Alex DePhillipo & Andrew Gesler“Time is a funny thing,” Andrew Gesler mused during a recent conversation with OCNJDaily.“To be able to grow up with the sport I love and to be another link in a long chain of people who have (advanced the sport) has been pretty amazing. In a way my career has been a parallel to surfing’s growth.”And Gesler has ridden the sport’s surging popularity as adroitly as a Pipeline barrel. “My focus has progressed from competition to the media side of the sport,” he said. I am really lucky to be doing something that I love and making a living at it.”The 32-year-old Gesler is an Ocean City native and Ocean City High grad who grew up on Wesley Road and still considers North Street beach “my home break.”He went from standing up on his boogie board to mastering his first used board around age 10 to becoming a member of the 7th St. Surf Shop’s team as a teenager. He put their sticker on his board, their clothes on his back and in exchange was given entry fees to local surf contests and a 50 percent discount on things he bought there.Around the water his whole life and encouraged by parents Keith and Kathy, a pro surfing career soon became his dream, his passion and his ambition – much to the chagrin of guidance counselors.“I was a good student, taking (advanced placement) physics and calculus. When teachers and counselors asked what my plan was, I said ‘the plan is to surf.’ They said ‘that’s not a plan’ and I said ‘it is to me.’ At that point I was committed.”It wasn’t long after graduation that he began competing and winning contests all over the East Coast. He picked up some early sponsors and was soon traveling around the country. He basically received free clothing, surfboards and a budget to travel to events. His compensation was incentive-based.“I was a professional, but it was a hard life. I was selling some of the boards I received just so that I could eat.”Despite the minimalist existence, he performed well on the waves and when he was 20 years old got a call that changed everything.“It was during a trip to California that one of my sponsors informed me that I was going to Australia to compete and then would be entered in three events in Brazil. “It was pure excitement at that point. I had been struggling up to that point. Here I was on a plane with guys I was in awe of growing up, like Chris Ward, and within a couple days we were friends. It was certainly a quantum leap.”In 2005 Andrew’s career took a different turn when his daughter Rory was born and single fatherhood presented some new challenges. He stepped away from incentives and held out for events that guaranteed a paycheck. But he felt as if his career was in jeopardy.For a period of about a year, I wasn’t feeling good about my surfing or that I was still relevant. But Chris Drummy, a representative of Fox clothing, one of his main sponsors, renewed his contract and gave Gesler a raise.“That reaffirmed my purpose and confidence that I could still compete on a national level,” he said.Around that time, the Internet changed the sport and how the pros were compensated. It previously had to do with the print media. “Before, you could make $10,000 from a sponsor for getting on the cover of Surfer magazine. Things shifted to websites and hits and technology. You could make real money.”Influenced by high school buddy Robbie Beach who had made some early surf videos, Gesler partnered with Alex DePhillipo to form Darkfall Productions. They made surfing videos, films and did video production work for businesses, including the Borgata Hotel and Casino. He picked up Hurley Clothing as a major sponsor along with Heritage Surf Shops.“I had come full circle, surfing on the boards I had used as a kid. The single fin short board I learned to surf on was shaped by Dan Heritage. I still compete. But mostly I do ambassador type work for Hurley and focus on the video side.”Readers may check out his work on the website www.darkfallproductions.tv.Andrew currently resides in Egg Harbor Twp with his wife Jeannine and son Gavin. Rory lives with him in the summer and with her Mom in California during the school year. Life is good and he knows he made the right decision to pursue his favorite sport as his profession.Today surfers can watch the weather on numerous websites, follow other surfers on Instagram and Facebook, watch their latest sessions and competitions on Surfline.“Sometimes I wish I could go back and watch myself when I was younger, but we didn’t have that stuff back then. I’m excited to see where we are going next.”“I owe surfing a lot,” he said. “Surfing has given me most everything I have in my life.”
Ocean City dignitaries enjoy another year of their town winning the title of “Favorite Beach.” By Maddy VitaleHow many times could you say Ocean City has done it again? Apparently as many times as “America’s Greatest Family Resort” wins New Jersey’s “Favorite Beaches” poll.The contest is through the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium. The results of the 2019 survey were announced on the Boardwalk at the Ocean City Music Pier Friday.Ocean City dignitaries, including the mayor, city administration and City Council members and officials from the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce, attended the event.“Ocean City, America’s Greatest Family Resort, is so honored to be named the number one beach in New Jersey,” Mayor Jay Gillian said after the ceremony. “It really shows that we have a quality of life, second to none, that so many guests, second homeowners and year-round residents enjoy.”Ocean City beaches are popular among families.Michele Gillian, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce said, “We are honored to be voted New Jersey’s best beach again this year.”She added that in addition to the pristine beaches, the resort offers a lot more.“From our beaches, to our Boardwalk, to the downtown and our back bays, we offer something for everyone,” Gillian noted.Debuting in 2008 as New Jersey’s “Top Ten Beaches,” the consortium survey was initially designed to encourage friendly competition and camaraderie among popular Jersey Shore communities along the coast, according to a press release.Representatives of the Chamber of Commerce said Ocean City has taken top honors in the poll for 11 years.Following Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the contest was rebranded “Favorite Beaches” to diversify results so that all areas of the state’s oceanfront would be recognized to create a sense of unity and support, officials said.Sunbathers get a jumpstart on their weekend Friday morning in Ocean City.Danica Bellini, communications specialist for the consortium, called the contest a lot of fun.“When I began two years ago, the first job I had was to work on this,” she pointed out. “Our organization is about protecting and sustaining the beaches. This contest is a fun way for everyone to showcase their beaches.”Here is the list of favorite beach winners provided by the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium:2019 Overall Winners:Ocean CityMargate ATLANTIC COUNTY:Top Favorite BeachesMargateBrigantineAtlantic CityLongportVentnorCAPE MAY COUNTY: Top Favorite BeachesOcean CityWildwood CrestSea Isle CityCape MayWildwoodMONMOUTH COUNTY: Top Favorite BeachesAsbury ParkSpring LakeSandy Hook – Gateway National Recreation AreaBelmarOcean GroveOCEAN COUNTY: Top Favorite BeachesSeaside HeightsPoint Pleasant BeachBeach HavenIsland Beach State ParkBarnegat LightFor more information about the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium visit www.njseagrant.org. For information about Ocean City visit www.oceancityvacation.com.The Boardwalk is a popular attraction in Ocean City, in addition to its clean beaches.
We are absolutely delighted to see the final stage of the microbeads ban that Fauna & Flora International recommended two years ago coming into force today. The robust definition of microbeads used in this ban is world-leading and should finally put an end to the sale of rinse-off products containing microbeads in UK shops and online. Microbeads might be tiny, but they are lethal to sea creatures and entirely unnecessary. We have led the way in banning these toxic pieces of plastic, but this is by no means the end in our fight. We will now press ahead with our proposals for a deposit return scheme and ban other damaging plastic such as straws”. A ban on the sale of products containing microbeads has come into force today as part of the Government’s world-leading efforts to prevent these harmful pieces of plastic entering the marine environment.From today, retailers across England and Scotland will no longer be able to sell rinse-off cosmetics and personal care products that contain microbeads – the tiny pieces of plastic often added to products such as face scrubs, soaps, toothpaste and shower gels.Just one shower alone is thought to send 100,000 microbeads down the drain and into the ocean, causing serious harm to marine life. The Government’s ban – praised by campaigners as one of the toughest in the world – will now prevent billions of microbeads ending up in the ocean every year.Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, said: Dr Sue Kinsey, Senior Pollution Policy Officer at the Marine Conservation Society, said: Obviously this is just the beginning in the fight against plastic pollution, but the government’s strong action on this specific issue has put a spotlight on the threat the oceans face. We hope the Government will apply the same ambition to dealing with other plastics that threaten our seas and ocean life, and meet their commitment to achieve cleaner and healthier oceans”. We are delighted that this robust microbead ban has come into force. This is the strongest and most comprehensive ban to be enacted in the world so far and will help to stem the flow of microplastics into our oceans. We believe that this signals a real commitment on the part of this Government to clean up our seas and beaches and we look forward to seeing further actions to combat plastic waste”. Today’s announcement follows January’s ban on the manufacture of products containing microbeads.It sits alongside the Government’s 5p plastic bag charge – which has taken nine billion bags out of circulation – and recent proposals for a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles and a ban on the sale of plastic straws, stirrers and plastic-stemmed cotton buds.It also forms part of the 25 Year Environment Plan commitment to eliminate avoidable plastic waste and sits alongside the Treasury’s call for evidence on how changes to the tax system could be used to reduce single use plastics.With the microbeads ban now in place, the Government is exploring how other microplastic sources enter our marine environment. Last month £200,000 was pledged by the Government for scientists at the University of Plymouth to explore how tiny plastic particles from tyres, synthetic materials like polyester, and fishing gear – such as nets, ropes and lines – enter our waterways and oceans.The Government also launched the Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance earlier this year to help eliminate single use plastic and address marine plastic pollution across the Commonwealth. As part of this member states have pledged to take action on plastics, be this by a ban on microbeads or committing to eliminate avoidable plastic waste.Dilyana Mihaylova, Marine Plastics Projects Manager at Fauna & Flora International, said:
Saxophonist, flautist, singer-songwriter, and bandleader Karl Denson rolled into 2019 with many things to be thankful for. On March 8th, the San Diego-based musical mastermind unveiled the latest LP with his Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe project, Gnomes and Badgers, marking the first KDTU release in five years as well as the first release on his own imprint, Seven Spheres Records.In addition to two-plus decades with KDTU and funk/jazz/soul quintet The Greyboy Allstars, Denson was given a life-changing opportunity to join rock & roll legends The Rolling Stones following the death of longtime saxophonist Bobby Keys in 2014. The Rolling Stones recently postponed their highly-awaited North American tour due to a Mick Jagger health issue, but should be back on the road soon with rescheduled dates, marking the band’s first extended run of shows in the U.S. since 2015’s Zip Code tour, though they played Desert Trip in Indio, California, two Las Vegas arena gigs, and two private shows in 2016.Despite decades of involvement with New Orleans’ music scene and the annual Jazz & Heritage Festival, Denson’s 2019 Jazz Fest itinerary leaves the veteran musician more excited than ever. In addition to Denson’s variey of late-night endeavors, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe is returning to the Jazz Fest fairgrounds for the first time since 2005. With his massive wave of recent success and accomplishments, Live For Live Music‘s Sam Berenson had a chat with Karl Denson to discuss the inspirations behind Gnomes and Badgers, personal time with Keith Richards and Mick Jagger, his love for the game of football, and more.Sam Berenson: The new record, Gnomes and Badgers, sounds fantastic. What sparked your desire to get back into the studio after five years?Karl Denson: Well, I’m kind of always in the studio—in and out of the studio, really. It takes me that long to complete a work. I’m kind of slow. Touring so much, it’s hard to balance it all out sometimes with trying to make records, trying to tour, and all the other stuff. For this record especially, there was a real process of a learning curve that was forcing itself on me. I knew I needed a new record, and I knew I needed a lot of new vocal tunes, so that was a big part of the challenge for this record, writing vocal tunes.SB: With that, I wanted to hear a little bit about the recording process. I know the new release marks your first release on your own imprint, Seven Spheres Records.KD: I did this record, and I really thought it was a good record. We talked to a few record companies, and nobody really was biting. I just told my manager, I was like, “I don’t really wanna wait around and try to get approval from somebody else,” especially the way things are now, where you can do your own thing. Early into the process, I just told him, “Let’s not bother. Let’s go ahead and do this ourselves. I’ve got another record in my head, and we’re gonna just forego all the nonsense, and do it ourselves, and take it right to the people.” From there, the record’s out now.Karl Denson – “Change My Way”[Video: KarlDensonVEVO]SB: Did doing everything on your own ramp up your workload?KD: It’s definitely a bit of a workload, in terms of spending my own money to promote it and do all that stuff. My manager’s working a bit harder than he would normally work, ’cause he’s taking care of all the ins and outs of actually releasing a record, so kudos to him. I think, in this day and age, it’s kind of like we are able to do what we wanna do, in our own space and time, so I’m just taking advantage of that as a citizen of the inter-web.SB: Totally, yeah, it’s awesome that that opportunity is always there. Let’s talk Stevie Wonder for a minute. I know you mentioned him being an inspiration for Gnomes and Badgers.KD: Stevie Wonder, among other people, but Stevie Wonder’s just been a seminal influence on my life; as a black man and a black person. That was my youth, growing up and listening to Stevie Wonder. On this record, once I got the band really locked in and felt like we were all on the same page, I think it just led to being able to look at Stevie Wonder, Rufus & Chaka Khan, and Labelle, and these bands that are the original funk bands, as kind of what we were aspiring to.SB: Anders Osborne has been a long-time friend of yours, a collaborator with Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, and he also joined you for some of the songwriting and recording on the new album. How did you guys get to know each other in the beginning?KD: I met him through mutual friends and the New Orleans connections, but I think Robert Walter is how I actually met him. We didn’t really hang out or anything, but it was more of a cold call that I made. I was looking for a guitar player/singer to do The Rolling Stones tribute with me, years ago, and we called Anders. Anders was available, and so that’s really how I met him. He popped up, and it was awesome. It was just a match made in heaven. To see how talented he was, it was just really fun. We did a Sticky Fingers tribute together, he was amazing, and then we became friends. We’re also both avid football fans.Anders, Ivan Neville, and I are always in close communication throughout the football season. Over the years, we’re always texting each other, during football season especially, just to see what’s up, and what happened with the game or whatever. So, Anders became a friend, and then when it was time to do the new record, I dug up an old version of “Change My Way” from when my band was first working on it, which is really funny, because it’s totally different. The band was a little confused by that song, but then I went down to New Orleans and did a writing session with Anders, he totally got it. He’s been a really great resource for me over the years.SB: Switching gears to The Stones, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are larger than life figures in the music world. I was curious what your relationship’s like with them, on more of a personal level.KD: They’re the bosses and they’re the Rolling Stones, so they’re super nice, man. Mick is all business, so I don’t really bother him. He really has his work face on, all the time, and he does a lot. His day is jam-packed. Keith is way more laid back, so I’ve had a lot more time with him, in terms of just kicking it. The whole band, they’re amazing cats, and it’s really fun to watch them now. They’re enjoying each other, they’re enjoying their catalog, and it’s just a pleasure to watch.SB: That’s interesting how differently they operate. Where’s the most memorable place you’ve played with The Stones since joining the band? I know you’ve visited some really cool international destinations.KD: I would have to say Havana. The Cuba thing was… unfortunately, it was very short. What’s so fun about playing with The Stones is that we play only two days a week, so most places we go, we get to stay for three or four days. When we traveled to Havana, we only spent two nights there, so that was a little bit of a drag, but that was still something that I’ll never forget. I’m gonna definitely go back at some point, but going there for the first time with The Stones and seeing all of those people was something I’ll never forget. I think it was a half of a million people, or a quarter of a million people out there watching the show, and they were really incredible. The best thing about that show, really, was that the crowd’s reaction wasn’t a normal reaction. I think part of their reaction was sheer awe. By having something that big come to them, half of the time, it wasn’t just claps or cheers, it was just jaws dropped.SB: With that, you’re talking about enormous stadium crowds when you’re touring with The Rolling Stones. Deep down as a musician, do you feel any differently on stage with The Rolling Stones, opposed to playing a local San Diego show or a late-night show in New Orleans during Jazz Fest?KD: Well, the biggest deal with The Rolling Stones is those four guys. That’s the weirdest part of it, is just being on stage with those four guys. The show, musically, it’s not as challenging as my shows, because I play the whole time, and I sing, and I’m jumping around. With them, I play a third or a quarter of the time. It’s much easier, in terms of that, but still, it’s The Rolling Stones, so that’s the biggest deal. I feel like I’m part of the audience, in a certain way. I’m there with 70,000 people, and we’re all watching those four guys.SB: Had you ever seen the band before you joined them, live?KD: No.SB: Speaking of Jazz Fest, despite The Rolling Stones unfortunate cancellation, Tiny Universe is returning to New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Fest proper for the first time since 2005. You must feel a little extra excited about Jazz Fest this year.KD: Yeah, I mean, this year in general is pretty epic for me with the release of my new record. We’re wishing Mick a speedy recovery. Everyone was sorry to hear about the shows being postponed, but obviously health comes first in a situation like this. This is just a little bump in the road. That being said, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe is ready to get down to Jazz Fest. This will be our third official fairgrounds performance, which is a major milestone for the band. And, as always, we have a handful of after hours shows planned around the city during both weekends that will be big fun for everyone!SB: I wanted to end on a more personal level. San Diego is where you call home. With the little free time you do have when you’re not on the road, recording, or rehearsing, what do you like to do with your free time?KD: I am a world-class putterer. I just putter around the house.SB: Oh, putter-er. I thought you meant putting, like golf.KD: Nope. I thought you might think that. I’m talking puttering, like my dad. Today, I’m gonna practice a little saxophone. I’ve been practicing guitar again lately, gardening, some Tai chi. I’m gonna walk to the ocean and climb the stairs until I get a nice sweat up. Oh yeah! Cooking, I’m really into cooking, I just kind of hang out at my house, and I’ll get out and walk to get out of the house, but I’m really pretty content here by myself.SB: You mentioned bonding over football with Anders and Ivan. Lets talk a little football since you’ve expressed your love for the game. Who do you root for?KD: I am a lifelong Kansas City Chiefs fan.SB: This year was an exciting year for you guys, continuing on the up-and-up.KD: This year is the beginning of my dynasty, that I’ve been waiting my whole life for.SB: Do you get a chance to go to games?KD: Yes. Actually, just in the last few years, I’ve started doing it with my son. It’s become one of our fun things to do. We hit a couple of games a year, so we’ve gone to Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City a few times now. We were lucky enough to catch the opening game here in L.A. against the Chargers, as well. Also saw that crazy Rams vs. Chiefs game in L.A. Yeah, so it’s a fun thing. I told my son, I go, “You’re very lucky with this Patrick Mahomes thing, ’cause you could very well have 15 years of great football before you go back to the dark ages, which I’ve just come out of.”SB: Yeah, he’s one of those athletes that you don’t see every day. He’s kind of like a LeBron James in terms of his freakish athletic ability.KD: Yeah, he’s a bit of a freak, and I was a little nervous that they actually got rid of Alex Smith this past season. I like to see the rookies sit on the bench as long as they can. I think it’s something that they don’t do enough of now, because they give them so much money, but I think a lot of times they get wrecked by the speed of the game, and they’re not ready for it. I think they did a really good job, and kudos to Alex Smith for taking things so well. I read a few interviews with Mahomes and his family, talking about how much of a professional Alex Smith was, and how much of a mentor he was for Mahomes, so I think Mahomes is ready for the whole thing. Next year is gonna be a big year for me.SB: Well, I look forward to seeing how they do, and I’ll be thinking of you when I watch the Chiefs. Thanks for taking some time to chat, Karl.KD: Anytime, it was my pleasure.Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe’s Gnomes and Badgers is streaming now on all major platforms. For more information and a list of Denson’s upcoming tour dates, head here.If you’re heading to New Orleans during Jazz Fest, don’t miss all the exciting after-hours shows Live For Live Music has planned to keep the party going all night throughout both weekends and the daze between! Check out a full list below. For more details and ticketing information, head here.Jazz Fest After Dark: L4LM Top Picks
Words stick with us, from pithy quips to epic monologues. The power of a great book or poem lies in its eloquence and accessibility. But, like a favorite song—even one memorized by heart—reminiscing never quite matches the real thing. With this in mind, the Gazette asked a few Harvard faculty members to talk about the piece of literature that they have reread the most, and what about it that keeps them coming back.Francis X. Clooney, S.J., Parkman Professor of Divinity; Director, Center for the Study of World ReligionsThe Bible may be the most reread book in the world, opened over and again by individuals and groups, studied quietly and aloud. It is a fundamental book people turn to, even if today we are mindful also of other sacred texts that are reread — and re-heard — over and again: the Torah, the Quran, the Veda and other sacred poetries of India, along with age-old recitations in every indigenous tradition. That I myself have reread the Bible (some parts more than others) over and over during my more than 60 years will not be surprising. I am a Christian, a Catholic, a Jesuit, a priest; I preach on Sunday in a parish. The Gospels matter most; currently John is on my mind. When I reread, I am led by an expectation deep in Christian faith and in Jesuit spirituality, that the Gospels are alive, waiting for us and inviting us in at every point in our lives: “Come and see.”The word and the living word, a two-edged sword, keeps speaking anew as we redo our lives over the decades; as we age, enjoy good health, and gradually lose it; when life goes well and when pressures and defeats pile up; as faith peaks, wavers, wanes, and is unexpectedly born again, like Nicodemus. We keeping turning the pages, as if for the first time. We read with some caution too, mindful of original contexts and redactions, millennia of commentary and preaching, the uses and abuses of this (usually but not always) good news, and all the fresh concerns pressing on us today: power and race, gender and sexual orientation, religious and political exclusions and incitements to violence, the search for ways to live in this world not as masters but as stewards of creation. And how not to be rightly diverted, when we know so many other great sacred texts that need not be shunted aside by the expectation of just one true word?Honest rereading is in any case really hard: to not grow stale, or only pretend to read stories I know beginning to end, stifling the living word with tired words that used to work. Still, I keep rereading John, encountering a descended word who offers light and life, overflows my empty water jars with new wine, startles me back into life as I encounter the woman at the well, the crowd seeking bread that won’t run out, the man born blind, Lazarus dead and then once more alive. There he is: Jesus, his feet washed by his friend Mary drying them with her hair, Jesus unforgettably washing his disciples’ feet, Jesus lifted up in glory, on the cross, to die alone. Over and again, we find stories of life in this old book, beyond all the books we could possibly write. And then we are back in the beginning, reading the book, being read by it.Diane Paulus ’88, Professor of the Practice of Theatre; Terrie and Bradley Bloom Artistic Director of the American Repertory Theater at Harvard UniversityThere is one book I always refer to as my theatrical bible — “Improvisation for the Theater” by Viola Spolin. When I graduated from Harvard in 1988, I had plans to drive across the country to the Yukon in a car my brother had given me. The week of graduation, the car wouldn’t start and had to be towed from its parking spot on Linnaean St. At the last minute, I auditioned for an acting program in New York City, and ended up training with the late great Paul Sills, who became a lifelong mentor. His mother, Viola Spolin, had written a handbook of theater games which she had been inspired to create out of her work with immigrant children at Chicago’s Hull House. Paul took these games into the professional theater and founded the now famous Second City.Spolin’s theater games are designed to unleash creativity in a nonjudgmental environment, where there is no right or wrong, simply a game “well played.” There are no props or sets, just “space” that can be transformed. Paul would always call this “the invisible becoming visible.” As acting students, we spent hours every day playing theater games, trying to get out of heads, and into that blissful state of improvisation where anything is possible, the unexpected emerges, and the space becomes alive between you and your fellow players. Paul was our coach, and he would urge us from the sidelines to “share our voice,” to “heighten and explore” a given moment, to change our speed to “slow motion,” to “sing” our dialogue, or speak in “gibberish,” to “show don’t tell.” It was never about being funny, making jokes, or being clever. There was always a quest to get beyond what you knew in your intellect, and to enter a spirit of play that could lead to the spontaneous and explosive freeing of creativity.To this day, I draw on these games in my teaching, in my work with professional actors including the Audra McDonalds of the world, and most significantly in how I try to live my life. In the words of Viola Spolin, “it takes courage to move out into the new, the unknown.”Robin Bernstein, Dillon Professor of American HistoryI don’t know how many times I’ve read Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir “Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic.” From the first page to the last, at least 20. Plus several hundred partial rereadings when I was writing an article about the book.I keep coming back because of the intensity of pleasure this book gives me. I love Bechdel’s line: her tender attention to hair, to musculature, to the curve of inked letters themselves. I love how the pictures and words function like two mirrors facing each other, at a slight angle, to produce meanings that repeat with a difference, dizzying and endless, beyond a vanishing point (a dynamic that reflects, itself, the title of the book). I love the book’s absolute commitment to speaking the truth even when the truth is impossible to grasp.And certainly, I love the book in part because it reflects some aspects of my life. The plot of each could be summarized, “Butch lesbian from unusual family reads big books and thinks a lot.” Even more than the content, however, what gives me pleasure is the way the rhythm of “Fun Home,” its recursive structure, its spiraling revisitations of long-past events combine, somehow, to replicate my experience of my own mind. Very few books read like my brain feels — but this one does. It’s startling. It’s exquisite. It’s home — not the one I know, but a different yet familiar home in the shape of a book.
Fall harvest time is traditionally a celebration of bountiful crops and overflowing granaries. But not this year.”The double-edged sword of drought and low prices for most major Georgia commodities will cause extreme financial hardship for many Georgia farmers,” says Bill Lambert, associate dean for the Cooperative Extension Service in the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.”Unfortunately, the immediate future looks like more of the same,” Lambert says.Tough ProblemsThe two most profitable row crops in Georgia — peanuts and tobacco — have been hurt by reduced quotas and price supports. Farm water use may soon be restricted, and confined animal feeding farms may face costly requirements.”The long-term future is in doubt for those who are not able to adjust their market, financial and production plans to the new agricultural economic environment,” Lambert said.John McKissick, a UGA extension agricultural economist, says any farmers face cash flow problems.”Some farmers will make it with relatively minor changes in farm and family finances, while others cannot survive the long-term trends,” McKissick says. “Farmers who have to make major adjustments just to survive will need help coping with both the emotional and financial stress caused by the crisis.”Conference PlannedTo help farm families through the continuing crisis, the Extension Service is working with the Georgia Christian Council, Georgia National Fair, certain government agencies and lending institutions to sponsor a training session in Macon, Nov. 30. Extension agents throughout Georgia are putting together county teams made up of ministers, lenders and agency representatives for the “Helping Georgia Farmers at Risk” training.The teams will learn more about the crisis, how to help families cope with the stress, debt management strategies, farm restructuring alternatives and counseling skills.”This crisis could last for quite some time,” Lambert said. “We have to equip our rural communities to support farm families through this difficult situation.”
By Dialogo February 18, 2010 Colombian forces in the south of the country have killed four FARC guerillas, including a leader believed responsible for an attack on the Palace of Justice in Cali in 2008 that left four dead and believed to have participated in the kidnapping of twelve regional deputies in 2002. EFE received confirmation of this today from the head of the Pacific Joint Command, Gen. Justo Eliseo Peña, who specified that the operation was carried out Monday in the town of López de Micay, in the department of Cauca (in the southwest), where the leader known as “Narices” [‘Noses’] died. Iván Cárdenas Carrillo or “Narices” was, according to General Peña, the commander of the “Manuel Cepeda Vargas” Front, a faction of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). He added that following the joint operation by the Colombian army, navy, and air force, more than twenty weapons and documents in the power of the rebels were recovered. “Now it will be the responsibility of the Attorney-General’s Office to verify the authenticity of the document that one of those killed was carrying and from which we know that he was the man known as Narices,” Gen. Peña indicated to EFE. With the death of Narices and three other FARC guerrillas, “we’ve taken a weight off of Cali and the south of the country in general, since they were committing crimes in this region,” the officer explained. Among the charges against the guerilla leader were attacks on police stations in Buenaventura and the kidnapping of the twelve regional deputies from El Valle in 2002. In 2007, eleven of the twelve regional legislators died while in the hands of the FARC, in a confused encounter between rebel factions. He was also accused of responsibility for the attack on the Palace of Justice in Cali, which cost four lives and left another twenty-six people wounded, and of numerous kidnappings in the Colombian southwest.
ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading » The housing market is a fickle beast. It ebbs and flows, impacted by a number of economic factors, often leaving consumers and lenders alike absorbing copious amounts of information to try to best understand where it’s headed.In early 2019, the market began to show symptoms of softening, something we had not seen since home prices began to rise again in 2012. However, by late August, the S&P Dow Jones Indices released June 2019 data showing home price increases on a downward decline. So very fickle.One thing that experts agree on is that the current favorable interest rates and low housing inventory support refinance activity. According to Black Knight, 11.7 million U.S. mortgages have become eligible for a refinance simply due to the current low mortgage rates. As of the first week of September, Freddie Mac released news that the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage in the U.S. fell to an astonishing three-year low of 3.49%.
continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr In March, the coronavirus forced TwinStar Credit Union ($1.7B, Olympia, WA) to close branches and move support staff remote. Since then, the credit union has split its focus between what it needs now and what it will need in the future.“We’ve been working to build out the right support structure for the current environment while also thinking about the long term,” says Scott Daukas, the credit union’s chief strategy officer.When operations changed in March, TwinStar ensured systems were in place to serve members during a short period of uncertainty. Daukas estimates that by year-end, TwinStar will have completed nearly three years’ worth of strategic development projects, many including digital technologies.Now, more than six months since the earliest shutdowns began, the credit union also is focusing on the future. The organization is considering challenging questions such as: How will consumer behavior change? Will member needs change? What can be done now to prepare for tomorrow?
Mondays are usually a relatively low day for the number of cases reported, as states are still noting results from testing that took place over the weekend when many facilities are closed. But this Monday, the United States still notched up 127,000 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19. A week earlier, that would have been a record high. It’s also almost 40,000 cases higher than were reported the previous Monday. At the rate cases are soaring, it seems certain the United States will pass 150,000 cases in a single day at some point this week.This latest surge of virus continues to be extremely broad based. Both Illinois and Texas exceeded 10,000 new cases on Monday. Already on Tuesday, Illinois has announced 12,623 new cases, obliterating the state’s past record. It’s actually the highest value that any state has posted since Florida and Texas soared back in July, and higher than any daily number posted by New York in the opening phase of the pandemic (though limited testing at the time meant that cases in New York were badly underreported). An astounding 17 states reported over 3,000 new cases on Monday.- Advertisement – However, Pfizer’s vaccine announcement is genuinely good news. And it’s not just good news for Pfizer’s vaccine, or even just good news for COVID-19.The Pfizer vaccine’s high efficacy is fantastic news, because the vaccine targets the spike protein that COVID-19 uses to attach to human cells. The other “big four” vaccines now in Phase 3: Oxford / AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson also target that same protein. That means the world is likely to have a variety of effective vaccines, some of which may be easier to administer and easier to use in areas without extreme refrigeration.Pfizer’s vaccine is the first phase 3 trial of a vaccine using mRNA in a human. If the safety data holds up, the technology could potentially become a new standard in how vaccines can be rapidly developed against other diseases.Moderna’s vaccine is also mRNA based. Unlike Pfizer, they’re a relatively small company that has essentially bet the farm on this trial. They should be reporting their Phase 3 results within the next two weeks.Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine has some advantages in that it’s a single dose and doesn’t need temperatures lower than those provided by normal refrigerators. Their single dose approach means they should move through Phase 3 more quickly. However, they were the last of the major trials to begin, and they’re recruiting a large pool, so don’t expect results for another month or more.And of course, the best news possible is that it won’t be Donald Trump who handles the deployment of these vaccines. This isn’t Biden’s first experience in crisis management. After all, he walked into the White House in 2009 in the midst of the Great Recession and took charge of Obama’s response to that crisis. He’s used to managing large teams in dire circumstances. – Advertisement – Just a few points out of the morass of statistics: Illinois now has 4,742 people in the hospital with COVID-19, with 911 in the ICU, and 399 on ventilators. In North Dakota, 7.4% of the total population has now tested positive for COVID-19. Tennessee had as many cases in the last two days, as it had in the entire pandemic up until mid-June.Over time, the case fatality rate for new patients has decreased. But, so far at least, it’s hard to point at any miracle drug that accounts for this change. Trump’s much promoted hydroxychloroquine was never more than a pipe dream. Remdesivir, which seemed to represent a net positive for patients in mid-disease and gained FDA approval, has turned out to show no real effect in the largest trial to date. The only real advances seem to be in the use of anti-inflammatory steroids with patients who need supplemental oxygen or ventilation. If there’s any good thing at all to come from the pandemic so far, it may be that doctors have acquired a better understanding of how to conduct long period intubation while decreasing damage and lowering the rate of death—for the awful reason that they’ve had so many patients on which to test different procedures.Synthetic monoclonal antibody treatments, such as the Regeneron treatment given to Trump during his bout with the disease, do hold out a lot of hope for effective treatment. On Tuesday, Eli Lilly gained emergency approval for it’s version of a two-antibody cocktail, bamlanivimab. However, at the moment there are very few doses available. The total output of both Eli Lilly and Regeneron to date would not be enough to treat the positive patients of a single day at this point, and since the treatments are most effective when administered early, they’re not really a significant effect on the total national picture—even if they are of powerful net benefit for those patients lucky enough to receive one of these rare treatments. – Advertisement – – Advertisement – Now we just have to survive until vaccines, and Biden, arrive.