Instead of joining the barrage of critics’ best albums of 2013 lists, this year we went straight to the source. Check out five favorite 2013 albums as recommended by some of the region’s best musicians.Josh Daniels, The New FamiliarsTedeschi Trucks BandMade Up Mind Guitar hero Derek Trucks (Allman Brothers Band) and his wife, blues songstress Susan Tedeschi, continue their soul journey with this third studio album. Backed by a sprawling eight-piece band that includes a full horn section, the couple revives old school R&B through the scope of experimental rock.“I just love what they are doing by incorporating their own personalities,” says Daniels. “[They’re bringing back] a kind of Stax 1970s soul vibe. The band’s live show is incredible with horns and multiple singers. It’s wonderful.”James Wilson, Sons of BillJason Isbell SoutheasternThe former member of the Drive-By Truckers delivered a stunning redemption record after quitting the bottle and getting married to fellow songwriter Amanda Shires.“When I hear most self-proclaimed ‘Southern’ artists these days, I can’t help but feel like part of our inheritance is being prostituted,” says Wilson. “But Jason has always exemplified the region honestly. It’s pride and humility, virtues and failures—an emphasis on the story and simple language rather than ideas. But some of his songs also have that vicious other-worldliness of a true artist. Like Faulkner, there’s a part of him that wants to be the only one. He’s one of the best writers of my generation and I’m glad he’s finally getting recognized as such with Southeastern.”Patterson Hood, Drive-By TruckersT. Hardy Morris Audition TapesThe front man for Dead Confederate toned down his band’s usual psych rock on this country grunge solo effort. Morris sings with a haunting weariness, reminiscent of the late Vic Chesnutt, delivering dark themes with universal resonance, often accented by the perfect dash of pedal steel. “I can’t get his songs out of my head and I also love the playing and production,” says Hood. “Hardy is the real deal.”Travis Book, Infamous StringdustersLeagues You Belong HereThis Nashville power pop trio delivers a hard-driving rock sound with infectious melodies and big hooks. On this album, standout tracks like “Spotlight” become instant sing-alongs after first listen.“I’ve been a big fan of Thad Cockrell since my wife (singer-songwriter Sarah Siskind) and I landed a brilliant holiday record of his a few years ago,” says Book. “I hadn’t heard Thad in a few years before Sarah played me the Leagues debut album, but his voice immediately brought me the same sense of joy I had when I first discovered his music several years before. I’m a sucker for badass pop/rock music, and this record is as good as it gets.”Dan Lotti, DangermuffinThe Wood BrothersThe Muse Brothers Oliver and Chris Wood (Medeski, Martin, and Wood) continue to crank out gritty front-porch folk rock. Oliver Wood’s antique storyteller vocals and gritty guitar work meshes with Chris’ virtuosic bass runs to create a combination that includes high-energy acoustic funk and heartfelt blues balladry. The title track is a particularly poignant ode to family inspiration.“This album is fantastic,” says Lotti. “Oliver Wood is my hero. [He proves] that awesome songwriting is what it’s all about.”Compiled by Dave Stallard and Jedd Ferris.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), a form of talk therapy, is arguably the most popular form of mental health treatment available now. A therapist specializing in CBT may challenge a survivor’s negative thought patterns, encouraging them to recognize they are safe now, that the trauma was not their fault, and to process their emotions by recounting the experience in a safe environment. Though effective for many people, research is beginning to show that CBT may not be as effective for PTSD, and can even re-traumatize survivors by asking them to relive painful experiences. Granny Women (or Granny Witches) were tough by definition. Surviving until old age meant surviving childbirth, illness, and injury in the most unforgiving landscape of the New World. Safe to assume they knew a thing or two about a thing or two. With no medicine or libraries within reach, they relied on Old World folk wisdom, Cherokee tradition, and their knowledge of the plants and land to take care of their own. During camp, survivors hike trails, cook, do yoga, make art, and participate in guided activities that heighten their senses. Survivors are invited to take off their shoes and put their feet in the dirt, listen to the sounds of the forest, or taste sassafras if they can find any. I was surprised to learn how simple it was, and how short in duration: only three days. No medicine, no hospitals, no doctors. That was life for early European settlers of the Appalachian mountains, and they preferred it that way. The fiercely independent Scotch-Irish immigrants wanted nothing to do with the ruling elite of the northern industrial cities and were willing to face off mountain lions to prove it. Isolated and self-reliant, the settlers had only one option in the face of medical emergency: go fetch Granny. TMI is more than an acronym I use when my friends overshare about their sex lives — too much information is a serious problem in the digital age. Reading, talking about, and researching a problem can feel deceptively like doing something about it. In reality, we end up stuck in the purgatory of analysis paralysis, making no decisions at all. And if the problem is emotional trauma, searching for the “right” answer might be the worst mistake you can make. In a way, Appalachia’s ecotherapists are kindred spirits. Though not out of necessity like their counterparts, and with more access to modern amenities, they still hold sacred the healing power that permeates these blue hills. After my experience in the labyrinth at the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum, I knew I needed more answers. Watch an infant sleeping and observe how his belly naturally rises and falls. Most people don’t seem to do this anymore, holding their breath in their chest. When I mentioned this to Zehr, she nodded. “Shallow-breathing — that is, not belly-breathing — is a trauma response. A lot of people don’t realize that you won’t likely get through this life without experiencing trauma at some point, and no two people experience traumatic events in the same ways.” At the Center for Earth-Based Healing, participants didn’t talk about their trauma. They hiked trails, did yoga, ate oranges in the forest, practiced breathing, put their feet in the water, hugged trees. They immersed themselves in sensory experiences. I noticed some overlap between somatic and ecotherapy, perhaps because they both demonstrate that you don’t always need to poke around in the mind in order to heal trauma. I’d heard of this notion at various workshops in the mental health field, of trauma trapped within the body. When a person experiences a threat (emotional or physical), the body revs its engines to prepare for fight, flight, or freeze. The heart races, muscles tense, adrenaline spikes, and breathing quickens. In the case of serious trauma, however, the body might remain caught in a state of arousal long after the threat is gone. But at camp, both Eden and De La Mora found a supportive network of fellow survivors and trauma-informed staff. Before starting a long hike, survivors talked about their fears. What are you expecting from this walk, what are you thinking, what are you feeling, what animals are you afraid of? “Everyone came into the woods with some fear and some challenge,” said De La Mora. “I wasn’t alone by a long shot. Nature levels the playing field. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich, poor, disabled — everyone experiences warm, cold, and fear.” A Different Kind of Granny Witch And yet, the results spoke for themselves, survivors lives permanently changed. One woman overcame injuries she believed were permanent, regaining the ability to hike and do yoga for the first time since leaving her violent marriage. Another woman, originally homeless and unemployed, found a job and her own apartment two months after completing camp. Within two months of completing Camp Mabon, Eden had found an apartment and a new job. Now, she works as the Director of Social Media and Customer Service for a health and wellness company, living in her own home with her son and a loving, supportive partner. Eden still carries scars that remind her of the painful life she once thought she couldn’t escape. Now, she plans to cover each of them with a reminder of the strength she discovered in those woods, the first of which is the emblem for the Center for Earth-Based Healing. “In that weekend,” said Eden, “I found the power buried deep inside me. The same power that allowed me to survive for years in a situation that was in all honesty un-survivable. The power that had been lost in pain, depression and hopelessness. I rediscovered the person I was supposed to be, the person I had lost. I found her and I won’t ever let her go.” Healing injuries, solving homelessness? Without physical or talk therapy? I’ll admit it sounded like something you’d hear from a snake oil salesman or a faith healer’s tent. As a mental health professional, my primary goal was to get people to talk. But after my own ecotherapy experience processing the loss of my father without talk therapy, I was ready to believe. Both Eden and De La Mora were apprehensive when they arrived at camp. Eden admits she almost canceled several times, unsure of what to expect, or how it could help. Confined to her home and addicted to social media, she was concerned when informed there would be no cell phone service at camp. When De La Mora arrived at Douthat State Park on a chilly April weekend, snow still coated the ground and the forecast called for freezing rain. Almost in tears, all she could think was, “I can’t do it.” Needless to say, bodies are not meant to function in a highly aroused state for long periods of time. The consequences can manifest in headaches, earaches, insomnia, nightmares, itching and rashes, digestive problems, fatigue, hyperactive behavior, lower immune response, and much more. Trauma affects more than the mind, it can decimate the body. From an evolutionary standpoint, it’s easy to see why information might be so addictive. More information meant a greater chance of making the right decisions, and thereby a greater chance at survival. But when information is infinite (as it is with the advent of the internet), it can be more of a hindrance than a help. I’m always impressed by the lexicon we’ve created to define our new world and this phenomenon is no different: information overload, infobesity, infoxication. Goofy terminology, but accurate — with the world at your fingertips, gorging on information is the new normal. As the name implies, CBT relies on cognitive analysis. We want to understand ourselves, to make sense of the world, and discover solutions to our problems. We want information. But when arousal is high, as with anxiety and trauma, logic and executive functioning collapse. From someone who has experienced more than a few panic attacks, telling myself that I wasn’t actually going to die wasn’t convincing because the logical part of my brain had left the building. So how does that work? I asked Zehr point-blank: “If participants aren’t processing or talking about the trauma, how do they heal?” “There’s magic that happens in those woods and it’s not something that I can truly take credit for,” Zehr said. “That’s Mother Nature.” I met with Michele Zehr, formerly a U.S. Marine, M16 rifle instructor, automotive technology professor, and self-defense instructor. Despite the list of impressive accomplishments, however, I hadn’t arranged to interview her about any of that. Zehr left it all behind to pursue what she thinks may be her life-defining work. Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Earth-Based Healing (CEBH), Zehr now dedicates her life to helping trauma survivors. Twice a year, the CEBH hosts weekend ecotherapy retreats free-of-charge for survivors at Douthat State Park in Millboro, Virginia. Zehr explained the significance of the image: based on the autumn and spring equinoxes, the time of year with equal parts light and darkness, positive experiences can bring balance to the shadow parts of life. Chronic stress impacts the body similarly to trauma: increased headaches, depression, heartburn, insomnia, rapid breathing, weakened immune system, risk of heart attack, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal problems, and even fertility problems. If the stressors continue, says the American Institute of Stress: “just as any machine wears out… so do living organisms that sooner or later become the victim of this constant wear and tear.” Perhaps in the case of treating emotional wounds, logic needs to go out the window. As useful as the human language can be, sometimes we have to stop talking, stop reading, and stop trying to make sense of painful things, because sometimes the answers will come in a form other than words. And in order to find them, we need to get out of our heads and into the real world. Click here to read the whole article It took Jae De La Mora three years to leave her abusive marriage. When she finally got out, her injuries were so severe she spent most of her time bedridden. “I loved the outdoors, hiking, yoga,” she said. “But I thought it was never gonna happen again.” She left the state for protection, devastated by the ordeal and clueless about her next steps. A local women’s resource center suggested she apply for Camp Ostara, a retreat for survivors of domestic violence offered by the CEBH. “I really didn’t think it was going to help very much,” she said. “I thought I wasn’t capable — I had gained weight, I had injuries, I was out of shape. I figured, here goes nothing.” Healing from the Neck Down In spite of not talking about her trauma, De La Mora discovered that she didn’t need to explain herself. “Trauma changes you,” she said. “Everywhere you go, you don’t fit. But in this place, you belong.” She learned about other women who had finished the camp with a variety of challenges — one morbidly obese, another woman blind in a leg brace. “If they could do it,” she thought, “I can too.” “A lot of the magic of ecotherapy is nervous system regulation,” said Zehr, who has received training in Somatic Experiencing through Dr. Peter Levine’s SE Trauma Institute. “Our minds may not completely pick up on what’s going on. But our bodies do. When we go outside, our body is like, ‘Oh, there I am,’ because our bodies are made of the same elements from which the Earth is made. In a sense, the body calms because it recognizes itself in nature. And when the body is calm, it opens the mind to things that are often painful, things we avoid. Things like introspection and growth.” After my father died, I remained trapped in a never-ending to-do list in my mind. The list was rigid, it had rules, it had deadlines, it made sense. But it kept me from feeling anything, probably as my subconscious had intended. In the labyrinth, I had no logic to fall back on, no rules to abide. But I felt the numbing cold in my fingertips, felt the vicious wind batter my face, felt the exhaustion in my arms as I carried that heavy stone. And I felt relief when I let it go. She smiled, surely having heard this question more than once. Eden specifically remembered the blind woman in the leg brace. As fellow participants of Camp Mabon, they hiked the trails together while Eden served as her guide. She narrated the environment, helping sidestep stones and large roots. On one of the hikes, the woman’s brace broke, and Eden and the staff fashioned an improvised splint using a flannel shirt, duct tape, and trowel. “She wanted to do it,” said Eden. “She just needed a little bit of help.” “How do you describe the power that is felt between a group of women who have all experienced trauma but never speak about it to each other?” asked Eden. “I’m not sure I can.” But participants do not process their trauma during camp — in fact, they are asked not to talk about it. Talk therapy, Zehr said, is extremely helpful and often necessary to conceptualize and understand traumatic experiences. “But, we are not cognitively processing past trauma at our programs. We create a space to remind survivors and their bodies that you are not there anymore, you are here, in the present moment.” And before you dismiss this entire section because you believe you’ve never personally experienced trauma, think again. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), over half of all adults and over 60% of men have experienced trauma in their lives. Traumatic events can include rape, domestic abuse, terrorism, war, natural disasters, childhood abuse and neglect, and prison stays. But you may be surprised to find that common life experiences may also be traumatic, like the loss of a loved one (including pets), divorce, illness, and even moving to a new location. Douthat State ParkPhoto credit: Sarah Vogel “From the neck down.” Eden C. felt a similar sense of surrender by the time she was recommended to Camp Mabon, a retreat for survivors of sexual violence. After escaping her abusive marriage of ten years, she and her four year-old son moved across the country where they didn’t know a soul. She had always been the breadwinner, but holding down a job was out of the question now. Just the sound of the doorbell would set off a panic attack. “I wasn’t just homeless,” she said, “I was hopeless.” People have used drugs to cope with emotional problems since the dawn of drugs. But in the 21st century, one of the cheapest, most accessible drugs is information. And I don’t refer to information as a drug for the sake of hyperbole. Literally, our brains treat it the same as a bump of coke. Both give us a pleasant hit of dopamine, our brain’s way of saying “gimme more.” Douthat State ParkPhoto credit: Sarah Vogel “A lot of people have no idea what ecotherapy means,” she said. “Once, someone asked if it involved doing psychedelics in the woods.” She let out a big, warm laugh. “The answer is no. A lot of people get ecotherapy from things they already do without even realizing it. It’s not a foreign thing, it’s just putting a name on something that has been healing us for thousands of years.” Trauma Trapped in the Body Michele Zehr at her home, where she runs the operations for the Center for Earth-Based HealingPhoto credit: Sarah Vogel To understand how nature heals, Zehr explained, we had to first understand the meaning of trauma. “It means too much, too fast. Anything that overwhelms our nervous systems and our natural capacity to process something and stay regulated is a traumatic experience. Our body remembers those traumas and holds on to them if we are unable to fully process and integrate the traumatic experience in the moment that it happens.” “We are just animals,” said Zehr. “We are unique animals because we have the capacity to construct buildings, do complex math problems, and write articles. But the shadow side is that we can use these capacities to get around dealing with our stuff. We can dissociate, avoid, suppress. Sometimes we enable avoidance.” New modalities have emerged in the last few decades to address the limitations of talk therapy. Somatic therapy is one such option, proven to be effective in treating anxiety, depression, chronic stress, addiction, and other mental disorders. The goal of a somatic therapist is to help the client identify and release physical tension stored in the body after a traumatic event. Survivors Maybe it was the relief to finally feel what I had been avoiding for so long — the pain of knowing life sucks sometimes and there is absolutely nothing to be done about it. No amount of analysis or preparation would protect me. And yet, somehow, I would still be okay. Appalachian homestead cabin at the Mountain Farm Trail outdoor museum, MP 5.9 on Blue Ridge Parkway. Photo credit: Sarah Vogel Maybe. But for once, I’m going to try to stop putting it into words. Said Zehr, “Mother Nature is trying to show us all the time what we need to do to heal ourselves, but she doesn’t speak in our language. We have to learn how to listen with both our minds and our bodies.” — Since this article was written, the Center for Earth-Based Healing‘s primary source of funding (a federal grant) was discontinued due to a lack of available grant funds. If another reliable and sustainable funding source can not be found in 2020, the Center for Earth-Based Healing will be closing its doors. Click here to read the whole article
By Eduardo Szklarz/Diálogo September 29, 2020 The Paraguayan National Anti-Drug Secretariat (SENAD, in Spanish) is keeping the pressure on illicit drug trafficking.SENAD agents seized 425 kg of cocaine in Toro Pampa, where an organization used a clandestine airstrip that was more than 1 km long. (Photo: Paraguayan National Anti-Drug Secretariat)On August 16, with the assistance of Brazil’s Federal Police (PF, in Portuguese) and as part of Operation New Alliance XXII (Operación Nueva Alianza XXII in Spanish) SENAD agents destroyed marijuana production and storage centers in the Paraguayan border area of Pedro Juan Caballero, on August 17.“On the operation’s first day, two narco-camps were found and destroyed as well as 2,200 kilograms of marijuana,” SENAD reported. Agents also destroyed 19 hectares of cannabis crops, enough to produce at least 57 tons of the illegal substance.During another operation on July 17, Paraguayan agents caught narcotraffickers who were loading a light aircraft with 425 kg of cocaine in the town of Toro Pampa, in Alto Paraguay department.Authorities detained three crew members, including the Paraguayan leader Sergio Rotela, who coordinated aircraft arrivals on a clandestine airstrip that was more than 1 kilometer long. The cocaine seizure is SENAD’s largest so far this year.In a joint operation, units of SENAD and the Paraguayan Navy seized more than 643 kg of marijuana on a speedboat coming from Brazil. (Photo: Paraguayan National Anti-Drug Secretariat)“As we do not produce cocaine hydrochloride, [the substance] had to have come from some producing country, such as Peru, Bolivia, or Colombia,” Elva Cáceres, prosecutor at the Specialized Unit against Narcotrafficking of the Attorney General’s Office of Paraguay, told the TV channel GEN.According to Cáceres, the aircraft was registered in Paraguay and had departed from the city of Pedro Juan Caballero. “The shipment was already here and was bound for Argentina,” the prosecutor said.Three other members of the group fled the scene after exchanging fire with the authorities.On July 5, SENAD agents seized 643 kg of marijuana aboard a speedboat coming from Brazil in Ciudad del Este, in the Tri-border area. The operation began when a Paraguayan Navy patrol detected the vessel on the Paraná River. Upon noticing the patrol agents, the individuals on board fled and abandoned the speedboat.“The marijuana seemed to have been bound for Brazil,” SENAD reported in a press release. With these two operations, SENAD seized more than 1 ton of drugs in less than two weeks.
by: Ryan FryIn high school, I was the president of the board of directors of a credit union. The credit union was a student project backed by a local CU that was intended to teach us about the cooperative movement, and banking. I’m not sure how long it lasted after I left, it was still there when I graduated. Ironically, I went on to work at a bank all through my university and college, so I like to think that I know a thing or two about what credit unions are all about.My high school credit union was an experiment by the school to introduce volunteer students to banking, but its secondary purpose was to instill some of the concepts of the whole cooperative movement.I’m sure I don’t need to tell you, but credit unions are more about community, more about fostering and nurturing membership than the bottom line profits, or making a ton of money for some select few. They’re more about being the local financial institution that people remember from small towns, where everyone knows your name. Like the sitcom Cheers, but in FI form.This is a value proposition which appeals particularly to older folks, who grew up with more of a sense of community; people who tend to be a little more rural than ‘big city’, and it also naturally appeals to the older generation’s female demographic, being the more motherly and grandmotherly types.What I’m getting at is, demographically, credit unions members tend to skew on the older side. They also tend to skew female. They also tend to be more rural, and are more likely to own their own homes. continue reading » 2SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
Museums, nightclubs, gyms and casinos will be closed in these places, with people advised to stay at home as much as possible, the newspaper said, adding that the restrictions would be in place until April 3.People will be allowed to return home from outside these regions, while bars and restaurants are allowed to remain open provided it is possible for customers to stay a metre (three feet) away from one another.The measures echo those taken in China’s central Hubei province, whose nearly 60 million residents have been under lockdown since late January when the government rushed to put a lid on the virus that first emerged in the regional capital, Wuhan.Worldwide, the total number of people with COVID-19 has passed 100,000 while 3,500 have died across 95 nations and territories.The disease has convulsed markets and paralysed global supply chains, and Italy has found itself at the forefront of the global fight against the virus, with more than 5,800 infections recorded in the past seven weeks in all 22 Italian regions.The virus has now spread to all 22 Italian regions and the first deaths are being recorded in Italy’s less well medically equipped south.Topics : With more than 230 fatalities, Italy has recorded the most deaths from the COVID-19 disease of any country outside China, where the outbreak began in December.Italy has the world’s second oldest population after Japan, according to the World Bank, and older people appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the new coronavirus.Without a “serious” reason that cannot be postponed, such as urgent work or family issues, people will not be allowed to enter or leave the quarantine zones, Corriere Della Sera reported.These include the entire Lombardy region as well as Venice and its surrounding areas, and the cities of Parma and Rimini — affecting a quarter of Italy’s population of 60 million. More than 15 million people were placed under forced quarantine in northern Italy early Sunday as the government approved drastic measures in an attempt to halt the spread of the deadly coronavirus that is sweeping the globe.Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Twitter he had signed off on plans to strictly limit movement in and out of large areas including Venice and the financial capital Milan for nearly a month.”#Coronavirus, the new decree is finally approved,” Conte wrote, confirming earlier reports of the lockdown in the newspaper Corriere Della Sera and other media.
After four decades travelling in some 20 countries to spread the gospel of judo, Tsuneo Sengoku is not about to let a minor inconvenience like a global pandemic slow him down.The 75-year-old “judo missionary” has coached some 100,000 people in the martial art since embarking on a tour through Asia, Africa, Europe and North America in the late 1970s.”I’m just an ordinary old man without judo,” said a smiling Sengoku, who was decorated by Japan in 2016 for his commitment to promoting the sport overseas, which he says is his reason for living. The former policeman moved to Bali in 2007 to train local people, mainly school students, free of charge on “the final leg” of his global mission to teach judo.Sporting the white-and-red belt that marks him out as a high-ranking expert, Sengoku was coaching four days a week at his dojo, where Japanese body-armor adorned with the national flags of Japan and Indonesia is on display.Like the rest of the sporting world, Sengoku has been sidelined by the coronavirus pandemic and was forced to close his dojo where more than 50 locals used to train.All events and competitions in both Indonesia and Japan involving Sengoku and his trainees have been cancelled due to the outbreak. Topics : ‘Kindness, discipline’ The coronavirus-wracked world could learn a lot from judo, Sengoku believes, especially its emphasis on patience and compassion for others.”Now I want to tell my students about the importance of patience, which is actually part of the philosophy of judo,” he added.Sengoku also said judo requires compassion for other people, known as “Jita-Kyoei”, or mutual prosperity for oneself and others, which is one of the main teachings of judo founder Jigoro Kano.”It’s time to exercise grand master Kano’s spirit of Jita-Kyoei,” he said. “I want to call on people to hang on and work together.”Wayan Tulus Wiarta, a senior high-school student who has been trained by Sengoku for more than 10 years, says he dreams to be a top judoka in his country and compete in Japan where judo was established.Wiarta, however, said competition does not mean everything to him as he has learned much more than just judo from Sengoku.”Mr. Sengoku taught me about a lot of things — kindness, discipline, being on time,” he said.”Judo is about more than just competition,” he said.Sengoku says he still vividly remembers the excitement of the 1964 Games in Tokyo, to which he contributed as a police guard.Although his own Olympic ambitions fell short, he said he was looking forward to watching young judoka compete for glory in Tokyo again — whenever the postponed Games eventually takes place.Sengoku, who runs his dojo with donations while he lives off his pension, has been working out by himself every day since the shutdown so he can be ready to reopen at any time.”I’m very much looking forward to seeing their smiles again when my dojo reopens,” said Sengoku, who lives alone as his family members are all in Japan.”This dojo is my destination. I will spend the rest of my life here,” he added. But the thought of giving up his mission has never crossed his mind — indeed it has hardened his resolve.”I won’t quit teaching. On the contrary, because of the coronavirus, my motivation to train children has grown,” he said.”I will never let the coronavirus break my dream that I spent my life on. I want to share the wonderful world of judo with more and more people.”
MORE: MLB Opening Day Power RankingsWhat does a dugout reporter do, though, when not allowed near the dugout?“It’s going to be different. I think the biggest thing we’re going to miss — that I’m going to miss, Jim is going to miss, and I think the fans at home are going to miss — is we won’t have that walk-off, one-on-one interview,” Piecoro told Sporting News. “You can almost call the story: the end of the Gatorade era in baseball. Because I don’t think anybody’s going to be dumping Gatorade on anybody for a walk-off home run.“Are they going to be able to celebrate? They’re not supposed to.”There still will be work for Piecoro and Day to do, and for their colleagues handling the same duties for other MLB teams. Piecoro said vice president of media relations Rob Butcher will be the one person not directly related to baseball performance granted access to the dugout, and he will arrange for postgame TV interviews that will be done by headset, as is sometimes done in NHL telecasts.“Let’s say Joey Votto hits a walk-off. So Butcher will go down, grab Joey, put the headset on him. And I’ll ask him a couple questions,” Piecoro told SN. “But I’ll be up in the booth. We’ll still do in-game updates on players and things like that, but it’s going to be different because we won’t be on the field. We won’t have that feel of being right there.”A year ago, Piecoro would sit adjacent to manager David Bell.“He’s two feet from me most of the game,” Piecoro said. “I can hear him talking to the pitching coaches, hitting coaches, bench coach: ‘What do you think about this guy? Is he losing it?’ That kind of stuff. Now we don’t get that.”He still will be able to move around the stadium, though not in the lower bowl. There will be no fans with whom to converse; that has been an occasional feature of his reporting. The broadcast team will be more dependent than ever on effective communication from the Reds media relations team to provide injury updates and other developing information.“Those of us that are going to be at the stadium, I think Butcher is going to have a lot more impact on what we do,” Piecoro said. “It makes our job a little tougher. I think what makes it better for me and Jim is we’ve been around these guys so much, for so long.”Baseball is a sport fueled by conversation. Most of what people read from baseball writers or hear on the local and national broadcasts is generated from conversations between media members and the players, coaches and scouts who linger around the batting cage hours before the game, or during open clubhouse periods that will not exist this season.This is a vast improvement, though, over four months without baseball.Piecoro’s contract pays him by the game, so the absence of Major League Baseball has had an impact. He did 159 games a year ago, missing only those that occurred during his father’s funeral.He has filled the time, and the economic void, by working with One Source, a human resources firm based in Cincinnati, helping to develop new business. He has enjoyed the work and the opportunity to be occupied.“Hell, I had to do something,” Piecoro said.Also the color analyst on the UK Sports Radio Network for football, Piecoro knows there is some uncertainty about the Wildcats playing in the fall, as well. So the certainty of baseball’s return is a blessing, and he’s excited about the team’s potential given the return of a significant starting pitching staff and star first baseman Joey Votto, along with additions Mike Moustakas, Nicholas Castellanos and Shogo Akiyama.MORE: Why Opening Day remains “sacred” in Cincinnati Piecoro told SN that he had been planning to reduce the number of games he worked even before all of this. He has an adult son who is autistic, and his daughters — one a senior in high school, the other a new college graduate — will be around less to help with care. He did not want to place the entire burden during a 10-day road trip on his wife and younger daughter.“I’ve missed so many recitals and ballgames and shows they’ve done, cheerleading and all that kind of stuff. So I said to myself: Let’s start to back it off a little,” Piecoro said. “But I didn’t think I’d be home seven days a week!“I’ve watched the ’96 World Series, the 2000 World Series, the ’76 — how many times can you watch? I’ve already seen it all. You don’t realize how much it takes away, not having live sports. It’s just the background of everything you do. It’s not there, and gosh you miss the heck out of it. I am so excited to be back. There’s so much gloom and doom going on in the country, being able to have live sports will be great.” For 22 years, he has been the dugout reporter for Cincinnati Reds games on Fox Sports Ohio. Jeff Piecoro has specialized in the postgame interview after victories, and occasionally that has meant dodging Gatorade showers, pies directed at players’ faces and, on the best and rarest of days, the champagne spraying around the clubhouse when the team clinched a division title.As the Reds prepare to play Friday evening against the Detroit Tigers in their delayed Opening Day, Piecoro is ready for another year as part of the broadcast crew with play-by-play voice Thom Brennaman, analyst Chris Welsh and fellow reporter Jim Day.
The Re-Open Florida Task Force launched a public comment submission portal on Saturday.The task force, which is due to give its recommendations to Gov. Ron DeSantis as the week begins, is seeking the public’s feedback regarding the safe re-opening of the state’s economy.Floridians may submit feedback on any topic related to the re-opening, including the impacts to small business, healthcare, education, tourism, agriculture, retail, recreation and sports, and construction.Access the public comment submission portal here.