Pension progress made in South Burlington

first_imgFinancial analysts reported Monday night that South Burlington’s pension funding shortfall is still over $8 million, but noted solid gains in attempts to shore up the plan’s finances.According to an annual update for the City Council by Tracy Braun of Peoples United Retirement Services and Annie Voldman of Annie Voldman, a consulting actuary, the unfunded part of the municipal retirement fund dropped approximately $800,000 below last year’s $8.9 million shortfall.During the past decade, elected officials seemingly weren’t aware of the fund’s downward slide until they were revealed by new City Manager Sandy Miller. Paying the unfunded part of the plan through a low-interest bond was a strategy introduced during the council’s discussions.Public safety pensions have played a notably large role in the unfunded obligation, says the report summary. Starting this past July, the whole plan was 57 percent funded. However, only 52 percent of public safety pensions were funded compared to 72 percent for nonpublic safety employees.The fund’s assets, according to Voldman, increased by more than $2 million over last year, but increased expenses prevented the shortfall from continuing to shrink.last_img read more

How the Islip Garbage Barge Saga Compares to the Town’s Toxic Dumping Scandal

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York One year after Islip marked the 25th anniversary of the infamous garbage barge that made it a national laughingstock—and all the environmental progress it’s made since—politically connected haulers allegedly dumped toxins in town parks.But calling the Town of Islip home is not all the two environmental crises share in common. Both also gained notoriety beyond Long Island’s shores, sparked inquiries of how the region disposes of its waste and will linger for years to come. Of course, there are as many differences as there are parallels between the cases—most notably, only last year’s incident resulted in arrests.“The town is a study in contrast,” said Adrienne Esposito, executive director of the Farmingdale-based nonprofit Citizens Campaign for the Environment, which gave the town an “A” on its recycling report card in 2008—the only one of the 13 towns on LI to earn such a high grade in the first year the audit was conducted.“They were very effective in implementing and pursing a successful recycling program…and that’s a great thing,” Esposito said. “But, on the flip side, we have the illegal toxic dumping scandal in the parks. It’s clearly two steps forward, four steps backward.”The recycling program is among efforts Islip officials launched to rehabilitate its image after six states and three foreign nations turned away the barge full of its garbage when allegations surfaced that it was tainted with hospital waste. That barge, the Mobro 4000, had set sail on March 22, 1987—28 years ago Sunday. When nobody would take it after six months at sea, the trash was incinerated in New York City and its ashes were buried in the town’s Blydenburgh Landfill.“The situation was a wake-up call about the sorry state of waste disposal in this country and lack of effective recycling programs,” wrote Nancy Cochran, executive director of Keep Islip Clean—a nonprofit anti-litter group that the town founded two years after the barge incident—for an article published last year in Great South Bay Magazine. “It’s a great example of taking lemons and making lemonade,” observed Cochran, who declined to comment for this story.Giving that lemonade a twist of alleged public corruption is ex-Islip Parks Commissioner Joseph Montouri Jr., who is accused of allowing companies linked to Thomas Datre Sr. and his son, Thomas Datre Jr., to dump up to 1,800 truckloads—about 50,000 tons—of toxin-laced debris at Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood. The haulers are also accused of dumping similar debris at a Police Athletic League ballpark in Central Islip, a veterans housing complex in Islandia, and in wetlands in Deer Park. Properly disposing of that amount of acutely hazardous material is estimated to cost about $3 million at an out-of-state facility.“They did it pure and simply for money,” said Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota in December upon announcing the arrests of Montouri, the Datres and three subordinates, who were charged with criminal violations of environmental and public health laws. The same motive was true for the garbage barge’s backers, who were trying to capitalize on regulations enacted at the time that had closed many small LI landfills, leaving only large regional dumps that forced trash carters to seek alternatives.In the illegal Islip dumping case, all have pleaded not guilty. The attorney for the Datres and their businesses has said the case is a manufactured scandal designed to cut off the family’s donations to the local Republican Party, which has the majority on the Islip town board. Either way, the fallout has only just begun.LITTLE LIESMarking a quarter century since the historic voyage of more than 3,000 tons of trash that nobody wanted was “Garbage Barge Revisited: Art from Dross,” an Islip Art Museum exhibit of sculptures and other works made from recycled material, held in the summer of 2012. The following year is when authorities now believe the toxic dumping began, although arrests weren’t made until December 2014, following a lengthy investigation.While both cases seem to have unearthed their share of public hysteria, only the barge became fodder for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and mock concert t-shirts, such as one that read: “Islip Garbage World Tour ‘87.”“That had humor,” said Russ Moran, an assistant town attorney at the time, while recalling “the good ship Mobro.” But the current dumping scandal—and the carcinogens authorities say they’ve found in the soil—is deadly serious. “There’s nothing funny about this,” he said.Funny or not, both also became campaign issues. Phil Nolan, a Democrat who unsuccessfully tried in 1987 to unseat then-Islip Town Supervisor Frank Jones, recalled making an issue of the barge debacle on the campaign trail. Jones kept his job until ’93. Nolan later won on his fourth try, in 2006.“The biggest parallel of all, I think, is the one-party control,” recalled Nolan, who is now president of the Suffolk County OTB. “In both instances there were 5-0 Republican town boards… It’s the Islip Republican Party that gave you both of them.”Frank Tantone, chairman of the Islip Town Republican Committee, declined to respond to Nolan’s remarks.One of the current town councilmen, Anthony Senft, is actually a Conservative Party member. As liaison to the Islip parks department when the scandal broke, he took much of the heat while simultaneously running for New York State Senate against Esposito, the environmentalist, who dubbed him “Toxic Tony.” After Senft dropped out, Republican Islip Town Supervisor Tom Croci, a Navy reservist who had unseated Nolan in ’11, entered the race and won the state Senate seat. He wasn’t tarnished by the dumping scandal because he had been deployed overseas when the news broke.That left Croci’s successor in town hall, fellow Republican Angie Carpenter, who had previously been Suffolk County treasurer, to clean up the mess that prosecutors allege Croci’s appointee, former town parks commissioner Montouri, helped make. Carpenter did not mention the scandal when she was sworn in earlier this month, but the town has a deadline of this Thursday on a request for proposals for contractors to bid on the cleanup job. Town officials have forecast that remediation and rebuilding the park will cost about $6 million, but suspicions abound that costs will rise.Croci said last year that he’ll help fix the disaster from Albany, but he did not return a request for comment on what exactly he has done on this issue in the first three months that he has represented the 3rd Senate District.“He has been very, very open about wanting to help in any way possible,” said Carpenter, noting that she hasn’t had an opportunity to talk specifics with Croci yet. The new supervisor—who recalls defending former Supervisor Jones in an episode of The Phil Donohue Show before she began her career in elected office—believes the town will clean up the mess sooner rather than later.“It’s not going to linger for years,” Carpenter said. “It’s something….we’re going to move on…as quickly, safely and responsibly as we possibly can.”DEF CON ONEWith remediation underway at the Islandia veterans housing complex and Central Islip ball field, some of the cleanup has begun, but regardless of when the Brentwood park and Deer Park wetlands are restored, the case is sure to drag on in court.Aside from the complex criminal case—which has sparked a separate grand jury investigation—several lawsuits are in the works related to the toxic dumping. Residents have said that they plan to sue the town, the town has said that it plans to sue the alleged dumpers and even the New York State Attorney General’s office might get in on the action.“Our office is also exploring the possibility of civil enforcement action to seek redress for the community surrounding Roberto Clemente Park,” said Elizabeth DeBold, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, in a statement.In the case of the Mobro 4000 garbage barge, the litigation over how to dispose of its trash lasted only months. Complex lawsuits such as those in Islip’s dumping scandal will likely last years before being resolved.When exactly Roberto Clemente Park will be able to reopen, nobody knows.WHERE THE STREETS HAVE NO NAMEIf it wasn’t bad enough that North Carolina, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida and New Jersey refused to take the Mobro’s rotting cargo, it became an international incident when Mexico, Belize and the Bahamas followed suit.Multinational elements emerged in the dumping scandal as well. That’s because the Islandia veterans housing complex was built for veterans returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. And the two parks dumped upon are in the communities of Brentwood and Central Islip, which are both among the few LI hamlets where Hispanic residents make up the majority of the population.“Community members in Brentwood and Central Islip saw this as another instance of environmental racism,” said Daniel Altschuler, Civic Engagement and Research Coordinator for Make the Road New York. There have also been language barriers between residents and the town that left some in the community feeling as though their concerns were not heard.The public outrage has led to multiple rallies at town hall, where advocates for the communities have blasted the town board for their response to the dumping at nearly every meeting since news of the scandal broke. Similarly, environmental activists with Green Peace hung a giant banner on the Mobro barge that read: “Next time try recycling.”The question now is: Will the Islip town toxic dumping scandal serve as the same wake-up call that its garbage barge did three decades ago, or will the town try to sweep it under the rug after the park eventually reopens?—With additional reporting by Jaime Zahllast_img read more

Sire Du Berlais makes winning return | Racing News

first_imgElliott said: “It was a good performance. Mark said he needed the whole length of the straight to get there – he wants three miles.“Obviously I’ll have to speak to Frank (Berry, owner’s racing manager) and JP, but I’d imagine the three-mile race in Leopardstown at Christmas would be the place to go with him now. He has no choice really now but to go for a Grade One.“He’s been a great little horse around the yard. The Stayers’ Hurdle would look the race for him long-term.”- Advertisement – Dual Cheltenham Festival hero Sire Du Berlais made a winning return to action in the Lismullen Hurdle at Navan.The JP McManus-owned eight-year-old has won the last two renewals of the Pertemps Final at the showpiece meeting in the Cotswolds for Gordon Elliott, but faced a step up in class and a drop in trip for this two-and-a-half-mile Grade Two.- Advertisement – Paddy Power cut Sire Du Berlais to 10-1 from 16-1 for the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham next March. The blinkered 9-2 chance was on the heels of the leaders rounding the home turn and responded to Mark Walsh’s urgings on the run-in to get up and beat long-time leader French Dynamite by half a length.Matthew Smith’s stable star Ronald Pump was the 9-4 favourite on his first start since filling the runner-up spot in the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, and was not completely done with when crashing out at the final obstacle.Noel Meade’s Sixshooter finished third.- Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more

Award-winning Brisbane architect transforms 90-year-old cottage

first_imgThe master bedroom with ensuite.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus14 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market14 hours agoVoids and skylights draw attention to Alpine dry stone and spotted gum timbers which are used throughout the house and flow through to the outdoor entertaining area with inground pool. SEE THE FULL BRISBANE AUCTION LINE-UP FOR THIS SATURDAY FOLLOW THE COURIER-MAIL REAL ESTATE TEAM ON FACEBOOK Mr Lockyer has been a registered architect since 2002 and set up his own company in Brisbane in 2009.He won the 2018 Australian Institute of Architecture award for best residential architecture for the V House on the Sunshine Coast. The Shaun Lockyer designed V House on the Mooloolah River. The street view of 84 Langshaw St, New Farm.Step inside and the craftsmanship of one of Queensland’s top architects is evident in every ultra-modern finish. The renovation extends the rear of the house into the backyard.Hamish Bowman of Ray White New Farm is taking the property to auction. It was originally scheduled for this Saturday but has been postponed to February 23 at 10am. This New Farm cottage has been converted into a stunning modern home that goes to auction next weekend.HEADLINING upcoming Brisbane auctions is this stunning 1930 cottage that has been transformed by leading Brisbane architect Shaun Lockyer.The four-bedroom house at 84 Langshaw St, New Farm presents as a chic 1930 cottage with restored gabling and delicate fretwork along the front balcony. Connectivity is a theme of this modern transformation.“The intricacy of detail and superb appointment of space reflects the leading craftsmanship, showcasing this as a quintessential Lockyer home,” the listing says.last_img read more

Nigeria’s lack of cabinet holding it back

first_imgSince Nigeria’s President Mahammadu Buhari took office in May, he has taken time to implement policies which has halted decision-making, hindering national budget planning, new roads and art exhibitions among other things.Buhari’s ministerial candidates had a complete screening by the senate on Thursday with no approval making the country’s economy run without a government in place. Only half of the 36 candidates have been given the green light after three weeks of screening.The President has begun reforms of the oil sector and the fight against corruption the reason why Africa’s biggest oil producer has at least 170 million people living in poverty irrespective of Nigeria’s extreme wealth.There has been praise for the President’s bail out of the federal states and audits designed to root out graft but with a failing economy, investors are beginning to question why Buhari took four months to name a cabinet that has the same familiar political people.“As we get closer to the budget cycle deadline and important decisions on subsidies and taxation need to be taken, the absence of a cabinet will likely become more glaring.” said Razia Khan, Chief Economist at Standard Chartered Bank.Nigeria’s Parliament usually presents the annual budget in November but at the moment there seems to be no draft ready for a planned supplementary budget for this year or next year’s proposal. With a need for cutting on spending the discussions are likely to take more time this year.Basic ministry work such as aid projects or state sponsored art exhibitions have been hindered by the lack of government. Undersecretaries are afraid to sign off on anything making it hard for diplomats and business people to operate.But in the absence of ministers, reforms aired before the election – such as curbing food imports to boost domestic farming – are stuck on the drawing board, and without any consideration for their consequences.Reuterslast_img read more

Kotoko v Eulma preview: How Fabulous plan to beat the Algerians

first_imgHead coach of Ghana’s Asante Kotoko, David Duncan has said the former continental champions will be balanced in their approach as they host Algerian side MC Eulma in the second 1/16th round of the 2015 Orange CAF Champions League on Sunday at the Baba Yara Stadium, Kumasi.Duncan who joined Kotoko, barely a fortnight ago and led the team to a goalless draw game in the first leg tie in Algeria a fortnight ago told Cafonline.com, the Porcupine Warriors will seek to progress at the expense of the visitors.He said: “We will be balanced in our approach. We will deploy men to attack when necessary. We always go into matches with the aspiration to win and this one will not be different. “We have a high pedigree in African football and hope to use this as a psychological advantage to overcome our opponents. The technical team is working on the psyche of the players to get them in the right shape of mind to give us the desired results.”       Kotoko, winners in 1970 and 1983 must avoid a scoring draw and win to advance in the competition they play as Ghana’s sole representative and Duncan who previously coached rivals Hearts of Oak says his team is not oblivious of the task ahead.     Preps Highlighting their preparations for the match which could be decided on penalties should both sides settle for another goalless draw, he said all grounds were covered for such outcomes.    Duncan said that “we have time in our training sessions to rehearse on penalty kicks in order to improve on the techniques”, as Kotoko chase a place at the mini-league stage for the first time since 2006.The coach who sounded cautiously optimistic said that the intentions of his team would be to parade a strong side, keep their shape and a clean sheet in their envisaged forward march.The Ghana champions have a documented history of failed attempts at reaching the last eight of the continent’s elite club competition since 2006–last_img read more

‘Authentic legend’ Aguero hits four as City storm 16 points clear

first_imgManchester, United Kingdom | AFP | Pep Guardiola hailed Sergio Aguero as an “authentic legend” of Manchester City after his four second-half goals continued their emphatic march towards the Premier League title with a 5-1 thrashing of Leicester.Raheem Sterling had given City an early lead on Saturday but Leicester went into the break on level terms thanks to Jamie Vardy’s equaliser.However, Aguero took centre stage with a finishing masterclass to take his tally in City’s last seven home games to 14 goals as Guardiola’s side moved 16 points clear at the top of the table.“An authentic legend of this club,” said Guardiola of his prolific striker.“In the second half he scored four goals. Sergio is like this, he has a special talent in the box. He’s clinical… especially the third one and fourth one are amazing.”Leicester named City target Riyad Mahrez among the substitutes after he ended a self-imposed exile which saw him miss their last two matches.“He came and spoke to the lads in the dressing room. He put it to bed and we move on,” said Leicester boss Claude Puel.The Algeria international had seen a proposed deadline day transfer to the Etihad Stadium collapse after the Foxes rejected City’s offer.But it didn’t take long for the home side to show the abundance of talent they have going forward despite missing out on Mahrez and coping with a series of injuries to the likes of Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus.Kevin De Bruyne curled a cross into the penalty area and Sterling nipped in front of Marc Albrighton at the back post to guide the ball home for his 20th goal of the season.However, shortly before the half-hour mark City were rocked when Vardy showed great pace to get beyond City’s record signing Aymeric Laporte and his shot deflected into the bottom corner to complete the striker’s haul of scoring against all of the Premier League’s top six this season. – Aguero ends long-range wait –City threatened an immediate response as Kasper Schmeichel was forced to save at his near post from a fierce angled shot from De Bruyne while Aleksandar Dragovic’s timely sliding block denied Sterling.Leicester’s resistence didn’t last after the break as Aguero scored twice in five minutes to effectively end the game as a contest.A neat exchange between Sterling and De Bruyne on the right flank allowed the latter to tease a low cross to gift Aguero a tap-in.Moments later a weak clearance from Schmeichel was ruthlessly punished as a clinical City move culminated in De Bruyne’s third assist and a fierce angled shot from Aguero which the Leicester goalkeeper got a hand to but could not prevent going in.“They’re an excellent team, not many have got close to them this season, but the timing of their first and second goals were really tough for us,” added Puel.“We felt we could have stopped a couple of their goals today, because they were our fault.”With just under a third of the game left Mahrez came on for Fousseni Diabate, to cheers from both sets of supporters.The day belonged to Aguero, though, and he rounded off the game with two superb strikes.First he capitalised on another poor clearance from Schmeichel and lifted an audacious chip over the Denmark international.But he saved the best for last with a powerful effort from just outside the area which bounced in off the underside of the crossbar.“Maybe the last one,” said Aguero on which of the strikes was his favourite. “Because it’s a long time since I scored from outside the box.”Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more

England’s senior men move into Euro Championships semi-finals

first_img6 Sep 2012 England’s senior men move into Euro Championships semi-finals England qualified top after the stroke play rounds of the European Men’s Seniors Team Championship at Estoril in Portugal then reached the last four.New cap John Ambridge led the way in the stroke play with rounds of 68 and 66 for a four-under-par tally of 134 and was supported by fellow newcomer Martin Galway on 141.Andrew Stracey finished on 146, one ahead of English Seniors champion Alan Squires, while Chris Reynolds and Tyrone Carter, another new cap, posted aggregates of 150. (image Tyrone Carter © Tom Ward)Overall it left England on 720, four ahead of Scotland with Ireland third on 728, while reigning champions Sweden qualified in seventh on 744.That left England to play eighth qualifiers Belgium in the first round of match play and they duly moved into the semi-finals with a 3-2 victory.Galway and Reynolds won the foursome 3 and 1 before Squires won the top single at the 19th hole against Michel Jacob.Although Ambridge and Stracey were beaten, both by 3 and 2, Carter produced the other win, 4 and 3 over Jean Toussaint, to see England over the line.For more information visit the European Men’s Team Championship website.last_img read more

Tryouts for national volleyball team set

first_imgJiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina Also expected to join the tryouts are veteran members Aiza Maizo-Pontillas, Rhea Dimaculangan, and Maika Ortiz along with Dindin Santiago-Manabat, Myla Pablo, Kath Arado, and MJ Philips.The team will also announce the replacement for Francis Vicente as head coach, who will be in charge of leading the national team in the Asian Games in August and the Asian Cup in September.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crown“We will come up with a formal announcement our new head coach any time soon,” said Peter Cayco, Larong Volleyball ng Pilipinas Incorporated vice president, who said new head coach already has a “wish list” of players.Cayco, though, added that the team is still open for those who are willing to join. Photo from asianvolleyball.netThe preparations for two international tournaments this year begin with an open tryout to form the women’s national volleyball team on April 13 at Arellano University.Incumbent national team members Jaja Santiago, Alyssa Valdez, Dawn Macandili, Mika Reyes, Kim Fajardo, and Kianna Dy are all expected to take part in the tryouts that will be conducted at Arellano’s Legarda campus.ADVERTISEMENT Rivero’s depature from La Salle piques interest of other schools Scarlett Johansson, Sterling K. Brown among SAG Awards presenters MOST READ Judy Ann’s 1st project for 2020 is giving her a ‘stomachache’ Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Cabuyao City rising above the ashes through volunteerism Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil “Although we will send formal invites to those in the coach’s wish list, we will still welcome players who want to be part of the team,” said Cayco. “We want to make sure that everybody will be given a chance so that we can assemble the country’s best volleyball team.”Richard Gomez, the Philippines’ Asian Games chief of mission, is positive of what the national team is capable of doing in the Asian level.“We’re strongly considering their inclusion in the Asian Games,” said Gomez, who was part of the men’s volleyball team that played in the AVC Asian Men’s Club Championship in 2014.ADVERTISEMENT Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LATEST STORIES Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Recto seeks to establish Taal rehab body to aid community, eruption victims Conor McGregor seeks to emerge from controversy in UFC comeback In Liverpool, Man United sees the pain and path to recovery View commentslast_img read more

A longtime problem

first_imgWHILE it’s good to see underperforming city workers fired for not doing their jobs, it’s still not clear how the removal of transportation chief Gloria Jeff will fix the city’s traffic problems. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa fired Jeff last week after just one year. She was brought in as someone who could solve L.A.’s problems, but either wasn’t up to the job or the problems were too big for her. But the department’s failings go back further than Jeff. In large part, the city’s traffic woes stem from things far outside the control of a mere bureaucrat. At their root, they are about the city’s political system, which has traditionally given carte blanche to politically friendly developers, with little consequences to long-term impacts such as traffic congestion. It’s time for a top-to-bottom shake-up of the Transportation Department, with strong leadership that will address the needs of the people, not the special interests.last_img read more