Gaping holes have been exposed in the governments

first_imgGaping holes have been exposed in the government’s Independent Living Fund (ILF) promises, after a local authority slashed a disabled woman’s support by 48 hours a week when the fund closed.Daisy* had been receiving 49 hours a week of ILF support, in addition to 35 hours of council support, but that package is now set to be cut to just 36 hours in total.Hounslow council – which originally offered her just 21 hours a week, before it agreed to carry out another assessment – even suggested that she started using adult nappies, to lower her reliance on support from personal assistants and so “increase her independence”.She has described the cuts as “demeaning, dehumanising and wrong and utterly, devastatingly traumatising”, and is now hoping to take legal action against the council over the cut to her support package.ILF was run by the Department for Work and Pensions and when it closed on 30 June was helping nearly 17,000 disabled people with the highest support needs to live independently.But the coalition government decided that it should close – despite a high-profile campaign to keep it open (pictured) – promising instead that nine months’ worth of non-ring-fenced funding would be transferred through the Department for Communities and Local Government to councils in England, and to devolved governments in Wales and Scotland.Announcing the date of the ILF closure, in March 2014, Mike Penning, at the time the minister for disabled people, said there had been “significant developments in how we provide social care to disabled people so they can live independent lives”, and that the government wanted to “make sure that disabled people are given the support that allows them to fulfil their potential”.Instead, the transition process has been littered with reports of delays in reassessments for former ILF-users and cuts to their care packages, compounded by many local authorities failing to plan ahead for the closure.Daisy, a wheelchair-user with a number of long-term health conditions, who needs support 24 hours a day, already has to rely on friends, family and personal assistants (PAs) to provide unpaid support for the rest of the week, even with a package of 84 hours a week support.But she now fears the council’s decision will destroy her social life, her links with the community, her efforts to care for her 83-year-old mother, and her campaigning and activism, as well as risking falls, dislocations, pressure sores, infections and general deterioration of her physical and mental health.She used ILF support to speak about the imminent closure of ILF at the Glastonbury Festival speakers forum in June, just days before the fund closed for good.As part of the council’s offer of 36 hours of support a week, she will receive just two blocks of three-and-a-half hours of support for “accessing the community”.Before she started receiving support from ILF, she said, she was rarely able to contribute to society.Being offered just seven hours a week for excursions into the outside world has added to her “distress and feelings of panic, fear and dread and loss of control over her day-to-day life”.She said that being supported by her PAs to campaign on disability rights, independent living and social inclusion has been of “significant importance” to her, as the government “abuses its position of power to make cruel and inhumane cuts to disability benefits and attacks the basic human rights of sick and disabled people”.She has told her social worker that suggesting that she would have “greater independence by being put into incontinence pads so that she wold not be dependent on carers to help her to access the toilet is a prime example of this abuse and neglect”.She has told the council that maintaining a home where she feels safe and secure has enabled her to be “more outgoing and more able to contribute to society”, and that removing that support will “seriously affect” her ability to be part of society.A spokeswoman for Hounslow council confirmed that Daisy was now receiving just 36 hours of support per week.She said: “An assessment of [her] needs was carried out by Hounslow council.“The number of hours care which [she] is receiving as a direct payment is not based on what she received in the past, but what her needs are currently.”She refused to say how many other former ILF-users had had their support packages cut by the council.Linda Burnip, co-founder of Disabled People Against Cuts, said they were aware of at least three other local authorities that were “slashing people’s care packages, in spite of the fact that they have had money devolved to them” from the government to cover the extra costs of former ILF-users.And she said that no government department was monitoring the impact of the ILF closure, after DWP “dumped responsibility for it” when the fund closed.Burnip said Daisy’s case showed that ministers were “liars”, but added: “I don’t think anybody ever believed them anyhow.”*Not her real namelast_img read more

Marie Harrison tireless fighter for environmental justice dies at 71

first_imgMarie Harrison was a fighter and an organizer, and, nearly until her last breath, she continued to do both of these things. “On Friday morning, I was on the phone talking to her about organizing issues surrounding the India Basin project and the Hunters Point Shipyard,” says Bradley Angel, the CEO of Greenaction, an environmental nonprofit where Harrison served as an organizer and board member for decades. “And, on Friday night, she stopped breathing.”  She died Saturday after being taken off life support. Harrison, who was 71, arrived in Bayview in 1966 as a teen with her mother and eight siblings. She lived in Bayview Hunters Point for decades and, for two years, worked at the toxic Hunters Point Shipyard. She did not think it was a coincidence that she, a nonsmoker, developed a severe and inoperable lung condition that, in recent years, required her to lug oxygen tanks everywhere she went.  Decades ago — back in the early 1990s — Harrison was sounding alarms that the Hunters Point Shipyard project was a looming toxic nightmare and that efforts to clean it up were slipshod and not to be trusted. As a former worker on the site, she, personally, slammed on the typewriter keys to ensure the requisite five — yes, five — copies of every document were produced. So she knew the documents were out there even if, as an activist, the powers-that-be wouldn’t turn them over. Email Address Subscribe to Mission Local’s daily newslettercenter_img In recent years, the media has, belatedly, began writing about what Harrison was agitating for decades ago. Toxicity, a botched clean-up, and a series of cover-ups at the Hunters Point Shipyard are, arguably, the worst eco-frauds in the nation’s history. Yet, despite this spate of recent coverage, it remains an underreported story. The highest echelons of political movers and shakers in this region are deeply lashed to this ongoing catastrophe and accountability remains elusive. Because this story remains critically undercovered — and because this level of environmental degradation affects every neighborhood in this city — we are choosing to run Harrison’s obituary in Mission Local. But, truth be told, it affects some neighborhoods worse than others, which is why it was so easily ignored for so many years. “Marie was a clear and strong voice who brought community knowledge to the forefront regarding the contamination of the shipyard,” Angel continued. “She did this as her friends and neighbors continued dying of pollution-related causes. Finally, the state of California as well as the Bay Area Air Quality Management District acknowledges what neighborhood residents have said for decades — Bayview-Hunters Point continues to bear a disproportionate impact from pollution, and many of the health problems in the community can be attributed to it.”   Harrison’s calling as an environmental crusader came after she and so many others were forced out of the misbegotten Geneva Towers project. She took up residence with her daughter in Hunters View, just a stone’s throw from what was then an operating PG&E power plant. “She would come in in the mornings and tell me how she had to sit up all night with her grandson, because his nose wouldn’t stop bleeding,” recalled Mary Ratcliff, the publisher of the San Francisco Bay View, who ran Harrison’s column for years. “She kept watching the smoke pouring out of that chimney and heading right at them.”Harrison was in the mix as staunch community activism led to this plant being shuttered in 2006. “Some in the community were bought off by mega-developers and polluters,” says Angel. “But Marie could not be bought.”Marie Harrison in 2004 agitates against the PG&E power plant in Bayview. Photo courtesy of Greenaction.Harrison joined Greenaction as a community organizer in 1999. It was more than a job for her. “All she wanted was for us to have a fighting chance to live without worrying about the water or the air,” says Leaotis Martin, a friend and fellow organizer brought into the fold by Harrison and Tessie Ester. “They opened my eyes to how real this work is. I never really knew how toxic Bayview was until I started messing with Marie and Tessie.” After her husband died several years ago, Harrison’s health declined. She lost her home in Bayview and moved in with her son in Stockton. And yet, she would commute back to San Francisco to carry on her work. She wanted to keep people alive and, friends say, the work kept her alive. Harrison, recalls her friend Martin, was not a physically imposing person. But “she was big all around. She enjoyed doing what she was doing. And if she felt you didn’t care about the community she loved, she could be a little hard on you. When I first started, if I wasn’t serious enough, she’d say ‘I’m gonna break your neck.’ You know, she doesn’t mean it. But she means it. To get your attention.” As such, Harrision was in character last year when she was honored for a lifetime of activism by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. She spoke quietly, and had oxygen tubes in her nose. But she spoke her mind. “I would be remiss if I did not ask for you to continue to support the community effort to get the shipyard cleaned up, completely — i.e. a full re-testing of the shipyard,” she told the board on June 26, 2018. “I don’t want to see another family out there and be worried to death if they’re safe or not. And you know it’s not safe yet. … You guys are endowed with the ability to make sure our community and our new community members are safe. That’s all I’m asking. That’s all any of us are asking. Say no to corporate interests. Do the right thing. Remember the community you actually work for.” Harrison is survived by three adult children and several grandchildren. Her survivors and loved ones agreed that the best way to honor her legacy would be to continue her fight — and clean up the shipyard. last_img read more

KEIRON Cunningham says the win over Catalans wasn

first_imgKEIRON Cunningham says the win over Catalans wasn’t the prettiest to watch – but it was good to get two points under their belts.Saints got their title defence underway with an 18-7 victory at Langtree Park on Friday.“It wasn’t pretty,” he said. “It’s disappointing for me that all these rugby league fans who have been waiting for this season to start, to see the sport they love… that after two TV games all people are talking about is how many refereeing decisions are made in the game. We want to just play Rugby League.“The side hung on in there and their resilience and effort defensively was good – they keep showing that to me because they are making themselves defend a lot. We defended 30 tackles in a row and then went up the other end and should have scored. That changes the whole aspect of the game – our skill was off tonight.“We looked a little nervous; we looked like we were playing on TV for the first game of the season. When we got into our rhythms though we looked undefendable – we threatened them every time.“Catalans showed immense resilience for what they have gone through. They lost Tonga, didn’t have half backs and were without middle men. I thought they were great and will be up there this year.”Keiron revealed after the game that Luke Walsh is in light training with the team now and is an outside chance for the World Club Challenge.last_img read more

GOOD luck to the players and staff who are travell

first_imgGOOD luck to the players and staff who are travelling to Australia today!Saints Academy Tour of Australia will take in games against Wests Tigers (Oct 17), Central Coast (Oct 21), Parramatta Eels (Oct 25) and Penrith Panthers (Oct 31).“On behalf at everyone at the club we wish all the players and staff – as well as those parents travelling with them – the very best of luck and a great trip to Australia,” Saints Chairman Eamonn McManus said.“The Tours have become a foundation and a tradition of the Academy and the players have represented the club and themselves with success, distinction and honour.“Games have seen boys develop into men and there’s no coincidence that 37 tourists have gone on to play in Super League.“It is an environment which is challenging but fun too and builds character.“I’m sure those on the trip will do themselves and the club proud and we are all behind them.”Details of the Tour can be found here.last_img read more

Tommy Makinson Jonny Lomax and Luke Thompson star

first_imgTommy Makinson, Jonny Lomax and Luke Thompson starred in England’s 18-16 victory over the Kiwi’s whilst Matty Lees was named man of the match in the Knights’ 16-12 decision in PNG.It was a performance that pleased coach Paul Anderson:“Matty has taken out the players’ player award,” he said. “He gave a couple of penalties away but I don’t mind that, he did that in the right way, because he’s got a level of intimidation about him.“He’s only 20 and he’s just got man of the match in an England Knights international against a near-enough full strength Papua New Guinea team. He’s a champion player and I like what he brings. He’s still got some things to fix up, but this trip is going to do him a lot of good.”England Women had a big 54-4 win over France that coach Craig Richards described as “excellent”.“I was really happy with the performance and the way the team bought into the processes that we brought into camp,” he said.Emily Rudge captained the side whilst Faye Gaskin, Jodie Cunningham, Tara Jones, Vicky Whitfield and Naomi Williams all played – Williams tagging a try in the second half.Elsewhere, James Bentley made his international debut at centre for Ireland in a 36-10 win over Scotland.He scored in the European Championship clash that his side dominated from start to finish.Theo Fages was at the hub of France’s 54-18 victory over Wales in the same competition.The top two sides in the ‘Euros’ will qualify for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.Memberships for the 2019 season are now on sale and existing holders have until October 31 to secure the best possible price for their renewal.For information, prices and how to buy, click here.last_img read more

Club Superstore

first_imgWith great support from the Saints Heritage Society, we will have a different front cover for every home game this season which will take its’ inspiration from a retro-programme featuring Saints against the same opposition back in the day.We start tonight with a Saints vs. Wigan classic from Good Friday in 1966, which we hope bodes well for tonight! That day Saints recorded a 17-10 win that included a try from a certain Tom van Vollenhoven!We feature that team inside the programme and this regular feature will also highlight their individual Heritage numbers, produced for us as a result of the outstanding work from our friends at the Saints Heritage Society.Tom has a very appropriate number for a flying winger so pick up your copy to find out which one!If you have any ideas for covers you would like to see and you have the original programme in your collection, then please scan the front cover and email to us at never know, we might just choose yours to become part of our collection in 2019.The usual features are inside with columns from Chairman, Eamonn McManus, Justin Holbrook and James Roby plus loads of other content including an interview with Lachlan Coote, details of our successful 2021 World Cup bid to become a Host Venue, more information on how Heritage numbers were brought to life, plus a look back to the video years of the legendary Ron Hoofe, a quick Quiz page and something for Junior Saints to keep them entertained too.Buy yours from inside or outside the ground tonight for just £3 and many thanks to Warrington Audi for their season-long Programme Sponsorship.In addition, we have produced just 200 copies of a special limited-edition version for the same £3 price which will contain exactly the same great content as the main programme but with a special one-off cover design. This unique cover is in tribute to our flying winger Tommy Makinson as he makes his 200th Saints appearance tonight and this version is only on sale in the Club Shop, so when they’ve gone, they’ve gone!Please note, the Tommy Makinson version will NOT be on sale in any other area of the Stadium, so if you want one make sure you visit the Club Shop before you enter the turnstilesAll Hospitality guests will receive the Retro cover version as part of their package this evening.last_img read more

Douglas Edwards sentenced to at least 80 years in prison

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Less than 24 hours after he was found guilty of multiple charges including kidnapping and attempted murder of a six-year-old girl,  Douglas Edwards was sentenced to between 80 and 110 years in prison.“He will die in prison and that’s the only appropriate place for him,” New Hanover County District Attorney Ben David said.- Advertisement – Last year, the 6-year-old child was taken from her front yard in Monkey Junction, chained to a tree in the woods off River Road and sexually assaulted. She was found the next morning.“Sometimes we see when evil and innocence intersect, that’s what you call horror,” David said. “And this was every parent’s worse nightmare.”September 14, 2016, a long night the victim’s family, community members, and local law enforcement like Lt. D.R. Swan with the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office will never forget.Related Article: R&B star R. Kelly enters not-guilty plea in sex abuse case“I can’t tell you the amount of emotions a year ago that still resonate with the detectives that handled this case,” Lt. Swan said.Before deliberations began, the judge and assistant district attorney told the jury they have to decide if they believe two aggravating factors in this case, which are the child is very young and the crime was specifically cruel and heinous. The defense argued against those factors, saying Edwards has faced many challenges his whole life.The jury found the two aggravating factors exist handing over Edwards’ sentencing to the judge. Before sentencing, the victim’s mother gave an emotional impact statement.“First of all I would like to thank God, and every single one of you for finding justice for my little one,” she said. “It’s not fair for men such as this one to be free… doing such malicious, evil things to such young children.”The judge ruled Edwards a sexually violent predator.The defense asked for Edwards to have mental health considerations and referenced a suicide attempt Wednesday night. The judge also ordered Edwards to not have any contact with the victim.Wednesday, the jury also found Edwards guilty of two counts of indecent liberties with a child, assault with a deadly weapon and statutory sexual offense.“You know we’re all parents here,” David said. “And it’s something where we usually are responding to tragedies but to actually be able to prevent a further one and bring a little girl home, goes way beyond than just doing the normal job.”Edwards has charges pending in the sexual assault of another New Hanover County Child. David said because Edwards will be in prison for life, he is still considering whether to pursue that charge to avoid putting the other victim through a trial.last_img read more

Weapons gun found on two students lockdown lifted at Pender Co schools

first_img Schools spokeswoman Miranda Ferguson said a code red lockdown is issued when there is a potential threat of an intruder and/or a weapon on campus.According to Capt. James Rowell with the Pender County Sheriff’s Office, a non-emergency call came in from a parent that a threat was coming to the school.Bryce Sheehan (Photo: PCSO)Rowell said they responded to Topsail High School and found a student, Bryce Matthew Sheehan, sitting in his vehicle in front of the school. He said the 18-year-old Hampstead teen was found with a large knife strapped to his leg and had three other knives.Related Article: Brunswick County Schools announce make-up days due to FlorenceSheehan was arrested and charged with Possession of a Weapon on Educational Property, not a firearm. He is currently in the Pender County Jail under a $8,000 secured bond.While investigating Sheehan, Rowell said a passing motorist alerted a deputy at the school of a vehicle whose driver had been driving erratically while approaching the school and had acted suspiciously before approaching law enforcement vehicles.Rowell said at one point the vehicle had pulled over and the driver placed something into the back seat of the vehicle.Deputies made contact with this driver and identified him as Alan Edwardo, Jr., 16 of Hampstead.Edwardo was found to be in possession of a .22 caliber semi-automatic rifle in his vehicle.Rowell said Edwardo indicated he heard there was a code red lockdown at the school and was responding to attempt to stop the shooter.Edwardo was arrested and charged with Possession of a Firearm on Educational Property.He posted a $2,000 secured bond and has since been released from custody.During these investigations, the NC Highway Patrol and New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office assisted.Rowell said neither of the two students tried to make entry into any building on the Topsail High School campus.During a code red lockdown, students are brought into a classroom, doors and windows are closed and locked, lights turned off, and students moved into a protected area of the room.North Topsail Elementary and South Topsail Elementary were placed under a code yellow lockdown.The lockdown was lifted by noon. A long line of parents were waiting to pick up their children.No one got hurt. Topsail High School on code Red Lock down on May 29, 2018 (Photo: Viewer) PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Two Pender County students are in custody after a threat Tuesday morning at Topsail High School.Pender County Schools posted on Facebook around 9:15 a.m. about a code red lockdown at Topsail High, Topsail Middle and Topsail Elementary.- Advertisement – last_img read more

North Carolina elections board to fight federal subpoenas

first_imgU.S. Attorney Bobby Higdon in Raleigh issued the subpoenas, and hasn’t said specifically why immigration enforcement investigators are seeking the information for a grand jury empaneled in Wilmington.- Advertisement – RALEIGH, NC (AP) — North Carolina’s election board says it will fight the subpoenas federal prosecutors sent seeking millions of voting documents and years of ballots. Related Article: North Carolina elections board replaces executive directorThe board directive came a day after an assistant federal prosecutor said Higdon’s office is willing to narrow the requests and won’t require compliance until next year Board member Joshua Malcolm says the subpoenas were overly broad and significantly affect the interests of voters.center_img The letter says the subpoenas were served on behalf of a federal grand jury to avoid the possible destruction of documents by the board of elections, since voting records must be destroyed after some time. (Photo: Basil John/WWAY) The State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement voted unanimously Friday to ask state attorneys to work to block the subpoenas, issued last week to the state board and local boards in 44 counties, including New Hanover, Brunswick, Bladen, Columbus and Pender. last_img read more

Crews battling woods fire in Southport

first_img NC Forestry is helping on the ground and in the air.Expect to see heavy smoke in the air.Fire crews ask you to use caution if you are driving through this area. Woods fire along the railroad tracks behind Smithville Ballpark (Photo: Southport Fire Department) 1 of 4 Woods fire along the railroad tracks behind Smithville Ballpark (Photo: Southport Fire Department) Woods fire along the railroad tracks behind Smithville Ballpark (Photo: Southport Fire Department) BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WAY) — Multiple crews are battling a woods fire along River Road in Southport.According to the Southport Fire Department’s Facebook page, the fire is along the railroad tracks behind Smithville Township District Park, in the area of Bethel Road.- Advertisement – center_img Woods fire along the railroad tracks behind Smithville Ballpark (Photo: Southport Fire Department) Woods fire along the railroad tracks behind Smithville Ballpark (Photo: Southport Fire Department) Related Article: Southport Fire Department responds to woods firelast_img read more