11th PD fears privatization of some of his case load

first_img11th PD fears privatization of some of his case load April 1, 2010 Jan Pudlow Senior Editor Regular News 11th PD fears privatization of some of his case loadcenter_img But legislative leaders say there is nothing to worry about Senior EditorEleventh Circuit Public Defender Carlos Martinez is the first to admit he desperately needs help with his crushing case load ­— but not the kind of help he fears is roiling behind the scenes at the Legislature.Both the Florida Public Defender Association and the Miami Chapter of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers recently passed resolutions against any proposal to transfer public defender funding to private firms to represent indigent criminal defendants in third-degree felonies in Miami-Dade County. Both groups were responding to concerns of Martinez, who said he is being proactive to voice his opposition to any such plan that would further hurt his budget that has been cut by 14 percent during the last two fiscal years.But the chairs of the appropriations committees in both chambers responsible for the PDs’ budgets say there are no plans on the table to privatize any of the PDs’ operations.Martinez’ fear stems from budget proviso language that surfaced last year in a Senate committee meeting, but was never acted on.Martinez said the language turned up in the Senate Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations Committee two days before the end of the 2009 session. It would have created a pilot project and taken money from PD-11’s budget for third-degree felonies and given it to a private law firm to handle all of those cases, estimated at 2,000 a month. The proviso, while in the meeting backup materials, was never discussed during the meeting, Martinez said.Panicked that his budget would be cut even greater, Martinez flew to Tallahassee, but was reassured no such plan was actually in the works. The PPDA and FACDL resolutions say the money would be spent on a “no-bid, sole-source contract to a private law firm” and would cost much more per case than if they remain handled by the 11th Circuit PD’s office.Martinez said he is afraid the plan for a pilot project will resurface this session, and he wants to attack the idea out in the open.“To me, it makes no sense why you’d pay more money for a case than I am already spending per case on third-degree felonies,” he said.Sen. Victor Crist, R-Tampa, chair of the Senate Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations Committee, said he was aware of the proviso language late last year, but it was never taken seriously, and there is nothing to worry about this year.“To the best of my knowledge, there are no attempts to do this language,” Crist said March 16. “I haven’t even heard it discussed this year. We have been having open committee meetings. It has never been an issue. It hasn’t even been a whisper.“I don’t see this being an issue at all. At least not in the Senate,” Crist said. “Now, I don’t know what the House is doing at this juncture, because we’ve been focused on the Senate. But on this side, I haven’t even heard a whisper on this. Nothing.”In the House, Rep. Sandy Adams, R-Oviedo, chair of the Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations Committee, said she has not heard of any plans to privatize any of the public defenders’ operations.The Miami Chapter of FACDL’s and the FPDA’s resolutions aim to make sure the issue stays “nothing” this year.According to the FPDA resolution signed March 4 by President Howard Babb, Jr.: “Awarding such a contract is fiscally irresponsible because the average cost per third-degree felony case for PD-11 is approximately $125, but the proposed contractual price for the private law firm would be $700 per case, a 460 percent increase over current costs. The cost of this contract would be subtracted from PD-11’s already inadequate budget.”Both resolutions address the professional standards and training at the PD-11’s office compared to “an untested law firm.”“The Public Defender’s Office handles the work more cost effectively and with higher quality because the office has the benefit of economics of scale, training, and supervision,” said the FACDL-Miami Chapter resolution, signed February 25 by President Hector Flores.Third-degree felonies became an issue when then 11th Circuit PD Bennett Brummer took his slashed budget and crushing caseload to court as a constitutional crisis, asking to refuse all new noncapital felony cases. In September 2008, 11th Circuit Judge Stanford Blake gave Brummer some of what he asked for: He was allowed to stop taking new third-degree felony cases.But on May 13, 2009, the Third District Court of Appeal reversed Blake’s ruling.“We understand the difficulties faced by PD-11. With an ever-increasing quantity of cases and a tight budget, their important task is certainly made more difficult,” the Third DCA ruled.“The office-wide solution to the problem, however, lies with the Legislature or the internal administration of PD-11, not with the courts,” the DCA said.Meanwhile, as Martinez seeks review with the Florida Supreme Court, he is going on the offensive to prevent a possible legislative solution that would farm out third-degree felonies to private firms.Martinez said that one law firm lobbying for the pilot project is the Private Defenders Clinic, in Miami, where Raul De La Heria has touted his services on billboard, radio, cable TV, and newspaper ads as “the public defender alternative.”Asked whether he was the private law firm interested in receiving state funds, De La Heria said: “I can only tell you that the Private Defenders Clinic is not involved with anything with respect to public dollars. We are a private entity that fills in a gap. That’s it.”De La Heria said his firm will represent clients on third-degree felonies for $900.“Whatever started with respect to Carlos Martinez was done by his own hand. It was Carlos Martinez who asked Judge Blake to be relieved of all third-degree felonies,” De La Heria said. “And he told the Third District Court of Appeal he could not competently handle those cases. Because of that issue, we opened the Private Defenders Clinic.”So far, De La Heria said, “We have had a lot of response. I think it’s going great.”The Private Defenders Clinic has hired lobbyist Richard Pinsky.“We are looking at stuff that possibly the state Legislature will do to address the crisis that Mr. Martinez obviously wants to be relieved of,” De La Heria said. “I don’t know of any mysterious, behind-the-scenes lobbying of anything. We are simply interested in finding out what the Legislature is ending up doing about the crisis. We want to know what they are going to look at as a possible solution.. . . We want to be kept abreast like anybody else. Now, we are on the sidelines waiting to see.”last_img read more

Primary motor cortex contributes to word comprehension, study finds

first_imgTraditional modular views of cognition suggest that, to encode and comprehend the meaning of a word such as ‘throw’, the brain’s “language module” does not to involve any structures related to the meaning per se (i.e. the “motor module” responsible for the associated movements programs such as the arm and hand movements involved in the act of throwing.An alternative is offered by an embodied or distributed view suggesting that the brain areas encoding the meaning of a word include both the areas specialised for representing linguistic information, such as the word’s acoustic form, but also those brain areas that are responsible for the control of the corresponding perception or action. On this account, in order to fully comprehend the meaning of the word ‘throw’, the brain needs to activate the cortical areas related to hand movement control. The representation of the word’s meaning is, therefore, ‘distributed’ across several brain areas, some of which reflect experiential or physical aspects of its meaning.A team of researchers from Denmark, England, and Russia (Nikola Vukovic, Matteo Feurra, Anna Shpektor, Andriy Myachykov, and Yury Shtyrov) investigated the nature and the mechanisms of such distributed word representations. They carried out a series of experiments aiming at finding out how stimulating motor cortex using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) affects word comprehension.28 volunteers took part in these experiments. A TMS magnetic pulse was delivered to the areas in motor cortex responsible for hand movements as participants engaged in one of the two computer-based experimental tasks: detecting whether a presented string of letters is a word or not, and choosing whether the presented stimulus relates to an abstract or a concrete action.‘We used TMS to inhibit neural activity in the motor cortex as participants tried to distinguish between words related or unrelated to hand movements,’ says Andriy Myachykov, leading Research Fellow at the HSE Centre for Cognition & Decision Making and a Senior Lecturer at Northumbria University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. He notes: ‘The advantage of TMS methodology is that it allows to establish the causal link between the stimulated brain area and the cognitive function or behaviour it’s hypothesised to support. This distinguishes TMS from many other existing neuroimaging methods. If motor programmes are directly involved during the comprehension of action words, then suppressing neural activity in hand-related motor cortex would interfere with word processing but only if the word also denotes hand movement. Namely, this should lead to increase in task performance errors and longer reaction times. This is exactly what we found’.These new findings suggest that language-specialised brain areas work in constant interaction with other areas known to support other cognitive processes, such as perception and action. The resulting distributed meaning representations act as dynamic cortical networks rather than a series of specialised modules as suggested by traditional theories. Share on Facebook LinkedIn Pinterest Sharecenter_img Email Researchers from HSE, Northumbria University, and Aarhus University have experimentally confirmed the hypothesis, whereby comprehension of a word’s meaning involves not only the ‘classic’ language brain centres but also the cortical regions responsible for the control of body muscles, such as hand movements. The resulting brain representations are, therefore, distributed across a network of locations involving both areas specialised for language processing and those responsible for the control of the associated action.The results have been published in the journal Neuropsychologia.One of the basic issues related to the nature of human cognition is the question about the correspondence between physical experiences and feelings, on one hand, and the nature of the brain representations of words and sentences describing these experiences, on the other. Share on Twitterlast_img read more

Suffolk Officials Hope To Fend Off Measles

first_imgSuffolk County officials continue to trace the activities of a visitor from Europe who was infected with measles and urge anyone who may have been in contact with that individual to contact them immediately for testing.Meanwhile, the federal Centers For Disease Control warned over the weekend that many people who received vaccinations and think they are immune are not — a booster shot may be required.The infected person came to the United States from Europe on April 2 to attend a workshop sponsored by Ohio State University. Though the person stayed at a dorm in Ohio while taking part in the internship, none of the 13 others who slept at the facility have tested positive. The carrier then came to Hampton Bays and visited the Bridgehampton Bank at 48 East Montauk Highway on Saturday, April 20, at about 12:15 PM. Health officials say other customers may have been exposed to the disease at that time.The carrier then went to King Kullen, located at 52 East Montauk Highway in Hampton Bays at 2:30 PM and CVS, located at 111 South Main Street in Southampton, between 4:45 and 7 PM.That evening, the individual began noticing symptoms and checked into Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, where tests confirmed a strain of the measles virus, but not the same strain as has been identified elsewhere in the state.The person in question is still in the area but no longer carries the risk of infecting others; he or she did from April 14 through April 22, however. During that time, anyone who came within 20 yards of the carrier, or who was in the same location up to two hours later, was at risk. “It is so highly contagious. This is a real wake up call for everyone to get vaccinated,” said Grace Kelly-McGovern, public relations director for the Suffolk County Department of Health. Anyone who visited the above locations have likely been exposed, she added.Though there is only one case reported thus far in Suffolk, there have been hundreds in New York City, though the number has stabilized. Mayor Bill de Blasio has issued a state of emergency and made vaccinations mandatory.In Rockland County, a sect of Hasidic Jews who do not believe in vaccinations have stymied attempts to force them to do so or keep those with measles isolated.The national outbreak began in October, with the visit of seven travelers from Israel, and has been centered in mainly Hasidic and Orthodox Jewish areas of the country. The CDC reported that from January 1 to April 19 there were 626 confirmed cases of measles in 22 states.On April 29, the CDC said the number of cases nationally had risen to 700.The CDC warned that those who are vaccinated might have a false sense of complacency. Adults in the United States who were vaccinated against measles decades ago may need a new dose, depending on when they received the shot and their exposure risk. Up to 10 percent confirmed measles cases in the current outbreak occurred in people who received one or two doses of the vaccine, according to the CDC.The measles virus is highly contagious and can cause blindness, deafness, brain damage, or death. It is currently spreading in many parts of the world.Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said April 26 those who fear they are infected should call their health provider or the county before going to a public clinic to prevent infecting others. The single best way to prevent measles is to be vaccinated, Bellone added.Rockland County Executive Ed Day and those opposed to the vaccinations have been waging a court battle. Day wants vaccinations mandatory and those not vaccinated to be kept off the public streets.Day’s original emergency order issued March 26, which was subsequently halted by the courts, will remain in effect until May 25.“Over the last 30 days since my original declaration, we have lost the one thing we couldn’t afford to lose, valuable time,” Day said. “With nearly 50 new confirmed cases in less than a month what we predicted has come true; this outbreak continues to rage despite the best efforts of our Department of Health.”rmurphy@indyeastend.com Sharelast_img read more

Emerson – gas pressure boost

first_imgGet instant access to must-read content today!To access hundreds of features, subscribe today! At a time when the world is forced to go digital more than ever before just to stay connected, discover the in-depth content our subscribers receive every month by subscribing to gasworld.Don’t just stay connected, stay at the forefront – join gasworld and become a subscriber to access all of our must-read content online from just $270. Subscribelast_img

List of Small Scale LNG Carriers Released

first_imgTraditionally, the transportation of LNG has been done in LNG carriers that move the product in the most economical way from the producers to their final destination. LNG is then re-distributed via pipelines to the final users. But the same that other energy sources have been changing the way they are transported over the years, there are changes in the LNG distribution and transportation that make it feasible and even economical to move it in smaller parcels with the use of Small LNG carriers, able to get closer to the final customer.But there is also an expanding fleet of small LNG carriers in the market today designed with sizes between 1,000  to 30,000 cbms and able to transport LNG, and other petrochemicals. The size of what is considered a small LNG carrier comes given by the technology used: the smaller ships normally use IMO type C tanks, which are best suitable and economical for ships of those sizes. This makes more logical the use of Ship Owners with previous experience in the ethylene transportation segment, since they are more familiar with the technology and the requirements of smaller ships.To address these developments and changes in the market, Small-LNG.com has worked on identifying and analyzing the players in this market, looking at the Ship Owners building ships for the transportation of LNG in small scale.“Small-LNG.com maintains a list of Small LNG carriers, covering all the ships available in the world or in firm order.  We are looking carefully at the players and the changes in this subsegment of the market, because we see a huge growth potential in the near future for the transportation of LNG in small scale,” said Eduardo Perez, principal consultant at Small-LNG.com.[mappress]Press Release, May 28, 2014; Image: Anthony Vederlast_img read more

Local Support Boosts Wind Energy Bid

first_imgLocal communities are set to benefit from offshore wind development in Massachusetts’ waters, writes South Coast Today news site.This is the first time the Bureau of Offshore Energy Management (BOEM) will include community benefit agreements (CBA) in an offshore wind energy lease auction.The 5 percent credit will be given to developers who have a legal contract with the community stating that they will support offshore wind development in return for community benefits.According to BOEM Project Manager Maureen Bornholdt, CBA came as a result of the request made by Massachusetts municipalities.“Obviously all states are interested in developing infrastructure for offshore wind, but Massachusetts is the only one who asked that community benefit be counted,” she added.Last month BOEMannounced that more than 742,000 acres offshore Massachusetts will be available for commercial wind energy leasing.Developers interested in developing this 5 GW must apply until 18th August 2014.Offshore WIND staff, July 24, 2014; Image: boemlast_img read more

A2SEA wraps up turbine installation

first_imgIn addition to the wind turbine generators, SEA INSTALLER also installed 30 foundations prior to the final turbine installation.The West of Duddon Sands offshore wind farm is located in the East Irish Sea approximately 14 km from the nearest coast on Walney Island, Cumbria.The wind farm, which is a 50/50 joint venture between DONG Energy and ScottishPowerRenewables, is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2014.A2SEA’s SEA INSTALLER is now heading for Frederikshavn in Denmark, where it will mobilise for the Borkrum Riffgrund 1 project which includes 77 Siemens 4 MW wind turbines.  www.a2sea.comlast_img

Karelian Trains gets go-ahead

first_imgCONTRACTS were due to be signed by the end of October formally establishing Karelian Trains, a joint venture of RZD and VR which will operate international passenger services between Helsinki and St Petersburg.The company will have a charter capital of €1m, according to RZD Vice-President Mikhail Akulov, and each parent company will hold 50% of the shares.Registered in Helsinki, Karelian Trains will manage the operations and lease rolling stock belonging to VR and RZD. Services are now expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2009, using tilting dual-system electric trains capable of 220 km/h which will cut the current journey time between the cities by around 2 h to 3½ h. Each seven-car trainset will be able to carry 300 passengers, with one business class coach, five second class coaches and a restaurant car with a smoking compartment.last_img read more

Train crew go where it glows

first_imgAUSTRALIA: Following positive feedback from train crew using a trial installation, QR National is installing 80 km of trackside walkway panels supplied by Envirowalk Grating to provide a safer working environment at 98 stabling and crew changeover locations.The walkways are assembled from 3·6 m long and 1·2 m wide fibreglass reinforced plastic grating panels. The weather-resistant yellow panels are designed to absorb UV daylight, and glow in the dark to delineate the walkway at night. ‘It provides a safer, more stable surface for crews to move between trains and access wagons when manually applying handbrakes’, explained Scott Riedel, General Manager, Network Assets, at QR National. ‘The main aim of the design is to prevent injuries from slips, trips and falls. It also maintains a free-draining track structure which is essential for the long-term track asset life performance, while minimising operational costs.’ Modular culvert headwall extensions, staircases and handrails are under development.last_img read more

Greyhound Put Down After Being Attacked By Pit Bull In Stranraer

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to LinkedInLinkedInLinkedInPolice Scotland officers based at Stranraer want the help of the public to trace the owner of Staffordshire Bull Terrier type dog that attacked a Greyhound in Stranraer.Around 9:20 PM on Thursday 8th March 2018, the owner of the greyhound was walking her dog near to Foundry Lane in Stranraer when it was attacked by a light brown and white Staffordshire Bull Terrier type dog.Constable Hayley Buchanan based at Stranraer said “Unfortunately as a result of this incident and the injuries caused to the greyhound, the dog had to be put down by a vet. We are keen to speak to anyone who may have seen this incident or may know who owns the Staffordshire Bull Terrier type dog. The person seen with the dog is described as late 20’s, slim build, wearing a grey hat and cream top.Callers can get in touch via the usual 101 number quoting incident number PDG0048680318.”last_img read more