Month: January 2021

Steve Jobs, Apple founder, dies at 56

No Comments

first_imgCUPERTINO, Calif. — Steve Jobs, the Apple founder and former CEO who invented and masterfully marketed ever-sleeker gadgets that transformed everyday technology, from the personal computer to the iPod and iPhone, died Wednesday. He was 56. Apple announced his death without giving a specific cause. He died peacefully, according to a statement from family members who said they were present. “Steve’s brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives,” Apple’s board said in a statement. “The world is immeasurably better because of Steve.” Jobs had battled cancer in 2004 and underwent a liver transplant in 2009 after taking a leave of absence for unspecified health problems. He took another leave of absence in January — his third since his health problems began — and officially resigned in August. He took another leave of absence in January — his third since his health problems began — before resigning as CEO six weeks ago. Jobs became Apple’s chairman and handed the CEO job over to his hand-picked successor, Tim Cook. Outside Apple’s Cupertino headquarters, three flags — an American flag, a California state flag and an Apple flag — were flying at half-staff late Wednesday. “Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor.” Cook wrote in an email to Apple’s employees. “Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.” The news Apple fans and shareholders had been dreading came the day after Apple unveiled its latest version of the iPhone, just one in a procession of devices that shaped technology and society while Jobs was running the company. Jobs started Apple with a high school friend in a Silicon Valley garage in 1976, was forced out a decade later and returned in 1997 to rescue the company. During his second stint, it grew into the most valuable technology company in the world with a market value of $351 billion. Almost all that wealth has been created since Jobs’ return. Cultivating Apple’s countercultural sensibility and a minimalist design ethic, Jobs rolled out one sensational product after another, even in the face of the late-2000s recession and his own failing health. He helped change computers from a geeky hobbyist’s obsession to a necessity of modern life at work and home, and in the process he upended not just personal technology but the cellphone and music industries. For transformation of American industry, he has few rivals He has long been linked to his personal computer-age contemporary, Bill Gates, and has drawn comparisons to other creative geniuses such as Walt Disney. Jobs died as Walt Disney Co.’s largest shareholder, a by-product of his decision to sell computer animation studio Pixar in 2006.last_img read more

Students dedicate fall break to service in Appalachia

No Comments

first_imgSome Notre Dame students traveled to the mountains for fall break, but they dedicated their week to service rather than vacation time. These students were among over 250 participants in the semi-annual Appalachia seminar sponsored by the Center for Social Concerns (CSC). Cynthia Toms-Smedley, director of educational immersions at the CSC, said the seminar sends students to several sites across the Appalachia region to serve local communities. The program draws more students than any other CSC program, she said. “I think there’s a mix between the service aspect and getting to know community members in Appalachia, as well as an opportunity to have fun while doing service,” she said. “It’s an opportunity to learn about some of the challenges in Appalachia and to exercise our opportunity to serve people.” The CSC reviewed a record number of 272 applications for the fall trip, Smedley said. The seminar also sends students to the region over spring break. After students travel to Appalachia once, Smedley said many continue to volunteer with the program. “There are a lot of repeat students who are there for the third and fourth time,” she said. “They like to reconnect with the community they have served in the past.” Sophomore Bobby Alvarez spent his week at the Community Development Outreach Ministries (CDOM) in St. Albans, W. Va., and said he plans to return there in the future. “I want to go again, for the friendships I made, but also because the site I was working at was really an amazing site,” Alvarez said. “The people I worked with there were great.” At CDOM, Alvarez and 18 other Notre Dame students spent the mornings painting the community center. After lunch, the volunteers helped local children with their homework and played with them outside until dark. “A lot of the kids came from single parents or families involved with drugs and a lot have families that don’t really care about them,” Alvarez said. “The time at the community center and their time with us is a very special time for both them and us.” Alvarez said students who volunteer at CDOM frequently return because of the unique bonds they form with the children. Sophomore Colleen Duffy spent the week at the Hurley Community Development Center in Hurley, Va. Duffy said she applied to Appalachia to experience the cultural differences between that region and other parts of the country. “I wanted to do something more meaningful with my fall break than to go home and sit by myself,” she said. “I wanted to do something different.” During her first few days, Duffy said she built a porch and ramp on a trailer for a woman who was disabled in a car accident. “The woman was in rehab and was going to return soon, but she couldn’t get into her home,” she said. Duffy also worked at a local food bank with some of the 21 other volunteers who also traveled to Hurley. She said enjoyed meeting not only other Notre Dame students but also the community members. “Everyone from the community would just stop by the center and stop in to tell stories, and we’d always be there,” Duffy said. “By the end of the week, I felt like they were my family, and I wish I could go back.” Smedley said the seminar sends students to approximately 20 Appalachia sites, and each offers a different experience. “You can choose a site where you can get involved in education or in trail cleanup or work with people looking at sustainable agriculture,” Smedley said. Many of the sites have been part of the Appalachia program for decades, and Smedley said each must meet certain criteria to ensure that the volunteers can produce the maximum benefits. “For the centers, it’s an opportunity for students to be useful to the community and not to be a drain on their resources and capacity, but to serve in a way that is helpful,” she said. “And for our students, our hope is that they have an opportunity to get to know the community on a personal level.”last_img read more

Class travels to civil rights memorials over break

No Comments

first_imgFall Break is usually a time for students to return to normalcy: mom’s specialty dishes, catching up with neighborhood friends and copious amounts of sleeping. For English professor Stuart Greene’s freshman university seminar class, the week was filled with visitations to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the 16th Street Baptist Church and other historical sites in Alabama to engage in experiential learning for their course: “Memory, Memorials and Memorialization of the American Civil Rights Movement.” “I have never done this before, even though I have been teaching classes on the civil rights movement for nearly 10 years,” Greene said. “A colleague at Indiana University-South Bend inspired me who taught a class on the civil rights movement and spent two weeks traveling to Montgomery, Selma, Birmingham, Memphis, Nashville and other sites. He called the experience ‘Freedom Summer.’” Greene conducted a tremendous amount of research by looking at various guides and discussing with historians about which places to visit and which people the class should meet. “Everyone was incredibly generous with their time and willingness to spend time with my students and I,” Greene said. The class received funding from the College of Arts and Letters’ “Teaching Beyond the Classroom” program and from the First Year of Studies. Greene and the students covered approximately 20 percent of the cost for travel, lodging, food and admission fees to museums, institutes and churches. “It would have been great going home, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience going with your peers and a professor who is an expert on the subject,” said Bryce Parker, a student in the class. “I’m in college once and can go home another time “If we missed out on this experience, we would have asked why did I give this up just to go home? I don’t think any of us regret it.” Aliska Berry signed up for the course because of the mandatory Alabama trip. “It gave me a firsthand account to experience the Civil Rights Movement,” Berry said. “The trip made me learn about my ancestors, what they went through and why I’m here today. It was a humbling experience.” Austin Bosemer, whose favorite experience of the trip was walking through the streets of Selma, said the course has taken a social activism spin on its historical foundations. “I have gotten involved with Take 10, a volunteer program to mentor students in South Bend area schools,” Bosemer said. “Through this, I’m affecting social change in our community.” The students said their most memorable experience was meeting JoAnne Bland, a tour guide who guided the group through two churches in Selma. As a nine-year-old, Bland was a peaceful protestor scheduled to march from Selma to the state capital in Montgomery. However, armed officers carrying tear gas attacked the demonstrators at the Edmund Pettus Bridge, forbidding them from reaching Montgomery. The infamous day is commonly known as “Bloody Sunday.” “The march turned the national spotlight on Selma and the plight of minorities,” David Katter, another student in the class, said. “She has a lot of built-up rage over that event, which turned into a really moving trip as we walked through Selma with her. “She asked us, ‘I got you this far, what are you going to do?’ It was a really cool call to action.” The semester-long project of the class is to write a 15-page essay concerning the trip, how it affected the students, the importance of a chosen memorial and the importance of it. Some students, like Jas Smith, have created individual projects to complement their experiences. “I decided to make a website to educate children in the Selma area about the Pettus Bridge because a lot of them don’t know about it,” Smith said. “My project is to reform the teaching of history and show why these aspects of civil rights are important.” Beyond engaging in an experience hard to fully understand from reading history books, Greene said the students enjoyed themselves and came together a class. “The effect on us was great and it was a bonding experience for us all,” he said.last_img read more

Auditions open for Shakespeare play

No Comments

first_imgStudents have the chance to find their own midsummer night’s dreams again this year with the Young Company, a group that allows talented undergraduate and graduate students to perform as a part of the 15th annual Shakespeare Festival at Notre Dame.Grant Mudge, Ryan producing artistic director of the Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival, said the Festival organizers and the two main directors are currently gearing up for the Young Company auditions. Students accepted to the group will perform as part of the Festival in both their designated production and alongside professionals in the Professional Company production. He said Notre Dame students will be joined by students from other universities, primarily in the Midwest, who will come to campus for the opportunity to audition.The students selected will take part in three weeks of training in the summer and then will begin touring the Michiana area, within a 1.5-hour travel time radius of Notre Dame, between July 20 and August 25, Mudge said. They will also work with professional actors to stage “Henry IV,” which will run from Aug.19 to Aug. 31.Auditions for the Young Company will take place on campus this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Regis Philbin Studio Theatre of the Debartolo Performing Arts Center, and the necessary application forms can be found at shakespeare.nd.edu, Mudge said. Students currently studying abroad will have the opportunity to submit video auditions, he said.Mudge, who is running the Festival for the second time, said the Festival will offer four different elements: ShakeScenes, the Young Company production of “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” the Professional Company production of “Henry IV” and the Actors From the London Stage production of “Much Ado About Nothing.”“The anniversary reveals how much of a tradition of Shakespeare we have here,” Mudge said. “It’s really within the fabric of our history as a university.“The history of Shakespeare on campus is astonishing to me and most folks don’t realize how extensive it is.”Mudge said the Young Company will be directed by West Hyler. Hyler has worked on Broadway as an assistant director of “Jersey Boys” and directed productions of the same show internationally. He has also been a director with the Big Apple Circus on “Legendarium,” with several large Las Vegas Casinos on “Panda” and with various regional theatres nationwide.“He’s got this very wide range of experience,” Mudge said.The other director, Michael Goldberg, has a background in Chicago theatre and will be directing the Professional Company production of “Henry IV,” in which Shakespeare’s “Henry IV, Part 1” and “Henry IV, Part 2” are “conflated” into one play.Mudge said “Henry IV” was chosen because it was the first full Shakespeare play performed on campus 150 years ago.“I think it’s a great lens, doing ‘Henry IV’ on the 150th anniversary of its first performance at Notre Dame, through which we can view not only our history on campus but also our national experience,” he said. “It was 1864, at the height of the Civil War, and they chose to stage a play that says: ‘Those opposed eyes,/ Which, like the meteors of a troubled heaven,/ All of one nature, of one substance bred,/ Did lately meet in the intestine shock/ And furious close of civil butchery/ Shall now, in mutual well-beseeming ranks,/ March all one way and be no more opposed/ Against acquaintance, kindred and allies.’”The crux of the play is the dilemma of young Henry IV over whether to follow the model of Sir John Falstaff and descend into debauchery or that of his father and become a serious monarch, Mudge said.“Come see Henry IV because it has everything. It is both hilarious and very moving, which I think is at the heart of what Shakespeare likes to do,” he said.Mudge said the famous literary critic Harold Bloom deemed Falstaff to be one of Shakespeare’s greatest characters, on par with Hamlet. Falstaff also appears in a different context in “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” which was chosen for the Young Company for this reason.“It’s not often you get to see the wife-chasing Falstaff and the “Henry IV” Falstaff in the same season,” Mudge said. “I’m pleased we’re going to have that.”Tags: Shakespearelast_img read more

McCormick reflects on plans for Campus Ministry

No Comments

first_imgIn the past several years, Fr. Pete McCormick has become one of the most recognizable figures on campus.He was formerly the rector of Keough Hall, a DJ at Legends and director of Campus Ministry’s freshman retreat program. Currently, he’s finishing an MBA in the Mendoza College of Business and serving as chaplain to the men’s basketball team. All of his past roles have a common theme, he said — connecting him with students and giving him a better sense of student needs, which he plans to use in his role as the new director of Campus Ministry.“I’ve had the benefit of working with students in all that I’ve done, so from my perspective, the focus of the director of Campus Ministry is really to be thinking about students first,” he said. “I really hope to be able to use that mindset as a way to give back. This office and the opportunities that I have are wasted if they’re not used every day to think about how we can care for students better.”McCormick said he sees Campus Ministry’s mission as a three-part process: first, an invitation, then a “content-rich place of formation” and finally, a mechanism for leading people to prayer.“I think that Campus Ministry should be a place that constantly invites people into what we are doing,” he said. “It shouldn’t be seen as exclusive or as a club, but a place that is welcoming to all.“And once people are here and feel comfortable, we can teach them about the things that matter most. I think all too often on campus and in our lives, we spend a lot of time talking about things that are important but are not necessarily what’s going on in the depth of our minds and hearts. We want to be a place where folks can ask hard questions about their lives and what they hope to be about.”The liturgical and folk choirs are one area where Campus Ministry has historically done well, he said, as are leadership development programs such as Anchor and Compass. This semester, Campus Ministry is beginning a spirituality study to evaluate current programming and brainstorm improvements for the future.“We need to know, what are we doing that’s good, what are we doing that’s not so good and what are we doing that could possibly be discontinued?” McCormick said. “Starting now, we’re going to do a benchmarking episode where we look at other universities to see what they’re doing and also begin to look in high schools to see what our future students look like now. We’re going to get some good information from those that are here, but I’m also interested in hearing about what the class of 2022 looks like so we can start to come up with new and creative ways to begin to build new opportunities.”He cited the relatively new pilgrimage program as an example of pre-planning done well — in the past few years, it’s become “one of the most exciting things that we’re doing,” sending students to Hawaii, the Holy Land, France, Mexico and beyond.“To think that four years ago, five years ago, we weren’t doing pilgrimages at all makes me think about what the next step will be now,” he said. “It’s always driving in the same direction though, as an invitation, a deepening of formation and a leading to prayer.”Ideally, Campus Ministry’s boundaries would blur fluidly with those of the Center for Social Concerns and other faith-based action opportunities on campus, he said.“You have to have both a spiritual and social component,” McCormick said. “If we’re not giving people the opportunity to actually practice their faith, then in my mind we’re not doing our jobs.“I just think that you can’t keep faith contained all in one self, so certainly we’re going to provide opportunities for retreats and reflection and the enhancement of knowledge, but yet my sincere hope is that students will take what they’re doing out into campus or to their halls, giving it back in different ways.”McCormick said the director of Campus Ministry position has been a dream of his for a while, inspired partially by his mentor and predecessor in the office, Fr. Jim King. McCormick will finish his MBA in May and continue as basketball chaplain, but he said he’s leaving many possibilities open about the future of Campus Ministry.“I’ve learned that things that are worth doing oftentimes require a little bit of risk,” he said. “Sometimes we’re tempted to play it safe, to stay in our comfort zones. My approach to Campus Ministry is going to be to have a little bit of risk that we enter into with our programming, a little bit of risk when it comes to our invitation to formation.“I just think that leaving that space open to a bit of risk is where God finds his way in. And it’s too tempting to be controlling to our own environments, but it makes it really difficult for the Holy Spirit to work if we have no interest in trying something new.”Despite a new office and a staff of 30 working under him, McCormick said he sees this role as a chance to continue what he’s always done — working with students and getting out in the community.“I’ve got great people who are working here, so I’m excited to go out and see the retreats. I’m excited to go and listen to a concert. I’m excited to go hear confessions for people on a pilgrimage or whatever the case may be,” he said. “It’s really going to come down to getting invested in the people that are here, and that’s going to lead to all different sorts of possibilities.”Tags: Campus Ministry, Faith, Fr. Pete, servicelast_img read more

Trained to deal with emergencies, student EMTs utilize compassion in assisting community

No Comments

first_imgWhen the Notre Dame Fire Department (NDFD) is called to action, a specially trained group of students is not far behind.Known as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), these students work with NDFD for on-campus emergency situations and engage in activities ranging from dorm life to greater community involvement.Junior Killeen McCans is one of such students, with the group numbering about 10 this semester. “A lot of students don’t really know what we do or who we are at events,” McCans said.EMTs work special activities with NDFD, such as interhall athletic events, the Holy Half race and any boxing event in which individuals are sparring.“We’re often mistaken for athletic trainers, which is a totally different profession with a lot of different qualifications and classes and exams that they have to pass,” McCans said. “We’re really trained to deal with emergencies.”EMTs are also working on the job at larger sporting events, such as football or women’s volleyball.“It’s been a really unique way for me to interact with the Notre Dame community that’s a bit different than how most people interact with it,” senior EMT Hannah Martin said.There are many ways people can become involved with the national EMT program. McCans got her certification in high school, while Martin got her certification in college.“I wanted to be a firefighter in high school and I debated doing that instead of going to college,” Martin said. “But I decided I wanted to go to college because I wanted to go to med school. Overall, definitely the right decision for me, but freshman year, I discovered that we had a student EMT program on campus … so the summer between freshman and sophomore year, I got my EMT certification.”McCans said she has learned many valuable practical skills as an EMT, such as knowing what to do if someone’s heart stops beating or if a child is choking.The EMT position also teaches numerous interpersonal skills, she noted.“You’re often placed in very stressful situations or high-tension situations, and so it taught me a lot about navigating conflict between people [and] how to be a calming presence for someone,” McCans said. “Being able to be with someone and be a calming presence in some of the most stressful moments of their life teaches you a lot about relating to people, a lot about compassion and empathy.”Tags: Emergency Medical Technicians, Notre Dame Fire Departmentlast_img read more

Second Women’s March 2020 held in South Bend to honor life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

No Comments

first_imgCourtesy of Jennifer VanderVeen Pat Hackett, candidate for Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District seat, spoke at a Women’s March held in South Bend Saturday.Despite only having three weeks to assemble the rally, VanderVeen said she was inspired to rise to the challenge due to her desire for political change and Ginsburg’s death.“I was losing a lot of sleep right after Justice Ginsburg passed, and it really did rattle all of us in the legal community when she passed,” VanderVeen said. “I am just coming off of board service on a national organization, so it was just kind of the right time, I felt, for me to jump up and do something and be politically active.”VanderVeen said she hoped the rally encouraged people to vote.“I really do feel that part of what happened in 2016 was voter turnout, because everyone saw the polls and thought we all knew what was going to happen. And I think people stayed at home or people voted third party, and that that led to the situation we’re currently in,”  VanderVeen said. “It was really just trying to get people to realize that every vote does count. And that even though Indiana is so solidly red, if everyone voted, that could change.”Several rally attendees carried signs decrying Trump’s move to replace Ginsburg with Barrett. Though Republicans have defended that choice by highlighting the fact that Barrett is a woman, Pat Hackett, a Democrat running for election to the House to represent Indiana’s 2nd Congressional District, gave a speech stating that Barrett’s gender alone does not qualify her for the job, as her “patriarchal perspective” and judicial record indicates an opposition to issues like abortion rights and LGBTQ marriage rights.“Let’s be clear, the fact that this is a woman being appointed to the Supreme Court doesn’t make a difference because the agenda is the same,” Hackett said.For VanderVeen, however, one of the main issues behind Coney Barrett’s nomination is not the person, but rather the context.“It wasn’t about her. It was about the process,” VanderVeen said. “It’s about the fact that a group of senators who stalled a nomination four years ago, all of whom gave lengthy quotes at that time defending themselves and saying, ‘If this happens again, in four years, you can quote us on it,’ are now turning around and doing this. That is really what most people are galvanized around. I think it would be happening, almost no matter who [Trump] put up.”With the presidential election taking place in only 17 days, VanderVeen had a message to the women of the Notre Dame community: Go vote.“Many of you are going to be voting in your first presidential election,” VanderVeen said. “It’s not a privilege to be taken lightly. If you go back and look at the history of women’s suffrage in this country and what women went through to secure that right for us to vote, it’s incumbent upon all of us to do that every time and exercise that right because of how hard they fought for us to have it.”In previous years, students from the tri-campus community have attended the Women’s March in Washington, D.C in January. However, with the ongoing pandemic and recent spike in COVID-19 cases, junior Cate Prather, the executive planner for the Women’s March 2020, said it was unlikely the group would be able to participate.“With anything going on in the world outside and on campus, the safety of the community in our participants are at the forefront of our mind,” Prather said. “It’s looking like right now it is likely not going to happen due to the concern about bringing an outbreak back or getting the help of our participants.”Nevertheless, Prather praised the Women’s March organization and their aim to give women a voice through a protest that has gained traction throughout the nation — an ideal that has ignited inspiration within students.“I think that marches like the Women’s March and ideas that are nationalized, and communicated through media outlets are able to reach back even here to South Bend in the Midwest and students are able to feel invigorated and inspired by all these people who they stand in solidarity with to be able to create action here on campus,” Prather said.To illustrate her point, Prather said that the experience of attending the D.C. Women’s March in 2019 served to inspire her to voice her beliefs on campus.“It certainly has empowered me to come back to Notre Dame to stand up for and use my voice more for issues that I care about knowing that I have a vast network of support around,” Prather saidStudent body vice president, senior Sarah Galbenski, echoed Prather’s beliefs on the march’s inspirational effects, noting that the movement’s strength “derives from its intersectionality.”“Especially in light of our country’s well overdue reckoning with racial injustice, the women’s rights movement must strive to be intersectional and fight for the freedoms of all women regardless of race, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status,” Galbenski said.Though to some the Women’s March movement has been equated to a specific set of beliefs, Prather said that, just like women from across the world, participants have different opinions and beliefs.“There’s certainly a strong movement for pro-choice … with how people interpret women’s rights and women’s reproductive rights,” Prather said. “But there are also people there who are pro-life and pro-women. And there’s a way for that to intersect in this march, and there’s a way to find common ground and to help support women in general. It certainly takes both sides to reach an agreement and to reach what hopefully will be a better way forward in the future.”Tags: Amy Coney Barrett, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Women’s March For the past three years, millions — typically clad in pink hats — have taken to the streets in support of the women’s rights movement in January. But this year, the Women’s March organization decided to host a second protest on Oct. 17.While the first Women’s March was held the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration in 2017, this year’s Saturday’s march was organized to both honor late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s legacy and to oppose Trump’s choice to replace her with former Notre Dame law professor, Judge Amy Coney Barrett.“We’re holding socially distant actions across the country to send an unmistakable message about the fierce opposition to Trump and his agenda, including his attempt to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat,”  the Women’s March website said.As a result, 425 demonstrations took place across the nation. In Washington, D.C., protestors marched from Freedom Plaza to the National Mall. In South Bend, some 200 people — including former Notre Dame women’s basketball coach Muffet McGraw and former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg’s mother Anne Montgomery — congregated in Howard Park in a rally organized by local attorney Jennifer VanderVeen.Participants wore masks — some even emblazoned with colorful words such as “Vote!” — and spread out across the park’s festival area.“I thought we had a good turnout — especially considering the fact that our COVID numbers are up in the area — and we still had people who were willing to come out,” VanderVeen said.last_img read more

U.S. States Build Stockpiles Of Malaria Drug Touted By Trump

No Comments

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Photo: BFMTV / YouTubeSALT LAKE CITY — State and local governments across the United States have obtained about 30 million doses of a malaria drug touted by President Trump to treat patients with the coronavirus, despite warnings from doctors that more research is needed.At least 22 states and Washington, D.C., secured shipments of the drug, hydroxychloroquine, according to information compiled from state and federal officials by The Associated Press. Sixteen of those states were won by Trump in 2016, although five of them, including North Carolina and Louisiana, are now led by Democratic governors.Supporters say having a supply on hand makes sense in case the drug is shown to be effective against the pandemic that has devastated the global economy and killed nearly 200,000 people worldwide, and to ensure a steady supply for people who need it for other conditions like lupus.But health experts worry that having the drug easily available at a time of heightened public fear could make it easier to misuse it. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday warned doctors against prescribing the drug, hydroxychloroquine, for treating the coronavirus outside of hospitals or research settings because of reports of serious side effects, including dangerous irregular heart rhythms and death among patients. It’s the latest admonition against the drug that Trump mentioned 17 times in various public appearances, touting its potential despite his own health advisors telling him it is unproven.Oklahoma spent $2 million to buy the drugs, and Utah and Ohio have spent hundreds of thousands on purchases. The rest of the cities and states received free shipments from drug companies or the U.S. government over the last month. Ohio received a large donation from a local company.Several states including New York, Connecticut, Oregon, Louisiana, North Carolina and Texas received donations of the medication from a private company based in New Jersey called Amneal Pharmaceutical. Florida was given 1 million doses from Israeli company Teva Pharmaceutical.The Federal Emergency Management Agency said Friday it has sent out 14.4 million doses of hydroxychloroquine to 14 cities, including Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Baltimore, from the federal government’s national stockpile, a source that also provided South Dakota and California with supplies. The agency said earlier this month it had sent 19 million tablets and didn’t explain the discrepancy between the two figures. The U.S. government received a donation of 30 million doses from Swiss drugmaker Novartis on March 29 to build up the stockpile, which does not normally stock the drug.“If he (Trump) hadn’t amplified the early and inappropriate enthusiasm for the drug, I doubt if the states would have even been aware of it,” said Dr. Kenneth B. Klein, a consultant from outside of Seattle who has spent the last three decades working for drug companies to design and evaluate their clinical trials.Klein said it’s understandable that government and health officials looked into hydroxychloroquine — which is approved for treating malaria, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus — as a possible remedy during a frightening pandemic, but the time and energy has been misspent. The potential side effects are worrisome, especially because many coronavirus patients already have underlying health conditions, he said.“The states and the federal government are reacting in light of that fear. But it’s not a rational response,” Klein said.Doctors can already prescribe the malaria drug to patients with COVID-19, a practice known as off-label prescribing, and many do. Medical and pharmacy groups have warned against prescribing it for preventive purposes. The FDA has allowed it into the national stockpile, but only for narrowly defined purposes as studies continue.Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, a Republican, has previously acknowledged that the drug is “not without controversy,” but defended the state’s efforts to build up a supply. As questions mounted Friday, though, he distanced himself from an $800,000 purchase the state made from a local company and said it would be investigated.Herbert also halted a plan to spend $8 million more to buy 200,000 additional treatments. “The bottom line is, we’re not purchasing any more of this drug,” he said.Other states have received it from the federal government. South Dakota, with a population of 885,000 people, received 1.2 million doses and is using the drug for a trial as well as doctor-approved prescriptions for COVID-19 positive patients.South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, a Republican and Trump ally, said earlier this month she pushed the White House to provide enough hydroxychloroquine to give it to every hospitalized person, others who are vulnerable to the coronavirus and “front line” health care workers. As of Tuesday, Sanford Health said there were 200 patients who have recovered from COVID-19 in a registry, and that some of them may have taken hydroxychloroquine, but it was not a requirement.It is one of several states that say they are using some of the doses for clinical trials going on to assess whether the drugs has benefits for COVID-19 patients.Many states, however, have opted to steer clear over concerns about side effects and lingering questions about the drug’s effectiveness. At least one of those states is led by a Republican governor, Tennessee, where the state’s Department of Health sent a letter warning against using the drug or hoarding it.“We were seeing a flood of inappropriate prescribing and hoarding, quite frankly,” Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey told reporters.Kansas health director Dr. Lee Norman said the state has no plans to buy the drug because evidence is lacking that it helps treat COVID-19.Most states aren’t paying for the drug, and it’s not clear why Utah didn’t get it from the federal reserve or a donation from a business like Amneal Pharmaceutical.News releases from state governments show the New Jersey-based company has sent millions of doses of the drug free of cost to states, including 2 million to New York and 1 million to Texas. A company spokesperson declined to provide a list of donations or answer other questions from The Associated PressPharmaceutical companies can often manufacture pills they already make fairly cheaply. The donations may have been done to earn good publicity while setting it up to make future sales if hydroxychloroquine ends up being a reliable treatment for the virus, Klein said.Controversy has swirled around the drug since Trump started promoting it in the White House briefing room on March 19.He mentioned the drug in briefings through April 14, and the White House distributed press releases praising Trump’s efforts to stockpile it for use in areas of the country hard-hit by the virus. But for the past week, as studies have shown mixed or even harmful results, Trump has gone silent on the drug.Asked about it Thursday, Trump said he hadn’t heard of the a study done at U.S. veterans hospitals with preliminary results that showed no benefit, and rejected the notion he had stopped promoting hydroxychloroquine as a cure.“I haven’t at all. I haven’t at all,” Trump said. “We’ll see what happens.”last_img read more

Chautauqua County Health Department Investigating New COVID-19 Cluster

No Comments

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Image by Justin Gould / WNY News Now.MAYVILLE – The Chautauqua County Health Department says they are looking into a new cluster of COVID-19 cases.Leaders report at least 11 people over the past week were infected after attending a private event in northern Chautauqua County.No other information was released about the investigation. WNY News Now will continue to follow this story and bring updates online at WNYNewsNow.com and on our mobile app.On Thursday a dozen new cases of the virus were reported in the county, with 128 people now actively sickened with the virus. Of the new cases, five are in Dunkirk, with two in Clymer and one in Jamestown, Lakewood, Fredonia, Brocton and Silver Creek.Out of the active cases, ten are employees and 44 are residents of Tanglewood Manor’s outbreak. A total of 8 employees and 42 residents of the facility have since recovered.There are now 16 people in the hospital locally because of COVID-19, that number down two from Wednesday’s update.To date 783 people have recovered from the virus with 13 related deaths and 924 cases total.last_img read more

Randy Newman’s Faust to Play Encores!

No Comments

first_imgEncores! Off-Center has made our jaws drop, in the best possible way, yet again. Randy Newman’s Faust is to appear for one-night-only as part of its 2014 season on July 1. Grammy, Oscar and Emmy award winner Newman will play the Devil in the concert at the New York City Center’s Mainstage. A darkly comic modern-day take on the Faust story, Randy Newman’s Faust was first seen in 1993. In Newman’s retelling, God and the Devil fight for the soul of Henry Faust, a student at the University of Notre Dame. The musical played at both San Diego’s La Jolia Playhouse and Chicago’s Goodman Theatre, as well as being released as an album. No word yet on who will be joining Newman onstage, but along with the singer-songwriter as the Devil, the record featured James Taylor as Lord, Don Henley as Henry Faust, Elton John as Angel Rick, Linda Ronstadt as Margaret and Bonnie Raitt as Martha. What sort of pact would we have to make to see them all at the concert, because we’d consider it!?! View Commentslast_img read more