SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Dozens of students at a Salt Lake City elementary school were served lunch Tuesday, only to have the food taken from them and thrown away in an incident parents said was uncalled for and humiliating for the children. The incident took place at Uintah Elementary School when students were told their school lunch account had either a zero or a negative balance. The students’ lunches were taken and thrown away, and the students were provided with fruit and milk. Officials said it’s school policy for food in such situations to be put in the trash. Parent Erica Lukes said taking away her child’s lunch was “ridiculous.” “I don’t think any child should have to feel like that over a two-dollar lunch balance,” she said. Jason Olsen is the communication director for the Salt Lake City School District, and he said in a statement officials with the school and district started calling parents with negative or zero balances on school lunch accounts beginning Monday and continuing Tuesday. He said students without money in their account were told Tuesday they would only be getting fruit and milk. Because the children are given their lunch before they go to process payment, those without positive account balances had their lunches taken away from them. The statement from Olsen reads in part: “This situation could have and should have been handled in a different manner.
We apologize. We are also investigating what type of notification parents may or may not have received prior to this week. The schools says they inform students when they go through the lunch line if they have a low balance. They say they also send notes home in the student’s Monday folders. However, when contacted Monday or Tuesday, many parents were surprised by the news. The district has specific guidelines for school kitchen managers on how parents should be notified, and we are currently investigating to see if these guidelines were followed correctly. We understand the feelings of upset parents and students who say this was an embarrassing and humiliating situation. We again apologize and commit to working with parents in rectifying this situation and to ensuring students are never treated in this manner again.” Fox 13 News
Intelligence reports say there is a threat of a terrorist attack on US soil by an Al-Qaida-linked group based in Syria. But despite the Mideast country increasingly resembling a haven for terrorists, the US is still not convinced it wants to deal with the government. Fears of an attack were discussed Wednesday by the Senate Intelligence Committee. Its possible source is believed to be the Al-Qaida-affiliated al-Nusra Front, which the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, said “[has] aspirations for attacks on the homeland,” Reuters reported. Surrounded by other high-ranking US intelligence and security officials, Clapper on Wednesday discussed how Syria is becoming a terrorist haven after a prolonged three-year conflict.
He also compared the situation to Pakistan’s federally-administered tribal areas (FATA) – which became a safe haven for Al-Qaida leaders after the US invaded Afghanistan in 2001. “What’s going on there may be in some respects a new FATA force … and the attraction of these foreign fighters is very, very worrisome,” Clapper said, adding that more than 7,000 militants fighting in Syria now come from around 50 different countries. The figure was not freely circulated until the Wednesday meeting, being previously kept in top-secret intelligence reports, Clapper said. He added that training grounds for rebel militants have also been spotted and that hundreds of West Europeans and a few Americans have joined up with the rebel and received training. The news comes as US and European security officials said earlier this week that the US Congress had secretly approved more light arms deliveries for “moderate” factions fighting to oust President Bashar Assad. This practice, according to the officials, has been held up for months due to fears of the weapons falling into radical Islamist hands. More
Gun owners in Connecticut have revolted against a new gun control law, with just 38,000 out of 2.4 million high capacity magazines being registered with authorities. Following the Sandy Hook shooting in December 2012, Connecticut passed a law which banned ammunition magazines capable of carrying more than 10 rounds. Residents who had acquired such magazines before the law came into effect were mandated to register them with state police by January 1, 2014. The law also banned assault rifles manufactured after 1994, requiring them to be declared to authorities. Weeks after the deadline expired, authorities revealed that 50,016 assault weapons and 38,290 ammunition magazines had been registered. CT News Junkie reported that it is, “unclear how many gun owners own the banned weapons and magazines, but chose not to comply with the registration requirement.” However, a 2011 Office of Legislative Research study found that, “there are over 2.4 million large capacity magazines in Connecticut that originated at the retail level.” This number didn’t even include those not purchased at the retail level. More
A police chief was detained and harassed by federal agents while traveling to a constitutional convention before returning home to be told he was fired and ordered to disband his police department after signing a pledge to uphold the bill of rights. Police Chief Shane Harger of the Jemez Springs, NM Police Department was flying out of Albuquerque Airport last week on his way to a Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA) convention taking place in Las Vegas. CSPOA is an organization headed up by Sheriff Richard Mack under which law enforcement officers gather to re-affirm their commitment to uphold and defend the Constitution. Before passing security, Harger was approached by a TSA agent who asked the police chief to show his credentials. Moments later, a man claiming to be a “federal agent” also asked to see Harger’s credentials before telling him he was a “person of interest.” The federal agent then demanded to know where Harger was traveling to and why. When Harger told the federal agent he was attending the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association Convention in Las Vegas, he was detained for 35 minutes before finally being allowed to board the airplane. On Tuesday January 28, a day after his return, Harger was placed on administrative leave and ordered by Sandoval County, NM, Sheriff Douglas C. Wood to disband his entire police department due to his “political affiliations”. What were his political affiliations?
While attending the convention, Harger, along with 38 other police officers, signed a declaration affirming their pledge to “obey and observe” the U.S. Constitution, in addition to refusing to carry out unconstitutional orders such as gun confiscation without constitutionally compliant warrants, violations of the 4th amendment without probable cause, detainment or incarceration of citizens without probable cause, or working with the military for domestic law enforcement. In other words, Harger was targeted for federal harassment and subsequently fired for re-affirming his belief in the very Constitution he took an oath to uphold and protect in order to become a police officer in the first place. “Despite having received a meritorious commendation from the Mayor of Jemez Springs on January 22, 2014, it seems that no one in the village government is willing to come to the assistance of Harger. It appears that Harger’s stance to defend and uphold the Constitution has put him and his entire department of ten part-time and volunteers out of business,” writes Vincent Finelli. “I was at the convention and I never saw nor heard anyone say nor do anything that was a violation of any law. The CSPOA convention was an assembly of peace-loving Americans who just wanted to uphold their oath of office, that being to support and defend the US Constitution and Bill of Rights for all of us, We The People,” adds Finelli. More
Apple’s new iPhone 5S comes with the company’s first fingerprint scanner. A simple stamp of your thumb can now unlock the phone or confirm online purchases. No passwords are required. While Apple fans have long awaited this big update, so has another group: the biometrics industry. Sensor companies have been wishing for a major player to swoop in, show how far the technology has advanced, and persuade shoppers that biometrics can be cool. ”Many think that the iPhone 5S is a tipping point for consumers,” says Adam Vrankulj, editor of the industry news outlet Biometric Update. After Apple purchased fingerprint-sensor company AuthenTec for $350 million in 2012, the stock price of several similar firms more than doubled. Fingerprint sensors have come a long way since 2002, when researchers found a way to trick high-end scanners with fake gelatin fingers. Today’s technology not only reads the tiny ridge patterns, but some can also look at blood flow and vein patterns underneath the skin. Plus, we now know that fingerprints and irises are not people’s only unique features. Scientists have devised ways to identify humans by the shape of their ears, kneecaps, and even their bottoms. A team at the Advanced Institute of Industrial Technology in Tokyo designed its rump sensor as an antitheft measure for cars. The group claims that these prototype seats can recognize the owner’s posterior with 98 percent accuracy. More
How long do you typically wait to see your doctor? Well if your physician is in D.C., you will most likely wait about 17 days to schedule an appointment. A survey of physicians nationwide found the average wait time for a new patient is nearly 19 days. The longest wait time was in Boston at 72 days and the shortest is in Dallas with 10 days. The wait times focused on specialized physicians, such as cardiologists, dermatologists and orthopedic surgeons. Overall, wait times declined from about 20 days in 2009. Experts say that is due to more nurses, better health care scheduling systems and more urgent care centers. More
Five years ago, Richard Guiler and Tom Vaneck were sitting at a bar a few blocks from their office, trying to take their minds off work. For nearly a year, the two engineers had been struggling to develop a durable drone that could dodge objects, navigate inside buildings, and fly in stormy weather. They’d tried fixed-wing models, but adding enough sensors to effectively detect obstacles made them too heavy to fly. They’d tried helicopters, but the rotors kept getting tangled in branches and electrical wires. They’d even built a motorized balloon; all it took was a gentle gust of wind to blow it off course. As they sat nursing their beers, Guiler and Vaneck watched as a fly appeared to slam into a window. Instead of breaking apart on contact as their drones did, the insect bounced off the glass and recovered. Then it did it again.
“It was an epiphany,” says Vaneck, who works for the Massachusetts research and development company Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI). “We realized if we could make a manmade system that could hit things, recover, and continue on, that’s a revolution.” The idea of borrowing designs from nature is far from new, particularly when it comes to flight. The ancient Greeks dreamed up Daedalus, who fashioned wings for his son (which unfortunately worked a little too well). Leonardo da Vinci sketched a human-powered ornithopter. But until recently, inventors lacked the aerodynamics expertise to turn diagrams into mechanical versions of something as quotidian as a fly or a bee. As technology has advanced, scientists have decoded many of nature’s secrets. And engineers have developed the first flying, insect-inspired vehicles, opening the door to an entirely new class of machine: the microdrone. More