Tuesday, May 29, 2012

NRRC: Juvenile Justice Program Deadlines Approaching

Center for Juvenile Justice Reform Certificate Program Application Deadlines Approaching

The application deadlines for the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform’s 2012 Certificate Programs are approaching. CJJR is offering three Certificate Programs at Georgetown University, in Washington, DC:

  • Information Sharing Certificate Program, October 1-4, 2012 (final application deadline is June 28, 2012)
  • Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare: Multi-System Integration Certificate Program for Public Sector Leaders, October 10-17, 2012 (final application deadline is June 21, 2012)
  • Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare: Multi-System Integration Certificate Program for Private Sector Leaders, November 7-14, 2012 (final application deadline is July 17, 2012)
The Certificate Programs are periods of intensive study designed for organization and system leaders working with youth known to the juvenile justice and child welfare systems—youth commonly referred to as "crossover youth." The programs utilize a multi-systems and multi-disciplinary approach that focus on policies, programs and practices designed to improve outcomes for this population. The certificate programs are ideal for public and private sector leaders working in the juvenile justice, child welfare, judiciary, behavioral health, education and other systems that serve crossover youth. Upon completion of the program, participants apply the knowledge they gain via a Capstone Project—a reform agenda they implement in their organization/community. In order to enhance the potential for implementing cross-systems change after returning from the program, applicants from the same jurisdiction or organization are encouraged to apply as “mini-teams.”
For more information and to apply, please visit http://cjjr.georgetown.edu and click on “Certificate Programs” or email CJJR at jjreform@georgetown.edu.

This is a National Reentry Resource Center Announcement. This announcement is funded in whole or in part through a grant (award number: 2010-MUBX-KO84) from the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Neither the U.S. Department of Justice nor any of its components operate, control, are responsible for, or necessarily endorse, this announcement (including, without limitation, its content, technical infrastructure, and policies, and any services or tools provided).  

Webinar: June 26th. U.S. Nuclear Industry A Year After Fukushima


Don't miss the latest complimentary webinar in The Council of State Governments' Policy Webinar Series -- "The U.S. Nuclear Industry A Year After Fukushima," which will be held from 2 to 3 p.m. EDT Tuesday, June 26.

The events at Japan's nuclear power reactors following the earthquake and subsequent tsunami have important implications for the U.S. nuclear energy industry and state policymakers. Experts from the Nuclear Energy InstituteJoe Pollock, executive director of Fukushima coordination, and Marshall Cohen, senior director, state and local government affairs, will update state policymakers on the steps the U.S. nuclear energy industry is taking to ensure that U.S. reactors could respond to events that may challenge safe operation. They also will provide an outlook on nuclear power, discuss the current status of nuclear-related policies in the U.S. and provide an update on the status of moving nuclear waste to volunteer storage sites.



Dear BEMA members (All):

Our membership reach is expanding not only within the U.S. but throughout the world.

An International member of BEMA that has completed a masters program in engineering crisis management at George Washington University is in search of a full-time position in the U.S. or Caribbean Basin in emergency management but due to two factors running into a Catch 22 situation.
Experience, and U.S. citizenship for positions being advertised.   If any member has knowledge of a position available that would provide some full-time employment even a waiver on the U.S. citizenship requirement would help.

Send me any information, or I could forward our member resume to you and put you indirect contact with the member.

Job searching doesn't end until the first pay check is received, then the search starts again.



Charles D. Sharp
Chief Executive.  Founder
Black Emergency Managers Association  

"One of the true test of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency."       Arnold H. Glasgow

Sunday, May 27, 2012

AP IMPACT: Almost half of new vets seek disability

By MARILYNN MARCHIONE | Associated Press

America's newest veterans are filing for disability benefits at a historic rate, claiming to be the most medically and mentally troubled generation of former troops the nation has ever seen.

A staggering 45 percent of the 1.6 million veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are now seeking compensation for injuries they say are service-related. That is more than double the estimate of 21 percent who filed such claims after the Gulf War in the early 1990s, top government officials told The Associated Press.

What's more, these new veterans are claiming eight to nine ailments on average, and the most recent ones over the last year are claiming 11 to 14. By comparison, Vietnam veterans are currently receiving compensation for fewer than four, on average, and those from World War II and Korea, just two.

It's unclear how much worse off these new veterans are than their predecessors. Many factors are driving the dramatic increase in claims — the weak economy, more troops surviving wounds, and more awareness of problems such as concussions and PTSD. Almost one-third have been granted disability so far.

Government officials and some veterans' advocates say that veterans who might have been able to work with certain disabilities may be more inclined to seek benefits now because they lost jobs or can't find any. Aggressive outreach and advocacy efforts also have brought more veterans into the system, which must evaluate each claim to see if it is war-related. Payments range from $127 a month for a 10 percent disability to $2,769 for a full one.

As the nation commemorates the more than 6,400 troops who died in post-9/11 wars, the problems of those who survived also draw attention. These new veterans are seeking a level of help the government did not anticipate, and for which there is no special fund set aside to pay.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is mired in backlogged claims, but "our mission is to take care of whatever the population is," said Allison Hickey, the VA's undersecretary for benefits. "We want them to have what their entitlement is."

The 21 percent who filed claims in previous wars is Hickey's estimate of an average for Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield. The VA has details only on the current disability claims being paid to veterans of each war.

The AP spent three months reviewing records and talking with doctors, government officials and former troops to take stock of the new veterans. They are different in many ways from those who fought before them.

More are from the Reserves and National Guard — 28 percent of those filing disability claims — rather than career military. Reserves and National Guard made up a greater percentage of troops in these wars than they did in previous ones. About 31 percent of Guard/Reserve new veterans have filed claims compared to 56 percent of career military ones.

More of the new veterans are women, accounting for 12 percent of those who have sought care through the VA. Women also served in greater numbers in these wars than in the past. Some female veterans are claiming PTSD due to military sexual trauma — a new challenge from a disability rating standpoint, Hickey said.

The new veterans have different types of injuries than previous veterans did. That's partly because improvised bombs have been the main weapon and because body armor and improved battlefield care allowed many of them to survive wounds that in past wars proved fatal.

"They're being kept alive at unprecedented rates," said Dr. David Cifu, the VA's medical rehabilitation chief. More than 95 percent of troops wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan have survived.

Larry Bailey II is an example. After tripping a rooftop bomb in Afghanistan last June, the 26-year-old Marine remembers flying into the air, then fellow troops attending to him.

"I pretty much knew that my legs were gone. My left hand, from what I remember I still had three fingers on it," although they didn't seem right, Bailey said. "I looked a few times but then they told me to stop looking." Bailey, who is from Zion, Ill., north of Chicago, ended up a triple amputee and expects to get a hand transplant this summer.

He is still transitioning from active duty and is not yet a veteran. Just over half of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans eligible for VA care have used it so far.

Of those who have sought VA care:

—More than 1,600 of them lost a limb; many others lost fingers or toes.
—At least 156 are blind, and thousands of others have impaired vision.
—More than 177,000 have hearing loss, and more than 350,000 report tinnitus — noise or ringing in the ears.
—Thousands are disfigured, as many as 200 of them so badly that they may need face transplants.

One-quarter of battlefield injuries requiring evacuation included wounds to the face or jaw, one study found.
"The numbers are pretty staggering," said Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, a surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston who has done four face transplants on non-military patients and expects to start doing them soon on veterans.

Others have invisible wounds. More than 400,000 of these new veterans have been treated by the VA for a mental health problem, most commonly, PTSD.

Tens of thousands of veterans suffered traumatic brain injury, or TBI — mostly mild concussions from bomb blasts — and doctors don't know what's in store for them long-term. Cifu, of the VA, said that roughly 20 percent of active duty troops suffered concussions, but only one-third of them have symptoms lasting beyond a few months.

That's still a big number, and "it's very rare that someone has just a single concussion," said David Hovda, director of the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center. Suffering multiple concussions, or one soon after another, raises the risk of long-term problems. A brain injury also makes the brain more susceptible to PTSD, he said.

On a more mundane level, many new veterans have back, shoulder and knee problems, aggravated by carrying heavy packs and wearing the body armor that helped keep them alive. One recent study found that 19 percent required orthopedic surgery consultations and 4 percent needed surgery after returning from combat.

All of this adds up to more disability claims, which for years have been coming in faster than the government can handle them. The average wait to get a new one processed grows longer each month and is now about eight months — time that a frustrated, injured veteran might spend with no income.

More than 560,000 veterans from all wars currently have claims that are backlogged — older than 125 days.

The VA's benefits chief, Hickey, gave these reasons:

—Sheer volume. Disability claims from all veterans soared from 888,000 in 2008 to 1.3 million in 2011. Last year's included more than 230,000 new claims from Vietnam veterans and their survivors because of a change in what conditions can be considered related to Agent Orange exposure. Those complex, 50-year-old cases took more than a third of available staff, she said.

—High number of ailments per claim. When a veteran claims 11 to 14 problems, each one requires "due diligence" — a medical evaluation and proof that it is service-related, Hickey said.

—A new mandate to handle the oldest cases first. Because these tend to be the most complex, they have monopolized staff and pushed up average processing time on new claims, she said.

—Outmoded systems. The VA is streamlining and going to electronic records, but for now, "We have 4.4 million case files sitting around 56 regional offices that we have to work with; that slows us down significantly," Hickey said.

Barry Jesinoski, executive director of Disabled American Veterans, called Hickey's efforts "commendable," but said: "The VA has a long way to go" to meet veterans' needs. Even before the surge in Agent Orange cases, VA officials "were already at a place that was unacceptable" on backlogged claims, he said.
He and VA officials agree that the economy is motivating some claims. His group helps veterans file them, and he said that sometimes when veterans come in, "We'll say, 'Is your back worse?' and they'll say, 'No, I just lost my job.'"

Jesinoski does believe these veterans have more mental problems, especially from multiple deployments.
"You just can't keep sending people into war five, six or seven times and expect that they're going to come home just fine," he said.

For taxpayers, the ordeal is just beginning. With any war, the cost of caring for veterans rises for several decades and peaks 30 to 40 years later, when diseases of aging are more common, said Harvard economist Linda Bilmes. She estimates the health care and disability costs of the recent wars at $600 billion to $900 billion.

"This is a huge number and there's no money set aside," she said. "Unless we take steps now into some kind of fund that will grow over time, it's very plausible many people will feel we can't afford these benefits we overpromised."

How would that play to these veterans, who all volunteered and now expect the government to keep its end of the bargain?

"The deal was, if you get wounded, we're going to supply this level of support," Bilmes said. Right now, "there's a lot of sympathy and a lot of people want to help. But memories are short and times change."

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Government Contracting: A Three-Part Webinar Series. June\July\August 2012

BEMA Network members (Individual\Private, Affiliate, Community Participation, Critical Infrastructures):

Something of special interest to Non-profits, and Affiliate members.  

If you are outside of the Washington, D.C. area knowing even the D.C. contracting requirements could be of some us.

Federals workers and their families live either within D.C. or the neighboring communities that stretches even further then Baltimore, Maryland in the North, Richmond, Virginia in the South, Delaware in the East, and West Virginia in the West..  The degrees of seperation are far less then you think. 
It doesn't hurt to know how business is conducted in the District of Columbia.


Charles D. Sharp 
Chief Executive.  Founder 

"One of the true test of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency."       Arnold H. Glasgow

Government Contracting: A Three-Part Webinar Series           Thursday, June 21, 2012 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM EDT

Webinar Registration
This three-part webinar is designed for small business owners, including sole proprietors, business partnerships, general managers and owners of LLCs. Participants will learn the basics of government contracting from experienced attorneys at WilmerHale.

Thursday, June 21, 2012         "Intro to Federal Government Contracting and Subcontracting"

Thursday, July 19, 2012         "Government Contacting as a Small and Disadvantaged Business"

Thursday, August 16, 2012    "Contracting with the DC Government & Performing Government Grants"

Each webinar will start at 12 noon Eastern Time and last 60 minutes.
       Presenters: Joe Smith, Counsel, WilmerHale                     Matthew Haws,  Counsel, WilmerHale
                   Carla Weiss, Associate, WilmerHale                   Leslie Harrelson, Associate, WilmerHale

Please note: Registering here signs you up for all three webinars.       https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/353658632%3E

Friday, May 25, 2012

Webinar: SBA Small Loan Advantage Program

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SBA District Office
Please join the Los Angeles SBA District Office - Lender Relations Division Thursday, May 31, 2012 from 10:00am to 11:00am for an opportunity to learn more about SBA’s Small Loan Advantage Program.
This teleconference with SBA’s Los Angeles District Office will discuss the streamlined application process for SBA 7(a) loans up to $250,000.
Please RSVP by emailing a list of attendees to:  LADOlenderRelations@sba.gov by Tuesday, May 29, 2012 and you will receive a follow-up e-mail with the conference call dial in information.  This training opportunity is being offered via telephone only.

Overview of SBA’s Small Loan Advantage Program

Small Loan Advantage is structured to encourage larger, existing SBA lenders to make lower-dollar loans, which often benefit businesses in underserved markets.
- Maximum Loan Size: $250,000.
- Guarantee: 85 percent for loans up to $150,000 and 75 percent for those greater than $150,000.
- Approval Times: Most Small Loan Advantage loans will be approved in a matter of minutes through electronic submission (e-Tran). Non-delegated Small Loan Advantage loans will be approved within 5 to 10 days.
- Paperwork: Small Loan Advantage features streamlined paperwork, with a two-page application for borrowers and lenders can use their own note and guaranty agreement.
- Lender Requirements: Small Loan Advantage is open to financial institutions (currently 630 lenders) participating in SBA’s Preferred Lender Program (PLP).

Thursday, May 24, 2012

FEMA's Integrated Public Alert and Warning System

Mobile wireless emergency alerting capabilities will be available nationwide through participating carriers

WASHINGTON - Hurricane Season begins June 1, 2012, FEMA is providing additional tools for federal, state, local, tribal and territorial officials to alert and warn the public about severe weather. Using the Commercial Mobile Alert System, or CMAS, which is a part of FEMA's Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, this structure will be used to deliver Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) to wireless carriers for distribution to the public.

The CMAS system will allow the National Weather Service to soon begin issuing WEAs for the most dangerous weather through participating wireless carriers directly to cell phones. The alerts will be broadcast by cell towers much like an AM/FM radio station, and cell phones within range will immediately pick up the signal, provided they are capable of receiving these alerts. The availability of WEA alerts will be dependent on the network status of the wireless carriers and handset availability, since not all cell phones can receive WEAs. People should check with their cellular carriers to see if WEA alerts are available in their area.

"The wireless emergency alert capability provides an additional opportunity for the public to receive life-saving information needed to get out of harm's way when a threat exists," said Timothy Manning, FEMA deputy administrator for protection and national preparedness. "The public also has a critical role in their personal preparedness. There are a few simple steps that everyone can take to be prepared, like knowing which risks exist in your area and making a family emergency plan. Information and resources to help individuals and families prepare can be found at ready.gov."

WEAs will look like a text message, and will automatically appear on the mobile device screen showing the type and time of alert along with any action that should be taken. The message will be no more than 90 characters, and will have a unique tone and vibration, indicating a WEA has been received. If an alert is received, citizens should follow the instructions and seek additional information from radio, television, NOAA Weather Radio, and other official sources for emergency information. Citizens should only call 911 in a life threatening situation.

Only authorized federal, state, local, tribal or territorial officials can send WEA alerts to the public. As with all new cellular services, it will take time for upgrades in infrastructure, coverage, and handset technology to allow WEA alerts to reach all cellular customers.

FEMA urges individuals and businesses to take action to prepare themselves in advance of severe weather and hurricanes such as taking the pledge to prepare at www.ready.gov/pledge. This is the first step in making sure you and your family is ready for an emergency. This includes filling out your family communications plan that you can email to yourself, assembling an emergency kit, keeping important papers and valuables in a safe place, and getting involved.

With the start of hurricanes season it is even more important to know your risk, take action, and be an example. While hurricanes often offer some warning that a threat is approaching, severe weather can occur at any time and in any place, including high winds, inland flooding, severe storms and tornadoes.

For more on family preparedness, visit www.ready.gov/hurricanes for more planning information and safety tips.

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Career Opportunities: Advancement Project

Advancement Project ...Just Democracy!


Community Participation: Taking Control and Creating Change

Creating Change is the People’s Job

We—not just the president—have to be the agents of change in our society. How do we extend our electoral organizing beyond the elections?

by Deepak Bhargava   posted May 23, 2012

There is a grumble being repeated in some progressive circles. It goes like this: “President Obama has been a disappointment. But what’s the alternative?” It’s usually followed by a sigh and a plea for work to save the “few minor” things we did get done in the last three years.

But this grumbling is largely wrong. Some of the disappointment is understandable. For instance, on the President’s watch, thousands of immigrant families have been torn apart by inhumane deportation policies
Even so, our achievements are by no means minor. The stimulus contained the largest expansion of anti-poverty programs in a generation, health care reform is already expanding coverage for millions of people, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has been consigned to the history books, and efforts to slash Medicare and Social Security have been held in check.

From where I stand, something more interesting is going on. We’ve examined ourselves and found a fundamental weakness: We placed too much hope and faith in the president. It was a mistake, but not because this president has somehow betrayed us. He’s done what presidents do: governed under all the stresses of competing pressures.

Abolitionists gave us abolition, not Lincoln. The civil rights movement gave us voting rights for blacks. The suffragette movement gave women the right to vote.

It was a mistake because we—not just the president—have to be the agents of change in our society. Electoral victories without sustained movements will never address inequality, poverty, or any of the major issues we face. Abolitionists gave us abolition, not Lincoln. Powerful movements focus on issues, not on presidents.

The civil rights movement gave us voting rights for blacks. The suffragette movement gave women the right to vote. The gay rights movement gave gays the right to marry and put an end to “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” Union victories created the modern middle class.

Increasingly, those who are engaging in this more interesting conversation are asking: How do we extend our electoral organizing beyond the elections?

This is a far more exciting question because answering it correctly will give us a chance at the real prize: building a society governed by progressive values and policies that move us all forward together. 
At the Center for Community Change, we’ve been doing this with immigration policy. We are turning outrage over the administration’s massive deportations into action to enhance the power of immigrants in our society. Our “Change Takes Courage” campaign holds the White House accountable for tearing families apart. At the same time, we send a clear message to all those who oppose immigration reform by making our voter registration and voter turnout work be first and foremost about raising the power of immigrants to make sure their voices are heard in all ways, not just at the ballot box.

So the grumbling is waning as enthusiasm for the 2012 election is rising, because we are starting to figure out that elections aren’t really about candidates—they are about us, about what we can be doing to create change, and about the society that together we all hope to build.  

Deepak Bhargava wrote this article for Making it Home, the Summer 2012 issue of YES! Magazine. Deepak, one of the YES! Breakthrough 15, is executive director of the Center for Community Change, which builds the power and capacity of low-income people, especially people of color, to have an impact on improving their communities and the policies and institutions that affect their lives. The CCC strengthens, connects, and mobilizes grassroots groups to enhance their leadership, voice, and power.


U.S. Humanitarian Assistance: Honduras.

Honduras: Missouri Army Guard Soldiers celebrate building a schoolhouse for Hondurans

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Walter Van Ochten
U.S. Army South

Click photo for screen-resolution imageArmy South's Task Force Tropic, commanded by Army Lt. Col. Robert L. Jones, Missouri Army National Guard, and Leonidas Matamoros, a community leader who had been instrumental in getting this project for his community, thanked each for their mutual help in building a school, in Micheletti, Honduras, May 8, 2012. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Walter Van Ochten)(Released)open link in new window download hi-res photo

NACO CORTES, Honduras (5/23/12) - The oppressive Central American heat and humidity did not dissuade a crowd of more than 200 Honduran citizens from Micheletti in joining in the festivities May 9.

U.S. Army South’s Task Force Tropic, commanded by Army Lt. Col. Robert L. Jones, Missouri Army National Guard joined with Micheletti key community leaders and San Pedro Sula officials for a “First Stone” ceremony at the site of a two-room school that is under construction as part of U.S. Southern Command’s Beyond the Horizon 2012.

Beyond the Horizon 2012 is a U.S. Army South planned exercise that deploys military engineers and medical professionals to Honduras for training, while providing services to rural communities. BTHs are conducted annually in the U.S Southern Command area of responsibility and are part of its humanitarian and civic assistance program.

The local leaders got a tour of the partially finished schoolhouse and bathroom.

Jones along with project manager, Army Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Vitale, 294th Engineer Company, 203rd Engineering Battalion, 35th Engineering Brigade; San Pedro Sulas’ vice-mayor Dr. Reiner A. Laitano; project manager for all villages at San Pedro de Sula, Dunia Jimenez, Preecidente de Patronatos, San Pedrd Sula, and Col. Calixto Tejada Honduran 14th Infantry Battalion executive officer, grabbed some shovels and dug into the earth symbolically displaying the commitment they have to the people living in this community.

Jones then stood in the midst of the large crowd as the Honduran officials gave speeches showing their gratitude to the Americans for their effort in building the school.

Once they finished, Jones stepped forward from the crowd to return the favor, his words echoed those of the Honduran speakers by stating he was “to the local community for their support of his Soldiers' training and commitment to the schoolhouse under construction.”

Before he said those words, on his way to the microphone, he encountered Leonidas Matamoros, a community leader who all day long had been leading his community in cheering and applauding and had been instrumental in getting this project for his community.

Jones stopped and with a hardy handshake and a bear hug the two thanked each for their mutual help in building the school.

The day, however, wasn’t just for the dignitaries and the commanders; it was for all those standing out in the heat, humidity and sun whose partnership is bringing a new school to this community.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

USDA: Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships

 USDA has a long history of working with faith-based and community organizations to help those
in need, by providing federal assistance through domestic nutrition assistance programs, international
food aid, rural development opportunities, and natural resource conservation. As we continue strengthening USDA's existing relationships and build new ones, the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood
Partnerships will be instrumental in working with our community partners, faith-based and secular,
to reach even more people in need throughout our country. On behalf of everyone at USDA,
Secretary Tom Vilsack would like to thank each and every partner for their dedication to this
important work.

Please let us know how we can support your efforts.

I Want To...

Help End Hunger
Ending Hunger
The USDA nutrition assistance programs help one in every five Americans get the nutrition
assistance they need. We rely on local organizations and various partners to help get food to
those in need.

Revitalize Rural Communities
Rural Communities
Rural communities are a vital asset to our nation's economic and social well-being. USDA has
various grant and loan programs to help develop housing, community facilities and businesses
in our small towns.

Conserve Natural Resources
Natural Resources
USDA has a leadership role in developing partnerships to help America's private land owners
conserve their soil, water and other natural resources. Additionally, USDA is the steward of
our national forests.

Feed a Neighbor
Get Information

Gleaning Guide
Download the Toolkit
Let's Move Faith and Communities
Get Information
Know Your Farmer
Get Information

High School Students Engage Environment Management Program

DOE Office of Environmental Management

EM News Flash | May 22

High School Students Engage EM Program, Teach Classmates about Nuclear Cleanup 

LAS VEGAS – Two high school students are aspiring to educate their classmates on the Nevada National Security Site’s (NNSS) environmental cleanup program after surveying them to gauge their knowledge of it.

   After West Career and Technical Academy (WCTA) juniors Justine Leavitt and Cielo Gumabon analyze the survey results, they will develop an educational tool to boost students’ familiarity with NNSS’s work to clean up the environmental legacy of historic nuclear weapons related activities. Leavitt and Gumabon are considering several ideas for the tool, from a short documentary and audience-interactive school assembly to a rap song or comic book.

  Leavitt and Gumabon are undertaking the project as part of their roles as the first-ever student liaisons to the Nevada Site-Specific Advisory Board (NSSAB). Representing Nevada stakeholders, members of the board review and comment on environmental restoration and waste management activities at NNSS and provide recommendations to the EM program on issues of concern to the region surrounding NNSS.

   The board hopes to obtain a fresh perspective on environmental issues from the pioneering student liaisons, who are encouraged to raise environmental concerns on behalf of their classmates and the greater community. In turn, the students learn about environmental and technical issues impacting the region, build their portfolios and gain insight into potential college studies and career tracks. 

   The liaisons' year-long project is a first of a kind for WCTA, NNSS and NSSAB as they come together for WCTA’s inaugural Student Liaison Project. Similar partnerships exist at other DOE EM sites as well, including Oak Ridge in Tennessee.

    “Cielo and Justine have put a tremendous amount of work into this project, and all the while they are juggling coursework and other activities,” said NSSAB member Michael Moore, a mentor to the liaisons who helped coordinate the project. “They are succeeding in creating a path for other student liaisons who want to become involved with the environmental work at NNSS and its impact on the community.”

Cielo and JustineNSSAB student liaisons Gumabon, left, and Leavitt discuss their project involving a student survey and educational tool to members of the NSSAB.

Liaison Program Draws Together School, NNSS and Community
   Moore said the project integrates the school with NNSS and the community, providing the students leadership and educational opportunities outside the classroom.

   “The students already have had an introduction to environmental management, and this project provides them with a real-world educational opportunity. Hopefully this project will encourage and inspire the students to continue forward on this path to college and later a career in environmental management,” Moore said.

   He said the project’s goal of increasing the surveyed students’ NNSS knowledge is important since the site is an integral part of the Las Vegas community. He recalled his school days in the 1980s when he saw workers stand in line for buses to transport them to the site. Many people in the community also remember the nuclear testing viewing parties held decades ago.

   “Las Vegas has always been hand in hand with the site in one way or another,” Moore said.

   Gumabon said that the research she and Leavitt perform to try to educate the WCTA community will be a great skill to apply in her college and post-college careers.
   “I hope to become an environmental and materials engineer, and research will play an integral role,” she said.

Liaison: Students Should Know about Environmental Cleanup  

   Leavitt believes it’s important for WCTA students to have knowledge of the NNSS EM program.

   “Students at WCTA are always trying to connect with their surroundings, and this is a great way to do so,” she said of the liaison project. “It will help increase their knowledge and awareness by us telling them what is happening. They should be aware because they are living with the changes the site makes.”

   Leavitt and Gumabon worked with their high school and NNSS to craft the survey questions. The surveys are emailed to the estimated 980 WCTA students for completion during English classes. Once all surveys are received, the liaisons will analyze the results and begin work on the educational tool this fall.

   This month, Leavitt and Gumabon briefed NSSAB on their progress. Board members responded positively, Moore said. The liaisons will update the board later this year with the complete survey results.

   Among the survey questions:
  • Do you want to learn more about the EM program at NNSS and/or its history?
  • Do you think the community’s concerns would be diminished by increasing their knowledge of the environmental cleanup projects being conducted at the NNSS?
  • Are you interested in any environmental management issues and solving them, in regards to the site?
  • Are there any issues or concerns you’d like to have your WCTA student liaison representatives bring to the Board?
Oak Ridge Students Reflect on Advisory Board Experience

   At Oak Ridge, two non-voting student representatives from area high schools sit on the Oak Ridge Site-Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) and participate in the board’s working committees. ORSSAB’s outgoing student representatives, Kasey McMaster and Amira Sakalla, were recently recognized for their service at the board’s April meeting. 

Oak Ridge studentsMcMaster, left, and Sakalla were presented plaques by Dave Adler, DOE-EM liason to ORSSAB, in recognition for their service to ORSSAB.

   “I’ve really enjoyed my time on ORSSAB. It gave me a taste of how decisions and planning are carried out in the real world,” said Sakalla, a senior at Hardin Valley Academy. “It’s a gradual process that requires patience, but results in great progress. I plan on going into health care as a pediatrician, and the ORSSAB has helped me make connections between two seemingly unrelated fields. People often focus on how environmental issues affect the earth and overlook how these issues affect humans and their health.”

   McMaster, a senior, said she found her experience on the board interesting and enriching.

   “I learned about so many new things involving the environmental well-being of the Oak Ridge Reservation I probably would never have known about had I not taken the opportunity to be a student representative. I am thankful that I was given the chance to participate,” McMaster said.


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