Jimmie Johnson reports positive COVID-19 test

first_imgSeven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson has reported a positive COVID-19 test, Hendrick Motorsports announced Friday evening.The driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet was set to compete for his series-best fifth win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Sunday’s race (4 p.m. ET, NBC), but he is no longer cleared to compete. Justin Allgaier will drive the No. 48 Chevrolet on Sunday as his replacement.NASCAR outlined the steps for Johnson’s return in accordance with the CDC’s current guidelines: Johnson must be symptom free and have two negative COVID-19 test results, at least 24 hours apart. Additionally, NASCAR requires Johnson to be cleared by his physician before returning to racing.RELATED: Full weekend schedule“My first priority is the health and safety of my loved ones and my teammates,” Johnson said in a team release. “I’ve never missed a race in my Cup career, but I know it’s going to be very hard to watch from the sidelines when I’m supposed to be out there competing. Although this situation is extremely disappointing, I’m going to come back ready to win races and put ourselves in playoff contention.”Johnson will not accrue points for races in which he does not compete, but he would be granted a playoff waiver should he qualify for the postseason. The 44-year-old driver, who has said 2020 will be his last year as a full-time driver, currently sits 12th in the points standings. He is 63 points above the playoff cutline.According to a Hendrick Motorsports statement, Johnson has not experienced symptoms of COVID-19. He was tested upon learning Friday morning that his wife, Chandra, tested positive after experiencing allergy-like symptoms.Johnson was in constant communication with Hendrick Motorsports before and after being tested for COVID-19. The team immediately informed NASCAR and has been coordinating with the sanctioning body. As a precaution, it has also identified one member of the No. 48 traveling crew to self-quarantine due to close contact with the driver.“Jimmie has handled this situation like the champion he is,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “We’re relieved he isn’t showing symptoms and that Chani is doing great, and we know he’ll be back and ready to go very soon. It’s going to be difficult for him to be out of the car and away from his team, but it’s the right thing to do for Jimmie and everyone involved.”NASCAR released this statement on Friday:“Following the guidelines outlined in the Event Operations Protocols manual, Jimmie Johnson has alerted NASCAR that he has tested positive for COVID-19. NASCAR has outlined the steps for Johnson’s return, in accordance with the CDC’s current guidelines, which includes that Johnson is symptom-free and has two negative COVID-19 test results, at least 24 hours apart. NASCAR requires Johnson to be cleared by his physician before returning to racing. Jimmie is a true battle-tested champion, and we wish him well in his recovery. NASCAR has granted Jimmie a playoff waiver, and we look forward to his return as he races for an eighth NASCAR Cup Series championship.”Allgaier has driven full time for JR Motorsports in the NASCAR Xfinity Series since 2016. He has eight wins during that stretch and has finished in the top four of the standings in three of the previous four seasons.Allgaier tweeted a statement that read, in part, “I … believe we can make Jimmie and this #48 team proud until he’s ready to get back behind the wheel.”last_img read more

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Retiring Teacher Steals the Show With Hip-Hop Dance Moves, Teens Go Wild

first_imgDance teacher Shirley Clements may be ready to retire, but this video (above) shows she can still work that “Uptown Funk.”The 60-year-old plans to leave her teaching job at a Canadian high school next year, but to kick off her final act she took to the stage during a student hip-hop competition. It was a thrilling reminder of why she’s the teacher.Dancing to the Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars hit, “Uptown Funk,” she was the center of attention all the way to a head-spinning finale.Think you Can Bust a Move?  Share this story…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 MoreAddThisMorelast_img read more

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DEATH NOTICES: Dec. 18, 2020

first_imgGaylen “Davinci” Semien, 61, of Port Arthur died Monday, December 14, 2020. Funeral arrangements are pending at Gabriel Funeral Home. Wallace BeDair, 80, of Groves, Texas died December 17, 2020. Services pending with Levingston Funeral Home – Groves.last_img

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Jordan Barbour on the ‘Great Fraternity’ He Has Found in Broadway’s The Inheritance

first_imgJordan Barbour, Darryl Gene Daughtry Jr., Kyle Soller, Arturo Luís Soria and Kyle Harris in The Inheritance(Photo: Matthew Murphy) For Barbour, he feels a heightened sense of responsibility whenever he takes the spotlight. “Being a queer black actor representing a demographic that is sorely underrepresented on Broadway stages, it feels really powerful,” he said. “It’s something that I really try not to take for granted. We’re not here playing iconic characters and playing up these moments in history, we’re actually just playing people. History will dictate what this play is. What I can do is bring my truth to it, as a black queer man and that feels really powerful.”As a trained professional singer who did a joint program between Columbia University and Julliard, Barbour thought his ticket to Broadway would be through musicals, a decision that was solidified by seeing Audra McDonald in Ragtime when he was 14 years old. “Coalhouse Walker is my dream role,” Barbour said. “Ragtime was the first musical that I saw, and it made me realize that this is what I want to do with the rest of my life. I remember after it was over, I called my mother crying. I was locked in with Audra and still am.”Hear Barbour talk about his connection with André De Shields and more in the full episode below!  Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 31:28Loaded: 0%00:00Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently behind liveLIVERemaining Time -31:28 1xPlayback RateChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedEnglishAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button. Show Closed This production ended its run on March 15, 2020 Show Closed This production ended its run on March 15, 2020 In The Inheritance, newcomer Jordan Barbour is tasked with playing both Young Man #6 and the scene-stealing political Tristan throughout Matthew Lopez’s two-part drama now playing at the Barrymore Theatre. What many people don’t know, though, is that Barbour has an extra third role that he knows very intimately. “We spend a lot of time just sitting on stage talking to each other and people often ask if it’s scripted or not,” Barbour told Paul Wontorek in a recent episode of #LiveatFive. “One of Stephen Daldry’s directions was that there’s this very fine line in the show between the characters that we’re playing and ourselves. When we’re sitting on the sides, I’m also Jordan Barbour. It’s a really nice opportunity. If I’m onstage with Kyle Harris and he’s playing Young Man #7, sometimes we’re interacting as Young Man #6 and Young Man #7, but sometimes we’re interacting as Kyle and Jordan.”With The Inheritance showcasing a cast of 13 over the span of five acts, two parts and seven hours, Barbour has found a sense of peace and solidarity on stage. “It’s a great fraternity that we’re in on that stage,” he said. “We plumb some pretty intense emotional depths in this show, and you want to be on the stage with people that you trust and love. The magnitude of being in the original Broadway cast of this show hasn’t quite hit me yet. I think retrospect will make things clearer for me, but it’s a great honor to be on this stage.” Related Shows Star Files Jordan Barbour (Photos by Caitlin McNaney for Broadway.com) The Inheritance – Part 2 View Comments Jordan Barbour The Inheritancelast_img read more

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WaterOne board candidates on the issues: Utility priorities and Missouri River intake issues

first_imgWe asked the candidates for WaterOne board about some of the biggest issues facing the utility. Here’s what they had to say.Priorities for the water boardWhat would be your top priority as a member of the water board?Position 3Kay HeleyIf elected, I would be the only health care professional on the Board.  My priority will be to utilize my 30 years of public health nursing experience to ensure that all Board decisions will be evaluated on the basis of their impact on the health of our community, including WaterOne employees.  I will ask pertinent health-related questions; consult with staff; and research best practices, successful initiatives, and concerns from other communities as well as collaborate with public health officials.In calling hundreds of voters, I have been sobered by how few people in our community know about the WaterOne Board, and its responsibilities to a public utility or understand that we elect those Board members. Given the important link between our water and our health, as an elected member of this public Board, I will advocate for plans and policies that engage the community in WaterOne’s work.  We are fortunate to have plentiful and safe water in our community, and I want to protect it. I will encourage more public involvement in monthly Board meetings and increase public awareness about significant decisions.Because our water is a critical resource, as a nurse educator and an elected, public utility Board member, I will urge plans and policies that further engage the community, including our children, in the conservation and protection of our water.  Given some of the challenges facing Kansas water utilities, we need the public to be informed and involved.As a Board member, I will work to ensure the fiscal health of our water utility and will support plans and policies that are economically sound and result in affordable, safe water for all in our community.  I am a nurse running for the Water District #1 Board because our water is too precious to take for granted!Jim Vader (incumbent)As a current board member of Water District #1 of Johnson County and candidate for re-election my priorities for the District remain unchanged:  provide our customers with safe, reliable, quality water, at a reasonable cost.As a board member I will continue to support our policy of having growth pay for growth in providing water to new service connections.Position 5Brenda Cherpitel (incumbent)My top priority as a member of the WaterOne Board would remain the same as it has been over the last 10 years of my service as Board Member Position 5: ensuring a safe, adequate, high quality water supply to the over 400,000 people living in the Water District.  Closely aligned with that priority is delivering that water for fair and reasonable rates and focusing on long-range planning to protect critical infrastructure, promote water conservation, and ensure financial stability.I’m pleased to report that we will be converting the Hansen Water Treatment plant to an Ozone treatment process.  This is a proactive step in ensuring safe, high quality water because ozone is a more powerful disinfectant than our current chlorine dioxide, is more effective in reducing taste and odor compounds,  in removing algal toxins (microcystins), in reducing micro-constituents (pharmaceuticals and personal care products), all while simplifying operations.  This project was a part of our last master plan and has been thoroughly researched and vetted over the last several years.  It will be awarded at our November meeting with project completion in 2020.  Continuity of Board leadership is important in overseeing implementation of this proactive initiative.WaterOne is one of the best water utilities in the country as evidenced by its Platinum Award for Utility Excellence from the Association of Metropolitan Water Utilities, as well as having the highest bond ratings awarded to a public utility.  Long range planning is essential and we recently adopted the 2017 Master Plan that provides a roadmap for the next 40+ years.Finally of critical importance to me in representing you, is that WaterOne maintains customer satisfaction rates of over 90%, is considered the most reliable utility, and will be able to deliver all of this for a 0% rate increase in 2018!Jessica SkyfieldMy top priority would be long term sustainability of our water resources.One of the easiest, and very effective ways, to accomplish this on a local scale would be water conservation education and initiatives.WaterOne currently has two blocks of pricing, but I would implement additional water bill blocks to encourage less water use and give people who use less water an even greater discount on their water bills.I would also advocate for customer discounts for installing rain barrels, using gray water, and xeriscaping.Please see question three for additional initiatives that reflect my top priority, also.John SnyderMy top priority as member of the water board would be to use my experience in the Army Corps of Engineers and the education I gained through University of Maryland’s masters of environmental management to make socially conscience decisions. To maximize the quality and sustainability of the water being supplied to my neighbors, community, and city as a whole.Missouri River intake issuesIn 2014, the Army Corps of Engineers released a study on degradation of the Missouri River beds that are vital to WaterOne’s intakes. What should Water One be doing to find a permanent solution to this issue?Position 3Kay HeleyWe acquire our water from the Missouri River and its tributary, the Kaw River. The erosion of  our Missouri River bed results in lower water levels and disturbed sediment, posing critical challenges for WaterOne’s water-supply intake equipment and our water quality.   WaterOne partnered with MARC, other municipalities, and private companies to fund the 2014 Feasibility Study to study possible solutions.What is the right permanent solution to protect our Missouri River beds? The follow-up Army Corps Technical Report, issued in May, 2017, reviewed many options.  While floods, dams and navigation structures can cause degradation, the report cites commercial sand and gravel mining as “the dominant driver of projected bed degradation over the next 50 years.” Appropriately restricting commercial sand and gravel mining appears to be the most economically viable solution to river bed degradation.The Corps Report did not recommend a federal solution.  We must solve this problem locally.   We need to find a solution that balances our community’s need for construction sand and the interests of businesses and private land owners with our need to protect the long-term viability of our river.  Friends of the Kaw  promotes switching commercial mining processes from river dredging to carefully-selected pit mines, noting the success of a local pit mine that became a lake.WaterOne Board and staff must continue to work with MARC and expand the team to search for innovative solutions. We need to collaborate with the private companies and landowners who rely on the river.  We need to implement creative ways to limit river sand mining.  Board members and staff must inspire public discussion and advocacy, as well as communication with legislators, state officials, and the Corps of Engineers (who issues permits for sand mining operators). Together we can stabilize our Missouri River bed to protect our water’s future.Jim Vader (incumbent)Because of serious degradation problems near our intakes, on the Missouri and Kansas rivers, our general manager and staff  were responsible for bringing together the Kansas Water Office, Kansas Department of Health and Environment and Kansas City Missouri Water Department in conjunction with the Corps of Engineers, to aggressively pursue the controlling of commercial dredging on the rivers, a major cause of the degradation.Position 5Brenda Cherpitel (incumbent)WaterOne has been at the forefront of this issue since the beginning by drawing attention to the problem after experiencing costly degradation at our Missouri River intake in 2003.  In fact, WaterOne urged the Corps to look at this issue and proactively formed a cost-sharing agreement between the Corps and 20 local stakeholders to fund the study.  WaterOne has directly contributed $598,000 and thousands of staff hours to be actively engaged in developing a long-term solution to this problem.  The Corps concluded the study with a technical memo finding that the most feasible solution was to halt commercial dredging on the river.  While we agree, this is outside of our direct control and it will be incumbent upon the Corps to resolve the complex problem of having recently renewed several dredging permits for the next five years.  As a Board Member, I would continue to advocate for an expedient resolution to this issue.  For more information see the WaterOne website at www.WaterOne.org/MORiver.Jessica SkyfieldWaterOne is working on this issue with the Legislature and the Corps. The question refers to a 2014 study, but I am not familiar with those results, perhaps this data referes to when the study was initiated. The Executive Summary regarding this issue was completed by the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) and the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), to my knowledge, in May of this year.The single best way to stop this bed degradation is to no longer permit commercial sand and gravel operations along the critical section (at a minimum) of the Missouri River. I will work with the State Legislatures, USACE, Department of Natural Resources, and any other critical, invested state and federal agencies on this large-scale issue. Based on the USACE and MARC report, stopping the permitting of these operations will save the Kansas City metro area $~3.1 billion in infrastructure repairs and most efficiently stop river bed degradation as compared to the modelling of other options.Thus, after reading this report and looking at the data, I would advocate for ceasing these dredging permits immediately to save billions of dollars in infrastructure repairs and improve our water quality for decades to come, a benefit without a price tag.John SnyderAs a former employee that protected and managed water resources in the Kansas City district for the Army Corps of Engineers I know personally the complexities of the issue. To say there is a permanent solution to the problem would be a lie, but we can make steps forward to address the issue and make alternative plans to react in real time to different scenarios that may occur. At the current time I would suggest first the lowering of bank stabilizing structures in key areas to lower the amount of sediment being trapped. This would reducing the degradation of the river with minimal interference to the river. Additional measures could include the complete removal of specific dikes and the last option that I would not endorse unless a urgent need arose would be the construction of grade control structures in the main channel to trap sediment.Kansas water policyWhat statewide water policy issues are most important to the future of WaterOne’s operations?Position 3Kay HeleyThe Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is responsible for oversight of the federal Clean Water Act (1972) and the Safe Drinking Water Act (1974) for our community.  The goal is to ensure the safety and quality of our drinking water. We need to be sure our regulations and their enforcement keep up with new or increasing contaminants. One example is HAB’s (Harmful Algal Blooms) which grow rapidly from too many nutrients, like nitrates, in our reservoirs.  These nutrients are washed into our reservoirs by agricultural stormwater run-off.  HAB’s, with warm temperatures and enough sunlight, emit toxins that are harmful to people and animals.  KDHE samples public lakes after public sightings of the blooms, and then publicizes warnings.  HAB-contaminated water is released from reservoirs into our rivers and can enter our treatment plants.   Another example is atrazine, a commonly-used herbicide and considered an Endocrine Disruption Compound.  Storm-water washes atrazine into our rivers where it can enter our treatment plants.Increasing sedimentation in our reservoirs is decreasing water storage necessary for our growing population and for drought conditions. Will the proposed science-based watershed management plans be adequately funded and implemented?Kansas’ Water Vision Plan calls for a statewide conservation education program, reducing water use by 10% by 2035 and supports research to reclaim and reuse wastewater. How would this level of water conservation and reuse impact WaterOne’s fiscal health? Should we consider incentive-based conservation practices to help water utilities like they have assisted electrical utilities? What are the potential health effects of water reuse?  What can we learn from the recent study about the potential health effects of water reuse issued by the Kansas Health Institute?Vote to the bottom of the ballot Nov. 7!  Elect Nurse Kay Heley for WaterOne Board, the only health care professional on the Board.Jim Vader (incumbent)The primary issues of Water 1 future operations is to continue to stay active with the Regional Conservation Partnership Program in monitoring the water shed problems upstream that would ultimately affect the quality of water at all water utilities downstream. Position 5Brenda Cherpitel (incumbent)In the State of Kansas there are drastic differences in water issues.  Out west, farming communities are dependent upon the underground Ogallala Aquifer water resource.  It is being depleted and long term sustainability is a critical issue that must be addressed.  For the WaterOne area, we are very fortunate to have ample water resources, but our focus must be on water quality.  Upriver factors in the Milford, Perry, and Tuttle reservoirs are creating conditions for harmful algal blooms (Blue-Green Algae) in the Kansas River.  Sedimentation is also a concern in the Tuttle Reservoir specifically.WaterOne has been one of the most active utilities engaged in addressing these problems through participation in the Governor’s 50 Year Water Vision.  This collaborative effort is working to identify strategies for studying and mitigating Blue-Green Algae and promoting streambank stabilization to prevent reservoir sedimentation.  WaterOne is also working with the Kansas Water Office and other utilities to form a Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) to work with landowners upstream of the Milford Reservoir to monitor and ensure its long term health.  While we are working at the state level to advocate and inform, we are also protecting our water supply by converting to the Ozone treatment process which is more effective in removing the algal toxins.  As a Board member, I will continue to advocate for our active participation in helping to address statewide issues, but my highest priority will be to protect the water supply for the people of Water District #1.Jessica SkyfieldWater quality and quantity are broad issues, but are the crux of any water policy initiative.WaterOne receives water that has traversed either the entire width of Kansas (Kansas River water) or multiple states (Missouri River water). While statewide policies will not affect the Missouri River’s water, our water from the Kansas River actually costs us less to utilize. However, this water typically has higher total dissolved solids and thus is initially of lower quality.Since what happens to our water throughout the state affects the water we drink, I will focus on establishing partnerships with state agencies to improve the water quality in the Kansas River. I will work closely with the Kansas Farm Bureau, the Department of Agriculture-Water Resources Division, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment-Bureau of Water, and the Kansas Corporation Commission to implement regulations that improve both our water quality and our long-term water quantity.Specific statewide issues that I plan to focus on are limiting agricultural run-off, establishing more stringent water rights and use guidelines for the oil and gas industry’s practices, and water reclamation in agricultural and industrial applications where possible.John SnyderThe degradation of the Missouri River is one of the top issues effecting the community. However, we must also stay vigilant in protecting the quality and quantity of our water resources as we have seen in the past pesticides, lead, and other volatile chemicals have made there way into our homes. Along with the droughts of the past and future must be planned for accordingly to sustainably maintain water resources for present and future generations.last_img read more

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Fellow JoCo Republicans raise concerns about Kansas State Board of Ed candidate

first_imgBenjamin Hodge, a Republican former state representative running for an open seat on the Kansas State Board of Education, is facing opposition from some of his fellow party members — and his history in public office is causing concern among both opponents and former colleagues.Some Johnson County Republicans say Hodge has a history of being “disruptive” during his time as a Johnson County Community College Board of Trustees member, from 2005 to 2009, and as a Kansas state representative, in 2007 and 2008. But more than that, Republicans and Democrats alike worry Hodge has no real interest in education and is running for the state Board of Ed more for the sake of holding public office.“I don’t think he cares about this position, I think he’s using this as a stepping stone to a representative or senate position,” said Dave Krug, whom Hodge defeated in August’s Republican primary. “He has faith there will be Republicans who vote for him just out of complete devotion to the Republican Party.”‘Banking on people pulling the Republican knob’Krug, a Johnson County Community College professor, says he isn’t among those who will vote Republican in this race. In fact, Krug has endorsed Hodge’s Democratic general election opponent Melanie Haas.Krug said he was sad to have lost in August — not for himself, but for the students of Johnson and Wyandotte Counties that Hodge would represent if elected. The District 2 seat that Hodge is vying for is currently held by Steve Roberts, who was first elected in 2012.The district covers all or parts of the Shawnee Mission, USD 232, Blue Valley and Olathe school districts, as well as the Turner district in Wyandotte County. (Roberts is stepping down after an unsuccessful GOP primary campaign for U.S. Senate this year.) Krug says Hodge’s apparent lack of interest in engaging with constituents during the board of education campaign is a telltale sign that Johnson Countians can’t expect anything different if he wins.“He is totally banking on people pulling the Republican knob on Election Day, and it will be very sad for the students of Johnson County if he wins because, basically, they won’t have a representative on the Kansas State Board of Education,” Krug said. “I know that sounds strong, but that is Mr. Hodge’s history.”Hodge has not appeared at any public forums this campaign season (including one hosted by the Post) and has not responded to the Post’s repeated attempts to contact him. His social media accounts show little to no activity, and he has yet to update his campaign website from his unsuccessful 2016 campaign for Johnson County Board of County Commissioners.For her part, Haas says Hodge didn’t do any favors for public schools during his time as a Kansas state representative from the 39th District more than a decade ago, which at that time covered parts of western Shawnee and Bonner Springs.Melanie Haas, the candidate Hodge is up against on Nov. 3, said he has not yet “expressed any interest” in public education or provided a reason for running. File photo.She said his apparent lack of effort in this current campaign and his previous track record in elected office speak louder than anything.“This is a candidate who hasn’t so much as posted a single Facebook post or updated his website,” Haas said. “He’s a serial politician and he has not yet expressed any interest in public education, or any reason for running. That concerns me a great deal.”Along with his endorsement of Haas, Krug says he will continue to support her financially because he is “100% convinced she will represent our students very, very well.”Hodge’s positions on educationThere are several key duties the Kansas State Board of Education undertakes that impact K-12 students, including approval of state testing and assessment programs and the establishment of high school graduation requirements.In addition, the Board lists four major functions on its website:Accredit school systems and districtsEstablish licensing requirements and license educatorsDetermine statewide curricular standardsProvide direction and leadership for school redesignIn July, the state board of education received scrutiny when it voted 5-5 rejecting Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s executive order delaying the start of school amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The board’s decision threw the choice to local districts. (All Johnson County public school districts ultimately decided to delay their start dates until after Labor Day.)  Current District 2 board member Roberts voted against Kelly’s order.It’s hard to get a sense of what policies and priorities Hodge would have serving on the board. He did not respond to multiple requests for comment for this story, and he has not filled out a questionnaire sent to both him and Haas, made up of priorities suggested to us by readers.His website for his 2016 county commissioner campaign describes him as an “economic conservative.” The sole mention of education on that site says, “Let’s put children and parents first in education.”Hodge’s Facebook page has not been updated since February, 2019. Many of his posts prior to that are focused on hot-button issues like abortion and immigration, but he also posted occasionally about education-related matters.In December, 2017, he shared an article from the right-leaning website The Federalist entitled, ‘Why Every American Should Study Western Heritage 101.’ It’s a recap of a lecture given by Larry Arnn, the president of private conservative Hillsdale College, in which Arnn compares Americans’ lack of knowledge about U.S. history to a “virus.”“There’s a crisis, and what that means is, soon enough … we’re going to have to pick how we govern ourselves,” Arnn is quoted as saying in the article. “That choice, however, can only be well-made by somebody who has a thorough understanding of the two alternatives, either this progressive-bureaucratic form or the constitutional form that has governed America for most of its history.”Hodge’s campaign website has few mentions of education and doesn’t appear to have been updated since his unsuccessful 2016 campaign for Johnson County Board of County Commissioners.Additionally, Hodge posted a message on Facebook in September, 2018, in which he argued private schools are rapidly growing because it’s “increasingly difficult to find public school leaders who use reason and logic to make decisions.”Another 2018 post shared an article about sexual assault allegations against an Olathe Public Schools teacher, with Hodge writing, “K-12 government schools in Johnson County are rapidly declining in quality and safety, while taxes are rapidly increasing.”Johnson County Republican Party Chairman Fabian Shepard admits he has not had any conversations with Hodge during this election cycle. Shepard said he has attempted to reach out to Hodge and has asked a mutual contact to let Hodge know he would like to speak with him.Still, Shepard said the party supports all Republicans on the ballot this year.“We’re certainly supporting all GOP candidates,” Shepard said. “We don’t really have a formal endorsement process. Obviously, they’re running, and they’re members of our party.”A pattern in elected officeStephanie Sharp sat next to Hodge when they both served as Republicans in the Kansas House of Representatives in 2007 and 2008. Now a political consultant, Sharp paints the portrait of a colleague who was often either disengaged in the intricacies of legislating or, when he was present, was hard to work with.Sharp recalls having to frequently hold the roll call for Hodge or go physically locate him in order for him to cast a vote. If the Johnson County delegation, for example, wanted a bill passed, Sharp says, she and another lawmaker sitting on the other side of Hodge would be asked to help keep Hodge in his seat when it became his turn to vote.That pattern continued when Sharp was later elected to the JCCC Board of Trustees in 2009, the same year Hodge ran for reelection on the board and lost. (Public records suggest he served in the Kansas House and on the JCCC Board simultaneously for two years.)When she ran in 2009, Sharp says, she remembers telling constituents that she wanted the board of trustees “to be boring again.” That’s because when Hodge was a trustee, Sharp said the board’s meetings, streamed live online, were often referred to by college patrons as a source of entertainment, mainly because of Hodge’s behavior during the meetings.“There are a lot of people that are disruptive, but most times they have good intent,” Sharp said. “I always felt like Ben was disruptive to be disruptive.”Haas, Hodge’s general election opponent, said this pattern of behavior is something she’s heard other JCCC community members are concerned about now.Sharp agrees.“There’s not a lot of damage he could do on the JCCC board, that’s pretty low profile — in a position like [Kansas State Board of Education District 2 seat], he could really do some damage,” she said.Sharp says she and Hodge agree on some issues, but she adds that she doesn’t believe he has an actual interest in serving on the state board of education, nor to her knowledge, does he have much experience with K-12 education.If he wins the board of education seat, Sharp said, the board’s reputation could take a hit.“He would just, I would say, bring down the level of the [board] into the mud,” Sharp said.last_img read more

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Defending foreclosures training set

first_imgDefending foreclosures training set D efending foreclosures training set April Charney, senior staff attorney in the Consumer Law Unit at Jacksonville Area Legal Services, Inc., will present training on defending foreclosures in Florida on October 22 in Clearwater.Charney specializes in all manner of predatory lending advocacy; outreach; education; extensive litigation focusing on preventing foreclosure; eradicating illegal debt collection; and enforcing consumer lending, credit, and disclosure statutes.The program — set for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at St. Petersburg College EpiCenter, Room 1-453, at 13805 58th Street North, in Clearwater — is being put on by the Community Law Program, Gulfcoast Legal Services, Bay Area Legal Services, and Legal Aid of Manasota and is being sponsored by the St. Petersburg and Clearwater bars. Attendance is restricted to attorneys, judges, and paralegals who attend with their supervising attorneys. T he cost is $150 per person or $125 for St. Pete and Clearwater bar members. It’s free for judges. All attendees must agree to provide 20 hours of pro bono foreclosure assistance with their local legal aid program.For more information, contact Kimberly Rodgers at (727) 582-7295, or krodgers@lawprogram.org. The registration deadline is October 7. September 15, 2009 Regular Newslast_img read more

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Panel looks into ‘matchmaking’ referral services

first_img Panel looks into ‘matchmaking’ referral services August 15, 2015 Regular News Panel looks into ‘matchmaking’ referral servicescenter_img A new joint committee has begun looking at how online companies that seek to link lawyers and potential clients are affected by the Bar’s lawyer referral service rules.Carl Schwait, chair of the Board Review Committee on Professional Ethics, reported at the Board of Governors’ July meeting that the BRCPE met with the board’s new Technology Committee to begin the review.He said new operations have sprung up, which he called “online matchmaking-type services,” which differ from traditional referral services.“The joint committee of the BRCPE and the technology group are going to begin looking at those new groups that do their advertising, whether it’s on television or online and may not be following our particular methodology [for referral services],” Schwait said. “We’re going to be looking at how people get paid for lawyer services; we’re going to talk fee splitting; and we’re talking about other methods by which people who are nonlawyers for profit are trying to match up clients and lawyers. For that reason, many of these groups. . . are now invading Florida, and we have not looked at them. That’s why this committee was formed.”The Supreme Court on May 5 had oral arguments on the Bar’s proposed amendments to its lawyer referral service rules, Schwait noted. With the new study gearing up, he said the Bar asked the court to delay deciding that case so it could file additional information. However, the court declined.But Schwait said the new examination is still needed, so the joint committee is proceeding and hopes to complete its review in six months.last_img read more

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The Inspire Fusion investment fund has taken over the travel agency Kompas

first_imgThe process of taking over 86% of the total share in the joint stock company Kompas dd from Zagreb has been completed, making the company Inspire Investments doo the majority owner of this travel agency on behalf of the Inspire Fusion Fund. The signing of the Agreement ended the months-long process of in-depth business analysis and the completed transaction, which was certified by Matko Bolanča on behalf of the Fund, and Ivan Pukšar, the current majority owner of Kompas dd. The exact amount of the transaction is not available to the public as it is contractually protected as a business secret.The strategy of Inspire Investments, as previously announced by the Fund, is based on the processes of consolidation of business entities whose business covers the service sector, which is mostly dependent on tourism. The takeover of Kompas is a new step by which the Fund seeks to create a group based on business within the tourism sector. The consolidation project will certainly gain new contours in the future, as the intention is to further strengthen the business. New potential acquisitions in the future are aimed at further refining and strengthening the group headed by Inspire Investments, owned by Matko Bolanča and Krešimir Kukec.According to Matko Bolanča, the Fund’s investment strategy that promotes highly potent investments in companies with the aim of enriching value for our investor partners has made a new, strategically important step through investing in a business entity that shows exceptional potential for significant growth and expansion. “Our intention is to create certain strategic changes in the focus of Kompas’ business in the near future. This is especially true of strengthening incoming business. Thus, we plan to create the desired prerequisites for the improvement of all other business segments and create a potent business project. We can already announce that by changing the business model through the application of innovative technologies and business procedures, we will strive to make significant strides in the context of further business growth and profitability. This by no means means that we will change or negatively affect the stability of the workforce, but we will focus on improving their knowledge and refocusing on the potency of business priorities. In the long run, our goal is to create a stable and strong tourism story that will achieve the set business results through the strengthening of existing business and the application of new service models. Both at the level of profitability and at the level of overall financial stability.”As we find out, Ivan Pukšar, the current majority owner, still remains a part of Kompas, and he will perform the function of an advisor to the Management Board, which will continue to help create the business success of Kompas with his exceptional knowledge and experience.By taking over one of the leading domestic tourist agencies, Kompas dd, Inspire Investnents continues the announced investments in the tourism sector. With the earlier takeover of FLEET rent a car, and future investments in the most potent economic sector, the construction of a new, strong grouping entity will begin, which will further improve the development of tourism in the coming years and certainly positively affect the overall result of domestic tourism.By the way, the travel agency Kompas Zagreb celebrated 25 years of pols this year. It currently operates through eight branches, and has been recording stable revenues for the past four years, and last year ended with a revenue increase of over 20 percent.last_img read more

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All this talk about defection from the City is just bluster, mes amis

first_imgSource: Shutterstock/QQ7Economic reform? Remember, this is the country that has fought, through the Académie française, to stem the tide of anglicisation in France and the EU; it installed the 35-hour working week; the EU bankers’ bonus curb was pushed through by a Frenchman (one Michel Barnier); and it has enshrined in law the rights of employees to disconnect from office emails while on holiday. Try telling that to a Goldmans banker.London offers high-tech facilities and a financial services workforce of 750,000“And the food’s good too!” concludes Blankfein’s tweet. He’s got a point there. I’ve spent half of my career visiting Frankfurt and can confirm that, if you stare at the food long enough, your whole world turns beige. But it’s a serious financial centre and is taking most of the putative jobs, based on where banks say they are going to move City jobs – if, indeed, they move them. Blankfein again, on 19 October: “Just left Frankfurt. Great meetings, really enjoyed it. Good, because I’ll be spending a lot more time there. #Brexit.”But 11 days later he let rip again: In London. GS still investing in our big new Euro headquarters here. Expecting/hoping to fill it up, but so much outside our control.#Brexit pic.twitter.com/XwrIcqwM1t— Lloyd Blankfein (@lloydblankfein) October 30, 2017 The EU chief Brexit negotiator no doubt secretly cherishes what his country’s president, Emmanuel Macron, openly craves: for Paris to usurp London as Europe’s – if not the world’s – top financial centre, thus undermining City of London rents and capital values.Macron’s first victory was to secure Paris as the new home of the European Banking Authority (EBA) in a theatrical competition for its new home after it ups sticks from London. “It is the recognition of the attractiveness and European engagement of France. Happy and proud for our country,” he tweeted.In reality, it was a recognition of Paris’s name being pulled out of a hat after it received the same number of votes as Dublin in a Europe-wide bidding process that rivalled Eurovision for high-camp farce.France offered a €1.5m sweetener to the EBA’s coffers; losing bidder Vienna was even more lavish, proffering a 25-year rent-free deal. Any Brexiteers wondering why they voted to leave should refresh their memories by studying this fiasco. Will Paris really challenge London as Europe’s financial centre after Brexit?Source: Taxiarchos228/Creative CommonsNevertheless, under the risible strapline ‘London fights for its future’, the Financial Times predicted the move would weaken the UK’s role in banking regulation and thus reduce the number of banks occupying the City.A little premature, peut-être? The EBA employs a mere 159 staff and they’re mainly academics and recent graduates, not bankers. They will probably only fill a single floor in headquarters earmarked for the regulator in the ghastly La Défense complex.That has not deterred France’s haut monde predicting a full-scale exodus. Arnaud de Bresson, chief executive of Paris Europlace, which promotes the French capital’s financial sector, predicts that 10,000 bankers will move across the Channel from the City. He might conceivably have a digit in the wrong place.So it would seem have the bosses of various global banks. According to Bloomberg, UBS had originally indicated it was going to move as many as 1,500 to the continent; it subsequently admitted it could be as low as 250. For JP Morgan, 4,000 became “hundreds”. HSBC had touted 1,000 jobs heading to Paris, then backtracked on that figure (the same bank, remember, that last year threatened to move its HQ to Hong Kong in a spat over government regulations).Putting the pressure onThis all smacks of sabre-rattling to exert pressure on the UK government during Brexit negotiations or even to extract concessions on taxes or regulations. Chief among the sabre-rattlers, it seems, is Lloyd Blankfein, the chief executive of financial behemoth Goldman Sachs, which employs 6,500 in the UK, mainly in London. He’s been doing the rounds of European cities, issuing Delphic tweets on possible office moves as he goes.“Struck by the positive energy here in Paris,” read one. “Strong govt and biz leaders are committed to economic reform.”center_img Goldman Sachs’ 850,000 sq ft office taking shape in Farringdon stands testament to why talk of mass defections from the City is mostly bluster: London offers financiers high-tech facilities, huge financial markets capacity and a financial services workforce of some 750,000, with the temptation (unpalatable though it may seem to many) hinted at by Bank of England governor Mark Carney of the removal of bonus caps.Here’s my reading of what Blankfein’s really thinking: “Keeping Merkel, Macron & May on their toes. London still tops 4 liquidity, regs, workforce & English language. 400 to F-furt max #sorryParis.”Alastair Stewart is an equities analyst and commentatorlast_img read more

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