Scandal-hit USOC picks golf executive Sarah Hirshland as CEO
By EDDIE PELLS
AP National Writer
Friday, July 13
DENVER (AP) — Sarah Hirshland’s biggest coup to date as a sports executive was brokering the billion-dollar deal that moved the TV home of golf’s U.S. Open from NBC to Fox.
Her next mission, as CEO of the U.S. Olympic Committee, will be more delicate — repairing a frayed relationship between athletes and a community that has grown wary of the governing body after a slew of sex-abuse cases they feel were not handled appropriately .
The USOC announced the U.S. Golf Association’s chief commercial officer as its new CEO on Thursday. Hirshland will replace Scott Blackmun, who resigned earlier this year to deal with health issues that undercut his ability to handle the crisis that engulfed the federation.
In some ways, the hire of the 43-year-old mother of three, a graduate of Duke, was no surprise. Given the circumstances, the USOC was expected to hire a woman, and the fact that she used to work alongside Casey Wasserman, who chairs the LA 2028 Olympic effort, earned her high marks from what will be the USOC’s closest working partners over the next decade.
“I know firsthand that Sarah is a visionary leader,” Wasserman said.
But with much of the USOC’s marketing and business efforts moving into the hands of the LA organizers, chairman Larry Probst said one of Hirshland’s biggest tasks, outside of repairing relationships with athletes, will be shoring up support among lawmakers in Washington.
The USOC has come under increased scrutiny of late in the Capitol, with its leaders being grilled in a handful of hearings over what has largely been viewed as their slow response to the mushrooming sex-abuse crisis.
Though the USOC receives no federal funding, Congress has ultimate authority over the federation via the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act. When asked about her experience in lobbying and public policy, Hirshland laid out no specifics.
“I have spent, as you might imagine, time in and around the governance of sport within the context of the role of the USGA,” said the key architect of the deal that more than doubled the USGA’s take for TV rights, up to $1.1 billion over 12 years. “This will be a distinct opportunity for me and one I’m looking forward to.”
At the USOC, Hirshland will make $600,000 a year with a chance for a bonus of up to 50 percent. It’s a remarkably low salary for the leader of an organization who has to tend to relationships with 43 domestic Olympic sports organizations, to say nothing of the thousands of athletes, donors, fans and the International Olympic Committee, which has proven a thorn in the side of the USOC for decades. (The Olympic TV deal with NBC, meanwhile, is negotiated by the IOC and locked up through 2032.)
But Hirshland’s top task will be restoring credibility to the USOC’s efforts to provide safe atmospheres for its athletes.
Sex-abuse scandals in swimming, gymnastics and taekwondo —to name a few — forced the USOC to create more uniform standards to protect athletes across all Olympic sports.
Under Blackmun’s tenure, the USOC helped open the U.S. Center for SafeSport, which took over the duty of investigating sex-abuse cases in Olympic sports and meting out the punishment.
But the USOC’s off-and-on portrayal of itself as a federation that only truly oversees the athletes during the three-week Olympic period every two years rubbed many people wrong, and made it sound as if its leaders weren’t ultimately responsible for the welfare of the athletes.
“I … recognize the challenges ahead as we navigate this critical moment in the USOC’s history,” Hirshland said. “We must protect, support and empower athletes, young and old, elite and beginner.”
The USOC finds itself a defendant in a number of lawsuits filed by athletes and even former U.S. gymnastics coordinator Martha Karolyi, all of which seek damages because of its role in the scandal.
The USOC’s interim CEO, Susanne Lyons, said the federation attempted to identify sex-abuse victims to be part of the search committee, but was prevented from reaching out because of the pending lawsuits.
Hirshland is the third woman to hold the title of CEO, following Lyons and Stephanie Streeter, whose brief tenure in 2008-09 was riddled with infighting and confusion and led to her departure.
“It’s a powerful moment for the USOC and for me, personally,” Hirshland said. “And while I don’t look at this as being a female CEO, I’m proud to be a woman, and even more proud to be CEO of the USOC. If I can do both things well, that’ll be good for the entire community in which we operate.”
Troopers seize $300,000 worth of heroin in Hamilton County
INDIAN HILLS – Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers filed felony drug charges against two Arizona women after a traffic stop in Hamilton County. During the traffic stop, troopers seized more than 4 pounds of heroin valued at approximately $300,000.
On July 8, 2018 at 3:20 p.m., troopers stopped a 2008 Nissan Altima with Arizona registration for an impeding traffic violation on Interstate 275 near milepost 51. Criminal indicators were observed and a Patrol drug-sniffing canine alerted to the vehicle. A probable cause search revealed the contraband.
The driver, Gloria Lopez, 25, of Tucson, Ariz., and passenger, Lizbeth Sophia Morales, 19, of Losarcos Sierra Vista, Ariz., were incarcerated in the Hamilton County Jail and charged with possession and trafficking in heroin, both first-degree felonies; and operating a vehicle with a false compartment, a fourth-degree felony.
If convicted, each woman could face up to 21 years in prison and up to a $45,000 fine.
In 2012, Senate Bill 305, prohibited designing, building, constructing, fabricating, modifying, or altering a vehicle to create or add a hidden compartment with the intent to facilitate the unlawful concealment or transportation of a controlled substance. It also prohibits operating, possessing, or using a vehicle with a hidden compartment with knowledge that the hidden compartment is used or intended to be used to facilitate the unlawful concealment or transportation of a controlled substance, and prohibits a person who has committed a first or second degree felony violation of aggravated trafficking in drugs from operating, possessing or using a vehicle with a hidden compartment.
A photo of the seized contraband is available for download on the Patrol’s website at www.statepatrol.ohio.gov
In 2018, troopers have removed over 100 pounds of heroin from Ohio’s roadways, more than twice as much compared to 2017 year-to-date. For a complete list of drug arrests by county visit: http://www.statepatrol.ohio.gov/statistics/statdocs/Highlights/2018/Drugs.pdf
The public is encouraged to call #677 to report drug activity and dangerous or impaired driving.
Grant McLravy Participates in Summer Orientation at Bob Jones University
News from Bob Jones University
GREENVILLE, SC (07/16/2018)— Grant McLravy of Westerville joined other new students as Bob Jones University hosted summer orientation in June.
Incoming students and their parents attended informational sessions about the BJU experience, had the opportunity to ask questions regarding academics, financial aid and student life and became familiar with the campus.
Additionally, students had the opportunity to connect with other new students, current students and faculty.
“Summer orientation provides students and their families the opportunity to experience BJU,” said Mrs. Rebecca Weier, BJU’s Director of Student Success and Engagement. “Students who attend this exciting, informative program will be better prepared to start classes with confidence in August.”
Located in Greenville, South Carolina, Bob Jones University provides an outstanding regionally accredited Christian liberal arts education purposely designed to inspire a lifelong pursuit of learning, loving and leading.
BJU offers over 100 undergraduate and graduate programs in religion, education, fine arts and communication, arts and science, and business.
BJU has nearly 3,000 students from nearly every state and more than 40 countries. We are committed to the truth of Scripture and to pursuing excellence in all we do.
Getting to know the microbes that drive climate change
July 16, 2018
Genetic details could improve predictions, guide efforts to slow damage
COLUMBUS, Ohio – A new understanding of the microbes and viruses in the thawing permafrost in Sweden may help scientists better predict the pace of climate change.
Microbes have significant influence over global warming, primarily through the production of – or consumption of – methane, and new details about these microscopic beings’ genetics is now available, thanks to a trio of studies from a project co-led by researchers at The Ohio State University.
The research appears in Nature, Nature Microbiology and ISME Journal.
“Because of global climate change, huge amounts of permafrost are rapidly warming. To microbes, they’re like freezers full of juicy chicken dinners that are thawing out,” said Virginia Rich, an assistant professor of microbiology at Ohio State and study author.
“In many cases, microbes take advantage of this situation to chew up what’s in the permafrost and breathe out methane. That methane really packs an environmental wallop, with 33 times the climate warming power of carbon dioxide.”
Many of these bacterial “consumers” and the viruses that influence them have been identified for the first time in these studies.
While scientists have a clear understanding of the dangers of thawing permafrost for releasing methane, they haven’t had a lot of details on the ins and outs of these microbial communities and their contribution to the process.
“The problem is, we don’t know all the microbes involved and how they will respond to climate change as the conditions get warmer and wetter, and to do a better job at predicting what will happen in the coming decades we need more information about the key players,” Rich said.
Matt Sullivan, a professor of microbiology at Ohio State and senior author on the virus study, said the research is also important because it contributes a great deal to the general understanding of what is happening in soil.
“While we’ve learned a lot about ocean viruses in recent decades, we know next to nothing about soil viruses,” he said. “This work’s viruses are so novel that they have doubled the total known viruses in the world.”
The multinational study was conducted in the portion of Sweden in the Arctic circle, one of the best places in the world to study thawing permafrost because of the rapid changes happening there and because of long-standing and well-documented scientific work in the area, Rich said.
A team of researchers from 10 organizations with expertise in a variety of areas including microbiology, geochemistry and climate modeling are working together in the IsoGenie Project, co-led by Ohio State’s Rich, to figure out how they can better predict future climate change based on improved understanding of the connections between microbes and geochemistry.
In these studies, they recovered more than 1,500 microbial genomes in the soil, which was 100 times what was available previously for these habitats. They also found more than 1,900 new viral populations, where none had been previously identified. A genome is the complete set of genes present in an organism.
The researchers were able to link more than a third of the viruses to the microbes they impact.
“Now, we have a roadmap from these genomes to be able to understand the roles they play in these communities,” Sullivan said.
By looking at the genomes of the microbes, the team was able to figure out what capabilities they have.
“It’s like now we have not only their fingerprints but also their resumes, to know both who they are and what they are capable of. The next step is figuring out more of what they’re actually actively doing out in the field,” Rich said.
This is important for several reasons, she said.
It will enable climate scientists to better estimate the speed of climate change, giving humans a clearer timetable for response. The study of these rapidly changing habitats also helps the public better appreciate the realities of climate change, Rich said. Furthermore, there might be opportunities for mitigating those effects, including the potential to “fertilize” areas of permafrost to encourage environmentally protective microbial activity, she said.
Not everything about the microbial communities in the permafrost is bad news. Some, called methanotrophs, consume methane in the soil before it gets to the air, which is good for the environment.
“As the conditions get warmer and wetter microbes are going to be changing, and some that eat methane may rise up,” Rich said.
Other researchers who worked on these studies at Ohio State are Joanne Emerson, Simon Roux, Jennifer Brum, Benjamin Bolduc, Ho Bin Jang, Suzanne Hodgkins, Lindsey Solden, Gareth Trubl, Ahmed Zayed and Kelly Wrighton.
The study was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the National Science Foundation.
By Misti Crane
Portman lobbies for funding for First Ladies Historic Site
By Robert Wang
CantonRep.com staff writer
Posted Jul 11, 2018
Sen. Rob Portman is seeking $1.17 million in federal park funding to cover the cost of maintenance projects at the First Ladies National Historic Site.
The U.S. Senate Subcommittee on National Parks held a hearing Wednesday to consider a bill introduced by Sen. Rob Portman, R-Cincinnati, that could provide $1.17 million to the First Ladies National Historic Site in Canton to cover the cost of backlogged maintenance projects.
A National Park Service official and three representatives of nonprofit group testified in support of the bill in an afternoon meeting of the subcommittee that lasted less than two hours. The subcommittee is part of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
Portman introduced the legislation on June 28. Six Republicans, three Democrats and independent Sen. Augus King of Maine, who caucuses with Democrats, are listed as co-sponsors.
If it becomes law, the bill would establish a federal National Park Service Legacy Restoration Fund. It would mandate that half of all energy development revenue the federal government receives between Oct. 1, 2018, and Sept. 30, 2023, be deposited in the fund up to $1.3 billion a year.
The money could only be spent on “high-priority deferred maintenance needs of” the National Park Service with a large portion paying for repairs and rehabilitation of historic structures and visitor centers.
Portman’s office said the National Park Service has a backlog of $12 billion worth of deferred maintenance projects, including the First Ladies National Historic Site, which is a Park Service property.
A statement from Portman’s office said the legislation could help address the $103.43 million needed to fund maintenance projects at Ohio’s eight national park sites, which along with First Ladies also include the Ohio Cuyahoga National Park, the William Howard Taft National Historic Site, the James A. Garfield National Historic Site and the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park.
“I introduced the bipartisan Restore Our Parks Act because it’s critically important that we address the nearly $12 billion backlog of long-delayed maintenance projects at the National Park Service,” Portman said in a statement. “Today’s hearing is a good first step in getting this bill through the Senate and ultimately to the President’s desk for his signature so that we properly maintain and protect our national parks for generations to come.”
The prospects of the bill proceeding to the Senate floor out of committee and through the House of Representatives are unclear.
Jennifer Highfield, the president and CEO of the National First Ladies’ Library, could not immediately be reached for comment on what projects the $1.17 million would specifically be spent on.
Quinn Kreminski Graduated from Bard College at Simon’s Rock
News from Bard College at Simon’s Rock
GREAT BARRINGTON, MA (07/16/2018)— Quinn Kreminski of Westerville, OH, recently graduated from Bard College at Simon’s Rock with an Associate of Arts degree.
Kreminski was one of 140 students to graduate from the nation’s first early college on Saturday, May 20, 2017. Thirty-eight undergraduates received their B.A. degrees and 102 students received their A.A. degrees.
White House reporter, CNN political analyst, and author April Ryan addressed graduates at the 2018 Bard College at Simon’s Rock commencement ceremony. Ryan advised students to never stop asking questions. “Don’t ever think that your voice, that your experiences, are not enough,” remarked Ryan. Watch the ceremony and speech.
Bard College at Simon’s Rock: The Early College, founded in 1966 and nestled in the bucolic Berkshires, is the only college in the country specifically designed for bright, highly motivated students ready to enter college early, usually after the 10th or 11th grade. As part of the Bard network, Simon’s Rock has access to a global consortium of institutions—including numerous civic, scientific, and art organizations. Simon’s Rock offers a challenging program in the liberal arts and sciences, taught exclusively in small seminars by a supportive, highly trained faculty. The College grants degrees in more than 35 majors. The Princeton Review’s Best 380 Colleges rates academics at Simon’s Rock higher than Harvard and Princeton. For more information visit www.simons-rock.edu.