RSF calls for a fully transparent investigation after mine kills two journalists in Azerbaijan Follow the news on Azerbaijan AzerbaijanEurope – Central Asia “We’ll hold Ilham Aliyev personally responsible if anything happens to this blogger in France” RSF says Receive email alerts RSF_en Organisation News to go further News Read the joint statement released today by the International Partnership Group for Azerbaijan (IPGA)Reporters Without Borders firmly condemns a despicable week-old smear campaign against Khadija Ismayilova, a journalist who works as the correspondent of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s local service and as regional coordinator of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).“Ismayilova is one of most brilliant and courageous independent journalists currently working in Azerbaijan,” Reporters Without Borders said. “This is not the first time she has been the target of threats designed to silence her. This campaign to humiliate her publicly has received extensive support from the pro-government press. It recalls the methods employed a few years ago to discredit the investigative work of other independent journalists. Such actions are quite revolting and must stop at once.”On 8 March, Ismayilova received a letter posted in Moscow containing six photos of her engaged in sexual relations. They were accompanied by a warning that she would be “extremely embarrassed” if she did not abandon her work.Ismayilova responded by publishing an open letter, which has circulated widely online, in which she said she had been expecting such threats and was ready to assume the consequences. At the end of the letter, she added links to the main reports she has written, several of which concern President Ilham Aliyev’s family.Today, a video of a similar nature to the photos was posted online on a fake mirror site of the opposition website Musavat.com. Both the leaders of the opposition party Musavat and the editors of the newspaper Musavat had denied any link with the mirror website. The fact that those behind this smear campaign were able to film the video shows that they have exceptional resources and are ready to stop at nothing.Similar methods were used in 2005 against Ganimat Zahid, the editor of the opposition newspaper Azadlig, and one of his colleague, Azer Ahmedov. Five years later, Ahmedov and two of his Azadlig colleagues, Gan Turali and Natig Gulah Medoghu, were targeted.Ismayilova has received many prizes for her investigative reporting, especially her coverage of corruption. According to a US embassy cable leaked by WikiLeaks, President Aliyev complained about Ismayilova at a meeting with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza on 19 January 2009. He described her as a “long-time opposition activist who considers herself to be an enemy of the government” and said he was hoping for a “change of direction” in RFE/RL’s coverage of Azerbaijan.Reporters Without Borders encourages everyone to sign a petition supporting Ismayilova.The Azerbaijani government is meanwhile tried to hide the continuing serious press freedom violations in the run-up to the May 2012 Eurovision Song Contest, which Baku is hosting. Azerbaijan was ranked 162nd out of 179 countries in the 2011/2012 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index. June 8, 2021 Find out more News Related documents IPGA statement – 15.03.2012PDF – 330.9 KB June 4, 2021 Find out more Help by sharing this information March 15, 2012 – Updated on January 20, 2016 “Despicable” campaign to smear woman investigative reporter Russian peacekeepers deny foreign reporters access to Nagorno-Karabakh News AzerbaijanEurope – Central Asia April 9, 2021 Find out more
Legislature agrees to DNA testing extension June 1, 2004 Associate Editor Regular News Legislature agrees to DNA testing extension Jan Pudlow Associate Editor Legislation extending the deadline two years for criminal defendants convicted at trial to have their DNA tested for innocence claims unanimously passed both legislative chambers and was signed into law May 20.That means two law schools working on innocence claims in Florida — at Nova Southeastern University’s Innocence Project and Florida State University’s Florida Innocence Initiative — will have until October 1, 2005, to ferret out, investigate, and file petitions for DNA testing from about 600 cases.“It’s been a long road to get there,” said Sen. Alex Villalobos, R-Miami, sponsor of SB 44.A new feature added late in the House version of the bill by Rep. Ellyn Setnor Bogdanoff, R-Ft. Lauderdale, would have expanded the law to those defendants who plead guilty or no contest also to be eligible for post-conviction DNA testing, but failed to gather enough support.That’s not because Villalobos, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, doesn’t agree with her equal-protection argument, a reminder that not everyone who pleads guilty necessarily is guilty because of coerced confessions or deal-making to avoid exposure to more prison time.“You’re either guilty or innocent, and it shouldn’t make a difference what the circumstances of your conviction are,” Villalobos said.“But it was an issue we couldn’t get the votes to pass it. I didn’t want to put the bill in jeopardy.”Villalobos also said he believes “the best way to do it is without a deadline.” That was the argument Second Judicial Circuit Public Defender Nancy Daniels, president of the Florida Public Defender Association, and Jennifer Greenberg, director of FSU’s Florida Innocence Initiative, had made in testimony at committee meetings, echoing their stance in arguments made earlier at the Florida Supreme Court.But, again, Villalobos said, there were not enough votes in the legislature for the rationale that there should be no deadline on innocence.“We got what we could get. It’s not nirvana,” Villalobos said.Greenberg agrees the law could be improved.“Though this legislation is important, it is unsatisfying in many ways,” she said.While she said “we are thrilled to have additional time to work through and file meritorious cases,” Greenberg wants to work with legislators to create a “fairer DNA system.”To make the system better, she said, she agrees with Bogdanoff’s amendment that opens the DNA testing process up to those who enter pleas, not just those defendants convicted at trial. Secondly, Greenberg said, she hopes “some court with jurisdiction” will agree with her position that there should be no statute of limitations. Thirdly, what hasn’t been answered, she said, is: “How are we going to create and administer evidence preservation statewide?”Villalobos was prompted to file the bill after Barry Scheck, a defense attorney and co-founder of the national Innocence Project, delivered the message in person that the work could not be completed in Florida by the original October 1, 2003, deadline. But Scheck’s visit to the senator came seven weeks into the 2003 session, too late to file a bill last year. Villalobos said Scheck asked him if the DNA bill could be tacked onto other legislation.“If I amended this to the Article V bill, the Supreme Court would keel over,” Villalobos said. “I couldn’t put the Article V (court) funding in jeopardy.”But he promised to work to remedy the dilemma the following year.When the legislature passed the original DNA legislation effective 2001, everyone, including the Criminal Procedures Rules Committee, thought two years until October 1, 2003, would be sufficient time to investigate innocence claims. That has proven to be overly optimistic about the time-consuming task carried out by a three-person statewide staff and volunteer law students.In the meantime, the Florida Supreme Court stayed the October 1, 2003, deadline while it heard arguments November 7, 2003, (in case no. 03-1630) about whether the deadline should be extended. That case is still pending.During debate on the DNA bill in the legislature, there was some friction about the court’s rule-making authority in procedural matters and the legislature’s law-making authority in substantive matters.“Some people in the House thought the court overreached its authority in granting the stay,” Villalobos said. “But I am grateful the court did intervene and issue a stay. If evidence is destroyed, the law is not protected. Without the court’s intervention, I’m afraid some evidence would be lost. The court did the right thing, definitely.”Daniels said a bill in the House that proposed the legislature take over the court’s total rule-making authority became entwined in the debate on the DNA bill. She credits a meeting between Rep. Jeff Kottkamp, R-Cape Coral, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, and Sandy D’Alemberte (former president of the ABA, FSU, former dean of FSU’s College of Law), working on the Innocence Initiative, as helping the DNA bill “steadily make its way through.”“Rep. Kottcamp was very open, and when he understood our position, very supportive,” D’Alemberte said. “He and Sen. Villalobos are the heroes of this piece, although there are others who deserve the credit.“We made it clear that the Innocence Initiative at FSU and the Innocence Project at Nova had sought legislation and that we were comfortable going to the legislature for relief. Indeed, the original activity in this important area was legislative,” D’Alemberte continued.“Once everyone understood that there was an important policy objective — to get innocent persons out of prison and to help identify the guilty persons — we had smooth sailing in the legislature.”Daniels said the bill’s fate became favorable, as well, “because the prosecutors signed off on it early on and the court held off ruling on the rule but stayed the deadline. It seemed like the right thing to do.”Whether an additional two years will be enough time remains to be seen.“It’s admirable the legislature stepped up. I’m sure the court case will be resolved in harmony with that,” Daniels said. “And we’ll see if we can get the work done in two years.”Greenberg isn’t so sure it can be done.“We will work as hard as we possibly can work to try to make sure everybody entitled to our assistance receives our assistance. However, from day one, this office has said there should be no statute of limitations. Will it be enough time? Probably not.”
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A heroin prevention law was named for Natalie Ciappa after her high-profile OD in Seaford in 2008.• Mandated Heroin-Prevention Website Inoperative Until Press Inquires• Elected Officials Clueless About Non-Compliance• Heroin Overdoses, Arrests Up on LI Despite Prevention Efforts• Father of OD Victim Who Sparked Prevention Program Outraged At Lax OversightWhen 18-year-old Natalie Ciappa of Massapequa fatally overdosed on heroin at a Seaford house party in 2008, Nassau and Suffolk counties were so outraged that they passed laws in her name launching heroin-arrest tracking websites to raise awareness of the opiate abuse epidemic.The talented singer, cheerleader and honor student who was about to graduate from Plainedge High School had become the poster child of the epidemic, galvanizing suburban Long Island as residents came to grips with the fact that the scourge of heroin was not just an urban problem. Her untimely death and the laws it sparked served as a clarion call.Or so it seemed. Nassau officials hadn’t updated their version of the website in three years.At anti-drug lectures, Nassau police and prosecutors tout Natalie’s Law, which also requires Nassau—but not Suffolk—police to notify school superintendents of heroin busts in their districts, alerting educators to when there’s an added need to teach students about the dangers of drug abuse. But, some of those presenters, even some legislators who voted for it, were unaware that Nassau disregarded half of a landmark local anti-heroin law it enacted following a Press investigative series in 2008 that exposed the depths of Long Island’s heroin epidemic. One could barely remember the law’s namesake.“I can’t believe it’s six years ago that, um…oh my gosh, I know the name,” Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice said last month as she struggled for five seconds to remember Ciappa’s name during an anti-heroin presentation—a program named for what Ciappa’s parents heard from other unwitting parents at their daughters funeral, “Not My Child”—at a Syosset middle school.To be fair, Rice’s office is not responsible for updating the so-called drug mapping index website—online maps that show where heroin arrests have occurred. The police and information technology departments are. But, Nassau Police Inspector Ken Lack, the department’s chief spokesman, dismissed a Press request for comment on the issue, stating that the agency’s entire website was under construction—although that was only since January. Brian Nevin, a spokesman for County Executive Ed Mangano, later blamed “technical issues” and said the heroin map site “will be back up shortly.”This map dated April 12, 2011 is the last known version of Nassau’s heroin arrest index mandated by Natalie’s Law before the site was relaunched last week following a Press inquiry regarding the tool’s three-year absence.The website finally re-launched last week, two months after the Press asked why it was down, but without explanation for the three-year gap in compliance with the law. It only lists heroin arrests for the first three months of this year, with Massapequa still leading the county. Natalie’s father, Victor Ciappa, is livid.“So, basically, they took my daughter’s name and her memory and passed a great law but nobody’s doing a fucking thing,” he says, adding that he suspects that schools aren’t taking action—such as alerting parents—when police notify administrators of nearby heroin arrests. “I am more frustrated than I ever have been in my life.”Robert Freeman, executive director of the New York State Committee on Open Government, is confounded by Nassau’s failure to use its own law.“It would seem that the idea is to raise consciousness and to serve as a deterrent,” he says. “And the purpose of the law is being defeated.”The former Nassau legislator who authored the law—Suffolk quickly followed suit with their own website, although it’s neither comprehensive nor promoted—calls the failure “disturbing.”“Given the fact that heroin is a problem across every demographic line and community, there needs to be more of an emphasis on using the tools that we have to help people,” says former Democratic Nassau Legis. David Mejias, who is now an attorney in private practice.“How it fell through the cracks, I don’t know,” Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow) said when she first learned from a Press reporter that the site had been abandoned.“I think they kind of lost interest,” says former Democratic Suffolk Legis. Wayne Horsely, who authored his county’s version. “It didn’t get the play it should get…I think there’s room for expansion if they can get the graphics correct.”Nearly 500 people have died of heroin overdoses on LI since Natalie’s Laws were passed, according to statistics provided by medical examiners in both counties. That’s nearly double the number of people murdered on the Island in the same time period.Of course, a website alone could not have saved those lives, but Nassau’s disregarding it for so long indicates that drug prevention—a key part of a much-touted, three-pronged approach that also includes treatment and enforcement—sometimes amounts to little more than tough talk with little follow-through. It’s impossible to say how much crime was prevented by other anti-drug initiatives, but a nearly 30-percent increase in heroin arrests on LI over the past five years suggests that those efforts fell short despite the common refrain that police cannot arrest their way out of the crisis. Experts, law enforcement and former users confirm that the cyclical resurgence of heroin as LI’s drug of choice is partially attributable to crackdowns on the prescription drug black market that made painkillers pricier—resulting in a 44-percent increase in fatal heroin ODs on LI since ’09.More than 4 million Americans ages 12 or older had used heroin at least once in their lives as of 2011, and the total increased by another 300,000 the following year, according to the latest figures available from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, with nearly a quarter of those getting hooked. And heroin is easier than ever to get, since U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration officials say Mexican and Colombian drug cartels have flooded the market, with the DEA making 20 percent of the heroin seizures nationwide in New York—including a trio allegedly busted in mid-April with $12 million in dope.Dealers that describe the way buyers flock to them as “feeding the birdies” profit because the stigma from the previous heroin crisis in the 1970s is lost on teenagers. New users continue replacing those lost to overdose—or saved by recovery—especially since the new wave of heroin is more pure and snortable, although many wind up injecting the drug.“You can’t experiment with it; it’s too powerful,” says James Hunt, acting special agent in charge of the DEA‘s New York Field Division. “The heroin that’s on the streets now is much stronger than it was 40 years ago, more potent and consequently more addictive.”Jeffrey Reynolds, executive director of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (LICADD), wonders why LI appears to be losing its war on opiate abuse.“It’s a question that I think more and more of us that work on this are asking: What’s broken?” he says. “Maybe the answer’s nothing, and it’s just [that] we’ve been overwhelmed by this problem. But something’s not working optimally.”Taylor Sherman, a former heroin user, is now two years sober and training to be a substance abuse counselor.THE NEEDLE AND THE DAMAGE DONETaylor Sherman was popping Vicoden and snorting heroin a year after he began boozing and smoking pot at 14, self-medicating his depression as prescribed by the Commack High School “popular kids” who accepted him.He graduated to shooting heroin intravenously at 17, upon learning that’s how his best friend fatally overdosed—a testament to an addict’s self-destructive logic. Escalation to snorting cocaine, smoking crack and using hallucinogenic drugs soon followed. So did arrests, psychiatric-ward stays and nearly a dozen aborted trips to drug rehab, as he seemed destined for jail or the morgue, same as countless users before him.“It took me to my knees by the age of 20,” says Sherman, now 23, two years sober and training to become a substance abuse counselor after a spiritual awakening. “I needed the heroin and the drugs to give me a solution to how I felt…They took away the emotional, the mental pain that I suffered.”He’s one of the lucky ones who lived to tell his cautionary tale with the hope of helping others avoid a more tragic fate.Since Sherman first started to shoot up, heroin overdose deaths on LI rose 44 percent, from 85 in ‘09 to 122 last year. That’s a 74-percent spike from 47 to 82 ODs for the same time period in Suffolk, versus a slight rise from 38 to 40 in Nassau, according to county medical examiners. Nassau police said 21 people died of heroin ODs so far this year, half of last year’s rate in the first three months of ’14.Non-heroin opiate fatalities in Suffolk dropped from 110 to 104 after peaking at 174 in ’11. Eighty-eight people overdosed from non-heroin opiates in Nassau last year, about the same as five years ago, after topping 100 in ’12, although a toxicologist in the county cautioned that adding all non-heroin opiate OD deaths together can be misleading because there is overlap in some cases in which a victim ingested more than one prescription drug. Officials also noted that the ’13 figures were preliminary while the latest cases were not yet completed.The rising heroin overdose deaths and declining painkiller ODs have been credited to authorities cracking down on dubious doctors selling prescriptions after two LI pharmacy robbery shootings left six dead in 2011. It’s partly a side-effect of physicians checking their patients’ prescription history through a new database under New York State’s Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing Act, commonly known as I-STOP, which is credited with largely stopping doctor-shoppers—users who go clinic to clinic with fake symptoms, racking up pain pills.But, once the pill free-for-all ended, those who had become dependent upon prescription painkillers—semi-synthetic opiates that offer similar highs as heroin, such as Vicodin, which contains hydrocodone, and oxycodone-based Percoset—saw prices as high as $1 per milligram. The choice for many users came down to $80 for an 80-milligram OxyContin pill or $10 for a deck of heroin. LICADD’s Reynolds says he sees kids with 10-to-15-bag-per-day habits nowadays.“After the prescription pill craze, a lot of kids in the suburbs and in the cities who could no longer get prescription pills, or that [it] became more expensive for them, they went to the streets and got heroin, and they wound up heroin addicts,” says Hunt, the DEA agent. “None of these kids thought they’d wind up heroin addicts.”In January, the Nassau medical examiner’s office took the unusual step of issuing a public alert to warn users that heroin packets marked “24K” in red ink were linked to a string of fatal ODs. That brand, as such stamps refer to, was cut with fentanyl, a painkiller toxicologists describe as about 100 times more potent than morphine, and metamizole, a banned painkiller and fever-reducing drug.Sherman—who notes it’s common knowledge among users that the whiter the heroin, the more fentanyl it’s cut with—says that despite the good intentions authorities had in issuing that alert, it likely had the opposite effect and fueled sales of that brand of heroin.“The way the addict looks at is: ‘This stuff must be good if it’s killing people! Where can I get that?’”COLD TURKEYShanna Lintz broke down in tears while recalling her arrest and recovery from heroin during a legislative panel discussion on the issue.Shanna Lintz was strung-out and living in a rented Hyundai Sonata with her boyfriend when the couple ran out of money and decided to snatch a woman’s purse in Levittown so they could buy heroin.Police quickly apprehended the duo after the fall 2010 robbery, but her 31-year-old boyfriend, Gasparino Godino, hanged himself in his Nassau jail cell. Having hit rock bottom, hard, Lintz later completed a nine-month inpatient rehab program—same as many before her, 28 days weren’t enough. Now, like Sherman, she’s in college training to be a drug treatment counselor.“This is not something that I would ever have done if I wasn’t addicted to heroin and so sick that I just didn’t know how else to get what I needed,” Lintz told lawmakers through tears at a Brentwood public hearing in early April while recalling her arrest. “I was sitting in jail with $120,000 bail, my boyfriend was now dead and I just didn’t know what to do.”Her case is just one of the heroin-related crimes—robberies, burglaries, car break-ins—that persist while Nassau and Suffolk county leaders frequently cite statistics that indicate crime is down. Such stats don’t refer to the rising number of heroin arrests.“Last year was a big year for bank robberies…I attribute that mostly to the heroin,” Nassau Police Chief of Department Steven Skrynecki said at a recent East Meadow community meeting, referring to 29 such cases reported last year while recalling a high of 52 in ‘92. “Most bank robbers are either drug addicts, alcoholics or gamblers.”LICADD’s Reynolds says: “Every time I see news of a string of robberies…I say, ‘That has heroin written all over it.’ And almost every time I’m right!”OD stats may show a switch from pills to heroin, but arrests for possession of both types of drugs are up. Heroin arrests in Nassau rose 28 percent from 391 in ‘09 to 500 last year while prescription drug arrests rose 132 percent from 253 to 587 during the same time period, while Suffolk saw heroin busts increase 35 percent from 1,026 to 1,386. Suffolk could not provide stats for its prescription drug arrests. The DEA reports a 427-percent increase in heroin arrests on LI from 11 in ’08 to 58 last year.After authorities nabbed top Mexican drug cartel leader Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera in February, those looking to fill the void left by his arrest are widely expected to continue waging the inter-cartel Mexican Drug War for control of smuggling routes that has claimed 40,000 to 60,000 lives since ’06—with reported estimates that the death toll could be twice that. A similar rush to fill the vacuum is to be expected whenever LI’s dealers are rounded up, since the demand remains.Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota, who dubbed the Long Island Expressway “Heroin Highway” because dealers use it to get the drug from the city to LI, so far this year busted a ring dealing Hollywood-brand heroin in the Hamptons and a couple supplying dealers with High Octane-labeled heroin from their Holtsville home—one of the county’s biggest busts in years. A West Islip school bus driver and a Merrick postal worker are among the latest arrested for alleged dope dealing. Spota and his counterparts in the police and corrections departments echo the sentiment that LI can’t arrest its way out of the crisis.“Enforcement and treatment only come into play when education has failed,” says Suffolk County Police Deputy Chief Kevin Fallon, the department’s chief spokesman. “I say this even though I’m in the world of law enforcement.”Suffolk Sheriff Vincent DeMarco, the lone-elected county official who’s a registered Conservative, told the same panel as Lintz, the recovering addict, that lawmakers need to increase access to rehab programs and break the cycle of addiction and recidivism, thereby saving taxpayer money—up to $250 daily per inmate at his jail.“Because there is so much overlap between the criminal justice and drug treatment systems, I think there needs to be a concerted effort among policymakers to develop alternatives to incarceration that will address the underlying causes of addiction and crime,” he said. The judicial diversion program that allows judges to order non-violent offenders into rehab instead of jail is a start, but he’s urging leaders to add more.“As soon as we arrest some, they are quickly replaced by others,” says Suffolk Legis. Kate Browning (WF-Shirley), chair of the public safety committee. “We’ve declared a war on drugs in this country, but drug use has not declined.”THE FEEL GOOD HIT OF THE SUMMERHigh Octane is a brand of heroin Suffolk authorities said a recently arrested Holtsville couple sold from their home.Philip Seymour Hoffman’s fatal heroin overdose in Manhattan this winter was another reminder that even celebrities who can afford drug rehabilitation may avoid seeking help, with tragic consequences.With the resulting renewed attention on the issue, state lawmakers launched a heroin and opiate task force to study proposals that would, among other things, make rehab more accessible for those who can’t afford it out of pocket. Another group of state lawmakers soon thereafter launched a heroin task force specifically for the East End. Congressional representatives proposed DrugStat, a drug-crime-data-sharing tool designed to increase coordination between law enforcement. And Suffolk legislators recently launched a task force on the issue—their second since ’10.“Almost every elected official keeps asking me every time I see them: ‘Is it getting better?’” says Reynolds. “And I keep saying: ‘Well, no it’s not.’ And they’ve said: ‘Well, how come?’ And I say: ‘The same thing I tell my clients I’m gonna tell you guys: If nothing changes, nothing changes.’ And in reality, not much has changed in Suffolk County, or in Nassau County, for that matter. If anything, in some key areas we’ve gone backward.”He points to prohibitive new rules requiring appointments five days in advance for detox at Nassau University Medical Center as opposed to on-demand treatment for addicts in withdrawal. Then there’s the Sandy-forced closure of Long Beach Medical Center, which left that hospital’s detox beds unavailable. And the few choices in alternatives to detox, which isn’t always medically necessary—being dope sick is painful, but not deadly, like withdrawal from alcohol or benzodiazepines such as Xanax.On the plus side, St. Charles Hospital is opening a five-bed adolescent detox unit to go with an adult unit, Suffolk officials say.In a year when Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin devoted his entire State of the State address to the heroin epidemic there, Nassau Executive Mangano and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone last month spoke for about 10 minutes combined on the issue in their state-of-the-county addresses, mostly plugging their use of Narcan, an antidote for opiate ODs that is becoming more widely available. Bellone also announced a new anti-drug public service announcement the next day. Reynolds wonders if any follow-up would have been done to ensure that those saved by Narcan are referred to rehab, had LICADD not volunteered.It’s not all bad news on the heroin trail, as eight agencies on LI have applied for new state grants expanding Narcan from Suffolk to Nassau police, and adding it to regular public training classes that teach families how to save loved ones before first responders arrive. I-STOP was also a big win, as was the Good Samaritan Law granting immunity from drug arrests to witnesses who call 911 to report ODs.Now there’s momentum for a state bill that would mandate insurance companies pay for however many days of drug rehab a physician orders—a proposal lobbied against by insurance companies that, patients say, cut them off from rehab too soon, forcing relapses, often until arrest or a criminal court judge orders them into treatment through the diversion program.Such ideas were debated earlier this month before the Joint Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction, which held a more than four-hour hearing on LI the week before, the first of a dozen statewide. The chair, State Sen. Phil Boyle (R-Bay Shore), proposed upgrading possession of 50 bags or more of heroin to a felony from a misdemeanor in an attempt to more harshly punish dealers. Hoffman reportedly had 65 bags on him when he died.One participant reminded the panel that LI can’t legislate its way out of the crisis, either. Especially when the committee has to issue its report by June 1, allowing only two and a half weeks before the end of the legislative session to try and pass its recommendations. But worthy potential proposals abounded.Some of the ideas discussed at the hearing include establishing a recovery high school to decrease relapse rates, requiring the state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services to license largely unregulated “sober homes,” relaxing rules that require small mental-health facility patients from having to be sober six months to better address the underlying causes of abuse, and joining the dozen other states that legalized involuntary treatment so parents of teens over 18 can have a civil court judge order their kids into rehab.Nassau Police Det. Pam Stark says she’s trained administrators in most of the county’s 56 school districts to use the Too Good for Drugs curriculum that features kindergarten-through-12th-grade lesson plans designed to reduce risk factors related to cigarettes, alcohol and drug abuse—as opposed to the Police Smart program in Suffolk. She’s looking to train the holdouts and parochial schools next. Still, even state Sen. John Flanagan (R-Smithtown), chair of the education committee, says too many LI schools “have their heads in the sand.”Beyond the panel, lawmakers and advocates have also been lobbying the Department of Health and Human Services to overturn the Food and Drug Administration’s recent decision to approve for sale a new painkiller, Zohydro Extended Release, described as “heroin in a pill.”“This country cannot ignore the powerful lessons learned from the massive and unparalleled increase in prescription and illicit drug abuse resulting from ‘crushable’ OxyContin and other prescription opioids—but this approval of Zohydro ER by the FDA does exactly that,” Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said.Arthur Flescher, director of Suffolk health department’s community mental hygiene services, told the county legislature in February that there have been “preliminary discussions” with Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) in setting up a recovery school on LI, which would go beyond bringing treatment programs to William Floyd High School (WFHS)—a first on the Island.“A true recovery school would communicate those values throughout every moment of the day,” Flescher said, referring to WFHS having a drug treatment program within a school where those in recovery are in class alongside users. “They really need that ongoing support, not to mention the life skills that other recovering peers can offer.”Some experts beyond our borders insist upon thinking outside the box, including Dr. Peter Ferentzy, star of a documentary called The Adventures of Dr. Crackhead—hailing from the same city home as Toronto’s Crackhead Mayor Rob Ford—who suggests legalizing drugs to regulate them because, he argues, abstinence-only drug rehab sets those in recovery up for failure.“The war on drugs is a bust,” he says. “We really need to see this more as a medical issue, as a public-health issue, rather than a criminal issue.”Victor Ciappa, Natalie’s father, would rather see LI actually use the laws passed in his daughter’s name. That and teachers actively using anti-drug curricula, many more seats filled at after-school anti-drug lectures, the number of community groups taking up the cause continue to rise, additional “pill take-backs”—events offering the public a chance to empty their medicine cabinets of unwanted pills before they’re stolen by users—and no-dope public service announcements flooding the airwaves. And the overdose deaths to drop.“I know there’s a lot of issues that people have to think about…but these are kids’ lives,” he says. “Heroin education needs to be pounded into these kids. It’s as bad as it’s ever been.”
“One thing I do as a hobby, I’m medically disabled so I don’t work, I’ve been running Facebook groups for various things. And it just occurred to me, this would be perfect, I could put together a centralized resource where people could find things,” he said. While the group covers a ton of people, it also covers a ton of topics. “We did not think that it was going to get this big this quick,” said Heather. BROOME COUNTY (WBNG) — Once the coronavirus pandemic made its way to the Southern Tier, people were looking for answers. Todd and his wife Heather started the Facebook group, ‘COVID-19 Broome County NY Support.’ From school updates, to donation drop-offs, to creative ways you can get involved in the community. They say they are appreciative of those who have stepped up to become moderators, ensuring the group runs smoothly. “So they have literally an access to all the local information right on their phone,” said Todd. “It brought out a lot of people that want to help in their communities,” said Todd. As of Thursday morning, the group had nearly 9,000 members. According to the most recent census data, that’s just under 5% of Broome County. And the number continues to grow. Todd thought he would be able to help out. The Quigleys started groups for surrounding counties as well, being run by volunteers. “We try to make as many resources as possible for our community because there’s so many needs everywhere and this way people know exactly what is happening right now,” said Heather. “Local friends were having difficulty finding things to buy. People were hoarding, people were running out of toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies, and I just saw a lot of people asking where they could get things,” said Todd Quigley of Endicott. And not only is it keeping people informed, it’s bringing Broome together when people need each other most. Click here to get to the COVID-19 Broome County NY Support group on Facebook. “We’ve been averaging about a thousand people a day joining,” said Heather. It’s all material available at your fingertips. “I think that’s just really amazing that our group inspired others to start helping out,” said Todd. “Surprisingly enough, we started getting members from all around the world actually. People who live in the area would invite everyone they knew on their friends list, or people who used to live in Binghamton,” said Todd. Reminding people while they’re isolated, it’s important to stay connected, even if it’s through a screen.
“I love seeing more women taking it, more youth taking it because what was happening was our hunting public was aging out and are an older demographic,” Bailey explained, “It’s great to see more youth and more women getting involved in the sport.” While Bailey says it’s great to see this increase, what’s really encouraging is seeing who is buying these licenses and taking hunter safety courses. With an increase in attention to the sport, Bailey says more people are now getting a better understanding of hunting and how to be safe while doing so. The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation is seeing a large increase in people buying sporting licenses this year, especially hunting. Mary Bailey, an Environmental Program Specialist with the DEC, believes the increase is due to more people wanting to spend time outside and social distancing during the pandemic, so they’re turning to sports like hunting and fishing. For more information on getting your New York State hunting license and hunter safety courses/guidelines, click here. (WBNG) — The original social distancing activity is on the rise in New York State. As of right now, the DEC is doing hunter safety courses online-only and if you buy your license online, Bailey added it can take about two weeks for your license to arrive in the mail once you order it. “I love that more people are taking those courses and getting the background and history of hunting. They’re also learning about the safety aspects of it and really becoming familiar with what the sport is about,” Bailey said.
The St. Louis 5th Grade Girls Basketball team took to the floor Monday night against St. Lawrence at home winning 23-2.The team had an impressive effort and continued to improve, especially in sharing the ball. They improved their record to 4-4.Scoring for the Cardinals were Isabel Raab with 2, Kenzie Maple & Lucy Abplanalp each contributed 4 points, and Veronica King had 13 points.Courtesy of Cardinals Coach Charlie Raab.The St Louis Girls 6th Grade basketball team hosted the visiting St Lawrence Panthers Monday night and won 36-5.Balanced scoring was the key as points were put up by Ava Owens, Izzy Price, Kate Weber, Rhea Miller, Claire Saner, Lilly Schebler and Sadie Wachsmann. Strong defensive pressure by the Cardinals kept the Panthers from scoring many points.The Lady Cardinals travel to Laurel Tuesday night for their next game.Courtesy of Cardinals Coach Randy Streator.
A special photo of the Notre Dame High baseball team is hanging on a wall of Tom Dill’s office. This one was taken in Sept. 2016, right after Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez died in a boating accident.When news of the fatal crash reached the Sherman Oaks campus, Notre Dame’s head baseball coach dressed every player in his program – freshmen to seniors, JV to varsity – in a Marlins shirt bearing Fernandez’s number 16. The players lined up in three rows of about 20 each. A photographer captured the moment from an elevated perch.Dill kept one copy of the photo for himself. He sent another to his star pupil, Giancarlo Stanton, who was mourning 3,000 miles away from home.“When a guy represents your school in good character, I thought, I want to do something right now,” Dill said. “That was a nice moment. And my guys wrote him letters, a box full of letters.” Giancarlo Stanton might never become a Dodger, the team he rooted for growing up. He almost did a decade ago and he seems to have a chance now. The Marlins are trying so aggressively to trade him, some teams received permission from Major League Baseball to meet Stanton personally to discuss a potential deal. The Dodgers were not among those teams.Still, Stanton’s connection to his home town remains strong. He lives in Southern California in the offseason. His immediate family lives in the area too. When the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals were recently granted an audience with the reigning National League Most Valuable Player, the meetings were reportedly held in Los Angeles.The photograph Dill sent Stanton was not unrequited. Each of the last two years, Dill said, Stanton has supplied the Notre Dame baseball team with equipment from his sponsor, Nike.It’s no wonder that the Dodgers would be Stanton’s first (if not his only) choice to waive the no-trade clause in his contract, which guarantees a total of $325 million – the most ever for an MLB player.If he does not choose to opt out of his contract after the 2020 season, Stanton is still owed a minimum of $295 million. The Dodgers had baseball’s highest player payroll in 2017, reportedly totaling $244 million. They would have to get creative to simultaneously lower that number and absorb Stanton’s 2018 salary of $25 million. So far, the Giants and Cardinals are the only teams reported to receive permission to meet with him. The last time teams came to Southern California to visit Stanton, the field was wide open.At Notre Dame, Stanton played baseball, basketball and football. Football was his favorite. USC, then coached by Pete Carroll, actively recruited him as a cornerback. With the speed and the height of a Division I point guard, Stanton could be taken seriously in all three sports. That left him no time for the summer baseball circuit, which in turn shrouded him somewhat from major league scouts.The Marlins, led by scout Tim McDonnell, were on to Stanton early and often. The Dodgers were intrigued too. At a private workout at Dodger Stadium in 2007, a 17-year-old Stanton was already ringing balls off the deep left field bleacher seats in batting practice.Dodgers scout George Genovese wrote in his 2015 memoir that he recommended Stanton to the team’s draft director, Logan White, as a first-round pick. The Dodgers had two picks before the second round that year, 20th and 39th overall. They used the picks on pitchers Chris Withrow and James Adkins, respectively.The Marlins passed on Stanton in the first round too, instead choosing infielder Matt Dominguez from Chatsworth High. But by the time the Dodgers drafted in the second round, Stanton was gone. He went to the Marlins with the 76th pick and signed for $475,000 – $56,500 over MLB’s recommendation for the draft slot at the time.Hindsight is 20-20. White acknowledges there was an oversight, but not of Stanton’s talent.“We had to stick with slot in those days,” he said. “As it turns out the sign-ability info was wrong more than the evaluation info, because he would have signed at those picks.”History does not allow for do-overs – of the 2007 draft or of the $325 million contract that could keep Stanton tied to a new owner that would prefer to see him play elsewhere. The Marlins have reportedly agreed to the framework of trades proposed by the Giants and Cardinals already, and one could be consummated any day now.Stanton holds the leverage. He can approve or reject any trade he wishes. If he becomes a Giant, Stanton would be closer to home, though joining a hated rival would hardly be seen as a sign of loyalty to Los Angeles.“There are a lot of diehard Dodger fans who would be upset,” Dill said. “A lot of the faculty here keeps asking me (what will happen) like I know anything. I’m going to find out in the papers like everybody else.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error
Image Courtesy: PescaraAdvertisement mqjkNBA Finals | Brooklyn VstcWingsuit rodeo📽Sindre Eox5i( IG: @_aubreyfisher @imraino ) u933qa5Would you ever consider trying this?😱8088gCan your students do this? 🌚1byRoller skating! Powered by Firework Since the novel Coronavirus has spread outside China, Italy has been one of the worst affected countries in the deadly pandemic. There has been over 24,000 deaths till date, the second highest death toll in the world. Going through such a rough time, there has been, however, one cheerful news out of all the tragic ones has emerged from the country. A kid’s drawing on depicting humanity’s fight against the COVID-19 virus has been adopted by Italian club Pescara to be used on their jersey for the next season!Advertisement Image Courtesy: PescaraWith all sports activity now halted in Italy due to the virus outbreak, Pescara, who compete in the Serie B, organised a drawing competition termed “Design the Special Jersey of the Dolphin” for their young fans, who are now confined in their homes due to the nationwide lock down.With the motto of “give a kick to Covid-19”, the drawing competition’s winning design was announced to be featured on the club’s jersey in the upcoming season.Advertisement The competition received numerous inputs, but the drawing of Luigi D’Agostino, a six year old boy has been voted as the winner. The design, where a dolphin, the club’s official symbol, is seen coming out of the sea to hit a football, with a huge rainbow in the backdrop of the picture.The beautiful drawing, and its design on the club’s first team jersey was shared on Pescara’s official Twitter handle.Advertisement Pescara’s kits are manufactured by Italian sports equipment company Erreà, which also felicitated Luigi’s spectacular design. “We will make the winning jersey,” the company was quoted on the club’s official website. The young boy has also received an invitation to spend a day at the Erreà’s headquarters in Torrile, Parma.Along with being the first team kit, the jersey will also be available for the supporters to purchase.Founded in 1936, Pescara has won two Serie B seasons, in 1986-87 and again in 2011-12. They have competed in seven Serie A seasons, last in 2016-17, the year when they were relagated to Serie B. Their home ground is the Stadio Adriatico – Giovanni Cornacchia.If you like reading about MMA, make sure you check out MMAIndia.com Also follow India’s biggest arm wrestling tournament at ProPanja.comAlso read-India’s fittest pay tribute to India’s finest in social media touch of classLegendary runner Milkha Singh’s daughter is a doctor fighting Covid-19 in New York! Advertisement
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Leave a CommentSome aspects of the new two-year state budget will better protect farmers from nuisance lawsuits. Ohio Farm Bureau Policy Counsel Leah Curtis visits with Ohio Farm Bureau Director of Media Relations Ty Higgins about the language included in the budget and its importance to agriculture.Listen to Legal with Leah, a podcast featuring Ohio Farm Bureau’s Policy Counsel Leah Curtis discussing topics impacting farmers and landowners.TranscriptionTy Higgins: In mid-July, Ohio legislators passed a new two-year, $69 billion state budget. It was signed by Governor DeWine shortly thereafter. The budget, as you might expect, mostly consists of a lot of numbers, adding some funds to programs, taking away funds from others. There’s also some language in the new budget that will be better protecting farmers from nuisance lawsuits. That’s our topic for this week’s Legal with Leah. Along with Ohio Farm Bureau Policy Counsel Leah Curtis, I’m Ty Higgins and Leah, you and I visited about there being an affirmative defense for farms enrolled in an ag district with some caveats. That came up not long after Toledo voters passed the Lake Erie Bill of Rights back in February. How does this budget address issues like LEBOR?Leah Curtis: So what the budget did was it changed the nuisance protection just slightly so it does still apply to those who are enrolled in an ag district but also now would apply to those who are qualified and enrolled in the Current Ag Use Valuation program which a lot of people are going to do because it does make their taxes a little better. And so it just expands it a little bit and reduces a little bit of that paperwork burden. If you’re already enrolling in CAUV, you don’t have to also necessarily enroll for the affirmative defense in the ag district. It removed a couple of the requirements as well, so it should be a little bit easier to take advantage of and that way farmers will be able to use the defense when a nuisance lawsuit comes around. Now again as we’ve always said with the LEBOR situation, we don’t know for sure that those lawsuits would be considered nuisance and whether this defense would be the slam dunk. But as I always say as lawyer, I want every farmer to have every tool in the toolbox that they can and so if there’s any chance it would work, we want farmers to be able to use this and have this at their disposal as needed.Ty Higgins: And there are other tools. What are other affirmative defense examples that can apply for farmers?Leah Curtis: So there’s a few. If you have a concentrated animal feeding operation permit through the large livestock program at ODA and you are acting in accordance with that and the best management practices in that permit, there is an affirmative defense under that. There’s also one for any claims that are related to the spreading of fertilizer, so long as you have an approved NMP (nutrient management plan) and you’re acting in accordance with your plan. That happened in compliance with the fertilizer certification program. And then lastly if you are sued for a nuisance claim related to manure, and again you have an approved NMP and you’re acting in accordance with it, then there also may be an affirmative defense available for you in that case.Ty Higgins: The one thing we really want to stress here to our members is that affirmative defense in all of its forms doesn’t prevent someone from suing you.Leah Curtis: Yes. So a lot of people will say this is a complete defense. I don’t like the word complete because the fact is that a defense…you can use it once somebody sues you but you can’t stop somebody from filing a lawsuit. That would violate their constitutional rights to access the courts. So it is there, once the lawsuit is filed, to help get that lawsuit taken care of in a more quick manner, hopefully reduce the need for lots of attorneys fees and get you out of the courthouse as quickly as possible.Ty Higgins: Leah Curtis is policy counsel with Ohio Farm Bureau. This has been Legal with Leah. Thanks for listening. I’m Ty Higgins. We’ll see you down the road. Leave a Comment