Category Archives: dropb

Thor playing this weekend at the Regent; Special free showing of “Elf”

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first_imgMovie Synopsis: Marvel’s “Thor: The Dark World” continues the big-screen adventures of Thor, the Mighty Avenger, as he battles to save Earth and all the Nine Realms from a shadowy enemy that predates the universe itself. In the aftermath of Marvel’s “Thor” and “Marvel’s The Avengers,” Thor fights to restore order across the cosmos…but an ancient race led by the vengeful Malekith returns to plunge the universe back into darkness. Faced with an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor must embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all. (c) Disney This week at the Regent Theater: “Thor- The Dark World” (Movie trailer is below). Opening weekend across the country! When: Friday, 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at 7 p.m. Rotten Tomatoes rating (movie critics collective approval ratings): 65%. Audience review: 84% approval. Movies ahead at Regent Theater:Dec 20th – next weekend – is the Disney movie “Frozen” followed by “The Hobbit” on Dec. 27th. ALSO: “Elf” – Saturday and Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. Admission is FREE if you bring a non-perishable item from the Wellington Food Bank. Rated: Thor – The Dark  PG -13 – 1 hour 52 minutes.last_img read more

Don’t forget about Countryside Motors All Day event!

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first_imgThe staff of the Countryside Motors were dressed for Halloween this morning.Don’t forget to come out to the Countryside Motors for the all day even. Prizes will be award for age groups: 0-3 years, 4-10 years, 11-14 years. Adults can sign up for additional drawings.There’s tons of fun for everyone! Follow us on Twitter. Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comments Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close WordPress.com Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. There are no comments posted yet. Be the first one! Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new commentslast_img read more

Old school

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first_imgUnlike most of the new Pirate band “Waggoner’s,” including a significant number of the media, in April 2012 just hours before opening day I wrote, “the day is coming.” I have been accused of being, rabid, crazed and delusional in regards to my annual so-called rose colored predictions regarding the soon to be successful Pittsburgh Pirates. When I was in my early 20s I attended a church service featuring a prominent “prophet” and faith healer. After the service concluded, my father who was a devout Christian and a man of God for his entire life asked me a question, “Peanut, what did you think of the service?” I replied that, “I thought it was great but one thing puzzled me. The ‘prophet’ promised every sick person there that they were healed. How could he promise that?” Dad said, “If he bats one percent everyone wins.” That leads me to say, Pittsburgh has heard all of the lofty promises before but if the Pirates top .500 or get a wild card playoff slot in 2012, we all win. The Pirates 2012 squad is not smoke and mirrors. These boys are for real.Prince used to say that some of the Pirates pitchers of the past were throwing so hard that the baseball looked as tiny as “aspirin tablets.” To compliment the pierogis we have to get some more “babushka power” onto the heads of women that fill the seats at PNC Park. If that doesn’t work I am positive that there are a few “Green Weenies’” in the Pirates museum waiting to be dusted off with a curse still strong enough to be unleashed on the Pirates unsuspecting opponents.The Pirates had great players but what really caused people to want to come to the ballpark every day and listen to the game on the radio every night was Bob Prince. Prince was the Daniel Webster of a new vocabulary that can only be described as, “Piratesspeak.”If the Pirates perform the exact same way that they did before the All-Star break they will be 22 games over .500 and a lock to win a NL wildcard spot and “by a gnats eyelash” may win the National League Central Division crown. They might even start to raise live, “chickens on the hill” if and when the Bucs win another World Series.Prince used to say that the law of “hidden vigorish” was on a player’s side if that player was in a slump or just wasn’t performing too well. In the Pirates case they have over seventeen years of “hidden vigorish” working in their favor.“How sweet it is” is not a reference to one of the Motown legends Jr. Walker and the All-Stars greatest hits. It was Prince savoring every victory of the Pirates. Prince also used to say that “the bases are F.O.B.” (full of Bucs).“Kiss it goodbye” was not Mr. Prince heading to divorce court. It was him bidding adieu to one of the many homeruns launched by the Pirates out of Forbes Field and Three Rivers Stadium.“We had ’em all the way.” That’s what all the fly by nighters will be saying when the Pirates begin breaking out the champagne. Now it is time to get serious. Since the Pirates last won a division, I have battled and overcome cancer. I have buried my mother and three brothers and a sister. I have seen many of my friends go on to join the ancestors. I become saddened that a few folks are no longer on the planet just to feel the vibe now soaking Pittsburgh sports fans. One of the things that makes my blood boil is people now coming up to me asking, no almost pleading with me to get them some Pirate tickets. Yet only three, yes three short years ago, Chaz Kellum from the Pirates gave me a block of five hundred tickets for Jackie Robinson week. Only 60 some odd people choose to redeem them.The Pirates needed folks to cheer them on when they were playing atrociously and even feeling worse than that. There were Wednesday and Thursday nights at PNC Park that if 8,000 fans showed up that was considered a blessing.It is true that some of the past management of the Pirates went south, but you know what? The fans went to Brazil with them. The players gave up, the fans gave up. The fans gave up, the players gave up. Which came first? The chicken or the egg. Who knows because an entire city gave up on the spirit of baseball. The Pirates are going to win. They are going to shake a stick and the “Green Weenie” at their not so recent past of mediocrity. The Bucs gonna beat em all the way. Beat em Bucs.(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: abruce@newpittsburghcourier.com or 412-583-6741.) I feel like reminiscing on this night, boys and girls. First I want to hit the rewind button to transport us back to the land of the late legendary Pirates broadcaster Bob “The Gunner” Prince, but before we put the cart before the donkey, I have a bottle of crow feather removal solvent for anyone who needs it in regards to the “new found” success of the Pittsburgh Pirates. There are truly a few “bugs loose on the rug” as the “Gunner” would proclaim in his gravely sometimes “Jack Daniels” laced voice. last_img read more

Celebrating Middletown’s Women and Police

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first_imgMayor Tony Perry, back row, left, and other Monmouth County leaders, honored young Middletown students who are making a difference in their communities.  Photo courtesy Middletown Township On Feb. 9, 1920, New Jersey officially ratified the 19th Amendment, confirming women’s right to vote. Aug. 26, 1920, marked the date women across the nation were able to vote. Now, 100 years later, there are over 200,000 women voters registered in Monmouth County, said Rosemarie D. Peters, the Monmouth County Surrogate and a former mayor of Middletown. She was the second woman mayor in the town’s history. “There’s a reason that Middletown is consistently rated one of the safest towns, not just here in New Jersey but in America,” said Perry. “And that’s because of the efforts of our Chief Craig Weber and all of the people that you see here in this room.” The committee also honored women and young girls who impact the community today and gave promotions to seven women and men of the Middletown Police Department, including Kimberly Best, who became the first female in the department’s history to reach the rank of lieutenant. Younger female leaders were honored that night as well, including six Middletown elementary school students, for their efforts to aid their communities. Finley Elias, a Lincroft fourth-grader, was recognized for raising $17,000 for Australian animal rescue efforts following a terrible wildfire season. Mia Collins, Emma Merces, Lilah Nicosia and Marlowe Schoor, fifth-graders at Nut Swamp Elementary School, were recognized for raising $3,400 for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and a cancer research organization. Lastly, the township recognized eighth-grader Brenna McCormick. Though she was unable to attend the meeting, she was recognized for being on the box of the Thanks-A-Lot Girl Scout cookies. MIDDLETOWN – It was a special night for Middletown Feb. 18 as the township committee celebrated the centennial anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment.  From left: Deputy Chief Robert Stefanski, Lt. Kimberly Best, Lt. Anthony Ciccone, Deputy Chief John Kaiser, Deputy Chief Paul Bailey, Sgt. David Ringkamp, Sgt. Christopher Dee, Sgt. Stephanie Burke and Police Chief Craig Weber. Photo courtesy Middletown Township Over the past week, Middletown’s Town Hall has been lit up in purple to signify the centennial celebration. Several other towns in the Two River area have celebrated the 100-year milestone in some way.center_img Mayor Tony Perry said he and his fellow committee members were honored to be celebrating “one of America’s greatest moments” on the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote. “This is a tremendous day, not only for our town but for our police department,” he added. Committeewoman Patricia Snell said she and the rest of the Middletown Township Committee are very proud of what the girls have accomplished and that it’s important to promote a sense of selflessness in children. “It’s just super important to think more of other people sometimes than ourselves,” she said. At the meeting, Monmouth County Clerk Christine Giordano Hanlon read the amendment aloud for a crowd of at least 150 attendees, including Freeholders Lillian Burry and Sue Kiley and Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso. By Allison Perrine | aperrine@tworivertimes.com The article originally appeared in the February 27- March 4, 2020 print edition of The Two River Times. The night then transitioned to a series of police personnel promotions, including new deputy chiefs of police, John Kaiser and Paul Bailey; new lieutenants, Kimberly Best and Antonio Ciccone; and new sergeants, Stephanie Burke, Christopher Dee and David Ringkamp. Police Chief Craig Weber said each of the newly promoted members has done an outstanding job at the department.last_img read more

Real Madrid have the best quarry in the big leagues

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first_imgReal Madrid, with Castilla as the main training shuttle, is the club of the five major European leagues that has raised the most players in its academy and is now playing in those leagues, distancing Barcelona in nine places, according to a study by the soccer Observatory of the International Center for Sports Studies (CIES), located in Switzerland.Castilla, with 17 players trained in ‘La Fábrica’ spread over the 5 big leagues, is fourth in the table prepared by the Observatory, behind Ajax (22), Benfica (21) and Red Bull Salzburg (20), teams that do not belong to LaLiga, nor to the Premier, nor to Serie A, nor to the Bundesliga, nor to Ligue 1. The players referred to in the study are already disconnected from their home club and are developing their careers in these five major leagues. The best quarries in Ligue 1 The best quarries in the Bundesliga The best quarries in LaLigaAfter Real Madrid (17) and Barcelona (11), in Spain the third to make the most of his club is Almería, with 6 top-tier players. They are followed by Tenerife (LaLiga Smartbank club, with 4), Granada, Mallorca, Albacete … In fact the next club in these leagues that appears in the table is Barcelona (B) which, with 11 players from La Masía playing in the highest level domestic competitions, is ranked thirteenth.In the first 15 places there are three Belgian teams (Genk, Anderlecht and Bruges), three other Portuguese clubs (Benfica, Sporting de Portugal and Porto), two Spaniards (Castilla and Barcelona B), two Dutch (Ajax and PSV Eindhoven), an Austrian (Red Bull Salzburg), a Swiss (Basel), a Croatian (Dynamo of Zagreb) and a Danish (Copenhagen). The first non-European team is the Boca Juniors (15º). The best quarries of Serie A The best quarries in the Premierlast_img read more

Tony Becca: Gayle guilty as charged, but …

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first_img Indiscretions West Indies cricket has always been, or mostly been, controlled by the territories who have the big boys on the team. It has oftentimes been a case where the respective politician moves to the music of the big boys, and it has always been a case where the big boys get away with almost anything, and whatever they want. Remember when a West Indies captain did not take his place in the field one morning during the Test match against England in Antigua, remember the time, late in the evening, when a West Indies captain ran down the pitch and bellowed an appeal for a leg before wicket decision in a Test match against England at Kensington Oval? Remember when Courtney Walsh, captain of Jamaica and the West Indies, refused to spin the toss at Chedwin Park with another territory’s player who was the captain of his team and wanted the captaincy of the West Indies team, and do you remember the final of the regional four-day competition, when a Jamaican player did not play the match between Jamaica and Guyana at Kensington Oval because he played a benefit match in Antigua? Remember also the time when the West Indies team went to South Africa, went back to London, and called the president to a meeting over fees? There were many other times when West Indies cricketers played the wrong stroke without correcting it, and got away with it. There was also the time during the 2003 World Cup in South Africa, on a morning flight from Kimberley to Johannesburg, with the Kenya and West Indies teams on board, and a West Indian player opened up, loud and clear for all to hear, against the West Indies manager. It was nasty. I was sitting beside the manager. Respective politician Not expected For years now, some other journalists and I have been talking about grooming potential territorial and West Indies cricketers, talking to them about things they are likely to expect on and off the field, and how to deal with them. From my experience, some West Indies players have always behaved like they are better than the people who pay to watch them play and their attitude has been way below expectations, some West Indies players’ behaviour, their language, in public places like airports, have been embarrassing, their appearance, their dress, in restaurants at home and abroad, have been disgraceful, and their general behaviour, their attitude, towards women, have sometimes been deplorable. West Indies players, some of them, have always behaved like they should dress how they want to dress, speak how they want to speak, go where they want to go, and do whatever they want to do whenever they want to. My experience Gayle’s behaviour on Australian television was outrageous and appalling, but I dare say, not criminal, not by any means whatsoever. It was simply the sort of behaviour not expected from any well-thinking young man, and certainly not one coming from a co-educational school as Gayle does, certainly not one coming from a family, including a mother and a sister, and not coming from a sportsman and from one who has been so good and so great that he has travelled the world, or a great part of it, many, many times. Gayle’s problem, it seems, is that, as a cricketer, he is great, he is famous and popular, he is rich and attractive, and he knows it. More than that, however, he probably feels that he has a right, or the right, because of who he is, to behave like he is better than other ordinary mortals. Probably, when all is said done, Gayle believes, based on my experience with many cricket stars, that cricket is so important to the West Indian people and to the world that, because of their prowess in the game, because of their contribution to victories from time to time, they are not only sports stars of the people, but heroes of the people. Sometimes this leads to obnoxious behaviour by those who are treated in this way because they know no better, or simply because they feel they have a right to act that way. Maybe both reasons apply to Gayle, maybe sports stars move to a different beat. While Gayle is guilty of conduct contrary to good behaviour, however, or to accepted good behaviour, and must pay the price, he is not alone in soiling his name, his family’s name, his school’s name, and his country’s name. Cricket West Indies should share some of the fallout of the Gayle issue. There are two kinds of people in this world: there are those who think of others in whatever they are doing, and there are those who simply do not. Recently, Chris Gayle got himself in hot water way Down Under, in far-away Australia, when, during an interview with a beautiful television reporter, he misread the situation, the time and the place, spoke too openly, too flirtingly, and too invitingly to her, and got scalded for doing so. Almost every woman, every man, and every child took on Gayle for his lack of respect to the woman, a professional woman; and he did so while she was doing her job, and on the air, and in public at that. Gayle’s timing was impeccable, as usual, on that day, and he got what he deserved for his atrocious behaviour. What is a joke to one man is something else to another man. On another day, and in another setting, it may also have been complimentary. On that day, however, it was totally disrespectful, regardless of Gayle’s popularity, or of his own inflated ego, and whether he realised it or not. It was not funny at all. For whatever it was worth, and whether he meant it or not, Gayle apologised for his flirtation with Mel McLaughlin. Following reports of previous transgressions, or like transgressions, however, some people followed up the so-called apology and a fine of US$10,000 with calls for him to be fired from his job as a member of the Melbourne Renegades Big Bash T20 cricket team. As a man, a son of a woman, a brother of sisters, a husband, and a father of daughters, I do not and cannot condone Gayle’s behaviour. I, however, would not go as far as to try and interfere with his employment as Ian Chappell has done, not for this blunder. West Indies Board members and others knew about these and other things that were done by West Indies players, but nothing was ever done or said about them, not to anyone’s knowledge. They happened and they were brushed aside without even a word of caution, or remorse. Gayle’s action was poor, to say the least, but had some attention been paid to similar or other indiscretions in the past, it may not have happened this time around. Ian Chappell, the legendary Ian Chappell, has called for a ban on Gayle, and he may be right in doing so, but he is the last one who should make such a call. Ian Chappell was the Australian captain who hit Guyanese Vic Insanally on the steps of the members pavilion at Bourda one early morning during the Super Test in 1979. Ian Chappell even appeared before the court to answer charges for assault. I was there, and I reported on it. I was one of the few people who saw it.last_img read more

Santa Clarita hosts cycling race Saturday

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first_imgThe city has budgeted $150,000 for its role in the race that starts today with a prologue in San Francisco with 144 of the world’s top cyclists. From San Francisco, the race makes its way south with stops in Sausalito, Santa Rosa, Sacramento, Stockton, San Jose, Seaside, Solvang and Santa Barbara. Saturday morning, the cyclists leave Santa Barbara and speed east to Santa Clarita, which Lantis said could be the most critical stage of the race. The tour ends the following day in Long Beach. “It’s the sixth stage,” Lantis said of the Santa Barbara-to-Santa Clarita leg, “and the seventh and final stage is a circuit race where it’s tough to make up time.” “Unless the time is very, very close,” he said, “it will be difficult for anyone to catch up to whoever is wearing the yellow jersey when they leave here.” The yellow shirt is worn by the cyclist with the overall best time. SANTA CLARITA – It’s billed as the biggest event ever to hit Santa Clarita, drawing 10 times the crowds the city’s annual cowboy festival pulls. On Saturday, 100,000 spectators are expected to line the streets of Valencia for a stage of the Amgen Tour of California bicycle race, the nation’s most prestigious cycling event. “It’s going to be great; it’s going to be wonderful,” said Phil Lantis, Santa Clarita’s arts and events administrator. “It meets the image we’re trying to project as a healthy place to live, a place that values family.” Signs are in place to warn motorists of road closures, and 300 volunteers are trained and ready to take their posts across driveways and streets that cross the route. Sheriff’s deputies will man the major intersections to keep traffic from crossing the racers’ path. On flat straightaways, the men travel up to 35 mph, making about half that heading uphill, said Irene Johnson of Canyon Country, who will take part in a professional women’s race the same day. “It’s really super exciting for the cycling world,” she said of the tour. “It’s going to bring the city so much visibility.” The top viewing location recommended by the city is the finish line on McBean Parkway between Magic Mountain Parkway and Valencia Boulevard. There the city will host a Lifestyle Festival and other related events. Another good spot is Valencia Boulevard between McBean and Tourney Road, an uphill portion on the final circuit where riders will most likely strike their best efforts for the day. The east side of Tourney north of Valencia Boulevard marks a long downhill stretch leading to Magic Mountain Parkway where sidewalks follow the route for a view of the home stretch. Last year, an estimated 100,000 spectators gathered in Balcom Canyon in Ventura County to watch the race head toward Thousand Oaks, said Jane Sherring, a Valencia cyclist who will help coordinate Saturday’s women’s race and volunteer for the Amgen tour. “It’s equal to the Tour de France,” Sherrin said. “This is huge for men’s cycling. It’s huge for Santa Clarita.” pat.aidem@dailynews.com (661) 257-5251160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Group makes argument for acquiring open space

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first_imgTo be eligible for taxpayer-funded bonds, however, there must be an official “road map” of available land, John Howell of Open Space Now said. The “sensitive lands survey” the city did in 2003 is not enough, Rood said. “I think it just fell through the cracks.” Nancy Steele of the Altadena Foothills Conservancy said cities should be encouraged to put open space plans together on a regional basis. “It’s no good to have little isolated pockets of land in the Arroyo Seco, Eaton Wash, the foothills,” Steele said. “Everyone in Pasadena looks to the foothills, they hike there, ride, bike – and the trails system is broken.” Open Space Now wants to see linked open spaces going up the Arroyo Seco, across the Rim of the Valley Trail through Altadena and south down the Edison power line corridor. “There’s a big pot, with Proposition A and Proposition 84 dollars for open space and clean water,” said Steele, who estimated there are several undeveloped hundred acres of large and small parcels in the foothills, much of it privately owned. “To be competitive we need to plan and advocate,” Steele said. “Having a road map gives more weight when you’re looking for these funds.” Christle Balvin and other Open Space Now members cited as their wake-up call the proposal to move Persson’s Nursery and put more than 230,000 square feet of self-storage units on the Edison right of way in northeast Pasadena. “The challenges are emerging right now,” Balvin said. “There have been so many lost opportunities … and we are stuck with our mistakes.” Gordo said every time park and open space issues have come before the City Council he’s been “very focused” on the recreation side. “I admit I’ve made the mistake of using \ interchangeably,” Gordo said. “I’ve learned it’s a mistake from a planning perspective and a mistake with regard to keeping us in accordance with state guidelines.” Gordo said he has asked the ed-tech commission to put the issue on the next agenda, and will consider the city staff report before asking the City Council to review the findings. janette.williams@sgvn.com (626) 578-6300, Ext. 4482160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The group’s vision is of an “emerald horseshoe of green” stretching into the foothills and framing the city in open land. “I’m not convinced that we need a task force,” Gordo said. “But what I am convinced of is we need to look at the work we’ve done as a city in analyzing issues of open space and recreation and parks, and make sure it’s adequate and makes that distinction.” Compiling a comprehensive tally of existing and potential open space to meet General Plan and state guidelines is essential “to draw down bond dollars,” Gordo said. “That will be the key,” he said. “There’s no question … that, looked at in the context of bond requirements, we can use this work to get the dollars to enhance existing and create more open space. That, I believe, is our responsibility.” Most recently the city was awarded a $2.5 million grant by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy toward the purchase of the 21-acre Annandale Canyon, one of the city’s last remaining wilderness areas, planned for a luxury housing development. PASADENA – There’s a subtle distinction between open space and recreational parkland. Open space advocate Marsha Rood explains it this way: “It’s the difference between a swimming pool and a lake, a soccer field and a meadow.” Open Space Now, a local group formed to push for public land acquisition, says there’s just not enough wild acreage in Pasadena; and without a comprehensive list of current and potential open space in the city, there’s not enough solid information to tap into state and federal tax dollars to acquire it. The group has lobbied Councilman Victor Gordo, chairman of the economic development and technology commission, to support development of an open space element in the city’s General Plan and formation of a community task force to focus public attention on the issue. last_img read more

Salsa Festival to spice up Simi, while supporting diabetes research

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first_img“We’ve invited Mexican food restaurants in Simi Valley for the salsa-tasting contest, which is open to the public, with awards for the best salsa and hottest salsa,” Hoover said. “Last year we had over 500 people attending, and this year think we will attract 1,000 people.” The event is free and open to the public. There will be drawings with gifts offered by local businesses. Last year, the prizes included 39 gift baskets and a diamond ring. The restaurants are given tables to market their restaurants and offer their salsa, Driver said. “It’s a fun event, and it’s all for charity,” she said. “The Town Center has been wonderful on supporting us.” eric.leach@dailynews.com (805) 583-7602160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SIMI VALLEY – The second annual Cinco de Mayo Salsa Festival is scheduled for May 5 at the Simi Valley Town Center, featuring a salsa-tasting contest and mariachi music. “It’s an important cultural festival and it also supports juvenile diabetes research, which is very important,” said Ray Cruz, executive director of the Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center. The festival is being sponsored by the Simi Valley (Noontime) Rotary Club. Cheryl Hoover and her mother, Jody Driver, are organizing the event, which is scheduled to run from noon to 4 p.m. in the Simi Valley Town Center Community Room above the mall’s center court. last_img read more

Trail of death: Counterfeiters sneak poison into medicines

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first_imgA syrupy poison, diethylene glycol, is an indispensable part of the modern world, an industrial solvent and prime ingredient in antifreeze. It is also a killer. And the deaths, if not intentional, are often no accident. The kidneys fail first. Then the central nervous system begins to misfire. Paralysis spreads, making breathing difficult, then often impossible without assistance. In the end, most victims die. Many of them are children, poisoned at the hands of their unsuspecting parents. Over the years, the poison has been loaded into all varieties of medicine – cough syrup, fever medication, injectable drugs – a result of counterfeiters who profit by substituting the sweet-tasting solvent for a safe, more expensive syrup, usually glycerin, commonly used in drugs, food, toothpaste and other products. Mass poisonings Toxic syrup has figured in at least eight mass poisonings around the world in the past two decades. Researchers estimate that thousands have died. In many cases, the precise origin of the poison has never been determined. But records and interviews show that in three of the past four cases it was made in China, a major source of counterfeit drugs. Panama is the most recent victim. Last year, government officials there unwittingly mixed diethylene glycol into 260,000 bottles of cold medicine – with devastating results. Families have reported 365 deaths from the poison, 100 of which have been confirmed so far. With the onset of the rainy season, investigators are racing to exhume as many potential victims as possible. Panama’s death toll leads directly to Chinese companies that made and exported the poison as 99.5percent pure glycerin. Forty-six barrels of the toxic syrup arrived via a poison pipeline stretching halfway around the world. Through shipping records and interviews with government officials, The New York Times traced this pipeline from the Panamanian port of Colon, back through trading companies in Barcelona, Spain and Beijing, to its beginning near the Yangtze Delta in a place local people call “chemical country.” Regulations lagged The counterfeit glycerin passed through three trading companies on three continents, yet not one of them tested the syrup to confirm what was on the label. Along the way, a certificate falsely attesting to the purity of the shipment was repeatedly altered, eliminating the name of the manufacturer and previous owner. As a result, traders bought the syrup without knowing where it came from, or who made it. With this information, the traders might have discovered – as The New York Times did – that the manufacturer was not certified to make pharmaceutical ingredients. An examination of the two poisoning cases last year – in Panama and earlier in China – shows how China’s safety regulations have lagged behind its growing role as low-cost supplier to the world. It also demonstrates how a poorly policed chain of traders in country after country allows counterfeit medicine to contaminate the global market. Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned drug makers and suppliers in the United States “to be especially vigilant” in watching for diethylene glycol. The warning did not specifically mention China, and it said there was “no reason to believe” that glycerin in this country was tainted. Even so, the agency called for all glycerin shipments to be tested for diethylene glycol and said it was “exploring how supplies of glycerin become contaminated.” U.S. authorities are already accusing China of exporting wheat gluten with an industrial chemical, melamine, that ended up in pet food and animal feed. The FDA recently banned imports of Chinese-made wheat gluten after it was linked to pet deaths in the United States. Beyond Panama and China, toxic syrup has caused mass poisonings in Haiti, Bangladesh, Argentina, Nigeria, and twice in India. In Bangladesh, investigators found poison in seven brands of fever medication in 1992, but only after countless children died. A Massachusetts laboratory detected the contamination after Dr. Michael L. Bennish, a pediatrician who works in developing countries, smuggled samples of the tainted syrup out of the country in a suitcase. Bennish, who investigated the Bangladesh epidemic and helped write a 1995 article about it for BMJ, formerly known as the British Medical Journal, said that given the amount of medication distributed, deaths “must be in the thousands or tens of thousands.” “It’s vastly underreported,” Bennish said of diethylene glycol poisoning. Doctors might not suspect toxic medicine, particularly in poor countries with limited resources and a generally unhealthy population, he said, adding: “Most people who die don’t come to a medical facility.” The makers of counterfeit glycerin, which superficially looks and acts like the real thing but generally costs considerably less, are rarely identified, much less prosecuted, given the difficulty of tracing shipments across borders. “This needs to be handled in a global way,” said Dr. Henk Bekedam, the World Health Organization’s top representative in Beijing.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more