Today, Blues Traveler frontman John Popper turns 53 years old. In honor of the harmonica master’s birthday, we’re taking a look back at one of our favorite Popper stories from his decades-long career, as told in his 2016 autobiography Suck and Blow: And Other Stories I’m Not Supposed To Tell, written with Dean Budnick.The book touches on a number of amusing anecdotes, including a near-threesome with porn star Ron Jeremy and the time he congratulated Trey Anastasio on the birth of his first child with a literal truckload of diapers. The histories of Blues Traveler and Vermont jam titans Phish are certainly intertwined. The two bands and their various members have worked together on numerous occasions, most notably during the inaugural H.O.R.D.E. (Horizons of Rock Developing Everywhere) tour in 1992, which many people now view as the catalyst for the modern jam band scene. Their connections would extend beyond H.O.R.D.E. as well, with Popper joining Phish onstage a number of times in the early- to mid-90’s.While Popper and Blues Traveler admired Phish (Popper refers to Anastasio as “our Mozart”), the fact remained that the two bands were, in many ways, in competition for bookings. That friendly competition gave way to one of our favorite Popper/Phish stories. In 1997, Phish had a hold on Madison Square Garden for New Year’s Eve, but Popper wanted Blues Traveler to have the spot.As Popper writes,[Phish] had what’s known as a ‘first hold,’ and we had decided to challenge them for it… We put up half the money — it was over a half-million bucks — and they had 48 hours to respond, when they had to put all their money down.”Popper also timed the challenge to coincide with Phish’s trip to Europe, and the band and a majority of their representatives were in Scotland for the 48-hour window. The band’s accountant, however, was in town holding down the fort. Naturally, to distract him, Popper “sent a stripper every 15 minutes for eight hours to his office to read from Sammy Davis Jr.’s ‘Yes I Can’.”Through some frantic work, Phish’s accountant was able to muster up the $600,000 to reserve the gig with only two hours to spare. According to Popper, he never told the band who kept sending their accountant all the strippers, so they found out the news along with the rest of the memoir’s readers in 2016.You can grab a copy of Suck and Blow: And Other Stories I’m Not Supposed To Tell today to hear more fantastic stories from John Popper’s career. Below, you can watch Popper sit in with Phish in St. Louis, MO in 1996:Phish w/ John Popper – “Funky Bitch” – 11/15/96[Video: tdunski][Originally published 3/29/18]
LAKEWOOD, N.J. – A Hatzolah paramedic responding to a call about a burned child was injured tonight in a Route 9 collision involving two other vehicles, police said. Click here to continue reading the story. The name of the Hatzolah paramedic wasn’t available, but he suffered a leg injury.
Kona had a wide variety of bikes inside the show, from road to urban to commuter to full on nasty downhill bikes. Ã‚Â Shown above is the 2009 Kona Haole, their Italian steel road bike built with Dedaccia Zero Replica shaped steel tubing. Ã‚Â It sports a Dedaccia Black Fin carbon fork and a Shimano Ultegra/105 blended drivetrain with FSA compact cranks and BB.We’ve got HD video from inside their booth on this post, and more pics of their urban bmx bike, Stinky downhill bikes and a range of XC, trail, singlespeed and 29er bikes when you read “more“…The Stinky line has four models but are largely unchanged for 2009. Ã‚Â They’re built for extreme terrain…which means riding over, off of or into just about anything you’ll find off the pavement.Click on any of these pics to enlarge them.The Hei Hei Supreme (top) and One20 Supreme are Kona’s more performance oriented full suspension bikes. Ã‚Â The Hei Hei has 80mm travel fork with 2.5″ rear wheel travel packed onto a Scandium-framed race bike, and the Supreme version is decked out in pretty much full XTR with Mavic Crossmax SLR wheels and Race Face Next Carbon components. Ã‚Â Race ready.The One20 is the more trail oriented version with, as the name implies, 120mm of travel. Ã‚Â This bike is covered in more detail in the previous post.The Hei Hei 29er (top) also uses a Scandium frame with Magnesium rocker arm, still at 80mm travel in the front, but the rear jumps up to 3.5″ of travel. MSRP is $3,599 (base model is $2,599)The base Hei Hei (26″) model on the bottom is no slouch…it’s got a mostly XT/SLX mix, Fox fork and shock and Scandium frame for $3,399.The Shonky is Kona’s slopestyle and dirt jump bike, but it looks like it would be equally at home terrorizing strip mall parking lots and library staircases. Ã‚Â The wheels look small in this pic, but they’re 26″…spec’d with Maxxis 26×2.2 Holy Rollers. Ã‚Â Chromoly frame with a dirt-jump specific fork. Ã‚Â MSRP $899.Last up is the 2009 Kona Big Unit. Ã‚Â It’s a new 29er single-speed hardtail. Ã‚Â The Scandium frame has sliding adjustable rear dropouts. Ã‚Â Quick, light and simple…with giant wheels.Ã‚Â
from $49.00 Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of The Temptations Broadway’s ‘Ain’t Too Proud'(Photo: Matthew Murphy) Related Shows View Comments We didn’t even have to beg! The first national touring production of Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of The Temptations will officially launch at the Providence Performing Arts Center in Providence, Rhode Island, in July 2020. The traveling production of the Tony Award-nominated Best Musical will play more than 50 cities coast-to-coast for more than 100 touring weeks, including a homecoming to The Temptations’ roots in Detroit, and a triumphant return to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.“We have been so blown away by the reception for Ain’t Too Proud—not only on Broadway, but also from our pre-Broadway engagements—that we can’t wait to bring the show back to audiences across America,” said producers Ira Pittelman and Tom Hulce, in a statement. “Feedback from cities we have already been to has been extraordinary. When we first played D.C.’s Kennedy Center it was in the Eisenhower Theater; however, for Christmas 2021, they are welcoming us back to their largest venue, the Opera House.”Ain’t Too Proud is the electrifying new musical that follows The Temptations’ extraordinary journey from the streets of Detroit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. With their signature dance moves and unmistakable harmonies, they rose to the top of the charts creating an amazing 42 Top Ten Hits with 14 reaching number one. The rest is history—how they met, the groundbreaking heights they hit, and how personal and political conflicts threatened to tear the group apart as the United States fell into civil unrest. This thrilling story of brotherhood, family, loyalty, and betrayal is set to the beat of the group’s treasured hits, including “My Girl,” “Just My Imagination,” “Get Ready,” “Papa Was a Rolling Stone,” and so many more.Ain’t Too Proud, written by three-time Obie Award winner Dominique Morisseau, directed by two-time Tony Award winner Des McAnuff, and featuring choreography by Tony nominee Sergio Trujillo, now brings the untold story of this legendary quintet to irresistible life on Broadway. Ain’t Too Proud is currently playing Broadway’s Imperial Theatre and was recently nominated for 12 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Choreography, Best Direction of a Musical and Best Orchestrations.
As the COVID-19 crisis continues, the Broadway League has announced a further delay to the reopening of shows on the New York stage. All Broadway productions will now stay on hold—and will offer refunds and exchanges—through May 30, 2021. Dates for each returning and new Broadway show will be announced as individual productions determine the performance schedules for their respective shows.“With nearly 97,000 workers who rely on Broadway for their livelihood and an annual economic impact of $14.8 billion to the city, our membership is committed to re-opening as soon as conditions permit us to do so. We are working tirelessly with multiple partners on sustaining the industry once we raise our curtains again,” said Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League.Shows were initially set to be shut down through April 12, then through June 7, then through September 6 and then through January 3, 2021. The coronoavirus outbreak has caused the temporary closure of theaters worldwide, including in London’s West End, off-Broadway and across the United States. Shows that have announced they will not return after Broadway resumes performances include Hangmen, the revival of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and the musicals Beetlejuice and Frozen. Some productions previously scheduled to play during the 2019-2020 season have delayed their runs, including Flying Over Sunset, How I Learned to Drive, Caroline, or Change, Birthday Candles, Plaza Suite, The Minutes and American Buffalo. The new extension also impacts new shows that had rescheduled spring and summer openings. The upcoming revival of The Music Man, starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster, has shifted its start date to December 2021. As previously reported, the Metropolitan Opera has announced that the company has canceled its 2020-2021 season. The plan will keep the opera house dark until September 2021.Nominations for the digital Tony Awards, will be announced on October 15, but no date has been set for an awards ceremony at this time. View Comments (Photo by Emilio Madrid for Broadway.com)
Emily Gaynor & Sarah Kaeck of Bee’s Wrap and Rob Carter. Photos courtesy of Joanna Banks-MorganVermont Business Magazine The Addison County Chamber of Commerce recognized a local business, individual, and non-profit organization with awards during its annual meeting held on October 24th at the Middlebury Inn. Three awards were presented in front of a crowd which included Chamber members, local business people and community members.Bee’s Wrap, located in Middlebury, received the 2019 Business of the Year Award which recognizes businesses that have grown, sometimes despite adversity, while providing excellent products or services while doing well by their employees and the community.Bee’s Wrap started with a question facing many families and home cooks: How can we eliminate plastics in our kitchen in favor of a healthier, more sustainable way to store our food? The company creates wraps that provide a versatile and durable solution for sustainable food storage and has seen rapid growth since its inception in 2012, moving from the founder’s basement to New Haven, then Bristol, and now Exchange Street in Middlebury. Shawn Oxford of Bristol Financial Services presented the award to founder, Sarah Kaeck, who shared, “We are honored to have our business in Addison County. We are proud of where we live and where we work. We are proud to bring suppliers and business partners to the area.”Dr. Fred Kniffin of UVM Porter Medical Center and Rob CarterThe 2019 Buster Brush Citizen of the Year Award was presented to Dr. Fred Kniffin of UVM/Porter Medical Center. Dr. Kniffin exemplifies the criteria for which the award is given—a history of getting things done to make the community better in a variety of ways, with no intention of personal reward or recognition.Tom Manion, vice president at Porter, introduced Dr. Kniffin, sharing the three traits he believes make the hospital’s leader worthy of this recognition: fantastic communication, discipline, and being patient/people-centered. Manion shared, “Fred cares deeply about the way this community is cared for.” Upon receiving the Buster Brush Award, Dr. Kniffin reflected on his 29 years at Porter and in this community saying, “I have the best job in the world. My job is an award in and of itself,” emphasizing the meaningful, rewarding work and the great people he has the opportunity to work with.The Chamber’s 2019 Community Achievement Award is given to a non-profit organization that provides a significant and sustained contribution to the wellbeing of the area. This year’s award was presented to HOPE (Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects). HOPE’s mission is to improve the lives of low income people in Addison County, Vermont by working with individuals to identify and secure the resources needed to meet their basic needs. Meaghan McLaughlin of the National Bank of Middlebury presented the award, highlighting the organizations “quantifiable impact” this year alone: 72,000 meals served, 400 people assisted with housing/heat/work/medical needs, 581 children benefiting from the holiday program, and 993 new clients. McLaughlin emphasized the organization’s dynamic and flexible response to the needs of the community, giving the impressive improvements to the organization’s food shelf as an example.Rob Carter, Jeanne Montross, Cathy Eddy, John Betz of HOPEThe award was accepted by Jeanne Montross, executive director of the organization who said, “The work HOPE does is only possible because of the community in which we exist. You help make our work possible.”Annual Business MeetingAnnual meeting attendees voted on the board of directors for the 2019-2020 year. New to the board this year, serving one-year terms expiring at the 2020 annual meeting are Sue Ritter, Middlebury College; Deborah Wesley, Addison County Home Health and Hospice; Nancy Foster, Champlain Valley Properties; and Jeff Kozak, WhistlePig Distillery.Other board members include:• *Bethany Dever, Dever Accounting Service, Treasurer• Karen Duguay, representing Better Middlebury Partnership• *Judson Hescock, Neuse, Duprey & Putnam, P.C., Past Chair• Renny Perry, representing Vergennes Downtown Partnership• Bill Sayre, A. Johnson Lumber Company, representing Addison County Regional Planning Commission• Len Schmidt, Patricia A. Hannaford Career Center• *Adam Rainville, Maple Landmark, Chair• *Meaghan McLaughlin, National Bank of Middlebury, Secretary• Robert Feuerstein, Kennedy Brothers, shared board member with Addison County Economic Development Corporation• Dickie Austin, Black Sheep Bistro• Marty Kulczyk, Robert Frost Mountain Cabins* Designates Chamber OfficersThe board of the Addison County Chamber of Commerce thanked outgoing board member Shawn Oxford of Bristol Financial Services for his seven years of service to the Chamber and the community. Appreciation was also expressed to outgoing board members Ben Calvi of Vermont Cider Company, Courtney DeBisschop of IPJ Real Estate, Sean Flynn of Silver Maple Construction, and Tom Manion of UVM Porter Medical Service.About Addison County Chamber of CommerceFounded in 1969, the Addison County Chamber of Commerce plays a vital role in the success of Addison County’s business community. With a full-time paid staff, the Chamber operates a Visitor Information Center just outside of Middlebury’s downtown. The Addison County Chamber is responsible for promoting the county as a tourism destination, responding to inquiries from visitors and residents as well as providing referrals to member businesses.The Addison County Chamber is a vital resource for the business community by providing governmental affairs programming, educational forums and opportunities to meet other members to create and nurture connections.The Chamber’s mission is to enhance the economic vitality of Addison County.Photos courtesy of Joanna Banks-Morgan:Shawn Oxford and Judson Hescock; Emily Gaynor & Sarah Kaeck of Bee’s Wrap and Rob Carter; Dr. Fred Kniffin of UVM Porter Medical Center and Rob Carter; Rob Carter, Jeanne Montross, Cathy Eddy, John Betz of HOPE.Source: Middlebury, Vermont – October 24, 2019 – The Addison County Chamber of Commerce
January 15, 2014 Regular News Board ponders YLD’s request to host some PWP seminars online Board ponders YLD’s request to host some PWP seminars online A proposal by the Young Lawyers Division to hold some of its signature Practicing With Professionalism seminars online, instead of requiring in-person attendance, is being studied by the Board of Governors’ Program Evaluation Committee. PEC Chair Ray Abadin and YLD President Melanie Griffin reported on the effort at the board’s December meeting.Griffin noted about five years ago the YLD moved most of its basic skills courses online, but kept PWP, which all new Bar members must take in their first year of practice, as an in-person course.Though the division had 21 PWP courses last year in cities all over the state, it was still problematic for many new lawyers to get to the class.“With more than 3,000 new lawyers coming into the state of Florida every year, we’re having a hard time keeping up,” Griffin said.And Abadin added: “There are more people needing Practicing With Professionalism than there are in-person slots. Some have to travel across the state to find a seat.”Griffin said when the PWP course in Miami opened for reservations last year, all the seats were taken in six hours.Lawyers who missed out had to drive to another city. The same thing happened for courses in other cities.The YLD, she said, is looking at having around 10 in-person courses and offering the training for the remaining lawyers with interactive online software, including one that allows viewers to ask questions. Griffin said examples of the software would be available to review at the board’s January meeting.Online courses are better, she said, than enlarging the course attendance from around 125 to 400 or 500 lawyers per class.“Then you completely eliminate the ability to have any meaningful dialog or discussion,” Griffin said.Board member Carl Schwait praised the online proposal, saying many students, particularly from rural areas or smaller cities, have trouble finding seats and sometimes drive for several hours only to find the seminar is full.“For rural new lawyers, online is almost the only way to go,” he said.
This chart shows the overall COVID-19 risk by state. The nonprofit organization Covid Act Now monitors daily diagnoses, infection rates, testing positivity, ICU headroom and contacts traced in each state. The overall COVID-19 risk is based on these five metrics. Map credit: mapchart.net. Source: covidactnow.org. Eli Ben-Naim
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APM Terminals facility in Buenos Aires, Argentina, called T4Economic and population growth rate projections for Latin America have not yet been matched by the port and transportation infrastructure investment needed to accommodate the increased logistics and trade demands this economic growth will require over the next decade, APM Terminals Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Christian Moller Laursen said while addressing the present at the Trade Americas & Connect Americas Expo: Building the Americas conference in Miami.“The latest United Nations projections see a nearly 11% growth in Latin America’s population to 690 million by 2025, nearly 200 million more than the current combined population of the European Union countries. The total container throughput for Central and South America, in comparison, grew by only 1% in 2013, to 45.7 million TEUs. Brazil, Latin America’s largest economy, handled 8.6 million TEUs in 2013, approximately the same number as the Port of Antwerp, the 3rd-busiest container port in Europe,” said Mr. Laursen.He added that “this underperformance will only become more acute without a new and invigorated strategy to address and promote necessary infrastructure investment”.Christian Moller Laursen, CFO and Vice President of APM Terminals speaks at the Trade Americas Expo The cost of this port and transportation infrastructure will require significant amounts of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) as Latin American nations develop new strategies for the infrastructure to catch up with current and projected future requirements.The importance of developing master plans covering ports as well as the roads and rail connections needed to efficiently link the ports with main population centers was also emphasized, as otherwise these hinterland connections will only create more bottlenecks in the future. Latin America attracted FDI, excluding offshore financial centers, of $182 billion in 2013, or 12.9% of total global FDI of $1.4 trillion last year. The World Economic Forum’s 2014 assessment of port infrastructure ranked major Latin American economies Brazil, Colombia and Argentina 131st, 110th and 99th, respectively, out of 148 nations within their annual survey. “Successful strategies to promote investment and partnerships with the private sector will become significantly more important to address these port and transportation infrastructure opportunities, with realistic and practical concession terms an increasingly crucial component of this process,” said Mr. Laursen. APM Terminals owns a 50% share in Brasil Terminal Portuário, which opened last year in Santos, Brazil, Latin America’s busiest container port, and currently has new terminal development projects underway at Moin, Costa Rica, and Lazaro Cárdenas, Mexico, as well as a major terminal expansion and upgrade in Callao, Peru.[mappress]Press Release, September 05, 2014;Image: APM Terminals
The UK’s South Hook LNG terminal in Milford Haven will receive a cargo of the chilled gas next week from Qatar.The 210,152 cbm Q-Flex carrier Fraiha is expected to dock at South Hook on August 4, port data reveals.This will be the first August shipment of Qatari LNG to the 15.6 mtpa import facility.According to shipping data, MOL-operated LNG tanker Fraiha is currently sailing offshore Malta.[mappress mapid=”17614″]LNG World News Staff; Image: Port of Milford Haven
The managing director of a law firm has described her feeling of betrayal after a potential successor to run the business was jailed for fraud. Gregory Davies, from Wirral, pleaded guilty to one count of fraud by false representation when he appeared at Liverpool Crown Court. The solicitor was sentenced to 12 months in prison. Davies, admitted in 2014, worked at Liverpool firm Catherine Higgins Law between September 2015 and July 2016. During that time he duplicated paperwork and created fake policy documents to request money be paid into his own bank account. He also gave clients his own bank details instead of that of his employer for them to pay for services carried out. The court heard Davies diverted money from estates to his own bank account and on one occasion took £540 from the estate of a woman which he disguised as being a payment for funeral costs. In total, Davies made around £13,400 from his actions. In a victim impact statement, Davies’ employer Catherine Higgins said she placed her trust in him and expected high standards and integrity. ‘I came to regard Greg as a long-term prospect and hopefully my successor to enable me to eventually retire,’ said Higgins. ‘We would talk and make plans for the future of the business and at no time did I suspect that he was committing fraud at the expense of the firm and our clients. When Greg’s criminal behaviour was uncovered I felt numb and sick. When it became clear that Greg had stolen from the firm, the feeling of betrayal was indescribable.’ Higgins said it had been a difficult time for the firm and thanked those involved in dealing with the matter for their ‘tenacity and patience’. When his actions were uncovered by colleagues, the issue was immediately reported to Action Fraud and the Solicitors Regulation Authority. She added: ‘It is disappointing when a member of the legal profession falls below the standard required but I can assure my clients that in each case where a loss was identified, my firm has repaid that loss to the clients.’
Following the meeting, Colin Smyth commented, “It was fantastic to welcome campaigners from Dumfries and Galloway and across South Scotland to Parliament to discuss the vital issue of climate change. The level of interest shows what an important issue this is to many people in the area. The publication of the draft climate action plan presents a real opportunity for the Scottish Government to commit to meaningful action which will help reduce the impact of climate change both now and for future generations. The local MSP met with the group to discuss their concerns prior to the draft publication of a climate action plan which is due to be released by Scottish Government by the end of the year. During their meeting, the campaigners asked Colin Smyth to urge Government Ministers to commit to improving the energy efficiency of Scottish homes and buildings; increase investment in Scotland’s renewable energy sector and in low carbon transport and to cut greenhouse gas emissions from food. My meeting with the group was constructive and I plan to raise with Government Ministers the points that they would like to see included in the draft climate action plan when it is published later this year. I sincerely hope that the Government will take their concerns on board when the final draft is published and make bold commitments to tackle this issue.” The group from Stop Climate Chaos are seeking to ensure that the Scottish Government meets its target to reduce emissions by 42% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to LinkedInLinkedInLinkedIn Local Dumfries and Galloway MSP Colin Smyth, recently welcomed climate change campaigners from across the South Scotland to the Scottish Parliament as part of a mass lobby of Parliament organised by Stop Climate Chaos.
A senior officer in the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) and his wife who also is an employee of the Ministry of Defence, have been charged over alleged recruitment and maintenance of a ghost pilot on the army’s payroll for more than 11 years, local media Daily Monitor reports.The non-existent pilot has been paid more than 2 billion Ugandan shillings (over $500,000) in salaries since 2005 for being on the Ugandan army payroll.A senior military officer and two civilian defense ministry staff have been charged with the crime on Friday while over 16 military and civilian officials implicated in the crime are at large, this according to the report.Until June 2016 when the scam was detected after a probe, it was determined that Russian air force pilot, Valerie Detrick who was contracted to work as a training instructor for Mi-17 and Mi-24 military helicopter pilots was non-existent.The accused, Major Kapalaga Lubega, his wife Evas Lubega Twinomujuni and colleague at the ministry Carolyn Kyakabale were arraigned before the General Court Martial in Makindye on Friday where they were charged and remanded.The non-existent pilot was entered into a two-year renewable contract in 2005 and paid $4,306 per month through a local bank account.According to the report, the contract was renewed in 2008 and salary increased to $5,350 per month and maintained through three contract renewals till 2015 when it was reduced to $5,150.The loss came to light in June 2016 after a probe launched by the former Chief of Defence Forces, Gen Katumba Wamala spotted the anomaly.The report implicated more than 16 military and civilian officials of the Ministry of Defence in the scam.They denied the charges, which upon conviction attract prison sentences of up to seven years.
As the full national, indeed global, scope of the coronavirus pandemic begins to come into focus, it is becoming clearer that we are experiencing a public health crisis unlike anything we have seen in our lifetimes. Normal is gone. Like many of you, our staff is working remotely. But they are also working overtime and with great effectiveness. We’ve been in crisis management mode throughout this period and are closely engaged with Congress, the White House and all relevant federal agencies, as well as with our allied organizations, executing a multiphased approach to the challenges before us.advertisementadvertisementI’m pleased to report that our actions have already helped to shape some of the initial decisions that Washington officials have made even as broader, longer-term measures continue to be debated. One of the biggest challenges all of us face is managing the information flow across our computers, trying to discern what’s most important for our businesses and families to know. This week’s update is likewise organized into areas that will help you best understand the dairy-related developments of the past week.Dairy COVID-19 information resourcesFirst, we continue to update our website offering a collection of helpful resources and latest news. The URL has changed this week, so for anyone bookmarking it, click here for the new address.We’ve uploaded several items of significance this week to that page. These include a farmer-focused handbook, with several pages of topline advice on what to know about the coronavirus and how to manage farm employees during a time when a highly communicable disease is spreading. It will be updated on a regular basis as new information and resources become available.Our coronavirus page also has several new podcasts featuring interviews with our staff who are the subject matter experts in confronting COVID-19. This includes a discussion with Dr. Jamie Jonker, our vice president for sustainability and scientific affairs, who reviews why U.S. milk supplies are safe thanks to pasteurization and how dairies are working to keep milk production going 24/7 while looking out for their own workers. advertisementWe also have a podcast with Clay Detlefsen, senior vice president of regulatory and environmental affairs, who details his role as the lead food and agriculture industry private sector liaison with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). He describes the impact of the pandemic on food supplies and why any current dairy food shortages will be short-lived.COVID-19 policy responses – near termThrough our engagement with federal agencies, we’ve advocated for several important administrative decisions made this week that will help keep the dairy chain functioning.First, the DHS and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) declared the U.S. food production system part of our nation’s essential critical infrastructure and released guidance concerning the treatment of those in the workforce on farms and the food supply chain. This means that food workers, including dairy employees and those at processing plants, are encouraged to maintain their previous work schedules without disruption by any local or state social distancing orders that are spreading from California to New York.Please keep in mind that this document is advisory; DHS cannot tell states and localities what to do in this area. But hopefully states and localities will defer to the federal government on this. National Milk Producers Federation’s (NMPF) Clay Detlefsen has been instrumental in getting the food and ag sector critical infrastructure jobs appropriately characterized in this DHS guidance.The declaration is designed to help minimize any arbitrary decisions that would harm the process of producing, processing and selling dairy foods. We will be providing a template letter that dairy producers are encouraged to provide to their employees, citing the DHS “Guidance on the essential critical infrastructure workforce” document that lists all agriculture workers as essential. Workers should be encouraged to carry this letter with them if stopped by local officials in an area that is subject to a shelter-in-place directive. Look for that template letter to appear on our website.advertisementSecond, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced the expansion of its Nationwide Emergency Declaration to exempt the transportation of various goods from its hours-of-service rules. The full declaration is available here. The transport of bulk loads of milk, i.e. tankers, is included. Should we experience either an exacerbated driver shortage or plant closures that cause milk to be diverted in the coming weeks, such flexibility will be essential for milk to move in a timely manner. Third, the FDA has relaxed its facility inspection schedule, meaning that routine surveillance inspections of U.S. food facilities are suspended for now. Interstate milk shippers (IMS) check ratings by FDA are considered routine inspections and are suspended. The inspections are typically conducted by employees of state agencies under contract with FDA.In the legislative arena this week, Congress passed the second in a series of what is expected to be at least three coronavirus assistance packages. Among other things, the measure provides an additional $1.2 billion in food assistance for needy populations and extends unemployment benefits for what is sure to be a surge of people laid off. The food program includes:$500 million in food aid for pregnant women and mothers under the WIC program$250 million to deliver meal packages to millions of seniors$400 million for the USDA to buy up commodities and distribute them to food banks.It also suspends work requirements for food stamp recipients and allows states to use SNAP funds to help feed families who qualify for free or reduced-price school meals.We have encouraged Congress and the USDA to consider measures such as these that will ensure needy populations still have access to nutritious dairy products, which obviously will include milk that otherwise would be flowing right now to schools. Fortunately, many school districts have made alternate arrangements to feed low-income students. Of note, the USDA has indicated that shelf-stable milk will be eligible for school meals during this time.COVID-19 policy responses – longer termLawmakers on Capitol Hill are currently working on a third disaster assistance package, and we are talking with Congress and the USDA on a series of dairy-specific requests aimed at helping the dairy community during this difficult time.Based on input provided this week by NMPF’s executive committee and following discussions with USDA leadership, we are preparing a dairy-specific letter to the USDA to ask for certain types of assistance, either directly from the USDA or as the result of combined action between the USDA and Congress. At this point, among the possible inclusions are:Dairy Margin Coverage reopening. Asking the USDA to reopen the 2020 DMC program sign-up, as based on current DMC decision-tool calculations, payments are now expected for the majority of the rest of the year. This is an existing risk management tool that has the potential to deliver known benefits to producers.Product purchases. We are exploring a range of possibilities on this front. The USDA has authority to make purchases under Section 32, but it’s unclear how much funding the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) still has available at the moment. Congress would need to replenish that fund as it did last fall should money be needed, possibly as part of the next economic stimulus package.We believe a substantial purchase of multiple dairy products will be important in light of restaurant closures and school and food service cancellations. Such purchases would send a clear signal to dairy markets of strong product demand. An expected large spike in unemployment will create huge food needs and possibly unprecedented demands on food banks for donations. Dairy is a very popular food in food banks, thus providing an immediate outlet for government purchases.Milk disposal compensation. Given the potential for supply chain disruptions during spring flush or the summer school hiatus, we are reviewing whether other programs that have been created to compensate producers for milk dumping could be adopted for this situation. It’s possible that elements of existing programs could provide the basis for a similar setup to compensate farmers or processors depending on where dumping occurs, potentially with an incentive to donate milk. Know that we are looking at and are open to sharing other options in order to protect our industry and preserve our nation’s dairy production capacity, particularly in light of its critical importance in feeding Americans now and in the future.The pressure on dairy margins from the spread of COVID-19 are likely to be made worse as U.S. milk production rebounds. According to the February USDA Milk Production report, total national output rose 1.7% from 2019, adjusted for leap year. Cow numbers reached 9.37 million last month, up 0.2% from 2019.Lastly, although the news headlines are filled with fear, I do want to share a reminder of the good things that happened last year in the dairy sector. Take a look at the 2019 NMPF annual report, a copy of which we shared at our board meeting last week. Despite the current dramatic challenges we now face, working together, I firmly believe this great industry can surmount them. The path ahead may be rocky, but I know we will rise to meet these challenges. Thanks for reading and please stay safe. Jim MulhernPresident and CEONational Milk Producers Federation
Completing the team were AdrielleVince Binguan, Johanan Raymond Castiller, Dylan Benedict Despi, Marvin delosSantos, Joshua Farahmir Dignadice, Carl Jalea, Jose Palafox, Toni Siglos, RonBedonia, Vince Hugo, and Kian Ramos. SILAY City – Bacolod Tay Tung HighSchool Thunderbolts netted a double victory in the 1st Asenso Silay Mayors CupInvitational Basketball League 2019 by bagging the U-15 category title at theSilay Gym here. “This championship is a good for theteam because we are measuring hanggangsaan ang kakayanin namin,” Dy said. Also part of the Thunderbolts’ teammentored by Dexter Dy were Heinz Gabriel Demisana, Rafael Albert Ledesma, MikeLebron Estelloso, Christian James Juguan and, Thomas Pillado. Behind the heroics of U-15 categoryMVP awardee Nathan Jundana, the Thunderbolts pulled off a 79-77 escape over theMF Computer Solutions in the do-or-die championship match. Bacolod Tay Tung High School basketball team On Sunday, the Thunderbolts’ U-12team, led by MVP winner Adrian Alagaban, also won the U-12 boys basketballcategory crown by defeating University of St. La Salle in the finals./PN