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Air Force reservists possibly exposed to Agent Orange from planes

first_img Read Full Story Between 1,500 and 2,100 U.S. Air Force reservists who trained and worked on C-123 cargo planes that were used during the Vietnam War to spread the toxic defoliant Agent Orange may have been exposed to potentially dangerous levels of the carcinogenic chemical, according to a new Institute of Medicine (IOM) report.The IOM’s findings may influence how the Veterans Administration handles health and disability claims from the reservists, who worked on the planes between 1972 and 1982.“Levels at the time of their exposure would have been at least as high as the taken measurements, and quite possibly, considerably higher,” said Robert Herrick, senior lecturer on industrial hygiene at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and chairman of the IOM committee that produced the report, in a Jan. 9, 2015 Associated Press article.last_img read more


Haiti agriculture

first_img“Our college is not really set up to do relief work per se. We really can’t help in the immediate relief of the earthquake. But we do have the expertise to help the people here develop better agricultural systems that can produce better, more nutritious food without them being dependent upon food being sent to them,” said Steve Brown, CAES assistant dean for Cooperative Extension.The Georgia team was led by Ed Kanemasu, the CAES director of global programs, and included Brown, CAES agronomist David Kissel, Birdsong Peanut logistics manager Sally Wells, Graham Huff, executive director of the Atlanta-based League of Hope, and a CAES communications expert.The trip was funded and organized by League of Hope. The charity has worked in Haiti for the past 18 months. Agricultural development is critical for the country now, said Huff, who was in Haiti on the day of the earthquake.“University of Georgia has a lot of expertise in agricultural fields, but they also have many contacts in industry in Georgia and across the United States,” Huff said. “The mission (of the team) is to see how we might employ those resources to help Haiti recover from the earthquake.”Poverty rulesDecades of horrendous environmental practices and policy decisions – and some tough breaks from Mother Nature – have left Haiti one of the poorest, least-developed countries in the world. Where lush tropical growth and abundant agriculture once grew, today remains barren, eroded mountains towering over poorly managed land. Sparse, rocky roads – some like parched riverbeds in the dry season – connect cities, where many live in cobbled-together shacks and poorly sanitized conditions.Government turnovers, some violent, have come and gone. But for decades, poverty has been a constant ruler. It suppresses life there. Statistical numbers vary, but most Haitians live on less than $2 a day. One in five children suffers severe malnutrition, but many more don’t get the proper nourishment needed for healthy immune systems. Disease is widespread. Life expectancy is just more than 50 years. Unemployment is as high as 80 percent in some areas. Haitian farmers produce only half of the food needed in the country each year.“The people need a hand up instead of hand outs,” Suchet Loois told the team. The Haitian native and retired Tuskegee University professor now spends time in Los Palis with the Catholic-based Haiti Humanitarian Fund, working with local farmers on sustainable small-scale vegetable production and a small-business credit program for women. Bad governmental decisions — including abolishing the country’s Extension program several decades ago — coupled with the exodus from rural areas to cities have been disastrous and need to be reversed. Loois figures Haitians are two generations removed from passed-down agricultural knowledge.“More than anything, we need education and without it lives will never improve here,” Loois said, as a dozen local farmers gathered to hear him speak about the use of drip irrigation for vegetables.Haitian breadbasket?The team met with U.S. Agency of International Development officials at the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince to gather background information and learn more about the agency’s agriculture-related programs in Haiti. CAES has a Peanut Collaborative Research Support Program funded by USAID around Cap-Haitien on the country’s northern coast. Peanut experts help farmers in that region grow safer, better peanuts. They are partnered with Meds and Foods for Kids, which makes a peanut-based, ready-to-eat food called Medika Mamba to combat malnutrition in children.During the week-long trip, the team traveled to the central plateau. If the country has a potential “breadbasket,” this region is it. The team toured farms there managed by Zanmi Agrikol, the agricultural arm of the Boston-based Partners in Health, which has provided extensive medical care for Haitians for 25 years. Recently, Zanmi Agrikol started producing a peanut-based therapeutic food to distribute through nine PIH clinics across the country. The program uses Haitian-trained agronomists to grow the food. They want to use this program to teach local farmers modernized farming techniques. But they need help to do it.Now’s the timeBased from the trip, CAES plans to expand farming assistance into the central plateau. General concepts of proper fertilization, crop varieties and rotation, conservation, disease and insect control and good postharvest handling aren’t well understood or practiced. These are the areas where CAES experts can help the most. “Now that the whole world has focused on Haiti, and if we coordinate our activities together, we can make a lasting impact on the lives of Haitians,” Kanemasu said.During the trip, Kissel, the team’s soil scientist, took soil samples to determine the land’s potential for agricultural production or what could be added to it to improve it. The team also delivered 150 pounds of medical supplies and distributed 200 pounds of peanut butter donated by the U.S. peanut industry. Since the earthquake, the peanut industry has provided eight semi truckloads of peanut products worth $350,000 wholesale, said Wells, who coordinated the industry’s Haiti relief efforts. But more can be done.“People want that connection with the earth. You feel really good about providing something that’s life sustaining, which you can produce yourself,” Wells said. “And Haitian farmers want to be able to do that. So, if we can help provide the expertise that allows them to do that, I think that’s really a great thing.”Within the month, the team will formally submit an agricultural action plan for Haiti to CAES dean Scott Angle. The search for external funding to support it is already under way. In the shadow of a rundown block building in Los Palis, Haiti, children wearing tattered clothes bit into half-ripened mangoes they picked from the ground and wondered about the strange men toiling around in the field. What they didn’t quite understand was that the agricultural experts they smiled at were there to figure out ways their parents – and one day they – could produce the food needed to combat the poverty that has long crippled their Caribbean country.Last month, a team from the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences traveled to Haiti to assess how CAES could help develop sustainable agricultural practices there since a Jan. 12 earthquake shocked the country, crumbling its capitol and killing an estimated 200,000 people.last_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


Digicel proudly announces sponsorship of the WCMF for the 7th consecutive year

first_img Natalie Attidore receiving cheque from Mrs. Walsh (R) of DigicelTuesday October 18th 2011 – Roseau, Dominica: Digicel Dominica proudly announced its sponsorship of the World Creole Festival for a seventh consecutive year which takes place from Friday October 28th to Sunday October 30th 2011 and will see Caribbean and International stars such as Carimi, Gyptian and Ali Campbell take to the stage. The World Creole Music Festival is one of the region’s most famous festivals with three nights of pulsating music and this year is expected to even bigger and better as Digicel is giving away scores of free tickets to the event through its “Text to Win” competitions. Last month’s competition resulted in eight lucky customers walking away with prizes including tickets to the festival and spending money. To qualify, customers simply had to text “WCMF” to 7171 to unscramble the Digicel word game. September’s lucky ‘Text to Win’ competition winners are Nashia Mc Intyre of Goodwill, Narissa Attidore of Canefield, Jasmine Diolen of Roseau, Natress Durand of Roseau, Maxim Abraham of Grandbay, Riah Brumant of Bath Estate, Lennon Honore of Portsmouth and Bibiana Darroux of Roseau.The Pointe Michel Cutural Group.Moving on to this month’s competition, Digicel customers can participate by texting ‘Festival’ and be in with a chance to win weekly prizes of $1000 cash, tickets to the WCMF, plus an excursion for four to the Arial Tram.In addition, Digicel is hosting a number of activities to promote the festival at its store on Great Marlborough and Great George Street. Last Friday 14th October, the first lucky weekly winner of the October competition was announced as Natalie Attidore of Woodfordhill and there was a special performance from the Pointe Michel Cultural Group and Dominica’s exciting calypsonian, “Mighty Acka”. Digicel Dominica Sales and Marketing Manager, Nathalie Walsh, said: “We are always looking at new and exciting ways to give back to our customers and with our latest ‘Text to Win’ competitions, we are doing just that. Customers can simply text ‘Festival’ to enter and be in with a chance to win cash and tickets to the World Creole Festival, proudly sponsored by Digicel.”Press ReleaseDigicel Dominica 64 Views   no discussions LocalNews Digicel proudly announces sponsorship of the WCMF for the 7th consecutive year by: – October 18, 2011last_img read more