Amos Genish, the Vivendi-backed former CEO of Telecom Italia (TIM) who was ousted in a dramatic boardroom coup last November, has resigned from the TIM board.Amos GenishGenish, who was removed as CEO after a series of moves engineered by activist investor Elliott Management and its backers, will be replaced as a Vivendi representative on the board by Canal+ France CEO Frank Cadoret.Genish’s departure follows a settlement agreed with TIM whereby the latter will receive a sum of €4.2 million within 30 days, resolving the dispute between him and the company over the circumstances under which his contract was terminated.The latest developments in the TIM boardroom story follow a period when Vivendi was reported to be moving towards some sort of agreement with Elliott and TIM’s other leading shareholder, state fund Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) over the governance of the company.Telecom Italia (TIM) this week revealed that it has signed a non-disclosure agreement with CDP and utility group Enel with a view to starting talks about the possible sale of its fibre network.The discussions will centre around the potential integration of TIM’s fibre network with the Open Fiber infrastructure, owned by CDP and Enel.The sale of TIM’s infrastructure has long been a key goal of activist investor Elliott Management, chiming with the desire of the Italian government for a single fibre network to cover the entire country.
Raymond McCartney said: “The families of Paul Whitters and Julie Livingstone have been waiting almost 40 years for truth and justice so this decision to seal the files on their killings is callous in the extreme.“The British Secretary of State told the families that they will have to apply for the files under a Freedom of Information request, as the files are the property of the National Archives at Kew, London, and no longer anything to do with her or her office.“It is beyond time British government ended its culture of cover up and made the files available to the families in order for them to get answers.“In fact the British Secretary of State has given no confidence to victims that she has any intention of dealing with the legacy of the conflict which adds a major obstacle to the broader reconciliation process. ShareTweet Sinn Fein justice spokesperson Raymond McCartneySINN Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has said the British government must end their policy of cover up and release files which were sealed relating to children killed by the state.The party’s Justice spokesperson was speaking following a meeting between the families of Paul Whitters and Julie Livingstone, who were killed in 1981 by plastic bullets fired by the RUC and British army, and the British Secretary of State Karen Bradley. “The British government needs to end its stalling tactics on the implementation of the legacy mechanisms agreed at Stormont House five years ago.” British government must end policy of cover up – McCartney was last modified: July 19th, 2019 by John2John2 Tags: British government must end policy of cover up – McCartneyBRTISH GOVERNMENTFOYLE MLAPaul WhittersRaymond McCartneySinn Fein
Home NewsWatch National News Expectation to check work email after hours is hurting our health and relationships (ABC NEWS)- Being expected to check work email during non-work hours is making employees, as well as their significant others, experience higher levels of anxiety, a study shows.Researchers from Virginia Tech surveyed 108 employees working at least 30 hours per week, 138 significant others and 105 managers and found that the sheer expectation of monitoring work email, rather than the amount of time spent doing so, led to increased anxiety in both employees and their significant others.“Some employees admitted to monitoring their work email from every hour to every few minutes, which resulted in higher levels of anxiety and conflict between spouses,” co-author William Becker, an associate professor of management in the Pamplin College of Business, told ABC News.Significant others also reported decreased relationship satisfaction in contrast to employees themselves, whose satisfaction was not affected by the constant monitoring of work email.Professor Becker asked, “Are we underestimating the effect this is having on our spouses?” Professor Becker hopes that the study will encourage leaders to be proactive and have clear policies that allow employees to be engaged and present in their personal lives. He also hopes to shift the onus onto employees to not fall in to the trap of glancing at email after hours.“Quality of relationships matter, as does being mindful and present,” Becker said. “Turn your phone off, put it away and engage in your real life.” Both partners also reported negative health impacts from the increased anxiety, which may be explained by the well-established relationship between chronic stress and poor physical and mental health outcomes.“Anxiety can manifest in several ways, including changes in appetite, concentration, focus and decreased quality of sleep. It makes people less productive in their work and home lives,” Dr. Lama Bazzi, who is part of the American Psychiatric Association Board of Directors, told ABC News.This study comes months after New York Councilman Rafael Espinal introduced a “Right to Disconnect” Bill, the first of its kind in the U.S. and modeled after a similar legislation in France, which would make it unlawful for private employees in New York to respond to work email after hours.“When do we un-blur the line between work and our personal lives?” Espinal told ABC News. “I have personally felt the effects of burnout and understood that there was a greater problem going on here.”The study team suggests a few methods for employers and employees to lessen these negative effects: Manage employer expectations on after-hours email and help employees to engage in mindfulness practices to reduce anxiety, no matter what after-hours expectations are.“Being able to be in the moment is one of the biggest things we teach people in alleviating anxiety. Remove distractions and focus on the conversations you are having,” Bazzi said. National NewsNewsWatch Expectation to check work email after hours is hurting our health and relationships By Daniella HankeyAug 10, 2018, 04:56 am 354 0 Previous PostBear cub burned in California wildfire receives tilapia skin treatment Daniella Hankey Linkedin Google+ Twitter Tumblr Mail Facebook Next PostOne mom made a dress for her daughter out of the shirt her husband wore the day she was born Pinterest
Developing drugs to sell in the US is a complex and costly process. It’s estimated that for every 1,000 compounds discovered in the pre-clinical stage, perhaps only one will make it through the entire FDA approval process to be sold on the market. Navigating this approval process can often take more than a decade; depending upon the source, the average cost of bringing a new prescription drug to market ranges from $1.2 to $1.5 billion. [Ed. Note: This Forbes article claims that the true cost is actually much higher.] But the potential reward from a blockbuster drug can be several billion dollars in sales a year for the remaining life of the patent.Consider that in 2010 alone, the five top-selling biotech drugs on the market (Avastin, Rituxan, Humira, Herceptin, and Lantus) generated revenues of $31.8 billion. These five drugs are all big-pharma products (Roche, Abbott, and Sanofi), but many of the new potential blockbuster drugs are coming out of smaller, more innovative biotech outfits. Obviously, a multibillion-dollar blockbuster drug will affect the value of a small – say $200-million market-cap biotech company – a lot more than it would a $150-billion market-cap big-pharma company like Roche.It’s this potential of uncovering the next blockbuster drug from a relatively small company that makes biotech investing so enticing. But it’s a risky game. Success or failure of your trade can often hinge on one piece of news (at least in the short run). Good news equals big gains, and bad news equals big losses.Companies that aren’t yet selling any products routinely see their stocks swing up 100% or more in a single day on good news from a clinical trial or FDA approval of a drug candidate – or watch them tumble 90% if a drug fails to impress the FDA or results from a trial are anything less than glowing.For instance, on February 22, 2012, an FDA advisory panel voted 20-2 in favor of approval of Vivus’ new obesity drug, Qnexa. The drug still requires approval by the FDA itself (decision date is expected by April 17), which has rejected previous obesity drugs after panel support. But that did not stop shares of Vivus (NASDAQ.VVUS) from soaring. The stock rose from a close of $10.55 the day before the FDA panel vote to a close of $18.73 the first trading day after the vote (trading was halted on 2/22), a one-day increase of more than 77%. By February 27 (just the third trading day after the FDA panel vote), the stock was trading as high as $25.14, a full 138% above the pre-panel vote close.Vivus is not some lone anomaly, either. Just five days before the news about Qnexa, Corcept Therapeutics (NASDAQ.CORT) announced that the FDA had approved Korlym as a once-daily oral medicine to control hyperglycemia in adult patients with Cushing’s syndrome (a rare and life-threatening endocrine disorder that results from long-term exposure to excess levels of the hormone cortisol); the stock jumped 47% in one trading day, from a close of $3.03 to a close of $4.45 on the news.Then there’s Chelsea Therapeutics (NASDAQ.CHTP). On February 23, 2012, the company announced that the FDA’s Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs Advisory Committee (CRDAC) voted 7-4 to recommend approval of Northera for the treatment of neurogenic orthostatic hypotension (a condition which often causes dizziness) in people with central nervous system disorders like Parkinson’s. The stock surged on the news, climbing more than 60% in one trading day.Just to show how extreme it can get, take the example of Vanda Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ.VNDA). Vanda received FDA approval of its schizophrenia drug Fanapt on May 7, 2009, which resulted in a one-day gain for the stock of over 625%. And just four trading days after that, the stock closed at $12.96, a full 1,100% above its $1.08 close on March 6, 2009.Of course the converse is true as well. When the news is negative, early investors may find themselves holding little more than toilet paper. Take one of the same companies from above, Chelsea Therapeutics, for instance. About two weeks before the stock made a one-day gain of 50%, it suffered a one-day loss of nearly 40% on news from the company that it had received certain briefing documents from the FDA that sparked worries about Northera’s approval chances. The stock fell from a close of $4.99 on February 10, 2012 to a close of $3.11 the next day.And then there’s Orexigen Therapeutics (NASDAQ.OREX). The FDA failed to approve this company’s obesity drug, Contrave, early last year, and the stock fell more than 72% in one day, from a close of $9.09 on January 31, 2011 to a close of $2.50 on February 1.With all this in mind, I thought it might be helpful to post a list of some of the FDA decisions that are coming up in the next few months – in case you are interested in digging into these stocks more and trying to make a play based on upcoming news.[Ed. Note: The following list was checked to ensure accuracy, but it’s possible for the timing on these decisions to change going forward.]Company: MAP Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ.MAPP) Drug: Levadex Indication: Orally inhaled drug for the acute treatment of migraine in adults FDA Decision Date: March 26, 2012Company: Affymax (NASDAQ.AFFY) Drug: Peginesatide Indication: Once-monthly injection for the treatment of anemia associated with chronic kidney disease in adult patients on dialysis FDA Decision Date: March 27, 2012Company: Vivus (NASDAQ.VVUS) Drug: Qnexa Indication: Extended-release, once-daily capsule for the treatment of obesity FDA Decision Date: April 17, 2012Company: Vivus (NASDAQ.VVUS) Drug: Avanafil Indication: Orally administered, as-needed pill for the treatment of erectile dysfunction FDA Decision Date: April 29, 2012Company: Protalix BioTherapeutics (NYSE.PLX) Drug: Uplyso Indication: A plant-cell expressed recombinant form of glucocerebrosidase for the treatment of Gaucher disease FDA Decision Date: May 1, 2012Company: Talon Therapeutics (NASDAQ.TLON) Drug: Marqibo Indication: A novel targeted nanoparticle-encapsulated anti-cancer compound currently for Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and melanoma FDA Decision Date: May 13, 2012Company: Ironwood Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ.IRWD) & Forest Laboratories (NYSE.FRX) Drug: Linaclotide Indication: A guanylate cyclase type-C agonist for treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and chronic constipation FDA Decision Date: June 9, 2012Company: Amarin (NASDAQ.AMRN) Drug: AMR101 Indication: A next-generation omega-3-based triglyceride-lowering therapy FDA Decision Date: July 26, 2012Company: Onyx Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ.ONXX) Drug: Carfilzomib Indication: A next-generation proteasome inhibitor in development for the treatment of relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma FDA Decision Date: July 27, 2012While you’re certainly free to throw your hat in the ring and start picking biotech stocks willy-nilly based on what you think a particular news outcome will be, I wouldn’t recommend it. Navigating the universe of biotech is tricky, and even the professionals get creamed.The trick is to put the odds of success in your favor so your wins outnumber your losses. And if you’ll indulge a bit of unapologetic self-promotion, that’s exactly what our team at Casey Extraordinary Technology has done. Sure, we’ve been wrong before. And we’ll be wrong again in the future – but our successes far outnumber our failures. So, if you’re interested in getting to know more about biotech and seeing what companies we like in the space, then sign up for a risk-free trial of Casey Extraordinary Technology. Details here.
Dear Reader, Coal plays an integral role in keeping the lights on and buildings standing. Despite the green energy movement, more than 40% the world’s electricity still comes from coal-fired plants, and 70% of the world’s steel production requires metallurgical coal. This graphic from the World Coal Organization reviews the types of coal and what they’re used for. Japan continues to be the #2 global producer of steel. Annual production for 2013 accounted for approximately 7% of global supply, which means it’s a significant importer of metallurgical coal. Japan gets most of its thermal and met coal from Australia: 72% and 52%, respectively. Indonesia is its second-largest supplier at 13% and 27%. India ranks #3 in the world in differential between exports and imports for coal. With a population of over 1 billion, a population growth rate of over 1%, and a GDP growth rate of over 3%, its demand for power is relentless. Of measured, indicated, and inferred coal in India, 232 billion tons of its total 264 billion tons fall into the category of non-coking coal. While lignite may be used for power generation in areas with relaxed environmental policies, the ability to export coal will be limited, likely requiring India to remain a net importer. Like many of the Asia-Pacific countries, South Korea is and will continue to be heavily dependent upon energy imports. Of its total $150 billion in imports of oil, liquefied natural gas (LNG), and coal, oil represents about $110 billion and coal less than $20 billion. But thanks to the country’s growth rate, on a percentage basis coal demand has increased by 550% over the last 10 years. The latest South Korean energy policy is aimed at raising coal briquette prices, a move to slow demand that suggests a shift toward LNG as the country’s main long-term power source. The price difference between the two comes largely from proximity to final destination. The coal spot market in Asia has taken off tremendously over the past year, with 67.7 million tons traded over 2013. Major Players and Their Reserves Total global reserves are over 860 billion tons, with anthracite and bituminous coals accounting for 404 billion tons (47%). At current production rates, the world has 109 years of reserves left. Indonesia is the world’s #1 producer and exporter of thermal coal. Currently, it exports nearly 80% of its production. However, the government has put a cap on coal production for 2014, as it’s trying to put future domestic interests ahead of international trade. The current reserves-to-production ratio stands at approximately 79 years. A new Indonesian mining law introduced in 2014 banned the export of raw ore, which means all coal refining must be done domestically. The government has also stated plans to raise royalties from the 3-7% range (depending on type) to 13.5% for all coal types. Port congestion has become an issue for the exporters; wait times have increased by nearly 30% to 6.7 days, in contrast to the one- to two-day average in other Asian ports. It’s one symptom that shows how reinvestment in the country’s port infrastructure is crucial to further development of its export market. Just across the Timor Sea from Indonesia is Australia. The Land Down Under currently occupies the #2 spot of coal exporters, but it dominates the global forecast for coal production. Nearly 50% of coal reserves in Australia fall into the “hard coal” category, an advantage in coming years as environmental regulations get tougher. The Australian government has big plans over the next several years to expand infrastructure that will add 80 million tons of port capacity, as well as to ramp up 65 million tons of production capacity. In total numbers, the export forecast is 327 million tons (23%) of the world’s steam, or thermal, coal. Metallurgical coal production is expected to be 259 million tons, which will account for 54% of global met production. Russia holds the second-largest coal reserves in the world, with a reserves-to-production ratio of 443 years. Russian energy policy actually is going in the opposite direction of most of the West, by decreasing natural gas power generation and raising coal-fired generation. Additionally, the coal industry in Russia has been restructured, leading to the privatization of coal assets. All coal mining is now carried out by joint-stock companies with private ownership. There’s not a lot new to say about Colombia, the fourth-largest coal exporter in the world and the largest in South America by a considerable margin. Colombian reserves are 94% anthracite and bituminous coal and are the primary suppliers of coking coal for Brazil. In contrast, South Africa shows potential to be a hot new region for coal with the discovery of the Waterberg area play. In 2012, the state-owned rail company announced plans to build Swazilink, a railway from the Waterberg coalfield in northeastern South Africa and the port at Richards Bay that would increase export capacity along with several feeder lines. The United States, too, continues to be a major producer of coal; however, production has dropped off every year since 2007. Coal production for 2013 was down 27% to 744.8 million tons as tougher environmental regulations weakened domestic demand. Coal-fired power plants are subject to the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), scheduled to take effect on April 16, 2015. Tough domestic regulations don’t necessarily spell doom for the American coal industry as long as other countries in the world still operate coal-fired power plants. Nearly half of its reserves are the desirable anthracite and bituminous coals. Future Supply The growth forecast for total steam- and met-coal exports is 39% by 2040. Here’s a summary of expected exports by kind and country. New developments can alter the standings, however—among those just mentioned here, there’s the proposed air-quality legislation in China and Indonesia’s protectionist trend. Exports (millions of tons) 258.82 82.01 36.98 27.33 47.91 24.74 Coal Cycle Once the downtrend in coal prices approaches the minimum level a company needs to make a profit, an unpleasant conundrum arises: Should it stop producing until prices pick up, or should it increase its production to try to maintain its revenue levels? Sometimes a company has to keep up production or go bankrupt—but if consumption doesn’t keep up with production, the excess supply can put even more downward pressure on prices. The coal sector is currently in this exact situation. Major producers such as BHP, Glencore Xstrata, and the like have suspended operations due to poor economic conditions. So let’s examine the demand in the coal market. Major Coal Consumers The international coal trade is forecast to grow by 65% from 24 quadrillion BTU in 2010 to 39.6 quadrillion BTU in 2040. To put those figures in perspective, one rail car holds about 120 tons of coal, which is approximately 2.3 billion BTUs. If you were to load the 2040 global trade for coal into rail cars, strung together the cars would circle the earth over 6 times. Supply-Side Economics Like other mainstream commodities, coal has a spot price; but many trades take place off-exchange. For trades that do take place on an exchange, the two most common benchmarks are Central Appalachian coal, produced in the eastern United States, and Australian thermal coal, produced mostly in eastern Australia. China is the 800-pound gorilla in the coal market, both in reserves and in consumption. There has been considerable outrage from the Western world over the air quality in China due to the lack of environmental regulations. I can confirm firsthand that air pollution there is bad. The good news is that Beijing looks ready to pass laws to improve its air quality. The centerpiece is expected to be an import ban on low-quality coals with a caloric content of less than 3,900 kilocalories per kilogram. Such coals, like lignite, are used in lower-tech power plants. China recently surpassed Japan as the largest importer of coal, even with Japan’s post-Fukushima scramble to replace the electricity that its nuclear power plants used to produce. Tokyo Gas, Japan’s largest municipal natural gas utility, said it has “strong interest” in building new coal-fired plants in order to diversify energy supply—a nice bump for coal demand in the country. Country Australia United States South Africa Eurasia Canada Indonesia The Long and Short of It When a company uses the abbreviation “t,” remember that this refers to the metric ton, also known as the long ton. Standard engineering reports designate these as tonnes, but all the terms mean 1,000 kilograms, or 2,204 pounds. It’s the short ton that equals 2,000 pounds. So when comparing production, for instance—most often between US and non-US companies—be sure your apples are lined up against apples, not oranges. We have the one company that is best positioned to return significant returns to shareholders. In fact, our existing subscribers are sitting on profits with this company, and we think it’s only going to get better, even when other coal companies are going bankrupt. If you want to read more details about this winner and get our ongoing guidance on this and many other blockbuster energy companies, consider trying my monthly newsletter, the Casey Energy Report risk-free for 3 months. You have nothing to lose: if you aren’t 100% satisfied—for whatever reason—simply cancel within those 3 months for a full and prompt refund. Even if you cancel any time after the 3 months are up, you’ll still receive a prorated refund on the rest of your subscription. I’m so confident that you’ll find the Casey Energy Report to be a great value for the price that I have no problem giving out a 3-month test drive. If for whatever reason you don’t like it, no worries: you get 100% of your money back. If you like it and make money, I know you’ll stay a happy subscriber. You deserve to be rich, and if you want to learn about energy, the Casey Energy Report is the best place to start. Click here to get started today. Region Australia United States South Africa Eurasia S. America Indonesia Exports (millions of tons) 327.2 95.5 122 137.8 224.7 531.2 Given a specific amount of resource, you might wonder how much of it is actually being produced. A common metric that reveals the number of years left at current production rates is the reserves-to-production ratio—a country’s total proven and probable reserves divided by its annual production. It’s not just the quantity, but the kind of coal that matters. Calories quantify the amount of heat produced by complete combustion of the material—in effect, the amount of energy the material contains. In the case of coal, caloric level represents its quality, ash and moisture content, and its hardness. A major reason why anthracite and bituminous coals are more valuable resources is their high caloric content. The following chart combines these two characteristics per country.
Tuscaloosa Police Department’s internal affairs division is investigating after a Tuscaloosa police officer grabbed a woman smoking in Bryant Denny Stadium and dragged her from her seat.Video of the incident surfaced on college football websites Sunday and quickly spread via social media. The video appears to have been shot during Saturday’s game between SEC rivals Alabama and LSU.The video shows a police officer work his way through a row of red seats in a crowded section of the stands towards a woman wearing a houndstooth coat smoking a cigarette. The officer leans in and says something to the woman which cannot be heard. Her response is also unintelligible, but she pushes the cigarette toward the officer’s face. The officer leans back and shrugs then promptly grabs one of the woman’s wrists and drags her from her seat. The woman yelps and seems to go limp. The officer then uses both hands to grip her upper arms and hoist her up enough to begin dragging her down the row of sets as the video ends.Tuscaloosa Police have not revealed the officer’s name, or the woman removed from her seat. Police have not confirmed if the woman was arrested or what she was charged with – if anything. When asked for details Monday, Lt. Teena Richardson said she could not provide any information due to an internal affairs investigation.
LONDON, ENGLAND – Nick Kyrgios was the talk of the tennis world on July 1, after the wild card Wimbledon entry, ranked 144th in the world, beat the player 143 slots ahead of him on the list, top-ranked Rafael Nadal, to advance to tennis’ most celebrated tournament’s quarterfinals.The 19 year-old Greek-Australian captivated fans around the world – not least of all Greek ones – with his magnificent serve and daring play.But on Wednesday, Kyrgios’ rocketship landed back on earth, as he lost to 8th-seeded Milos Raonic of Canada in four sets.No matter, though, as Kyrgios’ unlikely upset of Nadal catapults him out of obscurity and forever embeds him with Nadal – already one of tennis’ all-time greats. When the next rankings emerge, Kyrgios is sure to have made giant leaps forward – regardless of whether his win against the top-ranked Spaniard on Tuesday was a fluke, or whether Kyrgios will now emerge as a force to be reckoned with for a long time to come. TweetPinShare0 Shares
By: Lisa Rathke, Associated PressTweetPinShare11 Shares BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — An 84-year-old pole vaulter isn’t putting her pole down anytime soon.Flo Filion Meiler left Thursday for the World Masters Athletics Championship Indoor in Poland, where she’ll compete in events including the long jump, 60-meter hurdles, 800-meter run, pentathlon and pole vault, for which she’s the shoo-in.The petite, energetic woman from Shelburne, Vermont, said she feels more like 70 than nearly 85.“But you know, I do train five days a week. And when I found out I was going to compete at the worlds, I’ve been training six days a week because I knew I would really get my body in shape,” she said last week, after track and field training at the University of Vermont.But she literally won’t have any competition in the pole vault in the championships, which runs March 24-31 in Torun, Poland. She is the only one registered in her age group, 80-84, for the sport, for which she set a world record at age 80. In the men’s pole vault, nine men are listed as competing in that age group.Meiler said she the events she likes the best are the hurdles and the pole vault — one of the more daring track and field events, in which competitors run while carrying a fiberglass or composite pole, brace it against the ground to launch themselves over a high bar, and land on a mat.“You really have to work at that,” she said. “You have to have the upper core and you have to have timing, and I just love it because it’s challenging.”Meiler is used to hard work. She grew up on a dairy farm, where she helped her father with the chores, feeding the cattle and raking hay. In school, she did well at basketball, took tap and ballroom dancing, and, living near Lake Champlain, she water skied.Meiler, who worked for 30 years as a sales representative for Herbalife nutritional supplements, and her husband, Eugene, who was a military pilot and then became a financial analyst, together competed in water skiing.“Many times when I did water ski competition I was the only gal in my age group,” she said.She’s a relative newcomer to pole vaulting and track and field, overall. At age 60, she was competing in doubles tennis with her husband in a qualifying year at the Vermont Senior Games when a friend encouraged her to try the long jump because competitors were needed.“That was the beginning of my track career,” she said, standing in a room of her home, surrounded by hundreds of hanging medals. She took up pole vaulting at 65.Athletics has helped her though some hard times, she said. She and her husband adopted three children after losing two premature biological babies and a 3-year-old. Two years ago, their son died at age 51.And she desperately misses her training partner, a woman who started having health problems about five years ago and can no longer train. It’s tough to train alone, she said, and she hopes to find a new partner.“She’s incredibly serious about what she does,” said Meiler’s coach, Emmaline Berg. “She comes in early to make sure she’s warmed up enough. She goes home and stretches a lot. So she pretty much structures her entire life around being a fantastic athlete, which is remarkable at any age, let alone hers.”And it has paid off, said Berg, an assistant track coach at Vermont.Berg herself first started following Meiler 10 years ago while she was a student at New Hampshire’s Dartmouth College, watching her at the annual Dartmouth Relays.“She was like a local celebrity,” she said.Setting a record at age 80 with a 6-foot (1.8-meter) pole vault at the USA Track and Field Adirondack Championships in Albany, New York, while her husband watched, Meiler said, was one of her happiest days.“I was screaming, I was so happy,” she said.The overall world record for women’s pole vaulting is 16.6 feet (5.6 meters), according to the International Association of Athletics Federations.Meiler turns 85 in June, when she’ll head to the National Senior Games in New Mexico.That will put her in a new age group, in which she hopes to set even more records.Meiler’s athletic achievements are remarkable and something to be celebrated, said Dr. Michael LaMantia, director of the University of Vermont Center on Aging.Pole vaulting clearly isn’t for everyone of her age, but in general, activity should be, LaMantia said.“She can serve as a role model for other seniors,” he said.
In a windowless classroom at the John J. Moran medium-security prison in Cranston, R.I., three men sit around a table to share how and when they began using opioids.For Josh, now 39, it was when he was just 13 years old. “I got grounded for a week in my house, so I grabbed a bundle of heroin and just sat inside and sniffed it all week.””I started using heroin at 19,” says Ray, now 23. “I was shooting it. It was with a group of friends that I was working with, doing roof work.””At 26 years old, I experimented with heroin,” says Kevin, 50. “I wasn’t the person that I wanted to be. Once I put that in my system, I felt like this is what I’m supposed to do and this is what I’m supposed to feel like.”This group therapy session is part of a $2 million program the Rhode Island Department of Corrections launched in 2016. These men are all serving prison sentences for crimes driven by their drug addiction — including robbery, shoplifting and possession of controlled substances. NPR agreed to only use their first names so they could speak frankly about illegal behavior.They are among the approximately 275 inmates and pretrial detainees getting medication-assisted treatment behind bars.The program is central to Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo’s strategy to reduce opioid overdose deaths in the state. Today, Rhode Island remains the only state to screen every individual who comes into the correctional system for opioid use disorder, and to offer, along with drug counseling, all three types of drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat addiction — methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone.While prisons have long offered medication-assisted treatment to small subsets of inmates, such as pregnant women, many prisons in the U.S. do not offer it at all, despite the fact that it’s considered by physicians to be the most effective treatment for opioid addiction.The criminal justice reform bill currently before Congress would require the Federal Bureau of Prisons to assess its capacity to provide medication-assisted treatment to inmates who are dependent on opioids, and to draw up plans to expand access to medically aided treatment “where appropriate.” But the bill leaves open who would determine when and where the medication is appropriate.”It’s just ludicrous that we have a whole population of people who are by and large incarcerated because of their disease, and we have an effective medication treatment for the disease and we don’t give it to them,” says Dr. Josiah Rich, director of the Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights at the Miriam Hospital in Providence.Rich was one of the experts tapped by Raimondo to identify where best to direct resources to bring down the state’s overdose deaths. He made the case for a prison program, given the high death rate among people recently incarcerated.”This is a population of the most severely impacted, the most advanced stages of opioid use disorder — the people who have taken the greatest risks and gotten caught up in the system,” Rich says. While in prison, the inmates’ opioid use usually ends, and so does their ability to tolerate high doses of the drugs without overdosing.”Then you get released into a very stressful situation with a lot of triggers, and you typically relapse,” Rich says. “And if you relapse back to the same level you were using, you’re set up for overdose and death.”This is what drove the Rhode Island Department of Corrections to offer medication-assisted treatment not just to people coming into prison, but also to those who began serving their sentences before the program existed. Eight to 12 weeks before their release, inmates with histories of addiction are offered methadone, buprenorphine or naltrexone to ease their transition back to society, beginning with very low doses.”Even if somebody has not used in many years, they may still have changes in their brain,” says Dr. Jennifer Clarke, the Department of Corrections medical programs director. “The cravings are always going to be there. So, if somebody’s going back to the same old neighborhood, chances are they’re going to be exposed to the same people as when they were using drugs.”So, providing the medication before someone gets out really helps to prevent a relapse,” Clarke says.The possibility of relapse is top of mind for the men in group therapy. They have friends who have overdosed and died after serving time.Kevin has just a few weeks left in his sentence, one of many that he’s served in his adult life. “It feels good, but I’m nervous. I always get nervous,” he says. “As soon as I walk out the gates — my feet, when they hit the pavement outside of here, I have to get busy immediately.””You worry about the drug aspect once you hit the street,” says Josh who has also served multiple sentences for drug-related crimes. “Many times, I’ve gone out of here and overdosed repeatedly. Not on purpose, just accidentally, trying to hide from the pain, hide from myself.”This time, Josh says, the treatment program has given him a way to focus on a different way out.”I still have to fight the other drugs,” he says. “But at least I have something to help with one of the ones that’s brought me closer to death than anything else.”The program inside the prison is run by CODAC, a behavioral healthcare organization that also runs substance abuse treatment programs outside the prison, with locations across Rhode Island. Prisoners who enter the program remain clients when they exit prison, with treatment outside typically paid for by Medicaid. Discharge planners from CODAC help the inmates get organized for that transition.”I already have counseling appointments lined up, doctors appointments lined up,” says Ray, who is scheduled to be released in December. In prison, he’s been taking buprenorphine, which he’ll continue the day he gets out. “I really don’t want to use heroin again.”Early reports from the program are promising. In a study published in JAMA Psychiatry last spring, researchers found that overdose deaths among people who had recently been imprisoned dropped sharply in the first six months of 2017 as compared to the same period the year before — nine deaths, compared to 26.Researchers continue to track outcomes and are interviewing inmates and correctional staff to learn more about how well the program is functioning.There have been hurdles to overcome, says Lauranne Howard, substance abuse coordinator for the Department of Corrections, starting with resistance from security staff about the use of buprenorphine in the program. Buprenorphine itself is an opioid, though less potent than street drugs in many of its effects, and sometimes ends up sold or given to people outside its intended use.”The reaction was, why are you going to bring in a medication that we’re working real hard to keep out? And that’s a legitimate concern,” Howard says.In response, the program has made some changes. CODAC’s Leslie Barber, who directs the prison program and runs the group therapy sessions, says they launched the program using buprenorphine pills, which take awhile to dissolve.”We compromised by switching to the films which, although more expensive, dissolve quicker,” she says. CODAC says the buprenorphine pills cost approximately $4 each, while the films cost approximately $8 each.A number of other states have taken notice and sent corrections officials to Rhode Island to learn from their experiences. Clarke points out that Rhode Island has the advantage of being a small state with a combined jail and prison system, so that everyone who is incarcerated comes to the same campus.”Places like Rikers Island [in New York City] have all three types of medication for opiate use disorder, but they can’t start people who might have a prison sentence, because they’re going to be sent to a different facility, and they don’t have the same opportunities to continue treatment that we have,” Clarke says.Patricia Coyne-Fague, acting director of corrections for Rhode Island, recognizes that even with this program, people will stumble and make mistakes — even end up reincarcerated. Still, she defends the $2 million annual expenditure with the argument that the program saves lives.”Sometimes there can be a negative attitude about whose lives we are saving,” she says. “But everybody belongs to somebody. And so, while they may have committed a crime and deserve to be incarcerated, they’re still human beings. And if we can keep people from dying, that’s a good thing.” Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
Foxconn products on display at Waukesha County Technical College.Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:12 pmWhen Paul Farrow was elected Waukesha County executive, he said his goal would be to make the county the epicenter of economic growth in southeastern Wisconsin.Foxconn Technology Group’s plans for a $10 billion, 22-million-square-foot LCD panel manufacturing campus in Mount Pleasant may have shifted the center of gravity when it comes to economic development in the Milwaukee 7 region, but Farrow isn’t backing away from the ideas behind his original goal.“We’re embracing it,” Farrow said of Foxconn. “You look at a lot of different times in a community and very rarely will you get a game-changing, future-altering opportunity like we have with Foxconn.” Foxconn products on display at Waukesha County Technical College. Foxconn products on display at Waukesha County Technical College. Foxconn products on display at Waukesha County Technical College.Foxconn’s projections call for $1.4 billion in supply chain spending within the state once its plant is fully operational, and Waukesha County leaders believe they’re well-positioned to benefit.“We’ve already met with companies that are potential suppliers,” said Suzanne Kelley, president and chief executive officer of the Waukesha County Business Alliance. Those meetings also included representatives from Milwaukee 7 and Foxconn.Farrow said even though the company’s campus will be in Racine County, he expects it will draw heavily on businesses in a 50- to 75-mile radius of the plant.“There are a lot of components that we don’t even know what they need,” he said of Foxconn.Piecing together the Foxconn supply chain has provided challenges as the company looks to bring a new industry to the United States. State officials have said as many as 150 companies could follow Foxconn to the U.S., but few details have emerged about what those businesses do.For companies that are already here, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. has established a Supply Chain Marketplace where companies can submit information about their offerings. The agency also created the position of “business and investment attraction director” to work with the company on supply chain issues. Jela Trask, who now holds the new position, acknowledged at the Manufacturing Matters conference in Milwaukee in March that submitting information to the marketplace can feel like a bit of a black hole, but added it’s the best way for businesses to get on Foxconn’s radar.M+W|Gilbane, the general contractor for construction of the Foxconn project, spent much of April holding information sessions to explain bidding procedures for the project. Tim Casey, director of Waukesha County Center for Growth Inc., said he’s expecting similar meetings to take place when the time is right for supply chain opportunities.“That’s going to be a phenomenal chunk of business,” he said of the projected $1.4 billion in spending.Even before construction or operations get underway, a number of Waukesha County businesses have realized opportunities from Foxconn. Todd Taves, a senior municipal advisor in the Pewaukee office of Ehlers & Associates Inc., worked with Mount Pleasant on the local incentive package. Pewaukee-based Ruekert & Mielke Inc. is working with the City of Racine on engineering the Lake Michigan water supply for the plant. Brookfield-based R.A. Smith Inc. even decided to open a Mount Pleasant office, citing existing relationships in the area and anticipated future growth.“We’ve been talking about an office down there for probably five years,” Rick Smith, chief executive officer of R.A. Smith, told BizTimes earlier this year.Smith said the civil engineering firm works with seven municipalities in the area and it just made sense with Foxconn’s arrival.Even Waukesha Water Utility officials are working with Racine officials to coordinate needs for water supply pipes. Waukesha is planning to build a supply line from Milwaukee, and Racine could be extending supply to the Foxconn plant.Farrow’s original plan for Waukesha County’s growth emphasized helping companies already in the county grow, and he said that’s where the focus will remain.“A lot of what’s happening right now is growth from companies that are already here,” he said. His plans called for the establishment of a county economic development entity, collaboration with municipalities and the creation of a collaborative fund to help finance projects. The first two tasks have been accomplished with the Center for Growth, and Farrow is hopeful the fund will be established soon.“He’s knocked it out of the water,” Farrow said of Casey.Still, Farrow acknowledged there might be changes coming to Waukesha County, particularly when it comes to housing density. He said there’s a need for smaller homes on smaller lots to offer younger residents an entry point and there’s also a need for housing options for empty nesters.“I want to keep them engaged,” he said of the county’s retired community, arguing they can offer a knowledge base for entrepreneurs in the area.Kelley acknowledged the arrival of Foxconn has some businesses worried about finding employees, which is already a challenge with unemployment rates well below 3 percent in Waukesha County.“We also believe Foxconn will be a talent magnet to the state,” she said.Farrow said Foxconn’s decision to locate in southeastern Wisconsin highlights the region’s capabilities in advanced manufacturing and businesses, particularly those involved in automation, are already seeing a bump in interest.“I think we’re going to see a lot of people moving here,” he said.In addition to embracing different housing densities, Farrow said transportation and education changes can help address workforce challenges.On transportation, he says he favors flexible options like Uber or the sharing of autonomous vehicles over fixed-route options.“We know there’s a huge regional challenge on (transportation),” he said.Farrow also praised the K-12 educational system for engaging with business.“They’re really starting to realize they can get kids interested in what their career might be,” he said. 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