O.C. Schools Off to Promising Start

first_imgThe Board of Education members discuss the early success of the school district’s hybrid learning model amid the coronavirus pandemic during a meeting in September. (Photo courtesy Martin Fiedler, Just Right TV Productions) By MADDY VITALEWith two weeks into the start of the 2020-21 school year, Ocean City school officials said students are working hard as they navigate new ways to learn during the COVID-19 pandemic.And they are doing it well, Schools Superintendent Dr. Kathleen Taylor noted during a Board of Education meeting Wednesday night.“Just in speaking to a number of teachers over two and a half weeks, every teacher commented about how motivated the students are this year and how much they miss school, the teachers, their friends and the school routine,” Dr. Taylor said. “We have not had another issue with the students not complying. Whether social distancing, everyone has adhered to what they need to. Kudos to the students.”The first day of school was Sept. 8. The district offers in its “Return to School Plan” a blend of remote learning and in-person instruction or the option of all-virtual instruction.In the hybrid model of learning, the students have been broken into two groups to ensure social distancing. They attend school two days a week and learn remotely for three days. The Virtual Academy option is for those who do not attend in-person instruction.Board of Education members agreed at Wednesday’s meeting that there have been and will be challenges. However, they emphasized that the students, faculty and the community continue to work together, with the students always put first.Educators are coming up with ideas of how to better help parents and students through the new ways of teaching and learning, School Board Vice President Jacqueline McAlister said.McAlister said Intermediate School Principal Mike Mattina brought ideas to the Board of Education to help parents with teaching their children.Intermediate School Principal Michael Mattina is helping parents with the new learning models.Since the pandemic, parents have had to act as teachers at times with the virtual learning models.“Principal Mattina had two big ideas to provide extra support for students and parents. It is very helpful to hear what the teachers say before you try to help your child. It is intended for teachers and parents so that parents could more effectively teach,” McAlister explained. “It is really a wonderful idea. The Intermediate School will track the success.”School officials stressed how the community has really come together to help the district.The Ocean City Gardens Civic Association donated more than $4,000 to the Primary and Intermediate School for tents, mask clips and mats.It was an example of people outside of the schools who are making a difference, School Board President Joseph Clark said.“I want to thank the Gardens Civic Association for helping us fill in the gaps. We can’t do this without a community like this,” Clark said.He added that in a year of uncertainty, when teachers, parents and students have to do so many things different, there will be “bumps along the way.”But overall, he said, the district will be a success.“I think we are on the right track and we will continue to move forward. There will be bumps along the way,” Clark emphasized. “I want to thank all who really put everything they can into this to make this a success. We polled everyone. We are doing the best we can. Thank you for a great start to the 2020-21 school year.”Board member Cecilia Gallelli-Keyes commended the city for a program that helps with childcare. The city is doing the program in partnership with the Ocean City Tabernacle Son Club.“I think it is wonderful that Ocean City is offering childcare for our community,” Gallelli-Keyes pointed out.She also spoke about how the district has had to overcome many hurdles with the new learning models.“Our faculty and staff — I want to commend them,” Gallelli-Keyes added. “Dr. Taylor has led with compassion. Thank you to all of the parents who have stepped up as we work together to provide safe schools. Thank you to all who have dedicated their time in a community that leads by example.”For more information on Ocean City schools, visit www.oceancityschools.org.last_img read more

Greggs’ trading update triggers share-price tumble

first_imgGreggs, the high street bakery chain, suffered a sharp drop in share price as it reported a slowdown in its like-for-like (LFL) sales growth.The share price fell by 15% between 4.30pm on 11 January to 4.30pm on 12 January from 1,230p to 1,049p in the wake of the trading update for the year, which showed LFL sales had only grown 2.7% in Q4, behind the annual average of 4.7%The price showed some signs of recovery today, rising to 1,071p at 12pm, but is still well below its pre-update level.Greggs blamed the slowdown in growth on coming up against “stronger comparatives and the impact of weaker footfall in some shopping locations” over the festive period, but chief executive Roger Whiteside was generally positive about the company’s 2015 results.The futureHe said: “2015 saw us deliver another excellent year of progress as we continue to transform Greggs into a modern, well-invested food-on-the-go retailer.“We anticipate that we will report full-year results for 2015 in line with our previous expectations. In the year ahead we will continue with the implementation of our strategic plan to enable the business to compete more effectively in the food-on-the-go market.”last_img read more

Sainsbury’s adds Leon sourdough to more bakeries

first_imgFast food chain Leon has added a new sourdough loaf to its retail range in Sainsbury’s.The brown seeded sourdough comprises golden and dark linseeds, as well as pumpkin seeds and is available with an rsp of £2.85.It joins the rest of the brand’s bakery line-up, which was launched as part of a wider retail range in October 2019, in Sainsbury’s in-store bakeries. The loaves, including a superwhite sourdough and quinoa sourdough, have now been rolled out to a further 62 stores, expanding their reach from 32 sites to 94.Like the rest of Leon’s sourdough loaves, the brown seeded variant is made using a 15-year-old starter and is fermented for 20 hours. It also contains 7% courgette which baked into the dough to keep the loaf moist, said Leon, while the addition of rye and malt flour creates a ‘sweet, nutty loaf with a mild tangy taste’.“We’re excited to be rolling out across an extra 62 in-store bakeries within Sainsbury’s stores. It’s been our mission to make food that tastes and does good, more widely available and this expansion will allow even more customers to access Leon’s delicious bakery products,” said Charlotte Di Cello, chief commercial officer and MD of Leon Grocery.Known for its ‘naturally fast food’, Leon is a British restaurant chain serving seasonal, Mediterranean-inspired and free-from food.In April, the brand transformed 12 of its restaurants into mini-supermarkets to alleviate the strain on supermarkets during the Covid-19 crisis.last_img read more

Algorithms Designed This Gorgeous Concert Hall To Ensure It Has Perfect Acoustics

first_img[Video: Elbphilharmonie Hamburg][H/T Wired] Back in January, Hamburg, Germany’s Elbphilharmonie re-opened its doors to the public, marking the end of a ten-year-long remodeling process and making it one of the most advanced concert complexes in the world. Elbphilharmonie’s remodel ended up costing ten times more than originally planned, ringing in at a whopping $843 million USD, though the price tag and long construction process were not all for naught. Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron designed the largest of the three concert halls within the complex, the auditorium, using special algorithms to ensure a more perfectly balanced sound.The auditorium’s walls are lined with 10,000 specially designed, gypsum fiber acoustic panels that Herzog and de Meuron designed together with Benjamin Koren, founder of One to One, and famed acoustician, Yashuhisa Toyota. Each of these panels has a unique shape generated by a special algorithm, and together, the panels lock together to shape how sounds are heard within the 2,150-seat auditorium based off an optimal sound map designed by Toyota. Each panel is texturized with “cells”—small divots ranging from four to sixteen centimeters across that either absorb or scatter sound waves when hit. No two panels are alike, meaning each’s effect on sound waves is similarly unique. Now, all 10,000 panels have been individually placed to create a balanced reverberation within the concert hall.When designing the sound map of the venue, Toyota considered the venue as a whole. As Wired noted, “Based on the room’s geometry, Toyota figured certain panels, like the ones lining the back wall of the auditorium, would need deeper, bigger grooves to absorb echoes. While other areas, like the ceiling surfaces behind the reflector and the top parts of the balustrades, would require shallower cells.”From there, the architects added their own parameters to each acoustic panel—for example, Herzog and de Meuron wanted to ensure that the panels are beautiful to look at, appear consistent, and consider the needs of audience members (e.g., any panel that can be touched by an attendee has softer divets). Using Toyota’s sound map and Herzog and de Meuron’s specifications, Koren used parametric design to create an algorithm that automatically designed the 10,000 panels and their placement within the hall. As he noted, “That’s the power of parametric design,” he says. “Once all of that is in place, I hit play and it creates a million cells, all different and all based on these parameters. I have 100 percent control over setting up the algorithm, and then I have no more control.”Check out the video below to see what the completed auditorium within the Elbphilharmonie looks like.last_img read more

Wet soil

first_imgRainfall from Hurricane Matthew has left soil in coastal south Georgia completely saturated. Rainy conditions like these wreak havoc on gardeners and farmers who need to do yard or field work. In many cases, the best way to deal with the situation is to wait for drier conditions.Attempting to work the soil when it is too wet can result in soil structural issues that can take years to resolve. As a UGA Cooperative Extension county agent, I have seen firsthand some of the messes created by fields being plowed when the soil is too wet. Even small amounts of red clay can become big clods of soil that will torment growers for years.Remember not to drive off of hard-packed or paved roads during these conditions either. Someone driving, or trying to drive, across a waterlogged lawn will ruin it. If this mistake is made and a car gets stuck, the driver should immediately stop and call for help. Attempting to drive out by going backward and forward only creates ruts that will take a lot of effort to repair. To remove the stuck vehicle, have another vehicle on hard ground pull the vehicle out to avoid additional damage to the lawn.Finally, don’t pull off onto the side of the road anywhere unless there is an emergency situation. If you do, you will most likely be walking to get help. Many newer cars have traction control, but older cars without traction control can be removed with the help of the emergency brake. Don’t apply the brake so tight that the back wheels can’t turn; instead, apply just enough resistance to equalize the torque across the differential, causing both tires to turn. Often this additional traction will be just enough to get the vehicle back on solid ground.last_img read more

College of St Joseph receives energy grant for $122,000

first_imgSource: Communications Coordinator at the College of St Joseph 6.29.2010 College of St Joseph in Rutland, VT, has received a grant of $122,749 from the Vermont Clean Energy Development Fund for upgrades to the college’s residence halls, specifically to install Sto Exterior insulation in the college’s two dorm buildings. The funds from this grant come from monies received by Vermont from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and are distributed by CEDF.The college will combine the CEDF grant with funding formerly received from the Department of Energy through the work of Congressman Peter Welch to rehabilitate the exteriors of both Roncalli and Medaille residence halls. Both halls will have four inches of foam insulation and a stucco surface applied to their exteriors that will address several major issues, including energy efficiency and the need for ongoing exterior maintenance. By the end of the summer, the construction in both halls should be complete.In addition to this major overhaul of the exteriors of both buildings, all of the carpeting in both halls will be removed and replaced with laminate flooring. The college’s maintenance crew will also be doing some rehab work in the bathrooms in each suite.When residents return in the fall, they will find two very different housing facilities. The halls will have a new look outside and in, more stable interior temperature, limited to no interior moisture problems, and brighter and cleaner interiors.last_img read more

Russomanno assumes presidency Makes judicial independence his top priority

first_imgWendy Loquasto, “in recognition of her outstanding leadership and relentless pursuit of the history of the First 150 Women Lawyers in Florida, and the publication of a book dedicated to their lives, in tribute to the 50th Anniversary of The Florida Bar.” Russomanno assumes presidency Makes judicial independence his top priority Alter the judicial nominating process by replacing Bar appointments with legislative and gubernatorial appointments to the judicial nominating commissions. Increase the number of the Governor’s appointees to JNCs. Russomanno assumes presidency Makes judicial independence his top priority Associate Editor Pledging to vigorously protect the independence of judges and lawyers, Herman J. Russomanno of Miami was sworn in as The Florida Bar’s first president of the 21st century at the Bar’s Millennial Annual Meeting in Boca Raton. The June 23 General Assembly — packed with a ceremonial procession of justices, appellate judges, and past presidents as a pianist played the theme from “Chariots of Fire;” and punctuated with applause for a host of award-winners — marked the beginning of Russomanno’s term as the Bar’s 52nd president. It was a day of hand-shaking, bright-smiling celebration, as family, friends and even appreciative clients traveled hundreds of miles from out-of-state for the big event. But, as Russomanno noted, there is a sobering backdrop to his challenging role as president, a Florida Legislature that has brought what he called “unwarranted assaults and statutory threats to judicial independence.” His top priority as president will be the creation of the Judicial Independence Commission to safeguard against those attacks, which he enumerated as the denial of adequate funding for the judiciary, legislative attempts to control outcomes of litigation, legislative proposals stripping rule-making authority away from the Supreme Court, and bills that would give the Governor additional judicial nominating commission appointments and add justices to the high court. Sounding the warning, he said some states, such as Tennessee, Nebraska and California, have launched campaigns to remove judges from office for making unpopular decisions, and other state legislatures have also tried to treat the courts as “ordinary state government agencies rather than a co-equal branch of government.” “Why do we have these assaults on the judiciary? Will these attacks continue as we enter the 21st century? Will The Florida Bar show leadership in protecting the judiciary and citizens of your state?” Russomanno asked. “As to the last question, whether The Florida Bar will show leadership in protecting judicial independence, the answer is a resounding: `Yes!’” Russomanno detailed his other presidential priorities as creating a Technology Task Force to help lawyers and firms of all sizes put cutting-edge technology to work to better serve clients, promoting diversity to achieve full and equal participation of minorities and women in the legal profession, and to complete the work of the two-year Commission on the Legal Needs of Children. The General Assembly also featured the swearing in of President-elect Terry Russell, Young Lawyers Division President Stuart Ratzan and YLD President-elect Elizabeth Rice. Outgoing President Edith Osman also delivered the annual state of the Bar address. Chesterfield Smith introduced Russomanno, recalling how they met in 1973 when they were both bar presidents: Smith led the American Bar Association, while Russomanno led the Student Bar Association at Cumberland School of Law. “You probably know that he may well have led more bar organizations than I have since I was president of The Florida Bar 36 years ago,” Smith said. “He’s president of something every year.. . He has found time over the years to help his community by participating in several organizations and educational forums. Simply put, Herman Russomanno is a do-gooder, and I like that. I like do-gooders more than most all other people. He has made a difference in so many lives, including so many of our lives, and I know he will do the same as president of The Florida Bar.” In his deep, booming voice, Smith concluded: “I expect him to be a great president.” Russomanno returned the favor to “Citizen Smith,” calling him a personal hero who “taught me over 27 years ago that no one can subvert the Constitution and that no man is above the law.” Independence Commission An independent judiciary enriches democracy, Russomanno said, and the Bar must “go to the people and expose all threats to judicial independence. “The continued celebration of freedom enjoyed for the last 213 years will only exist in this country if we have an independent judiciary and independent bar,” Russomanno said. “As lawyers, we are the guardians of our system of justice, we protect the liberty that will keep our children and grandchildren free. We must act today to preserve the future.” His chief action as president will be establishing the new Judicial Independence Commission. Its mission will be to educate citizens, legislative policy-makers, newspaper editorial boards and journalists by providing white papers and continuing education programs. As a part of the JIC, the Bar will establish a judicial institute to improve constructive dialogue with legislators, as well. “There are many members of the Florida Legislature in the Senate and in the House who respect and understand the importance of an independent judiciary,” Russomanno said. “However, all members of the legislature, including special interest groups and their lobbyists, need to participate in these judicial forums. Term limits provide an excellent opportunity for us to elect and educate new legislators on the importance of judicial independence. Federal and state judges, practicing lawyers in this state, along with law professors from our law schools and journalists will participate in this research institute.” Russomanno pledged the Bar, with lawyers “standing shoulder to shoulder,” will help preserve the “independence of the legal profession and the judiciary and the freedoms it protects.” Technology Task Force “Let’s skill all the lawyers,” is how Russomanno described his goal of creating a Technology Task Force that will provide the best continuing legal education available to help lawyers and firms of all sizes use cutting-edge information technology to better serve clients. “The Florida Bar will be the leader in helping its members keep up with rapidly developing technology, electronic distribution of information, e-business practice, and Internet research,” Russomanno said. “Membership benefits on-line to our lawyers will be the best in the nation.” He added a cautionary note in seizing technology that advances at lightning speed. “However, we must be ever vigilant that with new technology, legal services over the Internet do not degrade the profession and that on-line legal services do not compromise client confidentiality, or raise ethical issues such as conflict of interest, unauthorized practice of law and improper fee-splitting. It is the Bar’s duty to protect the public. The personal relationship and trust between a lawyer and client is paramount.” Diversity in the Profession Another of his goals is to promote diversity in the profession. “One of the major challenges of the new century is to build a profession that can effectively serve as the connecting link between our citizens and the rule of law. Diversity is a dominant issue of the 21st century. If we strongly promote diversity, we will be able to maintain the public’s trust and confidence,” Russomanno said. As the demographics of the country change, so do clients of legal services, he noted. Therefore, law firms must reflect diversity, he said, and the Bar must show leadership and courage. “We must open the way for minorities and women to participate in the Bar if we are to achieve diversity,” Russomanno said. He promised sections and committees will reflect his commitment to diversity, and he will work with the Governor to ensure diversity on judicial nominating commissions. “Our charge, our mission, our goal is that one day, in the not too distant future, diversity will no longer be an issue.” Legal Needs of Children During his year as president, Russomanno pledged to help fulfill the mission of the Commission on the Legal Needs of Children, chaired by 11th Judicial Circuit Judge Sandy Karlan. Last year, the two-year commission focused on assessing the legal needs of children in the court system. This year, the commission is charged to complete its work and present to The Florida Bar’s Board of Governors model programs to help children through the court system with a minimum of confusion and trauma. “We must be creative,” Russomanno said. “Some sociologists call it the `Five Generation Rule.’ How parents raise their children, the love they give, the values they teach, the emotional environment they offer, the education they provide — this influences the child and the four generations to follow. What parents do, in other words, will reach through the next five generations. For children less fortunate, we need to be there.” Saluting His Supporters Looking over at the gathering of past presidents — from Dixie Beggs who led The Florida State Bar in 1947 to Howard Coker in 1998 — Russomanno paused to thank his former partners, Bob Floyd, Gerry Richman and Steve Zack. While practicing law with them for 16 years before forming his own firm with Bob Borrello, Russomanno said that trio of former Bar presidents “personally taught me what it means to give back to your profession.” He called members of the Board of Governors “extraordinary leaders,” who will “lift the spirit of our profession.” And in congratulating Young Lawyers President Stuart Ratzan, he asked: “Will there be in your group another Chesterfield Smith to lead this new generation? Will you have sustained enthusiasm? Will you make a difference? All of us can make a difference. Together, we can lift the spirit of our profession.” He especially thanked Cumberland School of Law Dean Jim Lewis and his wife, Karen, who made the trip from Birmingham, Alabama. “Cumberland provided me with a legal education, and taught me that civility is not a sign of weakness, but a badge of honor.” The presence of St. Thomas University, where Russomanno served on several boards and taught as an adjunct professor, was evident at the ceremony. It began with the singing of the “Star-Spangled Banner” by Dr. Louis Ann Hesser of St. Thomas and distinguished guests included the Reverand Monsignore Franklyn Casale, president; the Archbishop of Miami, the Most Reverand John Favarola; and law school Dean John Makdisi; and former Dean Dan Morrissey. “We do not achieve in life without the help of others. I have been blessed by so many affirmative acts of kindness from so many people who have helped me along the way. My dad, whom I loved so much, died when I was 12. And thanks to my mother, Mary Russomanno, grandparents, aunts and uncles, teachers, law professors, coaches and friends, all of you helped keep me on the right side of the tracks,” Russomanno said. To his 91-year-old mother who was unable to travel from New Jersey, Russomanno called out: “Hi, Mom! I love you!” and promised she will see the ceremony on videotape. Besides thanking every member of his “law firm family,” Russomanno thanked clients who came to witness him sworn in as president. “These clients have suffered hardships, loss of children and loved ones over the years. Some clients traveled as far as Wisconsin to be here today. Thank you.” Row after row was filled with family and friends from New Jersey, where Russomanno grew up, Florida and Alabama, and he named every aunt, uncle and cousin who made the trip. To his sons, Herman III, better known as “H,” and Chris, he asked them to continue to make him proud of their accomplishments and to “do good in your lives.” And to his wife, Sally, Russomanno said: “You inspire me every day of my life.. . . We have been together since you were 15 years of age, and 35 years later your radiant smile is still there.” To outgoing Bar President Edith Osman, and her fiance, Steve Marks, Russomanno said: “We thank you for the gift of friendship.” State of the Bar Osman’s year as president started with hurricane warnings that canceled the Bar’s September General Meeting in Tampa. “Little did I know that stormy weather was a harbinger of the year ahead,” Osman said in her state of the Bar address. “After 13 years of Bar work, I have never seen one Board of Governors confront so many critical and contentious issues. This year, dinners and speeches gave way to emergency meetings and tense debates. But despite the difficulty of the issues we tackled — or perhaps because of it — the state of the Bar is stronger than ever.” The Board of Governors confronted what Osman called “two of the most divisive issues facing our profession this decade” — merit selection of judges and multidisciplinary practice. “After months of public forums around the state, the board voted to endorse the merit selection system in the upcoming election,” Osman said, adding that merit selection will remain a major part of the Bar’s work through the election. “And after almost a year of intense analysis and debate, the board voted to reject an ABA proposal that would permit lawyers to practice and share fees with nonlawyers.” The multidisciplinary practice issue will be taken up by the ABA later this summer. “Although the board voted against MDPs, we must continue to consider alternative strategies to help lawyers compete in our global economy,” she said. In recapping her year as president, Osman told how the Bar ran new television and radio ads, created media teams, visited editorial boards and used the new logo in her mission to “reshape our relationship with the public.” In working on issues significant to the public, the Bar created the Commission on the Legal Needs of Children, dedicated to assessing and addressing the needs of children in the court system, and studied the needs of pro se litigants. “We formed an Insurance Practices Study Commission that challenged the insurance industry and created a Client’s Bill of Rights that has already become a national model,” Osman said. Working with the Governor, Osman said, the Bar “successfully persuaded him to publicly reject a proposal to create `shadow JNCs,’ and we began to address the long neglected issue of diversity on the bench. New procedures and mandated diversity training were implemented to ensure that Bar appointments to JNCs better reflect the diversity of the state.” When she looks back at her year as president, Osman said, “nothing was more important than the bills we staved off that posed — and continue to pose — a clear and present danger to the composition and independence of our judiciary.” Those unsuccessful bills included proposals to: July 15, 2000 Jan Pudlow Associate Editor Regular News “The fact is that, these days, judges and lawyers are bearing the political brunt of our crime-weary public,” Osman said. “Legislators tell me they are tired of quote `soft judges’ who strike down tough laws they worked hard to enact. This year, more than ever before, legislators responded with an insidious solution: They tried to reshape the bench with measures designed to give them control. Nothing could be more threatening to our judicial system.” Applause broke out when Osman said: “We must make sure that judges are nominated based on principle and not politics, that they remain independent, free to make the right decisions, popular or not. “I am pleased to report this year we blocked each of these legislative proposals. The state of the Bar is strong. But the legislative battles we fought this year gave us a clear warning: Our delicate balance of powers, and particularly the judiciary, is a system under siege. From a constitutional perspective, our hurricane season has just begun.” Leaders Lauded Former Justice Ray Ehrlich got big laughs when he introduced President-elect Terry Russell. “When you look at him, you think he’s a big gruff guy. But he’s just as gentle as a little St. Bernard,” Ehrlich said. “When I look at his resume, I wonder how he can spread his work so thin, considering his girth.. . Terry carries a lot of weight in his work, and he moves with agility and grace.” The former justice noted that Russell has been “most generous with his time with The Florida Bar. He knows the direction of the Bar. And he has the vision and the desire to take the Bar to new heights.” Lawyer Gary Fox brought a visual aid to the podium when he introduced Stu Ratzan, the new president of the Young Lawyers Division. It was a handmade Afghan for Ratzan’s baby, made by a grateful client, a grandmother in Wauchula named Carolyn, who had to raise her grandchildren after her daughter’s death, yet still found an hour and half each evening for a month to make the blanket. Another testament to Ratzan’s ability to relate to clients from less fortunate backgrounds than himself was a thank-you letter from a sexual assault victim who also happened to be an exotic dancer. “You had to dissect every part of my life, know it, learn it and remember it. Never once did I feel you were judging me,” the woman wrote to Ratzan. “It was such a horrible thing that happened, but because of what you did, so many people will be protected.” As Fox continued: “I thought of Carolyn in Wauchula and the topless dancer, these women on opposite ends of the spiritual universe, and they had absolutely nothing in common except one thing: deep respect and admiration for Stu Ratzan. The reason they have deep emotions for Stu is that he showed them by his actions that he respected them; he admired them for what they’d been through and he cared about them as clients. But more importantly, he cared about them as people.” In assuming the presidency of the Young Lawyers Division, Ratzan said: “Someone once told me that life is all about touching the lives of others. If that’s true, then the Young Lawyers Division is about a lot of life. The opportunity I have to be president of the Young Lawyers Division is going to allow me to do a lot of living.” And he listed the many good works and projects the young lawyers have sponsored through the years, including the Children’s Witness Room and Holiday in January which provides food and toys and music to impoverished children, and providing legal help to victims of natural disasters. Awards Aplenty Osman presented President’s Awards of Merit to: David Bianci, for his “outstanding leadership as chair of the Insurance Practices Special Study Committee and the adoption of a Client’s Bill of Rights for the benefit of all lawyers and citizens of the State of Florida.” center_img Richard Gilbert, “in recognition of his outstanding leadership as co-chair of the Multidisciplinary Practice and Ancillary Business Special Committee and the adoption of recommendations on MDP and ancillary business that will benefit all lawyers and citizens of the State of Florida.” Add two seats to the Florida Supreme Court. Jack Brandon, “for his wisdom and leadership during his five years of services on the Board of Governors, for his wise counsel to the undersigned president and for his leadership in the areas of legislation and merit selection for the benefit of all lawyers of the State of Florida.” Dilute the court’s rule-making authority. Chesterfield Smith, “in recognition of a lifetime of distinguished service to our nation; his outstanding contributions to the legal profession and the administration of justice as president of The Florida Bar and the American Bar Association; his courage, strength and ability to always do the right thing; for being a friend and mentor to so many attorneys; and for the continuous support and wise counsel” he gave Osman. Pamela Perry received the G. Kirk Haas Humanitarian Award, which “recognizes the unique human qualities that all strive to attain but very few achieve. These include the abiding respect and caring for others, coupled with the ongoing demonstration of actual deeds of legal service with no reward beyond that of the deed itself.” Noel Lawrence, chair of the Law Related Education Committee, presented the outstanding Attorneys of the Year Awards to Greg Brown and Paul Liles, for designing a model for a high school moot court. Outstanding Judge of the Year was presented to the entire Florida Supreme Court for a program that teaches middle and high school teachers to teach law courses and to recognize the many justices who personally visited schools to tell the children about the court system. As one student wrote in a thank you about Justice Fred Lewis’ visit to his school: “He’s cool.” And in a thank-you to Justice Barbara Pariente for her work with Girls State, one girl wrote: “I had a light out and it won’t turn out and you came and it turned on. Thank you for lighting up the lives of children.”last_img

November 1, 2003 Letters

first_img November 1, 2003 Regular News Workers’ CompAmendments to Ch. 440, the workers’ compensation law, went into effect on October 1. Those of us who represent injured workers predict that the responsibility for medical care and lost income from injuries on the job will be shifted from the industry served to the taxpayers in general.Fewer and fewer injuries related to employment will be covered by the act. An unintended consequence will be more and more situations where injured workers will be able to escape from under the thumb of the “exclusive remedy” and bring their grievances into the court system. This will shift the cost of adjudication from the Administrative Trust Fund set up under Ch. 440 to pay the cost of the administration of the system from a premium tax on carriers and self-insurers, to the taxpayers. Court funding will need an increase, not a decrease, if the predictions come true. Mark Zientz Miami Legal Needs of ChildrenI am a retired attorney and a volunteer guardian ad litem in Brevard County. I have been following all the letters and articles in the recent issues of the News, and am pleased to see that so much interest has been generated on the problems of underrepresented children.I agree that something is very wrong with a system that takes seven attorneys two years (and countless appeals) to effect the adoption of one child. How many of these children will ever find themselves in the serendipitous circumstances of this little boy? And what are the rest of them supposed to do?Here in Brevard County we have only enough GALs to appoint one in approximately 50 percent of the cases.Mr. Dutkiewicz’s letter in the October 1 News points out several of the problems, but, as he himself admits, most people would find his solutions too draconian. It’s the age-old problem of finding a balance between the “rights” of the parents to “possession” of their children, and protecting those innocent children.Oftentimes (sometimes justifiably) parents who have been caught up in the “system,” and have had their children removed, accuse DCF of Gestapo tactics. But at the same time, children are returned to their parents prematurely and end up dead. Even though the legislature has acted to change the language of the statutes to emphasize “the best interests of the child,” all too often there still seems to be an inexorable push to return the child to the parents at any cost. It seems the “rights” of the parents have to be protected at all costs, much like in the criminal system where the alleged criminal’s rights take precedence over the innocent victim.I guess if we want to be truly draconian, we could just scrap the entire dependency process altogether. (Getting rid of DCF would make a lot of people happy, and balance the budget overnight.) We could just apply property law, since it seems that these children are viewed as the rightful property of their parents anyway.Finding a solution is going to require the involvement of every concerned citizen. New laws are not the answer, as the laws we have aren’t being properly applied. We need education and awareness so that we can find a workable process for balancing these ever-conflicting interests. Marjorie S. Green Satellite Beach Family LawThe Family Law Section is seeking comments on whether there should be a presumption that children of divorcing couples should spend equal time with each parent.The answer is obviously no. We are all different. Children are all different. There should be no presumption whatsoever regarding anything to do with children.The presumption that children of divorcing couples should spend equal time with each parent is intrusive, not in the best interest of the children, not in the best interest of the parents, et cetera. The presumption would negatively impact upon all of those parents who work five days per week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Do they have to leave work early to pick up the children at school? Do they have to hire a stranger to pick up the children at school while they finish their work day? What about parents who travel, such as airline pilots, professional athletes, entertainers, and the like? Should they look for another career because they have to spend 50 percent of their time with their children? If there is a presumption and they don’t spend 50 percent of their time with their children, are they bad parents? Stephen H. Buttler Aventura Conflict CounselAs part of Revision 7 to Article V of the Florida Constitution, in July the state will assume responsibility for funding “conflict defense legal services.”The Article V Indigent Services Advisory Board, created by the legislature to help guide this transition, is currently preparing its recommendations, including which “due process services for indigents. . . should be. . . bid competitively on a circuit, region, or statewide basis.”Cutting through the legislative jargon, the state is considering whether to assign “conflict defense counsel” on a “low bid” selection process.As a criminal defense attorney with 22 years experience, I find this proposal highly inconsistent with Florida’s constitutional obligation to provide “effective assistance of counsel.”The “low bid” selection process is a bad idea, giving the appearance of fiscal responsibility while hiding significant costs — wasted court time, expenditure of finite court resources, additional delays, and larger court dockets.Implementing a statewide “low bid” selection process would institutionalize a practice, presently only in limited use, that is designed to assign too many cases and clients to too few (and sometimes the least experienced) attorneys.For the system to function optimally, the accused individual’s choice to enter a plea, exercise the right to a jury trial, or to assert a particular defense must be a knowing and voluntary decision, a decision that the accused must acknowledge as his own and accept its consequences completely. For that decision to be sufficiently “knowing,” the accused must have adequate time to consult with the assigned conflict attorney. The “low bid” approach negates the attorney’s most precious asset, the time he or she has available to consult with and advise their client.The most frequent complaint by an accused individual is the lack of opportunity to consult with their appointed attorney. When this complaint arises, the trial court judge must devote valuable courtroom time allowing the accused individual to state his complaint.Implementing a “conflict defense counsel” system that emphasizes the appointed attorney’s qualifications and maximizes that attorney’s time available for clients will reduce the most common complaint that diminishes the effectiveness of the criminal court system.A second related problem is that the board, and probably the legislature, will likely attach only minimal qualifications for conflict defense counsel. Presently, only “participation” in five criminal trials and being a member of The Florida Bar will allow an attorney to “bid competitively” for conflict cases. A conflict defense attorney with no felony trial experience might be assigned to a serious and complex case involving life felonies.There is another option: a registry of qualified attorneys who accept cases on a rotation basis. This proposal increases the number of private attorneys available to accept conflict assignments and maximizes the time those attorneys have for clients. In the “registry” option, more emphasis can be placed on the qualifications of the attorneys and fiscal responsibility is maintained by legislating fair hourly rates and realistic caps on attorneys’ fees.To the Article V Indigent Services Advisory Board and the Florida Legislature, I say, “I am more than a ‘due process service provider,’ ” a term that implies only a passive role in the criminal justice system deserving a mere pittance in compensation. I am an advocate, actively representing my client and ensuring that the criminal justice system operates within constitutional and statutory bounds. Most important, I am the legal advisor to my client. I, and other private practice conflict defense counsel, must be given the time to properly advise our clients. Otherwise, recurring litigation over “ineffective assistance of counsel” complaints will further tax an already overburdened and underfunded criminal justice system. Without time to advise our clients, “justice for all” can never be achieved.Joe D’Achille Titusville Inventory AttorneyThe August 15 News article “When lawyers die are the clients protected?” makes valid points for the requirement of each attorney to designate an inventory attorney. However, the Bar should recognize that a requirement for designation of an inventory attorney for each and every attorney is unnecessary.From my own recent experience, where an attorney died unexpectedly, and I was appointed as the inventory attorney to reconcile the firm, I appreciate the desirability for pre-designation of an inventory attorney as recommended by the Bar. I suggest that this requirement should be limited to those attorneys whose position, practice structure, or business designation makes him or her solely and directly responsible for his or her clients’ interests.A lawyer employed at a large incorporated firm, partnership, or in the public sector would necessarily have a framework to assure the lawyer’s obligations to its clients are protected with competence and care. Indeed, depending on the category of the practitioner (sole practitioner, sole shareholder in an incorporated firm) the mandatory requirement for inventory attorney designation is not only desirable, but a must. The circumstances where this designation should be required would be determined by the information identified in each attorney’s membership dues form because of the predictability and/or presumption that client protection issues would be built-in based on the attorney’s form of practice. Those in public employment, large firms, or partnerships would presumably have an inherent framework to deal with client protection issues upon the death, disability, or disbarment of a lawyer in such practice structures.While the requirement for inventory attorney designation is a legitimate and effective means to protect the paramount interests of an attorney’s clients, the preferred course would be to decide this requirement’s applicability, based on the attorney’s practice designation on any membership dues form, membership records change of address form, etc., based on the type and ownership of the practice.The mandatory requirement for inventory attorney designation should be limited to those lawyers whose practice structure makes him or her the only lawyer responsible for his or her clients.Hopefully, the Bar will recognize the appropriate circumstances where lawyers would be required to designate their inventory attorney. Andrew M. Bragg Tallahassee November 1, 2003 Letterslast_img read more

Central Islip Man Nabbed for Fatal Hit-and-run

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Sylvestro LiottaA Central Islip man wanted for killing a 38-year-old man in a hit-and-run crash two months ago has been apprehended at the Canadian border last week.Sylvestro Liotta was indicted on charges of leaving the scene of an accident, unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and other counts.Prosecutors said the 45-year-old man ran over Orlando Marquez on Caleb’s Path near the victim’s Brentwood home on Feb. 18 and fled the scene.Border patrol officers discovered Liotta had a warrant for his arrest during a routine check of passengers traveling to Canada on a Trailways bus.He was removed from the bus Wednesday at a checkpoint on a bridge to Fort Erie, Ontario.He will be arraigned Tuesday before Judge Fernando Camacho at First District court in Central Islip.last_img read more

Holiday travel expected to see congested roads

first_img“Make sure your vehicle is checked over, tire pressure, battery, just allow extra time, be flexible,” said Davidson. Planning for poor weather and knowing the route you’ll be travelling are just a few steps you can take before you even leave the driveway. “Drowsy driving or tiredness can lead to accidents. Every two, three hours, pull over, stretch your legs, hydrate, switch drivers if you have the opportunity or ability to, and try to travel not during hours you’d be normally sleeping,” said Davidson. “Prepare ahead of time. Check the weather, allow more time for travel as there’s heavier traffic volume and congestion,” said Sergeant Josh Davidson with the Broome County Sheriff’s Office. While you probably want to get to your destination as quickly as possible, authorities want to make sure you don’t stay behind the wheel for too long. (WBNG) — Millions of Americans will be hitting the roads this holiday season to spend time with their families. Before heading out like everyone else, you’ll want to make sure you’re safe and ready for the trip. Authorities also would like to remind drivers to practice defensive driving, and in the event there is heavy traffic, give other drivers their space.last_img read more