View post tag: USS View post tag: Naval View post tag: News by topic Share this article March 19, 2012 View post tag: Benfold View post tag: Commander USS Benfold Hosts Mexican Commander of Second Naval Zone View post tag: Mexican View post tag: Navy View post tag: Second Guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold (DDG 65) hosted the Mexican commander of the second naval zone, as well as other officers and dignitaries March 15.Mexican navy Adm. Anselmo Diaz Cid was given a tour of Benfold’s new Integrated Bridge and Engineering Plant as well as the Combat Information Center.“What a spectacular ship,” Cid said.During lunch, many topics were discussed, including the integration of women aboard Mexican navy surface ships. Benfold’s Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Dave Oden, was asked how it was accomplished in the U.S. Navy.“Frankly it was an easy decision for us, some of my best officers and Sailors are women and their contribution to our readiness and mission cannot be overstated,” said Oden.“Cid and the other admirals were wonderful to talk with, and in particular I really enjoyed discussing our mutual positive experiences in the Surface Navy,” said Lt. Robin Taylor, Benfold’s supply officerU.S. 3rd Fleet’s international relationships strengthen the ability to respond to crises and protect the collective maritime interests of the U.S. and its allies and partners.[mappress]Naval Today Staff , March 19, 2012; Image: navy Back to overview,Home naval-today USS Benfold Hosts Mexican Commander of Second Naval Zone Authorities View post tag: zone View post tag: hosts
Casey and Eric Smith, of Pottstown, Pa., along with their 4-year-old son, Brayden, marvel over one of the train displays. By Donald WittkowskiBrayden Smith watched in fascination as the trains went round and round on tracks that passed through a miniature fantasy town of tiny people, quaint homes, schools, churches, businesses and streets lined with snow-covered Christmas trees.“I like Santa in the caboose,” 4-year-old Brayden exclaimed when his father, Eric Smith, asked him to name his favorite part of the train display.Brayden wasn’t the only one who was captivated Saturday by the elaborate model railroad displays, many featuring holiday themes, at the Ocean City Train Show at the Music Pier, now in its 24th year.Al Schmidt, 75, a member of the South Jersey Garden Railroad Society, said model trains appeal to people of all ages because they are “timeless.”Over the years, model trains have become symbolic of the joy of Christmas. The custom of putting toy trains under the Christmas tree dates to the 1880s, historians say. Schmidt, of Haddonfield, noted that he had a model train under his Christmas tree when he was young.“It wasn’t Christmas until you had a train under the tree,” he said.South Jersey Garden Railroad Society members Al Schmidt, left, and Jim Lincoln have enjoyed model trains since they were children.Schmidt recalled that when he was a child, the same special blue trains would magically appear under his family’s Christmas tree. Afterward, they would be put away for the rest of the year, only to reappear for their Christmas cameo.“The same blue trains meant that Santa had come,” Schmidt said. “When we were kids, it had to be the same blue train with the blue cars.”Jim Lincoln, 72, vice president of the South Jersey Garden Railroad Society, fondly remembered how his father would make Christmas morning even more special by surprising him with model trains.“I would come down, and the train would be running. You didn’t know where it would come from, but it was there,” said Lincoln, of Galloway Township.Each year, just weeks before Christmas, Lincoln, Schmidt and other members of the South Jersey Garden Railroad Society transform the Ocean City Music Pier into a beguiling, nostalgic dream world of toy locomotives, cabooses and passenger cars for the ever-popular train show.The show, which continues on Sunday at the Music Pier from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., also features trains, train parts, holiday decorations for home displays and memorabilia for sale.An elaborate display featuring rail lines passing through a miniature town is the centerpiece of the train show on the Music Pier’s stage.Husband and wife Jim and Marilyn Fox, who are also members of the South Jersey Garden Railroad Society, made a special trip to Ocean City from their home in Kissimmee, Fla., to help assemble the sprawling, centerpiece train display that occupied the Music Pier’s stage.“I hope to get children interested in trains and to educate them on train history,” said 79-year-old Marilyn Fox. “For the older people, it’s the nostalgia of trains.”It took the Foxes and other club members more than three hours to put the display together.“It’s really heart-warming. There’s nothing more fun than seeing people watching the trains and taking pictures,” said Jim Fox, 81.The Smith family, of Pottstown, Pa., stopped in to marvel over the trains while they were in Ocean City for a weekend getaway of horse and carriage rides in the downtown shopping district and pictures with Santa outside the Music Pier.Brayden Smith replied with an enthusiastic “Good!” when he was asked what he thought about the show. His parents, Eric and Casey Smith, smiled when they saw him light up. Brayden’s 1-year-old brother, Owen, was also with the family.Tiny people wait to board a train at a snow-covered station in this winter wonderland.Eric Smith said the train show rekindled memories of his youth. He didn’t have model trains, but his father, Craig Smith, did. Eric said he would help his father create the scenery that was part of the train sets.“I would build up the fake mountains that we had in the basement,” he said.One of the train buffs at Saturday’s show was 9-year-old Ashton Coulter, of Evesham, N.J. He was accompanied by his mother, two siblings and his grandparents.“Cool” was how Ashton described the show. He particularly liked a model train set that had Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer sticking out of the top.Ashton’s mother, Sharon Coulter, said the family already has one train set. Glancing toward his mom, Ashton made it clear that he would like another one this Christmas.“We want Santa to bring more trains,” he said.A large toy train captures the attention of 9-year-old Ashton Coulter.
Care Minister Caroline Dinenage said: prescribing dispensing administering monitoring A groundbreaking system to help the NHS monitor, learn from and prevent costly medication errors has been launched today.As part of the Health and Social Care Secretary’s plan to make the NHS the safest healthcare system in the world, the NHS will introduce a series of indicators to show whether a prescription may have contributed to a patient being admitted to hospital.The indicators will work by linking prescribing data in primary care to hospital admissions. This will allow the NHS to monitor and better understand medication errors, with the aim of preventing them from happening.The first indicators will focus on how different medicines may be contributing to people being admitted to hospital with gastro-intestinal bleeding. The programme will cover more medicines and associated conditions later in the year.The launch of the new system follows research which highlighted the impact of medication errors, with an estimated 237 million taking place every year.Medication errors can range from delivering a prescription late to a patient being given the wrong medication. Errors can happen at any point at which a patient comes into contact with a drug, including: Today marks a vital step on our journey towards making the NHS the safest healthcare system in the world. While our own research has shown us the shocking toll medication errors take on our health service and its patients, the NHS itself needs a consistent way to measure medication errors. This groundbreaking initiative will help give us the data we need to stamp out these costly errors. The indicators will work alongside other measures designed to reduce medication errors and encourage openness and transparency, such as new defences for pharmacists if they make accidental dispensing errors. Plans also include accelerating the introduction of electronic prescribing systems across more NHS hospitals this year.Through this innovative programme of work, the NHS is leading the way in responding to a global issue which the World Health Organisation has described as “a leading cause of injury and avoidable harm in healthcare systems across the world”.
Related Shows View Comments Pippin features music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a book by Roger O. Hirson and tells the story of a young prince searching for his corner of the sky. In addition to Potts, Pippin stars Tony winner Patina Miller as the Leading Player, Matthew James Thomas as Pippin, Terrance Mann as Charles, Charlotte d’Amboise as Fastrada and Rachel Bay Jones as Catherine. Potts made her Broadway debut in God of Carnage in 2009. She garnered an Emmy nomination for the Lifetime drama series Any Day Now. Film and TV credits include Designing Women, GCB, Corvette Summer, Love & War, Pretty in Pink, Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters II, Jumpin’ Jack Flash, Toy Story and Toy Story 2. Pippin Star Files Show Closed This production ended its run on Jan. 4, 2015 Patina Miller Annie Potts She’s got some magic to do just for you! TV star Annie Potts starts her run as the trapeze-swinging grandma Berthe in Pippin on January 21. The Emmy nominee will take over for current star Tovah Feldshuh in the Tony-winning revival. Directed by Diane Paulus, Pippin is currently playing at Broadway’s Music Box Theatre.
Wicked stars Christine Dwyer and Jenni Barber welcomed a special guest to the Emerald City on November 14: Project Runway All-Stars contestant Sonjia Williams! She was the winner of the most recent episode’s Wicked challenge, where the designers were challenged to create a gown inspired by the hit musical. Well, what do you think? Couldn’t you just imagine strutting down the aisle in this gorgeous gown at a Wicked-themed wedding? Get a closer look at the winning dress, then see Wicked at the Gershwin Theatre! Related Shows from $95.00 Star Files Christine Dwyer Jenni Barber Wicked View Comments
In Search of Excellence: The Vermont WayTom Peters is guest speaker at the 170th VHS Annual Meeting, September 13, 2008MONTPELIER: The Vermont Historical Society welcomes Tom Peters as the keynote speaker at the 170th Annual Meeting at the Pavilion Building in Montpelier, September 13, 11:30 am. Admission is free, open to public. The Pavilion building is located next to the State House.A celebrated “quality guru” of business management, Peters has lived in Vermont for the last 25 years, and has a passion for history. Tom’s presentations are marked not only by his stunning breadth of interests and skill at tailoring his message to suit the needs of widely diverse audiences, but in particular by the contagious passion and energy he brings to his topic.Tom Peters led the way in preparing management for the current era of staggering change, starting in the mid-1970s. The likes of Fortune, the Economist, the New Yorker and the Los Angeles Times have referred to Peters as the “uber-guru” of management, and that “in no small part, what American corporations have become is what Peters has encouraged them to be.”In 1982, with the publication of In Search of Excellence, Tom and co-author Bob Waterman helped American firms deal with a crushing competitive challenge to their primacy by getting them away from strategies based on just the numbers, and re-focused on the basic drivers of all successful businesses throughout time: People, customers and values, the “culture,” action-execution, a perpetual self-renewing entrepreneurial spirit.Perhaps the Bloomsbury Press book, Movers and Shakers: The 100 Most Influential Figures in Modern Business, summed Tom’s work up best: “Tom Peters has probably done more than anyone else to shift the debate on management from the confines of boardrooms, academia, and consultancies to a broader, worldwide audience, where it has become the staple diet of the media and managers alike… it is Peters-as consultant, writer, columnist, seminar lecturer, and stage performer-whose energy, style, influence, and ideas have shaped the way new management thinks.”The Vermont Historical Society is a nonprofit organization with offices in Barre and Montpelier, engaging both Vermonters and “Vermonters at heart” in the exploration of our state’s rich heritage by reaching a broad audience through outstanding collections, statewide outreach, and dynamic programming. The Vermont Historical Society believes that an understanding of the past changes lives and builds better communities.For information on the Vermont Historical Society, call 802-479-8500, or go to www.vermonthistory.org(link is external). For information on Tom Peters, go to www.Tompeters.com(link is external) ###
Survivalist preppers: wise or wacko? Preppers are modern survivalists preparing for natural disasters and potential doomsday scenarios.WISEEmergency preparedness, or “prepping,” isn’t about a bunch of nuts crawling around in the woods, preparing to fight off the starving hordes in some grim, post-9/11, apocalyptic fantasy. But in today’s world of terrorist acts, super storms, climate change, and an aging overloaded electric power grid, there is an ever-growing likelihood that most of us will experience significant disruptions in the flow of electricity and goods at some point in our lives.In fact, these global trends are converging to form the perfect storm—a storm of such magnitude that it will dwarf anything that mankind has ever seen. If we are unsuccessful in our attempts to calm this storm, without a doubt it will destroy life as we know it on planet earth. Stocking up on extra supplies, learning new skills, and making a few emergency contingency plans is cheap insurance for peace of mind in turbulent times.To do nothing is to behave like ostriches with our heads in the sand, blindly believing that “everything will be okay,” as our world inexorably drifts towards the next naturally recurring, 100 percent inevitable, super solar storm and resultant extreme geothermic disturbance. It will end the industrialized world as we know it, incurring almost incalculable suffering, death, and environmental destruction on a scale not seen since the extinction of the dinosaurs some 65 million years ago.Start by putting together a 72-hour emergency survival kit for yourself and family. This provides the basics of food, water, shelter, clothing, first aid, and medicines should the need arise to evacuate. After the 72-hour kit, build your stores of canned and dry foods and your skill set. Some folks find that joining a local prepping group makes it easier to share knowledge and inspiration with like-minded people.No one knows for sure how big an event will be. I call myself The Optimistic Doomer, because I believe we have a chance of averting global collapse, but current trends are headed for a definite large-scale collapse. Preparedness goes a long way towards making a bad situation a lot less punishing, and could make the difference between life and death, or extreme suffering and relative ease. Surviving catastrophe takes preparation, skill, luck, and planning to be in the right place at the right time.Matthew Stein is author of When Disaster Strikes: A Comprehensive Guide to Emergency Planning and Crisis Survival.WACKO Be prepared. Ain’t nothing wrong with that. It’s always a good idea to be ready for the unexpected, especially in these turbulent and tumultuous times. Preppers and other survivalists are to be commended for encouraging people to learn basic skills that every American used to have: being able to grow your own food, can and store it, and find water and shelter. They should have familiarity with the plants and animals in their bioregion. These are skills useful not only for disasters, but also for backpacking trips and everyday walks in the woods.However, preppers who form militias and focus on guns and self-defense take things too far. These are also valuable skills, but often the tactics they use end up frightening and dividing people rather than bringing them together.The best way to prepare for an uncertain future is to work toward averting disaster in the first place. We need to be building community, not creating suburban compounds and underground shelters loaded with weapons. We need to be lobbying for diplomacy and peaceful resolutions to conflict. We need to be providing leadership in disarming the world of its nuclear weapons. If we want to discourage other countries from creating a nuclear arsenal, we have to lead by example.Nuclear catastrophe is probably the greatest threat to our collective future. Unlike a meteor strike or a cataclysmic volcano eruption, it is a disaster that we can do something about. But it requires a united, collective America working together, not hiding out in bunkers waiting to shoot their hungry neighbors.Economic collapse could also be catastrophic—and it is also a tragedy that can be averted through collective action. Citizens demanding economic reform, fiscal responsibility, and strict regulation and punishment could ensure a safe, secure economic future for all, not just for the elite few.While preppers have the right idea, it is not enough to hole up in a hideout and wait for the apocalypse. We can prevent it from happening if we work together, beginning with our neighborhoods and communities. Strong communities and an active, engaged citizenry can help us survive disasters, but more importantly, it can help us avert them.Jeff Webb is a homesteader, hiker, and mountain man whose family has lived in Appalachia for five generations.what do you think?Join the survivalist debate at blueridgeoutdoors.com
Winter is a great time for running, and trail running in particular. Getting out on the trails in the winter provides some great advantages for the trail runner – expansive views without foliage in the way, no bugs or snakes, overgrown vegetation along the trails has died off, frozen waterfalls, and no humidity! However, winter trail running does provide some additional risks that we should all be reminded of as we depart down the trailhead.Running in the Blue Ridge Mountains, we can often get lulled into a false sense of security because most of our trails are not far from home. Sometimes we’re just a ½ mile from home, we often have cell phone reception, and even from the highest ridges, we can almost always see nearby towns and roads down below. It is still important however that you give the same thought and preparation as someone running deep into an isolated wilderness area because occasionally, trouble can pop up.Have you heard of the Survival Rule of Threes?You can only survive for 3 minutes without oxygen.You can only survive for 3 hours with an unregulated body temp (hypothermia/freezing).You can only survive for 3 days without water.You can survive for 3 weeks without food.If we look at these, the paramount survival problem for the winter trail runner is hypothermia/exposure. I’d like to share three real case examples – two local and one out west – that portray the importance of being prepared when winter trail running either in a large group, or when alone. I will also discuss another related concern, frostbite.Case 1Winter group run on the Appalachian Trail from Afton to Humpback and back.A group run of about 10-12 runners, most of whom were very experienced trail runners, set out on an out-and-back run on the AT. The temps were just below freezing up on the mountain, but made for beautiful running with scenic views everywhere. Everyone felt comfortable running with a large group on a relatively well-traversed trail, during the daylight, and with cell phone reception.What went wrong:About 5-6 miles into the run, one of the runners (my good friend Jo Thompson) slipped on a wet/icy rock and fell backwards hard, landing on her hands and fracturing her right radius/wrist. Jo is a very talented runner and is not new to the trails. Suddenly, she found herself in profound pain, and also very cold up on the AT.As the reality of the injury quickly became apparent to Jo and the other runners in the group, it was clear that she needed medical attention. They were about 1.5 miles from the nearest road, the Blue Ridge Parkway. Fortunately there was cell phone reception, so the local rescue squad was called, and a few of the other runners in the group gave her their jackets and began the slow process of walking her up to the parkway, where hopefully an ambulance would be waiting.They made it to the road uneventfully (Jo is also super tough!), however the Blue Ridge Parkway was closed due to snow and ice. That should not have been a problem for the rescue squad, however by random unlucky chance, the rescue squad personnel sent on the call did not have the key to the locked gate where they were entering the Blue Ridge Parkway. With her friends huddled around her, they waited for over an hour on the parkway for the rescue squad to arrive. Everyone was getting very cold. At last, the rescue squad came and picked up Jo, and the other runners then had to run about 5 miles back to their cars.Lessons learned:“Running in those temps, I learned I really need to be better prepared with gear,” admits Jo. Even in a group run setting, things can go wrong and although there is certainly safety in numbers, when one runner goes down, the other runners in the group are all prone to getting hypothermic as they have now stopped moving to help the injured person. It is important that every person in a group have some form of protection from the cold. Also, even in areas where roads are close by, sometimes things happen like the rescue squad just happening not to have the key to a gate. I’m not disparaging the rescue squad, but sometimes life throws everyone a curveball, so you can only depend on your own preparations.Takeaway safety precautions:When running in freezing weather, each and every runner should be prepared for an unexpected stop – what will keep you warm if you are stuck on the trail, not moving for 2 hours or more while you wait for help? I strongly encourage all runners to take an emergency blanket and an “emergency puffy”, or similar lightweight but warm jacket that you can easily pack or strap onto your pack or waist. After Jo’s accident, I never leave on a solo or group run without these items in my pack.One last winter running tip – often we start our cold-weather runs with extra layers, but quickly warm up and start sweating under all those layers. Keep in mind that if you start getting soaked with sweat, as soon as you stop running you will get cold very quickly. Ideally, you want to continuously make adjustments so you stay warm, but don’t sweat. Things like taking off an outer layer, removing gloves or a hat, and unzipping a layer can go a long way to keep your temperature just right. Be mindful of this and keep making these micro adjustments throughout your run! This is so important!Expect to continuously take off and put back on layers, gloves, etc.!Not long after that event, I was on a night group run in 10 degree weather when one of the runners started suffering from severe knee pain and had to walk most of the second half of the run (like 7 miles!). I stayed behind with him and since we were not longer running, we both started getting cold. Thank goodness for my emergency puffy!Case 2) Winter Night Run in the Massanutten MountainsThe setting:A group night run in the Massanutten Mountains in freshly fallen snow. Temperatures were very cold – in the low teens to start the run and just below zero at the higher altitudes. There were several calf-high stream crossings and many inches of snow on the ground.What went wrong:Not long into the snowy trail run, runners crossed a stream and it became apparent that ice and snow were literally freezing in blocks around people’s shoes. Runners had to keep knocking ice off of the bottom of their shoes and ice was ultimately making its way inside the shoes. It soon became difficult for people to tell what was typical numb/cold feet, and what was damaging frostbite. The run took anywhere from 3-5 hours. One runner, Sarah Smith (who is also a figure skating coach) saw huge blocks of ice around her feet after the stream crossings. Sarah also has a mild case of Raynaud’s syndrome, which makes extremities like toes and fingers even more susceptible to freezing temperatures. Despite numb feet and frozen shoes, the group continued on, not quite knowing the severity of the cold and ice. “I think we, as a community, are reluctant to quit”, says Sarah. “But that’s part of what I enjoy about this group.”Immediately after the run, which took Sarah 4 ½ to 5 hours, her shoes were so frozen that she literally could not get them off of her feet. Ultimately, the socks came off with the shoes – her socks were frozen hard to the inside of her shoes. The pain and fear of frostbite led her to seek prompt medical care, where she learned that she did indeed have a bad case of frostbite on her toes.The photos below are graphic, but incredibly Sarah is back to running a year later. It took months of intensive therapy, including hyperbaric oxygen therapy, to heal her toes. Her feet will always be susceptible to cold weather and injury. Another runner in the same group had to have the tips of his toes amputated.Lessons learned:“If I knew the possible consequences, I would have avoided the water…and it’s also important to note that the length of exposure is really important. Had this been a shorter run we would have all been fine. The faster runners in the group were all ok,” tells Sarah. This is a case where many of you reading see the problem as obvious – running through water and snow in sub-freezing temperatures for a prolonged period of time. However, what would you have done at the first stream crossing as you and a group of trail runners are embarking on an epic training adventure on a beautiful cold and snowy night? Would you have been the one to tell the whole group that “we should all turnaround”, even though you drove 90 minutes to get there? Or after running through snow and streams and seeing the frozen block of ice on your shoes, would you have turned around, splitting up the group and potentially causing a larger issue? Lessons learned here are to really respect the possibility for frostbite when temps are near zero and there are water crossings. In my experience, when the temperature is at least above 25 degrees, your feet will usually keep warm, even if there are stream crossings. However, when the temps get down below 20, and especially if you throw snow into the mix, you should consider the length and course of your trail run.(Gallery above is courtesy of Sarah Smith, showing her initial foot damage, and the remarkable recovery several months later)Takeaway safety precautions:Don’t let subfreezing temps or snow keep you from running on the trail, but you should really consider avoiding known water crossings in extreme conditions. Also, know your limits. If you are someone prone to circulatory issues, you should reconsider joining a group run that may not turn out well for your toes.Last, it is MUCH easier to decline a group run invitation than it is to turn around at the trailhead or in the middle of the run. So before you jump on the adventure bandwagon of what sounds like a fun time, thoughtfully consider if this is a “smart” decision for you and don’t be afraid to say no to “FOMO” – Fear Of Missing Out.Case 3) The Dave Mackey story – solo trail runOn May 23rd 2015, veteran ultrarunner Dave Mackey went out on a routine trail run from his home up to Bear Peak, one of the staple mountain runs outside of his Boulder, CO home. Dave Mackey is a legend in the ultrarunning world with years of experience and numerous victories. He is without a doubt one of the better trail and ultrarunners in the history of the sport.The setting:What went wrong:While up on Bear Peak, a run which Mackey had run countless times, a large rock he stepped on randomly gave way and sent him crashing 20-30 feet in an uncontrolled fall down the mountain, after which a large boulder weighing 200-300 pounds landed on his lower leg, pinning him helplessly in place with a shattered leg. Fortunately, there was another trail runner nearby who heard Mackey’s screams for help and an elaborate mountainside rescue effort ensued. He was finally brought down off the mountain after several hours and had to undergo multiple surgeries to repair his shattered leg. He is making an incredible recovery but is still unable to run again.There are two takeaways from this story. First – you are never too good to have a bad accident happen to you. David Mackey is the cream of the crop, and I don’t think anyone would say this happened because he lacked skill or experience. It was a random series of events on a run he had traversed countless times. When you leave the front door, never consider yourself above having something like this happen to you.Lessons learned:Second, lets consider that this was a more isolated area and it was cold outside. This very well could have turned into a recovery mission vs. a rescue mission. Remember, three hours to survive when you start getting cold. Trapped on the side of a mountain with a shattered leg in cold weather, you are going to get hypothermic rapidly. Do you have a cell phone? Are you in range? Did you tell anyone where you were going and when you are expected back? Do you have a jacket or emergency blanket? A whistle? Can you make it for three hours or more?Takeaway safety precautions:Running alone in the wilderness is personally one of my favorite experiences in trail running. Truly a spiritual event each time. However, this requires some extra planning and communication on the part of the solo runner.Always, always, always tell someone your exact planned route and when you expect to be back. Write it down for your spouse. Text it to a friend or coworker. Let somebody know, period.Bring a phone, and ideally run where there is cell phone coverage. If you are unsure of cell phone coverage, bring an emergency whistle. They weigh nothing and would be invaluable if you found yourself down in the woods without a solid way of communicating where you are.Leave the house expecting that you may fall and be stuck in the woods for 3 hours. Pack a jacket and emergency blanket. Bring enough water and a little snack. If it’s getting late in the afternoon, bring a hat and gloves, even if you don’t need them now. Also, bring a headlamp/flashlight if it’s afternoon in case you find yourself slow to get back and now it’s getting dark.I hope this article doesn’t discourage anyone from getting out on the trails in the wintertime. Of course, there are examples like these, but these are overall rare occurrences considering how many people are out in the mountains every day. Trail running is still a very safe activity, but just take a few of the basic, simple precautions mentioned above and you will find yourself better prepared if an unlucky event happens and more importantly – it just may save your life. So get out there, explore nature, and push your limits… but be smart![divider]More from our BRO Athletes[/divider]
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York The ferry horn pierces the thick morning fog between Orient Point at the North Fork’s tip and Plum Island, where jet black Great Cormorants perched atop wooden pilings crane their crooked necks to spy visitors aboard the mostly empty boat as it sails into Plum Gut Harbor.After passing through barbed-wire fences, being searched by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agents, agreeing not to photograph secure areas and signing affidavits promising to “avoid contact with cattle, sheep, goats, deer and…swine for…5 days,” a small pack of journalists—including this reporter, who first requested a tour years ago—board a navy blue school bus for the two-minute ride to the Plum Island Animal Disease Center.The lab, which last year created a new vaccine that researchers hope will help eradicate foot-and-mouth disease in livestock worldwide, is lifting the veil on their secretive setup as the feds work to move it to Kansas in the coming decade—a plan that has set off a tug-of-war between New York and Midwestern lawmakers. And since the plan includes selling the 843-acre Island to offset the $1.2-billion cost of building a new lab that will research into incurable airborne deadly animal-to-human diseases, beyond Plum Island’s purvue, it couldn’t hurt to dispel the many conspiracy theories that roll ashore.Montauk Monsters and chronic Lyme disease supposedly escaped from the mysterious pork chop-shaped island Nelson DeMille and others wrote books about. An unidentified man with “very long fingers” and recent brain surgery scars washed up dead here in 2010, sparking suspicions the lab’s scientists were experimenting on humans. And some claim that a top Nazi virologist helped the U.S. Army develop biological weapons after World War II before the Department of Agriculture took over the original lab in the 1950s.“We didn’t have anything to do with any of those,” Dr. Lawrence Barrett, the lab director who maintains the Montauk Monster was just a decomposing dog, says in his Oklahoma accent, as the tour passes the old lab, called Building 257. He blasts a 2004 book on it by Michael Carroll, but not by name, adding that no photos are allowed of the century-old white structure with a slaughterhouse-style cattle chute for test cows that were penned outside.The current lab, which opened two decades ago, keeps the animals inside to avoid a potential outbreak blowing in the wind.“What we’re most worried about is an agent getting off this island,” Barrett says, referring to the stringent protocols to prevent the release of diseases.Construction is slated to start next year at Plum Island’s replacement, the new National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, joining four nationwide biosecurity level (BSL) 4 facilities with airlocks, space suits and vacuum rooms designed for researching fatal exotic aerosol-transmitted infections without vaccines, like Ebola. Plum Island is a BSL 3 lab with similarly stringent protocols that require anyone leaving to shower first, where one scientist set a record of 11 showers in one day.DHS credits the need to move nearly 400 LI jobs to a classic case of anti-virus NIMBYism, planned academic synergy at Kansas State University’s nearby Biosecurity Research Institute and the fact that Plum Island’s foreign livestock disease testing facility requires samples be airlifted from America’s agricultural heartland. Modern labs nullified the remote island security strategy—requiring in severe cases that animals be rushed in by helicopter—although doubts persist about the wisdom of building such a lab in tornado alley, despite protections.But, just before DHS and the General Services Administration (GSA) published Aug. 29 their “record of decision,” a final step before an eventual sale, Town of Southold officials blocked any possibility of Plum Island Estates by zoning most of the island as a preservation district, except for the lab, which they hope to interest other researchers in using. Proposing the island’s conservation in Congress was U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton).“Plum Island is one of the natural treasures of the Northeast,” Bishop said last month of seals, terns and other endangered wildlife living amid overgrown defunct Spanish-American War-era Fort Terry military installations. “If the federal government did not already own Plum Island, it would be seeking to purchase it for conservation as prime habitat for rare birds and plants.”GSA officials have reportedly estimated the sale price of the island as up to $80 million, a drop in the bucket of the Kansas lab cost. Although a price has not been formally assessed, a billionaire bought nearby Robins Island—about half the size of Plum Island—for $12 million in 1994. That’s $36 million when adjusted for inflation and double the acreage, not including the value of features like Plum Island’s circa-1869 lighthouse.In the meantime, Plum Island scientists forge ahead with their stated mission to protect the $1.5-billion U.S. agricultural industry from the first foot-and-mouth in cattle since ’29. The fast-spreading infection effectively makes livestock lame. Although it doesn’t sicken humans, diseased meat is barred from entering the food chain. Britain culled 6 million cattle exposed to the disease in 2001, costing the industry $16 billion.“There’s so much work that goes into getting our food safe,” says Dr. Ferdinand Torres, head of the Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostics Lab at Plum Island. Experts there regularly test samples that come in what they playfully call a box of chocolates, “because you never know what you’re gonna find.”The new vaccine they developed—the first for foot-and-mouth in 50 years—makes it possible to tell vaccinated and unvaccinated cows apart, negating the devastating need to cull entire herds as a precaution, Barrett says. Now, they’re working to make it last longer so the animals don’t need booster shots every six months to save farmers money.“We still have work to do, we can’t just shut this lab down and wait,” says John Verrico, a DHS spokesman. As for the need to move and upgrade—pending congressional funding for the construction—he adds: “There are diseases that are popping up around the world that we don’t study here.”
Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionProps to Cuomo for canal, rail initiativesI rarely find any merit in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s initiatives, but I believe in giving credit where it’s due.Although it pains me, I compliment him on his recently announced initiatives: re-imagining the Erie Canal and high-speed rail between New York City and Buffalo.The Erie Canal made New York “the Empire State.” Making the Erie Canal economically and recreationally relevant, and high-speed rail along the same corridor, could re-invigorate the dead and dying Rust Belt communities along the way. They called the Erie Canal “Clinton’s Folly” when Gov. Clinton proposed it.When completed, it not only transformed New York but extended our country’s frontier westward, opening up new markets and opportunity. Good transportation does that. If you’ve lived in the Capital District long enough, I’m sure you marvel at what I-87 has done to Clifton Park and points north. Don’t give up, Andrew.Having said that, now that I have your ear, I’d like to add that Mr. Cuomo’s unwillingness to extend the authority to perform marriage ceremonies to federal judges simply because they represent the Trump administration is petty, spiteful, childish and vindictive. Behavior like this (not to mention the SAFE Act) is why I regard him as a jerk.George NigrinyGlenvilleRight on red isn’t mandatory, so chillI am the driver of a small Honda, and I choose to turn right on red when I think it is safe for me, my passengers and pedestrians.Due to the size of my car, it is difficult to see around snowbanks, larger cars and SUVs. Sometimes I will sit at a light until it is green in my favor.During these short waits, there have been more frequent displays of flashing lights, blaring horns and finger messages. I look at your face in my rearview mirror and you look so angry and wretched that I almost feel sorry for you.Draw a deep breath, count to 10, send mental good wishes to a friend. Before you know it, this little car will be safely on its way and so will you. Turning on red is not mandatory — it is a choice.Louise FarnumMalta Destroying cultural sites is a war crimeOn Jan. 4, President Donald Trump tweeted that if Iran retaliates for the targeted killing of Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, America will target sites important to Iranian culture.Let me be clear: It is a war crime to target cultural sites, according to the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. The United States is a party to that convention, meaning we must abide by it.The United Nations also regards destroying cultural sites as a war crime (U.N. Security Council Resolution 2347).War crimes are illegal under federal law (18 U.S. Code § 2441). The punishment is being “fined under this title or imprisoned for life or any term of years, or both, and if death results to the victim, shall also be subject to the penalty of death.”If President Trump goes through with his threat and attacks those cultural sites, he is a war criminal. Plain and simple.Daniel Wade IIIRound LakeMany share blame for Trump’s failuresWe need to get serious about climate change. We need to eradicate hate crimes and poverty. We need to build alliances, roads, bridges, healthcare systems and schools. Instead, we find ourselves in a useless fossil-fuel-sucking war that will kill, maim, destroy and deplete resources.Who is the most irresponsible?The 45th president? The military, which gave him an option it knew was terrible? (You don’t give a loaded gun to a baby and expect a good outcome.) Or the American public and politicians who didn’t put an end to this presidency when they had a chance?Melinda PerrinNiskayunaWe all must learn to embrace differencesEvery year, people would like to accomplish some goals for the new year.Well I have a goal that I would like to see happen, not just in this new year, but year-around.This goal is that we as a human race need to understand that we are a very extraordinary human race and we all have our differences. We need to embrace them and learn from them instead of attacking each other.We are killing all of us with this hate. And yes, both sides, the left and the right, are at fault for all the hate that has been going around.But I strongly feel that if we as an extraordinary human race can embrace and accept our many differences, we can heal this nation and world. This is a goal that I would really like to see happen, not just this new year, but year-round.Anthony CarotaSchenectadyMore from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsGov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the census