Newly Engaged Phillipa Soo on Backstage Fun at Hamilton

first_img Newly engaged Phillipa Soo stopped by The Today Show on February 18 to chat about a musical you might just have heard of called Hamilton. How is she enjoying playing Eliza Hamilton in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s gargantuan hit? “I’ve been with it for almost two years now. You’re kind of trying to find new ways in every night and for me it’s like those little backstage moments where you just kind of have a little fun backstage before you have to rush on.” The eyes of the world were on the company over the weekend when the company performed on the Grammy telecast. “It was nice that we were in our theater,” Soo revealed. “It felt like our own hometown version of the Grammys.” Check out the interview below. As if you didn’t know already, Hamilton is playing at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. Phillipa Soo Hamilton Star Files Related Showscenter_img from $149.00 View Comments Phillipa Soo last_img read more

Kristin Chenoweth Joins Hairspray Live!

first_img Miss OCU Kristi Dawn Chenoweth is reaching for that tiara once more. Tony and Emmy winner Kristin Chenoweth will join the cast of NBC’s Hairspray Live!, taking on the role of Velma Von Tussle, the overbearing mother to Amber and notably racist producer of The Corny Collins Show. The live broadcast is set for December 7.As Velma, Chenoweth will relish her heyday as Miss Baltimore Crabs, which shouldn’t be too difficult for the former beauty pageant contestant. This marks a reunion for her and Executive Producers Craid Zadan and Neil Meron, who were also behind ABC’s small screen remakes of The Music Man and Annie and produced the Chenoweth-led revival of Promises, Promises.Chenoweth won a Tony Award for her performance in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. She was also nominated for On the Twentieth Century (her latest Broadway appearance) and Wicked. Her screen credits include an Emmy-winning turn on Pushing Daisies, as well as Glee, GCB, Hard Sell and The Boy Next Door.The pint-sized soprano joins a cast of stage and screen favorites that includes Harvey Fierstein, who will reprise his Tony-winning performance as Edna Turnblad and adapt the show for the small screen, Jennifer Hudson as Motormouth Maybelle, Martin Short as Wilbur Turnblad and Derek Hough as Corny Collins. Maddie Baillio will make her professional debut in the lead role of Tracy. I clinched Miss Baltimore Crabs! SO excited to play Velma Von Tussle in @HairsprayLive this December! #HairsprayLive pic.twitter.com/boY5Z6SHuX— Kristin Chenoweth (@KChenoweth) June 21, 2016 View Comments Kristin Chenowethcenter_img Kristin Chenoweth(Photo: Bruce Glikas) Star Fileslast_img read more

Olympic Tree Brings Back Poignant Memories

first_imgA tree is a great way to remember an event like the Olympics. A living, growing treehelps refocus fading memories.Trees represent a renewing of life over generations and an investment in the future.Tree planting can mark the passage of time and great events and accomplishments.One particular tree’s life marks many things, including the Olympics. On the Universityof Georgia campus, just southwest of Stegeman Coliseum, grows a small tree with a roundedcrown. Planted in 1936, the German oak (Quercus robur) is native to centralGermany.In the forests where it grows, the German oak is wide-spreading and broad. German oakscan grow to more than 100 feet tall. The leaves have six to 10 lobes, are roughlythree-by-five inches and are similar to our American white oak (Quercus alba). Theacorns are fairly large and dangle from long stems.In 1936 the Olympic Games were in Berlin. The city, stadium and other venues were awashin the harsh banners of fascism. The National Socialist party had been brought to powerthree years earlier by Adolf Hitler, who saw the Olympics as a way to show cultural andracial superiority to the world.The German oak grows across Europe. Every country where it grows calls it by thatcountry’s name — French oak, Italian oak, Austrian oak and Spanish oak.Here in the United States and in the South, the most common name is English oak.Regardless of its common name, the tree is large, strong and beautiful.The massive size and strength of this native oak symbolized for Hitler the greatness ofthe “Fatherland.” Olympic winners were given a small German oak as well as theOlympic medals.The Olympic athletes carried these young oaks back to the far reaches of the world.Most of the trees didn’t survive.In Georgia, German oak has a hard time growing. Many pests attack it. But by far theworst problems are the warm winters and occasional spring freezes. German oak doesn’t godeep into dormancy during our winters and then tends to grow much too early in spring.Frost is always damaging it.German oak doesn’t handle the hot summer well, either — especially our warm nights.Several plantings in Georgia have died or had to be removed because of growth problems. Atree growing poorly and under constant stress is ripe for attack by many pests and can’trespond well to damage.The German oak on the University of Georgia campus is the tree given to Forrest Towns,who was the university’s first Olympic gold medal winner. Mr. Towns held the world recordin the 110-meter high hurdles for 12 years. For 37 years, he coached track for theBulldogs.The German oak on campus symbolizes many things to the university community. Asmemories fade, the tree grows and reminds us of the Olympic spirit of athletic endeavorsand excellence. The rich green tree reminds us of the man and his accomplishment. Mr.Towns passed away in 1991.Sadder times are caught up in those dark green leaves, too. A few years after hisvictory in Berlin, Mr. Towns lost his brother in the European theater of World War II. Atree lives to help us remember.Maybe you should plant a tree to commemorate your own Olympic experiences.last_img read more

Better Brains for Babies

first_imgThe DHR Division of Public Health provides the funding for the program. The GSU Schoolof Nursing coordinates the training. And the March of Dimes provides technical help.Statewide sponsors include the DHR Family Health Branch, Georgia Chapter of the Marchof Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, Universityof Georgia College of Family andConsumer Sciences, Georgia StateUniversity School ofNursing, GPCCF and The Family Connection. People say kids are getting smarter all the time. A group of state public healthleaders intends to make sure that’s true.Starting in October, key public health agencies, universities and others will begin astatewide training program called “Better Brains for Babies: Maximizing Georgia’sBrain Power.”The planners are banking on the latest research on early brain development. Thefindings show that babies’ first three years of life greatly affect how they function formany years afterwards.”Governor Miller called attention to this research when he distributed classicalmusic CDs to parents of newborn children in Georgia,” said Brian Ziegler, statedirector and national adviser for the March of Dimes Georgia Chapter.”We’re taking the next step,” Ziegler said. “We will train communityleaders so they can pass the information on to parents and anyone who cares for smallchildren. We want everyone to know what babies need to help their brains develop.”The first groups of professionals and advocates will attend trainings in Tifton Oct. 6,Macon Oct. 7 and Athens Oct. 9. Child-care providers, licensing staff, parents, fosterparents and others will have similar training.The “Making Change for Children” Summit in Atlanta Oct. 15-16 will kick offthe statewide program. Community leaders there will meet trainers, learn about theresearch and arrange presentations in their communities.”Babies’ brains develop fast before age three,” said Dr. Kathleen E. Toomey,director of the GeorgiaDepartment of Human Resources Division of Public Health. “Unlike other organs,the brain acquires much of its capacity after birth, by extending and connecting billionsof neurons.”Toomey said it’s vital to “do everything we can to see that infants are stimulatedat this critical age.”The trainings will help policy makers, too, said Dr. William Sexson of the Georgia PolicyCouncil for Children and Families.”In the past, we’ve paid a lot of attention to school-age children,” Sexsonsaid. “But we haven’t addressed children’s needs in their first three years. Now wecan make better decisions to help families prepare their children to meet the social andeducational challenges of our society.”What can parents do? Here are some tips. Get good prenatal care. Pregnant women should eat a healthy diet, avoid alcohol and other drugs and have regular prenatal checkups. Breast milk provides the ideal nutritional balance. If you don’t breast-feed, give your baby an iron-fortified infant formula. And always hold her when you feed her. Create a safe environment. Are your baby’s surroundings clean? Are there dangers such as sharp objects or things that could choke him? Does he always ride in a car safety seat? Talk to your baby. Make eye contact. Smile. Play rhyming games. Read aloud. As she gets older, ask questions and explain things to her. Find quality child care. Look for care-givers who provide a safe environment and enriching new experiences. Play rich, complex music. Sing songs. Let your child try musical instruments. Limit television. Children need to interact with real, live people. Take care of yourself. Stressed parents tend to stress their babies. So take some time for yourself. Find people who can support you as a parent. Get the information you need. Ask your pediatrician. Your child-care provider or librarian can suggest good books on child development. And the county Extension Service office can give you more information on parenting.last_img read more

Ready to learn?

first_imgBy Stephanie SchupskaUniversity of GeorgiaA television or computer may be easier to find than a babysitter. In the long run, they may even be cheaper. But they’re far from ideal ways to give your children a head start on their education.Too much screen time could hurt children come school time, says Don Bower, a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension human development specialist.Bower said the issue for many teachers is “at what cost is a child spending time at a screen instead of playing with friends and exploring outside, activities that are important for a successful school experience.”Schools focus on teaching children specific subjects. When kids show up at school lacking the basic skills necessary for learning, teachers have a much more challenging task.”The kids who show up ready to learn usually go on to be more successful students and, in turn, successful adults,” Bower said. “Schools do try to address students’ deficiencies. But it’s when children show up at pre-kindergarten and kindergarten without the building blocks for learning in place that puts them behind.”Bower sees a connection between intense screen time and decreased readiness to learn.”Kids involved in screen time aren’t involved in activities that are more interpersonal and physical,” he said.Television is the No. 1 activity for children ages 6 to 17, according to the Center for Media Education. By mid-adolescence, the average child has watched 15,000 hours of television. That’s more time than they’ve spent with teachers, friends or parents.”The number of screen time hours continues to increase,” Bower said. “The average U.S. child watches 25 or more hours a week. The American Academy of Pediatrics says there should be no screen time for kids under the age of 2 and only one to two hours per week as children get older. There’s a huge disconnect between what is healthy and what is actually happening in many homes.”Electronic media isn’t necessarily the bad guy, Bower said. “There are many electronic activities that complement and supplement educational learning. I hope parents become better consumers of electronic entertainment so their children can become better users.”His main concern is unmonitored screen time.“Parental monitoring of their children’s activities is a strong predictor of kids staying on track,” he said. “That monitoring includes discussion of the amount of time that kids are ‘plugged in’ and regular checking of their online activities.”When the screen goes off more often, students have a greater chance of developing building blocks for school success: the seven elements research has shown all successful students have in common. Bower gives tips on each to help students hit the ground running when they show up for school.Sense of curiosity: Children are naturally curious. But with more time in front of an electronic screen, there is less time to feed curiosity.Imagination: Electronic media doesn’t ask for much interaction. Instead of screen time, help your kids play games, make projects and read books.Ability to focus attention: Reading, art, science and building projects, as well as outings, are all activities that reward your child for paying attention.Ability to maintain attention: Too much fast-paced media trains children to expect constant sensory stimulation. Avoid extremely fast-paced programs, movies and games, especially when children are very young.Persistence: Television and computers often offer instant gratification. Too much media affects a child’s ability to stick with an activity when things get frustrating.Language: Talk to your children, read to them and expose them to the wonder of books from their earliest days. Early school success is related to the kind and amount of reading and talking at home.Inner speech: Most electronic media doesn’t engage critical thinking. Encourage your kids to think before they act. The ability to reflect and have a private conversation with ourselves helps us think things through and control our impulses.”When it comes to success in school, a healthy media diet is just as important as what your child eats,” Bower said. “Do your kids a favor and turn off, or limit, the electronic screens.”last_img read more

Plant wisely

first_imgBy Faith PeppersUniversity of Georgia Georgia’s last frost date has passed. And just in time for spring garden planting, rain has returned to Georgia. But those water-conservation habits learned during the drought can still be a sustainable way to keep landscapes healthy.“Just because we’ve seen a lot of rain in the past few weeks doesn’t mean it’s time to forget about water conservation in the landscape,” said Todd Hurt, a program coordinator with the University of Georgia Center for Urban Agriculture in Griffin, Ga. “But, Georgians can get busy planting in their gardens.”Drought conditions over the past three years have had many Georgia gardeners holding off on planting annuals and new shrubs. But with some smart planning, it’s OK to plant what you want, he said.“Simply concentrate high-water-use plants such as annual color plants or highly maintained turf in locations where we can supplement rainfall when necessary,” he said. Hurt recommends developing a strategy to water plants with only one or two moves of a hose-end sprinkler. “The water illogic areas in your landscape will become obvious if you think of it this way,” he said. “The narrow strip of turf next to the street or long line of annuals next to the established shrub bed would be the last to get water.”He suggests planting annual color plants in small beds or containers close together. This will give your landscape the color and texture you want, but still conserve water. Other ways to conserve include mulching and using drip or soaker hoses when possible. A professional audit of your irrigation system can help find and correct problems, too.“There are tons of new technologies on the market,” he said. “There are new lawn rotator heads that use fingerlets of water versus one concentrated stream which allows for a more even wetting of the soil. There are even sprinkler heads that shut off when damaged. That’s right. We can prevent the irrigation geysers we have all seen at the mall parking lot.” Georgia’s population continues to grow, creating greater demand on its limited water supply. Though the rain has returned, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division will monitor certain indicators that must return to normal for around four consecutive months before it will change statewide water restrictions. However, HB 1281, passed last year, says local water providers can request a modified drought level based on their water supplies. “I heard from a couple of sources that Athens/Clarke County and others in that watershed have asked or will be asking to go to level 4b, which is two days a week water use by May,” he said. “Another 57 or so water providers in the drought level 4 area are already approved for outdoor water use two or three days a week.” No matter what drought level your county is in, he said, 25 minutes a day of hand watering is allowed on the odd-even system. If that time is used wisely, most plants will not only survive, but will do well.“Water conservation efforts should continue, even though we are getting rain,” he said. “It’s the responsible thing to do.”To find out what drought level you are facing, go online to: http://www.gawp.org/GAOutdoorWaterRestrictions.pdf (Faith Peppers is a news editor for the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)last_img read more

Turfgrass Updates

first_imgMore than 800 people braved the hot August temperatures for a firsthand glimpse of the latest research by University of Georgia scientists at the Turfgrass Research Field Day held Thursday, Aug. 4, on the UGA campus in Griffin, Georgia.“UGA serves as the research and education arm for the green industry in this state,” said Clint Waltz, UGA Cooperative Extension turfgrass specialist and one of the organizers of the field day event. “This field day keeps those in the green industry current and provides the continued education they need to remain profitable and able to provide the best quality products for golf courses, commercial lawns, homeowners’ lawns, parks, recreational sports fields and professional sports fields.” In the morning, green industry professionals rotated through a series of 12-minute talks by scientists from the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. Topics included the latest research on turfgrass weed management, cultivar development and the application of pesticides while protecting pollinating insects.Self-guided tours in the afternoon included a demonstration on proper pesticide storage and handling, advice on the best fungicides for turfgrass disease control and sessions led by CAES turfgrass graduate students. “This field day attracts the top professionals in the green industry,” Waltz said. “Just like doctors and accountants attend conferences to say current in their fields, industry professionals attend our field day to keep current on best management practices and trends. They saw the latest and greatest in turfgrass science, from pest management, to environmental stewardship, to water management and conservation, to new turfgrasses on the horizon from our UGA breeders.”Professionals from Georgia and the Southeast also met several new UGA employees, including Assistant Dean for Extension and Agriculture and Natural Resources Program Leader Mark McCann and newly appointed UGA turfgrass physiologist David Jespersen.“We have a lot of new personnel who benefited from meeting turfgrass industry contacts, and it was exciting for everyone to see our new turfgrass research facility being constructed in the background,” Waltz said. “Two years ago, we talked about our new facility; this year, everyone saw it being built; and in two years, when the next field day is held, we’ll be in our new building.”For more information on turfgrass research at UGA, go to GeorgiaTurf.com.last_img read more

COVID-19 Strategies

first_imgA literature review by University of Georgia researchers has helped identify the most effective antimicrobial agents for preventing the spread of COVID-19 within the food supply chain.As COVID-19 began to spread throughout the U.S. earlier this year, Govind Kumar, an assistant professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology and a faculty member in the UGA Center for Food Safety, Laurel Dunn and Abhinav Mishra, assistant professors in the Department of Food Science and Technology, and Center for Food Safety Director Francisco Diez collaborated to determine ways they could contribute to the knowledge base for members of the food industry regarding the novel coronavirus.“Meat manufacturing plants began to shut down because so many people in these industries were getting sick. We are not virologists, but this is a medical problem that definitely affected the food chain,” Kumar said.With information and scientific studies about the virus being released at a rapid rate, the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences researchers decided to examine relevant studies to identify and share practicable information for use in the food industry. The research team looked at studies on a range of biocides effective in eliminating or reducing the presence of coronaviruses from surfaces that are likely to carry infection, such as clothes, utensils and furniture, as well as skin, mucous membranes, air and food contact materials.After reviewing and synthesizing the information from more than 100 sources, the online journal Frontiers in Microbiology published the researchers’ findings in “Biocides and Novel Antimicrobial Agents for the Mitigation of Coronaviruses” in late June.“We wanted to go through the whole food supply chain — from processing to packaging to retail — to look at interventions to limit the spread of coronaviruses. This is not limited to handwashing, but looks at everything — how you can remove it from the air, from food contact surfaces. We asked a lot of tough questions and we feel we have answered those in this paper,” Kumar said.Since it was published, the paper has received interest from all over the world. According to the journal, the article has more views than 67% of all Frontiers articles on the website at frontiersin.org.“One of the main research areas we work on is the development of novel sanitizers and I do a lot of outreach on their proper use,” said Dunn. “For me, it has been industry — mostly in Georgia, but others from around the world — who stumbled on this and had questions.”The research team specifically focused on the effects of alcohols, povidone iodine, quaternary ammonium compounds, hydrogen peroxide, sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl), peroxyacetic acid (PAA), chlorine dioxide, ozone, ultraviolet light, metals and plant-based antimicrobials. The review highlights the differences in the resistance or susceptibility of different strains of coronaviruses, or similar viruses, to these antimicrobial agents. The team also worked with microbiologists Charles Gerba and Kelly Bright from the University of Arizona who are currently performing research on detecting the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater.While the review reinforced the effectiveness of certain antimicrobials — such as bleach and alcohol — on surfaces, it also addressed studies on agents that can be used to protect workers themselves.“A lot of what I’ve gotten have been questions about what can be used on the skin. We got crazy questions like, ‘Can we spray our workers with chemicals?’  A lot of questions have been about what steps they can take in certain types of facilities. It is not necessarily about sanitizer selection, but what to do in general,” said Dunn, who does outreach and extension work in on-farm and packinghouse microbial safety.While handwashing and the use of sanitizers are commonly implemented practices in food production plants, to address the spread of COVID-19 from asymptomatic workers, who often work in crowded conditions, the team focused on a number of studies of two substances — povidone iodine and iota carrageenan — that were of particular interest in preventing person-to-person transmission of coronaviruses.“Povidone iodine is very effective against coronaviruses and, in Europe and Asia, people use povidone iodine for oral rinses and nasal sprays. Because this is an airborne virus, the first place it goes is into the nose and it attaches to the cell receptors in the nose,” Kumar said.A seaweed-based antimicrobial polymer, iota carrageenan is commonly used as a food thickener and, in a 2018 study, demonstrated the ability to inhibit coronaviruses and other respiratory viruses.“When sprayed in the nose in nasal spray form, iota carrageenan can form a protective film over the nasal membranes and keep the virus from attaching,” Kumar said.While not performing any direct research, Kumar and Dunn said the synthesis of information from a variety of studies — some from this year and others done over the past 20 years — can serve as a sort of “CliffsNotes” for industry members seeking the most relevant and useful information on preventing transmission of COVID-19.“We were very excited about that and we want to get that information out for industry to investigate further or do more research,” Kumar said.The group shared their findings with Atlanta-area anesthesiologist Constantine Kokenes, with whom they connected when donating personal protective equipment from their labs to local frontline healthcare workers, an effort spearheaded by Dunn.Through conversations with Kumar, Kokenes obtained and studied papers about the potential benefits of povidone iodine rinses and iota carrageenan nasal spray. Using specific formulations, he purchased the materials and mixed his own preparations to use when treating and intubating COVID-19 patients in the intensive care unit at Emory Decatur Hospital.“Before elective surgeries were cancelled — from early March through mid-April — I did this for six weeks,” said Kokenes, who also followed recommendations to protect himself, including using masks and face shields and shaving his beard of 30 years to ensure a proper seal on his face mask.“I did this for my own good. It is only logical and rational to explore all options and protect yourself,” he said. “There is a lot of groundwork that has been done since the early to mid-2000s after the first SARS and MERS virus outbreaks. Dr. Kumar and his team have been on top of that.”The team’s full paper is available at www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2020.01351/full#F2. More information on the Center for Food Safety is available at cfs.caes.uga.edu.last_img read more

Green Mountain Power Increases Quartely Dividend

first_imgDirectors of Green Mountain Power Corporation(NYSE:GMP) announced a quarterly cash dividend of $0.19 per share onthe utility’s Common Stock, payable December 31, 2002, to holders ofrecord at the close of business on December 14, 2002. The new indicatedannual dividend rate is $0.76, an increase over the previous indicatedannual rate of $0.55. The increased dividend payment is contingent on thesuccessful issuance of long-term debt, which is expected to be completedon or about December 16, 2002.The Company has arranged to issue $42 million in first mortgagebonds, with an average life of 12 years. This transaction, which willreplace substantially all of the Company’s short-term and intermediateterm debt, will satisfy the conditions set by the Vermont Public ServiceBoard for the Company to increase its dividend.In 1997 and 1998, faced with difficult financial results, theCompany reduced its dividend. “We have maintained an indicated annualdividend of 55 cents per share as we worked to restore the Company tofinancial health,” said Christopher L. Dutton, President and ChiefExecutive Officer. “With solid financial results achieved in 2001 and2002 following the Vermont Public Service Board’s January 2001 orderapproving a rate settlement that provided for full power supply costrecovery in rates, with the successful repurchase of common stock in thelast month, and with our scheduled issuance of long-term debt later thismonth, we now conclude that we are on solid ground to increase thedividend. The Company believes that, in light of the general practice inthe utility industry, it should pay out 50 percent to 60 percent ofanticipated earnings in dividends. Over the course of the next severalyears, we intend to increase our dividend in a measured, consistent mannerto this payout range, which we will sustain so long as our financialhealth seems assured. As earnings grow, of course, the opportunity forhigher dividend increases is presented.”Regular quarterly dividends of $1.1875 per share were also declaredpayableMarch 1, 2003, to holders of record at the close of business February 13,2003, of the Company’s 4.75% Class B Preferred Stock.Green Mountain Power Corporation (greenmountainpower.biz) is aVermont-based energy services company serving 87,000 electric customers.last_img read more

Welch appointed to influential Energy and Commerce Committee

first_imgRep. Peter Welch was named to the influential House Committee on Energy and Commerce Monday night, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced.Energy and Commerce has broad jurisdiction, including oversight of five Cabinet-level departments and seven independent agencies, as well as legislative authority over energy policy, health care, telecommunications, trade, and the environment. The committee s areas of jurisdiction align not only with Welch s top priorities but with a broad swath of President-elect Obama s legislative agenda. This is a tremendous opportunity for Vermonters to have a seat at the table as Congress tackles our nation s most pressing priorities, Welch said. We must reform our health care system, craft a 21st century energy policy and create new, green jobs. On the Energy and Commerce Committee we will be able to directly address these and other issues Vermonters care about most and get this country back on track. The news came on the eve of the 111st Congress, as Welch prepared to be sworn in to a second term in office. Welch will be sworn in today at noon.On the committee, Welch will join incoming Chairman Henry Waxman, who previously served as chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.Waxman said, I am delighted that Peter Welch is joining the Energy and Commerce Committee. Over the last two years, I have worked with him closely on the Oversight Committee and have been extremely impressed by his leadership. His exceptional ability and experience will make an important difference as we moved forward in the new Congress.last_img read more