Fifteen people shot, 1 fatally, in Chicago on July 4th

first_imgbjdlzx/iStock(CHICAGO) — At least one person was killed and 14 others were wounded on Independence Day due to gun violence in Chicago, Ill.In Humboldt Park, a 32-year-old man was killed when he was shot while standing near the intersection of Homan and Iowa around 11:30 a.m., according to the Chicago Police Department. A 31-year-old man, a 23-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy also were wounded in the shooting.Chicago Police Department spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi tweeted that officers “attempted to chase a white sedan but lost sight of the car.”Three people were also stabbed and 16 people were trampled following Fourth of July fireworks on Chicago’s Navy Pier.Guglielmi told ABC News that a “mini-stampede” took place there after a private security officer incorrectly yelled “active shooter” into the crowd.He said the three stabbings were a result of an argument over rival gangs, when one of the men involved pulled out a knife and stabbed three individuals.Last year, there were eight people shot and one killed on July Fourth, according to Guglielmi.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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South Dakota seeing surge in COVID-19 transmission as cases rise in Midwest

first_imgfiladendron/iStockBy MEREDITH DELISO, ABC News(NEW YORK) — South Dakota has one of the highest rates of COVID-19 spread in the country, several reports show, as the Midwest experiences a surge in cases.The state ranked second in the country for both rates of new cases and test positivity in the latest report from the White House Coronavirus Task Force. According to the report, dated Sept. 27, both numbers increased over the last week amid greater testing, “indicating increasing transmission.”South Dakota leads in testing positivity in another survey of COVID-19 transmission. According to Johns Hopkins University, as of Tuesday, the state’s seven-day average testing positivity rate was 26% — the highest in the country.After months of somewhat steady numbers, daily new cases and hospitalizations in the state have surged in recent weeks. South Dakota reported a record number of daily new cases on Sept. 26, with 579. The next day, it reported a record number of current hospitalizations, with 216, according to the COVID Tracking Project.The records came several days after Gov. Kristi Noem said on Twitter that the spread of the virus had “peaked” in the state.The increase in cases and hospitalizations come as COVID-19 is raging in the Midwest. Since Sept. 26, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Kansas have also reported record numbers of new cases, and the Midwest leads the nation in regional cases per one million people, according to the COVID Tracking Project.Idaho and Wisconsin are currently seeing positivity rates at 20% or higher, Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the latest White House Coronavirus Task Force report, South Dakota’s neighbor to the north, North Dakota, had the highest rate of new cases in the country.Additionally, three Midwestern states — North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin — have the highest risk level for COVID-19 in the U.S., according to the Harvard Global Health Institute.Testing is “key to achieving epidemic control” in South Dakota, the White House Coronavirus Task Force recommended. State health officials said that’s what they’re focusing on.“We are very much working towards increasing testing volume across the state,” Department of Health Secretary Kim Malsam-Rysdon said during a coronavirus briefing earlier this week. “That will continue to be a priority for us.”Malsam-Rysdon did not share details of the state’s plans to increase testing during the briefing, though she said that “it takes efforts from providers across the state to work towards that testing volume.”Health officials said they have heard anecdotally of people avoiding testing, and they are encouraging people who show symptoms of COVID-19, or are asymptomatic but have had close contact with someone who is a confirmed case, to seek testing. They are also stressing that residents quarantine and isolate as necessary if they have a confirmed case or come into contact with someone who does.After hovering around the high 70s earlier this month, hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have been above 200 since Sept. 27 in South Dakota, according to the COVID Tracking Project. Officials have stressed that hospital capacity in the state is not currently a concern, though they warned that a large number of hospitalizations can be expected for the time being.As of Wednesday evening, hospital bed capacity was at 57% and ICU bed capacity at 75%, according to state data.Dr. Joshua Clayton, the state epidemiologist, has emphasized “individual precautions,” such as mask-wearing and social distancing, when it comes to reducing the spread of COVID-19 in the state. South Dakota is among a minority of states to not have issued a statewide mask mandate during the pandemic, and it never issued a stay-at-home order.The rising cases come as Gov. Noem has been promoting tourism in her state. Earlier this month, her administration announced it was using federal coronavirus relief funds to pay for a $5 million tourism ad campaign.Last month, South Dakota hosted a massive motorcycle rally that had at least 100 COVID-19 cases in eight states traced back to it.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

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JERSEY CITY BRIEFS

first_img ×PARK VIEW ACADEMY SIGNS LEASE DOWNTOWN – Park View Academy, an innovative new day care facility, has signed a lease to open its first location at Vantage, the luxury high-rise rental building in downtown Jersey City’s Liberty Harbor North neighborhood. Slated to open in early 2019, the new early childhood school will serve both residents of Vantage and the community-at-large, according to Fisher Development Associates, which is developing the 448-home waterfront building overlooking the Manhattan skyline, the Statue of Liberty and Liberty Harbor Marina. PARK VIEW ACADEMY SIGNS LEASE DOWNTOWN – Park View Academy, an innovative new day care facility, has signed a lease to open its first location at Vantage, the luxury high-rise rental building in downtown Jersey City’s Liberty Harbor North neighborhood. Slated to open in early 2019, the new early childhood school will serve both residents of Vantage and the community-at-large, according to Fisher Development Associates, which is developing the 448-home waterfront building overlooking the Manhattan skyline, the Statue of Liberty and Liberty Harbor Marina. Man killed, woman wounded in Jersey City shootingKamal McCord, 19, of Jersey City, was found in a lifeless condition with an apparent gunshot wound to his torso, and a 21-year-old woman had been shot once, on Wednesday, May 2.Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez said that at approximately 9:50 p.m., the Jersey City Police Department received a report of a male shot on Merseles Court. Responding police officers found a male victim inside a residence at 21 Merseles Court. The victim, McCord, was pronounced dead at the scene at approximately 10 p.m. The cause and manner of death are pending an investigation by the Regional Medical Examiner’s Office.Responding police officers also found a female victim outside of a residence in the area of 17 Merseles Court. She had an apparent gunshot wound to one of her extremities. The victim was transported by Emergency Medical Services to Jersey City Medical Center where she was treated for non-life threatening injuries.The Prosecutor’s Homicide Unit is actively investigating this case with assistance from the Jersey City Police Department. No arrests have been made at this time. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Office of the Hudson County Prosecutor at (201) 915-1345 or to leave an anonymous tip at: http://www.hudsoncountyprosecutorsofficenj.org/homicide-tip/.All information will be kept confidential. center_img Former Jersey City cop gets 18-month sentence in off-duty work schemeA former Jersey City police officer was sentenced in April to 18 months in prison for fraudulently collecting income for off-duty work he never performed, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito has announced.Ehab Abdelaziz, 38, of Clifton, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez to conspiracy to commit bribery. Lupus walk scheduled for May 12Daddy’s Sunshine “The Fight Against Lupus” based in Hudson County, will hold its fourth Annual Hudson County Lupus Walk on Saturday May 12, 2018 in Lincoln Park in Jersey City.This year, the walk aspires to reach a goal of $50,000.Individual walkers are requested to make a donation of $10 per person. Any donation over $100 will receive a complimentary T-shirt. To register for the walk or for more information go to Hudsoncountylupuswalk.org.Festival of colors to be held at Exchange PlaceHoli Hai, the festival of colors, by Rimil Roy and Surati for the Performing Arts, will be held at Exchange Place on May 5 from noon to 8 p.m. The event will feature performers, live music vendors and a DJ as well as other events for kids.For more information email [email protected] or call (201) 792-2650 or (201) 360-1553.‘Hamilton’ actor Christopher Jackson to deliver the HCCC graduationLegacy is a recurring theme in the Broadway musical “Hamilton,” and fitting for Hudson County Community College’s 41st Annual Commencement ceremonies, where cast member Christopher Jackson will deliver the keynote speech to the Class of 2018.The college’s commencement ceremonies will take place on Thursday, May 17 at 6 p.m. at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark.WalletHub calls Jersey City ‘most diverse’ in the nationAfter comparing more than 500 of the largest cities in the nation, WalletHub, a personal finance website based in Washington, D.C., has determined that Jersey City is the most diverse city in America.With immigration policy remaining a hot-button issue on 2018’s political landscape, WalletHub released its report this week on 2018’s Most Diverse Cities in America.According to Web reports, WalletHub initially positioned itself as a “personal finance social network” with a focus on reviews for financial advisors.To determine the places in the U.S. with the most mixed demographics, WalletHub compared the profiles of more than 500 of the largest cities across five major diversity categories: socioeconomic, cultural, economic, household and religious.Jersey City finished first on the list, followed by Houston, and New York City.All four education unions ratify contractsThe Jersey City Board of Education (JCBOE) has met the May 1 deadline for adjusting its insurance coverage for employees. As part of its agreement with the Jersey City Education Association (JCEA) and three other units which ratified contract agreements on April 18 after months of intense negotiations, the board was required to seek to reduce health benefit costs.On May 1, the Board of Education took steps to begin that process, informing the state plan that the district may opt to not renew with them at the end of the term. If the Board of Education had failed to take action on May 1, the district would have been locked into the current provider, thus removing the chance to reduce costs.“I understand that after two decades of state control, and the state administrations in Trenton that have not worked collaboratively with the JCBOE, that it is easy to race to the wrong conclusion,” said board President Sudhan Thomas. “This board has repeatedly demonstrated its commitment to work together with the JCEA to provide the respect and compensation their members deserve and the high quality education all our students demand.”Thomas said the ultimate goal is to extend comprehensive, affordable health care for the employees at lower costs, targeting an annual $15 million in savings as projected in the 2018 budget.President of the JCEA, Ron Greco, reiterated President Thomas’s commitment to collaboration and building a stronger district together.“To see the resolution regarding insurance carriers on the agenda as a surprise on May 1st without context was certainly unsettling,” Greco said. “We have thousands of members who rely on their insurance to care for themselves and their families. Last minute surprises by the Board of Education have historically been an attempt to hide bad actions. We have a strong working relationship with this board as evidenced with the recent contract resolution.”The JCBOE is currently soliciting bids for health benefits for district employees and will be evaluating them at future board meetings to afford comprehensive and affordable health care for its 4000 plus employees. The projected savings will also reduce Chapter-78 contributions for all 4000 employees by about 10 percent.Real estate conference set at NJCU for May 8 and 9The New Jersey City University (NJCU) School of Business Institute for Dispute Resolution and the City of Jersey City will host an international conference on Connecting Bridges and Borders in Real Estate Property Management to advance commerce through innovation, May 8-9, at the NJCU School of Business, 200 Hudson St., in Harborside Plaza 2, Jersey City.The program will be hosted at New Jersey City University School of Business in partnership with the Institute of Real Estate Management, the City of Jersey City–Department of Housing, Economic Development and Commerce, the Jersey City Economic Development Corporation, the Institute for Dispute Resolution and the Peter Mangin Real Estate Institute at NJCU, and Burgos University, Spain.This thought-leadership conference will promote international business by focusing on commercial property management practices around the world and cross-border common topics that those in the commercial real estate property management field should consider for next generation sustainability.Speakers from Europe and the Middle East will complement those from the United States in sharing insights around the theme of Connecting Bridges and Borders in Real Estate Property Management. The keynote speaker on Tuesday, May 8, will be Hank Sheinkopf, Ph.D., president of Sheinkopf Communications Ltd., who has worked on more than 700 political campaigns in the United States and around the world. On Wednesday, May 9, the keynote speaker will be Jeevan D’Mello, the former property manager of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest megatall skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, who is recognized as a pioneer of community management in the Middle East.Visit http://njcu.edu/realestateconference2018 for a complete conference program, and to register.HCCC to honor Hudson Pride CenterHudson County Community College (HCCC) will recognize Hudson Pride Center with the College’s 2018 Heritage Award. This is the first time a non-profit, community-based organization has been presented with the Hudson County Community College Heritage Award.The presentation will take place as part of the College’s 41st Annual Commencement Ceremonies on Thursday, May 17 beginning at 6 p.m. at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. New play explores the historic impact of global politics on individual lives“Decline and Fall,” a new theater experience presented by Jersey City Theater Center, is an original take on the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 that explores the impact of global politics on individual lives. JCTC presents “Decline and Fall” at Merseles Studios, 339 Newark Ave., Jersey City on Friday May 11 at 8 p.m. and Saturday May 12 for two performances, 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. The doors open 30 minutes before showtime. Tickets: www.JCTCenter.org . For more information or to purchase tickets visit: www.JCTCenter.org .Library gala to be held on May 17All are invited to support the Jersey City Free Public Library Foundation at the Annual Gala Event: A Celebration of Filipino Culture. Funds raised at the event will support new programming and resources for the library. Ticket information and RSVP at LibraryFoundationGala2018.eventbrite.com.The event will be held at the New Jersey City University School of Business Skyline Room, Thurs., May 17, 7:30 p.m.Soaring Heights rated best elementary charter in Hudson CountySoaring Heights Charter School in Jersey City has been ranked number one “Best Public Elementary School” in Hudson County by the authoritative school data analyst company Niche.com. The K-8 school was also designated the number four “Best Charter Elementary School” in the state.The school has long operated at maximum enrollment with 236 students in grades K-8 and maintained a student-teacher ratio of 15 to 1. It was one of the original 13 New Jersey charter schools founded in 1997. Soaring Heights has achieved this top ranking despite not seeing a budget increase in over 11 years, a notable rarity among New Jersey public schools.Soaring Heights Charter School was also ranked No. 185 as “Best Charter Middle Schools in America” and number 226 as “Best Charter Elementary Schools in America.”“We’re thrilled to be recognized for the high caliber of education we have provided to an entire generation of Hudson County children,” said Claudia Zuorick, director of Soaring Heights Charter School. “Of course, our hardworking staff and dedicated parents have long felt we were an outstanding institution, but having it objectively and mathematically calculated is especially gratifying.”Niche.com has become the leader in the quantitative measurement and ranking of U.S. educational institutes, cities and neighborhoods. For more information, visit http://www.shcsjc.org or call (201) 434-4800Open call for artworkPaul Robeson Galleries at Rutgers University – Newark is seeking proposals from artists whose work uses food as a medium or subject matter.The 2019 Main Gallery, Express Newark exhibition will center on food as a social, political, and bodily phenomenon. Specifically, the exhibition will consider food as a commodity; the relationship between food, death, sex, and the abject; food’s relationship to global economics and geo-politics; food and its likeness as a medium for artistic experimentation; the food chain and the environmental impacts of food production; and food justice.Paul Robeson Galleries is seeking proposals from artists whose work uses food as a medium or subject matter. The exhibition will be on display January – December 2019 and will be accompanied by a catalog. You must be able to loan your work for that period of time.Apply online at https://form.jotform.com/81145165793158.Nimbus Dance Presents: OfflineNimbus Present: Offline returns for its 6th cycle, curated by Keith Thompson of Trisha Brown Dance Company, and Artistic Director of Dance Tactics Performance GroupThe event will be held over two nights on May 18 and 19 and will feature nine emergency and mid-career choreographers at Nimbus’ Downtown Jersey City performance space. Each performance will be followed by a discussion with artists, moderated by Keith Thompson.Nimbus Dance Works is located at 165 Newark Avenue in Jersey City. Tickets cost $20.Tickets: $20. For more information go to http://www.nimbusdanceworks.org/.Pro Arts presents curators choice exhibitPro Arts Jersey City and the Center for the Arts at Casa Colombo present a Curators Choice Exhibition May 2 – June 17. The opening reception will be held on Sunday, May 6, from 4-6 p.m.A poetry reading will be held in conjunction with JC Fridays, on June 1 from 7 to 8; 15 p.m. featuring Janet Kirchheimer. Casa Colombo is located at 380 Monmouth St., in downtown Jersey City. For more information, go to http://www.proartsjerseycity.org/.last_img read more

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‘There was just no way I was going to do what everyone else did’

first_imgQ: Are you still a sailor?A: Yeah, it’s [in the picture] right behind you. That’s my boat.Mostly I worked in the lab a lot. I liked the lab culture. I liked the all-night thing and feeling like you belonged and you were working on something. I really liked that part of it. I just characterize my life as not having a plan. And people say to me: “But you’re at Harvard, how’d that happen?” It just kind of happened. I’m not saying that was a good thing or a bad thing, but I do compare it to these kids now who start out so early with a plan. I am glad I had time to explore and be kind of a dreamer.So college is ending. I heard about this graduate school thing, and maybe I should apply. I’d heard of two chemistry programs that I thought would be, for some reason, good. One was Berkeley and one was Harvard. Those were my only two grad school applications. I remember somehow deciding that I didn’t want to go to grad school, though. I forget why. My father had died. I just didn’t feel right. I had no money, and so I decided, maybe I’ll just get a job. It was all complicated with boyfriends and husbands and lots of stuff. I did get a job at a startup chemical company, literally in Silicon Valley. It was across the street from Hewlett-Packard, really in the thick of it.Q: So how did you end up going back to graduate school?A: With my then-spouse, I moved to Los Angeles. The short story is that’s how I ended up going to UCLA for grad school. I’d actually spent an extra year at Santa Cruz doing this protein structure work, so I bargained with UCLA. If I could pass the equivalent of their qualifying exam, could I not take any classes and therefore finish my Ph.D. as fast as possible? I passed it, and so I got my Ph.D. in three years. I had a very supportive adviser who said you should just get your Ph.D. really fast. It was a good experience.Q: How was choosing Harvard for a postdoc different from not choosing it for grad school?A: Maybe there was finally an element of careerism starting to emerge. All these guys at UCLA were super young hotshots, and they had all come from Stanford and Harvard. So there was probably an element of hey, I can do that.At the same time, my adviser kept trying to push me, which just was perfect for me. He kept saying, try to do something where you set up your own research program. I did formulate a question in my mind of what I thought I wanted to solve. That was the question of how do things — proteins and RNAs — move between the nucleus and the cytoplasm? I had some hypotheses about this, so I approached a couple of faculty here.One was well known for letting people come to do whatever they wanted, so I went there. But I spent the summer before at Cold Spring Harbor. I went there to take the yeast course, which was a big deal then. That was just a total eye-opener.Q: Learning how to manage and use yeast as an experimental organism, essentially?A: Yes, but it was also about learning how to think as a geneticist, and it was just transformative for me. In many ways being at Cold Spring Harbor was amazing. Being in this community of scientists where it had that kind of 24-hour science-is-the-big-thing, interesting people to talk to left and right. I’d never seen anything like it. You’re just kind of away from all your responsibilities. It was just very magical and crazy, and I thought, jeez, this is how it should be.So when I got back to Boston, I started working in the lab I’d chosen. And I met people in Mark Ptashne’s lab, which was kind of a happening place. There was a lot of energy.I realized that I was initially not in the right lab — nothing wrong with it, it just wasn’t right for me. So I went to Mark, and I said, “I have this idea, and I’ve thought more about it. I think I could test it better using yeast.” And he was starting up this yeast group. So I joined Mark’s lab, and it was an amazing experience. The people there were just insanely smart. I mean, there were ups and downs, for sure, and some of those people could fight like dogs. It was either politics or science. It was just a crazily intense environment — and I solved my problem. I discovered how proteins have a sequence that targets them into the nucleus, and that was one of the first examples of that. And I really did it on my own.[At the end of the postdoc] everyone else seemed to have a plan. I said, hey, if this whole nuclear localization thing doesn’t work out, I’ll do something else. I did not have the I’m-going-to-be-a-professor-for-sure mentality at all. I remember picking a couple schools that I thought I might actually go to if they offered me jobs, places that had openings. It was a very short list. One was Harvard. And one was Yale. One was Princeton. And one was Cornell.I had interviews everywhere. … I did not think about gender bias back then. I really did not. There were times I realized in college I was the only woman in the class. I just never felt anything [sexist] until I went on those job interviews and there were almost no women faculty — mostly dinners with all guys. Then I had an offer at Princeton. And then at Yale. Princeton was sort of: “We’re growing, we’re new.” And I thought, well, that sounds interesting. And I went to Princeton but did not stay for long.Q: You went to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and were there for a while, right?A: Yeah. I was hired in BCMP [Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology], and Chris Walsh was the chair. And he essentially saved my scientific life. I always say they took a risk on me. Many people said something like, “Oh my God, you’re going to go to Harvard? They’re so mean. It’s going to be horrible.” It was the antithesis of all those things — super-supportive and they wanted me.Q: So you were here as an associate professor?A: Based at Dana-Farber. My full appointment was in BCMP. It was back in the old days, when getting tenure took forever. The agreement was that when I was hired, they would “start the process.” And back then, the process sometimes took two to three years. So I had to sweat it a bit, but I had good friends there and good support. I’ve been blessed with regard to funding for my research, so far. I was worried being at Dana-Farber would be odd for me as a basic scientist, but it turned out it was fabulous. I was worried I wouldn’t get grad students. That turned out not to be true — got great students, great postdocs. And I continued to work on cell biology combined with molecular biology, and then it expanded into what you loosely might call systems biology.And my work had some cancer overtones to it in that we did discover — we did a small molecule screen where we discovered small molecules where, in principle, we could decipher the mechanism by which they would revert cancer cells away from cancer.Q: How did you transition from Dana-Farber to what was then the new Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School?A: My own research was transitioning. I was taking a more systems-wide view of the cell biological problems I was working on. And also I was starting to feel like it was a time in my life where I was looking to change.It was a really good time for Dana-Farber. They were starting to get a handle on making targeted drugs for cancer, the kinase inhibitors. And I felt good about Dana-Farber, that they were going in a good direction, that they were closer to real cancer cures. But I wasn’t sure that my work was still a good fit. It had been — so I mean that in a positive way.The other thing that happened that was probably more consequential was that my now-husband, Jeff Way, who works here at the Wyss Institute, was helping a friend of ours start a new institute in Berkeley. He met a young postdoc there named Drew Endy and they became good friends. Drew had come from civil engineering, I think, and [he was] thinking about where biology should go. And then he came here — this was in the early 2000s, late 1990s — and started this group at MIT. It was bioengineers, computer scientists, and included me as the token real biologist. And that became the Synthetic Biology Working Group.It was nearby, so I could go over there a lot. I became pretty engaged in that. Then, simultaneously, Marc Kirschner [of Harvard] was starting this new department [of systems biology]. Marc asked me if I wanted to be part of this department.Q: And this was in around 2004, right?A: Right. It was fun to be around new people, new ideas, and also I was given the charge of starting the new grad program.Q: Let’s talk about the grad program and your thoughts on graduate education.A: I’ve had a ton of grad students, and I watched them matriculate and turn into scientists. I’d been thinking a lot about it and what that meant, and also this engagement with MIT was giving me a different perspective. One idea was it shouldn’t be that you come to grad school and just take a bunch of classes. You come to grad school to do research. They should engage in research soon and they would get custom mentoring. Also, we tried to attract students from a diversity of areas. They could come from computer science or math. So they didn’t necessarily have to have a biology background.The other thing I encouraged was collaborative projects, so you could have, for example, two advisers. A lot of students took us up on that. That would increase collaboration amongst the faculty through the students.It goes to the idea that the students are empowered and they’re helping define their education. It was about getting a mix of faculty across the University from different disciplines, not just the Medical School. Have a big umbrella. I liked that component of it. We got a significant number of applicants, and they were just amazing; they were some of the top students in the country. And then it stayed that way, and we got these interesting, quirky students. I’m not running it anymore. It’s still a great program.Q: During this period, you were starting to focus more on synthetic biology, right?A: Right.Q: So tell me a little bit about that. You were at the meetings at MIT. Were you coming to understand the potential of looking at biology as modular, that it could be engineered in a rational way once you figured it all out?A: The modularity of biology was something that resonated for me, because it was the essence of much of my work in molecular biology. I had done things like take parts of proteins and fuse them to other proteins and show they could move to the nucleus in the cell. So that’s one essence of modularity. I was primed to think about it that way. I don’t know if I called it synthetic biology or anything, but it was very much in my wheelhouse.Q: Let’s talk about your lab. What do you consider milestones?A: Well, the first one was programming yeast to sense radiation. You can build sensors, but we wanted to build cells that not only sensed, but remembered. That was one of our first successes: building predictable circuits in yeast.Q: How do you get a cell to remember?A: There are a lot of different ways. Our way was to use transcriptional control, which is regulating how genes are made. One theme of our research is to draw from what we know about nature and try to apply that to practical problems. What nature tends to do with transcription is to use different kinds of feedback control that can either be positive or negative. So we took advantage of that. If you have a signal, instead of just having one burst, [we engineered it to] keep itself going, so it has this continuous feedback control. That’s a process used by nature that we deployed in our work.Q: So exposure to radiation would trigger a process that —A: Yes. Imagine it triggers a pulse and something happens, and then that promotes a more sustained response over time.Q: And that sustained response is the memory?A: We call that the memory, yes. Memory of course means a lot of things to a lot of people, especially in neurobiology. So we’re using the term memory in a loose way here.Q: And without this, the cell would respond and then stop?A: And stop, yes.Q: So you’d be able to look at it and say, since this process is ongoing, something happened in —A: That it happened sometime in the past. My overall dream, which I think we’re close to achieving, is not only would something happen in the past, but a cell then could count and tell you when it happened, so it would be a true computer. And it would tell you when it happened and then ultimately do something. That doing of something, hopefully, could be something practical, like emit a signal that tells you there are poisonous chemicals somewhere or that there’s a pathogen, or produce a therapeutic on-demand at the right time. We haven’t gotten there, but, at the time of me getting involved in synthetic biology, that was the overarching dream. Now we’ve taken a lot of different side paths.We have this paper coming out in a few weeks about sensing inflammation in the gut. That, of course, is a huge problem in general. There’s no good treatment and it’s a chronic disease. Many people suffer from it. So we can create intestinal bacteria that will report on inflammation. Now the question is, can we get them to make a therapeutic for it? That’s one of the examples of the dream getting close to reality.Q: Another project you’ve worked on is the bionic leaf.A: It’s super exciting. There are just so many opportunities here at Harvard, sometimes you look back and you say, oh my God, this thing happened. I was working on cyanobacteria, which are one of the simplest organisms that do photosynthesis, and we had engineered them to make hydrogen. We were believers in the hydrogen economy, which kind of didn’t turn out so well. It might come back someday.I got invited to be part of the Harvard University Center for the Environment, and Dan Schrag, the director, introduced me to Dan Nocera at the holiday party. Dan Nocera — he had just moved [to Harvard], and he said something like, “I’ve been trying to meet you. I’ve got this artificial leaf. It makes hydrogen.” And I responded with, “I’ve got these bacteria, and they’ll eat hydrogen and fix CO2.” It was like two synergistic personalities; it just clicked.Q: Looking ahead in synthetic biology — 10 years from now — what do you think will be most important?A: In the perfect world, I would say on-demand drugs would be a big deal, whether that be protein-based drugs, cell-based drugs, or chemicals. For example, a friend of mine who is a professor at Stanford has made yeast that will make opiates. Think about the consequences of that. One is economic and the other is to make “designer opiates” that get rid of some of the bad things about them. I think that’s just an example of the power of biology to make things we’ve never seen before.We are at a tipping point around DNA synthesis. It’s not yet cheap enough where a grad student could say, “I’m going to build a whole new organism.” We need another kind of technological leap.Our whole goal was to make the engineering of biology faster, cheaper, and more predictable. Let’s say we succeed. So then what? Do we have the perfect planet? Is everything wonderful? Is there misuse? I’m thinking about things I don’t know the answer to. How do you find the genetically engineered organisms [released into the environment]? How do you respond quickly to a pandemic? These are things I think we are poised to do well. Can we make a vaccine in a day? Can we figure out what a pandemic is in a few hours? That really fits the bill of faster, cheaper.How do we marry the coming firestorm of AI with synthetic biology? There was a time when young people wanted to work on molecular biology. That was the cool thing. AI is the cool thing now. Hundreds of undergrads at MIT want to take Intro AI. So we have to capture that imagination and meld it with synthetic biology.Q: Do you look at young women in science today and think about how things are either different or the same as when you were coming up?A: There are still a lot of males in charge and, as you get higher up the food chain, you start to notice different things. There are still times I’m the only woman in the room. I have my one activism thing, where if I see meetings with no women speakers, I write a letter. I have some things that I call out, like science advisory boards with no women. So I make a pest of myself every now and then, but so do a lot of other people.But about the trainees — that is something I think we’re all worried about. It’s a complicated problem. It feels like it’s harder to get women applicants and have them stick with it. I try to encourage the women in my own group. But at the same time, they have to make choices that make them happy. There just still aren’t a lot of women at the top. How much impact does it have if you’re a younger woman and you don’t see women in [leadership]?If Harvard holds a symposium, it should never be all male. Any topic — there’s no reason. These, to me, are cheap, simple fixes. You should never have posters for conferences that have all males. That costs you almost no money. So I think there are lots of things you can do that don’t require major investments that send signals that are positive.Q: They say that science is at least partly about failure and learning from failure. Do you have advice on how you deal with failure?A: It’s very hard to say to someone, “Look, it’s just not working.” So I try to do it early and then say, “Let’s move on. Why don’t you work on this thing that is working for a while so you can feel what it’s like to have something work, and then maybe that’ll get you a paper or chapter in your thesis. Then you can go back to something riskier.”But at the same time, I like to encourage people to be risk takers, because if you don’t take risks, you’re not going to get anywhere. So there has to be some balance. I will say it’s the thing I most lose sleep over. Forget not getting grants and all that. It’s the people you worry about — you want everyone to succeed. At my stage, this is not about me anymore. It’s about them. Life stories from Annette Gordon-Reed, Martin Karplus, Joseph Nye, E.O. Wilson, and many more, in the Experience series.In 1960s Silicon Valley Pamela Silver came of age part math nerd, part rebel, absorbing the spirit of both time and place. Think space race. Think Grateful Dead.She set out on her scientific career without a plan, propelled by an aptitude for math, an interest in science, and a love of the sometimes frenzied life of the laboratory. That love fueled groundbreaking work on how proteins make their way from the cytoplasm of a cell into the nucleus, a process called nuclear localization. Decades and many discoveries later, the same passion helped establish her as a leader in the fledgling field of synthetic biology.Silver was recently named a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is the Elliot T. and Onie H. Adams Professor of Biochemistry and Systems Biology.Q:  Let’s start at the beginning. You grew up in Atherton, Calif., in Silicon Valley?A: [My parents] were both psychotherapists, and it made for an interesting childhood. I think they must have met here [in Boston] and then they moved to the Bay Area probably right after the war, late ’40s, early ’50s. And my father became one of the founders of the Palo Alto Medical Clinic; it was one of the first group practices, sort of soup-to-nuts. [He] was also on the Stanford faculty. They moved to California right at the beginning of the rapid growth of Silicon Valley. We lived in Atherton before it was the richest town in the world. It was kind of cool, these old estates, built by James Flood and his children — big mansions and big land. They were just starting to subdivide it. Our house was one of the first ranch-style homes. It was already kind of upper class, but I didn’t realize that at the time; it was just where we lived.Q: You never do when you’re a kid. You just grow up in your surroundings.A: The roads were still dirt. The Flood granddaughters still lived there and had horses, so we could walk around and feed the horses. It all seemed very idyllic to me, I guess if I think back on it, which I do more and more. My parents were very high-level thinkers and very intelligent. That obviously set the tone in our household, maybe a little overdoing it. My sister was actually 10 years older, so it was more like I was an only child.Q: Is your sister your only sibling?A: Yes. My parents did get divorced. We were not a tightknit family but more highly dysfunctional. And in retrospect that was OK in terms of my own independence and things like that.At that time in Silicon Valley, everything was very science-oriented. How do we promote science in schools — it was all about the space race and stuff like that. I apparently had precocious math ability. Some on my father’s side of the family had an inclination to mathematics. He nurtured this. He taught me how to play Go when I was 6. Chess, maybe, but Go? Really?I won an IBM math contest when I was in junior high, but nobody was pushing me. My parents were so preoccupied with themselves, they just wanted to make sure that I didn’t do anything bad.Q: I read that you got a slide rule as a prize?A: Yeah, that was the prize. What a hoot. It wasn’t just any slide rule. My slide rule had a beveled edge, so the slider thing was here and you could still use it as a straight edge. What an amazing slide rule. I’ve never been able to find one like it. I also loved homework. I would beg the teachers in elementary school to give me homework, partly because I think it was a way to get lost from the family dysfunction and also it was just interesting.Q: What about your early schools?A: I went to the public high school, which was nearby, for a year. Then my parents sort of decided that I wasn’t getting the right education. They sent me to a local all-girls high school called Castilleja. It’s one of the few all-girls high schools left. It didn’t seem to emphasize science very much. The times were very disruptive. There was a lot of protest and the Vietnam War, and there you are in the all-girls school. It was a bit odd.,Q: You said it wasn’t heavy on science. Was your interest in —A: My interest was independence. I have to say I was kind of a wild kid in high school. Let’s be honest, there was a fair amount of recreational drug-taking and going to the Fillmore Auditorium — I was heavily into the music of the times. The Grateful Dead were still kind of a local band and we were big fans — it was a big part of the local culture. Bob Weir grew up nearby, and they used to practice locally. Even when we were kids, we would go listen to them. They would play at local parks and pizza parlors.The great thing about my school is that the teachers took a personal interest in me. I had one teacher that thought I was a good writer. No idea why. The Palo Alto Times — the school was in Palo Alto — would have a student from each school write columns, and so she assigned me to be the reporter for Castilleja. … So I really got into that. Then there was this whole culture around personal computers and electronic hacking. There were so many wacky things going on, and even as teenagers we were very much part of that. Not clear how the parents felt about it.Q: What about college?A: Castilleja was very much a college prep school. I applied to Stanford and Yale, but my real top choice was UC Santa Cruz, which is where I ended up going. I knew from the start that I wanted to do science, so the other good thing was that there weren’t very many course requirements or grades. I took as many advanced placement tests as possible, so I wouldn’t have to take anything but science classes, which probably made my whole undergraduate experience very warped. I started as a math major, maybe, then went to physics, and then ended up in chemistry. One thing I wanted to do, which Santa Cruz was very big on, was independent research, and so as fast as possible I just wanted to get into that, and I did.Q: Where did your initial interest in science come from?A: I would say it’s a combination of this uber-intellectual family life and also the school system, for sure. There were science contests and endless science projects, and my father fed that a little bit. I remember, in first grade, he brought a dissected cat to the class, because he was an M.D. He’d take me to the hospital all the time. A lot of our family friends were somehow connected to either the medical or engineering [fields]. My father used to play poker with [Nobel Prize-winning chemist] Linus Pauling, and one of my first job interviews in high school was at his institute. Other fathers gave me early programmable personal calculators for homework.Q: So, you’re in college, and you’re wending your way from math to physics to chemistry. How did that go?A: The math part I don’t remember much about. Physics was transient also. What I realized about myself was that I wanted to do experiments. So I think I ended up in chemistry because of the opportunity to do experiments. I’m sure it was a product of people I met and knew and things like that — teachers — but also I always was kind of a rebel. Everyone was majoring in psychology, that was the thing. There was just no way I was going to do what everyone else did.Q: No temptation, given your parents’ background?A: Absolutely none. Zero. Med school — off the table. Forget it. College was meeting up with just crazily interesting people. And Santa Cruz was just idyllic. You’d go off in the woods and the trees and surfing — oh, and sailing. Big deal, sailing. Probably the one thing that I got out of that was being on the sailing team and having something organized in my life. So that was different and fun. “Our whole goal was to make the engineering of biology faster, cheaper, and more predictable. Let’s say we succeed. So then what? Do we have the perfect planet? Is everything wonderful? Is there misuse? I’m thinking about things I don’t know the answer to.”last_img read more

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Digitization at Top of CIO Priority Lists

first_imgOver the last three decades in this industry, I’ve seen many impressively disruptive waves of technology, but I have never witnessed as many waves hitting simultaneously as we are seeing today.While we can and will pursue many of these, as CIOs in a hypercompetitive global environment, we have to catch the wave that makes the biggest impact on enabling the business and accelerating our revenue and business growth.  In 2015, I predict the highest priority for CIOs is digitization.As the digital economy pushes enterprises to analyze and solve problems faster, businesses are asking CIOs and IT professionals to help reduce complexities, improve synergies across organizations, and leverage existing information regardless of where it resides.  For instance, my team is extending our data lake architecture capabilities to enable multiple organizations to make data-driven decisions and accelerate the value for the business like never before. To do this, CIOs and IT professionals must: Explore how we can build capabilities and flexibility into our data lake solution to allow users to incorporate more publicly available data into their analyses. Capture and share all the incredible data science knowledge we have in the company to train and help our users to go beyond analysis paralysis and get the most out of the wealth of data. Start at “home” by automating and digitizing critical IT processes and services. This is essential for IT-as-a-Service to be successful. Take advantage of the analytical and data science knowledge and activities that have been surfacing throughout the company, so we leverage existing best practices and prioritize projects rather than reinvent the wheel. Partner even closer with our businesses units to truly understand their requirements and how we can help them. Build data-driven apps that simplify the experience for our users and allow them to have the information they need at their fingertips.While we still love technology, CIOs are now strategists and business enablers.  In 2015 and beyond, we must strive to help our companies differentiate their products and services; reduce development and sales cycles; and optimize business processes and performance.  Digitization (and big data analytics) is essential.last_img read more

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Jackie Burns, Tamyra Gray & Matthew Hydzik Join Anthony Rapp in If/Then Tour

first_imgIf you’re ready to see one of Broadway’s biggest new musicals in your own backyard, then you’re in luck! Jackie Burns, who was Tony Award winner Idina Menzel’s standby during the Broadway run of If/Then, Tamyra Gray and Matthew Hydzik will join Anthony Rapp in the national tour of the hit musical. Menzel, along with original cast members Rapp, LaChanze and James Snyder, kicked off the tour in October, performing in Denver, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Tempe and Costa Mesa. If/Then will continue to play cities across North America through August 2016.In addition to Burns as Elizabeth and Rapp as Lucas, Gray will play Kate, an elementary school teacher and Elizabeth’s new neighbor, and Hydzik will play Josh, a doctor and army reservist who meets Elizabeth on her first day back in New York City. The production also features Janine DiVita as Anne, Daren A. Herbert as Stephen and Marc de la Cruz as David. The ensemble includes English Bernhardt, Charissa Bertels, Xavier Cano, Trey Ellett, Kyra Faith, Corey Greenan, Cliffton Hall, Deedee Magno Hall, Tyler McGee, Joseph Morales, Emily Rogers, and Alicia Taylor Tomasko.Directed by Michael Greif, If/Then features music by Tom Kitt, with book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey. The writers earned the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize for penning Next to Normal. If/Then earned Tony Award nominations for Best Original Score and Best Actress (Menzel). The tuner premiered at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C. in November 2013.If/Then is a contemporary new musical that follows two distinct storylines in the life of Elizabeth, a city planner who moves back to New York to restart her life in that city of infinite possibilities. When her carefully designed plans collide with the whims of fate, Elizabeth’s life splits into two parallel paths. If/Then follows both stories simultaneously as this modern woman faces the intersection of choice and chance.Can’t wait to see If/Then in your city? Watch the video below to go behind the music and get into the gorgeous score of the musical! View Commentslast_img read more

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Brooks Winners.

first_img The 2001 D.W. Brooks Award winners are (l-r) Mark Rieger, teaching; Rick Reed, county extension programming; Darrell Sparks, research and Robert Stewart, extension. Photo: Faith Peppers Four University of Georgia faculty members received the prestigious D.W. Brooks award for excellence in public service Oct. 1 in Athens, Ga.The $5,000 annual awards recognize UGA College of Agriculturaland Environmental Sciences faculty who excel in teaching, research, extension and county extension programs. An award for international agriculture is given in even-numbered years.The 2001 winners are Mark Rieger, teaching; Darrell Sparks, research; Robert Stewart, extension; and Rick Reed, county programming.The CAES sponsors the annual lecture and awards in memory of D.W. Brooks, founder and chairman emeritus of Gold Kist, Inc., and founder of Cotton States Mutual Insurance Companies. Brooks was an advisor on agriculture and trade issues to seven U.S. presidents.Michael J. Phillips, executive director of food and agriculture for the Biotechnology Industry Organization, delivered the 2001 D.W. Brooks Lecture, “The Future of Agricultural Biotechnology.” The lecture and awards presentations were in the Mahler Auditorium of the Georgia Center for Continuing Education.Rieger, a horticulture professor, was cited for his innovative approach to teaching. He is highly rated by students and considered a leader in Web-based distance education.In his 14 years as a member of the UGA horticulture faculty, Rieger has earned a local, national and international reputation in horticulture and in his specialty of environmental stress physiology of fruit crops. He has twice been named “Teacher of the Year.”Sparks, a horticulture professor, has researched physiology and management of pecans for 36 years. His research into cyclic production helped revitalize the pecan industry in Georgia and nationwide.The American Society for Horticultural Sciences’ 1998 Outstanding Researcher, Sparks contributed to the pecan industry through his nutrition research. Little was known about pecan nutrition until his pioneering efforts.The findings greatly reduced defoliation of important cultivars, which led to enhanced nut production. Today, growers throughout Georgia and around the world fertilize pecans based on leaf analysis.Stewart is committed to getting results through innovative programming. Soon after he took over the Tifton Bull Evaluation Center in 1983, Stewart began enhancing its national reputation by incorporating new technology to improve buyer decision-making.He developed a computer program that was quickly adopted by farm managers across the country. Stewart also enhanced bull evaluation through documenting genetics for consigners and developing new measurements to add to selection criteria.He received the 1996 distinguished service award from the National Association of County Agricultural Agents, the 1997 Gamma Sigma Delta Extension award of merit and the 2000 outstanding senior scientist award in extension at the Tifton campus.His work has been highlighted in national magazines and by the National Cattlemen’s Association. He also was selected to serve on the performance committee of the International Beef Improvement Federation.Reed has been a member of the UGA Extension Service staff since July 1974. He plays a major role in providing leadership to the $198.5 million agriculture industry in Coffee County.Reed is sought out by growers and researchers for his knowledge and input when they seek practical information on sustainable, ecologically based cropping systems. He is also recognized for helping to develop the Georgia sweet carrot industry and for his major role in developing a new product,Douglas Pride, made from municipal waste.last_img read more

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Seventh Generation partners with Sustainability Academy

first_imgSeventh Generation,Seventh Generation, the nation’s number one green brand, announced a community partnership with the Sustainability Academy at Lawrence Barnes Elementary School in Burlington, Vermont.The nation’s first K-5 school with a sustainability theme, the goal of the Academy is to prepare students to be responsible citizens and agents for change, in their community and beyond. Located a few blocks from Seventh Generation’s headquarters, the school is an international model for using sustainability as a lens for place-based education and service learning. Seventh Generation has participated in a literacy building program at the Sustainability Academy and has provided non-toxic cleaning products for classrooms and teachers. This holiday season, the company will be “adopting” five families of the Academy in need to fulfill the children’s wish lists.Seventh Generation CEO John Replogle announced the partnership while the school unveiled a recently installed alternative energy system, including a solar tracker, funded by a Vermont state grant and in part by Seventh Generation. The system is designed to reduce the school’s carbon footprint while serving as an educational tool for students. An energy monitoring display will facilitate discussions on how to track the school’s progress towards “net zero.””As a pioneer in sustainability, Seventh Generation is uniquely able to help students make the connection between the social and environmental issues we face as a society and the role green business and green chemistry plays helping to address these challenges,” said Replogle. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to partner with the Sustainability Academy to nurture and inspire the next generation of sustainability leaders right here in our own backyard.”In 2012, Seventh Generation plans to donate 880 hours of volunteer time to build an outdoor classroom and natural playground for the Sustainability Academy. The partnership will also include a science ambassador program in which Seventh Generation employees will work with students to understand the connection between personal and environmental health. In addition, the company plans on hosting a book drive with the school to support early literacy and assisting the Sustainability Academy with rebranding efforts.”The students, parents, faculty and staff of the Sustainability Academy are excited about partnering with Seventh Generation. Their commitment to our community is real and personal and their support of the education for sustainability movement is a clear indication that they are focusing on the future now,” said Sustainability Academy principal Brian Williams.ABOUT SEVENTH GENERATIONSeventh Generation is committed to being the most trusted brand of household and personal-care products for your living home. Our products are healthy solutions for the air, surfaces, fabrics, pets and people within your home — and for the community and environment outside of it. Seventh Generation also offers baby products that are safe for your children and the planet. The company derives its name from the Great Law of the Iroquois Confederacy that states, “In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.” Every time you use a Seventh Generation product you are making a difference by saving natural resources, reducing p ollution, and making the world a better place for this and the next seven generations.For information on Seventh Generation cleaning, paper, baby and feminine personal care products, to find store locations, and explore the company’s website visit www.seventhgeneration.com(link is external). To read more about Seventh Generation’s corporate responsibility, visit the company’s Corporate Consciousness Report. BURLINGTON, VT–(Marketwire – December 06, 2011) –last_img read more

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Drug Challenge Requires Collective Response, Central American Leaders Say

first_img Central American leaders are looking to Washington for assistance in combating drug cartels intent on moving trafficking operations away from Mexico. And the U.S. is responding by sharing intelligence, providing training and tracking drug movements as well as advising on judicial and social programs aimed at confronting corruption, strengthening civilian law enforcement and rebuilding communities. The increasing collaboration between the U.S. and Central American authorities threatens to make it more complicated for major Mexican cartels to escape their own internecine violence and the onslaught from the government of President Felix Calderon. Signs that Mexican traffickers are looking to Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras as “safe havens” attest to the Calderon government’s 2010 successes and suggest that the four-year-long crackdown on Mexican traffickers is beginning to bear fruit. The Calderon crackdown has succeeded in weakening Mexico’s drug cartels, including the preeminent Pacific cartel, Mexico’s Security Cabinet announced in a Christmas message. About 24 percent of all 2010 drug arrests in the country involved members of the Pacific cartel. Record drug seizures and other blows have weakened the criminal organizations, the Security Cabinet said. In response, Mexican criminal gangs such as Los Zetas are searching further south for new operational opportunities. “Drug violence is spilling over the border, as the Mexican government’s tough stand on narco-traffickers pushes notorious organizations like the Zetas southwards,” the U.S. State Department said in a statement in October. Guatemala’s murder rate climbed to 52 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in 2010, compared with rates of 14 in Mexico and 5.4 in the U.S. More than 10,000 drug-related murders have taken place in Guatemala this year. The country has long functioned as a major transit country for cocaine traveling north. Drugs arrive from production countries in the south and then move overland via Mexico into the U.S. Drug analysts estimate that between 285 and 350 metric tons of cocaine transited Guatemala in 2010. But now with the squeezing of the Mexican cartels on their home territory, the drug challenge for the Guatemalan authorities has increased. The amount of illegal drugs seized in Guatemala doubled between 2008 and 2009, according to the U.S. State Department. “We think drug trafficking is strongly invading Central America,” Guatemala’s President, Alvaro Colom, acknowledged in an interview in November. “When President Calderon is successful, they (the cartels) come here. If we manage to achieve success, they will go to Honduras, but sooner or later, if we don’t hit them all together, they will come back,” he said to BBC News. The Guatemalan leader insists that neither his country nor any of his neighbors can win this fight alone ─ the only way forward is to treat the criminal threat as a regional one. “We were looking at the routes of planes and ships used to smuggle drugs, and it is incredible how Central America is being hit. From Acapulco to Colombia, it’s a severe aggression,” Colom said. Outside experts agree. David Gaddis, chief of operations at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, said Mexican crime groups are moving into Central American countries “where they feel, quite frankly, more comfortable.” Like Guatemala, El Salvador has witnessed an influx of Mexican criminals – which in turn has sparked turf fighting and a 37 percent jump in 2009 in the country’s murder rate. “The more pressure there is in Mexico, the more the drug cartels will come to Central America looking for a safe haven,” said David Munguía Payes, El Salvador’s defense minister. Mexican traffickers have been setting up bases in Honduras to facilitate drug transportation into Mexico, according to Honduran authorities. In Guatemala, it appears to be the Zetas who are taking the lead. They are reputed to have set up recruitment and training bases and have forced at least one Guatemalan drug family to leave the country. “When you have drug traffickers afraid of other drug traffickers, you know it’s getting pretty bad,” U.S. Ambassador to Guatemala Stephen McFarland told international broadcasters in December. Last year, one of the Mexican cartels sent a message to Guatemalans by leaving several decapitated heads on the steps of the country’s Parliament. Central American leaders have avoided treating the increasing threat from cartels as an exclusively Mexican problem. Instead, they have begun discussion on how to cooperatively address the drug trade as a regional challenge. The $31-billion drug trade amounts to more money than the combined annual defense budgets of all the Central American countries. In response, Central American leaders have called on the U.S. for assistance. Washington has greatly increased its efforts on a broad front in recent months. U.S. Forces have been training a Guatemalan special force tactical strike team and the U.S. Government has donated a number of UH-2 helicopters to help provide essential air mobility. And more intelligence is being shared on drug and cartel movements at a joint interagency task force center known as JIATF-S based in Key West, where members of the U.S. military, the DEA, Customs and Border Patrol and the Coast Guard work with representatives from Central American countries. But the U.S. has offered more than a military response. In Guatemala, the U.S. Embassy and the United States Agency for International Development have helped the government to establish 24-hour drug courts to process the large number of cases stemming from cartel violence. The U.S. has also assisted in setting up a model police precinct in one of Guatemala City’s most violent suburbs, Villa Nueva. Community outreach programs in the suburb have encouraged locals to tip off the police about drug activity. The U.S. has also provided funding and advice on improving security at border crossings with Mexico. Violence increases U.S. steps upcenter_img “Plan Central America?” By Dialogo January 31, 2011 Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla has urged U.S. and Central American leaders to talk about a more comprehensive collective approach, with an anti-drug plan tailored for the region. Chinchilla calls her program “Plan Central America.” The initiative would in many ways resemble the multiyear, multibillion-dollar Merida Initiative launched by George W. Bush in 2007 and expanded by President Obama, but with a greater focus on Central America. “We don’t want to be seen as an appendix of the Merida Initiative,” Chinchilla said. Central American leaders agree they won’t win the fight against the cartels without first defeating official corruption and lowering poverty rates. Guatemala’s President Colom said his country’s poverty creates a breeding ground for cartels to recruit locals into their ranks. “If you don’t have social programs, these narcos have the communities on their side,” he said.last_img read more

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Mastic Beach Hit-and-run Driver Sought

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Suffolk County police are looking for a hit-and-run driver that critically injured a 37-year-old pedestrian in the victim’s hometown of Mastic Beach on Tuesday morning.Officers responded to a 911 call of a pedestrian lying in a wooded area on the side of Mastic Beach Road near the corner of Longfellow Drive, where they found Michael Walstrum had been struck by a vehicle at 9:40 a.m., police said.Walstrum was taken to Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center in East Patchogue, where he was listed in critical condition.Investigators believe the vehicle is a metallic blue with front-end damage and front passenger side body damage that fled southbound on Mastic Beach Road.Vehicular Crime Unit detectives are continuing the investigation and ask anyone with information about the crash to contact them at 631-852-6555 or call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.last_img read more

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