University convenes expanded committee to reform student parking system

first_imgIn response to student and faculty feedback, Notre Dame convoked an expanded committee in February to reform student parking on and off campus.According to an email sent to the student body Monday night from University Vice President John Affleck-Graves, the committee is composed of a diverse selection of members representing several groups on campus.“I have asked the committee to put together a holistic recommendation for parking solutions long term that balances the needs and desires of the faculty, staff, students, and visitors, with the environmental and economic impacts to campus,” Affleck-Graves said in an email to The Observer. “I am hopeful that they will be able to put together a set of recommendations that will address the overall needs of the campus community.”Affleck-Graves said he has heard growing frustrations from the Notre Dame community in regards to the parking situation. “Parking impacts almost everyone on campus and I know that it is becoming more and more of a challenge during this period of historic growth,” Affleck-Graves said. “It was important to me to put together a long term parking plan that was developed and vetted by representatives of all of the key campus stakeholders, to ensure that multiple viewpoints and considerations are taken into account.”According to the email, the committee met for the first time as a larger group in February, after increasing pressure from the community to reform the current parking system. “The University had a smaller parking committee that would meet a few times a year to consider changes to parking lots, the on-campus shuttle system, and game day parking. It also had undergraduate and graduate student, faculty and staff representation, but it was a smaller committee with a proportional scope of influence,” Affleck-Graves said. Affleck-Graves said he anticipates the new, larger committee will give him their final proposals by the end of the summer. “I asked them to consider the following components of campus parking in particular: The reserved parking pilot program for faculty and staff, the campus shuttle system, ground parking and a parking garage,” Affleck-Graves said. “I also asked the committee to balance the environmental, social, economic and aesthetic impact of its recommendations.”The committee has created an online form for concerned parties to submit feedback on the parking situation situation, according to the email.“When considering each of these separately or in combination, the committee is also considering costs, locations and routes for implementation, as well as all of the varied constituent groups that utilize parking services, including faculty, staff, students and visitors,” a statement from the new website said. “The committee welcomes your feedback to help form and recommend constructive and implementable solutions to parking on campus,” Affleck-Graves said.According to a committee roster on the website, the group includes faculty from all of the colleges, as well as two representatives from student government, who will change April 1 when student government turns over.“I know that it will be difficult to find a solution to parking that satisfies everyone, however I hope that you take this opportunity to offer feedback to the parking committee and help to craft a viable plan that will be equitable and addresses the overall needs of all,” Affleck-Graves said.Editors Note: News Editor Katie Galioto contributed to this report. Tags: John Affleck-Graves, parking, Student government, Student Lifelast_img read more

US’s wild bird H5N1 monitoring expands beyond Alaska

first_imgAug 10, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – US agriculture and interior secretaries announced yesterday that their departments are expanding wild bird monitoring for H5N1 avian influenza beyond Alaska in partnerships with the lower 48 states, Hawaii, and other Pacific islands.”Because we cannot control wild birds, our best protection is an early warning system, and this move to test thousands more wild birds throughout the country will help us to quickly identify, respond to, and control the virus if it arrives in the United States,” said US Department of Agriculture (USDA) secretary Mike Johanns in a USDA–Department of Interior (DOI) press release yesterday.Scientists are not certain what role migratory birds play in transmitting the H5N1 virus.DOI secretary Dirk Kempthorne said joint federal and state testing programs will be important this fall when birds now nesting in Alaska and Canada begin migrating south through the continental United States.President Bush allocated $29 million in his 2006 fiscal year avian influenza supplemental package to cover the cost of implementing the wild bird monitoring component of the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza. Of the $17 million the UDSA received, $4 million has gone to states to expand wild bird monitoring. The remainder funds USDA sampling efforts, purchase of sampling kits, and analysis of bird and environmental samples.Of the $12 million that went to the DOI, about $2.4 million has gone to state agencies and other agencies for collecting wild bird samples. The rest of the DOI’s allocation will fund DOI’s sampling and analysis activities and a data management system for state-federal wild bird sampling efforts.Surveillance status in AlaskaA surveillance program between the DOI and the State of Alaska has been under way since the summer of 2005. United States monitoring efforts began in Alaska because it is the first US stopover for birds from Asia and other continents where the H5N1 virus is present.In April, samples from Alaska began arriving for testing at the US Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) in Madison, Wis., center biologist Paul Slota told CIDRAP News. “We’ve screened about 7,000 samples from Alaska. We’re on target with the number of samples we needed, so we’re off to a good start. Next, we’ll be working on samples from the lower 48 states,” he said.Besides screening, the extra resources provided by the federal-state partnership have allowed the NWHC to do more mortality investigations than they could have done otherwise, he said. Screening has identified a fair number of influenza viruses, but none were H5N1, Slota said. Samples positive for H5 influenza are sent to the USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa, to determine if they are H5N1. “The lab-to-lab relationship is going very well,” he said.Wild bird monitoring goalsA wild bird monitoring plan drawn up by several groups including the USDA, DOI, International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, National Association of Public Health Veterinarians, and the State of Alaska, is part of the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza, according to a March press release from the USDA, DOI, and Department of Health and Human Services.The monitoring plan outlines five strategies for early detection of the H5N1 virus in wild migratory birds:Investigation of disease outbreaks in wild birdsExpanded monitoring of live wild birdsMonitoring of hunter-killed birdsUse of sentinel animals, such as backyard poultry flocksEnvironmental sampling of water and bird fecesThe goal of the USDA-DOI wild bird surveillance plan is to collect 75,000 to 100,000 samples from birds and 50,000 environmental samples. Since 1998 the USDA and the State of Alaska have tested more than 12,000 birds in Alaska, and since 2000 the USDA and the University of Georgia have tested almost 4,000 birds in the Atlantic flyway.Sampling locations in each state will depend on weather and habitat conditions during bird migration periods, the USDA-DOI press release noted. State and interagency groups will pinpoint sampling locations as migration occurs; likely locations include areas where large groups of birds congregate, such as public lands, private lands with property owner approval, and local areas such as ponds and city parks.According to an article on the testing plan from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), 11,000 samples from live birds will be screened by the NWHC. The rest will be tested at labs certified by the USDA. Samples that test positive will be sent to the NVSL to determine if H5N1 is present.Western states launch testingOregon and Washington are two of the states in the Pacific flyway, which is the focus of the next round of wild migratory bird screening.State and federal wildlife biologists will be testing wild birds in Oregon this summer and fall, said a Jun 19 press release from the ODFW. Wildlife authorities will collect samples from several species that are most likely to have been in contact with birds from Asia this summer in the Arctic. Oregon’s detection plan will involve collecting about 4,000 samples from migratory shorebirds and waterfowl including pintails, mallards, green-winged teals, geese, and tundra swans.Live bird sampling began on Sauvie Island, in northwest Oregon near the Columbia River, in late June and will continue through September in six other wildlife management areas. Hunter-harvested birds will be sampled at check stations during hunting season, which runs from September through December. Fecal samples will be collected from June through January from such waterfowl gathering areas as wetlands, urban parks, and golf courses.In Washington, wildlife biologists began testing 2,500 wild birds in July, focusing on those most likely to have interacted with Asian migratory birds this summer, according to a Jun 13 press release from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). The first areas tested were northern Puget Sound and coastal estuaries. Waterfowl testing will focus on pintails and mallards and when possible will include wigeons, green-winged teals, shovelers, and sea ducks. Shorebird testing will target Western sandpipers and dunlin, and when possible will include red knots and ruddy turnstones.The WDFW estimates that about 1 million geese, 12 million ducks, and 150,000 swans pass through the Pacific flyway each year, beginning in August, on their return from the Arctic. In addition, hundreds of thousands of autumn-migrating shorebirds arrive in Washington between July and October.See also:Aug 9 USDA-DOI press release expanding wild migratory bird testing beyond AlaskaJun 19 ODFW press release on bird testing efforts for avian flu 13 WDFW press release on avian influenza surveillance plan read more

Elderly woman killed by her dog

first_imgFlorida officials say an elderly woman was mauled to death by her own dog while another man was hospitalized with serious injuries.According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Carolyn Varanese, 84, was attacked by her dog and was pronounced dead at the scene. Another man, Joseph Varanese, 57, was also attacked and taken to Northwest Medical Center in Margate, Florida.Police did not reveal what caused the dog to attack, or what breed the dog was.The dog is now in the custody of the Broward County Animal Care and Adoption Center.An investigation on the attack continues.last_img read more