INSPORTS in limbo

first_imgThe Institute of Sports (INSPORTS) has found itself in a bind as the role of the administrative director, Ian Andrews, particularly as it relates to signing powers, has not been restored – as mandated – by the board of directors, which is led by Don Anderson.As a result, staff and creditors of the government-run agency are being significantly impacted as health benefits and personal deductions for staff, which have been signed by Andrews, are not being co-signed by Anderson or any other board member.Also, some creditors who have rendered services in various sports development programmes carried out by the government organisation cannot be paid, as Anderson refuses to co-sign the cheques with the administrative director.And only last week, one creditor, Edward Cooke, filed for compensation by the agency through his lawyer, for monies ($619,000) owed by INSPORTS.The issue is long-running, since September last year when Andrews was sent on administrative leave and his signing powers revoked by the board, following appraisal by the Auditor General’s Department.The Jamaica Civil Service Association (JCSA), which mediates on behalf of government workers, intervened and cited discrepancies in the removal, noting that it was unconstitutional.It said the decision to send Andrews on administrative leave was not in line with public-sector leave protocol and instructed Andrews to remain in his job as the board acted irrational and without foundation.The JCSA also insisted that Andrews’ signing powers be restored and even warned against the current dilemma facing the Institute, as a result of the administrative director’s signing restrictions.”This goes against proper governance … and will impair the smooth running of operations,” a portion of the letter from the bargaining unit shared.Further, it said because the bank had already accepted on the board’s request to relieve Andrews of signing power, it called on Anderson to make the corrective changes with the bank to restore such privileges.Since then, the Ministry of Finance and the permanent secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister have instructed Anderson to restore the signing powers of the administrative director. However, he has refused.The request was first made at a meeting between representatives of government ministries, the INSPORTS board and Andrews.In a letter to Anderson dated November 9, 2015, Alison McLean, chief technical director, Ministry of Finance, called for the expedition of the removal of the administrative leave and that “any consequential arrangements that were predicated on that instruction be rescinded from the date of the correspondence as agreed in the October 6, 2015 meeting”.A second letter to Anderson, dated November 18, 2015, from Elaine Foster-Allen, permanent secretary attached to the OPM, instructed: “Following our conversation this morning (Foster-Allen-Anderson), I write to confirm that the directives issued in relation to the administrative leave of administrative director Ian Andrews, which has been withdrawn, also indicated that his authority to sign on behalf of the Institute of Sports has been restored.”Please be kind enough to indicate that this has been done.”When The Gleaner asked Anderson about his refusal to follow the directives, he gave no clear answer.”That is a redundant question (why Andrews’ signing power is not restored). When you spoke to me last week I told you exactly what the position was … The thing about it is that I have answered this question already, unless you are trying to stoke up something else,” he said.”Talk to me in a few days time and all will be clear, hopefully. But I have to be sensible about my response, so later on we will talk,” he promised.last_img read more

Arnold signs bill to add 50,000 prison beds

first_img The governor also said the plan contains provisions that will help prisoners break a cycle in which 70 percent of ex-convicts return to prison after committing further crimes or parole violations. California’s recidivism rate, one of the highest in the nation, is one reason the prison system is chronically overcrowded. The plan signals “a monumental shift in how we manage prisons in California,” Schwarzenegger said during Thursday’s bill-signing ceremony. “In the critical few months before an inmate is released, our re-entry facilities will focus on job training and placement, on education, on anger management, substance abuse and family counseling and housing placement,” he said. Critics said the plan, as ambitious as it seems, doesn’t go nearly far enough. The $50 million it adds for rehabilitation programs is merely “a drop in the bucket,” said Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles, one of the Legislature’s experts on corrections issues. “The bill that was passed was a prop that the governor asked for so he can walk into court and look like he’s tough on crime,” Romero said Thursday in a telephone interview. “The bill that the Legislature sent him was a fig leaf so he doesn’t walk into court naked.” Romero and other advocates of prison reform say the bill also should have dealt with sentencing reform and required a review of California’s convoluted criminal code. Schwarzenegger said he remains open to creating a sentencing commission, making parole changes and shifting 4,500 female inmates to community programs. Prison-reform advocates have sought such changes for years. The state’s prison population has ballooned to more than 172,000, crowded into 33 prisons designed to hold about 100,000 inmates. Many of them sleep in converted gyms or hallways. Lawyers who are suing the state and lawmakers pushing to change the sentencing laws said the plan that Schwarzenegger signed into law makes no fundamental changes to California’s corrections system. Instead, it authorizes one of the largest prison and jail construction booms in state history. Faced threat Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders were driven to a compromise last week by threats from three federal judges to act on prison overcrowding if California doesn’t act on its own. Lawmakers said they wanted to avoid the potential for the early release of thousands of inmates or the prospect of a ripple effect in county jails holding convicts after they are sentenced to state prison. To relieve crowding in the short term, the administration will ship 8,000 inmates to private prisons in other states, although that plan faces its own legal challenge. Corrections Secretary James Tilton said screening of inmates will begin immediately under the new law takes effect. Under the legislative compromise, the state will create a new class of smaller prisons in which inmates nearing release will learn skills and get treatment for drug and mental-health problems. Parole violators also will go to those regional prisons instead of being sent back to the state’s traditional prisons. The state will build 16,000 beds at the re-entry centers and another 16,000 in new cellblocks at existing prisons. In turn, those beds will free up space for rehabilitation programs, Tilton said.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SACRAMENTO – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday signed a sweeping prison-reform plan that adds more than 50,000 new beds to an overcrowded system, even as key lawmakers and prison experts warned that it fails to solve the most pressing long-term problems. Lawmakers reached the $7.8 billion deal last week in the hope of satisfying federal judges who have threatened to release inmates early if California failed to address its severe overcrowding. Schwarzenegger said the bipartisan plan should go a long way toward addressing the judges’ concerns. He said the addition of 53,000 state prison and county jail beds represents the biggest building commitment to California’s corrections system in a generation. Breaking the cycle last_img read more

Lyell’s Slow-and-Gradual Geology Is No Longer Tenable

first_imgby Dr Jerry Bergman The latest study published in the journal titled American Scientist is an article titled “Reexamining Lyell’s Laws” by New York Professor Michael Rampino. The article opines that “Increasing evidence points to the role of periodic catastrophes in the shaping [of] Earth’s history, challenging long-standing dogma within geology.”[i] The long-standing dogma is uniformitarianism, the idea that changes in the earth during geological history have resulted primarily from the action of slow, continuous and uniform processes. Furthermore, present geological changes have been considered the key to past geological changes. This perception contrasts with the theory that changes in the earth’s crust during geological history have resulted chiefly from rapid, violent and non-uniform events, such as floods.In short, the two views would explain the formation of the Grand Canyon by a little water over a very long period of time (uniformitarianism) or a lot of water in a short period of time (catastrophism). Darwin relied heavily on uniformitarianism in developing his theory of evolution because he realized for it to be viable requires an enormous amount of time to evolve life from simple organisms, such as bacteria, to complex organisms, such as humans.A book titled Principles of Geology by British lawyer-turned-geologist named Charles Lyell (1797-1875) postulated that the earth was shaped by very long period of slow, gradual changes. Principles of Geology was the most influential geological book in the middle of the 19th century. Lyle’s book was one of the few books that Darwin had with him on his 5-year-long voyage on the HMS Beagle. He studied the book carefully on his travels around the world and it turned out to be critical in his theory of evolution because it gave him the needed time for evolution to occur.The very foundation of Darwin’s theory was built on sand.Although uniformitarianism has dominated geology since the middle 1800s, in the past few decades it has been increasingly questioned by researchers. In his article, Rampino straight out stated that the scientific “evidence shows that Lyell was fundamentally wrong. Catastrophes indeed caused many major changes that we see in the geological record.”[ii] Thus, the very foundation of Darwin’s theory was built on sand. Rampino added that “Lyell mocked the idea that catastrophic changes had occurred in Earth’s history, and he railed against the zealous geological catastrophists” who studied the major effects of the geological forces that we regularly observe today, such as earthquakes, volcanoes, comets and meteorites.[iii]In spite of the overwhelming evidence against Lyell’s thesis, why was it accepted by so many geologists for so long? Rampino concludes the reason why it was widely accepted was because Lyell’s Principles of Geology was “a tight a priori argument” and its conclusions “seemed unassailable” in arguing a worldview that “proved to be extremely effective in the court of scientific opinion.”[iv]  Today it is recognized that uniformitarianism accounts for much geological history but that catastrophism accounts for a very significant portion of that history. Unfortunately, today “some geologists are still reluctant to appeal to catastrophic events, even when the geological evidence points that way.”[v] Such is the effect of dogma in science.[i] Michael Rampino. 2017. Reexamining Lyell’s Laws. American Scientist. 105(4):224-231. July-August.[ii] Rampino. 2017. p. 226[iii] Rampino. 2017. pp. 224-225.[iv] Rampino. 2017. p. 225.[v] Rampino. 2017. p. 231“…knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished.“ (II Peter 3:3-6)Dr Jerry Bergman, professor, author and speaker, is a frequent contributor to Creation-Evolution Headlines. For his previous entries, see his Author Profile.Dr Bergman’s latest book with Frank Sherwin, Fossil Forensics: Separating Fact from Fantasy in Paleontology, is due out later this year.(Visited 761 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Equine opine

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Uuuugh…horses. I have a daughter who enjoys occasional horse rides, but she has an aunt with horses (which is just fine with me). Yes, I can see and understand the appeal. Horses are beautiful, graceful, powerful and really nice to observe grazing in pastures from afar — as long as those are not my pastures and I am not paying for their feed/veterinary/tack/saddle/etc./etc./etc. bills. In my estimation, horses are sort of like the boats of the animal world — they are kind of fun as long as they are owned, cared for and maintained by someone else.Despite numerous equine challenges, though, there really is something special about pairing young people with animals and in some cases horses are the perfect fit. And, when horses and young people are combined with some caring expertise (along with ample funding and many hours of hard work) some really amazing things can happen.Such is the case with Riders Unlimited, Inc. in Oak Harbor where the therapeutic benefits of horses are harnessed for individuals at least four years old who have been diagnosed with a disability and referred by their physician to participate. Some of the disabilities that benefit from Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT) are Attention Deficit Disorder, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, CVA/stroke, developmental disabilities, hearing and visual impairments, learning disabilities, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, seizure disorders, sensory integration, Spina Bifida, and traumatic brain injuries.“A lot of what we do is using the physical movement of the horse to imitate the movement of a human being. We are able to increase or decrease muscle tone and increase range of motion through all of their joints through the movement of the horse,” said Rebekah Recker, Riders Unlimited CEO and instructor. “They are learning to direct a 1,000-pound animal. How amazing is that?”The benefits of working with the horses allows Recker and the more than 40 Rider Unlimited volunteers to really impact the lives of the young people who participate.“For our clients who spend most of their day in a wheelchair, this is the first time they actually get to look down at someone. The rest of the time they are craning their necks up. That is a huge self-esteem booster. It is therapy but they don’t know they are getting it,” Recker said. “We teach them to use both sides of their bodies. They have to twist their whole bodies and then we turn around and use the other side of their bodies. We try to loosen them and try to stretch muscles a certain way. We also work on life skills like speech and language and educational goals. Sometimes we use analogies like how cleaning a stall is like cleaning a bedroom.”Riders Unlimited was created in 1996 and the 10-acre facility features a full indoor riding arena and stalls for 20 horses. Recker is the only full-time staff. The kindness of donors and sponsors is critical for Riders Unlimited.“There is a huge need for sponsors to help cover the costs. For example, we have a sponsor who donates all of our hay.” Recker said. “We cannot bill insurance for our services.”Riding horses makes for excellent therapy because it adds a strengthening element while also helping to motivate patients to undergo treatments. Horses exhibit social and responsive behaviors similar to humans, which makes it easy for clients to connect with them, Recker said.Spending time working with horses also provides opportunities for Riders Unlimited clients to learn about trust, respect, honesty, and communication. Because horses use mostly non-vocal communication and are in-tune with human behavior, participants learn to better understand how non-verbal communication might be influencing others in their lives. In addition, horses require people to be aware of their surroundings at all times and that heightened awareness is important in order to reveal patterns of behavior and helps participants think in a new way, Recker said.Mary Stricker’s son has been riding for 16 years since he was 11 and the benefits of his time spent at Riders Unlimited have been life changing.“It is what he looks forward to all week. He gets home from work on his riding days and gets his boots and helmet ready and sits and watches the clock until it is time to leave. He doesn’t know how to tell time, but he knows when the hands are a certain way that it is time to ride. He doesn’t know the days of the week but he knows the day he will be riding. It is his hobby,” she said. “Before he had the horseback riding he would just come home and sit. Now he has toy horses and horse posters in his room. He just loves horses.”Fair season is almost here and, more than most, the readers of this publication understand how valuable working with livestock can be for young people. There is incredible value in time spent working in the barn with animals — even when the dollars and cents don’t quite add up. For some of the visitors, Riders Unlimited offers a rare chance at finding a connection with animals in a truly meaningful way. And in the right setting, horses have the unique gift of bringing smiles to some young people who may not have all that much to smile about otherwise.There are plenty of people who really love horses. I am not one of them. But their incredible value for these young people can even make a hard-hearted-horse-hater like myself rethink things a bit — an equine opine definitely worth some consideration.Dale Minyo stopped by Riders Unlimited last winter. For much more from his visit go to and search for “Riders Unlimited.”The Grand Champion Market Turkey was exhibited by Milan Pozderac of Knox County and sold to Ohio Harness Horseman’s Association, Cooper Farms and Kale Marketing for $15,000.Riders Unlimited, Inc. in Oak Harbor uses the therapeutic benefits of horses to benefit individuals at least four years old who have been diagnosed with a disability and referred by their physician to participate.last_img read more