Where we stand on our open records requests with the Shawnee Mission School District

first_imgDeb Zila has represented the SM South area on the Shawnee Mission Board of Education since 2007. CBIZ, a district contractor, hired her daughter for an on-site job with the district last year.We’ve gotten a handful of questions from readers about the status of the Kansas Open Records Act requests we submitted last month seeking communications regarding the hiring of Board of Education member Deb Zila’s daughter Mallory for an in-district job with CBIZ, the district’s health insurance broker.As a reminder, those requests sought the following:All electronic mail records on district administration servers referencing Mallory Zila sent or received between April 1, 2016 and August 30, 2016All electronic mail correspondence between Deb Zila and Jim Hinson from Jan. 1, 2016 to Dec. 31, 2016Copies of all electronic mail correspondence sent or received by Deb Zila between the dates Feb. 1, 2016 and Aug. 15, 2016 that include the word “Mallory”Copies of all text messages sent between Jim Hinson and Deb Zila from 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 7 through noon Monday, March 13.Copies of all electronic mail correspondence sent by members of the Board of Education between 3:15 p.m. Tuesday, March 7 and 11:30 a.m. Monday, March 13.As we wrote last month, pursuant to Kansas law, the district requested pre-payment before proceeding with efforts to pull the email records for the requests above. Before we decided whether or not to pay the fees of more than $1,000, we wanted to know more about the district’s policies on which channels are used for correspondence regarding district business, and what kinds of electronic mail records the district keeps on its servers and for how long.We learned that:1.) There are no laws that compel a school district to keep correspondence on file for any specific amount of time. “There are no state or federal laws that apply directly to school districts that dictate which email or other communications we save,” wrote a district spokesperson. “In accordance with the Kansas general records retention schedule – which is not applicable to school districts – but which we use as a guideline (K.S.A. 45-404(b)) – any email or correspondence reflecting decisions regarding Board policy should be and are preserved.”2.) There is no written policy in effect mandating that board members and administrators use their official district email accounts to conduct district business.Because an administrator’s personal email account would not be searchable without that person’s consent and there is no guarantee that anyone would preserve all correspondence on a personal account, we had no way to know whether the documents we would receive through the open records act requests would provide a full account of the correspondence we sought.We also had questions about whether the time estimates the district provided for staff time needed to comply with the requests were reasonable. To address those concerns, we asked whether we would be permitted to have an observer on site while the work to pull the emails was under way to confirm that it would take as long as the estimates suggested. We were told that “due to confidentiality/privacy concerns” the district could not grant that request.Given the above, we chose only to make a pre-payment for the request that sought the board of education’s emails in the week following our publication of the story on Mallory Zila’s hiring. The district has informed us it will deliver those records by April 28.In an unrelated matter, we also put in a KORA request seeking administrator contracts for the current school year and for the final year of Superintendent Gene Johnson’s tenure with the district. The district initially indicated it would take eight hours to pull those files and that they would charge us $10 an hour for the work. We received word a few days after making the pre-payment for the documents that it had taken just three hours, and the district cut the price by $50. We’re currently analyzing those documents, and will be publishing a story on what we find in the coming days.last_img read more

Why are some people more attached to their phones than others?

first_imgEmail Share LinkedIn Share on Facebook Some people frequently check and re-check their mobile phones. Once this impulse is triggered, it may be more a question of not being able to leave the device alone than actually hoping to gain some reward from it. These insights are drawn from a study by psychologists Henry Wilmer and Jason Chein of Temple University in the US and are published in Springer’s journal Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. Their findings shed light on the reasons why some people are so attached to their smartphones and mobile technology, while others are less so.A better understanding of the impact of smartphone and mobile technology usage is needed to assess the potential problems associated with heavy use. Although these electronic devices are playing an increasingly pervasive role in our daily activities, little research has been done about a possible link between usage behaviour and specific mental processes and traits. Therefore, Wilmer and Chein set out to determine if people who report heavier mobile technology use might also have different tendencies towards delaying gratification than others, or might exhibit individual differences in impulse control and in responding to rewards.Ninety-one undergraduate students completed a battery of questionnaires and cognitive tests. They indicated how much time they spent using their phones for social media purposes, to post public status updates, and to simply check their devices. Each student’s tendency to delay gratification in favour of larger, later rewards (their so-called intertemporal preference) was also assessed. They were given hypothetical choices between a smaller sum of money offered immediately or a larger sum to be received at a later time. Participants also completed tasks that assessed their ability to control their impulses. Finally, participants’ tendencies to pursue rewarding stimuli were also assessed.center_img Pinterest Share on Twitter The results provide evidence that people who constantly check and use their mobile devices throughout the day are less apt to delay gratification.“Mobile technology habits, such as frequent checking, seem to be driven most strongly by uncontrolled impulses and not by the desire to pursue rewards,” says Wilmer, who adds that the findings provide correlational evidence that increased use of portable electronic devices is associated with poor impulse control and a tendency to devalue delayed rewards.“The findings provide important insights regarding the individual difference factors that relate to technology engagement,” adds Chein. “These findings are consistent with the common perception that frequent smartphone use goes hand in hand with impatience and impulsivity.”last_img read more

CDC reaffirms safety of pandemic vaccine

first_imgMar 23, 2010 (CIDRAP News) – As of mid February, about 86 million Americans had received the pandemic H1N1 vaccine, and so far no worrisome signals have emerged from extensive safety monitoring, officials from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today at a conference call with heathcare practitioners.In addition, Anthony Fiore, MD, a medical epidemiologist with the CDC’s influenza branch, countered the view that the pandemic hasn’t differed much from a normal flu season. He pointed out that pediatric deaths from the pandemic H1N1 virus tower high above past seasonal flu years, and showed that hospitalization rates in younger age-groups have been unusually high, and in older people unusually low.Fiore added that one of the H1N1 pandemic’s hallmarks is identification of newly recognized risk groups, such as those who are obese, children with neuromuscular conditions, and indigenous populations.While no adverse event trends have emerged among those receiving vaccine, the CDC said it has seen some patterns with vaccine uptake. Fiore said most doses went to target groups, and coverage was higher in children than in adults. Of children under age 10 who received the vaccine, a group recommended to receive two doses, about 60% have gotten their second dose.In adults, pandemic vaccine uptake was higher in whites than in blacks and Hispanics, though in children patterns did not vary by race or ethnicity, he said.In analyzing uptake patterns, the CDC is identifying opportunities to refine its messages to the public, Fiore said. For example, a recent survey of adults found that the top reason for not getting the vaccine was that many didn’t think they needed to be immunized.The CDC has regularly posted brief pandemic H1N1 vaccine safety updates on its Web site, and in early December, 2 months into the immunization campaign, it published its first major report in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). Fiore said the CDC will publish another MMWR pandemic vaccine status report within the next few weeks.Karen Broder, MD, from the CDC’s immunization safety office, told clinicians that so far, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), set up to detect possible signs of adverse events but not to verify a vaccine link, has shown that serious events related to the pandemic vaccine are no higher than with the seasonal flu vaccine, which has had an excellent safety profile.As of Feb 16, serious events covered by the VAERS have been reported at a rate of 5.2 per million doses distributed. Reports submitted through the VAERS systems have gradually declined over the past months, mirroring the decline in vaccine doses distributed.So far 46 VAERS reports involve fatalities, she said. According to a review of medical records, medical examiner reports for 22 of the patients listed cardiac causes of death.As of Jan 31, medical chart reviews of VAERS reports verified Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) in 64 patients and anaphylaxis in 115 others. GBS is a rare side effect of the flu and other infections that was linked to a swine flu vaccine used by the United States in 1976. So far the rate appears to be below the US background rate for GBS, which is 1 case per 100,000 population.Broder noted that on Feb 26 in a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s National Vaccine Advisory Committee, the CDC’s nongovernmental vaccine safety working group said it had enough data to detect adverse events and that it had so far found no connection to adverse event patterns and the pandemic H1N1 vaccine. The working group was set up to independently evaluate and synthesize H1N1 vaccine data.She thanked clinicians for their role in stocking and storing the vaccine, screening and educating patients, administering the vaccine, and submitting VAERS reports. “This is not a small task. You have a lot of responsibility, and we appreciate your efforts,” Broder said.See also:CDC clinicians conference call informationDec 4, 2009, CIDRAP News story “CDC heartened by initial safety reports on H1N1 vaccine”last_img read more

M7 Real Estate sells German portfolio for €86.4m

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Jamaican wins CTO’s Tourism Youth Congress 2012

first_img Tweet 30 Views   no discussions Sharing is caring! LocalNews Jamaican wins CTO’s Tourism Youth Congress 2012 by: – October 10, 2012 Sharecenter_img Share Share Junior Ministers at the Tourism Youth Congress in St KittsST KITTS — Should Jamaica build a museum to honour sporting heroes like Usain Bolt? Or should Dominica hold an annual “Nature Island Games” to draw visitors to its forested hills?These were some of the ideas put forth by some of the Caribbean tourism newest visionaries Wednesday as part of the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s Tourism Youth Congress at the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank’s campus in Basseterre. The congress, which gathers “Junior Ministers” of Tourism aged 14 to 17 from around the Caribbean, has been taking place under the aegis of the CTO since 2000. It was Jamaica’s O’Brian Lewis, the Junior Minister who offered the proposal for a national sports museum, who took home first place following three rounds of debate covering sports tourism, social media and celebrity endorsement. (Lewis, naturally, suggested that Usain Bolt should be Jamaica’s official spokesperson). “Imagine, entering a black green building, where, at the entrance, you are greeted by cool reggae music — to the right, you see Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce; to your left, you find cricketers Courtney Walsh or Chris Gayle,” Lewis said of his proposed museum, perhaps finding the ear of one of the assembled tourism delegates on hand for the event. Placing in second was Barbados’ Christopher Morgan, followed by St Maarten’s Kiran Jivnani and Turks and Caicos’ Arean Louis in a tie for third. The young delegates were debating their own new ideas for the industry — from a establishing a high-level tennis academy in Antigua to fostering a haven for extreme sports in St Kitts — as their more seasoned counterparts held court at the Marriott in Basseterre to address regional airlift and other pressing issues for Caribbean tourism. The congress, which was chaired by and Dominican native Kitwanie Carbon (who won the event last year), was preceded by a mock tourism debate put on by local students in St Kitts and Nevis. Caribbean Journallast_img read more