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Mike Gordon Digs Further Down At Night 2 In Cambridge

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first_imgOn Friday night, Mike Gordon returned to The Sinclair in Cambridge, MA for the second show of his four-night tour-closing run.After getting started with “Destiny Unbound”, Gordon and his band—comprised of guitarist Scott Murawski, keyboardist/organist Robert Walter, drummer John Kimock, and percussionist Craig Myers—moved into “Pendulum”, off of Gordon’s 2017 OGOGO release. The quintet moved forward with a rocking cover of Max Creek‘s “Jones”, which smoothly segued into “Ether”, a dreamy number off of Gordon’s 2014 Overstep release. With Mike laying down some colossal bass bombs, the band dove into the second OGOGO tune of the night, “Marissa”, followed by a full-throttle take on “Normal Phoebe”.  The set-closing “Normal Phoebe” ignited an all out dance party in the shoulder-to-shoulder sold-out Cambridge club.Following a brief setbreak, Mike Gordon and his bandmates returned to open their second set with a rowdy take on “Let’s Go”, as the amped up crowd sung along. Gordon and company moved forward with “Cruel World”, the second Max Creek cover of the evening, with guitar maestro Scott Murawski putting on a show through a series of explosive solos. Kimock and Myers locked into a tight groove on “Up and Down”, followed by an exploratory “555”. Debuted last week at Gordon’s Jersey City show, the quintet dove into an interesting and unique cover of “When Your Mind’s Made Up”, a tune from the 2007 film and 2011 musical, Once. The tour debut of “Check Your Pepper” came next, followed by a set-closing segue of “Steps” into “Dig Further Down”. When the band reemerged for their encore, Murawski stepped up to take the vocal lead on an electric cover of Talking Head‘s “Cities”.Mike Gordon’s solo tour continues tonight, Saturday, March 23rd, at The Sinclair in Cambridge, MA. For a full list of Mike Gordon’s upcoming tour dates, head here.Setlist: Mike Gordon | The Sinclair | Cambridge, MA | 3/22/2019Set One: Destiny Unbound, Pendulum, Jones > Ether, Marissa > Normal PhoebeSet Two: Let’s Go, Cruel World, Up And Down, 555 -> When Your Mind’s Made Up, Check Your Pepper, Steps > Dig Further DownEncore: Citieslast_img read more

Film as a force

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first_imgOn Sunday, millions of viewers will tune in to the Academy Awards for a chance to see their favorite stars in designer dresses and to learn who will take home the movie industry’s highest honor, gold-plated, 13-and-a-half-inch statuettes fondly known as Oscars.Three anxious documentarians in the audience who hope to hear their names called have deep roots in a longstanding Harvard program. Joshua Oppenheimer ’96, Jehane Noujaim ’96, and Rick Rowley all honed their early filmmaking skills while undergraduates at the University’s Department of Visual and Environmental Studies (VES), a multidisciplinary program committed, its website says, “to an integrated study of artistic practice, visual culture, and the critical study of the image.”The young directors are nominees for best documentary feature, each for work about serious international concerns: Noujaim for “The Square,” which charts the ongoing Egyptian revolution; Rick Rowley for “Dirty Wars,” which uncovers covert military action by the United States; and Oppenheimer for “The Act of Killing,” about the mass killings in Indonesia in the 1960s.(Also holding her breath in the audience on Sunday will be VES alumna Lauren MacMullan ’86, director of “Get a Horse!” which is nominated for an Academy Award in the best animated short film category.)On a recent afternoon, Robb Moss, VES chair and professor of visual and environmental studies, sat in his office, itself a work of art with an imposing concrete column cutting through its center, along with a floor-to-ceiling window. The office and the rest of VES is housed in the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, which was designed by famed Swiss–born architect Le Corbusier.Robb Moss, VES chair and professor of visual and environmental studies at Harvard, is credited with being an influential mentor to past and current students. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff PhotographerMoss, credited by many current and past students as an enormously influential mentor, talked about the three documentary filmmakers, including their time at Harvard and their current success.Rowley, noted Moss, “had a strong sense of and deep engagement with politics, and he understood more than anybody I have ever met that his political sensibility and his desire to make films were twinned and were meant to talk to each other, and talk to the world.”For Noujaim, it was photography that pulled her into filmmaking, said Moss. She started out working with still photos under the tutelage of Chris Killip, professor of visual and environmental studies. “She had this way of seeing the world and engaging it that I think really started with photography.”Moss also remembered Noujaim’s gift for collaboration, her ability to connect with people, and her “fantastic sense of what a good documentary story might be. … People trust her, and she doesn’t betray their trust, yet she makes a strong film. She has a real curiosity of what the world is like. She wants to know who you are as a person. She has this interest and sense of empathy.”As an undergraduate, Oppenheimer had a “wildly imaginative” side that shone through, Moss recalled. “It’s just this very complex view of the world, and that complex view of the world combined with his fantastically imaginative way of representing things, and a fearlessness of image making. All of those things, which are so apparent in ‘The Act of Killing,’ were apparent when he was an undergraduate.”In addition to their individual skills and talents, Moss said the trio shares a trait critical for anyone hoping to succeed in a competitive industry: a capacity to meet setbacks with tenacity, indeed with “an inability to finish a project until it’s done.”“It’s very tempting to step out of a project. You are exhausted. You are broke. You’ve exhausted your ideas. You don’t think the film is as good as you think it should be, but you don’t know where it should go,” said Moss. “Then there are people who say it’s not done and I’m not going to finish it until it is done. I think that’s true for the three of them.”As an undergraduate at Harvard, Joshua Oppenheimer was described by Moss as “wildly imaginative.” Photo by Daniel BergeronMoss pointed to Noujaim’s work with “The Square” as an example of that tireless drive to get it right. While she was en route to the 2013 Sundance Film Festival —where her film eventually won the audience award in the world cinema documentary category — a new wave of riots erupted in Cairo as protesters demanded that Egypt’s recently elected president Mohammed Morsi step down. Noujaim and her production team returned to Egypt, filmed the protests, and reedited the film with the fresh material.“She stayed with it,” said Moss, “and the story became far more complex.”Oppenheimer recalled his formative years at Harvard, saying Moss and other VES faculty “really pushed us to explore what filmmaking can be, ought to be, might be. And for me that meant exploring the boundaries between documentary and fiction.”“The Act of Killing,” which captures former leaders of Indonesian death squads- reenacting their horrific crimes, starts off as a type of documentary, but ends “in a place of, really, fever dream.”While Moss has received much media attention recently because of his connection to the three filmmakers, both he and his former students note the strength of the program itself, and point to other faculty who have served as influential mentors.In addition to crediting Moss, Oppenheimer lauded filmmaker and former VES professor Dusan Makavejev, and singled out Osgood Hooker Professor of Visual Arts Alfred Guzzetti for his patience, gentleness, and his willingness to “say the most cutting and important things that needed to be said.”Many of those cutting words were aimed at cinematic cliché.“I have an allergy to cliché that I think I learned from Alfred,” said Oppenheimer. “Anyone who sees ‘The Act of Killing,’ and even my next film that deals with survivors of the Indonesian genocide but hasn’t come out yet, [will see] there is a way in which my work, if it resists anything, it resists sentimentality.”“Josh was unforgettable,” recalled Guzzetti. “He loved provocation of every kind.”When screening his film last fall at the Harvard Film Archive, Oppenheimer, who lives in Copenhagen, Denmark, sat in on one of Moss’s classes and was reminded of another critical lesson he learned at VES.Moss told the students, recalled Oppenheimer, that “the best editing strategy is one which allows your strongest material to be used in the best possible way … editing is not about telling the story you think your material is going to tell, it’s about excavating the material and finding where it really sings and letting it sing its song.”That type of approach, said Oppenheimer, “is fundamental to what I think filmmaking is.”Founded in the 1960s, VES has had a strong tradition in documentary filmmaking that has been made even stronger by its ongoing connection with the Film Study Center. Created in 1957 by the groundbreaking ethnographic filmmaker Robert Gardner ’47, the center is the visual arm of Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. Today, students interested in documentary film can choose from a wide range of VES offerings, many presented in tandem with the center, including seminars that explore both the history and theory of non-fiction film, as well as hands-on courses that teach how to build a documentary film or video from the ground up.Guzzetti underlined other strengths of the documentary program, pointing out that the faculty not only includes well-known filmmakers, but also taps into Boston’s powerful documentary filmmaking community. “All of those pieces of the puzzle support us in our efforts,” said Guzzetti.Photographer and filmmaker Lauren Greenfield is another VES alumna whose work has received critical acclaim. She won the 2012 Sundance Film Festival’s directing award for her documentary “The Queen of Versailles,” which charts a couple’s plans to build a 90,000-square-foot palace in Florida based on the Versailles palace in France.For help with the film, Greenfield turned to Moss, reconnecting with her former teacher during one of the Sundance Institute’s film labs, a series of intensive workshops for emerging filmmakers. She called him regularly during the final stages of production seeking feedback and advice. “He was always so generous and insightful with his comments,” said Greenfield. “It’s just really special to have that ongoing relationship with a teacher.”In comparing the VES program to more traditional film schools, Greenfield said Harvard offers students something beyond the art and craft of filmmaking.“They never taught you a style; they never gave you an assignment that was not open ended. … At Harvard, it’s more about taking the medium and figuring out your voice with it. If you look at ‘The Act of Killing’ and ‘The Square’ and ‘Dirty Wars,’ they are all completely different.”Moss brings his own passion as a filmmaker to the job. He fell in love with movies while in college. Seeing someone else’s reflection of the world on the big screen, he said, helped him to understand how critical historic developments like the Vietnam War unfolded in real time. After college, work in West Africa and later in the United States as a river rafting guide helped to inspire him toward a career in film.“All those experiences were very intense, very on the ground, very unmediated … just very experiential and in your face. In a way, that’s a description of documentary filmmaking.”“Documentary filmmaking seemed a way to go forward and recoup experience at the same time,” he added. “It seemed to me possible that the act of making a documentary film was like going into the world and having it run roughshod over you, and I wanted that.” Moss’s acclaimed films include the documentary “Secrecy” co-directed by Harvard’s Joseph Pellegrino University Professor Peter Galison.Moss attended an MIT program for filmmaking and started teaching at Harvard in the mid-80s. The job was only supposed to last for a year. But Moss, who found he “had a kind of feeling for teaching,” never left. He teaches nonfiction film classes and cherishes the act of teaching film in an intimate classroom setting.“When the door shuts in the classroom, I am really happy. It’s this incredible opportunity to think deeply with the students about filmmaking, this thing that I really love.”Like the three Harvard alumni, Moss will anxiously be watching the awards, albeit from home, and likely less formally attired.“It’s going to make me nervous. I am going to be nervous for them. Then I will look to the cuts in the audience, and I will see them for the first time dressed up in a way I’ve never seen them before.”“It’s wonderful to see them getting acknowledged in this way,” added Moss, “but my connection to them and to the work is not through this kind of recognition. Although that’s great, it’s that the work itself is strong and deserving of recognition. To me, it doesn’t matter whether they win or lose. Or, to put in another way, I hope they all win.”last_img read more

Potential diabetes treatment advances

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first_imgResearchers at MIT’s David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, in collaboration with scientists at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) and several other institutions, have developed an implantable device that in mice shielded insulin-producing beta cells from immune system attack for six months — a substantial proportion of life span.This bioengineering work by professors Daniel G. Anderson and Robert S. Langer brings the promise of a possible cure for type 1 diabetes within striking distance of phase 1 clinical trials, providing a way to implant in diabetics insulin-producing beta cells developed from stem cells in the laboratory of HSCI co-director Doug Melton.“This report is an important step forward, in an animal model, because it shows that there may be a way to overcome one of the major hurdles that have stood in the way of a cure for type 1 diabetes,” said Melton, Harvard’s Xander University Professor and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. “Now, thanks to the outstanding work of Dan Anderson and Bob Langer at MIT, Gordon Weir at the Joslin Diabetes Center and HSCI, and Dale Greiner at the University of Massachusetts, and our other essential collaborators, we have stem cell-derived beta cells that can provide insulin in a device that appears capable of protecting them from immune attack.”The work was published online Monday in papers in two journals, Nature Medicine and Nature Biotechnology. Anderson said that he and his colleagues report in the latter paper that when implanted without cells in primates, the new device proved to be “biocompatible for six or eight months, without provoking an inflammatory response” or any other ill effect.“We are excited by this new technology and are working hard to advance it to the clinic,” said Anderson, the Samuel A. Goldblith Professor of Applied Biology at MIT. “These papers represent seven or eight years of work” at MIT, he said, adding that “we started working with Doug a few years ago when he began producing beta cells from human embryonic stem cells (hESC).”“We are excited by this new technology and are working hard to advance it to the clinic,” said Daniel Anderson, the Samuel A. Goldblith Professor of Applied Biology at MIT.The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, which along with The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust supported the MIT research, estimates that up to 3 million Americans suffer from type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease in which the immune system kills off the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Daily injections of insulin are the primary treatment, but are only partially successful in regulating patients’ metabolism.When beta cells are functioning normally, they are part of an exquisitely fine-tuned system, providing precisely the amount of insulin the body needs. Injections cannot come close to mimicking the body’s own insulin-production system, however, and as a result patients can develop complications ranging from blindness to heart disease to loss of limbs. Type 1 diabetes causes or contributes to hundreds of thousands of deaths annually.It is believed that if implanted beta cells could be shielded from immune attack, and would respond to the body’s own signals for insulin, they would be likely to eliminate most, or even all, the complications of the disease, and would, in effect, serve as a cure.Some patients with type 2 diabetes, which has reached epidemic proportions in the United States and around the globe, also become insulin dependent, and might benefit from the implantation of stem cell-derived beta cells.last_img read more

Dry, Cool Weekend Ahead; Back To Spring Next Week With Highs In The 40s

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first_imgJAMESTOWN – High pressure has built back into the region once again leading to a good supply of sunshine this weekend. We stay cool however before warming back up again next week with some precipitation chances.Through the day today, clouds will be slow to part but once they do, the area will see a nice dose of sunshine this afternoon. However with a northerly wind aloft, that will keep us much cooler. Highs today will range 28 on the highest hills to 35 along the lower elevations.With a clearing sky tonight and a light wind, most people will likely dip quite a bit in the temperature department by tomorrow morning. Lows 14 valleys, 21 lakeshore.We will start to take on a more southernly wind flow on Sunday and with the aid of plentiful sunshine, we should be back into the mid 40’s once again. A developing coastal storm early next week will bring the chance for rain and wet snow showers Sunday night through the day on Monday with highs in the lower to mid 40’s.Earlier we had hinted at the potential for maybe some sleet or freezing rain with this feature on Monday but the new computer model guidance is keeping that line to our south. We should transition to plain rain showers for a period later in the day on Monday before coming to an end late Monday night.An area of weak high pressure temporally moves in for Tuesday before the high is scooted on out by waves of short troughs though much of the week.Much of the precipitation for Tuesday and Wednesday will be dependent on the track of a developing storm system. There currently remains some disagreements with the prime global models on this storm so we’ll have more details once we get the better quality data.WNYNewsNow is a proud Ambassador for the NOAA Weather-Ready Nation program.Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Paradise Found: Scenic Swimming Holes of the Blue Ridge

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first_imgNot all swimming holes are created equal. You can beat the heat in just about any stream in the Southern Appalachians, but there are a handful of pools in our backyard that offer a refreshing dip in style. Deep, clear water, big falls, lush backdrop…finding the right swimming hole can feel a bit like finding paradise. So we scoured the mountains looking for the most awe-inspiring natural pools, the kinds of swimming holes that make you want to live-tweet pictures while you cannonball into the crystal clear blue water. Behold, seven of the most beautiful swimming holes in the Southern Appalachians.1. Paradise FallsWolf Creek, N.C.Tucked into a tight gorge in Nantahala National Forest, this swimming hole is more than just a pretty waterfall. It’s a mini slot canyon adventure. The waterfall itself is usually just a trickle thanks to the dam upstream, but don’t fret. What makes Paradise Falls so dreamy is the tight slot canyon that surrounds the waterfall. Swim across the clear pool to the entrance of the canyon, then climb a rope up the slick rock to the second level of rock, where the river drops between sheer, gray rock walls. The whole scene is like nothing else in North Carolina.Logistics: There’s a parking lot at Wolf Creek Lake off NC 281, a quarter-mile from the roadside trailhead. The user-created trail is steep, dropping into and climbing out of a separate gorge before delivering you to the bottom of Paradise Falls. Use extra caution when swimming below or around the falls and don’t go after a heavy rain. The dam at Wolf Creek Lake, above the falls, is often released to keep water levels balanced.Adventure Nearby: Standup paddle on the tiny, but gorgeous Wolf Creek Lake. Or rock hop downstream looking for more plunge pools and mini canyons on Wolf Creek.2. Brush Creek FallsBrush Creek, W.Va.Brush Creek Falls proves size doesn’t always matter. This waterfall is only 25 feet high, but it spans the entire length of the river, tumbling over a broad sandstone ledge. At normal water levels, the river cruises over the cliff in a series of smaller, lazy cascades giving the effect of multiple waterfalls at one site—think of a tropical grotto, but surrounded by a dense hardwood forest. You’ll find nooks at the base of the falls where you can scramble behind the water. Locals will occasionally jump from the top of the falls. As always, use caution; there have been serious injuries at Brush Creek in recent years.Logistics: The falls sits inside a tangle of public and privately preserved land that includes the massive Pipestem Resort State Park. The easiest access is through the Nature Conservancy-owned Brush Creek Nature Preserve, which protects a small pocket of land where Brush Creek and the Bluestone River meet. Hit the preserve and head upstream to the falls.Adventure Nearby: Hike the Bluestone River Gorge to rocky outcroppings with a view on the Canyon Rim Trail at Pipestem Resort State Park.  3. Cascade FallsLittle Stony Creek, Va.You’re going to share this 69-foot waterfall near tiny Pembroke, Va. (and not so tiny Blacksburg), but the scene is so stunning, you might not notice the crowd. Little Stony Creek takes a vertical drop over an upper cliff, then shatters into different streams as it cascades over steps of layered rock on its way to a deep, cold pool. The entire scene is flanked by 200-foot rock faces on either side. The Cascades National Scenic Trail follows the river upstream before forking into the Upper and Lower Trails. Both end up at the same spot below the waterfall. The whole lollipop loop is four miles. If you’re looking for a bit more solitude, continue to hike upstream for half a mile to Upper Cascade Falls. It’s not as dramatic, but not as crowded either.Logistics: Pick up the trail inside the Cascade Falls Recreation Area on Cascade Drive in Pembroke, Va.Nearby Adventure: The New River offers some of the finest smallmouth bass fishing in the South. Check out the Cliffs of Eggleston section of the New near Pembroke.4. Yellowstone FallsYellowstone Prong, North CarolinaYellowstone Prong has it all: scenery, wild trout, gin-clear water, and the crowds to prove it. Three waterfalls on Yellowstone are accessible from the popular Graveyard Fields recreation area off the Blue Ridge Parkway. Second Falls gets most of the attention, and rightfully so: it’s gorgeous and makes a great weekday dip when crowds are scarce. But head farther downstream to the much tougher to reach Yellowstone Falls, which isn’t even listed on the map at the Graveyard Fields parking lot. Sketchy, steep “paths” lead to the top of the falls and base of the falls. Both trails require scrambling, sliding, and a bit of praying. Before you reach the top of the falls, you’ll find deep and wide potholes that offer primo swimming opportunities. Yellowstone Prong cuts through a broad mountain valley that’s nearly a mile high in elevation and loses elevation in three dramatic drops. You’re surrounded by a skinny stone gorge thick with colorful “striped” granite. Even though Graveyard Fields is popular, the rock hopping and bushwhacking necessary to get to Yellowstone Falls keep the crowds down.Logistics: Park at Graveyard Fields at mile marker 418.8 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Follow the trail to Second Falls, then ditch the crowds and head downstream.Nearby Adventure: Run the Art Loeb Trail across Black Balsam, a 6,000-foot-high bald, not far from Yellowstone Prong, to the edge of Shining Rock Wilderness.5. Laurel Fork FallsLake Jocassee, S.C.You’re gonna need a bigger boat. Well, you’re just gonna need a boat. Laurel Creek drops 80 feet, twisting and turning over massive cliffs into a corner of Lake Jocassee, carving a narrow gorge out of the bedrock on its way down. The waterfall is gorgeous, but it’s the setting and the remote nature of the swimming hole that provide the wow factor here. You’ve got a deep hole for swimming and rocks to climb. The lower half of the falls is surrounded by a rocky grotto peppered with lush green foliage and vibrant moss. Discovering it from the belly of a kayak after a half-day paddle is indescribable. Whether you reach the falls by boat or by boot, there’s an excellent campsite at the top of the waterfall next to Laurel Fork Creek, making this a killer overnight option.Logistics: Pick up the Foothills Trail at US 178 and hike 8.5 miles before reaching the top of the falls. Then it’s a sketchy scramble down the side of the gorge to the lake and bottom of the falls. The other option is to launch a kayak from Devils Fork State Park and paddle northeast across the lake into the Toxaway arm of Jocassee.Nearby Adventure: The Foothills Trail cruises along the northwestern edge of Lake Jocassee running along the base of the Blue Ridge Escarpment for 77 miles, offering some of the finest backcountry hiking in the South.6. Cane Creek FallsFall Creek Falls State Park, Tenn.Fall Creek Falls may have top billing at this state park north of Chattanooga, but Cane Creek Falls has its own sense of grandeur. On the eastern edge of the park, Cane Creek drops 85 feet in a single plunge into a broad, rocky pool the size of a football field that’s surrounded by a massive rock amphitheater. Not cool enough? How about the second waterfall, Rockhouse Falls, which drops into the same pool to the left of Cane Creek. Two creeks, two waterfalls, one awesome swimming hole. The swimming at the base of the falls is surreal, and there’s plenty of opportunity for exploring the real estate behind each waterfall.Logistics: Find the park off Hwy 111 north of Chattanooga. Hike the easy Paw Paw Trail to the ridiculously steep and dangerous Cable Trail (you’re gonna want to use the cable), which drops you to the base of Cane Creek Falls.Nearby Adventure: The state park has six major waterfalls and 20,000 acres of hiking. You can knock them all out in about 10 miles of hiking.7. South River FallsShenandoah National Park, Va.At 83 feet, South River isn’t the tallest waterfall in the park (technically, it’s the third tallest), but it’s certainly one of the most stunning. The river enters a gorge laden with juggy, gray cliffs via a single narrow chute. Halfway down its vertical plunge, the falls hits a rock ledge and splits into two waterfalls as it makes its way into the pool below. Don’t expect an Olympic-sized swimming pool at the bottom of the falls. This is more like a soaking tub. Try to hit it after a good rain for the biggest impact.Logistics: In the central district of the park, follow Skyline Drive to milepost 62.8 and pick up the South River Trail at the South River Picnic Area. Make a 3.3-mile loop by combining the SRT and the South River Fire Road and A.T.Adventure Nearby: You’re in Shenandoah National Park, so there’s plenty of hiking. For something a little different, tackle the Bearfence Rock Scramble, a 1.2-mile hike/climb that leads to a 360-degree view.last_img read more

Epileptic Thru-Hiker

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first_imgIn the spring of 2014, 28-year-old Alex Newlon headed for Springer Mountain determined to complete a northbound thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. A lifelong hiker, Newlon appeared the portrait of health—tall, muscular, young, always laughing and smiling. However, compared to his thru-hiking comrades, he was starting at a deficit: Newlon had epilepsy.“I suffer from grand mal seizures, where you lose consciousness and fall to the floor while all of your muscles contract, causing you to shake and jerk uncontrollably,” says Newlon.Despite taking preventative medication and going almost two years without suffering an incident, in attempting to thru-hike the AT, he was risking his life. Dehydration, sleep deprivation, heat exhaustion, and strenuous activity were prominent triggers for seizures.Newlon had been dreaming about an A.T. thru-hike since his days as a teenage Boy Scout. Sick of being identified by a condition he’d inherited through the hereditary dice-roll, Newlon set out to claim his life as his own.“Sure, I could have a seizure anytime, anywhere, my life is always on the line, no matter what. But I couldn’t let something totally random keep me from pursuing my dreams. I wasn’t going to let epilepsy control and limit my life.”From Georgia to the border of New York, Newlon did just that. Then, with over two-thirds of the trail finished, he was struck by a seizure.“Luckily, I was on my way down to a road crossing where the trail flattens out and is less rocky. While I suffered a few scratches and bruises, it could have been much worse. Still, it left me feeling incredibly weak and disoriented. It took all of my strength to hike that last half-mile down to the road.”Newlon had to end his thru-hike in late 2014.That’s where the story could have ended. But not for Newlon. The next year, after working long hours, saving every penny he could, and launching a successful crowd-sourcing campaign, he set out again from Springer Mountain, confident that, this time, he’d reach Katahdin.“A lot of people didn’t get why I’d want to start from the beginning,” says Newlon. “But I knew if I didn’t do it that way, the itch to thru-hike the trail in its entirety would never leave me alone. I had to do the whole thing in one shot. Otherwise, it wouldn’t feel quite real.”Newlon summited Katahdin this past September. Reflecting on his journeys, he says they were well worth it.“I think epileptics are told much more often about what we can’t do instead of what we can,” he says. “I wanted to inspire others with epilepsy and show them that we are strong. I wanted to prove that we’re capable of doing anything in this life, no matter how difficult or strenuous our dreams may be.”last_img read more

Man Sentenced for Franklin Square Murder

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first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A Queens man was sentenced Monday to 22 years to life in prison for killing a fellow taxi cab driver in Franklin Square following an argument over a disputed fare two years ago.Christopher Heron had been convicted in October at Nassau County court of second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon.Prosecutors said the 37-year-old Springfield Gardens man stabbed the victim, William Mena, 33, of Queens, three times in the chest and abdomen just after midnight on Aug. 12, 2011.Heron and the victim were both cab drivers for Ollie’s Taxi. Heron had accused the victim of stealing a fare that had been assigned to him.Mena was pronounced dead at the scene. Heron turned himself after initially fleeing the scene.The slaying was captured on a nearby residential surveillance camera.last_img read more

Paranoid Planning Opponents Invoke UN’s Agenda 21 to Block Good Ideas for Growth

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first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York In an age when local government can barely fix a pothole, some people insist on claiming that the United Nations is actually driving development policies across the globe in its diabolical desire to usher in a New World Order—and our region is right in their cross-hairs.These conspiracy theorists point to Agenda 21, a UN initiative to build in an environmentally sustainable manner by conserving energy and concentrating density. They claim it has a very dark side that will strip us of our sovereignty, starting with our property rights.Those are tough words indeed. But not only are those assertions wrong, they are irreversibly hurting the planning process—a legitimate undertaking that governs land use decisions at the most local of levels where environmental and economic problems hit closest to home.This “conspiracy narrative” is a threat to sensible ideas like allowing a higher density of development in villages’ downtowns instead of increasing suburban sprawl; developing “walkable communities” that allow residents to satisfy their day-to-day needs by relying less on their cars to get around; and permitting more rental units in general while concentrating new development in the areas around the Long Island Rail Road stations.Listen carefully during any presentation on sustainability, smart growth or walkability, and those wise to the Agenda 21 conspiracy are positive you’ll hear the undercurrent of policymakers parroting what the UN, their overlord masters, have instructed them to do and say, wittingly or not. Even Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone has drawn criticism from this conspiracy crowd for his development proposals to revitalize Wyandanch, among other innovative proposals.Newsday railed against the global conspiracy theorists in an editorial about “Agenda 21 paranoia,” dismissing them for posing obstacles to “a saner development pattern for Long Island” by invoking their “favorite evildoer of intrigue-lovers, the United Nations.”The original plan to make sustainable development a priority emerged from a UN conference at Rio de Janeiro in 1992. But even today, as those who attend public meetings of town boards and zoning officials on LI know, the term is often cited to oppose “smart growth” and other planning proposals. In 2012 the Republican National Committee approved a resolution calling Agenda 21 “destructive and insidious,” a “radical” plan of “extreme environmentalism, social engineering and global political control.”Conservative critics of Agenda 21 claim that enviro-nuts don’t respect your property rights, that the UN wants to seize your land and drive you, the hapless resident, into “compact prison-like cities,” where the sheeple bleat and march lockstep into the proverbial grinder. To these conspiracy theorists, planning is a myth—it’s just an excuse to do the UN’s bidding, while ignoring Thomas Jefferson’s calls from beyond the grave condemning our misguided country’s newfound love of socialized land use.Is Agenda 21 really that evil and powerful? According to the American Planning Association’s Agenda 21: Myths and Facts, Agenda 21 is “not a legal document, and does not infringe on the sovereignty of any nation or the independence of the planning process.” Planning expert Andrew Whittemore in Citylab summed it up neatly: it is “a non-binding, 1992 United Nations action plan aimed at aiding world governments in pursuing sustainability.”But, according to the conspiracists, the UN is pulling the development strings across the globe, even in Hauppauge and Mineola, Hempstead and Great Neck. Somehow, the UN—an organization that has to focus on global security, the proliferation of terrorism in the Middle East, the mass exodus of refugees, the complex politics of preventing thermonuclear war and making sure the world’s most fragile economies don’t collapse—is worried about the housing unit yield per acre of developments with names like Deer Brooke Pointe at Oak Hollow. These anti-Agenda 21 critics grossly overestimate the effectiveness of government, especially at the local level where land use is the principal police power.All one has to do is look at the hundreds of failed proposals, lawsuits and resident protests when development is pitched even remotely near a residential subdivision to see that the UN is pretty bad at establishing a New World Order. Residents always need to be cautious regarding development, but attacking the urban planning process, which is driven by resident input and fueled by scientific data, is not only a fallacy, it debases all legitimate efforts for smarter development.All too often, armchair philosophers and pseudo-real estate experts argue for unfettered growth, with little to no regard for the consequences. Many of these pundits conveniently forget that more often than not, zoning was put in place by the public in response to the unrestricted development standards of the past. In urban areas like New York City, light and air standards, Federal Acquisition Regulations and other requirements rose from oppressive construction efforts. When the builders and developers alone had their way, cities, and the neighborhoods within them, withered and died.Who’s to blame for the rise of the Agenda 21 conspiracy and widespread fear of sustainability and smart growth? The planners themselves, the developers and the local governments that oversee land usage.By communicating to constituents how development works in their municipality, local governments can head off the conspiracy theorists at the pass. By communicating why a parcel is zoned, why that zoning may or may not be antiquated, and why smart growth principles work near bus stops and train stations, prescient planners can take the wind from the Agenda 21 conspiracists’ sails. Lastly, developers should communicate why, exactly, they’re pitching more density—whether it’s due to changing market conditions, higher probability of financing or whatever else drives such decisions. While you can never get the politically extreme to bow to reason, you can influence those who just want to see their community become a better place to live.Together, backed by data, studies and a professional, resident-sourced vision, we can foster what our region needs—an idea of not only how we can manage growth, but how to anticipate the Island’s needs 10, 20 and 30 years from now.With streamlined, open and honest communication at every step of the way, development and preservation efforts will be more productive, easier to implement and more effective—and the Agenda 21 distraction can give way.Rich Murdocco writes on Long Island’s land use and real estate development issues. He received his Master’s in Public Policy at Stony Brook University, where he studied regional planning under Dr. Lee Koppelman, Long Island’s veteran master planner. Murdocco will be contributing regularly to the Long Island Press. More of his views can be found on www.TheFoggiestIdea.org or follow him on Twitter @TheFoggiestIdea.last_img read more

Why financial advisers are missing out on millennials

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first_img 8SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr by: Jillian BermanFinancial advisers looking to get their hands on young people’s money should ditch their desks for meetings at a Starbucks or a round table, offer user-friendly websites and apps and conduct appointments on FaceTime or Skype according to a research note published Monday by Convergex, a New York-based brokerage firm.The report, un-ironically entitled “Millennials to Wall Street: #DoingitWrong,” also noted financial advisers should be aware of the fact that many young people need to get out of debt before they can start thinking about retirement. And it noted that financial planners should consider tweaking their fee structure so that 20-somethings can better afford their advice.Young people are such an enigma to financial professionals that Convergex had to turn to its “in-house millennial,” Jessica Rabe, to write the report. Twenty-somethings’ experience struggling to find a decent job during the recession and its slow recovery, coping with student debt and delaying traditional investments like a home or a car might seem foreign to most financial advisers, who are about 50 years old on average, according to a 2014 survey from research firm Cerulli Associates. But it’s worth their time to figure young people out. Millennials are now the biggest generation in the U.S., according to an October report from the White House, so not managing their money is a major missed opportunity for financial planners. continue reading »last_img read more

People don’t trust credit unions with ugly websites

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first_img 32SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr They say in relationships if you don’t have trust, you don’t have anything. This is good advice for anyone, but especially for credit unions. In your line of work, trust is essential. If you’re going to persuade potential members to choose you over bigger, more established banks, they have to trust you can take care of their money and their future. Trust is non-negotiable.The most obvious way to foster trust and build confidence is to actually be trustworthy. Consistent good behavior builds your reputation and helps you win more customers through word of mouth. But that’s not enough.On every channel, through every marketing channel, you should be communicating your trustworthiness. This includes your website, which is the face of your brand.  Nonmembers and members alike are going to interact with you more online than anywhere else. Your home page is where they will go first to find out more about you and your services. When they land on your credit union website design, they should feel welcome, at home, and safe in your hands. continue reading »last_img read more