‘Another triumphant chapter’ Weehawken High School Marching Band wins national championship

first_imgThe Weehawken High School Marching Band won the 2017 USBands 1A National Championship earlier this month, making it the second time in the past five years that Weehawken has won first place.That same day, the Weehawken Marching Band also took first place in the USBands 1A state championships. The band has been undefeated in all six competitions it has entered this marching band season.The Weehawken Marching Band’s program, called “Snow Day,” had three parts.The first, called “The Announcement,” begins with a solitary member of the color guard on the field, hugging her pillow. Her phone rings loud enough for the whole audience to hear. She listens through the receiver to a recorded announcement from Superintendent Dr. Robert R. Zywicki saying, “Today is a snow day.” She tosses her pillow in glee.The rest of the marching band emerges from behind winter scenery. The color guard dances its sense of freedom, and the marching band’s instrumentalists play a rousing celebration of their day off from school – all the while marching backwards, sideways, and in formation.The second part of the routine, “The Pond,” conveys the joy of ice-skating. The third part, “The Snowball Fight,” has a convincing snowball fight with the color guard ganging up on the musicians with styrofoam snowballs. Ultimately, the musicians lob snowballs not only at the color guard, but at the audience as well. Conveying a day off from school involved days after school Just as the Weehawken High School Marching Band members conveyed their day off from school, they practiced program routine sometimes as often as five days a week after school, five hours at a stretch. They also practiced for about 10 hours a day the last two weeks of the summer to prepare for the fall performances.Three judges marked the bands on many criteria, such as musicality; marching execution; and the skill of their color guard to convey the music through dance. The color guard also won first place in both the state and national championships.Because so many experienced band members graduated from Weehawken High School last year, some community members were concerned that a new band comprised of such a high percentage of underclassmen would not be experienced enough to be competitive. They needn’t have been worried.Marching away with the national championship was a triumphant way for Weehawken High School’s new Director of Bands, Minesh Shah, to show what he could do in his first few months on the new job.“Nothing would be possible, including performing at a high level and being so successful competitively,” Shah said, “if it wasn’t for the support of Dr. Zywicki and the entire administration, including Athletic Director Nick DeStefano, who has been so helpful supporting the marching band.” Added Shah, “It also helps that we have kids that love performing and are self-driven for greatness.”In 2016, the Weehawken Band won the Tournament of Bands Atlantic Coast championship and was named to NJ.com’s list of top marching bands in New Jersey. Weehawken Superintendent Dr. Zywicki views the win “as another triumphant chapter in a long history of success for the Weehawken Band.” ×last_img read more

Press release: Defence Secretary launches first ever Veterans Strategy and new cross-Government Veterans Unit

first_imgMr Williamson today urged other departments and the devolved administrations to meet the evolving needs of former service personnel from across the UK.The Defence Secretary announced his new initiatives during a meeting of the Ministerial Covenant and Veterans Board, which was established last year to get the whole of Government behind the Armed Forces Covenant.Over the next decade, the veterans population will experience a dramatic generational shift from the Second World War and conscripted generation to the younger, all professional cohort both with vastly differing needs. A dedicated team will now begin engaging with stakeholders and the veterans’ community ahead of releasing the strategy in the autumn.The Defence Secretary has identified several key pinch-points that affect a small but significant number of veterans and asked the new team and Ministerial Board to prioritise these issues: I am pleased to have seen real progress made since the last meeting of the Ministerial Board, including a significant cross-government effort to ensure our veterans are in no way disadvantaged by their previous career. Recent initiatives, such as the troops to teachers bursary, the new veterans ID cards and the growing popularity of the Veterans Gateway are all making a practical difference and I look forward to seeing how this new strategy can help build on the Armed Forces Covenant to show that our commitment to our brave men and women lasts long after they have left service. The vast majority of those leaving the Armed Forces go on to lead fulfilling and rewarding lives, which is a testament to their professionalism and resilience. However, for those who need help it is right that we step forward, create new opportunities, and remind them that they are not alone. At the inaugural meeting of the Ministerial Board last autumn each Department represented was asked to nominate a Minister to lead on veterans issues and the Armed Forces Covenant. These were announced at today’s meeting and will help to ensure the new Veterans Strategy is implemented across Government.Minister for Defence People and Veterans, Tobias Ellwood said: Debt – How we can best help veterans meet the financial demands of civilian life. This issue represents the highest percentage of calls to the Veterans Gateway. Housing- How to offer the best advice for those leaving the Armed Forces. Whilst the Covenant already puts an obligation on local authorities to ensure they provide fair access to housing for veterans there are still a small number of individuals that require further support. Social Isolation – Supporting community integration for those who feel a loss of camaraderie upon leaving the Armed Forces. Younger veterans can struggle with a disassociation from civilian life so the new strategy will focus on connecting with the Loneliness Strategy to help address this. Mental and Physical Wellbeing – Ensuring this is maximised, especially for those with lasting physical or mental health issues as a result of their service. Public Perception – Improving how veterans are viewed, perceptions are often inaccurate, outdated or clichéd and do not recognise that most veterans are proud members of our society with a huge amount to offer. We have a golden opportunity to ensure our veterans get a fair deal for their service and sacrifice to our country. Everybody across our society has a responsibility to make sure we protect those who protected us. The ground-breaking strategy has been commissioned by the Defence Secretary and today it will be confirmed that a new Veterans Unit with input from across Whitehall will be created.The Veterans Unit will champion the changing needs of the ex-service community and ensure action is taken to meet these.Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:last_img read more

Press release: Local COVID alert level update for Lancashire

first_imgIn addition, following discussions with local leaders it was agreed that from Monday 19 October: Local COVID alert level: medium Local COVID alert level: high Local COVID alert level: very high Local COVID alert level: very high (Lancashire) The rate of COVID-19 infections is rising rapidly across the UK. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimate that one in every 240 people in England had the virus in the week from 25 September to 1 October and that the numbers infected are doubling every 7 to 12 days. Cases are not evenly spread, with infection rates rising more rapidly in some areas than others.In Lancashire, infection rates are among the highest in the country and continuing to rise rapidly. Rates are highest for those aged 16 to 29 at 552 per 100,000 people, while in the most vulnerable age group, those aged over 60, cases stand at 214 per 100,000 people. This increases to 594 per 100,000 for the over 60s in Burnley and 671 per 100,000 for 16 to 29 year olds.Hospitalisations can occur 2 to 3 weeks after someone is infected with the virus, meaning we anticipate the number of patients in hospital in Lancashire to rise.The number of patients with COVID-19 in intensive-care beds has reached nearly half the number seen at the height of the pandemic earlier this year, and the latest data suggests there will be more people in mechanical ventilation beds in Lancashire within 2 weeks than there were in the first wave. This is as a result of infections which have already happened, rather than a prediction – underlining the need for urgent action now to prevent the epidemic in Lancashire rising even further.To support the local authority during this period, the government will be providing a support package worth £12 million. The government will also establish a dedicated, ministerial-led taskforce with additional funding to work with Lancashire leaders to support local businesses to recover over the coming 6 months.Local COVID alert level very high will take effect across all parts of Lancashire: people must not socialise with anybody they do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, in any indoor setting or in any private garden or at most outdoor hospitality venues and ticketed events people must not socialise in a group of more than 6 in an outdoor public space such as a park or beach, the countryside, a public garden or a sports venue all pubs and bars must close, unless they are serving substantial meals people should try to avoid travelling outside the very high alert level or entering a very high alert level area other than for work, education or for caring responsibilities or to travel through as part of a longer journey residents should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK, and others should avoid staying overnight in the very high alert area the adult gaming industry, casinos, bingo halls, bookmakers and betting shops, and soft play areas must close car boot sales would not be permitted Burnley Blackburn with Darwen Blackpool Chorley Fylde Hyndburn Lancaster Pendle Preston Ribble Valley Rossendale South Ribble West Lancashire Wyre Throughout the pandemic, the government has listened carefully to the views of the scientific community, in particular the information from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and its sub-groups when taking decisions on the best way to tackle the pandemic. An unrelenting rise in cases in Lancashire means we must act now, and we have worked intensively with local leaders to agree on additional restrictions. I know how heavy these additional challenges will weigh on everyday life for the people of Lancashire – but they are critical in bringing this virus under control. Without them, we risk the health of your loved ones, your most vulnerable, and your local NHS services. Now is the time to play your part, and we will make sure you are supported. These measures will be reviewed every 14 days to consider whether they are still appropriate.Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: The first peak demonstrated that the infection can spread fast and put huge pressure on the NHS, and already hospitals in Lancashire are beginning to see sharp increases in admissions, especially in elderly patients. Local leaders have therefore agreed to bring in new tougher measures to protect their local residents.All available data for the areas that will move to local COVID alert level very high on Saturday have been assessed by the government, including the Health and Social Care Secretary, NHS Test and Trace, the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC), Public Health England (PHE), the Chief Medical Officer and the Cabinet Office. Data assessed includes incidence, test positivity and the growth rate of the virus.It is essential that these outbreaks are contained to protect lives and our NHS, and prevent greater economic damage in the future. We face a new challenge as we head into the winter, and we know that even mild cases of COVID-19 can have devastating consequences for people in all age groups, along with the risk of ‘long COVID’.Our strategy is to suppress the virus while supporting the economy, education and the NHS, until an effective vaccine is widely available. Local action is at the centre of our response, and engagement with local authorities is, and will continue to be, a key part of this process.Background informationOn 12 October, the government introduced a new, simplified framework for local interventions based around 3 new local COVID alert levels.The postcode checker shows which alert level applies in each area. The NHS COVID-19 app will also direct people to this information.We have provided £3.7 billion of funding to local authorities in England to respond to pressures in all their services.The Prime Minister also announced on Monday 12 October additional COVID funding of around £1 billion, which will provide local authorities with additional money to protect vital services. The government will set out further information in due course on how this new funding will be allocated.Guidance on each local COVID alert level: This means that new measures will come into place including:last_img read more

Snowmobiler seriously injured after Route 27 crash

first_imgA Bangor man was seriously injured after running into the side of a pickup truck on Route 27 Saturday evening. (Photo provided by Farmington Police Department)FARMINGTON – A Bangor man was LifeFlighted to Central Maine Medical Center on Saturday evening after his 2003 Arctic Cat snowmobile struck the side of a 2007 Dodge 2500 pickup truck according to the Farmington Police Department.FPD received the call around 7 p.m. for a crash on the New Vineyard Road, Route 27, roughly a quarter mile from the intersection with the Fairbanks Road. According to reports, Troy Varney, 51 of Bangor, was attempting to cross the road on his snowmobile when he ran into the side of the pickup truck, driven by Robert Blake, 34, of Wilton.Route 27 was closed to traffic for roughly 30 minutes; the scene was cleared around 9:20 p.m.Blake received no injuries, Varney sustained significant head trauma according to reports.The details of the crash are still under investigation.last_img read more

Former Vermont asbestos mine owner to pay up to $7.75 million to secure site

first_imgAs part of a multi-site settlement, G-I Holdings Inc. has agreed to address asbestos contamination caused by its past operation of the largest chrysotile asbestos mine and mill in the country, the United States and the state of Vermont announced Thursday. The deal includes $7.75 million to secure the site, up to $26 million to cleanup the site, and $850,000 to offset environmental damage. The deal does not include the current owners of the site, Vermont Asbestos Group of Morrisville, whom the state has also sued. The site has been closed since 1993.The 1,673-acre abandoned mine site in Vermont, known as the Vermont Asbestos Group Mine Site (VAG Site) is the most significant of the contaminated sites covered by the settlement, which includes 12 other industrial sites across the country where G-I may have disposed of hazardous waste. G-I, then GAF Corp, operated the century-old mine on Belvidere Mountain on the Eden-Lowell town line (Lamoille-Orleans counties) from 1967-1975.According to a federal complaint filed in New Jersey, the VAG Site has two towering piles of asbestos-containing mine and mill tailings, which are eroding offsite and adversely affecting downstream surface waters and wetlands. These piles also attract hikers, rock collectors, and ATV enthusiasts. In the complaint, the United States alleged that these activities may cause exposure to airborne-asbestos by those who access the site. Asbestos is considered a carcinogen.Under today’s settlement, G-I will take immediate steps at the VAG Site by constructing fencing, gates and road barriers to restrict public access; providing onsite surveillance and securing the mill buildings. They will also monitor air emissions from the piles; conduct dust suppression, if necessary, and provide support to EPA and Vermont for future sampling and monitoring. These tasks will take place over eight years, at a cost of up to $7.75 million. The need for dust suppression will depend on the air monitoring results. G-I will also reimburse the federal and state governments for past and future cleanup costs at the VAG Site and related off-site contamination. G-I, now in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, will reimburse a portion EPA and Vermont’s cleanup costs up to 8.6 percent of $300 million. Finally, G-I will pay $850,000 for damages to local wetlands and waterways contaminated by the site.Also, as part of the settlement, G-I will contribute $104,615 as its share of cleanup costs to resolve federal claims at nine other superfund sites where its predecessors disposed of hazardous waste. In addition, under the decree, the federal government will have up to 10 years to bring claims for cleanup costs and damages to natural resources at three related heavily-contaminated sites in or near Linden, N.J. Under the consent decree, the Linden claims will pass through the bankruptcy and not be discharged, but will eventually be paid at the bankruptcy rate of 8.6 percent on the dollar if G-I is found liable for the contamination.”The cornerstone of this settlement is that G-I is responsible for completing extensive work at the Vermont Asbestos Group Mine Site, focusing on site security, air monitoring and investigating and sampling certain mine tailings,” said John C. Cruden, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “G-I will also pay for its share of cleanup costs for this Site and nine other contaminated sites around the country.”The consent decree, lodged today in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey, is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by the federal court. A copy of the consent decree is available on the Department of Justice Web site at http://www.usdoj.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html(link is external).WASHINGTON, July 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ —last_img read more

Weekend Pick: Goodwill Mud Run

first_imgThe 12th edition of the Goodwill Mud Run takes place this Sunday, October 6th in Greenville, South Carolina. The race, presented by St. Francis Sports Medicine, is a 3.5 mile course filled with 35 obstacles including climbing walls, cargo nets, low crawls, swings, and (of course) a giant mud pit. Runners will participate in teams of 4, all competing against each other for an official time.Registration is currently open on-line but quickly filling up. Reserve your spot now! Start times will be emailed out once registration is complete. The sign-up fee is $140 and all proceeds help fund the long-term mission of Goodwill Industries. Specifically, this program assists people in becoming independent through education and training, ultimately leading them to employment.It goes without saying, but just in case, be sure to wear clothes that you don’t mind throwing away. They will, without a doubt, be covered in mud. A running, trail, or hiking shoe is required on the course. No flip flops or barefoot running allowed.There will be a costume and t-shirt contest for participants. Let the race crew know if you plan to enter and they will snap a photo. These will later be judged the week after the event. The winning team from each category will receive $150 and runner-ups will receive $100. Keep your designs family friendly!Kids, ages 4 and up, are welcome to play in the Kid Zone. This will be a smaller scale course where they can also participate. Registration will take place on race day.Like any event, volunteers are crucial. Race day staff is in need of people to help with set-up, registration, parking, time keeping, obstacle judging, and tear down. Fill out a waiver on the Mud Run site and then choose a task for the day.Enjoy lunch, a free massage, cold beverage, and hot shower after the event. You’ll have earned it!View Larger Maplast_img read more

Improved Batteries to Lighten Soldiers’ Load

first_img A Soldier treks through treacherous terrain in a dangerous combat zone with a rucksack filled with meals ready-to-eat, first-aid gear, weapons, ammunition, radios and batteries. The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) is lightening the Soldier’s load by developing smaller and lighter batteries. Scientists and engineers are unburdening the Soldier, increasing maneuverability, reducing fatigue, and cutting time needed for battery re-charging. Christopher Hurley, an electronics engineer with RDECOM, leads the battery development projects team. Hurley and his colleagues have reduced the size and weight of the standard BA-5590 battery by half, but the performance and run time has remained the same. The Half-Size BA-5590 plugs into the same equipment, about 80 types of radios and robots, as the full-size version. “The Soldier can still perform the same [mission] with half the weight and volume in batteries,” Hurley said. “It will lighten their load and increase their maneuverability so they have more freedom to get around on the battlefield,” Hurley explained The research team accomplished the size and weight savings through improvements in the battery’s materials, he added. One of the battery chemistries under development is lithium-carbon monoflouride. The Army has been working on the battery for five years, and it should be fielded to Soldiers in about a year, Hurley said. POLYMER CONFORMAL BATTERY As the Army transforms to meet changing battlefield threats, Soldiers need to be agile without carrying boxed-sized batteries around their bodies. CERDEC is partnering with RDECOM’s Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center to develop a 0.8 inch-thick battery that can be placed into a Soldier’s vest. “We’re putting those same battery chemistries into a wearable battery configuration known as the Polymer Conformal Battery,” Hurley said. “The idea is to keep it close to the body so there are not a lot of projections from the body. When the Soldier is in a prone position or tight spaces, you don’t have huge batteries sticking out. “The next step is to get it into an integrated, wearable vest system so that Soldiers can wear this battery to have it run to all of their equipment.” SOLDIER WEARABLE INTEGRATED POWER SYSTEM The Soldier Wearable Integrated Power System (SWIPES), supplies a main battery from a central location to power all end-items. SWIPES places pouch-mounted chargers and power cables for batteries, GPS units, shot-detection systems and handheld communications into the vest. It allows for extended mission times without the need to of swap batteries or power sources by keeping devices charged at all times. SWIPES won one of the top 10 U.S. Army Greatest Inventions in 2010. “All of the cabling is routed through the different pockets for radios and equipment. The idea is to have this battery power all of the equipment,” Hurley said. The Army Rapid Equipping Force and Project Manager Soldier Warrior have started field testing several hundred SWIPES units. “The major benefit is the weight savings. For a typical 72-hour mission, a Soldier will save up to 12 pounds of batteries they don’t have to carry,” Hurley said. By Dialogo May 11, 2012last_img read more

Psychedelic: NASA Shows us what January’s Polar Vortex Actually Looked Like

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York An image of the polar vortex on Jan. 7. (Photo credit: NASA)Now that the thermometer has finally pierced 40 degrees maybe now is a better time than any to appreciate the arctic blast that consumed nearly half of the United States in early January, making this winter one for the record books.Thanks to NASA we can now actually visualize what the bone-chilling Polar Vortex looked like as it sent temperatures plummeting to subzero levels.The stunning image shows how the arctic air—colored in purple—inched southward before shifting east.Here’s the space agency’s explanation:Blistering cold air from the Arctic plunged southward this winter, breaking U.S. temperature records. A persistent pattern of winds spins high above the Arctic in winter. The winds, known as the polar vortex, typically blow in a fairly tight circular formation. But in late December 2013 and early January 2014, the winds loosened and frigid Arctic air spilled farther south than usual, deep into the continental United States. On Jan. 6, 2014, alone, approximately 50 daily record low temperatures were set, from Colorado to Alabama to New York, according to the National Weather Service. In some places temperatures were 40 degrees Fahrenheit colder than average.The polar vortex hit Long Island on Jan. 7 and sent temps plunging to single digits, breaking several records on the Island and in New York City.last_img read more

Onsite: Using passion to create change

first_imgWhy would you want to take a risk at your credit union? You have plenty of members and besides, as Mark Weber from Weber Marketing Group put it, risk-taking is contrary to our nature. But what if you take a risk knowing you have a purpose and a goal; to connect your credit union with millennials by appealing to a passion for change?In Mark’s keynote presentation this morning at MAC 2015 in San Francisco, he told the audience three things he had learned so far in life. One lesson that resonated with me was about believing in something transformational. He went on to talk about his philanthropic work with an organization called Agros in Nicaragua and the efforts to restore hope to people by providing them with the basic foundation needed to transform their lives: land. A few peoples’ devotion to a cause has allowed over 10,000 Nicaraguans to find hope and build their lives and communities. They started a journey together, united by a passion for change. Your greatest asset is people united through passion. Credit unions are comprised of those people serving as employees, leaders, and members. They are the heart of their communities, the connecting tie between aspirations and realities. Credit unions truly are people helping people.Mark also mentioned that he believes the greatest revolution in values is happening right now. Think of TOMS shoes or 4Sight sunglasses. There are plenty other organizations like these known as “Social Good” companies. They are based on the idea of helping other people gain hope and well-being through purchasing goods. Isn’t that what credit unions do? Help people? But revolution means change. It means evolving in order to stay relevant. Blake from TOMS certainly didn’t just wake up one morning and think, “there are children out there who need shoes”. He did research in the appropriate areas and used emotional insight to connect with his audience. He observed, connected, and interacted until he realized there was a desperate need that had to be filled. So that’s what credit unions need to do. Interact with millennials! Don’t just watch them from afar and hope they come around. Figure out what they love, whether it is volunteering in the local animal shelter or finding a creative space – then put that data to use.You won’t get anywhere on your journey without passion. Have the courage to be creative, to ask more questions, to inspire and be inspired. Then share that with your members in order to give them a chance to connect their passion with their dreams. 16SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Jordan Rumsey Jordan is a Senior Content Manager for CUInsight.com. Jordan manages the content on the site, including current news, editorial, press releases, jobs and events. She keeps the credit union … Web: www.cuinsight.com Detailslast_img read more

‘Not worried’: Airlangga Hartarto downplays US’ revocation of Indonesia’s developing nation status

first_imgAccording to the policy issued on Feb. 10, Indonesia was excluded from the developing and least-developed countries list, making the country no longer eligible to receive Special Differential Treatment (SDT) from the WTO’s Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures.The decision would open exported goods from Indonesia to be charged with higher tariffs compared to exported goods from developing countries.Read also: Government upbeat US will maintain GSP status for IndonesiaThe new policy would lower the de minimis thresholds to less than 1 percent as opposed to less than 2 percent in the previous policy. The threshold refers to the value of imported goods below which no duty or tax is collected. Coordinating Economic Minister Airlangga Hartarto says the United States’ decision to no longer recognize Indonesia as a developing country would not affect the country much, despite the potential effects the decision would bring.“We will receive fewer facilities and benefits as we’re no long recognized as a developing country. However, we’re not worried about that,” Airlangga said on Friday, as quoted by kontan.co.id.The US Trade Representative Office revoked the special preferences for Indonesia and other developing countries in the World Trade Organization, meaning that the US recognized Indonesia as a developed country. Moreover, Indonesia would no longer be eligible for the negligible import volumes criteria.“However, things are still up in the air; therefore, we’re not worried,” Airlangga said.According to Statistics Indonesia, the trade surplus between Indonesia and the US in January was US$1.01 billion – increasing from the $804 million surplus in the same period last year.The agency also highlighted that the US had become Indonesia’s second largest non-oil products export target with a $1.62 billion surplus last month.Separately, the Trade Ministry said the US’ decision would affect its assessment of Indonesia’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) status.“This is related to trade remedies rather than the GSP status,” said the Trade Ministry’s bilateral negotiations director, Ni Made Ayu Marthini, as quoted by kontan.co.id. (dpk)Topics :last_img read more