07 30 2016
  9:52 am  
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The Wake of Vanport
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  • Russian hackers likely responsible for hacking attack on Clinton HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Giddy if exhausted, Hillary Clinton embarked on a post-convention Rust Belt bus tour just hours after becoming the first female presidential nominee of a major political party. The celebratory mood quickly evaporated amid fresh revelations that hackers had breached a program used by her campaign and Republican nominee Donald Trump promised to sharpen his barbs. "Remember this," Trump said during a rally Friday in Colorado Springs, Colorado. "Trump is going to be no more Mr. Nice Guy." And for the first time he encouraged his supporters' anti-Clinton chants of "lock her up." "I've been saying let's just beat her on Nov. 8," Trump said, "but you know what? I'm starting to agree with you." About an hour later, Clinton aides acknowledged that a hacking attack that exposed Democratic Party emails also reached into a computer system used by her own campaign. The FBI said it was working to determine the "accuracy, nature and scope" of the cyberattacks. Campaign spokesman Nick Merrill said the newly disclosed breach affected a Democratic National Committee data analytics program used by the campaign and other organizations. Outside experts found no evidence that the campaign's "internal systems have been compromised," Merrill said, but he gave no details on the program or nature of the attacks. Partnerships with modern e-commerce companies can allow sophisticated tracking, categorization and identification of website visitors and voters. President Barack Obama and cybersecurity experts have said Russia was almost certainly responsible for the DNC hack. The House Democratic campaign committee reported Friday that its information had been accessed. The developments followed the leaking of DNC emails earlier in the week that pointed to a pro-Clinton bias by party officials during her primary contest against Bernie Sanders. In the furor that followed, party chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz resigned just as Democrats launched their convention. Clinton and her running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, will attempt to return attention to their positive economic message on Saturday, with campaign stops through economically struggling areas of Pennsylvania and Ohio. "When we take that oath of office next January, we know we can make life better. We know we can create more good jobs," she told voters gathered at an outside market in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Clinton cited an economic analysis by economist Mark Zandi, a former economic adviser to 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain, that found more than 10 million jobs could be created in her first term if her economic proposals were put in place. Zandi's analysis of Trump's plans found they would cost the country 3.5 million jobs and lead to a "lengthy recession." Joined on the bus tour by her husband, Bill Clinton, Kaine and his wife, Anne Holton, Clinton stopped at a toy and plastics manufacturer in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, where she and Kaine cast Trump as a con artist out for his own gain. "We don't resent success in America but we do resent people who take advantage of others in order to line their own pockets," Clinton said. Trump is also focusing on Ohio and Pennsylvania, two states where he might make headway with blue-collar white men. That group of voters has eluded Clinton and may be a hard sell after a Democratic convention that heavily celebrated racial and gender diversity. Clinton is playing up economic opportunity, diversity and national security. Democrats hammered home those themes this week with an array of politicians, celebrities, gun-violence victims, law enforcement officers and activists of all races and sexual orientation. Their goal is to turn out the coalition of minority, female and young voters that twice elected Obama while offsetting expected losses among the white men drawn to Trump's message. Democrats continued contrasting their optimistic message with the more troubled vision of the state of the nation presented by Trump and others at the GOP convention a week earlier. Kaine called the "very dark and negative" event a "journey through Donald Trump's mind." "That's a very frightening place," he told thousands of supporters in Philadelphia. Clinton told voters that they faced a "stark choice," calling the coming election the most important one in her lifetime. "This is a moment of reckoning for our country. I don't recognize the country that Donald Trump describes," she said.___Lemire reported from Colorado Springs, Colorado. Associated Press writer Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report.
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  • SEATTLE (AP) — Genetically modified wheat not approved for sale or commercial production in the United States has been found growing in a field in Washington state, agriculture officials said Friday, posing a possible risk to trade with countries concerned about engineered food. The Food and Drug Administration says genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are safe and little scientific concern exists about the safety of those on the market. But critics say not enough is known about their risks, and they want GMOs labeled so people know what's in their food. Several Asian countries temporarily banned U.S. wheat imports after genetically modified wheat was found unexpectedly in a field on an Oregon farm in 2013. It also popped up in a field at a university research center in Montana in 2014. It wasn't immediately clear how altered wheat cropped up in Washington. But the U.S. Agriculture Department said there is no evidence it has entered the market. If it did, the FDA concluded that "it is unlikely that the wheat would present any safety concerns if present in the food supply," the department said. A farmer discovered 22 plants in an unplanted field, and the wheat was developed to be resistant to the herbicide known as Roundup, created by seed giant Monsanto, the USDA said. An agency spokeswoman did not know where in the state it was found. Federal officials said they were working with the farmer to ensure that none of the modified wheat is sold. Out of caution, the agency said it is holding and testing the farmer's full wheat harvest, but so far it has not found GMOs. The plants are a type of wheat that had been evaluated in limited field trials in the Pacific Northwest from 1998 to 2001 but never commercialized, Monsanto said in a statement. It said the type found in Washington state is similar to the one discovered in Oregon three years ago; it has the same inserted DNA but in a different location. No variety of genetically engineered wheat has been approved for commercial use or production in the U.S. GMOs are plants or animals that have had genes copied from other plants or animals inserted into their DNA. Most genetically engineered crops are corn and soybeans eaten by livestock or made into popular processed food ingredients like cornstarch, soybean oil or high fructose corn syrup. Only a handful of modified fruits and vegetables are available, including Hawaiian papaya, some zucchini and squash and a small percentage of sweet corn. The FDA also has approved for consumption a genetically engineered salmon that would grow faster than traditional salmon, but it's not yet available in grocery stores. South Korea said Friday that it will inspect U.S. wheat imports for genetically modified wheat, the Yonhap News Agency reported. The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said it has asked the USDA for information on the unapproved wheat and inspection methods. The USDA said it has validated a test that Monsanto developed for the herbicide-resistant wheat, which would be available to trading partners. "Trading partners will get the tests. I believe that once they have those in place, they'll continue buying," said Glen Squires, CEO of the Washington Grain Commission, a state agency that represents wheat farmers. "We don't anticipate any major disruptions." The USDA also said it has beefed up oversight of genetically engineered field trials and now requires developers to apply for a permit for those involving GMO wheat starting this year. In 2014, genetically modified wheat plants were found at a university research center in Huntley, Montana, where it was legally tested by Monsanto in the early 2000s. The plants in eastern Oregon were found in a field that had never conducted such tests, and the USDA closed its investigation two years ago unable to determine how the wheat got there. Different strains were found in each state. The Washington Association of Wheat Growers and the Washington State Agriculture Department referred questions to federal authorities.
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  • Six current or former state employees were charged Friday with misconduct and other crimes in the Flint water crisis 
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  • Hillary Clinton cast herself as a unifier for divided times, an experienced leader steeled for a volatile world 
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Roosevelt High School

In Nov. 2012, Portland voters approved an 8-year, $482 million school improvement bond measure. In addition to providing seismic upgrades to schools throughout the city, the bond was set to modernize three Portland high schools: Roosevelt, Franklin and Grant.

Two-and-a-half years later, the Roosevelt modernization project is embroiled in a conflict between the Portland Public School District and a Roosevelt community group over inequities in the new school design.

Portland officials are adamant that they conducted more than 50 public meetings and that the dissenters’ criticisms are unfair and not legitimate.

The Roosevelt boosters are equally insistent that, while many meetings were held, they were treated as outsiders despite their expertise in the field and in the community – and in the end they had no ability to influence the final design without filing a complaint with the federal government.

At the end of the day, the critics charge, the science education offered by a STEM program was put on the backburner for other, less academic priorities, including the gym, the theater and a courtyard.

STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the intertwined branches of contemporary science education.

The Roosevelt STEM advocacy group includes Donna Cohen, a former technology educator; Dennis Phillips, a mechanical engineer; and Joe Purkey, a St. Johns based architect.

The group also includes the St. Johns community leader Mike Verbout, who founded the Roosevelt Alumni association and has 33 years of experience in PPS as a teacher, administrator and former principal at James John Elementary School.   

They have filed a civil-rights complaint with the Office of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. At the heart of the complaint is an alleged disparate design of STEM career technical education between Franklin and Roosevelt.

The design process at Franklin led to an expansive 9,000 square foot workshop that will integrate higher tech equipment like 3-D printers and computer labs with older wood craft and metal shop technology.

In contrast, Roosevelt’s workshop was cleaved into two separate facilities of 3,400 and 2,000 square feet. Neither facility alone is large enough to effectively teach STEM, according to Cohen, who supplemented the complaint with a report of her own.

Her report contends that the two schools were treated differently from the very beginning from the selection of the architecture firms, to the design constraints, to the public engagement engagement process -- which will lead to a substandard STEM education for the majority low-income and students of color at Roosevelt.

PPS Chief of Communications & Public Affairs Jon Isaacs denies any preferential treatment between the two schools and insists that Roosevelt will have a first-rate remodel.

“The Roosevelt community is going to get an $81 million, state-of-the-art, 21st century high school that is going to transform education for the kids in North Portland,” Isaacs said.


A lack of engagement or a failure to agree?

Despite promises to include local families as well as businesses and nonprofit organizations in planning, Verbout says, few members of the community showed up, leaving the meetings peopled mainly by PPS staff.

By the second design meeting, Roosevelt was still discussing its basic plan, while Franklin’s architects already had a list of specific design issues to address.

Phillips said information was not shared between Roosevelt and Franklin; PPS intended the projects to be independent processes.

“Whenever we brought questions up at RHS (Roosevelt High School) DAG (design advisory group) meetings about what FHS (Franklin High School) was getting in terms of space, equipment, curriculum and adjacency, we were told by our project manager that FHS was a different school, with different priorities and constraints, different preferences,” Phillips said.

Phillips got into contact with Peter Mahr, a retired teacher at Franklin who had helped design their STEM space, expanding it from 6,000 to 9,000 square feet. Mahr received a CAD [computer-aided drafting] drawing which enabled him to design the layout of the new shop. 

“PPS was doing exactly what we wanted at FHS while turning a deaf ear to our attempts,” Phillips said.

In other words, the critics say, the input was accepted at Franklin but not at Roosevelt.

The STEM advocacy group asked to have a working meeting with the Roosevelt project architects to alter the designs in the same way Mahr collaborated with Franklin. PPS responded by arranging a meeting where the architects gave an in-depth presentation, but made no design changes.

Isaacs denies there were any issues engaging the community, calling PPS’ outreach “extensive.” He said Cohen’s group was not considered to be representative of the larger community input and felt it would be unfair to give them special privileges to change the design.

"We will certainly never do business in a way where three individuals in a whole community get to have a special meeting with our designers and make special arrangements with them. That is not the way any public agency should do business," Isaacs said. “The new Roosevelt design honors the input of the entire community.”


To read Donna Cohen’s report on the STEM remodel click here.

To keep updated on the Roosevelt modernization visit the PPS bond site.

Next: Roosevelt STEM Remodel, Pt 2: Building a Cutting Edge School from Scratch

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