Odds & Ends: Kristin Chenoweth’s Disney Showstopper & More

first_img View Comments Here’s a quick roundup of stories you may have missed today. Kristin Chenoweth’s Disney ShowstopperMore scoop on Kristin Chenoweth’s upcoming wicked (!) turn as Maleficent in Descendants, which co-stars Dove Cameron and is directed by Kenny Ortega. ET reports that Chenoweth’s gotten together with her You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown partner-in-crime, composer Andrew Lippa, to sing the number “Evil Like Me” in the Disney Channel’s telepic. Since she won a Tony for her performance Charlie Brown we can’t wait to see this new showstopper. Meanwhile, we’re more than happy to keep revisiting Chenoweth killing it in On the Twentieth Century on Broadway through July 19!Broadway Duo Team Up on Mata Hari MusicalTwo-time Tony nominee Jeff Calhoun (Newsies, Grease), is working with two-time Tony nominee Frank Wildhorn (Bonnie and Clyde, The Civil War), on a new musical about Mata Hari. The show following the notorious female spy is set to make its world premiere in South Korea in early 2016, according to The Korea Herald. The pair last collaborated together on Jekyll & Hyde…next stop Broadway?Casting Set for Hetty FeatherRoll up! Roll up! We now know who will be starring in the previously reported West End return of Jacqueline Wilson’s Hetty Feather, which features live music and aerial and circus acts. Sally Cookson directs a cast including Phoebe Thomas as Hetty Feather, Matt Costain as Jem/Matron Bottomly, Sarah Goddard as Peg/Ida, Nik Howden as Saul, Mark Kane as Gideon and Nikki Warwick as Madame Adeline. The show will play August 6 through September 7 and officially open on August 7 at the Duke of York’s TheatreGet Up Close & Personal With Your B’way FavesThe Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction will return on September 27, all in aid of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Theater fans will have the opportunity to meet Great White Way stars and take home one-of-a-kind show biz memorabilia and even bid on once-in-a-lifetime backstage experiences at the event, which will take place in Times Square, Shubert Alley and along West 44th Street from 10 AM to 7 PM. Mark your calendars now! Star Filescenter_img Kristin Chenowethlast_img read more

Continue reading

Poinsettia History

first_imgBecause of their popularity as holiday decorations, poinsettias are the best-selling potted plants in the United States. Here are some facts and history about America’s favorite houseplant: Poinsettias come in many colors, including scarlet, ivory, pink and mauve. The colorful part that we might consider the poinsettia flower is actually a collection of colored leaves called “bracts.” The plant’s true flower is the tiny, yellow bloom in the middle of the bract, called a “cyathium.”Poinsettias are not poisonous. Numerous studies have been conducted on poinsettia toxicity, and according to the “American Medical Association Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants,” other than occasional cases of vomiting, ingestion of the poinsettia plant has been found to produce no harmful effects. (Information for this list came from University of Illinois Cooperative Extension’s “Poinsettia Pages” at extension.illinois.edu/poinsettia and from the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service.) Poinsettias were initially propagated from wild plants in central Mexico. The Aztecs used the ancestral version of today’s poinsettias to dye fabric and used the plant’s sap as a remedy for fevers. The poinsettia is named for Joel Roberts Poinsett, a native of Charleston, South Carolina. A doctor, soldier and amateur botanist, he was serving as the U.S. ambassador to Mexico in 1828 when he sent the first poinsettia clippings back to gardener friends in the U.S. He went on to help found what would become the Smithsonian Institution before his death in 1851. Pennsylvania nurseryman John Bartram is credited as being the first person to sell poinsettias under their botanical name, Euphorbia pulcherrima. The plants were renamed in the mid-19th century to honor Poinsett.Greenhouse producers grew about 33.2 million poinsettias, worth about $141 million, in 2014, according the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service. California and North Carolina top the nation in poinsettia production, growing 6.7 million and 4.6 million plants per year, respectively, but Georgia growers also turn out hundreds of thousands of poinsettias each year. last_img read more

Continue reading

Judicial branch outlines its fiscal needs

first_img Judicial branch outlines its fiscal needs Judicial branch outlines its fiscal needs March 15, 2006 Regular Newscenter_img The court’s number one budget priority is pay and benefits for its employees Gary Blankenship Senior Editor The Supreme Court building and Chief Justice Barbara Pariente were both born in 1948.“The building is falling apart,” Pariente told members of the House Judiciary Appropriations Committee. “I think I’m doing better than the building.”The occasion for her comments was hearings last month before the committee as it listened to budget requests from court-system entities.While there were handouts and Power Point presentations, perhaps what was most notable was how little speakers talked numbers. Instead they dwelt on the human or practical impact of their fiscal desires for the 2006-07 budget year.Pariente was a prime example. She said many of the requests this year stemmed from the legislature’s preoccupation since 1999 with implementing Revision 7, the constitutional amendment requiring the state to take over more funding from counties of the trial courts by July 1, 2004. Other needs of the court system, she said, took a back seat while the legislature oversaw that gargantuan task, including inevitable glitch bills.One item that wound up on the back burner was the Supreme Court building, Pariente said, where the basement leaks so badly that some archival materials stored there have been damaged. Some of the windows are so old there are gaps around the frames. And the air conditioning is more than two decades old and lacks individual thermostats, so the same temperature has to be set for the entire building. Pariente said one estimate indicates the court could cut its energy bill by 30 percent by making improvements. The structure also needs security upgrades and improvements to withstand hurricanes.But as bad as the building is, Pariente said the court’s number one budget priority is pay and benefits for its employees.“The single most important item for you to consider in the entire judicial budget is the pay and classifications issues for the employees of the judicial branch,” said the chief justice. “There has not been a pay adjustment for these individuals since 1999, other than the normal cost of living increases. What we found and what caused us to do a comprehensive survey is we were losing employees to the clerks of the court, to the counties, and to other comparable agencies because we can’t pay.” Employee issues were also paramount with state attorneys and public defenders. Nineteenth Circuit State Attorney Bruce Colton, president of the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association, said priorities are better pay for medium-experience prosecutors, more staff to keep pace with new judges, and a general pay raise for all employees.Colton said the legislature a few years ago boosted the salary for starting attorneys, but never followed through on the second part to increase pay for attorneys who have garnered two, three, and four years of experience.“We’re not asking for a lot of money to compete with the private sector. We’re at least hoping we can compete with other government agencies,” Colton said. “It’s not unusual for a lawyer who has been with us four years to come to us to say, ‘I’m leaving, I can’t afford to stay with you. I’ve got student loans coming due. I’ve got a family.’”As for staffing, Colton said state attorneys need four assistant state attorneys, plus additional support staff, for each new criminal judgeship. Last year, prosecutors got one per judge and 66 new trial judges are expected to be approved this year, with up to half handling criminal dockets.Eighth Circuit Public Defender Rick Parker, president-elect of the Florida Public Defender Association, echoed those problems. He said the combination of high caseloads (an average of more than 600 per attorney) and low pay leads to high turnover.He also said an ever-increasing number of 3.850 and 3.851 appeals (on ineffective assistance of counsel and collateral issues) is increasing the workload for defenders and prosecutors.“They are enormously time-consuming and they are almost never successful, but they are part of the system we have to deal with,” Parker said.He attributed the increase in the motions to longer mandatory sentences, inmates being required to serve 85 percent of their sentences, and the high workload for public defenders. While PDs are doing a good job handling cases, the crushing workload doesn’t leave much time to meet with clients, he said.Parker also reported that because of increasing caseloads, only about 1.5 percent of all cases filed actually go to trial, down from 3 percent a few years ago.“The pressure is on everybody to make these cases move [with plea bargains],” Parker said. “That’s great for my guilty guys, not so great for my innocent guys.”Perhaps one of the most challenging presentations was for Second Circuit Chief Judge Charles Francis, chair of the legislature’s Article V Tech Board. Francis had to present, in an understandable way, the recommendations of the board, which is charged with finding a way to link together computer systems throughout the state that have a role in the court system. That includes the courts, law enforcement, prosecutors, public defenders, juvenile justice, court clerks, and others.The board’s main recommendations, Francis reported, include making the board permanent, with a permanent, professional staff to oversee minimum standards for the various involved agencies.The board would administer the implementation of software that would allow the disparate computer hardware to share information — as Judge Francis described it to the committee, “an English language for data.”That, he said, is a solution for linking up the many different hardware systems used by various county and state agencies that need to send information to the courts. The state will define what data it needs and develop a tag unique to each person to eliminate the possibility of confusion.With the board’s proposal, “nobody has to buy a new system. They just reconfigure their system with these tags,” Francis said. (For a complete report on the board’s recommendations, see the story in the February 1 Bar News. )“You’re doing very important work,” Kottkamp told Francis at the end of his report. “We’re going to save millions and millions of dollars.”The committee also heard from Angela Orkin, director of the state’s Guardian ad Litem Program, and from Middle District Capital Collateral Regional Counsel Bill Jennings.Orkin brought her plea for a $22 million annualized increase to allow the state to represent all children in dependency courts. Jennings noted state attorneys and PDs who had death penalty cases typically make $22,000 to $29,000 more than CCRC attorneys who handle death row collateral appeals.That disparity in salary has led to a high turnover rate, he said, and CCRC investigators need a raise, too.Eighth Circuit Judge Stan Morris, chair of the Trial Court Budget Commission, outlined several concerns. He noted there are shortfalls in court interpreter costs not only in the 11th, but also the 12th, 14th, and 20th circuits. He also renewed a plea for more clerks for circuit judges.Morris said clerks would help with a variety of duties, including a rising number of post-conviction appeals. The courts are seeking 43 clerk positions this year.The committee took no action on any of the requests. The next significant step will come after the session starts and legislative leaders make allocations to each of the appropriations committees.last_img read more

Continue reading

Dallas Haskins finding home with SU rugby following move from Hong Kong

first_imgDallas Haskins was given a choice by his parents to stay at home or go to college in the United States.Born and raised in Hong Kong after his parents moved there a year before he was born, Haskins, like many children in the area, played rugby.“That’s what you did in Hong Kong,” Haskins said. “It’s really big there.”He could have played on the U-20 national team for the sixth year in a row to represent his country at the Chinese National Showcase. Instead he attended Syracuse to continue his rugby career at the club level.While many of Syracuse’s players started playing ruby at age 14 or 15, head coach Bob Wilson said, Haskins has the added benefit of an additional decade of experience with the sport growing up in China.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I had the opportunity to go to U-20s but I chose to go to university instead,” Haskins said. “I wanted to work afterward, and also a huge push from my parents.”Haskins moved to Syracuse right before the start of the fall semester. In Hong Kong, the sport was much more prominent. Haskins remembers playing in stadiums that seat as many as 40,000 people.Haskins began playing at a more elite level of rugby at a young age in China. He joined Hong Kong’s Valley Fort Rugby Club. He got the chance to try out for the Hong Kong national team and made it — five times. From age 14, Haskins has represented Hong Kong at the national sevens showcase, on the U-14, U-15, U-16, U-18, and U-19 teams.“Rugby is a lot bigger sport than football, basketball, so you would have a lot of people at your games,” Haskins said.Haskins could have kept playing rugby at an elite level, but he moved nearly 8,000 miles away. He said his parents gave him a choice, but wanted him to get a degree and get a job — a motive that led him to SU.He liked the Martin J. Whitman School of Management and its prestige, but he also liked the quality of the rugby program.For Wilson, Haskins represented a unique addition to the team.“Most of the United States players haven’t been playing (competitively) since they were 8,” Wilson said. “They’ve been playing since they were 14, 15, if that.”Wilson gave the freshman the chance to start, saying that he’s got the experience and athleticism and has fit in well, something he said is uncommon for someone so new to the team.As an inside center, Haskins plays next to sophomore outside center Eddie McCarthy, leading McCarthy to become Haskins’ mentor. McCarthy is impressed with Haskins’ immediate contribution to this Orange squad.He’s got the starting spot and the praise of his teammates, but Haskins remains humble, and hopes to keep contributing to the team’s solid start.“It’s a huge thing to start freshman year,” Haskins said, “so I think I’m trying to bring as much as possible to the team and put in as much effort as I can.” Comments Published on October 9, 2015 at 9:54 am Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Continue reading

Arizona guard Brandon Williams to miss 2019-20 season after knee surgery

first_img Evan Mobley, No. 1 prospect in Class of 2020, commits to USC “It’s going to be hard for us to win a game with I think the limitations that we have at the moment,” Miller said (per 247Sports). “We have to keep working and get better, have great days of practice and individual players have to keep improving.“We have more firepower and, as everybody in this room knows, we’re not a blessed offensive team even with Brandon, but I do think we have much more of an ability to score and be efficient when he’s a part of our team.” Williams, who averaged 11.4 points, 3.4 assists and 2.8 rebounds in 26 games last season, is expected to return for the 2020-21 season as a redshirt sophomore if he can remain healthy.“I’ve overcome obstacles before in my life and will work with our strength and medical staffs to overcome this one,” Williams said in a statement. “I’m dedicated to continuing my work in the classroom as a student, and I look forward to supporting my teammates and coaches as I spend this season focusing on my health.”Miller acknowledged that Arizona will have to make adjustments offensively to balance the loss of Williams. The Wildcats are expected to use grad transfer Max Hazzard as a combo guard to back up freshman Nico Mannion, the Daily Star notes. Utah men’s basketball program placed on probation because of recruiting violations Arizona sophomore guard Brandon Williams will miss the 2019-20 season as he recovers from knee surgery, the team announced Wednesday. “The news of Brandon’s season-ending surgery is beyond disheartening,” coach Sean Miller said in a statement (via the Arizona Daily Star). “All of us that comprise Brandon’s Arizona basketball family, as well as our own loyal and passionate fan base, will rally around him and support him as he begins his journey to recovery.” Auburn put men’s basketball program on double secret probation, report says Williams has dealt with knee issues for more than three years as a result of a joint condition. He had surgery in 2017, forcing him to miss his junior season in high school as he was sidelined for 10 months. He returned to play most of his senior year at Crespi Carmelite High School in Encino, California. He started having problems with his knee again in January as a freshman with the Wildcats. He bruised it during practice and missed the next four weeks before starting a rehab program in the offseason. Related Newslast_img read more

Continue reading