Activists have vowed to fight the governments dec

first_imgActivists have vowed to fight the government’s decision to press ahead with cuts to support for disabled students in higher education of nearly £30 million a year.Universities and science minister Jo Johnson announced yesterday (Wednesday) that – following a public consultation – cuts to the system of disabled students’ allowance (DSA) will go ahead for new claimants starting courses after 1 September 2016.Reforms to the DSA system were originally announced last year, but strong opposition to the plans meant the introduction of most of the measures was delayed for a year, from 2015 to 2016.Campaigners have warned that the cuts – which could reach more than 20 per cent of DSA funding – will make it harder for disabled students to study at university.Among support that will usually not be funded through DSAs are claims for readers, manual note-takers, laboratory assistants and library support assistants, as well as extra disability-related accommodation costs.The reforms will push greater responsibility onto universities, and away from DSA, a non-means-tested grant that assists with the extra costs a disabled student faces while in higher education, and which cost the government £145.8 million in 2012-13.Johnson said in the written statement that universities should do more to “discharge their duties under the Equality Act to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate disabled students, as other organisations and businesses do”.He claimed that “continued provision of DSAs may have removed the urgency of some [higher education] providers to expand provision for all disabled students”.But his Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) admitted last year, in an equality impact analysis (EIA), that if the reforms went ahead there was a risk that “disabled students may find themselves without the appropriate support from institutions and at the same time find DSAs are no longer available”.In a new EIA published this week, BIS said: “If institutions do not mitigate the effect of the changes to DSA funding then some [disabled] students may be disproportionately affected by the proposed change.”Johnson announced limited concessions this week, following the consultation, including an agreement to continue to provide DSA for the extra costs of specialist accommodation – but not if provided by the university itself – for some scanners, printers and digital voice recorders; and to pay for sighted guides.He also pledged to hold discussions with “stakeholders” to consider whether there should be exceptions to the new rules for DSA awards for non-medical support.Tara Flood (pictured), director of The Alliance for Inclusive Education, said she was “really disappointed but not surprised” by the announcement.She said: “This is just part of a wider ideological attack on disabled people accessing education at any level, whether it be school, further education or higher education.”She said the government’s own EIA showed that universities that accepted disabled students would feel “penalised” by the new policy. This would lead to lower admissions of disabled students, which she said was “disgraceful”.She said: “The government seems to be hell-bent on attacking disabled people and removing any rights that we might already have.”ALLFIE now plans to talk to the National of Students (NUS) about possible joint action against the cuts.Flood said: “We are certainly not going to sit back and wring our hands about it. We need to take a more unified approach with other campaigning organisations that share the same concerns.”NUS said it was “disappointed” by the government’s response to the consultation, and accused ministers of not listening to disabled students and other stakeholders.Maddy Kirkman, NUS disabled students’ officer, said: “All disabled students deserve to have the support they need to access higher education.“NUS is concerned the government’s response to the consultation will impact the consistency of the support available and place a huge financial burden on some institutions.“NUS and other stakeholders have had our concerns ignored. To make higher education accessible, the government needs to work with students and institutions and take our views into account, not brush them aside.”The union added: “We also believe the government’s plans for monitoring and evaluating these proposals are very vague.“Inadequate evaluation will prevent us from assessing the real impact of these reforms on disabled students and their access to higher education.”The National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) said it was “bitterly disappointed” that the cuts would go ahead.Susan Daniels, NDCS chief executive, said: “We know that deaf students can achieve just as much as their hearing peers, but the right support must be in place.“As it stands, we have no way of knowing if universities will pick up the cost of vital support staff.“Deaf students desperately need support such as note-takers because they cannot lip-read a lecturer or follow a sign language interpreter and take notes at the same time.“Deaf young people are telling us they feel the government is intent on making it more difficult for them to go to university.”Mags Lewis, the Green party’s disability spokeswoman, warned that disabled students could “fall into a no man’s land, with the government, DSA and colleges and universities claiming it’s everyone else’s responsibility”.She said: “Poorer, less advantaged students at cash-strapped universities will be the hardest hit by this decision.“Sadly some students will drop out and some potential students won’t enrol.”Disability Rights UK said it was “disappointed” that the changes would go ahead, but welcomed what it said were “potentially important concessions”.Philip Connolly, DR UK’s policy manager and chair of the DSA anti-cuts campaign group No Cap on Aspiration, said: “It remains to be seen from the detail and implementation what discretion the universities can exercise but the concessions do demonstrate the value of continued lobbying and collective action.”last_img read more

The computer system used for new personal independ

first_imgThe computer system used for new personal independence payment (PIP) claims has crashed twice in a week, just days after the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) insisted it was “working as it should”.On both occasions, last Wednesday (11 May) and Monday this week (16 May), the system – designed and maintained by IT giant Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) – was down for more than 24 hours.The system has now crashed twice just as DWP has been sending out 16,000 letters telling existing claimants of disability living allowance (DLA) that they need to apply for PIP.The 11 May crash was apparently due to the CAMlite software used across DWP as part of the move towards universal credit – although DWP’s press office has so far failed to confirm any details about CAMlite – while this week’s malfunction seems to have been caused by problems with the PIP CS software designed specifically to deal with PIP claims.DWP has been unable so far to say whether HPE is responsible for designing both CAMlite and PIP CS.Despite the system crashing twice in less than a week, at a crucial moment in the reassessment process, Justin Tomlinson (pictured), the minister for disabled people, has invited ridicule by instructing his spokesman to continue to describe the problems as “technical glitches”.Two weeks ago, a whistleblower working for Serco, the company that runs the telephone helpline that deals with all new PIP claims, described the PIP CS software as “appallingly bad”, and so poor that at least once a month Serco staff were unable to process claims coming through on the helpline and had to tell callers to ring again, because of problems with the system.When those claims were put to HPE, it denied there were any problems, as did DWP, even after Serco confirmed the problems.Now the whistleblower has got back in touch – twice – with Disability News Service (DNS) to say that the system has crashed two further times, on both occasions for an entire day.She said the system first went down just after 8am last Wednesday (11 May), and was down all day. As a result, 6,300 callers had to be told to “ring back in an hour”.In response, Tomlinson’s spokesman originally claimed that this problem affected “less than a third of users over the course of the morning and they were able to regain access to the system by logging back in”, while the problem was “resolved by lunchtime of the same day”.He added: “As with any IT system of this size, it is inevitable that from time to time there will be technical glitches.“We work hard to fix any issues as soon as they arise and all claims are processed with the minimum delay possible – in fact PIP claims are now being cleared three times faster than they were in January 2014.”But when challenged on this, he admitted that DNS was correct and said there had been “some confusion”, and the system had not been restored until “the start of work on the next day”.Just hours after that statement arrived, the whistleblower got back in touch to say that the system had crashed again on Monday this week, and did not start to work again until 2pm the following day (Tuesday).At one stage on Tuesday, staff were forced to process new claims by typing details into PDF forms on screen and then e-mailing them, avoiding HPE’s computer system completely.By the time the system was working again, there were 300 callers in the telephone helpline queue and waiting times of 20 minutes, which later rose to more than 30 minutes.After DNS passed on details of the latest system crash, a DWP spokeswoman said, despite being aware that the whistleblower had previously described major problems happening at least once a month: “I don’t think the two examples below which relate to two separate issues and two separate systems can be construed as the whole system repeatedly crashing.”HPE again refused to comment on the details of the latest failure of its system, but said that “with any IT system of such a size, it is inevitable that there will be glitches from time to time”.Its spokesman then repeated part of a statement he issued two weeks ago, saying: “We always work closely with our clients to ensure that the services we provide support their policy requirements and respond quickly to any incidents raised.”Yesterday (Wednesday), callers were still reporting having to wait more than 30 minutes to get through on the helpline, while staff were being offered overtime to input claims that originally had to be typed into pdf files, and to call new PIP claimants back on Saturdays.PIP, which is gradually replacing working-age DLA, has been mired in controversy, delays and backlogs ever since its launch in April 2013.And in February, new DWP figures revealed that only two-thirds (68 per cent) of PIP claimants were satisfied with the service they received from DWP, compared with an average of 82 per cent across all 10 benefits surveyed.last_img read more

Taqueria Los Coyotes – Home of the California Burrito

first_imgTaqueria Los Coyotes3036 16th Street415-861-3708 On our second visit, I was determined that we would not order anything with fries inside. The BF had enchiladas poblanas, with chicken mole. The mole had a distinct smoked paprika flavor. The BF liked it fine but he just wasn’t wowed. The best chile rellenos I have eaten are clouds of puffy egginess lovingly encasing a poblano pepper that sensually oozes melty cheese, and I feel joyful guilt for days after eating one, so rich they are. For me, the accompanying sauce should be rather mild, so as not to overwhelm the lovely egg coating. Here, the coating was nondescript, flat, and the salsa too assertive. The BF said it was fine, I said meh.I ordered two seafood specialties: a coctel Campechana, and a ceviche tostada de pescado. It didn’t seem to have been deep fried, as a good chimichanga should, but pressed, perhaps, although the edges were rather crispy. Sadly, the al pastor had no al pastor flavor at all, and it was difficult to tell if the meat was even pork. As a whole, I thought it was tasty, and the BF loved the mango salsa he put on it, but he was yet again, unmoved. Except by their exceptional guacamole.We also got a side order of chile relleno, one of my all-time favorite Mexican dishes. Possessing not an ounce of character nor a dram of will power, I immediately caved and went for the carne asada fries.Carne Asada FriesJust what it sounds like – a pile of fries with a pile of carne asada on top. If this decadence looks and sounds like something you’d throw together at 2:00 a.m. after a night of bar hopping, you’re right. But why do it yourself, when you can have your friends, the pros at Los Coyotes, do it for you? They’re open until 3:30 a.m. on the weekends! Perfectly crispy fries, savory carne asada, really fresh-tasting guacamole, frijoles negros, and plenty of crema to wash it all down with. I was sober as a judge, but it still hit the spot. In truth, I couldn’t finish it all. Portions are generous.And ok, yes, I just had to pay it a third visit. The menu was just begging me to try more! But this time, NO FRIES.The BF ordered an al pastor chimichanga: Now, this fish looks odd, doesn’t it? Almost like rice? It was flaked pretty finely, but I was surprised at how fresh it tasted, and with, again, a couple of splooshes of habanero sauce, it was my favorite dish of the night.So while this may not be my favorite taqueria in the Mission, I now know where to get my California burrito fix that I never knew I needed, and my ceviche tostadas. And more importantly, where to go after last call.Moreover, Los Coyotes’ people are hard-working and as I’ve said, friendly and welcoming. The place was busy each time we were there, and the staff took prompt care of all its customers alike – the families, the hipsters and hippies, the travelers, the students, and even the homeless outside. Truly a neighborhood place. They have an impressive set of salsa bars, the first with two kinds of salsa fresca, a spicy mango salsa, a smoky chipotle, a mild avocado one, radishes, limes, and pickled carrots, onions and jalapeños. Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% And the other salsa bar had a variety of griddled chilies, two warm salsas, and a tray of sautéed onions and chorizo. As a condiment. As you can see, it disappears quickly. But…. the California Burrito. We had to do it. I remember being in France and having what I thought was your run-of-the-mill doner kebab. But in Marseille? There were FRIES INSIDE. In Paris too! And now I’ve talked to a few people, and everyone’s like, “Oh yeah, they have those in Philly too. I’ve been eating them for years.” WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME?California Burrito.That may not look like much, but it was so good. I would have thought you wouldn’t be able to discern French fries in the typical carb bomb that is a Mission burrito, but I was wrong. The fries added a lightness, almost, a crispiness to all that smooshy rice/bean/cheese/guac/crema loveliness. The carne asada was tasty, not the best, but for me, it really is all about them frites.Not one to be left out, I asked the friendly guy behind the counter if I could do a crispy taco with fries inside. Pero claro que si!My taco was crunchy and flavorful and again, you could really taste the fries in every bite. I don’t know how I’ll ever go back to a filled-tortilla product without crisply fried potatoes in it. I also got a sope, which was piled high with lettuce, avocado, and queso fresco. The masa was a little tough, unfortunately, and hard to cut through. While the fries are cooked to order, I have a feeling that the sopes are not, and they suffer for it.I also had a sangria, which was a tad sweeter than I like, but still refreshing. They have beer, margaritas (another plus, at a taco bar!), micheladas (a spicy, limey beer concoction), aguas frescas (I tried a tamarind one that was too sweet and tasted like it came out of a bottle), shots of tequila, and wine. 0% Los Coyotes is huge, for a taqueria. It is bright and lively, with those whimsical Mexican playing card designs on the table tops, a “stained glass” Mayan calendar, colorful tiled walls, flat screen t.v.s, and diverse, toe-tapping Mexican ditties playing non-stop. After reviewing Californios, it was time to come back down to earth. Taco time! I haven’t reviewed many taquerias because I figured that if you have a favorite one, that’s the one you go to. And everyone does. Besides, we just have so many of them (lucky us!).But the BF had heard tell of a mystical, magical thing . . .BURRITOS WITH FRENCH FRIES INSIDEThis, to my mind, is genius. GENIUS! And he learned that these fantastical things were known as San Diego Burritos, or California Burritos. Then he found out that Los Coyotes, a taqueria on 16th Street between Mission and Valencia that has been around for 13 years, makes them. (By the way, Mission Local was way ahead of this game – reporting on this phenomenon back in 2004.  And the rest of you were probably already hip to this taste sensation, right? Me, I’m a little slow. It has an immense menu, featuring full dinner plates, burritos, tacos, ceviche tostadas, shrimp cocktails, tortas, quesadillas, guisados (braised meats, rather like very juicy stews), nachos, grilled fish, menudo, deep fried snapper, sopes, flautas, pupusas, hot dogs, salads, seafood soups, and buffalo wings. You could eat here every day for weeks and never do a repeat. The seafood cocktail had tons of fresh cooked shrimp and octopus in it, along with onions, tomatoes, chunks of that great avocado, cilantro, all bathing in a light, slightly tomatoey sauce. It really needed salt, and heat, but five or six good glugs of El Yucateco red habanero sauce fixed it right up. The shrimp and octopus tasted fresh and had good texture. It came with the requisite saltine crackers, which I never understood, as they get so soggy as a scooping mechanism. Better to use tortilla chips. But I’d get this dish again.last_img read more

Mission Homeless Man Without Shelter After Tent Blaze Possibly Arson

first_imgA police report of the incident indicates that Howard had been inside of his tent when he heard two men congregating behind it. Police report that Howard told the men “not to do drugs back there.”Howard said the men left after he started questioning them. He then entered his tent and noticed the odor of “something burning.” “The lord spoke to me and told me to get out, so I did,” said Howard. Minutes after exiting his tent, Howard said he heard a “loud boom.”“It was an explosion. And then it started burning. When it exploded the whole tent went up in flames,” said Howard. “I just stood back and said ‘Oh god, what can I do?’ There’s nothing I could do. I just had to let it go.”Police and fire officials responded to reports of a small fire at 12:41 a.m. on January 3 outside the St. Charles Borromeo Parish at 713 South Van Ness Ave., and found that the tent had been set ablaze.Police have not reported any arrests in the ongoing investigation and will not say whether they suspect arson. Officer Robert Rueca, a spokesperson for the San Francisco Police Department, said Howard told responding officers on Tuesday that “someone had set fire to his tent.”“He may have had a conversation with a couple of people. But the victim didn’t exactly see the people that he had the conversation with starting the fire,” said Rueca, adding that the incident is being treated as a “fire investigation.”Howard, for his part, said the fire was retaliation after he stopped a man from breaking into cars in the area. On New Year’s Day, Howard said an unidentified man attempted to break into a car parked on 18th Street, right across where his tent had been located.“I told him ‘You’re not doing this. Leave the car alone, it’s not yours, get away from it,’” said Howard. His attempt at running the car robber off was met by threats, he said.“He said, ‘I’m gonna get you,” said Howard, adding that he was unable to identify the alleged suspect. “Then last night, [my tent] blew up. So he meant what he said.”It is unclear if Howard was offered shelter or other services by responding police. Rueca, of the police department, said that it is protocol for responding officers to connect homeless individuals in crisis to services, but that an offer was not documented in the police report regarding the incident.Howard said he hasn’t received any offer of shelter or help.Photo by Laura WaxmannThe morning after the fire, Howard lay underneath a tarp in the midst of scorched debris. The wall of the side of the church next which he had been camping also sustained fire damage. “I lost everything,” he said, adding that his tent, sleeping bag, wallet, phone, and ID have been destroyed. In December, Howard, who has been homeless for some two years following an eviction from a single room occupancy hotel in the Mission, spoke with Mission Local about his struggle with finding housing and navigating city services.He had been camping alongside the side parish since December 2015, even obtaining permission from its pastor, Father John Jimenez. It was in the church’s shadows that Howard felt safe, he told Mission Local then.Here is a video Mission Local did in late December on Amos and his experience on the street: A homeless man is without shelter as rain storms sweep the Bay Area, after his tent caught fire early Tuesday morning in a possible case of arson. Amos Howard, a U.S. Army veteran who has been living in a tent outside a church at 18th Street and South Van Ness Avenue, said he suspects two men set fire to his tent intentionally. Police and fire officials say the incident is still under investigation and could not provide any details about what might have caused it. Howard, who was not injured in the fire, told police and Mission Local that he had been “out recycling” on Monday evening and upon returning to his tent after midnight found two men standing close by. “They were covered up – I couldn’t see them. I asked what they were doing and they said ‘Just chilling,’” recounted Howard, adding that he overheard one of the men say that he had placed something behind Howard’s tent. Tags: Fires • homeless • shelters Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% 0% Now, Howard said he will likely leave the church’s sidewalk and camp elsewhere.“I don’t feel safe staying here,” he said. “Whoever that was, they were trying to hurt me.”Kelley Cutler, a human rights organizer with the San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness, said that violence against and among homeless individuals is common and often goes unreported. While working in the Tenderloin, Cutler said she has seen several cases in which the sleeping bags of homeless campers were set on fire while their occupants were fast asleep.“People don’t understand when you don’t have a locked door, that there is a vulnerability there,” she said, adding that homeless campers are often targeted because of “stigma and alienation.”“It is not socially acceptable to be talking hatefully or poorly about different groups but when it comes to people experiencing homelessness, it’s more acceptable to be hating on them and to demonize them,” she said. “So often, [the victims] don’t even report it. They feel like it’s pointless.”With the city’s shelter wait list exceeding 1,000 people last month for the first time, limited city resources make it unlikely that Howard will find shelter for the night unless city services – or good samaritans – step in, said Cutler. Howard, who for now remains on 18th Street at South Van Ness Avenue, said he is in need of a tent, sleeping bag, and warm clothing. last_img read more

Neighborhood notes Salad grows on Valencia Pablo Sandoval and a memorial for

first_imgMixt salads arrive in SFThe people who arrived at Mixt’s grand opening on Friday afternoon knew what they were doing. The SF salad chain already offers its boutique DIY salad bar and a menu of seasonally designed salads at eight other locations in the city — in addition to two trucks that serve pre-ordered salads. Its Mission patrons knew the drill as they lined up to eat their veggies.Mixt has moved into the space at the corner of Valencia and 20th, a location that has been vacant since the summer of 2016, when the Mexican cantina La Rondalla quietly closed. Their neighbors have given them a warm welcome since arriving, says Brigitte Brady-Harris, a spokesperson for the restaurant. “The first thing people say is they’re happy to have a healthy option that’s fast.” –CSPablo Sandoval at Back to the Picture 0% Tags: neighborhood notes Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%center_img The Panda, Pablo Sandoval, who’s been playing second base with the Giants again lately, will be at 934 Valencia St. from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday for a public signing event. Bring your memorabilia or get a picture with the Giant!Any Item: $79Photo Ops: $59 –LCAn informal memorial for Rene YañezThe Mission lost Rene Yañez,  an incredible artist, curator and lover of inventiveness this week. His legacy will be celebrated at Casa Bonampak at 1051 Valencia St. Saturday at 7 p.m. in an informal community gathering. The organizers invite you to bring candles, flowers, instruments, poetry, food and drinks to share. A more formal memorial will be held sometime in July. –LC last_img read more

Boogaloos property manager faces eligibility questions that could cost him a spot

first_img Email Address Hours into what was already an exceedingly lengthy and volatile Board of Supervisors Rules Committee meeting, Supervisor Ahsha Safaí removed his glasses, rubbed his weary eyes, and exclaimed to a now nearly empty Board chamber, “who would’ve thought the last item of the day would be so complicated?”Certainly not J.J. Panzer, who stood at the lecturn with an affable grin on his face as Safaí said the quiet part loud. His confirmation hearing for the city’s Rent Board had veered off the beaten path and into a place neither he nor Safaí had anticipated.Panzer, Mission Local readers may recall, is the Mission landlord and property manager who earned a degree of infamy in 2015 when he stuck popular brunch spot Boogaloo’s with a rent increase from $4,200 to a parodic $17,500. Panzer, however, subsequently flipped the standard Mission tale of greed and displacement by apologizing to Boogaloo’s management, lowering the rent to a reasonable $7,500, and working to get the restaurant back open. In other words, he helped make things right.It remains to be seen if his next foray into public life will end so well. Subscribe to Mission Local’s daily newslettercenter_img Panzer, a city native and longtime Mission resident, was sworn in as a mayorally appointed Rent Board commissioner at 5 p.m. on Nov. 13, and attended his first meeting at 6 p.m. on that same day. When he arrived, his predecessor, Cal Abe, was still sitting in his chair, unaware that his tenure on the board had ended. Evidently there was some confusion in this appointment and succession process. And that only continued last night.The Board of Supervisors has 30 days to object to Panzer’s appointment — and, during Wednesday’s meeting, Supervisor Norman Yee raised questions about his eligibility.Yee asked Panzer if he had read the Rent Board’s incompatible activities policy. He had not. Nor was he familiar with the state government code Section 1126 — incompatible activities. But that’s not really Panzer’s fault: These are issues that, presumably, the mayor’s office, which appointed Panzer, should have explored and briefed him on beforehand. It appears that, too, did not happen.At issue here is Panzer’s business, the Real Mangement Company. Among other services, it specializes in maximizing the pass-throughs landlords can charge tenants for work on the property. Reading between the lines of Yee’s questions, it’s not a problem that Panzer is a landlord — this seat on the Rent Board is earmarked for a landlord. Rather, it’s that he’s in the business of garnering rent increases for landlord clients, which is highly germane to what the Rent Board regulates.To wit, the Rent Board’s statement of incompatible activities notes: “No employee, including the director, may engage in an outside activity (regardless of whether the activity is compensated) that is subject to the control, inspection, review, audit or enforcement of the Department.”That’s a pretty broad statement, but them’s the rules.At last night’s meeting, committee chair Safaí turned to Deputy City Attorney John Givner for guidance. But Givner could essentially only tell him that he’d have to get back to him on that.“The questions we should explore after this meeting and before the next Board meeting are with the details of [Panzer’s] business,” Givner told Safaí. “The law we’re discussing doesn’t prevent Mr. Panzer from serving on the Rent Board. The question is, if he serves on the Rent Board and also engages in this business, that may be incmompatible with Rent Board duties and could he potentially face fines from the Ethics Commission?”That hardly seems a tenable situation.Givner said he’d meet with Panzer and representatives of the mayor’s office and report back to the Board with his analysis prior to its Dec. 4 meeting. The committee passed along the matter to the full board with no recommendation.The meeting quickly adjourned. Panzer, surrounded by his retinue of supporters, said he was blindsided by this line of inquiry. But he shrugged his shoulders and said he’d meet with the City Attorney’s office — and this would get settled, one way or the other. last_img read more

Carnaval 2019 in words and pictures

first_imgOn Sunday morning, a squad of vintage cars cruised up 24th Street. These classic lowriders led the charge for the 41st Carnaval grand parade in the Mission. The procession snaked from 24th and Bryant onto Mission Street, as scads of attendees stood outside of shops and clung to the rails set up along the historic stretch of road.Mayor London Breed at Carnaval 2019. Photo by Ricky Rodas.The usual, well-known Latino street vendors were stationed on every corner trying to sell their bacon-wrapped hot dogs with grilled veggies. “Hot dog, hot dog,” They all yelled with urgency. People walked around draped in apparel that showed off their country of origin. El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Cuba, Bolivia, Colombia— nearly all of the Latin American diaspora was represented in the grand parade. Photo by Ricky Rodas. Email Address Subscribe to Mission Local’s daily newslettercenter_img Dancers and musicians showcased the music of their respective motherlands. Families cheered at the sight of the festive décor.Photo by Ricky Rodas.The neighborhood’s newer residents intermingled with men and women who have long called the Mission home. On a typical day, the two groups’ paths run parallel on the sidewalk, but never seem to intersect. On Carnaval, a Caribbean tradition meant to be a huge party, everyone celebrated together.Photo by Ricky Rodas.Photo by Ricky Rodas.Can you hear me now? Good! Photo by Ricky Rodas.Photo by Ricky Rodas.Photo by Ricky Rodas.Photo by Ricky Rodas.Mayor Breed makes an entrance. Photo by Ricky Rodas.“All my friends know the low rider. The low rider is a little higher. Low rider drives a little slower. Low rider is a real goer. Low rider knows every street, yeah. Low rider is the one to meet, yeah. Low rider don’t use no gas now. Low rider don’t drive too fast now.” Photo by Ricky Rodas. last_img read more

ST HELENS RFC has announced that Lee Gaskell has s

first_imgST HELENS RFC has announced that Lee Gaskell has signed a new three-year contract with the Club.The 20-year-old half-back made his debut against Catalan Dragons in July 2010 and has appeared eight times so far for his home town team.A former Blackbrook amateur, he has settled into the first team squad well after a successful academy career and the contract will keep him at the Saints until the end of 2013.“Lee has stepped into first team comfortably so far this season and is likely to get plenty of opportunity ahead,” commented Saints Head Coach Royce Simmons. “He has a good running and kicking game and the potential to become a regular member of the first team.”Chairman Eamonn McManus added: “Lee is another product of our academy and has fitted seamlessly into a position initially vacated by injury.“He has the ability to become a top Super League player for the Saints in the years ahead and is clearly very proud to be a part of team and the Club.“We wish him every success for his future with us and I know that we are assured of his absolute commitment to the Saints cause.”last_img read more

SAINTS failed to take advantage of a strong start

first_imgSAINTS failed to take advantage of a strong start as they went down 24-12 in a sell out derby. Wigan made the best of their opportunities to lead 16-0 at half time before Joe Greenwood sparked a mini comeback. But the damage had been done despite a late score from Theo Fages. Saints dominated the early stages, forcing a drop out and repeat sets. Luke Walsh combined with Jon Wilkin to set Theo Fages free and then more enterprising play saw Tommy Makinson almost profit. That pattern continued for the opening 15 minutes but once Wigan got a foothold, Saints struggled. The Warriors won back to back sets and a penalty – and the ball headed right for Manfredi to put them ahead. On their next attacking set the winger repeated his feat too, cutting Saints up down the right side to create the space for Sam Powell to increase the lead. The young hooker simply tapping the ball forward from the play the ball and collecting the kick, to go under the posts. And on the half hour mark it got worse as Joel Tomkins cut through the right hand side to make it 14-0 to the Warriors. Matty Smith converting for 16-0. Saints had a dig as the end of the half approached and should have got themselves back into the game. LMS was held up over the line and then a kick to the corner from Walsh failed to find Makinson. Saints needed a strong start to the second half – and got anything but as from the kick off the ball went dead for a drop out. The defence did the trick though and then Makinson was unlucky not to profit as he chipped over the top. Charnley had one chalked off for a ball steal but Smith added a penalty on the 50 minute mark to extend the advantage more. Saints weathered the storm and then hit back through Joe Greenwood following a number of repeat sets. But they couldn’t profit once more and Smith ghosted through a massive gap to seal the win. Fages pulled one back on the closing stages to cap a solid performance from the Frenchman but the damage had been done. Match Summary: Saints: Tries: Greenwood, Fages Goals: Walsh (2 from 2) Warriors: Tries: Manfredi, Powell, Tomkins, Smith Goals: Smith (4 from 5) Penalties: Saints: 9 Warriors: 8 HT: 0-16 FT: 12-24 REF: R Hicks ATT: 17,890 Teams: Saints:  23. Shannon McDonnell; 2. Tommy Makinson, 18. Dominique Peyroux, 21. Matty Dawson, 22. Jack Owens; 19. Theo Fages, 7. Luke Walsh; 14. Lama Tasi, 6. Travis Burns, 10. Kyle Amor, 12. Jon Wilkin, 20. Joe Greenwood, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook. Subs: 8. Alex Walmsley, 9. James Roby, 15. Greg Richards, 17. Luke Thompson. Wigan: 4. Dan Sarginson; 5. Dominic Manfredi, 3. Anthony Gelling, 20. Oliver Gildart, 2. Josh Charnley; 13. Sean O’Loughlin, 7. Matty Smith; 10. Ben Flower, 16. Sam Powell, 15. Tony Clubb, 11. Joel Tomkins, 14. John Bateman, 26. Greg Burke.  Subs: 17. Lee Mossop, 19. Taulima Tautai, 21. Ryan Sutton, 27. Nick Gregson.last_img read more

Community uses Christmas trees to rebuild dunes at Carolina Beach

first_imgCAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) –The piney smell of Christmas trees met the sound of waves crashing at the Ocean Boulevard beach access in Carolina Beach Saturday.The community came together to reuse a holiday decoration that many have thrown out.- Advertisement – Christmas trees were placed in the sand and partially covered to help rebuild the dunes along the oceanfront.“The primary goal of this is to recreate a natural dune. As the year goes on and the sand blows over the trees, they will create a very natural, rolling dune,” said Keni Rienks with the Cape Fear Surfrider Foundation.This annual event plays a huge role in keeping Carolina Beach healthy and is turning the trees into a positive for the environment.Related Article: BLACK HISTORY: The history of Freeman Beach“Protects the businesses and the homes of the people that live here. It also keeps all of these trees, which I think we have just over 100 trees, out of a landfill, which yard waste is the second most common item in a landfill in this county,” said Rienks.A first time volunteer, Barney Bernstein, says he was impressed by the community turnout.“The number of volunteers, tremendous. The community outpouring is fantastic. It’s our first time here, but we want to be, we’re part of the community, we want to help maintain the beach line and the dunes and the beauty of the area,” said Bernstein.The beauty of Carolina Beach will be sustained moving forward, as organizers will pick a new location’s dunes to rebuild next year.This was the fifth year the town and the Cape Fear Surfrider Foundation have come together for this event.last_img read more

North Carolina operative out of jail in ballot case

first_imgMcCrae Dowless bonds out of jail on Feb. 28, 2019. (Photo: WWAY) RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on the unresolved North Carolina congressional race (all times local):3:40 p.m.- Advertisement – The main suspect in the ballot-fraud allegations at the bottom of a still-unsettled North Carolina congressional election is out of jail.Leslie McCrae Dowless was released Thursday from the Wake County jail in Raleigh after posting bond. He was arrested Wednesday and charged with seven felonies accusing him of illegally handling ballots during last year’s primary election and the 2016 elections.North Carolina law makes it illegal for anyone other than a voter or their immediate family to handle a mail-in ballot.Related Article: Police investigating triple shooting in LumbertonThe charges came less than a week after the state elections board decided Dowless’ work on behalf of Republican Mark Harris, starting with the 2018 primary, tainted the GOP candidate’s apparent November victory in the 9th Congressional District.Dates for a new election haven’t been set.___1 a.m.The rural North Carolina political operative who for nearly a decade delivered votes for candidates who paid him and stayed just out of reach of ballot-protection laws is facing criminal charges.Leslie McCrae Dowless had stayed just out of reach of ballot-protection laws, but on Wednesday he was charged with illegal ballot handling and conspiracy in the 2018 Republican primary and in the 2016 elections. Four people who’d worked for him were also charged.North Carolina law makes it illegal for anyone other than a voter or their immediate family to handle a mail-in ballot.The charges came less than a week after the state elections board decided his work on behalf of Republican Mark Harris, starting with the 2018 primary, tainted the GOP candidate’s apparent November victory in the 9th Congressional District.The board ordered a new election but hasn’t set a date.last_img read more

Horse races Proposal for winners prize to increase by 10

first_imgA statement sent by the party detailed that it was after the Opposition put pressure on the Government that representatives for the operator and the Government met with the Malta Polo Club in order to discuss the terms for an agreement regarding the use of sports facilities.The statement explained that a number of these proposals were met, and the contract made stronger. SharePrint WhatsApp The Opposition, in Parliament, put forward a number of proposals regarding the Marsa horse track. Amongst these proposals, was one that dictated that the winners’ prize money increases by at least 10% in the first year, and another 3% in the succeeding year.These were the proposals put forward:That the project be primarily an investment into sports, therefore binding the operator to invest at least  €24 million;That the standards and specifications of the sports facilities be determined by an Authority appointed by the Government as regulator;That the operator’s shareholders be binding for four years unless given permission by the Government;that the winners’ prize money increases by at least 10% in the first year, and another 3% in the succeeding year;That the price dictated for participation in the race becomes the responsibility of the Authority;That parking should be free for horse-carriage drivers and owners;That any works on the track should not last more than 6 months;That the possibility of dog races be completely disregarded;That there is an agreement with the Malta Polo Club before and not after the contract is signed. <a href=’;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a>last_img read more

Spanish Newspapers Want Google News Back

first_imgAdvertisement The Internet is like a delicate rainforest ecosystem. You remove one player and the rest suffer and die. That happened in Spain this week when the government there began cracking down on Google. The Spanish government is requiring the company to pay Spanish news providers every time their content appears on the site. The search giant will shut down Google News there in response and no content will be available from the country’s major newspapers including El Pais and La Vanguardia.As you can imagine, this is bad news. While newspapers have long claimed they can survive in the Internet Age without outside support, this is dead wrong. Given that the vast majority of news traffic comes from search – everything from “new laser printer” to “is betty white married” returns information from news sources – I can only imagine how much Spanish newspapers depend on Google for their reach and visitor count.According to the Spain Report, the Spanish Newspaper Publishers’ Association is now pleading for mercy.The Spanish Newspaper Publishers’ Association (AEDE) issued a statement last night saying that Google News was “not just the closure of another service given its dominant market position”, recognising that Google’s decision: “will undoubtedly have a negative impact on citizens and Spanish businesses”. – Advertisement – Google, for its part, explained the move this way:“This new legislation requires every Spanish publication to charge services like Google News for showing even the smallest snippet from their publications, whether they want to or not. As Google News itself makes no money (we do not show any advertising on the site) this new approach is simply not sustainable. So it’s with real sadness that on 16 December (before the new law comes into effect in January) we’ll remove Spanish publishers from Google News, and close Google News in Spain.”In short, the Spanish media lobby bit off more than it could chew, something that will happenagain and again until media companies realize that there are far more efficient ways of separating visitors from their pocket change via micropayments and bitcoin. Until then, it will be amusing to watch well-meaning lawyers throw levers and switches in the media locomotive until the whole thing runs off the tracks. Via Techcrunchlast_img read more

MTN South Africa Awards Winner 7700 in its Afrikaans is Groot Music

first_imgAdvertisement MTN South Africa on Thursday has awarded a lucky winner; Misiwe Maki of Beacon Bay, East London $7700 (roughly 27.6 million UGX) in the MTN Afrikaans is Groot Consumer Competition after downloading Blou by Laurika Rauch which was one of the caller tunez in the competition.Maki in his remarks said, it was a dream come true for him.“Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine winning such a massive prize. Thank you so much MTN, I hope that others will also get to experience your generosity,” Maki said during the handover ceremony. – Advertisement – Commenting on the Maki’s success, the Chief Consumer Officer at MTN South Africa; Larry Annetts said;“MTN is pleased to be part of the Afrikaans is Groot Music Festival initiative, and what better way is to heighten excitement about this festival than by rewarding our loyal customers who are contributing to the success of festival.”MTN Afrikaans is Groot Consumer Competition is a popular musical extravaganza that celebrates Afrikaans musical talent. The next leg of the competition according to reports we got, will take place at the Grand West Casino, Cape Town from 17th to 18th March 2017.MTN has always been seen giving back to the community in it’s various own ways. However, staying in this line of music, MTN Uganda last year was giving a chance to our very own Ugandans a chance to walk a way with 1 million UGX and a recording contract in The MTN Cypher Competition. Competitors or participants were required to record a video of themselves rhyming to a bit that includes an MTN intro and Outro, with no abusive, obscene or hate language.The challenge came up when MTN Uganda held the first of its kind, the “Uganda Hip Hop Awards”.[related-posts]last_img read more

About the 2017 MTN Innovation Award Winners

first_imgAdvertisement Telecom firm; MTN Uganda on Wednesday announced the winners of the MTN Innovation Awards 2017 at a gala dinner on hosted at the Kampala Serena Hotel where nine (9) innovations were recognized and each walked away with USD$3,000 and a plaque.MTN called for applications where they received over 250 submission where only forty five (45) entries where shortlisted, who later exhibited at the Lugogo Shoprite shopping grounds with a panel of five judges who were able to narrow it down to only nine entries that were late declared winners.The MTN Innovation Awards 2017 took place on the same day that the government commissioned the construction of a government-owned innovations hub. The awards indicate MTN Uganda’s commitment to scale sectors critical to the improvement of lives and communities through digital innovations.Here’s what we know about the winning innovation: – Advertisement – Innovator of the Year: David Gonahasa – The entrepreneur behind Roundbob which helps users access and afford travel both domestic and international. By providing a unique travel wallet, users are able to put aside funds for travel up to 12 months in advance. The platform uses proprietary technology to facilitate the booking process with multiple international contracts that allow for varied inventory. The Ugandan market and middle class, in particular, continue to grow, Travel continues to be one of the most desired products for business, health, religion, education and so much more. Travel, however, is very expensive. Roundbob is making travel a reality, providing the market the right information and helping them access travel.Outstanding Woman in Innovation: Evelyn Namara The brain behind the M – Voucher app which is championing last-mile digital payments in the agricultural sector by using a system that combines a couple of ICT tools to allow development agencies as well as NGOs to disburse subsidies to smallholder farmers to enable them to purchase improved seeds, fertilizers, pesticides etc. M-Voucher uses USSD to allow agro-dealers to use their mobile phones to redeem vouchers in a fast, efficient and transparent manner. It also has a mobile money integration that pays dealers immediately they redeem a voucher from a beneficiary.Best SME Application and Most Innovative Mobile App: Qwicart This app aggregates commodities from different supermarkets giving the user an option to select the preferred shopping location. They have a three-pronged system that ensures both the supermarket, in-store picker and Qwicart can operate seamlessly using different applications that are synchronized to operate as one. This ensures that when the user makes an order, it’s received by the picker in the store with oversight from the supermarket owners and managers.Best Education Application: myChild Addresses the issue of feedback to parents concerning their children’s education. This includes child performance and analysis, upcoming school events, child track record access, staff directory access to inform teachers in case a student doesn’t make it to school, easing fees payment using mobile money or Interswitch, and a chat platform so that parents can give feedback.Best Financial Services Application: MamboPay This app tackles payments using purpose-bound digital coupons as well as cards. The purpose-bound coupons eliminate misuse of funds in such a way that they can be redeemed only for the intended purpose and are not transferable to any other purpose. The cards serve mainly the financially excluded people such as students in secondary schools. With these cards, parents can easily send pocket money or pay school fees using mobile money. The app requires simple configurations on the system to have merchants on board or even to register cards. The fact that the app rides on MTN mobile money is an added advantage in that, they can serve any part of Uganda that has an MTN signal.Best Health Application: Protecting Infants Remotely by SMS (PRISMS) Protecting Infants Remotely by SMS (PRISMS) is an app that provides timely management plans (both treatment and investigations) to the healthcare provider by SMS so as to assess and treat an infant based on the symptoms they are currently exhibiting that can then be input into the app and a response from the server is received within 5 seconds. The suggested management plans returned from each SMS response are offered by expert pediatricians. This app is already saving lives of infants where it is used.Best Agriculture Application: M-Voucher This app is championing last-mile digital payments in the agricultural sector by using a system that combines a couple of ICT tools to allow development agencies as well as NGOs to disburse subsidies to smallholder farmers to enable them to purchase improved seeds, fertilizers, pesticides etc. M-Voucher uses USSD to allow agro-dealers to use their mobile phones to redeem vouchers in a fast, efficient and transparent manner. It also has a mobile money integration that pays dealers immediately they redeem a voucher from a beneficiary.Best Media and Entertainment Application: appAbout This is an app with a fully comprehensive and socialized events management system that caters to event creation, user engagement, social media promotion, ticket sales and door verification, event analysis and collections. It combines crowdfunding using a unique chat- based payment systemlast_img read more

PREVIEW Not so open Sunday

first_img[dropcap]T[/dropcap]here’s nothing like settling down in front of the TV and watching the final day of the Open.That is, apart from when a player has a lead of six shots.That’s the problem with sport. We seek perfection from players, horses and teams and then when we get it it’s no bloody good. (Unless of course you have backed Rory McIlroy that is and I haven’t).Of course it’s fun for a while but the reality is when Germany beat Argentina 7-1 or when Frankel wins another Group 1 on the bridle all you can do is sit back and admire sporting perfection and forget about trying to find an angle betting.McIlroy is safe in the knowledge that a safe round will see him through today and it’s up to the other players to take chances. Big chances.Rather like being massively short stacked on the poker table.Your only hope is sometimes to play daft, reckless poker, and you need to get lucky not once, but three, four or fives times.Same for the McIlroy challengers today – they need to start playing those 9D/10D hands and get lucky.Sports betting needs top class action but it also needs top class COMPETITIVE action to flourish.For me, I’ll be watching the Open with a sense of anti-climax. And counting my losses – unless something miraculous happens.For some further interest I’m having a small interest on Dustin Johnson on Star Sports at around 7/2 – that’s on the WITHOUT RORY market – obviously.Just wish he’d stop spitting. No need for that in golf surely. RECOMMENDED BET (scale of 1-50 points)BACK DUSTIN JOHNSON to win the Open (WITHOUT MCILROY) for 3 points at around 7/2 with Star SportsRETURN SINCE START OF WORLD CUP: PROFIT 21.71 POINTSWhat’s your view? CALL STAR SPORTS 08000 521 321last_img read more

BENS BLOG Clutching at straws

first_img[dropcap]B[/dropcap]log, I have received a rather pained telephone call, from Peter Burrell (right), friend of Star. Peter has thrown himself down an icy mountain and broken several of his ribs. Poor chap, we send him our love.Unfortunately, for Peter, he clearly hadn’t read one of my previous blogs, entitled; ‘Skiing = No Value’.Yes, Blog, its silly season again, I’m afraid. Employers all over the country are currently wearing the burden, of Staffs calling in, on their first day, due back to work, making an unlucky-voice, to inform their pay-masters that they will need some time off sick (paid, obviously) to get over a new self-inflicted injury. Yet more injustice for this country’s long-suffering employers!In other news:Myself and Belindabelle recently fancied some chicken and chips. So we headed out East, to try ‘Clutch’, a new Facebooker/Trendy restaurant, that has opened, just off Columbia Road, in Hackney. Oh dear, oh dear, this REALLY was AWFUL. Granny and granddad’s cutlery was predictably being used, but the friendly staff that greeted us, made the visit seem promising.On to the food…god knows what they coat the chicken in, as it just tasted dry and wholly unappetising. We ordered some chicken-wings on the side, and they completely missed the target too; sloppy and under-cooked. The chocolate dessert, ever so slightly took the pain away, but I certainly won’t be revisiting. Clutch. Can’t believe, that even the Trendies, will miss how insubstantial this place is. 1.Over and out, B xBEN’S BLOGS 2014 NOW IN HARDBACK !!!Regular readers might like to know Ben’s Blogs 2014 have been collated into a hardback volume which is available now.All his blogs from 2014 in a 200 page book (right) including thoughts on betting, Cheltenham, Royal Ascot, the World Cup, politics, restaurants and current affairs.As usual – never sitting on the fence !!Available for £15 (+ P&P) direct from the publishers.TO ORDER: read more

STAR PREVIEW Derby County v Burnley

first_img[dropcap]G[/dropcap]ood 15 point profit for the column on Sunday thanks to the success of Man U at St Mary’s.The column is now 234.45 points in profit on ALL BETS since last year’s World Cup over a year ago.I’ve put the trumpet down and on the basis you’re only as good as your last winner it’s all concentration on the live Championship action tonight between Derby County and Burnley.Burnley are fourth in the table, against Derby’s 12th, but it’s a little misleading as there’re only four points between them in a compact table.Both teams are something of draw specialists, especially Derby who have drawn four of their seven opening games and are still looking for their first home win.Derby will be without captain Chris Baird who continues his recovery from concussion. George Thorne may well return after missing two games with a calf injury.Burnley manager Sean Dyche has no new injury concerns and his side have completely dominated the recent head to heads with Derby – their last win came way back in 2007 – even outside our stats panel below showing their last 10 meetings !!Derby County v BurnleyChampionship19:45 Sky Sports 1 / Sky Sports 1 HDHEAD TO HEAD(Maximum 10 matches)Mar 2014 CHAMPIONSHIP Burnley 2-0 DerbyAug 2013 CHAMPIONSHIP Derby 0-3 BurnleyDec 2012 CHAMPIONSHIP Burnley 2-0 DerbySep 2012 CHAMPIONSHIP Derby 1-2 BurnleyJan 2012 CHAMPIONSHIP Burnley 0-0 DerbyAug 2011 CHAMPIONSHIP Derby 1-2 BurnleyApr 2011 CHAMPIONSHIP Derby 2-4 BurnleyNov 2010 CHAMPIONSHIP Burnley 2-1 DerbyApr 2009 CHAMPIONSHIP Derby 1-1 BurnleyNov 2008 CHAMPIONSHIP Burnley 3-0 DerbyDerby look too short for my money at 11/10 even though they have only failed to score on one occasion this season, that was at Bolton last time which finished 0-0. Burnley are knocking in a few goals this season so I’m a player with Star Sports ‘over 2.5 goals’ proposition at evens.RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-50 points)BACK OVER 2.5 GOALS for 10 points at evens with Star SportsRETURN SINCE START OF WORLD CUP: PROFIT 234.45 POINTSWhat’s your view? CALL STAR SPORTS 08000 521 321last_img read more

BENS BLOG Do you have what it takes

first_img[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hat do you do, if you don’t have the patience or skill, to build a bookmakers organically, as you learn the game, and earn the money, and right, to be a big player?You write out a cheque.The merger, merry-go-round, keeps spinning, and the next ‎Firms to sell out, look to be Ladbrokes Coral and Tabcorp (SEE STORY).Do you remember, when those in our industry, were loyal to their brand, and wanted to grow an independent business, with character and flair? Yep, well, they are just memories now. The race to, simply buy world domination, is on, and those growing their own businesses, at a natural pace, will be left feeling rather small.TAKE THE POSITIVE though; these Firms are run by individuals, with little or no betting experience. They HAVE to buy, to move forward. If YOU have what it takes, then just possibly, they will have to buy YOU out…FOR A HUGE SUM OF MONEY.In other news:Golden Pie, 188 Lavender Hill, Clapham, SW11 5TQ WEB SITE. Pie and mash + Jellied Eels + Apple-Pie + Tea = £12. What more do you actually want in life? It’s hard to find Pie and Mash in London now, and such traditional eateries, in our culture, should be supported. They also know how to serve Apple Pie, and that is with PIPING HOT custard. OLD-SKOOL. 7Over and out, B xlast_img read more

BENS BLOG The Community of Greyhound Racing and Guantanamo Bay Group Socialising

first_img[dropcap]T[/dropcap]hanks go to Phil Donaldson, for his kind article in today’s Racing Post. Do you know the Donaldson family, Blog? They bet, for generations, at Wimbledon Dogs, under the name of ‘Hall’, before Phil’s dad retired.The sense of community and togetherness is far stronger in Greyhound Racing than in our big-brother at the Horses. Less snobbery, competitiveness and Establishment Wallies to deal with. And Phil is a classic dog-racing man. YOU GET EXACTLY WHAT IT SAYS ON THE TIN.In other news:Greetings from my Guantanamo Bay Enforced Group Socialising session in Reinosa, Spain. Yesterday, when the pain was at its worst, something occurred to me: You know that sometimes wedding-invites are just for the evening only, as if that’s the lucky bit to get to go to? Well, I’d quite like to have a service-only invite. I love to see how much it means to, and the looks in the eyes and emotions, of all of those concerned. I enjoy the ceremony and ceremony itself. The decor and style of church, registry-office or synagogue, where it’s all taking place. It’s the endless pleasantries with people you have never met before, will never meet again, and have absolutely nothing in common with; THAT DOES MY HEAD IN.Over and out, B xlast_img read more