Blind Woman Raising Funds So Poor Students With Vision Loss Can Get Canes, Live Independently
Apr06

Blind Woman Raising Funds So Poor Students With Vision Loss Can Get Canes, Live Independently

The Huffington Post A woman is working to help blind students in Indonesia gain more autonomy. Amber Shuping, a blind 29-year-old from Raleigh, North Carolina, began writing to her braille pen pal, Muhammad Arifin, about a year and a half ago. Shuping learned that Arifin is a teacher at The Makassar School for the Blind in Indonesia and that his school, which teaches blind adult students, lacked some important resources. Amber Shuping. “The school didn’t have canes,” Shuping, a member of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), told The Huffington Post. “It’s so hard [for the students] to be independent if they don’t have canes.” After some research, the 29-year-old decided to begin an initiative to bring canes to schools for the blind that didn’t have the funding and resources to buy them, starting with the Makassar School. Shuping started a crowdfunding campaign two months ago in the hopes of raising $4,000 to fund travel expenses, and purchase canes for the school’s 35 students. A cane is a valuable tool for people who are blind, as it allows them to move around by themselves, increasing their independence. Shuping explained to HuffPost that while the Makassar school teaches its students life skills that can help them be more self-reliant, the lack of canes hindered the students ability to be autonomous. “The school for the blind teaches [the students] skills to live on their own, like finding and keeping jobs,” Shuping told HuffPost. “But that’s difficult to do if you can’t walk on your own.” She says that once she brings the blind students the canes, their lives will change for the better. “When we bring the canes over, once they learn how to use them, they’ll open up their minds to their city,” the 29-year-old says. “They’ll be able to go to the market on their own, find a job on their own, and maybe move into an apartment on their own. That independence is a huge for me.” Shuping hopes that with the proper funding, she can travel to Indonesia with her fiance, Michael Cox, by late next year, so she can distribute the canes to the students. It’s a big goal, but she told HuffPost that she credits the NFB for fueling her to pursue her mission of helping the blind students. “My inspiration is the NFB. We believe that with the right technique and tools, you can do whatever you want. You can be whatever you want,” she said. “This is one more tool in their toolbox to help them be independent.” To donate to the initiative, visit Amber Shuping’s fundraising page on the crowdfunding website,...

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Delaware Family Seriously Ill After Possible Pesticide Poisoning At Caribbean Resort
Apr06

Delaware Family Seriously Ill After Possible Pesticide Poisoning At Caribbean Resort

ABC News WPVI An entire Delaware family fell seriously ill while on a Caribbean vacation, and a dangerous chemical allegedly used at their hotel may be to blame. What happened: In March, school administrator Steve Esmond, his wife Dr. Theresa Devine and their two teenage sons may have been exposed to the pesticide methyl bromide at the Sirenusa Resort on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to a report on ABC station WPVI-TV. The day the family arrived at their second floor condo, the apartment below them was sprayed with methyl bromide to “deal with an indoor bug,” according to Judith Enck, Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 2 Office, which covers the U.S. Virgin Islands. The pesticide was applied during the day of March 19, Enck said, and by that night, the entire family “started having adverse health effects.” Both boys had seizures, according to Enck. Paramedics responded and took the family to a hospital on neighboring island St. Thomas. The boys were then airlifted to a hospital in Philadelphia, Enck said, while the parents were airlifted to a hospital in Delaware. According to the EPA, methyl bromide exposure can have short-term and long-term effects include severe lung injuries and neurological impairment. The EPA banned methyl bromide for indoor residential use in 1984, Enck told ABC News today, but the product is still on the market for agricultural use. The family: Steve Esmond and his sons remain in very critical condition, Enck said today, adding that Devine is not in critical condition. Steve Esmond is the head of the middle school at the Tatnall School in Wilmington, Delaware, according to the school’s website. Theresa Devine is a dentist in Broomall, Pennsylvania, according to the company website. “They’re just one of those families that everyone loves to be around,” Oliver Campbell, a peer of one of the boys, told WPVI-TV. “It’s just horrible.” “It’s terrifying,” another peer, Carl Marvin, said to WPVI-TV. “It’s really scary to think that this could happen to somebody that you know.” The investigation: The EPA has launched a “comprehensive investigation,” Enck said. Officials were sent to sample and monitor the apartments to see if any of the pesticide was left. “We’re looking at what happened here, which we consider an illegal application of methyl bromide,” Enck said. The EPA also issued a pesticide warning in the Caribbean and is examining if methyl bromide was used in other locations in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Department of Justice is investigating Terminix, the company that applied the pesticide, Enck confirmed. Terminix has halted all fumigation in the Virgin Islands as part of the...

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CBP, ICE HSI Report $1.2 Billion In Counterfeit Seizures In 2014
Apr06

CBP, ICE HSI Report $1.2 Billion In Counterfeit Seizures In 2014

Special to the Laredo Sun WASHINGTON—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) today announced the fiscal year 2014 results of an aggressive enforcement program to protect the United States from counterfeit and pirated goods. CBP and HSI are the components within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) responsible for the enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR). Counterfeit sunglasses with an estimated MSRP of $1,619,550 seized by CBP officers in July 2013. “Protecting intellectual property rights is a critical part of CBP’s trade enforcement mission and critical to protecting American consumers,” said Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske. “In 2014, strong partnerships with our federal enforcement counterparts, effective targeting of high risk shipments and frontline interceptions of cargo at America’s ports of entry produced more than 23,000 seizures of fake products worth an estimated $1.2 billion that could have cheated or threatened the health of American consumers.” “These results are a testament to the efforts of the men and women of the Department of Homeland Security, and the increased collaboration fostered by the IPR Center,” said ICE’s Director Sarah Saldaña. “To be clear, intellectual property theft is not a victimless crime. The victims are American businesses, and the employees whose jobs are dependent on IP-intensive industries. Counterfeiting is a crime of global proportions, and when property rights are violated, American jobs are lost, business profits are stolen and ultimately, consumers are cheated.” Counterfeit soccer club apparel with an estimated MSRP of $1,016,3990 seized by CBP officers in April 2014. In fiscal year 2014, there were 23,140 intellectual property rights seizures with an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price or MSRP of $1.2 billion, the value of the goods had they been genuine.  In addition, 144 shipments of circumvention devices were seized for violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.  CBP also enforced 44 exclusion orders in fiscal year 2014. Since 2007, CBP has identified intellectual property rights enforcement as a priority trade mission. Although IPR seizures declined slightly in 2014 from 2013, CBP recorded its third busiest year for seizures since 2005. The top ten counterfeit commodities seized are: 1.        2.      Wearing apparel/accessories 3.      Consumer electronics 4.      Pharmaceuticals/personal care 5.      Handbags/wallets 6.      Footwear 7.      Watches/jewelry 8.      Optical media 9.      Computers/accessories Labels/tags Toys Wearing apparel and accessories continue to be the number one commodity classification based on number of seizures with 7,922 seizures or 28 percent.  Watches and jewelry are the largest commodity classification by value with an estimated MSRP of $375 million or 31 percent. The People’s Republic of China remains the primary source economy for counterfeit and pirated goods seized with a...

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Rep. Cuellar Announces Affiliation Agreement Between TAMIU And AFAZ
Apr06

Rep. Cuellar Announces Affiliation Agreement Between TAMIU And AFAZ

Special to the Laredo Sun LAREDO, Texas – Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX28) has announced an agreement between Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) and the Assembly of Friends of Azerbaijan (AFAZ), an educational and cultural organization which aims to build bridges between the United States and the Republic of Azerbaijan, located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe. The affiliation agreement signed today at the TAMIU Killam Library will allow these two instructions to collaborate on research, sponsorship of conferences and symposia exchanges of faculty and students, and education materials related to the international oil and gas industry. Pictured above from left to right: TAMIU president Dr. Ray Keck, Mr. Kemal Oksuz, Congressman Henry Cuellar, TAMIU provost and VP for academic affairs Dr. Pablo Arenaz “As an alumnus and former professor of TAMIU, I’m pleased to see the university staying true to its international commitment by bringing together world-renowned scholarship and academia in order to examine and gain a better understanding of the petroleum industry world-wide,” said Congressman Cuellar. “South Texas has been blessed with an oil and gas boom and it is important that we provide a framework for our students in this important and growing industry.” “Our students and faculty are looking forward to this new collaborative and the robust opportunities for both research and study in this important part of our world.  As an international university, we are enormously interested in expanding our world of study for all and most appreciative to Cong. Cuellar for his leadership in this initiative with the Assembly of the Friends of Azerbaijan.”  –  Dr. Ray Keck, TAMIU President   “My thanks to Congressman Cuellar for his playing a very instrumental role for this affiliation. He is the cause of this TAMIU-AFAZ Affiliation Agreement. This agreement will give a very ample opportunity to TAMIU faculty and students not only they will study international energy law, politics of energy, environmental impacts and strategy management, but also they will meet and network with people from public and private sectors.” – Dr. Kemal Oksuz This partnership’s initial project will allow students and faculty at both TAMIU and Laredo Community College to participate in the Baku Summer Energy School, an annual two week certificate program held in July in Baku, Azerbaijan. Participants will be issued a certificate by the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy...

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Memory Of Art Instructor Lives On In Gallery Naming, Art Show
Mar29

Memory Of Art Instructor Lives On In Gallery Naming, Art Show

Special to the Laredo Sun In memory of her outstanding influence on the students and community of Laredo, Martha F. Fenstermaker will be honored in a reception to officially name the Visual Arts Gallery in her honor and to unveil an art exhibit offering a retrospective of her art work on Wednesday, April 1 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. The former art instructor and head of the Visual Arts Department, who taught various forms of visual arts for more than 30 years, incorporated her passion into humanitarian work by becoming involved  in the city’s and state’s historical and nature preservation endeavors. Along with her two sisters, Fenstermaker devoted time and effort into showcasing the beauty of native Texas while combating those whose projects posed environmental threats. She also joined forces with state and national entities, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Native Plant Society, to preserve and promote the growth of wildlife species vitally tied to Texas’ history. This includes the Texas Longhorn and juniper trees that sustain much of the bird species that make Laredo exclusive for avian aficionados. Fenstermaker is survived by her sisters, Bebe and Sissy Fenstermaker, who collaborated with her in illustrating the masterpiece that is Texas, its sceneries, and its natural gifts. Their work, Enduring Women: A Photography and Oral History Exhibit, is treasured at the Bob Bullock State History Museum in Austin in thanks to the Texas Legacy Project. The Visual Arts Gallery inside the Visual and Performing Arts Center at the Fort McIntosh Campus serves as an appropriate memorial for the cherished college instructor. All students, faculty, and staff are invited to celebrate the life and achievements of Fenstermaker at this event. For more information, please contact the Visual Arts Department at 721.5224. CUTLINE: The lifetime achievements and contributions of retired Laredo Community College art instructor Martha F. Fenstermaker will be celebrated during a special reception to name the college’s Visual Arts Gallery in her name and to unveil a special retrospective art exhibit.  The community is invited to join the LCC family at this event on Wednesday, April 1 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. in the Visual and Performing Arts...

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