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first_imgSMSDALBANY – New York State’s Teachers Union is calling for a waiver of testing mandates amid the novel Coronavirus outbreak.The teachers are asking U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to waive state testing mandates for children in grades 3-8 for the rest of this school year and the duration of the coronavirus pandemic as New York schools are shut down to help stem the spread of the virus.“This is not the time to create more stress for our kids,” NYSUT President Andy Pallotta said in a statement Wednesday. “It is critical that the federal government step up now and waive mandated state testing for all kids for the rest of this school year and the duration of this crisis.”NYSUT says they’ve been working with the state Education Department and state Board of Regents to ensure that the federal government waives testing mandates and that no school is penalized. The union believes that even if schools do re-open in several weeks, students would have dramatically less preparation time for the tests, putting them at a significant disadvantage and radically skewing the results. Even worse, considering the pervasive unease and uncertainty that this global pandemic has created, it simply isn’t fair or prudent to create more stress and anxiety for our students, NYSUT says.NYSUT is urging its members to contact DeVos and the U.S. Department of Education to tell them to waive mandated testing for the rest of this school year and the duration of this crisis. Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more

first_imgPuerto Rico Oversight Board’s Announcement Promoting Four Infrastructure Projects is ‘Fiscally Irresponsible’ FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bond Buyer: The Puerto Rico Oversight Board said it was focusing on four key energy projects for expedited permitting as the island looks to restore its economy and infrastructure.“Hurricanes Irma and Maria have demonstrated beyond any doubt Puerto Rico’s dire need to revamp and upgrade its electrical energy infrastructure,” said the board’s revitalization coordinator Noel Zamot. “We must do it quickly. That’s part of the reason why this first generation of projects to be advanced through PROMESA’s Title V Critical Projects Process all address energy issues.“We will be considering other types of infrastructure projects also, but right now the Oversight Board’s focus is on projects that can deliver energy solutions quickly,” Zamot said.Title V of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act allows a revitalization coordinator to use expedited permitting to advance major projects.The four projects would involve $1.47 billion in investment, nearly all from the private sector. The board estimates that the projects would create more than 8,200 direct and indirect jobs.The board is seeking comments on the projects by 5 p.m. on Feb. 6 on the web site, https://cpp.juntasupervision.pr.gov. All comments will be made public.The four projects open to comment are:A wind energy project called Parque Eólico del Norte (North Wind Park) designed to generate 19.8 megawatts an hour, store energy in a battery system and transfer electricity to a nearby industrial sector. New Era Eolic LLC plans to build the wind park in Vega Baja with $36 million in private investment and $11.5 million in federal funds. The developers say the project would take 18 months. A solid waste energy production site from Energy Answers International. The Arecibo Resource Recovery Facility would create a net 70 MW/hour. This would be built over 42 months with $860 million of private investment. During construction 7,000 direct, indirect, and induced jobs would be created. After construction there would be 750 direct, indirect, and induced full-time jobs.A project to reduce energy, water consumption, and other utility costs at the Government Unit Buildings at the Bayamón and Ponce Correctional Institutional Complexes. NORESCO would complete the project in 24 months. It estimates that $25 million in private funds and $262,000 in public funds would be involved.Steps to provide energy generation back-up and energy reserve goods and services to the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority. ARG Precision Corp., PW Power Systems, and Bostonia Partners propose to work together to allow for dual fuel capability at seven PREPA power generators. They expect that the project could be completed in 18 months with $538 million in private investmentThe choices came under fire from Tom Sanzillo, director of finance at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.He said the choices are inconsistent with Puerto Rico Energy Commission’s Integrated Resource Plan, which doesn’t include a garbage incinerator.Sanzillo said the key issue in deciding energy projects would be a grasp of projected demand and the board doesn’t have a demand study.The proposals were irresponsible as a regulatory action, he said. The board is supposed to support the island’s energy commission but, instead, the board supported these projects without consulting the commission.Sanzillo said the proposals were fiscally irresponsible. He said in nearly 30 years work in public sector work he never saw a garbage incinerator make budget.He said the solid waste plan was a “non-starter” environmentally.He said the corrections facility project might have some value.“Without proper vetting – and I do not mean a comment period – I mean discovery and cross examination – this looks like the board has bought a series of sales pitches from developers,” Sanzillo said. The projects aren’t “a way to change Puerto Rico for the better,” he said. “I am deeply troubled by the board’s actions.”More ($):Puerto Rico board picks four energy projects as infrastructure prioritieslast_img read more

first_imgA few years ago, Charley was the one to really sit with me at Gorilla (of the Green River Narrows) and meticulously pick apart and explain the line through that beast. I felt so inspired that I ended up running Gorilla for my first time that day! (Thanks again, Charley!) And here he was, the first time I’ve seen him since, excited to show me down Raven Fork for my first time.I was beyond happy to have him there. I had met Paul during our hike out from our previous attempt but did not yet know Clay or Andy. The whole crew was more than patient with Sean and I as we hopped out of our boats to scout pretty much everything. They were extremely encouraging, and because they were willing to take the time to pick apart the rapids and explain the lines, Sean and I were able to complete our personal first descents of the Raven Fork.What a day! The rapids lived up to every little bit of their reputation. There were fast slides, tight slots, boofs, intricate maneuvers, combinations of all of the above stringed one after another and pretty much anything you could really ask for from a one mile stretch of river. We had perfect sunshine and one of the first warm days of the year. The stars aligned for an absolutely perfect day. We spent the rest of our break resting, recovering and getting skunked on the Narrows – not quite the full action packed week we had imagined, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything! It’s Friday afternoon, but not just any Friday afternoon… It’s the start of my last ever Spring Break. While most of my peers have plans to swarm the beaches of Panama City, Florida, my friends and I have a very different intent. We are going to venture north into the mountains in anticipation of a full week of action packed, world-class whitewater kayaking.Our first destination – the infamous Raven Fork, known among Southeastern paddlers as one of the highest quality creeks around. This river packs 15 Class 5.0 rapids—as well as a handful of refreshing Class IV’s—into its one-mile plunge down a steep valley in the Great Smokey Mountains.I’ve had my eye on this gem for about a year now, but for some reason or another never caught the right rain at the right time with the right mental preparation. But that was all about to change. This was my chance. Sean, John, and I loaded up boats Friday night in anticipation of getting an early start Saturday morning and meeting Burton in Cherokee. Our goal was to make the most of the daylight and leave plenty of time for scouting the many steep bedrock slides of the Raven Fork.On the drive up there is nothing but mist and light rain, just enough to taunt paddlers hoping for levels to bump. When we arrived in Cherokee we got a visual of 15 inches on the bridge gauge.“That’s higher than I was hoping for, but I think I can make that work. It’s still doable,” I say to myself as the other members of the group voice the same concern almost verbatim. The immediate area had not gotten much rain, so none of us were expecting the level to rise much more.When we get to Manny’s place, the unofficial take out, we happen upon a small group of enthusiastic paddlers. It’s an intimidating bunch with a majority of the faces belonging to the renowned, top-notch paddlers of the southeast. My group and I get geared up and head up the mountain as quickly as we can. I’m hoping my Jeep Cherokee can make it up the notoriously rough put-in trail, but we have no such luck. Still full of excitement and anticipation we show no regret towards the idea of having to shoulder our boats from here.“How long can the trail stay this steep?” I think to myself as we ascend towards the put-in, trying not to psych myself out thinking about all the gradient we are ascending.After all, what goes up must come down, right? After an uncomfortable eternity of hiking through the world’s sloppiest, muckiest, and slipperiest mud, we can see a few trucks ahead.“Made it!”, I thought, but I was wrong…very wrong. About this time we hear a large truck powering it’s way through the slop as it comes up behind us.Paul Butler parks among the other trucks as we arrive to the ‘parking lot’ on foot. Wouldn’t it have been nice to score a ride on that thing!Photo Courtesy of Clay LucasWe meet many of the faces we saw at Manny’s at the parking lot. They were fortunate enough to catch a ride to the top, and thus still have enough breath for laughing and joking. My group and I seize the opportunity for a much needed breather.Eventually, the group begins to move again up, down, and across what I assumed would be a very short final approach to the water. I should have known that would not be the case, as there was no water in sight, save for a tiny mountain spring trickling across the footpath.We spend the next mile and a half or so ducking under a seemingly endless number of fallen trees on a narrow footpath, often having to improvise a new path where the existing path disappears under deadfall.Along the way I spent a couple moments catching my breath and taking in the scenery. To our right was a steep ascent to the very crest of the ridge, and to our left was a steep, narrow gorge blanketed in fog. Sounds of cascading water rise from below, but the fog cover hides the origin; I am forced to use my imagination to picture the rapids below.Soon my imagination is interrupted. We’ve reached what Burton refers to as the “Hillary Step,” comparing our hike to the final stretch climbers must conquer before summiting Everest. Here we scramble over a patch of rocks obstructing our path, squeezing between bushes and pulling aside branches to maintain some visual of what lies ahead.After immerging, the path more or less disappears, and it’s every man for himself for the final 100 yard descent over a mess of moss covered boulders before reaching the water.When we reach the water we take a minute to collect ourselves. We all agree we are going to portage the Class 5.2 “Anaconda” and seal launch into the water below. We regroup in the river’s left eddy above Headless Horseman, a Class 5.1, and line up single file to take a stab at it.albo 2Photo Courtesy of Chip AlboWe agreed that we had all seen enough photos and videos of the iconic rapid to know the line, so we elected to run it blind. Burton went first, then it was my turn. I line up for the standard line, moving towards the right wall, and just before going over the plunge I notice how much bigger the hole below is compared to any video I had seen before.I end up getting flipped over my stern and ride the remainder of the sluice on my head – there was plenty of flow to pad it out. At the bottom I roll up and take my spot in the eddy and watch John and Sean follow.John had just about as much luck as I did, but Sean has a clean line. In the eddy we commented on how much water there was pumping through the river bed and elected to get out to scout the next set of drops: a small Class IV+ with some poorly placed wood, Right Right (Class 5.0), and Razor Back (Class 5.1).As we are hopping out of our boats we get word from Raven Fork regulars that the level has risen to something more similar to 20 inches.“That’s a lot more water than I bargained for!” I thought to myself, but decided to put eyes on the next set anyway.We were able to scout Right Right but couldn’t find any real way to put eyes on Razor Back without first having to run Right Right.It looked doable; however, Sean, John and I made the call to get out while we could. We were confident that we could run what we were able to see right now, but the further we went down the river the further we got from the trail and the bigger the rapids got. It’s difficult to shake what I assume to be the paddler’s equivalent of “Summit Fever.”We were so close to achieving something we had dreamed about for a year. We were right there! I kept reminding myself that the rapids would only get bigger and the trail only further, and made the decision to hike out. Abandoning the closest I’ve ever come to reaching my dream of experiencing the Raven Fork.We returned to Atlanta that night and took a full day for rest and recovery from our hiking excursion. I was slightly disappointed with having to walk off, but at the same time, I was highly energized and excited about having seen the rapids and knowing they were within my reach when the time came.Sure enough, later that day we saw a gauge visual posted on Facebook. The water level had begun to subside after reaching a reported 24 inches and would be prime for a second attempt on Monday.Sunday night Sean and I loaded up the car again and headed north. We camped out near the Chattooga and made it to Cherokee as early as we could on Monday morning.This time Burton was not going to be with us to show us down, but we lucked out. We got to Manny’s and by a stroke of luck joined a crew consisting of Charley Bartlett, Paul Butler, Clay Lucas, and Andy Hobson. They agreed to show us down for our first time, and Paul’s truck made getting to the put-in a heck of a lot easier.Photo Courtesy of Chip AlboPhoto Courtesy of Chip Albolast_img read more

Don Cossack likely for King George Kempton trip

September 20, 2020 | mfhfzdun | No Comments

first_img “He’s entered in the Lexus but more than likely the King George is the plan,” said Elliott. “He looks a picture.” Gordon Elliott feels Don Cossack could not be in ruder health as he gears up for a likely assault on the William Hill King George VI Chase at Kempton on St. Stephen’s Day. The big Cheltenham Gold Cup hope also holds an entry two days later in the Lexus Chase at Leopardstown, but connections are instead likely to head across the Irish Sea. Don Cossack has won his last four races over fences, three of which were Grade Ones, and enjoyed a nice workout on Tuesday morning under Bryan Cooper. center_img Press Associationlast_img read more