Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Bounty Hunter: $3,500 to catch man who’s made 20 plus fake ‘mayday’ calls from Michigan

February 4, WDIV 4 Detroit – (Michigan)

US Coast Guard offers $3,500 to catch man who’s made 20 plus fake ‘mayday’ calls from Michigan. The U.S. Coast Guard turned to the public for help to catch an individual that has been making hoax distress calls since 2010, by offering them a monetary reward for assisting in his capture.

Source:   http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/US-Coast-Guard-offers-3-500-to-catch-man-who-s-made-20-plus-fake-mayday-calls-from-Michigan/-/1719418/18393460/-/v88pisz/-/index.html

Haiti: Make Haiti Green Again.

Former Envoy’s New Mission:
Make Haiti Green Again

by Larry Luxner
With a prayer and a speech, Raymond Joseph, Haiti’s former ambassador to the United States, has officially launched A Dollar A Tree for Haiti Inc.

Joseph’s ambitious goal: to restore his denuded Caribbean country to the lush green state it was in back in 1804, the year Haiti declared its independence from France.

Photos: Larry Luxner

Raymond Joseph, Haiti’s former ambassador to the United States, recently launched the nonprofit A Dollar A Tree for Haiti Inc. to restore his denuded Caribbean country to the lush green state it was in back in 1804, the year Haiti declared its independence from France.

Joseph unveiled the nonprofit organization from the pulpit of Greater Mount Nebo African Methodist Episcopal Church of Bowie, Md., and he did so on Jan. 12 — the third anniversary of the magnitude-7.0 earthquake that devastated Port-au-Prince. At his side was Mount Nebo’s pastor, Rev. Jonathan L. Weaver, who called Joseph “an absolutely wonderful man of God, one who epitomizes integrity.”

Joseph, 81, represented Haiti in Washington from 2005 to 2010, resigning that year to run for president of his quake-ravaged country. No longer in politics, the former ambassador — accompanied by his wife Lola — has vowed to devote the rest of his life to Haitian reforestation efforts.

“Since August 2010, Lola and I have been living in Haiti, watching with sadness how the country is becoming a desert. Tree cover now stands at just 2 percent,” Joseph told about 50 parishioners at Mt. Nebo. “But this is the same country Christopher Columbus exclaimed was a beautiful place full of trees when he visited our shores in 1492.”

Actually, Haiti’s tree cover is even less — more like 1.2 percent, according to Franz Stuppard, a Haitian-American advisor to Trees for the Future. Stuppard’s nonprofit, headquartered in Silver Spring, Md., will work hand in hand with Joseph’s. And that makes perfect sense, since the two men go back a long way.

“The ambassador knew my father even before I was born,” said Stuppard. “When we met, he recognized my name. And now, he wants this to become his legacy. What he’s proposing to do is find funding, and we do the work. He doesn’t really plan to reinvent the wheel — just modify it.”

A Dollar A Tree for Haiti seeks to raise up to $500,000 a year to plant trees, with Trees for the Future doing the actual planting. Exactly how many trees and what kind remains to be seen; Stuppard says long term, it could be in the millions.

“That sounds like a lot, but Haiti is exactly the same size as Maryland,” he pointed out. “If you drive along I-70 west going toward West Virginia, you will see mountains covered with trees. And population density doesn’t matter. New Jersey is smaller than Haiti and has many more people, yet there are a lot of trees in New Jersey.”

Haiti’s tree cover is around 1.2 percent, according to the group Trees for the Future, which since 2002 has focused on planting trees to reforest the country’s degraded hillsides and produce sustainable sources of fuel, construction materials, food and biodiesel.

Unlike some other Haiti-related charities that surfaced after the earthquake and were later exposed as scams, turning off donors, “this is going to be a transparent, accountable organization,” said Joseph. “The website will show whatever we get and how we spend it. People will be able to work with us, because it’ll be interactive.”

The affable former diplomat warned that Haiti — already the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere — could suffer social unrest in the wake of continued food shortages caused by natural disasters.

“Whenever a hurricane comes to the Caribbean, Haiti bears the brunt of it because it has no tree protection. The United Nations said that because of Hurricane Sandy, we can expect famine later this year, since 60 percent of all the crops were destroyed. And when the people don’t eat, they rise up. Governments have fallen because of that.”

Joseph said he was inspired by a local politician, André Gustave Louis, who spearheaded an initiative to plant 20,000 trees in Kenscoff, a suburb in the mountains above Port-au-Prince.

“We want to plant 1 million trees in two years — all sorts of trees. Mango trees, avocado trees, citrus trees. We will employ botanists and agronomists to study which ones,” said the former ambassador. A Dollar A Tree for Haiti will also launch a public information campaign to promote the use of solar cookers and bakeries, decreasing the need for Haitians to cut trees down for firewood.

As Joseph explains it, the deforestation of Haiti began almost immediately following independence in 1804, at which time the struggling new country was home to only 400,000 people.

“We got independence by beating the French on the battlefield. Former slaves rose up and beat their masters. It was the first time a slave revolt had been successful,” he said. “But by 1825, the French had organized an embargo against Haiti, together with other powers including the United States. We had to pay reparations to France in wood, and soon, lots of mahogany trees began finding their way to European homes and cathedrals. That’s how the deforestation of Haiti began in earnest.”

Replenishing Haiti’s trees is key to helping the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere weather storms and rebuild its agriculture.

Within 100 years, Haiti’s forest cover had declined to 60 percent, but its population began taking off.

“In 1954, Hurricane Hazel tore down a lot of forest in Haiti. People started to do logging, and charcoal became big business,” he explained. “That caused the trouble we have in Haiti today — a deforested country of 10 million inhabitants which will continue getting worse unless we do something.”

A 1997 study by the U.S. Agency for International Development found that deforestation costs Haiti about 30 million trees annually. Furthermore, about 15,000 acres of topsoil are washed away every year, making it more difficult for farmers to grow food.

That’s why Trees for the Future, active in Haiti since 2002, has focused on planting trees to reforest degraded hillsides and produce sustainable sources of fuel, construction materials, food and biodiesel.

In the last four years, the NGO has reforested large portions of the Arcadins coast north of Port-au-Prince. In late 2010, despite the devastation left by the massive earthquake that had struck in January, the program was expanded to communities further north toward Gonaïves, in partnership with the Yele Foundation.

“Our staffers are former Peace Corps volunteers, people from the States who have lived overseas,” said Stuppard. “They know forestry, and that certain types of trees are ‘pioneer trees’ that will survive in any environment. The land is so degraded that you need to plant those pioneer trees first. They will rejuvenate the soil. As they grow, the leaves fall off and the soil comes back to life. The roots go down deep so that when it rains, the soil doesn’t run off. After six months to a year, when those trees are growing well, then you can introduce fruit trees.”

In 2011 alone, Trees for the Future worked with more than 1,000 farmers in 17 communities to plant 1 million trees; this includes a program in Medor in partnership with Our Lady Queen of Peace, a Catholic church in Arlington, Va. The organization is also active in Central America, Africa and Asia, planting coffee, maple, pine and cedar trees in dozens of countries worldwide.

Joseph said his group is targeting the Haitian Diaspora, which is 4 million strong and scattered throughout the world, but mainly in the United States, Canada, France and the Dominican Republic.

“In the U.S. alone, there are 2 million Haitians, and we’re trying to appeal to them,” said Joseph. “I believe that when they see an organization that is very transparent and accountable, they’ll come through.”

Bernice Fidelia, the liaison for Diaspora affairs in the government of Haitian President Michel Martelly, said A Dollar A Tree for Haiti is exactly the kind of program Haiti needs at this time.

“This program, combined with our Keep Haiti Green and Beautiful, is a great endeavor,” she said by phone from Miami. “I will do all that is necessary to support this program because this is a project that is very dear to the president.”
For more information, visit www.replanthaiti.org.

About the Author

Larry Luxner is the news editor for The Washington Diplomat.


Inspiration: The Hidden Stories of Your Soul

Don’t Take Anything Personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering. ~Don Miguel Ruiz
Do You Take Things Personally?
When you take something personally or are offended, you are inadvertently agreeing with what has been said about you.
Does this ring true or are you still having a hard time grappling with this concept?
If you are still wrestling with this statement, it could stem from not being able to take responsibility for your own thought streams and self-identification.  I know this sounds a bit harsh but if we are going to effectively tackle self-worth issues; we need to get our hands initially dirty so that we can give them a good scrubbing.
Complete Honesty is Required
A wise man is superior to any insults which can be put upon him, and the best reply to unseemly behavior is patience and moderation. ~Moliere
When someone insults you it is only the tip of the iceberg to what’s lying underneath.  When you feel slighted you are actually supporting the view of your counterpart because it has touched a nerve.  If your nerves are being twisted, you know there is something more to the perceived insult that meets the eye.
Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves. ~Carl Jung
The person doing the insulting is only reminding you of something that needs to be taken out within yourself to have a good, long and hard look at.  Although you probably won’t want to give them a gold medal for their efforts, I assure you that some people are in this life to push your buttons.  Although this may seem unloving, they actually give you the opportunity to reconsider your belief structures – a chance to turn your trash into treasure.
Taking a Look at the Opposite Pole — Confidence
If someone tried to hurt you, or perhaps even unintentionally, says something to you that you don’t agree with – no problem – you usually brush off this kind of ‘offense’ because it really doesn’t bother you.  It could be an area in your life that you are 100% sure you have waxed.
We have to learn to be our own best friends because we fall too easily into the trap of being our own worst enemies. ~Roderick Thorp
So for instance, you are a rocket scientist and someone calls you stupid, the chances of you having a wobbly melt-down in the public lavatory are going to be slim. But let’s take another example, perhaps one that we all have had to deal with in one way or another.
Vanity Fair or Foul?
Let’s say you are happy with your appearance and feel you are a fine specimen, someone passes by in a vehicle and shouts out, ‘hey, freak!’
It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to. ~W.C. Fields
Do you agree with that or not? If you are 100% confident that you are a perfectly dashing human being, just as the Universe intended, then you would most likely shrug the comment off and have a good chuckle about it. Why? This is because you whole-heartedly disagree with the statement.
However, if you are someone whose confidence peaks and troughs daily, you will probably instantly go into depression.  The nerve that has been struck is your internal agreement about yourself, not what the other person has said.  All they have done is ignited the spark on the BBQ that you are going to make sure you roast on.  It is a form of self-torture.   To agree with anyone over anything stemming from feelings of lack is disempowering.
Re-examine all that you have been told…dismiss that which insults your soul. ~Walt Whitman
We live and we learn, we travel within and we discover who we are.
And if you enjoyed reading this post, feel free to share it – Sharing is Caring and Wisdom Never Decreases by Being Shared.
This article was written by Cherie Roe Dirksen. Cherie is a self-empowerment author, multi-media artist and meditation music composer from Cape Town, South Africa.  
She has weekly blogs on her site www.cherieroedirksen.com where she discusses practical and insightful perspectives on taking responsibility for your actions and ultimately living the life you came here to experience.  
She also devotes a weekly blog to creativity and the artistic process. You can follow her on Twitter (@cheriedirksen) and Facebook (The Art of Empowerment)

Non-Traditional Education: How MOOCs will shape the future of higher education

How MOOCs will shape the future of higher education.

MOOCs are sweeping the land. It’s the Next Big Thing and folks in both Silicon Valley and academia are abuzz. But is the hype deserved and sustainable, or is this just another sign of a venture capital-fueled tech bubble?

Massive Open Online Courses – MOOCs – look to be the real deal. Companies like Udacity,Coursera and edX provide a teaching, course management, and enrollment platform where professors from top-flight universities can offer their most popular courses. From Stanford to MIT to Harvard, most of the heavy-weight universities have skin in these particular games. So yes, these hot-hot-hot start-ups have taken a lot of foundation or venture capital money (or both), but they also have a whole lot of substance going on.

These companies are also attracting and enrolling a huge number of learners of all ages. It helps that at this stage most of the available courses are free, but it is also an indication of the hunger out there for high-quality online learning opportunities that are also highly accessible (no admissions review or process) and affordable.

Considering the next big debt crisis will be centered on student loans, and with the ever-escalating cost of a traditional four-year degree education, more and more students are looking for ways to learn without necessarily incurring the costs of a traditional education (or a least a full four or five years of a college education).

But beyond even all this, these platforms are a response to a much larger trend, which is the slow upending of traditional classroom-based education. With the torrid growth of Khan Academy, a non-profit provider of instructional videos for K – 12 students, and the increasing ubiquity of alternative “universities” such as TEDed and Lynda.com for lifelong learning, the availability of high-quality instruction at no or a low cost has never been higher.

“Americans are going to start thinking about higher education not as, you know, a traditional college, necessarily, or even a traditional night school, but as something that’s sort of moves beyond these traditional barriers of time and place,” said Ben Wildavsky of the Kauffman Foundation in a recent NPR story.

A secondary and more nascent trend is the concept of “credentials 2.0”, which is born of the need to document alternative learning accomplishment and mastery. While everyone recognizes the legitimacy of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year college or university, evaluators don’t quite know what to do with claims that courses were completed via Khan Academy or edX or TEDed. While some provide certificates of completion – more commonly referred to as badges – others do not yet, and those that do may not offer versions that are downloadable or otherwise portable.

In response, Mozilla has been at work building a badge platform called Open Badgesspecifically targeted at both traditional and non-traditional learning environments so students and lifelong learners have a way of verifying a course of study has been completed to a third-party evaluator. And companies like Pathbrite (where I am CEO) are building portfolio platforms that enable the collection and presentation of “artifacts” that can include earned badges, digital versions of transcripts and traditional diplomas, and all manner of work product demonstrating competency.

Though MOOCs may sound gimmicky and faddy and even silly, they are the real deal. They’re spawning a supporting ecosystem. And they just may be the future of education.

2013 Events: Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for Greater Washington Area


February 6, 2013
2012 and 2013 Tax Law Changes: How they affect you and your business
Date: February 6, 2013
Time: 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
More Info>>
February 12, 2013
Washington DC Get Your Business Online
Date: February 12, 2013
Time: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
More Info>>
2013 Maryland Hispanic Business Legislative Reception
Date: February 12, 2013
Time: 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
More Info>>
February 13, 2013
Preparing for a Disaster: What Your Business Needs to Know!
Date: February 13, 2013
Time: 8:00 am - 11:30 am
More Info>>
Small Business Advice Clinic Meet One-on-One with a Lawyer for Free!
Date: February 13, 2013
Time: 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm
More Info>>
February 16, 2013
Mardi Gras Masquerade Gala
Date: February 16 - 17, 2013
Time: 9:00 pm - 2:00 am
More Info>>
February 19, 2013
Financial Planning for Business Owners
Date: February 19, 2013
Time: 9:00 am - 12:30 pm
More Info>>
New Member Morning Reception
Date: February 19, 2013
Time: 9:00 am - 11:00 am
More Info>>
February 26, 2013
Networking Event
Date: February 26, 2013
Time: 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
More Info>>
February 28, 2013
THE LEGAL SIDE: Small and Minority Business Contracting in Prince George’s County
Date: February 28, 2013
Time: 9:00 am - 12:30 pm
More Info>>
LBD A Stylish Networking Night
Date: February 28, 2013
Time: 6:00 pm
More Info>>
March 12, 2013
Date: March 12, 2013
Time: 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
More Info>>
March 16, 2013
NBC 4 Health & Fitness Expo
Date: March 16 - 17, 2013
More Info>>
March 22, 2013
The Washington Home & Garden Show
Date: March 22 - 25, 2013
More Info>>
April 2, 2013
4th Annual GWHCC Business Expo
Date: April 2, 2013
Time: 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
More Info>>
April 24, 2013
Hispanic Business Summit 2013
Date: April 24, 2013
More Info>>
May 6, 2013
Cinco de Mayo Event
Date: May 6, 2013
More Info>>
May 14, 2013
New Member Morning Reception
Date: May 14, 2013
More Info>>
May 18, 2013
26th Annual Argentine Festival
Date: May 18, 2013
More Info>>
June 21, 2013
Date: June 21, 2013
More Info>>
July 8, 2013
Networking Event
Date: July 8, 2013
Time: 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
More Info>>
July 30, 2013
Date: July 30, 2013
Time: 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
More Info>>
August 21, 2013
Construction Mixer
Date: August 21, 2013
More Info>>
September 13, 2013
New Member Morning Reception
Date: September 13, 2013
More Info>>
September 17, 2013
Date: September 17, 2013
Time: 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
More Info>>
September 26, 2013
Hispanic Heritage Celebration 
Date: September 26, 2013
More Info>>
October 9, 2013
Date: October 9, 2013
Time: 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
More Info>>
October 23, 2013
8(a) Mixer
Date: October 23, 2013
More Info>>
November 1, 2013
DC Week
Date: November 1, 2013
More Info>>
November 15, 2013
Embassy Dinner
Date: November 15, 2013
More Info>>
December 6, 2013
New Member Morning Reception
Date: December 6, 2013
More Info>>
December 13, 2013
Holiday Dinner
Date: December 13, 2013
More Info>>