After multiple pep rallies took place on Irish Green last year, some students say the door remains open for a change of venue.Student body president-elect Catherine Soler and vice president-elect Andrew Bell said they are operating on behalf of the student body to produce the best football weekend experience possible.“We’re working very hard to collaborate with the Athletic Department, the University and Game Day Operations to ensure a pep rally experience that is exciting for students and energizing for campus this fall,” Soler said.Soler said the venues for pep rallies next year have yet to be determined.“As soon as we have solid plans, we’ll let you know,” she said.Director of Game Day Operations Mike Seamon said in an e-mail to The Observer that plans for next year’s pep rallies have not been finalized. He said the Athletic Department and Football Program will begin to engage in discussions concerning venue choice with Soler and Bell soon.Student body president Grant Schmidt said he feels students generally do not support Irish Green as a location for pep rallies.“Last year it was evident that students were not going to attend the pep rallies at Irish Green,” he said.Schmidt said by not having strong student attendance, the integrity of the pep rally is being compromised.“We’re really losing a lot of tradition,” he said. “It’s one of our key football traditions that is being lost.”Schmidt said while students should be the focal attendees of the pep rallies, they are not demanding total control of the events.“There’s several groups you have to cater to, but the number one group should be student body,” he said. “We’re not saying it has to be student only, but it needs to get everyone fired up. It can’t be commercialized. It needs to be authentic.”Some students echoed Schmidt’s sentiments. Freshman Patty Walsh said Irish Green was not a conducive environment for student excitement.“I thought the pep rallies on Irish Green were disappointing because the student body makes the atmosphere strong,” she said. “The venue should be focused towards the students.”Sophomore Ellen Kozelka said the distance of the venue discouraged the more casual football fan from attending.“It’s hard enough to motivate myself to get to pep rallies in general, let alone drag myself all the way to Irish Green. I’d compromise if they were all on South Quad,” she said.Freshman Madison Hagen said the commercial atmosphere of the venue also detracted from the true purpose of the event.“It was like a carnival with all the tents, food and families,” she said. “It felt more like social entertainment than a tool to invigorate the student body.”Junior Ian Heraty said he felt the pep rallies on Irish Green lacked one of their most crucial elements — noise.“Pep rallies aren’t as loud on Irish Green,” he said.In order to help enact what seems to be the desire of the majority of students in terms of pep rally venue, Soler and Bell said they are planning to involve as many areas of student government as possible.“This is going to be an effort not just of our branch of student government, but also Hall President’s Council which has traditionally planned pep rallies,” Soler said.Bell also said no matter what happens, the duo hopes to host an event similar to the student-only pep rally that took place before the Michigan away game last year.“One of our main goals is to host a student-only sendoff pep rally,” he said. “We really feel this environment is exciting for students and players alike, and we hope to experience it again.”
Several months after the University filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) mandate requiring religious organizations to provide contraceptive services as part of their minimum health insurance packages, the government is moving to have the case dismissed – and some Notre Dame students, staff and faculty are voicing a similar opinion. Over summer break, students began circulating a petition opposing the University’s religious liberty lawsuit. The letter originated as a personal letter written by graduate student Kathryn Pogin. More than 170 students, faculty and staff have signed the letter as of Aug. 23. Pogin said the letter was recently submitted to Faculty Senate to garner additional signatures. Jenkins responded July 27 with his own letter, according to Brown. The petition states though the University may believe it “will advance its Catholic mission” with the lawsuit, the signees believe “the philosophical and legal arguments strongly favor compliance with the law.” “Further, we believe Notre Dame would better serve its Catholic mission by focusing on improving campus services for families rather than embroiling itself in a legal challenge,” the letter states. In an Aug. 2 interview with The Observer, Pogin said the petition focuses on two additional issues with the lawsuit. In the case, the University argues the federal mandate is irreconcilable with the First Amendment, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and other laws protecting religious freedom. “First of all, it’s not clear to us that the University couldn’t comply with the mandate without remaining within Catholic practice,” she said. “In addition, even if there is a genuine conflict with freedom of religion, which we’re not convinced there is, at least with respect to contraceptives, we think the legal argument favors compliance with the mandate.” The mandate is part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform legislation, passed in 2010. The lawsuit, filed by the University in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana on May 21, names HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Labor Secretary Hilda Solid, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and their respective departments as defendants, according to court documents. In an email to The Observer, University spokesman Dennis Brown said the case has been assigned. With the government moving to have the case dismissed, he said Notre Dame would respond in early September. “All of this is standard procedure,” he said. Notre Dame Law School professor Rick Garnett said his impression is the University is ultimately looking to “vindicate” its religious freedom rights in filing the lawsuit. Garnett said it is “noteworthy” Notre Dame challenged the mandate because the University does not oppose the overarching goals of the Affordable Care Act. “It would be highly implausible for anyone to suggest that the University is a ‘partisan’ actor, or is seeking to embarrass the President or the Obama administration,” he said. “That the University of Notre Dame, which has worked to maintain respectful dialogue with the President and the administration, was put in the position of having to bring a lawsuit in order to protect its religious-freedom rights almost certainly captured many citizens’ attention,” he said. Garnett said the University’s complaint presents nine different causes of action, some challenging the mandate on technical grounds, while others focus on “defects” in the process of forming the mandate. Others highlight inconsistencies with the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. “And, in Count 1, the University contends that the mandate violates the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which provides – in layperson’s terms – that the federal government has to show that burdens it imposes on religious exercise are necessary in order to accomplish a ‘compelling governmental interest,’” he said. “Put differently, the Act provides that the government should, to the extent possible, find ways to accommodate religious believers, even when it is legislating to achieve important goals.” Garnett said he believes Notre Dame’s case is strong. Focusing on the RFRA portion of the case, he said the mandate saddles the University with a responsibility that contradicts its “religiously-motivated aspiration” to be a preeminent Catholic research university. “And, the burden is unnecessary, because it would be possible for the government to achieve its goal of expanding insurance coverage for ‘preventive services’ while accommodating religious institutions like the University,” he said. There is no specific timeline for the case, Garnett said, and similar cases are pending across the country in different stages. “In theory, the case could go all the way to the Supreme Court,” he said. “It could also, however, end much earlier in the process, depending on whether or not the administration revises the rule, or on the outcome of the November election. Garnett said it is standard procedure for the University to have named Sebelius, Solid and Geithner as defendants in the lawsuit because it is naming them in their official capacities, not as private citizens. News Editor Kristen Durbin contributed to this report.
Mark Roche, former dean of the College of Arts and Letters, praised the liberal arts’ provocation of important inquiries as part of the Professors for Lunch series Friday afternoon. “Students come to college with great questions, and college awakens in them other great questions,” Roche said. “What is most essential to human flourishing? How did the world begin? Why are there wars? Few of these questions have practical value in the truncated way we define practical value, but they matter to students to understand the world as it is and the world as it should be.” Roche, a professor of German language and literature and a concurrent professor of philosophy, spoke to students and faculty over a casual lunch in the Oak Room of South Dining Hall. College offers a unique opportunity to engage higher-order questions about the human condition, Roche said. “You’ll be engaged in a lot of busyness in the rest of your life,” he said. “[College is] an opportunity to withdraw from your world and reflect on the past as much as the present, on other nations as much as your own.” Roche said knowledge pursued for its utility is only useful insofar as it serves an end, but knowledge sought for its own sake fulfills a greater purpose. “Knowledge is the human capacity that most resembles divine, and therefore, when we engage knowledge as a good in itself, we are engaging in a religious activity,” he said. Liberal arts courses help students determine their vocations by teaching them to consider how they can use their capacities and passions to improve the world, Roche said. “A liberal arts education, therefore, helps me discover who I am and how I ought to live my life,” he said. Roche said liberal arts classes enable students to develop communication and critical thinking skills that will be useful in their careers. They provide tools for adapting to new professional fields and eventually working in jobs that do not yet exist. A liberal arts background also helps people communicate well with each other, Roche said. “To encourage effectively the participation of others, to draw them out in the discussion, to challenge the view of interlocutors without irritating them to such a degree that they turn away from the discussion, is to enact a kind of diplomacy,” Roche said. Roche advised students not to choose majors based on employment prospects but rather on what will most fulfill them. “If you get a Notre Dame degree, you’re going to get a job, so it doesn’t matter all that much what you major in,” he said. “But you have to worry in this sense: If you choose business, are you getting enough liberal arts classes to really flourish in the long term?”
When Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio stepped onto the Vatican balcony to reveal himself as the new leader of the Catholic Church on Wednesday, several Saint Mary’s students waiting in St. Peter’s Square witnessed this historic moment. Sophomores Nikki Charter, Lauren Osmanski and Tori Wilbraham are participating in the College’s study abroad semester in Rome. Charter, a communications major, said seeing the result of the conclave’s decision has been the highlight of her semester. “This entire semester has been an absolute whirlwind,” Charter said. “The conclave has been the best part of my experience so far. Words cannot describe what it felt like to be in [St. Peter’s] Square and in the midst of it all.” The three students said the excitement began when they attended the opening conclave Mass on March 12th. Wilbraham, a religious studies major, said the Mass’s atmosphere felt electric. “Knowing I was in the room with the future pope at that Mass was very exciting,” Wilbraham said. “You could really start to feel an atmosphere of uncertainty and excitement after the Mass finished and the cardinals proceeded to start the conclave.” After the Mass, the students said they waited anxiously to see white smoke billowing from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, an indication that the conclave had made a decision. Osmamski, a business major, said their thoughts and prayers remained focused on the conclave. “We, like the rest of the world, had to wait to see the smoke,” Osmanski said. “We waited and waited. We prayed the Holy Spirit would guide the conclave and white smoke would appear soon. “ While waiting, Charter and other members of the abroad program draped United States and Saint Mary’s flags around their arms. “I was proud to represent my country and my school,” Charter said. “Words cannot express how much I love Saint Mary’s College. This school empowers young Catholic women. Saint Mary’s gave me the opportunity to be here for this experience and I could not be more thankful.” Osmanski said when the smoke appeared around 8 p.m. local time, everyone in the crowd cheered, “It’s white. It’s white.” “We sprinted forward when we saw the white smoke,” Osmanski said. “We wanted to be as close as we could to the balcony so we could see the new pope emerge.” Charter said the crowd was “buzzing” and attempting to guess who would be the next leader of the Catholic Church. “When the cardinals first came out, the crowd was cheering with excitement and then almost [immediately] the crowd fell silent,” Charter said. “Thousands of people were in that square and every single person was silent, waiting for one man to appear on the balcony. At that moment, waiting for the new pope to emerge, you could really feel the power of prayer and faith.” Wilbraham said when Pope Francis first walked onto the balcony, her heart stopped and she “took a deep breath in awe” of this man. “It was as if no one could say anything for a couple of seconds,” Wilbraham said. “Everyone was in true awe of this man. I thought to myself, ‘This is real. This is happening. The seat is no longer empty. We have a father of our church again.’” Osmanski said she first did not understand the official announcement introducing the new pope to the world. “Around us people were yelling ‘Argentina. Argentina’,” Osmanski said. “That is when we made the connection and were more than happy our new pope is non-European.” Osmanski said everyone around her was excited about “this breath of fresh air.” “Because Pope Francis is from Argentina, he will bring a new perspective to the table,” Osmanski said. “This is important and sculpts a more inclusive community. Catholic roots run deeper than Europe and I truly believe this will benefit the Church in the greatest way possible.” Charter said Pope Francis seems like a humble man who will take the Church in a new direction. “He will lead the Church into a new era,” Charter said. “When he stood on that balcony he showed the world that the Catholic community is still strong.” Wilbraham said the entire experience has reminded her of the international Catholic community. “This whole experience makes you realize that this Church is more than you and your own personal faith,” Wilbraham said. “It is even more than the people of your parish.” All three students said their experiences in Rome have started them on a spiritual journey of a lifetime. “None of us thought it would be such a spiritual journey,” Wilbraham said. “The growth in my faith is the biggest thing I will take with me when I leave to return to the States. I was able to witness historic events with the company of some of my best friends. Everyone on this program was able to witness the start of a new era in the Church – and for that I am very thankful.”
Ph.D. candidate Kara Donnelly discussed the role of Irish literature relative to other literary genres in the lecture “Contemporary Irish Novels and World Literature in English: The Case of the Irish Booker” at Flanner Hall on Friday.Donnelly said she wanted to examine specifically the influence of Irish literature on the world stage.“Today I’d like to ask the following question: ‘What is the relationship between Irish literature and world literature in English?’” she said. “This question isn’t simply, ‘Can I get a job in one of those fields?’… Rather, my question is when an Irish author is active in international literary culture, how is she perceived and classified?”Donnelly said addressing this question requires an awareness of the role of Irish literature in commonwealth and post-colonial literature, both of which were intrinsic to the development of world literary studies.Irish literature was an antecedent and “role model” to commonwealth literature, which in turn was a “precursor to post-colonial studies and then to global Anglophone literary studies,” Donnelly said.Many of the anti-imperial and anti-establishment themes of modern Irish literature were embodied in commonwealth and post-colonial literary studies, and Irish literature contributed to the development of world literature as a whole, she said.“Indeed, the Irish authors were part of the internationalizing trend,” she said.Donnelly said part of the international success of Irish literature can be attributed to the Man Booker Prize, an award which “aims to promote the finest in fiction by rewarding the best novel of the year written by a citizen of the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland,” according to the prize’s website.The significant number of Irish novelists who have won the award have enhanced the presence of Irish literature in international circles, a demonstration of “the globalization of the publishing industry,” Donnelly said.Irish literature is fundamentally distinct from commonwealth and post-colonial literature, as well as the broader category of world literature in English, however, Donnelly said.“In the discourses about world literature, Irish literature appears both too early and too late,” she said. “It’s too early in the sense that the oppositional models of world literature look to Irish modernism as antecedents for their anti-imperial politics and aesthetics. It’s too late in the sense that, on the international stage, it loses its national specificity in such a way that it comes across as unmarked.”Tags: Contemporary Irish Novels, Irish literature, Kara Donnelly, literature, The Case of the Irish Booker
University President Emeritus Fr. Theodore Hesburgh died 11:30 p.m. Thursday night at the age of 97, a University spokesperson confirmed.Observer File Photo Hesburgh served as president of the University for 35 years from 1952 through 1987.University President Fr. John Jenkins said plans were underway to commemorate Hesburgh’s life.“The Congregation of the Holy Cross and the University will celebrate Fr. Ted’s life in coming days with visitation hours and a Funeral Mass in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, a procession to Holy Cross Community Cemetery afterward, followed by a memorial commemoration at the Purcell Pavilion. Details will be forthcoming,” he said in an email to students, faculty and staff. “Notre Dame lost a piece of its heart today, but Fr. Ted’s spirit lives on at Notre Dame and among the millions of lives he touched around the world.“He is now with Our Lady, whose university he served so well, and with the Lord.”According to a University press release, in lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Fr. Ted Hesburgh, C.S.C., Fund for Excellence in Catholic Education at Notre Dame or to the Congregation of Holy Cross.“Fr. Ted had long prayed that God would allow him to say Mass on his last day on earth. Fr. Hesburgh, C.S.C., did just that at 11:30 a.m. Thursday among his brothers in Holy Cross,” Fr. Paul Doyle, rector of Dillon Hall, said in an email to the hall’s residents.
Professors of political science Pat Pierce and Marc Belanger hosted an open forum Tuesday to discuss President Trump’s executive order on immigration that banned the entry into the U.S. of nationals from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Libya for 90 days. The forum’s goal was not to discuss the executive order in a manner of pros or cons, but rather to provide information on it as a whole, Pierce said.“What different sides in the debate have done is … emphasize part of the picture, but it’s important to put the whole thing together,” Pierce said.Pierce said the court tends to allow the president a little more freedom to decide what is in the nation’s best interest in cases regarding immigration and terrorism. “In terms of the ways that courts have handled these kinds of issues, they have often given presidents a great deal of discretion,” Pierce said. “Probably even greater because the president can claim to have information that they cannot make public that they can make the basis of that decision.”According to Pierce, the First Amendment provides another concern in the order, as the order is targeted at predominately Muslim countries.“This isn’t supposed to violate the First Amendment,” Pierce said. “We are not supposed to be making policies that establish a particular religion as the religion of the United States.”Pierce said this establishment of religion is “linked to the notion that this has been directed at Muslims,” which draws concern in regards to the secularity of the nation.“The Trump administration has attempted to argue that it is not at this point,” Pierce said.According to Pierce, the most persuasive argument in the court decision will depend on the particular judge.“Depending upon which judges are listening to this case, they may or may not take that seriously,” Pierce said. “Because there are at least a couple of things that he said during the course of the campaign that he was going to stop Muslims from entering the country.”Belanger said the executive order does not specify that there should be an exception made in the travel ban for Christians, but that many people believe it suggests that.“There’s another part in the executive order that seems to create a preference for Christian minorities from countries where they are a minority,” Belanger said. “It doesn’t talk about Christians, but it talks about religious minorities facing persecutions in countries where they are a minority.”Since the Trump issued the executive, many Americans have pointed to the six-month immigration ban under the Obama Administration. Belanger said the background to that ban is important to understand when comparing it to Trump’s order.“In 2011, it turned out that a couple of refugees’ fingerprints were found on some evidence of explosive devices that exploded in Iraq,” Belanger said. “Therefore, they had lied about their record.” In response to this, the process for immigration from Iraq froze for six months, and when it resumed it was slower than it had been previously, he said. This is different from the current executive order, according to Belanger. “What didn’t happen under President Obama’s was it did not suddenly change the status of green-card holders,” Belanger said. “That’s what created a lot of the problems in the airport. … People were coming back form these countries whose visa status when they left was fine, and suddenly their visa status was up in the air.”Belanger said there are often misunderstandings in terms of the process to attain refugee status, which needed to be clarified to understand the situation.“It’s worth just talking a little bit about the process for how refugees are screened right now, because it may just seem like you tell someone you’re a refugee and you get into the United States,” Belanger said.According to Belanger, the term refugee has a legal meaning, and people must go through not only the process set forth by the United Nations, but also of the country they wish to inhabit. This process includes proving that one wishes to leave the country they inhabit due to “well-founded fears of persecution” based on factors such as race, religious affiliation or sexual orientation, Belanger said.“‘Refugee’ is a term that has a meaning in international law,” Belanger said “It gives you a status in international law but it comes from being able to demonstrate a number of things.”Belanger said the debates surrounding the executive order will continue even if the president issues a new executive order in the near future.“They [the Trump administration] have continued to say that they’re going to continue to argue in court,” Belanger said. “They think the original executive order should be held up by the courts but … if they introduce a new one, it may make the whole thing moot.”Tags: Donald Trump, executive order, Immigration, president trump
The Snite Museum of Art sits in the middle of campus, surrounded by the Duncan Student Center, DeBartolo Hall and O’Shaughnessy Hall.Ann Knoll, associate director of the Snite Museum of Art, said the arts have long had a presence on campus and continue to benefit Notre Dame, which is emphasized by the Snite’s central location.The Snite saw its beginnings in 1874, when Fr. Sorin traveled to Rome and met Italian artist Luigi Gregori, then working as an art restorer at the Vatican. Fr. Sorin brought Gregori back to South Bend to decorate the interiors of the Main Building. At the time, Knoll said the Main Building had classrooms, student living quarters, a library and, thanks to Gregori and Fr. Sorin, a museum.As the University grew, artworks were housed in a number of places, Knoll said, until Notre Dame constructed its first building devoted solely to the arts, the O’Shaughnessy Gallery. Three years after its 1952 creation, the University expanded its art collection into yet another new building, the Mestrovic Sculpture Studio.Some 20 years later, in 1976, the Snite grew into what it is today with the help of Frederick B. Snite Sr.’s donation made in honor of his son, who died in 1954.“This very generous gift enabled the Snite Museum of Art to be opened to the public in November of 1980,” Knoll said. “The building links the O’Shaughnessy Galleries and the Mestrovic Sculpture Studio. So, it’s is really three different buildings built at different times to form the current Snite Museum.”The museum doesn’t end there, she said. The newest addition to the Snite, opened in 2012, is the Charles B. Hayes Family Sculpture Park, she said, which is now home to 12 sculptures. The University recently received a lead gift for another addition: the future Raclin Murphy Museum of Art.“Of course, we’re all excited for the next phase, which is the new Raclin Murphy Museum of Art at Notre Dame,” Knoll said. “We have been busy working with a New York architect and the University’s architect office to plan the new Raclin Murphy, which will be in the sculpture park.”The Snite’s presence on campus goes beyond a growing physical area, she said, as it also offers many activities for students such as monthly yoga sessions, trivia nights and MFA student exhibitions.“These activities are much more interactive than just, you know, reading about something in a book, or staring at it through a display case,” Knoll said. “We’re trying to offer things that are different on campus in terms of not only learning about art, but making art, such as self-screening a canvas bag or t-shirt.”While the Snite offers many activities for students on campus, students can also take the opportunity to look at the many types of artwork it showcases. Freshman Gabby Keller said she has already visited the Snite with friends to take a break from studies and look at some of the different art it has to offer.“Visiting the Snite is really interesting because it’s almost a break from normal campus — it lets me touch in on my creative side, which I don’t often get to use in calculus or chemistry,” Keller said. “I can go look at pictures or sculptures or photographs, and it’s even free.”The Snite tries to add to students’ educational experience, Knoll said, whether it be by exposing them to creativity or advancing their current classes, especially those in foreign languages. The museum can also be a resource for research materials, she said.“A lot of students come here, especially in the art [and] art history and design program, to do original research,” she said. “Bridget Hoyt, one of our two curators of education, manages to find objects in our collection that students can look at and relate to their curriculum.”Knoll said students should view the Snite as a place they can use both academically and recreationally.“The Snite is a different atmosphere than the library or just sitting in your dorm room,” Knoll said. “It’s a beautiful environment to learn and to study in. We are a place for students to take a moment to meditate, to relax, to use the artwork as inspiration. That’s not something you necessarily have in any other buildings on campus.”Tags: Charles B. Hayes Family Sculpture Park, Raclin Murphy Museum of Art, Snite Museum of Art
The office of Interim College President Nancy Nekvasil is beginning to plan for honors to be given at commencement for the class of 2021.In an email sent to the junior class Jan. 14, the Office of the President announced it is accepting nominations for a commencement speaker and honorary degree recipients for commencement 2021. The email included a link for students to submit their nominations, which are due Monday.Cristina Interiano | The Observer A direct connection to the College is not necessarily required in order for a person to be awarded an honorary degree.“Criteria for awarding an honorary degree include recognized intellectual and professional attainment, significant contributions to the enhancement of Saint Mary’s College, and/or contribution to other recognized organizations in the city, state or world,” the email said.Once the names of nominees have been collected, research is conducted by several organizations within the College, according to Michelle Egan, special assistant to the president.“Nominees are researched by the President’s office,” Egan said in an email. “A list is then sent to the College’s full academic leadership council for its membership to review.”Once this list has been generated and analyzed by the academic leadership council, a committee within the Board of Trustees is given the opportunity to weigh in.“Based on their feedback, the list of recommended candidates is then sent to the trusteeship committee of the Board of Trustees,” Egan said. “The trusteeship committee reviews the list and may add additional candidates.”Following the trusteeship committee’s review and potential additions, the matter is then passed on to the full Board of Trustees.“The Board of Trustees then approves candidates for honorary degrees during their April board meeting,” Egan said.Though nominees can begin from student suggestions and are then reviewed by these institutions, the final decision lies in the hands of one person.“The final selection of upcoming honorary degree recipients [and] commencement speaker is ultimately made by the president of the College.”Although the process for 2021 selection has begun, the commencement speaker and honorary degree recipients for 2020 have not yet been announced.“An announcement is traditionally made following the February Board of Trustees meeting,” Egan said.In 2019, the College presented commencement speaker Kelly Grier — a 1991 alumna — and Sister Maureen Grady — a senior lecturer of nursing science — with honorary degrees.The College awards a variety of honorary degrees, choosing them according to each recipient’s field.“Differing honorary degrees are conferred depending on the focus of the person’s profession [and] life work,” Egan said. “For instance, over the years, Saint Mary’s has awarded doctorates of letters, doctorates of humanities, doctorates of law, doctorates of fine arts … just to name a few.”According to a press release announcing the degrees Grier and Grady received, the College’s “highest honor” is an honorary doctor of humanities degree.“Saint Mary’s has honored so many impressive women and men (lay and religious) who have made significant contributions to our society and our world,” Egan said.Other recipients of honorary degrees from the College include fiction author Lois Lowry in 2010, former board of regents member Patricia George Decio in 1996 and Bruno P. Schlesinger, who established the department of humanistic studies at the College in 1994.Junior humanistic studies major Sarah Catherine Caldwell said she believes Schlesinger was particularly deserving of an honorary degree for his contributions to the College.“I think that he has changed so many Saint Mary’s women’s lives,” she said. “I come alive in my humanistic studies classes, and I have him to thank for that.”Junior Brynne Volpe said she didn’t know about Lowry’s honorary degree but is pleased to know a writer she admires so much received the award, especially as an English literature major.“Her work was a huge part of my childhood and was really formative for my love of reading,” Volpe said.As for the commencement speaker nominations for 2021, there are students with strong opinions about who should be chosen. Caldwell said she submitted a nomination and knows of several other students who named the same person.“Personally, I would like to have Greta Gerwig be our commencement speaker, specifically for her work in ‘Little Women,’” Caldwell said.The 2020 honorary degree recipients will be announced following the February Board of Trustees meeting.Tags: Commencement Speaker, department of humanistic studies, Honorary degrees
This report was updated July 26 at 10:26 p.m.Media personality and Notre Dame alumnus Regis Philbin died of natural causes Friday at age 88, the family told People magazine.Philbin hosted a number of television shows including “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee,” which was later renamed “Live with Regis and Kelly.”During his career Philbin won six Daytime Emmy Awards and was nominated for 37. He was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2006.Philbin was born on Aug. 25, 1931, in New York City to Frank and Florence Philbin and graduated from Notre Dame in 1953 with a degree in sociology. After serving in the Navy, he worked as a page on NBC’s “The Tonight Show.” He first started his career working by parking cars at a Los Angeles TV station.His first talk show was “The Regis Philbin Show” on KOGO-TV, which aired out of San Diego. In 1967, he joined “The Joey Bishop Show.” He was also the original host of the U.S. version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” in 1999.The famed host logged over 15,000 hours on the air — the most broadcast hours logged by a TV personality — which earned him a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.Philbin remained a fan of Notre Dame football and a supporter of the University after he graduated. In a statement released Saturday, University President Fr. John Jenkins extended his prayers to Philbin’s wife and two daughters.“Regis regaled millions on air through the years, oftentimes sharing a passionate love for his alma mater with viewers,” Jenkins said in a statement on Saturday. “He will be remembered at Notre Dame for his unfailing support for the University and its mission, including the Philbin Studio Theater in our performing arts center. He likewise was generous with his time and talent in support of South Bend’s Center for the Homeless and other worthy causes. Our prayers are with his wife, Joy, and their daughters and Notre Dame alumnae Joanna and J.J.”Philbin’s funeral service will be held at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Philbin will be laid to rest at Cedar Grove Cemetery on campus. No date has been set for the service or burial.Tags: John Jenkins, Philbin Studio Theater, Regis Philbin, South Bend’s Center for the Homeless
Kristin Chenoweth As if we weren’t excited enough about Glee’s forthcoming star-packed 100th episode, here’s a selfie to warm the heart of every Broadway fan. Kevin McHale, who plays Artie on the show, posted this sweet shot on Instagram, flanked by Tony winner Kristin Chenoweth (back as sassy Broadway star April Rhodes) and Mr. Shue himself, Tony nominee Matthew Morrison. Who knows what Ryan Murphy has up his sleeve for the two-part episode (airing March 18 and 25), but we hope it involves a romantic encounter between Chenoweth and Morrison. Or Morrison and Gwyneth Paltrow as Holly Holliday. Or Chenoweth and hunky guest star Chace Crawford. Anyway, we’ll be watching! Star Files Matthew Morrison View Comments
Here’s a quick roundup of stories you may have missed today.Juliette Binoche Will Star in International Tour of Antigone; Venues to Include BAMOscar winner Juliette Binoche (The English Patient) will star in an international tour of a new English language translation of Antigone. Directed by Ivo van Hove and translated by Anne Carson, the show will play venues including London’s Barbican Theatre March 4, 2015 through March 28 and, later in the year, the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York. No word yet on the BAM dates. Binoche last appeared on Broadway in the 2000 revival of Betrayal.Zachary Levi, Sierra Boggess, Jeremy Jordan, Laura Osnes & More Team Up For Where The Sky EndsThis is some lineup! Broadway favorites including Zachary Levi, Sierra Boggess, Jeremy Jordan, Laura Osnes, Justin Guarini, Orfeh, Jacqueline Petroccia, Josh Young, Bryan Terrell Clark and Ben Fankhauser all sing on the album Where The Sky Ends: The Songs of Michael Mott. The record is comprised of original Mott tunes and will be released on June 17.Broadway Alums Debra Messing & Cristin Milioti Get Their Pilots Picked Up to SeriesDebra Messing has landed another Big Apple gig after finishing her recent run in Outside Mullingar. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Emmy winner’s previously reported pilot Mysteries of Laura, has been picked up by NBC. Meanwhile, the Peacock network also picked up Once alum and How I Met Your Mother star Cristin Milioti’s rom-com pilot, A to Z, to series.David Hunter and Jill Winternitz Will Star in London’s OnceDavid Hunter and Jill Winternitz will lead the cast as Guy and Girl respectively, in the Olivier-winning Once in the West End from May 12. Directed by John Tiffany, the London production of the Tony-winning tuner opened in April 2013. View Comments Cristin Milioti View All (4) Zachary Levi Sierra Boggess Star Files Debra Messing
The show originally played at Catalyst Theatre of Edmonton in Canada in 2009 before touring extensively, including an acclaimed run at London’s Barbican Centre. Nevermore was previously seen in New York at the Victory Theatre in 2010. The production has been expanded since then, with several new songs added and structural revisions made to the original script. Six of the seven original Nevermore cast members will return to the production—Gaelan Beatty, Shannon Blanchett, Beth Graham, Ryan Parker, Garett Ross and Scott Shpeley. Casting for the seventh and final role will be announced soon. Nevermore blurs the line between fact and fiction, exploring the events that shaped Poe’s character and career. A literary rock star in his day, Poe struggled with tragedy and addiction, poverty and loss, yet produced some of the world’s most original and enduring literature before dying in mysterious circumstances at the age of 40. Nevermore – The Imaginary Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe View Comments Tickets are now available for the New York return of Nevermore—The Imaginary Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe. The musical play, which is written, composed, and directed by Jonathan Christenson, will begin performances on January 14, 2015. Opening night is scheduled for January 25 at New World Stages. Show Closed This production ended its run on March 29, 2015 Related Shows
View Comments The Almighty has entered that most holy of places, Broadway’s Studio 54! The Jim Parsons-led new comedy An Act of God will begin previews on May 7. Directed by Joe Mantello, the stage adaptation of The Last Testament: A Memoir By God, is set to officially open on May 28.The Creator Himself has written the Play, which has been transcribed by Emmy-winning The Daily Show head writer and executive producer David Javerbaum. God (through His press agent) has billed the show as such: “A 90-minute conversation in which I will reveal the mysteries of the Bible and answer some of the greatest existential questions that plague mankind.” In an early statement, He said, “This Play will help clear up the fallacy that I’m old fashioned…and instead reveal the true Me: up-to-date and holier-than-you.”Along with Parsons as God, the cast will also include Christopher Fitzgerald and Tim Kazurinsky as angels. Although the show is playing at Roundabout’s Studio 54, it is not a Roundabout production. This is the Word of the Lord. Show Closed This production ended its run on Aug. 2, 2015 An Act of God Related Shows
For the second week in a row, we’ve been treated to two statement necklaces from Diana. The first, in a call to last season’s gilded ouroboros collar, takes “sucking one’s own dingus” to a new level. (Happy New Year, Grandma.) Speaking of tail eating, the second piece symbolizes a historic moment in Younger history: it’s the first time a statement necklace has been worn during intercourse. Incidentally, it’s also the first time someone’s [eggplant emoji] was broken by someone wearing a statement necklace. Sutton Foster, Lyle Friedman & Ashley Skidmore in ‘Younger'(Photo: TV Land) Once upon a time in a far-off kingdom, there lived a 40-year-old passing off as 26, her tattoo artist boyfriend and a domineering boss with a bevy of equally bold necklaces. This week’s Younger took us to a music festival, the bedroom and a hospital, so needless to say, a lot went down. Let’s get to it. And before you ask, yes, this episode is titled “Into the Woods and Out of the Woods,” so let’s get one thing out of the way.SEASON 2, EPISODE 7: “Into the Woods & Out of the Woods”Emoji UpdateJosh’s bluegrass band plays a Brooklyn bar before heading to the Hudson Valley Bluegrass festival. Over at Empirical Press, Charles is debating what selections to make for his upcoming “By the Book” profile in the Times, and Liza proves to be very helpful and guiding him to a proper balance of literary picks. After work, she heads to the festival—the cold, wet, festival. While there, Liza fields a call from Charles, who’s in need of some “By the Book” and ultimately life guidance. Liza and Josh meet two peen pipe-clad attendees at the whittling tent (a bluegrass festival staple, apparently). Back in the city, Diana continues her tryst with Hugh Shirley, and by “continues her tryst with Hugh Shirley,” we mean “breaks Hugh Shirley’s penis.” Just as Josh’s band is about to go on, Liza unsuccessfully juggles sexy time with Josh and shop talk with Charles and accidentally sexts her boss. Before she can rectify the crisis, her phone dies. After battling a fellow patron for an outlet, she charges her phone to apologize to Charles. All is well, until she gets thrown out of the festival for phone charger-induced violence. Diana takes Hugh to the hospital, and we don’t think he and his broken penis are going to stay in Diana’s love life much longer. Charles arranges for Liza and Josh to stay in a bed and breakfast after their music festival snafu. Just as Liza’s about to send him a thank you selfie with Josh, she opts not to.Biggest OMG Moment:Any moment featuring the topless, day-glo groupies, Jasper and Luna (played by series writers Ashley Skidmore and Lyle Friedman). From the aforementioned peen pipe to their synchronized “that’s hilarious,” this duo captured everything we love(/fear) about an outdoor, multiday music festival.Millennial Glossary:Drop a Pin:(verb) To send someone your GPS coordinates using Google Maps. Especially handy when telling someone where you are at a music festival, or which corner of 45th and 9th you’re on (southeast, next to Schmackary’s, obviously).Moment That Made Us Go:When Liza makes a decisive action by not sending Charles a picture of her with Josh in the bed and breakfast. She’s certainly noticed the dormant chemistry with her boss, but this is one of the first times she’s done something about it, albeit by not doing something. While this complicates things, and despite Josh being far less objectionable this season compared to the first, we’re excited for where this goes. The beginning of the season suggested Kelsey and her fellow millennial squad would be the next to know Liza’s real age, but is Charles also on deck?Diana’s Statement Jewelry Update! View Comments
View Comments Tony and Pulitzer winner Lin-Manuel Miranda has yet another accolade to add to his resume in the wake of Hamilton’s praise: a spot on Time’s “100 Most Influential People.” The 2016 list also includes Tony winner and recent Oscar winner Mark Rylance, Broadway alum Ariana Grande and New York stage-bound Oscar Isaac.J.J. Abrams, a noted Hamilton fan who tasked Miranda with writing a song for the latest Star Wars movie, wrote a tribute for him in Time. “His wit would be intimidating if not for his natural and infectious charm,” Abrams said. “Somehow he is as generous, collaborative and lovable as he is innovative and brilliant.” Though Time does have an Artists section on the list, Miranda tops the Pioneers list, and is one of the magazine’s six commemorative covers for the issue.Steven Spielberg wrote of Rylance, “The impact he’s had on classical and contemporary theater is the stuff of legend…His heart belongs to a good story. His soul is pure. He just loves to act.” Rylance won his first Oscar in February for his performance in the Spielberg-helmed Bridge of Spies, and the two have a full lineup of upcoming projects together: The BFG, The Kidnapping of Edgargo Mortara and Ready Player One.Grande remains close to her Broadway roots, as evident by her choice in accompanist at the MTV Movie Awards earlier this month: Jason Robert Brown. The Tony-winning composer, whose musical 13 gave Grande her big break, wrote the following for the pop star: “That voice—powered by nothing but your remarkable empathy, your ravenous intelligence, your cool discipline and your voracious ambition. They’re going to underestimate you, and you, my beautiful friend, are going to make music.” Hamilton Related Shows Lin-Manuel Miranda(Photo: Bruce Glikas) from $149.00 Star Files Lin-Manuel Miranda
Harriet Walter will headline an all-female production of The Tempest at St. Ann’s Warehouse. The show, directed by Phyllida Lloyd, comes from London’s Donmar Warehouse, where Lloyd helmed all-female productions of Julius Caesar and Henry IV—both of which also played the Brooklyn venue. The season will also include a 24-hour marathon concert from Taylor Mac and a new play from Penny Arcade.The season kicks off on September 15 with the world premiere culmination of Mac’s A 24-Decade History of Popular Music. Mac will perform eight different three-hour concerts focusing on a particular era of American history (beginning with 1776-1806), utilizing props, special guests and costumes by Machine Dazzle. On October 8, Mac will present all eight concerts consecutively in a 24-hour marathon performance.The season continues from November 8-27 with the American premiere of Daniel Kitson’s Mouse: The Persistence of an Unlikely Thought. The British comedian and storyteller previous presented The Interminable Suicide of Gregory Church, It’s Always Right Now, Until It’s Later and Analog.Ue at St. Ann’s.Arcade’s Longing Lasts Longer will make its American premiere at the Brooklyn venue from December 1 through December 11. Like her previous works, Arcade will blend stand-up comedy, music and storytelling. In the new show, she’ll explore and critique the “suburbanization” of New York City.The Tempest will run from January 13, 2017 through February 12. In addition to Walter, the cast will include several alums from Lloyd’s previous Shakespeare stagings: Jade Anouka, Shiloh Coke, Jackie Clune, Karen Dunbar, Sophie Stanton and Caroline Valdés. Also on board are Sheila Atim and Martina Laird.The season concludes with Kneehigh’s production of 946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips, based on the book by Michael Morpugo and co-adapted by Shakespeare’ Globe Artistic Director Emma Rice. The show follows Lily, a young girl in Devon, England who, along with her cat, Adolphus, experience the arrival of a group of soldiers sent to her home to rehearse the D-Day invasion. Performances will run from March 16 through April 9. Harriet Walter & Phyllida Lloyd(Photos: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images & Caitlin McNaney) View Comments
Here’s a quick roundup of stories you may have missed today. Chita Rivera, Norbert Leo Butz & More to Perform for Orlando Tony winners Chita Rivera, Norbert Leo Butz, Kelli O’Hara, Jessie Mueller, Brian Stokes Mitchell and many more Main Stem faves will head to Florida for a benefit concert in aid of those impacted by the recent events at Pulse Nighclub. From Broadway With Love: A Benefit Concert For Orlando—a healing night of music and dance to honor the 49 victims—is scheduled for July 25 at the Walt Disney Theater at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Orlando. As previously reported, the company of Fun Home will be at the venue to raise money for the tragedy on July 24.Leslie Odom Jr.’s Post Hamilton GigLeslie Odom Jr. may be departing Hamilton on July 9 but he will be keeping himself busy! The Tony winner is set to headline a concert residency at New York’s The McKittrick Hotel’s intimate Manderley Bar for three consecutive Thursday nights beginning July 14 in support of his recently-released self-title debut solo album of jazz classics. We’re loving what comes next for the Broadway.com vlogger!Laura Michelle Kelly’s New Solo ShowFollowing a sold-out run at 54 Below last month, Finding Neverland’s Laura Michelle Kelly will bring her cabaret All That Matters to 42West on July 25.The personal and revealing evening will be filled with songs and stories includes hits from Sara Bareilles, Jason Robert Brown, Stephen Sondheim and more. You can also catch Kelly in Neverland on Broadway through August 21.Sneak Peek of Emma Watson’s Beauty and the BeastThis puts the tease into teaser. Check out below a first look at the “teaser one-sheet” (not to be confused with the teaser trailer) for Disney’s eagerly awaited upcoming live-action re-telling of Beauty and the Beast. Starring Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Audra McDonald, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson and more, the film is scheduled to hit movie theaters on March 17, 2017. Chita Rivera(Photo: Emilio Madrid-Kuser) View Comments
By Faith PeppersUniversity of GeorgiaGeorgia farmers can add their input on biosecurity issues to farmer opinions nationwide through a survey now being conducted.The 40-state Extension Disaster Education Network received U.S. Department of Agriculture funds to identify farmers’ educational needs on homeland security.”Georgia farmers need to respond to the EDEN survey,” Charles McPeake said, “to help present an accurate description of grassroots positioning and needs related to the homeland security issue.”McPeake is the agriculture and natural resources program leader with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.”This accumulation of information allows concerned organizations like Extension to provide more timely information for specific situations,” he said.November surveyThe EDEN survey will be conducted through November. To take the survey, farmers may visit the EDEN Web site (www.agctr.lsu.edu/eden) and click on “Homeland Security Surveys,” then on “Survey of Ag and Horticulture Producers.”The survey is anonymous. It takes less than 10 minutes to complete. Farmers can complete it anywhere they have access to the Web, including libraries and Extension offices.”There are factors concerning agriculture that lead experts to disagree about whether farming and the food supply are at risk to bioterrorism,” said Steve Cain, EDEN delegate and a Purdue University Extension Service specialist. “Whether or not there is a real threat to the American food supply, even the risks bring up issues that society must deal with.”Biosecurity issuesThe EDEN project will help measure farmers’ perceptions about biosecurity issues on the farm.”Since September 11, the news media have done a credible job of providing information about homeland security,” Cain said. “But often that information raises questions and debate that can only be addressed with educational programs.”The survey will help Extension staffs, nationally and in each state, know how to direct educational programs. Experts will use the information to make educational materials available to farmers.”Georgia began focusing on biosecurity and agrosecurity when foot-and-mouth problems emerged in England,” McPeake said. “Then along came 9/11, which threw our nation into the unknown.”To create awareness of these issues, UGA put together a CAES task force and agrosecurity conference. Materials can also be found on various Web sites.
By April ReeseUniversity of GeorgiaIn the summer, mosquitos, biting flies and fleas can visit yourskin and leave behind itching bumps from their bites. Somepeople, though, are haunted year-round by biting bugs that aren’teven there.They suffer from something called delusory parasitosis, saidNancy Hinkle, an entomologist with the University of GeorgiaCollege of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.”We’re finding it in all segments of the population — all agegroups, all socioeconomic levels,” Hinkle said. “And theincidence seems to be very high.”Delusory parasitosis is a real condition first described inmedical literature more than a century ago. Hinkle said theillness isn’t uncommon at all.Many medical causesIt can be caused by many other medical ailments — heavy metalpoisoning, exposure to toxins and diseases like AIDS, anemia,carcinoma, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, lupus, lymphoma andmultiple sclerosis.Nutritional deficiencies, allergies, drug reactions, menopause,niacin overdose, rheumatoid arthritis, stress and even vitaminoverdoses are known to trigger it, she said.Symptoms include the sensation of biting, stinging or itching onthe skin. Hinkle said people will often feel something crawlinginside their skin and will dig into the skin trying to find anddislodge whatever’s causing it.”Unfortunately, this can produce a lot of damage to the skin,”she said.Feels like … Chigger bites are close to what sufferers might feel. People whohave been chigger-bitten can relate to the feeling thatsomething’s still in there. But delusory parasitosis sufferersfeel something different, she said, as if that something undertheir skin is moving or crawling around.People will treat the condition in a number of ways. “Some willspend inordinate amounts of time washing and cleaning theirbodies and their homes, assuming the infestation is coming fromoff the body as well,” Hinkle said.”They will then treat their bodies with … gasoline, kerosene,solvents, harsh cleaning compounds, even pesticides,” she said,”which, of course, is very dangerous.”See a doctorShe advises anyone who believes they’re suffering from thecondition to see a doctor.”Delusory parasitosis is a medical condition, and (sufferers)should seek medical attention,” she said. “Visit your physicianand explain the symptoms you’re experiencing. Allow the doctor todiagnosis the condition and prescribe medication. Don’tself-medicate.”To learn more about delusory parasitosis, visit www.ent.uga.edu/publications/delusory.pdfto read Hinkle’s article in American Entomologist.(April Reese is a student writer with the University ofGeorgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)
It may be too cold in parts of Georgia to put plants in the ground, but it’s just the right time to start seedlings. Those looking for new varieties or just a little gardening inspiration can join gardeners from across northeast and middle Georgia at the Rock Eagle Seed Swap on Saturday, March 18.The event is part of the Saturday at The Rock series held at Rock Eagle 4-H Center in Eatonton, Georgia. This event is open to garden newbies and those with an experienced green thumb. The swap is a great opportunity to bring seeds and trade them in for something new. Don’t let leftover seeds go bad; instead, give them an opportunity to grow by trading them for something new. Seed swapping is a great way to save money, test new varieties of plants and talk to other gardeners about what works well in the area.This session is free. Doors will open at 9 a.m. for guests to check in and drop off seeds. All seed types, seedlings and scionwood are welcome, with the exception of potentially invasive species.At 9:30 a.m., local experts will share information on seed starting, garden planning, medicinal herbs and more. Seed swapping will begin directly following the presentation. Participants without seeds to swap can still stop by, enjoy the guest speakers, learn something new and see what a seed swap is all about. Light refreshments will be served.While at the 4-H center, visitors are invited to drop by Rock Eagle’s Natural History Museum or take a hike to the teaching garden. Advanced registration is encouraged.For more information or to register, contact Jessica Torhan at (706) 484-4838 or by email at [email protected] Saturday at the Rock programs take place the third Saturday of each month, excluding December. A complete list of Saturday at the Rock sessions can be found at www.rockeagle4h.org/ee/community/SaturdayattheRock.html.
The University of Georgia Turfgrass Research Field Day, held Aug. 9 on the UGA Griffin campus, attracted 800 attendees from Georgia, Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.The field day provided research-based information about the production and management of turfgrass from UGA entomologists, plant pathologists, soil microbiologists, plant breeders, geneticists, genomics specialists and environmental turfgrass scientists.“The University of Georgia, the Griffin campus and the turf program try to do things that have never been done,” said Sam Pardue, dean and director of the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, during the field day welcome. “It is our commitment to you and the future to continue to provide the research, outreach and education that will benefit you, your organizations and your companies.”The field day began with guided tours and pest-identification presentations about insects, weeds and diseases and how to control them using herbicides, fungicides and management practices. There were also presentations on new technology and research, like the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) digital analysis and the use of automatic rain shelters for drought studies.Vendors were also on site to share information through displays and demonstrations of the latest turfgrass equipment. Participants received individualized tips and information specific to their needs through afternoon self-guided presentations.All attendees received Georgia pesticide credits: six credits for Category 24, two credits for Category 10, and six credits for Categories 21, 27 and 32. Pesticide recertification credits were also offered for Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.The Turfgrass Research Field Day is offered biennially and will occur again in 2020. For more information on upcoming turfgrass events, please visit www.GeorgiaTurf.com.
About a week ago, I heard from a couple of sod producers that spring sales of turfgrass sod were strong and they were worried about potential shortages of popular species like Bermudagrass and zoysiagrass. I wondered if these were isolated incidences or an industry-wide issue.As the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension turfgrass specialist, I am based on the UGA campus in Griffin and work closely with UGA turfgrass researchers and Georgia’s turfgrass producers. To determine whether only a few growers were looking at unexpected shortages of grass, I began calling sod producers across the state to conduct an informal survey. To date, I have talked with a representative sample of producers of various farm sizes and locations throughout Georgia. I found a few recurring themes. First, most producers said that they are experiencing the strongest winter and spring sales season they have ever had. As I have traveled around the state the last few months, I have seen many full trucks of sod on their way to a new lawn, ball field or landscape project. The second recurring comment was that producers are either “out” or “nearly out” of zoysia, especially fine-textured zoysia cultivars like ‘Zeon’ and ‘Emerald’. The 2019 Sod Producers Survey projected that there would be lower inventories of zoysia this year than in 2017 and 2018. As a species, zoysia is gaining in popularity throughout Georgia. Couple increased popularity with a wet and overcast 2018 growing season and the decline in inventory is not unexpected. However, the strong spring 2019 sales have placed additional pressure on inventories of a relatively slower-growing species. While fine-textured zoysia grasses are in the greatest demand and have the lowest inventory, the medium- and coarse-textured cultivars are also experiencing strong sales with declining inventories.The third thing I discovered is that, while Georgia sod growers are worried about the current inventory of grass, producers are optimistic. Sod fields are in a constant state of growth and recovery. Inventory is thin now, but fields that were harvested last summer and fall are maturing — the spring weather has been helpful — and producers foresee inventory improving in four to six weeks (approximately mid-June). Sod growers are “pushing” fields in an attempt to fulfill orders for this year. One producer stated that the push to increase growth will be passed along to the consumer because of increased fertilizer prices early in the year.Lastly, Bermudagrass inventory was less precarious than zoysia. Some producers are running low on Bermudagrass inventory while others reported normal inventory. Interestingly, it is not strictly a noncertified ‘Tifway’ issue. Some producers indicated they were low on certified and noncertified Bermuda grasses. Referring back to the 2019 Sod Producers Survey, Bermudagrass inventory was projected to be consistent with 2018 and it is the species grown in the greatest volume. Considering the initial inventory, volume and growth rate, it would be expected that the Bermudagrass supply would be more hit-and-miss than other species.Through my conversations, I heard producers indicate they are consciously managing inventory. They are employing various techniques including restricting sales to only longtime or regular customers, limiting the amount of grass they sell, not quoting larger jobs or orders, and increasing prices.This is a new problem for the turf industry and one I view as an indicator of a strong economy and growth and development throughout Georgia. While the landscape industry may be finding it difficult to find Georgia-grown sod, hopefully their spring business is prospering and will continue to do so throughout 2019.For the latest research-based information on turfgrass from UGA Extension, visit www.GeorgiaTurf.com.
Twenty-four Georgia 4-H teenagers spent their summer in a unique agriculture-focused student exchange program without leaving the state.One Georgia 4-H, an urban-rural 4-H exchange program is designed to showcase the importance of agriculture in rural and urban areas of Georgia to students who are considering a career in agriculture, said Laurie Murrah-Hanson, a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agent who leads a Georgia 4-H club based at the Atlanta History Center. The first-year program was funded by the Thalia and Michael C. Carlos Foundation in Fulton County.“The program grew from the Atlanta History Center’s goal to reach new audiences in Atlanta and across the state and educate people about the similarities and differences between Georgians across the state,” said Murrah-Hanson. “We had a very diverse group of youth. Some of the students had an agriculture background and a few even live on working farms, while others live in towns and cities but are familiar with agriculture. The kids taught each other about what their lives are like where they live.”The group first met in Tifton in June and visited sites in south Georgia. In July, they met in Atlanta and toured sites in the metro area.In south Georgia, the students toured locations including UGA research facilities and commercial watermelon and cotton production fields. On the UGA Tifton campus, they learned about turfgrass, visited the cotton micro gin, learned hands-on laboratory skills, and toured the UGA Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.Students were also able to explore the Future Farmstead, UGA’s energy-independent experimental site dedicated to developing and demonstrating advanced technologies to enhance farm efficiency with the goal of achieving future national energy, food and environmental requirements. The group also learned about the varied academic majors available in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.“They visited Super Sod, a sod farm near Perry, where they learned about sod production and saw sod harvested. That was something that none of us had seen,” Murrah-Hanson said. “We also went to Lane Southern Orchards and Dickey Farms to eat peaches and see the production line where the peaches are washed and packaged.”The July tour in Atlanta focused on policy and transportation. The students visited the Delta Flight Museum and experienced piloting a jet in Delta’s flight simulator. At the Georgia State Capitol, Rep. Matthew Wilson, a UGA alumnus who represents the 80th District, gave the students a tour. The group also visited the Georgia Department of Agriculture, including the Georgia Grown test kitchen, and met with Mario Cambardella, director of urban agriculture for the city of Atlanta, who told them about Georgia’s urban farms.“They learned that these farms are smaller and more diverse,” Murrah-Hanson said. “They also learned about food deserts and the new Urban Food Forest.”The trip concluded with a visit to the Atlanta location of iconic eatery The Varsity and attending 4-H Day at the Atlanta History Center.The One Georgia participants and their home counties include Mary Ann Bentley, Chattooga County; Jake Carver, Houston County; Madison Clemente, Paulding County; Kaylee Collins, Spalding County; Avery Cross, Catoosa County; Maddie Dean, Crisp County; Jada Faulks, Cobb County; Alyssa Goldman, Madison County; Gracie Grimes, Candler County; Megan Isdell, Worth County; Christopher Kuhbander, Ware County; Grace McBride, Emanuel County; Hannah McElrath, Gordon County; Michael Mercer, Cobb County; Brooke O’Berry, Ware County; Emily Recinos, Cobb County; Aromal Saji, Gwinnett County; Autumn Sims, Murray County; Kolbi Sims, Murray County; Bryson Smith, Gordon County; Cora Jane Tyre, Bacon County; Adriana Walton, Randolph County; Emma Rae Ward, Chattooga County; and Kate Vaughn, Bulloch County.“This was my favorite 4-H trip so far,” said Emma Rae Ward. “I’m from an ag community and I live on a farm, but it was very refreshing to see what agriculture looks like in Atlanta and to see some of the things that I see at home in north Georgia — we just have fewer gnats.”Gracie Grimes lives on a farm but says she never knew Atlanta “had so much to do with agriculture.” “This experience has truly been one of my best and I made a lot of new friends,” she said. “My favorite part was visiting the capitol and the Georgia Department of Agriculture. The sod farm was new for me and the watermelon farm was cool, as we used to grow watermelons on our farm.”Following the exchange experience, students are required to share their experience with groups in their community such as county commissions, boards of education, school administrations and community or civic groups, as well as with their peers at Georgia 4-H’s Fall Forum.Georgia 4-H hopes to secure funding to offer the program again next summer, Murrah-Hanson said.To learn more about Georgia 4-H, visit www.Georgia4H.org.
Vermont artist, Mike Biegel, announces his new website offering Vermont holiday greeting cards online at www.vermontholidaycards.com(link is external). The website features unique and distinctive seasonal cards illustrated by Mike Biegel from his Woodstock, Vermont studio.The entire original holiday card renderings seen on www.vermontholidaycards.com(link is external) are elaborately hand drawn using an old-fashioned crow-quill pen dipped in an ink-well. Every image is designed and illustrated at his Woodstock studio. Mike has been illustrating since 1984 after attending Syracuse University. Inevitably his journeys lead him to settle in Vermont where the lay of the land and the change of the seasons matched many of his favorite subjects to illustrate. His line of holiday cards reflect these themes and the fiction that accompanies them.The web site is young, but has already developed a legacy of loyal clients. Any of the holiday cards may be personalized with a special holiday greeting. Custom designs are available for corporate businesses looking for a unique card with their business logo printed inside. Preprinted seasonal greetings are also available and ready for mailing. This season’s holiday card selections include: Winter Gristmill, Riverside Snowman, Santa & His Elves, Covered Bridge at Tanglewood, Winter Snow Owl, Snow Covered Sleigh, Winter Lighthouse, The Swap, Partridge Wreath and Covered Bridge at Winterwood. Cards may be purchased online at www.vermontholidaycards.com(link is external) or by calling 1-888-267-2300.More extensive information regarding the artist may be found on his commercial illustration and design web site at www.mikebiegel.com(link is external).
Twincraft Soap has announced that Larry Litke, chief operating officer, has joined Peter and Richard Asch as a shareholder of Twincraft, the Winooski-based specialty soap maker.
Council Authorizes Tax Incentives To Create Snowshoe Manufacturing Jobs In VermontMONTPELIER — The Vermont Economic Progress Council recently approved almost a quarter-million dollars in tax credits to a Williston firm that plans to manufacture snowshoes in Vermont.The council approved an application from TSL USA, LLC at its meeting on October 27th, 2005, after the firm presented plans to manufacture aluminum and plastic snowshoes in Williston, Vermont and distribute their products worldwide. The company was authorized for $241,925 in payroll, research and development and workforce development tax credits to add new jobs and invest in research and development and employee training and education. The company was also considering sites in Clinton County, New York.TSL is very excited to bring the snowshoe industry back to Vermont, said Arnaud Claude, President of TSL USA. Thanks to the hard work of the Vermont Economic Progress Council, the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, and the Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation, we are going to create new jobs in Vermont, developing and manufacturing high quality snowshoes that will be sold to consumers worldwide.Claude said he hopes to have the first prototype snowshoes completed in January and to have production underway in March. He anticipated starting with 4 or 5 workers with plans to ramp up to 25 in five years.I love it in Vermont, Claude said. Vermont is the image for the snowshoe industry.The tax incentives were authorized based on job creation and capital investments that must occur before the credits can be claimed. The Council approved the application after reviewing nine guidelines and applying a rigorous cost-benefit analysis that projects whether the activity encouraged by the tax incentives will have a positive or negative impact on the region and state. This analysis showed that if the company meets all its projections and utilizes all the tax credits, the State will realize a net increase in revenues of $431,200. The Council also determined that the project would not occur or would occur in a significantly different and less desirable manner if not for the incentives being authorized.These incentives generate good jobs that pay well and increase income levels here in Vermont, said Lawrence Miller, chair of the nine-member council of business people from around the state. “If the credits are claimed, it means that the applicant has performed as expected, created jobs and invested in Vermont. The net fiscal impact is outstanding for Vermont and we’re pleased to offer these incentives.”The Vermont Economic Progress Council (VEPC) is an independent body appointed by the Governor, and is responsible for administering the Economic Advancement Tax Incentive program. It is housed within the Department of Economic Development at the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development.We are very pleased at the prospect of new jobs being created in Vermonts manufacturing sector, said Kevin Dorn, Secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development.-30-
US Rep. Peter Welch on Monday announced a $114,000 federal grant to improve the energy efficiency of the O Brien Community Center in Winooski. The funds will be used to fully insulate the community center s roof and implement other energy-saving measures. The O Brien Center spent $4,000 in heating bills last year. Once the new roof is installed, the center is expected to save 45 percent in heating costs. This grant will go a long way to improving a vital community center which provides great service to the people of Winooski, Welch said. By making the O Brien Center more energy efficient, we will help Winooski save money and do our small part to fight climate change.Welch made the announcement at the O Brien Center Monday morning alongside several Winooski residents, including Parks and Recreation Director Bob DiMasi, Mayor Mike O Brien, Acting City Manager George Cross, YMCA former board chairwoman Molly Lambert, chair of the project committee Penrose Jackson, YMCA Executive Director Mary Burns, Patricia McKitrich, Rep. Clem Bissonette, Director of Community Development J Ladd.
Today, Vermont Business Roundtable President Lisa Ventriss announced that three new directors were elected to the Roundtable Board of Directors at its 24th Annual Membership Meeting on January 13th at Topnotch Resort & Spa in Stowe.New directors are: Rob Adams, President, Simon Pearce; Tim Donovan, Chancellor, Vermont State Colleges; and, Pam Mackenzie, Area Vice-President of VT/Western New England. Elected to a second three-year term is Howard Pierce, President and CEO of PKC.New officers of the Roundtable Board include: Chair – Steve Voigt, President and CEO, King Arthur Flour; Vice-Chair ‘ Mary Powell, CEO, Green Mountain Power Corporation; Secretary ‘ Rob Simpson, President and CEO, Brattleboro Retreat; Treasurer: Gregory Bourgea, Co-Managing Partner, Gallagher Flynn & Co.; and, Immediate Past Chair ‘ Bill Stritzler, Managing Director, Smugglers’ Notch Resort.Continuing members of the Roundtable Board are: Ted Adler, Union Street Media; Pennie Beach, President, Basin Harbor Club; Leon J. Berthiaume, St. Albans Cooperative Creamery, Inc.; Ellen Mercer Fallon, Partner, Langrock Sperry & Wool, LLP; David F. Finney, Champlain College; Tommy Harmon, Sonnax Industries, Inc.; G. Kenneth Perine, National Bank of Middlebury; and, Mark R. Neagley, President, Neagley & Chase Construction Co.The Roundtable is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of 110 CEOs of Vermont’s top private and nonprofit employers, representing geographic diversity and all major sectors of the Vermont economy, with an aggregate economic impact of $135 billion and employing 15 percent of the state’s workforce. The Roundtable is committed to sustaining a sound economy and preserving Vermont’s unique quality of life by studying and making recommendations on long-range, statewide public policy issues. For more information about the Roundtable and its projects visit: www.vtroundtable.org(link is external).
Commissioner Elizabeth Miller has announced that the newly revised Residential Building Energy Code is in effect as of October 1, 2011. Miller states, ‘As new building construction and renovations in existing buildings take place in Vermont, the new Residential Building Energy Codes will help ensure we are continuing to move to more efficient and sustainable homes. Building new homes to the 2011 Residential Energy Code will yield increased energy savings of 10-20% over the previous Energy Code. This means less energy consumption, fewer emissions, and lower energy bills for Vermonters.’ Commissioner Miller expects a similar, if not greater, impact with the new Commercial Energy Code which is on track to take effect in early January 2012. The 2011 Vermont Residential Building Energy Code, officially called the ‘Residential Building Energy Standards’ (RBES), was initially adopted by the Vermont legislature in May 1997 and updated in 2006. The legislation provides for regular review and updates to the provisions in the Code by the Department of Public Service. The Code has applied to all new residential construction in Vermont since it first went into effect July 1, 1998. The 2011 Residential Building Energy Code is based on Vermont amendments to the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code and is a minimum standard of energy efficiency that now applies to all alterations and renovations for existing homes as well as new construction. The Department is also currently in the process of completing a statewide energy code compliance study that will outline a realistic approach for achieving 90 percent compliance with the Energy Codes by February 1, 2017. The study will address how to best implement on-going training related to Energy Code updates, unified Energy Code enforcement measures, a process to evaluate and report annual rates of Energy Code compliance, and short and long term funding mechanisms for implementation. Residential Energy Code handbooks, certificates and technical assistance are currently available at no cost. The handbook puts all the information you need to know about Vermont’s Energy Code for residential construction into one publication. For additional information or a hard copy of the RBES handbook and certificate contact the Department of Public Service Planning and Energy Resources Division at 802-828-2811 or visit the website at http://publicservice.vermont.gov/energy/ee_resbuildingstandards.html(link is external). For free technical assistance and training opportunities contact the Energy Code Assistance Center toll free at 855-887-0673. PSD. 10.3.2011