The illegal House-to-House has a three-fold agenda

first_imgDear Editor,The illegal exercise of a House-to-House Registration has a threefold dubious agenda; 1. It is the PNC-dominated coalition’s intention to pad the voters’ list with names of those foreign nationals in one last-ditch desperate attempt to beef up their chances at the next general election. There are a number of Haitian nationals brought into Guyana expressly for that exercise. Further, this is the reason why Lowenfield did not notify the Opposition nor did he include Opposition scrutineers in the exercise.2. In like manner, The PNC-controlled GECOM hopes to delete the names of voters from the list who they think are supporters of The PPP/C. Mark you well, one of the questions in the House to House Registration officers arsenal of tricks is the subtle question as to which is the party of your choice, This in itself is an illegality, aimed at disenfranchising a potential voter for the Opposition.This means at the affirmation that if you are a supporter of the Opposition you would immediately become a target for either a removal from the list of electors or struck off as being deceased. This old PNC tactic of tampering with the list of electors would have succeeded in removing legitimate voters from the list or at the least create confusion on election day when hundreds of persons would turn up to vote only to find that their names are not on the voters’ list.3. Lastly, the House-to-House exercise is meant to extend the life of the PNC in office for a possible two years more. And here’s the trick; that house-to-house so-called registration cannot be completed in three months as hinted by GECOM, House-to-House takes at the minimum 15 months to complete and no less time. So, that 3-month suggestion is just a ploy designed to lull the Opposition into believing that the registration exercise can be effectively done in time for general elections on or around September 18, which is the stipulated deadline given by the CCJ.In all of this, the PNC hopes to rig the next general elections and secure an illegal victory at the peril of the people of this entire country. This PNC’s age-old trick must not be allowed to flourish again, ever, and on this note, I call on all the people involved to get on board so that we can save our country from this tyrannical, illegal PNC regime and return Guyana to the beaten path of democracy.Respectfully,Neil Adamslast_img read more

‘We Want to Bring More Jobs and Investments to Liberia’

first_imgThe Executive Director of the Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) in the State of Maryland (USA) Jim Coleman, says his company will soon invest in the National Port Authority (NPA) with the aim to create more jobs for Liberians.“I have a personal interest in helping to make Liberia’s economy thrive,” said Coleman, adding, “When I learned of my family’s direct connection to the very foundation of Liberia, I knew that there would be no better time for us to leverage our relationships and resources to find investment opportunities that will create jobs and rebuild a flourishing business environment in the NPA Community.”Coleman spoke recently to a Liberian delegation in Maryland (MD) to cement previous agreements on how to further partnerships with businesses and industries on both sides of the Atlantic. He said the EDC is looking to share investment opportunities with Prince George’s County, specifically their vast port system. He noted that through passionate dialogue, it became apparent that a partnership between Prince George’s County and the NPA will have very fruitful returns for both sides.Business mogul Coleman said the EDC will help Liberians with their resources to establish investment opportunities in the country.The Liberian delegation included Gabriel Williams from the Liberian Embassy in the U.S; Gerald F.B. Cooper, Planning Chair with Marylanders for Progress (Liberia) Inc.; John G. Bestman, Chairman, NPA Board of Directors; David F. Williams, NPA Managing Director; and Barnabas Kasor, Executive Director for Ports and Harbor-Liberia.Mr. Williams provided a detailed overview of the port system in Liberia and its value proposition for re-development.“We are delighted to have been a part of today’s briefing as we discussed how we can create a linkage between the Prince George’s County EDC and the Port Authority of Liberia,” said Williams. He added: “This is an exciting time for Liberia as a result of the renaissance that has taken place in the country as a whole, in particular the ports. We had a very interactive discussion about the port systems and how we can go about getting capital for some of the projects.” He then expressed the hope to establish a committee to further discuss about collaborations to pursue their objectives.He expressed gratitude to Mr. Coleman and his team for the fruitful discussion.“Were are extremely interested in how the EDC and the U.S. can utilize its vast resources to bring foreign investors and better opportunities with key business owners to redevelop and diversify the ports of Liberia,” said Williams. Williams also expressed how grateful he was to form part of the Liberian delegation to promote the idea that would result to forming a sister-state relationship between Maryland, Liberia and the Maryland in the U.S.“I think the discussion we had today was quite interesting that we can build our future on. We hope to move forward with this program and shape other relationships with the help of the EDC. Together we can form a greater community for Prince George’s County and Liberia,” Mr. Williams said.The Sister State Agreement was established in 2007 between Maryland County in Liberia and the State of Maryland to enhance cultural and historic understandings and cooperation to promote international trade between them, he said.According to a press release, during their lively discussion, EDC Board Member Eric Henderson suggested that the group formally adopt a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that specifically identifies the most profitable investment opportunities in Liberia. With this document in hand, the EDC will be able to share Liberia’s value proposition in tandem with local investment opportunities.The MOU will also create and complement the Sister State Agreement by stimulating the port economy and enhance the quality of Liberia’s imports.The EDC, County of Baltimore and the Baltimore port leadership hosted the NPA delegations with the aim to cement the previous discussions.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

PPP still to make decision on 2020 elections Presidential Candidate

first_imgAs the hearing of the constitutionality of presidential term limits looms in the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), the main opposition group, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), are still undecided on who will be on their Presidential ticket for the 2020 General and Regional Elections.This was confirmed by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo at his press conference on Thursday. Observing that he is more interested in building his party’s base than being bothered by an ongoing court matter, Jagdeo declared: “When the right time comes, we will decide on a Presidential candidate. This matter that’s going on in court is outside of the PPP, but if the APNU (A Partnership for National Unity) thinks that I’m going to put all the PPP eggs in a Jagdeo basket, they are wrong…I’m not too worried about term limits,” he declared.His comments followed speculation over his future, he having formerly served as President from 1999 to 2011 and having re-entered the field of active politics, albeit reluctantly.Jagdeo stressed that he is mostly concerned about ensuring that his party is victorious at the nation’s next polls.“I made it clear that the PPP is not decided on a presidential candidate for 2020. I’m General Secretary of the party, I took over in January last year after the congress, and my job as General Secretary is to work hard to transform the party, to widen its base and prepare it to win the elections regardless of what position I serve in,” he noted.He responded to questions posed by the media highlighting the Attorney General’s appeal to the CCJ of a landmark Appeals Court ruling in February 2017 — which declared that sovereignty resides in the people and not in the Parliament; and as such, certain fundamental clauses in the Constitution that serve to define its substantive nature can be altered only by a referendum of the people. This ruling signalled that an amendment to the Constitution on presidential term limits, which was enacted when the National Assembly altered Article 90 via a two-thirds vote in 2000, needs a referendum to make a final decision.AG Basil Williams and colleague Raphael Trotman, through private citizen Cedrick Richardson, have challenged the ruling in the CCJ. It is slated to heard through live video at 10:00 hrs on February 28. If that appeal is unsuccessful, then the voters of Guyana would have a choice of four classes of persons that were barred by Art 17 of 2001. These classes are: (A) that only a citizen by birth or of parentage can qualify to be the President; (B) that a person must be residing in Guyana on the date of nomination for election, (C) that a person must have been a resident for seven years immediately before that date, and (D) Citizens of Guyana who have served for two terms as President.Last elections, back in 2015, saw former President Donald Ramotar serving as the PPP’s Presidential Candidate while his running mate was Diplomat Elisabeth Harper, who served as the party’s prime ministerial candidate.last_img read more

After 17 years, Buffon bids tearful farewell to Juventus

first_img0Shares0000Italy great Gianluigi Buffon played his final game for Juventus on Saturday before tearfully exiting after a trophy-laden 17-year career © AFP / MARCO BERTORELLOTurin, Italy, May 19 – Italy great Gianluigi Buffon played his final game for Juventus on Saturday before tearfully exiting after a 17-year career as storm clouds gathered during a 2-1 win over already relegated Verona.Buffon — who had captained Juventus to a seventh straight Serie A title and fourth consecutive Italian Cup triumph this season — took his final bow midway through the second half before rain came down and thunder rumbled over the Allianz Stadium. It was the 656th game for the evergreen 40-year-old who arrived in Turin in 2001 from Parma for a then world record 52 million euros fee.The goalkeeper and captain was substituted by coach Massimiliano Allegri to take an ovation before 40,000 emotional Juventus fans many with their eyes filling with tears.Juventus were two goals up thanks to Daniele Rugani after 49 minutes and Miralem Pjanic three minutes later when Buffon came off the pitch.He hugged all his teammates, on the field and on the bench, and then left the sidelines.Goalkeeper Carlo Pinsoglio made his Serie A debut between the posts in his place.Buffon had said he did not want anything special for his final game.“I want to live this day normally. I ask nothing except what I have already had, esteem, affection and respect. The rest I do not need it. As a child, I did not like birthdays and be in the centre of attention,” Buffon had said.But there was resounding applause and singing as the goalkeeper and Juventus captain emerged from the locker rooms before his final game.He was accompanied onto the pitch at the Allianz Stadium by his three children — Louis Thomas and David Lee, with the youngest, Leopoldo, in the arms of his partner Ilaria D’Amico.“There is only one number 1, there is only one number 1”, they sang in the tribunes before kick-off, as Buffon hugged his teammates one by one. In the south tribune Juventus fans unfurled a banner: “Only those who try the absurd reach the impossible”. A giant flag with the image of the goalkeeper covered the stand. There were messages “17 years with you. Thanks Gigi”, “Gigi Buffon, immortal hero” and “Gigi, Santo Subito”.Buffon embraced each of his teammates including his successor Polish keeper Wojciech Szczesny and new captain Giorgio Chiellini and took his place in between the posts for his final game.The crowd cheered his every move with his first save made after quarter of an hour against Algerian winger Mohamed Fares.The moment everyone was waiting for came after 63 minutes as Buffon again hugged every teammate, every member of staff, waved at the crowd until he got to the bench, rested his head back and sighed with eyes closed, before leaving the sidelines.– ‘Simply the best’ –Golden farewell for Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon © AFP / Marco BERTORELLOTeammates also paid tribute with Sami Khedira tweeting: “It has always been an honour for me to play side to side with a living legend. Glad we can celebrate another Scudetto today!” “100 games together, 1,040 days, smiles, tears, hugs,” tweeted Paulo Dybala. “You’ve taught me so much. You are the captain of my successes. I wish you to be happy in the future my captain, I will miss you. Today we must have fun together again.”After winning the Italian Cup, SuperCup and UEFA Cup with Parma, Buffon went on to claim nine Serie A titles, four Italian Cups and five SuperCups with Juventus, in addition to winning the 2006 World Cup with Italy.On the pitch Alessio Cerci pulled one back for the Verona after 76 minutes, ending Juventus’s bid for a record 23 games in one season without conceding a goal.It was also the final game for Ghanian Kwadwo Asamoah and Swiss Stephan Lichtsteiner.Juventus had wrapped up the Serie A title last Sunday in Rome, but lifted the trophy for the 34th time after the game.The storm did not stop hundreds of fans, many of whom had gathered outside, lining the route as the open top bus then made its way to the centre of the city.Despite trailing Napoli for much of the season Juventus ended the campaign with 95 points from 30 wins including 16 at home.“We fought with Napoli throughout the year, we tip our hats to them, but we were the best,” said Allegri. “We missed the icing on the cake, which is the Champions League, but we can’t know how it would have ended in extra time against Real Madrid,” he added of a match in which Buffon was controversially sent off.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

The delights of Castle Grove Country House

first_imgWelcome to our column here at DD where we’ll introduce you to Castle Grove Country House Hotel and share some of our passions.Our columns will include everything from food to organic vegetable gardening, flower gardening to country house weddings, and household tips from the daily life of Castle Grove House.Castle Grove Country House Hotel is one of the few remaining family run private estates in the North West of Ireland. Located six miles north of Letterkenny, it provides the perfect base to explore the beautiful scenery of Donegal and the Wild Atlantic way. This near-original Georgian house was built in 1695 and is situated at the end of a mile-long avenue on the shores of Lough Swilly. The grounds are made up of farmland and extensive gardens that were designed by Capability Brown.Today, Castle Grove House is a 4-star Country House Hotel run by the Sweeney Family, and the dedicated team of staff that extend a warm and friendly welcome to all.The hotel itself has a grand entrance hall, two spacious drawing rooms, a beautiful dining room, library, cosy bar and 15 en-suite bedrooms. All rooms are furnished with antiques and luxury fabrics, adding to the charm and old world grandeur of the hotel.The award-winning restaurant provides excellent cuisine which is all prepared in-house by our Master Chefs. They combine a wide range of locally sourced produce, with seasonal fruit and vegetables organically grown in Castle Grove’s very own four acre Walled Garden. Castle Grove is the perfect venue to make any occasion special; whether it be for afternoon tea, Sunday lunch, an evening meal, or a cocktail on the lawn in the Summer. The restaurant and drawing rooms with their ample space and relaxing allure are perfect to enjoy a nice glass of wine by the fire, romantic night away, or truly special occasions such as weddings, anniversaries and birthdays.Castle Grove is described as “a hidden gem in Donegal” and “the Ballymaloe of the North”So, with a warm welcome awaiting – why don’t you put it top of your list to come and check out…With Valentine’s Day around the corner – we have an exclusive Valentine’s Dinner, Lunch and Afternoon Tea menus available. The Chef’s inspiration for Valentine’s day is ‘passion’ and ‘indulgence’ showcasing the finest ingredients. Combined with the beautifully decorated Dining room, the perfect romantic evening can begin!If you cannot join us on the day, here are some tips from Chef Mahon to help you create your own romantic meal at home.“Passionate cooking the Castle Grove way”, he says. 1. Plan ahead, and set the scene – decorate the table with some simple rose petals and a nice candle. The extra details are simple to put together and show care and thoughtfulness.2. Menu – Keep it simple. If you’re doing a three-course meal, start with soup, melon, or a light salad. Make your main dish one that you know you can do well, that way you don’t get stressed and you can keep the evening flowing.3. Dessert – impress with Chef Mahon’s Dark Chocolate Mousse, and wow your loved one.Make it that morning, or the night before – it’s as easy as that!Ingredients: 170g dark bitter chocolate – 70%80ml milk1 egg yolk4 egg whites20g castor sugarGarnish:chocolate for making shavingscocoa powdera handful of fresh strawberries.Method:Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over simmering water until it has melted.Bring the milk to the boil and add to the melted chocolate mixture, mix in the egg yolk and set aside.In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites to firm peaks, then slowly add the sugar bit by bit.Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, and pour the mix into individual glasses.Place in the fridge to chill.Garnish each mousse with some chocolate shavings a dusting of cocoa and fresh strawberries.Voila!!Serve with chilled prosecco or champagne……. perfection!Happy Valentines!!!!Until next time from Castle Grove…………Phone 07491 51118EMAIL : Reservations@castlegrove.comThe delights of Castle Grove Country House was last modified: May 25th, 2017 by Castle GroveShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more


first_imgA woman got to hold onto her house a little longer yesterday because of the Ulster Bank computer crisis.The woman appeared at Letterkenny Circuit Court in Co Donegal after Ulster Bank sought repossession of her house.Barristers representing the bank tried to have the case adjourned because it was not in a position to proceed yesterday (TUES) “because of the ongoing IT issues.” However Judge John O’Hagan ordered the bank to issue new papers in the case, forcing Ulster Bank to start the case again against a woman and her ex-husband.He also ordered the bank to pay its own costs striking out the bank’s request of its costs.At hearing  ULSTER BANK DONEGAL REPOSSESSION CASE STALLED was last modified: July 11th, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Coming Out: ‘We have come a long way for LGBTI+ equality, but we can do better’

first_imgComing Out: Young Donegal man Ayrton Kelly continues his column series with DonegalDaily.com giving an insight into his journey in the LGBTI+ community and life in Donegal.Read Ayrton’s first two posts here:– Growing up Gay in Donegal– ‘New Year, New Me’ was never so true This week, Aryton gives his thoughts on equality, awareness and visibility for the LGBTI+ community:There is a very common misconception that since the Marriage Equality referendum carried, then inequality, homophobia and transphobia magically disappeared. But this is unfortunately not true.Yes Equality’s Pledge to Vote Campaign from 2015 (Source: GCN)We have come a long way – the vast majority of people accept LGBTI+ people but it’s still not normalised.  But there also seems to be a hierarchy of acceptance and sympathy. This hierarchy was first explained to me in a different context when I did disclosure training with the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre. Our group was asked what group of people we would feel more sorry for if they told us they were sexually assaulted. Of course children and wives/mothers were at the top, men got a little bit less sympathy and sex workers were at the bottom. The thing is, sexual assault is sexual assault and the sympathy we give should not be determined by who the victim is.In the exact same way, equality is equality and the acceptance and equality we give should not be determined by what type of LGBTI+ you are. Gay men and women are by far the most accepted and it goes down steeply as we get to transgender or intersex people. Even Bi people get more shtick than ‘pure’ gays. ‘You’re just doubling your chances,’ ‘just decide’, ‘I could understand if you were gay but I just don’t get bi’ are all things bi friends of mine have been told. We all fear what we don’t understand but it doesn’t mean we can’t accept it. I have absolutely no idea how engineers make a 500 tonne piece of metal and plastic fly. But they do, and I trust that it will get me from A to B. Equally, we all need to accept those who appear different. We need to embrace difference and diversity. “LGBTQQIAPP+” — as easy as ABCTo embrace differences and diversity, it helps to understand it. The terminology used to describe LGBT people has changed a lot over the years. It’s gone from ‘people with homosexual tendencies’ (The Vatican’s fav), to the gay community, LGB, LGBT, LGBT+, LGBTI+, LGBTQ, LGBTQI+ and even LGBTQQIAPP. I get why this causes a bit of confusion but the thing is, people develop and language changes all of the time. Don’t let the different acronyms put you off and in truth, they all kind of reflect the same thing: a group of people who are either not cisgender (identify with the gender you were assigned at birth) and/or straight (attracted to the opposite sex/ heterosexual). That’s it really. As easy as ABC.Parents and allies must inform themselves I recently went to a Shoutout workshop for allies who want to become more aware of LGBTI+ terminology and it was really positive – but it highlighted to me what people don’t know. So, as a foundation and resource, the group TSER (Trans Student Educational Resources) have a great glossary of terms that cover the more basic definitions like sex, gender, gender identity, sexuality and sexual orientation. and terms that you wouldn’t hear on a day-to-day basis like agender, queer, pansexual, etc. It’s a really good resource if you want to inform yourself but don’t feel too scared or overwhelmed if you’re an ally and don’t understand everything because you won’t. It has taken me the better part of two years to fully understand the diversity that exists when it comes to gender and sexuality.Illustration of the differences of sex, attraction and gender (Source: TSER)Genuinely, I completely understand how difficult it is to comprehend the feeling of not identifying with the gender you were assigned at birth (i.e. being transgender). I have made all the mistakes of calling my friends their birth name, using the wrong pronouns and even describing transgender as ‘being born in the wrong body’. It’s okay to make mistakes. If your child, friend or student is transitioning then you’re going to make mistakes – but making a conscious effort and developing an awareness are key.Pride is a protestPride 2018 saw hundreds of young people march in Dublin (Source: YWI & BeLonGTo)This level of awareness is seen so well in the major cities of the country and world. Saturday 30th June saw 60,000 people descend on Dublin to celebrate LGBTQ Pride while the following weekend saw London and Madrid celebrate Pride. In Dublin we marched through the streets of the capital to both celebrate how far Ireland has come, and to protest against the inequalities that LGBTI+ people face on a daily basis in Ireland and across the world. The theme this year was ‘We are Family’ and it was so encouraging to see the likes of Mary McAleese, her husband Martin, and their son Justin with his husband march together while Dublin Bus’s Proud Dads video epitomised what it is to accept, to love, and to be family. I am often asked why there is no Straight Pride, but in reality it’s because we still have not achieved equality in our country for LGBTI+ people. Pride is not just a celebration – it is at its core a protest against injustice and inequality.The people of Ireland are inherently good, decent and fair. We know what it’s like to be oppressed and suffer from injustice (The Act of Union, Magdalene Laundries, Direct Provision Centres, and so on… it’s a very long list).How and ever, equality is in our DNA: In 1916, the Leaders of the Rising stated: ‘The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities of all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all the children of the nation equally’. One hundred and two years later, we have come a long way but we can do better. It’s not time to get complacent or attach terms and conditions with the provision of equality.—Ayrton Kelly is 20 years old and from Letterkenny, Co. Donegal. He is studying Business and French in UCD and before that attended St Eunan’s College. By working with Donegal Youth Service, UCD Students’ Union, Foróige, Youth Work Ireland, BeLonG To and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs has become interested in equality and social Justice. Most recently, he was on the Youth Advisory Group and Oversight Committee for the National LGBTI+ Youth Strategy.BreakOut is a project for young LGBTI people, LGBTI Allies and young people that believe in social justice aged 12-30, and is operated by Donegal Youth Service.  Currently there are groups meeting up regularly in Letterkenny, Ballybofey, Glenties and Moville offering information, training, one-to-one support and guaranteed craic. If you would like to come along and see what it’s all about contact Sinead Murray on 074 91 29630/086 124 7968, pop in to 16-18 Port Road, or find BreakOut on Facebook.Coming Out: ‘We have come a long way for LGBTI+ equality, but we can do better’ was last modified: July 27th, 2018 by Staff WriterShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Ayrton Kellycoming outEqualityLGBTIrightslast_img read more

Man arrested after Garda station fire released without charge

first_imgA man who was arrested in Letterkenny in connection with a fire at Emyvale Garda Station has been released without charge.Gardaí had detained the man, aged in his 30s, on suspicion of arson after a number of searches in Emyvale, Monaghan and Letterkenny.Emyvale Garda Station was extensively damaged in a blaze in the early hours of Monday morning. No-one was injured in the incident. Gardaí swooped on the suspect in Donegal on Wednesday and he was interviewed by the investigation team from Monaghan at Letterkenny Garda Station.It was confirmed today that the man was released without charge on Thursday in connection with the arson. A file will now be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.The accused is to appear before Cavan District Court today in connection with other serious and unconnected charges.Man arrested after Garda station fire released without charge was last modified: November 1st, 2019 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Stress task force offering help to struggling Ohio farmers

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Dairy farmers grapple with slumps in milk prices while the cost of feeding their cows keeps rising. For crop farmers, prices for corn and soybeans remain low, and many growers couldn’t plant either crop this year.The persistent spring rain created the state’s worst planting year on record and has contributed to a near-record low level of hay to feed livestock in Ohio and across the Midwest.So much is out of a farmer’s control — weather, commodity and feed prices, a hike in international tariffs on American agricultural goods that has diminished demand for them.When rain this past spring kept farmers from planting, among the comments that circulated on Facebook was one offering a phone number for a suicide hotline.Now, perhaps more than ever, farmers might need help with how to keep their businesses afloat, how to find jobs off the farm, how to find clinicians to help deal with mounting frustration or despair that might come with running a business farming the land.Out of this tremendous need, staff with The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) hope to offer assistance through their newly formed Rural and Farm Stress Task Force. The task force is made up of people who can help connect farmers and their families with specialists either within Ohio State University Extension or within the community.CFAES will be collaborating with Ohio State’s College of Social Work to know how to best respond to individuals who might be in need of emotional support, including knowing which mental health providers those individuals can seek out, regardless of where they live in the state.Across Ohio, some farmers face difficult decisions.“Nobody wants to be the one in a family to stop farming, especially if it’s been going on for generation after generation,” said Emily Marrison, a member of the task force and an educator with OSU Extension, the outreach arm of CFAES. “I don’t think we could ever make the assumption that the reason a farm closes down is because of poor management.”Many farms will be able to weather the financial storm, but some growers are seeking work off the farm or additional sources of income from their farm. The task force and all OSU Extension staff can point farmers toward resources to assist their businesses or to find new work or a counselor. In providing this help, the hope is to reassure and empower farmers.“Farmers are so resilient, or they wouldn’t be doing the job they’re doing,” said Dee Jepsen, co-chair of the task force and state safety leader for OSU Extension.For decades, farmers have dealt with weather challenges as well as shifts in markets and prices, and they have persevered. Sometimes with that strong will to persevere comes a resistance to seek help, Jepsen said.“They’re tough. They may not want to talk about their problems,” Jepsen said.Some might see their struggles to keep their farm viable as a sign of failure — personal failure.Even just admitting that or asking for help can be challenging, but that can also lead someone closer to a solution.In talking to farmers and their families in southeast Ohio, Amanda Bohlen, an OSU Extension educator in Washington County, has noticed a difference recently. She can see the toll on people’s faces. They look tired, worn down. They’re a little abrupt, more pessimistic, distant.Bohlen can easily empathize with them. Her husband, Kurt, grew up working his family’s dairy farm. This past April, they had to sell off the herd.“It had gotten to a point that it would have been cheaper for us to buy a gallon of milk from the grocery store, dump it into our tank, and resell it rather than produce our own,” Bohlen said.Kurt had to find another job, which led to a grieving process of relinquishing a profession that was all he knew.“It was the last of everything. The last time you were shutting off the milk pump. The last time you were closing the barn door,” she said.After a stint in excavation work and another on a dairy farm that later closed, Kurt accepted a job as an agriculture teacher. The job will be a change, for sure, so he’s nervous but also tremendously grateful.For more information on the Rural and Farm Stress Task force as well as a list of resources for those in the agriculture community, visit go.osu.edu/agcrisis.last_img read more

An Encouraging Study on Energy Code Compliance

first_imgWhat researchers learnedA DOE presentation of the findings and the Builder Online report made these points:Windows were consistently better than required by code. No state had more than three observations where windows didn’t meet code requirements.Compliance with lighting efficiency requirements was inconsistent. The 2009 IECC requires 50% high-efficacy lighting, which includes fluorescent and LED fixtures. Observers found some homes had all high-efficacy lighting, and about the same number having none; the rest fell somewhere in the middle.The amount of wall insulation was almost always exactly compliant with code, R-13 to R-20, depending on the Climate Zone.New houses met or exceeded the requirements for airtightness in all states, with a “high percentage” of observations ranging between 4 and 6 air changes per hour at 50 pascals (the 2009 IECC standard is 7 ach50.)No area was consistently worse than code.The Builder Online report was written by Ryan Meres, whose organization, the Institute for Market Transformation, collected information in Alabama.He wrote: “Overall, the initial data and analysis coming out of DOE’s Residential Energy Code Field Study demonstrate the success of energy codes as an effective policy tool for driving energy efficiency in the single-family residential housing market. It also demonstrates the diligence of builders and local building officials in ensuring compliance with the energy codes adopted in their states.”The findings suggest that builders should be paying particular attention to the type of lighting they install, and to requirements for duct and building envelope tightness, which get tougher with new versions of the code, Meres said. Preliminary results of a four-year Department of Energy (DOE) field study show that new single-family homes are, on average, meeting or exceeding the requirements set by local energy codes.The findings cover six of eight states that are included in the Residential Energy Code Field Study. The study will span four years, beginning with a baseline field study in the first year, followed by training in years two and three, and a follow-up field study in the final year.Preliminary findings released by DOE last month suggest that while previous studies showed low compliance with energy codes, this time around most new homes are doing better than expected on a number of fronts, according to a summary of the findings posted by Builder Online.Over the past 12 months, data collectors visited new, unoccupied houses in eight states: Texas, Arkansas, Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. They gathered information on lighting efficiency, window U-factors, window solar heat gain coefficients, envelope airtightness, duct leakage, and insulation levels in framed walls and foundations.The baseline code in most of the states was the 2009 version of the International Energy Conservation Code. (Only Maryland has adopted the 2015 version of the IECC, and North Carolina uses a state code.) The number of houses that researchers visited ranged from a low of 133 in Texas to a high of 249 in North Carolina.last_img read more