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County Extends Essential Services Status Through May 15 To Comply With Governor’s “Stay At Home” Executive Order

first_imgCounty Manager Harry Burgess COUNTY News:Los Alamos County Manager Harry Burgess announced today that the County will continue its Essential Services status due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in response to the extension to the executive order issued by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham. The Governor has extended her order through Friday, May 15.“While I am encouraged by the data provided by the State Department of Health that New Mexico may be turning the corner on fighting the spread of the Coronavirus, we are not out of danger just yet and need to be diligent in our practices,” Burgess said. “Our Emergency Manager, Beverley Simpson, is beginning to develop a Recovery Plan that I will be reviewing with Department Directors over the next few weeks, with a goal of gradually re-opening our offices and County-managed facilities. It is likely this will take some time and involves myriad challenges for staffing and resources. I am pleased with the level of services that we have been able to maintain for the past five weeks with our current ‘skeleton crew’ – our employees are doing a great job in providing services while greatly minimizing or eliminating face-to-face interactions with the public. By extending my directive three more weeks, we will continue to align with the Governor’s executive order and keep our workforce and the public as safe as possible.”Burgess said there has been no change to his previous direction to employees, first issued mid-March:Employees providing essential services who have the ability to work from home (telecommute) will continue to be assigned work.Employees providing essential services who have a job that requires them to be in the field, such as public safety or utilities’ workers, will report to work as scheduled.All other employees who provide non-essential services, as defined and determined by Department Directors and with approval from the County Manager, will remain at home. They will be on special Emergency Paid Leave status, must be in contact with their Supervisor daily, and could be recalled to work at any time.Customer service windows within County facilities are still closed to over-the-counter transactions and communication with County employees is being provided via phone or e-mail. Individuals should not travel to County facilities without first phoning the department they wish to visit to inquire about their current level of services, restrictions on visits, and any other information they can share about their transaction. In many cases, services are available on-line and members of the public will be directed to these resources. If an in-person visit is urgent and necessary, an appointment will be scheduled by phone or e-mail.Burgess said that recovering from the pandemic will still take time and asked for residents to be patient, stay at home if at all possible, and practice social distancing of six feet or more.“Recovering from such a wide-sweeping, national pandemic like this is extraordinary and we must consider short and long-term impacts,” Burgess said. “This is a marathon, not a sprint, and we need to plan and react accordingly in a safe, thoughtful manner.”Burgess said that he would continue to assess the situation and update his directive to all employees on or before May 15, as he continues to monitor activities at the State level.“The Governor has indicated that she is in the “preparation” stage of re-opening the State in a variety of ways, phased over time, and thus we will be prepared to shift staffing and resources,” Burgess said, adding that he expects the Governor will be coming forward with more details on her recovery plans before May 15, which could include additional guidance for local governments to consider.Burgess reminded the public that the County posts COVID-19 updates on the County’s website and encouraged residents to check the website daily for new posts: read more


Planning a sustainable future

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Shelter Island School to Part Ways With ‘Indians’ Name

first_imgThe longtime Shelter Island School name and mascot will soon be a thing of the past. P. LabrozziIn an unanimous vote Monday night, the Shelter Island School Board did away with the school’s sports moniker and its mascot, the Indians, following a push this summer to retire what many said was an offensive and stereotypical use of a name and image.The decision came after the school board heard from people on both sides of the issue. In July, former students started an online petition that was later presented to the board, and school board members reviewed the material for the past few weeks before moving on the issue at a meeting Monday.“I’m proud of the Shelter Island School Board for their diligence in going through this process,” said Kathleen Lynch, the school board president. “It has not been an easy place to sit but we were so impressed with the turnout at our two meetings and the number of community members who came forward to share their thoughts and opinions.”Bryan Polite, the chairman of the Shinnecock Nation Tribal Council, was pleased to learn of the decision Monday night. He had denounced the use of “Indians” as a moniker and disagreed with those who claimed it was a way to honor the Native Americans who called Shelter Island home. People on both sides of the issue told the board the image at center court was not even historically accurate of the Native Americans who lived on Shelter Island, the East End or even the East Coast.“I am happy that the Shelter Island School Board voted to rename and reimage the Shelter Island School mascot,” Polite said. “It was great to see the energy of current and former students build the movement to have a discussion about racial imaging and how it affects the surrounding community. The conversation was long overdue and I want to thank the students who organized and brought this much needed change.”The decision, said Emma Gallagher, a recent graduate who helped organize a protest on Shelter Island in line with the Black Lives Matter movement following George Floyd’s death, shows students “that it is okay to learn, grow, and change accordingly.”“It is okay to know better and do better. I am excited to see how the school and community will work together to further develop curriculum, collaborate with the Shinnecock Nation, provide field trip opportunities and assemblies, etc. There are so many creative ways we can learn about native culture and history, and I am confident everyone involved will contribute to a more inclusive education,” she said late Monday night.Gallagher was thankful to everyone for “making this happen,” but she commended another former student, Lisa Kaasik, who first took on the issue seven years ago, though the then-board declined to make the change. “I know change can be hard, but change is also necessary. This is a victory on the path to a more fair and inclusive future,” she said.Gallagher said that she is also excited to see what the school’s new mascot will be, adding that she is partial to the Shelter Island Fish Hawks. Other suggestions have been the Islanders and the Osprey. “I hope the process of choosing a new mascot includes all who wish to be involved and truly brings Shelter Island together in rallying behind something that represents the love and pride we all have for the school,” she said.The board will take on the next task of finding a new mascot soon. “The change will be a process and we are in no rush,” Lynch said. “It’s our plan to create a task force or committee so as to address not just how we might decide upon a new name but how we can best honor and remember the Native Americans of Shelter Island. A number of wonderful ideas were put forth at our meetings and in our correspondence so there is a lot to talk about. Right now though, our number one priority is returning our children, faculty and staff to the building safely.” Sharelast_img read more


Balancing act

first_imgThere are inevitably points in the civil justice system where tension arises between competing interests, whether this be administrative processes or in a clash of legal principles. One example, highlighted recently in the decision in CIP Properties (AIPT) Limited vs Galliford Try Infrastructure Limited and others [2014] EWHC 3546, concerned the tension between the need to administer cases as swiftly and cost-effectively as possible through the litigation process and the desire to allow the parties adequate opportunity to explore settlement through alternative dispute resolution (ADR). The question here was whether the court should allow a stay of the proceedings while the parties explored the possibility of mediation.CIP concerns a claim by assignees in respect of alleged defects at a large development on the site of the former children’s hospital in Ladywood, Birmingham. CIP brought a claim for damages against the main contractor based principally on the actual/estimated costs of remedial works.  The contractor issued third party proceedings against the architects and certain of their subcontractors. The trial estimate is six weeks but may take longer.  Numerous experts have been called to give evidence.  In other words, a large, complex and expensive piece of litigation. Two issues came before the court at the case management conference (CMC) which the judge considered sufficiently important to make the subject of a separate judgment.  The second concerned the court’s powers to order filing and exchange of costs budgets and I will not deal with that issue here.The trial date needs to be as soon as reasonably possible but not so soon that the parties have no time to explore settlementThe first issue concerned the proposal by the defendants that the court should order a four-month “window” in the timetable prior to disclosure to allow the parties to explore settlement by way of ADR (probably mediation).  This was opposed by the claimant on the basis that, as assignee, it would not have seen or been party to much of the contemporaneous documentation which it would need to see to understand the details of the claim and therefore it would be disadvantaged in any attempt to mediate prior to disclosure. The judge was very careful in his judgment to point out that the judges in the TCC set great store by ADR and that the TCC lists in London would be impossible to operate without the good work of mediators and others involved in the ADR process. Notwithstanding this, the fixing of the trial date, which takes place at the CMC, often then dictates the timetable itself and is one of the critical elements of any CMC.  The trial date needs to be as soon as reasonably possible in the circumstances of the particular matter in dispute but not so soon that the parties have no time to explore settlement.   These competing interests are balanced by identifying a period between various stages of the litigation process, such as disclosure and exchange of witness statements, to allow the parties enough time to consider and engage in ADR.  How long this period will be will obviously depend on the length of the overall timetable.   What the court will not do is to stay the whole of the proceedings to allow ADR to take place since, inevitably, the court proceedings end up being delayed by the period of the “window”.  Consequently, in the CIP case, the court declined to order the “window” requested by the defendants and instead built an appropriate period into the timetable itself. The decision represents a sensible and pragmatic approach to balancing the twin requirements of procedural fairness and encouragement to settle through ADR. You will be expected not only to proceed to trial as swiftly and cost-effectively as reasonably possible, but also to seek to resolve the case whenever the opportunity arises.  As we know from numerous decisions following on from Halsey vs Milton Keynes General NHS Trust [2004] EWCA Civ.576, the court considers that the vast majority of cases are capable of being mediated or resolved through ADR and will expect to see the parties actively engaging in at least one if not more attempts to mediate a settlement before trial is reached. Although CIP reflects what should be common practice anyway, it reinforces the need for the parties to litigation to be mindful at all times of the opportunity to settle and to take that opportunity while the timetable allows. Simon Lewis is a partner in the construction and engineering team at Bond Dickinsonlast_img read more


Life of Imam Haron honoured

first_imgFatima Haron-Masoed and Shamiela Shamis, (fourth and fifth from left) the daughters of Imam Abdullah Haron, officially open the mobile exhibition, which depicts their fathers life and legacy. With them are, Michael Janse van Rensburg, chairperson of the Imam Haron Foundation, Cassiem Khan, Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport head of department, Brent Walters, and Mxolisi Dlamuka. The Imam Haron Foundation and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) launched an exhibition as part of the 50th commemoration of the martyrdom of Imam Abdullah Haron.The launch took place at the Dulcie September civic centre in Athlone, on Thursday September 12.Imam Haron was a political prisoner who died while in prison, after being interrogated and tortured by the apartheid security branch in 1969. Earlier this year, the foundation embarked on the #123 Days Campaign to commemorate the life of Imam Haron, who spent 123 days in solitary confinement.Imam Haron’s daughter, Fatima Haron-Masoed, said she has been assisting the foundation with its #123 Days Campaign.“What stands out for me of the exhibition is the memories and the legacy my father left. We are also grateful to the provincial government, that his story is being told, not just in words, but in photographs and art as well, so that the youth can recognise who Imam Haron was. Our youth are lost with so many social ills, and we cannot separate ourselves, if we think about what the imam would have done about it. This is especially now, as our country finds itself in this grief-stricken crime. The life of my father, Imam Haron, serves as an inspiration and hope for us,” Ms Haron-Masoed said.Her sister, Shamiela Shamis, said she is grateful to her sister and brother for all the preparation they have done.“I live in London, and cannot be as hands-on as they are. I am amazed and thankful for all they have done. I only joined them three weeks ago, and I only saw the exhibition today for the first time. I am overwhelmed and need to take it all in. I am so grateful.”Ms Shamis said their mother, Galiema Haron, 93, is very frail, and as a family they wish her ease.Brent Walters, the head of department at DCAS, said the foundation approached his department in January to partner with them for the 50th commemoration.“We had a chess tournament and a rugby tournament, as well as the declaration of Imam Haron’s grave as a heritage site. If the story promotes social inclusion, then we have to do it, and that is what Imam Haron stood for,” Mr Walters said.He added that the exhibition is a mobile one and will be at the Claremont mosque and other museums across Cape Town.Chairperson of the Imam Haron Foundation, Cassiem Khan, said it was important that he not only be remembered for the “big tremor and his funeral”, but also for the role he played in society. On the day that Iman Haron was buried, September 29 1969, two days after his death, the Tulbagh earthquake occurred, measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale and the most destructive earthquake in South African history.“He transcended barriers, and it speaks to us now – social justice. I would like to echo the view of Henriette Abrahams (a Bonteheuwel activist) when she came to speak at the Claremont mosque. “She said we don’t need the army in our communities, we need an army of Imam Harons, as there is a need for people to work just as hard and just as much as he did to bring about social change,” Mr Khan said. Fatima Haron-Masoed and Shamiela Shamis, (fourth and fifth from left) the daughters of Imam Abdullah Haron, officially open the mobile exhibition, which depicts their fathers life and legacy. With them are, Michael Janse van Rensburg, chairperson of the Imam Haron Foundation, Cassiem Khan, Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport head of department, Brent Walters, and Mxolisi Dlamuka. 1 of 2center_img Poet Khadija Heeger delivered a moving poem she wrote about the women in the Haron family.last_img read more


Deal reached to fund federal government through Sept.

first_img Published: April 30, 2017 9:54 PM EDT Updated: April 30, 2017 10:14 PM EDT Do you see a typo or an error? Let us know. Deal reached to fund federal government through Sept. WASHINGTON (AP) Top Capitol Hill negotiators reached a hard-won agreement on a huge $1 trillion-plus spending bill that would fund the day-to-day operations of virtually every federal agency through September, aides said Sunday night.Details of the agreement were expected to be made public Sunday night, said aides to lawmakers involved in weeks of negotiations. The House and Senate had until midnight Friday to pass a measure to avert a government shutdown.The catchall spending bill would be the first major piece of bipartisan legislation to advance during President Donald Trump’s short tenure in the White House. It denies Trump a win on his oft-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, but gives him a $15 billion down payment on his request to strengthen the military.It also rejects White House budget director Mick Mulvaney’s proposals to cut popular programs such as funding medical research and community development grants and adds $1.5 billion for border security measures such as additional detention beds.Most of the core decisions about agency budgets had been worked out, but unrelated policy issues – such as a Democratic request to help the cash-strapped government of Puerto Rico with its Medicaid burden – were among the final holdups.The aides required anonymity because they were not allowed to speak about the agreement by name.Democrats have denied Trump a big-picture win on obtaining an initial down payment for his oft-promised border wall with Mexico, while anti-abortion lawmakers didn’t even attempt to use the must-pass measure to try to cut off federal money for Planned Parenthood.Details were being closely held ahead of an agreement, but Trump and Capitol Hill defense hawks procured a $15 billion infusion of cash for Pentagon readiness and won funding for other border security accounts, such as detention beds for people entering the country illegally.Democrats praised a $2 billion funding increase for the National Institutes of Health – rejecting the steep cuts proposed by Trump – as well as additional funding to combat opioid abuse, fund Pell Grants for summer school and additional transit funding. A provision extending health care for 22,000 retired Appalachian coal miners and their families was on track to provide permanent health benefits, a priority of Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and other Appalachia region lawmakers.Democratic votes will be needed to pass the measure, so even though Republicans control both the White House and Congress, Democrats have been actively involved in the talks, which appear headed to produce a lowest-common-denominator measure that won’t look too much different than the deal that could have been struck on President Barack Obama’s watch last year.Republicans had pressed for policy wins with so-called riders related to other abortion-related issues and blocking environmental regulations such as Obama’s sweeping expansion of the Clean Water Act. They also hoped to chuck new financial rules. But Democrats pushed back and were hopeful that the measure would not contain many items they deemed “poison pills.”center_img Author: Associated Press SHARElast_img read more


QS firms poised for ABS status

first_imgSeveral QualitySolicitors firms are considering moving to alternative business structure status, the group revealed today. Midlands firm QS Parkinson Wright today became the second of its stable to be licensed as an ABS by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. It joined four other firms to be approved by the regulator, taking the total number of ABSs to 88. A spokesman for QualitySolicitors said its firms were free to make decisions about how to run and finance their businesses. Last month, Wigan firm QS Stephensons became the first of its member practices to convert. The spokesman said: ‘QS and our partner firms are committed to innovation in this fast-changing legal marketplace. ‘ABS [status] can be an attractive option with a number of possible benefits and several of our firms are currently considering its potential, with QS’s support.’ Among the other successful applicants is Stratford firm GPB Solicitors, which specialises in commercial law and debt recovery. The firm’s chief executive Tony Kirton told the Gazette that ABS status could lead to bolt-on arrangements with other services, as well as encouraging private equity investment. Eastgate Chambers, formed in the Midlands in 2010 as a spin-off from Chris Clark Solicitors, is another new ABS. Managing director Chris Clark said: ‘We see the advantages of an ABS as two-fold – firstly it allows legal organisations to develop in a changing legal landscape by diversifying with, in our case, other professionals but more importantly we are able to offer our clients a wider range of services under one roof. ‘The opportunity of outside capital investment I see more as a way of providing an easier route of succession.’ Its associate practice Chris Clark Ltd, which has a solicitors firm and estate agent, is also looking at a separate ABS application. The other successful ABS applicants are full-service Oldham firm Pearson Hinchcliffe and MTA Solicitors, which has offices in London, Kent and Manchester.last_img read more


Border force: Dentons enjoys Scottish merger lift

first_imgGlobal firm Dentons enjoyed a 27% boost in profits the last financial year, according to accounts published today which incorporate its tie-up with Scottish firm Maclay Murray and Spens (MMS).The results, to the end of April 2018, include six months of trading as a combined firm. Net profit was £60m on overall revenue of £205m, the firm reported. No pre-tax profit figure was given. The accounts relate to Dentons’ business in the UK and Middle East.Dentons’ combination with MMS went live in October 2017. MMS is Scotland’s oldest commercial law firm and was founded in 1871.The average number of UK members in the year was 155 (176 by year end post-merger), and the highest paid member earned £1.4m.Jeremy Cohen, chief executive for the UK & Middle East, said: ‘It is particularly pleasing to have achieved this level of revenue and profit growth during a period of intensive integration activity arising from the merger with MMS. Since joining forces half way through the financial year our lawyers in England and Scotland worked together on more than 1,000 client matters.’Meanwhile international firm Clyde & Co reported a rise in profit share for its highest paid member, but a £3m drop in the amount shared by its senior management team.In accounts published today the firm said its highest partner was paid £1.4m in the financial year ending April 2018, compared with £1.3m the year before. Senior partners, referred to as the ‘key management group’, drew £9.3m, down £3m from £12.3m in 2016/17.Overall operating profit was £132m, up 6% from £124m on revenue up 7.6% to £550m.last_img read more


Courts ‘could come under pressure’ to hear complicated possession cases quickly

first_imgCourts could find themselves under pressure to list complicated cases brought by private landlords if housing possession proceedings resume next month, the Gazette has been told. However, Sally Denton, senior solicitor at Nottingham Law Centre, said tenants in such cases will need representation the most amid concern over plans that could result in vulnerable tenants being evicted without help from a duty solicitor.Yesterday, the Gazette revealed that Brentford County Court is consulting on proposals to hear possession cases remotely when a 90-day suspension on all housing possession proceedings is lifted. The court’s ‘present thinking’ is that in the first instance, the court will arrange and conduct possession hearings by telephone or Skype. Court notices will point out that there will almost certainly be no duty solicitor scheme. Other London courts are believed to have issued similar letters.Denton said Nottingham County Court is looking at ways to resume possession cases, including ways to operate the system so people can safely attend court in person and get help from the duty solicitor scheme.Denton said courts will be under pressure to list private landlords’ cases quickly. But these cases ‘will be exactly the ones where you need legal representation more’. They are likely to be more complicated than cases involving local authority tenants, contain more mandatory grounds, and require a detailed look at technical aspects based on the validity of notices.‘You need to have a proper opportunity to look at the paperwork,’ Denton said. ‘One of the things I have experienced from having to work from home is how difficult it is to advise people when you haven’t got all of the documents to hand. One of the things about the duty solicitor scheme, where it really works, is you have got the client, the person on the other side, everyone is there, you can see all of the information which you need to see, you can get to the bottom of what’s going on. It’s going to be difficult if you’re having a conversation remotely. A lot of cases get sorted out of court by having conversations with the opponent.’On 4 May, the commons housing, communities and local government committee asked housing secretary Robert Jenrick when the government will decide whether to extend the moratorium on evictions to six months.Jenrick said the ‘decision point’ is in June and will ‘depend on the medical advice we’re receiving on the passage of the virus and the lockdown measures that may or may not be in place at that time’.In March the government said it was working with the judiciary to widen the pre-action protocol on possession proceedings to include private renters and strengthen its remit. Jenrick told the committee that the protocol ‘puts a duty upon the landlord to work in good faith with their tenant to see if there is a sensible way in which you can manage the situation before embarking upon possession proceedings’. In most cases, this would involve coming up with a repayment plan and will provide additional protection to tenants ‘even after the moratorium is lifted’.last_img read more


CARICOM and Martelly to meet on controversial Dominican Republic court ruling

first_img Share Sharing is caring! 17 Views   no discussions KINGSTON, Jamaica, CMC – The Caribbean Community (CARICOM), will be meeting next week to discuss the recent controversial ruling by the Constitutional Court in the Dominican Republic which has stripped thousands of their citizenship.This was revealed by President Michel Martelly of Haiti who is on a three day official visit to Jamaica.The CARICOM officials will be meeting with Martelly, however the Haitian President told reporters that the issue is not a Haitian one.“And if I am not mistaken, the Dominican constitution states that when born on Dominican soil, one is a Dominican , so this issue is a major Dominican issue,” the President said.Concerning Jamaica’s position on the matter, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller said the stance taken by CARICOM will be stronger than a position taken by Jamaica on its own.“We have not yet had a full discussion on CARICOM on it and I think that the position should not be that of a single country. We have Jamaica’s position , but we need to take position as a region and the fact that the Dominican Republic is also seeking membership with CARICOM,” she said.On Thursday, the international human rights group, Amnesty international, again called on the authorities in the Dominican Republic to suspend the implementation of the Constitutional Court ruling until the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) visits the country.Amnesty International said the ruling should be suspended until the IACHR formulates its recommendations based on the Dominican Republic’s international human rights obligations.Amnesty is also urging the IACHR to “ take all necessary measures to protect from racism, xenophobia and violence, persons with actual or supposed foreign origins, as well as human rights defenders, journalists and other individuals who might be at risk for having spoken out against the ruling 0168-13 of the Constitutional Court.”Amnesty says the IACHE should initiate a national consultation with civil society and groups of persons affected by the ruling “in order to take all administrative and/or legislative measures possible to restore Dominican nationality to all of those who were deprived of it by the Constitutional ruling”. Caribbean Media Corporation Sharecenter_img NewsRegional CARICOM and Martelly to meet on controversial Dominican Republic court ruling by: – November 16, 2013 Tweet Sharelast_img read more