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Scotlandville uses big plays on special teams to topple East Ascension – The Advocate

Posted: September 10, 2021 at 5:46 am

Eighth-ranked Scotlandville High School returned the games opening kickoff for a touchdown and relied on a pair of big plays on special teams and defense midway through the third quarter to pull away for 39-20 victory over East Ascension in the season opener for both teams Thursday night.

The Hornets (1-0) repelled a charge from the Spartans (0-1) with an interception return of 37 yards from Damien Knighten. Running back Marlon Gunn Jr. added an 89-yard scoring run with 1:12 remaining in a game played at Dutchtowns Griffin Field. It was his second rushing touchdown of the game after giving his team a 21-14 lead with a score with seven seconds left before halftime.

Knighten added a second interception at the 1-yard line late in the fourth quarter.

Scotlandville extended its 20-14 halftime lead to 27-14 after blocking a punt, turning that into a short 23-yard scoring drive that was capped by quarterback CZavian Teasetts 10-yard pass to John Hubbard in the back of the end zone at the 6:29 mark of the third quarter.

Scotlandville, which has won its past four meetings against EA, held a 361-252 advantage in total yards.

Teasett completed 19 of 29 passes for 182 yards with Knighten also sparkling on offense with seven catches for 58 yards. Hubbard led the Hornets with eight grabs for 61 yards and a TD.

Gunn paced his teams rushing attack with 16 carries for 157 and two scores.

EA quarterback Troy Dunn was 11 of 22 passing for 130 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. Jacorey Mitchell led the way with four catches for 43 yards.

The two teams combined for three touchdowns in the last five minutes of the first half when Scotlandville marched 80 yards in 11 plays for a 21-14 halftime lead.

Teasett completed 6 of 7 passes for 64 yards on his teams final drive of the half which Gunn Jr. finished with a 1-yard run.

EA rallied from a 14-0 deficit with back-to-back scoring drives with 300-pound defensive tackle Aiden Joseph crashing in from 2 yards out and following a short 5-yard punt, the Spartans needed four plays to cover 21 yards with Dunn connecting with Mitchell who made a nice adjustment on an underthrow pass for a 13-yard TD with 2:30 showing before halftime.

Scotlandville took a 7-0 lead nine seconds into the game when Chance Williams brought back the opening kickoff 95 yards for a score. Williams made it 14-0 with 2:47 left in the second quarter on a 9-yard run but was ejected following a pair of personal fouls after the touchdown.

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Scientists: Life May Thrive on Ocean Worlds Far Larger Than Earth – Futurism

Posted: September 1, 2021 at 12:42 am

"A biosignature detection would transform our understanding of life in the universe."Extreme Conditions

A team of scientists has identified a new class of exoplanets and, despite their drastic differences from our home here on Earth, the researchers say they could be great candidates in the search for extraterrestrial life.

These so-called Hycean planets are known for their high temperatures, ocean-covered surfaces, and hydrogen-rich atmospheres. That means they harbor more extreme conditions than Earth, but the University of Cambridge scientists behind a new study published in The Astrophysical Journal say that Hycean oceans could still theoretically support the same sorts of microbial life that live in Earths oceans.

Hycean planets open a whole new avenue in our search for life elsewhere, lead study author and Cambridge astronomer Nikku Madhusudhan said in a press release.

For the most part, the search for habitable exoplanets has focused on finding as Earth-like of a world as possible, for the simple reason that Earth is the only place weve ever found signs of life. As a result, Hycean planets have been overlooked because they have up to a 2.6 times larger radius and are 10 times more massive than Earth and temperatures can hit 200 degrees Celsius. Thats bad news for anyone searching for a second home for humanity to inhabit, but not the end of the world for extremophile aliens.

Its exciting that habitable conditions could exist on planets so different from Earth, study coauthor Anjali Piette said in the release.

For now, this is theoretical work theres no indication that life actually exists on any Hycean worlds. But because the exoplanet class vastly outnumbers other candidates for habitable worlds, scientists may now have a better chance of finding something out there.

A biosignature detection would transform our understanding of life in the universe, Madhusudhan said. We need to be open about where we expect to find life and what form that life could take, as nature continues to surprise us in often unimaginable ways.

READ MORE: New class of habitable exoplanets represent a big step forward in the search for life [University of Cambridge]

More on habitable exoplanets: Astronomers Discover Intriguing, Extremely Earth-Like Exoplanet

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Japan declares state of emergency, Olympics still on but without fans in Tokyo – Yahoo Sports

Posted: July 14, 2021 at 1:56 pm

The Tokyo Olympics will happen amid a state of emergency, and without fans at events in the host city.

The Japanese government on Thursday announced that it would re-institute strict measures to counter COVID-19 surges in the capital. The measures will take effect next week, and last the duration of the Games, which officially begin July 23 and end Aug. 8.

Hours after the announcement, Olympic organizers walked back a previous decision to allow local spectators to attend events. Following an urgent late-night meeting, they announced that there will be no fans at competitions held in Tokyo and other areas affected by the state of emergency.

The Olympic rings are on display throughout Tokyo. The Games begin July 23. (Photo by KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images)

Organizers have not yet made final decisions on whether they'll bar fans from events held elsewhere around the country. Some soccer, baseball and softball games, among other events, will be held in regions not covered by the emergency measures. In those regions, "local government authorities will meet and decide specific measures in consultation with the local governors based on the situation in each area," organizers said in a statement.

The vast majority of events, however, are in Tokyo and will be staged behind closed doors.

Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee president Seiko Hashimoto also confirmed that the Opening Ceremony, at the Olympic Stadium, will be closed to the general public.

Hashimoto said, however, that Olympic officials, foreign dignitaries, and other Games stakeholders could still be allowed to attend the ceremony. And IOC officials, sports executives and other "accredited" personnel will still have access to venues throughout the Games.

An outline of which Japanese prefectures will be allowed to host spectators during the Olympics. (via Tokyo 2020 spokesman Tristan Lavier)

On Wednesday, 16 days before the Opening Ceremony, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government reported 920 COVID cases, over 200 more than any other single-day total since May. On Thursday, it reported 896, the second-highest count since May. Dr. Shigeru Omi, a top government medical advisor, said Wednesday that "infections are in their expansion phase and everyone in this country must firmly understand the seriousness of it."

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Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga vowed to do everything we can to prevent the further spread of the infections. One day later, citing rising case counts and the more infectious Delta variant, he declared the state of emergency, which will extend through Aug. 22, two weeks after the Olympics end.

Organizers have said, though, that the Games can and will go on in a state of emergency. Tamayo Marukawa, Japan's minister for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, reiterated that commitment Thursday at the beginning of a meeting of leaders from the Japanese and Tokyo governments, the International Olympic Committee, the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee and others. IOC president Thomas Bach did as well, hours after arriving in Tokyo as scheduled.

"I think we can all be very satisfied that the strict measures, having been established to protect everybody the Japanese people and the participants of the Games have proven to be successful," Bach said from his hotel room, where, due to those strict measures, he'll be quarantining for three days.

Tokyo's seven-day COVID-case average had fallen in late May and early June, to fewer than 400 cases per day in a city of millions. The decline led government officials to peel back their previous state of emergency, and eased any lingering fears in the Olympic world that the Games might be postponed again or canceled.

That seven-day average, however, has been slowly but steadily climbing since June 18, two days before the previous state of emergency was lifted. Some targeted restrictions remained in place, leaving some sectors of public life under a quasi-state of emergency. But the virus lingered, and over the past 10 days showed signs of accelerating. The test positivity rate rose from under 4% in mid-June to over 6% this week. Hospitalizations are also rising.

Transmission rates remain far lower than they ever were at the pandemic's peak in the U.S. But with most Japanese still unvaccinated less than 30% has received at least one dose officials and citizens have been wary of exponential spread, and of the possibility that the Olympics could contribute to it.

Olympic organizers have outlined and plan to enforce a complex web of COVID countermeasures that will limit contact between Olympic participants and non-participant Japanese citizens. The measures won't completely eliminate that contact, but all "Level 1" participants athletes, coaches, team officials and more will be tested daily. Testing frequency for others will depend on how often they interact with Level 1 participants. The testing will greatly limit spread in and around the Olympic bubble.

(IOC/Tokyo 2020 playbook for athletes)

The Japanese concerns, though, extend beyond that bubble. One is that the Games would lead to dense gatherings of local citizens. Organizers have barred foreign fans from traveling to Tokyo, but in late June, one day after the previous state of emergency was lifted, announced that venues would open to Japanese spectators at 50% capacity, up to 10,000 per event.

In doing so, organizers defied the advice of Omi, the government medical advisor, who had recommended a ban on all spectators and warned of "continuing risks of a resurgence of the infections that puts pressure on [Japan's] medical systems.

In announcing the decision, though, organizers left leeway for reconsideration. "In the event that a state of emergency or other priority measures aimed at preventing infection are implemented at any time after July 12," they said, "restrictions on spectator numbers at the Games, including non-spectator competitions, will be based on the content of the state of emergency or other relevant measures in force at that time."

And on Thursday, at the multi-party meeting of organizers, they indeed reconsidered. They also pushed back a decision on fans at the Paralympic Games, which begin Aug. 24, until after the Olympics end.

Prior to the pandemic, ticket demand for the Tokyo Olympics had been sky-high, especially among locals. Organizers had projected some $800 million in ticket revenue. The vast majority of that has now fallen by the wayside, and Tokyo's projected losses against more than $15 billion of expenditure have increased.

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US Congressman Calls for Law Allowing Government to Reverse Cryptocurrency Transactions Regulation Bitcoin News – Bitcoin News

Posted: July 2, 2021 at 8:51 pm

A U.S. congressman has called for a law that allows the government to identify cryptocurrency users and reverse crypto transactions. Theres a significant sentiment, increasing sentiment, in Congress that if youre participating in an anonymous crypto transaction that youre a de-facto participant in a criminal conspiracy, he said.

Democratic Rep. Bill Foster of Illinois, who is also co-chair of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, talked about cryptocurrency regulation during an Axios virtual event Tuesday. Addressing the problem of ransomware attacks and how criminals are asking for bitcoin and not cash, the congressman stressed that there is a fundamental difference between crypto assets and real-world assets. Thats an important distinction that we must make ultimately in the law.

Emphasizing that laws must be passed to allow federal courts to identify crypto users and reverse transactions in bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, he said:

You have to be able to go to a court to unmask participants under some circumstances.

He discussed The condition under which we can reclaim cryptocurrencies, such as ransoms paid to criminals, noting that it is one of the fundamental decisions which has to be made about crypto assets.

The congressman pointed out that the law needs to address whether cryptocurrency is truly anonymous or is there a court you can go to, to unmask the participants. In addition, is there a court, a third-party, that you can go to, to reverse fraudulent or mistaken transactions.

Foster gave an example. If someone dragged you into an alley and put a gun to your head and say get out your cell phone and transfer all your bitcoin to my wallet. Are you just out of luck or can you go to court, have them unmask the participant. Furthermore, can the court if they decide that the transaction was fraudulent, criminal, or mistaken use its access to very heavily guarded key, cryptographic back door, in a sense, that allows them to cryptographically reverse transactions on a blockchain.

The lawmaker claims that such tools are necessary for the government to protect itself, the people and companies from ransomware attacks, like the one suffered by Colonial Pipeline.

Rep. Foster opined:

Ive just said about three things there that will drive the crypto purists berserk, like the trusted third party and so on.

He believes that For most people, if they are going to have a big part of their net worth tied up in crypto assets, they are going to want to have that security blanket of a trusted third-party that can solve the problem when they get hacked, when they get stolen or even just a mistaken assumption.

Foster further said that cryptocurrencies must become compliant with federal regulations and laws for them to ever become mainstream instruments for conducting transactions. Replying to a question about how the U.S. would regulate cryptocurrencies given their global and borderless nature, he affirmed, Were going to have to establish a law between the legal and illegal regimes here, elaborating:

Theres a significant sentiment, increasing sentiment, in Congress that if youre participating in an anonymous crypto transaction that youre a de-facto participant in a criminal conspiracy.

Many people took to social media to ridicule the congressman and his attempt to reverse bitcoin transactions, stating that he does not understand how bitcoin works. Some responded to Fosters criminal allegation, stating that they are not de-facto criminals.

What do you think about Rep. Foster calling for legislation to give the government power to reverse cryptocurrency transactions? Let us know in the comments section below.

Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

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A grave injustice in Elizabeth City | The Progressive Pulse – The Progressive Pulse

Posted: May 20, 2021 at 5:17 am

Brown family attorney Chance Lynch Image: Lynchs Facebook page

There are a lot of reasons for caring and thinking people to be deeply troubled by the events surrounding the killing of Andrew Brown, Jr. by Pasquotank County sheriffs deputies. At least five big ones stand out.

First, before one even gets to the matter of the shooting itself, is the matter of why a huge cadre of heavily armed officers was dispatched to arrest a man on a drug charge. In a nation that is finally coming to grips with the counter-productiveness and futility of its disastrous, decades-long war on drugs, the question needs to be posed: what was Brown accused of that was so horrific that it became a matter of life and death to arrest him? And, indeed, should it have even been considered a serious crime? Had Brown been accused of a violent crime murder, assault with a deadly weapon, armed robbery perhaps such massive armed brigade would have made more sense. But a drug offense? One has to wonder.

Second are the obvious and closely related issues of race and class. Simply put, it strains credulity to imagine that law enforcement officials would have approached the arrest of a wealthy, white suburbanite accused of a drug offense in the same way. And while Brown was clearly in the wrong in trying to flee from the arrest, its hard to imagine that the obvious fear and panic he experienced were not at least in part related to the unjust treatment he knew Americas justice system has so regularly meted out to Black people. The path that our hypothetical well-off suburbanite would have likely chosen texting or calling his lawyer to meet him at the sheriffs office where a quick release would have been arranged was almost certainly not a viable option for Brown.

Third is the shabby treatment local officials have afforded to Browns family. As Yanqi Xu reported for Policy Watch yesterday:

Fourth, of course, is the decision of Pasquotank County District Attorney Andrew Womble not to bring any charges at all against the officers who killed Brown. As Raleighs News & Observer rightfully explained in a fine editorial this morning:

Shooting at a suspect in a fleeing car generally violates police practices, but Womble leaned on statutes that allow police to shoot when they feel threatened. The district attorney said Browns car brushed an officer and could have hit an officer in an unmarked car nearby. He was not troubled by the threat the officers created by firing at a fleeing car in a residential neighborhood at 8:30 in the morning. One bullet was found in a nearby house. In all, 14 shots were fired.

Womble acknowledged that Brown was fleeing, not targeting the officers. I think Mr. Browns intention was to get away, he said, but when he did that, he put those deputies in danger.

Asked why deputies did not let Brown flee and seek to arrest him later, Womble said their duty was to take him into custody. He said, They simply couldnt let him go.

But apparently in Pasquotank County a district attorney with close ties to local police can simply let the officers go.

Kristie Puckett-Williams of the ACLU of North Carolina put it even more eloquently when, in a statement, she said:

Communities deserve justice and accountability, but history shows justice for people of color is rare in a system that was built upon slavery and has been modified over time to control and limit the lives of those who are not white.

And fifth is the obvious gaping loophole in North Carolina law that gives carte blanche to a local politician (the district attorney) in such matters. Because of the way state law is written, it appears that neither the state Attorney General nor the Governor can provide any real oversight or move to install a special prosecutor. Instead, Gov. Cooper has been reduced to issuing a public plea for the the FBI to investigate and for Republican legislators to strengthen state statutes to increase transparency, confidence and accountability in the justice system.

The bottom line: The whole situation surrounding the killing of Brown stinks and should not be swept further under the rug. While it may not be possible now to bring state criminal charges against the officers who killed him, all state and federal officials in a position to continue the investigation in order to bring about some measure of justice either as a criminal or civil matter should continue their work.

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Covid-19 and Europe – The Statesman

Posted: April 19, 2021 at 7:25 am

Since the arrival of Covid-19 in Europe early last year, the numbers of confirmed cases and deaths have remained at critical levels across the continent. At the time of writing, infections exceed 42 million and coronavirus-related fatalities have passed the one million mark. The gravity of the situation became apparent as early as Spring last year, when European governments, with rare exceptions like Sweden, did away with hubristic dismissal of the pandemic to decree restrictions in the form of remote schooling, non-essential business closures, mandatory mask-wearing and expanded executive powers.

One of the most impactful measures at that time was a limit on crossregional travel and the creation of social bubbles, limiting how many people were allowed to meet in person. At the same time as the coronavirus spread, so have populist right-wing ideologies across Europe, giving rise to coinage of a new term, pandemic populism. The latest manifestations of this ideological hybrid are large-scale protests seen in the Netherlands, Germany and Finland.

A sweeping criticism of scientific orthodoxy has been aligned with populist slogans against globalization, immigration and multi-culturalism, along with the propagation of rights of marginal groups. It is impossible to deconstruct these coterminous movements to identify the various factors that meld into these protests, but the presumption is that this is a coalition of diverse interest groups.

One protestor at the Helsinki anti-COVID-restrictions rally this month carried a sign reading White Lives Matter, an obvious riposte to the global Black Lives Matter protest movement that resulted in summer 2020 following the totally unnecessary death of George Floyd in Minnesota at the hands of the police.

With the European continent now in a third wave of the debilitating coronavirus pandemic, those vocally opposing government-imposed restrictions for public health reasons and those who promote right-wing ideology are proceeding hand-in-hand towards a political reckoning. The emergence of, and increasing support gained by, various populist movements in Europe long predates the pandemic.

As with Donald Trumps unlikely US presidential campaign and victory in 2016, Europe also saw leaders with autocratic inclinations use the democratic process to implement populist agendas in Europe. President Victor Orban set about reshaping Hungarys democratic apparatus and Poland voted into power a right-wing leader, Andrzej Duda, who is so divisive that his policies have sparked demonstrations in Warsaw, the scale of which has been unseen since Soviet times.

And in Britain, the public, animated by fears of unrestrained immigration and dominationfrom the EU capital in Brussels, voted narrowly to remove itself from the European Union. In attempting to establish a connection between the anti-lockdown protests and the discrete European-flavoured populism, an appreciation of the nature of populism may be attempted. There are two key ideas housed in the rhetoric; firstly, that the people face a conflict against the others.

Essential here is the delegitimization of large segments of the populace, be they immigrants, those of different religions, or simply fellow citizens who disagree politically. Secondly, that strong centralized leadership is called for in order to advance the agenda of real patriots. Contrasting with those opposed to Covid-19 restrictions, there is the destabilizing and frustrating new reality many now encounter, a situation few predicted and which caught most governments unprepared and all of them under-prepared.

There is small wonder in those circumstances thatthose feeling the pinch of coronavirus restrictions became readily susceptible to theories of scapegoats, conspiracies and reductive narratives. The tactics for mobilizing opposition in Europe to government-prescribed Covid19 restrictions appear to have been imported wholesale to Europe from the United States, drawing from the extreme propaganda of the anti-liberal section of the far-right of the Republican Party.

Social media platforms contribute ideological echo chambers where the most controversial voices are algorithmically aided to reach the widest audience in order to optimize engagement with as many people as possible. Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, with Instagram & WhatsApp, are listed companies beholden to shareholders, not the good of humanity.

For a platform whose mission is to connect its users, Facebook does not give much consideration to who those people are, and whether they should remain connected, while a report published this month by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism revealed that accounts on Instagram promoting health misinformation on Covid-19 grew in the first quarter of the year by more than one million viewers.

Right-wing groups take refuge in poorly moderated digital platforms where conspiracy theories provide a fruitful outlet in the search for a beleaguered publics attention. Yet the merging of Europes far-right groups and anti-lockdown movements online does not necessarily take any uniform shape, nor always create the same impact on mainstream political engagement.

Reports in Freidrich-Ebert-Stiftungs Foundation for Social Democracy from eight European countries suggest that in some cases the crisis brought an opportunity for greater coordination between altogether disparate ends of the political spectrum. It is impossible to assess the potential outcomes of the ongoing situation.

Even with the administration of vaccines, Covid-19 seems good to remain for the foreseeable future. The eagerness of populist activists to harness the present existential despair will not be fully understood for many years, but it is sure to impress itself strongly on future European politics.

(The writers are, respectively, an academic in Tampere, Finland and Indias former foreign secretary)

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Chillicothe business, school developed virtual reality classrooms in response to COVID-19 – Chillicothe Gazette

Posted: March 21, 2021 at 5:09 pm

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Bishop Flaget students Bella Flores and Mason Brown communicate virtually without physically communicating or seeing each other, but instead communicate in the virtual world created in collaboration with Objective Reality Games to test how students can work remotely on March 17, 2021. (Photo: Robert McGraw/Gazette)

CHILLICOTHE A new partnership between a local school and a small business is helping students stay connected to their class even when learning remotely.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Bishop Flaget School andObjective Reality Games a virtual reality arcade and game studio collaborated to provide a new educational opportunity. By using anOculus headset, students can visit a VR classroom, participate in lectures, complete assignmentsand engage with their peers all from home.

"Imagination is the only limitation in the virtual space we've created," said Colin Rose, who owns Objective Reality Games with his wife, Sara. A big reason why they wanted to become involved in the project was to allow smaller schools the same resources as larger ones. "We can offer anything from VR recess hide and seek or dodge ball virtual tours of the galaxy, or even chemistry and biology labs. As we build out the space, we are so lucky to have Bishop Flaget involved in the coding and design process."

On Wednesday, eighth-graders in an English Language Arts class were the first to beta test the program. In one room, two students equipped with a headset and touch controllers entered a virtual world where they rode an elevator to their classroom. In another room, their classmates could see the VR world in real-time.

Bishop Flaget eighth grader Mason Brown gets use to the VR headset as the school works on a collaboration project to help with virtual learning. (Photo: Robert McGraw/Gazette)

Students in the virtual world logged on to Bishop Flaget's learning platform through a VR web browser. There, they have access to tests, homework, lectures, and they can evensee their classmates in real-time, speak with them and interact by sharing videos, playing games or even high-fiving.

As they explored, beta testers encouraged each other to learn new things and found joy when they discovered something cool. Student Mason Brown was particularly excited when he realized he could interact withthe sun and even throw it around the room.

For technology and art teacher Christy Fay, it was moving to see the students excited about learning. It was through a relationship she formed with the Roses at their1080 N Bridge St. locationthat the software became available to the local school.

"Through this connection, we hope that students don't feel as isolated," Fay said."We are so worried about academics that we sometimes forget about social and mental health."

In August, the Roses reached out to their partners atKnoxlabs in Burbank, California to see if they had any ideas for programming to bridge the social gap. From there, the two gaming studios were able to adapt a VR world designed for corporateoffices into a classroom.

The environment allows students to feel like they're physically present, Rose said, thus allowing them to turn on an educational mindset but it also lets them see their peers in a more personal way.

He added that while they built a solid VR platform, the biggest challenge is integrating different schools' programs. Although they had to do a bit of troubleshooting at the beginning, Fay added that it'sa great opportunity for the students to see adults working together without giving up.

Classroom knowledge is important, but she said it's priceless to see the VR program teaching students soft skills, like adaptability and problem-solving, too.

And while efforts to vaccinate K-12 staff across the state in an effort to reopen schools and have students back in the classroom at least partially have already begun, Fay believes the school will continue to utilize this program even when the pandemic is over.

Now, students who have special needs, experience regular absence due to medical conditions or individuals who have to stay at home for any reason can receive an education despite not being present in the classroom. It can also be used to help manage snow days and ensure districts don't have to extend the school year.

Bishop Flaget principal and English teacher Laura Corcoran and her class communicate with Bella Flores and Mason Brown as they test the virtual reality classroom. (Photo: Robert McGraw/Gazette)

While Bishop Flaget's eighth-graders will be the first Ross County students with access to the VR world, Fay said that eventually, they hope to phase it throughout the entire middle school. Rose hopes that someday, other schools will utilize the program to integrate it into their own virtual learning platforms.

"We didn't plan for this pandemic and we might not plan for the next issue that'll keep us home," Fay said. "We can keep in practice and stay one step ahead."

Have a story tip or comment?Contact Toria at or 740-349-1106. Follow her on Twitter @ToriaBarnhart.

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‘Not quite ready yet’: Democrats wont take up Biden immigration plan this month – POLITICO

Posted: March 9, 2021 at 1:46 pm

The chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), confirmed the path forward, calling the Biden proposal both important and serious.

We need to engage in some consultation with key members and stakeholders, but I see no reason why we wouldnt mark it up when we reconvene in April, Nadler said in a statement to POLITICO.

Bidens proposal is a top priority for progressives and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, who say its critical to take action in the early months of his term. But Democratic leaders were never going to bring up a bill on the floor that would fail putting them on a tightrope as they try to keep all factions of their diverse caucus on board for a realistic approach to one of Washingtons thorniest issues. Further complicating matters, the White House has taken more of a hands-off approach to the bills future in the House, several lawmakers and aides said.

We need to have a discussion. It was put together by a few people. I dont know what the role of the administration has been, said Rep. Tom OHalleran (D-Ariz.), a border-state Democrat who belongs to the centrist Blue Dog Coalition. But I have a sense that its just not quite ready yet.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), who leads the Congressional Progressive Caucus, acknowledged that its difficult because of the schedule, but vowed that at the same time, were pushing very hard to lend momentum to Bidens sweeping proposal.

Its like we have three pedals, and were pushing every one of them with just as much strength, she said, referring to a pair of other, more targeted immigration bills that will hit the floor in two weeks.

Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) huddled on Tuesday evening to discuss the whip count and strategize on what to do next. That meeting was interrupted as the nominee to lead Bidens budget office yanked her name from consideration, and multiple Democrats said Wednesday that immigration issues remained unresolved.

Proponents of the Biden bill, meanwhile, are still furiously working the phones to get their colleagues on board. That group, led by California Reps. Linda Snchez, Judy Chu and Zoe Lofgren, has also lined up meetings with influential groups across the caucus, including the Blue Dogs on Tuesday and progressives on Thursday. Snchez and Lofgren, along with other top Democrats, also spoke to the New Democrat Coalition late last month.

One of the White Houses leading officials on immigration, Tyler Moran, will also hold a staff briefing on the bill on Friday.

Its unclear if or when Bidens bill will come to the floor after moving through the Judiciary Committee in April. But several Democrats have been privately pushing leadership to make a decision one way or the other, privately expressing frustration that top Democrats were still projecting the possibility of the massive bill coming to the floor in March.

In recent days, Democratic leaders have publicly sounded a note of skepticism, while acknowledging the final push behind the scenes.

If ready, we will also consider comprehensive immigration reform, Hoyer told reporters this week as he ticked off the upcoming floor schedule. But I stress, if ready. Theres a lot of discussion going on about that.

Democrats were already planning to take up some of their most popular immigration proposals in the coming weeks one to protect the undocumented population known as Dreamers and another to reform the system for farmworkers. Both have bipartisan support, including strong backing from the CHC and CPC, and could soon see floor votes in the Senate.

But some members of the CHC say those bills arent enough because they dont go nearly as far as Bidens plan.

I want to make sure the broader bill gets as much support as possible, and that we send it over as quickly as possible, and that we get this done, said Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas), who helped shape Bidens proposal and has been actively lobbying her colleagues on the bill.

My fear, always, is that we will get morsels and, as a Congress, continue to kick the can down the road, she said.

As Democrats move quickly toward a piecemeal immigration strategy, some corners of their caucus have begun to seek changes to the Biden plan. Some moderates, for instance, are pushing to include a provision requiring employers to confirm workers legal status known as e-verify. Progressives, meanwhile, want some tweaks to ensure the bill doesnt disqualify people from citizenship because of minor infractions on their criminal record.

Its not clear yet which changes might be made to the bill. The Biden administration has repeatedly expressed a willingness to consider more tailored immigration measures that Democrats can get to the presidents desk. A White House official said the administration was in regular touch with lawmakers on immigration reform and would continue to hold briefings on Bidens immigration priorities as Congress considers proposals.

Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.), a swing-district Democrat, has been making the case to Bidens Hill team that an e-verify provision should be part of the bill, just as it was in the bipartisan immigration bill in 2013 that fell just short of passage.

Yes, I support whats in the bill. I think we would be in a stronger position to get it enacted if we eventually ended up where, I think, the middle ground is, Malinowski said. I think for both solid political, practical reasons and moral reasons, those two things should go together.

The biggest fear for many progressives, however, is what could happen to the bill to win over the partys centrists, either in the House or when the bill crosses over to the Senate.

We dont want this bill to be watered down before it gets to the floor, which is sometimes what happens with immigration bills, Jayapal said.

Immigration advocates have argued that failing to act on the issue could come back to haunt them politically, leaving Democrats vulnerable among their base in 2022.

The latest news in employment, labor and immigration politics and policy.

During a session at the House Democratic Caucuss virtual retreat on Wednesday, advocates shared new polling conducted for the immigrant rights groups and Americas Voice, which showed that 63 percent of voters would be upset if protections for undocumented immigrants didnt pass. The online survey of 1,200 voters who participated in the 2020 election was conducted Feb. 20-26.

A clean Dream Act proposal received the highest support nationally with 72 percent of voters supporting it compared to 71 percent support for a bill providing citizenship to undocumented farmworkers and 66 percent support for citizenship for undocumented essential workers. The latter is a proposal that has been pushed by Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) alongside Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Alex Padilla (D-Calif.).

Voters will be upset over inaction, especially the voters Democrats need to show up in the midterm elections, stated the polling memo shared with House Democrats and obtained by POLITICO. Republicans will not receive all or even most of the blame should the efforts to pass citizenship bills fail.

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The best technology, driven by the best people. – Verizon Communications

Posted: March 7, 2021 at 1:41 pm

As we start Womens History Month, were highlighting three inspiring, dynamic leaders in our Global Network and Technology (GN&T) organization whose unique career paths have inspired others to join our network team. Lets meet our #VerizonWomenInTech Heidi, Kadie, and Marta!

Before she began deploying the latest technologies, Heidi Reiter crunched numbers as an actuarial analyst. At that point in her career, technology was booming and Heidi knew that she wanted in with an industry leader. Soon after, she made the courageous choice to pursue her ambitions with a technology career at Verizon.

To prepare for her new role, Heidi had to learn the ins and outs of engineering a field in which she had no prior training. By stepping out of her comfort zone, she rose to the challenge and successfully changed career paths.

Ive spent my career at Verizon moving to new teams outside of my comfort zone to grow my business acumen and for the challenge, Heidi shared. Ultimately, I wanted to be in a role where I could impact the customer directly while supporting my community. What better way to do this than building the network?

Today, she leads the team that designs and optimizes our 4G and 5G networks as Verizons Director of System Performance for the Ohio, Western PA and WV areas.

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World of Wong Kar-Wai at The Cinematheque – Scout Magazine

Posted: December 23, 2020 at 5:18 pm

The GOODS from The Cinematheque

Vancouver, BC | As we settle in for a cosy, socially isolated festive season what better to keep us company than the sumptuous, sensual, unapologetically sentimental cinema of Hong Kongs best-loved auteur! The Cinematheque begins theircareer-spanning retrospectivedevoted to Wong Kar-Wai with a virtual run of seven brand-new restorations that can all be enjoyed from the comforts of home.

Occasioned by the 20th anniversary ofIn the Mood for Love a true contender for the title of most beautiful film ever made this retrospective has been long-awaited by cinephiles and it wont disappoint. More titles will be announced in the new year when in-person screenings at The Cinematheque can resume.

On January7 Chelsea Birks, a self-professed WKW fan and The Cinematheques Learning & Outreach Manager, will hosta virtual lectureexploring the directors signature stylistic techniques and artistic influences.

Visual pleasures abound, from Wongs preference for bold, saturated colours to the profligate use of slow-motion and step printing. His films feature a veritable catalogue of Chinese cinemas most beautiful people, from the incomparably glamorous Maggie Cheung to Cantopop icons Leslie Cheung and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai to celebrity superstars Gong Li and Zhang Ziyi. But while Wongs is decidedly not an austere cinema, neither do his films reflect an unrestrained hedonism: his lovers are frequently paralyzed by repressive social conditions (In the Mood for Love,Happy Together), shyness (Chungking Express), or a general sense of youthful malaise (Days of Being Wild,Fallen Angels). Chelsea Birks

Enjoy all seven of the virtual titles in this retrospective at a discounted rate with aWKW Virtual Series Pass.

Watch online until January 27, 2021.

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