This solar farm is built on oil industry money, know-how and even some recycled drilling pipe

first_imgAlaska’s Energy Desk | Climate Change | EnvironmentThis solar farm is built on oil industry money, know-how and even some recycled drilling pipeSeptember 20, 2018 by Nat Herz, Alaska’s Energy Desk – Anchorage Share:Chris Colbert stands atop a ladder while installing parts at Alaska’s first commercial-scale solar projects in Willow, just north of Anchorage, on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. (Photo by Nathaniel Herz / Alaska’s Energy Desk)Alaska’s first commercial-scale solar farm is about to come online. Its builders say they want to move the world toward cleaner energy sources. But they’re not ready to renounce oil and gas just yet.Audio Playerhttps://media.ktoo.org/2018/09/20SOLAR.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Jenn Miller is the project’s chief executive. She was working on her 400-panel commercial solar project north of Anchorage last week, with black flies buzzing and her dog, Ralfie, wandering around with a chunk of moose bone.Miller was there with her husband, Chris Colbert. They both had drills and leather tool belts and were moving a ladder around, putting in some of the last few pieces before they can flip the switch. Miller said she’s excited about the outlook for solar power and its potential to slow global warming.“The cool thing is, I don’t think renewables have to be a charity case. I think they can be a business case,” she said. “And the more you get to that point, I think the faster we are able to address the climate issue.”The solar farm could power about 30 homes. The local electric utility, Matanuska Electric Association, will buy the power at wholesale rates. That could slightly reduce the use of natural gas in its existing power plant and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.In a lot of ways, Miller fits the stereotype of someone trying to fight global warming. She has solar panels on her house in Anchorage. She bikes to work. She’s been on a river-rafting trip in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.But here’s something you might not expect: Miller works at BP, the oil company.“When I went to go work for an oil company out of college, the way you hear about oil companies is like, everyone who works there is evil,” she said. But, she added: “They’re actually nice people and they’re pretty smart.”The solar project is personal — it’s not endorsed or paid for by BP. But Miller is a project manager at the company, and her three partners are all current or former BP employees.One is Sam Dennis. Dennis drives a Tesla, a pricey electric car. He thinks the future is in electricity. But he also has a pickup truck, and he thinks the future will be built on a foundation that the oil industry helped create.In an interview at the site, Dennis pointed out that the solar panels at the site stand on a foundation of recycled oil drilling pipe. And that’s not all.“The money came from our work with the oil industry. And our expertise in running projects came from our work with the industry,” he said. “And I was thinking back, and I was like, how much of the development of oil 100 years ago was based on knowledge from coal?”Dennis said he thinks oil companies and their workers can help with the transition toward renewables. Just like the partners in this solar project, big oil companies have expertise building things. And they have a lot of money.It turns out that Dennis’ views aren’t that far off from the company he once worked for. Janet Weiss, BP’s top executive in Alaska, said her company has been boosting its renewable energy holdings after scaling them back following the Deepwater Horizon explosion in 2010.“What our company is doing is certainly taking some of the cash flow that’s been earned through the oil and gas and investing it into our renewables business,” she said in an interview. “It’s a natural evolution of what we need to do here on the planet.”To be sure, BP still produces a ton of oil — about 4 percent of global production. Its renewable investments are also small in relation to the company’s overall portfolio.But BP last year announced it was investing $200 million in a British solar company. It also has a wind branch, and Weiss said a company wind executive, Laura Folse, is interested in a trip to Alaska to see if the state has potential for power generation.Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott talks in Sitka earlier this year. (Photo by Katherine Rose/KCAW)Officials drafting Alaska’s new climate policy have also enlisted the oil industry in tackling global warming. Weiss last year was named to the state’s climate leadership team, which is chaired by a Democrat, Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott.“If the energy industry, as it exists now, is an opponent of dealing with climate change, we have a steep hill to climb,” Mallott said in an interview. “My belief is that they are a partner. They will continue to be a partner. But they must be held to account, as all of us must be.”Back at the solar farm, Miller was still drilling in parts, while Dennis fired up an excavator to fill in a trench. Miller said she wants people to understand that these climate change and energy discussions aren’t black and white.“I think a lot of times there’s an image that people who work for the oil industry are of certain political views or putting a box over their heads about climate change and don’t think it’s happening,” she said. “But I think humans are much more sophisticated than that. I think humans can hold a much bigger picture in their head.”The partners expect to get a 3 to 5 percent return on their investment, or roughly equivalent to bonds. Miller wouldn’t specify the exact cost of the project, but she said it’s in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.The project won’t generate much revenue in the winter — maybe $500 in the whole month of December. But some of the Alaska-specific challenges are offset by the high price that the project will get for its electricity, and the fact that solar panels actually operate more efficiently in cold weather.“We started looking at the numbers and started researching what you get for revenue for wholesale power, and then we started looking at what an installation would actually cost,” Dennis said. “And it was like, ‘Wow. Looks like it pencils out.’”Miller and her partners are already thinking about a second project. One option is to expand their existing site; another is to build a new one in a place with higher power costs than the Anchorage area, like Fairbanks.Share this story:last_img read more

Indigenous leaders hopeful Interior nominee Rep. Deb Haaland will protect Yup’ik ways of life

first_imgAlaska Native Corporations | Energy & Mining | Environment | Federal GovernmentIndigenous leaders hopeful Interior nominee Rep. Deb Haaland will protect Yup’ik ways of lifeFebruary 25, 2021 by Olivia Ebertz, KYUK – Bethel and Liz Ruskin, Alaska Public Media Share:C-SPANInterior secretary-nominee U.S. Rep. Debra Haaland finished a two-day confirmation hearing in the U.S. Senate on Feb. 24. Oil-state senators on the Senate Energy Committee challenged her on anti-development positions she took as a U.S. Congresswoman, but Sen. Lisa Murkowski seemed more intent on educating the nominee about Alaska’s unique circumstances. Share this story: Audio Playerhttps://media.ktoo.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/210224_haalandyk_pkg.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.If confirmed, Haaland will be the first Indigenous person to be the Secretary of the Interior, a cabinet position with massive oversight of Indian affairs. Haaland first addressed the committee in her Indigenous language, Keres, and then thanked them. She also made sure to show her gratitude to those who came before her. The “generations of ancestors who have sacrificed so much,” is how Haaland referred to them.Murkowski, who sits on the committee, used her allotted hearing time to tell Haaland about Alaska’s history, the role of Alaska Native corporations and the huge volume of Alaska land under the Interior Department’s control. Murkowski also made a pitch for the Willow project in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. It would be the westernmost oilfield on the North Slope.“What I need to know is, is if you’re confirmed, will you commit to allowing the Willow project to proceed without additional changes or environmental review?” asked Murkowski.As a congresswoman representing central New Mexico, Haaland signed a letter last year asking the U.S. Department of the Interior to stop all work on Willow. Haaland said that if confirmed, she would work to execute President Biden’s vision for natural resources, even if it differed from her own. “I think being a Secretary is far different from being a member of Congress. And so I do take that role very seriously,” responded Haaland.Some Native corporations and organizations in Alaska have chosen not to opine on Haaland’s nomination, but the Alaska Federation of Natives publicly supports her. Support for Haaland is also widespread in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Region, where many prominent female leaders have backed Haaland.“I think my initial reaction was, it’s about time,” said Y-K Delta representative Tiffany Zulkosky. Zulkosky also said that as the only sitting Native woman in the Alaska House of Representatives, she feels a sense of solidarity with Haaland. She says that because Haaland understands what life is like for Native people, she actually has a chance at protecting Yup’ik ways of life.One of the policies in particular that Zulkosky is hoping to work on with Haaland is about missing and murdered Indigenous women. And she expects that under Haaland, the Department of the Interior will engage more with Alaska’s state and tribal governments.“I’m really hopeful that the new administration under Deb Haaland’s leadership will continue to develop and strengthen the relationship the federal government has with tribes,” said Zulkosky.Former Y-K Delta representative Mary Peltola had a similar take: “I think what’s even more surprising is that it’s taken this long to have a Native American appointed to be the Secretary of the Department of Interior.”Peltola currently serves as the executive director for the Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission. Her role as a local manager of fish resources means that she works closely with the Department of Interior, which has some jurisdiction over subsistence fish and game management on federal lands and in federal waters. Working with a Department leader who can more closely understand Indigenous lifeways and values is crucial, said Peltola.“The person who is Secretary of the Interior is important because they have so much discretion over regulation and laws that directly impact us in terms of things like hunting and fishing,” said Peltola. Peltola’s husband, Gene Peltola Jr., is the Alaska director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which is part of the Department of the Interior.Vivian Korthuis, the CEO of the Association of Village Council Presidents, a non-profit consortium of tribes in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta, said that there’s a lot of hard work ahead for Alaska Natives, and it can finally begin at a federal level under Haaland.“We are lacking housing, we are lacking safe and reliable transportation infrastructure and the general need for economic opportunities in our rural parts of the state. And in the Y-K Delta, I’m ready to work with her to implement all the solutions in rural Alaska,” said Korthuis.Korthuis said that she’s looking forward to working with Haaland.The Senate Energy Committee hasn’t yet scheduled a vote on whether to forward the nomination to the full Senate for confirmation. After the hearing ended, Murkowski told a reporter at the Capitol that she planned to meet with Haaland again.last_img read more

Sitka officials vote to accept $1M donation from Norwegian Cruise Line

first_imgCoronavirus | Southeast | TourismSitka officials vote to accept $1M donation from Norwegian Cruise LineApril 28, 2021 by Katherine Rose, KCAW – Sitka Share:The Norwegian Pearl tied up at Skagway’s Broadway dock in July 2017. Two more cruise ships are moored at the railroad dock in the background. (Photo by Emily Files/KHNS)The City and Borough of Sitka may receive a $1 million donation from an international cruise line, which the company says comes with “no strings attached.”When the Sitka Assembly met on Tuesday, it voted to accept the donation. But it held off on deciding how to spend the funds.City Administrator John Leach told the assembly that Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. is offering the City of Sitka $1 million to ease the economic effects of the ongoing cruise suspension in Alaska.Leach said representatives from the company made the offer during a recent phone meeting. His first question: “What are the conditions for the donation?”“Before I even asked that question, they were very forthcoming and said that this is a ‘no strings attached, no quid pro quo,’” he said. “And they will have no involvement in the distribution decision that the city decides to make.”Leach said the company plans to make similar donations to other Alaska communities but did not specify which ones. KCAW has reached out to Norwegian Cruise Lines and has not been able to independently confirm the offer.The cruise line and its subsidiaries have been sending ships to Sitka for over two decades. And it has invested heavily in Southeast Alaska, funding cruise dock expansions in Hoonah and Ketchikan, and recently purchasing 3 acres of Juneau waterfront property where it plans to build a new dock.Leach said first he needed the assembly’s approval to accept the money. Then, once the donation is officially received, they could meet again and decide what to do with it.“You could direct me to provide some input to you on places where we could spend that. We could come back with another ‘Discussion/Direction/Decision’ item at a future assembly meeting with some ideas,” he said. “We could hear from the community for a while, take public input then.”But member Valorie Nelson already knew where she wanted the money to go. Nelson made a motion to accept the funds and put them toward capital projects or reserves.“The best thing we can do is capital projects which have been put on the backburner, for now, two years, at least,” she said. “There’s a lot of things that would benefit the quality of life for the residents as well as improve the issues, I think, that tourists visit our community for.”But Mayor Steven Eisenbeisz said he wasn’t ready to commit the money to a specific purpose.“I want to have a more thorough discussion in the future as to what we do with the donation. I’m happy to accept it, but at this point, I’m uncomfortable allocating it to a certain cause,” Eisenbeisz said. “Although I do agree with the notion that if we don’t put it in a certain pot right now, the requests are going to start pouring in and everybody is going to want a little bit of the free money.”Nelson’s motion failed 1-4 with members Crystal Duncan, Rebecca Himschoot, Kevin Mosher and Mayor Eisenbeisz voting against it. A second motion to accept the funds without any stipulations passed 4-1 with member Nelson opposed.Leach said he would contact Norwegian Cruise Line and accept the offer. He said there was no set timeline for when the city should receive the money.Share this story:last_img read more

Roxane Gay Would Prefer Not to Have to Be Exceptional

first_imgBooksCelebrityEntertainment IndustryRoxane Gay Would Prefer Not to Have to Be ExceptionalThe author says, “I want to get to a place where it is no longer newsworthy when a diverse creator has made interesting art”By Brittany Martin – February 11, 20192940ShareEmailFacebookTwitterPinterestReddItRoxane Gay has a powerful voice–and a packed schedule. The acclaimed author, whose works include Bad Feminist and Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, has a ninth book coming out this spring, a comic book on the way, film and TV projects in development, and a gig as a contributing op-ed writer for The New York Times. She somehow gets it all done while jetting back and forth among her home in Los Angeles, Yale, where she’s a Presidential Fellow, and her many appearances and engagements. (On her flight back to L.A. this week, she sat across the aisle from Barbra Streisand, whom she described as “shimmering” and “luminous.”)  She even finds time to tweet prolifically.All this hard work–and all while being a black, queer woman in America in 2019–might be exhausting, but she has established herself as one of the best-known writers working today and developed a devoted fan base that appreciate her bracing, honest words.This month, she’ll share that wisdom at four public events in Los Angeles. First up, a New York Times talk Tuesday, where she’ll share a stage with fellow writers Lindy West, Emily Gordon, and Guy Branum, for a night of comedy, advice, and readings. The next night, she’ll join Amanda Nguyen, an advocate for sexual assault survivors who worked on the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights, which was signed by President Obama. The two will discuss survivors coming forward as part of the #MeToo movement, and a road forward for preventing sexual violence. Later in the month, she’ll be at the Museum of African American Art in Baldwin Hills with Marlon James, and at the Hammer Museum in conversation with author Tressie McMillan Cottom.As she prepared for those talks, we were able to catch up with her with a few questions about courage, diversity, and Vanderpump Rules.You’ve been living in Los Angeles for the last few years. What have you been enjoying about life here? I love the weather, the sprawl of the city, the diversity, the many really different neighborhoods and communities, the incredible murals everywhere you look, how there is always something to do, and the amazing bookstores. Just the overall vibe of the place. Every single day in L.A., I find some small marvel.What does a typical day look like for you? These days, I don’t have a typical day, which is both a blessing and a curse. I generally start my day checking email, social media, and my calendar. When I am in L.A., I exercise and work out with my trainer, and then I dive into whatever meetings and calls I need to get through. I often have events in the evening. Sometimes I am traveling and I do a lot of work, be it email or writing or reading or grading, while on planes, because the internet is slow, I have nothing else I can do, and so I get right down to it.Your next book, How to Be Heard, will be released later this year. Why did it seem like the right time for a book that explores finding the courage to speak up?I am often asked, “How do I find my voice?” and in How to Be Heard, I want to answer that question as best I can. Now is an essential time for a book like this because the political climate is incredibly fraught and there are so many people who are being affected by the decisions of the Trump administration. Their stories, their truths deserve and demand to be told.https://www.instagram.com/p/Bq6JoPTFYZ4/Another of the many things you’re working on is a new comic book series, The Banks, with start-up publisher TKO Studios. How is that project going? The Banks is a caper story about three generations of black women who are master thieves and plot to make the heist of a lifetime–while also exacting revenge on a man who did something unforgivable that changed the course of their lives. It has been wonderful working with TKO Studios. I’ve been given a lot of creative freedom and I get to have input on all aspects of the process. I can’t say enough good things about them.After your work on the comic World of Wakanda, does seeing the success–and now even Oscar nomination–of the Black Panther movie give you any hope that Hollywood is serious about becoming more inclusive? Not really. There is so much work yet to be done. I am encouraged, certainly, but as long as we’re still naming the exceptional movies, we’re living in a world where diverse creators have to be exceptional to even get a shot at telling their stories.I want to get to a place where it is no longer newsworthy when a diverse creator has made interesting art. I want to get to a place where there isn’t so much expectation placed on the shoulders of diverse creators, where we are allowed to make flawed work and still work again.“We’re living in a world where diverse creators have to be exceptional to even get a shot at telling their stories. I want to get to a place where it is no longer newsworthy when a diverse creator has made interesting art. I want to get to a place where there isn’t so much expectation placed on the shoulders of diverse creators, where we are allowed to make flawed work and still work again.”I sure hope we reach a point where we expand our understanding of diversity beyond black and white, and even queer and straight. There are so many ways of being in this world, and all those ways of being deserve to be seen and heard.At your appearances this month, you’ll be talking about topics of trauma and survival. How do you balance what you share publicly with an audience, either in person or in your writing, with preserving emotional space for yourself? I have very firm boundaries and I hold true to them. I may seem like I am very open, but I am only sharing with my audience what I want to share with them. In truth, I am a very private person and I value my privacy a great deal. When I disclose personal things, it is in service of my work and what I am trying to say.You’ve mentioned that you’re a fan of Vanderpump Rules. What makes it a fave? It is basically the Seinfeld of reality television. Nothing happens, but that “nothing” is incredibly fun to watch.Roxane Gay appears at four events in Los Angeles this month: New York Times Op-Ed Live, February 12 at 7:30 p.m. at the Orpheum Theater; Survivors Rise: Roxane Gay and Amanda Nguyen in Conversation, February 13 at 7 p.m. at USC’s Bovard Auditorium; Marlon James in Conversation with Roxane Gay, February 20 at 6:30 p.m. at the Museum of African American Art; and Tressie McMillan Cottom and Roxane Gay, February 27 at 7:30 p.m. at the Hammer Museum RELATED: Author Rachel Kushner Takes On California’s “So-Called Justice System” in Her New BookStay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today. TAGSBlack PantherDiversitymetooRoxane GayPrevious articleA Peek at Some of the Stolen Art the LAPD Is Trying to Track DownNext articleTake a Peek at Frank Gehry’s New DTLA TowerBrittany Martin RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHORL.A. Times Food Critic Patricia Escárcega Accuses the Paper of DiscriminationA New Wine Window in Silver Lake Is Highlighting Black Vintners and BrewersChadwick Boseman Was the Right Actor for Every Role He Took—and Always Right When We Needed Him to Belast_img read more

Has Emily Thornberry finished Labour in Rochester and Strood with one tweet?

first_img More From Our Partners Biden received funds from top Russia lobbyist before Nord Stream 2 giveawaynypost.comA ProPublica investigation has caused outrage in the U.S. this weekvaluewalk.comAstounding Fossil Discovery in California After Man Looks Closelygoodnewsnetwork.orgRussell Wilson, AOC among many voicing support for Naomi Osakacbsnews.comNative American Tribe Gets Back Sacred Island Taken 160 Years Agogoodnewsnetwork.orgSupermodel Anne Vyalitsyna claims income drop, pushes for child supportnypost.comPolice Capture Elusive Tiger Poacher After 20 Years of Pursuing the Huntergoodnewsnetwork.orgKiller drone ‘hunted down a human target’ without being told tonypost.comBrave 7-Year-old Boy Swims an Hour to Rescue His Dad and Little Sistergoodnewsnetwork.orgSidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin are graying and frayingnypost.com‘The Love Boat’ captain Gavin MacLeod dies at 90nypost.comInside Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis’ not-so-average farmhouse estatenypost.com980-foot skyscraper sways in China, prompting panic and evacuationsnypost.com‘Neighbor from hell’ faces new charges after scaring off home buyersnypost.comMark Eaton, former NBA All-Star, dead at 64nypost.comUK teen died on school trip after teachers allegedly refused her pleasnypost.comFlorida woman allegedly crashes children’s birthday party, rapes teennypost.comPuffer fish snaps a selfie with lucky divernypost.com Thursday 20 November 2014 11:14 am Guy Bentley whatsapp Has Emily Thornberry finished Labour in Rochester and Strood with one tweet? whatsapp Share Labour MP for Islington Emily Thornberry is taking a fair bit of flack on Twitter after posting a picture from the by-election campaign in Rochester and Strood.Thornberry tweeted a picture of a house with several England flags and a white van parked in the driveway with the caption “Image from #Rochester”. Image from #Rochester pic.twitter.com/rOjTgpskmF— Emily Thornberry MP (@EmilyThornberry) November 20, 2014Update: Thornberry has now resigned from her position on the shadow cabinetThe Labour MP was immediately swamped with tweets asking her what point she was trying to make. But things really kicked off when people took her tweet for a sign of snobbery, with some of the country’s leading commentators weighing in.I suspect we’ve just seen Labour’s “47%’ moment.— Dan Hodges (@DPJHodges) November 20, 2014What does Labour MP @EmilyThornberry mean by this Tweet? Is there anything wrong with a white van? https://t.co/vY4mHVjzIE— Tim Stanley (@timothy_stanley) November 20, 2014At what point does a Labour MP, from a party struggling to retain the loyalty of the working-class, think “tweeting this is a good idea”.— Matthew Goodwin (@GoodwinMJ) November 20, 2014Guido: “Do you think it is snobbish?” @labourpress: “Why is it snobbish?” #WhiteVanGate http://t.co/QANz3g6Ymi— Guido Fawkes (@GuidoFawkes) November 20, 2014Whatever the intention of the tweet, it looks set to turn into a PR disaster for Labour, which was already expected to perform poorly in today’s by-election, triggered by the defection of Mark Reckless to Ukip.The Tories were quick to pounce on the gaffe, with secretary of state for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles commenting:Whatever one’s class, colour or creed, the St George’s flag is a unifying symbol for our nation. Don’t knck it – let’s fly the English flag with pride Britain’s premier political blogger Guido Fawkes has already dubbed the incident #WhiteVanGate. Thornberry’s tweet will do little to dissuade Ukip supporters that MPs are not the metropolitan liberal elite they are made out to be.There appears to be little wriggle room for Thornberry as a fellow Labour MP slammed her tweet as offensive. Speaking to the Daily Mail, Simon Danczuk said:I think she was being derogatory and dismissive of the people. We all know what she was trying to imply.I’ve talked about this previously. It’s like the Labour party has been hijacked by the north London liberal elite and it’s comments like that which reinforce that view. Show Comments ▼ Tags: NULLlast_img read more

Physician trades battlefield medicine for training humanitarian doctors

first_img By Bob Tedeschi July 26, 2016 Reprints Please enter a valid email address. Related: Related: Dr. Michael VanRooyen, director of Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, outside of his home. Kayana Szymczak for STAT WATCH: A helicopter medic grapples with trauma across vast distances Newsletters Sign up for Daily Recap A roundup of STAT’s top stories of the day. What it’s like to be one of the few doctors left in war-torn Syria Tags global healthhumanitarian aidtrauma care Two of our researchers at HHI, Patrick Vinck and Phuong Pham, developed a system called KoBoToolbox, which is essentially a way to send surveyors out with hand-held data collection devices. Once they survey the population, they can upload it, aggregate, instantly map it, and merge that data with other organizations. It’s been a very big contribution to the field.It’s well-known that battlefield medicine has grown much more dangerous for medical workers and all other humanitarian aid workers. Are you still tempted to go back into the field?I miss it a lot, actually. But I realize there’s an era for everything, and this is one where the field is better served by sort of creating the environment for others to do it. But some day when I’m not running a department and HHI, I’d really love to do it again. It’s a privilege to help in the field.How challenging is it to go from practicing that sort of medicine to working a Tuesday day shift in a Boston ER?The emergency department is so diverse and wildly interesting that boredom is never an issue. Humanitarian relief is mainly about populations and logistics and setting the stage to manage operations. In the emergency department it’s really about individual patients and a personal touch. So in many ways it’s a really wonderful counter-balance.Now that you’re in a leadership role in emergency medicine in Boston, what’s on the agenda?I’d like to build an oncology emergency department. We take care of trauma patients or heart attacks or strokes by bringing them right back and having a team descend on them, but patients with oncology emergencies have even higher mortality, and they may be deceptively ill.At the Brigham, we’re building a clinical and research program and models around better oncology management, so high-risk cancer patients will be taken care of immediately by a staff that’s trained in oncology emergencies. I hope we can do better by them. Don’t MissPhysician trades battlefield medicine for training humanitarian doctors STAT recently spoke with VanRooyen, 54, at his home in Wayland, Mass., about his new book, “The World’s Emergency Room,” which weaves anecdotes from his career into a broad prescription for the future of humanitarian medicine. He also discussed his new job leading the ER at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and the curious connection between his latest hobby and a doctor colleague who learned to slaughter a goat in his free time.advertisement Privacy Policy Medical doctors in Syria have been attacked by nearly every faction in the country’s civil war, including the Islamic State and government forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad (who happens to be a physician). Hospitals have been bombed repeatedly, either by accident or because they’re seen as shelters for warring factions.In Syria and in other conflict zones, humanitarian aid workers can no longer rely on the insignia of relief organizations to shield them from harm.Dr. Michael VanRooyen, an emergency physician who has worked in more than 30 war and disaster zones, and who now trains the next generation of humanitarian doctors at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, is not deterred by the increasingly perilous conditions under which so many of his trainees and colleagues operate.advertisement Leave this field empty if you’re human: Tell me about your friend who slaughtered a goat.Carlos! Fascinating guy. I was working as a physician in a mission hospital called Tenwek in rural Kenya. One of the physicians was an Argentinian surgeon, and on his day off, he was slaughtering a goat out back. I’m like, “Carlos, don’t the cooks usually do that?” And he just says, “No, I’ve never done this before. My favorite thing is to do something for the first time.” He slaughtered a goat. He built his own guitar. I thought that was a great thing.VanRooyen tends to the beehive in the backyard of his home in Wayland, Mass. Kayana Szymczak for STATThus your new hobby?Yeah. Keeping bees is super fascinating. They’re complex and endlessly interesting, and in the end you have something delicious to show for it. There’s a lot to learn, and I don’t know if I’ll be doing it forever, but for now it doesn’t take too much time, it’s fun for the kids, and I get to give my neighbors honey.Some people might find it less than surprising that someone who thrived in the chaos of humanitarian medicine might feel comfortable in a swarm of bees.(Laughs.) Bees are a lot easier to manage. “From here, you think everything in Syria is terrible and anyone who lands close to Lebanon is putting themself in harm’s way,” he said. “But if you know the ground truth, you can still get in.” This transcript has been edited and condensed.VanRooyen removes a bullet from a soldier’s wrist in South Sudan, 2000. Michael VanRooyenWhen you do simulation-based training, you take pains to put hostile child soldiers in the paths of medical workers. Why child soldiers in particular?Child soldiers are a uniquely complicated problem. In the simulation, these children are both armed and often accompanied by adults, so trainees don’t know who’s exploited and who’s not, and they have to deal with these kids not as an adult but as a child. A child with a weapon. If anything can frustrate or unnerve someone, it’s this situation.It was a young soldier in Zaire who put the barrel of a machine gun in your mouth, right?Yes, in the middle of an interrogation. Many of the soldiers in Zaire were children or teens. Recruiting child soldiers is common across many African conflicts.Aside from bribery, how do you handle these situations?What they want — even more than money — is respect. And it sounds silly, but ultimately it’s about treating them nicely. I speak calmly and respectfully and give them something like gum or cigarettes and tell them I’m a doctor and offer to help if they need it. I ask their name, where they come from, and tell them mine. It personalizes it for them, which I think makes it a lot harder for them to abuse you.You write that humanitarian aid is moving to a more local model, instead of Western saviors swooping in to manage everything. But depending on the politics of the region, that could make it even harder to coordinate an effective response among aid organizations. Any antidotes for that?If you ask the average person what’s wrong with humanitarian aid, many will say organizations don’t collaborate and are wasteful. And they wouldn’t be entirely wrong, because in some cases you’ll have multiple organizations gathering data and trying to solve similar problems without sharing what they know. The need to rapidly deliver services supersedes the desire to collect data, but data collection is extremely important.last_img read more

26 overdoses in just hours: Inside a community on the front lines of the opioid epidemic

first_img HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Officer Sean Brinegar arrived at the house first — “People are coming here and dying,” the 911 caller had said — and found a man and a woman panicking. Two people were dead inside, they told him.Brinegar, 25, has been on the force in this Appalachian city for less than three years, but as heroin use has surged, he has seen more than his fair share of overdoses. So last Monday, he grabbed a double pack of naloxone from his gear bag and headed inside.A man was on the dining room floor, his thin body bluish-purple and skin abscesses betraying a history of drug use. He was dead, Brinegar thought, so the officer turned his attention to the woman on a bed. He could see her chest rising but didn’t get a response when he dug his knuckle into her sternum.advertisement Dope Sick: A harrowing story of best friends, addiction — and a stealth killer Special Report26 overdoses in just hours: Inside a community on the front lines of the opioid epidemic Related: From about 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., 26 people overdosed in Huntington, half of them in and around the Marcum Terrace apartment complex. The barrage occupied all the ambulances in the city and more than a shift’s worth of police officers.By the end of it, though, all 26 people were alive. Authorities attributed that success to the cooperation among local agencies and the sad reality that they are well-practiced at responding to overdoses. Many officials did not seem surprised by the concentrated spike.“It was kind of like any other day, just more of it,” said Dr. Clay Young, an emergency medicine doctor at Cabell Huntington Hospital.But tragic news was coming. Around 8 p.m., paramedics responded to a report of cardiac arrest. The man later died at the hospital, and only then were officials told he had overdosed. On Wednesday, authorities found a person dead of an overdose elsewhere in Cabell County and think the death could have happened Monday. They are investigating whether those overdoses are tied to the others, potentially making them Nos. 27 and 28.It’s possible that the rash of overdoses was caused by a particularly powerful batch of heroin or that a dearth of the drug in the days beforehand weakened people’s tolerance.But police suspect the heroin here was mixed with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is many times more potent than heroin. A wave of fatal overdoses signaled fentanyl’s arrival in Huntington in early 2015, and now some stashes aren’t heroin laced with fentanyl, but “fentanyl laced with heroin,” said Police Chief Joe Ciccarelli.Another possibility is carfentanil, another synthetic opioid, this one used to sedate elephants. Police didn’t recover drugs from any of the overdoses, but toxicology tests from the deaths could provide answers.A home in the area where 13 people overdosed last Monday. A battle-scarred cityIn some ways, what happened in Huntington was as unremarkable as the spurts in overdoses that have occurred in other cities. This year, fentanyl or carfentanil killed a dozen people in Sacramento, nine people in Florida, and 23 people in about a month in Akron, Ohio. The list of cities goes on: New Haven, Conn.; Columbus, Ohio; Barre, Vt.But what happened in Huntington stands out in other ways. It underlines the potential of a mysterious substance to unleash wide-scale trauma and overwhelm a city’s emergency response. And it suggests that a community that is doing all the right things to combat a worsening scourge can still get knocked back by it. General Assignment Reporter Andrew covers a range of topics, from addiction to public health to genetics. Tags fentanylheroinopioids About the Author Reprints “It’s a revolving door. We’re not solving the problem past reviving them,” he said. “We gave 26 people another chance on life, and hopefully one of those 26 will seek help.”In the part of town where half the overdoses happened, some homes are well-kept, with gardens, bird feeders, and American flags billowing. “Home Sweet Home,” read an engraved piece of wood above one front door; in another front yard, a wooden sculpture presented a bear holding a fish with “WELCOME” written across its body.But many structures are decrepit and have their windows blacked out with cardboard and sheets. At one boarded-up house, the metal slats that once made up an overhang for the front porch split apart and warped as they collapsed, like gnarled teeth. On the plywood that covered a window frame was a message spelled out in green dots: GIRL SCOUTS RULE.In and around the public housing complex, which is made up of squat two-story brick buildings sloping up a hill, people either said they did not know what had happened Monday, or that “lowlifes” in another part of the complex sparked the problem. Even as paramedics were responding to the overdoses, police started raiding residences as part of their investigation, including apartments at the complex, the chief said.Just up the hill, a man named Bill was sitting on a recliner on his front porch with his cat. He said he saw the police out in the area Monday, but doesn’t pay much attention to overdoses anymore. They are so frequent.Bill, who is retired, asked to be identified only by his first name because he said he has a son in law enforcement. He has lived in that house for five decades and started locking his door only in recent years. His neighbors’ house had been broken into, and he had seen people using drugs in cars across the street from his house. He called the police sometimes, he said, but the users were always gone by the time the police arrived.“I hate to say this, but you know, I’d let them die,” Bill said. “If they knew that no one was going to revive them, maybe they wouldn’t overdose.”Even here, where addiction had touched so many lives, it’s not an uncommon sentiment. Addiction is still viewed by some as a bad personal choice made by bad people.“Some folks in the community just didn’t care” that 26 of their fellow residents almost died, said Matt Boggs, the executive director of Recovery Point.Recovery Point is a long-term recovery program that teaches “clients” to live a life without drugs or alcohol. Boggs himself is a graduate of the program, funded by the state and donations and grants.The clients live in bunk rooms at the facility for an average of more than seven months before graduating. The program says that about two-thirds of graduates stay sober in the first year after graduation, and about 85 percent of those people are sober after two years.Local officials praise Recovery Point, but like many other recovery programs, it is limited in what it can do. It has 100 beds for men at its location in Huntington, and is expanding at other sites in the state, but Boggs said there’s a waiting list of a couple hundred people.Mike Thomas, 30, graduated from the main part of the program a month ago and is working as a peer mentor there as he transitions out of the facility. Thomas has been clean since Oct. 15, 2015, but has dreams about getting high or catches himself thinking he could spare $100 from his bank account for drugs.Thomas hopes to find a full-time job helping addicts. His own recovery will be a lifelong process, one that can be torn apart by a single bad decision, he said. He will always be in recovery, never recovered.“I’m not cured,” he said.Mike Thomas, 30, is a recent graduate of the Recovery Point program and is now working as a peer mentor there. A killer that doesn’t discriminateAs heroin has bled into communities across the country, it has spread beyond the regular drug hotbeds in cities. On a 2004 map of drug use in Huntington — back then, mostly crack cocaine — a few blocks of the city glow red. Almost the entire city glows in yellows and reds on the 2014 map.In 2015, there were more than 700 drug overdose calls in Huntington, ranging from kids in their early teens to seniors in their late 70s. In 2014, it was 272 calls; in 2012, 146. One bright spot: fatal overdoses, which stood at 58 in 2015, have ticked down so far this year. Please enter a valid email address. [email protected] Privacy Policy Photos by Andrew Spear for STAT ‘Truly terrifying’: Chinese suppliers flood US and Canada with deadly fentanyl Related: By Andrew Joseph Aug. 22, 2016 Reprints I told my doctors my drug history. Yet they gave me opioids without counseling Related: “I used to be able to say, ‘We need to focus here,’” said Scott Lemley, a criminal intelligence analyst at the police department. “I can’t do that anymore.”Heroin hasn’t just dismantled geographic barriers. It has infiltrated every demographic.“It doesn’t discriminate. Prominent businessmen, their child. Police officers, their child. Doctors, their child,” Merry said. “The businessman and police officer do not have their child anymore.”The businessman is Teddy Johnson. His son, Adam, died in 2007 when he was 22, one of a dozen people who died in a five-month period because of an influx of black-tar heroin. The drug hadn’t made its full resurgence into the region yet, but now, Johnson sees the drug that killed his son everywhere.Teddy Johnson lost his son, Adam, in 2007 to a heroin overdose. He has several tattoos dedicated to Adam’s memory. He runs a plumbing, heating, and kitchen fixture and remodeling business. From his storefront, he has witnessed deals across the street.Adam, who was a student at Marshall, was a musician and artist who hosted radio shows. He was the life of any party, his dad said.Johnson was describing Adam as he sat at the marble countertop of a model kitchen in his business last week. With the photos of his kids on the counter, it felt like a family’s home. Johnson explained how he still kept Adam’s bed made, how he kept his son’s room the same, and then he began to cry.“The biggest star in the sky we say is Adam’s star,” he said. “When we’re in the car — and it can’t be this way — but it always seems to be in front of us, guiding us.”Adam’s grave is at the top of a hill near the memorial to the 75 people — Marshall football players, staff, and fans — who died in a 1970 plane crash. It’s a beautiful spot that Johnson visits a few times each week, bringing flowers and cutting the grass around his son’s grave himself. Recently a note was left there from a couple Johnson knows who just lost their son to an overdose; they were asking Adam to look out for their son in heaven.But even here, at what should be a respite, Johnson can’t escape what took his son. He said he has seen deals happen in the cemetery, and he recently found a burnt spoon not more than 20 feet from his son’s grave.Johnson keeps fresh flowers on his son’s grave and cuts the grass around the grave himself. “I’ve just seen too much of it,” he said.If Huntington doesn’t have a handle on heroin, at least the initiatives are helping officials understand the scale of the problem. More than 1,700 people have come through the syringe exchange since it opened, where they receive a medical assessment and learn about recovery options. The exchange is open one day a week, and in less than a year, it has distributed 150,000 clean syringes and received 125,000 used syringes.But to grow and sustain its programs, Huntington needs money, officials say. The community has received federal grants, and state officials know they have a problem. But economic losses and the collapse of the coal industry that fueled the drug epidemic have also depleted state coffers.“We have programs ready to launch, and we have no resources to launch them with,” said Dr. Michael Kilkenny, the physician director of the Cabell-Huntington Health Department. “We’re launching them without resources, because our people are dying, and we can’t tolerate that.”In some ways, Huntington is fortunate. It has a university with medical and pharmacy schools enlisted to help, and a mayor’s office and police department collaborating with public health officials. But what does that herald then for other communities?“If I feel anxious about what happens in Huntington and in Cabell County, I cannot imagine what it must be like to live in one of these other at-risk counties in the United States, where they don’t have all those resources, they don’t have people thinking about it,” said Dr. Kevin Yingling, the dean of the Marshall University School of Pharmacy.Yingling, Kilkenny, and others were gathered on Friday afternoon to talk about the situation in Huntington, including the rash of overdoses. But by then, there was already a different incident to discuss.A car had crashed into a tree earlier that afternoon in Huntington. A man in the driver seat and a woman in the passenger seat had both overdosed and needed naloxone to be revived. A preschool-age girl was in the back seat. The city of Huntington, W.Va., has about 50,000 residents. Up to 1 in 10 use opioids improperly, officials fear. Leave this field empty if you’re human: “From a policy perspective, we’re throwing everything we know at the problem,” said Dr. James Becker, the vice dean for governmental affairs and health care policy at the medical school at Marshall University here. “And yet the problem is one of those that takes a long time to change, and probably isn’t going to change for quite a while.”Surrounded by rolling hills packed with lush trees, Huntington is one of the many fronts in the fight against an opioid epidemic that is killing almost 30,000 Americans a year. But this city, state, and region are among the most battle-scarred.West Virginia has the highest rate of fatal drug overdoses of any state and the highest rate of babies born dependent on opioids among the 28 states that report data. But even compared with other communities in West Virginia, Huntington sees above-average rates of heroin use, overdose deaths, and drug-dependent newborns. Local officials estimate up to 10 percent of residents use opioids improperly.The heroin problem emerged about five years ago when authorities around the country cracked down on “pill mills” that sent pain medications into communities; officials here specifically point to a 2011 Florida law that arrested the flow of pills into the Huntington area.As the pills became harder to obtain and harder to abuse, people turned to heroin. It has devoured many communities in Appalachia and beyond.In Huntington, law enforcement initially took the lead, with police arresting hundreds of people. They seized thousands of grams of heroin. But it wasn’t making a dent. So in November 2014, local leaders established an office of drug control policy.“As far as numbers of arrests and seizures, we were ahead of the game, but our problem was getting worse,” said Jim Johnson, director of the office and a former Huntington police officer. “It became very obvious that if we did not work on the demand side just as hard as the supply side, we were never going to see any success.”The office brought together law enforcement, health officials, community and faith leaders, and experts from Marshall to try to tackle the problem together.Changes in state law have opened naloxone dissemination to the public and protected people who report overdoses. But the city and its partners have gone further, rolling out programs through the municipal court system to encourage people to seek treatment. One program is designed to help women who work as prostitutes to feed their addiction. Huntington has eight of the state’s 28 medically assisted detox beds, and they’re always full.Also, in 2014, a center called Lily’s Place opened in Huntington to wean babies from drugs. Last year, the local health department launched this conservative state’s first syringe exchange. The county, health officials know, is at risk for outbreaks of HIV and hepatitis C because of shared needles, so they are trying to get ahead of crises seen in other communities afflicted by addiction.“Huntington just happens to have taken ownership of the problem, and very courageously started some programs … that have been models for the rest of the state,” said Kenneth Burner, the West Virginia coordinator for the Appalachia High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program.‘A revolving door’While paramedics in the area have carried naloxone for years, it was this spring that Huntington police officers were equipped with it. Just a few officers have administered it, but Monday was Brinegar’s third time reviving overdose victims with naloxone.Paramedics, who first try reviving victims by pumping air with a bag through a mask, had to administer another 10 doses of naloxone Monday. Three doses went to one person, said Gordon Merry, the director of Cabell County Emergency Services. During the response, ambulances from stations outside Huntington were called into the city to assist the eight or so response teams already deployed.Merry was clearly proud of the response, but also frustrated. He was tired, he said, of people whom emergency crews revived going back to drugs. Because of the power of their disease, saving their lives didn’t get at the root of their addiction. Brinegar gave the woman a dose of injected naloxone, the antidote that can jumpstart the breathing of someone who has overdosed on opioids, and returned to the man. The man sat up in response to Brinegar’s knuckle in his sternum — he was alive after all — but started to pass out again. Brinegar gave him the second dose of naloxone.Maybe on an average day, when this Ohio River city of about 50,000 people sees two or three overdoses, that would have been it. But on this day, the calls kept coming.Two more heroin overdoses at that house, three people found in surrounding yards. Three overdoses at the nearby public housing complex, another two up the hill from the complex.advertisement Andrew Joseph Newsletters Sign up for Daily Recap A roundup of STAT’s top stories of the day. @DrewQJoseph last_img read more

Nasdaq completes deal for Marketwired

first_img James Langton U.S. exchanges scrap political contributions Nasdaq says that the deal aims to boost its corporate services business by expanding its newswire distribution and gaining access to Marketwired’s social media targeting tools and analytics. “This is a major opportunity for our corporate solutions business to enhance its end-to-end portfolio of services for communication professionals — including news distribution, media research, social media and analytics,” says Stacie Swanstrom, senior vice president and head of corporate solutions at Nasdaq. “We will also make use of existing resources — including an expanded presence in North America, particularly Canada — to provide an even stronger service and account management experience for our clients.” Earlier this year, Nasdaq bolstered its presence in Canada with the acquisition of alternative trading system, Chi-X Canada. See: Nasdaq completes acquisition of Chi-X Canada The exchange operator says that the acquisition of Marketwired is expected to be accretive to its non-GAAP earnings within 12 months. TMX caps stronger 2020 with Q4 profits growing to $71.8 million Related news The New York-based Nasdaq Inc. has completed its acquisition of the Toronto-based newswire service Marketwired L.P., the stock exchange operator announced on Thrusday. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Earlier this month, Nasdaq announced that it would be buying Marketwired from OMERS Private Equity. TSX proposes flat fee for retail market data Keywords Stock exchangesCompanies Nasdaq OMX Group, Inc. Share this article and your comments with peers on social media Facebook LinkedIn Twitterlast_img read more

4-H Cubbies Show Off Skills at Parish Achievement Day

first_img4-H Cubbies Show Off Skills at Parish Achievement Day UncategorizedApril 13, 2008 Advertisements FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail The Hanover 4-H Cubbies showed off their skills in naming and taking care of plants and animals, public speaking and other areas, at the 2008 Parish Achievement Day held recently at the Hopewell High School.The youngsters, age five to eight, competed in mounting mini displays, reciting poems; identifying seeds, pets and plants; colouring posters; among other things.Introduced last year, the Cubbies programme is the latest initiative of the 4-H Movement, through which it hopes to capture young people as soon as they enter the school system.“They are at the right age to identify farm animals, pets, seeds, say little poems, understand the importance of plants to human beings and so we implemented that programme,” explained Executive Director of the Jamaica 4-H Clubs, Lenworth Fulton.The hope is to instill the necessary discipline, skills, values and attitudes, which will help the youngsters to become productive and worthwhile members of society.Mr. Fulton noted that membership in the Cubbies programme has grown since it was introduced last year and expectations are high that there will be continued growth in the coming years. Approximately 42 schools and one community club exhibited their work and participated in various competitive events at the Achievement Day. Related4-H Cubbies Show Off Skills at Parish Achievement Daycenter_img Related4-H Cubbies Show Off Skills at Parish Achievement Day Related4-H Cubbies Show Off Skills at Parish Achievement Daylast_img read more

Five Clark County standouts make all-state basketball teams

first_imgFive Clark County standouts make all-state basketball teamsPosted by ClarkCountyToday.comDate: Wednesday, March 25, 2020in: Sportsshare 0 Union, Battle Ground, Columbia River, and La Center athletes named among the best in Washington The Class 4A Greater St. Helens League continues to have an excellent basketball season.A few weeks after three boys teams from the league made it to the state’s final 12, two players from the league were voted to The Associated Press’ all-state, first team.Union senior Tanner Toolson, who was named Mr. Basketball by the Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association, is on the first team. So, too, is Battle Ground junior Kaden Perry. Tanner Toolson, the state’s Mr. Basketball from the coaches’ association, was also voted first-team, all-state by The Associated Press. Photo by Mike SchultzTanner Toolson, the state’s Mr. Basketball from the coaches’ association, was also voted first-team, all-state by The Associated Press. Photo by Mike SchultzBattle Ground junior Kaden Perry, who said he intends to sign with Gonzaga, was voted to first-team, all-state by The Associated Press. Photo by Mike SchultzBattle Ground junior Kaden Perry, who said he intends to sign with Gonzaga, was voted to first-team, all-state by The Associated Press. Photo by Mike SchultzMeanwhile, in 4A girls, Mason Oberg of Union was an honorable mention selection. She helped the Titans to the state semifinals, the first trip to the final four for the program.Mason Oberg of Union was named honorable mention all-state by The Associated Press. Photo courtesy Heather TianenMason Oberg of Union was named honorable mention all-state by The Associated Press. Photo courtesy Heather TianenNate Snook of Columbia River made the first team for Class 2A boys. Hunter Ecklund of La Center made the first team for Class 1A boys.Nate Snook led Columbia River to a 17-5 record and a 2A Greater St. Helens League title. He was named first-team, all-state for Class 2A. Photo by Mike SchultzNate Snook led Columbia River to a 17-5 record and a 2A Greater St. Helens League title. He was named first-team, all-state for Class 2A. Photo by Mike SchultzHunter Ecklund of La Center capped his tremendous four-year varsity career with a first-team, all-state selection. Photo by Mike SchultzHunter Ecklund of La Center capped his tremendous four-year varsity career with a first-team, all-state selection. Photo by Mike SchultzToolson led Union to a school-record 27 wins. The Titans lost in the Class 4A state semifinals  before winning the third-place game.Perry was one of the most dominating players in the state, helping the Tigers make it to the dome for the second consecutive season. Battle Ground lost in round-of-12.Skyview lost in the quarterfinals.In 4A girls, Union went on a magical postseason run, reaching the final four. The Titans ended up taking home the fifth-place trophy.The La Center boys made it to the round-of-12, losing to rival King’s Way Christian. The Knights lost in the quarterfinals. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textTags:Battle GroundClark CountyLa CenterLatestVancouvershare 0 Previous : COVID-19 update: Four new cases confirmed in Clark County Next : ‘Say it with flowers’ — Woodland bulb farm donates thousands of flowers to hospitalsAdvertisementThis is placeholder textlast_img read more