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first_imgClick here to subscribe to the Pharr Out BlogHey y’all,My name’s Brew Davis, a.k.a. Jen Pharr’s husband and her sherpa, pit crew, pack mule, what have you, for her AT record attempt. Jen told me this past winter that she wanted to give this thing a go, and I said “sure,” so here we are. Whenever folks hear what I’m doing this summer, they instantly decide that I’m either a) totally whipped or b) the greatest husband in the world. Well, the truth’s probably somewhere in between. There are plenty of extenuating circumstances and factors that make this trip fun for me. And just so you’re privy to what went through the ol’ cranium when I signed up for this gig, I’ll run through them real quick …I’m a teacher so I’ve got the time to kill.I love hiking and camping. I’ve gone out west the past two summers to hike in the Tetons, the Wind River Range, the Rockies, North Cascades, Yosemite, Glacier National Park, the Utah parks, and the Sierras. Except for a little stretch near Asheville, I haven’t hiked the AT at all so the thought of hiking parts of it with Jen sounds really cool.I love driving “blue highways” so the thought of driving them along the Appalachian Mountains is appealing. Now, if Jen were hiking through Nevada or South Dakota or something, I’d probably be laying on a beach somewhere drinking a Sweetwater 420.Other than a trip to Boston, I’ve never been to New England, and I want the real, backwoods Yankee experience.Speaking of…I can’t wait to try fresh Maine Lobstah. And…I want to drink a beer at Farley’s in Scranton, PA, setting for only the greatest sitcom of the 21st century, The Office. I can hear Michael Scott bustin’ the rhymes right now… “Ain’t no party like a Scranton party, ’cause a Scranton party don’t stop!”I’ve got a bunch of books I want to read- Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Last American Man, Aldo Leopold’s Sand County Almanac, Naked by David Sedaris, Shelden Van Aucken’s A Severe Mercy- and this’ll give me time to do it.I love swimming in cold water. Last summer I swam at Crater Lake in Oregon and the water was fifty-one degrees. It was so cold it was hot, ya know? I’m hoping there’ll be some colder swimming holes in northern MaineDriving an hour or two every day will give me plenty of time to pray and think about God’s beauty and also to play some old CDs by my favorite musicians- Patty Griffin, Sam Bush, Tim O’Brien, Steve Earle, Gillian Welch, Chris Thile, Tony Rice, Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, James McMurtry, etc.Getting bit by all those mosquitoes and black flies in Maine will make me appreciate the heat down South.I’ll get to hammer away at the ol’ guitar while I wait for Jen at the trailheads.We got new sleeping bags that zip together.I’m stocking up BIGTIME points for when I screw up later on.And finally…I love my wife and I want her to be happy. She really wants to set this record, so I want to help her do it.last_img

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The Future of UPPs in Rio

first_img The Pacifying Police Units’ (UPP) goal is to establish community police inside the slums, as part of a project by the State Public Security Department in Rio de Janeiro, which aims to dismantle the gangs that control drug trafficking operations in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas. The first UPP was inaugurated in Santa Marta slum on November 20, 2008. Subsequently, other units were implemented in communities such as Cidade de Deus, Batan, Pavão-Pavãozinho, Morro dos Macacos, among others. The program has been well accepted by experts and so successful that governments from various states replicated the approach. For example, Bahia has created the Security Community Bases (BCSs), the government of Paraná state created the Paraná Security Community (UPSs), and the government of Maranhão implemented Community Safety Units (USCs), all inspired by Rio’s Pacifying Police Unit. Diálogo visited the General Command of the Military Police of Rio de Janeiro (PMERJ) to speak with Colonel Robson Rodrigues da Silva, Chief of Staff of the Administration, about what will happen with the UPPs going forward. Diálogo: How many UPPs will be implemented between now and the beginning of the 2014 World Cup? Colonel Robson Rodrigues da Silva: 40 UPPs will be implemented by 2014. I believe that the plan varies depending on the scenario. It is not something permanent. The need may arise suddenly, or assemble over a period of time, but the goal is to have 40 UPPs deployed there. Not all UPPs are alike. Some will have more units incorporated, and others less. If we take a look at the first UPP, in Santa Marta, it was basically a UPP for one community. We moved from simple to complex, such as the situation in the Complexo do Alemão favelas. We did not expect to reach the Alemão slum as early as we did. We intended to gain know-how, more experience, but the requirements of that moment caused us to initiate the process of pacifying the Alemão slum. It turned out to be beneficial because we established the know-how. The operational plan started to materialize, to gain strength, and from that point on, it became a very useful factor during the occupation of the Rocinha slum, shortly after. Diálogo: Did the Armed Forces participate because of the anticipation, or was it already planned? Col. Robson: The plan was to start, at first, from a logistical point. We conducted a study of all the areas where we intended to deploy UPPs and which had the greatest need for human resources. The program did not have this basic concept in the beginning, it was an open process. Therefore, in that initial moment, Rio de Janeiro presented a very different scenario. There was excessive tension; the society did not trust the system, law enforcement agents were very afraid, truly afraid. So the initial idea, according to the plan until 2014, was to simply occupy the territory. Then we would start to incorporate technology and the need for better preparation for police officers so that they could achieve improved individual productivity, instead of having the same old concept of the prior model of police which used to believe that a territorial occupation requires many people. It was proven that quality has more value. At that time we were forecasting results by using a certain number of officers based on that perspective, but using this model. It was a very simple calculation: if I am going to occupy the Alemão slum I will need many more people. In other words, the production speed, the capacity, and the training of these police officers had a limit, a rhythm, a timing, which showed that at that moment we would not be able to provide the human resources for the occupation of Alemão slum,. It’s a simple calculation: we needed a certain number of officers, and the only force that could help in that situation and that would remain as a retaining wall until the police came in was the Army. Diálogo: After the World Cup, between the World Cup and the Olympics, will this process of establishing UPPs continue? Col. Robson: The Military Police is currently preparing to continue with the process. Of course there are political factors. However, I do believe that our society is more established, our institutions are already consolidating democratically, and therefore the people have more voice, naturally increasing the pressure so that certain policies remain. But within an environment that has fragile institutions, there is greater risk. I believe that the pacifying process is giving the population a voice, which plays a very important role. In the past the public security authorities, particularly the police, were seldom called to participate in any political event because they would be targeted. Not anymore; we are now called in to work there, especially because it increases the popularity of certain politicians. I believe that this program is essential and any politician would be crazy to end it. Diálogo: Regarding the use of technology, we recently noticed that 80 surveillance cameras were installed in the Rocinha slum. Is this a new trend? Is Rio de Janeiro’s Military Police properly equipped to support the upcoming mega events? Col. Robson: With the use of technology, materials, etc., projects for the large events have been planned for a long time, for over four years. I do believe we will be prepared. Diálogo: Will the pacifying process take some of the burden off the security forces during the mega events? Col. Robson: A few years ago, if you were at an event aside from the regular ones, let’s put it this way, the Armed Forces would come and the Police would occupy the slums because they would not have been pacified. There was no pacifying process, only an apparent tranquility, everyone heavily armed, and afterwards everything would go back to what it used to be. The new factor is precisely the pacification, bringing peace, and a more solid security. This helps with the planning and execution, for sure. Diálogo: As far as other countries’ interest in the UPPs establishing something similar… Col. Robson: Many countries, such as Venezuela and Argentina, have already expressed interest. Panama has an agreement with us, and the first military police unit base has already been built there. It was inspired by what we have here. We also trained their police officers there. They have a similar characteristic to Rio de Janeiro, which is a slum in the middle of the capital city. Mexico has also expressed interest, and we have also sought similar experiences abroad. We had a committee traveling to Portugal to observe their police. We are establishing an agreement and we will send some officers to Ireland and Scotland to deal with these affairs. This occurred because the Irish Police had a recent transition with the IRA, which made the transformation possible. Scotland also stepped in when they learned about our interest, since they had their own interests in something that we were doing here. Diálogo: What about the countries that will host events such as the World Cup? Is there an exchange of experiences and information? Col. Robson: Coincidentally, we are going to South Africa. We have an agreement with the Liberté Institute, which is currently performing some tests with our UPPs to design specific police functions. We also went to Dakar, in Africa, to address the drug issues, because the UPP has a very revolutionary view regarding drug prevention. In Spain, we went to Barcelona and Madrid, and we will send officers to Salamanca, as well as exchange information with Colombia. Officers from the BOPE, Shock troops, and the UPPs will organize a course there. Even with the International Committee of the Red Cross. The exchange has been very interesting. This has increased the visibility of Rio de Janeiro, not only because of the Olympic Games and other large events, but also because of this process, which brings a different possibility aside from the usual combat vision. So we created the Proximity Police in Rio de Janeiro, and the reaction was: “How did you do that?”, “What is the formula?” And many people are coming here, not only officers, but ministers, prime ministers, and other important politicians from various countries come here, even from Norway. By Dialogo April 11, 2013 Rio de Janeiro, April 15th 2013.Colonel Robson,I AM glad to see PMERJ/RIO Corps efforts recognized.The most important is to never give up, because de TARGET has a great value!Also, the people know that nowadays the Pioneers have presence in internal and external actions, and that they make all the difference in all the Institution’s decision-making.PMERJ has a great quality, especially Rio de Janeiro, because it can count on “The Pioneers Corps Courageous Ones/class/1983” which celebrates 30 years in the Corps. Congratulations! Also, the female teams after 1983. I speak about the women’s importance and worth, and their social efforts and actions designed by Colonel Sayonara do Valle, Colonel Bernardete Campbell, Colonel Cátia Boaventura, Colonel Célia Rodrigues. I quote: (the reference I make is due to the fact that I had the privilege to, at a certain point, be with some of them, and I noticed part of their performance at work, so now I can have the honor to be able to mention them), and may I say to all of them, Mirian Broitman, Rosana Reis and Deise Contreva, and others which I know only through pictures or by their field action but who certainly have a job position of main importance, relevant places, and who perform several roles at the Corps and who I call “The Warriors!”I AM grateful to God, for the ones who fight and feel humanity’s hearts beating, pulsing and hurting.I am grateful for the responsible Police Officers who are God’s gifts for me and for the people.The female Corps may go on, and all women and men of war and peace, with my prayers and with many Christians certainty who ask God to protect you and your families.Greetings in Jesus Christ.Celeste Lucindo. well… may this project continue, but don’t forget the baixada fluminense region, because criminals migrated to that place when [the police] occupied [the slums] to install the upps [Pacifying Police Units], they informed previously the criminals about the occupation’s time and day, this way they gave enough time for those kids to go terrorize other communities.last_img

How does your institution rank when it comes to disclosure?

first_imgWe hear a lot about rankings these days. Whether it’s the latest movie releases, professional and college sports teams, places to live, restaurants or online visibility, placing on the top rung of a ranking list can raise one’s reputational capital.In the uber-competitive financial services space, achieving high consumer rankings greatly depends on an institution’s practice of consistently delivering excellent service experiences. This is especially relevant when it comes to products that address account holders’ financial stability needs. In a recently released study, “Consumer Voices on Overdraft Programs,” the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) interviewed consumers about their experiences with overdraft programs and their understanding of how these programs work. Study participants identified an overdraft program as a resource for covering important expenses—such as medical bills, transportation costs, groceries and utility bills—when they didn’t have the balance in their account to cover the amount. They credited such programs as a way to prevent late fees and negative credit reporting, as well as the embarrassment associated with having electronic payment attempts declined. However, respondents also pointed out that they are often unclear about the policies and procedures tied to their financial institution’s overdraft offering.Take the guesswork out of your products to improve service quality and overall performanceTo avoid account holder confusion – which can lead to damaged relationships and potential regulatory scrutiny – make sure your institution maintains an ongoing, consistent focus on transparency for the products and services you offer. This includes incorporating updated communications strategies and management tools into your overdraft program to make it easier for everyone to understand how the program works, as well as how to use it responsibly. Key components of a fully disclosed program include:reasonable, communicated fees;clearly established overdraft limits;definitive explanations of regular and extended overdraft coverage;transparent transaction clearing policies that avoid maximizing account holder overdrafts and related fees created by the clearing order; and on-going advice and information that explain alternative financial products that may more appropriately fit the needs of excessive overdraft users.An expert in compliance and industry best practices can review your existing overdraft solution to ensure that you are in line with all regulatory expectations or help you implement a fully transparent program to improve your service quality. This includes comprehensive staff training to provide employees with the knowledge and confidence they need to fully explain your program; advanced analytics and robust data monitoring to support program management; and enhanced reporting and tracking capabilities to accurately measure program performance and identify any areas requiring improvements.How does your overdraft solution rank in terms of compliance and service quality?Sometimes people forget about a scheduled online payment or miscalculate the timing of a deposit to their account. Sometimes a temporary low balance or emergency situation makes the decision to knowingly overdraw a checking account the safest, least expensive option to ensure that important bills are paid. By implementing and maintaining a fully disclosed overdraft solution, you can provide account holders with a reliable safety net to get them through these situations.On the other hand, if you are lacking fully disclosed overdraft policies and clear procedures, your institution is missing out on compliance piece of mind, as well as the opportunity to rank among the top providers of excellent account holder experiences in your market. 22SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Cheryl Lawson Cheryl has more than 30 years of experience in financial operations, consulting, communications, training and project management. She joined JMFA in 2001 and currently serves as the compliance liaison for … Web: Detailslast_img

Letters to the Editor for Monday, Jan. 6

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionWe must fix our past to have our futureHas anyone realized how smart our country is with new electronics every few months?So called smart phones, iPads, computers, you name it, we make it. Along with all the new electronics, we have cars that drive themselves, along with flying cars being tested, little robots that clean your floors.What a futuristic world we live in. Or do we?Our roads are too old to handle the traffic, our bridges are crumbling and becoming safety hazards and our water systems underground must be replaced. Millions of autos and trucks have defects and are being recalled. The list goes on.Don’t forget our landfills; some are open but many are closed. The ones that are closed look nice, with green grass or solar panels. But they continue to poison our earth, water and air. Trains that carry oil all over our country are a catastrophe waiting to happen. Our infrastructure is falling apart right under us. We look for ways to get money to fix it and yet not much is done to correct the problem. We are building our future on quicksand. Are we smart or what?If we don’t slow down and fix the past, we will not have a future.We need to do what must be done to get the United States of America back on track.We are the best country in the world. Let’s keep it that way. We need peace and understanding in our land. God bless America, its government and all that live in our land.Sid GordonSaratoga SpringsTake action to close the racial wealth gapThe Gazette has often printed news stories and commentaries about reparations for black Americans to compensate the descendants of the formerly enslaved for centuries of slavery, segregation, and racism that continue to impose unequal access to jobs, justice, health and wealth.  The Gazette has also often reported on the racial wealth gap.The median wealth (assets minus liabilities) for white U.S. households is more than 10 times that of black and Hispanic families. We also have enormous wealth gaps between the wealthiest Americans and the rest of us.  I know some whites oppose paying reparations to black Americans for many reasons, one being that many white families are struggling themselves.Are we as a nation serious about closing the white-to-black and white-to-Hispanic wealth gaps? If so, how?Can we raise the wealth of the poorest three-fourths of Americans while vastly increasing the wealth of black and Hispanic families?A large majority of us are not racist or try not to be.I urge that we get serious about electing candidates at all levels of government who are serious about closing the overall and racial wealth gaps.Closing these gaps can help unite us in a worthwhile goal.Tom EllisAlbanyMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censuslast_img

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