The Werks Vs. Zoogma To Battle It Out At The Gramercy Theatre, 11/14

first_imgOn November 14th, get ready for the biggest musical fight of your life, as The Werks take on Zoogma at the legendary Gramercy Theatre. These two up-and-coming heavyweights are some of the best and brightest in the jam band scene, and, with Wyllys opening, this show is guaranteed to be one of the highlights of your fall music calendar.The Werks have been on a tear as of late, having just released an exceptional album, Mr. Smalls Sessions. The album shows off the band’s diverse influences, rockin’ in some places, and drop heavy funk grooves in others. You can read our in-depth review of that album here. The band also hosted the fifth edition of their very own Werk Out Festival last August, bringing in headliners like Papadosio and Dopapod. Those three groups banded together for a festival-ending performance of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, truly showcasing this band’s exceptional talent.Watch that version of Dark Side of the Moon here:Much like their advertised adversaries, Zoogma has also been on fire. The band is known for merging electronic exploration with straight-up four-piece rock and roll, and the result is simply mesmerising. Zoogma gets down and dirty with every live performance, bringing an eye-popping visual display and limitless musical grooves. These guys truly rock. Don’t believe us? Check out their set from Gnarnia, 2012.With these two bands battling at the Gramercy, everyone wins. These guys have an extensive co-headlining fall tour, which kicks off October 16th, so they’ll be primed and ready for this awesome show on November 14th.Artist: The Werks, Zoogma, and WyllysDate: November 14th, 2014Venue: Gramercy TheatreTickets: Click Here.last_img read more

Lights will go out as University joins worldwide Earth Hour

first_imgFor an hour on the evening of March 28, Harvard will turn the lights off on some of its iconic architectural features — part of Earth Hour 2009, a global event promoting individual action to reduce climate change.From 8:30 to 9:30 p.m., the University will shut off non-essential lights atop Memorial Hall and on clock towers at two Harvard Houses, Dunster and Eliot.The environmental awareness event is being marked in cities worldwide.Boston will take part, along with dozens of U.S. municipalities, from New York and Los Angeles, to Miami, Chicago, Dallas, and even tiny Igiugig, Alaska (a village east of Anchorage).Worldwide, at least 750 cities in 80 countries have signed up to participate in Earth Hour, a moment of global communal awareness organized by the World Wildlife Fund. Organizers are hoping 1 billion people will take part.Earth Hour started in Sydney, Australia, in 2007. The event went global last year, when 50 million people took part in 400 cities worldwide.Some of the world’s most famous structures turned off non-essential lights last year, including the Empire State Building, Toronto’s CN Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge, Seattle’s Space Needle, London’s City Hall, and the Sydney Opera House. Even Google’s U.S. home page went “dark,” leaving a message on a black background: “We’ve turned the lights out. Now it’s your turn — Earth Hour.”Among the universities participating in Earth Hour this year are Howard, Northwestern, Indiana, and Vanderbilt.During that one hour, Harvard is encouraging faculty, staff, and students not only to douse non-essential lights but to power down computers.Heather Henriksen, director of the University’s Office for Sustainability, said all Harvard Schools will be taking part, along with Harvard Real Estate Services and University Operations Services.The Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) will turn off its architectural lighting, she said, including the Lowell House bell tower and the Dillon Fieldhouse clock tower.FAS will promote its participation through a broadcast e-mail message and through its Resource Efficiency Program — the peer-to-peer conservation program in all Harvard Houses.In Boston, lights will go dark at the city’s signature Citgo sign, the Prudential Center, the Hancock Tower, and other prominent (and well-lit) landmarks.last_img read more

Eight Injured in Kentucky 41-Car Pileup

first_imgDRY RIDGE, Ky. (AP) – Police say eight people have been injured in a 41-vehicle pileup that shut southbound Interstate 75 for hours on a day when scattered snow showers pelted northern Kentucky.Kentucky’s Kenton County police department issued a statement saying six of the injured were taken to hospitals, but none of the injuries was life-threatening. It said cars and other vehicles collided on southbound lanes at 12:22 p.m. Monday just north of Crittenden and south of Cincinnati.Police say 23 vehicles had to be towed before southbound lanes reopened at 2:45 p.m. A news photo showed cars sprawled across several lanes and beside a shoulder with accumulated snow. Authorities say the cause is under investigation.Meteorologist John Denman with the National Weather Service in Louisville said snow showers fell around the state Monday.last_img read more

First Grader Turns Her Dream of Feeding Homeless People Into Reality –By Launching Her Own Foundation

first_img“It makes me really proud because with everything that’s going on in the world this small child who is entering first grade has such a big heart,” Marshall said. “She wants to give. She wants to help others.”Paris has already accomplished a lot by anyone’s standards, but if she has her way, she’s only just getting started. She’s looking toward holding a Thanksgiving hot-food drive for the homeless and also hopes to start a Christmas toy fund for kids in need.“I want to inspire people to do good things,” Paris said.Out of the mouths of babes, it seems, comes not only wisdom and truth, but kindness and generosity as well.If you’d like to pitch in to help Paris feed the homeless, donations can be made directly to Paris Cares Foundation, or you can purchase Paris Cares masks and T-shirts via her Bonfire Account.(WATCH Paris’ adorable story below.)Be Sure And Share This Inspiring Story With Your Friends On Social Media…AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore “I wanted to give something to the homeless,” Paris explained, “like the boy in the book.”Paris might not have had a magic wand, but she didn’t let that stop her.Turning instead to more practical magic and the help of her parents, Paris assembled and delivered (via non-contact drop off) more than 500 care packages containing food and other essentials to downtown St. Louis’s homeless, as well as handing out approximately 250 meals to essential workers.But Paris wasn’t satisfied to simply donate goods. It was important to her to forge a bond with the people she was trying to help. After filling each package herself, Paris drew a picture or wrote a personal message on each one to create the kind of human connection so many of the homeless sorely lack.RELATED: Charity Has Been Secretly Fulfilling Small Wishes for Homeless Kids Who Could Use the Self-Esteem Boost AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreParis Williams is six years old. Like many of her first-grade peers, she’s adorable, but this little girl is also driven by a mission to help others who are less fortunate. So driven in fact, that she’s launched her own nonprofit foundation, Paris Cares, to feed the homeless in her area.Credit: FOX/YouTubeParis’s mom, Alicia Marshall, says her daughter’s inspiration to become a hands-on good Samaritan was the title character of Cari Chadwick Deal’s children’s book, “One Boy’s Magic,” who also uses his powers to feed the homeless.“She was reading books at school about giving and she came home one day, and she was like, ‘I want to give back to the homeless. What can we do to help the homeless?’ Marshall told KTVI FOX 2 News. “We kind of brainstormed some ideas and we came up making care packages.”last_img read more

Organizations

first_imgThe 9th Reconnaissance Wing, Beale’s host wing, is responsible for providing national and theater command authorities with timely, reliable, high-quality, high-altitude reconnaissance products. To accomplish this mission, the wing is equipped with the nation’s fleet of U-2 and RQ-4 reconnaissance aircraft and associated support equipment. The wing also maintains a high state of readiness in its expeditionary combat support forces for potential deployment in response to theater contingencies.The wing’s U-2 Dragon Lady aircraft provide high-altitude, all-weather surveillance and reconnaissance, day or night, in direct support of U.S. and allied forces. At any given moment, day or night, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, there is probably a U-2 aircraft from the 9th Reconnaissance Wing flying an operational mission somewhere in the world.The RQ-4 Global Hawk is an unmanned, remotely piloted, high-altitude reconnaissance platform. It can linger over a target for 24 hours. The RQ-4 provides Air Force and joint battlefield commanders near-real-time, high-resolution intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance imagery.940TH AIR REFUELING WINGThe 940th Air Refueling Wing is an Air Force Reserve tenant unit at Beale AFB. The wing has a long and distinguished history dating back to 1963. Beginning with troop carriers, the mission transitioned to air transport, military airlift, tactical airlift, air refueling, the C2ISR (command, control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) mission and back to air refueling. The wing fulfills this mission with the KC-135 Stratotanker.The KC-135 Stratotanker provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. This unique asset enhances the Air Force’s capability to accomplish its mission of global reach. It provides aerial refueling support to Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and allied nation aircraft. The KC-135 is also capable of transporting litter and ambulatory patients using support pallets during aeromedical evacuations.548TH INTELLIGENCE, SURVEILLANCE AND RECONNAISSANCE GROUPThe 548th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group has a proud history dating back to World War II. The group’s mission is to deliver combat power from the air with intelligence that assures allies and wins wars. The group operates and maintains a $1 billion Air Force Distributed Common Ground System weapon system, providing combatant commanders with processing, exploitation and dissemination of actionable intelligence data collected by U-2, MQ-1, MQ-9, RQ-4 and MC-12W aircraft and other platforms as required.The group is organized into two sections: operations and support. The operational side includes the 13th and 9th intelligence squadrons, which are responsible for the production and exploitation of the tangible intelligence. The 48th Intelligence Squadron provides maintenance and sustainment of in-garrison and deployed segments of the Air Force Distributed Common Ground System weapon system.7TH SPACE WARNING SQUADRONThe 7th Space Warning Squadron guards the U.S. west coast against sea-launched ballistic missiles. The unit is a geographically separated unit of the 21st Space Wing at Peterson AFB, Colorado.The squadron is primarily responsible for detecting sea-launched ballistic missiles fired from submarines in the Pacific Ocean. The unit then determines how many missiles were launched and their probable destination, and reports that to the North American Aerospace Defense Command’s missile warning center, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station; U.S. Strategic Command, Offutt AFB; and national command authorities. This unit helps form a two-layered, worldwide network of missile warning systems that also detects intercontinental ballistic missiles launched toward North America.The squadron’s corollary mission of missile defense supports the ground-based midcourse defense element of the Ballistic Missile Defense System. In addition, the squadron helps track earth-orbiting satellites, and reports the information to the Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg AFB, California.The squadron uses a Phased Array Warning System radar, known as PAVE PAWS. It uses nearly 3,600 small active antenna elements coordinated by two computers. One computer is online at all times, while the second automatically takes control if the first fails. The computers control the distribution of energy to the antennas to form precise patterns, allowing the radar to detect objects moving at a very high speed since no mechanical parts limit the radar sweep.The radar can change its point of focus in milliseconds, while conventional radars may take up to a minute to mechanically swing from one area to another. The main building is shaped like a pyramid with a triangular base 105 feet on each side. The two radiating faces are tilted back 20 degrees. PAVE PAWS radar beams reach outward for nearly 3,000 nautical miles in a 240-degree sweep. At its extreme range, it can detect an object the size of a small car. Smaller objects can be detected at closer range.713TH COMBAT OPERATIONS SQUADRONAs part of 10th Air Force, Air Force Reserve Command, the 713th Combat Operations Squadron is a geographically separated unit assigned to the 610th Air Operations Group, March Air Reserve Base, California. The unit is split between two locations: the 713th Combat Operations Squadron at Beale AFB and its subordinate unit, the 713th Combat Operations Squadron Detachment 1 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.The mission of the 713th Combat Operations Squadron is to provide steady state, contingency and wartime augmentation to the Air Force forces staff of Headquarters Pacific Air Forces through direct augmentation, reach-back capability and the ability to deploy throughout the Pacific theater. The squadron delivers mission-essential, operational-level command and control capability and continuity across the entire spectrum of military operations from humanitarian assistance to combat operations. The squadron is the only U.S. Air Force Reserve unit designated to support the Air Force forces staff mission role.last_img read more

Capitol Hill controversy puts EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program in national spotlight

first_imgby Hilary Niles July 26, 2013 vtdigger.org Controversy on Capitol Hill this week shined a national spotlight on one of Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy’s signature economic development initiatives ‘a program that plays a key role in Vermont’s business strategy.Monday, the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General revealed to a lawmaker an ongoing investigation into Alejandro Mayorkas. The director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is President Barack Obama’s nominee to fill the No. 2 position at the Department of Homeland Security.Alejandro Mayorkas being sworn in as director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service in 2009. Photo courtesy USCISMayorkas, a tip from an FBI analyst alleged, had helped secure approval for a visa for someone whose application had previously been denied once, then again on appeal. The visa application was filed through the federal Immigrant Investor Program, also called ‘EB-5’for the type of visa it affords.Further allegations implicated Mayorkas in mismanagement of the EB-5 program, and extended to other USCIS officials suspected of obstructing a program audit by the Securities and Exchange Commission.In a letter to a staffer for Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the Inspector General’s Office indicated that the preliminary investigation had found no criminal activity, but it also referenced a separate, ongoing audit of the EB-5 program that was in its ‘final stages.’Leahy is in the process of pushing Congress to make EB-5 permanent after 20 years in a pilot stage. The program ‘until Monday ‘had remained fairly obscure by national standards, despite a recent spike in use. But in Vermont, EB-5 plays a prominent role.Concerns and counter-accusationsFor Grassley and other Republicans who have responded most strongly to news of the Mayorkas investigation, the allegations underlie potential national security risks.Some FBI facilities had been constructed, at least in part, using EB-5 funding from Chinese investors. One Chinese technology company suspected of espionage had applied for EB-5 status. And if a high-ranking immigration official was suspected of skirting visa protocols for one applicant, it follows that a similar breach could have occurred with others.But many observers dismissed the controversy as optimally timed political shenanigans.Not only would allegations against Mayorkas potentially freeze his confirmation hearing for the Homeland Security post, but the specific visa he was accused of finagling happened to be for a client of Anthony Rodham, brother of former Secretary of State and potential 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton. And the business to which that investor wanted to give money was a firm associated with former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe, a candidate in Virginia’s high-profile gubernatorial race.Leahy’s spokesman David Carle said it’s highly unusual for an inspector general to publicize the nature of an investigation before it’s complete.The timing of the leak about the investigation ‘just days before Mayorkas was to receive a Senate confirmation hearing for his Homeland Security nomination ‘heightened some sources’suspicions that the allegations were politically motivated.Mayorkas did get a hearing Thursday with the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, as scheduled. Not a single Republican senator attended, however. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) helped lead a Republican boycott in protest, on the principle that a hearing should not be conducted for a man under investigation.The Inspector General’s Office did not respond to a press inquiry, and Leahy’s office said he would not issue a statement about an ongoing investigation.U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., at the inauguration of Gov. Peter Shumlin on Jan. 10. Photo by Roger CrowleyCarle, the spokesman for Leahy, did say, however, ‘Congress is moving forward on EB-5 reforms to improve oversight and administration of the program.’Leahy’s proposal to make the Immigrant Investor Program permanent, along with new anti-fraud and oversight measures, is tied to the comprehensive immigration reform bill currently making its way through Congress. The program was initially approved for a 10-year period, and since then has undergone reauthorization every three years.Immigrant investment in VermontVermont’s EB-5 director, Brent Raymond, said he’s already seen improvements to the federal program in Mayorkas’short time at the helm of the state-run regional center.Vermont’s EB-5 program is designed to be a significant gear in the state’s economic development engine. Nearly the entire state qualifies for EB-5 investment ‘a process whereby immigrants can earn green cards by investing $500,000 in American businesses, so long as the investment creates at least 10 jobs in two years.A set of ongoing projects in the Northeast Kingdom is estimated to draw $600 million in foreign investment to the business plans of Jay Peak ski resort owners Bill Stenger and Ariel Quiros. The two plan to expand operations at Burke Mountain, another ski resort they recently acquired, and develop a biomedical research park, a waterfront hotel and conference center and a mixed-use block near the Canadian border in Newport, Vt.EB-5 also is a point of pride for Vermont, which is the only state government that wholly operates the investment program; most are run by private investment firms. Leahy often points out that Vermont’s EB-5 Regional Center is a ‘gold standard’nationwide.That’s not to say its been without its kinks. The Vermont EB-5 Regional Center this spring repealed its earlier approval for a resort-style retirement development, over concerns that some of the information in the application could not be verified.The strength of recipient investment businesses, Raymond explained, is crucial to the program’s overall success. Visa applications from immigrant investors can be denied not just for personal reasons, such as suspicion of criminal activity or affiliation with the Communist Party. The businesses in which immigrants invest also must be legitimate and poised for success.Raymond said his office vets the businesses in Vermont’s EB-5 program, but the federal immigration office has final say over whether the investments are credible and conform to all requirements. The business plans are reviewed not just once, but every time an immigrant applies for a visa on the basis of investing in that business.In the past, these reviews have been less than consistent.‘You could have 10 investors approved for the same project, but the 11th might not be,’Raymond said. ‘Not because of anything about the individual as a national security threat, or funds obtained through criminal activity. But all the sudden somebody’s questioning something â ¦ about the business plan that previously had been fine.’Raymond said he’s pleased that the review process ‘which he considers EB-5’s most significant, because it affects not just the investor but also the investment projects ‘has been streamlined under Mayorkas’s tenure. The reviews have become ‘more predictable,’he said.It’s that type of progress, and further improvements Raymond believes will come from Leahy’s proposals, that leave him feeling confident in the program’s future, despite the current controversy surrounding it.‘I think for EB-5 and the Vermont Regional Center, long term it will have no effect on the program,’he said.The fate of Leahy’s EB-5 amendments on the immigration reform bill, however, remains to be seen. The EB-5 program was last reauthorized in September 2012, leaving a little more than two years before it would expire or come up for another approval.last_img read more

AllEarth Renewables announces award winners at STEM fair

first_imgAllEarth Renewables, Inc.,Vermont Business Magazine AllEarth Renewables wishes to congratulate all of the participants in the recent Vermont Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Fair, and to announce the winners of the event’s AllEarth Renewables special awards. Held on March 24th at Norwich University, the 59th annual Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Fair showcased the work of Vermont public, private and homeschooled students in grades 5-12 who have won local science and math fair competitions. The students displayed projects that tackle questions and pose solutions arising from the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.AllEarth Renewables sponsored awards for the best high school project in either solar or wind renewable energy. The winners of these prizes are Jacob Rathbun from Milton Middle School, and Jared Kennedy from Mater Christi School. AllEarth Renewables also awarded prizes for outstanding mechanical engineering and electrical engineering projects.  These award recipients are Emily King from  Missisquoi Valley Union High School  and Emma Medor from Missisquoi Valley Union High School.  AllEarth Renewables has been a major sponsor of the STEM Fair since 2013. Sarah Greenberg, an Embedded Systems Engineer at AllEarth Renewables, served as a volunteer judge at this year’s fair.“I’d like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to all the students who participated,” said David Blittersdorf, CEO and President of AllEarth Renewables. “I draw a great deal of inspiration from this event every year.  To see such interest in renewable energy at such a young age is truly moving.  We owe it to our future generations to do all we can to encourage and inspire young people who want to get into STEM fields.  AllEarth Renewables is honored to be able to play a part supporting this event.”The award winning projects included a series of 3D-printed windmill blades, tests on microbial fuel cells, experiments on converting sound waves into mechanical energy, and an exploration of the effects of temperature on circuit data analysis. About AllEarth RenewablesAllEarth Renewables, Inc. headquartered in Williston, Vermont, is a company dedicated to bringing clean, renewable energy to businesses, farms, municipalities and homeowners that helps lessen our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels and reduce green-house gas emissions.  We bring new, more efficient energy solutions to market – from community wind farms to solar generation and now commuter rail transportation. Under the AllEarth Renewables umbrella, we have developed more than 20 MW of new wind and solar energy, and manufactured over 6,000 solar trackers. For more information visit www.allearthrenewables.com(link is external).Source: Williston, VT – AllEarth Renewableslast_img read more

Talented trio of coaches for USA Paratriathlon Worlds team in London

first_img Related USA Triathlon (USAT) has announced that John Murray, Connie Sol and Mark Sortino will serve as the coaching staff for the USA Paratriathlon Worlds team at the 2013 ITU Paratriathlon World Championships in London, England, this September.The trio will lead more than 40 of the US nation’s top paratriathletes as they represent the United States in a sprint-distance triathlon event on 13 September. The World Team is comprised of a number of past national and world championship medallists competing in seven classification divisions. In 2012, the US earned 13 podium finishes to top the overall medal count. John Murray (Pensacola, Florida) and Mark Sortino (San Diego, California), are both USA Triathlon Level II certified coaches, and train athletes through the Multisport Performance Institute (MPI). They have been involved in a number of paratriathlon camps and clinics across the US.The pair led two Challenged Athlete Foundation (CAF) Dodge Paratriathlon Camps in 2013, providing tools, techniques and skills necessary for success in the sport. Additionally, Sortino coached athletes at the USA Paratriathlon High Performance Camps at US Olympic Training Centers in Chula Vista, California, and Colorado Springs, Colorado, while Murray led the charge at the Team Semper Fi triathlon camp in April, helping wounded veterans learn more about paratriathlon.Connie Sol (Miami, Florida) is a USA Triathlon Level III certified coach and has been developing coaching and biomechanical rehabilitation programs for athletes since 1995, with a specialization in paratriathlon since 2004. She helped introduce the sport to the Miami-Dade Parks program in 2013 and assists with talent identification in the paratriathlon pipeline.Sol and Sortino were also part of the coaching staff at the first paratriathlon-specific high performance camp held by USA Triathlon in July 2012.center_img “We have had the opportunity to coach these outstanding athletes at high performance camps throughout the year and are excited to bring such a strong, experienced and accomplished team to London,” Sortino said.As the coaching staff for the USA Paratriathlon Worlds Team – Murray, Sol and Sortino will serve as key resources for US paratriathletes in the lead up to Worlds and on site during race week in September. These coaches will provide mentorship and training advice prior to the event, and as on-site coaches, they will discuss race strategies with the athletes.They will also organize group rides, runs, swims and transition practices in the lead up to race day. The 2013 paratriathlon events will take place at the same Hyde Park venue as the 2012 London Olympic Games.USAT notes that interest in paratriathlon is at an all-time high and the sport continues to grow following its inclusion in the Paralympic Games program. Paratriathlon will make its official debut at the Paralympic Games in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.www.usatriathlon.orglast_img read more

Innocence Commission reaches for the ‘gold standard’ in eyewitness identification policy

first_img Innocence Commission reaches for the ‘gold standard’ in eyewitness identification policy Senior EditorSmoothing over hurt feelings about trust issues with law enforcement after proposed legislation failed, the Florida Innocence Commission passed its own beefed-up recommendations for statewide uniform police standards on conducting eyewitness identification lineups.Those recommendations include the ideal “gold standard,” with a caveat about cost: Agencies with available resources shall have an independent administrator who does not know who the suspect is, to prevent even inadvertent cueing to the witness during a photo or live lineup.Three “no” votes came from Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey, Charlotte County Sheriff Bill Cameron, and Fifth Circuit State Attorney Brad King.During the debate on May 16 in Orlando, Second Circuit Public Defender Nancy Daniels, president of the Florida Public Defender Association, said she wished Innocence Commission-endorsed legislation had passed to put statewide protocol into law and voiced surprise that law enforcement fought even the watered-down House version. She moved to strengthen flexible guidelines submitted by law enforcement groups to clearly show a preference for the independent administrator, otherwise known as “double blind.”Cameron said the cost was too great for most law enforcement agencies.“To put in the word ‘shall’ — ‘if you have the resources, you shall use an independent administrator’ — that’s wrong. You have to leave that up to the organization, and you have to have trust in law enforcement that they are not going to do it wrong,” Cameron said.“Because no matter what system you use in evidence-gathering, there is always an opportunity for a bad officer to do a bad thing. We call them ‘bad actors.’ And that’s for law enforcement to deal with and get the bad actors out. Just like there are bad attorneys. We all have them. So I think it’s a mistake for the commission to send down a recommendation that says, ‘We don’t trust law enforcement.’ And that’s really what that discussion is about.”Not so, countered Alex Acosta, dean of the Florida International University College of Law, who headed the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District for five years.“I don’t think anyone here is saying they don’t trust law enforcement,” Acosta said. “I hear that refrain far too often when law enforcement doesn’t get something it wants. I just want to push back against that.. . . “Don’t we want to say the absolute best we can come up with and leave it to law enforcement to decide how closely they want to follow that? That doesn’t mean we don’t trust. If anything, it means we are trusting law enforcement to decide, when, in their discretion, they should follow what is absolutely the gold standard, and with the resources they have.”FDLE’s Bailey echoed Cameron’s concerns when he cautioned it could open up the opportunity for defense attorneys to ask on cross-examination: “You didn’t use the gold standard. Why didn’t you?”Acosta responded: “It strikes me that our job here is to set the gold standard, and if an agency feels, because of a litigative risk, it can’t meet that, then that’s up to the agency. But I don’t think we should water down our standard because of litigative risk.”Eleventh Circuit Judge Israel Reyes, a former homicide detective, said: “I trust law enforcement. I don’t trust those segments of bad law enforcement. I will never trust those segments of bad law enforcement, and I will do everything I can to make sure that we control those segments. Because, quite frankly, the Bill Camerons, the Gerry Baileys, and the Brad Kings of the world don’t need these standards. Because they are going to do above and beyond the right thing each and every time, as the majority of law enforcement are.. . . “There’s nothing wrong with having the guidelines. I have to tell you if we give it too much wiggle room, those bad segments of law enforcement, who are not going to do whatever they are told to do, those are the ones who cause you headaches every day,” Reyes continued.“And I think if law enforcement doesn’t do something, it’s going to be done for them. And I think that’s the last thing you want. So I’m telling you this is the why we are going to do it: Either with legislation, which almost happened, or with some other mandate. I’m saying that from the standpoint as a former law enforcement officer.”Kenneth Nunn, a law professor at the University of Florida, pointed out that the commission’s recommendations are weaker than other states that have considered eyewitness identification reforms. North Carolina, Ohio, New Jersey, Denver, and Tampa currently require “sequential double-blind,” the super gold standard using an independent administrator showing lineup photos one at a time.“There is no evidence, and no testimony from any of the people in those jurisdictions, that say that that has hampered their ability to secure convictions,” Nunn said. “I do not think that we are in any way putting a target out there that’s too far for the law enforcement agencies in the state of Florida to reach.”Much discussion focused on the fact that the Innocence Commission has no authority to compel law enforcement to do anything.Cameron noted that the Innocence Commission’s seven months of studying the problems of eyewitness misidentifications — contributing to 75 percent of wrongful convictions of 267 DNA exonerees nationwide — prompted law enforcement agencies to come up with written policies, not yet adopted statewide.But there are limits to the commission’s influence.In a May 9 email to Innocence Commission Executive Director Les Garringer, FDLE General Counsel Michael R. Ramage wrote that members of the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association, Florida Sheriffs Association, Florida Police Chiefs Association, and FDLE — dubbed “The Group” — “decided to maintain exclusive authority and responsibility” for their own drafted guidelines that allow latitude and flexibility to individual law enforcement agencies.“The Group does not believe the commission has any authority to mandate required changes in policy or process, but may simply recommend matters for agencies’ consideration,” Ramage wrote.“The Group will continue to push for the continued voluntary and self-imposed application of their guidelines by the state’s law enforcement community and believes it will achieve full compliance by Florida law enforcement with their guidelines in the near future now that the [legislative] session is over.”That email prompted Professor Nunn to reiterate a point he made at the last meeting: “It is my view that it was and is a mistake for the commission to operate in a political fashion, concerned about what either law enforcement does with their internal suggestions and guidelines — or what the Legislature does with their pieces of legislation. The charge of this commission is to determine the most efficient and effective ways to make sure that wrongful convictions do not happen, that are based on science, that are based on the testimony we have before us.”Ramage explained that while law enforcement crafted its guidelines for the first statewide policy and presented them to the commission on March 1, progress came to a halt once bills were filed in the Legislature because agencies didn’t want to change their policies twice.“The Legislature has just ended, so the process is ready to begin anew,” Ramage said. “It’s the intent of The Group to urge 100 percent compliance by November 1.”But compliance will not mean adhering to the commission’s recommended “gold standard.”“I can tell you that more than likely most agencies are going to develop a policy that gives them the latitude to use any of the procedures,” said Cameron, who will discuss the issue at the sheriffs association meeting in July.Garringer said he will seek information from the 20 state attorneys on whether law enforcement agencies in their circuits have adopted written eyewitness identification guidelines.The commission moved ahead with studying the second topic that causes wrongful convictions: false confessions.Acosta was appointed chair of a work group to draft safeguards against false confessions. The next meeting is tentatively set for August 15. Innocence Commission reaches for the ‘gold standard’ in eyewitness identification policy June 15, 2011 Jan Pudlow Senior Editor Regular Newslast_img read more

Omaha tournament is step up for young Minnesota squad

first_img“There’s always pressure, but this is such a prestigious recruiting class – they expect a lot from us,” said redshirt freshman Roger Kish, who went 4-0 in winning the 184-pound individual title in Fargo.The Kaufman-Brand Open will provide an early measuring stick for these relatively unseasoned wrestlers.“This is an important tournament for anyone, because it tests you,” Konrad said. “They’ll be wrestling kids who are as good as they’re going to be all year.”In Omaha in 2003, Konrad took second place, and returning senior John Duncombe claimed fourth place in the open division at 184 pounds.After a disappointing eighth-place finish at the NCAA tournament last year, the early part of this season looms especially important heading into the dual season, which begins Dec. 5.“We want to come out and show last year was a fluke,” Konrad said, “and come out and get back what’s ours.” Omaha tournament is step up for young Minnesota squadThe Kaufman-Brand Open on Saturday is the Gophers’ second of three tournaments. Matt AndersonNovember 19, 2004Jump to CommentsShare on FacebookShare on TwitterShare via EmailPrintDespite fielding a young team and returning just one All-American from last season, Minnesota wrestling coach J Robinson’s goals for this season remain as high as they could be: to win the Big Ten and national titles.This weekend will provide insight into how far Minnesota has to go to achieve these goals when the team travels to Omaha, Neb., on Saturday to compete in the all-day Kaufman-Brand Open.In Omaha, 700 wrestlers will compete in two divisions. The Gophers, ranked eighth in the National Wrestling Coaches Association poll, will have all their healthy wrestlers entered into either the 20-and-under bracket or the open bracket – except for All-American heavyweight Cole Konrad, who will be competing at a tournament Saturday at Augsburg College.After capturing eight of 10 individual titles last weekend at the Bison Open in Fargo, N.D., the competition will stiffen Saturday. A number of top programs, including No. 3 Nebraska and No. 9 Iowa, have wrestlers entered into the field.Robinson sees this weekend as a valuable early-season opportunity to gauge his team.“It gives a more extensive outlook of where we are,” he said.The five or six redshirt freshmen expected to be in the starting lineup this season will face a great deal of pressure, because they came into Minnesota as the most highly regarded recruiting class in school history.last_img read more