Assistant/Associate Rector Morristown, NJ Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York Hires Reverend Kevin W. VanHook, II as Executive Director Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York In-person Retreat: Thanksgiving Trinity Retreat Center (West Cornwall, CT) Nov. 24-28 [World Council of Churches] While accusations of blasphemy in Pakistan have once again captured the news headlines, Bishop Samuel Azariah, moderator of the Church of Pakistan, hopes for the Pakistani government to consider repealing the controversial clause in the Pakistan Penal Code which, he says, invokes misuse of the blasphemy law.Bishop Azariah, who is a member of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Executive and Central Committees, considers the WCC hearing on “Misuse of the blasphemy law and the plight of religious minorities in Pakistan” an opportunity for Christians along with their Muslim partners to “register their concern and protest against abuse of the law”.The international hearing is held from 17 to 19 September in Geneva, Switzerland, organized by the WCC Commission of the Churches on International Affairs (CCIA).The blasphemy law provision has existed in Pakistan since its foundation in 1947. No government during the first forty years felt the need for any changes until General Zia-ul-Haq introduced a number of amendments to the Pakistan Penal Code in the 1980s at the behest of the Islamic parties.The amendments were made to statutes related to religion, including sections 295 to 298. Since then the B and C clauses of section 295 in the Pakistan Penal Code have been used to victimize religious minorities. The blasphemy cases have resulted in death penalties and mob-instigated violence.Commenting on the recent case of Rimsha Masih, an eleven year old girl accused of blasphemy, Azariah said that “churches in Pakistan, media and civil society in the country have raised their voices against this case. This is evidently a proof of the misuse of the law.”“Yet, Rimsha’s case is one among many,” he added.Rimsha Masih was arrested on 16 August on a charge of blasphemy. Recently she was released and taken to an undisclosed location due to security threats.For Azariah, cases like Rimsha’s create a sense of fear and insecurity. “The religious minorities and even some sects of Muslims have been affected by the misuse of the blasphemy law. A majority of the cases have proved to be false, which has disturbed the fabric of trust in our society,” he said.Azariah explained that abuse of the blasphemy law leads to injustice and violation of human rights. For him the purpose of the WCC hearing is to raise assertive Christian voices on the issue of the blasphemy law. “This dialogue is an attempt to improve churches’ understanding of the situation of religious minorities in Pakistan.”“With a constructive debate on the blasphemy law among the Pakistani churches, civil society representatives and our Muslim partners in dialogue, we hope to raise awareness about our situation among the international community,” said Azariah.Azariah also expressed appreciation for the participation of Pakistani churches and representatives of Muslim and Hindu religious communities in the hearing, and for the WCC’s support to persecuted minorities in the country irrespective of their religious affiliations.He said, “The CCIA consultation has provided us with an opportunity to advance the debate on the issues of the dignity and rights of religious minorities in our country. I hope our voices are noted by the higher authorities in Pakistan.”Read also: WCC to hold international hearing on the plight of religious minorities in Pakistan (WCC press release of 22 August 2012)WCC Central Committee statement on the misuse of the blasphemy law in Pakistan, September 2009WCC Central Committee statement on forced conversion and forced marriages in Pakistan, September 2012WCC Commission of the Churches on International AffairsWCC member churches in PakistanThe World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, today the WCC brings together 349 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other churches representing more than 560 million Christians in over 110 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church. The WCC general secretary is Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, from the [Lutheran] Church of Norway. Rector Bath, NC Virtual Celebration of the Jerusalem Princess Basma Center Zoom Conversation June 19 @ 12 p.m. ET Rector Knoxville, TN Missioner for Disaster Resilience Sacramento, CA Featured Events An Evening with Presiding Bishop Curry and Iconographer Kelly Latimore Episcopal Migration Ministries via Zoom June 23 @ 6 p.m. ET Director of Music Morristown, NJ Associate Priest for Pastoral Care New York, NY Asia, Press Release Service Join the Episcopal Diocese of Texas in Celebrating the Pauli Murray Feast Online Worship Service June 27 Ecumenical & Interreligious Seminary of the Southwest announces appointment of two new full time faculty members Seminary of the Southwest An Evening with Aliya Cycon Playing the Oud Lancaster, PA (and streaming online) July 3 @ 7 p.m. ET Virtual Episcopal Latino Ministry Competency Course Online Course Aug. 9-13 Director of Administration & Finance Atlanta, GA Rector Martinsville, VA Bishop Diocesan Springfield, IL The Church Investment Group Commends the Taskforce on the Theology of Money on its report, The Theology of Money and Investing as Doing Theology Church Investment Group Rector Hopkinsville, KY Episcopal Church releases new prayer book translations into Spanish and French, solicits feedback Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs Rector Collierville, TN Rector Smithfield, NC TryTank Experimental Lab and York St. John University of England Launch Survey to Study the Impact of Covid-19 on the Episcopal Church TryTank Experimental Lab Cathedral Dean Boise, ID Course Director Jerusalem, Israel Rector Washington, DC Inaugural Diocesan Feast Day Celebrating Juneteenth San Francisco, CA (and livestream) June 19 @ 2 p.m. PT Youth Minister Lorton, VA Submit a Press Release Rector Pittsburgh, PA Priest-in-Charge Lebanon, OH Associate Rector Columbus, GA Pakistani bishop urges government to curb ‘misuse of blasphemy law’ This Summer’s Anti-Racism Training Online Course (Diocese of New Jersey) June 18-July 16 Assistant/Associate Rector Washington, DC Featured Jobs & Calls Rector Belleville, IL Tags New Berrigan Book With Episcopal Roots Cascade Books The Church Pension Fund Invests $20 Million in Impact Investment Fund Designed to Preserve Workforce Housing Communities Nationwide Church Pension Group Submit a Job Listing Rector Tampa, FL Curate Diocese of Nebraska Episcopal Migration Ministries’ Virtual Prayer Vigil for World Refugee Day Facebook Live Prayer Vigil June 20 @ 7 p.m. ET AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to PrintFriendlyPrintFriendlyShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThis Submit an Event Listing Advocacy Peace & Justice, Family Ministry Coordinator Baton Rouge, LA Rector Albany, NY Associate Rector for Family Ministries Anchorage, AK Curate (Associate & Priest-in-Charge) Traverse City, MI Priest Associate or Director of Adult Ministries Greenville, SC Ya no son extranjeros: Un diálogo acerca de inmigración Una conversación de Zoom June 22 @ 7 p.m. ET Remember Holy Land Christians on Jerusalem Sunday, June 20 American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem Rector and Chaplain Eugene, OR Assistant/Associate Priest Scottsdale, AZ Rector (FT or PT) Indian River, MI Rector Shreveport, LA Canon for Family Ministry Jackson, MS Posted Sep 17, 2012 Rector/Priest in Charge (PT) Lisbon, ME
La semana pasada, en el 22 de abril, el Presidente Donald Trump llevó su guerra a los derechos de las mujeres y las personas no conformes con el género a la ONU. Es terriblemente irónico que el gobierno de Trump amenazara con vetar la resolución de la ONU sobre el fin de la violencia sexual durante las guerras y los conflictos hostiles si la ONU no estuviera de acuerdo con su agenda anti-mujeres, anti-género oprimido.Reproductive rights protesters chant, “Get up! Get down! New York is a pro-choice town” on May 4.El borrador inicial de la resolución decía: “Las entidades de las Naciones Unidas y los donantes brindarán servicios de salud integrales y no discriminatorios, incluidos servicios de salud sexual y reproductiva, psicosociales, legales y medios de subsistencia y otros servicios multisectoriales para sobrevivientes de violencia sexual, teniendo en cuenta las necesidades específicas de las personas con discapacidad”.La administración de Trump exigió que se eliminara la frase “salud sexual y reproductiva” porque podría interpretarse como un apoyo al derecho al aborto. Incluso después de que el representante alemán que presentó la resolución aceptó eliminar esa frase, los EE. UU. se opusieron a la frase original, “servicios de salud integrales”, en la resolución original del 2008.Después de que se eliminara toda referencia a la atención médica de la resolución final, así como la “educación integral en sexualidad”, que protegería los derechos de las personas homosexuales, transgénero y no conformes con el género, fue aprobada por una votación de 13 miembros del Consejo de Seguridad. Incluyendo los Estados Unidos, no hay votos en contra, con Rusia y China absteniéndose.Pero hubo una protesta mundial inmediata. Los representantes de Alemania, Bélgica, Gran Bretaña y Francia no solo hablaron enérgicamente contra el acoso escolar de los Estados Unidos, sino que también lo hicieron muchos representantes de los 90 países que participaron en la reunión.Llamando a la posición de los Estados Unidos “intolerable e incomprensible”, el Embajador de Francia, Francois Delattre, declaró que “las mujeres y las niñas que sufrieron violencia sexual en conflicto, y que obviamente no eligieron quedar embarazadas, deberían tener el derecho de terminar su embarazo”.Además de los diplomáticos, otras personas prominentes se manifestaron en contra de la política de los EE. UU., incluida la Ministra de Relaciones Exteriores de Alemania, Heiko Mass, y la actriz Angelina Jolie, en un artículo de opinión del Washington Post del 22 de abril.Las dos personas galardonadas con el Premio Nobel de la Paz de 2018, Nadia Murad, sobreviviente de la esclavitud del grupo del Estado Islámico de mujeres y niñas yazidi en Irak, y Denis Mukwege, ginecóloga congoleña, emitieron una declaración: “Simplemente no hay excusa para continuar “Falla a quienes ya han sido víctimas, así como a quienes continúan en riesgo de niveles devastadores de violencia sexual en conflicto”.Si bien el objetivo de la resolución era poner fin al “fenómeno atroz, bárbaro y muy a menudo silencioso de la violencia sexual durante el conflicto” y adoptar un enfoque centrado en el sobreviviente, todas las referencias a expandir el monitoreo de la ONU para rastrear las violaciones de la resolución fueron borradas. Del texto final. Rusia, China y los Estados Unidos se opusieron a ese lenguaje.El abogado inglés Amal Clooney instó al Consejo de Seguridad a procesar a los miembros del grupo del Estado Islámico por crímenes de guerra, igual que a los funcionarios de alto nivel en el partido nazi fueron procesados después de la Segunda Guerra Mundial. “Este es tu momento de Nuremberg”, subrayó.El 23 de abril, la Organización Nacional para la Mujer emitió una declaración firme en la que recordaba a los lectores el primer acto de Trump en 2017: restablecer la llamada “regla de mordaza global”, que prohíbe toda financiación federal para las organizaciones internacionales que brindan asesoramiento sobre el aborto, incluso si también brindan nutrición e higiene; tratamiento para la malaria, tuberculosis y enfermedades tropicales; y atención a la salud maternoinfantil.Los grupos de ayuda condenan esta regla, que refleja la extrema derecha, el conservadurismo religioso de las personas designadas por Trump en el Departamento de Salud y Servicios Humanos, diciendo que ya está socavando la atención de salud global en general y da como resultado más abortos y un aumento de la mortalidad materna e infantil.Es reprensible que los EE. UU. puedan acosar al resto del mundo para que queden atrapados detrás de sus políticas totalmente misóginas e insensibles que causan un daño irreparable a mujeres, niñas, hombres, sus familias y comunidades en todo el mundo.El balón está en la cancha de todos los que se oponen al patriarcado capitalista racista, sexista, anti-LGBTQ2S del 1% que controla este país. Continuando con la lucha por eliminar a Trump y todos sus perpetradores de la guerra y la violación de la clase dominante burguesa.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare this
Home Indiana Agriculture News Kron and Culp to Lead Indiana Farm Bureau Minor Changes in June WASDE Report Corn ZCN21 (JUL 21) 684.50 -14.50 SHARE Lean Hogs HEM21 (JUN 21) 122.68 0.22 Kron and Culp to Lead Indiana Farm Bureau Feeder Cattle GFQ21 (AUG 21) 151.18 2.78 Facebook Twitter Battle Resistance With the Soy Checkoff ‘Take Action’ Program How Indiana Crops are Faring Versus Other States Facebook Twitter Wheat ZWN21 (JUL 21) 680.75 -3.00 Previous articleRetiring Villwock Reflects on Indiana Farm Bureau CareerNext articleMorning Outlook Andy Eubank RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Name Sym Last Change SHARE Soybean ZSN21 (JUL 21) 1508.50 -35.50 Kron and Culp to Lead Indiana Farm Bureau STAY CONNECTED5,545FansLike3,961FollowersFollow187SubscribersSubscribe Randy KronVandenberg County farmer Randy Kron was elected on the first ballot as President of Indiana Farm Bureau. Kron said one of his first actions will be to revitalize county Farm Bureau organizations, “Our foundation is our county Farm Bureaus so, if we do not have strong county organizations, we will not have the support at the Statehouse we need.” He added that, beginning in 2016, IFB will develop a strategic plan and will be seeking input from county Farm Bureaus on what resources they need.Kendell CulpJasper County farmer Kendell Culp was elected First Vice President on the 4th ballot. Culp ran on a platform of reshaping Farm Bureau membership, “We have to look at membership rather differently.” He said other organizations like national FFA and ASA are changing the way they do membership, “I think it is time for Farm Bureau to sit down and look at other ways we can recruit and encourage others to be part of the organization.”Several of the candidates for President, like Joe Kelsey and Donny Lawson, were younger farmers who called for changes in the way the organization works. Kron said he will be reaching out to younger farmers and finding ways to get them more engaged in Farm Bureau, “We are going to have to find new ways to get them engaged because maybe the traditional Farm Bureau way is not working. So I want to reach out to them and see what we can do to help keep them engaged.”Several of the candidates stressed the need for Farm Bureau to be more diverse and inclusive, with more involvement by the livestock sector and smaller and organic farmers. Culp, who also serves on the Soybean Alliance board, said he will work to try and bring unity between Farm Bureau and the state commodity groups, “Indiana agriculture needs to speak with one voice.” He stressed to HAT that there needs to be more coordination and consistency on policy issues among all sectors of agriculture.Both men will assume their duties on January 1. Outgoing President Don Villwock had high praise for the new President, “He has the experience and a deep passion for serving agriculture and Farm Bureau members.” Kron has been served as the IFB vice President for the past 14 years. Kron farms with his wife and son near Evansville, raising primarily corn, soybeans, and wheat. A 1983 graduate of Purdue University, he holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics. He has held numerous leadership positions, including as INFB’s representative on the U.S. Grains Council and on the Indiana Corn Marketing Council. He is also past president of the county extension board, and he serves as his township’s trustee/assessor.Culp farms with his wife, parents, son, and daughter near Rensselaer, raising grain and hogs. He served as District 3 director on the Indiana Farm Bureau board for 12 years (the maximum number of years a district director can serve). He currently serves as a director for Farm Credit Mid-America, Jasper County commissioner, and as a member of the board of directors for the Indiana Soybean Alliance. Isabella Chism will remain 2nd VP of Indiana Farm Bureau. All quotes are delayed snapshots Live Cattle LEM21 (JUN 21) 118.70 1.13 By Andy Eubank – Nov 18, 2015
Help by sharing this information to go further News “We must impose democratic obligations on the leading digital players” Organisation Follow the news on Canada GEOFF ROBINS / AFP CanadaAmericas On September 27, Canada’s highest court reaffirmed that Radio-Canada reporter Marie-Maude Denis does not have to reveal her confidential sources, making this the first successful test of the Journalistic Sources Protection Act of 2017. The Supreme Court ruling upholds this “shield law,” which says the burden is not on the journalist to prove it is unnecessary to reveal a source but rather on the party that aims to force the journalist to testify to prove it is necessary. The court set aside a March 2018 Quebec Superior Court order for Denis to testify and identify her sources in a case surrounding Marc-Yvan Côté, a former liberal politician in Quebec charged with fraud and bribery, which disregarded Canada’s newly-implemented 2017 federal shield law. The case, however, has been returned to the Quebec Court for reconsideration.“This Supreme Court ruling is an historic win for journalists and press freedom in Canada, and is a strong first interpretation of the nation’s recently-adopted federal shield law,” said Dokhi Fassihian, Executive Director of RSF’s North America bureau. “The protection of source confidentiality is imperative to the watchdog role of journalists like Marie-Maude Denis, who do critical reporting on issues like political corruption. It is strong protection like this that will allow sources to rest assured that they can speak to journalists without fear of reprisal. This decision is an all-around win for investigative journalism.”RSF and a coalition of Canadian journalism and free expression organizations intervened on behalf of Denis in early-2019, arguing that in adopting the Journalistic Sources Protection Act, journalists can only be forced to reveal their sources as a last resort.Canada ranks 18th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) applauds the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision to set aside an order issued by a Quebec Superior Court that would have forced investigative journalist Marie-Maude Denis to reveal her confidential sources in a government corruption case. RSF_en November 19, 2020 Find out more On eve of the G20 Riyadh summit, RSF calls for public support to secure the release of jailed journalists in Saudi Arabia News November 11, 2020 Find out more January 15, 2021 Find out more October 3, 2019 CANADA – Supreme Court decision upholds shield law protecting journalists’ confidential sources News Receive email alerts News CanadaAmericas Forum on Information and Democracy 250 recommendations on how to stop “infodemics”
Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Print This Post The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago Tagged with: BNY Mellon FDIC Lawsuits Mortgage-Backed Securities The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago Brian Honea’s writing and editing career spans nearly two decades across many forms of media. He served as sports editor for two suburban newspaper chains in the DFW area and has freelanced for such publications as the Yahoo! Contributor Network, Dallas Home Improvement magazine, and the Dallas Morning News. He has written four non-fiction sports books, the latest of which, The Life of Coach Chuck Curtis, was published by the TCU Press in December 2014. A lifelong Texan, Brian received his master’s degree from Amberton University in Garland. Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Previous: Existing-Home Sales Continue Surge While First-Time Buyer Sales Fall Next: Foreclosure Inventory Drops to Lowest Monthly Total in Eight Years Subscribe Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Share Save BNY Mellon FDIC Lawsuits Mortgage-Backed Securities 2015-08-20 Brian Honea FDIC Suit Claims BNY Mellon Breached Trustee Duties for $2 Billion Worth of RMBS The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) has filed a complaint in a Manhattan federal court accusing Bank of New York Mellon of breaching its duties as bond trustee for $2.06 billion worth of residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) purchased by an FDIC-insured bank in Texas which later failed, according to multiple media reports.The FDIC took Austin, Texas-based Guaranty Bank into receivership in 2009, and the agency claims it suffered losses of more than $440 million in March 2010 when it sold 12 mortgage-backed securities that were originally issued by the EMC Mortgage Corp unit of Bear Stearns and by Countrywide Home Loans in 2005 and 2006, according to a report from Reuters. Both Bear Stearns and Countrywide were bought out in 2008 by JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, respectively.The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, claims that BNY Mellon “shirked its duty” as a bond trustee to make sure that the securities were not defective. Among the claims made by the FDIC are that servicers collected “excessive fees” for servicing the loans in the covered trust after they defaulted, which resulted in “enormous losses” for the plaintiff, according to the reports.A spokesperson from BNY Mellon could not immediately be reached for comment.This is not the only lawsuit the FDIC has pending against a bank over RMBS sold to Guaranty Bank. Earlier in August, the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans revived a suit filed in 2014 by the FDIC accusing Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, and the Royal Bank of Scotland of fraud with regards to $840 million worth of mortgage-backed securities sold to Guaranty Bank in 2004 and 2005. A judge in Austin had previously dismissed the FDIC’s suit against the three financial institutions, claiming that the suit had not been filed in time under Texas law.The FDIC has a lawsuit similar to the BNY Mellon case pending against bond trustee U.S. Bancorp over the sales of about $248 million worth of RMBS to Guaranty Bank, citing losses when those RMBS were sold. Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Sign up for DS News Daily in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Home / Daily Dose / FDIC Suit Claims BNY Mellon Breached Trustee Duties for $2 Billion Worth of RMBS August 20, 2015 2,234 Views Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Related Articles About Author: Brian Honea Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago
Two Directors of the Student Loans Company have resigned after the massive delays in this year’s student loan payments.Wallace Gray, director of IT, and Martin Herbert, director of marketing and customer service, both resigned from the SLC’s board after a damning report from an inquiry into the payment problems.The inquiry, which was headed up by Professor Sir Deian Hopkin, stated that the SLC had shown a “conspicuous failure” to deliver the service. The inquiry blamed the failures on “management indecision and over-optimism”.During the course of the inquiry, it was discovered that the board of the SLC had failed to take quick and appropriate action when the new computer system that was used to process applications failed. This led to staff having to manually input applications themselves.The inquiry went further and stated that these technical difficulties were made even worse by the SLC’s ‘shut doors policy’ of not communicating, or engaging with, universities, Students Unions and the press about the problems they were having.A student from St Hilda’s said “I was waiting over a month for my loan payment and had to go massively into my overdraft until it arrived.”The Shadow Universities and Skills Secretary, David Willetts said, “This year’s student finance fiasco has been a disaster for students and a disaster for the reputation of ministers. The Government explicitly changed the system of student finance promising that it would be faster and more efficient. But in the first year of its operation the new system went into meltdown and ministers did not act despite warnings that serious problems were emerging.”He further commented, “Ministers should hang their heads in shame, both for their serial failure and their attempt to pass the buck.”The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said that nobody was available for comment.Meanwhile, the NUS has expressed surprise that the head of the SLC, Ralph Seymour-Jackson, has remained in place, stating, “it will be difficult for students and their families to view Ralph Seymour-Jackson as part of the solution rather than part of the problem.”The SLC has responded, “We are determined to do whatever it takes to ensure processing and payments are faster next year, so that we can deliver the service that students and their parents have every right to expect. We would like to say sorry again to those customers who have been so let down by us over the last few months.”It has been suggested that 28,000 students are still waiting to receive their loans and grants.
Two men were injured in a shooting at the intersection of Michigan and Wayne streets near Club Fever early Saturday morning, according to a statement from police spokesman Capt. Phil Trent published in the South Bend Tribune.The two South Bend residents suffered non-life-threatening gunshot wounds in the incident, and police were called to scene at the 100 block of East Wayne Street around 2:30 a.m. Officers said they saw the gunman fire at a nearby parking garage with a handgun, the Tribune reported.When the incident occurred, a crowd was leaving Club Fever, located at 222 S. Michigan Street. Trent said several people were fighting, and both of the men who sustained gunshot wounds are believed to have been at Club Fever prior to the shooting.Officers approached a 29-year-old man whom they believed to be the shooter. The man had a gunshot wound on his hand, but no gun in his possession, Trent told the Tribune.Shortly after, a 28-year-old man entered Memorial Hospital with a gunshot wound to his forearm and said he was shot while getting into his car on East Wayne Street, the Tribune reported. Both men said they did not know who shot them. Officers recovered shell casings in the parking garage but no guns, and therefore could not make any arrests. Trent said a shooting downtown is unusual, according to the Tribune.The club’s website stated that Fever is open from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Fridays. The Observer could not reach a Club Fever representative for comment. Trent could not be reached for comment either.Tags: Shooting
By April ReeseUniversity of GeorgiaComputer software developed by University of Georgia scientistscan enable coastal cities to determine safe pumping rates to keepsalt water out of municipal wells.Mark Bakker headed the engineering faculty team in the UGACollege of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. He said itdoesn’t take much salt to make well water unfit to drink.”If a small amount of salt water gets into the well, you’ll haveto shut the well down and drill a new well or find another sourcefor your drinking water,” Bakker said.”That’s obviously an expensive trick to pull,” he said,”especially when you’re on an island, where you may not have anyother options for drinking water.”EPA standardsThe Environmental Protection Agency’s standard for drinking waterallows for 250 milligrams of chlorides per liter of water. Bakkerbelieves computer modeling is one way to find the sustainablepumping rate of municipal drinking-water wells.Bakker’s faculty team developed SeaWater Intrusion, a softwarepackage that works with the U.S. Geological Survey groundwatermodel MODFLOW, which many people are already using. SWI allows aMODFLOW groundwater model to be used as a starting point.The UGA program may be used to find out how quickly salt water ismoving inland. “It can help managers decide if saltwaterintrusion is a problem in their area,” he said.Computer tools for modeling saltwater intrusion are already outthere. But they’re complicated, Bakker said. And they may requirea supercomputer, which limits their usefulness for watermanagement purposes.Simplified method”We’ve developed a simplified method that seems to work verywell,” Bakker said. “Because the existing MODFLOW program isalready in use along the Georgia coast, the SWI package can beapplied right away. The answers our package gives will be morethan enough to base many management decisions on.”The program is already being applied in the Northeastern UnitedStates and in the Netherlands near Amsterdam. Bakker hopes to seeit in use along Georgia’s coast soon.Many wells in Georgia coastal communities are increasinglythreatened by seawater intrusion.The SWI package, funded by the Georgia Coastal Incentives GrantsProgram, is free. It can be downloaded from www.engr.uga.edu/~mbakker/swi.htmlon any computer with a Windows operating system. It comes with adetailed manual.”We’re gaining experience in how to apply the tool and how to bemost effective with it,” Bakker said. “But we want to startapplying it to the Georgia coast. And we really depend on somecommunity support or some program funding to get this going.”(April Reese is a student writer with the University ofGeorgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)
Once a common species in California and across North America, the Western burrowing owl has become a rarer and rarer sight over the last three decades given habitat loss and other environmental perils the bird faces. Photo credit: iStockPhoto/ThinkstockEarthTalk®E – The Environmental MagazineDear EarthTalk: What is the Burrowing Owl Conservation Network and why is it so important to put so much effort into saving one species? — Ginny Bateman, Portland, ORWestern burrowing owls (Athene cunicularia) are tiny, long-legged members of the owl family, native to the Americas and preferring open landscapes where they can dig new holes or use existing ones (such as abandoned prairie dog, skunk or armadillo homes) to nest and rear their young. Unlike most other owl species, these small but charismatic birds are more often seen out and about during daylight hours, but they are most active and do their primary feeding at night, preferring a diet of small rodents and large insects.Once a common species in California and across North America, the Western burrowing owl has become a rarer and rarer sight over the last three decades given habitat loss and other environmental perils the bird faces. Biologists consider the bird an indicator of wider ecosystem health, so if its population numbers are healthy then local ecosystems are likely thriving. But these days the bird is endangered in Canada and threatened in Mexico, is a state endangered species in Colorado, and is considered a “species of special concern” in Florida and most of the western U.S. It is also listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN’s) international “Red List” of endangered and threatened species (albeit as a species of “Least Concern” in comparison with others in more dire straits).A group of dedicated birders, conservationists, biologists and concerned citizens in San Francisco’s East Bay came together to protect dwindling burrowing owl populations locally but ended up creating a movement that spans the entire North American continent. Their group, the Burrowing Owl Conservation Network (BOCN) believes that burrowing owls are vital to maintaining healthy, functioning ecosystems, and as such is working on several fronts to help protect habitat and reverse the animal’s population slide.First and foremost, BOCN works to conserve habitat for burrowing owls in California and beyond, including constructing artificial burrows to help re-establish burrowing owl colonies while larger ecosystem restoration efforts are underway. Teaching children and communities about ways they can help protect and improve burrowing owl habitat is another important part of BOCN’s work. Other ways the group helps the owls is by advocating for legislation and policy changes that encourage conservation of habitat, networking with like-minded individuals and institutions, and conducting field and laboratory research to increase understanding about how to help burrowing owls and create habitat conditions ideal for their survival.The fact that burrowing owl populations in other parts of the world are rebounding gives hope to BOCN and other wildlife advocates and environmentalists. The birds are common and widespread in Central and South America, where they inhabit fields and even sometimes parks in urban areas.Whether the birds can replicate their success in Latin America up north remains to be seen. As for what readers can do to help, learning about the behavior, biology and habitat needs of wild animals like the burrowing owl is a sure way to develop respect for nature’s inhabitants and a lifelong willingness to protect them. And nothing beats witnessing burrowing owls go about their rounds. Seeing them in the wild is enough to convince anyone that they are worth fighting to protect.CONTACTS: BOCN, www.burrowingowlconservation.org; IUCN Red List, www.iucnredlist.org.EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E – The Environmental Magazine ( www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: [email protected] Subscribe: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial.
Music Midtown Festival is here and stronger than ever! The event takes place this coming weekend, September 20th – 21st, in Atlanta, Georgia’s Piedmont Park. Gates open at 4pm on Friday and noon on Saturday. There will be 22 bands and musicians scattered throughout the three stages, which should keep you more than busy. Acts such as Phoenix, Cake, and Journey will be performing on Friday. A few of Saturday features are the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Kendrick Lamar, and Red Hot Chili Peppers. You can find the entire lineup schedule here on their website.Tickets can be purchased anytime online or at The Tabernacle (where there are no service fees) this Friday between 11am and 4pm. Tickets will also be sold at the gates, but be warned – they are likely to sell out by the time you arrive. Prices are as follows: a two-day pass is $110, just Friday is $50, and Saturday is $80. There are also unique VIP and Super VIP options providing special treatments like parking, a t-shirt, private restrooms, and complimentary food and beverages. While there isn’t any camping available on the grounds, there are plenty of hotels around the venue. The event is most definitely family friendly and welcomes people of all ages.There will be an artist market with unique and eclectic handmade goods. Vendors such as Williamson Brothers BBQ, Nectar Food Truck, and Publik Draft House will be on site providing food and refreshments. Working ATMs will be on festival grounds for all your cash needs.Music Midtown was first started in 1994 and took place annually for nearly 12 years. In 2006, one of the festival’s co-founders decided to cancel the event. Luckily, it was resurrected in 2011 thanks to the support of the mayor and access to a new location. Last year’s festival drew in 90,000 people, so get ready for a fun and energetic weekend!View Larger Map