PREMIERE: Funk Outfit Flyjack Previews New Album With New Single “Motherlode”

first_imgFlyjack is an Austin-based funk and soul outfit consisting of Buck McKinney (Guitars, Vocals, Percussion), Brad Bradburn (Bass Vocals), Nigel Finely (Keyboards, Vocals), Andy Rumelt (Keyboards, Harmonica), Jeremy Portwood (Drums), Ari Dvorin (Sax) and Mike Shields (Trumpet). At the end of this month, on March 31st, the group will be releasing a brand-new album, New Day, which has been meticulously crafted over the last seventeen months.Flyjack’s album is a tribute to the grooves of the 60’s and 70’s, with seven of its tracks consisting of covers from the time. To deepen its authentic sound and fully capture that underground-funk vibe, the band utilized old-school gear from the 1970’s during the album’s recording. However, Flyjack’s New Day is not just a straight, traditional ode to that era; rather, the group has brought their own modern twist to New Day by presenting five of their own originals alongside the covers and using state-of-the-art recording and mixing during production.To get fans stoked for the release of New Day, Flyjack has been generous enough to share a new single off of the anticipated album, an immensely funky original number entitled “Motherlode.”A number of additional guest artists supplement the sound of the seven-piece ensemble on “Motherlode,” with Boombox Brass, Rudy Canales of Grupo Fantasma on congas, and Topaz McGarrigle of Golden Dawn Arkestra laying down a searing saxophone solo.Reminiscent of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition,” both “Superstition” and “Motherlode” share similar themes, exploring the idea that when one stumbles into good fortune, he or she should be careful in assuming it will last. However, that’s not the only clear influence on the song, with guitarist Buck McKinney noting, “I was listening to a lot of Cornell Dupree at the time, and the beginning riff is a bit like the opening riff in his song ‘Teasin’,’ but backwards, with a different pattern at the end. There are two other parts that play off of that – a Wurlitzer pattern and a second guitar part – and the bass locks everything down to keep it moving.” You can listen to the Live For Live Music exclusive premiere of “Motherlode” off of Flyjack’s soon-to-be-released New Day below. If you’re diggin’ what you’re hearin’, you can pre-order the album or check the group’s touring schedule on Flyjack’s website.last_img read more

Colombian Army supports ‘Voice of the Sikuani’ radio program to help indigenous population

first_img The radio program is one of the ways Colombian security forces are combatting recruiting efforts by the terrorist group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). FARC operatives recruit minors by force in schools, at football fields, and even at parties. Sometimes the FARC and other organized crime groups try to entice juveniles to join their ranks by giving them electronic gadgets, such as cell phones, according to the Ministry of Defense. At other times, the FARC and other criminal groups recruit juveniles by intimidation and force. In addition to working to prevent the recruitment of juveniles, the National Army has rescued dozens of teenagers who were forced to work for the FARC. Army soldiers have transferred these teenagers to the Colombian Institute for Family Wellbeing (ICBF) to protect, rehabilitate and prevent them from going back to the criminal organizations. “Minors are recruited either out of their will or by force,” said Catalina Niño of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Foundation in Colombia (FESCOL). Protecting young people By Dialogo August 14, 2014 Military and civilian leaders recently gathered to celebrate the first anniversary of the Voice of the Sikuani program. On behalf of the Colombian Army, Lieutenant Colonel Jairo Granados, commander of BAEEV 15, spoke of the importance of cooperation and trust in working with indigenous communities to improve security. Two Army sergeants, Ricardo Betancur and Nelson Gálvez, advisors in ethnic affairs for the Fourth Division and Seventh Brigade respectively, spoke about their mission, which involves working in indigenous communities. Several civilian authorities helped celebrate the anniversary. Among them was Ángela María Moreno, the mayor of Puerto Gaitán. The mayor has launched various local policies to improve the quality of life for indigenous communities. Martha Hernández, spokeswoman for the Family Commissioner of Puerto Gaitan, spoke of the importance of helping indigenous communities and providing legal assistance when necessary. Pedro Santiago Posada, Director of Indigenous Affairs and Minorities for the Ministry of Interior, explained the regulatory framework governing indigenous communities under Colombian law. Civilians who participated in the anniversary celebration spoke primarily about the history and ancestry of indigenous communities, the rights and duties of indigenous peoples, and the role of women and children. Authorities also gave 75 portable radios to leaders of the Sikuani community. Colombians throughout the country heard the voice of the indigenous Sikuani people courtesy of the 6th Brigade of the 4th Army Division, which helped produce the radio program “The Voice of the Sikuani.” In cooperation with nine governors and several indigenous leaders, the Colombian Army helped produce a five-hour program in which Sikuanis spoke in theire native language and in Spanish. The Sikuanis spoke about the importance of cooperating with Colombian authorities to ensure public safety and fight organized crime and terrorism. An important outreach effort center_img The first edition of The Voice of the Sikuani was broadcast on June 22, 2013. Benjamín Hunda, ethnic affairs advisor to the mayor of Puerto Gaitán, played a key role in organizing the inaugural program. The Fourth Division of the Army of Colombia and radion station Colombia Estéreo immediately supported the program. The radio show is a way of reaching out to the indigenous population, Army authorities said. “Since its inception, this important radio program has served as a bridge between indigenous communities in the region and the local government, who have listened attentively to the requests and deepest protests of these natives,” the Army of Colombia stated in a press release. The program is broadcast every Sunday morning in the urban and rural areas of the municipality of Puerto Gaitán. Various indigenous people have appeared on the program, including shamans, masters, women, and youths. The radio show is a platform which allows the Sikuani to discuss their cultural traditions. The program is broadcast on the 110 affiliate radio stations which are part of Colombia Estéreo 94.7 FM. The Sikuani are also known as Guahibo or Guajibo or Jivi or Jiwi. The Sikuani are an indigenous people living in Los Llanos del Orinoco between the Guaviare, Meta and Arauca rivers in the Colombian departments of Vichada, Meta (Puerto Gaitán and Mapiripán), Arauca, Guaviare and Guainía. There are about 23,000 Sikuani people in Colombia. Voice of the Sikuani The radio program is an important part of the Army’s outreach to indigenous communities, which is part of a broad strategy of promoting cooperation with the community to fight terrorism and crime, according to Raúl Benítez Manaut, president of the Collective for the Analysis of Security with Democracy (CASEDE) in Mexico City. “It’s a good idea the Colombian Army is making radio programs available to raise awareness among the indigenous population of the risk linked to criminal activities,” Benítez Manaut said. . “This type of program is filling a communication gap with rural populations, the participation of the Armed Forces in this regard is relevant.” Cooperation between the civilian population and security forces is crucial in the fight against terrorism and crime, Benítez Manaut said. “For years, the Armed Forces of Colombia have been carrying out civic activities on prevention, health and education throughout the country,” the security analyst said. “The Army is very good at this type of civic action. The Army continues to work on establishing direct ties with the population to work together on safety and prevention. Sending out messages warning people of recruitment by these terrorist groups is important; it is a tremendous communication campaign.” The outreach program could be effective with other communities, the security analyst said. “This type of program can be part of support activities for Army intelligence because the population can inform them of criminal activities in the most sensitive areas with criminal gangs, drug traffickers, arms dealers, and recruitment,” Benítez Manaut said. Anniversary celebration last_img read more

Rules of Judicial Administration amendments

first_img June 1, 2005 Regular News Rules of Judicial Administration amendments Rules of Judicial Administration amendments The Florida Rules of Judicial Administration Committee invites comment on a proposal for the reorganization of the Rules of Judicial Administration shown below. The proposal will be filed with the Florida Supreme Court by June 30. Interested persons have until June 15 to submit comments to Judge Claudia Isom, Committee Chair, 302 N. Michigan Ave., Room 9, Plant City 33563. Proposal for the Reorganization of the Florida Rules of Judicial Administration I. GENERAL PROVISIONS Current Rule # New Rule # Title 2.010 2.110 Scope and Purpose 2.020 2.120 Definitions (a) Court Rule (b) Local Court Rule (c) Administrative Order 2.135 2.130 Priority of Conflicting Appellate Rules 2.130 2.140 Amending Rules of Court (a) Amendments Generally (b) Schedule for Rule Proposals (c) Rejected Proposals (d) Emergency Amendments by Court (e) Emergency Recommendations by Committee (f) Request by Court (g) Local Rules Proposed by Trial Courts II. STATE COURT ADMINISTRATION Current Rule # New Rule # Title 2.030 2.205 The Supreme Court (a) Internal Government (b) Clerk (c) Librarian (d) Marshal (e) State Courts Administrator (f) Open Sessions (g) Designation of Assigned Judge 2.040 2.210 District Courts of Appeal (a) Internal Government (b) Clerk (c) Marshal (d) Open Sessions (e) Designation of Assigned Judges 2.050 2.215 Trial Court Administration (a) Purpose (b) Chief Judge (c) Selection (d) Circuit Court Administrator (e) Local Rules and Administrative Orders (f) Duty to Rule within a Reasonable Time (g) Duty to Expedite Priority Cases (h) Neglect of Duty (i) Status Conference after Compila- tion of Record in Death Case 2.120 2.220 Conference of County Court Judges (a) Creation (b) Purpose (c) Officers (d) Authority 2.125 2.225 Judicial Management Council (a) Creation and Responsibilities (b) Schedule of Reports (c) Supreme Court Action on Recommendations by the Judicial Management Council (d) Membership and Organization (e) Staff Support and Funding 2.053 2.230 Trial Court Budget Commission (a) Purpose (b) Responsibilities (c) Operational Procedures (d) Action by Supreme Court or Chief Justice on Recommendations of Trial Court Budget Commission (e) Membership and Organization (f) Staff Support and Funding 2.054 2.235 District Court of Appeal Budget Committee (a) Purpose (b) Responsibilities (c) Operational Procedures (d) Action by Supreme Court or Chief Justice on Recommendations of the District Court of Appeal Budget Commission (e) Membership and Organization (f) Staff Support and Funding 2.035 2.240 Determination of Need for Additional Judges (a) Purpose (b) Criteria (c) Additional Workload Factors (d) Certification Process 2.080(a)(b) 2.245 Case Reporting System for Trial Courts (a) Reporting (b) Uniform Case Numbering System 2.085(e)(f) 2.250 Time Standards For Trial and Appellate Courts and Reporting Requirements (a) Time Standards (b) Reporting of Cases 2.100 2.255 Statewide Grand Jury (a) Procedure (b) Population (c) Excuses 2.180 2.260 Change of Venue (a) Preliminary Procedures (b) Presiding Judge (c) Reimbursement of Costs (d) Documentation of Costs (e) Timing of Reimbursement (f) Media Relations (g) Case File 2.110 2.265 Municipal Ordinance Violations (a) References to Abolished Municipal Courts (b) Costs in County Courts (c) Collection of Outstanding Fines (d) Judicial Notice of Municipal Ordinances (e) Style of Municipal Ordinance Cases III. JUDICIAL OFFICERS Current Rule # New Rule # Title 2.140 2.310 Judicial Discipline, Removal, Retirement, and Suspension (a) Filing (b) Procedure (c) Costs 2.150 2.320 Continuing Judicial Education (a) Purpose (b) Education Requirements (c) Course Approval (d) Reporting Requirements and Sanctions 2.160 2.330 Disqualification of Trial Judges (a) Application (b) Parties (c) Motion (d) Grounds (e) Time (f) Determination – Initial Motion (g) Determination – Successive Motions (h) Prior Rulings (i) Judge’s Initiative IV. JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS AND RECORDS Current Rule # New Rule # Title 2.072 2.410 Possession of Court Records 2.051 2.420 Public Access to Judicial Branch Records (a) Scope and Purpose (b) Definitions (c) Exemptions (d) Judicial Review of Denial of Access Request (e) Procedure 2.075 2.430 Retention of Court Records (a) Definitions (b) Required Consent (c) Permanently Recorded Records (d) Records Not Permanently Recorded (e) Records to Be Retained Permanently (f) Court Reporters’ Notes (g) Exhibits (h) Disposition Other Than Destruction (i) Release of Court Records (j) Right to Expunge Records (k) Sealed Records 2.076 2.440 Retention of Judicial Branch Administrative Records (a) Definitions (b) Retention Requirements 2.170 2.450 Technological Coverage of Judicial Proceedings (a) Electronic and Still Photographic Coverage Allowed (b) Equipment and Personnel (c) Sound and Light Criteria (d) Location of Equipment Personnel (e) Movement During Proceedings (f) Courtroom Light Sources (g) Conferences of Counsel (h) Impermissible Use of Media Material (i) Appellate Review V. PRACTICE OF LAW A. ATTORNEYS Current Rule # New Rule # Title 2.060(a)(b)(f)(g) 2.505 Attorneys (h)(i)(j)(k) (a) Scope and Purpose (b) Persons Employed by the Court Not to Practice (c) Attorney Not to Be Surety (d) Stipulations (e) Appearance of Attorney (f) Termination of Appearance of Attorney (g) Law Student Participation (h) Attorney as Agent of Client 2.061 2.510 Foreign Attorneys (a) Eligibility (b) Contents of Verified Motion B. PRACTICE AND LITIGATION PROCEDURES Current Rule # New Rule # Title 2.060(c)(d)(e) 2.515 Signature of Attorneys and Parties (a) Attorney Signature (b) Pro Se Litigant Signature (c) Form of Signature 2.055 2.520 Paper (a) Type and Size (b) Exhibits (c) Recording Space (d) Exceptions to Recording Space (e) Noncompliance 2.090 2.525 Electronic Filing (a) Definition (b) Application (c) Documents Affected (d) Service (e) Transmission Difficulties (f) Administration 2.071 2.530 Communication Equipment (a) Definition (b) Use by All Parties (c) Use Only by Requesting Party (d) Testimony (e) Burden of Expense (f) Override of Family Violence Indicator 2.070 2.535 Court Reporting (a) Definition (b) When Court Reporting Required (c) Record (d) Fees (e) Transcripts (f) Reporter as Officer of Court (g) Court Reporting Services Provided in Mental Health Proceedings or at Public Expense (h) Court Reporting Services in Capital Cases 2.065 2.540 Notices to Persons With Disabilities 2.085(a)(b)(c)(d) 2.545 Case Management (a) Purpose (b) Case Control (c) Priority Cases (d) Continuances 2.052 2.550 Calendar Conflicts (a) Guidelines (b) Additional Circumstances (c) Notice and Agreement; Resolution by Judges 2.080(c)(d)(e) 2.555 Initiation of Criminal Proceedings (a) Major Statutory Offense (b) Ordinance Violations (c) Information or Indictment after County Court Proceedings Begun The Rules of Judicial Administration Committee also intends to recommend to the Florida Supreme Court that the following rules be removed from the Rules of Judicial Administration and placed elsewhere: Current Rule # New Rule # Title 2.120 2.220 Conference of County Court Judges (a) Creation (b) Purpose (c) Officers (d) Authority 2.110 2.265 Municipal Ordinance Violations (a) References to Abolished Municiple Courts (b) Costs in County Courts (c) Collection of Outstanding Fines (d) Judicial Notice of Municipal Ordinances (e) Style of Municipal Ordinance Cases 2.080(c)(d)(e) 2.555 Initiation of Criminal Proceedings (a) Major Statutory Offense (b) Ordinance Violations (c) Information or Indictment after County Court Proceedings Begunlast_img read more

Officer Down: Kevin O’Connor’s Seven Year Search For Justice

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Kevin O’Connor leans forward and grimaces as the pain shoots through his body.His chair slides back, he reaches for his cane and slowly rises from his seat.“I just gotta stand up,” he tells me.His wife Catherine gazes at him from across the kitchen table while their kids play in another room.We could stop, but O’Connor wants to keep talking. He’s been waiting seven years to tell this tale—nearly a decade of doctor visits, surgery, therapy, court appearances and haunting images of being struck by a teenager illegally riding an ATV, which left the former New York Police Department cop and Suffolk County Park police officer disabled for the rest of his life.He needs a cane to walk short distances. His feet turn pale blue if he stands for too long. And the 37-year-old father of four is relegated to a wheel chair or scooter whenever he leaves his home.O’Connor lists his many ailments in a matter-of-fact tone: a shattered left ankle rebuilt with a bone from his hip, fractured right kneecap, torn meniscus, nerve damage in his back and left leg too serious for surgery and a condition called “Complex Regional Pain Syndrome,” which leads to chronic pain and negatively effects blood flow and body temperature to the point that all sensations but pain are suppressed.At his worst, O’Connor was taking more than 30 different pills—a cocktail of pain and nerve medication. (His pancreas, liver and gall bladder all shut down because of it). He slept 23 hours a day, Catherine says, and couldn’t even finish his own sentences. His sensory was so out of whack that he couldn’t tell where he was being touched. Not knowing what was happening to him was almost unbearable; terror consumed him whenever Catherine would leave his side—even for the briefest of moments.“All you feel is pain all the time,” he says.Yet those are just the injuries sustained from being plowed into by an ATV.O’Connor, who joined the NYPD in 1998 and worked at Ground Zero following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, had all eight sinuses collapse and later had three tumors removed—two of which were attached to his optic nerve. He also had dozens of polyps extracted.“The surgeon said at 30 he stopped counting,” he recalls.After 9/11, O’Connor’s family persuaded the gung-ho cop to leave the NYPD—fearing future terrorist attacks—and he joined the Suffolk County Park Police Department in 2003. The family assumed he’d be safer patrolling the vast parks stretching from Wading River to Orient Point and Montauk.Who would have guessed it’d be in the typically tranquil forests of Suffolk where he’d encounter his most vicious assailant.His pain doesn’t end with his physical injuries. O’Connor still seeks justice all these years later because of unanswered questions stemming from the Suffolk County police investigation into the incident, and frustration over the outcome of his attackers’ prosecution after an appeals court overturned a guilty verdict rendered by Suffolk County Family Court.That acquittal is even more heart-wrenching because O’Connor’s attacker actually confessed to striking him in a civil case—as did his parents admit to negligently allowing their child to use the ATV that injured him. (The Press has decided to withhold O’Connor’s attacker’s name from publication due to his status as a minor at the time of the incident.)Dozens of documents obtained by the Press, including police and court records, along with witness statements, paint a portrait of an officer who was assaulted while on the job and who’s had to endure great pains for the past seven years to get justice for that attack. They tell how it took fellow police officers five days to interview his assailant’s parents and two neighbors—five days after the accident—despite O’Connor charging that a Suffolk police detective tracked down the suspect’s father several hours after he was struck, and despite initially describing the incident, say internal police records, as assault on a parks police officer. That’s a charge that would regularly constitute a maximum sentence of three to four years in prison if found guilty. Yet the charges were later dropped to a misdemeanor offense of leaving the scene of an ATV accident.Instead of justice, the voluminous paper trail reveals the disabled police officer and 9/11 first responder’s pay was docked. He became ensnared in a drawn-out dispute over his disability and retirement classification.“They want me to quit,” he blasts. “They just want me to quit, to go away and not get paid and not have benefits and just quit. I have four children, my wife; we have to live.”O’Connor’s leg is elevated on an ottoman while describing the last seven years of agony. His eyes are glassy; the horrors of his accident seared into his mind forever.APRIL FOOL’S DAYSuffolk County Park police officer Kevin O’Connor woke up to the sounds of rain against his house April 1, 2006. At 31 years old, O’Connor was comfortable with his decision to leave the prestigious NYPD. He just wanted to strap on a badge and catch bad guys.“The only way for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing,” is the motto he’s always lived by, he says.On that day—“April Fool’s Day,” he says with a nervous laugh—O’Connor donned his police uniform and met up with his 39-year-old partner. The pair grabbed a stack of complaints before they left the station and hopped into a truck hauling a trailer with ATVs inside.Their plan for the day was simple enough: Patrol the Setauket Woods Nature Preserve and investigate recent complaints of illegal ATVs running rampant in the area.They put the truck in park and unloaded the ATVs from the trailer. Puddles began to form beneath their feet.They drove deep into the preserve, mud kicking off the tires as they accelerated.At about 1:45 p.m., the officers spotted a 25-year-old man riding a dirt bike east of North Belle Mead Road, near the Long Island Power Authority power lines. While issuing a summons to the biker, they became distracted by the sudden, ripping of jackhammer-like sounds thundering through the woods.Within an instant, three ATVs shot from the leafy trees and barreled toward them from the south.The three riders—outfitted in different color helmets, chest protectors and quads (the color of their outfits and ATVs would become an important piece of evidence in the appeal’s court case)—finally emerged from the woods.O’Connor’s partner was the first to react. Perched atop his quad, he drove about 40 yards in the direction of the trio. Two bolted past him on the west side and continued north, forcing him to give chase.“We attempted to flag them down and stop them as they came upon us but they disregarded our demands and took off,” O’Connor’s partner told Suffolk County police six hours later in his written statement.O’Connor, still on foot, spotted the third ATV in the distance and waved his hands over his head, commanding the driver to stop. His warnings went unheeded. In a last-ditch effort to avoid the oncoming machine, O’Connor lunged right, but it turned in his direction and crushed him, he told police, from Stony Brook University Hospital that night.The ATV struck him with such force that O’Connor flipped over its handlebars and was launched into the air. Managing to grab hold of the teen’s clothes, he was dragged for about 10 feet before letting go.With the same lightning-fast speed they’d appeared, all three ATVs then disappeared into the woods.The dirt bike rider O’Connor had been giving a ticket to witnessed the crash and ran to O’Connor’s aid.“I asked the police officer if he was okay,” the man told police eight hours later, according to documents. “And he replied ‘No.’”O’Connor’s partner, unaware of what had happened to him, had already lost the first two ATVs and was returning to O’Connor’s location when he spotted the third, yellow quad. He cut into a wooded trail off of Belle Mead Road.“This rider appeared to be well acquainted with the trails in the area as he pulled further away from me during this chase,” he told investigators.The officer followed the trail to a development under construction at the time, he said. The yellow ATV disappeared.The initial response to the incident was impressive: Suffolk County police, New York State police, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) police and Suffolk County Park police all responded, O’Connor says.After all, one of their own was attacked and injured.He assumed the case a slam dunk: There was an actual witness to the incident and he later discovered that an environmental conservation officer followed the ATV tracks to a house just west of the preserve and notified Suffolk police after he spotted three ATVs—blue, black and a “freshly washed” yellow quad—in the garage, he tells me. (The DEC officer, who no longer works on Long Island, declined to comment for this story).Then things got murky.The initial police report makes no mention of police visiting the teen’s house that day, but instead notes the investigators interviewed its residents and two neighbors five days later. They “all stated that there are a lot of people who ride quads in the area,” but did not see any ATV activity the day of the incident, states police documents.The report doesn’t note if the teen was a suspect, either. So the investigation, initially being investigated as “assault 2 on parks police officer,” stalled.“Due to the fact that there are no further leads at this time,” the report said, “this case may be marked as pending.”Family and friends of Suffolk County Park Police Officer Kevin O’Connor carried signs outside the Suffolk County Legislative building during a recent hearing with the county to show support for the officer who was permanently injured by an illegal ATV in April 2006.CONFESSIONEight months later, it seemed the O’Connor’s might have finally caught a break.Police had impounded a blue 2004 Yamaha in the Setauket Woods preserve around 1 p.m. on Dec.3, 2006 and the driver, who was 15 at the time, provided information to the officer regarding an incident involving Suffolk County Park police officer O’Connor.One month later, at around 5 p.m. on Jan. 2, 2007, a Suffolk police detective visited the house of another Setauket teenager and left with a sworn statement from the 15-year-old admitting to driving one of the three ATVs the day O’Connor was injured. Obtained by the Press, it states the teen told the detective that he and another friend separated from the driver of the yellow ATV, and that it wasn’t until they crossed paths in the hallway of their high school two days later that they’d learn what had actually happened.“I hit someone with the quad,” the teen admitted to the friend.Still, there was no arrest.Meanwhile, O’Connor and his wife called Suffolk Police Department’s Sixth Precinct multiple times, along with Suffolk County legislators.Presiding Officer William Lindsay (D-Holbrook) asked then-Suffolk County Park Commissioner Ron Foley to address the status of the case at a meeting that year.“We have asked questions of the Suffolk County Police Department about this case,” Foley told legislators, according to the meeting’s minutes. “I am satisfied that they were dealing with it in the same professional manner they deal with everything they do.”Yet quite the opposite was happening, insists O’Connor, who stepped up calls to elected officials for help.He called and wrote letters to then-Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, former Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer, state legislators, then-Sen. Hillary Clinton, the governor, and even Vice President Dick Cheney.“Nobody was doing anything,” he says.O’Connor, who went back on light duty for two months after the incident but was deemed too unhealthy to work, was battling debilitating injuries as a result from the crash and was in excruciating pain. He would sleep for nearly the entire day and the nerve damage was so painful that the slightest touch whipped his body into a frenzy.Finally, nearly a year later, authorities filed formal charges against the teenager—but not for felony assault, which would’ve landed him before a criminal court judge. Instead, the teen was charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving an all-terrain vehicle—a slap on the wrist is the way the O’Connor’s felt about it at the time.(Suffolk police did not respond to requests for comment as of press time. Instead, they said, they were handling the Press’ submitted inquiries as a Freedom of Information Act request).The teen was found guilty in a one-day Family Court hearing and placed on 12 months probation, despite the mother’s alibi testimony that her child was with her at her sister’s house when the incident occurred.It was a brief victory for the O’Connors.The next summer, an appeals court overturned the decision on “legally insufficient evidence.” Two of the witnesses “could not specifically recall riding that day,” according to the decision, even though one teenager admitted in a sworn police statement to being in Setauket Woods that afternoon.The court cited three other reasons for overruling the Family Court decision: that O’Connor and his partner couldn’t identify the rider of the yellow ATV; the two officers had identified the two other quads as black and blue, while the witnesses—the teen’s friends—said they were riding red and white ATVs; and that the yellow ATV was outfitted with knobbed or “holeshot” tires, not the “grooved” tires that O’Connor testified to.It was a crushing blow, especially since the O’Connors felt the teenager’s family had already admitted guilt—though not in a court of law.Even before the appeals court made its decision, the teen’s family filed an insurance claim for an ATV, noting that it was damaged on April 1, 2006—the day O’Connor was injured. The claim was denied.The O’Connors eventually got a full confession—though five years too late.“This confession of judgment is for the debt justly due arising from the following facts,” reads the admission in the civil case. “On April 1, 2006 at Setauket Woods Park in Suffolk County, New York, the debtors…negligently entrusted an All Terrain Vehicle (‘ATV’) to their son…[who] negligently drove this ATV and struck pedestrian Kevin O’Connor, causing serious physical injury.”The O’Connors were awarded $1 million, plus interest, but they have yet to see any of it. The teen’s family filed for bankruptcy soon after.The family did not return a message seeking comment.To make matters even worse, during this time O’Connor had visited a doctor for an Independent Medical Exam (IME), which the state requires prior to certifying an employee for disability retirement—and the doctor noted that O’Connor “has a permanent marked orthopedic disability and is unable to return to work as a park police officer.”About a month later, he received a letter from his lieutenant, Scott Gray, instructing him to notify the personnel office proof that he has filed for disability retirement with the New York State Retirement System within 10 days.“Your failure to adhere to this directive will be considered insubordination and will be dealt with accordingly,” the letter states.After making phone calls to the retirement system, O’Connor says he made the grim discovery that he was a member of the Employees Retirement System, meaning he would not be afforded the same benefits had he remained with the NYPD—which is under the Police & Fire Retirement System.Thus began a new chapter in O’Connor’s nightmare since the ATV accident.Because of the confusion with the retirement system, O’Connor hadn’t filed the proper paperwork as instructed by Gray, but he was in the process of trying to get it all sorted out, he says.In November 2011, O’Connor was brought up on administrative misconduct charges for failing to submit proof of having filed for disability retirement with the state. The letter was signed by then-Deputy Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Conservation Tracey Bellone—the wife of Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.An additional misconduct charge read: “On July 29, 2011, you exhibited conduct and behavior unbecoming of a parks police officer when you were insubordinate and refused to comply with a lawful directive.”“Clearly they knew Kevin was looking into retirement,” adds his wife Catherine.BLAME GAMESuffolk County Park Police Officer Kevin O’Connor is pictured here wearing his New York Police Department uniform. O’Connor joined the force in 1998 before he left for Suffolk Park police five years later. O’Connor still takes pride in what he accomplished in his short career.The county is sticking to their guns.“The problem with Mr. O’Connor is that Mr. O’Connor thinks that he is supposed to be in a different system than he really is in and that’s what the issue is,” Acting Director of Labor Relations Jennifer McNamara tells the Press. “It’s the crux of the problem and he continues to think that this is a county issue but it’s actually not, it’s the state that makes the determination as to what retirement system someone’s in when they begin their employment, which for Mr. O’Connor is many years ago. He never challenged it then. But now that it’s time for him to retire into a system he refuses to go into the one that he’s in.”“He has no right to be in the Police and Fire system,” she insists. “If that’s the fight that he wants to have, it’s not with the county. Unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do about that.”The New York State Comptroller’s office, which oversees the state retirement system, declined to speak on the record regarding O’Connor’s situation.The only way O’Connor would be able to change retirement systems is through state legislation, officials said. He cannot opt-in himself.A spokesman for a state official, who asked not to be named, said it’s unlikely that the state would step in. When they do, like they did this past year with a Quogue Village police officer, it’s usually to correct a “technicality,” he said.“Essentially what he is saying is ‘I left one system, I became a police officer in another system, I got injured on the job, but my benefits aren’t so good here, I should have the old system,’” the spokesman said. “Well, no.”“This is not clear-cut by any stretch of the imagination,” he added.O’Connor also has other gripes with the county.The family came home from vacation in July 2012 and noticed “weird checks” in the mail for $400. After looking further into it, O’Connor also discovered that he was missing money from his bank account. Apparently, the county had stopped paying him because he failed to comply with the directive to file his disability retirement papers.After filing a grievance, the county reimbursed him for docked salary June 11, 2012 to Aug. 19, 2012, a total of 50 workdays.There’s also the issue of three IMEs the county says O’Connor recently skipped, which he’s mandated to attend pursuant to his contract, resulting in a 30-day suspension earlier this year, according to the county. The state, officials said, only allows those seeking disability retirement to miss two at the most.“There is no excuse. He is disabled,” McNamara says. “Both his contract and the New York State Retirement System require that you go to this exam if you want to be retired. He has not gone for three times despite being directed to do so.”O’Connor contends that he’s been to more IMEs than he can count, adding that he contacted the Deputy Sheriffs Union Police Benevolent Association (Suffolk Park police recently left that union for the Suffolk County PBA) to see if he had to go to the most recent exams and told him they’d look into it. They never called back, he says.The Deputy Sheriffs PBA and Suffolk County PBA both didn’t return messages from the Press left for their respective presidents for this story.O’Connor alleges that a private attorney representing the county actually admitted to him during negotiations that O’Connor is in danger of being fired.“There are often things that are said in the litigation posture that are just that—they’re said, as part of litigation strategy,” McNamara says in response.“We are still hopeful that we will be able to work this out in some way that is favorable to everyone,” she adds. “With as little animosity as possible and that everyone will get what they should get out of this.”SMALL STEPSO’Connor has a noticeable limp as he walks through his house.He’s wearing a blue polo shirt emblazoned with the words “Heroes Forever” above a stitching of the Twin Towers wrapped in an American flag.The conversation turns to his career  cut short in law enforcement.“I always wanted to be a cop,” O’Connor says. “I did everything I could to join the police force.”And that included terrorist and undercover operations training. “Any training that came up, I took,” he says with pride.He carried over that determination to Suffolk County Park police when he came over from the city, he says.O’Connor remembers arresting a group of Latin Kings, an international street gang, who were having a meeting in the middle of a Suffolk County preserve one evening. He recalls the time he arrested a man who, as it turned out, was responsible for 30 burglarizes. The burglar followed illegal ATV riders home, then hotwired and stole them in the dead of night.“It’s still a police job,” he says of the Suffolk County Park Police Department.“I always said if he wasn’t going to be a cop he’d be a fireman and run into burning buildings,” Catherine adds.Even if he can no longer hop in a police cruiser or ATV to chase down a perpetrator, O’Connor says he’s still committed to doing the right thing.“Doing nothing,” he says, “is doing something.”He just hopes someone would do the same for him and his family.last_img read more

Nearly half of global consumers expect to be affected by a data breach

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr In today’s increasingly digital world, data breaches have become a fact of life with new research from OpSec Security revealing that nearly half (48%) of global consumers expect to suffer a data breach at some point in the future while 30 percent have already fallen victim to one.To compile its latest Consumer Barometer report, the security firm surveyed 2,600 global consumers to find that 46 percent of data breach victims have been contacted by companies two to five times to inform them that their data was compromised while nine percent of respondents have been contacted more than five times.Being contacted by companies about data breaches has led over half (55%) of consumers to believe that organizations aren’t’ doing enough to protect their data. continue reading »last_img read more

AMC Theater in Vestal reopens following temporary closure

first_imgFor the most up to date information, go to AMC Theater’s website by clicking here. 5:18 P.M. UPDATE: AMC has told 12 News that due to a “network outage,” its theater in Vestal will not be operating a few days before “The Rise of Skywalker” releases on Friday. VESTAL (WBNG) — The force is not strong with AMC Theaters. They say if the theater does not reopen by Thursday, individuals will receive an email confirming a refund for purchased tickets. They say already affected showtimes have been refunded. —– VESTAL (WBNG) — Good news for Star Wars fans: AMC Theater in Vestal has reopened following a temporary closure. PHOTO CREDIT: MGN Onlinelast_img read more

Giovanna Grossi: The four most common mistakes hoteliers make

first_imgGood eye contact, a smile, engagement are very important. It is important to ask open-ended questions instead of closed-ended ones – “what was your journey like” is much more open than “was your journey pleasant”. Giovanna will present the four most common mistakes made by hoteliers. Second mistake: Treat all guests equally Source: Booking.com For many guests, especially due to the growth of online bookings in recent years, the first real interaction with the hotel will be when they arrive. The first 30 or 60 seconds are the most important – then they form their opinion about the hotel, and many hoteliers fail to take advantage of the opportunity. Mistake XNUMX: Insufficient investment in staff One way to motivate staff is to invest in them. If you invest in their development and let them know that they are valued, the staff will be satisfied. Hotel staff should be part of the collective. It is very important that different departments connect and communicate with each other. Hotels should provide new employees with insight into the activities and operations of all departments. Guests expect every employee to know what is going on at the hotel. You cannot consider guests numbers, but have to treat them as individuals – each guest has different needs. You have to understand them. Imagine that at one table in a hotel restaurant you have a group of business partners, and at the other a married couple celebrating their wedding anniversary. Those two tables certainly won’t want the same treatment. Business people generally like sleek service and don’t want to be bothered by frequent requests for satisfaction. It is more likely that a married couple will want more attention. Encourage your teams to find out as much as possible about the guests, but they must be careful not to be intrusive.center_img Hotel expert Giovanna Grossi has joined AA for the first time, a prestigious British brand that has been monitoring and recommending hotels for more than 110 years. Starting as an inspector, she progressed ten years into an inspection team leader, accumulating a wealth of experience. She is also part of the AA Awards jury and, in a new way, is a participant in Sauce Intelligence, a consulting company for hotels and restaurants. Cleanliness is always one of the most important things for guests. No one wants to stay in a dirty hotel. It is, however, a broader process than cleaning rooms. Guests do not want to see cigarette butts in front of the hotel or a pile of papers at reception. Equally, they don’t want to see leftover food at the table from previous guests or use a fork and knife that aren’t polished. Hotel maintenance also implies the responsibility of each employee to report problems related to the hotel. Mistake Three: Misunderstanding room maintenance First mistake: Scheduling a welcome It is important to develop team spirit. If your staff is fully trained to work and works well, they will feel good which will result in their confidence in providing services. And satisfied staff includes satisfied guests. It’s like when a friend visits you. You will not only open the door and greet him, but you will smile and engage around him. The same principle applies to hotels. These first moments should be warm and welcoming, whether you are staying in an international, branded five-star hotel or a less rural two- or three-star estate.last_img read more

Property firm boss to sell former family home

first_img29 Prenzler St will go to auction on November 27Place Estate Agents founder and CEO Damian Hackett has fond memories of exploring the bushland behind his former family home.Located at 29 Prenzler St in Upper Mount Gravatt, the house was built by his parents after the family moved down from North Queensland many years ago. Damian Hackett is CEO of Place. Pic Darren England.Property records show the Hackett’s sold the 1893sq m property back in 2000, and the current owners have undertaken extensive renovations of the original five bedroom residence.And while it has been a long time since Mr Hackett has walked its corridors, life has now gone full circle.The franchise that he launched in 2002 has now been tasked with selling it for the same owners who bought it off his own parents almost 20 years ago. The house built by Damian Hackett’s parents has been fully renovated“Our family moved down from North Queensland when I was four-years-old,” Mr Hackett said. “They bought the block of land in Upper Mount Gravatt where they built our family home.“A renowned architect at the time had designed the property.“We spent a lot of time as kids exploring the reserve as it backs onto bushland.“The home has undergone a massive renovation since we lived there. It is almost unrecognisable.” The property is being marketed by husband and wife duo, Simon Caulfield and Courtney Maguire, of Place Kangaroo Point. It sits on a large, elevated, double block close to the Griffith University campuses, hospitals, Westfield Garden City, and has direct access to the Toohey Forest Reserve.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus11 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market11 hours agoFeatures include a manicured flat lawn and established, landscaped gardens, a pool and a north-south facing tennis court. There is also a separate media or formal lounge room, five bedrooms, including the majestic master bedroom with its large walk-in robe and luxury ensuite, and a second master bedroom or guest suite. Inside, the house has been extensively renovated while retaining some of the home’s original features.It has soaring ceilings and double height voids, a statement kitchen with a marble island benchtop, designer appliances and an enormous butler’s pantry, several living and dining spaces, and a formal lounge room. The property will go under the hammer at 6pm on November 27.last_img read more

Heerema Marine Contractors Appoints New CEO

first_imgHeerema Marine Contractors has appointed Koos-Jan van Brouwershaven as chief executive officer, effective June 01, 2018. Furthermore, Wijnand Tutuarima will join the board of Heerema Marine Contractors as chief financial officer.Koos-Jan van Brouwershaven joins Heerema Marine Contractors (HMC) from sister company Heerema Fabrication Group (HFG) where he has worked as chief executive since 2013. He will remain CEO of HFG as well, the company informed.Van Brouwershaven started his career as a trainee at Heerema Offshore Services in 1986 and then joined Genius Offshore Services as a field engineer on a project in the Red Sea in Egypt.Koos-Jan van Brouwershaven holds a Bachelor in Civil Engineering of the Institute of Technology of Haarlem and Master of Business Administration of the Kingston University.Wijnand Tutuarima, who joins the board of HMC as chief financial officer, joined the company in 2013. Prior to this appointment he held the position of senior vice president Finance at HMC and was a member of the management team of the company.His career started in 1995 at the Global Shipping Group with Fortis MeesPierson where he was commercially responsible for the client portfolios in Central Europe and subsequently Asia, holding positions in Rotterdam and Singapore.Tutuarima holds a Master in Maritime Engineering of the Technical University of Delft and a Master of Business Administration of Nyenrode Business University.Pieter Heerema, chairman of the board of Heerema Marine Contractors said: “I am delighted to bring Koos-Jan van Brouwershaven and Wijnand Tutuarima to our board. I am confident they will help lead our business through the current, significant changes in the industry working together with our colleagues in the areas of heavy lift, decommissioning and renewables. Koos-Jan is a leader with a great entrepreneurial spirit and extensive knowledge of the offshore oil and gas industry. His appointment will bring new views and a new momentum to our team which will be crucial whilst pursuing new growth opportunities for our company. Wijnand’s deep knowledge of finance, banking and change management will be invaluable to our business development and strategic objectives.”last_img read more

Summit Racing Equipment awards total $14,000 for drivers in eight IMCA divisions

first_imgTALLMADGE, Ohio (Feb. 6) – Gift cards with a value totaling $14,000 go to drivers in eight IMCA divisions again this season, courtesy of Summit Racing Equipment.The Tallmadge, Ohio, high performance parts retailer gives $100 gift cards to top 10 finishers in each of the five IMCA Xtreme Motor Sports Modified regions, both IMCA Sunoco Stock Car regions and the two IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stock regions. Gift cards of the same value go to top 10 drivers in national standings for IMCA Late Models, IMCA Eagle Motorsports RaceSaver Sprint Cars, Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMods, Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center Southern SportMods and Mach-1 Sport Compacts. Gift cards will be presented during the national awards banquet in November or mailed from the IMCA home office beginning the following week. “Summit is always quick to renew their program and that sort of commitment to IMCA racing has been evident throughout their tenure as a marketing partner,” observed IMCA Marketing Director Kevin Yoder. “We’re honored to continue the relationship with Summit and encourage our racers to explore their extensive line of retail products.” Summit also returns to the national decal program for Modifieds this season, its sixth as an IMCA marketing partner. Drivers in the division must display two Summit decals on their race car and send a picture of their car proving decal placement to the IMCA home office by Aug. 1 to be eligible for regional point fund shares. Information about Summit products is available at the www.summitracing.com website or by calling 800 230-3030.last_img read more