Remote working on a ‘permanent basis’ post pandemic could benefit thousands of Laois people

first_img Remote working on a ‘permanent basis’ post pandemic could benefit thousands of Laois people Twitter Previous articleFundraiser launched in memory of beloved Laois man who sadly lost his life to CovidNext articleLaois indie band release debut single ahead of first ever album Alan HartnettStradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016. Pinterest Electric Picnic Pinterest Electric Picnic apply to Laois County Council for new date for this year’s festival Working from home could become a permanent option for thousands of Laois commuters after the Covid-19 pandemic ends.This is according to Fianna Fail TD Sean Fleming who says many businesses and Government bodies throughout Ireland are examining including remote working as an option on a permanent basis.This potentially, according to the Minister for State, could be a major benefit to many of the 12,000 Laois people who normally commute to work in Dublin and other areas outside of the county on a daily basis.He said: “Many companies and public bodies are exploring the option of a blended working arrangement including some time working on site and some of the time at a remote location, which in many cases may involve working from home for part of the week.“This may be an opportunity for many Laois people to cut down on the hours they spend travelling to work five days a week.“Any reduction in the number of days people spend commuting long distances to and from work will improve their quality of life, general wellbeing and time with their family.“It is important that people continue to go out to work on a regular basis and not be housebound as too much working from home can interfere with home and family life.“The issue of a blended working arrangement can help productivity and also benefit employees.“This is an issue that is being considered carefully by the Government for when we all come out of the Covid pandemic.”But one of the major drawbacks to working from home in some parts of Laois is the lack of good broadband coverage.This is something that Laois Sinn Fein TD Brian Stanley raised in the Dail with Taoiseach Micheal Martin recently.He said: “Some households are located in so called “blue areas’. These are supposed to be already services by commercial Broadband providers and not in need of a connection to the National Broadband Scheme. The reality is they are not.“A problem arises whereby people are in neither the intervention area nor the blue area. The blue areas are the areas that are supposed to be serviced already by existing companies and networks, such as the metropolitan area networks.“The problem is that the maps show households and businesses that are supposed to be in the covered areas, mainly on the edges of villages and towns. I have constituents in Laois and Offaly who cannot get a broadband service from a private provider.!I have raised this matter with National Broadband Ireland and the Minister and a stock reply keeps coming back. What I am trying to get across to the Taoiseach is that many of the affected individuals are self-employed and are trying to run small businesses.“They have children who are home-schooling and they cannot get a broadband service anywhere. This needs to be resolved. The broadband scheme, as constructed, is flawed and there are flaws with the maps. It is not good enough for National Broadband Ireland to write back to me saying it is tough luck.“What we need is action. We need to get broadband to houses, businesses and farms across the midlands, including Laois and Offaly, and the rest of the country.’’Taoiseach Micheál Martin replied: “The Government is very committed to the roll-out of broadband.“Obviously, broadband is essential, particularly in enabling people, including the self-employed and businesses more generally, to conduct their work. It is essential for those who are working at home and students who are studying.“I am referring to the nature and importance of connectivity. I will relay to the Minister what has been said here by Deputies, including on communication from the Department on areas designated on the blue map.”Commenting after the Dáil debate Brian Stanley said: “This issue must be addressed by Government as there are families and businesses in rural areas that are missing out on this vital service.“We were told that high speed broadband would be provided to every home and premises under the plan, therefore those without a service and that are not included in the intervention area cannot be left behind.”SEE ALSO – Fundraiser launched in memory of beloved Laois man who sadly lost his life to Covid Twitter Electric Picnic organisers release statement following confirmation of new festival date Home News Business Remote working on a ‘permanent basis’ post pandemic could benefit thousands of… NewsBusiness By Alan Hartnett – 15th March 2021 WhatsApp Mary Sweeney elected Cathaoirleach of Portlaoise Municipal District for next 12 months RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Electric Picnic TAGSBrian StanleyBroadbandremote workingSean Fleming Facebook Facebook Council WhatsApplast_img read more

TSX, Dow close lower

first_img S&P/TSX composite hits highest close since March on strength of financials sector Keywords Marketwatch It has been a volatile two days for the Canadian dollar, which had gained nearly two-thirds of a U.S. cent on Tuesday after comments from Donald Trump hinted the president-elect may be in favour of a weaker U.S. dollar. On Wednesday, the loonie started to soften during a news conference by Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz where he said an interest rate cut was still possible if the Canadian economy deteriorates amid uncertainty surrounding Trump’s policies. In its latest monetary policy report, the bank announced that it was keeping its key interest rate unchanged at 0.5%, where it has been since July 2015. It also warned that there would be “material consequences” for trade if protectionist policies come into effect under Trump. “We identified a number of downside risks as well as upside risks in our projections. But should any of those downside risks materialize and put our inflation target at risk, then we would have the room to manoeuvre,” Poloz told reporters in Ottawa. “In that context, especially with inflation being below target for a prolonged period, yes a rate cut remains on the table and it would remain on the table as long as those downside risks are still present.” This isn’t the first time the Canadian dollar has fallen sharply due to comments about a possible rate cut. The currency had declined but then quickly recovered during a session in mid-October after Poloz had revealed that a rate cut was under consideration. Cynthia Caskey, a portfolio manager and vice president at TD Wealth, says financial markets should take solace in the bank’s decisiveness if conditions begin to warrant a move. “The band of uncertainty has certainly increased in 2017 and it’s comforting to know that the Bank of Canada is not only paying attention but also willing to act,” she said. North American stock markets were mixed, as the S&P/TSX composite index in Toronto fell 43.51 points at 15,397.85. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average was down a moderate 22.05 points to 19,804.72, while the S&P 500 gained four points to 2,271.89. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite was ahead 16.92 points at 5,555.65. In commodities, the February crude contract lost US$1.40 to US$51.08 per barrel and February natural gas was down US11¢ at US$3.30 per mmBTU. The February gold contract lost US80¢ to US$1,212.10 an ounce and March copper contracts were down a penny at US$2.61 a pound. A suggestion from the head of Canada’s central bank that an interest rate cut “remains on the table” sent the Canadian dollar down more than a full U.S. cent on Wednesday. The loonie lost US1.16¢ cents to US75.42¢, as it also felt the weight of falling crude prices and a strengthening greenback. Share this article and your comments with peers on social media Toronto stock market dips on weakness in the energy and financials sectorscenter_img Related news Linda Nguyen Facebook LinkedIn Twitter TSX gets lift from financials, U.S. markets rise to highest since Marchlast_img read more

NYS Proposes Behaviour Change Programme in High Schools

first_imgNYS Proposes Behaviour Change Programme in High Schools UncategorizedJune 25, 2007 RelatedNYS Proposes Behaviour Change Programme in High Schools FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail The National Youth Service (NYS), the agency of government charged with putting programmes in place to address unemployment, underachievement and antisocial behaviours among the youth, is pushing for the implementation of a NYS in Schools Programme in high schools across the island.Executive Director of the NYS, Rev. Adinhair Jones, tells JIS News that the programme has being proposed against the background of the deterioration in social behaviour and attitude of students.“Since 1994, a number of studies have been done pointing to the problem of violence in schools and also pointing to the shift in attitudes in the school population, shifts that are particularly negative and if not curbed over time, will lead to serious fall outs within the society at large,” he says.The proposal, he says, is to target students in grade 10 and 11 through mandatory participation in clubs and societies; obligatory community service; putting a process in place whereby students could participate in their own career orientation in a rigorous way while remaining in school; and attaching students to a kind of mentoring programme.“We believe if we have these four elements working together within a school, we can begin to see some important impact in relation to time management; respect for authority in relation to deportment and in relation to how students speak with one another and to one another, and how they speak to persons in authority like teachers,” he notes.“The school environment will be significantly overhauled if we are able to address those four critical areas in a significant way,” Rev. Jones points out.The programme aims to cause transformation within the student body in terms of raising the level of responsibility in relation to lifestyle choices; to have student exhibit certain behaviours that would be considered the norm; and to have the entire school culture go through a process of renewal.“So the aim is to overhaul the culture of the school and to have this process led by the students themselves as they participate in these various personal development programmes that we will be rolling out,” Rev. Jones tells JIS News.He notes that the programme “has to be done in a strategic way and what we agreed to do is, to have the sensitization of guidance counsellors and other persons, who may be designated to facilitate the running of the programme, to have alliance with the parent teacher’s associations and to conduct meetings with them.”In addition, he says, the NYS is seeking to mobilise school officials to streamline the clubs and societies and to get them within the timetable of the schools. “We need to ensure that they fit within the overall programme of the school and .provide the support within the schools,” he points out.Explaining the activities under the proposed NYS in Schools Programme, Rev. Jones outlines that in terms of community service, “we need to get our students to have a sense of responsibility to the development and maintenance of their communities.”“This is going to be a work programme designated for individual students or groups of students, but that will not be taken away from their commitment to school work or to other activities that they will have, and in a structured way, they will participate at a community level, in giving back service,” he points out.As it relates to participation in clubs and societies, Rev. Jones reasons that, if every student participates in a club, then the level of harmonious relationship within the school will be enhanced through the interaction that will take place in the clubs. “They are going to be very highly activity-based and values-based and so overtime, the participants will, through the structure of the clubs, take on more pro-social orientation in life overall,” he says.The Executive Director strongly believes that if the NYS in Schools programme is implemented, students will become so exposed, that the desired behaviour modification and attitudinal changes will take place. As to why the focus on schools as the agent of change and not the family, Rev. Jones explains that, “the school is a micro society and we believe we need to assist students in finding more protective factors within their school environment since school is where they will spend most of their waking hours during the day”.He notes further that having “made our assessment of the family situation in Jamaica and the level of dysfunctional families and how that is affecting the orientation and development of students .we are very deliberate about locating the school as the element within the society right now, where the protective factors are going to be engaged so that our students can be aligned more socially and go through life and maintain the best potential given all the circumstances.”Rev. Jones says that while the programme is targeted at secondary schools, “there have been suggestions that.we should also target the primary schools as well, since the problem tends to begin there.”The proposal for the NYS in Schools Programme is now before the Ministry of Education and Youth and according to Rev. Jones, Minister Maxine Henry Wilson has given “her blessing to it and it has been through the senior management discussion at the Ministry as well and got the blessing at that level. So I am just hoping that the functionaries to whom it has been sent will now move to have it implemented soon.”Rev. Jones believes that the island’s schools will support the programme. “The schools, I believe, have a good sense of what the NYS does and the kind of transformational work that we are able to do with students. Given the level of problems within the schools, I would not see a principal objecting to a programme like this once the logistics are worked out and the support is put in place for it,” he argues.He opines further that, “in terms of social and economic returns, I think this programme would be really, really valuable and can be justified, just in terms of keeping students in school, reducing the levels of violence and just orienting students to be more in touch with their surroundings and taking responsibility for their surroundings.”“So, I would want everybody within the public to reflect on this particular proposal and to see with us how we can implement it to bring about the necessary transformation that is so desperately needed now in our education system in relation to student relations and attitude,” he urges. Advertisementscenter_img RelatedNYS Proposes Behaviour Change Programme in High Schools RelatedNYS Proposes Behaviour Change Programme in High Schoolslast_img read more

Minister Bartlett Says Stimulus Package Helping Tourism

first_imgRelatedMinister Bartlett Says Stimulus Package Helping Tourism Minister Bartlett Says Stimulus Package Helping Tourism TourismJuly 1, 2009 RelatedMinister Bartlett Says Stimulus Package Helping Tourism FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail The stimulus package introduced to support tourism has so far enabled the provision of cash flow support of $634 million dollars to the sector, to sustain jobs and maintain growth.Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett disclosed this in his contribution to the Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on June 30.“They have used the resources well. There is not a single hotel in Jamaica that has been closed, even though the times are hard globally and things have been tough. We have been able to ensure that, notwithstanding the very impressive sales programmes that we have had to carry out, we’ve worked in partnership with the trade in order to ensure that we are getting better value for the dollar that we are spending,” he said.The stimulus package was announced by Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding late last year, and makes concessionary loans available to the tourism sector at all levels.Meanwhile, Mr. Bartlett said his Ministry is resolved to continue to make strides in the industry, despite tough economic times and a tight budget.“In difficult times, we have to act outside of the box, and we have to develop the kind of concepts and ideas that are going to enable us to meet the challenges. If the short term actions can be aligned with long-term social goals, then the overall industry may actually be strengthened by this crisis,” he said.He added that the Ministry has developed what is termed ‘new tourism’, built on marketing, product development and investment.This ‘new tourism’ the Minister said, looks beyond the short-term and demands the support of the private sector, and a shared vision by all sectors and all Jamaicans.It benefits not only those who travel, but also the people in the communities that tourists visit. With this new approach, Mr. Bartlett said he is confident that tourism will continue to be Jamaica’s number one foreign exchange earner.center_img RelatedMinister Bartlett Says Stimulus Package Helping Tourism Advertisementslast_img read more

City of Vancouver to relocate Safe Parking Zone to C-TRAN’s Evergreen Transit Center

first_imgCity of Vancouver to relocate Safe Parking Zone to C-TRAN’s Evergreen Transit CenterPosted by ClarkCountyToday.comDate: Friday, May 29, 2020in: Community Newsshare 0 The Safe Parking Zone provides a place for people sheltering in their vehicles to comply with Washington’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy orderVANCOUVER — The city of Vancouver will reopen its Safe Parking Zone at C-TRAN’s Evergreen Transit Center (1504 N.E. 138th Avenue), pending approval by the C-TRAN Board of Directors at its next board meeting on Tue., June 9.The Safe Parking Zone provides a place for people sheltering in their vehicles to comply with Washington’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order. The city will continue to manage the program in exchange for use of the C-TRAN site.The Safe Parking Zone offers 24-hour parking, restrooms and garbage service to registered participants. The transit center location will remain limited to 40 vehicles, with the ability to accommodate up to seven recreational vehicles.The Safe Parking Zone closed its previous site at Vancouver Mall on May 7. Since then, the city has been seeking a new site for the program. In its first month of operation, the program averaged 40 vehicles and served up to 60 participants per day.“It’s unfortunate that participants had to experience an interruption in service, but we are excited to be partnering with C-TRAN on the next chapter of the Safe Parking Zone,” said city of Vancouver Recreation Manager Dave Perlick. “We believe this site will offer a comfortable location for the Safe Parking Zone program for the duration of the state’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order.”For more on the Safe Parking Zone program and participant registration information, visit information about the city of Vancouver’s response to COVID-19, visit  Information provided by city of Vancouver.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textTags:Clark CountyCovid-19Vancouvershare 0 Previous : Share Vancouver to host community webinar to celebrate volunteers Next : Camping areas on the Lewis River to reopenAdvertisementThis is placeholder textlast_img read more

Endangered Species Act Focus Of CU School Of Law Workshops

first_imgShare Share via TwitterShare via FacebookShare via LinkedInShare via E-mail Published: April 7, 2002 Editors: Reporters may attend the workshops free of charge. For more information call Jeannie Patton at (303) 492-1288. The Natural Resources Law Center at the CU-Boulder School of Law will host a series of five workshops beginning in April and running through mid-September designed to help individuals and state and federal officials understand the complexities of the Endangered Species Act. Called “Living with the Endangered Species Act in Colorado,” the series will explore the ecological challenges facing Colorado as it continues to grow. “There are 33 species in Colorado that are now listed for protection, and with more likely to be added, conforming to the law is no small task,” said Larry MacDonnell, organizer of the series and former director of the NRLC. “As growth places pressure on the remaining habitat, development almost anywhere in the state will likely encounter the legal responsibilities of the Endangered Species Act.” The workshops will be held at the Denver Renaissance Hotel, located at 3801 Quebec St., and will run all day on April 24, half-days on May 29, June 19, July 15 and all day on Sept. 19. Established by Congress in 1973, the Endangered Species Act mandates protection for endangered species and their essential habitats.  “Among the challenges that we in Colorado face is balancing our water needs with those of threatened fish species native to the Colorado River system, the Platte River Basin, and other Colorado rivers and streams,” said MacDonnell. “This series examines how we have met this challenge to date. We also offer a session on the legal requirements for protection of the Preble’s Meadow jumping mouse, found only in riparian corridors along the Colorado and Wyoming Front Range and we’ll address the state’s effort to protect areas in the eastern plains for the black-tailed prairie dog and the challenge of re-establishing a viable population of Canada lynx.” Fees for the workshops range from $50 to $150 and Continuing Legal Education credit is available for each of the workshops. For information and registration details go to the Web site at or call (303) 492-1288.last_img read more

CU Boulder experts can discuss President Biden’s recent executive orders, first 100 days

first_imgShare Share via TwitterShare via FacebookShare via LinkedInShare via E-mail Published: Jan. 26, 2021 President Joe Biden has rolled out a series of executive orders and legislative plans aimed at addressing the coronavirus pandemic and dismantling many of President Donald Trump’s policies on climate and immigration. CU Boulder researchers are available to discuss the significance and impact of these executive decisions.This list will be updated as new experts become available. Climate orders Alice Madden, executive director of the University of Colorado Law School’s Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy, and the Environment, can discuss the Biden administration’s efforts to reverse Trump administration rollbacks of environmental protections. She can also discuss likely new climate policies and politics.Patty Limerick, faculty director and chair of the board of the Center of the American West, can discuss how President Biden’s executive orders on climate could undermine the West’s heavy reliance on coal, oil and natural gas production on federal land. Availability is limited, advance notice required.Paul Sutter is a history professor who specializes in U.S. and global environmental history. He can speak about the historical significance of the several climate-focused executive orders that President Biden has signed into law.Mark Squillace, professor of natural resources law, can discuss the impact of the Biden administration’s recent executive orders and other actions on public lands, oil and gas and mining and water resources. He previously worked as a lawyer at the Department of the Interior, including a stint at the end of the Clinton administration when he worked for Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt on a wide range of legal and policy issues. FEMALori Peek, a professor of sociology and director of the Natural Hazards Center, can discuss the Biden administration’s plans to direct up to $10 billion in Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) funds toward preventing natural disasters.COVID-19 ordersDan Larremore, assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and BioFrontiers Institute, can discuss Biden’s plans to increase testing and vaccine availability. Under a new executive order, Biden created a position of COVID-19 response coordinator to oversee distribution of tests and vaccines. In a new paper in Science, Larremore explored how different vaccine distribution plans would impact mortality.Immigration Ming Hsu Chen is an associate professor and faculty director of Colorado Law’s Immigration and Citizenship Law program. She can discuss the significance of President Biden’s recent executive orders on immigration, the census count and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy.last_img read more

IAPEN & Brains organise National Conference on Neuro-nutrition

first_imgIAPEN & Brains organise National Conference on Neuro-nutrition By EH News Bureau on April 25, 2018 Share Read Article WHO tri-regional policy dialogue seeks solutions to challenges facing international mobility of health professionals MaxiVision Eye Hospitals launches “Mucormycosis Early Detection Centre” Heartfulness group of organisations launches ‘Healthcare by Heartfulness’ COVID care app Phoenix Business Consulting invests in telehealth platform Healphacenter_img Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals releases first “Comprehensive Textbook of COVID-19” News Related Posts Correct nutritional feed is important for brain health, preventing neurological disorders & prevent infections & mortality rate in critical neuro-patients: ExpertsHighlighting the importance of neuro-nutrition, the Indian Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (IAPEN) and the Bangalore-based Brains Neuro Spine Centre recently organised a national conference on neuro-nutrition.Delivering his inaugural speech Dr NK Venkataramana, Founder & Chief Neurosurgeon, Brains enlightened the audience on how important is nutrition for the brain right from the foetus to geriatrics.Dr Venkataramana said, “Brain is the first organ to develop in human. Right from the pre-conception stage, neo-natal, childhood, right through adult and old age, consumption of right nutrition is very important. Lack of correct nutritional intake affects the white matter of the brain. This in turn can lead to delay in brain development, brain damage and cause serious neuro related problem like epilepsy.”Meanwhile as one tends to grow old, lack of proper nutrition can lead to decline in brain function and degeneration of brain, he further added.“Nutrition plays an important role in nervous disorders and in neuro and trauma critical care. Establishing nutrition support teams and protocols in hospitals and effective team work is the right approach for addressing malnutrition among hospitalised patients. The importance of nutrition and its role as part of medical treatment and enhanced recovery has been well established through several studies,” said, Dr Sreemathy Venkatraman, Chief Dietician & Nutritionist at Brains.The conference was aimed at educating dieticians and nutritionists about the importance of medical nutritional therapies in various neurological disorders and feeding practices in neuro and trauma critical care.It also served as a forum for dieticians and doctors to come together, discuss and exchange views. This would further enhance treatment in critical neuro cases, she added.The day-long conference attracted over 100 participants and several resource persons from across the country and abroad.Meanwhile, at the event, a booklet titled “Food for Thought Nutritional Guidelines for Brain” was released. The missing informal workers in India’s vaccine story Menopause to become the next game-changer in global femtech solutions industry by 2025last_img read more

Youth Urged to Prepare for Logistics Hub

first_imgRelatedGG Urges JPs to Educate Citizens About Chik-V and Ebola Story HighlightsGovernor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, is again urging young people to prepare to take advantage of opportunities that will be presented through the Global Logistic Hub Initiative.He said they should seek the necessary skills training and certification to seize employment and entrepreneurial opportunities.The Governor-General noted that the Global Logistics Hub is a major strategy in attaining ‘Vision 2030 Jamaica, the National Development Plan’. Youth Urged to Prepare for Logistics Hub Governor GeneralNovember 4, 2014Written by: Sharon Earle Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, is again urging young people to prepare to take advantage of opportunities that will be presented through the Global Logistic Hub Initiative.He said they should seek the necessary skills training and certification to seize employment and entrepreneurial opportunities.The Governor-General was addressing the ‘I Believe Initiative,’ Youth Consultative Conference for the county of Middlesex held on Thursday, October 30, at the Cardiff Hotel and Spa in Runaway Bay, St. Ann.More than 100 students from schools in the five parishes in Middlesex attended the conference, which was held under the theme: ‘Confident Youth Making a Strong Future through the Global Logistics Hub.’The Governor-General noted that the Global Logistics Hub is a major strategy in attaining ‘Vision 2030 Jamaica, the National Development Plan’.“Fifteen years, the time remaining for fulfilment of that vision is very short. It is therefore critical that you know the options open to you, the role you will play and the requirements needed to play this role effectively,” he said.The Governor-General charged the delegates to become “messengers of the good news from this conference,” and spread the information to “your youth groups, your schools and workplaces, so that your communities will have a better understanding of the growth potential available from the logistics hub.”Presentations were made by Executive Director of the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI), Dr. Fritz Pinnock;  Director of Programmes of Junior Achievement Jamaica, Yanique Taylor;  Plant Manager, Jamaica Public Service (JPS), Newton Young; Maintenance Manager, JPS, Peter Baker;  and Sales Manager of Enterprise Solutions at  Digicel, Godfrey Biggs. RelatedCommunity Stalwart Dedicated to Helping Otherscenter_img FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail RelatedGG Encourages Jamaicans to Embrace Science and Technology Advertisementslast_img read more

Lawsuit hangs over SMMUSD board

first_imgHomeNewsEducationLawsuit hangs over SMMUSD board May. 18, 2016 at 6:15 amEducationLawsuit hangs over SMMUSD boardJeff Goodman5 years agoAmerica Unites and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibilitycaliforniacity of santa monicaEPAgail pinskerlawsuitLos AngelesNewsolympic high schoolsandra lyonSanta Monicasanta monica californiasanta monica newssmmusd The school year is drawing to a close, but the battle over chemical cleanup in Malibu rages on.The local Board of Education is scheduled to spend half an hour of its closed session before Thursday’s meeting discussing with counsel the lawsuit brought against the Santa Monica-Malibu school district by parent groups and environmental activists.The closed session comes two days after the suit filed by America Unites and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility went to trial in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Downtown Los Angeles.The court on Tuesday determined that no live testimony would be heard from board members Craig Foster and Oscar de la Torre, according to a statement from SMMUSD spokeswoman Gail Pinsker. Foster and de la Torre are both named as defendants in the suit, but both have been critical of the district on environmental issues.Post-trial papers will soon be filed by the plaintiffs and defendants, according to the district.The plaintiffs, who have criticized the district for its handling of environmental testing and cleanup at Malibu schools, are seeking immediate removal of polychlorinated biphenyls following the discovery of the potentially hazardous chemicals more than two years ago. The district has since spent millions of dollars on consultants and legal fees.“We are committed to … exposing the truth about PCBs in Malibu schools and putting officials across the country on notice that parents will not stand for their kids being poisoned in their classrooms,” America Unites leader Jennifer deNicola, a Malibu parent, has said.The district has maintained that it is adhering to federal guidelines and argues that the plaintiffs’ concerns are misdirected.“We are confident that we are following the law and directions of the Environmental Protection Agency and that our classrooms are safe for teachers and students based on EPA health-protective thresholds,” Pinsker said in a pre-trial statement.“The plaintiffs in this lawsuit disagree with EPA’s regulation of school properties, and want to change the law. That dispute is not one for the district. As a regulated government body bound to follow the direction of the lead federal agency and established science, the school district shall continue to act in the best interest of its staff, students and teachers.”The first trial date came in the wake of Lyon’s announcement that she’s stepping down as SMMUSD superintendent June 30. She has accepted an offer to serve as the top administrator for the Palm Springs Unified School District starting July 1.Olympic upgradesThe modernization of Olympic High School appears to be moving forward.The school board is expected to award the major project to Chatsworth-based Novus Construction, which submitted the lowest bid for the job at $5.6 million.The district advertised the opportunity in mid-March, held job walks March 30-31 and received bids for the project in late April. In May, the district determined that Novus was the most affordable option.Novus has worked on several other education and community facilities, according to its website, including a pool and classroom building at Diamond Bar High School, a multimedia training facility at Whitney High School in Cerritos and a sustainable science building at Westridge School in Pasadena.Plans for upgrades at the district’s continuation campus were previously approved by the Division of the State Architect, a California oversight agency.Officials have said they hope the project is complete before the start of the 2017-18 school year, and it’s anticipated that the campus will be closed this summer.The renovations at Olympic are being funded by Measure BB, a $268-million bond approved by voters in [email protected] :America Unites and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibilitycaliforniacity of santa monicaEPAgail pinskerlawsuitLos AngelesNewsolympic high schoolsandra lyonSanta Monicasanta monica californiasanta monica newssmmusdshare on Facebookshare on Twitteradd a commentStamp Out Hunger Food Drive ‘tremendous success’ for Westside Food BankBusiness groups hope Expo will deliver economic gainsYou Might Also LikeBriefsNewsBeach House Begins Community Re-Opening June 15Guest Author2 days agoBriefsNewsInput Invited for Marine Park Improvement ProjectsGuest Author2 days agoBriefsNewsPublic Health Emphasizes the Importance of Vaccinations as Distancing and Masking Guidelines Relax Next WeekGuest Author2 days agoBriefsNews“Righting Our Wrongs” performance on June 11Guest Author2 days agoBriefsNewsSEATTLE Feds plan to curtail West Coast salmon fishing to help orcasGuest Author2 days agoColumnsFeaturedNewsOpinionWhat’s the Point?whats the pointGAY PRIDE MONTH IS HERE FOR ALL OF USDavid Pisarra2 days agolast_img read more