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By Raya Al Jadir Disabled people have taken part i

first_imgBy Raya Al JadirDisabled people have taken part in the 11th annual Blogging Against Disablism Day, sharing their “experiences observations and thoughts about disability discrimination”.Across 18 different areas, ranging from education to art and science, some bloggers shared their own stories of prejudice, while others analysed society’s disablist attitudes.Holly Matthes, a Liberal Democrat activist who has both worked in and used mental health services, blogged about a recent article by fellow party member Henry Foulds, who is blind, in which he described how he was told by a senior party activist “that I should crop my cane from campaign photos or somehow hide it”.Matthes argues in her blog that this incident may seem insignificant compared to the government’s cuts to disabled people’s benefits and services, but that “both big and small injustices are based on the same problems at the core of our thinking, and we call those problems disablism”.From The Edge Of The Map’s blog on the social model of disability looks at the idea that disability can be erased by removing the “physical and bureaucratic barriers that are woven into the structure of society”, and suggests: “At its core, the Social Model of Disability requires us to confront and dismantle the shame that society imposes on any Disabled Identity.”Disablism and dating is the subject of the blog posted on The Eternal Pursuit Of Love And Laughter, which describes the negative impact on the author’s dating life after her chronic health conditions “started to become more visible”.She concludes: “So I’m going to get a dog for company. We will go to the beach for ice-cream, take day-trips and sit in the sun in the park.“Dogs don’t judge people who limp a bit. Dogs don’t value people less for wearing a wrist support.” In her blog, A Writer In A Wheelchair discusses the everyday incidents of disablism that she brushes aside because “they’re just my normal”.Mel Baggs discusses how the “state of autism research is pretty uniformly terrible”, in a blog entitled Don’t Ever Assume Autism Researchers Know What They’re Doing.She says that having autism makes her “able to see through the holes in autism research so well that I have been sought out by researchers to critique their own research ideas and suggest better avenues for research and techniques to use”.Robin’s Blog was another to focus on the world of academia, this time focusing on some of the access issues he has faced as a wheelchair-using academic.In I’m An Academic In A Wheelchair – Why Is It So Difficult?, he describes the “in-built assumption that I can’t be a staff member, I can’t know what I’m doing, and I must be a ‘helpless person’”, and describes a string of examples where he has faced discrimination.He writes: “The combination of these examples – and many more that I can’t think of right now – is that I often feel like a second-class citizen, in academia, on campus, when travelling and so on.“This isn’t right – but the silly thing is that it doesn’t take that much effort to change. Many of the examples given above could have been changed without much effort or much expenditure.”Another blog focusing on academia comes from Dr Sarah Campbell, who says that nearly 20 years after the disablism she experienced as a maths undergraduate, “disablist practises such as grades being given for attendance, or no allowances being given for deadlines, are still common”.She writes: “It is also clear that universities are still set up for the traditional way of learning and simply cannot cope when a student needs to be different.“Yet it is ok to be different. I even went on to do a PhD and became a maths researcher! I am proof positive that what is important is ‘what’ you learn, not ‘how’ you learn it.”D H Kelly, the disabled activist behind Blogging Against Disablism Day, writes on Diary Of A Goldfish (pictured) about the language of disability, and how “in the struggle against increasingly negative government rhetoric, the term ‘genuinely disabled’ entered the vocabulary of disabled activists themselves”.Kelly’s blog concludes that disabled people should “actively resist a culture which suggests we can gain acceptance by constantly explaining ourselves and our conditions”.last_img read more

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A disabled Liberal Democrat MP has promised to ha

first_imgA disabled Liberal Democrat MP has promised to “harry” and “shame” the government in parliament over its “shameful” record on disability rights.Stephen Lloyd, the party’s shadow work and pensions secretary, told Disability News Service (DNS) that he would use his own 25-year commitment to the social model – and his in-depth knowledge of work and pensions issues – to attack the government over its failings.He said: “I am a politician who understands, supports and utterly endorses the social model of disability.“I am interested in helping provide the tools for disabled people who can work to work and I am determined to do what I can in Westminster with my party and my own expertise to then support people who cannot work in having a dignified life.”He said he planned to reach out to Labour’s shadow work and pensions secretary, Debbie Abrahams – who he respects and previously worked with on the work and pensions select committee – to work together to hold the government to account.He said this was likely to include areas such as personal independence payment, the “outrage” of the cuts to payments to new claimants in the work-related activity group of employment and support allowance, and the work capability assessment.And he said he was convinced that the accelerated rollout of universal credit would be “a car crash, beyond a car crash” (see separate story).He pointed out that the new work and pensions secretary, David Gauke, previously a Treasury minister for seven years, had “sat at the right-hand side of [former chancellor] George Osborne as George Osborne gutted universal credit”.Lloyd (pictured) was first an MP between 2010 and 2015, during the years his party was in coalition with the Conservatives, before losing his seat in 2015, and being elected again in June this year, and he said some of the public did not give the Liberal Democrats the credit they deserved for their part in restraining the worst excesses of the Tories.He said: “To the day I die, I believe the coalition government was sane, sensible government and we saved the country from catastrophe and I am convinced of that even though obviously I am not stupid, I realise the public disagree with that and we got annihilated.“It would probably be better politically suited if I didn’t [say that], but I’m damned if I’m going to lie at my age.”Lloyd had earlier told the party’s annual conference in Bournemouth that it was “an absolute disgrace” that the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities had had to write such a critical report on the UK government’s progress in implementing the UN disability convention.He said: “It is shameful that a UK government… could be written of in such a way.“It shows how utterly appalling this government is on disability.”Party members overwhelmingly voted for a future Liberal Democrat government to incorporate the UN convention into UK law by strengthening the Equality Act.Lloyd said he believed that former Conservative prime minister John Major – whose government introduced the first Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) in 1995 – would be “incredibly disappointed”, if not “disgusted”, to see a Tory government criticised so heavily by the UN committee.Lloyd – who was himself involved in a minor way in the discussions that led to the DDA – told DNS after the debate: “John Major was crucial to the DDA.“I think he would be appalled at this government’s record on disability.“I think he would be appalled at the Conservative government being framed in such a way by a UN body, absolutely appalled.”He said that he was not sure whether he was more angered by the UK government’s “Trumpist disdain” for the “astonishing” UN report “or the fact that the UN condemns us so strongly”.And he promised to use all of the parliamentary tools at his disposal, such as early day motions, Westminster Hall debates and questions to the prime minister, to “call out” the government on its failures and “to harry them, to shame them” over their record on disability.He said: “The Tories can be shameless but I am very good at shaming people.“I know the subject and I know parliament and I think I can use it to make it very, very difficult for them.”last_img read more

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Disabled activists have criticised heavyhanded

first_imgDisabled activists have criticised “heavy-handed” police tactics at a direct action protest that blocked tram lines outside the Conservative party conference.A handful of activists from the Disabled People’s Direct Action Network (DAN) and Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) held up some Manchester city centre tram services for about 90 minutes through their spontaneous demonstration.They had been returning from taking part in the People’s Assembly anti-austerity march through the city on Sunday afternoon.But as they entered St Peter’s Square, just 100 yards from where the Conservatives were holding their annual party conference, they saw police had forced a small group of young protesters into a designated protest area.The disabled activists, including several wheelchair-users, were unable to enter this “kettled” area, which the police had designated as the zone where demonstrators were allowed to protest lawfully against the Conservative conference.Faced with nowhere to protest peacefully about the impact of Tory austerity policies on disabled people, and angry at the way the young protesters were being treated, about half a dozen DAN and DPAC activists decided to block two of the tram lines that run through the city centre.After a 90-minute stand-off (pictured), in which they were joined by other protesters, and city centre trams were unable to pass through St Peter’s Square, police officers arrested activists Dennis Queen and Sharon Hooley, both wheelchair-users.Both activists were eventually carried away from the site of the protest in their wheelchairs by police officers.Although Hooley was cautioned for wilful obstruction of the highway and released, Queen was charged with creating a public nuisance, and is due to appear before Manchester magistrates on 17 October.Although she was released on bail, she has been banned from entering Manchester city centre.Terry Hutt, an 82-year-old veteran DAN activist, showed Disability News Service (DNS) the purple bruises he said he received on his arm from being grabbed by a police officer during the protest.He sat on his walking stick on one of the tram lines during the protest, and said: “If they can push me around, they can push anybody around.“It’s sad to have to fight for your rights.”Hooley told DNS after the protest that they had decided to act after seeing the situation between the police and the young protesters “heating up”.She said: “You just knew at some point they would wind them up enough so they would use more force and it was getting dangerous. We just had to do something.“That’s when we all agreed that the only way to get their attention was to stop the trams till they would let them go.“I didn’t expect it to take two hours, though. I had never been arrested on a protest but my heart told me it was the right thing to do.“I and we could not stand by and see the bullying behaviour of our police force and let them get away with it.”She said the officer who spoke to her had been “lovely” and that she had explained to her that “I had to do this, to free those young protesters, and to show we would not leave them behind in the right to protest freely and peacefully.“The officer actually asked me possibly eight times if I would move but each time I stood my ground.”When the officer began reading her rights to her, “the noise suddenly got horrendously loud and I realised I was surrounded by officers.“I was scared beyond belief and curled over my dog, who was also shaking with fear.“Next thing I’m carried off to another pavement and I was asked to drive my chair to a quieter corner.“I didn’t experience what my friends did, but I hope those responsible will be reprimanded for their heavy-handedness.”Hooley volunteers as an advocate for other disabled people and said she had “seen and dealt with some horrific stories that they have had to endure” as a result of government austerity policies.She said she had wanted to take part in the march to protest about her experiences of “this Tory hatred that is poisoning our society, our streets and our homes.“We are going back to Victorian times and I had to be counted in solidarity to all those fighting.”Another activist, Sam Brackenbury, said he had been protesting about the deaths of countless disabled people from years of Tory welfare reform, including a close personal friend of his who had died of a heart attack just eight days after being “kicked off ESA [employment and support allowance]”.He said he was also angry about the policing costs and road closures the city had had to endure for the conference to take place.At one point in the action, he and fellow activist Chris Hughes were completely surrounded by a cordon of police officers.Asked for his message to Tory party members at the conference, he said later: “Be honest about what you are doing. You are killing people indirectly, your policies are killing people.“Rather than slagging off Jeremy Corbyn, which is all they seem capable of doing, why not come out and face the disabled people they are putting in poverty and killing.“Have a bit of decency and guts rather than hiding behind the cordon.”Hughes said officers had been “heavy handed”, were “throwing their weight around”, and had drafted in police horses, with three horses at one point in front of him and Brackenbury, both of whom are wheelchair-users.He said he had wanted to draw attention to the way the Tory government has been “killing off disabled people”, and the issues raised in August’s report by the UN committee on the rights of persons with disabilities, which told the UK government to make more than 80 improvements to the ways its laws and policies affect disabled people’s human rights.He said disabled people’s rights had taken a 15-year step backwards in the last five years, while the social care system had “gone to pot”.Hughes said he hoped the protest would help prevent the Conservative conference from returning to Manchester in future years.Another of the activists who was at the protest said: “If we can’t protest lawfully, we will protest somehow.“If that is what it takes to draw attention to the issues, it is a small thing.“This government is committing grave and systematic violations of disabled people’s human rights.“Maybe Manchester will think again before allowing the Tories back here.”A spokeswoman for Greater Manchester police said in a statement: “Our officers tried everything possible to reason with protestors who were blocking tram lines out of Manchester city centre causing major disruption across the network and having a significant impact on the travelling public across Greater Manchester.“A number of the protestors voluntarily moved but others remained with no regard for the impact their actions were having on others or the potentially dangerous situation they were creating on a live tram line.“With the right to protest also comes a high degree of personal responsibility.“Our officers had no option but to arrest these individuals and used reasonable force to move them in a safe manner for everyone involved.”But Hughes said that the force used by officers “was not reasonable, it was unreasonable”.last_img read more

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A national network of mental health serviceusers

first_imgA national network of mental health service-users, survivors and activists is facing closure next month if it cannot secure new funding, after becoming the latest victim of competition from large, non-user-led charities and private sector organisations.The threat to the future of the National Survivor User Network (NSUN), which was established in 2009, comes only a year after it warned that more than a quarter of its member organisations had been forced to close in just two years.NSUN research reported last March that 221 of its 822 members – most of them user-led groups and all of them smaller, voluntary sector mental health groups in England – had closed since January 2015.It warned that many of the groups had lost out to large mental health charities and private sector organisations that had been “sweeping up” their contracts to promote user-involvement or provide advocacy or peer support.Now NSUN is facing the threat of closure itself at the end of June, after funding problems had already led to it closing its office and becoming a “virtual” organisation in December.Sarah Yiannoullou, NSUN’s managing director, said her organisation had been facing a “hostile” environment when it was seeking new contracts.Much of the user-involvement and engagement work that user-led organisations had established and lobbied for had now gone to non-user-led charities and private sector organisations, she said.One example was in north-west London, where NSUN secured a contract to run a user-led project that would feed into the NHS transformation programme.But after 18 months the contract was retendered and went instead to an alliance of local Mind charities.A year later it was retendered again, with the contract won by the national mental health charity Rethink.Once they win contracts, larger organisations often ask NSUN to help with their grassroots work, she said, offering just “small pots of money” in return.Their appeals for help are “rather ad hoc and normally last minute when those companies and organisations realise that they can’t reach the communities that they set out to reach”, she said.Yiannoullou called for these larger organisations to acknowledge “how some of these business practices affect others”.She said they needed to show some “ethical principles” in their business approaches, “potentially looking to work in partnership with user-led groups in areas where they are going for contracts rather than going for those contracts in competition against user-led groups.“[It is] a call to providers across the sector to at least have a principle in their approach.”She said: “The larger charities are getting larger and the smaller ones [like NSUN] are getting smaller or disappearing.”And she said that NSUN had at least had some “support and encouraging messages” from larger non-user-led organisations, with a recognition that “some of their business strategies are maybe inadvertently unhelpful”.She said: “If we don’t pull something out of the bag the longer-term outcome is not great for us.”Yiannoullou said NSUN showed that “people are able to do things for themselves, and that the direct and independent and collective voice of experience is absolutely crucial because there isn’t any other [NSUN] organisational agenda other than having that direct voice.“For us it is about bridging that gap between the rhetoric and the reality, [saying] this is how it is for people, being able to give timely and very current and real experiences that cut into the policy rhetoric.“Quite often individual contributions have been dismissed as minority views when in fact having that collective we can demonstrate that this isn’t the minority view.”NSUN’s acting chair, Dr Sarah Carr, warns in a letter to members this week that NSUN is “experiencing the difficulties many service user and community organisations are facing in the context of austerity and an increasingly competitive sector”.She says in the letter: “We maintain the strong belief that as a uniquely diverse network of service users, survivors and activists, we are a force to be reckoned with.“So, guided by our core belief that ‘together we are stronger’, among other things, we are exploring all possible options, including talking to funders past and present, looking at our organisational model and exploring partnerships and back office sharing options with other organisations.”She adds: “Closure is not a decision we want to make but we need to be honest with you about the possibility in case that is the decision the Board are forced to make.”Picture: A  speaker at the 2017 NSUN agmlast_img read more

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Sign up to LabourLists morning email for everythi

first_imgSign up to LabourList’s morning email for everything Labour, every weekday morning.“As Prime Minister, I am not prepared to delay Brexit any further than 30th June.” Remember that? Those were the words spoken by Theresa May at Prime Minister’s Questions on March 20th, just three weeks ago. I know because I wrote them down. But of course, that was just one in a very, very, very long line of bare-faced lies. In the early hours of this morning, she accepted the EU’s latest proposal of a six-month extension to Article 50, delaying Brexit until October 31st. Yes, on Halloween, because this whole process had to become even more farcical.Rather than show some humility, shift her red lines, make a real offer to step down, or do literally anything that might be expected from a reasonable person at this point, May is still blaming MPs who won’t vote for her deal. The EU has warned us not to waste this extra time, yet that is precisely what looks most likely. The appearances of John McDonnell and Jeremy Hunt on ITV’s Peston last night made clear that neither side is positive about the prospect of reaching agreement, and certainly not before May 22nd (as the PM still claims is possible).Call it ambiguity or indecision if you like, the fact that Labour is genuinely ready to compromise should be recognised and applauded. The leadership is only ruling out no deal (now averted on Friday) and May’s deal in its current form; it would accept a softer deal, a general election or another referendum. Labour backbenchers intent on approving only a public vote were uncompromising in the indicative votes process, much to my personal frustration, but there are no two ways about it: the deadlock is due to this government, which is no longer functioning.Recent polls have shown an increase in support for Labour, now at 40%, and the Tories are terrified of entering a general election without having delivered on the 2016 referendum result. Unfortunately, their self-awareness makes it even less likely that an early vote can take place, and the DUP won’t withdraw support unless a (backstop) deal passes. Pressure for May to go will rise, as many Tory MPs have already publicly said. It is unclear, though, how they can oust her. Whatever happens, it’s not unjustified for those of us in Labour to watch the Conservative Party tear itself apart even more ferociously over the next few weeks and months.There are upsides for Labour in all scenarios: either the government compromises, ta-da we have our version of Brexit and the Tories split further; or it doesn’t, European elections (that we’re set to do well in) are held, the Conservatives implode whether May clings on or not. Most importantly of all, a long extension means Easter recess is on! Like everyone in Westminster, I am incredibly grateful. The LabourList morning email will pause from today and return when MPs are back on 23rd April. We’ll still be publishing comment pieces and essential news stories, so keep visiting the site.Sign up to LabourList’s morning email for everything Labour, every weekday morning.Tags:Labour /Brexit /Article 50 extension /last_img read more

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SFs Coalition on Homelessness celebrates Day of the Dead

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SAINTS have teamed up with Arriva to make supporti

first_imgSAINTS have teamed up with Arriva to make supporting your club even easier.For just £1.50 (single fare), Season Ticket Holders can travel to St Helens Bus Station on the routes below on matchday only.All you need to do is show your season ticket to the driver and you can access the great rate… it’s then just a short walk over the Saints Way to Langtree Park!“We are delighted to continue our partnership with Arriva,” Saints Marketing Manager Mark Onion said. “Not only do we have five branded buses on prime routes around the town but now we can offer fans great value on travelling to Langtree Park.”Rob Cheveaux, general manager, Arriva St Helens, added: “As a local business, Arriva St Helens is proud to be associated with the Saints, and the buses are a great way to show our support for the team. “The buses are well known in the area and this year we feature four first-class players, and a special ‘legends’ bus – see if you can spot them all!”Bus Routes:Ashton Town Centre 320 – 620Billinge Stork Inn or Makins Corner 352Bradlegh Road 20Broadway 37Brookbridge M57 10 & 10ABulls Head, Newton Le Willows. 34Cable Way Prescot 89Chain Lane 36 – 36AClinkham Wood 32 – 32AClock Face 32ADownall Green 156Earlestown 20 & 34Four Acre Lane 32 – 33 – 33AGillars Green 35 Haydock 20 – 320 & 620Haydock Ind Est. 920Parr 31 & Parr Moss House 329Rainford 38 – 356St Helens Junction 35 – 920Sutton Heath 33 – 33ASutton Manor 32 – 33 – 33A – 920Wilmere House 33ATo find out more log on to www.arrivabus.co.uklast_img read more

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SAINTS finally ended their Wigan hoodoo with a thr

first_imgSAINTS finally ended their Wigan hoodoo with a thrilling 26-18 victory at the DW Stadium.Tony Puletua was electric throughout as he laid on three tries and put in a massive defensive effort to secure third place in the Stobart Super League.It was the perfect way to end an eventful season and sent out a message to the rest of the competition that they aren’t done yet.A real barnstormer of a first half saw Saints lead 12-6 and Wigan down to 12 men.Mike Rush’s side were on top when Thomas Leuluai slid through the defence against the run of play – before a moment of madness from Michael McIlorum earned him a red card.The international hooker flew out of the line to flatten Anthony Laffranchi late and high and was understandably given his marching orders.It took Saints a little time to regroup – even after their good start and man advantage – but they did through James Roby.Tommy Makinson then put Saints ahead following Michael Shenton’s fine pass.In the second half, Pat Richards pulled Wigan level and cranked up the crowd noise.But after a couple of dodgy moments Saints got back in the lead – Tony Puletua’s run and offload seeing Dixon though.Josh Jones then benefitted from another TP offload and the big man was involved again as Lomax sidestepped Sam Tomkins and sealed the win.In a game that most pundits had as a “dead rubber” both sides named very strong line-ups. For Saints Joe Greenwood came in for the injured Sia Soliola whilst Michael Shenton returned in the centres.Gil Dudson was named on the bench for the Warriors and Stuart Fielden made his first start for 18 months.Saints started strongly with Josh Perry putting in a barnstorming run before Francis Meli marched his side down the field with a fine kick return.Lance Hohaia and Anthony Laffranchi also went close too.Saints then had a real chance after Sam Tomkins panicked following a Wilkin chip – Josh Charnley forcing the ball dead for a drop out – but they couldn’t unlock the defence.And after such a good start it was a hammer blow when Wigan scored first; Thomas Leuluai getting on the end of a good run and ghosting through the defence.Pat Richards adding the coolest of extras from close to the touchline.But moments later Michael McIlorum was sent off for a late and high challenge that floored Anthony Laffranchi.And from the replay he can have no complaints.Saints were buoyant and had wave after wave of attack on the Wigan line. Lomax went close but composure was lacking on a number of other occasions.But they finally did click in the 24th minute when Lomax’s jinking run was bettered by TP.The big man marched towards the line and then offloaded to Roby who made no mistake.Moments later another high ball caused mayhem and after a knock on and scrum, the ball came right and Michael Shenton slipped in Tommy Makinson for a wonderful try.And to compound matters he banged the conversion off the touchline.With two minutes to go Saints kicked out on the full on the last tackle and put themselves under immense pressure.And it took the sharpness of Francis Meli to make sure the Warriors coming right back into it.Saints then defended another drop out and protected their vital advantage heading into the break.Wigan had the better of the early stages of the second 40 and were rewarded when Richards squeezed over in the corner after just four minutes.He then goaled from the touchline to give Saints a massive wake-up call.And it was one they almost didn’t heed as after having the ball in the Warriors’ half it was inexplicably was given back to Wigan and they nearly scored.In fact the Warriors were playing the better footy and continuously penning Saints back.Like in the first half though, Saints scored against the run of play. Makinson flicked a ball back and Wilkin recycled it to TP who made a superb run and offload to send Andy Dixon over.Makinson crucially missing the extras – but he did make up for that error by producing a try saving effort on Richards with 14 to go.Perhaps that defensive stint did Saints the world of good as in their next foray into the Wigan half Puletua offloaded once again and Josh Jones flew in.Minutes later, TP broke again, flipped the ball to Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook who got it inside to Lomax.The young half back then stepped Tomkins for a superb score.Wigan did get on the scoreboard at the death through Sam Tomkins, but it was Saints day – and their fans did the Poznan.Match Summary:Warriors:Tries: Leuluai, Richards, TomkinsGoals: Richards (3 from 3)Saints:Tries: Roby, Makinson, Dixon, Jones, LomaxGoals: Makinson (3 from 5)Penalties:Warriors: 11Saints: 8HT: 12-6FT: 26-18REF: James ChildATT: 21922Teams:Warriors:1. Sam Tomkins; 2. Josh Charnley, 3. Darrell Goulding, 4. George Carmont, 5. Pat Richards; 6. Brett Finch, 7. Thomas Leuluai; 15. Stuart Fielden, 9. Michael McIlorum, 14. Jeff Lima, 11. Harrison Hansen, 12. Gareth Hock, 13. Sean O’Loughlin.Subs: 10. Lee Mossop, 16. Liam Farrell, 22. Gil Dudson, 23. Ben Flower.Saints:1. Paul Wellens; 21. Tommy Makinson, 3. Michael Shenton, 26. Josh Jones, 5. Francis Meli; 6. Lance Hohaia, 7. Jonny Lomax; 8. Josh Perry, 9. James Roby, 14. Anthony Laffranchi, 11. Tony Puletua, 15. Mark Flanagan, 12. Jon Wilkin.Subs: 10. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 16. Paul Clough, 19. Andy Dixon, 28. Joe Greenwood.last_img read more

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CFPUA hires new information officer to end contract with PR firm over

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) –  The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority has a new public information officer.It’s a job that’s been empty as the utility has dealt with the fallout over GenX in the water supply.- Advertisement – The CFPUA parted ways with PIO Mike McGill last April before GenX hit the headlines.“There is a regular public information function within the company we have not had a person to devote their time to that,” says councilman Kevin O’Grady who also serves on the CFPUA board.On August 21, Peg Hall Williams has been hired on to handle informing the public of what the authority is doing.Related Article: Boil water advisory issued, stretch of Wrightsville Ave. closed after water main break“Is it enough under control now that we can just go with the PIO or do we still need the outside firm,” says O’Grady.We took that question to the authority’s executive director.“We have a meeting next week to move all of the information from the consulting firm over to our staff and we’ll take it from here,” says Jim Flechtner.That does not mean the authority will save any money. They paid the Raleigh PR firm Eckel and Vaughn more than $65,000 since GenX news came out in June.“They helped us reach out to our customers get the proper message to them so that they were up to speed with everything that was happening and it was very important to have that at the time and we are grateful for the work they provided and we got a good value for it,” says Flechtner.Williams comes from a communications job in Greensboro. She’ll make $85,000 a year in the role, $15,000 less than what McGill was reportedly making. The authority made no formal announcement of her hiring.We were also not able to sit down with her yet Flecthner says that’s because she is working on Irma relief efforts the authority is a part of.last_img read more

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St Mary Catholic students celebrate Mardi Gras with parade

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It’s Mardi Gras! Students at St. Mary Catholic School in Wilmington celebrated the last day before Lent with one of their most anticipated traditions.The students marched along the downtown Wilmington campus, with some wearing Mardi Gras-themed costumes and beads to mark the occasion. Some parents and teachers joined them for the parade.- Advertisement – It ended with the students getting thrown beads from the second floor of the convent building, just like you’d see on Bourbon Street in New Orleans.St. Mary’s principal, Joyce Price, says this is one of the events students circle on their calendars every year.“They look forward to this because every year, our middle schoolers come in, laden in the morning with all the bead collections that they’ve had over the years and we know it means something to them. So it’s been awesome,” said Price.Related Article: Oak Island celebrates Mardi Gras SaturdayLent begins tomorrow with Ash Wednesday. It continues for about six weeks leading up to Easter Sunday, which falls on April 1 this year.last_img read more

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