By Ronald C. Spooner Recently, News publisher Rick Macke and former State Sen. Carl Parker wrote columns expressing the need for Port Arthur to “move forward” commensurate with its many assets and its under developed — or undeveloped — potential. Hence, the question: What or who caused the decline in the first place, and apparently continues to hinder Port Arthur’s moving forward?Among the first questions we must answer are (1) what did Port Arthur do and look like during its glory days, and what could moving Port Arthur forward look like in the future if we could actually get something constructive going in that direction? Specifically, what things are we talking about? Without considering the causes (We’ll deal with those later), what are the problems that need fixing? And, lastly, what would the solutions look like after all problems have been properly addressed?The people of Port Arthur have not changed. They still come into this world as babes needing to be nourished, loved and taught, having the ability to respond to that nourishment, love, and proper instructions with not only feelings of self-worth but with commitments to being the best person, the best prepared and most confident persons, and the most productive persons they can be in terms of their ability to succeed, when they desire successful futures badly enough to work hard enough to get it.What, then, went wrong? What needs to be done? And most troubling what can be done? Unfortunately, these three questions are so linked that what went wrong likely will continue to hinder any chances of returning Port Arthur to its best or hoped-for days. The vision for such a future must first recognize and then acknowledge reasons for Port Arthur’s decline. These reasons must either be eliminated or ways found to succeed despite the what and who that caused and continue to sustain the decline.Contrary to the opinions expressed by others about selecting the right people to serve on a committee to plan Port Arthur’s turnaround, I believe the elected officials of PAISD, the city of Port Arthur, Jefferson County and perhaps the Economic Development Commission should serve of that committee. They include the elected leaders of Port Arthur, citizens who expressed a desire to serve the patrons of Port Arthur, the ones the majority of the voting public trusted to look out for their best interest, which is what is at stake They are the people most responsible to the citizens of Port Arthur, and are the only ones voters can hold accountable, either rewarding them with re-election for Port Arthur’s successful turnaround or punishing them with rejection if their efforts result in failure.Both Rich Macke and Sen. Carl Parker seem to believe that 12 is the right number of members for the committee. Who will select committee members is equally debatable, as would be the way the chairman of the committee is to be selected — and the authority that person would have to dictate the direction of the committee. Certainly, Mr. Macke’s appointment to the chairman position would be inappropriate, given his expressed desire to see the city returned to Port Arthur’s former days and the old ways, ways that limited black citizens to one member at a time to serve on the school board and city council. Most of the times, the black representative elected was not the black community’s choice. That system proved not to be a way to sustain the glory days, and it certainly is no way to move forward toward their return. Also, Mr. Macke — and, at least, one of the voters he probably would like appointed to the committee — seem to believe that because Senators from the states of Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico will likely have to vote on bills that will affect people who live in Texas, Texans should have the right to help determine those Senators by voting in those state’s elections.The establishment of single-member districts in Port Arthur, while finally giving black voters a chance to elect representatives from their own communities, gave them — and all Port Arthur residents — input into the City’s needs and elections. The new system allowed for the election of two at-large positions and two expanded single-member districts, both of which provided opportunities for voters in different parts of the city to vote for or against candidates who resided outside their own districts or communities, based on those candidates’ ideas about governing the city and protecting the city’s future.It is unfortunate that the citizens of Port Arthur did not see the need to have single-member districts adopted for PAISD. Two attempts were made by me: once as a member of the school board and once after having decided not to seek re-election. The suggestion was to superpose the city of Port Arthur’s districts on the school district since the city and school district occupied mostly the same land and residents. The proposals were rejected both times by the board and received no support from Port Arthur voters — including those who had fought so hard to have the old city’s election system changed.It is within that culture of residential indifference — and little or no community-wide dialog among community leaders — that Port Arthur will attempt to find another way (a better way) to pursue, perfect and preserve another better day.Ronald C. Spooner of Port Arthur is a retired educator. Contact him at email@example.com.
Teachers in the Shawnee Mission School District who are qualified for retirement can take advantage of an early retirement incentive this year. The early retirement package was approved by the school board Monday after being ratified by more than 95 percent of the membership of the National Education Association of Shawnee Mission.Nancy FritzShawnee Mission NEA PresidentThe agreement is an addendum to the current teacher contract and only applies to the current school year. Under the terms of the agreement, teachers who take advantage of the incentive will receive an amount equal to 60 percent of their base pay. The payment will be spread over five years starting in September.To be eligible, teachers must have 10 years of continuous service in the district and be qualified to claim retirement benefits under the Kansas Public Employee Retirement System (KPERS). They also must submit their resignation letter by February 2. The agreement is a one-time offer. The teachers cannot be re-employed by the district, except as substitutes.NEA President Nancy Fritz said the new agreement could be a “win-win” for the teachers and the district. About 300 teachers will qualify for the payout. Some of those teachers might have been on the edge of a decision, she said, and some might not have found the new technology introduction in the district “to their liking.”The retirement of teachers at the top of the pay scale, who will be replaced by lower-paid teachers, could free money that can be put back in the budget to the benefit the younger teachers, she said. Those younger teachers also move up in seniority on the reduction-in-force list if there should be layoffs.Fritz said if successful, perhaps the incentive plan could be offered again in future years.See a summary of the program below:https://dfv6pkw99pxmo.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Addendum-to-NEA-SM-agreement-14-15.pdf
A fifth-grade teacher in the Shawnee Mission School District has been charged with a sex crime.Kim Zier was booked into Johnson County Jail on Monday. He posted bail and was released Tuesday.Kim Zier, 63, who was teaching at Pawnee Elementary in Overland Park, was arrested and charged in Johnson County District Court on Monday with aggravated indecent liberties with a child. The charge is defined in state law as any lewd fondling or touching of a child younger than 14.David Smith, chief communications officer for the school district, said the district placed Zier on paid administrative on Feb. 10. Smith said district administration is not sharing details of the case, including whether the alleged behavior took place on school property.“We take the safety and security of our children extremely seriously,” Smith said. “We have been cooperating with the police department in their investigation, and we’re going to wait and see the outcome of that.”Smith referred any additional comments to the Overland Park Police Department, which is investigating the case. Officer John Lacy with the Overland Park Police Department said the incident report for the case was filed on Jan. 30.Zier was taken to Johnson County Jail on Monday and posted his cash-surety bond of $25,000 on Tuesday. His no-go preliminary hearing is set for 10 a.m. April 22 in Division 13 of the Johnson County District Court.Editor’s note: This story was updated to clarify that the Overland Park Police Department took the initial report Jan. 30, 2020, and not Nov. 6, 2019, as previously reported.
ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr The U.S. Senate confirmed J. Mark McWatters Thursday to the National Credit Union Administration board. He will join NCUA Chair Debbie Matz and board member Rick Metsger to form the three-person board.Matz said of the newest board member, “Mark is experienced, thoughtful, judicious and values a collaborative process to get things done. I know credit unions and their members will be well served by his presence on the board.”She noted that as she welcomes McWatters to the board, she also says farewell to board member Michael Fryzel. “For the last five years, I have considered Mike a partner in the agency’s efforts to contain the fallout from the corporate credit union crisis and mitigate the effects of the Great Recession. Credit unions were well served by his judgment during some very dark days, and he left the system better than he found it. I wish Mike all the best in his future endeavors.”Bill Hampel, interim president/CEO of the Credit Union National Association, offered CUNA’s congratulations to McWatters. Hampel said Thursday, “His extensive experience in business, the private practice of law, teaching, congressional staff work, and other endeavors will help him bring a unique perspective to the issues. continue reading »
Booking.com reveals that most travelers from Croatia remember the first trip more than the day they made a new friendBy admin on November 20, 2020
Istraživanje koje je proveo Booking.com, otkriva puno interesantnih činjenica o iskustvima putnika iz Hrvatske na njihovim prvim putovanjima. Bilo da putuju po prvi puta u životu ili na neku novu, nikad posjećenu destinaciju, ili da putuju na drugačiji način od uobičajenog ili odsjedaju u neobičnom smještaju – svi se sjećaju svojeg prvog putovanja.Booking.com conducted a survey in which it found answers to questions about when travelers from Croatia first went on a trip, what they remember most about those first trips, who they like to travel with and what they recommend to those who are just starting to travel.Survey on a sample of 1.000 respondents from the USA, Brazil, UK, France, Italy, Spain, Russia, Germany, China, India and 500 respondents from the Netherlands, Croatia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Thailand , Denmark, Belgium and Sweden. Answers were collected from a total of 15.077 respondents (aged 18 or over) for the period from 11 January to 30 January 2017.The largest percentage of respondents (40%) started traveling when they were less than 10 years old, most had their first experience with travel in adolescence (42%), and only 1% of respondents experienced the first trip only after the age of 30. of life. As many as 70% of respondents from Croatia spent their first trip within their homeland. The largest percentage of respondents stated that they are happiest when traveling with a partner (45%) or with family (42%), but there were also those respondents who like to travel alone because then they feel free (26%). A quarter of respondents (25%) prefer to travel to locations they have already visited, and the majority (80%) of respondents want to discover new and interesting things about locations they have already visited.58% of respondents remember their first trip more clearly and better than the first day of schoolThe results of the research show that respondents from Croatia remember their first trip more than they remember events such as the day they met a new friend (66%) or when they got their first pet (55%). Despite this, most respondents find moving to a new home (72%) and a first kiss (75%) more exciting than the experience of the first trip. Things that remind respondents of the trip and be fond memories are photo albums (76%), souvenirs (67%) and plans of the city they visited (17%).Regarding the most beautiful and long-lasting experiences that travelers from Croatia had on their first trips, spending quality time with friends or family (51%), just traveling (51%), accommodation (40%), unusual scents, sounds and vistas (39 %) and meeting new people (34%) are what make a travel experience perfect. Respondents value the time they spend with those they care about because 48% of them claim that it is one of their favorite things they experience while traveling.Kayakers paddle the Silver River at Silver Springs, Florida.Social online platforms have allowed travelers to easily communicate about their trip. Recenzije o uslugama ili interakcija s putničkim brendovima, dijeljenje fotografija i iskustava s putovanja s prijateljima i mnoge druge stvari ono su što planiranje putovanja i samo putovanje čini drugačijim nego prije. Ispitanici iz Hrvatske, za razliku od prosjeka, koristit će društvene mreže kako bi unaprijed istražili sve detalje vezane uz putovanje (50% naspram prosjeka ostatka ispitanika globalnog istraživanja – 40%). Korištenje društvenih mreža prilikom planiranja putovanja najviše se prakticira u Tajlandu (75%), a najmanje u Nizozemskoj i Danskoj (17%).Savjeti koje putnici iz Hrvatske daju onima koji prvi puta kreću na putovanje su opuštanje i uživanje u svakoj minuti (51%), isprobavanje lokalne hrane (31%) te obavezno nošenje putovnice sa sobom (28%). Kako bi se osjećali ugodno i sigurno prilikom putovanja ispitanici iz Hrvatske savjetuju organiziranje smještaja prije samog putovanja (21%) kao i pregled broja pozitivnih ocjena smještaja ili prijevoznika na online platformama (30%) te unajmljivanje lokalnog turističkog vodiča na odredištu (21%).
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Qatar Petroleum (QP) and UOP LLC, a Honeywell company, have signed a joint research agreement on “Process Optimization of CO2 and Sulfur Components Removal from Natural Gases.”The agreement was signed at QP headquarters by Mohammed bin Saleh Al-Sada, Minister of Energy and Industry and Chairman of QP, and Rajeev Gautam, President and CEO of UOP.The primary aim of the research is for the treated natural gases to be more efficiently utilized in further processing operations such as in transporting natural gas in pipelines, in the production of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), natural gas liquids (NGL), liquefied natural gas (LNG), gas-to-liquids (GTL) products, and in associated/non-associated gas cleanup upstream petrochemical/fertilizer manufacturing plants.Al-Sada welcomed the agreement as an important milestone in Qatar’s gas industry. Al-Sada said: “Qatar is constantly working to facilitate the optimum development of its hydrocarbon resources, and this agreement is another step in that direction.”“Developing more efficient technologies to remove contaminants from natural gas will help boost Qatar’s reputation as a safe, reliable supplier of natural gas as well as high-quality products,” Al-Sada added.“Global natural gas demand is growing rapidly and LNG/LPG/NGL/GTL production is critical to meeting the needs of regions not served by pipelines and to enable global trade,” said Gautam. “Qatar Petroleum is a recognized leader in the production of LNG/NGL for world markets, and we look forward to extending our long-standing partnership to develop technology in these important fields.”QP operates its offshore gas platform and five NGL plants at Mesaieed Industrial City, and it is also a joint venture with Qatargas (which is the world’s largest LNG producer), RasGas (which is the world’s second-largest LNG producer), Shell’s Pearl GTL (which operates in Qatar the world’s largest GTL plant) and Oryx GTL Limited (which operates the second-largest GTL plant in Qatar). QP develops/operates onshore and offshore oil and gas fields in Qatar, including exploration, field development, production, refining, transport, and storage.QP has recently inaugurated a state-of-the-art Research & Technology Center (QPRTC) at the Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP) to carry out cost-effective research activities on subjects related to surface/sub-surface activities in oil & gas fields in cooperation with global R&D centers within national/international oil companies, technical universities, oil/gas service companies, etc.Honeywell’s UOP, on the other hand, is a leader in natural gas treating technologies, which currently are used in QP’s LNG and gas processing facilities.UOP’s separation technology and equipment remove contaminants such as water, carbon dioxide and sulfur compounds (hydrogen sulfide, mercaptans, etc.) from natural gas in order to meet rigorous product specifications and requirements for downstream transmission and liquefaction equipment. In liquefied form, natural gas can be easily and efficiently transported to markets around the world, where it is used for a wide variety of energy applications.Honeywell’s UOP Gas Processing and Hydrogen business unit offers technology, equipment and materials to treat and process natural gas, as well as to purify the hydrogen used in refineries. Its gas technologies extract water, mercury, sulfur compounds, carbon dioxide and other contaminants from raw natural gas. UOP also offers technologies that are widely implemented for LNG/LPG/ NGL production and for associated/non-associated gas cleanup upstream petrochemical & manufacturing plants. The business has supplied technology to more than 3,600 individual process units for gas processing in a broad range of applications through the world.UOP has increased its offerings in natural gas in recent years. Earlier last year, it launched UOP Separex Flux+ and Select membrane elements to remove contaminants such as acid gas and water from natural gas. In 2012, the company purchased a majority stake in Thomas Russell Co., which offers technologies and modularized packaged plants enabling shale and conventional natural gas producers to remove contaminants from natural gas and recover high-value NGLs used for petrochemicals and fuels. Thomas Russell products are now part of the UOP Russell line. UOP also has marketing alliances with Twister B.V., and Ortloff Engineers, Ltd. for natural gas separation technology to recover NGLs.In 2012, UOP and QP collaborated to establish the first Engineering Design Seminar program in the Middle East to meet the growing demand for highly-trained engineers who specialize in refinery process units and equipment.[mappress]LNG World News Staff, January 29, 2014; Image: QP
The European Commission has cleared unconditionally under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of wind turbine manufacturer Gamesa by Siemens. EC found that the transaction raises no competition concerns, because a number of credible competitors would remain in the market.The commission has investigated the impact of the proposed transaction on the onshore and offshore wind turbine markets, where the activities of Siemens and Gamesa overlap.EC found that offshore wind turbine market is more concentrated with Siemens and MHI Vestas being the main competitors. Gamesa is also active in the market through its subsidiary Adwen.However, as the investigation confirmed that Adwen is not a competitive constraint on Siemens, it is unlikely that the transaction will appreciably change the competitive situation, EC said.The commission therefore concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns.In February 2017, the US Department of Justice gave the green light to the merger, thus making the European Commission’s decision the last approval to be obtained from the anti-trust authorities.Subject to pending closing actions, Siemens and Gamesa expect to close the merger early April, after the registration of the merged entity in the Vizcaya Companies Register.Siemens and Gamesa expect significant synergy potentials in a combined setup. The merger is set to create the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer, as the enlarged firm will have an installed worldwide capacity of close to 70GW, an orderbook valued at EUR 21 billion, revenue of around EUR 10 billion, adjusted EBIT of EUR 915 million, and roughly 22,000 employees globally.
Malaysia’s construction company Malaysia Marine and Heavy Engineering has been awarded a contract to build an offshore processing platform for Petronas’ Bokor project, offshore Malaysia.MMHE will be responsible for the engineering, procurement, construction, installation and commissioning of a central processing platform (CPP) for the Bokor Phase 3 redevelopment project by Petronas Carigali. The contract value is worth approximately RM1.0 Billion ($226.7 million).The first steel is expected to be cut in the third quarter of 2018. The project is scheduled to be completed in mid second quarter of 2020.Upon completion, the new CPP will be installed at Bokor field located in Baram Delta, offshore Sarawak, in a water depth of 70 meters.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) U.S. health officials say consumers should avoid a variety of papaya from Mexico linked to a salmonella outbreak that has been blamed for the death of a person in New York City and for sickening 46 others in 12 states.The Food and Drug Administration said in a news release Tuesday that it and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are working with state health officials to track cases of the foodborne illness linked to Caribena brand Maradol papayas, which have a yellow skin when ripe and a salmon-colored flesh.Genetic testing has linked salmonella found in papaya samples from a Maryland grocery store with samples taken from sickened people, the CDC said.The Maryland Department of Health said three of five papayas bought at a Baltimore grocery store were contaminated with salmonella. Interviews revealed that several ill people in Maryland shopped at the store and bought papayas, which helped officials identify a source.New York has had 13 reported cases and New Jersey has had 12. Virginia has had six, Maryland has had five Pennsylvania has had four. Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Texas and Utah have had one each.Salmonella bacteria can cause diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain and fever. Young children, older adults and people with weakened immune systems are the most likely to have severe infections.The FDA said San Juan, Texas-based Grande Produce has initiated a limited recall of its Caribena brand Maradol papayas that were distributed nationwide between July 7 and July 18, but that the company has not issued a news release informing its customers.“Therefore, FDA is advising consumers to avoid all Caribena brand Maradol papayas. The FDA also noted that there are illnesses in states where Grande Produce did not distribute papayas and is continuing its investigation,” the agency said.A company spokesman did not immediately reply to a message left Wednesday seeking comment.Anyone unsure about whether the papaya they bought is a Maradol from Mexico should not “eat, sell, or serve them and throw them out,” the FDA said. Do you see a typo or an error? Let us know. US salmonella outbreak linked to papayas from Mexico; 1 dead SHARE Published: July 26, 2017 12:37 PM EDT