first_imgBy MADDY VITALEWhen Gov. Phil Murphy gives the go-ahead to allow libraries to reopen, the Ocean City Free Public Library will be ready.Library officials have a five-phase plan geared toward keeping the patrons and staff safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic, while still providing what makes the library an epicenter of activity for the community.The library’s Board of Trustees, meeting remotely, unanimously approved resolutions Monday formalizing the “Best Practices for Re-Opening the OCFPL during the COVID-19 pandemic in five phases.”“Moving through these phases, we don’t know when phase five will come — or if it will come into play,” Board of Trustees President Jennifer Shirk said. “It will all depend on if there is another outbreak, a vaccine. We have to have a plan. This is the plan and it is similar to the state and federal government plan.”The governor tweeted that libraries and museums may open as early as the first week of July, library officials noted.But whether it is then, earlier or later, Shirk and OCFPL Director Karen Mahar said they have crafted a detailed proposal to ensure the library will have all of the needed safeguards in place.Masks, shields, self-checkout, sanitizing of the facility by staff and by a cleaning company, limited hours and a host of other safety protocols will be rolled out.Even before the library reopens, patrons will be able to utilize curbside pickup and the book mobile – when Murphy allows that initial part of the reopening. The hours of operation when it does open are still under consideration, officials said.The library is often a hub of activity for patrons, but with the plan in the wake of COVID-19, hours will be limited.Shirk gave an overview of the phases as they have been unfolding since the March closure and what will potentially follow:PHASE 1 – The library was closed in March and the book drop was also closed.PHASE 2 – In May, the library staff began preparing the building for when the building could reopen.PHASE 3 – Curbside pickup, including the book mobile, would be available and library staff would assist patrons.PHASE 4 – The facility reopens. Curbside pickup and the book mobile would remain options. Limited hours and other safety procedures would be instituted. Self-checkout would be encouraged. New signage and announcements would remind people the importance of social distancing.PHASE 5 – The library would conduct business more closely to how it did prior to the pandemic, while social distancing would continue and other safety measures.While the proposed phases are in place, both Mahar and Shirk emphasized that plans could be altered, depending on a number of variables.“This could change,” Mahar said. “Some things we are proposing might not work, but you have to be flexible.”Mahar commended the board of trustees and library staff for working together on a copious plan, which involved many meetings.Shirk echoed Mahar’s sentiments.“I am very pleased with all of the work Karen and her staff put in. We spent a lot of time making sure everything was up and running,” Shirk said. “Whatever the governor throws at us — partial opening, full opening — we are prepared.”Since the library closed to the public in March, patrons have had an array of virtual programs, classes, events and activities to keep them engaged, Mahar explained.“We have extended the library cards. We have instant digital cards for people who didn’t have library cards,” Mahar said. “We continue to add to the audio and e-books and virtual programming and book clubs.”The number of patrons visiting the library website is proof, she said, that people are utilizing the services.“You could see with the closure in March to May 31, our circulation online increased,” she pointed out. “We signed up 221 people since April for our virtual programming.”To visit the library website, go to www.oceancitylibrary.org.The Ocean City Free Public Library is located in the Community Center at 1735 Simpson Ave. Ocean City Free Public Library Director Karen Mahar, shown in a 2019 photo, says the staff is working hard to get ready to once again welcome patrons. last_img read more

first_imgHospitals in Venezuela have lost huge numbers of medical professionals and are so dilapidated that, in some, staff use paint buckets as improvised toilets and reuse surgical gloves. Maduro insisted Venezuela is prepared for a COVID-19 outbreak, but health workers have expressed concern that the country’s health system will be quickly overwhelmed.Maduro said that all restaurants in the country would be permitted to make orders to-go, but would no longer be allowed to serve patrons on-site, along with bars, clubs and movie theaters. He added that he was evaluating whether or not to suspend work.Earlier in the week, he suspended flights from Europe and Colombia and said public gatherings would be canceled.Vice President Delcy Rodriguez said earlier Friday that schools will be closed as of Monday. Topics : Rodriguez said the two people with confirmed cases of COVID-19 had arrived from Spain and had been placed in quarantine. Maduro added that those who had come on the flight were also in quarantine.Earlier in the day shoppers flocked to pharmacies in search of hygiene products such as alcohol to sanitize hands, which is a struggle due to lack of running water that has resulted from the decay of public services.”People in Venezuela are accustomed to crisis situations, we move quickly in reaction to anything that happens,” said Juan Silva, 23, a chef who shopping at a Caracas pharmacy for soap and hand gel.He said he wasn’t overly worried about the disease due to the low mortality rate, but added “I don’t trust the government as a source of information.”Maduro says his government has been hindered in fighting the virus because U.S. sanctions, meant to force him from office, have led banks and foreign businesses to refuse services.The Pan American Health Organization said last week it would be prioritizing Haiti, Venezuela and a handful of other Central and South American countries who have “challenges to their health systems.”Hania Salazar, head of the nurses’ association for the western state of Zulia, said hospitals are not even guaranteeing that employees will have access to face masks.Interior Ministry Nestor Reverol on Friday said the government would provide border control authorities with face masks, gloves and thermometers, without mentioning supplies to for citizens and hospitals.On the street, citizens were already figuring improvised ways to handle the situation.Neima Arocha, 46, managed to buy the last bottle of cough suppressant at a Caracas pharmacy but got there too late to buy alcohol for hand sanitation.As a substitute she planned to buy cocuy, artesanal cactus liquor similar to tequila.”There’s no [rubbing] alcohol,” said Arocha. But in the liquor stores they still have all kinds of things.”center_img Venezuela on Friday confirmed its first two cases of coronavirus amid concerns that the economically struggling South American nation is unprepared to confront a pandemic that is spreading rapidly around the globe.”We are declaring a state of alarm,” President Nicolas Maduro said in a televised appearance Friday night, urging Venezuelans to take precautionary measures and asking those over 65 to stay inside.Speaking with a blue mask covering his mouth, he encouraged people to wear face masks – even if it means making their own – and said no one would be allowed to board the metro or take trains without one.last_img read more

first_imgAfter two consecutive banner-raising seasons, the Wisconsin men’s basketball team will embark on the 2015-16 season Friday night against Western Illinois.The Badgers will have to adjust to the loss of five players from their rotation last season, including National Player of the Year Frank Kaminsky, Sam Dekker and Duje Dukan to the NBA.But between signing five freshman and welcoming two walk-ons, the Badgers have assembled a young crew to complement the already-established juniors Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes.Men’s basketball: Three takeaways from Wisconsin’s win over UW-River FallsThe Wisconsin men’s basketball team took the floor for the first time of the 2015-16 season and downed UW-River Falls Read…Get to know the new faces for UW:Charlie ThomasJoey Reuteman/The Badger HeraldHometown: Highland, MarylandConsidered a late bloomer during the recruiting process, Thomas’ figure leaves no room for that characterization. Standing at 6-foot-8 and weighing 253 pounds, Thomas has the physical build to make an impact right away at the college level. Out of all the freshmen, Thomas will probably get the most playing time in the season’s early going, something he looks to take advantage of.“When you see all those guys that left, it’s just a big gap for opportunity,” Thomas said.Khalil IversonJoey Reuteman/The Badger HeraldHometown: Delaware, OhioAlong with Thomas, Iverson is the other freshman who has positioned himself for decent playing time. Iverson has a knack for contributing in all phases of the game, and thrives on getting to the rim and creating opportunities for his teammates with his exceptional passing.“I just try to do what I can,” Iverson said. “Play defense, rebound the ball and not turn it over. All the coaches said that’s the easiest way to get onto the court, just the little things.”If he can do that, he’ll fit right into Bo Ryan’s system.Alex IllikainenJoey Reuteman/The Badger HeraldHometown: Grand Rapids, MinnesotaIllikainen enters as a member of the 2015 class built on reloading the forward position. He stands at 6-foot-9 and was a top-100 recruit according to ESPN. He played his senior season at the Brewster Academy in New Hampshire, where he helped the school win the 2015 National Prep School championship.Illlikainen said he balances his game between the inside and outside, and said he can improve in his one-on-one post game. What’s surprised him the most of his short time with the Badgers is the high level of expectations trickled down from the coaching staff.“You gotta be perfect,” Illikainen said.Brevin PritzlHometown: De Pere, WisconsinPritzl has drawn comparisons to former Badger Ben Brust for both his size combined with his long-range shooting abilities. Pritzl broke his foot on Aug. 1 and hasn’t been able to do much thus far, so it’s quite possible for Pritzl to grab a redshirt for this season and get a full, healthy offseason under his belt before contributing to the Badgers.Andy Van VlietJoey Reuteman/The Badger HeraldHometown: Antwerp, BelgiumThe final member of the 2015 recruiting class is Van Vliet, a 6-foot-11 forward/center from across the pond. Van Vliet’s eligibility for the 2015-16 season is currently up in the air due to NCAA eligibility issues. The Badgers are appealing the NCAA’s decision, which rendered Van Vliet ineligible for this season because he didn’t sign with UW within a year of his high school graduation.If Van Vliet is eligible for this season, he’ll have to improve his physical stature. He’s not built enough to battle down low just yet, but a full year in the U.S. could help him bulk up so he can see some floor time in the future.Will DecorahJoey Reuteman/The Badger HeraldHometown: Waunakee, WisconsinDecorah was a student-manager for two seasons, and when Ryan approached him with the idea of walking on, Decorah jumped on the opportunity.Decorah said it’s been an interesting transition from manager to player, but his teammates have helped him out. Regardless, he will probably see little-to-no playing time this season.Jackson BaxHometown: Frankfort, IllinoisBax walked on to the Badgers when the team held its open tryouts in October. He was the only person selected from the tryout to make the team and fill out Wisconsin’s roster for this season.Bax is a left-handed, 5-foot-11 point guard who was first-team all-conference at Lincoln-Way East High School.last_img read more

first_imgClick HERE if you’re unable to view the gallery on your mobile device. Get live news and analysis Sunday at 5:30 p.m. when the Warriors hope to finish off a season sweep of the Phoenix Suns for the fourth straight season.The Warriors (45-20) will host the league’s second-worst team just two nights after scoring one of their biggest victories of the season. Golden State solidified its hold on the top spot in the Western Conference by routing the second-place Nuggets 122-105 at Oracle …last_img read more

first_imgKelt-11b is a new exoplanet discovered by researchers in South Africa, collaborating with others from around the world. The discovery further solidifies South Africa’s reputation as a global leader in astronomy.An artist’s impression of Kelt-11b, the newly discovered exoplanet, orbiting its host star, Kelt-11. (Image: Walter Benjamin, SAAO)Compiled by Priya PitamberA new exoplanet, described as “puffed up”, “bloated”, and “having the density of Styrofoam” has been discovered by researchers at the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO), working together with others from around the world.An exoplanet, or extrasolar planet, is a planet that orbits a star outside our solar system.The newly discovered exoplanet, named Kelt-11b, is orbiting a star 320 light years away and shares some similarities with Jupiter and Saturn because it is also a gas giant. But there are differences too.“The new exoplanet orbits its host star — called Kelt-11 — so closely that it completes an orbit in less than five days,” said the SAAO. “Kelt-11b has only a fifth of Jupiter’s mass, but is 40% larger in radius. This means that this new bloated planet has about the same density as Styrofoam.”Watch:The SAAO’s Dr Rudi Kuhn said it was an exciting discovery. “The planet Kelt-11b orbits one of the brightest stars known to host an exoplanet and is one of the most inflated planets ever discovered.”This would enable researchers to make detailed observations of the atmospheric composition of the exoplanet using much larger telescopes such as the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT), Kuhn said.“This will help us understand how these giant planets are formed, why they have such small orbits as well as what might happen to them in the future.”#KELT11b SAAO’s Dr Tana Joseph says “It’s great that our small telescopes are doing world-class science”. KB— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) April 20, 2017#KELT11b Joseph, “people come from all over world to the site in Sutherland, because of the geographical advantage.” KB— EWN Reporter (@ewnreporter) April 20, 2017How it worksTwo small robotic telescopes are part of the Kelt (Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope) with Kelt-North in Arizona in the US, and Kelt-South in Sutherland, South Africa. Kuhn helped with the construction of Kelt-South.“The exoplanet was first discovered with the Kelt-South telescope and thereafter monitored by many telescopes around the world operated by researchers at universities as well as telescopes operated by amateur astronomers,” said the organisation.What the researchers knowAccording to research findings published in The Astronomical Journal:Kelt-11 is the brightest known transiting exoplanet host in the southern hemisphere;It has a large atmospheric scale height, 2,763km, and;Because of those characteristics, it could become the benchmark of the study of such exoplanets.Source: SAAOWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more