– Stuarts Draft man charged with murder for hire, Thursday, 6 p.m.
– Miss America 2008 to speak at JMU on eating disorders, Thursday, 5:50 p.m.
– Family Foundation praises passage of marriage curriculum bill, Thursday, 5:50 p.m.
– White House announces formation of faith-based partnerships office, Thursday, 5:50 p.m.
– Wagner picks up several mayoral endorsements, Thursday, 5:50 p.m.
– AFP editor Chris Graham to appear on WINA’s “Charlottesville-Right Now,” Thursday, 1 p.m.
– Shenandoah National Park plans prescribed burns, Thursday, 11:58 a.m.
– Biden says 400,000 jobs to be created nationwide by investing in our country’s infrastructure, Thursday, 11:58 a.m.
– Governor, GOP leaders announce agreement on statewide smoking ban in Va. restaurants, Thursday, 10:15 a.m.
– Health groups oppose change in Tobacco Settlement Foundation, Thursday, 9:05 a.m.
– Statement by Family Foundation president on State Police chaplain bill, Thursday, 9:05 a.m.
– American Lung Association celebrates public-health victory, Thursday, 9:05 a.m.
– Senate approves Webb-sponsored tax-relief amendment for new-car buyers, Thursday, 9:05 a.m.
– Bowerbank scores LG endorsement, Thursday, 9:05 a.m.
– EMU loses another long-time faculty member, Thursday, 9:05 a.m.
News: Stuarts Draft man charged with murder for hire, Thursday, 6 p.m.
The Augusta County Sheriff’s Office received information on Friday, Jan. 30, regarding a murder for hire. The call was placed from a confidential informant who informed the Sheriff’s Office that Thomas Laguardia Sr., 57, of Stuarts Draft, was asking them if they could help him find someone to kill another.
The Sheriff’s Office acted immediately and gathered more information from the informant. Contact was also made with the person who Laguardia was targeting. On Tuesday, Laguardia was provided with a phone number of a person who could help him. Unbeknownst to him, that number belonged to an undercover investigator.
Laguardia met the investigator during the evening hours of Feb. 3 and solicited him to kill two individuals. A second meeting was scheduled for the afternoon of Feb. 4, in which Laguardia was to provide the “hitman” with a down payment and intimate information about the “targets” (address(es), license plate(s) and photo(s)).
Laguardia arrived 15 minutes earlier than planned and again spoke with the undercover investigator firming the transaction verbally. He also provided the officer with cash and a handwritten piece of paper containing an address and license plate information. Immediately after the meeting, Laguardia was taken into custody by members of the Augusta County Sheriff’s Office, Staunton and Waynesboro Police Departments and a federal agent from the ATF (the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms).
Laguardia was subsequently charged with two counts of criminal solicitation to commit first-degree murder and two counts of attempted capital murder, with the killing for hire.
Each of the solicitation charges carries a sentence of 5 years to 40 years, while the attempted capital murder for hire charges each carry a potential penalty of 20 years to life imprisonment. Laguardia is currently being held at Middle River Regional Jail without bond.
News: Miss America 2008 to speak at JMU on eating disorders, Thursday, 5:20 p.m.
Miss America 2008 Kirsten Haglund’s experiences with eating disorders are personal and powerful.
As a sufferer of anorexia for several years who encountered firsthand the epidemic of eating disorders in the entertainment and beauty industries, Haglund will share her unique story and brand of advocacy with the Shenandoah Valley and James Madison University community as part of the school’s observance of National Eating Disorders Awareness Month.
Haglund will speak at 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 20, in the Grand Ballroom of the Festival Conference and Student Center on the JMU campus.
She created the Kirsten Haglund Foundation for Eating Disorders to bring hope and a voice to those struggling with eating disorders. Her advocacy has included lobbying Congress to pass legislation improving mental health efforts aimed at reducing the prevalence of eating disorders as well as doing interviews for “EXTRA,” “Entertainment Tonight,” “Access Hollywood” and SHAPE Magazine to expose the dangerous reality of eating disorders.
For information about the Haglund Foundation, visit www.kirstenhaglund.org.
News: Family Foundation praises passage of marriage curriculum bill, Thursday, 5:20 p.m.
One of The Family Foundation of Virginia’s top legislative priorities today passed the House of Delegates and a key Senate committee. The proposals will add information regarding the benefits of marriage family life education curriculum in Virginia.
“We are very pleased this important measure found success,” said Victoria Cobb, president of The Family Foundation. “Teaching our kids that marriage is a good thing and benefits men, women and children will balance a culture that is constantly demeaning and degrading marriage. Too many of our kids are not aware of the benefits of marriage and are completely unprepared for making that decision when they reach adulthood. Family life education is supposed to be about family – and that has to include marriage.”
This proposal comes from The Family Foundation’s marriage commission formed in 2007 that includes policy experts, social scientists, college and law school professors, family law attorneys, marriage counselors and clergy. Its goal is to formulate public policies that encourage and strengthen traditional marriage in Virginia. The commission included non-voting representatives from the offices of the Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General. All three offices supported this legislation.
HB 1746, patroned by Delegate Brenda Pogge (R-96. Yorktown) passed the House of Delegates 84-14. SB 827, patroned by Senator Ralph Smith (R-22, Roanoke) passed the Senate Education and Health committee unanimously. The bill was amended in both chambers to include the challenges and responsibilities of marriage.
“We thank Senator Smith and Delegate Pogge for leading on this issue,” said Cobb. “Our hope is that we can continue to have a conversation in the General Assembly and among Virginians about how we can reverse our increasing divorce rate and better prepare people for marriage. Today’s votes are encouraging but we have a long way to go to reverse the negative marriage trends in our Commonwealth.”
President Barack Obama today signed an executive order establishing the new White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships will work on behalf of Americans committed to improving their communities, no matter their religious or political beliefs.
“Over the past few days and weeks, there has been much talk about what our government’s role should be during this period of economic emergency. That is as it should be – because there is much that government can and must do to help people in need,” said President Obama. “But no matter how much money we invest or how sensibly we design our policies, the change that Americans are looking for will not come from government alone. There is a force for good greater than government. It is an expression of faith, this yearning to give back, this hungering for a purpose larger than our own, that reveals itself not simply in places of worship, but in senior centers and shelters, schools and hospitals, and any place an American decides.”
News: White House announces formation of faith-based partnerships office, Thursday, 5:20 p.m.
The White House Office for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships will be a resource for nonprofits and community organizations, both secular and faith based, looking for ways to make a bigger impact in their communities, learn their obligations under the law, cut through red tape, and make the most of what the federal government has to offer.
President Obama appointed Joshua DuBois, a former associate pastor and advisor to the President in his U.S. Senate office and campaign Director of Religious Affairs, to lead this office. “Joshua understands the issues at stake, knows the people involved, and will be able to bring everyone together – from both the secular and faith-based communities, from academia and politics – around our common goals,” said President Obama.
The Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships will focus on four key priorities, to be carried out by working closely with the President’s Cabinet Secretaries and each of the eleven agency offices for faith-based and neighborhood partnerships:
– The Office’s top priority will be making community groups an integral part of our economic recovery and poverty a burden fewer have to bear when recovery is complete.
– It will be one voice among several in the administration that will look at how we support women and children, address teenage pregnancy, and reduce the need for abortion.
– The Office will strive to support fathers who stand by their families, which involves working to get young men off the streets and into well-paying jobs, and encouraging responsible fatherhood.
– Finally, beyond American shores this Office will work with the National Security Council to foster interfaith dialogue with leaders and scholars around the world.
As the priorities of this Office are carried out, it will be done in a way that upholds the Constitution – by ensuring that both existing programs and new proposals are consistent with American laws and values. The separation of church and state is a principle President Obama supports firmly – not only because it protects our democracy, but also because it protects the plurality of America’s religious and civic life. The Executive Order President Obama will sign today strengthens this by adding a new mechanism for the Executive Director of the Office to work through the White House Counsel to seek the advice of the Attorney General on difficult legal and constitutional issues.
News: Wagner picks up several mayoral endorsements, Thursday, 5:20 p.m.
Citing her long record as a member of the Warner and Kaine Administrations, and her focus on economic development, six more Virginia Mayors today endorsed Jody Wagner for Lt. Governor.
Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille, Portsmouth Mayor James Holley, Suffolk Mayor Linda Johnson, Lexington Mayor Mimi Elrod, Ashland Mayor Faye Prichard and Petersburg Mayor Annie Mickens added their names to the growing list of local elected officials supporting Wagner’s campaign.
“As Mayors, we’re on the front line every day dealing with this national economic crisis,” said Mayor Euille. “We need leaders in state government who can help turn this economy around.”
“Governor Kaine has been a great partner for local government,” said Mayor Elrod. “But we need more people at the state level working with local officials. As Lt. Governor, Jody Wagner will be that partner.”
Euille, Holley, Johnson, Elrod, Prichard and Mickens join several other mayors who have previously endorsed Wagner, including Mayor Molly Ward (Hampton), Mayor Joe Frank (Newport News), and Mayor Paul Fraim (Norfolk).
News: AFP editor Chris Graham to appear on WINA’s “Charlottesville-Right Now,” Thursday, 1 p.m.
AFP editor Chris Graham will appear today at 4:30 p.m. on WINA-1070AM’s “Charlottesville-Right Now!” with Coy Barefoot to talk local and state news.
News: Shenandoah National Park plans prescribed burns, Thursday, 11:58 a.m.
Shenandoah National Park Superintendent Martha Bogle announced that, weather permitting, the National Park Service will initiate several prescribed burns in Shenandoah National Park this year. Due to the uncertainty of the weather, it is not possible to predict the exact dates.
Prescribed fires are fires ignited on purpose by managers under a predetermined set of conditions, called a prescription, in order to accomplish specific resource management objectives. The prescription includes weather, fuel moisture, and resource availability parameters. The following burns are planned for this year:
Big Meadows: Portions of Big Meadows, the open area across from Byrd Visitor Center, are burned each year. In February, March or April, approximately 35 acres will be burned in the eastern portion of the field for the purpose of maintaining the open vista by preventing encroachment by woody species.
Vista Maintenance: As part of an ongoing project, the park will use fire to maintain open vistas by preventing encroachment by woody species at many scenic locations along Skyline Drive. Park staff plan to burn three to four vistas this year.
All prescribed burns will be interagency projects, with local support, under the guidance and direction of trained and experienced National Park Service personnel.
News: Biden says 400,000 jobs to be created nationwide by investing in our country’s infrastructure, Thursday, 11:58 a.m.
After touring the Laurel, Md., MARC Train Station, one of the thousands of rail and commuter stations all across the country in dire need of improvements, Vice President Joe Biden discussed why we must invest in our nation’s infrastructure in order to build a 21st century economy. He was joined by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
The Vice President said that 400,000 jobs will be created over the next two years nationwide if we invest in improving and upgrading our nation’s infrastructure, including mass transit systems, highways, bridges and ports.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan includes the largest investment increase – at least $100 billion – in our nation’s infrastructure, including roads, bridges and mass transit systems, since the creation of the national highway system in the 1950s.
News: Governor, GOP leaders announce agreement on statewide smoking ban in Va. restaurants, Thursday, 10:15 a.m.
Governor Timothy M. Kaine and key leaders in the General Assembly today announced a landmark agreement to pass a statewide smoking ban in Virginia’s bars and restaurants. The legislation will ban smoking in nearly all restaurants across the Commonwealth, allowing narrow exceptions for private clubs and restaurants with a designated smoking room that is physically separated and independently ventilated from non-smoking dining areas.
“The dangers of second-hand smoke are undeniable—that’s why I made a restaurant smoking ban one of my legislative priorities. This legislation will make Virginia’s restaurants safer for both patrons and employees,” Governor Kaine said. “I’m proud to have been able to work with leaders in both parties of the General Assembly to find common ground on this reasonable and necessary public health measure.”
Today’s announcement comes after Governor Kaine worked closely with legislative leaders to craft an agreement acceptable to both parties and both houses.
Virginia House Speaker William Howell also noted the agreement as a step forward for Virginians: “I am pleased to join in announcing a reasonable compromise on an issue important to Virginians,” said Speaker Howell. “The compromise strikes a fair balance between the rights of smokers who choose to enjoy a legal product and the rights of other individuals who want to enjoy a smoke-free environment when eating at a restaurant. This legislation is all about finding opportunities for cooperation and compromise where possible. And, where state leaders can find and share such common ground, we should.”
Second-hand smoke is responsible for an estimated 1,700 deaths per year, according to the Virginia Department of Health. In addition, the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids estimates the Commonwealth spends $113 million a year on health care expenditures related to exposure to second-hand smoke.
To improve the health of Virginia’s employees and minimize health risks in the work place, Governor Kaine signed Executive Order 41 banning smoking in all state buildings and vehicles in October 2006.
The agreement makes Virginia part of a growing list of states around the country that are passing legislation curbing smoking in restaurants. Twenty-three other states and Puerto Rico have already passed bans on smoking indoors at bars and restaurants. Maryland and the District of Columbia passed similar restrictions on smoking in restaurants in 2007 and 2006, respectively.
News: Health groups oppose change in Tobacco Settlement Foundation, Thursday, 9:05 a.m.
The American Lung Association in Virginia and the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids are opposed to House Bill 2456, which is under consideration in the Virginia General Assembly. It is likely to come up for a vote in the House General Laws Committee as early as February 5 or as late as next week.
This legislation would change the name of the Virginia Tobacco Settlement Foundation (VTSF) to the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth and create two divisions within the new entity: Virginia Tobacco Prevention and Virginia Youth Obesity Prevention. As written, HB2456 allows the youth obesity program to use the 10 percent of Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) funds currently dedicated to VTSF — with the only restriction being that the VTSF funds are for the “primary purpose” of tobacco prevention. While VTSF is doing a good job with the resources it has, it makes absolutely no sense to dilute the budget of an agency that is already underfunded.
The American Lung Association in Virginia and the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids support amending HB2456 to place a cap on the total tobacco funds available to obesity prevention at $100,000 per year. The cap would prevent substantial amounts of tobacco money from being diverted from their intended purpose. The evidence is clear — we should be expanding funding for tobacco prevention and cessation, not cutting it.
Virginia receives $310 million annually in tobacco taxes and tobacco settlement payments, yet spends less than 5 percent of this revenue on tobacco prevention. The state’s funding for tobacco prevention is a mere 13 percent of the best-practices level recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ninety percent of Virginia’s tobacco settlement dollars are already directed away from tobacco prevention and cessation. Tobacco settlement funds should be used for tobacco prevention.
Tobacco prevention programs reduce smoking and save lives. Studies have shown that the more states spend on tobacco prevention, the lower the youth smoking rates and overall tobacco use. Already, VTSF initiatives have helped reduce youth smoking by a dramatic 28.6 percent in just two years — with 15.5 percent of Virginia high school students smoking in 2007, compared with 21.7 percent in 2005.
Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death in Virginia (and every state). It kills more than 9,000 Virginians every year and results in more than $2 billion in tobacco-related health care costs. It is critical that we fund tobacco prevention programs to keep kids from smoking because the tobacco companies are spending record amounts to market and promote their products. The most recent data show the tobacco companies spend almost $440 million each year on marketing and promotion in Virginia alone — much of which influences kids to smoke.
Recent polling shows that the public clearly supports using tobacco money for tobacco prevention. By nearly a 2-to-1 margin, Virginia voters support funding tobacco prevention at the level recommended by the CDC. A majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents support funding tobacco prevention at the CDC- recommended level. In addition, while the state spends just 4 percent of its tobacco settlement and tobacco tax money on tobacco prevention and cessation, 76 percent of Virginia voters think the state should spend a quarter or more of the tobacco revenue on those efforts.
Tobacco prevention programs are also a smart investment for states that save money by reducing smoking-caused health care costs. Tobacco use costs Virginia more than $2 billion a year in health care costs. That includes more than $400 million a year in Medicaid costs, much of it paid by the state and Virginia taxpayers.
The American Lung Association in Virginia and the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids are also concerned with the language in HB2456. The only spending restriction in the bill states that VTSF funds are for the “primary purpose” of tobacco prevention. According to previous opinions issued by the Attorney General, “primary purpose” could mean that nearly half (49.9%) of funds could be diverted from youth tobacco prevention to obesity.
Both tobacco prevention and obesity prevention are critically important to improving the public health in Virginia and deserve adequate funding. However, as written, this legislation would short-change both of these important issues. The Code of Virginia mandates the Health Department is responsible for taking action on childhood obesity. Instead of combining two inadequately funded issues, the Health Department should make obesity prevention a priority with existing funds or a new funding stream.
News: Statement by Family Foundation president on State Police chaplain bill, Thursday, 9:05 a.m.
“We applaud the passage of this reasonable legislation that simply protects the freedom of conscience and speech of those state police law enforcement officers who volunteer their time as chaplains. It is, however, disappointing that in the birthplace of religious freedom we must defend that right from government censorship,” said Victoria Cobb, president of the Family Foundation of Virginia.
“As this debate moves forward in the Senate with this and similar legislation we urge all lawmakers to reflect carefully. While some would have us believe that freedom of conscience stops at the entrance to government buildings, the U.S. Supreme Court has clearly said otherwise. The General Assembly has the opportunity to reinforce the basic freedom of religion that our Commonwealth is build upon. The House of Delegates took a step in that direction today, and we urge the Senate to stand with them,” Cobb said.
News: American Lung Association celebrates public-health victory, Thursday, 9:05 a.m.
Statement of Charles D. Connor, American Lung Association President and CEO:
“Earlier this year, the American Lung Association expressed hope that the Obama Administration would prioritize tobacco control and public health. Today, we finally are celebrating a long fought public health victory—a victory that will improve health, increase children’s health care coverage and reduce smoking.
“We commend President Obama for signing into law a federal cigarette tax increase of 62-cents bringing the total federal cigarette tax to: $1.01 per pack. Revenue from this tax will be used to fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides much-needed medical care for our nation’s low-income, uninsured children.
“As an organization dedicated to improving lung health and preventing lung disease, we are especially grateful for this bipartisan victory that will provide an additional 4 million uninsured children with needed medical care. Studies show that children with asthma who were enrolled in CHIP had fewer asthma attacks and needed fewer medical visits.
“Importantly, this substantial increase in the federal cigarette tax will help curb youth smoking rates. Each ten percent increase in the price of a pack of cigarettes reduces youth smoking by about seven percent. This legislation also wisely increases taxes on other tobacco products to encourage smokers to quit tobacco use and not simply switch to other less expensive products.
“Considering half of all smokers will die prematurely from their addiction, increasing the federal cigarette tax will go a long to save young lives and is also good for our economy. Preventing lung disease through access to quality health care while also preventing kids from starting to smoke, will save our nation billions in the years to come.”
News: Senate approves Webb-sponsored tax-relief amendment for new-car buyers, Thursday, 9:05 a.m.
On February 3, the Senate approved an amendment cosponsored by Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to provide tax incentives to new car buyers in order to bolster auto sales, save automotive industry related jobs, and generate revenue for state and local governments.
“Car sales this year are down 27%– the biggest drop in sales in history,” said Senator Webb. “With more than 3 million jobs tied to the viability of the automobile industry, I sponsored this amendment in an effort to save American jobs and make car purchasing more practical during these difficult economic times.”
“Increased car sales will also raise much needed tax revenue for states and localities to help them weather the current economic recession,” continued Webb.
The Auto Assistance Ownership Amendment makes interest payments on car loans and state sales or excise car tax-deductible for new cars purchased between November 12, 2008 and December 31, 2009, which, in turn, will help more Americans afford cars and spur investment in America’s ailing automobile industry.
Individuals with incomes of up to $125,000 and couples earnings as much as $250,000 could qualify, including those who do not itemize their deductions. It is estimated that a couple would save approximately $1,553 on a new $25,000 car.
The measure, introduced by Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), was passed by a vote of 71-26. It was also cosponsored by Senators Sam Brownback (R-KS), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R- TX), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Robert F. Bennett (R-UT) and Evan Bayh (D-IN).
News: Bowerbank scores LG endorsement, Thursday, 9:05 a.m.
Evelyn Morris-Harris, Chairwoman of the Democratic Black Caucus of Virginia, announced her endorsement of lieutenant-governor candidate Jon Bowerbank on Wednesday.
“Jon Bowerbank is a successful businessman who will use his experience to get Virginia’s economy back on track. In tough economic times, with people across Virginia’s communities suffering, we need leaders who know how to create jobs and get our people back to work and better wages. Jon knows how to do that because he has spent his life doing it. Jon is the candidate we need to beat Bill Bolling this November and help bring a new energy to Richmond,” Morris-Harris said.
Morris-Harris’ announcement follows a wave of prominent endorsements for Bowerbank, including U.S. Congressman Rick Boucher, three former Democratic candidates for Lieutenant Governor – former Congresswoman Leslie Byrne, State Senator Chap Petersen and State Senator Phil Puckett – Delegate Lionell Spruill, and many Democratic Party chairs and officials from a wide range of counties across the state.
“I am honored to have the endorsement of such a distinguished member of Virginia’s Democratic community. Evelyn Morris-Harris has helped the Democratic Party of Virginia grow into the thriving organization it is today, and her support is a testament to the growing momentum of this campaign. Democratic leaders from all backgrounds and all parts of the state are getting behind our campaign’s message of change through common sense solutions, and that is why we will be successful in June and November,” Jon Bowerbank said.
News: EMU loses another long-time faculty member, Thursday, 9:05 a.m.
A retired Eastern Mennonite University faculty member who did extensive energy research and conservation projects on campus along with his teaching has died just four days after his sister, another former EMU professor, passed away.
Robert C. Lehman, 79, professor of physical science at EMU from 1955 to 1980, died Feb. 2, 2009, at Rockingham Memorial Hospital. Four days earlier, his sister, Esther K. Lehman, 85, died at Oak Lea, Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community. She was professor emerita of education, having taught at EMU from 1951 until 1982.
Dr. Lehman was born Mar. 22, 1929 in Harrisonburg and was the son of the late Chester K. (C.K.) and Myra Kendig Lehman.
Lehman taught astronomy and physics courses and was director of the M.T. Brackbill Planetarium, 1967-79, in the Suter Science Center.
On June 10, 1954, he married Ruby K. Swartzendruber, who survives. Also surviving are four children – Judith Ann, James Alan, Donald LeRoy and Douglas Chester Lehman – one sister, Dorothy L. Yoder, and four grandchildren, Allison, Eric, Brian and Michael Lehman.
Lehman spent a 1976-77 sabbatical year in designing and implementing and self-initiated projects and programs to raise the energy conservation consciousness-level on campus.
He installed a monitor in the Suter Science Center where anyone interested could see real-time graphing of the peaks and valleys of the college’s daily energy demands. Lehman’s study prompted the administration to repair steam lines that were losing heat in the winter, modify heating and cooling systems to be more efficient, change some lighting to use less electricity and invest more in energy-saving maintenance. The result was a $66,000 reduction in utility costs in a single year.
The EMU board of trustees gave Lehman a “resolution of appreciation” for his energy conservation efforts. During his tenure, he also led continuing education classes and seminars on solar energy alternatives.
“Robert was always an innovative strategic thinker with basic competence in many areas,” said John L. Horst, professor emeritus of physics at EMU. “In many ways he was my mentor.
“Robert was a good bass singer,” Horst noted. “He sang with the Park View Melodians as a high school and college student here. The group traveled widely during some summers.”
In 1970, Lehman was named president of Homes Foundation, a local non-profit group that developed housing for low- and moderate-income families. He was co-founder and first president of the Park View Federal Credit Union and was an amateur radio operator.
A 1950 EMU graduate, he earned a master’s degree in physics and a doctorate in biophysics from Penn State University.
He was a member of Park View Mennonite Church, where a memorial service will be held 3 p.m. Feb. 16.
Memorial contributions can be made to Mennonite Central Committee, Akron, Pa., and the Summer Peacebuilding Institute (SPI) at EMU.