City Hall suddenly press shy?

first_imgDear Editor,It was indeed quite disappointing to learn that the Mayor and City Council of Georgetown blocked the media on December 7, 2016, from covering discussions regarding preparation of the .7 billion budget to be presented by City Hall for 2017.In fact it was surprising that these municipal officials who actively and constantly seek the attention of the media for all sorts of frivolous things seem to have some things to hide from the citizenry to whom they are presenting this budget.Could it be the fact that they propose to get just a little over 0 million for the year a paltry sum from the notorious parking meter contract whilst the company deploying the system is proposed to get somewhere in the vicinity of a whopping  0 million from the poor citizens of Georgetown?Could it be that they do not wish the public to see the enormous wages and salaries bill for 2017, which is due to the payroll being stuffed with about a thousand workers, many of whom are friends and family of senior officials?Could it be that they wish to hide the gargantuan amounts they pay to contractors, particularly to one individual, a friend of a senior functionary at City Hall?Or could it be that they are just mortified by the fact that they are increasing rates and taxes and increasing their revenue from every angle whilst reducing services such as road works?All in all I would like to know why they are suddenly press shy.Regards,Riley Matthewslast_img read more

Read More →

A journey of a lifetime: the mighty march from Georgetown to Lethem

first_imgBy: Devina SamarooTwo Guyanese men, Ric Couchman, who was later joined by Jerry Benjamin footed a journey of 550 kilometers from the capital city through the dense jungle to the vast savannahs of Lethem.Ric CouchmanA grueling but yet exciting adventure lasting nearly 23 days, this dynamic duo took exploring Guyana to a whole new level.The journey commenced on September 16, 2016 as 59 – year-old Couchman, an experienced hiker, left his brother’s Queenstown residence and ventured up the East Bank Highway with nothing but a backpack and a spirit of adventure guiding him along the way.Couchman grew up in Bagostown on the EBD, and during his teenage years he had developed a yearning to explore the length and breadth of his home country by simply walking.“I was talking care of my siblings, two brothers and two sisters after I came out of the Guyana national service. What I would do on weekends, I would leave them and be back on Sunday afternoons and I would just take off and go walking along the West Coast, West Bank and East Coast until night caught up with me and then I would sleep wherever.”A young Couchman at one point had left his job with the intent to follow his dreams but good sense eventually prevailed and he decided to put a hold on his burning desire.Some decades later, he returned to his homeland to pursue his lifelong dream.This energized backpacker was greeted with curious eyes along his way up the busy highway and every now and then he would stop to share his story. It was not long before word quickly spread of his bizarre intention and it reached the ears of Benjamin, a resident of Diamond on the EBD who was majorly intrigued by the idea.He reached out to a mutual friend and then connected with Couchman on the second day of the expedition.ChallengesJerry BenjaminThe heat from the sun and the blisters on their feet were deemed the greatest difficulties encountered.In fact, Benjamin almost gave up on the challenge after suffering intense pain from a nasty sore.He explained that a small blister sprouted up on his foot at the beginning of the voyage but it only worsened after a huge shower came and left him completely drenched.“He’s a trooper!” Couchman remarked, noting that the pain and discomfort were so extreme that he suggested to Benjamin to take transportation. But Benjamin refused to give up.According to Couchman, the primary challenge for backpackers is taking care of their feet since an unhealthy foot could be the difference between completing the journey or not.Surprisingly, the duo expressed that concerns of crime, wild animals, and hunger were the least of their worries.“Those things were sort of the back of my mind pre-trip but on the journey itself those fears were sort of gone because you had to stay focused and stick to your plan so there is no time for fear,” Couchman explained.HospitalityCouchman said the level of compassion, benevolence and hospitality they received from total strangers along the way was perhaps the most amazing aspect of the entire journey.Many persons stopped along the trails to offer food and water, some offered a place to stay and some even joined in saying a prayer or two with them.“We were walking one day, we were in the Iwokrama forest. We were tired, the heat was on us and we were trekking away and I heard behind me the sound of a vehicle coming. I looked back and there’s this truck filled with indigenous people and the truck stops and a young man leans over and says ‘here are two bottles of water for you guys’,” Couchman recalled, noting that the group came out in search for them after hearing of their intention via the media.He said numerous persons, strangers, offered help in one way or the other after learning of their purpose. Along the way, they visited the Iwokrama Resort and Canopy Walkway and various Amerindian Villages.While their primary diet consisted of canned products, they received freshly prepared meals at various stops throughout the journey.The daily routine was an hour of trekking following by a 15 – minute water break, and thus the cycle repeated until midday when they would take an hour of rest.As night began to sweep in, the men would scouted out a camping site, set up their tents and hit the sack until first daylight.For the most part, they camped out in the jungle, completely exposed to the dangers of wildlife.RenewedA sense of relief, satisfaction and accomplishment prevailed when the men took their first step into Lethem, Region Nine.They dropped to their knees and exclaimed words of thanks incoherently for they finally completed the journey.“To say that that journey has changed me is an understatement indeed. I entered Lethem in possession of lots of personal insights into my own being, as well as a broadened horizon vis-a-vis things outside myself. I also entered that border town having lost some things. My body has taken a pounding, my feet are blistered and calloused, and I have certainly lost a few pounds, but I also entered the township of Lethem humbled, stripped of my ego and some of my attitudes and idiosyncrasies,” Couchman stated.From the inception, his intention was to recalibrate and reconnect with the heart (the land) and soul (the people) of his country, and to sensitize the national consciousness to some of the pressing issues such as racism, domestic violence, crime, suicide and other related issues.“One cannot undertake a journey of such magnitude and not come away a changed and different individual,” he stated.For Benjamin, it was also a life changing adventure for he who had never encountered such an experience, learnt so much from this journey.For Couchman, the journey has only just begun for he intends to walk all the way to the North/West District in Region One and then again to Skeldon in Region Six.last_img read more

Read More →

Man on remand for robbery

first_imgA man was remanded to prison on Monday by Magistrate Judy Latchman for yet another Mash Day robbery when he appeared before the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.According to the charge, Pascal Smith, 27, of Pike Street, Kitty, Georgetown, while armed with a dangerous weapon (a knife), robbed the Virtual Complainant (VC), Shavaline Khan, of her LG cellular phone valued 140,000 and $2000 cash.The prosecution objected to bail based on the seriousness of the offence, the fact that a weapon was used to commit the act and the penalty attached to such a felony.The accused, from the prisoners’ dock, showed no remorse and related to the court that he and the VC were known to each other and he was “just joking around”.In addressing the court, the VC stated that he had suffered inconvenience as a result of the loss of his cellular phone and would be happy to have his device returned to him.Bail was refused and the Magistrate remanded Smith to prison until March 20, 2017 when the matter will proceed to trial.last_img read more

Read More →

Arsenal star SHOCKED at the quality of his Gunners teammates

first_img1 Arsenal stars celebrate with Alexis Sanchez Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez admits he was shocked by how good some of his new team-mates were after his summer move to the Emirates.The Chile forward joined from Barcelona after the World Cup in Brazil and was pleasantly surprised how good the squad was that Arsenal Wenger had built – especially close friend Santi Cazorla.“When I arrived at the club I didn’t know the players that well, but I was really surprised by everyone’s quality,” he told Arsenal Player.“I am not saying this just because it’s my obligation to do it as a club player. Every Arsenal footballer has amazing quality.“Santi Cazorla is a spectacular player. You never know whether he will kick the ball with his right or left foot. Also, he moves with short but quick strides, which is a remarkable trademark too.“Although I knew about his quality, playing alongside him makes me very happy.”last_img read more

Read More →

Team owner pays for his devotion

first_imgACTON – Tim Brandon’s passion shelves his social life and empties his wallet. That’s how it is for Brandon and his teammates. Players on the Santa Clarita Knights semipro football team work to play. One of them drives an 18-wheeler, delivering shipments throughout California. One sells computers. Another polices inmates at a corrections facility. Three work at an Italian restaurant. But they all pay to work three times a week as members of the West Coast Football League. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhy these photogenic dumplings are popping up in Los AngelesEach player has to pay for his own equipment. But when a Knights player can’t afford equipment and the $275 team fee each player must pay, Brandon, the team owner, is there to help. Brandon is also the backup quarterback, but more importantly, he’s the team’s economic spine. He built the team last year using his own money. Brandon is still building the team and still uses his own money. He is a server and cook at the Italian restaurant where other teammates work. “Last year, I spent $6,000 to $7,000 from my checking account. I do get my family members to lend me money but I put most charges on my credit card. Total charges for last year and this year are almost $10,000.” When funds are low and it’s time to pay back loans, Brandon looks for construction jobs or lawn-mowing jobs he can do on days he’s not cooking or playing football. But, to the 5-foot-10, 175-pound former Vasquez High quarterback, the money and time he spends is worth it. Brandon played his last season at Vasquez in 2002. He wanted to play at the next level, but colleges didn’t come calling. The Knights, as with many semipro teams, are designed to help players and coaches develop football skills. Some attempt to move on to play in college, the arena leagues and possibly the Canadian Football League. Brandon started the Knights after failed arena league tryouts and a one-year stint with the Antelope Valley Dirt Devils of the semipro LeBelle Community Football League in 2004. The Knights boast 37 former high school and junior college players – 36 men, one woman. Some of the players, ages 18 to 35, have never played football. They play nine regular-season games at Acton’s Vasquez High School. They play four to five preseason games, some at various locations in the valley. The Knights practice for three hours every Tuesday and Thursday evening at Bridgeport Park in Valencia. The Knights made their WCFL debut in August 2005 with Brandon as head coach and 23 players. The team finished 4-5-1, and Brandon won the league’s owner of the year award. Now in the team’s second season, the 22-year-old quarterback wants to strap on pads again. Brandon gave the coaching position to his assistant coach and girlfriend, 21-year-old Rhonda Ripley. The move stirred criticism among teammates and other teams. Ripley had no coaching experience prior to working as an assistant for the Knights last year. Before that, Ripley spent the 2004 preseason playing wide receiver and defensive back for the Antelope Valley Bombers, an all-female team in the National Women’s Football League. “There were a couple of guys who had a problem listening to a female coach,” Ripley said. “That made me nervous when Tim (Brandon) made me head coach, but after our first preseason game, those players came up to me and told me their doubts had changed. “I want to go out there and show that my play-calling is just as good as other coaches in this league.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Read More →

Arsenal prepared to waive sell-on clause in bid to bring back former star

first_img1 Oguzhan Ozyakup (right) joined Besiktas in 2012 Arsenal are ready to pay £11million and waive their sell-on clause to land former academy star Oguzhan Ozyakup.The midfielder came through the ranks at the Gunners after signing schoolboy forms back in 2008.But the 25-year-old ended up leaving for Besiktas in 2012 after failing to make the grade and has since reignited his career in Turkey.Arsenal have been suitably impressed by Ozyakup’s progress and now, according to Aksam, they are determined to bring him back to north London.The Gunners are also willing to cancel the 30 per cent sell-on clause they were due to bank if Besiktas sold Ozyakup.It would mean that originally an £11m offer from Arsenal would actually only set them back £7.7m.But, by agreeing to waive their right to a 30 per cent sell-on clause, the Gunners would now pay the £11m in full.last_img read more

Read More →

Robbed store owners testify

first_img“I thought it was a joke,” Esmeirat testified in Arabic. “I lifted my hands up. He said, `Don’t move or I will shoot you.”‘ The robbers took about $200 from the cash register, said Esmeirat. “Before they left, he kicked me in the leg and said I need to get more money,” he said. Two of the robberies were more violent – Wu and Molina were shot and killed in separate holdups, investigators said. Ze Zhang of San Gabriel, a friend of Wu, testified he was with the victim when they were robbed behind the Huang Building in San Gabriel on Aug. 4, 2004. Two men wearing hoods and sunglasses approached Wu and Zhang and demanded money. “My friend ran away,” Zhang said in Mandarin Chinese through a translator. “One of the men chased my friend, caught up with him, and pushed him to the floor.” At that moment, Zhang said, he was handing his wallet to the other assailant. Then he heard a gunshot and saw Wu fall to the ground. He said the robbers took Wu’s wallet before fleeing. “\ was lying on the floor,” Zhang said. “He told me he had been shot. His body was curled up, and he said he was in extreme pain.” Wu was taken to a nearby hospital where he died. sandy.mazza@sgvn.com (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3026160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Mitzie Ann Oso, 28, is charged with being an accessory to a felony. At a preliminary hearing for the five, which continues today in Norwalk Court, five small-business owners and two of their customers each testified that they were present during one of seven robberies that occurred between August and December 2004. In each robbery, witnesses testified, two people dressed in dark clothing and sunglasses walked into the businesses at night and demanded money at gunpoint from customers and employees. “He told me, `Open the \ drawer, I want the money,”‘ said Fariz Zeidan, owner of Mitchell’s Liquor Store in Alhambra, which was robbed on Dec. 3, 2004. “He pointed the gun at me. I opened the cash register and gave him the money, about $300.” Jamal Esmeirat, owner of Oceans Liquor in South Pasadena, testified that he was robbed at gunpoint Nov. 20, 2004. He said he felt the muzzle of a gun at the back of his head during the holdup. NORWALK – Several owners of small mom-and-pop-type stores said they were ordered at gunpoint to hand over cash, according to testimony Monday during a preliminary hearing for five people charged in the slayings of two men during the string of robberies two years ago. The crime spree targeted stores and businesses in Whittier and the San Gabriel Valley. In one of the holdups, Subway sandwich clerk Joseph Molina, 22, of Whittier, a Pasadena City College student, was shot in the head and killed. Leonardo Cisneros, 22, Bernadette Corvera, 25, and Sara Lopez, 24, are charged with multiple robberies and also in the Dec. 10, 2004, death of Molina. They could face the death penalty, if convicted. Jose Resendez, 29, is charged with multiple robberies and with murder in the Aug. 4, 2004, killing of businessman Dianqui Wu of Rowland Heights. Resendez also could face the death penalty if convicted. last_img
Read More →

Tourism Spending On The Rise For Radius Indiana

first_img“Tourism is not only good for the local economy in the Radius Region, but also has many other benefits for the community. A booming tourism industry also helps create a healthy job market and puts dollars into our school systems. Moreover, it helps to relieve the tax burden of households in the region,” said Radius Indiana President and CEO Jeff Quyle. Radius Indiana facilitates a regional tourism advisory council, and the group will use the study to create new initiatives that will support this vital part of the local economy. “I applaud Radius Indiana for undertaking this study to establish a baseline of tourism’s impact for their area,” said Mark Newman, executive director of the Indiana Office of Tourism Development. “This region is an asset-rich part of the state and has some of the state’s most important historical sites within just miles of one another. This data will help us to better support the region as we work together to develop tourism strategies for the state.” The study was commissioned by the Indiana Office of Tourism Development and Radius Indiana and is the first-ever analysis of the economic impact of tourism for Radius. It shows that the region outpaced the state’s growth in tourism spending by 5 percent and has a nearly 2.5 percent share of overall tourism spending in Indiana. Tourism is thriving in the Radius Indiana region, according to a newly released study by market research firm Rockport Analytics. The study shows visitor spending totaling $271.6 million, marking a 13 percent increase from the previous year and a regional economic impact of $198 million.center_img “The data shows us that 73 cents of every $1 spent on tourism stayed in the local economy and saves our taxpayers about $359 per year in taxes — money that stays in the region stimulates our communities and promotes vitality and growth,” said Quyle. The study compared tourism data during a two-year period for Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Orange and Washington counties and reports that nearly 5,000 area residents are directly employed in tourism, making it the 7th largest industry in the region. Highlights of the study include Orange County, home to French Lick Resort and Casino and historic West Baden, with the largest amount of tourism spending for the region and coming in at No. 2 for the state in spending per capita; Washington County recorded a 30 percent increase in tourism spending during the study period, ranking it as the No. 1 county in the state for tourism spending growth.last_img read more

Read More →

More photos of the stunning BEA Airbus A319

first_imgBritish Airways has now released a full set of photos of its second 100-year heritage livery – a British European Airways (BEA) design on an Airbus 319.The unveiling drew large crowds to Shannon, where the aircraft was painted, and Heathrow, British Airways’ home.The A319, registration G-EUPJ, is adorned with the BEA livery, which flew predominantly on domestic and European routes between 1959 and 1968. However, there is one significant difference with the replica; the aircraft will have a grey upper wing, rather than the traditional red, to meet current wing paint reflectivity requirements.The aircraft, which has been painted to mark British Airways’ centenary, entered service yesterday with its maiden commercial flight in its new colors to Manchester. As with the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) liveried 747, the aircraft can be followed using tracking website Flightradar24, which will feature a special image of the livery.READ Boeing to roll out 777X on March 13Alex Cruz, British Airways’ Chairman, and CEO, said: “It was another really special day as we welcomed our BEA liveried A319 into Heathrow this morning, which forms part of our centenary heritage fleet. Yet again there were huge crowds lining the perimeter fence to see the aircraft coming in, which shows just how excited people are about these designs. We’ve been overwhelmed with positive feedback from customers and colleagues.”The BEA liveried A319 is the second aircraft with heritage designs to enter the British Airways fleet following the arrival of its BOAC 747 long-haul counterpart last month. Next to arrive with be another 747, this time with a British Airways Landor livery. And one final design will be revealed later this month as the airline celebrates its past while looking to the future.In its centenary year, British Airways is hosting a range of activities and events. As well as looking back, the airline is also hosting BA 2119 – a programme, which will lead the debate on the future of flying and explore the future of sustainable aviation fuels, the aviation careers of the future and the customer experience of the future.last_img read more

Read More →

HR Intel: What Apple’s Fight with the Feds Means for Employers

first_imgAs Apple continues its slugfest with the federal government over access to the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone (the Department of Justice now wants Apple to decrypt 12 additional iPhones for unrelated, non-terror-related crimes), employers and HR professionals should closely monitor the developments as the resolution will have huge implications for the modern workplace.At stake is the delicate balance between personal privacy, corporate data integrity and public safety. Apple is – somewhat ironically – fighting the battle for personal privacy, the FBI and DOJ is leading the charge for public safety and caught in the middle are employers.Given that the modern workforce is increasingly relying on smartphone access to sensitive corporate email and data, perhaps the rules need to be re-written as to who can access what, from where, for how long, with what permissions and with what storage.From the beginning, the shooter’s employer made things more difficult for itself and the authorities in terms of its administration and handling of a corporate-owned smartphone. First, it enabled the shooter to set his own personal alphanumeric passcode, which is quite common for employer-provided smartphones. But in the 21st century, it’s simply not the best way to protect corporate interests.By allowing the end user to set a passcode, the employer essentially prevents itself (and the authorities) from ever getting into the phone without the user’s permission. This is a nice feature for personal privacy, of course, but it completely undermines corporate data security and, in some cases, public safety.The solution here is to require fingerprint access to employer-provided devices which would let the authorities get into the device as a matter of course because fingerprints can be compelled by a court, but disclosure of alphanumeric passcodes cannot. This would also provide employers with a better chance to recover data stored on the device without having to conduct a “remote wipe” of the device’s contents, something an employer might do if an employee-owned device with sensitive company data on it is compromised.The second error committed by San Bernardino County was an attempt to remotely reset the passcode of the shooter’s smartphone without first contacting the authorities. According to Apple, this action prevented the phone from backing up its data to the cloud, thereby ensuring that the sole copy of relevant data for the ensuing criminal investigation would be locked behind the deceased shooter’s undecipherable passcode. The obvious solution here is to proceed with caution when employees are alleged to be involved in criminal activity. Don’t take any action without an understanding of the technological implications and, in some cases, the input of an attorney.Another tragedy, another reminder for active shooter response trainingAs HR professionals are well aware, even the most comprehensive training and due diligence cannot prevent every incident. The mass-shooting in Kalamazoo, Michigan is, sadly, an example of why both prevention and response are critical skills for business owners, employers and HR professionals.In this case, the shooter did not have any mental health or criminal history that may have alerted his employer – Uber – of a potential incident. Nevertheless, background checks and pre-employment screening remain a hallmark of prudent recruiting practices. Thus, the focus should turn to response, creating an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) and training employees on what exactly to do when the protocol goes into effect. That includes conducting drills with employees to test their readiness, much in the same way we’ve all experienced fire drills dating back to grammar skill. It’s a new (heavily-armed) world and workplace training should evolve accordingly.Can I get a Lyft? We’ve told you about Uber’s ongoing legal battles over employee classification, so we don’t want to leave out Lyft, which is battling a class action misclassification lawsuit of its own in California. The parties have agreed to a $12-million settlement, but a federal judge put the kibosh on the deal, informing the parties that the settlement actually undermines the point of the lawsuit by leaving the aggrieved individuals remaining as contractors as opposed to employees.Fair pay? FugheddaboutitTip-earning workers of Delmonico’s steakhouses in the “capital region” of New York State are suing for minimum wage and overtime violations, claiming their employer forced them to complete non tip-earning tasks which reduced their hourly wages below the legally required threshold. Minimum wage for workers who earn tips in New York is $7.50 per hour, whereas the statewide minimum wage is $9 per hour meaning base pay + tips for all tip-earning workers must be equal to or above $9 per hour. The lawsuit comes against the backdrop of attempts by Governor Cuomo to raise the statewide minimum wage to $15 per hour, a benchmark that will be reached by fast food workers in the state by 2021.Oregon’s legislature passed a first-of-its-kind minimum wage bill that adjusts the wage based on regions within the state as opposed to specific municipalities or counties. Minimum wages will also be raised every July 1 for the next seven years, after which it will be adjusted for inflation. Portland and its immediate surroundings will see the largest increase in wages whereas areas designated as “rural” will have lower minimum wages to reflect demographics and cost of living.The (alleged) harasser strikes backThere’s something of a trend developing here. In the last edition of HR Intel we reported that an Oklahoma-based restaurant preemptively sued a plaintiffs’ attorney for blackmail and fraud connected with alleged Americans with Disabilities Act violations. Now, the former CEO of Waffle House – currently being sued for sexual harassment by his former housekeeper – has turned around and sued his accuser’s attorneys for (allegedly) attempting to extort him. It’s certainly a novel approach but it bears watching as the volume of employment lawsuits continues to inundate the court system.Can’t we all just get along?A millennial Yelp employee wrote an “open letter” Yelp’s CEO complaining about low pay. Yelp then fired her for violating the company’s “Terms of Conduct.” Yelp has been pretty tight-lipped about the case, besides to acknowledge that the cost of living in San Francisco – where the employee worked – is pretty high. As to the best way to go about asking for a raise or responding to an employee’s request for one – I think we can all agree that this isn’t it.Seems pretty obvious but… if you post vacation photos to Facebook while you’re supposed to be out nursing a broken leg on FMLA leave, your employer is not going to be happy. Accentia Health and Rehab Center of Tampa Bay fired an employee for doing just that, saying that he needed to show better judgment as a supervisor. The employee is now suing for interference with FMLA rights.The top work-related “autocompletes” for people who search on Google are…not good news for employers. My workplace is… “unsafe.” My workmates… “don’t like me.” My job is… “boring.” My job is… “killing me.” My boss… “hates me.” Gee, tell us how you really feel.How is this song related to HR?In the last edition of HR Intel, we asked you how “The Big Payback” by James Brown is relevant to HR. Our past HR-related songs have provided some positive guidance about what to do regarding challenges in the workplace, but Brown’s funk revenge song is a course in what not to do in the workplace. Seeking vengeance against a colleague who has “betrayed” you might seem a bit melodramatic for the workplace, but it is extremely relevant when it comes to retaliation claims stemming from things like claims for leave, reports of unsafe working conditions or crimes being committed in the workplace.We leave you with “Hello” by Adelle.Tell us how you think this song is related to HR in the comments section below.Originally posted on the XpertHR blog.last_img read more

Read More →