Paradigm introduces salary sacrifice car scheme

first_imgParadigm Housing Group has launched a salary sacrifice car scheme for its 440 staff.The scheme, provided by fleet management firm TCH Leasing, offers employees a fully managed car for a monthly fee. The salary sacrifice arrangement includes insurance, service, maintenance and repair costs.Through the TCH Salsa scheme, staff at the housing organisation can acquire a new car every two to three years.The initiative will give employees access to low-emission cars, supporting Paradigm’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint.Gary Robinson, head of people management and communications at Paradigm, said: “The salary sacrifice scheme is a great way to recognise the commitment and hard work of our staff as part of our wider benefits package, but also helps support our core philosophy of sustainability and in reducing Paradigm’s carbon footprint.”last_img read more

Community Hosted DriveThru Emergency Item Distribution Event

first_imgIn the event of a widespread outbreak, this exercise is a practice drill for receiving preventative medication, such as Narcan.  Narcan is a medication used to block the effects of opioids, especially in overdose. According to Conner there will be a total of 400 kits to be distributed during the event, each will contain a Narcan kit. The total process should take roughly 10 minutes per vehicle. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享Change 4 the Kenai and other community partners are hosting a drive-thru distribution event of emergency preparedness items. Conner: “The community that participates and practices with us will get the necessary training so that they are prepared for a potential overdose in the community.” center_img Serenity House intake coordinator Shari Conner: “It will be a drive-thru clinic. You’ll drive in, and there will be people leading traffic where you know exactly where you need to go. You’ll file out intake forms, then go into dispensing and they will provide you the Narcan kits, you will go through training, and then you will go through exit and submit the intake forms. At the end you will be provided with a free emergency preparedness kit that has multiple items your family might need in an emergency.”  The event will take place on Saturday, October 20, from 10-2pm, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex parking lot.last_img read more

Heres the magnificent last view NASAs Kepler Space Telescope ever saw

first_img2:57 End of an era for space exploration Share your voice Now playing: Watch this: A composite image of Kepler’s final view. The missing tiles are due to parts of the camera that failed. NASA The final thing NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope captured was everything, or at least it looks that way.NASA ran out of fuel last year and was put into a permanent sleep mode on Oct. 30. The final full-field image it took can be seen in the above mosaic captured Sept. 25. You can see the telescope’s full view of the sky and an abundance of stars within. Some blocks of the composite image are blacked out due to failures by parts of the camera. Fortunately, the device had a modular design that allowed for other parts of the image to be retained.  Kepler helped revolutionize how we think about the universe by enabling the discovery of thousands of exoplanets beyond our solar system, making it clear our galaxy and others are packed with other worlds. Enlarge ImageKepler’s view of K2-138 with its six planets sized between Earth and Neptune. It was the first multi-planet system entirely discovered by citizen scientists. NASA/Ames Research Center But it struggled to make some of those discoveries. A few years into its mission, the parts that help it stay pointed at a target began to fail. Engineers had to come up with a work-around that basically used the subtle pressure coming off the sun itself to keep the telescope steady. Kepler went on making more finds for half a decade before finally running out of gas. To the right is one of the later star systems Kepler helped discover called K2-138. It is believed to host six planets roughly between the sizes of Earth and Neptune. The GIF shows images collected of the system during Kepler’s last day of photography.The pixelated view might not be much to look at, but Kepler played a pivotal role in pointing the way towards promising systems like this so that future telescopes might provide a clearer view one day, and perhaps even find evidence of alien life. NASA turns 60: The space agency has taken humanity farther than anyone else, and it has plans to go further.Crowd Control: A crowdsourced science fiction novel written by CNET readers. 1 Comment Sci-Tech Tags NASA Spacelast_img read more

Why Alaska women earn less and what they can do about it

first_imgEngineers make some of the highest salaries in the state, but only 18 percent of them are women. (Photo courtesy of BP p.l.c.)President Obama signed executive orders on Tuesday that aim to tighten the pay gap between men and women.The president’s actions took place on National Equal Pay Day, a day symbolizing how long women have to work into 2014 to catch up with what men earned in 2013. The day originated in 1996 to raise public awareness of the wage gap.Download AudioIn Alaska, a statute prohibits employers from paying females less than males for the same work. But there’s still a pay gap – for every dollar a man in Alaska earns, a woman earns roughly 67 cents.State Labor Economist Caroline Schultz says occupation and industry selection is the main reason behind the pay gap.“Women are never going to earn as much as men if women don’t choose to pursue high paying occupations,” Schultz says.Engineers make some of the highest salaries in Alaska, but only 18 percent of them are women. They’re making on average $72,000 a year while their male counterparts make close to $96,000.Supervisors in oil, mining and construction industries also make high salaries. Only 5 percent of them are women, and on average they earn less than half what men make in the same position. These 2012 figures from the Department of Labor represent total annual earnings and don’t distinguish between full- and part-time work.Schultz says work flexibility is another factor in the gender pay gap. Alaska has a predominance of jobs in natural resources, often in remote work sites.“That can sometimes be more of a challenge to women, because women traditionally take on a larger burden when it comes to family care. So, you know, if they need to leave early to pick up the kid from school, a woman is more likely to take a flexible job, maybe that pays a little bit less, than a man is,” Schultz says.What women can do about itTamiah Liebersbach is the Women’s Economic Empowerment Center coordinator for YWCA Alaska. She says discrimination is a contributing factor to the pay gap, even if it’s not done on purpose.“Some sort of idea that maybe a woman isn’t as committed to her career, if she has a family – those kinds of stereotypes do play a role, I think, in not just the wage that a woman gets, but the opportunities that she’s given to build her career,” Liebersbach says.YWCA Alaska will host a Women’s Economic Empowerment Summit for the first time on May 5, Alaska’s Equal Pay Day. The summit includes a session on the art of negotiation. Wage disparity is also a focus of the Alaska Women’s Summit, established last year after state Sen. Lesil McGuire commissioned a report on the status of women in Alaska.Barbara Belknap is a Juneau activist working on the issue of equal pay for women. She’s also anAlaska delegate to Vision 2020, a national coalition focused on women’s economic and social equality.Belknap says negotiating salary is one way for women to take the matter of pay disparity into their own hands.“Before you go into the interview, understand what the pay scale is for what you’re applying for, know what the going rate is, do some research,” Belknap says.A couple of years ago, Belknap made a YouTube video demonstrating how to successfully negotiate pay.Through the video, Belknap is spreading a message she never got. She says it never occurred to her to negotiate salary when she was appointed executive director of Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute in 1997.“They said, ‘Well, we were paying your predecessor too much money, so your salary is going to be this much money.’ And I remember the little thought bubble in my head going, ‘Oh really, really?’ But I didn’t say anything,” Belknap says.Belknap received pay increases over time, but says her starting salary was $8,000 less than the starting salary of her male predecessor.State economist Schultz says whatever the reasons may be for the pay gap, the result is the same – women have less money:“At the end of the year, at the end of a lifespan, at the end of a career, women have earned less money consistently through 25, 30, 35 years of working. And that really adds up.”And this fact, Schultz says, leads to other questions.“What does it mean for Alaska’s economy and what does it mean for women in Alaska, that in general, they have less money than men do? How does it affect their spending? How does it affect child care? How does it affect children?”Schultz doesn’t know the answers. She also doesn’t know what happens in corporate offices during salary talks, but as an economist, she’ll continue to collect and present the data that could lead to decreasing Alaska’s pay gap.last_img read more

4 sentenced to death for Rupa rape and murder

first_imgThe accused being taken to Tangail court. Photo: Tangail A Tangail court on Monday sentenced four persons to death in a case filed over the murder of Zakia Sultana Rupa after gang rape in a running bus on 25 August last year, reports UNB.Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunal judge Abul Hossain Miah announced the verdict in a crowded courtroom.The condemned convicted are – bus driver Habibur and helpers Shamim, Akram and Jahangir.Besides, bus supervisor Safar Ali was sentenced to seven years imprisonment and fined Tk 100,000.According to prosecution, Rupa, 27, was murdered after gang rape in the running bus while returning to Mymensingh from Bogra.Police recovered her blood-stained body from Panchmail area of Madhupur upazila on that night.Following a post-mortem, she was buried at the town central graveyard as unclaimed body. Later, victim’s relatives identified her.On 28 August, police arrested the five accused from Mymensingh in this connection.On 31 August, police exhumed the body of Rupa and handed it over to her family for burial in a proper manner.On 25 October last, the court accepted the charge sheet against the accused — bus driver Habibur, its supervisor Safar Ali, and helpers Shamim, Akram and Jahangir — in the case.On 23 January, the court concluded the recording of depositions of witnesses in the case when 27 witnesses out of total 32 testified before the court.last_img read more

Oculus Rift suffers a botched launch shipments delayed for months

first_imgAfter suffering through a number of delays, folks were finally able to order an Oculus Rift earlier this year for the hefty price of $600. Despite the steep price point of the virtual reality headset, the peripheral sold out almost immediately. At the time, Oculus VR informed customers that there might be some shipment delays due to the large quantity of pre-orders that were placed. The peripheral was officially launched this week and the first shipments were expected to go out starting late last month, but it seems that some folks will have to wait a significant amount of time before finally getting their Rift.The reason for the delay is that there is a shortage of a component necessary for the peripheral to function. This has caused delays of shipments for early customers. Oculus VR has waived the shipping costs for those early customers, but that doesn’t change the fact that some will have to wait between two-to-four months for their machine to arrive according to emails they’ve received from the company.Oculus customer support gave costumers an update on the situation on the Oculus subreddit:Kickstarter Backers, we’re changing your Order History to show “TBD” instead of the date as that date was applicable to the time in which we imported the orders. We’ve already fulfilled a large number of the orders and more are being fulfilled on a regular cadence. Your Rifts are from a different allocation. It should be noted that the delays are not universal to all customers. Some received their machines early last month and shipments are still being carried out on a daily basis. Still, this is small comfort for anyone who got an email telling them that they will get their system in May, June, or even August. This is a decidedly botched launch, but hopefully Oculus will be able to get things back on track and send units out to folks in a more timely manner.last_img read more

Strategic Airlines granted Ozjet rights to Bali

first_img<a href=”” target=”_blank”><img src=”;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=ada84479″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Strategic Airlines has been officially granted Ozjet’s rights to access Bali by the Australian government, and could look to launch services as early as March next year.After acquiring Ozjet’s operations in late June, Strategic Airlines asked the government for a transfer of air rights on 408 seats between Brisbane and Bali in order to operate two weekly services between the two destinations.Aviation officials noted that while the 408 seats would be granted for Strategic, if the carrier were to operate two weekly services it would need an extra 50 seats, and approval for this surplus would have to be granted separately.Though Ozjet has been granted the rights to launch in March, e-Travel Blackboard understands that the carrier is uncertain as to whether or not this can be achieved. Tourism Queensland threw its support behind Strategic Airlines in its application, declaring that the services would hold “benefits” for Queensland as well as provide “consumers an alternative” to Jetstar and Pacific Blue.“Tourism Queensland was also keen for Strategic Airlines to be granted “spill-over” capacity in addition to the transfer sought, to give it sufficient capacity to operate twice weekly services,” noted the International Air Services Commission.With two weekly services, Tourism Queensland would be able to better promote a variety of holiday packages. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: W.Xlast_img read more

Akinci says Greek Cypriot side lacks determination for talks

first_imgVerbal appeals to restart reunification talks have no meaning, Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said on Thursday, accusing the Greek Cypriot side of lacking the necessary determination.In a message to mark the festival of Eid el-Adha, Akinci said the Greek Cypriot side was constantly repeating that it was ready to resume the talks within the framework of the UN Secretary General’s parameters, whose content they had failed to meet during the failed conference on Cyprus two months ago.At this stage, Akinci was quoted as saying by the Cyprus News Agency, verbal appeals had no meaning as the Greek Cypriot side lacked the necessary determination. He added that similar procedures would only yield the same results, so the open-ended procedure could not continue.He said the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot side had realised the historic responsibility they had and they acted with determination.“It is a shame we cannot say the same about the Greek Cypriot side,” he said. “Instead of arriving at an agreement inside a logical framework they sought to assign blame. It emerged during the conference that domestic concerns were more important and unfortunately a historic opportunity was lost due to this stance.”He reiterated that as time passed, it solidified the existence of two separate states no matter how one saw it.“The reality is there are two separate states in Cyprus. The TRNC, even if it is not recognised, is a reality,” he said.He blamed this on the Greek Cypriot side’s struggle for union with Greece, saying Turkish Cypriots were ousted from the common state in 1963.You May LikeDr. Marty ProPower Plus Supplement3 Dangerous Foods People Feed Their Dogs (Without Realizing It)Dr. Marty ProPower Plus SupplementUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoUltimate Pet Nutrition Nutra Thrive SupplementAdd This One Thing To Your Dog’s Food To Help Them Be HealthierUltimate Pet Nutrition Nutra Thrive SupplementUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Local job providers travel to Lansing to testify in favor of Foster

first_imgState Rep. Frank Foster, center, talks with Todd Callewaert, at left, and George Smolak, before today’s House Commerce Committee meeting. Callewaert and Smolak testified in support of legislation sponsored by Foster.Todd Callewaert, president of Island House Hotel on Mackinac Island, and George Smolak, owner of Legs Inn in Cross Village, traveled to Lansing today to testify in support of legislation introduced by Rep. Frank Foster to help strengthen the state’s economy.Foster invited the two small-business leaders to the House Commerce Committee to discuss House Bill 4958, which mirrors federal standards and other Midwest states by waiving the requirement for employers to pay unemployment insurance taxes on employees working under visas.“I was honored to have two local job providers come to Lansing to discuss the benefits of this important legislation,” said Foster, R-Petoskey.  “State lawmakers need to hear perspectives from people who are directly impacted by laws that can deter economic development and job creation in Michigan.”Foster said it doesn’t make sense to require Michigan employers to pay unemployment insurance for non-resident employees because they are required to leave the country shortly after their employment is over.“As Michigan competes at a national level for jobs, businesses and the emerging 21st century economy, we must continue to identify and eliminate the bureaucratic red tape that makes us unique among our peers,” said Foster, chair of the House Commerce Committee.  “This is one more step to make Michigan a competitive and attractive place to do business.”Committee members today heard testimony only on HB 4958. 25Sep Local job providers travel to Lansing to testify in favor of Foster legislation Categories: Newslast_img read more

Rep Chatfield announces June office hours

first_img09Jun Rep. Chatfield announces June office hours Categories: Chatfield News State Rep. Lee Chatfield invites residents of the 107th House District to join him during local office hours throughout the month of June.“In addition to traveling across the district every week, I am committed to holding monthly office hours in order to stay accessible to anyone who has a concern, question or problem they are encountering with state government,” said Rep. Chatfield, R-Levering.Since taking office, Rep. Chatfield has consistently held monthly office hours in every county he represents.His June office hours schedule is:Friday, June 12thChippewa CountyFrank’s Place123 W. Portage Ave. in Sault Ste. Marie9 -10:30 a.m.Monday, June 22ndCheboygan CountyPurple Tree Coffee336 N. Main St. in Cheboygan9-10:30 a.m.Emmet CountyLegs Inn6425 N. Lake Shore Drive in Harbor Springs1:30-3 p.m.Monday, June 29thMackinac CountyHawk’s Landing720 W. Huron Drive in Pointe aux Pins (Bois Blanc Island)2-3 p.m.No appointment is necessary and there is no cost to attend. Anyone unable to attend may contact Rep. Chatfield’s office by calling (517) 373-2629, via email at leechatfield@house.mi.govor through his website at read more

Rep Miller Government transparency is a House priority

first_img State Rep. Aaron Miller today commended his House colleagues for joining him in approving landmark legislation that opens state government to more public scrutiny.Miller, of Sturgis, said the 11 bills make the governor and lieutenant governor subject to the Freedom of Information Act and creates a similar disclosure requirement for state representatives and senators called the Legislative Open Records Act.“It is only appropriate that we are approving this legislation during Sunshine Week, when the spotlight shines on government transparency,” Miller said. “We have made government accountability to Michigan families a priority this session, and I am very glad to see we are moving on this important legislation.”The legislation is similar to a package of bills introduced last session and passed overwhelmingly by the House. The bills did not make it to the governor for signature.Miller said Michigan is one of just a few states that do not subject their legislative and executive branches to open records acts. The House recently put a salary database of all House employees on its website to provide more accountability to taxpayers.##### Categories: Miller News 16Mar Rep. Miller: Government transparency is a House prioritylast_img read more

April Office Hours

first_img Categories: Steven Johnson News 13Apr April Office Hours State Representative Steve Johnson invites residents of the 72nd House District to join him during local office hours:Friday, April 21 Kent CountyBob Evans6565 Kalamazoo Ave. SE, Gaines Township10:30 – 11:30 a.m.center_img Allegan CountyColonial Kitchen1825 142nd Ave., Dorr8:30 – 9:30 a.m. “I am committed to being accessible and in touch with residents, and monthly office hours provide a great opportunity for people to share their concerns and opinions,” said Rep. Johnson.    No appointment is necessary and there is no cost to attend. Those unable to attend are encouraged to call Rep. Johnson’s office at 517-373-0840, email or visit his website at read more

Rep Wentworth announces November December office hours

first_img14Nov Rep. Wentworth announces November, December office hours State Rep. Jason Wentworth of the 97th District will host office hours in November and December for residents of Arenac, Gladwin, Clare and Osceola counties.“Having office hours has been a very important aspect of serving the people,” Rep. Wentworth said. “I look forward to ending the year as strongly as I started it by staying accessible. I encourage everyone to attend.”The office hours schedule is as follows:Monday, Nov. 271 to 2 p.m. at AuGres Community Library, 230 N. Mackinaw Road in AuGres;3 to 4 p.m. at Northern Expresso, 343 W. Cedar Ave. in Gladwin;5 to 6 p.m. at Marion Village Hall, 120 E. Main St. in Marion; and7 to 8 p.m. at Harrison City Hall, 2105 S. Sullivan Drive in Harrison.Monday, Dec. 181 to 2 p.m. at AuGres Community Library, 230 N. Mackinaw Road in AuGres;3 to 4 p.m. at Northern Expresso, 343 W. Cedar Ave. in Gladwin;5 to 6 p.m. at Marion Village Hall, 120 E. Main St. in Marion; and7 to 8 p.m. at Harrison City Hall, 2105 S. Sullivan Drive in Harrison.Residents also may contact Wentworth at his Lansing office at (517) 373-8962 or Categories: Wentworth Newslast_img read more

Rep Rendon welcomes local students to Capitol

first_imgPHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Daire Rendon visits with Surline Middle School students during their trip to the state Capitol in Lansing. 12Feb Rep. Rendon welcomes local students to Capitol Categories: Daire Rendon News,Daire Rendon Photoslast_img

Rep Calley proposal eliminating obsolete reference is signed

first_img Categories: Calley News,News 29Jun Rep. Calley proposal eliminating obsolete reference is signed Clean-up needed in election protocol with no positions present in stateA bill introduced by state Rep. Julie Calley of Portland updating Michigan election statutes has been signed into law.The bill was part of a package that eliminated references to a local office no longer being utilized. There are currently no elected boards of county auditors in the state of Michigan. The last remaining board, located in Saginaw County, was phased out in 2005.Due to the revision, passages in Michigan election law mentioning the position of county auditor were removed. House Bill 5114, which becomes Public Act 225 of 2018, takes out a requirement that a general election be held to elect a county auditor. Companion legislation sponsored by state Rep. Michael Webber, of Rochester Hills, removes the requirement for primary elections.“We needed to address the sections within election law that have been rendered outdated. That’s an essential part of our job as legislators,” Calley said. “Removing archaic portions creates transparency, efficiency and clarity within our state government.”last_img read more

COLUMN Fight for auto insurance reform must go on

first_img Categories: Hornberger News The fee hike reflected in our auto insurance bills this month serves as the latest painful reminder that we must reform Michigan’s car insurance system.Beginning July 1, the mandatory annual fee we pay through our car insurance to fund the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA) went up to $192 per vehicle – a 13-percent increase that highlights everything wrong with Michigan’s rigged auto insurance system.Michigan drivers were already paying the most expensive auto insurance rates in the nation. Our average full-coverage premium cost – nearly $2,400 per year – is more than $1,000 above the national average and twice as high as some neighboring states.The sky-high prices force many families to choose between putting food on the table, paying their electric bills or getting the car insurance coverage mandated by state law. It’s the major reason why more than 20 percent of Michigan motorists, including almost 60 percent of the drivers in Detroit, are uninsured.Changing this system is one of my top priorities. Last year I voted for a solution that would have resulted in significant rate reductions by giving Michigan drivers the flexibility to choose their coverage level.Unfortunately, the House did not approve the plan. Strong lobbying by special interest groups who profit off the current system prevented its passage.In the current system, medical providers are allowed to charge two or three times more to treat injuries when the patient happens to be the victim of a traffic accident. Treating a concussion should cost roughly the same whether you are in a car crash, fall off a roof or take a hard hit in a football game.Unscrupulous trial lawyers also love Michigan’s current auto no-fault setup. More than 40 percent of civil lawsuits filed across the state relate to auto accidents.It’s no wonder these special interests are fighting reform. The current system is rigged in their favor – and against Michigan drivers.I was proud to support lowering auto insurance rates for all drivers. If your state representative wasn’t supportive, it may be time to ask why.We must fight back and provide relief to Michigan families who have paid exorbitant rates for far too long.###(361 Words)State Rep. Pamela Hornberger of Chesterfield Township is serving her first term representing portions of Macomb and St. Clair counties in the Michigan House. Prior to taking office, Rep. Hornberger spent 23 years teaching in the East China School District and also served as a trustee for the L’Anse Creuse Public Schools Board of Education. 23Jul COLUMN: Fight for auto insurance reform must go onlast_img read more

Rep Farrington helps launch bipartisan plan to crack down on elder abuse

first_img21Feb Rep. Farrington helps launch bipartisan plan to crack down on elder abuse Categories: Diana Farrington News State Reps. Doug Wozniak, Diana Farrington, Sarah Anthony, Tenisha Yancey and Kyra Bolden submit their elder abuse plan to the House enrolling clerk todayState Rep. Diana Farrington today introduced legislation as part of a bipartisan plan to combat elder abuse and establish increased protections for Michigan’s senior population. She was joined by Reps. Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing), Doug Wozniak (R-Shelby Township), Vanessa Guerra (D-Saginaw), Graham Filler (R-DeWitt), Kyra Bolden (D-Southfield), Tenisha Yancey (D-Harper Woods) and Kathy Crawford (R-Novi).Farrington, R-Utica, said elder abuse is a serious crime that is becoming more and more common. These additional protections and increased criminal penalties will ensure people think twice before targeting or taking advantage of older adults.“Our seniors are increasingly being targeted by criminals who prey on them and try to scam them into sending away their life savings,” said Farrington. “We must increase penalties to keep this kind of behavior from continuing to spread.”The eight-bill bipartisan plan will add legal protections for adults age 65 and older and establish increased criminal penalties for individuals who financially or physically abuse vulnerable and elder adults.“Senior citizens are one of our most vulnerable populations and they’re increasingly becoming targets of crime,” Wozniak said. “We must establish stronger deterrents to protect our seniors and empower others to help them.”The plan will be formally introduced on Tuesday.###last_img read more

Rep Hall testifies in support of bill protecting children from abuse and

first_img Categories: Hall News 19Jun Rep. Hall testifies in support of bill protecting children from abuse and neglect State Reps. Matt Hall (left) and David LaGrand testified before the House Families, Children, and Seniors Committee.State Rep. Matt Hall (R- Emmett Township) today testified before the Michigan House Families, Children, and Seniors Committee in support of his legislation requiring Children’s Protective Services (CPS) to confirm the safety of all children in a home where suspected child abuse or neglect has occurred within 24 hours of receiving a complaint.“Children’s Protective Services should do more than conduct an internet search or leave a voicemail in the first 24 hours of an investigation,” Hall said. “Also, CPS must do more to get all children out of danger as soon as possible, including confirming the safety of all children living in that home. If one child in the home is in danger all could be in danger.”House Bill 4705 is one of six in a package that is a result of recommendations made by the Michigan Auditor General’s (OAG) September 2018 Performance Audit of Children’s Protective Services Investigations. The audit found 17 material conditions that called into question the effectiveness and efficiency of Children’s Protective Services and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).The Auditor General reported that “MDHHS’s interpretation of the CPL commencement requirement likely does not reflect the law’s intent with regard to commencing investigations of all children within 24 hours who are reported to MDHHS as suspected of being abused or neglected.” Rep. Hall’s bill clarifies the commencement requirement and requires contact with a person who can provide information on the well-being of a child in a household where suspected abuse and neglect has occurred.Following four weeks of testimony and working with the OAG, CPS, and MDHHS, the Oversight Committee unanimously adopted a report recommending the legislative amendments to Michigan’s Child Protection Law. In addition to Halls plan, the remaining reforms were included in the other bills in the package:CPS should document reasons it abbreviated an investigation and develop an abbreviated investigation checklist. Abbreviated investigations occur when an investigator discovers early on that no child abuse or neglect occurred.When a CPS investigation finds that a family needs to receive community-based services to alleviate a child’s risk of abuse and neglect, CPS must monitor the family to verify that they are participating in the community-based services.A license-exempt child care provider should be added to the Central Registry if a preponderance of evidence exists that he or she committed child abuse or neglect. This would treat license-exempt child care providers the same as owners, operators, volunteers, or employees of licensed or registered child care organizations, who have direct and regular contact with children in much the same manner.Centralized state oversight should exist to verify each county is properly developing and implementing its required child abuse and neglect investigation protocols. These protocols are intended to improve cooperation among professionals and agencies that are commonly involved in child abuse and neglect cases.CPS should provide periodic reports measuring its compliance with conditions raised in the Auditor General’s September 2018 report to an appropriate oversight authority.House Bills 4704-4709 remain under consideration by the House Families, Children and Seniors Committee.###last_img read more

Hurricane Carter Dies but His Message against Wrongful Convictions Lives

first_imgShare5TweetShareEmail5 SharesApril 20, 2014; New York TimesOver the weekend, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter died at the age of 76. Although he entered the consciousness of many more Americans when he was portrayed by Denzel Washington in an Academy-nominated role in The Hurricane, he was known to social activists for decades due to his having been wrongly convicted of murder and jailed for 19 years before the charges against him were dismissed.The former middleweight boxer had been convicted in two jury trials for the murder of two men and one woman outside a bar in Paterson, New Jersey in 1966. The verdicts were overturned on grounds of prosecutorial misconduct, but he spent the next several decades trying to clear his reputation of the charges of murder. The charges were not formally and finally dismissed until 1988, 22 years after they were first filed.Carter had a very tough, troubled childhood, with plenty of interactions with the law. He spent time in reform school, and later had jail time before and during his career as a top-level prizefighter. But that didn’t make him guilty of a murder for which the two witnesses later recanted their testimony. After being convicted in the second trial, Carter told the New York Times, “They can incarcerate my body but never my mind.” He maintained his innocence and became recognized, inside and outside prison, as a civil rights advocate and champion. Nelson Mandela actually wrote the foreword to Carter’s 2011 autobiography, Eye of the Hurricane: My Path From Darkness to Freedom. The brilliant New Jersey judge who overturned the second of Carter’s convictions, H. Lee Sarokin, said it best: Carter’s conviction had been based on “racism rather than reason and concealment rather than disclosure.”Not long after his exoneration from the Paterson murder charges, Carter institutionalized his campaign against the wrongful imprisonment of people like himself and his co-defendant, John Artis. In 1993, he was recruited by Win Wather in Toronto to serve as executive director of the nonprofit Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted, which Carter led through most of 2004. Although the organization fought for and obtained the freedom of a number of Canadians during that time, Carter left AIDWYC in 2004 because five of the 20 AIDWYC board members refused to join him in opposing the appointment of Judge Susan MacLean to the Ontario bench because of her earlier role in the prosecution of a man convicted in the murder of a nine-year-old girl but later exonerated by DNA evidence. The press coverage of Carter’s disassociation with the organization suggests a dynamic of combined acrimony and befuddlement within the board and between the board and Carter.After leaving AIDWYC, Carter founded another nonprofit in Canada, Innocence International, with a similar mission and a track record of speaking out on behalf of people it believed to have been wrongly tried and convicted. One high-profile case Carter and Innocence International took on was that of Sebastian Burns and Atif Rafay, who were convicted in 2004 of the murder of Rafay’s father, mother, and sister a decade earlier. It isn’t clear whether Innocence International still exists— links to the Innocence International site seem to be broken, though reports about Carter’s frequent speeches as the founder/director of the organization are available through Google searches—but Carter’s papers will be sent to the Rubin Carter/John Artis Innocence International Project at Tufts University outside Boston.Although long disassociated with Carter and apparently barely in contact, AIDWYC published a blog post honoring Carter on the announcement of his passing:“Rubin will be remembered by those at AIDWYC who were fortunate enough to have worked with him as a truly courageous man who fought tirelessly to free others who had suffered the same fate as he. We are honoured that Rubin played a significant role in the history of our organization. We will continue to fight against wrongful convictions, a battle that Rubin valiantly fought until the day he died.”Carter passed away estranged from some of his family members and from his colleagues at AIDWYC. But his message in promoting the reconsideration of convictions in the U.S. and Canada, making people think twice about possibilities of prosecutorial bias and misconduct, especially around matters of race, is still current and alive.—Rick CohenShare5TweetShareEmail5 Shareslast_img read more

Indias New Mental Health Policy Focuses on Equality of Services

first_imgShare1TweetShareEmail1 SharesOctober 11, 2014; The Hindu and Wall Street Journal, “India Realtime”NPQ has written repeatedly (here and here and here, to list a few examples) about the effects of mental health policies in the United States, where prisons and jails and the streets have become the warehouses and cold corners of life for people unable to access treatment in the community.On October 10th, the World Health Organization celebrated its annual World Mental Health Day in order to raise awareness of mental health disorders, and India announced its first national policy on the issue.Historically, India has spent less than one percent of its total healthcare budget on mental health care treatment, with a large population of affected individuals receiving no care. Until now, the vast majority of mentally ill people, who live in villages away from urban centers, have had no accessible mental health services. According to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, India’s new mental health policy “will have a pro-poor orientation, because only the creamy layer of society presently has access to mental healthcare in India.”Sadly, the availability of healthcare services for only a segment of those needing treatment is not only an issue in the field of mental healthcare, nor is the issue seen only in countries like India. Around the world, including the U.S., many people are cut off from healthcare services they need.In the past few months, NPQ has reported on the hardships faced by healthcare recipients and the nonprofits that serve them in the rural United States. If receiving general healthcare can be hard for lower-income families in rural areas, receiving treatment for mental health issues can be virtually impossible. Adding to challenges of available treatment, society still attaches a negative stigma to receiving mental healthcare services even when they are available.India’s new policy to open mental health services to the general population is a positive step, but it is only a beginning. For the policy to be a success, access to services will need to be available to all, regardless of income or location. Furthermore, the general population will need to be informed about mental health and its importance to overall health. As Dr. Vardhan said in a statement, “Unfortunately, society still stigmatizes those who suffer from routine psychiatric problems…. We need to build up a social movement to change mindsets and focus on the human dimension of mental illnesses.”—Michele BittnerShare1TweetShareEmail1 Shareslast_img read more