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Honduran Service Members Fight Forest Fires that Afflict the Country

first_imgBy Kay Valle/Diálogo June 02, 2020 About 5,000 elements of the Ecosystem and Environmental Management Support Command (C-9) of the Honduran Armed Forces deployed in different parts of Honduras to fight forest fires that have been devastating the country since early 2020. From January to mid-May, 835 forest fires damaged nearly 55,000 hectares, the Honduran National Institute of Forest Conservation and Development (ICF, in Spanish) reported.“We are fighting more than six forest fires a day countrywide,” Air Force Colonel Yuri Chávez, director of Public Affairs for the Honduran Armed Forces, told Diálogo. C-9 service members are working side by side with units of the Honduran Fire Department and ICF officers to control the fires, which according to the C-9, are caused mostly by burning for crops.C-9 units control a fire in a Central District forest, Francisco Morazán department, in early April 2020. (Photo: Honduran Armed Forces Public Affairs)According to the ICF, the drought and higher temperatures in the last two years have increased forest fires in Honduras. All of Central America, with a forest area of almost 20 million hectares, faces the threat of forest fires, especially during the dry season from February to May.Sandra Canales, head of the ICF’s forest protection unit, told the international news agency EFE that Honduras loses an average of $1,200 for every hectare of forest affected by fire. “When there is a fire, it doesn’t inflict damage on a specific individual, but on the entire community,” Canales told EFE.The hardest hit forest areas, according to ICF data, are those in Gracias a Dios department, an area in the country’s east home to one of Honduras’s three biosphere reserves, and those in Francisco Morazán department, where the capital Tegucigalpa is located. In those two areas, 195 fires have destroyed 25,800 hectares since the beginning of 2020.In addition to the serious environmental consequences, forest fires generate a dense smoke layer that covers many regions in the country, affecting people’s health. Pulmonologist Carlos Aguilar, a physician at the Cardiopulmonary Hospital in Tegucigalpa and former minister of Health, told the Honduran newspaper La Tribuna that the smoke has caused an increase in respiratory diseases, which might worsen the COVID-19 emergency, as respiratory problems are some of the virus symptoms.With land, air, and sea resources, as well as 170 military detachments for forest protection, the C-9 is highly qualified to respond to these emergencies. “We have a military presence at the national level,” Army Colonel Juan Ramón Hernández, C-9 commander, told Diálogo. “The institution has specialized personnel to carry out activities, such as officers who are also forest engineers, biologists, and personnel certified by the U.S. Forest Service to fight forest fires.”So far, the C-9 has not required partner nation support to control the fires, said Col. Hernández. “But we have provided support to CFAC [Central American Armed Forces Conference] member nations at their request.”Since 2018, the C-9 annually coordinates the International Fire Management Course to train CFAC members (El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic) that face forest fires with similar characteristics. In 2019, U.S. Southern Command provided support for the course with Joint Task Force’s (JTF-Bravo) 612th Air Base Squadron Fire Department. Twice a year, military firefighters also improve their skills and take part in the Central America Sharing Mutual Operational Knowledge and Experiences (CENTAM SMOKE) exercise, taught by JTF-Bravo at its headquarters in Comayagua, Honduras.last_img read more

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Librarians say they are not out of the woods yet

first_imgLibrarians say they are not out of the woods yet June 15, 2004 Associate Editor Regular News Librarians say they are not out of the woods yet Jan Pudlow Associate Editor Legislators working on court funding promised they would take care of courthouse law libraries.But representatives of law libraries from Miami-Dade to Palm Beach to St. Lucie to Hernando counties say they don’t feel taken care of—they feel taken to the cleaners.“Somebody needs to tell the truth: They did not save the law libraries. I feel like (legislators) torpedoed the boat and waved vigorously from the shore while we sank,” said Karen Emerson, a Ft. Pierce attorney who organized a petition drive requesting “the restoration of funding for local law libraries.”The big change is the funding source.For 47 years, thanks to Judge Rupert J. Smith, a state representative in 1957 who successfully sponsored legislation, local law libraries didn’t have to beg from counties, but were financed by up-front add-on fees on civil case filings.But as of July 1, that funding source goes out the window with Revision 7 to Art. V because it was not considered technically an “element of the state court system” due to the fact that not every county has a law library.This year, legislators provided a new funding source: a fee up to $65 to be collected from criminal defendants, a compromise reached in the final flurry of negotiations. The Senate originally set a $150 figure, the House wanted $50.Law libraries will get a fourth of that $65 (the rest going to legal aid, teen court and other juvenile alternative programs, and other innovative court program). But no one really knows how much that will be, considering the source: criminal defendants, ranging from felons to traffic law violators.The new law says any money collected is “subordinate in priority” to other state-imposed costs under Revision 7 to Art. V, compensation to crime victims, and child support payments. And if a defendant is indigent, the clerk will defer payment of the cost.“We have become a grand collection agency. Now we get to be a collection agency on the backs of criminals,” Emerson said.Rep. Holly Benson, R-Pensacola, chair of the House Select Committee on Art. V, counters: “The big difference is this is now mandatory and there is an incentive in place for judges to collect this money.” She specifically referred to the judicial innovations that will receive a quarter of the monies to fund such special projects as mental health courts.Benson also argues that because the state took “significant expenditures off of counties,” such as paying for conflict counsel and psychiatric evaluations of defendants, “We hope counties will see fit to fund law libraries.” She also says local bar association could step in to help.“I want to make sure everyone has access. That is the most important thing,” Benson said. “Access can be in a law library in a courthouse, or in a law section of the main library.”Those arguments are not reassuring to those who treasure courthouse law libraries the way they are now.James T. Walker, an attorney on the board of trustees of the Rupert J. Smith Law Library in St. Lucie, said his research reveals the federal side is only able to collect about 6 percent of what is allowable under criminal statutes.“If we accept in good faith for now legislative assurances that this will be a viable source of revenue, and assume more optimistically the collection rate, instead of being in the neighborhood of 6 percent, is say 70 percent — a percentage we are picking out of the air arbitrarily — we are still looking at an overall shortfall of $94,000 for our library,” Walker said.“We have already taken steps to slash the printed collection by 20 percent.”Or as Emerson bluntly says: “Our collection rate for St. Lucie County from criminal cases is $38,500. Divide that by four. And which row of books do you want to keep?”What constitutes a viable law library has been a frustrating argument for Bob Riger, executive director of the Miami-Dade Law Library.Riger came to Tallahassee to lobby legislators about the importance of a fully stocked law library, not the bare-bones “basic legal materials” outlined in the House plans that called for Florida Statutes, United States Code, Florida Rules of Court, Federal Rules of Court, Beiber’s Legal Citation Dictionary, and Black’s Law Dictionary, for a total cost of $2,267.Riger has his own list of what the American Association of Law Libraries considers basic materials, costing nearly 100 times the legislative bare-bones version, at $220,132. That list includes state and administrative case law, treatises, self-help materials for pro se litigants, session laws from the state, annotations included in the statutes, administrative law, local bar publications, case law, and encyclopedias.“I tried to present to (legislators) the fact that we were a unique entity,” Riger said.“There is nothing like it, and we are doing the work that no one else is willing to do. We see ourselves—and this may sound grandiose or dramatic to some—but we see ourselves as saving lives every day. We have desperate people coming in to use our libraries: battered wives seeking an injunction, or those who have just been evicted. Unfortunately, many of the legislators looked at it as all well and good. But they said, ‘If the counties want to do that, let them pay for it.’ And some House members thought less was more.”Indeed, more than half of users of law libraries statewide are not attorneys and judges, but regular people trying to answer legal questions or represent themselves.In Palm Beach County, Law Library Manager Linda Sims says 70 percent of the people she serves are from the general public.“We will stay open, but I believe we are facing big budget cuts, which is going to cut into the heart of the library,” Sims said.“We have already laid off a part-timer. One full-time person resigned because of the concerns of the indefinite situation.”The law library housed at the Palm Beach County Judicial Center budget is $550,000, Sims said, and it is estimated they will receive $350,000 from the new funding source.“That requires the county to put in the difference, and the county has said they are not going to,” Sims said.“It’s a huge element of frustration because I know that the money is out there. It just seems the county commissioners are not really looking at the value of the law library,” Sims said.“I have 19 years here. I see the value of the law library,” she continued. “I see the service it provides. My feeling is that I’ll keep going until there is nothing to maintain. I feel like the captain that goes down with the ship.”Walker sees law libraries no less than at the very foundation of equal justice for all.“We feel as if a healthy justice system requires a liberal access by the people of the state to legal information. And that requires a healthy system of law libraries throughout the state,” Walker said.“Unfortunately, most people don’t live conveniently near a university center. And few people can afford the cost of a legal electronic data access. Without a law library at hand, most people will not have meaningful access to justice.”With a budget of more than $1 million and an estimated funding source of $170,000, Riger will seek to make up the difference from Miami-Dade County.“We’ve been negotiating with the county and putting together a budget, and nothing is official until the budget is approved,” Riger said.But that may not be an option for cash-strapped small counties.Asked if it is viable to go to the Hernando County Commission for help in funding the law library, Brooksville attorney Joe Mason responded: “Can you quote a laugh?”Mason said how much will actually be raised from the criminal cases add-on fees is “absolutely unknown,” though the Senate estimated the $65 could raise $33 million statewide, divided by four for law libraries. Benson said the House’s admittedly “optimistic number” is $38 million. That figures out to an estimated $9.5 million for law libraries, Benson said, which should cover the estimated statewide cost of libraries of $6.1 to $6.3 million.But Mason is taking a wait-and-see attitude on how much money is generated.“The funding is coming from sources that never really have been tracked before. It’s all related to criminal dockets.“I guess the question I have got to raise: Does the legislature even bother to check on what the collection rate from the criminal cases will be?” Mason asked.“I suspect the collection rate is low, low, though I can’t say that for certain. It appears to me as if it was an attempt by the legislature to say, ‘Hey, we took care of you. It’s not our fault the judges can’t collect money from the criminal defendants.’”Those who care about the quality of local libraries say they will be watching and plotting strategies for the future.“We think what is going to happen is it is going to become clear that the collection rate is not sufficiently high to be a meaningful source of revenue,” Walker said.“Therefore, we are keeping the option of going back to the legislature and asking them to revisit this matter, should that experience live down to our expectations.”last_img read more

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Arsenal target Tottenham and Chelsea defenders after Unai Emery’s transfer demand

first_imgArsenal target Tottenham and Chelsea defenders after Unai Emery’s transfer demand Unai Emery has made a transfer demand to the Arsenal board (Picture: Getty)Unai Emery has demanded Arsenal sign a world-class centre-back – and the club are reportedly ready to sell three players to fund the summer move.The Gunners have conceded 49 Premier League goals this season – more than Wolves, Leicester City, Everton, Crystal Palace and Newcastle United.Emery had hoped to bolster his defensive options in January but was left disappointed as only midfielder Denis Suarez arrived at the Emirates from Barcelona.The former PSG boss has shown faith in his back-line this season, often leaping to the defence of £35million Germany international Shkodran Mustafi.ADVERTISEMENTMore: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man CityBut three successive league defeats has left Arsenal’s top-four hopes in tatters and also convinced Emery he needs to sign a top-class centre-back at the end of the season.AdvertisementAdvertisementAccording to The Sun, Emery has contacted the Arsenal board to demand a quality defender arrives through the doors in the summer.And it is claimed the Gunners are willing to sell stars including Mesut Ozil, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Mustafi to finance the move.Emery knows he needs to strengthen his squad this summer but will only have a budget of around £40m if Arsenal miss out on Champions League qualification. Advertisement Leicester’s Harry Maguire has also been looked at (Picture: Getty)On Sunday, Virgil van Dijk was named the PFA Player of the Year and Emery, it is claimed, has taken note of Liverpool’s transformation following his arrival and believes Arsenal need to follow suit.The Sun say Tottenham star Toby Alderweireld and Chelsea’s Kurt Zouma – currently on loan at Everton – have both been looked at by the Gunners, along with England man Harry Maguire.Arsenal will struggle to get Ozil and Mkhitaryan – two of the club’s highest earners – off their books while Mustafi is yet to attract much interest from other clubs.The Gunners’ dismal form continued on Sunday when they suffered a 3-0 defeat at the King Power Stadium. The north London club face Valencia in the Europa League semi-final first leg on Thursday.More: FootballBruno Fernandes responds to Man Utd bust-up rumours with Ole Gunnar SolskjaerNew Manchester United signing Facundo Pellistri responds to Edinson Cavani praiseArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira moves Metro Sport ReporterWednesday 1 May 2019 12:03 amShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link327Sharescenter_img Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld is reportedly an option for the Gunners (Picture: Getty) Emery: I don’t agree with the first yellow cardTo view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video Play VideoLoaded: 0%0:00Progress: 0%PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration Time 6:59FullscreenEmery: I don’t agree with the first yellow card is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window. Comment Advertisementlast_img read more

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Breaking: Rangers of Enugu loses player in ghastly accident + photo

first_imgRelatedPosts Rangers postpone resumption 2020/2021 Season: Rangers set resumption date Rangers FC retire late Ifeanyi George’s jersey Rangers Football Club of Enugu player, Ifeanyi George, is reportedly dead. Sources said he died in a ghastly motor accident on Sunday. The club’s Media/Communication Officer, Norbert Okolie, however told our correspondent that the management were on their way to the scene of the accident. The Image maker added that an official statement would be issued as soon as the incident is confirmed. It can be recalled that Rangers International FC management on Friday approved a 10-day break for the players following the four weeks suspension of all football activities by the Nigeria Football Federation. The GM/CEO of the Flying Antelopes, Prince Davidson Owumi, while announcing the break, urged the players to be conscious of the health situations around them during the break. Owumi said: “This break is necessitated by the suspension order by the NFF on all football activities in the country and management in its wisdom wants its players to be with their various families in this challenging health period. “It is our belief that the players would maintain a high level of discipline and return after the break stronger to challenge for a top finish in the season.” Tags: Davidson OwumiIfeanyi GeorgeNobert OkolieRangers FC of Enugulast_img read more

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Plastic hose pulled from dolphins stomach in Fort Myers

first_imgA plastic shower hose was pulled from a dolphins stomach in Fort Myers.On Friday, the seven-foot long male dolphin washed ashore Fort Myers Beach in Big Carlos Pass, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.The FCC discovered the plastic item in the animal’s stomach  during an autopsy.The FWC will have samples collected from the dolphin analyzed to determine the exact cause of death.This is the second stranded dolphin to be found in the area with a belly full of garbage in a month.A baby female rough-toothed dolphin had a piece of a balloon and two plastic bags in its stomach at in late April.The dolphin was found emaciated and in poor health, and biologists decided to “humanely euthanize” it.last_img

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Tennis News Happy Birthday Sania Mirza: Social Media wishes India’s most celebrated Tennis player

first_imgNew Delhi: Sania Mirza is truly a phenomenon when it comes to Indian Tennis. Mirza was the highest-ranked female player ever from India, peaking at world No. 27 in singles in mid-2007 before a major wrist injury forced her to give up her singles career and focus on the doubles circuit.Read More | Virat Kohli and the Adelaide love affair: A match made in heavenMirza is celebrating her 32nd birthday and social media has been generous with praises for India’s first superstar in tennis. From politicians to film personalities, everyone has wished Mirza on her birthday. Mirza married Pakistan cricketer Shoaib Malik in 2010 and the duo welcomed a boy in 2018, naming him Izhaan Mirza Malik. Sania is currently taking a break from tennis due to her delivery but she is aiming to come back in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Mirza holds plenty of records when it comes to India in Tennis. Apart from being the highest-ranked singles player from the country, she has also achieved tremendous success in doubles.Read More | Roger Federer suffers shock defeat in ATP FinalsHer first major title came in the mixed doubles tournament in 2009 at the Australian Open when she partnered with Mahesh Bhupathi to clinch the title. She achieved similar success in the 2012 French Open with Bhupathi and 2014 US Open with Brazilian Bruno Soares. However, it was in the doubles and her pairing with Swiss star Martina Hingis that propelled her to great heights. #HappyBirthday to one of our favourite sports icons and PETA pal @MirzaSania. Thank speaking about adoption of homeless cats and dogs.— PETA India ❤️❤️ (@PetaIndia) November 15, 2018Her first major success with Hingis came in 2015 when she won the Wimbledon and US Open partnering. Her magnificent run continued as she secured the 2016 Australian Open but they stumbled in the French Open. However, with all the success, the duo surprisingly split later in the year.In singles, Mirza has had some notable successes. Her best performance came in the US Open in 2005 when she entered the fourth round by defeating Marion Bartoli, who would later go on to win Wimbledon in 2013. In the same year, she secured a magnificent victory over reigning US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in the WTA event in Dubai. For all the Latest Sports News News, Tennis News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.last_img read more

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USC Upstate, Winthrop meet in Big South quarters

first_imgUSC Upstate, Winthrop meet in Big South quarters Associated Press SAVVY SENIORS: Winthrop’s Chandler Vaudrin, Hunter Hale and Josh Ferguson have combined to account for 41 percent of the team’s scoring this season, including 46 percent of all Eagles points over the last five games.EFFECTIVE EVERETTE: Everette Hammond has connected on 29.1 percent of the 127 3-pointers he’s attempted and has gone 7 for 15 over his last three games. He’s also made 84.2 percent of his foul shots this season.WINLESS WHEN: South Carolina Upstate is 0-14 when scoring fewer than 64 points and 13-5 when scoring at least 64.UNDEFEATED WHEN: The Eagles are 12-0 when holding opponents to 40.4 percent or worse from the field, and 9-10 when opponents shoot better than that. The Spartans are 5-0 when the team records at least eight steals and 8-19 when falling short of that total.DID YOU KNOW: The Winthrop offense has scored 80.8 points per game this season, ranking the Eagles eighth among Division 1 teams. The South Carolina Upstate defense has allowed 73.6 points per game to opponents (ranked 262nd).___ March 4, 2020center_img Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditSouth Carolina Upstate (13-19, 8-11) vs. No. 2 seed Winthrop (21-10, 15-3)Big South Conference Tourney Quarterfinals, Dedmon Center, Radford, Virginia; Thursday, 12 p.m. ESTBOTTOM LINE: South Carolina Upstate is set to face Winthrop in the quarterfinals of the Big South tourney. In the regular season, Winthrop won both of the head-to-head matchups. The teams last faced each other on Feb. 27, when the Eagles outshot South Carolina Upstate 51.6 percent to 46.7 percent and made 10 more foul shots en route to a 90-82 victory. For more AP college basketball coverage: and was generated by Automated Insights,, using data from STATS LLC, https://www.stats.comlast_img read more

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FA Cup: United Beat Huddersfield, to Play Brighton in Q/Finals as…

first_imgBrighton beat League Two Coventry 3-1 yesterday to set up a repeat of the 1983 final after yesterday night’s draw.In other fixtures, the winner of Tottenham’s match at Rochdale today will meet Sheffield Wednesday or Swansea, who will go to a replay after yesterday’s 0-0 draw.Southampton travel to the winners of tomorrow’s match between Manchester City and Wigan, while Leicester and Chelsea meet in another all Premier League tie. The ties take place from March 16-19.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Romelu Lukaku scored twice as Manchester United beat fellow Premier League side Huddersfield to progress to the FA Cup quarter-finals. Lukaku opened the scoring after just three minutes, racing onto Juan Mata’s through ball before finishing at the near post.The Belgium striker then got his 21st goal of the season early in the second half as he again broke clear of the Huddersfield defence, this time picking up Alexis Sanchez’s pass before calmly slotting beyond Jonas Lossl.Juan Mata had a goal ruled out just before half time by the video assistant referee (VAR), although there was some confusion over whether the decision was a correct one. But ultimately it did not matter as Manchester United set up a quarter-final tie with Brighton at Old Trafford.last_img read more

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African-American students evaluate their place at USC

first_imgOn Nov. 1, 2012, Raishad Hardnett dodged a swarm of reporters, cameras and news crews as he headed to his morning classes.This day was unusual for other reasons, too. When Hardnett walked into class that day, he noticed a fraction of students who made themselves undeniably noticeable. They were covered in USC apparel. And most of them were black.From his personal experience as a black student, Hardnett had a theory as to why. It was a reaction to a community’s lack of inclusion, he thought.“I felt like I didn’t belong at this school all of a sudden,” said Hardnett, a senior majoring in broadcast and digital journalism. “After all the things that I had put into it, all the resources, the time, the effort, all the money — I felt like I could no longer relate to the university.”The night before, the Black Student Assembly hosted more than 400 guests at the Ronald Tutor Campus Center for a Halloween party. By 11:45 p.m., dozens of students were dancing to blasting music in the center’s underground ballroom. Above ground, others waited in line to enter. But that crowd dispersed shortly before midnight. Gunshots rang out.The on-campus shooting, which did not involve any USC students or faculty, sent four non-university affiliated victims to the hospital. Police arrested and charged the alleged shooter, Brandon Spencer, a black 21-year-old, with four counts of attempted murder.In the days following, many believed the event caused a rift between the university’s black community and the rest of campus.Several black students explained that they began to feel ostracized when online commenters called the party a “ghetto nightclub” and suggested that violence was unavoidable for black students on the Daily Trojan and Los Angeles Times websites.This feeling was not lost on Hardnett. Despite his involvement on campus as a journalist for Neon Tommy and Annenberg Television News and as the president of the historically black fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha, he felt his skin color had become his main identifier.“My sentiments were definitely mirrored around the community,” Hardnett said. “We felt like we were being looked at as outsiders — as black people. Wearing Trojan gear was the only way to say, ‘Hey, I’m not a hoodlum, hey, I go here.’”From the time of its inception, the relationship between the University of Southern California and its black student population has been constantly adjusting.Since the early 2000s, black students have comprised about 5 percent of USC’s nearly 18,000 undergraduates. The approximately 900 black undergraduates make up USC’s smallest racial minority group.At the same time, the black community has deep roots at USC and in the surrounding area. But the community often comes into conflict with the local authorities after accusations of racial profiling.This relationship came to a head on May 4 when 79 Los Angeles Police Department officers responded to a noise complaint at a party with helicopters and riot gear. The party, just north of campus, was attended predominantly by black students. The incident led to a student movement, which focused on curbing racial profiling. Organizers of the movement put on several rallies and events, making waves on social media and adopting the name “USChangeMovement.”The uncertainty of belonging on campus and the responses to last year’s high-profile incidents have led many black students to evaluate their place in the Trojan Family.‘Making Moves and Movements’To protest the perceived aggression toward minority students by LAPD, Hardnett once again pulled out his USC gear and, on May 6, joined more than 100 students in a sit-in in front of Tommy Trojan.In the aftermath of the alleged racial profiling incident, a forum discussion was organized to feature LAPD, the Dept. of Public Safety and students in the filled-to-capacity Ronald Tutor Campus Center Ballroom, the same room where the Halloween party had taken place months earlier.During the event, many students compared LAPD’s response to the May 4 party with their response to a party across the street that had a majority of white students in attendance.LAPD opened an internal investigation, yet at the forum Capt. Paul Snell of the LAPD Southwest Division said they did not believe it was a case of racial profiling.“We do not believe at this point that there were any indications that this was race-based,” Snell said. “What I would like to focus now on is how we can move forward. We do not want this to happen again.”Similar to the Halloween shooting, the USChangeMovement was heavily covered by the media, from outlets ranging from the Los Angeles Times to the Huffington Post. Hardnett, however, said the USChangeMovement created a more supportive climate for black students on campus because several other minority groups, such as Latino and Jewish students, expressed a feeling of marginalization by authorities.“We were being discriminated against by LAPD,” Hardnett said. “But the response from the students was amazing and was widespread from people of all creeds and backgrounds.”James White, assistant director of the Undergraduate Student Government Diversity Affairs Committee, however, questioned the administration’s respect for the black community, noting that it took four days for President C. L. Max Nikias to issue a statement.“I felt like a black man at this university that may or may not care for us the way they care for others,” White said.In his statement, issued on May 8, Nikias said he had been communicating with DPS and his senior staff since the incident. He expressed concern for students’ well-being and said he was optimistic about continuing an amiable relationship between USC and its students.“We are confident we will move ahead from this issue in an even more productive and positive manner,” Nikias wrote.Student-led movements at USC have a long history of moving the university forward. Lois Pitter-Bruce, a black 1978 alumna, said student activism was prominent during her time at USC.“Efforts are always made to reach out when there are difficulties,” she said. “There were black, Hispanic and Asian organizations. Whatever happened in that community, those communities made the campus and administration move forward and resolve anything that needed to be done.”The past year’s events are still mobilizing the black community, Ama Amoafo-Yeboah, executive director of the Black Student Assembly, said, citing increased involvement in the surrounding communities and student activism on campus.“I feel like people are making moves this year,” she said. “Everyone is trying to do something and it’s amazing to see it happen.” ‘Row Out and Meet It’To see the ways in which the black community has impacted USC, one needs only to walk inside the Ostrow School of Dentistry. Inside hangs a quote from Somerville, one that defined his mission in life.“Do not wait for your ship to come in. Row out and meet it,” Somerville said.Today, many black students said they use the struggles of the past to fuel their goals for the future.“We can use these issues and recent events as motivation to bridge the gap between communities,” Hardnett said.Students said that in addition to promoting the USChangeMovement, they wanted to continue supporting the university’s established initiatives that connect them with the surrounding community. The Neighborhood Academic Initiative, a seven-year pre-college program for low-income students around USC’s campuses, offers full scholarships upon completion, is notable. Many of the scholarship recipients are either black or Hispanic.Brunold said though the university has made great strides in building their diversity and enrolling the brightest black students, there is still work to be done.“When we’re talking about diversity, we are never talking about how we made it,” Brunold said. “We’re never as diverse as we want to be or should be. We’re always striving to increase diversity in all of its forms.”Many black students continue to echo the same sentiments. At USC, they still face the struggles associated with past generations of black Trojans, but like any other student, they are proud and hopeful for the future that lies ahead.Amoafo-Yeboah was one of these students. She views past difficulties as setting an ideal stage for the black community at USC.“It’s the perfect time for people to be here,” Amoafo-Yeboah said. “It’s the perfect time for us.”  ‘There’s A Divide’The size of USC’s black student population is comparable to other California universities, such as UCLA with a 3.9 percent black student population, UC Berkeley with a 3.4 percent black student population and Loyola Marymount University with a 5.6 percent black student population.Tim Brunold, USC dean of admissions, said he believes the university is up to par on the admission rates of black students, especially when USC competes with other prestigious universities in the nation, such as the Ivy League schools, Stanford, Duke and UCLA.“If you look at the academic caliber of our African-American students, these are some of the very best African-American students from the country,” Brunold said.Though black students at USC share similar backgrounds, some who were interviewed for this story believe they could be more socially unified.“I wish we were more cohesive,” said Rebecca Berry, a junior majoring in sociology. “Parts of us are cohesive, but there’s a divide between the athletic black students and the academic students. There’s a divide between students that are more involved in Greek life on The Row and black Greeks. We need to find a way to unite all of us.”When Makiah Green, a graduate student pursuing a master’s in professional writing, first entered the university as an undergraduate in 2009, she struggled to establish a network with her black peers.“I didn’t feel a connection to the black community at all,” Green said. “I could already sense that it was divided.”To Trevian Hall, a sophomore majoring in theater, being grouped by his race was not a main concern for him on campus.“My race is an identifier but I don’t identify by my race,” Hall said. “I’m proud to be black. But at the same time being black isn’t what makes me. It’s definitely shaped who I am today, but it’s not me.”Several black students at USC have identified a variety of differences in cultural practices that make it difficult to connect with one another.Hardnett said when black Trojans encounter one another, they don’t always show signs of acknowledgement. The lack of connection led BSA to go as far as to stage a “Say Hi” campaign in 2010. They created “Say Hi” buttons and fliers to encourage black students to say hello when they walked past one another on campus.Similarly, Somerville has undergone shifts in demographics of students living on the floor. An equal number of black women and men have not lived on Somerville since 2009, Bennett-McBride said.Though current residents say the floor fosters awareness of the black community, Bennett-McBride said fewer black students matriculating through USC are the first in their families to attend college, which she thought leads some to feel mentorship and fellowship among their black peers is less necessary.She said first-generation students were more likely to want help navigating through the university because they did not have parents or other immediate family members who had direct experience with the college process.White also recognized the growing differences between black students’ backgrounds, but believed everyone in the black community should strive to bridge the divide with their peers who look like them.“There’s some of us that are somewhat detached in one way or another,” White said, “People should at least involve themselves in some way.” ‘Staging community’Some of the university’s founders and first students struggled with accepting the black community at USC. The university’s second president Joseph Widney wrote a book called Race Life of the Aryan Peoples in 1907, which highlighted and analyzed the superiority of Caucasians throughout history, as compared to minority groups.Around the same time, USC students staged a petition to expel a black dentistry student, John Somerville, according to the university’s Center for Black Cultural and Student Affairs website.According to the Los Angeles Times, the beloved mascot Traveler, a fixture at USC football games, was named in honor of Confederate general Robert E. Lee’s horse that accompanied the general in many battles against the Union during the Civil War.Today, mindsets at the university have changed dramatically, as they have across the nation. USC explicitly states that it strives to create an environment where racism, bigotry and discrimination of any kind are reprimanded.Yet, USC officials said students’ concerns with racial profiling are not unfounded.DPS Chief John Thomas, a lifelong Angeleno who grew up near the University Park campus in the 1960s and 1970s, said he had personal experience dealing with racial profiling around USC.“If you’re an African-American coming up on this campus, you might be profiled,” Thomas said. “I know I was. That gives me perspective when people say, ‘I was racially profiled’ and made to feel a certain way. I cannot negate that because that happened to me when I was coming up on this campus as a teenager.”In January, the university implemented new security measures, which include requiring students to show USC identification to enter campus from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. and building fences at the entrances at Exposition Boulevard and Jefferson Avenue.Many students said the new measures might lead to more cases of racial profiling and White said perceived racial profiling could have a strong reverberating effect.“It’s emotionally draining for some of the students,” he said. “It’s bad for the university because if some of your students don’t feel safe on campus — and they’re the ones to promote the school — then they won’t be able to do that.”To support students of African heritage, there are more than 40 student organizations on campus. Among them are the Black Student Assembly, Africa ’SC, and eight of the National Panhellenic Council fraternities and sororities. Many of the organizations, Center for Black Cultural and Student Affairs Director Corliss Bennett-McBride said, are grounded in community service, political activism and religious faith.In addition to the student organizations, the university has taken internal steps to support black students.In 1977, the university created the Center for Black Cultural and Student Affairs. The center’s services include academic support and professional development, and it seeks to attract and retain more black USC students.Within housing, the university created Somerville Place, a black special interest floor located in Fluor Tower named after John and Vada Somerville, in 1995.Bennett-McBride, who has worked at USC for 17 years, said the Somerville floor is an essential space on campus because when students are connected to their cultural community, they have a higher retention rate and involvement in school life.“It was made to help black students transition to a predominantly white institution,” Bennett-McBride said. “It acts as their home away from home where people understand what they’ve gone through during the day.”Despite the support systems, the views of some newer members to USC’s black community have been shaped in part by the incidents of the past year.When Katrina Miller, a freshman majoring in English, heard about the Halloween shooting and USChangeMovement as a prospective student, she considered the impact her race would have on her experience at USC.“I know I have to face race issues wherever I go,” Miller said. “But I kept thinking how ridiculous it was that those things actually happen. It was cool to see how united the [black] community was and it put some faith back into USC for me.” Follow Jordyn on Twitter @jojoholmeyThis is the first in a series about the demographics of USC. The next installment will run Monday, Oct. 28.last_img read more

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Thursday March 19th Local Sports

first_imgMINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings have so far been doing more subtracting than adding. Their first official move of the new league year was to shed yet more salary, with the termination of right guard Josh Kline’s contract. Kline joined fellow starters defensive tackle Linval Joseph, cornerback Trae Waynes and wide receiver Stefon Diggs on their way to other teams. The Vikings made their biggest move this week by extending the contract of quarterback Kirk Cousins and agreeing to trade Diggs to Buffalo. Their most notable pickup on the market was former Ravens defensive tackle Michael Pierce to replace Joseph. DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Organizers announced Wednesday they had indefinitely postponed the Drake Relays that had been scheduled for April in Des Moines.In a statement, Drake University said officials made the decision to protect the “health, safety and well-being” of participants and fans amid concerns about the coronavirus. The event was scheduled for April 22-25, primarily at Drake Stadium.The postponement includes related activities, such as the Beautiful Bulldog Contest, Grand Blue Mile and Drake Road Races.Organizers said they would work with local, state and national officials to reschedule the event when it’s safe for all participants.The Drake Relays were first held in 1910. DES MOINES — The Iowa High School Athletic Association at their board meeting last week approved contracts keeping the boys state basketball and wrestling tournaments at the Iowa Events Center through at least 2025. The contract extensions ensure the association’s two highest-attended tournament events stay in Des Moines through 2025, with five optional annual renewals after 2025 which could take the contract through 2030. State basketball will continue in a five-day format after shifting away from a six-day format in 2018. The state wrestling schedule will continue to stay on the same schedule. The association’s wrestling advisory committee discussed the future of the state dual team tournament and wrestling post-season during a meeting on February 27th. The committee was asked to consider possible date and venue changes for state duals, but they decided to keep state duals in the current arrangement the day prior to the start of the traditional tournament. The committee, alongside leadership from the Iowa Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association, was primarily concerned about how an IHSAA staff proposal to move the state duals to the current weekend of sectionals and at a different facility and shifting all classes to district events as the only tournaments for individual state qualifying would be executed and would affect Classes 1A and 2A. The committee will still hold its annual spring meeting with plans to address possible qualifying procedures for post-season duals and other recommendations.last_img read more

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