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Archive for the ‘Delaware Tattoo’

It’s the most wonderful time of the year | Editorial | – Coastal Point12.15.21

Mid-December approaches, and its that time of year when we hear a lot about that time of year. But what does that mean, here, in our little slice of paradise by the sea? In South Coastal Delaware, its surely a time for tree-lightings and shopping and visits with Santa, as is the case in so many other places. But what makes this season, here, unique as the first snowflake of the season?

The people, and the effort they make at making things easier, nicer and generally merrier for those around them.

In recent weeks, weve had those tree-lighting events, many of them planned and carried out by volunteers. Weve had Santa visiting Bethany Beach for Holiday Happenings and Frankford Town Park for Christmas in the Park, and even riding around atop a Millville Volunteer Fire Company firetruck so he can visit even more kids in the area.

Add to that the tremendous spirit of Shop Local demonstrated with Weekend Wonderland in Bethany and in general since Thanksgiving which also brings to mind the volunteers with Blessings for Badges, who delivered Thanksgiving meals to first-responders who were working that day. And thats before we get to Thanksgiving for Thousands and its additional incarnations.

And what would the holidays be without toys? The Toys for Tots efforts locally do the Marine Corps League proud, especially when people get creative, like the folks at Right Coast Tattoo, who are offering free small tattoos and gift certificates in exchange for donated toys.

Each year, we see this area turn out in droves to celebrate the season of giving with actual, literal, giving. And not just to friends and family, but to our community at large. And when its the time of year we can especially celebrate that giving spirit, thats the time of year that makes snowflakes melt just from the sheer warmth of this communitys heart.

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Hes Watching New To Delaware In 2022 – Standardbred Canada11.02.21

Published: October 26, 2021 12:32 pm ET

Winbak Farm of Delaware has announced Hes Watching will stand stud in Delaware for the 2022 breeding season.

Hes Watching was the 2013 USHWA Dan Patch Award winner for two-year-old pacing colts. At two, Hes Watching was undefeated and set world records on a half, five-eighths and a mile track.

In my opinion, Hes Watchings most impressive race was his Meadowlands Pace victory when he won in 1:46.4 and had a last quarter of :25.3, said Jack Burke of Winbak Farm. This victory matched the all-age world record and made him the fastest three-year-old to ever win at The Meadowlands.

At three, he won the Empire Breeders Classic elimination and final, Meadowlands Pace elimination and final, and a division of the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes. He was second in a Bluegrass Series division, Cane Pace final, and North America Cup elimination (third in the final).

Hes probably one of the fastest horses Ive ever driven, said Tim Tetrick. The day he won the Meadowlands Pace, he was shot out of a rocket.

Hes Watching is fondly remembered for his speed by his trainer as well.

Hes Watching had indescribable speed and showed it on every size track, said trainer David Menary.

Hes Watchings stakes winners are led by 2020 OBrien Award winner Tattoo Artist, p, 2, 1:52s; 3, 1:48.2s; 1:47.1 -'21 ($1,127,984).

Tattoo Artist has a sub-1:50 record on a mile, seven-eighths, five-eighths and a half-mile, said co-owner Eric Cherry of Let It Ride Stables. His versatility has made me into a believer of Hes Watching.

Cherry has high hopes for the progeny of Hes Watching.

Once I experienced the pleasure and thrills of owning Tattoo Artist and watching his performances on all size racetracks, I had to get involved with owning a share of his sire and breeding mares to him, said Cherry.

Hes Watching is also the sire of 2021 Ontario Stakes standouts Dabarndawgswatchin, p, 2, 1:54.3s; 3, 1:50.3s -'21 ($238,504), and Century Inspector, p, 2, Q1:59.3s -'21; BT1:51.3s-'21 ($129,120).

Hes Watching will be the fastest stallion standing in Delaware, said Burke. We are excited to introduce the next generation of American Ideal to the first state.

Hes Watching will stand for $5,000 in 2022.

For more information on Hes Watching, visit or call Jack Burke at 410-885-3059 or Eric Cherry at 561-212-5700.

(With files from Winbak Farm)

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Gen Z on how to save the world: young climate activists speak out – The Guardian10.20.21

When I was 20, I dropped out of university to live on a road protest. I was terrified by the oncoming apocalypse of climate change, and loathed the short-term, environmentally catastrophic logic that prioritised road-building over trees. The data, even in 1997, was clear: human activity was heating the globe, with increasingly devastating effects. Time was short, and a sea change in behaviour was required.

Nearly a quarter of a century has passed since then, and very little has been achieved, thanks in large part to corporate interests invested in maintaining our dependence on non-renewable resources. Far more people understand and accept the reality of anthropogenic climate change, and yet we seem paralysed by despair, caught in a spell of inertia, even as the most lurid of predictions floods, fires, plagues come to pass.

I say we, but the generation born into the reality of global heating are refusing to accept this lethal status quo. The testimonies of these teens and early twenty-somethings are humbling and often thrilling. By setting up a student bank based on recycling waste, Jos Adolfo Quisocala single-handedly changed child poverty and environmental pollution in his town in Peru. Though their projects vary widely, these young activists have a strikingly shared sense of what must be changed, from education and the foregrounding of indigenous voices to making people appreciate the value of nature.

As Hilda Flavia Nakabuye, an activist from Uganda, says: We are a generation of scared people. But we are very persistent. And very united. This is the kind of vision and ambition necessary from the delegates at COP26. The stakes could not be higher. If only our leaders had the courage of these kids. Olivia Laing

It was in November 2013 that the urgency of the climate crisis became clear to Marinel Ubaldo. A typhoon had been forecast in the Philippines and it was due to hit the peaceful village in Eastern Visayas where she lived with her family. Initially, she wasnt especially worried. We had been living with typhoons all our lives it was not new to us, she remembers. Her father, a fisherman, told her to go to a nearby shelter that was on higher ground. It was the right decision: Haiyan hit the Philippines with winds up to 195mph, one of the worlds strongest ever typhoons.

Buildings that Ubaldo had thought were strong were ripped apart in seconds. More than 7,360 people were killed or went missing and at least 4 million were displaced. The disaster dramatically altered the way Ubaldo saw the planet. It gave me a new perspective on what the future could be, she says.

Two years later, Ubaldo won a scholarship to study social work in Tacloban, a city devastated by the typhoon, working alongside studying so that she could help her family, who had lost everything as a result of the typhoon. Increasingly, she devoted her time to fighting the climate crisis.

Even if you are poor, or only one person, or from a remote community, you have power

Ubaldo has since protested at Shells Manila headquarters, in front of the Wall Street Bull in New York, and helped organise the first climate youth strike in Eastern Visayas. Her proudest moment, she says, was testifying as a community witness to the Philippines Commission on Human Rights as part of their investigation into corporate responsibility for climate change. In 2019, the commission found that 47 major oil, coal, cement and mining companies could be held liable for the impact of their operations on Filipino citizens. The landmark ruling illustrated the power of people, says Ubaldo. Even if you are poor, or just only one, or from a remote community, you have power. You can always call out corporations and leaders who are fuelling climate change.

Ubaldo, who now works full time on climate issues, focuses on supporting grassroots initiatives. She co-founded the group Youth Leaders for Environmental Action Federation, is a climate justice youth adviser for Greenpeace Philippines and also works with Living Laudato Si Philippines, an interfaith movement that advocates for the divestment of coal.

Her work is high risk. According to Global Witness, 29 activists were killed last year in the Philippines. It is common for activists to receive threats or be subject to red tagging labelled by the state as communists or terrorists. Last year, four activists and a journalist from Tacloban were arrested for possession of firearms following an illegal raid. It has been claimed that security forces had falsified evidence and Amnesty International has called for an investigation. At the time of the raid, Ubaldo received a message suggesting she too would be arrested and moved to stay with a friend as a precaution.

The thing is, she says, they dont just come for you, they come for your family, for your friends That worries me more than my own safety. But the threats, she says, are at least a sign that those in power are hearing your voice.This is very personal for me. If I do not continue fighting I will feel that I am betraying the people who perished because of climatic disasters. Because they are not just numbers, they are not just climate statistics.

Who is your climate villain? The corporations, all of them. They are profiting from our suffering.

Lab beef or grass fed? I dont eat meat but I have to remain pescatarian or my father [a fisherman] would be really angry. When I go home I love to eat paksiw fish, which is cooked in soy sauce, vinegar and a little oil with onion and garlic. Everything is just fresh, even the herbs that you put on your food you can just get them outside of your house.

If you had the power to make one change to combat the climate crisis, large or small, what would it be? I would go to the community and ask them what they want and support their own grassroots climate actions. And I would let the fossil fuels stay in the ground. Rebecca Ratcliffe

Not many 17-year-olds have ground-breaking judicial decisions named after them, but as lead litigant in Sharma and others v Minister for the Environment, Anjali Sharma achieved that world first when Judge Bromberg ruled in May this year that the minister did have a duty of care not to harm children.

Sharma became involved in School Strike 4 Climate in 2019 after hearing about the impact climate change had on relatives who are farmers in India. This stuff drives people to anxiety, it drives people to tears because its just so real for us right now, she says.

Her hope with the legal case was to stop the extension of a coal mine in New South Wales. But last month, the expansion was approved. Sharma found out by text message between school exams. We went to court in a completely novel legal battle and we won, and yet [Australian environment minister] Sussan Ley approved the mine. Sometimes it feels like nothing is happening, she says.

Plenty is happening for Sharma. First, the Australian government is appealing against the duty of care ruling later this month, then she has exams. Shes also focused on her twin passions of music and netball. At school everyone knows me as that kid. Its completely different when I go to netball where I can be a normal teenage girl because thats what I am.

If you could make one change Id cut all Australian government ties with mining companies such as Origin and Santos, which have constantly procured grants for new fossil fuel exploration projects and influenced Australias climate policy due to their Australian political connections. Instead Id have our climate policy influenced by our First Nations people and those on the frontlines. These are the people who have a true connection and love for the land. Meg Keneally

For years, twice a day Aadya Joshi walked past a scrapyard in her neighbourhood of south Mumbai on her way to and from school. Originally meant to be the garden of the local police station, it had become an overgrown, toxic eyesore with a decades waste festering in the heat. When she was 15, in her summer holidays, Joshi decided to do something about it.

I walked in to the police station and was like, Can I please clean your garden? recalls Joshi. It took three or four weeks of me just being like, Please, please, please, please, please, and coming back every day, rain or shine. I had to convince them that I was not going to flake halfway and leave them with more work.

Its difficult being a kid telling adults what to do, not everyone is receptive

The plot of land is long and thin: about the dimensions of a cricket wicket. But, over the course of four Sundays in the summer, with help from local residents, Joshi did more than clear it. She replanted it with native Indian plants and trees. It was gruelling but rewarding work: When I say toxic I really mean it, says Joshi. The first day that we cleaned up I made the mistake of not wearing gloves and I was sick for two weeks.

The idea for native planting came from Joshis reading on the Miyawaki method of afforestation and the work of University of Delaware ecologist Douglas Tallamy. These both argue that planting the right trees can have a significant impact on restoring insect and animal biodiversity. The results in Mumbai were pretty well instantaneous: monkeys now hang out at the police station, and butterflies and birds have made the garden their home.

Its definitely difficult being a kid telling adults what to do, says Joshi. Not everyone is always receptive, but I think theres a benefit with having actual science to back up what youre saying.

After creating the garden, Joshi developed a database of 2,000 plants indigenous to the Indian subcontinent and last year was awarded the annual Childrens Climate prize, founded by Swedish energy company Telge Energi. She also began planning larger projects, but these were curtailed first by Covid, and now because she has just started as an undergraduate on the Earth Systems Program at Stanford University. Her advice for others looking to follow in her footsteps is to start small. If you bite off more than you can chew in the beginning, you stagnate and you lose motivation, she says. But something small, like your neighbourhood police station, its very manageable.

Who is your climate hero? Dr Douglas Tallamy. His book Bringing Nature Home is all about how native plants preserve biodiversity. The whole point was to take that research and put it into a local context for India.

How do you relax? A good book. Recently Indica: A Deep Natural History of the Indian Subcontinent by Pranay Lal and In the Kingdom of Ice by Hampton Sides. Its very depressing, but its very good.

If you could make one change It would be to plant native everywhere. Tim Lewis

Your beds may be comfortable for now but not for long, Hilda Flavia Nakabuye told the 2019 World Mayors Summit in Copenhagen. You will soon feel the same heat we feel every day. As a child, Nakabuye watched heavy rains, strong winds and drought gradually devastate her grandparents farm. Cassava, matoke and potato gardens withered; livestock died and eventually her family was forced to sell off the land.

At Kampala University, she made the connection that their suffering was a direct result of global heating and in 2019 she founded Ugandas Fridays for Future campaign, which now has 53,000 youth members. Nakabuye is fiercely critical of the unequal representation of countries from the global south in terms of decision-making . She is campaigning for equal participation for the Most Affected People and Areas (Mapa) at Cop26, where she says it is vital to drum into world leaders that global emissions are [currently] expected to rise by 16% by 2030 yet we need to drop them by 50% by 2030.

We are a generation of scared people, she says, but we are very persistent. And very united.

If you could make one change Haha, that sounds like a lot of power! Within one hour I would shut down all fossil fuel industries. Sarah Donaldson

Yusuf Baluch became an activist last year in the wake of a massive forest fire near his home town of Gwadar, southwest Pakistan, though he says the climate crisis has shadowed his life since childhood. Now he spends much of his time organising for Fridays for Future and engaging in school strikes, despite the threat of arrest from Pakistans military. Giving up is not an option, he says. I have to fight on.

If you could make one change There should be climate clubs and centres everywhere, at a local level, so people can get educated so we can fight this together. Killian Fox

Vic Barrett does not speak Polish. The tattoo artist he met did not have much English. But, during some downtime at the 2018 United Nations climate change conference in Katowice, Barrett presented his arm to him along with a rough sketch of a geometric design featuring the number 370, the greater than sign and two diamonds. We still had a pretty good time, says the 22-year-old Barrett now, laughing. And it was a special trip and it just felt right to somehow commemorate it.

The 370 in the tattoo refers to a measurement in parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere: this was the level it was at when Barrett was born in 1999. Its now more than 400ppm, which most scientists agree is a hazardous indicator of human-made climate change. Barrett turns serious: The tattoo is a reminder to myself and to others that there are generations of young people who have been born into a world that we know scientifically is incapable of sustaining them, he says. Its highlighting this unique experience of being a young person on the planet right now.

I dont want my kids to have to sue the US government

Barretts awakening to the climate emergency came in 2012, when Hurricane Sandy tore up the east coast of North America. He was living in New York and while the damage was widespread around 650,000 homes were destroyed; 8.5 million people were stranded without power he noticed that the devastation was especially severe for low and middle-income people, whose homes were more likely to be built in flood-prone areas and who were less likely to have insurance. Aged 14, Barrett, who has black and indigenous Honduran heritage, began working with the nonprofit Global Kids and dived deep into environmental racism.

In 2015, Barrett was one of a group of 21 young people who sued the US government for violating their fifth and ninth amendment rights by encouraging the use of fossil fuels since the 1960s. Juliana v United States has now been in the courts for a quarter of Barretts life and the case continues to rumble on. Much of the past six years has clearly been thrilling: speaking at the UN, hanging out with Greta Thunberg, becoming a powerful voice of youth activism. But Barrett hopes that the next generation will not have to follow his path.

I dont really want my kids to have to sue the US federal government or to have to be environmental activists in school, to speak at the UN, he says. Im sure that would be awesome for them, but I dont want them to have to fight the way we did.

Who is your climate hero? Berta Cceres. Shes a Honduran water protector, who ended up being killed for fighting against a dam that was going to harm the indigenous people of her community.

And your climate villain? Hypocritical politicians. In the US now we have an administration that claims to have more progressive values, but, for example, there are still pipelines being built through indigenous-treaty territories.

If you had the power to make one change to help solve the climate crisis what would it be? I want to see a better version of the United Nations framework convention on climate change (UNFCCC) process. Right now its all hired negotiators from different countries and their whole job is to negotiate. I would like to see more indigenous leaders included, more black leaders included, more leaders from the global south included.

How do you relax? I like to go kayaking, hang out with my friends, go out to the bar sometimes, play video games. Regular kiddo stuff. TL

When he was seven, Jos Adolfo Quisocala created a bank for school friends in his home town of Arequipa, Peru, to save money to buy books, stationery and uniforms. Now, nine years later, the Bartselana Student Bank has 6,700 clients, all aged under 18. As well as saving, children can earn money by bringing plastic and paper to recycle at school drop-offs the money is automatically credited to their bank accounts. Every month, the bank recycles between 15 and 16 tonnes of paper and plastic through local companies.

The idea came to Quisocala when he saw children begging at traffic lights and wondered how he could help them and their families earn and save, as well as recycle household rubbish that would otherwise become litter or go into landfill. He missed out on school to pursue his idea, but it was worth it, he says. In my town, I was able to considerably reduce the level of child poverty, the school drop-out rate and environmental pollution.

We must teach everyone what awaits us if we continue living the way we are now

Quisocala also helped create the Bartselana Foundation, which converts donations of recyclable waste from local companies into funds to combat child hunger and improve education. Since the onset of the pandemic, the foundation has been making free online educational videos explaining, for example, how to distinguish different types of plastics and paper for recycling which it puts out via social media. This is such important and relevant information that is not taught in school, that we had to make it public and free to watch, says Quisocala.

Now 16, he plans to hand over the running of the bank to a new (also young) CEO in order to go to university. He intends to continue his social activism, working with the least-favoured or forgotten groups in Latin America and helping them profit by carrying out environmental services.

If you could make one change I would teach children, the young, adults and senior citizens what awaits us in the future if we continue living the way we are now. The climate plays a role in every aspect of our lives; our money, our health, agriculture, our flora and fauna. With education, people can take small steps to improve the relationship between humans and nature. Dan Collyns

It was a school lesson on Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King that made sisters Melati and Isabel Wijsen think about how they could change the world and in 2013, aged 10 and 12, they launched Bye Bye Plastic Bags, an initiative to stop single-use bags which is now active in 30 countries. It organically started to grow, explains Melati, now 20. Young people could see a real-life example of what was possible.

The girls campaign was exemplary. They started making educational booklets to explain the dangers of marine pollution and set up a pilot scheme for a plastic-free village. Next came a how-to video on making a river barrier from recycled material to prevent rubbish reaching the sea and a social enterprise scheme employing local women to make reusable bags. In 2018 they resorted to hunger strike when the governor of Bali wouldnt meet and discuss government policy. He caved in two days later and by 2019, single-use plastic bags were banned from the island.

Now the Wijsens have launched an online learning platform called Youthopia. It has masterclasses, workshops and mentorship. We want it to become the worlds HQ for young change-makers. Its hard to imagine they wont make it happen.

If you could make one change I would adapt the education system to teach about these problems and create spaces for innovation. Young people are not given the tools or the guidance to think big and create new systems. Alice Fisher

Scarlett Westbrook is a 17-year-old with an open expression, friendly smile and plaits like bell-pulls. It would be natural to assume had you never heard her speak that she was an ordinary schoolgirl and not the formidable climate justice activist she is. But by the age of 10, Scarlett was already going on marches and canvassing for local elections (at the time, she was really into Ed Milibands climate policies). She has grown up in inner-city Birmingham and her encouraging parents not in any political party themselves would tag along with her as she knocked on doors. It must have been clear then that Scarlett was not born to be one of lifes passengers.

At 13, she distinguished herself by passing an A-level in government and politics the youngest person ever to do so. She taught herself in seven months. Her speciality was climate and education which was what, in part, led to her later work as a member of the UK Student Climate Network (UKSCN). Neither her parents nor her teachers believed Scarlett when she told them she intended to sit the A-level, so Westbrook emailed the exam board I kept arguing until I got my way! (A useful talent in an activist.)

Westbrook has been one of the leading organisers of the school strikes in Birmingham and is the youngest known regular policy writer in parliamentary history. She won the Women of the Future Young Star award in 2020 and the Diana award this year, for humanitarian work. Scarlett is invariably modest about her achievements not wishing to distract from what matters most to her. She now heads up Teach the Future, the impressive student-led campaign founded by her friend Joe Brindle, which aims to transform the British education system by putting the climate at its centre. It is responsible for the first ever student bill, the English Climate Emergency Education Act and for holding a parliamentary reception, organised and led by Westbrook, for more than 100 MPs and Lords. (It has secured cross-party support from everyone except the DUP.) She argues that climate should be woven like a golden thread into every single subject. And her own thinking proves impressively joined up: she talks eloquently about climate crisis in relation to capitalism, colonialism, gender inequality and pandemics.

The entire continent of Africa is responsible for only 2-3% of emissions

Teach the Futures research shows that only 4% of students feel they know a great deal about [the climate emergency]. But the percentage of students who are concerned is much higher (with six in 10 said to be extremely worried ). Scarlett believes climate action and strong community support are the way forward, adding: Our government could choose to act on the climate but is actively choosing not to

While she believes in the importance of individual action, she is keen to emphasise the shocking figures that reveal collective responsibility: A hundred companies are responsible for 71% of [global] emissions, she says, while the entire continent of Africa is responsible for only 2-3% of emissions. She points out that 70% of flights are taken by 15% of people. Listening to her, I find myself daydreaming that she could make, one day, the most amazing prime minister. But when I ask if she is planning to become a politician, she flinches. Absolutely not. I specifically want to go into medicine. I want to be a humanitarian trauma surgeon working in natural disasters or war to help people out. With the climate crisis, that is going to be an increasingly important job.

How do you relax? It often feels like the weight of the future is on our shoulders so it is really important to wind down and spend time with people you care about to maintain your capacity to act, and your wellbeing.

Solar or nuclear? Solar!

If you could make one change I would implement an international Green New Deal, which would aim not only to decarbonise the economy through a 10-year, government-led mobilisation but also to create jobs and to bridge the inequality divide through investment in the areas that need it most. Kate Kellaway

My two loves are exploring and inventing, says 20-year-old Fionn Ferreira, who won the top global award at the 2019 Google Science Fair for his work on reducing plastic pollution in water. It was while kayaking around the coast of West Cork, where he grew up, that Ferreira became keenly aware of the problem not just large plastics bobbing on the waves but microplastics pervading the water around him.

Aged 15, he designed his own spectrometer to measure the amount of microplastics in local water the readings were so high that at first he thought the machine was broken. Then he set about finding a way to remove them. I thought, whats plastic made of? Its made of crude oil. And why does crude oil float on top of water? Because the polarity is different. By adding magnetite to oil, he discovered that he could attract the microplastics in a sample of water and remove the vast majority of them with a magnet.

Now the chemistry undergrad has created his own startup, Fionn & Co, and has received funding from Robert Downey Jrs Footprint Coalition to build a prototype device that can filter more than 90% of microplastics from tap water. He hopes to expand the technology to work in wastewater treatment plants and even at the mouths of rivers, while letting his inventive mind fly in other directions too.

Winning awards and backing at such a young age has given Ferreira a sense that youth should not be a barrier to effecting real change. I feel like we need more people involved in innovation and invention at a small level, because every idea has the power to make a difference, he says.

If you could make one change We need to get everybody to fall in love with the environment and be really, really angry about whats happening to it. Because only with everybody on board, doing their bit, can we create change. KF

Mya-Rose Craig was nine days old when she first went birdwatching near her home in Bristol. My parents and my older sister were massive birdwatchers. I cant remember a time when I didnt love birds, she says. She has been blogging about birds as Birdgirl since she was 11 and posting on Twitter as @BirdgirlUK since the age of 12. That was when I started becoming passionate about environmental issues, especially climate change, she says.

It was also around this time she started noticing something about outdoor spaces. My mum is Bangladeshi and my sister and I are half Bangladeshi and I became aware that I never saw anyone who looked like us out in the countryside. As I looked into it, I realised this wasnt a superficial thing, it was systemic exclusion linked to the racial make-up of conservation bodies and the costs of getting into nature, among other things. Conversations with my cousins made me aware that birding and being in the outdoors are seen by non-white people as really white hobbies.

Craig set up Black2Nature, a non-profit organisation that campaigns for equal access to nature for all, runs nature camps and activities for people traditionally excluded from the countryside and campaigns to make the nature conservation and environmental sectors ethnically diverse. Her activism has won her a platform on television (Springwatch, Countryfile) and radio (Start the Week) and a doctorate in science from the University of Bristol.

Now 19 and studying at Cambridge University, Craig has just published We Have a Dream (Magic Cat), a book of interviews with 30 young environmental activists of colour people who werent getting the platform from the media that they deserve.

If you could make one change. Id get genuine action from our leaders, right now. Lisa OKelly

Dubbed Frances Greta Thunberg by the French media, Iris Duquesne was 16 when she joined 15 other teenage climate activists, including Thunberg, in late 2019 to bring a landmark legal complaint to the United Nations against France, Brazil, Germany, Turkey and Argentina. Their charge that these countries were violating their rights as children by not taking sufficient measures against climate change resonated around the globe.

Last week the UN declared it was unable to rule on the case, saying the young people must first bring lawsuits in each of the five states national courts, despite tomes of case law showing that no such procedures would succeed. Speaking through her legal team at the non-profit Earthjustice, Duquesne said: We are all very disappointed but unfortunately not surprised. We have seen governments and officials ignore the climate crisis over and over again and today was no exception. The fight for climate justice is not over, and we will keep pushing with or without the Committees help.

If you could make one change. Id use education worldwide to instil a real sense of climate responsibility in the next generation. LOK

Jakob Blasels blond curls have been a regular sight at Fridays for Future protests in Germany since the then 18-year-old organised the countrys first climate strike, outside the regional parliament in Kiel in December 2018. He proved a canny organiser and passionate motivator, rallying students through WhatsApp chat groups or by spraying messages on the pavement outside their schools.

From day one it was very important to me that Fridays for Future wasnt just made up of kids who already cared about environmental issues, he says. It was about starting a movement that spoke to an entire generation.

Three years later, Blasel is knocking on the doors of the Bundestag in Berlin: as a Green party candidate in his home constituency in Schleswig-Holstein, Germanys northernmost state, he gained 23,831 votes at Septembers federal elections, only narrowly missing out on a parliamentary seat via the partys list.

The eldest of three brothers, Blasel says he was vaguely aware of climate change as a child. But it wasnt until I was 15-16 that the climate crisis became something that caused me distress.

In 2017 he watched a Norwegian documentary about the global textile industry. How could it be, I asked myself, that my teenage peers and I were wearing clothes that were produced under inhumane conditions in the global south? From that, I moved on to thinking about how clothes could be produced in a way that was not just socially fairer, but also more environmentally sustainable.

Politicians are still telling fairytales; they think technology will magically solve climate change

The teenager started wearing more secondhand clothes, and he convinced his parents to switch to get their electricity from renewable providers. But there was a point where that approach reached a limit: even if I change my behaviour as a consumer, were still headed for an ecological and societal crisis. If I really cared about making a difference, I realised, I needed to take a political approach.

In his campaign and on social media, Blasel describes himself as an 1.5C ultra, claiming a term usually employed by fanatical football supporters. Maybe thats a little bit of a joke, he says, but in terms of real politics, it means I am convinced that every possible effort needs to be made to limit global warming to 1.5C.

Now I see a lot of politicians realising that we need to have more ambitious climate targets. But they are still telling fairytales about how we will get there: that technology will magically solve climate change, that we just need to leave it up to the markets. We already have these technologies, we just need to use them. And at the moment thats not happening to the right extent.

Blasel says his run for the Bundestag has made him understand better why the political debate on the climate crisis has got stuck, and how it could be made to start moving again. Being an activist means constantly pushing your own interest to the foreground, while the art of being a politician lies in reconciling different interests.

The German Green party could hold a key role in the next government, as one of three coalition partners in a liberal-left power-sharing deal. Blasel says hes planning to slip back into his old activist roles to remind his party of its promises while coalition talks are ongoing. I will keep on giving my best to fight the climate crisis. Whether I do that from parliament or as an activist is almost irrelevant.

Who is your climate hero? Stefan Rahmstorf, the German climatologist who was one of the earliest scientists to lay bare the dramatic extent of the climate crisis.

Solar or nuclear? Solar. People dont feel safe around nuclear power plants. I dont think most people who are still evangelising about nuclear power have thought their position through.

If you had the power to make one change to help solve the climate crisis what would it be? The switch to renewable energy has to be the basis for every step we take to address the crisis. Philip Oltermann

Disha Ravi experienced climate change growing up in rural India long before she knew what it was. My grandparents are farmers and faced water shortages; my mother had to carry water from the common well before she left for school and none of us realised that this was the result of the climate crisis. Only when I was 18 did I understand it and the inaction from our leaders.

Ravi co-founded the Indian branch of Fridays for Future (FFF) in 2019 and spent two years organising workshops, local clean-ups and tree planting. She is also the family breadwinner, with her job at a vegan food company in Bengaluru, where she lives with her mother.

One campaign close to her heart was the 20202021 Indian farmers protest when a set of farm bills that seemed to favour corporations over farmers sparked huge outcry in India, especially over minimum prices for produce. When Greta Thunberg tweeted about the campaign in February, it was Ravi who made international headlines. She was arrested for sedition and criminal conspiracy and taken to Delhi where she was held for 10 days. Police said a social media toolkit Ravi had edited for the campaign had caused disaffection and disinformation.

Ravi is unable to discuss her ongoing legal case but her campaigning spirit is undiminished. I have seen my own house fill with water in a landlocked city, trees cut to grow the GDP, and poison released in rivers as businesses push off responsibility. I refuse to let this continue for others.

If you could make one change People in India face the climate crisis on a daily basis, but access to the latest science around the environment is still limited to elite private schools. Education will bring about awareness and the climate action we need. AF

Lesein Mutunkei was 12 when he decided that for every football goal he scored, hed plant a tree. He realised the idea could go big after all, the climate crisis is a universal problem and football is a universal game. He got his school in Nairobi signed up and started Trees for Goals as a movement. In 2019, aged 14, he went to the Kenyan Ministry of Environment and the scheme became national. This year hes a Childrens Climate prize finalist.

If you could make one change I would ensure Fifa, all leagues, clubs and schools and 3.5 billion fans across the world took up Trees for Goals and use the power of football to tackle deforestation, which is the second biggest contributor to climate change. AF

Amy and Ella Meek founded Kids Against Plastic in 2016 after finding out for the first time about the effects of plastic pollution. The sisters were being home schooled and their parents, both teachers, decided they should learn about the UNs global goals for sustainable development. The goal that piqued their interest was number 14: Life below water. We started seeing all these images of sea creatures tangled up in plastic, says Amy, now 18. It was just heartbreaking to see and really shocking.

Read more:

Gen Z on how to save the world: young climate activists speak out - The Guardian

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Don’t judge these teens by their tattoos – Delaware First Media10.20.21

Who do you think of when you picture someone with tattoos? The answer is different for everyone.

Julian Fausto and Eric Guadarrama built a whole podcast around the question, deciding to look at the pros and cons of getting tattoos in "Teens and Ink." Julian is a senior at J. Sterling Morton East High School in Cicero, Ill., and Eric is a junior at Steinmetz College Prep in Chicago.

This year they took their passion for the artistry of tattoos and made it into a podcast. Julian's teacher, Mark Sujak, submitted their work to the NPR Student Podcast Challenge, and our judges chose "Teens and Ink" as one of this year's finalists, from more than 2,000 entries.

The podcast starts the way any conversation with Eric and Julian does: no nonsense.

"All right listeners listen. Imma start from the beginning: Ever since I was younger I knew I wanted tattoos," says Julian.

Eric jumps in with a prepared question: "Sorry to interrupt, but who influenced you to want a tattoo?"

The answer is the same for both of them: rappers, WWE stars and pretty much everyone in their lives.

"Ok, please continue," Eric said.

Eric and Julian are cousins, but more like brothers. When they're together they can't help but tease each other, act tough and then break always cracking each other up. They grew up together; sometimes in the same house, sometimes a short drive away from each other. This year, Julian is a senior and Eric is a junior.

Julian has one tattoo and another one scheduled and Eric is prepping for his first one.

The students give a balanced argument in their podcast about the pros and cons of tattoos stigmas, regrets, and cost are all discussed but it's clear that Julian and Eric really do love tattoos.

One big reason? Julian is an artist, and he wants to draw all of his own tattoos and maybe even give them to other people one day. Julian said he can't remember when he started drawing because it was so long ago.

"Not to sound corny, but it was like day one," he tells me.

"I used to draw too," Eric says. "But then ... just looking at his stuff is like, 'I'm so amazed.' So I just focused on my own things."

While we talked, Eric kept pulling his phone out and showing pictures of the original designs Julian had drawn on him, some dating all the way back to middle school.

"So that's Bart Simpson, and then on my eyebrow, it says Chicago," Eric explains. "Then I got a cross, and then after that, the heartbeat thing. And on my, like, chest, I had a girlfriend that I was dating back then." He laughs: "We're not with her anymore."

They told me they've liked tattoos from such a young age because everyone they loved had them. It was a very normal, comforting thing. "Everyone I look up to has tattoos and my mom has tattoos everyone in my family has tattoos," says Julian.

Eric and Julian say their moms got their first tattoos together when they were 13 in a friend's basement. But when Julian's 16th birthday rolled around, he wanted a professional one. He drew it himself, researched an artist online, and drove to Indiana with his mom. (In Illinois, even with parental consent, you have to be 18 to get a tattoo.) And now he's ready for more.

"My goal by the end of college is I want [from] my neck down," he says.

Eric and Julian hope their podcast and their story will encourage people to not judge a book by it's cover. Or a person by their tattoos.

"Like, you see a 17-year-old kid with 'Chicago', it doesn't mean that he's in a gang, you know? Like, let's normalize having tattoos," says Eric. "If you see somebody with a tattoo, you know, just pretend like it's not even there. Don't think too much about it."

The rest is here:

Don't judge these teens by their tattoos - Delaware First Media

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The greatest thing about every single South Jersey town – NJ.com08.23.21

New Jersey is composed of 565 municipalities and scores more sections and hamlets. I, Pete Genovese, have spent a lifetime wandering around and writing about this incredible state. Now, I have compiled the ultimate list: The greatest thing about every single town. Yes, all 565.

Landmarks, attractions, parks, historical tidbits, museums, restaurants unique features that give each borough, city or township (every type of municipality is a town, for this project) its special character or personality.

My mission: to show the richness, charm and wonder of New Jersey; no state is more mocked, maligned and misunderstood.

In this, the fourth part of our series, well look at Burlington, Camden, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties. On Monday and Tuesday, we visited North Jersey (read those stories here and here). Wednesday was all about Central Jersey (read that story here). Friday well finish at the Jersey Shore.

No one does fried fish better than Allens Clam Bar, in Bass Rivers New Gretna section. It started as a bait-and-tackle shop before Win Allen opened the restaurant side in the mid-1960s. When he won the state oyster-shucking contest in 1981, business really took off. Cant make up your mind? Order the Fried Combo, with flounder, shrimp, clam strips and deviled clam. Not in a fishy mood? The fried chicken is surprisingly good. Minutes away is my favorite Piney bar, the Lower Bank Tavern.

Riverfront Park, BeverlyPeter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for

Riverfront Park doesnt come up in a Google search, or show up on Google Maps, but trust me, its there, along the Delaware River between Broad and Cooper Streets. Its a great place to eat lunch or sit a spell, one of many quiet little parks along the river.

A dizzying, delightful hodgepodge of collectible records, DVDs, t-shirts, posters, toys not to mention 140 kinds of soda Randy Nows, run by Randy Ellis, is a trip. In a recent Facebook post, he put 300-400 records on the sidewalk and begged someone to take them for free. Dont make a mess, he wrote. Hoping one person takes them all. No sorting/looking. Ellis booked musical acts at the legendary City Gardens nightclub in Trenton, where Sinead OConnor and A Flock of Seagulls made their American debuts and the Ramones played 25 times.

Mastoris Diner, Bordentown Alex Remnick I NJ Advance Media for

One of the states best-known and biggest diners, Mastoris began when Nick and Mary Mastoris bought the liquor license of the Bordentown Grill, a popular roadside attraction at the junction of Routes 25 and 39 (now 130 and 206). The Grill was torn down for a road construction project, rebuilt, then burned down in 1969. Mastoris opened on the spot a year and a half later. The menu is expansive, the parking lot bigger than most small towns, and everyone loves the cinnamon bread.

Chartered by His Majesty King George III in 1758, reads the regal description of the Library Company of Burlington. It is the oldest library in continuous operation in New Jersey, and the seventh-oldest in the country. The institutions first circulated book: The Invisible Spy. The library moved several times, renting rooms in local houses, before acquiring its own building. Theres now a childrens room, Internet workstations, and historical volumes dating all the way back to 1521.

Blue Claw Seafood & Crab Eatery, Burlington TownshipPeter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for

Theres no better place to get crabby in Jersey than the Blue Claw. The legendary crab house looks strip mall bland from the outside, but the roll of paper towels at each table is a clue youre about to get good and messy cracking open those crabs. Theyre flown in fresh every day from Florida and Mexico. Crabs can be served cleaned or dirty, cold or steamed, plain or seasoned with J&O crab seasoning, Norms seasoning, or the famous house garlic sauce.

Youve got to love a town that holds an annual Witches Ball. The Whimsical Witches of Crosswicks Annual Witches Ball is just one of dozens of events held in the Crosswicks Community House, on Main Street. Crosswicks claims to be the birthplace of Taylor ham; John Taylor, a descendant of Crosswicks settlers, made his soon-to-be-famous ham for a local market. Harvest festivals, chili cook-offs, Halloween and Christmas parades, the annual Croquet Classic (one rule: No Cussing), outdoor movie nights, storytelling events in the Friends Meeting House Crosswicks, settled in 1677, is a small town that knows how to have fun.

Trinity AME Church, Cinnaminson Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for

The church and the adjacent small cemetery are the most prominent remains of the Black community known as Wrightsville, established just after the Civil War. The church, originally known as the Free Gospel Church, was founded in 1873 and became known as Trinity AME in 1905. Some of the graves in the cemetery date to the 1860s.

New Jersey and New York have argued for years over the location of the Statue of Liberty (its in Jersey waters, but whatever). The other Statue of Liberty, about 20 feet tall, stands on the seawall at the estate here named Shangri-La. Unfortunately, its impossible to see except from a boat on the river or a muddy slog on the beach at low tide," according to the informative Delanco Historic Waterfront Tour.

Its Carli Lloyds favorite bakery, what more do you need to know? The Olympic soccer star grew up on L&Ms doughnuts and pastries; she even made a bet that shed eat a doughnut for every goal she scored in the Womens World Cup in 2015 (she scored six goals and was named outstanding player). L&M opened in 1964 in a space once occupied by a gas station and Ford dealership. Their buttercream is legendary. Lloyd announced her retirement from soccer this week.

Visitor Center, Smithville Park Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for

What a gorgeous park. Smithville Park is the centerpiece of the Burlington County park system. Smithville (not to be confused with the Smithville in Atlantic County) was a major industrial center from the 1860s to 1920s; the Smithville-Mount Holly Bicycle Railway transported Smith Company employees via a monorail-type track. The parks features include a floating walkway, butterfly garden, picnic areas, The Underground Railroad Museum of Burlington County, Smithville Mansion and the Workers House Museum.

The casket containing the body of Army Staff Sgt. Terry Hemingway, who was killed in Baghdad, is carried to its gravesite at Beverly National Cemetery. Michael Mancuso I Times of Trenton

Beverly National Cemetery is the final resting place for 50,000 veterans. The original cemetery, founded in 1863, was just one acre, and devoted to Union soldiers who died at nearby hospitals. Today, the cemetery encompasses nearly 65 acres. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.

What should you order at Joes Peking Duck House? How about the Fish Maw Soup? Okay, just kidding. The Peking Duck you can order it al carte by the half or whole, or as a combo meal for two or four is tender, juicy, with eminently tasty skin it hits all the roast duck notes. Also recommended: the wonton noodle soup. Add wontons and noodles, in separate containers, to the broth and you have a sumptuous soupy delight. Evesham Marlton, where Joes is located, is one of its sections is Burlington Countys most populous municipality.

White Hill Manson, FieldsboroPeter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for

Blink twice, and youre in and out of Fieldsboro, population 752. Its most noteworthy sight is the White Hill Mansion, situated on a bluff overlooking the Delaware River. The site was at first a Lenape winter settlement, later a hotbed of Revolutionary War activity. There are daytime history tours and nighttime haunted house events. You are not locked in and can leave anytime, the website helpfully says.

What do the Brooklyn Bridge, the George Washington Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge have in common? John A. Roeblings Sons Co. The company designed the Brooklyn Bridge and supplied the steel cable for all three legendary spans. In its heyday, Roebling was the worlds largest producer of wire rope and employed 8,000 workers. The museum opened on Saturdays as of June 5.

One of the states least-known state parks, Rancocas State Park encompasses 1,200 acres in Hainesport and Westampton. There are 14 trails wandering through upland and lowland hardwood forest, and the Rancocas Nature Center hosts wildlife and outdoor programs.

Air Victory Museum, Lumberton Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for

Best place to find a nuclear bomb in New Jersey? The Air Victory Museum, which counts a B-61 Nuclear Bomb (dont worry, its been disarmed) among its many fascinating artifacts. Jet fighters, experimental aircraft, engines, rockets, torpedoes are on display. Theres even a replica of the Wright Brothers 1903 Flyer built by students from a local school. Its one of my favorite museums in New Jersey, and admission is free.

I combed through scores of town websites for background info on the 565 entries; some were informative, others gave new meaning to the word worthless. None were as heartwarmingly rosy as Mansfields. This is from its About section: The level of the land is flat with just enough rolling terrain to make the countryside beautiful. The climate is mild. Winter brings snow to delight. Summer has a comfortable warmth. In the flat, deadening world of municipal website language, this qualifies as poetry.

Maple Shade Custard Stand, Maple Shade Alex Remnick I NJ Advance Media for

The red-and-white-trimmed Maple Shade Custard Stand, which dates to the 50s, is a scoop of vanishing Americana, with its walk-up counter and DRIVE IN sign atop the roof. Custard or soft-serve is more a South Jersey than North Jersey thing, and this stand is one of the absolute best in the state. It made my list of the states best soft-serve spots.

Medfords Main Street is one of the states most charming, with antiques shops, restaurants, cafes and the Medford Arts Center. Landmarks include Braddocks Tavern, which dates to 1844. Youll love the retro atmosphere and milk shakes at The Pop Shop, and some of the states best craft beer at Lower Forge Brewery,

Log cabins, Medford Lakes Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for

Thats what officials in this tiny (1.2 square miles) town say, anyway. Of the 1,500 homes in Medford Lakes, 150 are log cabins. Ask any visitor to the Lakes and youll hear comments like You must think youre at camp all the time, " the website cheerfully announces. We dont have streets or roads, we have trails. Thats true, pretty much all the roads in town are named trails, although they are paved. There are no less than 22 lakes in Medford Lakes, which may be the states quirkiest community.

The Cruiser in the Cornfield, Moorestown Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for

If youre driving down I-295 and suddenly spot what looks like a battleship in the middle of a cornfield, dont panic. Its merely the U.S. Navys AEGIS Combat System Engineering Development Site, which develops and tests shipborne radar and missiles. When the ship was built in 1959 to house an Air Force Ballistic early-warning system model, it resembled a stadium-sized golf ball. AEGIS is not an acronym, its the Greek word for the shield worn by Zeus. I got a rare tour of the facility years ago. I dont want to say too much about what we do here, the commanding officer said back then.

Burlington County Prison Museum, Mount Holly

The county prison opened in 1811 and when it finally shut down in 1965, it had been the nations oldest prison. The interior vaulted ceilings and brick and stone construction made the building near-fireproof. Today, you can wander through the empty corridors and peek into the cells. Online, you can watch a video on prison graffiti. One of the most memorable on the prisons walls shows a giant eye with the words. Were watching you; you cant get out. The prison museum is open Thursday through Sunday.

Hotels, Mount Laurel Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for

If you cant find a hotel room in Mount Laurel, youre not looking very hard. Courtyard by Marriott, The Westin, Red Roof Inn, The Hotel ML, Aloft, Wyndham, Econolodge, Super 8, Fairfield Inn & Suites, Towne Place Suites, Knights Inn, Staybridge Suites, LaQuinta, Rodeway Inn and Clarion Hotel & Suites I may have missed a few are located within walking distance of each other. Theyre all located near the terminus of the New Jersey Turnpike and Route 73.

Fort Dix is the Army section of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, which spreads over several towns, 32,000 acres and includes the 305th Air Mobility Wing, the 87th Civil Engineer Group, the Atlantic Strike Team, and other commands. The military installation opened in 1917 and was named Fort Dix in 1939. It is a major training center for reserve soldiers and includes the Army Reserve and National Guard.

One of several mobile home communities in North HanoverPeter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for

There are more trailer parks sorry, mobile home communities in New Jersey than you might think. About 100,000 New Jerseyans live in the states 170 more or so mobile home communities. North Hanover is home to Spartan Village, California Village and Souths Mobile Home Court, among others. And yes, North Hanover, adjacent to Fort Dix and McGuire Air Force Base, has a mobile home administrator.

Palmyra Cove Nature Park, PalmyraPeter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for

There are many scenic spots along the Delaware River, but Palmyra Nature Cove just may top the list. Its a 250-acre oasis with a little bit of everything wetlands, woodlands, meadows, wild creek, river shoreline and a tidal cove from which the park derives its name. The visitor center is open Monday through Friday. The park is a bit tricky to find follow Temple Road almost to the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge tolls, bearing right where a sign says last turn before tolls. Follow that road to the park.

The Grist Mill features the states most entertaining store Facebook page, jammed with photos of merchandise and quirky historical tidbits. Did you know that the first 15 U.S. presidents were beardless until 1861, when a little girl told Abe Lincoln to grow a beard and for the next 52 years, every President had a beard? The antiques center started in 1994 on one floor, and now the Grist Mill spreads over two floors and includes 60 booths and 10,000 feet of antiques and vintage merchandise.

A hospital that has never issued a bill to a patient in its nearly 100-year history? Thats Deborah, which accepts insurance, but there is no co-pay, deductible, balance bill or out-of-pocket expenses for care at New Jerseys premier provider of high-quality heart, lung and vascular care. It was founded in 1922 as a tuberculosis sanatorium. The Deborah Hospital Foundation is the hospitals fundraising arm.

Sign for Boost! in ShamongPeter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for

Boost! (yes, the exclamation mark is part of the name) is New Jerseys greatest and most peculiar cult drink. Its a lemony cola that some liken to a flat cola, others to liquid crack. If you dont live in Burlington, Camden or Gloucester counties, chances are youve never heard of it, much less tried it. Boost! is not to be confused with Boost, the nutritional drink from Nestle. You buy the syrup and make your own, or buy it in slushie or soda form. For the stores that stock Boost!, visit

Founded in 1865, Riverton Yacht Club is the oldest yacht club on the Delaware River and one of the oldest in the country. Were not talking luxe, lavish ocean-going yachts, but sailboats. There are Learn to Sail lessons for kids, plus frequent races, including the prestigious Governors Cup Regatta every June. The yacht club is located a mile north of the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge.

Shamong one of my favorite Jersey town names is home to The Pic. The Pine Barrens restaurant and bars history dates to 1927, when Thomas Snyder opened Snyders Luncheonette on State Highway 39, a dirt road that would later become Route 206. His daughter, Lillian, and her husband, Pickett Russell, came up from Arkansas to join him in the business. The bar, named after the two, opened in 1933. When Russell passed away in 1953, his funeral was held, per his wishes, inside the bar. Besides the Piney hospitality, you go to the Pic-a-Lilli for one thing: the unforgettable wings.

Vincentown Grange, Vincentown Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for

The National Grange was founded in Washington, D.C. in 1867 to advance the economic and political interests of the nations farmers. The Vincentown Grange was one of the few left in New Jersey until it was put up for sale. The Grange Hall is on Main Street in Vincentown.

Flea markets are often scorned, but never by the people who find great bargains amidst the junk and jetsam. The Columbus Farmers Market started as a cattle and horse auction in 1919 in the town of Columbus, moving to its present location in 1929. Youll find everything from jewelry, clothes, computers and furniture to military attire, produce, toys and pets. And great pizza. Kate and Als Pizza and Petes Pizza, both serving eminently saucy pies, are highly recommended. And Richards Chicken Coop makes first-rate fried chicken.

Carranza memorial, Tabernacle Tony Kurdzuk I The Star-Ledger

Mexican aviator Emilio Carranza was known as The Lindbergh of Mexico." He had been a hero since he was 18, when he helped put down a rebellion. On a 1928 goodwill flight that was a response to one made by Lindbergh the previous December, Carranzas Ryan monoplane crashed in the Pine Barrens during a thunderstorm. A 10-foot limestone block decorated with an Aztec eagle marks the spot. To visit, look for the sign on Route 206 in Red Lion; thatll put you on Carranza Road, which youll follow for about ten miles to the monument.

Sawmill, Batsto Village Samir Id-Deen I The Star-Ledger

Batsto Village, like the Great Falls in Paterson, is one of those New Jersey treasures that everyone seems to know about, but all too few visit. The site consists of 33 historic buildings and structures, including the Batsto Mansion, gristmill, sawmill, general store, workers homes, cottages and post office. You can take a free guided tour by smart phone, and there are guided tours of Batsto Mansion from Wednesdays through Sundays. The annual Country Living Fair, held in October, is a good day to visit. Batsto is located on Route 542, one of the states most scenic roads.

Historical marker for Timbuctoo, Westampton Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for

Timbuctoo was founded in 1826 when four African-American men, likely escaped slaves from Maryland, bought land from a Quaker businessman. At its peak, according to, Timbuctoo had 125 residents, a school, and Zion Wesleyan Methodist Episcopal African Church. Timbuctoo was a stop on the Underground Railroad.

This is one-stop shopping and then some. Willingboro Town Center includes an Acme, CVS, Dollar Tree, several restaurants, and such tenants as Strayer University, Rowan College at Burlington County, and Penn Medicine. The town library is also located here.

Pakim Pond, Woodland Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for

Picking the most peaceful spot in the Pine Barrens is an impossible task. I could give you a place deep in the woods accessible only by a snake-infested trail, but Ill go with one easy to reach by car: Pakim Pond. Pull up a picnic table in the secluded, shaded grove here; you might have the place to yourself. Pakim Pond is minutes from a major highway (Route 72), but in a world of its own. Head down Buzzard Hill Road off 72 and enjoy.

Military and law enforcement badges on the wall at Afghan Kabob, WrightstownPeter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for

Some of Jerseys best dining can be found in strip malls. Afghan Kabob is the end unit in a strip mall that includes a Chinese/Japanese restaurant and tattoo parlor. Theres no website or Facebook page, so dont go looking for one. This might be N.J.s most compact restaurant menu, with just five items (chicken kabob, lamb kabob, chicken & lamb kabob, gyro, chicken kabob salad). The chicken kabob boasts 13 pieces (I counted every one) of tender, seriously seasoned meat. Theyre not advertised on the menu, but the spicy fries are a must. Its a popular spot for soldiers from nearby Joint Base MDL (McGuire/Dix/Lakehurst). I was the only civilian on a recent visit.

Field of flags, AudubonPeter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for

Thats what the town website says, and theres proof everywhere. The 4th of July parade is a big deal; they even hand-deliver the parade program to nearly 4,000 homes. The Audubon Celebration Committee oversees the parade and Audubon Day. Look for the awesome display of American flags on the Audubon/Haddon border.

There are no schools, stores or churches in town, and all the houses are painted white. Whats going on here? Audubon Park is one of about 30 mutual housing communities in the country. All the property is collectively-owned and prospective residents buy a share in the corporation that owns and manages the 500 units. Tenants pay a monthly fee that covers property taxes, utilities and other costs. The town was built in 1941 to house defense workers preparing for World War II.

The festival, held in October, is a celebration of small town Americana, with craft and food vendors, entertainment, classic car show, pony rides, petting zoo and more. The 2020 festival was canceled and a decision has not be made on the 2021 event.

Carmen's Deli, Bellmawr Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for

Carmens Deli is the kind of place where specials were written on construction paper, and the smudged and tattered sandwich menu, taped to a wall, looks like it went through the sub wars. I say were' because the deli is undergoing a major renovation. One thing hasnt changed the Roses Special sub, with capicola, prosciutto, regular and sharp provolone, soppressata and roasted red peppers, named after a former owner. I call it South Jerseys best sub. Or hoagie.

Historical marker, Berlin Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for

A kids summer camp with a cool name, Camp Long-A-Coming is a four or six-week program that runs from early July to mid-August (the camp was not held in 2021). Races, bowling, Wild West Wednesdays (dress like a cowboy), Marvel Mondays (dress like your favorite superhero), field trips and more fill the busy calendar. Berlins first settlers arrived in 1774 and called the village Long-A-Coming as it was along the Lonaconing Indian trail.

A year-round waterpark? Sahara Sams, open even in the dead of winter, is 60,000 feet of watery fun under a retractable roof. Theres also an arcade and cafe. Due to reduced capacity, online reservations are required.

Craft vendors, live music, wine tasting, beer garden, food trucks, kids activities Brooklawns annual Fall Festival is the towns social highlight, and its held on the waterfront, too. This years festival will be held noon to 6 p.m. on Oct. 16.

Battleship New Jersey Camden Michael Mancuso I Times of Trenton

The nations most decorated battleship, the USS New Jersey saw action in World World II and the Korean War, then was re-commissioned in 1968 for duty in Vietnam. She later provided a show of strength off El Salvador, lent fire support to Marines in embattled Beirut, and stood guard offshore during the 1988 Summer Olympics in South Korea. Decommissioned for the last time in 1991, she made her way to the Camden waterfront to become a floating museum. You can tour the ship, inspect the 16-inch gun turrets, visit the combat engagement center, and more. Its open for tours every day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The future of malls may be up in the air due to the pandemics economic toll, but the Cherry Hill Mall will always hold a place in mall history. It was the first enclosed mall on the East Coast when it opened in 1961 on former farm property. Strawbridge & Clothier department store opened its first Jersey store here; other tenants included Lofts Candy, Florsheim Shoes, Lane Bryant and Paris Hats. In the middle of one wing was a cage of tropical birds.

A catchy slogan for this town along the White Horse Pike (Route 30). It was incorporated in 1887 from parts of Waterford and Winslow. One of my favorite barbecue joints, Brother Bears, was located here until several years ago; it was replaced by Grilly Cheese, a grilled cheese joint.

Clementon Park and Splash World Bill Duhart

Call Clementon Park the Palisades Park of South Jersey amusement parks. It opened in 1907 as the trolley line from Camden had been extended to Clementon Park, resulting in thousands of visitors from Camden and Philadelphia. The rides, games, attractions and food stands were familiar to generations of visitors. It closed suddenly in September 2019 after its owner defaulted on the mortgage, but a new owner stepped in and readied the park for its 2021 opening.

Scottish Rite Auditorium, Collingswood Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for

There are better known concert halls in New Jersey NJPAC, Count Basie Theatre but for intimacy, atmosphere and acoustics theres nothing quite like the Scottish Rite Auditorium. In the early 1900s it was known as the White Mansion. I saw Patty Griffin here several years ago; practically front row seats, amazing concert. This is the coolest place I ever played, David Crosby once said. Mary Chapin Carpenter, Suzanne Vega and Emmylou Harris will appear there this fall.

The Town Crier sounds like one of those broadsheets popular in colonial times, but its actually the best way to keep up on whats going on in this town, founded in 1714. Gibbsboro was part of Voorhees Township from 1899 to 1924, when it was incorporated as a separate municipality. The Town Crier, in business for 33 years, is a monthly online town newspaper; a recent one outlined a road resurfacing project, a Superfund site update, and where to report a deer carcass.

North Wind Schooner, Gloucester City Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for

This 57-foot North Wind Schooner is billed as The Gloucester City sailboat. The core mission is to let local kids work on the boat and learn about the waterfront while sailing on the river. Public cruises are temporarily suspended.

Cookie House, Glendora Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for

Apparently the only cookie jar-shaped house in America, the Cookie Jar House is three floors of wraparound whimsy, with storage room and bathroom on the ground floor, living room and kitchen on the second floor, two bedrooms on the third floor. And yes, people live there. According to one local historian, it was built in 1949 and was advertised as a house for the atomic age, purportedly able to withstand an atomic bomb blast. Strangely enough, the Cookie Jar House was to be the first of an entire community of cookie jar houses (!!). But, for reasons unknown, it was the only one built.

Katherine Cohen makes sandwiches out of pickles. You read that right. No bread is involved. She hollows out Kirby pickles with an ice cream scooper, filling the halves with ingredients. The result is weird, wacky and wonderful all at once. The only store of its kind in the country, Elsies Pickles opened in 2019. Cohen first started making the sandwiches for her diabetic mother at a Linwood general store. Elsies sells 750 to 800 sandwiches and 60 to 70 quarts of pickles each week. The sandwiches are available Thursday-Saturday only. You can even buy Pickle Guts, the hollowed-out portion of the pickle.

Indian King Tavern Museum, HaddonfieldPeter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for

The ultimate New Jersey trivia question: Where did New Jersey become a state? At the Indian King Tavern, where the great seal of the state was adopted. There are free tours Wednesday through Sunday (donations accepted), and a skirmish between Colonial and British troops is re-enacted every June. Haddonfield ranked No. 2 on my list of the states greatest small towns. Dont miss the dinosaur statue in town Hadrosaurus foulkii, which was the most complete dinosaur skeleton unearthed anywhere in the world when it was discovered in 1858.

New Jersey is stocked with community theaters and The Village Playbox has been staging comedies, mysteries and light drama for 80-plus years. Nearly 50 performances were canceled after the state lockdown last March. The theater launched a GoFundMe campaign to stay afloat, and hopes to resume performances this year.

Jerseyans love outdoing each other with their holiday lights displays and none are more wondrous than Lights on Hiawatha. Its a walk-through light show display animated to music that is the holiday highlight in this small town. The displays creator is Erick Schules.

Whitman-Stafford House, Laurel Springs Peter Genovese I NJ Advance Media for

Domicild at the farm-house of my friends, the Staffords, near by, I lived half the time along this creek and its adjacent fields and lanes. And it is to my life here that I, perhaps, owe partial recovery (a sort of second wind, or semi-renewal of the lease of life) from the prostration of 1874-75. Translation: Walt Whitman loved the place, as he wrote Leaves of Grass at the Whitman-Stafford House. Nearby is Crystal Springs, portrayed in Leaves of Grass. Currently, the house is open by appointment only. Email: Laurel Springs calls itself the undiscovered gem of Camden County.

The Peter Mott House, Lawnside Annie McCormick

In 1926, Lawnside became the first all-Black community in New Jersey to become incorporated as a municipality. The town was an important Underground Railroad stop. Peter Mott was an African-American preacher and a railroad agent. The Lawnside Historical Society fought to acquire and preserve the house, and now operates a museum there. Its open noon to 3 p.m. Saturdays, weekdays by appointment only.

This is a free breakfast and lunch program for children held every Friday from 4:15 to 5:45 p.m. at the Commitment Community Church in town. Just drive up, and volunteers will hand over packs of food. Its open to families in the Lindenwold, Voorhees, Stratford and Gibbsboro area.

There may be no better place for a historical society headquarters than a historic train station. The Magnolia station dates to the early 1900s. The local historical society operates a train station museum there, and holds monthly hoagie sales as fundraisers. The museum is currently closed to visitors, but is open by appointment. Check the Facebook page for updates.

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Click It or Ticket starting with May 24 kickoff event – Coastal Point05.31.21

Gov. John Carney takes a 'Seat Belt Selfie' to promote seatbelt use as part of a seatbelt safety-awareness campaign earlier this year.

During this years national Click It or Ticket seatbelt campaign, which will take place May 24 through June 6, the Delaware Office of Highway Safety (DOHS) will be teaming up with law enforcement nationwide for a Border to Border (B2B) kickoff event taking place on Monday, May 24 from 3 to 7 p.m. across all three Delaware counties.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is asking all states to participate in B2B, a one-day, four-hour national seatbelt awareness event on May 24, coordinated by participating state highway safety offices. The B2B initiative aims to increase law enforcement participation by coordinating highly visible seatbelt enforcement for drivers throughout each state across the country.

Delaware Gov. John Carney has supported DOHSs ongoing occupant protection efforts by clicking into one of the recent safety-awareness Seat Belt Selfie campaigns. Carney demonstrated the proper way to buckle up in a motor vehicle.

Seatbelts save lives, and this program serves to educate and encourage Delawareans to buckle up not only for themselves but also for their families, said Carney. Studies have shown that children whose parents buckle up are much more likely to buckle up themselves. Make it a positive habit, and click that seatbelt every time before you drive.

Delawares Click It or Ticket (CIOT) campaign will correspond with the annual national enforcement being implemented by state and local law enforcement agencies from May 24 through June 6. In addition to the enforcement mobilization, DOHS will run simultaneous education campaign initiatives throughout the state via traditional media tactics, such as billboards, statewide cable television, and broadcast terrestrial radio; digital media outlets including Spotify, Vevo, Facebook, Instagram, and connected television streaming apps; and will partner with local businesses to amplify the buckle-up messaging, such as tattoo parlors, hardware stores and outdoor boot camps, as well as extreme sports organizations, and venues.

Face the facts

The statewide seatbelt use rate in 2019 was 92.5 percent, which is good but we can do better, officials said. The other 7.5 percent still need to be reminded that seatbelts save lives.

Last year saw a 53 percent increase from 2019 in unrestrained fatal and severe injury crashes in Delaware.

Over the past five years (2016-2020), younger adults were the most likely to be involved in unrestrained crashes, with the highest number of unrestrained occupants involved being younger than 30 (53 percent), and within that group, occupants ages 20-24 being involved in the most crashes.

Bust the myths

Officials aimed to bust some myths that persist about seatbelt safety:

Seatbelts save thousands of lives every year, but far too many drivers and their passengers are still not buckling up, especially at night when the risk of being in a crash is even greater, said Kimberly Chesser, director of the Delaware Office of Highway Safety. With more people expected to travel on Delaware roadways this summer than last year, we ask that you help us to spread this lifesaving message. Seatbelts save lives, and everyone front seat and back, child and adult must remember to buckle up.

In addition to public education and outreach efforts, DOHS will be hosting a first-of-its-kind seatbelt riff video-making contest on TikTok called Click-Tok. The Click-Tok contest, which runs until midnight on June 2, encourages Delawareans to create videos using seatbelt sounds, music, video and an underlying Buckle Up message. Contest participants will be encouraged to join in on the opportunity through recruitment via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.

The Click-Tok contest is proudly sponsored in part by traffic-safety partner AAA Mid-Atlantic. Three contest winners will receive a prize in the form of a gift card.

For more information on the campaign, statistics, and education, visit From there, users can discover the Arrive Alive DE Visualizer Unrestrained Crash Tool, which helps drivers visualize the impact unrestrained crashes have had on the state of Delaware over the past five years and test their knowledge about what crashing at various speeds feels like at 20, 30 or even 40 mph.

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Startup Helps Those Affected By Gangs And Gun Violence Find A Way Out – Delaware First Media05.31.21

Bretto Jackson hated many things about federal prison, but not everything. It gave him access to people he never would have encountered otherwise.

"The thing about prison is, you're all wearing the same thing," he says. "Everyone has the same $40 New Balances on." Even, for example, the Wall Street criminals at Rikers Island. "These dudes were just sitting across from me, drinking their coffee, reading their Wall Street Journals."

Jackson's fellow inmates opened his eyes to the concepts of investing and the tools of finance, a universe away from the robbery related charge that landed him in prison for 61 months. He became a Wall Street Journal reader too.

After leaving prison, Jackson wanted to use his new financial acumen to empower others like himself to find legal paths to making money.

Today, he and a partner run a small startup in Portland, Ore., called Leaders Become Legends. They mentor people involved with gun violence and connect them with companies who are hiring for green jobs, like solar panel installation companies and recycling facilities.

Unlike minimum wage or fast food gigs, this work pays well. Starting wages can be close to $20 an hour. A living wage, says Jackson, is critical to finding a way out of gun violence.

Damien Rouse is in the program. He went to jail time for the first time at the age of 14 and spent much of his late adolescence and early adulthood incarcerated. Last year, Rouse's brother was shot and killed. The two were close, just a year apart, the middle kids in a family of six.

"When he died a part of me died too," Rouse says.

He'd like to leave Portland, he says. He never feels safe here.

Through Leaders Become Legends, Rouse has been working with a local energy company to assemble and install solar panels. He says the most important skill he's gained in this program is not technical; it's how to compartmentalize. The work can be scary at times, installing panels 45- or 60-feet in the air. He can't be distracted.

"When I go to work," he says, "it's like, OK, I'm gonna just focus on work and get this done." This wisdom is something he passes on to other participants in the program.

As a kid, Rouse watched his uncles, cousins and father go to jail. He's determined to give his own 6-year-old son a different life.

In the last year, Portland, Ore., like much of the country has seen a devastating rise in gun violence. Homicide rates here are higher than they've been in two decades.

City leaders are scrambling to address the problem with law enforcement strategies including increased police presence and working with the FBI. The Leaders Become Legends program, by contrast, is funded through the city's economic development arm, far upstream from law enforcement.

This kind of mentoring, Jackson says, takes time and patience. Six months ago, he and his partner received their first $10,000 grant from the city as part of a small pilot project. Before that, they were doing this work on their own and through other non-profits they've worked for.

Over the last year, Jackson estimates they've found work for 10 people. They're angling to scale up with some much bigger money next year through a city program subsidizing clean energy jobs.

Tax incentives and legal requirements for green energy are driving a healthy demand for this trade. For the most part, says Jackson, bosses in this industry are supportive and colleagues friendly. But not always. Part of the training, says Jackson, is managing expectations.

"You might see a swastika tattoo on one of these guys, you might see a Trump sign, a Make America Great Again sticker on one of these bumpers of these trucks," Jackson says. He cautions participants against letting it distract them. "Think about your children," he tells them.

"Our total mission is to not let them go back to prison, or be dead," Jackson says. "As well as dealing with our trauma from just being so called Black in America."

This trauma is sometimes less dramatic than arrests or shooting. On a recent day at the solar panel site, another program participant, Tay'Andre Churn, arrives late to the work site after being pulled over on his way into this affluent suburb.

"I think he saw a black dude, and it went down from there," Churn says. Getting pulled over, he says, is "an almost every day type thing."

Despite their frequency, the police stops never get easier. Between these encounters and the violence in his community, Churn acknowledges that he lives with a lot of fear and deep sense of injustice.

But with two kids to feed, he says, he doesn't have time to dwell on it. Instead he straps on his safety harness and gets to work.

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Dozens accused a detective of fabrication and abuse. Many cases he built remain intact. – The Philadelphia Inquirer05.19.21

This is Part 2 of Losing Conviction, a series about homicide investigations in Philadelphia.

As Morkea Spellman waited impatiently in the lobby of Philadelphias Police Administration Building, two homicide detectives came downstairs to usher her out the door. They told her she may as well leave. Her 17-year-old daughter, India a high school student who had never been in trouble before had confessed to murder.

In the parking lot, Spellman crumpled to the pavement and wailed, calling the detectives liars. I was crying hysterically, not even knowing where to begin, because these people done took my child.

According to Spellman and three other people who witnessed the conversation, that exchange occurred at 5 p.m. on Aug. 20, 2010. The police record shows that Indias interview with Detectives Henry Glenn and James Pitts began at 6:10 p.m. about an hour after her mother said she refused to sign a form giving consent for her child to be interrogated, and left.

As India recounts it, once Pitts entered the interview room, thats when it got violent. The record indicates she willingly waived her Miranda rights and promptly confessed to two gunpoint robberies, one of which ended in the fatal shooting of George Bud Greaves, an 87-year-old Navy veteran and revered member of his Cedarbrook community.

India and her family say the confession was a fabrication by Pitts a detective who has faced an avalanche of similar accusations, all of which he called outrageous lies.

Seven murder cases Pitts helped build have fallen apart either before, during, or after trial a pattern The Inquirer first began covering in 2013. At least six people who have named Pitts in lawsuits against the city have settled for a total of $1 million. According to court records, he has also been the subject of at least 11 citizen complaints and five internal investigations, and was twice accused of intimate-partner violence, once involving a woman who was a murder witness. During a 2011 trial, a witness also alleged that Pitts hit her inside the Stout Center for Criminal Justice after shed finished testifying the night before; court proceedings on that allegation were conducted under seal. Pitts denied all of these allegations.

Just this month, a man was exonerated of murder a decade after he first claimed Pitts and his partner, Ohmarr Jenkins, coerced his confession during a long and violent interrogation.

Yet, dozens of convictions fraught with similar allegations about Pitts remain intact. An Internal Affairs probe thats at least two years old has not yielded any public action. The Philadelphia District Attorneys Office has noted concerns, but has not committed to a full review of Pitts cases. As of 2019, Pitts was reassigned to the Delaware Valley Information Center, a counterterrorism hub, but he remains employed by the Philadelphia Police Department. A department spokesperson declined to comment.

In an interview, Pitts attributed the allegations to personal vendettas, the anti-police agenda of the DAs Office, and the respective desperate desires of defendants to evade justice and of witnesses to avoid snitching. He added that hes never had a finding against him by the Police Board of Inquiry, which makes disciplinary findings on sustained Internal Affairs complaints.

He also suggested racist assumptions. Since I hit Homicide, thats the narrative. A Black man cant conduct a conversation with somebody without being physically abusive?

Pitts said any claim he struck or put hands on anyone is a lie, and noted hes never seen a medical record proving otherwise. I must be a damn ninja to beat people up all the time, and they bruise on the inside. Thats crazy.

Yet, a small group of lawyers have been arguing, with mixed success, that he had a long-standing pattern and practice of coercive tactics that was improperly concealed from the defense. One, Teri Himebaugh, who created a site called the Police Transparency Project based in part on that research, said she first began tracking him after a client of hers alleged that Pitts and two other detectives chased him down and pinned him against a wall with an unmarked police car. (That claim was raised in a civil lawsuit that settled for $20,000.)

In 2017, Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Teresa Sarmina agreed to overturn a murder conviction based on that pattern. After 10 people testified to such allegations, Sarmina wrote in her opinion: Pitts continuously and systematically makes use of a distinct group of abusive tactics designed to overcome an interrogation subjects resistance and coerce him or her into signing a statement.

Since then, Patricia Cummings, chief of the DAs Conviction Integrity Unit, said she has advised her colleagues in other units to at minimum stipulate that Pitts entered into a pattern and practice and then leave it up to the defense to prove the link to a given case. The office has not uniformly pursued that path.

As a result of her guidance, the office did enter such a stipulation in the case of a man who was 15 when he signed a murder confession after three days in the Homicide Unit, including an interrogation by Pitts.

But at a hearing in that case, two homicide detectives testified they had never seen Pitts hit or threaten anyone. Pitts supervisor also testified hed received no complaints. Common Pleas Judge Barbara McDermott concluded that there was no credible evidence of a single instance of misconduct, let alone a pattern.

Richard Sax, a former homicide prosecutor who worked with Pitts, agreed: I never saw anything like that. He was always a very soft-spoken, laid-back guy.

He did remember one such claim. That man stood accused of executing a witness who had gone to the store to buy his mother a bag of sugar. But he said Pitts choked, hit, and threatened him until he signed a confession, saying he shot the man out of fear.

It was absurd because [the victim] was shot in the back of the head and the bag of sugar was still there, Sax said. Jimmy Pitts didnt have to make anything up in that case. Not that I believe he would make anything up in any case.

What India Spellman remembers about the day police came to take her in handcuffs from her grandparents house was the confusion. That they could be surrounding the house with their guns drawn to arrest her, of all people, seemed impossible.

She was going into 11th grade at Martin Luther King High School, though she struggled with reading, and was a point guard with college basketball ambitions. She worked at Dunkin Donuts in the summers. Otherwise, she was a homebody, spending hours on Facebook or giggling on the phone usually both at once.

According to Spellman, thats exactly what she was doing when the crime spree occurred. Her father and her grandfather, a retired police officer, said they were with her the whole time. A friend also confirmed that she was on a 25-minute phone call with Spellman at the time of the shooting. And her cell-phone records, filed in court, align with those claims.

But at the Police Administration Building, she said, Glenn called her a liar.

I was only 17 years old at that time, so I started crying and repeatedly asking for my father, she said. He told her hed gone home.

Then, she said, he left and Pitts stepped in, shouted at her, and demanded that she confess. He punched me in my mouth, she said. He showed her a statement taken from a 14-year-old boy, Von Combs, who accused her of masterminding the slaying. He wanted her to corroborate it.

Spellman doesnt recall how long the interrogation lasted. It ended when Pitts put some papers in front of her. He told me if you sign this paper you can go home, she said. She complied, and asked Pitts to read her what was on the paper. She said he refused. Then, he sent her to booking. Her mug shot, which ran in the newspaper, shows a tear sliding down her cheek and, according to her family, her mouth swollen from the blow.

Pitts, in a recent interview, said he never touched her, never fabricated a statement, and never threatened, verbally abused, or mistreated anyone.

He has shouted, been in peoples faces, hes testified. But mostly, he said, his approach was to listen for lies and inconsistencies, weak points in the story that could lead to fissures.

In depositions and trials, though, he at times displayed a temper accusing lawyers of yelling, making things up, or swinging an arm near him too aggressively. In one tense deposition, he refused to reveal even his basic biographical facts, like where he attended high school.

Your client is a killer, and Im not giving him anything that can backtrack, Pitts told the civil-rights lawyer for Nafis Pinkney, who had been acquitted of a double murder and was suing the city. (A different man had already confessed to the killings and is awaiting trial. Pinkney settled for $750,000.)

Pitts testified he attended a year and a half at Widener, studying hotel management, then accounting. He served in the Army Reserves, worked for the Free Library, and joined the department in 1996. In 1999, he made detective. And in 2006, he was assigned to Homicide.

Along the way, there was no formal training on how to investigate crimes or interrogate suspects, he said. Mostly, he learned on the job.

Like other detectives, he testified, he would conduct sometimes lengthy informal, unrecorded interviews that could last hours or days. Only at the end, he said, would it be memorialized in a final written statement.

Thats happened quite often that Ive interviewed people and theyve said things and just in the end will not give a written interview, he said. Theres [other] times people do sign what they say and come in the courtroom and make a million allegations, and the case doesnt even become about what they said. It becomes about what they alleged happened to them.

Despite all that, Pitts told The Inquirer, he misses the Homicide Unit, and wants to return.

I enjoyed the sense of getting it right, he said. I enjoyed dealing with the victims when there were successful conclusions and even when there werent successful conclusions, just being able to have the conversations about life in general. I even enjoyed some of the conversations with defendants.

Some on the other end of those interviews had a different perspective.

Donyea Phillips, who was 16 when he was arrested along with his cousin for shooting at police during a raid on a drug house, said Pitts used a range of intimidation tactics over 24 hours without sleep or food, except a cheesesteak that officers told him they had spit in.

He would put his knee to my knee and put his hand to the back of my neck, and he would growl, Phillips said. He was handcuffed to a chair for hours, he said, while Pitts hit him with a leather binder and shouted into his ear. I was like, Oh man, theyre going to kill me in there. Im going to die in this room.

Phillips maintains that he is innocent, but he ended up signing a confession. His cousin signed a statement implicating Phillips that he, too, has recanted. At the time, though, Phillips said, he felt he had to plead guilty, and was sentenced to 25 to 50 years in prison.

Witnesses including the girlfriends and elderly relatives of suspects, as well as bystanders have described similar encounters with Pitts.

One man, Andre Cunningham, described being held for 18 hours in a Homicide interview room because police thought hed witnessed the 2011 murder of Dwayne Isaacs, 48, in a public housing complex.

At one point, he said, he put his head on the table and fell asleep but was awakened when Pitts slammed a pile of phone books down next to his head. He grabbed me and choked me and said Im going to give him the information he needs to close his case, he said.

In the end, he alleged, detectives fabricated a statement accusing Christopher Goodwin a man Cunningham says he knew to be innocent, because he saw Goodwin sitting nearby when the gunshots were fired.

When I left out of there the next day, my T-shirt was ripped down the middle, Cunningham said. Being a Black male, any time you go down there you have to know and expect for them to put their hands on you.

Cunningham and another witness who signed a statement both recanted at trial, testifying they were coerced. Goodwin was convicted anyway.

Pitts name does not appear on Cunninghams interview record. Thats typical, according to witnesses and defendants who describe multiple detectives passing through during lengthy unrecorded interviews.

Many were able to identify Pitts by his distinctive appearance, including a large scar on his neck.

In court filings, affidavits, Internal Affairs records, and interviews, at least 31 people have accused Pitts of physical abuse. At least 25 said he or a partner pressured them to sign fabricated statements. Dozens have alleged threats, isolation or verbal abuse in the course of investigations.

According to Pitts, the first person to implicate India Spellman and Von Combs in the murders was Shawn Combs, Vons mother. Police were called to her house after she was heard screaming hysterically that the streets got him.

Mother and son were taken in separate police cars to the Homicide Unit. Once there, Von signed a confession.

Afterward, he became the star witness against Spellman, smiling and laughing as he testified, according to newspaper accounts.

Through his mother, Von declined an interview request. At trial, he described Spellman as the mastermind and shooter. She said, I want to rob this lady, he testified. I looked at her like she was crazy.

READ MORE: Lying now, or lying then? Under Pa. rules, many are convicted on recanted statements.

After Spellman was tried as an adult and found guilty, Assistant DA Thomas Lipscomb asked for a sentence of 40 years to life.

I think the word senseless is overused, the prosecutor said of Greaves murder. I would call it nihilistic: betraying a belief in nothing, that nothing is sacred. Not old age, not property, not life itself.

As for Von Combs, his case was resolved in juvenile court. The sentence: two years in a secure detention facility.

Like Spellman, Combs appealed, saying the detectives had improperly extracted his confession. He argued that he was not given a chance to consult privately with his mother and that, in any case, she was hysterical, incompetent to consent on his behalf and a pawn of the police, pressuring him to confess. The Pennsylvania Superior Court credited detectives accounts that the statement was voluntary and proper.

The problems with evaluating allegations of misconduct in such cases are numerous.

For one thing, its the word of the detective against people whom judges and jurors may not believe for any number of reasons: They have criminal records. Theyre teenagers. Theyre heavy drug users. Theyre illiterate. They have mental health diagnoses or intellectual disabilities.

Also, many have compelling reasons to lie. Some, like Combs, received favorable sentences. Others, Pitts and many others have suggested, accused detectives of fabricating their statements because they feared being labeled a snitch.

One man, Cornell Drummond, was incarcerated on federal drug and gun charges, when he gave what he later said were false statements about two murders. He also identified then-teenagers Tyrik Perez and Khaleef Mumin in a shooting that left Drummond paralyzed. Four men were convicted of the various crimes.

Starting in 2018, Drummond tried to recant, accusing Pitts of collusion in one case. Drummond said he lied at the time in return for a lenient sentence in an unrelated case as well as to get revenge over old beefs.

Det. Pitts filled me in on what details I should talk about, he said in an affidavit for one of the men, Donte Tae Hill, like what kind of gun, the time of day and the color car Tae was supposed to be driving. Detective Pitts said he already had Tae charged, we just need more evidence, like words from him. Detective Pitts told me to say that Tae told me that he emptied the whole clip.

Pitts said in an interview that he had never interacted with Drummond.

So far, judges have declined to overturn any convictions based on Drummonds new testimony. In a brief phone call, he expressed both a fear of retaliation and a total loss of faith in the system.

The police are the police. The streets are the streets, he said. I tried to make that s right and, once I tried to do that, the police were on me, the DA, it was getting real freaky.

Perez was a teenager when he was arrested. He still has years left before hes eligible for parole. His mother, Derrell Hawkins, frets for his safety in prison, where she said he was recently stabbed.

There were times I couldnt eat. I had to pay these lawyers. I gave my car back. I had to take the bus. I went through so much. I felt like I was in jail with him, she said. I keep telling Tyrik, Be patient. But Ive been saying that for 11 years.

Spellman is 27 now, an inmate at State Correctional Institution Cambridge Springs, about as far from Philadelphia as you can get and still be in Pennsylvania. Before the pandemic canceled visits, her family would line up at 1 a.m. for the Pennsylvania Prison Society bus, a journey that takes 24 hours round-trip.

She learned to read and write in prison, got her high school diploma, and began taking college courses. She gets up early each morning to wheel elderly prisoners to their medical appointments.

Her family hired Todd Mosser, one of a handful of lawyers who has developed a subspecialty in challenging cases Pitts worked on.

The working belief among a number of us is that Pitts isnt the only one. The real problem is that there are these Internal Affairs complaints against him, and nothings done about it, he said.

In court filings, Mosser argued the pattern of alleged misconduct in Spellmans case should be enough to raise serious questions about a case built on two shaky witness identifications, and the conflicting statements taken from the two minors.

In addition to Spellmans two alibi witnesses and her exculpatory cell-phone records, her lawyers filings include the original, conflicting statements from eyewitnesses.

The first gunpoint-robbery victim, Shirley Phillips, had described the perpetrators as a Black teenage boy with a teardrop tattoo under his right eye, and a dark-skinned woman, aged 25 to 30, 5-foot-6, and weighing about 180 pounds, heavyset and dressed in all black Muslim clothes. Another witness, Greaves neighbor Kathy Mathis, similarly told police the woman was dark skinned and thick, around a size 14, and wearing Muslim head garb that left only her eyes exposed.

Spellman was a thin, light-complexioned 17-year-old girl, who weighed about 115 pounds. Even so, both Phillips and Mathis identified her in court. Ill never forget those eyes, Phillips said.

Phillips, who worked as a home health aide, died in 2017. Her daughter, Nyshema, said Phillips was profoundly traumatized by the attack.

She was confident in the conviction, but they were young so she still was [conflicted] about it. But they knocked her down and they took her belongings and then they shot the man right afterward. That put my mom down in a big depression and she was hurting, she said. She loved kids and they were young, and she couldnt understand.

The other witness, Kathy Mathis, had called the DAs Office and left a message someone transcribed as: Never saw faces. Didnt see the face. That document was not disclosed to Spellmans lawyer before her trial, according to Mossers filing. Lipscomb, the prosecutor, did not respond to an interview request.

Recently, Mathis confirmed to a defense investigator that India did not resemble the shooter, that she looked younger, thinner and lighter-skinned. Mathis said she was only able to identify Spellman in court because the prosecutor told me where she would be sitting.

At the same time, Mathis told The Inquirer, shes confident in the verdict. I feel like they have the right person, she said. My story remains the same. Its done. Its over.

But after Spellmans December 2020 filing, the DAs Office did not oppose her request for a hearing. Its given her some hope that she might get a new trial.

If shes released, she said, shed like to advocate for the women shes met in prison, many of whom were victims of abuse before they ended up killing their abusers and were sentenced to life terms.

Im praying that one day Ill be able to be home, she said. I just pray that everybody just tells the truth about everything.

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Dozens accused a detective of fabrication and abuse. Many cases he built remain intact. - The Philadelphia Inquirer

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Philadelphia 76ers: Tony Bradley is thriving in OKC – Section 21505.06.21

Has any bench player captured the hearts, minds, and imaginations of Philadelphia 76ers fans the world over as quickly as Tony Bradley?

BBall Paul Reed maybe. And Marco Belinelli. Really, there are a ton of players who fit that bill, as our fair city has kind of made it a low-key pastime to stan fringe players beyond their abilities and overinflate their abilities to sometimes detrimental degrees, but still, the love affair between Bradley and the Sixers fans was at near Mike Scott-levels in the month of March, without so much as an ounce of realization that maybe, just maybe he wouldnt still be on the team by seasons end.

There was just no way, right? At 23, Bradley was the type of player who could remain on the Sixers for years to come and potentially develop into a long-term backup for their MVP-caliber big man Joel Embiid, long after Dwight Howard finally decides to hang up his shorts and enjoy all the frostys his $242,500,792 in career earnings can buy.

Fun fact: Considering a junior frosty goes for $1.19, $242,500,792 will buy you a lot of frostys (194,000,633) in PA and even more if you buy them in Delaware sans the six percent sales tax (203,782,178).

But then, just like that, it was over. After turning in a perfect game against the Golden State Warriors in the final game before the 2021 NBA trade deadline, Bradley was gone traded to the OKC Thunder in a three-team deal alongside two second-round picks and Doc Rivers son Austin (awkward) for George Hill, and Ignas Brazdeikis (more on that here).

Fortunately, we dont have to feel too bad about Tony Bradleys plight, as hes actually having a pretty darn good run with a well-defined role in a contract year despite going from one of the best teams in the NBA to arguably the worst.

Tony Bradley has officially made 18 appearances and counting for the OKC Thunder, which is only two fewer games than he played with the Philadelphia 76ers in roughly half the time.

While he hasnt earned a start as of yet, exclusively playing behind UCLA-meme-turned-two-way contract convert Moses Brown, Bradley is averaging career-high minutes (18.2), points (8.7), and rebounds (6.3) playing for Mark Daigneaults squad, with very little signs of slowing down anytime soon.

But wait, it actually gets better for the young not-quite-7-footer. Despite not quite playing 50 percent of the Thunders minutes at the five, Bradley is actually outperforming Brown from a statistical standpoint, outpacing the Luigi to his Mario in points and field goal percentage, not that its a competition or anything.

Assuming the duo are retained past their final games of the season versus the Los Angeles Clippers on May 16th, which shouldnt be hard, considering Brown is already locked into a multi-year deal and OKC has both the cap space and Bird Rights to keep Bradley at whatever price point theyd like, the Thunder might actually have a pretty impressive one-two punch at the five spot to pair up with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Lu Dort, Darius Bazley, and about two dozen first-round picks over the next seven years.

And as for the Philadelphia 76ers? Did they royally whiff on the enigma known colloquially as Tony TB11 Bradley? Eh, not really.

Considering how well George Hill has played since arriving in Philly as a reliable veteran presence coming off the bench and that the team can pick up his option for the 2021-22 season at a very reasonable roughly $10 million cap hit which could technically be valuable both on the court and as a trade chip its hard to argue with the value Morey got back from three players who werent expected to be a part of Doc Rivers playoff rotation, and a quartet of future second-round picks that wont help this team win a chip anytime soon.

Factor in the, well, fact that Dwight Howard could all but surely be retained for the 2021-22 season if need be and the Sixers presumed desire to actually sign/draft/trade for a stretch five to pair up with Ben Simmons when Joel Embiid is off the court and Bradleys development from a Zhaire Smith contract dump throw-in into a legitimate NBA role player is just gravy for all parties involved.

Sidebar: Assuming Brown and Bradley do end up retained for the forthcoming season, theres a better than not chance that Mike Muscala wont be and could thus be a prime candidate to return to South Philly for a second stint as a floor stretching four/five man behind Joel Embiid. Thats a worthy consolation prize just for his Super Mario Brothers 3 tattoo.

And hey, assuming the Philadelphia 76ers actually pull this thing out and bring back a championship to the City of Brotherly Love for the first time since 1983, Tony Bradley will surely receive a nice, (presumably) diamond-clad ring for his 20 games of effort whenever he returns to town, which is a pretty nice reward for having a chance to bolster his stock heading into his first bite at the free agency apple.

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Philadelphia 76ers: Tony Bradley is thriving in OKC - Section 215

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Competitiveness and hustle drive Hyland to the basket – The Commonwealth Times01.20.21

Sophomore guard Bones Hyland shoots a 3-pointer against JMU on Dec. 22. Photo by Megan Lee

Noah Fleischman, Sports Editor

When sophomore guard Nahshon Bones Hyland rose up for a deep 3-pointer at La Salle last season, his high school coach sat in the stands and said layup. It turned the heads of those who sat around him, but Rod Griffin knew the ball was going in.

The shot swished through the basket at Tom Gola Arena in Philadelphia. It was something Griffin had seen from Hyland since his eighth grade season the first time he saw the Wilmington, Delaware native on a basketball court.

I saw him as an eighth grader, this long, lanky kid, Griffin said. He could shoot, and he made great passes. So hes always been that way. Hes always had that ability to shoot from anywhere.

The 6-foot-3-inch guards shooting ability was on full display a year ago, logging the most 3-pointers as a freshman in program history, knocking down 63.

His consistent shooting quickly made him a fan favorite. Some fans made signs with the words Bone Yard, and others held plastic bones in the air. The signs and props are a tribute to Hylands childhood nickname, Bones, attributed to his slender frame.

Bones is like the Pied Piper, Griffin said. He puts cheeks in the seats. People come to see him play.

Competitive Edge

When Hyland steps into the gym, hes locked in, said Mar Mason, his trainer in Delaware. He said the dog in Hyland is what sets him apart from others he wants to be the best.

One of the sayings is dont let anyone outwork you, Mason said. There aint too many people that are going to outwork him in the gym.

Mason has trained Hyland since his eighth grade season, and said Hylands drive and competitive spirit has made the sophomore a better player. Mason said Hyland finds it unacceptable if he misses twice in a row during drills.

No matter what, Ive always been a competitive guy who always wants to win, Hyland said. Ive always had that drive since I was younger.

Griffin, who coached Hyland all four years at St. Georges Tech in Middletown, Delaware, said Hylands biggest strength is being competitive.

He was going to make sure he was going to compete on every single play and be the best player on the court, Griffin said. His competitive nature and toughness has always been a couple of things that hes always done well.

Hylands motivation is on his arm and he looks at it every day a tattoo memorializing his grandmother and baby cousin who passed away in a house fire in 2018.

I just know like its just a voice in the back of my head, were proud of you just keep going, even though I miss them, Hyland said. But every day I look to my arm and say This is who Im doing it for.

Hyland said his mother motivates him each day after he watched her take care of his cousins on her own without any excuses. He said that her no excuse attitude is what he channels each day.

Taking care of numerous cousins and numerous nephews and nieces just on her own, Hyland said. Just seeing her be so strong and wise and not complaining ever since I was a younger age.

Repetition and then some

Hylands ability to knock down 3-pointers on a consistent basis has come from spending hours in the gym, working on his craft.

With the amount of time Hyland has dedicated to the sport, Mason equated basketball to being Hylands job.

Its all repetitions, Mason said. Its about being effective, about efficiency. So when he gets in a game, its like hes already been through it. It comes naturally.

Hylands mid-range shot was something Griffin focused on at St. Georges. He was able to work with Hyland on his jump shot and ball handling, and it surprised college coaches when they saw him play, Griffin said.

Hylands jump shot is on point, but this season hes been able to showcase his ability to get to the rim.

Opposing teams have tried to limit his opportunities to shoot open 3-pointers this season by face guarding, or playing tight on him at the arc.

Just staying aggressive and strong, and just mentally tougher than my opponent because I know hes gonna try to throw me off my game, Hyland said. So just try to stay locked in throughout the game plan.

Mason said Hyland is the type of player that requires a watchful eye from the opposing team.

You cant really leave him alone, and you got to play up on him, Mason said. If you play up on him, hes going right by you. So that definitely makes him a bigger threat than most.

Hyland, who isnt known for being the most physical player on the court, said size doesnt matter, but the drive to succeed does.

Im not the biggest, not the strongest, but I would say Im the most competitive guy who can step out there and compete on the floor, Hyland said. If your mind, your mentality is stronger, I feel as though you can go a long way as far as competing and out winning a guy.


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Competitiveness and hustle drive Hyland to the basket - The Commonwealth Times

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