Law student aids refugees

first_imgAs Kenan Rahmani looked up at the plane that had just dropped a TNT barrel and killed 18 innocent people near him, he said his shock and fear differed sharply from the unaffected attitudes of the Syrians that surrounded him. For them, destruction is a normal, everyday occurrence, he said. Rahmani, a law student at Notre Dame, was one of nine individuals sponsored by the Syrian American Council (SAC) to journey to the country over Christmas break to provide aid to the refugees. The nation has been engaged in a rebellion against the oppressive Assad regime since April 2011. Rahmani, who is of Syrian descent, said he is determined to do something to help the country and the people within its refugee camps. “Our task was to assess the humanitarian situation in order to improve it,” Rahmani said. “The camps are filled with people dying, kids freezing. In some camps, the only food provided is one boiled potato per tent, to be shared with multiple people.” The Free Syrian Army is composed of rebels fighting against the oppessive police state, Rahmani said. He said the regime has used every weapon imaginable to punish its people. Currently, the rebel forces have captured roughly 60 percent of land area in Syria. “The conflict has already killed 60,000 people, and those are just the documented deaths,” Rahmani said. “There are close to 140,000 people missing, most of whom are dead. No matter where you go, you cannot find a single household that is whole.” The refugee camps are filled with 700,000 Syrian citizens displaced by the war, Rahmani said. He and his companions delivered $15,000 in aid to the camps. This money funded the construction of bathrooms, paving roads and fuel generators. They also donated $4,000 of flour to a suburb of Aleppo, a major city in Syria, which was enough money to bake bread for everyone in the town. Rahmani emphasized, however, that the struggle to overcome the devastation will not end with the end of the conflict. “Even when the war ends, a whole generation has been psychologically destroyed,” Rahmani said. “Our young people have seen nothing but bloodshed. Our girls have been raped, and our men and women have been killed.” Rahmani said echoes of the conflict will continue to affect Syrian society. “For 30 years, we will be fighting against the economic repercussions of this regime as well.” As Rahmani interacted with the refugees, he said the feeling of hostility was palpable. “People did not want me there, which was tragic,” he said. “Syrians have felt that the world has abandoned them. “The whole ordeal is now normal to them, and that is the ultimate sign of failure for the United States.” Contact Katie McCarty at [email protected]last_img read more

Golf cart catches fire

first_imgA golf cart caught fire Tuesday at approximately 5 p.m. near St. Mary’s Rd. The cause was electric, and the seat of the cart lit on fire, according to University spokesman Dennis Brown. The Notre Dame Fire Department responded and put out the flame within 15 seconds. There were no injuries.last_img

Graduates to serve in under-resourced schools

first_imgWith senior year at a close, students are combining final celebrations with preparations for upcoming employment, graduate schools and volunteer positions. This year, 95 recent college graduates will venture to more than 35 cities across the nation to take on full-time teaching positions through the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE). Photo courtesy of Matthew Gelchion According to ACE co-founder Fr. Sean McGraw, 48 Notre Dame graduates will begin the ACE program, a two-year service assignment combined with a Masters in Education, aimed at assisting under-resourced Catholic schools across the nation. “The mission of ACE is to strengthen and sustain Catholic schools and transform Catholic schools throughout the United States,” he said. McGraw said the program invites recent college graduates to explore teaching as a potential vocation and serve as teachers in areas in need of energetic, faith-filled educators ready to use their talents to help young children discover their own gifts. “We want talented, smart, generous, adventuresome students who are willing to do whatever it takes to help kids learn,” he said. “I think there are a lot of unknowns in terms of you don’t know where you’re going to get sent, and you’ve never taught before.” The first year of teaching is one of the biggest challenges for an educator, and McGraw said it in some ways requires students to take a leap of faith in using their gifts to teach.Senior Matt Jewell said he decided he wanted to pursue a teaching career at the end of his freshman year at Notre Dame. After his advisor suggested ACE as a potential graduate program, Jewell said the more he looked into it, the more interested he became. “I remember how much of a difference having great teachers made to me, and I’m thankful for the opportunities that I’ve had to get to where I am in life now,” he said. “I already knew I wanted to teach, so it’s nice to be giving back while also doing what I love. It’s a win-win.”Jewell said he was randomly assigned to a school in south-central Los Angeles and will teach every subject in his fourth grade classroom. “I’m just excited to get into a classroom and get started with teaching,” he said. “I also can’t wait to get to know the other ACE members in Los Angeles.” Senior Kelsie Corriston will also serve in the Los Angeles area later this year teaching third graders at Our Lady of Victory elementary school in Compton, Calif. She said she applied to ACE because she has always had an interest in education. “I’m an [Education, Schooling and Society] minor here and so I figured that I wanted to teach after college, but I also wanted to do service, and I also wanted to get my Masters, so the program was a perfect fit,” she said. Corriston said she heard about ACE during the spring of her first year through her First Year of Studies adviser. After taking a one-credit course, “Giving Back through Education,” she said she knew she wanted to both teach and serve. “I’ve always felt like my best self and my most useful self when I’ve done service,” she said. “I’ve done a lot through the [Center for Social Concerns] … I did a [Summer Service Learning Program] and an [International Summer Service Learning Program] this past summer.“On a personal level I feel like our education and everything else that we get from Notre Dame and other places aren’t really worth it until you take what you’ve learned and apply it to the world, and in my case that’s been through service … that’s where I’ve felt the most joy in my life.” Tags: 2014 Commencement, ACE, Alliance for Catholic Education, servicelast_img read more

Speaker explores potential of cochlear implants

first_imgBecki Jeren | The Observer Jason P. Wiegand, assistant professor at University of South Carolina speaks on the future of cochlear implants.The communicative sciences and disorders department at Saint Mary’s hosted a lecture on cochlear implants by board certified audiologist, Jason P. Wigand. Wigand is an assistant professor and clinical director of the cochlear implant program at the University of South Carolina.Wigand himself has a bilateral cochlear implant, an implant on each ear. His lecture, “From Candidacy to Implantation through Rehabilitation,” focused on his own personal experience with cochlear implants and the process of getting an implant.Wigand said he was an ROTC student in college but failed a hearing test and was medically discharged. He said his doctors believe he had an inner ear attack in 1993.“In the four to six years before I failed my hearing test my hearing was getting worse bit by bit,” Wigand said. Over the course of about four years his hearing got progressively worse, he said.Wigand said he received his first implant at Yale University in 2005 after an audiologist at an ear, nose and throat (ENT) group in Connecticut suggested cochlear implants.“I ended up looking for another pair of the best hearing aids because my hearing was going quickly. So I get the hearing aids … and end up going for a new pair and the audiologist said, ‘Has anyone talked to you about cochlear implants?,’ I had heard about them, by this time it was 2004, but didn’t know a lot.”Wigand received his undergraduate degree in management and worked for FedEx for 15 years when he found himself tired of the job. He said he learned about the field of audiology when he began a new career at Ohio State University.“I had a great career … you just find yourself not wanting the next step. So I get an opportunity to go to Ohio as a regional manager. Basically I find myself in the same position … 78 hour weeks, I didn’t like it … So I started doing some testing as a subject at Ohio State with a researcher and after a couple months he was looking for a research assistant and I thought, ‘I want to do this, I really like this, I want to know more,’” Wigand said.He said he then talked to professors at Ohio State and went back to school to become an audiologist.Wigand said a cochlear implant is surgically placed on the round window of the inner ear, which is behind the eye. The implant bypasses the inner ear and goes directly to the nerve that sends the signal to the brain.Wigand said that for an adult to qualify for a cochlear implant, the adult has to meet requirements medically, with speech intelligibility and have a moderate to severe or profound sensorineural hearing loss.“In adults, the criterion has changed over the past 10 years, initially you had to be severe to profound hearing loss,” he said. “The conversation [of getting a cochlear implant] starts when they are not doing well with their hearing aids.”Wigand said hearing loss is a unique problem for each patient.“Just because I’m hearing impaired does not mean I can relate to every patient … With hearing loss, it is completely individual,” he said.More information about cochlear implants can be found on www.asha.orgTags: Cochlear Implants, communicative sciences and disorders, Jason P. Wiegand, saint mary’slast_img read more

Professors debate America’s right to build a border wall, immigration ethics

first_imgProfessors Jason Brennan of Georgetown University and Christopher Heath Wellman of Washington University in St. Louis participated in a debate Thursday evening surrounding the ethics of immigration. During the event, entitled “Do we have a right to build the Border Wall?” the two academics clashed over whether or not states have a right to restrict immigration.Brennan advocated a position of open borders. Noting it would strike the average person as unethical to ban certain Americans from living elsewhere in the United States, he said this same logic should apply to people born abroad.“Imagine that the people of northern Virginia get together and decide they have a bill they want to pass through their various county legislatures,” Brennan said. “And the bill says the following: ‘Whereas white people from West Virginia and black people from east D.C. commit crime at high rates, use drugs, have low wages, low employment and low educational attainment; and to protect our distinctively high-achieving culture, our community, our schools — which are some of the best in the country — and our exceptional welfare services and way of life. … We the people of northern Virginia hereby forbid them from moving here.”Such a move, Brennan said, would strike the average person as wrong.“Suppose [northern Virginia] did that,” Brennan said. “How would you think about that? What sort of word would you use to describe that kind of bill? Probably think ‘classist,’ maybe think ‘racist’ … something kind of nasty. Nevertheless, these kinds of arguments are precisely the arguments that nation-states use for excluding foreigners for these very same kinds of reasons. So what’s the difference? What’s the magic of a border of a nation-state that’s different from the magic of the border of a town, or a county, or a state?”Brennan enumerated what he saw as the numerous benefits of immigration, noting that researchers estimate free movement would lead to a global economy that is 100% larger than it is now.“A number of current economists — libertarian economists, left-wing economists, socialist economists, conservative economists — there’s surprising agreement: it seems to be that restricting immigration is the single most inefficient thing that countries can do around the world,” Brennan said. “… Immigration restrictions are so inefficient they cut world production in half.”Given immigration’s myriad benefits, Brennan said there would need to be a compelling reason for countries to severely restrict the inflow of people. In his view, such a reason does not exist. He said newcomers enhance the host country’s culture, it would be easier to “build a wall around the welfare state, not the country” and that immigrants commit crimes at lower levels than native-born citizens.“Places where you do not have a lot of immigrants are cultural wastelands,” Brennan said. “Think about the places that are cultural centers in the United States: Los Angeles, New York, Miami. Probably not South Bend, Indiana, probably not … New Hampshire. They’re places with lots of immigrants.”Brennan concluded with a discussion of the self-determination issue, arguing that it is not a sufficient reason to restrict immigration.“Why would a right of self-determination, or a right to decide who associates with a country, simply imply a right to exclude foreigners? Why would it also not imply other kinds of rights?” Brennan said. “Why not say, ‘We have a right to self-determination, that means the country can decide to engage in eugenics if it wants. We have a right to engage in self-determination, so we can force people to use birth control. We can have censorship, religious control. We can have a command economy.’ The puzzle here is if there is a right to self-determination, why does it specifically say the right to exclude, and not all of this other stuff? Because if you’re a liberal like I am, you definitely tend to think countries do have some sort of right to self-determination, but only within very well-defined borders. They can’t decide everything.”Wellman responded with arguments in favor of a right to self-determination. While he did not dispute Brennan’s points about the benefits of immigration, he said the question of who to let in should be left to individual states.“I think as the discussion goes on you’ll see there’s a lot of agreement between Jason and me,” Wellman said. “But I’d like to start by unapologetically defending the claim that legitimate states have a right to design and enforce their own immigration policy.”Wellman encouraged the audience to imagine a scenario in which he had the right to get married, but his father got to choose his partner. Without being able to say no, Wellman said his freedom would be curtailed.“My father is much wiser than I. He might choose better than I. My life might go better, if he got to choose my marital partner,” Wellman said. “But it seems unquestionable that my freedom of association is denied in a very important sense, and my self-determination is restricted in a very important sense. If I’m not the one who gets to decide whether or not I want to marry someone … the important thing is unless I’m in a position to decline a prospective suitor … I don’t have freedom of association.”Wellman built on this logic by stating “legitimate” states should be able to say no to prospective immigrants, if they so desire. He defined a legitimate state as one that protects the rights of the people who live there, citing Norway as the “paradigmatic” example.“Norway seceded from Sweden in I believe 1905,” Wellman said. “Imagine that Sweden said ‘we miss you, let’s get back together.’ Norway says ‘well, we’ll think about it.’ They have a debate, they have a plebiscite and they decide ‘no thank you.’ Do you think Sweden gets to forcibly annex Norway? I don’t. And I think if you agree with that the best explanation is ‘well, Norway, in virtue of being a legitimate state, enjoys political self-determination, one important component of which is the freedom of association. As we saw in the marital case, that includes the right to decline to associate, if they want to.”Wellman applied this logic directly to immigration.“A lot of teenage, young Swedes go to Norway for the summer because they can make so much more money in Oslo because the economy in Norway is stronger than in Sweden,” Wellman said. “Imagine a Swede says … “let’s stay here permanently. Let’s be a part of this union. I think that just as Norway can’t force a Swede to come over and join the union, the Swede can’t unilaterally insert herself into the political community.”However, Wellman did say that rich, legitimate states do have an obligation to help those in need. Nevertheless, he argued states cannot be obligated to take in people they don’t want. Instead, he advocated building institutions in struggling countries so people can have opportunities in their own land while expressing qualms with the current immigration model.“Let me be clear: I’m not a defender of the status quo, which I take to be a moral abomination,” Wellman said. “I’m not saying that Norwegians get to close the door, put guns at the door, turn their backs and say, ‘… it’s their fault, not my problem.’ My claim is that they probably do have much more demanding duties than they’re currently discharging. But that doesn’t mean there’s only one thing they can do, which is open their borders.”Tags: ethics, Immigration, Norway, open borderslast_img read more

Indiana to reopen at full capacity, mask mandate still in place

first_imgIndiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announced the state will move to Stage 5 of its reopening plan beginning Saturday, Sept. 26, the Indianapolis Star reported Wednesday.While restaurants, bars, fitness centers and stores will be open at full capacity, the statewide mask order will continue indefinitely. Holcomb said people must maintain social distancing and wear masks except while eating or drinking.“We want to make sure we’re doing all those little things that add up to make a big, big difference,” he said.There have been a total of 3,322 COVID-19 related deaths since March 15 in the state. In the last seven days, Indiana has seen a 3.9% positivity rate and a total of 114,236 positive cases since March 6.The decrease in Indian’s positivity rate in the past few months helped led Holcomb to further open the state. The seven-day positivity rate for all tests was 6 to 6.5% in July.Holcomb also said the rates of spread have decreased across the majority of counties.Mark Fox, St. Joseph County’s deputy health officer, told the South Bend Tribune he was worried about Holcomb’s recent announcement.“I am not sure what he is seeing that gives him the confidence to do that,” he said in the article.The seven-day positivity rate is 3.1% in St. Joseph County, and the average number of new cases has increased for the fifth straight day.Those who have been testing positive have not been linked to activities related to the Notre Dame’s home football games or Labor Day, the Tribune reported.“We really have not pinpointed anything specific,” Fox said.University spokesman Dennis Brown said the governor’s decision to stage 5 of his reopening plan does not affect the policies Notre Dame has in place on campus.“[Our policies] will remain the same, and we strongly urge students to — on and off campus —  continue to wear masks, practice social distancing and wash their hands often,” Brown said.Tags: COVID-19, Eric Holcomb, Mark Foxlast_img read more

Buffalo Bills Promote Leslie Frazier To Assistant Head Coach

first_imgImage via Buffalo Bills / Twitter.ORCHARD PARK — Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier is adding assistant head coach to his job title.The promotion announced Wednesday underscores Frazier’s role of serving as one of head coach Sean McDermott’s most trusted advisers, while also overseeing one of the NFL’s stingiest defenses over the past two seasons.“His fingerprints are all over our operation, and I’m extremely grateful for all the years we have worked together,” McDermott said in a statement released by the team. “Leslie’s impact on our team is felt every day through his guidance, wisdom and his genuine care for people. He is a great example to everyone within our organization.”The 60-year-old Frazier is noted for having a commanding, even-keeled approach. And his relationship with McDermott showed no signs of fracturing after McDermott briefly took over the defensive play-calling duties during Buffalo’s 31-20 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers in 2018. Frazier was among the first coaches McDermott hired upon taking over the Bills job in 2017. Frazier has 22 seasons of NFL coaching experience, including a three-plus-year stint as head coach of the Minnesota Vikings.He and McDermott previously worked together as assistants with the Philadelphia Eagles in the early 2000s.In Buffalo, Frazier has overseen a defense that went from being ranked 26th in yards allowed in 2017 to second the following year and third last season.The Bills announced four other job title changes to their coaching staff.Jimmy Salgado was promoted from defensive assistant to nickel cornerbacks coach. Offensive quality control coach Marc Lubick was elevated to assistant receivers/game management coach. Offensive assistant Shea Tierney will serve as assistant quarterbacks coach. And Ryan Wendell was made assistant offensive line coach. Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Get a Glimpse of Annaleigh Ashford’s Spacey New Solo Show Lost In the Stars

first_img Annaleigh Ashford View Comments Related Shows Kinky Boots fave Annaleigh Ashford is bringing her new solo concert Lost In the Stars to midtown hot spot 54 Below, and by the looks of this exclusive photo, it’s completely out of this world. Check out this intergalactic Hot Shot of the Tony nominee singing “Tonight You Belong to Me” from The Jerk. And yes, she’s dressed up as the sun, along with music director Will Van Dyke as the moon. Lost In the Stars, which includes songs by Stephen Sondheim, Kurt Weill and a few disco tunes, plays February 15. Head to outer space—uh, we mean 54 Below—to see Ashford in action! Show Closed This production ended its run on Dec. 31, 2016last_img read more

Blizzard in Beverly Hills! Watch Idina Menzel Belt Out ‘Let It Go’ in the 90210

first_imgWe don’t know about you, but we’re still listening to the Frozen soundtrack all day, every day. It’s at the point where we randomly say, “Winter’s a good time to stay in and cuddle, but put me in summer and I’ll be a—happy snowman!” or “Love is an open door! I mean it’s crazy. What? We finish each other’s sandwiches!” or “The cold never bothered me anyway” in the middle of convos with friends, co-workers or strangers. We have Frozen fever and Beverly Hills caught this cold on February 9 when Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Santino Fontana and Josh Gad reunited at the Vibrato to perform songs from the movie. Watch Menzel roar “Let It Go” at the cabaret below! Santino Fontana Disney’s Frozen Star Files Josh Gad View Comments Idina Menzellast_img read more

11 Lessons If/Then Writer Brian Yorkey Learned on the Road to B’way

first_img 1. The National Theatre, where shows like West Side Story and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum tried out, is a great place to try out your show. A historic auditorium, a welcoming staff, an eager audience—everything we could ask for. About the author: After earning almost every accolade imaginable (including a Tony Award and oh, a little thing called the Pulitzer Prize) for his first Broadway musical Next to Normal, writer Brian Yorkey is teaming up again with composer Tom Kitt to bring If/Then to Broadway. The production, which marks Tony winner Idina Menzel’s long-awaited return to the Broadway stage, tells the story of a 30-something woman who moves to New York City for a second chance. If/Then, which begins Broadway performances on March 5, has undergone several significant changes since its out-of-town premiere at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C. last fall. Below, Yorkey reveals the things he learned while debuting the new musical in our nation’s capital with director Michael Greif, “superhuman talent” Idina Menzel and the cast. 4. It’s a blessing to reunite with a team you’ve worked with before. Tom Kitt, David Stone, Michael Greif and I can finish each other’s sentences at this point—even when we disagree, we click. To have that trust with each other, and that shorthand, gives you great courage in facing the world of a new musical. Show Closed This production ended its run on March 22, 2015 8. It’s a joy and a privilege to work with Idina. She is a true star. No diva fits for her, no difficulties, no extra needs—just good cheer, enthusiasm, an unflagging work ethic, genuine care and concern for everyone around her…and a superhuman talent that never ceases to amaze me. Related Shows 6. We learned which songs light up the theater, and which could be better—and we can’t wait to debut a few new songs, and a stack of newly improved ones. 5. The sushi happy hour at The Hamilton is delicious and an incredible pre-show deal. Ditto the raw bar at Old Ebbitt Grill, post-show. I was not paid for these endorsements. (But gifts are always accepted…) If/Thencenter_img 9. The President’s motorcade has three limos, five SUVs, two dozen police cars, and shuts down six city blocks at a time. The Vice President’s motorcade has one limo, one SUV, and a couple of mopeds. The barista at the Starbucks on Pennsylvania and 12th can tell you all about motorcades. 2. The best way to learn what work needs to be done on a new musical is to watch it with an audience. Especially an audience of 1000-plus savvy, enthusiastic Washington theatergoers. They’ll tell you what’s working, what’s not, what’s thrilling, what’s confusing, what’s funny, what’s not—and all you really have to do is watch, listen and learn. View Comments 3. The director of city planning for Washington, D.C., Harriet Tregoning, is one of the smartest, coolest people I’ve ever met. I’m proud to say she informed and inspired my work on our lead character, Elizabeth, who is a city planner. 7. Our cast kicks ass, and they do it with style and smiles. We have the most versatile ensemble I’ve ever met, and eight astounding principals, any one of whom could carry their own Broadway show—and most have. 11. I learned—or, really, re-learned—that there’s nothing more challenging or more rewarding than writing a new musical based on nothing more than an idea. We learned so much about If/Then in Washington, D.C. last fall, and we can’t wait to show what we learned at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. 10. I learned that our show speaks to many people, of all ages and walks of life, and that a few of them, in our tryout run, were confused in places. Luckily, I also got to learn which places and that gave us lots to work with when we returned to NYC this winter. Thankfully, we had two months off to address the changes we wanted to make and we used every minute of those two months. Hopefully, some of those D.C. folks can come back and see how they’ve helped us make the storytelling clearer and the show even more powerful.last_img read more