Americana heroes The Avett Brothers returned to The Late Show With Stephen Colbert last night, in support of their recently released album True Sadness. The Avetts continue to make waves with their exciting sound, and their performance on Colbert was no exception. The band broke out into the title track from the new LP, and delighted fans with the emotional rendition. You can stream the performance in the embedded player below.
On Wednesday night, Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly made an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in support of their newest comedic collaboration, Holmes & Watson. The lovable duo’s latest project, a comedic reinterpretation of classic crime-solving characters Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, is set to hit movie theaters in the U.S. on Christmas Day. The new collaboration between the two funnymen is highly anticipated by fans of their previous films like Step Brothers (2008) and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006).After musing about the excitement people express when they see the two men together (“There’s a lot of ‘shake and bake’… a lot of ‘boats and hoes’”), the pair went on to talk about their natural comedic chemistry. Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly continued to riff about their personal and professional relationship, Ferrell pretending to well up with emotion at the notion of them coming back together to work on their latest film.As Ferrell held back his tears, a melancholy keyboard line began to come through the sound mix. When Kimmel asked if they needed to take a moment to collect themselves, Reilly replied, “No, we’ll work through it… We’ll sing through it.” The comedians promptly produced two microphones and began to sing 1972 R&B classic “Reunited”, written by Dino Fekaris and Freddie Perren and popularized by vocal dup Peaches & Herb.In classic form, Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly remained hilariously committed to the bit, inserting plugs for Holmes & Watson into the song as they went. Adorable.Watch the clip below:Will Ferrell & John C. Reilly Croon “Reunited”[Video: Jimmy Kimmel Live]
Wearing a bulletproof vest and surrounded by soldiers aboard a Black Hawk helicopter traversing a war-torn, mountainous region, Luis Garcia de Brigard was on his way to inspect a minefield planted in a schoolyard when he had a sudden realization.“Oh, my God, I didn’t study this in school,” said Garcia, Colombia’s deputy secretary of education. “The situation was extremely tense — and I’m a sky diver. But this was really scary.”A few minutes later, he remembered.“I did take a course on education in emergency situations and armed conflicts,” said Garcia, who earned his master’s degree in education from the International Education Policy Program (IEP) at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) in 2007.Garcia is among more than 900 graduates of the program founded in 1999 by Fernando Reimers, Ford Foundation Professor of the Practice of International Education. In an intense year, students learn how to develop education policy recommendations and design educational programs, with the aim of expanding opportunities for students around the world.Garcia’s trajectory, and those of 62 graduates who responded to Reimers’ request, are featured in his book “One Student at a Time: Leading the Global Education Movement.” Recently, Garcia and six other students took part in a presentation about the book at Gutman Library.David Edwards, Ed.M. ’01 (left) deputy general secretary of Education International, and Myra Khan, Ed.M. ’15, International Education Policy Program consultant, talk with Reimers (not pictured) about his book. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer.The book includes essays the graduates wrote about the challenges, the lessons, and the impact of their work. Some are working as educational consultants or running their own educational enterprises, some found jobs in ministries of education around the world, and others work in international development agencies such as UNICEF, USAID, and the World Bank.Reimers knows personally the impact educational opportunity can make. While growing up in Caracas, Venezuela, he traveled for hours by bus each day to go to a good school. Seeing his students work to make sure children around the world have access to a good education is one of his greatest joys.“I am humbled and in awe at seeing the good work these graduates of the program do, in many different roles, to advance educational opportunities to empower the most disadvantaged to become architects of their own lives and contributing members of their communities,” said Reimers. “These graduates truly are leaders of the global education movement.”Take Sandra Licón, Ed.M. ’03, a former elementary school teacher in South Central Los Angeles, who has worked for the past 11 years as a senior program officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.Licón’s journey from a classroom to one of the world’s largest philanthropic organizations was not what she envisioned after leaving Appian Way. She thought she would end up at the World Bank. But working at the Gates Foundation exceeded her expectations, and in a way allowed her to come full circle.“I spent all of my teaching career in mostly marginalized communities in California,” she said. “At the Gates Foundation, I have the privilege of working with the smartest folks in the field who are working on behalf of low-income brown and black kids across the country.”Over the last couple of years, Licón has been running a series of partnerships between educators at U.S. schools and their counterparts in Finland, Shanghai, Singapore, Brazil, and Australia, who learn from each other how to best reach disadvantaged children.Wilson Aiwuyor, Ed.M. ’12 (left), International Education Policy program; Edwards; Reimers; Austin Volz, Ed.M. ’13, Avenues: the World School; and Ana Gabriela Pessoa, Ed.M. ’07, Pearson Publishing, meet outside the Gutman Library before the evening event. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer.Recent graduates share the program’s mission of expanding opportunities in education. Wilson Aiwuyor, Ed.M. ’12, worked in the Office of Postsecondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education during the Obama administration and now works for an organization that supports efforts to strengthen school systems in developing countries.“I wanted to go into international development, and contribute to eradicating poverty through education,” said Aiwuyor. “I’m not there yet, but I’m on track.”Myra Khan, Ed.M. ’15, works at the World Bank as a consultant on education in countries such as Guinea-Bissau, Kosovo, Serbia, Libya, and the Philippines, a job that she wanted but that has plenty of challenges. “The main thing I learned was to remember constantly that the reason we are all in this work is for children,” she wrote in her essay. “Working at big, bureaucratic organizations will sometimes make you forget that.”Some graduates, such as Ana Gabriela Pessoa, Ed.M. ’07, and Austin Volz, Ed.M. ’13, ended up at private educational organizations. Pessoa works at the San Francisco offices of the publishing company Pearson, where she’s in charge of products and innovation for emerging markets. And Volz works at Avenues: the World School, which has headquarters in New York City.David Edwards, Ed.M. ’01, credits the Ed School with helping him be part of a global education movement. After graduation, he worked as a specialist at the Organization of American States and traveled throughout Latin America, advising governments and ministries on educational policy. For the past five years he has been working in Brussels with an international teachers’ organization on education policy, employment, and research.Edwards said his time at the Ed School was transformative, not only because that’s where he learned that education is a right that transforms lives and how to become an effective leader, but also because of the personal connections he made.“My main lesson is that I didn’t do it alone,” Edwards said. “We studied together, we went to lectures, we argued, we fought, and we shared each other’s papers. I met three people who became my closest friends. And I met my wife there.”
The killing of al-Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki by the U.S. military was illegal, international law Professor Mary Ellen O’Connell said Tuesday. Awlaki, a radical Islamist cleric, was killed in an air strike Friday after hiding in Yemen for the past four years, according to a University press release. The CIA and U.S. Joint Special Operations Command carried out the strike. O’Connell said the killing was not within the rights of the military because it occurred outside of a combat zone. “Today under international law, the U.S. is involved in armed conflict hostilities in Afghanistan and Libya,” O’Connell said. “Those are the only two places where the U.S. military is permitted to carry out the kind of killing we saw in Yemen.” Aside from armed conflict, the only permissible reason to take a human life is the immediate need to save another life, she said. O’Connell added that while a person can interpret the word “immediate” in different ways, the U.S. has a great deal of experience in exercising the use of force and should know the meaning of the word in practice. “That standard is well-known. It’s the standard that governs police forces,” she said. “A policeman doesn’t get to say, ‘Well, I’m going to kill this person because I think in another week or month they might help another person attempt to carry out the bombing of an airplane.’” O’Connell said the CIA became more active in Yemen in 2003, where previously the FBI had maintained a close relationship with the Yemeni government as part of a joint terrorism investigation. In recent years, however, the U.S. has been building a combative presence in Yemen, she said. “In the course of about 10 years, we went through a big change in Yemen from the FBI and civilian law enforcement, which is what I think is appropriate, to a CIA and military operation,” O’Connell said. O’Connell said the CIA is not the U.S. military and does not have any right to be involved in armed conflict killing, although the agency has become more directly involved in combative efforts abroad since the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001. “It was a direct result of the decision to respond to 9/11 differently than we have ever responded to terrorist attacks before,” she said. O’Connell also criticized the U.S. for the number of civilian casualties in Friday’s raid. While governments tolerate the unintentional killing of civilians in a combat zone, O’Connell said there is no such collateral damage rule for peacetime law enforcement operations. “If there is a sniper trying to get the hostage-taker, he can’t drop a bomb and kill the hostages along with the hostage-taker,” she said. An expert from the United Nations responsible for investigating extrajudicial killing, the killing of individuals by a government without legal proceedings, will review the actions of the U.S., O’Connell said. “The U.S. was already condemned for a very similar act in Yemen in 2002, and the current U.N. special rapporteur will be looking into this action,” she said. “I expect that he will also criticize the U.S., and that a number of governments will probably say something as well.” O’Connell said many international leaders will avoid speaking out against the killing because they are distracted by the economy or will not risk their relationship with the U.S. “But that does not mean we did the right thing,” she said. “In my view, the U.S. should always do the right thing — we should always promote the rule of law.” O’Connell said Awlaki should have been arrested and put on trial, after which he would have likely been sent to prison. “I’m a Catholic, and I believe the right to life is very precious and has to be taken very seriously,” she said. “I don’t think that happened here.”
The University announced that informal, outdoor gatherings would be limited to 10 people effective immediately following a large increase in COVID-19 cases on campus, according to an email from the Division of Student Affairs Thursday. The limit on gatherings previously was 20 people, according to an Oct. 1 email from vice president for student affairs Erin Hoffmann Harding. The University’s HERE dashboard reported a total of 41 cases since Monday, with 18 new cases of COVID-19 reported Thursday. A large number of these cases, the email said, resulted from large social gatherings from the previous weekend. “As was true earlier in the semester, our experience demonstrates that transmission occurs in social settings where individuals are unmasked and often sharing food or drink together,” the email said. Indoor gatherings may have to be limited according to capacity for physical distancing, the email said. In addition to limiting the size of gatherings, the email encouraged students to avoid bars and restaurants that are not enforcing health and safety protocols. “The St. Joseph County Health Department is concerned about local trends, and they have increased their enforcement efforts accordingly,” the email said. In a video message to the student body Thursday, University President Fr. John Jenkins emphasized the importance of continuing to follow University COVID-19 guidelines. “I understand the weariness we all feel after a semester under COVID-19 restrictions and this can lead to laxity as we socialize,” Jenkins said in the video. “Yet so many have worked so hard to bring us to this point. If you have made mistakes — as I certainly have — let us own the mistakes and resolve to do better going forward.”The email urged students to continue abiding by health and safety measures, including observing social distancing, wearing masks, hand washing, completing the daily health check and attending surveillance testing when selected. “Notre Dame students are the most caring, dedicated, resilient, and talented people we know,” the email said. “Please use these wonderful talents to recommit yourselves to our community’s well-being.”In a new release Thursday, vice president for public affairs and communications Paul Browne said with 37 days left of the semester, community members need to be vigilant in adhering to guidelines.“By observing these fundamentals, we can finish the semester in person and on campus instead of returning to distance learning,” Browne said in the statement.Tags: covid spikes, restrictions, Social distancing
Favorable prices and high yields were the highlights of this year’s pecan season for Georgia growers, according to University of Georgia Cooperative Extension pecan specialist Lenny Wells.Wells said that prices tend to drop later in the season, but this year, prices increased. Despite the negative impacts of hurricanes Hermine and Matthew as well as a prolonged drought late in the summer and through most of fall, Wells predicts a good year for Georgia’s pecan crop.“The yield was better than last year’s,” Wells said. “There is always a lot of variability in the size and quality of the crop from one location to the next and from one orchard to the next, but overall I would guess (that the yield is) probably 10 to 20 million pounds better than last year, at least, for the state. And prices were as high as we’ve ever seen them. I think we’re starting to see some of the young trees from the planting boom kick in and contribute to the state’s overall yield.”Hurricane Hermine moved through Georgia during Labor Day weekend last year and damaged many pecan trees throughout south and southeast Georgia. In early October, Hurricane Matthew moved up the East Coast and damaged or destroyed trees from Appling County through Tattnall County, Georgia. The two storms blew down trees, snapped limbs and blew immature nuts from the branches.Wells also said that the drought that occurred in the fall prevented or delayed some of the shucks from opening. As long as growers continued to irrigate their crops, the shucks should have opened, even if a little late, Wells said. Dryland orchards had a much more difficult time, however.“Dryland orchards had pecans that were small or of low quality. Some shucks never fully opened up,” Wells said.Mother Nature also wreaked havoc on pecan production in January. The tornadoes and strong winds that impacted south Georgia from Jan. 20 to Jan. 22 destroyed many acres of pecan trees, especially in Dougherty County, which suffered storm damage just after New Year’s Day. Dougherty County was the top producer of pecans in Georgia in 2015, according to the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development.“It’s hard to get a handle on exactly how extensive the damage from the tornadoes was for our pecan growers. I know of numerous orchards with many trees down. I’ve talked with one grower in the Albany, (Georgia,) area with 500 trees down, another 50-acre orchard in which every tree was laying on the ground and, of course, lots of isolated trees and many limbs down all along the storm’s path,” Wells said.Additionally, the recent severe weather has stressed some orchards, making them even more susceptible to insect pressure, specifically ambrosia beetles. In a recent post on the UGA Pecan Team’s blog at blog.extension.uga.edu/pecan, Wells wrote that trees that stand in water for long periods, especially when they are breaking buds and trying to leaf out, are very attractive to beetles. While cold weather will slow the beetle’s flight, Wells expects it to pick back up when warmer temperatures return.“Anyone planning to plant trees this year should try to get the trees in the ground no later than mid-February to aid in recovery from transplant shock before budbreak and warm weather arrive,” Wells wrote in his blog. “Trees planted late become more stressed and have a harder time recovering from transplant shock.”Pecans are a huge industry in Georgia. The crop’s 2015 farm gate value was $361.3 million and the crop occupied more than 165,000 Georgia acres.
By Geraldine Cook/Diálogo May 14, 2018 “Our partners are our strength,” said U.S. Army Major General Mark R. Stammer, commanding general of U.S. Army South (ARSOUTH), to describe his engagement with partner nation armies to strengthen regional security. In his six months in command–since October 2017–he has advanced efforts to engage with and integrate partner nation armies to support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations and to counter transnational threat networks (T3N). ARSOUTH is responsible for synchronizing and coordinating the land components operating within SOUTHCOM’s area of operations. Maj. Gen. Stammer spoke with Diálogo to discuss ARSOUTH’s focus, his regional security concerns in Latin America and the Caribbean, and other topics. Diálogo: What is U.S. Army South’s main focus in Latin America and the Caribbean? U.S. Army Major General Mark R. Stammer, commanding general of U.S. Army South: ARSOUTH has two roles in the SOUTHCOM area of responsibility, with different areas of focus for each role. As an army service component command, our number one priority, like the Army’s, is readiness. ARSOUTH is supporting that by planning combined training exercises with partner nations across the region. These exercises are designed to build readiness in the total force. As the Joint Forces Land Component Command for SOUTHCOM, the number one priority is countering threat networks. ARSOUTH works with both U.S. federal agencies and partner nation security forces to identify and counter threat networks. We provide training opportunities to U.S. forces in coordination with partner nation security forces, in support of SOUTHCOM’s Theater Campaign Plan and [SOUTHCOM] Commander Tidd’s military imperatives. Diálogo: What is your main goal as ARSOUTH commander, particularly after six months on the job? Maj. Gen. Stammer: My number one goal is to improve the collective value of our army and security force partnerships. We must leverage our mature relationships by integrating our unique capabilities into regional strategies for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief as well as countering the corrosive and destructive impact of threat networks on all our populations. We are working with partner nation armies to develop regional strategies to counter threat networks and support humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. Diálogo: What do you expect to achieve with each country in SOUTHCOM’s area of operations you engage with, whether through exercises, key leader engagements, or other engagements? Maj. Gen. Stammer: The goal of all our engagements is to strengthen regional security. We support our partners as they develop and enhance their capacity address with their individual challenges. We utilize exercises and engagements as opportunities to build interoperability. We can rehearse mechanisms and standard operating procedures to employ a regional multinational coalition. In addition, exercises build readiness for both the United States and our partner nations. We strive to make our exercises more realistic and beneficial for all the participants. Key leader engagements are opportunities for ARSOUTH to learn more about our partner nations, their concerns, and where our mutual interests align to enhance readiness and increase regional security. Diálogo: What is your biggest regional security concern in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean? Maj. Gen. Stammer: One of the biggest concerns at this moment is Venezuela. People are fleeing Venezuela in large numbers because of a lack of resources, security, and necessities like food and clean water. It is a tremendously challenging humanitarian crisis that affects us all. Additionally, transregional threat networks in the SOUTHCOM area of operations move over an estimated $6.8 billion worth of illicit products, as well as people. All countries in our region are feeling the impact of illicit activities enabled by these networks. Threat networks can rapidly adapt to changes in the environment, shifts in market demands, and the methods law enforcement use to target them. The competitive, adaptive nature of these organizations ensure pathways for illicit traffic and product, enabling them to exploit vulnerable citizens in their voracious quest for profits. The effects of these organizations range from destabilizing institutions, increasing violence, dehumanizing people, drug addictions, to possibly moving terrorists who intend to harm civilians. Diálogo: What kind of regional strategies and engagements do you have in place now or do you plan to have to support multi-national operations to counter T3N? Maj. Gen. Stammer: ARSOUTH’s role is to directly support the U.S. country teams and law enforcement agencies that work in unison with our partner nations throughout the region. Our engagement strategy is focused on accomplishing mutual objectives that enhance the capacity and readiness of both U.S. and partner nation forces to execute their missions in support of the civilian government appointed over them. We seek to build inclusion, collaboration, and consensus with all countries throughout the region to rapidly respond to challenges and threats before they become a crisis. ARSOUTH works with security cooperation officers and partner nations to fully understand short- and long-term intelligence and operational challenges to counter threat networks by adapting engagements to address institutional changes rather than a unilateral/single, tactical approach. Diálogo: How do you leverage the efforts of the countries in the region to thwart T3N? Maj. Gen. Stammer: ARSOUTH, through the Joint Forces Land Component Command and the Conference of the American Armies, promotes crosstalk at both regional and hemispheric levels to generate cross border cooperation, information sharing, as well as collaborating on techniques and strategies for combating threat networks. We work with each country to provide as much information as possible to enable our partner nations to counter these threat networks. In many cases, their efforts result in the extradition and prosecution of high level network leaders to the United States. Diálogo: How does ARSOUTH prepare to execute rapid response and humanitarian disaster relief operations? Maj. Gen. Stammer: The key to success in contingency operations is based on training and soldier readiness. We maintain focus on the fundamentals to ensure that our team is ready to go. We exercise our concepts and programs on a frequent basis to ensure our ability to rapidly and effectively respond to need. Diálogo: What is the importance of joint regional collaboration among partner nations and the United States in order to achieve commons goals? Maj. Gen. Stammer: The United States and its partners are strategically aligned and have a very common interest: stability for growth. Joint regional collaboration is very important to stability and in turn promotes growth that occurs daily throughout our area of responsibility. Furthermore, our partners gain stability by degrading the T3N. In order to do so, we must have joint regional collaboration to simultaneously put pressure on these types of organizations. Diálogo: How do the relationships you build help you strengthen and benefit the collaboration between the U.S. Army and partner nation armies? Maj. Gen. Stammer: Relationships matter. We are always better when we work together. When we conduct combined multi-lateral exercises such as PANAMAX, we form and strengthen relationships. Partner nations participating in the exercise develop personal relationships with each other that can greatly enhance regional collaboration. Our partners are our strength. Diálogo: What message do you want to send to partner nations in Latin America and the Caribbean? Maj. Gen. Stammer: Our shared values provide a basis for strong partnerships within the region. These partnerships are vital to strengthening cooperation across the Western Hemisphere and are essential to combating transregional, transnational threat networks. Working together ensures a strong foundation of safety and security. We strive to be the partner of choice for each nation and we are committed to the safety, security, and rights of the people our militaries serve. Diálogo: Would you like to add anything for Diálogo readers? Maj. Gen. Stammer: ARSOUTH, SOUTHCOM, and all of our partner nations have common interests to defend our constitutions, countries, and our people. With confidence I can say we will continue to be successful. With the myriad professionals among our partners, SOUTHCOM, and ARSOUTH we will ensure readiness and security cooperation remain paramount while ensuring maximum effort is afforded to prevent threat networks from eroding regional security.
Portrait of an Artist Portrait of an Artist Cuban painter rafts to freedom Chosen to create portrait of first Cuban American justice The unveiling of a portrait of Florida Supreme Court Justice Raoul Cantero III was a celebration of the freedom of artist Luis Soler, who escaped from Cuba by raft in 1994, barely surviving the ordeal to become the last Cuban to enter the United States before the “wet foot-dry foot” policy took effect.On March 14, Chief Justice Barbara Pariente’s conference room was packed with white guayabera-clad board members of the Cuban-American Bar Association and President Cori Lopez-Castro. Among the well-wishers were Cantero’s wife Ana Maria, 11th Circuit Chief Judge Joseph Farina, Florida Bar President-elect designate Frank Angones, Rep. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach, and Jeb Bush’s general counsel Raquel Rodriquez, who announced: “The governor brings greetings.”But, clearly, the man of the hour was Soler, who had tears in his eyes when he struggled to say: “Thank you to Raoul and his family to trust me.”Cantero, whose parents fled Cuba’s communist regime, wrapped his arms around Soler in a hearty bear hug and delivered these details about the artist who captured his likeness on canvas:“The reason I wanted to do something is not because of me. It was because of this man right here. I thought all of you, all of us Cubans, we are very proud of people like Luis, and the public in general should know about these success stories of Cuban immigrants, exiles who have come to the United States.“Luis was disillusioned with the government in Cuba and its failure to adopt the Glasnost and Perestroika policies that the Soviet Union had adopted in the early 1990s. In 1994, he decided that he had no future and his daughter had no future in Cuba. He decided to leave.“Of course, you can’t just decide to leave Cuba. You can’t just get on a plane. You can’t even just get a visa. Many people don’t get visas. Most people don’t get visas.“So, like many other Cubans, to remember back 13 years ago, 14 years ago, they built a raft. Of course, they couldn’t just build it in their backyard, because they would get caught and get arrested. So they built it inside somebody’s home. the time it was done, they had to knock a wall out just to get the raft out.“Then they left on August 15 of 1994, under cover of darkness. For the next three days they were ravaged by stormy seas and winds. Basically, the raft was torn to shreds. It was only the tires left on the raft that they were hanging from.“Luis was essentially dying with a 104 fever with an infection in his leg; the fish were biting from the flesh in his legs. Three days later, he was picked up by the Coast Guard. And he was air-lifted by a helicopter to a Coast Guard cutter. From there, he was taken to a hospital in Key West. He was almost repatriated at that time to Cuba, sent back to Cuba, except for the intervention of some friendly Cuban-Americans who went to Key West and got him out of the hospital.“And he happened to be the last Cuban to be admitted into the United States before the Clinton administration instituted the policy, which still exists, that in order not to be sent back you have to step foot on U.S. soil. He was the last Cuban admitted before the implementation of that policy.“Since then, Luis has been successful here in the United States. He was later able to bring his mother and his daughter. He went back to Cuba, brought them over here. Since 1999, he has owned his own business, specializing in graphic design and publicity. And, oh yeah, by the way, he paints portraits.“In fact, I think he specializes in making people look better than they do in real life. At least that’s what my JA (Judicial Assistant Lillian Dominguez) says.“I want to thank Luis. And, of course, we thank the entire country of the United States for allowing people like Luis to come in, for allowing him to experience freedom. It’s people that have no freedom, who have freedom for the first time, who never take it for granted and always cherish that freedom.“And I think that’s what Cuban Americans have brought to the United States. They are some of the most patriotic people that you will meet, because they know what it is to lose freedom, to live without freedom of speech, and freedom of religion, and the other freedoms that we enjoy. Luis, thank you very much.” April 1, 2006 Regular News
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A Great South Bay YMCA swimming instructor teaches a child how to swim on Tuesday, June 18, 2013.Forty-five Suffolk County youngsters were among an estimated 35,000 nationwide that simultaneously plunged into The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson, an annual event designed to promote water safety for kids on Tuesday morning.The Great South Bay YMCA in Bay Shore was one of a half dozen locations that participated in the event on Long Island, where Nassau and Suffolk county officials have launched drowning prevention awareness campaigns in recent years.“YMCA’s of Long Island teach 22,000 plus swimming lessons yearly,” said Saskia Thomson, marketing and communication director of YMCA of Long Island, Inc. Several flotation devices were implemented into the lesson to kick start the kids’ journey to safe swimming.The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson was created by the World Water Park Association in 2010 to decrease the amount of childhood drowning accidents by encouraging formal swimming lessons. Nearly 25,000 children participated throughout the country last year, qualifying the event for the Guinness Book of World Records for four consecutive years.While it seemed the children were merely playing games with the Great South Bay YMCA swimming instructors, they were learning life lessons on how to prevent tragedies in the pool. Not only does it benefit the child to know how to swim properly, it also benefits those around that that may not be skilled swimmers.Among those ages 1 to 14, fatal drowning remains the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death, behind motor vehicle crashes, studies show. Formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by as much as 88 percent among young children in that age bracket.In order to prevent children from drowning, swimming instructors offer these recommendations: by age five children should be properly instructed on how to swim, never leave a child unattended while in the pool area, have a four-foot fence surrounding pools at home and install an underwater pool alarm to utilize during emergency situations.
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York The Gaslight AnthemA steady rain Sunday evening did not stop more than 1,000 fans from gathering at Pier 26 in Hudson River Park to see New Jersey rockers The Gaslight Anthem for the last of three consecutive New York City shows.While touring to promote their fourth album, Handwritten, there has been talk of new material and potentially a “new sound” from the band, known for its old-school Americana influence, sing-along choruses and punk riffs with a southern twist.“We need to figure out who we are as old men,” Brian Fallon, the band’s front man, told the crowd. Fans can expect to hear new material “by next year,” he added.Some fans chanted “Bruce” for Bruce Springsteen, who has joined the band on stage in the past and widened The Gaslight Anthem’s fan base, but The Boss is not expected to appear with them again. Fallon later addressed his distaste for this kind of chanting in a Tumblr post inspired by this particular show’s audience.“The ticket just says what the band is playing,” Fallon wrote. “It doesn’t make promises of that cover they did once, or that guest they had last week, or…your favorite song.”The set started off strong with the new album’s title track and included a wide range of songs from all four of the band’s albums, including a slower, softer “Blue Jeans and White T-Shirts” and a lesser-known “Halloween,” which the band said was never officially released but gained popularity online.For the encore, the quartet came back out with the old-timey “Here Comes My Man,” “Mulholland Drive,” “She Loves You” and even closing with a cover of The Who’s “Baba O’Riley,” allowing the crowd to sing along one last time.Opening the show were Brooklyn’s own alt-rock storytellers The Hold Steady, who started with the upbeat seasonal anthem “Constructive Summer,” immediately energizing the crowd with inspiring one-liners such as “let this be my annual reminder, that we can all be something bigger.”Craig Finn, the lead singer, got fans amped to hear out a new song, “Fifteen Days Felt Like Forever,” following more familiar crowd-pleasers such as “The Swish” and “Magazines.”Fans of Jersey punks Titus Andronicus went wild as singer Patrick Stickles made a guest appearance on stage for “Cattle and the Creeping Things,” and showed visible passion for each line he sang of the lyrically dense, story-telling track from the 2005 concept album, Separation Sunday.The band wrapped it up with radio hit “Sequestered in Memphis,” and the nostalgic “Stay Positive.”The Gaslight Anthem is continuing their tour before coming to Long Island, where they’ll play The Paramount in Huntington on Sunday, Sept. 8.