Facing a pandemic, Broad does a quick pivot

first_imgOn March 9, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard core member Deborah Hung spoke urgently with her colleague at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), Michael Mina, the associate medical director of the clinical microbiology laboratory and director of molecular virology diagnostics at the hospital.Hung, co-director of the Broad Institute’s Infectious Diseases and Microbiome Program, is on the medical front lines of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as an attending infectious disease and critical care physician at BWH. That day, the number of presumptive and confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state had risen to 41 and, by the next morning, would more than double to 92, prompting Gov. Charlie Baker to declare a state of emergency. The following day, the World Health Organization would declare the coronavirus outbreak as a global pandemic.As the number of positive cases in the state grew, Hung and other physicians grew increasingly frustrated with the limited access to testing for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19. In their conversation, Mina, an associate member of the Broad and an assistant professor of epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, stressed to Hung the desperate need to increase the capacity for diagnostic testing for COVID-19.Hung and Mina immediately imagined how the Broad’s Genomics Platform could help. In 2013, the platform had launched an effort to provide high-quality, validated clinical sequencing for use in medical care and clinical research, as a complement to the platform’s large-scale research sequencing capabilities. A subsidiary of the Broad Institute, the Clinical Research Sequencing Platform, LLC, (CRSP) is CLIA-certified and accredited by the College of American Pathologists, so it can return data to physicians for use in diagnostics, patient care, and clinical trials. Anticipating the growing clinical need for rapid data generation, CRSP had designed its facility to be highly automated.,Hung and Mina put two and two together and realized that the advanced facility and its CLIA-trained professionals might be uniquely suited to help meet the urgent need for more COVID-19 testing.That evening, Hung called Stacey Gabriel, the Genomics Platform’s senior director, to ask if the platform might have equipment and teams that could help speed up testing in the commonwealth of Massachusetts.Over the next two weeks, the Genomics Platform worked with teams across the Broad Institute to swiftly transform the CLIA-certified lab into a high-throughput COVID-19 testing facility within the Broad’s 320 Charles St. building. Partnering with state officials and local hospitals, they raced to create a solution to help increase the pace and scale of diagnostic testing.While most Broad employees shifted to working remotely and wound down most lab research in keeping with public health recommendations, the Genomics Platform shut down most of its standard production work and teamed up with the Broad’s facilities, security, and health and safety teams to reconfigure the CRSP space over a weekend. They rushed to build new walls to isolate work with infectious samples, purchased new protective gear for technicians, and set up additional containment, safety, and cleaning procedures to keep team members safe.Under the leadership of Gabriel and Mina, the CRSP scientists adapted the CDC’s testing protocol, which was designed for labs to perform manually at a low throughput, so that it could be run on the facility’s automated liquid-handling machines. This would give the team the ability to process 2,000 samples a day, or more, adding to the capacity of testing labs across New England and reducing the time it takes to turn results around from several days to several hours. Genomics Platform leaders also devised an intricate staffing plan to enable testing around the clock and worked with colleagues at local hospitals and state agencies to ensure smooth and secure transfer of protected data to and from clinics.,After a flurry of activity and collaboration with the state’s Public Health Laboratory in Jamaica Plain, the new diagnostic center has begun processing patient samples to test for presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The CRSP testing center, now a state reference lab, is part of a larger effort, including through the Baker-Polito Administration’s COVID-19 Response Command Center, across the region to create partnerships spanning government, academia, and the private sector to quickly grow the ability to test patients and support public health efforts during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.“The outpouring of support and volunteers from people at the Broad and beyond to accomplish this has been tremendous,” said Gabriel. “You really get the sense that the world wants to come together on this, and the Broad community has been outstanding.”The swift effort to enable COVID-19 testing spanned the Broad’s genomics, facilities, environmental health and safety, legal, procurement, and information technology teams, and more. “We’ve had heroic contributions from people across the Broad and the CRSP lab. The platform’s R&D, automation, and software teams have worked tirelessly, sometimes all night long, to stand up this test,” said Niall Lennon, institute scientist and senior director of translational genomics in the Genomics Platform. “We’re fortunate to have invested years ago in building a clinical lab. Our experience in regulatory and testing environments and operating complex molecular processes at scale allowed us to respond rapidly to this crisis.”,Robotics accelerates a standard protocolThe Genomics Platform may be best known for its high-throughput genome sequencing capability, but the CDC’s COVID-19 testing protocol doesn’t analyze the genetic sequence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It uses simpler methods: small amounts of viral RNA are extracted from a nasal swab, amplified and quantified by reverse transcriptase quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR), and detected using a fluorescent dye, which then determines whether or not a sample contains the virus.Hung and Mina’s initial instincts — that the Genomics Platform already had automation available that could speed the RNA extraction process — were right. But the researchers at CRSP had never tried something like this with viral samples. Although the team often processes thousands of human DNA and RNA samples each week, they hadn’t worked at scale with viral RNA, which requires different kits and processes. Given the unfolding health crisis, they knew they had to learn this new protocol, and do so fast.On the evening of March 9, Gabriel and Mina discussed the particulars of the CDC protocol. By morning, Gabriel assembled a task force of colleagues from the Genomic Platform’s technology development, automation, and regulatory and compliance teams, along with Broad information technology and procurement teams, to explore whether they could scale up the CDC’s COVID-19 protocol and run it at the CRSP facility.Meanwhile, in less than 24 hours after talking with Mina, Hung had garnered the support of Eric Lander, the president and founding director of the Broad Institute, and Heidi Rehm, the medical director of CRSP and an institute member of the Broad. Other leaders across the Broad, including Aviv Regev, a core institute member and co-director of its Cell Circuits Program, were enthusiastic about the plan, as well.The task force spent the next several days investigating potential protocols for the test and automation that would meet the demands. “The challenge with this test is getting from the patient’s nasal swab to actual viral RNA material that we can test,” said Sheila Dodge, general manager of the Genomics Platform. “Most labs have been doing this manually, which takes a lot of time, but we knew our liquid handling automation would allow us to scale this test very rapidly.”By March 13, the team had adapted the protocol to run on their robotic liquid handling machines and began testing it on positive and negative controls that come with the qPCR assay kit. They were also able to test RNA from samples collected from a handful of patients at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, including some confirmed to be positive for the virus using the CDC protocol, and some who had tested negative. This allowed the team to validate whether its processes worked.,A safe place for the new testThose initial tests were successful, but the team also needed to modify the lab space to keep workers safe. When patient samples arrive from the clinic or state lab, they consist of a barcoded test tube containing a liquid, called the transport medium, which contains viral particles that have been shed from the patient’s nasal swab. Robotic liquid handling machines transfer some of the transport medium from barcoded tubes onto a 96-well test plate, in which the automated RNA extraction process is performed. The medium transfer step must be performed in a biological safety cabinet, which is ventilated to pull contaminated air into a filtration system, and the RNA extraction step is performed within one of the lab’s fume hoods for additional containment.Because of the infectious nature of the virus, the team wanted to contain the cabinets and hoods — which were originally in an open lab space — within isolated rooms. On the evening of March 12, they contacted the Broad’s facilities group. Early the next morning, Tom Grimble, director of space planning and design, met with Dodge and the Genomics Platform’s director of process operations and development, Wendy Brodeur. The three began crafting a plan to adjust air flows for safety and construct temporary walls, outlining the new configuration on the floor with tape. Grimble gave his group a deadline of March 20 to complete the new space and mobilized several of his team members to assist. Project manager Jessie Guilfoy arranged to quickly move an unused fume hood from the Broad’s 75 Ames St. building to 320 Charles St., a difficult yet essential task, as new hoods typically take months to be manufactured and delivered.The team worked double shifts throughout that weekend and completed the new testing space on March 18, ahead of their already tight schedule. “This was definitely not a normal project, but our team is used to working very quickly under pressure,” said Guilfoy. “Everyone working on this project was extremely motivated and proud.”Protecting clinical dataMichael Mina continues to provide the critical clinical expertise to this effort with his experience in infectious disease diagnostics. Mina worked closely with the team and CRSP medical directors, Heidi Rehm and Steven Harrison. “We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Steven and Heidi for diving in with us, learning the new protocol and reporting requirements, and getting us ready to return clinically validated results,” said Gabriel.The Broad Institute has existing relationships with hospitals in the Boston area and systems to interact easily with them, but the CRSP team had to make customizations to send data back and forth even more securely. Marissa Fisher, a Broad Institute software engineer, led an effort to build cloud-based tools for gathering patient information from the hospitals, so the platform can track and protect patient information.Gabriel and the team worked closely with David Bernick, Broad’s chief information security officer, on how to handle sensitive patient data while quickly processing samples. They also engaged William Hedglon, who leads the Broad’s Defensive Information Security Operations team, to implement additional monitoring capabilities to validate that the data is accessed only by the right people at the right time. “Our existing systems are robust and secure, and with this new workflow, we’re following HIPAA regulations and operating within CLIA guidelines,” said Hedglon.,A personnel puzzleWith a working protocol in hand and new lab spaces being constructed, the team needed to reinvent their approach to staffing. About 10 people are needed to staff the lab at any given time. Dodge designated four teams that will work in staggered 10-hour-long shifts around the clock, with three days on followed by three days off. They are physically isolated from one another with no overlaps in shifts. Should a team member become infected while outside of Broad, members of other teams, who would have had no interactions with the infected person, would not need to self-quarantine.Gabriel, Dodge, and others were initially worried that they wouldn’t have enough team members to run the test around the clock, so they held a remote meeting that first week to gauge interest. “My first thought was, this is just not possible,” said Michelle Cipicchio, a process development manager on the platform’s R&D team. Dodge shared a spreadsheet to collect names of team members willing to join the COVID team and, during the meeting, the document filled with names of those willing to work with viral material and those willing to work overnight. “It was overwhelming, and I was nearly brought to tears because I thought staffing would have been the piece preventing us from getting it done,” she said.With two boys at home, a toddler and an infant, Cipicchio said she was initially torn about whether she should volunteer to work on this task force because of the long hours. After she learned that the state was specifically seeking to partner with organizations with the ability to perform high-throughput testing, it was an easy decision. “It’s as important for my family as every other family in the state,” said Capicchio, who was impressed by CRSP’s safety precautions and rigorous planning to protect staff. “Getting this up and running will personally benefit us, by having testing in this state at the capacity that we need.”Team members must also be CLIA-certified, meaning they’re approved to work in a clinical lab whose results can be returned to patients by a clinician. The initial teams are made up of scientists in the Genomics Platform who have already been CLIA-certified, and many others across the Broad have volunteered. “The genomics platform leadership has been overwhelmed by the selfless responses of those who have stepped up to help,” said Lennon. Platform leaders have already trained dozens of lab workers to do the test and are preparing to train more.“We’re under very difficult, challenging circumstances right now, but the opportunity to help with this crisis and do our part is a really special opportunity for us,” said Dodge. “After two weeks, we are ready to be up and running. It’s pretty impressive and we’re really proud of the team.”With additional reporting by Scott Sassone and Namrata Sengupta.*The Broad Institute’s CRSP laboratory does not test or return results directly to patients for COVID-19. If you are seeking testing for COVID-19, please call your health care provider.last_img read more

Margaret Mary Health earns nationwide honor

first_imgMMCHbrandFINAL-AIBatesville, In. — For six out of the past seven years, Margaret Mary Health has been named one of the Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals in the United States by The Chartis Center for Rural Health. The ranking was based on iVantage Health Analytics’ Hospital Strength INDEX®, the industry’s most comprehensive assessment of rural provider performance. MMH was the only hospital in both Indiana and Ohio to receive this designation.The INDEX measures hospitals across eight pillars of hospital strength, including inpatient share ranking, outpatient share ranking, cost, charge, quality, outcomes, patient perspective and financial stability. The list of the Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals and more information about the study can be found at iVantageINDEX.com.“From improving the patient experience to providing the best clinical outcomes, everything we do at Margaret Mary Health centers around our patients,” said MMH President Tim Putnam. “This award recognizes all aspects of the important work we do and is a testament to the compassionate care put forth by our quality providers, nurses and staff.”last_img read more

BoyleSports extends sponsorship of the Irish Grand National

first_imgShare StumbleUpon BoyleSports closes Irish retail estate in response to COVID-19 March 17, 2020 BoyleSports signs Coventry City sponsorship August 21, 2020 Submit Share Related Articles Countdown to Cheltenham: Wednesday racecard ‘not a worry at the moment’ says BoyleSports March 6, 2020 Irish independent bookmaker BoyleSports has extended its sponsorship agreement for the Irish Grand National, renewing the deal for a further four years.The independent bookmaker has sponsored the race at Fairyhouse Racecourse since 2014, with this year’s edition celebrating the 150th anniversary of the track.Leon Blanche, Head of Communications at BoyleSports, commented: “BoyleSports are really proud to sponsor such a prestigious and valuable race on the Irish sporting calendar and with a pot of €500,000 up for grabs at Fairyhouse on Easter Monday, we’re going to relish what is certain to be another very competitive renewal.“As a company we pride ourselves on our continued commitment to Irish racing and with this four-year deal taking us up to 10 years as the main sponsor of such an iconic race, we can look forward with vigour to some thrilling contests in the showpiece event on the Irish National Hunt calendar.”Peter Roe, General Manager of Fairyhouse Racecourse added: “We are delighted to continue our partnership with BoyleSports, especially for the 150th anniversary of the race. The BoyleSports Irish Grand National is a truly iconic Irish sporting event with such a long and illustrious history so we are thrilled to work with an indigenous and innovative Irish brand such as BoyleSports who have been involved in the betting industry for over three decades from their base in Dundalk.“We have exciting plans to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the BoyleSports Irish Grand National over the entire three days of our Easter Festival and we look forward to working with BoyleSports to deliver a very special racing and social experience for all our customers.”last_img read more

Dodgers’ Dave Roberts: If reports are true, Astros crossed the line with sign-stealing

first_imgSAN DIEGO — If reports that the Houston Astros went to extraordinary measures to steal signs during the 2017 postseason are true, “the line was crossed” and the integrity of those games was “absolutely” violated, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.The Astros are currently under investigation by MLB and their manager, A.J. Hinch, declined to comment when asked about the allegations during Tuesday’s Winter Meetings media sessions. Roberts’ comments were his first public comments since a report in The Athletic exposed the Astros’ behavior.Roberts and Hinch are good friends from their days together with the San Diego Padres (Roberts as a coach, Hinch in the scouting department). Roberts acknowledged he had “a conversation with A.J.” about the allegations but would not say any more.“He’s still one of my good friends,” Roberts said. Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has limited his comments since reports of the Astros’ system for stealing signs and relaying them to batters first came out. But he agreed with Roberts – adding the same “if true” caveat – that “for sure” a line was crossed if the Astros took their attempts to steal signs beyond the boundaries of the playing field.“There’s no question in my mind,” Friedman said.“On the field, as we all know, that’s a part of the game, sign stealing, reading catchers and tipping – that’s all part of the game,” Roberts said. “But there is a line.”The Dodgers took the Astros to seven games in the 2017 World Series with speculation about pitch-tipping centering on Yu Darvish during the series. Darvish started and took the losses in Games 3 and 7. But Roberts said his feelings about the series loss will not change if the charges against the Astros are proven true.“No, because it still – nothing is going to change it,” he said. “It’s not going to change, no matter how I feel. Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start center_img “He’s put himself in this position to hit the free-agent market and get a feel for what’s out there and what makes the most sense for him and his family,” Friedman said. “Looking back, he’s been a big part of our success over the past couple years. I have a lot of respect for him. The confidence as an organization that we had every fifth day when he took the mound was real. Where that takes us at this point, I’m not sure. But we definitely have interest based on what he’s meant to us looking back.”Ryu’s injury history could be a concern for some teams – he has started more than 20 games just twice in the past five seasons and missed almost two years following shoulder and elbow surgeries. But Boras said he is not having to sell teams on Ryu.“You don’t sell a pitcher like Ryu. Teams call you because he’s performed at Cy Young levels,” Boras said.TV GUIDEESPN released the majority of games chosen for “Sunday Night Baseball” and the Dodgers will appear at least three times – April 5 at San Francisco, May 31 in New York against the Mets and July 16 at home against the Giants. The July 16 game is actually a Thursday night, the first game after the All-Star break. “Regardless of how I feel, it happened, and the commissioner – they’re going to deal with it in the way they see best. But as far as kind of my sentiments, it’s just not going to – it’s not helpful really for anyone.”JOB SECURITYAfter the Dodgers’ early exit from the playoffs this fall, there was much public debate about Roberts’ job status. In the immediate aftermath of the NLDS defeat, Friedman said he was “surprised” that was even a question.Roberts took it a step farther.“I was shocked by it – as far as the thought of it,” Roberts said of the idea that the early exit would cost him his job.“It wasn’t even a topic of concern for me.”NOT DONE YETFormer Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp was at the Manchester Grand Hyatt, site of the Winter Meetings this week, with his agent, Larry Reynolds on Tuesday. The 35-year-old Kemp was asked if he was looking for a team to continue playing in 2020.“I’m not looking to go home,” he said with a laugh. “Why is everyone asking me that? I’m not retired. I was hurt last year.”Kemp was limited to 20 games with the Cincinnati Reds in 2019 before they released him in May. Signed to a minior-league deal by the New York Mets, he was released again in July without making the majors.RYU VIEWMLB created a new postseason award this year – the All-MLB team. The Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger was named a first-team outfielder and Hyun-Jin Ryu a second-team starting pitcher.Agent Scott Boras said he has had “multiple offers from multiple teams” interested in signing all of his top-tier free agent starting pitchers – a group that includes Ryu and Dallas Keuchel, after Gerrit Cole joined the Yankees with a record-setting nine-year, $324 million deal on Tuesday night.Count the Dodgers in that group. Friedman acknowledged that “we’ve definitely had conversations about” re-signing Ryu.Related Articles Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire last_img read more

Meet Local Authors at The Gift Gallery in Tumwater

first_imgSubmitted by The Gift Gallery LLCThe Gift Gallery LLC is hosting a book signing on Saturday, March 28 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.With seven local artists here at The Gift Gallery, we have six that will be here to meet and greet you. With tales that vary from true life, inspiration, triumph, addiction, death, pirates, to bigfoot, you’ll be excited to meet the authors behind the stories. Come in today to get your book and be ready to meet these amazing authors.Karen Strand and her husband Paul Strand are both authors. While Karen tells a true life story of her son and his battle with insanity and evil in “Escape From The Fowler’s Snare“, her husband tells a story of his grandfather and his childhood across the Pacific Northwest in “When Grandpa was a Kid”.Barbara Andreason tells a story of a young boy kidnapped and forced to serve an evil pirate during the great plague of 1665 in “The Final Port”. Barbara has written three books on family genealogy, articles for the DAR and genealogy newsletters. Barbara has given lectures on Benjamin Franklin, Benedict Arnold, Lucretia Coffin Mott and Nantucket to various organizations.B.J. Roberts writes of her encounters with Bigfoot, both a male and a female on her land, The Havens Ranch. She also tells of others’ encounters with Bigfoot, Native American encounters and a battle. B.J. built a large statue of Bigfoot at north-fork survivors at Mount St. Helens. You can read all her adventures in “Bigfoot Face to Face”.Local authors will be sharing, signing and selling their books on March 28 at The Gift Gallery LLC in Tumwater.Kurtis Bissell writes of a man who finds himself in the midst of a new viral outbreak, his journey through this harsh new world in hopes of finding somewhere the infection has not reached in “Trials, Death and the Undead”.Barbara Boswell describes how God can take ordinary life situations and devastating health concerns and use them for His extraordinary purposes. Her books are a combination of humor, scripture, and thought-provoking true stories. Barbara works at her local church as a secretary, she is married, has a son and lives in a small town in Washington state. Barbara is also a breast cancer survivor. She spent many years running from God, and discovered when she stopped running that God had been there all along, never abandoning her. Her two books at The Gift Gallery are “Every Time I Turn Around, I Catch A Glimpse of God!” and “Every Time I Turn Around, I Bump Into God”The Gift Gallery will also be hosting our monthly free jewelry appraisals on Saturday, March 21 from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. We will be serving our Omak Kick’n Chicken Soup and our Garlic of Eatin’ Dip from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.Congratulations to our “Vendors of the Month” for MarchLinda Trail –Stinger Stitches, hand sewn giftsScott Chaput – Glass Art & JewelryNancy Kelly – NFL, MLB, & Collegiate Bears                      Martha Janson – Handcrafted JewelryEaster is approaching soon.  Starting April 1, when you come in to store, find the bunny! Bring him to the counter for 10% off your total purchase. Promotion ends April 30. Facebook29Tweet0Pin0last_img read more

Macdonald’s Work with Horizons Program ‘a Joy’

first_imgBy John BurtonRUMSON – When it comes to her work with the Horizons student enrichment program, Lore Macdonald just doesn’t talk the talk – she truly walks the walk.Macdonald, a Rumson resident, who co-founded the program at Rumson Country Day School 18 summers ago, previously served as the board president and is still a member of the board. She was associated with Hori­zons, a national program, in New Canaan, Conn., before it was established in Rumson. Last week, Macdonald was recognized for her dedication to the program when she was named a New Jersey Hero last week by first lady Mary Pat Christie.“It does give me profound joy,” Macdonald said of her involvement with the program. “It is something that I’ll leave this world knowing I did a little bit of good, I had some impact on the lives of a lot of people.”The Rumson Horizons program, one of 33 programs across the country and one of two in New Jersey, is a six-week program July through mid-August for at-risk children, primarily from Red Bank. Aimed at allowing the kids to continue their education and remain engaged, it is a fun, activities-filled way to learn while off from school.The idea, said Lori Hohenleitner, the program’s executive director, is to combat what educators have labeled “summer slide,” during which students out of the classroom for the summer lose educational ground. Studies show that it can be particularly true for low-income students, who haven’t the same opportunities as their wealthier counterparts to remain engaged when school is out.“It does help them go back to school without having lost much,” Macdonald said.The program has had about 2,000 children participate over the years, with 125 students enrolled this summer, according to Robin Schemen, president of Horizon’s Rumson board and a member of the program’s national board.The program is open to children who have completed kindergarten and allows them to be part of the program up until the summer after they complete eighth grade. Hori­zons, which costs $50 for the six weeks, is available to students who qualify for free or reduced cost lunch programs in their public schools.The program uses a hands-on approach to teaching, tying lessons with projects the children take on to realworld circumstances.“Everything is very hands on,” Schemen said.Along with that, kids have a chance to go to the Com­munity YMCA, 166 Maple Ave., Red Bank, where they get to swim or take swimming lessons just about every day.Swimming is not simply a recreational outlet, Hohen­leitner stressed. “We feel if kids learn confidence in the pool, not only is that a life skill, but they’re also able to translate that to the classroom.”For Macdonald, the program offers so much to the children and their families that is “so obviously successful … It really is a no-brainer.“This is wonderful for kids, because it’s a different kind of learning experience,” she said.Macdonald’s appreciation for what the program has meant to many and her experience goes back a long time. The Horizons program began in the 1970s at the New Canaan Country School, New Canaan, Conn., where Macdonald grew up and was a student. In the late ‘70s she spent a couple of summers working as a teacher for the program and began her firsthand experience with it. When the program was first proposed for the Rumson Country Day School, she strongly supported it and involved herself in establishing it, working with staff and students and serving as board president for 13 years.“I think I did a little bit of everything,” since the summer of 1996, when it started, she said.“She spearheaded the program,” said Chad Small, Rumson Country Day’s headmaster. “She remains its heart and soul.”Macdonald, who married just six days after graduating college and raised four children, all going to Rumson Country Day, sees the promise in the children who have been involved in the program. “It has been a rewarding experience for me,” she said. “Getting to know the children and the families, for me was huge.”It also has been a great experience for board members and those who have volunteered, she said. “They really take away a lot.”Another nice part is still having a chance to see some of the students – who go to high school and beyond – talk about their experiences and what it meant to them. “I’m just goofy enough that they remember me,” she joked about running into former students. But she added, “I love it. They always say hello and tell me what they’re up to. It’s a nice feeling for me.”The next chapter for Macdonald and others associated with the program is to continue it for the high school years. She believes the idea of extending education into the summer is something that goes beyond just the Hori­zons program and should be adopted by more schools and districts.“It’s just a smart thing to do,” she said.last_img read more

Guyana’s Lake, Bahamas’ Woods in Contender battle

first_imgRevlon Lake from Guyana and Anthony Woods from The Bahamas clash tonight in the fourth week of the preliminary round of the Wray and Nephew Contender boxing series for welterweights at the Chinese Benevolent Association auditorium, beginning at 9 p.m.Lake, who is 37 years old, has a record of eight wins, 13 losses and two draws and has fought in the series before. On March 19, 2014, he went up against Jamaica’s Sakima Mullings, who eventually went on to win the title. Lake was knocked out in the fourth round. He did show some resilience during the encounter, but eventually succumbed to the superior punching power of Mullings.Woods, who is 31, hail from Nassau but is representing the USA team in the series. He will be making his Jamaican debut. He also has a negative wins versus losses record, with eight victories and 19 losses. What is clear, however, is that both men will take a lot of experience into the ring tonight and this could lead to a very keen encounter.Lake has been boxing as a professional since 2005 and has fought for several Caribbean titles. In 2009, he challenged Miguel Antoine for the CABOFE super lightweight title but lost; and suffered a similar fate when he challenged Kevin Placide for the CABOFE super welterweight title in 2010.continuing carrerAnother bid for a title in 2014 against Prince Lee Isidore also went up in flames, but these setbacks have not dissuaded him from continuing his career.He last fought on February 27 and scored a victory on points against Miguel Antoine in Guyana.Tonight he will make a bold effort to move into the quarter-finals and earn himself a shot at the Contender 2016 title, by getting past his first hurdle. It will not be an easy task, however, as Woods has also been around for some time and has his eyes firmly set on the main prize of $2 million.Woods has also been in the professional ranks since 2005 and he too has had some interesting encounters along the way, campaigning in Florida, Puerto Rico and The Bahamas. He has been inactive for a few years, but his connections have stated that since being selected for the USA team, he has been training hard and is in great condition.Neither boxer is known for punching power, so boxing skills will determine the winner. It is a fight that can go either way and has all the earmarks of a close encounter.The action will be broadcast live on Television Jamaica.last_img read more

Smart ID card printers ‘ready to roll’

first_img10 July 2013 The state-of-the-art facilities at the Government Printing Works in Pretoria are ready to roll ahead of the launch of South Africa’s new smart ID cards on 18 July, says Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor. On Tuesday, Pandor and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe inspected the machines that will be used to print the country’s new ID cards. The launch of the new tech-savvy smart ID cards will coincide with former president Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday, and also kick-start Neslon Mandela International Day activities across the country. Ronnie Mamoepa, spokesperson for the Home Affairs Department, said three regional offices would be handle the new cards until the end of August, when the number of offices would increase to 27 as the general public stepped up applications for the new IDs. On Women’s Day, 9 August, four machines costing R40-million would be commissioned to produce the cards. They would be named after struggle icons Helen Joseph, Lilian Ngoyi, Sophie de Bruyn and Rahima Moosa, all of whom led the Women’s March to the Union Buildings in 1956. First-time applicants will receive their cards for free, while South Africans replacing their current green bar-coded ID books will pay R140 to get the smart ID card – the same as the current ID replacement cost. President Jacob Zuma, Motlanthe, and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu will be among the first recipients of the new card. During Tuesday’s site visit, Government Printing Works CEO Joe Engelbrech took Motlanthe through the step-by-step process involving in producing the cards. The most important security feature on the cards will be fingerprint biometrics and biographic data, which will make it extremely difficult to forge them. “We are confident that we have the best and our documents will not be forged,” Motlanthe told reporters after the tour. Pandor said: “We are very excited that the Deputy President has visited our facilities today and we are excited that on 18 July he will be among the first recipients of the smart cards. “We may be certain that we have the best facilities … We believe we have excellent material with high security features, and anyone who thinks they can defraud the cards will have to really tamper with them,” Pandor said. Officials say the new cards will take five to 10 days to produce and deliver, compared with the current 47 days for paper documents. Source: SAnews.gov.zalast_img read more

Regional Manager (East) and Affiliate Development Coordinator

first_imgTouch Football Australia (TFA) invites applicants to fill the new positions of Regional Manager (East) and Affiliate Development Coordinator in the Melbourne and Canberra office respectively.  This is an ideal opportunity for motivated individuals interested in pursuing a career within the sporting environment.  Both positions offer unique opportunities to lead, manage and develop strong initiatives throughout the Touch Football community.Job Descriptions including selection criteria are available at: www.austouch.com.au.By COB Thursday 21st May 2009, applicants should email a 2 page letter of introduction addressing qualifications and experience as they relate to the selection criteria, together with a resume containing contact details of referees to [email protected]  Employment will be subject to conditions as outlined in the TFA Certified Agreement.·         Regional Manager:  Band 2: $50-$85,000 pa (Melbourne) ·         Affiliate Development Coordinator:  Band 3: $40-$60,000 pa (Canberra)Commencement salary will be negotiated with the successful candidate according with qualifications and experience.Further information: Garry Foran, Commercial Operations ManagerSecondary contact:Colm Maguire, Chief Executive Officer (CEO)Related Filesregional_manager-pdfaffiliate_development_coordinator-pdflast_img read more

First Nations developer call for return and protection of sacred burial site

first_imgABBOTSFORD, B.C. — Indigenous leaders from across British Columbia and parts of the United States gathered at a sacred burial site in Abbotsford, B.C., to call for its protection by the provincial government.From a grassy plateau overlooking farmland in the Fraser Valley, Sumas First Nation Chief Dalton Silver told those gathered they were standing on a mass grave where hundreds if not thousands of their ancestors are buried after a smallpox outbreak. He says the Sto:lo and Sumas First Nations have been fighting for years to have the 65-hectare property known as Lightning Rock returned to them.John Glazema of Cold Water Ranch Developments says his firm was among a group of development companies that purchased the site in 2011 with plans to build an agricultural mall but only learned of its spiritual and cultural significance a year later.Since then, he says they have been in negotiations with the province to return the site to the Sumas people, but have yet to reach a settlement for their $12 million in costs.More than a dozen Indigenous leaders, including former lieutenant-governor Steven Point and Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, signed a joint letter to Premier John Horgan calling for its return.Indigenous Relations Minister Scott Fraser was not immediately available for comment.Phillip said the union has successfully advocated for the protection of other sites and he’s optimistic that this one would be, too.“We’re on a mass burial site of our people,” Silver told the crowd.“We’re going to keep pursuing this, to have this place returned to us.”Glazema said the developers stand with the nations, but the process has taken a toll on them and their families.“We attempted to do everything right,” he said. “We’re fighting for our money back and paying huge interest costs.”Two years ago, they signed a letter of agreement with the province that appeared to set the stage for a settlement but it has not been forthcoming, he said.They discovered early on in the process that some First Nations criteria had not been considered during the site’s initial assessment.“We are in unity with the Sumas nation,” Glazema said.The Canadian Presslast_img read more