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WHAT IF THIS WAS YOUR LAST CHRISTMAS?

first_imgWhat if this was your last Christmas? What if this was your last chance at Christmas Eve, Christmas morning, and Christmas dinner? Would you make the effort to go home for the holidays? Would you make time to take the kiddos to drink hot chocolate and look at the lights?Would you still go to the mall?That’s what Mary Kate Campbell did, and she and her shiny new husband had a great time.“The best Christmas I had, we went to the mall and only had $100. He got a pair of Ray Bans, I got a sweater from J. Crew. We could afford these things, and we enjoyed our time together,” she said.That was a couple years ago. She’s not sure where she’s going to spend Christmas this year. “That actually depends on whether I get into a clinical trial I got kicked out of last week,” she said from the Seattle hospital where she’s got a real bad case of relapsed, refractory Acute Myelogenous Leukemia. “Or I will go home to Virginia and have a nice quiet little Christmas like I did last year,” she said. “It all depends on whether I get this new drug.”The bone marrow registry had two matches, but the doctors found cancer cells after the operation. When I asked if she’d been given a prognosis, she said, “I should be dead already,” and shortly after that she had to get off the phone to have a tube taken out of her chest. She’s 29 and has been married for a year and a half. But when she gets sad this Christmas, don’t assume you know why.“Christmas is sadder for me now, and it’s for reasons that I think are not the most predictable because I see wonderful, well-intentioned people who love me and care about me and would do anything that they could do to save me, but they cannot save me,” she said. “I see them buying objects for me and for others to distract themselves from the pain for a little while, the pain that they’re going to lose me.”And you think your mother is hard to shop for?From her hospital room, Campbell watches endless commercials for Black Friday, door busters, and 24-hour sales, all screaming at us to buy things that will be forgotten by the New Year. If she had her way—and just this once, maybe she should—we’d handle Christmas more purposefully.“Buy something you can afford that speaks to you about the person you’re buying it for. Surround yourself with people who don’t expect you to buy them things,” she said. “Every Christmas, we present the people we love with a glut of objects. We don’t necessarily present them with our love, we present them with objects.”Life doesn’t have to be so fraught to give Christmas urgency. My cousin George Stanford, a singer-songwriter based in LA, just recorded a song called “Christmas For Two”. The video—it’s up on YouTube—features his lovely and pregnant wife, Nikole, as they prepare for their last Christmas before the baby comes. It is unspeakably adorable.“Next year, there’ll be three, around our Christmas tree. You and I have just begun to write our legacy/Our gift will be here soon, a little me, a little you, so let’s celebrate our last Christmas for two,” sings George.For better or worse, we don’t know who is going to be around the Christmas tree next year. So I’ll put it to you again: If you knew that everything would change next year, how would you spend Christmas? Would you judge Christmas on how high the pile of presents under the tree is? Would you worry that everything looked just so? Would you put a plastic toy on a plastic card because Suzy had to open the same number of wrapped boxes as Johnny?What would you do?FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

Elkhart High School officially has a logo

first_img WhatsApp Google+ Twitter Facebook By Carl Stutsman – March 3, 2020 0 1184 Pinterest WhatsApp Elkhart High School officially has a logo IndianaLocalNews Pinterest Twitter Google+ Facebook Photo from Elkhart Community Schools The new Elkhart High School Lions officially have their new logo. The design unveil comes after input from the community.It features a white outline background and a blue lion with yellow and gold accent above Elkhart Lions written largely in red crimson. No coincidence that the colors bear at least a close resemblance to those of Elkhart Memorial and Elkhart Central as they prepare to merge. A post from the school says “Our lion proudly and bravely stands forward, while always aware of the history and importance of what is behind him”While the logo was unveiled Wednesday the school has not yet chosen lyrics for the fight song, that was tabled last week. Previous articleSpecialty crop grant program accepting applicants in IndianaNext articleSuit dismissed over Indiana attorney general groping claims Carl Stutsmanlast_img read more

Watch Donald Trump Frown Through This French Marching Band’s Tribute To Daft Punk

first_img[H/T Quartz] The 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, is currently in France, finishing up his visit on Bastille Day, France’s holiday marking the start of their democratic republic, which also doubled as a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the United States entering World War II. Trump joined Emmanuel Macron, the newly elected French president, for a celebration of the annual holiday, which included a parade down the famed Champs-Élysées.Watch Alec Baldwin As Donald Trump Cover Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” On SNLViewing the Bastille Day Parade in Paris, Trump and Macron were of noticeably different demeanors. At one point, a military marching band paid tribute to Daft Punk, serving both as a highlight of the parade and allowing us to get a glimpse at how Trump really feels about the French electronic duo’s music. Listening to the medley of “Get Lucky,” “One More Time” and “Digital Love,” the French President—who is only 39—looked overjoyed by the display. Trump, at 71 years of age, looked noticeably less enthused about the marching band’s performance. You can check out a video clip of the performance below, which features cut-aways to both Macron and Trump, making for a hilarious juxtaposition.last_img read more

Hiding money in plain sight

first_imgNot long ago, only bold-faced financiers and business tycoons would even think of plunking down cash for a $10 million beachfront penthouse or a $25 million pied-a-terre overlooking New York City’s Central Park. Thanks to a luxury real estate boom, lots of high-end properties are being sold today, but to whom has become a shadowy question.Seeking to end that practice, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) launched a six-month temporary initiative in March to pierce the veil of secrecy that often shrouds luxury real estate sales involving all-cash buyers in New York City and the Miami area.For the first time, title insurance companies will be obligated to discover and disclose the identity of an actual person, or “beneficial owner,” behind any legal entity, usually a limited liability corporation (LLC), used in a residential transaction. That information will become part of a database that will be available to law enforcement investigators. Such purchases, made using shell companies that conceal the identity of those involved as well as the source of their cash, are often favored by foreign buyers and now constitute half of the home sales of $5 million and up nationwide, according to a 2015 expose in The New York Times. In New York City and Los Angeles, that number is even higher. Some analysts suspect that the widespread use of LLCs or other opaque vehicles, which can be enmeshed in an international shell company network that is difficult for law enforcement to untangle, facilitates money laundering or those looking to keep ill-gotten gains out of the reach of government authorities, suspicious relatives, and others.Although granted broad powers under the USA Patriot Act of 2001 to institute and enforce anti-money-laundering measures in a variety of industries, including banking, mortgage, insurance, and real estate, the Treasury Department has not required those involved in real estate closings, such as title companies, real estate and escrow agents, or lawyers, to ascertain or report who profits from the purchase and sale of properties.Juan Carlos Zarate ’93, J.D. ’97, is a visiting lecturer of law at Harvard Law School, a former deputy national security adviser in the George W. Bush administration, and a former assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury for terrorist financing and financial crimes. The Gazette spoke with Zarate about the scope of the problem and what this new oversight might portend. GAZETTE: How pervasive is money laundering in the U.S. today, and how much is tangled up in real estate?ZARATE: The concern over high volumes of illicit capital flowing in and through the United States, especially in the real estate market, is real. The reason for FinCEN’s GTO [geographic targeting order] is precisely to get more data around what may be happening in terms of real estate investments and money laundering. The concern is the use of front companies and shell corporations to invest large amounts of money in high-end properties as a way of hiding or layering illicit funds. The two markets targeted by FinCEN’s rule — New York and Miami — have seen an increase not just in foreign purchases of high-end property, but also a high percentage of that happening through front companies and shell corporations. When you look at the Manhattan market, some of it is coming from Russia and China, and in Miami from sources like Venezuela and other places where you have inherent risk.So the fact-gathering is an attempt to get a handle on what may be the movement of illicit financing into the real estate markets and the use of real estate as a high-volume money-laundering vehicle in the U.S. To your broader question, globally, money laundering represents an extremely significant challenge for authorities, to the tune of billions of dollars of illicit capital. Money laundering, of course, is the attempt to hide, layer, and place illicit funds and ill-gotten gains, to make those proceeds look legitimate, and to find ways to place them or layer them back into the economy. That happens in all sorts of ways, and it can happen through the purchase of real estate.GAZETTE: Who are these all-cash buyers? And aside from Manhattan and Miami-Dade, where else is it a problem?ZARATE: Buyers come from all sorts of countries and places. There’s been concern, for example, in the New York market that you have a predominance of Russian- and Chinese-sourced purchases and questions as to who are the beneficial owners of those properties, and in particular the shell corporations — who or what is behind those purchases. The same goes for Miami. But in Miami, it’s not just Russian money, but also money coming out of Latin America, in particular places like Venezuela. Any place you have high-value property and the ability of foreign investors to find attractive investment opportunities because of new development, because of markets opening up, because of the likely increased value of property as a way of retaining and gaining value, you’re likely to see foreign investment. Certainly you’ve seen that in the Los Angeles and Southern California real estate market, and I think the same goes for Northern California around the San Francisco/San Jose area. There’s no question that FinCEN’s focus on New York and Miami is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of their attempts to understand what’s happening in the United States … that will no doubt take them to other cities and geographies.GAZETTE: Why are so many more luxury properties acquired through shell companies today than, say, 10 or 20 years ago? And are there legitimate, lawful reasons for someone to hold property in a shell company?ZARATE: Part of it is there’s been an easing of the ability to create these vehicles in different jurisdictions and legal mechanisms — lawyers, accountants who specialize in this work — and the ability to create different corporate vehicles for all sorts of economic and financial purposes for transactions, including investment in real estate. Certainly there are legitimate uses where you have groups of investors involved, specific legitimate transactions facilitated, or you may have certain individuals who are worried about revealing their wealth or being harassed or even targeted by oppressive regimes, and so you can imagine situations where at least having a vehicle that hides the beneficial ownership, on first blush, or creates a useful investment vehicle is helpful to some legitimate actors and investors.That said, there is a presumption in the international system that shell companies present a real risk of money laundering, that there’s additional due diligence and a risk determination that has to go along with any transaction or business relationship tied to shell companies. The risk is that banks or other elements of the legitimate commercial or financial system are being misused and that elements and vehicles of the economy are suddenly being put at the command of these organizations or these corporate vehicles that then allow them to move all sorts of illicit capital in and out of the U.S. market or other markets.GAZETTE: How does money laundering threaten national security?ZARATE: There are two fundamental national security implications. One is the ability of rogue actors — be they criminal organizations, nation-states in concert with proxies, terrorist organizations, all with the ability to access capital — to hide their proceeds, to gain profit, to meld it with a legitimate system. All are dangerous because that allows those groups to have profit and capital that allows them to do dangerous things. The reality is money laundering is an enabler for groups that present real threats to the United States and to its allies and to, frankly, international security. So that’s a more tactical concern. The broader concern is about the challenge and threat to the integrity of the financial system. When we worry about … the U.S. or the global financial or commercial system, you worry about its safety, soundness, and integrity. And if much of the activity, or some significant portion of the activity in the economy, is derived from illicit gains, corrupt proceeds, illicit finance, that’s an inherently unstable and dangerous system that presents real risk to the economic health of a country or the global economy and governance.GAZETTE: Why weren’t real estate closings, and those involved in them, required to abide by the anti-money-laundering requirements in the Patriot Act? And given The Times’ series, as well as widespread anecdotal evidence, why is there only a temporary information-gathering program and not an enforcement action?ZARATE: It’s certainly not the first time authorities have worried about real estate being used as a money-laundering vehicle. That’s in some ways a classic methodology and concern globally. The regulatory structure for the real estate market and actors is complicated. FinCEN has spoken to this issue before, even though real estate agents, title, and escrow companies are not considered financial institutions for purposes of the Bank Secrecy Act. I think the challenge is at what point do you best regulate the flow of funds in and out of the real estate market? That presents interesting questions about federalism and regulatory efficiency and a question as to whether or not regulation versus law enforcement attention is the right approach. So there’s always been a question about what the right approach should be.But with The New York Times expose, with the greater flow of funds into these key real estate markets, I think what FinCEN is trying to do is to not only understand better what’s happening, but to build a record so as to begin to think about what the right regulatory structure looks like. And there is an interesting question as to who’s ultimately responsible here for understanding beneficial ownership. Is it the title insurance industry? Is it the real estate broker? Is it some element of the financial-settlement process that has to happen? Part of this, too, is an exploration of where in the real estate process do you demand this type of enhanced diligence and clarity? That’s in part what FinCEN’s grappling with as well: Who’s going to have access to that information and who can demand it.GAZETTE: What do you expect the review will find, and is this a prelude to new enforcement?ZARATE: FinCEN will undoubtedly discover problematic transactions and gaps in the real estate markets targeted. This all may result in some sort of demonstrative enforcement action. That is something that GTOs have tended to lead to in the past: law enforcement attention and focus, and then either law enforcement or regulatory action. So that’s one potential result of this. The second is the fact-gathering allows FinCEN to think more aggressively about what anti-money-laundering regulation in the real estate space should look like and how best it should be implemented. And third is a marker for where else to potentially look for vulnerabilities, not just geographically, but it may demonstrate that there are other holes in the system that need to be looked at more carefully.So the fact-gathering dimension of this is very helpful to make cases, to understand regulatory options, and then to also understand where vulnerabilities lie. I think it’s inevitable that they’re going to find things they hadn’t seen to date, and the scope of the problem may be bigger than what we’ve seen reported.GAZETTE: How might requiring disclosure of owners affect the way such properties are sold? Won’t people just move to another vehicle?ZARATE: It’s a great question, and again it goes to what’s the most effective way of getting this information and ensuring that it’s vetted? Also, how do you ensure that you’re not just creating one blockage in the system and allowing workarounds, either with new special-purpose vehicles or new processes that in essence layer further the ultimate beneficial ownership? That’s a broader challenge of the anti-money-laundering system. How do you stay ahead of criminals and actors who are trying to hide sources of money and getting more sophisticated every time in using corporate formation, legalities, and layering to hide sources of wealth and sometimes ultimate beneficial ownership? It’s just part of the organic process of dealing with anti-money laundering, trying to ensure accountability and transparency and traceability in the system. In this case, what that looks like for the real estate market is still in formation.This interview has been edited for clarity and length.last_img read more

A close reading of Elizabeth Bishop

first_imgA new book on Elizabeth Bishop offers readers a revealing look at how the professional and private lives of one of the greatest American poets of the 20th century often converged. “Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast,” published this month by Megan Marshall ’77, winner of a Pulitzer Prize in 2014 for “Margaret Fuller: A New American Life,” is informed by both a fresh trove of Bishop’s letters and the author’s own experience — the young Marshall took a poetry composition seminar taught by Bishop. Though never comfortable at the head of a classroom, Bishop imparted lessons that made a lasting impression on her future biographer, including the idea that poetry cannot be taught. Marshall, a former fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, spoke with the Gazette about her encounters with Bishop in life and on the page. GAZETTE: Why did you decide to write a book about Elizabeth Bishop?MARSHALL: She is very much in the public eye as a personality, and her poetry is well known, but there hasn’t been a biography for over two decades. I had actually set out to write a short book, more an appreciation, because I had known her, and that seemed to call for a different kind of book, not a straight biography. But when I started in on the research, I learned that there was new material available that really opened up her life. You could understand periods of her life that weren’t well documented before. Some of this material, groups of letters that were saved by her much-younger partner, Alice Methfessel, and released after Alice’s death in 2009, included their own correspondence, a record of an ardent late-life love for Bishop. And there was a series of letters Elizabeth wrote to her psychoanalyst in 1947, with recollections of her very difficult early childhood as a virtual orphan, as well as more delightful accounts of early passions for girls at the Walnut Hill School. It’s clear from these letters that Elizabeth really didn’t have any question about her sexuality from an early age, and that’s something that we could only guess about before.In addition, I love writing about women, particularly New England women — Elizabeth Bishop was born in Worcester, and grew up mostly in Massachusetts. And I thought it would be a challenge to leap into the 20th century. Then there was this notion that I could somehow be involved in the narrative myself. Unlike my other biographies, once I saw I would need to cover all of Bishop’s life, I had a clear vision of the shape the book would take from the outset — a six-chapter structure with titles drawn from the end words in Bishop’s sestina “A Miracle for Breakfast,” which is also the title of my book, alternating with brief memoir passages, dated by my encounters with Bishop as a Harvard student. It all fell into place.GAZETTE: Can you tell me a little bit more about your decision to insert yourself in the narrative?MARSHALL: In part, I just felt it would be dishonest if I didn’t somehow indicate that I knew Elizabeth Bishop, and there’s also the fact that I have had a bit of a yen to write about that time at Harvard. Then I realized in the process of writing that what I wanted to do was to revive the importance of poetry in everyday life, to show how poetry can be meaningful even when you are not a poet or a literary scholar or critic. That is sort of how my autobiographical portion of the narrative functions. I am recalling what I loved about poetry, my efforts at poetry, and my ambition as a poet. I didn’t become a poet but I still love poetry. There are many poems that come up in the book but they are not all Elizabeth Bishop poems. There’s a Frost poem, there’s a Robert Penn Warren poem, and you see how poems can become life-sustaining in ways that aren’t taught in class. Then there’s the way the poems function in the biographical sections about Bishop, which situate them in her life. The reader sees what it is for the poet to actually come upon an idea for a poem and realize it. I guess I felt Bishop’s was a life story that could inspire readers to love poetry again or to learn to love it when they hadn’t loved it before.GAZETTE: What was she like as a teacher?MARSHALL: She was a quiet person and reserved and didn’t seem very comfortable leading the class I took with her. You had to wait for her to warm up and to find something that would get her to relax. A lot of times it would be some sort of recollection. I have a vivid memory of her talking about the poet Marianne Moore and a line that Moore stole from her. In truth that was something Moore did, she picked up dialogue and used it in her poems. Bishop told this story that went back to the 1930s, that’s how long she had been carrying this annoyance. But if she could kind of lose herself in the telling of a story like that, she relaxed a lot more. Later, at the end of the semester, she invited our class to a party at her apartment at Lewis Wharf — a first for her. I learned through research that she’d liked our class, thought we were bright. There [at the party] I saw a very different woman, much warmer; she’d invited Alice and some younger poets. She was herself there, and I’m glad I had the chance to see her at ease among friends.GAZETTE: Did you take a particular lesson away from her class?MARSHALL: Oh yes. I wrote in the book that she began the class by saying she didn’t think that poetry could be taught. When I’ve mentioned this to other writing teachers lately they say “That’s terrible, what an abdication of responsibility,” and “She must have been lazy.” But I didn’t take it that way at all, and her words stayed with me. I felt as if she was saying, “You have to live your life and write the poems that come to you and find your own way to do it.” She couldn’t tell us how to do it and that actually seemed to make a lot of sense to me. It seemed very honest and I appreciated it.GAZETTE: In the book you talk about her reading one of her works during a class you were taking with Robert Lowell. What was that like?MARSHALL: There’s a wonderful quotation in her memoir of Marianne Moore in which she recalls what it felt like to read Moore’s poems for the first time in college: “I hadn’t known poetry could be like that.” And I had exactly that feeling listening to Elizabeth Bishop read, because the poetry that we were trying to write, under the influence of Robert Lowell, was confessional, very openly autobiographical. And here she read “Poem,” which was in a certain way autobiographical but not revealing of any particular details of her childhood. It was about “life and the memory of it,” a line in the poem. She’s known for being fairly straightforward, not fancy, in her verse. There is a lot of interesting vocabulary, but there is also a lot of plain talk, along with vivid description and deep insight into the human condition. She said that in a poem she wanted to show “a mind in action,” and she could do that without melodrama or self-revelation. Poetry is “thinking with one’s feelings,” she once said.GAZETTE: In the book you also quote one of Bishop’s letters to Robert Lowell in which she writes, “Oh heavens, when does one begin to write the real poems.” What do you think she meant?MARSHALL: The real poems, one could say, were the “Geography III” poems. There’s a consensus that they help you read the earlier poems. But it also speaks to this sense of there being more to say and more to do and more to imagine and that she was very much engaged in the process of poems all the time, that they were in her head or jotted down in her notebooks and they weren’t finished and that was probably a frustration. She has poems that she started and didn’t finish for 20 years. She was never not in it.GAZETTE: You have a reading sponsored by the Woodberry Poetry Room coming up on Feb. 27. What will it be like for you to be back at Harvard reading your own work?MARSHALL: I feel really happy to be invited to read at Harvard by the Woodberry Poetry Room. I was in there as an undergraduate listening to the recordings and it was just the heart of the poetry scene for students and I am sure it still is. Their Listening Booth website is such a resource nationally, and internationally, for these historic recordings of so many eminent poets reading their works, it’s just kind of a miracle. This reading is going to be a homecoming, and so appropriate for the book, which began for me at Harvard in the 1970s when I met and studied with Elizabeth Bishop at the end of her life.Marshall will present passages and reflection from her new book at 6 p.m. Feb. 27 at the Edison Newman Room in Houghton Library.Listen to Bishop read her work here.last_img read more

Five Fun Ways to Watch Frozen on iTunes Right Now

first_imgTime to call in sick to work, because for the first time in forever, the Disney hit Frozen is available to watch as many times as you want on iTunes! So you’ve seen the movie while munching popcorn in the theater and you’ve even channeled your inner Elsa with a few hundred of your closest friends at the movie’s special sing-along screenings—but now, as we’re counting down the days until Idina Menzel performs “Let It Go” at the Oscars, we present five brand new ways to watch Frozen in the comfort of your own home. Idina Menzel Star Files Play a Sub-Zero Drinking Game If you’re over 21, mix up a batch of Frozen floats (blue Kool-Aid with vodka and vanilla ice cream, patent pending) and chug whenever Elsa uses her magic powers, whenever Olaf says the word “summer” and whenever any character bursts into song. So basically, you’ll be drunk in the first 15 minutes. You’re welcome. Host a Frozen Feast What Frozen screening party would be complete without a table full of ice-cold treats? Make a tray of blue raspberry Jell-O and cut it into adorable ice cubes, use marshmallows to make Olaf pops and if you’ve really got some time on your hands, go all out and make a Frozen icicle cake. Just try not to eat the whole thing before your friends come over like you did at your Wicked party. Grab Your Friends For a Live-Reading There’s probably a good couple of years until Frozen hits Broadway, but until then, gather up your pals and debut your own live-action Frozen in your living room. Rock that side braid, buy an Elsa costume on Etsy (or if you don’t have $2,000 to spare, make your own), turn on the subtitles and don’t hold back anymore! View Comments Build a Backyard Replica of Olaf The only thing more fun than listening to “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” is building a snowman while watching Anna sing “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” Grab your iPad, run out into the polar vortex and build your very own Olaf in the backyard. Just uh, make sure your tablet’s resting on a dry surface. And make sure it’s under warranty. Throw Props at the Screen OK, so you could try throwing props at the movie theater a la Rocky Horror, but good luck getting past “Frozen Heart” without getting kicked out by an usher. At home, you’re free to toss snowy cotton balls in the air, hurl mini-marshmallows at your cat and of course, shoot ice-blue silly string at the TV.last_img read more

State Department to host ribbon-cutting Friday for Vermont Passport Agency

first_imgUnder Secretary of State for Management Patrick F Kennedy will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, March 4, at 2 pm to mark the official opening of the Vermont Passport Agency in St Albans. Invited guests include the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Passport Services Brenda S. Sprague, members of Congress, state and local officials, community leaders, and members of the media.Americans with urgent travel plans will be able to apply in-person at the Vermont Passport Agency, where passport books and passport cards will be issued onsite, alleviating the need for applicants to travel to Boston for emergency services. The new agency will occupy the first floor of the historic St. Albans Federal Building, which formerly served as the city’s post office and customs house. Original brass postal boxes and two large murals painted by artist Philip von Saltza in 1939 remain on display for passport customers to enjoy.Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Vermont Passport Agency is located at 50 South Main Street. Nearly 20 employees will staff the agency, which is projected to issue 15,000 passports during its first year of operation, serving more than 2,500 customers onsite.The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative introduced new travel document requirements that increased passport demand and demonstrated the need to expand the passport network into previously underserved areas. Over the next few months, the Department of State will open passport agencies in San Diego, California; El Paso, Texas; and Atlanta, Georgia. In 2010, a new agency was opened in Buffalo, New York, and public counters were added at existing passport centers in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Hot Springs, Arkansas.Travelers with urgent travel requirements may schedule an appointment at the Vermont Passport Agency or other regional passport agencies by calling 1-877-487-2778 or visiting www.travel.state.gov(link is external).last_img read more

Race Ahead: 2014 Trail Running Events

first_imgCruel Jewel 100-MilerBlue Ridge, Ga., May 16The name of this up-and-coming 100-miler certainly alludes to the nature of the course, but by no means is able to fully do it justice. Located in the stunning Chattahoochee National Forest of northern Georgia, this out-and-back route begins and ends in Blue Ridge, Ga., with Vogel State Park as the 50-miler finish and 100-miler halfway point (although in total, the 100-miler course is actually 104 miles). With 60,000 feet of elevation change, unpredictable weather patterns, suffocating humidity, technical singletrack, steep ascents, and steeper descents, the Cruel Jewel might seem more cruel than jewel. But if those technicalities don’t deter you from coming out, the race has already established a reputation for having a challenging yet rewarding course and quality organization with extremely dedicated volunteers. dumassevents.com/cruel-jewelStump Jump 50KChattanooga, Tenn., October 4Local running enthusiast Matt Sims started this 50K in 2002 with the intention of raising awareness and support for the Cumberland Trail Conference and the community’s running scene. Only 12 years later, this race has grown to become one of the Southeast’s classic ultras. The course mostly follows the singletrack on Chattanooga’s Signal Mountain, but runners will also come across everything from pristine trails to creek crossings and the infamous Rock Garden. rockcreek.com/stumpjumpNew River Trail 50KFries, Va., OctoberOne of the oldest rivers in the world, the New River runs for over 300 miles through three states, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. The New River Trail parallels this historic river for 39 miles and serves as the route for the New River Trail 50K. For folks wanting to take that first step toward running ultras, this race is a great introductory event to the world of long-distance racing because of its even, flat, dirt terrain. ncnr.orgShut-In Ridge Trail RunAsheville, N.C., November 1More than a half, yet not quite a marathon, what this 17.8-miler lacks in distance it makes up for in difficulty. Held during peak fall weather, the course climbs 3,000 feet along leafy, rocky singletrack. Already in its 36th year, the Shut-In represents one of the oldest and toughest grassroots races in the region and attracts elite runners and amateurs alike. The course parallels the Blue Ridge Parkway for most of the race, making it easy for friends and family to stand by and cheer you on. jusrunning.comHellgate 100KFincastle, Va., December 13In 2003, ultrarunner David Horton created the Hellgate 100K, starting what would become one of the most respected and sought-after achievements among the ultrarunning community. Horton’s own passion for challenging both body and mind drove him to such accomplishments as setting a speed record for the Appalachian Trail in 1991 and, to this day, holding the third fastest time ever for the 2906-mile transcontinental crossing. His intimate relationship with challenge and, at times, utter despair helped him to mold the Hellgate 100K, a course that winds for over 60 miles through the Jefferson National Forest. With a start time of 12:01AM, more than 13,000 feet of climbing, an 18-hour time limit, and brutal winter weather, this race is a must-do for ultrarunners looking for a sizeable test. eco-xsports.com A Shut-In WinScott WilliamsScott WilliamsRegional runner Scott Williams grew up watching the annual 17.8-mile Shut-In Ridge Run and its runners. Stretching from the French Broad River to Mount Pisgah, this community-held event challenges some of the area’s top runners with its rocky terrain and steep climbing.“I’d always respected that race because it’s so hard,” Williams says. “The first time I ever ran the course I swore I was never going to race it.”Williams eventually changed his mind and joined the annual gathering of runners. In 2012, Williams won the Shut-In, a moment he says has truly been one of the highpoints of his running career.“Just trying to keep moving forward is a mind game,” says Williams. “You can be running really well but be going so slow. If you want to prepare to race Shut-In I’d suggest running a lot of uphill and downhill. Also be prepared to get beat up and switch gears a lot.”On Williams’ list of other top regional races are the 40-mile Mt. Mitchell Challenge, the DuPont Trail 12K, and the New River 50K.Best of the RestMount Mitchell 40M Challenge & Black Mountain MarathonBlack Mountain, N.C., February 22 • blackmountainmarathon.comThomas Jefferson 100KCharlottesville, Va., March 15 • tj100k.comTerrapin Mountain 50k & Half MarathonSedalia, Va., March 22 • eco-xsports.comVirginia Creeper MarathonAbingdon, Va., March 30 • runtricities.org/creepermarathonMountains-to-Sea 50K/12M Trail ChallengeRaleigh, N.C., March 30 • bullcityrunning.comDirty Kiln Half Marathon Trail RaceHolidaysburg, Penn., April 5 • alleghenytrailrunners.com/dirty-kiln-trail-raceSmoky Mountain RelayBrevard, N.C., April 25-26 • smokymountainrelay.comJackson River Scenic Trail Half Marathon and 10KCovington, Va., June 28 • visitalleghanyhighlands.comXTERRA Beech Mountain 15K/5KBeech Mountain, N.C., July 26 • dirtyspokes.comSpringmaid Splash 10KSpruce Pine, N.C., August • mitchellraces.comThe North Face Endurance Challenge 50M/50KPine Mountain, Ga., September 27 • thenorthface.com/endurancechallengeGrindstone 100 MilerStaunton, Va., October 3-5 • eco-xsports.comBlue Ridge Burn 5k & 10kRoseland, Va., October 11 • blueridgeoutdoors.com/blueridgeburnMountain Masochist 50-MilerLynchburg, Va., November 1 • eco-xsports.comUpchuck 50KChattanooga, Tenn., November 1 • rockcreek.comDuncan Ridge Trail 50K/30KBlairsville, Ga., November 22 • duncanridgetrail50k.com_______________Check Out Our Other Race Ahead GuidesTrail RunningRoad RunningRoad BikingMountain BikingClimbingPaddlingMultisportsSnowsportslast_img read more

Suffolk Police Rejoins FBI’s LI Gang Task Force

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Suffolk County police are rejoining the FBI’s Long Island Gang Task Force following three Central Islip murders in two days last week, effectively reversing a decision to quit the collaboration last fall.Chief of Department James Burke announced the policy backtrack Monday at the Third Precinct in Bay Shore while outlining that and other steps police have been taking to address the slayings—two of which detectives have said they suspect involve gangs.“When we removed the detectives from the Long Island Gang Task Force, we felt that was the best deployment of our officers,” Burke told reporters at a news conference. “Now, the key critical thing here is making the public know that we are doing everything possible to make them safer. We felt it was prudent to assign those officers back to the task force.”When the Press first reported that Suffolk police quit the task force last year, Burke said the three detectives dedicated to the unit were reassigned because of staff and budget shortages. He said the brass is still deciding which two detectives will be assigned now.King: Central Islip Murders Show Need for Gun Control“I was opposed to them leaving it in the first instance,” Suffolk Legis. Rick Montano (D-Central Islip) said upon learning the news from the Press. “I’m glad that they rejoined the task force. I think that they’re an important element of solving gang-related crime and hopefully we’ll be able to have some apprehensions in these recent murders that we had in Central Islip and prevent further gang activity.”Lenny Tucker, president of the Brentwood Association of Concerned Citizens, was also relieved to learn from the Press that Suffolk police rejoined the FBI gang task force.“Naturally, I’m ecstatic,” Tucker said. “I’ve noticed that they’ve been doing aggressive patrols since the shootings.”He added that he was glad to see that the police stepped up their game before community outrage began to boil over like it did during a spike in gang murders in the area in 2009 and 2010.“It doesn’t seem like the police department is just sitting by idle this time,” Tucker said. “Now it seems like they’re being a little bit more proactive.”FBI spokesman James Margolin said the agency welcomed Suffolk police back into the task force with open arms.“It’s a good thing, we’re pleased,” he said. “We’re happy that they’re going to be participating again.”Chief Burke said he hopes rejoining the task force, beefing up patrols and adding school resource officers in the community will help temper residents’ concerns.“If you have a fearful community, you have an ineffective partner in fighting crime,” he said. “The police-community partnership is key.”last_img read more

Coopera and the Federation team up to help credit unions attract millions of immigrants

first_imgSince President Obama’s recent announcement on immigration reform, there have been a couple of organizations that have been very busy helping credit unions prep for a possible onslaught of new members — 5.5 million of them.Coopera Consulting’s President Miriam De Dios and National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions Director of Membership Pablo DeFilippi joins us to discuss the massive growth and financial leadership opportunity this reform has for credit unions. Both organizations have embarked on national campaign of events they have planned to help promote their initiative to reach immigrants through credit unions. Here are those events…• Immigration Executive Order and Financial Inclusion Webinar: Part 1 – January 13, 2015• Financial Inclusion for Immigrant Consumers: LA Roundtable – January 16, 2015 in LA, CA• Immigration Executive Order and Financial Inclusion Webinar: Part 2 – February 11, 2015 continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more