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Southwest Colorado to get a new judge
Tue, 15 Feb 2022 22:21:55 +0000
Sixth Judicial District Court judge finalists selected Governor to appoint new district court judge

 

The Sixth Judicial District Nominating Commission has nominated three candidates for a district court judgeship created by the retirement of the Hon. William L. Herringer. The vacancy will occur on March 9, 2022. Nominees Anthony Edwards of Silverton, William Furse of Dolores, and Kim Shropshire of Durango were selected by the commission on Feb. 14, 2022.

Under the Colorado Constitution, the governor has 15 days from Feb. 15, 2022, within which to appoint one of the nominees as district court judge for the Sixth Judicial District (Archuleta, La Plata and San Juan counties).

Comments regarding any of the nominees may be sent via e-mail to the governor at gov_judicialappointments@state.co.us

 

 

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Yamaha ready for World Superbike title defense
Thu, 24 Mar 2022 16:41:15 +0000

 

Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK and its riders Toprak Razgatlıoğlu and Andrea Locatelli revealed their official colours for the 2022 FIM Superbike World Championship today, as the team prepares to defend the ‘Triple Crown’ with two further days of pre-season testing at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya from 25-26 March.

The two official Yamaha riders line up for their second season together as a formidable pair aboard the R1 WorldSBK. For Razgatlıoğlu, it will be his third year in Yamaha blue after a sensational 2021 season which saw the Turkish ace win 13 races, collect 29 podiums, three pole positions and seven fastest lap awards on his way to the Riders’ Championship title. The 25-year-old will compete with the coveted #1 on his R1 WorldSBK, also revealed for its inaugural outing today.

It will be a tough act to follow one of the most thrilling WorldSBK seasons of the sport’s history, but Yamaha Motor Research & Development Europe and the Crescent team have left no stone unturned during the winter in order to provide the best chance to defend the Riders’, Manufacturers’ and Teams’ Championships. A raft of upgrades introduced across engine and chassis components, as well as key electronics developments, will bolster the R1 WorldSBK’s well-rounded race package. Launched in its new colours with accents to reflect the latest production-based Yamaha R1, the 2022 Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK machine gives its riders enhanced overall performance compared to the 2021 title-winning racer.

Playing a key part in the team’s future success is 2021 Rookie of the Year Locatelli, who out-performed seasoned stalwarts of the series to finish fourth overall in the Riders’ Championship with incredible consistency throughout his first year in the premier class. The 25-year-old Italian achieved four podiums in total last year and is eager to deliver more – including challenge for his first WorldSBK race victory in 2022.

Pata Snack, a name that has become synonymous with Yamaha since its return to WorldSBK competition in 2016, continues for a seventh consecutive year as title sponsor, joined by financial forecasting software company Brixx displayed in its striking red. Motorcycle accident management specialists, McAMS has also become a Primary Partner of the team to further strengthen its title defence campaign.

The team would also like to welcome back and thank BMP Tappi, Semakin di Depan, Yamalube, Akrapovic, Hel Performance, Corpay and Breeze Motor Group, and extend a warm welcome to new key partners Pro-Bolt, industry leaders in premium fasteners, and OUTDO high performance motorcycle batteries.

Finally, Yamaha fans will not need to wait much longer to see their favourite protagonists turn a wheel in anger, with the first round of the season just around the corner in two weeks’ time from 8-10 April at MotorLand Aragon, following the official pre-season test at the same venue on 4-5 April.

Paul Denning – Team Principal, Pata Yamaha with BRIXX WorldSBK

“It is a pleasure to show off the new Yamaha WorldSBK colours for the 2022 season. Heading into this year’s racing has an extra special element as we line up as the defending WorldSBK Champions, but our goals remain the same – do our best, stay focused on what we can control and maximise our performance. Both Toprak and Loka have been working hard over the winter, Yamaha’s engineers have been completely committed, and the Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldBSK team has been fully engaged to finalise our competitive package both on and off the track. The entire project is very grateful for the support from our loyal partners, including Pata Snack and Brixx, the expanded support levels from McAMS, Hel Performance and Corpay, new partnerships with Pro-Bolt and OUTDO, and returning support from BMP Tappi, Semakin di Depan, Yamalube, Akrapovic, Breeze Motor Group and our many technical partners and long-time suppliers. We could not be in this position without this support, and we will do all we can to represent our partners and the Yamaha brand with another title challenge in 2022.”

Toprak Razgatlıoğlu

“My team has done incredible work over the winter and I have enjoyed testing all the developments! The new R1 WorldSBK looks amazing and we are ready to start the new season. I always say, my approach is the same in this championship: to fight for race wins every time. I cannot wait to ride my bike this week in Barcelona, we will continue to work on the race package and try to improve after very good tests in Aragon and Portimão. It will also be good to see our competition for 2022, but our focus is inside the Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK pit box for these final days before the first race.”


Andrea Locatelli

“I am really excited to start racing again! It’s my second season in WorldSBK and also with Yamaha, so for sure we have higher objectives. Even with more experience, the focus remains on trying to improve every session towards being able to fight for the podium every weekend. This is our objective and I hope we can start well, from the first race until the last one! I want to try and win with the Pata Yamaha with Brixx WorldSBK team in 2022, because it is important for me and also for the team. We had such an amazing season last year, but I am ready to take the next step. The 2022 Yamaha R1 WorldSBK looks great, we have new colours on the bike but also some new developments and parts that we tried during testing this winter – now, we will finalise the package to use during the season. Yamaha has done a fantastic job around the bike to find improvements and we are almost ready to go!”

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2023 Ford Ranger Raptor First Look: Midsize Truck, Full-Size Aggro
Wed, 23 Feb 2022 15:01:33 +0000

Since the new generation Ford Ranger landed on our shores a few years ago we’ve looked around with jealousy to see this Ranger Raptor offered globally with large fenders, swollen fenders, a lot of space clearance on the ground, as well as a twin turbocharged Diesel engine that has a smoky 369 pounds of torque. If you’re hoping for the particular Ranger Raptor We‘re sorry to say it’s not here, and hasn‘t ever been. But we have good news for you The next one is. In 2023, the Ford Ranger Raptor isn’t only more powerful than the previous model It’s also coming to America. Wait until you receive some of its specifications.

First, that 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 diesel engine is gone. In its place is the 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 that was which is being redesigned to Ford Performance. In Europe it can produce the equivalent of 284 horsepower as well as 362 pounds of twist. That’s impressive, no doubt. But beware of the ponies the Australian version produces an impressive 392 horsepower and the equivalent of 430 lbs. This is the likely version that we’ll see in the United States, although Ford isn’t revealing U.S. specs just yet. This engine with a performance rating comes with an anti-lag system that is similar to the one found in the European-spec Focus ST. Power is transferred through Ford’s standard 10-speed auto and an all-time four-wheel drive system that includes a two-speed transfer system.

The off-road equipment is remarkable. The required front as well as rear differential lockers are available and there’s an array of customizable different terrain modes, such as Baja mode that allows for speedy desert destruction. In addition, the chassis has been strengthened in all the usual ways to withstand the extreme tensions on the suspension caused by for instance, hitting the rock with a moderate size at 60 mph in the playa. This implies that suspension mountings are strengthened, as are some areas of the frame are around the bed and spare tire are reinforced as have been strengthened as well. The entire frame reinforcements in the photo below and they’re identical to the ones on the 2022 Ford Bronco Raptor, which has the same frame.

The suspension is comprised of hefty aluminum control arms at the front, as well as an actual axle that has a Watt’s linkage at the back. Ford went back to Fox to purchase 2.5-inch Live Valve internal bypass shock absorbers to handle wheel oscillation penalties. (Interestingly they have a smaller diameter than that of the 3.1-inch units that are in the Bronco Raptor.) Ford states that the Teflon-infused oil in these new shocks decreases friction and the heat that causes performance loss by 50 percent. Ford also promises better road comfort than previous models. The Bottom-Out Control feature offers more force for damping in the final quarter of the travel of the shock to avoid back-slapping slaps that cause spine-rearranging on bump stops.

There’s some significant armor underneath the hood of this truck. 2.3mm steel plates guard weak points beneath at the top of the truck. They extend out from the bumper to give the truck an attractive underbite. The steering, the radiator engine sump, the engine, and differential are all covered.

The most important thing is that the new Ranger Raptor keeps the attractive, Maverick-inspired look and style of its “regular” next-gen Ranger and adds a huge amount of excitement. Be aware that the next-gen Ranger was not originally made specifically for the American market, but was developed to fit the needs of an international-market truck. It’s clear. The latest Ranger is truly a global vehicle, that was designed specifically with U.S. in mind from the start. We believe that the model’s new Ranger Raptor shows that there was a lot of thought that was put into making sure it appeals to buyers from each side of the ocean, people with very different notions about what an ideal pickup is supposed to be. The features you’d expect to see to see are present, including big fenders with the black arched extensions to them, an e-gutter that has the “FORD” logo you could look up from space, a hood, the fender blisters, as well as an aggressive rear end, with two exhausts that are tucked away in a neat way. The side rails and loop on the bed appear to us like more of a European-style aspect, but maybe they’ll be available to us also.

The interior is a lot more contemporary than our Ranger and, evidently, it is very similar to the world-class Ranger we first saw earlier in the year, sporting the usual Raptor accessories: bright Code Orange accents, a sporting steering wheel and bolstered sports seats.

This is the perfect time to inform people that you’re viewing this ROW version, and specifically it’s the U.K. model. Be prepared for the possibility that there are minor differences in the American-market model–head and taillamps, as well as bumpers, can differ for different regions. However, it’s an intimate glimpse of what’s to come which has been verified by Ford, an American-market Ford Ranger Raptor that was designed from scratch with our needs in our minds. It‘s something that you should be excited about.

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Key Lifehacks For Selling Your Car
Thu, 10 Nov 2022 19:51:55 +0000

key lifehacks selling your car

When selling your car, don’t get swayed by unusual requests. While you should be polite to all buyers, it is also important to make sure you’re being honest with them. You should also be prepared to negotiate well. There are some key lifehacks that will make the sale process more pleasant for you.

Refuse unusual requests when selling your car

If you want to get the best price for your car, be sure to avoid any strange requests from buyers. If they insist on driving to a different location or asking you to get a loan to complete the sale, refuse. Instead, tell them to make arrangements and contact you when they are ready to close the deal. Most buyers will accept cash, but some might want to pay with a cashier’s check. If you are not comfortable with the cashier’s check, meet the buyer at a local bank and witness the withdrawal of cash or verify the check.

Be a good negotiator

One of the best ways to get the best price on a car is to be a good negotiator. When you are negotiating the sale of your car, you should use the information you have about your vehicle. You can also use an industry guidebook to help you decide what your car is worth. If you have a specific price in mind, it is important to stick to it. Otherwise, you will likely spend too much time negotiating.

Before listing your car for sale, do some research to determine what your competitors are asking for the same model. This will give you a more objective starting point for the negotiation. It is also wise to mention the condition of your car when the other party hits you with a lowball price. When negotiating, remember that the goal is to achieve a price that both parties are happy with.

Before you begin the negotiation, it is important to know what your car’s fair market value is. This is less than the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, and is influenced by a number of factors, including demand and supply. Knowing what your car’s fair market value is will help you negotiate a price that is fair for the car’s condition and features.

Before setting the price of your car, know the different types of dealerships. Some sell cars at a set price, and others have no-haggle policies. In these situations, a seller may not have a lot of negotiating power.

Be honest with potential buyers

When selling your car, you must be upfront about its condition. You should be honest about any mechanical issues or noises that may affect the car’s performance. Don’t try to hide any issues if you don’t have to, because this will only lead to a bad reputation with the potential buyer. You should also disclose if you have repaired any dents or body work that may be needed.

You should avoid meeting potential buyers in your own home. It’s best to meet them at a public place with video surveillance. You don’t want the buyer to be tempted to make low offers – and you shouldn’t take any low offers personally. Remember that the buyer is likely inexperienced and not as prepared as you are. If you treat potential buyers respectfully, they’ll be more likely to buy your car and pay you more.

If your car is in bad condition, be honest about the condition. Some buyers might ask you to fix it, which could be a hassle. You should weigh the costs of fixing it against the risk of losing the sale. If it’s too costly, you can reduce the price or pass the cost to the buyer.

When meeting potential buyers, always try to be honest. They’ll be judging you just as much as your car, so be yourself! If you’re too evasive or don’t respond to questions within a reasonable amount of time, they’ll assume that your car has already been sold. Be sure to make it clear that you’re selling your car for the right price and not just to get rid of it.

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As politics infects public health, private companies profit
Tue, 22 Feb 2022 16:52:08 +0000

This story originally appeared at khn.org.

For some counties and cities that share a public health agency with other local governments, differences over mask mandates, business restrictions, and other COVID preventive measures have strained those partnerships. At least two have been pushed past the breaking point.

A county in Colorado and a small city in Southern California are splitting from their longtime public health agencies to set up their own local departments. Both Douglas County, Colorado, and West Covina, California, plan to contract some of their health services to private entities.

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In Douglas County, which is just south of Denver and has one of the nation’s highest median household incomes, many residents had opposed mask mandate guidance from the Tri-County Health Department, a partnership among Adams, Arapahoe, and Douglas counties. Tri-County issued a mask order for the counties’ school districts in September 2021 and, within days, conservative Douglas County announced its commissioners had voted unanimously to form its own health department.

Douglas County, which in 1966 joined what was then called the Tri-County District Health Department, is phasing out of the partnership, with plans to exit entirely by the end of this year. It has already taken over many of its own COVID relief efforts from Tri-County.

It is contracting things like COVID case investigation, contact tracing, and isolation and quarantine guidance to a private consultant, Jogan Health Solutions, founded in early 2021. The contract is reportedly worth $1.5 million.

“We believe the greatest challenges are behind us … those associated with being one of three counties with differing and competing public health demands, on a limited budget,” Douglas County spokesperson Wendy Manitta Holmes said in a statement.

Daniel Dietrich, Jogan Health’s president, declined a request for an interview. “All of the data that Jogan Health is collecting is being relayed directly to Douglas County so that public policy aligns with real-time data to keep the residents of Douglas County safe,” Jogan Health spokesperson Sam Shaheen said in a prepared statement.

Lapses in food efforts possible

A similar situation is playing out east of Los Angeles, in West Covina, California. Its City Council has voted to terminate its relationship with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health over disagreements about COVID shutdowns.

West Covina officials have criticized the county health department’s COVID restrictions as a one-size-fits-all approach that may work for the second-largest city in the U.S., but not their suburb of about 109,500 people. West Covina plans to join Long Beach, Pasadena, and Berkeley as one of a small number of California cities with its own health agency. A date for the separation has not been set.

As in Douglas County, West Covina plans to contract some services to a private consultant, Transtech Engineers, that works mainly on city engineering projects and federal contracts, according to its website. Transtech officials did not respond to requests for comment.

West Covina Councilman Tony Wu and area family physician Dr. Basil Vassantachart are leading efforts to form the city’s own department. They hope L.A. County’s oversight of about 10 million people — “bigger than some states,” as Vassantachart noted — can be broken up into regional departments.

We have programs and services that many single-county health departments are not able to do just because of the resources that we can tap into … Building that from scratch is a huge feat and will take many, many, many years.

– Jennifer Ludwig, Tri-County Health’s deputy director

Amitabh Chandra, who directs health policy research at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, said the private sector won’t necessarily have better answers to a public health problem. “It might be the case that they’re good at delivering on some parts of what needs to be done, but other parts still have to be done in-house,” Chandra said.

Jeffrey Levi, a professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University, suggests there are too many local health departments in the U.S. and there should be more regionalization, rather than splitting into smaller departments.

“It’s very hard to effectively spend money and build the foundational capabilities that are associated with a meaningful public health department,” Levi said. “Doing this just because of anger at something like a mask ordinance is really unfortunate.”

Levi noted that public health departments are responsible for everything from restaurant and septic system inspections to administering the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, or WIC, a federal food assistance program. If a department is not adequately resourced or prepared, residents could see lapses in food or water safety efforts in their community, Levi said.

“L.A. County Public Health Department is one of the most sophisticated, and one of the most robust health departments in the country,” Levi said. “You are losing access to just a wide, wide range of both expertise and services that will never be replicable at the local level. Never.”

“The public will be hurt in ways that are not instantly measurable,” he added.

Building from scratch

The most recent major private-sector takeover of public health was a flop. A private nonprofit, the Institute for Population Health, took over Detroit’s public health functions in 2012 as the city was approaching bankruptcy.

The experiment failed, leaving a private entity unable to properly oversee public funding and public health concerns placed on the back burner amid the city’s economic woes. Residents also didn’t have a say in where the money went, and the staff on the city’s side was stripped down and couldn’t properly monitor the nonprofit’s use of the funds. By 2015, most services transferred back to the city as Detroit emerged from bankruptcy in 2014.

“That private institute thought it was going to issue governmental orders until it was informed it had no power,” said Denise Chrysler, who directs the Network for Public Health Law’s Mid-States Region at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

In Colorado, Tri-County’s deputy director, Jennifer Ludwig, expressed concerns about Douglas County creating non-COVID programs essential to the functioning of a public health department.

“We have programs and services that many single-county health departments are not able to do just because of the resources that we can tap into,” Ludwig said. “Building that from scratch is a huge feat and will take many, many, many years.”

There are also practical benefits. A larger health department, according to Ludwig, is more competitive in securing grant funding, can attract and retain high-quality expertise like a data team, and can buy supplies in bulk.

But West Covina’s Wu accepts that the city will not be able to build its department overnight. “You have to start small,” he said.

Douglas County and West Covina face another key snag: hiring amid a national public health worker shortage. Douglas County officials say they are conducting a national search for an executive director who will determine the new health department’s staffing needs.

KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation.


First published by Colorado Newsline
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The Importance of Good Home Lighting
Fri, 04 Mar 2022 20:32:30 +0000

 

Professional interior designers and decorators alike will tell you just how important it is for effective home design to make considered lighting choices. When a home already comes with standard ceiling lights, and the positions of the windows can’t be changed, it doesn’t mean there is nothing to be done about an improved lighting setup. Good lighting can elevate an otherwise ordinary room into something welcoming, comfortable, and beautiful, whereas poor lighting can turn even the most well-designed room into an unappealing and unpleasant space. While some elements of home lighting are more difficult to change than others, you can always adapt to your circumstances and make the most of what you have.

Natural Light

Windows, doors, sun tunnels, and skylights all let natural sunlight from the outside into your home. House prices can vary within a similar neighborhood depending on the angles and positions of rooms and windows within the building since natural sunlight is such a valuable commodity. Some homes are optimally positioned in such a way that the sunrise illuminates ideal rooms of the house and lights up the garden at the best times of the day. Other homes might need to be more strategic with how they choose to light their interiors since natural sunlight might be blocked by walls or other buildings. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to do this.

Areas of Shade

It makes sense that light is valuable in a home since it not only provides a practical purpose by letting you see, but it also creates and alters the mood of a room. Similarly, the lack of light can affect how a room is perceived, for better or for worse. Not all rooms must be brightly illuminated at all times. For example, bedrooms with too much light can make it more difficult to achieve good sleep. You can find window shutters that stylishly block or permit light into the room as needed.

Main Lighting

Many homes already have fixtures for lighting in the middle of the ceiling. Lights positioned here are intended to provide illumination for the whole room from a single point. Although it can be useful to only concern yourself with one source of light, it doesn’t tend to be enough or provide the right kind of light to a room. Of course, this depends on the quality of the bulb and lampshade.

Soft Lighting

Soft lighting, as compared to main lighting, is better at adding depth and mood to a space. Smaller sources of light such as table lamps, fairy lights, or even candles can offer opportunities to divide the room into gently blending zones, such as a reading corner or a study space. Harsh or insufficient overhead lighting fails to provide this kind of depth and can make a room appear flat and uninviting.

Light Color

The color of light in a room can have a surprising impact on the mood it creates. Warm light and natural light are more relaxing, whereas cool light is more invigorating. Studies have shown that the blue light from screens contributes to poorer sleeping habits, so if you are designing a comfortable bedroom, opt for warmer light.

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What is Mandelic Acid?
Tue, 22 Feb 2022 16:06:53 +0000
The skin care solution so many have been looking for- Mandelic Acid

What is mandelic acid

Mandelic acid is an aromatic alpha hydroxy acid with the molecular formula C6H5CHCO2H. It is a white crystalline solid that is soluble in water and polar organic solvents. It is a useful precursor for different drugs. It is chiral and a racemic mixture is known as paramandelic. It is found in nature and is a valuable drug precursor.

Mandelic acid has anti-bacterial properties and helps to reduce acne breakouts. It has anti-inflammatory properties and reduces the appearance of blemishes and melasma. It also regulates the production of sebum. It is a popular ingredient in skincare products. This substance is beneficial for cystic acne sufferers. This is one of the best ways to treat this condition. However, there are some important risks involved with mandelic acid.

Mandelic acid is a gentle exfoliant that is commonly used in skincare products. It can even reduce the appearance of dark pigmented spots and acne scars. It also contains antibacterial properties. Those who have acne-prone skin should check the ingredient list of the products they’re using. For cystic acne sufferers, this can be beneficial. In addition, it can prevent further breakouts by regulating the production of sebum.

Find the best pricing on quality Mandelic acid with a single click.

Mandelic acid can be helpful in treating hyperpigmentation. It can be used in place of other acids if your skin doesn’t respond well to another treatment. Those who follow a clean beauty routine will likely find mandelic acid to be a great alternative. It is safe to use in combination with other acids, but the best results will be seen when they are used alone. It is also important to note that some acne sufferers may react badly to mandelic acid.

In addition to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, mandelic acid is also effective in treating dark spots and hyperpigmentation. It also promotes the elasticity of skin and improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Compared to glycolic acid, mandelic acid is less likely to cause irritation than glycolic acid. It also works better in reducing acne, dark spots, and breakouts.

This ingredient is useful for many reasons, including anti-aging and acne-prone skin. It is gentler than most AHAs and can be safely used on sensitive skin. The acid is well tolerated by most people, especially those who have sensitive skin. It also reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. If you’re unsure about whether mandelic acid is right for you, read this article to find out.

Mandelic acid is an acid that is derived from mandelic oil. It is also an effective ingredient for an acid peel, though it’s not recommended for daily use. It is not good for sensitive skin and can cause sensitivity and irritation. Therefore, it is best used only in cosmetics. It is not recommended for everyday use, and can harm the skin. But it is effective for sensitive skin. If you’re unsure about its benefits, you can read this article.

Mandelic acid is an excellent product for the skin. It boosts cell turnover in the skin, making it look younger and smoother. It is also good for your skin. It inhibits the production of melanin, which can cause patches of pigmentation. For this reason, it is best for deeper skin tones. And it will be more effective against sun damage and other signs of aging. It’s a great solution for your complexion, but it can also be irritating for some people.

Mandelic acid is an excellent exfoliant that can help improve the appearance of dark spots, fine lines, and wrinkles. It’s safe for all skin types, and it is an effective ingredient for treating acne-prone skin. The acid is a great choice for people who have a lot of dry skin and are sensitive to other types of acids. It’s also a good choice for super-sensitive skin because it doesn’t contain as much retinol as glycolic acid.

Mandelic acid can be an effective exfoliant for dry and sensitive skin. It works best when used with other acids such as hyaluronic acid. In fact, it should not be combined with retinol. Those two acids can potentially cause irritation. It’s important to note that mandelic acid is best suited for inflammatory acne. And if it works well on your skin, you’ll see beautiful results soon enough.

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Fear of a Marshall Fire at Rocky Flats is real
Thu, 24 Feb 2022 16:59:08 +0000

The Marshall Fire could have been worse if it had entered Rocky Flats.

On the evening of the fire in December, authorities feared this could happen. Federal officials are at pains to convince local community members that the former nuclear weapons plant and Superfund site is effectively cleansed of radioactive contamination, but their account of the site’s condition is dubious, and independent evidence suggests that an out–of-control grass fire at Rocky Flats in high winds could disperse suspended radionuclides beyond the site perimeter, possibly posing a public health hazard for thousands of people.

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Rocky Flats starting in the early 1950s was the site of a factory that made plutonium “pits” — spheres of plutonium that act as triggers in nuclear weapons. For many years, hazardous waste was handled carelessly at the site. Radioactive material was often just buried in the ground, and accidents were common. The main production facility became known as the most dangerous building in America. 

In 1989, the FBI raided the plant on suspicion that the Energy Department and a contracted private operator had violated multiple environmental laws at Rocky Flats. The plant soon shut down and the property was designated an EPA Superfund site. A $7 billion clean-up was completed in 2005, and today the property, except for a former industrial area known as the “central operable unit,” is a natural wildlife refuge, where members of the public can hike and bike on trails.

Don’t let the recreation activities fool you. There is plenty of reason to doubt that the refuge is as safe as federal and state authorities want you to believe.

As the devastating Marshall Fire, propelled by winds of around 100 mph, galloped across Boulder County grasslands and leveled neighborhoods on Dec. 30, some local residents and leaders worried about the public health risk a wildfire at Rocky Flats could pose. Activists had long opposed prescribed burns at the site due to a fear that flames could spread plutonium contamination into neighborhoods.

Earlier this month, the Energy Department’s Rocky Flats site manager, Andy Keim, addressing a community meeting on the subject of wildfire hazards at the property, said there was “no real potential threat.”

“The remaining infrastructure — buildings, slabs and basements — and subsurface soils with residual radiological contamination are buried beneath at least 3 feet of clean soil,” he said.

Be very skeptical of this statement.

There is plenty of reason to doubt that the refuge is as safe as federal and state authorities want you to believe.

The federal government for decades was dishonest about Rocky Flats and the environmental damage the plant caused. It has no credibility when it comes to the site. Today Energy Department representatives like Keim have every incentive to maintain the narrative that the property, once one of the most contaminated pieces of real estate in the country, is now somehow all but pristine. Furthermore, credible scientific evidence contradicts the “clean” characterization.

Michael Ketterer is the former chair of the Metropolitan State University of Denver chemistry department and is now with the Northern Arizona University Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. An expert in plutonium-isotope tracing, he has studied Rocky Flats soil samples and identified elevated plutonium levels in an area on the eastern edge of the property, along Indiana Street. The soil, within three feet of the surface, is contaminated, he said.

“It contains plutonium dioxide particles in essentially pure form,” he said. “These particles are in respirable size ranges … It’s not clean soil at all. It’s contaminated stuff.”

What if a Marshall Fire whipped across Rocky Flats?

“It’s just common sense that when there’s a big fire there’s going to be entrainment of all kinds of dust and soil from the surface, it’s all going to get entrained into the smoke plume and it’s going to be blown around,” Ketterer said. He added, “It would be entraining a lot of contaminated soil into the air, it would get into the suspended particulate matter that’s in the air.”

Ketterer said he is not qualified to assess the degree to which such an event would pose a public health risk. 

Timothy Mousseau, an ecology professor at the University of South Carolina’s Department of Biological Sciences, has studied how radionuclides emitted from wildfires near the Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster site were dispersed. Chernobyl is much different than Rocky Flats, but Mousseau’s work offers general insights that could have bearing on conditions at Rocky Flats.

“We know that fires, especially hot fires, can redistribute radionuclides from the surface soil, the surface of the soil, into the atmosphere,” Mousseau told Newsline.

Scientists found that forest fires around Chernobyl — Rocky Flats is subject to less-intense grass fires — resulted in massive redistribution of radionuclides, which the fires not only moved around but also made more radioactive. The intensity of a fire will determine how far it can redistribute radioactive material, Mousseau said. A very hot fire can spread contaminated ash hundreds of miles.

“In terms of the health consequences, plutonium is one of the most toxic substances known,” Mousseau said. “Every isotope is radioactive, more or less, and when such isotopes are in the atmosphere, and if they are ingested, inhaled, they often will lodge in the lungs, and where they lodge in the lungs can be points for disease.”

This does not mean that if a fire blazes across Rocky Flats members of the surrounding community are necessarily at risk. But the best we can say is that the public health risk is largely unknown, which is at odds with the federal government’s assurances that there’s little need for concern. Such assurances are suspect, at best.

Many of the factors that made the extraordinary Marshall Fire possible were the result of climate change, and Marshall Fire-like events can be expected to become more frequent. Because it’s likely only a matter of time before a wildfire has its way with Rocky Flats, government leaders are obliged to acknowledge the truth about the risks, even if questions remain.

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MotoGP Argentina Preview -2022
Thu, 31 Mar 2022 14:47:57 +0000

After a hiatus of three years due to the pandemic, the Michelin Motorsport team will once again embark on one of its most complex logistical journeys of the MotoGP™ season as the championship heads to South America, and the town of Termas de Rio Hondo in Argentina, for the third round of the year: the Gran Premio Michelin de la República Argentina.

MotoGP returned to Argentina in 2014 after a long 15-year break, with the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in the northern province of Santiago del Estero becoming the host venue for the Gran Premio de la República Argentina – a race that had previously been held in Buenos Aires.

The 4,806m (2.99 miles) circuit has always been a severe test of riders, machinery and particularly the tyres. Its abrasive surface, mixed with high temperatures experienced at this time of year and increased loads that are created throughout the five left and nine right-hand turns, combined with its 1078m (3,530ft) straight means the Michelin tyres will endure one of their toughest tests of the season.

The Michelin allocation for Argentina will feature Soft, Medium and Hard compound MICHELIN Power Slick tyres front and rear that have been chosen to combat the stresses of this demanding circuit, and they will all be symmetric. The decision to use all symmetric tyres was made because of the even spread of stresses that are created during each lap. In the event of wet weather, which historically has been a regular occurrence at Termas de Rio Hondo, the MICHELIN Power Rain tyres will be available in Soft and Medium compounds for the front and rear, with the rears being asymmetric, featuring a harder right-hand-side.

Commenting on the weekend, Piero Taramasso, Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager, said: “With this being the Michelin Grand Prix of Argentina, it makes me and the rest of the Motorsport team very happy and proud to be here. It gives us the perfect opportunity to showcase our tyres and the Michelin brand to the many bikers and MotoGP fans here in South America.

“The Termas track has always been something of a challenge for us since we returned to MotoGP, with a lot of inclement weather meaning we were never able to get a completely dry weekend to test the performance of our MICHELIN Power Slick tyres. In addition, the grip levels of the circuit have gradually decreased since it was last resurfaced in 2014. This year we are taking an allocation similar to the one used in 2019, but the tyres have been updated to include some later developments in terms of casing design and compounds to help resist the arduous track conditions.”

The MotoGP riders will take to the track on Friday 1 April for the first two of the Free Practice sessions. Saturday will then see Free Practice sessions 3 and 4, before qualifying to decide the grid positions. Sunday’s 25-lap race will get underway when the lights go out at 15:00 local time

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U.S. should invoke the Magnitsky Act now
Wed, 23 Feb 2022 21:57:35 +0000
Sergei Magnitsky’s legacy lives on through sanctions in his name.
Andrey Smirnov/AFP via Getty Images)

Keith Brown, Arizona State University

As Russian military forces have deployed at the Ukraine border, U.S. politicians have been weighing new sanctions to deter an invasion.

In the face of growing tensions, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has been working to craft a new package of economic measures, with chair Bob Menendez anticipating proposing “the mother of all sanctions.” Though the package has yet to be agreed on, the goal is to signal the U.S.‘s commitment to protecting Ukraine’s sovereignty and to add further costs to any Russian invasion.

Whatever happens, the U.S. Senate has switched into crisis response mode over Ukraine. As a result, other longer-running issues with Russia have received less attention. With President Vladimir Putin essentially demanding that the world focus on Ukraine, the first anniversary of the arrest of Russian opposition leader and anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny passed with relatively little press attention. As U.S. senators seek a deterrent for future Russian action in Ukraine, a trial is in process, away from public view, that aims to lengthen Navalny’s prison sentence to 10 years. It also distracts from another upcoming anniversary, that of U.S. and EU sanctions on the men who used Novichok poison to try to murder Navalny in August 2020.

As a scholar of Russian and East European politics, I’ve observed how authoritarian leaders use distraction to keep adversaries off balance. It was a tactic used in the Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia against citizen activists and deployed to lethal effect by Slobodan Milosevic to maintain power in Serbia. President Putin has deployed such tactics repeatedly in the past and, I believe, it is what he is doing now: The more he can ratchet up what the U.S. and its allies threaten in retaliation to an invasion of Ukraine, the more concessions he can claim to have won, simply by standing down. He wins credit for averting the crisis he engineered.

There is, I believe, an effective way for Congress to regain control of the narrative and force attention back on Putin’s vulnerability. By reframing the sanctions debate around the Putin regime’s treatment of Russian citizens, it can highlight a steadfast commitment to human rights as a central plank to its policy of keeping peace and stability in Eastern Europe. And it already has a mechanism to do this: the Magnitsky Act.

Sanctions with ‘scalpel-like precision’

This legislation honors Sergei Magnitsky, who died in police custody in Moscow in November 2009. A tax expert, Magnitsky had uncovered an elaborate tax refund fraud scheme involving Russian government officials who, using company documents and seals taken in a raid on investment fund Hermitage Capital Management, set up shell companies to steal US$230 million in public funds. For that, supporters say, he was arrested, detained almost a year without trial, and subjected to abuse and neglect that killed him.

Magnitsky’s death shocked Russian civil society activists, along with Hermitage CEO Bill Browder and his lawyer Jamie Firestone, who lobbied the U.S. government to act. It resulted in the 2012 U.S. Magnitsky Act, which allows the U.S. to freeze the assets and ban the entry of alleged human rights offenders.

The Kremlin’s response was swift. Within two weeks, Russian legislators passed the Dima Yakovlev Law. Named for a 21-month-old Russian adoptee who died of heatstroke in a parked car, the law denied visas to a number of U.S. officials it accused of human rights violations. It also terminated all pending and future U.S. adoptions from Russia, impacting hundreds of children and families. The following year, a Russian court found Browder and the dead Magnitsky guilty of the fraud they had uncovered.

These heavy-handed measures signaled how seriously the Kremlin took the threat of sanctions against its officials and their wealth. One problem for corrupt government officials everywhere is that they need to be able to safely stash overseas what they steal from their people, and the provisions of the Magnitsky Act take away that option.

In 2016, the U.S. Congress passed the Global Magnitsky Act, which extended authorization to the president to impose sanctions on foreign officials of any country found responsible of gross violations of human rights or significant corruption. President Donald Trump invoked the act in December 2017, harnessing what one commentator described as its “scalpel-like precision” against individual perpetrators. Canada and Australia have passed similar legislation. The U.K. and EU have also adopted new laws inspired by the Magnitsky movement, targeting human rights violators worldwide.

The best way to affect Putin’s decision-making?

Although designed to hold regimes accountable for abuses against their own citizens, Magnitsky sanctions may be useful in the current international crisis.

The Australian government has said it will look at implementing existing Magnitsky sanctions as a response to the threatened invasion. During a January 2022 visit to Ukraine, U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, who co-sponsored the Global Magnitsky Act, suggested that it could apply to violations of international law, including the cyberattacks already perpetrated against Ukraine. Bill Browder himself has argued it could be the best way to stop Putin.

And Alexei Navalny, interviewed in prison, has encouraged U.S. senators to use the tools already at their disposal. Rather than issue soundbites about what they will do should Putin invade, he suggests they simply act now. “The source of his wealth is power and corruption,” Navalny said. “And the basis of his power is lies, propaganda and falsified election results. You want to influence Putin, then influence his personal wealth. It’s right under your backside.”

Navalny sees that in U.S. lawmakers’ efforts to come up with new sanctions as weapons of war or negotiation, they are doing President Putin’s work for him. What Navalny and others are advocating is not to put Magnitsky sanctions on the negotiating table but to start imposing them. Researchers from the Free Russia Forum, which serves as a platform for opposition figures, have already identified Putin’s key allies and enablers, and the Pandora Papers detail the substantial offshore assets in their names.

Targeting these individuals would follow through on former proposals made by senators themselves. When he became Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair in January 2021, Sen. Menendez urged the Biden administration to apply Magnitsky sanctions against Putin’s inner circle. His letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken noted the state violence directed at Navalny, as well as the “corrosive corruption” of the Putin regime.

Even through the fog of war Putin has conjured, Menendez and his colleagues have the opportunity to remind citizens in Russia, America and beyond of what is at stake. By immediately invoking the Magnitsky Act’s financial sanctions against corrupt actors and human rights abusers, the U.S. can demonstrate its commitment to the rule of law. It would send a clear signal that, whatever threats Putin manufactures, the international community will continue to hold him accountable for the crimes of his regime, at home as well as abroad.

Keith Brown, Professor of Politics and Global Studies, Arizona State University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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