executive director – Expo Monet http://expo-monet.com/ Thu, 17 Mar 2022 23:16:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://expo-monet.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/icon-63-120x120.png executive director – Expo Monet http://expo-monet.com/ 32 32 Capture Photography Festival’s featured exhibition zooms in on family stories https://expo-monet.com/capture-photography-festivals-featured-exhibition-zooms-in-on-family-stories/ Thu, 17 Mar 2022 23:16:44 +0000 https://expo-monet.com/capture-photography-festivals-featured-exhibition-zooms-in-on-family-stories/ The pandemic means many people are spending a lot more time with their loved ones. Over the past year, this has prompted Emmy Lee Wall, Executive Director of the Capture Photography Festival, to reflect on the role of the camera in recording personal stories and family narratives. “I think photography was really a tool through […]]]>

The pandemic means many people are spending a lot more time with their loved ones. Over the past year, this has prompted Emmy Lee Wall, Executive Director of the Capture Photography Festival, to reflect on the role of the camera in recording personal stories and family narratives.

“I think photography was really a tool through which family structures and family relationships were defined,” Wall said. Law by telephone. “If you think of people’s first experiences with photography, it’s usually with their family. Everyone is photographed at birth, usually by their parents or guardians, immediately.

She also points out that people’s idea of ​​what a “standard family” or “good family” looks like is often defined by a family portrait. In these images, she says, family members are sometimes dressed in their finery or presented with their most prized possessions.

“I think this interconnection between the definition of family and photography is really interesting,” says Wall.

This is what led her to curate Family Album, a featured exhibition at this year’s Capture Photography Festival. But it’s not just a recitation of typical family photographs. Far from there.

Local, national and international artists in the exhibition use photography as a tool to investigate their family histories.

Indian-born, New York-based photographer Cheryl Mukherji, for example, says in an interview in the Capture Photography Festival catalog that she decided to “subversively reinvent and recreate my mother’s wedding photographs.”

Over a period of five years, images were taken of her mother, who was then studying to become a surgeon, to attract a husband.

Mukherji hand-painted the images behind the self-portrait on the Lawthe cover. This represents the way Indian brides-to-be have often been shown: in front of works of art or with objects reflecting aspects of their personality.

Cheryl Mukherji Wanted beautiful girl loving home2021, (inkjet print, 52.07 x 36.83 cm) appeared on this week’s cover straight georgia.
Courtesy of the artist

In graduate school, Mukherji learned that a good portrait should capture the essence of a person. But in a YouTube interview, she says studio wedding photography wasn’t that at all: it was about projecting one person’s idea onto another person.

Wall compares the image on this week’s cover Law to an old fashioned personal ad. “It’s like the era version of posting on some sort of dating site,” she says.

One of the Vancouver artists in the exhibit, Rydel Cerezo, said in the catalog that he wanted to reflect on how his family members have changed physically during the pandemic. He readily admitted that his images “may lack social glamour, but the idea of ​​family in all its banality felt intimately fuller”.

“The examples of being photographed by one’s parents and the idea of ​​family presented through photography made me think of how family photographs have leaned more towards presenting ‘success’ in the age of Facebook,” Cerzo said. “During this time, it became apparent to me that family albums lived online and were usually presented in place of some sort of ‘realization’.”

Rydel Cerezo, Lola curly hairfrom the series Back of My Hand, digital scan 2020 from a 50.8 × 40.64 cm negative.
Courtesy of the artist

In Family Album, Italian-born artist Silvia Rosi explores her personal story through self-portraits of her appearing as her mother and father, whose roots go back to Togo.

“In my work, there is the idea of ​​showing my parents’ past but doing it in a different way from the images that one might find in a family album”, explains Rosi in the Capture catalog. “I wanted to activate a reverse process.”

She adds that her images do not reflect reality but rather “attempt to capture moments that are not always joyful but express the complexity of the individual”.

Dainesha Nugent-Palache, Red Earth of Saint Elizabeth (What is brought us here)2019, inkjet print, 152.4 x 103.35 cm.
Courtesy of the artist

Dainesha Nugent-Palache’s mother, based in Toronto, loved collecting fragile figurines, which made no sense to her as she grew up. In his still life photographs, the artist includes these objects, often in the background.

“When creating this work, I was thinking less about how photography constructs the idea of ​​a family and more about objects found in the domestic setting of a family home – in particular, the memories and stories associated with it. to these objects, and how they inform our family’s perception,” Nugent-Palache states in the catalog.

Wall says the images in the exhibit reflect the different dynamics that exist within families.

“These relationships are seen as positive by society, but can often be complicated or unfamiliar or changing and constrained,” Wall says.

Additionally, she adds that families can be both comforting and strained. “I think photography has become such an interesting tool for artists to explore things that are meant to be really familiar and close to us but are in many ways often unknowable.”

Vancouver artist Anna Kasko Stanley Park Gardens Cruise (archival transparencies overlaid on lightbox, 27.94 x 41.91 x 5.08) is from his 2021 Found Slides series.
Courtesy of the artist

Another of the local artists, Anna Kasko, presents family photos of a different kind in the exhibition. According to Wall, Kasko found an old box of slides and tried to find the owner so they could be returned. But the person didn’t want it, which seemed very interesting to Wall because they were documenting a family history.

Kasko ended up editing those slides, transposing one image onto another to create something entirely new.

“She presents it as light boxes,” Wall explains. “They’re actually quite small and shiny.”

Wall compares them to jewelry, inviting the viewer to come closer. For the curator, these images raise the question of whether the photograph really presents a truth.

“They were true,” says Wall. “But what happens when you put them on top of each other?” And what new reality can you draw from it as a viewer looking at this work and creating your own meaning? »

In the Capture catalog, Kasko says she creates a more universal experience by interfering with the original intent “to blur the specificity of the subject.”

“I invite the audience to look and through the image, literally and allegorically,” she says.

Birthe Piontek, Tie2015, archival pigment print, 30.48 x 30.48 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Jones Gallery

A third Vancouver-based artist, Birthe Piontek, pointed out in the catalog that “the relationship between photography and truth is very complicated.”

“Even if an image tries to deliver fact rather than fiction, it can only show one specific angle: that of the photographer,” Piontek said. “Many other angles are left out, including everything that existed outside of the frame when the image was taken. At best, a photograph can represent one version of the truth.”

The people and objects in her images were staged, she added, noting that it was done “to tell a story and express the emotions my family members and I felt at losing my mother. because of dementia”.

Another artist, Meryl McMaster, said her Ancestral project was due to a search for family photographs. This was done in order for her to learn more about her native heritage (nêhiyaw [Plains Cree] Red Pheasant First Nation in Saskatchewan and Siksika Nation in Alberta).

These images lacked the level of detail she hoped to find, so she began collecting paintings and photographic portraits of 19th century Native women and men across the United States.

She focused on the works of photographers Edward S. Curtis and William Soule, as well as painter George Catlin, who documented traditional Aboriginal life in the belief that it would soon disappear.

“Their ideas and misrepresentations have spread to the public,” commented McMaster. “Actually, my ancestors were still very much alive, but not the way they were depicted in these pictures.”

Meryl McMaster, Ancestral 122008
Courtesy of the artist and the gallery Stephen Bulger and Pierre-François Ouellette contemporary art

She ended up putting these images on the bodies of herself and her father, which were covered in white pants like a screen.

“This process of playing with light and projection onto the body creates a surreal, ghostly quality to the images, with aspects of the subject past and present visible.”

Another artist, Toronto-based Anique Jordan, has an image on the show titled family scrapbook, which gave its name to the exhibition. She returned to her hometown of San Fernando, Trinidad, where her mother (like McMaster’s ancestors) did not have access to a camera.

According to Wall, Jordan wanted to put himself in a situation similar to what his mother went through growing up.

Anique Jordan, family scrapbook2015, chromogenic print, 55.88 x 76.2 cm.
Courtesy of the artist

“She went to places that were culturally, socially, and economically important within her family,” Wall says. “She photographed herself on these sites.”

Because photography is so accessible and relatable, Wall thinks it places a great responsibility on the festival to take great care in how images are presented to audiences.

Family Album is presented free of charge at the Pendulum Gallery, which is located in the lobby of the HSBC Canada building on West Georgia Street, across from the Vancouver Art Gallery.

“I really feel like photography is a medium of our time,” Wall says. “It’s such a common language. It’s everywhere. Everyone connects to it in one way or another.

Continued

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Melbourne Museum will open an immersive dinosaur attraction https://expo-monet.com/melbourne-museum-will-open-an-immersive-dinosaur-attraction/ Mon, 07 Mar 2022 01:03:44 +0000 https://expo-monet.com/melbourne-museum-will-open-an-immersive-dinosaur-attraction/ Opening on 12and In March, the Melbourne Museum’s new immersive attraction – Triceratops: The Fate of the Dinosaurs – will feature one of the most complete Triceratops fossils in the world, giving the public the opportunity to come face-to-face with the fossil of 1 000 kg 67 million years old. Discovered in 2014 in Montana, […]]]>

Opening on 12and In March, the Melbourne Museum’s new immersive attraction – Triceratops: The Fate of the Dinosaurs – will feature one of the most complete Triceratops fossils in the world, giving the public the opportunity to come face-to-face with the fossil of 1 000 kg 67 million years old.

Discovered in 2014 in Montana, USA, Horridus was recovered from under 3.5 meters of sandstone. Since arriving in Melbourne in 2021, a team of paleontologists, curators and collections managers from Museums Victoria have been working to prepare the fossil for display.

Measuring six to seven meters from tip to tail and standing over two meters tall, the fossil – named Horridus after the species of Triceratops to which it belongs – is larger than an adult African elephant.

Horridus is one of the most important paleontological discoveries in the world. At 266 bones, it is the best preserved Triceratops skeleton in the world and the most complete real dinosaur skeleton in any Australian museum.

Chief Executive and Director of Museums Victoria, Lynley Crosswell, says: “It is not uncommon for museums to collect dinosaur fossils. It is however exceptional for a museum to have a specimen of the quality and significance of this fossil, we look forward to the public experiencing Horridus.

The Melbourne Museum’s immersive exhibition takes visitors on a journey through time to explore the landscape and complex ecosystems it once housed during the Cretaceous period.

The exhibit showcases the environments where the Triceratops roamed, the creatures Horridus experienced, and what became of the Cretaceous survivors. Dinosaur fans will also learn about the process of fossilization and how paleontology helps us understand vast stretches of time.

In addition to the captivating exhibit, the acquisition of Horridus positions Victoria as a leader in paleontological science, providing economic and educational benefits beyond the exhibit.

Victorian Creative Industries Minister Danny Pearson notes that “Horridus and its incredible story will be a huge drawcard for the Melbourne museum, inspiring wonder, curiosity and delight in dinosaur fans of all ages for generations. future.

“The museum is constantly changing and that’s one of the reasons why Victorians love it so much. We are proud to offer an awe-inspiring attraction that will be a crowd pleaser and lead to a new understanding of our natural history.

This exhibition is part of a $36.2 million investment provided by the Victorian Government in the Victorian Budget 2021-22 to support the creation of new immersive family experiences at the Melbourne Museum, including Triceratops: Fate of the Dinosaurs.

For tickets and more information on Triceratops: Fate of the Dinosaurs, visit melbournemuseumtriceratops.com.

Related Articles

December 3, 2018 – Melbourne’s largest solar panel will be installed at the Melbourne Museum

July 18, 2018 – Key objects announced for the world premiere of the Nelson Mandela exhibition at the Melbourne Museum

June 26, 2017 – Magic Memories will provide a personalized imaging experience at the Melbourne Museum

December 19, 2015 – The Melbourne Museum to host the world premiere of ‘Jurassic World: The Exhibition’

July 18, 2014 – Record number of educational visitors to the Melbourne Museum

April 10, 2011 – Opening of the Tutankhamun exhibition at the Melbourne Museum

November 2, 2010 – Melbourne Museum secures King Tut

July 12, 2010 – Melbourne museum attendance exceeds two million

September 18, 2021 – Four architectural firms shortlisted to design Melbourne’s new NGV Contemporary

January 7, 2021 – NGV to Receive $20 Million Grant for New Contemporary Art Gallery

July 28, 2018 – MoMA at NGV Expo attracts over 100,000 visitors in first month

April 1, 2018 – The NGV Triennale breaks records with one million visitors

July 10, 2017 – NGV’s Van Gogh reaches record 420,000 visitors


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Lincoln Highway Crossroads Stories, Saint Vincent’s College Talking Point for Museum https://expo-monet.com/lincoln-highway-crossroads-stories-saint-vincents-college-talking-point-for-museum/ Tue, 08 Feb 2022 08:00:00 +0000 https://expo-monet.com/lincoln-highway-crossroads-stories-saint-vincents-college-talking-point-for-museum/ Saint Vincent Drive serves as the main entrance to the college and the arch of the same name from modern Route 30, also known as Lincoln Highway. The intertwined histories of the highway and nearby educational and monastic communities in St. Vincent will be explored in a Feb. 12 program at the Lincoln Highway Experience […]]]>

Saint Vincent Drive serves as the main entrance to the college and the arch of the same name from modern Route 30, also known as Lincoln Highway.

The intertwined histories of the highway and nearby educational and monastic communities in St. Vincent will be explored in a Feb. 12 program at the Lincoln Highway Experience Museum.

Father Brian Boosel, assistant professor of history at the college, will present “Good Neighbors: Benedictine Monks Along the Lincoln Highway in Pennsylvania” at 1 p.m. – the first in a series of lectures at the museum, on Route 30 near the highway 217 in Unity.

Over the years, numerous establishments have served tourists and other travelers along the highway, the first coast-to-coast connection for motorists.

St. Vincent has also been a destination for motorists – most recently before the covid pandemic, when fans came in droves to attend the Pittsburgh Steelers summer training camps in college.

But St. Vincent’s appeal to travelers began long before that, notes Lauren Koker, executive director of the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor, headquartered at the museum.

“I was very surprised to learn from Father Brian that Lake St. Vincent was an artificial lake originally built to attract tourists in the 1920s,” says Koker. “There was even a boathouse on the lake.”

Just as the Lincoln Highway was the first national thoroughfare in the United States, St. Vincent became the first Benedictine college in the United States when it was founded in 1846 by Boniface Wimmer, an émigré priest from Bavaria.

The first Lincoln Highway had a different route in the vicinity of St. Vincent than that followed by present-day Route 30.

“The roster was totally different,” Koker explains. “From Youngstown it passed the Latrobe Country Club and cut off where the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport runway is.”

Due to the ongoing pandemic and Saint Vincent Archabbey’s requirements for members of his monastic community, the museum is asking all attendees to wear masks for Boosel’s speech and to practice social distancing.

Admission is $5. No reservation is required. Coffee and cookies will be provided for a small suggested donation.

Other lectures are planned at the museum this year.

York County’s Tom Davidson is expected to discuss the 1921 Golden Triangle Tour sometime in May.

In August, Ralph Scalise is set to talk about the history of Johnston House, the historic 19th-century farmhouse that houses part of the Lincoln Highway Experience museum.

For more information, contact Koker at lauren@LHHC.org or 724-879-4241.

Jeff Himler is an editor at Tribune-Review. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, jhimler@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 1.20.22 https://expo-monet.com/sunburn-the-morning-read-of-whats-hot-in-florida-politics-1-20-22/ Thu, 03 Feb 2022 06:17:46 +0000 https://expo-monet.com/?p=1004 Good Thursday morning. Jacksonville-based logistics juggernaut Crowley announced that it’s bringing Marcus Jadotte on board as senior vice president of Government Relations. In his new role, he will helm Crowley’s legislative and regulatory advocacy efforts and boost awareness of its growing defense and civilian government services offerings among federal, state and local officials. He will […]]]>

Good Thursday morning.

Jacksonville-based logistics juggernaut Crowley announced that it’s bringing Marcus Jadotte on board as senior vice president of Government Relations.

In his new role, he will helm Crowley’s legislative and regulatory advocacy efforts and boost awareness of its growing defense and civilian government services offerings among federal, state and local officials. He will be based in Washington, D.C.

“I am pleased to join Crowley and look forward to advancing the company’s best-in-class solutions for the U.S. maritime industry and beyond, including the company’s burgeoning energy, transportation and technology services,” Jadotte said.

Marcus Jadotte takes the helm as Crowley’s head lobbyist.

Jadotte most recently worked as vice president of federal government relations at Raytheon Technologies, one of the largest aerospace and defense contractors in the U.S. He has also worked in the C-suite at aviation services provider AAR and NASCAR.

He also served as assistant secretary for industry and analysis for the International Trade Administration at the U.S. Department of Commerce during the Barack Obama administration and the U.S. Department of Labor during the Bill Clinton administration.

Jadotte’s Florida connections include stints as chief of staff to U.S. Reps. Peter Deutsch and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, as well as an economics degree earned at Florida State University.

“Through his extensive experience bridging the public and private sectors, Marcus will further strengthen Crowley’s engagement with policymakers through leadership and outreach that builds trust, innovative policies and effective advocacy across our services for commercial and government customers,” said Parker Harrison, Crowley’s senior vice president and general counsel.

___

Florida Politics’ roster is expanding next week, with the addition of Gray Rohrer.

Rohrer comes to Florida Politics from the Orlando Sentinel, where he has worked as the Tallahassee Bureau reporter covering a wide range of news beats, including the Legislature.

At Florida Politics, he will use his expertise to provide Florida Politics’ readers with timely, insightful coverage on economic development and budget issues in a Legislative Session where lawmakers are poised to OK another $100 billion-plus budget.

Rohrer is a graduate of the University of Central Florida, where he earned a degree in political science. He has written for numerous publications throughout his 15-year career covering politics in the Sunshine State.

He launched his career covering local politics for the Beaches Leader Newspapers and the Cape Coral Daily Breeze before focusing jumping up to statehouse coverage, first for Sunshine State News and later at LobbyTools, where he anchored their coverage of property insurance, gambling, economy, labor, real estate, transportation, technology and budget issues.

In 2015, after working as a freelancer covering the special redistricting Session for The Associated Press, he joined the Orlando Sentinel.

Look for his first Florida Politics byline next week.

— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —

@PBump: [guy on Twitter] “i am certain about this thing that I am wrong about”

@SamStein: Some folks will be surprised that (Joe) Biden said he was surprised by how stalwart Republican opposition to him would be.

@GovRonDeSantis: Protecting life does not end with the unborn. This Session, I called on the Legislature to promote adoption & foster care, so all Floridians have a fair chance in life. Florida has 4,000 more licensed caregivers than in 2019 & I am proposing additional funds for foster parents.

@NikkiFried: As Governor, I’ll protect a woman’s freedom to decide.

Tweet, tweet:

@JasmenRogers: Rep. Erin Grall (the bill sponsor) mentions that her sister had an abortion … says she’s pushing this bill to honor her sister. HOW can you honor your sister’s autonomy and decision to do what’s best … by restricting that choice?!?

@HeatherGBarwick: She honors me because that was the biggest mistake I made in my entire life. And more than honoring me, she honors my lost child.

@RepJoseOliva: @JoeGruters A government-enforced mandate requiring private business to engage in displays of allegiance for the purpose of advancing freedom is the antithesis of freedom. Let’s rethink that one.

@NateMonroeTU: the capitolist is just fulfilling every journalist’s ideal: comfort the comforted and afflict the afflicted.

@MDixon55: As I just heard it put: “Broward days, the one day of year the Capitol is full of Democrats”

Tweet, tweet:

@MattNorlander: Simply incredible. Florida State wins a 13th straight overtime game. Never been done before. FSU 79, Duke 78. Never get involved in a land war in Asia, and never get involved in an overtime game against Leonard Hamilton.

@BChesky: Starting today, I’m living on Airbnb. I’ll be staying in a different town or city every couple weeks

— DAYS UNTIL —

‘Ozark’ final season begins — 1; ‘Billions’ begins — 3; Red Dog Blue Dog charity event — 5; James Madison Institute’s Stanley Marshall Day Celebration in Jacksonville — 8; XXIV Olympic Winter Games begins — 15; Super Bowl LVI — 24; Will Smith’s ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ reboot premieres — 24; Discover Boating Miami International Boat Show begins — 27; season four of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ begins — 27; Synapse Florida tech summit begins — 28; ‘The Walking Dead’ final season part two begins — 31; Daytona 500 — 31; Special Election for Jacksonville City Council At-Large Group 3 — 34; CPAC begins — 35; St. Pete Grand Prix — 36; Joe Biden to give State of the Union — 40; ‘The Batman’ premieres — 43; the third season of ‘Atlanta’ begins — 62; season two of ‘Bridgerton’ begins — 64; The Oscars — 66; Macbeth with Daniel Craig and Ruth Negga begin performances on Broadway — 68; Grammys rescheduled in Las Vegas — 73; federal student loan payments will resume — 101;’ Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ premieres — 106;’ Top Gun: Maverick’ premieres — 127;’ Platinum Jubilee’ for Queen Elizabeth II — 133;’ Thor: Love and Thunder’ premieres — 170; San Diego Comic-Con 2022 — 181; Michael Mann and Meg Gardiner novel ‘Heat 2’ publishes — 201; ‘The Lord of the Rings’ premieres on Amazon Prime — 225;’ Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ sequel premieres — 260; ‘Black Panther 2’ premieres — 295; ‘The Flash’ premieres — 298; ‘Avatar 2′ premieres — 330;’ Captain Marvel 2′ premieres — 393;’ John Wick: Chapter 4′ premieres — 428; ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ premieres — 554;’ Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 638; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 918.

— TOP STORY —

Donald Trump spent weekend stewing that ‘wiseguy’ Ron DeSantis won’t kiss his ring“ via Asawin Suebsaeng and Adam Rawnsley of Yahoo News — In recent weeks, if you’ve run in the ex-President’s inner circle or floated in and out of his social or political orbits, chances are high that you’ve heard Trump casually insulting DeSantis, even in conversations that initially had absolutely nothing to do with DeSantis. Ever eager to protect his turf and with an eye on 2024, Trump has gossiped with certain confidants and advisers about DeSantis’ political vulnerabilities and “weaknesses.” On several occasions, the twice-impeached former President has lately told associates that if they’re asked about the DeSantis-Trump tensions on TV, they should decline to confirm or deny the existence of a simmering cold war between the two conservative icons.

Wiseguys: Is the Trump/DeSantis feud heating up?

—“Looks like DeSantis could turn into Trump’s personal nightmare” via Charlotte Klein of Vanity Fair

Lincoln Project teases ‘divorce’ between Trump and DeSantis” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — The ex-Republican operatives at the Lincoln Project are gleefully exploiting the latest GOP crackup, with an ad buy promoting the so-called “divorce” between Trump and DeSantis. The spot is a rerun. “Sad!” was first launched in September. But the context is fresher, with Trump and DeSantis seemingly engaged in a rhetorical Cold War that could heat up on little notice. The placements are deliberate and provocative, with ad buys in Palm Beach, where Trump could see it, and Tallahassee, where the Governor might view it. A co-founder of the group contextualizes the most recent buy.

To watch the ad, click on the image below:

Roger Stone slams DeSantis for ‘disloyalty’ to Trump” via Lisa J. Huriash of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Notorious provocateur Stone warned DeSantis to step aside for Trump in 2024, slamming DeSantis’s “disloyalty” to Trump and implying the former President could pull his support. His warning came after reports that a rift was growing between Trump and DeSantis over COVID-19 vaccines and their shared aspirations for the 2024 Republican nomination. “Gov. Ron DeSantis refuses to put his own presidential ambitions on hold until President Donald Trump has decided to whether he wants to run again,” Stone said in a YouTube video posted Wednesday. “I consider that to be an incredible act of disloyalty and ingratitude.” Stone called DeSantis “an unknown congressman with a bad haircut, an ill-fitting suit and an undistinguished record in Congress until President Donald Trump’s endorsement lifted him to the Republican nomination” in 2018.

Lara Trump says DeSantis needs ‘another opportunity’ to endorse Trump in 2024” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — On Wednesday, Lara Trump discounted rumors of “bad blood” between Trump and DeSantis while suggesting Florida’s Governor may just need “another opportunity” to demonstrate his support for Trump ahead of the 2024 election. Lara Trump was on Varney & Company on the Fox Business Network, where she was asked to respond to a report that it was “too much to ask” for DeSantis to preemptively endorse another Trump term in 2024.

—DATELINE TALLY —

15-week abortion ban passes first test in Legislature” via Skyler Swisher of the Orlando Sentinel — A House committee advanced a 15-week ban on most abortions on a 12-6 party-line vote in the first legislative debate on the controversial bill. Abortion is presently legal up to the 24th week of pregnancy in Florida. Rep. Grall, the bill’s sponsor, said abortion needs to be limited because medicine and science have changed since the 1973 Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision that established a constitutional right to abortion. “This is not an abortion ban,” she said. “This is about 15 weeks. This is about having all your available options at the ready for you for 15 weeks.” But Democrats said it would interfere with what should be a private medical decision and particularly hurt low-income women and people of color who lack access to health care.

Erin Grall’s abortion bill takes a big step forward.

Democrats swarm abortion bill at first committee stop” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics

Florida abortion bill will affect access across the South, advocates say” via Kirby Wilson of the Tampa Bay Times — The ban on abortion after 15 weeks proposed by Florida Republicans won’t just affect Florida if it becomes law. For years, as nearby states have passed laws to limit abortion access, Southerners have made their way to the Sunshine State to take advantage of Florida’s relatively strong abortion protections. If a 15-week ban passes, access to abortion for people from out of state could be curtailed, advocates on both sides of the issue say. “If you look at Texas, they haven’t had access to abortion care beyond six weeks for four months,” said Laura Goodhue, executive director of the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates. “You can imagine if access were eliminated in Florida, what it would look like in the South.”

Senate approves Governor’s emergency fund, but slashes price tag — The full Senate voted in favor of establishing a pot of money for the Governor to use during states of emergency. As Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida reports, the chamber’s plan sets the account balance at $500 million, which is just half of $1 billion DeSantis requested in his budget proposal. The proposal was pitched last year but fell through after it was determined that the state could not seed the account with federal money. The Senate’s 2022 plan (SB 96/SB 98) would fill the pot of money with general revenue dollars. The House version of the bill, introduced Tuesday, would provide the full $1 billion.

Wilton Simpson says he’d vote for constitutional carry bill” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — Simpson says he would support removing laws requiring a concealed-weapons permit to carry a gun if it comes to a vote. Simpson made the comment to reporters Wednesday after conservatives at the Republican Liberty Caucus said they met with the Senate President. The group has been among a cohort of pro-gun rights organizations pushing for “constitutional carry.” However, Simpson said he would not get involved in constitutional carry legislation until it gets to the Senate floor. That differed from comments one gun rights organization said Simpson made during the meeting. “Simpson told the group he ‘would support, vote yes, and challenge senators to bring a constitutional carry bill,’” according to an email.

Locked and loaded: Wilton Simpson is good with constitutional carry.

Senate passes health care liability protections as providers look to House to do the same” via Christine Jordan Sexton of Florida Politics — A must-pass bill for Florida’s nursing homes, doctors and hospitals cleared the Florida Senate Wednesday by a mostly partisan 22-13 vote. Democratic Sen. Linda Stewart was the only member of her party in the chamber to support the bill. Sponsored by Sen. Danny Burgess, the bill (SB 7014) extends through June 1, 2023, the protections health care providers currently have from COVID-19 related lawsuits. Senate Democrats all voted against the measure. Four senators have excused absences and did not vote. The current law that shields businesses and health care providers from COVID-19-related lawsuits was one of the first measures passed by the Legislature during the 2021 Session. The law clarifies that to successfully sue a health care provider for COVID-19, the plaintiff must prove gross negligence or intentional misconduct.

Senate presidential search exemption proposal diverges from House version as it approaches final committee” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — Legislation that would provide a public records exemption on information about applicants seeking a state university or college presidential position is headed to its final committee stop after clearing the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee. However, the Senate bill looks a little different from the House version, which is on to its second committee after garnering approval at its first stop Tuesday. The measure (SB 520), filed by Sen. Jeff Brandes, cleared its second committee with one amendment that provided the bill be effective upon becoming law. The Senate legislation approaches its third committee without a key amendment tacked on in a House meeting Tuesday, an alteration that changed guidelines in the bill.

—ETCH-A-SKETCH—

Senate ignores DeSantis’ redistricting map, moves forward with plan less friendly to GOP” via Skyler Swisher and Steven Lemongello of the Orlando Sentinel — The Florida Senate moved forward with a congressional redistricting map that carves out fewer Republican-friendly districts than a surprise proposal put forth by DeSantis earlier this week. The Senate map is seen as the plan to keep much of the status quo in place, reinforcing the 16-11 Republican advantage over Democrats in congressional seats and even giving Democrats a good shot at a new seat being created. The House must still vote on its version of the map, one draft that would radically reshape many districts. The final map must also be signed into law by DeSantis, or he could veto it. The Senate discussed the maps without mentioning DeSantis’ plan. Sen. Ray Rodrigues, who is leading the Senate’s redistricting efforts, said he only learned of the Governor’s plan this week, and senators are following the legislative process.

Ray Rodrigues is ready to give the Governor’s redistricting map the brush off.

DeSantis’ office disses Al Lawson district as ‘unconstitutional gerrymander’” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — The Governor’s Office labeled Florida’s 5th Congressional District an “unconstitutional gerrymander.” The harsh assessment comes as draft congressional maps moving through the Florida Legislature all include a similar configuration. Ryan Newman, General Counsel for DeSantis’ office, surprised lawmakers by submitting a draft congressional map on Sunday. Lawson condemned the Governor’s proposal Tuesday. “It is evident that DeSantis is trying to restrict minority representation, specifically African American voters,” the Congressman said. But Christina Pushaw, DeSantis’ press secretary, said CD 5 as it exists now should not stand. Asked if the Florida Supreme Court five years ago put an unconstitutional district into play, Pushaw asserted it had.

Senate debates legislative map that will shape its 2022 political environment” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — A draft map (S 8058) reached the Senate floor six days after the Senate Reapportionment Committee cleared it for full debate. While the Florida House must also sign off on the map, the chambers traditionally have allowed one another to craft their own district boundaries for legislative maps. The maps will ultimately become law without any involvement of the Governor’s Office. This map holds significant political consequences for chamber members, and under its current configuration, places several incumbent Senators seeking re-election into shared districts. Sens. Dennis Baxley and Keith Perry both live in the proposed Senate District 9. Neither to date has said how they will deal with that situation.

Shevrin Jones proposes change to the Senate’s draft congressional map” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Sen. Jones has offered changes to a proposed congressional map before the Florida Senate votes on it. The Democrat wants to see Miami Gardens, a community he represents in the state Senate, kept wholly within one congressional district. Under his draft map (S 8060), it would sit within Florida’s 24th Congressional District. The Senator took issue with a draft map advanced by the Senate Reapportionment Committee (S 8040) set for floor discussion Wednesday afternoon. That map splits Miami Gardens between CD 24 and Florida’s 25th Congressional District. “The latest maps are a severe disservice to the voters of Miami Gardens, a predominantly African American city, with important local challenges that deserve focused representation in Congress,” Jones said.

—TALLY 2 —

Critics fear legislative proposal to fix nursing home staffing shortages may affect care” via Verónica Zaragovia of WLRN — A survey from the Florida Health Care Association published in August found 92% of long-term care facilities in the state faced significant staffing challenges, with more than half saying they have had to reduce admissions as a result. One proposal, filed by Sen. Ben Albritton, would slash the hours licensed nurses have to spend with patients and allow time spent with therapists or activities directors to count toward the requirement. But some in the industry say there could be problems if licensed nurses provide less care. Amy Runkle, a CNA in Venice, says the idea of replacing licensed nursing assistants with other staff is dangerous. “You need to be certified; you need to be properly trained,” said Runkle, who has worked as a CNA for 31 years and is also a member of 1199 SEIU.

Some say Ben Albritton’s nursing home worker bill may do more harm than good.

Senate Health Policy Committee says yes to inpatient hospital care at home, hotel” via Christine Jordan Sexton of Florida Politics — The Senate Health Policy Committee on Wednesday approved legislation (SB 1222) which amends existing state health care laws to allow hospitals, physicians and emergency medical transportation providers to partner together to provide nonemergency services to patients. Mayo Clinic Jacksonville Hospital has been offering inpatient services to its patients for more than a year under a pair of waivers granted by federal and state governments. But the waivers will expire, and Sen. Aaron Bean said his bill establishes the necessary framework for facilities interested in providing inpatient care outside of a hospital setting. Before passing the bill, the Senate Health Policy Committee agreed to tag on an amendment that reworded the proposal to prevent what Bean called a “scope creep.”

—“Senate Health Policy Committee passes three bills, defers action on three others” via Christine Jordan Sexton of Florida Politics

Out with COVID-19, Darryl Rouson’s peers move peer counseling bill through committee” via Christine Jordan Sexton of Florida Politics — Republican and Democratic senators said they are all behind an effort by Sen. Rouson to make it easier for former addicts to serve as counselors for those dealing with substance abuse problems. Rouson is sponsoring a bill designed to boost the number of “peer specialists” who can provide help to those being treated for drug and alcohol addiction as well as those who are struggling with mental illness. SB 282 cleared its second Senate committee Wednesday and has only one more stop before it reaches the full Senate. Rouson is a recovering addict and has pushed similar legislation in years past. That includes the 2021 Legislative Session when a similar bill sailed through the chamber, passing unanimously.

— MORE TALLY —

Charter school bill unanimously passes second House committee” via Tristan Wood of Florida Politics — A House bill putting guardrails on how charter schools are renewed unanimously passed its second committee stop Wednesday. The measure (HB 225), sponsored by Rep. Fred Hawkins, would require school boards to renew charter schools at least 90 days before the school year ends. Otherwise, the charter would renew automatically. The bill passed its second committee stop, the House Secondary Education and Career Development Subcommittee, with unanimous bipartisan support. Hawkins noted that public schools start working toward the next school year well in advance. If there is a problem with a charter school, districts should start addressing it with “plenty of time,” he argued.

Fred Hawkins’ charter school guardrails sails through committee.

Bill raising claims cap before state intervention to $1 million advances in the House” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — A proposal to raise the cap on claims against local governments before the Legislature must intervene passed its first committee hurdle on Wednesday. The measure (HB 985), carried by Rep. Mike Beltran, would raise the value of claims from $200,000 to $1 million before sovereign immunity applies. The bill passed the House Civil Justice & Property Rights Subcommittee by a 16-1 vote. Sovereign immunity is a principle stating that the government, including a local government, cannot be sued without its consent. The principle dates back to British common law. Proponents hope it would reduce the number of times Floridians would have to come to lawmakers to plead their case to receive reparations for transgressions committed against them by the government.

State official gushes over influx of federal early childhood funding in House committee talk” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — Matt Mears, the state’s Chancellor of Early Learning, was elated Wednesday afternoon when explaining that early childhood instructors received $166 million from Florida’s share of the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA). Mears spoke to the House Early Learning and Elementary Education Subcommittee, discussing how the Florida Division of Early Learning distributed the $635 million in CRRSA funding, which the Legislature allocated. He was happy to share that 26% of the funding went to instructor disaster relief payments, which came in two $1,000 checks written directly to child care instructors. In 2021, 76,005 Florida instructors received emergency payments.

AFP-FL urges lawmakers to let the sun set on VISIT FLORIDA” via Drew Wilson of Florida Politics — VISIT FLORIDA will cease to exist on Oct. 1, 2023, under current law, but bills moving through the Legislature (SB 434/HB 489) would extend its authorization by five years to Oct. 1, 2028. Americans for Prosperity-Florida urges lawmakers to pump the brakes, deriding the tourism marketing agency as a form of corporate welfare. “AFP-FL works hard to protect Floridians’ hard-earned dollars by opposing public funding for unwarranted purposes,” AFP-FL State Director Skylar Zander said in a news release. “We should not allow our legislators to pick and choose what they want to see succeed in our economy — it should be our choice. After all, we know that the best way to actually promote economic growth is by ensuring that everyone is competing fairly.”

Bill to protect farmers’ tax benefits amid growing agritourism clears makes way in Senate, House” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — The Senate Agriculture Committee unanimously approved legislation Wednesday morning that seeks to ensure the state’s growing agritourism industry doesn’t interfere with farmers’ preferential tax benefits. The Senate legislation (SB 1186), filed by Albritton, follows the House version of the bill, with both heading to their second committee. The House Environment, Agriculture and Flooding Subcommittee unanimously approved HB 717 on Tuesday. Filed by Rep. Josie Tomkow, the bill clarifies that farms can still be taxed at a lower rate even when parts of the land are being used for agritourism. The bill has garnered bipartisan support, clearing its first House and first Senate committee unanimously.

Huge bottles, kegs, and 5-liter boxes: bill mulls repeal of wine container size limits” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Imagine your party guests’ faces when you cart out a $5,625, six-liter, Methuselah bottle of Château d’Yquem wine or when you lug out a $15.99, five-liter box of Franzia Cabernet Sauvignon. Then imagine their faces when the cops arrive. Why does Florida law limit wine sales to containers no larger than 1 gallon, except for reusable kegs or shipping logistics between manufacturers and distributors? “It serves no good policy basis to criminalize the sale of wine based on container size,” argued Rep. Chip LaMarca as he pushed a bill (HB 6031) through the House Commerce Committee Wednesday. HB 6031 flew through the Commerce Committee Wednesday with no opposition or debate and little discussion.

The bigger, the better, says Chip LaMarca.

Bill requiring Florida governments to use American-made iron and steel clears first hurdle” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics — A bill that would require state and local governmental organizations in Florida to use American-made iron and steel products cleared its first hurdle Wednesday after facing some scrutiny and one argument against it. The House Local Administration and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee unanimously OK’d a bill (HB 619) by Rep. Anthony Rodriguez. The measure would require taxpayer-funded public works to domestically source iron and steel products. If passed and signed by DeSantis, the rule would also cover various other governmental entities, including school districts, taxing districts, colleges and universities. Sen. Jim Boyd has filed similar legislation in the Senate.

K9s For Warriors says lawmakers deserve a treat — K9s For Warriors, the nation’s largest provider of trained Service Dogs to military veterans, on Wednesday praised the lawmakers working to help it secure funding for a new facility. The organization singled out Senate President Simpson and House Speaker Chris Sprowls, as well as Sen. Travis Hutson, Rep. Sam Garrison, Sen. Cord Byrd and Sen. Jennifer Bradley for backing a bill (HB 9049) that would fund the facility’s completion. “We are extremely grateful to our state leaders and representatives for their support in our mission to continue saving veteran lives by building the world’s largest rescue-to-Service Dog facility,” said Rory Diamond, CEO of K9s For Warriors. Diamond said that once completed, the facility will halve the wait time for veterans to receive a service dog.

— SKED —

— The Senate Rules Committee meets to consider SB 280, from Sen. Travis Hutson, to preempt new ordinances when challenges arise over the anticipated impacts to businesses, 9:30 a.m., Room 412 of the Knott Building.

— The Senate Appropriations Committee meets to consider SB 620, also from Hutson, to permit businesses to sue local governments if ordinances cause at least 15% losses of revenues or profits, 11:30 a.m., Room 412 of the Knott Building.

— The Florida Senate is scheduled for a floor session, 2:30 p.m., Senate chamber.

— House Education & Employment Committee meets, 9 a.m., Morris Hall of the House Office Building.

— House Judiciary Committee meets, 9 a.m., Room 404 of the House Office Building.

— House State Affairs Committee meets, 9 a.m., Room 212 of the Knott Building.

— House Finance & Facilities Subcommittee meets, 1 p.m., Morris Hall of the House Office Building.

— House Government Operations Subcommittee meets, 1 p.m., Room 404 of the House Office Building.

— House PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee meets, 1 p.m., Reed Hall of the House Office Building.

— House Regulatory Reform Subcommittee meets, 1 p.m., Room 212 of the Knott Building.

— STATEWIDE —

Florida DOT Secretary Kevin Thibault picked to run Orlando airport” via Kevin Spear of the Orlando Sentinel — DeSantis’ five appointees to Orlando’s aviation authority voted Wednesday to hire Thibault to run Orlando International Airport. “I stayed up late last night thinking and praying on this,” said Carson Good, chair of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority and a Governor’s appointee. “I did not get any direction on who to pick, by the way.” Of the remaining two members of the authority, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings voted to hire the director of Seattle’s airport, and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said the Seattle airport director was his top pick, but he would vote along with the majority as a show of unanimity.

Kevin Thibault takes to the skies, or at least the airport.

Jimmy Patronis deploys anti-fraud strike team to Southwest Florida — CFO Patronis sent a squad of anti-fraud experts to Southwest Florida on Wednesday to ensure residents impacted by recent storms and tornadoes do not become fraud victims. “Following a natural disaster, scam artists work overtime to defraud individuals in their time of need, and that is why I have deployed my Disaster Fraud Action Strike Team to Southwest Florida to be on the lookout for bad actors trying to make a buck off the damage caused by the devastating tornadoes that took place over the weekend,” Patronis said. The DFAST deployment consists of eight insurance fraud and workers’ compensation investigators who work for the Department of Financial Services Division of Investigative and Forensic Services. They will be on the lookout for common post-storm scams such as contractors or restoration professionals who offer to waive insurance deductibles or fail to perform work after they’ve been paid.

Florida’s Environmental Regulation Commission hasn’t met in 5 years” via Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel — Florida is poised to spend $2.2 billion on the environment next year. This state and nation are already spending $23 billion cleaning up the Everglades. If you could solve problems simply by throwing money at them, we would be fine. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. A much better way — cheaper and more effective — is to stop people from damaging our natural resources in the first place. And on that front, Florida is pretty pathetic. Environmental enforcement is a fraction of what it was two decades ago. Florida’s Environmental Regulation Commission hasn’t met a single time in the past five years.

‘That’s a problem’: Florida state agencies challenged with lack of job applicants, struggle to retain low-wage workers” via Kelly Hayes of Florida Politics — State agencies are struggling to attract job applicants amid employee vacancies. Sen. Jeff Brandes, who chairs the committee, called for the presentation to learn about the current employment challenges faced by state agencies. Speakers from various public sectors made one thing clear: state agencies are struggling to attract and keep employees. “Not only are we seeing elevated turnover, we aren’t seeing the same degree of interest in people applying for these positions,” said Heather DiGiacomo, chief of staff at the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. Over the past three years, the state has seen a 34.7% decline in the number of applicants to state positions. That’s despite a three-year, 7.2% increase in job advertisements.

Florida has a unique potion for executing prisoners. It wants to keep the details secret” via Ben Conarck and Ana Ceballos of the Miami Herald — Florida’s prison officials are asking legislators to enact more layers of secrecy around the state’s method of executing Death Row inmates, floating a bill that would make confidential any records that “could reasonably lead to the identification of any person or entity participating in an execution.” The measures would allow the Florida Department of Corrections to obscure the supply chain behind the unique cocktail of drugs used in its lethal injections. The department says doing so would prevent social activists from pressuring drug manufacturers into blacklisting the state from purchasing their products, but death penalty opponents say that it’s the manufacturers themselves that have sought to prevent their drugs from being used to kill people.

Consulate nursing homes are changing names. Are they changing ownership?” via Hannah Critchfield of the Tampa Bay Times — The largest nursing home chain in Florida is rebranding. On its website, Consulate Health Care Services no longer lists any long-term care facilities in the state. In the wake of a bankruptcy filing and a slew of bad press over the last few years, the privately-held chain, the sixth-largest nursing home company in the nation, has quietly divided its Florida facilities into three separate companies. All three appear to be still affiliated with Consulate. Many of Consulate’s Florida nursing homes have begun to change their individual names as well, erasing any affiliation with the chain. Such reorganization leaves consumers in the dark, critics say.

Consulate is changing names, but is that all?

Florida Power & Light class action opens door to subrogation, future storm claims” via William Rabb of Insurance Journal — A Miami judge’s certification of a lawsuit against Florida’s largest utility company as a $10 billion class action, with damage claims from more than 4 million people who lost power in Hurricane Irma, could have significant repercussions for self-insurers and insurance companies in the years ahead. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge David Miller issued the order last month, noting that the plaintiffs had shown that the case meets all requirements for a class action. The plaintiffs allege that Florida Power & Light was negligent and breached its contract with customers by failing to fully prepare for the storm or to “harden the system” despite collecting a surcharge for that purpose.

— CORONA FLORIDA —

Joe Biden says nation weary from COVID-19, but U.S. in a better place” via Zeke Miller and Josh Boak of The Associated Press — Biden acknowledged Wednesday that the pandemic has left Americans exhausted and demoralized but insisted at a news conference marking his first year in office that he has “outperformed” expectations in dealing with it. He said he would likely have to settle for “big chunks” of his signature economic package to break an impasse in Congress and further attack inflation and the pandemic. Biden said he believes important parts of his agenda will be passed before the 2022 midterm elections and voters will back Democrats if they are fully informed, an assignment he said he will pursue by traveling the country.

COVID-19 will be a long, dark winter, but Joe Biden says it will turn out in the end. Image via AP.

CDC data shows significant drop in new COVID-19 cases in Florida” via Brenda Argueta of Click Orlando — The CDC released several days of data after the holiday weekend that shows Florida may be turning the corner when it comes to the omicron wave. New data released Tuesday from the CDC shows there has been a large decline in new infections, and the state’s seven-day average of new cases has dropped nearly 25% in less than a week. The seven-day average of cases on Jan. 11, when the state recorded its fourth-highest set of numbers since the pandemic began, was 65,759. In the latest data reported one week later, the seven-day average was 49,690, a drop of 24.43%. Hospitalizations dropped by more than 300 over the weekend, though about half these hospitalizations are people with COVID-19 who are being treated for something else.

COVID-19 update: Florida reports 43,179 new cases, steady hospitalizations as omicron surge continues to ease” via David Schutz of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Florida’s omicron surge continued to ease as the state’s seven-day average for new cases declined for the eighth consecutive day, and the number of patients in the hospital with COVID-19 remained stable, federal data shows. The state reported 43,179 new cases on Wednesday, an increase Tuesday. But the seven-day average fell to 45,456 — its lowest level since Dec. 30, according to data from the CDC. There were 11,839 patients with the virus in Florida hospitals on Tuesday and 1,613 adult COVID-19 patients in intensive care, data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows. On Wednesday, the state added three deaths to its total count, bringing the seven-day rolling average to 91.

Orange County Mayor: ‘It is my fervent hope that Dr. Paul Pino returns to work … soon.’” via Stephen Hudak of the Orlando Sentinel — Demings, isolated at home because of a COVID-19 infection, offered his support Wednesday for Dr. Pino, who was placed on administrative leave from his post as the state’s chief health officer in the county. “Dr. Raul Pino has been our trusted partner and friend throughout the pandemic,” the Mayor said in a statement emailed from his communications team. Pino faces a state investigation related to a staff-wide email he sent on Jan. 4. The email revealed that fewer than 14% of the 568 employees in the County Health Department had been fully vaccinated with a complete series and booster shot.

— CORONA LOCAL —

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings tests positive for COVID -19, Val Demings negative” via Stephen Hudak of the Orlando Sentinel — Orange County Mayor Demings, who has led the county’s push for vaccination, testing and safety protocols, has tested positive for COVID-19, a spokesperson announced Wednesday in an email. The news release said the Mayor will be working from home this week. Congresswoman Demings, the Mayor’s spouse, said by email that she is “Negative and grateful. Will continue to test on a regular basis.” She added, “As always, we would also encourage all Floridians to sign up for the free tests now available through the USPS at https://special.usps.com/testkits, and to get vaccinated.” The Mayor is fully vaccinated and boosted and is experiencing mild symptoms, spokesperson Despina McLaughlin said. He received confirmation of a positive test Tuesday evening.

Jerry and Val Demings share everything but COVID-19.

Duval Schools reports more COVID-19 cases in first nine days of third quarter than the first two months of school combined” via Emily Bloch of The Florida Times-Union — In the nine days Duval Schools students have been back in school, the district has reported more cases of COVID-19 than it did in the first two months of the 2021-22 school year combined. Tuesday evening, the district reported 529 new cases, an all-time high for new cases reported within 24 hours. It’s worth noting that a bump in reported cases after a holiday break is to be expected. Still, an increase in new cases this high hasn’t occurred all school year. In fact, data shows that so far this month, the district has reported more COVID-19 cases than it did between all of September through December combined.

School arts performance postponed by record-high COVID-19 positivity rate in Manatee County, athletics unaffected” via Allyson Henning of WFLA — The highly-contagious omicron variant of coronavirus is impacting the school system in Manatee County. The district is implementing additional proactive mitigation measures to slow the spread. Before students were dismissed for winter break, the county’s positivity rate was 6.9%. Performing arts students at Parrish Community High School found out their much-anticipated winter performance would not take place. It was scheduled for less than 12 hours later and has not yet been rescheduled. When the Parrish Community High School performance was supposed to be taking place Tuesday evening, the school’s basketball and soccer teams were playing games as scheduled. Students felt it wasn’t fair.

— 2022 —

Election supervisors cite fraudulent signatures on Las Vegas Sands’ casino petitions” via Lawrence Mower and Mary Ellen Klas of The Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald — Florida could be in the midst of one of the largest cases of election-related fraud in recent history. Across the state, elections supervisors say they have been sent thousands of fraudulent petition forms supporting a constitutional amendment to expand casino gaming in the state. Although the forms are supposed to reflect real Floridians voicing support for a change to the state’s Constitution, many include the names of dead people or the forged signatures of real voters.

Attorney Kevin Hayslett joins Republican race for Florida’s 13th District” via Romy Ellenbogen of the Tampa Bay Times — Hayslett, a Clearwater attorney and former prosecutor, announced his plan on Wednesday to run for Florida’s 13th Congressional District. Hayslett, a Republican, said he’s already been endorsed by Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri and former Pinellas County Sheriff Jim Coats. Hayslett is positioning himself as a “law and order” candidate who is a Trump Republican and political outsider. “I care about our community, and I have deep roots here, but like many others, I’m concerned with how Washington politicians are trying to dictate how we live our lives,” Hayslett said in his announcement.

Kevin Hayslett is the latest Donald Trump supporter to enter the race for CD 13.

— CORONA NATION —

Omicron is in retreat” via David Leonhardt of The New York Times — Since early last week, new cases in Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey and New York have fallen by more than 30%. They’re down by more than 10% in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. In California, cases may have peaked. For now, the available evidence suggests that omicron is less threatening to a vaccinated person than ordinary flu. The final major piece of encouraging news involves booster shots: They are highly effective at preventing severe illness from omicron.

Omicron is so last week. Image via AP.

Choose your news …America’s second pandemic winter: More virus, less death” via Philip Bump of The Washington Post — Two critically important things changed with the coronavirus pandemic between one year ago and now. The first was that vaccines became widely available, and most American adults availed themselves of the protections the vaccines offered. The second is that the most common variant of the virus to spread in the United States in the past month was omicron, which is far more contagious but, the data suggest, also less dangerous. What has emerged is a different sort of pandemic, one in which far more people are getting infected but, so far, fewer are dying. Yet there’s a caveat: There have been nearly as many total hospitalizations in the past month as a year ago, largely a function of multiplying the reduced hospitalization rate times a far larger number of infected people. Despite the common description of the omicron variant as “mild,” the sheer scale of infections has pushed the number of hospitalizations higher.

Or …U.S. faces wave of omicron deaths in coming weeks, models say” via Carla K. Johnson of The Associated Press — The fast-moving omicron variant may cause less severe disease on average, but COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. are climbing, and modelers forecast 50,000 to 300,000 more Americans could die by the time the wave subsides in mid-March. The seven-day rolling average for daily new COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. has been trending upward since mid-November, reaching nearly 1,700 on Jan. 17, still below the peak of 3,300 in January 2021. COVID-19 deaths among nursing home residents started rising slightly two weeks ago, although still at a rate 10 times less than last year before most residents were vaccinated. If the higher end of projections comes to pass, that would push total U.S. deaths from COVID-19 over 1 million by early spring.

— CORONA ECONOMICS —

Florida man gets five years for COVID-19 relief, tax fraud” via The Associated Press — A Florida man convicted of fraudulently collecting more than $1.3 million in COVID-19 relief funds has been sentenced to five years in prison. Johnson Eustache was sentenced Tuesday in Orlando federal court. He pleaded guilty in August to wire fraud and aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns. He must also forfeit approximately $700,000 seized from several bank accounts, as well as real properties in Palm Bay and Poinciana. Eustache submitted 13 different fraudulent Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Paycheck Protection Program applications to the Small Business Administration and other lenders from March 2020 to April 2021. In total, he sought more than $2.1 million in pandemic-related emergency benefits. Prosecutors said that Eustache included false statements in the applications regarding criminal history, the number of employees, and total payroll.

— MORE CORONA —

Study: Prior infection, vaccines provide best protection from COVID-19” via Mike Stobbe of The Associated Press — A new study in two states that compares coronavirus protection from prior infection and vaccination concludes getting the shots is still the safest way to prevent COVID-19. The study examined infections in New York and California last summer and fall and found people who were both vaccinated and had survived a prior bout of COVID-19 had the most protection. But unvaccinated people with a past infection were a close second. By fall, that group had a lower case rate than vaccinated people who had no past infection. The CDC, which released the study Wednesday, noted several caveats to the research. And some outside experts were cautious of the findings and wary of how they might be interpreted.

Just get the shot: Vaccination offers the best protection, a new study shows. Image via AP.

AI tool is built to detect which COVID-19 patients will recover from the disease based of blood protein levels” via Mansur Shaheen of Daily Mail — Researchers may have developed a new tool that uses machine learning to better predict health outcomes for hospitalized COVID-19 patients, and help physicians make more informed treatment decisions. A German research team developed an artificial intelligence tool to estimate how well an infected person will fare based on a blood sample. The levels of 14 proteins found in a person’s blood can indicate whether a person who suffers a severe enough hospitalization will survive or die from the virus, and the tool developed by researchers can accurately assess their risk. In times of crisis, where resources are especially scarce, the device can help determine what patients require the most intensive care to survive, and who is more fit to fight off the virus themselves.

When being unvaccinated means being locked out of public life” via Chico Harlan and Stefano Pitrelli of The Washington Post — At this complicated stage of the pandemic, the lives of unvaccinated people are in major flux, at the mercy of decisions made everywhere from courts to workplaces. But their lives are changing most dramatically in a handful of countries in Western Europe, including Italy, where governments are systematically reducing their liberties while beginning to return the rest of society to a state of normalcy. And while regular testing, until recently, was permitted as an alternative to vaccination, even that option has now been largely removed as countries harden their mandates. The choice is to get inoculated or face exclusion.

— PRESIDENTIAL —

5 takeaways from Biden’s news conference” via Aaron Blake of The Washington Post — Biden reinforced Wednesday that he has largely given up on his high-minded but far-fetched vision for bipartisanship on his watch. He instead cast his Republican opponents as principle-free, power-hungry legislators. At another point, Biden seemed to admit again that he misread the situation, pointing to the many sitting Republican senators who once voted to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act. Among the Biden comments that will likely be chewed over extensively was one suggesting that a smaller incursion by Russia into Ukraine might not merit the same response. “I think what you’re going to see is that Russia will be held accountable if it invades, and it depends on what it does,” Biden said. Biden seemed to lay blame on local authorities for not better using money from the pandemic relief bill to address ongoing problems.

Joe Biden drops the bipartisan charade. Image via AP.

Biden asks, ‘What are Republicans for?’ Republicans have already chosen not to answer.” via Philip Bump of The Washington Post — During a news conference held one day shy of his anniversary in office, Biden was asked whether he had made bigger promises to the electorate than he was able to fulfill. Biden insisted that his administration had made “enormous progress” on his agenda, denying that he’d overpromised on the campaign trail and during his early months in office. But then he qualified that: Perhaps he did overpromise on one front. In recent years, in particular, the Republican Party leadership has specifically declined to offer a detailed, proactive policy agenda. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has been direct about his lack of interest in outlining a policy platform.

Biden leaves Democrats hanging as midterms burst into full swing” via Edward-Isaac Dovere of CNN — Biden spotted Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney on the White House campus last June and called out to the House Democratic campaign chair loudly enough for several others to hear: “I really want to talk to you about the races!” he shouted. A week later, at the cherry festival in Traverse City, Michigan, Biden leaned into Sen. Gary Peters, who’s in charge of Democratic Senate campaigns, with the same promise. He’s always cared most about Senate races, Biden told the Michigan Democrat, and he wanted to have a meeting, an hour at least, to talk about helping his party hold the chamber in 2022. Seven months later, there are still no meetings on the books. Democratic politicians, campaign officials, and operatives say the White House political operation is heading into the midterms unprepared and unresponsive even to basic requests for help or information.

The long slide: Inside Biden’s declining popularity as he struggles with multiple crises” via Ashley Parker, Tyler Pager and Sean Sullivan of The Washington Post — Biden presented himself as an antidote to his predecessor, offering the promise of what his own campaign ads called “strong, steady, stable leadership” after four years of bedlam under Trump. But the tumult surrounding the administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan offered an early glimpse of the cascade of crises that have badly eroded Biden’s image of restoring calm. The administration has also repeatedly underestimated the magnitude of the nation’s challenges, including failing to anticipate the delta and omicron coronavirus variants, and has struggled to unite the liberal base and the more moderate wing of the Democratic Party. By early September, more Americans disapproved than approved of how Biden was handling his job for the first time in his presidency.

Biden administration plans to spend more than $1 billion on Everglades restoration” via Bryan Lowry and Alex Harris of the Miami Herald — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to spend $1.1 billion on restoring and preserving South Florida’s Everglades during the current fiscal year, the White House announced Wednesday. According to the White House, the money comes through the infrastructure law Biden signed into law in November and represents the single largest investment in the Everglades in history. Florida’s congressional delegation split along party lines last year on the more than $1 trillion infrastructure package, with only the state’s Democrats voting in favor of it. The funds for the Everglades restoration aim to increase the ecosystem’s resilience against climate change by storing surface water runoff and minimizing seepage losses during dry periods, according to the White House.

Biden uses infrastructure bill to fulfill ask from hedge fund billionaire donor’s foundation” via Collin Anderson of The Washington Free Beacon — Biden used his $1 trillion infrastructure bill to boost an environmental foundation run by a hedge fund billionaire who contributed tens of thousands of dollars to the Democrat’s campaign. The White House announced $1.1 billion in funding from Biden’s infrastructure bill to preserve the Everglades. The move comes less than a year after billionaire investor and Everglades Foundation founder Paul Tudor Jones lobbied the Biden administration to commit $2.9 billion to the group’s cause. Just months before making the ask, Jones contributed $50,000 to the Biden Victory Fund and an additional $2,800 to Biden’s campaign. Biden’s Interior Department hired the foundation’s former CEO, Shann Estenoz, to serve as its policy head for national parks.

Paul Tudor Jones was instrumental in getting a significant federal boost to Everglades restoration.

Abortion pill fight could ensnare Biden’s FDA pick” via Alice Miranda Ollstein and Lauren Gardner of POLITICO — The FDA’s decision to ease access to abortion pills is fueling a new push by anti-abortion rights groups to derail Biden’s nominee to lead the agency, potentially endangering his confirmation. The effort has already swung some previously undecided Republican senators on Robert Califf’s nomination, like Tommy Tuberville and Roger Marshall. Both initially praised Califf during his confirmation hearing in the Senate health committee and appeared inclined to support him before voting against advancing the nomination in committee over “pro-life issues.” Marshall’s office confirmed that he met with some of the anti-abortion groups working to scuttle Califf’s confirmation in the lead-up to the Senate committee vote.

— D.C. MATTERS —

Senators are sparring over Democrats’ legislation, and their own rules.” via Carl Hulse and Jonathan Weisman of The New York Times — Democratic Senators pleaded for passage of far-reaching federal voting rights protections, painting state measures imposed by Republican legislatures curtailing access to the ballot box as a threat to democracy so dire that long-standing filibuster rules should be changed to enact them. Republicans were equally passionate in their denunciations of the Democratic effort. The drama of the day was not expected to change the results of the votes planned for Wednesday night. The Senate was set to vote to cut off debate on the legislation. Democratic leaders then plan to move to change the Senate’s filibuster rules without Republican consent.

Can Democrats get it together? A definite maybe. Image via AP.

Obamacare is proving popular in red states that didn’t expand Medicaid” via Tami Luhby of CNN — Millions of Americans have selected 2022 coverage on the Affordable Care Act exchanges, many for the first time. More than 13.8 million people have picked plans on the federal and state marketplaces, 2 million of them new to Obamacare for 2022. That’s an increase of 21% in sign-ups through the federal exchange, Healthcare.gov, as of Dec. 15, from the same time a year ago. However, even more notable is the popularity Obamacare is enjoying in many of the states that didn’t expand Medicaid. Florida has the highest number of people picking plans at nearly 2.6 million has seen interest soar by nearly 23%. And in Texas, which has the highest uninsured rate in the nation, 1.7 million residents have selected policies, up roughly 33% from last year. Open enrollment ends Saturday, though consumers can sign up during the year if they meet specific criteria, such as losing job-based coverage.

Mike Waltz joins bipartisan bill to strip Olympic Committee of tax-exempt status” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — Rep. Waltz joined Rep. Jennifer Wexton in introducing a bill to strip the International Olympic Committee of tax-exempt status in the United States for violating its social welfare purpose. Waltz and Wexton, both longtime and leading critics of China’s human rights policies, all but conceded there is little chance of passing such a bill before the Olympics begin Feb. 4 in Beijing. Yet they suggested that their bill not only offers a prospect for influencing future Olympic decisions but could add immediate pressure to the Olympic organizers, NBC and American corporate sponsors to address human rights issues in China, including China’s ongoing genocidal oppression of the Uyghur people, during The Games’ broadcasts.

— CRISIS —

House Jan. 6 Committee subpoenas White nationalist figures” via Luke Broadwater and Alan Feuer of The New York Times — The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol issued two subpoenas for the leaders of a white nationalist movement that helped bring a crowd to Washington ahead of the riot. The committee issued subpoenas to Nicholas J. Fuentes and Patrick Casey, whom the panel described as leaders of the “America First” or “Groyper” movement and who were on the Capitol grounds last Jan. 6. Fuentes, a White nationalist, online provocateur and activist, has allied with Rep. Paul Gosar, a far-right Republican from Arizona who helped lead objections in Congress to the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory.

Crowdfunds top $50K for Tampa man charged in Jan. 6 riots. Where should it go?” via Dan Sullivan of the Tampa Bay Times — Ever since Jeremy Michael Brown’s arrest in September, he has fought hard to get out of jail. Federal prosecutors have fought just as hard to keep him locked up. Facing two separate federal cases, Brown lost a lengthy legal battle last month for release on bond. In recent weeks, a crowdfunding webpage bearing his picture, and a message he apparently wrote from the Pinellas County Jail, has tallied more than $57,000 in contributions, ostensibly intended to pay for his defense. The trouble is, Brown already has a court-appointed lawyer, whose services come courtesy of a federal law intended to help the accused who are financially unable to retain legal counsel. Prosecutors earlier this month filed an emergency request for a judge to prohibit Brown or his supporters from getting the funds.

Jeremy Michael Brown gets crowdfunded. Who gets the cash?

— EPILOGUE TRUMP —

Supreme Court rejects Trump, clears release of Jan. 6 papers” via Greg Stohr of Bloomberg — The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for some of Trump’s White House papers to be turned over to a congressional panel investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. The order gives a major legal and political victory to the House select committee and its Democratic chair, Rep. Bennie Thompson. The National Archives can now turn over about 800 pages of material, including visitor and call logs, emails, draft speeches, and handwritten notes. Trump was seeking to override Biden’s decision to waive executive privilege over the documents, arguing that a former President’s rights can outweigh the incumbent’s views. But the high court said in an unsigned, one-paragraph order that Trump’s appeal didn’t offer the opportunity to decide that issue, given the reasoning of the appeals court that backed the committee in the case.

New York Attorney General alleges Trump’s business inflated property values, wealth statements” via Shayna Jacobs, Jonathan O’Connell and Josh Dawsey of The Washington Post — New York Attorney General Letitia James alleged Trump’s business inflated the value of his properties and misstated his personal worth in representations to lenders, insurance brokers and other players in his real estate empire. James, a Democrat leading a civil probe into Trump and his business, spelled out the claims in a court filing late Tuesday that was offered in support of her bid to see Trump and his adult children deposed under oath. James cited examples of Trump allegedly lending his signature to financial statements that estimated the worth of properties in the Trump Organization portfolio and the value of his own fortune.

Letitia James drops a hammer on the Trump Organization. Image via AP.

Bill Barr has a book deal” via Andrew Beaujon of the Washingtonian — Barr, the former U.S. Attorney General, will publish a memoir of his time in the George H.W. Bush and Trump administrations in March. It’s called “One Damn Thing After Another.” In a news release, the book, publisher William Morrow says, “takes readers behind the scenes during seminal moments of the Bush administration in the 1990s, from the LA riots to Pan Am 103 and Iran Contra. With the Trump administration, Barr faced an unrelenting barrage of issues, such as Russiagate, the opioid epidemic, Chinese espionage, big tech, the COVID-19 outbreak, civil unrest, the first impeachment, and the 2020 election fallout.”

Opera singer accepts insanity plea in Mar-a-Lago breach” via The Associated Press — The Connecticut opera singer who drew law enforcement fire when she sped through a checkpoint outside then-President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Florida has been found not guilty by reason of insanity. Florida prosecutors accepted Hannah Roemhild’s plea during a brief hearing Tuesday with the 32-year-old singer appearing by Zoom from her home state. Federal prosecutors accepted a similar plea deal in August. Her attorneys have said she has a history of mental illness. Roemhild only spoke to acknowledge her presence during the three-minute hearing in West Palm Beach. Under terms of the agreement, she must undergo psychiatric treatment and counseling and take medications, with monthly blood tests to confirm compliance.


— LOCAL NOTES —

Who’s responsible after four years of deaths on Brightline’s tracks” via Rob Wile and Doug Hanks of the Miami Herald — Brightline has caused more fatalities per mile traveled than any other major rail operator in the country, according to a Miami Herald analysis of Federal Railroad Administration data. Local, state and federal elected officials and regulators appear to be playing catch-up to the deadly rail dilemma and how to address it. A report from a consultant hired by state officials in 2018 recommended several key rail safety measures, yet the Florida Department of Transportation has not implemented any of them. And in 2020, state legislation that would have bolstered public safety at rail crossings stalled. Company officials contend the rail service has been plagued by suspected pedestrian suicides on the tracks and risk-taking motorists undaunted by the large mechanical guard arms blocking rail crossings.

Miami-Dade officially kills push for a private operator of the Rickenbacker Causeway” via Douglas Hanks of the Miami Herald — Declared unofficially dead weeks ago, the push for a private operator of the Rickenbacker Causeway was formally killed Wednesday by Miami-Dade Commissioners after leaders of Key Biscayne thwarted the effort. The ending of the bidding process for a developer leaves Miami-Dade looking for other options to repair Bear Cut Bridge. On Wednesday, Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said her administration would now work on two tracks: coming up with a plan for modernizing Bear Cut, and preparing a new request for proposals for upgrading the Rickenbacker. She said the plan may be far less ambitious than the $500 million upgrades sought by Miami-Dade in the solicitation that was just killed.

Daniella Levine Cava is taking a dual path to upgrade the Rickenbacker Causeway.

Sunrise police union demands chief step away from investigation of officer who grabbed another cop by the throat” via Eileen Kelley of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — The union for Sunrise police officers has demanded the city’s police chief recuse himself from the internal affairs investigation of a sergeant who was videotaped grabbing another officer by the throat. Chief Anthony Rosa called Sgt. Christopher Pullease’s behavior in the Nov. 19 incident “disgusting” and said the female subordinate acted appropriately when trying to intervene to de-escalate a confrontation at a crime scene. “We support the sergeant receiving a fair investigative process and await an unbiased and objective conclusion. However, we do not support Chief Rosa’s bias, prejudicial and unprofessional behavior,” wrote Steven Negron, the President of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 80, in a Jan. 17 letter to the Sunrise city manager and elected officials.

Judge orders home of ex-Jacksonville City Council member seized for fraud restitution” via Steve Patterson of The Florida Times-Union — A federal judge ordered former Jacksonville City Council member Reggie Brown’s home seized and sold, apparently days after he was released from a prison where he served time for fraud. U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard granted a request from prosecutors to seize the home to help settle a $411,000 forfeiture order she imposed in October 2020, when Brown was sentenced with fellow ex-Council member Katrina Brown on dozens of fraud counts involving billing for a failed barbecue sauce factory. Prosecutors said no payments had been made when they asked last month for permission to take the House on Ray Road, off Cleveland Road near Edgewood Avenue in Northwest Jacksonville. Duval County Property Appraiser’s Office records estimate the home’s market value at $93,500.

Scott Carnahan refutes Georgia residency” via the Citrus County Chronicle — County Commissioner Carnahan and his spouse had filed and qualified for a homestead exemption in Georgia from March 19, 2021, until the pair requested the exemption be removed because they were moving to Florida, according to the records obtained from the Grady County, Georgia, Board of Tax Assessors Office, and verified through a spokeswoman with its office. Carnahan, whose term expires in November, announced Tuesday, Jan. 18, during the county commission meeting he will not seek re-election in 2022. He owns property in Georgia, but was not sure whether it is homesteaded because his wife took care of it. But he believes it is possible to have a homestead in another state.

— TOP OPINION —

Dear Trump, you’ve fallen to the mighty DeSantis. Well, at least in Florida” via Fabiola Santiago of the Miami Herald — You can tell the ex-President doesn’t get out of Mar-a-Lago and around Florida much because vaccine skeptics are a mean, scary bunch. So, for once, we, his detractors, applauded the former President for backing the COVID-19-vaccine booster rollout where in counts, in a conservative forum full of skeptics. Yet, the pandemic isn’t the true power struggle going on between the men, caught up in a drama reminiscent of Gloucester and his bastard son Edmund in Shakespeare’s “King Lear.” Theirs is a struggle for the ultimate power: the U.S. presidency. Both want to be contenders in 2024. As the world turns in Tallahassee and at Mar-a-Lago, my bet is on Trump losing the big battle. Florida can be very friendly, but often it’s lip service, a smoke screen.

— OPINIONS —

Why you can count on a Biden bounce” via Jack Shafer of POLITICO — We’ve already seen the weeks and weeks of coverage marking the end of his presidency, capstoned by his twin failures to navigate his multitrillion-dollar Build Back Better bill past Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema and get his voting bill passed. He may be cratering at just the right time. Biden can return to the smaller-gauge policies that made him popular in the first place. Second, last week he hit the lowest of all his lows in the Quinnipiac Poll, scoring only 33% in job approval. He’s fallen so far that everything has to be up from here. When you’ve fallen into the subbasement, as Biden truly has, then almost any vertical improvement looks like a comeback.

Florida’s redistricting process was moving along. Then DeSantis jumped in with a threat” via the Miami Herald editorial board — DeSantis’ surprise move this week to submit his own aggressively partisan proposal for redrawing congressional district lines in Florida, one that goes farther to protect GOP interests than any map the Legislature was considering, is an indication of just how far he’ll go to tighten his grip on the state’s Republicans and secure a possible White House bid. DeSantis’s map would dilute Black and Hispanic voting strength. DeSantis is threatening to veto it if he doesn’t think legislators have come up with maps that gain enough ground for Republicans. Redistricting experts and Democrats were quick to say that the Governor’s map would surely run afoul of both the federal Voting Rights Act and the Fair Districts amendment of the Florida Constitution. The proposal would definitely be challenged in court, they said.

With Legislature in Session, speak now, or forever hold your peace” via Omari Hardy for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Every year, it seems, another billionaire moves to our state, another Wall Street firm opens an office in Florida, another Fortune 500 company leaves its headquarters in New York, or California, and relocates to our state to do business here in the sunshine. But has this corporate feeding frenzy benefited the working-class people of our state? Hardly. As Florida’s rich have gotten richer, as our biggest corporations have booked massive profits, everyday Floridians — the essential workers and small-business owners who power our economy and create jobs in our communities — have been left to fend for themselves. The problem is that, in Tallahassee, your connections matter much more than the merits of your cause.

Florida education scandal reveals conflicts, money-grubbing for tax dollars” via Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel — Two top officials, including a former chair of the State Board of Education, tried to score a $1.8 million contract off the very division they were helping run, a blatant conflict of interest. Both resigned. And the Governor’s office now suggests that should be the end of the story. The scandal involves the tiny, troubled Jefferson County School District in the Panhandle, which state officials turned over to a private company in 2017. The state wanted to hire yet another company to help oversee the transfer for approximately $1.8 million. The money was apparently too much to resist for state Board of Education member Andy Tuck and Vice-Chancellor Melissa Ramsey. The conflict of interest was as wrong as it was obvious.

New bill to eliminate Florida’s prescribed burn program poses great harm to our state” via Alan Shelby and Jim Karels for the Tallahassee Democrat — A new bill from activists in the Florida Legislature would handicap Florida’s prescribed burning program, putting our state, our homes, and our people at great risk. Sen. Gary Farmer, a Fort Lauderdale Democrat, and Rep. Anna Eskamani, an Orlando Democrat, proposed SB 1102 and HB 6085 to strip protections from last year’s Right to Farm Act. Their proposal could weaken or eliminate one of the state’s most successful land management programs when it comes to protecting our people and environment.

—TODAY’S SUNRISE —

The 15-week abortion ban had its first hearing, giving Democrats their first crack at challenging it. Question No. 1: Why 15 weeks — and how is that constitutional?

Also on today’s Sunrise:

— Big Issues like abortion aren’t the only things being talked about this Session. We talk to a veteran political reporter about county delegations pushing their big issues … like sewers and road improvements.

— A Republican poll says there may be a reason behind the alleged rift between Trump and DeSantis. The Governor is polling almost as high as Trump among Republican primary voters.

— And we’ll let you hear what Stone has to say about the Governor in a new YouTube video.

To listen, click on the image below:

— ALOE —

Orlando to host U.S. final home World Cup qualifier in March” via The Associated Press — The United States will play its final home World Cup qualifier at Orlando, Florida, on March 27 against Panama. The U.S. Soccer Federation announced Wednesday that the match will be at Exploria Stadium, where the Americans beat Panama 4-0 on Oct. 6, 2017, also their next-to-last qualifier. Needing only a draw in their finale to qualify, the U.S. lost 2-1 four days later at Trinidad and Tobago, and the Americans’ streak of seven straight World Cup appearances was stopped. The U.S. is 4-0 at Exploria, which has a capacity of 25,500 and opened in 2014. This game against Panama is between qualifiers on March 24 at Mexico and March 30 at Costa Rica, where the Americans have nine losses and one draw in qualifying.

More restaurants reopening at Disney World” via Dewayne Bevil of the Orlando Sentinel — Three more restaurants are scheduled to reopen soon at Walt Disney World. The trio, located inside or near company resorts, have been shuttered since the pandemic took hold in March 2020. Flying Fish at Disney’s BoardWalk reopens Jan. 27, Turf Club Bar and Grill at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort reopens Feb. 3 and Jiko — The Cooking Place at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge reopens Feb. 17. Reservations can be made at these locations as of Jan. 20. Menus are available at disneyworld.com.

Disney’s Flying Fish is among the venues making a post-pandemic return.

How ‘Encanto’ and its vibrant soundtrack became a viral phenomenon” via Bethonie Butler of The Washington Post — The animated film, about a Colombian family with magical gifts and an enchanted fortress that has protected them for generations, arrived in theaters in November to warm reviews. But the movie and its soundtrack, featuring original songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda and a score by Germaine Franco, have gotten more popular since “Encanto” landed on Disney+ last month. In total, four songs from the film are on the Hot 100, nestled between smashes from Adele, Lil Nas X, Taylor Swift, and The Weeknd. Its success, boosted by the film’s streaming debut and scores of “Encanto”-themed TikTok videos, has earned comparisons to “Frozen.”

The case for keeping up your Christmas tree until March” via Charlie Warzel of The Atlantic — Right now, there is a hole in my living room. It was not there last week. We’ve tried to cover it up, but nothing seems to work. I am, of course, talking about my Christmas tree (RIP). Two weeks ago, my street was a Griswoldian wonderland with twinkling lights silhouetting the eaves of my neighbors’ houses and robust-looking conifers standing proudly in their windows. The decision to take down our holiday decorations after New Year’s is an arbitrary act of seasonal austerity. Normalize prolonged festivity! I’m not suggesting that we need to leave our trees up all year. Take your tree down when you’re ready. Or don’t! Apologize for nothing.

— HAPPY BIRTHDAY —

Best wishes to the incredible Marva Johnson, our dear friend Jen Lux, as well as Jim Horne, Michael Johnston, now with Shumaker Advisors, Christine Knepper, Chris O’Donnell of the Tampa Bay Times, and Rick Oppenheim.

___

Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Daniel Dean, Renzo Downey, Jacob Ogles, and Drew Wilson.


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]]> Lawmakers reinvigorate efforts to enact national interest rate cap https://expo-monet.com/lawmakers-reinvigorate-efforts-to-enact-national-interest-rate-cap/ Thu, 03 Feb 2022 05:27:23 +0000 https://expo-monet.com/lawmakers-reinvigorate-efforts-to-enact-national-interest-rate-cap/ Congressional Democrats are pushing a new round of legislation aimed at addressing the impact of high-cost loans on consumers and small businesses. But the new bills — including proposals to institute a national interest rate cap of 36% and impose new disclosure requirements on small business lenders — face a tough climb, with Republicans in […]]]>

Congressional Democrats are pushing a new round of legislation aimed at addressing the impact of high-cost loans on consumers and small businesses.

But the new bills — including proposals to institute a national interest rate cap of 36% and impose new disclosure requirements on small business lenders — face a tough climb, with Republicans in contention. able to stall any bill in the Senate and lawmakers still busy with other legislative priorities. .

The bills include a proposal to impose a rate cap on all consumer loans that is similar to the federal usury limit for military service members put in place in 2006. A similar effort failed in 2020 when a rate cap bill divided Democrats on the House Financial Services Committee.

But supporters are hoping for more traction this time around after state legislatures passed rate caps on a bipartisan measure, and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act received a bipartisan support.

Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Wis., left, reintroduced the Fair Credit Act for Veterans and Consumers with Rep. Jesús “Chuy” Garcia, D-Ill., and 14 co-sponsors. Meanwhile, Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez, DN.Y., right, sponsored the Small Business Loan Disclosure Act.

Bloomberg News

“This type of legislation that is intended to provide safeguards and relief to people who are in real financial difficulty is consistent with some of the things Congress has done recently,” said Rebecca Borne, senior policy adviser at the Center for Responsible Lending, a consumer advocacy group.

Consumers, civil rights and religious groups have been pushing for years for a federal usury limit to curb high-cost lending.

On Monday, Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Wis., reintroduced the Fair Credit Act for Veterans and Consumers with Rep. Jesús “Chuy” Garcia, D-Ill., and 14 co-sponsors. The bill would extend the Military Loans Act’s 36% annual percentage rate cap on payday payments, high-cost payments, car title loans and credit cards to all consumers. The MLA rate cap currently applies only to military members and their families, but not to veterans or surviving spouses.

The Senate Banking Committee held an audience in July on a companion bill co-sponsored by President Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and the Senses. Jack Reed, DR.I., Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Chris Van Hollen, D-Md. Both bills were first introduced in late 2019.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez, DN.Y., chair of the House Small Business Committee, and Sen. Robert Menendez, DN.J., introduced the Small Business Loans Disclosure Act. businesses. Along with a companion Senate bill, it would subject small business lenders to the Truth in Lending Act, which requires disclosure of key loan terms such as the annual percentage rate on a loan. It would also give the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau the power to monitor small business lenders.

However, while House passage of either proposal is a possibility, analysts doubt they can garner the necessary 10 Republican votes in the Senate, even if they receive full Democratic support. Meanwhile, Congress is still concerned about passing President Biden’s Build Back Better social spending agenda.

But the legislative campaign to establish a rate cap and disclosure on small business loans could still shine a light on some predatory lending practices.

“While I believe these bills will not pass into law, we should still expect that there will be considerable pressure on high-cost lenders,” said Isaac Boltansky, CEO and Director of Research. on policies at BTIG, an institutional trading firm. and research firm. “I think these bills should be viewed primarily as courier documents that will provide some degree of political cover for state-level actions and regulatory action, which will be a headwind for cost lenders. raised.”

The rate cap legislation comes more than a year after the CFPB under the Trump administration emptied a payday loan rule this would have imposed limits on small lenders.

In 2015, Congress expanded the Military Loans Act to include credit cards, installment loans, and overdraft lines of credit in the 36% cap for military personnel. When first enacted in 2006, the MLA initially applied to a narrow range of payday loans, auto titles and tax refund anticipation.

Experts say lenders have been able to comply with the MLA changes. Some lenders have voluntarily limited the annual percentage rate of charge applied to personal loans to a maximum of 36%, including fees and commissions.

“Because the Military Loans Act had worked so well and because it was so easy to implement with no complaints from industry and the protections were so strong, we said why can’t we extend this to everyone,” said Paul E. Kantwill, the founder. Executive Director of the Rule of Law Institute at Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

Kantwill, a former CFPB deputy director of the Office of Military Member Affairs, helped draft the rate cap legislation with University of Utah SJ Quinney College of Law professor and former adviser Christopher Peterson. special from the CFPB.

Consumer groups say imposing a federal price cap has broad public support at the state level and from some business groups, including the American Fintech Council.

In Nebraska last year, 83% of voters approved a ballot initiative limiting annual payday loan rates to 36%. Illinois Governor JB Pritzker sign a bill in March capping rates at 36%.

So far, 18 states and the District of Columbia have imposed restrictions on payday loans, according to US PIRG, the federation of state public interest research groups. And 45 states have set price caps on certain types installment loans, according to the National Consumer Law Center.

But Republicans and industry officials have long argued that imposing broad restrictions on loan pricing would hurt consumers by restricting access to credit.

Some also argue that high interest rates do not necessarily translate into high costs. For example, a $200 payday loan that must be repaid in two weeks carries an annualized rate of 520%, but the consumer may be willing to pay $40 for the cash quickly.

“Americans should be able to make their own credit decisions,” said Tom Miller, professor of finance at Mississippi State University and senior fellow at Consumers’ Research, an independent nonprofit group. “If there is still a demand for loans to cover some basic living expenses, but no loans are available, what will low-income consumers do?”

Supporters of legislation that would require the disclosure of small business loan prices are also calling for bipartisan support at the state level, noting that Republican lawmakers are keen to promote fair and competitive markets.

“The whole point of this bill is to allow small businesses to shop around,” said Louis Caditz-Peck, director of public policy at LendingClub, an online lender in San Francisco. “It will also create incentives in the market to lower the cost of credit, as lenders will have to compete on price.”

California passed a law in 2018 that imposed disclosure requirements, similar to those in the federal Truth in Lending Act, on business loans of $500,000 or less. Disclosures generally include the total cost of financing expressed in both dollar amounts and annualized rates. New York passed similar legislation last year, and similar bills are pending in Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey and North Carolina.

Research by the Federal Reserve found that small businesses aren’t getting the information they need to compare loan prices and that some commonly used pricing measures are misleading.

However, Republicans may not want to give the CFPB additional powers to police small business lenders, given their general antipathy toward the agency, some said.

But lawmakers may be willing to subject small business loans to greater scrutiny, primarily because many loans are secured by real property, such as a home, which puts business owners at financial risk.

A group supporting the legislation, the Responsible Business Lending Coalition, which includes fintechs and community groups, estimates that the legislation will save nearly one million small business owners around $4.7 billion a year.

Boltansky said both proposals were meant to grab headlines to show that Democrats are trying to help consumers and small businesses and influence actions at the state level. He also expects additional pressure from regulators on banks that partner with non-bank lenders.

“We should expect more hearings, more press and more public statements, because these are issues that Democrats care about,” Boltansky said.

]]>
ArtYard’s ‘Invisible’ Reveals ‘Missing Stories’ in the Works of 12 Artists https://expo-monet.com/artyards-invisible-reveals-missing-stories-in-the-works-of-12-artists/ Wed, 19 Jan 2022 20:18:01 +0000 https://expo-monet.com/artyards-invisible-reveals-missing-stories-in-the-works-of-12-artists/ ArtYard is pleased to present to you Invisible, an exhibition showcasing the work of 12 artists whose practices examine omitted histories, unseen forces, and untold narratives that make the apparent misleading or incomplete. Organized by Jill Kearney, Invisible sheds light on unseen forms of work, unspoken emotional states and unnoticed effects of human presence, examining […]]]>

ArtYard is pleased to present to you Invisible, an exhibition showcasing the work of 12 artists whose practices examine omitted histories, unseen forces, and untold narratives that make the apparent misleading or incomplete.

Organized by Jill Kearney, Invisible sheds light on unseen forms of work, unspoken emotional states and unnoticed effects of human presence, examining what author Svetlana Alexievich calls “the missing story – the unseen imprint of our stay on Earth and in time “.

“My favorite word in English is anosognosia, or not knowing what you don’t know,” says Jill Kearney, founder and executive director of ArtYard. “This show is the visual equivalent of not seeing what you don’t see.”

The exhibition features artists Monica Banks, Willie Cole, Phebe Macrae Corcoran, Vasiliki Katsarou, sTo Len, Kaitlin Pomerantz, Kelly Popoff, Sandra Ramos, Gabrielle Senza, Pavel Urkiza, Kawita Vatanajyankur and Natalija Vujošević. Their work explores untold stories that are both universal and local, including some about ArtYard’s home community in Frenchtown.

The idea for Invisible sprouted when Kearney came across Vatanajyankur’s silent videos in the Cheating exhibition at the Albright Knox Museum in Buffalo, New York. In these videos, including “The Scale” and “Dye”, the artist captures and distills the beauty, humor, iniquity, fragility, ugliness and tenderness of life.

“Invisibility extends to every corner of human existence, from the stories that are never taught in school, to the palpable absence of a loved one who died suddenly and for no good reason, to the biology of life itself,” says Kearney. “Art is an antidote to the loneliness of human existence. Being seen is everything.

Invisible continues through April 10 at ArtYard, located at 13 Front St., Frenchtown, New Jersey, 08825. Hours of operation are Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

To learn more about the exhibition, visit artyard.org.

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Albany Museum’s Art Ball 2022 planned for its future home https://expo-monet.com/albany-museums-art-ball-2022-planned-for-its-future-home/ Mon, 10 Jan 2022 05:05:56 +0000 https://expo-monet.com/albany-museums-art-ball-2022-planned-for-its-future-home/ January 9 — ALBANY The Albany Museum of Art’s flagship annual event, the AMA Art Ball, returns on February 26 as a celebration of art with a glimpse into the museum’s future. Art Ball 2022 will take place in the future museum house in the former Belk department store building, officially presenting the AMA family […]]]>

January 9 — ALBANY The Albany Museum of Art’s flagship annual event, the AMA Art Ball, returns on February 26 as a celebration of art with a glimpse into the museum’s future.

Art Ball 2022 will take place in the future museum house in the former Belk department store building, officially presenting the AMA family as the first step in the museum’s metamorphosis into a grand new downtown arts center.

“WADA is delighted to host what promises to be a unique celebration in the heart of our beloved Albany,” WADA Executive Director Andrew J. Wulf said in a press release. “The idea behind this year’s theme ‘Metamorphosis’ is the museum’s plan to visibly and meaningfully evolve to become even more relevant to our brothers and sisters in Albany and to visitors from beyond. We are honored to continue this journey into the heart of Albany. “

After the Art Ball was reinvented in 2021 as a hybrid collection of breakfasts and Art-Ball-in-a-Box options at home due to the pandemic, “Art Ball 2022: Metamorphosis” will be on show. new an optional black tie gala featuring cocktails, gourmet dining, live musical entertainment, dancing and live and silent auctions.

Art Ball 2022 co-chairs are Meryl K. Joiner and Bronwyn Bates.

“I am delighted to be a part of this wonderful event,” said Joiner, who is also a member of the museum’s board. “WADA brings so much joy through art to Albany, and I hope that with the change on the horizon and the event being held downtown, we will see great success and support as a result. . “

“The last few years have changed us all,” Bates said. “I think we have become different versions of ourselves, hopefully better and more resilient. The museum is doing the same and this metamorphosis is reflected in the theme of this year’s AMA Art Ball. Move, Grow, Becoming a part of downtown Albany while representing our community as a whole, the museum is evolving into a new version of itself. We are excited to show the first steps of this change on February 26. “

The importance of the Art Ball to the Albany Museum of Art cannot be overstated. The large annual fundraiser raises awareness about the museum and its work and supports important programs, including free admission for all, exhibitions, art camps and educational programs.

“We are thrilled to celebrate our future home by hosting the Art Ball downtown,” said Chloe Hinton, AMA Director of Development and Membership. “This is our biggest fundraiser of the year and provides essential support for much of our mission. “

Hinton said sponsorship is critical to the success of the event. At the time of going to press, Upland Wealth Advisors and BMW of Albany and Albany Motorcars had signed up as major sponsors.

“We are very grateful for these sponsorships from these prominent local businesses,” Hinton said. “They are truly making a difference in our community with their unwavering support of WADA and its work.”

“We are thrilled to be a part of it,” said Alicia Gregory, BMW’s Chief Financial Officer of Albany and Albany Motorcars. “We are delighted to know that the museum is planning to relocate to the downtown area and we are delighted to see all the revitalization of the downtown area. It will benefit the community. Being part of the excitement is a lot of fun for us. It’s very energizing.

Dinner will be provided by Stewbos Group and dance music will be provided by popular Atlanta group The New Royals, who perform popular music from the 1990s-2000s, R&B hits and party anthems from the 1960s-1980s. .

New this year will be an “after dinner” option where WADA clients can join in the celebration at 9.45pm and enjoy cocktails and dancing.

Additionally, there will be live silent auctions, and the Libby Womack Paddle Raise.

“Through the Libby Womack Paddle Raise, you are directly contributing to WADA’s educational programming,” Hinton noted. “A big part of this is providing scholarships for children to attend our art camps. Our goal this year is for half of our campers at this summer’s art camps to be scholarship recipients. This will go a long way in expanding the reach of our educational programs. in underserved parts of the community.

WADA members are also eligible for a special weekly draw that begins on Monday. Each Monday through February 14, a member will be randomly selected to receive a free ticket for their choice of evening event or after dinner option.

“It’s a special way to thank our fabulous members for championing the arts in our community through their support of the museum,” said Hinton.

Tickets for the full evening of “Art Ball 2022: Metamorphosis” are $ 200 for AMA members and $ 250 for non-members. Corporate tables are also available. Tickets for the after dinner option are $ 75 for AMA members and $ 100 for non-members. Businesses and individuals interested in tickets or sponsorships for Art Ball can contact Hinton at chloe.hinton@albanymuseum.com or by calling (229) 439-8400.

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Spevak appointed partner of the Advocacy & Management group https://expo-monet.com/spevak-appointed-partner-of-the-advocacy-management-group/ Tue, 04 Jan 2022 01:09:00 +0000 https://expo-monet.com/spevak-appointed-partner-of-the-advocacy-management-group/ Spevak appointed partner of the Advocacy & Management group (Trenton, NJ) – The Advocacy & Management Group (AMG) – one of Trenton’s leading government relations and association management firms – today announced that Marshall Spevak has joined the firm as a partner . Spevak joins AMG from MikeWorldWide (formerly MWWPR), where he served as Vice […]]]>


Spevak appointed partner of the Advocacy & Management group

(Trenton, NJ) – The Advocacy & Management Group (AMG) – one of Trenton’s leading government relations and association management firms – today announced that Marshall Spevak has joined the firm as a partner . Spevak joins AMG from MikeWorldWide (formerly MWWPR), where he served as Vice President in their Trenton-based public affairs practice.

“Marshall brings a wealth of experience and a knack for knowing how to navigate state government. This is one of the many reasons why I am happy to welcome him to the firm as a partner, ”said AJ Sabath, President and CEO of the Advocacy & Management group. “His political background, his statewide network and connections, and his reputation for integrity have made him a sought-after advisor. Marshall is no longer a newcomer; he has already proven that he knows how to get the job done.

“I am extremely proud to join AMG, whose reputation on State Street and throughout New Jersey is well known for its tactical approaches to complex government issues and customer-focused results,” said Marshall Spevak. “I have had the pleasure of calling friends of AJ and Lynn for many years, and I am delighted to join AMG and its talented team as a partner.

At MWW, Marshall was a senior member of the Public Affairs practice. He has provided advice in government relations, public affairs, public relations, issue management, social media, crisis communication for businesses, unions, state and national SuperPACs and non-profit organizations. In addition, he has provided coverage and guest appearances on national media such as Bloomberg TV & Radio, MSNBC, SiriusXM’s POTUS Politics, CBSN, Newsweek, Ms. Magazine, Detroit Free Press, The Hollywood Reporter, ROI-NJ, NJBiz, NJPBS Spotlight News, WCBS, New Jersey News Network, New Jersey Globe, POLITICO New Jersey, InsiderNJ, The Star-Ledger, TAPinto, The Bergen Record and FORTUNE Magazine.

Referred to as ‘Brand Name in the Statehouse’ by InsiderNJ, Spevak has held a variety of government and political positions, including as Deputy Executive Director and Chief of Staff of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) in Atlantic City and as Chief of Cabinet and Senior Campaign Advisor to MP Vince Mazzeo and MP John Armato in the Eternal Battlefield of the 2nd Legislative District. Prior to that, he worked in communications services on the campaigns of the late Congressman John Adler, US Senator Chris Coons, the New Jersey Democratic State Committee and the late Senator Jim Whelan. Additionally, for five years, Spevak served as president of the New Jersey Young Democrats, and he was named by InsiderNJ to the Millennial Power List for the past four years and was honored in 2020 for the NJBiz 40 Under 40.

Marshall is proudly Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Battleship New Jersey Museum & Memorial on the Camden Waterfront, as a Trustee of the Commissioning Committee of the USS New Jersey (SSN796), as a member of the Cherry Hill Zoning Board of Adjustment, and as Vice Chairman of the Cherry Hill Democratic Committee. In addition, he was awarded the Camden County MLK Jr. Medal of Freedom and two Adjutant General Civilian Medals from the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs for his service to the military and veterans community. active-duty combatants from southern Jersey. Marshall lives in Cherry Hill with his wife Andrea and their daughter Leighton.

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Protest is personal for Joshua Rashaad McFadden’s Eastman Museum Art Exhibition | Art https://expo-monet.com/protest-is-personal-for-joshua-rashaad-mcfaddens-eastman-museum-art-exhibition-art/ Thu, 23 Dec 2021 16:41:15 +0000 https://expo-monet.com/protest-is-personal-for-joshua-rashaad-mcfaddens-eastman-museum-art-exhibition-art/ Click to enlarge PHOTO BY JOSHUA RASHAD MCFADDEN Joshua Rashaad McFadden’s 2020 photograph “Black Power (Washington, DC)” from “Unrest: in America: March in Washington”. As a photographer and curator, it is rare that an art exhibition makes me cry. But that’s exactly what happened with “Joshua Rashaad McFadden: I Believe I’ll Run On,” a retrospective […]]]>


Click to enlarge

  • PHOTO BY JOSHUA RASHAD MCFADDEN
  • Joshua Rashaad McFadden’s 2020 photograph “Black Power (Washington, DC)” from “Unrest: in America: March in Washington”.

As a photographer and curator, it is rare that an art exhibition makes me cry. But that’s exactly what happened with “Joshua Rashaad McFadden: I Believe I’ll Run On,” a retrospective photography exhibition at the George Eastman Museum.

The dark walls and subdued lights of the gallery space attracted me. At the entrance to the exhibition is a mirror with the words “BE REAL BLACK FOR ME”.

This imperative served two purposes: to welcome black spectators to a museum that caters to predominantly white artists for predominantly white audiences, and to challenge white spectators to change their mindset. It was a daring, even radical, statement affirming the right presence of black art in a museum setting.

It’s also rare for an artist as young as Joshua Rashaad McFadden – he’s only 31 – to receive a retrospective so early in his career at a gallery like the George Eastman Museum, which tends to recognize artists with portfolios. more extensive.

Click to enlarge
Joshua Rashaad McFadden mingles with attendees from the George Eastman Museum at the opening reception of the photographic retrospective

  • PHOTO BY ERICH CAMPING
  • Joshua Rashaad McFadden mingles with attendees from the George Eastman Museum at the opening reception for the photo retrospective “Joshua Rashaad McFadden: I Believe I’ll Run On”.

“Joshua Rashaad McFadden: I Believe I’ll Run On” is a stunning look at one of contemporary photography’s most provocative black artists, who also happens to be a native of Rochester. The exhibit is on view at the Eastman Museum until June 19.

I started following McFadden’s work during the 2020 social uprising in Rochester following the murder of Daniel Prude. I was obsessively refreshing social media pages, watching pictures and videos of friends and family in the Rochester Police Department tear gas and pepperball assault. McFadden was on the front lines, documenting interactions between protesters and police with live video clips and photographs, and capturing both the astonishing violence and the uplifting response from the community.

“I had to go and document this no matter what,” McFadden said. “I had to do it.”

Click to enlarge
"Irony of Black Policeman (Atlanta, Georgia), 2020, from "Troubles in America: Rayshard Brooks." - PHOTO BY JOSHUA RASHAAD MCFADDEN

  • PHOTO BY JOSHUA RASHAAD MCFADDEN
  • “Irony of Black Policeman (Atlanta, GA), 2020, from” Unrest in America: Rayshard Brooks “.

McFadden has a lot on his plate, creatively. He had already started teaching at RIT when he began documenting the protests in Rochester. He also covered similar protests in Minneapolis, Atlanta and Washington, DC.

“With this kind of work, no, there is no sleep,” he explained. “The protests took place all day and in the middle of the night until 4 am. So, (I) slept two hours a night all summer, really until this year, because Derek Chauvin’s trial happened this year in April.

“He worked without sleep for a long, long, long time. But the job had to be done.

In the protest photography genre, McFadden’s work often captures the unfiltered emotional responses of protesters.

For McFadden, capturing black grief is only a small part of capturing black life. He considers his projects individually, but admits that because the works sometimes overlap, the images and their stories begin to inform.

Click to enlarge
"I relate directly to the plight of black Americans who experience racism in this country," McFadden said. "And so, going out and documenting it was very difficult.  And you will see the intense emotion of the photograph." - PHOTO BY JOSHUA RASHAAD MCFADDEN

  • PHOTO BY JOSHUA RASHAAD MCFADDEN
  • “I am directly linked to the plight of black Americans who experience racism in this country,” McFadden said. “And so, going out and documenting that was very difficult. And you will see the intense emotion of the photograph.”

McFadden returned to Rochester in 2018 after several years in Atlanta, where he taught photography at Spelman College, to accept an art residency at the Visual Studies Workshop. He currently teaches at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

From there, he produced “Evidence,” an exhibition that illustrates the breadth of black masculinity and gender through portraits of men alongside those of their fathers or father figures. At the same time, McFadden was motivated by the recent death of his grandfather and produced “Love Without Justice,” an autobiographical photo series that used photos from his family’s archives.

Click to enlarge
PHOTO BY ERICH CAMPING

In his portraits of other people, there is a rawness and a desire for deep self-exploration. “I think the job is really me,” he said. “And it’s not really too glamorous or staged. Especially with the archives, it’s very personal. Especially in ‘Love without justice’. I just add to the archive. So I think it’s me, for sure. Completely unfiltered.

McFadden says his personal experience also motivates his photojournalism work.

“Along with other things, like ‘Unrest in America’, and documenting protests across the country, it’s also very personal. I’m directly linked to the plight of black Americans who experience racism in this country,” a- he said. “And so, going out and documenting it was very difficult. And you will see the intense emotion of the photograph. And it is not only because it is a touching moment, but you will see my emotion. in these photographs.

Click to enlarge

  • PHOTO BY JOSHUA RASHAAD MCFADDEN
  • “I Can’t Breathe: Minneapolis, Minnesota,” 2020, from “Unrest in America: George Floyd”.

Exploring the self through the chronicle of black life more broadly has been a constant theme of McFadden’s career.

“It always comes down to this constant referencing image map of itself,” said K. Anthony Jones, art critic and McFadden collaborator. “It becomes self-referential throughout this whole loop. “

“He’s exploring what it means not to have a home in this place,” Jones later said.

Eastman Museum executive director Bruce Barnes acknowledged this in his remarks at the opening of “I Believe I’ll Run On,” saying the exhibit “chronicles the intimacy of black life in the United States. And was “a testament to healing and the protective possibilities of turning in on oneself.”

McFadden wanted his work to elicit a visceral response, the kind of real response that, as he put it, was “unfiltered by the institution in which it exists.”

Click to enlarge
PHOTO BY JASON MILTON

Museums are spaces for ritual practice, housing objects and artefacts revered by the community that supports them. McFadden’s exhibition plays on this, with lighting and colors that incite an almost holy exaltation of the work. Watching exhibit attendees engage in different ways reminded me of the difference between going to church in New York City with my white mother and going to church in South Carolina with my black father: solemn silence versus jubilant reverence.

It is rare that we are able to gift their flowers to artists while they are still in business and even more exceptional when we are able to do so near the start of what appears to be on the way to a meteoric career.

“This is just the start,” McFadden said. “I have so much more work to do and so much more to say.”

Amanda Chestnut is a freelance writer for CITY. Comments on this article can be directed to dkushner@rochester-citynews.com.

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Adelaide Festival Center unveils plans for interactive children’s gallery https://expo-monet.com/adelaide-festival-center-unveils-plans-for-interactive-childrens-gallery/ Thu, 25 Nov 2021 23:53:47 +0000 https://expo-monet.com/adelaide-festival-center-unveils-plans-for-interactive-childrens-gallery/ Adelaide Festival Center today announced plans to open a new interactive children’s gallery – Children’s Artspace – which will be part of an international network of similar children’s galleries. The gallery will connect with similar institutions around the world and even exchange digital exhibitions and workshops with places such as the Hamada Children’s Art Museum […]]]>


Adelaide Festival Center today announced plans to open a new interactive children’s gallery – Children’s Artspace – which will be part of an international network of similar children’s galleries. The gallery will connect with similar institutions around the world and even exchange digital exhibitions and workshops with places such as the Hamada Children’s Art Museum in Japan and the Children’s Art Museum in New York. It is also currently in discussion with the International Children’s Art Museum in Oslo, Norway, and children’s museums in Australia.

The new space will be dedicated to children of all ages, students and their families, to share great ideas and engage in the art created by and for the children of South Australia. Opening on the 19the In February of next year, it will become a regular attraction at the Artspace venue of the Adelaide Festival Center, complementing the other arts events on offer.

Welcoming a new exhibition each school term, the gallery will present interactive workshops, performances and creative experiences for children and families as part of the CentrED programs, On Stage Adelaide Festival Center and the new Families At Adelaide Festival program. Center, starting next year.

Adelaide Festival Center General Manager and Artistic Director Douglas Gautier notes “Adelaide Festival Center has one of the most comprehensive education and learning programs among international arts centers and is the proud presenter of DreamBIG Children’s Festival – the creation of Children’s Artspace is therefore a logical extension of these activities.

“He was also inspired by similar international organizations and their remarkable achievements and creative impact. We are therefore very happy to be part of a global network of like-minded galleries in Japan, the United States and Norway. It has so much potential for international exchange and cultural engagement.

“We are also delighted to partner on this project with the Adelaide Central School of Art and the new Children’s Artspace will interface with the new Festival Plaza and be a major public attraction. I would like to thank the private donors and corporate partners who have made this possible.

Children’s Artspace will be launched as part of a special Family Day celebration on the 19the February in conjunction with the reopening of the Festival Theater, including the Festival Plaza areas. Family Day will feature free events, activities and workshops, as well as Adelaide’s very first children’s markets, where movers and shakers can create and sell their own wares. Young exhibitors (and their loyal adult assistants) can register now here.

The Executive Director of the Children’s Museum of the Arts, New York City, USA, Seth Cameron, said he was excited by “The Children’s Museum of the Arts is delighted to welcome Children’s Artspace to the dialogue on children’s art , and we look forward to many successful collaborations between our organizations and among child artists around the world. “

Many local schools have already registered to be part of next year’s four exhibitions. Students will be mentored by specially selected local artists and graduates of the Adelaide Central School of Art, with which Children’s Artspace has a partnership.

Ruby Chew is one of the local artists who worked with Grades 3-7 students at Hackham West School and Keller Road Primary School to create new artwork for the opening exhibit, titled Kaleidoscope: Playing With Color.

The exhibition will include paintings and sculptures used to create a large mural and will encourage children to play with color and texture through expression, new skills and fun.

Adelaide Central School of Art Executive Director Penny Griggs said: “As a national leader in visual arts education, Adelaide Central School of Art is delighted to partner with Adelaide Festival Center to Connect Baccalaureate in Visual Arts graduates with schools in South Australia to undertake these special artists. residential homes.

“I am particularly looking forward to seeing the result of the residencies on display in the new Children’s Artspace and giving students the opportunity to share their work with the diverse audiences of the Adelaide Festival Center.”

Supported by the Adelaide Festival Center Foundation, Children’s Artspace will be hosted by Alice Dilger of Adelaide Festival Center who noted “with exhibits created by and for children in South Australia, Children’s Artspace will encourage creativity and expression while providing a safe place to discuss big topics children face in these difficult times.

Adelaide Festival Center Foundation is raising funds for the Children’s Artspace project which will ensure the next generation of South Australians the opportunity to participate, be inspired and fall in love with the arts.

Public donations can be made via this link: www.adelaidefestivalcentre.com.au/support-us/childrens-artspace/

More information on www.adelaidefestivalcentre.com.au/whats-on/childrens-artspace/

Image top and center: Hamada Children’s Museum of Art in Japan – Provided by Hamada Children’s Museum of Art; image above: Ruby Chew with Hackham West elementary school students C-Jay, Shi Shi and Paige

Related Articles

September 29, 2021 – Adelaide Festival Center 20th anniversary inSPACE program unveiled

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July 28, 2021 – Adelaide Festival Center upgrades ticketing service from BASS to Ticketek

March 25, 2021 – Adelaide Festival Center announces its fall 2021 season

February 10, 2021 – Adelaide Festival Center’s main performance space will close for up to seven months from mid-July

December 30, 2020 – Record-breaking vote sees new stars celebrated on Adelaide Festival Center’s Walk of Fame

November 19, 2020 – South Australia’s COVID-19 breaker sees Adelaide Festival Center cancel all performances

October 20, 2020 – The OzAsia Talks at Adelaide Festival Center focus on cultural engagement between Australia and Asia

October 14, 2020 – Adelaide Festival Center reports 77 shows canceled during coronavirus shutdown

August 12, 2020 – Adelaide Festival Center welcomes audiences to the new Her Majesty’s Theater

June 20, 2020 – Adelaide Festival Center trust announces new nominations

March 18, 2020 – The Adelaide Festival Center and the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Center announce the closure of their venues

November 23, 2021 – Australian premiere for TixTrack ticketing with NSW Art Gallery implementation

November 5, 2021 – The Art Gallery of Western Australia delivers Perth’s largest rooftop terrace

October 12, 2021 – Bendigo Art Gallery Selected to Participate in Victorian Government’s Vaccinated Economy Trial

October 4, 2021 – City of Newcastle agrees to support expansion of Newcastle Art Gallery with additional funding

July 23, 2021 – Fixed rate loan sets path for Newcastle Art Gallery expansion

January 7, 2021 – NGV to receive $ 20 million grant for new contemporary art gallery

January 29, 2020 – Dedication ceremony for the new art gallery at Arthur Boyd’s property in Riversdale

August 31, 2019 – Business case published for the National Aboriginal Art Gallery in Alice Springs

March 27, 2019 – Federal government pledges $ 10 million to new Rockhampton art gallery


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