Gov. Wolf Announces Decision to Close SCI Retreat

first_img January 17, 2020 Press Release Governor Tom Wolf today announced that he has completed his review of the Recommendation for the Closure of the State Correctional Institution at Retreat final report and is calling for the full closure of SCI Retreat.“The SCI Retreat closure report was developed through a transparent, inclusive process and provides a thorough, straightforward, facts-based review of the realities surrounding the facility’s financial needs and the effects a closure could have on the staff, inmates, and the community in regard to public safety. These factors indicate to me that closure is the right decision,” Gov. Wolf said. “I understand that a closure is tough on the employees, the community and the inmates and their families. The DOC staff will work to ensure a smooth transition for all involved and I will be in touch with DOC executive staff throughout the closure process.”DOC staff will be on site to help employees with relocation to a DOC facility within a 65-mile radius of SCI Retreat, which is in Hunlock Creek, Luzerne County. There are six DOC facilities within the 65-mile radius.Gov. Wolf pointed to several factors inherent in his decision to order the closure:The DOC continues to experience a significant decrease in the inmate population. In fact, a reduction of 1,900 inmates in fiscal year 2018-19 was the largest one-year decrease in the department’s history – all at a time when crime rates continue to fall.Current projections anticipate a continued decline in the prison population over the next five years while DOC is also faced with the challenge of a projected budget deficit of approximately $140 million for fiscal year 2019-20.All employees will be offered continued employment at another SCI within 65 miles of SCI Retreat.All employees are provided support through the utilization of SEAP, COVER, and POWER.The closure will not affect the safety or security of the staff, inmates, and public.The DOC can continue to prioritize the safety of staff, inmates and the community in addition to remaining a good steward of taxpayer money.“As a result of the significant budget deficit and continued decrease in the inmate population, among other factors, it would be fiscally irresponsible to not close the prison,” Gov. Wolf said.Full annual net savings will not be realized until after a full year of closure. Under Act 133 there is a minimum four-month closure process so SCI retreat will close no earlier than May 17th. After the facility closes, it is expected that the DOC will save approximately $40 million annually.Department of Corrections Executive Deputy Secretary Tabb Bickell, who oversaw the implementation of the closure review process outlined in Act 133, noted that the next step in the process involves negotiations with labor unions. When those are completed, SCI Retreat employees will be given a survey to indicate their first and second relocation choices. Employees will have 60 days to return the survey to department officials. After completed surveys are received, employee relocation will begin and is likely to continue up to the final closure date.Prior to employee relocation, the prison’s inmate population will be gradually relocated to other DOC facilities. Inmate relocation decisions will be based on each inmate’s custody level and treatment and medical needs.The DOC has created a dedicated email account ([email protected]) and a toll-free number (888-316-8950) for staff, inmate families and others seeking additional information.For additional information, including the full closure report here. Gov. Wolf Announces Decision to Close SCI Retreatcenter_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitterlast_img read more

Volleyball pulls off weekend sweep, win Inn Towner Invitational

first_imgIn a grand return to the UW Field House, the Wisconsin volleyball team dominated the opposition this weekend as it captured the Inn Towner Invitational title without dropping a set.Junior outside hitter Julie Mikaelsen was crowned MVP of the tournament, recording double-digit kills in all three matches. Twelve of those put-aways came in a 25-15, 26-24, 25-23 sweep of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers Saturday night to clinch the tournament title.Senior middle blocker Alexis Mitchell also contributed a dozen kills for the Badgers (8-1) against Milwaukee, leading the team with a .435 hitting percentage.Head coach Pete Waite knew the final match against the gritty Panthers would be a dogfight, as Milwaukee has earned the Horizon League championship in eight of the last nine years.“I’m really happy with the win tonight against Milwaukee,” Waite said. “It’s traditionally a very strong team, often conference champions and a very, very scrappy team and well-coached.”The battle with the Panthers came down to a tough Badger defense. Wisconsin kept the Milwaukee hitting percentage to a lowly .113, which had risen significantly from .030 in the opening set.The tournament’s MVP explained that communication is key when facing a persistent squad.“The players in the back row are doing a really good job talking to the blockers,” said Mikaelsen. “We’re working together really well compared to what we had done earlier. We’ve been working a lot with this in practice and it’s showing out in matches.”Earlier in the day, Wisconsin wrapped up its second win of the weekend by sweeping the North Dakota State Bison by a score of 25-22, 25-20, 25-23.In the first set, the Badgers found themselves at a difficult 10-point disadvantage with the score at 6-16. But the deficit quickly shrank as junior libero Annemarie Hickey ripped six consecutive serves to help cut the lead to four. Five kills apiece from senior outside hitter Bailey Reshel and sophomore outside hitter Ellen Chapman in the set gave Wisconsin the 1-0 lead in the match by ending the set on a 19-6 run.The Badgers found themselves down in every set of their match against the Bison, but managed to battle their way back to win in straight sets. Waite has been impressed with his team’s ability to rebound from early deficits.“We’re not getting flustered, and they’re keeping their composure and bit by bit, they’re fighting their way back,” Waite said. “It’s important – sometimes your game isn’t quite there or the other team is just hot or they’re getting some breaks. As long as you hang in there and keep fighting, good things happen.”A ubiquitous force for Wisconsin in the match was sophomore setter Courtney Thomas, who contributed on both the offensive and defensive side of the net with 36 assists, 10 digs and six kills. She achieved a double-double in all three matches this weekend and, along with Hickey, was named to the all-tournament team.Thomas said that the fluidity of ball movement and offensive chemistry were the elements that put the Badgers past the opposition.“Our passing was really good – we were digging a lot of balls this weekend,” Thomas said. “As a setter, if it’s up in the middle of the court, I’m happy. I’m not really too picky about where it’s up. As long as we dig, we’re going to get a kill out of it.”The first match of the weekend came against the Drake Bulldogs Friday night in the highly-anticipated home opener. Wisconsin found itself down by three points in each of the first two sets, but was once again able to win cleanly in straight sets, 25-17, 25-17, 25-19.The Badgers’ attack was again led by Mikaelsen, who finished with 10 kills at a season-high .588 hitting percentage. Chapman added nine kills of her own while contributing a personal best in service aces with three.Although Wisconsin has posted perfect records the past two weekends, Waite believes the team has much to improve on. He hopes to advance the front row’s blocking and expand the playbook on the offensive end to prepare for the nearing conference season.“We need to be closing the blocking and getting our hands across the net,” Waite said. “Offensively we hope to put a few new wrinkles in the offense. … As we get closer to conference people get our tapes and they’ll be reading what we’ve done, so we need to bring some new things in.”last_img read more

Ex-cop nabbed with over 94kg of ganja

first_imgAn ex-police detective was on Tuesday morning nabbed with a large quantity of cannabis during an operation by the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) in Berbice.Kerry Charles GrimmondThe ganja that was in Grant’s possessionKhushyal GrantKhushyal Grant, 28, of Number Two Village, East Canje Berbice, was arrested after he was found with 94.3 kilograms (207 lbs) of ganja in his possession. In addition, Kerry Charles Grimmond, 34, of Nickalay Street, New Amsterdam, Berbice, was also found to be in possession of 140 grams of cannabis during the raid.Both men were taken into custody, charged and are expected to appear in court later this week.Following the successful operation in the ancient county, CANU said it will continue to tighten its grip on narcotics distributors throughout the country.In January, a combined total of 477 kilograms of cocaine and 994 kilograms of cannabis were destroyed at Yarrowkabra, Linden-Soesdyke Highway, by representatives from CANU, the National Anti-Narcotics Agency (NANA) and the Guyana Forensic Science Laboratory (GFSL).Further, a total of 132 kilograms of cocaine and 440 kilograms of cannabis were destroyed by the police, while 45 kilograms of cocaine and 554 kilograms of cannabis were also destroyed by CANU in other areas. A combined street value of the narcotics amounted to $513,310,940.Meanwhile, the arrests to the two men came days after members of the Guyana Police Force arrested one man following the discovery of a large quantity of ganja along the Weldaad Public Road, West Coast Berbice, on Friday evening last.It was reported that on the day in question, Police ranks observed a vehicle which was heading to Georgetown stop a short distance away from a roadblock.Soon after, two men were seen in a nearby street with two large bags. As such, the police approached the vehicle and the men. Upon seeing the ranks, the two men dropped the bags and escaped.When the policemen inspected the bag, 13 parcels of cannabis were found. Further checks nearby also revealed nine other parcels of ganja. The illegal substance was weighed and amounted to 55.9 kilograms (123 lbs). The vehicle was searched but nothing illegal or unlawful was found.last_img read more

Scientists disrupt two enzymes to shrink cancer cells

first_imgMay 17 2018Before cell division, the long strings of the cell’s DNA are wrapped tightly into the structures we know as chromosomes. This protects the cell’s genetic material from physical and chemical damage.The ends of chromosomes are called telomeres. These are specialized structures that have to be replicated with each cell division cycle. But the complete replication of telomeres up to the very ends of chromosomes also requires specialized mechanisms, and these are limited. Telomeres are also very sensitive to oxidative damage, which affects their ability to replicate.Related StoriesNew research links “broken heart syndrome” to cancerNew protein target for deadly ovarian cancerAdding immunotherapy after initial treatment improves survival in metastatic NSCLC patientsBecause of this, telomeres shrink over time, limiting the lifespan of cells. Telomere shortening is essentially the cause of cell aging.Now, Joachim Lingner and Wareed Ahmed at EPFL have discovered two antioxidant enzymes that work together to prevent oxidation of telomeric DNA at chromosome ends. The scientists disrupted both the enzymes, called PRDX1 and MTH1, in cancer cells, and found that the cells’ telomeres shrunk with every round of cell division, eventually disappearing altogether.One of the promising targets in cancer therapy is the enzyme telomerase. Normally, telomerase prevents telomeres from shortening in germ and stem cells, which helps with development. But telomerase is also highly active in cancer cells, keeping their telomeres intact and making the cells virtually immortal. The new work shows that disrupting PRDX1 and MTH1 prevents telomerase from counteracting telomere shortening.So far, attempts to efficiently block telomerase in cancer have not been fruitful in the clinic. The discovery of the co-operating enzymes opens up a new opportunity to indirectly block telomerase. “Instead of inhibiting the enzyme itself, we target its substrate – the chromosome end – making it un-extendable by telomerase,” says Lingner. Source: read more