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Gov. Beshear, State Leaders Provide Update on Kentucky’s Fight Against COVID-19

first_img Gov. Beshear, State Leaders Provide Update on Kentucky’s Fight Against COVID-19Key updates on interstate collaboration, testing, Team Kentucky Fund, field hospitalFRANKFORT, Ky. (April 15, 2020) –Gov. Beshear announced Wednesday that his administration is deepening ties with neighboring Indiana and Ohio in the fight against the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).The Governor said he, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine have agreed to continue close discussions on responding to the coronavirus pandemic, with an eye toward eventually coordinating plans to reopen the states’ economies.“Regionally, it is so critical,” Gov. Beshear said. “If you live in Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati is right across the river, we have to work together to make sure that one area isn’t on top of the virus and another just brings it in, and vice versa.”The Governor will continue regular calls and planning sessions with neighboring governors and other leaders over the coming weeks. As action is taken, the governors will provide updates.“These two governors and I have been on a call at least once a week, and let me tell you, they care about their people,” Gov. Beshear said. “There hasn’t been one political moment in it, just three people trying to do the best they can surrounded by teams trying to do the best that they can.”He said that the collaboration is essential but that each leader ultimately would make his own decisions.“In the end each state will have to sign off on any of their plans. None of us are going to relinquish our obligation to serve our people,” the Governor said. “But we believe that these three states have been doing a good job in what we face with the coronavirus and that our experience is very similar and so that by doing this we believe we can have a more effective eventual opening of different parts of our economy.”Comprehensive TestingGov. Beshear also announced the first stage of a unique testing regime, starting with frontline health care workers, that is designed to save lives and get people back to work.The Co-Immunity Project is a collaboration among the State of Kentucky, Louisville Metro Government, the Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute and several major health care companies through the Louisville Healthcare CEO Council.The project will focus on comprehensive testing, centered on antibodies and developing donor plasma resources.“It will test for antibodies for those who have been infected in the past and may have developed immunity,” the Governor said.Gov. Beshear said we are unleashing the capabilities of a special asset we have in our state, the Louisville Center for Predictive Medicine, which has state-of-the-art facilities for BSL-3 biocontainment research.The Co-Immunity Project is a collaboration – not only between public and private institutions but also among private health care companies that normally compete against each other. They are banding together, contributing different capabilities to this project with the same goal of delivering a testing regime that can save lives and get a community of people back to work.“This is a unique opportunity for us to leverage all of the research capabilities of the University of Louisville,” said University of Louisville President Neeli Bendapudi. “We are very eager to try to work with the entire population, first of all, to protect our health care workers and then everyone in the community and hopefully from Louisville we are able to take this and extend it to enhancing the health of the entire commonwealth.”Team Kentucky FundGov. Beshear announced new fundraising numbers and an oversight panel for the Team Kentucky Fund.Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman appeared Wednesday remotely via video to announce the five co-chairs.“I have some great news to share with the state about the Team Kentucky Fund,” Lt. Gov. Coleman said. “First of all, I have recruited five co-chairs to serve as the team that leads the charge here, and it is a bipartisan group of folks that you might recognize because they have all held my position of lieutenant governor in the past.”Jerry Abramson, Steve Henry, Crit Luallen, Daniel Mongiardo, and Steve Pence will co-chair the Team Kentucky Fund to help Kentuckians whose employment has been affected by COVID-19.Beshear, along with the Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet, took executive action on March 23 to establish the Team Kentucky Fund, an online platform to provide help to Kentuckians affected financially during the COVID-19 emergency.This fund will complement other efforts from the state’s unemployment payments to federal stimulus, said Lt. Gov. Coleman, who is also secretary of the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.“We are going to be partnering with Community Action of Kentucky. We are going to be partnering with this group because they have a long history of impactful work. This organization is going to serve as the hands and feet of this mission,” Lt. Gov. Coleman said.Gov. Beshear said that right now there is more than $1.8 million raised or pledged to the Team Kentucky Fund.“More than 7,000 people have donated. Most of the donations were less than $100,” the Governor said. “We’ve also had some businesses and private donors step up with gifts from $10,000 to the $1 million announcements we had from the Kentucky Colonels just yesterday.”In addition to the Kentucky Colonels’ unprecedented donation, Gov. Beshear highlighted some of the major gifts, including $125,000 from an anonymous business donor, $100,000 from LG&E, $25,000 from Health Tech Solutions and $65,000 from Bret Walker and Emilee Stites in cooperation with TeeSpring Inc. (Walker and Stites operate BeshearGear.com, with 100% of proceeds going to the Team Kentucky Fund.)“I want to thank everyone for their generosity in this,” the Governor said. “Nobody’s personal finances are in a positive place as we go through this. Thinking about the fact that people have donated already $1.9 million to help out their fellow human being is once again passing that test of humanity.”University of Kentucky Football Coach Mark Stoops sent a video promoting the Team Kentucky Fund.“Any coach will tell you, in order to have success, you have to have to execute a game plan. Our game plan is this: stay healthy and stay home. And keep a safe distance from family and loved ones. That is how you win. That is how you defeat the coronavirus,” Coach Stoops said.“But much like a team, you also need a strong supporting cast. That is why the Governor and the Team Kentucky Fund has put together an initiative and a fundraiser,” Coach Stoops said. “Some Kentuckians are being hit so much harder than others. And they need our support.”Donate to the Team Kentucky Fund at www.donate.ky.gov.Drive-Through Testing UpdateGov. Beshear provided updates and clarification about the state’s partnership with Kroger to provide drive-through testing for the coronavirus in the commonwealth.A main point of emphasis is that Kroger stores and pharmacies are not testing sites. Please do not call the stores or pharmacies seeking to register for the tests.For those seeking to register for a test, a new website has been established. For location details or to register for a test, visit KROGERHEALTH.COM/COVIDTESTING.Those eligible for the tests include people exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, shortness of breath and cough; health care workers and first responders who may have been exposed to coronavirus; and anyone with mild symptoms who also may have been exposed to COVID-19.The testing is done free of charge. The overall goal of the partnership is to conduct 20,000 tests over the next five weeks. Test results are expected within approximately 48 hours.Census updateGov. Beshear is continuing to encourage Kentuckians to do their Constitutional duty and fill out the 2020 U.S. Census.“The Census provides significant dollars,” the Governor said. “When we talk about needing to rebuild our economy, we are leaving dollars on the table unless every Kentucky family completes the Census.”Newly released numbers show that Kentucky is outpacing the national average 51% to 49.1% in self-response to the Census. However, a regional look at the commonwealth shows far less reporting in the eastern portion of the state.“This is really important for the months ahead when we can look to not just restarting but reviving our economy,” the Governor said.Field Hospital UpdateKentucky National Guard Adj. Gen. Hal Lamberton provided an update on the field hospitalat the Kentucky Exposition Center.“At this moment, it is operational. We currently have 250 beds there. We have the potential of expanding that should the need arise,” Gen. Lamberton said. “The intent of this acute-care facility is if there is a need and an overflow at our local hospitals in the Louisville area, that this is a means to send some of the light-medical-care COVID-19 afflicted patients. We can’t wait till that need is already there, we’ve got to have this prepared in advance of the need, thus the operational date now, well ahead.”He said the collaborative effort includes the Kentucky National Guard, Kentucky Emergency Management, the Kentucky Department for Public Health, Kentucky Homeland Security and numerous local and state level organizations.Case InformationAs of 5 p.m. April 15, Gov. Beshear said there were at least 2,291 coronavirus cases in Kentucky, 88 of which were newly confirmed.Unfortunately, Gov. Beshear also reported seven new deaths Tuesday, raising the state’s toll to 122 deaths related to the virus.“These seven people are a loss to all of us so let’s make sure we light our houses up tonight, and our places of business,” the Governor said.The newly reported deaths include four women from Jefferson County, ages 88, 89 and two 93-year-olds; a 94-year-old woman from Hopkins County; a 48-year-old man from Simpson County; and a 65-year-old man from an undisclosed county.At least 862 people have recovered from COVID-19 in Kentucky.To date, at least 28,324 people have been tested. At least 807 people have ever been hospitalized with 412 currently hospitalized. At least 367 have ever been in the ICU with at least 252 people currently in the ICU.Gov. Beshear also offered an update on the racial breakdown of COVID-19 patients, which has been the subject of news stories across the country because of the disparity.The Governor said with about 73% of the known cases accounted for, 80.62% of Kentuckians who tested positive were Caucasian, 11.63% were African-American, 4.93% were multiracial, 2.63% were Asian and 0.07% were Native American, Alaskan Native or Native Hawaiian.On fatalities attributed to the coronavirus, with about 82% of the known cases accounted for, Kentucky deaths are about 77% Caucasian, 22% African-American and 1% Asian.“Again, those are concerning numbers,” the Governor said.More InformationThe Governor is asking all Kentuckians to continue to fight the spread of the virus by following his 10-step guidance, which includes practicing social distancing and staying healthy at home. Gov. Beshear says these efforts have the potential to save the lives of as many as 11,000 Kentuckians.Read about other key updates, actions and information from Gov. Beshear and his administration at governor.ky.gov, kycovid19.ky.gov and the Governor’s official social media accounts Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Watch the Governor’s social media accounts at 5 p.m. ET each day for his regular briefing.The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages people to follow these steps to prevent illness. Kentuckians who want advice can call the state hotline at 800-722-5725 or call their local health care provider.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more


Cape May County Sheriff’s Officers Lauded for Life-Saving Actions

first_imgCape May County Sheriff Bob Nolan, center, is joined by members of the Sheriff’s Office during the awards ceremony. (Photos courtesy of Cape May County Sheriff’s Office)  By Tim Kelly Sheriff’s Officer Robert Saunders knew something wasn’t right.Tasked with monitoring a holding room in Cape May County’s drug court recently, Saunders observed one of the male inmates didn’t appear to be functioning normally.“This is a mundane – but critical – chore to keep an eye on the inmates,” County Sheriff Bob Nolan said. “Officer Saunders had other things on his plate, and was also charged with looking after these people. He did exactly what he was supposed to do in that situation.”Saunders, a resident of the Villas section of Lower Township, immediately contacted Sheriff’s Officer Andrew Raniszewski, who was stationed nearby. Raniszewski rushed into the holding area to attend to the stricken inmate and found him to be unresponsive.“Earlier, as is routine in drug court, the inmate submitted to a screening and was found to be not clean,” Nolan said. “Officer Raniszewski is experienced not only as an officer, but as an emergency medical technician. He correctly assessed the inmate was the victim of an overdose (of heroin or other opioid).”Sheriff’s Officer Robert Saunders, left, accepts his award from Sheriff Bob Nolan.Raniszewski, who lives in Wildwood, immediately administered Narcan, an antidote for overdoses of heroin or other opioids. The man’s eyes opened briefly, but he then lapsed back into a state of unresponsiveness. At that point, Raniszewski made a life-saving decision. “He administered a second dose,” Nolan related. “That brought the inmate all the way back (to consciousness).”As a result of their actions, both Saunders and Raniszewski were awarded the Sheriff’s Lifesaving Medal at the graduation ceremony on Tuesday. “I have no doubt Officer Saunders and Officer Raniszewski shared equally in saving this man’s life,” said Nolan. “It was clear to me that if Officer Saunders hadn’t noticed something was wrong, or if Officer Raniszewski hadn’t responded immediately and with great medical decisions, that gentleman would not have survived the incident.”Sheriff’s Officer Andrew Raniszewski, left, receives his award from Sheriff Bob Nolan.It was gratifying to see the officers’ training pay off in such a manner, said Antwan McClellan, Director of Personnel and Confidential Assistant to Nolan.“These officers go through six months of rigorous training to react appropriately in real-life emergencies,” McClellan said. “(Saunders and Raniszewski) did exactly what they were trained to do, and their actions averted a tragedy.” Also honored at the ceremony was Sheriff’s Officer Andrew Garcia, a Sea Isle City resident, who took the award for highest academic performance during his training. “It was a back-to-back honor for Officer Garcia. Six months before, he was given the top academic performance recognition among trainees in the Corrections Department,” said McClellan, an Ocean City resident who in addition to his work for the Sheriff’s Office is a councilman in Ocean City.Garcia had initially been hired as a Corrections officer under the Sheriff’s Department, and had also applied for a position as a Sheriff’s Officer. The Civil Service list for the job and hiring process landed him in a position to garner both academic honors within a six-month period.“We’re extremely proud of these officers for the job they do every day,” said Nolan, “and sometimes their duties place them in a position to do something extraordinary.”Sheriff’s Officer Andrew Garcia, left, a resident of Sea Isle City, receives his award from Sheriff Bob Nolan for academic excellence.last_img read more


Voices of Faith choir sings a song of community

first_imgMusic, community, fellowship and faith are four words that immediately come to the minds of Voices of Faith gospel choir members when asked why they enjoy spending time together. “We’re more than just a choir. It really is a community,” junior Nicole Campion said. “Yes, we practice singing, but it is also a time of faith and fellowship.” Director Eugene Staples, a senior and four-year member of Voices of Faith, invoked the group’s motto when discussing its communal and spiritual atmosphere, his favorite aspect of the choir. “We are a student-run, faith-based choir,” Staples said. “Singing is my favorite part, but it’s definitely not more important than the fellowship and community. I really enjoy the group’s union of singing with doing something good for our Christian faith.” Senior Amanda Meza echoed Staples’ remarks when asked about her favorite part of participating in the choir. “The fellowship you develop would have to be my favorite part. It’s more than just singing,” Meza said. “We grow together in our faith, and this is something I really cherish and wouldn’t change.” Voices of Faith, a choir marked by cultural, religious and ethnic diversity, provides a home for those searching for alternative ways to grow in their spirituality outside of an exclusively Catholic context. “We provide a home for those who feel alienated,” Staples said. “I come from a Baptist church, and I still feel alienated by some of the Catholic structures. Voices of Faith really is a home away from home for those who don’t understand the Catholic traditions.” Meza, also a member of the Baptist Church, wanted to continue singing and focusing on her spirituality as she had at home. She said she quickly discovered Voices of Faith during her freshman year. “I’m not Catholic, but I wanted to sing Christian music,” she said. “I went to the concerts my freshman year, and they were extremely moving with their incorporation of Bible passages and prayers. I was looking for the Christian identity at the core of the Catholic identity. I was looking for something like home, and I found it with Voices of Faith.” While the music initially grabbed Campion’s attention, she said the community’s diversity is one of the most rewarding parts of participating in the group. “I really like having the opportunity to be friends with such a diverse group of individuals, especially considering Notre Dame’s relative lack of diversity,” Campion said. “I sometimes get bored with the mainstream culture, so the diversity at Voices of Faith almost represents a different culture to me.” While diversity has always characterized Voices of Faith, Staples, Campion and Meza all remarked on how this year’s group has brought religious, ethnic and cultural diversity to another level. “This is our most diverse year ever,” Staples said. “We are so much bigger and so much better. I guess we’ve done great marketing through our performances.” Campion said the group’s constant clapping and cheering during performances often surprises people, but ultimately leads to an enjoyable experience. “Energy is one of the hallmarks of our music,” Campion said. Voices of Faith will host its winter concert this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Washington Hall. Student tickets are $5.last_img read more


Governor Douglas announces $200,000 grant for Middlebury

first_imgA dental office that will provide access to dental care for low to moderate income individuals in Addison County, as well as the general population, will be getting a $200,000 boost from the state, Governor Jim Douglas announced Wednesday.In a ceremony at the future home of the Addison County Dental Center, Douglas presented a $200,000 Community Development Block Grant to the Town of Middlebury that will be used to help equip and furnish the offices on Merchants Row. This is an area which has been in need of additional dental care providers for some time, Douglas said. The Addison County Dental Center will focus on providing access to dental care for low to moderate income individuals, but will also be a resource for all of the people of Addison County.Douglas noted that the dental office, located in the former Citizens Bank site, is near the Addison County Transit Resources bus route and is also within walking distance of Middlebury College, the Mary Hogan Elementary School, Middlebury Union High School and the Mary Johnson Children’s Center.The center will have 4 treatment rooms, 4 dental chairs, a reception/business office area, a sterilization center and a lab.Middlebury Town Manager William Finger, and Peg Martin and Seymour Rettinger of the non-profit Addison County Dental Center were on hand to accept the check. We are very appreciative to the Vermont Community Development Program for this generous grant and are looking forward to a grand opening of this much-needed center this summer, said Martin, a board member of the Addison County Dental Center. As a result of this contribution, the financial goals of Addison County Dental Center are almost fully realized, making us a go-ahead project, Rettinger said. We will be reaching out to the community for contributions to finish our funding needs.The Governor praised the work of the Addison County Dental Center; the Town of Middlebury; and the Vermont Health Department, as well as the dedication of the staff at the Department of Housing and Community Affairs who work in the Vermont Community Development Program. These grants are important because they leverage other financial resources and help address critical housing, service, and economic development needs in our communities, Douglas said.The Agency awards the competitive grants based on recommendations of the Vermont Community Development Board and approval of Commerce and Community Development Secretary Kevin Dorn.For information about the Vermont Community Development Program, please see the Agency of Commerce and Community Development website at: http://www.dhca.state.vt.us/VCDP/index.htm(link is external)last_img read more


Beer Blog: A Better Can

first_imgThe beer can is about to get a whole lot better. Well, 22% better.Red Hare Brewing Company, which happens to be located in my home town of Marietta, Georgia, will be the first craft beer company in the world to put their beer in an Evercan, an aluminum can that’s made of a guaranteed 90% recycled content, which results in 22% less CO2 emissions compared to your standard beer can.Red Hare was the first craft brewery in Georgia to put their beer in cans two years ago, and looks to be leading the charge again with this new eco-can. “It is cans for the convenience, quality, and sustainability,” said Roger Davis, owner of Red Hare.I had a chance to try one of Red Hare’s seasonals recently — their Cotton Tail Pale Ale — which is a great warm weather, borderline sessionable ale with just enough citrus and malt to keep it interesting. Sadly, Cotton Tail won’t be getting the Evercan treatment. But you will be able to find Red Hare’s year-round beers (the Gangway IPA, Long Day Lager and Watership Brown) in the Evercan in stores starting in May.Personally, I’m hoping  Red Hare decides to can their Root Beer, which is made from pure cane sugar and has a mellow vanilla edge. It’s delicious, and I think the South could use a carefully crafted can of Root Beer.–Graham Averill writes about the intersection of parenthood and drinking at daddy-drinks.com.last_img read more


2014 Soccer World Cup Will Have Positive Impact on Brazilian GDP

first_img The 2014 soccer World Cup in Brazil will have a positive impact of 1.5 percentage points on that country’s gross domestic product (GDP) over the next three years, with the direct creation of at least 250,000 jobs, according to the bank Itaú Unibanco. The institution presented a study on the economic effects of hosting the World Cup, the first to be held in Brazil since 1950. Itaú Unibanco’s head economist, Illan Goldfajn, affirmed that public and private investment for the event will spur GDP growth and open the way to even greater expansion of the Brazilian economy over the long term. “The direct spending impact, both infrastructure and private-sector spending, accounts for 1 percent of GDP, and the remainder comes from the multiplier effect,” Goldfajn said. The Brazilian federal government has a budget of 20.6 billion dollars for investments in stadiums, airports, and transportation and communications infrastructure, among other areas directly linked to the World Cup. Private investment is concentrated in the tourism sector, chiefly in the construction of new hotels. The Brazilian Central Bank estimates GDP growth of 4 percent in 2011. Last year, the Brazilian economy grew approximately 7.5 percent. By Dialogo August 15, 2011last_img read more


House panel hears Art. V bill

first_imgHouse panel hears Art. V bill House panel hears Art. V bill Associate Editor Fending off legislation that would dramatically politicize the judiciary and gut The Florida Bar, President Herman Russomanno came to the House Committee on Judicial Oversight armed with the firepower of legal luminaries with the combined experience of 462 years. Former Florida Supreme Court Justices Alan Sundberg and Stephen Grimes stepped up to the podium March 14 to register grave concerns about several bills that would dramatically change the way courts are run and how justices get their jobs, as well as strip the Bar of its unified role in fully regulating lawyers and eliminate its role in the judicial nominating commission process. They were joined by former Bar presidents Ben Hill III and John Frost, Florida Bar Board of Governors lay members Dr. Alvin Smith and Vivian Hobbs, Eighth Circuit Judge Stan Morris,Virgil Hawkins Florida Chapter of the National Bar Association President Craig Gibbs, Cuban American Bar Association President Michael Diaz, Kelly O’Keefe of Florida Association for Women Lawyers, and lawyers Barry Richard and Thom Rumberger. (see story, page 9) All echoed the sentiments of Russomanno, who said: “Simply stated, The Florida Bar takes the position that this bill, as written, is an assault on the independence of the Bar and an assault on the independence of the court. It would politicize the process and set back our system of justice well over 100 years.. . . We want to bring our case to the people, because if you understand the role of the Bar and the role of the court and the separation of powers, you will see the flaws, the fatal flaws, in this legislation.” Drastic changes to the courts and Bar, as proposed in joint resolution HJR 627 by Rep. Fred Brummer, R-Apopka, would strip the Bar of its authority to comprehensively regulate Florida’s 68,000 lawyers; create by statute “Super District Courts of Appeal” with exclusive statewide jurisdiction on any issue; require a two-thirds vote, rather than the current majority, to retain appellate judges; and would eliminate judicial nominating commissions, giving the governor the sole authority to nominate and appoint judges, with advice and consent of the Senate. Other aspects of Brummer’s bill eliminate the distinction between substantive law and procedural rules, require that all court rules conform to statutes, and authorize the legislature to repeal rules by a simple majority, rather than the current two-thirds vote. Members of the Judiciary Oversight Committee also heard briefly from Rep. Carey Baker, R-Eustis, on HJR 655 that would require lawyers to run for statewide election to serve as justices of the Supreme Court and would limit their terms to eight years, as well as Rep. Randy Johnson, R-Winter Garden, on HJR 783 regarding electing justices and district court of appeal judges, with eight-year term limits. And Rep. Jerry Melvin, R-Ft. Walton Beach, promised he would once again file a bill to put the regulation of lawyers under the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Rep. Brummer said he is just trying to level the playing field between lawyers and other professions. He said he wants to end the special privilege he views lawyers are enjoying because the Bar is interlocked with the Florida Supreme Court. “Attorneys practicing law have special treatment under the Florida Constitution that no other profession has, where the integration of the Bar and the courts permits a relationship nowhere else seen,” said Brummer, a certified public accountant. “Back in the ’60s and ’70s, CPAs used to regulate CPAs. Back in the ’60s and ’70s, the real estate association used to regulate Realtors. Those practices were set aside and were replaced by regulation by the legislature through the executive branch. So retaining the Bar interlocked with the courts, I think, establishes an elitist situation for attorneys.” Speaking in support of portions of the proposed legislation dealing with revamping the JNCs was attorney George Meros, Jr., who represents the complainant in the recent First District Court of Appeal JNC inquiry. Meros also represents 300 businesses, individuals, and associations in a coalition to change tort laws. Also voicing his approval of the proposed legislation was Ted Hires, the complainant in that JNC controversy who is also the founder of the Justice Coalition, a Jacksonville victims’ advocacy group, who wants judges elected, and Terry Kemble, executive director of the Florida Christian Coalition, who wants candidates for judge or sitting judges to be free to give their views on positions. “To think a judge can sit on the bench and make decisions on important cases without taking into account that judge’s upbringing, philosophical beliefs, religious belief, it’s ludicrous to think that that can happen,” Kemble said. “So if judges are going to make decisions based on those beliefs, it seems to me that we ought to be able to know before we vote for them what those beliefs are.” But Grimes warned: “If judges go very far in expressing their views, then how will a litigant feel coming before the judge on the opposing side? It’s a dangerous area to open up too far.” At the end of the four-hour workshop in which no vote was taken, Brummer said more time was needed to hear from more supporters of his bill, and he requested another workshop. The committee must set a date for another meeting at which it will vote on whether to send Brummer’s proposed amendment to the constitution to the House floor for a vote. To succeed, Brummer’s resolution requires a three-fifths vote from both the House and Senate, which in turn would authorize an amendment to the state constitution for a vote in the November 2002 election. Most of the workshop was filled with the voices of those who think the Bar is doing a good job regulating lawyers and rose to defend the current system of how appellate judges are chosen and the way the courts are run. Some of those voices came from the lawyer members serving on the Judicial Oversight Committee, in the form of questions they asked: • Rep. Dudley Goodlette, R-Naples: “I formerly served proudly on the Board of Governors of The Florida Bar. I think the Bar does an outstanding job of regulating lawyers, and so I have a very significant problem with this portion of the bill, as well as other portions.. . . I’m troubled by this notion, Rep. Brummer, and I have to be careful, because I don’t mean for this comment to be a criticism of the DBPR in the role they serve in regulating cosmetologists and engineers and CPAs and others. But I’m quite proud of the fact that I know that when a colleague of mine happens to go astray and steals money from their clients’ trust account, they don’t have a license to practice law two days later. I am concerned that public policy would be most well-served to preserve that kind of system, rather than to destroy that kind of system.” • Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Dania Beach (regarding proposed legislation that would allow the judge in a civil case to assess the full cost of services on the nonprevailing party): “You are a certified public accountant, Rep. Brummer, and that’s why I think it’s fair to pose this question to you. In your own mind, what costs have you anticipated being taxed against the nonprevailing party in a civil action? And how do you reconcile this provision on assessment of costs with Article 1, Section 21 of our constitution, which says the courts shall be open to every person for redress of any injury and justice shall be administered without sale?” Brummer answered: “Keep in mind that the way we structured this is that it does not apply if the judge so decides.” • Rep. Larry Crow, R-Dunedin: “You’re talking about the two-thirds vote for the retention of judges. That basically amounts to a one-third veto of a judge. Correct? Doesn’t that fly in the face of a theory of a republican democracy and the rule of the majority?” Brummer answered: “We’re talking about running against no one. And if you are running against no one, and you’re only pulling 40 percent of the vote, you’ve got serious, serious problems regarding accountability.. . . That two-thirds number comes from this House. If you want to roll over our bills without a third reading, for instance.. . There’s so many things that we do based on two-thirds of the vote. In order to modify, for instance, our Death Penalty Reform Act, we had to get two-thirds of the vote. That’s as simple as it comes.. . . Two-thirds is a real benchmark that we have to reach. So I don’t see when you’re running against no one, I don’t see that it’s unreachable at all.” • Rep. Jack Seiler, D-Ft. Lauderdale, (directed to Meros, who criticized the way the Bar handled the First DCA JNC complaint and inquiry): “You say you are trying to improve the Bar. This bill guts the Bar. This doesn’t improve anything. This clearly, plainly, and simply guts The Florida Bar. And I feel it infringes on the separation of powers. I don’t know how that can be deemed as improving the system.” Meros answered: “First of all, obviously, it takes away the integrated Bar. I would respectfully disagree with you that that is a separation of powers issue.. . . The JNC issue is very symptomatic of the fact that the Bar is showing that it is not willing to evaluate itself. And if it is not willing to evaluate itself, without it appearing to be an attack, then perhaps that arrogance means that it is becoming destructive.” • Rep. Jeff Kottkamp, R-Cape Coral, (directed to Meros): “I recognize that in the zealous advocacy of your client, you are very concerned about this one instance [1st DCA]. But there are thousands of instances where this [JNC] process has worked very well. I want to ask you about changing this process of how we regulate the Bar. There has been a movement in our state to deregulate. It’s been downsizing government and reducing the size of government. Do you really believe in your heart of hearts that government is better to regulate the legal profession than The Florida Bar?” Meros answered: “I will be absolutely honest with you. I don’t know. I know that what has happened, to some extent, is that The Florida Bar has become a government. It is an entity with its own life. I think The Florida Bar has done fantastic things in some disciplinary areas. With regard to trust accounts, they have done a fantastic job. I think with regard to solicitation rules and advertising, they have done a horrible job.” • Rep. Joe Pickens, R-Palatka (directed to Sundberg): “Can you tell me the standard the judge would apply if he knew what the costs were in determining whether a nonprevailing party would be assessed costs, which is discretionary? How do I tell my client in assessing the case what the prospects of their being assessed costs are if they are a nonprevailaing party, if I can’t see the standard which the judge will be applying in any particular case?” Sundberg answered: “What guidelines? What signposts do they use? I have no earthly idea, and I don’t think most trial judges would either. But you know, there is a more important issue here, and that has to do with due process. Under our system, except for fee-shifting statutes in particular instances, people don’t run the risk, in order to try to vindicate their rights, they don’t run the risk that if they lose they have to bear the cost of the proceeding. That is perceived to be a cost of government and that we afford our citizens to come into court. That’s what Article 1, Section 21 is all about.” • Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland, (directed to Grimes): “Is there any part of this bill, any provision being proposed, that you may find favorable?” And Grimes answered there was only one portion worth keeping: doing away with the requirement that justices on the Supreme Court come from each judicial district. “But it’s not important enough to have a constitutional amendment about,” Grimes concluded. In his remarks to the committee, Russomanno said: “Yesterday, [in the House Council for Smarter Government] some of us had the opportunity to talk to Rep. Brummer on House Bill 627, and he made a quote when he closed on that piece of legislation that he salutes The Florida Bar for doing a fine job in serving the public. He went on to compliment the leadership of the Bar in the strides that have been taken. On behalf of the 68,000 lawyers in this state, I thank Rep. Brummer for those kind words, because I take his sincerity to heart. The Bar does an excellent job. So let there not be any misunderstanding: The Bar regulates itself well. We want this committee to know that The Florida Bar works fine. It’s a model for other states. We have people who serve on the Board of Governors of the ABA that look toward this state as a model. It’s one of the leading bars — if not the leading bar — in this country on attorney regulation. And there are no facts to controvert that.” April 1, 2001 Jan Pudlow Associate Editor Regular Newslast_img read more


Dog found to have ‘low level’ of coronavirus in Hong Kong

first_imgTopics : If confirmed, the dog would be the first case of a pet catching the coronavirus amid a global outbreak that’s now infected more than 82,000 people and claimed more than 2,800 lives.The dog is being quarantined at an animal facility, the Hong Kong government said. The department strongly advised that pets of confirmed virus patients also be put under quarantine. The pet dog of a coronavirus patient in Hong Kong has been found to have a “low level” of the virus, the Hong Kong government said early Friday.The dog tested “weak positive” for the coronavirus, the city’s agricultural and fisheries department said in a statement, without giving further details. Officials will carry out further tests to confirm whether the dog has really been infected with the disease, or if it was a result of environmental contamination of its mouth and nose.Much is still not known about the virus that is spreading around the world after emerging in central China late last year. It is thought to have transferred to humans from bats and has been shown to spread in a number of ways, but the Hong Kong agricultural department said it doesn’t have evidence that pet animals can be infected, or be a source of infection to people.last_img read more


Johnson wants Britons to cycle way out of lockdown

first_imgTopics : The government’s efforts to tease people out of lockdown and into their old spending habits that can give shops and restaurants a boost are complicated by Britain’s inability to safely reopen its schools.Polls shows people are also worried about using public transport. Many trains and buses are running half-empty during morning and evening commutes.Johnson’s plan envisions more Briton’s biking and walking to work in the long term.It promises to build “thousands of miles of protected cycle routes in towns and cities” as part of a £2 billion ($2.6 billion, 2.2 billion euro) “cycling and walking revolution”.The government has also promised to start releasing the first batch of £50 “bike repair vouchers” to help people get old cycles fixed.Britain’s official virus death toll of 45,759 is the highest in Europe. “To build a healthier, more active nation, we need the right infrastructure, training and support in place to give people the confidence to travel on two wheels,” Johnson said.”That’s why now is the time to shift gears and press ahead with our biggest and boldest plans yet to boost active travel — so that everyone can feel the transformative benefits of cycling.”Johnson introduced a bike sharing program in London during his spell as the British capital’s mayor from 2008 to 2016.But the so-called “Boris bikes” stood largely untouched during a months-long lockdown that still sees swathes of central London stand empty during working hours.center_img The British government promised Monday to build thousands of miles of new bike lanes to get people moving and healthy after months of coronavirus lockdown.Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s pledge comes on the heels of a plan to force restaurants to display calories on menus as part of a broader effort to win the battle of the bulge.Government data show two-thirds of UK adults are above a healthy weight. Some studies suggests that the virus is especially deadly to people who are obese.last_img read more


Dutch schemes’ recovery paths exceeded expectations in 2017

first_imgHowever, the watchdog noted that schemes’ recovery paths were lagging behind the improvement pension funds expected when they set their plans in 2015.Based on this recovery path, coverage ratios should have been 113% on average at the end of 2017, it said. Dutch pension funds have exceeded the assumptions made in their recovery plans for 2017, according to supervisor De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB).Funding of the sample of 157 schemes – weighted for assets under management – improved from 100% to 107% on average, which is 3.1 percentage points more than expected, the regulator said.It attributed 1.8 percentage points to returns exceeding assumptions and the remainder to the positive impact of higher interest rates on liabilities.In May 2017, DNB warned that pension schemes’ assumptions for returns were too high. De Nederlandsche BankIn an evaluation of the 157 recovery plans for 2018, DNB found that expectations for returns were similar to last year’s assumptions.It added that the current contribution level would again have a negative impact on schemes’ funding.Despite the average funding improvement, DNB also noted that differences between the health of pension funds remained significant.It said that 25 schemes – with 300,000 participants in total – were able to grant full indexation of benefits. However, the coverage ratios of 47 pension funds, with 10m participants combined, were still short of the required minimum of 104.2%.The latter category included four of the Netherlands’ largest funds: civil service scheme ABP, healthcare pension fund PFZW and the metal industry schemes PMT and PME.In its analysis, DNB said that pension funds with high funding ratios tended to follow a conservative investment policy, with a 43% stake in securities on average and a 72% hedge of the interest rate risk on their liabilities.In contrast, under-funded schemes had a more aggressive investment approach, with 62% of their assets invested in securities and an interest rate hedge of 32% on average.last_img read more