Tri Cap Fri, 30 Sep 2022 10:39:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Tri Cap 32 32 “We strive to be better – not just for ourselves, but for our children” Fri, 30 Sep 2022 10:39:05 +0000

Social work with children and families in Manchester is on the rise. In May, Ofsted rated the City Council’s children’s services as ‘good’ after seeing significant improvements since the last inspection in 2017 in many areas of practice.

Two months later, the authority won council of the year at the prestigious LGC awards, with judges saying it had “transformed services with results that buck the national trend” and praising how it took lived experience into account in the design of services.

In their report, Ofsted inspectors said care workers were “positive about working in Manchester” and appreciated the support they received from managers. Those who had served the authority since the 2017 inspection – when it was found to need improvement – ​​confidently told inspectors they could see changes in practices and culture since then were improving. children’s lives.

A key change highlighted by Ofsted has been a reduction in the number of cases – which have now fallen to 15-18 on average among case practitioners.

This was made possible by increasing the number of local teams across the city and reducing their size, from eight to six practitioners – usually comprising two advanced practitioners, two social workers and two newly qualified staff members.

Naomi, who worked in local teams after qualifying in 2017, until a recent promotion, has seen the difference it has made.

“The drop in the number of cases is a boon”

Naomi (credit: Mark Waugh)

“Managers now have more time for social workers and more space for the families the team works with,” she says.

“Our workloads have decreased significantly over the past two years. It’s a boon because it gives you a lot more time to work with the kids, which leads to better results.

It’s not about doing less work, it’s about doing better work, Naomi says, including a more partnership-based approach with families.

“When I first qualified, nobody worked less hard, but the work we did was the base. In the past, we would have written a working agreement to say, ‘this is what we expect from you”. Now we can ask, ‘what do you expect of yourselves?’.

“If you have time to sit down and work with families, everyone benefits. Most families know what needs to change, and if you’re not rushing, they can tell you.

The value of a stable workforce

In addition to restructuring, the reduced caseload reflects a more stable workforce, says Debbie, manager of social work consultants, whose role is to support the development of the practice.

This is evident in Department for Education figures, which show the vacancy rate for full-time equivalent care workers fell from 25.8% to 7.5%, and the rate for agency workers fell from 14.7 % to 3.1%, from 2017 to 2021.

Debbie also points to the stability of Manchester’s management team, led by Paul Marshall, director of children’s services since 2016.

“It gives people confidence when you have a stable leadership team,” she says. “They are all very different but all very experienced managers.”

The managerial support identified by Ofsted is evident throughout the service.

“Without the support of my manager, I would not have succeeded”

Lucy, an advanced practitioner and educator in practice, who works in a local team, remembers how her manager played a vital role in giving her the confidence to testify in court in a complex case she was dealing with.

“The children were illegally removed from the country because the family was afraid the council would seek care orders,” she says. “In this case, the children were placed under guardianship. Without my manager’s support, I don’t think I would have testified.

She says her manager is “always available for professional advice and personal guidance” but, in his absence, she can always rely on the “accessible” area and department managers.

Debbie says the support of Manchester’s management team is clear from their investment in the learning and welfare of social workers.

“Learning culture”

Ofsted found that leaders had “succeeded in embedding a culture of learning across the workforce”.

It starts from when the Newly Qualified Social Worker (NQSW) joins the Board Assessed and Supported Year of Employment (ASYE).

Service and Assessment Team social workers Kyle and Nadeen both praise the quality of the ASYE program, which begins with a four-week summer school of full-time training before NQSWs begin work in their teams.

Nadeen, social worker in Manchester

Nadeen (credit: Mark Waugh)

“What they provide is good,” says Nadeen. “They’re really good at getting feedback from those who have gone through the training so that it reflects what we want. There’s something here for everyone. I’ve taken something from all the training I’ve had. followed.

In addition to formal training and supervision, practitioners also benefit from strong peer support within their teams and from the work of Debbie and her fellow consultants across the city.

Says Kyle, “If we’re really struggling with a job, you can go to the consultant and he’ll give us some really creative, critical supervision around the families.”

He says he’s found it particularly helpful when it comes to domestic violence.

“It shows that Manchester take care of our staff”

Debbie says Manchester have developed a “strong offer” when it comes to wellbeing, listening to staff and not being afraid to try new things.

“We had massages in April, in May I did mindfulness in all offices, we also had therapy dogs in May, there’s yoga in July,” she says. “I also set up creative writing workshops.

Manchester is also considering the introduction of Schwartz Rounds, which involve the use of collaborative focus groups to allow practitioners to share the emotional aspects of their roles, in order to reduce psychological distress.

“Schwartz Rounds has been proven to help with psychological distress and ensuring it’s a key offering letting people know Manchester are looking after our staff,” adds Debbie.

“You can progress quickly”

Investing in practitioner support, learning, and well-being also pays off in how quickly you can advance your career in the city.

Graduating in 2017 – after completing a year of authority training through the Frontline program – Naomi became an advanced practitioner in three years.

She attributes this to two factors: the fast pace of work and management support.

“In Manchester, the progression is quite fast compared to other authorities. I was able to take this step and I was supported to do so by my managers,” she says.

Naomi has more recently progressed again to the role of Case Progression Manager in Central Manchester. The position has always focused on following families through the pre-procedure process, but has expanded to examine the quality of social work interventions and the experience of families across the system.

Naomi says the expansion of the role is indicative of Manchester not resting on their laurels.

“Manchester are asking questions about what we are doing and how we can do better,” she said. “Nobody thinks ‘it’s okay, we have our good now’. We all agree that we can go much further and the people who will benefit from it are the children, that’s why we are doing the work.

Recognize diversity

Practitioners are also positive about the experience of working in a city as diverse as Manchester, where a third of the population was non-white at the time of the 2011 census, more than double the national average.

“I’ve worked with a lot of great young people from a variety of backgrounds, which is far more common in central Manchester than in other local communities,” says Naomi. “No two family circumstances are the same, so there’s a lot of variety but plenty of reason to be optimistic. What I have discovered is that families are incredibly resilient and most often it is a privilege to work with them.

However, it also recognizes the need to ensure that its workforce – particularly at the executive and management level – is representative of these communities.

Lucy says she has just completed a leadership program for women from black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds, and “the focus is on providing opportunity.”

The package of support and opportunities that practitioners receive means they want to stay in Manchester.

Naomi says: “I love Manchester, I love the challenges it poses, I love the culture we have – that we strive to be better, not just for ourselves, but for our children. I have seen these changes and it is really positive.

If you are interested in a position with Manchester City Council, see the latest job vacancies here.

]]> BankPlus and FHLB Dallas Award $38,000 to Five Nonprofits | New Thu, 29 Sep 2022 22:17:19 +0000

JACKSON, Miss.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–September 29, 2022–

BankPlus and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) have awarded $38,315 through the Partnership Grant Program (PGP) to five Mississippi nonprofit organizations. They celebrated the awards at a check presentation ceremony in Jackson this week.

This press release is multimedia. See the full version here:

BankPlus and FHLB Dallas awarded $38,315 in Partnership Grant Program funds to five Mississippi nonprofits this week. Representatives from banks are pictured here with one of the grant recipients, the Center for Social Entrepreneurship. (Photo: BusinessWire)

Through this unique program, member institutions of FHLB Dallas contribute $500 to $4,000 to a community-based organization (CBO), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which FHLB Dallas equals at a ratio of 3:1 to provide the CBO with up to a $12,000 match per member. PGP grants are awarded annually by member institutions of FHLB Dallas. The awards help promote and strengthen relationships between CBOs and FHLB Dallas members.

“These funds will provide a safety net to deal with administrative and operational expenses that many grants often exclude from coverage,” said Mark Ouellette, Senior Vice President and Director of Affordable Housing at BankPlus. “We are thrilled to partner with FHLB Dallas to distribute this funding.”

PGP grants help qualified nonprofit organizations fund a variety of operational and administrative activities that are essential to serving their communities.

The following organizations received funding:

  • Center for Social Entrepreneurship, Jackson, Mississippi, $16,000, improves quality of life through economic development, community engagement, education, health and affordable housing programs
  • Housing Education and Economic Development (HEED), Jackson, Mississippi $4,380, provides advisory assistance in the areas of foreclosure prevention, predatory lending, landlord/tenant, reverse mortgages, etc.
  • Habitat for Humanity of Lauderdale County, Meridian, Mississippi, $8,000, provides affordable, energy-efficient homes and performs essential home repairs for low-income families in Lauderdale, Clarke, Newton, Kemper and Neshoba counties
  • Mississippi Housing Partnership, Jackson, Mississippi, $5,935, aims to revitalize and stabilize the homes and neighborhoods of low to moderate income families, primarily in the greater Jackson area
  • Mississippi Wounded Warriors, Brandon, Mississippi, $4,000, helps veterans find accommodation when they return from deployment

In 2022, FHLB Dallas and its members provided nearly $559,000 to 38 community organizations in its five-state district of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas.

“BankPlus is strongly committed to community outreach, and these grants demonstrate its support for area nonprofits,” said Greg Hettrick, senior vice president and director of community investment at FHLB Dallas. “We are grateful for our long-term relationship with BankPlus.”

See the full list of 2022 PGP Grant recipients. For more information on the 2022 PGP Grants and other FHLB Dallas community investment products and programs, please visit

About BankPlus

Founded in 1909, BankPlus is one of the Southeast’s leading regional banks serving consumers and businesses with the latest technology through a full range of financial services including retail banking, commercial banking, lending mortgages and wealth management. With over $6.6 billion in total assets, BankPlus operates more than 90 financial centers in Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Florida. For more information on BankPlus, visit

About Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas

Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas is one of 11 district banks in the FHLBank system established by Congress in 1932. FHLB Dallas, with total assets of $77.7 billion as of June 30, 2022, serves approximately 800 members and associated institutions in our five-state district of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas. FHLB Dallas offers financial products and services, including advances (loans to members) and grant programs for affordable housing and economic development. For more information visit our website at

Show source version on

CONTACT: Corporate Communications

Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas

(214) 441-8445



SOURCE: Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas

Copyright BusinessWire 2022.

PUBLISHED: 09/29/2022 18:16 / DISK: 09/29/2022 18:17

Copyright BusinessWire 2022.

Air Quality Ambassadors: How Women Are Fighting Pollution in Delhi’s Slums Wed, 28 Sep 2022 17:17:02 +0000

Many women from Delhi’s poorer neighborhoods work in construction, a massive and largely unregulated industry where they are frequently exposed to dust, sand, cement and other harmful air pollutants.

That’s why local non-profit Mahila Housing Trust has trained 75 women in three communities to become air quality ‘ambassadors’, who can then teach others how to monitor air pollution. the air, take precautions at work and home, and use the government’s Green Delhi app to tackle pollution. .

Why we wrote this

In India, female construction workers are particularly vulnerable to air pollution. An initiative to equip these workers with tools to monitor and report air quality has offered agency, as well as meaningful change.

Participants say the initiative has strengthened their sense of dignity. Rambharosi, who earns $5 a day fixing tiles and mixing cement, started wearing a mask and gloves to work last year after attending a community meeting. She also talks to contractors at each site and makes sure the gravel and bricks are sprayed with water twice a day, in addition to covering unused materials with tarps.

The programme, which the Mahila Housing Trust hopes to expand to other informal settlements, will not automatically tackle pollution at a systemic level, but “provide the communities most affected with data tools to tell their own stories. “. [and] advocating for their well-being… is certainly an important first step,” says Ulka Kelkar, director of the climate program at the World Resources Institute India.

“Is it a new type of mobile phone? a local woman asked Mumtaz Begam when she showed him a small black box at a women’s meeting in the Delhi slum of Sawda Ghevra. ” A television ? »

But the device wasn’t for entertainment – it was a wearable air quality index monitor, and Ms Begam is one of 75 local women trained to measure AQI levels by a nonprofit organization grassroots nonprofit that works on building climate resilience by making technology accessible to poor urban women.

Many women in Sawda Ghevra work in the construction industry, where they are exposed to dust, sand and cement, which makes them particularly vulnerable to pollution. ‘AQI Ambassadors’ such as Ms Begam teach workers how to measure air pollution in their environment, take precautions at work and home and use the government’s Green Delhi app to reduce pollution. pollution.

Why we wrote this

In India, female construction workers are particularly vulnerable to air pollution. An initiative to equip these workers with tools to monitor and report air quality has offered agency, as well as meaningful change.

Participants say the initiative – by the Mahila Housing Trust (MHT) – has served to strengthen their sense of dignity. Even Ms Begam, who runs a small stationery shop, says that despite hearing about the pollution in the media, she didn’t really believe Delhi’s air was so bad until she read the monitor herself. AQI. Many female construction workers have since made changes that improve their lives.

“Women [in construction] tell me, ‘Now we are much more confident. We tell the contractor that we will only work if the conditions are good,” says Begam.

North Olmsted City schools create support group for single parents Wed, 28 Sep 2022 10:34:00 +0000

NORTH OLMSTED, Ohio — A recent study revealed that nearly 24 million children – about one in three children across America – live in single-parent families. This figure has been rising for about half a century.

Born out of a need to better support families during the pandemic, North Olmsted City Schools successfully established a Single Parent Support Group during the 2021-2022 school year.

“We were trying to figure out how to support families during the shutdown,” said Karen Gallagher, social worker at North Olmsted Town Schools. “As we looked at a lot of different demographics and things that might be difficult for our families, we noticed that we had a significant number of single parents.

“I’m also a single parent, so I knew what I was dealing with during the shutdown and as a working parent. I just thought this group would need some support.

The roots of the single parent support group began in the successful grandparents initiative raising grandchildren in the district.

After reaching out to single parent families, 22 people participated in last year’s virtual single parent support group meetings. In addition to a monthly newsletter, the meetings covered various topics of discussion.

“We created the group so that we could help these families feel supported, less alone, less isolated, and just let them know that there were other people walking this road with them,” Gallagher said.

“There were a lot of shared experiences and great camaraderie with new relationships that were able to form. What I liked about the group was that everyone was coming to different stages of single parenthood.

This includes parents with young children to older adults with high school students.

“It was good for older single parents to mentor younger single parents,” Gallagher said.

As for this year’s single parent support group meetings, they are in person. Gallagher hopes this translates to greater turnout.

“We just want to build this community with them,” Gallagher said.

Anyone interested in joining the single parent support group is welcome to email Gallagher.

Read more news from the messenger of the sun here.

Rethinking how to solve the housing shortage in the country Wed, 28 Sep 2022 00:14:00 +0000

Manufactured homes, property tax exemptions, sale of municipal land – the potential solutions to solving the country’s housing crisis are as varied as the challenges behind it.

But to ensure that American households can access stable housing, local, state and federal authorities must rethink outdated approaches, experts said at a panel on Tuesday. They also underscored how the difficulties in the housing market go beyond the simple lack of affordable housing and are not limited to the most expensive cities in the country.

“We can really see that it’s not isolated to any particular socio-economic class. It’s not isolated to particular geographic areas. It’s a wide range,” said Craig Parker, CEO of Holland Partner Group, a West Coast-based multifamily and mixed-use developer.

At a summit hosted by Up for Growth, an organization that seeks to address the housing shortage, panelists discussed how to increase housing of all kinds – including supportive housing, affordable, average and market-priced – and described the changes they would like to see at state and local levels.

Processes and policies

According to Parker, a major obstacle to building homes at market price are costly and time-consuming permitting processes. He noted that in California, some approvals can take years.

Some communities have worked to streamline processes, but timelines are still significant, Parker said. Reducing the time it takes to get a project approved can help developers offset other costs, such as rising material prices and supply chain delays.

One of the reasons approvals can drag on is outdated zoning regulations, said Angela Brooks, president-elect of the American Planning Association, a professional organization of city planners. Some regulations have not been changed for decades and no longer reflect the needs of today’s communities, she added.

In his role as chair of the National Multifamily Housing Council’s Workforce Housing Committee, Antonio Marquez interviewed members of the organization to see what initiatives had improved housing in their communities. Overall, the response has been local property tax exemptions, according to Marquez.

“It was the difference between being able to move forward with the project or not,” he said.

Creating different ways for people to finance homes is another important step leaders can take, said Brooks, who also serves as director of the Corporation for Supportive Housing’s Illinois office.

She pointed to Chicago Choose to own the program, which allows people to use Section 8 vouchers to buy homes. More than 750 homes have been purchased under the program, she said.

Create inventory

Genger Charles, managing director of external affairs and impact strategies for Amherst Group, an Austin-based real estate investment firm, highlighted the potential benefits of manufactured homes. Manufactured homes, including mobile homes, can be built quickly, in some cases taking less than a year to complete and place on a property. They can also be built indoors, so weather isn’t an issue during construction, Charles said.

Charles acknowledged the widespread perception that manufactured homes are unsafe or of lower quality than traditionally built homes, but said the reputation was misplaced. Additionally, in some cases, she said, multiple prefab units can fit on a property originally zoned as a single-family lot, providing living space for more households.

She said her group was trying to get local officials to consider prefabricated and modular homes as an option to provide a “fast and sustainable supply” of housing.

Rehabilitating dilapidated structures, rather than building from scratch, is another way to increase housing stock, and one that’s often more environmentally friendly than new construction, said Marquez, who is also the founder. and managing partner of Comunidad Partners, housing for the workforce. investment firm.

Charles added that preserving vacant buildings must go beyond rehabilitating multi-family properties, but finding the capital to work on single-family homes is often difficult for potential owners.

“Residents are the real asset”

Providing support to help keep vulnerable residents, such as those on low incomes, in their homes is also important, panelists said.

“The residents are the real asset,” Marquez said.

Ensuring residents have access to services such as affordable health care and counseling can help ensure their finances are stable so they can pay rent or mortgage payments, he said.

Charles noted that his company connects residents with social workers, housing counselors and educational materials to help them plan for their future. “We take stability very seriously,” she said.

PSA ready to sign Imbert’s salary offer Mon, 26 Sep 2022 23:51:55 +0000


PSA Chairman Leroy Baptiste Photo by Sureash Cholai

Insisting that the figures given by Finance Minister Colm Imbert for public sector wage negotiations are “grossly inflated”, the president of the Public Services Association (PSA) Leroy Baptiste nevertheless declared that he was ready to sign what was proposed on Monday.

“I have listened to the figures put forward by the Ministry of Finance regarding the cost of settling negotiations. Let’s be clear, I dispute these numbers. These figures are completely misleading. They are grossly inflated.

But, Baptiste said, “the numbers Imbert touted as to what it would cost to settle negotiations with the PSA are a $500 million increase in annual expenses and the total back wages to be settled with my people are 2.4 billion through June 2023 I’m comfortable with that.

“Tell the finance minister I want to sign this. Forget the four percent offer. I want it in black and white.

“It says an annual spending increase of $500 million – tick, I want that and I want $2.4 billion to clear the arrears of the 15,000 civil servants I represent.

“I would sit down and work out the formula, how it should be distributed to my members, with the personnel director. Just let me sign.

If Imbert read it in Monday’s budget, Baptiste said, “That means he’s there for me. He is there for my members.

In his seventh budget presentation on Monday, Imbert called PSA’s counter-offer unsustainable. unrealistic and equivalent to the annual national budget.

He said the government’s four per cent offer to settle negotiations from 2014 to 2019 for the traditional civil service, while difficult, is both practical and fair.

He said that was the best the government could do at the moment and that he was ready to follow up on his offer once accepted. However, if the unions chose the industrial tribunal approach, they would ask that these matters be expedited.

At the heart of the effective functioning of the public service, he stressed, is the establishment of a fair and equitable compensation system for public sector employees.

The approach to achieve this goal, he insisted, must be prudent and consistent with the availability of resources.

“No responsible government can contemplate bankrupting the whole country just to appease part of the workforce.”

The Amalgamated Workers Union accepted the offer and Imbert hopes others will follow.

“It should be noted that the additional annual recurring cost of our offer is approximately $500 million. It should be noted that if this offer is extended to the wider public sector, the additional cost will almost double to approximately $1 billion per year.

“The salary backlog that we have accumulated until June 2023 thanks to our offer, for the traditional civil service alone, is $2.4 billion. This will increase to $4.6 billion if the entire public sector is included,” Imbert explained.

As difficult as these amounts are to accommodate, he is committed to finding the money and making the required payments quickly.

He warned: “No more than this will cause the economy to fail, not only for the same civil servants, but for all the others.

“As an example, the counter-offer made by the PSA is untenable. The PSA countered the 4% with a request for a 19% salary increase for the 2014-2016 triennium. of the period of our offer. If accepted, it would cost $15.8 billion in arrears through June 2023.

“The additional annual recurring cost will be $1.8 billion.

“If the PSA offer is extended to the broader public sector, $30.3 billion in back wages would be required through June 2023. The additional annual recurring cost will be $3.4 billion.”

Imbert said these calculations do not take into account the second round of negotiations for 2017-19, which, if accepted, could create a reimbursement requirement of $50 billion, the equivalent of total national spending.

“Clearly, these are not serious counter-proposals. It may seem good to encourage marches or threats, but I am sure that the leaders know the facts, the reality and what is doable.

“It should be obvious that demands of this nature cannot be met. Anyone who thinks the country can afford that level of spending — $50 billion — simply wouldn’t be realistic.

Offshore Wind Summit, Django by the Sea: Community events this week Mon, 26 Sep 2022 09:28:53 +0000

State of the City Forum in Rochester

ROCHESTER – The Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce will present a State of the City Forum Breakfast on Tuesday, September 27 from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Sponsored by Eversource, this program will feature an update and an opportunity to Learn more about the future of Rochester from Rochester Mayor Paul Callaghan and City Manager Blaine Cox. Several city department heads will be introduced and provide information on their roles. Tim Jones, CEO of Frisbie Memorial Hospital, will also provide information and an update on the hospital. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this is the first state of the city forum since 2019.

The event is hosted by Frisbie Memorial Hospital, at the Frisbie Community Education and Conference Center, located on the Frisbie Memorial Hospital campus at 11 Whitehall Road in Rochester.

This forum breakfast is open to members of the chamber and to the public. Tickets are $25. For more information or to make a reservation, visit or call the chamber at 603-332-5080.

Offshore Wind Summit scheduled for Tuesday

PORTSMOUTH – The State of New Hampshire, the Business and Industry Association and the Seacoast Chamber Alliance will showcase Granite State’s vast potential for renewable wind energy at the New Hampshire Offshore Wind Summit on Tuesday, September 27.

The free summit will highlight New Hampshire’s existing businesses, workforce and infrastructure and focus on the future of offshore wind energy development in the Gulf of Maine. The summit will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Sheraton Portsmouth Harborside Hotel, 250 Market St.

Panel discussions include “New Hampshire Agencies in Offshore Wind,” moderated by Bob Varney of Normandeau Associates; “Utilities and Consumers”, moderated by Kirsten Koch of the Business and Industry Association; “Business and Workforce,” moderated by Mikael Pyrtel of the State Department of Business and Economic Affairs; and “Energy and Infrastructure,” moderated by Mark Sanborn of the State Department of Environmental Services.

The summit includes an optional boat tour of New Hampshire Port facilities or a bus tour of the Pease International Trading Port. The summit is free and open to the public, but pre-registration is required at

After: Apple Harvest Day 2022 in Dover: Here’s what you need to know before you go

Multilingual Book Group

DOVER – On Monday, September 26 at 4:30 p.m., educators from the UNH Community Literacy Center will lead this group that will present a different language each week at the Dover Public Library. There will also be an artistic activity based on the theme. This program is for students in Kindergarten through Grade 3. Caregivers are not required to attend, but are always welcome. Registration required.

Conference on the history of racial segregation in baseball

DOVER — On Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 6:30 p.m., Chronicle reporter and author Ted Reinstein tells the story of the little-known heroes who fought segregation in baseball in “Before Brooklyn: The Unsung Heroes Who Helped Break Baseball’s Color Barrier”. The program is virtual and registration is required to receive a link to the conference.

The program is free and open to the public. For more information or to register, visit the Dover Public Library website at or call 603-516-6050.

Craft workshop for children

DOVER – On Thursday, September 29 at 3:30 p.m., children in Year 1 and up are invited to the Dover Public Library to make and take home a scarecrow. All materials provided.

The Django by the Sea festival returns

KITTERY — After a two-year hiatus during the pandemic, Django By The Sea, New England’s premier gypsy jazz festival, is back live and in person at Dance Hall Kittery.

This year’s lineup features a wide range of musical genres, including new interpretations of timeless Beatles tunes, the infectious rhythms of Brazil’s choro music (ancestor of samba and bossa nova), as well as versions classic and contemporary songs from the gypsy jazz songbook made famous by Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli.

Performances will take place on Friday, September 30 and Saturday, October 1. The festival kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Friday when Metabeat takes the stage to perform reimagined versions of Beatles music. This special performance will also feature Seacoast jazz luminaries Taylor O’Donnell on vocals and Chris Klaxton on trumpet.

The Hot Club of New England, a musical collective made up of some of New England’s finest swing, gypsy and hot jazz musicians, will perform next Friday. Saturday performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. with the duo Ian Coury and Katherine Bent.

The festival ends with Rhythm Future Quartet, founded by violinist Jason Anick, who perform dynamic and lyrical arrangements of gypsy jazz standards and original compositions. For tickets or more information, visit or

After: Fall on Seacoast farms: your guide to corn mazes, apple picking, festivals and haunted entertainment

“Lore of the Jack-O’-Lantern” book release party

PORTSMOUTH – The Lore of the Jack-O’-Lantern Book Release Party is a hybrid book reading and musical performance taking place Friday, September 30 at 8 p.m. at 3S Artspace.

The first half of the event is a live reading of “Lore of the Jack-O’-Lantern”, a horror novella written by Brian Serven and illustrated by Dan Blakeslee. Illustrations from the book will be projected on a screen as Brian and six character actors read the story.

The second half of the event is a musical performance by Dan Blakeslee as Doctor Gasp and the Eeks. Tickets available on

Apple harvest day is Saturday

DOVER – The Greater Dover Chamber of Commerce will present Apple Harvest Day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, October 1 in Dover city centre.

There will be over 300 vendors, children’s activities, entertainment and tons of food at two food courts along Central Avenue from Third Street to Henry Law Park and the Rotary Arts Pavilion. The Apple Harvest Day 5K Road Race is at 8:30 a.m.

Visit and for more information.

Dover Apple Harvest Festival 2022: Here’s what you need to know before you go

Black Lives Matter Seacoast Hosts 3rd Annual Gala

DOVER – Black Lives Matter Seacoast invites the community to its third annual gala celebrating a night of black excellence on Saturday, October 1 from 6-10 p.m. at the Rivermill in Dover Landing.

The keynote speaker will be Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, PhD, assistant professor of physics and astronomy and senior professor of women’s and gender studies at the University of New Hampshire and columnist for New Scientist and Physics World.

The star performer of the evening will be Adrienne Mack-Davis, a classically trained singer/songwriter whose music is described as hard-hitting soul and R&B melodies fused with infectious hip hop and dance instrumentals. Anthony Bounphakhom and The Block Collaborative from Portsmouth will also perform.

Doug York from Exeter, who owns 7North Coffee Co., will be behind the decks. Najee Brown, creator of New England’s first BIPOC theater company, Theater for the People, will be the emcee.

The dinner will be cooked by Chris Viaud, the chef and owner of Greenleaf and Ansanm, and a James Beard Award semi-finalist most recently known for appearing on Season 18 of “Top Chef.”

A silent art auction will feature creations by various local black artists.

A ticket to the event includes coffee and tea, access to a bar with specialty wine and beer, appetizers, dinner, and desserts. Formal attire is required. Tickets can be purchased at

Autumn Laser Regatta

DOVER – The Great Bay Yacht Club of Dover, in conjunction with the Piscataqua Sailing Association, will host the annual Autumn Laser Regatta on Sunday October 2 at Hilton Point State Park, Dover. Over the years GBYC has worked with local sailors to keep the spirit of sailing alive in the Great Bay area.

The race information notice and registration can be found at For more information, email or visit

Yoga in Action presents ‘Resilience’

PORTSMOUTH – On Sunday October 2 from 1-4pm, Yoga in Action will present the film “Resilience” at 3S Artspace at 319 Vaughan St., Portsmouth. This is a hybrid event with options to participate in person or via livestream. For more information, visit

animal blessing

FARMINGTON – On Sunday, October 2, First Congregational Church, UCC of Farmington invites the public, pet owners and animal lovers to the sixth annual Animal Blessing at Noon. The event is free.

Pet owners are asked to have their pets on leashes or in carriers. Participants may bring Purina One dry dog ​​or cat food or any brand of wet pet food to donate to These Cat Rescue People and the Pope Memorial Humane Society of Cocheco Valley.

At noon, Pastor Tom will bless each animal individually. In case of bad weather, the Blessing of the Animals will take place inside the church. The First Congregational Church, UCC is located in downtown Farmington at 400 Main Street. For more information, call 603-755-4816 or visit

Ken Medema concert

DOVER – The First Parish Church, 218 Central Ave., Dover, will present a concert of Ken Medema’s choral and instrumental music, including his gift of improvisation, on Sunday, October 2 at 6 p.m. There will be a voluntary offering. For more information, visit

costume swap

DOVER – Deposit gently used costumes at the Dover Public Library from October 2. Families can choose a costume anytime on Friday, October 7 and Saturday, October 8.

Sunday Guitar Concert

PORTSMOUTH – Classical guitarist Jaclyn Jones will give a recital at the Portsmouth Music and Arts Center on Sunday, October 2 at 3 p.m. in the PMAC’s Haas Family Gallery and Recital Hall. Hosted by Mitch Shuldman, the Guitar Sundays concert series welcomes professional guitarists from the New England area to perform in one of eight free concerts.

The concert is free. The PMAC is located at 973 Islington Street, Portsmouth. Visit for more information.

Officials tally up damage as Puerto Ricans pick up the pieces after hurricane Sun, 25 Sep 2022 22:46:33 +0000

TOA BAJA, Puerto Rico (AP) — City worker Carmen Medina deliberately walked through the working-class community of Tranquility Village in the harsh sun, with a clipboard, survey forms and a pen in her hand — making part of a small army of officials trying to assess the extent of the disaster caused by Hurricane Fiona on Puerto Rico.

She stopped in a white, seafoam greenhouse and asked the owner to detail his losses in the storm that had flooded much of Toa Baja City.

“Oh dear,” replied Margarita Ortiz, a 46-year-old housekeeper who stood in a home that was nearly barren because so many flood-damaged possessions had already been thrown away.

Pockets of water were still gushing from her ceiling Friday in what had been a newly painted house, and Ortiz listed what she could remember of her lost furniture and other belongings.

After staying in a shelter and with a friend for days, she hopes to soon return to her home: “When you lose your bed, you lose your mind.

LOOK: How Puerto Ricans are coping in the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona

Fiona battered southwest Puerto Rico with winds of 85 mph (140 km/h) on September 18 and the broad storm triggered flooding across the island, which had still not recovered from the 2017’s Hurricane Maria, a more powerful cyclone that swept across US territory obliterating the power grid, which had since been patched but not fully rebuilt.

The Puerto Rico government said it expects to have a preliminary damage estimate from Fiona in about two weeks.

As of Sunday, about half of Puerto Rico’s 1.47 million electricity consumers remained in the dark, and 20% of the 1.3 million water consumers had no service as workers struggled to reach submerged electrical substations and repairing broken lines.

Power company officials said on Sunday that 1.1 to 1.3 million customers could have power by Friday, September 30, but warned that those estimates could change. They didn’t say when the whole island would be powered.

“(Fiona) affected all of our infrastructure. We are doing everything we can to fix it,” said Lawrence Kazmierski, senior vice president of Luma, the company that took over the island’s power transmission and distribution more than a year ago.

Gas stations, grocery stores and other businesses temporarily closed due to lack of fuel for generators. The National Guard first sent fuel to hospitals and other critical infrastructure.

“We’re starting from scratch,” said Carmen Rivera as she and his wife mopped up the water and threw away their damaged appliances, adding to the piles of rotting furniture and soggy mattresses that lined their street.

Despite being on the other side of the island from where Fiona’s eye made landfall, Toa Baja was particularly affected because the Plata River – Puerto Rico’s longest – overflowed its banks. in the city of more than 74,000 inhabitants.

Floodwaters exceeded the 5-foot mark in Rivera’s wood and concrete house. She wondered if she could get financial help, and when.

“I work for the municipality and what I earn is not ‘wow’,” she said.

Toa Baja officials estimated it could take a month to complete their door-to-door investigation to determine the damage so people can get financial help.

READ MORE: How to Help Hurricane Fiona Victims in Puerto Rico

For some, it was more than just a financial loss, as people also took the opportunity to describe their stress.

“I see emotional exhaustion in people. It’s a “here we go again,” said Gretchen Hernández, a social worker who was overseeing the citywide investigation.

Many have been forced to throw food away due to power outages – and some people have been helping their neighbours.

More than two dozen cars lined up at Toa Baja, where Aida Villanueva was distributing food to other members of the community – grapes, croissants, chicken, rice, vegetables, etc.

Seventy-four-year-old Ana Butter arrived before dawn for a chance to eat, complaining about the lack of official help.

“Nobody stopped by my house,” said Butter, who lives in the nearby town of Dorado.

Someone in line wondered aloud what those without electricity were going to do with so much free chicken. Another shouted: “Tomorrow there will be a barbecue! and the crowd laughed.

Predatory payday loan companies and fraudsters thrive amid uneven laws and stolen data, new BBB research finds Sat, 24 Sep 2022 13:52:30 +0000

As consumers lost their jobs and struggled to make ends meet during the COVID-19 pandemic, many have turned to payday loans and other short-term solutions, with an increase in solutions in line. This has not only allowed predatory lenders to thrive – many borrowers still face exorbitant interest rates and opaque fees – but has also created a fertile environment for scam artists, according to a new in-depth study from the Better Business Bureau. (BBB).

Payday loan laws are managed from state to state among the 32 states in which they are available, and a complex web of regulations makes the impact of the industry in the United States and Canada difficult to understand. follow. The BBB study, however, finds a common thread in the triple-digit interest rates that many of these loans carry – camouflaged by interest compounded weekly or monthly, rather than annually, as well as significant rollover fees.

From 2019 to July 2022, BBB received nearly 3,000 customer complaints about payday loan companies, with a disputed dollar amount of nearly $3 million. In addition, over 117,000 complaints have been filed against debt collection companies at BBB. Complainants often said they felt ill-informed about the terms of their loans. Many fall into what consumer advocates call a “debt trap” of racking up interest and fees that can force customers to pay double the amount originally borrowed.

The scammers haven’t missed an opportunity to take advantage of consumers either, with BBB Scam Tracker receiving over 7,000 reports of loan and debt collection scams representing around $4.1 million in losses.

Posing as payday loan companies and debt collectors, scammers use stolen information to trick consumers into handing over banking information and cash. In one case, BBB discovered that hackers had stolen and released detailed personal and financial data for more than 200,000 consumers. News reports indicate that this is not an isolated incident.

Regulators at the federal level have passed tougher laws to combat predatory lending, but those regulations have been rolled back in recent years, leaving states to set their own rules on interest rate caps and other aspects of lending. on salary. More than a dozen states introduced legislation last year to regulate payday loans, but the landscape of legally operating payday lenders remains inconsistent across states.

Currently, payday loans are not allowed in 18 states, according to Pew Charitable Trust. In addition, the Military Loans Act sets a rate of 36% on certain payday loans. When it comes to fraudulent behavior, law enforcement is limited in what they can do to prosecute payday loan scams. Some legal payday lenders have attempted to prevent scams by educating consumers about the ways in which they will or will not contact borrowers.

The BBB study advises consumers to thoroughly research all of their borrowing options — as well as the terms of a payday loan — before signing anything for a short-term loan. The study also includes recommendations for regulators:

  • Cap consumer loans at 36%
  • Educate more people about no-cost extended repayment plans
  • Require lenders to test whether consumers can repay their loans
  • Require Zelle, Venmo, and other payment services to offer refunds for fraud

Where to report a payday loan scam or file a complaint:

  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC) –
  • State attorneys general can often help. Find your state attorney general’s website to see if you can file online.
  • If you have an overdue payment on a payday loan, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau may have resources to help you establish a payment plan.

Find more information about this study and other BBB scam studies at

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Mississippi welfare plan: Former state official pleads guilty in scheme where money was funneled to prominent Mississippians including Brett Favre Sat, 24 Sep 2022 03:48:00 +0000 Officials from the U.S. Department of Justice and the Hinds County District Attorney’s Office announced that former Mississippi Department of Human Services chief John Davis pleaded guilty to two federal counts and 18 counts of ‘State.

The DOJ said Davis and “his co-conspirators” used federal funds “for their personal use and benefit.”

“Under Davis’s direction, MDHS provided federal funds to two nonprofits and then ordered the two nonprofits to fraudulently award contracts to various entities and individuals for social services that did not were ever provided,” federal prosecutors said in a news release.

On Thursday, the former state official pleaded guilty to two federal counts: one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and theft relating to programs receiving federal funds and one count of theft relating to programs receiving federal funds, the DOJ said. He could be sentenced to five years in prison for conspiracy and 10 years for theft.

Davis also pleaded guilty to five counts of conspiracy and 13 counts of fraud in Hinds County, District Attorney Jody E. Owens said in a tweet Thursday.

“Davis was one of six defendants arrested and subsequently charged in 2020 in one of the largest embezzlement schemes in Mississippi history,” Owens said.

Auditor says $77m in funds were for welfare program

The vast fraud scheme was uncovered in 2020 by a state audit of federal funds allocated to state agencies. When State Auditor Shad White announced the discovery, he called the scheme “the most egregious expense my staff has seen in their careers.”

The eight-month investigation showed the department gave more than $98 million to two nonprofits: the Mississippi Community Education Center and the Family Resource Center of North Mississippi. Of the $98 million, $94 million was “questioned”, meaning it was definitely mis-spent or auditors were unable to determine if it was legally spent.

The state auditor said about $77 million was for a state welfare program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

Last week, White told CNN, “I think what you had was a lot of money sent over from a state agency that decided to funnel that money into a non-profit organization. There just weren’t a ton of controls over how this nonprofit was spending that money until the auditor’s office started digging.

“And then, you know, taking another step forward into the future, I think it’s important that we show the public that there will be consequences to that.”

Favre’s alma mater has a new volleyball arena

Investigators say more than $4 million was used to build a volleyball center supported by Brett Favre at the University of Southern Mississippi, Favre’s alma mater, and where his daughter played the sport at the time. .

The State of Mississippi filed a civil lawsuit against more than 35 people and entities, including Pro Football Hall of Famer, earlier this year.

Text messages were published last week as part of this civil lawsuit brought by lawyers for the non-profit founded by Nancy New, who has already pleaded guilty to charges related to the welfare fund scheme. They showed Favre discussing getting money through New’s nonprofit and expressing his love for Davis after being told about the funding, as well as meetings with Davis and the former governor of Mississippi Phil Bryant on funding.

Bryant and Favre have not been criminally charged with wrongdoing at this time. Bryant is also not named as a defendant in the civil lawsuit.

The former quarterback’s lawyer told CNN that Favre, who retired after the 2010 season and a 20-year NFL career, was unaware the social funds were being used for the volleyball center -ball and that his fundraising efforts for the volleyball center were honorable.

CNN’s Eric Levenson and Devon Sayers contributed to this report.