Jun 05, 2019 By Jim Ash Senior Editor Regular News Meeting just weeks before the Bar’s Annual Convention, the Board of Governors has signed off on a series of recommendations by the Program Evaluation Committee.PEC Chair Wayne Helsby delivered the highlights at the board’s meeting in Palm Beach.“I will apologize in advance for the length of this report,” Helsby said. “As I have told you throughout the year, the Program Evaluation Committee has been extremely active.”Helsby said the PEC and a dozen subcommittees spent the last year — in some cases longer — evaluating 13 different programs.Those reviews, he said, covered 33 rule amendments, six implementation areas, five new program requests, and four section bylaw revisions. In addition, Helsby said, two committees were approved for review this year.As a result, Helsby said, the PEC unanimously approved 42 recommendations for 13 different programs.In a series of unanimous votes, the board adopted the following PEC recommendations:• Florida Lawyers Assistance, Inc.A subcommittee chaired by Out-of-State Board Member Brian Burgoon recommended, among other things, asking FLA to take into consideration the potential of increased users of FLA services as mental health awareness issues become more visible; maintaining additional data on staff time utilization to help with future budgetary requests for information; considering whether it would be appropriate to retain a consultant familiar with what FLA does to perform an analysis of FLA’s services; and possibly consider a rebranding effort.• Standing Committee on TechnologyA subcommittee chaired by 17th Circuit Board Member Jay Kim recommended, among other things, increasing communication between the Council of Sections, individual sections/divisions of the Bar, and the Standing Committee on Technology; for each section and division that has an interest in furthering their use or knowledge of technology in its particular substantive practice area, having an executive council member or liaison serve on the Standing Committee on Technology; creating a subcommittee to review the LegalFuel website; creating a subcommittee on practice management; suggesting that the Bar president appoint a board liaison to the Standing Committee on Technology that is also a member of the Board of Governors Committee on Technology, and suggesting that the YLD president-elect be appointed to the committee.• Public Interest Law SectionA subcommittee chaired by 13th Circuit Board Member Amy Farrior recommended, among other things, keeping the section’s website fresh; conducting a membership drive; establishing various committees and subcommittees; studying potential sources of revenue, including new continuing legal education programs; generating periodic email blasts from the chair; and conducting a membership survey.• Florida Bar Committee AwardsA subcommittee chaired by 17th Circuit Board Member Lorna Brown-Burton reviewed, among other things, the criteria and overall processes for the Group Professionalism Award; Law Faculty/Administrator Award; William M. Hoeveler Judicial Professionalism Award; Justice Harry Lee Anstead Award; Award for Excellence in the Promotion of Board Certification; Justice Teaching Awards; Florida Bar Journal & News Excellence in Writing Award, the Consumer Protection Lawyer of the Year Award, the Parker Thomson Awards for Outstanding Legal Journalism in Florida, and Susan Spencer-Wendel Lifetime Achievement Award. The subcommittee recommended requiring a Florida Bar disciplinary background check of potential award recipients and asking committees and sponsoring groups to review their award processes every three years for fairness.• Military Affairs CommitteeA subcommittee chaired by 11th Circuit Board Member Debra Baker recommended, among other things, modifying the name of the committee to “Military & Veterans Affairs Committee;” expanding the mission of the committee to include veterans’ affairs and veterans’ issues; and establishing a “Veterans Affairs Subcommittee.”• Section Leadership ConferenceA subcommittee chaired by Fifth Circuit Board Member Renée Thompson recommended, among other things, conducting breakout sessions to discuss relevant topics based on section size; providing conference attendees with materials in advance for use as a reference guide; creating a conference session focused on increasing membership and engaging new members; allowing YLD leadership to present special programming with section involvement; and encouraging sections to send their upcoming officers to the conference prior to the beginning of the section year.• Council of SectionsA subcommittee also chaired by Thompson recommended, among other things, scheduling council meetings on a day other than Saturday; streamlining Florida Bar standing board policy bylaw amendments by utilizing proposed rules with Bar staff suggestions; having quarterly meetings, two of them in-person and two via teleconference; creating in-depth content for the Council of Sections on a quarterly basis on main topics of interest for sections based on themes for each meeting; and incorporating networking time for Council of Sections members to interact at in-person events.• Creation of a Special Committee on Criminal JusticeFollowing a presentation by President-elect John Stewart, PEC unanimously approved a recommendation to create the special committee that would act as a forum for discussion and provide subject-matter expertise for the promulgation of criminal justice legislation. The special committee would work with legislative and criminal justice stakeholders without advocating a particular legislative position. The 10- to 15-member panel, appointed by President Stewart, would begin meeting in July and have a June 30, 2020, deadline.Another subcommittee, chaired by Second Circuit Board Member Melissa VanSickle, met several times to evaluate a proposal to create a diversion program for “disruptive and unruly lawyers,” Helsby said.The subcommittee consulted Bar staff and experts with Florida Lawyers Assistance, Inc., Helsby said.“Ultimately, it was the recommendation of the subcommittee not to establish a program for disruptive and unruly lawyers,” Helsby said. “The subcommittee felt that it was just very difficult. . . to identify disruptive and unruly lawyers, how you would define them, and how that whole process would work.”Another PEC Subcommittee, chaired by Fourth Circuit Board Member Michael Tanner, met to consider a proposal to award CLE credit for service on Bar divisions, sections, committees, and other groups, including the Constitution Revision Commission, Helsby said.But subcommittee members ultimately decided “to remain status quo,” Helsby said.Because both subcommittees recommended no change, board approval was not necessary. PEC reports on its work
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Email To anglers across the globe, trout streams are characterized by free-flowing water that’s clear, complex, connected and, most importantly, cold.Meanwhile, the trout that inhabit the waters, in addition to providing sustenance and recreation to millions of people, play critical roles in the health of ecosystems worldwide.So what’s the piscatorial problem?In the years ahead, the chilly streams that sustain Northwest Montana’s prized native fish — as well as trout habitat worldwide — are predicted to grow increasingly tepid as a result of rising global temperatures, threatening the sensitive aquatic species with “global extinction” unless more conservation studies take place at a local and planetary scale.That’s according to a recent study published in the esteemed research journal “Science Magazine,” whose lead author, Clint Muhlfeld, works as an aquatic ecologist for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Glacier Park field office based in Glacier National Park.The publication offers a lofty platform of scientific prestige that Muhlfeld hopes will draw broader attention to the plight of native fish and a multitude of trout species distributed throughout the world’s watery arteries, all of which share something in common — they are especially sensitive to rising temperatures.Published in the May 25 issue of “Science,” the article, titled “Trout in Hot Water: A Call for Global Action,” marks the first worldwide assessment of trout species’ status. It found that a disproportionately high rate of trout species (compared to other vertebrates) are now threatened under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, the world’s most comprehensive inventory of the status of biological species.Of the 124 recognized species of trout, only 67 percent have been assessed by the IUCN, Muhlfeld said.The kicker?“Alarmingly, 73 percent of these species are currently threatened with global extinction, and four are now extinct,” he wrote in the “Science” article.“Trout are like canaries in a coal mine,” Muhlfeld said in a recent interview, speaking by phone from Oslo, Norway, where he is working on a Fulbright Scholarship. “They are excellent indicators of disturbance, especially under climate change because of their sensitivity to temperature and freshwater stream flows.”Native to all continents in the Northern Hemisphere, trout belong to seven genera (plural of genus), which are distributed across 52 countries. These cold-water specialists provide recreation and food to millions of people and play important roles in ecosystem functioning and health.In an addition to serving as an economic boon — a recent federal analysis of outdoor recreation found that boating and fishing activities contributed $38.2 billion to the nation’s gross domestic product in 2016 — they are also excellent markers of an ecosystem’s health, Muhlfeld said.“They are extremely sensitive to human disturbances because they require cold, clean, complex, and connected habitats for survival and persistence — all attributes that humans have substantially altered and degraded,” according to the study. “Despite their importance as societal icons and as indicators of biodiversity, many of the world’s trout species and lineages are endangered and some require immediate conservation efforts to reverse their precarious decline.”Muhlfeld, along with a team of researchers, emphasized the need for swift courses of action to save “one of our most culturally, economically and ecologically important freshwater fishes.”“Reversing these declines will require progressive conservation efforts to protect native trout diversity and ameliorate ongoing and future threats at local and global scales,” the study states.Locally, Muhlfeld pointed to successful efforts by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, which set out more than a decade ago to preserve and restore the westslope cutthroat trout fishery in the South Fork Flathead River.Recognizing the pressure of hybridization with nonnative species like rainbow trout, the architects behind the South Fork Flathead Cutthroat Conservation Project began systematically removing nonnative fish and replacing them with genetically pure westslope cutthroat in 2007.“Even though this is a global study, it stresses the need for conservation studies to take place at a local scale,” Muhlfeld said. “We know that hybridization is irreversible, and eliminating those sources that do long-term damage is a proactive strategy. Dealing with nonnative species like the South Fork recovery program that FWP implemented is a great example of that.”Another example takes place in Glacier National Park, historically one of the last best strongholds for native cutthroat and bull trout. The biggest problem for these native species is that Glacier’s lakes and streams are brimming with nonnative fish, particularly invasive lake trout, which radiated out of Flathead Lake and colonized the park’s lakes, out-competing the native residents.In 2009, biologists with Glacier Park and a USGS team led by Muhlfeld launched an experimental project on Quartz Lake, located in the park’s remote northwest corner, where lake trout invasion was still in its early stages of invasion. The aim was to reduce or eliminate lake trout by gillnetting, a project that required a boat to be helicoptered in and all of the supplies to be hauled in by biologists and mules.Muhlfeld and his team first located so-called “Judas fish,” captured and radio-tagged them, then tracked the fish to spawning areas in order to capture and remove the densest concentrations of spawning lake trout.The project has shown evidence of success in reducing lake trout, and is hailed as one of the first successful projects of its kind, standing out as a leading example that lake trout suppression, once thought to be futile, is possible.“Only by addressing threats at their root causes can we accomplish these conservation goals,” Muhlfeld said.Muhlfeld’s co-authors on the study were: Daniel Dauwalter, Ryan P. Kovach, Jeffrey L Kershner, Jack E. Willians, and John Epifanio.To learn more about the study, visit science.sciencemag.org.
We are living in uncertain times. Whether it’s a hurricane, pandemic or something we have yet to imagine, it pays for businesses to have a resiliency plan – especially concerning the energy that powers our daily lives. No one knows that better than New York’s real estate industry, which is rushing to make the switch to the only 100 percent reliable and renewable source of energy during a crisis: the sun.Last year, solar powered electricity production expanded 23 percent over the previous year in the U.S., according to Scientific American. The record-breaking surge means that solar now accounts for nearly 40 percent of all new generating capacity. Meanwhile, traditional energy production is being constrained.This month, the top U.S. grid security monitor, the North American Electric Reliability Corp., echoed the concerns of both federal and private organizations as it warned utility providers nationwide to prepare for the COVID-19 outbreak and vulnerabilities in the grid from global supply chain disruption.“At this point, many of our members are activating and/or reviewing their business continuity and preparedness plans to ensure that operations and infrastructure are properly supported,” Tobias Sellier told Environment and Energy News. Sellier is the director of media relations for the American Public Power Association, which represents around 1,400 electric utilities.In other words, our national electrical grid could soon be in jeopardy.“Not only is solar energy a profitable solution for landlords with under-utilized rooftop space, but in times of uncertainty, it ensures resilient business operations,” said Charles Feit, Senior Vice President of 174 Power Global and Founder of New York based OnForce Solar. “Our clients also have a resilient revenue stream they can count on.”And during a time of economic strain, Feit mentioned that OnForce offers savvy building owners no-cost options to make the switch from traditional to solar energy.For example, Anheuser Busch operates a large Budweiser distributio center along the Bronx River in Hunts Point. Looking to lower operational costs, the client hired OnForce to install a rooftop solar system and reduce the facility’s electricity costs. By adding more than 2,000 solar panels, OnForce transformed the unused space into a 711 kilowatt rooftop solar farm. To make the change, Anheuser Busch selected the firm’s power purchase agreement option to go green with no money down.That financing option – which includes a 20-year maintenance, insurance, and power generation guarantee — allowed Anheuser Busch to lower its utility costs by between 10 and 30 percent and transform a variable expense into a fixed line item that could be budgeted and managed. And that’s not OnForces’ only no-cash upfront financing choice. The company’s operating lease and capital loan options mean no initial capital outlay with a typical 5, 7, or 10-year loan, plus reduced energy cost, federal tax credits or state rebates, and no lien on your building.“We ended up hiring OnForce Solar,” a Town of Clarkstown Councilman said. “They were able to tap into about $2 million in subsidies from the state of New York. In addition to that, there were federal and state tax credits that we were able to tap into.”The Clarkstown project had zero development cost and over its lifetime the system will save the town $4.6 million.“We are dedicated to making community solar more available to home and business owners,” said Henry Yun, President of 174 Power Global. The company has expanded its presence to accommodate growing demand for solar. “Therefore we offer a wide variety of financing options, including no cost options, that allow New Yorkers to easily make the switch to solar, even in the most difficult of times.”OnForce’s solar experts are offering free over the phone consultations. Expect to learn how much additional revenue your real estate can earn, the short and long term benefits of solar energy, and what state and federal incentives you qualify for.Schedule Your Free Solar Consultation.
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OVER the last 50 years, Cardinia Shire Council has changed name, location and overseen a huge population boom. One constant…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.