Now is the government’s chance to promote marriage and tackle our social problems

first_imgThe Times – Sir Paul Coleridge 13 July 2017 Family First Comment: This is a great commentary by a senior family court judge in the UK:“In 2012, after 43 years in the family justice system (14 sitting as a judge) watching the inexorable and seemingly unstoppable rise in family breakdown, I began to talk publicly about the scale and depth of the problem I was witnessing daily. I was driven by three motives: first, a desire to challenge the entrenched belief that nothing could be done to stop the rot; second, a conviction, having watched the fallout for so long in the family courts, that our children were the sector of the population most adversely affected by the epidemic and third, that the remedies had to be applied to the causation end of the problem, not the remedy end. In short, our children’s life chances were being seriously and permanently damaged and we had to do something to publicise the scale of the problem and suggest solutions….“…. This is not some moral crusade designed to hark back to some imaginary golden age. It is a public health campaign affecting millions of families, adults and children, of the greatest priority. The less well-off, the next generation and the public purse would be the main beneficiaries.”Exactly!In 2012, after 43 years in the family justice system (14 sitting as a judge) watching the inexorable and seemingly unstoppable rise in family breakdown, I began to talk publicly about the scale and depth of the problem I was witnessing daily. I was driven by three motives: first, a desire to challenge the entrenched belief that nothing could be done to stop the rot; second, a conviction, having watched the fallout for so long in the family courts, that our children were the sector of the population most adversely affected by the epidemic and third, that the remedies had to be applied to the causation end of the problem, not the remedy end. In short, our children’s life chances were being seriously and permanently damaged and we had to do something to publicise the scale of the problem and suggest solutions.Fortunately and wonderfully I discovered that others shared my concerns and vision. Thus was Marriage Foundation born and launched in May that year. Most thought it was a hair-brained idea with no future. Five years on we have confounded our critics.Time and again our research department has injected reality and hard evidence into this debate with eye-catching research that the media has broadcast. We are justifiably proud of our achievements, but we still have a long way to go.In the five years in which Marriage Foundation has been campaigning, the subject of marriage has become highly relevant, but also highly toxic. While the definition of marriage has been redefined to include same-sex couples (in recognition of the huge benefits it confers on the couple) support for marriage generally has been singularly lacking, especially among most policymakers and opinion-formers. George Osborne had to be dragged kicking and screaming into finally including a transferable marriage tax allowance of £200 in his budgetary package. The figure was so derisory that almost no one bothered to apply for it and the government had to advertise its existence. The Labour Party and Liberal Democrats have vowed to scrap it.And yet, as we have shown, the cost of family breakdown to the public purse and the impact on the least well-off is beyond doubt. At the same time the so-called couple penalty caused by the financial advantage in benefit legislation in living apart (a whopping £7,000 a year) endures.It is, of course, obvious why this paradox in attitudes has emerged; the least well-off (ie the greatest number of the voting public) have, to their manifest disadvantage, become less enamoured of the commitment of marriage. In an irresponsible attempt not to upset such a large section of the electorate the politicians pretend it matters not. Disingenuously they cry: “It is just a piece of paper.” And yet in the vast majority of cases they are themselves married; 90 per cent of the Cabinet. “Do as I say, not as I do”, perhaps? Or just plain hypocrisy.So, government — now is your chance to make a real difference to the lives of so many and tackle the real causes of our serious social problems. Let me suggest a five-point plan: start by absorbing and understanding what the research is telling us. Successive governments refuse to believe what the figures tell them or ignore them for fear of upsetting parts of the population who most need assistance. Make the issue of families and family breakdown a Cabinet-level priority. Let us have a tax and benefit system directed to promoting and supporting marriage and sustained relationships. Fund and promote relationships education and support at a proper level.In particular, stop being shy about supporting marriage. This is not some moral crusade designed to hark back to some imaginary golden age. It is a public health campaign affecting millions of families, adults and children, of the greatest priority. The less well-off, the next generation and the public purse would be the main beneficiaries.Article written by Sir Paul Coleridge a retired judge of the High Court of England and Wales. He is currently the Chairman of the Marriage Foundation.https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/now-is-the-governments-chance-to-promote-marriage-and-tackle-our-social-problems-gghzx6gr5last_img read more

GSA boys’ tennis team falls to Waynflete in state final

first_imgBeowulf Urban of George Stevens Academy serves the ball in Saturday’s boys’ tennis Class C state championship against Waynflete at Lewiston High School.PHOTO BY MARK MESSERLEWISTON — For the seventh straight year, the George Stevens Academy boys’ tennis team lost to Waynflete in the Class C state championship.Waynflete won its ninth consecutive state title on Saturday at Lewiston High School, rolling past GSA 4-1.GSA won its only point at No. 2 doubles, with Christian Jones and Kent Fang notching a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 victory. But Waynflete had already clinched the title.Thorne Keifer and John Van Dyke put Waynflete on the board with a 6-1, 6-2 win over GSA’s Aidan Byrne and Leif Lyon-Miller. At No. 3 singles, Shuhao Liu won the next point for Waynflete with a 7-5, 6-0 win over Ben Politte.This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textAt No. 2 singles, Peter Michalakas secured the championship for Waynflete with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Beowulf Urban.last_img read more

Dan Monteroso thrives at 2 sports at Western Liberty after transfer from Purdue

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 1, 2017 at 12:42 am Contact Billy: wmheyen@syr.edu | @Wheyen3 In the West Liberty men’s basketball season opener Nov. 11, starting guard Dan Monteroso scored 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting. The next day, he ran pass routes and punted for WLU’s football team, hauling in eight passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns. That night, Monteroso stared again on the hardwood and scored 16 points.Three games, two days, two sports.“It was a tough weekend,” Monteroso said, “But I’m happy I did it. It’s something I can say, tell my kids when I’m older.”Monteroso used to be a wide receiver and special teams player at Purdue. But after getting limited playing time — he caught only three passes across his three seasons there and hardly played on special teams — he transferred. Last spring, Monteroso completed 21 credits to graduate from Purdue in three years and take his eligibility elsewhere.Monteroso grew up in Saint Clairsville, Ohio, a short drive from Wheeling, West Virginia, the home of West Liberty University.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBoth of Monteroso’s parents work at West Liberty. His father, Jeff Monteroso, is the defensive coordinator for the football team, and his mother, Cathy Monteroso, teaches in WLU’s College of Education.Throughout his youth and into high school, Monteroso attended basketball camps and played high school games hosted by West Liberty. After receiving only one scholarship offer coming out of high school, Monteroso left the sport for football. After leaving Purdue, Monteroso hoped to revitalize his basketball career, but he couldn’t garner any interest because he hadn’t played organized basketball in three years.The only coach who wanted him was the head coach at West Liberty, Jim Crutchfield, who had seen Monteroso develop. West Liberty gave him a familiar setting to turn back the clock and be a basketball player again.“(When he went to Purdue) I kind of thought he’s got some basketball ability,” Crutchfield said. “I thought it’d be a shame if he never played basketball again.”Jeff Monteroso said last summer was solely filled with basketball workouts for Monteroso. The plan, Jeff said, was for Monteroso to play only basketball at West Liberty. About a week before football preseason-camp began, he changed his tune.Courtesy of West Liberty AthleticsWhen the two sat with WLU head football coach, Roger Waialae, the coach jumped at the opportunity to add a player with the experience and ability of Monteroso. He put up big numbers, catching 14 touchdowns, and used his experience to take less-experienced players under his wing.“He was helping some of the younger kids,” Jeff Monteroso said. “They would listen to him. He would give them advice.”West Liberty’s basketball team is glad to have him, too. The Hilltoppers are 19-1 and Monteroso averages a team-high 18.3 points per game. West Liberty ranks No. 3 in NCAA Division II.Based upon NCAA eligibility rules, Monteroso’s football career concluded this fall. His time as a basketball player will continue for one more season beyond this one.Monteroso has pursued his master’s degree with a focus on coaching education — he’s always wanted to be a college football coach — while playing two sports near his hometown.“It was nice to kind of come back home,” Monteroso said. “It kind of was just a perfect fit.” Commentslast_img read more