WOODLAND — Woodland Public Schools’ board of directors accepted Steve Madsen’s resignation at Monday’s meeting.Madsen was on the board for four years.“Steve will be missed,” Jim Bays, board president, said in a news release. “He brought a valuable perspective and experience to the board of directors.”The Woodland school board approved a timeline for appointment of a replacement for Madsen. Interested parties must be registered voters and live in Director Area 5, which includes Ariel and Cougar.If the appointee wishes to remain on the board, the new member must run for re-election in November 2013 to fill the unexpired term.A description and map of the director area, as well as the application for the position, can be found on the school district website, http://www.woodlandschools.org/.“>www.woodlandschools.org/.”>http://www.woodlandschools.org/.Applications and letters of interest are due to the Woodland School District by 4 p.m. Dec. 13. The school board will interview candidates at the Dec. 19 meeting, then make the appointment.
WASHINGTON — When Peter Ollodart realized earlier this year a bill in Congress to require sales taxes on all Internet purchases could wipe out his company’s slim profits, the owner of Puget Sound Instrument flew to Washington, D.C., to persuade lawmakers to oppose it.The three-day trip cost Ollodart more than $2,000, no small share of the $50,000 salary he draws as the firm’s president.What Ollodart didn’t know is his annual pay equals what Amazon spends per month for one powerhouse lobbying firm to get that same legislation enacted.Seattle-based Amazon late last year hired Patton Boggs, a marquee Washington, D.C., lobbying group, to join two other firms on retainer, as well as Amazon’s in-house lobbyists, in hopes of getting the Marketplace Fairness Act passed.The bill cleared the Senate in May, 69-27. But the measure has stalled in the House Judiciary Committee, whose chairman, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., has expressed “serious concerns” about the Senate version.Still, the end of tax-free shopping on the Internet may be near. That prospect has spawned a fierce duel of special interests.Amazon, Wal-Mart, Best Buy and some brick-and-mortar retailers are whipping for votes in favor. Other types of small businesses, the conservative Heritage Foundation and eBay are leading the opposition.
CORAL SPRINGS, FLA. (WSVN) – A car came crashing through a vape shop in Coral Springs.Surveillance video captured the driver plowing into the front of Vapor Shark on North University Drive, near Ramblewood Drive, Saturday afternoon.The damaged window was boarded up while remnants of the crash remained just outside the shop.No one was injured.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
News This Bill Could Help Independent Music Creators bill-could-help-independent-music-creators-fight-infringement-without-going-broke Twitter Without a small claims court, independent creators have to fight infringement at federal court, which can get expensiveJennifer VelezGRAMMYs May 3, 2019 – 3:54 pm “A Federal court action can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to bring to fruition, while small creators report that most infringements are valued at $3,000 or less,” Yahoo reports. – Conversations In Advocay #54A new bill supported by both Democrats and Republicans would create a copyright small claims court that would help independent music creators protect their work. https://twitter.com/CopyrightOffice/status/1123690730801836033 Email The Copyright Alternative in Small Claims Enforcement Act (CASE Act) of 2019 was reintroduced on May 1, 2019 in the House Of Representatives by Reps. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Doug Collins (R-GA)—two recent GRAMMYs on the Hill honorees—and, for the first time, introduced in the Senate by Senators John Kennedy (R-LA,) Thom Tillis (R-NC,) Dick Durbin (D-IL,) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI). The House bill has a total of 8 bipartisan co-sponsors, including House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) along with Reps. Roby (R-Ala.), Johnson (R-Ga.), Cline (R-Va.), Chu (D-Calif.), Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) and Lieu (D-Calif.).If passed, the bill would allow creators without the resources to engage in expensive litigation the opportunity to protect their work. Without a small claims court, creators are forced to try to fight infringement in federal court, which can get expensive.The U.S. Copyright office, which would house the new small claims court, adds that for some creators who would like to fight small damages, going to federal court may not be reasonable. “While a copyright owner may want to stop an infringement that has caused a relatively small amount of economic damage, that owner may be dissuaded from filing a lawsuit because the prospect of a modest recovery may not justify the potentially large expense of litigation,” the office states on its website.Under the language of the CASE Act, damages in the small claims court would be capped at $30,000 per case. Participation would be voluntary, and claimants can initiate action without a lawyer and even without being present. The The Recording Academy strongly supports the CASE Act, which would benefit countless songwriters, performers and studio professionals. During District Advocate Day in 2018, members of the Academy across the country lobbied their representatives in support of the bill. Although the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the CASE Act last year, it was never brought up for a vote before the 115th Congress adjourned, necessitating its reintroduction.There’s More Work To Be Done To Ensure All Songwriters Get Paid Their Due Facebook This Bill Could Help Independent Music Creators Fight Infringement Without Going Broke Read more
New Delhi : An employee of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation allegedly committed suicide on Sunday by hanging himself in his rented house here and streamed the act live on Facebook, police said. The victim, Shubhankar Chakraborty (27), hailed from North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal, they said. No suicide note was found from his room at East Delhi’s Shahdara where he was found hanging from a hook in the ceiling with a plastic wire around his neck, they said. Also Read – Enforcement Directorate summons Karnataka Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar Advertise With Us The Facebook live stream purportedly showed him climbing atop a cooler, wearing the DMRC uniform. He looked into the camera a couple of times, kissed his company identity card twice before taking his life. A mobile phone kept buzzing in the background as he allegedly committed the act. “He had joined DMRC in June and was a staffer in the Electrical and Maintenance Department,” a source said.
Google showed reporters its tiny, bubble-shaped self-driving prototype vehicle on 29 September. Googles pet project of driverless cars started in 2009 with an intention to revolutionise the car industry.Google and other automotive manufacturers and suppliers have said the technology to build self-driving cars should be ready by 2020. Project director Chris Urmson said the company was taking things steadily.This kind of technology – cars that drive themselves – is a different type of product than most of what Google does. It requires us to think a little differently about how we bring it to market and make sure were very thoughtful about the bar we set before we let it out for people to use, he said.Mainstream carmakers General Motors and Volkswagen and newcomer Tesla are also pushing down the road to automation. Urmson said the new technology in the auto industry was exciting.Were really focusing on this broader goal of mobility for everyone, vehicles that can drive all these places. We think thats really the big opportunity to help people. Its really exciting to see whats happening in the automotive industry, the technology thats flowing in. Theres a lot of opportunity for different solutions and we think this ones exciting, he said.Google executives have said the company does not want to build its own self-driving cars, but would prefer to find a development and production partner. Close
Jhootha Kahin KaPR HandoutThe Panchanama Boys along with Rishi Kapoor are here as “Jhootha Kahin Ka” releases today. It has already become a talk of the town and is earning massive brownie points with the audience. With several Bollywood celebrities praising the film, trade experts are predicting good growth in box office numbers over the weekend.4 decades post the release of Rishi Kapoor-Neetu Singh starrer Jhootha Kahin Ka, this trailblazing comedy also starring Pyaar Ka Punchnama actors Sunny Singh and Omkar Kapoor aspires to earn box office merit for its comic timing, entertaining one liners and will give new direction to situational and witty humour in Bollywood.The family entertainer shot in Punjab, Mauritius and Bangkok last year, also stars Jimmy Sheirgill, Lillete Dubey, Rajesh Sharma and Manoj Joshi, and revolves around two students who are reluctant to return to India owing to their fascination for a foreign land, prompting one of the boy’s simpleton father to embark on a surprise visit, only to open up Pandora’s box of fabrications and hoaxes.The film is directed by leading Punjabi film director, Smeep Kang, the only director to have contributed 100 crores annually to the Punjabi film industry, and makes his Bollywood debut with this film.Producer Deepak Mukut states, “The film is being received very well in urban and rural centres and it is being appreciated by the audience for its’ apt comical content and casting.”Producer Anuj Sharma adds on, “We are confident of a steady run at the box office with the love the film is receiving across the country”Jhootha Kahin Ka is produced by Deepak Mukut and Anuj Sharma, under the banner of Shantketan Entertainments and presented by Soham Rockstar Entertainment. The film releases today.The film is currently sharing box office business with Kabir Singh, Super 30, Family Of Thakurganj, and Lion King
Listen Now 3 min read Problem Solvers with Jason Feifer Hear from business owners and CEOs who went through a crippling business problem and came out the other side bigger and stronger. This story appears in the October 2011 issue of . Subscribe » If you want a cutting-edge approach to product marketing in 2011, you have a lot of choices. You can utilize a mobile location-based service or check-in app. You can craft a Groupon-style daily deal. Or you can sign on to Facebook, Twitter and foursquare and fish for fans, friends and return customers.Why not do all three? You can do that piecemeal, of course, but the WeReward marketing platform intersects with all the new models.WeReward, the 17-month-old offering of online and mobile marketing company Izea, allows consumers to earn points that are equal to cash for completing tasks like checking in at a store, taking a photo of a product and, ideally, actually buying the product featured through a WeReward sponsorship.Consumers can then share these actions with their social media networks by posting a photo of themselves with a product they have just purchased. (Advertisers get to approve the photos first–so keep it clean, people.)To earn rewards, smartphone users download the WeReward app and become “oinkers.” Every time they oink, i.e., register a product-related action through social media, it’s recorded–and sometimes broadcast at WeReward.com. For example, the site noted on June 22 that “reygaring just checked in to a Taco Bell in Walnut Creek, Calif.” A short time later, “Trevor Schultz just earned 114 points at Vegas.com in Las Vegas.” (Let’s hope Trevor wasn’t playing hooky that day.)”In marketing, advertisers benefit from cost per sale,” says Ted Murphy, CEO and founder of Izea. “Bringing engagement down to a cost per action helps advertisers realize how people are engaging with their products and who their customers are. We’re providing them with that information.”Advertisers who sign up with WeReward can get that information sliced a number of ways. The platform offers general demographics–more than 72 percent of users are between the ages of 25 and 49–as well as specific user information, such as when “reygaring” last devoured a taco.Advertisers may establish more formal relationships with particularly loyal customers by making them brand ambassadors or giving them greater discounts and rewards.”Some of our users see this as a way to save money, others see it as a way to make money,” Murphy says. “If a user has a decent social network, as a business you will want to take care of them.” October 3, 2011
Sustainability » Love & Connecting » Invention » Urban Life » Rural Life » Food & Beverage » Work Life »GamingCrowdsourcing & Collaboration » Sports & Recreation »You could say it was nostalgia that inspired David Merrill and Jeevan Kalanithi to create the plaything of the future. Noting that modern-day games operate increasingly in the virtual realm, with the kinesthetic component reduced to the click of a mouse or tap of a screen, the two MIT Media Lab graduate students felt a fundamental absence–the physical interaction that comes from old-school toys like building blocks and board games.This was the impetus behind Sifteo cubes. The little computerized blocks communicate wirelessly with one another and respond in varying ways to being pressed, tilted, shaken and rearranged–turning video gaming into a truly tactile experience. “It’s taking the wooden blocks you grew up playing with and giving them this digital life,” Merrill says.When Merrill presented Siftables, Sifteo’s predecessor, at the TED conference in February 2009, video of the talk went viral, quickly racking up more than 1 million views. “That was kind of our Kickstarter moment–before there was such a thing as Kickstarter,” Merrill says. “That was when we realized this was more than just a cool research project and that we really needed to take this idea to the next level and turn it into a product and build a company.” Within a few months, Merrill and Kalanithi had moved to San Francisco, raised venture capital and assembled a team to help make their cubes and accompanying games ready for store shelves.David Merrill of Sifteo.That team is essential to Sifteo’s success, Merrill says, but so is the recognition that “we don’t have the market cornered on creativity.” They’ve made it a point to connect with people outside the company for game ideas, forming partnerships with Richard Garfield, creator of popular trading-card game Magic: The Gathering, and indie developers like the folks behind the Bit.Trip games. They’ve even made their software-development kit available for free online and have hosted contests and “Game Jam” weekends to encourage amateur developers to invent games for the Sifteo system.”We really care about building play experiences that are beneficial to kids, that parents can feel good about,” Merrill says. “It’s not just entertainment for entertainment’s sake.” Many of the activities available so far are puzzle and word games that encourage problem-solving, but Sifteo owners can also play the curiously named adventure outing Sandwich Kingdom and a party game inspired by the iOS game Bloop.The latest version of the cubes came out in November. In addition to Amazon and other e-tailers, they’re available at New York’s MoMA Store, the Toys”R”Us in Times Square, select Barnes & Noble locations and Marbles: The Brain Store. One of Merrill’s goals for 2013 is to expand Sifteo’s retail reach. If people can get their hands on it–literally–he’s confident they’ll be hooked by what he calls “the magic of interactivity.”More Gaming BrillianceRolePointThe Everyplay platform by Applifier lets users record iOS mobile-game sessions and share instant replays–fun for gamers; effective advertising for developers.Playground SessionsPlayground Sessions is a gamified approach to digital learning that encourages piano players to keep practicing, with real-time analysis of progress–not to mention a blessing to Tiger Moms everywhere.PlaynomicsWith Playnomics, gaming companies can analyze game-playing behavior, applying the data to marketing and monetization purposes.Zombies, Run!The Zombies, Run! app uses storytelling, sound effects and goals like collecting survival supplies to turn a workout routine into an action-packed escape from the undead.YouEarnedItYouEarnedIt is an employee-incentive rewards program powered by a SaaS platform: Each worker has a bank of points they can give to others, to be redeemed for rewards such as electronics, tickets and gift cards.higiUsing cloud-based tools to encourage better living, higi assigns users a score based on health, fitness, lifestyle, activity levels and interaction with community and social network.GoalpostGoalpost: Social gaming meets smoking cessation in this 12-week program designed to help people quit by completing tasks to earn points and participating in an online support community.AgawiCloud-based platform Agawi enables publishers and developers to stream games on tablets and TVs, eliminating the need for PCs in gaming.Mindblown LifeMindblown Labs’ Mindblown Life iOS game teaches teens money-management skills before they get to college and start racking up real-world debt: They learn to earn and save, but also to incorporate balance (if their avatars don’t stop working to eat, they starve to death). Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global 4 min read May 21, 2013 Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. This story appears in the June 2013 issue of . Subscribe » Register Now »
Old propane cylinders or those in poor condition soon will be replaced by new ones, following an agreement between the Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP) and the country’s four distribution companies.Negotiations began after ARESEP in February disclosed the results of a gas quality evaluation showing that 61 percent of the cylinders currently in use lack appropriate information, and 23 percent have some kind of physical damage including leaks, dents or corrosion.A separate study disclosed last month by the Costa Rican Consumers Association, a consumer rights group, also noted the risk of explosion by most of the cooking gas cylinders currently used in homes here.Firefighters responded to a total of 5,363 emergencies related to gas leaks in 2014, with 91 percent of those occurring in homes.As part of the agreement, each company will set up a phone number for customers to file a complaint. Companies will address the request as quickly as possible, regardless of where the cylinder was purchased.ARESEP’s Energy Manager Juan Quesada Espinoza said propane companies pledged to unite efforts to promote safer use of propane in the country. If a company fails to address complaints properly, users can file another complaint at the agency’s free line: 8000-ARESEP (8000-273737).Following are the phone numbers for propane companies to request the replacement of defective cylinders:Gas Nacional Zeta: 800-938-2427Gas Tomza / Envasadora Super Gas GLP: 2201-6000Petrogas & Solgas: 800-Petrogas o 2573-7212 Facebook Comments Related posts:Consumer group warns of explosion danger with cooking gas cylinders Proposed change in pricing model would increase cooking gas costs by 72 percent, officials claim Electricity rates for ICE customers to increase in October Regulatory agency drops electricity rates for all distributors in Costa Rica
Share September 29, 2014 467 Views HARP Refinance Share Down to 13% in July in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News, Origination FHFA HARP Refinance 2014-09-29 Tory Barringer Refinance activity remained more or less level from June to July, though interest in the government’s Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) continued to dwindle, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reported.In a recent release, the agency reported a combined total of 119,699 refinances were completed at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in July, slightly down from the figure reported for June. While low compared to the boom in recent years, refinance volumes over the last few months have shown more life than earlier this year as mortgage interest rates have hovered in the low 4.0 percent range.At the same time, HARP refinancing kept on a downward trend, falling to 15,671—a share of about 13 percent of all refinances done at the GSEs, down from 15 percent in June. In total, the program has seen about 3.2 million refinances since its inception.The falloff in HARP refinancing continues even as the government works to revitalize the program. Throughout this year, FHFA has hosted a number of town hall-style events in order to spread awareness and answer questions about HARP. Meanwhile, the program has been extended through the end of 2015 to open the window for more eligible borrowers.In its report, FHFA offered one major reason why the government is so motivated to bring more borrowers in: “Borrowers who refinanced through HARP had a lower delinquency rate compared to borrowers eligible for HARP who did not refinance through the program.”One possible cause for the decline in borrower interest is the ongoing recovery in home equity nationwide. As of the end of the second quarter, CoreLogic estimates the national negative equity rate was down to 10.7 percent of all mortgaged homes.FHFA’s data backs that up: Year-to-date, 28 percent of HARP refinances had a loan-to-value ratio of greater than 105 percent, down from 40 percent through all of 2013.Year-to-date through July, Georgia had the highest share of HARP volume, leading all other states at 36 percent. Following it were Florida (34 percent), Michigan (29 percent), and Nevada and Illinois at 27 percent each. Among all states, HARP share year-to-date came to 18 percent in July.
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida –A revolutionary sleep therapy program is now available at the Spa at Sawgrass. Designed to induce slumber and help patients sleep more soundly, the spa’s treatment course is based on the instruction of nationally acclaimed sleep therapist and industry pioneer, Robert de Stefano.“This is progressive, new age therapy for an age old problem affecting millions of people around the country,” said Sonia Thomasino, membership sales and marketing director of Sawgrass Golf Resort & Spa. “The results are life-changing and we are pleased to offer help to residents in Northeast Florida suffering from the frustrations of sleeplessness.”De Stefano trained a group of Spa at Sawgrass massage therapists on his massage protocol for the “Sleep Escape Meeting,” which will be featured on the spa’s new 2009 menu. This remarkable treatment of touch, sound and aromatherapy, based on de Stefano’s workshops, will unlock patients sleep entrapments and release them into a night of peaceful rest. The Spa at Sawgrass therapists use holistic, aromatic oils combined with therapeutic Swedish massage techniques to soothe the body and the senses to ensure a restful night of sleep. The treatment serves as both a blissful massage experience and personal training on how to create an at-home, deep sleep ritual. The sleep therapy treatments will also feature deep relaxation music from de Stefano’s zMusic CD line and a combination of products such as Dream Mist, Sleep Serum and Dream Cream from his Nocturnals, Beauty Sleep Prescription Line. These products can be purchased in the Spa at Sawgrass Boutique to help induce sleep at home and turn a bedroom into a sleep sanctuary every night.www.spaatsawgrass.com/
Categories: News State Rep. Jim Stamas (left) stands with Midland County Sheriff Scott Stephenson in the state Capitol rotunda today. Stephenson joined Stamas for a special House session honoring four first responders who lost their lives in the line of duty during the last year. The annual ceremony also commemorated the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.### 11Sep Stamas, local sheriff honor first responders, military in annual House ceremony
26Jan Rep. VanderWall selected to serve on key House committees State Rep. Curt VanderWall, of Ludington, will serve as vice chair of the House Insurance Committee, Speaker Tom Leonard announced today.The Insurance Committee deliberates on various issues related to insurance, including private health insurance, Medicare and Medicaid, and auto insurance, among other issue areas.VanderWall will also serve as Vice-Chair of the Tourism and Recreation committee and a member of the Natural Resources and Financial Services Committees.“The issues that will come before these committees will directly impact the lives of the citizens back home,” said the freshman legislator. “It’s an honor to represent the voice of the communities in my district at the Capitol and I look forward to working with my colleagues to create solutions for our state.”House committees will have their first meetings in the coming weeks.### Categories: VanderWall News
Categories: Marino News,News 18Oct Rep. Marino introduces bill helping teachers finance classroom supplies Michigan public school teachers who buy their own classroom supplies would be eligible for an income tax credit through legislation introduced today by state Rep. Steve Marino.“From pencils and paper to iPad headphones, more and more Michigan teachers are spending money out of their own pockets to supply their classrooms every year,” Marino, of Harrison Township, said after introducing his legislation. “Their salaries aren’t covering these extra expenses. They deserve some help on their taxes to offset these work-related costs.”The legislation would provide a state income tax credit of up to $1,000 for a single filer and $2,000 on a joint return for those with adjusted gross incomes equal to or below the average salary for a Michigan teacher, which currently is $61,875.Classroom supplies eligible for the deduction would include books, computer programs and accessories such as headphones, art supplies, student awards and other materials needed for classroom projects.National and Michigan-based surveys indicate the average teacher spends hundreds of dollars of their own money on classroom supplies each year, and the costs are rising.“Our public school teachers are working hard and making sacrifices to help build a better future for Michigan,” Marino said. “The way this bill is designed, it will teachers who need the help the most.”###The legislation is House Bill 5136.
Categories: Hornberger News,News 25Jan Rep. Hornberger votes to bring tax relief to Michigan seniors, families Rep. Pamela Hornberger of Chesterfield Township joined her state House colleagues today in approving lower income taxes for Michigan families and seniors.The legislation continues and increases personal exemptions for Michigan taxpayers and their dependents, while providing additional relief for seniors.“I’m happy to cast votes that will save money for Michigan taxpayers,” Hornberger said. “This legislation will leave money in workers’ paychecks and help families make ends meet. It is well-deserved and long overdue tax relief.”The legislation ensures Michigan taxpayers can continue claiming personal exemptions on income taxes after federal tax reforms signed into law last month. In addition, the legislation gradually increases the state personal exemption from the current $4,000 to $4,800 for the 2020 tax year. Taxpayers in Michigan cities with an income tax will continue to be able to claim exemptions.Other legislation in the package helps senior citizens in addition to the personal exemption increase. The legislation provides a $100 income tax credit for a single filer age 62 or older – or $200 for joint filers.The bills include a provision to ensure school aid funding is not negatively affected by the legislation.House Bills 5420-22 advance to the Senate for further consideration.###
15May Rep. Howrylak unveils plan to simplify prevailing wage formula State Rep. Martin Howrylak today unveiled a plan to align Michigan’s prevailing wage formula with the national Davis-Bacon Act wage structure.Currently, Michigan’s prevailing wage requires the state to engage in survey taking of employers, and results in a substantial amount of labor analysis and wage determinations. Oftentimes, illogical wage profiles result, such as grouping wages in Saginaw or Detroit with Houghton. Furthermore, since Davis Bacon wages are already determined by the federal government, the state would save the money and effort of administering a faulty and duplicative system of wages. From an employer standpoint, there is much less record-keeping because there are fewer wage rates.“This ends up being a bump for some wages but a drop for others because it is a fairer, more broadly determined wage,” Rep. Howrylak said. “It does not discriminate in setting the rates to only union contract jobs as the state does and is more properly divided regionally”Rep. Howrylak, of Troy, said his legislation is a solution to the debate over prevailing wage, which requires public works construction projects to offer prevailing union wages and benefits to workers. A ballot petition to repeal prevailing wages is underway, but Rep. Howrylak said his measure will preserve the wage structure in a more simplified form, thus benefiting both employers and employees.“In Michigan there are scores of different classifications of workers and differing prevailing wages depending on which region in the state the construction takes place,” Rep. Howrylak said. “Aligning our formula with the federal plan will streamline the contracting process by reducing the number of geographic regions, which will limit the multitude of job classifications. This is a good middle ground that will benefit employers and employees by simplifying the prevailing wage process.”Rep. Howrylak’s legislation, House Bill 6008, also includes a provision that public construction jobs receiving less than $50,000 in state funding be exempt from the prevailing wage law. This amount should allow for a school or institution to get significant repairs or replacements done in a hurry, such as roof or water damage after a storm, without having to go through a protracted bidding process.House Bill 6008 has been referred to the House Committee on Commerce and Trade.##### Measure benefits both employers and employees Categories: Howrylak News,News
Categories: Allor News Legislation renames portion of U.S.23 in Presque Isle CountyState Rep. Sue Allor (right) testified before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in support of state Sen. Jim Stamas (left) legislation to rename a portion of highway in Presque Isle County as the Peter A. Pettalia Memorial Highway. Pettalia’s wife, Karen also testified in support of the bill.Senate Bill 622 moves to the full House for consideration.### 29May Rep. Allor testifies in support of plan to honor former state Rep. Peter A. Pettalia
Share68TweetShareEmail68 SharesNovember 18, 2015; Christian Science Monitor and Texas TribuneAccording to the Christian Science Monitor, on Wednesday, November 18th, the Texas Board of Education rejected a proposal for “letting university experts fact-check textbooks approved for use in public-school classrooms statewide, instead reaffirming a vetting system that has helped spark years of ideological battles over how potentially thorny lessons in history and science are taught.”The proposal was prompted by continuing problems in what has been a highly politicized process. Writing for the National Education Association, Tim Walker describes the influence wielded by the Texas Board of Education on U.S. textbooks:National publishers usually cater to its demands because the school board is probably the most influential in the country. Texas buys 48 million textbooks every year. No other state, except California, wields that sort of market clout.The state of Texas will only fully fund schoolbook purchases by local school districts if the texts are on the state’s approved list. The board “relies on citizen review panels—often teachers, parents, business leaders, or other experts— whose members are nominated by board members” to review proposed texts prior to Board consideration.Last week, that body rejected a proposal to ensure that the authorized textbooks were factually accurate: “Other Texans can also check the books on their own and identify what they see as errors in public testimony during board meetings.”Concerns about the weaknesses of this approach were heightened this fall. The Texas Tribune noted that “controversy over the materials flared up…after Pearland mother Roni Dean-Burren posted a screen shot…of an infographic in [a] McGraw-Hill World Geography textbook that read, ‘The Atlantic Slave Trade between the 1500s and 1800s brought millions of workers from Africa to the southern United States to work on agricultural plantations.’ The backlash prompted an apology and correction from the publisher.”Valerie Strauss described a list of issues raised in the Washington Post in 2014.For example, ideas promoted in different books include the notion that American democracy was inspired by Moses and Solomon, that Jews views Jesus Christ as an important prophet, that in the era of segregation only “sometimes” were schools for black children “lower in quality” and that the U.S. economic systems run without significant government involvement. Some of the books also said that evolution should be taught to students as if it were not fact but simply a scientific theory, and that global warming is not a very serious problem confronting the world. Some critics pointed out simple factual errors, such as the number of Sikhs who live around the world.Those opposed to adding a new level of expertise feared that the proposal “would send a signal that the current textbook adoption process isn’t sound and unnecessarily add an additional layer of bureaucracy to the process. They also took issue with a provision in the amendment that said the state’s education commissioner could appoint Texas-based academics to the panel, with at least one board member noting the ‘philosophical differences’ that often emerge between the board and professors who review proposed textbooks.”Thomas Ratliff, who proposed the change, “quipped Wednesday that he knows ‘people are concerned about pointy-headed liberals in their ivory towers’ getting more involved in the textbook adoption process, but said that creating the option of having such a review panel would demonstrate that the board is concerned about such errors and is actively doing something to address them.”In the end, Texas decided to not go with more expertise. For students outside of Texas, changes in the publishing industry seem to be limiting the state’s influence:Jay Diskey, executive director of the Association of American Publishers’ School Division, says fears of a Texas-style national social studies curriculum are overblown because publishers are more accustomed nowadays to producing customized textbooks for different states.For the millions of Texas children, however, let’s hope the board will rethink their decision.—Marty LevineShare68TweetShareEmail68 Shares
Share36TweetShare2Email38 Shares“Minnesota Farm” by Derek BakkenApril 6, 2017, Red Wing Republican EagleUCare Minnesota, established in 1984 by the Department of Family Practice at the University of Minnesota Medical School, is an independent, nonprofit health plan (the state’s fourth-largest) providing health coverage and services to more than 300,000 members. For the past ten years, UCare funded a critical residency program for primary care doctors preparing to practice in rural Minnesota communities. Lost profits resulting from the state legislature’s prohibiting UCare from selling insurance to Medicaid patients now threaten the continuation of this vital rural residency program past June. Governor Mark Dayton and the Minnesota House of Representatives are proposing to add $14 million over two years to the state’s support of the medical school to support the residency program, but the state Senate’s higher education funding bill does not include any additional spending to replace lost UCare dollars.According to UCare Chairman Dr. Macaran Baird, “It wouldn’t happen in a week, or a month, maybe a couple years, but that would all dwindle away because we wouldn’t have the money to fund these programs.…It would undermine one of the fundamentally wonderful things about the University of Minnesota medical school.”Already, the number of graduates from the university residency program has declined by about 10 percent over the past five years. While the American medical system is known for expensive drugs and heroic end-of-life care, rural health care is not a priority. NPQ recently reported on the alarming rate of rural hospital closings. The deteriorating state of rural health care outcomes since 1990 is a consistent subject addressed by NPQ.According to the National Rural Health Association, family physicians comprise only 15 percent of the nation’s outpatient physician workforce, but they provide 42 percent of the care in rural areas. Rural residents have greater transportation difficulties reaching health care providers, often traveling great distances to reach a doctor or hospital. Rural communities have more uninsured residents, as well as higher rates of unemployment, which also limits access to health care.The patient-to-primary care physician ratio in rural areas is only 39.8 physicians per 100,000 people, compared to 53.3 physicians per 100,000 in urban areas.Measured in terms of income, rural Americans are more likely to live below the poverty level. About 25 percent of rural children live in poverty. According to a recent report published the British medical journal The Lancet, income inequality means wealthy Americans now live up to 15 years longer than poor Americans.According to the Center for Rural Affairs, 14.6 percent of rural households receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, while 10.9 percent of metropolitan households receive assistance.The Red Wing Republican Eagle profiles a recent university residency graduate, Dr. Sufian Zayed. Dr. Zayed practices family medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Mankato.“As much as I love serving people, working with them and helping them, I feel sometimes that the shortage is definitely impacting that whole process,” he said. “We don’t have physicians out there working in these areas and supporting populations out there.”As rural America becomes more elderly, sick, and poor, innovation and the adoption of new care delivery and payment models are the challenges facing Dr. Zayed, his alma mater, and the Minnesota state legislature today.—James SchafferShare36TweetShare2Email38 Shares