ALBANY — As the debate over New York’s bail law rages in the state Capitol, criminal justice interests have funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars to state lawmakers who will decide whether to amend the reforms, campaign finance records show.Records show New York lawmakers and political parties, from June to mid-February, reeled in at least $360,000 from police unions and other law enforcement groups — organizations that have overwhelmingly denounced the reforms.In particular, during that same time period, police groups have directed more than $75,000 to the six Senate Democrats from Long Island, lawmakers who have supported efforts to roll back portions of the law or change the system’s bail structure. Police unions and other law enforcement groups gave at least $15,000 to state Sens. Monica Martinez, John Brooks and Todd Kaminsky.Compared to other state senators, Democrat Diane Savino, whose district includes part of Staten Island, likely received the most money from law enforcement groups from June to mid-February. Campaign finance records show she received more than $23,500 from those groups during the time frame. Implemented at the beginning of the year, the bail changes eliminated cash bail for the wide majority of misdemeanor and nonviolent felony cases.On the other side of the debate, a little-known group backing criminal justice reforms has given at least $49,000 to state lawmakers and political campaigns since June and more than $160,000 since the beginning of 2018.The group, entitled the Fair Just and Safe NY PAC, is funded in part by hedge fund executive Daniel Loeb. The group issued a statement saying it is proud to support candidates who have advanced pretrial reforms and parole changes, among other topics.Loeb is also a donor for New Yorkers United for Justice, a group that backs criminal justice reforms and has pushed back against calls from Republican lawmakers to repeal the bail law.It’s unclear whether state lawmakers will change the bail law. Either way, the bail law remains one of the fiercest debates this session, often highlighting ideological splits between moderate Democrats, who want to roll back parts of the law, and liberal-leaning legislators, who have resisted.Senate Democrats this month floated a plan that would eliminate cash bail entirely but give judges more discretion over who is released from jail before trial.The bail law did away with pretrial detention for most misdemeanors and nonviolent cases. Under the Senate Democrat’s proposal, a judge could hold someone in pretrial detention for certain hate crimes and domestic violence felonies, along with crimes that led to a death.The proposal would also allow for repeat offenders to be held in pretrial detention, although the specifics remain unclear.Criminal justice reformers and criminal defense organizations have decried the plan, arguing that giving judges more discretion over who stays in jail pretrial will allow for racial disparities.The bail law was partially motivated by the case of Kalief Browder, who was arrested at age 16 and accused of robbing a man of his backpack. He then spent years in custody and the case was dropped. Browder later killed himself.“Don’t ever forget this young man who will forever die young,” said Assemblymember Walter Mosley, speaking at a rally in support of the bail law this week. The Democrat was one of several lawmakers who joined the crowd at the Capitol.The group had an overriding message: no rollbacks on the current law.Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins defended the proposal Wednesday and said there would be specific “guardrails” for judges, mentioning the current bail system already has judicial discretion.“We have proposed the most progressive type of solution for this particular problem,” she said. Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)
Deirdre O’Connell (By The Water, TV’s Nurse Jackie) and more will star in the previously announced world premiere of Jeff Augustin’s Little Children Dream of God. Directed by Giovanna Sardelli, the play, which launches Roundabout Underground’s eighth season, will begin previews off-Broadway on January 24, 2015 and run through April 5. Opening night is set for February 17 at the Black Box Theatre at the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre. Related Shows Show Closed This production ended its run on April 5, 2015 The production will feature sets by Andrew Boyce, costumes by Jennifer Caprio, lighting by Gina Scherr and sound by M.L. Dogg. Joining O’Connell as Carolyn will be Gilbert Cruz (TV’s Girls) as Manuel, Dashiell Eaves (Coram Boy) as Trevor, Maurice Jones (Romeo and Juliet) as Joel, Chris Myers as Vishal, Carra Patterson as Sula, Crystal Lucas-Perry as Madison and Carl Hendrick Louis as Toussaint and Man. On a balmy night in Miami, a soon-to-be mother, Sula, floats ashore on a car tire. Having braved a perilous journey to escape her native Haiti, Sula is determined to forge a better life in America for her unborn son. She soon finds safety in an apartment building that shelters refugees in need, joining a diverse community of immigrants, each with their own unique dreams and dilemmas. But even though the life she has hoped for seems within reach, Sula knows she can’t outrun her demons forever. View Comments Little Children Dream of God
Les Miserables The Great White Way’s new Prisoner 24601 has been named! Alfie Boe is heading back to Broadway to star as Jean Valjean in the revival of Les Miserables on September 1. As previously reported, Ramin Karimloo will give his final performance in the role on August 30.Boe made his Broadway debut as Rodolfo in Baz Luhrmann’s La Boheme, for which he and his co-stars received a special Tony Award in 2003 for their performances. He played the role of Valjean in the 25th Anniversary Concert at London’s O2 Arena in October, 2010 and went on to lead the original West End production of the show. A successful recording artist in the U.K., his latest solo album Serenata was released last November. In July, Boe will co-star with Pete Townsend in his Classic Quadrophenia at London’s Royal Albert Hall. His live opera appearances include The Pearl Fishers at the English National Opera and Romeo ET Juliette at the Royal Opera House. Boe was recently seen on screen in Mr. Selfridge.Directed by James Powell and Laurence Connor, the newly reimagined production of Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil’s tuner is playing at the Imperial Theatre. The current cast also includes Earl Carpenter as Javert, Samantha Hill as Cosette, Chris McCarrell as Marius, Wallace Smith as Enjolras, Erika Henningsen as Fantine, Brennyn Lark as Eponine, Gavin Lee as Thenardier and Rachel Izen as Madame Thenardier. Boe will not perform in Les Miserables October 27 through November 1 due to prior commitments.Check out Boe performing as Valjean below. Show Closed This production ended its run on Sept. 4, 2016 View Comments Related Shows
Full Day of Educational Sessions For 53 years, the brightest scientists working on turf topics have gathered in Tifton, Ga., for the Southeastern Turfgrass Conference. The 54th event, May 1-2 at the Rural Development Center, promises to gather, like the others so far, the best expertise around. A Tour of the Test Plots A tour of the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College turf nursery will follow. The opening day will end with dinner at the Tifton Family Golf Center. Golf turf updates on superdwarf Bermudas, equipment leasing and more. Ornamentals topics from landscape design to managing insects and diseases. Georgia Sod Producers points on water issues, pricing strategies, etc. The second day will be filled with educational sessions. In the morning, scientists from all over the Southeast will update conference-goers on everything from new research developments to mole crickets and nematodes to affordable golf. The afternoon sessions will offer three tracks: The event will begin May 1 with an informal golf outing at the Springhill Country Club. For those who prefer to learn from the start, a pesticide and equipment calibration workshop will be offered at the RDC. After registration (11:30 a.m.) and lunch, the afternoon sessions will feature a tour of the test plots at the University of Georgia Coastal Plain Experiment Station. UGA and U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists will discuss their research. A $50 fee, or $75 after April 14, will cover all costs. The May 1 dinner and both lunches will be provided. To learn more about the event, or to pre-register, contact the county Extension Service office. Or call (912) 386-3416.
The registration deadline has been extended on a fresh-produce food-safety workshop in Atlanta. The Nov. 14-16 workshop will focus on making fresh fruits and vegetables safer from the farm to the produce shelves.The workshop is called “Developing and Implementing GAPs and GMPs for Evaluating Food Safety for the Fresh Produce Industry.” (GAPs are good agricultural practices, and GMPs are good manufacturing practices.)Originally Oct. 12, the registration deadline has been moved to Nov. 2. Just print out a registration form and fax (706-542-9066) or mail it in.Grower to Packer to ShipperThe program is tailored to the grower, packer, shipper and third-party auditor. University of Georgia scientists and other experts will show how to recognize potential hazards in on-farm, packing and shipping operations. And they’ll show how to develop a food safety plan for the participants’ specific operations.It will all begin at 8 a.m. Nov. 14 at the Holiday Inn Airport North in Atlanta. It will end at noon on Nov. 16. The registration fee is $475 for United Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Association members or $525 for nonmembers.For more information, call (706/542-0993), fax (706/542-9066) or e-mail UGA food scientist Bill Hurst.
By Sara LaJeunesseUniversity of GeorgiaWasp wrangling may sound like risky business, especially forchildren. Actually, it’s quite safe. So much so that a Universityof Georgia professor is using wasps as a way to teach science.Collaborating with UGA science education colleagues and about 100Georgia middle school science teachers, UGA entomologist BobMatthews has developed 20 classroom activities using “WOWBugs,”wasps so tiny that their stingers can’t penetrate humanskin.”The first lesson is handling the organism,” Matthewssaid. Bug-racing 101Students practice sweeping the bugs across their desks with paintbrushes. In a second lesson, called WOWBug Racetrack, they learnhow to collect and analyze data. They record the time it takesfor the flightless wasps to scuttle from one end of the track tothe other.Matthews and his colleagues have studied these wasps’ biology formore than 30 years. He first recognized their potential asteaching tools when he was in graduate school.”They literally found me,” he said of the discovery that WOWBugshad infested his thesis experiment involving a bee.From this fiasco, Matthews learned of the wasps’ hardiness andshort (24-day) life cycle, which makes them convenient to study.He named thm WOWBugs because of the enthusiasm they generated. For college students, tooWOWBug use at the college level is a bit more involved. Matthewsand postdoctoral associate Jorge M. Gonzalez created four modulesfor freshman biology classes. These modules help students study: * Courtship and aggression behaviors.* Natural selection and heritability.* Ecological interactions, including competition.* Development and polymorphism (having more than one form –short-winged versus long-winged, in the case of females).One of Matthews’ animal behavior classes was taught through theUGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Thestudents designed WOWBug experiments for their end-of-termprojects.Vanessa Reynolds, a recent UGA graduate, examined whether femalewasps would choose to lay eggs on a host that had already beenparasitized or go for a “clean” host instead. Although her studyyielded inconclusive results, Reynolds was impressed with theclass.”It influenced my goals,” she said. “Now I’d love to go tograduate school in animal behavior and incorporate that subjectinto a focus in education.”Stories like this make Matthews proud. And Reynolds is only oneamong the many students of all ages who have been wowed by thisbug.”Fifteen years ago, if you had said WOWBugs were going to gonational or international in the next decade or so, I would havesaid you’re crazy,” Matthews said. “But it’s becoming anothermodel organism for classroom use at all levels.”For more information, visit the Web site www.wowbugs.com or emailMatthews at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ant-size non-stinging wasps”They were originally called fast wasps in allusion to theirrapid life cycle,” he said. “Unfortunately, the name didn’t havegood marketing appeal, as it conjured up a quick sting!”Not much bigger than fleas, the parasitic wasps (Melittobiadigitata) prey on many solitary bees and wasps, including muddaubers — large, black wasps that make mud nests.The tiny bugs have some fascinating characteristics. The male,for example “is most un-insect looking,” Matthews said. “He’sblind, his antler-like antennae are grotesquely modified and he’sgot little stumps for wings.”This compromised chap’s pheromones let him do his procreativeduty, however, as long as he can steer clear of other males whowill try to kill him.In any case, teachers are enthusiastic about using WOWBugs.Brenda Hunt of North Habersham Middle School in Clarkesville,Ga., teaches her students how to collect wild specimens byscraping mud dauber nests off the sides of buildings.”I also tell them,” she said, “not to use their mothers’ spatulaswithout permission.”
By Dan RahnUniversity of GeorgiaBefore you even plant a new pecan tree, you may have alreadydecided its success, says a University of Georgia scientist.The variety you choose and where you plant it are the mostcritical choices you can make when planting home pecan trees,said Lenny Wells, a Cooperative Extension horticulturist with theUniversity of Georgia College of Agricultural and EnvironmentalSciences.”Homeowners can’t spray their trees the way commercial growersdo,” Wells said. “They need to consider disease resistance astheir No. 1 choice when they select a variety.”Six to pickBackyard trees mainly need a built-in resistance to scab, a majordisease of pecan trees, he said. That essentially cuts thechoices to six varieties.Elliott is an especially hardytree with small, round nuts, golden halves and excellent flavor,Wells said. It’s very resistant to scab.Kanza has very good scabresistance. It’s similar to Elliot is much more cold-tolerant. Itwould be a better choice for areas north of Macon.Curtis, another very productivetree, yields smaller nuts with excellent kernels. It’s veryresistant to scab.Gloria Grande, a good producer,yields large nuts with excellent kernels.Sumner is a good producer withexcellent kernel quality. It’s late-maturing but very tolerant toscab.Stuart, a popular variety, haslarge, thin-shell nuts with excellent kernels. It’s veryproductive but has started to scab a little more in recent years.But it’s still a pretty good variety for homeowners.”Those are the best choices of disease-resistant varieties,”Wells said.What, when, where”The best size is normally a 5- to 6-foot tree,” he said. “Thisis large enough to have reserves to carry it through some toughtimes.”February and early March, he said, are the best times to plant.But once you’ve got the tree, you still have a critical choice tomake. Where will you plant it?”Make sure they have enough room to grow,” Wells said. “It’slittle now, but it’s going to be a big tree. Don’t plant pecantrees too close to buildings or power lines. It’s best to givethem 40 to 60 feet on all sides.”A pecan tree, he said, produces nuts on the ends of the limbs.”If it doesn’t have room,” he said, “it will stop fruiting andgrow straight up like a pine tree.”HowAfter you’ve bought a disease-resistant variety and picked aroomy place to plant it, dig a hole big enough — about 2 feetacross and 3 feet deep — to get the roots off to a good start.Be careful to plant the tree at the right depth.”Most people tend to plant too deep or too shallow,” Wells said.”Take note of the dark area that indicates how deep it wasplanted at the nursery. Then plant it at that depth.”To avoid burning the roots of newly planted trees, don’t put anyfertilizer in the planting hole or apply any on the surfacebefore June. Don’t fertilize at all in the first year unless thetree grows by 2 to 4 feet by June. If it does, apply 1 pound of5-10-15 in a 25-square-foot circle (5- to 6-foot diameter) aroundthe tree.Getting a good pecan tree started requires one more criticalthing: water. “During the first two years,” Wells said, “waterpecan trees whenever they don’t get adequate rainfall.”Anything that will help conserve moisture and lessen bigfluctuations in soil moisture will help, he said. Good weedcontrol around the base of the tree is important.”Mulching is the big thing,” he said. “That will pay off morethan anything else. It controls weeds and conserves moisture.”(Dan Rahn is a news editor with the University of GeorgiaCollege of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)
Pests love cole cropsYoung plants, particularly those of crops that will eventually form heads, are very susceptible to damage from flea beetles, cutworms and other pests in the soil, said University of Georgia Cooperative Extension entomologist Alton Sparks.“Flea beetles are the ones that cause small shot holes in leaves,” Sparks said.Other pests include seed-corn maggots, which attack the germinating seed and very young seedlings, and cutworms, which clip the plant off at the soil line shortly after it emerges. Fall vegetables want water and food, tooThe key to keeping plants healthy is to water and fertilize them properly.“Many home gardeners forget to water their plants in the fall,” Westerfield said. “The cool weather tricks them into thinking their plants don’t need water.”Water thoroughly once a week, he said. Soaker hoses or drip irrigation help prevent creating an environment for diseases. “These methods water from the bottom which keeps the leaves dry,” he said. “Wet leaves can lead to disease problems.” Transplants bestThese seedling pests cause little damage once the plants are well established, or if you use transplants.“Occasionally, small insects can be seen tunneling within the leaves of young plants,” Sparks said. “However, caterpillars that feed on leaves cause the most concern. They eat the harvestable part of the plant and can reduce plant growth if they eat enough foliage.” The best way to fight back is to regularly scout the garden for pests, said Bob Westerfield, a UGA Extension horticulturist. By Sharon DowdyUniversity of GeorgiaWhen insects munch on summer vegetable leaves, gardeners cringe but are happy the tasty fruit is spared. When bugs munch on fall crops like cabbage and turnip greens, well, gardeners must fight back to save the harvest. Cole crops like cabbage, collards, cauliflower and broccoli are typically transplanted in Georgia in the fall. Mustard, kale and turnip greens are often seeded directly into the ground. Use integrated pest managment methods“Consider hand-picking insects off your plants or using an organic alternative control like Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis),” he said. “It’s used to control many caterpillar-type insects.”Healthy plants are the ones best prepared to fight insect and disease damage, he said.“Just like humans are more susceptible to colds and viruses when we are in a weakened state, plants are more susceptible to insects and diseases if they aren’t healthy,” he said. Mulch keeps moisture inAdding two inches to three inches of mulch will retain moisture and help prevent disease and insect problems, Westerfield said.Just like their summer counterparts, fall garden vegetables need to be fertilized. Cabbage and mustard are “heavy feeders” and should be fertilized throughout the season, he said.In cabbage, controlling foliage feeders is less critical in young plants but becomes more critical at the cupping stage, or when the head begins to form, Sparks said. “The bottom line for late-season insect control in most cole crops is to control insects early in the growing cycle,” Sparks said. “This will keep insects from being a problem at harvest time.”
People flock outdoors in the spring to plant gardens, clean up, grill out or just spend time with friends. All are prime times and places for insect attacks, says a University of Georgia bug expert. “Insect encounters don’t usually result in human injury, and most insects should be left alone,” said Elmer Gray, a UGA Cooperative Extension entomologist. “Eliminating areas where insects develop and hide near your home and properly applying pesticides if necessary will keep most stinging and biting pests away.”That stings!Social insects, such as bees, wasps, hornets and ants, develop colonies, which could house as few as a dozen to thousands of individuals. “The social bees, wasps and hornets are a greater stinging threat than the solitary pests because they will attack in large numbers if they perceive the nest is in danger,” he said.Gray said while most individuals are non-aggressive, all can sting if disturbed or handled.Bees, wasps, hornets, fire ants and scorpions inject venom from the tip of their abdomen. For most people, a single sting will cause pain, swelling and stiffness of the joint, which can last a few minutes or for one or more days. However, some people can develop more dramatic reactions where swelling may involve an entire arm or leg, last several days or require hospital treatment.Because of the benefits social insects have on the environment, such as pollination and preying on pest insects, most should not be controlled unless they create a hazard to humans. If you find a nest around your home, Gray said to apply an insecticide in the evening when the insects are at rest. “With the wind at your back and an escape route selected, aim the insecticide at nest openings in trees, bushes, under eaves, ground cracks and crevices in and around nest openings,” he said. “If possible, destroy the nest or seal the nest opening. Honey bees nesting in buildings will require professional hive removal.” Treat fire ant mounds right after rain. “Gently pour an insecticidal drench over a mound so that the mixture will break the surface. Do not stir the mound,” he said. “Use 1 to 2 gallons for an average (12- to 14-inch diameter) mound. Granular and bait formulations are also available.”Shoo Fly!Some think house flies are gross. But, their winged cousins like deer flies, horse flies, black flies and biting midges are more than annoying. They bite.“Deer and horse flies are strong fliers and a serious nuisance of warm-blooded animals and people,” Gray said. “The puncture from the large bladelike mouth parts and the saliva used in feeding can cause pain, swelling and itching.”Biting midges, also called no-se-ums, punkies or sand flies, are very small. Some are small enough to fit through screens. Often their bite is felt, and they are not even seen. Welts and lesions from the bite may last for days. Biting midges are more of a problem around creek beds and swamps, Gray said. The larvae breed in damp or wet soils. Homeowners in residential areas without water present are less likely to be bitten. Black flies, or buffalo gnats, develop in fast-flowing sections of rivers and streams. They are most prevalent in the piedmont and mountainous areas. The saliva they inject while feeding causes swelling and soreness. Female flies use mouthparts to painfully puncture the skin and dine on a blood meal. Because of the widespread breeding sites and long flight range of biting midges and black flies, homeowner control is not always practical, he said. “The most effective way to control exposure to flies is to treat skin with repellent,” Gray said. He said to look for a repellent containing DEET. “Concentrations of DEET up to 30 percent are approved for use on children and infants older than two months of age,” Gray said. “Concentrations of 10 percent will typically be sufficient to protect children under most circumstances unless extreme pest populations are encountered.”The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has approved picaridin, oil of lemon, eucalyptus and IR3535 as alternatives to DEET, but they are not approved for children under three. Clothing can be treated with permethrin, found in Permanone, to deter fly bites. Remember, too, that light-colored clothing may be less attractive than dark clothing to most biting insects.
It’s been 10 years since author Richard Louv coined the term “nature deficit disorder” to describe children who are developmentally behind because they spend so much time inside. In the decade since Louv’s book, “Last Child in the Woods,” was published, parents seem to have become more aware of the amount of time their children spend inside with gadgets. However, it also seems that kids’ attachment to their devices has grown stronger, said Nick Fuhrman, an outdoor educator and professor of environmental education in the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.Known to many as “Ranger Nick,” Fuhrman agrees that nature deficit disorder is a growing problem for young kids and young adults. Even students in classes focused on wildlife education can’t seem to deny the draw of constantly checking their phones, always looking down, and being completely removed from listening to and looking at their environment. “I am worried that, eventually, people are not going to see the value of being outside,” Fuhrman said. “Awareness is OK, but we have to get to action, which will eventually lead to a sustained behavior change. That is the ultimate goal of environmental education.”More kids have access to smartphones. Fuhrman believes that the best approach to remedying nature deficit disorder is not to remove the technology, but to use it as a gateway to the outdoors.Several apps, like iNaturalist, which Furhman recommends, enable parents and children to become citizen scientists. Through their phones, they can observe and photograph unique plants, animals and other organisms, then share them with a network of other peers as well as research teams. These apps can help identify unknown creatures and help users learn about nature.Fuhrman also added that the biggest benefit to using the smartphone to connect with nature is that it helps the parents to be more comfortable with the scenario as well. “Parents have to set the model for their children,” he said. “This helps them to be outside with a meaningful purpose.”To that end, the U.S. Forest Service launched a web campaign at www.discovertheforest.org that provides parents with practical tips for introducing their children to the woods, including lots of mobile-optimized games and activities for families with young children to help them make the leap outside.Eventually, Fuhrman hopes that individuals will ease out of depending on their phones for entertainment and start leaving them in their pockets or even at home when they are outdoors.For more on Fuhrman and his Friday Fly-day live series, follow Ranger Nick on Facebook. To see the entire Ranger Nick video series originally aired on the “Georgia Farm Monitor” TV show, please visit www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLE2nUQSFKhZh4QpKhjBLzvJFvCBiJ8AwI.