Mr Connors, Mr Murphy and Dr O’Connor speak to the mediaHEALTH bosses have nailed rumours surrounding the future of jobs at Letterkenny General Hospital.They’ve also slammed claims that maintenance and work at the site hadn’t been carried out and this contributed to the flood which caused millions of euro worth of damage three weeks ago.They spoke out as the hospital’s interim Emergency Department begins operations today, taking some ambulance patients until Sunday night, with walk-in patients from north Donegal from Monday. Sean Murphy, the hospital manager, dismissed what he called “all sorts of rumours” about the future of catering services.Meals had been brought in from Mayo over the past fortnight but the cooking of all meals will resume in Letterkenny in two weeks’ time when new temporary facilities are opened.“There have been rumours and they’re not true,” said Mr Murphy.“We are working to do as many things as possible in as short a time as possible and catering will be back on site in the next two weeks. “Catering facilities are being organised and will be on site so that all meals for staff and patients will be prepared at the hospital in a couple of weeks time.”It’s understood management were keen to dismiss rumours that catering at the hospital was going to be outsourced to another company.Mr Murphy insisted staff would all be back on site and preparing meals.And Paul Connors, the head of the HSE’s Communications Department, said he wanted to “nail” the suggestion that the hospital had failed to comply with works in 2002.He said council officials and HSE officials had discussed the claims and concluded they were “rubbish.” Mr Connors said the HSE were “totally committed” to restoring all services to Letterkenny General Hospital in as short a time as possible.He and Mr Murphy confirmed that the Government waived red tape to allow work on the site to proceed quickly.Several local contractors won sub-contract work on the site including joiners and electricians.Dr Paul O’Connor, the hospital’s Clinical Director, said staff were pleased at how quickly progress had been made to begin the restoration of services. HOSPITAL MANAGER DISMISSES ‘RUMOURS’ OVER FUTURE OF HOSPITAL AND ITS STAFF was last modified: August 18th, 2013 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:cateringfloodjobsletterkenny hospitalRepairs
Look Before You Leap: Oh Yeah! deals with issues that all high school pupils can relate to – peer pressure and temptation, not fitting in and being different. Instead of sidestepping the serious issues affecting South Africa’s young people, arepp’s innovative use of theatre highlights difficult social and personal issues such as sexuality, relationships, pregnancy, substance use, HIV/Aids, physical and emotional abuse, and gender equality. arepp’s approach to educational theatre is all about making learning fun and helping pupils make an emotional connection with the content of the play.(Images: Wilma den Hartigh) For the primary school shows, puppets are used to deal sensitively with issues such as body awareness, physical boundaries, self-efficacy and physical abuse. (Image: arepp:Theatre for Life) MEDIA CONTACTS • Brigid Schutz arepp:Theatre for Life +27 11 485-4771 RELATED ARTICLES • West End beckons for playwrights • SA’s Fugard receives lifetime Tony • SA puppet company wins a Tony • Extreme entertainment in Joburg Wilma den HartighThe African Research and Educational Puppetry Programme Trust, or arepp:Theatre for Life, is adding some spark to life skills education in schools, using humour and music in its interactive performances to demystify taboo subjects and enabling young people to make informed lifestyle choices.There is a great sense of orderliness ahead of arepp’s performance at the Rhodesfield Technical High School on Johannesburg’s West Rand.The familiar sound of the school bell signals the end of each lesson, prompting pupils to walk briskly along the corridors to their next class, and in the reception area there is serious talk of reports, averages, tests and results.But as soon as the play starts, the school hall – with a group of about 300 grade eight pupils neatly seated in rows on the floor – explodes with laughter, whistling and cheering. Even the teachers who are supervising the noisy group of teenagers can’t help but smile.The performance that follows will undoubtedly be the highlight of every pupil’s day.Targeted at grades eight to 12 pupils, the focus of the Look Before You Leap play series is on choices, problem solving and self-image. It explores how ideas of gender and sexuality affect perceptions of self and society.Arepp’s approach to educational theatre is all about making learning fun and, through the different characters, help pupils make an emotional connection with the content of the play.The award-winning educational theatre group takes learning out of the classroom onto the stage, and there is nothing high-brow about these performances.Instead of sidestepping the serious issues affecting young people in South Africa, arepp’s candid approach and innovative use of theatre highlights difficult social and personal issues such as sexuality, relationships, pregnancy, substance use, HIV/Aids, physical and emotional abuse and gender equality.Learning can be funBrigid Schutz, director at arepp, says the structure and character development of the plays help pupils to identify closely with the situations portrayed.Unlike traditional theatre, the audience are not passive observers, as the play mirrors their personal experiences on stage.One of the actors, Ruan Zed, says that theatre is a powerful medium that helps people to see issues from a different perspective. “Theatre puts your own life story on stage,” he says.This particular play, Look Before You Leap: Oh Yeah! deals with issues that all high school pupils can relate to – peer pressure and temptation, not fitting in and being different. It also examines the uncertainty of early relationships, being true to one’s identity and self-esteem.“The characters in the play go through an emotional process and because it becomes a personal experience for the pupils, they can identify and connect with it,” Schutz explains.Making life orientation relevantThe productions, which run for an hour – the first half is the play, which is then followed by a 30-minute problem-solving discussion with the audience – are specifically designed to be performed as a life orientation (LO) lesson within the school’s daily schedule.LO is a compulsory subject in South African schools for all grades.This new area of learning replaced subjects such as career guidance, physical training and religious education. The point of LO is to enable pupils to make wise choices, understand healthy living, get career direction, learn study skills and become aware of environmental, community and society issues.Although it covers non-academic skills needed in life, Rhodesfield’s LO teacher Elliot Faku says there is a perception in schools that LO is not as important as the more academic subjects like maths or science.“The subject is highly relevant as it deals with what life is like after school,” he says.He is a great supporter of using theatre as a learning tool. “It further entrenches the concepts that the pupils learn in class,” Faku says. “Even though the kids see it as a break from their normal school routine, they are still learning.”Problem-solving through discussionAfter each performance pupils have an opportunity to ask questions, talk about the issues raised in the play, contextualise the content and debate the decisions made by the characters.The discussion time is important because it encourages open communication. “It shows the pupils that their opinions are valued,” Schutz says.Most of them are not scared to ask difficult questions that they might not usually want to discuss with other adults such as their parents or teachers.Throughout the discussion, the group is encouraged to offer answers themselves, which builds confidence and problem-solving skills.Zed notes that in all the discussion sessions they’ve noticed that the questions and opinions of the pupils are closely related to their own lives. By sharing their understanding of the issues, pupils become more confident to talk about them in the classroom, on the playground and at home.“Arepp doesn’t give right or wrong answers,” he says. “What we want to do is develop resilient youth who can deal with any challenge and know what they stand for,” Zed says.Reaching as many kids as possibleArepp’s life skills and self-efficacy development programmes reach all age groups in schools with four series of shows: Look Before you Leap, aimed at groups between 13 and 22; About Us for 10 to 13 year olds; No Monkey Business and the Monkey Tales series for the groups between six and nine and three and five respectively.“There is a need to do more of this type of theatre in South Africa,” Schutz says. “There are many theatre education initiatives that start up, but keeping it going is difficult because it is very costly.”The organisation relies entirely on external funding to continue its work. Currently it receives support from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, the STARS Foundation and a foreign donor agency in the Netherlands.Established in 1987, arepp reaches about 120 000 pupils between the ages of five and 18 in 350 schools each year.Feedback from teachers last year showed an increase of 81% in the audience’s knowledge, skills, ability and confidence to deal with issues directly affecting them.The reported percentage of physical and sexual abuse cases in those schools halved from the previous year, to just under 4%, and reported pregnancies declined from 9% to less than 1%.Reported suicides decreased and overall, 80% of audiences indicated changes in their feelings of worth, competency and control with regard to the issues presented in the plays.“This shows that our performances are helping to make a difference,” says Schutz.Last year the company was selected from 976 applicants from 60 countries to receive the 2011 STARS Foundation Impact award in education.The foundation offers awards to charities in the Africa-Middle East and Asia-Pacific regions working with children in the areas of health, education and protection.The award is allowing arepp to fund additional theatre projects and perform about 200 more presentations, which will benefit 30 000 additional pupils.Schutz describes the award as an important accolade as it validates the organisation’s work and recognises arepp’s contribution of 25 years to the promotion of human rights in South Africa.“It highlights the vital importance of assisting young people and children to understand, engage with, and contextualise the notions and practical applications of their rights,” she says.• Slideshow image courtesy of Andrew Aitchison
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) announced updated factors for prevented planting coverage that will strengthen the integrity of the federal crop insurance program. The updates were made to address the recommendations of a 2013 USDA Office of Inspector General (OIG) report, and are supported by the data from a subsequent third-party study commissioned at the urging of the OIG. These improvements will ensure that the program continues to be a well-run program that provides a strong safety net for producers.Prevented planting coverage provides producers protection if they are unable to plant an insured crop by the final planting date. When adverse weather prevents planting, a prevented planting payment is made to compensate for the producer’s pre-planting costs generally incurred in preparation for planting the crop. These costs can include purchase of machinery, land rent, fertilizer, actions taken to ready the field, pesticide, labor, and repairs. The prevented planting factor is a percentage of the individual insurance guarantee and varies by crop, based on an estimate of pre-planting costs.These updates were required to address the recommendations in OIG’s 2013 report: RMA Controls Over Prevented Planting. The OIG recommended that the agency review the prevented planting factors and make changes if necessary. RMA commissioned a third-party evaluation of prevented planting coverage, which provided recommendations for determining prevented planting factors. The evaluation was available for public comment from Jan. 30, 2015, to April 15, 2015. RMA evaluated the public comments and determined that adjustments to the evaluation’s recommendations were necessary.RMA reviewed prevented planting factors for barley, corn, cotton, grain sorghum, rice, soybeans and wheat for 2017 as part of an effort to ensure that prevented planting factors most accurately reflect the pre-planting input costs of producers. Today’s rulemaking will improve RMA’s ability to manage the prevented planting factors moving forward. While the prevented planting factors will be reviewed and updated for all crops with prevented planting coverage, these first seven crops are being updated for the Spring 2017 planting season. Over time, the prevented planting factors may go up or down depending upon changes in input costs. RMA will evaluate the effectiveness of the recent changes and modify them as needed in coming years. Below is a table that lists updated prevented planting factors.The changes build upon recent improvements that protect the integrity of the federal crop insurance program. Due to an improved sampling methodology and other efforts, the crop insurance improper payment rate for 2015 was half that of the government-wide improper payment rate average. The program’s longstanding loss history demonstrates that rates are actuarially accurate. RMA continues to utilize technology and data mining to ensure that the crop insurance program is well-managed and free of fraud, waste, and abuse.Prevented Planting Coverage FactorsCropCurrentRecommendation from EvaluationFinalCorn60%50%55%Soybeans60%60%60%Wheat60%60%60%Cotton50%35%50%Grain Sorghum60%60%60%Barley60%60%60%Rice45%45%55%
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest 180102_RyanMartinThe forecast is pretty lackluster for the rest of this week as 2018 is off to a frigid start. Bitter cold air remains the main feature and we should see sunshine dominate most of the state today through the start of the weekend. Temperatures will average a good 10-20 degrees below normal at times through the period. We expect subzero temps each of the next several nights/mornings over parts of Ohio north of I-70, and easily single digit readings for overnight lows in the south. Strong north and northwest winds will be funneling this cold air into Ohio and that can produce lake effect snows through the next few days. Today that action is limited to far northeast parts of the state, particularly Ashtabula County, and then later tomorrow and Thursday we can see that spread a bit along the south shores of the Lake, particularly north central along with northeast. WE can see some clouds from this push down close to US 30, but in general, lake snows will stay north of US 20 in north central Ohio, and I-80 in northeast Ohio.South winds start to develop Saturday night of our next front and storm system. These winds will help moderate temperatures some, but we stay mostly below freezing right on through Sunday. A powerful low comes out of the central to southern plains next weekend and we start to see precipitation push into western and southwestern Ohio next Sunday night. The cold air in place means precipitation will start as snow. But, as strong south winds continue to come up ahead of the actual cold front, precipitation changes over to rain in southwest Ohio by 4 to 5 a.m. Monday morning. We could see some heavier rains or even a rumble of thunder through Monday morning in those areas. Waking up Monday in northwest Ohio, we can see a sloppy mix continue through the day as the low pressure center tracks over Indiana, and in eastern parts of the state we could see some significant snows through the noon hour before an attempt at a wintry mix develops. Eventually, strong north winds will return and bring back arctic air behind the front late Monday overnight and into early Tuesday. However, moisture may be significantly decreased by then, meaning the ending snows may be minor, but could blow substantially through the first half of Tuesday. This is our initial look at this system in terms of laying it out to you chronologically. There is plenty of time for things to change, and timing will be one of those variables. Also, there is a large amount of moisture with this system. We can see liquid equivalent precipitation totals of half to 1”. The map above shows liquid equivalent precipitation totals over the entire potential duration of the event. This has the potential to be a mess! So, track here is very, very important. The current track has a large amount of rain with it. If the low stays a little farther south and east, we could be looking at a lot more snow, and very little rain. Or, if it tracks farther north and west, over IL and into MI let’s say, they we could be looking at more or even all rain! So, the one thing for certain is that we have a massive winter storm headed toward us to finish the weekend and start next week, and there is plenty of moisture with it. But…it all comes down to the track as to what type of precipitation we see, and who gets the worst. We will be watching this storm closely the rest of the week, and will have updates all the way through.Behind the system, we have another bitter cold week on the way then next week. Temps pull back to below normal levels, and may try and rival this week, although we think next week may end up being just slightly better. In the extended 11-16 day forecast window, we have dry weather continuing through the 13th, but then another front is on the way for the 14th, which can bring another chance of significant snows just ahead of mid-month. Our quick look at week 3 and week 4 suggests that we see below normal temps through most of the balance of January.
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Ohio State University Extension will serve as the local host for the National Farm to Cafeteria conference in Cincinnati April 25 through 27. The conference is designed for school districts looking to start or expand a Farm to School program, consumers who want to learn more about local food opportunities, as well as farmers and producers looking for ways to sell fresh, local foods to schools and other institutional cafeterias.The conference is expected to draw more than 1,000 farmers, producers, educators, school food service professionals, parents, business leaders and OSU Extension experts. It is part of an effort to get more fresh, locally grown and produced foods into more school cafeterias and increase farmers’ economic opportunities, said Carol Smathers, an OSU Extension field specialist and director of Ohio Farm to School.Farm to School is a national initiative, which in Ohio is led by OSU Extension in partnership with numerous agencies, organizations and industry groups. The conference is organized by the National Farm to School Network and is being hosted by Ohio Farm to School, Smathers said.“The national conference highlights innovative Farm to School approaches,” she said. “We expect participants will become aware of many ways their own work fits within Farm to School efforts.“They’ll leave motivated to forge new procurement channels, plant school gardens, and offer more Ohio-grown foods in their communities’ cafeterias.”The conference is April 26 from 7 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. and April 27 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Duke Energy Convention Center, 525 Elm St. in Cincinnati.The conference will include speakers, workshops, poster presentations, field trips and several short courses. The event will also include a pre-conference forum April 25 to highlight Ohio’s Farm to School program and will focus on emerging issues, unique opportunities, challenges and barriers, and policy development, said Amy Fovargue, youth wellness program coordinator for Farm to School.The forum will be facilitated by Ohio Farm to School and the Initiative for Food and Agricultural Transformation at Ohio State. It will feature an “Ohio Days: My Plate, My State” dinner as an example of a locally sourced Ohio Farm to School meal that would qualify as part of the school lunch program, Fovargue said.Registration for the conference is $250 due by March 9, with additional costs for field trips and short courses. After March 9, the registration fee goes up to $300, plus any additional costs for field trips and short courses. To register or for information on scholarships to attend the conference, as well as other discounted admissions, go to go.osu.edu/farm2school-conference. For more information about the Ohio focused preconference, contact Fovargue at 740-398-8397 or [email protected] More information about Ohio Farm to School can be found at farmtoschool.osu.edu.
In terms of durability and cost, Holladay favors concrete, but he adds: “If you are willing to replace any components that rot, or if you don’t mind introducing pressure-treated lumber (with associated chemicals) into the interior of your house, go ahead and experiment. If these materials rot in the future, you’ll need to replace them. You’ll have to consider the wooden components as sacrificial layers.”Agreed, writes Howard Gentler. Although a concrete slab would do a good job of supporting any lumber above it, it won’t block any moisture by itself and Rosen might well save both money and effort by using wood instead. “I think you can do what you are considering,” he says.Rosen replies that he was considering adding “ribbons” of concrete on 8-ft. centers to support 2x floor framing. “The 2xs would be supported by the earth and the concrete in case things shifted,” he says. “I don’t believe that I can use pressure-treated wood on interior living space[s], and don’t really know that code guys would be happy with this setup… only because it’s atypical.” Use the right lumberIf Rosen uses pressure-treated material as part of the assembly, Flitch Plate says, it should be stamped for ground contact, and it should be allowed to dry before it’s installed.Plate refers Rosen to specifications for treated lumber published by Wolmanized. Although lumber treated with chromated copper arsenate (CCA) has been banned for most residential applications, it’s still permitted for permanent wood foundations. The specs indicate that it should have a chemical retention level of 0.60 pounds per cubic foot (pcf). In contrast, above-grade pressure-treated lumber would need a retention level of only 0.25 pcf.“That is a lot of copper, by weight, making it heavy and dense — a real bear on saw blades,” Plate writes. “Use only stainless-steel fasteners; preferably hex heads and star drives. Fasteners are expensive. Galvanized is not reliable, and who wants to use a hammer anyway, these days.”For the vapor barrier, Plate suggests a cross-linked polyethylene material called Tu-Tuff.Pressure-treated material is expensive, Gentler adds, and in this case it may not be necessary at all.“I don’t think you are planning for the wood to be in actual ground contact, just near it, but above layers that will be excluding most moisture,” Gentler says. “It sounds like you will be using concrete piers for support of the wood. Make sure something non-permeable is between the wood and concrete, since the concrete wicks moisture to the wood.” Rob Rosen is diving into a basement remodel, a job that involves digging out and removing a concrete slab to provide more headroom so the basement can be turned into usable living space.He’ll reinforce the footing and foundation as needed, but when it comes time to build a new floor for the basement, Rosen wonders whether he can go with something other than a concrete slab.“I would love input from someone who has put a vapor/water barrier, some foam insulation between 2×4 sleepers and then used some form of wood flooring that would work for higher humidity situations,” Rosen writes in a Q&A post at Green Building Advisor.There’s nothing that Rosen can find in the Washington State building code that would prevent him from trying it.“Concrete is soooo not environmentally correct if not necessary,” he writes.Can Rosen swap wood for concrete and still get a durable, structurally sound basement floor? That’s the issue in this Q&A Spotlight. Stopping the migration of moisture from the ground is keyKeeping ground moisture out of the basement is important, but it is the rigid foam insulation and the vapor barrier that actually do the work, not the concrete, says GBA senior editor Martin Holladay. In general, Holladay writes, the rigid foam goes down first, followed by the vapor barrier. “Above the polyethylene, the finish materials are up to you,” he says, “and and your local code inspector, of course.” [Editor’s note: As pointed out by Mark F. in Comment #5 below, a basement slab often has a structural function: It prevents the foundation walls from being forced inward by soil pressure. GBA readers should consult an engineer before omitting a basement slab.] RELATED ARTICLES Covering a Dirt Floor Reinventing ConcreteGreen Basics: Slab FoundationsGreen Basics: Insulating Roofs, Walls and Floors”Green Basics: Foundation Types If galvanized steel is OK, why not pressure-treated lumber?Jack Woolfe offers a link to Polycore Canada, which makes a basement flooring system that can be used in place of concrete. Factory-made sections of galvanized steel and expanded polystyrene insulation have an R-value of 18, according to the company’s web site. With no large equipment and no specialized tools, a crew of three could install a 1,500-square-foot floor in a single day.“Polycore Canada makes a floor system similar to what you’ve described, except they use galvanized sheet-steel sleepers instead of pressure-treated wood,” says Woolfe. “I suspect PT wood would work okay too.” CONSTRUCTION DETAILS Trouble ahead with resale?One thing to consider, advises Robert Hronek, is whether a concrete-less basement would affect the resale value of the house. “You will be making a big investment, but I would be concerned about the resale value and the marketability of the home,” Hronke says. “You might call an appraiser, a real estate agent and, if you have a good relationship, a lender.”If a lender balked at offering a loan, Rosen wouldn’t be able to sell the house. “Personally, I would walk out of the house and not make an offer,” he says. “Ask the [real estate] agent how hard it would be to sell. Ask the appraiser how hard it would be to appraise.”Plate agrees that resale and mortgage issues are a “different and valid concern.” But while pressure-treated material has earned a “bad rap,” basements are fully code compliant if they are built to engineering and materials standards.Exactly, adds Donald Endsley. “The use of concrete is mainly because it can handle bulk water, and water vapor issues, IMHO,” Endsley says. “As long as those are 100% taken care of I see no reason wood won’t work.”Endsley’s grandfather, in fact, built a house in Florida with a wood foundation. “Parts of that foundation were still there when he sold the place,” he says. “It lasted 90 some years, but only because that soil was extremely well drained. The parts that had to be replaced were due to adding plumbing to the house and having it subsequently leak.” Our expert’s opinionHere’s what GBA technical director Peter Yost had to say:I think the default basement floor is concrete because it’s a self-leveling material with really high compressive strength and it does not care about being wet. I am not saying it has great moisture-managing properties, but as an inorganic material, it can wet and dry repeatedly without compromise to its other properties (contraction/expansion, compressive strength, etc.).Any floor assembly can be set up to handle soil moisture and soil gases (such as radon). Basement floors can get wet from soil moisture or an internal leak, so I would not install any basement floor system that is inherently more moisture-sensitive without having a lot of confidence in historic high water table information, foundation perimeter drainage system, and leak protection for hard-piped appliances: clothes washer, dishwasher, and ice-makers.Having done more than one basement retrofit (including my own home) involving casting a concrete slab, neither the expense nor the difficulty were issues I considered, mainly because other framed systems seemed just as much if not more cost and work.On the other hand, assuming equivalent strategies for managing moisture and radon, the Polycore Canada system looks pretty slick. There is no reason that any framed system won’t work, so long as it sees the same or similar conditions as other below-grade framed systems: protection from liquid water (bulk and capillary) and vapor permeability to allow drying to the interior.