Students spend fall break in Appalachia for seminar

first_imgSophomore Diane Lee said she had not showered in a week.Her wrists cramped from spending one morning that week digging a ditch and spreading mulch around an orchard, Lee said, but she made her way across campus eagerly, her anticipation to shower propelling her forward.“It was a pretty shocking experience,” she said.Lee, along with about 240 other students, spent fall break in the Appalachia region as part of the Appalachia Seminar, a one-credit-hour course with an immersion experience offered through the Center for Social Concerns (CSC).Kyle Lantz, assistant program director of Social Concerns Seminars, directs the fall semester programs and said the course introduces students to the complexity of history and current realities in the Appalachian region.“We look at the current challenges facing the region [and] the vibrancy of the culture utilizing Catholic Social Tradition as a way to approach these communities with humility and openness to learning,” Lantz said in an email. “This seminar is about learning through experience and encounter so the immersion is an essential part of the course. Students take part in direct service as well as conversations and engagement with community members.”With 20 teams each assigned to a different community in the Appalachia region of the country, Lantz said each immersion program focused on certain themes such as housing repair, education, health, environment, energy, poverty, sustainability or cultural engagement.According to the CSC’s website, to prepare for the experience, the accepted applicants of the program take a weekly class where they discuss the seminar’s themes and form individual teams leading up to the immersion.“Our community partners continually tell us that our students come very prepared and they especially enjoy the Notre Dame groups,” Lantz said. “While students do encounter challenging situations at times, they come away ​with very positive things to say about the people they met and a realization that there is need for justice in all corners of our world.”Of the community partners, Lantz said one of them was new this semester while many were with people and organizations the CSC has worked with for years. Overall, he said the goal is for students to take away a better understanding of the layered complexities of social challenges.“We hope [students] see the resilience and hospitality in the communities who welcome them,” Lantz said. “We hope they consider ways to become more active citizens moving forward in light of what they learned on immersion and in light of what Catholic Social Tradition calls us toward.”Along with direct service-work, Lantz said certain programs also engaged students in a variety of activities, including religious services, local music events, community potlucks and high school sporting events.Lee, who explored food justice with the Grow Ohio Valley program in Wheeling, West Virginia, said she learned not just about food injustice in the area, but also about other issues residents are facing, such as homelessness and those brought about by mining and fracking practices.“Each day was different, but most days we were doing some sort of work around one of the different farm or garden sites,” Lee said. “Some days we would go weed through the orchard or spread mulch or do other manual labor like that. But we also had a lot of fun activities that they had planned for us, so we got to visit a beekeeper for example and hear from different people in the community.”According to the Appalachia Seminar website, the immersion maintains that students live “intentionally and simply,” with some sites allowing “fewer showers” or “simpler sleeping arrangements.” Lee said her group was the first in Wheeling to all accomplish the challenge of not showering throughout the entire week.Lee said her group also participated in the food stamp challenge, in which each member of the group was given the same amount of money — $1.25 — for lunch that each member of a similarly-sized family on food stamps would receive in reality.“[The immersion] was a very different experience from most people’s fall breaks,” Lee said. “I thought it was going to be a sobering and almost depressing experience, but all the people who were working with Grow Ohio Valley and all those different organizations had such true and pure joy for everything they were doing which was so inspiring to see.”Sophomore Tim Thompson said he and eight others visited McDowell County, one of the poorest areas in West Virginia, through the Sharing With Appalachian People program. There, he said the group split up and dedicated themselves to home repair for two different houses.“Before I started the seminar, I thought it was just going to be a service trip and I was just going to be doing service-work with Notre Dame people, but I felt like there was a lot of value going somewhere completely new,” Thompson said. “Now that I’ve seen different areas of the country and people in severe poverty there, it makes me want to be more involved in the community and escape the Notre Dame bubble to see other things.”Thompson said seeing how complicated one person’s situation could be and the number of struggles a family could go through by themselves was an eye-opening experience for him. He said the program exceeded his expectations despite some of the tedious work, such as redoing an entire kitchen and scraping off old paint, that they conducted.“Being a Notre Dame student, I always want to analyze situations and try to fix everything and come up with big solutions and change the world, but since I’ve been [to McDowell] I realize that there are so many different problems in the area and that’s just how life is,” Thompson said. “There isn’t a single solution to everything. Everything is more complicated than what it seems. It takes good people doing small things to make a big difference.”Tags: Appalachia, Center for Social Concerns, seminar, servicelast_img read more

Military and Police Cooperate to Improve Public Safety in Guatemala

first_img“We have received support from friendly nations, cooperation that includes non-lethal equipment and special training for Military operations other than war. The plan we have followed for the last few years, on the orders of President Otto Pérez Molina, has been to recover capabilities in security, use those capabilities to complement law enforcement efforts, and to support the safety of civilians,” Minister of Defense Manuel López Ambrocio said on June 30, 2014. And their joint cooperative efforts are having a positive impact. For example, as of December 15, there were 4,748 killings in the country in 2014, compared to 5,155 in 2013. The security force was launched in 2000, and its 4,500 Military service members and 3,000 PNC officers concentrate their efforts in Guatemala City as well as the Departments of Zacapa, Escuintla and Huehuetenango. Ongoing cooperation The Army will continue to cooperate with the PNC to improve public safety while the police force trains the number of officers it needs to ensure security throughout the country, according to Defense Minister Ambrocio. Army Soldiers are supporting police efforts to improve security in a variety of ways. In 2014, the Army participated in 115,154 civilian security operations, which included more than 42,600 foot patrols; 26,620 security and search checkpoints; 20,040 vehicle patrols; 5,700 searches and seizures; and more than 2,000 security operations at bus stops. In addition to their Military training, Soldiers who are assigned to the Joint Security Force receive additional education on how to protect human rights and the best ways to deal with the civilian population, according to Army Colonel Manuel Pineda, Chief of the Army’s Sixth Squad. Army Soldiers are supporting police efforts to improve security in a variety of ways. In 2014, the Army participated in 115,154 civilian security operations, which included more than 42,600 foot patrols; 26,620 security and search checkpoints; 20,040 vehicle patrols; 5,700 searches and seizures; and more than 2,000 security operations at bus stops. The security force was launched in 2000, and its 4,500 Military service members and 3,000 PNC officers concentrate their efforts in Guatemala City as well as the Departments of Zacapa, Escuintla and Huehuetenango. And their joint cooperative efforts are having a positive impact. For example, as of December 15, there were 4,748 killings in the country in 2014, compared to 5,155 in 2013. But by the end of 2015, the PNC will have 35,000 officers, and the Joint Security Force might be disbanded, according to Minister of Internal Affairs Mauricio López Bonilla. “We have received support from friendly nations, cooperation that includes non-lethal equipment and special training for Military operations other than war. The plan we have followed for the last few years, on the orders of President Otto Pérez Molina, has been to recover capabilities in security, use those capabilities to complement law enforcement efforts, and to support the safety of civilians,” Minister of Defense Manuel López Ambrocio said on June 30, 2014. In 2013, law enforcement authorities recorded 4,226 homicides that were committed with firearms. That number was reduced to 3,932 in 2014. In 2013, there were 566 killings committed with knives and other bladed weapons. The number of such homicides went down to 484 in 2014. The goal is not to replace the civilian law enforcement forces, but to support them until those forces reach the quantitative and qualitative levels set forth in the government’s plan, Ambrocio said. International cooperation is an important component of the initiative. In addition to their Military training, Soldiers who are assigned to the Joint Security Force receive additional education on how to protect human rights and the best ways to deal with the civilian population, according to Army Colonel Manuel Pineda, Chief of the Army’s Sixth Squad. Soldiers trained to work with civilian population In 2013, law enforcement authorities recorded 4,226 homicides that were committed with firearms. That number was reduced to 3,932 in 2014. In 2013, there were 566 killings committed with knives and other bladed weapons. The number of such homicides went down to 484 in 2014. The goal is not to replace the civilian law enforcement forces, but to support them until those forces reach the quantitative and qualitative levels set forth in the government’s plan, Ambrocio said. Military service members who work alongside police officers are divided into nine squads; six of these are assigned to Guatemala City, with the other three conducting operations in various departments. There are 10 task forces within the squads, each of which combats a particular type of crime, such as robbery or extortion. Soldiers trained to work with civilian population Military service members who work alongside police officers are divided into nine squads; six of these are assigned to Guatemala City, with the other three conducting operations in various departments. There are 10 task forces within the squads, each of which combats a particular type of crime, such as robbery or extortion. “Once we arrive at that point, we are prepared to withdraw from the scene and focus on increasing our abilities in our own areas, and therefore we are beginning modernization processes within the military’s scope, for example, recovery of mobility; special, individual equipment; tactical communications; and weaponry,” he explained. Guatemala’s Joint Security Force, which consists of Army Soldiers and National Civil Police (PNC) officers, improves public safety by conducting patrols and vehicle searches and capturing dangerous suspects. The Army will continue to cooperate with the PNC to improve public safety while the police force trains the number of officers it needs to ensure security throughout the country, according to Defense Minister Ambrocio. By Dialogo February 05, 2015 Guatemala’s Joint Security Force, which consists of Army Soldiers and National Civil Police (PNC) officers, improves public safety by conducting patrols and vehicle searches and capturing dangerous suspects. When conducting patrols, Troops and police officers typically work in teams which consist of two Soldiers and one police officer. Checkpoints, where Troops and police officers verify that vehicles have not been stolen and are not transporting contraband, such as illegal weapons, ammunition, or drugs, are comprised of two Military members and two police officers. International cooperation is an important component of the initiative. When conducting patrols, Troops and police officers typically work in teams which consist of two Soldiers and one police officer. Checkpoints, where Troops and police officers verify that vehicles have not been stolen and are not transporting contraband, such as illegal weapons, ammunition, or drugs, are comprised of two Military members and two police officers. But by the end of 2015, the PNC will have 35,000 officers, and the Joint Security Force might be disbanded, according to Minister of Internal Affairs Mauricio López Bonilla. Ongoing cooperation “Once we arrive at that point, we are prepared to withdraw from the scene and focus on increasing our abilities in our own areas, and therefore we are beginning modernization processes within the military’s scope, for example, recovery of mobility; special, individual equipment; tactical communications; and weaponry,” he explained.last_img read more

Authorities Release Identity Of Twin Toddlers *Update*

first_imgUpdate (11:40 a.m. on April 9, 2014)Officials have released the identity of twin 2-year-old girls that died after being found in a neighbor’s pool Tuesday night.Dearborn County Deputies and Aurora Fire and EMS responded to the 5400 block of Dutch Hollow Rd. in reference to the two missing girls at 6:49 p.m.The toddlers were located two doors down in a neighbor’s pool on Elm Circle.Emergency personnel immediately began CPR and the children were transported to the Dearborn County Emergency Room, where they were later pronounced dead.The 2-year-old twins have been identified as Shaylyn and Jocelyn Spurlock, both of Aurora.Update (8:30 a.m. on April 9, 2014)Twin 2-year-old girls died after being found in a neighbor’s pool in Aurora. Dearborn County authorities received a report of the missing toddlers Tuesday night.The girls were found in the pool on Dutch Hollow Road around 8:15 p.m. and were transported to the Dearborn County Hospital, where they were pronounced dead.The case is under investigation by the Dearborn County Sheriff’s Office and more information will likely follow.Officials have not released the identity of the victims or the circumstances surrounding the deaths.First Report (11:30 p.m. on April 8, 2014)Dearborn County dispatchers said late Tuesday night that twin 2-year-old girls from Aurora have been transported to the hospital after being found in a pool.Officers responded to the location on Dutch Hollow Road.The case is being investigated by the Dearborn County Sheriff’s Office and more information may follow.Stay tuned to Country 103.9 WRBI and wrbiradio.com for continuing coverage in this developing story.last_img read more

Man who stabbed tennis star, Petra Kvitova jailed for eight years

first_imgThe man who stabbed tennis champion Petra Kvitova in her home in the Czech Republic has been sentenced to eight years in jail.Radim Zondra, 33, went to her flat in 2016 saying he needed to inspect the boiler. He then grabbed Kvitova from behind and held a knife to her throat.She suffered severe wounds to her left hand in the fight to free herself but returned to tennis five months later.Appearing at a regional court in Brno, Zondra denied all charges against him.Zondra, who is currently serving a prison sentence for another crime, was convicted of serious battery and illegal entry into Kvitova’s apartment.The 29-year-old player, who is currently the world number two, told the courtlast month there was “blood all over the place” after the December 2016 attack. She added that she had offered Zondra money to leave, eventually giving him 10,000 Czech crowns (£341; $440). The court has ordered him to pay this back.In her judgment, Judge Dagmar Bordovska said Kvitova’s testimony was credible, while witnesses who testified on behalf of Zondra were unreliable, CTK news agency reports.Although Zondra denied ever being in the tennis star’s home, prosecutors argued that DNA evidence and the positive identification from Kvitova meant he was guilty beyond all doubt.The two-time Wimbledon champion suffered damage to ligaments and tendons in her playing hand, and underwent a four-hour surgery.Doctors warned her at the time that her tennis career could be over and that she may even lose her fingers. Kvitova had to have surgery on her playing hand after the attack in December 2016However she returned to tennis in May 2017, following months of rehabilitation, and continued her successful career.Earlier this year she reached the Australian Open final, and is now in the US competing in the Miami Open. She will face Ashleigh Barty in the quarter-finals later on Tuesday.last_img read more