Senate confirms Mayorkas as Biden’s homeland security chief

first_imgWASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has confirmed Alejandro Mayorkas as President Joe Biden’s homeland security secretary. He’s the first Latino to fill the post, and the first immigrant to do so. The department is central to the Biden administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, a sweeping Russia-linked cyber hack and domestic extremism. Mayorkas is expected to lead a broad policy overhaul of an agency that was accused of being deeply politicized as it carried out President Donald Trump’s initiatives on immigration and law enforcement. His nomination had been stalled in the Senate by Republicans who had questions about Biden’s plans for immigration policy. Mayorkas was sworn in Tuesday evening.last_img read more

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University to evacuate Cairo abroad students

first_img Notre Dame’s decision to evacuate the students was in response to a U.S. State Department recommendation. Twelve Notre Dame students are participating in Notre Dame’s study abroad program at the American University of Cairo (AUC). The students in Cairo had no access to Internet or mobile phone connections last week, but Notre Dame’s Office of International Studies (OIS) received a Friday voicemail when AUC officials allowed students to make one-minute phone calls from landlines. The students arrived in Cairo Jan. 20 to begin their semester of study at AUC. U.S. government-arranged transportation from Cairo to safe haven locations in Europe is scheduled to begin Monday, according to a notice from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. “OIS has received a voicemail from one of our Cairo students, calling on behalf of all of them,” the note stated. “They are all safe at the student residence in Zamalek. … They are obeying the curfew and, as instructed, have not ventured from their residences nor in anyway been involved in any of the protests. There are AUC officials in residence at Zamalek that are there to act as advisors to our students.” In a Jan. 29 emergency website announcement, AUC stated that, “due to the circumstances in Egypt,” classes and activities were cancelled until at least Feb. 2.center_img “Notre Dame is collaborating with AUC and U.S. officials to have the students transported with other American citizens as soon as possible on government-arranged transport to safe havens in Europe, from where they will be assisted by Notre Dame to locations in which they will be able to safely continue their studies,” the press release stated. In a website update directed toward parents of students in Cairo, OIS said the students were safe in their residences. Notre Dame students also placed short phone calls Sunday when they learned they were leaving Cairo. The University will evacuate Notre Dame students from Cairo due to ongoing protests and violence in Egypt, according to a University press release.last_img read more

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University saves with green fund

first_imgThe Sustainable Endowments Institute recognized Notre Dame on Feb. 9 as a one of 52 national universities saving money through sustainable funding. “Greening the Bottom Line,” is the first survey conducted on green revolving funds (GRFs) in higher education. The survey noted the Green Loan Fund at Notre Dame, which financed a transition to compact fluorescent lights (CFL) in all 29 residence halls. The switch, beginning October 2008 and completed September 2010, has saved $529 per month. Ultimately, this resulted in a 75 percent return on investment. Erin Hafner, programs manager of the Office of Sustainability said the Energy and Environmental Issues Committee, a group of faculty and students formed in the 1980s, initiated the Green Loan Fund in 2008. This $2 million fund allows the Office of Sustainability to manage projects proposed by students and staff. Principal author Dano Weisbord said in “Greening the Bottom Line” the most impressive feature of this fund is its ability to provide money from previous investments for future green upgrades. Contributing author Mark Orlowski, executive director of the Sustainable Endowments Institute, said in the report that other schools also have paid more attention to sustainability. “The trend is clear both in terms of money saved and reduced energy consumption,” he said. “The number of green revolving funds has more than quadrupled since 2008.” Hafner said Notre Dame has made major strides in this area. “Look back to the green report card of 2007 and 2008, we had a D-,” she said. “Now we have a B+, which we’ve done with programming, outreach and training.” To achieve this grade, the Office of Sustainability has revamped many of its programs and transportation systems, as well as introducing new events on campus, Hafner said. “This Friday we have our annual spring semester Green Summit. The University is also in the middle of an energy conservation program and upgrading lights in older buildings,” she said. Hafner said the University is incorporating eco-friendly vehicles into its transportation system. Most recently, the Zip Car appeared in the Notre Dame fleet and is available for students and faculty use. Other transportation alterations include hybrid vehicles for students, faculty and staff to rent for travel to meetings and conferences. To accompany this change, a low emission vehicle parking program for Low Emissions Vehicles (LEVs) has been established. “We’ve been working with a couple of companies for the electric vehicle charging stations,” Hafner said. “We had some trials in the fall semester and are hoping to pilot some others.” In the next few months, Hafner said these should be available in parking lots. Additionally, the University is researching how to replace service vehicles with electric substitutes. “We’re really excited because it opens a lot of doors. If this happens, we can add to our fleet,” she said. “We’d retire work trucks and replace them with the electric ones.” The biggest component of what the University is working on with sustainability, Hafner said, is education. Along with introducing a sustainability aspect to freshman Contemporary Topics courses, the Office of Sustainability is promoting current and possible minors. “[The Office of Sustainability] in the process of creating courses for a sustainability minor for the broader campus,” she said. “We’re trying to work more with the academy on opportunities that just haven’t been called out yet.” At Notre Dame, there are unique difficulties other schools are not forced to face, Hafner said. Energy on campus is extremely cheap, while on the East and West Coasts cost is higher. “To justify energy programs on campus is difficult because it’s so cheap,” she said. “We’re trying to formulate programming around that.” A grassroots approach must be taken, with each individual contributing to the cause, she said. “Educate yourself. People don’t necessarily take time to do so,” she said. “Shut lights off, take shorter showers, recycle and purchase fewer items so less natural resources are used.”last_img read more

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Alex Coccia | Nancy Joyce

first_imgWho they are: Presidential candidate Alex Coccia is a junior from Columbus, Ohio, who resides in Siegfried Hall. An Africana studies and peace studies major, Coccia serves as co-president of the Progressive Student Alliance and was a founding member of the 4-to-5 Movement on campus. Vice presidential candidate Nancy Joyce, a junior resident of Welsh Family Hall, is an Akron, Ohio, native studying Arabic and economics. She currently serves as Arabic Club vice president and is a member of Junior Class Council.   First priority: Joyce said she and Coccia will immediately focus on “smaller but more concrete” platform items relevant to daily life, such as installing a Redbox on campus. Top priority: Institutionalizing a student town hall forum every month to foster communication between students and the administration. Best idea: Creating a new Director of National Engagement and Outreach position on the Executive Cabinet to promote relationships with peer institutions across the country, create benchmarks for student government and respond to national issues from a Notre Dame perspective. Worst idea: Instituting an on-campus bike rental system. While many students choose to use bikes to get around, they aren’t absolutely necessary on a campus the size of Notre Dame’s.  Most feasible: Coccia and Joyce propose “Student Government Night Out” events to connect student government with the rest of the Notre Dame community in the vein of South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s “Mayor’s Night Out” events.  Least feasible: Coccia and Joyce plan to advocate for the inclusion of medical amnesty, Good Samaritan and emergency clauses in official University policies, but these changes could not be accomplished in a year in which du Lac is not eligible for revision.  Fun facts: Coccia has bungee jumped on the Nile River. Joyce’s great-grandfather was one of the legendary Four Horsemen of Notre Dame.  Notable quote: “I think student government as a whole was created as an advocacy organization, and I don’t think it’s reached its potential to be that yet and to be the voice for the students to the administration.” – Coccia, on the role of student government in campus life Bottom line: The relationships Coccia has formed as a driver of GLBTQ inclusion would provide an invaluable head start toward the ticket’s long-term goals through communication and collaboration with University administration. The Coccia-Joyce vision is comprehensive but does not necessarily include any truly groundbreaking ideas.last_img read more

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Alumna kicks off Love Your Body Week at SMC

first_imgTo mark the beginning of Love Your Body Week (LYBW) at Saint Mary’s, Whitney Werner, creator of the BeYOUtiful self-esteem program, talked about body image Monday in Vander Vennet Theatre in the Student Center. “If a person has one other person in their life to trust and be there for them, that can save them,” Werner said. “It is in small groups and small moments that big things can happen. The moments that you have with individual people can impact a person’s life.” Werner, a 2010 alumna of the College, developed BeYOUtiful three years ago to promote confidence in middle-school girls in South Bend. The program allows the girls to interact in a discussion format in which leaders guide the conversations. Sophomore Samantha Moorhead, co-chair of LYBW, said she thought Werner had a great story to tell Saint Mary’s. “Seeing the impact the program can have on those girls is so important for such a vulnerable age group,” Moorhead said. “Learning about how I can help and sharing with Saint Mary’s girls how they can help is important, [Werner] has such a powerful story that translates over to why she is so passionate about it.” Werner recounted her own experiences with bullying and self-harm. “Many of our physical issues we hate about our bodies make us look to fix our internal problems by trying to ‘fix’ external features,” Werner said. “Healing starts with us. … We can only take people as far as we have been willing to go with ourselves. By being willing to take care of ourselves, we become more empowered to help others.” Werner said one of the first steps to appreciating one’s body is to love who he or she is on the inside. “When people know they matter, it’s amazing how you can impact their life,” she said. Werner said low self-esteem affects how people treat others. “You have to have pride in things that you do,” she said. Werner suggested writing compliments on the bathroom mirror. “Write the truths you need to hear about yourself and tell yourself that every day,” she said. “Give yourself compliments. It does not have to be seen as an arrogant thing.” Women tend to compare their features to those thought to be ideal, Werner said. This makes women feel like they have failed. “A big part of it is realizing comparing isn’t healthy. I’m me and that’s okay,” Werner said. Junior Katherine Kautz said students at an all-women’s college like Saint Mary’s have a greater chance of comparing themselves to other women. “It stresses the fact that you need to start with respecting and loving yourself first,” Kautz said. Werner said women should focus on growing from the inside, out. “If you work on yourself, it develops beauty from a whole new way and spills onto other people,” she said.last_img read more

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Author reads flash-fiction on apocalypses

first_imgEmily McConville The Creative Writing Program hosted author Lucy Corin Wednesday evening in the Hammes bookstore to read from her latest book, “One Hundred Apocalypses and Other Apocalypses.”The Creative Writing Program hosted a reading by Lucy Corin Wednesday night in Hammes Notre Dame bookstore. After a brief introduction from Steve Tomasula, professor of English, Corin read excerpts from her latest book “One Hundred Apocalypses and Other Apocalypses,” a collection of short pieces centering around an apocalypse.“The idea came from a personal challenge,” Corin said. “I’d take any idea or bit of writing I had and turn it into an apocalypse. I had put together a book, but I didn’t know how to make it a good book.”The book consists of 100 apocalypses: there are three longer stories followed by a set of flash fictions, or short short-stories sometimes lasting just a few lines long, Corin said. At the event, the author read more than a dozen of her flash fictions.While all of Corin’s pieces are centered around an apocalypse, the crisis itself is not always styled in the typical manner, she said. The topics, instead, are widely varied: a new mother on maternity leave kills her child because it’s too much work; an unknown narrator describes how to tell if a girl has lost her virginity; a daughter comes home to see that her father has been cut in half by a garage door. According to Corin, some are more experimental in style than others.Following her reading of one of her flash fiction pieces, titled “Hangings,” she said the story is “supposed to get all messed up with your perceptions.”After the reading, Corin answered questions from the audience. Many of the questions were centered around the dark themes in her book, as well as in her other books, including “Everyday Psycho Killers — A History For Girls.” She explained that as a child, her sister had always been far more interested in the macabre than she had been.“I just fell into the tunnel. I had a relationship [with dark material], but it was a wary one,” Corin said.In the 1990s, Corin said she noticed the cyclic relationship people had with terrible events, such as brutal killings and kidnappings, especially during many prevalent cases that were shown on television at the time.“You’d watch yourself move from pleasure to self-aware pleasure to disgust at yourself for enjoying it,” she said. “I used to kind of sneer at people who didn’t want to see that sort of thing in movies. I was like, ‘Come on, it’s about murder, we love that!’ But I get it now.”Corin said is currently working on a novel, “The Swank Hotel.”“I have my psychopath book, I have my apocalypse book, but I’m trying to remove myself from that sort of thinking when I’m not working on it,” she said.Tags: author reading, author reading in hammes, creative writing program, lucy corin, one hundred apocalypses and other apocalypseslast_img read more

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Basilica to close in August for organ installation

first_imgThe Basilica of the Sacred Heart will close from Aug. 1 to Aug. 14 for the next phase of the installation of the new Murdy Family Organ, the Basilica announced on Twitter.Michael Yu | The Observer The Murdy Family Organ is replacing the current Holtkamp Organ and is set to be completed by Christmas 2016, according to a University press release in December. The Basilica will continue celebrating daily mass Monday through Friday at 11:30 a.m. in the Sacred Heart Parish Crypt, and confessions will be heard from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., according to the announcement. Andrew McShane, associate director for music and liturgy in the Office of Campus Ministry, said the Holtkamp Organ was “was not designed to be played as frequently as it is now.” “Two Masses each day along with choir rehearsals and ongoing student practice sessions have created serious operating issues,” he said in the release. “The Basilica has simply outgrown the current organ and there is a need for a larger, better functioning organ to occupy the space and sustain the Basilica for years to come.”The Basilica last closed in December for renovations to create space for the new organ, which is set to arrive in August, according to the release. The Murdy Family Organ comes from Tacoma, Washington, where Paul Fritts and Co. Organ Builders are designing and constructing it at night and in off hours, according to the press release.The new organ, in addition to new floors installed in the Basilica in 2014, are the result of a donation from Wayne and Diana Murdy.Tags: Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Campus Ministry, Murdy Family Organlast_img read more

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New York State Halts Student, Medical Debt Collections

first_imgPhoto: PixabayALBANY – New York State has temporarily halted the collection of medical and student debt owed to the state for at least 30-days in an attempt to diminish the financial burden of the novel Coronavirus.Governor Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Letitia James say in an effort to support workers and families the AGs’ office will halt the collection of medical and student debt owed to the State of New York and referred to the OAG for collection through April 15.After the 30-day period, the government will reassess the needs of state residents for a possible extension. Additionally, officials say they will accept applications for suspension of all other types of debt owed to the State of New York and referred to the AG for collection.“As the financial impact of this emerging crisis grows, we are doing everything we can to support the thousands of New Yorkers that are suffering due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Governor Cuomo said. “This new action to temporarily suspend the collection of debt owed to the state will help mitigate the adverse financial impact of the outbreak on individuals, families, communities and businesses in New York State, as we continue to do everything we can to slow the spread of the virus.” The OAG collects certain debts owed to the State of New York via settlements and lawsuits brought on behalf of the State of New York and state agencies. A total of more than 165,000 matters currently fit the criteria for a suspension of state debt collection, including, but not limited to:Patients that owe medical debt due to the five state hospitals and the five state veterans’ home;Students that owe student debt due to State University of New York campuses; andIndividual debtors, sole-proprietors, small business owners, and certain homeowners that owe debt relating to oil spill cleanup and removal costs, property damage, and breach of contract, as well as other fees owed to state agencies.The temporary policy will also automatically suspend the accrual of interest and collection of fees on all outstanding state medical and student debt referred to the OAG for collection, so New Yorkers are not penalized for taking advantage of this program.New Yorkers with non-medical or non-student debt owed to the State of New York and referred to the OAG, may also apply to temporarily halt the collection of state debt. Individuals seeking to apply for this temporary relief can fill out an application online or visit the OAG’s coronavirus website to learn more about the suspension of payments. If an individual is unable to fill out the online form, they can also call the OAG hotline at 1-800-771-7755 to learn more. Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Man Charged With DWI, Allegedly Driving 71 MPH In Jamestown

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window),Headline says 25 year old article says 44 year old which is it WNY News Now Image.JAMESTOWN – A City of Jamestown man is facing charges after police say he was busted driving 71 m.p.h. in parts of the city while drunk.New York State Police report 44-year-old Hashaun Leeper fled officers who attempted to stop him on North Main Street on Wednesday.Troopers say Leeper fled down several city streets before police were able to get him to stop on West 9th Street.Police say Leeper was taken into custody following a brief struggle. At the State Police Barracks, troopers say Leeper provided a breath sample of .21 percent or more than twice the legal limit.He is charged with aggravated DWI, third-degree unlawful fleeing a police office in a motor vehicle and resisting arrest.He is scheduled to appear in Jamestown City Court next month.last_img read more

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See Fantasia Barrino, Dule Hill and the Cast of Broadway’s After Midnight Heat Up 30 Rock

first_imgCome rain, shine or polar vortex, this cast is bringing it! Fantasia Barrino, Dulé Hill and the cast of After Midnight stopped by the Today Show’s chilly outdoor Concert Series on January 20 to perform a high energy number from the show. Dulé flapped and tapped, the cast jumped and jived and Fantasia, who departs the production February 9, gave us a taste of her famous raspy vocals (with no coat, in 40 degree weather!). Before the performance, the American Idol alum spoke to Carson Daly about her favorite female jazz legends, saying, “I just want to make them proud.” Well, performing in the freezing cold in the wee hours of the morning to show America what Harlem’s golden jazz era and After Midnight are really all about is certainly a step in the right direction. Watch below to see the cast of After Midnight bring some heat to Rockefeller Plaza! After Midnight Star Files Dulé Hill Fantasia Barrinocenter_img Related Shows Show Closed This production ended its run on June 29, 2014 View Commentslast_img read more

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