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Archive for July 2010

10th Annual Preservation in Your Community celebration

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Contact: Jeff Guin
National Center for Preservation Technology and Training
Jeffery_guin@contractor.nps.gov
318-356-7444

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
06/21/2010

Don’t miss the opportunity to experience innovations in preservation and exciting new research projects at the National Park Service’s 10th annual Preservation in Your Community reception and exhibit.

The event will be held at the headquarters of the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT), 645 University Parkway. NCPTT is sponsoring the event along with the Cane River Creole National Historical Park (CARI) and the Cane River National Heritage Area (CRNHA).

The public is invited to stop by on Aug. 10 anytime between 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. to enjoy refreshments, view exhibits from local heritage groups, and visit with NCPTT, CARI and CRNHA interns from across the country about their preservation research.

Exhibits range from the musical legacy of the Cane River area to landscapes maintenance to proper rust treatments. With more than 10 exhibits, there’s something for everyone.

This year’s event will focus on giving attendees preservation information they can use for their own heritage activities and projects.

If you would like more information, call Bethany Frank at 318-356-7444.

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Written by demon53

July 25, 2010 at 5:06 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Stewart Brothers Scholarship honors NSU greats – NSUDemons.com – Northwestern State Athletics

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Written by demon53

July 25, 2010 at 2:50 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

A Dad’s Point-of-View, by Bruce Sallan

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Couples Need Couples

While on a recent vacation, my wife and I had a stimulating discussion with friends about friends.  We were enjoying a meal with two other couples and one of the men asked the question, “Have you found many couples that you are friends with and, if so, how have you met them?”

What followed was a spirited discussion about friends–same sex friends, friends as couples, and opposite sex friends, when you’re married (or monogamously involved).  The conclusion was that it is not simple.

As we were on a trip hosted by Dennis Prager (radio talk-show host, writer, and lecturer), I found myself immediately paraphrasing him because he’s often discussed this issue.  He said that for two couples to be friends, a number of relationships have to be in place.  Each man must like the other man; each woman must like the other woman, and the same for the opposite gender in each couple.  If any one of those relationships doesn’t work, the friendship of the two couples is in jeopardy.

We began despairing over the difficulties of finding good couple friends.  One of the couples that had been married for 47 years related that their friendships with other couples changed over time. When one of them didn’t truly like one of the other people in a couple, that friendship was ultimately doomed or, at best, marginalized.

Several of us were in second marriages, and we all had the same surprising experience of what happened to our friends from our first marriages.  Everyone at the table had suffered the same thing–that most of their friends vanished as a result of their divorces.  Only those same sex friends that existed prior to the marriages were likely to remain friends.  My wife and I had exactly this experience and over the years that we were single again, we each built up a new group of friends.

Now remarried, the challenge has become to integrate those friends into our new married life and we’ve found somewhat difficult. My wife’s friends were mostly single women without children while my friends were mostly men in marriages with children.

We’re again facing the struggle of finding and nurturing new relationships.  And, like most things in life, one gets what one put out. Since my wife and I have found ourselves increasingly busy, we’ve not put in much effort to nurture new friendships.  We’ve met each other’s friends and some have made their way into our lives, but many have not.  As Dennis says, he’s got to like the other husband, she’s got to like the other wife, and so on, meaning you have to have eight relationships to work for two couples to get along. Not that simple, is it — think about it.

Also, as my wife didn’t have children before becoming a stepparent to my children, her friends more often than not also didn’t have children.  That is a defining difference with couples.  No, it’s not wise to only talk about your children, but it’s inevitable that you will, to some degree.

My best friend and his wife make their primary friendships with other parents when his three children were young.  For this friend and his wife, these friendships sprang from relationships developed at their synagogue and their children’s schools.  With my children now older, the connection to their schools is practically nil, and my wife and I don’t share the same faith so our religious affiliations are also different. Consequently, those avenues are not available to us.

Ironically, there is a couple that we’ve started to become friends with via the same sort of connection that my best friend had when his kids were younger.  My older son has a girlfriend and for “young love” it seems to be a very enduring and a good relationship.  Her parents live nearby; we both are concerned about issues that they may have (e.g. intimacy at this age) so we share similar interests plus, of course, we’re geographically compatible.  They are likely candidate to fulfill our couples’ friendship vacuum.

We also have the added hurdle of a second marriage and the previously mentioned loss of friends that occurred to both of us during our respective divorces.  Ironically, I began this column quoting a discussion that took place on a trip hosted by Dennis Prager.  The friends we made on that trip were perfect for us because we shared similar values and interests.  The frustration was that only one of those couples lives nearby.  The other two couples we befriended live out-of-state. 

We finally got together with that one local couple after several failed attempts due to mutual scheduling conflicts.  I hope that friendship develops.  But, it’s very clear to me that developing new friends in our “middle aged” second marriage status is a challenge.  And, we also acknowledge that we haven’t put enough of an effort into it yet.  I’m counting on my wife to take care of this, and she’s counting on me.  Checkmate.

Please listen to “The Bruce Sallan Show – A Dad’s Point-of-View” Thursdays at 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., PST on KZSB AM1290 in Santa Barbara or on the Internet via a live stream.  For that link and all information about the show and Bruce, visit his web-site: http://brucesallan.com. Bruce’s column, “A Dad’s Point-of-View,” is available in over 75 newspapers and web-sites worldwide. Find Bruce on Facebook by joining his “A Dad’s Point-of-View” page: http://www.facebook.com/aDadsPointOfView. You can also follow Bruce at Twitter: http://twitter.com/BruceSallan.

Written by demon53

July 25, 2010 at 2:40 pm

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USDA announces initiative to improve longleaf forests in United States; Central Louisiana

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United States Department of Agriculture –

Natural Resources Conservation Service

3737 Government Street, Alexandria, Louisiana  71302

www.la.nrcs.usda.gov

For Immediate Release                                                                                                  

Release No.:  00013.10

Contact:  Holly L. Martien, (318) 473-7762

holly.martien@la.usda.gov

 

Alexandria, LA, July 9, 2010 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) today unveiled an initiative to improve the health of longleaf pine forests in nine southeast states, including Louisiana.   Using an integrated landscape approach, this initiative will help to restore the dramatic acres of longleaf pine forest ecosystems that have been lost on private lands and will also improve plant and animal habitat.  Within Louisiana, approximately 7 million acres of longleaf pine ecosystem once existed.  Today, less than 250,000 acres remain, with the majority of that being on National Forest. 

 

 “This collaborative, all-lands approach to conservation will result in cleaner water, improved essential habitat for sensitive species, and an economic resource for the future, State Conservationist  Kevin Norton said. “Protecting and restoring this important ecosystem will benefit communities and resources across the nation.”

 

Longleaf pine forests in the southeastern United States initially occurred on 90 million acres at the beginning of European settlement.  About 3.5 million acres remain today, providing critical habitat for 29 threatened or endangered species.  With the Longleaf Pine Restoration Initiative, NRCS will collaborate with other federal agencies as well as state, local and nongovernmental conservation partners to address conservation needs across the longleaf pine range.  “This initiative will provide a good opportunity for forest landowners who wish to add longleaf pine to their forest land holdings,” said Buck Vandersteen, Executive Director of the Louisiana Forestry Association.

The initiative is funded through NRCS’s Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program. Participants agree to carry out a wildlife habitat development plan and NRCS provides cost-share assistance to voluntarily implement conservation practices that maintain, improve or restore longleaf pine ecosystems. 

“Longleaf forests are a true forest with so many important values that benefit mankind.  This initiative presents landowners with a golden opportunity to improve such a unique and diverse ecosystem that is on a drastic decline,” said Louisiana landowner and conservationist, David Daigle.  “Through this initiative, landowners can improve the health of our plant community and wildlife habitat.”

Written by demon53

July 25, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Globalstar to relocate to Louisiana from California

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Relocation of Globalstar from Silicon Valley will create hundreds of new, high-paying professional jobs
 
COVINGTON, La. — Today, Gov. Bobby Jindal joined Globalstar Inc. (NASDAQ: GSAT) CEO Peter Dalton, Globalstar Inc. Chairman Jay Monroe, Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Stephen Moret, St. Tammany Parish President Kevin Davis and Greater New Orleans Inc. President and CEO Michael Hecht to announce Globalstar will relocate its corporate headquarters to Covington, La., from Milpitas, Calif. Additionally, Globalstar will relocate a variety of other global business functions to Covington, including product development, finance, accounting, sales, marketing, corporate communications and customer care.
Under a cooperative endeavor agreement with LED, Globalstar has committed to relocate or create more than 150 new jobs by the end of 2011, increasing to more than 200 new jobs by 2013. Additionally, the agreement calls for Globalstar’s total Louisiana employment to increase by more than 500 by the end of 2019. LED estimates the direct new jobs will result in the creation of approximately 800 new indirect jobs, for a total of roughly 1,300 new direct and indirect jobs in Louisiana. LED further estimates the Globalstar project will result in $26.1 million in new, state tax revenue and $8.3 million in new, local tax revenue over the next 10 years.
“Today’s announcement is a big win for Covington, the North Shore and our whole state,” said Gov. Jindal. “This is exactly the kind of company that we positioned Louisiana to secure when we created Louisiana FastStartTM in 2008 and enhanced our digital media incentive program in 2009. Since early 2008, leading companies have announced moves of their headquarters or other significant operations to Louisiana from a wide variety of states, including California, Georgia, Mississippi, Rhode Island, Virginia, Wisconsin, Illinois, Oregon and Texas. And we’re not stopping there. With our nation still enduring tough economic times and our state facing thousands of job losses associated with the federal deepwater drilling moratorium, our efforts to retain and attract jobs are more important than ever.”
LED’s Business Expansion and Retention Group began discussions with Globalstar several months ago after the company purchased Louisiana-based Axonn. Prior to selecting Louisiana for its new headquarters location, Globalstar executives considered a variety of locations in other U.S. states and Canada.
“Relocating to Covington will help dramatically reduce our operating costs as we execute our next-generation strategic initiatives,” said Monroe. “We are positioning Globalstar for long-term success by lowering our cost of operations, improving revenue growth and speed to market for new products through vertical integration and through the introduction of new and innovative products developed in Louisiana. Thanks to LED’s progressive digital interactive media incentives and tax credits, Globalstar can expect to benefit immediately and on an annual basis well into the future. The Gulf region boasts much lower taxes and employee cost of living compared with our former home in Silicon Valley. Combined with the work ethic and resourcefulness of the state’s workforce, you have an extremely attractive environment for innovative global companies such as ours.” 
“Today is a great day for Globalstar, our stockholders and employees, and we are proud to call Covington and the state of Louisiana our new home,” said Dalton. “This move maximizes the benefits of our recent acquisition of Covington based satellite asset tracking and messaging products manufacturer Axonn and creates in Globalstar the first and only vertically integrated mobile satellite company. Physically relocating our product team to work directly with the former Axonn engineers not only decreases our pre-production costs but it will shorten the time to market for our company’s integrated wireless and satellite based products. We considered relocating our headquarters to numerous states but the overall advantages of moving here were simply too compelling to ignore.” 
Globalstar Inc. (NASDAQ: GSAT) offers high quality, low-cost satellite voice and data services to commercial and recreational users from virtually anywhere in more than 120 countries around the world. The company is one of only a limited number of companies in the world that actually owns its constellation of satellites, and has recently invested over $1.2 billion in procuring and deploying a second generation of more modern satellites. Moreover, Globalstar is the world’s first Low Earth Orbiting global satellite voice and data company that is on track to deliver and deploy a second-generation satellite constellation, giving the company a significant advantage over its competitors. 
Established in 1991 and beginning commercial service in 1999, Globalstar currently offers service in more than 120 countries, as well as from most territorial waters and several mid-ocean regions. Globalstar acquired Axonn in 2009, which provided Globalstar ownership of Axonn’s GPS tracking, messaging and other data-transmission products.

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Written by demon53

July 25, 2010 at 2:16 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Statement from the IADC regarding offshore drilling

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International Association of Drilling Contractors

10370 Richmond Ave, Suite 760 · Houston, TX 77042 USA
1/713-292-1945 · fax, 1/713-292-1946 · info@iadc.org · www.iadc.org

Contact Mike Killalea, ext 222; mike.killalea@iadc.org
Jason McFarland, ext 214; jason.mcfarland@iadc.org 

NEW ORLEANS, 13 July, 2010 – The International Association of Drilling Contractors today filed testimony with the Department of Energy’s National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, advocating a return to deepwater drilling as soon as possible.

IADC presented compelling data that offshore drilling, including operations in deep water, have a proven record of safety when conducted according to accepted industry standards. Some 14,000 deep-water wells have been drilled without major incident until the recent Macondo blowout, “an extreme and unprecedented event,” the testimony said.  Since 2006, according to government statistics, more than 2,500 deep-water wells have been drilled, whereas only three well control incidents have occurred over that time, excluding the Macondo blowout.  The amount of oil spilled in those three accidents was only 25.5 barrels.

The employment and economic implications of a continued drilling ban are severe and potentially catastrophic, IADC said. A previously reported IADC study of 11,875 offshore and support personnel shows that these individuals call 296 Congressional Districts home. This represents 68% of all US Congressional Districts. (For more information on this study, go to www.IADC.org/Offshore_GOM_Reform or email IADC’s contacts listed above.)

“Few states lack representation among this group of US citizens,” the testimony states.

The study does not include the tens of thousands of other workers at oil field service companies, equipment manufacturers, oil companies, or supporting industries, such as caterers or machine shops.

While a significant portion of the goods and services are manufactured along the Gulf Coast, firms across the nation supply the offshore energy industry.  Among IADC’s research examples are

  • Wire rope from Missouri and Arkansas;
  • Radiators from Minnesota;
  • Steel and pipe from Ohio;
  • Fabrics and uniforms from Illinois;
  • Protective paints from Missouri;
  • Machinery from Michigan;
  • Engines from Illinois;
  • Corrosion preventive materials from Illinois and Minnesota;
  • Electrical cables from Connecticut;
  • Drilling equipment from Illinois;
  • Pipe-protective chemicals from Ohio;
  • Drilling equipment from Kansas;
  • Background checks and security services from Wisconsin;
  • Safety footwear from Oregon.

“If offshore rigs move overseas due to a lack of opportunity in the Gulf of Mexico, these jobs go with them. It is unwise in these tough times to export good-paying jobs that support hard-working Americans. For when these jobs vanish, the economies of these citizens’ communities will teeter,” IADC testimony says.

IADC recommends a return to drilling that includes recertifying all blowout prevention equipment and ensuring their suitability for the rig and well design in compliance with the Department of Interior’s new standards.  In addition, all personnel should be subject to industry and government-accepted standards for well-control procedures such as IADC’s own Well Control Accreditation Program (WellCAP®).  Finally, IADC recommends all operator well plans, especially casing and cementing designs, should be reviewed to ensure sufficient pressure barriers and that the designs are fit for the purpose.

IADC endorsed the DOI’s recommendation to adopt the IADC Health, Safety & Environmental Case Guidelines (IADC HSE Case Guidelines) to facilitate Well Construction Interface Documents (WCID) for Gulf of Mexico operations.  This system of risk management, submitted as part of an application to drill, is internationally recognized and accepted by all other countries and should be by the US also, IADC said.

IADC is dedicated to enhancing the interests of oil-and-gas and geothermal drilling contractors worldwide. Founded in 1940, IADC’s mission is to improve industry health, safety and environmental practices; advance drilling and completion technology; and champion responsible standards, practices, legislation and regulations that provide for safe, efficient and environmentally sound drilling operations worldwide. IADC holds Accredited Observer status at the International Maritime Organization and the International Seabed Authority, specialized agencies of the United Nations. The Association is a leader in developing standards for industry training, notably its Well Control Accreditation Program (WellCAP)â and rig-floor orientation program, RIG PASS. IADC is headquartered in Houston and has offices in Washington D.C., the Netherlands, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates, as well as chapters in the UK, Venezuela, Brazil, Australasia, South Central Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and across the United States. For more information, visit http://www.IADC.org.

#  #  #

Written by demon53

July 25, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

MEDIA ADVISORY

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CONTACT: Keven Kennedy, keven.kennedy@climateprotect.org, (202) 276-3159

Christina Angelides, cangelides@nrdc.org, (617) 233-5948

Louisiana Business, Labor, Sportsmen, Environmental, and Other Leaders in DC This Week to Support Clean Energy and Climate Policies

Urging Senators Landrieu and Vitter to Pass Comprehensive Climate and Clean Energy Legislation This Year

LOUISIANA—This week, Louisiana leaders will join hundreds of other state constituents from across the United States—including business, labor, faith, national security, environmental, and sportsmen leaders—for a major advocacy day in Washington, D.C. to encourage senators from both parties to take action on America’s clean energy and climate future.

In the wake of the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, Americans want bold action, not band-aid solutions to our energy challenges.  That’s why these Alaska constituents have traveled to D.C. to tell Senators Landrieu (D-LA) and Vitter (R-LA) that it is time for them and their colleagues to step up and lead by passing a comprehensive climate and energy policy this year.

Louisiana Advocacy Day participants will be available for phone or in-person interviews during and after their travels to Washington, D.C.  If you are interested in finding out more about the fly-in and speaking with participants from states you cover, please contact Keven Kennedy, keven.kennedy@climateprotect.org, (202) 276-3159 and Christina Angelides, cangelides@nrdc.org, (617) 233-5948.

WHAT: Major Advocacy Day in Washington D.C. on Clean Energy and Climate

WHO: Louisiana business, labor, sportsmen, environmental, and other leaders

WHEN & WHERE: Participants will be available for phone or in-person interviews in Washington, D.C. over the course of the fly-in on Wednesday, July 21st and Thursday, July 22nd.  There are confirmed media availabilities on Wednesday from 12:30PM to 1:30PM EDT and Thursday 10:45AM to 11:15AM EDT.    If you would like to schedule an interview during one of these availabilities or another time on Wednesday or Thursday, please contact Keven Kennedy at keven.kennedy@climateprotect.org, (202) 276-2169 and Christina Angelides at cangelides@nrdc.org, (617) 233-5948.

These participants will also be available for interviews upon their return to the state after the advocacy day.

Written by demon53

July 23, 2010 at 12:03 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

The decision we should’ve watched

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On Thursday, July 8, 2010, just about every young Black man in America watched Lebron James’ one hour special entitled, ‘’The Decision’’. During the special, Lebron James announced which team he would play for following his free agency. But, while we as a whole were worried about LeBron James’ decision, a decision involving life, death, and justice was made in Los Angeles. Ex-officer Johannes Mehserle received an involuntary manslaughter charge for the 2009 shooting of unarmed 22-year -old Oscar Grant. While Grant was subdued, Officer Mehserle assumed that Grant was reaching for a weapon and decided to tase Grant. Instead of reaching for his taser, Mehserle pulled out his gun and fired a shot into the back of Oscar Grant that would kill him hours later. The fact that officer Mehserle was white and Oscar Grant was Black brings up the topic of race, and the never-ending love-hate relationship between the Black man and the police force. Once again, another Black man is questionably murdered by a white law officer.

Oscar Grant now joins the ranks of Henry Louis Gates, Jr.; Bobby Hutton; Sean Bell; Bernard Monroe; and countless other Black men that have been killed or otherwise harrassed by law enforcement for unjust reasons. Now, Oakland, specifically the Bay Area, is a melting pot of street violence and protest. Truthfully, I believe that Mehserle’s high level of incompetence and poor judgment deserves a much higher level of punishment. His negligence cost the life of a brother, son, and most importantly, father. We all know that if Oscar Grant murdered Mehserle, he would be facing the death penalty. Why should Mehserle not face the same punishment or a punishment more harsh that ‘’involuntary manslaughter’’? After reading the California definition of voluntarily manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter, and believing if he did accidently use the wrong weapon, the punishment fits the crime from a legal perspective. But from a worldly perspective, the punishment does not fit the crime.

After killing Oscar Grant, Mehserle wrote an open letter to the public apologizing for the accidental murder of Grant. His words seemed genuine, but what he did was absolute negligence. This is further proof that police need a system of checks and balances. The idea of community policing is something often laughed at, but this situation proves that something needs to be implemented to not only keep police officers in line, but hold them responsible for their actions. ‘’Cop watch’’ programs where everyday citizens legally monitor , record, and report police behavior would allow the people to be proactive in their communities, instead of giving cops bigger egos and God complexes.

Also, where’s the proper training? How did Mehserle not know the difference between a tase gun and his hand gun? Isn’t the taser carried on the other side of the police officers utility belt? Why would he want to tase an unarmed, subdued ‘’suspect’’? This is a wakeup call to police academies and departments everywhere: Proper training goes a long way. Despite considerable evidence that shows Mehserle’s complete ignorance when subduing a suspect, his actions speak louder than his ‘’open letter’’. The City of Oakland is in pain. But, instead of burning down the city, attention should be turned to organization. Questions should be asked to the police department. Demands should be made from the people. City officials should promise the people of Oakland that their feelings matter and that Oscar Grant’s death will be a symbol of change in city policing.

Will any of that happen? Possibly, with time and action Oakland’s police force will be able to gain back the trust and respect it has lost from its citizens. No one forgets death.

And who is to blame in this scenario? Is it Oscar Grant for fighting on a train and being in the wrong place at the wrong time? Is it Mehserle for being incompetent in not knowing the difference between his weapons? The Associated Press reports that the jury consisted of eight women and four men; none listed their race as black. Seven said they were white, three were Latino, and one was Asian-Pacific. One declined to state their race. This is startling. If so many of us are outraged at the verdict, or the fact that the jury was all-white, we must be registered and willing to participate in jury duty. Why was the case moved from Oakland to another county? Shouldn’t the case reside where the crime happened?
Too many times our people complain about jury verdicts, but don’t register to vote and/or duck jury duty. If we are angry with the shooting and verdict, we must challenge laws that restrict our ability to legally pursue law enforcement agencies. Now, I’m not stating that an all Black jury needed to be in place to give him a harsher verdict just because he’s white and Oscar Grant is black. I simply see it as unfair to not have one African-American on a jury to where the stakes were so high. Nobody wins in this situation.

Mehserle will forever be labeled as a murder and live with the guilt of accidently killing someone, Oscar Grant’s family feels cheated out of justice, and a city is angry that another one of its sons was slain without reason. While we were all worried about Lebron and his decision, we missed out on the real decision that was made that day. I see it bizarre that more people were willing to burn a city down over Lebron’s decision, than over Oscar Grant’s death and verdict. In recent media news, Reverend Jesse Jackson has made comments about Lebron James decision and the response of the Cleveland Cavilers owner, instead of discussing the death of Oscar Grant. Where’s the common sense in that? How is a man that once marched with Martin Luther King against injustice, is now more worried about the actions of a basketball player than unnecessary death of a young Black man? Our priorities have been sidetracked significantly. None of us will be the next LeBron James, but we all potentially could be the next Oscar Grant.

Written by demon53

July 17, 2010 at 1:21 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

RealView Sports by William Broussard

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He cuts left … he cuts right … he does not score!

How cuts to college athletics will further challenge community development nationwide

In Bowled Over, a poignant analysis of the parallel transformations of college football in American society over the last five decades, Michael Oriardi makes a point that is all at once ever-present yet eliding to most sports fans. For Oriardi, who played college football in a small town called South Bend in the 1960′s:

“The pageantry of cheerleaders and pep rallies and  pregame bonfires and marching bands, the entire social world of homecoming and the football weekend, the role it played in the American educational system and in binding (emphasis added) schools to their local communities [...] (football) was distinctly American.”

                                                          — Michael Oriardi, Bowled Over, p. 23

I’ve never thought of cuts to athletics as a threat to a community’s binding, nor of cuts to higher education, the likes of which are being leveled nationwide, as ‘community cutting,’ before now. But it makes perfect, tragic, sense, as Oriardi all too astutely points out, and this fallout is being experienced nationwide.

In Iowa, the state legislature’s decision to remove state subsidies from college athletics means that the University of Northern Iowa will lose millions in scholarship support and face a reduction of as much as 40% of its $11.5 mil budget (http://bit.ly/bwBRkB).  Obviously, absorbing this substantial a cut will mean a dramatic change to UNI Athletics, which boasts a nationally competitive FCS football team (Super Bowl MVP Kurt Warner is a UNI product) and, most recently, a Cinderella Sweet 16 participant in the 2010 March Madness NCAA basketball tournament.  The larger impact may be felt in Cedar Falls, Iowa, which by many standards is a quintessentially successful American town.  With 36,000 people, a median income over $70,000, and fewer than 5% of the population living at or below the federal poverty level, obviously Cedar Falls has found a way to weather one of the worst economic downturns in American history, and it is no doubt dependent upon Northern Iowa for this success.  With a student population and university staff representing nearly 40% of the town’s population and a university that provides many of the jobs that buoy the median salary in town, any cut to UNI is a de facto cut to Cedar Rapids.  Cuts to athletics, in particular, potentially reduces the university’s ability to raise revenues, especially in light of their recent successes in men’s basketball, and the university’s ability to recruit new students and market itself.

As of yet, few announcements have been made about cuts at UNI, but in order to help their university absorb over $10 million in cuts in 2009, the University of Vermont shuttered its softball and baseball programs.  Their baseball program in particular boasts a 122 year history (http://bit.ly/biRBs0) and nearly 1,500 wins.  Only 18 MLB players have come from the program and they’ve only won a couple of conference championships. The most wins they ever had in a season was 32 (very modest) and their career leader in wins is a coach whose record is barely above .500.  As a non-revenue generating sport that does not bring prestige to the institution, the Catamount Baseball program seems to be one that is a prime target for a university athletic department to shed.  However, according to Oriardi’s “binding” metaphor, it certainly stands to reason that in its 122 year history, this baseball program has endeared itself to individuals far beyond the reach of Burlington, VT.  In particular, however, right there in Burlington, a town that relies heavily upon the University of Vermont for jobs and regional economic stimulation, thousands of people have petitioned on behalf of the reinstatement of the baseball programs, for reasons not just economic, but cultural, traditional, and even patriotic (see petition and comments: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/UVM-Athletics).

In another controversial legislative decision, the North Carolina legislature decided to rescind a 5-year old state subsidy of out of state funding for all students, including student-athletes (http://bit.ly/xFSjS). Again, this is a remedy that seems all too easily administered to many people outside of the areas of the state that depend heavily upon state universities for their economy and culture.  Why would North Carolina incentivize student enrollment at its institutions for people from outside the state at taxpayer’s expense after all? It’s not as if basketball recruiting at UNC or Duke will be negatively impacted by this decision (Duke is privately funded, UNC’s $62 million budget and ability to fundraise privately will absorb the reductions).  However, for all of the “UNC-” institutions – Greensboro, Asheville, Charlotte, Wilmington, etc., the impact will be tremendous.  UNC’s system is one of the most comprehensive in the country with 17 campuses and 5 historically black colleges/universities (HBCU) and spreads from one end of the state to the other.  Never mind the national championships at Appalachian State and UNC-Chapel Hill, and the hundreds of athletic contests each year that engage student-athletes, communities, and campuses, consider the economic ramifications of this legislation. The measure was supposed to save money, right? Well, the $13.9 million that this measure will save will more than be cancelled out if it significantly reduces the $300 million spent by out of state students annually in North Carolina (“Economic Benefits in North Carolina of the University of North Carolina Campuses”).  Bad fiscal policy, stoked by xenophobic pandering, and the same threat to the athletic ties that bind these 17 communities. 

 If we continue along this track unabated, anyone who thinks that cuts to athletics in the name of reducing state expenditures is sound fiscal policy will soon have their answer in the form of communities, recently gutted of economic opportunity and devoid of longstanding athletic culture and traditions. Not every community will experience tumbleweed rolling along mainstreet the way ground balls would hop on along recently vacated fields. But for every tradition lost, another must replace it, and there’s a long way down from having sporting events to attend and participate in.

Written by demon53

July 17, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Newsweek cites Natchitoches school on list of Public Elites

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The Louisiana School for Math, Sciences and the Arts in Natchitoches was named one of 21 Public Elite high schools in the nation by Newsweek magazine. (Courtesy)

By Judy McIntyre

www.thetowntalk.com

For a third time, the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts in Natchitoches has been named to Newsweek magazine’s list of 21 Public Elite high schools in the nation.

Four ‘sister schools’ also made the list: Illinois Academy of Mathematics and Science, North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics, and Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics.

LSMSA’s Class of 2009 earned a composite ACT score of 29, which was the criterion that triggered this recognition.

According to school Executive Director Pat Widhalm, “The school’s primary goal is to prepare students admitted to LSMSA for success in every aspect of college and career, and I believe that this is accomplished each year. However, we appreciate the recognition this provides to the talent and hard work of our students, faculty, and staff.”

The school draws students from more than 75 percent of the state’s parishes.
One hundred percent of the students are admitted to colleges and universities.

The Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts is Louisiana’s only residential public high school for advanced 10th, 11th- and 12th-graders.

–Information: www.lsmsa.edu or call (800) 259-3137.

Written by demon53

July 12, 2010 at 1:48 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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