be done now is that the first ever national elections are scheduled for spring 2008. The theory is that the data should inform the incoming government on what areas are important to the people.  Most of the duties of the king have already been delegated to a national assembly and cabinet of ministers and his powers will no longer be absolute when the democratisation process is complete. In fact, the coronation of the Oxford-educated crown prince (currently acting fifth king) will probably take place after the election, on a date to be decided by astrologers. The forming of political parties is becoming increasingly common, with educated individuals choosing to leave their jobs in the civil service or the media to become involved in politics. This phenomenon has resulted in an interesting situation in which only three ministers have chosen to stay out of the party system to rule the country until the election. Our meetings kept getting cancelled or delayed because the person we were supposed to meet had decided to enter politics. We talked to the election commissioner (who had just received registration applications from the two main parties) about these issues and discovered an astonishing fact. Having only been there a few days, enjoying the food and friendliness I had not completely realised that Bhutan is not a Shangri-la, a Tibet that was never assimilated, a land of spirituality and utopia. Despite the many water-turned prayer-wheels, the harmonious coexistence of regional administration and monasteries in the same building complex and the picturesque architecture and national dress, it is a country with very real peculiarities and problems. In fact religion brings its own problems when Western-style politics are on the agenda. Islam is not the only religion which has a ‘democratic problem.’ In Ladakh, the partly Buddhist region of Jammu, and Kashmir, India, they have experienced this with their Hill Council. A few Rinpoches (high lamas, sometimes reincarnated) got into politics and won landslide elections, not for any particular policy but simply because of the respect the population had for them. What the commissioner in Bhutan told us (and there was even a leaflet explaining this) was that all robed (religious) persons would be excluded from any political activity whatsoever, including voting. Religion, apparently, is ‘above’ politics. Taken at face value this does reduce the validity of the Bhutanese political system, but perhaps it is a necessary measure. One wonders what the reaction would be like in Russia or Italy were priests to be denied the vote.  After the election it will probably take some time before anything becomes clear concerning the success of their democratisation project. The apparent lack of corruption and the revenue from abundant hydropower are positive clues to what has so far been and looks like continuing as a success story. I would certainly be up for a heated discussion on humans being incapable of trying for something better. But then again, I am an optimist. Heid Jerstad visits the Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan in search of temples, politics and the truth behind Gross National Happiness Young people these days are cynical, they say. The time of utopias is gone, wars continue, democracy becomes meaningless as political parties converge, religion is outdated and commerce reigns – so one might as well take that job with Goldman Sachs. But rather than give up on modern life entirely, throwing yourself into a completely alien culture and discovering a different, alternative way of life could be just what you need to regain some of your interest and faith in the world around you.This summer my normally stingy college granted me five hundred pounds towards making a six-day trip to Bhutan. This Tibetan Buddhist kingdom locked between India and Chinese Tibet set up a monarchy in 1907 and has ruled itself since, with India as its main trading partner and mentor. Wherever we went roads were being built by Indian workers with whole families splitting stones or shovelling gravel – and an Indian army soldier keeping an eye on them. I never actually took photos of this (being slightly nervous about what the army might think) but the sight of these low-caste women, teenagers and old men doing such backbreaking work as we drove by in our huge Toyota made me wonder why they didn’t use road machines. (I only discovered later that it is in an attempt to employ the poor, as was done in post-1929 America.) Before this trip was suggested to me I hadn’t actually heard of Bhutan. This says a lot, as I did an option on the Himalayas last Michaelmas and studied Tibetan when I was 16. In my defence, tourism in Bhutan has been heavily controlled and gaining access to the country is difficult. A visa can only be obtained through an agent, and visitors can only travel in a group with a guide and driver. There are beneficial side effects to these limitations too; much of the detrimental impact tourists have had on countries nearby (notably India and Thailand) has so far been avoided in Bhutan –  there is a complete absence of beggars, for example. Being a Buddhist country, all sentient life (and it is oddly evocative of Star Wars to hear men in robes talk of sentient life) is taken seriously – numerous stray dogs roam the streets without fear and the driver of our large SUV would always brake so as not to harm a bird or cat. Whether it really is compassionate to let animals live when they are obviously starving or ill is unclear to me, though dogs near monasteries always looked healthy and well-fed. The educated youth flock to the few emerging towns, attracted by the Bollywood glamour and high-status government jobs. But there are not enough of these to go around resulting in educated unemployment, while migrant workers from India provide manual labour. One industry that is supporting increasing numbers of young people is domestic film production, which is doing a thriving trade, having pushed Bollywood out of the competition in Bhutan without financial support from the government. We were guests of a filmmaker to see an unusually dark film about a curse, charmingly shot with cowpats littering the background, endless romantic songs and dance scenes and a dramatic suicidal ending. I went to Bhutan primarily to assist my father in preliminary research for a documentary film on Gross National Happiness (GNH), a fascinating concept which is officially a policy of Bhutan. Unsurprisingly, measuring the happiness of an individual or population is far from easy. Various books have been written and studies done on the subject but it remains elusive, certainly in terms of national policymaking. Conclusions reached concerning money and happiness never seem to translate into social policy. For research, we visited the Bhutan Studies Centre, established to do cross-sectoral research (i.e. think holistically about what each ministry has separate responsibility for) which is working on GNH. The only women there were secretaries, so I felt a little out of place, receiving endless snacks and tea while the scholars explained their work to my father. They are halfway-through their mammoth survey (although the results are yet to be processed) with around half of nine provinces covered. The 123 page questionnaire is delivered personally by the researcher and takes up to 8 hours per person. The idea is to discover what aspects of life are important for people’s happiness. For instance, would they prefer their virgin forest to be cut down and sold (likely to cause erosion and farming problems) if it meant they could build a secondary school in the valley or would that be a lower priority than increasing crop yields or developing cash crops? After all, the importance of crops in Bhutan should not be underestimated – there is even a large market in Japan for certain Bhutanese mushrooms which resemble Viagra. center_img The importance of religion is immediately evident once you arrive in Bhutan. Whilst visiting Taktsang, the Tigers Nest, a temple complex situated more than half a kilometre above the bottom of the nearby valley, we met two middle aged ladies with their sleeping bags and food on their backs who were planning to walk up and around the auspicious mountain, sleeping outside if need be. Pilgrims must be the original backpackers and these ones were very cheerful, if rather out of breath.So what of the population? Nobody actually knows how many people there are in Bhutan. Apparently (according to Wikipedia) the two million estimate given by CIA Factbook is inflated, invented because of a belief that nations with under a million people were not allowed to join the UN. The real number is probably closer to seven hundred thousand. There is a huge economic divide between the well-off urban population and the farmers who use traditional but labour-intensive methods on steep and remote fields. They seem to have found this situation acceptable until the arrival of satellite television in 1999, Though certain un-Buddhist and immoral channels were banned after a few years (MTV and wrestling – schools had seen a marked increase in violence) villagers still have access to a multitude of channels which of course make it clear to them what they are still lacking in thier lives, and shows a world where leisure seems to be the norm. New problems such as lack of family time and teenage drug abuse are side effects of this exposure, we were told. last_img read more

Gov. Holcomb’s 3rd State of the State Highlights Teacher Pay, Workforce Progress In 2019

first_imgFacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailShare Gov. Holcomb’s 3rd State of the State Highlights Teacher Pay, Workforce Progress In 2019 INDIANAPOLIS – Governor Eric J. Holcomb on Tuesday delivered his 2019 State of the State address to a joint convention of the Indiana General Assembly. While maintaining his focus on five key pillars, the governor’s remarks highlighted his commitment to improving teacher pay and developing a skilled, ready workforce.Full text of Governor Eric J. Holcomb’s 2019 State of the State address is attached.“Making the lives of Hoosiers better today while building for the future has been – and will remain – my focus,” Gov. Holcomb said.As a part of the governor’s effort to make teacher pay competitive with surrounding states, he proposed paying off a pension liability that schools currently pay. This state investment will save all local schools $140 million over the next biennium with continued savings in the years following.Additionally, Gov. Holcomb announced the creation of the Next Level Teacher Pay Commission – chaired by Hoosier businessman and community leader Michael L. Smith – to identify resources that can be made available to improve teacher compensation and develop a blueprint for implementation read to act on by the 2021 legislative session.“Once again, Indiana will show the way we solve challenging issues: together,” Gov. Holcomb said.Gov. Holcomb also celebrated accomplishments and focused on next steps for each of the five pillars outlined in his Next Level Agenda.Cultivate a strong and diverse economy: Operate within an honestly balanced budget, protect our Triple-A credit rating, and keep 11 percent in reserves.Maintain and build the state’s infrastructure: Accelerate I-69 and regional road projects, invest in broadband, and make Indianapolis the Midwest destination for international flights.Develop a 21st century skilled and ready workforce: Ensure all Hoosiers have the tools they need to find meaningful work and careers. Expand the Next Level Jobs initiative and help more high school students earn postsecondary credentials before they graduate.Strengthen public health and attack the drug epidemic: Adopt recommendations from 2018 school safety report, implement Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group’s recommendations, and improve access to quality treatment, expand recovery housing and provide better services for pregnant women who are substance dependent.Deliver great government service: Modernize state government to better serve citizens and businesses, which includes passing bias crimes legislation.Each year, Indiana’s governor addresses both houses of the state legislature, the state’s Supreme Court Justices, and other state leaders at the beginning of the legislative session in the State of the State Address. It provides an opportunity for the governor to report on the status quo of the state’s affairs, highlight key accomplishments of the past year, and outline key priorities for the year ahead.last_img read more


first_imgWe hope that todays “IS IT TRUE” will provoke honest and open dialogue concerning issues that we as responsible citizens of this community need to address in a rational and responsible way.IS IT TRUE it now looks like former City Council President and Finance Chairman John Friend, CPA predictions three years ago that starting in 2018 the City of Evansville will be experiencing a major budget melt down was spot on?  …after last Mondays evening City Council budget meeting it  also looks like Mr. Friend predictions that the 2019 and 2020 city budgets will be financial disasters may be spot on?IS IT TRUE that the statement made by Deputy Mayor Steve Schaefer that Mayor Lloyd Winnecke does not support the COIT tax increase is not only laughable but insulting to the intelligence of the taxpayers of this community? …everybody knows that if the Mayor didn’t want to increase taxes it wouldn’t happen?IS IT TRUE that the 2018 City budget included an item thats is really confusing us?  …we wonder if anyone can explain in detail why City Council approved $11 million dollars for a Downtown loan debt?IS IT TRUE that was nothing was said during the budget meeting about how Mayor Winnecke plans to pay for the Evansville Thunderbolts Hockey team operating expenses for 2018?  …we couldn’t find any reference to the Thunderbolts in the proposed 2018 City operating budget? … Its time for City Council Finance Chairman Dan McGinn to make a formal and detailed statement concerning this issue at the next City Council meeting?IS IT TRUE last Monday evening the Evansville City Council approved a 20 percent tax increase for the citizens of Vanderburgh County while members of the County Council remained silent?   …were extremely disappointed that County Council President John Montrastelle decided not to address this issue? …County Council members may run but they won’t be able to hide from the rural voters in the next county wide election?IS IT TRUE that the majority of City Council members did some political back peddling to keep the funding of $102,500 for New Hope Missionary Baptist Church’s bus route to North 41 businesses, reversed the $105,500 allocation to provide support to 14 nonprofit organizations?  …when elected officials take a strong budgetary stance and do a 180 an degree reversal it’s a major disappointment?IS IT TRUE that it has been reported that the management group that is in charge of the McCurdy apartments in Downtown Evansville face a $750,000 water/sewer bill for a 5 month period starting April 1st and ending September 30th?…the bill happened as a result of The Kunkel Group’s installation of an open-loop geothermal system to heat and cool the recently embattled Riverfront building?…the City  of Evansville estimates, the McCurdy sends 12 million gallons of water to the treatment plant per month, which amounts to 3 percent of the East Side treatment facility’s capacity?…This exorbitant cost has the potential to be the death knell of the McCurdy as it amounts to $150,000 per month which equates to over $1,500 per apartment per month?…The Kunkel Group is thought to have invested $10 million into redeveloping the historic building, which faces the Ohio River?…we are concerned for the future of renewable energy in Evansville, In as the rent for these apartments to sustain the operational cash flow will have to be between $2,500 and $3,000 per month for the operator to have any incentive to do anything but dump the McCurdy back onto the market at which time it will most likely sit there unoccupied for another 9 years or more?IS IT TRUE there are many in the medical and social services world who are still stumped by the unbelievably high suicide rate in Vanderburgh County and what is driving it?…as a refresher Vanderburgh County was exposed for having one of the highest suicide rates in the nation back in 2009 when 49 people took their own lives?…as of April of 2017 there had been 22 suicides already which put us on pace for a record year of 66 self inflicted fatalities?…if the trend holds through the end of the year and there are 66 suicides then Evansville’s suicide rate will be 36 suicides per 100,000 population?IS IT TRUE in the first 9 months of 2017 here have been 55 deaths by drug overdose?…last year there were 50 but years ago this number was single digits?…Evansville does have a relatively low murder rate compared to peer cities?Today’s ‘Readers Poll” question is: Do you believe the statement made at last Monday evening City  Council meeting that Mayor Winnecke was against the COIT tax increase is true?Please take time and read our newest feature articles entitled “LAW ENFORCEMENT, READERS POLL, BIRTHDAYS, HOT JOBS” and “LOCAL SPORTS” posted in our sections.  You now are able to subscribe to get the CCO daily.If you would like to advertise in the CCO please contact us City-County [email protected]’S FOOTNOTE:  Any comments posted in this column do not represent the views or opinions of the City County Observer or our advertisersFacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

Ocean City High School’s Amy T. Andersen Recognized as 2017-18 State Teacher of the…

first_imgAmerican sign language teacher will go on to represent New Jersey at the National Teacher of the Year competition. OCEAN CITY, NJ (October 2, 2017) –Amy T. Andersen, who works as an American Sign Language teacher at Ocean City High School, was named New Jersey’s 2017-18 Teacher of the Year. Andersen, selected from 21 county finalists, was revealed as the statewide winner at an October 3rd meeting of the New Jersey State Board of Education.“Knowing that you are making an impact on the lives of students is extremely gratifying. It’s easily the best part about teaching,” Andersen said. “I feel honored to be recognized among a group of exceptional New Jersey educators, and extremely fortunate to be working with such a supportive administration.”Ocean City is one of only a handful of districts in the state that offer American Sign Language (ASL) as a world language for hearing students. Approximately 130 students are now taking ASL, more than triple the size of the program when it first started 13 years ago. Students can earn a Seal of Biliteracy on their transcripts, denoting their fluency in sign language.Andersen, of Cape May Court House, taught in Boston before moving back to Cape May County in 2004 and starting as a special-education teacher at Ocean City High School. That same year, the district started its ASL program with about 40 students. The next year, more than 130 students had signed up. Over the years, several students have decided to pursue careers in teaching the deaf.“As superintendent, I can ask for nothing more than a teacher who inspires students to not only excel at the subject matter, but to look beyond their own experience and find ways to improve the world around them,” said Dr. Kathleen Taylor, Superintendent of the Ocean City School District. “Amy has created a place where students find inspiration, self-confidence, a nurturing environment and often, their future careers.”The State Teacher of the Year serves as a spokesperson and advocate for the teaching profession. As part of her award, Andersen will take a six-month paid sabbatical to serve as a liaison to the State Board of Education, travel the state, meet with teachers and discuss ways programs can be improved.Amy T. Andersen will also go on to represent the State of New Jersey in the National Teacher of the Year competition, the winner of which will be announced in the spring. Ocean City High School’s Amy T. Andersen is one of four finalists for National Teacher of the Year.last_img read more

Fighting to save Ferrari’s

first_imgYou would be hard put to find somebody who has lived in South Wales in the past 75 years who has not heard of Ferrari’s.The bakery’s logo, as well as its cakes and pastries are known to everyone. The business has bakeries on almost every high street, from Cardiff to Tonypandy, serving up everything from ’breakfast baps’ to wedding cakes. Ferrari’s has been offering good value, quality produce and providing quick affordable lunches to workers all over South Wales, for years. Sadly, for the people of the area, the company went in to administration before Christmas. I hope that a buyer is found as soon as possible to keep the bakery and shops open and, most importantly, secure the jobs of the workforce.On 19 December 2006, when the company announced it was going into administration, it cited falling sales and greater fuel costs for the decision. The firm employs around 600 workers all over South Wales. The business has been advertised here in British Baker and in the FT, and several interested buyers have contacted the administrators.I met with the workers at the factory in Hirwaun just after Christmas and they told me of their concerns. Some of them have been working at the bakery for 30 years. Others have a whole family of five working together at the bakery. Although they are obviously worried about their jobs and the business, they are continuing to work as usual and are determined to fight to save the firm. They know Ferrari’s has an excellent reputation and, while customers continue to buy, the workers will continue to bake.They mentioned Tower Colliery, the only deep mine left in South Wales. It is about half a mile from the bakery and is now a worker’s cooperative. In 1994, I sat down the mine at Tower for some 27 hours, and it was saved as a working pit, since the men invested their redundancy money to keep it going.On my visit to the bakery, I also met with union representatives, managers and administrators. As I told them, I am talking to the Wales Office, which is working on a package to support the business in the light of recent developments. It would certainly be a body blow for the whole of the Cynon Valley, as well as the economy of South Wales, if the business were to fold.John James of The Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union has told me that he is hopeful that a buyer will be found and that the staff are keeping positive. One employee of 17 years, summed it up when she said, “Apart from how important it is to keep the jobs, it has been so popular over many years. We need to keep the name going now.”I shall do everything I can to help find a buyer for the company and secure the brand as well as jobs in the area. Ferrari’s is part of the social fabric of South Wales. It would be a great shame for all its customers if it ceased to exist in its present guise, and another small, local brand was squeezed out, in favour of the larger, more expensive high street bakeries and supermarkets.Ferrari’s has a long history in the area. The Ferrari’s family started baking in 1925, after setting up a chain of successful cafés, first established in 1912, for the chapel-going miners and non-conformists, who wanted an alternative to pubs and chapels to fill their leisure time. Like many other Italian immigrants at the time, the Ferraris came over on the boats from Italy, trading Italian timber, needed to support the mines for Welsh coal. The family came from the Bardi region in Italy, near Parma, and originally worked as miners, until they saw the gap in the market and became some of the earliest café owners in the UK.Around 1960, some of the younger members of the family decided to expand the bakery and acquired new premises in Hirwaun, opening more retail outlets. Robert Ferrari, the son of the original founder, has fond memories of the business: “We had a wonderful workforce. I know all of them and continue to take an interest in whole families.” When the next generation moved into other occupations, the company was sold to Paul Cleary of Cleary foods in 1995.The Rt Hon Ann Clwyd is MP for the Cynon Valleylast_img read more