Toting a yellow legal pad, Brown talked policy with (Boston) Mayor Thomas M. Menino over a breakfast of eggs, hash browns, and turkey sausage at the Parkman House. He then drove his signature pickup truck to Roxbury for the gathering with clergy members he dubbed "legends,'' saying "they've been around fighting the fight forever.''Reaching out to the "other side" is not a weakness... in Massachusetts. Meanwhile, a new NPR poll shows most people would vote for a Republican for Congress if the election were held today.
"It was important, I felt, to come and reach out to the leaders of this community and tell them about who I am and not be defined by anybody else, but let them look in my eye and ask honest and frank questions,'' Brown said, flanked by leaders of the Black Ministerial Alliance and the Boston TenPoint Coalition at a press conference in Roxbury, a community that voted overwhelmingly for his opponent. "While we may not agree on everything, I think we're going to find more common ground than not.''
Last Friday, Keene (NH) State College gave Harriet Richardson Ames a diploma at age 100. She had taken classes at three universities and colleges in New Hampshire while working as a school teacher, but stopped after her eyesight began failing in the '70s.
But a college degree was on her "bucket list."
On Saturday, a day after getting her degree, Harriet Richardson Ames died.(2 Comments)
The stories of the people invited to sit with the First Lady at the State of the Union speech are usually more interesting than the speech itself. The White House has just released the list:
Clayton Armstrong (Washington, DC)
Clayton was a DC Scholar with the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs during the summer of 2009. He is currently a freshman at the University of Arizona. Clayton grew up in Southeast Washington, DC and graduated from Ballou High School where he was the captain of the football team.
Li Boynton (Bellaire, TX)
Li is a 18-year-old senior from Bellaire, Texas whose passion for science and global health has led her to new and potentially ground-breaking methods for testing the quality of drinking water. Almost one billion people lack access to safe drinking water, and 3.5 million people die each year from water-related diseases. Observing the limitations and significant expense of conventional chemical-specific tests, Boynton saw a need for a broader, more efficient assay for testing - and developed a bacteria bio-sensor. Li's work, which has the potential to be significant in improving public health worldwide, received the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair award for 2009.
Li has always had a passion for science and invention: in 5th grade, she designed a solar-distillation device after reading Life of Pi in case she ever got stranded in the middle of the ocean. Li is also an avid painter and participates in high school debate, which is where she originally developed her environmental interests.
Jeffrey Brown (Philadelphia, PA)
Jeffrey Brown is the founder, President and CEO of Brown's Super Stores, Inc., a growing ten-store supermarket chain trading under the ShopRite banner. As one of the leading supermarkets in the Philadelphia area, the company employs 2,300 associates who are committed to making a difference for their customers and the local communities they serve.
Mayor Mick Cornett (Oklahoma City, OK)
Mick Cornett became Oklahoma City's 35th mayor on March 2, 2004, and was re-elected on March 7, 2006. In 2007, he was elected as a Trustee of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Cornett is also the national President of the organization representing Republican Mayors and Local Officials.
Cornett is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, where he earned a degree in journalism, and after graduation embarked on a 20 year career in broadcast journalism. In 2001, Cornett was elected to City Council, where he served until becoming mayor.
Cornett was born and raised in Oklahoma City, and together, he and his wife Lisa have raised three sons - Michael, Casey and Tristan.
He's there to highlight his city's anti-obesity program.
Tina Dixon (Allentown, PA)
Tina is currently employed by Lehigh Valley Health Network as a Technical Partner Trainee, a job that she was able to secure through the EARN program (Employment Advancement and Retention Network - a program focused primarily on Paid Work Experience placement) at the Allentown, Pennsylvania CareerLink in preparation to re-enter the workforce after years as a stay-at-home mother to three girls, Olivia, Allison, and Lauren.
It was at CareerLink that Tina met President Obama on the first White House to Main Street Tour in December 2009.
Gabriela Farfan (Madison, WI)
Gabriela is a 19-year old from Madison, Wisconsin whose passion for geology started at a young age - collecting rocks as a seven-year old with her father. In 2009, as a senior in high school, her hard-work and research won her one of the top awards in the Intel Science Talent Search, winning a scholarship for her independent research describing why certain gemstones appear to change color when viewed from different angles--a finding that directly affects the gemstone industry and may have applications in the nano and materials sciences. Gabriela is now in college as a freshman at Stanford University, and a declared geology major.
Gabriela is also a National Hispanic Scholar awardee, has two very proud parents, Abigail Farfan and Carlos Peralta, and has a real dedication to the arts: singing, drawing, painting, speaking French and Spanish, and following operas and musicals.
Julia Frost (Jacksonville, NC)
Julia is a former Marine bandsman trumpeter, a wife of an active duty Marine, and current student at Coastal Carolina Community College. She served a four year term with the United States Marine Corps stationed at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. Her husband, Sergeant Ryan Frost, is also a Marine bandsman, stationed at Camp Lejeune North Carolina.
With the aid of the GI Bill, Julia is currently enrolled in the Elementary Education program through a partnership between Coastal Carolina Community College and the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. Julia hopes to complete her associate degree this summer and bachelors in the spring of 2012.
Dr. Biden, a community college professor, first met Julia when she visited her campus last October as part of the Administration's ongoing efforts to support America's community colleges and their students.
Ping Fu (Chapel Hill, NC)
Ping Fu co-founded Geomagic, a company which pioneers technologies that fundamentally change the way products are designed, engineered and manufactured around the world from automobiles to medical devices. Geomagic, under her leadership, has been an active participant in the SBA's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. Fu has led Geomagic to deliver broad-based economic impact to the US economy with tangible results - the company tripled its customer base and employment while achieving high growth and profitability. As such, the NSF awarded Geomagic the prestigious Tibbetts Award for exemplifying the very best in SBIR.
Fu has more than 25 years of software industry experience in database, internet technology, and visual computing. Before Geomagic, she was the Director of Visualization at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications and is also, actively involved in promoting entrepreneurship and women in mathematics and sciences.
Janell Holloway (Washington, DC)
Janell was a DC Scholar with the White House Domestic Policy Council during the summer of 2009. She is currently a freshman at Harvard University where she is a member of the Harvard College chapter of the American Red Cross, dances with the CityStep dance troupe, and is active in the Black Student Association. Janell is interested in the connection between child abuse and youth violence and has served as a volunteer at Safe Shores: DC Children's Advocacy Center for more than three years. She is a native of Washington, DC and graduated from Benjamin Banneker Academic High School.
Ambassador Raymond Joseph
In 1990 Raymond Joseph was called to be Haiti's Chargé d'Affaires in Washington and his country's representative at the Organization of American States. After helping with the first democratic elections in December 1990, he returned to the Haiti Observateur where he remained until he was called back to Washington in March 2004, where he is currently the Ambassador.
Joseph is a graduate pastor from the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, a B. A. holder in Anthropology from Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois. He also has a Master's degree in Social Anthropology/Linguistics from the University of Chicago.
Don Karner (Phoenix, AZ)
Don Karner is the President, CEO, and Co-Founder of eTec (Electric Transportation Engineering Corporation). As President of eTec, Don provides strategic direction, conducts research and leads the company's development of new products and services.
eTec received $99.8 million from the Recovery Act's Battery and Electric Vehicle Grant program, which the company will match with another $99.8 million in locally raised funds. The funding will be used to manufacture and implement the charging infrastructure for an 11 city pilot program intended to research electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Cities involved are Phoenix, Tucson, San Diego, Salem, Portland, Eugene, Seattle, Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga. The award will create at least 50 new permanent clean economy jobs working directly at eTec, has already saved numerous positions, and will require construction workers across the country to implement the project.
Don participated in a Recovery Act roundtable discussion with Vice President Biden in Phoenix in November 2009 where they discussed the importance of the public/private partnership to a green economy.
Janell Kellett (Sun Prairie, WI)
Janell has served as a lead volunteer within the Wisconsin Army National Guard for approximately six years, including during her husband's fifteen month deployment from 2005-2006 and recent twelve month deployment from 2009-2010. Janell's husband, Major Michael Hanson, serves with the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team and recently returned home to Wisconsin. During Major Hanson's deployment, Janell served the 3,200 families of the 32nd Brigade and over 50 volunteers of the 32nd Brigade with dedication. Janell was honored for her service with a 2009 Wisconsin National Guard Volunteer of the Year award by the Wisconsin State Family Program. Under Janell's leadership, the 32nd Brigade was selected for the prestigious Department of Defense Reserve Family Readiness Award in December 2009 for the Army National Guard. Additionally, Janell served as the Battalion Volunteer for the 2nd Battalion, 128th Infantry when it received the same award, the Department of Defense Reserve Family Readiness Award, in 2006.
Janell and Michael have two children, Jaclene and Lucas.
Rebecca Knerr (Chantilly, VA)
Rebecca is representing her husband, Captain II Joseph Knerr, the Task Force Leader of Fairfax County's Virginia Task Force 1 serving in Haiti. Having worked as a Fairfax County Firefighter for 15 years, Joe currently serves as Station Commander at Fairfax Fire and Rescue Station 18. He initially joined the USAR team in 1998 serving in a variety of operational capacities and now in leadership positions. Joe is also involved in the coordination, teaching and training of other international rescue teams. A former Fairfax County Firefighter and Paramedic herself, Rebecca works as an Emergency Physician's Assistant in a Northern Virginia Hospital and for Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department developing and delivering emergency medical services education to uniformed personnel. Rebecca, 24 month old son Jackson, and 12 week old daughter Grace are eager to welcome Joe home.
Chris Lardner (Albuquerque, NM)
Chris Lardner is a patient service manager at the New Mexico Heart Institute and her husband, Scott, owns a small family business. Together they have three children, two daughters in college at Regis University in Denver, Danielle and Caitlin, and a son in 7th grade, Sean. As a result of the economic downturn they resorted to paying for some of their daughters' education with a credit card. Lardner realized she was close to reaching the card limit, so she contacted the college to change the card on file. The school mistakenly charged another payment to the original card, which then put her above the limit. In response, the credit card company more than tripled her rate to nearly 30 percent, despite of record of responsibility with her finances and payments. Lardner submitted a letter to the President online expressing her frustration with the rate hikes leveled as a result of the mistaken charge.
Chris shared her story when she introduced the President at a Town Hall in May 2009 - since that time her issue with the credit card company was eventually resolved; their rate was lowered to 7 percent and the company returned the over-the-limit fees that had been charged.
Anita Maltbia (Kansas City, MO)
Anita Maltbia is a native of Kansas City, Missouri, and has over 30 years experience in city government, and community activism. In August 2009, at the request of Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II, Anita assumed the director position of the Green Impact Zone. This initiative works with the residents of a 150 square-block area in the urban core of Kansas City to raise the quality of life environmentally, economically and socially. Energy efficiency and environmental conservation, including home weatherization and energy upgrades are critical goals as is job training and acquisition.
The Green Impact Zone in Kansas City, Missouri is an urban success story that reflects President Obama's national urban policy vision of breaking down silos and building strong communities of opportunity that will, in turn, contribute to the economic prosperity and the sustainability of cities and metropolitan areas.
Kimberly Munley (Killeen, TX)
Kimberly was born and raised in North Carolina. In 1999, she completed Basic Law Enforcement Training and began her career in law enforcement. Kimberly spent the next 11 years working as a University of North Carolina, Wilmington undercover vice/narcotics agent, a Wrightsville Beach uniformed patrol officer and beach patrol officer, a Special Police Officer for New Hanover County Regional Medical Center, a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Operations Specialist Soldier in the United States Army, and is currently a federal police officer serving on the Special Reaction Team for the Fort Hood Police Department in Fort Hood, Texas.
Cindy Parker-Martinez (Belle Isle, FL)
Cindy is a mother of two young children, who shared her story of the problems her family faces with the current health care system at a Health Care Community Discussion held at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, one of thousands of discussions held nationwide in December 2008. In April 2008, Cindy, her husband, and her son were all denied insurance coverage on the individual insurance market because of pre-existing conditions. Her 11-month old daughter was also denied coverage due to an insurance company age requirement of 12 months. Both Cindy and her husband are currently uninsured because they cannot afford the insurance offered at her husband's employer. Although they previously paid their premium, they could not afford to keep up the monthly payments after receiving thousands of dollars in medical bills from her husband's unexpected 6-day hospital stay for pneumonia. Their family's income is too high for them to qualify for Medicaid. Cindy and her husband currently have no insurance and have thousands of dollars in medical debt.
Deborah Powell (Hugo, OK)
Deborah Powell is a Native American Development Specialist for the Housing Authority of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Having earned only a high school diploma, Powell built her experience outside of college and soon became interested in accounting and finance. After spending 43 years of her life in her hometown of Flagstaff, Arizona, she moved to Oklahoma in April 2004 for a change of pace and is currently working on a project funded by the Recovery Act. A member of the Choctaw Nation, she is currently helping to track budgets and ensure bids for independent elderly homes. This project, which is still under construction, will provide homes for more than 86 elderly people in the Choctaw Nation. Powell is recently remarried, and enjoys hunting, fishing, and spending time with her family.
Sergeant First Class Andrew Rubin (Savannah, GA)
Sergeant First Class Andrew Rubin entered the Army in 1997 from Boston, Massachusetts and completed One Station Unit Training, Airborne Training and Ranger Assessment and Selection at Fort Benning, Georgia before becoming a Ranger assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment.
Andrew has spent his entire military career serving in the 75th Ranger Regiment in positions of increasing responsibility. He is currently assigned to 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, headquartered in Savannah, Georgia, which recently redeployed from a combat tour supporting operations in Iraq and Afghanistan in December 2009.
SFC Rubin currently leads 45 Rangers as a Rifle Company Platoon Sergeant. In the Regiment, he has also served as an anti-tank gunner, sniper, sniper team leader, sniper section leader, and rifle squad leader, Ranger Assessment and Selection Instructor, and Rifle Platoon Sergeant.
SFC Rubin has served four combat tours in Iraq and two combat tours in Afghanistan. He has been involved in countless fire fights, was wounded on two separate occasions and has received two awards for Valor. During his recent deployment to Iraq, he was shot by enemy forces while risking his life to save one of his Rangers who lay wounded and immobilized in the streets of As Sadiyah, Iraq during an intense firefight. For that action, he received the Bronze Star with Valor and the Purple Heart. Previously, he was wounded in Afghanistan when he was hit by a rocket propelled grenade during an enemy ambush.
SFC Rubin and his wife Megan have three children, Michael, Joseph and Kendal.
Mark Todd (Killeen, TX)
Mark Todd was born and raised in San Diego, California. Todd enlisted in the United States Army as a Military Policeman in 1985. He was selected to attend Military Working Dog Handlers Course and later assigned as a K-9 handler at Fort Devens, Massachusetts, Fort Polk, Louisiana, and Wurezburg, Germany. Later he was assigned as a K-9 Trainer and Instructor at Lackland Air Force Base Texas. Todd earned an Associate in Applied Science - Instructor of Technology and Military Science from the Community College of the Air Force in 1997. His last two assignments were Grafenwoehr, Germany and Fort Hood, Texas. In 2007, he joined the Directorate of Emergency Services and is currently the Lead Police Officer, Military Working Dog Branch - Acting Chief at Fort Hood Texas. Todd is married to Lisa Dalton and together they have three children; Jennifer, Mark Jr., and Kristyn; and two grandsons.
Army Specialist (ret.) Scott Vycital (Ft. Collins, CO)
Specialist Scott Vycital served as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division. Vycital spent 8 months deployed in Iraq as a Specialist with 2nd Platoon, Bravo Company, 3-505 Parachute Infantry Regiment and was medically retired due to injuries received in defense of Operation Iraqi Freedom. On February 15, 2004, while on patrol of suspected mortar sites, his fire team was engaged by enemy fire and he sustained gunshot wounds on the right side of the face, neck, and shoulder. As a result of his injuries, the right side of SPC Vycital's face has been paralyzed and he lost the hearing in his right ear. After spending some time rehabilitating from injuries, SPC Vycital returned to school and with the assistance of the VA and the Army Wounded Warrior (AW2) program. He completed his degree in Business Administration with an Accounting concentration from Colorado State University in December 2008. Following graduation, with the help of his AW2 advocates SPC Vycital landed a position within the Federal Highway Administration. He has since been promoted to the position of Programs & Planning Financial Specialist and will have been with the Agency for one year in March. The President's executive order on employing Veterans in the Federal Government has made employing Veterans like Vycital a priority. Vycital resides in Fort Collins, CO with his wife of 7 years, Jarah, and has a 4 year old son, Breccan, and a 17 month old daughter, Micah.
Trevor Yager (Indianapolis, IN)
Trevor Yager began his career in 1995 while in college by founding TrendyMinds, a full-service advertising/public relations firm. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Anderson University and went on to work with various motor sports sponsors, team owners and sanctioning bodies. Today, at TrendyMinds, Yager provides strategic planning, business development, marketing and technology guidance and support to various local, national and international clients. In 2009 the agency grew by more than 200 percent, doubled the number of employees and gained 15 new accounts. Yager credits President Obama's welcoming climate for small businesses, including the many initiatives under the Recovery Act, for this success.
He is also passionate about helping non-profits and TrendyMinds is committed to giving back to the community by donating in-kind services to organizations throughout Indiana.
Yager resides in Indianapolis with his partner of seven years, Tyler Murray. The two have recently started the process of adoption and look forward to adding a new member to their family.
Juan Yépez (Lawrence, MA)
Juan Yépez, and his brother Luis, are Ecuadorian-natives, who in ten short years, have built a successful and growing commercial real estate company in addition to growing Mainstream Global, a worldwide distributor of computer products, consumer electronics, and electronic components, in mills once inhabited by earlier generations of immigrants.
The Yépez brothers were the recipients of the 2009 Small Business Administration Phoenix award for recovering from a major flood that destroyed almost $400,000 of inventory while still managing to flourish in the midst of an economic downturn. They believe that doing business in an area hit by 17 percent unemployment is more than just giving back and that hiring first generation Americans like themselves who want to work and contribute to society is the cornerstone of long-term success.
Are we done with space exploration?
Discover blog reports on rumors that the Obama administration is cutting funding for two rocket systems, eliminating any possibility of going to the moon again, as a step toward an eventual mission to Mars.
This is in addition to the end of the Shuttle program, which has forced American astronauts to hitch rides to the International Space Station from Russia.
Says the Discover blog:
And finally, space exploration is important. I find it difficult to believe Obama doesn't know that; he's proven himself to be both pro-science and understanding of the inspiration it provides. And the rumor is that this year's budget for NASA actually goes up a little bit, it just cuts Constellation and Ares. But if this really does gut NASA's future, cutting way back on what they can do, then it's a mistake.
Is it important? For clues, we might look to the United States' fastest gaining global competitors. India today announced its first manned space mission. It also plans a mission to Mars in 2030.
Maybe, that's not "our thing" anymore because of the sacrifice that exploring deeper space would take. "We estimated our odds (then) of not coming back at 1-in-70. Those are not very good odds," former astronaut John Grunsfeld of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore tells PhysOrg.com. "It only gets worse as you go further out."(4 Comments)
Update 12:44 p.m 1/29 - Let me clarify what this post is about because it's clear after talking to several people, including Attorney Gaertner , that I didn't write it properly to get the message across. The point is not that the actions of a police officer were reviewed -- of course they should be -- or that it took 5 months for the county attorney's office to issue a clean bill of health. The posting should not have said it took the county attorney's office five months. It should only have noted that the final disposition came five months after the incident. For the record, the case wasn't turned over for review by her office until last week. The post is about how the story was framed at the media end, and the elevation of the possibility of charges at the media's -- that's us -- end. The reason I put the entire news release online is so readers could see that the county attorney's office affirmed heroic actions, which goes -- at least by my editorial sensibilities -- beyond phrases like "acted properly" and even "justified." I regret not being more clear in the original post.
Authorities say a Maplewood Police Officer was justified in using deadly force when she fatally shot the man who killed North St. Paul Officer Richard Crittenden in September.
The Ramsey County Attorney's Office released the findings of its review Wednesday, saying Officer Julie Nelson won't face charges.
What's the problem? To me, raising the possibility of charges against Officer Julie Nelson cheapens her actions on the awful day that Officer Crittenden died trying to protect a woman and her child from an abusive man.
It took the Ramsey County Attorney months to determine that she will not be charged with anything. Most of the media reports also led with the angle that the shooting was justified... and Officer Nelson won't be charged with anything.
Here's Attorney Susan Gaertner's full press release today. See if you can find another headline for the story:
The Ramsey County Attorney's Office has determined that Maplewood Police Officer Julie Olson was justified in using deadly force against a man who assaulted her and killed North St. Paul Police Officer Richard Crittenden in a September 7, 2009, incident at a North St. Paul apartment.
Prosecutors reviewed reports from a Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) investigation of the incident and determined there is no probable cause to consider charges against Olson in the fatal shooting of 34-year-old Devon Dockery.
It is standard practice for the County Attorney's Office to review fatal shootings in Ramsey County involving law enforcement officers.
"I am convinced based on my office's review of this tragic and violent incident that both Officer Ron Crittenden and Officer Julie Olson not only acted properly, but acted heroically," County Attorney Susan Gaertner said.
"Officer Crittenden was killed while trying to protect Olson and two women who had called police for help. Officer Olson placed her life in grave danger while defending Officer Crittenden, the two women and herself," Gaertner said.
According to the BCA investigative reports: Officers Crittenden and Olson were dispatched to an apartment building at 2253 Skillman Ave. E. shortly after 8 a.m. on September 7, 2009. They were responding to a 911 call from Stacy Terry, Dockery's estranged wife, who feared that Dockery was in her apartment in violation of a court Order for Protection.
Terry told the officers that Dockery was at her apartment building on September 6, 2009, and told her that he had a gun. After that conversation, Terry told police, she and her teenage daughter left the apartment building and not did return until the morning of September, 7, 2009.
When they arrived that morning at 2253 Skillman Ave. E, Officers Crittenden and Olson entered the building and first searched for Dockery in a vacant apartment near Terry's apartment.
The officers then went to Terry's apartment along with Terry and her daughter. When the officers and women entered the apartment, Dockery advanced toward them and threw a flaming rag that landed on Crittenden's head.
Crittenden pushed the women away from Dockery, then wrestled with him. At some point, Dockery disengaged from Crittenden and physically accosted Olson. Crittenden then tried to get Dockery away from Olson. During their second struggle, Dockery got control of Crittenden's handgun and fatally shot him in the head at point blank range.
Dockery then pointed the gun at Olson, and they exchanged gunfire from opposite ends of a short couch.
Olson was wounded when a shot fired by Dockery hit her utility belt and fragmented, sending pieces of metal into the officer's right arm. Olson then retreated into a hallway outside the apartment to reload her weapon from a better position of cover.
Olson and Maplewood Police Officer Lonn Bakke, who also was responding to the 911 call, then reentered the apartment and found Dockery fatally wounded and lying near the couch next to Crittenden.
The BCA investigation determined that the entire violent incident, in which multiple shots were fired by Dockery and Olson, occurred within a matter of seconds.
Gaertner's review of what happened reads almost exactly the way the BCA said it happened when it released details of the incident in North St. Paul almost five months ago.(2 Comments)