Kids Caught in Crossfire of Nassau County vs. Union Fight, Nonprofit Says

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Virginia Singletary shifts uneasily in her chair while thinking of how fellow at-risk parents may lose their children to foster care if Nassau County takes over the nonprofit-run program that helped her.Family Ties, run by the Family and Children’s Association (FCA), coached the 52-year-old Hempstead woman through what she called “crucial situations” as she tried to keep her family together, something the program has done for about 200 families annually over the past 20 years. But the program’s 28 social workers recently learned that Nassau plans to end its contract next March following an unrelated union dispute, officials said. That’s because the union that represents county Department of Social Services (DSS) workers last year won a grievance to take over a separate program, but county and union officials later agreed to have Nassau absorb Family Ties instead, officials said.“The word alone, DSS, gives me a jilt in my stomach,” Singletary said, adding that the agency hasn’t been as helpful to her as FCA. “I’m just feeling like the sheet has been pulled from under us.”In 2012, the Nassau County Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) Local 830 had filed a grievance arguing that the county didn’t give the union enough time to respond to a proposal to hire FCA to offer alternatives to children who are so disobedient that their parents, guardians or other authorities must file a Person In Need of Supervision (PINS) petition in Family Court.When approved, PINS petitions allow judges to place dangerously out-of-control minors in foster care, group homes or other facilities where they can get special behavioral treatment. To give kids subject to such petitions a chance to improve and remain with their family, New York State a decade ago mandated PINS Diversion—the counseling program that CSEA said DSS should handle, not FCA. The nonprofit’s PINS Diversion program is called Family Solutions.Last November Elliott Shriftman, a Southampton-based arbitration attorney, ruled in favor of CSEA. DSS officials said that the settlement hasn’t been finalized, but an informal agreement was reached allowing FCA’s $2 million Family Ties contract be converted to a county-run program instead of FCA’s $1.3 million Family Solutions contract. It’s unclear when that deal is expected to be finalized; Shriftman could not be reached for comment.“Pursuant to the interim award, and with the mediation of the arbitrator, preventive services were returned to union members rather than PINS Diversion,” said Karen Garber, a spokeswoman for Nassau DSS. “The PINS Diversion program serves an extremely at-risk population, and there was a desire to avoid disturbing services in that area.”Asked to explain how children facing foster care if their parents aren’t helped by the Family Ties program are less “extremely at-risk” than children facing foster care if their parents win a PINS petition, Garber conceded that both sets of clients face “the same level of risk.” She then said that DSS workers aren’t experienced enough to handle PINS Diversion cases.“Family Solutions offers a wider range of clinical services, whereby Family Ties offers a wider range of casework,” Garber said. “It was recognized during mediation that civil service titles within DSS’s child welfare division does not require clinical experience, which is necessary to manage PINS Diversion. Based on the arbitrator’s decision, it was determined that Family Solutions should remain intact, and CSEA members could perform preventive services.”Now it’s FCA staffers who feel like their family is being broken up by bureaucrats. They plan to rally,testify and hold a news conference on the issue before the county legislature holds its next meeting in Mineola on Monday.“Our staff and the kids in the community are being caught in the crossfire of a labor dispute between the county and the union,” said Jeffrey Reynolds, FCA’s president and CEO. He said that DSS Commissioner John Imhoff gave him the news on June 12.“It was like walking into a buzz saw,” Reynolds added, “because that program was never on the table.”Rich Dopkin, director of communications for the CSEA, said that since the award is not yet final, he could not address the specifics of the case, but he insisted that “no one is getting neglected.”The staff of Family Ties, FCA’s second-largest program in Nassau, touts a 98-percent success rate of keeping kids out of foster care. Likening their casework to a calling, they’re concerned about how well DSS social workers—who’ve seen multiple rounds of layoffs in recent years—will handle their clients.“It’s not just a job for us,” said Donna Teichner, assistant director of Family Ties, which is based in Hempstead. “It’s a mission.”last_img read more

Northern California woman who slipped, died at Lake Tahoe’s Eagle Falls ID’d

first_imgEMERALD BAY — A woman who died at Eagle Falls was identified as 35-year-old Dina Stephanie Espinosa from the Bay Area, according to authorities.Espinosa was sitting in a pool of water near the waterfall Friday when she slipped while reaching for a branch, and was swept away in fast-moving waters, according to a statement from the El Dorado County Sheriff.A search and rescue team and dive team recovered Espinosa’s body, who was found deceased, according to the sheriff’s department.A GoFundMe …last_img

Housing: partnerships to boost delivery

first_imgSince its inception, the agency has facilitated the acquisition of land for housing developments across the country, allowing for more than 240 000 new houses to be handed over to new owners between 2008 and 2009. Sexwale says the growing demand for shelter and the mushrooming of informal settlements in most urban areas has necessitated a new approach to the housing challenge, one which will minimise corruption in the delivery of adequate houses. Focus on partnerships The basic entry requirement for the programme is that individuals need to be part of an already organised community group, or must have indicated they want to participate in a community-driven housing project. Dyantyi says that, if implemented correctly, the policy could benefit millions of people in need of houses, and could be the answer to the country’s housing delivery challenges. The development also forms part of the southern extension of the township. According to data from the Department of Human Settlements, some 2.7-million houses have been built in South Africa over the last 14 years. Building voucher system Authorities, however, admit that there have been challenges: “It’s a challenge and it’s going to take us time, but we will get there, it’s going to take one step at a time,” says Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale. With a backlog of over two-million houses, the government is embarking on radical changes that could turn the tide of housing delivery in South Africa through partnerships with NGOs and local community groups. Source: BuaNews One of the strategies listed in the policy, the People’s Housing Process (PHP), will see the establishment of a new funding mechanism that will allow for more community-driven projects in the delivery of what is now being termed “human settlements”. The government has realised that just building houses, without proper monitoring and maintenance, has resulted in unscrupulous contractors costing the state more than R1-billion to rebuild badly constructed houses. People’s Housing Process Housing Development Agency The department has, however since agreed to review the guidelines. Provinces are required to manage their demand databases more effectively to prevent confusion on waiting lists that has led to conflicts in many parts of the country. The PHP’s policy framework and guidelines were at one stage also met with much resistance from some quarters, as they were said to be too narrow in their focus and apparently did not redefine the policy in a way that community-driven initiatives could be included. He is adamant the new national housing policy could turn the tide in the delivery of houses, an issue that has become central to service delivery protests throughout the country. But the PHP has not been without challenges. One of the concerns, raised during a conference to debate the policy, is the amount of time it takes for municipalities to release land for PHP projects, something believed to be causing delays for some community projects. “PHP encourages government supporting those communities who want to work with government to build human settlements in terms of a demand-led approach … This must be viewed and managed constructively so that is not seen as a means of queue-jumping,” reads the policy document. Spending on housing delivery had also increased from R4.8-billion in 2004/05 to R10.9-billion in the last financial year, increasing at an average rate of 23%. The PHP policy further proposes an alignment of the existing housing delivery programmes, but with a focus on partnerships among non-governmental organisations and community groups. The process involves beneficiaries actively participating in decision-making over the housing process and housing product. Richard Dyantyi, special adviser to Sexwale, says plans are under way to introduce a voucher system, in which organised communities will be given vouchers to access building material and short courses to enable them to start their own housing projects. “These are the proposals that we need to debate and take to the people, because a lot is involved with human settlement – you need parks, you need clinics … So it’s very important that we empower these communities so they can deliver human settlements that will be sustainable,” Dyantyi said. The demand became so high that the then Department of Housing was forced to look outside itself for solutions to meet its deadline for delivery when it announced the establishment of a Housing Development Agency in 2009. Government officials acknowledge that post-1994, South Africa marked the beginning of an unprecedented demand for houses as more people moved to urban areas in search of economic opportunities created by the new democratic order. 31 August 2010 “We don’t just build houses anymore, that thing is not working, we are building human settlements … People must have clinics, police stations and places where children can play, and we are involving communities in that,” he said during the launch of the first PHP-model housing development in Plettenberg Bay recently. “Beneficiaries are empowered individually and collectively so that the community ultimately takes control of the housing process themselves,” the policy document reads. “This includes identifying the land, planning the settlement, getting approvals and resources to begin the development.” The model has also been introduced in Gauteng province, where 907 units were handed over to residents of DoornKop, Soweto two weeks ago. Once completed, it is expected to create more than 24 000 housing opportunities for people who qualify for subsidised housing and those who earn between R3 500 and R7 500 monthly. Challenges, concernslast_img read more

Leslie Century Farm grounded in faith and perseverance

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Matt ReeseJim Leslie was born in 1928, the youngest of six and 14 years younger than his next oldest brother. Being so much younger, as a boy Jim learned, mostly on his own, the hardships, joys and constant change of life on the Wyandot County farm purchased by his grandparents in 1882.Jim still has scars on his foot from when he disobediently scooted his tricycle through the kitchen and put his foot in the hot, fresh apple butter his mother was making with neighbors. He can remember the community gathering on the farm and butchering for the winter.“We used to butcher here at this farm for the neighborhood. We had a Model A Ford. We’d jack up the rear wheel and put a belt on the spokes of the wheel. We’d start the car, the wheel would turn and that would run the meat grinder,” Jim said. “We’d hang the meat in the summer kitchen. Mom would go out and slice the mold off the outside of the meat to cut out the steaks and cook them. We’d throw the moldy meat she cut off in the pigpen. People today wouldn’t eat that meat, but if you want a pretty good steak, that was good stuff.”The days of his youth went slowly, but the years flew by, as did the changes on the farm through the last century.“The farm is one field today, but at that time it was in six fields. We had a hog lot, we had a cattle lot and a woods with a pond in it. We had a well clear in the back so we could water the sheep. The cows were sold when my brother was in high school,” Jim said. “I can remember when they wired the house for electricity. I was in the fifth or sixth grade. We had one light in the kitchen on a wire that hung down from the ceiling, the same thing in the living room and one plug-in in the kitchen. I was sick home from school the day they turned the electric on and the lights came on in the house. That was a big deal. I can remember when they put the indoor plumbing in too. I was out of high school then. I didn’t enjoy running out to the outhouse in December. It was no fun to clean that thing out either. The first radio we had ran on batteries and that was a big deal too, but we only could get one or two stations.”As much older siblings moved away from home, Jim took on more of the farm duties, especially after eighth grade when he got a Ford Ferguson tractor and a plow for Christmas.“We owned 80 acres and rented other ground to get 220 acres. There were a lot of late nights and early mornings,” Jim said. “If you got 20 acres a day plowed with that Ford tractor that was a big deal from morning to night. Now our lawnmower has more horsepower than that Ford tractor.”Jim’s father died when he was a senior in high school. It was just Jim and his mother at home. Times were tough, but Jim made it work as he took over the farm. The farm was rented out to cousins for a couple of years while Jim was in the service, stationed in Germany in the 1950s. Jim came home and the first thing he did was buy a farm.“When I came home from the service, this farm was for sale at an auction. I paid cash and used all my money. Then I couldn’t get a loan to buy the seed and fertilizer. I was up a creek without a paddle,” he said. “I ran into a friend who worked with farm credit and they loaned me the money to plant crops.”In 1957, Jim married Dorothy, a farmer’s daughter from southeast of Columbus.“When we got married, we looked at the house on the farm I’d just bought and Dorothy said that we’d need to do something to the house before we lived in it,” Jim said. “So, we sold her car and put a roof on it.”Their first years together on the farm were tough, and many people had doubts about whether the Leslies could prevail. Jim’s mother still lived at the home farm, but was getting elderly and needed care as well.“The first couple of years were tight,” Dorothy said. “The first year we were married was the only year we didn’t get everything planted. It rained and rained and rained. I would go out barefooted to pick the garden because it was too muddy to wear shoes. We were on our own. Either we made it or we broke it. We had no family to help us. It was do or die for us. We were going to make it go or try something else.”Even when the crops didn’t grow, the bills had to be paid.“My mom didn’t have any income except for the farm. I bought the farm from her so she had that money and we took care of her. Dorothy is a registered nurse and she kept us in business for a while,” Jim said. There were a couple of years there that lenders told us we should maybe look at different options of things to do, but we got the job done. There wasn’t a choice. We just did it. With Dorothy’s help, things worked out. I can’t stress that enough.”After years of constant toil on the farm, things finally started looking up and Jim was really coming into his own as a farmer in 1965. It was late winter of that year though, when life took another challenging turn that set the stage for the future of the farm.“I was driving home from bowling on the church bowling team one night. A drunk ran me off the road and I rolled the pickup truck multiple times. There were no seat belts in those days. My back was badly hurt and my scalp was peeled open and laid over,” Jim said. “I was too injured to plant the crop that spring. It was pretty discouraging.”The Leslie’s previous perseverance on the farm, though, had made an impression on the community.“Our ag credit manager asked me what we were going to do. I told him I wasn’t sure, and a few days later he came out and worked the ground and planted oats for us. That same year, around 20 farmers in the community got together, brought all of their own equipment and helped plant everything else for us all in one day. There were so many tractors out here. We were buying fuel from the Marathon Corporation at that time and they supplied the fuel for the tractors that day. I never got a bill for the fuel that was used. The wives all fixed dinner. We set up tables in the backyard and all of the wives made food. They stopped for lunch and at about 6:00 they were done planting everything,” Jim said. “The Ford dealer in Upper Sandusky even brought out a little Ranger so I could drive around the farm and see everything. Another neighbor came out a day early to get stuff all lined up.”That day changed the farm, and the farmers.“They didn’t expect anything back,” Dorothy said. “How do you thank someone who does that for you? Farmers still do that today. I don’t know how many places do that anymore.”“I vowed after that that I would help everybody else out. I never made it around to help everybody, but I have gotten the chance to help many of them. We have tried to help families in a lot of ways, but we don’t like to make a lot of to-do about it,” Jim said. “It gave us a boost and we managed to pay our bills that year. I was still wearing a body brace for harvest that fall and I had some part-time help come in. I don’t remember how the crops were, but we paid the bills and had money to put out the next crop. We were able to rent more ground after that and grow the farm.“It went from an old general farm to a commercial farm. Every year there is always something new and the last 10 years things have really changed. Now you need a book to know how to run this equipment. The physical stress now is a lot less. The technology has been a big thing. No-till has been a big change too. We plant all of our soybeans and wheat in no-till and there is minimal tillage for the corn. No-till has been a godsend for us. I’ll be 91 in October and I’m still able to go out and run the tractor and do a lot of work. That is where the technology has come in. If I had to do things the way we used to do them, I couldn’t do it. It has been a miracle. The combine cab is air conditioned and it drives itself.”The Leslies have four boys and three of them live nearby and work on the farm.“The farm is a good place to raise children. They learn responsibility and accountability, even though you get tired you don’t quit, you just persevere until the job is done,” Dorothy said. “Watching the sun rise and set with family leaves a lasting impression on all of us.”With rented ground, the farm expanded to over 2,000 acres through the years. This spring was the first since 1957 where some of the farm’s acres were left unplanted because of wet weather. The Leslies know they have been lucky, but there is more to a successful Century Farm than luck.Jim said looking at Dorothy with the sincerest of grins, “You need a wife that’ll stick with you.”Dorothy returned the grin and said, “You have to have faith. He said He will give a time to plant and a time to harvest. Where there is a challenge, you can’t just give up. That faith and persistence has worked for us all these years.”In May of 1965 farmers from around the community came to help get the Leslie’s crop planted after Jim was injured in an automobile accident. In this picture they are taking a break for lunch.last_img read more

PWD makes visual inspection annual checkups mandatory for bridges

first_imgKolkata: The state Public Works Department (PWD) has made it mandatory to have “visual inspection” four times a year, along with an annual health check-up for proper maintenance of the bridges and flyovers under its jurisdiction.The respective divisions will be responsible for undertaking periodic inspection, taking up repairs and proper maintenance of the bridges under their jurisdictions. Each division will take up visual inspection of the bridges four times in a year – February, May, August and November. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal life”In case they notice any distress or any condition which requires expert opinion, they shall inform the same in writing to the Bridge Inspection and Monitoring Cell and follow up with them so that the advice is received early and action is initiated,” read the notification. Elaborating on the health check-up that will be done once a year, the notification stated that such process will include all non-destructive testing of various components of the bridge to find out indications of distress, a distress mapping of the bridge, prescription for repairs and other actions needed to restore the bridge to the condition it was in just after construction. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedThe Bridge Inspection and Monitoring Cell (BIMC) will empanel a list of agencies for conducting annual health check-up of the bridges. PWD has even specified the roles of the divisions and the BIMC. Apart from maintenance, visual inspection and repairing, the divisions have been empowered to impose traffic restriction/blockage and speed restrictions in consultation with the cell, as and when needed. It has to maintain a register for each bridge, with original drawings and specifications, details of all repair and other work carried out on the bridge and inspection reports. It will have to conduct annual health check-up by engaging agency, obtain reports, share the reports with BIMC and take follow-up action on recommendations in consultation with the cell. The BIMC will function under the direction of Chief Engineer (Planning), Roads. A Zonal Committee will monitor the activities of bridge inspection and rehabilitation at the zonal level each month.last_img read more

Youll Never Guess What This FireSpitting Drone Is Used For

first_img Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Register Now » Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Drones that spit fire. How crazy is that?That’s right. Forget delivery. These drones shoot fire. An electric company in Xiangyang, China, came up with the creative solution of equipping drones with flame throwers in order to burn trash off of the city’s power lines. Apparently, trash getting stuck on power lines is a thing. And, apparently, sending in fire-breathing drones is easier than forcing a human to climb up so high on a high-voltage power line.See the hot, hot action for yourself here:The drone apocalypse begins in 3, 2, 1…center_img February 20, 2017 1 min readlast_img

Alaska air carrier suspends operations after 2nd crash

first_img Share Alaska air carrier suspends operations after 2nd crash By: The Associated Press ANCHORAGE — An Alaska air carrier involved in two deadly floatplane crashes in a week has voluntarily suspended operations, federal officials said Tuesday.The halt of flightseeing and commuter flights is in place indefinitely, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.The action comes after the passenger and the pilot of a Beaver floatplane operated by Taquan Air were killed when the single-engine aircraft crashed in Metlakatla Harbor on Monday afternoon during a 35-kilometre commuter flight from Ketchikan.Witnesses reported to federal investigators that one of the two floats on the plane dug into the water during landing, causing the right wing to hit the water and then the aircraft to cartwheel several times, according to Clint Johnson, chief of the National Transportation Safety Board in Alaska. The wing broke off and is missing.Johnson said witnesses also reported the Beaver floatplane landed upside down and became submerged in water. An NTSB investigator arrived at Metlakatla late Tuesday morning, he said.In a statement, Taquan Air confirmed it suspended all operations. The company said it “was reeling” from not only Monday’s crash, but a midair collision last week involving another Taquan plane that killed six.More news:  Save the dates! Goway’s Africa Roadshow is back“It’s been a really heavy and heartbreaking time for us,” the company wrote. “Our priority has been our passengers and their families and our internal staff, and pilots.”The passenger was identified by her employer and relatives in California as Sarah Luna. The Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium said in a statement that Luna joined the group nearly a year ago as a senior epidemiologist in the liver disease and hepatitis program. Luna, 32, had flown to Metlakatla to provide health services to the community.Metlakatla Police Chief Bruce Janes identified the pilot as 51-year-old Ron Rash of Harrisburg, PA.The crash occurred in light winds and 16-kilometre visibility, Johnson said. The plane also was carrying a load of cargo and was supposed to also pick up other passengers after landing.Johnson said it was “way too early” to determine a cause. He anticipates the preliminary report into the crash to be released by the end of the week.Monday’s crash followed the May 13 midair collision of a Taquan Air Otter floatplane with another floatplane. Six people died in that crash and another 10 people were injured. Both planes were carrying sightseeing cruise ship passengers.More news:  Rome enforces ban on sitting on Spanish StepsJohnson said the NTSB is investigating both crashes as separate cases.Last summer, all 11 on board another Taquan Air flight survived when the 72-year-old pilot confused snow on a mountain with a body of water and crashed on a rocky mountainside on Prince of Wales Island near the southern tip of the Alaska Peninsula.A pilot and eight cruise ship passengers died June 25, 2015, when a de Havilland DHC-3 Otter operated by Promech Air Inc. crashed into mountainous terrain about 38 kilometres from Ketchikan, also as it was returning from Misty Fjords.The NTSB later determined that pilot error, the company’s culture and lack of a formal safety program were among the causes of that crash. Taquan Air purchased the assets of Promech in 2016, and currently employs three pilots who worked for Promech, a company spokeswoman said last week. Tags: Alaska, Floatplane Wednesday, May 22, 2019 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more