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Retired state trooper who responded to Sandy Hook shooting dies of COVID-19

first_imgCT State Police/TwitterBy NICOLE PELLETIERE, ABC News(HARTFORD, Conn.) — A retired Connecticut state trooper who was a first responder to the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting has died after battling COVID-19, according to police officials.Patrick Dragon died Jan. 2, 2021, at Hartford Hospital. The 50-year-old was working as a deputy chief of the East Brooklyn Fire Department and a police dispatcher in Foster, Rhode Island, before his death.In a recent Facebook post, Chief David J. Breit of the Foster Police Department said Dragon was a “great person, kind, caring and a friend to all who met him.”“There are not enough words, to describe the kind of person that Patrick was. The men and women of the Foster Police Department, express our deepest sympathies to Patrick’s family,” Breit wrote, also confirming in the post that Dragon died as a result of COVID-19.Dragon was a member of the 107th Training Troop and entered the State Police Training Academy on Jan. 9, 1998, according to Connecticut State Police.After graduating from the academy, Dragon served as a patrol trooper in Danielson, a resident trooper in the town of Sterling, a detective in the Eastern District Major Crime Squad and a detective in the Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit.Dragon was also among the first to respond to the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, where 20 children and six educators were killed on Dec. 14, 2012, after a gunman opened fire inside the grade school.Dragon retired from the police force in 2018.Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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New legislation could lead to more tribunals

first_imgNew legislation designed to improve the rights of employees on fixed-termcontracts, including pay and pension entitlements, could open the floodgatesfor workplace disputes. This is the view of law firm Eversheds which claims the Fixed Term Work EUDirective, due to come into force in the UK by 10 July, is vague and open todifferent interpretations. Elaine Aarons, employment specialist at Eversheds, said: “Although theGovernment’s stated desire is to reduce the workload of the alreadyoverburdened employment tribunals, costly litigation caused by a lack ofunderstanding of what the new draft regulations require becomesinevitable.” Aarons said the directive states that fixed-term workers should be treatedthe same as permanent employees ‘where appropriate’ but does not clarify this. She added: “Whenever there are uncertainties in employment legislation,managers whose job it is to decide how to apply the rules in their individualworkplaces are put in an impossible position.” Aarons said the legislation is also not clear over whether employers willhave to provide pension benefits to cover past service by fixed-term workers. “In the case of a contributory pension scheme, would employees have tomake payments to cover past service and, again, how could these contributionsbe made given Inland Revenue limits? There are a lot of questions to beanswered,” said Aarons. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article New legislation could lead to more tribunalsOn 23 Apr 2002 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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Prep Sports Roundup: 2/21

first_img Brad James February 21, 2020 /Sports News – Local Prep Sports Roundup: 2/21 Tags: Roundup FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailBoys Basketball3-A SemifinalsTAYLORSVILLE, Utah-Jordan Blauer netted 24 points and 7 rebounds as the Manti Templars bested Judge 65-55 in the 3-A semifinals Friday at Salt Lake Community College. The Templars were also bolstered by Kevin Clark’s proficiencey as he netted 18 points on 7-11 in the loss. Deng Mayar had 12 points in defeat for the Bulldogs in defeat. The Templars improved to 24-1 on the season and will now play for a 3-A state title Saturday at 7:00 pm at Salt Lake Community College against Richfield.TAYLORSVILLE, Utah-Hayden Harward posted 17 points and the Richfield Wildcats smacked Emery 58-41 at Salt Lake Community College Friday during the 3-A semifinals. Morgan Albrecht added 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Wildcats in the win. Kyler Wilstead had 13 points and 7 rebounds in the loss for the Spartans.3-A Consolation bracketTAYLORSVILLE, Utah-Brennen Hunt amassed 23 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists on 8-16 shooting from the field a the South Sevier Rams edged Morgan 58-56 Friday at Salt Lake Community College in the 3-A boys consolation bracket. The Rams will next play Grantsville Saturday at 11:40 am for 5th and 6th place. Brandt Williams added 15 points and 9 rebounds on 6-9 from the field for South Sevier in the win. Andrew Russell’s 20 points and 7 rebounds led the Trojans in the loss.2-A SemifinalsRICHFIELD, Utah-Matthew Bowler posted 18 points and the Enterprise Wolves bested North Sevier 60-52 in the 2-A semifinals at the Sevier Valley Center Friday. Marshall Okerlund’s 18 points led North Sevier in the loss. Enterprise next faces Beaver Saturday at 7:00 pm for the 2-A state championship.RICHFIELD, Utah-Ky Brown steppped up with 19 points and the Beaver Beavers got past American Heritage 53-41 Friday in the 2-A semifinals at the Sevier Valley Center. Paora Winitana’s 16 points led the Patriots in defeat.2-A Consolation BracketRICHFIELD, Utah-Cody Bergquist had 17 points and the Draper APA Eagles edged Kanab 59-56 in the 2-A consolation bracket at the Sevier Valley Center Friday. Cade Szymanski had 15 points in the loss for the Cowboys.Girls Basketball3-A SemifinalsTAYLORSVILLE, Utah-Kenzie Jones netted 18 points on 5-10 shooting as the South Sevier Rams bested Richfield 49-36 Friday in the state semifinals at Salt Lake Community College. Rebecca Poulsen posted 12 points and 7 rebounds in defeat for the Wildcats.3-A Consolation bracketTAYLORSVILLE, Utah-Cora Lamborn posted 20 points on 8-11 shooting as the Carbon Dinos routed Manti 68-37 Friday in the 3-A girls consolation bracket at Salt Lake Community College. The proficient Dinos shot 56.4 percent (22-39) from the field in the win, while Abbie Saccomanno added 15 points and 6 boards for Carbon. Brook Barson netted 14 points and 5 rebounds in defeat for the Templars, who, with the loss, end their season at 16-8. Carbon improved to 20-5 with the win.2-A SemifinalsRICHFIELD, Utah-Kennady McQueen led the way with 19 points and the North Summit Braves humbled Kanab 44-36 in the 2-A semifinals Friday at the Sevier Valley Center. North Summit next faces Millard Saturday at 5:00 pm for the 2-A state championship. Brinley Cornell had 17 points in defeat for Kanab. Kanab faces Wasatch Academy for 3rd-4th place Saturday at 1:20 pm.RICHFIELD, Utah-Rylee Miller netted 22 points as the Millard Eagles gashed Wasatch Academy 60-44 at the Sevier Valley Center Friday in the 2-A semifinals. Duda Raimundo had 15 points in the loss for the Tigers.2-A Consolation BracketRICHFIELD, Utah-Riley Bluth led the way as the Draper APA Eagles edged North Sevier 40-37 in the 2-A consolation bracket at the Sevier Valley Center Friday. Macady Goble posted 16 points in the loss for the Wolves. Written bylast_img read more

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New Grant Money For Local Roads By Wendy McNamara

first_imgFacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailShare Our local roads and bridges not only add to our quality of life, but help support our economy. That’s why more than $150 million was recently awarded to Indiana cities, towns and counties through the Community Crossings grant program.Several communities in our area received money to help with projects including road and bridge preservation, road reconstruction and intersection improvements:Posey County: $572,228Vanderburgh County: $444,930Darmstadt: $430,628Evansville: $463,987Mount Vernon: $479,082New Harmony: $157,492This program was established by a law I supported in 2016, and the Indiana Department of Transportation awards grants based on applications submitted by local officials.The Community Crossings grant program helps communities large and small repair and modernize their local roads and bridges. Thanks to Indiana’s strong fiscal health, our state is well-positioned to make these critical investments without having to pass on debt to the next generation.last_img read more

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JoJo Hermann Talks Widespread Panic, Mardi Gras, Baseball Ahead Of NYC Homecoming With Slim Wednesday [Interview]

first_imgThis week, JoJo Hermann (Widespread Panic) will head out on a run of shows with his side project, Slim Wednesday (listen here). Slim Wednesday’s Mardi Gras Tour will begin at The Hamilton in Washington D.C. on Thursday, February 28th before heading to Baltimore for a romp at the Metro Gallery on Friday, March 1st. The tour will then hit The Ardmore Music Hall outside Philadelphia on Saturday, March 2nd before wrapping up at Brooklyn Bowl in Brooklyn, NY for one final jubilee on Mardi Gras proper, Tuesday, March 5th (win tickets, meet and greet, more).Ahead of Slim Wednesday’s Mardi Gras Tour, Live For Live Music Widespread correspondent Otis Sinclair caught up with JoJo Hermann to talk about WSP, Slim Wednesday’s inaugural Northeast run, and more.Otis Sinclair: Here with JoJo Hermann to discuss Slim Wednesday’s inaugural tour of the Northeast.JoJo Hermann: We’re real psyched!Otis: Can you tell me about the band and its members?JoJo: Bill Elder, he’s from New Orleans. He’s our lead singer and songwriter. Kevin Mabin on drums, Jon Jackson on sax, Greg Bryant on bass, and Jovan Quallo on the other sax. We’re all getting together, and we are psyched!Otis: Are you excited to return to New York City?JoJo: My family hails from Brooklyn, so it’s kinda like a homecoming. I don’t think I’ve ever done a gig like this in Brooklyn before, and I’ve never played the Brooklyn Bowl before and that’s been on my bucket list for a while.Otis: Are you excited for any of the other cities on this tour?JoJo: I love D.C./Baltimore area. I love Philly too. I just like to walk around the historic part of town. People talk about Boston and New York, but Philly is right there with them. We never brought this [project] up here, so it’s just a Mardi Gras party. If anybody wants to go to New Orleans for a night without having to get on a plane, come right down the street and we’ll be there.Otis: I was able to catch Slim Wednesday at ACME Feed & Seed after the Nashville Panic shows. Are you still based in that area?JoJo: I live in Franklin, Tennessee. We do a lot of stuff at ACME. We do a radio show over there, just great folks. They are really into the music.Otis: Great venue, lots of events going on. Would you like to talk about your radio show Key’d In for a moment?JoJo: Key’d In is a tribute to piano players. One show we will focus on New Orleans or blues or stride or ragtime, and through the different styles pay tribute to all the great piano players. Starting with Jelly Roll Morton and, before that, Scott Joplin, from New Orleans through the century, there have been so many great keyboards.Otis: You recently participated in a Professor Longhair tribute in New Orleans with the Nevilles, Jon Cleary, Johnny Vidacovich, George Porter Jr. and so many more.JoJo: Marcia Ball and Ivan Neville, of course. That was an amazing week. It was December 19th, and it was … what would have been Fess’s 100th birthday. It was a fantastic tribute. I’ll never forget it. And the night before Fess’s birthday is James Booker‘s birthday, and they had a thing at The Maple Leaf, a James Booker tribute. So, December 18th and 19th is my Jazz Fest every year. If you are a piano player, go down to New Orleans and take in all the Booker and Fess tributes going on. We are going to do a Professor Longhair tribute for Mardi Gras. Brooklyn Bowl is on Mardi Gras, so you can expect a lot of Fess songs.Otis: Is there a level of preparation that goes into these all-star tribute shows as opposed to a traditional Widespread Panic show. Do you prepare for the shows differently?JoJo: Well, George Porter Jr. was the musical director and he produced everything. He just said, ‘What do you want to play? In what key?’ You just gotta walk on stage and everybody’s got it together and everybody’s dialed in. We rehearse before any show.Otis: George Porter Jr. seems to keep popping up.JoJo: He is the man. He’s just the best. When I think of New Orleans, I think of George.Otis: What kind of material can we expect at the Slim Wednesday shows?JoJo: We have a record out, so we do a lot of our own stuff. Then we do Professor Longhair covers, some Meters covers, just New Orleans party music.Otis: Are you referring to Reptile Show (2018)? How did you come up with the title?JoJo: If you’re driving around, there’s these traveling reptile shows. These people packed up a bunch of snakes and frogs and travel around. They are all over the place down here. Do they have them in New York? That would be cool. Somebody should do that up there in like Union Square or one in Central Park, that would be big.Otis: It reminds me of the scene from Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.JoJo: There [are] Hunter Thompson influences on the album, so that’s pretty cool. I didn’t think of that.Otis: Speaking of Vegas, you and your bandmates paid respects to Hunter S. Thompson in Vegas last Halloween. Any comments?JoJo: It was an easy costume to dig up.Otis: Let’s talk about Widespread Panic. Nobody could believe that “The Waker” had finally returned during the New Year’s Eve run. Could you talk about the decision to bring that back for the first time with Jimmy Herring on lead guitar?JoJo: It’s just such a great song. … It feels good to bring back songs from the catalog that we haven’t played in a long time. “Do What You Like” or “Don’t Want to Lose You” or “Sleepy Monkey”, one by one, slowly but surely, we’ve been bringing them all back. It feels so good to go back and play those songs.Otis: There has been a high request volume for “Bayou Lena”, “Dark Bar”, “Smoking Factory”. A lot of people have been wondering what happened to these songs.JoJo: Well, “Bayou Lena” gotta have the horn section. We did it with Dirty Dozen [Brass Band] playing the horns. It’s kind of just waiting for a horn section. You know, Slim Wednesday got horns. We are very horn-oriented. Say that ten times fast. So, we might do “Bayou Lena” and some of that other stuff. I still play it all the time, it’s great, I love it.Otis: “Bayou Lena” is all from Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. Can you explain what goes on with writing songs like that? It has such a New Orleans feel, the only thing missing is Jones smoking a cigarette in the corner.JoJo: It’s just a good ol’ second line groove. It came off of Professor Longhair’s “Bald Head”, that kind of groove, or Dr. John. The music pretty much came from that. It’s just images out of Confederacy. There’s no plot or anything really, it’s just about one of the characters, Lana Lee, was one of the strippers in the book. Just painting images around that scene. No plot. We’re gonna be doing it all weekend for the Mardi Gras tour. I mentioned [to Brooklyn Bowl] that they should serve some jambalaya or something on their menu, New Orleans-y.Otis: They do have some of New York City’s best fried chicken.JoJo: Okay, then we will just have to spice it up a bit with a little hot sauce. Cause there’s no crawfish. The thing about Mardi Gras is, you can’t really get the crawfish outside of New Orleans and it’s hard to get in New Orleans in February or early March. For Jazz Fest, which we’ve done the last two years, we have crawfish boils. I have to say the crawfish boils really add so much to it. Just sit there and eat all these crawfish then go up and play music.Otis: There’s a great crawfish festival in New Jersey. Last year, Taj Mahal and George Porter Jr. played there.JoJo: I heard about that! When is that?Otis: Michael Arnone’s Crawfish Festival usually takes place in early June. This year is the 30th anniversary and it takes place in Northwest Jersey.JoJo: Man, you gotta get some Wednesday on there. Please, tell them we want to do it.Otis: “One Arm Steve” has been played a lot recently to the enjoyment of the fans. The story behind it is hilarious. Can you talk about the backstory of becoming one of the guys, becoming a member of Widespread Panic?JoJo: There was One Armed Steve and he was the doorman. It was my first gig. They used an old picture and I wasn’t in it. When I tried to get in and explain that I was in the band, he thought I was fucking with him. So he picked me up and threw me out on the street. He really pushed me out. There was a lot going on, people trying to get in and stuff. There were no cell phones, so I was stuck. It was my first gig and I was outside like ‘Shit, how am I going to get in this thing?’ I finally ran into somebody on the street who knew somebody like the manager or a roadie who got me in there. The second verse is about being deaf, dumb, and blind and trying to make it into the world. Like Helen Keller. It’s about Anne Sullivan, the Miracle Worker. Then the third verse is about Willie Mays. They really have nothing to do with each other, they are just three separate vignettes.Otis: So, Sister Anne would be Anne Sullivan?JoJo: That is correct.Otis: What are some of your techniques as far as writing songs? What strategies do you employ that work for you?JoJo: Well, first of all, thanks for asking about songwriting. Most people don’t, and I like songwriting. Some songs tap you on the shoulder and they just come out in like five minutes. Other songs you have to piece together bit by bit and it takes five years. There’s no real formula. I think you just have to be open to it. I remember, we were iced in and there was a big ice storm and I was stuck at my house for three days and I just sat at the piano and wrote, and wrote, and wrote for three days. Then, for the next three months, I didn’t write a thing. So, it kind of just comes and goes. When you’re writing, you don’t want to be cliché and are trying not to say and write something that has been done a trillion times.Otis: Was that the writing period in which you wrote “Big Wooly Mammoth”?JoJo: That song was actually a guitar song that I played with Luther and Cody Dickinson in Atlanta at the Northside Tavern. It was originally called “Let’s Get a Room”. … “Let’s get a room / I don’t need one with a view / Let’s get a room / I just want to be with you.” Deep stuff. Then somehow it became a Big, Wooly Mammoth. I think we were in Colorado and there was a mammoth thing going on there. They found a mammoth or something like that.Otis: Are there any other songs that you would like to bring back?JoJo: Aw man, you know, they’ve all been coming back so great. Everything’s just gelling right now and feelin’ good. The music feels so good right now. We got a lot of great dates coming up, I think we are playing every week in March. It’s almost like we are back to it. April, too. The Trondossa festival, love that thing. With Umphrey’s [McGee]. Life is good. I feel so thankful. Everything’s coming back. It feels so good. La Playa was great. Brought back “Snake Drive” with Cody and Luther [Dickinson]. That was awesome! We’re always bringing stuff back, you know, there must be a thousand songs to choose from.Otis: You wrote “Visiting Day” about your dog’s eyes, right? Sadie?JoJo: That’s right, Sadie was my dog. I remember when I was in camp and it was an eight-week sleep-away camp. At four weeks, it was Visiting Day. I remember one year, my parents couldn’t make it, and I was the only kid that was all alone on Visiting Day. So that feeling stuck with me.Otis: You use a variety of pianos and keyboards. You brought out a white amp at Red Rocks that nobody had seen before. Can you describe some of your go-to instruments or some new gear you have been exploring?JoJo: I love that thing. The new amp is specially built. It’s called the Duncanville. A guy here in town, Mike Duncan, builds amplifiers and he built this specially for Wurlitzer frequencies and tunes. He hand-builds them, and they are just beautiful, and they sound amazing. He custom makes them down here in Nashville. The Duncanville, I think I got the second edition, and man, it just sounds great and it just looks so good. I just love to look at it.Otis: You use a Wurlitzer, you use the B3. Anything else?JoJo: I use an upright piano now, which is really nice, and the clavinet.Otis: When did you bring the upright back into the fold?JoJo: It’s been off and on now for a while. I brought it back for this year. It depends on the venues.Otis: Before we move on to venues, can you tell the story about the piano from “Ribs and Whiskey”?JoJo: We were recording in Nassau [Bahamas] at Terry Manning‘s place and there was a big, empty lot next door. There was a lot of those in town there. I think there was a gospel tent set up there and when they packed up and left, they decided to leave the piano. I guess they didn’t want to carry it around anymore, it was in pretty bad shape, so they just left it there. We went out and Terry got this fifty-foot cable and went ahead and mic’d it. We played it right then and there. It was so out of tune that we had to do some kind of trickery. It was a half-key off-tune, so I had to play the whole song in G-flat on the piano. I played in a different key as the rest of the band.Otis: You mentioned that you treat different venues differently, and it certainly shows in music and the setlist. What are some of your favorite venues and why?JoJo: I just love them all right now for different reasons. The vibe of the town and the city, I’m loving the St. Augustine gig. I just love that town. You can go that Church from the 1500’s and walk in there. I’m not just saying this, I love them all. I love the familiarity of a place like Milwaukee. You know the people, and you know where everything is. You know the sound, and everything is just dialed in. Playing some new places this year, though. I’ve never played at The Capitol [Theatre]. I’ve never played there before, and I heard so much about it. I’m looking forward to this new place in Durham, North Carolina. I never played there before either. The word is that it’s one of the most beautiful and best sounding rooms anywhere. That’s what people tell me, but I’ll find out soon enough.Otis: The Capitol Theater will be a blast, I’ll be there for sure.JoJo: Everybody I know has played there like a hundred times, and I’m like ‘I never played there.” I’ve never even been there. So, I’m psyched. I don’t get to Westchester and Port Chester and Connecticut and places like that. I’m going to spend some time up in Westport, Connecticut and really get to know that area a bit, so that will be fun. I can’t wait. White Plains was like going to the country. Going above 72nd St. was a big deal when you grow up in the City. I remember going up to Rye, New York to play baseball games sometimes. They had a really good high school team in Rye.Otis: So where exactly did you grow up in New York City?JoJo: I grew up on Mulberry St., around Houston. Downtown.Otis: Where did you get your musical kicks? Did you have to sneak up to Harlem or go to jazz clubs?JoJo: Really, all I did was go to the playground and play hockey and basketball. My older sister’s record collection got me started when I was ten years old. Then, I heard this Professor Longhair record and that really changed everything. I went from Allman Brothers, the Stones, the Beatles … I was huge into the Doors, and Neil Young. Stuff high school kids were listening to. But the minute I heard that Fess record, I just switched gears and just went to a whole new thing automatically.Otis: When did you meet Robert Palmer?JoJo: I met him in New York City at a blues club called Tramps. Tramps would bring in blues players. They were the only club that did it. It was an Irish guy named Terry Dunn from Dublin, and he loved the blues. He and Bob would get together and bring up CeDell Davis, and they brought up Big Joe Turner and Lightnin’ Hopkins and Johnny Copeland and Charles Brown and Otis Rush and The Radiators. They would fly in these bands, bring in these blues bands, and I was just hanging out. I was actually their sound man for about a year. I got to see all these incredible bands. And I really got into blues along with the New Orleans music that I was listening to before that. I just decided one day to pick up and move down south in pursuit of the music.Otis: I can understand why you would like Ray Manzarek and Chuck Leavell with the Allman Brothers, two musical geniuses.JoJo: They are two of the greats. I remember when we played “Light My Fire” with [The Doors’] Robby Krieger in L.A. We did “Light My Fire” and Robby wrote “Light My Fire” and I did the organ solo and I leaned over [to Robby] and said “Ya know I learned how to play keyboards off this record.” And he was like, “You have no idea how much I hear that.” It’s really true that pretty much every piano player in America of the rock and roll bands probably learned how to play off [The Doors’] Ray Manzarek. It was mostly guitar bands. There were very few bands where the keyboards are featured and Ray Manzarek really brought that to the table. Along with Alan Price from the Animals. Those guys were a huge influence on high school keyboard players, and all keyboard players. [You can listen to the aforementioned show with Robby Krieger here].Otis: What bands are you listening to now? Are there any new guys that are catching your ear?JoJo: Right now, I’m listening to a lot of Professor Longhair because I’m working on the New Orleans stuff. I’m doing a solo kind of set so I’m working on some solo boogie stuff. Listening to Outformation, one of my favorite bands. It’s Sam Holt‘s band, Outformation. The album is called Traveler’s Rest.Otis: If you could collaborate with any artist alive or dead who would it be?JoJo: I’m happy with the guys I’m collaborating with now. I wouldn’t ask for anything else. I’ve worked with so many people. Maybe an athlete. Like Bernie Williams or something, that’d be cool. Even though he was a Yankee. When I grew up in the ’70s, when I was a little kid, there wasn’t this Mets-Yankees rivalry. We rooted for the Yankees as Mets fans because we were so bad when they were good. And when the Mets got good, the Yankees were bad. They only played each other once a year, the Mayor’s Trophy Game, They didn’t have interleague play yet. I remember always rooting for the Yankees in the late ’70s. Reggie Jackson, Chris Chambliss, Roy White, and Stottlemyre, who just passed, very sadly. I loved those guys, Thurman Munson, I loved Thurman Munson. Catfish Hunter, Mickey Rivers, do you remember, Mickey Rivers?Otis: You grew up in New York City, and you’re always wearing the Mets hat. The offseason was very eventful for the Mets, how do you feel about the new general manager?JoJo: I think he’s doing great. Made some moves. It’s all about pitching. You need [Noah] Syndergaard to come back. Of course, we still got [Jacob] deGrom. We got some good relief pitching. And then Cano, Robinson Cano. That’s a great pick-up.Otis: Do you think the Mets should have hopes for playoff contention next season?JoJo: Yeah, I think we are going to really surprise people. All the doubters. If the pitching stays healthy. DeGrom, Syndy, we got great relievers now. I do think we will make a playoff run. The Braves look awfully good though. They re-signed all their main guys. They look tough.Otis: Well, JoJo, it was a pleasure talking to you, and can’t wait to see your band at Brooklyn Bowl.JoJo: I’m excited; I haven’t played in New York City in a long time, so I look forward to checking it out.Otis: We’re waiting.On March 5th, Fat Tuesday, Slim Wednesday is coming through the Brooklyn Bowl to tear down the house (Grab your tickets here). You can follow and check out JoJo Hermann, Slim Wednesday, and Widespread Panic on Spotify. In the words of John Farmer Bell, “Go JoJo, Go!”For Slim Wednesday’s full schedule, head here.last_img read more

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Commence wonderment

first_imgAh, Harvard lore. It can be befuddling if you don’t know the history behind these age-old Commencement conventions.Salvete omnes! That’s “Hello, everyone!” in Latin, in case you didn’t know.And during Morning Exercises, when degrees are conferred and Tercentenary Theatre is overtaken by thousands of guests, that greeting will be shouted, ushering in two graduating seniors and one graduate student to offer orations in one of Harvard’s oldest traditions.But just who are these speech-givers, and how did they get here?In April, Harvard’s Commencement Office holds an open speech-writing competition for graduating seniors. Long ago, these orations were given in Greek, Latin, or Hebrew, and were mainly thesis defenses. But times have changed, and students now address current issues and events, or speak of lessons learned from their years at Harvard — all in just five minutes (and only one speech is in Latin).Final auditions involve a live reading in front of an audience and take place in late April. A panel of professors, deans, and other officials measures each candidate; after all, these are the only speeches delivered during the Morning Exercises ceremony, and they have to be good.Fun fact: Only graduating seniors are given translations of the Latin speech. So unless you’re versed in the ancient language, you’re out of luck. Here are the scheduled orators:Mary Anne Marks, Latin orationMary Anne Marks (Photo by Kris Snibbe | Harvard Staff Photographer)Queens, N.Y., native Mary Anne Marks is a classics and English joint concentrator who fell in love with the Latin language by studying Cicero’s Catilinarian Orations. “The links between Latin and Romance languages are fascinating, and, at the same time, Latin has the ability to say things in ways that are not available to Romance languages or to English,” said Marks. “I mused about ideas for the speech for weeks before setting pen to paper, and, once I’d picked a topic, I consulted with friends and acquaintances from various departments to make sure it spoke to their experiences at Harvard.” In the fall, Marks is headed to Ann Arbor, Mich., to enter a community of Catholic teaching nuns called the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, where after three years of classes in the convent on theological and ecclesiastical topics, she’ll attain a teaching certificate at a local university and teach in Catholic schools. “I’ve always thought about being a nun but came to Harvard planning to go to graduate school and perhaps also do some other things before entering,” she recalled. “I decided in January of last year to enter right after college, but a master’s or Ph.D. is still a possibility. One of the exciting things about being a nun is that one never knows what the future holds!”Chiamaka Nwakeze, undergraduate orationChiamaka Nwakeze (Photo by Kris Snibbe | Harvard Staff Photographer)After writing six speeches, neurobiology concentrator Chiamaka Nwakeze decided on “the one.” “Applying for the orations competition challenged me to distill four years at Harvard into a four-minute speech,” Nwakeze said, “and speaking at graduation will be an additional challenge.” But she’s ready. Nwakeze cites her Nigerian parents’ “immigrant work ethic,” which “significantly shaped who I am,” she said. Over her four years, she has been the vice president of programming for the Harvard Premedical Society, co-editor in chief of the student-run journal Harvard Brain, business chair of the National Symposium for the Advancement of Women in Science (where she helped to raise more than $10,000 for its conference), and a public speaking and writing tutor at the Harvard Allston Education Portal. Next, this New Rochelle, N.Y., native is off to Yale to work as a research lab assistant for biochemist Arthur Horwich, and plans to enroll in a M.D./Ph.D. program thereafter.Jimmy Tingle, graduate orationJimmy Tingle (Photo by Stephanie Mitchell | Harvard Staff Photographer)“I never in a million years thought I would be speaking at Harvard Commencement,” said Jimmy Tingle, entertainer, Cambridge native, and now Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) graduate. Tingle, who already boasts a successful career as a comedian, began thinking about going back to school in 2007 when his Davis Square (Somerville, Mass.) enterprise, Jimmy Tingle’s Off Broadway Theater, closed. “I wanted to do something completely different and evaluate my life and career,” he recalled. Before studying public administration at HKS, Tingle was often featured in film and television and was even a commentator for “60 Minutes.” Social and political themes are common in Tingle’s routines, and he plans to continue to write, perform, pursue more work on radio and TV, and “explore how I can better use entertainment to effect social change.” Yet, after all his accomplishments, Tingle still can’t believe his luck in landing one of the biggest gigs of all: Harvard Commencement. He joked: “Looking over the list of distinguished Commencement speakers, Tingle does have a nice ring to it. Only in America! Only at Harvard!”Uncommon throneThere’s nothing truer than Harvard loving a good ritual. But a three-legged chair? Stranger things have happened here.Purchased by Harvard President Edward Holyoke, who served from 1737 to 1769, the famed seat now rests in the Fogg Art Museum, where it’s removed at Commencement for Harvard’s president to repose in. But the chair’s unique look matches its precarious origin and history.Furniture historians wager that this unusual Jacobean chair — a “three-square turned chair” — was made either in England or Wales between 1550 and 1600. Not even Holyoke knew the facts and was stumped when visitors wondered about it.But this President’s Chair was not always tucked away for special occasions. Old reports suggest it resided in one of Harvard’s libraries, and gave young men the right to kiss any lady he was showing around, and who happened to sit in it.Few will argue the strange regal quality of the chair, but its usage was intended for something far less romantic than royalty and making out. Its true destiny was as a domestic piece of furniture. That’s right, just your average, everyday, humble chair. Who would’ve thought?Ticket to rideHarvard Commencement begins with the cry, “Sheriff, pray give us order!”That would be a call to the Middlesex and Suffolk county sheriffs, who will be wearing handsome top hats, morning coats, and striped pants with swords and scabbards at the belt. And they’ll be riding white horses.Pounding his staff three times, the Middlesex sheriff will signal the start of Commencement, decreeing, “This meeting will be in order.”As lore has it, the sheriffs were originally invited during the 17th century to control unruly or drunk students and alumni by horseback. Today, smartly dressed sheriffs continue fêting Commencement atop those noble alabaster steeds — with a few bumps in their road.In 1970, Middlesex County Sheriff John J. Buckley announced he would not attend Commencement because he refused to wear the traditional required dress. In the 1930s, something similar occurred when two Massachusetts governors chided Harvard for its dress code. Later, Gov. Paul Dever outraged officials by arriving in a tuxedo and straw hat.Another year, Gov. James Michael Curley appeared in silk stockings, knee britches, a powdered wig, and a three-cornered hat with flowing plume. When officials objected to his overwrought attire, Curley procured his copy of the Statutes of the Massachusetts Bay Colony — which had a dress code of its own — and proclaimed that he was the only person in attendance who was properly dressed.Speak easyHighlights of Commencement include those sometimes famous, sometimes groundbreaking, but ultimately unforgettable, speechmakers. There are two speakers: one for Class Day, one for Afternoon Exercises.The Senior Class Committee has invited Class Day speakers since 1968, when Coretta Scott King delivered an inaugural address, taking the place of her husband, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who had been assassinated two months earlier. She told the crowd: “Your generation must speak out with righteous indignation against the forces which are seeking to destroy us.”Past speakers have been as varied as last year’s Matt Lauer, co-anchor of NBC’s “Today,” to former President Bill Clinton, comedian Conan O’Brien ’85, singer and activist Bono, baseball legend Hank Aaron, charitable leader Mother Teresa, television anchorman Walter Cronkite, and comedian Rodney Dangerfield, to today’s speaker, journalist and chief international correspondent for CNN Christiane Amanpour.The speaker for Afternoon Exercises is determined by the University president and the president of the Harvard Alumni Association, who undergo cloak-and-dagger negotiations for months and keep their selection veiled until February, when an official announcement is made. This year’s speaker is former Supreme Court Justice David Souter ’61, LL.B. ’66.Honorands are also kept confidential until Commencement Day — though that didn’t stop the German media. In 1964, news of West German Chancellor Ludwig Erhard’s honorary degree spread through German news outlets, eventually reaching Harvard when a Crimson reporter wrote about it.All members of the University community are invited to propose candidates for honorary degrees. Nominations are sent to a committee composed of the Corporation, the Board of Overseers, and senior faculty members.Did you know that Benjamin Franklin received the first honorary degree in 1753? Or that more than 2,000 honorary degrees were conferred before one was granted to a woman? That went to Helen Keller, Radcliffe Class of 1904.Honorands must receive their degrees in person.It was a very good yearThough Harvard College was established in 1636, the first graduating class took six years to complete its studies.Held in 1642, the foundational Commencement graduated just nine men in a Harvard Yard ceremony. It was considered a festival for six nearby towns, and comprised a weekend of feasting, merrymaking, and, of course, drinking. Many officials and residents came from afar to take in the pageantry.Yet in the 17th century, the month of celebration was not in May or June, but in September, a time when most graduates began careers as clergymen or teachers.Though dubbed “the oldest continuous springtime festival in North America,” there have been breaks in Commencement’s line.In fact, it has been canceled nine times, for reasons varying from smallpox to the Revolutionary War. Heavy rains forced Commencement indoors to Sanders Theatre in 1968, marking the first indoor exercises since 1922. However, today’s Commencement reliably takes place al fresco at Tercentenary Theatre — rain or shine.Bells du jourWhen Morning Exercises are over, bells across Cambridge will ring for 15 minutes. No, it’s not a fire drill or citywide warning — just another well-oiled practice.At 11:30 a.m., for the 21st consecutive year, bells will ring from the Memorial Church tower, Lowell House, the Harvard Business School, Christ Church Cambridge, the Harvard Divinity School in Andover Hall, the Church of the New Jerusalem, First Church Congregational, First Parish Unitarian Universalist, St. Paul Roman Catholic Church, St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, University Lutheran Church, Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church, North Prospect United Church of Christ, and St. Anthony’s Church.For exiting graduates, the bells offer a reverent, jubilant sound, a festive marker for a treasured turning point.last_img read more

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Corporation committees up and running

first_imgThe Harvard Corporation has taken a major additional step to implement reforms arising from an intensive governance review completed last year, launching three new committees earlier this month on facilities and capital planning, finance, and governance. A joint committee with the Board of Overseers, on alumni affairs and development, has also begun its work.The committees held their first meetings Oct. 2 and 3, with members having been appointed and charters ratified. The committees, other than governance, each include several nonboard members selected for their expertise. The committee structure is seen as an important means to enable deeper engagement on matters of core fiduciary concern, while also allowing the Corporation to focus more of its plenary time on larger strategic and policy matters.“We’re off to a great start,” said Robert D. Reischauer, the Corporation’s senior fellow. “Even after just one round of committee meetings, it’s clear these new structures, and the people who’ve joined us, will help us both to focus in on matters needing concentrated attention and to see particular issues and initiatives with a fuller view of the larger whole.”The introduction of the committees goes hand in hand with the ongoing expansion of the Corporation itself. It is in the process of nearly doubling in size, from seven to 13 members, another result of the governance review.Historically, the Corporation has carried out almost all its work as a “committee of the whole,” largely a reflection of its small size. Last year’s review process recommended adding members and creating committees as a way to increase the body’s capacity to guide long-term planning for a university that has grown dramatically and become far more complex since the Corporation was created in 1650.The first major step in implementing those reforms was taken in May, when three new Corporation members were named. As of July 1, the Corporation welcomed Lawrence Bacow, president emeritus of Tufts University and the 2011-12 president-in-residence at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education; Susan Graham, a computer scientist from the University of California, Berkeley, and former president of Harvard’s Board of Overseers; and Boston business executive Joseph O’Donnell, also a former Overseer. Additional appointments are expected to be made over the next year or two, as the Corporation grows from its current 10 members to 13.“Having these three outstanding alumni join the Corporation, with their complementary perspectives and their clear devotion to Harvard, has already energized our discussions,” said President Drew Faust. “And having these new committees, with additional members who widen our angle of vision, is already making a positive difference.”The Corporation search committee continues to invite nominations and advice on prospective new members of the Corporation. Suggestions may be directed in confidence to [email protected] senior fellow, Reischauer is chairing the governance committee, which also includes Faust and Corporation colleagues Nannerl O. Keohane, William F. Lee, and James F. Rothenberg.Bacow, who early in his career directed the MIT Center for Real Estate and who oversaw a range of campus planning initiatives while leading Tufts, chairs the committee on facilities and capital planning. The committee also includes Corporation members Graham, Lee, and Keohane, as well as three others: Peter Barber, a longtime Boston area real estate developer, recently retired; Thomas Glynn, who served until last year as chief operating officer of Partners HealthCare; and Penny Pritzker, a former Overseer who is chair and CEO of the Chicago-based Pritzker Realty Group.Reischauer, former director of the Congressional Budget Office and since 2000 the president of the Urban Institute, is chairing the finance committee. His Corporation colleagues include Rothenberg, the University’s treasurer, along with Patricia A. King, O’Donnell, and Robert E. Rubin. The committee also includes Nicole Arnaboldi, vice chairman of the asset management division of Credit Suisse; Paul Finnegan, co-CEO of Madison Dearborn Partners and chair of the Overseers’ committee on finance, administration, and management; Ann Fudge, former chair and CEO of Young & Rubicam Brands and a past Harvard Overseer; and Scott Nathan, a managing director at the Baupost Group.The new joint committee on alumni affairs and development is co-chaired by O’Donnell, long a leader in Harvard alumni circles, and Diana Nelson, a member of the Board of Overseers and past co-chair of the Harvard College Fund. In addition to 15 members from the two governing boards, the committee includes three others: William Lewis, co-chairman of investment banking at Lazard Ltd.; William Shutzer, senior managing director of Evercore Partners; and Gwill York, co-founder of Lighthouse Capital Partners.The Harvard Corporation, formally known as the President and Fellows of Harvard College, is the oldest continuously operating corporation in the Western Hemisphere, established in 1650 by the Massachusetts Bay Colony at the request of Harvard President Henry Dunster. Composed of Harvard’s president, treasurer, and now eight fellows, it is the smaller of Harvard’s two governing boards. The second, the Board of Overseers, includes 30 members elected to six-year terms by Harvard degree holders, with the University’s president and treasurer serving ex officio.last_img read more

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Finding a link to the human in algorithms setting justice

first_imgThis is one in a series of profiles showcasing some of Harvard’s stellar graduates.Most of us are at least casually familiar with the idea of due process. But technological due process? Ask Priscilla Guo ’18.The graduating senior and special concentrator in technology, policy, and society just wrapped up her thesis on machine learning algorithms in the criminal justice system. She learned that in 49 of the 50 states, predictive algorithms are used in bail, pretrial and sentencing hearings. In addition to focusing on the crime itself, these algorithms use characteristics like background, hometown, and family environment as predictive factors in rulings.“The judge receives it directly, and there’s no opportunity for the defendant to say, ‘Hey, this is not a score that reflects who I am,’” says Guo. “Even worse, there’s no consistency. Each state has either developed their own algorithm, or they’ve contracted out to a corporation, which means the defendant can’t see what’s in it because it’s the company’s proprietary software.”Enter technological due process. Guo suggests that all defendants should receive notice that these algorithms are being used, should be informed of their own score, and should be able to challenge the data on either side of the equation.“The government should also be testing these algorithms, to see if they’re discriminating against people or if there’s bias in the system,” she says. “And they’re not. Validity testing is done in less than 25 percent of cases. They do one test and say, ‘Oh, this algorithm works,’ which is not how algorithms work, especially in machine learning.”This use of technology to evaluate state and social systems has been a theme for Guo during her time at Harvard, taking her from the College, to the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at the Law School and the Institute of Politics (IOP) at the Kennedy School.At the IOP, Guo became involved with STEAM, an initiative that encourages students with concentrations in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics to understand how their areas of study might affect the world by bringing their particular perspectives and skills to political and societal challenges.“We need to innovate and reignite how we look at research, papers, tools, government, and think tanks through technology,” she says. “Tech has a place in politics, too, such as understanding political advertisements from candidates really speaking to people on an individual level.”She will carry all of these interests forward as a master’s student at Oxford’s Internet Institute next year after a summer internship with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. While at NASA, she will be working on software licensing, intellectual property, and open-source issues relating to her new lab’s strategic software projects. In the past, the lab collaborated on the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA’s) Memex initiative, a program that focuses on developing next generation online search software. Tools developed through the initiative are able to index incoming data from a variety of sources, from space probes to finding human trafficking cases on the deep web.“It’s so exciting to see how connected these things are,” says Guo. “It was the same search extraction tool. They just reapplied the method that they used to search for things in space to search for human trafficking denoters on Google.”While her interest in technology might be more recent (she jokes about being anti-technology in high school), her interest in the welfare of different groups in society is not. Groups such as her own: women.As a high school student, she was a National Teen Advisor for Girl Up, the United Nations Foundation’s effort to empower and support young women around the world, and Girls Write Now, a nonprofit that connects young women with mentors and encourages them to develop their writing skills.“Having female writers, writers who worked for The Wall Street Journal, or speechwriters for the Rockefeller Foundation telling me that I have a story to tell, that I have a voice, was incredibly important,” says Guo. “Feeling the encouragement from these women I admired to pursue greater achievement, working together to pull women up — that mentorship model really stuck.”It left a mark on her work in the tech world. She became involved with MIT’s Women in Technology program, attended her first Grace Hopper Celebration, and eventually became president of Harvard’s Women in Computer Science organization. Having had such positive interactions with her mentors, taking on mentees of her own was a no-brainer.“If you keep bringing more women in, it becomes a positive feedback loop,” says Guo. “One thing that we all have the capability of doing is lift each other up higher.”As excited as she is for the future, leaving campus this spring is bittersweet. Before she goes, Guo plans to check out all the hidden campus spaces and artifacts she hasn’t yet seen.“There’s a secret room in the Harvard Art Museums,” she says, referring to the Naumburg Room, which was donated to the Fogg Museum in the 1930s. “They don’t open it up very often, but they have a tea every year and a rotating set of Houses they invite to attend. It has all these secret doors and crevices. The curator knows exactly which buttons to push, like a magical novel, you push one shelf and another pops out!“Just recently, I had such a Narnia-esque moment. I randomly walked into this library and there was a suit of armor. I was, like, ‘This is so Harvard! Why have I not seen this all four years?’ ”last_img read more

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Holiday Feast or Beast?

first_img* If you’re in charge of the party, have bags and wraps out so you can wrapleftovers and send them home with guests. “It’s better to go back to your regular eating pattern. Then if you want to cut back ormake better eating habits, make changes one at a time,” Crawley said. “This could be the beginning of your New Year’s resolution,” she said. “In the longrun, you’ll be less stressed, more energized and more noble. You don’t want to go intothe new year feeling miserable.” * Get active. A walk or swim will leave you feeling invigorated and less stressed. “If you have them around, you’ll be tempted to eat them just to get rid of them,” shesaid. “So send them away with guests. Or freeze them and bring them out later inportions or for another party.” “Remember to eat bland, calming foods and don’t do it again!” Crawley said. “Makethat one of your resolutions.” But overindulgence, whether on food or drink, can turn your holiday merriment tomisery. “You will eat high-fat, high-sugar foods because you’re attracted to that kind of foodwhen you are hungry,” Crawley said. “Eat some fruit or drink a glass of milk beforeyou go. It will help curb your hunger.” Family dinners and office parties make it hard to maintain your regular eating habits.Crawley offers these tips: “The holidays are just two days, not a whole month,” said Connie Crawley, a food,health and nutrition specialist with the University of Georgia Extension Service. “Justplan one or two splurge days, and don’t overeat over the whole month.” The holidays. The perfect time to shop ’til you drop and eat ’til to pop. * Avoid too much alcohol. “Survey the table and choose foods that are really special and that you will enjoyeating,” Crawley said. “Don’t just eat everything in sight.” * Don’t go to a party hungry. * Don’t go from feast to famine or you will get so ravenous you’ll just overeat again.center_img Getting active will help clear your head, too. “Some people try to cut way back on their food after they overeat,” Crawley said.”That just sets you up for failure.” * If drink, not food, was your overindulgence, rehydration is the key. “If you stand and eat, you never really feel full,” she said. “Fix your plate, then moveaway from the table and find a place to sit and eat. Also, eat with utensils, rather thanjust finger food. You will feel more satisfied.” Look for low-calorie sodas or seltzer instead. “Get a lot of noncaloric fluids the next day,” Crawley said. “It’s the dehydration thatmakes you get a headache. Get plenty of fluids into your system.” “Drinking water is preferable,” she said. “Avoid caffeine-containing drinks. They willjust make your dehydration worse.” * Don’t stand and eat. * If it’s buffet, be a gourmet, not a glutton. Drinking beer will leave you feeling bloated, but don’t be fooled. You still need eightglasses of fluid. “I caution people about downing more than one or two drinks,” Crawley said. “Itlowers your judgement and you don’t realize how much you’re eating. Plus, you getthe munchies, and the calories in alcohol drinks add up quickly.” * Even the best-laid holiday diet plans can get sidetracked. Don’t despair. This holiday season, eat, drink and be merry — in moderation.last_img read more

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Sunburned Plants.

first_img Sunburned peppers like these can best be prevented by growing a healthy plant with lots of foliage to start with. Those first hot days in the summer outdoors — ah, remember the sunburn? Your garden plants may know the feeling.”Long, sunny days and hot temperatures can lead to sunburn on some vegetable plants,” says Wayne McLaurin, an Extension Service horticulturist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.One symptom of sunburn on fruit, he said, is large, white spots, particularly on the southern side of the plant. Most of the Solanaceae family — tomatoes, peppers and eggplants — are especially susceptible.Prevention is the KeyWhen plants are sunburned, you can’t rub a lotion on them and make them all better. The only way to help is to prevent it long before it could happen. And the only sure way to prevent sunburn on plants, McLaurin said, is to grow a strong plant with good leaf coverage.This means growing or getting a good transplant, then planting it right, giving it the proper nutrition to help make sure the foliage provides ample cover for the fruits.Leaves Vital for GrowthLeaves have an even more important function, he said. The plant’s food for growth is manufactured in the leaf area.There’s a critical point, McLaurin said, at which the plant goes into a reproductive mode instead of a vegetative mode of growth. But if it hasn’t made enough vegetative growth, it won’t bear fruit as it should.”In other words,” he said, “you must grow a plant before you can expect fruit from it.” Sunburned tomatoes aren’t a pretty sight. Buy Bloomless TransplantsWhen you buy transplants, he said, don’t buy any plant that has fruit or blooms. If you do, remove them before you plant.Make sure your plants get enough water and fertilizer, too. That keeps them healthy and reduces stress.”With a little care,” McLaurin said, “you can prevent sunburn on your favorite plants and ensure proper growth and fruiting as well.”center_img Photo: Wayne McLaurin Photo: Wayne McLaurinlast_img read more

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