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Archive for the ‘Virginia Tattoo’

Hokie swimmers ready to make waves in Tokyo – vt.edu07.25.21

Both Ramadan and Ivanov were led to Blacksburg by Sergio Lopez Miro, director and head coach of Virginia Tech men and womens swimming and diving. Lopez Miro, who won a bronze medal in the 200 breaststroke for Spain in the 1988 Olympics, is also in Tokyo, as is assistant coach Albert Subirats. The pair will serve as coaches for Iceland and Singapore, respectively. It will be Lopez Miros fourth Olympics as a coach and Subirats' first.

It will be a little bit different, but definitely exciting to be there with the athletes that we have been working with for the last two or three years, said Subirats, who was also a four-time Olympic athlete for Venezula.

Along with coaching their respective teams and Ivanov and Ramadan, the pair of coaches will also be keeping an eye on six other swimmers who train with their New River Valley-based team, Pinnacle Racing. That group is headlined by Hokie alum Ian Ho competing for Hong Kong and includes 2016 Olympic gold medalist Joseph Schooling (Singapore), Farida Osman (Egypt), Santo Condorelli (Italy), Anton McKee (Iceland), and Krystal Lara (Dominican Republic).

Its great for swimming in the New River Valley. Its a great way to share that swimming is something that can be lifelong activity for anyone, Lopez Miro said.

For Ivanov, competitive swimming began around the age of 9 and became a sport he took very seriously around 15. He holds the Bulgaria National Record in the 50, 100, and 200 fly, as well as the 200 free.

Hes not afraid to have high goals and work for them, Lopez Miro said. And hes pretty resilient too.

During the recruitment process, it was easy to see Ivanov was a very fast swimmer, but it was his connection with family that really caught the coachs attention.

The way he treated his two younger sisters, that showed me hes very passionate about what he loves, Lopez Miro said.

Once in Blacksburg, Ivanov said he was challenged by having so many life changes at once and not having immediate success in the ACC. But I was determined to trust the process here at VT and its been great, he said. Training with these coaches, I would say that brought me to the next level.

Ramadan said hes been swimming for as long as he can remember.

Its what defines me as a person I like to swim, said the rising sophomore studying engineering. I dont think I am ever as happy anywhere than in the pool competing After all the work you put in, all those turns and yards you swim, when I look up and see I beat my time, thats the best feeling in the world.

It took quite a few turns and yards for Ramadan to qualify, as hes attended multiple meets during the past months to get a qualifying time. He said it was in his ninth or 10 swims in his final meet that he finally broke through.

There were some points where I was depressed and not in the zone. Where I was about to say, screw this meet, Im going home, Ramadan said. But I kept doing what my coaches asked me to do and that last day I hit it. All of my hometown was just so happy. All of Egypt was so happy. I got so many messages I had to shut my phone down.

Lopez Miro said the future is bright for Ramadan, whose athleticism was evident from the first time the coach saw him.

I just really liked the way he dove in the water and just moved, he said. I think were going to see him swim really fast at the Olympics.

Lopez Miro said earning a second swim would be a great achievement for Ramadan, while Ivanov has an outside shot of medaling in Tokyo.

The way he can win a medal is by staying the course and not trying to do anything special, the coach said. Just keep doing what he does I think he has a lot more in the tank and he knows it.

Ivanov said hes excited to feed off the adrenaline of his first Olympics, as well as to take part in some of the Games traditions.

Im really looking forward to getting the Olympic rings tattoo, he said.

Written by Travis Williams

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Hokie swimmers ready to make waves in Tokyo - vt.edu

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Richard Everist Obituary (1946 – 2021) – Everett, WA – The Herald (Everett) – Legacy.com07.25.21

Richard "Dick" Dan Everist, 74, passed away peacefully in his home on June 18th, 2021 in Granite Falls WA. His wife Janice Everist and faithful dog Charlie by his side. He was Greeted by his parents, Forrest Allen Everist & Dorothy Virginia Everist, as well as his son Matthew Dan Everist.

Born Dec 19, 1946 in Kirkland Wa, He was the middle child of three brothers, Gary & David Everist. He graduated from Lake Washington High school, class of 1965.

Dick was a loving, caring father to Arlen, Angela, Matthew, Bobby & JoAnna as well to his stepchildren Sara, John & Liz. He was also notorious for "adopting" many others through the years. He was a proud grandfather "Poppy" to 12 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild.

Dick became sober and part of the fellowship. He followed his passion with motorcycles and sobriety leading to co-founding Third Legacy, a 1% motorcycle club devoted to keeping bikers sober in 1985. He believed in the founders of the fellowship program and continued their word. At the beginning of every meeting, he would start his turn with "There is hope here for us alcoholics". His words and his memory will forever be held onto within the Fellowship.

Dick will be long remembered in the Tattoo community as one of the last 'old school' tattooists. During this passion, he received many awards for his art. The long-lasting favorite saying was "Good tattoos ain't cheap and cheap tattoos ain't good". He loved the industry and everything about it. He enjoyed meeting and interacting with everyone. He was a legend and will forever be remembered in the tattoo community. His art and personality will forever be on thousands of people's bodies.

He had a heart of gold and was wise beyond his years, this made his personality passionate for telling and hearing stories. His mentoring to so many made him stay forever young. These interactions were his biggest passion. Throughout his life, he loved the outdoors; hiking in the woods; riding on his motorcycle; four wheeling in his land cruiser; playing with his RC cars, these joys went to the very end.

Not only does he leave his family he also leaves his extended family and friends. Too many to mention.

Please join us in celebrating the life of Dick Everist at River Meadows Park on Sept 11,2021 at 1pm.

Published by The Herald (Everett) from Jul. 22 to Jul. 23, 2021.

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Richard Everist Obituary (1946 - 2021) - Everett, WA - The Herald (Everett) - Legacy.com

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NC AMBER Alert issued for abducted 1-year-old headed to Virginia – wtvr.com07.09.21

PERSON COUNTY, N.C. -- An Amber Alert was issued Friday in North Carolina for a one-year-old that was abducted in Person County and last seen headed to Virginia, according to deputies.

The Person County Sheriffs Office is searching for Gabriel Newman. Officials said he is 30 inches long and weighs 21 pounds. He is Black with black hair and brown eyes.

Deputies said he was last seen wearing a black and white Nike outfit and shorts with a black and white Nike logo.

The alleged abductor has been identified as Gregory Wendell Newman.

He is described as a 33-year-old black male that is six feet tall with black long dreadlocks and brown eyes. He also has a tattoo of a dollar sign over his right eye, love and hate tattooed over his left and right hands and a tattoo of the letter G on his right arm.

Gregory Newman was last seen wearing a white shirt with flames on it, and light-colored jeans with patches, officials said. He was also wearing a scarf over his dreadlocks.

Authorities are looking for a black 2015 Volkswagen Passat with a North Carolina tag, TDL-8320. The vehicle was last seen headed north on N.C. 57 toward Danville, Virginia.

Anyone who sees the vehicle is asked to call 911.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.

SHARE on social media to SPREAD the WORD!

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Rock climbers of color face a host of obstacles – this group is trying to change that – The Spokesman-Review06.12.21

Five years ago, Gabrielle Dickerson, then a sophomore at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, lay awake in her sleeping bag on her first overnight climbing trip, enveloped by the woods of the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve near Fayetteville, West Virginia. Like many rock climbers in the D.C. area, shed been drawn to the New, as outdoor enthusiasts call it a 5-hour road trip from Washington because it offers 1,400 of the best climbing routes in the United States.

The rest of her group had swiftly fallen asleep after a day of projecting the process of strategizing about, and eventually completing, a climb with no breaks but apprehension took hold of Dickerson. I was very aware of how uncomfortable I was in the backcountry of West Virginia, Dickerson said. Not only because I was a Black woman, but also because of the relationship and trauma my ancestors had with the woods. Her grandfather had been born on a North Carolina cotton farm in 1930 and picked cotton until he escaped from the owner in his teens. On his way to Philadelphia and a new life, he witnessed his best friend get lynched in the woods.

Loneliness sank in as Dickerson realized that no one in her campsite would be able to relate: She was the only Black climber in her group. Shed been climbing in a gym in Rockville, Maryland, for six months; that day in the New was her first experience projecting in a natural space. Shed spent the afternoon struck with a sense of wonder, but that didnt offset her disquietude in that moment. She knew that the deep canyons that surrounded her overflowed with histories of Black families just like her own.

People of color have been historically locked out of the outdoors. Virginias first national park, Shenandoah, remained segregated until 1950; even after the integration effort, basic amenities like hotels and gas stations surrounding Shenandoah were still segregated.

D.C.s Rock Creek Park, designated as a national park in 1890, only began desegregating in 1949 a delayed result of a federally mandated push to improve morale in communities of color to boost the war effort.

Meanwhile, along the New River Gorge, where formerly enslaved migrants had sought work in coal mines and railroads along the east side of South River in the early 20th century, route names such as Tar Baby, Aryan Race and Slave Fingers on Cotton Top crag are painful reminders of a not-too-distant scarring history.

You have that connection, and you have that remembrance, and then you pair it with going to Cotton Top and reading the name of a route that a friend is about to gear up and get on, Dickerson, who has since become a strong enough climber to gain sponsorships from sports brands, said. Im in this state of conflicting (emotion) where Im excited to be outside, but also I feel wildly uncomfortable and unsafe, and Im in a space where the people around me usually wont understand that.

A year into the sport, however, Dickerson found an Instagram account filled with images of women of color climbing. The account belonged to a D.C.-based group called Brown Girls Climb, and now, Dickerson climbs primarily with women she met there. Over the past 4 years, Brown Girls Climb has been committed to creating inclusive and accessible opportunities for women of color in the outdoors and in the process, its challenging the narrative around what a climber looks like.

Brown Girls Climb was launched in 2016 by Bethany Lebewitz, a biracial climber living in Austin, Texas. A year later, when Lebewitz moved to D.C., she met outdoor instructor Brittany Leavitt, and together they built an infrastructure of meetups for Black and Brown women in climbing gyms and at outdoor spots in the Washington region.

I was just floored by the fact that there was this large group of people of color climbing, Dickerson said of her first Brown Girls Climb meetup, because that wasnt like what I had seen when I went to my climbing sessions at the gym, and definitely not when I was climbing outside.

As the Instagram page continued to grow it has nearly 40,000 followers Brown Girls Climb went national. There are eight chapters across the country, from California to New Hampshire, run by 23 leaders. The organization has built relationships with gyms to designate times throughout the month when Brown Girls Climb members can have dedicated space, and an app helps users find routes and like-minded climbing partners near them. Its a community-driven organization, Leavitt said: We have the knowledge to share and we want to share it with our community, and do so by creating these meetup spaces or creating events or having conversations online and in person.

Leavitt, 32, wants Brown Girls Climb to encourage conversation within the climbing community around the structural inequalities cost, historical discrimination, displacement from land, and flat-out being told that you dont belong that make the sport less accessible for Black and Brown women. She points to the surveillance women of color often face in the gym, because they dont fit the typical image of what a climber looks like.

Without it being said, its kind of like, Why are you here? she said.

White climbers can separate climbing from everyday life in a way that she and other Black and Indigenous climbers cannot, Leavitt said.

For instance: Before she heads out for the New, as Leavittt does every few months, she consults a mental checklist. She ensures she has the right equipment for the weekend, as any climber would do but she also wont leave without a full tank of gas and an expensive Garmin GPS device to emit her location in no-service zones. She braces herself for the Confederate and Dont Tread on Me flags that shell see on the way; she thinks through what would happen if her car broke down.

When you stop at a town (in West Virginia), you dont want to leave your car, Leavitt said.

Black climbers are faced with reconciling the joys they find in being outdoors with the history that kept their grandparents from doing so.

While you all were in the golden age of climbing in Yosemite, Leavitt said about her white counterparts, you were kicking (Indigenous) communities out, and Black folks werent able to go to national parks, so we cant just separate that history.

Its even harder for Black people to compartmentalize the generational trauma they carry when they regularly encounter climbing routes with violently racist names. Route names are bestowed by whoever climbs the rock first. These first ascensionists, as theyre called, are highly skilled climbers overwhelmingly white and male who scope out new rock faces, clean them and test out routes for others. The route names they choose become solidified in physical guidebooks and online maps.

The New River Alliance of Climbers, a nonprofit climbing advocacy organization, determined that 68 route names in the New were racist, sexist or intolerant. Of those, 50 have been changed after members of the groups Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, which reviewed the names, spoke directly to the first ascensionists or guidebook authors. Brown Girls Climb member Marina Inoue, a 35-year-old tattoo artist in Richmond, Virginia, serves on the committee.

I love the New, and I want everybody to be able to enjoy it and not experience harm from the climbing community, she said.

Route names from California to Kentucky like Tied to the Whipping Post, Runaway Slave and Lynch Mob were redacted from online databases only this past year, after climbers of color in various organizations, including Brown Girls Climb, collected names that they found offensive in an open-source document.

Volunteers reached out to authors and publishers to change the names, putting pressure on stakeholders through grass-roots organizing. Setting a route is a privileged thing to do, and this goes way back to the history of segregation in the outdoors, first ascensionist and JEDI Committee member Jay Young said about the name changes. (Young has labeled a few routes with names that might be considered lewd, and he has since proactively changed them.)

I can go back generations in my family, and Ive ancestors who were playing outside, Young said. There are not a lot of people of color who can say the same thing.

The women of Brown Girls Climb are taking other avenues to ensure the safety of their members. They recently launched an outdoor training program for local group leaders to help them get certified in wilderness first aid, climbing and environmental and outdoor education, so that they can bring these skills back to their communities and train others. Melissa Utomo, a 29-year-old web developer and member of Brown Girls Climb, is working with 15 other developers and climbers to create a climbing guidebook app that focuses on rooting out violent language.

We want to prioritize not just physical safety, but also emotional and mental safety, Utomo said.

Users will be able to signal when they feel unsafe or targeted in an area, she said. Utomo attributes a large portion of her initial funding success for the platform she raised $6,628 for its development via Indiegogo to Brown Girls Climbs amplification of her project. The apps completion date has not been set, but Utomo said the team is wrapping its research phase in a couple of months.

Dickerson is pushing the companies that sponsor her to support more climbers of color in achieving first ascents: I talked to Marmot and El Cap the parent company of Earth Treks Climbing Centers in terms of breaking the status quo, like: Why is it that it is mostly white men that have the access to be outside and do the first ascent, and youre always sponsoring them?

Dickerson has since ended her affiliation with Marmot: Ive been disappointed with their (diversity, equity and inclusion) and anti-racism efforts, especially given the amount of free labor Ive expended in working with them, she said. Marmot did not respond to requests for comment, while a representative from El Cap wrote in an email that Dickerson has been an integral part of our gyms ability to live out our mission to advance representation in climbing. Dickerson has started her own sponsorship initiative, Our Powerful People, to highlight and pay those who do anti-racism, diversity and inclusion work in climbing.

Leavitt, along with eight other climbers, two of whom are local leaders in Brown Girls Climb, has started building a new outdoor space in Baltimore. Pigtown Climbs, scheduled to break ground and start hosting events by August, with tentative completion in summer 2022, is envisioned as a community-led recreational facility that will help people of color deepen their connection to the outdoors.

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Virginia International Tattoo returns for 2021, will be …05.31.21

NORFOLK, Va. A beloved Hampton Roads tradition is back for 2021, and this time it's outdoors!

The Virginia International Tattoo had been a staple at Norfolk Scope since 1997, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, organizers had to cancel its live shows in 2020, instead opting for a virtual event.

It won't be back again at Scope for 2021, but instead, this year's event will be held from June 3 through 6 at Old Dominion University's Kornblau Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium.

"While the COVID-19 pandemic will place some limitations on performing, groups that are able to travel, patrons can still expect fantastic military units, highland dancers, drill teams, brilliant vocalists, and the haunting cry of the massed pipes and drums," said Tattoo producer/director Scott Jackson.

What is the tattoo? The term evolved from a European tradition dating back to the 17th century when Low Country innkeepers would cry Doe den tap toe! Turn off the taps! as the fifes and drums of the local regiment signaled a return to quarters. It's now referred to as the ceremonial performance of military music by massed bands.

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A history of Taps, the National Song of Remembrance – WCBD News 205.31.21

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) Perhaps the most recognized 24 notes ever played on a bugle, Taps is known as the National Song of Remembrance, and is a call unique to the United States military.

According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the original call known as Tattoo was borrowed from the French and used as a signal to turn the lights out at days end.

While some believe the name Taps derives from the Dutch word for tattoo, taptoe, the VA cites the more likely origin as the three drum taps that were beat as a signal for Extinguish Lights when a bugle was not used.

While stationed Harrisons Landing, Virginia during the Civil War, Major General Daniel Adams Butterfield determined that the original tune was too formal to signal the days end. He enlisted his brigade bugler, Oliver Wilcox Norton, to help revise the music.

As the troops wrapped up the Seven Days battles of 1862s Peninsular Campaign, Butterfield and Norton wrapped up their revisions, and the modern Taps was born.

Norton reflected on his experience, noting that there was no formal adoption of the call, it organically spread to neighboring troops, and eventually through the entire army.

During the early part of the Civil War I was bugler at the Headquarters of Butterfields Brigade,One day, soon after the seven days battles on the Peninsular, when the Army of the Potomac waslying in camp at Harrisons Landing, General Daniel Butterfield sent for me, and showing me some notes on a staff written in pencil on the back of an envelope, asked me to sound them on mybugle. I did this several times, playing the music as written. He changed it somewhat, lengtheningsome notes and shortening others, but retaining the melody as he first gave it to me. After getting it to his satisfaction, he directed me to sound that call for Taps thereafter in place of the regulation call. The music was beautiful on that still summer night, and was heard far beyond thelimits of our Brigade. The next day I was visited by several buglers from neighboring brigades, asking for copies of the music which I gladly furnished. I think no general order was issued fromarmy headquarters authorizing the substitution of this for the regulation call, but as each brigadecommander exercised his own discretion in such minor matters, the call was gradually taken upthrough the Army of the Potomac.

Soon after, officials began using the tune for funerals. The VA reports that Taps was first played at a funeral during the Peninsular Campaign in Virginia following the death of a cannoneer.

Captain John C. Tidball of Battery A, 2nd Artillery ordered it played for the burial instead of the typical three volleys. Because the enemy was close, he worried that the traditional three volleys would renew fighting.

The VA lists the earliest official reference to the mandatory use of Taps at military funeral ceremonies as 1891. It has been played at every military funeral since then, as well as wreath laying ceremonies and memorial services. It is still used to signal end of day on United States military installations.

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After a harrowing time, Joe Harris is ready to fulfill his childhood dream – NetsDaily05.31.21

When Joe Harris left for Virginia after high school in Chelan, Washington, his mother like all mothers cleaned out his room. As she recalled to Mike Mazzeo, she uncovered a list, written by a 10-year-old Joe, on the wall. It was about his goals.

Boiled down, it went like this...

1. Be a good teammate

Check!

2. Get a college scholarship

Check!

3. Play in the NBA

Check!

4. Win a championship

Pen at the ready?!

In his story published Saturday by Forbes Sports Money, Mazzeo writes about that moment of discovery by Alice Harris, who still lives and works in Chelan, and other memories shared by mother and son. Not all of it without pain.

I still have a picture of (the list). I remember tearing up looking at it when I was cleaning up his room after he went to Virginia, Alice told Mazzeo.

Its pretty amazing that almost all of it has happened. But thats Joey. Thats just him. Thats what he does. Weve always believed in him, and hes always believed in himself. It would be very cool to check off that last box. Our entire family feels that way.

After his 25-point, 7-of-10 from deep, performance in Game 2, no one should dismiss Harris pursuit of that last goal, a trophy for Brooklyn, a ring for him. Nor his belief in himself.

Harris and his mother went through a lot over the last two years. He may have once again led the NBA in 3-point shooting, signed a $75 million, four-year contract and is a starter on a legitimate NBA championship contender. But as Mazzeo writes, he also went through a harrowing few months starting in November 2019 when his mother was diagnosed with Stage 3 colorectal cancer. Then, with his mom in New York getting treatment and staying with him, COVID struck the city and Brooklyn hard. Empty streets, sirens wailing.

Alice survived and credits Joe and his employer with doing everything possible to help her and cope.

He just said his place was big enough and hed take care of it. The Nets organization was incredible, helping make sure I was going to be safe from COVID-19 and not be exposed. They were amazing.

Two surgeries followed and then, Joes grandmother died at age 88. He was in the bubble, having just played the Nets first game against the champion Raptors. Time to go home to attend his grandmothers memorial service. The Nets said, go. Family comes first.

Ultimately, his mother recovered after bouts of chemotherapy and radiation and long hospital stays and Harris got his contract.

Joeys said, Id play for a lot less. I just love playing, Joe Sr., his first coach, told Mazzeo. He doesnt look at money as the carrot for him. Its the result of the hard work hes put in out there. Hes been very generous with our family. Hes got a foundation out in Lake Chelan where he gives out two scholarships every year for local kids. He has all this wealth and notoriety, but he loves giving back. Weve also got a youth camp back home where Joe helps all 280 kids go for free every summer.

To celebrate and commemorate, Harris got his first tattoo before this season, one that features his mother and grandmother...

Theyre two of the most influential people in my life, people I try to emulate and a good reminder for me when I wake up, Harris told reporters on Media Day.

Its all good and far from the scene in another hospital back in June 2016 when Harris underwent ankle surgery that didnt just end his season, but also his chance at a ring with the team that drafted him in the second round. Mazzeo recounts the moment.

The anesthesia had barely worn off from his season-ending right foot surgery on Jan. 12, 2016 when Joe received a call from Cleveland Cavaliers GM David Griffin. While the former second-round pick (2014) was under the knife, the Cavaliers had traded Joe to the Orlando Magic, and the Magic had proceeded to waive him. His future in the league was suddenly at a crossroads.

It was two days after the Nets rebuild officially started. Mikhail Prokhorov had dumped Lionel Hollis and reassigned Billy King on January 10. Roster spot would open up and the Nets would sign the third year player that summer. The rest is Nets history (and Cavalier and Magic regret.)

To see someone like him that so many people doubted, questioning him and saying he couldnt play in the NBA, to see him have success and be rewarded financially for the rest of his life, thats what you dream of for your clients, his agent, Mark Bartelstein, said. Gratitude and humility. Thats just him. Thats just what hes about all the time. Hes one of the purest people that I know.

The Nets and his family think so too.

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Arrest warrant issued for man in Confederate monument theft – The Independent05.19.21

Police in Alabama have issued an arrest warrant for a man in connection with the bizarre theft of a Confederate monument that was taken from an Alabama cemetery and found in Louisiana.

Selma police charged Jason Warnick with theft in connection with the mysterious disappearance of the chair-shaped monument, Dallas County District Attorney Michael Jackson said Monday.

Warnick was already facing charges of possession of stolen property after police said the monument ended up in his New Orleans tattoo shop.

An attorney for Warnick said he denied being involved with the theft, which sparked national news stories before the monument was recovered.

This knowledge is very new, but we are in contact with the Selma Police Department and will be making plans over the next few days, attorney Michael Kennedy wrote in an email. "That being said, Mr. Warnick categorically denies any involvement with the theft of this memorial art installation and intends to defend himself and his reputation vigorously."

Warnick and two other people were previously charged with possession of the chair after it went missing.

The strange saga began March 20 when a representative of the United Daughters of the Confederacy reported to police that the Jefferson Davis Memorial Chair had gone missing from Live Oak Cemetery, located in a riverside city known worldwide for its links to the civil rights movement.

The chair has no direct connection to Davis, the president of the Confederacy, but it was a monument to him located near other rebel monuments in a private section of the city-owned cemetery.

Someone sent an email signed White Lies Matter to news outlets claiming responsibility and saying the chair would be returned only if the United Daughters of the Confederacy agreed to display a banner at their Virginia headquarters bearing a quote from a Black Liberation Army activist.

A later email included photos of someone wearing Union soldier garb posing on a chair that looked like the missing one but with a hole cut out of the seat. A final email said those photos were fake and the real chair was being returned unscathed.

The chair-shaped monument, which the United Daughters of the Confederacy valued at $500,000, was recovered in New Orleans.

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How independent agencies are reimagining the office – Campaign US05.19.21

Vaccinations against COVID-19 are ramping up across the country. But while the world is anxious to get back to normal, the new normal looks different.

2020 showed agencies that its not only possible to work efficiently from home, but doing so is alsoa major cost saver. Still, agencies, especially creative ones, are anxious to get back to the office to reignite that spark and collaboration that can only happen in person.

Not everyone, however, is ready for the return. Many find that flexible schedules offer a better work life balance, and are glad to save time on their commutes and spend more time with family.

Reopening offices has many nuances and implications. Do employees want to return to a five-day in-person work week? What about those who dont yet feel safe commuting to work or being in shared spaces?

Will the hybrid model that agencies talk about be efficient for everyone? How can teams facilitate effective collaboration in a hybrid world, ensuring teams are able to spend time in the office together and those that stay home get proper visibility?

As agencies navigate the challenges of reopening, many are pressing the reset button on how things used to be.

Campaign UShighlights a few approaches.

Tattoo Projects

Some agencies, like, Charlotte-based Tattoo Projects, have been back in the office for some time. The marketing agency reopened in April 2020 at the peak of the pandemic for many.

When the pandemic hit, we closed for several weeks, like everyone else did, Buffy McCoy Kelly, founder and CEO of Tattoo Projects, said. [But] we thrive on quick communication and sitting together in teams to develop work quickly.

Tattoo Projects opened its doors shortly after the local government deemed it an essential business, with social distancing and mask guidelines in place. The agency set up stations for temperature checks and hand sanitizer and added signage to encourage hand washing and social distancing.

The reopening started off in phases, until eventually all 18 employees returned.

The early push to get back to normal wasnt totally welcomed by everyone, Kelly admitted.

Some [people] were worried about COVID. They felt more comfortable spending less time in the office and that was totally fine, she said. As long as we all have the same end goal in mind, to be successful for our clients, we're cool with that.

Since the reopening of its 5,000-sq ft campus, Tattoo Projects remodeled another a 9,000-sq ft campus, which sits across the street from a vaccination site, and is scheduled to open on May 17.

While vaccines are not mandated to enter the office, Kelly noted she has noticed some employees walk over to the vaccination site nearby.

GROW

Norfolk-based digital experience agency Grow is also betting on a new space for the new normal.

During the pandemic, CEO Drew Ungvarsky invested in a 100,000-sq ft shared campus calledAssembly, where the agency will be a tenant along with other technology, engineering and creative companies.The complex has collaborative spaces including a rooftop deck and penthouse, a podcast recording booth, a library and a game room.

Grow planned the move beforeCOVID, but the pandemic delayed the opening.

We value what an office environment can do for a company, especially being a center point of company culture to create unique collaboration opportunities and relationships, Ungvarsky said.

In the new building, each company has a custom built space and shares common spaces, which will enforce capacity limits and social distancing. Individual companies will determine safety policies for their own space.

While Ungvarsky said he is optimistic about employee response to the space, he is also flexible and open to a hybrid model.

Deeper collaboration is harder to do in a fully digital environment. Having a place that you can get away from just sitting in your standalone space and come to and feel inspired to do something unique [is important], he said. We believe that we can have the best of both worlds.

Approximately 15% of Grows workforce will be completely remote after reopening, as many were hired from outside of Virginia during the pandemic. Ugvarsky noted they are welcome to use the space as well.

Happy Cog

Employees at Happy Cog have not been back to the office in over a year, and co-founder Matt Weinberg is in no rush to reopen.

For Happy Cog, the shift to remote was fairly simple, as about half of its employees were already distributed across the U.S. Those who were not remote congregated at the agencys New York and Philadelphia offices.

So when the pandemic hit, Happy Cog had infrastructure in place to support remote working.

Every morning we had a 10 A.M. stand up meeting which we were already doing half virtually because so many people were remote, Weinberg said. We had a lot of processes in place to make sure that remote people weren't getting left out of decisions or conversations.

Given that set-up, Happy Cog is approaching the return to the office with flexibility and open-mindedness.

Almost nobody in our last survey said they want to be back five days a week, Weinberg said. People see the benefits of in-person collaboration, but they also see the benefits of not getting on the subway for an hour and a half.

While the agency does not have any set plans for reopening, it will consider team members vaccination status, team dynamics, school reopenings and, ultimately, what people feel comfortable with.

I will never force anybody to be in the office, period, Weinberg said. We are working successfully enough as a remote and distributed agency that if you're nervous about getting sick, I'm not going to force [anyone] to come in. That would be terrible.

Paradowski Creative

Before offices officially reopen, St. Louis-based Paradowski Creative is easing employees back in by allowing them to play.

The agency leased two acres of land on the banks of Deer Creek in Webster Groves, Missouri for employees to connect, in a safe, outdoor environment. It has dubbed the area Camp Paradowski.

The site, which opened to employees in February, has obstacle courses and spaces to lounge and develop soft skills. Employees are still welcomed and encouraged to work from home when it feels most productive.

The abrupt switch to remote work last year was incredibly hard on people, said Gus Hattrich, founder and CEO of Paradowski Creative.

Being purely virtual hollows out the ability to celebrate the success or the good news of the agency when you can't really be in person and be together, he said.

Paradowski aims to rebuild social skills and connections among its teams, rather than making people feel like they are forced to return to the office.

We have to find ways to rebuild some of the things that we used to have, but also look at how to change it for the better, Hattrich said. A lot of organizations want to have people in their offices for the sake monitoring what's happening, but if you have the right people and you trust them, you can have it both ways.

While Paradowski has not yet finalized its reopening plans, leadership expects a hybrid arrangement to begin in the fall. In the meantime, Camp Paradowski remains open to the agencys 100-person staff.

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We still blow up mountains to mine coal: Time to end the war on Appalachia – Salon05.06.21

On Earth Day this year, as President Biden assembled world leaders to a climate summit to focus on a "clean energy future," retiredcoal miner Chuck Nelsonhunkered down in the green hills of West Virginia, recovering from a recent stroke and with one remaining kidney, as thousands of tons of explosives from mountaintop removal strip mining operations detonated nearby with atoxic haze of coal dust.

Yes, Greta (Thunberg), we stillblow up mountainsin the United States to mine deadly coal.

While coal mining has decreased dramatically in recent years,state permits for reckless mountaintop removal operationsby absentee corporations, which involve only small numbersof non-union heavy equipment operators and explosives, in contrast tolabor-intensive underground mines,continue to be doled out in central Appalachia in a desperate attempt to shake down the region for a final coal tattoo.

In fact, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection celebrated Earth Day by rubber-stamping anew strip-mining permitfor an out-of-state coal company, slated to destroy 1,085 acres of forested ridges and wreak havoc for neighboring communities for the next eight years, despitedecades of protestby local citizens andreams of shocking health studiesonheightened cancer, heart andbirth defectrates associated with mountaintop removalmining dust.

Theendlesswaron the central Appalachian mountains continues. Needlessly, we should add.

"Millions of acres of Appalachian mountains have been permanently destroyed, and thousands of miles of streams have been permanently buried," emailed Nelson, whose wife died from chronic obstructive pulmonarydisease in 2019. "Witha flow of permits being processed right now, thousands more acres are planned to be wiped away forever. As devastating asmountaintop removal mining is to our majestic mountains, and the people's health impacts, only 3% of it is for electrical demand only 3%. Mountaintop removal mining goes against everything we're fighting for in trying to deal with the climate crisis. These are criminal acts carried out by criminal enterprises."

Instead of recognizing thecentury-old legacy of ruin in coal country, from Appalachia to Alaska and 20-odd states and several First Nations in between including an enduring array of abandoned mines, dangerous coal slurry impoundments, fraudulent "reclamation" projects, polluted waterways, desperate black lung victims, and gutted and sick communities with few economic options the Biden administration risks falling into the trap of outdated policies.

Two days after Earth Day applause, the Department of Energyquietly awarded millions of dollars"toboost the economic potential of coal and power plant communities," and subsidize"critical mineral extraction from coal and associated waste streams," as well as widely debunkedcarbon capture and storageschemes.

Listen here:Advocates in coal country have been calling for a Green New Deal since 2008 and acoalfields regeneration fundfor everyone in coal mining communities, not simply the out-of-state companies, and not justthrowing out a few job training opportunities for the dwindling ranks of largely non-union miners.

If the Biden administration and Congress truly want to build back better, theyshould have passed theRECLAIM ACT years ago, simply to start the process of reclaiming and reinvesting in all mining regions.And they should now double down on the commitment and make the Appalachian region, like all extraction zones fromthe IllinoisBasin totheNavajo Nation to thePowder River Basin, a showcase for a clean energy economy, not a backwoods of denial.

If the Biden administration and Congress want to end the war on Appalachia, they should simply pass theAppalachian Community Health Emergency (ACHE) Act,which calls for a moratorium on such devastating operations until a basic health study is completed.

This is one of the most shameless realities in regulation: One of the Trump administration's first acts was to cancel a long-term health study on the impacts ofmountaintop removal mining.

The sad truth is that this humanitarian and environmentalcrisishas been a federally sanctioned disaster sinceJimmy Carter begrudginglysignedtheSurface Mining Control and Reclamation Act in 1977, complaining that it would allow "the mining companies to cut off the tops of Appalachian mountains to reach entire seams of coal."

Let's repeat that phrase, "cut off the tops of Appalachian mountains" as in the tops of more than500 mountains for over a half-century, literally clear-cutting deciduous forests and the region's ancient carbon sink, blowing ridges into oblivion withexplosives and dumping the toxic remains and pulverized heavy metals in polluted streams, and ravaging the lives of citizens considered collateral damage, along with everything else in the way.

It doesn't have to be like this. Last month, Canadian government officials reversed theirown 45-year policy for open-pit coal mining, admitting, "We didn't get this one right."

It's time for Biden and Congress to get this one right in Appalachia and all mining communities.

Just listen to Vernon Haltom, director ofCoal River Mountain Watch,based in the frontline extraction zones of West Virginia, not in Washington, an organization thatdeserves as much support as possible:

With millions of Americans seriously ill or dead from the COVIDpandemic, the stockholders and executives of Alpha Metallurgical Resources have no qualms about filling the air in Appalachian communities with carcinogenic blasting dust. Their enablers at the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection have no qualms about rubber stamping new and renewed mountaintop removal permits, "just following the law"to sentence innocent people to death and misery. People like WVDEP permit supervisor Laura Claypool face no negative consequences for their actions, apparently not even remorse, but the people face the consequences of death. How do they sleep at night? It's not as if they don't know about the dozens of peer-reviewed health studies demonstrating that mountaintop removal is a deadly public health threat. No, they sleep soundly in the comfort of a steady job doing the coal barons' bidding. The WVDEP has made it personal by approving the death of friends and family like Judy Bonds, Larry Gibsonand Joanne Webb, so they shouldn't be surprised if we make it personal about their cold, inhumane decisions. But since they've proven their incapacity for basic human decency, we need the Appalachian Communities Health Emergency (ACHE) Act, H.R. 2073 in this U.S. Congress, to protect the people.

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