Ringing the changes

first_imgWaking on a Sunday morning in Oxford, vaguely hazy about a bop the night before, the gentle tinkle of bells filters across Radcliffe Square to your college room.“Oh no,” you’ve probably thought at least once, “who on earth could be making such a racket this early?” So the bedcovers are pulled a little higher and it’s back to sleep.But for a small and dedicated band of slightly mad individuals, braving the cold morning air to yank at ropes connected to colossal metal weights is the only hangover cure they’ll ever need. And surprisingly, tens of thousands of ordinary people are prepared to get up and ring for weddings and church services, as well as evening practices, every week for an entire lifetime.Bell ringing is one of those peculiar cultural interests unique to England, like cricket and warm beer, and has remained popular since the 17th century. Formerly the preserve of male, vaguely genteel types with too much time on their hands, now anyone can ring, and it’s the sort of equalising interaction that brings wealthy financiers onto a level playing field with kids from deprived inner-city backgrounds.Change ringing is the art of ringing a set of tuned bells in a series of mathematical patterns known as ‘changes’. It’s not quite music, and it’s not quite maths, but it’s a good way of imagining how numbers might sound if you could hear them. There are around 6000 rings of bells used for change ringing across the world, and the vast majority can be found in England and other English-speaking countries. Oxford alone contains a fair few of them: the most prominent are the six particularly heavy bells hanging in the University Church, St Mary the Virgin, next to the Radcliffe Camera. Other towers with bells are St Cross, opposite the Law Library and on the way to St Catherine’s, St Mary Magdalen opposite Sainsbury’s, and in New, Merton and Magdalen colleges. Bells and churches have, like so much of the historical architecture in Oxford, blended seamlessly into the changing landscape around them.Groups of swinging bells in English church towers date from the 10th century, and certainly by the 15th orderly ringing with changing note patterns was taking place. But change ringing only really took off after Charles II’s restoration in 1660, when puritan rules forbidding bell ringing were swept away. It may seem hard to imagine now but under Oliver Cromwell, ringing bells was the equivalent of staging an all-night rave and trying to get one over on the authorities. There are records of bell ringers being pilloried or, even worse, investigated as Catholic plotters and agents.The first recorded society of ringers was the Ancient Society of College Youths, founded in 1637 and still in existence almost four hundred years on. But the man most influential in developing the science and art of change ringing was a determined amateur mathematician named Fabian Stedman. His first book published in 1668, Tintinnalogia, set down all the available information on systematic ringing, and the principles in his 1677 follow-up Campanologia remain essentially unchanged today.Ordered ringing works by hanging bells in large wooden or steel frames inside a belfry, and pulling them from a rope attached to a wheel that goes down into a ringing room. When pulled, the bell rotates almost full circle, with the clapper inside swinging round and striking the bell: pulling the rope back again through two successive revolutions constitutes a whole pull. A kind old man once came to my tower when we were going up for practice one night. He asked me, slightly bizarrely, if we could play Elvis for him. Or maybe The Hollies, as he hadn’t heard them in a while. I made some sort of blustery apology about how bells didn’t make that kind of melody, but were just permutations of bells governed by a pre-determined algorithm that happened to sound quite nice when put together. The bemused expression on his face told me I was never going to be a maths teacher.Perhaps more simply, imagine there are six bells in a tower. The lightest bell is called the treble, or 1, and the heaviest is called the tenor, or 6, and in between are bells 2, 3, 4 and 5. Ringing the bells in order 123456 is called, rather simply, rounds, and makes a pleasant sound that any musician will tell you is a descending scale. Swap all the bells around one place to make 214365 and you have another row of changes. With six bells, there are exactly 720 different combinations of bells that you can make, or in the words of a mathematician, six factorial. On seven, there are 5040 possible combinations and on eight, 40,320. Ringing every one of those 5040 changes is called a peal, and takes around three hours to do, but few ringers, no matter how mad enough, are likely to try and ring for the 24 hours it would take to perform 40,320 changes in one go. In an alternative reality where human fatigue was not a problem, ringers could spend hours and hours ringing thousands of unique changes with no outside direction or coordination. Rather than memorising endless reams of numbers, ringers use a neat trick by following a simple pattern of where their bell moves around the other bells, known as a ‘blue line’ due to the colour of the patterns shown in ringers’ books. Method ringing involves memorising this pattern and other potential permutations that could be affected by a call from the conductor, the most common of which are called bobs and singles. No one knows why they’re called that, but having someone loudly shout ‘bob!’ in order to make things happen just adds to the general aura of eccentricity. Like other ringing jargon, methods are named to show what they involve. ‘Minor’, for example, means a method on six bells, while ‘major’ is a method on eight bells, all the way up to ‘maximus’ for twelve bells. Of course, this gives rise to silly names for methods like Coal Minor or Sergeant Bob Major (ho ho!) but most methods are named after places. There are, for instance, Oxford Treble Bob Major and Cambridge Surprise Major: combine them both and you have a method informally known as ‘Boat Race’.There are certain standard methods which every ringer knows, or has heard of, each of which has a name that only a bored English eccentric could come up with: Plain Bob, Little Bob, Grandsire and Stedman to name but a few. And of course, asking for some Reverse Canterbury Pleasure could get you more than you bargained for.There are tens of thousands of ringers in England and Wales alone, although their average age must be well over 40. The bell ringing community even has its own weekly newspaper called The Ringing World (probably named in a spasm of excitement) which usually involves pictures of old ladies holding new ropes and endless pages of recent peals. Nevertheless, the number of ringers is rapidly declining as the popularity for something that rewards thought and patience wanes in a fast-moving 21st century. There is, however, some room for optimism: churches with towers, particularly in urban areas, are increasingly attracting young people from a mix of social backgrounds and religious beliefs (including those without any) who want something to keep them busy and off the streets. At one tower in Colliers Wood in South London, almost three-quarters of the band are still in their teens, and they are proud of their collective ethnic diversity. Although the stereotype that most ringers are white, middle-class and old remains largely true, especially in southern England, a gradual shift is taking place.At a tower out in the sticks, however, it can take months to learn how to handle a bell correctly, and years before you could be classed as a ‘good’ ringer. Ringers speak of having a ‘ringing career’, as you go from country bumpkin struggling to hold a rope to conductor of St Paul’s Cathedral. It really does last that long, but therein lies one of the attractions: there’s a real sense of satisfaction to be had from perfecting and honing a skill over the course of an entire lifetime. The sound of bells is something that, in England, forms a continuous part of our existence. Whether you happen to be religious or not, church bells can be found in cities, towns and villages across the country. They are there when we marry, when we die, and when we go about our daily lives by unfailingly chiming the time for us. They can be jubilant and cheerful at times of national celebration, or sombre and reflective at times of national mourning.The only extended period of time when English bells were silenced was during the Second World War, when they were supposed to only ring in the event of enemy invasion. But perhaps this goes to show how, even if bells aren’t ringing from shire to shire, they’re still always there to reassure us against the worst.last_img read more

Dredging Program to Help Boat Slip Owners on Ocean City’s Back Bays

first_imgIn 2018, the plan calls for $4 million worth of dredging projects to clear out the shallow lagoons along the back bays. (Courtesy Ocean City Public Information Office) By Donald WittkowskiAt low tide, Pam and Chris Pippett know that their 24-foot boat isn’t going anywhere because it is literally trapped in the mud at their bayfront home.They also know that once they get their boat out on the water, they have to head home within two hours of low tide or risk not being able to get back through the shallow lagoon.“That’s our boat slip – absolutely stuck in the mud,” Pam Pippett said while showing a cellphone photo of the lagoon, known as Carnival Bayou.But the Pippetts, a married couple who live on West 17th Street, may soon get some relief as part of a program by Ocean City to help private property owners dredge their sediment-choked boat slips.The plan, outlined by Mayor Jay Gillian and other officials Thursday night during a public meeting, would allow property owners to piggyback on the city’s dredging permit to save them some of the expense and aggravation of cleaning out their slips on their own.In a related development, Gillian announced that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has extended the period for dredging statewide by five months, giving property owners even more time to complete the work on their slips.“This is a big break for Ocean City and all the residents on the bay and in other shore towns,” the mayor said in a statement. “The extension of the dredge season not only benefits Ocean City, but all shore communities dealing with silted waterways.”Mayor Jay Gillian announces that the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection has extended the dredging season, giving more time for bayfront property owners to clear out their sediment-choked boat slips.Previously, dredging was allowed only from July to October, coming to a halt on Nov. 1. However, the DEP will now allow dredging work to continue from July to March. The short window between July and October under the old regulations proved to be a challenge for dredging operations throughout the state, officials said.“This really means that you’re going to have much more time for the contractor to do private slip dredging,” Carol Beske, an executive with the city’s dredging consultant, ACT Engineers Inc., told property owners at Thursday’s meeting.The city’s new program for dredging private boat slips is voluntary for property owners. Instead of going through the hassles of hiring their own dredging contractors, they could simply use the ones who are already working for the city. The contractors would work on the private slips after they’ve finished the city’s dredging projects.City Solicitor Dorothy McCrosson said the program would save the property owners from the obligation of obtaining their own dredging permits. They would also be able to use the city’s disposal site for dredge spoils, instead of having contractors haul the stuff away somewhere else.Under the program, the dredging contractors will pay the city $200 for each private property they do. Property owners, in turn, would pay the contractor $100 per cubic yard of dredge spoils removed from their boat slips. The property owners would also pay $3 per cubic yard of dredge material that is removed as part of an escrow account that will allow the city to conduct inspections of the dredging work.The city began the first round of dredging last year as part of a $20 million program proposed by Mayor Jay Gillian for 2016, 2017 and 2018. In 2017, the town plans to spend $7.5 million for dredging projects, said Frank Donato, the city’s chief financial officer.Carnival Bayou, between 16th and 17th streets, is one of three major dredging projects planned by the city this fall. South Harbor, between Tennessee Avenue and Spruce Road, and Sunny Harbor, between Arkansas Avenue and Walnut Road, are the other two.Residents who live along Carnival Bayou, South Harbor and Sunny Harbor would be eligible for the dredging program this year. The city hopes to extend the program to other boat slip owners when it expands the dredging projects to other bayfront lagoons next year.At Thursday night’s meeting, residents look at renderings that depict the lagoons scheduled to be dredged this year.The city has permits for the dredging projects at Carnival Bayou, South Harbor and Sunny Harbor this year. Last December, the city applied for a permit from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct dredging along the entire length of the island.The Army Corps has opened the public comment period for the citywide permit application. Beske urged property owners at Thursday’s meeting to write letters and emails to the Army Corps in favor of the application. The comment period is open until Nov. 15.Hundreds of bayfront property owners along Carnival Bayou, South Harbor and Sunny Harbor are eligible to participate in the dredging program. City officials repeatedly stressed that residents are not obligated to join the program.“We can’t compel anyone to join this program. It’s completely voluntary,” McCrosson told the approximately 100 bayfront residents who attended the meeting at the Ocean City Tabernacle.While some of the residents said they are still thinking about participating in the dredging program, Pam and Chris Pippett noted they are signing up. They are hopeful they will finally be free of the muck and mire surrounding their two boat slips.Chris Pippett said he once allowed a neighbor to use one of the slips for free. However, the neighbor decided to take his boat elsewhere because the slip was so badly clogged with sediment, Pippett said.“It’s nothing but mud at low tide,” Pippett said. “We know that we can’t take our boat out two hours on either side of low tide.”last_img read more

Bakery challenge

first_imgBakery competitions are seeing a revival in the trade, writes Andrew Williams.The 2010 Bakery Challenge is the latest to capture the imagination of bakers in the north west of England. Entrants’ cakes were displayed at the Bako North Western Family Fun Day in June for attendants to enjoy, including a wonderful celebration cake with a whimsical garden scene and a large castle made completely out of chocolate rice krispies, which was entered into the innovation category.Winners and runners-up were presented with their awards on the day, with judging having taken place at Bako North Western’s ’Bakory’ facility, by Peter Lonican, John Robertshaw and Patrick Moore all experienced bakers and judges. John Robertshaw commented that “the competition was very tough, with a lot of products reaching beyond the standards of the previous year, which made the judging process extremely difficult”.The event was bigger and better this year, featuring a number of how-to masterclasses in using new ingredients. Among them was Puratos, which was demonstrating Cryst-o-fil a pre-crystallised chocolate filling, containing 50% Belgian chocolate, which can be used to make ganaches and carries crispy inclusions, flavours and alcohol. “It’s time-saving, as opposed making ganache the real way, where you will have to boil the cream and mix the chocolate, and then go through the process of crystallising the product, which takes time and effort,” said George Spain of Puratos. “Using Cryst-o-fil will eradicate that and make it a faster process. There are lots of things you can do with it and it’s already being used widely by chocolatiers.” Also on show were Renshaw’s new natural coloured icings used on decorated cupcakes designed not to make your kids go nuts.The idea was to offer live demonstrations, so that visitors could ask questions about costs and retail price and, hopefully, find a product idea with a 200% return. “This is all about introducing new people into bakery,” said Andy Hodgson, Bako NW’s head of sales and marketing, “and also getting ideas across to the high street baker. We’re not trying to teach bakers how to bake; we want to show them that some of these ideas are quite simple and have a much higher margin; cake pops are a good example of a product that sits on the counter that is an additional sale, an impulse buy, that can generate an additional £30, £50 or £80 a day.””The objective is to get as many of our suppliers to show as many of our customers new and innovative ways for their bakeries to prosper,” added Mark Tomlinson, CEO of Bako NW. “We are a co-operative, so making money is not the be-all and end-all for us. Of course, we have to stay viable and expand, but bakers will always be the core of our business and we want to see them thrive.” The Bako North Western Bakery Challenge 2011 winners Category 1400g Multiseed Loaf1stGreenhalgh’s, Bolton2ndWesses Bakehouse, MarketHarborough3rdGeary’s Bakeries, LoughboroughCategory 26 Assorted Commercial Fancies1stM Ray, Merseyside2ndHunters the Bakers, Bolton3rdArthur Chatwin, CheshireCategory 3200g Shortcrust Traditional Pasties1stM Ray, Merseyside2ndGreenhalgh’s, Bolton3rdBev’s Bakery, StaffordshireCategory 48-inch Square Celebration Cake1stShuga Budz, Wolverhampton2ndIced of Garstang, Garstang3rdM Ray, MerseysideCategory 5Battenberg Cake1stM Ray, Merseyside2ndHunters Bakery, Bolton3rdW Mandeville, CheshireCategory 6Innovation: Cluster Cakes1stShuga Budz, Wolverhampton2ndClassic Cakes, Stockport3rdHunters the Bakers, Boltonlast_img read more

Mike Gordon, Robert Walter, & Members Of Doom Flamingo Join Forces For Impromptu Charleston Jam Session [Video]

first_imgWith the first night off on their March 2019 tour, bassist Mike Gordon and his bandmate and keyboardist Robert Walter stopped by Charleston, SC’s Bar Mash for an impromptu jam session with members of Doom Flamingo. The group of five got down to business in the corner of the cozy whiskey and beer bar, settling into a funk-driven 10-minute jam.Watch video of Mike Gordon, Robert Walter, and members of Doom Flamingo jamming in Charleston below:Mike Gordon, Robert Walter, & Members of Doom Flamingo – Jam Session – 3/11/2019[Video: Bryan Austin]Doom Flamingo is a relatively new side project of bassist Ryan Stasik. Rooted in synthwave—a modern genre that recalls the retro, synth-heavy tones of 1980s pop music—Doom Flamingo offers Stasik the opportunity to perform with a local group when home in Charleston, South Carolina, and not touring nationwide with fan-favorite progressive jam band Umphrey’s McGee.Next up for Mike Gordon is a performance at Charleston, SC’s Music Hall, tonight, March 12th, followed by stops in Rocky Mount, VA (3/13); Washington, D.C. (3/15); Asbury Park, NJ (3/16); Jersey City, NJ (3/17); Buffalo, NY (3/19); and a four-night tour-closing run at The Sinclair in Cambridge, MA March 21st-24th.For a full list of Mike Gordon’s upcoming tour dates and ticketing information, head to his website.last_img read more

The risks of ‘not trying enough’ against COVID-19

first_img Related New economic tracker finds flaws in U.S. recovery plan Experts are thinking through the options as a jump is possible in fall Opportunity Insights report suggests targeted social insurance programs may be more effective New studies are estimating spending on COVID-19 Summers laid a large share of the blame for America’s halting pandemic response at the feet of the Trump administration, saying stable leadership that engenders trust and confidence in strategies like mask-wearing, widespread testing, and other steps is crucial during crises. He didn’t let previous administrations off the hook, however, saying they were warned about the likelihood of future pandemics, but took few steps to prepare.“We have lost tens of thousands of lives because of mistakes we made in the past, and we are in the process of making more mistakes that will cost thousands — probably tens of thousands — more lives in the future,” Summers said. “We can do better as a country … but it requires a stable, steady commitment to truth-telling.”Summers said the focus now should be on defining the steps to move forward, and warned that government incentives for developing a vaccine should not amount to control. Market systems and democratic societies are messy, but have been responsible for many advances in public health, pharmaceutical innovations, and benefits like the environmental movement, he said. Market mechanisms will also likely be the best way to distribute an eventual vaccine because a company that stands to make a profit will ensure its product gets produced, marketed, and distributed. “We have lost tens of thousands of lives because of mistakes we made in the past, and we are in the process of making more mistakes that will cost thousands — probably tens of thousands — more lives in the future.” — Lawrence Summerscenter_img Americans are weary of lockdowns, but if COVID surges, what then? This is part of our Coronavirus Update series in which Harvard specialists in epidemiology, infectious disease, economics, politics, and other disciplines offer insights into what the latest developments in the COVID-19 outbreak may bring.Harvard economist and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers panned America’s COVID-19 response this week, decrying misplaced priorities and missed opportunities even when viewed through an economic, rather than public health, lens.“I think the risks that we will look back at this moment and say, ‘We didn’t try enough. We weren’t aggressive enough. We didn’t do enough,’ are an order of magnitude greater than the risks that people will say, ‘They spent too much money. They were too ambitious. If they just let things go, it would have been OK,’” said Summers, who served as Harvard’s president from 2001 to 2006 and is currently the Charles W. Eliot University Professor.Summers was Treasury secretary during the Clinton administration, director of the National Economic Council under Obama, and served as chief economist at the World Bank in the 1990s. He said the pandemic is costing the U.S. $10 billion — and the world $200 billion — a day. With that cost in mind, he said, it makes sense to provide additional incentives and guarantees against losses to boost private efforts — which are both expensive and risky — to develop and distribute tests, treatments, and vaccines.“I think we’re neither providing enough insurance against failure nor enough reward for success,” Summers said. “And therefore, we’re getting insufficient effort on testing in particular, but also on vaccines and therapeutics.”Summers said companies that could be producing billions of tests are sitting on the sidelines, discouraged by the prospect of a quick vaccine that will render tests unsellable. That is an area where the government can step in, he said.“If we buy $5 billion worth of tests we don’t need, it doesn’t matter, it’s not an important error,” Summers said, “whereas if we slow things up for an extra several weeks, it’s an enormously consequential error.Chan School Dean Michelle Williams (clockwise top left), Ali Velshi, and Lawrence Summers during a webcast event, “When Public Health Means Business.”Summers fielded questions on Wednesday during a webcast event on business and public health sponsored by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the New England Journal of Medicine. “When Public Health Means Business: A Virtual Fireside Chat with Lawrence H. Summers and Ali Velshi” was introduced by Chan School Dean Michelle Williams and moderated by Velshi, an NBC journalist and MSNBC host.Summers also criticized government spending on economic stimulus and helping corporations while skimping on expanding COVID-19 testing and hiring workers for contact tracing efforts that could help curb the pandemic.“It is insane that we spent more than $3 trillion on economic stimulus but we haven’t been able to spend $30 billion on putting testing in place. It is crazy that we are investing as much money as we are in bailing out the largest corporations in the country and investing so little money in providing jobs as contract tracers to those who are unemployed,” he said. “There are aspects of this that are the biological equivalent of rocket science. But there are aspects of this that are entirely straightforward, that are entirely a matter of will and competence, and we are not doing them.” Adding up the cost of pandemic health care “We have to be very careful about letting easy moralisms trump what we know works,” he said. “We have to find a balance here, it’s a balance that respects stakeholders, but it’s also a balance that reflects that market incentives are very, very strong. …“The worst thing you can do, if you want this pharmaceutical intellectual property to find widespread application, is to just toss it over and make it completely available to everybody for free.”Summers said that statistics about health care disparities are startling, but that messages speak louder when they come from unexpected sources. The voices of community organizers complaining about inequality are expected and too often ignored, he said. If, however, for the next two years every leader of a Fortune 500 company spoke as much about health care disparities as they do about rising health care costs, it would change the national discussion on the subject.last_img read more

Music helping Tony Bennett battle Alzheimer’s disease

first_imgNEW YORK (AP) — Tony Bennett has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease but it hasn’t quieted his legendary voice. The singer’s wife and son reveal in the latest edition of AARP The Magazine that Bennett was first diagnosed with the  irreversible neurological disorder in 2016. The magazine says he endures “increasingly rarer moments of clarity and awareness.” Still, he continues to rehearse and twice a week goes through his 90-minute set with his longtime pianist, Lee Musiker. The magazine says he sing with perfect pitch and apparent ease. His wife tells the magazine: “When he sings, he’s the old Tony.”last_img read more

Daphne’s Dive Stars Vanessa Aspillaga & Daphne Rubin-Vega on Sisterhood, Diversity and Turning into Benny from Rent

first_img Show Closed This production ended its run on June 12, 2016 Q: What do you love most about this play?DAPHNE: Quiara has such a strong voice, and the play deals with so many relationships: sisters who have taken different paths, a mother and daughter [Samira Wiley of Orange Is the New Black], a daughter trying to make her way in the world. It’s poetry.VANESSA: The play spans 18 years, and you get to see the changing dynamics between these people who have laughed and cried and mourned together. Time shifts, and you pick up how things have changed since the previous scene.DAPHNE: It’s like jazz. What is left out is as powerful as what is said. Q: As Inez, Daphne wears a spectacular lineup of wigs and costumes. Are you jealous, Vanessa?VANESSA: I love her clothes in the show! She’s fabulous.DAPHNE: I’m very bourgeois. I love playing the wife of a guy who rents things out. At one point, my husband says, “Have Inez show you some apartments,” and it tickles me to death. It’s my little “in” joke with Quiara: I’ve turned into Benny from Rent.Q: Speaking of Rent, does it feel like 20 years have gone by since the show’s debut?DAPHNE: Yes and no. Rent has been a big part of the fabric of my life. Not a day passes without it being brought up. Adam [Pascal] and I are doing a show [on June 3 at Ocean County College in Toms River, NJ], and when we rehearse the songs, the way they just come back—it’s like, holy moly!Q: Rent was praised for diversity in casting, and now people are saying the same thing about Hamilton. Has that issue gotten better in the past two decades?VANESSA: There are changes, but they’ve been a little slow, in my estimation. One of the problems since the early ‘90s has been [scripts] written by Latino writers where everyone except the bastard and the whore is played by Anglo actors—plays like Death and the Maiden and films like The House of the Spirits. The reverse doesn’t happen, although funnily enough, my first job as an actress was in an Anthony Minghella film, Mr. Wonderful, and I was supposed to be Italian.Q: Daphne has broken barriers by playing Fantine in Les Miz and Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire on Broadway. DAPHNE: I make it my life’s work to do that. People ask me, “Why do you choose these political roles?” They become political by dint of the fact that the person playing them looks like me. It’s been a slow advancement, but we are creating our own stories now. We have no choice.VANESSA Daphne and Quiara are working on a musical together!DAPHNE: It’s called Miss You Like Hell and it’s being developed at La Jolla. [Performances begin October 25.] It’s about an undocumented mother and her estranged daughter reuniting for a week to ride across the country before the mom’s deportation trial. Quiara is such a powerful writer, I would follow her anywhere.Q: Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to your younger selves?VANESSA: A couple of things: I would say love yourself. You are thin enough. You are beautiful.DAPHNE: Believe in yourself. Confidence, infused with the truth, is a very powerful asset.VANESSA: I channeled all my energies into my acting [in the past]. I took a lot of chances on stage, but in life, I tended to be more closed off and hermitic. I would say to my young self, go out with people! Call that cute guy who gave you his number. It’s OK!DAPHNE: The biggest mistakes I made were when I tried to be like someone else. My strength was in being myself. I got traumatized after a record deal fell by the wayside, but I just kept going. The world was my teacher, and it helped me become an actor that I’m proud of being. I’m still alive and kicking! View Comments Sisterhood is powerful in Daphne’s Dive, the new play by Pulitzer Prize winner Quiara Alegría Hudes. In the title role, Vanessa Aspillaga runs a neighborhood bar in North Philadelphia where an array of colorful characters makes themselves at home. Her older sister, Inez, played by two-time Tony nominee Daphne Rubin-Vega, has escaped to the upscale Main Line thanks to her marriage to a rising power broker with roots in the Puerto Rican community. Thomas Kail’s production for Signature Theatre gives full voice to Hudes’ strivers, with Aspillaga and Rubin-Vega sharing a lively onstage chemistry first seen in the 2003 Broadway production of Anna in the Tropics. During an afternoon chat at the Theater District dive bar Rudy’s, the ladies sipped soft drinks and shared their thoughts about diversity in casting, the 20th anniversary of Rent and what they’d tell their younger selves.Q: We’re sitting in a booth at Rudy’s, and Vanessa plays a bartender in Daphne’s Dive. What’s your drink of choice?VANESSA: I don’t drink alcohol now, although I used to come to Rudy’s with Sam Rockwell and actors from Labyrinth [Theater Company]. You got free hot dogs with your drinks! When I imbibed, I liked a very dirty martini with olives stuffed with blue cheese. It was like a meal.DAPHNE: I don’t drink either. I used to love wine, and tequila was always fantastic, but those days are over. Just going to the bathroom here took me back—it’s almost like CBGB.Q: The last time you two shared a stage, you were in a Pulitzer Prize-winning play on Broadway. It must feel like a gift to be reunited as sisters. DAPHNE: That’s exactly what Tommy Kail said.VANESSA: I’ve actually known Daphne since I was 19, in the early days of Labyrinth.DAPHNE: The early ‘90s. She was the little one—Yul [Vasquez’s] niece.center_img Daphne’s Dive Daphne Rubin-Vega & Vanessa Aspillaga photographed at Rudy’s Bar & Grill(Photo: Caitlin McNaney) Related Showslast_img read more

Senate gives initial OK to single-payer health care bill

first_imgby Anne Galloway, www.vtdigger.org(link is external) April 26, 2011 The spirit of order and compromise was upon them. The Vermont Senate passed the universal health care reform bill in a 21-8, largely along party lines on Monday, after just five hours in the Green Room. (Kevin Mullin, R-Rutland, voted aye; Bobby Starr, D-North Troy, voted nay. The senators will take up the bill for third reading on Tuesday.)The Dems evinced no intra-party dissension on the controversial legislation on second reading. Most of the naysayers, this time, were of the GOP persuasion. And except for an unanticipated, hour-long oratory from freshman Sen. Joe Benning, R-Caledonia, (reminiscent of declamations from his Republican colleague in the House, Rep. Duncan Kilmartin, R-Newport) the Senate floor work seemed to go off without a hitch.Senate President Pro Tem John Campbell seemed to breathe a sigh of relief today with the initial passage of one of the most complicated and controversial bills to go through the Legislature ‘ since the last reform effort in 2006. The stress of passing all the money bills in late night sessions last week took its toll ‘ by Thursday, his troops were in mutiny mode. With a little holiday rest, the senators seemed to be in a conciliatory mood on Monday ‘ despite the grumbling over adding a day to their normal Tuesday through Friday schedule.‘I’m proud of my colleagues,’ Campbell said. ‘They rose to the occasion.’ Campbell said the Senate’s passage of several amendments from the minority party shows senators’ ‘tremendous collaborative efforts.’Sen. Peter Galbraith, D-Windham, praised the pro tem for his willingness to shepherd complicated amendments through the obstacles in the process.‘I thought this was historic (the health care reform bill),’ Galbraith said. ‘When I contemplate the federal scene nothing gets done ‘ that’s why I wanted to be in the Vermont Senate.’There are a few more bridges to cross, however, before the bill is sent to conference committee and Democratic senators can break out the champagne ‘ namely a total of 11 amendments to be considered, several of which are technical in nature, others that are unfriendly.In fact, the amendments addressed by lawmakers as the bill went through second reading were the no-brainers. Of the seven that were taken up, five were withdrawn and two were friendly amendments that were approved in advance by the Senate Health and Welfare Committee. One of the amendments includes more detailed conflict of interest requirements for Green Mountain Care board members. The second makes members of the military who have insurance through TRICARE exempt from the Green Mountain Care system.The amendments are to be taken up on Tuesday, starting with a proposal from Galbraith to form a Vermont Health Insurance Corporation, or public option for insurance. Most of the changes, however, revolve around questions of access (will people move here in droves to take advantage of the state’s single-payer system?), questions of cost (will companies pay more for care than they do now?) and concerns about the financing mechanism which wouldn’t be revealed until 2013, after the next election cycle in 2012. (Sen. Randy Brock, R-Grand Isle/Franklin, wants the Shumlin administration to report on financing plans by Sept. 15, 2012.) A proposal from Sen. Vince Illuzzi would exempt employers with 50 to 100 workers from the exchange.The debate on the floor was less about the specifics outlined in the amendments, and more about the underlying bill. Republicans raised fundamental philosophical objections to the idea of a single-payer system in which the government administers payment for health care.Sen. Claire Ayer, D-Addison, opened the debate with a description of a system with inadequate access for Vermonters, a lack of preventive care, no central agency for controlling costs, and a propensity of the state to produce study after study with no results. That description published in the Burlington Free Press, she said, was of Vermont’s medical system ‘ in 1929.‘We certainly can’t be accused of rushing this decision,’ Ayer said. Health care is 18 percent of Vermont’s gross state product; more than 200,000 residents are uninsured or underinsured, she said.Ayer cited a study produced by the Vermont Joint Fiscal Office, Steve Kappel, a health care fiscal analyst, and the Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration. ‘The math works,’ Ayer said. ‘Combined with funds from the Affordable Care Act, cost savings are possible in the health care system. This is a $1 billion opportunity that can’t be missed.’In an impassioned pitch to her colleagues, Ayer said, ‘We spend more per capita (for health care) on the planet and we don’t get the best care. This is our opportunity to control costs and improve quality.‘We’re behind the health care eight ball,’ Ayer said. ‘We must reposition ourselves if we want to remain competitive as a state.’The GOP critics in the Green Room disagreed. Brock urged the senators to reject the bill. He said this legislation ‘comes down to the nine most dangerous words’ that can be uttered: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’Brock blamed the federal and state governments for increasing the cost of health care through regulation, interference and bad policy. He compared the Shumlin administration’s push for ‘fewer payers’ or insurance companies to forcing consumers to go to one ‘supermarket where the amount of eggs we could buy would be rationed.’The legislation brings up many fundamental questions that go unanswered for years, Brock said, at the same time the Shumlin administration is advancing a plan. ‘We’re establishing a structure, a pathway like cattle being herded to the slaughter, walking down a chute that gets narrower as we go. At some point in the chute, we won’t be able to turn around.’Brock said the Green Mountain Care Board will have too much power because it will be able to make decisions about rates for providers, benefit plans, financing and payment.Furthermore, Brock argued, why should Vermonters trust lawmakers to move forward on this next iteration of reform when previous efforts have failed? He listed Catamount Health and Medicaid as programs that have been unable to control costs.Perhaps most troubling to Brock, was the notion that the reporting period would be put off until January 2013 ‘ two months after the next election.‘I sense that in the next election health care is going to be a major issue and it will be something people will want to vote on,’ Brock said. ‘Answers aren’t going to be addressed until after the next election.’ Anne Galloway is editor of www.vtdigger.org(link is external)last_img read more

Ørsted to use GE’s massive 12MW turbine for two offshore U.S. wind farms

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享CNBC:Danish firm Ørsted has chosen GE Renewable Energy as its preferred turbine supplier for two offshore wind farms in the U.S. The agreement means that Ørsted is set to use GE Renewable Energy’s huge Haliade-X 12 MW wind turbines at the projects.Ørsted’s use of the turbines will represent the first commercial deployment of the Haliade-X 12 MW. The deployment is subject to a final agreed and signed contract and project approvals.The two wind farms the turbines will be used at are the 120 MW Skipjack facility off the Maryland coast and the 1,100 MW Ocean Wind project off the coast of New Jersey. It’s expected that the facilities will be commissioned in 2022 and 2024 respectively.The U.S. offshore wind industry is relatively young. Its first offshore facility, the 30 MW Block Island Wind Farm, only commenced commercial operations in 2016. The Block Island Wind Farm is located off the coast of Rhode Island and operated by Ørsted.The scale of the Haliade-X 12 MW turbine is considerable. It will have a capacity of 12 megawatts (MW), a height of 260 meters and a blade length of 107 meters. GE Renewable Energy has repeatedly described it as “the world’s largest offshore wind turbine.” In August a wind turbine blade from LM Wind Power, designed to be used on the Haliade-X 12 MW, arrived in the U.K. for testing.“Offshore wind is a high-growth segment for our company, and like Orsted, we are enthusiastic about the potential of offshore wind, both in the U.S. and globally,” Jerome Pecresse, the president and CEO of GE Renewable Energy, said in a statement Thursday.More: Orsted set to use a massive turbine to power two of its offshore wind farms in the US Ørsted to use GE’s massive 12MW turbine for two offshore U.S. wind farmslast_img read more

Board briefed on proposed new Bar rules

first_img Board briefed on proposed new Bar rules Rules that will make Bar members delinquent if they fail to pay probation monitoring costs, the fees for attending the Bar’s ethics school, or fee arbitration awards have been presented to the Board of Governors in preparation for final board action in December.The board is also getting rules to help define what are reasonable costs that can be charged to clients and on bonuses for nonlawyer employees.Disciplinary Procedure Committee Chair Don Horn reviewed the rules with the board at its October 3 meeting, and noted they will come back to the board for final action at its December 5 meeting.A proposed amendment to Rule 1-7.3 specifies that lawyers who are admitted to the Bar on supervised probation, those who agree (including agreement to pay the fees) to be diverted to the ethics school following a grievance complaint or to a similar program, or those who are ordered to repay a client following a fee arbitration award in an agreed-to Bar arbitration will be considered delinquent if they fail to pay the award or associated costs.Those lawyers will be treated the same as those who are past due in paying their annual Bar membership fees.The proposed rule change on costs and fees provides guidance to members as to how costs are determined to be reasonable and establishes a safe harbor for costs that are sufficiently detailed in written contracts or other documents approved by the client.Ways of evaluating whether costs charged in a case are fair include:• The nature and extent of disclosure made to the client.• Whether there is a specific agreement between the lawyer and client on how costs would be calculated and what costs the client would pay.• The actual amount charged by third- party providers of services to the attorney.• Whether specific costs can be identified and allocated to a specific client and whether there is a reasonable way to estimate those costs.• The reasonableness of in-house service charges if it was an in-house service provided.• The current and past relationship between the lawyer and client.The rule also provides that if costs are spelled out in a client contract “the costs charged thereunder shall be presumed reasonable.”On payments to nonlawyer employees, Horn said the DPC is proposing an amendment that clarifies that lawyers cannot reward employees based on a percentage of the business they bring in or by fixed percentage of the fee from a case they worked on. That, he noted, would amount to splitting legal fees with nonlawyers.Other changes set to go to the board next month include:• Making changes to Rule 4-3.4 on fairness to opposing parties and counsel to codify recent court rulings in that area. The change specifically allows an attorney to state a personal opinion about a witness’ credibility in certain circumstances when the statement is supported by evidence or allowed by rule or law.• An amendment to Rule 3-3.4 allowing members of grievance committees to continue to participate in the disposition of cases pending when their terms end.• Revising Rule 3-7.2 to allow an interim suspension of a lawyer who has resigned, been disbarred, or been suspended in another jurisdiction or by a court. Board briefed on proposed new Bar rulescenter_img November 1, 2003 Regular Newslast_img read more