Last night, Gov’t Mule brought their Smokin’ Mule tour to CEFCU Center Stage, a beautiful riverside venue in Peoria, IL, on a gorgeous summer night. The one set show brought it all that has been happening on the tour: Mule favorites, choice covers, and sit-ins from members of Blackberry Smoke.Southern-rockers Blackberry Smoke opened the show when the sun was still shining brightly on concertgoers. Their brand of music was certainly a nice pairing with Gov’t Mule. They played songs such as “One Horse Town” and even jammed a solid Bob Marley tune in “Three Little Birds”. They did a great job as an opener.By the time Warren Haynes, Matt Abts, Jorgen Carlsson, and Danny Louis took the stage, the sun had set beyond the river. The night was dark and ready for Gov’t Mule. They opened up with an energetic “Slackjaw Jezebel” to fans’ delight. As they continued with their set, Mule’s consistency of musicianship was completely present in the show. With the venue being on the Illinois River, a massive fifty-foot barge slowly passed behind the stage. As if in a perfect moment of jam-world synchronicity, as Haynes belted out “Brighter Days,” the barge, probably hearing the awesome music of Mule, shined an incredibly bright light on the scene from the middle of the river, causing the crowd to go crazy. Perhaps in a nod to the passing vessel and its beacon of light, it seemed as if Haynes belted out even stronger, “Long for brighter days far behind me…” It was a cool moment of the show.The foursome only played harder, edgier, and better from that point out. One of Mule’s oldest songs, “Left Coast Groovies,” was played flawlessly. “Unring the Bell” was another highlight of the show. After the singing faded and it went to the jam, Haynes’ guitar solo took the music to another level. His ability to hit notes that speak to your soul was on full display during the jam. As has happened before in the song, he even included the famous guitar riff from “Shakedown Street” in the jam. Afterwards they slowed things down with a powerful “Endless Parade,” one of their slower tunes but one that packs a lot of energy. The end of the set brought the reggae/dub side of Mule with “I’m a Ram” which included a segment of the Beatles’ “Love Me Do.”As has been the standard for the encore slot of the Smokin’ Mule tour, the band brought up guitarist Charlie Starr from Blackberry Smoke to help them play some well-known hits. The encore of Peoria reckoned back to Halloween 2014, when Gov’t Mule played two shows dubbed “Young Mule.” Neil Young’s “Cowgirl in the Sand” was the first song played, and though it certainly was played well, it took a back seat to the song that followed. As soon as the band began Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World,” the crowd went absolutely ecstatic. One of the most iconic rock-and-roll songs of all time was a great way to end the night. And if that weren’t enough, the song contained Jimi Hendrix’s “Machine Gun” jam sandwiched inside. It was a fantastic way to end the night. The Smokin’ Mule tour continues tonight in Des Moines before heading out west to Red Rocks and California.Check out a full gallery of photos below, courtesy of Ojeda Photography, as well as the setlist.fm setlist.Edit this setlist | More Gov’t Mule setlists Load remaining images
During the last Hall Presidents Council (HPC) meeting, associate vice president of Residential Life Heather Rakoczy Russell walked hall presidents and vice presidents through an early draft of the on-off campus differentiation policy which is expected to come into effect in the fall of 2021, hall presidents said.Last April, the Division of Student Affairs announced a list of proposed residential life updates created to incentivize Notre Dame students to remain on campus for their senior year. While the enhancements offered monetary incentives for on-campus seniors in addition to residential benefits for all student, the effort to differentiate on- and off-campus experiences drew widespread criticism across campus, resulting in a petition with 5,000 signatures and a protest outside the Main Building last spring. The original policy proposed that off-campus seniors would no longer be able to attend their former dorm’s dances without being invited by a current resident or participate in interhall sports. Max Lander | The Observer After Residential Life proposed new on-off campus differentiation policies last April, more than 1,000 students gather to protest proposed changes that would exclude off-campus students from participating in certain dorm events and activities.According to a handout obtained by The Observer from multiple sources — which members of the HPC received during the meeting — the new policy aims to “provide for greater consistency across hall communities and to facilitate a clearer differentiation between the experience of those who live in a resident hall an those who have moved into the local community.”The outline Rakoczy Russell gave to members of HPC may be subject to changes before Residential Life releases the final plans, hall presidents said, but the expected policy will give current residents priority in all hall events and activities.While former residents may attend any events open to the entire campus, they may only come to hall events as a guest of a current resident and can only act as active participants in dorm events “by way of exception.” In order to grant these exceptions, off-campus students must contact their former rectors who will consult with their rector supervisor to determine whether an exception can be made, according to the handout.In regards to interhall sports teams, priority will be given to on-campus residents before off-campus members can join, which will be overseen by hall athletic commissioners and rectors. Two rosters will be used for on- and off-campus students, the handout outlined, with the latter roster used only when there is extra space on-campus students did not fill.In addition, off-campus students will be charged a flat rate of $5 per person per sport by RecSports in order to participate in interhall sports, off-campus students may not be captains and an internal B team may not consist of more off-campus members than on-campus members. Off-campus students may not be able to form their own teams, and off-campus students must consult with the captain and/or the rector if they want to play on the team, the handout said.Hall presidents and vice presidents said they were encouraged to discuss the policy with their dorm members to get feedback on the changes before the official policy is announced, which may be directed to Rakoczy Russell.The announcement of the differentiation policy last spring elicited numerous responses, with multiple Letters to the Editor, including a statement from the members of the 2018-2019 Hall Presidents Council. In a meeting hosted by the sophomore class in December, Rakoczy Russell addressed concerns regarding the proposed policy, and the plan continued to be a point of discussion in the 2020 student body government elections, with the newly elected juniors Rachel Ingal and Sarah Galbenski promising to take action against the policy once in office.The University could not be immediately reached for comment at the time of publication.Tags: differentiation policy, Heather Rakoczy Russell, off-campus living, On Campus, senior exclusion policy
Vermont Collects $205 Million Judgment to Pay Claimants and Creditors of Ambassador Insurance Co.Claimants should be cautious about assigning rights to proceedsMontpelier, Vermont–Paulette J. Thabault, Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration (BISHCA), has announced that Vermont has collected $205 million for Vermont-domiciled Ambassador Insurance Company from the accounting firm of PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Commissioner Thabault stated that these monies will allow Ambassador policyholders and claimants to receive the insurance proceeds they were due under Ambassador insurance policies. “As a Department, we’re committed to protecting the interests of policyholders, and pleased that the years of work in connection with these receivership proceedings should allow us to make full payment to all policyholders,” Thabault said. The $205 million includes damages and interest awarded in connection with a malpractice lawsuit against the accountants responsible for negligently auditing Ambassador’s financial statements.Commissioner Thabault is the court-appointed receiver for Ambassador, and confirms these funds will now be used to pay persons insured and owed money by Ambassador. Said Commissioner Thabault, “Claimants should know that the long wait is nearly over, and that we expect to be able to fully pay claims by insureds and policyholders, withinterest.”Some claimants have been approached by companies offering to buy claims and pay only a percentage of the money owed instead of the full amount to be received by waiting for the end of the process. While such an assignment is allowed, claimants should be aware that this may not be in their best interest, as the amount offered may not take into account the additional interest to be paid on approved claims.
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A man who suffered a medical emergency crashed his car near The Source Mall in Westbury, killing a 27-year-old woman in the passenger’s seat and a 4-year-old boy in the back seat on Sunday morning.Nassau County police said the driver, who’s also 27, was behind the wheel of a Mitsubishi Galant eastbound on Old Country Road when he veered abruptly to the right, mounted the curb and struck a tree near the corner of Merchants Concourse shortly before noon.The woman and toddler were taken to a local hospital, where they were pronounced dead shortly later.The driver was hospitalized in stable condition for treatment of his injuries.Homicide Squad detectives are continuing the investigation and impounded the car, but no charges are pending.
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York • Crime Lab Misdeeds Have Cost Taxpayers More Than $2.4M• County Still At Least Year And Half From Opening New Lab And Ending Fiscal Bleeding• D.A. Caught By Surprise, Seeks Review after Being Informed by the Press• Outraged Lawmakers Demand Hearings Upon Learning Latest RevelationsAn analyst falls through the floor while testing evidence to be used in a criminal case, his legs literally dangling through the ceiling of the work stations below. An inspector notes that a steel escape ladder, ordered to be installed three years earlier as an emergency exit since the laboratory only has one entrance, sits unopened in a box on the floor, for just as long—the noncompliance simply copied and added to his new report. Analysts testing MDMA, aka ecstasy, fuddle through tests determining the criminal sentences of defendants.These were but a few of the daily, costly antics that took place at the Nassau County Police Department (NCPD) Crime Lab—where drugs were tested, fingerprints analyzed and blood and ballistics work conducted, with the results used by prosecutors of the Nassau District Attorney’s Office in criminal cases. Shuttered since February 2011, much of this all-important testing, along with the re-testing of thousands of cases, were outsourced, with Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and District Attorney Kathleen Rice pledging to already cash-strapped taxpayers that they wouldn’t be charged “one single penny” for the misdeeds—of which two police commissioners, two county executives and prosecutors claim they were absolutely clueless about its persistent problems until inspectors stripped the lab of its accreditation three years ago.The Long Island Press has now learned that despite assurances from county officials to the contrary, Nassau taxpayers have unknowingly been paying millions of dollars as a consequence of the years of lax oversight, mismanagement, neglect and/or willful ignorance at the county-run police crime laboratory and will continue to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars more because of these improprieties far into the foreseeable future.These are just some of the newest revelations in this infamously eye-opening, disgraceful and continuing saga.Upon being informed by the Press of the hefty switcheroo onto taxpayers’ backs, a taken-by-surprise District Attorney Rice is calling for a review by Mangano.“After the Nassau County Police Department crime lab was shuttered at my insistence due to inexcusable errors, the Department committed to using funds forfeited by criminals—not taxpayer dollars—to pay for retesting costs,” says Rice in a statement. “If the Police Department has done otherwise, I encourage the County Executive to review this matter and ensure that taxpayers are not affected.”Team Mangano refused to comment for this story, instead, the county executive’s senior policy advisor Brian Nevin referred all inquiries to First Deputy Nassau Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter.“The county wanted to ensure that all necessary testing was conducted,” explains Krumpter. “The testing was significantly more extensive then was originally anticipated.”DISGRACEDThe closing of the troubled, yet oh-so-critical crime lab by Mangano in February 2011 at the behest of Nassau District Attorney Rice followed a scathing November 2010 report by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB). The Missouri-based nonprofit, responsible for ensuring public and private forensic science labs around the world comply with universally accepted accrediting standards, had discovered 26 areas of noncompliance—including 15 deemed “essential” and 10 “important”—and placed the lab on probation.It was the second time in four years the laboratory was put on probation, the first being in 2006; the crime lab has been cited by the group for myriad improprieties each year since it began inspections there in 2003, and Nassau remains the first and only such municipality in the nation to hold such dubious distinctions.As reported by the Press in a July 2011 expose titled “What A Mess,” the ASCLD/LAB report painted a hellish portrait of the critically-important facility, among its findings: that evidence sat unmarked and lacking the proper seals designed to protect its integrity; evidence was mishandled, improperly stored and safeguarded; internal audits ensuring the lab’s compliance with accreditation standards were never conducted; control and standard samples mandated for use and documentation to ensure the validity of examination results were not utilized; equipment and instrumentation were not calibrated and documentation lacked the necessary oversight used to identify exactly who conducted the tests, among a long laundry list of other damning problems.“WHAT A MESS”: The Long Island Press first exposed the unfolding NCPD Crime Lab scandal and county officials’ costly game of Pass-The-Buck and “I Didn’t Know Anything” in a July 2011 cover story, one installment of a five-part award-winning series into the Nassau County Police Department.The consequences of the lab’s closure have been unprecedented. Rice ordered sample evidence in about 3,000 felony drug cases dating back to 2007 to be retested by Willow Grove, Penn.-based laboratory The National Medical Services (NMS). Rice’s spokesman at the time, John Byrne, told the Press that because each felony case involved multiple samples, the total number required to be retested could “go into the hundreds of thousands.”The county Medical Examiner’s Office (MEO) took over some of the NCPD crime lab’s functions and is currently accredited in biology (body fluid identification and DNA testing) and latent print comparisons (performing analysis and comparison of fingerprints), according to assistant director and quality manager of the MEO Karen Dooling. This lab will be applying to extend its accreditation scope to include drug chemistry (controlled substance and quantitative analysis), fire debris and latent print processing “mid-year 2014 dependent upon some facility issues that need to be resolved,” she says, adding that if they “make application mid-year, I anticipate we would be accredited in those areas by fall/winter 2014.”“The remainder of the anticipated disciplines Firearms/Toolmarks and Digital Evidence,” she continues, “will not move forward until we are in the new crime lab facility unless additional space becomes available.”That “new crime lab facility”—something in the works in one stage or another for at least a decade, according to Krumpter—is still yet-to-be constructed and will be located in New Cassel.Krumpter puts the timetable for construction of this new facility at about August 2015, explaining: “The Nassau County Legislature has approved bonding and the construction budget. The contract is completing the routing process. The construction is slated to commence in February and be completed 18 months from the start date. Bonds for the new facility are issued as the money is needed.”In the wake of its closure, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered an investigation into the lab by Inspector General Eileen Biben, whose probe included the review of tens of thousands of emails and documents and more than 100 interviews. Ultimately, its 184-page November 2011 report discovered “systemic problems” yet failed to hold a single person accountable.Former County Executive Tom Suozzi, Rice, Mangano and former Nassau County Police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey all told investigators they were absolutely clueless about the facility’s myriad problems—despite many of its ailments’ stark visibility and, in the case of Mulvey, a deputy chief of detectives telling investigators he’d hand-delivered the commissioner a report about the lab’s many issues.In fact, much of the mess was pretty much impossible to miss.“’There has been a problem with water seeping through the floor in the Firearms Sections Lab which is in the basement of police headquarters,’” reads Biben’s report, citing a previous inspection’s findings. “’This has caused the relocation of two comparison microscopes to laboratory space on the second floor. Examiners must frequently go back and forth between the firearms lab in the basement and the location of the scopes in order to complete their analytical assignments.’“Sgt. Robert Nemeth, the longtime Firearms Section Supervisor, testified that the water problem had persisted unattended for years,” it continues. “At one point, the floor had rotted to the extent that one analyst fell through the floor. When Nemeth brought the dire situation to the attention of the chiefs, he was told ‘to do more with less.’”Biben also ordered an expanded review of the lab’s results, since “an extensive retesting plan of the lab’s drug chemistry results revealed preliminary results that found inconsistencies in at least 10 percent of the cases.” The police department tells the Press that every felony case and every misdemeanor case from 2007 through 2010 were submitted for retesting.A Mangano spokeswoman had put the tab for the retests as high as $500,000, to be paid for by asset forfeiture funds—monies obtained through the confiscation of proceeds or substituted proceeds of a crime, designed to take the profit out of illegal activities and strip criminals of their ability to continue such activities. These funds supplement, not supplant, a police department’s budget. Asset forfeiture funds cannot be used for things that are already budgeted. Such monies could, say, fund additional hazmat suits, bulletproof vests, the county’s much-touted Gun Buyback Program or even marine patrol boats.In March 2011 Mangano and Rice touted this in a joint announcement, promising cash-strapped taxpayers who’d been financing the supposed maintenance and operations of the all-important lab that residents wouldn’t be spending a cent for its remediation.“Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice and County Executive Edward P. Mangano announced today that the retesting of samples for approximately 3,000 felony drug cases will be paid for entirely with Nassau County Police Department asset forfeiture funds, not with taxpayer money,” pledges their statement [Read full statement below]. “It is imperative that we restore confidence in our evidence testing procedures and we will do that without asking the taxpayers of Nassau to pay for even one single penny.”Not everyone was impressed—after all, those funds were intended to supplement the police force, and would have gone to other much-needed supplies and initiatives instead of having to be re-routed to clean up a mess which never should have taken place in the first place.As David Shapiro, an assistant professor of economics at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, explained, just because the crime lab’s screw-ups were being footed by forfeiture funds doesn’t mean Nassau taxpayers weren’t still ultimately paying for it.“It is not simply found money that they can say doesn’t come out of taxpayer funds,” he said. “It should be used to defray other unexpected expenditures, instead of being used to pay for something they should have done right the first time.”“That’s robbing Peter to pay Paul,” blasted Joseph Lo Piccolo, past president of the Nassau County Criminal Courts Bar Association. “It doesn’t come from a tree. It doesn’t come out of the air. It comes from the taxpayers.”The Press has learned that not only has the police force and Nassau taxpayers lost out on the benefits of nearly $1 million of asset forfeiture funds, but the county has also been paying for the re-testing and review of evidence with more than $1.1 million in police operating funds—in other words, a far cry from the originally anticipated $500,000 and exactly what county officials pledged they wouldn’t be using to pay for the preventable disaster, “taxpayer money.”Additionally, taxpayers have also been footing the bill for “first-time forensic analysis of crime-related evidence,” as the NCPD explains it, to the tune of more than $1.3 million—$1,330,788.60, to be precise.In all, the re-testing, review and new testing has cost Nassau taxpayers more than $3.2 million: $766,557 of asset forfeiture monies and $1,127,385.30 of operating funds have been spent, to date, “in support of this re-test and review program,” says the police department; and $1,330,788.60 in operating funds has been spent for “first time forensic analysis of crime related evidence,” states updated figures from the department, also compliments of county taxpayers.And that’s not sitting well with some county lawmakers, who were also left in the dark about the public monies being used until informed by the Press.“This directly contradicts what was presented to the legislature,” blasts a fired-up Legis. Dave Denenberg (D-Merrick), demanding a legislative hearing be held into the matter. “It’s like police overtime: It’s always well over budget and it always is in direct contradiction to promises made by the county executive’s office…in committee hearings.”He bemoans the fact that the cost overruns will likely mean other county services will suffer, that the new lab was originally supposed to open this year, and doesn’t expect the legislature’s Republican majority to act on his calls for such a hearing into the issue, same as last time he called for a crime lab hearing, he laments.“This is costing Nassau County taxpayers because the administration can’t run a crime lab and can’t stay within budget as to what it outsources,” he continues. “I could add this to a list of 10 issues that cry out for hearings that the Republican majority refuses to hold.”“It’s definitely a revelation!” slams an equally surprised and outraged Democratic Minority Leader Legis. Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport), who is also demanding hearings. “I wasn’t aware of this at all. I was aware of the $760,000, but the $2.4 million on top of that, I was not aware of that at all.”“I know we finally got our act together to put together a [$40M] bond package to pay for a new lab, but this is taxpayer money that’s going to go out the window from this point until the new lab is built,” he continues.Nassau Legislature Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow) declined to comment for this story.Krumpter tells the Press the police department cleared the use of the additional asset forfeiture monies to be spent on retesting with “officials in Washington” and that under asset guidelines, the department could not go back and obtain more funds, since at this point the money would be “supplanting nor supplementing” the police budget.That left the county taxpayers having to pay the bill.“It ran a lot higher because when it first started the scope was set at a certain level, and then as we got further into it we expanded the scope and then expanded the scope again of the retesting,” he explains. “So when we said it was going to be a half million dollars, that was based on a certain number of cases being retested. And then what we did was we went from a certain percentage of the cases to all felony cases, and then we went even a step further and we actually did a test of the percentage of the misdemeanor cases.”“The asset funding request was based on an estimated number of tests (since then, the testing has tripled),” reiterates Krumpter in an emailed statement. “The testing was more extensive then originally anticipated. The spending was originally permitted because it was unanticipated and was not budgeted. Once the amount was approved, the department could not seek additional funding for the expansion of the testing. The use of additional funds would have created a supplanting issue. Asset funds must be used to supplement and cannot be used to supplant.”Yet even after spending more than $3 million in tests and retests, a permanent, fully accredited crime lab facility is still months, or more likely, years away.FAR WAY OFF“Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice and County Executive Edward P. Mangano announced today that the retesting of samples for approximately 3,000 felony drug cases will be paid for entirely with Nassau County Police Department asset forfeiture funds, not with taxpayer money,” Rice and Mangano said in a joint statement in March 2011.With the lab’s many issues so well-known throughout the police department for so long, as Biben’s report so clearly documents, formal architectural plans for a new facility date back a decade. Yet according to NCPD Assistant Commissioner Robert Hart, the job was only just put out to bid earlier this year.The county Medical Examiner’s Office will be responsible for running the new lab once it’s operational—though some critics take issue with this, too.In September 2013, Rice’s office discovered that two blood alcohol samples in two DWI cases had been “switched.” They notified the lab and the lab confirmed its mistake. According to office spokesman Shams Tarek, “The lab caught the mistake right away after we reported it to them and none of those samples were used in any trial so there was no problem in that regard.”He added that letters went out to a total of 31 attorneys notifying them of the problem and offering to retest the blood samples from their clients. Regulating agencies were also notified.For Brian Griffin, a defense attorney and former chairman of the Nassau County Criminal Bar Association, that’s just not good enough.“That is exactly the kind of stuff that was happening before,” he slams. “Here we have been spending this money and we have been assured that any new testing is going to be state-of-the-art, and is going to be the best that there is to offer and we are repeating the same mistakes again.”“One wrong test is one too many,” continues Griffin, adding that the authorities explained the switcheroo as an isolated incident and insignificant. “This is not a high school science lab we are talking about. It is a crime lab, which cannot make these types of mistakes when the outcome is so very serious.”Tarek says they are still waiting for the results of the retesting of some of the blood samples processed by the technician who made the error.With no central lab in operation, samples are still being sent to private vendors and the MEO, leaving many to question what has caused the delay to fix a problem that the police department has known about for years.Those decade-old plans for a new lab didn’t originally just call for its relocation, but for the relocation of all of police headquarters, explains Krumpter, who insists he’d seen such schematics with his own eyes seven years ago.Between 2003 and 2004, the Suozzi administration sponsored a second plan that included only the crime lab and the communications bureau being moved, according to Krumpter. At that time, a new lab would have cost approximately $20 million.So despite years of planning, Assistant Commissioner Hart agrees it will still be awhile before the county can rely on its own lab.“So as far as new evidence that comes in, it’s going to be an extended process and the reason for that is everything that we are doing in the world of forensic examinations has to be done by an accredited laboratory,” he explains. “The examiner’s office, while they are accredited in the world of toxicology, DNA and latent, still has to go through an accreditation process for drug chemistry, trace evidence and things like that. That is something they have to do both with the state of New York, with the forensic commission and with ASCLD American Society of Crime Lab Directors.”This accreditation, warns Hart, is not an overnight occurrence, but, in fact, timely and complicated.“It is not something that you call and ask and say, ‘Come out and accredit us,’” he explains. “First, you have to establish your protocols, your standard operating procedures. You have to go through a lot of casework onsite inspections, and, as you’re going through all this, ASCLD is asking questions, examining what you submitted—your protocols, your mock casework results—and when they come and do an onsite inspection, they’ll go through everything and they will issue a written report. The best-case scenario is they find everything up to their standards. Sometimes they say, ‘You need to tweak this, you need to enhance this,’ and when that happens, you have to respond to them.”And from there the tedious requisites continue, according to Hart. The next step is to correct what ASCLD found wrong. The lab has to then send a letter to ASCLD, carefully detailing the steps they took to correct any problems. Then, more waiting.“ASCLD can take that written response and say, ‘That’s great, terrific, we don’t need to come back and do another onsite inspection,’” explains Hart. “Or they might say, ‘That’s great, we’d like to schedule another onsite inspection,’ and they will want to come back out and look at you again. It’s a very long, drawn-out, lengthy process, very thorough.”This procedure has to be done separately for each accreditation.Hart puts the target date for drug chemistry accreditation, optimistically, at sometime in early 2014. He declined to speculate on when the ballistics accreditation would be complete.ASCLD’s executive director Ralph Keaton is not as optimistic. He estimates the average time for accreditation, once the paperwork is received, at nine months to a year.Assistant Commissioner Hart insists the accreditation process will not be negatively impacted by the move to the new facility in New Cassel.“That accreditation process takes into account many factors, including the site presently occupied by the lab in question,” he asserts. “The fact that the lab may relocate at a future date to another site need not to adversely impact or delay that lab’s pursuit of forensic discipline accreditations based upon its current physical locale.”Not so quick, nor so easy, says Keaton—stressing that accreditation is “not automatic.”“We have standards that relate to the security and control of access of the facility and flow of evidence and things that are impacted by the facility per se,” he says. “So, it is not uncommon that we accredit a laboratory and that laboratory then moves to another facility and maintains their accreditation. However, there are certain things that we have to verity that are in place before that accreditation is continued for that laboratory, and of course, security and controlling access to the facility are important elements, but also associated with that is the movement of critical equipment and ensuring that the equipment that is moved from one location to another is properly calibrated and verified before it is put back online. So it is not an automatic thing.”Keaton says his agency does not want to shut down a laboratory because it lacks accreditation, but “that doesn’t mean that the laboratory won’t be down for a period of time while they are in the process of moving and setting up the equipment and ensuring that it is working properly, and that any new equipment that is purchased is properly calibrated and that they verify that it is working properly.”“It is very surprising to hear that Nassau County appears no closer to opening up a new crime lab,” says Griffin. “When the old crime lab was shuttered, assurances were made to the public and those in the criminal justice system that the county would be opening a ‘state of the art’ crime lab in the near future. The fact we’re millions of dollars into this and no closer to getting a competent crime lab is a terrible injustice.”—With Additional reporting by Timothy Bolger and Spencer RumseyRice and Mangano statement titled: “Taxpayers Will Not Foot the Bill For Retesting of Felony Drug Cases”Kathleen Rice/Mangano Statement
Debra Cavanagh, a local educator and president of Central Islip Coalition of Good Neighbors, a group dedicated to safety and quality of life issues in the neighborhood, said she was “upset” and “shocked” to hear about the homicides.Cavanagh said the the tragic deaths should serve as reminder that the community needs to come together collectively to address violence.“It comes up, it goes away, it comes back, it goes away,” she said of violent episodes in Central Islip. “We’ve been dealing with this for a long time.” She added that people “come out” when there’s a problem, but when the issue dissipates, “they disappear.”“They need to get active in the community and not be complacent,” she said of residents.Following the recent slayings in Brentwood, Cavanagh noted how the deaths there impacted students in her school, some of whom were afraid to even go to class.“It does affect the kids personally,” she said.–With additional reporting by Rashed Mian Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York The slaying of four males in Central Islip appears to be consistent with the brutal tactics of the ultra-violent MS-13 street gang, Suffolk County police’s top cop said Thursday.Police discovered the bodies at 8 p.m. Wednesday in a wooded area several hundred feet south of a soccer field across the street from the Central Islip Recreation Center on Clayton Street, but authorities did not say what prompted them to search the area. The remains were taken to the Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s office, where autopsies will be performed to confirm the victims’ identities and cause of death.“We can confirm that the manner in which they were killed is consistent with the modus operandi of MS-13,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Tim Sini told reporters during an afternoon press conference held near where the bodies were found. He characterized that MO as the use of “extreme violence” and “sharp instruments,” but he cautioned that investigators won’t be “ruling out anything.”The Central Islip discoveries come six months after six victims of gang violence—most of them teenagers who were students at Brentwood High School—were found dead in a five-week span in neighboring Brentwood. Thirteen MS-13 street gang members were recently charged in connection with some of those cases and others.In the tragic case of best friends Kayla Cuevas and Nisa Mickens, they were attacked last September by alleged gang members armed with baseball bats and machetes. Mickens’ dead body was “almost unrecognizable,” former federal prosecutor Robert Capers said last month. In a previous incident, Jose Pena-Hernandez died after gang members took turns slashing and stabbing him with a machete, officials said.“There’s no question that MS-13 still exists in Suffolk County,” Sini said. “This is a long-term war. Make no mistake about it—it’s a war.”Sini did not release the tentative identities of the victims, but said one was 16 years old, two were 18, and one was 20. All four were victims of the same incident and all “suffered from significant trauma throughout their body” from a “sharp or edged instrument.” The murders appear to have been committed at the location where the victims were found, he added.The commissioner declined to elaborate on the date and time of the slayings, instead saying they occurred in the last few days.“We are going to do everything in our power to solve these murders,” he said. “We have all hands on deck, and we are working closely with the FBI.”Police also announced a $25,000 “fast cash” Crime Stoppers reward for any information leading to the arrest of the assailants. Anyone with information can call 1-800-220-TIPS.Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone released a statement condemning “these heinous acts,” which he said would not go unpunished.“I have full confidence that the outstanding men and women of the Suffolk County Police Department under the leadership of Commissioner Tim Sini and Chief Stuart Cameron will do what is necessary to apprehend the perpetrators and bring them to justice,” Bellone said.“On behalf of all Suffolk County residents, my thoughts and prayers are with the victims’ families, friends, and loved ones during this difficult period,” he added.Suffolk Legis. Monica Martinez (D-Brentwood), whose district includes Central Islip, took to Facebook to denounce the senseless violence.“The disregard for human life is unfathomable,” Martinez wrote. “The disregard for the pain, fear and suffering the families and community will experience is uncalled for. Lives being lost and for what? To what end?”“I am mixed with emotions and my condolences go out to the families of the victims,” she continued. “We must stand together beside our neighbor. If there was ever a moment for all of Suffolk County; specifically, Central Islip & Brentwood residents to reflect and reaffirm our most basic beliefs as a community, now is the time.”Even Republican Congressman Peter King, whose district extends from Nassau to that part of Suffolk, weighed in to express his alarm and urge local people to come forward to help the investigation.
5SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Your CU can perform better financially with happier employees.by: Craig SauerImagine if happiness was your business model. Sound a little crazy?It isn’t, workplace culture expert Jenn Lim said at CSCU’s Solutions Conference on Thursday in St. Petersburg, Fla.Culture and a higher purpose are a differentiator for many successful companies, said Lim, the CEO and CHO (Chief Happiness Officer) of Delivering Happiness. She co-founded the company with Zappos’ Tony Hsieh to inspire science-based happiness, passion, and purpose at work, home, and everyday life.“Companies that believe in people first actually perform better financially,” Lim said. As evidence, she displayed a graph showing that the 100 best places to work in the U.S. outperformed the S&P 500 in the stock market.Lim provided six tips for credit unions seeking to build a culture that embraces happiness: continue reading »
According to minister’s statement, there was a discussion at the meeting about whether a pension fund exemption should apply in general or if member states should be able to work with an individual “opt-out clause”.The statement also noted that a “number of member states also pointed out the international economic context which is very volatile at this point, due to Brexit and possible new financial regulations in the US for example”.The statement said that further technical analysis of the effects of a FTT on the real economy and the pension funds will be carried out by the next meeting, which will take place at the end of March. The 10 EU member states negotiating the possible introduction of a financial transactions tax (FTT) are to carry out further technical analysis of its effects on pension funds and the real economy.The decision to take this step comes after a possible exemption for pension funds was discussed during a meeting of the finance ministers of the member states earlier this week. Belgium is one of the member states involved in the negotiations and is concerned about the effect of a FTT on pension funds. The Belgian occupational pensions association has been very vocal about the damaging effect it believes the FTT would have on pension funds in the country.In a statement, the Belgian finance minister, Johan Van Overtfeldt, said that the “safeguarding of pension funds” is one of the provisions of the federal government’s coalition agreement.
The pension fund of FTSE 100 publishing group Pearson has agreed two buy-ins worth £600m (€676m) each with insurers Aviva and Legal & General (L&G).The deals were agreed under an “umbrella” derisking structure, which will streamline the process for any further transactions.Clive Wellsteed, partner at consultants LCP and lead adviser to the trustees of the £3.3bn scheme, said: “The key advantage of an umbrella contract, as used by the Pearson Pension Plan, is the ability to complete future buy-ins quickly if pricing is competitive, building on the strong relationships and contract terms already in place with the insurers.”The deal secures pension payments for roughly 4,800 members. The umbrella structure is understood to be similar to that employed by the ICI Pension Fund, which has completed 11 separate buy-ins since 2013 – including five in the space of six months last year.Aviva’s tranche marked the insurer’s biggest single derisking transaction in the UK since it began expanding its capacity in 2014. This year alone the company has hired more than 30 people to its bulk annuity team.L&G, meanwhile, completed £2.4bn worth of UK pension risk transfer deals in the first half of 2017, and since June has been active in the US market, writing $120m (€102m) of business.Kerrigan Procter, CEO of L&G Retirement, said the firm was currently quoting on transactions worth a combined £15bn as demand for derisking grows.‘20% of FTSE 100 schemes would struggle in a recession’One in five defined benefit (DB) schemes attached to FTSE 100 companies would struggle to meet their benefit obligations during an economic downturn, according to research by consultancy firm Cardano and its covenant advice subsidiary Lincoln Pensions.The firms analysed funding, covenant and investment risks for FTSE 100 DB schemes – as well as using a stress-testing method employed by the Pension Protection Fund – to construct “The Worry Index”. The 20% of schemes identified as in the “worry zone” had pension risks representing 30% or more of the market value of the sponsoring company.“In such a stress scenario, the pension deficit of the FTSE 100 would increase by £100bn,” the firms claimed – equal to roughly four years’ worth of pre-tax profits.Darren Redmayne, chief executive of Lincoln Pensions, said the data was a “wake-up call” for pension schemes to fully adopt integrated risk management methods, as required by the UK’s Pensions Regulator.“A pension is only as good as the covenant standing behind it,” he said. “This has been sadly demonstrated by cases like BHS and Tata – both were members of the FTSE 100 index in the 1980s.“Companies need to be around for decades to stand behind defined benefit pension promises. Over such timeframes, markets change and economic events – such as experienced in 2008 – can be expected to occur from time to time.”Albourne Partners appointed ‘devil’s advocate’ for LGPS poolThe UK’s £12.5bn (€14bn) Local Pensions Partnership (LPP) has appointed Albourne Partners to provide independent third-party research as a check on its internal recommendations for alternative investments.The original procurement notice referred to access to external research providing a “devil’s advocate to internal investment recommendations”.Only two firms tendered for the mandate, according to a procurement result notice published earlier today.
Offshore drilling contractor Noble Corporation has secured a contract extension for a drillship in South America and another one for a jack-up rig offshore the UK.Noble Sam Croft drillship; Source: Noble CorporationIn its fleet status report released on Thursday, Noble Corp. said that Apache had exercised two of three option wells for the 2014-built Noble Sam Croft drillship, extending the contract to March 2020.The drillship is operating in Suriname with one option well remaining. The rig owner has not disclosed the rig’s dayrate.According to an estimate by Bassoe Offshore, the dayrate for the Noble Sam Croft contract with Apache is $170,000. The rig’s previous dayrate with W&T in the Gulf of Mexico was estimated at $160,000.Furthermore, Spirit Energy has exercised final option well for the 2009-built Noble Hans Deul jack-up, extending the contract to April 2020. The rig is operating in the UK for an undisclosed dayrate.Bassoe estimates the dayrate for the Noble Hans Deul rig to be around $100,000.Noble also said that the 2014-built jack-up Noble Houston Colbert would start its contract in the UK with RockRose this month.The contract will last until April 2020 and it includes one one-well option. Bassoe estimates the rig’s dayrate to be around $95,000.Offshore Energy Today StaffSpotted a typo? Have something more to add to the story? Maybe a nice photo? Contact our editorial team via email. Also, if you’re interested in showcasing your company, product or technology on Offshore Energy Today, please contact us via our advertising form where you can also see our media kit.