Former City Councilman Tom Mulligan had the perfect description for City Council meetings: The Monday Night Fights.
I’m thinking the best fights are now during Board of Education meetings. New board member Maria Pereira, a walking ticking firecracker, doesn’t like Superintendent of Schools John Ramos. She’s part of a minority coalition of board members that opposes almost everything Board President Barbara Bellinger and Finance Committee chief Pat Crossin recommend. We see this a lot in city politics. If you’re for this, I’m for that.
I’m wondering about the stance Maria and her board alliance of Bobby Simmons and Sauda Baraka will take when it comes to urging union givebacks. Things are testy between BOE leadership and union representatives for teachers and administrators. Management wants givebacks from unions. The unions are balking.
Management is threatening to close schools with teacher and administrator layoffs. Will the BOE actually follow up on its threat to unions? We’ll keep an eye on this.
Gee, It’s About Time
Can you believe it? GE is actually making plans to demolish the hulking antiquated mass of buildings it owns off Boston Avenue on the East Side. When the Remington Arms plant was built it was the marvel of its time, 13 interconnected buildings, the single largest factory building in the United States, manufacturing arms and munitions for World War I. It was also among the most government-guarded buildings in the country. GE completely phased out manufacturing services there in recent years leaving the building empty. Now, it appears, the company is moving forward with deconstruction. What to put on the land once demolition is completed?
What The Health Care Deal Means
What are the immediate health care benefits as a result of Barack’s signature? From Congressman Jim Himes:
Health Care Reform: Immediate Help For Connecticut
The passage of health care reform marks an enormous step forward in the goal of stable, affordable, high-quality care for all Americans. Some of the most important benefits of health reform kick in right away:
1) For the Uninsured, Early Retirees, and People with Pre-existing conditions: Americans who are uninsured because of a pre-existing condition will be able to buy affordable coverage through a temporary high-risk pool.
2) For the Seriously Ill: Insurance companies will be prohibited from dropping people when they get sick through “rescissions,” and new protections against lifetime and annual coverage limits take effect right away.
3) For Seniors: Seniors will see immediate relief from high prescription prices with a $250 rebate for Medicare beneficiaries who hit the “donut hole.” The legislation also makes preventive services and immunizations free under Medicare right away – eliminating co-payments for preventive services and exempting these services from deductibles as well.
4) For Young People: Insurers will be immediately banned from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions, and young people will be allowed to remain on their parents’ insurance policy until their 26th birthday.
5) For Small Businesses: Small businesses that provide coverage to their employees will be immediately eligible for a tax credit of up to 35% of premiums.
6) For Low-Income Communities: The bill increases funding for new training programs to train a greater number of primary care doctors, nurses, and public health professionals and ramps up investments in community health centers, allowing them to double the amount of patients they treat over the next five years.
7) For All Consumers: The bill requires every newly issued insurance policy to cover preventive services and immunizations with no co-payments, explain coverage options in plain English, and guarantee access to an effective internal and external appeals process for all insurance company decisions.
For more on implementation timeline himes.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=115§iontree=13,15,115
UB Big Donor
Hey, I wanna be friends with Shintaru Akatsu. The University of Bridgeport alum donated $2 million to the design program. Anyone who makes gelato is fine by me. OIB friend Con Filardi loves gelato. From UB:
University of Bridgeport alumnus Shintaro Akatsu has given $2 million to enhance the school’s design programs with several critical capital improvements and an expanded curriculum that has been reorganized under the newly created Shintaro Akatsu School of Design, the University announced today.
“Shintaro’s gift is the largest to UB from a single donor in a long time,” said University President Neil Albert Salonen, “and his remarkable dedication makes it possible to create a design school that prepares students with a full range of training in all aspects of design, from industrial design to video production and new media concentrations to design management. The University launched its first design programs in 1949, and SASD will uphold decades of excellence in design training.”
Mr. Akatsu, 48, graduated from the University of Bridgeport in 1988 with a B.S. in International Business. He is president of the energy company Kamata Corporation and other businesses, including Tokyo-based Grom, a specialty gelato store, and the Berengo Akatsu Art Gallery.
Mr. Akatsu’s experience as a businessman, he said, as well as his appreciation for the arts, inspired him to support the University’s design programs.
“International business has cultures and rules that are particular to different countries. It can make it difficult to communicate,” he said. “But design doesn’t have a barrier. If it’s good, people respond to it. Also, a lot of my time is devoted to designing products, to marketing, to branding. Design is very important in the business field these days.”
A loyal supporter of UB, Mr. Akatsu has previously given $20,000 to upgrade the women’s gymnastics team locker room, $10,000 to renovate Hubbell Gymnasium, and $10,000 toward the construction of Knights Field.
Design management, pre-archtecture among new classes offered:
The Shintaro Akatsu School of Design (SASD) is located on campus at the Arnold Bernhard Center, 84 Iranistan Avenue, the longtime home of the University’s design programs.
Starting in the fall 2010, SASD will expand course offerings—which currently include tracks in graphic, interior, and graphic design—with additional undergraduate and graduate programs geared to the professional design world. They include a:
• Bachelor of Arts in Pre-Architecture, including internships and other opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience working at architectural offices. The program will start in the fall 2011, pending approval by the UB Board of Trustees and state education accreditation officials.
• Masters of Professional Studies (MPS) in Design Management will start in the fall of 2011, pending approval The MPS combines design and business-management training for project managers who oversee creative teams and other design professionals. SASD will be one of just three schools in the northeast to offer a MPS in Design Management.
• New Mac Pro Computer Classroom, opening in April 2010, with a smart podium for 3D rendering, animation, video, and photography.
• Video-Production and Photography Studio. Launching in the fall 2010, it will serve a graphic design track in new media.
• Exhibition and Furniture Design Lab, opening in the spring 2010, for the creation of full-size furniture and massive exhibition displays similar to those found at conventions and major sports events.
• Ceramic Design Studio, due to open in the fall 2010. The studio will be used for new training programs in tabletop design, the production of mass-produced lines of glassware. The program will be overseen by SASD Director Richard Yelle, who before coming to UB, worked with Villeroy & Boch and cofounded UrbanGlass, the nonprofit glassmaker in Brooklyn, New York.
Additional information about the curriculum can be found at the SASD Web site, www.bridgeport.edu/sasd.
Originally founded in 1949, design programs at UB have been distinguished by their career-focused education. Faculty forge strong ties to the design industry through their work with Microsoft, Sony, Crate & Barrel, and MTV, and other firms. Additionally, students, through collaborative projects, internships, and other programs, augment studies by working with companies such as LG Electronics, Johnson & Johnson, C2 LTD Design Associates in Fairfield, CT; Haverson Architecture and Design in Greenwich, CT; and Atmosphere Design in Westport, CT. Since 2001, students have won more than 115 prizes, including awards from the National Kitchen and Bath Association, the $10,000 CTIA Wireless Fashion in Motion Award, and the Automobile Safety Competition, which held annually in conjunction with the New York International Auto Show.
To read an interview with Shintaro Akatsu, and for more information about SASD, see the latest issue of Knightlines found online at www.bridgeport.edu/knightlines.