DeBartolo Hall lab to receive makeover

first_imgThe Office of Information Technologies has removed the help desk from the DeBartolo Hall computer lab and is seeking student input about how best to utilize the space. Brian Burchett, Manager of Technology Enhanced Learning Spaces at the Office of Information Technologies (OIT) said OIT removed the help desk because there was no longer a need for it. “We weren’t really staffing that area,” Burchett said. “DeBartolo was built in 1992. We had three people who worked behind the help desk counter, and they were busy all the time with questions. Not many people had computers at home, and when they came to school, they had a lot of questions about really basic stuff. Students nowadays ask a lot fewer questions, so it looks to us like we could cut back.” Burchett said student employees did not lose their jobs as a result of the help desk’s removal. “Last year, when seniors graduated, we didn’t let anybody go. We just didn’t replace all the seniors who graduated,” he said. “So the folks who worked in DeBartolo last year and were coming back were assigned to work in the [Hesburgh] Library or LaFortune [Student Center] this year.” Burchett said OIT plans to remodel the DeBartolo computer lab in a way similar to how LaFortune’s was renovated. “You can see the kinds of things that are in the LaFortune lab, and you can see the difference between the way it is and the way DeBartolo is,” Burchett said. “There’s not really any place to work in groups [in DeBartolo].” White boards now stand where the help desk used to be, offering students an opportunity to suggest ideas for the newly empty space. “It’s one way that we wanted to get some initial ideas from the students,” Burchett said. “When we did the LaFortune lab design, students played a really big part in the design process. We want to make student input in the DeBartolo lab design significant as well.” Burchett said students have suggested both practical and funny ideas. “Some people have said group study rooms like [in] LaFortune, some people have said more computers and more printers, some people say Linux computers, [and] somebody said they wanted a burrito bar,” Burchett said. “Somebody else said they wanted go-go dancers. The go-go dancers are probably not going to mix well with the Catholic character of the University.” OIT has not yet decided what to do with the space, Burchett said. Staff members plan to create a conceptual design as a starting point so OIT can give the University an estimate of the project’s cost. Burchett said OIT has given serious consideration to merging the computer lab with the adjacent lounge. OIT would add a variety of seating configurations so students could work in groups.  OIT has also considered adding more printers to the lab so lines would be shorter in between classes, Burchett said. Burchett said OIT is very interested in students’ suggestions. “If students have a friend or a sibling that goes to a school that has a really cool computer lab and they want us to do something similar to one of those schools, we’d love for somebody to give us a website or take pictures and send them to us,” he said. “We really want it to be a space that students like and can feel like [is] their space.” OIT is considering various funding options, Burchett said. “We know that it’s going to be an expensive project, so funding is an issue, especially when the economy is not what we all would like it to be and the University has to be careful with its resources,” he said. “Because we know it’s going to be an expensive project, it’s probably not a project the OIT can fund on its own. We’re probably going to have to seek funding from other sources on campus.” Burchett said OIT would not have an exact timeline for the project until funds are allocated.  “I would hope that we can have funds allocated in the fall so that we could start the project in the summer of 2012, but that is definitely a goal and not real yet,” he said. “I think the key is if we come up with something the students really like, then I think the University will support it. “The primary reason student input is important to us is students spend so much time there and we want it to be a place students really like.”last_img read more

ROTC battalions honor veterans

first_imgOn Sept. 10, 2001, Richard Evans was a civilian with plans to marry his fiancée later that year. This Veterans Day, 12 years later, he is an active-duty captain in the U.S. Army, a survivor of four deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and a father of four. “It’s an awesome thing when the country gets behind and supports us [on Veterans Day],” Evans said. “I think we’ve learned some really hard lessons from the past. “As a soldier, I’ve felt nothing but gratitude from South Bend, Mishawaka and Notre Dame in particular. I’m very thankful for that and the opportunity to be here.” Since July, Evans has served as an assistant professor of military science at Notre Dame and a member of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) cadre, or staff. Despite his prior tours of duty, Evans said he does not focus on his own service on Veterans Day. “It’s a time for me to reflect,” Evans said. “I’ve been in the military for 12 years. I’ve deployed four times, so I think about all the great men and women I’ve had the opportunity to serve with. I think about the sacrifices my family has made to allow me to pursue this career.” Tyler Thomas, a senior Naval ROTC midshipman and tri-military commander of the three Notre Dame ROTC branches, said Army and Air Force cadets and Navy midshipmen held a 24-hour vigil at the Clarke War Memorial fountain starting Sunday evening in honor of Veterans Day. “We protect the War Memorial, which stands for all of the Notre Dame graduates who have died in World War II, Korea and Vietnam,” Thomas said. “We pay tribute to the sacrifice they gave. “Ultimately, that’s the ideal service we try to strive for. It may not necessarily mean giving our lives in the defense of the country, but they set a great example of how we should be living our lives.” Thomas said South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg will address ROTC students and staff members at a public ceremony Monday evening in the Carey Auditorium of the Hesburgh Library. “[Mayor Buttigieg] is in the reserves right now, and he’s actually going to be going overseas in February with the Navy,” Thomas said. “It’ll be really interesting to hear his perspective, especially in his pre-deployment work up.” Thomas said the ROTC branches will participate together in Veterans Day activities, including a special appearance at the women’s basketball game Monday night. “We try to make it a tri-military celebration,” Thomas said. “During the women’s basketball game, we’ll be doing a flag unfurling that’s tri-military.” Chris Lillie, senior cadet and battalion commander for Army ROTC, said the rifle drill team would also make its first presentation in several years at the basketball game. “It’s actually the first time in at least five or six years that we’ve had a drill team performance, so we’re kind of excited that we’re getting that going,” Lillie said. Thomas said Veterans Day unites the ROTC branches beyond community-event planning. He said recognizing the service and sacrifice of all military men and women was the main lesson for midshipmen and cadets in training. “We can learn from every service of the people who went before us, so it’s important to not just recognize Navy veterans or Army veterans, but celebrate their lives together,” Thomas said. Lillie said the tri-military events reflect the shared commitment of the military divisions to protecting the United States. “[The ROTC branches] don’t represent different things,” he said. “They’re all focused on different things, so seeing them come together shows that it’s one team, one fight.” Maggie Armstrong, senior cadet and a squadron commander for Air Force ROTC, said her family’s military history made her learn and appreciate the significance of all veterans from a young age. “It was a family holiday, and I never really understood why until my dad explained to me when I was about 12 that he had lost his entire crew in a plane crash,” Armstrong said. “That day was about remembering those people and the ones who’d gone before us to make our country free.”To me, Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect and remember the brothers and sisters in arms who’ve gone before us. Whether they are retired or out of service or reserves or killed in action, it’s an opportunity to remember what this country stands for and that there are people willing to fight for it.” Lillie said the same spirit extends to students at Notre Dame, even those who have no connections to ROTC or to the military in general. “With the big ‘God, Country, Notre Dame’ mantra that we have on campus, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone on campus that isn’t big on service, and that includes service to country,” Lillie said. “Whether or not you’re actually directly involved in the military, Veterans Day is a big day for everyone because you can go out and support the principles that you as an American believe in and that the people that are fighting for America are representing directly.” Evans said Veterans Day also reminds civilians of the ongoing sacrifices that military men and women must make. “What I’m afraid of is with the nearly 3,000 KIA [killed in action] and I think somewhere near 8,000 wounded soldiers, that the general populace will start to forget the sacrifice and service that these men and women have made,” Evans said. “Veterans Day is a day a year to remind everybody … [of] what they’ve had to do – leave their homes, leave their families, to bring freedom to a group of people and protect our shores from future attacks.” Evans said members of the Notre Dame and South Bend communities frequently approach him when he wears his uniform to thank him for his service. He said Veterans Day would be a chance for civilians to continue supporting the armed forces. “It gives them an opportunity to be a part of something larger than campus,” he said. Contact Lesley Stevenson at [email protected]last_img read more

Mother discusses transgender son, Catholicism

first_imgMembers of the Saint Mary’s community gathered Monday night to listen to alumna Emily Garvey speak about her experience with her transgender son, entitled “A Theological Journey with My Transgender Son.” “She does what we want to prepare all our Saint Mary’s students to do: to take risks that matter,” Megan Zwart, professor of philosophy, said. “In this case, sharing a deeply personal experience. To see the value of reflection and critical engagement, not just in the classroom, not just in the world of work, but in the whole of her life.”Garvey said she feels Catholic Social Teaching and the Church place an emphasis on connecting with others, even those different from you. “It’s this relational aspect of the Catholic faith that I have always found nourishing,” Garvey said. “Particularly in the last few years I have been drawn to the accounts of how Jesus related to other people in ways that were thought to be unconventional, or irregular or unusual.” She found this to be helpful in her journey with her transgender son’s identity. When her first-born child was 18, Garvey said that she asked to begin seeing a counselor. Shortly thereafter, she asked to read a letter to Garvey during an appointment.“In that appointment, she said, ‘Mom, I am transgender. I am not a girl, I am a boy. I am now your second son, and I would like to be called James.’ And suddenly the path of life that I talked about felt really lonely, and scary and long,” Garvey said. This caused Garvey to begin a journey with coming to terms with both her transgender son and her faith, she said. “Both of these realities, I have a transgender son, I am Catholic, can be held together,” Garvey said. “Moreover, I believe that because I am Catholic I am able to accompany my son as he flourishes. And because I am Catholic, the past two years have led me to experience God’s mercy in new ways, and thereby have a more conscious connection with my brothers and sisters on the path of life.”Garvey said that through this journey, she saw three important factors emerge: bewilderment, gender and mercy. This began with the moment she told her transgender son she would support him in the journey. “I said, ‘Honey, thank you for telling me. That took a lot of courage. I don’t know what this means, and I am totally confused, but I know we can get through it together. Let’s walk this together,’” Garvey said. “So my first-born grabbed my hand, and she started crying, and the counselor teared up, and then I felt like I was trying to swallow an encyclopedia stuck in my throat … and I can say that in that moment, I realized that it was a moment filled with mercy.”Not only did this start a journey with God’s mercy, Garvey said, but her confusion with the concepts of gender and sexuality began a period of bewilderment as well. “I now see that prolonged period of bewilderment as a grace, because it was ultimately a portal for humility and subsequent growth,” Garvey said.This confusion about what gender meant stemmed from her previous understanding of gender as a binary, Garvey said. “If I’m being honest here, and it’s humbling to admit this, it made me uncomfortable,” Garvey said. “Just all of it made me uncomfortable. And because I was trying to fit it all within a Catholic understanding at the time of gender. How can it be that you formed within me and you were a girl, and now you’re a boy? How?”To work towards a better understanding, Garvey said she turned to her faith. “I started with the messages of mercy, love, radical inclusivity that we see in the gospels,” she said. “And, I believe my child’s desire to be whole was and continues to be holy.”Garvey said she feels that ultimately gender does not have an impact on the way one acts in the likeness of God. “Born in the image and likeness of God does not mean gender, for God is not gendered,” Garvey said. “But where we may image God is in our capacity to love, feel compassion, forgiveness and mercy.”[Editor’s Note: The Observer retained Garvey’s use of pronouns when referring to her son for clarity.]Tags: Catholic, gender identity, Transgenderlast_img read more

History professor’s research provides insight into the COVID-19 crisis

first_imgThe COVID-19 pandemic has brought many issues to light in the media that otherwise lay hidden beneath the surface of current events. Leaders in business, education and other industries have turned to the work of historians to better respond to the effects of the coronavirus. Department of history professor Joshua Specht researched the history of environmental and economic impacts of the beef industry in the United States. Specht said his historical research has become more relevant with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on meat packing facilities and production work today, as the CDC reported 16,233 known cases in 239 meat and poultry processing facilities among 23 states as of July 10.Specht explained how meatpacking facilities are designed and how this has impacted the spread of COVID-19. “One of the main ways that we get basically affordable meat in large quantities is by designing slaughterhouses for maximum efficiency in terms of output,” Specht said. “If you imagine a factory that’s just making screws or something, everything is the same size and it makes it very easy to use machines. But in a slaughterhouse, you’re much more reliant on people, so there’s a lot less mechanization.” Specht said this layout means employees in meat processing facilities work in tight conditions that make them prone to the spread of COVID-19. “What I saw is that the [conditions] that provide cheap meat for us also make slaughterhouses centers of coronavirus risk,” he said.He also spoke to a number of workers in these meatpacking facilities in doing research. “Often, the employees in the meatpacking facilities are from so-called vulnerable groups, recent immigrants who might not have a good command of public resources and refugees,” he said.Specht said these groups are likely to continue working in extenuating circumstances like a pandemic because they are afraid to advocate for their rights. The application of Specht’s research to working conditions in meatpacking facilities during the coronavirus pandemic has led him to new topics to look into for his research.“My research has made me particularly interested in a place of agriculture in American history and also American politics,” Specht said. “The pandemic and situations with workers and risks of workers have definitely been something that I’m getting more and more interested in from a research perspective and want to keep in mind.”He said the dynamics of communities, particularly during the pandemic, also fascinate him from a research perspective. At this time, Specht does not have any undergraduate research assistants, yet he said he is looking forward to working with student research assistants in the future. In the future, he will teach a history of food class, along with a class on the history of the American West.Specht encouraged Notre Dame campus community members to remember that some of the people who are most vulnerable are staff members and employees. “To the extent that we’re all in it together –– the students, the faculty, the administration –– that’s also to protect people in the community and employees,” Specht said. Tags: COVID-19, Joshua Specht, meat packinglast_img read more

Drugmaker Mallinckrodt Reaches $1.6B Opioid Settlement

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) Stock Photo: PixabayNEW YORK – The generic drugmaker Mallinckrodt has a tentative $1.6 billion deal to settle lawsuits over its role in the U.S. opioid crisis, it announced Tuesday.The deal is intended to end hundreds of lawsuits faced by the company over opioids.The company said that it had an agreement with a key committee of lawyers representing thousands of local governments suing various drug industry players over opioids — and that the deal has the support of the attorneys general of 47 states and territories.The company, based in Staines-Upon-Thames, England, was one of the highest-volume opioid producers in the U.S. at the height of the nation’s prescription drug crisis, shipping 2.3 billion pills from 2006 to 2014, according to federal data. In 2010 alone, Mallinckrodt’s SpecGX subsidiary, shipped 210 million doses of oxycodone to Florida, then the epicenter of the black market opioid trade. The company’s potent 30 milligram pills were especially sought after by people with addiction.Documents gathered as the company prepared for trial showed that a Mallinckrodt sales manager told a distributor in 2009 of the pills: “Just like Doritos; keep eating, we’ll make more.” A company spokesman later called the statement “outrageously callous.”The company argued in court filings that unlike makers of brand-name drugs, it did not promote opioids to doctors or understate the addiction risks. But plaintiffs in the cases said Mallinckrodt continued to ship suspicious orders without making sure the drugs weren’t going to be diverted to the black market.Under its agreement, Mallinckrodt is filing for bankruptcy. The plan calls for it to make payments for eight years after the company emerges from the protections. That route is similar to one OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma is taking to settle opioid claims against it.For Mallinckrodt, there are business concerns, beyond the potential liability in opioid cases, that contributed to its seeking bankruptcy protection.“Reaching this agreement in principle for a global opioid resolution and the associated debt refinancing activities announced today are important steps toward resolving the uncertainties in our business,” Mark Trudeau, president and CEO of the company, said in a statement.Joe Rice, a lawyer on the executive committee of plaintiffs suing in federal court over opioids, said in an interview Tuesday that some details of the Mallinckrodt agreement still remain to be ironed out.Most of the money contributed by Mallinckrodt would go to a trust to pay for addiction treatment and other costs related to an opioid crisis that has been linked to more than 430,000 deaths in the U.S. since 2000. Additionally, the trust would be able to buy Mallinckrodt stock at a fixed price; it could be sold to help the cause.State attorneys general praised the deal.“My focus is on not only accountability, but also obtaining the resources we need to get victims of this epidemic the help they deserve,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a written statement. “This agreement is a significant step in the right direction.”Mallinckrodt’s announcement comes weeks before a trial on the toll of opioids is scheduled to start in Central Islip, New York. The looming trial has been a factor in a ramped-up push for other drugmakers and distributors to settle, as well.There have been increasingly public tensions between attorneys general and the private lawyers for local governments over the biggest of the proposed settlements, which would involve at least the three biggest U.S. drug distribution companies. States have also been divided on whether to accept the deal, under which the distributors would pay a total of $18 billion over 18 years.last_img read more

State Declares New Business Mandates, Other Measures Amid Virus Fight

first_imgImage by the New York State Governor’s Office / Flicker.com.ALBANY – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Thursday signed an executive order mandating businesses that rely on in-office personnel to decrease their in-office workforce by 75 percent.This follows the Governor’s directive yesterday that all businesses implement work-from-home policies.Exemptions will be made for essential service industries, including shipping, media, warehousing, grocery and food production, pharmacies, healthcare providers, utilities, banks and related financial institutions, and other industries critical to the supply chain.The Governor also announced the Department of Financial Services has issued a new directive to New York State mortgage servicers to provide 90-day mortgage relief to mortgage borrowers impacted by the novel coronavirus. The directive includes: Waiving mortgage payments based on financial hardship;No negative reporting to credit bureaus;Grace period for loan modification;No late payment fees or online payment fees; andPostponing or suspending foreclosures.Additionally, the Governor has asked DFS to instruct state chartered banks to waive ATM fees, late fees, overdraft fees and fees for credits cards to help lessen the financial hardship of the COVID-19 pandemic on New Yorkers.“We know what we have to do to contain the spread of this virus – reduce density and person to person contact – and based on new facts we are getting every day, we’re taking further steps to keep more New Yorkers at home while keeping essential services running,” Governor Cuomo said. “At the same time, we know there is going to be an economic impact across the state and we are taking new actions to support the thousands of New Yorkers and small businesses who are suffering. It’s going to be hard, it’s going to be disruptive, but we will get through this together.”The Governor also announced an executive order allowing the State Department of Health to identify space within existing hospitals to increase bed capacity. This builds on the Governor’s efforts to increase the state’s hospital surge capacity and help ensure our healthcare system can handle an influx of patients due to COVID-19.Furthermore, Governor announced new measures to free up staff and speed up the admission and discharge process at hospitals for 90 days. The Department of Financial Services will issue a directive to health insurers allowing scheduled surgeries and admissions without insurer preapproval and allowing inpatient hospital services without insurer approval.Image by the New York State Governor’s Office / Flicker.com.Under the measure, insurers will pay inpatient hospital services and emergency services without waiting to review for medical necessity. It will also allow the discharge of patients to a rehabilitation center or nursing after an inpatient hospital stay without insurer preapproval, and encourage self-funded plans to adopt these same provisions. 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

Global Demand For Crude Oil Projected To Reach Lowest Point Since 1995

first_imgCropped Photo: FutureAtlas.com / CC BY 2.0JAMESTOWN – AAA says the price of gas and the demand for it are still dropping.Believe it or not, the global crude oil demand is starting to look like it did in 1995.As of Monday, the national average price of gas is $1.81. and New York’s is $2.22. One year ago, those prices were $2.84 and $2.88, respectively.Buffalo and Batavia, where prices went down four cents since last week, both average at $2.27. Rochester is currently just five cents lower, on average. The coronavirus pandemic is prompting people to stay home. With refiners producing more gasoline than what’s needed, prices will continue to sink.AAA, citing a report by the International Energy Agency, says “global oil demand is projected to hit a 25-year low and fall by a record 9.3 million barrels per day this year.” 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

Panama Man Charged After Throwing Party With ‘Several Hundred People’

first_imghttps://www.vperemen.com / Pixabay / CC BY 2.0 HARMONY – A Panama man is facing charges after the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office says deputies were called to break up a party over the weekend where ‘several hundred people’ were in attendance.Deputies say they responded to a location on Goshen Road in the Town of Harmony Saturday at 9:30 p.m. where Eli Miller, 27, was hosting a party involving hundreds, including many under the age of 21.Miller is charged with first-degree unlawfully dealing with a child and second-degree criminal nuisance.He was issued tickets and is scheduled to appear in the Town of Harmony Court at a later date. According to the New York State on PAUSE order, social gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed for area’s in phase four reopening.On Monday, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo tweeted a video criticizing a large concert downstate.The Governor saying the Department of Health will investigate the social distancing violation, and that, the state has no tolerance for the “illegal and reckless endangerment of public health.”Videos from a concert held in Southampton on Saturday show egregious social distancing violations. I am appalled.The Department of Health will conduct an investigation.We have no tolerance for the illegal & reckless endangerment of public health.pic.twitter.com/gf9kggdo8w— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) July 28, 2020Those who violate the NY on PAUSE order could face a fine up to $1,000. The state has a webpage set up for the public to file complaints which are forwarded to local municipalities for investigation.Cuomo recently called on localities statewide to step up their COVID-19 enforcement efforts. 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),Kudos to Mr.Miller and friends for standing up for Constitutional rights. It appears more and more people are awakening to the fact; CV19 is a well orchestrated HOAX. Emperor Cuomo has no clothes..,Selfish, ignorant, un Christian, You will be punished by a vengeful God. Mend your ways or spend eternity in Hell.,Cuomo touts his opinion on the concert in ny. However, never said a word on the so called march,This was a Amish person. Unless the authorities can prove that they all were notified other than internet, or the news, how can they convict them. I’m not saying that underage drinking is alright because they are aware of that law but, the gatherings over 50 people they may have not had a knowledge of.,They know.last_img read more

See Carly Rae Jepsen Decked Out in Radiant Royal Gems Before She Steps Into Cinderella’s Slippers

first_imgA few of us around the Broadway.com office still haven’t calmed down over the news that “Call Me Maybe” singer Carly Rae Jepsen will make her Broadway debut in the title role of Cinderella, alongside Emmy nominee Fran Drescher (as Madame). Obviously, we love love love Tony nominee Laura Osnes, but we still can’t wait to see the Grammy nominee get dressed up in Cinderella’s gorgeous gown and glitzy glass slippers. The always-classy Osnes even addressed the Carly Rae haters on December 29 when she tweeted, “Have we learned nothing from Ella about charity, generosity, and kindness?” Jepsen responded with “Dear @LauraOsnes I think you are truly lovely. Big shoes to fill! It’s an honor to try on the Cindy shoes! Xoxox.” Has there ever been a more perfect pair of princesses? Nope. Now, Jepsen has given us a tiny preview of what she’ll look like when she becomes Broadway’s reigning princess by Instagramming a photo of herself bedazzled in snazzy jewelry. Jepsen captioned the photo: “Family breaky before I fly to NYC—they decked me out in Cinderella gear. I don’t think they expected me to wear it all morning! Haha.” Call us biased, but we think she looks downright aristocratic in her treasures. Savor Jepsen’s fab photo and then catch her in Cinderella at the Broadway Theatre beginning February 4! Cinderella Related Shows Laura Osnes View Commentscenter_img Carly Rae Jepsen Star Files Show Closed This production ended its run on Jan. 4, 2015last_img read more

Boy George & Rosie O’Donnell Take in Taboo…Separately!

first_imgBoth Rosie O’Donnell and Boy George reunited with the cast of their Broadway-flop-we-love Taboo at 54 Below this weekend, but, like divorced parents splitting up time with their kids, they never actually appeared together. Instead, the duo arrived separately for the electrifying four-performance run, Taboo producer O’Donnell taking in the first show on February 7 and a goateed George, whose life and music give the show its beat and heart, popping in on February 8. The two mega-talents famously clashed during the difficult birth of the musical, but O’Donnell has recently spoken well of the pop icon, who reportedly cleaned up a nasty drug habit that made him a miserable collaborator at the time. Happily, Broadway.com photographer Bruce Glikas was on hand to capture both family portraits. Check back on Monday for more photo coverage of Taboo: 10 Years Later.  View Commentslast_img read more