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Monthly Archive: July 2019

Disabled voters have told a minister what he shoul

first_imgDisabled voters have told a minister what he should do to make it easier for them to take part in the democratic process.Disabled service-users and representatives of three Brighton charities met Chris Skidmore, the minister for the constitution, when he visited them this week as part of an ongoing national tour.The three charities, Brighton Housing Trust, which deals with housing, homelessness, substance misuse and mental health issues; Blind Veterans UK; and the advocacy charity Brighton and Hove Speakout, have all worked to improve disabled people’s participation in the democratic process.Skidmore (pictured) was visiting Brighton as part of his Every Voice Matters tour, which is aimed at helping tackle barriers to voter registration, and is part of the development of his democratic engagement strategy.A spokeswoman for Skidmore said the strategy would “set out how the government will make our democracy as inclusive as possible”.One of the disabled campaigners the minister met was Rohan Lowe, a trustee of Brighton and Hove Speakout, and a participant in the charity’s Being Heard in Government project, which aims to ensure people with learning difficulties are more involved in democracy.He and his colleagues stressed the importance of political parties producing accessible election manifestos.He said they also told the minister how election candidates frequently use “jargon”, and how support workers often tell the person they are supposed to be supporting how to vote.Lowe also told the minister how he had asked a question at a Brighton and Hove City Council public meeting, but had found it difficult to respond when asked if he wanted to ask a “supplementary question”.He told Disability News Service that he and his colleagues had been “quite impressed” by what Skidmore told them, and that the minister had promised that communities and local government secretary Sajid Javid would respond to recommendations made in the group’s report on accessing democracy.Asked how important it was to ensure people with learning difficulties had access to the democratic process, Lowe said: “It is very important, because the decisions that are made affects them directly.“It is their services that will be or are affected by decisions that are being made.”Skidmore also met with residents and staff at Blind Veterans UK’s Brighton Centre, which has worked with the city council to improve access to voting.Sharman Collins, the centre’s social worker, said the centre – which has 32 permanent residents but also offers respite and holiday facilities, training and rehabilitation – had “quite a good record” of enabling residents to vote and worked “quite closely with the council to make sure that happens”.One positive development nationally, she said, was the introduction of a waiver form which means voters whose signature has changed over time – like many of the centre’s residents – do not now need to sign the form applying to vote by post or to allow someone to vote on their behalf.But she said the minister had been told by residents of the need for more accessible information at election time and for more visits from parliamentary candidates to services such as the Brighton Centre during election campaigns.She praised the minister for “listening” during his visit, but added: “He was really open to people’s views but he didn’t really give us his vision of where things were going to go in the future.”Skidmore said the visits had helped him “understand how we can support vulnerable people to ensure that ours is a democracy that everyone can participate in.“Nearly three million applications to register to vote were received online between 18 April and 22 May but there are still under-represented groups we can improve the processes for.“Regardless of who you are, or how you vote, every voice matters and we encourage you to register to vote.”last_img read more

Changes that mean some sick and disabled benefit c

first_imgChanges that mean some sick and disabled benefit claimants will no longer need to face repeated assessments of their capability for work are “meaningless” because the government has refused to say which people will be affected, say campaigners.The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) announced last week, on the eve of the Conservative party conference in Manchester, that some claimants in the support group of employment and support allowance (ESA) – and the equivalent universal credit group – would no longer need to attend “routine reassessments”.They will be told they will not be assessed again after they have received the results of their work capability assessment (WCA), which tests eligibility for fitness for work.DWP said the change applies to those with “a severe, lifelong disability, illness or health condition” who are “unlikely to ever be able to move into work”.It was first announced by the then work and pensions secretary Damian Green at last year’s party conference, and has now finally been implemented, but DWP refused to say this week which claimants would be spared reassessments.David Gauke, the new work and pensions secretary, told the conference that the government would “support those who are unable to work, while helping those who can work to maximise their potential”.He said that about twice as many people were expected to benefit from the rule change as ministers had originally expected.But asked by Disability News Service what the eligibility criteria were for the new exemption, a DWP spokesman said: “I’m not in a position to share the information you’ve requested. However, more details will be released shortly.”He added later: “I’m afraid that I can’t elaborate. However, I can reassure you that people going through their assessments will be made aware of the changes and the fact a new criteria will be used.”A Conservative party spokesman had failed to comment by noon today (Thursday) on the refusal to describe which groups would be spared reassessments.Ellen Clifford (pictured, right, speaking at last week’s Labour conference), a member of the national steering group of Disabled People Against Cuts, said: “Without any information on who will be spared reassessment, this announcement means absolutely nothing.“Sadly, we can’t trust that everyone with an impairment where their support needs are not going to reduce will benefit from this, and without further detail on the exemptions we are unable to gauge how far this measure will mitigate the current harm that the benefit assessment regime is causing.“The fact that for the second year running, the Conservatives have chosen to trail their conference with an announcement on disability does indicate that they are feeling the pressure of their appalling record on disability.“That’s a pressure we need to maintain if we are to secure meaningful reversals on the issues that are hurting disabled people the most.”Disabled researcher Stef Benstead, a member of the Spartacus online network, said: “It is useless without any more information because we do need to know exactly who they are referring to.“I do not believe they are going to stop reassessing me because I have a severe lifelong condition.”She said she believed that the rule change would only affect those ESA claimants who were already not being called for reassessments because DWP did not have the capacity in the system to deal with them.Benstead said that Gauke’s claim that the new rules would help twice as many people as originally thought showed that DWP should be able to say who will be affected.She said: “It does suggest they have a defined group in mind.“They must have some internal definition or description of who they think it will affect, and if they have got that they should be telling us because we are the ones who actually live with chronic illness or disability who could inform them on how sensitive and specific their definition is.”Meanwhile, the minister for disabled people, Penny Mordaunt, does not appear to have spoken at any event at the conference that was open to the media, and only spoke at a private roundtable event.Her office also failed to respond to a request for a conference interview with DNS.Mordaunt’s silence, and refusal to speak in public at the conference, comes just weeks after the UN’s committee on the rights of persons with disabilities told the UK government to make more than 80 improvements to the ways its laws and policies affect disabled people’s human rights.The committee also told the government to produce an annual progress report on how it is implementing the recommendations of a damning inquiry that found it guilty of “grave and systematic violations” of key parts of the disability convention, caused by its social security reforms.A Tory party spokeswoman had not commented by noon today (Thursday) on why Mordaunt was not speaking at any public fringe events.last_img read more

More Complaints Arise About SF Cop Involved in Two Fatal Shootings

first_imgIf you want great reporting to continue from Mission Local, don’t wait, join us today. A police officer involved in the fatal shooting of a mentally ill man at Stern Grove in October was also one of the officers who pulled the trigger on Alex Nieto in 2014, according to police.After police released this information last week, organizers who work with at-risk youth came forward and told Mission Local that they had raised concerns of brutality and misconduct about the same officer after a 2009 incident.“Imagine if someone would have listened to the kids who filled out the appropriate form and followed the process to report a bad apple,” said youth advocate Nancy Pili Hernandez, who helped to document testimonials of harassment from teens in the Excelsior and other neighborhoods against the officer.Officer Nathan Chew was identified last week as one of two police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Nicolas McWherter this month. The shooting comes some seven months after he and three other officers were cleared of misconduct in a civil trial for the shooting of Nieto. Parks alleged that Chew body-slammed the boy and his girlfriend – both of whom she says were unarmed – shocking the youth workers and the bystanders, among them seniors and families. It is unclear if the couple was injured. “This guy’s younger brother is running towards the police officers like, ‘Get the hell off my brother,’” said Parks.Officer Carlos Manfredi, the police department’s public information officer, said that if Chew and the other officer responded to a call for service that involved suspicion of a gun, the officers would have acted within protocol by entering the community center with their guns drawn.“If the call was that there is a person with a gun, it would not have been uncommon for the officer to respond with a gun,” said Manfredi. “Whether it’s a youth or an adult, officers have the right to protect themselves and the people around, and take safety precautions when there is a gun involved.”Nikki Hatfield now heads Movements, an after school program that gives young people the tools to document issues in their communities and was formed as a direct result of that 2009 incident, which she said she witnessed. Hatfield was a teenager then and participating in the Excelsior Community Center’s youth programming. She said that the teen “definitely did not have a gun.”Hatfield said she remembers the incident as somewhat of a “bad dream.”“I was at pantry and we were handing out food to the community – I remember a sudden flash running by, I didn’t see the person,” said Hatfield. “But then I did see the officer coming in, and I remember [Nina Parks] running.”Hatfield said the teenager was African American and a few years older than her – she also said that she saw police officers chasing the teen into the streets where he was then tackled. Hatfield could not confirm that the officer who tackled the teen was Chew, but said that the incident was traumatizing for those who witnessed it.“He’s in middle of street, outside of the center. It’s a huge intersection and all directions of traffic were stopped,” said Hatfield. “His pants were down. His girlfriend was trying to help him in some way, then she was grabbed too.”Even then, Hatfield said she found it problematic that the officers refused dialogue with the youth workers and community center’s staff.“I remember her saying ‘Work with me, he’s my youth,’” said Hatfield, referring to Parks. “And them being like ‘No, this something totally separate.’”After the incident, Parks said that the youth coordinators filed a complaint against Chew with the Office of Citizen’s Complaints, but that “nothing ever came of it.” Joyce Hicks, executive director of the that office, said that complaints against officers are confidential and only available as statistics. Changing police and youth relationsAiled Paningbatan-Swan, director of community engagement at the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center, oversaw the youth program and food pantry at the Excelsior Community Center in 2010 and said that while the police chase between Chew and the teen was the tipping point, relations between the Excelsior’s youth and officers’ had been tense for some time.“They [the youth] were hanging out in front of the Excelsior Community Center, they would hang out before and post food pantry activities,” she said. “That’s when the police started harassing them and asking what they are doing out there.”Paningbatan-Swan said that following the incident, the center changed its open-door policy –  locking its doors permanently to prevent youth from congregating outside. “That really led to the decline of some of the youth hanging out in front of our center,” she said. “Our youth felt stuck in the building. We didn’t want them to get harassed, so we needed to something about it.”At a youth summit after the incident, many local youth stepped forward to share their experiences – often negative – with police, said Pili Hernandez, the youth advocate, who was a teacher at June Jordan High School in the Excelsior “at the time when [the youth coordinators] filed paperwork against Nathan Chew.”“They wanted to explain how they felt they were unjustly targeted by Chew and how they felt that he was a threat to them and violent,” she said, adding that the teens also described Chew entering the center that day with his gun drawn.Youth, including Hatfield, who became involved with Movements, also rallied for change at City Hall. They testified about their experiences with police in front of the police commission.For some two years, youth workers such as Paningbatan-Swan and youth representatives met with members of the Youth Commission, Police Commission, police officials and city leaders to draft a new community policing general order, with specific components focusing on interactions with youth. They were supported in their effort by Mission Supervisor David Campos’ office, whose Chief of Staff, Hillary Ronen, worked to involve other neighborhood groups in defining the terms of community policing based on community and youth needs.Ronen said that Campos’ office was able to help pass an ordinance on community policing that led the police department to adapt a revision to general order on community policing in September 2011.While some progress has been made – Paningbatan-Swan said that she now often gets calls from Ingleside police station before officers respond to calls involving youth in her community – many of the youth advocates involved in the approval process of the general order on community policing wonder how much of what they fought for is being implemented.“The city doesn’t have a good record of being able to enforce the general order,” said Parks. “If an officer like Chew has gotten several complaints, is involved in two different shootings and is never reprimanded, why would these young people feel the need to respect or follow the way this system runs?” Tags: alex nieto • community • David Campos • police • police shooting • youth Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0%center_img In Nieto’s case, Chew and the other officers testified in front of a jury in March that they shot at the 28-year-old man 59 times in Bernal Heights Park in March 2014. The officers said they feared for their lives when Nieto seemingly pointed a gun at them. But Nieto was a licensed security guard, and what they had perceived as a gun was in actuality a taser. Nieto had fired the taser twice during the time the officers fired at him, evidence presented at the trial showed.Chew, who has been with the police department for nine years, was one of two officers responding to that shooting as backup. During trial, Chew provided contradicting testimony as to whether Nieto was standing or on the ground when he arrived on scene, according to advocates for Nieto.In the most recent shooting, Chew and another officer were reportedly off-duty and not wearing their mandated body cameras when they shot McWherter after he allegedly opened fire at another officer, striking him in the head.Chew was assigned to patrol prior to the shooting, according to a spokesperson for the department, and remains off duty, as is protocol following an officer-involved shooting.On hearing of Chew’s involvement in the recent police shooting near Stern Grove, youth advocates have stepped forward to detail their experiences with Chew. These experiences, they said, were reported at the time to the Police Commission and the Youth Commission. According to Nina Parks, a former youth coordinator at the Excelsior Community Center, Chew was on foot patrol one day in early 2009 and barged into the center along with another officer. The pair was chasing a teen who had entered the center and whom they had sought out for questioning, said Parks.“They were trying to intersect with one of our youth who had been standing outside of the center for most of the day – but when they chose to interact with him, he was inside the center,” said Parks, who witnessed the interaction, adding that it took place as youth were serving families through the center’s food pantry program. Parks said that Chew and the other officer then “pulled guns on him” and violently subdued the teen and his girlfriend after chasing him into an intersection outside of the center.“They pushed past me and my co-workers and a line of elders who had lined up [for the food pantry],” said Parks, adding that she and others tried to intervene when the officers chased the teen into a busy intersection in front the center at Mission Street and Excelsior Avenue, stopping traffic with some “eight police cars.”“The kids’ baggy pants were down to his ankles, and his girlfriend was trying to pull up his pants,” remembered Parks. “When his girlfriend tried to do that, they tackled her onto her stomach.” 0%last_img read more

MEET The Tourists continues with numbers 16 to 20

first_imgMEET The Tourists continues with numbers 16 to 20.16. Elliott Jenkins – Scrum Half from Thatto Heath Crusaders and Wade Deacon High SchoolHe is sponsored by St Michael’s Primary School and Darren Tyrer HairdressingPrevious Number 16’s:2004 – Jonathan Platt (Orrell St James)2006 – Daniel Leach (Blackbrook)2009 – Josh Jones (Chorley Panthers & Blackbrook)2011 – Greg Richards (Barrow Island)2013 – Ross McCauley (Bold Miners)17. Matthew Kilgannon – Second Row from Thatto Heath Crusaders and De la SalleHe is sponsored by 3D Electrical Supplies Ltd, Anthony’s Motor Services Ltd, A Team Electrical Contractors, Kay Welding Supplies Ltd, Allfast Ltd, Ramsay Transport and Matack JoineryPrevious Number 17’s:2004 – Nick Reddyoff (Higginshaw)2006 – Owen Livesey (Blackbrook)2009 – Ben Karalius (West Bank Bears)2011 – Tom Roughley (Pilkington Recs)2013 – Joe McLoughlin (Blackbrook)18. Matthew Lees – Prop Forward from Rochdale Mayfield and Hollingworth AcademyHe is sponsored by Rochdale Mayfield, Oldham Dental Team, Oldham Training Centre and Westminster Packaging LtdPrevious Number 18’s:2004 – Dave Roughley (Thatto Heath Crusaders)2006 – Jonny Lomax (Orrell St James)2009 – Aaron Lloyd (Haydock Warriors & Blackbrook)2011 – Andre Savelio (Latchford Albion)2013 – Ben Morris (Blackbrook)19. Jorge Lewtas – Prop Forward from Thatto Heath Crusaders and St Margaret’s AcademyPrevious Number 19’s:2004 – Andrew Stott (Thatto Heath Crusaders)2006 – Steven Lucas (Chorley Panthers)2009 – Tommy Makinson (Hindley & Wigan St Judes)2011 – Mike Scott (Bold Miners)2013 – James Nicholl (Blackbrook)20. Levy Nzoungou – Prop Forward from ToulousePrevious Number 20’s:2004 – James Walker (Blackbrook)2006 – Shaun Magennis (Blackbrook)2009 – Jordan O’Neill (Leigh East)2011 – Nathan Skupski (Thatto Heath & Portico Vine)2013 – Danny Richardson (Halton Farnworth Hornets)last_img read more

Hundreds trickortreat at UNCWs Halloween Carnival

first_img It was a successful night organizers are proud of and kids were thrilled to be a part of.“It’s just a fun and exciting way for our students to connect and engage with the community,”  UNCW Office of Student Leadership and Engagement Director, Jaime Russell said. “It’s a way for us to invite WIlmington on to the UNCW campus and just extend a friendly way for us to come together as a community.”Most of the kids WWAY spoke with said the games and candy were their favorite part of the night. More than 20 student organizations provided most of the fun and everyone was dressed to impress.Related Article: Cacok named to All-District 10 team for third timeLast year at least 800 kids and parents attended the Halloween Carnival, but Russell said this year may be the biggest. WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Hundreds of kids and parents came out to enjoy UNCW’s 19th annual Halloween Carnival Wednesday night at the Trask Coliseum. The excited trick-or-treaters got a jump start on Halloween activities.The carnival had more than just candy, there were games, crafts, dress up, face painting, and much more. The event was for kids 12 and under to have a fun and safe Halloween experience.- Advertisement – last_img read more

Carolina Beach honors local surfer with parade

first_imgTony Silvagni wins gold at world surfing competition. (Photo: Tony Silvagni) CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) — The Town of Carolina Beach will honor one of its residents with a parade this weekend after winning a world title in surfing with Team USA earlier this year.Carolina Beach native Tony Silvagni is a well-known name not only on Pleasure Island but across the world-wide surfing community.- Advertisement – Silvagni, along with three other members of Team USA, won gold at the 2018 ISA World Longboard Surfing Championship at Riyue Bay in Hainan, China. Silvagni owns a surf school in Carolina Beach.The event is Saturday, March 24 at 5 p.m. The parade starts on 4th St. and Cape Fear Blvd. and will travel directly towards the Carolina Beach Boardwalk Gazebo.There will be live music and a 15 minute surf movie filmed by Craig Vaccaro will air following the parade.last_img read more

WPD needs help identifying burglar

first_imgBurglary Suspect (photo: Wilmington Police Dept.) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) —  Wilmington Police are searching for the man who broke into a store last week.It happened April 16 at Farmers Supply Co. on Oleander Drive.- Advertisement – Officer responded that morning after employees discovered the store had been broken into.Employees said money, the company truck, which is a white Ford F-250 with Farms Supply written on the sides, a cordless drill and charger, and a backpack leaf blower had been taken.The suspect is wanted for breaking & entering of a business, larceny after breaking & entering, motor vehicle theft and credit card fraud.Related Article: Two more arrested in election fraud investigationIf you recognize this man, contact Wilmington Police at (910)  343-3600 or use Text A Tip.last_img read more

Whats next for Red Dogs in Wrightsville Beach

first_imgRed Dogs in Wrightsville Beach (Photo: WWAY) WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) — Red Dogs, a popular bar in Wrightsville Beach, is still closed because of what state Alcohol Law Enforcement calls a “violation.”Jimmy Gilleece, who own’s “Jimmy’s” in the unit below Red Dogs, took over from the previous long time owner in December 2016.- Advertisement – When Gilleece applied for a new permit, it was denied.A manager at Jimmy’s says they went to court a month ago, but a decision was not reached.She says they were told a decision would be made within 60 days after that court date.Related Article: Teams paddle 24 hours to benefit cancer fightersRed Dogs has been closed since November 24.last_img read more

Weve got to stop this WPD Chief wants guns off the streets

first_img00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave Settings WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — There have been 25 reported shootings in Wilmington since November 10. That’s a rate of more than one a day.“It’s troubling. You know, we had a saying back in the 1960s. It was, ‘You’re either part of the solution or you’re part of the problem,’” said Jimmy Pierce, who is the Executive Director of Kids Making It.- Advertisement – Kids Making It is a program on Castle Street for at-risk youth. The organization is just four blocks from the scene of one of Sunday’s three shootings.Pierce says the violence needs to end.“Like many problems in society, it’s multifaceted and takes a lot of people working at it from a lot of different angles,” said Pierce.Related Article: More than 20 pounds of marijuana seized from Pine Valley homeWilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous says they want to get the guns off the streets.“The shootings this weekend appear to be more random in nature. They’re not tied together. But last week’s shooting, clearly there is a gang nexus to them. Clearly, they were retaliatory type shootings,” said Chief Evangelous.Chief Evangelous says they need the public’s help. Eight people have been arrested so far in connection with the shooting.Police say six people have been injured in this recent string of shootings. Nobody has died yet.“These stray bullets are going to go somewhere and someone’s going to get hurt or killed. So we’ve got to stop this. We’re committed to take these people off the street and put them in jail,” said Chief Evangelous.Evangelous says Wilmington is not immune to the culture of gun violence.“Certainly we need law enforcement we need counselors. We need mentors,” said Chief Evangelous.Pierce says everyone needs to help each other do the right thing.last_img read more

Neighbors desperate for new store one year after Wilmington supermarket burns down

first_img Some neighbors say it’s been a struggle to get their groceries for the last year.“I was standing out there watching it,” resident Sherlie Mitchell said. “It was a shock.”Last year, Mitchell watched the neighborhood supermarket burn to the ground. Now, the lot where it sat is just an empty parking lot.Related Article: Barbershop finds new home after shopping center fire“I mean, it was right down the hill and right to the market,” resident Erica Cann said. “I don’t have a car. I walk everywhere I go. When the Family Dollar shut down, that was even more of a pain, so we had to go to Dawson Street again.”It’s been a long year for Mitchell and her neighbors like Cann, who relied on Everybody’s.Cann does not have a car, so a walk to the supermarket used to take just a few minutes. Now, the closest grocery store is miles away.Neighbors have been waiting for signs of life at the vacant lot.A spokesman from Cameron Management says the company bought the land in November of 2018.“I’m hoping they just turn around and make a new supermarket or some mini-mart or something with a little more variety, compared to the Family Dollar,” Cann said. “A little bit cheaper than Tommy’s and stuff.”The company’s spokesman says they do not have any plans right now to build anything new.For Mitchell, she says it was more than just a grocery store.“It was a good place to meet friends when you go over and talk and converse with different friends that you right into, that you hadn’t seen in awhile,” Mitchell said. “It’s a great loss.”The spokesman for Cameron Management says they are still trying to figure out their next steps for the land.Most residents say they just hope to see another grocery store back in the neighborhood. WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — One year ago Thursday, Everybody’s Supermarket burned to the ground, leaving neighbors devastated.Since then, the location has remained empty. Neighbors say Everybody’s Supermarket really is missed by everybody.- Advertisement – last_img read more