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PostHarvey Mental Health Support Sees Continued Demand New Concerns

first_img X PexelsWhen Tropical Storm Harvey flooded Houston, it was easy to see the effects. First, all the homes damaged or destroyed, and later on financial spreadsheets when the billions in losses that were tallied. However, many Houstonians are dealing with a less obvious effect from the storm on their lives — psychological trauma.Houston Public Media has reported before on the response to flood victims mental health needs, with schools bringing in additional counselors to help traumatized students. In almost no time after Harvey, school administrators were reaching out to organizations in Houston for help.“I think it was so immediately relevant to those administrators because they themselves were experiencing the trauma,” said Lisa Descant of support organization Communities in Schools. “It was just so apparent to them that the students were going to be returning with some real mental health challenges.”Descant said counselors are finding that kids are internalizing the stress and anxiety felt by their parents.“They were for the first time witnessing that their family didn’t have choice,” said David Head, Director of Mental Health and Wellness for CIS, “and I think it was interesting for me to note that there were that effect in neighborhoods that hadn’t happened before, because in a lot of our underprivileged neighborhoods that happens all the time.”Many students are seeing their families struggle in ways they previously have not. CIS has traditionally worked in low-income and underprivileged schools, but because of Harvey, schools on the other side of things are needing counselors too.Head said the stresses of Harvey, across the economic spectrum, have shown the true need for counseling services in schools.“A lot of the traumas that students were going through were already preexisting and that the storm in and of itself wasn’t the traumatic experience but it was the thing that broke the camel’s back,” Head said. “It was the extra thing that revealed that all of these other unaddressed mental health issues were there. So we went from looking a large mental health problem to an even larger one revealed after the storm went through.”Now, with counselors in place, students are able to address other issues without fear of being judged for what they’re going through.“A student who may have been struggling with depression or just struggling with anxiety now had an opportunity to go to a counselor in a non-stigmatic way and say ‘I’m going to see the counselor about Harvey’ which so many of us were impacted by that it wouldn’t draw attention,” Head said.So Harvey has, in effect, opened a new pipeline for talking about mental health for kids who otherwise might be too embarrassed. They could say they needed to talk about Harvey, which everyone understood.  For schools new to outside mental health support, Harvey has shown just how much their school needed it. “At the beginning we were trying really hard just to figure out how we were going to let students know that this existed,” said Chad Crowson, Principal of Stratford High School in Spring Branch. “In a strange sort of way Harvey helped us with that and we would never hope for that but it worked out in that sense because it sort of allowed students to recognize that this person is already here.”Crowson said that, while some schools may prefer to focus more heavily on class time, he sees psychological support as an important pathway to good academics. “I recognize that if students are not prepared to be successful in the class then they’re not going to be successful, I mean, if you’re sitting in a desk trying to learn and you have all these other things on your mind, you need to take care of that,” Crowson said.Crowson said he wants kids to find an adult in school they can trust. Having someone to talk to, he said, may make all the difference. 00:00 /04:02 Listen Share To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code:last_img read more

Full Show Understanding the Ballot and Houstons Baseball History Oct 16 2018

first_imgListen X 00:00 /50:40 On Tuesday’s Houston Matters: Veteran journalist Nancy Barnes of the Houston Chronicle will become NPR’s permanent chief news executive, the network announced Tuesday. Barnes is currently the Houston Chronicle’s executive editor, and she talks with us about her vision for the job.Then: Legacy Community Health is lobbying in Washington this week against a Trump administration rule change that could negatively affect the immigration applications of those who use public assistance programs. We learn more.Also this hour: We sift through the November ballot and answer listener questions about the different races and initiatives you’ll be voting for on Election Day.Also this hour: As the Astros and the ALCS return to Houston this week, you could easily argue that we’re living in the golden age of baseball in the Bayou City. But the city does have a rich history with America’s pastime before now. We look back at it with the help of historian Mike Vance.Then, we learn about the play She Kills Monsters, a “dramatic comedy” laden with homicidal fairies, nasty ogres, and 90s pop culture.We offer a daily podcast here, on iTunes, Stitcher and other podcasting apps. This article is part of the Houston Matters podcast Sharecenter_img To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: last_img read more

The Big One finally hits Nicoya Peninsula

first_imgNo related posts. By Vanessa I. Garnica and Hannah J. Ryan|  The Tico Times Staff“This is the quake we were waiting for,” said Leopold Linkimer, seismologist at Costa Rica’s National Seismological Network, following a powerful magnitude-7.6 earthquake that rattled the country Wednesday morning. “Regardless, we have to be ready for any contingency because nature can surprise us.”The earthquake was registered 8 kilometers (5 miles) west of Samara in the Nicoya Peninsula, in the northwestern province of Guanacaste. After the quake, which damaged several buildings in the province, shaken residents wondered, was this the big one that experts had predicted would strike the peninsula?Scientists in Costa Rica have been contemplating the possibility of a big quake in the Nicoya region for more than two decades. The last time an earthquake of a similar magnitude was registered in the area was in 1950. On average about 18 small tremors are registered daily in Costa Rica, Linkimer said.Following the quake, emergency officials gathered at National Emergency Commission (CNE) headquarters in the western San José district of Pavas to discuss initial damage reports.“We are not declaring a state of emergency at the moment,” said Vanessa Rosales, CNE president. “We have begun to receive damage reports taking place around the country. Overall, we feel at ease at this point, even though it was a significant quake.”Wednesday’s quake is considered the second biggest in the nation’s history, behind a 1991 earthquake measuring magnitude-7.7. That quake, centered in Limón province along the Caribbean coast, killed 75 people and injured more than 600.Linkimer said the official magnitude of the quake could be adjusted in coming days, pending further studies. He said that several aftershocks also are expected.Earthquakes can cause landslides in areas near the epicenter, but not necessarily volcanic activity, Linkimer said. However, volcanic activity was reported at the Irazú and Rincón de la Vieja volcanoes in 1991.In some cases, volcanic activity could be registered at the exact moment an earthquake hits, Linkimer explained, although it could take weeks for activity to resurface as a result of a quake of such magnitude.The cause of Wednesday’s quake, and others of its kind in Costa Rica, is attributed to a process called subduction, where tectonic plates located in the Earth’s outer layer constantly move on top and under each other, causing the ground to move in the form of a tremor.Seismologists agree that all regions in Costa Rica are considered very active and apt for an earthquake at any given time. However, Linkimer said a big earthquake had been expected in the Nicoya Peninsula since the early 1990s.“There are certain [scientific] models that describe that some earthquakes will occur with regular occurrence,” he said.For more coverage of the Nicoya Peninsula earthquake, see Friday’s print edition of The Tico Times. Facebook Commentslast_img read more

Austrian empresss potty fetches thousands of euros

first_imgVIENNA (AP) — What’s a potty worth? Thousands of euros, if it was used by an Austrian empress — but much less than her footwear.A chamber pot owned by Empress Elisabeth has fetched 4,290 euros (nearly $5,000) at an auction of imperial Austrian memorabilia in Vienna. But a pair of her white silk half boots went for 75,000 euros (nearly $85,000) — more than 10 times the lowest estimated price. Most expensive was a set of white and gold dinnerware. It sold for more than 100,000 euros at Thursday’s auction.The Habsburg empire ended a century ago with the abdication of the last emperor. But the 19th-century empress, known in Austria as Sissi, remains idolized in her home country.._Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. How men can have a healthy 2019 Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitycenter_img Top Stories 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Comments   Share   New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Sponsored Stories last_img read more

Giant hack may be first step in pursuit of bigger US secrets

first_img Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility WASHINGTON (AP) — A giant hack of millions of government personnel files is being treated as the work of foreign spies who could use the information to fake their way into more-secure computers and plunder U.S. secrets.Federal employees were told in a video Friday to change all their passwords, put fraud alerts on their credit reports and watch for attempts by foreign intelligence services to exploit them. That message came from Dan Payne, a senior counterintelligence official for the Director of National Intelligence. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies “The kind of data that may have been compromised in this incident could include name, Social Security Number, date and place of birth, job assignments, training files, performance ratings and current and former addresses,” Schumach said in an email.The breach occurred at a network maintained by the Department of Interior, which also houses the personnel agency’s files. Schumach said agencies share computer systems partly to save money — and it’s also supposed to strengthen security.Security experts said the hackers may have gone after the personnel agency because it’s an easier target than the Pentagon or National Security Agency.Private cybersecurity researchers said they believe the personnel agency was targeted by the same hackers who got into the Anthem and Primera health insurance groups last year.John Hultquist, head of cyberespionage intelligence at iSight, said the Dallas-based security firm had found evidence linking the insurance and government attacks, but declined to say whom they suspect. “We think they are creating a database they can leverage for follow-on espionage,” Hultquist said.A spokesman for the Director of National Intelligence declined to discuss whether there was evidence against China or whether intelligence agency employees were among those whose information was compromised. 0 Comments   Share   5 people who need to visit the Ultrastar Multi-tainment Center 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breaches He said details from personnel files could be used to craft personalized phony messages to trick workers. Federal employees who think they’re opening an email from co-workers or family members might infect their computers with a program that would steal more information or install spy software.Spies also could use details about an employee’s interests or background to befriend them and try to manipulate them into revealing secrets.Kevin Mitnick, a former hacker who now runs Mitnick Security Consulting of Las Vegas, called confidential details about federal employees “a gold mine.”“What’s the weakest link in security?” Mitnick said. “The human. Now you know all about your target.”The hackers may have made off with even more information about workers who undergo security clearance background checks. That information includes the names of family, neighbors, even old bosses and teachers, as well as reports on vices, arrests and foreign contacts.However, OPM spokesman Samuel Schumach said there was no evidence to suggest that security clearance information collected by OPM was compromised. It’s stored separately from routine personnel files, he said. FILE – This Feb. 24, 2015, file photo, shows the Homeland Security Department headquarters in northwest Washington. The Department of Homeland Security said in a statement Thursday, June 4, 2015, that data from the Office of Personnel Management and the Interior Department had been hacked. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File) The breach was an embarrassing showing for the U.S. government’s vaunted computer-defense system for civilian agencies — dubbed “Einstein” — which is costing $376 million this year alone. It’s supposed to detect unusual Internet traffic that might reflect hacking attempts or stolen data being transmitted outside the government.A wide range of information is prized by spies — classified military secrets but also economic strategy and internal foreign policy debates.This latest breach occurred in December but wasn’t discovered until April, officials say. It was made public Thursday.“The scale of it is just staggering,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. There’s no telling how many more attacks could be spawned by the information stolen in this case, he said.Although most Americans think of identity thieves stealing from credit card or bank accounts, the information about civilian federal workers has other value for spies.“They’re able to identify people who are in positions with access to significant national security information and can use personal data to target those individuals,” said Payne, the counterintelligence official. Top Stories Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Sponsored Stories “Some of you may think that you are not of interest because you don’t have access to classified information,” he said. “You are mistaken.”Federal officials said Friday the cyberattack appeared to have originated in China, but they didn’t point fingers directly at the Chinese government. The Chinese said any such accusation would be “irresponsible and unscientific.”“We know that the attack occurred from somewhere in China, but we don’t know whether it was an individual or a group or a nation-state attack,” said Rep. Jim Langevin, a Rhode Island Democrat and leading voice in Congress on cybersecurity. He added, though that it had “all the hallmarks of a nation-state attack.”White House spokesman Josh Earnest said he couldn’t divulge much while the case was under investigation. Still, he noted that investigators “are aware of the threat that is emanating from China.”One U.S. official said the breach of data involving more than 4 million past and present federal workers was being investigated as a national security matter. That suggests authorities believe a nation was behind it rather than a more loosely organized gang of cybercriminals. The official was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation and spoke only on condition of anonymity. Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement U.S. investigators have improved their ability to attribute cyberattacks in recent years, officials said, and Chinese attacks often have identifiable signatures.The Homeland Security Department noted that the Einstein defenses were just one part of the government’s cybersecurity, and said it was used to confirm the breach. But that’s like a smoke alarm sounding after the house burned down.Einstein also helped understand how the break-in happened and protect against a repeat of a similar attempt.“It didn’t fare so well,” said James Lewis, a leading cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think-tank. “It’s only a victory if you defeat the opponent, and we didn’t.”___Associated Press writers Kevin Freking, Brandon Bailey, Raphael Satter, Jim Kuhnhenn, Darlene Superville and Connie Cass contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

agent incentiveasiaTravelCube

first_imgagent incentiveasiaTravelCube The first of TravelCube’s eight weekly winners in the Asia on Sale super incentive has been announced, with Victoria’s Student Flights Fountain Gate, Narre Warren picking up nine nights’ accommodation for two in Bali, staying at Grand Istana Rama, Ramada Encore and Courtyard by Marriott.TravelCube is offering agents the chance to compete for weekly prizes and the grand prize of a six-night all-inclusive holiday in Penang, courtesy of Penang Global Tourism.To take part in the promotion agencies simply need to create and pay for room nights in Asia before 31 August 2017.The agency* selling the most room nights each week will win a weekly prize, with hotel and resort accommodation in destinations such as Vietnam, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia and Kuala Lumpur up for grabs. The agency with the most Asian bookings created and paid for between 1 July and 31 August will win the Asia on Sale promotion’s ultimate prize: return airfares for two to Penang, accommodation at the Eastern & Oriental Hotel Penang, the Parkroyal Beach Resort Penang and Element By Westin, along with transfers and sightseeing tours.* TravelCube’s Asia on Sale promotion is an agency-based incentive. It will be at the discretion of the agency manager to determine who will receive the prize.last_img read more

Draft approved for climate plan 20212030

first_imgTHE CABINET has approved the draft for the national energy and climate plan for 2021-2030 aiming to achieve the European Union’s ‘ambitious goals’ to make a real contribution to tackling climate change, it was announced on Thursday.The move is in line with the regulation on the governance of the energy union and climate action, whereby each member state is required to establish a 10-year National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) for the period from 2021 to 2030 in order to meet the EU’s new energy and climate targets for 2030.Cyprus’ draft NECP for the period 2021-2030, includes policies and measures concerning various sectors to achieve the objectives set.These include reducing EU greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2030 compared to 2005.“The target set for Cyprus is a 24 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels (excluding emissions from electricity generation, the cement, ceramics / brick plants),” an official statement said.It said that, according to a recent Cyprus inventory, the transport sector contributes 49 per cent to greenhouse gas emissions, energy (excluding power generation) 17 per cent, waste 14 per cent, agriculture 12 per cent and industry 8 per cent.Another target Cyprus wants to contribute to is the penetration of renewable energy sources (RES) into the gross final renewable energy consumption by a total of 32 per cent in the EU by 2030. No binding national targets have so far been decided.As regards the goal of the reduction of energy consumption by 32.5 per cent at EU level by 2030, the estimated national contribution of Cyprus was set by a reduction in primary energy consumption by 9.5 per cent compared with the corresponding estimate of the European Commission for Cyprus in 2007.According to the regulation in question, all member states should submit a consolidated Energy and Climate Plan to the European Commission outlining the national energy system, the national climate policy and the national policy framework for five areas. These concerns working closely with member states to diversify Europe’s sources of energy and ensure energy security, a fully-integrated internal energy market, energy efficiency, moving towards a low-carbon economy and fulfilling the EU’s commitments to the Paris Agreement on climate change and supporting research and innovation in low-carbon and clean energy technologies which can boost the EU’s competitiveness.Each member state will be responsible for monitoring progress towards the achievement of its national energy and climate objectives.In Cyprus, the ministers of agriculture, energy and trade, transport, and finance are in charge of the implementation of the NECP in cooperation with a experts and services from various ministries.The draft of the Cyprus National Plan for Energy and Climate 2021-2030, as well as the drafts of the respective national plans of other member states, will be presented for the first time on January 29 and 30 before a technical working group. Then, consultations will be held with all stakeholders for the final National Plans to be submitted by the end of 2019.You May LikeLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoYahoo SearchYou’ve Never Seen Luxury Like This On A Cruise Ship. Search Luxury Mediterranean CruisesYahoo SearchUndo Cruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoThree arrested in connection with hotel theftsUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Canfield Disclosing salary information makes House more accountable

first_img State Rep. Edward J. Canfield, D.O., of Sebewaing, today announced the Michigan House is making salaries of representatives and their staff members public and easily accessible online.The House website also provides links to information about health insurance and other benefits for House employees.Canfield said the move makes state government more transparent and accountable.“We’re listening to taxpayers, and they want to know how state government spends their money,” Canfield said. “This website is designed to do just that by making House salary information easy to find.”The website including links to salary and benefits information for House employees is available at http://house.mi.gov/FinancialsEmployee.asp.### 24Jan Canfield: Disclosing salary information makes House more accountable Categories: Canfield News,Newslast_img read more

Rep Kesto announces state funding for Scarlets Park

first_img Categories: Kesto News,News 15Aug Rep. Kesto announces state funding for Scarlet’s Park Budget aids in all-inclusive playground developmentState Rep. Klint Kesto today said state funding is included in the 2017-18 budget to assist in the development of an all-inclusive playground in Commerce Township.Kesto, of Commerce Township, said the spending blueprint for the coming fiscal year includes a $100,000 appropriation to assist in the creation of Scarlet’s Park, which will be established on a portion of Dodge Park near the Commerce Township Community Library. The park is named in honor of a local 4-year-old who was born with spinal muscular atrophy and uses a wheelchair.Scarlet’s Smile Foundation, a nonprofit started by Larenne Clark, the child’s grandmother, has worked with township officials and other stakeholders to plan the 16,000-square-foot park and raise money to finance equipment that is accessible to all children.“This park will benefit all children in the Commerce Township area and open a new entertainment venue for kids with physical challenges,” Kesto said. “I supported the appropriation in the upcoming budget and think it will go a long way in helping make Scarlet’s Park a reality.”Scarlet’s grandfather, Stephen Clark, said the park setting will be completely inclusive, unlike other parks the family has visited.“We have taken Scarlet to other ‘accessible’ playgrounds in the area and, although well-intentioned, they tend to be situated away from where all the other kids play. Scarlet is already segregated by her wheelchair … she shouldn’t be segregated further by a playground.” Clark said. “We can’t thank Representative Kesto enough for recognizing this need for children of all abilities and disabilities. His help securing funds for Scarlet’s Park will add immeasurable value to the lives of all children across Southeast Michigan.”Now that land has been secured, Kesto said park planners will move on to the next phase of the project, which involves securing grants and donations to equip the park with playground equipment. Plans are for the park to be surrounded by butterfly gardens and picnic tables so families can visit the playground for a meal and enjoy natural resources. The final phase includes a splash pad with changing rooms and restrooms. Equipping the park is estimated to cost $1 million.“Not only will this be a playground for kids of all abilities, it will also open new opportunities for parents and grandparents with limited mobility or physical challenges to take children to a park they can easily navigate,” Kesto said.#####last_img read more

Rep Kesto bill will prevent state funds for legal settlements

first_img Categories: Kesto News,News 28Dec Rep. Kesto bill will prevent state funds for legal settlements State Rep. Klint Kesto, chair of the House Law and Justice Committee, is drafting legislation to ban Michigan’s colleges and universities from using state funding to settle any legal claims related to sexual misconduct.The legislation is in response to the growing scandal involving a former Michigan State University physician who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting patients during the course of his duties while working for USA Gymnastics and the school.“The details of this case grow more abhorrent by the day,” said Kesto, of Commerce Township. “This individual took advantage of and violated over 100 girls. While the health of these young women is most important, it’s obvious that the civil legal process will continue to unfold over the next few months and years. We have to protect taxpayers by ensuring not a single dime of state funding sent to Michigan State University is used as part of a settlement with these unfortunate victims.”Dr. Larry Nassar, the former MSU physician, has already been sentenced to 60 years in federal prison for child pornography related to material seized from his personal residence. He also pleaded guilty in November in Ingham County Circuit Court to criminal sexual conduct charges involving seven victims.In response to the case, MSU officials have established a $10 million fund to cover mental health services for the approximately 150 victims in this case. Kesto is concerned after hearing recent media reports that USA Gymnastics reached a $1.25 million settlement with one victim in December 2016.“These women deserve justice, but it should be the responsibility of the MSU administration to address that,” Kesto said. “Penn State is paying the high costs of its own recent scandal to the tune of $110 million. The settlements relating to the Nassar case should not be paid for by the current students at Michigan State or the taxpayers as a whole.”#####last_img read more

Rep Wendzel to host local coffee hour

first_img22May Rep. Wendzel to host local coffee hour Categories: Wendzel News State Representative Pauline Wendzel announced plans to meet with residents of Southwest Michigan during a morning coffee hour.The coffee hour will take place on Friday, May 24th at Red Coach Donuts, 5811 St. Joseph Ave. in Stevensville from 9 to 10 a.m.“Hosting coffee hours helps me stay focused on the issues that matter most to people in our community,” Wendzel said. “Talking to my neighbors, listening to their concerns, and answering any questions they have about state government continues to be one of the most important parts of my job.”No appointment is necessary. Those unable to attend are invited to contact her Lansing office by phone at 517-373-1403 or email PaulineWendzel@house.mi.gov.last_img read more

Detroit Gets 15Day Reprieve from Water Shutoff

first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares July 21, 2014; Detroit Free PressAfter several weeks of strenuous community protests, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department announced a temporary suspension of water shutoffs. The 15-day hiatus is meant, according to the Free Press, “to give residents another chance to prove they are unable to pay their bills.”The Monday timing of the announcement occurred as Detroit Water was required to show up in the courtroom of U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes to respond to his concerns about the water controversy’s impact on the city’s bankruptcy proceedings. According to the Free Press, a citizen’s group filed a lawsuit asking Judge Rhodes to order the water restored to residential customers. A Water Department spokesperson, Bill Johnson, said he was unaware of a lawsuit.Detroit Water’s decision follows a protest of more than 1,000 people who took to the streets on Friday. The lawsuit that Johnson said he didn’t know about was filed by the four organizations that had been in the forefront of the ongoing protests against the shutoffs and were among the leaders of the Friday protests—the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, the People’s Water Board, the Michigan chapter of the National Action Network, and a group called Moratorium Now!—along with 10 residents who had had their water turned off.The complaint very helpfully lists some of the commercial water customers with very large bills, tens of thousands of dollars larger than the 10 residents described in the legal filing, who weren’t facing the immediate prospect of city contractors turning off their running water. Among the listed entities were two delinquent seven-figure accounts of Chrysler Group LLC, which recently made a sizable donation to Detroit’s Grand Bargain, and two delinquent accounts of the co-sponsor of the Grand Bargain with Detroit’s philanthropic sector, the state of Michigan, with one bill at almost $5 million.As Detroit is turning off running water on residential customers, the system is plagued with leaky pipes and gushing water elsewhere in the city. Investigative journalist Steve Neavling has documented water spurting from pipes in abandoned schools, vacant fire stations, empty hospitals and factories, and even through the pavement at the Belle Isle Nature Zoo. As we have indicated in earlier coverage of the Detroit water crisis, we suspect that the unexpectedly high water bills discovered by some customers reflected water leaking out from mains and service lines.Readers should know that Detroit’s water problems, horrendous as they are, are not of recent vintage. A detailed analysis prepared by the Michigan Poverty Law Program/Michigan Legal Services in 2005 calculated the impact of an “average” Detroit residential water customer’s bill on low-income Detroiters. According to the report, water bills alone would consume 8.1 percent of the household income of an average SSI recipient and 9.7 percent for a three-person household receiving the maximum benefit at that time. MPLP/MLS and the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization at that time developed proposals for a water affordability program to help protect low-income Detroiters, but the recent water turnoff crisis demonstrates that affordability plans were never really adopted or implemented, Detroit’s water rates grew far larger than comparable cities, and until street protests, the Water Department was not doing what it could have and should have been doing for Detroit’s large numbers of poor people.—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more

The Importance of Social Safety Net Programs

first_imgShare313Tweet2Share33Email348 SharesJuly 24, 2015; Washington PostThis week is the annual conference of the Community Action Partnership, the national trade association representing the more than 1,000 local community action agencies that are the inheritors and guardians of our nation’s commitment to the War on Poverty. That national commitment to fighting poverty has been inconsistent over recent years, but it shouldn’t have been; many of us, more than you would expect, will experience poverty at some time in our lifetimes despite the array of programs from the New Deal and then the Great Society that aim to minimize and mitigate poverty in our society.Emily Badger and Christopher Ingraham report in the Washington Post on the research of Mark Rank, a sociologist at Washington University, whose longitudinal tracking of several thousand American households since 1968 reveals that “an incredible number…(will) experience economic insecurity.” Specifically, Rank’s data show that four out of five people experience economic hardship by the time they are 60, such as enduring time unemployed, living at least a year below the poverty level, or spending time accessing government programs for the poor such as food stamps. As the chart shows below, the experience of poverty doesn’t wait until late in life, but occurs at high levels in one’s 30s and 40s as well as 50s.“Rather than an uncommon event,” Rank says, “poverty was much more common than many people had assumed once you looked over a long period of time.” And it’s not just dipping into poverty; many Americans—roughly three out of five—actually spend time among the bottom 20 percent or even bottom 10 percent of the nation’s income distribution:While the majority of Americans will experience some poverty in their lifetimes, only about 11 percent will spend some time, no matter how briefly, in the top 1 percent.In other words, many of us might need to tap government anti-poverty programs at some time—because we need to, due to a slide into poverty. How does that comport with opinion polls that consistently show Americans hostile to government spending on poverty?A 2012 Rasmussen Reports poll revealed that 51 percent of respondents thought the U.S. spends too much on poverty programs, up from 38 percent a year earlier; only 21 percent felt that the government doesn’t spend enough to address poverty.This year, Gallup reported that only 16 percent of Americans were “satisfied with the work the federal government is doing to address poverty,” a new low in Gallup’s 15 years of measurement on this indicator. There was little difference on this indicator by race, gender, education, or age of respondents, and even on ideology, 16 percent of self-described conservatives and 17 percent of liberals expressed satisfaction with the government’s anti-poverty work.A national Pew Research Center poll indicated that 44 percent of respondents thought that “poor people have it easy because they can get government benefits without having to do anything in return,” and 63 percent believe that “blacks are mostly responsible for their own condition,” as opposed to racial discrimination.The polls are similar at the state level. A Texas poll in 2014 found 52 percent of respondents ascribing poverty to the choices of individuals, but only 32 percent to a lack of opportunity. (Eleven percent said “both.”) Only 35 percent believed that expanded government intervention and programs would help reduce poverty. Just six percent of New York voters in a Marist College poll from 2014 thought poverty should be the top priority of the governor.National nonprofit leadership organizations have launched efforts to promote the efficacy and importance of human service delivery, and will do so in the future. That is important work, but these entities must demonstrate to the majority of Americans that anti-poverty programs aren’t simply for “other people” but are likely to be needed and potentially used by four-fifths of Americans at some time in their lives. That’s why it’s crucial that community action agencies convene to overcome the myopic idea of too many Americans that poverty programs are for people who don’t need them rather than serving as vital safety nets for people that might include your neighbors, you, and me. —Rick CohenShare313Tweet2Share33Email348 Shareslast_img read more

A Rent Increase after 35 Years Monterey Bay Aquarium Faces Assessment

first_imgShare2TweetShareEmail2 SharesBy Ed Bierman from Redwood City, USA (P6230025) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia CommonsAugust 17, 2016; KION-TV (Monterey, CA)The Monterey City Council has just decided to spend $31,000 appraising the land on which the Monterey Bay Aquarium sits. Since its inception, the aquarium’s arrangement with local government has had them paying a nominal $1 a year in rent, so some view this as a step towards potentially changing that relationship. Or it could simply be a stress-producing bureaucratic exercise.The position of Monterey City Manager Mike McCarthy is that the lease agreement requires the city to perform rent review, but this is the first time in 35 years that the city council has looked into that price. For his part, McCarthy falls back on the value of having the data. “I think information is important. The council will get the information and make a decision based on that information.”Still, the aquarium seems unperturbed. “We understand that there’s this lease term in there that allows the city, or in their interpretation requires the city, to do this five-year review,” Barbara Meister, public affairs director for the Monterey Bay Aquarium, said. “While they may go forward and do the appraisal, we expect there will not be much value there.”McCarthy, on the other hand, does seem to recognize the way a hiked-up rent might go over. “Of course, there is…the great benefit the aquarium brings to the city and the region. The council will certainly take that into effect.”Just one more thing for the Aquarium to have to worry about. So it goes.—Ruth McCambridgeShare2TweetShareEmail2 Shareslast_img read more

The Outrageous New Normal for Illinois Nonprofits

first_imgShare74Tweet8Share10Email92 Shares“Injured Piggy Bank With Crutches” by Ken Teegardin of AssistedSeniorLiving.netApril 6, 2017; Capitol FaxNonprofit organizations in Illinois that provide services under state contract have now been operating without benefit of a state budget for a second year. That’s long enough for the situation to feel like “the new normal.” In fact, other than the waves caused by the political bickering around the lack of the budget, it’s apparently no longer very newsworthy. A recent impact study completed by the United Way of Illinois provides a picture of the damage being done to the framework of the state’s essential human services infrastructure. It tells a depressing story, but one that neither major Chicago newspaper thought worthy to cover.By the provisions of the state’s constitution, Illinois cannot spend funds if the state’s legislature and governor have not specifically authorized it. Usually, this is done through the comprehensive state budget, which is mandated to be in place by June 30th. The Democrat-controlled legislature and the Republican governor have not been able to agree on a spending plan for two budget cycles, leaving the state unable to write checks. A total shutdown of all state-funded activities has been avoided only through the passage of interim agreements that have continued to authorize K-12 public school and some college funding, public services like the state police, some “essential” human services, and federal fund pass-throughs and federal-state partnership programs with significant federal funding, like Medicaid. Federal courts have also stepped in to require continued funding for services operating under court-approved consent decrees. That is a long list, but it has big holes. Funding levels under this jury-rigged system are inadequate, and many areas of need are not covered at all. Things took a turn for the worse for colleges and social service providers in January when an expired stopgap measure was not extended into 2017.The loss of even limited funding by many organizations prompted the United Way of Illinois, a network of 52 local community United Ways, to update its previous impact studies to see how they were faring under weight of even greater budget constraint. Sonja Reece, board chair of the United Way of Illinois, gave her assessment of the new reality:We see the deep and lasting effects of this impasse every day in our schools, in our neighborhoods and in the state’s spiraling reputation. The lack of urgency from the state in coming together to work on a full budget is negligent given rising violence, population decline and the loss of jobs and talent. While stopgap funding provided limited and temporary relief to some service providers, it did not repair the long-term damage imposed by the lack of a full budget, nor is it funding current service delivery.As the political stalemate continues, the already difficult situation has only worsened. Organizations providing a wide range of services find themselves with no other recourse than cutting back. Organizations have tried to offset lost state funding by reducing their personnel costs; almost 50 percent have not filled open staff slots and 30 percent have permanently reduced staff. Waitlists have increased in more than 25 percent of organizations responding to the survey. Ultimately, the price of a dysfunctional state government is borne by those who are served, or not: “Less than three months since the stop-gap budget ended, 46 percent of all agencies surveyed have reduced the number of clients they serve.”The lack of a budget and the corresponding limited ability of the state to write checks are not the only state-caused problems facing Illinois nonprofits. The United Way study found that even authorized payments to nonprofit organizations were in arrears. For years prior to the budget stalemate, supposedly balanced budgets were, in reality, out of balance, resulting in an accumulated deficit. With estimates of unpaid bills ranging as high as $17 billion when this fiscal year ends on June 20th, even an approved organization may end up waiting as long as 12 months for payment.As of mid-March, the state was $217 million behind in its payments for services already delivered. To fund unpaid bills, 45 percent of Illinois service organizations dipped into their reserve funds. Twenty-four percent have tapped lines of credit to fund operations while waiting for cash from the state. While fundraising efforts have increased, “9 out of 10 agencies were unable to raise 25 percent or more of the funding owed to them by the state.”With the deadline for approving next year’s budget just weeks away (the state legislature is scheduled to adjourn on May 31st), the impasse between the governor and the legislature does not seem to be softening. Governor Bruce Rauner, empowered by the results of the presidential election, has demanded that any budget agreement must be tied to reforms. The Democrat-controlled legislature, empowered by the outpouring of protest to the presidential results, continues to insist that the budget problems be solved first before they discuss proposals not directly tied to the spending plans. A budget compromise reached the leaders of both parties in the State Senate but fell apart when the governor pressured Republican senators to walk away from the deal. Even efforts for short-term funding no longer seem possible: As the legislature left for its spring recess, it passed another $700 million stopgap budget bill that the governor said he would not sign.The issues remain unchanged, as does the inability of those with the responsibility to govern to find solutions and enact them. The United Way of Illinois study documents the harm their inaction is causing. Will pressure to avoid starting a third year with no overall budget break up this logjam? Only real optimists think so right now. If they are wrong, the toll on vulnerable populations and the organizations that serve them will only get worse, if you can even imagine that.—Martin LevineShare74Tweet8Share10Email92 Shareslast_img read more

LG is launching a 3D sports portal on its Smart TV

first_imgLG is launching a 3D sports portal on its Smart TV platform in partnership with digital sports media company Perform.The Livesports.tv app will offer thousands of hours of live and on-demand sports coverage to LG’s Cinema 3D Smart TV models in the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy. The 2D to 3D conversion function built in to the Smart TVs means all content will be available in 3D. Sports featured on the portal will include European and South American football leagues, World Snooker, Australian Rules Football, PSA Squash, mixed martial arts, handball, darts, hockey, tennis, rugby union, rugby league and pool.All VOD content will be available free of charge with live events offered via various subscription models.“We are very excited to be integrating Livesports.tv across LG’s Cinema 3D Smart TV. The growth and adoption of connected TVs means they are fast becoming the mainstay in living rooms around the world. This partnership ensures that our digital sports content is now available to LG’s Cinema 3D Smart TV customers across Europe,” said Oliver Slipper, joint-CEO of Perform.last_img read more

Streaming service Netflix has given the goahead t

first_imgStreaming service Netflix has given the go-ahead to a second season of Orange is the New Black, the Jenji Kohan-created series about a female Brooklynite imprisoned for drugs offences.The first season of the show is set to launch across all territories where Netflix operates – the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Latin America and the Nordics – on July 11.“Jenji and her team have produced a phenomenal series and we’re eager to get a second season to our viewers,” said Cindy Holland, VP, original content, Netflix.The show, which Lionsgate Television produces with Kohan (Weeds) as executive producer, is based on memoirs of Piper Chapman, whose relationship with a drug runner landed her in jail, where she met an eclectic mix of inmates.Production on the new season begins later this summer.last_img read more

Swisscom and Danet Oberwallis have signed an agree

first_imgSwisscom and Danet Oberwallis have signed an agreement to cooperate in the development and commercialisation of fibre networks in the Haut-Valais region of Switzerland. The two companies will have access to the network in the future and will be able to provide access to alternative service providers such as Valaiscom, enabling consumers in the region to choose their provider of TV, internet and phone services.The pair will invest about CHF40 million (€32 million) in the first phase of network deployment between now and 2015.last_img read more

Video marketing specialist Clipster has launched a

first_imgVideo marketing specialist Clipster has launched a new, upgraded platform designed to help video channels enhance their brand and marketing efforts on YouTube.According to Clipster, the new platform will include key new features such as drag and drop components, hundreds of new options to control the look and feel of channels, optional quick-start templates, centralized asset management, campaign management, full control of the responsive design and options for custom client components.Brands that already use the Clipster platform include EMC, Rokenbok, Unilever and Lufthansa.last_img read more

4EVER a collaborative project funded by the Frenc

first_img4EVER, a collaborative project funded by the French government, will demo improved motion, colours, contrast and images at IBC as part of its investigation into UHD technologies.The consortium of nine industrial and academic partners, which includes Orange, Technicolor and France Televisions, said its partners are now investigating “UHD-TV phase 2” and will promote their upcoming results at IBC.4EVER’s demos at the show will include showing what technologies can achieve at 120 frames per second and the benefits today of wide colour gamut.It will also show off high dynamic range technology and 3840×2160 pixel UHD-TV footage, shot during the World Equestrian Games in Normandy earlier this month.“4EVER‘s studies help to spotlight industrial choices which are decisive for the entire industry concerning UHD-TV and HEVC,” said the consortium.“4EVER has been a very early producer of UHD-TV phase 1 (3840×2160 pixels) high quality content. By sharing this content with international research communities (MPEG, EBU), 4EVER partners actively contribute to the international standardization of tomorrow’s TV.”4EVER (for Enhanced Video ExpeRience) was set up two years ago with the aim of improving video quality of experience by researching Ultra High Definition TV (UHD-TV) and High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) standards. 4EVER will exhibit at IBC on stand 8.F12last_img read more