This is one in a series of profiles showcasing some of Harvard’s stellar graduates.Rossi Lamont Walter Jr. remembers his experience with Harvard Summer School in 2009 as “a frolicking good time.”It was the Texas native’s introduction to Harvard, and its energy inspired him. “I’ve always been very sensitive to my environment and to things that are contributing to the energy and the mood of the space,” he said. Later, when considering college, Walter was certain that if he attended Harvard, something important would happen and that the people and the environs “would change my life in ways I could not foresee.”That’s just what happened. He will graduate with a concentration he didn’t know existed, a passion for dance he never expected, and a post-College fellowship to spend a year in a country that wasn’t on his radar four years ago.Like many Harvard freshmen, Walter arrived on campus with a list of interests, in his case math, science, the visual arts, dance, and electronic music, among others. But during his sophomore year, the ground began “shifting pretty dramatically,” and he needed to prioritize. School, dance, and his connections with a group of friends topped his list.Walter considered concentrating on neurobiology, but “I remember thinking, ‘Oh, no, no. This is much too planned for me.’” On a whim, he took an introductory class in the history of science, and fell in love.He also fell in love with Jewish history, culture, and religion through his relationships with Alpha Epsilon Pi (“the Jewish fraternity”) and Harvard’s Hillel and Chabad houses. “They provided me with a supportive network of friends and peers who are diverse in their interests and can engage in deep conversation about their experiences and what they are learning today.”With support from the Center for Jewish Studies at Harvard, he traveled to Jerusalem last summer to learn about history, and he will leave campus with a secondary concentration in Jewish studies.Walter’s third passion was dance. Energized by Jill Johnson, director of the Harvard Dance Program, he performed in several new works, including “SEESAW,” which will be presented by the Harvard Dance Project at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in June. He was also introduced to Gaga movement language, a contemporary style of dance that originated in Israel, and traveled to Tel Aviv to study with its founder.Johnson called Walter a gifted artist, thinker, dancer, choreographer, and performer.“He has an unlimited desire to explore artistic expression in his dance studies and in areas beyond the field with tireless energy, curiosity, rigor, and focus.”Dancing with Johnson and other students helped Walter combine what he calls his “physical, creative, and academic intellects. It was unlike anything I’d ever done. Jill helped me see what dance had been and could be.”Walter has a busy summer ahead. After graduation, he begins training for “SEESAW,” and then heads back to Dallas to spend time with family and friends. In August, he will travel to North Carolina as a 2014 Byron Fellow to participate in a weeklong session on leadership. He then will head to Israel for a year as a Benjamin A. Trustman Fellow, with support from Harvard’s Office for the Arts.That year will be something of a soul-searching mission. He plans to live in Tel Aviv; practice Gaga; dance; visit synagogues, churches, and mosques, “and the sea.” He seeks adventures, “all with the purpose of putting myself in a different context and allowing a different tree to grow out from within my identity.”A Quincy House affiliate, Walter is reflective when asked to consider what Harvard has meant to him. After a pause, he offers up a single word: people. “I’ve always said that Harvard is just a place, and it’s really the people that make it what it is. Everyone has something to bring to the table.”Accordingly, he envisions a career that combines dancing and choreography with the visual arts, education, social activism, and his desire to help people “articulate what they think is important.”“I expect people to prove me right in a way. I want to help them show me that they do have something to offer, something to bring to the table. I’d like to help people channel that somehow.”Reflecting on the last four years, Walter also offered a note of thanks to his father, Rossi Lamont Walter Sr. ’86.“My father has always been so supportive of me pursuing the things that interest me. He has never pressured me to do anything, including coming to Harvard. For that, I am eternally grateful.”
January 18, 2021
App users, tap here to watch video report.JAMESTOWN – In an effort to help animals find their forever home, WNYNewsNow is partnering with the Chautauqua County Humane Society to showcase animals part of our pet of the week segment.Winston is an easy going yet energetic friend, while Sage is a great choice for a physically active household but maybe not young children.Both are also not big fans of cats. To learn more about Winston, or Sage, contact the Chautauqua County Humane Society at (716) 665-2209 or visit chqhumane.org. Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)
January 18, 2021
View Comments Tony nominee Andrew Rannells is gearing up to star in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and Corey Cott is about to conclude his run in Newsies—so why are these super-busy stars hanging out together on their day off? They’re both appearing in the new comedy The Intern, starring Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro. The new movie tells the story of a fashion website editor (Hathaway) that takes on an elderly intern (De Niro), featuring a sure-to-be-hilarious appearance by Rannells as Hathaway’s business partner. Rannells posted this cute snapshot of his on-set run-in with Cott on his Twitter page. Check out this Hot Shot of the Broadway boys going Hollywood, then see The Intern on September 15, 2015! Show Closed This production ended its run on Sept. 13, 2015 Related Shows Hedwig and the Angry Inch
January 18, 2021
Cats View Comments Related Shows Star Files Leona Lewis(Photo: Angela Weiss/Getty Images) Show Closed This production ended its run on Dec. 30, 2017 The naming of cats is a difficult matter and it would seem that this is especially true in the case of Grizabella in the Broadway revival of Cats. After Nicole Scherzinger dropped out of playing the glamour cat, it’s now reported that Leona Lewis is eyeing the role. A source told the Daily Star: “Leona is first in line for the job if she wants it.”The production, directed by Trevor Nunn and choreographed by Hamilton’s Andy Blankenbuehler, will begin preview performances at the Neil Simon Theatre on July 14. Opening night is set for July 31.Lewis won the third series of the U.K.’s The X Factor in 2006; she is the second best-selling act to have emerged from the franchise, having sold 20 million records worldwide, and is a seven-time Brit Award and three-time Grammy Award nominee. Lewis is renowned for her massive four octave mezzo-soprano vocal range, power, technical control and, especially, her frequent use of the falsetto register. Ironically Scherzinger is not doing Cats so she can be a judge on the latest season of X Factor.Lewis would join a cast that will include Tyler Hanes as Rum Tum Tugger, Ricky Ubeda as Mistoffelees, Quentin Earl Darrington as Old Deuteronomy, Eloise Kropp as Jennyannydots/Gumbie, Giuseppe Bausilio as Carbucketty, Jeremy Davis as Skimbleshanks, Kim Faure as Demeter, Sara Jean Ford as Jellylorum, Lili Froehlich as Electra, Daniel Gaymon as Macavity, Shonica Gooden as Rumpleteazer, Christopher Gurr as Gus/Bustopher Jones, Andy Huntington Jones as Munkustrap, Kolton Krouse as Tumblebrutus, Jess LeProtto as Mungojerrie, Georgina Pazcoguin as Victoria, Emily Pynenburg as Cassandra, Arianna Rosario as Sillabub, Ahmad Simmons as Alonzo, Christine Cornish Smith as Bombalurina, Corey Snide as Coricopat, Emily Tate as Tantomile and Sharrod Williams as Pouncival.Featuring a score by Lloyd Webber and lyrics by T.S. Eliot, Trevor Nunn and Richard Stilgoe, Cats follows a clowder of jellicles and each cat’s quest to be selected to ascend to the Heaviside Layer. The show, based on Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, ran for 21 years in London and 18 years on Broadway, where it won seven Tony Awards including Best Musical. This production will be the first Main Stem revival.Remind yourself why Lloyd Webber would want Lewis to sing “Memory” below. Leona Lewis
January 17, 2021
Hulking above their neighbors in the Chattahoochee National Forest, Georgia’s century-old hemlocks are giants. But the relatively scarce trees are quickly being felled by the tiniest of insects — the invasive hemlock woolly adelgid. Tiny pests, big problemsThe adelgid is a tiny, fluffy aphid relative that feeds by piercing the bark of hemlock trees and draining the contents of plant cells, which contain nutrients created by the tree during photosynthesis. Millions can live on one tree, and by the time they finish feeding, the tree no longer has the strength to transport water and nutrients from its roots to its branches. The pest first arrived in Georgia 10 years ago after moving south through the forests that surround the Appalachian Mountains. To date, the adelgid has killed millions of hemlocks on the mountainsides and stream valleys of the Appalachians, from New England south to the Smokies and the north Georgia mountains. Once infested, a centuries-old tree can die within 3 or 4 years said Will Hudson, a forest entomologist with UGA Extension. University of Georgia researchers are racing against time looking for long-term biocontrols for the nutrient-gobbling pest.They hope by preserving specimen stands of hemlocks with insecticides now, there will be enough trees left to aid in regenerating Georgia’s hemlocks once the bio-control agents are ready.“We can’t just let a bug loose in the forest and hope it works. The requirements for testing and screening of a new biocontrol agent are — and rightfully so — really, really stringent, and it takes time. The hemlocks don’t have that time,” said Hudson. Enter the Legacy Tree Project — a public-private partnership between UGA researchers, Valent USA, private tree care companies and several municipalities. The project’s goal is to preserve stands of hemlocks so they can regenerate once the woolly adelgid is under control. While hemlocks make up a small percentage of the forest canopy in Georgia, they are vitally important to the forest ecosystem — especially around streams. The giant trees shade streams and stream banks and provide the cool waters that Georgia’s trout populations need to survive while sustaining the tourist economy that surrounds the trout. In addition to the aesthetic impact of the loss of the largest trees in mountain forests, dead trees pose a threat of falling, making camping, hiking and even driving, risky. Two solutions, one goalThe woolly adelgids can be controlled two ways. One way is through the development or discovery of biocontrol agents — predatory insects that eat adelgids, but leave the rest of the ecosystem intact. This is a painstaking process of trial and error, but will offer low-cost, long-term control. The other method is to treat every hemlock in the forest to prevent or cure adelgid infestation. This would be prohibitively expensive, time-consuming, logistically implausible and possibly ecologically damaging. Entomologists at UGA and the U.S. Forest Service, including recently retired UGA forest entomologist Mark Dalusky, have identified and released two predatory beetles. They hope these insects will be effectively control the adelgid without harming the forest, but neither beetle has reached the numbers needed to control the pest. Saving trees now, so that they can be preserved laterUGA entomologists, north Georgia arborist and hemlock enthusiast Jann George and Legacy Tree Project founder Joe Chamberlin have teamed up for the effort. Chamberlin’s company, Valent, helped launch the Legacy Tree Project in 2010 in a handful of Midwestern towns with the goal of saving ash trees from emerald ash borers. Thousands of trees were saved, and a framework for battling other invasive tree pests was developed. Valent donates insecticide where landmark hemlocks are dying like the Chattahoochee National Forest. The insecticide, a dry powder mixed with water, is injected into the ground around the hemlock’s root ball and the tree slowly absorbs the material, which kills the adelgids and prevents new infestations. “Nearly 100 percent of the chemical is absorbed by the tree, which means there is very little chance any will move into nearby streams or groundwater,” George said. “There is hope for biological controls coming down the line. But the only way to get your hemlock tree back to health, at this point, is to use chemicals.” This is the first time that the Legacy Tree Project has worked on public land. George has worked with Young Harris, Clarkesville, Dillard and Sky Valley and saved between 10 and 15,000 hemlocks on private land. “The problem of global trade and invasive species are here to stay,” Chamberlain said. “We only have so many well adapted native species of trees that we can rely on, and we need to maintain them. What we’re trying to do is build awareness about invasives and stimulate action to help protect native tree populations.” For more information about the hemlock infestation in north Georgia and UGA’s research into stopping the pest, visit www.forestpests.org/.
December 18, 2020
In the final weeks before this year’s elections, a super PAC called Key Questions, Key Answers started buying TV ads across Pennsylvania attacking Tom Wolf, the Democratic candidate for governor.“Don’t vote for a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” the narrator says in one of the ads as a sheep with Wolf’s face bleats the word “taxes.”Like all super PACs—outside groups allowed to take unlimited amounts of money from individuals, corporations and unions—Key Questions must disclose its donors.But last week, Key Questions told the Federal Election Commission it had just one, a social welfare nonprofit called Let Freedom Ring. Since social welfare nonprofits—sometimes called dark money groups—aren’t required to identify their donors, it’s impossible to say who’s really behind Key Questions’ last-minute ad blitz.Outside groups, including super PACs and nonprofits, have spent more than $539 million on politics in this election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit that monitors money in politics. That’s almost twice as much as such groups spent during the 2010 midterm elections.Super PACs alone have shelled out about $332 million so far in this cycle, mostly from donors who are disclosed.But Key Questions is one of a handful of super PACs, liberal and conservative, funded entirely or almost entirely by dark money groups, FEC records show, obscuring the origin of the money they are putting into 2014 races.A super PAC called the Government Integrity Fund Action Network, which has spent more than $1 million on ads supporting Tom Cotton, the Republican Senate candidate in Arkansas, is entirely funded by the Government Integrity Fund, a dark money group.And Alaska SalmonPAC, a super PAC that’s spent more than $1.4 million to support Democratic Sen. Mark Begich and oppose his opponent, has received almost all of its funding from the League of Conservation Voters, which doesn’t disclose its donors.It’s not illegal for super PACs to be funded entirely by dark money unless a nonprofit is effectively acting as a straw donor, helping the real source of a contribution avoid disclosure, said Paul S. Ryan, senior counsel for the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center. Otherwise, such donations are kosher at the federal level, he said, even if “voters are getting no useful information about where the money’s coming from.”Nonetheless, Ann Ravel, an FEC commissioner and the former chairwoman of the California Fair Political Practices Commission, said she saw such maneuvers as troubling end runs around disclosure requirements for super PACs. “It creates a difficulty in determining whether there’s corruption in the political system,” she said.Key Questions and Let Freedom Ring are closely connected.Let Freedom Ring’s president, Colin Hanna, is also the chairman of Key Questions. JC Callahan, another Let Freedom Ring staffer, is Key Questions’ treasurer. Both groups are run out of the same office in Hanna’s home in West Chester, Pa.The ads funded by Let Freedom Ring’s $200,000 donation started airing earlier this month in the Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh markets.Hanna said he came up with the commercials to help counter the millions that Wolf has poured into his own campaign against Republican Gov. Tom Corbett. Wolf has been leading Corbett in the polls. “I felt the prevailing wisdom that Tom Wolf had the race sewed up was suspect,” Hanna said.Let Freedom Ring was one of the earliest dark money groups to spend heavily on political ads.Hanna started the group back in 2004 with the help of a $1 million donation from John M. Templeton Jr., a surgeon whose father was a wealthy philanthropist and investor. Let Freedom Ring spent millions on ads attacking Barack Obama in 2008, two years before the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision helped spur a massive rise in political spending by social welfare nonprofits.Hanna decided to create Key Questions this year in addition to the dark money group on the advice of his lawyer, he said. “I think the difference between the two may have more utility in the future than at present,” Hanna said. He declined to elaborate.Social welfare nonprofits like Let Freedom Ring are required to devote the majority of their efforts to “the promotion of social welfare,” not politics, and to report how much they spend to influence elections to the Internal Revenue Service.But Let Freedom Ring’s annual filings to the IRS seem to conflict with its reports to election regulators. In 2008, 2010 and 2012, Let Freedom Ring reported spending money on politics to the FEC. But on tax forms for each of those years, signed under penalty of perjury, the group told the IRS it had spent no money on politics.This appears to violate the tax code, said Brian Galle, an associate professor at Boston College Law School who specializes in nonprofits and political activity. “It’s very hard to argue that you didn’t know you were engaging in political activity when you’re telling another government regulator that you’re engaging in political activity,” he said.Hanna referred questions about the tax forms to the group’s lawyer, Cleta Mitchell.Mitchell declined to comment on Thursday, saying she did not have time so near the election.Let Freedom Ring may not be Key Questions’ sole donor for much longer.Hanna said the super PAC had received contributions from another contributor since filing its most recent FEC report, but declined to identify the source.Pennsylvania voters won’t find out who it is before they head to the polls. The super PAC’s next FEC report isn’t due until more than a month after Election Day.Robert Maguire, a Center for Responsive Politics researcher who has investigated super PACs funded by dark money groups, said the practice runs counter to the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Citizens United case. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote in his majority opinion that voters would be able to “see whether elected officials are ‘in the pocket’ of so-called moneyed interests,” thanks to disclosure requirements.“This effectively nullifies that,” Maguire said.ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter. Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York
December 16, 2020
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A 50-year-old man died and two others were wounded in a Roosevelt house fire early Friday morning, authorities said.Nassau County police and firefighters responded to the blaze on Debevoise Avenue, where they found the victim dead on the second floor at 2:20 a.m., officials said. His identity was not immediately available.Two others jumped from the second floor to escape. They suffered minor injuries and were treated at a local hospital.More than 100 firefighters responded to help the Roosevelt Fire Department extinguish the flames, including North Merrick, Baldwin, South Hempstead, Uniondale, Merrick, Freeport and North Bellmore.The Red Cross responded to assist the 10 residents that were left homeless.Arson/Bomb Squad detectives are continuing the investigation into the cause of the fire, which preliminarily appears to be non-suspicious and caused by an overloaded electrical connection.
October 20, 2020
Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week.
October 20, 2020
To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters
October 19, 2020
Israel is heading off shortages of disposable surgical masks during the coronavirus crisis by mass-producing washable versions sized to fit everyone from children to bearded men who shun shaving due to their religion.As part of stepped-up precautions against the virus, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government on Sunday made it compulsory for Israelis to cover their mouths and noses while in public.But the global crunch on medical kit has made single-use masks scarce or overpriced. After sending Mossad spies to hunt for supplies abroad and permitting Israelis to opt for scarfs or other makeshift masks, the government turned to local expertise. The result is a mask made of high-density cotton similar to bed sheet material, which can be disinfected with a 60 degree Celsius laundry cycle and reused, potentially for weeks.Around 10 workshops – including in jails – on around-the-clock shifts have made the first million masks for the emergency services and high-risk groups, said Amit Ben-Kish, a manager of the project sponsored by the health and defense ministries.While the state covered that initial cost, the plan is to produce further masks for sale in shops at around $2 each.”Each mask can be used tens of times. By buying five masks for less than $10, you are set for a few months,” Ben-Kish said at a factory in Kibbutz Tzuba, between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Topics : Behind him, a dozen teens on a volunteer year-off between high school and compulsory military service perched behind sewing machines that were set apart in deference to social distancing. They rattled off masks that were then stacked for sterilization and packing with multilingual instruction labels.The masks’ protection is comparable to paper surgical masks: more than improvised cloth, less than N95 filtered respirators.”Another advantage of woven fabric masks is that they can be made in variable sizes. We already made masks for kids, youths and adults. One particular size – extra large – fits people with beards,” Ben-Kish said.Many of Israel’s Jews and Muslims, and some Christian clergymen, wear beards as a mark of faith, and the mask order raised questions as to how facial hair would be accommodated.Except for a blue police design, the masks come in white, said designer Rinat Peleg Hermoni.Some types of pigmentation can present a respiratory risk, she explained: “And besides, white shows dirt clearly. It’s a good reminder of when a wash might be past due.”