Indiana in Phase Four of Back On Track plan

first_imgCoronavirusIndianaLocalNewsSouth Bend Market Indiana in Phase Four of Back On Track plan By Tommie Lee – June 10, 2020 1 1126 Twitter WhatsApp Google+ Pinterest Facebook Facebook Previous articleUPDATE: Missing Elkhart woman has been foundNext articleBerrien County Youth Fair prepares to serve up fair food for Father’s Day Tommie Lee Pinterest Twitter (Photo supplied/State Of Indiana) As health indicators remain positive, Governor Eric Holcomb announced all 92 counties in the state can advance to Stage 4 of the Back On Track Indiana plan on Friday, June 12.Indiana Back On Track has five stages. Local governments may impose more restrictive guidelines.“I’m grateful to Hoosiers who have helped maintain our momentum and slow the spread of COVID-19 by exercising caution and following health guidance,” Gov. Holcomb said. “As we advance to Stage 4 and further reopen Indiana for business, we’ll continue to monitor our progress and make data-informed decisions.”Gov. Holcomb has used data to drive decisions since the state’s first case of the novel coronavirus in early March and he will continue to do so as the state continues a sector-by-sector reset. The state will move to reopen while continuing to monitor and respond to these four guiding principles:The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients statewide has decreased for 14 daysThe state retains its surge capacity for critical care beds and ventilatorsThe state retains its ability to test all Hoosiers who are COVID-19 symptomatic as well as health care workers, first responders, and frontline employeesHealth officials have systems in place to contact all individuals who test positive for COVID-19 and expand contact tracingAs the state lifts restrictions and more people return to work, visit a store or restaurant, and participate in more activities, the number of COVID-19 cases will increase. If these principles cannot be met, all or portions of the state may need to pause on moving forward or may need to return to an earlier phase of the governor’s Back On Track roadmap.In Stage 4, Hoosiers 65 and over and those with high-risk health conditions – who are the most vulnerable to the coronavirus – should remain at home as much as possible. Face coverings in public places are recommended.Social gatherings of up to 250 people will be permitted following the CDC’s social distancing guidelines.Outdoor visitation may take place at assisted living facilities and nursing homes. Hospital visitations with precautions are encouraged.Retail, commercial businesses and malls may open at full capacity.Dining room food service may open at up to 75 percent capacity as long as social distancing is observed. Bar seating in restaurants may open at 50 percent capacity. Bars and nightclubs may open at 50 percent capacity as long as they adhere to social distancing guidelines.Cultural, entertainment and tourism sites may open at 50 percent capacity.Movie theaters, bowling alleys and similar facilities may open at 50 percent capacity.Amusement parks, water parks and similar facilities may open at 50 percent capacity. Reservations are encouraged to limit the number of customers at any one time. Playgrounds may reopen.Community recreational non-contact sports practices, games and tournaments may resume. Contact sports, such as football, basketball, rugby or wrestling, can conduct conditioning and non-contact drills. Contact sports may resume games or tournaments beginning Friday, June 19. Before any games or tournaments, the host must make publicly available a COVID response plan outlining the steps being taken to ensure social distancing, increased sanitation and overall protection of competitors, coaches, staff, and spectators.Raceways may open at 50 percent grandstand capacity.Pari-mutuel horse racing may begin with no spectators at Hoosier Park and Indiana Grand facilities. Charity gaming and casinos may open Monday, June 15 with the approval of the Indiana Gaming Commission.Conventions, fairs, festivals, parades and similar events remain closed.If health indicators remain positive, the state will move to Stage 5 in early July. To learn more about the different stages and the associated dates to get a better understanding about where we’re going as a state, click here to see the full plan: Governor has signed an executive order implementing Stage 4 of the Back on Track Indiana roadmap. The executive order can be found here: Critical Industries Hotline continues to be available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday to respond to business and industry questions about whether a business is considered essential. The center may be reached by calling 877-820-0890 or by emailing [email protected] to frequently asked questions and instructions to file for COVID-19-related unemployment are available at Google+ WhatsApplast_img read more

Four Indiana cities suing streaming services

first_imgIndianaLocalNews Google+ Twitter Facebook Pinterest Pinterest Twitter Google+ (Photo Supplied/Netflix) Four cities in Indiana are suing online streaming services, such as Netflix and Hulu. The lawsuit demands that those streaming services pay the same franchise fees to local governments that cable companies must pay.The Northwest Indiana Times reports the class-action filed earlier this month argues that Disney, Netflix, Hulu, DirecTV, and DISH Network must pay a 5% franchise fee of gross revenue to the localities of where the customers live because of the use of internet equipment in the public right of way to transmit programming.It was filed by Indianapolis, Valparaiso, Fishers, and Evansville.To date, none of the defendants — Netflix, Disney, Hulu, DirectTV, and Dish Network — have registered as a franchise or paid the required fees to the plaintiffs — Valparaiso, Fishers, Indianapolis, and Evansville — or any of the 600 other Indiana units of local government potentially owed money, according to the lawsuit.The lawsuit also demands the companies be required to pay unpaid fees for past services and future fees that are required by law.An estimate of how much money is owed statewide is not known.The companies have not issued a response to the lawsuit. Facebook Four Indiana cities suing streaming services WhatsApp By Jon Zimney – August 18, 2020 2 273 Previous articleNo fall football means tough financial times ahead at Purdue UniversityNext articleVeterinary Medical Assoc: Don’t give pot to your pets Jon ZimneyJon Zimney is the News and Programming Director for News/Talk 95.3 Michiana’s News Channel and host of the Fries With That podcast. Follow him on Twitter @jzimney. WhatsApplast_img read more

Speech: Sir Alan Duncan addresses the Chatham House Latin America Conference 2018

first_imgIt is a pleasure for me to be here today to speak about Latin America, and an honour to be in such good company. The United Kingdom is expanding its outreach and activity in the region, and one good example is our evolving relationship with the Latin American Development Bank whose Secretary General, Victor Rico, here this morning.The United Kingdom wants to be a close partner in the next stage of Latin America’s development. We have been impressed by economic success in countries like Chile, Mexico, Colombia and Peru, and in smaller economies like the Dominican Republic and Paraguay. Economic policies based on free trade and greater economic open-ness have contributed to steady growth and the rise of a growing middle class.I am also delighted to be sharing a platform with Jorge Faurie, and would like to register here the United Kingdom’s strong support for President Macri’s reform agenda and economic stabilisation plan, and the determination of the Argentine authorities to manage current challenges to achieve long term economic stability. Over the last 2 years our relations with Argentina have improved dramatically, we want to keep it heading in that direction.That’s the good news – but I want to focus my remarks today on a country that offers a striking contrast, that’s Venezuela. I will do so because it is a failing state presenting the deepest man-made economic and humanitarian crisis in modern Latin American history. Its negative impact, vividly illustrated by the exodus of more than two million people who have fled to other countries, represents an unprecedented challenge for the region. I want to take the time to ask how Venezuela got here, and what can be done about it.We cannot talk about Venezuela without understanding the central role played by oil since the early 20th Century, I speak as a former oil trader myself. Venezuela was a founding member of OPEC. A publication in 1961 by Chatham House’s predecessor, The Royal Institute for International Affairs, noted that “Venezuela over the past quarter century has been one of the most dynamic economies in the world”. The 1960s and 1970s saw it enjoying relative political stability and one of the highest per-capita GDPs in the region.But, it was also a period that saw Venezuela become increasingly dependent on oil, in a way that stunted the potential for development in other sectors of its economy. Even the country’s then Oil Minister, Juan Pablo Perez, referred to oil as the “devil’s excrement” citing the waste, corruption and debt so often associated with it. As successive governments became addicted to oil, and the price fluctuated, the 1980s and 1990s saw Venezuela lurch back and forth between boom and bust.This was hardly surprising as oil came to account for nearly three quarters of Venezuela’s total export revenue at the same time as economic policy was mismanaged, and governments failed to deliver structural change. Once the oil price in 1999 hit pretty much $9 a barrel, its people, of course, were ready for change. Through this turbulent economic period the traditional two party system lost credibility. Hugo Chavez, as a populist “outsider” who challenged the status quo, seemed to offer something new.To begin with, what he offered seemed to work. His initial policies could be characterised as relatively moderate and broadly orthodox, a mixed model not unfriendly towards foreign capital. He sought to increase ordinary non-oil incomes, to reduce the size of the public sector, and invest in capital projects. He introduced incentives to encourage private investment, and he used economic growth to reduce inequality through the better distribution of oil revenues. He was, of course, helped by a sharp increase in oil prices, to over $100 a barrel by mid-2008. So in his early years, the Venezuelan economy was in reasonable shape, with rising GDP, falling unemployment, and a stable fiscal deficit. UN figures suggest poverty levels in Venezuela halved between 1999 and 2012.Unfortunately, the relatively positive statistics masked deeper structural problems that Chavez’s increasingly radical ideology, his hubristic “socialism of the 21st century”, was in fact making it far worse. Even in the ‘good times’, spending outstripped revenue, and between 2001 and 2011, Venezuela and the state oil company PDVSA issued nearly $50 billion of new debt at increasingly high interest rates. The inevitable then followed: fiscal imbalances led to devaluation which led to rising prices.To control inflation, Chavez introduced exchange rate and price controls, over-valuing the Bolivar against the Dollar and reducing the competitiveness of non-oil exports. Greater political radicalisation, including the expropriation of foreign companies, began to scare away foreign investors and encourage the middle classes to invest elsewhere, or look for jobs outside Venezuela even while domestic consumption seemed to be booming.By 2012, Chavez was running an economy that was volatile and unstable, with high inflation and an overvalued currency. It was ever more dependent on an oil industry whose output was falling despite an unusually long period of high global oil prices. It was inefficient and unsustainable. In short, Chavez had squandered the massive oil revenues that could have built lasting economic success.Let’s be really clear about this: the economic meltdown was entirely self-inflicted. The rot that had begun under Chavez set in more deeply under the Maduro regime. PDVSA was destroyed by political meddling and the sacking of thousands of competent oil experts.Mismanagement led to the halving of oil production as the price of oil fell. Hyperinflation set in as import controls and fixed exchange rates reduced the supply of goods. The government printed money to finance its deficits. The black market boomed and the rest of the economy collapsed.Foreign exchange and price controls created huge economic imbalances, which in turn generated massive incentives for corruption, and illegal but lucrative activities within government circles. According to the Financial Times, the Venezuelan government received $1.0 trillion in windfall revenue from the oil price boom between 2003 and 2012, of which it is said $300 billion was stolen or misappropriated.Unsustainable levels of debt forced the government in November 2017 to skip interest payments on two sovereign bonds, and that led to an accumulated default which has now reached over $6 billion. The bloated state sector has squeezed out what was left of the private sector. What remained of the domestic manufacturing and agricultural sectors has been destroyed or expropriated.Although the Venezuelan government practises statistical deceit, like all authoritarian regimes keen to hide the negative impact of their policies, we know that exports have fallen by half since 2008. Debt has tripled. GDP has fallen by a third.This economic decay has translated into deep misery for most Venezuelans. The purchasing power of anyone outside the privileged few who can manipulate price distortions and multiple exchange rates has been shattered by levels of hyperinflation not seen in Latin America since the 1980s.The recorded social cost of this gross economic mismanagement is stark. By 2014, poverty rates were back to 1999 levels, and now, according to the UN, over four fifths of Venezuelans are on the poverty line. The poor are poorer, more exposed to disease, and more vulnerable to malnutrition than at any time since the 1990s.From all classes of society, those who can, are leaving. Over 2.3 million Venezuelans have taken refuge abroad – 1.6 million since 2017 according to the International Organisation for Migration – with 5,000 a day crossing the bridge at just one border post, Cucuta in Colombia. This is one of the greatest migrant crises ever faced by Latin America. It is comparable in scale to what has happened in Yemen or Syria, and it is a tragic reversal of the generosity shown by Venezuela to refugees and migrants from elsewhere in Latin America during the last century.In addition to doing damage in his own country, Maduro is also accused of allowing illegal armed groups and criminal gangs to take refuge in Venezuela. These include dissident FARC who have refused to take part in Colombia’s peace process, and also the ELN, another guerrilla group which is waging a brutal campaign of violence in vulnerable communities. He has also stoked tensions with reckless military incursions across the borders in Colombia and Guyana.Maduro’s double crime is that his destruction of the economy has been followed by the systematic undermining of democracy. We now see increasing political repression under Maduro, as the regime seeks to ensure that its inner circle continues to enjoy exclusive access to slices of an ever-diminishing economic cake. To do so, others have to be shut out. He allows no room for genuine democracy, nor space for political challenge from a free opposition. We have seen the manipulation of election after election over the last two years, culminating in a Presidential election last May that few apart from the government itself considered free and fair.We have also seen a systematic effort to bypass and browbeat the National Assembly. This was elected in 2015, in a vote that saw the first major electoral defeat of Chavismo. The political opposition secured a majority with 56% of the vote on a high turnout, in a clear sign that the Venezuelan public did not want to follow the regime down the ruinous path along which Maduro and his cronies wished to take them.The opposition’s victory threatened the state-facilitated kleptocracy of the Maduro model. So he concocted an artificial Constituent Assembly, wholly lacking in democratic legitimacy, which was set up to do the regime’s bidding. And we saw a systematic effort to undermine or control what remained of Venezuela’s democratic institutions, including the judiciary, the national electoral authorities and local government. What is left is a corrupt, authoritarian regime presiding over a bankrupt economy.We have recently been shocked by the death of opposition politician Fernando Alban, whilst detained by the Venezuelan Intelligence Service. Also by the unlawful detention of National Assembly deputy Juan Requesens.These, along with the recent brutal suppression of demonstrations in Venezuela, are symptoms of an increasingly intolerant government turning to repression to cling onto power.It did not have to be like this. There are plenty of other middle income developing countries in the world, also dependent on oil or another single, dominant resource, which have continued to grow. Chile relies heavily on copper. Colombia depends substantially on oil, and in addition suffered devastating internal conflict for decades. Yet both have maintained growth and shown impressive results in social and economic development even through the recent economic downturn in Latin America. Looking further afield, the Gulf States have withstood the impact of lower oil prices since 2014, in no small part due to large financial reserves they built up during the good times.In recent years, low interest rates in advanced economies have fuelled record levels of capital flows into emerging markets. Venezuela, with its ideologically-driven governments and mismanaged economy, has missed out entirely.[political content removed]A man-made catastrophe requires man-made solutions, and preferably ones which are originating in Venezuela. That would require a different attitude, and perhaps different people at the helm. Venezuela can return to sensible economic policies, with support from regional and international organisations like the Latin American Development Bank, the IMF, or the World Bank.It can reverse the brain drain by once again attracting the wealth of talent available in the Venezuelan disapora. It can rescue PDVSA from its collapse by tapping into the expertise of an international oil and gas sector who are ready to work with a country with the world’s largest oil reserves and substantial gas deposits. The revival of the oil industry will be an essential element in any recovery, and I can imagine that British companies like Shell and BP, will want to be part of it.It will also require political consensus, rather than polarisation; it will need transparent governance, not state-sponsored deceit; and a willingness to hear those who disagree with the government, rather than deciding to persecute them for dissent.In November 2017, the EU unanimously agreed a sanctions regime. We have imposed targeted measures on 18 senior individuals responsible for human rights abuses, and for undermining democracy and the rule of law. We have always made it clear that these measures can be lifted as soon as the government of Venezuela puts these things right. We are continuing to work closely with EU, regional and international partners and urge the Venezuelan government to engage in serious, credible negotiations with the opposition; to respect democratic institutions; to ensure free and fair elections; and to release all political prisoners. We call for respect for freedom of the media and for journalists working in Venezuela.In an unprecedented response, Venezuela’s regional neighbours have sought an ICC investigation into accusations of crimes against humanity. Citing over 8000 extrajudicial executions, 12,000 arbitrary arrests and the detention of 13,000 political prisoners.Economic stabilisation and recovery will not happen overnight. It would require one of the biggest ever international bail-outs and a huge mobilisation of international resources. The UK is ready to play its part. Our commitment to Venezuela goes back a long way – to the birth of the Republic in the early 19th century, when we provided more material and diplomatic support than any other foreign power to the Great Liberator, Simon Bolivar. British companies have a long history of investing in Venezuela’s economic development, and remain committed to continuing this when conditions are right.Of course we would prefer a Venezuelan solution, but this has become a regional crisis that will require a concerted regional and global response. The situation needs an intensification of outside pressure.We are fully behind the Lima Group of countries in their efforts to seek a regional solution to the crisis.We will continue to support the EU sanctions regime and indeed would consider fresh regimes in concert with our international partners. All options remain open.This should include, I hope, a determination by Caribbean states which receive Petrocaribe supplied Venezuelan oil to resist inappropriate influence over their foreign policies. For the moment, we are committed to working with UN agencies, with the EU, and with Venezuela’s neighbours to help mitigate the humanitarian impact of the crisis overflowing the country’s borders into their neighbours.I have painted a sombre picture today of one corner of the extraordinary region that we know as Latin America. I have done so, in part, to highlight the contrast with what is happening elsewhere.We should celebrate, for example, the increasing resilience of Latin American democracy as seen by the successful democratic transfers of power this year in Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Chile, Paraguay, and, shortly, Brazil. We should praise the region’s growing commitment to free trade, which offers wonderful opportunities for the United Kingdom as we leave the EU. We must also recognise, despite some exceptions, Latin America’s steady adoption of policies that reflect the liberal, values-based concerns of an increasingly well-educated population – from intolerance of inequality and corruption, to support for LGBT rights and generosity towards migrants, of which Venezuelans fleeing their country are notable beneficiaries.Since William Hague, as Foreign Secretary, launched the Canning agenda in 2010, the United Kingdom has sought to increase its investment, its attention and its focus on Latin America. This is a consistent policy, in a policy of outreach and partnership, which we shall continue to build after we have left the EU. As Minister for Europe and the Americas, that is a commitment I am happy to leave with you here today.Watch Sir Alan Duncan’s speechChatham House Latin America Conference 2018: Sir Alan Duncan speechlast_img read more

Independent report: National Health Service Pay Review Body 32nd Report: 2019

first_imgThis report sets out the NHSPRB’s analysis of evidence provided by relevant organisations and makes observations on the pay of NHS staff paid under Agenda for Change for 2019 to 2020. The UK Government responded to the report in Parliament. The NHSPRB provides independent advice on the pay of NHS staff to the: Prime Minister Secretary of State for Health and Social Care First Minister of Scotland First Minister of Wales First Minister and Deputy First Minister of Northern Irelandlast_img read more

New Real Bread Week plans

first_imgThe eighth annual Real Bread Week is proving nicely, and will be coming out of the oven on 14 May.The theme this year is “doughing it for the kids”, and is centred around sharing additive-free loaves with children.The event is an annual celebration of Real Bread, which encourages people to buy loaves from local, independent bakeries, or bake their own. It runs from 14-22 May, nationwide.The activities will be organised by people who run all sorts of Real Bread businesses and initiatives, including micro-bakers, high street bakers, school cooks and traditional millers.There will be Real Bread classes, tastings, feasts with children and their families in bakeries, school and mills.Limited edition ‘On the Rise’ t-shirts and aprons will be available in May from, with a donation made to the Real Bread Campaign for each one sold.last_img read more

Changing Weeds.

first_imgWalter Reeves On the next “Gardening in Georgia” Oct. 4 and 7, host Walter Reeves shows howto control broadleaf weeds like clover, oxalis and an invasive, exotic, chamberbitter. Theright technique turns them all into compost.Later, Helen Phillips at Callaway Gardens works with hypertufa. She shows how to usethis stone-like but much lighter material to turn a lowly concrete block into anattractive planter for succulent plants. Then Reeves shows off his favorite angel trumpetplant and tells how to propagate it for next year.Finally, he takes a look at solarizing, transforming a weedy plot into a garden spot bycovering it with plastic. Reeves explains why clear plastic is better than black plastic.Wednesdays, Saturdays on GPTVDon’t miss “Gardening in Georgia” Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. and now at a newSaturday time at 12:30 p.m. The show is designed especially for Georgia gardeners. It’sproduced by the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciencesand GPTV.last_img read more

Virus alert

first_imgBy Brad HaireUniversity of GeorgiaTomato spotted wilt virus hurts many crops in Georgia. But its severity varies from year to year. University of Georgia scientists are developing an alert to help vegetable farmers know how bad it will be each year before they plant.”If a grower knew how bad TSWV might be before transplanting in the spring, he could make some management decisions that could save money or better protect the crop,” said David Riley, an entomologist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.Since appearing in Georgia in the late-1980s, TSWV has cost Georgia farmers hundreds of millions of dollars in damage to crops like peanuts, tobacco, peppers and tomatoes.The carrierTSWV is carried by tiny insects called thrips. They get the virus when they feed on infected plants. When they leave those plants, they can carry the virus to healthy ones. Millions of thrips per acre can visit a field in a year.Prevention is the only “cure” for the virus. Once a plant gets it, it will grow poorly or die.Thrips’ populations drastically decline in winter. But a few, Riley said, retreat to the weeds that surround fields. They survive there until spring and then return, possibly with the virus, to freshly planted vegetables.In the weedsStarting last summer, Riley and other CAES scientists began an extensive survey of weeds and thrips numbers in Brooks, Colquitt, Decatur and Tift counties. A large portion of Georgia’s vegetable crop is grown in these counties. Each month, weed samples are taken from two field sites in each county.They want to know if weeds near the fields have TSWV and if thrips are feeding and reproducing on these weeds. They will focus on the data taken in February and March.High numbers of samples with TSWV and thrips at this time will indicate a high risk for the spread of the virus. If this happens, an alert will be issued.With this information, farmers can decide how best to protect their crops in the spring. “This can be another tool and service we can provide that farmers can use to know what to expect,” he said.Farmers can help. They can fill gallon-size plastic bags with weeds, particularly chickweed, cudweed, sow thistle, swine cress and Carolina geranium, from around fields planted with peppers or tomatoes. They can submit samples to their county UGA Extension Service agent or contact Stan Diffie at (229) 386-3374.Warm winter weather tends to increase thrips populations, Riley said. He’s noticed a correlation, too, between the tree pollen amounts and thrips populations.Thrips like to eat, among other things, pine tree pollen. “The increase and decrease of pollen seem to mirror the increase and decrease of thrips populations each year,” Riley said.ProtectionTo protect crops, vegetable farmers spend extra money on TSWV-resistant crop varieties and insecticidal sprays to control thrips, he said.Many Georgia vegetables are grown in fields of raised beds wrapped in plastic film, mostly black. This helps farmers better control the crop environment.Some farmers have started using more expensive reflective metallic film. Many believe it disorients thrips and keeps them from landing on crops’ leaves.Forecast tools exist for other crops. One developed by North Carolina State University predicts each year the possible severity of blue mold, a fungus that attacks tobacco. And research by CAES scientists has shown that Doppler radar can help peanut farmers know when to effectively apply fungicides.last_img read more

Solar Chargers

first_imgHave you ever been out on a trip or adventure and needed a charge for your MP3 player, cell phone, GPS, or other device? Now with some of the new portable solar charging devices, you can keep going. Solar power has been around for many years, but only in the last few years has it advanced to the level where it can recharge portable electronics. Here are some devices to check out: The Solio Classic Hybrid Charger from Solio makes it easy to recharge your portable device for many hours of use, it charges and stores energy for later use. A fully charged Solio classic will give you around 15 hours of playback on a typical MP3 player or charge most phones twice. You can check out the specifications here: Solio ClassicMSRP: $99.95This year we’ll begin to see a lot more devices of this kind. Some of the new chargers to come will even utilize wind technologies like the K2 from Kinesis Industries. Keep an eye out for the K2. Early rumor is MSRP: $99.99Don’t be held back by battery life anymore.Phil Graveslast_img read more

BRO Athletes: Maria Bocanegra’s White Whale

first_imgThere are certain thresholds in the collective running imagination that seem to be the stuff that goals are made of, and can raise an eyebrow in runner conversations.  These vary based on level of talent, of course, but for we “non-professional mortals” a few are the sub-5:00 minute mile, sub-3:00 hour marathon, and the sub-2o minute 5k. They’re like imaginary lines that separate the good from the great; a special club that you forever join with a PR that breaks one of those thresholds.  The husband still reminds me that he ran a 4:59 in high school, and that despite all of my local race hardware, he alone holds the sub-20 5k crown in our household.My current white whale is the sub-20 minute 5k.  It’s a goal that I wish I had tried harder to reach in my 20s, because I tell myself it would’ve been easier with the lightness that seems to come more naturally to younger runners.  It’s something that I’ve long thought about and have had starts and stops in my training to try to reach.  Why is it so appealing, and will it actually be enough when I finally reach it?I ran my first 5k of the year on August 15th (Fab 5k), and had high hopes that that race would be “the one.”  It’s flat, there’s always a fast field, and it’s cross-country style which would make meeting that goal on the course that much sweeter.  My reality is that I haven’t been able to train the way I had hoped for various reasons, and our household had been swapping a stomach bug throughout the week.  I’ve tried to stop thinking of these types of things as excuses, and try to embrace the unpredictability of being a full-time working mom with a running addiction.  I wish I could control all of the factors leading up to a race to make each one optimally great.  But that’s not possible for me, or for most people, so I try to blend my long term goals with my short term reality.  Before the race, I decided that I would plan to go and give it all I have and let the cards fall where they may.Fast fields are great for a lot of reasons.  You’ll push yourself, really get to race, and you are surrounded by so many like minded people with their own goals and a passion for running.  The challenge, especially when you’re not quite sure how much you have in the tank going into a race, is that all of the excitement and runner mojo can create a cloud of euphoria that pushes you beyond your capabilities…for the first part of the race anyways.  In my case, it was for the first 1.5 miles.  I missed the first mile marker sprayed on the ground, and by the time I looked down at my watch I was at 1.4 miles in 8:30, which most likely put my first mile at less than 6:10 minutes.  Or in other words, I went out too fast.  I needed to run between 6:20-6:25 minute miles to just barely hit my goal.  There was nothing I could do about it at that point, so I tried to hold on.  The last 800 meters of this particular race is on grass, and includes four 90 degree turns.  On the last of these turns, you can see the finish line and the clock.  I knew I wasn’t going to make it.  So close, I saw the clock click away from 19:59, and grimaced, which resulted in a particularly horrible final stretch race photo.In that last stretch, I probably could’ve shaved a few more seconds off of my 20:09 finish time, but what was the point, I reasoned?  A 20:06 still wasn’t sub-20, so I wrote it off.I still want to be a part of that club.  I’ve reasoned with myself, saying that if I can just run a sub-20 5k this year then I’ll hang up my speed-racing hat.  I’ll stop going to the track for speed-work, I’ll pursue some of my other running goals and get back to what really makes me happy: distance on the trails.  But would I really?  If I break that barrier, won’t I want to know how far and fast I can push myself? In the weeks since that race, I’ve spent time at the track.  During those sessions, which I always approach with a little bit of dread sprinkled with a “let’s get this over with” mentality, I remember what working hard for something feels like.  During the early morning trek there, when I get up and leave before anyone else is awake in the house, the cool August morning air reminds me that fall isn’t that far away.  The reluctance of my legs gives way after the first few intervals, and I remember what it’s like to feel like you’re flying.What are your white whales?  The goals that make you feel something, and in their pursuit, remind you why you run in the first place?[Side note: though this race wasn’t “the one,” it was amazing because it was my daughter’s first 5k.  She’s 5, and has been begging me to run a race for over a year.  I finally relented, and my mom ran with her.  She had a lot of fun, finished in around 50 minutes as the youngest runner that day.  This, among many other reasons, is why I run.]last_img read more

Plugging gaps in a local economy

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