The Substance of Fire Starts Performances

first_imgThe Substance of Fire begins performances off-Broadway on April 10. Directed by Trip Cullman and starring Halley Feiffer, the show is scheduled to open on April 27 at Second Stage Theatre. This marks the first New York staging of the Jon Robin Baitz play since its premiere 23 years ago. The Substance of Fire follows the story of a family united by a proud past but facing an uncertain future. Isaac Geldhart, the volatile and brilliant patriarch of his family publishing house, is stubbornly holding on to his place at the head of the company while his three children try to convince him to publish a desperately needed best-seller. Confronted with a changing literary landscape and potential takeover of the company, the Geldhart children must either come to terms with their father and band together or break apart and forfeit the legacy he risked everything to build. View Comments The Substance of Fire Show Closed This production ended its run on May 25, 2014 Additional cast members include Daniel Eric Gold, Carter Hudson, John Noble and Charlayne Woodard. Related Showslast_img read more

Elevate Your Game

first_imgWe’re all guilty of sneaking in a little YouTube session during a lunch break to check out the latest adventure porn. But what you don’t see in those sick skiing videos of Ingrid Backstrom or the unbelievable biking stunts from Danny MacAskill are the countless times they crashed and burned.The road to success for four of our top regional athletes was also chock full of bumps and detours. Here are their hard lessons learned and their advice for taking your training to the next level.FREESTYLE KAYAKINGSTEPHEN WRIGHTVienna, VirginiaImagine showing up to the Oregon Cup, one of the premier freestyle kayaking events in the country, with little more than a Prijon kayak, some gear, one friend, and a silly amount of stoke to simply be kayaking. That’s precisely how Virginia’s Stephen Wright made his entry into the competitive freestyle kayaking scene.The year was 2004, and no one had ever heard of Wright. But that all changed after one of his impressive rides bumped Wright into the top three, second only to Eric Jackson himself.“I learned a lot at that event,” Wright remembers. “Even though I was competing against the top athletes in the sport, I was just blown away by how nice and supportive they were.”Wright left a lasting impression on Eric Jackson, who had just launched his Jackson Kayaks. Later that summer, Wright would join the Jackson Team and train with EJ himself at his home in Rock Island, Tenn.“That was really the beginning for me,” Wright says. “He let me work at the Jackson factory to make a little bit of money, but mostly I just kayaked every day.”Wright grew up on the banks of the Potomac in the Great Falls area. He always loved the outdoors, but as a kid, his interests were more in backpacking, caving, and rock climbing. It wasn’t until he was 19 years old that Wright decided to take the leap and try his hand at kayaking.“A friend of mine knew how to kayak and worked at an outdoor shop,” Wright remembers. “He told me they were going to have a sale and that there was a boat at the shop for $300. He told me if I bought the boat and all the gear, he’d teach me how to kayak.”Wright purchased the boat and all of the gear without ever having sat in a kayak before. His first day on the water, though, Wright knew he’d made a smart decision.“It was the most fun thing I’d ever done in my life,” Wright says. “I learned how to roll in half an hour and since that day, I’ve only swam maybe five times in the last 17 years [of kayaking]. I took like a duck to water.”Wright has since gone on to be a four-time U.S. National Freestyle Champion, a two-time World bronze medalist, and a two-time Teva Mountain Games Freestyle Champion. Wright’s also quite the squirt boater, regularly staking podium finishes at the annual Mystery Championships. He’s paddled around the world, from Canada’s Ottawa River to the Nile in Uganda. It’s obvious—Wright’s happy place is on the water.So how did he take his hobby and make it not only his career but also his way of life? Lucky for you, Wright has a few tips for prospective paddlers.HAVE FRIENDS WHO ARE BETTER THAN YOU.Now this may seem like a bite to your self-esteem levels, but according to Wright, paddling with people who are astronomically better than you will only help you learn more quickly, especially if you’re taking the self-taught approach.EMBRACE THE UNKNOWN.If you want to throw loops in the hole, stop flat spinning. Spend your time practicing the tricks that you’re not good at instead of continuing to do what you already know how to do. This seems like a pretty basic concept, but you’d be surprised how many kayakers cartwheel until they’re too dizzy to roll instead of flailing at their Phonics Monkeys. Failing is good—it means you’re trying hard.GO BACK TO THE BASICS.Each time you get on the water, spend a little time practicing fundamental kayaking and freestyle skills like front strokes, backstrokes, sweeps, and braces. If you do this every time you paddle, you’ll target good habits and develop new skills much faster.GET COMPETITIVE.And not just in competitions. Play competitive games with your friends when you’re paddling. The game HORSE can be applied to most every sport; freestyle kayaking is no exception. You can also set challenges for the group—who can do the most tricks in 30 seconds or who can get the most air.HAVE FUN.While kayaking is Wright’s career, he’s made an effort to separate his self-imposed expectations from his genuine love for paddling. “One pitfall of aspiring competitive kayakers is thinking that they’re going to make a lot of money kayaking, which just doesn’t happen to anybody, even the few of us who get paid by sponsors,” Wright says. “We live very inexpensive lives and we do it because we love it.”“Feeling as though your competitive results are a measure of your self-worth as a kayaker is dangerous,” he adds. “The people who last in this sport are people who are able to enjoy learning and accomplishing personal goals rather than worrying about where they place in competition.”Regional RodeosMaryland Chute OutWashington, D.C., Aug. 2015For the past 17 years, the MD Chute Out has attracted some of the most talented up-and-coming playboaters in the region, a number of whom have gone on to compete on the U.S. Freestyle Kayak Team.Tri-Cities Nolichucky Hometown ThrowdownErwin, Tenn., Summer 2015Pending water levels, the Tri-Cities HTTD is held at either the Jaws rapid or at Big Rock and goes throughout the summer. This is where Pyranha paddler Mike Patterson cut his teeth, so don’t be surprised if there’s someone in a Jed showing everyone up—it’s probably Patterson.World Kayak Hometown ThrowdownPigeon River, Tenn.—June 2015Fun and free and open to everyone, this HTTD event is aimed at getting more people on the water trying their hand at playboating and boater cross.ROAD CYCLINGallystacher2_FIXALLY STACHERHorse Shoe, North CarolinaThere are few people in this world who would stick with a sport that, upon the first time trying it, ended their day with a trip to the hospital and a broken ankle. Ally Stacher, though, is one of those few people. A competitive wrestler throughout high school and most of college, Stacher is used to a little struggle, a little pain. Perhaps it’s those fundamental characteristics that have earned her a reputation for being one of the best domestiques in the women’s professional cycling circuit today.“Cycling has taught me to work hard,” Stacher says of her rather short career in professional cycling. “That and how to be a part of a team. When one person wins, we all win.”In the spring of 2009, Stacher joined the U.S. National Team. Though she’d spent the majority of her college career wrestling, she had started cycling regularly on her trainer after breaking her elbow at a match. She eventually made the switch to cycling full-time midway through college and was offered a scholarship to Lees McRae to be part of their up-and-coming cycling team, an opportunity she jumped at. Despite a couple years’ experience of racing, when she joined the National Team, she was still a rookie at best. Stacher didn’t let that stop her, but she will be the first to admit the learning curve was, and continues to be, a steep one.“During my first trip to Europe on the National Team, one of the girls told me, ‘if you quit a race, you get sent home,’” Stacher says. “I was so scared of dropping out or quitting a race that I decided I’d never do that. But, then I got dropped in the first 10K of the race.”Once she got dropped, Stacher says she tried in vain to find the finish line and spent the entire day and evening riding the labyrinth of streets, desperately riding to make it to the finish before the race was over. Finally, well after the race was over, two-time world champion and the winner of the day’s race Kristen Armstrong drove around and found Stacher aimlessly wandering on her bike.Though no doubt a humiliating first experience, Stacher didn’t retreat from the challenge. She trained harder, rode faster, and interpreted everything as a learning opportunity, even when she made a wrong turn once during a criterium race and clotheslined herself off the bike. Her grit and dedication didn’t go unnoticed, though. In 2010, she joined the Webbcor Professional Cycling Team, her first official contract, and just a year later, Stacher signed with the elite HTC-Highroad team.“You either sink or swim in competitive cycling,” Stacher says, “so I put on some floaties and learned how to swim in deep water.”Though HTC-Highroad eventually dissolved as the largest men and women’s cycling team in the world, Stacher stayed with the same crew of 10 women. Together, these ladies now form Team Specialized-Lululemon, the fastest women’s team in the industry today. In the team’s first year on the road in 2012 they won over 60 races and finished the season as World Team Time Trial Champions.Stacher’s well on her way to becoming a reputable domestique like the famous George Hincappie, Lance Armstrong’s right-hand-man and the only rider to assist Armstrong in his seven now-null Tour de France victories. Stacher has helped her team take the gold at La Flèche Wallonne, a prestige classic in Belgium, as well as other races around the world like the China World Cup and La Route de France Internationale Féminine.Stacher’s competed in over 14 different countries, from Slovakia to Canada, and has even held her own as a competitive mountain biker. Just this past year, Stacher joined the Queen of Pain herself, six-time World Champion and four-time Leadville 100 Champion Rebecca Rusch, to win two of the seven stages in the 2014 Brasil Ride.“You learn to suffer even more when you get that fire in your belly,” Stacher says. Here are five ways to stoke the fire.DO GROUP RIDES.Whether it’s mountain biking or road riding, learning to ride around people is going to introduce you to people who can help get you where you need to be. From learning how to train efficiently or how to fuel properly or even what to wear, riding your bike around other people is, according to Stacher, “super valuable.”EAT ALLY’S BARS.Stacher’s a little biased on this one – not only is she a professional cyclist but she also happens to be an entrepreneur. Her company, Ally’s Bars, produces energy bars based from sweet potatoes and other wholesome, natural ingredients. She says fueling right is key for putting in long miles.“If you don’t eat while you race, you might as well consider your race over,” Stacher says.MOTIVATION IS KEY.Athletes require a notable amount of internal motivation and dedication to turn their passions into a lifestyle and a career. It’s not easy, and requires a lot of dedication, but wherever you find motivation, use it, harness it, and you’ll only be successful.DON’T QUIT.Don’t quit a race. Don’t quit a training session. Don’t quit eating well. Just don’t quit. Ever. According to Stacher, “if you drop out for health issues or an injury, that’s one thing, but if you quit because it’s too hard, I don’t feel bad for you. Once you learn how to quit, it’s easy to keep quitting.”GET A COACH.Stacher works with Colin Izzard of Carmichael Training Systems (CTS) in Brevard, N.C. She says it’s important for athletes to have someone they can bounce ideas off of when it comes to their training load, work load, even daily life stress load.“Every top rider has a coach and their coach is their everything,” Stacher says. “If you want to excel in a sport, find a coach that’s going to train you to meet your goals.”STACHER’S FAVORITE CYCLING EVENTSParx Casino Philly Cycling ClassicPhiladelphia, Penn., June 2015A one-day, USA Cycling professional race, this might not necessarily be for everyone but it’s sure to draw the world’s most elite riders to the eastern corner of Pennsylvania.Volkswagen USA Cycling Professional Road and Time Trial National ChampionshipsChattanooga, Tenn., May 23-25, 2015For the third straight year, the National Championships return to the Scenic City to test the top athletes in the country. The course winds through downtown and over Lookout Mountain, an icon of the city.North Carolina Grand PrixHendersonville, NC, December 2015As the first Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) sanctioned cyclocross race ever held south of the nation’s capitol, the Grand Prix is just one example of North Carolina’s rapidly growing cyclocross community.[nextpage title=”Page 2″]CLIMBINGEric_Horst_MapleCanyon_FIX_earlyERIC HÖRSTLancaster, PennsylvaniaThe Hörst family name is legendary among rock climbers in the Mid-Atlantic. If aspiring 5.12 climbers aren’t sleeping with Eric Hörst’s training bible, “How to Climb 5.12,” they’re staring up in awe at his two sons, Cameron and Jonathan, both of whom have already made a name for themselves in the climbing world. Just last year, Jonathan became the youngest climber in the world to redpoint (free-climb a route sans falls, after any amount of rehearsal) a 5.14a. He was just 10 years old at the time.“Seeing Cam and Jon do what they do has been a little bit of a reawakening for me,” Hörst said in an interview with EPIC-TV last year. “I feel like I’m chasing them now.”But Hörst, now almost 50 years old, has certainly not shown any signs of slowing down. He still regularly climbs 5.13 routes, and has been climbing at that level for over two decades. Where the climbing community today now has access to Hörst’s seven books on training and climbing in the Mid-Atlantic, Hörst grew up during a time when climbing beta came by word-of-mouth or hardly existed at all.“Back in those days it was trad climbing,” Hörst says. “There were no sport routes yet, so leading 5.11 trad on marginal gear at Seneca, the Gunks, and in Colorado was pretty rad for a 16 year old.”By the time Hörst was in his early 20s, he was regularly putting up first ascents of 5.12 and 5.13 sport routes (some of which were the first sport routes ever) throughout the Mid-Atlantic. During his time at Pennsylvania State University, Hörst became obsessed with not just climbing but also the exploration of climbing. He started visiting Bellefonte Quarry near campus and putting up new routes like Power Windows, a 5.12d sport route, and SDI Crack, a 5.12c trad climb.Hörst is regionally known for being one of the early pioneers of climbing in the New River Gorge. With his friend and equally renown climbing partner Rick Thompson, Hörst helped to establish the Bubba City crags which now rank among the most popular in the gorge. In total, Hörst established close to 200 routes at the New, among those Diamond Life (5.13a),  West Virginia’s first 5.13 climb, and Just Send It (5.13b) at Endless Wall.“I think most athletes want to train and progress in their sport—as a youngster that was my MO as a baseball player, gymnast, and cross country runner,” Hörst says, “so as I got into climbing during my high school years, it was natural for me to train and push myself to climb as hard as I could.”As Hörst got older, he wanted to harness that passion for improvement and share his knowledge with other climbers. His books include Training for Climbing: The Definitive Guide to Improving Your Performance and Maximum Climbing: Mental Training for Peak Performance and Optimal Experience. From footwork technique to fingerboard exercises and mental approach, Hörst has formulaically broken down the sport of climbing in hopes that his nearly four decades of climbing experience can help others step up their game.Though oftentimes a season that sees more couch time than crag time, winter can be a great excuse to get back to the gym and focus on strength and technique. Hörst gets physical with his tips for peak performance—practice these six tips three days a week and Hörst says, “I guarantee you will be climbing harder in the spring.”DOWNCLIMB.Try to downclimb as much of the route as possible rather than simply lowering off. Why? Initially, you’ll find downclimbing to be difficult, awkward, and very pumpy. As your hold recognition improves, you’ll find downclimbing a route often feels easier than ascending it in the first place. This is because your eccentric (lowering) strength is greater than your concentric (pulling) strength, and due to the fact that by leading with the feet (while downclimbing), you learn to maximally weight them and conserve energy.MAKE IT RANDOM.Set out to climb a series of widely varying route types in rapid succession. A commercial gym with many different angles, a few cracks, and a roof or two is ideal. Team with a partner and toprope ten to fifteen routes of different character over the course of an hour. The first route might be a vertical face, the next a slab, the third a fingercrack, the fourth an overhanging pumpfest, the fifth a handcrack, the sixth a roof route, etc. This rapid recall of a wide range of techniques is skill training at its best.GO FAST.Climbing quickly is primarily a function of skill, not strength or power. It’s best to engage in speed training on a moderate route or some climb that you’ve got wired. Send the route several times with each ascent slightly faster than the previous. As an estimate, strive to climb about 10 percent faster on each successive ascent, but back off at the first sign your technique is suffering.WEIGHT YOUR PULL-UPS.Hypergravity training is a powerful strategy for boosting pull-muscle strength. Wear a weight belt (or hang weights from the belay loop of your harness, enough to limit you to just 5 to 8 reps) while doing two to four sets of pull-ups.LEVER-UP.Climb up (or jump or get boosted) to a large jug hold on the roof of a bouldering cave. Beginning from a straight-armed hang, pull up half way (elbows at 90 degrees) then forcefully drop your head and shoulders back and lift your feet upward to latch one foot onto a roof hold as far as possible. Match feet on the hold and then relax your core as much as you can without losing the foothold. Now release your feet and return to the straight-armed starting position. Do 6 to 10 repetitions.BEEF YOUR CRIMP STRENGTH.Using a fingerboard edge, do three 7- to 10-second hangs each followed by just 50 to 53 seconds of rest (each hang-rest rep is exactly one minute). Do three sets of three hangs with a three-minute rest between each set.Test your strength at these top climbing events in the Southeast:Triple Crown Bouldering SeriesHorse Pens 40, Ala., Stone Fort, Tenn., Hound Ears, N.C., and Rumbling Bald, N.C., Oct. thru Dec. 2015With the added Rumbling Bald location, this bouldering competition series really hits the best spots in the Southeast. Climb hard, meet cool cats, and support the Carolina Climbers’ Coalition!Dyno CompetitionNew River Gorge, W.Va., Sept. 2015As part of the Craggin’ Classic, this dyno comp is held at night on the American Alpine Club’s (AAC) new campground outside of Fayetteville. Fuel up beforehand with some community-made grub and meet New River Gorge climbing legends Gene and Maura Kistler and Kenny Parker.The Chatt Town Throw Down – Redpoint Bouldering CompetitionChattanooga, Tenn., Aug. and Sept. 2015Rock/Creek and Element Climbing partner to host this redpoint bouldering competition, a two-part series held at the end of summer.TRAIL RUNNINGAaron Saft_FIXAARON SAFTAsheville, North CarolinaLongtime runner and owner of the Asheville-based running store Foot Rx, Aaron Saft originally began his foot-hoofing career as a 14-year-old kid playing soccer in Middletown, N.Y.“I realized in soccer I was actually a better runner than I was a soccer player,” Saft says, laughing.The kid had a knack for running—there was no question about that. Saft topped out his high school running career with a 2nd in the two-mile as part of the All-American Indoors track and field division. Saft continued to run throughout college for North Carolina State University, joining the Wolfpack team for six track and field Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) titles and five cross country ACC titles. He’s known regionally for setting a course record at the DuPont Forest Trail Marathon in 2007, the site for the men’s U.S. Track & Field national trail championship. He’s also represented the United States at the North American Central American Caribbean (NACAC) mountain running championships in Mexico, the world long-distance mountain running championships in England, and in various races all over the country from Oregon to New Hampshire.“Running has taught me that there’s always more potential out there,” Saft says. “There’s potential for growth, potential for improvement, and what’s awesome is that you can pursue a career out of your passion and make a life out of something you enjoy.”Saft has certainly carved out a lifestyle for himself that centers around all things running. Around 2006, Saft opened up his running shop Foot Rx in Asheville to serve the growing population of runners in town. From “$5 5Ks” to longer races like the Daniel Boone Be Prepared 15K and the DuPont 25K, Saft organizes a wide variety of races every year with the goal of raising money for local charities and giving back both to the region and to the sport that has so positively shaped his life. He also runs a youth running program in an effort to get kids introduced to running earlier in life.“I spent seven years of my life as a coach working with youth specifically,” Saft says. “I love engaging with young people and working with them and seeing them try to reach their potentials.”For up-and-coming runners, reaching that potential isn’t necessarily an easy task. Often, despite feeling at the peak of their physical fitness, runners can actually reverse their progress if they’re not careful. Saft offers the following five tips for runners who are looking not only to up their game but to also sustain a healthy running career.BE FLEXIBLE.Have a well-rounded program and incorporate not only running but also strength and flexibility in order to truly progress in your running. Make it part of your weekly training program and stick to it.TAKE A BREAK.Every runner needs rest. Let the body recuperate. The rule of thumb? Whatever distance your race is, give yourself a day per mile. So, for example, if you do a marathon, take approximately three weeks of rest. That doesn’t mean you can’t run but don’t do things that require exertive effort, unless you’re trying to put your body out of commission, which is exactly what Saft did after winning the national trail championship at DuPont State Forest.“I ran at the infamous Shut-In Ridge Run three weeks after that marathon,” Saft says. “I actually felt great for Shut-In, had a great race, had the third fastest time in Shut-In history, but after that my body was just shot. I couldn’t recover because I had two major efforts within two weeks and it was simply too much. Let that body recover.”FUEL PROPERLY.Make sure you’re getting good calories back in your body. Everything in moderation, especially junk food. Try to avoid artificial or processed foods. The night before a race, try not to overdo the carbs—it can make you feel bloated. Even more important? Don’t try anything new the day before or the day of your race—Saft says he learned this one the hard way.“Two weeks before I ran the Mount Washington road race, I had throat surgery and my diet was restricted to liquids, which, obviously, I’m not used to,” Saft remembers. “Race day came and I needed to get calories into my system, so I had a smoothie that morning, which I never do. The first four miles of the race my stomach was absolutely killing me but I finally let out a burp that allowed me to feel good enough to keep running.”RESPECT THE THRESHOLD.Once you start to gain fitness, there’s a delicate balance between just enough and too much. Keep a log of how you’re feeling, how much you’re running, and how you’re recovering from major efforts to help mitigate crossing into the red zone.GO MOUNTAIN BIKING.For Saft, who lives just three miles from Pisgah National Forest, mountain biking provides the perfect way to cross train. “As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that cross training gives your body a break from the repetitive motions of running.”SAFT’S FAV RACESTsali Frosty FootRobbinsville, N.C., Jan. 17, 2015Part of the Yeti or Not Winter Trail Series, this no-frills race takes place the Tsali Recreation Area trail system with 30K and 50K options.Springmaid Splash 5K/10KSpruce Pine, N.C., Aug. 22, 2015Located on the scenic grounds of the Springmaid Mountain Resort, this course is challenging, wet (you cross the river four times), and a heck of a lot of fun and a great way to end the summer.Eastern Divide 50KPembroke, Va., June 20, 2015Beginning at the Cascades and ending at Mountain Lake, this 50K is burly. •last_img read more

What’s in a name: Vice President Of Digital Transformation

first_img continue reading » Jennifer Platt has seen her own role evolve as she’s helped lead the evolution of leading-edge products and services at Suncoast Credit Union ($9.9B, Tampa, FL) in the past several years.Platt joined Suncoast in September 2011 as a consumer loan development manager specializing in indirect lending. She became vice president of member experience in October 2016 and then vice president of digital transformation in October 2017.In her new role, Platt has spent the past 18 months helping to integrate strategy and execution between the business and technical sides of the big Florida credit union.Below, she describes what the vice president for digital transformation does at a credit union with a long record of innovation and collaboration. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

How COVID-19 is strengthening contactless payment adoption among members

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading » Before the COVID-19 pandemic crisis introduced consumers to a “new normal,” contactless was already gaining ground as a preferred method of payment.A February 2020 report from Juniper Research forecasted global contactless transaction values would triple from $2 trillion in 2020 to $6 trillion by 2024. In the United States alone, transaction values would grow from $178 billion in 2020 to $1.5 trillion in 2024[i]Contactless Trend Accelerates During COVID-19 CrisisAs the coronavirus pandemic has swept the world, consumers have grown increasingly concerned with traditional methods of in-person payment, including cash and dipping or swiping their card at the point of sale. Cardholders are looking toward contactless and digital wallets as safer alternatives. A March 3, 2020 survey of consumers, 38% indicated that having a contactless feature on their credit card was a “table stakes” need, up by more than 26% compared to a prior period[i].last_img read more

Pope Names New Bishop of Rockville Centre Diocese

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York By Timothy Bolger, Rashed Mian & Christopher TwarowskiPope Francis named Bishop John O. Barres of Allentown, Pa., to replace retiring Bishop William Murphy as leader of the Rockville Centre diocese, which includes 1.4 million Catholics on Long Island.Bishop John O. BarresArchbishop Christophe Pierre, the pope’s U.S. ambassador, announced the decision Friday morning in Washington, D.C. Barres, 56, will become the fifth Bishop of Rockville Centre following a Mass of Installation at the Cathedral of Saint Agnes on Jan. 31.“I must thank the priests and the entire people of God of the Diocese of Allentown, where I have had the great blessing of serving as bishop for the last 7 ½ years,” Barres said in a statement. “You will all always be in my heart, my memories, my prayers and my masses as I remember our days of ‘holiness and mission’ together.”Murphy, 76, is retiring 15 years after being tapped to lead the Diocese of Rockville Centre, which ranks as the sixth-largest Catholic diocese in the nation. Under its umbrella are 133 parishes plus 1 campus parish, 57 Catholic schools, a Catholic college, and Catholic Health Services (CHS) of Long Island, which has six hospitals, three health care centers, four nursing homes, a home care and hospice network and a community-based agency for persons with special needs.The outgoing diocesan leader has been no stranger to controversy, long criticized by child abuse watchdogs for allegedly protecting priests and clergy members accused of sexually abusing children and covering up their alleged crimes. Before his appointment by Pope John Paul II to succeed the late Bishop James T. McHugh to head the Diocese of Rockville Centre in 2001, Murphy served as Auxiliary Bishop of Boston—the epicenter of a sexual abuse scandal within the Catholic Church’s ranks ultimately exposed as a national and global crisis due to a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation by the Boston Globe (basis for the 2015 Academy Award-winning film Spotlight).Barres, a native of Larchmont in Westchester County and graduate of Princeton, had formerly served as a priest in Wilmington, Del. and was installed as the fourth bishop of Allentown in 2009. Accompanied by Murphy at a press conference within Monsignor Kelly Parish Center adjacent to St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre on Friday, he recalled fond memories of visiting Jones Beach with his family during his childhood and watching “The Doctor” Julius Erving dominate the court at Nassau Coliseum as a member of a CYO basketball team. Barres also stressed the importance of parishes in supporting the global mission of Pope Francis—adding that he’d even chosen Francis as his confirmation name in honor of St. Francis of Assisi. “I have a passion for parish life and will always have the heart of a parish priest,” he said. “I am looking forward to experiencing the vibrant, welcoming, New Evangelization parishes of the diocese and reaching out together as Eucharistic Bridges of the Divine Mercy to the wonderful inactive Catholics in our midst.“Pope Francis says that ‘Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s Mercy—Mercy is the beating heart of the Gospel and Mercy is the Mission of the Church,’” he continued. “Our parishes are the living bridges and ‘oases’ of that Mercy, Communion and Mission to the world. In our parishes, our families are enriched by the inspired Word of God, the cosmic power of the Mass and the Eucharistic community of faith.”“Vibrant parish life in turn inspires and equips our families to bring their Catholic faith into the neighborhood, the workplace, the public square and every inch of our global society,” added Barres.The new bishop-designate emphasized the power families wield in transforming the world and breaking “the chains of global indifference, consumerism, superficial living,” additionally explaining Catholics’ role in helping improve lives and resolve hardships in countless predicaments across the globe:“We live the parable of the Good Samaritan first within our own marriages and families and then to the poor family, the family living in the crucible of war, violence and persecution, the hurting family, the grieving family, the family reeling from tragedy and trauma, the family that has experienced the agony of sexual abuse and all forms of abuse including abuse by clergy, the broken family, the immigrant and refugee family separated by long distances, the family tending to members that deal with serious sickness and health issues, the family of the war veteran suffering with PTSD and the family taking care of an elderly relative with Alzheimer’s/Dementia.” “It is my deep conviction that [Barres] will be a Bishop for all of us without exception,” said Murphy. “He has shared with me his love of youth and his care for the elderly. He has a keen sense of parish life and has a special expertise in education.”Murphy also touted Barres’ support of the nonprofit Catholic Charities mission to help the needy, parish outreach and interfaith cooperation as the fourth Bishop of Allentown, where he worked to strengthen Catholic schools, enhance evangelization and improve the financial condition of the diocese.Featured Photo: Pope Francis named Bishop John O. Barres (L) of Allentown, Pa., to replace retiring Bishop William Murphy (R) as leader of the Rockville Centre diocese. (Long Island Press / Rashed Mian)last_img read more

15 African nations have had recent polio importations

first_imgApr 16, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – As polio eradication efforts lost ground in 2008, 15 African countries bore the brunt of the spread of the disease with multiple importations of wild poliovirus, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and its global health partners reported today.Though the disease’s spread raises concerns about reaching the global goal of eradication, the CDC also reports some positive developments, such as quicker detection and response patterns that might have limited the size of the outbreaks when compared with a polio resurgence that occurred between 2002 and 2005. The findings appear in today’s issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) and follow on the heels of an Apr 3 CDC report that described last year’s 26% spike in polio cases.The new report describes 32 importations of wild poliovirus (WPV) 1 and 3 into 15 African countries, which led to 96 polio cases from January 2008 to March 2009. The importations have struck three regions of Africa: West Central, the Horn, and South Central. Nigeria was the direct or indirect source of 29 of the importations, which accounted for 68 cases. India was the source for three WPV importations, all of them affecting Angola, which resulted in 28 cases.In its assessment of polio detection trends in Africa, the CDC reports that the median interval between onset of paralysis in the first identified case to laboratory polio confirmation was 31.5 days, compared with a median of 51 days during the 2002-2005 increase in polio cases.Response time also decreased, the report says. The median interval from laboratory confirmation to the first large-scale vaccination effort was 27.5 days, compared with 37 days during the 2002-2005 polio resurgence.Five countries that were previously polio-free experienced WPV importation before 2008 and have seen the virus persist into 2009: Angola, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Niger, and Sudan. Indicators of routine and supplemental immunization activities suggest lower immunization rates in children in these five countries, compared to the other African countries that had polio reimportation—64% versus 75%. Efforts are under way to strengthen acute flaccid paralysis surveillance and supplemental immunization in these countries, the CDC reports.The agency says that four countries—Angola, Chad, Nigeria, and Sudan—have been the source of repeated WPV importation into other countries on the African continent since January 2009. The CDC notes that all four countries have weak health infrastructures, low routine vaccine coverage in certain areas, and gaps in supplemental immunization that are due to poor planning and implementation.Civil war in Angola, Chad, and Sudan in past years may have hurt polio eradication efforts in those countries, the CDC says, adding that Chad and Sudan continue to have civil unrest.Health officials have not determined the mode of WPV transmission from India to Angola, but the CDC said that studies are underway to identify contributing travel patterns, the report says.Supplemental immunization activities in affected and neighboring countries will continue in 2009, and the CDC urges all countries that are polio-free to keep their guard up. “Globalized transportation and international migration pose a risk for WPV reintroduction for all countries,” the agency states.CDC. Wild poliovirus type 1 and type 3 importations—15 countries, Africa, 2008-2009. MMWR 2009 Apr 16;58(14):357-62 [Full text]See also:Apr 2 CIDRAP News story “Polio eradication efforts lost ground in 2008”last_img read more

Turkmenistan defies pandemic to celebrate national horse day

first_imgTurkmenistan flouted social distancing conventions introduced across the world in the face of the coronavirus pandemic with spectators packing a hippodrome for festivities honouring its national horse.Footage broadcast by state television late on Sunday showed strongman President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov presiding over races to mark Turkmen Horse Day — an important date in the Turkmen calendar. Gas-rich Turkmenistan is one of the few countries in the world not to record a single COVID-19 case, although the government’s traditional secrecy and the fact the country borders coronavirus hot spot Iran have cast doubts over the claim.Rather than toning down celebrations honouring the Akhal-Teke horse, which is a central symbol of state propaganda, Turkmenistan appeared to kick off festivities early this year.State television showed Saturday that races were also held in front of large crowds earlier in the week in the former Soviet republic’s second largest city, Turkmenabat.Unlike in previous years, diplomats and journalists were not invited to Sunday’s festivities.Diplomats from Germany, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates did however attend a Thursday presentation marking the translation of Berdymukhamedov’s 2019 tome on horses, “The Horse — a Symbol of Fidelity and Happiness”, into the respective languages of their countries.Turkmenistan restarted its domestic football league with crowds earlier this month after enforcing a brief hiatus as a pandemic precaution in late March. Turkmen Horse Day was thrust into the international spotlight in 2013, when leaked footage emerged showing autocrat Berdymukhamedov had fallen off his horse after winning a race held as part of the festivities. Topics : While Berdymukhamedov, known as Turkmenistan’s Arkadag, or “Protector”, watched proceedings from a sealed box, ordinary spectators filled out the stadium and waved Turkmen flags.last_img read more

Australian PM calls for racism protesters to be charged

first_imgBlack Lives Matter protesters should be punished for ignoring coronavirus lockdown rules Australia’s prime minister said Thursday, sparking anger by also claiming slavery never existed in the country.Tens of thousands of Australians demonstrated this week against systemic racism at home and in the United States, and more protests are planned for the coming days. Critics have called for marches to be banned on health grounds, sparking debate over freedom of speech and the country’s colonial past. During the interview, Morrison praised British explorer Captain James Cook and claimed, “there was no slavery in Australia”.The remark was roundly rejected by historians and activists, who pointed to evidence of indentured Aboriginal workers and thousands of slaves taken from the Pacific islands to work on Australian sugar cane plantations.Aboriginal Australians continue to be vastly over-represented in the prison population, and there have been more than 400 indigenous deaths in custody in the last few decades alone.Morrison did not elaborate on what charges protesters face, but authorities have warned they will at least issue fines for violating restrictions on public gatherings.Australia has seen sustained low levels of community transmission of the virus and only a handful of new cases now appear daily.Restaurants, bars and schools have reopened and many sports have restarted, though strict social distancing rules remain. Topics :center_img Conservative leader Scott Morrison said the protests violated social-distancing rules and hampered lifting a coronavirus shutdown, endangering the economy.Asked during a radio interview if demonstrators should be charged, he said: “I think they should.””I think people wanting to take this further this weekend are showing a great disrespect to their fellow Australians,” he said, as Victoria state reported one demonstrator in Melbourne had tested positive for coronavirus.The Black Lives Matter movement has resonated strongly with many in Australia — a country also wrestling with the legacy of a racist past.last_img read more

Governor Wolf, PennDOT Announce $200 million in Roadway Improvements

first_imgGovernor Wolf, PennDOT Announce $200 million in Roadway Improvements May 05, 2017 SHARE Email Facebook Twittercenter_img Government That Works,  Infrastructure,  Press Release,  Results,  Transportation Hollidaysburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation announced today that over $200 million in highway and bridge improvements that will take place across PennDOT’s six-county District 9 region during the 2017 construction season.“Many improvements will be made across this six-county region and this mirrors what we’re seeing across the state,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “These needed improvements will not only help Pennsylvanians get from A to B, but allow them to do so in the safest most efficient manner possible.”Overall highlights in the 2017 construction season for District 9 (Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Fulton, Huntingdon, and Somerset counties) include:approximately 164 miles of paving;approximately 70 bridges will be repaired or replaced; andapproximately 324 miles of roadway will be seal coated to extend pavement life.District 9 Executive Thomas Prestash said, “This is the 19th consecutive year that PennDOT’s Engineering District 9 has conducted outreach meetings for legislators, municipal officials, planning and economic development agencies and community leaders in each of our six counties. With over $200 million worth of construction projects slated for area roadways this year, we’ve had good news to share.”Notable projects that have been bid include:the Route 403 Moxham Stonycreek bridge replacement project in the City of Johnstown for $7.4 million;the continuation of the Route 22 Frankstown Intersection Safety Improvement Project in Blair County for $7.4 million;the continuation of the Route 219 Meyersdale to Somerset Corridor Project which will consist of approximately 11 miles of new four-lane limited access highway estimated at $265 million;the 17th Street Safety Improvement Project in the City of Altoona for $4.1 million;the Route 36 Corridor Improvement Project in Bedford County for $4.8 million; andthe Route 281 Gilmour to Welsh resurfacing project in Somerset County for $8.2 million.Notable projects that are expected to be bid this year include:the Interstate 99 17th Street to Grazierville Resurfacing Project in Blair County; andthe Route 219 Jack Murtha Highway Rehabilitation Project in Cambria County.The investments complement the department’s Road Maintenance and Preservation, or Road MaP, program, which Governor Wolf recently announced will invest $2.1 billion in maintenance and highway and bridge capital projects over the next 10 years. Of the investments, $1 billion will go to roadway maintenance and $1.1 billion will go to highway and bridge capital projects. Of the capital projects, $500 million will be allocated to an Interstate preservation and reconstruction program, bringing that total program, begun in 2016, to $1 billion over the next 10 years. Another $600 million will go toward rehabilitation and reconstruction needs identified through the department’s district and regional planning efforts.More information on Road MaP is available at www.penndot.gov on the “Act 89 Transportation Plan” page.For more information on projects occurring or being bid this year, those made possible by or accelerated by the state transportation funding plan (Act 89), or those on the department’s Four and Twelve Year Plans, visit www.projects.penndot.gov.Motorists can check conditions on major roadways by visiting www.511PA.com. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 825 traffic cameras.511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional Twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website.Follow local PennDOT information on Twitter at www.twitter.com/511PAAltoona.last_img read more

Mandate roundup: Russell Investments, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, Northern Trust

first_imgThe Loomis Pension Plan has selected Russell Investments to provide fiduciary management duties for its £120m (€150m) of assets.The pension fund was an early adopter of fiduciary management in the UK, and will use Russell to shift the fund towards its longer-term aims.Russell Investments replaces Loomis’s original fiduciary manager.Tim Gibbs, finance director at Loomis UK, the pension fund’s sponsor, said the scheme originally adopted fiduciary management to get clear accountability for outcomes. Chair of the trustee board, Martine Touard-Riolle, added: “The trustees felt Russell demonstrated a clear vision of how they would develop and implement our strategy.”Shamindra Perera, head of pension solutions at Russell, said the appointment was a milestone in the UK fiduciary management industry.“Loomis was an early adopter of fiduciary management,” he added. “[The appointment] represents the harbinger of a new and exciting phase in the growth of fiduciary management in the UK, as many that had adopted three or four years ago begin to assess the merits of their chosen provider.”In other news, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire Pension Funds have appointed Northern Trust as global custodian for under the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) Framework.The framework allows members of the LGPS to appoint custodians without a protracted tender process.Northern Trust has now won the mandates for the two pension funds, which have around £4bn in assets.The appointment is Northern Trust’s second LGPS Framework mandate win as a global custodian.Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire, geographically neighbouring funds, collectively work on sharing and merging fund services for efficiency.So far, this has included administration services and several other mandates.Tolu Osekita, responsible for managing the investments for the funds, said: “It was evident Northern Trust has a strategic focus on the LGPS market, and their proven commitment to this segment is incredibly valuable to us.”last_img read more