Dirty Dancing Does a Flash Mob ‘Mash-Potato’

first_img View Comments They can really shake ’em down in Beantown! Dirty Dancing—The Classic Story On Stage threw a helluva flash mob at the 2015 Boston Flower and Garden Show on March 13, featuring 20 local (and crazy talented!) dancers. The show, which will play the Citi Emerson Colonial Theatre April 28 through May 10, has been making its way across the counrty, starring Samuel Pergande as Johnny Castle and Gillian Abbott as Baby. Watch the video below to see the performers wow with their twists and mash-potatoes to “Do You Love Me?” and “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” from the hit film and the stage show.last_img

Swarms of Mosquitoes

first_imgCheck your screen doors and windows to make sure they aren’t torn. And have flyswatters and aerosol products ready for the pesky biters that get inside despite your bestefforts. Remove old tires or drill holes in those used for playground equipment to allow them todrain. Check tarps on boats or other equipment that may collect water in pockets orindentions. Those wonderfully warm, unseasonably pleasant days have apparently come with aprice tag. “We seem to have had the warm weather and the moisture at just the righttimes for mosquitoes,” Nolan said. Nolan said county extension agents throughout Georgia have called him withmosquito-control problems. “It seems to be more of a problem in south Georgia,though,” he said. “It floats and treats 100 square feet of water for 30 days,” he said. “You can get themin local farm supply stores or mail-order catalogs. They run about $11 for seven’donuts.’ And they won’t harm fish, pets, livestock or people.” Mosquitoes are mostly a nuisance with their painful bites, he said. But they can carryencephalitis to people and horses and heartworms to dogs. Nolan said some municipalities will use their mosquito-control equipment in nearbyrural areas. Most rural homeowners, though, are on their own. Well-managed ponds aren’t good breeding grounds for mosquitoes, Nolan said. Waveaction keeps larvae from surviving in open areas. Fish feed on the larvae, too. Spring has come early to Georgia this year, bringing gentle showers, warm days andswarms of mosquitoes. “It’s just going to slow them down a little,” he said. “A freeze will kill a ton of adultmosquitoes. And a hard freeze will ice over the water and kill the larvae and pupae.But we’re not likely to get a hard freeze.” “We learned from the 1994 flood that hardly anyone is prepared to handle things likethis,” Nolan said. “We need to have equipment in good operating condition for heavyoutbreaks when they happen.” The early outbreak of mosquitoes may have caught some cities off-guard with theircontrol programs.center_img “The critical thing is to be sure you get rid of the trash where mosquitoes breed,”Nolan said. “Spring cleaning is a great time to take care of mosquito problems.” “Without question, we’ve got some big mosquito populations much earlier thannormal,” said Maxcy Nolan, an entomologist with the University of Georgia ExtensionService. In shallow edges the fish and waves can’t reach, you may want to use a donut-shapedBacillus thuringiensis (Bt) product. Don’t count on that mid-March cold snap to take care of the early mosquito problem. A thorough cleanup helps because “99 percent of the mosquitoes that bite people comefrom within a few hundred feet,” Nolan said. “Most inland mosquitoes don’t fly far.” If you live out in the country, with no municipal control program, be sure to userepellants and wear proper clothing outside, he said. You can also buy commercialfoggers, from aerosol cans to larger hand-held products, that will kill mosquitoes. Clean out gutters and pick up any trash that could hold water. Look carefully. Adiscarded cup or can — even a plastic food wrapper — can be a breeding place formosquitoes. Mosquitoes don’t normally reach troublesome numbers this early in the year. “Thesethings fluctuate,” he said. “But we do have a heavy population of mosquitoes earlierthan normal.” Remove any trash pile and clean up other areas that can shelter adult mosquitoes. Whether you live in town or in the country, you can do some things to help ease yourmosquito woes.last_img read more

Good news for survivors, bad news for cheaters: Everest climbers to be tracked by GPS

first_imgThis year, hundreds of high altitude climbers will be making their way to Kathmandu, Nepal to scale the south side of Mount Everest, the world’s tallest peak. And for the first time, the Nepalese government will require several climbers to keep GPS locators on them for the entirety of their climb. If this pilot project is successful, Nepal may require all Everest summit-seekers to carry GPS. The government hopes that these GPS devices could help rescuers locate climbers more precisely in case of an emergency.Other climbers hope the addition of GPS trackers will stop people from falsely claiming to have summited the 29,035-foot mountain. All that is needed to prove to mountaineering authorities is a photo of you on the summit and confirmation from your team’s liaison officer, who are often not on the mountain.Last year an Indian couple claimed to have summited Everest and received all the official certificates, however, it was later determined the photo had been altered; this was a huge embarrassment to the Nepalese mountaineering authorities.After this year’s GPS pilot project, the Neplase government will decide whether or not to require GPS for all climbers.last_img read more

JPD on the MST: Final Lessons and Takeaways

first_imgI wanted to hike the Mountains-to-Sea Trail to reclaim something that I lost. Instead, it made me realize everything I had gained. In my twenties my identity was that of a long distance hiker. I worked until I had enough money to tackle a long trail and then I set off into the woods for hundreds or thousands of miles. I don’t think it was an addiction but it was certainly a lifestyle. I cherished the sinewy strength that appears under a soft layer of comfort, the freedom to think through your thoughts and clear your brain, the permission to feel deeply and act accordingly. I still think of myself as a thru hiker, I just assumed that I would have to wait until my children were much older before I could complete another long trail. When the opportunity arose to partner with the Mountains-to-Sea Trail and promote the footpath for it’s 40th Anniversary, I was thrilled. “This was it!” I thought. “I am going to experience a thru-hike just like I used to.”But everything had changed. I wasn’t racing down the trail trying to set a record, but there were days that I was rushing to get to a road crossing where I could nurse Gus. Other times, it took over an hour to go a mile because I was sharing the path and looking for “treasures” with Charley. There were times I took work calls while hiking. That’s something I hate to admit. But October is the busiest month for our hiking company. And book-publishing schedules don’t include three-month pauses so I couldn’t completely remove myself from that either. I couldn’t have experienced this trail without Brew’s support but for the past three months I never really connected with him. He spent the days caring for our children and when I finished my miles he needed a break- for sanity, for work, for exercise. When my shift started his ended. Instead of walking side-by-side, we spent the past three months and three days playing tag. I’ve enjoyed hiking the MST as much as any trail I did in my twenties, if not more. The trail experience itself hasn’t changed, but it is clear that my life off the trail is much fuller. It took walking 1,175 miles across North Carolina to realize that I am no longer a “long distance hiker.” I am a mom who shares the trail with my kids; a professional who needs a break from work; a wife who wants to walk a few miles with my husband. My relationship with the trail is more diverse and comprehensive than it used to be. I don’t need to be a thru hiker to enjoy the affects of long distance hiking. (And that’s good because Brew says I’m not doing another hike like this for a LONG time.)The main purpose of the Mountains to Sea Trail is not to walk across the state of North Carolina; that’s a fringe benefit. The path’s largest impact will be felt by individuals and families across the state who transform their bodies, think through their thoughts, and grapple honestly with their emotions on a path near their home. Long distance hiking is a luxury but being able to recreate outdoors and enjoy natural areas is a necessity. It is what we were made to do. Regardless of whether you are walking across the state or hiking in your backyard, the Mountains to Sea Trail allows us to be who we are and discover who we can become.last_img read more

West Middle School gives 8th graders send off to high school

first_imgBINGHAMTON (WBNG) — Binghamton 8th graders received a proper send off Tuesday afternoon as they transition into the high school years. Binghamton’s East Middle School also held a send-off. Educators say they want their students to know they support them and hope they felt they had a proper start to their summer. Teachers and staff at West Middle School held a drive through celebration handing out certificates, prizes and awards to their students.center_img Teachers and staff say the send off have them a chance to say good-bye to their students. “We want them to feel this a little closure for them ending their year here at West Middle School,” said West Middle School Principal Kristine Battaglino. “Going to Binghamton High School, doing their four years over there. We just want them to continue their success. So we’re here to support them.”last_img read more

Evidence plentiful of a pending pandemic

first_imgWebster RG, Govorkova EA. H5N1 influenza–continuing evolution and spread. (Perspective) N Engl J Med 2006 Nov 23;355(21):2174-7 [Full text](CIDRAP Source Weekly Briefing) – Certain recent new stories may have sown confusion about whether the threat of pandemic influenza still exists, and whether the world needs to continue to prepare. A New England Journal of Medicine article published last week provides the antidote, and the answer: It does, and we do.Reknowned avian flu expert Robert G. Webster, PhD, and colleague Elena Govorkova, MD, PhD, enumerate several factors that support the conclusion that the situation is worsening, not abating.These factors include an increasing number of countries affected [add link to graphic], ever increasing genetic differences within H5N1 “clades” (subgroups of the deadly form of avian flu virus), antiviral drug resistance, lack of adequate disease control in developing  countries, imperfect poultry vaccinations, and continued infection in waterfowl.Webster and Govorkova point out that H5N1 originated in Southeast Asia, similar to the origin of the last two pandemics in 1957 and 1968.The authors also explain how the H5N1 virus has emerged into two clades (clades 1 and 2) or genetically distinct viruses, the latter of which is further divided into three subclades. Unfortunately, these H5N1 categories differ enough genetically that a vaccine against one is unlikely to provide protection against the others.The authors do suggest that protection offered by a vaccine against one clade may offer some benefit against death if the pandemic is caused by other clades or subclades. Thus, they believe that it is “worth stockpiling” pre-pandemic vaccines, which differs from recent advice from the World Health Organization (WHO).Another obstacle to stopping the spread of avian influenza has been resistance to antivirals such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu). The authors point out that most of the clade 1 viruses are resistant, while most clade 2 viruses are not. Adding to the problem has been a delay in administering antivirals to patients with H5N1 infection in many instances, which may further promote natural selection of resistant strains because of high levels of virus in the patient’s body.The article also points out that, although controlling H5N1 influenza through culling and quarantining domestic poultry has worked for some wealthy countries such as Japan, that hasn’t been the case in poorer countries such as Thailand. Of note, in the past week, (The authors also mention South Korea’s success, but just within the past week it reported two separate H5N1 outbreaks in domestic poultry, calling into question the long-term effectiveness of Korea’s approach.)In addition, the authors do note that the effort to vaccinate uninfected poultry in conjunction with quarantine and culling by China, Indonesia, and Vietnam has failed, because the poultry vaccines are of poor quality, do not provide sufficient immunity, and promote genetic changes in the virus that may aid its spread.Webster and Govorkova point out that since Vietnam adopted a strategy of vaccinating all poultry with an inactivated (dead-virus), oil-emulsion H5N1 vaccine, there have been no additional cases in humans and no reported H5N1 infections in chickens.But in September 2006, H5N1 was reported to have emerged in ducks and geese in Vietnam, the report says.”Thus, H5N1 influenza vaccine seems to protect chickens, and indirectly, humans, but probably not waterfowl,” the writers state. The pair hypothesize that this could be the reason why H5N1 is not under control in China.”Clearly we must prepare for the possibility of an influenza pandemic,” the article concludes. “If H5N1 influenza achieves pandemic status in humans—and we have no way to know whether it will—the results could be catastrophic.”Comments from the Editor-in-Chief:Over recent months the No. 1 question that I am asked by many in the media and the general public goes something like this: “So, we don’t have to worry about that bird flu scare anymore . . . do we?” This perspective article by Webster and Govorkova should be required reading for each one of these questioners. It very clearly details why we should be even more concerned about the possibility of H5N1 causing the next pandemic than we were several years ago. It is a straightforward, balanced assessment of the current situation and is written so that every CEO can understand the message.last_img read more

Choice of NYC’s Frieden to lead CDC wins praise

first_imgMay 15, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – President Barack Obama’s appointment of New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH, to lead the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) drew enthusiastic applause today from public health organizations and disease experts.Frieden, a tuberculosis expert, is credited with achievements as varied as helping improve tuberculosis control in India, driving trans-fats out of New York City restaurants, and reducing smoking in that city. He has headed the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDOH) since 2002.Dr. Richard Besser, who has served as acting CDC director since early in the Obama administration, will continue in his regular role as head of the CDC’s Coordinating Office for Terrorism Preparedness and Emergency Response, the White House announced. Frieden will assume the CDC post in early June.In a news release today, Obama said, “Dr. Frieden is an expert in preparedness and response to health emergencies, and has been at the forefront of the fight against heart disease, cancer and obesity, infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and AIDS, and in the establishment of electronic health records. Dr. Frieden has been a leader in the fight for health care reform, and his experiences confronting public health challenges in our country and abroad will be essential in this new role.”Public health leaders praised Frieden as an outstanding appointee who will base his policies on science and not shrink from difficult issues.”During his tenure as New York City’s health commissioner, Frieden has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to protecting the public’s health through his tireless work on issues ranging from implementing a ban on smoking in restaurants and bars to increasing HIV testing rates,” said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, executive director of the American Public Health Association, in a statement. “He has not backed away from the tough public health challenges and in doing so has helped the people he served lead healthier, longer lives.”Frieden is an Oberlin College graduate who earned medical and public health degrees at Columbia University, where he also trained in internal medicine before going to Yale University to study infectious diseases, according to information from the NYCDOH.He joined the NYCDOH in 1990 while working as a CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service officer on a wide range of issues. He led the city’s Bureau of Tuberculosis Control and served as assistant commissioner from 1992 to 1996, during which cases of multidrug-resistant TB in the city dropped by 80%, according to the NYCDOH.Frieden subsequently worked in India for 5 years, helping with the nation’s TB control program, which has treated more than 8 milloin patients and saved more than a million lives, the NYCDOH said.Frieden has been credited with numerous initiatives in his time as health commissioner. New York was the nation’s first city “to eliminate trans-fats from restaurants, rigorously monitor the diabetes epidemic, and reqeuire certain restaurants to post calorie information prominently,” the health department said.The White House said Frieden has led efforts that have reduced the number of smokers in New York by 350,000, increased cancer screening, reduced AIDS deaths by 40%, and implemented the largest community electronic health records project in the nation. “Dr. Frieden and his team have responded effectively to several urgent health problems, including cases of anthrax, plague, and, most recently, H1N1 influenza,” the statement said.Dr. Anne Gershon, president of the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA), said in an IDSA statement that she has been “incredibly impressed with Dr. Frieden’s response to the recent influenza A H1N1 outbreak and previous outbreaks of other diseases.” Gershon is a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Columbia University in New York.In an interview, Gershon said Frieden has taken a very organized approach to the novel H1N1 situation, holding teleconferences with infectious disease physicians to keep them abreast of events.”In a situatoin like this it would be very easy to just panic and close schools and do things that are not necessarily indicated, and he’s been able to control that,” Gershon said. “I think he’s wonderful in being able to delegate responsibility to highly competent people so he knows the job is being done well.”Frieden has shown an ability to get people from diverse groups to work together well, Gershon added.Giving an example of his problem-solving skills, Gershon said the city at one point had a problem with cases of neonatal herpes that were related to circumcisions. “He cleared that up and did it in a very nice way, without having people getting angry at each other. . . . It was a serious issue, and it stopped. The people he delegated to deal with this, day to day, were terrific. I think that tells you something about him.”Frieden won praise from other infectious disease experts as well.In the IDSA statement, Roy Gulick, MD, chief of infectious diseases at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, predicted that Frieden would forcefully advocate using evidence-based practices in the battle against HIV-AIDS. In New York he has emphasized prevention by promoting needle exchange and condom use and has worked hard to promote routine HIV testing, Gulick said.Richard P. Wenzel, MD, a former IDSA president, told CIDRAP News, “This individual is a proven achiever with high standards and appropriate, epidemiologically based priorities. He is an excellent choice.” Wenzel is chair of internal medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.The Trust for America’s Health, a nonprofit public health policy group in Washington, DC, also applauded Frieden’s appointment.”Dr. Frieden is a bold leader who has the courage to shake up the status quo if science and evidence show that change needs to happen,” said Jeff Levi, PhD, TFAH executive director, in a statement. “He doesn’t shy away from the tough problems. His innovative strategies have led to real reductions in smoking rates, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and food-borne illness in New York City.”During the campaign, President Obama made a commitment to make policy decisions based on the integrity of science. With this appointment, the President has taken an important step to fulfill this promise,” Levi said.See also: May 15 White House press releaseMay 15 APHA statementFrieden biography from NYCDOHlast_img read more


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​Danish scheme cuts market-rate pension payments by 5-9%

first_imgPBU, the Danish pension fund for early childhood educators, has reduced pension payments for nearly 20,000 of its pensioners this year by between 5% and 9% in a development illustrating a negative outcome for market-rate pension holders recently referred to by the country’s financial watchdog.
The labour-market pension fund told IPE the cut had been made necessary by low market returns in 2018 as well as changes in longevity and investment yield assumptions.While Danish labour-market pension provision has been undergoing a long-term shift towards unguaranteed market-rate pension products from traditional guaranteed average-rate pensions, there are differences between the way providers calculate pensions in payment.PBU’s mathematical director Frank Cederbye said payments to pensioners from the scheme in 2020 are between 5% and 9% less than in 2019, depending on the risk profile according to the age of the individual.
 He told IPE: “We have chosen to have a plain vanilla pension product – what you see is what you get. It has no buffers and no implicit guarantees and introduces a bit more risk, but this handled through the investment profiles.”
Under its market-rate pension product – which now covers nearly all of the pension fund’s members – PBU re-calculates payments each year with a one-year delay.This means pensions paid out in 2020 are based on 2018 investment returns, life expectancy and common assumptions for Danish pension funds on future investment yields, Cederbye said.
“These assumptions were lowered in 2018, and life expectancy increased, and on top of that investment returns were poor in that year, so we had three negative effects,” he said.PBU made the calculation for 2020 pensions in 2019, and sent out letters informing the near 20,000 pensioners affected in June, he said.“We had no reactions from them in June, but around the end of last year we did have some reactions – mainly questions about the reduction because investment yields had been very good in 2019. But of course, the payments are calculated based on the 2018 data,” Cederbye said.Last week, the Danish FSA published a report on the “privatisation” of risk in unguaranteed market-rate products, and how pension companies were informing their customers about this.It concluded providers of market-rate pensions had not been giving customers adequate information about the risks they are exposed to, both in the accumulation and payout phases of the products.Cederbye said PBU’s product did have the advantage of being easier to explain to customers.“In our view, information is much easier to get across when you have a plain vanilla product. We have a very mechanical way of setting the pension level – we stick to our model, make the calculations and then these adjustments,” he said.The pension fund is currently in the process of calculating 2021 pension payments.“One element is we had very high investment returns in 2019, but on the other hand we have expectations of lower bond yields, so we are in the process of finding out what the net effect will be,” he said.last_img read more

U.S. 52 to close near Cedar Grove Monday

first_imgCedar Grove, In. — Indiana Department of Transportation officials say U.S. 52 will close on or after Monday, June 3, weather permitting, between New Trenton and Cedar Grove for emergency slide correction work.INDOT contractor GeoStabilization International will place a soil nail wall on the east side of the roadway, approximately one mile north of New Trenton. Soil boring will also take place on the west side of the road, along the railroad and Whitewater River.U.S. 52 will be closed for 90 days and will reopen as one lane with a temporary traffic signal in September. All lanes are expected to be open by late December.The official state detour for the closure is State Road 46 to State Road 1 to the intersection of U.S. 52/State Road 1, north of Cedar Grove.last_img