Teaching School Bus Safety

Bus Safety

Just two weeks after a little girl was killed after trying to get on her school bus in north Iowa, a community hundreds of miles away is rallying together to make sure it doesn't happen to any other children.

"I'm teaching a class on school bus safety," said Susan Powell, an Early Childhood Family Education Teacher.

So that what happened to seven-year-old Kadyn Halvorsen in Iowa, doesn't happen again.

"Oh my gosh, losing a child is one of the most horrible things on the planet," said Powell.

Kadyn was hit by a pick-up truck two weeks ago, while crossing the street to board her bus.

"I really wish that people could pay attention and know the rules of the road," said Powell.

But until that happens, Susan Powell is going to focus on children entering kindergarten, to make sure they have all the tools they need to stay safe.

"They need to watch and listen and they need to pay attention to the bus driver because if they are getting ready to cross the street, and for some reason the bus driver sees in their mirror that a car is not stopping, the bus driver will beep their horn and that tells the children - freeze! Stop!,"said Powell.

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Forest Service concerned about Sealaska bill


A bill allowing a private Native corporation to pick choice lands in the nation's largest national forest is crucial to saving Southeast Alaska's timber industry, Sen. Lisa Murkowski told a Senate committee.

Murkowski, R-Alaska, said Wednesday that her bill conveying about 80,000 acres in the Tongass National Forest to Sealaska Corp. has seen 150 changes since 2008, and it's time to act on it.

"The timber industry in Southeast Alaska is hanging by a thread," Murkowski told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, where she is the ranking member. "Without passage of this bill, Alaska will likely be forced out of the timber industry."

Sealaska is owed the acreage under the 1971 Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. What makes the Murkowski-sponsored bill controversial is that it would allow Sealaska, which has nearly 20,000 shareholders, to choose lands outside areas designated by the act.

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Lawmakers Consider Allowing Ads On School Buses

school bus

Some Ohio lawmakers think advertising on the outsides of school buses would help struggling school districts bolster their budgets.

Bipartisan bills introduced in the Ohio Legislature would let schools sell ad space on their buses. Campaign advertising would not be allowed, nor would ads for tobacco, alcohol, gambling, anything sexual.

Senate sponsor Joe Schiavoni tells The Advocate of Newark that schools superintendents need ways to make up for lost government funding. He says if the ads help buy supplies or keep teachers on the payroll, it's a good thing.

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Fires no place for treated wood

Treated Timber

All right folks, it's time to 'fess up. No names mentioned, but you know who you are.

Those of you burning treated timber in your home fires have been spewing toxic fumes into Nelson's air. And Nelson City and Tasman District councils want you to stop.

In case you haven't heard, CCA-treated timber contains chrome, copper and arsenic. When the timber is burnt, most of the arsenic goes up the chimney and into the atmosphere attached to minute particles.

The rest of the arsenic is left in the ash, along with the residual chrome and copper, and is, according to Institute of Geological and Nuclear Science Wellington-based scientist Perry Davy, "not what you would want to be putting on your garden".

Dr Davy's findings of spikes in atmospheric inorganic arsenic during the winter of 2009 at Tahunanui monitoring sites were drawn from air quality monitoring work commissioned by the Nelson City Council.

The Tahunanui monitoring is part of the council's programme to understand, manage and improve air quality in the region. To meet new national standards in 2008, the council introduced its air quality plan, aimed at making a 70 per cent reduction in superfine particulate emissions, 80 per cent of which was identified as originating from domestic fires and wood burners.

Suspecting people were burning treated timber on their fires, Dr Davy looked at arsenic levels in three locations around the country already being monitored by GNS for air quality – Auckland, Wainuiomata and Tahunanui – and found dramatic increases in levels during winter in all three, consistent with the main fire-burning period.

In the Tahunanui case, he found levels of arsenic around 40 times greater in winter (spiking many times from May to September during 2009) than during January of the same year when levels were almost nothing.

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NY bill aims to increase school bus safety

school bus safety

The New York Association for Pupil Transportation is calling for state action on proposed laws to increase penalties for passing stopped school buses.

The organization found in a study that drivers illegally pass a stopped school bus more than 50,000 times a day. Several children have been killed over the past few years by drivers passing buses illegally, and 75 kids were reported injured by vehicles that had passed their buses between 2002 and 2007.

Assemblyman Peter Rivera has proposed a bill authorizing the placement of video cameras on school buses to record motorist violations, with images to be used as evidence in prosecution of offenders. The bill also makes it a felony of criminally negligent homicide when a child is killed by a driver passing a stopped school bus.

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Madagascar battles exotic timber felling

Authorities in Madagascar say logging of precious woods persists in its forests despite a 2010 decree banning logging, transporting and export of such woods.

Police seized 30 tons of rosewood being transported in two trucks last month in Antalaha, on the northeastern coast of the country where the problem is most acute, Inter Press Service reported last week.

Three trucks transporting 115 rosewood logs were intercepted in the southeast of the island a few days earlier, and more than 1,000 pieces of another kind of precious rosewood found in Malagasy forests have been seized in the same region.

Madagascar has the biggest rosewood reserves in the world.

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Safe school bus on 1st gear

school bus

Even though the transport department has set the ball rolling for the implementation of the long-delayed school bus policy, private operators, who own almost 90% of school buses in the city, have complained that several changes mandated by the policy will unduly add to their financial burden.

Some of them, claims the association of bus operators, are needless, and even risky for the school children.

Talking to DNA on Friday after the first meeting of stakeholders — school principals and bus operators — organised by the transport department, Anil Garg, president of school bus operators’ association, said, “About 70% of recommendations in the policy are acceptable to us. The government should revise the rest as they are needless, impractical and add to our burden.” This resistance could mean a further delay in the implementation of the policy.

According to Garg, 3,340 vehicles like Maruti Omnis, Tata Sumos, Qualis etc, illegally ferry students, while 2,200 dedicated buses are run by school managements and private operators. Another 4,500 operate as both company and school buses.

Outlining his argument, Garg said, “Our expenses will double in implementing the policy recommendations. Until now, we needed only a driver and a male attendant, but now we will have to also hire a lady attendant for the girls.”

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20 years to make yacht out of reclaimed timber

Boat Launch

A FARMER is about to launch a yacht that has taken him more than 20 years to complete.

Iain Tolhurst, of Hardwick Estate, Whitchurch, started building Naida in 1999 but his preparations date back more than 20 years.

The 36ft Pinky Ketch is based on those that came from the east coast of America in the early 19th century.

The craft was built entirely from either reclaimed or indigenous timber from the estate, where Mr Tolhurst runs an organic farm.

He started collecting fallen trees after the hurricanes of 1987 and 1990 and used a mobile band saw to mill them on site. The wood was then stacked to dry in a basic shed.

Mr Tolhurst, 57, said: “I have used no plywood, not even in the deck. The main deck is topped with reclaimed pitch pine, which is the only non-local timber and came from the demolition of the Huntley & Palmers biscuit factory in Reading.” He made both of the boat’s masts and some of the brass fittings while the 700sq ft sails were handmade by an artisan sails-maker.

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Hero Bus Driver Saves Students from Gun-Wielding Seventh Grader

School Bus

A bus driver in North Carolina is being hailed a hero after convincing a gun-wielding seventh grader to hand over his loaded gun during a terrifying bus ride.

The 12-year-old boy tried to hijack the school bus to Washington so he could shoot government officials, witnesses told ABC News Charlotte affiliate WSOC-TV.

Driver Evans Okoduwa said today that while was scared during Monday's incident he knew that if he didn't get the child to drop his weapon he "could have been shot."

"I was driving the bus approaching one of the student's stops when he stood and approached me with a gun in his hand," said Okoduwa.

"I got very scared and I thought he immediately was going to use it on me," said the driver. "But after he had stopped and I began to try to get into conversation with him I was a little calmer and said a little prayer in my heart."

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Cochin Port making it big in timber imports

timber imports

The Cochin port is all set to make it big in timber imports. In an effort to attract more timber imports to Kochi and thereby increase revenue from this source, the CPT has decided to provide ample discounts to timber storage in the CPT yards.

Currently, the Cochin Port is handling about 60,000 tonnes of timber imports every year. The attempt is to make it more than 1.5 lakh tonnes a year. "As of now, most of the imported timber needed for South Kerala comes to the Tuticorin port, where currently about 5.5 lakh tonnes of timber is being handled. The attempt is to attract a share of this to Kochi. We have decided to provide discounts in the storage rate in a slabwise manner. The discount is expected to attract timber imports as a major share of the expenditure goes to the storage charges," said Unnikrishnan Nair, traffic manager, Cochin Port Trust. As part of the new system there will be a 30 percent discount for timber storage at various storage yards under the CPT in the first slab. "The discount will be proportional to the volume of import. When the import increase the rate of discount will also increase. In the second slab we are planning to give a discount of 50 percent in storage charges," he said.

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Commuter and Charter Bus Company Presents New Service from Brooklyn to Baltimore

charter bus

Residents of Brooklyn and Baltimore searching for an affordable way to travel between the two cities can now enjoy a round trip for just $70 with Monsey Tours, a New York-based commuter and charter bus company. Available at www.MonseyBus.com, Monsey Tours recently introduced a commuter Baltimore route with service running Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays with a new site at www.TheBaltimoreLine.com.

“Monsey Tours is providing an economical, hassle-free solution for commuters traveling between Baltimore and New York. With round trip tickets on sale for just $70, riding with Monsey Tours is significantly more affordable than flying or taking the train. Plus, our fleet of modernized coaches guarantees a luxurious, comfortable ride from start to finish,” said Chaim Lunger, CEO of the New York charter bus company.

Like the rest of Monsey Tours' commuter and charter bus routes, the Brooklyn-Baltimore line is manned by the company's acclaimed coach operators. From recommending local attractions to trudging through the snow to bring customers tea and water, the charter bus company's experienced and professional drivers never hesitate to go the extra mile.

“The drive from Brooklyn to Baltimore is not known for being an easy trip — and the same can be said for the return route north. From hopping on the Verrazano Bridge to navigating the New Jersey Turnpike to stopping to pay a number of tolls, the ride takes a lot out of drivers and their vehicles, which is why so many passengers prefer to travel by bus,” Lunger said.

The commuter and charter bus company's Baltimore line offers service to and from 14th Avenue and 53rd Street in Borough Park, Brooklyn and the Seven Mile Market, located at 4000 Seven Mile Ln. in Pikesville, M.D. Busses travel from Brooklyn to Baltimore on Sundays at 10 a.m., Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m. and Thursdays at 6 p.m., while Brooklyn-bound busses depart from Baltimore Sundays at 4 p.m., Tuesdays at 3 p.m. and Fridays at 8 a.m.

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Timber quality an issue after SAForests sale

Quality Timber

South Australia's softwood timber industry will face the challenge of maintaining the quality of timber, now that more than 100 years of growth will be sold to private investors.

South Australian Treasurer Jack Snelling yesterday announced the sale of plantations would go ahead, because a regional impact statement found it wouldn't have a significant impact on the economy of the state's south-east.

A number of conditions have been included in the sale, including ForestrySA's retention of management rights for the next ten years.

Forestry analyst Robert Eastment says growth cycles and timber quality must be kept up to ensure the industry's long-term future.

"Forestry of South Australia is an extremely professional organisation," he said.

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Why is school system paying millions to bus children all over the city?

School bus

The former chief of the Recovery School District, Paul Vallas, says he inherited a "terrible" bus transportation system in 2007. But now, nearly four years later, there are questions about the amount of money being spent and whether the RSD is getting the most bang for its buck in a tight economy.

When Recovery School District buses, operated now by Durham School Services of Illinois, arrive to start the day, they are rarely full. In fact, in many cases there are only a couple of students on board an entire bus. And charter schools are siphoning off more each day.

In the 2008-09 school year, the RSD bused 7,500 students; this school year, only 5,700 kids.

"It’s a bit of a mess,” said Louella Givens, a member of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Givens said it’s time to rethink the entire transportation system. Now, the RSD buses any kid who lives more than a mile from school. And because the students can go to the school of their choice, the RSD is busing kids long distances, from the lower Ninth Ward to the west bank and from New Orleans East to Uptown.

The beauty of a vinyl record


While our society has begun to fully enter the digital content stage, it's good to get a reminder of what the world was like before the Internet existed. Over Easter vacation, I opted to stay with a good friend of mine in Orange County rather than make the tedious journey back to the east coast. As an avid music fan herself, my friend suggested that we visit a record store in Laguna Beach called the Sound Spectrum.

Now, if you have not listened to my USDRadio program, read any of my previous columns or met me in person, you probably do not understand my deep seeded and, honestly, pretty extreme love of music. When I walked into the Sound Spectrum, I felt like I was in heaven. The walls were plastered in posters of the Grateful Dead, Bob Marley and The Beatles. The racks were filled with an excellent assortment of used CDs (my friend actually found the incredible album "Dylan and the Dead," which I highly recommend), posters, accessories and T-shirts. The sign outside read that the store had been open since 1967. The friendly man at the counter, who happened to have impeccable taste in music, was friendly, helpful and just as excited as my friend and I at our discoveries.

Small, independent record stores like the Sound Spectrum are a dying breed. Though larger stores, like the famous Amoeba stores in Los Angeles and San Francisco (I found the relatively rare vinyl addition of Little Feat's excellent live album "Waiting for Columbus" at the L.A. location), still manage some success, it is relatively rare for anyone, including intense music fans, to possess hard copies of albums they love. Artists and record companies struggle to keep CDs relevant, sometimes resorting to adding extra features like videos to the package, which, in most cases, are pretty superfluous and can be found just as easily online for free.

This is where Record Store Day comes in. Each year in mid-April, many major artists release vinyl editions of rare recordings, concerts or collaborations exclusively available in record stores like the Sound Spectrum. If you were at Coachella, you may remember the Zia tent that also offered Record Store Day offerings and artist signings over the weekend to celebrate the musical holiday. Not only did I get to meet one of my favorite folk artists, the Tallest Man on Earth, but I also helped to support him through the purchase of a hard copy of his newest EP.

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