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    Blue Hill Concert Association presents the Aizuri Quartet – Bangor Daily News - February 15, 2020 by admin

    BLUE HILL At 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 23 at the First Congregational Church of Blue Hill, the Blue Hill Concert Association will present the third concert of their 42nd winter season. The acclaimed Aizuri Quartet will captivate the audience with their meld of intellect, technique and emotions. Their name is drawn from aizuri-e, a style of predominantly blue Japanese woodblock printing, noted for its vibrancy and incredible detail. Emma Frucht violin, Miho Saegusa violin, Ayane Kozasa viola and Karen Ouzounian cello have been awarded the Grand Prize and CAG Management Prize at the 2018 M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition and their debut album Blueprinting was a Grammy Nomination for 2019. This CD features new works written especially for the Aizuri Quartet by five American composers.

    Their Blue Hill program, Songs and Echoes of Home will include selections from Dvoraks Cypresses, Beechers Memories, selections from Komitas Folk Songs and Sibelius String Quartet Op. 56. On Feb. 24 in keeping with the Blue Hill Concert Associations commitment to young people, the Aizuri Quartet will present an educational outreach for students at The Bay School and The Blue Hill Harbor School.

    During the concert intermission, landscape watercolors by local artist Paul Trowbridge will be on display and the featured institution will be Kneisel Hall, often called the cradle of chamber music.

    Tickets are $30, available at the door or online. Free admission for young people 21 and under. For more information visit bluehillconcertassociation.org or phone 207-367-2918.

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    Blue Hill Concert Association presents the Aizuri Quartet - Bangor Daily News

    Where 2020 candidates stand in Super Tuesday polls | TheHill – The Hill - February 15, 2020 by admin

    Democratic presidential contenders are heading to a critical stage of the primary race after Iowa and New Hampshire showed a sharply divided party that is undecided on who is best placed to face President TrumpDonald John TrumpChanges in policies, not personalities, will improve perception of corruption in the US Union leader: Bloomberg can go all the way Pelosi: 'I'm not counting Joe Biden out' MORE in November.

    Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWarren highlights work with Obama, Harry Reid in new Nevada ad Union leader: Bloomberg can go all the way Biden on Univision: Deporting 3 million 'was a big mistake' MORE (I-Vt.) and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegWill Bernie have to turn on his bros? Democratic rivals sharpen attacks as Bloomberg rises Now's a time to take a look at who's 'blooming' among Democrats MORE have emerged as the two leaders after strong showings in the Hawkeye and Granite states, but they face a much different electorate in the next contests in Nevada and South Carolina.

    While polls over the past few months have consistently shown former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenWarren highlights work with Obama, Harry Reid in new Nevada ad Biden on Univision: Deporting 3 million 'was a big mistake' Pelosi: 'I'm not counting Joe Biden out' MORE leading in South Carolina, and near the top in Nevada, much of the landscape has changed.

    The biggest prize, however, will come on Super Tuesday on March 3,when about a third of all pledged delegates will be allocated,with the potential to shake up the race.

    Here are what polls show in each of the 15 states and territories on Super Tuesday:

    Alabama:Theres a dearth of polling in Alabama by mainstream pollsters so far.

    Fifty-two pledged delegates are up for grabs in the Yellowhammer State.

    American Samoa:There have been no polls conducted for the American Samoa caucuses. The contest will allocate six pledged delegates

    Arkansas:Former New York City Mayor Michael BloombergMichael Rubens BloombergUnion leader: Bloomberg can go all the way Democratic rivals sharpen attacks as Bloomberg rises A Trump supporter's defense of Michael Bloomberg MORE, who skipped the four early contests to compete in Super Tuesday, has the narrowest of leads in the only poll conducted in Arkansas by Talk Business and PoliticsHendrix College Poll,which was released Tuesday. Bloomberg has a 1-point edge over Biden and leads Sanders and Buttigieg by just 4 points.

    Bloomberg is buoyed in the poll by a strong lead among seniors, while Biden has a double-digit edge among African Americans, setting up a clash of two traditional Democratic bases.

    Arkansas will allocate 31 pledged delegates in its primary.

    California:If Super Tuesday is the crown of the primary contest, then California is most certainly its jewel, with a whopping 415 pledged delegates at stake.

    The latest poll, which was conducted by the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies for the Los Angeles Timesin January, shows Sanders with a 6-point lead in California, ahead of Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren highlights work with Obama, Harry Reid in new Nevada ad Biden on Univision: Deporting 3 million 'was a big mistake' Democratic rivals sharpen attacks as Bloomberg rises MORE (Mass.).

    Colorado:Colorado also has not seen a lot of polls for its presidential primary, which will dole out 67 pledged delegates.

    Maine:Polling has also been scarce for the Pine Tree State, whose primary will award 24 pledged delegates.

    Massachusetts:Massachusetts will hand out 91 pledged delegates.

    The most recent poll by the firm Falchuk & DiNatale released by FiveThirtyEightin January shows Warren leading Biden by 7 points.

    Minnesota:No polls have been conductedthis yearin the Gopher State, which will allocate 75 pledged delegates.

    North Carolina:Atraditional general election swing state, North Carolina has seen more polling than other Super Tuesday battlegrounds.

    Biden had maintained a shrinking lead for months, but Sanders appeared to take over in a survey out Wednesday. A High Point University poll found that Sanders eclipsed Biden with 25 percent support from registered Democratic voters, compared with 19 percent for the former vice president in a new high point for the Vermont senator.

    North Carolinas primary will award 110 pledged delegates.

    Oklahoma:No recent polling has come out in a state that will hand out 37 pledged delegates.

    Tennessee:No recentpolls have been conducted in Tennessees primary. Sixty-four pledged delegates are up for grabs in the Volunteer State.

    Texas:Texas, which will grant the second-highest delegate haul of Super Tuesday, is expected to be hard-fought territory in March.

    Biden has led in the polls in the Lone Star State, opening up a 16-point lead in a January pollby the University of Texas at Tyler. However, Bloomberg has crept into third place in Texas after a multimillion dollar ad blitz to gain ground there.

    Texas will allocate 228 pledged delegates on Super Tuesday.

    Utah:Only one poll has been conducted in Utah, where 29 pledged delegates are at stake. A Suffolk University-Salt Lake Tribune survey from January found Sanders with a 13-point lead in the state.

    Vermont:No Democratic primary polls have been conducted in Vermont, where 16 pledged delegates are up for grabs.

    Virginia:Biden has held double-digit leads in the small handful of polls that have been conducted in Virginia. The traditionally more moderate state shouldbe friendly territory for the former vice president, though no polls have been conducted in Old Dominion since September.

    Virginias primary will allocate 99 pledged delegates.

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    Where 2020 candidates stand in Super Tuesday polls | TheHill - The Hill

    States sue Trump administration at record pace | TheHill – The Hill - February 15, 2020 by admin

    State attorneys general have filed an unprecedented number of lawsuits against the Trump administration, as Democratic-led states exercise new levers of power to block some of President TrumpDonald John TrumpChanges in policies, not personalities, will improve perception of corruption in the US Union leader: Bloomberg can go all the way Pelosi: 'I'm not counting Joe Biden out' MOREs most controversial initiatives.

    States have formed coalitions to file 103 multi-state suits against the administration in its first three years, according to data compiled by Paul Nolette, a political scientist at Marquette University. The vast majority of those suits, 96, have been led by Democratic attorneys general.

    By contrast, states filed 78 multi-state suits in the eight years ofPresident Obamas administration, and 76 multi-state suits during President George W. Bushs eight years in office. Democratic attorneys general sued Trump 40 times in his first year in office alone, more lawsuits than have ever been filed against an administration in a single year.

    Every time this guy breaks the law, we take him to court, said Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraStates sue Trump administration at record pace California has a privacy law, but will companies comply? Judge approves merger between T-Mobile, Sprint MORE (D), Californias attorney general who has led 31 suits and been party to 25 others. Joining with other states to file suit adds strength, it certainly adds value, and it shows unity. It demonstrates that the unlawful action that the Trump administration is looking to take impacts more than just one state.

    The attorneys general have sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) more than any other agency in government. All told, the EPA has faced 31 lawsuits over proposals to roll back Obama-era environmental laws or to implement new rules. States have sued the Department of Health and Human Services and the Interior Department about a dozen times each.

    Nolette said the new pattern of multi-state legal actions are part of a trend that began during the Obama administration, when Republican-led states began suing at a faster clip. The Obama administration was sued 53 times during his second term in office, twice as many suits as during his first term.

    It has much less to do with the Trump administration itself than it does with the attorneys general and how theyve realized how effective their lawsuits are and how many incentives they have to bring these lawsuits in the first place, Nolette said. This is a more permanent part of the landscape now.

    The Republican-led suits revolved around what the party saw as Obamas excessive reliance on executive orders once the GOP took control of Congress. Ken Paxton (R), Texass attorney general, said there is a big difference between the suits he joined against the Obama administration and the ones Democrats are filing against the Trump team.

    These lawsuits against the Trump administration are just an attempt to implement policies through the courts that voters have rejected at the ballot box, Paxton said. The lawsuits attorneys general had to file against the Obama administration were about preserving our constitution and defending the rule of law, while these suits against the Trump administration are based on nothing more than policy disagreements and political posturing.

    But the courts disagree. Democratic attorneys general have won 80 percent of the cases that have come to a conclusion, Nolette found, while about a third are still pending before judges at various levels. By contrast, Republicans were successful in about 60 percent of their suits against the Obama administration.

    Thats a very high success rate, much higher than most litigants, actually. Even if they ultimately lose, theres a real benefit to the lawsuit, Nolette said. Theres pretty much all upside and not much downside to bringing these suits.

    Even in cases the Trump administration wins, the lawsuits can move policy. A suit challenging the constitutionality of Trumps travel ban delayed implementation for years and rallied the Democratic base. The Trump administration had to revise the travel ban before the Supreme Court ultimately allowed it to go into effect.

    Observers expect a new normal, regardless of whether President Trump wins a second term in November. Bruce Mehlman, a lobbyist in Washington, said the lawsuits are a function of what is becoming a much broader political fight that extends beyond the Beltway.

    This is broader than the Trump era. This reflects an age of empowerment where everybody from activists to CEOs to mayors to attorneys general feel empowered to drive policy, block things they dont like and champion their own priorities, Mehlman said. Its yet one more arena for policy advocates. Twenty years ago, the fight was in Washington. Today, the fight is in Washington, state capitals, agencies implementing the laws and the courts.

    The Democratic attorneys general have built something of a relationship in recent years, coordinating efforts on conference calls and at the staff level.

    Weve established pretty strong relationships with many of our attorney colleagues, because theyve worked together so much, Becerra said in an interview. Usually, we find partners who are interested in working on the same issue.

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    States sue Trump administration at record pace | TheHill - The Hill

    Three Senate primaries to watch on Super Tuesday | TheHill – The Hill - February 15, 2020 by admin

    With more than a third of all pledged delegates up for grabs on Super Tuesday, the race for the Democratic presidential nomination is sure to steal the spotlight during the March 3 primaries.

    But in Alabama, North Carolina and Texas, there are a handful of nominating contests that will be crucial to determining control of the Senate.

    Here are the Senate primaries to watch on Super Tuesday:

    Alabamas Republican primary

    More than half a dozen Republicans are vying for their partys nomination to take on Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) in November, but leading the pack is former Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsBarr back on the hot seat McCabe: 'I don't think I will ever be free of this president and his maniacal rage' DOJ won't charge former FBI Deputy Director McCabe MORE, whos looking to take his seat back after it flipped for Jones in 2017.

    Former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville and Rep. Bradley ByrneBradley Roberts ByrneThe Hill's Campaign Report: Rising Klobuchar, Buttigieg face test in diverse states Sessions in close race for Alabama GOP Senate nomination: poll Three Senate primaries to watch on Super Tuesday MORE (R-Ala.) present perhaps the most significant primary challenge to Sessions, who was forced out as attorney general in 2018 amid simmering tensions with President TrumpDonald John TrumpChanges in policies, not personalities, will improve perception of corruption in the US Union leader: Bloomberg can go all the way Pelosi: 'I'm not counting Joe Biden out' MORE over his decision to recuse himself from the investigation into Russias efforts to interfere in the 2016 election. And the race was thrown a curveball last summer when Roy MooreRoy Stewart MooreThe Hill's Campaign Report: Rising Klobuchar, Buttigieg face test in diverse states Sessions in close race for Alabama GOP Senate nomination: poll Three Senate primaries to watch on Super Tuesday MORE, the former state Supreme Court chief justice, jumped into the race.

    Moore was the Republican nominee in the 2017 special election to replace Sessions. But his campaign was handed a loss after allegations emerged that he had sexually assaulted and pursued romantic relationships with teenage girls decades ago, when he was in his 30s.

    The eventual nominee will go on to challenge Jones in the November general election. The Alabama Democrat is widely considered to be the most vulnerable senator up for reelection this year, and a challenge from a well-funded, well-known Republican like Sessions could sound a death knell for Joness Senate career.

    For now, there is evidence that the GOP primary could be a tight one. Internal polling from Byrnes campaign released on Tuesday shows a closer race than previously thought. Sessions led the pack at 31 percent, while Byrne and Tuberville were locked in a statistical tie, taking 26 percent and 24 percent support, respectively.

    North Carolinas Democratic primary

    The Democratic Senate primary in North Carolina has largely unfolded as a two-way race between former state Sen. Cal Cunningham and state Sen. Erica Smith.

    Cunningham has the backing of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) and has repeatedly outraised his opponents, raking in more than $1.6 million in the last three months of 2019. Smith, by comparison, raised just under $80,000.

    But Cunninghams fundraising advantage and institutional backing hasnt translated into an outsize lead in the polls. What little public polling there is in the primary shows a tight race between the two.

    One Fox News survey released in November showed Smith leading her top rival 18 percent to 13 percent. Trevor Fuller, a former chairman of the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners, received 10 percent support in that poll.

    More recent surveys from the left-leaning Public Policy Polling, however, show Cunningham with a widening lead. One poll from thefirm in January put him ahead of Smith by a 10-point margin, and another one released last week showed him ahead by nearly 20 points.

    Adding to the intrigue of the race is the involvement of Faith and Power PAC, an outside group with apparent ties to Republicans that is spending upwards of $1 million on advertisements supportive of Smiths Senate bid.

    Whoever emerges victorious from the March 3 primary will take on Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisTrump pick for Fed seat takes bipartisan fire Three Senate primaries to watch on Super Tuesday Coronavirus poses risks for Trump in 2020 MORE (R-N.C.) in November. Tillis, like Jones, is among the most vulnerable senators facing reelection in 2020. He narrowly avoided a primary challenge of his own late last year when his chief challenger, businessman Garland Tucker, dropped out of the race amid financial strains.

    Tillis has the backing of President Trump and may benefit from high Republican turnout in the general election. But Democrats have grown optimistic in North Carolina, as demographic changes and an influx of new residents from out of state have put the Tar Heel State in play.

    Texass Democratic primary

    Former Rep. Beto ORourke (D-Texas) brought Democrats closer than theyve been in years to picking up a Senate seat in Texas in 2018, when he narrowly lost to Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCruz 'impresses' his daughter with Chris Evans meeting Three Senate primaries to watch on Super Tuesday The advantage of paying for medical care directly MORE (R-Texas). Now, a dozen candidates, encouraged by ORourkes performance, are hoping to seize on the states changing political landscape and electoral clout to oust Sen. John CornynJohn CornynBooker, Cornyn introduce bill to fund school nutrition programs Three Senate primaries to watch on Super Tuesday Democrats seek to drive wedge between Trump, GOP on whistleblowers MORE (R-Texas).

    Among the top contenders for the Democratic Senate nomination are MJ Hegar, state Sen. Royce West and Annie Garcia, according to a recent Dallas Morning NewsUniversity of Texas at Tyler poll. But no candidate has managed to break away from the rest of the pack, and other candidates, like Cristina Tzintzn Ramirez, have stepped up their efforts in recent weeks.

    Hegar, perhaps the most high-profile candidate in the race, has run a campaign geared more toward the general election against Cornyn. She has significantly outraised her rivals, bringing in nearly $1.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, and has the endorsement of the DSCC.

    But Hegar was snubbed this week by The Dallas Morning Newss editorial board, which threw its recommendation behind West and former Houston City Council member Amanda Edwards.

    Cornyn, however, may prove difficult for Democrats to take down in November. The three-term incumbent has a massive financial advantage over his potential Democratic challengers, raking in roughly $2.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2019 and finishing the year with more than $12.1 million in the bank.

    But Democrats say that, unlike Cruz, few Texans know who Cornyn is, giving them a potential opening this year. A University of TexasTexas Tribune poll released in November showed Cornyn with a 35 percent approval rating. Nearly a third of respondents 31 percent said they either had a neutral opinion of the senator or no opinion at all.

    --Updated at 10:40 a.m.

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    Three Senate primaries to watch on Super Tuesday | TheHill - The Hill

    Ancient Native American burial site blasted for Trump border wall construction – NBC News - February 15, 2020 by admin

    Red-lettered signs warning of "BLASTING" began appearing over the past week at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, a remote desert region in southwestern Arizona bordered by Mexico to the south and a Native American reservation to the east.

    Crews have been blasting the hillside while excavators and backhoes clear a path for the towering sections of border wall fast-tracked by the Trump administration a pace that has environmental groups worried that sacred burial sites and ancestral lands are at risk of being irreversibly harmed.

    Since 1976, the 516-square-mile park home to more than two dozen unique species of cactus and countless varieties of wildlife has been recognized as a UNESCO ecological preserve worth conserving.

    Download the NBC News app for breaking news

    "This is a new low even for the Trump administration," said Laiken Jordahl, a borderlands campaigner for the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity in Arizona who has been documenting the altered landscape.

    "They're moving forward with complete disregard of sacred sites and indigenous sovereignty," Jordahl said Wednesday.

    The controlled blasting, which has taken place in a section of the park known as Monument Hill, is expected to continue intermittently through the end of February, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement. The agency added that it will "continue to have an environmental monitor present during these activities as well as on-going clearing activities." The start of the blasting was first reported by The Intercept.

    With this latest spurt in construction, Jordahl and others say they're concerned by how the federal government has gone about building the wall without any consultation with the Tohono O'odham Nation, a federally recognized tribe that has land and members on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.

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    The Trump administration has used federal waivers, including bypassing the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, to push the project ahead.

    Jordahl said that despite lawsuits to halt the actions, the process involving Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument has been made easier precisely because the area is federally controlled land.

    "It's such a sensitive area environmentally, and it's heartbreaking to see that what's happening is because the government controls it because it's so fragile," he said. "It's become a true desecration of indigenous land."

    Since August, crews have been replacing fencing with a steel bollard wall design.

    Rep. Ral Grijalva, D-Ariz., whose district includes the tribe's reservation, toured the area last month and highlighted in a video tweeted Sunday that Monument Hill is a resting place for Apache warriors who once did battle with members of the Tohono O'odham Nation. In addition, activists have shared images on social media of ancient saguaro cacti, many hundreds of years old, either sawed in half or flattened.

    Bulldozing is also occurring at the park's Quitobaquito Springs, a natural source of water for the tribe near where artifacts and human bone fragments have been found, Grijalva said.

    "The Trump Administration is bulldozing through sacred sites to act on a campaign talking point, no matter the cost to the people of Southern Arizona," he told NBC News in a statement. "This destruction of the cultural heritage of the Tohono O'odham people for the purpose of building a monument to his racist policies is irreparable."

    Grijalva said he is working with the Tohono O'odham Nation to demand that the Department of Homeland Security "stop this assault on sacred sites."

    The agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    The federal waivers it requested last year were vague in describing the locations for the border wall project and how many miles were needed, according to The Associated Press, although the Center for Biological Diversity estimated that the plans include 100 miles in Arizona and California along the southern border.

    The wall's construction has become a central theme of President Donald Trump's immigration policy. During his State of the Union speech last week, he said more than 500 miles of barriers would be up by early next year.

    His pledge hasn't come without a fight from property owners opposed to surrendering their lands to the federal government.

    Last fall, the administration began a new approach preparing to go through federal courts for permission to take over private lands. The move followed Trump's declaration a year ago of a national emergency along the border, a controversial executive action to free up billions of dollars to fund new border wall projects.

    Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, which borders Mexico for 30 miles, is among the places that have come under scrutiny.

    The park was once considered one of the most dangerous in the U.S., favored by drug smugglers, officials said. In 2002, a park ranger was fatally shot while trying to apprehend two people who were crossing illegally. But with the number of illegal crossings down in recent years, a part of the park that was once closed to the public was reopened in 2015.

    The Tohono O'odham Nation says it is troubled over the future of other sacred sites along the border, including at Las Playas, where a roadway could be built near known ancestral burial grounds harboring artifacts dating back 10,000 years.

    Ned Norris Jr., the chairman of the Tohono O'odham Nation, told The Arizona Republic of Phoenix in January that he wants "buffer zones" around those sensitive areas.

    "How would you feel if someone brought a bulldozer to your family graveyard and started uprooting the graves there?" he asked. "That is the relationship, the significance, that is the impact that we see happening here in that way."

    Erik Ortiz is a staff writer forNBC News focusing on racial injustice and social inequality.

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    Ancient Native American burial site blasted for Trump border wall construction - NBC News

    Witness to Kobe Bryant crash shares video and grief – The Hill - February 15, 2020 by admin

    For Mike Dyer, a pleasant Sunday morning bike ride with friends through the Calabasas hillside ended in a nightmare.

    The group saw a helicopter pass overhead and remarked to each other that it seemed to be flying too low and too fast through the low clouds that obscured the landscape. Then they heard the thud and sawa column of smoke rising in the mist.

    Dyer, who just released video he took of the accident, said he only learned who the victims were when he left the trail.

    I was more or less scatter brained, and we kept talking about what we saw, he told Bike Magazine. It didnt hit me until I got to the parking lot. There was a reporter in the lot gathering equipment who asked us if we were at the scene.

    He interviewed me and filmed me, and mid-interview, he dropped the bomb and told me that Kobe Bryant was on that helicopter. My first question was whether there were any children or families on board. He nodded, and thats when I lost it. I had to drive home. All I knew was that I wanted to go hug my 6-year-old son and my wife and tell them I loved them.

    Health experts say witnesses to tragedy, such as Dyer, often suffer the consequences of post traumatic stress trouble sleeping, obsessive thoughts and fluctuating emotions, including shock, helplessness, fear and anger. Witnesses may even feel guilt that they survived when they have witnessed the death of another, even a stranger.

    Even people far from the site of tragedy may be stressed when theyview images online, especially if they see repeated images of the same event. Experts say people who find their emotions getting out of control should limit exposure to images or sounds that could be triggers. Thats something Dyer can understand.

    Taking it day by day, he told the magazine when asked how he was coping. Today, I was in the yard and heard helicopters flying over. Every time, I look up. I cant turn on the TV. Sam [his biking companion] and I talk a lot about it. My brains kind of noodled on the whole thing. For me, its not so much the Kobe Bryant story, but the collective loss of lifethe tragedy of losing children and parents.

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    Witness to Kobe Bryant crash shares video and grief - The Hill

    Capitol Beat: The ‘hack’ and the ‘communist’ duke it out – Barre Montpelier Times Argus - February 15, 2020 by admin

    According to The Hill, two well-known political veterans got into it quite the spat this week.

    A bombastic James Carville fired back at Sen. Bernie Sanders for calling him a political hack, calling the self-described democratic socialist a communist, according to The Hill.

    The back and forth follows a week in which Carville has repeatedly sounded the alarm about a potential Sanders match-up against President Trump in November, calling the scenario the end of days for the Democratic Party while referring to Sanders supporters as a cult.

    Sanders, an independent running as a democrat, returned fire during an interview with CNNs Anderson Cooper, arguing that political hack Carville represents the establishment his campaign is running against, The Hill noted.

    James, in all due respect, is a political hack, Sanders told Cooper. We are taking on Trump, the Republican establishment, Carville and the Democratic establishment. But at the end of the day, the grass-roots movement that we are putting together of young people, of working people, of people of color want real change.

    Carville, who worked as a campaign strategist for former President Bill Clinton, escalated the feud Thursday on Snapchat with former CNN reporter Peter Hamby, The Hill reported.

    Last night on CNN, Bernie Sanders called me a political hack, Carville said. Thats exactly who the f- I am! I am a political hack! I am not an ideologue. I am not a purist. He thinks its a pejorative. I kind of like it! At least Im not a communist.

    Trump also recently referred to Sanders as a communist.

    Sanders has repeatedly pointed out: He is not a communist.

    Sanders campaign yesterday announced that Sen. Patrick Leahy and Rep. Peter Welch will serve as Vermont state co-chairmen as the campaign charges toward the March 3 primary.

    The Vermont state co-chairmen were announced as part of a national Bernie 2020 rollout of more than 50 co-leaders nationwide following Sanders victory in New Hampshire on Tuesday.

    Leahy and Welch have endorsed Sanders, obviously.

    Since the campaign launched, Vermont volunteers have already hosted nearly 130 events across the state, including barnstorms, phone banks and canvasses, according to his campaign.

    The states leading government reform group, VPIRG, has called on legislators to establish a Code of Ethics in state law and make it enforceable by an independent Ethics Commission.

    Earlier this year, the Vermont Public Interest Research Group criticized the lack of authority given the current Ethics Commission, and the commissions efforts to conceal some of its earlier work from the public.

    The Senate Government Operations Committee unanimously passed a bill to put in motion a plan to strengthen the states approach to ethics.

    Its a painfully slow process but it looks like legislative leaders are finally on a path toward improving our anemic state ethics program, said Paul Burns, executive director of VPIRG.

    Earlier this week, Vermonts six statewide elected officials sent a letter to the Chairs of the Senate and House Committees on Government Operations, urging them to continue working this session toward a Code of Ethics for public servants that is backed by the force of law. The statewide officials, including Gov. Phil Scott, noted that putting the Code of Ethics in Vermont law would provide public servants with direction and clarity on numerous issues they regularly face.

    However, according to VPIRG, on Jan. 28, the Department of Human Resources informed the director of the State Ethics Commission that it had determined that no further action is warranted or necessary in response to a formal complaint lodged by VPIRG late last year.

    The complaint by VPIRG alleged that the Republican governor has a conflict of interest because he has an ongoing financial interest in DuBois Construction that contracts with the state, and as governor, he is the chief executive of the state.

    It is outrageous that a department of the Scott administration can dismiss without consideration a complaint alleging ethical conflicts by (the governor), said Burns. Im afraid what we have now is an administrative cover-up of a clear conflict of interest that had already been identified by the State Ethics Commission.

    The states Agency of Agriculture sent out a Valentine to the state on Friday, reminding all Vermonters to spread the love for Vermonts farmers.

    A time for us to express our love and appreciation for the people who brighten our lives. We got to thinking about how much happiness Vermont farmers bring to us, the post read.

    The list isnt off-base:

    Farmers produce the milk that makes Vermonts award-winning cheeses, butter, ice cream and yogurt.

    Farmers open their land to recreation including snowmobiling, hiking and hunting.

    Farmers provide us with fresh produce every day of the year.

    Farmers make sure we never run out of maple creemees.

    Farmers produce some of sweetest things in life Vermont maple and honey.

    Farmers keep us warm with wool and fiber.

    Farmers grow the grains for our bread and award-winning brews.

    Farmers fill our freezers with meat.

    Farmers grow the grapes for Vermonts wines.

    Farmers make our fairs and field days fun.

    Farmers open their farms and homes to visitors.

    Farmers teach us to work hard and volunteer.

    Farmers will pull you out of ditch when you get stuck.

    Farmers remind us to pause and embrace the simple things in life.

    We assume there are 14 because Valentines Day is on the fourteenth of the month? Or one reason per county? That would be Vermont Love.

    What do Vermonters think about the coming election? What are the key issues on their minds?

    For the third consecutive year, Vermont PBS and VPR are collaborating on three statewide public opinion surveys that will provide valuable insight into the minds of Vermonters in the 2020 presidential election year.

    The results of the first poll will be released on Feb. 18, two weeks ahead of Town Meeting Day, Vermonts presidential primary and Super Tuesday, when 14 states and approximately one-third of the countrys voters participate in presidential primaries.

    The polls are being conducted by Braun Research under the direction of Rich Clark, professor of political science at Castleton University and the former director of the Castleton Polling Institute.

    Vermont PBS and VPR will publish the full results, methodology and appendices at a joint website, which will be available via VPR.org.

    VPRs Morning Edition will explore the poll results with Clark in a live broadcast from Red Hen Bakery & Cafe in Middlesex that morning from 6:30-9 a.m. Additionally, VPR and Vermont PBS will provide extensive broadcast and digital coverage and analysis of the polling results throughout the week.

    Two additional polls are scheduled for summer and fall.

    This week, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets recognized seven Vermont school communities and two early child care organizations with important grants to support their local food programming.

    The Vermont Farm to School and Childcare Grant Program strives to improve the education and health of Vermonts students, and positively impact the local economy, by providing Vermont schools and childcare programs with technical and financial assistance to develop and execute farm to school and farm to child care programs. These programs integrate fresh, healthy, locally grown foods and nutrition education into Vermonts cafeterias, classrooms and communities.

    The programs are: Grafton and Westminster schools ($15,000); Shrewsbury Mountain School ($15,000); Williamstown schools ($15,000); Braintree elementary ($15,000); Northshire Day School in Bennington ($15,000); Stockbridge and Rochesters schools ($20,000); and Northeast Kingdom Community Action Head Start ($15,000).

    Clean Economy Act offered

    This week the Clean Economy Act of 2020 was introduced in Congress.

    Leahy joined Sen. Tom Carper, a Delaware Democrat, and other U.S. senators in introducing the the bill aimed at empowering the Environmental Protection Agency to set a national goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by no later than 2050.

    The bill would also promote American competitiveness and healthier communities, while fostering a fair and growing economy.

    The EPA net-zero by 2050 plan prioritizes infrastructure investments that are more resilient to a changing climate. Additionally, the EPA plans to build up existing state, local and private sector climate programs. While doing so, this act addresses the cumulative environmental effects in economically distressed communities, communities of color and indigenous communities.

    Vermont Conservation Voters presented its Environmental Rising Star Award to Sen. Andrew Perchlik, of Washington County District, and two other first-term legislators who have become leaders on environmental issues: Rep. Kathleen James, of Manchester Center, and Rep. Mari Cordes, of Lincoln.

    The awards were presented at VCVs 2020 Environmental Common Agenda Reception at the State House last week, where VCV revealed its guide to this years top legislative priorities for the environment.

    According to the VCV news release, Perchlik has a long history of environmental leadership, working at several small nonprofit environmental and community service organizations before getting a job focused on clean energy policy at the Vermont Public Service Department. His work at the PSD included coordinating renewable energy business leaders in the creation of Renewable Energy Vermont. He was REVs executive director for its first 10 years.

    In 2010 he became the director of the restructured Vermont Clean Energy Development Fund, managing several programs that helped build the strong clean energy industry sector Vermont enjoys today.

    Get ready to be counted. Between March 12-20, invitations to participate in the 2020 Census will start arriving to Vermont households and across the country.

    This invitation will include instructions on how to respond to the 2020 Census online or by phone. By April 1, most households will have received an invitation delivered either by mail or by a census taker. In areas of the country that are less likely to respond online, a paper questionnaire will be included in the initial mailing to households. Reminder mailings will be sent to households that do not respond, and in the fourth mailing every household that has not yet responded will receive a paper questionnaire.

    March 12-20: Initial invitations to respond online and by phone will be delivered by the U.S. Postal Service. Areas that are less likely to respond online will receive a paper questionnaire along with the invitation to respond online or over the phone.

    March 16-24: Reminder letters will be delivered.

    March 26-April 3: Reminder postcards will be delivered to households that have not responded.

    April 8-16: Reminder letters and paper questionnaires will be delivered to remaining households that have not responded.

    April 20-27: Final reminder postcards will be delivered to households that have not yet responded before census takers follow up in person.

    May 13-July 31: If a household does not respond to any of the invitations, a census taker will follow up in person.

    To learn more about the Census in Vermont, watch this weeks Into the Issues with Editor Steven Pappas. His guest is Vermont Census coordinator Eloise Reid. It can be viewed at https://youtu.be/ouNne7P5R00

    Leahy and University of Vermont officials this week announced new federal funding for research on the regions forest ecosystem and economy. The Northeastern States Research Cooperative, first created by Leahy in the 1998 Farm Bill, received $2 million in the fiscal year 2020 appropriations bill for research on the Northern Forest and its 26 million acres of working landscape.

    Leahy said: The forest-based economy has underpinned rural communities in Vermont and across the region for generations. But securing its future requires sustained investments in ecosystem health, sustainable management and innovative products. Im proud to have authored the legislation to create this initiative and to have been able to secure funding to continue its critical research in 2020. The future of our landscape depends on it.

    Link:
    Capitol Beat: The 'hack' and the 'communist' duke it out - Barre Montpelier Times Argus

    Arnside and Silverdale: A landscape on par with the Lake District in its beauty and significance – Country Life - February 15, 2020 by admin

    People often miss the delightful landscape of Arnside and Silverdale as they hare off to the Lake District.

    Small and perfect are words often used about the landscape lying immediately to the south of the Lake District. It tends to be bypassed by people belting up the M6 to join the queues of traffic into Windermere and Ambleside, but it was designated as an Area of Out-standing Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1972, which makes it equal to the Lakes and other national parks in its beauty and significance.

    My work as a member of the Glover Review has reawakened my engagement with AONBs and the marvellous work their overseers do, often on a shoestring.

    Arnside and Silverdale is a landscape of many treasures. Largely underlain by limestone, culminating in Arnside Knott with its splendid views over Morecambe Bay and the Lakes, its a place of immense beauty and diversity, which abounds in woodlands, meadows, reed beds and limestone pavements, not to mention spectacular coastal scenery. Its intimate and enticing: a short walk has as much variety as many a day-long hike elsewhere.

    Our walk, however, is long and beautiful, from the village of Yealand in the east, through the RSPBs Leighton Moss reserve, around magical and remote reed-fringed Hawes Water and through woods up the hill to Arnside Knott. From there, well traverse back via Silverdale and the coast, then across deeply wooded country to Yealand.

    We step out in thick mist, but love the characterful parkland landscape around Leighton Hall, with glimpses of woodland beyond. Even in January, Leighton Moss is teeming with visitors and we watch cormorants drying their wings fruitlessly in the damp air. We enter the mysterious Trowbarrow nature reserve, an abandoned quarry rapidly being reclaimed by Nature; we wish it was June, as we read descriptions of the rare orchids and butterflies were missing.

    Next stop is Hawes Water, a mysterious, low-lying marl lake, where, once again, we are told of riches, bitterns and ladys slipper orchid, that can be seen when the time is right. We enjoy our swing around the lake and progress to Waterslack and into Eaves Wood in high spirits.

    Here, a track circumnavigates the hill on which the famous Pepperpot stands and we follow it, keen to reach Arnside Knott with its promised glorious views. A sharp pull up the hill and were there, but the mist is stubborn and all we can see is a panorama board telling us what should be visible.

    Disappointed, but not daunted, we clatter back down the hill and follow the path to the coast, where we are captivated by a new phenomenon: wonderful coastal formations lit by weak sunshine trying to break through the clouds. The soft, ethereal light bathes the coast in beauty and warms our hearts as we cross the meadows to Silverdale.

    A short diversion takes us to Gibraltar Farm, which sells fresh milk, eggs and other local delights, and Lindeth Tower, a Victorian folly where Elizabeth Gaskell wrote her little-known, but excellent novel Ruth.

    Resuming our walk, we cross the saltmarshes downstream from Leighton Moss, walking on an old sea wall as the light fades atmospherically around us. Reaching Crag Foot, we have only one more limestone ridge to cross and, as if to celebrate, a murmuration of starlings swirls around us. We pick our way across the wooded landscape, reaching Yealand as darkness descends.

    Weve walked 12 miles, each with much to admire, used well-waymarked footpaths and seen a great deal of evidence (including many National Trust signs) that this is a loved and looked-after landscape.

    I am full of praise for the small team, led by Lucy Barron, that cares for this place so well, but Im also full of desire to see the Glover Review implemented to give special landscapes such as this a stronger, more secure role in the serious task of Nature recovery and giving everyone a much-needed shot of beauty.

    Fiona Reynolds is Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge and author of The Fight for Beauty.

    See more here:
    Arnside and Silverdale: A landscape on par with the Lake District in its beauty and significance - Country Life

    More Characters May Be Revealed as Skrulls in Disguise in the MCU: ‘Captain Marvel 2’ and Beyond – Showbiz Cheat Sheet - February 15, 2020 by admin

    At the end of Spider-Man: Far From Home spoiler warning for the semi-fans (at best) who have yet to see the final Phase 3 installment the end-credits scene leaves MCU fans flabbergasted.And with Captain Marvel 2 coming (likely as part of phase 5), the Skrull surprises may be just beginning.

    At the end of Far From Home, both Maria Hill and Nick Fury the two characters you trusted for the entirety of the narrative turn out to be Skrulls in disguise, leaving the MCU primed to manifest quite the complex and deceit-based landscape moving forward. Thus, these may not be the only two characters who wind up revealed as Skrulls. With the shape-shifters taking part in future phases, anything remains possible.

    Recent news suggests that Marvel may employ this trick again; however, while the characters partaking may be left in the dark, the audience may be in on the secret next time around. So, what do we know, and who in the MCU may turn out to be a Skrull in disguise?

    According to We Got This Covered (WGTC), Marvel reportedly wants to make Deadpool a Skrull when they bring the characters into the existing world of the Avengers. The outlet suggests relying on the same sources who knew Taskmaster would be the villain in Black Widow and that Aladdin 2 was in development prior to the announcements that the Merc with a Mouth could show up as a Skrull in Captain Marvel 2.

    The source goes onto note that one of the most significant plot elements to come from Captain Marvel 2 will be the reveal that several existing characters are actually Skrulls pretending to be the heroes fans have come to know and love. And, one of those so-called heroes (if he fits under such an umbrella term) will be Deadpool. As of now, Marvel Studios is allegedly considering introducing Deadpool in this manner, before introducing the real Merc once the threat has been handled.

    WGTC even goes on to explain why such an introduction could work, as Deadpool could later poke fun at the case of mistaken identity using his alien appearance as a way to mock the MCU (and its associated heroes) for their inability to see through a fake. What could be more Deadpool-esque?

    If Captain Marvel 2 runs with this Skrull narrative, it could be the basis for a widescale invasion, leading to multiple fake heroes, and the possibilities remain endless. New Avengers may join the landscape, only for a Skrull to copycat their existence down the line.

    According to WGTC, Carol Danvers (and whoever helps her in her next standalone installment) will realize theyre battling an enemy, and the real Deadpool (and presumably other characters taken on by Skrulls ) will come to the surface towards the end of the Captain Marvel installment. However, if the Skrulls manage a widescale takeover, its possible that they are the basis of future mash-ups, stealing identities left and right as the MCU progresses through Phase 5 and beyond.

    Read the original:
    More Characters May Be Revealed as Skrulls in Disguise in the MCU: 'Captain Marvel 2' and Beyond - Showbiz Cheat Sheet

    Sponsored: Tree Pros Hired to Preserve and Recycle Trees at Glen Lennox – Chapelboro.com - February 15, 2020 by admin

    When Grubb Properties of Charlotte gained the approval from the Chapel Hill Town Council to begin the development of Glen Lennox, Clay Grubb hired Dan McMains, owner of JD Tree Pros, a company that was already working to preserve and maintain the landscape of the iconic, 50-year-old community.

    What do I think of growth? McMains said recently. What did I think when they were building those houses beside our farm in Apex? What did I see? I saw my woods turned into a housing development. Did I have a problem with it?

    At first I did. And then when my daughter grew up and moved out of my home, she moved into one of those houses and I thought to myself, well, she loves Apex. She wants to be here. Anybody that lived in Glen Lennox, for any part of their life, I bet you today would say, yeah, that place really does need to come down and be rebuilt.

    I mean there has to be a lifespan of all things, but when someone says something to me about growth or changes, I ask how small of a footprint will we make with how big of an impact on the way we change it.

    McMains already knew the Grubb Properties goals when he agreed to take on the task of removing, reclaiming and saving the hundreds of trees on the property.

    Weve worked for Grubb over the years because theres been scenarios where Grubb Properties really wanted to know is this doable? Is it salvageable? McMains said. Can we really make something happen? Because you can put so much money into saving the tree when you are better off to remove it and come back with species and specimens that you know are going to be able to adapt to what youre doing.

    First of all, is it safe enough for pedestrians and people who are going to be around old trees. Think about how inviting that area is now to walk around. You dont see certain specimens where theres such foot traffic. But they were so real with how they approached a job that if it was doable, lets do it. And they trusted me and I trusted them that they would do it that way.

    McMains has worked on many projects where the owners insisted certain trees remain, with little long-range benefit.

    The prime example was that great huge, beautiful tree over at Carey Towne Center, McMains said It was up on this big hill and they basically rerouted the parking lot. And the way they put the food courts and all those things in there to save this one tree, they put a huge 30-foot retaining wall to get a road around it. Two years later, it got struck by lightning. A few years later it got struck by lightning again.

    So, the reality of it is good in theory, but realistically youre talking about a tree that was at the end of its lifespan. Why not take it down and preserve the area and make it a green space that we can really enjoy plant specimens that are going to be long term and teachable and, by God, use something that will give back, like the American chestnuts that are giving you food that you can eat from this tree thats coming up out of the ground. So thats just where Im at with it.

    McMains knew there would be a lot of tree work at Glen Lennox with many options and opportunities.

    I was working with the same home-owners association there and was familiar with what was taking place on the property, he said. I knew a lot of the trees. And then when Grubb reached out and said, Hey, were doing this in multiple phases. I was like, Thats great. Whats your plan?

    It was the way they wanted to approach it. They were looking for ways of recycling or re-using this wood and thats where Carolina Urban Recycling in Charlotte came in. They were ready to drop these trees in certain places that can jeopardize fracturing the wood and breaking it to when you do go to mill it, the wood would just fall apart because the canopies were all taken off before they were cut down.

    I liked how they were picking out pieces that they knew would hold the carbon inside for decades or good grade wood. And when they were talking about what they were doing with rest of it, how willing they were to work with UNC and recycling every bit of it.

    I was like, okay, so were taking something that before could have potentially been upwards of 60 to 70 percent going into a landfill to now recycling all these boards. All this wood has been incorporated back into recycling, plus all the by-product from the root systems and the brush and all.

    McMains reviewed their original plan and suggested what could be done and what would not benefit the neighborhood in the long run.

    Some of the trees they wanted to keep with all the utilities, all the things that were going to happen in that area. And Im like, this is not gonna work. Youre gonna end up stressing and killing these trees.

    And then when you do, theyre going to be harvested in a way that its beyond potentially re-using the wood because of worms or whatever the case may be, like fungal.

    So, lets look at the differences of doing that now, knowing that its going to happen, and lets be real with it. And thats when we went to the church next door and talked to them specifically about saving these large oaks that were right there. And then a couple other items where they were willing to spend a little more money on doing it.

    McMains said he pushed back on the original grading contract to clear and bulldoze trees so the cranes could come in to build the parking deck.

    I said, absolutely not! Not if youre keeping that tree and this tree and youre removing this one here for unknown reasons, maybe for sidewalks or whatever the purpose may be; utilities were majority of it. You cant just push that up and tear up all that ground and tear these root systems out.

    So they put a hold on that part of the work until we figured out a better way of doing it. Those were the things I love that they didnt just say, that sounds good but were not doing that because its going to cost a little more. Its going to take a little more time. Clay Grubb was more interested in preserving it the best way possible. And they did it.

    The way he wanted it done, with our cranes, and the way we can remove trees, were not going to be damaging other trees or even infrastructures of the tree because, you know, a lot of people just see the tree. They dont realize whats underground. Its just as important if not more important.

    We talked about the layers of mulch to put over all the trees that were being preserved. They went thick enough on it that we werent compacting all that soil. So thats one of the reasons were moving our company closer to Chapel Hill because I like the way people want to save trees and the ones that need to be removed. Were doing it without destroying the rest of environment. Thats pretty significant to me.

    Related

    See original here:
    Sponsored: Tree Pros Hired to Preserve and Recycle Trees at Glen Lennox - Chapelboro.com

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