Thursday, March 19, 2009

State News: Kaine announces results of proposed revisions to special education, Thursday, 5:05 p.m.
Capitol Hill: Perriello applauds action on vets, health care, Thursday, 5:05 p.m.
Local News: Another church break-in in Waynesboro, Thursday, 2 p.m.
Health and Fitness: Yoga students take the Challenge, Thursday, 9:10 a.m.
On Campus: GAO chief scientist to visit JMU, Thursday, 9:10 a.m.
On Campus: Comedians in the crossfire, Thursday, 9:10 a.m. 

 

State News: Kaine announces results of proposed revisions to special education, Thursday, 5:05 p.m.

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine today concluded his review of the State Board of Education’s proposed revisions to special education regulations. Numerous parents expressed concerns over the original proposal, which would have reduced parental involvement in decisions about the education of their children with disabilities. At the governor’s direction, and in response to citizen concerns, the Board has made significant changes and the revisions now strike an appropriate balance between all competing interests.

“More than 2,000 parents spoke up during the regulatory process, and the Board of Education listened carefully,” Gov. Kaine said. “The revised regulations are a result of that honest and useful dialogue and I am delighted that the parents will retain their prominent role in deciding on the proper educational path for their children.”

“After nine public hearings and weighing comments from thousands of parents and other interested citizens, the Board made more than 125 changes to the original draft, and as a result, Virginia’s special education regulations will continue to provide protections that significantly exceed federal requirements,” Board of Education President Mark E. Emblidge said.

Gov. Kaine’s endorsement allows the revised regulations to advance to the final stages of the procedure defined by the Virginia Administrative Process Act. The regulations are available on the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall.

 

Capitol Hill: Perriello applauds action on vets, health care, Thursday, 5:05 p.m.

Congressman Tom Perriello applauded the announcement from the White House that it will drop consideration of a proposal that could have forced veterans to use their private insurance to pay for the treatment of combat-related injuries. Perriello joined a bipartisan letter with 68 of his colleagues urging the President to abandon his proposal.

“We saw a threat to our veterans, and joined across the aisle to produce immediate results. That is what our brave veterans deserve from Washington,” said Perriello.

Perriello is a member of the Health Subcommittee on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. He welcomed the White House’s announcement yesterday at a meeting in the Capitol with leaders of veterans’ service organizations, who also applauded the President’s reversal of course.

  

Local News: Another church break-in in Waynesboro, Thursday, 2 p.m.

Waynesboro Police are investigating another church burglary this morning and have tied a break-in reported over the weekend to this and the forced entry of Bethany Lutheran Church reported on Tuesday morning.

Officers responded to St. John’s Episcopal Church located at South Wayne Avenue and 13th Street shortly after 8 a.m. this morning where church personnel found the building ransacked. The church building itself was open but the intruders kicked or forced their way into the church office and several other rooms before leaving with an undisclosed amount of petty cash.

The weekend burglary that has now been linked to these crimes occurred at the First Baptist Church Educational Building, which also houses Valley Pastoral Counseling located at the intersection of 11th Street and Chestnut Avenue. This break-in occurred sometime between 10:30 p.m. Friday night, March 13, when a church youth group event had ended, and 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 14. No forced entry was discovered, so it is not known how the perpetrators entered the building, however once inside they pried or jimmied two doors on the third floor and kicked in one door on the ground floor. An undisclosed amount of cash was stolen from the Valley Pastoral Counseling Center as well as a camera and case.

All of these cases are now linked due to churches being targeted, geographical location, method of operation and property taken.

The Waynesboro Police Department is aggressively investigating these crimes and requests any and all information be brought to our attention by calling the department at 540.942.6675 or Crime Stoppers at 800.322.2017. Even seemingly insignificant information could be the lead that serves as the lynchpin to solve this case and if that information leads to an arrest it could yield a cash reward of up to $1,000.

The Police Department is also stepping up patrols at all city churches, and since it is clear that churches are being targeted, the department suggests that these groups take additional steps to protect their property. For information regarding crime prevention or security measures that can be taken please feel free to contact the department at 540.942.6675.

  

Health and Fitness: Yoga students take the Challenge, Thursday, 9:10 a.m.

Local yoga students are participating in a 40-day Yoga Challenge, held concurrent with Lent, as a way of deepening their understanding of yoga and cultivating positive habits. Last year about 25 students participated, said Diana Woodall, a local yoga teacher at A Good Stretch in Dayton and creator of the Yoga Challenge.

“So many people think of yoga as just exercise and don’t realize that there is a lot more to it,” says Woodall. “Even if all you want from yoga is the physical benefits, you will gain much more if you practice at home in addition to attending class. Yet so many people don’t develop the discipline of a home practice.”

Popular wisdom has it that it takes 21 days to form a habit, but traditional spiritual practices in India were 40 days. Forty days also comes up in the Bible, in both Old and New Testament. Lent is 40 days, but unlike Lent, the focus of Woodall’s Yoga Challenge is to develop a good habit, rather than give up and bad one.

Some of the practices students have chosen relate to the moral and ethical guidelines that are a foundation of yoga philosophy. For example, one student has committed to writing in her journal every day (self-study, or svadhyaya) and another is cleaning out his clutter (non-coveting, non-hoarding or aparigraha).

One student who wanted to do a physical practice found the hardest part was getting started. She bought herself a new mat and set 15 minutes as the time she would practice. She says, “The timer goes off, and I have not finished. Where did the 15 minutes go? After several days I found out that 15 minutes is not a long time to dedicate to yoga. Now my practice is usually 30 minutes or more.” This student is in her late 50s, and she hopes to master kicking up into a handstand, known in yoga as “full arm balance,” before she is 65!

Students who complete the 40-day challenge will be entered into a drawing for a prize, but Woodall commented, “The real reward for completing this practice is the self-confidence of knowing you can cultivate positive, healthy habits.”

 

On Campus: GAO chief scientist to visit JMU, Thursday, 9:10 a.m.

Dr. Timothy Persons, chief scientist at the Government Accountability Office, will present “STEMing the Tide – GAO’s Increasing Role in the Science and Technology Public Policy Domain” at 5 p.m., Thursday in Room 159 in the ISAT/CS Building at James Madison University.

As chief scientist, Persons, a JMU alumnus, leads the investigative arm of the U.S. Congress and other federal agencies and government programs on cutting-edge science and technology, key national and international systems, engineering policy, best practices and original research studies in the fields of engineering, computer and the physical sciences. The chief scientist also works with GAO’s chief technologist to lead the production of Technology Assessment and Forecasting activities for the U.S. Congress.

Prior to joining GAO, Persons was the technical director of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity and previously served as technical director for the National Security Agency’s Human Interface Security Group, which researches, designs and tests next-generation biometric identification and authentication systems. He has also served as a radiation physicist with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

He was selected as the JMU Physics Alumnus of 2007. He received his B.S. in physics from JMU, a M.S. in nuclear physics from Emory University and a M.S. in computer science and Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Wake Forest University.

 

On Campus: Comedians in the crossfire, Thursday, 9:10 a.m.

Teja Arboleda will present “Crossing the Line: Comedians, Politicians & Shock Jocks” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 19, in Cole Hall at Bridgewater College.

In this multimedia lecture, Arboleda digs deep into the freedom of speech issue. By asking the question: Where is the line, and who is allowed to cross it?, he challenges the audience to consider the consequences of institutionalized and cultural assumptions and stereotypes reinforced by the famous and powerful.

Arboleda is a television producer, director, writer, actor and public speaker. He also is the founder and president of Entertaining Diversity Inc. In 1994, he won an Emmy Award for Public Affairs Programming.

He is the author of In the Shadow of Race, an account of his personal experiences as a multicultural, multiethnic and “multiracial” American. He earned an M.Ed. degree from Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass., and is professor of media at The New England Institute of Art in Brookline, Mass.


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