FANS has announced a live re-broadcast of the Lettuce tribute to Jerry Garcia Band at LOCKN’ 2018 which featured a slew of talented friends including Eric Krasno, Bob Weir, John Mayer, Oteil Burbridge, Kofi Burbridge, and more. The event is set to take place on Wednesday, May 27th at 9:00 p.m. ET.The That Show Was Epic virtual event, hosted on FANS’ immersive livestreaming platform, will feature live commentary from Lettuce members Adam Deitch (drums), Erick “Jesus” Coomes, and Ryan Zoidis (saxophone) as well as a live Q&A hosted by Live For Live Music founder Kunj Shah.For more information on how you can “Be In The Stream” on FANS for the Lettuce JGB tribute rewind, head here. To RSVP and access the stream when it goes live, head to the event page on FANS here.Setlist: Lettuce with Eric Krasno (JGB Tribute) | LOCKN’ Festival | Infinity Downs Farm | Arrington, VA | 8/25/2018Set: Finders Keepers, I Second That Emotion, Stop That Train$*+, After Midnight*#, Sugaree*#%, Tangled Up In Blue*#%, That’s What Love Will Make You Do*#%, How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)*#%, Cats Under The Stars*#, They Love Each Other*#$ with bassist Oteil Burbridge | + keyboardist Kofi Burbridge | * vocalist Alecia Chakour and vocalist Mark Rivers | # with John Mayer | % with Bob WeirLettuce will also be taking part in Live For Live Music’ Quarantine Comes Alive, a virtual music festival, on Saturday, May 30th. All proceeds from the donation-based event will be split between the participating artists and the comprehensive PLUS1 COVID-19 Relief Fund. Working directly with leading non-profit organizations like Sweet Relief, MusiCares, Center for Disaster Philanthropy, World Central Kitchen, Partners In Health, Trans Lifeline, and Backline, the PLUS1 COVID-19 Relief Fund’s goal is to provide aid where it’s needed most. For more information or to donate/RSVP today, head here.
Although celebrating the contributions of Stars of Life awardees is the primary topic of conversation during Hill Meetings, AAA’s government affairs staff arms awardees and their executive hosts with key talking points to help rally support from congressional members around key legislative priorities for our industry. The American Ambulance Association (AAA) Stars of Life event, which began yesterday and runs through tomorrow at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C., is an important annual event that recognizes remarkable EMTs, paramedics, dispatchers, educators, fleet technicians and others awarded with AAA’s Stars of Life awards, but it’s also an important week for our industry to increase its visibility with key members of both houses of the U.S. Congress. The 108 awardees identified as this year’s Stars of Life represent excellence in EMS across the country, and starting today and through tomorrow, they join their executive hosts from agencies around the country to spread the word about their achievements during short Hill Meetings with their U.S. senators and congressional representatives. In an impressive display of coordination by AAA’s government affairs staff, more than 150 Hill Meetings are being held over the two-day period. This year, the primary legislative push is to enlist support for extending the Medicare ambulance add-on payments in order to ensure they don’t expire at the end of the year. The add-on payments are critical for our industry to continue to provide high-quality EMS and medical transport, hire new staff, update equipment, gain access to lifesaving medications and keep response times low. Rural areas are especially vulnerable, as they face a higher Medicare population, lower population density and long transport times. R. Buesking and Darick Day (Madison County Ambulance District) and Renee McClure, Kent Coleman and David Tetrault (St. Francois County Ambulance District) met with U.S. Representative Jason Smith of Missouri. The Stars of Life Hill Meetings are key to pushing this legislation forward, but AAA also encourages everyone to get involved, and they ask that everyone reach out to your members of Congress to support the legislation.R. Buesking and Darick Day (Madison County Ambulance District) and Renee McClure Kent Coleman and David Tetrault (St. Francois County Ambulance District) met with U.S. Representative Rep. Jason Smith of Missouri.
She was overwhelmed by his kindness, and said she would’ve been happy with just the surprise phone call.Perz’s penchant for mailing money to former teachers began in 1992 when he sent a $5,000 check to his former calculus teacher. Twenty years later he gave his business instructor $10,000, according to ABC News.Honoring his gift request, Mecham plans to visit her family’s homelands of Norway and Sweden.Mecham runs a charitable effort now and says the event made her stop and think, ‘who do I want to thank’. Additionally, her post on Facebook about the incident caused many friends and strangers to comment about the teachers in their own lives who made a difference.MULTIPLY the Good by Sharing (below) / Photo Credits – Marilyn Mecham TwitterAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore After years of working with the alumni association to search for Mrs. Mecham, he finally found her son’s phone number, which led to a January reunion.The monetary gift included a handwritten note with implicit instructions to spend the money only on herself, noting that he’d be sad otherwise.Mecham, now 62, was a first-year teacher in 1977 when she taught Perz and his classmates how to cook.Fifth Grader Donates Entire $300 Savings To Stop Teacher Layoffs AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreKevin Perz took the idea of giving his favorite teacher an apple to another level.The Kansas businessman stunned the woman who was his beloved home economics teacher from 37 years ago with a surprise telephone call–and later a $10,000 thank-you check.Perz, who attended Parkway Central High School in Missouri, expressed his gratitude in a letter to Marilyn Mecham using bold letters, “You were the B-E-S-T teacher EVER!”Students Discover Math Teacher’s Secret Identity… As Baby Cuddler
But the real power of this film is how it delves into the minds of these young men. These are teenagers who have a budding interest in going into politics when they grow up. Their optimistic views of political service to the country service are inspiring. Then again, some of their jaded thoughts on American politics are also quite distressing.It’s curious that the film draws such divisive reactions. There are some audiences who see the clear-eyed young men in this film and think that there is hope for us yet. Things look rosy if this is an early portrait of our future leaders. Then again, there are others who note that these young men have already learned the power of mudslinging and smear campaigns. I shudder to think of what the future might look like if they are already so adept at playing dirty politics.Any film that can stir up such a range of emotions is obviously very well made. Kudos to the filmmakers who reportedly deployed a half-dozen camera teams in order to cover the sprawling event. And credit them for being smart enough in pre-production to be able to lock onto the major candidates, even though they were unknown students mere days before the event began. It’s not a perfect film. The documentary might have benefitted by showcasing a few other points of view. It should also be noted that, according to my sister, Girls State is where the real drama happens.Perhaps there’s a sequel to come. Either way, Boys State is a fascinating documentary and a thrilling/terrifying look at America’s political future—a must see for anyone who is a political junkie.Boys State is streaming exclusively on Apple TV+. Movie reviews by Sean McBride, “The Movie Guy,” are published each week by Port Arthur Newsmedia and seen weekly on KFDM and Fox4. Sean welcomes your comments via email at [email protected] Boys State is the annual program sponsored by the American Legion where high school students are given a crash course on the American political system. They gather to form a mock legislature and campaign to be elected as the teenage versions of governors, senators and judges.I took part in the program in 1983, and while I recall it being a lot of fun, it didn’t ignite a passion in me for political service. I wonder if things might have been different if I’d attended the Boys State at the center on the new Apple+ documentary.Boys State takes place at the Texas gathering in 2018 and follows a handful of boys as they careen through their mock election process. At its most basic level, this film recreates the tension of a national political race. The filmmakers have been following a handful of the participants, so it’s only natural that we would be invested in the outcome of their campaigns. Boys StateApple TV+Directed by Amanda McBaine and Jesse MossRated PG-13
The University of Vermont Medical Center,UPDATE: Late Monday night UVM Medical Center President Eileen Whalen sent the following statement: “We negotiated face-to-face with the nurses’ union tonight for several hours. The discussions were productive and we will resume negotiations Tuesday at 4pm. We will do our best to reach a fair agreement and avert a strike.”by Timothy McQuiston Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals and UVM Medical Center management have agreed to face-to-face negotiations on Monday and Tuesday at 4 pm. This follows from negotiations Friday evening involving a federal mediator. The union contract expired at one minute past midnight early Monday morning. The union represents 1,800 nurses, who have voted to hold a 48-hour strike starting July 12 at 7 am, barring an agreement. The hospital plans to enlist temporary nurses if so needed.Nurses rallied last Monday in front of the hospital when they first announced a two-day strike beginning July 12. VBM photo.The union asked for face-to-face negotiations following a mediated session Friday night that was unsuccessful in producing a shared agreement. The union has also claimed unfair labor practices committed by management.UVM Medical Center President Eileen Whalen issued the following statement over the weekend: “We did not reach agreement with the Vermont Federation of Health Professionals last night. After several exchanges with a mediator, the union informed us it is no longer willing to voluntarily use a mediator. This is very disappointing because mediation has been a successful approach in past negotiations, and was initiated after months of face-to-face negotiations were not producing results.“We’ve agreed to resume face-to-face negotiations at 4 pm on Monday and Tuesday, and are open to additional bargaining sessions in an effort to reach a fair agreement and avert a strike. We continue to suggest other meeting formats that commonly produce positive movement in labor negotiations, including smaller group discussions. “We hope during these sessions to receive a formal counter proposal on wages in response to the offer we put on the table last weekend.”Earlier Monday, over 50 people from Burlington-area labor unions held a press conference and rally at Burlington Fire Station #3 to demonstrate support for the UVM Medical Center nurses.The event was hosted by the Burlington Firefighters Association. Following the press conference, a delegation walked to the hospital’s administrative offices and spoke with Vice President for Human Resources Laurie Gunn, calling on her and colleagues to avert a strike by settling a fair contract in talks this evening.Participants in today’s press conference and rally included:AFSCME Local 1674 – HowardCenterAFSCME Local 1343 – Burlington municipal workersAFSCME Local 4802 – Vermont Homecare UnitedAFT Local 3203 – United Academics, UVM facultyAFT Local 5753 – Porter Federation of Nurses and Health ProfessionalsBFFA Local 3304 – Burlington Firefighters AssociationBurlington Education AssociationDemocratic Socialists of America – Burlington*First Unitarian Universalist Society of Burlington – Economic Justice Task ForceGreen Mountain Labor CouncilInternational Socialists OrganizationNew York State Nurses’ Association – Champlain Valley Physicians’ Hospital*Peace & Justice CenterRights & DemocracySEIU Local 200United – Champlain College Adjunct FacultyTeamsters Local 597 – GMTA Bus Drivers and UPS DriversUE Local 203 – City MarketVermont AFL-CIOVermont NEAVermont Workers’ Center* Sent a solidarity statementUVMMC also detailed its position Monday.“Face-to-face negotiations resumed today. We remain open to additional bargaining sessions in an effort to reach a fair agreement and avert a strike. We continue to suggest other meeting formats that commonly produce positive movement in labor negotiations, including mediation and smaller group discussions. The union’s attorney has informed us that the union is no longer willing to voluntarily use a mediator, which has proven successful in the past three contract settlements. We hope during these sessions to receive a formal counter proposal on wages in response to the offer we put on the table last weekend.“We want to assure our community we are prepared to continue providing the care patients need during the potential strike with as little disruption as possible.”Status of negotiations presented by UVMMCThe UVM Medical Center continues to negotiate with the union representing our nurses in hopes of averting a strike. The union has announced their intention to strike for 48 hours starting on Thursday, July 12, at 7 am. The union’s attorney informed us that the union would no longer voluntarily participate in mediation. We remain open to pursuing productive options to reach an agreement and have agreed to meet at 4 pm on Monday and Tuesday, July 9 and 10, to continue negotiations. We are hopeful we can reach an agreement.Investing in our missionAs a community hospital and provider of advanced care to our region, every decision we make is driven by our mission to provide the highest quality and safest care to our patients and families and improve health in the communities we serve. Whether it’s the new Miller Building, which will provide an improved healing environment for patients and families, our commitment to a unified electronic health record to increase coordination of care across UVM Health Network organizations, or our support for staff professional development by providing tuition assistance – all of these efforts, along with competitive wages for our employees, help us accomplish our mission.WagesThe UVM Medical Center has proposed a fair and competitive wage increase of 13% over the three-year contract, with significant increases beyond that for nurses in certain roles. The union has requested a 24% wage increase over the same period. In order to move these talks to a fair resolution, the UVM Medical Center has: · Nearly doubled our wage offer from our initial proposal.· Agreed to wage parity between our inpatient and outpatient nurses starting in September 2018, rather than phasing it in over three years as we had originally proposed.· Agreed to certain changes in staffing requested by the union. For example, to provide clinical and operational support for nursing units, charge nurses will no longer have patients assigned to them for direct care.Specifics on the UVM Medical Center’s proposal:· RNs: Our proposal would add more than $10,000 to the average annual nurse salary by the end of the three-year contract, bringing it to $84,000. The union’s proposal would result in an average annual salary of $92,000. · APRNs: To recruit Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs), we have proposed increasing their wages by 6% to 25% over three years. · Outpatient RNs: For outpatient nurses, we have proposed their wages be increased to the same level as inpatient nurses in September 2018, which, when added to the wage increases we have proposed, would result in an additional 10% to 26% over three years. · Benefits: All nurses also receive a competitive and comprehensive benefits package that equals more than 30% of base pay. CVPH wage parity There are many elements to nurse compensation, such as base salary, shift differentials and career ladder progression. Because of this, it is difficult to make apples-to-apples comparisons of pay programs between hospitals, even within the same hospital network. For example, applying CVPH’s pay practices at the UVM Medical Center would result in more than a third of our nurses earning less than they do now. Both CVPH and the UVM Medical Center compensate employees based on their specific markets and the recruitment and retention challenges faced by each hospital. $15 minimum wageThe UVM Medical Center committed to having a wage floor in 2006 and has increased it over time. Currently, we are on a path to reach a $15 minimum wage in 2020.Compensation The UVM Medical Center compensates all of its employees based on market analyses. We think this is a fair approach, which allows us to meet our goal of attracting and retaining talented employees at all levels.Staffing We are always working to recruit and hire more staff – both nursing and support staff:Since October 2016, we have hired more than 754 nurses and support staff.More than 300 are nurses.More than 120 of these positions are new.Turnover and vacancy ratesAs of July 9, 2018, the UVM Medical Center has 103 open RN positions and 7 LPN positions. Since March, we have hired 98 nurses, including 35 from outside of Vermont.Our inpatient nursing vacancy rate is comparable to similar organizations (6.9% UVM Medical Center/7.2% at similar organizations). Our average time-to-fill vacant positions is 51.59 days, compared to 61 days for the industry average. Our vacancy rate for outpatient nurses is 14.4% – higher than the vacancy rate at like organizations, with an average time-to-fill vacant positions of 95.91 days. We believe increasing outpatient nursing salaries to the same level as inpatient nursing salaries reflects the increasing complexity of what they do and will help us improve these numbers.Our nursing turnover rate is in line with other academic medical centers across the country: 14.01% for outpatient nurses and 13.03% for inpatient nurses, compared to 13.10% at similar organizations.In response to a question from VBM about total nurse payroll and the impact on the two wage packages each side has publicly proposed, UVMMC spokesman Michael Carrese told VBM: “Our annualized payroll number at the moment is $115,283,563. This is for RN and LPN.”Total cost over 3 years for us is $18M, total cost for union proposal is $44M. As you know we think we have a fair and competitive offer on the table. To put their proposal in perspective, it is more than our entire margin projected for FY 19 – which is $39 million.”RELATED STORY: UVM Medical Center, nurses go back to negotiating tableSources: UVMMC. VFNHP.
VMS Honors those who have demonstrated Outstanding Service to Health Care and Community Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Medical Society (VMS) is pleased to announce this year’s recipients of its prestigious Leadership Awards. The VMS invites you to join us in honoring five individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the health and well-being of Vermonters and the nation during the COVID-19 pandemic.Mark Levine, M.D., of Essex Jct.,VT and Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Health, has been selected as the Vermont Medical Society’s Distinguished Service Award winner for 2020. The Distinguished Service Award is the highest award VMS can bestow upon one of its members and is given on the basis of meritorious service in the science and art of medicine and for outstanding contributions to the medical profession, its organizations, and the welfare of the publicVMS Council-member, Dick Butsch, M.D., said about Dr. Levine, “In a few short months he has undoubtedly saved so many lives and preserved the health of so many people…Most importantly he has established Vermont as the single healthiest State in our country in terms of the SARS-CoV2 Pandemic.”Dr. Levine was nominated for his tireless work mitigating the impact of the COVID pandemic on all Vermonters and his effectiveness at keeping the number of coronavirus cases and deaths in Vermont at some of the lowest in the country. During the pandemic, he has not only spent countless hours obtaining the latest, evidence-based information regarding COVID, but has also consistently and calmly communicated this information and sound public health guidance, to clinicians and all Vermonters. His cogent presentations to both the leaders and the citizens of the state has seen to it that Vermont has been guided through this unprecedented medical event by adhering to the best guidelines that science and clinical expertise can provide. Dr. Levine’s nominators state that he is a thoughtful and calm leader with the highest level of professionalism and evidence-based practice.VMS President Catherine Schneider, M.D., says, “Dr. Levine, you have presented yourself, and hence our profession, to the citizens of Vermont as knowledgeable, competent and compassionate. By exercising the best tenets of our profession in this time of crisis, you have elevated us all. For these reasons you have been chosen to receive this award.”Dr. Levine was named the Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Health in March of 2017. Prior to his appointment, Dr. Levine was a professor of medicine at the University of Vermont, associate dean for graduate medical education, and designated institutional official at the College of Medicine and UVM Medical Center. He received his B.A. in biology from the University of Connecticut and M.D. from the University of Rochester. He completed his internal medicine residency and chief resident year at the University of Vermont, and a fellowship in general internal medicine at the University of North Carolina.Jessie Leyse, M.D., practicing in Berlin, VT, has been selected to receive the Vermont Medical Society’s Physician of the Year Award for 2020. Dr. Leyse, an infectious disease specialist at the Central Vermont Medical Center (CVMC), reportedly worked day and night during the height of the pandemic and continues to endeavor patiently to provide patients and staff alike with answers to questions; adjusting PPE, treatment, testing and staff furlough algorithms weekly. Dr Leyse’s dedication and commitment helped establish CVMC as a leader among hospitals across the state, with her innovative pandemic protocols. This leadership impacted CVMC’s ability to respond to the pandemic and the overall health of the broader community. Dr. Leyse’s nominator calls her a “one-woman-infectious-disease guru” and describes her as not only a great physician, but a tireless mom with a calm, kind yet quick-witted disposition.Dr. Leyse attended Loyola University Chicago for college and medical school. She did a combined residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at Baystate Medical Center in Massachusetts and attended Dartmouth Hitchcock for an Infectious Disease fellowship. While there, she obtained her Master’s in Public Health as well as doing a residency in Preventive Medicine. Dr. Leyse has traveled internationally to provide medical care including to the Philippines, Guatemala, Haiti, Sub-Saharan Africa, and West Africa during the Ebola outbreak.The Physician of the Year Award is granted annually to a physician licensed in the state of Vermont who has demonstrated: outstanding performance in the quality of care given to his/her patients; skillful and compassionate patient care; and dedication to the welfare of his patients in accordance with accepted principles of good medical practice.Jean Anderrson-Swayze, M.D., of Middlebury, VT, has been selected to receive the Physician Award for Community Services for 2020. Dr. Anderrson-Swayze, a family medicine physician, was nominated for this year’s award for her dedication to international public health and her consistent bravery in helping people who are experiencing times of struggle. She has brought her expertise around the world and volunteered during countless emergency health crises. This April, Dr. Anderrson-Swayze spent a week in New York City, volunteering as a member of the International Medical Corps Disaster Response Team to a COVID surge at Maimonides Hospital in NY, NY. When she returned to Vermont her experience led to early and effective COVID-19 testing in the Middlebury community, keeping patients out of the emergency rooms. She has volunteered to provide medical assistance after health crises in Haiti, Houston, Puerto Rico, Florida and Bahamas. She has also travelled to Greece and Bangladesh to work with refugees and volunteers with Meals on Wheels and at the Open-Door Clinic at home in Vermont.Dr. Anderrson-Swayze practices at the Middlebury Family Health Clinic in Middlebury, Vermont and attended Middlebury College before completing her medical training at the UVM College of Medicine and her residency at Fletcher Allen.The Physician Award for Community Services is granted annually to physicians who have compiled an outstanding record of community service, which, apart from his or her specific identification as a physician, reflects well on the profession.The Citizen of the Year Award recipient for 2020 is Senator Virginia “Ginny” Lyons of Willison, VT. Senator Lyons, the current Chair of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, has served in the Vermont legislature for twenty years. Her nomination identifies Senator Lyons as a steadfast advocate for public health issues and a true champion for Vermonters’ health. While in the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, Senator Lyons has been at the forefront of public health policy and worked tirelessly to pass legislation to raise the age for tobacco purchases to 21, to ban tobacco flavors, to protect our youngest population by banning crib bumpers and to support reproductive rights. Senator Lyons believes in science, in evidence, and in the experts, and is a true collaborator who works in partnership to make sure that science and evidence is heard from those who dedicate their lives to the practice of medicine.Virginia Lyons of Williston, VT, a Chittenden County Democrat, was born in Auburn, NY. She was educated at Drew University, Rutgers University, and earned her Doctorate at the University of Vermont. She taught at Trinity College, VT, for 27 years.The Citizen of the Year Award is given to a non-physician resident of the state of Vermont who in the past and presently has made a significant contribution to the health of the people of Vermont.Anthony Fauci, M.D., has been selected to receive the VMS Founder’s Award for 2020, for his stalwart leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Founders’ Award is presented to individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, vision, and achievement in improving the health of Vermonters and all Americans.Dr. Fauci’s nomination states, “in this time when so many seem to be turning away from the science and the evidence, you have been a steadfast pillar, constantly bringing us back to these tools that we know are the only way we will be able to help our patients – improving the health of Vermonters and all Americans.” Dr. Fauci’s commitment to following the data and the science while on the front lines of battling this pandemic, can serve as a North Star during these turbulent times.Dr. Fauci is an immunologist who has served as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984. He attended the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. After graduating first in his class from New York City’s Cornell Medical College in 1966, he completed his internship and residency at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center.The VMS Physician Leadership Awards for 2020 will be presented during the awards ceremony being held on Saturday, November 7, 2020, as a part of the Vermont Medical Society’s 207th Virtual Annual Meeting for VMS members and Vermont’s healthcare community. To learn more, go to vtmd.org/annual-meeting(link is external).About the Vermont Medical Society: The Vermont Medical Society is the leading voice of physicians in the state and is dedicated to protecting the health of all Vermonters and improving the environment in which Vermont physicians and physician assistants practice medicine. The Society serves its 2,400 members through public policy advocacy on the state and federal levels, as well as by providing legal, administrative and educational support, producing a rich flow of news and information and offering member benefits that increase medical practice effectiveness and efficiency. For more information, visit www.VTMD.org(link is external).Source: Montpelier, Vt. (October 8, 2020) – Vermont Medical Society
Pictured are Noah Bryan (band), Chelsea Turner (choir), A. J. Bonci (orchestra), Tucker Bartlett (choir), Chacko Finn (band), Carly Hastings (choir) and Annie Sinsel (orchestra).Students from the SM North music department have been selected for the Kansas Music Educators High School All State groups.The musicians had to go through an audition process to be selected. They will travel to Wichita in late February to rehearse and perform with the other top high school singers and players from across Kansas at the 2014 Kansas Music Educators annual convention.Chosen for the honors at SM North were Noah Bryan (band), Chelsea Turner (choir), A.J. Bonci (orchestra), Tucker Bartlett (choir), Chacko Finn (band), Carley Hastings (choir) and Annie Sinsel (orchestra).The SM North choir teacher is Juli O’Mealey; orchestra teacher is Karen McGhee-Hensel; band teacher is Chad Reed and assistant band teacher is Andrew Adams.
The state capitol dome in Topeka.Word this week that Kansas state legislature leaders are open to a process to amend the state constitution to clearly define what the “suitable” provision for education finance means found relatively little traction among many officials in northeast Johnson County.Speaker Ron Ryckman of Olathe and Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning of Overland Park were among the Republican leadership who said they were open to the idea of drafting a constitutional amendment on the issue of school funding and putting it before Kansas voters.“There’s going to be many solutions, but one solution would be: Let the voters reevaluate what suitable means to them and let them take a vote on it,” Denning told the Wichita Eagle.The idea met with mixed reactions from members of the northeast Johnson County delegation who responded to our invitation to comment on the idea of amending Section 6b of Article 6 of the Kansas Constitution, which states that “The legislature shall make suitable provision for finance of the educational interests of the state.” Some felt it was unnecessary while othersHere’s what they had to say:Rep. Melissa Rooker (Fairway)Over the years, I have heard many ideas for changing the constitution – some to weaken it, some to clarify it, some to strengthen it. I do not support change that would weaken Article 6, nor do I think that our legal problems stem from the current language of the constitution. The remedy required in Gannon remains straightforward – we need to provide at least as much funding as we were allocating in 2008-09 adjusted for inflation and make 4 minor changes to the language of the formula. Part of healthy legislative process involves holding hearings and allowing public comment in order to weigh the pros and cons of any idea. I support the process, even when I disagree with the policy being discussed because it affords us the chance for greater understanding.Rep. Cindy Holscher (Lenexa)I am not open to such an amendment as those who are pushing it are many of the same legislators who have fought the proper funding of our public schools for many years. My concern is there would be no real attempt to “define” the necessary amount; rather, focus would be put on how to minimize the amount of funding and set the floor as low as possible. While the formula itself has many positive aspects, a number of us pushed for a higher amount of funding because it was clear it was too low.Additionally, the idea many legislators have floated that “we don’t know how to satisfy the court because they did not provide a dollar amount” is not exactly accurate. In 1992, Base State Aid Per Pupil (BSAPP) was $3,600. The proposed amount, as set forth in the school finance formula passed this summer, for 2017 is $4006. Of course, a $400 increase over a 25 year period does not keep pace with inflation or changing needs of our students. We also have another clue in regard to defining a suitable amount; in 2008-2009, the court approved a figure of $4433 for BSAPP.I would contend this issue can be solved. Rather than stalling or trying to find an “out,” it’s time to get the job done. Our children and teachers have been cheated far too long.Rep. Stephanie Clayton (Overland Park)I find the language in question to be fairly straightforward: it is my constitutional obligation to appropriate money that will properly fund public education. It is a promise that I have repeatedly made to my constituents, and I will continue to keep it. That said, I am certainly open to constitutional language that would hold legislatures much, much more accountable for funding schools than we currently are. The past several years, the legislature has shirked their constitutional obligation, so stronger language holding us to our oath may well resolve the issue at hand. I would not, however, be in support of language that would weaken the State’s obligation to our citizens to fully educate our students. I will keep you informed of my evaluation of any such proposals as the situation develops, and I am grateful to you for our continued discussions on this, and other legislative matters.Rep. Jerry Stogsdill (Prairie Village)To me, the framers of the Kansas Constitution gave us good direction by allowing the Legislature the flexibility to address school finance on what they knew would be changing societal, educational and financial conditions. This section of the Kansas Constitution, when placed in the totality of Article 6, also makes it very clear that the Legislature is to provide the policy and funding necessary to ensure the children of Kansas are afforded the opportunity of, access to and continuation of a quality public school education.The Kansas Constitution is also quite clear on the responsibilities of the three separate but equal branches of Kansas government. The Legislature makes the laws, the Judicial determines if those laws adhere to the Constitution and the Executive manages the implementation of those laws. In our present situation, the Constitution seems to be working the way it should. The Legislature has passed the laws pertaining to school finance and the Judicial has determined they do not meet the standards set forth in the Constitution. Now the process demands that we go back and rework the laws so they will pass Judicial muster.Unfortunately, we have some ultra-conservative members of the Legislature and the Executive who do not value public education and would like to see our public schools downgraded, underfunded and, in some cases, privatized. They would like to have the Kansas Constitution rewritten to fit their ultra-conservative educational agenda and to take public tax money away from our public schools and redirect those funds to private schools. To keep this attack on our public schools from happening is exactly why our Constitution is written the way it is and I would not want to see it changed. We can effectively deal with school finance, educational policy and the administration of our public schools all under the provisions in the current Kansas Constitution.I am a strong supporter of our public schools and I am certainly most willing and anxious to examine and implement any funding or policy ideas that will make our public schools more effective, more efficient and more accessible to the varied needs of all the children of Kansas. As legislators that is our constitutional job, our constitutional responsibility to the children of Kansas and our constitutional obligation to the tax payers of Kansas. Our ability to make positive policy and financial changes in our system of public education is clearly outlined in the present Kansas Constitution and, as of now, I have seen nothing that makes me think this needs to change.”Rep. Jarrod Ousley (Merriam):I am not open to the idea of a constitutional amendment, and I do not believe a majority of the legislature is either. I prefer to meet our constitutional obligations to provide an education for our students, rather than eliminate those obligations under the law.
Last week, after Fortune magazine announced that Hyland Software was named a Fortune 100 Best Company to Work For 2014, I asked some fellow colleagues what that meant to them, personally.I expected everyone to answer with a favorite perk – the on-site diner, barbershop, fitness center, flex schedules, relaxed dress code and so on.But that’s not what people talked about. Turns out, for most, material things don’t make Hyland special or successful. They are barely top of mind. No, it is something else entirely.“The camaraderie and the team-oriented culture make Hyland a great place to work,” Bill Priemer, Hyland Software CEO, told me. “Succeeding as a company is much more fulfilling because it benefits people I genuinely like and care about.”That’s right. People. Above all else, Hylanders wanted to talk about their friends and co-workers. continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
In the Big Ten opener, Hart stands outThe sophomore had 20 kills in the match against Michigan, tied for a career best.Outside hitter Alexis Hart pushes the ball past UCLA in the Sports Pavilion on Dec. 10, 2016. Owen MageauSeptember 25, 2017Jump to CommentsShare on FacebookShare on TwitterShare via EmailPrintIn the Gophers’ Big Ten volleyball opener on Friday, their top returner in kills shined.Outside hitter Alexis Hart led the way for Minnesota with 20 kills in four sets against the No. 20 Michigan Wolverines as the Gophers won 3-1 at Maturi Pavilion on Friday night. “That’s what we expect,” said head coach Hugh McCutcheon. “She is a very good volleyball player. She can be dominant and certainly she carried her fair share tonight. No question.”On the season, Hart has 143 kills and is second in kills per set with 3.18. Hart also has 19 block assists this year. Her 20 kills in the match tied her career-high total.“She has worked hard and she has got better” McCutcheon said. “I think she is embracing the idea that she has the ability to be a complete volleyball player.”In her freshman year, she played in all 34 matches. She finished second on the team in kills with 359, kills per set with 2.85 and attempts with 945. Hart’s freshman campaign earned her a freshman All-Big Ten selection. Now, she’s in her sophomore season, and Hart said she’s excited about the first match of the Big Ten season. This was the first of many Big Ten matches, and Hart knows the competition will be tough the rest of the way. “I feel like everyone did pretty well tonight,” Hart said. “I feel like as games go on, Big Ten is always a battle, we have to take it one game at a time.”Samantha Seliger-Swenson had 51 assists in match, while adding four blocks. When asked about her great performance, Hart was quick to spread the praise to her teammates. “[Seliger-Swenson] is an amazing setter and the other girls on the team played pretty good,” Hart said. “I feel like we were really balanced.”With the Big Ten season opening up, it’s a good time for Hart to be playing her best volleyball. She was asked if her hands hurt from all the kills. “No,” Hart said with a laugh.