In the Arizona desert, coal era burns out for Navajo

BLACK MESA, Ariz. — Tradition has it that the spiritual forerunners of the Navajo people picked this spot — the high mesa land of the American Southwest — and assured the Navajo they had reached a kind of promised land.

The Diné, or “children of the Holy People,” as the Navajo call themselves, were taught not to stray from the land bracketed by four sacred mountains, where they would never know the earthquakes, tornadoes and other calamities that beset their neighbors. The Navajo scratched out a living from the sparse scrub country and, for centuries, the teaching seemed true enough.

But the arrival of newcomers — first from Spain, then Mexico and, finally, America — thrust the tribe into new cultures and new economies they did not choose. Over the last century, in particular, American settlers and institutions urged the Navajo into livestock ranching, land development and uranium mining, only to end or curtail those industries, leaving the tribe to manage the disastrous fallout.

Now, history’s pendulum appears to have swung again. A coal business, dropped into the Navajo heartland a half century ago, is staggering. Electric utilities around America are converting to cheaper natural gas. And the world is turning to cleaner power sources, like wind and solar.

Video by Jim Seida, Edited by Aine Pennello

The utility that operates the Navajo Generating Station announced at the start of 2017 that it would turn off the plant by December 2019. The shutdown would almost certainly drag down the power plant’s lone coal supplier, the Kayenta Mine, which has no other customers.

News of those twin blows has rattled hundreds of Navajo workers who would lose their jobs, sent politicians from the Arizona state house to President Trump’s Interior Department scrambling for ways to keep the plant in business, and thrown the far-flung Navajo Nation and the neighboring Hopi Reservation into a tempest. Loved or hated, coal has been a mainstay of life here for decades, even as it has fouled the air and scarred the land that the tribe holds sacred.

On one side, tribal supporters of the power plant and the vast open-pit coal mine that feeds it spent most of the last year fighting furiously to stave off the closure. They hired a top investment banking firm to search for new owners and lobbied in Washington — where coal’s self-proclaimed No. 1 fan occupies the Oval Office — for a political solution.

On the other side, Navajo opponents cheered what they they saw as end times for an industry they say never delivered the economic bounty promised in Indian Country and was blamed for damaging the health and the environment of impoverished residents. The Navajo plant and others in the region laid a persistent haze from the Grand Canyon to Arches National Park in Utah to the Pine Mountain Wilderness in central Arizona. And coal operations siphoned away a vast amount of water in a region that desperately needs more to grow and diversify the economy.

Industry in the Wild West A mine and power plant support two tribes

Navajo

Generating

Station (NGS)

Navajo Nation

Black Mesa &

Lake Powell

Railroad

Kayenta

Mine

Complex

Hopi

Reservation

NEW MEXICO

CALIFORNIA

Navajo

Generating

Station (NGS)

Navajo Nation

Black Mesa &

Lake Powell

Railroad

Kayenta

Mine

Complex

Hopi

Reservation

NEW MEXICO

Navajo Nation

Navajo

Generating

Station (NGS)

Black Mesa &

Lake Powell

Railroad

Kayenta

Mine

Complex

Hopi

Reservation

Coal mined at the Kayenta complex in Northern Arizona flows, by conveyor belt and train, to the Navajo Generating Station. Electricity from the plant helps power the Southwest. Sources: NGS-KMC Project, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, OpenStreetMap, Natural Earth

Peabody Energy, the giant multinational company that operates the mine, said it still expects to find a new power plant operator that will continue burning its coal. But the plant operators note that they soon must begin the engineering and planning to take NGS apart and seem to hold little hope the operation can keep going.

The stakes are unusually high. The shutdown of the mine and the power plant — known by its acronym, NGS — would deprive the Navajo reservation of its two largest non-governmental employers. The 43-year-old generating station and its sister coal mine employ more than 700 people, many at salaries of more than $100,000 a year, a small fortune in the depressed economy of Northern Arizona. Another 2,300 jobs in the region are linked to the two major employers.

The financial stimulus also enriches the Navajo Nation, with NGS lease payments and coal royalties contributing roughly one-fifth of the tribe’s general-fund budget. For the government of the Hopi reservation — entirely surrounded by the vast Navajo lands — reliance on coal is even greater. Nearly 87 percent of this year’s Hopi general budget of $14.6 million is expected to come from coal-related royalties and fees.


“How much of that electric line goes to my people?” asked Russell Begaye, the president of the Navajo Nation. “Zero. We don’t get any power from this.”
The loss of those funds is viewed as disruptive to the Navajo government and debilitating for the Hopi. Services ranging from police patrols, to food banks, to health care for the elderly could be slashed if the coal money disappears, tribal members predict. Those services help people already operating on the margins. Half of adult Navajos do not have a job. About 40 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.
“Our leaders in the past saw this as something we would have for 100 years,” Navajo President Russell Begaye said of the coal money. “Now we see that is not the case… At the beginning, this would devastate Navajo.”
‘Not very important country’
The unforgiving land around the Four Corners has repeatedly spawned compromises and odd alliances, none more unlikely than the one that gave birth to the Navajo Generating Station.
In the early 1960s, the modern environmental movement was just coming of age. A signature battle was over construction of a pair of dams on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. Environmentalists said that creating lakes in the mile-deep canyon would be like flooding the Sistine Chapel.
Environmentalists succeeded in blocking the dams, so powerful Arizona interests needed an alternative. The influential Udall family — Interior Secretary Stewart Udall and his brother, Rep. Morris Udall — came up with a proposal to build a power plant near Lake Powell, where the river had already been dammed, and use the new electricity to pump Colorado River water south. The scheme would turn 100 square miles of Navajo territory into an open-pit coal mine and subject the surrounding region to the sulphur and carbon emissions that come with burning coal. Desperate to save the Grand Canyon, Sierra Club founder David Brower saw that as an acceptable compromise. “That is not very important country,” he said, “compared to Grand Canyon.”

In recent years, the Sierra Club has tried to come to terms with the consequences of its decision. The organization’s magazine this year described the acquiescence to a massive polluter as  “shadowy.” It said the organization had learned and would never again treat native people so cavalierly.

With environmental opposition pushed aside, the giant power plant rose in a desolate high desert where man’s previous footprint had consisted of traditional one-room Navajo homes, called hogans, along with truck stops and the occasional tourist oasis. Today, the concrete and steel power factory looms like an alien spacecraft against a backdrop of red sandstone monoliths that date to a time before human history. White steam mushrooms from three smokestacks, visible for miles in every direction.

From the time of its opening in 1974, NGS did not lack for customers. Utilities from as far away as Los Angeles craved cheap power. The environmental costs received fleeting attention.

Coal and homelands in America Native tribes join the ‘extractive’ industries

Coal Power Station

Navajo

Generating

Station

(NGS)

Kayenta

Mine

Complex

Coal Power Station

Navajo

Generating

Station

(NGS)

Kayenta

Mine

Complex

Coal Power Station

Navajo

Generating

Station

(NGS)

Kayenta

Mine

Complex

Coal Power Station

Navajo Generating Station(NGS)

and Kayenta Mining Complex

Sources: U.S. Energy Information Administration, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,  U.S. Census Bureau

But the new millennium brought new concerns and new competitors.

In 2005, another power plant fueled by Navajo coal — the Mohave Generating Station of Laughlin, Nevada — had to shut down after Southern California utilities balked at paying $1 billion for mandatory air pollution retrofits. The closure marked an early victory in an expanding national campaign to reduce climate-warming greenhouse gases.

As energy companies expanded the use of hydraulic fracturing to free up deep underground deposits, the price of natural gas steadily declined. By 2009, the price cratered, to less than $3 per thousand cubic feet, compared with the previous summer’s high of $13.

The result, from 2010 until the present, is that half of America’s 523 coal-fired electricity plants have either closed or announced they would soon go out of business. The disdain for coal hit the Navajo Generating Station in 2013, when the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power moved to sell its roughly one-fifth stake in the plant. Another stakeholder in NGS, Nevada’s NV Energy, signaled the same year that it planned to phase out coal power.

But in 2016, presidential candidate Donald Trump had a different idea. He insisted coal’s only real problem was excessive government regulation, campaigning on a pledge to end the “war on coal.” Once in office, he canceled the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, which supported the economy’s shift away from carbon fuels. And his regulators pushed a rule that would give advantages to power plants, like those that burn coal, that keep large fuel supplies on site. Backers say the policy would make sure that electricity is delivered without interruption.

shutting down.

“Coal is not coming back,” said Bruce Nilles, the senior director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign. “This promise that it is coming back is doing a great disservice to people like the workers at Navajo Generating Station, keeping them in an unrealistic state of suspense, when they should be planning for the future.”

A river of coal and jobs

Today, a virtual river of coal runs for 17 miles on an elevated conveyor belt from the heart of the Kayenta Mine to the towering silos of a depot on the grassland just north of Black Mesa. Empty trains arrive at the depot three times daily, load up, then ship the shimmering black cargo 78 miles northwest to the Navajo Generating Station, where the fuel piles up in small mountains. It is eventually pounded into dust and burned at 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, 24 hours a day.

It’s a point of pride with the operators that the power station delivers a continuous supply of electricity. The men and women who work here are quick to contrast that with wind and solar operations, which can wax and wane with the weather.

The Navajo lease with the plant operators runs out on Dec. 23, 2019. But as recently as 2012 that date looked like it would be extended. The tribe and its utility partners (Salt River Project, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Reclamation, Arizona Public Service, NV Energy of Nevada and Tucson Electric Power) agreed to terms to keep NGS open another 25 years, until 2044.

That deal also upped lease payments to the Navajo from $860,000 a year to $32 million annually, according to Begaye, the Navajo president. Importantly, the extension would have given the tribe another 27 years to figure out how to build a post-coal economy.

But with power customers slipping away, the utilities never signed the new lease. The utility that pumps water south said it could have paid $38 million less in 2016 using cheaper alternatives to coal. A crucial blow came when the Salt River Project (SRP), the utility that helped build modern Arizona and the lead operator of the Navajo plant, said it had locked in 10-year contracts for cheap natural gas.

Navajo Nation leaders like Begaye were floored. They said a shutdown would be ruinous — taking 400 jobs at the power plant and another 325 at the coal mine, the vast majority of them held by Navajos, under employment preference agreements. On the smaller Hopi reservation, then-Chairman Herman G. Honanie found the potential gutting of the tribal budget so disturbing he said he could not sleep.

Kayenta mine workload Reduced use of coal, less work for miners

Mine Labor Hours

Mine Production

Mine Employees

short tons

number of employees

Mine Employees

Mine Labor Hours

Mine Production

number of employees

short tons

Mine Employees

number of employees

Mine Labor Hours

Mine Production

short tons

As customers demanded less power from the Navajo Generating Station, the power plant has needed less coal from its sole supplier, the Kayenta Mine. Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

Peabody Energy does not intend to go quietly. The company commissioned an economic analysis that insisted coal could compete with natural gas. A shutdown of NGS, another study suggested, could lead to power blackouts around the Southwest. (These were countered by a study that found users would have to pay an extra $2.4 billion by 2030 if they continued to rely on coal-fired power.)

The coal mine announced in October that “highly qualified potential investors” had expressed an interest in buying out some of the current power plant operators, with the intention to keep burning coal. Peabody said it intended to have new ownership in place by the end of the first quarter of 2018, though it declined to name the partners willing to buck the nationwide trend.

“There are 195 million tons of coal still left up here,” said Audry Rappleyea, a 30-year veteran of western mining, who oversees operations at Kayenta, “and there’s no reason we shouldn’t mine every last crumb of it.”


“There are 195 million tons of coal still left up here,” says Audry Rappleyea, a 30-year veteran of western mining, who oversees operations at the Kayenta Mine, “and there’s no reason we shouldn’t mine every last crumb of it.”
But at the plant, most workers seem resigned to the end. The Salt River Project already has a program to find its workers jobs at other locations. And some employees have already moved on.
A Salt River Project spokesman said plans must soon be put in place to tear down NGS’s miles of ducts, its mammoth boilers and the signature smokestacks. The important thing, workers here say, is to avoid accidents and to keep the power flowing as long as they can. Stickers on the workers’ hard hats sport a new motto: “Finish Strong.”
A loss of fresh air, abundant water
To some Navajos, the pursuit of extractive industries like coal mining tears at the very core of their traditional teachings. Black Mesa is considered a female deity. Dynamite, tractors and hulking scoopers known as “draglines” effectively rip at the guts of this sacred figure.
“They are destroying the female,” said Percy Deal, an activist with the environmental group Diné Care. “They are interrupting a way of life, a way of religion and harmony and balance between man and nature.”
And there are more practical concerns, which environmental activists detailed one day this fall, in a meeting 25 miles south of the mine. They gathered in a remote niche of the reservation, in a hogan, one of the circular homes in which some Navajo still live. After a lunch of tacos on traditional fry bread, the activists took turns describing the trouble NGS has brought to the reservation. The 2,250-megawatt Navajo Generating Station near Page, Arizona, is the largest coal-fired power plant in the western United States. It has been a mainstay of the Navajo economy for 43 years, but the utilities that operate the plant said they intend to close it in 2019.
Shirley Peaches, a public health worker, read from a yellow legal tablet, recounting the multiple reports of cancer in one rural community downwind from the power plant. A nonsmoker recently came down with lung cancer, another contracted pancreatic cancer and a couple others report malignant growths in their stomachs, Peaches said.
No authoritative long-term health study of the impacts of the power plant’s emissions has been undertaken. A study completed in 2013 found that rates for many cancers, including lung cancer, were substantially lower among Navajos than among whites in New Mexico and Arizona. The report also showed that the Navajo suffered substantially higher rates of stomach, liver and kidney cancers.

A mixed diagnosis Most commonly diagnosed cancers among the Navajo1 compared to non-Hispanic whites, average age-adjusted cancer incidence rates2, 2005 to 2013, males and females combined, all ages

non-Hispanic whites AZ/NM

Pancreatic

Non-Hodgkin

Lymphoma

Colorectal

Female Breast

Cases per 100k people

Pancreatic

non-Hispanic whites

AZ/NM

Non-Hodgkin

Lymphoma

Colorectal

Female

Breast

Cases per 100k people

1American Indian/Alaska cancer incidence data in the six counties that comprise most of the Navajo Nation were used as a proxy for Navajo cancer incidence rates; the counties included: Apache County (AZ), Coconino County (AZ), Navajo County (AZ), McKinely County (NM), San Juan County (NM), San Juan County (UT). 2 Rates are per 100,000 persons and are age-adjusted to the 2000 U.S. standard population. Source: The Navajo Epidemiology Center (NEC) / Arizona Cancer Registry, New Mexico Tumor Registry and Utah Cancer Registry

The Clean Air Task Force, an organization promoting clean energy alternatives, produced a report in 2014 that projected negative health outcomes connected to coal emissions nationwide. It said Navajo Generating Station emissions would cause 12 deaths, 19 heart attacks and 230 asthma episodes annually, above what would be expected without the plant.

A plant spokesman said those projections were not “science-based,” adding that NGS has “some of the most sophisticated pollution control systems in the country.” The spokesman said anecdotes about ill health, tied to the plant, had no basis in science.

“They talk only about how this shutdown is going to impact workers and jobs,” Peaches said. “But they are not looking at the health impacts from the plant, if it keeps going, and how it is really hurting our people.”

Annie Walker, a former academic supervisor for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, said she made home visits to children not able to attend school. She recalled a few with “severe” neurological issues, so debilitating they were bedridden. To Walker, NGS emissions must have caused the illnesses.

By far the most routine complaint about the coal industry is that it consumes a flood of water that the desert reservation can’t afford to lose. The power plant slurps up 32,000 acre-feet of Colorado River water per year for pollution control and cooling, enough to supply about twice that many homes. (An acre-foot is enough water to cover an acre of land with a foot of water, or about 325,000 gallons.)

The Black Mesa Mine, immediately adjacent the Kayenta Mine, once pumped more than 1 billion gallons of groundwater a year, which it used to create a coal and water slurry that was then piped for 273 miles to the now-shuttered Mohave power plant. A couple of years after the mine’s 2005 closure, water levels wells that had been drying out began to increase again, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

But Navajo and Hopi who live nearby say natural springs in the region have never recovered. Nadine Narindrankura, who farms and raises sheep just north of the isolated community of Hard Rocks, said her extended family has seen paltry harvests from severe drought. And with plants like NGS creating greenhouse gases that warm the earth, the region can only grow warmer, she said.

“The health of our animals is directly tied to the health of the plants and the health of the plants is tied to the health of the air and water,” Narindrankura said. “So we are all in this together.”

The host of the activists’ meeting was Deal, who has lived here all his life. He is agitated about many of the impacts of the coal industry, but particularly disturbed that the 2,250 megawatts of electricity from NGS travel hundreds of miles to big cities, while one third of Navajo reservation homes are still without power. And 40 percent of homes, including Deal’s, don’t have running water, meaning a 34-mile round-trip each week to truck in water.

“We feel it’s our water,” Deal said. “We want it back.”

Government officials at the national, state and tribal level say they would like to expand water and electric service across the reservation. But with 180,000 people spread over an area the size of West Virginia, many of the homes are so isolated that laying pipe or electric lines would be prohibitively expensive, they say.

One of the biggest looming fights, if the power plant closes, will be over the 50,000 acre-feet of water that had been set aside for its operation. The Navajo believe they should get the water. But under the byzantine Colorado Compact, which divides the river’s water among seven states, the allocation is promised to the state of Arizona. The tribe will have to fight for a share.

The anti-coal group gathered around Deal’s table nodded in assent as Ron Milford, a public health worker on the reservation, summed up. “Water is more important than anything,” he said. “It’s the bottom line for health. It’s the bottom line for the economy. It’s the bottom line for life.”

The miners who keep the lights on

In May, the U.S. Interior Department — which holds a 24-percent stake in the power plant through the Bureau of Reclamation, in order to pump water across Arizona — held hearings on the future of the Navajo Generating Station.

Filing much of the room at the first “listening session” were rows of workers in matching blue and white “Kayenta Mine” T-shirts. Men, and a few women, took turns talking about how the mine had changed their lives. Many had been itinerant workers, following construction jobs all over the West. But once they landed jobs at Kayenta they could stay home, help raise their kids and become part of the community.

Their fear is not of the unemployment line, but of joining the long parade of Navajos who have had to leave the tribe’s homeland. Workers at the power plant expressed the same fears of loss of culture and community.

One tribal member, Lelandolph Watson, has managed to afford a ranch house and three acres in Page, Arizona, thanks to his seven years working at the power plant. He can ride his horse out back and even rope a calf — at least the mechanical kind, towed behind his all-terrain vehicle.

If NGS closes, Watson expects to move to San Diego, where he served in the Navy, or to Phoenix, far away from the outdoor life and rodeos that his ranching family raised him to love. “Everything I ever wanted, I have now,” said Watson, a 36-year-old father of three. “For my life, my wife’s life and the kids, it’s going to be a really big disruption.”

No one should underestimate how much their labor spreads benefits well beyond their families, the workers said.

“I tell these guys they contribute every day,” said Jarvison Littlesunday, a supervisor at NGS. “They provide the power, the power that makes monitors run in hospitals and lights go on in schools and air conditioning everywhere. That is is the stuff that we make.”

Mine workers said that even some people who oppose coal mining seem to forget their opposition when the weather turns cold. They see the naysayers lining up in Kayenta’s public “load out” area, where tribal members are welcome to fill their pickup trucks with loads of free coal to burn in their homes.

Marie Justice, a Navajo truck driver at the coal mine and president of the United Mine Workers local, encapsulated the miners’ sense of abandonment at one of the Interior Department hearings.

“We have given our land all that time for them to make money … and provided all the water here to turn on their faucets,” Justice said. “Now you want to walk away from all of this? I don’t think that is right.”

Like hundreds of other Navajo miners at Kayenta, truck driver Lawrence Gilmore, 57, could use at least a few more years on the job to get himself to a proper retirement age. With his kids mostly on their own, he would like to spend some of his money to build a retirement home in the hills near Pinon.

Gilmore was as happy as any of his colleagues when he heard the report from Peabody that new owners might be coming to rescue the power plant. “Everything’s not gloom and doom,” he told a visitor. But in the next moment, he recalled a conversation in which he told his 28-year-old son, Quanah, that he could see the mine closing some day.

“It’s probably a good idea,” he said, “to just let it heal.”

On some mornings, Gilmore will pull his pickup to a stop high on Black Mesa. He has been to this scrubby hillside enough that, even in the pre-dawn dark, he can find a familiar pinon pine tree that’s become something like an altar. Facing the tree, not much taller than he is, Gilmore will sprinkle a little white corn meal, an offering for the coming day.

In his native Navajo, he’ll address the mountain underneath his feet. “I thank you for providing for me and my family,” Gilmore will say. “I want safety for everyone. I am not here to harm you.”

More cameras, bulletproof glass in schools since Sandy Hook

People attend a wide open house in the new Sandy Hook Grade School in Newtown, Connecticut, on This summer 29, 2016. Mark Lennihan / AP file

Adding security measures includes challenges, though: They may be pricey for money-strapped schools — Klinger stated the buzzer system alone can run about $5,000 — plus they could make school feel under inviting.

“You want to continually be searching at this balance between helping kids feel safe in school, and become safe in school, although not feeling like they are likely to school inside a prison atmosphere,” stated Mo Canady, executive director from the National Association of faculty Resource Officials, a nonprofit for college-based police force officials.

Which was the aim in Newtown, in which the school district destroyed the initial Sandy Hook Elementary from respect for that victims. This past year, a brand new school opened up elsewhere on a single property Consigli Construction Co., which built the $50 million school, has billed it as being a nationwide model for that “school for the future.”

The brand new Sandy Hook school includes a nature theme, with two “treehouse spaces” — glass-enclosed wings that jut out within the school’s expansive courtyard. Off traffic security measures, for example doorways that may be easily locked in the outdoors or inside, bullet-resistant home windows, and bioswales outdoors your building that absorb water for plants whilst keeping visitors far away, are sprinkled through the property.

“The brand new building was very thoughtful and incredibly sensitive,” Matthew Consigli, president of Consigli Construction, stated. “We would have liked to make certain that people introduced and implemented security measures that are not readily apparent towards the children.”

Experts explain that structural reinforcements are just area of the solution, and perhaps, might even diminish other crucial safety precautions. They urge schools to mix security equipment along with other tools, like regular lockdown drills, getting a college crisis team that holds conferences all year round, and keeping open lines of communication with local first responders.

“Lots of people have recently went after security equipment and hardware as a fast fix, something that’s visible and tangible that they’ll indicate to oldsters and native media,” stated Kenneth S. Trump, president of National School Security and safety Services, a Cleveland-based talking to firm that can help schools prevent and get ready for crises. “Oftentimes, the very best security is invisible.”

Lockdowns, particularly, could be effective, like a

shooting recently in California demonstrated. Whenever a gunman within the Rancho Tehama Reserve wiped out four people and targeted an grade school, he was thwarted from stepping into the college after staff initiated a lockdown, government bodies stated.

“It seems that while he could not make use of the rooms — these were locked — he gave up and re-joined the automobile after which continued his killing spree and required it towards the roads,” Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston stated. “And So I actually want to state that the fast action of individuals school officials, there’s without doubt i believe in line with the video which i saw, saved numerous lives and kids.”

But facility upgrades don’t always stop tragedy altogether. A shooting a week ago inside a Boise State Broncos senior high school

wiped out two children despite teachers happening lockdown and pushing a panic or anxiety button because the gunman was shooting, based on local reports.

As well as Sandy Hook had some physical barriers in position: The gunman, Adam Lanza, however, could easily breach the buzzer system there.

School safety consultants all stress that mass shootings in schools are quite rare. Still, they advised managers to concentrate just as much on stopping a panic attack in regards to what their response could be.

“The only method you are likely to reduce this really is training, which training needs to incorporate not just faculty, but parents,” stated Heidi Wysocki, co-founding father of First Defense Solutions, that provides training regarding how to minimize casualties in active shooter situations. She cites the

“Be aware of Signs” programs from Sandy Hook Promise, the nonprofit brought by a number of groups of victims within the school shooting, like a good guide.

While training staff people and drilling students regarding how to handle a panic attack is essential, they stated it should not attend the fee for get yourself ready for a far more likely emergency: how to proceed if your noncustodial parent tries to get a young child, for instance, or maybe students includes a serious health emergency.

“We’re doing active shooter training towards the exclusion of anything else,” Klinger stated. “Statistically, you are most likely not going with an active shooter.”

NSW Education Department cuts regulation for after-school health care providers

Updated December 08, 2017 06:53:43

Rules governing who are able to bid for contracts to operate pre and post-school services in NSW Government schools happen to be scrapped.

The alterations mean there’s no more any requirement of operators to possess a minimum of 50 percent of the services meeting certain standards.

Network of Community Activities leader Robyn Monro Miller stated parents haven’t been consulted or informed from the decision.

“This is not a choice the Government ought to be making behind closed doorways,” she stated.

“I believe parents are likely to feel cheated and fooled.”

Screening plan stopped

A pre-qualification plan, made to screen out operators with past breaching rules or running low quality services, has been around since November this past year.

On October 27, a notice published around the NSW Government’s eTendering website announced the plan had been stopped with immediate effect.

A spokesperson stated the choice was taken following an interior review and feedback in the industry.

“I was completely flabbergasted to listen to the Department of your practice no more felt that individuals standards were necessary, we feel they’re,” Ms Monro Miller stated.

“By not putting some mandatory standards around who are able to tender of these services, we feel the department is really carrying out a disservice to the children and definitely to the families who’re using and having faith in these types of services.”

Ms Monro Miller stated the choice would open the floodgates to foreign-based private equity investors who already controlled 30 percent from the Australian pre and post-school care market.

“From school hrs care is viewed as big business but yet this means that we’re prey to groups getting into the sphere who might not have children’s welfare his or her first priority.”

Changes welcomed by greatest player

The choice continues to be welcomed through the greatest player on the market, Camp Australia, which is a member of a U . s . States-based private equity finance firm.

After school care changes Photo: NSW Education Department has announced the plan had been stopped with immediate effect. (ABC News: Ursula Malone)

In December this past year, the organization was banned from putting in a bid for or renewing tenders at government schools in NSW following numerous breaches, including one out of Wa in which a seven-year-old child with Lower syndrome came from aftercare without anybody realizing.

The Training Department confirmed Camp Australia has become qualified to use.

“We expect to resuming tendering in NSW having a concentrate on delivering top quality care,” a spokesperson for Camp Australia stated.

“The NSW Government ran a business consultation process around the plan and Camp Australia led to that process.”

Sector ‘not an amount playing field’

The not-for-profit 3Bridges Community runs five out-of-school-hrs services in Sydney’s south, which are rated as meeting or exceeding standards.

Children’s Services manager Tina Warner stated if this found putting in a bid for contracts, community-based organisations like 3Bridges were more and more facing big commercial operators.

“I’ve written over 20 tenders, been shortlisted for four and achieved one during the last 3 years,” she stated.

She stated a 2-tier licensing system where commercial operators were billed greater rents was working from the community sector it had been designed to safeguard.

“It’s certainly not an amount arena,” Ms Warner stated.

“Which principal will select a lower licence fee whether they have a lot of things to complete within their school?”

Topics: child-care, public-schools, secondary-schools, primary-schools, sydney-2000

First published December 08, 2017 06:34:21

Hit by Harvey, two Texas senior high school football teams hit back

Image:

C.E. King players comfort one another after their last game of year. David Butow / Redux for NBC News

With more than one minute left around the clock, the Panthers marched to the type of scrimmage. The sounds from the cheerleaders and also the band faded as quarterback Tarron Donaldson researched in the scoreboard.

Lower by 8, Donaldson squatted behind the middle and scanned the area. The whole season had come lower to those last plays. A number of King’s players kneeled around the sideline. Others, too nervous to look at, sitting around the bench using their heads lower, their eyes clenched.

What came next would be a blur. A botched snap. A sack. Another sack. And like this, with little drama, the sport was over. Kingwood had held on for that win. C.E. King had lost.

Kingwood’s players spilled over the field, whooping and hugging and-fiving their way lower a gauntlet of fans.

The Mustangs would will continue to win two more games, capping their 6-6 record using their best postseason run in 27 years. King’s season would finish at 3-6.

On King’s sideline, Fitzhenry was alone because the seem of his team’s disappointment bled into Kingwood’s celebration. His players discrete angry outbursts. Others let silent tears tumble lower their cheekbones. Bryson Washington discrete a guttural moan, sobbing.

The Washington boys fell into one another’s arms.

As his players filed with the field house that night, Fitzhenry gave each a handshake or perhaps a hug. The following day there’d be considered a final meeting prior to the offseason work started and also the King Panthers ready for pick up, prior to the finality of the you even sunk in.

“I don’t believe that we’re exactly the same team that people were initially when i first came — they never quit, they never once threw in the towel,Inches Fitzhenry stated. “It hurts me to determine them lose farmville. Could it have been all of the missed practice time? Could it have been the schedule? Also could we’ve done?”

Image:

Image:

C.E. King’s locker room floors show the results from the recent flooding. David Butow / Redux for NBC News

Hit by Harvey, 2 Texas HS football teams hit back

Image:

C.E. King players comfort one another after their last game of year. David Butow / Redux for NBC News

With more than one minute left around the clock, the Panthers marched to the type of scrimmage. The sounds from the cheerleaders and also the band faded as quarterback Tarron Donaldson researched in the scoreboard.

Lower by 8, Donaldson squatted behind the middle and scanned the area. The whole season had come lower to those last plays. A number of King’s players kneeled around the sideline. Others, too nervous to look at, sitting around the bench using their heads lower, their eyes clenched.

What came next would be a blur. A botched snap. A sack. Another sack. And like this, with little drama, the sport was over. Kingwood had held on for that win. C.E. King had lost.

Kingwood’s players spilled over the field, whooping and hugging and-fiving their way lower a gauntlet of fans.

The Mustangs would will continue to win two more games, capping their 6-6 record using their best postseason run in 27 years. King’s season would finish at 3-6.

On King’s sideline, Fitzhenry was alone because the seem of his team’s disappointment bled into Kingwood’s celebration. His players discrete angry outbursts. Others let silent tears tumble lower their cheekbones. Bryson Washington discrete a guttural moan, sobbing.

The Washington boys fell into one another’s arms.

As his players filed with the field house that night, Fitzhenry gave each a handshake or perhaps a hug. The following day there’d be considered a final meeting prior to the offseason work started and also the King Panthers ready for pick up, prior to the finality of the you even sunk in.

“I don’t believe that we’re exactly the same team that people were initially when i first came — they never quit, they never once threw in the towel,Inches Fitzhenry stated. “It hurts me to determine them lose farmville. Could it have been all of the missed practice time? Could it have been the schedule? Also could we’ve done?”

Image:

Image:

C.E. King’s locker room floors show the results from the recent flooding. David Butow / Redux for NBC News

How North Korea recruits its army of youthful online hackers

Image: South Korea Trains Student Hackers To Fight Kim Jong Un's Cyber Elite

Students take part in a cyber-defense programming class at Korea College in Seoul, Columbia. These were practicing hacking one another included in a government program to coach these to fight Kim Jong Un’s techno-soldiers. Bloomberg via Getty Images file

Based on Kim Heung Kwang, an old science professor who also steered clear of from North Korea, Ri has become their studies at a college in Seoul. Very little else is famous about him.

Had Ri remained in North Korea, states Kwang, who now runs a non-governmental organization for defectors legal rights, he might have be a math wizzard — or he might have became a member of the Kim regime’s advanced cyber-warfare unit. It features a large number of people.

Recently, experts from around the globe collected in Seoul to go over Pyongyang’s hacking abilities —and how you can reduce the chances of them.

Martyn Johnson, the editor of

North Korea Tech, a Bay Area-based website, stated while online hackers in lots of countries are frequently self-trained nobody has internet access in your own home in North Korea and couple of have computers.

Which means its northern border Korean regime hands-picks and trains its hacking elite.

“Working out system that North Korea uses is actually unlike many more on the planet, because North Korea is really a country unlike any other on the planet,Inch states Johnson, who is another contributor at

38 North, a monitoring group based at Johns Hopkins College.

Science and math are pressed in grade school, and also the best students in individuals subjects are uncovered to computers, based on Johnson.

There after, the children having a knack for computing will advance through a number of special schools that highlight programming. You will find countless students, states Kim, its northern border Korean professor, contributing to 70 % who graduate are men.

Most compete in programming contests round the country, and also the best will will continue to top universities.

It’s largely in the college level where hacking is introduced. Johnson states students may attend Kim Il Sang College or Kim Chaek College of Technology to build up traditional software.

But a few of the brightest programmers, he states, are delivered to either Moranbong College or Mirim College, schools in which the best online hackers are stated to understand their trade.

North Korea’s rigorous schooling to coach programmers and future online hackers seems to participate a great vision the leadership has held for many years to bolster both its economy and military.

In 1996, former leader Kim Jong Il apparently told several frontline troops that “all wars later on is going to be computer wars.”

Regardless of the Western stereotype that North Korean leaders are managing a backward nation, the “Dear Leader” appeared to possess recognized the significance of computers in early stages.

“It had been a fairly early conjecture,” Johnson states, “also it switched to be very good.Inch

Now, North Korea’s computer literate are allegedly masterminding attacks around the world, like the

hack on The new sony Pictures in 2014 that crashed the majority of their servers and price it millions of dollars.

The FBI also suspects North Korea was behind

last year’s $81-million cyberheist from the Bangladesh central bank’s account in the Fed Bank of recent You are able to.

Kim, the professor, cautioned that North Korean online hackers might eventually try to sow chaos by attacking transportation and communication systems, among other crucial infrastructure in developed nations.

“That scenario is approaching,Inch he states.

Hats on 4 CPC – raising understanding of children’s palliative care, one hat at any given time

Your day the Worldwide Children’s Palliative Care Network (ICPCN) has eagerly anticipated has finally showed up. ICPCNs campaign ‘Hats on 4 CPC’ will occur this Friday, 14 October 2016. The organisation has requested individuals, schools, companies and NGO’s to assist raise necessary understanding of the over 21 million children that require palliative care services around the world by putting on a hat about this day.

With support from around the globe, Joan Marston, ICPCN’s Ceo stated, “We put on a hat to safeguard us in the sun in order to make us look great. With children’s palliative care our goal would be to safeguard children whenever possible in the results of their illness while getting just as much pleasure and sweetness to their lives as possible. By putting on a hat on Friday 14 October you’ll be a part of an international movement to lessen children’s suffering and also to bring beauty and compassionate care to their short lives.”

How will you become involved?

If you’d like to get familiar with this excellent movement, it’s not far too late to obtain involved. All you need to do is:

1.      Put on a hat to college or focus on Friday, 14 October 2016

2.      Have a photo of yourself and share across social networking using #Hatson4CPC

3.      Think about making a donation towards the ICPCN, at http://world wide web.icpcn.org/donate-to-icpcn/

Now in the third year of running, the ‘Hats on 4 CPC’ campaign keeps growing bigger each year. The ICPCN continues to be overwhelmed considering the variety of support, with news of exciting occasions to become held all over the world. If you’re feeling motivated to complete more to boost awareness of these children you are able to encourage your working environment, school or business for hosting a ‘Hats on 4 CPC’ event. Send us an email at [email protected] to join up your event.

For additional info on ways you can get involved and also to download helpful sources for ‘Hats on 4 CPC’, please click the link.    

Place a hat on today for children’s palliative care

People all over the world is going to be donning a hat right now to raise understanding of children’s palliative care and also the need to add mass to services in many countries on the planet to meet the requirements from the 21 million kids with existence-restricting and existence-threatening conditions who’d take advantage of this specialised care.

3 years ago, the Worldwide Children’s Palliative Care Network (ICPCN) launched their first ‘Hats On’ campaign in October 2013, asking people and individuals who like children’s pallaitive choose to mark your day by putting on a hat and posting an image on social networking. The campaign is continuing to grow every year as well as an ICPCN spokesperson states that they’re happy to are convinced that, in 2016, organisations all over the world have locked to the concept and located creative and exciting methods for which makes it their very own.

For instance, the German organisation, Kinderhospiz Bundesverband e.V. have held a celebration they’ve named Hut auf für kleine Helden (Hats off for small heroes). In Lisbon, Portugal, a hat-making competition is going to be held where schools and companies happen to be asked to send their winning records for display in a local shopping center. A nearby worldwide school in Lisbon has planned an entire month of activities to boost understanding of the requirements of kids with complex needs and include bake sales, talent shows and also the putting on of red clothes along with a red hat. 

In Nigeria, Dr Michelle Meiring, chair of Palliative Strategy to Children (PatchSA) made an appearance around the breakfast Television show, Expresso, putting on a hat and it was given an chance to speak about children’s palliative care. Interviews on numerous Nigeria radio shows also have elevated awareness during the day and also the cause.

Other occasions we all know of happen to be planned in Hong Kong, Burundi, Australia, Mexico, Uganda, Canada, Ukraine, Romania and Armenia. 

Requested ‘Why hats’? ICPCN explains that, in addition to the fun facet of putting on a hat, it gives us warmth and protection, similar to the role from the children’s palliative care team. They’re there to supply the affected child and their family having a layer of protection and comfort because they navigate the tough journey that’s a reality when dealing with a existence-threatening, chronic or incurable illness.

Support 
Much appreciated support for that campaign continues to be caused by ICPCN ambassadors, Micheline Etkin, Lucy Watts MBE, Roberto Manrique and champions Marquardt Petersen and Cateline Khoo.

“Our amazing Ambassadors  have really gone further to get the word out about ‘Hats On 4 CPC’ and we’re so grateful for them. We’d like to state a large ‘thank you’ to the Board people and colleagues all corners around the globe who’ve placed on a hat and published their pictures on their own social networking pages,” states Lorna Sithole, ICPCN’s Media and Marketing Officer. 

“We’re so thrilled with the amount of participation this season and believe that the concept is actually ‘catching on’ and continuously improve and larger every year.Inch

So, what exactly are you awaiting? Place your hat on and do what you could to boost understanding of the palliative care requirements of children. 

Learn more  

Colleges are suspending Greek existence. Pricier the ban to last.

Image: Maxwell Gruver

Maxwell Gruver Thanks to Gruver family

Banning Greek existence altogether would also

drive fraternities subterranean, where, with without any oversight, they may be much more harmful.

But experts say there are more avenues schools may take to lessen hazing and safeguard against alcohol-related deaths, for example banning alcohol and eliminating pledging — which Hechinger states “is simply a polite method of saying hazing.”

Sigma Alpha Epsilon, that has had 10 people die in hazing rituals since 2005, based on Hechinger, saw a 90 % stop by its insurance claims after it

eliminated pledging.

Related:

Penn Condition Fraternity Dying: Why Did Nobody Call 911 After Pledge Timothy Piazza Got Hurt?

Through his research, though, Nuwer stated a couple of positive trends have started to emerge, regardless of the recent rash of fraternity deaths.

The “old guard” of fraternity leaders in the days before anti-hazing education grew to become popular have left, he stated.

“There is a new wave of executives, however, many are more youthful, and they’ve developed through hazing education,” Nuwer stated. “They are more conscious of dangers and less inclined to hide.Inch

California school shooter wiped out wife, hidden her beneath floor

Image: Kevin Neal

Kevin Neal, suspect in California shooting. Tehama County

Requested in regards to a possible motive, Johnston stated, “I believe he’d a wish to kill as many folks because he could.”

Neal’s sister, Sheridan Orr of Cary, New York, described her brother as “an exciting-American kid” who was simply grappling with mental illness coupled with a hair-trigger temper.

“It’d constantly deteriorated over, I’d say, since October of this past year,” she told NBC News. “I loved him as my buddy however i did not recognize him. … He appeared possessed or demonic.”

Neal was equipped with two handguns and “two semi-automatic rifles with multiround clips” he had built themself, Johnston stated.

“These firearms are produced unlawfully, we feel by him at his home,” Johnston stated. “So that they were acquired within an illegal manner, not via a legal process. They are not registered.”

Related:

Fate of Sandy Hook suit might be made the decision with a slingshot

Johnston stated Neal wasn’t any stranger to police force which just before Tuesday his neighbors had “reported shots from the residence.”

“Each time we responded, we’d try to get hold of Mr. Neal,” he stated. “He wasn’t police force-friendly.”

That stated, Neal was “not prohibited from owning firearms,” Johnston stated.

Johnston also recognized the staffers at Rancho Tehama Grade School who rushed their youthful students in to the building and locked lower the college once they heard gunfire.

“It’s monumental that that college continued lockdown,” he stated. “I truly, honestly think that people might have were built with a terrible bloodbath for the reason that school in the event that school had not taken the experience once they did.”

Related:

Schools stage active shooter drills

Neal’s wife was apparently his first victim. “We feel that is what began this complete event,” Johnston stated.

Neal then wiped out a neighbor and stole his pickup, Johnston stated, even though weaving with the subdivision he started firing on other motorists, killing three more and more people.

“You need to understand, this individual’s going lower the street picking targets,” Johnston stated. “He chased individuals with his vehicle, shooting their way.Inch

Two people Neal wounded were a mom and her child.

The lady “did take out her hand gun” but was not able for doing things because Neal had fired “about eight models in to the side panel of her driver’s door,” Johnston stated.

On the way, Neal crashed the very first vehicle, stole another after which going to the college.

There, Johnston stated, Neal drove via a gate and sprayed the college with bullets for six minutes. Once he recognized he’d be unable to get inside, he left the college grounds.

The rampage ended when police rammed Neal’s vehicle and wiped out him within the ensuing gun fight, Johnston stated.