By Sharon OmahenUniversity of Georgia With a computer program, scientists across the globe can now plant, tend and harvest “crops” in just minutes. Software applications unlimitedIn the early stages, the DSSAT developers tested the software using four years of real-crop data from Florida peanut farms. The software is called Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer, or DSSAT. It was created by a team of researchers from the universities of Georgia, Florida, Hawaii, Guelph and Iowa State and the International Center for Soil Fertility and Agricultural Development. “Our goal is to educate the people who talk to farmers directly,” said Ken Boote, a DSSAT developer and UF agronomist. “Consultants, ag industry representatives and extension agents have the potential to spread the word to farmers. It’s a technical type of transfer, so only farmers with interest in this technology would benefit from actually using the software themselves.”Boote says the way the software presents the data is an essential part of the success of DSSAT. “You can’t give numbers that no one can understand,” he said. “Our program calculates crop growth and development in a mathematical sense and then shows it visually and graphically.” DSSAT is a computer model that allows the user to simulate a crop’s growth, yield, water and nutrient requirements and the impact of the environment. The program didn’t develop overnight. In fact, the software’s fourth version will be released in early 2003. About 40 researchers and graduate students from across the globe met on the UGA experiment station campus in Griffin, Ga., Dec. 9-18 to see the newest DSSAT software. “The results you obtain from the software are not ultimate truths, and they’re not meant to replace real experiments, real data or critical thinking,” he said. “Anytime you run a model you should question the results.” “The trial-and-error approach is expensive,” said Jim Jones, a DSSAT developer and a UF agricultural engineer. “With DSSAT, we can couple the systems approach with experiments. As P.G. Cox said, agricultural science is not a science unless it predicts and then tests its predictions.” DSSAT has been used on food security projects in Africa and other developing countries, too, and to study the impact climate change has on food production, he said. “Our goal this week was to introduce the newest Windows-based version of DSSAT and make sure the users understand and can use our system,” said Gerrit Hoogenboom, a DSSAT developer and an agricultural engineer with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “We definitely don’t want it to be on shelves collecting dust when it should be put to use.”Don’t conduct all research on computer Hoogenboom told the first DSSAT Version 4 users not to rely solely on the software for their research data. DSSAT has also been used as an effective tool after a crop has been harvested to identify the source of production management problems. “It’s a way to see the whole picture and what is limiting the crop,” Boote said. “The software actually works better this way.” The DSSAT software allows the user to simulate the growth of peanuts, sunflowers, sugarcane, wheat, soybeans, rice, tomatoes, sorghum, millet, barley, potatoes, corn, cowpeas and dry beans. Cotton will soon be added to the list. “Those who use DSSAT now are sharing their work and their data via a computer listserv,” Jones said. “In this way, the software is contributing to the whole scientific community.”Helping farmers identify and solve problems The crop-simulation information will be shared with farmers. Though not a substitute for the real thing, the computer model can have great value to researchers. “It’s been used in Arkansas to help with early-season soybean plantings, in Kentucky for determining planting dates, in Georgia for predicting agricultural water usage and in Africa to diagnose yield loss of peanut crops from disease,” Boote said. “The list of applications is never-ending.”
Peter Shumlin was sworn in this afternoon as the state’s 81st governor. His speech hit on the major themes from the long, heated campaign; a campaign in which both the primary and the general election went down to the wire. After thanking many people, including his predecessor, Jim Douglas, who received a rousing standing ovation, Governor Shumlin talked about jobs, his plan on how to get them, keep them and grow them. Among the major points were bringing broadband and cell coverage to every corner of the state by 2013; initiating a single-payer health care system to take the burden of cost off employers; and finally saying that there will not be any tax increase and even going farther by saying that Vermonters are over-burdened already by the level of taxation. He said he will endeavor to change the “patchwork” tax structure: “Our choices about taxes directly impact job growth. Vermont’s tax challenge is not that our burden is not high enough; it is that our tax burden is too high.”Inaugural Address of Governor Peter ShumlinJanuary 6, 2011Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Chief Justice, Members of the General Assembly, distinguished guests, fellow Vermonters:Thank you. It is an honor to stand before you today.Thank you, Governor Douglas, for 38 years of exemplary public service to the Green Mountain state. We are grateful for your hard work and sacrifice on our behalf and to Dorothy and your family for sharing so much of your life with us.Thank you to Brian Dubie for your service as Lieutenant Governor for the past eight years. While Brian and I had a spirited campaign this fall, I am proud to call Brian my friend; we are united in our love for our state and the constituents we serve.Members of Governor Shumlin’s cabinet and other dignitaries watch from the balcony. Since my election in November, I have had the honor of joining Governor Douglas and our Congressional delegation in welcoming home our soldiers from Afghanistan after the biggest deployment of National Guard troops since World War II. We are so proud of you and thrilled to have you home. Our hearts go out to our Gold Star families who have made the ultimate sacrifice to our state and nation. Today, joining Adjutant General Michael Dubie in the gallery are veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq: Brigadier General Jonathan Farnham, Captain Cathy Cappetta, and Chief Master Sergeant Steven Zappi. Also joining them is Command Sergeant Major Michael Datillio, who is retiring after 44 years of service to his state and his country. Please join me in recognizing these brave women and men ‘ and all the Vermonters who have served in our armed services in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere abroad.I am grateful to my loving family and friends for your faith and support; and to all who worked so hard to make this moment possible. Above all, thank you Vermonters for giving me this opportunity to serve you as Governor; I am both honored and humbled.That I stand before you today as Vermont’s 81st Governor was improbable, and no one can attest to that better than my mom and dad, who are here today. My mom reminded me again on election night that it often seemed more likely in my grade school years that I would struggle to find a job than to run for office. As a kid who learned differently, I remember well in second grade being called into the principal’s office with my parents to have them be told what I already knew, but hoped beyond hope that they would never find out: that with all the good efforts of my teachers they could not teach me how to read; that the prospects of my being a successful student and going onto college were unlikely, but they would do the best they could. That was not a great day.I had a single teacher who believed in me. Her name was Claire Ogelsby; she later became Vermont’s teacher of the year. Her husband Mac and daughter Molly are here today. Claire would be here too had she not lost her battle with cancer a year and a half ago. After her long day at school, Claire loaded me in her Willy’s Jeep and took me to her log cabin deep in the woods on Windmill Hill Road in Westminster West. In the warm weather we sat on her lawn; in the cold weather we huddled around the wood stove; and slowly and creatively she taught me how to read. What I remember best about Claire was no matter how difficult the challenge; no matter how innovative she had to be or how hard she had to work, she never gave up on me and therefore neither did I.I share that part of my life today because we are living in difficult times and we need to be creative to overcome our challenges. Let me be clear about the fiscal reality that our great state faces at this moment. After several years of making necessary but painful spending cuts, we are still confronted with a $150 million shortfall in the next fiscal year. Our economic challenges are real, and so is my firm commitment to address them responsibly and swiftly ‘ with hard, sometimes painful but sustainable choices. There is no easy or popular path ahead.While I am bound and determined to put Vermont on a sustainable spending path this year, balancing the budget is not our biggest challenge. All across our state, too many Vermonters are living in fear: fear that they might lose their jobs, face another pay cut, fail to keep their home, send their children to college, afford health insurance or a secure retirement. That fear knows no political party; it has lost patience in finding solace in political slogans and false promises, it takes no more comfort from a tea party rally in Tallahassee than it does from a bickering government in Washington, DC. Vermonters wonder: is anyone in government listening? Can we let go of the political speak, stop playing pretend, face the facts, and arrive at a common purpose?From Bennington to Burlington, Guilford to Guildhall and Stamford to Swanton, our state is uniquely united in what we wish for. Vermonters want jobs and a brighter economic future for themselves and their children.The guiding principle for my administration’s work is simple: we will commit ourselves every day to making the lives of Vermonters more economically secure. With the same fortitude and creative determination that Claire showed in her zeal to teach me and other students who learned like me, one student at a time, I believe in Vermont’s opportunity to replace fear with a bright economic future, one job at a time. A clear vision for job growth and a bold plan to deliver that vision is what Vermont needs right now.The last Putney boy to become Governor, almost three quarters of a century ago, was George D. Aiken, whose wife Lola joins us here today. Governor Aiken also had a bold vision for Vermont’s job growth that he shared with this Joint Assembly as he bid farewell as Governor. He said, ‘Vermont is one of a few states that can sell four feet of snow and twenty below at a profit.’Aiken delivered those words at the dawn of the Vermont snow rush, as chainsaw toting men carved ski trails and second home sites into Green Mountains as rugged and majestic as Vermonters themselves. From Killington to Jay; Stratton to Stowe; Mount Snow to Mad River Glen; Aiken articulated a plan that remains a potent economic force almost 75 years later.As we close out the first decade of the 21st century, Aiken’s world of predictable winters, with twenty below and four feet of snow has been slowly but certainly melting away from us. It’s at Aiken’s home at Vermont’s southern border; at the soil he tilled; the maple trees he nurtured; the ponds he adored; that his horticulturalist’s eyes would gaze in stark amazement at the magnitude of change. The Elm and Butternut are all but gone, the buckthorn is choking out the young hardwood saplings, and many of the ponds that once bubbled with life are now empty waterways.While leaders across America, influenced by the extraordinary economic power of oil, coal and automobile companies, equivocate about climate change, we must not. That our planet is warming at an alarming rate is undeniable. But I raise this not to engage in an abstract discussion of climate science. I raise it because I believe Vermont’s economic future will be determined by how we respond to this challenge. We will provide the brainpower, make the products, and seize the job opportunities a lower carbon economy requires.Vermont’s diversified jobs future is bright. Manufacturing, deployment and production of renewable energy and efficiency, tourism, technology, and agriculture are all sectors of our economy with potential for unlimited growth.As we work to put Vermonters back to work, one job at a time, let us always be mindful that government does not create jobs; entrepreneurs do. What government must do is to make the necessary infrastructure choices that are essential to job growth for this new era.This agenda consists of five goals: expanding broadband, containing health care costs, educating our work force, providing tax fairness and credit for emerging businesses, and supporting a renaissance in Vermont agriculture. It is big, it is ambitious, and it is achievable if we view it as our common purpose.Today I am launching Connect VT, an initiative to deliver by 2013 my promise of high-speed Internet access and cell service to every corner of our state. If not confronted, our connectivity deficit will relegate us to an economic backwater. Vermont lags behind the developing world and ranks 46th among the fifty states in connectivity. Governor Aiken, when facing an equally daunting challenge of bringing electricity to every last mile of this rural state, in the 1930’s, launched a strategy he called ‘Initiative and Cooperation.’Listen for a moment to the words he wrote in August 1939, about that effort: ‘A few weeks ago I pulled the switch that started the current flowing through a cooperative electric line that is bringing the blessings of light and power to hundreds of farms and homes in another Vermont community-homes which, in the past, had been almost completely isolated from urban civilization.’Seventy-two years after Aiken wrote those words about the need to bring Vermont out of its isolation, we must display the same foresight to confront an equally daunting isolation. The spirit that led Aiken to bring Vermont out of the darkness is the same innovative cooperation that is called upon today from our private sector telecommunications providers, the Vermont utilities, regulators and our citizens, if we are to deliver the new electric current of the modern world to Vermont.We have $410 million in private, federal, and bonded capital to be strategically deployed. These resources present Vermonters with a once in a life-time opportunity to ‘initiate and cooperate’ by completing the build out of the Smart Grid, broadband and mobile phone service in a collaborative marriage of the telecommunications and electrical utility sectors to create one shared broadband infrastructure for Vermont.We will not and cannot compete and prosper in the global economy until and unless we deliver on this promise. We all know success won’t be easy, but Vermonters elected me on my pledge to get tough things done, and we will. Indeed, we are too small to fail.The rising cost of healthcare for Vermont’s middle class and small businesses provides an equally daunting threat to economic prosperity. Just ten years ago our little state was spending $2.5 billion a year to stay healthy. Today we spend over $5 billion. That increase represents an enormous hidden tax on families and small businesses across our state. If left untethered, the rising cost of health insurance will cripple us.That’s why we must create a single-payer healthcare system that provides universal, affordable health insurance for all Vermonters that brings these skyrocketing costs under control. Let Vermont be the first state in the nation to treat healthcare as a right and not a privilege; removing the burden of coverage from our business community and using technology and outcomes-based medicine to contain costs. By doing so, we will save money and improve the quality of our care.Some will say it can’t be done. The special interests; insurance companies, pharmaceutical industry, medical equipment makers; the same lobbyists that spent hundreds of millions of dollars to make sure that real reform withered in Washington can be expected to exercise their will to protect their enormous profits.Others will say reform will destroy our existing healthcare system. But logic suggests ‘ and our experience shows – that our current system is unsustainable; that underfunded reimbursements starve our doctors and hospitals; that duplication, waste, inefficiencies and rising costs will drive more rural providers into bankruptcy and destroy our quality of care, which is the very best in the land. I ask the defenders of the current system to explain how small businesses, municipalities and taxpayers can sustain double digit premium increases year after year.Shortly we will receive plans from Dr. William Hsiao to help us design a health care system that Vermonters can afford. I’ve assembled a healthcare team that will invite providers, consumers, businesses, municipalities, insurers, and our congressional delegation to the table to help Vermont build a sensible healthcare system. I call upon single payer supporters to resist the temptation to oversimplify the challenge. I call upon skeptics to challenge us, but to join us at the table. I call upon Vermonters to join together with the common purpose of our state once again leading where others dare not go; universal, affordable, quality healthcare that follows the individual and is not tied to employment.In a democratic society, educating our citizens is our single greatest obligation. I hereby call for an end to the war of words launched from Montpelier that pits property tax payers against our children, teachers, principals, and school board members, and invite instead a respectful conversation on how to create the best education system for our future; how to produce the best workforce for the jobs we’ve just discussed. We take pride in Vermont’s quality education system that is the envy of the rest of the country. Let’s build upon our success by doing even better. The objective is simple: every Vermonter must have the same opportunity for success that Claire Ogelsby made possible for me; economically, intellectually and socially.Part of achieving that success is ensuring that our children don’t grow up in poverty. Almost one in three Vermont children live in low-income households. Without proper nutrition, quality early education, or a stable home, these children too often enter kindergarten far behind their peers, and the spiral begins. They are more likely to drop out of school, abuse substances, and become statistics later in life. We can make a difference in their lives, and we will.We can also do better at ensuring the success of all of our students in school. While we are rightfully proud of our outstanding education system, we are not delivering what is required for every student. Time spent in class does not measure acquisition of skills. For those who quickly demonstrate clear levels of achievement, let’s accelerate their path to enriched programs in that area of study. For students who do not learn in traditional ways, let’s support creative approaches that may be outside the four walls of our classrooms.From early education to higher education; from dual enrollment to technical school; we have the most innovative offerings in the country. Our challenge is to break down the silos into a seamless system that allows each individual learner to integrate the array of programs that inspire lifelong learning.Of course, education extends beyond our schools and to our workforce. Herein lies a great challenge. At a time when Vermonters are facing unemployment and underemployment, many of our jobs creators can’t find qualified employees, and it’s government’s responsibility to help fix this problem. Let me be specific: right here in the chamber today we have representatives of businesses who are looking for qualified employees. IBM in Essex is looking; GE in Rutland is looking; Vermont Circuits in Brattleboro is looking; Sonnax in Rockingham is looking. Our job is to have a pool of applicants trained and ready to work.It should be the policy of the state of Vermont that learning never ends. Working together in a partnership with our educational community we will close the gap between those Vermonters who want work and our job creators who have work to do.At no time in my memory has the future of agriculture in our state had more potential to grow and make money, despite the extraordinarily difficult times facing our dairy farmers. Vermont still produce over 60 percent of the milk in New England, and our dairy community is as unified and focused as I have ever seen it. Working together with our Congressional delegation ‘ the best in the country ‘ we will continue the fight for fair prices for our dairy farmers.The renaissance in Vermont agriculture is rooted in the growing concern by consumers across America about where and how their food is produced. Consumers are increasingly demanding locally grown, chemical-free, high quality food. We must take Vermont’s strengths ‘ buy local, farmers markets, farm to plate, Vermont Fresh Network restaurants ‘ and expand our view of local to everything within 200 miles of Vermont, which includes Manhattan, Boston, and Montreal. Investing in processing and bottling facilities, combined with a dynamic marketing effort for Vermont quality foods, will bring our farmers the value-added price that they deserve for a hard day’s work, and they will prosper.Finally, my jobs agenda will expand the ability of emerging enterprises and businesses to access capital and credit when they need it the most. If our Green Mountain State can be recognized by young entrepreneurs as the innovative leader in financing and venture capital for micro-businesses when banks say ‘no,’ small businesses will thrive.Let me give you an exciting example of what I mean by innovation in financing and venture capital. The EB-5 program, championed in Congress by Senator Leahy, is an established means of generating capital that is creating jobs. Thousands of them, right here in Vermont. We must take this program to levels not imagined by its creators. EB-5 gives us a vehicle not only to raise essential capital, but also to spread Vermont’s stellar reputation from one end of the globe to another.We have a pioneer in this effort, Bill Stenger, of Jay Peak, deep in the Northeast Kingdom, who joins us today. Bill has plumbed this federal program to its fullest potential. Through this initiative he has created over a thousand new jobs in the highest unemployment area of the state that would not otherwise exist.Let me say one last word on my economic priorities. Our choices about taxes directly impact job growth. Vermont’s tax challenge is not that our burden is not high enough; it is that our tax burden is too high. We must develop a tax policy that grows our customer base and grows wealth. The upcoming report from our tax commission will help us in this task. Our patchwork of broad based taxes that have accumulated over the years, combined with overburdened property taxes, require our attention. But let me be clear: as we tackle the difficult challenge of balancing our budget, we must not and cannot succumb to the idea that Vermonters have the capacity to pay higher taxes right now. In order to grow jobs and be more competitive with neighboring states, we must resist the temptation to raise broad-based taxes.I am the first to acknowledge that this action plan is ambitious, and I have not mentioned many of my administration’s other priorities: reducing recidivism for non-violent offenders; rebuilding our roads and bridges; reforming our campaign finance laws; and making government more transparent. You will be hearing more about these and other initiatives in the near future.Our obstacles are many, and our challenges are daunting. The change we are proposing this afternoon is transformative and systemic. It will not happen quickly or easily. Yet as I stand here today to begin a new era of government in Vermont, I remember Claire Oglesby and the many Vermonters who embody her belief that we can overcome adversity with courage and creativity.Vermonters are a rugged people with an abundance of spirit and toughness.Each day is another day in which we can excel.We must intensify our individual efforts to nurture the health and well being of our state and its people.Together we can be bold.Together we must be bold.Let’s begin now.Thank you.Watch WCAX-TV Video
By Nelza Oliveira/Diálogo August 01, 2018 Service members of the Brazilian Armed Forces took part in the first basic response course for chemical incidents. The Assistance and Protection for Portuguese-Speaking Participants course—per the training schedule of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)—took place May 21st–25th in Rio de Janeiro. Service members and civilians from seven Portuguese-speaking nations, as well as members of the Brazilian Intelligence Agency, the Federal Police, and the state of Rio de Janeiro Military Fire Brigade—all agencies associated with chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear defense (CBRN)—participated. The Biological, Chemical, Radiological, and Nuclear Defense Center of the Brazilian Navy (MB, in Portuguese) coordinated the course. Service members from MB, the Brazilian Army, and the Brazilian Air Force (FAB, in Portuguese), served as instructors. “Fifteen service members attended the course, in addition to a team of instructors consisting of 33 service members from the Brazilian Armed Forces,” said FAB First Lieutenant Gustavo Messias Costa, head of the Aeromedical Subdivision of FAB’s Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IMAE, in Portuguese). IMAE focuses on education, research, development, and training in aerospace medicine, as well as pre-hospital medical care and missions such as aeromedical evacuation and aircraft and personnel decontamination involved in CBRN incidents. In total, 38 students, among Brazilian and foreign nationals attended the course. Intensive training “FAB assigned six IMAE service members and eight members of the Puma Squadron to conduct the aeromedical evacuation training for victims of CBRN agents,” said 1st Lt. Costa. Trainees conducted a drill on contaminated victims and practiced aeromedical evacuation with isolation and onboarding of the Puma Squadron’s H-36 Caracal aircraft that transported them to the hospital. “This training is crucial for operational maintenance and integration between the many teams that will participate in response operations,” said FAB First Lieutenant Jaison Lopes Garcia, the helicopter commander. “The medical staff and crew must be well bonded, as timing for the victim’s stabilization and evacuation can make all the difference in a real life event.” In addition to the aeromedical evacuation, the weeklong course included lectures and practical workshops on assessment and clinical management of victims of chemical attacks, decontamination, and interagency response to chemical incidents. “The course schedule was five days, totaling nine hours of daily instruction,” said 1st Lt. Costa. “The students attended the demonstration of a terrorist attack with chemical agents, including first response, rescue and screening of victims, chemical agent detection, and decontamination.” Brazil’s CBRN experience Brazilian troops intervened in at least two CBRN incidents. In 1987, in the city of Goiânia, state of Goiás, scrap metal scavengers broke an X-ray machine found at an abandoned clinic, exposing thousands of people to cesium 137, a radioactive material, and causing the largest radiological accident in the history of the country. Specialized teams of the Armed Forces spearheaded transport operations—FAB conducted aeromedical evacuation to hospitals—and provided medical care to victims. They also focused on processing and insulating tons of generated waste. In 2013, in the city of Santa Maria, state of Rio Grande do Sul, an acoustic insulation foam at a nightclub accidentally burned, producing cyanide and killing hundreds of young people. The Brazilian military’s experience with chemical agents was further enhanced preparing for CBRN in major events of the last decade: the 2007 Pan American Games, 2011 Military World Games, Earth Summit 2012, World Youth Day 2013, the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, 2014 FIFA World Cup, and 2016 Summer Olympics and Paralympics. “These events increased situational awareness of possible terrorist attacks due to the large number of foreign nationals, and the presence of foreign officials in the country, representing potential targets,” 1st Lt. Costa said. “Another important point is that among the various national energy sources, Brazil has nuclear power plants in Angra dos Reis with a constant warning system and emergency, evacuation, and containment plans in the event of an accident due to reactor failure. The country’s road and railway systems also transport numerous industrial products, which in the event of an accident, could cause chemical catastrophes. All of this promotes constant preparation to face events with CBRN agents, and for the training of specialized troops to be made as professionally as possible.” Brazil hosted the Regional Assistance and Protection Exercise for Member States of the Latin American and Caribbean Region in August 2017 in Rio de Janeiro, bringing together representatives of chemical emergency response agencies from the civil and security defense sectors of Brazil and 18 other countries. The event marked the inauguration of the Regional Chemical Weapons Assistance and Protection Center for Latin America and the Caribbean at the headquarters of the Ministry of Defense of Brazil, bringing together the Brazilian Armed Forces’ funds, equipment, and human resources.
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A gunman was sentenced Friday to 35 years in prison for shooting a 50-year-old Queens man to death in 2013 in the shooter’s hometown of Valley Stream.Orlando Ortiz was convicted at Nassau County court in December of first-degree manslaughter and criminal possession of a weapon.“This defendant shot an unarmed man multiple times as he sat in his car, unable to defend himself,” Acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said.Prosecutors said the 32-year-old man shot Richard Baccus of Rosedale in the parking lot of Ay! Caramba following an argument shortly before midnight on the night of Dec. 23, 2013.
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Countless Long Islanders will be among the 3.5 million Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade spectators, but the event has more connections to the Island than just being an hour-long train ride away.Many have seen local high school marching bands and kick lines join the procession as well as our music artists performing on floats, such as homegrown hip hop trio De La Soul and singer Idina Menzel. But few people may know that there are more LI links to the parade than there are dance troupes busting moves down Sixth Avenue on Turkey Day.Here are 10 Long Island ties to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade:10) A Native Ran The ParadeEmbed from Getty Images In 2015, a blimp on its way to fly over the parade made an emergency landing at a Woodward Parkway School athletic field shortly after taking off from Republic Airport in East Farmingdale. Neither the pilot nor his two passengers were injured, but the incident did make for some striking images of the slow-motion crash landing. Authorities blamed the incident on high winds that day.2) The Big ManEdmund Gwenn (1877-1959) as Kris Kringle in Miracle on 34th Street.The 1947 classic Christmas movie Miracle on 34th Street is back in rotation this time of year. But only those paying close attention may have noticed that the movie’s protagonist, Kris Kringle — who Macy’s hires to play Santa in the parade before he’s institutionalized for insisting that he really is Claus — lists his address as an adult home in Great Neck.1) Gotta Catch ‘Em AllEmbed from Getty Images For several years early in the parade’s history, organizers released the giant helium-filled balloons and encouraged finders to return them to the store for a $100 reward. In 1929, three balloons reportedly landed on LI, triggering a fight over who would claim the cash. In one case, Tiger landed on the roof of a house and was torn to shreds in a tug of war, according to reports. The practice was discontinued in 1932 after a Tom-Kat balloon struck an airplane. The year was 1993. Sonic the Hedgehog, who had debuted two years prior on the Sega gaming console, was the first video game character to become a float in the parade. Unfortunately, the balloon’s first flight ended early when it snagged a lamppost at the corner of West 58th Street and Broadway, causing a street light fixture to fall on off-duty Suffolk County Police Captain Joseph Kistingeran, breaking his shoulder, according to reports at the time.8) Parade QueenEmbed from Getty Images It’s not just the spectators who are susceptible to giant balloons’ ruining their day — so are the volunteers who help guide the floating characters. Keri O’Connell of Franklin Square learned that lesson the hard way when a golf cart ran over her foot, fracturing a bone, while she was holding a line for Buzz Lightyear in 2013. “We were having the most fantastic time,” she told the New York Daily News. “Everything was wonderful. All of a sudden I was on the ground in intense pain.”4) Top ClownEmbed from Getty Images In what easily ranks as one of the strangest security breaches ever at such a high-profile target for terrorists, shredded — but still legible — internal Nassau County police documents were used as confetti in 2012. WPIX-TV first reported the story, which was so ridiculous that it was picked up by national news outlets. Investigators identified the confetti culprit as one of their own who had attended the parade with family members. The case reportedly prompted new protocols for disposing documents — especially if they contained detectives’ personal information, among other sensitive details.6) Take A SeatFor people standing for hours on sidewalks to watch the parade, the importance of this local contribution cannot be overstated. Commack-based Seating Solutions was hired to design, build, and install stadium-seating along the parade route for the select few thousand spectators lucky enough to get a seat, WNYW-TV reported. “We do everything from design to installation to custom fabrication,” company chairman Scott Suprina told the network.5) Balloon BuzzkillEmbed from Getty Images In 1926, when the parade was stepping off for the third time, then-21-year-old Helen Olstein was anointed “queen of the parade,” a crown she wore until the following year, when the event introduced its iconic giant balloons for the first time. Olstein, who later got married and raised a family in Woodmere, watched the parade from the sidelines 80 years later, in ’06, at age 101, the Times reported. “It was a delicious time, and we had so much fun,” she told the paper. The title has since been dropped from rotation.7) Confetti ConfidentialEmbed from Getty Images One of the many former Nassau County residents lured to New York City living, Amy Kule, of Manhattan, rose up the ranks of Macy’s and led the company’s biggest annual event from 2010 through 2016. “My mother, to this day, thinks that I took this job so I don’t have to cook Thanksgiving dinner,” she told The New York Times in 2013. “And she may be right.”9) Sonic vs. SCPDEmbed from Getty Images Thankfully for the parade’s sake, the nation’s Halloween hysteria over creepy clowns terrorizing communities appears to have subsided in time for 1,000 clowns to march through Midtown without fear, just favor. The funny woman in charge of all these comical characters? Fran Nesturrick of Baldwin. At least she was in ’06, when she did interviews pulling the curtain back on the preparations involved. We reached out to Macy’s to see if she’s still commander of the clowns, but haven’t heard back.3) Blimp Makes Touchdown
Donald Burton Sr. was not only an employee of the Binghamton Department of Parks and Recreation, but he also was a veteran of the U.S. Army. Donald Burton Sr. was only 40 years old when he was just trying to help people clear the pathways of snow on February 11, 1970. He took his tractor with a snow sweeper on it to clean off the bridge, but his tractor broke through the walkway and he crashed below in the icy waters. He left behind his wife and five children. BINGHAMTON (WBNG) — 50 years after local city employee, Donald Burton Sr., plunged to his death on the Exchange Street Bridge, his family and community honored him with a memorial at the end of the bridge. His son, Donald Burton, says he was a baby when this happened, so he never really got to know his father. He says his mother would tell him stories of his dad. While many may remember this day as a tragedy and feel sorrow when thinking about Burton Sr., his family wants him to be remembered as someone who would always give back, since he was doing just that when he died. “My mother told me the story of every night about the time he would have come home.” Burton paused to take a moment. “I would bounce my crib to the front door and he didn’t come home…you know…”
– Advertisement – Twitter and Facebook on Tuesday suspended several recently created and mostly right-leaning news accounts posting information about voting in the hotly contested US election for violating their policies.Twitter said the accounts had been suspended for violating its policy against “coordination” by posting identical content while appearing independent or engaging in other covertly automated behaviour.- Advertisement – Other accounts suspended by Twitter included FJNewsReporter, Crisis_Intel and Faytuks. Some of the accounts in the past suggested that readers follow the others.Facebook also suspended several accounts behind US-based pages called SV News and FJ News, citing inauthentic behaviour. The SV page had more than 20,000 followers.Some of the suspended accounts were closely read by the media in Russia, which has been accused of meddling in the 2016 election. Both SVNewsAlerts and Faytuks, which had only 11,000 followers, have had their tweets highlighted dozens of times in state-controlled Sputnik and RT, as observed by researcher Chris Scott and confirmed by Reuters.- Advertisement – One of those suspended, SVNewsAlerts, had more than 78,000 Twitter followers, after adding more than 10,000 in the past week.The account frequently warned of election-related unrest and highlighted issues with voting safety and reliability. It pointed to fraud claims about Democrats and called attention to Republican President Donald Trump’s rallies and speeches.In fact, few if any major disruptions were reported at polling sites on Tuesday as civil liberties groups and law enforcement were on high alert for any interference with voters.- Advertisement – Even as social media companies took action, false or exaggerated reports about voting fraud and delays at the polls circulated throughout the day, in some cases helped along by official Republican accounts and online publications.The FBI and the New York attorney general also said they were looking into a spate of mysterious robocalls urging people to stay home, which were reported in multiple battleground states.Twitter appended fact-checking labels to multiple tweets from the @PhillyGOP account, which was among those using the hashtag #StopTheSteal. The Philadelphia Republican Party did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on the Twitter labels.Far-right sites Breitbart and The Gateway Pundit both published articles claiming “the steal is on” in Pennsylvania that racked up thousands of shares on Facebook and Twitter.#StopTheSteal spiked from a few dozen mentions to more than 2,000 mentions over a 15-minute period in the morning, according to media intelligence firm Zignal Labs.Zignal said unfounded claims about closed polling stations and excessively long lines in Republican-leaning areas in Pennsylvania, one of the most closely contested states, received more than 33,000 mentions on Twitter.Alex Stamos, former chief technology officer of Facebook and now director of the Stanford Internet Observatory, told reporters there were coordinated efforts to deliberately blow some problems out of proportion.“Specifically in Pennsylvania – to say this example is a demonstration of something nefarious going on, and not just the kind of random mistake that happens all the time,” he said on a call organised by the Election Integrity Partnership.In one video shared widely among conservative audiences, including by both of Trump’s sons, a Trump poll-watcher was seen being turned away from a site. The video was viewed 2.5 million times on Twitter.Philadelphia officials investigated and concluded the man had mistakenly been barred under an expired law, which required authorisation to enter a specific polling spot. He was then admitted.Followers of the conspiracy movement QAnon also spread the Pennsylvania reports, according to researchers at misinformation tracking firm Alethea Group.© Thomson Reuters 2020Are iPhone 12 mini, HomePod mini the Perfect Apple Devices for India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.
Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion After being away for an extended time, I’m looking forward to commenting on a few issues, both serious and not so serious.The first issue that has caught my attention is about whether a bakery owner has the right to refuse to sell a wedding cake to a gay couple.It was a matter of whether the bakery owner had the right to freely practice his religion as the Constitution guarantees.If that bakery were around this area, I would go in and order a wedding cake, agree to the decoration, etc. then, just before paying for the cake, I would smile sweetly and ask, “I’m twice divorced (true), will that be a problem?” Lorene HuntleySchenectadyMore from The Daily Gazette:Troopers: Schenectady pair possessed heroin, crack cocaine in Orange County Thruway stopSchenectady police reform sessions pivot to onlineEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidation
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David Moyes sends warning to Kieran Tierney over Arsenal transfer move Moyes says Tierney will need time to adjust to the Premier League (Picture: Getty)‘Again, it may take him a little period of time for him to fully adjust to life in the Premier League.‘He will be facing a top-end player every week, and he will need to get to grips with that as there will be much more defensive duties to carry out than he has probably been used to at Celtic.‘But if the move goes through, he will go on to show his worth and will be a credit to himself and his country.’ Metro Sport ReporterSunday 4 Aug 2019 1:48 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link1.2kShares Comment Arsenal target Kieran Tierney has told Celtic he wants to play in the Premier League (Picture: Getty)David Moyes has warned Kieran Tierney that it will take time to adjust to the step up in quality of the Premier League should he complete a move from Celtic to Arsenal.Unai Emery identified Tierney as his priority left-back target at the start of the summer and Arsenal are reportedly confident of signing the 22-year-old left-back.The Gunners failed with their two opening bids for Tierney, but it’s understood the club are closing in on an agreement with Celtic after restructuring their offer of £25million for the Scotland international.Tierney has told Celtic that he’s keen to play in England this coming season and Moyes is confident the full-back has what it takes to become a ‘stalwart’ at the Emirates.AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENTMore: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man CityHowever, the former Manchester United manager believes his compatriot must be prepared for a better standard of opposition if he moves south of the border.‘He has been outstanding for Celtic for more than three years,’ Moyes told The Sunday Post.‘I’ve always had my eye on him and rated him. He is a top player.‘If he does go to the Emirates, I can see him being a stalwart for Arsenal for the next 10 years. Advertisement Arsenal are confident of landing Celtic star Tierney (Picture: Getty)Celtic skipper Scott Brown claims that Kieran Tierney has brushed off speculation linking him with Arsenal and is fully focused on returning to training ahead of the new season.‘He’s fine, he’s just come back from an injury,’ Brown said.‘He’s looking forward to trying to get himself back into training and get himself back on the pitch as well.‘He’s been a phenomenal player for us for the last five seasons. We’ll just wait and see what happens but here’s hoping he stays.More: FootballBruno Fernandes responds to Man Utd bust-up rumours with Ole Gunnar SolskjaerNew Manchester United signing Facundo Pellistri responds to Edinson Cavani praiseArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira moves‘As it stands he’s a Celtic player and I’d love him to stay because of what he’s done the last five seasons.‘There’s always going to be speculation on top-quality players and that’s what Kieran is.‘There will always be speculation whether he goes through this window to the next window, it will always be there.‘That is what we expect when the team is doing so well and we’re doing well in Europe, and he’s performing well in Europe. It will always be there or thereabouts.’MORE: Robbie Fowler sends warning to Harry Maguire and suggests ideal Paul Pogba replacement Advertisement