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Without an obvious candidate to take on Gov. Andrew Cuomo this year, state Republican leaders huddled in chilly Albany on Monday to try to find a challenger.

The meeting was held at the swanky Fort Orange Club in downtown Albany, frequented by many of the elected Republicans during the legislative session.

“In 1994, a no name, no fund candidate named George Pataki emerged in April,” New York Republican Party Chair Ed Cox told members of the news media. “So, we are four months ahead of schedule here.”

So far, former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra has announced he is running, but he may have trouble winning over the Conservative Party line, which makes his candidacy less viable.

State Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb has also jumped into the race.

“I think there is real vulnerability there. We need more time, because I’m not a candidate with statewide name recognition,
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and I don’t think any of the other candidates are as well,” Kolb said. “But that is what you need to do on a day in, day out basis.”

Cox tweeted out a photo of the meeting with the state’s Republican county chairs that drew criticism from Democrats on Twitter, who pointed out that the attendees in the photos were all men.

One Republican not at the meeting was State Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, who garnered nearly 30 percent of the vote in the city when she took on Mayor Bill de Blasio in November.

“I don’t even know what the meeting was or when it took place,” Malliotakis said. “But what I will say is that there is a real case to make against Andrew Cuomo. We are the highest taxed state in the nation. We have one of the worst business climates.”

Party leaders say that no matter what happens, Republicans will be unified.

“The candidates have pledged no primary going forward,” Cox said. “Which means we are going to be unified going forward.”

If the Republican nominee winds up being someone who hasn’t declared, he or she will have to do so soon not so much for the logistics, as petitioning does not start for several months, but because of the fundraising. Cuomo is likely to have $30 million in the bank for his re election campaign,
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and a candidate would have to get started right away to even come close to matching that.

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IN NEW ORLEANS, WHICH HAS THE NATION FOURTH HIGHEST MURDER RATE, HOME AND BUSINESS OWNERS CAN BAND TO HIRE PRIVATE NEIGHBORHOOD SECURITY FORCES BY PAYING A SPECIAL TAX. A NYCITY NEWS SERVICE INVESTIGATION FOUND THAT THE ADDED PROTECTION SYSTEM BENEFITS WEALTHIER DISTRICTS AS POORER AREAS ABSORB THE BRUNT OF CRIME.

NEW ORLEANS Kyron Miller shudders as he recalls barely escaping amid gunfire after being robbed in the city’s Seventh Ward.

The Seventh Ward is an expanse bordered by the Mississippi River, the heavily trafficked French Quarter and the fairgrounds that host the city’s annual Jazz Fest. The Seventh is one of the city’s poorer sections, with a higher crime rate than some nearby wealthier neighborhoods.

Miller said not only did residents stay inside the night he was robbed, but police did not respond to the shots. He had little faith they could do much, anyway.

But not far away, in New Orleans’ more well to do areas, policing is a different story.

Unlike almost every major city in the United States, New Orleans allows neighborhoods to boost local tax bills to pay for extra protection but the money isn’t shared with poorer sections of the city.

Most of New Orleans’s wealthier sections have opted for the additional policing, raising an additional $6 million in taxes yearly that directly benefit about 100,000 people a little more than a quarter of the city’s population.

Meanwhile, poorer neighborhoods pay a far steeper price: An NYCity News Service analysis found that 92 percent of all homicides in New Orleans since 2012 occurred outside of so called security districts.

The disparities represent an open wound in a city still battling back nearly a dozen years after Hurricane Katrina forever scarred the Big Easy.

The pre Katrina New Orleans Police Department force of nearly 1,700 officers is down by about 500 as the city grapples with the nation’s fourth highest murder rate. Meanwhile, the NOPD operates under the cloud of a 2012 consent decree, born of years of complaints of excessive force and discrimination.

New Orleans’ population, which declined by more than half in the year after the devastating flood, is still about 100,000 short of 2005 levels, with some neighborhoods largely abandoned as others rebuild.

The French Quarter, even amid a high profile mass shooting on Bourbon Street last year, brims with people,
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music and cops. But in the neighborhoods beyond, there plays a tune of two cities.

WEALTHIER AND WHITER AREAS BENEFIT

Under a Louisiana state law that went into effect nearly two decades ago, any neighborhood can opt can vote to tax itself extra and use the funds to create a security district.

In some districts, additional police are regular New Orleans Police Department officers who earn extra money moonlighting. The extra protection often comes from hiring private security firms. In some neighborhoods, funds are used simply to install surveillance cameras.

In theory, residents of poorer sections could decide to tax themselves to pay for added security. The reality is that does not happen in a city where nearly one quarter of the population lives in poverty.

An NYCity News Service analysis found that wealthier and whiter neighborhoods tend to create security districts:

More than 35 percent of households in security districts make $100,000 or more per year, compared to less than 15 percent of those outside the districts, according to the 2015 American Community Survey.

Neighborhoods with security districts are about 47 percent white and 47 percent black.

Neighborhoods without security districts are 63 percent black and 29 percent white.

Extra yearly taxes in neighborhoods with security districts range from $100 to $2,600 per household or business. These parts of New Orleans, in general, were traditionally safer than areas too poor to afford extra protection.

Meanwhile, New Orleans struggles to rebuild its police force even as the overall crime rate often exceeds levels in most other big cities.

The $6 million a year collected in the security districts, if allocated to the NOPD, would add almost 4 percent to the department’s budget. That would cover the median annual base salary of more than 110 officers.

“If you look across the city, you’re going have more affluent neighborhoods that have the security districts,” said Shelley Landrieu, administrator of four security zones in New Orleans’ Garden District. “But it’s not just because they have the money. It’s because they’re also more stable and they have the money and they’re trying to protect now what they have.”

A 2013 report by New Orleans Office of Inspector General found the widespread use of security districts is unique to New Orleans and raised whether it is fair for richer areas to not share tax dollars with struggling parts of the city. The report questioned whether public safety should be regarded as “a private good at the neighborhood level” or as “a public good at the city wide level.”

EXTRA SECURITY DELIVERS EXTRA IMPACT

On April 15, 2015, Marita Clofer patrolled the Lakeshore Crime Prevention District, where homes for sale can approach $900,000,
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more than four times the median New Orleans sales price.

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JACKSON, Tenn. The new year brings new business for Gold Gym in Jackson.

Deby Gooch and her husband made a lifestyle change one year ago. Jan. 6. last year, Gary and I have lost 100 pounds, she said.

Gold Gym Group Exercise Instructor Lisa Evans said this is a busy time. always see everybody trying to get back in the gym from the holidays, she said.

Having trouble getting motivated because of the cold? Evans said to establish a routine and remember it will warm up. understand you can control the weather,
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but you can control your other actions and what you do, she said.

Workers at Gold Gym said they see a majority of new members join between now and April.

Evans recommended setting small goals. this week I going to try to go three times for, you know, 30 minutes, she said.

She also recommends making a friend at the gym or having an accountability partner. makes a huge difference that you can look forward to seeing and to talk to and have some of the same direction,
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Evans said.

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“I’ve experienced rotavirus, and it’s nasty,” says Slezak, a Lancaster pediatric nurse and mother of five. “When it comes, everyone seems to catch it.”

There’s no pretty way to say it: Rotavirus is the leading cause of severe diarrhea in babies and young children.

The diarrhea usually accompanied by equally unappealing vomiting and fever often leads to dehydration and hospitalization and, in rare cases, even death.

And worst of all, rotavirus is nearly impossible to avoid.

“Everybody gets rotavirus, just about,” says Dr. William Martens, of Red Rose Pediatrics, Lancaster.

With peak season looming, doctors and parents now have a new weapon against the virulent bug, known for taking out whole families for up to nine days. Food and Drug Administration approved RotaTeq, an oral rotavirus vaccine for babies. The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends RotaTeq for babies 2, 4 and 6 months old. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the vaccine, developed by Merck Co. Inc., will prevent 74 percent of rotavirus and 96 percent of cases requiring hospitalization.

Local pediatricians say RotaTeq has received an overwhelmingly positive response especially from parents of previous rotavirus victims.

Slezak, for one, knew right away that she wanted her 7 month old twins, Alexis and Ryan, to have the vaccine.

“It doesn’t take a lot of convincing,” says Dr. Jennifer Ammons, of Roseville Pediatrics, Lancaster.

“(Parents) know how bad (rotavirus) is. Vomiting and diarrhea is no fun.”According to the CDC, children ages 3 to 35 months are most at risk for rotavirus. Four out of five children will catch it by age 5.

Infants and young children are especially susceptible to resulting dehydration, which can cause death if untreated.

In fact, in less developed counties, rotavirus kills more than 500,000 children under 5 each year. (In many of those countries, Martens notes, RotaTeq is prohibitively expensive.)

In the United States, the CDC reports that rotavirus is responsible for more than 600,000 doctor and emergency room visits each year. Between 55,000 and 70,000 children are hospitalized, and 20 to 60 die.

Rotavirus causes $1 billion in health care costs and lost productivity every year.

“There are not many deaths in the United States, but in hospitalization and outpatient care, it is a significant burden,” says Ammons, who chairs the Lancaster County Immunization Coalition.

Local pediatricians are bracing for the peak season, which usually hits in late winter or early spring.

Rotavirus spreads easily on contaminated hands and objects. Hand washing is your best defense, but the CDC says better hygiene and sanitation haven’t significantly reduced the spread of rotavirus.

Sharing and mouthing toys makes babies and toddlers especially vulnerable.

“It’s not unusual for us to see everybody in the family get it,” Martens says. “When (children) are in a day care situation, it’s almost impossible to prevent the spread.”

Replenishing lost fluids with over the counter products like Pedialyte is the only way to treat rotavirus. In severe cases, children get IV fluids in the hospital.

A large scale study of the new RotaTeq vaccine in 70,000 children showed no increased risk for bowel obstruction.

“This is an entirely different vaccine,” Ammons says. “Testing on this vaccine has been extensive. It’s a very safe vaccine.”
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Emily Duck is only 5 foot 4, but she has no trouble shifting the gears, hitting the brakes or climbing into the cab of a big rig that she drives from Edwardsville, Ill., to Kansas City almost every night.

The single mother of two has been hauling freight for three years, benefiting from a national trucker shortage that has companies scrambling to recruit drivers, offering competitive salaries and benefits and, in some cases, paying for their training.

“I went from being broke, making minimum wage and living paycheck to paycheck to getting a paycheck that was over $1,000 for one week after taxes,” said Duck, 28, of Belleville.

The job has its drawbacks. five days a week, taking time away from her two young daughters and limiting her social life. It’s hard to find healthy food along the interstate, she said, and you don’t get much exercise sitting in a truck.

But Duck owns a home and a nice vehicle, and she sleeps in her own bed, unlike “over the road” drivers who can be gone one, two or three weeks at a time.

“(My daughters) know from listening to other people how cool it is that their mom does this, but they don’t like my work hours,” she said. “They don’t like how much I work.”

Shortage expected to get worse

A study conducted last year by Bob Costello, chief economist for American Trucking Associations, estimated the driver shortage would reach 50,000 by the end of 2017 and 174,000 by 2026.

Costello cited several reasons, including a workforce that is aging and overwhelmingly male (only 6% are female); recruitment challenges related to the trucking lifestyle, which doesn’t appeal to everyone; and new regulations that limit shift lengths, requiring more drivers to haul the same amount of freight.

“It’s kind of the best kept secret in employment right now,” said Brett Reinert, associate vice president of strategic initiatives at Lewis and Clark Community College who oversees its truck driving program in Bethalto, Ill.

“As an occupation, it’s old, so there are a lot of retirees,” he said. “At the same time, it’s a growing industry, so you have new positions. There is work available for anyone who has a commercial driver’s license right now, assuming you don’t have a criminal record.”

Depending on the company, starting salaries range from $35,000 to $40,000 a year for route drivers who go home each night and more for regional or cross country, Reinert said.

RELATED: Truck driver shortage slows operations at world’s largest newsprint maker

RELATED: Analysis Is regulation driving the driver shortage?

Extra endorsements are needed to transport liquid or hazardous materials, which can create additional opportunities.

“Employers are falling all over themselves to hire students,” said Rene Dulle, Workforce Solutions Group program manager at St. Louis Community College who oversees its truck driving program on the Forest Park campus.

“We have eight employers who are going to visit the class (this month), and we only have five students,” she said. “It’s great. The students really get to shop around.”

Commercial driver’s license required

Truckers must be 21 years old and possess a Class A commercial driver’s license to take tractor trailers across state lines. The minimum age is 18 for a Class B license to drive heavy trucks with no trailers.

Illinois and Missouri require physical exams and drug testing, Dulle said, and most trucking companies want verifiable work histories and acceptable driving records.

“You can’t drive with certain heart conditions,” Reinert said. “It’s a safety issue. They want to make sure you are in good enough shape to sit behind the wheel and control the vehicle.”

Two community colleges and a few private schools in the St. Louis area have truck driving programs, which vary on the number of weeks, tuition and pass rates on licensing tests. Some guarantee job placement.

Lewis and Clark and St. Department of Labor grant to offset costs.

RELATED: ‘Crisis’ in Ohio’s trucking industry spurs flurry of bills

“We knew there was a huge demand for truck drivers before that,” Dulle said. “But between the equipment, the fuel and the maintenance, it was just too expensive to start a program.”

St. Louis Community College has a regular program and a new pilot apprenticeship program. The latter provides free tuition ($5,000) for five weeks of training to selected students who commit to working a minimum of 18 months for one of three partnering freight haulers.

Apprenticeships are funded by a federal grant administered by the St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment and sponsored by St. Louis Regional Freightway, a branch of Bi State Development that assists the manufacturing, logistics and transportation industry.

“We want to increase the number of truck drivers and continue to have competitive trucking rates and be competitive in the global market,” said Mary Lamie, executive director of St. Louis Regional Freightway. “And we want to position ourselves to take advantage of the anticipated growth in freight volumes over the next three decades.”
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Chico >> Terrye Lucas believes in hope. She thinks without it, people don really stand a chance.

Hope is at the core of a new women transitional living home in Chico. Sponsored by Paths Straight to Recovery, the Christian based home is about starting over, long term recovery from addiction and the habits and pain that accompany it, and use of a 12 step program.

The home, in a Chico neighborhood, can accommodate up to 10 women. So far, four are living there. After only six months of fundraising and a million other details spearheaded by Lucas, the house opened in December.

Lucas said the home is state licensed and accepts women in all kinds of situations, including those who are on probation or parole. All the residents must have at least 30 days of sobriety with a desire to stay sober. She said she was asked to start the project by Richard Hobbs, who is the founder and director of Paths Straight to Recovery. He opened a recovery home for men in Chico about two years ago.

needed to raise $30,000 to open this house, said Lucas. seemed impossible at the time, but I prayed and put the word out there about what I was trying to do. Aldersgate (Methodist Church) was a big help. Women have to pay rent to live there, and are expected to work toward an independent life.

One of those women is Kimberley Bailey, who has changed everything about how she lives. At 51, she has been able to put drug use and addiction, felony convictions and prison time behind her.

Bailey is the resident manager at the new women home. been a drug addict since I was 11, she said. have three kids, but I was never in their lives . I finally let myself be arrested. I was pretty tired of living that way. I was sentenced to four years in prison, but probation was granted and I served 16 months. Today, she is in charge of that kitchen.

Being hired at Paths Straight to Recovery is a continuation of her new life. am so grateful for all this, she said, looking around the house where she also is employed. still make a choice every day. choice, Bailey said, is to stay sober and follow the teachings of Celebrate Recovery, the Christian principles and lifestyle promoted by Paths Straight to Recovery.

New to the program and the house is Talara Cavalli, 28. been homeless and struggling but I am not using. I went to a crisis unit in Chico and a friend told me about this sober living environment, she said.

Cavalli also spent time in prison, and said she now understands that drug use is a way to numb pain. asked for help and prayer, she said. got out of prison in June 2017 and I staying on track. Positivity is good and I like the structure here. Even though I had hard times and rough patches, things are really awesome now. She has plans to get her GED and she can see beyond that, too. love art, she said. sew, draw, make jewelry. Someday I think I can sell it. has not been an addict, but she said she understands why people often use alcohol and drugs. She has worked in domestic violence prevention in Illinois, was a prison chaplain and worked in prison ministry.

and alcohol abuse is a Band Aid for other things going on and that often mental, physical or emotional abuse, Lucas said.

Often she sees women feeling shame and regret, over and over. tell them, get out of the dumpster, she said, explaining that reliving past mistakes is not helpful.

Women who live at the house are required to attend three meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, and two Celebrate Recovery meetings every week. Lucas plans to bring mentors and financial planning workshops to the women.

According to Neal Neuenburg, board president of Paths Straight To Recovery Board and pastor emeritus at Aldersgate Methodist Church, the house serves an important purpose.

get a lot of calls for women who need a place like this. We had a men house for two years, but there is a high need for women in recovery. This is a safe place to move forward, said Neuenburg. idea behind these houses is to give people a chance. We can save the whole world, but we can help one woman or man at a time, give them hope and a chance to make positive changes in their lives. Straight to Recovery works closely with private counselors and the Iversen Wellness and Recovery Center, part of Butte County Behavioral Health, as well as federal, state and local law enforcement.
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A great pair of jeans never goes out of style. But according to a 2016 study by British company CollectPlus, there’s an age at which we should find a new way to be stylish.And that age . The thesis is that shopping for new pairs past this age isn’t worth the trouble. One in 10 half centurions try on six pairs and spend five days looking to find just one pair that fits. The process is so traumatic that 6 percent reportedly burst into tears.So, if you can still fit into your old jeans, you’re good! But shopping for new ones? The study says to forget it.Since the options for clothing the lower halves of our bodies in adulthood seem to be rapidly dwindling, here are a few options that haven’t yet been outlawed by the peanut gallery:Overalls. They’re not just for toddlers anymore!
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Pantsuits. It is an inalienable right to enter old age in a fabulous caftan. You’ll be ready for anything!No pants. Godspeed.Trump discusses violence with video game execs and criticsTrump discusses violence with video game execs and criticsUpdated: Monday, March 12 2018 12:23 AM EDT2018 03 12 04:23:37 GMT(AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File). FILE In this March 6, 2018, file photo,
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President Donald Trump listens to a question during a meeting with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. Trump plans to meet with .

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FOLKESTONE Invicta, without a game at last weekend, return to action with a home match against Weymouth in the Dr Martens League Premier Division on Saturday. Invicta hope to field new signings Dave Flemming and Lee McRobert, both 29 year old strikers.

Flemming is on loan from Welling United and came on as a substitute in all three of the Wings’ games against Invicta this season, playing for most of the game in the 5 1 FA Cup fourth qualifying round replay at the end of October.

Flemming started his career at Crystal Palace, before joining Welling. He was sold on to Southend United before playing for Lincoln City, Kettering Town, Enfield (two spells), Dunkirk and Welling again.

McRobert has joined the club from Hastings Town and started his career under manager Neil Cugley at Ashford Town before signing for Sittingbourne for 20,000 in 1993, still a record fee for both clubs. He then joined Millwall for 35,000, where he made over 20 Football League appearances. After leaving the New Den, Lee joined Hastings Town before returning to Ashford Town and then having a spell in the Conference with Dover Athletic before re joining Hastings.

The two signings compensate for the loss through suspension of Nicky Dent who starts a three match ban this weekend after his recent sending off away to Newport (Isle of Wight), for which he was been fined two weeks’ wages.
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Explore Explore Downtown DECI News Downtown Districts Parking Biking Transportation Neighborhoods Apartments + Lofts BusinessesDiningEntertainmentHealthLodgingOrganizations EducationServicesShopping Events Our Events The Downtownys Family Day in Downtown Prex Claires A Grand Evening on the Bridge International Fall Festival Trick or Treat Downtown Let It Glow! Christmastime in the City Downtown EventsView Events CalendarMarch 2018April 2018May 2018June 2018July 2018August 2018September 2018October 2018November 2018December 2018 Submit An Event Programs Our Programs River Lights Volunteer Guides Jump Start Downtown Awards Downtown Enhancement Grants Business Resources About DECI Our Mission Staff + Board Volunteer Membership Event Sponsorships Advertise Downtown Reports Contact Us Resources Visit Eau Claire City of Eau Claire City of Eau Claire Economic Development EC Area Chamber of Commerce Make Eau Claire UW Eau Claire Eau Claire Public Arts

With a move from Menomonie, The Hatch is now open on S. Barstow Street in Eau Claire. Owner Adam Arel says The Hatch is a store with unique items and reasonable prices.

“We strive to have quality products with less of a mark up with the idea that lower prices equal selling more, and that equals more room for new products coming in. Products will change frequently enough so you never really know what you’re going to find when you come in next,” Arel says.

Arel says while their sign says ‘clothing and imports,’ they strive to carry things from as far away as India and Indonesia, but also showcase things that are made locally.

Originally from Northwestern Minnesota, Arel and his wife traveled through Eau Claire about 12 years ago. “We liked that there seemed to be so many small businesses everywhere and commented on how pretty it was.” A year later,
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the Arels decided to pack up and move their family to Eau Claire.

“Eau Claire is a beautiful city, full of great people. In my opinion, it kind of chose us!” Arel says.

The clothing and d shop opened at 418 S. Barstow in early October. Prior to that, the Arels had the store open for about two years in Menomonie. They also travel to many festivals throughout the area to sell their products, including jewelry they make themselves.

“I think our shop will ultimately fit in very well. With all of the things going on downtown, and the future of downtown Eau Claire, we just couldn’t see any better place to be.”
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The City of Edmond has sent out a notice that a public Community Connections meeting has been planned to discuss The Shops at Spring Creek Phase 1. A new planned unit development (PUD) has been submitted by the developer.

The 26 acre property is east of BancFirst across from Spring Creek, east of Panera Bread and 1/8th mile north of 15th Street and east of Bryant Avenue.

“The purpose of the meeting is to provide information to the residents about the proposed project and for the developers to answer questions and listen to issues raised by the residents,” Fees stated.

The Bridges at Spring Creek PUD was last extended by The Edmond City Council in August 2011 for a five year period, said Steve Murdock, city attorney. In July 2016 a request to extend the PUD was filed but placed on hold due to the filing of the Bridges at Spring Creek PUD which was defeated by the voters, Murdock said. Now the site plan for the Bridges at Spring Creek has officially expired.

“A core group of citizens circulated the petitions last winter and campaigned to rescind this. This group, including myself, met with the developer back in May to discuss the concerns that led to that campaign,” said Lydia Lee, of the Edmond Neighborhood Alliance.

Lee said the group has never supported the project as presented. She hopes concerned citizens will come to the Community Connections meeting to voice their opinions.
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