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Brittan defends leghold trap deal

first_img“If you had a ban, any belief this would lead to a sudden acceptance of allthe things the animal welfare people want is mistaken,” he insisted.The Commissioner said the deal not only ensured improved trapping normsoutside the EU, but also introduced for the first time humane standards forthe hundreds of thousands of animals trapped as pests each year in theUnion itself.Brittan confessed that he would have preferred a deal guaranteeing ashorter killing time than the 300-second limit written into the draft, butstressed that the time-limit should be viewed in the context of the overallcompromise.“The agreement foresees that this 300-second limit should be reviewedwithin three years in order to be lowered to 180 seconds,” he said, addingthat traps which kill animals more quickly needed to be more powerful andcould pose dangers for trappers and members of the public.Brittan considered that the immediate phase-out of leghold traps was amajor success, and pointed to the tightening of the deal after environmentministers expressed concerns about the initial draft last December.“Any trap which does not reach the standards for humaneness will be banned. Speaking just days before EU environment ministers are due to decide theissue, Brittan told European Voice: “The deal means a major improvement inanimal welfare which would not be achieved by a ban on the import of fursfrom the countries concerned.”The Commissioner accepted that the agreement to be presented to ministersnext Friday (20 June) was “not one that secures absolutely every objectiveone could possibly think of”.But he said that, as a first step, it represented a substantial improvementand would achieve considerably more than an import ban. But for now, the Commission’s main task is to persuade environmentministers to accept the first two texts next week. With officialspredicting the outcome will depend largely on the ‘chemistry’ in themeeting, the appointment of radical Green Dominique Voynet as the newFrench environment minister could play a decisive role.Meanwhile, MEPs are keeping up the pressure on ministers to reject theagreement, with a report drawn up by Portuguese Liberal MEP Carlos Pimentaclaiming that it is completely inadequate. He says it will allow legholdtraps to continue being used for another four years, while “legitimising”some forms of this trap as humane, and claims the standards fail to takeadequate account of physiological suffering.He also says substantial derogations “cast doubt on whether even the smallcommitments made by Russia and Canada will produce much in reality”.center_img That is the main principle which has eluded us for many years ininternational negotiations: a definition of what the standards should be,”he said.He also argued that a major factor in securing agreement was the pressureimposed on Canada and Russia by the threat of a ban. In this, he says, theregulation agreed in 1991 has fulfilled its purpose.“The regulation did not say there should be a ban, unless there was noagreement on standards. Its purpose was not to ban the fur trade but tobring pressure to reach an agreement,” he said.Brittan rejected MEPs’ charges that the Commission had reneged on its dutyto implement the 1991 agreement earlier, saying: “We are complyingcompletely with the proper procedures and there is no question of therebeing any shadow of impropriety.”Apart from the bad feeling an import ban would cause, Brittan believes thatrejection of the deal would leave the Union open to attack in the WorldTrade Organisation. It would also expose the EU to accusations ofhypocrisy, given its opposition to extra-territorial legislation such asthe US Helms-Burton law.Negotiations are continuing with the US, which has so far proved unwillingto sanction the unconditional phase-out of leghold traps. “Our strategy hasbeen to conclude a deal with the Canadians and Russians because we thinkthat will make it easier to secure a deal with the Americans,” explainedBrittan.last_img read more

Theresa May’s top aide apologizes over porn tweet

first_imgPornography has caused problems for the Conservative Party of late. In December, May forced her de facto deputy prime minister Damian Green to resign after an internal government report found he lied about a police investigation into pornography downloaded onto his work computer in 2008. The chief of staff to U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May apologized Wednesday for a social media “error” that resulted in him sharing pornographic videos.Gavin Barwell, a married father of three, responded to a tweet featuring three pornographic videos, one of which featured a sex scene with “two schoolgirls” and their “mum.” He was replying to an account called @twinkystar_69, which posts graphic videos and pictures.A Downing Street official told the Guido Fawkes website: “Gavin Barwell replied to this tweet, which was in his timeline, in error. He has deleted the reply and regrets the embarrassment this has caused.”last_img read more

Biology department evolves at FAS

first_imgEarlier this month, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) made official what scientists worldwide have known for years: Harvard is a hotbed of research and teaching in the field of human evolutionary biology — the study of why we’re the way we are.“As the first university to create a graduate program in what was then called ‘physical anthropology,’ Harvard has long been a leader in the study of human evolution,” says Jeremy Bloxham, dean of science in the FAS. “Through its use of techniques from biochemistry, engineering, and genetics, the modern field of human evolutionary biology has become increasingly aligned with the sciences. It seems only natural that we should foster our tremendous strength in this area by creating a dedicated Department of Human Evolutionary Biology.”With its May 11 vote to establish this department, the FAS staked out a formal presence in a field that dates back to Darwin’s publication of “On the Origin of Species” 150 years ago but has been reinvigorated in recent decades by the application of powerful new scientific approaches to the study of our collective origins.“Why do we cook our food? Why are we able to run long distances? Why are we so susceptible to diabetes?” asks Daniel Lieberman, professor of human evolutionary biology, who has been part of the effort to launch the new department over the past five years. “Nothing in biology makes sense outside of evolution. You can’t hope to understand species or their traits without first knowing why they’re there.”The research expertise of the nine faculty associated with the new Department of Human Evolutionary Biology touches on many of the most pressing social problems of our time: infectious disease, obesity, overpopulation, and aging, to name but a few.“We’re watching the intersection of evolution and infectious disease in real time with the outbreak of H1N1,” Lieberman says. “This is a perfect storm of population density, human proximity to animals, microbial biology, and the evolution of infectious disease.”It’s clear, Lieberman adds, that a holistic view — such as that embraced by his colleagues — is key to addressing problems of this complexity. And, he says, with its insights into what makes us us, human evolutionary biology can help address the underlying causes of major global problems, rather than just the symptoms.“How humans came to populate the globe left an imprint on our genomes collectively,” says Maryellen Ruvolo, professor of human evolutionary biology. “The big questions that still remain are first, which genes have been molded by natural selection to make us different from our common ancestor with chimpanzees, and second, which genes have been selected for, more recently, in human evolution that are adaptations to new, diverse environments that humans have colonized.”The field of human evolutionary biology is itself evolving fast, adds Richard Wrangham, Ruth Moore Professor of Biological Anthropology, with advances in genetics, genomics, and neuroscience playing a particularly important role.“The great thing about this area is that we can pull together advances from many different disciplines,” Wrangham says, “offering an integrated view of the effects of biological and cultural influences.”Small by Harvard standards in terms of faculty, the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology is large by the standards of its field, which still counts but a few full-fledged academic departments. The Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany, is an international leader in human evolutionary biology; on this side of the Atlantic, similar departments exist at Duke University and in Stony Brook University’s medical school.Students have responded favorably to Harvard’s offerings in the area: The undergraduate concentration in human evolutionary biology, launched in 2006, is already home to some 150 concentrators — among the largest cohorts in the College.“Human evolutionary biology attracts students from a wide range of interests, from philosophy to pre-meds — anyone wanting to understand where we come from, what we are, and where we are going,” Wrangham says.The new Department of Human Evolutionary Biology evolved from the biological anthropology wing of the Department of Anthropology, one of three distinct divisions in existence since 1972.“Anthropology at Harvard has a long and distinguished history, but the intellectual paradigms of the field have undergone rapid change in the past generation,” says Ted Bestor, professor of anthropology and chair of the Department of Anthropology, adding that modern human evolutionary biology differs tremendously from physical anthropology as practiced even 15 or 20 years ago.“The new Department of Human Evolutionary Biology and the archaeologists and social anthropologists in the Department of Anthropology will continue to share — and collaborate on — their common interests in understanding human beings across cultures, across historical and prehistorical time, and across the much greater spans of evolutionary development.”The new department, Lieberman says, is Harvard’s affirmation of evolutionary approaches to the question: “Why are we the way we are?”“Evolution matters profoundly,” he says. “We need to understand our origins before we can possibly hope to address these urgent problems facing humanity.”last_img read more

Dating Site That Hooks Up Volunteers Leads to a Valentine’s Day Wedding

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreHe baked for others.That’s a big reason why she put Michael Webber in her list of favorites on iHeartVolunteers, the dating site for service-minded people looking for love–he baked for the Peace Corps volunteers who would come through the town in Cambodia where he was serving.“I really wanted somebody who valued hospitality, volunteerism, and the world being bigger than one’s self,” says Alexandria Price, also a former Peace Corps volunteer. “I could tell from his profile that he was sincere.”So Price, a 33-year-old international development professional, gave him a shot. Even though she was living in Connecticut at the time and, from what she could tell, he was in China teaching English, she sent him a message. Her experience on other dating sites prior to iHeartVolunteers had been mixed: Match.com was too overwhelming, the sexual expectations of Tinder too off-putting, and Christian Mingle was too…well, you get the point.Price and Webber sent emails back and forth. They talked on Skype. They met in person, because coincidentally, Webber hadn’t left yet for China and was living in San Diego where Alex had family. Their first date was in a café – Webber brought her a batch of red velvet cookies – and that encounter kickstarted a love affair that has now lasted almost a year.“She’s honest, caring, sensitive, incredibly hard working, and a total dork. What’s not to love?” Webber says. “I remember looking at engagement rings like a month after we’d met. When you know, you know.”Webber is now in China; Price is finishing a tour of Nepal with her job. Through regular Skype dates they’ve become the ultimate digital couple, maintaining their love across oceans. They’re getting married today, on Valentine’s Day.“I’m not surprised this happened so quickly,” said Shelly Zenner, co-founder of iHeartVolunteers.Chris and Shelly Zenner, founded iHeartVolunteers“Volunteers share interests and core values such as compassion, a sense of adventure, flexibility and most importantly the desire to help improve the lives of people and the communities in which they live,” says Chris, Shelly’s husband and co-founder. “Having so much in common right off the bat is a huge advantage when looking for a meaningful relationship.”While there are other sites out there that do a similar sort of thing – CorpsSocial and YourCauseOrMine, for example – iHeartVolunteers stands out by not only giving 10% of their profits to the volunteer’s affiliated project or organization but by verifying the person’s volunteer experience to suss out phonies.CHECK OUT: Penniless Artist in India Falls in Love, Rides Bike to Sweden to Be With HerTo prove who you say you are, a third party screening company created by the Zenners contacts the organization and ask them straight up if you’ve donated your time or not – and the people on the other line never know it’s a dating site who’s calling.The dating pool has 600 potential volunteers to choose from so far, scattered here and there in almost every U.S. state from Colorado to Connecticut – and some live as far away as Liberia, Kenya, and Uganda.Aside from its built-in lie detector, iHeartVolunteers prides itself on being low cost. Active volunteers in long-term immersion programs such as Americorps are always free, and as the community grows, subscriptions will cost anywhere from $15.95 per month to $59.95 for six months.RELATED: Patient Gets Engaged to Marine Who Gave Her Best Gift of All–LifeEventually, they’re looking to host in-person events and offer volunteer opportunities as dates you can choose from. After seeing your date in action, if you don’t want to continue the relationship, at least you can say you did something good for the day.Past or current volunteers are currently welcome to sign up for a free three-month subscription no matter where they live in the world.Playing Cupid to the socially conscious, the Zenners hope to not only unite altruists like themselves–the pair actually fell in love while serving in the Peace Corps together– but actually increase volunteerism in the world.ALSO: 4 Ways To Manifest Your Soul Mate And Give Up Looking for ‘Perfect’“Good people meeting good people are likely to do more good together,” Shelly says.They might just increase the pool of volunteers too, with couples maybe raising children attuned to community service.Celeste Hamilton Dennis is an editor at the digital arts activism publication, OF NOTE Magazine, and a freelance writer living in Portland, Oregon.AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMorelast_img read more

Billionaire Who Promised to Pay Off College Debt for Grads is Now Paying Off Their Parents’ School Debt Too

first_imgThe history-making grant from Mr. Smith, who announced his intention to make this grant when he received an honorary doctorate from Morehouse in May, will ease the financial strain on the class of 2019, the billionaire’s “classmates.” The $34 million contribution to the Morehouse Student Success Program will benefit the new alumni by allowing them to pursue advanced degrees, start careers, and build wealth without being tethered to undergraduate loan debt related to Morehouse.RELATED: This Seventh Grader Donated All $15,000 of His County Fair Earnings to a Children’s Hospital“This liberation gift from Robert Smith—the first of its kind to be announced at a graduation in higher education—will be life-changing for our new Morehouse Men and their families,” said David A. Thomas, the President of Morehouse College. “It is our hope that our graduates will use their newfound financial freedom to pursue their career goals, to lead and serve the community, and to remember the spirit of the gift given to them by paying it forward to support the education of future classes of Morehouse Men.”More than 400 students, parents, and guardians of the Class of 2019 will receive Morehouse’s inaugural gift under the Student Success Program.America’s student loan debt—now more than $1.5 trillion, according to the U.S. Department of Education (more than the nation’s $1.3 trillion in auto loan debt)—can exacerbate the wealth gap that exists between black families facing generational poverty and other groups. Black households nationally have the lowest median net worth, lagging behind Asian, white, and Latin Americans respectively, according to the U.S. Census. Economic status can impact loan repayments.MORE: Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler Donates $500K to Open Up Another Home for Abused and Traumatized GirlsFollowing Morehouse’s inaugural gift under the Student Success Program, Morehouse will study the freedom of choice that alumni experience in their lives and careers when their student loan balances are paid in full or reduced to manageable levels. The first subjects of the research study will be some of the inaugural gift recipients, who will be encouraged to participate in the study. With additional investments, the Student Success Program will also provide current and future Morehouse students with scholarships and access to financial literacy programs that detail the impact of debt on family budgets. Parents and guardians will also be included in the educational outreach.At Morehouse, the student loan debt threshold at graduation is between $35,000 and $40,000, which is higher than the average for HBCUs. According to UNCF research, HBCU graduates borrow nearly twice as much—$26,266 on average—than non-HBCU students. And one in four HBCU students borrows $40,000 or more to attend college.“Morehouse’s program to provide debt relief to new graduates is a fund-raising opportunity that should be studied and duplicated nationally,” said Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO of the United Negro College Fund. “The impact of such a gift, particularly for minority or economically disadvantaged families, could accelerate the growth of a more diverse and robust middle class.”CHECK OUT: This Movie Star Lives Such a Simple and Happy Life, He’s Giving His $714 Million Net Worth to CharityAlumni who graduated in May or who finished their degree requirements during summer school 2019 are eligible to receive gifts in the inaugural offering from the Morehouse College Student Success Program. Their parents and guardians are also gift-eligible. All must show supporting documents to prove that loans were taken to finance a Morehouse College education and processed by Morehouse. The inaugural gift will cover the full payment of principal and interest for education loan balances as of August 28th, 2019, as reported by the Department of Education.Reprinted from Morehouse College(WATCH the video announcement below)Be Sure And Share The Good News With Your Friends On Social Media…AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreMulti-billionaire Robert F. Smith made headlines back in May for his pledge to pay off the student loan debt of an entire graduating college class—and now, he says that he is paying off the debt of the students’ parents as well.Smith, who is the founder and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, is collectively donating $34 million to the new Morehouse College Student Success Program to pay off the loans that students and parents of the class of 2019 accumulated to fund a Morehouse education.The Morehouse Student Success Program is a scholarship, loan debt, research and educational initiative established by the Board of Trustees as a national investment strategy to curb student loan debt and help graduates to prosper faster. Under the new initiative, Morehouse will solicit and accept donations made specifically to reduce or eliminate the student loan debt of Morehouse Men and their parents or guardians, thus creating an opportunity for greater financial freedom for new alumni and their families.last_img read more

Boyle, McGuire discuss mid-year progress

first_imgElected on a promise to empower the student body, Notre Dame student body president Elizabeth Boyle and vice president Patrick McGuire have sought to put their agenda into action. The senior and junior along with their chief of staff, senior Linde Hoffman, said they have worked to build an inclusive Notre Dame over the course of their term thus far.“I have felt that this year student government has become much more open and welcoming in trying to engage with students and meet students where they are, rather than students have to come to student government,” Boyle said.While it is not a specific policy change or achievement, Boyle said the welcoming attitude has allowed the administration to better serve student needs.“I think a lot of that is the student empowerment model, and engagement and just intentionality from all of our directors to include the voices of students who haven’t done [student government] in the past, which is really awesome,” she said. “But a lot of people … who have been involved with student government all four years, or maybe one, or alumni [remark] how the office itself feels different. It feels like it’s a place where you can come and you feel supported and you’re excited to work and engage.”McGuire agreed, saying the administration has tried to lift up student voices.“We’ve taken a very deliberate approach to … empowering our directors, empowering different student groups and empowering individual students,” McGuire said.Boyle and McGuire ran for office on an agenda that The Observer described as “ambitious” during the campaign. However, despite the wide breadth of proposed projects, Boyle said nearly three quarters are at some stage of the implementation process.“The other day, we were pulling things that our departments are doing, comparing it to the platform,” she said. “… I mean little things like, ‘fix the puddles on campus’ … that was too ambitious. That has been dropped. … But I think a lot that, too, is a testament to the group that we’ve been able to bring in. We sat down … with everyone and said ‘Here are our policy priorities that we want to get done. But this is half us, half you.’ It’s been incredible to watch as the things we have imagined have taken shape, but from the perspective of our directors, who we trust so much.”Hoffman said top leadership has effectively set expectations for the term.“I feel like the way we set the tone for the administration was that that is expected, and all of the directors have risen to that,” Hoffman said. “So if we’re going to take credit for one thing, I suppose it would be creating that expectation.”Throughout their conversation with The Observer, Boyle, McGuire and Hoffman lauded the work of the directors and various student government departments carrying out different projects. They also outlined some bigger, overarching changes to student government that have happened during the current term.“We organized the New York Times online subscription, which we’ve had 56,000 sessions on — so like logins, times people have used the programs,” McGuire said. “Over a quarter of the student body is signed up, so we’re going to keep pushing that. That actually saved $7,000 for us.”Student government has focused on finances — and particularly, financial accountability within student government.“We were looking into our funds — and that’s also when the decision to cancel the Midnight Express was made,” McGuire said. “Part of the reason for that was because it had not been budgeted by the past two student government administrations, which then caused us to wonder: ‘What are the current mechanisms for accountability in student government finance?’ which we brought forward to the senate.”The Boyle-McGuire administration has also created several new departments designed to improve student government’s ability to serve the campus community.“I think creating the departments of sustainability and student empowerment were two really effective changes we made at the beginning of the year,” McGuire said. “Obviously, we don’t want to take credit for the work those departments have done, but I think they both filled important gaps in how student government was serving students.”The trio have also had to react to major changes in University residential life policies. For example, the residential life policy dubbed by students the “senior exclusion policy” for barring off-campus students from certain dorm events, was announced in an email the second week they were in office.“That really kicked off the spring semester and we worked on a lot of stuff like that, also creating some advisory groups and making sure that is going to the right people,” Hoffman said. “The one that came out in the spring was the differentiation policy, so we’re still kind of working on that. I know sophomore class council has kind of been taking that over since it’s going to be affecting them the most. They’ve been working a lot with [residential life].”They have also dealt with the fallout from the policy change that students lost swipe access to all dorms except their own.Hoffman said the department of student life has been working with the University administration on “an innovative solution that will hopefully bring happiness to all groups.” Boyle described this potential fix as “Duo mobile for dorms,” in reference to the University’s former two-step authentication login process. While the project remains a work-in-progress and nothing is confirmed, Hoffman said the University is interested in the idea.The group said it is also working to foster improved campus dialogue. They have been in discussions with several political groups on campus to create a Converge-like program for the wider campus community, perhaps in residence halls, Hoffman said.The administration has also been engaging with students who have participated in recent protests against hate speech and parietals on campus.“The thing that’s really been taking up a lot of time is the recent actions that have happened in residence halls on campus and the whole parietals sit-in movement,” Boyle said. “We’ve been pretty engaged on a couple of fronts, using senate, the Campus Life Council, conversations with administrators, with organizers of the movement, students in general.”As student government works on this issue, Boyle said the goal is to increase inclusivity on campus.“I think our goal in all of this is to play the role that ensures students are treating each other with kindness and respect, going back to the root of Notre Dame,” she said. “The actions that caused it are absolutely horrendous and should swiftly be condemned. … We’re now trying to work through our own avenues at how we can best support, perhaps, the movement and students who have felt continually marginalized on this campus.”While Boyle, McGuire and Hoffman have managed to accomplish a few goals, progress has been slower on other initiatives, including their work on reforming the University’s non-discrimination clause — one of the group’s main campaign proposals.“We’ve spent a lot of the semester developing a robust understanding of the issue, developing strategies for how to approach it,” McGuire said. “But things like that won’t change within a couple months. Larger priorities like that, though we’re working on them still and we’re very pleased with how they’re coming along, still have a ways to go.”On the whole, Boyle said her objectives are to build a more positive experience for students in the realm of policy and beyond.“We’re trying to engage the community on all fronts,” she said. “Not just on policy, but also on very public-facing, inclusive environment on campus.” Boyle, McGuire and Hoffman set very ambitious goals in their platform. One of their main goals was to “empower” the school. Student government does seem more open and receptive than it has been in years past. The leadership team has also faced multiple controversial University policy changes. Conversation with administrators, campus groups and other students seems to be a hallmark of this administration. While this development is welcome, talking cannot come at the expense of action. It would be nice to see some more concrete changes carried out. Important and previous absent groundwork has been laid, yet it remains to be seen if it will come to fruition.Grade: B+Tags: Elizabeth Boyle, Patrick McGuire, Student Government Insider 2019last_img read more

Consolidated Personnel Support

first_imgFrom the time you arrive at Luke Air Force Base until your departure, nearly every aspect of your career is managed and supported in one facility: the 56th Mission Support Group headquarters, better known as the “blockhouse,” in Bldg. 1150 on the east side of Litchfield Road. This is the hub of personnel activity for military members, their families and civilian employees.This is where you inprocess and outprocess, update IDs and receive legal assistance, as well as where your pay is processed, your military and civilian records are maintained, and free income tax assistance is offered. This is also where you can sign up for college classes, apply for tuition assistance and take entrance exams, arrange a vacation through the MWR Information, Tickets and Travel Office, get tickets for a downtown play or arrange an airline flight.The blockhouse is home to the Military Personnel Section, Civilian Personnel Office, Traffic Management Office, Housing Management Office, Finance, Staff Judge Advocate, Retirement Services Office, Inspector General, AF Audit Agency and many other support agencies.Essentially, the blockhouse provides one-stop shopping for nearly all personnel support.last_img read more

PV police traffic operation around SM East leads to 50 citations

first_imgThe Prairie Village Police Department’s targeted traffic law enforcement operation in the areas around Shawnee Mission East netted 50 citations – but most of the violators weren’t in the demographic you might expect.Between Feb. 24 and March 7, the department’s traffic unit spent a total of 22 hours focused on the streets surrounding the high school just before and after each school day. Sgt. James Carney, who heads the department’s traffic unit, said officers issued the following citations.35 for adult seat belt violations4 for 14-17 year old persons violating the seat belt law3 for child restraint violations (issued to drivers with children up to 14 years old not properly restrained)8 citations for texting while driving“Most of the tickets were issued to adults, as you can see, and most of this did not involve East students,” Carney said. ” The violators just happened to be passing through the area on one of the three streets bordering the high school. Speaks well for the students.”last_img read more

After leaving Overland Park Orchestra, conductor Shah Sadikov focused on NAVO group’s fifth season

first_imgShah Sadikov has stepped down as Overland Park Orchestra music director. File photoAfter a year with Overland Park Orchestra, Shah Sadikov has stepped down as conductor and is now busy gearing up for the start of his fifth season with NAVO, his local nonprofit that brings classical music to the Kansas City area.Sadikov led the Overland Park Orchestra as conductor for about a year, but due to scheduling conflicts, he was unable to continue in that role.“We came to the conclusion that our schedules are not matching well,” Sadikov said, adding that his assistant conductor has replaced him. The Overland Park Orchestra will make a formal announcement of its new conductor at a later date. “That’s why we decided it’s best if I step down, and if they need help in the future, I’m happy to help them.”Sadikov said he had a great year with Overland Park Orchestra, leading “a challenging repertoire” of symphony pieces by Tchaikovsky and Beethoven. He also led the orchestra’s performance with the American Youth Ballet on “The Nutcracker.”Finally, the conductor said he was also proud to premier his newly commissioned piece “Cassini Overture,” with the Overland Park Orchestra. He commissioned that piece with the Hays Symphony at Fort Hays State University, where he teaches and directs orchestra.“Giving a Kansas City premier is a unique thing because you’ve never heard it before, you’ve never performed it better,” he said. “So I’m very proud that we’ve done that. There were a lot of proud moments.”Sadikov continues his musical pursuits with guest conducting. He is also continuing his work with NAVO, the nonprofit arts organization he co-founded that features internationally recognized artists in performances that bring classical music to the Midwest.NAVO’s kickoff performance this weekend, “Czech Mates,” is a program of music written by Czech composers. The performance will take place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12 at Atonement Lutheran Church, 9948 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park.Admission to the NAVO concert is free, and seats can be reserved at navoarts.com.“We are opening our season with this delightful chamber music evening,” Sadikov said.“Czech Mates” will feature Daniel Veis, a Czech cellist who has been recognized as “the finest Czech cellist since winning the Silver Medal at the prestigious 1978 Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow,” according to NAVO. Veis will be joined by his wife, pianist Helena Veisova, in a selection of character pieces by Suk and Martinu.“He’s an incredible, incredible cellist,” Sadikov said of Veis, adding that Veis Veisová have performed together for more than five decades. “It’s a well rounded program which features an international cast with the centerpiece being Czech artists from the Czech Republic.”The evening performance will also feature Dvorak’s A major piano quintet, a work inspired by Bohemian folk dances, according to NAVO. Reuniting to perform this work are NAVO’s core members Véronique Mathieu (co-founder of NAVO) and Mandy Wang on violin, Sadikov on viola, cellist Sunnat Ibrahim as well as guest pianist Lolita Lisovskaya-Sayevich.last_img read more

Day-Trippers Head East

first_img Share A surfer wears a face mask at Ditch Plains Beach in Montauk on Saturday, April 25. Independent/Gordon M. GrantAt the same time Town of East Hampton police are dealing with the large number of day-trippers in Montauk on warm, sunny weekend days, the town board is wrestling with what exactly the beaches and parks will look like this summer season. Police Chief Michael Sarlo addressed the board April 21 on the matter, detailing how on the previous weekend, state park employees closed down some of the accesses to the state parks out in Montauk, including Shadmoor, Camp Hero, and the Montauk Lighthouse. “That caused overflow of parking out onto the roadways,” Sarlo said. The accesses were closed because the parks were becoming too crowded for visitors to practice the required six-foot social distancing guidelines implemented by the state due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Several officers were dispatched to the area where cars were illegally parked and issued citations. “They are state parks, and they are state jurisdiction,” Sarlo said, meaning it is up to the state to police them. The department is stretched thin Sarlo explained: “We have over 70 miles of shoreline and over 100 access points to sand in our town. There were just a couple of locations where crowding was a problem.” On Monday, April 27, Sarlo told The Independent “state parks had reduced parking in their big lots and closed down around 2 to 2:30 PM” this past weekend. “They did have additional state trooper and parks police presence this weekend,” he added.Cones limit parking at Main Beach in East Hampton. Independent/Richard LewinThe chief said April 25 was a very busy, sunny day with “lots of people outside.” His department issued 165 parking tickets town-wide, mostly for no beach permit, but some were for vehicles in no parking zones. “Ditch Plains was packed with a good surf break forecast for Saturday morning, and officers did their best to encourage social distancing, as well as give warnings and get the word out about the parking,” Sarlo said. “We had officers on foot along Main Street most of the day and got very good compliance with social distancing and keeping masks on. People online for takeout, and even some of the groups of motorcycle riders parked along main street had masks on.” The town announced last week it was going to start enforcing summer beach parking rules a month early. “It’s important to note that despite all of the complaints and buzz regarding the crowds visiting Montauk, the hamlet has seen an increase of exactly one new positive COVID-19 case reported since April 10,” Sarlo said. “If people take care of following their own protocols for social distancing, wear a mask, and limit their trips for essentials, we can continue to flatten the curve for our community.”East Hampton Village police blocked vehicle access to the top of Main Beach Saturday afternoon to prevent overcrowding. Independent/Gordon M. GrantMeanwhile, the town is anticipating what the beaches and parks will look like this summer. Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc and Councilman David Lys discussed the challenges at an April 21 town board meeting. “The Suffolk County health department will have to be involved,” Lys said regarding social-distancing guidelines at beaches. If the beach is open, he said restrooms will have to be, too. Both agreed even if the beaches are technically closed, people will still attempt to swim in the ocean, which leaves the potential for drowning, since there would be no lifeguards present. All town parks, including Montauk Skate Park, and the Amagansett Youth Park, are closed. Basketball rims have been taken down. When possible, Lys said, town-owned parks will be [email protected] Southampton Beaches Cars line Charles F. Altenkirch County Park at the Shinnecock Inlet in Hampton Bays. Independent/Jessica Mackin-CiproSouthampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said he’s feared enforcement issues at parks and beaches related to COVID-19. Public Safety & Emergency Management Administrator Ryan Murphy said his department has not run into any issues so far. “A bay constable said some photos of people from the public are showing more congestion on the roadways and in parking lots than on the beaches,” he said. “Sometimes there’s a misinterpretation.” Some images of six people two feet apart sitting on the sand are of those cohabitating, which isn’t a violation. On Instagram April 25, Southampton Village Mayor Jesse Warren said: “If you choose to go to the beach, please make sure you’re wearing a mask or face guard, and socially distance by being six feet apart.” Swimming at state park beaches and in pools at will remain forbidden through May 31. The State Parks Department announced last Friday that beaches will open then instead of the traditional plan, Monday, May 25, shortly before Memorial Day weekend. Long Island’s had already been closed through May 15 with all nonessential businesses. The parks themselves have remained open for people wishing to walk or jog, or even ride bikes in some places.New York also suspended all new camping, cabin and cottage, and pavilion/shelter reservations for the 2020 season until further notice. If someone has made a reservation for the season beginning June 1, and the parks department says the facility is safe to open, a reservation will be honored, but visitors who wish to cancel an existing reservation may do so and receive a full refund. In order to protect officers while limiting the spread, members of Southampton’s police department and public safety officials are wearing N95 masks and face shields, gloves, and Tyvek suits. Southampton Town Police Chief Steven Skrynecki said there have been two instances, which he called the “most complicated thing for us to manage,” where officers responded to calls involving members of the public who tested positive for [email protected]last_img read more