Overcoming the odds

first_img The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news. This is one in a series of profiles showcasing some of Harvard’s stellar graduates.There’s pursuing an advanced degree, and then there’s pursuing an advanced degree while readying for the arrival of your first child, recovering from major surgery, and undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Welcome to the life of Lt. Cmdr. Onege Maroadi, whose determination to attend Harvard never faltered.“When I make up my mind about doing something, I get it done,” said the former Navy pilot, speaking recently from her Virginia home.Fighting the odds is nothing new to the Cameroon native who once taught herself to swim in a few months so she could meet the Navy’s entry-level water-survival requirements for pilots, which included treading water in full military gear and taking a plunge from a 12-foot-tall tower. And now she’s ready for her next challenge.This year, Maroadi graduates from the Harvard Extension School with a master’s degree in international relations, a clean bill of health, and a happy toddler at home. But she almost never made it to Cambridge.She first felt a lump in January 2016. Initially, doctors were unconcerned. But after several months of tests, Maroadi learned she had stage 3 breast cancer. She endured a bilateral mastectomy, reconstructive surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. The love of family and friends helped her face “such an aggressive, life-threatening disease,” she said. So, too, did Harvard.While receiving treatments in 2016 and 2017, Maroadi flew to Boston from Washington, D.C., twice a week for classes in international relations and psychology. “Harvard Extension School was my escape during this challenging period,” she said. “It helped me feel like I was useful, it helped me feel not so imminently mortal, and it also helped me plan for the future.”Doug Bond, one of Maroadi’s Extension School instructors, called her “a joy to have in class.”While teaching his course on international relations, Bond said he learned a lot about his area of expertise, the region of Africa that comprises the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), from Maroadi who grew up in neighboring Cameroon.Her diagnosis, he added, never slowed her down. “I just love her smile and her integrity,” said Bond. “She doesn’t just learn about life, she lives it the same way … she does everything 100 percent.”Maroadi hopes to work with an organization like the United States Institute of Peace or the World Bank when she retires from two decades of Navy service next year. Giving credence to her ambitious plans are her military background, her ability to speak five languages, her new Harvard degree, and her fierce determination.She credits her parents with both her drive and her desire to give back. Her father studied engineering in the United States and put his knowledge to work in Africa, helping develop Cameroon’s infrastructure. Her mother, a teacher and a strong believer in education, founded two schools in the country for children of limited means.After high school, Maroadi studied in Italy, eventually traveling to the U.S. to pursue two bachelor’s degrees, one in computer science and another in math. While finishing college at the University of Texas, Austin, she enlisted in the Navy. There, she found a mentor, a member of the elite Blue Angels flight squadron, who encouraged her to become a pilot. She flew reconnaissance and surveillance missions from 2005 to 2008, received her master’s degree in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College in Rhode Island in 2009, and returned to Italy to engage in diplomatic work for the Department of Defense. In Italy, she met her husband and they tried to start a family, but Maroadi was unable to conceive. It was “devastating,” news, she recalled. But it didn’t stop them. They contacted a surrogate early in 2016 in the United States, where Maroadi had been stationed for further military training. Then came her diagnosis.At the hospital that summer for a new biopsy, she was advised to prepare for grim news. On the same day, the surrogate told her they were pregnant. “Everything seemed perfect in that moment,” said Maroadi, who recalled thinking, “I don’t care what my biopsy results show, I am going to beat it.”“It was a relief to be able to go to Harvard and do something different,” she said. “Everything else in my life involved being ill; but when I traveled to Cambridge, we discussed how to inspire strategic empathy or how to identify early warning indicators as we worked on our tasks to save the world from conflict.”,When her treatment was over, she took advantage of the Extension School’s online courses to study remotely. “I could be in class,” she said, “while I cuddled my baby.”Now cancer free, Maroadi is busy planning the next steps in her career and adjusting to having an energetic toddler at home. She is also helping other women struggling to conceive by sharing her own challenges with them. “I realized that we often suffer alone,” she said, “when we could help each other survive the trauma by sharing our stories.”Like all graduates, Maroadi only gets two tickets for Harvard’s commencement ceremony, but two is all she needs for her husband Andrea and her son Léo Oyé, who will be cheering for her in the crowd. The name Léo represents their struggle to overcome adversity, she said. “Like a lion, he is our symbol of strength and courage that pulled my husband and me out of darkness.”Oyé, she added, is a word in Ejagham, the language spoken in her village in Cameroon. “If you are praying to God and you are immensely thankful for something,” said Maroadi, “you say Oyé.”last_img read more

Democrats urge investigation into removal of owl protections

first_imgPORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Eight Democratic U.S. lawmakers are calling for an investigation into “potential scientific meddling” by the Trump administration in its rule to remove critical habitat protections for the imperiled northern spotted owl in the Pacific Northwest. The group said in a letter Tuesday that former Interior Secretary David Bernhardt “appeared to unilaterally act” on his way out of office to remove millions of acres of protected habitat designated for the owl. The lawmakers are seeking a review from the Interior Department inspector general. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is overseen by the Interior Department and didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment on the letter.last_img

Suspected Hezbollah Financier Arrested In Paraguay

first_imgBy Dialogo June 17, 2010 Interpol said Tuesday it has arrested a Lebanese national suspected of funneling money to the Shiite militant group Hezbollah in Paraguay in the tri-border area with Argentina and Brazil. Moussa Hamdan, 38, was arrested in Ciudad del Este, part of the Triple Frontier, a region the United States has repeatedly cited as being exploited by militant groups that “finance terrorist activities.” Local media, citing local security officials, said Hamdan was financing Hezbollah, which fought a devastating 2006 war with Israel and is blacklisted as a terror group by Washington. The Interpol chief in Paraguay, Jose Chena, said justice officials would decide within about six weeks whether to extradite Hamdan to the United States, where an arrest warrant has been issued against him. A cosmopolitan area and significant tourist spot, the Triple Frontier is also considered a major spot for smuggling and other organized crime. Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina deny their shared region is a hotbed for terror financing. The three countries have refused to cooperate in the production of Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow’s latest project in a film tentatively titled “Triple Frontier” over concerns the movie could damage their countries’ reputation with tourists. A significant Arab population lives in the region, with a big presence in Ciudad del Este.last_img read more

Long Island Snow Storm Causes Headaches Friday

first_imgThat’s because moderate to heavy snow and wind gusts of up to 30 mph will combine to reduce visibility to as little as 1/4 mile at times, NWS said. The snow is forecast to taper off by mid-afternoon. The storm is expected to blanket much of the tri-state area and Northeast in snow.Temperatures are expected to hit a high of 30 when the storm hits. Once it passes, the rest of the weekend is forecast as sunny with temperatures in the 40s. But another storm is expected early next week.“There is the potential for a coastal storm late Monday and Tuesday,” NWS said in a hazardous weather outlook. “The exact track and intensity is still uncertain, which will determine the impacts for our region.” Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A winter storm forecast to dump three to 10 inches of snow on Long Island snarled the Friday morning rush hour commute, closed schools and left thousands without power at the storm’s midpoint.Crashes closed lanes of traffic in Nassau and Suffolk counties, hundreds of schools reportedly gave students a snow day and PSEG Long Island reported nearly 15,000 of the utility’s 1 million customers were without electricity at 11 a.m. Friday, although crews were working to restore power. The Long Island Rail Road was reporting 15 minute delays by the end of rush hour.The National Weather Service (NWS) expanded its winter storm warning from Suffolk into Nassau. The advisory expires in Suffolk at 3 p.m. and in Nassau and 1 p.m. Snow accumulations are expected to be lowest in Nassau and highest in Suffolk.“A winter storm warning for heavy snow means severe winter weather conditions are expected or occurring,” meteorologists in the agency’s Upton office said in a statement. “Significant amounts of snow are forecast that will make travel dangerous. Only travel in an emergency. If you must travel, keep an extra flashlight, food and water in your vehicle in case of an emergency.”last_img read more

Why soft credit checks are a win with car buying members

first_imgThere’s a famous Kenny Rogers song lyric, “You gotta’ know when to hold ‘em. Know when to fold ‘em. Know when to walk away. Know when to run.” For potential car buying members, finding a new or used vehicle can put them in an awkward position. They want their dream car or that upgrade for a work vehicle. They might also be growing their family and need all that extra room. Or, they’re on a tight budget and struggling to put their kids through college. However, as a credit union, you know that hard credit checks can negatively impact their score.Soft credit checks, on the other hand, can give them leverage. Soft inquiries are sweet spots because car buyers can visit multiple dealerships, negotiate terms, pass ‘Go’, collect $200 and travel around the Monopoly board (you get the idea). Hence, there is a bit of psychology behind soft credit checks which makes them valuable tools for your members.Auto Loans: Why Hard Credit Checks and Soft Credit Checks are Like Playing Poker, But Shouldn’t be Played at the DealershipA soft inquiry is similar to a basic background check. It lets you assess a member’s financial risks and does not affect their credit score. It’s best to do this using your Loan Origination System with your member prior to going to the dealership.Soft Versus Hard InquiriesSoft inquiries are beneficial for several reasons. Maybe the member isn’t good at managing their finances. Perhaps they’re not sure if they can afford a particular vehicle due to reduced cash flow during the pandemic. Soft credit checks let them know if they’re pre-approved before laying all their cards on the table.Soft inquiries can build member confidence and trust so they can make a sound decision. Car buying members are not locked in with a hard inquiry and can continue to shop and explore different price ranges.  Soft inquiries are also helpful for desperate car buyers. Maybe they know their credit is poor, but their old vehicle has broken down. A hard inquiry at the wrong time can damage their credit. If your credit union offers a mobile loan application from your credit union mobile banking app, they can be approved with a direct loan for the right car at the dealership avoiding the sales pressure and the hard credit check.Hard inquiries examine credit and can negatively affect credit scores. They will show up on a potential member’s report and typically stay there for about 2-years. Hence, if they’re shopping at multiple dealerships trying to negotiate terms, several hard inquiries are bad for them. And, that’s where you come in as the hero.The Shopping and Research Phase in the Member’s Car Buying JourneyAbout 61% of car shopping is done online, but only 20% at actual dealerships. Research is the initial stage in the car-buying journey. However, when buyers shop on multiple sites, only 32% finished with dealership sites, 65% went to third-party sites and 27% to OEM sites.Your car buying members are interested in different makes and models and will often get online to comparison shop and view prices. By the time they visit a dealership, they’ve likely picked out some vehicles and are ready for test drives. This is before the negotiating and finance phase, when your members are working with salespeople to view their credit, discuss financing, interest rates, down payments and terms, and it creates a window of opportunity for your credit union.Mobile device usage to research vehicles increased by 52% from 2018 to 2019. Influencing car buyers early through multi-channels (online, in-person) gives your credit union a strong presence with them. Remember, they’re looking at multiple dealerships and third-party sites (Auto Trader, Cars.com, Kelley Blue Book). With strong marketing efforts online, you can use your digital and mobile channels to promote your credit union’s soft credit check feature and help your members avoid a hard credit pull.Typical buyer steps include researching prices, finding vehicles for sale, comparing models, checking a car’s actual price and locating local dealerships. Hence, when members know you offer soft inquiries, they can shop confidently knowing that they did their preliminary auto loan homework with your credit union. The member will have a better shopping experience without feeling obligated or like they’ve negatively impacted their score.Loan Origination Software – A Blueprint to Guide Your MemberLetting your members know you offer soft credit check inquiries early in their journey is important. It can ease nervous anxieties and build trust. To achieve this, work with your marketers to ensure your app and site are mobile-friendly and responsive. Providing members with the best online experience is helpful as members expect a fully immersive experience online. That’s why your software choice matters to allow your members access to a loan on their smartphone, from you even while at the dealership.Loan Origination Platform software can help your credit union deliver a consistent message with the members and word of mouth endorsements. Viewing your member’s data quickly and conveniently through soft inquiries lets you assist them in their buyer’s journey. You can then help them find an affordable vehicle and move them into the financing phase. Soft inquiries are a win for members giving them leverage at the dealership. They won’t feel like they’re sitting at the table bluffing, they can simply go all in with the loan from their credit union! 12SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Steve Maloney Steve Maloney is president/CEO of Sync1 Systems, has more than 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field in addressing issues specific to the financial services industry.  Prior … Web: https://www.sync1systems.com/solutions Detailslast_img read more

1 airlifted to hospital following crash in Delaware County

first_imgAccording to a news release, a 61-year-old distracted driver struck another vehicle driven by a 68-year-old on State Highway 10 around 11:30 a.m. Thursday. STAMFORD, N.Y. (WBNG) — Authorities in Delaware County say one person was taken to the hospital with serious injuries following a head-on crash in the town of Stamford, N.Y. The 68-year-old was airlifted to Albany Medical. The 61-year-old was treated by first responders on scene and refused further treatment. Authorities say the 61-year-old was distracted by another vehicle on the road and did not mention if they were issued any tickets. Deputies are continuing to investigate the crash.last_img

Texas county stores bodies in trucks as state sets one-day record for COVID-19 deaths

first_imgTopics : Cortez, a Democrat who serves as the top county official, issued a shelter-in-place order for residents. That mandate put him at odds with Republican Governor Greg Abbott, who maintains that local officials do not have the authority to make residents stay home.Crematoriums in the Hidalgo area have a wait list of two weeks, Cortez said, forcing the county to use five refrigerated trucks that can hold 50 bodies each.Hidalgo’s top medical official, Dr. Ivan Melendez, partly blamed Abbott’s move to override local officials for the spike in coronavirus infections, which he said has jammed the local medical system at every level.”Do I think that a stay-at-home order is medically indicated at this point? Absolutely,” Melendez said. On Tuesday, US deaths from COVID-19 topped 1,000 in a single day for the first time since June 10. More than 142,000 people have died in the country during the past five months and deaths are rising in 23 states, according to the Reuters tally.The country’s three most populous states, Florida, Texas and California, top the list of 44 states where cases are increasing, based on a Reuters analysis.School disputesCalifornia on Wednesday reported more than 12,800 new infections, a one-day record. The state has now eclipsed New York for the highest number of cases overall, although New York has seen far more deaths at 32,000 versus 7,800 in California.The surge has fueled disputes over mandatory mask orders and how best to resume schooling.In Chicago, dozens of teachers staged a socially distant motor protest against Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s plan for Chicago Public Schools to start the academic year with a mix of in-person instruction and remote learning.”If the biggies make the decisions that teachers are going back fully in class, then somebody is going to die. If it isn’t a student, it’ll be a teacher, a teacher’s grandmother or a student’s grandmother,” said retired teacher Jerome Jordan, 78.The protesting teachers said officials have not unveiled a detailed plan to clean schools adequately, provide disinfectant and personal protective equipment and instruct them how to implement social distancing in large groups of children.In Georgia, a third judge has been appointed in the dispute between Republican Governor Brian Kemp and Atlanta’s Keisha Lance Bottoms, a Democrat and mayor of the state’s largest city, over whether people must wear masks.Among the few states seeing a drop in infections was Arizona, another recent hotspot which saw new infections fall 13 percent last week. Hospitalizations in the state have steadily trended downward after peaking on July 13.Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, a Republican, was encouraged by those trends, his office said in a written statement, but cautioned that it was not time for the public to let down its guard.”We need to continue doing the things we know make a difference: wearing a mask, physically distancing and staying home as much as possible,” Ducey’s office said in the statement.center_img Texas on Wednesday set one-day records for increases in COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations in the state, forcing one county to store bodies in refrigerated trucks and prompting a top health official there to call for new stay-at-home orders.Texas, which reported 197 deaths and 10,893 hospitalizations, has been one of the states hardest hit by the resurgent coronavirus. Hidalgo County, at the southern tip of the state on the US border with Mexico, has seen cases rise 60 percent in the last week, according to a Reuters tally, with deaths doubling to more than 360.”We’ve got to lasso this virus, this stallion, bring the numbers back down and get control of this thing,” Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez said. “Because our hospitals – they’re war zones, they are really struggling right now.”last_img read more

Timing perfect for investors to strike a great deal

first_imgThe home at 11 Coriander Drive, Griffin.WITH property, great timing and the right buyer can make all the difference.That was certainly the case for 11 Coriander Drive, Griffin, which sold from one investor to another for $465,000 on August 2.According to LJ Hooker sales agent Chris Pascoe the tenant’s moving plans allowed the out-of-town owner to prepare for sale.“I’d been speaking to this seller for about six to eight months and when I saw the market improving, I knew he had time on his side so we just co-ordinated the sale with the end of the lease,” Mr Pascoe said.More from newsLand grab sees 12 Sandstone Lakes homesites sell in a week21 Jun 2020Tropical haven walking distance from the surf9 Oct 2019The outdoor area at 11 Coriander Drive, Griffin.He said the four-bedroom, two-bathroom home was in great condition, and the 639sq m site was a major selling point.“The street appeal, the location and also a big positive was the block size,” Mr Pascoe said.Mr Pascoe said the property proved its worth after another non-local investor looking for great returns snapped it up.“The rental range could be anywhere from $410 per week up to $440 per week,” Mr Pascoe said.He said the local property market was heating up. “I’ve been selling in Griffin for 10 years now, and the market currently is as good as it has ever been,” he said.last_img read more

De-risking market set for growth despite Solvency II ‘bottleneck’ – WTW

first_imgThe medically underwritten bulk annuity market is likely to grow rapidly this year due to attractive pricing, with a particular interest in top slicing, according to the consultants.An “unprecedented” number of clients are investigating this market, they said.Top-slicing involves pension schemes purchasing a bulk annuity to cover those members with high liabilities, to remove concentrated longevity risk.Shelly Beard, senior de-risking consultant at WTW, said had been a wide range of transaction pricing in the bulk annuity market this year, which the consultants believe is in part because insurers are “price-testing” new positions under Solvency II.“However, general pricing levels remain strong, and the recent widening of corporate bond spreads has increased affordability for those schemes that have set a price target relative to Gilts,” she said.The consultants said there was a “high level of activity at what is normally a quiet time of year”, indicating a strong year ahead.Overall deal values for longevity hedging could reach £20bn in 2016, after £6bn in 2015 and £25bn in 2014, according to the WTW report.This would be the second-biggest year on record, after 2014, which included a record-breaking £16bn hedge for the BT Pension Scheme. This year could witness the first-ever “half-way house” transaction structures, involving top-slicing in the bulk annuity market and longevity swaps to cover the liabilities represented by the remaining population, according to WTW.This approach is likely to be attractive for those pension schemes “with some Gilts but not enough to annuitise all of their pensioner liabilities”, noted the report.Solvency II, the EU-wide solvency regulation for insurers that came into effect in January, could pose a challenge for pension schemes longevity hedging this year but is surmountable, according to the consultants.The problem, to the extent that it becomes one, stems from bulk annuity providers themselves looking to reinsure longevity risk more regularly because the capital-requirement rules of Solvency II makes holding the longevity risk on their books inefficient.This could mean pension schemes find it more difficult to get traction when reinsurers have limited resources, said the consultants.However, this potential capacity constraint in 2016 is likely to be operational and is one reinsurers are aware of and building their teams to cope with, Beard said.“While we may see bottlenecks in certain areas, we do not expect it to have a major impact on the market, and schemes that go to market with clear objectives will continue to achieve good outcomes,” she said.The onus, according to the report, is on pension schemes to have “a well-thought-out quotation process to maximise reinsurer engagement”. Longevity-hedging deals for company pension schemes could hit £20bn (€26bn) in 2016 despite challenges posed by Solvency II, according to a report by Willis Towers Watson (WTW).The consultancy predicted a 20% growth in bulk annuity deals in 2016, expecting buy-ins or buyouts covering some £12bn of liabilities versus the £10bn of liabilities transferred to insurers in 2015.Pensions schemes can expect lower prices and more innovation due to increased competition in the market, according to the advisory company’s 2016 de-risking report.Canada Life and Scottish Widows entered the market in the second half of 2015, noted WTW, and “we are aware of a number of other companies closely monitoring the development of the market” and likely to develop bulk annuity propositions over the course of 2016. last_img read more

Dear mom with a prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis

first_imgLifesite News 13 June 2013Dear mom who just received a prenatal Down syndrome diagnosis,I know how you feel.Except — unlike you, I was holding my new baby, Kate, in my arms when I found out. She was wrapped in a blanket, looking up at me as I cried, listening to the Neonatologist on staff tell me — only minutes after she was born — that she had Down syndrome. And what that meant.He said that it meant she had an extra chromosome. And that she would have learning delays. He said that it meant she was significantly predisposed to certain medical conditions, including congenital heart defects — and that we should get her heart tested right away. He said that it meant she had low muscle tone and may not be able to breastfeed. He said that it meant she would do things on a different schedule than other kids.And in those first few days, after hearing those statistics, talking to doctors and researching online, I thought I knew what it “meant” to have a child with Down syndrome. And quite frankly, I was devastated.And so it is with you.But let me tell you — from one mother to another — those facts are not what it means to have a child with Down syndrome.READ MORE http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/dear-mom-with-a-prenatal-down-syndrome-diagnosislast_img read more