View post tag: USS View post tag: Assault Authorities View post tag: Ceremony View post tag: Command View post tag: Makin View post tag: Island View post tag: ship View post tag: Navy View post tag: change View post tag: Amphibious View post tag: News by topic Back to overview,Home naval-today Amphibious Assault Ship USS Makin Island Holds Change of Command Ceremony View post tag: holds Amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) held a change of command ceremony at sea in the Arabian Gulf, Feb. 29.Capt. Cedric E. Pringle relieved Capt. Jim Landers as commanding officer. Pringle becomes the ship’s third commanding officer since commissioning in 2009.For the past 18 months, Pringle had served as the ship’s executive officer and played a major role in ensuring the ship was ready for deployment before ‘fleeting up’ to fill the role of commanding officer.“This is truly a dream come true,” said Pringle after assuming command. “This dream started about 25 years ago on the deck of a U.S. aircraft carrier as a young bootcamp ensign trying to get my SWO [surface warfare officer] quals.”Pringle spoke about the variety of jobs he has held as a naval officer, including almost 20 years of working with Marines; which has helped him prepare to command an amphibious assault ship. “When I left as the commanding officer of USS Whidbey Island, I only prayed for one job and that job was commanding officer of USS Makin Island,” said Pringle.During his speech, Pringle stressed that while command of Makin Island did change the continuity of leadership, the ability to conduct successful operations in the dynamic 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR) did not. “Our operational leadership has trusted us that we are in a position where we can transition leadership and still continue our current mission,” said Pringle.Col. Michael Hudson, commanding officer of the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, presented Landers with his end of tour award during the ceremony.“I am humbled to be a MAGTF [Marine Air-Ground Task Force] commander, but I am even more humbled to have served on this ship under your leadership,” Hudson told Landers during the ceremony.Hudson spoke about how Landers’ strong leadership helped to bring the Makin Island blue and green team together during pre-deployment workups and how that strong leadership continued on the current deployment. “It was an honor to serve with you on USS Makin Island on her first deployment,” Hudson added.Landers’s next assignment will be as operations officer (N3) on the staff of Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.His numerous accomplishments aboard Makin Island include taking the ship through sea trials, passing special sea trials by the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey, completing the first Composite Training Unit Exercise and leading the ship on its maiden deployment to U.S. 7th and 5th Fleet AORs.Landers had also previously served 11 months as the ship’s executive officer before assuming command Aug. 27, 2010.“Now looking back over the time from then to now, I can state with absolute certainty that the officers, chiefs and Sailors of ‘Team Raider’ delivered; exceeding my expectations of excellence,” said Landers. “You rose to every challenge, and today you stand victorious on the ash head of devoured insurmountable challenges.”Landers thanked his family, department heads, wardroom, chief petty officers mess and the Sailors and Marines aboard Makin Island who helped make his command tour a success.“Shipmates, thank you for doing what you do every day for this ship, our Navy and our nation,” said Landers. “May god continue to bless this ship and all who sail in her.”Makin Island is the first U.S. Navy ship to deploy using a hybrid-electric propulsion system. By using this unique propulsion system, the Navy expects over the course of the ship’s lifecycle, to see fuel savings of more than $250 million, proving the Navy’s commitment to energy awareness and conservation.This initiative is one of many throughout the Navy and Marine Corps that will enable the Department of the Navy to achieve the secretary of the Navy’s energy goals to improve our energy security and efficiency afloat and ashore, increase our energy independence and help lead the nation toward a clean energy economy.Makin Island is the flagship of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR.[mappress]Naval Today Staff , March 02, 2012; Image: navy March 2, 2012 View post tag: Naval Amphibious Assault Ship USS Makin Island Holds Change of Command Ceremony Share this article
However, for some districts, Feigenbaum said there is usually a clear winner because of the makeup of that district.“In a district like say Charlie Brown’s district in Lake County where it’s obviously going to go to one party. The Republicans are not going to have a chance there. We’ll see a number of Democrats run in the seat,” Feigenbuam said. Brown, a Democrat from Gary, announced this year that is not running for re-election but will instead seek a local political office.Overall, Feigenbaum said there are no real patterns or trends in this year’s legislative race.“Every once in a while, you’ll see some strange trends but you’re not seeing it this year,” he said. “If you look at the individual districts, you see that they’re really district-by-district contests.”One potentially competitive primary, Feigenbaum said, is between Sen. Jim Merritt, R-Indianapolis, and his challenger Crystal LaMotte, who ran against Merritt in the last primary. However, in the 2016 primary election, Merritt won three-quarters of the vote.Last year, Gov. Eric Holcomb signed House Enrolled Act 1438, which Merritt co-sponsored. It allows a county or city to enact its own syringe exchange program rather than seeking approval from the state.TheStatehouseFile.com reached out to LaMotte for an interview, but never received a response.LaMotte stated on her website that the Needle Exchange program is misleading because needles are being simply handing out instead of exchanged.In response to LaMotte, Merritt said the programs are locally motivated and the state is an advisory role. He said they have helped eliminate diseases from dirty needles.“No government funds are spent on needle exchanges, and they are needle exchanges,” Merritt said. “It’s been proven that they do knock down HIV and they do knock down Hep C.”Merritt has been in the senate for 28 years, which is too long, LaMotte said. Merritt said because communication with his district is still strong, it doesn’t matter how long he is in the General Assembly.“First of all, I continually enjoy being a state senator for one. But two, I spend a great deal of time with constituents in my district and we still understand each other,” Merritt said. “I still understand what people in northeast Indianapolis and south Hamilton County feel, and so I feel like I still have a hand on the pulse of my constituents.”FOOTNOTE: Quinn Fitzgerald is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmail By Quinn FitzgeraldTheStatehouseFile.comINDIANAPOLIS –Twenty-one lawmakers are being challenged in the Indiana primary elections, but the bigger issue is how the expected special session, costing about $30,000 a day, could affect re-election chances.The primary elections will take place May 8. Shortly after the primary elections, the General Assembly will meet for a special session to address issues like school safety and tax policies that were not resolved during the regular session.Ed Feigenbaum, the longtime publisher of Indiana Legislative Insight, said the incumbents could be tagged with the failure of the legislature to get its work done.“The challengers are looking for any particular way to point fingers or lay blame at the feet of the incumbents,” he said.And if incumbents lose, they may feel chastised by voters, but they end, they still have work to do, Feigenbaum said.“Any incumbents who might be defeated in the primary, they’re still elected. They’re still responsible for making decisions through Nov. 8 of this year. They would still be involved in the interim study committees and things like that.”A number of longtime legislators are facing challenges in the primaries. In the Democratic primary, Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, is being challenged by Anderson City Councilwoman Tamie Dixon-Tatum. She replaced her father, Ollie H. Dixon, on the ballot.“Tim Lanane is a good person. This is nothing personable,” Dixon-Tatum said. “I’m representing the voiceless, and by the voiceless I mean the youth, women, and various minority groups. I want to make sure everybody has a voice, and that everybody has an opportunity to share their voice.”Rep. Terri Austin, D-Anderson, is being challenged by Anderson City Councilwoman Rebecca Crumes. Until now, neither Austin nor Lanane have faced primary opposition.With a number of lawmakers retiring from the General Assembly, there will also be a close watch on the open seats this year. Laura Wilson, assistant professor of political science at the University of Indianapolis, said the open seats are generally more competitive than held by an incumbent.“People see this as an opportunity to get in, and especially with the incumbents advantaged in the United States, this is where you see a lot more attention in terms of the elections themselves,” Wilson said.
In the Heights View Comments Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights has announced that it will close in London on January 8, 2017. Directed by Luke Sheppard, with choreography by Drew McOnie, the Tony-winning musical has been running at the King’s Cross Theatre since the fall of 2015.In the Heights is an uplifting and exhilarating journey into Washington Heights, one of Manhattan’s most vibrant communities—a place where the coffee is light and sweet, the windows are always open and the breeze carries the rhythm of three generations of music. It’s a community on the brink of change, full of hopes, dreams and pressures, where the biggest struggle can be deciding which traditions to take with you, and which ones to leave behind.Conceived by Miranda, with music and lyrics by Miranda and a book by Quiara Alegría Hudes, the production currently stars Sam Mackay as Usnavi, Gabriela Garcia as Nina, Sarah Naudi as Vanessa, Damian Buhagiar as Sonny and David Bedella as Kevin. Related Shows Show Closed This production ended its run on Jan. 9, 2011 Gabriela Garcia in ‘In the Heights'(Photo: Gabriela Garcia)
On Iran, a Resurgent Crisis“Oh, goddamn,” Mr. Biden fumed in the Situation Room in the summer of 2010, according to participants in the meeting, as news began to leak that a highly classified effort by the United States and Israel to destroy Iran’s nuclear program with a cyberweapon — later called “Stuxnet’’ — was about to be exposed because the computer code was being replicated around the world. “It’s got to be the Israelis. They went too far.”A decade later, that effort to undermine the Iranian nuclear effort appears to be the birth of a new age of conflict, one in which Mr. Biden was a key player. He favored the covert effort, because he was looking for any way to slow Iran’s progress without risking war in the Middle East. He later told colleagues that he believed the covert program helped bring the country to the negotiating table for what became the Iran nuclear deal five years later.Now Mr. Biden says the first step with Iran is to restore the status quo — which means re-entering the deal if Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is willing to return to production limits announced in 2015. But it won’t be that simple. The Iranians have indicated there will be a higher price to pay for Mr. Trump’s breach. And some of the key restrictions on Iran begin to lift soon: The first phase of an arms embargo expired in October, clearing the way for the Russians and the Chinese to begin resuming sales. And there will soon be a new Iranian president, with unknown effects on potential talks.Mr. Biden’s aides say that returning to the deal that Mr. Trump exited “shifts the burden” back on Tehran.“If Iran decides it’s not going to come back into compliance,” Mr. Blinken said, “we’re in a much stronger position to elicit support from allies and partners” who are now blaming Mr. Trump for starting the crisis by rejecting an agreement the United States had already made.The China ChallengeIn 2012, Mr. Biden was the host when Mr. Xi came to Washington. The vice president praised the guest from Beijing as a rising reformer who was “prepared to show another side of the Chinese leadership.” Mr. Biden was among those to celebrate China’s inevitable but “peaceful rise,” followed by assurance that trying to contain its power was a fool’s errand.By this year, he had revised his view. “This is a guy who is a thug,” Mr. Biden said. WASHINGTON — President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. makes no secret of the speed with which he plans to bury “America First” as a guiding principle of the nation’s foreign policy.He says he will re-enter the Iran nuclear deal, assuming the Iranians are willing to reverse course and observe its limits.- Advertisement – So during the campaign, he went after Mr. Trump for “fake toughness” and argued that “Trump lost a trade war that he started.” What he meant was that the Trump-era tariffs on Chinese goods were ultimately underwritten by American taxpayers in the form of government subsidies to compensate farmers and others who lost sales.Mr. Biden has said little about how he would push back. And even if he settles the long-running arguments over agricultural goods and the theft of intellectual property by Beijing, Mr. Biden will face challenges never discussed when Mr. Xi was visiting eight years ago: managing technological inroads by firms like Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications giant, and TikTok, the app that has seized the imaginations and phones of 100 million Americans.Mr. Biden has suggested that the Trump crackdowns might continue — though surrounded by more skillful diplomacy to bring European and other allies on board.“God only knows what they’re doing with information they’re picking up off of here,” he said of the Chinese. “So as president, I will go into it very deeply. I’ll get the cyberexperts in with me to give me what is the best solution to deal with it.”Complicating the issue is Mr. Biden’s insistence that, unlike Mr. Trump, he will put values back at the center of foreign policy, including how to approach the U.S.-China relationship, a milder echo of Bill Clinton’s pledge in the 1992 race to take on “the butchers of Beijing.”Presumably that means making China pay a price for Mr. Xi’s controls on dissent, including the national security laws that led to detention camps in Xinjiang, arrests of dissidents in Hong Kong and the ouster of foreign journalists who were the last bastion of independent reporting in China. China is just one arena — though probably the most important — where Mr. Biden’s long-held views will come into first contact with new realities.Afghanistan and the Use of U.S. ForceRobert M. Gates, the defense secretary who served both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, described Mr. Biden as “impossible not to like” because he was “funny, profane and humorously self-aware of his motormouth.” But Mr. Gates also famously declared that Mr. Biden “has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” “We will deter, and impose costs for, Mr. Putin’s meddling and aggression,” Mr. Blinken said. “But there’s a flip side” to dealing with Moscow, he added. Mr. Putin is “looking to relieve Russia’s growing dependence on China,” Mr. Blinken said, which has left him in “not a very comfortable position.”That suggests the Biden administration could try to use the suspicions that Moscow and Beijing have of each other to split the two superpowers — just as President Richard M. Nixon used it, in reverse, to win his opening with China nearly 50 years ago. Confronting RussiaIn the Cold War, Democrats were often portrayed as the party of appeasement to Moscow. Mr. Biden is the first Democrat to turn the tables: He is neither dismissive of the Russian threat as Mr. Obama was when he debated Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee in 2012, nor is he eager to bring a big red “reset” button to Moscow, as Hillary Clinton did in her opening days as secretary of state. In the campaign, Mr. Biden seized on the U.S. intelligence assessment that Russia preferred Mr. Trump, telling reporters in Nevada that “Putin knows me, and I know him, and he doesn’t want me to be president.” He is probably right: After details of the extent of the Russian interference in 2016 became clear, followed by Mr. Trump’s unwillingness to confront Mr. Putin, Democrats have become the party of Russia hawks.For most of the campaign, Mr. Biden assailed Mr. Trump for “cozying up to dictators” and describing how, if elected, he was prepared to punish Russia. As president, Mr. Biden will have to deal with a Russia whose arsenal includes 1,550 deployed nuclear weapons and a raft of tactical nuclear weapons that it has been deploying freely, even before Mr. Trump exited the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.How would Mr. Biden end the downward spiral? He would start with a five-year extension of New START, Mr. Blinken said in an interview, since the treaty lapses 16 days after inauguration. Then he would seek to expand the treaty to other types of weapons and perhaps more countries. And he would play on Mr. Putin’s growing economic fragility. – Advertisement – He never stated what kind of “price” he had in mind for President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to pay, though one of his longtime foreign policy advisers, Jake Sullivan, offered a bit of detail. Just before Election Day, he said that Mr. Biden was willing to impose “substantial and lasting costs on perpetrators of the Russian interference,” which could include financial sanctions, asset freezes, counter cyberattacks and, “potentially, the exposure of corruption by the leaders of foreign countries.”That would signify a hardening in U.S. policy. But it would also involve steps that the Obama administration considered taking in its last six months, when Mr. Biden was vice president, and never carried out.The sharp change on Russia offers a glimpse of the detailed planning that Mr. Biden’s transition team, organized late last spring, has engaged in to reverse Mr. Trump’s approach to the world. It has built a foreign policy team of formal and informal advisers, largely drawn from midlevel and senior Obama administration officials who are poised to return. There are timelines for opening negotiations, re-entering treaties and early summit meetings.But their plans show some notable breaks from the Obama administration’s strategy. Mr. Biden is clearly rethinking positions he took in the Senate and in the White House.The most vivid example, officials say, will come in rethinking China strategy. His own advisers concede that in the Obama years, Mr. Biden and his national security team underestimated the speed with which President Xi Jinping of China would crack down on dissent at home and use the combination of its 5G networks and its Belt and Road Initiative to challenge U.S. influence.“Neither carrots nor sticks have swayed China as predicted,” Kurt Campbell, who served as the assistant secretary of state for Asia, and Ely Ratner, one of Mr. Biden’s deputy national security advisers, wrote in a Foreign Affairs article in 2018 that reflected this shift. “Diplomatic and commercial engagement have not brought political and economic openness. Neither U.S. military power nor regional balancing has stopped Beijing from seeking to displace core components of the U.S.-led system.” But mostly, Mr. Biden said in a statement to The New York Times, he wants to bring an end to a slogan that came to define a United States that built walls and made working with allies an afterthought — and, in Mr. Biden’s view, undermined any chance of forging a common international approach to fighting a pandemic that has cost more than 1.2 million lives.- Advertisement – That assessment included Mr. Biden’s view on Afghanistan — where he argued, in the early days of the Obama administration in 2009, for a minimal force focused on a counterterrorism mission. Mr. Gates later recalled in his memoir that Mr. Biden was convinced that the military was trying to put the squeeze on the president to send more troops for a war the vice president thought was politically unsustainable.Mr. Biden was overruled — by Mr. Obama, who nearly doubled the force size in Afghanistan in 2009 before moving to a drawdown.But what was once a setback for Mr. Biden has now become something of a political asset: Mr. Trump’s effort to cast him as an advocate of “endless wars” fell flat. Mr. Biden, according to Mr. Sullivan, “wants to convert our presence to a counterterrorism capability” aimed at protecting the United States by keeping Qaeda forces or the Islamic State from establishing a base in Afghanistan.“It would be limited and targeted,” Mr. Sullivan said. “That’s where he was in 2009, and that is where he is today.” He would sign up for another five years of the only surviving nuclear arms treaty with Russia and double down on American commitments to NATO after four years of threats from President Trump to withdraw from the alliance that guided the West through the Cold War.At the same time, Mr. Biden says he will make Russia “pay a price” for what he says have been disruptions and attempts to influence elections — including his own. “Whether we like it or not, the world simply does not organize itself,” said Antony J. Blinken, Mr. Biden’s longtime national security adviser. “Until the Trump administration, in Democratic and Republican administrations, the United States did a lot of that organizing, and we made some mistakes along the way, for sure.” Now, however, the United States has discovered what happens “when some other country tries to take our place or, maybe even worse, no one does, and you end up with a vacuum that is filled by bad events.”Mr. Blinken acknowledged that for those allies — or opponents of Mr. Trump — looking to reset the clock to noon on Jan. 20, 2017, “it’s not going to happen.”Those who have known Mr. Biden for decades say they expect him to move carefully, providing reassurance with a few big symbolic acts, starting with a return to the Paris climate accord in the first days of his administration. But substantive rebuilding of U.S. power will proceed far more slowly.“He’ll inherit a situation which both gives him enormous latitude and, oddly, constrains him,” said Richard N. Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations and a longtime friend of Mr. Biden’s. “Clearly, what Trump did by executive order can be undone by executive order.”But “any act that requires Senate approach or any new use of force, absent a clear provocation, will be pretty much off the table,” he added.At 77, Mr. Biden has his own back-to-the-future vision of how to dispense with “America First”: “This is the time to tap the strength and audacity that took us to victory in two world wars and brought down the Iron Curtain,” he wrote in Foreign Affairs in March. Yet in a campaign in which foreign policy was rarely mentioned, Mr. Biden was never pressed on how the current iteration of superpower competition differs from what he remembers from early in his political career. “Tragically, the one place Donald Trump has made ‘America First’ is his failed response to the coronavirus: We’re 4 percent of the world’s population, yet have had 20 percent of the deaths,” Mr. Biden said days before the election. “On top of Trump embracing the world’s autocrats and poking his finger in the eye of our democratic allies, that’s another reason respect for American leadership is in free fall.”But it is far easier to promise to return to the largely internationalist approach of the post-World War II era than it is to execute one after four years of global withdrawal and during a pandemic that has reinforced nationalist instincts. The world does not look remotely as it did when Mr. Biden last engaged it from the White House four years ago. Power vacuums have been created, and filled, often by China. Democracies have retreated. The race for a vaccine has created new rivalries.So while foreign allies may find Mr. Biden reassuring — and smiled when they heard him say in a town-hall meeting that “‘America First’ has made America alone” — they also concede that they may never fully trust that the United States will not lurch back to building walls.- Advertisement – In interviews in the past several weeks, Mr. Biden’s top advisers began to outline a restoration that might be called the Great Undoing, an effort to reverse course on Mr. Trump’s aggressive attempt to withdraw to American borders.
Gilead Sciences could make a profit on its new treatment for Covid-19 if it costs around $4,500 per patient, according to analysts at Piper Sandler and SVB Leerink.That’s the maximum price that the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review recommended for a 10-day treatment of Gilead’s remdesivir, which received emergency approval from US regulators on Friday. Gilead has so far been quiet on its pricing plans and didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.A number of Wall Street analysts have been getting more cautious on Gilead’s ability to make a profit from remdesivir amid the pandemic, spurring several downgrades last week. The Food and Drug Administration clearance followed results from a US-led study suggesting the drug shortened hospital stays, conflicting with results from China that showed remdesivir had no effect on preventing deaths. At $4,500 per patient, remdesivir “would have a gross margin and overall profit contribution that is below the company’s other products, but not highly dilutive to the company’s future profitability outlook,” Leerink’s Geoffrey Porges wrote in a note to clients Monday.ICER’s estimate rests on remdesivir showing a mortality benefit. The nonprofit agency said if the company is looking to simply recover the costs of producing it, a 10-day treatment regimen should cost about $10. That figure doesn’t include the cost of research and development as remdesivir was previously developed for hepatitis C, ICER said.Gilead is no stranger to drug-pricing debates after political scrutiny over the price of its HIV medicines. The company has said it may spend $1 billion on remdesivir this year.Even after a promise to give away the first 1.5 million vials, the drug could generate more than $2 billion in sales by the end of the year with a $4,500 price tag, according to Piper Sandler analyst Tyler Van Buren. And “several billion in sales are easily achievable” with the number of hospitalized Covid-19 patients remaining high for the foreseeable future.Topics :
INTRO: Richard Hope reports on the reopening of a three-line network partially abandoned since 1959 which forms one of the biggest current commuter rail projects around US cities NOVEMBER 30 saw all day service introduced on 106route-km of the former Old Colony Railroad to the southeast of Boston after a two-month start-up phase.From September 29, four morning peak trains running at 40min intervals had been carrying commuters into Boston South terminus from newly built stations along each of two routes commencing at Middleborough/ Lakeville and Kingston/Route 3; the pattern was reversed in the evening (RG.10.97 p646). Since the CTC signalling became fully operational in November, peak service has been stepped up to five trains on the Kingston line. Off-peak frequencies are generally 90 to 120min. Plymouth, close to Kingston/ Route 3 but served only during off-peak hours, also opened on November 30. Journey times from Boston are 65min to all three end points.The number of one-way journeys each weekday quickly reached 8000 during the start-up phase. Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority was projecting 5000 daily one-way trips on each route, and is confident this will be achieved now that the full service has started. This will lift the steadily expanding weekday total for commuter services into Boston’s South and North termini from 100000 to 110000.Work is expected to start soon on the third Old Colony route to Greenbush, which should add a further 5000 trips when it opens in 2001-02.MBTA expands rail networkRail commuter services operated or funded by regional public transport authorities like MBTA are being introduced around an increasing number of North American cities. Typically they use track owned by private freight railways, but where substantial investment in upgrading track or signalling is necessary the authority will sometimes purchase the route and grant operating rights for freight service to continue.MBTA, already responsible for buses, trams and a three-line metro, has been active since the 1960s in developing commuter services on existing railways radiating from Boston.Services are currently provided by a fleet of 325 cars and 54 diesel locomotives. These are formed into 54 push-pull trainsets (22 northside and 32 southside). They are operated under contract by Amtrak to five destinations out of Boston North and eight from South station, operating a total of 450 trips per day. There are long term plans to join the two networks by a cross-city tunnel adjacent to a road tunnel now under construction (p30).What puts the Old Colony project in a different league to previous commuter lines is the heavy engineering work necessary to restore passenger service on routes that were partially abandoned. This has lifted the total cost to $530m, with a further $200m to be spent when the go-ahead is received for Greenbush.Southeast gapOpened in 1845, the Old Colony Railroad linked historic communities such as Plymouth along the southern shore of Massachusetts Bay with Boston until completion of the Southeastern Expressway in 1959 led to wholesale abandonment. A few months later, a trestle bridge over the Neponset river was destroyed by fire, severing the four-track Main line out of Boston South.However, other connections allowed limited local freight (now operated by Conrail) to continue over parts of the Old Colony network. Rights-of-way were largely preserved intact although track was removed in places, notably on the Greenbush branch beyond West Hingham.As MBTA gradually restored passenger service to other railways out of Boston in response to spreading road congestion, the decision was taken to use the vacant Old Colony trackbed as a way of extending the Red line of the metro to Braintree, 20 km from the city centre. Widely spaced stops permit higher-than-average speeds on this section, encouraging car users to park and ride.Despite this, commuters from the Old Colony sector face severe road traffic congestion in the morning peak, with 12 km tailbacks from central Boston. Car parking at Red line stations fills in a cascade, rippling outwards until space at the Braintree terminus is typically exhausted by 07.30.To plug the gap, MBTA was asked by the state legislature in 1984 to investigate complete restoration of the Old Colony Railroad between Boston South and Middleborough, Plymouth and Greenbush. With federal and state funding in place, the project to restore the Main (20 km to Braintree), Middleborough (40 km) and Plymouth (43 km) lines was launched in June 1992.The 27.3 km Greenbush branch was put back because of concerns about the impact on historic sites, notably at Hingham where the residual track through the town centre was barely visible. After considering alternatives such as tunnelling under Hingham, or commuting by boat into Boston, the then Massachusetts Governor William F Weld announced in November 1995 that surface rail was the best option.MBTA expects to complete its final environmental impact report in May. If state funding is forthcoming, construction could begin later this year – leading to a start of service to Greenbush and the six intermediate stations at the end of 2001 or early in 2002. Squeezing in the Main lineThe biggest challenge facing engineers was how to restore a single track between Braintree and Boston South, including two 3 km double-track sections where opposing trains could be scheduled to pass on the move.Fortunately, the need to continue freight service to industries north of the Neponset river prevented Red line construction from blocking surface access to Boston South.Ernest Deeb, Project Manager Design & Construction, explains that ’although the Red line has only two tracks, they were spread across the original four-track right-of-way. However, there was generally enough space on the west side for a new track once signalling equipment and power cables had been moved.’ Where the Ashmont and Braintree branches of the Red line run parallel for 2 km south of JFK/ UMass station, the single Old Colony track was squeezed in between them.Construction work has been required at Quincy Centre station to create a single platform for Old Colony trains below the concourse spanning the Red line’s island platform. Quincy Centre is the only interchange with the Red line between Boston South and Braintree. Greenbush trains will join the Main line 2 km north of Braintree and will thus call only at Quincy Centre.At Braintree, a new island platform for the Old Colony services has been built a short walk from the Red line terminus, displacing various freight sidings. A new three track yard has been created alongside the station for use by Conrail, which will continue to serve industries along the Old Colony routes.Civil engineeringAbout 1 km from Boston South, the Main line crosses the Fort Point Channel on one of three parallel through girder bridges originally designed to be opened for shipping. These are currently being refurbished.The largest structure on the whole project costing $20m carries the Main line over the Neponset river 8 km from Boston South. The 10 spans totalling 360 m of weathering steel beams have been built for double track so trains can pass on the bridge; concrete piers line up with those of the Red line bridge alongside.The second largest bridge is a parallel pair of single track spans to replace a level crossing with Pearl Street, just beyond the Red line stabling sidings south of the Braintree platforms, and close to the junction where the Plymouth and Middlesborough lines diverge. To achieve the required headroom, the track had to be raised 2.4m and the road surface lowered by 4.1m.Beyond Pearl Street, track has been almost entirely renewed using continuously welded 66 kg/m rail on concrete or timber sleepers, and 51 existing bridges and culverts were refurbished. A total of 45 road crossings have been provided with lifting barriers and flashing lights.At the outer end of the Plymouth line the decision was taken to construct a 3 km branch to reach a site closer to Kingston where sand and gravel extraction had created space for parking 1000 cars. Provision has been made for a total of 8000 parking spaces to be created at various stations.All trains likely to be used by commuters start from this station, named Kingston/Route 3 to emphasise its good highway access. Alternate off-peak and weekend services run to Plymouth, which is intended to tap the leisure and tourist travel markets.Five intermediate stations have been constructed on each of the two branches. Most are on or close to the sites of original Old Colony stations. Seven consist of a single platform constructed from precast concrete elements, with a centrally supported galvanised steel canopy matching the length of two coaches. They are unmanned, but equipped with remote public address and telephones. Both the Middleborough and Plymouth lines have three 3 km double track sections sited so that trains can pass; Montello, Brockton and Halifax stations each have two platform faces for this reason.Even before the service started, developers saw the new stations raising property values. Lakeville Corporate Park & Retail Centre is being constructed near Middlesborough/Lakeville station to exploit this opportunity, which could result in reverse commuting.Refurbished trainsMany of MBTA’s commuter services are now equipped with double-deck coaches to maximise capacity, and Kawasaki is currently delivering a further 17. However, single-deck cars will be adequate for Old Colony trains in the first year, so a fleet of 56 built by Pullman-Standard in 1979 have been heavily refurbished.Traction is provided from MBTA’s fleet of GP40PM-C diesel locomotives, 25 of which are currently being delivered by GEC Alsthom. These are 3200hp units remanufactured in Montréal by the company’s Canadian subsidiary AMF Transport. Each refurbished single-deck car seats 114, and the Old Colony lines are currently worked with five sets of six cars. Minimum length of platforms as constructed is 252m, which would accommodate nine-car trains.As all the Old Colony stations have been provided with high platforms, it has been possible to fit remotely operated sliding doors which enhances safety and reduces the number of crew members required.Trains are stabled and cleaned overnight at the Kingston and Middleborough layover sidings, but maintenance is carried out at Amtrak’s existing facilities for south side commuter services. A major traction and rolling stock maintenance centre was opened in November at Somerville, on the north side of Boston.Maintenance of the Old Colony infrastructure will eventually be based in a converted warehouse that MBTA has acquired alongside the line at Abington. This will complement two other modern maintenance-of-way facilities at Readville and Salem, of which the Readville office is currently managing the work on the Old Colony routes.CAPTION: Dignitaries at the Old Colony line inauguration on September 26 included Massachusetts Governor Argeo Paul Celluci (at stand), Boston Mayor Thomas M Menino (right), MBTA Chairman Patrick J Moynihan (third from left) and General Manager Robert H Prince Jr (fifth from left)CAPTION: Left: With two Old Colony routes now operational, MBTA hopes to start renovation of the Greenbush line before the end of this yearCAPTION: Three 3 km sections of double track have been provided on each branch as extended crossing loops; pedestrian access between platforms at double-track stations such as Montello (above) is by foot crossings protected with flashing lights (inset)CAPTION: Seven of the 10 intermediate stations comprise a simple 252 m long single platform with canopies, waiting shelters and car parking, as at South WeymouthCAPTION: On the approach to Boston’s South Station, a third span of the Fort Point Channel bridge is being refurbished to provide extra capacity to handle Old Colony servicesCAPTION: Space constraints mean a long walk for passengers interchanging between Red line and Old Colony platforms at the metro’s Braintree terminusNorth-South Link on the agendaThe Commonwealth of Massachusetts has invested heavily to create a modern rail network serving Boston, but it suffers from the fundamental disadvantage that many commuters must change at the rebuilt South and North termini on to crowded metro or light rail services before reaching their place of work.The need for a North-South Rail Link has long been recognised, but attempts in the 1970s to tie it in with the Central Artery road tunnel now under construction failed. The Central Artery is currently the largest public works project in the USA, and it passes close to both rail termini.With electrification of the Northeast Corridor into Boston South and the introduction of high speed tilting trains in prospect, there is pressure to extend Amtrak service at least to the north side of Boston, if not further. MBTA estimates that the Rail Link would at least double the patronage of its commuter services, many of which would be paired up to run through the city centre.Current plans favour four tracks in bored tunnels driven below the Central Artery, and efforts are being made to ensure that the two projects are compatible. Trains heading north would enter the tunnels east of Bay Back station, and emerge north of the Charles river to join tracks fanning out from Boston North station which cross over the river. There would be underground stations linked to the North and South termini, and another in between close to the waterfront. The cost is put at $2.6bn but this figure is likely to rise. Trains would have to be electrically powered, although electro-diesel traction such as is used for access to Penn station in New York is feasible.The Central Artery is not expected to be finished until 2004. Work on the Rail Link is unlikely to commence before then, so it remains a distant objective. Meanwhile, MBTA presses on with expansion of commuter service, with extension of the Ipswich line to Newburyport later this year.La Old Colony comble la carence en services d’abonnés à BostonLe 30 novembre a vu l’introduction de services ininterrompus pendant la journée sur la ligne de 106 km de l’ancien chemin de fer Old Colony au sud-est de Boston après une phase de mise en marche de deux mois. A partir du 29 septembre quatre trains d’heures de pointe transportaient des abonnés à partir de gares nouvellement construites le long des lignes de Middleborough et de Plymouth. Richard Hope parle de la réouverture du réseau, partiellement abandonné depuis 1959, qui représente l’un des plus grands projets courants de services ferroviaires de banlieue autour des villes d’Amérique du NordOld Colony stopft Pendlerlücke in BostonNach einer zweimonatigen Anlaufphase wurde am 30 November auf einer Strecke von 106 km der ehemaligen Eisenbahn Old Colony der ganztägige Betrieb in den Südosten von Boston aufgenommen. Seit dem 29 September hatten vier Züge, die in den Hauptverkehrszeiten eingesetzt wurden, einen Pendlerverkehr von neu errichteten Stationen entlang der Middleborough- und Plymouth-Strecke bereitgestellt. Richard Hope berichtet über die Neuer
Government proposals to introduce collective defined contribution (CDC) schemes to the UK have been welcomed by pensions industry professionals responding to the consultation, which closed earlier this month.The plans were published by the UK’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) last November following months of campaigning, led by Royal Mail and the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU). The two parties agreed a CDC framework to replace the company’s defined benefit scheme and have been lobbying ever since for appropriate legislation. In order to allow the Royal Mail model and other CDC schemes, new primary and secondary legislation will have to be taken through the UK parliament. The DWP said the rules could then be adapted if other employers came forward with alternative models.The topics addressed by the consultation document included: The Royal Mail and its union have led the campaign for CDC legislation in the UKKevin Wesbroom, senior partner at Aon and a vocal supporter of the CDC concept, said: “We firmly believe that CDC plans can improve retirement outcomes for many UK workers via collective investment by professionals, not members; by having benefits expressed in income terms not capital accounts; by the pooling of longevity risk; and by individuals not having to buy an annuity at poor times in the market.”However, several issues were still of concern.“We believe the full potential of CDC to improve retirement outcomes will require decumulation-only vehicles,” Wesbroom said. “They would provide a much-needed alternative option for the spending phase of conventional individual DC schemes.”Decumulation-only vehicles would not be permitted under the proposals put forward by the DWP. The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) said: “The Pensions Regulator should be given relevant powers to apply appropriate scrutiny and intervene if it suspects the scheme has become unsustainable or there are issues with its governance.”It also warned that the governance process for determining the valuation assumptions and pension increases needed to be well designed to ensure fair outcomes.The IFoA – reflecting a widely-held view – also said that communication to scheme members would be critical to the success of CDC.“Every effort must be made to ensure that members understand the risks and advantages of the scheme they are in,” it said. “It should be clear that benefit levels are not guaranteed.” Meanwhile, the Association of Consulting Actuaries (ACA) expressed support for the CDC concept, but highlighted the importance of the investment strategy to the success of future CDC arrangements.“The key drivers of adequate pension provision are the level of contributions paid into the scheme and the way that those contributions are invested, rather than the form of the pension arrangement,” the association said. “The Royal Mail proposals target a certain level of benefit but will sacrifice indexation if the investment returns do not prove sufficient to provide that target given the level of contributions paid.”In the Netherlands – widely cited during UK industry discussions on CDC as a template to follow – several major schemes have not paid inflation-linked bonuses for several years and face having to cut member benefits if funding levels do not improve substantially in the next few months.The DWP has said the necessary legislation will be presented to parliament “as soon as parliamentary time allows”. * Risk-sharing and intergenerational issues;* Whether CDC members should be allowed to transfer out in the decumulation stage;* Requiring CDC schemes to publish their rules for calculating and distributing member benefits, and communicating the risk of benefit reductions to members;* Whether CDC schemes will need sufficient scale to pool longevity risk across the membership; and* Trustee duties and requirements.The document included a series of questions for the industry in an attempt to frame responses.Reaction
VolleyballBatesville Varsity defeated South Dearborn 25-9, 25-9, 25-8.Batesville vs. South Dearborn Varsity (9-26)Batesville JV won 25-14, 25-8.Batesville vs. South Dearborn JV (9-26)Batesville Freshman winners 25-14, 25-5.Submitted by Batesville Coach Jody Thomas with Max Preps.Girls SoccerFranklin County and Greensburg battle to a 1-1 tie.Greensburg at Franklin County (9-26)Submitted by Var Vee.Middle School Cross CountryBatesville Boys victorious against Shelbyville 23-36.Batesville Girls won 23-32.Batesville vs. Shelbyville MS CC (9-26)Submitted by Batesville Coach Derek Suits.Middle School SoccerMadison defeated Jac-Cen-Del 7-0.JCD vs. Madison MS Soccer (9-26)Submitted by JCD Coach Larry Hammond.Freshman FootballEast Central beat Batesville 14-6.Batesville vs. EC Freshman Football (9-26)Submitted by Batesville Coach Eric Feller.
Carol Shackelford nee Flannery, born July 26, 1941 in Lecher County, KY, daughter of Edna and William Flannery, dedicated wife to James Shackelford, passed away on Monday, March 12, 2018. The Batesville resident was 76 years old.Carol was an avid lover of animals, particularly her beloved dog, Newman. A well-known decorator, real estate connoisseur, and friend to many, Carol was best known as the great matriarch to her very large family. She always loved having her family and friends stop over for a cup of coffee and good conversation.Loving mother to Edward (Donna) Burdett, Rick (Sherry) Burdett and Star Shaw. Along with step sons, Clyde, Dennis, Jerry and Wayne Shackelford. Grandmother to Tabby Stoeppel, Taylor and Talyn Shaw, Chad and Ben Burdett, 8 step-grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren. Carol also leaves behind five sisters, Mae (Ed) Baldrick, Helen (Steve) Carder, Rhonda (Jude) Belter, Joan (Dan) Schornick, Terry (Paul) Messerschmidt and five brothers, Virgil (Holly), Bill (Ginger), Jake (Nancy), Don (Teri) and Jim (Kathie) Flannery, as well as, many nieces and nephews.Visitation will be Friday, March 16, 2018 from 10am -12pm, immediately followed by funeral services at 12:00 noon, all at Meyers Funeral Home, Batesville. Pastor Clyde Shackelford officiating. Burial will be in St. Paul Cemetery, Sunman, IN.Memorials may be given to Newman’s Dog Fund or Phi Beta Psi Sorority in their support of local charities and cancer research, by bringing or mailing to the funeral home.Online condolences at www.meyersfuneralhomes.com.
McIlroy did suggest, though, that there may be a few “interesting pairings” in Paul McGinley’s line-up. The four-time major winner, who has won five points from his nine Ryder Cup matches, said: “I’m very lucky that I get on well with a lot of the guys. Graeme McDowell obviously is a big friend of mine, Poults (Ian Poulter) I’ve played with before, Sergio Garcia’s another one where we’ve got a good chemistry. “So there’s a few guys I can play with. You might see a few interesting pairings next week, I’m not going to give much away here… “I think we’ve got a good mix of guys and I think the pairings that we’re going to have are going to be very very strong.” McDowell, meanwhile, admits he would love to link back up with McIlroy – but concedes he will not be the only one. He wrote in his BBC Sport column: ” Myself and the other 10 guys would all love to be paired with the world’s number one player. There would be a queue out of the door of players wanting to partner Rory and, absolutely, I would be among them. “Yes, it has been a rough time over the last couple of years on the business side of things for both me and Rory because he has been involved in a lawsuit with my management company. “And it certainly has put a stress on our relationship, but we have put those things behind us this year. If anything, our friendship has been strengthened by what we have experienced. “We have talked about it and we would certainly love to renew our partnership again.” It has been confirmed that McIlroy’s charitable foundation, The Rory Foundation, will become the official tournament host of the Irish Open from next year. The event is due to be held from May 28-31 in McIlroy’s native Northern Ireland at Royal County Down, the venue of his final appearance as an amateur, in the 2007 Walker Cup. The Rory Foundation, set up at the start of last year to raise funds for children’s charities across the world, will also become the tournament’s official charity, with the beneficiaries to be chosen by the Foundation in conjunction with the European Tour. He said: “Since making my debut in 2005, the Irish Open has always been a special tournament to me. “I am excited to be partnering with George O’Grady and the European Tour, especially for next year’s tournament at Royal County Down.” One of the major beneficiaries of The Rory Foundation, the Cancer Fund for Children, is located just a few miles from Royal County Down, in Newcastle. O’Grady said: ” The European Tour is thrilled that Rory and his Foundation would wish to partner with the Tour and become more closely involved in the development of the Irish Open. “Today’s announcement further demonstrates Rory’s uniquely special qualities and his commitment not simply to his national Open, but also to the European Tour.” Rory McIlroy says winning the Ryder Cup would be “the icing on the cake” of an incredible year for him. McIlroy heads to Gleneagles with his European team-mates this week sitting at number one in the world rankings and having won four tournaments in the last five months, including the Open and the US PGA Championship. It has been a stunning return to form for McIlroy, who had slipped to as low as 11th in the rankings following a disappointing 2013, and now the Northern Irishman is looking to add another Ryder Cup success to his list of triumphs. He said on Sky Sports’ Goals on Sunday programme: “Personally for me it would just be the icing on the cake of what’s already a fantastic year. “It feels like everyone involved is just so passionate about it, and even the public get so much more passionate about it than the majors or individual tournaments. “So it’s great to be a part of; I’ve been a part of two winning European teams and obviously would love to make that a third this week.” McIlroy helped Europe lift the cup in 2010 and 2012 and the 25-year-old revealed they were the best experiences of his career as he was able to celebrate victory as part of a team. However, McIlroy acknowledges that playing in a team brings different pressures and he also understands just how much will be expected of him – as the world number one – in Scotland this week. He said: “I’m gonna have to be one of the leaders and be expected to lead by example, and that’s a big responsibility, but one I want to try and handle and try and get a few points on the board early for the team. “It’s way better to win as part of a team. The best experiences in my golf career have been the Ryder Cup and to be able to celebrate with all these guys. It’s very special.” McIlroy has been almost exclusively paired with countryman Graeme McDowell in his previous two Ryder Cups but it remains to be seen if the duo will link up again this week. Press Association