first_imgby Anne Galloway, www.vtdigger.org(link is external) April 27, 2011 In a historic vote on Tuesday, the Vermont Legislature created the enabling legislation for a first-in-the-nation universal health care system. The state Senate approved the visionary plan for a single-payer system in a 21-9 vote after four hours of debate. The split was largely along party lines.Gov. Peter Shumlin, a Democrat, campaigned on a promise to create a single-payer system in Vermont that would contain health care costs and give all of the state’s residents universal access to medical care. On Tuesday, Shumlin made good on the first step toward fulfilling that promise, and just five hours after the Senate vote, he marked the legislative victory in an appearance on MSNBC’s ‘The Rachel Maddow Show.’Shumlin said in a statement to the Vermont press: ‘Today the Legislature took a huge step toward making Vermont the first state in the first in the nation to control skyrocketing health care costs and remove the burden of providing health care coverage from small business owners. This bill is good for Vermonters and Vermont businesses.Many Vermont businesses, however, believe otherwise. Though small employers have said they will benefit, some larger employers actively lobbied against the bill. Opponents of H.202 argued that the legislation would leave businesses in the lurch during the transition period between 2013 and 2014 when the state is required under federal law to participate in insurance exchanges. The opposition was led by insurance brokers (the Fleischer Jacobs Group, Business Resource Specialists), business associations (Vermont Chamber of Commerce, Vermont Grocers Association and Vermont Retailers Association), large employers (Dealer.com, Biotek, Rhino Foods and IBM). The Senate debate on Monday and Tuesday centered on changes to the legislation that would have made it more palatable to these groups.Sen. Vince Illuzzi, R/D-Essex Orleans, who proposed two amendments that would have made the bill more business friendly, said companies are afraid ‘we will end up with a plan most won’t be able to afford.’The legislation sets the state’s health care system on a new trajectory. Instead of continuing to use an insurance model for covering the cost of care, the bill moves the state toward an integrated payment system that would be controlled by a quasi judicial board and administered by a third party entity. The system would be funded through a broad-based tax.The universal health care system would be implemented in 2014, if it clears 10 very high hurdles, including the receipt of a federal waiver. Otherwise it wouldn’t kick in until 2017.Longtime single-payer advocate Dr. Deb Richter was ecstatic about the Senate passage of the bill.‘I’m absolutely thrilled,’ Richter said. ‘It’s one of the best days of my life. I’ve given 400 speeches over the last 10 years and it feels like the work was worth it. We have a ways to go, but this is a step in the right direction.’A universal health care system is the only way to cover everyone and contain costs, Richter said.The passage of H.202 marks the first time any state in the country has attempted to provide universal care and a cost containment system that addresses administrative costs, hospital budgeting and uniform payments to doctors, Richter said.Whether the federal government will give Vermont a waiver to adopt a universal health care system in 2014 is an open question. Richter said the state has a 50-50 chance of getting the exemption from the Affordable Care Act. Even so, she believes Vermont’s attempt to create a single-payer system is worthwhile.‘You go for what you want, not for what you think you might get ‘ that’s what the bill does,’ Richter said.The Senate debate focused on the state’s implementation of the insurance exchanges that are required under federal law. The Affordable Care Act has mandated that states provide an actuarial value for insurance products (the insurance equivalent of a per unit price mechanism that allows consumers to compare the cost of on the shelf grocery items). The federal government has set up very general guidelines for the actuarial levels for insurance products insurers must provide under the exchange. The idea is to create an easy system for comparison between health insurance benefit plans that offer a dizzying array of deductibles, co-insurance, co-pays and premiums. The products, under the federal requirements, range from bronze (60 percent actuarial value) to silver (70 percent), gold (80 percent) and platinum (90 percent). It also puts minimum requirements on the ‘qualifying plans.’ Many of these mandates are already in Vermont law. Insurers, for example, are not allowed to ‘cherry pick’ consumers who are healthy and create pools without a cross-section of the sick and healthy populations.Read this summary of the ACA requirements from Kaiser Foundation.The Affordable Care Act requires individuals without insurance to buy into the exchange or face a $695 fine. Families of four with incomes of less than $88,700 qualify for tax credits. Businesses with more than 50 employees that do not buy insurance face a penalty of $2,000 per worker.The fight between employers and proponents of H.202 was about the potential for mandatory inclusion of businesses that have between 50 and 100 workers in the exchange. Sen. Hinda Miller, D-Chittenden, and Illuzzi argued that requiring companies of that size to participate in the exchange could jeopardize their economic viability. Employers in that range tend not to self-insure and so are not protected under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.The federal law allows states some flexibility. States can decide what benefit plan levels can be offered, for example. They can also determine the size of the businesses that must be included in the exchange. The Shumlin administration pushed for intent language in the bill that could have led to the inclusion of businesses with 50 to 100 employees into the exchange. Proponents of H.202 have said it’s important to include these 28,000 workers in the state’s insurance exchange in order to build toward a single-payer system.An amendment proposed by Sen. Diane Snelling, R-Chittenden, and approved by the Senate struck the intent language. The Green Mountain Care board, which will oversee the health care reform effort including the exchanges, is charged with producing a report that would outline the impact of excluding the 50-100 employee group on the exchange, which the Shumlin administration wants to use as a stepping stone toward the single-payer system.Illuzzi proposed two amendments that would have forced the state to include a broader array of insurance carriers in the exchange would have specifically allowed health savings accounts and high deductible plans under the exchange and would have allowed ‘nonqualified’ plans outside the exchange. H.202 allows for two carriers.‘Let’s not kid ourselves it will be more than one carrier,’ Illuzzi said on the Senate floor. ‘It will likely be Blue Cross Blue Shield. It will be two carriers in name only. Both will be required to offer same (plans). It will be a change without a difference.’Anya Rader Wallack, Shumlin’s special assistant on health care, said she was impressed by the Legislature.‘A lot of people worked very hard educating themselves in a short period of time,’ Wallack said. ‘This isn’t simple stuff. I was impressed with the amount of effort both bodies have put into this.’The Shumlin administration was heavily involved in drafting the bill, H.202, though by the time the legislation reached final passage it had changed somewhat from its original incarnation, which was based in part on recommendations from Professor William Hsiao, the renowned Harvard economist who created a single payer system for Taiwan.Over the next year, the Shumlin administration will hire a director of health care reform and the chair of a quasi-judicial board. The board would be in place by January of 2012 and would begin the arduous task of sorting through the maze of federal laws, waivers, benefits, provider reimbursements, system financing and cost containment options.H.202 will be read in the House Health Care Committee on Wednesday morning. Rep. Mark Larson, D-Burlington, said he expects the bill will go to conference committee in several days. He expects to have no major beefs with the Senate version.‘The core composition of the bill remains identical to what passed in the House,’ Larson said. ‘There are differences between the two bills but they are things we can work out.’Larson said those details include a change in the dynamic of the board. ‘We want to make sure it’s an independent board.’He also referred to the so-called ‘Mullin’ amendment, which set conditions for implementation of Green Mountain Care, the single-payer style system that would be created under H.202. Larson said he thinks the new criteria for the implementation standards need to be more clearly defined.‘It has to be clear what hurdle has to be overcome,’ Larson said.Anne Galloway is editor of vtdigger.orglast_img read more


first_img SANTO DOMINGO — At first glance, Marino Vinicio Castillo RodrÌguez doesn’t look the warrior. Dressed in an impeccable, tailored suit, he’s the epitome of a successful second-generation attorney and grandfather. But when Castillo talks about his fears for his country of nine million inhabitants, the humor drains from his eyes. He said the Dominican Republic is at risk of being overwhelmed by organized crime syndicates from Colombia, Mexico and even Europe. As a leading law-and-order crusader and now the anti-narcotics adviser to President Leonel Fernández Reyna, Castillo has been monitoring and assessing the country’s shifting crime landscape since the early 1990s when Colombian traffickers were using the Caribbean to channel drugs into Florida. “We have clear evidence that the Sinaloa cartel is developing a structure here and we have representatives of European crime groups including from Russia, Ukraine, the Balkans and Italy,” said Castillo, interviewed at his office in Santo Domingo. “Our situation is becoming very grave. The crackdown on the cartels in Mexico and Colombia has pushed the problem to the little islands of the Caribbean, and the cartels are using us as a bridge for smuggling narcotics into America and Europe.” Judging by the record drugs seizures and the rise in drug-related homicides, the problem is growing. Dominican authorities appear to have largely halted drug loads being flown into the country and dumped from low-flying light aircraft for pickup — a preferred delivery method for many years. DNCD reports drug-running flights down dramatically In February, the Dominican Republic’s ambassador in Washington, Anibal de Castro, trumpeted that air interdiction success before a Senate committee, saying “releases of drugs from aircraft in the country” had virtually been eliminated. The decisive factor, said the diplomat, had been the deployment of an OH-58 helicopter equipped with night vision and eight Brazilian-made Embraer Super Tucano patrol aircraft, bought with the assistance of a $93.7 million loan from Brazil’s government development bank. Roberto Lebron Jimenez, spokesman for the Direccion Nacional de Control de Drogas (DNCD), said that before the Dominican military took possession of the new aircraft, authorities reported about 200 clandestine drug-running flights into the country per year. Now, he estimates there are just a handful. However, the drug traffickers have shifted to the sea, exploiting 1,100 miles of Dominican coastline and taking advantage of the country’s strategic role as a container-traffic hub linking the United States, Latin America and Europe. The coastline is hard to lock up. Traffickers use private leisure craft, fishing vessels and often speedboats capable of carrying more than 4,000 pounds of cocaine at a time. Drugs are brought in from Central and Latin America, then dispersed to the United States — often via Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands — or to Europe in commercial maritime traffic. Smaller loads are smuggled out by “mules” or in air cargo. “We are a haven for international tourism, have five major international airports and seven major commercial seaports all with a huge amount of container traffic. And we share the island with Haiti, which is a failed state and where the Colombian cartels have been operating for a quarter of a century,” Castillo said. “It is impossible for us to search each and every container. The volume is just too great.” Dominican cocaine seizures are skyrocketing Recent seizures illustrate the growing problem. In 2011, Dominican authorities confiscated 6,715 kilograms of cocaine — a 48 percent jump from the 4,527 kilos seized the year before. During a two-week period in December 2011, according to official statistics, DNCD police intercepted 1.3 tons in four shipments of cocaine. The international flavor and the mixing of crime syndicates come through frequently with each major seizure and raid. On Feb. 7, Dominican anti-drug authorities arrested 29 people, including five Puerto Ricans and 17 Russians as well as Colombians and Dominicans, and seized 122 kilos of cocaine tagged to be shipped to Puerto Rico. Two luxury villas, several apartments, a cargo ship, a speedboat and an airplane were confiscated as well. The cocaine, found in a villa located in the exclusive Casa de Campo resort near La Romana, was to be loaded onto the Carib Vision, a vessel ostensibly used to transport molasses. The load was destined for Puerto Rico when it was intercepted, the DNCD’s LebrÛn said. On Dec. 15, anti-drug police seized 1,077 kilos of cocaine from a 24-seat Challenger jet about to take off from La Romana on the southeast coast. The aircraft had registered a flight plan for the Belgian city of Antwerp. This time, the police arrested Dutch citizen Johannes Nicolass and British citizen Edgar Rowson, right before the scheduled takeoff. By Dialogo April 02, 2012center_img And last October, DNCD members confiscated 1,098 kilos of cocaine hidden in medical equipment bound for Le Havre, France, from a vessel at the multimodal port of Caucedo. Sinaloa cartel behind drug trade, say officials The amounts of cocaine being seized — thought to be only a fraction of what gets through — are worrying enough. What weighs heavily on Castillo’s mind are signs that the Sinaloa cartel, Mexico’s largest crime syndicate, has targeted the country for expansion. “We are not in a position to cope with this,” he said. Dominican officials blame the Sinaloans for the slaying last August of three Colombians and a Venezuelan in Santiago, 96 miles north of Santo Domingo. The killings were thought to be a reprisal, and the corpses were found in the upscale district of Cerro de Gurabo near where a Spaniard had been killed a few days earlier. Castillo confirms a link to the murders with the Sinaloa cartel, but declined to go into details. He said the presence of the Sinaloans was brought home to authorities when a Mexican national, LuÌs Fernando Bertolucci Castillo — also arrested last August — acknowledged he was a member of that cartel and was in direct contact with drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. The first public acknowledgment by the Dominican government of the Sinaloa presence came in February when Anibal de Castro told the U.S. Senate, “the Sinaloa cartel is seeking to create a route to Europe using the Dominican Republic.” The Mexican crime presence is not new entirely, Castillo said. In December 1999, Dominican police seized three drug transport planes owned by Mexican drug lord LuÌs Horacio Cano. Castillo said he’s now aware that the Sinaloa cartel controlled a company which in 1999 bought (and has since sold) four state-owned sugar mills during a privatization process. The mills — at Haina, Boca Chica, San LuÌs and Consuello — were all located near seaports, and had access to landing strips. Anti-drug authorities target Cibao region What’s different now is the level of activity, the alliances being formed with local crime gangs, and indications that the Sinaloa cartel intends to operate locally. “They are buying property, from oceanfront residences to hotels and businesses,” Castillo said. DNCD officials said the main focus of the Sinaloa cartel is in El Cibao, the northern region that’s home to nearly half the country’s population as well as its second-largest city, Santiago de los Caballeros. The officials claim that local crime groups, including the Samana crime gang led by Avelino Matias Castro — currently wanted for allegedly ordering the assassination of a Dominican journalist — provide logistical support while helping the Sinaloa cartel to secure precursor chemicals needed for the production of amphetamines. The Mexican presence introduces a new dangerous element, said Castillo, noting the Sinaloa cartel’s notoriously violent history as well as its ability to corrupt. Like its Caribbean neighbors, the Dominican Republic has seen a jump in violent crime and homicides in recent years. From 2001 to 2009, the country’s homicide rate nearly doubled to 23 murders per 100,000 inhabitants. In addition, drug addiction among Dominicans is growing — a consequence, officials believe, of local crime groups being paid by Colombian and Mexican cartels in cocaine as well as cash. Last year, the country recorded 4,173 seizures of crack cocaine alone. For Castillo, the battle is on. “But we need a lot more help,” he said. IF DR. CASTILLO IS SO COURAGEOUS DENOUNCING THE DRUG TRAFFICKERS, THAT IS A REALITY IN DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, THE PRESENCE OF THE DRUG CARTELS, WHY DOESN’T HE DENOUNCE HIS GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS THAT ARE POINTED OUT AS ACCOMPLICES OF THESE CARTELS, HE SHOULD HAVE A MORE SERIOUS STANCElast_img read more


first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York By Jess WinansAfter losing several friends while serving in Afghanistan, former U.S. Marine and current Adelphi University student Julian McBride turned to art to help deal with his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).McBride’s oil paintings were inspired by scenes he witnessed on the frontlines. His works were displayed as part of an exhibit called “The Horrors of War” at Adelphi last fall and following the positive response he received, he started sharing his work through public talks featuring PowerPoint slides of his paintings, including one upcoming on April 19 at Lawrence Middle School.“I lost six of my friends during my time overseas,” said the 25-year-old Freeport resident. “It hit me from there—nothing is guaranteed. One day I was hanging with my friends playing golf and the next they were killed by explosive devices.”McBride had never painted until he returned from his deployment. After enrolling in Adelphi in 2013 to study criminal justice, forensics and anthropology, he took a technical drawing in archaeology course, where he learned how to illustrate corpses and decomposed bodies.With his newly acquired art skills, he began painting what was going on inside his head. McBride said he is haunted by his combat experience. But painting helps him cope with his trauma better than any other form of therapy, he discovered.McBride isn’t the only one who benefits. His professors say his work has helped teach the community about the impact of the war.“He’s an exceptional young man who strives to be the most genuine and thoughtful person he can be,” said Stephanie Lake, director of Adelphi’s criminal justice program. “I have no doubt he will end up being incredibly successful in whatever he does.”Julian McBride will be exhibiting “The Horrors of War” at Lawrence Middle School on April 19. Lawrence Middle School at Broadway Campus is located at 195 Broadway, in Lawrence, NY. 516-295-7000 For more information, visit lawrencemiddleschool.lawrence.orglast_img read more


first_imgHe described Bolivar as“highly mobile” and frequently changes his hideout. Bolivar has a pending arrest warrantfor violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. He was chargedalthough he managed to escape from policemen trying to entrap him in a buy-bustoperation at his house in Barangay Guinacas on No. 9, 2016. He ordered his men to validate theinformation. “All reports we have received arebeing validated. If we have zeroed on in his whereabouts we will arrest him,”said Defensor. There have been reports that Bolivaris hiding in a remote barangay in Jaro district. Bolivar was believed to be a minion ofPrevendido and stepped up drug trafficking activities after his boss died in ashootout with policemen. Bolivar, a resident of BarangayGuinacas, Pototan, Iloilo, has been spotted several times in parts of WesternVisayas and Metro Manila but has never been caught. ILOILO City – Western Visayas’ topdrug suspect Ernesto Bolivar was recently spotted in a restaurant here,according to Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) director Police Colonel MartinDefensor, citing intelligence information. center_img Recently, Police ColonelRoland Vilela, director of the Iloilo Police Provincial Office, offered aP100,000 reward to whoever could give information leading to the successfularrest of Bolivar, 41. Ernesto “Erning” Bolivar He became the prime target of thePolice Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) after the death of drug lord Richard “Buang”Prevendido in September 2017. Sources also said Bolivar has tappedthe services of “new players” in his drug trafficking operation to avoiddetection The provincial government of Iloilo isalso dangling a P500,000 monetary reward. The Bolivar drug group operates mainlyin central and northern Iloilo province and parts of nearby Capiz./PNlast_img read more


first_imgAlso Read- UFC 244: Diaz Vs Masvidal For The BMF Belt And Dana White’s TakeUFC 243 results: Dan Hooker defeats Al IaquintaDan Hooker had his moment of life after beating Al Iaquinta by a unanimous decision. Both the men had their moments in the match and gave everything they had but Dan Hooker managed to hit Iaquinta with more significant strikes. After a three-round battle, the judges announced Dan as the winner of the fight and Dan Hooker immediately called out Dustin Poirier in the post-fight interview. However, Dustin Poirier showed no interest in Dan and tweeted that he is going to fight the Irishman (Conor McGregor) next. Written By UFC 243 ResultsMain card – Israel Adesanya defeats Robert Whittaker via second-round knockout. Dan Hooker defeats Al Iaquinta via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26). Sergey Spivak defeats Tai Tuivasa via second-round submission. Dhiego Lima defeats Luke Jumeau via split decision. Yorgan De Castro defeats Justin Tafa via first-round knockout.Also Read- UFC: Will Dustin Poirier Fight In The Featherweight Division Again?Prelims – Jake Matthews defeated Rostem Akman via unanimous decision. Callan Potter defeated Maki Pitolo via unanimous decision. Brad Riddell defeated Jamie Mullarkey via unanimous decision. Megan Anderson defeated Zarah Fairn via first-round submission.Early Prelims – Ji Yeon Kim defeated Nadia Kassem via second-round Knockout. Khalid Taha defeated Bruno Silva via third-round submission.Also Read- WWE Raw Live Streaming: What To Expect, When And Where To Watch LIVE TV SUBSCRIBE TO US FOLLOW US UFC 243 had some of the most exciting and shocking moments that caught the attention of the entire MMA community and UFC fans. Israel Adesanya Adesanya became the new middleweight champion of UFC after defeating Robert Whittaker at Melbourne. Former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker was going good and had his home crowd’s support but Adesanya silenced the crowd after knocking out Whittaker in the second round of the main-event fight. Kiwi fighter Dan Hooker also managed to get a clean win against Al Iaquinta by a unanimous decision in the co-main event fight.Also Result- UFC 243: Upcoming Fights, Latest UFC News And Everything About The PPVUFC 243 results: Israel Adesanya defeats Robert WhittakerIsrael Adesanya stepped inside the octagon as the interim middleweight champion with a clean record of 17-0. It was assumed that Robert Whittaker will be successful in retaining his belt but Adesanya had something extra to offer. Both the men kept it simple in the first round but Adesanya managed to start the second round with punches and kicks and leave the octagon with a clean record of 18-0 and the middleweight title of UFC.  The new middleweight champion got into a verbal assault with undefeated middleweight fighter Paulo Costa (13-0) and it seems that Paulo will be getting his hands on the title shot against Adesanya.center_img Raj Sarkar WATCH US LIVE COMMENT Last Updated: 7th October, 2019 20:51 IST UFC 243 Results: Overview And News From The Latest UFC Pay-per-view UFC 243 has brought some of the exciting matchups and results to the MMA community. Know more about the results and post-fight happenings of UFC 243, Melbourne. First Published: 7th October, 2019 20:51 ISTlast_img read more


first_imgTwo Broward County poll workers, including one who checked and handled voters’ driver licenses on primary day, have tested positive for coronavirus, according to health officials.The poll workers were on duty for all nine days of early voting at a site in Weston, as well as at two precincts in Hollywood on primary day, which was on March 17.One of them was a poll worker at the David Park Community Center in Hollywood. As one of the eight workers at that location, he handled peoples’ driver licenses and scanned them as part of the voter check in and identification process.A total of 61 people voted at that location.The same worker was a poll deputy at the early voting site at the Weston Branch library, where people voted from March 7-15. His job there was to direct voters outside the polling place.Another individual was on duty at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in Hollywood. That person served as the precinct clerk, a position which typically does not involve contact with voters.Peter Antonacci, the county’s Supervisor of Elections, says the early voting site and the two neighborhood voting locations had hand sanitizer available, with signs encouraging people to use it.last_img read more


first_imgI was called misinformed, mistaken and mislead when I had a very strong and vociferous difference of opinion with the Steelers concerning the future employment of Mendenhall and Sweed. To the best of my recollection; Mendenhall was passed over in the first round of the same draft by the Chicago Bears and the Dallas Cowboys. It is also known that for quite some time Ben Roethlisberger had been pining for a six foot four plus size wide-out along the size of ex-Steelers and current NY Jets wide receiver Plaxico Burress who was his favorite guy to throw the “fade” to anywhere on the field but especially when the black and gold reached the ‘red zone’.Why oh why would any team of the Steelers tradition draft a running back with far less than a Heisman Trophy mention especially when they had a running back (Willie Parker) who had proven that if you gave him a crack, he would give you a mile. Pittsburgh had also just lost offensive guard Alan Faneca to free agency and had some serious O-line discrepancies to address. My suggested draft sequence for the Steelers for the 2008 draft was; offensive line, first round, defensive line, second round, offensive line, third round. Ladies and gents please press your fast forward button and stop at the year 2011, buck, buck, buck, buck, bucka. The chickens have come home to roost.The Steelers lost to the Houston Texans 17-10. The defense gave up 17 points on the road to a very good Houston team, 17 lousy points. Big Ben seems to hate “check downs” and short passes. Is he deliberately not calling the alternate plays just so that he may continue on the “road to glory?” Or is he leading the offense down the “road to gory?” Roethlisberger continues in many failed attempts to go “deep” and while doing so is slowly drowning the offense in the shallow water of his enormous ego. Does he have other play calling options and if so is he ignoring them? Something tells me that there is trouble in the Steelers camp and if there isn’t it should be. Was the team’’ plane ride back to Pittsburgh filled with turbulence that originated from sources beside the aircraft?Head coach Mike Tomlin should have shouted so loud and sprayed saliva so wide that Bruce Arians and Roethlisberger should have been victims of ruptured ear drums and the “Cowher syndrome.” These are the risks of dealing with a pissed off head coach that occasionally require players and subordinate coaches to be on the receiving end of the headmaster’s wrath requiring them to wear hearing aids and gauze face masks.Roethlisberger reminds me of an old story that my grandfather told me when I thought I was being “slick.” Once a farmer heard a ruckus in the chicken coop. He arrived at the chicken coop. switched on the light in the henhouse and heard a faint sound, he asked a question. He said, “hey is there anybody in here?” Nothing but silence. Then he heard the fox saying in a soft voice, “ain’t nobody in here but us chickens.” The farmer looked around, spotted the fox, walked up to the fox, put his shotgun in his mouth and said, “you ain’t no chicken.” The fox replied, “yes I am chicken, that shotgun got me scared as heck.”The moral of the story is that Roethlisberger has raided the Steelers henhouse of millions, crowing like a rooster but really being a fox. I know, I know, this week and beyond everyone will be gushing on how courageous Big Ben is for taking a licking and keeping on ticking but the majority of the time the beating may be self inflicted. Big Ben is playing head games with the media and the public.There is nothing courageous about sitting in the pocket for 3-4 seconds trying to complete a 25 yard or longer pass when you can complete a 10-15 yard pass in 1 ½ -3 seconds. There is no glory in short passes, but the chains keep on moving. When Roethlisberger gets sacked or throws a pick, the yellow finger pointing is directed at the offensive line. If he would get rid of the ball in a timely fashion, he could have O-lineman from the peewee leagues and still complete a significant percentage of his pass attempts if he would just take what the defense gives him.Time and time and time again, I have said that there is some skullduggery jumping off in the Steelers camp but until someone speaks out, it will be business as usual.(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: [email protected]­pitts­burghcourier.com) I said it once and I am going to say it again. Each draft pick in the NFL is vital. It might not appear so from the outset but two or three years later, if GM’s and player personnel directors are not careful; “the chickens may or may not come home to roost.” Ex-Steelers wide receiver Limas Sweed was drafted by the Steelers in the second round of the 2008 draft, right after Pittsburgh signed the “great” running back Rashard Mendenhall in the first round.last_img read more


first_imgBy Jay Cook |HOLMDEL – An accord struck last year by Holmdel’s all-Republican governing body calls for an annual rotation of its elected officials to govern from the mayor’s seat, allowing for a fresh approach on the best way to manage the 18-square-mile town.In the 2018 calendar year, the mayoral office has shifted to Thomas Critelli.A five-year committeeman and first-time mayor, Critelli thanked his Republican counterparts both sitting beside him and in the audience for the opportunity to serve as Holmdel mayor for the next 365 days. Newly sworn-in committeeman Rocco Pascucci was unanimously voted in as the deputy mayor for 2018. Former mayor Greg Buontempo was also sworn in as a committeeman for his third term.“During last year’s reorganization, we discussed rotating the mayor’s seat each year, which was something this committee had not done for some time,” Critelli said, moments after being sworn in by former Holmdel mayor and Assemblywoman-elect Serena DiMaso. “I’d like to extend a special thank you to Mayor Greg Buontempo for allowing us to honor that commitment.”After his first mayoral speech, Critelli told The Two River Times that the agreement to elect a different mayor every year from within the unified governing body will benefit Holmdel.“It’s more about getting fresh ideas,” Critelli said, while also adding he’ll still collaborate with the four members on the township committee. “I think the public thought we were getting a little stale and maybe not moving as rapidly as we needed to – a little change is all.”Critelli is a 27-year Holmdel resident who owns three small businesses with his wife, Mary, in northern New Jersey. Critelli is a certified public accountant and is the president and founder of Danitom Development, a real estate development company. He also owns a manufacturing company and a convenience store, he said.Critelli believes that background and experience can only benefit Holmdel as he takes over the mayor’s seat.“I like to see things get done, not bureaucratically slow things down. The town can be bureaucratic in its thinking because of some of the people that have been here for long periods of time who like to do things at their pace,” he said. “We hope to be able to kick-start that a little bit and get things moving, sort of like a small business.”In his address to residents in attendance, the new mayor said there’s much to look forward to “in a truly exciting time in Holmdel township.”Critelli said the governing body will focus on continuing the relationship with Somerset Development, owners of the 473-acre Bell Works site just a mile from town hall; keep the municipal tax rate flat for residents; look to expand recreational activities for all residents; and engage in “aggressively rebuilding” faulty roads and infrastructure in town.Finding more recreational opportunities for Holmdel residents has been a recent goal for the governing body, Critelli said. The township committee authorized the creation of an ad hoc recreational committee early last year; a report compiled by the committee and a consultant will be provided to residents by the end of the month, he said.“We’re going to release that information and hopefully be able to exercise and move on some sort of aggressive improvements at the recommendations of the committee,” he said.Critelli also spoke about improving emergency service communications in the township. He said Police Chief John Mioduszewski was inquiring about new systems for his officers.Also on tap for 2018 will be a decision regarding Holmdel’s affordable housing obligations. The township will have a fairness hearing before a Superior Court judge in Freehold later this year with the Fair Share Housing Center, a group which litigates in favor of low-income housing throughout the state. Critelli declined to go into detail considering the pending litigation, but did say, “I expect it to be resolved sooner rather than later.”Since it is his first term as mayor, Critelli told residents he’d rely upon his current and former colleagues for guidance if needed. Committeemen Greg Buontempo and Eric Hinds are both former mayors, as are DiMaso and Monmouth County Freeholder-elect Pat Impreveduto, last year’s deputy mayor in Holmdel.“There’s an enormous amount of knowledge from the mayors that have come before me,” Critelli said. “I don’t like to go into anything blind, so I can rely on them for the right way to approach something.”This article was first published in the Jan. 4-11, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.last_img read more


first_imgMilford Ladies are through to the semi-final of the Senior Championship after a hard fought win against St Eunans in O’ Donnell park on Sunday on a score line 3-6 to 2-8. After winning the first leg Milford went into the match with a six point advantage but were caught cold at the start of the match & found themselves 1.5 to 1 point down after 15 minutes, they responded well and went in 3 points down at half time.The second half was a real battle under poor weather conditions,little to choose between both teams with milfords defence in particular outstanding, the six point advantage from the first leg was a telling factor and once Milford got their noses in front there was only going to be one winner. This was a real team performance with Aoife Gallagher and Michelle Doherty in particular outstanding, they go on to meet glenfin in co semi final on Sunday 10th August.GAA NEWS: MILFORD SENIOR LADIES THROUGH TO SEMI-FINALS OF THE CHAMPIONSHIP was last modified: July 29th, 2014 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:GAAMilfordNoticesSportlast_img read more


first_img27 March 2014 South Africa remains firmly committed to maintaining the security of all nuclear and other radioactive material in the country, in keeping with its national and international obligations, International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said at the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit at The Hague in the Netherlands on Tuesday. “We welcome the progress achieved to strengthen nuclear security at national levels and through the relevant multilateral organisations, especially the International Atomic Energy Agency,” Nkoana-Mashabane said. “South Africa stands ready to work together with all members of the international community to raise nuclear security levels internationally.” South Africa would continue to exercise its right to research, develop and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, she said, noting that the country had adopted a policy on the beneficiation of its mineral resources, including uranium. “We also derive great benefit from nuclear applications in areas such as health, nutrition and agriculture. South Africa contributes to these applications through the supply of medical isotopes and is well-placed to produce these isotopes on a large scale using low-enriched uranium fuel.” According to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, South Africa “firmly favours a multilateral approach to promoting nuclear security which upholds the centrality of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the United Nations, and which respects the international rule of law and the principles enshrined in the UN Charter. “South Africa believes that through a co-operative approach in the relevant multilateral organisations, [nuclear security risks] can be effectively dealt with.” Nkoana-Mashabane attended the two-day summit along with a South African delegation that included Energy Minister Ben Martins. Fifty-three countries were represented at the Hague summit, the third Nuclear Security Summit to be held since the inaugural summit hosted by US President Barack Obama in Washington in 2010. The summit concluded with the adoption of the Hague Communique which, according to the summit website, includes new agreements on “reducing the amount of dangerous nuclear material in the world that terrorists could use to make a nuclear weapon”, as well as “improving the security of radioactive material (including low-enriched uranium) that can be used to make a ‘dirty bomb’”. SAinfo reporter and SAnews.gov.zalast_img read more