first_imgWINNIPEG – A Winnipeg-area farmer is losing his sunny disposition over the number of people showing up and damaging his sunflowers while taking selfies.Thousands of sunflower shutterbugs have been gathering along a gravel road on the edge of Winnipeg to revel in the rows and rows of the bright yellow flowers of Bruce Stewart’s oilseed crop.“Saturday and Sunday there was at least 1,000 people here on the weekend each day,” said Stewart.“Do you know how many sunflowers are knocked down by 1,000 people? Quite a few.”On Tuesday afternoon, two vans full of people were parked on the side of the road as several people crowded into the crop taking pictures of each other. They walked deep into the sunflowers, touching their heads despite nearby signs that declared it private property.Stewart has been growing sunflowers for many years but it’s the first time on this stretch of land. He doesn’t know if it’s the close proximity to the city or that word has spread online about the beautiful view, but crowds of people have started to show up for photos.While some of the produce paparazzi stay on the road, many wander deep into the field causing damage to the plants. On Sunday, Stewart even spotted people with lights, tripods and light modifiers for a special shoot.Stewart pointed to a sunflower ripped right out of the ground, and another whose head was damaged.“I don’t know what they are doing back there but I guess we will find out when we combine them two months from now,” he said.Others leave behind garbage, Stewart said. On Monday, he had to walk the stretch of road picking up discarded coffee cups.The farmer said he doesn’t mind people taking snaps of the sunflowers and he even put up a sign with his phone number for photographers to contact him. However, he said he wants everyone to understand that going into the field causes damage.“I think they are not educated. They are not up to speed on the whole process,” he said.“It’s just too many generations removed from primary agriculture or primary food production.”As long as people stay on the road, Stewart said they can “take pictures all day long.”“I don’t have to pay for your film or your camera or whatever … I should be charging $5 a head,” he said with a laugh.last_img read more


Taroudant, Morocco- A charitable act of kindness by a selfless Muslim in the bus on Saturday, April 20 has touched the hearts of millions and elicited appreciative responses all over the world.The wonderful story of this simple act of selflessness and true human character went viral in the social media. Its hero is a Muslim who gave his own shoes and socks to a needy barefoot in the in a bus in Vancouver, Canada. Surjit Singh Virk, an off-duty Coast Mountain bus driver, said he witnessed an act that “touched his soul in a way that he has never experienced before,” after seeing a Muslim giving the shoes off his feet to a passenger “with two plastic hairnets covering his feet instead of shoes.” “It made my heart melt,” Virk said to QMI Agency as reported by the Huffington post. “He just took his shoes and socks off and said, ‘You can take these, don’t worry about me — I live close by and can walk.’”The kindhearted Muslim walked out off the bus barefoot in the next stop before the man could say thanks.According to the same source, the generous man, who wishes to remain anonymous, is a 27-year-old from British Columbia in Canada, who volunteers at the local mosque.The kind-hearted Muslim preferred to speak to the agency on anonymity “because his Muslim faith teaches that charitable acts should be anonymous.”The photo of both men posted by Salim Jiwa brought hundreds of grateful comments.“Faith, hope, peace…this is what it looks like. Much respect to him. May we all be role models like him on day in one way or the other,” commented Aumbrine Khan on the photos of both people shared by Salim Jiwa. “Mercy and love are the foundations of all faiths. I don’t know a faith that does not teach generosity. In fact, it’s a foundation of Islam – a pillar of faith,” added another Facebook user, commenting on the same photos.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed read more


Rabat – Mohamed Yatim, the leading member of the Justice and Development Party (PJD) and current Minister of Employment, has said that efforts to figure out how the government led by his party colleague Saad Eddine El Othmani came to life are misguided.“Within the PJD, everybody agrees that there is no use, at least for the time being, in dwelling on details and authenticating versions and checking interpretations,” he wrote in an article published on his party’s website on Saturday.The way the coalition government led by El Othmani was shaped has been a subject of controversy both within the PJD and in public discussion. El Othmani was appointed by King Mohammed VI in March to substitute to Abdelilah Benkirane, the party leader and former head of government. The latter had been unable form a coalition since October 2016, mainly because the conditions put by his ally, the National Rally of Independents (RNI), to include the Constitutional Union (UC) and the Socialist Union of Popular Forces (USFP) into the coalition.Benkirane’s refusal to accept RNI’s conditions led to a deadlock that came to be known in Moroccan media as “government blocage.”When El Othmani was appointed as Head of Government, a committee was put in charge of negotiating with RNI and other parties forming a coalition, consisting of four leading members of the Islamist party: El Othmani, Yatim, Mustapha Ramid,the current Minister of State in Charge of Human Rights, and Lahcen Daoudi, the ongoing Minister Delegate to the Head of Government for General Affairs and Governance.The four members conceded to the conditions imposed by the RNI, and,as a result, a loose coalition of six parties was formed. Many PJD members did not seem pleased with the outcome of the government, especially as the Islamist party had won 18 extra parliamentary seats in the general elections of October 2016 in comparison with the 2011 elections, which indicated its popularity had increased over its five years in government.The outcome of El Othmani’s government formation was also disappointing to a segment of the PJD’s electoral base.Despite ongoing controversy over the issue, Yatim said it was not wise to look into the matter too much.“There’s no point,” he said. “This could be the job of a historian of sociologist.”He added that the “issue needs an objective and comprehensive reading” that would take into consideration “the elements of strength and weakness.” read more


first_img“The success of the Durrells was a positive thing because it was a sweet, happy, perfectly-performed show for a Sunday evening in the dark hours.”He added: “Enough rape already. Enough brutal murder.”Other people are going to do it; I’m not depriving people of watching it.“I just think on ITV there are other ways to tackling wonderful television material.”The idea of commissioning with men in mind, he suggested, was antiquated, with women now forming the majority of decision-making audiences. The Fall, starring Gillian Anderson The BBC’s Great British Bake Off teamCredit:BBC He added: “Yes it was offered to me, but at the 11th hour they said ‘one thing you must know is that the talent is not attached’.”So you really are buying some baking powder and a tent.”When asked about the future of the News at Ten, Lygo confirmed he would be experimenting with moving the time of the show while its BBC rival “sits there like a big lump” at 10pm. The new series of The MissingCredit:BBC The 21st century woman may already have seized control of the kitchen, bedroom and boardroom, but it appears she has also won a final battle of the sexes: the television remote.The director of ITV has declared women have now taken charge of what is on the family TV, as he promises to swap gritty crime dramas featuring abuse to more “happy” fare.Kevin Lygo said there was enough rape, murder and brutal abuse on women and children on television, as a pledged more “sweet, happy, perfectly-performed” shows to suit their audience.Speaking at Bafta, he said new drama Good Karma Hospital would follow in the footsteps of The Durrells, the hit show starring Keeley Hawes, as an uplifting treat for both sexes. “What I would say about Good Karma, a bit like the Durrells, is that it’s a charming, life-affirming, a happy show,” he said. “I am tired of endless murders where in the first five minutes a woman or a child is abducted, raped, knifed, killed, bludgeoned.“And then in comes a hard-bitten cop drinking vodka, or a woman who never got over the fact her parents were murdered and she couldn’t solve the crime, and in six weeks they find the killer and it ends up being Pauline Quirke living in a house round the side.”There are brilliant versions of that show and not great versions, and I just feel: enough. There’s lots coming. They’ll always be around but I want more shows like the Durrells. “We’ve got quite sharp antennae, or should do, about trends of what people want, what they don’t want, what they’re tired of.”Other than sort of Top Gear, I can’t think of a show that’s significantly male positioned. When you look at the stats and they say it’s ‘female skewed’, its 52 to 48 per cent.”In the mainstream sense, women have more or less control of what channel they watch, other than sport.”A good show is watched equally by men and women. Lots of men watch the Bake Off, which those in ivory towers might think is cooking and female. But no.” The Fall, starring Gillian AndersonCredit:BBC Milo Parker as Gerry Durrell in the ITV showCredit:ITV Top Gear: one of the last remaining "male-skewed" shows The BBC's Great British Bake Off team The new series of The Missing Milo Parker as Gerry Durrell in the ITV show Top Gear: one of the last remaining “male-skewed” showsCredit:BBC Lygo, who turned down a potential offer to buy the Great British Bake Off after its production company parted ways with the BBC, also spoke of his fears for the future of the programme, after what he called a “weird screw-up on all counts”.”Bake Off will be studied by television sociologists to come, I expect, to figure out what the f— went on there,” he said.”The biggest show on British television, and for no apparent reason it is no more.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more


first_imgA look at their first vegan Christmas baguetteCredit:Pret It’s officially @Pret-mas 🎄😁 pic.twitter.com/iNw6GYBBpY— Danny Pallett (@DannyPallett) November 8, 2016 It’s here! (And 50p goes to help the homeless) pic.twitter.com/PJ0qd03JrL— Pret (@Pret) November 8, 2016 A look at their first vegan baguette Their vegetarian sandwich combines roasted chunks of butternut squash, nutty Christmas pesto and spicy rocket. Served with a spoonful of yoghurt & mayo dressing and a sprinkling of crispy onions on malted bread. Sandwich chain Pret’s Christmas lunch offerings mark the start of the festive season for many office workers who enjoy having their lunch with a side of festivity.The humble turkey, cranberry and bacon sandwich has been joined by some unconventional Christmas offerings – including a vegan option and a Brussels sprout macaroni cheese.The hype around their sandwiches began last week, with Pret launching a countdown on their website and Twitter account. Their first vegan Christmas baguette combines grilled carrots, parsnip puree and crispy onions with festive chutney, toasted pistachios and peppery watercress.The classic festive sandwich contains turkey breast on malted bread with a dollop of slightly tart cranberry & port sauce. It’s served with Pret’s crumbly stuffing – made with minced pork, streaky bacon and apricots  and topped with crispy onions and fresh baby spinach. Also on the menu is a ham hock and stuffing baguette, a brie and cranberry baguette, ham hock and sprout macaroni cheese and some sweet treats, including Melvin the melting gingerbread snowman.Pret’s festive drinks menu includes a mint hot chocolate and a clementine juice.50 pence from each festive sandwich goes to the Pret Foundation trust. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more


first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Trivia night for cancer is on again! Enjoy a night filled with fun prizes, delicious mezes and a tad of healthy rivalry as all vie for the title of trivia master. All of us, in some way have been touched by cancer. For that reason, this trivia night has been organised to help the Cancer Council’s mission to control and defeat cancer. Hosting a table at Trivia Night 2012 is an opportunity for you and your friends and family to support the Cancer Council and to play an active role in supporting cancer research, the provision of support services and education on prevention. Trivia night for Cancer will take place at the Pansamian House 235 Victoria St. Brunswick on Friday 18 May. Entry is $20 and includes drinks at bar prices, mezes as a complimentary champagne cocktail. Bookings are essential. Tables up to 10 or individual tickets available. For bookings and more information contact Frances on 0414 542923 or Mary on 0403 470 216 or email pansamianvic@yahoo.com.au.All proceeds from the night will go to the Cancer Council.last_img read more


first_imgL’avancée du paludisme pourrait être due au réchauffement climatiqueAlors que le paludisme semble s’étendre davantage sur les territoires, certaines médecins avancent comme explication le réchauffement climatique, qui permettrait aux moustiques de s’aventurer sur de nouveaux terrains.Cette explication ne fait pas unanimité au cœur de la communauté scientifique, mais a le mérite d’interpeller : certains médecins avanceraient comme hypothèse que l’avancée du paludisme serait due au réchauffement climatique. L’augmentation des températures permettrait aux moustiques vecteurs de la maladie de s’aventurer sur des terrains où ils ne s’aventuraient pas auparavant. Ainsi, le chef du département pédiatrique de l’hôpital de Mulago en Ouganda a expliqué à l’AFP : “Nous avons vu ces derniers temps des vagues d’épidémies sur les hauts plateaux”, là où la maladie ne s’aventurait pas auparavant. Ainsi, le Dr Azdibaku, chef du programme de lutte contre le paludisme dans le pays, confirme cette information et explique avoir constaté que la région de Kabale n’était plus aussi froide qu’auparavant.À lire aussiDengue : symptômes, traitement, prévention, où en est-on ?Le continent africain dans son ensemble a gagné 0,7 degrés en cent ans, tandis que le parasite du paludisme ne peut se développer à des températures inférieures à 15 degrés. Au cœur de la communauté scientifique, le débat fait rage entre les défenseurs de cette explication et les adversaires qui reprochent à cette théorie d’être trop mécanique, comme professeur Siman Hay de l’Université d’Oxford qui “démontre qu’il n’y a pas eu d’expansion du paludisme dans les cent dernières années”, et cela grâce à l’effort financier accordé à la lutte contre le paludisme.91% des 881.000 morts dues chaque année au paludisme se trouvent toujours en Afrique. Cependant, le Rwanda, Sao Tome ou l’Erythrée ont fait état de baisse de 50% des cas et des décès entre 2000 et 2006 grâce à une meilleure distribution de médicaments et de moustiquaires, selon la coalition internationale “Roll Back Malaria”. Le 6 décembre 2010 à 17:06 • Emmanuel Perrinlast_img read more


first_imgWhen Clark County volunteers rush to disasters, an important piece of their response plan always makes the trip.Actually, it’s hard to leave behind. It’s an ear. … Specifically, a sympathetic ear.Dr. Beth Lee and Dr. Art Simons volunteered after hurricanes wracked communities along the Gulf Coast and in the Caribbean.The husband-and-wife team of Battle Ground physicians went to Puerto Rico with Team Rubicon volunteers and Simons made a trip with another nonprofit, Project Hope. Along with providing health care, “We listened,” Lee said.“People want to just tell their story. Especially after a disaster: We’d ask how they made it through the hurricane, and the stories would pour out. People would pull out phones to show us pictures and video. They’d tell us little details, like how they saved pictures or what the wind sounded like.“I wish I could convey how the tone of the conversation would change, from clinical to personal, and how people seemed just desperate for someone to listen to them,” she said in an email message.“Even almost two months out, their eyes would tear, and they’d look beyond me into the distance, as if they were still seeing it.last_img read more


first_imgFC Internazionale Milano have completed the signing of Lautaro Martinez from the Argentine club, Racing Club, Goal reports.The 20-year-old striker turned down moves to Real Madrid and arch-rivals Atletico Madrid to sign a five-year deal with the Italian club.Martinez who completed his medical with the San Siro outfit will join up with the team for next season, with the transfer fee touted to be around £20million.The striker scored 13 goals in 41 appearances for his now former club, Racing in the Argentine Premier Division. Before going on to make his national debut, coming on for Argentina as a substitute in their 6-1 drubbing at the hands of Spain.Quiz: How much do you know about Lautaro Martinez? Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – September 11, 2019 It’s time for you to tell us how much you know about Lautaro Martinez. We will ask you 10 questions about the Argentina striker….Martinez was compared to a young Sergio Aguero by former Argentina and Inter striker, Hernan Crespo.“I like him, he can play many roles, as a second striker and on the wings. I expect him to fit in well with Mauro Icardi,” Crespo said.“Joining a new club far away from home isn’t easy, so he might need a little more time and then hopefully he can begin to show his qualities.”last_img read more


first_imgMahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards (META) announced the Lifetime Achievement Award for 2016 on March 1. The award will be conferred to noted theatre guru Ratan Thiyam for his contribution to Indian theatre.Padmashree Ratan Thiyam has created a new language in theatre and has enriched the art form in various roles, as a writer, director, designer, composer and choreographer. He is currently the chairman of National School of Drama (NSD).The META Jury for 2016 was also announced which comprised of distinguished personalities from the world of art and literature including author Kunal Basu, actor Kusum Haider, director and actor MK Raina, dancer, choreographer Tanushree Shankar and actor, director Sushma Seth. The curtain raiser for the 11th edition of META featured a discussion on ‘Theatre as an agent of Social Change’ which brought to light how theatre is being used as a catalyst in bringing about changes in societal norms, re-casting traditions into contemporary contexts and looking at key messages of change across communities.Talking about the decade long journey of META and looking forward in its 11th year Jay Shah, Head, Cultural Outreach, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd. said, “It’s heartening to see how META has been accepted and appreciated by the theatre industry in India and carved a place for itself in cultural calendars. The response we get from the fraternity and from theatre enthusiasts, is phenomenal. We look forward to staging some of the best theatre we’ve found in the past year and are immensely grateful to the esteemed Jury members who’ve come on board to recognise and reward Indian theatre today.”last_img read more


first_img Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex smile during a visit to Tupou College in Tonga, Friday, Oct. 26, 2018. Prince Harry and his wife Meghan are on day eleven of their 16-day tour of Australia and the South Pacific.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, pool) by Kirsty Wigglesworth And Nick Perry, The Associated Press Posted Oct 26, 2018 6:41 am PDT Last Updated Oct 26, 2018 at 7:20 am PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Plane carrying Harry and Meghan aborts landing, flies aroundcenter_img NUKU’ALOFA, Tonga – A plane carrying the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had to abort its landing at Sydney airport on Friday evening and flew around because there was another aircraft on the runway.Prince Harry and wife Meghan were returning from a visit to Tonga back to Australia, where they began their 16-day tour of four nations, when a message from the flight deck announced: “There was an aircraft on the runway a little slow to roll so the decision was taken to abort the landing.”The flight landed safely a few minutes later.Earlier Friday, the couple dedicated two forest reserves in Tonga. Harry said Tonga is leading by example and “understands deeply” the impact of environmental changes because the islands of the archipelago are directly affected.Harry and wife Meghan visited Tupou College to make the dedication. The high school was founded in 1866 and is believed to be the oldest in the region. It’s home to the last remaining forest on Tonga’s main island, Tongatapu. The other reserve is on the island of Eua.“Planting trees and conserving forests helps us in so many ways,” Harry said. “It is a simple but effective way to restore and repair our environment, clean the air and protect habitat.”The couple dedicated the two reserves to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy environmental initiative, which was started in 2015 and has been signed on to by 42 of the Commonwealth’s 53 countries.Earlier in the day, the royal couple visited an exhibition celebrating Tongan handicrafts, including traditional mats and tapa cloth. They also met with political leaders.Tonga, home to just 106,000 people, is also known as the friendly islands. It was a British protectorate before gaining independence in 1970 and remains a part of the Commonwealth group of nations.The couple later returned to Australia to catch the final days of the Invictus Games, which Harry founded in 2014. The games give sick and injured military personnel and veterans the opportunity to compete in sports such as wheelchair basketball.After Australia, the couple will finish their trip with a four-day visit to New Zealand.___Perry reported from Wellington, New Zealand.last_img read more


first_imgBy Abhinav Ramnarayan and Virginia FurnessFrance and Cyprus took full advantage of a market supercharged by expectations of more monetary stimulus from the European Central Bank to print syndicated bonds on Tuesday.France had garnered a maximum of €33.5 billion of demand for a €7 billion 30-year bond sale, a lead manager told Reuters, before pricing the deal at seven basis points over its outstanding 2048 bonds.Cyprus too took full advantage of the strong bid for bonds to price its longest ever issue, a €1 billion 15-year which came at 175 basis points over mid-swaps in a further sign of how far the country has come since it returned to the capital markets in 2014, International Financing Review reported.“This is a powerful indication of trust in the stability and prospects of our country,” Finance Minister Harris Georgiades said on Twitter.Recent bond sales by euro zone sovereigns have been well-subscribed, and borrowing costs have fallen.French borrowing costs for example are near the lowest levels in well over two years.“There is a lot of demand across the board: we saw Italy’s 30-year get €41 billion of orders, and the French spread is quite wide after the ‘yellow vest’ protests,” DZ Bank strategist Daniel Lenz said, referring to the protests in France against President Emmanuel Macron’s policies.The goodwill also spilled over into Spanish government bonds, the yields on which were also lower on the day, with its 30-year down three basis points at 2.443 per cent.Italian government bond yields meanwhile rose across the board on Tuesday after data showed industrial orders in the euro zone’s third-largest economy dropped 5.3 per cent in December over the same month in 2017.The data served as the latest reminder of the weak outlook for the Italian economy, ending a rally in prices sparked by expectations for a new round of cheap multi-year loans for banks by the ECB.As Italian bonds came under renewed selling pressure, safer German 10-year bond yields headed back towards their lowest levels since October 2016 touching 0.084 per cent before pulling back to 0.106 per cent.But Bouvet said the data could not be seen in isolation.“The German equivalent also declined significantly in December and this will likely trigger some ECB easing and this could have the opposite impact on markets on tightening the Italian spread,” he said.European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker was quoted as saying he does not expect additional import tariffs on European cars for the time being, yet concerns remain high as a confidential Commerce Department report was due to be sent to Donald Trump on Sunday.The report is widely expected to clear the way for the US president to threaten tariffs on imported autos and auto parts by designating the imports a national security threat.You May LikeLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoYahoo SearchYou’ve Never Seen Luxury Like This On A Cruise Ship. Search Luxury Mediterranean CruisesYahoo SearchUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more


first_img Categories: Featured news,News State Representative Ray FranzMichigan House of Representatives 101st District1-855-347-8101###### By Rep. Ray Franz, R-OnekamaI would like to thank my family, friends and all those living in the 101st House District for their sincere support over the past year. I have been blessed with the opportunity of serving in the Michigan House of Representatives for nearly five years now and I am truly privileged to be your elected state Representative.2015 was an unforgettable year for Michigan. Some great things happened in our state and some unfortunate events occurred as well. That is life. We take the good with the bad and we carry on. I would like to spend some time talking about the achievements we have made to move Michigan forward in the Legislature this past year.The docket on the House floor was nothing short of eventful, and as chair of the House Regulatory Reform Committee, I had a steady stream of bills pour in and they varied in all shapes and sizes. With the co-sponsorship and support of my colleagues, the House successfully passed legislation to allow rural convenience stores in Michigan to legally sell beer, wine and gas to consumers. We also amended the Michigan Liquor Control Code to remove the prior ban on prorated license and transfer fees for businesses, to therefore, allow the proration of quarterly fees for those business licensees.Supporting our veterans, and those currently serving in our military, is an issue that I hold near and dear to my heart. I strongly support legislation that will smooth the transition from active military duty to everyday civilian life. Returning home from war is no easy task and I supported a bill that will ensure veterans with disabilities, visible or not, be permitted to enter a public or private establishment with their service dog. Service dogs offer a warm companionship that is of tremendous value to our veterans struggling with disabilities and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).I would like to take this opportunity to applaud the brave men and women serving our great country today and thank you for protecting our freedoms. We are eternally grateful and proud of your loyal service to the state of Michigan and this country. I would like to extend my sincerest condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost a service member or local hero this year. We will always honor and remember those who have died protecting our community and defending our country.When personal privacy concerns arose in regards to anonymity for Michigan lottery winners, I sponsored a bill to amend the current Lottery Act, preserving the lottery winner’s individual right to privacy by allowing them the option to be publically identified by the Michigan Lottery Commission.I wish you all health and happiness in 2016 and look forward to serving you another year as your state representative.State Representative Ray Franz Tags: #SB, 2015, Franz 18Dec Rep. Franz reflects on 2015last_img read more


first_img Lawmaker: Schools should have authority to hire best teacher for the jobState Rep. Phil Potvin’s bill to repeal a regulation that limits the ability of schools to hire quality special education teachers was approved today by the Michigan Senate.House Bill 5796 eliminates a requirement that local school districts give hiring preference to special education workers who have been laid off by an intermediate school district (ISD) or a state agency.“This outdated rule hurts local schools by hindering their ability to hire teachers who best fit the position that’s available,” said Rep. Potvin, R-Cadillac. “Special education programs are not all the same. A school may need to hire a teacher to work with cognitively impaired preschoolers, but under the current law they could be required to hire someone who previously worked with emotionally impaired high school students.“It’s in the best interests of our children to allow schools the flexibility to hire the professionals who have the best skills for the job.”HB 5796 now heads to the governor for his consideration.### 14Dec Senate approves Rep. Potvin bill to remove hiring restrictions for schools Categories: Newslast_img read more


first_img08May Rep. Leutheuser pleased to see continued local investment State Rep. Eric Leutheuser of Hillsdale today announced the Michigan Strategic Fund has approved a grant to support the expansion of the Hi-Lex Controls Inc. plant in the city of Litchfield.Hi-Lex Controls produces window closer systems for the automotive industry. After considering a competing site in Mexico, the company decided to expand its operations in Litchfield, creating 76 local jobs.The company was awarded a $300,000 Michigan Business Development Program grant toward their $26 million expansion. This is the second state grant recently awarded to a company in Hillsdale County.“I was very excited to hear the news,” Rep. Leutheuser said. “It’s encouraging to watch our local economy continue to improve and one of Hillsdale County’s own companies growing and competing successfully in their field. I am extremely grateful to Hi-Lex Controls for placing such confidence in the city of Litchfield.” Categories: Leutheuser Newslast_img read more


first_img Legislation gives drivers more choice, relief from nation’s highest costs State Rep. Pamela Hornberger joined a bipartisan coalition of legislators on Tuesday in the state Capitol as they unveiled a bill to reform Michigan’s broken auto no-fault insurance system and dramatically cut costs for drivers.Hornberger, of Chesterfield Township, helped unveil House Bill 5013, which lowers the cost of auto insurance in Michigan by offering motorists more coverage options, fighting fraud and reining in medical costs. Michigan currently has the most costly insurance premiums in the nation.“No-fault insurance reform is long overdue, and this bill provides the best solution to skyrocketing costs,” Hornberger said. “There has been much discussion about making auto insurance affordable, but no action has been taken. This bill will is a real solution that will save people money and deliver a product that fits their needs.”Michigan’s average full coverage auto insurance premium cost – nearly $2,400 per year – is more than $1,000 above the national average and twice as high as those in neighboring states.The new bipartisan plan gives motorists the option to continue to buy unlimited personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, or buy more affordable alternative coverage plans.The legislation:Gives individuals the choice on the extent of PIP coverage as part of their auto insurance. Choice levels include $250,000, $500,000 or unlimited;Allows seniors age 62 or older with lifetime health care benefits the option to opt out of PIP coverage to avoid the current double taxation, thus saving them up to $1,000 per year;Establishes fee schedules and attendant care limits to lower medical costs related to auto injuries;Helps the state ensure insurance companies are complying with state law, and creates a fraud authority to address fraudulent claims;Provides a state review of the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA) to make sure motorists are not overpaying for insurance;Addresses attorney fee costs and unfounded lawsuits while eliminating attorney conflict of interests with medical providers.Continues and guarantees benefits for Michiganders already receiving lifetime benefits due to catastrophic traffic accidents.“Everything else we buy usually has a variety of styles from which we can choose the one that fits our needs,” Hornberger said. “Likewise, there is no one-size-fits-all auto insurance plan that works for everyone. We deserve to have options.”The bill was referred to the House Insurance Committee.##### 28Sep Rep. Hornberger backs bill to cut no-fault auto insurance ratescenter_img Categories: Hornberger News,Newslast_img read more


first_img17Apr House reacts to Governor’s latest position on Line 5: Stop partisan gamble on our Great Lakes Michigan House Republicans today responded to news that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has taken an about-face on rebuilding Line 5 and is now open to building a multi-use utility tunnel beneath the Straits of Mackinac to house the energy pipeline.“It seems the governor knows good policy when she sees it but has been too busy placating her political base to do the right thing—until now,” said Majority Floor Leader Triston Cole, of Mancelona. “By stopping Line 5 reconstruction in the first place, the governor created a false crisis, which wasted valuable time and money spent planning for the project and delayed crucial energy rate relief for northern Michigan families.”House Republicans worked with the Snyder Administration on a solution to replace the aging Line 5 pipeline beginning in 2017. After thorough study, it was determined that building a tunnel 100 feet beneath the floor of Lake Michigan would be the safest option for transporting energy between the Upper and Lower Peninsulas, as compared to other available options like rail transport or trucking.“I’m glad the governor has finally joined the Legislature at the table on this important issue,” said Rep. Joe Bellino, chair of the House Energy Committee. “Placing a new Line 5 in a tunnel 100 feet into the bedrock beneath Lake Michigan’s floor is the best solution available for keeping our Great Lakes safe from contamination and delivering reliable energy to Michigan residents, especially those in Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. We need to set aside the partisan political games for good and get down to the important work of moving forward with this critical energy infrastructure project. Wasting years and millions of dollars on litigation will only extend the time that the aging, obsolete Line 5 sits on the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac.”The new tunnel would also pave the way for improved, cheaper delivery of propane, broadband and electricity to the Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan, where energy rates continue to climb.“The governor knew all along that housing Line 5 in a multiuse utility tunnel deep beneath the floor of the Straits of Mackinac was the best and safest option for Michigan but could not bring herself to cooperate with Republican-backed policy,” said Rep. Beau LaFave, who, last week, introduced a resolution calling on the governor to move forward with the Line 5 project. “I’m glad the governor has finally gotten on board with a common-sense solution, but Michigan families need to know her commitment to dialogue goes deeper than political ties. She’s put the safety of hundreds of thousands of U.P. residents at risk for what amounts to a three week-long political stunt to curry favor with the extreme left-wing base of her party.” Categories: Cole Newslast_img read more


first_img The Michigan House today approved a landmark plan to fix our state’s broken car insurance system and reduce rates for all Michigan drivers, state Reps. Julie Alexander and Sarah Lightner announced.Both Jackson-area representatives voted in favor of a reform plan that will offer drivers personal injury coverage options, rein in medical costs and fight fraud – features designed to end Michigan’s long-standing tenure as the state with the costliest car insurance rates in the nation.“The Michigan Legislature has heard the concerns of drivers across the state—from Hanover to Houghton. We have delivered a solution,” Alexander, of Hanover, said after the vote. “Today’s auto insurance reform proves that when we roll up our sleeves and work together, we can deliver real results. I have said since day one that while we may not always agree on every issue, we can always agree to work together. I am honored to be a part of the Legislature that brought real cost-savings to Michigan drivers.”“The skyrocketing cost of auto insurance for Michigan drivers ends today,” Lightner, of Springport, said after the vote. “The reforms I voted for curb the waste, fraud and abuse that has weaseled its way into our auto insurance system and driven up costs. Michigan families have waited too long to see a fix to this broken system. I am proud to say that the wait is almost over; these are real reforms that will bring down the absurd costs to drive in this state.”Michigan’s auto insurance rates are elevated largely because we’re the only state mandating unlimited lifetime health care coverage through car insurance. The new reform allows those currently using the coverage to keep it, and those who want it in the future to continue buying it – while providing more affordable options.The plan:Guarantees lower rates for all Michigan driversGives drivers a choice on health coverage optionsStops price gouging on medical services for car accident victimsCombats fraudulent claims to help lower costsThe sweeping legislation now advances to the Senate for consideration. Categories: Lightner News 09May Reps. Alexander, Lightner vote to lower car insurance rates for Michigan driverslast_img read more


first_imgShare9TweetShare1Email10 SharesPoland_4112 – Exodus / Dennis JarvisNovember 30, 2016; Global Government ForumNon-governmental organizations are coming to fear potential government control of Poland’s civil society organizations. As reported by the Global Government Forum, this fear grows as the Polish prime minister, Beata Szydło (elected in October 2015), announced the introduction of a bill to create a “Civil Society Department.” Acting as an arms-length government agency, the department will be set up to oversee and centralize the public funding of charities—or, in her words, “bring order to the whole sphere of NGOs.” According to the Guardian, leaked reports indicate that the government plans to open the center in 2017.NGOs typically rely a great deal on public funding. The Guardian reports that the news angers many Polish human rights activists, who fear the government is trying to put financial pressure on NGOs critical of Szydło and the conservative Law and Justice Party (abbreviated in Polish as PiS).Szydło rejects accusations that the center would direct financial pressure toward silencing anyone who “embarrasses or opposes” her and the PiS party. Instead, she argues that the center’s creation is meant to address the concerns of her and her party over the “lion’s share” of public funding underscoring more liberal ideologies. Szydło argues that the department will work to curtail public funding mechanisms she sees as “subordinate to the policies of the previous ruling system” and “redress inequalities” against more conservative, pro-government NGOs. These conservative groups include Ordo Iuris, described by the Guardian as a “religious fundamentalist think tank which recently tried to push through a blanket ban on safe and legal abortions. Its chairman, Aleksander Stepkowski, was deputy foreign minister in the PiS government until August.” Meanwhile, Global Government Forum notes some of the government’s more controversial recent moves, which include merging Poland’s human rights protection team into the larger European migration department, abolishing the state council for combating racism, and halting funding for women’s rights centers.Grzegorz Makowski, researcher at Warsaw University and head of the Stefan Batory Foundation’s Public Integrity Program, told the Global Government Forum that PiS is known to have a “particularly strained relationship with the third sector.” While details about the proposed center are still unclear, he stated concerns about the government using the center to feed more conservative NGOs. Other critics, like Krzysztof Śmiszek of the Center for Human Rights, as well as the deputy head of one of Poland’s largest national newspapers, Michał Szułdrzyński, further speculate that the center’s intended role in evaluating the civil society sector is comparable to systems in other former Soviet bloc countries like Russia and Hungary. “Since 2012, Russia has required that all NGOs that receive funding from abroad and are engaged in political activity to register as ‘foreign agents.’” NPQ has reported on similar developments in countries like China.The Global Government Forum states that according to an unnamed member of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), an EU body that works with organized civil society…There is increasing evidence of the challenging circumstances in which NGOs find themselves operating in Europe. We are worried about the clear perception that in some EU countries the civic space is shrinking…Legal and extra-legal measures, such as changing the policy and financial environment, endanger civil society organizations in their existence and free action.Ewa Kulik-Bielińska, director of the Stefan Batory foundation, told the Guardian that the PiS party was defeated in Poland’s 2007 elections “because they hadn’t realized the value of media and NGOs.” She sees them as now building “an alternative civil society” that could keep them in power. Bielińska fears that this will result in the “hijacking” of valuable grants that Poland receives from other countries in Europe, such as the Norway EEA grants. Poland is the largest recipient of this multiple millions of euros’ worth of public grant funding. The Independent also confirms strengthening ties between the UK and Poland. Theresa May and Szydło recently met in Downing Street to discuss issues that included the upcoming launch of a “British-Polish civil society forum, which will meet for the first time in Warsaw next year.” NGO figures from both countries plan on working together to build post-Brexit alliances.Bielińska told the Guardian that the latest political developments could bring more attention to “cumbersome” mechanisms that member states experience while applying for EU funding. An activist who was imprisoned in the 1980s for her involvement in Poland’s Solidarity movement, Bielińska forewarns of the latest perceived attempts to silence NGOs. She believes that they “smell a lot like communist propaganda.” She argues that “the EU should act, or it risks that the few NGOs that we have in Poland will disappear.”—Noreen OhlrichShare9TweetShare1Email10 Shareslast_img read more


first_imgShare33Tweet24Share7Email64 SharesPixnio. Creative Commons 0. Public domain.October 10, 2017; News & Observer, Shelterforce, and the Star TribuneOver almost 30 years, public education systems have sought to improve the quality of education by increasing the importance of individual parental choice. Charter schools, open enrollment systems, school tuition vouchers, and tax credits have taken a larger place in public education, shifting power from school boards and community institutions to individual parents. We are now far enough along down this path to consider whether we have gone too far and are losing a valuable “public” component of our schools.The state of Minnesota was at the forefront of the effort to use the power of choice to move their schools forward. It was one of the first states to introduce publicly funded charter schools, and since 1988, open enrollment has allowed Minnesota parents to choose their children’s schools.Joe Nathan, director of the Center for School Change, recently captured the thinking behind these efforts for the Star Tribune: “No one can fault parents for seizing options to do what’s best for their children. It’s about the students. People of all races deserve options.”Prioritizing parental choice, however, has had a negative impact from a communal perspective. According to the Star Tribune:Because state education funding follows the pupil, the student exodus from their home district to other cities and charter schools is magnifying budget pressures in districts that lose more students than they gain. It’s also transforming the racial diversity of schools across the Twin Cities…The result: chronic budget shortfalls that are forcing many districts to cut more programs and confront questions about the viability of some neighborhood schools.By design, the more the balance is shifted toward parental choice, the more schools must compete for scarce resources by attracting and retaining students. Scott Croonquist, executive director of the Association of Metropolitan School Districts told the Star Tribune that districts will “try to do everything they can to retain resident students.” He then asked the key question, “Do the choice options lead to segregated schools and inadequate and inequitable educational opportunities for students?”For proponents of choice, individual outcomes are what counts. North Carolina State Representative Steve Wood recently told the News & Observer that he’s “not sure there’s anyone who’s ever been born who has the perfect formula for how many white kids, how many black kids, how many [Latinx] kids, how many [undocumented] kids, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, have to be in the classroom” to get the best education.Shelterforce, in an article looking at the interest community development loan funds have shown for charter schools, captured the lack of good data supporting claims that maximizing choice improves student outcomes.While school performance continues to spark ongoing debate, research based on multiple states documents that charter schools as a whole educate fewer students with special needs, particularly more severe needs; fewer English Language Learners; and fewer very-low income students than the charters’ sending school districts. As a result, these more challenging and expensive-to-educate students become concentrated in the district schools, even as charter school expansion diminishes the financial resources that districts require to pay for those students’ education.Despite the many evident negative outcomes of our 30-year experiment with school choice and making education less public and more personal, the impetus to continue has gotten stronger, not weaker. Some supporters argue that 30 years is just not long enough to complete the necessary transformation. The problems we see today, according to these advocates, are just transitional moments that will get ironed out when the work has been completed. In the end, we are assured, all children will be better off. To believe this is to believe that schools and education are unaffected by other societal issues like race and class.At best, ignoring larger, more difficult social issues makes the challenge of improving education seem more manageable and, in today’s environment, more politically correct. As Shelterforce noted,CDLFs…may see charter schools as a more manageable way to “solve” the problems faced by high-poverty public schools than trying to change the policies that drive our country’s growing economic inequality and segregation. CDLFs have generally been reluctant to wade into policy advocacy that falls outside the acquisition of additional resources to support their work—an understandable position for organizations that rely primarily on governments and financial institutions for their operating subsidies.At worst, “choice” has become a surrogate for racism and classism.Either way, how much longer can we afford the costs many children and communities are already paying?—Martin LevineShare33Tweet24Share7Email64 Shareslast_img read more