first_img The Ærfugl field is being developed in two phases. (Credit: Aker BP) Aker BP and partners have commenced production from the first Ærfugl phase 2 well in the Norwegian Sea, three years ahead of schedule.The NOK8bn ($880m) Ærfugl project is being developed in two phases, both of which be tied into the existing floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) unit at the Skarv field, located about 210km west of Sandnessjøen.The first phase of the project involves the development of the southern part of the Ærfugl field using three new wells. The second phase consists of an additional three wells in the northern part of the field.Aker BP operations & asset development senior vice-president Kjetel Digre said: “The acceleration of production from Ærfugl Phase 2 means increased value creation for the Ærfugl joint venture, the supplier industry and the Norwegian society in the form of increased revenues.”Norway’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy approved the plan for development and operation for both the phases in April 2018.As per the plan for development and operation (PDO) estimates, the Ærfugl holds gas reserves of about 35 billion standard cubic metres (Sm3).The Ærfugl reservoir extends over 60km and is 2-3 km wide.Original start-up plan for Ærfugl project phase 2 was 2023Last year, Aker BP and its partners Equinor, Wintershall DEA and PGNiG have agreed to go ahead with the Ærfugl project phase 2, with an objective to bring it online three years ahead of the original target of 2023.Digre continued: “However the good news are offset by the fact that we are facing a global crisis that none of us have experienced before. Investments and explorations activities offshore Norway are put on hold. Tens of thousands of employees in our industry are currently at risk.”“It is clear that the industry’s proposal for temporary adjustments in Norway’s tax regime to improve the industry’s cash flow in the short run – without reducing the total tax payments in the long run – will result in increased activity and new investment opportunities offshore Norway within the next 12 – 24 months.” The two phases of the Ærfugl project will be tied into the existing FPSO unit at the Skarv fieldlast_img read more

first_imgNew Orleans funk sensation Galactic is returning to their old stomping grounds once again for a run of shows during Jazz Fest. The band will perform Friday, April 22nd at Tipitina’s with Turkuaz, followed by their very first appearance at the newly renovated Orpheum Theatre on Saturday, April 30th with JJ Grey & Mofro.We spoke to bassist Rob Mercurio about what makes their annual Jazz Fest after shows so special.“Tipitina’s is our home base,” Mercurio explained. “I can’t even count how many times we’ve played there. We feel extremely comfortable at that venue. From the staff, the sound of the stage, the way that the whole night flows, it’s just kind of second nature to us. Any set we play at Tipitina’s is like laying in a warm bath.”When asked if there will be any surprise guests or collaborations in store, the answer was a given. “Jazz Fest is always like that,” he said. “That’s what makes it so great. So many musicians are in town. It’s similar to Jam Cruise where a lot of our friends are there and everybody’s just kind of bouncing around between gigs and sit-ins. Definitely expect some unannounced sit-ins.”He’s also excited to continue playing their newest album, Into the Deep, for old and new fans. “I think that it was a little bit of a throwback, and I think that a lot of our fans enjoyed that element. There were some tunes on there that could have been on our first album. With the albums preceding this one – Carnivale Electricos, Ya-Ka-May, From The Corner To The Block – we had definitely taken some modern production aspects, which was really fun and cool and we had a great time in the studio. But it was kind of nice to go back to form with Into the Deep. We also spent a lot of time on the songwriting aspect for this last album, and collaborating with strong songwriters.”What’s his favorite part of Jazz Fest? “It’s a combination of having all our friends in town, playing one or multiple shows a night, and also being able to go and sleep in your own bed.”Enter to win tickets to both of Galactic’s Jazz Fest shows, plus a vinyl copy of Into the Deep, below! For those who won’t be making it down to the Big Easy, you can catch Galactic at the Electric Factory in Philly with Soulive on 3/24!last_img read more

first_img[Video: Raja Kassis]L4LM: You guys rock with Bajah of the Dry Eye Crew. How did he get into the Megawatt mix?Raja Kassis: With a hell of a band in place, we needed a hell of a frontman, and we all unanimously decided to call a great friend and longtime collaborator Bajah. For those not familiar with Bajah, he is a legitimate superstar in his home country, Sierra Leone, where his band, the Dry Eye Crew, rose to fame in the midst of a brutal civil war. They essentially became a voice of the people, playing huge shows in the national stadium and delivering a much-needed conscience message. They affectionately called Bajah the “Lyrical Paparel,” which is translated as the “Lyrical Bomber”—that should give you an idea or his crazy delivery. With the addition of Bajah, the scope of the music could expand into the addition of a West African reggae element, which although similar on the surface to classic Jamaican reggae, offers a whole different kind of subtle feel. With the versatility of Bajah on board, it all happens very naturally.We had also done a lot of crazy Felabration parties through the years, so Afrobeat also emerges inevitably as well. All that being said, with the planned musical foundation we construct, there is a ton of room left for things to happen on the spot and off the dome, staying true to the late night Jazzfest tradition. All the musicians involved know the language, so it makes that possible. It also requires a huge amount of trust to open it up to the unknown, but that’s why these musicians were called. They are all the best at what they do in their own right, and more specifically, they know the feels of the music Megawatt touches on intuitively, which you just can’t teach.L4LM: What are some of the songs, styles, or even the vibe that fans can expect from this upcoming Megawatt hit at the Blue Nile on April 28th?RJ: At last year’s 2 a.m. show at Maison, the unveiling of this project, there were a lot of unknowns musically speaking, but after we hit the first groove, the vibe was immediate. The response from the enthusiastic crowd was so good that we knew we had an ongoing thing. This year, we’re excited to expand the whole scope musically with some surprise burners I’m sure the true heads will appreciate. With more shows, there is more direction, so I’m excited to be a part of what will ultimately come to fruition this year. Also, got some exciting things in the works for the summer and beyond with some very heavy potential guests. That’s the vision of the band: to stand alone in its own right as well as to be a go-to call to back up an array of heavy reggae and hip-hop artists. Definitely keep an eye out for us at some future festival dates.L4LM: You are one of the hardest working cats in NOLA all year round but especially during the Super Bowl that is Jazz Fest. What are some other Raja Kassis hits of note? RJ: Another Jazz Fest show I’ll be doing is with a project that everybody’s favorite drummer, Terence Higgins, and I put together called The Wahala Boys. The musical foundation of the band is golden-era Nigerian and Ghanaian Afro-Funk—not to be confused with Afrobeat which is different—that quickly takes a life of its own. Terence and I had actually talked about doing it for about a year but it never happened due to our respective tour schedules. About a year and a half ago, it finally happened and the rest is history.The band is an all-star, all-New Orleans lineup, which also features Ron Johnson on bass, Weedie Braimah and Luke Quaranta on percussion, Brad Walker and Jon Ramm from Grammy winner Sturgill Simpson’s band, plus trumpet ace Ricio “Music Swole Child” Fruge for the horn section and an incredible young keyboard wizard, Daniel Meinecke, on keys. It’s been well received in town because of the caliber of each and every one of these cats, and above all else, it works so well in New Orleans because at the end of the day, it’s just funky-ass music, no matter where it may be from. We’ll be performing the first Friday, April 27th, 2 a.m. (technically the morning of April 28th) at 30/90 on Frenchmen.[Video: Red Al Eartt]L4LM: Weedie is a force of nature. You guys have a fantastic kinetic energy onstage and off. It really translates in the music and the vibes. There is a special energy when Weedie takes the stage. What else are you up to with that cat?Raja Kassis: Yes, indeed. I will also be performing two shows with my good friend and one of my favorite musicians on the planet, Weedie Braimah—one show will be his 4th annual birthday party with his band, The Hands Of Time, which is always a hell of a party. It also features the Soul Rebel horns. The show is on April 29th at midnight at the Blue Nile—think Cuban and West African Folklore meets funk.Then, there will be a very special show at the Music Box Village, one of my favorite venues, on May 5th at 7 p.m. The show will be called Weedie Braimah’s “Essence of Time, A Drumming Journey through the Diaspora featuring Ghost-Note. This will really be a special one. Come through, especially if you get sick of Frenchmen Street by second Saturday. [laughs] It truly is one of the most unique venues in the country.L4LM: I know you have a big hand in JuJu Fest with Luke Quaranta, Weedie Braimah, and a few others. That is an amazing festival embedded inside of Jazz Fest. Tell the people about this celebration of West African music.RJ: As you know, every year Luke Quaranta, Weedie Braimah, Sam Dickey, and myself put on an annual celebration of West African music and culture that we call Juju Fest. A fest within a fest if you will, and every year it has gotten bigger and better. One of the coolest things is, it’s totally different lineups every year, covering a ton of ground.This year, The Wahala Boys, Megawatt, both of Weedie Braimah’ projects mentioned above, Toubab Krewe, The Fufu Allstars, and the Juju Fest Allstars will all be a part. We’ll be dropping the schedule this week so keep your eyes open for that. May 3rd, 1 a.m. upstairs at the Blue Nile will be a collaborative show called the Juju Fest Allstars featuring many involved in our annual Juju Fest. This will include members of Toubab Krewe, who also just released an incredible new record and are currently on a tear throughout the U.S. Everyone will be in the house in some form, so if you’re familiar, you know anything can happen and anyone can show up.L4LM: Word is you are playing at the Fairgrounds for Jazz Fest proper!RJ: Finally, I’m excited to be doing two fairgrounds shows at the official Jazz Fest fairgrounds this year with an old friend, the incredible Leyla McCalla, formerly of the Carolina Chocolate Drops whose own project is just blowing up everywhere. As a Haitian American, she dives deep into the Haitian Troubador and Americana traditions, and all I can say is it’s very deep stuff. The music is diverse and sonically can be wide open and spacious, which is a welcome change from my everyday smash-’em-in-the-mouth type Jazzfest hits. She has a highly anticipated record dropping this fall that people should definitely be on the lookout for, which includes a who’s who of legendary musicians from New Orleans, Haiti, and the greater U.S.L4LM: Word on the street is that you collaborated with Ghost Note? Is that just a rumor or do you get down with Sput, Nate Werth, and that krewe too?RJ: I was able to record on a track for the upcoming Ghost Note record which is entitled Swagism that I’m really excited about. It dropped on 4/20, right before all the insanity begins. Tell your people to be sure to cop that one. Pre-order is available right now. It’s heavy.<a href=”http://ghost-note.bandcamp.com/album/swagism”>Swagism by Ghost-Note</a>L4LM: Thanks so much for your time, Raja. Last question, one I am asking all the Jazz Fest folks I’m interviewing. Please respond to the classic saying, “Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?”Raja Kassis: Yes, I definitely do. There’s a lot to miss, but at the end of the day, it’s the music in the air, in all things and at all times, which you tend to take for granted if you are in town for a while. It becomes painfully obvious once you leave in one or two days max. And that’s the thing: It’s all about the music. Overall, there is a great respect for musicians, which you just don’t feel in most places in this country, believe it or not [laughs]. The only other places I’ve felt it on that level is in Brazil and West Africa, two of the most musical places on earth, which should tell you everything you need to know.First thing off the plane back into New Orleans? Straight to the Maple Leaf probably. The music is always top notch and you always will run into musician friends and the pour is proper. But if I’m lucky enough to land around this time of year early afternoon on a Sunday, I’ll be cabbing it straight to the second line from the airport, best believe! Now that’s landing in style.Live for Live Music will also be in New Orleans for Jazz Fest, where we’ll be putting on a series of after shows and daze between shows at clubs across town. You can check out our late night guide for a comprehensive list of what New Orleans has to offer during Jazz Fest, and you can take a look at our own late night calendar below. Raja Kassis is nothing if not a busy man. The longtime Antibalas axe-man relocated to New Orleans a few years ago, planting his roots and absorbing the music and culture of the Crescent City. Kassis is among the most studied musicians of West African music in the city, and his reputation proceeds him, regardless of whatever stage he steps on. Naturally, he’s got a raging itinerary for Jazz Fest after dark in 2018. Live For Live Music’s B.Getz caught up with him between gigs, to chat about the return of Megawatt, the 4th Annual JuJu Fest (which takes place during Jazz Fest), Weedie Braimah, Toubab Krewe, Ghost Note, and even a stealthy pair of Fairgrounds sets he’ll be on.L4LM: Before we dive into NOLA Jazz Fest madness, please catch everybody up on Antibalas. You recently played twice at a festival in Idaho? What was that about, and how does that region of the country respond to your band?Raja Kassis: Had a great time in Boise, Idaho, for a really cool festival called Treefort Music Festival. I had never been there, so I didn’t know what to expect but was quickly and pleasantly surprised by the overall vibe. It essentially felt like a low-key South By Southwest—a ton of bands and musicians descended into town for the weekend, and it was clear music was the main focus for everyone living there, which is super cool. The shops all had “Welcome Musicians and Music Fans” signs outside on the sidewalk, which you don’t really see too often, yet with only four or five main venues, it remained intimate and accessible. All that in a beautiful part of the country. A+ overall.L4LM: Please tell us about the Antibalas LP released last September. That record is fire.RJ: The band is really cooking, fresh off the fall release of their new album released on Daptone Records entitled Where The Gods Are In Peace, which was cooked up conceptually as an Afro-Western, if you can dig it. There are some amazing compositions on it that had been developed on the road the last few years into what eventually became the album versions. I have always felt Antibalas is an important band, both in message and in music, and a crucial voice, especially in these uncertain times. I feel very lucky to be involved, and it’s a great source of inspiration for me.Individually, everyone, from the core members to the extended family, are some of the most unique and inspiring musicians and bandleaders in their own right. It’s a big family with many branches, which I feel ultimately makes the whole vision that much stronger. I believe in that strongly—to allow band members to express themselves in many different ways, to go on personal journeys when they need to, which continually allows fresh ideas to come in. We’re creative people, you know? It’s a big band, so logistically, it’s a necessity to have shared roles on the road, while at the same time, allowing me time to do all this Jazz Fest stuff for instance, as well as many other projects including my own Raja Kassis’s HumanBEING (Ropeadope Records).<a href=”http://antibalas.bandcamp.com/album/where-the-gods-are-in-peace”>Where the Gods are in Peace by Antibalas</a>L4LM: What’s in the pipeline for the Antibalas crew? Seems like the whole squad has a handful different side projects.Raja Kassis: Most recently, Marcos Garcia, also known as Chico Mann, a band OG and who I share one of the guitar chairs with, just launched an incredible project called Here Lies Man—a heavy fuzz-rock Afrobeat kind of outfit that everyone should check out. They’re hitting the road pretty hard, so keep an eye out. The live show is amazing. Another guitar player in the band, Tim Allen, also known as Timothy James, just released an incredibly inspiring instrumental guitar record called the Wind LP (Tigershrimp Records). I’m a fan of both for sure—be sure to keep a look out for their happenings as well as all things Antibalas.L4LM: Lets pivot to the main event. You live in NOLA, and Jazz Fest is approaching. I’m curious how do you prepare for such an onslaught of activity? What’s the vibe like in the city in the run-up?RJ: That’s a great question. [laughs] Jazz Fest is a special time of year, especially living here. It really feels like an annual ritual in my life now. Once you get through Mardi Gras and the Super Sundays, you kind of feel a shift—a tension in the air inching forward waiting to explode. Maybe it’s just me and all the music I got to learn. [laughs] But yeah, pretty much now until the end of Jazz Fest, all my focus and energy goes towards that. Day by day, song by song, I just try to be as prepared as possible so I can just give in to the energy and enjoy the hell out of it when it arrives.L4LM: One of the shows I’m most excited about is the second coming of your project MEGAWATT. Last year was tremendous, but I have a sneaking suspicion that this year’s hit will surpass 2017. People want to know the deal. What was the inception of this band? Who’s in it, and how did y’all come together?RJ: It all started with a conversation with one of my most trusted comrades in life and music: the incredible bassist Josh Werner (original Matisyahu, Lee Scratch Perry, recorded with Wu-Tang, Ghostface Killah live band). Overall, we wanted to offer something different within the late night Jazzfest experience. The initial idea of Megawatt really came out of a desire to do this music, which has been such a big part of our lives—specifically heavy dub, roots-reggae, dancehall. Think Black Uhuru, Roots Radics, Sly and Robbie, Buju Banton, Eek-A-Mouse, Sizzla, etc. Also culturally speaking, I personally wanted to do it in New Orleans, which has such an important Caribbean and African connection.From there, we reached out to Borahm Lee who we had done a lot of that stuff with through the years. Specifically, with him on board, we knew we could execute the true essence of the music faithfully. That’s important—it would either be done right or not at all. After that, the call naturally went out to Adam Deitch, one of the best groove guys around, and then Khris Royal and Maurice Brown for the horn section, who not only are incredible players but also use effects masterfully within the genres we cover. To put it over the top, there was no question but to include my go-tos: Luke Quaranta and Weedie Braimah on percussion. I do a lot of stuff in New Orleans with both of them on the hit, and they are incredible in tandem.last_img read more

first_imgOn Friday night, Dead & Company continued their summer tour with their first of two New York City performances scheduled for this weekend. The all-star group continued to carry on the legacy of the Grateful Dead’s music to begin their stay at Citi Field in Queens, NY. The professional baseball stadium is home to the New York Mets, and with the team’s dismal record this season, Bob Weir, Billy Kreutzmann, Mickey Hart, John Mayer, Oteil Burbridge, and Jeff Chimenti provided perhaps the most excitement that fans will see at Citi Field this year.The sextet opened with a slow and steady “Shakedown Street”, an homage to the vendors and grilled cheese entrepreneurs who were still closing up their shops in the parking lot. Bob Weir and John Mayer exchanged vocal leads on the titular track from the Dead’s 10th studio album, released in 1978. Mayer led the vocal vanguard through a sizzling rendition of “Alabama Getaway” from Go To Heaven.Dead & Company – “Shakedown Street” [Pro-Shot][Video: Nugs.net]The opening piano notes to “Loser” foreshadowed the beautifully moving Robert Hunter tune with Bob Weir on vocals and Chimenti destroying the keys. Keeping it sentimental, the band moved into a stirring version of Tampa Red’s “It Hurts Me Too” which featured a bluesy John Mayer on vocals. A scorching “Me and My Uncle” followed with Bob Weir, on acoustic guitar, using his distinctive charisma to personify the biting, satirical lyrics originally written John Phillips from The Mamas & the Papas during a heavy drinking session with Judy Collins, Stephen Stills, and Neil Young.The band transitioned into a flawless “Sugaree”, with Mayer and Weir both sharing lead vocal duties on the Garcia/Hunter tune. The musicians executed the heartfelt and merciful tone like a soldier performing a coup de grace. In its customary position on the setlist, “The Music Never Stopped” was lined up to close the set in its usual ironic fashion. However, the band tacked on an added track, Rob Wasserman‘s “Easy Answers”, to finish the first set.After a break, the musicians returned to the stage to perform an introductory jam on John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” before leading into the first half of Weir’s infamous original, “The Other One”. Weir led the musicians with his vocals and gesticulations, earnestly claiming the rights to his song before helping steer the ship into “Estimated Prophet”. The introductory notes of “Althea” emulated through the stadium next, prompting the spectators to really shake it loose and show off their best foot shuffles. The song prompted Mayer to explore the depths of Jerry Garcia’s guitar work, linking up with Chimenti and Burbridge to push the jam to some thrilling places. Mayer remained at the helm for a billowing “Lady with a Fan” before Bobby retook control of this cosmic spaceship for a gallivant through the galaxies with the intense culmination of the “Terrapin Station” opus.Dead & Company – “A Love Supreme” > “The Other One” (verse 1) > “Estimated Prophet” [Pro-Shot][Video: nugs.net]Billy Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart berated their drum kits with help from Oteil while the rest of the band leisurely moseyed off stage. In true Grateful Dead tradition, this percussive battle went on for several minutes before Mickey began their exploration of the interstellar depths of “Space”. As the rest of the band rejoined the musical madness, the musicians once again touched on “A Love Supreme” before diving back into the chaotic melodies of “The Other One” to finish what they had started earlier in the set.Hardly allowing the dust to settle, the band performed a beautifully despondent version of Hunter and Garcia’s ode, “Days Between”. David Dodd said it best in his Greatest Stories Ever Told series: “I don’t know whether to weep with joy at the beauty of the vision or with sadness at the impassable chasm of time between the golden past and the often painful present.” The song’s overarching themes captured a sorrow and longing that can seldom be expressed through words, but the band, with Weir on vocals, did a damn good job expressing the inexplicably temporal beauty of humanity.The band took a quick break before crushing an energetic version of “U.S. Blues.” The song presented a sardonically patriotic take on their life as counterculture icons in which Jerry Garcia proclaims himself as Uncle Sam. The frenzied audience became uproarious when the musicians left the stage for the conclusion of the second set.A lone encore ended the night leaving everyone in attendance wanting more. A solemn yet celebratory “Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad” had everyone—Weir, Mayer, Burbridge, Chimenti, and the entire audience—singing along to the old traditional tune. During the song, a photo of recently-departed longtime Dead roadie and production manager Chris Charucki was displayed on the video feed, prompting cheers from the audience and lending added emotional weight to the evening’s appropriate final number. Weir even donned a Misfits shirt for the number in Charucki’s honor. Load remaining images Dead & Company – Goin’ Down The Road Feelin Bad[Video: banfibill]Below, you can view a gallery of photos from night one at Citi Field courtesy of Eric Gettler Photography. Dead & Company continues their 2018 summer tour with their second of two performances at Citi Field tonight, Saturday, June 16th. For a full list of upcoming dates, head here.Setlist: Dead & Company | Citi Field | New York, NY | 6/15/18Set One: Shakedown Street, Alabama Getaway, Loser, It Hurts Me Too, Me And My Uncle^^, Sugaree, The Music Never Stopped > Easy AnswersSet Two: A Love Supreme > The Other One* > Estimated Prophet > Althea > Terrapin Station > Drums**/Space > The Other One^ > Days Between, U.S. BluesEncore: Goin’ Down The Road Feelin’ Bad*verse one^verse two**with Oteil Burbridge^^Bob Weir on acoustic guitarDead & Company | Citi Field | New York, NY | 6/15/18 | Photos: Eric Gettlerlast_img read more

first_imgThis year, Harvard’s time-honored tradition of Class Day, the informal gathering of students, friends, and families in Tercentenary Theatre the day before the Commencement ceremony, included an interesting twist.In the past, comedians and politicians have often taken the stage to deliver the keynote address, but typically not together. For the first time in years, two speakers — actor, writer, and comedian Andy Samberg, and U.S. Rep. Barney Frank ’61, J.D. ’77 — took turns at the outdoor dais to offer the seniors parting words of wit and wisdom.Samberg, the lovably nerdy cast member of “Saturday Night Live,” is perhaps most famous for his humorous digital video shorts, often created with his musical comedy group The Lonely Island, who parody pop culture on the show. The comical clips have garnered him an Emmy Award and a legion of YouTube fans.His artistic credits include the films “Friends with Benefits,” opposite Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis, and “I Love You, Man,” opposite Paul Rudd and Jason Segel. He will star in the upcoming comedy “That’s My Boy” with Adam Sandler and Leighton Meester.Samberg joined the ranks of SNL alumni who have delivered Class Day addresses: Amy Poehler gave last year’s, and comedians Will Ferrell and Al Franken ’73 gave the addresses in 2003 and 2002, respectively.Samberg demonstrated his comic sense and timing from the start, strutting on stage to a song by the sultry singer Adele, and embracing one of his student introducers, Matthew DaSilva. The hug quickly morphed into a dance, and ended when Samberg kissed the surprised senior.“What happened there?” joked Samberg. “That song is so emotional. I just met that guy!”“I am honored to be here today, as I am unqualified,” he said. But that didn’t stop him from declaring as useless a list of majors that included “history, literature, all things related to arts, social studies, East Asian studies, pretty much anything that ends with studies” — unless they could somehow be transformed into iPhone applications.Samberg’s presentation included spot-on impersonations of celebrities such as Mark Zuckerberg, Nicolas Cage, and Mark Wahlberg. His “message” to the graduating class included: “So, you guys are graduating. I think that’s great. We should do a film together. What do you think? You guys are super smart, right?”Saying he was disappointed that he wasn’t receiving an honorary Harvard College degree, Samberg playfully poked fun at Harvard College Dean Evelynn M. Hammonds, who sat behind him on the stage.“Dean Hammonds,” he pleaded. “You lied to me.”Near the end of his remarks, he pulled from his pocket a second speech titled “Heart Stuff,” which included some harsh comments about Yale University, including, “It’s like a second-tier safety school.”A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, U.S. Rep. Barney Frank offered up his own words of wisdom during Class Day: “Be sure that you obey every law that you have voted for.” Photo by Jon Chase/Harvard Staff PhotographerFrank, who has represented the Fourth Congressional District of Massachusetts since 1981, addressed the crowd first. A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, Frank began his political career in Boston as a top assistant to Mayor Kevin White. He served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives for eight years before winning a seat in the U.S. House. The outspoken Frank was chairman of the House Committee on Financial Services from 2007 to 2011. He remains the committee’s ranking Democrat.Known for his work ethic, his intelligence, and his quick wit, Frank, a strong supporter of civil rights and financial regulation, was a lead author of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the financial reform effort that was signed into law in 2010. He will not seek re-election this fall.Frank offered quips as well as political points.He cautioned graduates who are planning careers in public office never to discard a gift or trinket “within a mile of where it was given to you.” Equally important, he said, “Be sure that you obey every law that you have voted for.”He warned the graduates not to use metaphors in public policy debates. He acknowledged that some political partisanship is inevitable, but said that idealism and pragmatism are not competing mindsets. In the end, he asked, “What good are a set of ideals if they are unrealized?”Turning to foreign policy, Frank urged his listeners to join him in calling for the United States to end its billion dollars in regular assistance to Europe. Frank referenced Secretary of State George Marshall’s Harvard Commencement speech of 1947, during which he announced the Marshall Plan, the allied roadmap on how to rebuild Europe after World War II.At that time, he said, Europe was “poor and hungry and defenseless, and facing a brutal Soviet Union.” The current situation is vastly different, and “65 years later, too little has changed in our policy,” he added. “America continues to commit tens of billions of dollars that we could otherwise use for very important purposes,” including education, environmental solutions, and health research.“I hope that is an issue with which you will engage, and I look forward to at least some of you being on our side as we right the balance.”The earliest Class Day exercises, in the early 1800s, included speakers and chapel services. But the festivities took a raucous turn in the late 1830s when the practice of “dancing on the green” around an old elm called the “Liberty Tree” was initiated.“And at the end the Seniors danced around the Tree, all the college danced around the Tree, and the Seniors, as of old and new — proceeded to cheer the buildings,” noted an 1870 New York Times article about the festivities in 1838.While the attendees mostly stayed in their seats this year, they did applaud and hoot and holler in acknowledgement of several speakers and award winners. The event includes a male and a female orator who deliver heartfelt addresses, and a male and a female Ivy orator, who offer more lighthearted comments.Harvard orator Pauline Mutumwinka drew parallels from her Harvard years to “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll. Freshman year, she said, felt like “falling down a rabbit hole,” as she struggled to keep pace with her peers. Later in her Harvard career, she was reminded of the hookah-smoking caterpillar who is constantly asking, “Who are you?” as she plumbed her own identity.Ultimately, she found that Harvard “was not the wonderland where things always work like magic. It is the wonderland where we tirelessly question the beliefs and assumptions that used to define us.”In his oration, Steven Maheshwary encouraged the graduates not to run from rejection and failure, but to embrace them with the “same enthusiasm” with which they first stepped into the Yard as they move into the next phases of their lives.“I entreat you to seek out motivation and enthusiasm in the wake of failure.”The Ivy orators were irreverent. Jacqueline Rossi entreated the seniors to embrace their inner weirdness, and suggested that any mistakes they made at Harvard won’t deny them access to the world of the wise. “Rather,” she quipped, “they make your life a joke that everyone can laugh at, like Buddah’s belly, or Steven Pinker’s haircut.”Matthew Whitaker delved into Harvard’s history and mused how benefactor John Harvard might react if he knew how his original gift of 780 pounds had turned out, eventually including the birth of Facebook, the social networking site started by one of the College’s most famous dropouts.“How confused John Harvard would be to learn that his name is associated with the world’s most popular stalking platform. I can just hear him asking, ‘What exactly is Facebook? How do I untag all these photos?’”The Class Day ceremony also honors recipients of the Ames Award, given annually to a man and a woman from the senior class who have demonstrated “selfless, heroic and inspiring leadership” at Harvard. The award is given in honor of Richard Glover and Henry Russell Ames, brothers and Harvard students who gave their lives trying to save their father, who had fallen overboard off Newfoundland during a sailboat race in 1935. This year’s winners were Jonas Wang and Rumbidzai Mushavi.There was also a touching tribute by Kristen Arn to Wendy Chang, who died earlier this year. Arn said Chang drew people to her easily, and was “elegant, compassionate, loyal, and sincere.”“But perhaps most of all,” said Arn, “we loved Wendy so much because she had an incredible power to make us feel truly cared for.”last_img read more

first_imgPlaying in their second national championship game in as many years, the Notre Dame women’s basketball team ended their otherwise stellar season with a disappointing 80-61 loss to Baylor in Denver on Tuesday evening. To rally student and community support for the Irish, the Student Activities Office, the Leprechaun Legion and the Athletics Department hosted a game watch at Purcell Pavilion. Leprechaun Legion president Matthew Cunningham said the goal of the event was to show support for the team even though the game took place halfway across the country. “Our whole goal [as an organization] is to get people to go to games and support the teams, so this event helped support the team because not many people could make it to Denver,” he said. Legion executive vice president Kristen Stoutenburgh said the student turnout was impressive. Joyce Center officials said 1,038 people attended the game watch in Purcell. “We are so pleased with the turnout,” Stoutenburgh said. “We really didn’t know what to expect, especially with the short amount of time.” At last year’s national championship game in Indianapolis, Saint Mary’s junior Heidi Ryan accompanied the team as a member of the band’s drumline. She said attending the game watch in Purcell was much different from attending the actual game in person. “The crowd was more lively in Indianapolis, but we were actually there with the players,” she said. “With us not being there, they can’t hear the fans and they can’t see us supporting them. I just with I could tell them we’re behind the team.” Despite the Irish loss, Ryan said she would not have missed the game watch for anything. “I have so much work to do, but I though this was a really good idea and a way to experience the game that was better than just being in my room alone and screaming like a maniac,” she said. Sophomore Tom McGuire said the Irish women still had a great season, even though it ended on a note of defeat. “It was rough coming in [and then losing], hoping to win the national title, especially after last year,” he said. “They were a tough team to beat, but we still had a fantastic season.” South Bend resident and Irish fan Cathy Hall said she heard about the Purcell game watch on Facebook and decided to attend to unite with the Notre Dame fan community in support of the team. “I’m a huge fan and I have been for 14 years,” she said. “I have so much respect for this team and it has been a joy to watch them this year.” Hall said she is proud of the team’s efforts throughout the entire season. “I am so grateful they are all such wonderful human beings, besides such great athletes,” she said. Sophomore Tim Kenney said he was disappointed by the game’s outcome but still took pride in the team’s accomplishments this season. “We tried hard and we got into foul trouble early, and [Baylor center] Brittney Griner is a great athlete,” he said. ” But I’m still proud of our success; we have talents as a team and [Irish coach] Muffet [McGraw] really knows how to coach.” Sophomore Brian Scully said he was also saddened by the loss, but he focused more on Notre Dame’s excellent run in the NCAA tournament. “Really, we need to look at how we got here,” he said. “It’s still been a great trip and tonight’s event reminded me of how much community Notre Dame really has. It was great support tonight.”last_img read more

first_imgVermont’s first digital TV channel has made its debut. Thanks to matchingfunds from the state of Vermont and the federal government, Vermont PublicTelevision began service on Wednesday, Jan. 15, from its new digitalchannel 24 on Mt. Ascutney in Windsor, which serves southeastern Vermontand bordering areas of New Hampshire. The current analog service onchannel 41 will continue.Eventually, digital television will be the national standard. By federallaw, all TV stations in the U.S. are required to convert to the digitalformat. They will continue to broadcast in the analog format through2006. VPT’s digital conversion ensures that it complies with the mandate. VPT’s president and CEO, John King, says, “Beyond meeting the legalobligation so that we can continue to operate, our conversion to digitalwill bring VPT viewers a wealth of new services. Digital is a technologytailor-made for public television. Its educational potential istremendous.”Digital broadcasting is a free over-the-air service that provides superiorpicture and sound as well as simultaneous multiple channels(multicasting), high-definition TV (HDTV) and downloadable data. Viewersreceive it by using a UHF antenna connected to either a digital TV or aconventional television with a set-top digital tuner. A conventional TVcan receive all of the digital services, however the viewer will only seetrue HDTV with a digital TV. VPT’s digital schedule will be offered 24hours a day, with the choice of any of four multicast services most of theday. Viewers with equipment to receive the signal can choose from:VPT 1: Regular VPT schedule as on the analog channelVPT 2: PBS Kids children’s programmingVPT 3: PBS You lifelong learning serviceVPT 4: PBS national scheduleWhen VPT broadcasts high-definition programming, which will usually be inthe evening, viewers can choose from:VPT 1: Regular VPT schedule as on the analog channelVPT 5: High-definition programmingIn the future, VPT may use some of its multicasting and data deliverycapacity to offer worker training, early childhood and K-12 educationalservices, public safety services and expanded coverage of stategovernment. The digital signal also has potential as a high-speedwireless rural broadband service that delivers educational andinformational content to personal computers and set-top boxes. Educators,students, adult learners and business people can download data at the sametime TV content is being broadcast.Noting the importance of federal and state matching funds for the project,VPT’s John King says, “Thanks to Senators Patrick Leahy and Jim Jeffordsand Rep. Bernie Sanders, we have reached this milestone and will have thefederal funds to complete conversion of our three remaining sites when wesecure matching dollars from the state. We’re grateful to Gov. HowardDean and his staff, and to Vermont’s legislators, especially the House andSenate Institutions and Appropriations committees, for the support theyhave given so far.”VPT chief engineer Ron Whitcomb and studio technical supervisor RobBelle-Isle, who are managing the digital conversion project, are preparingto convert VPT’s St. Johnsbury and Rutland sites this year, if state fundsare appropriated to match federal funds already earmarked for VPT. Digitalservice for the Burlington area will be available several years from now,when VPT and the commercial TV stations that share facilities on Mt.Mansfield have converted.Because VPT operates a network of four transmitters and produces localprogramming, the conversion to digital is the most complex and expensiveengineering project in its history. The complete project is expected tocost $13.2 million.VPT would like to hear from people in Vermont and New Hampshire who canreceive channel 24 or from anyone who has questions about digital TV.Viewers can find out more at www.vpt.org(link is external) or contact VPT via the website orat 1-800-639-7811.last_img read more

first_imgThe Department of Economic Development’s new Thinkvermont.comsite has an updated look and improved navigation that makes it more user-friendlyand consistent with state government’s main site, Economic DevelopmentCommissioner Mike Quinn said. “Governor Jim Douglas has made economic developmentand job creation one of his highest priorities, and we intend to keepinnovating in this important area of our efforts to do just that,” Quinnsaid. “The goal of this new website is toprovide businesses with easier access to the information, resources, andtools that the Department of Economic Development offers,” Quinn said.“So far the feedback we have received has been very positive.” Revamped Site WillMake It Easier To Use For Businesses, Entrepreneurs However, in the last several years the State of Vermont hasbeen moving toward standardizing website designs, according to Vermont’sChief Marketing Officer, Christine Werneke. The result is a site that presents businesses andentrepreneurs with information about services and incentives available directlythrough the state or its partners like regional development corporations andother non-profits, as well a special section dedicated torecruitment efforts to bring new businesses to the state.  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE MONTPELIER, Vt. – The state has launched a newlyoverhauled website for economic development that officials say will make iteasier for people who want to do business in Vermont. As the Department of Economic Development (DED) wasrevamping the appearance of the site it made sense to update the content andorganization as well, Werneke said. “The State of Vermont has been striving to establish aconsistent look, feel and message across government to the greatest degreepossible,” she said. “This new site now complies with thesestandards, making it easier to move from one state website to another.” CONTACT: David Mace (802) 828-5229 ThinkVermont.com was launched in the late 1990s and quicklyevolved into a site that won awards in economic development circles. March 4, 2008State Launches New EconomicDevelopment Web Site “Early on, we reached out to partners andbusinesses to seek their input on how we might improve our web presenceand what things they thought ought to – and ought not – be onthe Department website,” Quinn said.  -30- To learn more, visit: www.thinkvermont.com(link is external) Quinn said the re-design was accomplished using servicesfrom one of the state marketing vendors, Stowe-based HMC2, andthrough the support of the internal information technology department at theAgency of Commerce and Community Development, which houses DED. last_img read more

first_imgSincerely, US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has joined what appears to be a futile effort to urge Vermont Governor Jim Douglas to reconsider plans to reduce state benefits to seniors who are enrolled in the state s VPharm supplemental prescription assistance program, in response to the new Medicare Part D rebate checks. The Douglas Administration said Monday that it will continue to ask for the money back. Vermont Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders asked last week that the administration reconsider the move. The rebate checks are intended to provide fiscal relief to seniors, not states, said Secretary Sebelius in a letter today to Governor Douglas. Seniors who enter the donut hole have serious illnesses, take more medication, and need additional financial help. They have extremely high out-of-pocket costs; for example, they must personally spend at least $2,830 to qualify for rebate checks in 2010.The tax-free federal $250 rebates are being mailed to seniors who enter the Medicare Part D donut hole this year, as a first step in closing the coverage gap under the Affordable Care Act. The first federal rebates were mailed to seniors who have fallen into the Medicare Part D donut hole yesterday. About 9,000 Vermont seniors are expected to receive the rebate this year.The text of the letter is below:June 11, 2010Hon. James H. DouglasGovernorState of Vermont109 State Street, PavilionMontpelier, VT 05609-0101Dear Governor Douglas:This week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) sent the first one-time, tax-free $250 rebate checks to eligible Medicare beneficiaries nationwide who have entered the Medicare Part D coverage gap referred to as the donut hole. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) authorizes these rebates for all beneficiaries in the donut hole except those who have their prescription drug expenses in the coverage gap covered by the low-income subsidy known as Medicare Extra Help. Congress intended these checks to be the first steps towards phasing out the coverage gap by 2020. This is a critically important benefit given the number of Medicare beneficiaries with high prescription drug costs. Last year, roughly 8,920 Medicare beneficiaries in Vermont hit the donut hole, and a similar number are expected to hit it in 2010.Some states, like Vermont, have established state-only programs that provide supplemental pharmaceutical coverage to low-income Medicare beneficiaries who are not eligible for Medicaid assistance. The Administration applauds Vermont s leadership in this effort. However, we understand that Vermont is considering reducing these state benefits in response to the new Medicare Part D rebate checks. I ask you to reconsider this action.Seniors who enter the donut hole have serious illnesses, take more medication, and need additional financial help. They have extremely high out-of-pocket costs; for example, they must personally spend at least $2,830 to qualify for rebate checks in 2010. In addition, Vermont s pharmaceutical program (VPharm) requires beneficiaries to pay premiums and does not cover all of seniors drug costs. Many individuals are responsible for co-payments, and certain drugs are excluded from coverage for some beneficiaries.There is no doubt that states face significant financial pressure this year. So do our most vulnerable Medicare beneficiaries. The rebate checks are intended to provide fiscal relief to seniors, not states. I urge you to reconsider reducing benefits under VPharm as a means of alleviating budget constraints. Kathleen Sebeliuslast_img read more

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A 63-year-old man Shirley man was killed in a car crash in Brentwood on Tuesday evening.Suffolk County police said Ronald Viscusi was driving a Lincoln southbound on Islip Avenue when he rear-ended a Honda that was backing out of a driveway near the corner of West Willow Street at 8:30 p.m.Viscusi’s vehicle then crashed into a tree. He was pronounced dead at the scene.The other driver, 26-year-old Emperatriz Ortiz of Amityville, was taken to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, where she was treated and released.Third Squad detectives impounded the vehicles, are continuing the investigation and ask anyone with information about the crash to call them at 631-854-8352 or call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.last_img read more