Monthly Archives: July 2019

The Department for Work and Pensions DWP is refu

first_imgThe Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is refusing to say whether it has reviewed hundreds of “fitness for work” tests carried out by a nurse who has been struck off for conducting assessments of disabled benefit claimants while drunk.Although former Atos healthcare professional Heather Margaret MacBean was found guilty of misconduct by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) of charges relating to just one day, 27 June 2013, it is believed that she was drunk at work on other occasions.The former health visitor and midwife could have carried out hundreds of work capability assessments (WCAs), and it is believed that she also conducted disability living allowance (DLA) assessments for Atos, on behalf of DWP.In November 2013, when allegations against MacBean first emerged, Disability News Service (DNS) spoke to two disabled people who were each found “fit for work” and so ineligible for employment and support allowance (ESA) after being assessed by MacBean.One assessment took place in January 2013 and the other in April 2013, and on both occasions the claimants said MacBean had been behaving strangely during the face-to-face assessment and subsequently produced reports that were full of inaccuracies.Only last week, DNS revealed that a nurse, a personal independence payment (PIP) assessor with extreme right-wing sympathies, was suspended by another government contractor, Capita, after she posted disablist, racist comments about social security claimants on her Facebook page.And DNS also reports this week how a third nurse has been struck off after pretending to assess disabled people for PIP in their own homes, on behalf of Atos, when she was actually carrying out the assessments by telephone.An NMC panel heard that MacBean’s colleagues were able to smell strong mints and alcohol on her breath on the morning of 27 June 2013 – although she denied that she had been drinking – while in the afternoon her eyes had become glazed and she was slurring her words, and her managers concluded that a bottle she had been drinking from contained wine mixed with water.MacBean was suspended – and tried to drive home while still drunk – and later sacked by Atos for gross misconduct.An NMC panel found that the disabled people MacBean had assessed had been put “at unwarranted risk of harm” and could have been denied benefits because “her judgment may have been impaired and her assessments not completed fully and properly”.The decision to remove MacBean from the nursing register was taken in January but it has only emerged this week.By 11am today (11 August), DWP had refused to say how many assessments MacBean carried out, how long she worked for Atos, and what action it had taken regarding the DLA and ESA assessments she carried out.Atos said it could not comment on the case because it no longer holds the WCA contract – having been replaced by another controversial outsourcing giant, Maximus – and so does “not have the files or access to the files”.last_img read more

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Planning Commissioners greenlight one SF housing proposal hold off on another

first_img“It’s an unfortunate quirk in the state law that we’re actually increasing density here and allowing for more units and the affordable housing percentage goes down,” said Commission President Rich Hillis, who indicated his support for the proposal but left before the vote. “We can stand here and shake our fist at that one, but there’s not much we can do.”The building represents an example of how state and local laws interact and, although several wanted to see more affordable housing and other adjustments, their hands were tied. “We are at risk of a lawsuit if we disapprove a project where we haven’t made very specific findings that pertain to written codes, not ones that we’ve made up right here,” Commissioner Christine Johnson said.Indeed, Tillman has threatened openly to take the city to court if the commission rejects his project, and sent repeated letters to the Planning Commission and others detailing his attorneys’ interpretations of the various laws in play.Tempers ran high during the project’s considerations. After members of the public began shouting at Tillman and city officials, Commissioner Dennis Richards called a recess and asked that sheriff’s deputies restore order in the hearing chamber.That episode came after pleas from neighbors to reject the project, out of concern that it would exacerbate already advanced gentrification in the neighborhood, did not include enough affordable housing, and that construction would trouble young students at the preschool and other educational programs immediately adjacent.Thor Boucher from the Zaida T. Rodriguez Preschool, adjacent to the property, said he worried what impact dust and noise might have on students.“We have watched the Mission District explode with development, pushing out generations of families who once walked through our halls,” he said, adding that he feared a “medical impact to young children’s lives as their lungs are developing.”Tillman’s frankness was praised, even by his opponents, throughout the project, but his doggedness about obtaining approval on his terms did not win sympathy from anti-gentrification activists. Some had hoped that the property might be scooped up by a nonprofit developer or the city for the production of an entirely below-market-rate building. But those hopes crumbled because no one could come up with the money Tillman was asking for.“We’re talking about 89 percent luxury and 11 percent affordable,” said Alicia Sandoval, who works with renters through the Housing Rights Committee. “How can we even consider that?Inevitably, race and class concerns came up; residents argued that the project would further push out Latinos.“I see what happened in the Western Addition — I see that there was one permit given, another permit, and all in the name of redevelopment. But you know what? They wiped out the African American community,” neighborhood resident and activist Roberto Hernandez said. “That’s what’s happening in the Mission.”Gloria la Riva, who volunteers at an office down the block from the proposed development and has also repeatedly run for the presidency of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, voiced opposition as well. “How long will the Planning Commission, with little tiny changes, keep on rubber stamping high-cost developments that are driving people out?” she asked the Commission.Others argued that housing in and of itself would ease displacement pressures, and welcomed the project with open arms.“There’s no definition of luxury housing anywhere in the planning code. The reason housing is a luxury is because we haven’t built enough of it over the last 40 years,” said Corey Smith, representing the Housing Action Coalition.Earlier concerns about the size of the building prompted the commission to direct Tillman to adjust the design to make it appear less imposing and massive. A new one submitted apparently assuaged those concerns, drawing little discussion. Before approving the proposal’s required uses, Commissioners asked for measures to mitigate the impact of construction on the neighboring school and pledged to hold another hearing within two years to revoke the permissions if no progress is made on the site, to make sure that what was approved is actually constructed quickly.60 units at 2750 19th St. at Bryant StreetRendering of the proposed building at 2750 19th Street, as seen from 19th Street, by Perry Architects.The Planning Commission sent the proponents of 60 units of housing at 19th and Bryant streets back to neighbors and community groups to make promises of community benefits more concrete.The property owners, along with the owners of the business currently in the building, the Fitzgerald Furniture Company, are proposing housing over a commercial ground floor where they plan to put an incubator for culinary businesses.At neighbors’ behest, the owners also agreed to build the required affordable housing instead of paying a fee. They later agreed to add one more below-market-rate housing unit beyond what’s required, bringing the number to 11 units, representing 20 percent of the project. At least two spaces on the building are intended to exhibit the work of local artists, likely through murals, though a specific artist has not yet been identified.Several neighbors, members of the family that owns the property, and merchants associations have expressed support for the proposal, including a few who appeared at the hearing to implore the commission to approve it.But, because no official agreement had been made between community groups who opposed the project and the developer, neither activists nor commissioners were convinced the setup was as sweet as it sounded.“There’s no question that, with 80 percent luxury housing, that this is going to have a gentrifying impact,” said Scott Weaver, an attorney who volunteers for local activist groups like Calle 24 and United to Save the Mission. “We submit that conditions should be included that would blunt these impacts.”“What is actually in writing is what’s going to happen,” said Peter Papadopoulos, part of the organized opposition to the project.While the commission stopped short of actually making approval of the project contingent on a signed and sealed contract, they did seem to agree that more assurances needed to be made.“There’s basically a missing step,” said Commissioner Kathrin Moore. “While [the proposals] do sound good, they represent it well, there is that leap of faith.”“The project sponsor came with an entire packet of supposedly community benefits agreement[s] that were meant to have us feel better,” said Commissioner Myrna Melgar. “I don’t think it’s cooked. There are ways that you could make us feel better in presenting this package that would frankly convince me that you were making a good faith effort.”With that, they voted 5-1 to delay a vote on the project until Jan. 25, 2018, instructing the project’s proponents to meet again with neighbors and activists to finalize details everyone could be happy with. 0% Tags: development • housing Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%center_img The Planning Commission Thursday approved a 75-unit building at 2918 Mission St. near 25th Street, and held off on a decision about a 60-unit building planned for 2750 19th St., requesting that the owners clarify the proposed community benefits. The commisioners split 4-2 on the 75-unit Mission Street building, with even commissioners who voted to approve it concerned that the building doesn’t set aside enough affordable units.“10.6 percent affordable housing sucks. That’s lame,” said Commissioner Rodney Fong.The property owner, Robert Tillman, is using a state density-bonus law to add units to a project. That law doesn’t require adding any additional below-market-rate units as the project grows, so what started as a 14.5 percent affordable project under city law now, as a bigger project, works out to just about 11 percent, with eight affordable units.last_img read more

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ROYCE Simmons has warned his players to not get ca

first_imgROYCE Simmons has warned his players to not get caught up in the excitement of Langtree Park this season.Whilst he admits the stadium is fantastic for the players, sponsors, fans and the game, he knows Saints will need to play better than ever before to secure home wins.“Everyone is talking about Langtree Park and we are excited to be playing here,” he said. “It’s a superb facility and will have a good atmosphere and crowd support. But I’ve told the boys we still have to play. No one is going to jump off their seats and make a tackle or score a try… and we know the opposition will like coming here.“You only win footy games by playing well but we can’t rely on the fans to win matches for us. We win games through good preparation, working hard and being ready, The crowd then will drag us along.”Saints have their first hit out of the season in Friday’s Karalius Cup tie with Widnes Vikings… and the game is SOLD OUT.He plans to utilise a squad of 20 players and give equal time to the forwards on the paddock.But, he’ll be missing Paul Wellens, Tony Puletua and Michael Shenton.“Those three players are my only worries at present,” Simmons said. “Tony Puletua has an elbow and shoulder problem which he carried into the Grand Final. He’s struggling for the first round of Super League but he has targeted that game to be back.“Wello is having on-going treatment on his Achilles and he is looking at round one as his return too. People know Michael Shenton had a dislocated elbow from the Grand Final – that has cleared up – but he carried nerve damage in his shoulder into the Grand Final too.“Paul Clough had a similar injury last season and it’s a case of when they heal it heals. He’s started to get some twitching back in it, but he won’t be ready for round one. It could be round three or four.“These are injuries from last season but we won’t rush them back.”He continues: “[Jonny] Lomax and [Lance] Hohaia will start at half back and then we’ll try Lomax and Lee Gaskell and Lance and Lee too. You can’t just carry two half backs into the season so it’s good we have three players and Gary Wheeler as a centre/standoff too.“Tommy Makinson will probably be at full-back but I’m not scared to use Lance if needs be; he is an international full back at the end of the day. Lance will move back there when I change around the halves.”After the heart-breaking loss to Leeds in the Grand Final Simmons knows the expectation on the Saints this season – but that’s no different to any year.“This mob of boys are very close to the best I have been around in terms of team spirit and sticking together.“We are a young side with a good mixture. The team spirit is really good but what we have here are good people too. They are good off the field and are quality individuals. That is important to me. It is good to be a good footballer but you need to trust each other and be honest.“You can’t go away and not do the right thing. You need to treat your injuries, eat the right thing and do your extra training. If you are honest with that then when you move up the defensive line you can then trust the person next to you.”last_img read more

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KEIRON Cunningham says all eyes are on this Thursd

first_imgKEIRON Cunningham says all eyes are on this Thursday’s First Utility Super League Round 2 clash at Salford even though the World Club Challenge is just around the corner.Saints travel to the Red Devils ten days ahead of what is billed as the biggest game in Langtree Park’s history.But Cunningham says the focus is now.“The turnaround between the two games is good,” he said. “We can assess things and see who is available. But our sights are on doing a job at Salford. As soon as that game is reviewed we’ll then focus on next week and see who is available.”Saints look set to have Luke Thompson back for the match at the AJ Bel Stadium with Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook rated as 50:50.Luke Walsh however has come down with a virus limiting his chances of training with the first team – and that means he is unlikely to play in the World Club Challenge too.Cunningham continued: “We’re waiting for Louie to get the all clear but there is no chance for Luke. I would have liked to have run him this week but he hasn’t trained with the team because of a virus. We’re not in a bad spot though.“I would be hard to bring him back for a game like that (WCC) so if he doesn’t play this week then it is unlikely I would bring him back next week fit or not.“His leg is 100 per cent fine, every specialist in the land would tell you that, and he has had surgery on his ankle. That would have happened anyway but we couldn’t get it done because of his leg. But the virus has knocked his return back.“Luke Thompson got a side strain against Wigan and is looking likely for this week. He was outstanding in the trials and was the pick in the Grand Final for me.”Salford may have lost their opener at Warrington 22-8, but showed enough in the first half to suggest that scoreline wasn’t totally reflective of the performance.“I thought it was a good game and Salford looked good,” Keiron continued. “Hock and Patterson were in the middle and that added something to their game.“You could see from all the games though that everyone was nervous and scratchy.”Tickets for Thursday’s game remain on sale from the Ticket Office at Langtree Park, by calling 01744 455 052 or online here.last_img read more

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He called into the nurserys centres at Thatto Hea

first_imgHe called into the nursery’s centres at Thatto Heath, Peasley Cross, Haydock and Sutton to say hello the kids and staff.And, as you can see from the pics, everyone had a great time.Boots even did the famous Baby Shark dance!He, and everyone at the Foundation, would like to thank Small Wonders for their hospitality and look forward to working with them again this season.last_img

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PETA Two bears moved from Tregembo Zoo to animal sanctuary

first_img The lawsuit claimed that the zoo’s treatment of the bears, named Ben and Booger, violated North Carolina’s anti-cruelty statute.PETA says the settlement agreement allows the plaintiffs to challenge Tregembo in court, should the animal park acquire any new bears.We reached out to Tregembo, but they are currently closed. The USDA cited Wilmington’s Tregembo Zoo for health problems Ben the Bear was suffering. The zoo says Ben is doing better. WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The two bears formerly on display at Tregembo Animal Park are headed to the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado, according to PETA.PETA says their relocation is the result of a settlement reached in a lawsuit filed in August by two residents.- Advertisement – last_img read more

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Jury hits pork giant for 50M for hog operations nuisance

first_img Lawyers didn’t sue the farm’s owner, instead targeting the Chinese-owned corporation. Smithfield uses strict contracts to dictate how farm operators raise livestock the company owns.The decision is the first in dozens of nuisance lawsuits filed by more than 500 neighbors against hog operations.Smithfield says the lawsuits are a serious threat to a major agricultural industry and employer in North Carolina.Related Article: Jury tells pork giant to pay $473.5M in nuisance lawsuit(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Pig farm (Photo: US EPA) RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A federal jury in North Carolina is awarding more than $50 million in damages to neighbors of an industrial hog operation responsible for smells, noise and other disturbances so bad they couldn’t enjoy their rural homes.Jurors on Thursday awarded 10 neighbors of a 15,000-head swine operation a total of $750,000 in compensation plus $50 million in damages designed to punish the hog-production division of Virginia-based Smithfield Foods.- Advertisement – last_img read more

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American Airlines technical issues still affecting flights at ILM

first_img Flight officials said the airline was experiencing a “technical issue” which primarily impacts flights to Charlotte.WSOC reports that officials said at least 70 flights were canceled Sunday night. Last week, a “technical problem” grounded more than 120 flights. The number of flights rose significantly Monday, but officials have not released a final total yet.American Airlines called this problem a hardware issue.Related Article: AAA: One-third of Americans plan to travel for the holidaysThe problem affected pilot and crew schedules and flight operations, so they were not getting their assignments fast enough, officials said. The airline has tried updating the system but it’s running slow.Currently ILM’s website is showing several American Airlines arrivals and departures canceled today, but not every flight connecting in Charlotte is affected. WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Several more American Airlines flights to and from Charlotte from Wilmington International Airport are canceled again Tuesday.American’s regional carrier, PSA Airlines, began experiencing technical issues on Thursday night, which primarily impacts flights to Charlotte. Since then, hundreds of PSA flights have been canceled.- Advertisement – last_img read more

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Heres how businesses agencies are helping federal workers

first_imgA TSA airport security station. (Photo: DHS) Southeastern, NC (STAR NEWS)- The following businesses and agencies have announced responses to help federal employees left without paychecks during the government shutdown.The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority is offering courtesy adjustments to federal employees for late fees and is willing to make other financial arrangements regarding CFPUA bills received on or after Dec. 11, according to executive director Jim Flechtner. Affected employees should call CFPUA customer service at 910-332-6550.Coast Guard Mutual Assistance, a nonprofit charity, serves as the official relief society of the U.S. Coast Guard. With support from a $15 million donation from the USAA insurance company, and in partnership with the Hero Care Center of the American Red Cross, CGMA will distribute interest-free loans of up to $1,000 to service members with dependents, and $750 to those with none, according to CGMA spokesman John Fagan. This assistance is designed to cover approximately 2 weeks of essential expenses. For more information, visit cgmahq.org.To continue reading the full article from StarNews, click here.last_img read more

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Sheriffs office looking for missing teen

first_img The sheriff’s office describes Malakhi Cooper as an African American, 5’7″ and weighs about 130 lbs. Malakhi is said to have a slim build, brown eyes, and a short brown afro.He was last seen Tuesday, on 101 Apple Road.If you have any information, please contact the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office. Malakhi Cooper (Photo: NHSO ) Update: The New Hanover Sheriff’s Office says Malakhi Cooper has been found and returned home.CASTLE HAYNE, NC (WWAY) — New Hanover Sheriff’s Office needs help finding a missing 13-year-old.- Advertisement – last_img read more

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