Sushant: The lost bridge between science and society

first_imgIn the past few weeks, following the untimely tragic demise of Sushant Singh Rajput, many facets of his life resurfaced on the internet due to extensive coverage and discussions on media and social media. The most fascinating among them was his immense love for science. He was a science aficionado and inspired his fans through insightful tweets on science and philosophy, videos of his scientific adventures such as visits to mega-science centres like NASA, CERN; stargazing, and flying a professional aircraft. His accomplishments did support his credibility, as he was a National Physics Olympiad winner, ranked 7th in a National Level engineering entrance exam, and went into one of the most prestigious engineering colleges in the country. He dropped out to pursue his passion in performing arts but kept pursuing science as passion. And that made the difference: “pursuing science just for the love of it’. He also took some conscious initiatives to promote scientific endeavours such as by supporting children for attending workshops to ISRO and NASA. He had partnered with Niti Ayog to promote its flagship initiative on Women Entrepreneurship Platform (WEP). He had initiated entrepreneurship ventures in diversified verticals including content and communication, health and holistic wellness, education, and learning, and business incubation propelled by emerging technologies from the realms of augmented and virtual reality, 3D printing, artificial intelligence, machine learning. He amused his fans with his unconventional choice of investment: a piece of lunar land, an advanced professional telescope, and an expensive Boeing 737 Fixed Base flight simulator being some of them. Ironically, during his lifetime his pursuit of science remained popular mostly within his fan base.This to me was a very fascinating and inspirational aspect. Entertainment has proven to be an extremely important medium in encouraging public engagement in science. Research has proved that entertainment is the easiest and most effective tool to raise awareness in the public about important scientific issues. Columbia University microbiologist Ian Lipkin worked on Contagion because he believed that the film had the power to raise attention to the threat of emerging viruses. The ongoing pandemic situation has shown how critical it is for the citizens to have a scientific temperament to be able to follow government guidelines and understand its ramifications. And given the huge outreach and influence, the Indian entertainment industry has on the masses it could serve as an important medium to encourage public engagement in the scientific process of the country. However, in  India, Science and Entertainment could never blend in. Science fiction is one genre where the Indian film industry has terribly failed and our experiments remain at the most limited to some super-hero flicks. Mission Mangal has been the lone star in this genre which has its own snag for being overdramatized.  It is also very unusual for any of the Indian celebrities to talk about anything remotely related to science. Celebrity engagement at the most has been limited to endorsing some of the national programs through scripted advertisements, although these have yielded some good results in terms of the specific programs, it did not help much in popularizing scientific temperament among masses.However, the global scenario is completely different. The present era is considered as a golden age for the fusion of science and entertainment. Films such as Gravity and The Theory of Everything that has won Oscars and immensely popular television series like The Big Bang Theory have shown that science-based entertainment products can be both critically and financially successful. Globally many celebrities have played an active role in promoting science and inspired their fans to take an interest in scientific phenomena. Tom Hanks has been a supporter of NASA and its manned missions, and has served on the board of the National Space Society and produced many documentaries about NASA’s moon landings. Leonardo DiCaprio is actively engaged in climate change, biodiversity, and conservation he famously utilized the Oscar platform to talk about climate change. Brian May the lead guitarist of the popular band Queen is an astrophysicist and has an asteroid named after him: asteroid 52665 Brianmay.In this regard, SSR was the lone hope that we had. He had plans of making the first space movie of India and given his grasp of science we can imagine it would have been a rational endeavour relative to its domestic counterparts. As a part of his preparation, he had also undertaken training at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). He could have been the best face to popularize science and encourage public engagement in the scientific process of the country. In our country, efforts in public engagement of science have mostly been directed towards motivating citizens to consider science as a career option and less focus has been put towards improving the overall scientific temperament and inquisitiveness of the citizens. SSR was a rare inspiration who showed that science can be pursued as passion and just for the love of it. He was a rare Indian celebrity in the entertainment industry who inspired his fans with his curiosity in science. As such, his untimely demise is truly a setback to the efforts in bridging the gap between science and society in India.last_img read more

Ban on US Horsemeat Inspection Lifted

first_imgThe US Congress has lifted a ban on using Federal funds for horse meat inspection, paving the way for horses to again be slaughtered in the U.S. for human consumption. Animal rights groups are protesting the decision.In 2006, activists, in a compromise move, had pushed a measure stopping funding for horse meat inspection in place of the outright ban they were unable to secure. Since the law requires that meat must be inspected before being used as food, horse slaughter operations were forced to shut down.But with Congress having lifted the ban, animal rights activists are warning that horse slaughterhouses will begin springing up in the next few months. Meanwhile, USDA has said it will begin conducting the inspection of horse meat in slaughterhouses. There is no US market for the human consumption of horse meat. But it is considered a delicacy overseas in some European and Asian countries. It has, however, been used to feed North American zoo animals.Farmers and some policy-makers say the ban resulted in more horses being abandoned and neglected. A study, released in June of this year, concluded that the slaughter of American horses didn’t stop because of the ban, it simply shifted to Mexico and Canada. Nearly the same number of horses was transported to Mexico and Canada in 2010 – approximately 138,000 – as was slaughtered before the ban in the US. The Government Accountability Office report also noted that comprehensive data on abandonment and neglect was not available, however, state and local governments, along with welfare groups, reported an increase in investigations of such incidents since 2007. The agency recommended that Congress should either reconsider restrictions on the use of federal funds for inspection or to ban horse slaughter outright. The Humane Society of the United States and other groups believe the repeal will prompt renewed interest in the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (2011), which would ban the interstate transport and live export of horses for slaughter for human consumption. The bill was introduced earlier this year. Subscribe to the Horse Sport newsletter and get an exclusive bonus digital edition! More from Horse Sport:Christilot Boylen Retires From Team SportAfter an exemplary career as one of Canada’s top Dressage riders, seven-time Olympian Christilot Boylen has announced her retirement from team competition.2020 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair CancelledFor only the second time in its history, The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair has been cancelled but plans are being made for some virtual competitions.Royal Agricultural Winter Fair Statement on 2020 EventAs the Province of Ontario starts to reopen, The Royal’s Board and staff will adhere to all recommendations put forward by government and health officials.Government Financial Assistance for Ontario FarmersOntario Equestrian has recently released this update of several financial assistance packages available, including those for farm business. SIGN UP We’ll send you our regular newsletter and include you in our monthly giveaways. PLUS, you’ll receive our exclusive Rider Fitness digital edition with 15 exercises for more effective riding. Horse Sport Enews Email*last_img read more

Coronavirus updates: Cuomo slams Trump, asks him to ‘admit you were wrong’

first_img11:50 a.m.: Cuomo to Trump: ‘Admit you were wrong’The coronavirus is “getting worse” across the U.S. with 35 states seeing increasing infection rates, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.Cuomo slammed President Donald Trump who he said “denied the reality of this situation from day one.”“Republican governors listened [to Trump]. And a lot of Republicans listened and won’t wear a mask,” Cuomo said at a news conference. “He has lived in denial and he has been denying the scientific facts from day one.”“Now the country is suffering because of the president and it’s time for him to change course,” Cuomo said. “The first thing he can do — come clean with the American people, admit the threat of this virus. Admit you were wrong.”10:50 a.m.: Florida hits 15% positivity rateIn Florida, the number of coronavirus cases jumped by 6,563 in one day, bringing the state to a positivity rate of 15%, according to the state’s Department of Health.In Miami-Dade County, which includes Miami, and in Osceola County, which is near Orlando, 18.2% of those tested are positive.10:25 a.m.: NYC postpones opening indoor diningNew York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is postponing the reopening of indoor dining, he said on Wednesday.De Blasio said his decision comes as he watches states including Florida, Texas and California “slipping backward,” with cases rising, especially “around people going back to bars and restaurants indoors.”Instead, New York City will “double down” on outdoor dining, de Blasio said.He said 6,600 restaurants are already participating.New York City, initially the nation’s epicenter of the pandemic, is now on the road to recovery.Of those tested for the coronavirus citywide, just 2% are now testing positive, de Blasio said Wednesday.While indoor dining will not yet restart, New York City beaches are opening for the season on Wednesday.8:30 a.m.: Lockdown returns to UK city of LeicesterThe British government is reimposing lockdown restrictions in Leicester following a spike in coronavirus infections. Non-essential shops and most schools in the central city will have to close again on Thursday, just two weeks after reopening. Meanwhile, Saturday’s loosening of restrictions for pubs and restaurants across England will not be taking place in Leicester.The city had “10% of all positive cases in the country over the past week,” U.K. Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock told lawmakers Monday. Hancock said the reimposed measures would be enforced by local police “in some cases.” It’s the country’s first such regional lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic.7:53 a.m.: Hundreds of new cases reportedly linked to Myrtle Beach visitsHundreds of new coronavirus cases have been linked to recent trips to South Carolina’s popular resort city, Myrtle Beach, according to reports from local ABC affiliates.Dr. David Goodfriend, director of the Loudoun County Health Department in Virginia, told Washington, D.C. ABC affiliate WJLA-TV that around 100 teenagers from the area have tested positive for COVID-19 after visiting Myrtle Beach.“We’re starting to see more and more positive test results come in, and as we followed up on those, similarly, they had shared they had gone down to Myrtle Beach, at least the Myrtle Beach area,” Goodfriend said. “At least one group said there were about 40 folks staying in one house and they were having parties or being at parties with over 100 people in the house.”Dr. Molly O’Dell, director of communicable disease control with the Virginia Department of Health’s Roanoke City-Alleghany Districts, told Lynchburg, Virginia ABC affiliate WSET-TV that 130 new COVID-19 cases were reported in the area on Tuesday and that more than 100 of them are linked to Myrtle Beach visits.O’Dell recommended anyone returning home from Myrtle Beach to self-quarantine for 14 days and watch for symptoms.7:11 a.m.: 100K cases per day ‘is where we’re heading,’ Harvard doctor warnsDr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, affirmed concerns voiced by the nation’s top infectious disease expert that the United States could see 100,000 new coronavirus cases per day.“That is where we’re heading,” Jha told ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos in an interview Wednesday on Good Morning America.Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease, made the stark warning during a Senate hearing on Tuesday, saying, “I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 [cases] a day if this does not turn around.”But Jha said “there are things we can do right now” to “avoid the fate that Dr. Fauci mentioned.”“First and foremost, I think we need every state to have a mandatory mask law. I just think we can’t dither around on masks; everybody needs to be wearing one when they’re outside of their home,” he said. “Second is, I think we just can’t right now afford indoor gatherings; so no bars, I don’t even know if we can keep restaurants open, certainly not nightclubs. We’ve got to get very serious about that. And then we’ve got to keep pushing on testing and tracing.”If all else fails, “then you have to just essentially shut the state down,” Jha said.“We’ve got to get on top of this otherwise we’ll find ourselves with some very unappetizing choices,” he added. “A stay-at-home order, in my mind, is really the last thing that you do when nothing else has worked.”6:43 a.m.: Washington state sees second-highest increase in casesWashington state reported 571 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, marking its second-highest single-day increase since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.The state’s highest single-day rise was set on June 19, when 619 new cases were confirmed.Overall, the Washington State Department of Health has reported 32,824 confirmed cases with 1,332 deaths.6:02 a.m.: Tokyo Disneyland reopens for first time in four monthsTokyo Disneyland reopened Wednesday after being closed for four months due to the coronavirus pandemic.The 115-acre theme park in Urayasu, near Tokyo, has undertaken a new set of policies and safety measures to protect against COVID-19, such as temperature screenings and the mandatory use of face masks.Tickets to the park must be purchased online in advance. A limited number of guests will be allowed at a time in attractions, shops, restaurants and other facilities. Disney characters must maintain social distancing while greeting guests. Meanwhile, the park’s signature shows and parades remain suspended to avoid the formation of crowds, according to information posted on the Tokyo Disneyland website.Tokyo DisneySea also reopened in Urayasu on Wednesday. Both parks suspended operations on Feb. 29 due to coronavirus concerns.Tokyo, which has reported the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country, permitted the area’s amusement parks to reopen in mid-June, after the Japanese government completely lifted the nationwide state of emergency in late May.The Walt Disney Company is the parent company of ABC News. 5:35 a.m.: US reports nearly 44,800 new cases in one dayNearly 44,800 new cases of COVID-19 were identified in the United States on Tuesday, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.The latest daily caseload is just under the country’s record high of more than 45,000 new cases identified last Friday.The national total currently stands at 2,636,538 diagnosed cases with at least 127,425 deaths.The cases include people from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and other U.S. territories as well as repatriated citizens.By May 20, all states had begun lifting stay-at-home orders and other restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The day-to-day increase in cases then hovered around 20,000 for a couple of weeks before shooting back up to over 30,000 and then crossing 40,000 last week.Nearly half of all 50 states have seen a rise in infections in recent weeks, with some — such as Florida, South Carolina and Georgia — reporting daily records.3:38 a.m.: Europe reopens borders but US travelers remain barredThe European Union began opening its external borders on Wednesday, but travelers from the United States aren’t among those allowed to visit.EU ambassadors have agreed on lifting travel restrictions for 15 countries based on the epidemiological situation and containment measures, including Australia, Canada, South Korea and Tunisia. China was also included on the list but with a caveat — the country must reciprocate by allowing EU travelers to visit.Countries where coronavirus infections are on the rise were excluded from the list, noticeably the United States, Russia and Brazil.The criteria requires that the number of new COVID-19 cases over the last 14 days per 100,000 people is similar or below that of the EU’s. According to The New York Times, the average among the 27 countries within the EU was 16 in mid-June; in the United States, it was 107.The EU said countries must also have a “stable or decreasing trend of new cases over this period in comparison to the previous 14 days.” The bloc will consider the reliability of each nation’s data as well as what measures have been taken in response to their outbreaks, including contact tracing and testing. Reciprocity will also be taken into account.U.S. President Donald Trump suspended travelers from most European countries in March. Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved. narvikk/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR and EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC News(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 512,000 people worldwide.Over 10.4 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some governments are hiding the scope of their nations’ outbreaks.Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the United States has become the worst-affected country, with more than 2.6 million diagnosed cases and at least 127,485 deaths. Here’s how the news is developing Wednesday. All times Eastern:12:15 p.m.: WHO says 60% of all COVID-19 cases were reported in the last monthSixty-percent of all COVID-19 cases so far have been reported just in the past month, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a news conference on Wednesday.“For the past week, the number of new cases has exceeded 160,000 on every single day,” he said. As the U.S. reports around 45,000 new cases a day, the WHO points to the two countries which were once the epicenters of pandemic: Italy and Spain.Spain was reporting around 10,000 new cases per day at its peak while Italy was reporting around 6,500 new cases per day, Tedros said.“We will never get tired of saying that the best way out of this pandemic is to take a comprehensive approach,” Tedros said.Countries that have adopted this comprehensive approach have suppressed COVID-19 transmission and saved lives, he said.Tedros added that flare-ups are to be expected as countries start to lift restrictions, but one of the lessons of the pandemic is that no matter what situation a country is in, it can be turned around.“It’s never too late,” he said.last_img read more

The priciest outer-borough condo filings of 2020

first_img Email Address* Rendering of 22-43 Jackson Avenue (Trader Joe’s)By any measure, 2020 was not a normal year for New York’s real estate industry. And condo filings were no exception.The total projected sellout of the planned condo projects in Brooklyn and Queens that made this year’s list was $384 million — a far cry from last year’s total of just over $2 billion.In fact, the most expensive condo filing of the year — a Long Island City project with a projected sellout of $79 million — was just a smidge higher than the 10th-priciest project on our 2019 list.Like we said, 2020 has been weird.The properties that made the top 10 this year are also on the smaller side; the largest project by unit count is 175 & 192 Spencer, a rental-to-condo conversion in Bedford-Stuyvesant helmed by Black Spruce Capital, with just 82 apartments. The smallest project is a four-unit building on 3rd Street in Park Slope, which added a couple of stories to an existing brownstone.ADVERTISEMENTHere’s the full list of the priciest condo filings of 2020 in Brooklyn and Queens:1. Prime LIC, Circle F Capital | $79 millionThe most valuable filing of the year, for Circle F Capital’s condominium project at 22-43 Jackson Avenue in Long Island City, has a sellout valuation of $79 million — a staggering $754 million less than last year’s top filing: Dumbo’s Front & York. Nevertheless, Circle F’s 71-unit building is at the top of the pack for 2020.The Feldman family bought the site in 2016 from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and filed plans for the 11-story mixed-use building a year later. In addition to the condo units, the building will have a Trader Joe’s on the ground floor, which is set to open sometime in 2021.Ryan Serhant was tapped to lead sales for the Andres Escobar-designed building in early 2019, and listings for its one- to three-bedroom condos were originally due to appear sometime this summer. The pandemic seems to have put that plan on hold.2. 175 and 192 Spencer, Black Spruce Management | $60 millionIn 2015, Black Spruce Management picked up two rental buildings in Bedford-Stuyvesant for $39 million, with the intention of turning their 82 apartments into condos.Five years later, that plan is closer to fruition, and the project at 175 and 192 Spencer Street, a few blocks from Pratt Institute, now has a sellout valuation of $60 million. Its one- and two-bedroom units hit the market earlier this year, with prices starting at $645,000. The buildings now have a bevy of amenities, including a communal rooftop lounge, on-site parking, a fitness center and bike storage. The project has a 421a tax abatement in effect through 2036.3. Millo Astoria, Shangri-La LIC | $57 millionAstoria has seen an influx of high-end condos in the past few years, including this 63-unit building at 14-33 31st Avenue. The five-story building has a total projected sellout of $57 million. Its apartments start at $482,000 for a one-bedroom, and go up to $1.1 million for a three-bedroom, according to available listings on StreetEasy. Building amenities include a communal garden, fitness room and bike storage.4. The Cascade, Cascade 553 LLC | $41 millionTwo buildings within the same Bedford-Stuyvesant condo project occupy the No. 4 spot, each of which has a projected sellout of $41 million. The two buildings, at 569 Marcy Avenue and 92 Stockton Street, are part of the former Cascade Linen Factory site on the border of Bed-Stuy and Bushwick.A group of investors from Williamsburg’s Hasidic Satmar community, including Abraham Brach, Max Lebowitz and Andor Deutsche, are developing the seven-building complex. Originally, the plan was to turn the site into religious housing, but the developers pivoted to luxury condos in 2017. These buildings will have just under 80 condo apartments; when all seven buildings are completed there will be about 300 units starting at around $1 million each.5. 1000 Union Street, HML Development | $26 millionHML Development is behind this Crown Heights condo project at 1000 Union Street, which has just 20 apartments. Plans for the seven-story building, designed by Fischer + Makooi Architects, were filed in 2017, and the project has a total sellout valuation of $26 million. Its apartments start at $775,000.6. Bay Park Manor, Yunlon LI and Shumei Ma | $20 millionIf you need a sign of how much the market changed between 2019 and 2020, here’s one: The No. 6 spot on last year’s list was occupied by Fortis Property Group’s River Park condo, with a projected sellout of $113 million. This year, it’s taken by a 20-unit building in Bayside, Queens, with just 16 apartments and a projected sellout of $20 million.The building at 214-11 35th Street is just three stories tall, and is located close to Crocheron park. Its one- and two-bedroom units start at $639,000.7 & 8. The Box Street Condominiums, Bar Chaim Group | $17 million950 Sunlight Condominium, WSW Street | $17 million (tie)Two smaller condo projects in Greenpoint and Borough Park, Brooklyn, landed on the list with a projected sellout of $17 million each.In Greenpoint, a new building at 44 Box Street, developed by Bar Chaim Group, will have just 16 apartments. Plans for the building near the East River were filed in 2016, but the apartments have yet to be listed publicly. In Borough Park, a six-story building at 950 55th Street is replacing a single-family home, and the project developed by WSW Street will have medical facilities as well as 16 condo units.9. The Rutland, NY Lefferts LLC | $16 millionThis condo project at 401 Rutland Road in Brooklyn’s booming Prospect-Lefferts Gardens has just 22 units, with a projected sellout of $16 million. The building was designed by prolific architect Karl Fischer, and sales launched earlier this year. Asking prices for its units start at $395,000 for a studio, and go up to $895,000 for a two-bedroom apartment.10. The Homage on 3rd, Peggy Hernandez | $10 millionRounding out the top 10 is the smallest project on the list, a four-unit condominium in Park Slope. The building at 497 3rd Street, just west of Seventh Avenue, has two units on the market: a two-bedroom asking $1.88 million and a three-bedroom duplex penthouse, with a private deck, asking $3.25 million.Contact Amy Plitt This content is for subscribers only.Subscribe Now Message* Full Name*last_img read more

Cod fishing grounds to be closed

first_imgBut Fisheries Commissioner Joe Borg has decided not to heed advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas for a blanket ban on cod fishing in response to severe stock depletion.“We seek to achieve a balance between what is biologically essential for the recovery of fish stocks and what is economically reasonable for fishing fleets,” he said. The departure from scientific advice, he added, was partly because of the decommissioning of fleets under the reform of the Union’s Common Fisheries Policy.The closure of cod fishing grounds would take place in the North Sea, Irish Sea, eastern Channel, off Scotland’s west coast and Scandinavian waters, the Kattegat and Skagerrak. Across the EU, fishermen face a 60% reduction in their allowable catches for herring, 34% for cod and 27% for mackerel. The proposals are to be considered by fisheries ministers at their annual quota-setting discussions on 20-22 December in Brussels. As several member states, including Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Latvia, have indicated they regard the restrictions sought as too onerous, marathon negotiations are expected at that meeting. [email protected]last_img read more

Kyle Petty Charity Ride goes cross-country for 25th anniversary

first_imgKyle Petty has placed a generation’s worth of effort into his philanthropic work. It’s a milestone he never quite saw coming back in 1995, when a handful of friends and motorcycle enthusiasts started discussion about the ultimate road trip for a good cause.Some 25 years later, the Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America has grown into an annual highlight of the stock-car racing community’s calendar of charitable deeds. With many miles of crisscrossing the country already in the books, Petty says he knew the ride’s silver-anniversary edition was one worth celebrating on an extreme scale.“This has been on our radar screen for a number of years, but we kind of saved it for the 25th,” Petty says. “We wanted the 25th to be something special — the longest, going corner to corner, the most bikes we’ve had in forever. We’re going to some new places and we’re going to some old places that have been favorites of the riders through the years that we have fond memories of. … We just thought, hey, the 25th. Might as well blow it out big-time, man, and do it corner to corner.”This year’s Charity Ride route is the most ambitious in the event’s history, with 250 riders embarking on a scheduled distance of some 3,700 miles from Seattle to Key Largo, Florida, over a stretch from May 3-11.The ride will again benefit the Victory Junction camp for chronic and critically ill children in Randleman, North Carolina. The facility, established in 2004 to honor the memory of Petty’s son, Adam, received $1.3 million from last year’s event. The outpouring of support in recent years has meant that more than 8,000 children have attended the camp at no cost.“It’s crazy, and I say that all the time. The NASCAR community, I shouldn’t be amazed by it any more by all that they do,” Petty said “When one person in the community does something, everybody kind of chimes in and helps. … When you look at the drivers and the people in the NASCAR community, they’ve always supported it. I look at it that this is my community because I grew up traveling week to week with the same group of people. When your community supports you, that’s big. So I think it means everything to me.”LEARN MORE: Kyle Petty Charity Ride | Victory JunctionPetty calls this year’s nine-day itinerary “a mix of the old and the new, the favorites and soon-to-be favorites.” Both endpoints of the route are new to the ride, as are stops in Oregon and Utah. Glenwood Springs, Colorado and Santa Fe are familiar return trips for past riders, as is Childress, Texas, where Petty says he’s experienced uncommon kindness from the local townsfolk.“A couple of our guys had left their luggage at the last hotel, which was about 400 miles away,” Petty says, “and when we got there, the lady that worked at the front desk of the hotel where we were, took their clothes to her house, washed them, dried them, and brought them back for them — all in about an hour and a half. I thought, ‘You just don’t get that. People don’t do that for you.’ That was amazing.”Kevin Kane PhotographyAmong this year’s participants are his father, “The King” Richard Petty, current Monster Energy Series driver David Ragan, and former drivers Donnie Allison, Harry Gant and timeless wonder Hershel McGriff, a NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee who plans to join in at age 91. Petty will also have support from NBC Sports colleagues Rick Allen, Krista Voda and Rutledge Wood.The planning and logistics of organizing overnight stays, fueling stops and three daily meals for nearly 250 people typically hasn’t given Petty much time for reflection. When the ride got its start, Petty figured he’d give the event a solid five-year run before moving on to other projects. Then five years prompted talk of a 10-year mark. The rides accumulated, and the 15-year milestone immediately spurred Petty’s group to the goal of a quarter-century.This year, Petty is taking that moment for himself to reflect.“When you get to 25 and look back, and I will say this is probably the first year that I’ve ever really sat down and thought about all the people that have been a part of the ride through the ride, the people that are not with us any more that have been part of the ride from the very beginning,” Petty says. “And I think about Adam and so many things that the ride has meant through the years to so many people, there’s 10 riders that have been on all 25 rides, so that’s all so special. You look back a bit at 25, but we’re still looking ahead, too.”And looking ahead might mean another decade or two.“I figured if Hershel McGriff can ride at 91, then we’re going to get 50 years out of this thing,” Petty says with a laugh. “I figure I’ve got another good 25 left in me, know what I mean?”last_img read more

School’s In! The Prom Arrives on Broadway

first_img Related Shows You’re invited! The highly anticipated new musical comedy The Prom begins preview performances at the Longacre Theatre on October 23. The Prom will celebrate an official opening night on November 15.In The Prom, when Broadway’s brassiest stars get word that a student is unceremoniously sidelined from a small-town Indiana prom—and that the press is involved—they gear up to save the day. Featuring a book by Chad Beguelin and Bob Martin, music by Matthew Sklar and lyrics by Beguelin, The Prom is based on an original concept by Jack Viertel. Casey Nicholaw is the musical’s director and choreographer.The talent-packed principal cast includes Tony winner Beth Leavel, Tony nominees Christopher Sieber and Brooks Ashmanskas, Caitlin Kinnunen, Angie Schworer, Courtenay Collins, Josh Lamon, Michael Potts and Isabelle McCalla. The ensemble will feature Courtney Balan, David Josefsberg, Mary Antonini, Josh Franklin, Teddy Toye, Kate Marilley, Drew Redington, Gabi Campo, Jerusha Cavazos, Shelby Finnie, Fernell Hogan, Joomin Hwang, Sheldon Henry, Becca Lee, Wayne Mackins, Anthony Norman, Jack Sippel, Kalyn West and Brittany Zeinstra.The Prom features scenic design by Scott Pask, costume design by Ann Roth and Matthew Pachtman, lighting design by Natasha Katz, sound design by Brian Ronan, orchestrations by Larry Hochman and music direction by Mary-Mitchell Campbell. The Prom View Comments Show Closed This production ended its run on Aug. 11, 2019last_img read more

Woman killed early Sunday in wreck at 75th Street and Belinder

first_imgA woman driving in the early hours of Sunday morning lost control of her car in Prairie Village, crashing into a light pole in a wreck that killed her.Prairie Village police say the woman was driving westbound in the 2500 block of 75th Street in her Honda just before 1 a.m. Sunday when she veered into the concrete median that begins near the approach to the intersection with Belinder Avenue. The car veered across the eastbound lanes before striking the light post in the southeast corner of the 75th Street and Belinder intersection.The woman, aged 30, was pronounced dead at the scene of the wreck.last_img read more

Former Johnson County Election Commissioner’s leadership of federal agency draws scrutiny

first_imgCounty leaders raised concerns about the management of the Johnson County Election Office prior to Brian Newby’s departure in 2015. Photo credit U.S. Election Assistance Commission.The former Johnson County Election Commissioner who left a string of financial and human resources scandals in his wake here after he accepted an appointment with the federal Election Assistance Commission is now drawing scrutiny for his direction of that agency.A lengthy investigative piece published by POLITICO this month details concerns with Brian Newby’s leadership of the EAC, which is charged with helping local voting operations across the country adhere to the requirements of the Help America Vote Act of 2002.According to the report, elections officials and federal employees have been disheartened by actions from Newby that have stymied efforts to address election security issues. From reporter Eric Geller’s story:…Newby has not only frustrated his own employees and helped create a staff exodus — nine EAC office directors have left since Newby arrived — but also angered cybersecurity experts, election integrity activists and state and local officials. His reputation in the elections community conjures up “the eye-roll emoji,” said one former election official. “Everybody kind of puts up with him.”POLITICO’s seven sources — all of whom requested anonymity to speak candidly — described Newby, a Republican, as too beholden to the EAC’s GOP chairwoman, Christy McCormick, who masterminded his appointment and later spent years denying the reality of Russian interference in the 2016 election. They also said that Newby alienated his agency almost immediately by wading into the issue of a citizenship requirement for voter eligibility — and that he has failed to regain their trust ever since.Newby served as Johnson County Election Commissioner from 2005 to 2015, when he left to accept the job as the EAC’s executive director. But in the year following his departure from the Johnson County Election Office, word broke that his tenure here had been marked by questionable practices. Newby was having an affair with an election office employee who he had given a promotion. He had found ways to avoid oversight of the use of Johnson County government credit cards. Those issues prompted Johnson County officials to push for more local control over the election office, which had been supervised primarily by the Kansas secretary of state.In the POLITICO story, Newby pushed back on the criticisms of his management style raised by EAC employees and people from other agencies who have dealt with him.last_img read more

Australia: Toondah Harbour Dredging About to Begin

first_imgEquipment is expected to be moved into place at Toondah Harbour next week in preparation for the commencement of dredging work.Mayor Karen Williams said the work, due for completion by 30 August (weather permitting), involved maintenance and capital dredging of a section of the Fison Channel and widening of the ‘swing basin’, allowing vessels to more easily manoeuvre and pass in the harbour and channel.“The dredging will benefit public and commercial users of Toondah Harbour,” Williams said.“Toondah Harbour is a vital access point for residents and visitors to North Stradbroke Island and an important part of our city’s economy.“I am delighted that these long-awaited dredging projects are finally happening. In the past we have had times when ferries grounded and could not use Toondah at low tide and had to operate from Raby Bay. The dredge will remove this problem.“Council has worked closely with the Queensland Transport and Main Roads, Brisbane Harbourmaster, commercial ferry operators, and the dredging contractor to ensure the work is managed to minimise disruption and achieves the best outcome for the community.”The State Government provided $6 million in 2011 for three dredging projects across the city.Funding included dredging at Coochiemudlo Island, completed in 2013, and at both Victoria Point and Toondah Harbour, scheduled for completion this year.“The State Government’s assistance has been invaluable to ensuring both the necessary funding and permits are available for this work to begin,” Williams said.“Dredging equipment is in high demand up and down the east coast of Australia so we are very pleased that we are now able to make a start on this important work.“Once the Toondah Harbour dredging is complete, the contractor will return to complete work already begun at Victoria Point in preparation for the planned improvements to the Victoria Point jetty and the construction of the new Coochiemudlo Island jetty.”Redland City Council is managing the contract for both the Victoria Point and Toondah Harbour dredging work.[mappress]Press Release, May 30, 2014last_img read more