Faculty discusses non-profit options

first_imgShe demonstrated how extensive the sector is, highlighting a variety of fields that students have the potential to work in.  Rees also said NPOs are often a great career choice because they allow students to combine their passions with educational skills, and take on a variety of leadership roles.  Throughout the lecture, Reed encouraged students to see the exciting possibilities in the field.  In an interview with The Observer following the event, Hebbeler said each year, approximately 10 percent of Notre Dame’s graduating class commits to one or more years of full-time service in the United States and abroad.  “Engaging in service helps Notre Dame students continue the University’s mission for social justice,” he said.  “It is very possible to work in an NPO, have a career and pay off student loans,” she said. A group of Notre Dame students gathered to learn about opportunities available in post-graduate service work and careers in non-profit organizations (NPO) Wednesday at Geddes Hall.  The event was sponsored by Inspire, a student club founded in 2009 that works to “foster a community of non-profits rooted within the Notre Dame family,” according to the club’s mission statement.  Alicia Quiros, a who senior attending the event, left the presentation confident of her decision to go into service following graduation. Quiros said she was motivated to do this because of the problems that she sees in our world, and her belief that “service leads to learning, which leads to justice.” “All these myths are simply not true. Over one million nonprofit organizations in the United States alone, and one in 10 citizens are employed by an NPO,” Rees said. “Be The Change: Unlocking the Nonprofit” began with a discussion led by Michael Hebbeler, director of Student Leadership and Senior Transitions at the Center for Social Concern (CSC). Hebbeler centered on the numerous post-graduate service opportunities open to Notre Dame students, in faith-based and secular programs alike.  “If you work in a small NPO, you can gain a large amount of responsibility early on,” she said. “You should think, ‘How do I want to frame my life? What can I do to engage my passions?’” she said.  He also discussed his time after college serving in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps as an advocate for homeless families at New Life Community in Cleveland and the importance of students cultivating a sense of social responsibility upon graduation.  Following Hebbeler’s presentation, Anita Rees, the associate director of the College of Arts and Letters at the Career Center, discussed the workings of the nonprofit world.  Rees began her presentation by challenging students with the “Myths of the Nonprofit Career” — among them, the notion that no one makes money working the nonprofit sector, that it is a field without competition or organization and that it is the same as volunteering.  Rees also debunked the myth that students going into NPO work will be met with the financial burden of paying off student loans. She highlighted a number of government-sponsored programs and legislature that have been designed to allow students to pursue their passion for service, and encouraged all members to visit the Career Center and Office of Financial Aid to help plan this. last_img read more

New major launches

first_imgStudents hoping to combine language skills, cultural knowledge and economic know-how can now pursue a major in International Economics, a joint offering from the departments of Economics and Romance Languages and Literatures. In a University press release, Department of Economics Chair Richard Jensen said the new major is suited for students hoping to make themselves more marketable to employers at home and abroad. “This program will be an attractive option for ambitious, sophisticated and savvy Notre Dame undergraduates seeking to prepare themselves for successful international careers,” he said. Professor Theodore Cachey, chair of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, said the major appeals to students already acquainted with foreign languages. “Most students at Notre Dame have some significant second or third language in their academic history,” Cachey said. “Many students are also interested in studying economics, one of the largest majors in the College of Arts and Letters. We put the two together to offer this major.” Cachey said the study of language and economics are more cohesive than some would think. “This is a major for students who are coming from Economics and are drawn to languages, and vice versa. For example, students who have studied advanced Spanish will also study the Economics of Latin America and Europe,” he said. “This is a natural combination in this era of globalization.” Professor Shauna Williams, director of undergraduate studies for the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, said the new major could pave the way to any number of professional opportunities. “This is a great opportunity for freshmen and sophomores. It is a full major that offers limitless opportunities,” Williams said. “It opens the paths for working for international non-profit organizations, NGOs, and it a great pre-grad major.” The program consists of eight courses through economics and a minimum of seven language courses, Williams said. The departments are also hoping to establish a one-credit lecture course featuring distinguished alumni involved in international economics. Williams said she is hoping to build off of strong initial interest. “Students are learning about this new major. [First Year of Studies] has been helping us disseminate the information and we will be visiting classes to talk about the major,” she said. “The interest has been exceptionally strong, but this is what we anticipated. Around 12 to 15 students have already signed up for the major.”last_img read more

Comedy Writers Visit SMC

first_imgStudents at Saint Mary’s will be treated to series of lectures, workshops and a live show when two veteran comedy writers visit campus this week. Tom Leopold and Bill Persky will visit the College on Sept. 12 and 13 to teach and discuss writing and comedy. Persky is a five-time Emmy Award winning director, producer and writer for famous television shows such as “That Girl,” “The Cosby Show,” “Who’s the Boss,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and “Kate and Allie.” He visited Saint Mary’s last April with Adriana Trigiani, a television writer, author and member of the Class of 1981. The pair taught master classes and discussed their careers with the College community. Persky said he is looking forward to returning to campus and interacting with the students and faculty. “I had such a great time last time,” he said. “There’s a sense of being at home when I’m at Saint Mary’s and feeling like I belonged. I felt like I was amongst friends.” Senior Elizabeth Elsbach attended Persky and Trigiani’s lectures and private classes last spring. As an English writing major, Elsbach said she is eager for another opportunity to work with Persky and to meet Leopold. “Bill Persky is an inspiration for any writer who wants to break the mold, and his guidance, to Saint Mary’s alumnae and to current students, is invaluable,” she said. “I personally have gained a greater insight into my own writing and writing as a career due to Bill Persky’s advice from last year.” Persky said he is excited Leopold will be with him this week as he visits the College. “Tom brings a whole new element to the lectures and classes,” he said. “He’s one of the funniest people I’ve ever met, and I’m excited to [see] the audience react to him.” Leopold’s career as a comedy writer spans nearly four decades. He has served as writer, producer and story editor for a number of television shows including “The Chevy Chase Show,” “Cheers,” “Seinfeld,” “Will and Grace,” “Hope & Faith,” “Ellen” and “Caroline in the City.” He has also worked with famous entertainment personalities such as Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, Billy Crystal and Chevy Chase. On Thursday evening at 7:30, Leopold will present his new one-man show, “When a Comedy Writer Finds God,” about his conversion from Judaism to Catholicism. Persky, who helped Leopold write it, will introduce Leopold before the performance. Leopold said his show, which includes original songs, has wide appeal. “It’s my journey of faith and finding grace,” he said. “It’s about what led me to Jesus. There are lots of laughs and jokes, but I think people will find the story touching, too.” Elsbach said she is happy for the opportunity to meet the pair and learn from them. “I am looking forward to Tom Leopold and Bill Persky’s workshops on humor because I have found that often writers, especially new writers, find humor difficult to articulate,” she said. “Being able to tell a joke is different than putting a joke to a page. I’m looking forward to the workshop in order to improve my style of writing in this particular genre.” English, communication studies and theatre students will enjoy private master classes and lectures with Persky and Leopold on Wednesday and Thursday. After Leopold’s show, Persky will be signing and selling copies of his book “My Life is a Situation Comedy,” and Leopold will sign copies of his CD, “Just the Hits,” featuring original songs, including some from his one-man show. “I always knew I was funny, but I didn’t know I could write; that was a lucky thing,” Leopold said. “Writing comedy is a high because everyone laughs at the same stuff.”last_img read more

Golden memories

first_imgIt’s been 24 years since the Irish last won a national championship in football, but 1989 Notre Dame alumni who were seniors during that undefeated 1988 season feel unmatched excitement once again as the University’s current unbeaten squad prepares for the Jan. 7 BCS National Championship Game in Miami. From the common “third-year charm” of 1988 coach Lou Holtz and current coach Brian Kelly to the similar progressions from mediocrity to excellence, this 2012 squad evokes memories of the most recent glory days of Notre Dame football. “To go from not playing in a bowl game to having solid bowl efforts and to see momentum building and culminating in an undefeated season is pretty neat for seniors in particular,” 1989 alumnus Pat Cooke said. “[It’s amazing] to see that development and be able to experience both the frustration of Notre Dame football as freshmen and the pinnacle and ecstasy of Notre Dame football when you’re undefeated and in a position to play for the national championship.” Just as the program signaled a change in direction when former coach Charlie Weis was fired after the 2009 season, Cooke said the dismissal of coach Gerry Faust and hiring of Holtz after the 1985 season breathed new life into the program following a lackluster 5-6 final season for Faust. “In Lou’s first year, we went 5-6 as well, but it felt like a different 5-6,” Cooke said. “Even though it was an identical record to Faust’s last year, we were competitive in virtually every contest.” The current football program’s gradual improvement mirrors that of the years leading up to the 1988 championship, and 1989 alumnus Tom Schlegel said students who follow the team through such a progression can appreciate the championship berth more fully. “Just like this year’s seniors, we started out mediocre, so as seniors, when you go from mediocre to a championship team, you were there when things were bad, when things weren’t so fun,” he said. “You’re in the best situation of all.” 1989 alumnus Brian O’Gara agreed the pain of the tough years makes the taste of victory that much sweeter. “As freshmen, we never would have guessed that three years later we would be undefeated with a national championship,” he said. “But that progression from being a sub-.500 team, firing and hiring coaches, having a Heisman [trophy] winner in Tim Brown and then winning a championship … was a pretty awesome stretch.” After starting the season unranked in the preseason AP top-25 poll, this 2012 Irish squad’s rise to No. 1 has been even more unprecedented than in 1988. “We started the season ranked fairly low … and had been to a bowl game the year before, but I certainly don’t think anybody thought at the beginning of the 1988 season that we would win a championship,” 1989 alumnus Jim Winkler said. While this season’s turning points came with a nail-biting overtime victory against Stanford at home and a decisive 30-13 road win over Oklahoma, Winkler said the 1988 squad proved itself in a 31-30 Catholics vs. Convicts rivalry victory against then-No. 1 Miami at Notre Dame Stadium. “That’s probably what [current students] experienced on campus with Stanford and the College GameDay hysteria,” Winkler said. O’Gara, who works for Major League Baseball, was attending Game 3 of the World Series for work when Notre Dame played Oklahoma. “I spent more time watching the Notre Dame game than I did watching Game 3 even though I was at the World Series,” O’Gara said. “The TV was in the office of a Michigan State grad who has had to grin and bear it and realize this was a special year for us.” The final tests of both the 1988 and 2012 regular seasons came at the Los Angeles Coliseum in Thanksgiving weekend games against USC. Schlegel, O’Gara and Cooke all made the trip out to see the final game of their senior season as part of a senior class trip. “I had been saving up money and was going to buy a road bicycle and ride home from South Bend to Maine after graduation … so I had about $500 saved up,” O’Gara said. “Then the team went undefeated and the University sponsored a trip to USC for about $500. … I never got the bike, but I took the trip to USC to see that game instead.” Just as this year’s seniors immediately began discussing travel plans to Miami following Notre Dame’s 22-13 win over USC on Saturday, Schlegel said his classmates did the same for the Fiesta Bowl after the Irish defeated the then-No. 2 Trojans in 1988. “As soon as we won that game, everyone started talking about bowl game plans,” he said. “‘Can we go? Should we go? Can we afford it? Who should we stay with?’ It was all the talk as I’m sure it is now.” Although more than two decades have passed since the class of 1989 walked the Notre Dame campus together, the common thread of undefeated football seasons helps old friends keep in touch. “At Notre Dame, we spent a good portion of every Sunday breaking down the game from the day before. Ironically, 20-something years after graduating, we’re doing the same thing now,” Winkler said. But reconnecting under the guise of talking about football involves much more than discussing a game’s top plays. “Reconnecting with those glory moments from then sounds like old guys reliving the glory days, but you end up reconnecting with each other, with Notre Dame football and with what you love about Notre Dame camaraderie,” O’Gara said. “That’s something really cool that we all felt following this team we saw similarities in.” Winkler said another “incredibly cool” tradition he appreciates is the integration of football players into the rest of the Notre Dame community. “The players are regular guys. … When you’re heading to class, there’s Theo Riddick and Manti Te’o doing the same stuff you’re doing. They just become superstars on Saturday,” he said. But above all, magical seasons like 1988 and 2012 create new chapters of Notre Dame football lore. “When you come to Notre Dame and know the football history, you have aspirations. Football weekends are awesome no matter what … but when you know other classes have experienced the magic of being in the hunt for a championship, you want to taste that too,” O’Gara said.last_img read more

3D printing firm showcases capabilities at Innovation Park

first_imgVisitors to Innovation Park, Notre Dame’s technology and entrepreneurship facility, may be puzzled by the large chamber apparatus set up near the entrance. This machine, an advanced 3D scanner owned by German startup Doob, aims to display the company’s innovative technology to members of the Notre Dame and South Bend communities and provide customers with an eye-catching and unconventional memento.Until September 29th, Innovation Park is hosting Doob, a company specializing in 3D scanning, modeling and printing. The company is operating a pop-up store for their main consumer product: high-resolution 3D-printed figurines of people and pets. In addition to the scanner, lifelike miniatures of people and animals in a wide array of sizes and poses were displayed on a table, and a television screen walked viewers through the process of creating and printing the digital model. The figurines are printed in full color and delivered between two to three weeks after the scan, according to the company’s website.“Everyone you’ll see here is someone who’s stepped inside one of our ‘Doob-licators’ — one of our scanning units — for a split second,” Jeff Williams, senior manager of business development for Doob USA, said. “Basically, it’s a room that has 66 different cameras that all fire simultaneously to capture a 360 degree image of that person, and from that, we’re able to take those 2D images and create a 3D model. Then we print these very photorealistic replicas of people in full color. This same technology can be used in digital applications, such as photorealistic avatars for virtual reality, for films, video games and other things like that.”The method of 3D-modeling based on still images taken from different angles, known as photogrammetry, has previously been used by film and computer-generated imagery studios, but its high cost has prevented viable consumer applications, Doob USA CEO Michael Anderson said.“What’s really special about Doob is our data processing software…,” he said. “What Doob has done is we’ve taken photogrammetry, but we created our own back-end processing that allows us to really automate that processing of the 2D images into the 3D file. So, where in the past, these sorts of scans and preparations would cost $3,000, we actually can incorporate these technologies into a consumer product that can be as cheap as under $100.”Anderson stressed that while 3D figurines are company’s primary product now, he foresees a wide range of digital applications for Doob’s proprietary scanning and modeling capacity. The company has previously partnered with Sprite and Uniqlo for promotional campaigns and are currently partnering with virtual-reality company High Fidelity to create avatars for virtual environments.“People are coming in and we’re taking this really high-resolution 3D scan, creating a digital file of that person,” he said. “The 3D-printed figure is just one application of that digital file. It’s really an important place for us to start because it’s so visual and emotional and engaging, and it’s easy to understand the application. From there, there’s a whole story to tell about where we’re gonna go next with the technology.”Prices for the figurines start at $95, but Doob is offering a discount of up to 40% off for students who come to their temporary shop at Innovation Park. Anderson said he invites all students and members of the local community to come and see what the company has to offer and to take advantage of the discount.“Obviously there are probably no bigger fans in the world than ND fans, and ultimately that’s what Doob is really about — whatever it is, whatever’s your passion, being able to capture that in 3D for a lifetime,” he said.Tags: 3D printing, Doob USA, Innovation Park, technologylast_img read more

Saint Mary’s hosts fair for graduating seniors

first_imgSaint Mary’s seniors are about to take the leap from college into the world of adulthood. To better prepare them for that world, the College hosted its annual graduation fair Wednesday.The President’s Office, Campus and Community Events, graduate programs, Career Crossings and the Saint Mary’s Alumni Recruitment Team (SMART) all had tables at the fair for senior students to explore post-graduate options.  Donna Botka DeFrees, an administrative assistant for the Office of the President, said the goal of the fair is to prepare graduates for life after schooling and to make sure they know about the support system provided by the College and its alumnae. “It’s important to us that graduates have the exit information they’ll need for life past Saint Mary’s,” DeFrees said. “We want them to stay connected and be well-prepared ahead of time to graduate, finish their requirements and answer any last-minute questions students may have.” Seniors at the fair were given information on what can be seen as concerns for graduates, such as caps and gowns for commencement, graduate school, the alumna support network and career opportunities. Stacie Jeffirs, director of the Career Crossings Office, surveyed seniors at the fair to gather information on their current plans. “We want to get a snapshot of where they are now, and what they’re doing,” Jeffirs said. “We’ll use this information to reach out in a year — and then in five years — in order to see how plans have either changed or remained the same.” Jeffirs said the goal of Career Crossings’ presence at the graduation fair is to promote continued contact between Saint Mary’s and its students after they leave. “We’re here to celebrate the successes of our seniors and to help, assist and guide them. We want them to know they can contact us at any time,” she said. Senior Mary Carper, a social work major, said she appreciates the support system Saint Mary’s provides.“It’s nice that Career Crossings is so well-connected,” she said. “They provide internships and alumni connections.”Senior and business administration major Olivia Brown said she feels the same way. “I’m currently undecided about what I want to do [after graduation],” Brown said. “I’m glad that the information about the alumnae network is available.”Another student, senior Dorinda Hackworth, spoke about how she believes her experiences at Saint Mary’s will help her later in life. Hackworth said she is planning to work in hospital social work at Riley Hospital in Indianapolis, and there are advantages of a Saint Mary’s education. “All of my professors are active members of their fields,” Hackworth said. “They teach social work classes, but they’re still working and sharing their stories with us. It gives us stuff to talk about in class and helps us learn about real-world experiences that will help us later on.”Students may receive guidance from professors and alumnae alike, and Brown said she believes one of the College’s great strengths is in its networking.“I think Saint Mary’s does a good job of instilling the idea of, ‘Once a Belle, Always a Belle,’ in students,” Brown said. “There’s a network out there, and they’re going to support us.”Tags: #BellesOfSaintMarys, always a Belle, Career Crossings Office, Once a Belle, saint mary’slast_img read more

University announces 2020 commencement speaker

first_imgThe University announced in a Monday press release that Patriarch Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch, will be the school’s primary commencement speaker this year.In addition to his commencement address, Patriarch Bartholomew will also receive an honorary degree.According to the release, Bartholomew is the “spiritual leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide.” His church can trace its origins to Christianity’s earliest days, the release said.“Patriarch Bartholomew has been a champion for understanding and encounter among the world’s religions, as well as for environmental initiatives, religious freedom and human rights,” University President Fr. John Jenkins said in the release. “We are honored that on his visit to the United States in May, the Patriarch will take time to offer his reflections to our graduates and their families.”Bartholomew is the 270th archbishop of Constantinople, according to the release. He has held the post since 1991. He has put a priority on interreligious dialogue with other Christian denominations, as well as Judaism and Islam. He has also worked on issues related to religious freedom, human rights and the environment. He earned the moniker the “Green Patriarch” for his environmental advocacy, the release said.Patriarch Bartholomew was born “Demetrios Arhondonis in 1940 on the island of Imvros,” which is now a part of Turkey, the release said. He was ordained a priest in 1969, after entering the diaconate in 1961.Having previously served as metropolitan — the leader of an archdiocese or diocese — of Philadelphia and Chalcedon, he has been honored with 35 honorary degrees. In 1997, the United States Congress awarded him the Congressional Gold Medal.The release said other honorary degree recipients for this year will be announced later in the semester.Tags: Commencement Speaker, Orthodox Church, Patriarch Bartholomew, University President Fr. John Jenkinslast_img read more

Jamestown Man Pleads Guilty In Drug Trafficking Case

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Stock Image.BUFFALO – A Jamestown man accused of trafficking drugs plead guilty to charges in a U.S. Federal Court on Wednesday.The U.S. Attorney’s Office says Jacob Graham, 19, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara possessing with intent to distribute five grams or more of actual methamphetamine, and possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking. The charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life, and a fine of $5,000,000.Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua A. Violanti, who is handling the case, stated that in May 2019, Jamestown Police officers observed two males fighting with another male in the area of Crescent and Cheney Streets.  The suspects quickly got into a silver vehicle and sped away from the scene. Detectives followed the suspect vehicle in an unmarked police car, but also requested the assistance of a marked patrol unit. The marked patrol unit initiated a traffic stop at the driveway of a residence on Lincoln Street in Jamestown.A detective approached the passenger side of the vehicle and opened the front passenger door. Inside, the detective observed two baggies of what appeared to be methamphetamine. The front seat passenger, identified as defendant Graham, exited the vehicle and was placed under arrest. Another officer approached the driver’s side door of the vehicle and had the driver exit the vehicle.The driver was also placed under arrest. A back seat passenger was detained but later released.During a subsequent search of the vehicle, investigators recovered a book bag which contained a loaded 12 gauge shotgun. The book bag also contained a digital scale with white powder residue on it and 16 rounds of 12 gauge shotgun ammunition. A records check determined that the firearm was stolen from a Federal Firearms Licensee in Hamilton, Ohio in March 2017.The plea is the result of an investigation by the Jamestown Police Department, under the direction of Chief Harry Snellings; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge John B. Devito; and the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Ray Donovan, New York Field Division.Sentencing is scheduled for October 28, before Judge Arcara.last_img read more

Pop-Up Storms With Heat, Humidity Likely To Start Off New Week

first_imgJAMESTOWN – Summertime heat continues for the next few days, with the chance for pop-up storms each day.We’ll close out the weekend on Sunday with partly to mostly cloudy skies and highs in the mid-80’s. A small chance for a shower or storm is possible. Keep in mind these storms are pop-up and scattered in nature and not everyone will see rain.Tonight, partly cloudy skies with a slight chance for a shower or thunderstorm. Lows drop back to the low to mid-60’s. The new week begins off with nearly identical weather days. Both Monday and Tuesday will see partly cloudy skies with chances for a few showers or storms. Highs both days in the low to mid-80’s. Monday the humidity will peak with dew points around 70.A cold front passing by later Tuesday will provide for a brief cool down on Wednesday with highs in the upper-70’s and lower humidity.The heat returns for Thursday and Friday before another stronger cold front moves in later on Friday.We could see the remaining leftovers of Tropical storm Laura on Saturday. Although the official track is still to be determined. Behind this cold front and system, temperatures look to cool off heading into late next weekend. With temperatures possibly below average.WNYNewsNow is a proud Ambassador for the NOAA Weather-Ready Nation program.Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Biden Unveils $1.9T Plan To Stem COVID-19 And Steady Economy

first_imgShare:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Adam Schultz / Biden for President / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — President-elect Joe Biden has unveiled a $1.9 trillion coronavirus plan to end “a crisis of deep human suffering” by speeding up vaccines and pumping out financial help to those struggling with the pandemic’s prolonged economic fallout.Called the “American Rescue Plan,” the legislative proposal would meet Biden’s goal of administering 100 million vaccines by the 100th day of his administration, and advance his objective of reopening most schools by the spring.On a parallel track, it delivers another round of aid to stabilize the economy while the public health effort seeks the upper hand on the pandemic.“We not only have an economic imperative to act now — I believe we have a moral obligation,” Biden said in a nationwide address Thursday. At the same time, he acknowledged that his plan “does not come cheaply.” Biden proposed $1,400 checks for most Americans, which on top of $600 provided in the most recent COVID-19 bill would bring the total to the $2,000 that Biden has called for. It would also extend a temporary boost in unemployment benefits and a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures through September.And it shoehorns in long-term Democratic policy aims such as increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour, expanding paid leave for workers, and increasing tax credits for families with children. The last item would make it easier for women to go back to work, which in turn would help the economy recover.The political outlook for the legislation remained unclear. In a joint statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer praised Biden for including liberal priorities, saying they would move quickly to pass it after Biden takes office next Wednesday. But Democrats have narrow margins in both chambers of Congress, and Republicans will push back on issues that range from increasing the minimum wage to providing more money for states, while demanding inclusion of their priorities, such as liability protection for businesses.“Remember that a bipartisan $900 billion #COVID19 relief bill became law just 18 days ago,” tweeted Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. But Biden says that was only a down payment, and he promised more major legislation next month, focused on rebuilding the economy.“The crisis of deep human suffering is in plain sight, and there’s not time to waste,” Biden said. “We have to act and we have to act now.”Still, he sought to manage expectations. “We’re better equipped to do this than any nation in the world,” he said. “But even with all these small steps, it’s going to take time.”His relief bill would be paid for with borrowed money, adding to trillions in debt the government has already incurred to confront the pandemic. Aides said Biden will make the case that the additional spending and borrowing is necessary to prevent the economy from sliding into an even deeper hole. Interest rates are low, making debt more manageable.Biden has long held that economic recovery is inextricably linked with controlling the coronavirus.That squares with the judgment of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the most powerful business lobbying group and traditionally an adversary of Democrats. “We must defeat COVID before we can restore our economy and that requires turbocharging our vaccination efforts,” the Chamber said in a statement Thursday night that welcomed Biden’s plan but stopped short of endorsing it.The plan comes as a divided nation is in the grip of the pandemic’s most dangerous wave yet. So far, more than 385,000 people have died of COVID-19 in the U.S. And government numbers out Thursday reported a jump in weekly unemployment claims, to 965,000, a sign that rising infections are forcing businesses to cut back and lay off workers.Under Biden’s multipronged strategy, about $400 billion would go directly to combating the pandemic, while the rest is focused on economic relief and aid to states and localities.About $20 billion would be allocated for a more disciplined focus on vaccination, on top of some $8 billion already approved by Congress. Biden has called for setting up mass vaccination centers and sending mobile units to hard-to-reach areas.To that end, Biden on Friday announced former FDA chief David Kessler as his chief science officer for the vaccine drive. Kessler has been advising Biden as a co-chair of his advisory board on the coronavirus pandemic. A pediatrician and attorney, he has emphasized the need to ease public concerns about the safety of the coronavirus vaccines. Confidence in the FDA’s review process is critical to ramping up the effort to vaccinate millions of Americans.With the backing of Congress and the expertise of private and government scientists, the Trump administration delivered two highly effective vaccines and more are on the way. Yet a month after the first shots were given, the nation’s vaccination campaign is off to a slow start with about 11 million people getting the first of two shots, although more than 30 million doses have been delivered.Biden called the vaccine rollout “a dismal failure so far” and said he would provide more details about his vaccination campaign on Friday.The plan also provides $50 billion to expand testing, which is seen as key to reopening most schools by the end of the new administration’s first 100 days. About $130 billion would be allocated to help schools reopen without risking further contagion.The plan would fund the hiring of 100,000 public health workers, to focus on encouraging people to get vaccinated and on tracing the contacts of those infected with the coronavirus.There’s also a proposal to boost investment in genetic sequencing, to help track new virus strains including the more contagious variants identified in the United Kingdom and South Africa.Throughout the plan, there’s a focus on ensuring that minority communities that have borne the brunt of the pandemic are not shortchanged on vaccines and treatments, aides said.With the new proposals comes a call to redouble efforts on the basics.Biden is asking Americans to override their sense of pandemic fatigue and recommit to wearing masks, practicing social distancing and avoiding indoor gatherings, particularly larger ones. It’s still the surest way to slow the COVID-19 wave, with more than 4,400 deaths reported just on Tuesday.Biden’s biggest challenge will be to “win the hearts and minds of the American people to follow his lead,” said Dr. Leana Wen, a public health expert and emergency physician.The pace of vaccination in the U.S. is approaching 1 million shots a day, but 1.8 million a day would be needed to reach widespread or “herd” immunity by the summer, according to a recent estimate by the American Hospital Association. Wen says the pace should be even higher — closer to 3 million a day.Biden believes the key to speeding that up lies not only in delivering more vaccine but also in working closely with states and local communities to get shots into the arms of more people. The Trump administration provided the vaccine to states and set guidelines for who should get priority for shots, but largely left it up to state and local officials to organize their vaccination campaigns.It’s still unclear how the new administration will address the issue of vaccine hesitancy, the doubts and suspicions that keep many people from getting a shot. Polls show it’s particularly a problem among Black Americans.“We will have to move heaven and earth to get more people vaccinated,” Biden said.Next Wednesday, when Biden is sworn in as president, marks the anniversary of the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the United States.last_img read more