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Items filtered by date: November 2018

The United Way and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Myers (UUCFM) have begun a partnership designed to reduce youth violence. This initiative is a United Way Collaborative entitled the Youth Violence Prevention Project (YVPP). The YVPP is a community funding initiative to encourage the development of programs that will reduce youth violence and the risk factors that contribute to it.

YVPP focuses on giving grants to local youth centered organizations or communities who propose youth violence prevention programs with clear and measurable objectives.

The project will offer a total of $25,000 in grants to fund student-driven programs that address youth violence prevention and awareness. Grants will be awarded in increments of $500, up to $2,500. Projects must be in Lee County.

A student committee will review the submitted grant applications and select projects to be the recipients of the funding. Selected projects will be required to match the funding with money or in-kind donations.

The United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee is asking that grant applications for funds from the YVPP be turned in by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, January 18, 2019. Applications should be submitted to the United Way by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">
For additional information, or to apply visit: www.UnitedWayLee.org/YVP.

The United Way and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fort Myers (UUCFM) have begun a partnership designed to reduce youth violence. This initiative is a United Way Collaborative entitled the Youth Violence Prevention Project (YVPP). The YVPP is a community funding initiative to encourage the development of programs that will reduce youth violence and the risk factors that contribute to it.

YVPP focuses on giving grants to local youth centered organizations or communities who propose youth violence prevention programs with clear and measurable objectives.

The project will offer a total of $25,000 in grants to fund student-driven programs that address youth violence prevention and awareness. Grants will be awarded in increments of $500, up to $2,500. Projects must be in Lee County.

A student committee will review the submitted grant applications and select projects to be the recipients of the funding. Selected projects will be required to match the funding with money or in-kind donations.

The United Way of Lee, Hendry, Glades, and Okeechobee is asking that grant applications for funds from the YVPP be turned in by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, January 18, 2019. Applications should be submitted to the United Way by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">
For additional information, or to apply visit: www.UnitedWayLee.org/YVP.

Published in General/Features

If the Pentagon intends to be laser-focused in its goal to improve directed-energy weapons, it has just a few years to decide whether it wants to invest heavily in the new technology, according to the former director of the Missile Defense Agency.

"There are some things that kinetic weapons will not be able to do" now or in the future, said Henry "Trey" Obering, an executive vice president at consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton who leads the company's directed energy innovation team.

"The big difference between kinetic energy weapons and directed energy is obvious: It's the speed of light, and where would you need a speed-of-light weapon?" he said, pointing out that the need to stop a fast weapon is ubiquitous on the current and future battlefield, including space.

Obering said the Pentagon -- should it get its $700-billion-plus spending boost -- could afford to throw additional resources toward the directed energy fight. It's an investment, much like the one the Pentagon made years ago to smart, laser- or GPS-guided munitions as opposed to dumb bombs that paid off, starting with Operation Desert Storm.

"Even if we increase [the funding] to $2 to 3 billion per year, I think you will see dramatic improvements and dramatic advances," said Obering, a former Air Force lieutenant general, fighter pilot and NASA space shuttle engineer, in a recent interview with Military.com.

Using lasers, "You're tracking and your engagement is almost instantaneous," Obering said. "You can bring down drones efficiently and very effectively" with lasers or high-powered microwaves, he said.

"A speed-of-light weapon like … a laser … would be very effective in the boost phase" before a rocket travels across hundreds of miles, Obering said. This could also apply to adversary hypersonic missiles, he added.
The best place to put those weapons, he posited? "Space, you don't have the atmosphere to deal with," he said. "Let's say that you need enough lethality to shoot down a boosting missile in the atmosphere. If you elevate … a laser out of the atmosphere, you can achieve the exact same lethality with about half the power because you don't have to deal with the atmosphere. Your effective range increases in space, and the amount of power that you need decreases.

"I think that that's where this country needs to go. We need to be serious about establishing a space-based capability," Obering said, adding that the technology, with proper funding, could be developed within the next decade.

Last month, Mike Griffin, undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, said the Pentagon plans to boost its investment in the laser technology realm for missile defense over the next few budget cycles.

"You need another factor of three to four to have as space control weapon, a missile defense capability -- space-based, boost-phase or midcourse capability -- with a large directed-energy weapon," Griffin said during a Center for Strategic and International Studies event, as reported by Defense News.

What the Pentagon wants to invest in is high power and increased range -- hundreds of kilometers in range -- to be able to "go after missiles" in their boost phase, Obering said.

"If you look at the range of the laser the Navy put on the USS Ponce, what the Army's doing with the laser on the Stryker vehicle … those applications would be relatively low-powered, tens of kilowatts and relatively short ranges," he said. They merely scratch the surface.

"There's a lot of technology that has advanced in the solid-state, fiber or hybrid lasers … where the efficiency of the diodes has dramatically increased. We've also made tremendous strides in new materials and materials science," Obering said, referring to lightweight products that are as strong as titanium.

So to improve on the capability, the Pentagon likely will analyze a multitude of ingredients for investment: laser power scaling, or increasing its output power; beam quality, or intensity and coherence of the beam; and tailored size, weight and power input requirements, Obering said.

But the application doesn't need to be super sophisticated: The technology could be used at checkpoints in hot war zones where a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device could attack a base. "Using high-powered microwave, you could actually shut those vehicles down," he said.

Adversaries such as Russia or China also are looking for more advanced ways of using lasers, Obering said. "We have real threats, existential threats that could be on par with us. And we haven't had that since the height of the Cold War.”

Oriana Pawlyk
military.com

Published in Technology
Monday, 24 December 2018 21:42

Merry Christmas

We would like to Wish You All a Very Merry Christmas, from our Famil to yours
and to all our visitors from around the world too!

Joyeux Noël! French

Buon Natale! Italian Frohe Weihnachten! German

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Prettige Kerstdagen/ Zalig Kerstfeest! Dutch

Wesolych Swiat! Polish

Eftihismena Christougenna! Greek

Sretan Bozic! Croatian

Merii Kurisumasu! Japanese

Published in Lifestyle

Congress must periodically renew the NFIP’s statutory authority to operate. On Dec 7, 2018, the President signed legislation passed by Congress that extends the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP’s) authorization to Dec. 21, 2018. Congress also postponed a vote on government funding until Dec. 21..... Well, Congress failed to pass a budget in time and now the government shutdown will continue until at least the Thursday after Christmas as of this writing.

NFIP reauthorization is an opportunity for Congress to take bold steps to reduce the complexity of the program and strengthen the NFIP’s financial framework so that the program can continue helping individuals and communities take the critical step of securing flood insurance. The level of damage from the 2017 hurricanes makes it clear that FEMA needs a holistic plan to ready the Nation for managing the cost of catastrophic flooding under the NFIP. If lawmakers are unable to find common ground on the higher-profile funding issue, it's unclear what might happen to NFIP.

Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio, joined forces with John Kennedy (R-La.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) in a bipartisan effort to get a10-month NFIP extension. They introduced a bill, S. 3703, to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for 10 months – through Sept. 30, 2019.

If Congress passes the bill after flood insurance expires on Dec. 21, the s. 3703 includes a provision that would make flood coverage retroactive in the event of a program lapse. However, it's not yet clear whether the bill will pass in favor of more shorter-term extensions.

"While I am frustrated with the continued need for extensions, it has become clear that we need additional time to come to a consensus on bipartisan and bicameral reforms to the NFIP," Rubio says. "Floridians who rely on this program cannot afford this uncertainty when we enter the 2019 hurricane season. I urge my colleagues to pass this important extension as soon as possible."

"More than five million Americans depend on the National Flood Insurance Program," Kennedy says. "For those of us who live along the Gulf Coast, the NFIP means we don't have to worry every time it rains."

"It's critical that we prevent a lapse that would disrupt the real estate market and leave thousands of families uninsured and vulnerable," adds Menendez. "This (10-month) extension will give Congress time to pass a long-term reauthorization with real, meaningful reforms in line with my SAFE NFIP Act, which is the most bipartisan flood insurance bill in the Senate."

Even if it is after the deadline , the program will probably be reauthorized. In the event a lapse does occur, insurance agents would not be able to issue new insurance policies or increase coverages.

Review some of the basics:

• New policies cannot be issued and coverage increases cannot be made to existing policies.

1. If a request and payment was received on or before 12/14/18, we can honor these dates and process as normal.
2. If the request and/or payment is received after 12/14/18, the insurance carrier is not authorized to issue new policies or coverage. Typically, the insurance carrier will hold the premium          until it is reauthorized/approved and then will process. The effective dates will be determined by the reauthorization law.

• Everyone that has coverage in force, still has coverage until their next renewal date.

1. If your insurance policy is set to renew on or around the date of reauthorization and you have received your renewal notice, the insurance carrier is authorized to issue your renewal as          long as payment is made before the end of the 30 day grace period.
2. Insurance carriers are not allowed to issue any further renewal notices after the date of the program lapse.

Watch for our future issues as we keep an eye on this very important issue for you.

Published in Business

 

 

 

 

As Governor Elect DeSantis prepares for his Jan. 8 inauguration, a series of advisory transition committees are meeting and talking about ways to help the Republican realize his policy goals.

The Transition Advisory Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture kicked off a week of discussions with a teleconference call last Monday afternoon. Members discussed a wide range of topics including deteriorating coral reefs, invasive species, and red tide.

Southeast Florida Republican Congressman Brian Mast, who has worked along side DeSantis in Congress, chairs the committee.

"Water is the lifeblood of our environment and certainly everything that goes into that water and that environment, for us in Florida, is the lifeblood of our community" he said, and then added "We can put this quite simply that, if we wouldn't want our kids in the bathtub with it then we probably don't want it in our waterways."

Mast says he thinks DeSantis will be known for his work on environmental issues.

"Water is a priority, the environment is a priority, Florida's natural resources are a priority for this Governor elect," he said "In my opinion personally, I think he's going to be known for his work on these issues"

Members of the public were also given the chance to speak, Jessika Arman is a real estate broker working in Sarasota and Manatee County. ”Because red card was so bad and having lived here since 1971, I smelled the death from the ocean 15 miles Inland, this is an unprecedented event and we have to do something".

She asked if DeSantis would consider forming a Citizens task force to tackle environmental issues like red tide. She went on to say "I feel like the last eight years under the current (Rick Scott) administration, we have felt like a disconnect or we haven't had a role to play, I feel very hopeful after listening to this long session and getting this opportunity to voice my thoughts"
"Your message will be clearly convey to the governor-elect, replied Mast. "I promise you that."

The Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture will hold its third and final meeting on Friday December 28th before making its recommendations to governor-elect DeSantis.

A conference call number will be provided before the meeting at www.DeSantisTransition.com.

Members of the public are invited to participate.

Published in Environment


According to the World Happiness Report 2018 by the 
UN, the US is the 18th happiest nation in the world. The list was taken from a Gallup survey that asked respondents to assess their lives on a scale of 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest). Americans got an average of 6.8. For comparison, the top three countries (Finland, Norway, Denmark) all scored above 7.5. What's worse is that the US actually fell four spots from last year's ranking (14th).

For a country considered to be the wealthiest in the world, it’s ironic that its citizens are not actually that happy. This result simply illustrates that happiness is not linked to prosperity alone.

Students from the University of Chicago recently conducted a survey asking one simple question: “If you were to get enough money to live as comfortably as you would like for the rest of your life, would you continue to work or would you stop working?” This is in light of the US Mega Millions lottery jackpot, which reached $1.6 billion and made headlines across the entire country. In fact, USA Today reported that a Chevron near Los Angeles airport was filled with hundreds of people buying tickets, creating a line which kept clerks occupied from 6 AM to 7 PM. This was a common sight nationwide in the weeks before the highest lottery jackpot in history was finally won, although the craze was not entirely unprecedented. According to Lottoland, the US Mega Millions lottery has a track record of supersized payouts. Before its record-breaking $1.6 billion jackpot, the lottery provided the second-largest jackpot win of all time, which was $656 million. Even with that lower amount, the money is still more than enough money to sustain a life of luxury.

The results of the survey, however, revealed something surprising. 70% of the respondents stated that they would still continue working even if they won the lottery jackpot. Only 9% said that they would quit their jobs. In addition, 33% relayed that they would share the prize with others, which is actually true for many people who have won major jackpots. Contrary to popular belief, a lot of lottery winners avoid lavish spending sprees and instead give a considerable portion or even all of their winnings to others in the form of gifts or donations.

So it seems that while there are many unhappy Americans, their dissatisfaction may not be related to financial issues at all. And if the aforementioned survey means anything, it shows that most Americans place more value in making a difference than being wealthy. 

But if money does not make people happy, then what does? An article from Brookings argued that it is meaningful work, not money, that buys happiness. They shared some words of wisdom from the Dalai Lama who seems to agree with this perspective. The spiritual leader stressed that “the problem is not a lack of material riches. It is the growing number of people who feel they are no longer useful, no longer needed, no longer one with their societies.”

Indeed, deep social inequality still remains in American society. As we have discussed in another article here on The Sun Bay Paper, it is this lack of empathy that further divides us. The minute we realize that happiness doesn’t lie in having large amounts of money but sharing it, we have already begun to make the world a better place.

Published in Lifestyle
Monday, 10 December 2018 21:18

Touchdown

Seven months ago we reported on the NASA Mission to Mars!

Mars InSight successfully landed on Mars on Monday after a long journey.

It's the first of several challenges NASA faced as it hurried to deploy solar panels necessary for InSight to power its scientific endeavors as it explores the Red Planet, learning about the interior of Mars and gathering scientific data that can pave the way for astronauts to eventually return to the moon and, one day, land on Mars.

Astronauts have been gathering data and performing experiments aboard the International Space Station in advance of the Red Planet landing, and now NASA has leapt over that with an accomplishment that would have impressed Jules Verne.

Continued exploration and, perhaps, one day, colonization are ahead, but for now, we should be proud to witness an accomplishment that can be shared with the world. On the ISS, scientists have been learning about how gravity affects health, plants and water, among other things. It may seem like a leap too far, but every major discovery seems that way in its initial stages.

Congratulations to NASA and all those involved in their mission. We look forward to the next discovery.

Published in General/Features

 

If President Donald Trump were paid a dime every time critics call his anti-illegal immigration policy "racist," he'd double his net worth. Never mind that at one time, President Bill Clinton, former Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid, former Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., all warned about the problems associated with illegal immigration.

Reid, for example, railed against birthright citizenship in 1993: "If making it easy to be an illegal alien isn't enough, how about offering a reward for being an illegal immigrant? No sane country would do that, right? Guess again. If you break our laws by entering this country without permission and give birth to a child, we reward that child with U.S. citizenship." Apart from America, the only other rich, industrial countries that allow birthright citizenship -- automatically bestowed at birth -- are Canada and Chile. Not a single European country permits this.

As to legal immigration, Trump, too, stands accused of racism for seeking to end "chain migration" and for arguing that legal immigrants must benefit America, rather than the other way around.

But recently, Hillary Clinton, Trump's 2016 presidential rival, and former Secretary of State John Kerry argued that (SET ITAL) Europe (END ITAL) should enact more restrictive immigration policies. "I think Europe needs to get a handle on migration because that is what lit the flame," said Clinton last week in an interview with The Guardian, referring to the hot-button issue of immigration among voters. "I admire the very generous and compassionate approaches that were taken by leaders like (Germany's) Angela Merkel, but I think it is fair to say Europe has done its part and must send a very clear message -- 'we are not going to be able to continue (to) provide refuge and support' -- because if we don't deal with the migration issue it will continue to roil the body politic."

Eskinder Negash, the president of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, a migrant rights organization, told The New York Times that he "was kind of shocked" by Clinton's statement. "If she's simply saying you need to cut down on refugees coming to Europe to ask for asylum because they have a well-founded fear of persecution, just to appease some right-wing political leaders, it's just not the right thing to do," said Negash.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., called Clinton's words a "deeply misguided and unfortunate comment from someone who must know better." Former Clinton adviser Peter Daou tweeted: "Why is #HillaryClinton playing into the hands of right-wing haters? The problem isn't the migrants, it's the xenophobes. I try to avoid politics on #Thanksgiving but this is just wrong." Rolling Stone's Jamil Smith tweeted: "This is a sickening capitulation on her part. You don't stop racism by giving in to racists." New Yorker staff writer Osita Nwanevu tweeted: "Climate change, a crisis created by the developed world, is going to force poor people across the globe to move in order to survive. The approach Clinton is advocating will be a death sentence for millions and millions of people, and we should be clear about that."

In response to the criticism, Clinton blamed Trump. "Trump has made it worse with cruel abuses at the border," tweeted Clinton, "detaining children and separating them from their families. It's one of the most shameful moments in our history." But in her "clarification," she (SET ITAL) still (END ITAL) sounded like Trump. "In a recent interview," Clinton tweeted, "I talked about how Europe must reject right-wing nationalism and authoritarianism, including by addressing migration with courage and compassion. ... On both sides of the Atlantic, we need reform. Not open borders, but immigration laws enforced with fairness and respect for human rights. We can't let fear or bias force us to give up the values that have made our democracies both great and good. ... The EU needs a more comprehensive policy that builds societies that are both secure and welcoming." 

Kerry, speaking at a recent event in London one week before Clinton's interview, also warned Europe about its immigration policy, which in the last few years has admitted millions of migrants, mostly from the Greater Middle East and Africa. Kerry warned: "Europe's already crushed under this transformation that's taken place because of immigration. Germany -- Angela Merkel, weakened because of it. And other places impacted, Italy -- significantly impacted its politics by immigration."

Then there's the Dalai Lama. Two years ago, before Trump became the Republican nominee for president, the Dalai Lama said, "There are too many (migrants) now. ... Europe, for example, Germany, cannot become an Arab country. Germany is Germany. ... From a moral point of view, too, I think that refugees should only be admitted temporarily."

The criticism Clinton faced from the left over her practical, commonsensical analysis says a lot about where Democrats stand on immigration -- legal and illegal. Much of the Democratic base ignores this issue, is indifferent about it or has done a cost-benefit analysis and believes that immigrants-turned-citizens-turned-mostly-Democrat-voters outweigh the financial, social or political price.

Larry Elder 

Published in Politics

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