In today's headlines around the world, many cities prepare for an upcoming vaccine for Covid-19, community members lead activities to help people combat the stress of every day life, a local high school undergoes an identity makeover, and a renewable energy plant deems promising for a town in the Midwest. As always, our selections are inspired and curated from the front pages provided by https://www.newseum.org/
Lucy Carter rides horse Bella, with volunteers Siena Ventura and Barb Peters. Courtesy of Carroll County Times.
“Self-esteem, responsibility, commitment, perseverance, dedication, helping others … therapeutic riding is a win-win situation all the way around for all riders, horses, and volunteers,” says Mary Shunk, who directs and volunteers for several riding events for children with special needs in Hampstead, Maryland. This year, a Halloween-themed retreat gave attendees an opportunity to socialize and celebrate during a year that has proven to be particularly challenging. Shunk, an advanced certified instructor with the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International, arranged an obstacle course and a judges panel at the event, awarding ribbons and medals for various achievements and costumes. Meg Carter, whose daughter Lucy performed in the show, says therapeutic riding is one of the most beneficial activities a person with disabilities can do. “The motion of the horse encourages people to use the body in a way that they typically don’t. That’s the physical side. The mental side — for people who have so little control in their lives — is that it gives them actual control.”
The Peoria Fight Club offers a safe, healthy outlet for community members in Peoria, Illinois. Courtesy of The Journal Star.
Local man Robert Bryant started The Peoria Fight Club to discourage street crime and violence, and to provide a more positive outlet for people to air out grievances and frustrations. “Guns down, gloves up,” says Bryant, whose motivation to begin boxing was to stay out of trouble. The PFC has inspired several men, women, and children to sign up, and the matches draw hundreds of viewers, in person and online via the club's Facebook page. Bryant offers training for free, with donations of gloves and other equipment provided by the community. The Fight Club is facing challenges from the Peoria Police Department, who claim to receive noise complaints due to the gatherings, as well as requiring that the facilities are up to standard fire and safety codes. Bryant has no plans to discontinue the club, however, whether it be finding a new location or establishing PFC as an LLC. “He’s giving people an opportunity to change their lives,” says Frank Jackson, a pastor at Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church who contributes donations to the club. “With boxing and fighting, some people might not look at it in the same light. But instead of getting into trouble, (the boxers) can put their energies into something else, something positive.”
In August, the South Shore's Hanover High School retired their name and mascot, the Hanover High Indians, represented as a big letter 'H' wearing a feathered headdress. After a unanimous vote to abolish the name and logo by the school committee, Principal Matthew Paquette encouraged students, staff, faculty, and the local community to pitch their ideas before December sixth. With six finalists remaining after receiving over four hundred submissions, the committee needs new logo ideas and other imagery to solidify the new face of the school. The final contenders include the Hawks, the Hornets, the Huskies, the Anchors, the Wolf Pack, and the Hanover United. Hanover High's fresh new look will be revealed on New Year's Day.
Workers install a membrane liner to a lagoon at Fremont Wastewater Treatment Plant. Courtesy of Fremont Tribune.
The Fremont Wastewater Treatment Plant is installing three new lagoons which will convert waste from local farms, including methane gas, into clean, renewable natural gas. Construction began in spring of 2018, with expansions expected to be complete by 2023. Each lagoon is about 6.4 million gallons in capacity, which will give the plant 19 million gallons total. “We’re going to scrub it from methane, which is a pretty dirty gas, and we’re going to scrub it to a natural gas quality, which is a lot cleaner gas. Then, we will inject it into the pipeline, the city’s gas pipeline. We will be utilizing a majority of it, and the rest of it will be injected into the gas line," said the plant's superintendent Keith Kontor. The plant could bring up to $1 million per year in revenue for the city, as well as earn renewable energy credits from the Environmental Protection Agency, which can be sold on the market for additional income.
Portsmouth Fire Chief Todd Germain. Image courtesy of Rich Beauchesne for Seacoastonline.
Health experts and other local officials in Portsmouth, New Hampshire are preparing for a widespread distribution after news of an effective vaccine for Covid-19 was revealed earlier this week. Fire chief Todd Germain and city manager Karen Conard plan to certify forty eight firefighters, who are trained EMT and paramedics, as vaccinators so the city can "get ahead of the curve", Germain explains. City fire and health departments successfully administered an influenza vaccine during a drill at Portsmouth High School in 2005, inspiring the idea for how to mass distribute a coronavirus vaccine so that "when the time comes, we're ready to go."