Actor Jerry Orbach dead at age 69

Friday, December 31, 2004

New York City – Actor Jerry Orbach died in his home in Manhattan at age 69. Orbach was a staple of American cinema, stage and television, with his most recent role being in the NBC police drama “Law and Order.”

Orbach is survived by his wife of 25 years, Elaine Cancilla, and his two sons Anthony and Christopher.

Orbach was born in the tough Bronx borough of New York City in 1935 to a family of entertainers. His father Leon Orbach was an vaudeville actor and his mother Emily Orbach was a radio singer and greeting card writer.

The family moved often to keep up with travelling Vaudeville acts, but eventually settled in Waukegan Illinois where Orbach played football at the local high school. After graduation, Orbach got a summer job at the Chevy Chase Country Club in Wheeling doing odd jobs ranging from stagecraft to small acting parts in plays.

He then studied drama at the University of Illinois before transferring to Northwestern where he studied the Stanislavsky Method of drama acting. In 1955, Orbach dropped out of college and moved to New York City where he got a job as an understudy in The Threepenny Opera.

Orbach continued to work in theater, eventually earning roles in broadway musicals, but by 1961 had grown dissatisfied with being typecast as a musical actor. He tried briefly to break into film without success, and eventually returned to broadway where he earned numerous accolades for his roles in such musicals as “Guys and Dolls” and “Chicago“.

Orbach finally broke into television in the 1980s as a recurring character in shows such as the mystery-drama “Murder She Wrote” and the hit sitcom “Golden Girls“.

He earned the lead role as the title character in his own short-lived series “The Law and Harry McGraw”, a spinoff of “Murder She Wrote”. Orbach also scored key roles in a few Hollywood films, including the action thriller “F/X”, and the dance-musical hit “Dirty Dancing”, but continued to find his mainstay in television crime dramas.

In 1990, he picked up a role in the new NBC crime drama “Law and Order” as the acerbic-witted Lennie Briscoe, a role which soon become a regular job. Orbach continued in this role in addition to movie roles and occasional musical appearances until his death this last week.

Orbach was diagnosed with Prostate cancer in Spring of 2004, a fact he kept private until November when he checked into New York’s Memorial Sloan-Ketting Cancer Center for treatment. In spite of the aggressive nature of the treatment, he died on the evening of December 28.

Crash kills nine on Oklahoma turnpike

Monday, June 29, 2009

A crash has killed nine people on a turnpike (toll road) northeast of Miami, Oklahoma. The accident occurred on Friday when a semi-trailer truck struck a line of stationary traffic from behind on the Will Rogers Turnpike near state lines with Missouri and Kansas.

It looks like a war zone. There’s mangled metal everywhere. There’s debris, fluids, dead bodies.

Traffic had come to a standstill as a result of an earlier accident eastbound when the accident occurred. The road has a speed limit of 75 mph, and it is currently thought that the truck driver made no attempts to stop his vehicle. He was hospitalised. A spokesperson for the nearby Freeman Hospital said eight people were treated there, and it is reported a twelve-year-old girl is among the injured.

The girl had to be cut free from the wreckage of her car, and was taken to the Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City where she was in critical condition. Her parents were both killed. The accident occurred at 1p.m., and it was four hours before any eastbound lanes re-opened, leaving vehicles stranded in high temperatures and prompting emergency services to distribute water to motorists.

Also killed are an Oklahoma City family of four and a seven-year-old Texas girl and her father. The mother from that family is in a critical condition, and another woman was also killed in the same car.

Lt. George Brown of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol described the scene: “It looks like a war zone. There’s mangled metal everywhere. There’s debris, fluids, dead bodies.” A man who has worked thirty years as a tow truck driver said the crash was “the worst one I’ve ever worked.”

A number of other smaller incidents occurred in the area afterwards. At least three accidents were caused by vehicles slowing down in response to the crash, and four cars collided with each other westbound. No-one was killed in the other accidents.

It took hours to locate the last fatality, who was in a car pinned under the semi-trailer. Two tow trucks were required to separate the vehicles. A total of seven vehicles were involved, including three cars which were beneath the truck by the end of the accident sequence.

A criminal investigation has been launched. A blood sample has been taken from the truck driver, 76-year-old Donald Creed, who has been released from hospital after treatment. There is no indication alcohol was a factor in the accident.

World AIDS Day events held around the globe

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The 20th annual World AIDS Day was December 1, 2007. The theme selected by the World AIDS Campaign is “Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise” as it will be through 2010. The day was marked by thousands of events around the world.

“It is now time for bold leadership at all levels in order to turn the tide of HIV,” said Felicita Hikuam, Global Programmes Manager, World AIDS Campaign. An estimated 33.2 million people around the world—one in every 200—are living with HIV, and approximately 6,800 people are infected with HIV and 5,700 people die of AIDS-related illnesses every day.

“The trend is encouraging but still for every person receiving treatment four others are newly infected,” said Nelson Mandela, speaking at a concert in Johannesburg, South Africa. “If we are to stop the Aids epidemic from expanding, we need to break the cycle of new HIV infections. All of us working together with government, communities and civil society can make the difference that is needed,” he continued.

As many as 50,000 people attended the concert in Johannesburg, South Africa, which was telecast around the world. It was organized by Nelson Mandela’s 46664 AIDS campaign and featured performances by artists such as Peter Gabriel, Ludacris, Razorlight, the Goo Goo Dolls and Annie Lennox.

At a fundraiser in the town of Midrand, in the province Gauteng, near Johannesburg on Friday, singer Annie Lennox had strong words for the South African government’s AIDS policies.

“AIDS, as Madiba [Mandela] has said, is a human rights issue and should be treated as such in order to avoid this genocide that is affecting millions and millions of people around the world,” said Lennox in a speech. Lennox has previously been critical of the South African government’s position on suggesting some AIDS medications were toxic. “It is unacceptable that treatment has not been made available to those who need it most,” said Lennox.

The rock band Queen, which lost its lead singer Freddie Mercury to AIDS, released a new song entitled, Say It’s Not True, to coincide with World Aids Day. It has been made available as a free download from the band’s website. “By making the song available for free, we hope to help Nelson Mandela with his campaign to get across the message that no-one is safe from infection,” said Queen drummer Roger Taylor. “We have to be aware, we have to protect ourselves and those we love.”

In China, people distributed AIDS prevention brochures in the streets and promoted safe sex in cities like Beijing and Shanghai. In Changsha, official warning signs were put on hotel bedstands. The government announced on Friday an allocation of CNY860 million for AIDS prevention and control. According to official reports, there are estimated to be 700,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in China.

Also in China, the Miss World 2007 was in Sanya on World AIDS Day. The pageant presented a special tribute to the fight against AIDS, with a televised speech from former South African President Nelson Mandela, along with traditional dancers from South Africa who joined the contestants in a special song.

Friday, United States President George W. Bush urged the United States Congress to double the 2003 Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief to US$30 billion over the next five years. “Above all, we rededicate ourselves to a great purpose: We will turn the tide against HIV/AIDS—once and for all,” he said.

“I’m pleased to announce that Laura and I will travel to sub-Sahara Africa early next year,” Bush said. Sub-Saharan Africa suffered nearly three-quarters of AIDS-related deaths during 2006 and is home to two-thirds of those living with HIV/AIDS.

Indigenous Australians told to “wash for fuel”

Thursday, December 9, 2004

MULAN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA – Under a draft plan of the Australian Federal Government’s “mutual obligation” agreements, members of the Aboriginal community Mulan in Western Australia will be obliged to ensure that homes and yards are clean, students attend school, rubbish bins are emptied twice a week and that children undertake frequent facewashing.

As a “quid pro quo” the community will receive $172,000 AUD in federal funding for petrol bowsers and fuel stations, while the Western Australian Government will provide regular testing for skin infections, worm infestations and the eye condition trachoma, which is widespread in Mulan.

Community administrator Mark Sewell approached Wayne Gibbons, a former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission chief executive, to initate an agreement four months, once it became clear that the face-washing program at the Mulan Catholic school was having a positive effect. The program, which has been running for eighteen months, has reduced the levels of trachoma among students from 80% to 16%.

Presently, the residents of Mulan must drive 44km to the nearby community of Balgo for fuel.

Acting race discrimination commissioner, Tom Calma, has approved the deal, despite concerns from members of the Mulan community. Aboriginal lawyer and land rights activist Michael Mansell claimed that placing conditions on funding is unlawful and unenforceable. The government proposal has been widely labelled as ‘humiliating’ to the community.

Make A Wise Investment In Kit Homes

Make a Wise Investment in Kit Homes

by

benwall

Your home is among your most important life investments. With the current state of the economy, a lot of people think it would be quite impossible to build their dream house. However, there are actually a lot of ways you can explore to make the most of building your dream house without exhausting your savings or investing all your financial resources in the process. You can start by checking out kit home designs you can easily find here.

So, why settle for kit homes? A lot of people these days are investing in kit homes because they are considered more cost-effective. For one, different designs are available so you can have more freedom to choose home kits that are well suited to your needs. You can also check out different kit homes that are made according to the specific preferences of the owner. You can find companies or agencies offering full customization services to better serve their clients.

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As stated earlier, kit homes are considered more cost-effective. This is great because you can save a lot of money by investing in these DIY kit homes. Since the plan is ready-made, all you need to do is to follow the instructions given. That will surely be a lot cheaper than hiring a professional planner and builder to help you in planning and constructing your home. The list of all the materials needed is also included, apart from the comprehensive diagrams and instructions. Aside from the detailed instruction manual, many agencies and kit home companies also go as far as helping you secure necessary permits. You can enlist their help when it comes to securing different documentations you ll need in constructing your home. Find out more about top kit home companies from this website.

Apart from cost-effectiveness, kit homes are also made to be environment-friendly. Materials listed in the construction manuals are recyclable steel materials or treated timber woods. In addition, a lot of kit home designs today also comply with highly recommended energy-efficient ratings. The materials needed are ensured to provide efficient energy consumption, excellent ventilation, as well as ideal lighting and insulation conditions.

Despite the proven benefits of kit homes, choosing one is still a source of confusion for many aspiring homeowners. Since your home will be one of your vital investments, it just makes sense to be thorough when exploring available options and making a decision. Below are some tips you can consider when searching for kit homes.

Before you go searching for kit homes, it would be wise to consider your living environment. Consider the features of your living quarters and start envisioning a house that would be ideal in it. Also, make it a point to consider unplanned modifications in the future. It would be practical to leave some room for improvement in case you want to expand or make changes afterwards.

As stated earlier, it would be wise to choose a kit home design that is energy-efficient and eco-friendly. Apart from convenience purposes, this will also help you save more money in the process. Make sure you choose a design that can maximize natural ventilation and lighting conditions so you can save on electricity and make your house comfortable to live in at the same time.

Consider the materials you ll need for your home project. Take into account if your place is prone to flooding or other natural problems like termite infestation and pest damage. Take into consideration the type of materials that would be highly ideal to the type of environment you live in. You can get more info about kit homes if you click and view homepage of this site.

Kit homes are worthy investments because they are cost-effective and can also save you a lot of time and effort building your dream house. With easy-to-follow DIY instructions and comprehensive home-building diagrams, investing in a kit home is surely ideal for many aspiring homeowners. Find out more about different available designs by visiting a kit home company online.

Article Source:

ArticleRich.com

Petition pressures City of Edinburgh Council to review clause affecting live music scene

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Live music venues in Edinburgh, Scotland are awaiting a review later this year on the 2005 licensing policy, which places limitations on the volume of amplified music in the city. Investigating into how the policy is affecting the Edinburgh music scene, a group of Wikinews writers interviewed venue owners, academics, the City of Edinburgh Council, and local band The Mean Reds to get different perspectives on the issue.

Since the clause was introduced by the government of the city of Edinburgh, licensed venues have been prohibited from allowing music to be amplified to the extent it is audible to nearby residential properties. This has affected the live music scene, with several venues discontinuing regular events such as open mic nights, and hosting bands and artists.

Currently, the licensing policy allows licensing standards officers to order a venue to cease live music on any particular night, based on a single noise complaint from the public. The volume is not electronically measured to determine if it breaches a decibel volume level. Over roughly the past year there have been 56 separate noise complaints made against 18 venues throughout the city.

A petition to amend the clause has garnered over 3,000 signatures, including the support of bar owners, musicians, and members of the general public.

On November 17, 2014, the government’s Culture and Sport Committee hosted an open forum meeting at Usher Hall. Musicians, venue owners and industry professionals were encouraged to provide their thoughts on how the council could improve live music in the city. Ways to promote live music as a key cultural aspect of Edinburgh were discussed and it was suggested that it could be beneficial to try and replicate the management system of live music of other global cities renowned for their live music scenes. However, the suggestion which prevailed above all others was simply to review the existing licensing policy.

Councillor (Cllr) Norma Austin-Hart, Vice Convenor of the Culture and Sport Committee, is responsible for the working group Music is Audible. The group is comprised of local music professionals, and councillors and officials from Edinburgh Council. A document circulated to the Music is Audible group stated the council aims “to achieve a balance between protecting residents and supporting venues”.

Following standard procedure, when a complaint is made, a Licensing Standards Officer (LSO) is dispatched to investigate the venue and evaluate the level of noise. If deemed to be too loud, the LSO asks the venue to lower the noise level. According to a document provided by the City of Edinburgh Council, “not one single business has lost its license or been closed down because of a breach to the noise condition in Edinburgh.”

In the Scotland Licensing Policy (2005), Clause 6.2 states, “where the operating plan indicates that music is to be played in a premises, the board will consider the imposition of a condition requiring amplified music from those premises to be inaudible in residential property.” According to Cllr Austin-Hart, the high volume of tenement housing in the city centre makes it difficult for music to be inaudible.

During the Edinburgh Festival Fringe during the summer, venues are given temporary licences that allow them to operate for the duration of the festival and under the condition that “all amplified music and vocals are controlled to the satisfaction of the Director of Services for Communities”, as stated in a document from the council. During the festival, there is an 11 p.m. noise restriction on amplified music, and noise may be measured by Environmental Health staff using sophisticated equipment. Noise is restricted to 65dB(A) from the facades of residential properties; however, complaints from residents still occur. In the document from the council, they note these conditions and limitations for temporary venues would not necessarily be appropriate for permanent licensed premises.

In a phone interview, Cllr Austin-Hart expressed her concern about the unsettlement in Edinburgh regarding live music. She referenced the closure of the well-known Picture House, a venue that has provided entertainment for over half a century, and the community’s opposition to commercial public bar chain Wetherspoon buying the venue. “[It] is a well-known pub that does not play any form of music”, Cllr Austin-Hart said. “[T]hey feel as if it is another blow to Edinburgh’s live music”. “[We] cannot stop Wetherspoon’s from buying this venue; we have no control over this.”

The venue has operated under different names, including the Caley Palais which hosted bands such as Queen and AC/DC. The Picture House opened in 2008.

One of the venues which has been significantly affected by the licensing laws is the Phoenix Bar, on Broughton Street. The bar’s owner, Sam Roberts, was induced to cease live music gigs in March, following a number of noise complaints against the venue. As a result, Ms Roberts was inspired to start the aforementioned petition to have Clause 6.2 of the licensing policy reviewed, in an effort to remove the ‘inaudibility’ statement that is affecting venues and the music scene.

“I think we not only encourage it, but actively support the Edinburgh music scene,” Ms Roberts says of the Phoenix Bar and other venues, “the problem is that it is a dying scene.”

When Ms Roberts purchased the venue in 2013, she continued the existing 30-year legacy established by the previous owners of hosting live acts. Representative of Edinburgh’s colourful music scene, a diverse range of genres have been hosted at the venue. Ms Roberts described the atmosphere when live music acts perform at her venue as “electric”. “The whole community comes together singing, dancing and having a party. Letting their hair down and forgetting their troubles. People go home happy after a brilliant night out. All the staff usually join in; the pub comes alive”. However licensing restrictions have seen a majority of the acts shut down due to noise complaints. “We have put on jazz, blues, rock, rockabilly, folk, celtic and pop live acts and have had to close everything down.” “Residents in Edinburgh unfortunately know that the Council policy gives them all the rights in the world, and the pubs and clubs none”, Ms Roberts clarified.

Discussing how inaudibility has affected venues and musicians alike, Ms Roberts stated many pubs have lost profit through the absence of gigs, and trying to soundproof their venue. “It has put many musicians out of work and it has had an enormous effect on earnings in the pub. […] Many clubs and bars have been forced to invest in thousands of pounds worth of soundproofing equipment which has nearly bankrupted them, only to find that even the tiniest bit of noise can still force a closure. It is a ridiculously one-sided situation.” Ms Roberts feels inaudibility is an unfair clause for venues. “I think it very clearly favours residents in Edinburgh and not business. […] Nothing is being done to support local business, and closing down all the live music venues in Edinburgh has hurt financially in so many ways. Not only do you lose money, you lose new faces, you lose the respect of the local musicians, and you begin to lose all hope in a ‘fair go’.”

With the petition holding a considerable number of signatures, Ms Roberts states she is still sceptical of any change occurring. “Over three thousand people have signed the petition and still the council is not moving. They have taken action on petitions with far fewer signatures.” Ms Roberts also added, “Right now I don’t think Edinburgh has much hope of positive change”.

Ms Roberts seems to have lost all hope for positive change in relation to Edinburgh’s music scene, and argues Glasgow is now the regional choice for live music and venues. “[E]veryone in the business knows they have to go to Glasgow for a decent scene. Glasgow City Council get behind their city.”

Ms Martina Cannon, member of local band The Mean Reds, said a regular ‘Open Mic Night’ she hosted at The Parlour on Duke Street has ceased after a number of complaints were made against the venue. “It was a shame because it had built up some momentum over the months it had been running”. She described financial loss to the venue from cancelling the event, as well as loss to her as organiser of the event.

Sneaky Pete’s music bar and club, owned by Nick Stewart, is described on its website as “open and busy every night”.”Many clubs could be defined as bars that host music, but we really are a music venue that serves drinks”, Mr Stewart says. He sees the live music scene as essential for maintaining nightlife in Edinburgh not only because of the economic benefit but more importantly because of the cultural significance. “Music is one of the important things in life. […] it’s emotionally and intellectually engaging, and it adds to the quality of life that people lead.”

Sneaky Pete’s has not been immune to the inaudibility clause. The business has spent about 20,000 pounds on multiple soundproofing fixes designed to quell complaints from neighboring residents. “The business suffered a great deal in between losing the option to do gigs for fear of complaints, and finishing the soundproofing. As I mentioned, we are a music business that serves drinks, not a bar that also has music, so when we lose shows, we lose a great deal of trade”, said Mr Stewart.

He believes there is a better way to go about handling complaints and fixing public nuisances. “The local mandatory condition requiring ‘amplified music and vocals’ to be ‘inaudible’ should be struck from all licenses. The requirement presupposes that nuisance is caused by music venues, when this may not reasonably be said to be the case. […] Nuisance is not defined in the Licensing Act nor is it defined in the Public Health Act (Scotland) 2008. However, The Consultation on Guidance to accompany the Statutory Nuisance Provisions of the Public Health etc (Scotland) Act 2008 states that ‘There are eight key issues to consider when evaluating whether a nuisance exists[…]'”.

The eight key factors are impact, locality, time, frequency, duration, convention, importance, and avoidability. Stewart believes it is these factors that should be taken into consideration by LSOs responding to complaints instead of the sole factor of “audibility”.He believes multiple steps should be taken before considering revocation of licenses. Firstly, LSOs should determine whether a venue is a nuisance based on the eight factors. Then, the venue should have the opportunity to comply by using methods such as changing the nature of their live performances (e.g. from hard rock to acoustic rock), changing their hours of operation, or soundproofing. If the venue still fails to comply, then a board can review their license with the goal of finding more ways to bring them into compliance as opposed to revoking their license.

Nick Stewart has discussed his proposal at length with Music is Audible and said he means to present his proposal to the City of Edinburgh Council.

Dr Adam Behr, a music academic and research associate at the University of Edinburgh who has conducted research on the cultural value of live music, says live music significantly contributes to the economic performance of cities. He said studies have shown revenue creation and the provision of employment are significant factors which come about as a result of live music. A 2014 report by UK Music showed the economic value generated by live music in the UK in 2013 was £789 million and provided the equivalent of 21,600 full time jobs.

As the music industry is international by nature, Behr says this complicates the way revenue is allocated, “For instance, if an American artist plays a venue owned by a British company at a gig which is promoted by a company that is part British owned but majority owned by, say, Live Nation (a major international entertainment company) — then the flow of revenues might not be as straightforward as it seems [at] first.”

Despite these complexities, Behr highlighted the broader advantages, “There are, of course, ancillary benefits, especially for big gigs […] Obviously other local businesses like bars, restaurants and carparks benefit from increased trade”, he added.

Behr criticised the idea of making music inaudible and called it “unrealistic”. He said it could limit what kind of music can be played at venues and could force vendors to spend a large amount of money on equipment that enables them to meet noise cancelling requirements. He also mentioned the consequences this has for grassroots music venues as more ‘established’ venues within the city would be the only ones able to afford these changes.

Alongside the inaudibility dispute has been the number of sites that have been closing for the past number of years. According to Dr Behr, this has brought attention to the issue of retaining live music venues in the city and has caused the council to re-evaluate its music strategy and overall cultural policy.

This month, Dr Behr said he is to work on a live music census for Edinburgh’s Council which aims to find out what types of music is played, where, and what exactly it brings to the city. This is in an effort to get the Edinburgh city council to see any opportunities it has with live music and the importance of grassroots venues. The census is similar to one conducted in Victoria, Australia in 2012 on the extent of live music in the state and its economic benefit.

As for the solution to the inaudibility clause, Behr says the initial step is dialogue, and this has already begun. “Having forum discussion, though, is a start — and an improvement”, he said. “There won’t be an overnight solution, but work is ongoing to try to find one that can stick in the long term.”

Beverley Whitrick, Strategic Director of Music Venue Trust, said she is unable to comment on her work with the City of Edinburgh Council or on potential changes to the inaudibility clause in the Licensing Policy. However, she says, “I have been asked to assess the situation and make recommendations in September”.

According to The Scotsman, the Council is working toward helping Edinburgh’s cultural and entertainment scene. Deputy Council Leader Sandy Howat said views of the entertainment industry needs to change and the Council will no longer consider the scene as a “sideline”.

Senior members of the Council, The Scotsman reported, aim to review the planning of the city to make culture more of a priority. Howat said, “If you’re trying to harness a living community and are creating facilities for people living, working and playing then culture should form part of that.”

The review of the inaudibility clause in the Licensing Policy is set to be reviewed near the end of 2016 but the concept of bringing it forward to this year is still under discussion.

Five hundred cattle die of neglect on West Australia property

Thursday, February 17, 2005 RSPCA inspectors found about 500 cattle dead on a remote station in Western Australia. Water is being trucked in to care for another 2500 cattle on Windidda station, east of Wilun, which is leased to an Aboriginal corporation.

State Agriculture Minister Kim Chance says the propery was found abandoned and only two of the property’s 13 watering stations were working.

“The lease is owned by an aboriginal corporation (but) the precise of identity of the corporation is somewhat obscure,” Mr Chance said.

WA RSPCA spokesperson Kelly Oversby said they made the shocking discovery after an anonymous tip-off.

“Experienced inspectors have told us it is the worst case of animal cruelty they have ever seen,” Ms Overby said.

“As well as the cattle, brumbies, camels, dogs and kangaroos have all perished.”