Anxious WPB Residents are Arming Themselves to the Hilt

first_imgWEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Heightened anxiety prompted by the coronavirus this month have prompted a rush to gun stores and a big jump in background checks in Florida.“I think crazy describes it pretty well,” said Alex Shkop, owner of Guns & Range Training Center in West Palm Beach. “Most of the stores don’t have anything left to sell…we’ve been depleting our inventory significantly faster than we can replenish it.” Contact 5 compiled some numbers on the recent surge. Stats from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement show a whopping 13,192 background checks were performed in the state of Florida on Friday March 20, making it the single highest performing day for background checks since Jan. 1, 2012.From January 2019 to March 2019 there were 243,994 background checks in Florida. This year, from January to March, there have been 295,498 background checks.“I think this is a wave of first-time buyers. I’m guesstimating, but I would say close to 75 to 80 percent of people were first time buyers,” Shkop told Contact 5 investigator Merris Badcock. “They have never seen a gun. They have never held a gun.”Contact 5 found plenty of first-time gun purchasers standing in line outside Sharp Shooter in West Palm Beach. “This is my very first time, ever in my life,” said Mark Johnson, an orange bandana tied around his face. “If it gets really bad and someone just decides to intrude where I live, I have a wife I love. I have four daughters I love, and they are beautiful. It only makes sense to have some protection.“If you don’t like guns, rethink it like I did. If you’re ignorant about guns and gun laws, read about them. It just might change your thinking, because I learned a lot in the last two days,” Johnson told Contact 5.Johnson joins other “doomsday preppers” who worry what might happen if law enforcement agencies lost patrols to coronavirus, or failed to keep up with a potential increase in crime should the economy tank.March 2020 had the highest average number of daily background checks since 2012 in Florida, with 5,555 on average each day. March 2020 also came in third for the highest number of total background checks in the time frame reviewed by our Contact 5 investigators. December 2015 was the highest and December 2012 was the second highest month for background checks.“I think it’s our primal instinct of survival. From toilet paper to guns: I think people feel they need to do something. I think it is a little bit of an overreaction, but at the same time it makes people feel better that they’ve done something,” said Shkop.Beaches and golf courses to remain open in Palm Beach Countylast_img read more

The Afterword: In times of crisis, mass media tends to dangerously oversimplify

first_imgWe know how corrosive censorship can be, but we are also witnessing the shortcomings of a free press: Unregulated mass media outlets such as CNN profit off of our panic and play into our paranoia, with each click-bait title being more distressing than the last. It has been, and continues to be, a challenge to sift through all the bullshit and parcel out what is a real cause for concern from what is just fear-mongering. The world is at a complete standstill. I’ve been practicing social distancing in my hometown of Montreal for a week now and have spent a lot of time wondering what this week’s column would hold. The internet is exploding with coronavirus takes⁠ — a few hot, some lukewarm and most stone-cold. My opinions on the chaos surrounding the global health crisis have evolved, taking on new forms as I surf through Twitter, Instagram and a handful of news outlets, but throughout, one quote from Nobel Prize-winning physicist Niels Bohr has continued to ring true: “The opposite of a fact is a falsehood. But the opposite of one profound truth may very well be another profound truth.” I know that’s not the most helpful thing to hear; people are scared and they want answers — preferably binary ones. Unfortunately, this is more a time to be patient and reflect than one for resolution. In that same vein, I want to talk about how this pandemic has put a spotlight on how incongruent, for better or for worse, our globalized world can be. More importantly, I want to point out the role mass media and the internet have in skewing this pluralism.  On the other hand, the finger-pointing has prompted xenophobic rhetoric on a mass scale: Chinese-owned businesses have arbitrarily suffered, and President Donald Trump has called the coronavirus “the Chinese virus.” Reactions like these put writer Susan Sontag’s saying, “nothing is more punitive than to give a disease a meaning — that meaning being an invariably moralistic one” in a new light.  Yet the coronavirus outbreak is also a testament to the power of our interdependence. Many of us who are young and know the world to be divided and disparate are witnessing, for the first time ever, the whole planet experience the same thing. We are all coping in synchrony; we are all participating in lauding or criticizing each other’s strategies. Telecommunication allows us to learn from, react to and build upon ideas and each other at unprecedented speeds — at both an individual and state level.  All this is to say that there are dissonances to take note of amid the coronavirus pandemic, ones that are not and should not be easily digestible.  The way the internet handles issues transforms our experiences with them, not just because of the size of the problem but also because of the scale of our reactions. In general, online culture encourages us to address serious matters like these with a lack of nuance and context; 280-character tweets, quippy Instagram captions and five-minute soundbites rarely succeed in capturing all angles of a given problem. The result, among others, is often extreme takes at the cost of critical thinking. Extremities tend to be well-suited to gross oversimplification and are an enemy to complex, multifaceted issues. (Tiffany Kao | Daily Trojan) On one hand, the coronavirus outbreak is decisively a lesson on the dangers of a censored press. Chinese doctor Li Wenliang attempted to warn medics about the SARS-like virus in early December (well before authorities confirmed the outbreak of a novel coronavirus) and was detained by police a few days later for “spreading false rumours.” He was even forced to sign a document saying he had “seriously disrupted social order.” Just a week later, Wenliang developed a fever and ultimately passed away in early February from the virus.  The Chinese Communist Party has come under serious fire, and rightly so, for silencing a truth-seeking whistleblower and deliberately covering up what has quickly become a global pandemic.  So, I implore all my readers to put their critical thinking hats on and to remember that mass media and online platforms are more conducive to binary answers than they are to the multiple, often multifaceted, realities that define our world. I encourage you to become well-acquainted with Bohr’s idea that the opposite of one profound truth may very well be another profound truth. It may help you better reconcile with the ongoing madness. For the record, I’m not trying to draw moral equivalencies between a democracy and an authoritarian regime; rather, I’m acknowledging that a free press and a censored press beget unique problems, which vary in degree.  Yes, many established systems are falling apart in tragic ways — people are losing money and jobs by the thousands, and private healthcare is failing us — but at least the whole world is watching. This involuntary pause has forced us to take a step back and collectively recognize that we were moving too fast, that we need to work toward a more robust, sustainable way of living — one that doesn’t completely crumble at the front end of a pandemic. Our globalized world is fragile yet powerful, severed yet irrevocably bound. The oxymorons don’t end there. We are watching globalization spread and contract, expand its scope and fold in on itself, all at once. Cornerstones of modern consumerism, organized sports and live entertainment have gone silent. Air travel, once tacit and commonplace, has become a hazardous, virus-spreading machine. International supply chains that we took to be infallible have broken down faster than you can say “country-wide lockdown.” Simply put, the fragility of our defining interconnectedness is showing. For the most part, this issue won’t have easy, cut-and-dry answers ⁠— but that doesn’t mean that there are no answers at all. Rachel McKenzie is a junior  writing about pop culture. Her column, “The Afterword,” runs every other Tuesday.last_img read more

Scott Shafer on potential AJ Long transfer: ‘For me, it’d be concerning’

first_img Published on October 29, 2015 at 11:38 am Contact Sam: | @SamBlum3 Comments AJ Long was medically disqualified from playing football at Syracuse on Oct. 13. Less than two weeks later, The Daily Orange reported his intention to transfer from SU.And on Thursday, Orange head coach Scott Shafer said it would be “concerning” if he were to attempt to extend his career with another football program.“He’s not medically — He’s not cleared to play football by our doctors, who are some of the best in the country in my opinion,” Shafer said. “For me, it’d be concerning, in the best interest of the student-athlete to be thinking that way without doctors saying ‘Hey, you’re healthy.’”Shafer added that he believes it is a decision for Long and his family, and that he wishes the best for whatever decision he decides to make. He said it’s outside his “element” if another program would choose to take him on, saying his top concern was Long’s health.“Just a week ago, he was having a hard time getting through the day and couldn’t go to class,” Shafer said. “…The best interest of the student-athlete’s health is the biggest concern that I would have there.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textcenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Making summer camp possible

first_img Oscar White offers the young chicken some grass and leaves as a snack. — Kyra Steck Camp Kindness instructors lead campers in an outdoor yoga activity. — Kyra Steck From left, 6-year-old Oscar White, Elin Angelina, 9, and Dylan White, 8, at the FARM Institute. — Kyra Steck We’ve all followed arrows through the aisles of Stop & Shop, or fiddled with the mask that just won’t sit comfortably on our nose. These precautions are slowly becoming second nature to us, but for Island summer camps, COVID-19 practices and guidelines are new territory.This is what I learned from the YMCA’s summer camp and afterschool director, Tara Dinke,l and Kelly Neadow, senior program director of youth and staff development. This year’s camp is unlike any that came before it — so much so that’s taken on a new name.“Usually our camp is called Camp Terra Mare, but we changed it to Camp Kindness this year, because more than anything we need kindness right now,” Dinkel said. Neadow explained that Camp Kindness staff try to keep camper masks on, and give outdoor “mask breaks” if a camper becomes uncomfortable. “We explain social distancing and masks the best that we can, and we strongly encourage children to participate in that. We don’t discipline here at all, but for lack of a better term, we’d never be upset with a child for not wanting to wear one,” Neadow said.Campers check in each morning with the same counselor. They report to their family’s designated outdoor area, where they leave their belongings in individual baskets that are cleaned nightly. “All the Y staff have come together to build what we have here. Our housekeeping department is obviously a huge player,” Neadow said. “They’re here as many hours as our camp staff is here, because they’re right behind everyone, cleaning, cleaning, cleaning.”As the camp days unfold, each family participates in a separate activity. Many are outdoor, but while inside the YMCA building, each family uses their own classroom space. While one group has arts and crafts time (using only their individual materials), another enjoys an outdoor fitness class with YMCA health and wellness director Asil Cash. The Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival has provided some of their resources, allowing campers to watch movies or participate in film-based activities. Campers even have scheduled blocks of ice-skating time at the M.V. Ice Arena, and swimming at the YMCA pool.Only a handful of events take place at the same time for all campers, including lunchtime and “Camper Connection,” which acts as a check-in for campers. Even these events take place within the individual families, rather than as a group.“For a lot of us, the camp magic comes from those big gatherings, but that’s not for everybody. For some of these kids, this could work out better than a typical camp model,” Neadow said.Dinkel noted optimistically that having fewer campers has allowed for a more personal experience. “We’re able to engage with them. We actually get to sit down and have conversations with them,” Dinkel said. “We know all 50 kids by heart.”As parents themselves, Dinkel and Neadow have been thrilled to receive a great deal of support from both campers and their guardians. “We’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback,” Neadow said, recalling one young camper’s mother claiming her son’s first day at Camp Kindness was “the best day of his life.”“This is the first time the kids have been out of quarantine, so they’re just loving being around other kids and not being stuck at home,” Dinkel said.According to Dinkel and Neadow, setting up a YMCA camp for this summer proved challenging at first. “Early June, you know, everything was still a little scary when we had to be making these decisions,” Neadow said. “The biggest question was, ‘Can we do it and keep our staff safe?’ We knew kids would need it and families would need it, and little by little it grew until we could say yes.”“Now it’s turned into this beautiful thing,” Dinkel said.Neadow agreed. “It wouldn’t feel right if we weren’t doing this. We’re just really happy it all worked out the way it did,” Neadow said. Brandon Barua and Finley Slavine make containers to drop from the upper level of the barn with an egg inside, with hopes their egg doesn’t crack. — Kyra Steck Each camper at Camp Kindness gets their own camper supplies box. — Kyra Steck YMCA Camp Kindness is following all social distancing and health guidelines to make sure campers can have a fun and safe summer. — Kyra Steck Camp drop-off was just finishing up when I arrived at the YMCA Monday morning. A single car rolled up along the building’s right side, and a young, masked camper clambered out. Two staff members greeted him from beneath a tent, sheltering themselves from the 10 am sun. The duo wore matching tie-dyed tank tops, and in front of them, a foldable table displayed items of importance: a basket of surgical and fabric masks, a squirt bottle of hand sanitizer, and a sign that read, “Welcome to Camp Kindness Week Three.” Camp Kindness started its third week of programming August 3, with a pirate theme and a bounty of pandemic protocols. Only 50 campers are permitted at this year’s camp, as opposed to the usual 100-plus. For YMCA members, a week at Camp Kindness costs $270, with a $15 registration fee. The weekly price rises to $325 for nonmembers. Across the board, additional siblings can tag along for $15 each.Each camper is screened upon arrival with a series of questions, including whether they’ve experienced symptoms of COVID-19 or spent time with someone who has tested positive. Before starting the day, campers wash or sanitize their hands at one of the many sinks or hand-sanitizing stations. Campers are only permitted to interact with their group, or “family,” at this year’s camp. These are five families total, grouped based on camper age.As we spoke under the check-in tent, Camp Kindness’ eldest family of campers walked through the YMCA campus. Most campers wore masks, though two or three had pulled them down around their neck or chin. Some campers walked side by side, while others stayed at a distance.center_img Campers from a previous week built a wooden structure for the goats to play on. — Kyra Steck Tara Dinkel with arts and crafts supplies and some of the work done by campers. — Kyra Steck Campers finishing up after an outdoor fitness activity. — Kyra Steck Finley Slavine and Brandon Barua give some pats and scratches to their respective goat pals. — Kyra Steck New way of FARM lifeThe FARM Institute in Katama is another Island camp up and running this year. If you’ve ever been, you know this local spot is characterized by wide-open spaces and fresh air. This makes the farm a somewhat unique camp location, and in the age of COVID-19, perhaps an ideal one.The FARM Institute has been holding two new programs this season in place of their summer camp. “Mornings on the Farm at TFI” is a COVID-compliant alternative to the traditional camp experience, running Monday through Friday, 9 am to noon. Additionally, “Farmer for a Day” allows families to visit the institute and enjoy the farm experience, Monday through Friday, 1 pm to 3 pm.I arrived at The FARM Institute on a foggy Tuesday morning, and was struck by how empty the farm seemed. The main building was posted with signs, some reading, “Sorry, we’re closed,” and others displaying cartoon pigs in masks. On the porch, a staff member accompanied a group of three children as they pulled what one called, “very cold pizza” from their lunchboxes.The FARM Institute education manager, Lily Robbins, gave me a tour of the farm, explaining that the small number of people at TFI is simply part of new protocol. “All the kids are only part of their own pod, or their own quarantine group,” Robbins said. “We figured that’s the safest way to have kids here with our staff. We don’t have to worry about them interacting with each other if they’re going home and eating dinner together,” Robbins said.Each pod is made up of at least two participants, ages 6 and up. Pods sign up together, meaning participants come from the same household or shared space. When on the farm, they interact only with staff, and the other members of their pod.For FARM Institute members, the base price for two participants is $600, plus $300 for each additional child. For nonmembers, these prices increase to a base of $800 for two participants, and an additional $400 for each child after that.Robbins was quick to acknowledge that not every family may be able to easily pay these prices, and that the Institute tries to increase accessibility whenever possible. Their Island discount offers a 20 percent price drop to any Island family or child who attends an Island school. A scholarship program is also offered to anyone who wishes to apply. “They don’t have to prove taxes, they don’t have to turn any paperwork in, we just ask for a statement of need, and we will work with them,” Robbins said.Like the YMCA’s Camp Kindness, each participant is screened with a series of symptom-related questions. “Even before they sign up, the parents have to fill out a pretty rigorous online form with all their child’s medical information. We also have them do a 14-day prescreening form,” Robbins said.Mornings on the Farm participants get to experience a variety of creative, educational, and farm-centric activities. Each one is responsible for a daily morning chore; Robbins gave examples such as collecting eggs, feeding the chickens, or pulling weeds.Throughout the day, participants move throughout the FARM Institute space. While the main building remains closed, the barn is open on both ends, creating a spacious and well-ventilated indoor area. Each pod occupies its own room in the barn, where they can carry out activities and lessons in each other’s company. On this particular day, a pod of two siblings crafted cases for an egg drop. Between the pair’s concoctions of cardboard, construction paper, and tape, I’ll bet the egg stayed safe on its way down.Mornings on the Farm participants are permitted to interact with the farm animals, an opportunity that general public visitors do not have at this time. These animals are often incorporated into program activities. Robbins motioned to a boxlike wooden structure within the goat pen, built by a pod from the previous week. “They put all the pallets together, they learned how to use tools, they worked together and designed the whole thing,” Robbins said. With one open side, the goats can use the structure to avoid rain, find shade, or simply jump and play on.The FARM Institute enforces a rigid protocol for interacting with the farm animals. The goat pen is roped off and enclosed by a gate, which only staff are permitted to touch. If a pod wishes to enter the pen, each participant must sanitize their hands, then put on disposable gloves. Upon exiting the pen, participants must immediately remove their gloves and drop them into a trash bag beside the gate, then sanitize again. Participants must repeat this process if they are interacting with the goats for more than 15 minutes at a time.According to Robbins, the programs from previous years have been largely based around education. “We’ve called our counselors ‘educators,’ because they really are doing lessons with the kids,” Robbins said. While education remains an integral part of this year’s program, Mornings on the Farm brings an enhanced focus to each participant’s general well-being.“These kids have been going through so much. We just want them to be out in nature, interacting with people other than their parents, and feeling somewhat normal — being able to get their minds off of things,” Robbins said. Another camp, similar taleThere’s a similar story to be shared at the Martha’s Vineyard Boys & Girls Club. Their summer program, Camp MV, opened to Island youth on July 6. Since then, the camp has been operating carefully, and with the kids in mind.This year’s program is limited to only 66 campers, compared to their usual group of 120 to 130. Drop-off is staggered, starting around 7:45 am. Campers are separated into “pods” of eight, with two additional group leaders. Everyone, campers and staff alike, stays only with their pod throughout the day.Jessie Damroth, chief executive officer of the M.V. Boys & Girls Club, outlined Camp MV’s extensive sanitization schedule. Separate cleaning crews come in every 90 minutes to sanitize surfaces, and at the end of the day, the Boys & Girls Club building is deep-cleaned through electrostatic fogging. Thirteen new hand-sanitizing stations are spaced throughout the building, as well as an additional six outdoors.According to Damroth, Camp MV spends as much time in the outdoors as possible. “We obviously will have days where the heat or humidity are too high, and on those selected days we do fire up the HVAC system,” Damroth said. On these occasions, the Boys & Girls Club building is ventilated by fans and open windows.Masks are a requirement at Camp MV. According to Damroth, there has been little issue with enforcing this rule during camp hours. “They wear them inside and outside. We wanted the kids to get used to it, but also the staff. In this environment, it’s just a safer practice,” Damroth said.Mask breaks are permitted for campers, as long as they follow a set of guidelines. “Every pod has a different entrance and exit door in our facility, so there’s an area they can step out into and still be monitored if they need to take a break,” Damroth said.During outdoor activities, campers can remove their masks only after stepping six feet away from their group. Damroth explained that teaching campers to visualize six feet of distance has been key. “If we have a 12-year-old, we might say, ‘This is your favorite basketball player, this is how tall they are.’ Putting it into relatable terms has made all the difference in the world,” Damroth said.Due to these extensive protocols, Camp MV is unable to take the field trips that the Boys & Girls Club is known to take. In their place, the Camp MV team has found new ways to provide their campers with an Island experience. Educational components from the Martha’s Vineyard Museum, The Trustees of Reservations, and the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival have all been incorporated into the Camp MV curriculum.Damroth admits that holding Camp MV has taken great effort. “COVID regulations are challenging, more than ever before. They’re exhausting,” Damroth said. Regardless, the Boys & Girls Club team knew from the start that Camp MV would be a necessity this year.“If you don’t have safe childcare, especially ‘COVID-safe,’ then you’re going to have issues with unsafe childcare. That’s why we knew we needed to move forward,” Damroth said. Kelly Neadow and Tara Dinkel finish up camper drop-off for the day. — Kyra Steck 1 of 11last_img read more

Watch: Lionel Messi scores not 1 but 2 LIT freekicks as Barcelona rout Celta…

first_imgImage Courtesy: La LigaAdvertisement h7NBA Finals | Brooklyn Vs663e5Wingsuit rodeo📽Sindre Ef2( IG: @_aubreyfisher @imraino ) szafWould you ever consider trying this?😱1nCan your students do this? 🌚45Roller skating! Powered by Firework Lionel Messi: a name that has left a monumental mark in the Spanish top tier football. After 15 years with the senior club, and now taking the helm of the club, the Argentine excites the Camp Nou stands just as always even in 2019. Yesterday’s Celta Vigo clash certainly wasn’t lacking any bit of that.Advertisement Image Courtesy: La LigaThe 32 year old skipper produced a sublime hat trick, as Barça dominated a 4-1 victory over RC Celta de Vigo yesterday at Camp Nou. However, the veteran still provides answers as why he is one of the greatest ever to grace the beautiful game.Following a successful spot kick conversion in the 23rd minute, Messi sent the ball soaring into the net, not once, but twice, once nearing the end of first half, and the second one just 3 minutes into the second. Check out the spectacular free kicks below, courtesy to Twitter users @Vish_Akshay and @mizterlachi.Advertisement Lionel Messi Bringing joy back to FC Barcelona! Consecutive Freekicks!!!My GOAT!!! #BarcaCelta— Omo Tailor ➐ (@mizterlachi) November 9, 2019Both kicks were taken from a similar 20 yards distance, and the Blaugrana captain’s finesse saw both of them in the back of the net.Sergio Busquetes contributed the 4th in the 85th minute, and Celta’s single consolation goal came in the first half, and that too, was free kick scored by the Uruguyan defender Lucas Olaza.Barcelona are currently top of the table with 25 points, equal to Real Madrid, who are trailing in second on the basis of goal difference. Advertisementlast_img read more