Marshae JonesThe intensified attack on women, the gender-oppressed and reproductive justice, denounced as “policing the womb” by reproductive rights advocate and activist Michelle Goodwin, has reached a new level of violence in Alabama.On July 3, Marshae Jones, a young pregnant African-American woman, was arrested after being indicted by an Alabama grand jury for manslaughter — because she miscarried her fetus after being shot in the stomach by an attacker. The shooter, another woman known to Jones, was not indicted and was set free.The indictment against Jones was based on the statement of the arresting Pleasant Grove, Ala., police, whose spokesperson said, “[T]he only true victim” was the fetus, dependent on its mother to keep it from any “harm.” (Washington Post, June 28)The law firm representing Jones filed a motion to dismiss the charges, but their argument was based on legal grounds related to manslaughter, not a challenge to the concept of personhood assigned to a fetus that the grand jury had used to indict.After an international and U.S. outcry, including a demonstration at the Bessemer Justice Center, as well as support from the Yellowhammer Fund, an Alabama abortion rights organization, the local district attorney announced on July 4 she had decided “not to prosecute” Jones.Criminalization of abortion/miscarriageThe original police statement reflects the anti-woman, anti-poor, racist wave of laws now defining and attacking people who are pregnant as mere vessels or carriers of a fetus. In Alabama hundreds have been prosecuted with a state “chemical endangerment of a child” statute for supposedly exposing their embryo or fetus to controlled substances.According to Lynn Paltrow, founder and executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, Alabama leads the U.S. in charging women for crimes related to pregnancy. She also noted women across the country have been prosecuted for manslaughter or murder for having an abortion or experiencing a miscarriage.On May 15, Alabama’s governor signed into law the most repressive anti-abortion law in recent U.S. history, which prohibited abortions in cases of rape or incest. Other states, including Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio, have passed legislation nearly as punitive in efforts to criminalize and police reproductive rights.There has been a lot of focus on interpreting these reactionary laws as a right-wing attempt to get an argument before the Supreme Court that could enable the end of access to abortion in the U.S.In fact, these laws are only the latest initiative developed and deployed against reproductive rights won over the last 46 years since the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.There have been an unrelentingly onslaught of “right-to-life” laws at the state level, based on religious and nonscientific beliefs. These disproportionately punish and attempt to control the autonomy of poor women of color.Those advocating the laws do not openly state or admit their prejudiced intent, instead camouflaging hateful racism under the pretext of defending the “right to life.”Aimed at poor women of colorThe hypocrisy of that position was unmasked, once again, through information explored at length in a July 3 Birmingham News column, “The Reckon”: Black mothers are nearly four times more likely to die in childbirth and pregnancy than white mothers. This is the widest racial disparity in women’s health in the U.S.The reasons range from structural racism to individual prejudice, from refusal of states to expand Medicaid coverage for poor people, to such unprovable but real medical racism as that experienced by Myra Powell in Montgomery, Ala. Miscarrying twin fetuses at 26 weeks, drenched in blood and in pain, she was taken to the hospital by ambulance drivers who never turned on the emergency siren or lights, sat at every stop sign and red light and never exceeded the speed limits.She was accompanied by a paramedic who kept checking his phone during the excruciatingly slow trip and then refused to authorize her transfer to a hospital with a neonatal unit. The state of Texas’ assessment of its maternal deaths showed the risk for Black mothers was high regardless of marital status, education level or access to private insurance. Financially well-off Black women die at higher rates than white women of their same class.Obviously, if proponents of the reactionary anti-abortion and anti-miscarriage laws currently being passed sincerely cared about mothers and children, they would be pressing above all for a more responsive, accessible and income-affordable maternal health care system. They would be facing and fighting the racism that causes disproportionate deaths in communities of color — from lack of health care to police brutality, to immigrant prison concentration camps.With careful examination, the indictment of Marshae Jones shows instead that the pushers of reactionary laws tied to reproduction are seeking the criminalization of poor women, women of color, sexually independent people. They are seeking to continue the dominance of white supremacy and capitalist patriarchy.Marshae Jones was freed only through local, national and international organizing. That is the response that will end the “policing of wombs” and assert reproductive justice instead.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare this
Facebook WhatsApp A researcher holds one of the small pots of fragrance used during tests in a clinic in Nice, France, on Monday, Feb. 8, 2021, to help determine how patients’ sense of smell and taste have been degraded since they contracted COVID-19. A year into the coronavirus pandemic, doctors are striving to better understand and treat patients who lose their sense of smell. Local NewsWorld News Twitter Pinterest Previous articleHundreds protest coup in Myanmar as resistance spreadsNext articleAgroaceite is Certified for 97.3% of Its Commitment to Good Manufacturing Practices Digital AIM Web Support Facebook TAGS Not to be sniffed at: Agony of post-COVID-19 loss of smell Twitter Pinterest By Digital AIM Web Support – March 4, 2021 WhatsApp
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 28:18 — 26.0MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | Email | Google Podcasts | RSSShawn Murphy is the CEO of Switch + Shift, a site that explores the Human Side of Business. He’s also the author of The Optimistic Workplace: Creating an Environment That Energizes Everyone. Shawn shares the destructive behaviors that cause leaders to ruin culture, aligning work and purpose, the hard stuff of human work and soft stuff of profit.0814436196Shawn at Switch and Shift.Shawn on TwitterStop by and visit our sponsor, Selling Power, and give them some support. Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Now Subscribe toIn the ArenaApple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsAndroidby EmailRSSOr subscribe with your favorite app by using the address below
Sachin Tendulkar on Sunday reached another milestone as he became the highest century-maker in World Cup history by scoring his fifth hundred in the prestigious event.The 37-year-old Tendulkar reached the landmark during the group B clash against England when he glanced burly paceman Tim Bresnan for a boundary towards the fine leg region in the first ball of the 35th over. It was his 47th ODI century and his 98th overall.Former India captain Sourav Ganguly, current Australia captain Ricky Ponting and his former teammate Mark Waugh have all scored four World Cup hundreds.With Ganguly and Waugh retired, it is only Ponting who has a chance to match or surpass Tendulkar.Tendulkar scored 120 runs from 115 balls and the knock was adorned with five sixes and 10 fours.Tendulkar, playing his sixth World Cup, also holds the records for most runs and most half-centuries in the flagship event of the ICC.He has accumulated 1944 runs in 38 matches and has scored 13 fifties so far, followed by Ponting with 1577 runs in 41 matches.Ganguly is the only other Indian who has managed to score more than one thousand runs in World Cup matches.He scored 1006 runs in 21 matches and stands 11th in the list of highest run scorers in World Cup.During the course of his innings, Tendukar shared a magnificent 134-run partnership with for the second wicket with Gautam Gambhir, who scored 51 runs.- With PTI inputs
The San Antonio Spurs’ Gregg Popovich won his third NBA Coach of the Year Award on Tuesday. To an extent, these awards are about which coach most exceeds expectations: They’re the opposite of coach firings, which are better predicted by a coach’s performance relative to preseason Las Vegas over-under lines than by his win-loss record. Popovich’s Spurs won 62 games in the regular season — more than the 55.5 wins Vegas predicted. That’s reasonably impressive, but nothing as compared to the Phoenix Suns’ Jeff Hornacek, who finished second in the balloting after winning 27 more games than Vegas anticipated.What’s more amazing is how Popovich and the Spurs keep beating even consistently high expectations. From the 2006-07 through the 2013-14 seasons, the Spurs have outperformed their preseason over-under lines by a cumulative 35.5 games. That is the second-best total in the NBA, after the Suns, who were boosted by their extraordinary performance this year. It comes despite the fact that the Spurs have been projected to win an average of 53.2 games during this period, the highest figure in the league over this stretch. (These figures include the labor-shortened 2011-12 season, for which I’ve prorated totals to 82 games.)Popovich took over as coach of the Spurs early in the 1996-97 season. I wanted to evaluate his performance against the preseason over-under line further back, but I couldn’t find reliable numbers. However, there are records of how the Spurs performed against the point spread for individual games dating to the beginning of Popovich’s tenure. Popovich has done just as impressively by this benchmark.The table below lists the Spurs’ win-loss record against the point spread since Popovich took over as coach. It includes regular-season and playoff games, although a handful of regular-season games from his earliest seasons are missing. In total, in the games for which we have data, Popovich has 843 wins, 728 losses and 32 pushes against the point spread. That’s a 53.7 percent winning percentage, ignoring pushes, a win rate that all but the best sports bettors in the world would have trouble sustaining.How plausible is it that Popovich has just gotten lucky? We can check this by means of a binomial distribution. If Popovich were just a .500 coach against the point spread, the probability that he’d achieve a 843-728 record or better against it is just 0.17 percent. In other words, this is an awful lot of games, and Pop has done awfully well. It’s likely that there’s something going on — something the betting public has been missing. (And it’s something that it has been missing continually; Popovich’s edge has not abated recently. The Spurs’ record against the point spread over the past five seasons is 54.5 percent.)I looked at a few theories. For instance, could the Spurs’ excellent record against the point spread reflect a bias against small-market teams, rather than anything about Popovich? This may represent a tiny part of it; there’s a modest inverse correlation between teams’ performance against the point spread and their market size (meaning that teams in smaller markets tend to do a bit better against the spread). But the effect is small; it’s enough to account for the Spurs winning 50.4 percent of their games against the point spread, but nothing like 53.7 percent.Another theory: Perhaps the Spurs tend to perform poorly early in the season — lowering bettors’ expectations — and then improve as Popovich determines the strengths of his roster and adjusts? That doesn’t quite pan out. Since the 1997-98 season, the Spurs are 53.5 percent against the point spread in the first 20 games of the regular season, about the same as their performance overall. (They have done somewhat better against the point spread — a 55.9 percent winning percentage — during the playoffs.)Maybe there’s something odd about the Spurs’ point distribution? If they took an unusual number of blowout losses for a good team — say, games when Popovich was resting his starters — that could artificially lower their average margin of victory and lead bettors to underrate them in other matchups.However, the Spurs’ point distribution appears to be relatively normal (both in the common-language and mathematical senses of the term) and relatively symmetrical about their average margin of victory. The Spurs have been somewhat less likely to win or lose games by exactly one point than the normal distribution would predict, but this is true of all NBA teams, largely as a result of late fouling. I don’t want to completely dismiss these explanations: How NBA teams manage endgame situations is something that can affect their scoring distribution and performance against the point spread quite a bit. But there’s nothing obvious that jumps out about the Spurs. Nor have they won more games than would be expected based on their overall scoring margin.Another tempting explanation is that the Spurs, under Popovich, have great “intangibles” that bettors underrate. Undoubtedly, Popovich (like Tim Duncan) is a great leader. But eventually those intangibles should manifest themselves in the form of the Spurs winning more games than they otherwise would, and bettors should see the results and adjust accordingly. Furthermore, Popovich and the Spurs have a reputation for strong coaching and veteran leadership that could be recognized by the betting market. For many years, Popovich has ranked at or near the top when NBA general managers were asked to rank the top coaches.In the absence of an explanation, I was curious about another data point. The coach I think of as being most Pop-like is Bill Belichick of the NFL’s New England Patriots. Like Popovich, Belichick seems to have a preternatural ability to make the most of his circumstances — he got 11 wins out of Matt Cassel! Like Popovich, Belichick has a reputation as a great and ruthless tactician.Also like Popovich, Belichick has done quite well against the point spread. He’s 179-144-9 against it lifetime (a 55.4 percent winning percentage, ignoring pushes), counting his time as coach of the Cleveland Browns. (He’s 138-106-6 against the point spread, a 56.6 percent winning percentage, as coach of the Patriots.)I’m aware of the risk of confirmation bias here. If you seek out coaches who have a reputation for exceeding expectations, you’re likely to find expectations exceeded in all sorts of data, including their performance against the point spread. Nevertheless, it’s worth asking whether there is something about coaches like Popovich and Belichick that leads them to outperform bettors’ expectations.I don’t have a sexy answer. Nor am I sure that there is a sexy answer. It may be that Popovich’s strong performance against the point spread reflects a little bit of luck, a little bit of small-market bias, a little bit of something funny about how the Spurs manage endgame situations — along with a healthy dose of selection bias in our decision to examine his record (and not that of other coaches) after the fact.But I have a romantic notion of what could be going on.What you might say about Popovich is that he’s been uniquely able to stave off regression to the mean. He adopts tactics and strategies to suit his situation; he stays one step ahead of his opponents. Under Popovich, the Spurs have succeed as an old team and as a young team, and as a fast-paced team and a slow-paced team. There isn’t much gimmicky about Popovich.Perhaps in staying one step ahead of his opponents, he has stayed one step ahead of Las Vegas. The reason it’s hard to succeed in sports betting, or in any other market-based activity, is not just that markets are reasonably efficient to begin with. It’s also that when you’ve identified a historical tendency worth exploiting, other participants in the market may have found it as well. You may have an advantage for a while, but it will evaporate soon. Or, like in the game rock-paper-scissors, your opponents will exploit you for trying to exploit them.But what if your advantage is not in finding one particular loophole in the market, but in having the aptitude to continually come up with new advantages? Before your opponent has identified a counter to your tactic, you’re on to the next tactic. Great poker players have this skill: They have a sense for when a particular tactic in a particular situation has gone from being underutilized to overutilized in the poker “market.” They’ve adjusted a moment before everyone else.My romantic notion — my intuition — is that the way coaches like Popovich and Belichick exploit edges in their games is pretty similar to how sports bettors exploit edges in theirs. So the fact that opponents have never caught up with Popovich and Belichick may have something to do with why betting markets haven’t either. I do know that I wouldn’t bet against Popovich or Belichick. And I wouldn’t want to play poker against them.
Darjeeling: Darjeeling lost a brave son in an IED explosion near the Line of Control at the Nowshera sector in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district on Friday. His mortal remains will arrive home on Sunday. Two explosions had taken place near Roopmati forward post in Pukkharni area at 4:35 pm and 6:10 pm respectively on Friday. The explosions killed Major S J Nair and Rifleman Jiwan Gurung. 24-year-old Rifleman Jiwan Gurung hails from Lamahatta in Darjeeling. He had joined the Indian Army a little more than four years ago. He is survived by his mother Poonam Gurung. His mortal remains will arrive at Bagdogra Airport on Sunday and will proceed to Lamahatta where his last rites will be performed amidst full military honours. Binay Tamang, Chairman of the GTA, extending condolences to the bereaved families stated: “Gorkhas have been sacrificing their lives protecting the borders of this nation.”
If things seem too good to be true, they probably are. That’s a pretty good motto to live by, and one that’s particularly pertinent in the days of fake news and crypto-bubbles. However, it seems like advice many people haven’t heeded with Initiative Q, a new ‘payment system’ developed by the brains behind PayPal technology. That’s not to say that Initiative Q certainly is too good to be true. But when an organisation appears to be offering almost hundreds of thousands of dollars to users who simply offer an email and then encourage others to offer theirs, caution is essential. If it looks like a pyramid scheme, then do you really want to risk the chance that it might just be a pyramid scheme? What is Initiative Q? Initiative Q, is, according to its founders, “tomorrow’s payment network.” On its website it says that current methods of payment, such as credit cards, are outdated. They open up the potential for fraud and other bad business practices, as well as not being particularly efficient. Initiative Q claims that is it going to develop an alternative to these systems “which aggregate the best ideas, innovations, and technologies developed in recent years.” It isn’t specific about which ideas and technological innovations its referring to, but if you read through the payment model it wants to develop, there are elements that sound a lot like blockchain. For example, it talks about using more accurate methods of authentication to minimize fraud, and improving customer protection by “creating a network where buyers don’t need to constantly worry about whether they are being scammed” (the extent to which this turns out to be deliciously ironic remains to be seen). To put it simply, it’s a proposed new payment system that borrows lots of good ideas that still haven’t been shaped into a coherent whole. Compelling, yes, but alarm bells are probably sounding. Who’s behind Initiative Q? There are very few details on who is actually involved in Initiative Q. The only names attached to the project are Saar Wilf, an entrepreneur who founded Fraud Sciences, a payment technology that was bought by PayPal in 2008, and Lawrence White, Professor of Monetary Theory and Policy and George Mason University. The team should grow, however. Once the number of members has grown to a significant level, the Initiative Q team say “we will continue recruiting the world’s top professionals in payment systems, macroeconomics, and Internet technologies.” How is Initiative Q supposed to work? Initiative Q explains that for the world to adopt a new payment network is a huge challenge – a fair comment, because after all, for it to work at all, you need actors within that network who believe in it and trust it. This is why the initial model – which looks and feels a hell of a lot like a pyramid or Ponzi scheme – is, according to Initiative Q, so important. To make this work, you need a critical mass of users. Initiative Q actually defends itself from accusations that it is a Pyramid scheme by pointing out that there’s no money involved at this stage. All that happens is that when you sign up you receive a specific number of ‘Qs’ (the name of the currency Initiative Q is proposing). These Qs obviously aren’t worth anything at the moment. The idea is that when the project actually does reach critical mass, it will take on actual value. Isn’t Initiative Q just another cryptocurrency? Initiative Q is keen to stress that it isn’t a cryptocurrency. That said, on its website the project urges you to “think of it as getting free bitcoin seven years ago.” But the website does go into a little more detail elsewhere, explaining that “cryptocurrencies have failed as currencies” because they “focus on ensuring scarcity” while neglecting to consider how people might actually use them in the real world.” The implication, then, is that Initiative Q is putting adoption first. Presumably, it’s one of the reasons that it has decided to go with such an odd acquisition strategy. Ultimately though, it’s too early to say whether Initiative Q is or isn’t a cryptocurrency in the strictest (ie. fully de-centralized etc.) sense. There simply isn’t enough detail about how it will work. Of course, there are reasons why Initiative Q doesn’t want to be seen as a cryptocurrency. From a marketing perspective, it needs to look distinctly different from the crypto-pretenders of the last decade. Initiative Q: pyramid scheme or harmless vaporware? Because no money is exchanged at any point, it’s difficult to call Initiative Q a ponzi or pyramid scheme. In fact it’s actually quite hard to know what to call it. As David Gerard wrote in a widely shared post from June, published when Initiative Q had a first viral wave, “the Initiative Q payment network concept is hard to critique — because not only does it not exist, they don’t have anything as yet, except the notion of “build a payment network and it’ll be awesome.” But while it’s hard to critique, it’s also pretty hard to say that it’s actually fraudulent. In truth, at the moment it’s relatively harmless. However, as David Gerard points out in the same post, if the data of those who signed up is hacked – or even sold (although the organization says it won’t do that) – that’s a pretty neat database of people who’ll offer their details up in return for some empty promises of future riches.
MADRID — Growing at a rate of seven hotels a year over the past few years, and with plans to ramp that up even more with new hotel openings in the years to come, Iberostar Hotels and Resorts is looking to build on its momentum with a re-branding initiative that includes a new segmentation of its hotels.A recent press trip to Madrid took trade media including Travelweek to Iberostar’s flagship hotel, Iberostar Las Letras Gran Via in Madrid, where the hotel company announces its rebranding and new directions.Canadian travel agents (and their clients) best know Iberostar from its Caribbean beach resorts in the D.R., Cuba, Mexico and Jamaica, however the Iberostar Group – which opened its first hotel in 1993 – now operates 110 hotels in 17 countries, hosting over eight million guests annually.In 2018 The Iberostar Group is embarking on an ambitious plan including openings, new projects and major renovation work. Its portfolio will be increased by 15 new hotels, including 11 resorts in Cuba, from Havana to Holguín, Cayo Coco and Santiago de Cuba. There are also two new resorts opening in Montenegro, and one new development for Iberostar Cancun coming this year.The first of the new 2018 hotels, the 119-room, four-star Iberostar Paseo de Gracia, its first in Barcelona, just opened this month.More news: Kory Sterling is TL Network Canada’s new Sales Manager CanadaMore projects are on the horizon for Los Cabos, Aruba and the D.R.Meanwhile approximately 70% of The Iberostar Group’s portfolio – made up exclusively of four- and five-star properties – has recently been renovated with focus on product and service innovation and technological development.The company is particularly proud of its 42% returning guests rate.Iberostar says it plans to continue to invest to strengthen its position in the high-end hotel segment with a further 700 million euros allocated through 2022, with expansion plans focused on the best locations, up-market gastronomy options and superior service.Sabina Fluxà, Vice-Chairman and CEO, The Iberostar GroupSabina Fluxà, Iberostar Group’s Vice-Chairman and CEO, presented Iberostar’s strategic plan to the media, announcing that Iberostar has regrouped its hotels into three segments: City hotels, Ocean resorts and Iberostar Heritage, a new category that includes classic hotels with an emphasis on history and tradition.Grand, the group’s luxury category, is present in all three of the new segments, she said.City hotels are located in the heart of leading destinations including Madrid, New York, Lisbon, Barcelona, Budapest, Miami and Havana, says Fluxà.Ocean resorts comprise beachfront locations focused on vacations and leisure travel.More news: Sunwing offers ultimate package deal ahead of YXU flights to SNU, PUJAnd Iberostar Heritage properties include unique hotels featuring architectural, historical and cultural elements.As part of its new initiatives, Iberostar has also changed its corporate logo, colours and added the tagline ‘Let it shine’.Fluxà also introduced Iberostar’s new ‘Oceans Project’ focused on sustainable fishing, reducing plastic pollution and supporting coral reef conservations and protection. Iberostar plans to promote sustainable fishing by sourcing and serving only seasonal fish on its menus, plus it has instituted a program at all of its hotels to reduce reliance on single-use plastic items with the ultimate aim of eliminating them and replacing them with biodegradable materials.Iberostar’s senior management team feels that the company is at a critical point. Having spent years and a significant investment in developing its plan for the future, it is now ready to implement this plan over the next 12 to 18 months.“We are all part of a large family made up of more than 28,000 employees that offers unbeatable service for the 8 million customers we welcome each year. We remain as excited and enthusiastic as when we started … We are now taking a major step forward in what is a key development for the business, repositioning it and setting even higher standards.” Tuesday, February 20, 2018 By: Gerry Kinasz << Previous PostNext Post >> Share Tags: IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts Iberostar outlines plans for 15 new hotels in 2018
Share Where is Sunwing headed next? Brand new Sun destination just announced Travelweek Group Posted by TORONTO — Sunwing’s newest destination is a tiny island known for its crystal-clear waters, vibrant marine life and pristine beaches, all of which are must-haves on Canadians’ vacation checklists.The sun-soaked island of Tobago has just been announced as the tour operator’s latest destination for this winter season. Upon launching from Toronto, the new direct service will mark the first time Sunwing is offering the Caribbean island, and will also make it the only Canadian leisure carrier to offer direct service.Flights will operate on Thursdays between Dec. 20, 2018 and April 18, 2019 inclusive.“We are delighted to be offering our customers even more choice from Toronto this winter with the addition of the island of Tobago,” said Andrew Dawson, President of Tour Operations. “Offering beach relaxation, warm Caribbean hospitality and a wide range of tours and excursions to experience, we’re sure that Tobago will prove to be a popular addition to our roster.”More news: Sunwing ready to launch Mazatlán-Quebec City direct this winterOn the impact Sunwing’s flights will have on the island, Nadine Stewart-Phillips, Secretary for Tourism, Culture and Transportation for Tobago, said: “The Tobago House of Assembly welcomes Sunwing to Tobago. Sunwing’s flight and hotel package offering will significant enhance our efforts in tourism at all levels.”Sunwing will offer a number of resorts on the island to complement the new flights, including the upcoming Starfish Tobago Resort, opening this December. This family-friendly resort combines an enviable beachfront location with varied accommodations, complimentary sports and activities such as sailing, and two on-site restaurants. There’s also Magdalena Grand Beach and Golf Resort located on a beautiful stretch of Pigeon Point Beach, which features luxury accommodations, three pools, hiking trails and an on-site PGA-designed, 18-hole, 72-par golf course.All Sunwing packages to Tobago include return airfare and airport transfers, accommodations and the services of a Sunwing representative. Groups of 10 adults can receive special prices, added values and reduced deposits. For more information on Group deals, go to https://www.sunwing.ca/Pages/en/group-quote.
Categories: Victory News I worked closely with many Ottawa County residents and businesses in 2017 to prioritize legislation that helps our community and all of Michigan’s economy.As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I helped shape a state government budget that keeps Michigan moving forward. My colleagues and I approved a balanced budget with a record amount of spending to fix our roads and bridges – vitally important to improving our quality of life and our economy.The budget also includes more money than ever before for K-12 schools, benefitting our students and teachers. Public safety is enhanced through the addition of 150 Michigan State Police troopers. We also were fiscally responsible, paying down debt and adding to our state’s “rainy day” fund.Here are some other accomplishments from 2017, my fifth in the Michigan House:• Created the Bee Protection Program to ensure growers have access to reliable pollinators.• Passed legislation to allow fundraising license plates to be placed on company-owned pickup trucks or vans. Small businesses and public universities will now be allowed to brand their trucks and vans to support organizations and causes.• Passed legislation to ensure fair and accurate drain assessment along intercountry drains. This bill helps communities receive fair and accurate drain fees and gives the drain commissioners the flexibility they need to get their jobs done in a reasonable time frame.• Introduced legislation to ensure that Michigan growers have access to national and global markets.• Voted to enhance skilled trade education in Michigan. The five-bill package encourages students to explore career opportunities and helps provides them with the resources they need to succeed and fill in-demand jobs.• Voted in favor of reducing income taxes for Michiganders. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I knew where we could have made reasonable spending reductions to implement the income tax cut. We could have easily afforded the cut and continued to pay down our debt responsibly.• Voted in favor of giving Michigan drivers a choice in their auto insurance coverage levels. Michigan drivers pay the highest auto insurance rates in the nation. I have heard the overwhelming outcry of support from my district to pass this reform. The current system is unfair and unsustainable and while the auto no-fault program has its merits, it has not changed since its introduction 30 years ago and needs significant improvements.I will continue to work hard for Ottawa County residents in 2018. I will continue to fight for legislation beneficial to the community and believe we are headed in the right direction for our economy to continue to grow.If you have any questions or concerns contact my office at 517-373-1830 or by email at [email protected]### 27Dec Details of 2017 accomplishments