Students spread awareness about lead problem in South Bend

first_imgFlint, Michigan, and South Bend, Indiana, have a lot in common — both are post-industrial Midwestern cities with about 100,000 people, and both have a lead problem.In order to help deal with the lead problem in South Bend, sophomores Brittany Margritz and Alex Bonino volunteered for “Get the Lead Out,” an event meant to raise awareness in the community about the problem and the opportunities for free testing.Margritz said she and Bonino were made aware of the event through an engineering class they were both taking.“We’re in a class called ‘Community-Based Engineering Design Projects,’ and we were tasked with designing a local project in the South Bend community, and our professor told us that … one of them was involvement in the lead project, and we decided that would be the best,” she said.Knowing the extent of the lead problem, discovered after a 10-year study done by Reuters, motivated Bonino to go out and inform the community on problems and possible solutions, he said.“So people are upset with what’s happening in Flint, Michigan, when there’s higher levels here in St. Joseph’s County,” Bonino said. “ … The northwest of South Bend and the area [has found] 31 percent of the children tested over that time span had lead levels that were above the CDC recommendations where action needs to be taken. [This] was the highest percentage in all of Indiana.”This study, Margritz said, revealed some unexpectedly high numbers of children testing positive for lead.“[The number of those testing positive is] six times higher than the levels in Flint, Michigan,” she said.Margritz said those attempting to help with awareness sought out the advice of those in the community in order to pursue the best course of action for dealing with the problem in any way possible.“There’s already a lot of people involved at the University, like Dr. [Heidi] Biedinger, so we started out by meeting with people like that to figure out what was going on and what was happening and if there was a place for us to get involved that would be beneficial to people,” she said.While undergraduate students were limited in the impact they could make, any small steps to make progress were worthwhile, Bonino said.“So unfortunately for undergraduate students at Notre Dame, this problem is a little too widespread and has too much monetary demand [that] undergraduates can’t solve this issue,” he said “So primarily, what we have to do is spread information. … People don’t know if their kid has tested for high levels of lead.”In order to help in whatever capacity possible, students have been diagramming the effects of lead and mapping where the most cases of children testing positive for lead occur.“We’re trying to make webs and comprehensive diagrams of everybody involved and how they affect each other,” he said.Bonino said collaborators from the University and community were key in helping the project succeed.“We partnered up with Engineers Without Borders and the Eck Institute and the New Northwest community center,” he said. “ … [We] talked to them about easy remediation tasks, because painting a house can cost thousands of dollars, but simple things like dusting with wet rags … can keep levels of lead down.”In order to further help alleviate the effects of these problems, Margritz said she hoped to help foster greater community engagement.“We’re planning on, hopefully, forming an undergraduate coalition of sorts … so we can work together with different departments to see how we can fix the issue,” she said.Bonino said there were those at the University who were already taking up the mission to help fix the lead problem in the city. “One person who is taking action this summer is Dr. Maria Lieberman,” he said. “She has one undergraduate researcher … who will be testing plots in different areas to see where the lead is most highly concentrated.”Tags: City of South Bend, eck institute, Engineering without Borders, leadlast_img read more

My observations on issues raised in Dr Hinds’ desultory and disjointed attempt at political…

first_imgDear Editor,Please permit me to respond to Dr Hinds’ December 15, 2019, column in Kaieteur News captioned, “Rejecting the PPP’s twisted narrative”.First, Dr Hinds’ thesis was the PPP is “the worst Government in post-colonial Guyana and the Anglophone Caribbean”. I was hoping for an analysis grounded in the post-colonial Guyanese history looking at the various Guyanese Governments since 1966.At least a cursory comparison of the Burnham era to Hoyte, Jagan to Jagdeo, Jagdeo to Ramotar, and Ramotar to Granger would have been the starting point of such an analysis. Dr Hinds clearly omitted Anglophone Caribbean any analysis of the Caribbean – no mention of Eric Williams, Errol Barrow, Eric Gary, Maurice Bishop, Michael Manley, Edward Seaga, etc.Instead, he went into intellectual hallucination with ethereal visions of “Germany under Hitler, the USA in the era of slavery and segregation, South Africa under apartheid and Europe as colonial masters…” Once again, the public is treated to another helping of Dr Hinds’ poor writing: mediocrity masquerading as scholarship.Secondly, Dr Hinds, through his writings, is posturing as the logical successor to the incompetent demolition expert Walter Rodney. Hinds with his subliminally racist “ethno-racial” paradigm might actually be the successor to the “Pan-Africanist.” Instead of promulgating a national policy to benefit all Guyanese, Hinds focuses narrowly on his ethnic group.What Guyanese need is a “Guyanese nationalist” – someone who places the nation’s interest above party, racial, and religious interests.Thirdly, Dr Hinds tries assiduously to portray the WPA as some sort of entity that was “post-racial.” In fact, Rodney and WPA’s success was the pure distillate of the toxic Guyanese racial mix. Indians and other ethnic groups did not gravitate to Rodney and the WPA based on an economic platform.Rather, the question facing the disaffected PNC base: Who was the more acceptable alternative to Burnham? Rodney or Jagan? Based on Hinds’ “ethno-racial” paradigm, Rodney was the more racially palatable candidate for the disaffected PNC base. The urban PPP supporters were disappointed by Jagan and the PPP’s inability to advocate for their interest.In an expression of hopelessness – “anybody but Burnham” they cast their lot with Rodney because they believed that the army and political leadership would not permit Jagan/PPP to govern.Rodney’s death and the emergence of Rupert Roopnaraine was an anathema to the “disaffected PNC” support of the WPA. Hence, they returned to the folds of the PNC. Analogously, the “disappointed PPP” supporters viewed Roopnaraine as weak and ineffectual and they returned to the PPP.Fourthly, Dr Hinds humorously reminds me of Donald Trump who sees Obama as the bogeyman for everything wrong. Similarly, Hinds has the same affliction – Jagdeo is the bogeyman. Hinds asserts, “many Indians [give] thanks to Jagdeo and the Phantom groups.” Hinds has no idea of the many Indians he professes to make intelligible to the reading public. Many credit Roger Khan with countering the “criminals, freedom fighters and hustlers”.These are my observations to some of the issues raised in Dr Hinds’ desultory and disjointed attempt at political analysis.Sincerely,Roger Allylast_img read more