In 1874, settlers were drawn into the Black Hills by the discovery of gold. Through the gold rush, industries such as logging, ranching and farming began to grow.Rapid City was founded in 1876. It’s the county seat of Pennington County and is about 30 miles from the western border of South Dakota, midway north and south, in the eastern foothills of the Black Hills. Spring-fed Rapid Creek flows through the city, paralleling the main business streets. Rapid City is the transportation center of western South Dakota. The city’s elevation is about 3,240 feet above sea level.Current estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau place Rapid City’s population at more than 74,000. The city area encompasses 44.7 square miles and is the largest in the state. The city’s 200-mile retail trade area has a total population of more than 450,000.The climate is semi-arid, with excellent flying conditions, moderate winters, cool summer nights and low humidity. Average temperature is 46.6 degrees with an average annual precipitation of 55.8 inches.Local industry includes agriculture and tourism, along with science, medical, engineering, technology, military-related and energy industries.AGRICULTUREAgriculture is the lifeblood of South Dakota. It is the state’s overall No. 1 industry and the No. 2 industry in western South Dakota. For the farmers and ranchers who work the land, it is more than a job — it is a career and a way of life. Although the way things are done have changed, agriculture remains the common thread linking the citizens, businesses and communities of our area.The rural Rapid City area is home to more than 650 working farms, making up 1,185,055 acres of farmland and producing more than 280,000 acres in cropland. The average size farm in this area is approximately 1,400 acres. Western South Dakota’s No. 1 harvested crop is wheat.Livestock production in western South Dakota is abundant. The top three products are beef cattle, sheep and bison.NATURAL RESOURCESThe Black Hills are an emerald-green oasis towering above the endless sea of prairie that surrounds them. Ponderosa pine dominates the Black Hills forest along with the Black Hills spruce (South Dakota’s state tree), trembling aspens, paper birch and other bottomland hardwood trees. Elevations reach as high as 7,300 feet, and while the geography and terrain are tremendously varied, it is invariably breathtaking. Wildlife is diverse and abundant, ranging from impressive trout fisheries to big game species like elk, bison, whitetail and mule deer, and bighorn sheep. In many ways, the Black Hills are a mixing ground of east and west, of mountains and plains, and of moist and arid climates.AREA CULTURE AND BACKGROUNDEllsworth is the largest employer in the West River region and the second-largest in the state. There are more than 750 civilians working on base. The total economic impact on the surrounding communities was nearly $359 million in 2016. Communities within close proximity to the base are Rapid City and Box Elder.However, this is only a small part of the contribution the Airmen of Ellsworth make to the broader community.Ellsworth Airmen and the 28th Bomb Wing are not just next to a great community, we are part of a great community. Our approximately 9,500 Airmen and family members are dedicated to playing an active role in the welfare of the broader Black Hills — far beyond just jobs and payroll. Every year, Ellsworth Airmen volunteer countless hours on and off base helping the local community. Some of their contributions include coaching children’s sports and working with Honor Flight, the Make-a-Wish Foundation and many other local charities.Today, South Dakota boasts one of the nation’s most stable economies. The presence of Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Monument, numerous other attractions and the scenic beauty of the Black Hills make tourism a major industry, particularly in the summer months. Mining, logging and agriculture also contribute to the coffers of one of the few remaining states to run at a budget surplus.Perhaps because of the long and colorful history of the area, most citizens foster a strong sense of both community and pride. Local city and town governments reflect this attitude.The political structure of the area is designed to meet the needs of growing communities. The “good neighbor” concept, established in Old West traditions, seems to be a governing principle for an area where people can still pay by check — with no identification required. City and county governments are active, highly participative and address issues ranging from law enforcement to environmental concerns.Cowboy boots, pickup trucks, high plains grassland and pine-covered mountains may give Rapid City a Western flair and easy-going lifestyle, but living or visiting Rapid City also creates a striking atmosphere for music, art and drama.The arts are an important part of the community and are growing strong thanks to dedicated support from civic-minded volunteers, educators and a government interested in supporting the variety the arts can add to city life.Rapid City and the Black Hills area have a thriving arts and culture scene that encompasses the values and history of the region. Rapid City’s premier arts center, the Dahl, is a public facility owned by the city of Rapid City. Since it opened in 1974, the Dahl has been the center for contemporary visual arts, arts education and performing arts. The Dahl Arts Center is managed by the Rapid City Arts Council, which is one of the oldest and most respected arts councils in South Dakota. The mission of the Arts Council is to bring art and people together to strengthen the community.The Allied Arts Fund provides operation and promotional support for A Cappella Showcase, Bells of the Hills, Black Hills Chamber Music Society, Black Hills Community Theatre, Black Hills Dance Theatre, Black Hills Playhouse, Black Hills Symphony Orchestra, Dakota Artists Guild, Dakota Choral Union, Rapid City Arts Council and Rapid City Concert Association. In addition, it provides funding for other nonprofit grassroots community art projects. Together, all these groups represent the most active and established arts organizations in the Black Hills and provide more than 1,200 culturally enriching events each year.• A Cappella Showcase presents area singers and musicians in their area concerts.• The Bells of the Hills presents two hand bell concerts annually.• Black Hills Chamber Music Society presents a five-concert series of chamber music for the public each year and sponsors a music enrichment program for children in the Black Hills Children’s Home.• Black Hills Community Theatre reaches out to everyone in the Black Hills, providing them with the opportunity to learn, share and experience the performing arts through participation, classes or being an audience member at quality theatrical productions in the Black Hills. They do this by producing five Main Stage shows each year, one dinner theater fundraiser, four children’s theater productions, a senior theater program that performs at various senior centers and housing complexes throughout the region, and theater project development with the Suzie Cappa Players of the Black Hills Workshop.• Black Hills Dance Theatre provides quality in dance education, performance and experience to audiences in the Black Hills region; presents “The Nutcracker” ballet biennially; and sponsors a performance from a nationally acclaimed dance company every year.• Black Hills Playhouse presents 60 to 65 performances that serve more than 15,000 patrons. It provides hands-on educational experiences for students with employment and internships.• Black Hills Symphony Orchestra presents a five-concert series and co-sponsors the Young Artist Competition with the Black Hills Symphony League.• Dakota Artists Guild provides art shows at First United Methodist Church, Black Hills Community Theatre and Black Hills Piano Gallery. It hosts artist workshops and sponsors youth scholarships.• Dakota Choral Union performs an annual series of four concerts with its nonauditioned choir.• Rapid City Arts Council presents, promotes and preserves the arts through education, exhibits, performances and collections.• Rapid City Concert Association presents an annual concert series featuring renowned, nationally known artists. Formed in 1937, it is Rapid City’s oldest arts organization.EDUCATIONWhen it comes to education, South Dakota is wired for success. When it comes to computers, South Dakota has one of the highest computer-to-student ratios.In the Black Hills, education doesn’t end with high school. This region is home to two state universities, a technical institute and several private colleges.Workers are well-educated; 24 percent of employed citizens hold a bachelor’s degree, while nearly 9 percent hold an advanced degree.Incoming families are encouraged to register their children in school as soon as possible. When registering children in school, parents need to provide the record of attendance and grades from previous schools, if available, and a birth certificate for kindergarten registration. Shot records are also needed when registering kindergartners.RAPID CITY AREA SCHOOLS DISTRICTThe Rapid City Area Schools district, the second-largest district in South Dakota, is dedicated to providing students equal access to an excellent educational program, which results in their becoming responsible citizens who know how to learn, value lifelong learning and cope with life in a changing society.With an enrollment of more than 13,000 students, the district encompasses more than 419 square miles. It consists of 15 elementary schools, five middle schools and three high schools.The district provides multifaceted educational opportunities through regular and special classes, community education programs and extensive after-school, co-curricular activities.Committed to community involvement, Rapid City Area Schools encourage phone calls or visits to any schools or offices.Bus transportation is available to Rapid City Area Schools district students in first through eighth grade who live more than 2.5 miles from their assigned attendance area.RAPID CITY REGIONAL HOSPITALRegional Health is an integrated health care system with the purpose of helping patients and communities live well. The organization, with headquarters in Rapid City, provides community-based health care in more than 20 communities in two states and 32 specialty areas of medicine. As the largest private employer in western South Dakota, Regional Health is composed of five hospitals and 24 clinic locations and employs nearly 5,000 physicians and caregivers. Regional Health is committed to the future of medicine, with medical training partnerships, a medical residency program and more than 130 active research studies.Rapid City Regional Hospital (RCRH) is the largest hospital in the Regional Health system with more than 3,300 caregivers. RCRH is verified as a Level II Trauma Center by the American College of Surgeons. Along with emergency services, the Rapid City hospital also provides advanced cardiac care, cancer care, behavioral health services, surgical services, rehabilitation, home health and hospice services, diagnostic imaging, obstetrics, neonatal intensive care and pediatric care. Regional Health also operates Urgent Care Clinics and specialty clinics throughout the Rapid City area.BLACK HILLS REGIONAL EYE INSTITUTEThe Black Hills Regional Eye Institute has been offering eye care since 1982. The institute serves the surrounding five-state region with 12 satellite locations and a modern eye care facility in Rapid City. Experienced physicians and staff are experts in all areas of eye exams, glaucoma treatment, cataract surgery, the retina and cornea, pediatric care and strabismus, oculoplastic and refractive surgery techniques to lessen the need for glasses or contact lenses.EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES AND PROCEDURESOff-duty Employment: The Airman and Family Readiness Center, at the Rushmore Center, provides employment assistance.Full-time or Part-time Employment for Family Members: Rapid City Career Center has a vast listing of jobs that individuals may apply for. This agency offers an excellent beginning for military dependents looking for full- or part-time employment. For more information about the South Dakota Department of Labor and Rapid City Career Center, at 111 New York St. in Rapid City, call 605-394-2296.Volunteer Positions: The Airman and Family Readiness Center at Ellsworth can provide information for individuals interested in volunteer work. For more information, call the Airman and Family Readiness Center at 605-385-4663.PUBLIC TRANSPORTATIONAIRPORTThe Rapid City Regional Airport, 11 miles from Ellsworth off Highway 44, is one of the most active airports in the region. The airport has an 8,701-foot main runway and a 3,600-foot asphalt crosswind runway. Rapid City Regional Airport serves the Black Hills with several commercial airlines, such as Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Express. Ground transportation is provided by Airport Express Shuttle, taxi and six car rental brands. For more information, call 605-393-9924.BUS DEPOTThe Rapid Transit Center is at 333 Sixth St. in Rapid City. Rapid Ride provides daily bus service with routes throughout the city. For more information, call Rapid Ride at 605-394-6631.LAW ENFORCEMENTThe Rapid City Police Department employs more than 140 workers composed of sworn officers and civilian personnel. The routine phone number for the Rapid City Police Department is 605-394-4131.FIRE DEPARTMENTThe city is serviced by the Rapid City Fire Department. The department is staffed with 135 employees. There are seven fire stations throughout the city. The nonemergency number for the Rapid City Fire Department is 605-394-4180.RECREATIONRapid City is the gateway to the Black Hills, which offer unlimited hours of recreation, including sightseeing, hiking, camping, swimming, sailing, water skiing, fishing, spelunking, biking, horseback riding, hunting, downhill and cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling.The entire state of South Dakota offers excellent opportunities for fishing and hunting. Many rivers, lakes and streams provide habitat for bass, trout, walleye and northern pike, salmon, bluegill, perch, crappie and catfish. Fall and winter offer a challenge for elk, mule and whitetail deer, American pronghorn, turkey, pheasant, quail, partridge, grouse, goose, duck, prairie chicken, dove, coyote, fox, jackrabbit, cottontail, squirrel and prairie dog.U.S. armed forces personnel who have been continuously stationed in South Dakota for at least 90 days immediately preceding application for a license are eligible to purchase resident licenses. License and licensing information are available from the Department of Game, Fish and Parks Licensing Office, 20641 State Highway 1806, Fort Pierre, SD 57532; the local county treasurer office; the Black Hills Center (on base); or other authorized agents. For more information, call 605-223-7660.TOURISMOne of the most commonly heard phrases from visitors to Rapid City is: “If we had known there was so much to do and see in and around Rapid City, we’d have planned to stay longer.” Nestled in the eastern foothills of the Black Hills of South Dakota, Rapid City shines as the center of this legendary mountain range. From American Indian culture and Western history to the majesty of creek-carved canyons and pine-clad granite peaks amid fine shopping and dining, you will find a wealth of opportunities in Rapid City.Just a short drive away, you will find yourself surrounded by 2 million acres of ponderosa pine forest along with wildlife parks, breathtaking scenery and an array of outdoor recreational activities. The Black Hills are home to one of the highest concentrations of public parks, monuments and memorials in the United States. Crowned by one of America’s most unwavering symbols — Mount Rushmore National Memorial — the Black Hills are also home to Wind Cave National Park, Badlands National Park, Devils Tower National Monument, Jewel Cave National Monument and Minuteman Missile Silo National Historic Site, all within a short drive from Rapid City. Come face-to-face with mighty American bison in Custer State Park, home to the highest peak east of the Rocky Mountains. Discover Native American culture at Crazy Horse Memorial, which will be the largest mountain carving in the world when it is completed.Rapid City offers visitors close proximity to the outdoor adventures of the Black Hills, with all the comforts of home, including plentiful lodging options, a variety of dining experiences, unique shopping, art galleries and museums. You will also find wildlife, exotic gardens, indoor water parks, walking trails and one-of-a-kind attractions.Rapid City offers a city tour for visitors to easily explore many of the attractions and activities throughout the community. City tour attractions are marked by signs to guide you through the city and move you to the next location. As you stroll through downtown filled with history and unique shops, you will discover life-size bronze sculptures of past United States presidents on display. You can also pick up a trolley tour that will take you to many of the attractions throughout town.Coupled with more than 5,300 hotel rooms — from upscale downtown hotels to national chains along the interstate — and airline service from seven of the nation’s busiest airports (Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, Mesa and Salt Lake City), it’s easy to see why millions of people make Rapid City their vacation destination each year.WHERE TO GO, WHAT TO DOThe Rapid City Visitor Information Center is in the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. Here you will find visitor information specialists who can help you make the most of your visit to Rapid City. Visitors can have questions answered or get help arranging the perfect activity. The Rapid City VIC is open year-round 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.For more information about planning a vacation to Rapid City and the Black Hills of South Dakota, call 800-487-3223 for a visitor packet or download the guide at www.visitrapidcity.com.SHOPPINGResidents in Rapid City have access to a variety of shopping experiences. From stores at the Rushmore Mall and Rushmore Crossing to unique downtown shops, Native American arts and crafts outlets, and Black Hills gold jewelers, residents can find plenty of shopping opportunities throughout Rapid City.DOWNTOWN RAPID CITYDowntown Rapid City is truly a sight to see. Nowhere is the collision of the historic and the modern as enjoyable as in downtown Rapid City. As you stroll along you will find a presidential bronze statue to greet you at each corner. There are both Native American art and the latest fashions and accessories decorating storefront windows. Salons, clothing stores, South Dakota-made products and quaint restaurants can all be found in historic downtown Rapid City.DININGRapid City’s selection of restaurants should satisfy anyone’s taste. The aromas of both regional and international cuisines float through Rapid City and in downtown, where culinary delights range from upscale bistro dishes to cheaper eats and local brews. There is something to satisfy any palate.SOUTH DAKOTA AIR AND SPACE MUSEUMThe South Dakota Air and Space Museum is outside the main gate of Ellsworth AFB. The museum has indoor exhibits and a gift shop. Aircraft and missile displays are outside of the museum. There are more than 1,000 items in this collection, which range from World War I to present day. A Minuteman II Training Launch Facility, located on base, can be viewed as part of an organized museum tour.The museum is open daily, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. June through Labor Day and 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. the rest of the year. The indoor museum is closed in January and February and on holidays. For more information or to arrange a tour, call 605-385-5189.CITY MUSEUMSRapid City’s museums include the Dahl Arts Center, the Sioux Indian Museum, the Journey Museum and the Museum of Geology on the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology campus, with some of the most famous fossils in the world.The Journey, a state-of-the-art museum of world-class quality and size, provides an incredible trip through 2.5 billion years of Black Hills history. Hands-on and interactive exhibits showcase the geography, people and events that shaped both the history and heritage of the region. It incorporates four major prehistoric and historic collections, telling the story of the western Great Plains.LIBRARIESRapid City’s public library system has three libraries: Rapid City Public Library Downtown, Rapid City Public Library North and City Public Library East. The downtown library has 170,000 physical materials (books, periodicals, DVDs) and more than 5,000 e-books, downloadable audiobooks and videos. The library has more than 1 million circulations each year and offers a wide range of services, programs and resources. Rapid City Public Library North is a joint-use public facility inside an elementary school. Computers with Wi-Fi, a gaming station with Wii and a large collection of children’s books are all available at this location. The City Public Library East at Western Dakota Tech offers great programming, online and print collections, e-books and more.
Left image c. Google, right c. S. MercantiBig news out of the eyewear industry recently – Google and Luxottica have announced a partnership to develop smart eyewear together in the immediate future. What does that mean for the cycling industry? Well, for starters as the parent company of major eyewear brands like Ray-Ban, and Oakley, there are quite a few brands that stand to gain the Google Glass upgrade if you’re into that sort of thing. In fact, Ray-Ban and Oakley were specifically mentioned in the press release as being part of the partnership with Google. When it comes to Oakley, the leap to Glass is easy to see based on the company’s history of integrating electronics with performance eyewear (anyone still have a pair of Thumps?). Given their ability to blend functional electronics into a sunglass frame, we’re excited to see what Oakley can do with the form factor of Google Glass.The real question is how this new partnership will spur competition from Glass’s main competition, especially in the cycling world – the Recon Jet. Are we on the verge of eliminating the cycling computer from the bike completely in favor of HUDs? Time will tell. While it may be some time still before we’re seeing cycling specific versions of Glass equipped Oakleys, with apps like Strava being designed for Glass it will probably happen sooner than we know it.From Luxottica:Milan (Italy), March 24th , 2014 – Luxottica Group S.p.A. (MTA: LUX; NYSE: LUX), a leader in the design, manufacture, distribution and sales of premium, luxury and sports eyewear and Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG), announce today they have agreed they will join forces to design, develop and distribute a new breed of eyewear for Glass.Today’s announcement offers a far reaching strategic partnership between Luxottica and Google to work together across multiple efforts on the creation of innovative iconic wearable devices. Through this relationship, Luxottica and Google, who are setting the pace in their respective industries, will match up high-tech developers with fashion designers and eyewear professionals. In particular, the two Corporations will establish a team of experts devoted to working on the design, development, tooling and engineering of Glass products that straddle the line between high-fashion, lifestyle and innovative technology.Luxottica added that the two major proprietary brands of the Group, Ray-Ban and Oakley who has a 10-year heritage in wearable technology that has evolved from MP3 to HUD devices, will be a part of the collaboration with Glass; however details about these new products will be disclosed at a later stage.“We are thrilled to announce our partnership with Google, and are proud to be once again setting the pace in the eyewear industry, as we have been, with more than 50 years of excellence.” Said Andrea Guerra, Chief Executive Officer of Luxottica Group.“We live in a world where technological innovation has dramatically changed the way in which we communicate and interact in everything that we do. More importantly, we have come to a point where we now have both a technology push and a consumer pull for wearable technology products and applications. Seeing such a future, over the last years, Luxottica invested heavily in building-out our technology platforms and digital solutions to combine with our products excellence. We believe that a strategic partnership with a leading player like Google is the ideal platform for developing a new way forward in our industry and answering the evolving needs of consumers on a global scale. We believe it is high time to combine the unique expertise, deep knowledge and quality of our Group with the cutting edge technology expertise of Google and give birth to a new generation of revolutionary devices.”“Luxottica has built an impressive history over the last 50 years designing, manufacturing and distributing some of the most successful and well-known brands in eyewear today.” Said Google Vice President and head of Google X Astro Teller. “We are thrilled to be partnering with them as we look to push Glass and the broader industry forward into the emerging smart eyewear market.”The first collection generated by this partnership will combine high-end technology with avant-garde design offering the best in style, quality and performance. These forward-thinking devices will be the result of a new and unique strategic approach reflecting attention to detail, uncompromising quality and technology nurtured in the global market. The sophistication and elegance of this new generation of products will be a dramatic step forward in an evolving category and elevate the consumer experience in this area. Editor’s Note: In the spirit of full disclosure, Zach’s wife is employed by Luxottica.
The 2017 Subaru IRONMAN 70.3 Muskoka will have a new host site. The event will be hosted at the Canada Summit Centre in historic downtown Huntsville, Muskoka. The Canada Summit Centre was formerly the host location for the Subaru 5150 Muskoka triathlon and Subaru Muskoka Chase Triathlon.As the host municipality of the 2010 G8 Summit of world leaders, Huntsville received funding through the G8 Legacy Fund to build and renovate the Canada Summit Centre. As a result, the venue offers new facilities in addition to an existing arena and indoor pool area.The new course features a 1.2-mile, one-loop swim in the scenic Fairy Lake. The swim start is just 500m from the transition zone. The 56-mile bike course circles Lake of Bays, passing through the small communities of Dwight, Dorset and Baysville. The 13.1-mile run will take athletes through historic downtown Huntsville – finishing at the Canada Summit Centre.There are a number of recreation options in this recreational hub of eastern Canada. Athetes and their friends/families can… ‘visit a museum, hike a pristine trail, star gaze, relax in front of bonfire, swim or fish in sparkling waters, sip local wine or beer on a dock, get up close and personal with wildlife, pamper yourself at a spa, or enjoy one of the many events and festivals that reflect Muskoka’s charm.’IRONMAN 70.3 Muskoka is also a Regional IRONMAN TriClub Championship race. In addition to a ‘members only’ special on-site events, athletes who are members of a registered tri club or team earn bonus points for their club towards the IRONMAN TriClub Annual Podium Award.The 2017 IRONMAN 70.3 Muskoka offers qualifying slots to the 2018 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, which was recently confirmed to be taking place in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa.www.ironman.com Related
Kansas City Christian’s girls tennis team won its first-even state title. Photo via Twitter.Kansas City Christian’s girls tennis team has secured its first state title in school history.In tournament competition at Harmon Park at Kansas City Country Club on Saturday, the team edged out Hesston High School by four total points to take the 3-2-1A title.KCC’s Lily McNeill led the Panthers by taking the individual title in singles competition, defeating Emily Ryan of Central Plains 6-2, 6-0 in the championship match. Teammate Emma Sand had a strong showing as well, finishing sixth in the singles standings. The duo of Knoflicek/Bartels took third in the doubles standings.According to the school, it’s not only the first girls tennis team championship in school history, but also the first girls team title in any sport.In the 6A championship held in Wichita over the weekend, SM East finished as runners up to Blue Valley North, which secured its third straight title. SM Northwest finished ninth overall.
Private registry lawyers vs. CCRCs Private registry lawyers vs. CCRCs On January 29, the Auditor General released a performance review of the operations of the pilot program to determine effectiveness and efficiency of using private attorneys from the registry compared to CCRCs.To sum up 37 pages to the barest essence: CCRC lawyers cost more, but CCRC lawyers spend significantly more hours on each case.Among the details: • The CCRCs interviewed many more witnesses and experts. For example, for 169 cases in FY 2005-06, CCRC Middle and South interviewed 5,124 witnesses and experts, while private registry attorneys interviewed only 175 witnesses and experts for 153 cases. The report noted that information was incomplete in that only 20 percent of registry lawyers responded to requests for information on witnesses and experts.• “The CCRCs achieved a higher incidence of providing relief to death row inmates with 14 instances over two years as compared to five for the registry; however, due to the length of the appellate processes and limited number of cases, this statistic could vary significantly from year to year.”• The average total cost per active case in FY 2005-06 was $38,422 for CCRCs and $24,428 for registry attorneys. But when only considering attorney-related costs (and not administrative costs) CCRCs costs are lower, argue the CCRC directors of the South and Middle districts, as its lawyers are paid an average of $41 an hour compared to $100 an hour for registry lawyers.• The CCRCs provided an average 355 hours of legal counsel per case, while private registry lawyers provided an average of 196 hours per case.• CCRC attorneys spent 75 and 62 percent more time on filing 3.851 motions, holding evidentiary hearings, and handling state appellate actions than registry attorneys during the 2004-05 and 2005-06 fiscal years respectively.“While this comparison does not provide any information as to the efficiency or effectiveness of the efforts by the respective attorneys, it does demonstrate that CCRC attorneys have been applying considerably more time on these activities than registry attorneys,” according to the report.• For the two-year period from July 1, 2004, through June 30, 2006, the combined CCRC offices applied nearly five times as many investigative hours per case than the registry attorneys.• Registry attorneys tend to file more requests for extensions, but this has not generally resulted in increased length of the capital collateral representation process. The overall length of time under direct control of the CCRC and registry attorneys required for a capital case to complete the process in state court is 2 years for CCRC cases and 2.1 years for registry cases.• The CCRCs reported no substantiated Florida Bar grievances filed from 2004-06, but there was one substantiated Florida Bar grievance for a registry attorney during this period.• “The court’s monitoring of the performance of counsel assigned to capital cases, required by Section 27.711(12) Florida Statutes, has not occurred.”• “Because of the limited number of active pilot program cases, the fact that many of the pilot project cases (45 of 62) were assigned to attorneys formerly employed by the CCRC for the northern region, and the primary objective of determining the effectiveness and efficiency of using attorneys from the registry compared to the CCRCs, our review included comparisons of CCRC cases and all registry cases (throughout the state),” the report explained. March 1, 2007 Regular News
Palm Beach Clerk’s Office raises $78K The economy may be down, but charitable giving isn’t at the Palm Beach Clerk & Comptroller’s office.Clerk Sharon Bock said this year’s employee efforts raised nearly $78,000 for local charities. In all, 26 different organizations received money and supplies in 2009 because of employees’ donations.“Our employees have witnessed first-hand the impact of the economy on their families, friends, and even former co-workers who were laid off due to budget cuts,” Bock said. “They’ve found it in their hearts to give what they can because they know every penny counts.”Fundraising efforts throughout the year included the office’s annual Dress Down Friday program, which raised $39,750. Two dozen nonprofit organizations each received a check for $1,590 from the money raised through employees contributing $2 a week to dress casually on Fridays.The employees also raised more than $22,000 for the American Heart Association, $11,400 for the United Way, and $4,000 for Susan G. Komen.Other giving included $500 for The Lord’s Place, a local nonprofit that helps the area’s homeless. The money was collected during the annual holiday performance of the clerk’s volunteer choir in the Governmental Center.The office also collected and donated nearly 100 used cell phones to Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse and the YWCA Harmony House. Domestic violence victims can use the phones to call 911 in an emergency. Palm Beach Clerk’s Office raises $78K February 1, 2010 Regular News
Letters Vanishing Jury Trials If you are lucky enough to incur the wrath of the U.S. government, you will be told on day one that regardless of your guilt, if you go to trial and lose, you will get at least 18 months added to your already draconian sentence. Our friends at Justice believe that going to trial is almost another count of obstruction in itself. They even persuaded their pals who mostly never tried a criminal case in their lives to make it law via the sentencing guidelines. In state court we have all these childish minimum sentence categories that make going to court almost suicidal.Get rid of sentencing guidelines and minimum mandatories, and you will have more trials. I shudder to think how many poor devils have been convicted of crimes they didn’t do because the government had such a big club to bash them over the head.Also, the new breed of lawyer is motivated more by lucre than glory.You can’t risk a good reputation by having losses down at the Old Bailey. It looks bad on your TV ad.Charles B. Tiffany Kissimmee Foreclosures The self-imposed mortgage moratoriums scare me. Look out for res judicata and the one-year time limitation for a 1.540 motion. If no counterclaim was timely filed or more than one year has elapsed from the foreclosure final judgment, then what does the homeowner do if she-he wants to sell? Obviously, paying off the mortgage is not an option or is it the only option? Probably the exorbitant counterclaim filing fee was not paid (Legislature in the banks’ pocket) from a poor homeowner having difficulty paying the mortgage, yet a multi-million dollar estate requires a paltry filing fee. We even have some state senators, in the banks’ pocket, pushing a bill to take the people’s right to have their mortgage foreclosure action tried in court.If I was lender’s counsel, I would tell the homeowner-plaintiff that you are barred by res judicata. Works for the bank because the doctrine would mean the entire mortgage must be paid off to sell the home.It is laughable to think the one-year time period of 1.540 would be eliminated as it was with fraudulent financial affidavits. It is further laughable to think we would finally junk the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic fraud, dragging Florida into the 21st century as the Supreme Court finally got smart in Johnson v. Davis. Now all we have to do is eliminate all 10-day rules, and some of us can celebrate the intervening holiday.Maybe we should add another page to the News so we can complain about changes needed and suggestions to cure, including why the new jury instructions left out so many subjects that have been litigated.Simon Rosin Sarasota Too Many Lawyers? The former president of the World Bank from 1995 to 2005, Howard D. Wolfensohn, in an interview on Bloomberg on September 26, stated that there is a massive economic, diplomatic, political, and military shift of power away from the United States to such developing countries as Communist China, India, and Brazil. He claims that few Americans see this happening nor focus upon the reasons.I believe that a major reason for the shift is that we have become an extraordinarily litigious country. We graduate more law students per year than scientists. Many of our best students become lawyers so that they can then draft the finest contract and the most wonderful memorandum of law and give the most wonderful appellate argument. They do this rather than become the scientists who discover new cures for disease or develop new inventions to ease the life of humankind or design and build high-speed trains as is being done right now in China. The creativity and entrepreneurial spirit in our country are being bogged down by the growing complexity of rules and regulations lawyers are asked to draft.Attempt to build a new highway in the United States? There’s a lawyer hired to oppose it. Try to put up a new high rise? There’s a lawyer hired to oppose it. Come out with a new drug? Legal opposition.The central problem is the inability to control conflict for the general welfare or greater good of the country.I argue strongly that law is important. We would not have commercial transactions without it. There would be human rights with it. This is all true. But what is also all true is that we are devoting too much of our country’s intellectual wealth to client interests and not enough to how our country will compete with the new economic and technological realities in the world.We need fewer lawyers and more scientists. Fewer brilliant briefs and more brilliant inventions. Less litigation and more co-operation.President Abraham Lincoln said it best in these words in his annual message to Congress dated December 1,1862. They are as relevant to today’s America as they were to America then.“The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves and then we shall save our country.”Dr. Stephen Schoeman Westfield, NJ Gay Adoption My hat’s off to the Family Law Section for its selfless contribution to the deterioration of American society and the inevitable collapse of Western civilization. And further kudos to the judges of the Third District Court of Appeal, who finally got it right after 33 years.What were we thinking all that time? Clearly, the time-honored principles of countless generations are so passé in this day and age.Now, I ask that the Family Law Section please set its sights on those outdated laws prohibiting bestiality, polygamy, and pedophilia. I want to know that my compulsory dues are being used for progressive purposes. Keep up the good work, comrades. The rest of us should be able to start rebuilding sooner than I had originally thought.James B. Redner St. Petersburg ( Editor’s Note: Advocacy of this matter was underwritten solely by the Family Law Section, supported by the separate resources of that voluntary group — not in the name of The Florida Bar, and without implicating any mandatory Bar membership fees.) Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Bar Exam 2011Question one:Repeal of, or judicial holding of the unconstitutionality of, Congress’s military-Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell statute entails:Homosexuals can (as a matter of basic equality) have a nondiscriminatory right to induction into a governmental body, whereby they can undress, sleep, and bathe in government-issue facilities in the presence of, and simultaneously with, that sex which they physically desire.Specifically, can homosexuals have a nondiscriminatory right to do this even upon protest from members of that sex, every one of whom is guaranteed an independent right to privacy?And meanwhile: Heterosexuals cannot (as a matter of basic equality) have a nondiscriminatory right to induction into a governmental body, whereby they can undress, sleep, and bathe in government-issue facilities in the presence of, and simultaneously with, that sex which they physically desire.Specifically, cannot heterosexuals have a nondiscriminatory right to do this even upon invitation from members of that sex, every one of whom is guaranteed an independent right to privacy? Is each of these sentences true? Why or why not?Question two:The 2010 U.S. District Court opinion in the Perry case (holding the California Constitution’s reservation of marriage to man-woman couples violative of the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of the equal protection of the laws) entails:A man-woman marriage policy facially treats heterosexuals and homosexuals alike. Specifically, can anyone wed an opposite-sex member, although nobody can wed a same-sex member?Nevertheless, it denies basic equality because it falls unequally between the classes of heterosexuals and homosexuals. (Specifically, given their inherently divergent physical desires, only the latter class is burdened by the latter proscription.)And meanwhile: A repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy facially treats heterosexuals and homosexuals alike. Specifically, cannot heterosexuals/homosexuals of whatever gender be mutually segregated by sexual orientation, although males/females of whatever sexual-orientation can be mutually segregated by gender? Nevertheless, it does not deny basic equality because falling unequally between the classes of heterosexuals and homosexuals. (Specifically, given their inherently divergent physical desires, only the former class is burdened by the former proscription). Is each of these sentences true? Why or why not?George Steven Swan Greensboro, NC November 1, 2010 Letters November 1, 2010 Letters
April 30, 2011 Annie Butterworth Jones Regular News Group opposes court reorganization plans Group opposes court reorganization plans Associate Edito r J ust what exactly is the problem?That seemed to be the consensus held by a who’s who of Florida’s legal profession as they debated the court overhaul package, HJR 7111, during a conference call on April 14, the day before the Florida House voted for the same piece of legislation, 79-38. HJR 7111 would amend Art. V of the Florida Constitution, dividing the state Supreme Court into two separate divisions, adding three additional justices, and adding Senate confirmation of Supreme Court justices, among other things.“There is no statistic to show that the court is overloaded right now,” began former Supreme Court Justice Raoul Cantero in his opening comments about the House’s proposal to split the court into two divisions. “Nobody in the Legislature has identified any statistics that would show an increase in justices is necessary. Our state Supreme Court has operated with seven justices for the last 70 years. There’s no reason to be changing it now.” Former Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham speculated that some lawmakers may still be upset at the Supreme Court for removing three constitutional amendments from the ballot last year. Still, said Graham, there are more appropriate actions to take.“The way to solve the problem is not by changing the fundamental independence and character of our judiciary, a decision that’s not just applicable to a limited number of cases and for an immediate period of our political life, but would be permanent transformations to the essential concept of justice in Florida,” Graham said.Floridians for Fair and Impartial Courts — www.fairandimpartial.com — was formed to try to stop the measure, if not during the legislative session, then when the amendment is on the ballot in 2012.Legislators push-ing for HJR 7111 claim that the bill’s initiatives would provide solutions for the inefficiency of the courts, a problem judicial advocates argue doesn’t exist.Former Chief Justice Gerald Kogan cited a decrease in the Supreme Court’s caseload, noting that in 2006, the court had more than 1,500 pending cases. That number is now below 900.“There’s no need for any of these so-called improvements to the system,” said Kogan. “We’re trying to fix something that, quite frankly, isn’t broken.”Conference call attendees also addressed the oft-discussed Texas Supreme Court, which is one of two state supreme courts in the nation to be bifurcated (Oklahoma is the other). Legislators have set up the Texas court as a model for Florida to follow, but members of the judiciary question that logic.“The Texas model is held up by proponents as an example, but Florida is beating Texas and its bifurcated system in the time from submission of the case to the written opinion,” said 12th Circuit Chief Judge Lee Haworth.Haworth said in 2010, the Florida Supreme Court disposed of 70 percent of all its cases within 180 days of filing, and 86 percent of all cases within 365 days of filing. The court also dealt quickly with death cases. The clearance rate for capital cases was 97 percent in 2010.Yet, during House committee and subcommittee meetings, bill sponsor Rep. Eric Eisnaugle, R-Orlando, mentioned a number of isolated Supreme Court cases that took between 600 and 900 days to handle, reasoning that the court simply cannot manage highly complex matters, a conclusion Harry Lee Anstead, former chief justice, took exception to.Aside from the occasional complex case, Anstead said, death cases often get tied up in the federal court system, something beyond the Florida Supreme Court’s control.“Those cases are pending at the Supreme Court level while there may be other hearings taking place in the trial court on some issues that need to be resolved, or other issues that need to be resolved as have been pointed out in the federal district courts or somewhere in the federal chain,” said Anstead. “That case cannot have finality at the [Florida] Supreme Court level while those other matters are being resolved.“But you don’t make dramatic and fundamental changes to a system that is working very well based on exceptions to the rule.”Chief Judge Haworth also noted the changes the House is considering would cost $14 million in upfront costs and $7 million a year in recurring costs, as described in a report released by the Office of the State Courts Administrator.“This direction that they’re headed in these austere times doesn’t really make a lot of sense,” Haworth said.“At a time when we need more judges and we need more clerks and we need more state attorneys and public defenders, it’s strange to me that the Legislature would embark on a radical proposal that is extremely expensive, instead of trying to properly fund the courts,” said Neal Sonnett, a former president of the American Judicature Society.The constituional amendment guarantees the court 2.25 percent of the state’s general revenues. Backers of the bill say the court’s current budget is equal to about 1.94 percent of general revenues.“Until you get a definition of where that 2.25 percent is going — and who are the beneficiaries of it, and does it include salaries, does it include a lot of the other things that are so essential to the court’s budget — it is really kind of a meaningless statistic to throw out there,” said Haworth. “So until that definition occurs, the devil’s in the details here, and we haven’t seen any clarity what that would be.”Kogan said when he was on the court dealing with budgetary matters, it wasn’t always pretty.“We had at that time — and we have today — many members of both houses of our state Legislature who believe that our court system is an agency of the Legislature. And when I asked, ‘How can you say that when obviously we’re a third co-equal branch of government?’ their reply was, ‘We’re the group that funds you, and if we fund you, then obviously you must be an agency of the state Legislature.’”Kogan said if that is the mindset of many legislators, “you’re going to have these types of battles.”For now, the members of Floridians for Fair and Impartial Courts are trying to raise awareness of the issue.“We want to be very careful that the public out there doesn’t get the impression that there is some silver bullet floating out there in the country that will solve all our problems at the highest court level by this dramatic restructuring,” said Anstead.
The 2012 Arizona Multihousing Association state convention ended on a high note Thursday night with the 20th annual Tribute Awards gala at the Phoenix Convention Center.An audience of more than 1,200 was on hand as 18 awards were given to individuals and real estate companies in Arizona’s multi-family industry. Besides the Tribute Awards, the state convention also included a two-day expo and panel discussions.The 2012 winners:Industry Partner – Tucson: Judy Drickey-Prohow, Law Offices of Scott M. Clark;Industry Partner: Jim Kowalski, Kowalski Construction Inc.;Volunteer: Amy Smith, Bella Investment Group;Volunteer – Tucson: Chris Evans, HSL Asset Management;Housekeeper: David Dreyer, Autumn Ridge (Greystar Real Estate Partners);Leasing Consultant: Kaysie Keifer, San Palmilia (Mark-Taylor Residential);Assistant Manager: Stuart Draper, Crestone at Shadow Mountain (P.B. Bell Companies);Maintenance Technician: Jose Romero, The Lodge at Arrowhead (Alliance Residential Company);Maintenance Supervisor (1-199 units): Keith Walker, The Oaks (Fairfield Properties);Maintenance Supervisor (200+ units): Todd Schwartz, Fernwood Manor (Greystar RE Partners);Apartment Manager (1-199 units): Meghan Banaszak, Sonoran Ridge (P.B. Bell);Apartment Manager (200+ units): Don Nolder, Fountain Oaks (Greystar RE Partners);Best Team & Community for Properties Built Prior to 1993: Bella Sera, Allison-Shelton RE Services Inc.;Best Team & Community for Properties Built 1993-2003: Dakota at McDowell Mountain Ranch, Mark-Taylor Residential;Best Team & Community for Properties Built 2004-2011: Trillium Cave Creek, Trillium Residential Communities;Regional Maintenance Supervisor: Peter Parham, Alliance Residential;Regional Property Supervisor: Ann Boomsma, MEB Management Services;Developer’s Award: 44 Monroe, Greystar RE Partners.
Discover Magazine:The war between people and disease-causing pathogens is old as humanity itself. This has helped shaped our so-called behavioral immunity, which can lead us, for example, to automatically avoid people who are visibly sick. But it can also misfire; previous studies have shown that people with compromised immune systems (due to a recent illness), and even people who describe themselves as afraid of germs or susceptible to disease, are more likely to avoid and feel prejudiced toward otherwise healthy people who merely look different than them, like foreigners or immigrants.It appears this prejudice can be reduced or erased by public health measures like vaccination or the simple act of washing your hands, according to a recent study in Psychological Science. In the study’s first experiment, conducted at the height of the 2009 H1N1 swine flu, researchers gathered a group of participants, some of whom had already received a vaccine against H1N1. They were then randomly broken into two groups, which I’ll call group A and group B (each had roughly equal numbers of vaccinated and non-vaccinated people). Group A read news articles describing the flu’s health effects and the vaccine’s effectiveness, in order to remind or “prime” them to the threat posed by the virus. Group B read no such articles. All participants then took a test that measures prejudicial attitudes towards immigrants. In group A, unvaccinated people were more prejudiced against immigrants than those who had received the vaccine. In the “unprimed” group B, there was no measurable difference.Read the full story: Psychological Science More of our Members in the Media >