Documents the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) tried to keep hidden for more than a year have revealed some of the tactics civil servants have used to manipulate media coverage on welfare reform.The “DWP media evaluation” reports have been produced by a member of the department’s communications team nearly every month since March 2014 and analyse mainstream and social media coverage of DWP issues.But DWP has repeatedly refused to release the reports – arguing that they were “commercially sensitive” – since Disability News Service (DNS) first asked to see them through a freedom of information request in September 2015.It took a complaint by DNS to the Information Commissioner’s Office for DWP to agree finally to release the reports, more than 13 months later.The documents detail how the DWP press office has tried to reduce negative media coverage, revealing that it successfully “dampened interest” in a report on benefit sanctions by the Commons work and pensions select committee in March 2015, resulting in “a smaller spike in coverage than previous critical reports”.The committee’s March 2015 report had called on the government to set up a new independent body – modelled on the police complaints watchdog – to investigate the deaths of benefit claimants, and called for an independent inquiry to investigate whether benefit sanctions were being applied “appropriately, fairly and proportionately”.Three months later, the June 2015 media evaluation report bragged how the press office was able to secure a “favourable article” about its much-criticised Disability Confident campaign and the “importance of the vast array of disability reforms” from the “typically unsupportive” Guardian, by offering some “exclusive words from the Minister for Disabled People”.The following month, the evaluation report revealed how the press office had managed to secure a slight majority of positive coverage, “despite national figures showing an overall rise in unemployment for the first time in two years”, by arranging “a push on regional media interviews with local Jobcentre Plus spokespeople”.Among the information contained in the reports is the number of stories DWP press officers have managed to “spike” – or persuade journalists not to publish – with the March 2014 report showing they succeeded in killing 44 stories in the previous month.In August 2015, in a section titled “crisis communications”, the author of the report details how the press office approached two “negative” stories: the publication of long-awaited statistics on the deaths of benefit claimants, and the revelation that DWP had used made-up quotations from fictitious people taking about how they had been helped by the benefits system (pictured).The evaluation report said the death statistics release had “required careful handling”, and it described how its press officers had “proactively briefed broadcasters and newspapers” and “spiked coverage in the Guardian, in the FT, Express and ITV”, while its “rapid press rebuttals got corrections in both the Guardian and Daily Mirror, changing the most negative terms”.But the report admitted that there had been 57,000 mentions of the hashtag #fakeDWPstories on Twitter during August 2015.After an initial “spike of activity”, the hashtag began to accompany subsequent, unrelated DWP announcements, forcing the department to scale back all of its social media activity to “ensure the story was contained”.The reports also confirm what most disabled activists will have assumed, that DWP’s press office considers the Daily Mail and the Sun newspapers to be “supportive” of its work, while the Guardian is seen as “typically unsupportive”.There are also suggestions that the press office’s efforts on social media to promote its “crackdown on benefit fraud” have not always proved successful, with the admission in the October 2014 report that three message sent out on the social media site Twitter had been retweeted (or shared) just 18 times, even though DWP had nearly 85,000 followers.Although the reports are tilted heavily towards celebrating any DWP communications successes, there is also evidence of the success of disabled people’s opposition to the government’s welfare reforms.A “word cloud” (an image showing how often various words and phrases are used, with the size of those words of phrases demonstrating their frequency) of Twitter messages sent to @DWPpressoffice in the month leading up to the November 2014 report showed that – apart from “work and pensions”, “DWP” and “IDS” – the words and phrases used most often were “Mylegalforum”, “disabled people”, “ColdWeatherPayments” and “WOWpetition”.Both the My Legal forum and WOWpetition have been closely associated with highlighting the unfairness of the government’s welfare reforms.Disabled activist David Gillon said the evaluation reports revealed the “tawdry, Yes Minister-ish world of the DWP press office, where all that matters is the suppression of any story that might cast DWP in a bad light, no matter where the public interest may lie”.He said: “The numbers of stories the press office has caused to be spiked, often more than one a day, is even reported as a performance metric.“We also see the DWP proactively trying to limit the reporting of critical reports from parliament, and working flat out to secure corrections to critical personal independence payment stories, a fascinating contrast to the usual grossly-delayed ‘DWP are unable to comment on individual cases’.“And if the news is bad enough, as with the 57,000 #FakeDWPStories tweets, the DWP turtle will even pull its head into its shell and retreat from social media entirely. It appears that even DWP recognises it remains a toxic brand.“Meanwhile, it is headline news that an op-ed piece in the Huffington Post by the minister for disabled people was retweeted a whole 89 times.“That’s the kind of success criteria that can only be branded Disability Confident!”
A note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS… The number of secret reviews carried out by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) into deaths linked to benefit claims appears to have doubled in the last two years, according to figures the information watchdog has forced the government to release.The figures relate to the number of internal process reviews (IPRs), investigations conducted by the department into deaths and other serious and complex cases that have been linked to DWP activity.They show that, from April 2016 to June 2018, DWP panels carried out 50 IPRs, including 33 involving the death of a benefit claimant, or roughly 1.27 death-related IPRs a month.DWP figures previously obtained by Disability News Service (DNS) show that, between October 2014 and January 2016, there were nine IPRs involving a death, or about 0.6 a month.These figures are only approximate, because the information about IPRs (previously known as peer reviews) provided by DWP through freedom of information responses does not provide precise dates for when each of them took place.But they do appear to show a clear and significant increase since early 2016 in the number of IPRs carried out following deaths linked by DWP to its own activity.They also appear to show a return to the kind of frequency of reviews related to deaths of claimants that were seen between February 2012 and October 2014, when there were 49 such reviews at a rate of about 1.5 a month, at a time when research and repeated personal testimonies showed the coalition’s social security cuts and reforms were causing severe harm and distress to claimants.The new figures also show that 19 of the deaths in the last two years involved a claimant viewed as “vulnerable”, while six of the IPRs (and four deaths) related to a claimant of the government’s new and much-criticised universal credit (see separate story).John McArdle, co-founder of Black Triangle, said ministers “always get up at the despatch box and say they are continually improving the system. This proves that to be false.“Universal credit should be scrapped, sanctions should be scrapped and the government should call off the dogs, because it is leading to people’s deaths.”McArdle said that if there was a tragedy involving the deaths of 33 people in a train crash there would be an independent inquiry into what went wrong.But because these deaths were happening in the social security system, he said, no such public inquiry would take place.He added: “It just shows a callous disregard for the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable people in society.”A DWP spokeswoman declined to say whether the figures showed that DWP’s treatment of vulnerable and other benefit claimants had not improved significantly since 2012 and had worsened in the last two years.She also declined to say if DWP was concerned that there had already been four IPRs following the death of a universal credit claimant, even though only a small number of people are currently claiming UC.But she said in a statement: “The government is committed to supporting the vulnerable and DWP staff are trained to identify and support people in hardship.“They can apply special easements to people’s claims and signpost to appropriate local support services.“IPRs do not seek to identify or apportion blame. They are used as a performance improvement tool that help the department to continually improve how it deals with some of the most complex and challenging cases.”DWP only released the figures to DNS this week after the Information Commissioner’s Office had reminded the department of its duties under the Freedom of Information Act.The information was requested on 21 June and should have been provided within 20 working days.But it was only emailed this week, after ICO wrote to DWP following a complaint lodged by DNS about the department’s failure to respond to the request.
Disabled people are to be forced into residential homes against their will by a Conservative council’s new cost-cutting adult social care policy, campaigners have warned.Barnetcouncil wants to save more than £400,000 in 2019-20 by creating more “costeffective support plans”, such as using residential care rather than fundingsupport packages that allow disabled people to live in their own homes.The northLondon council says it wants to consider “the full range of care options tomeet eligible needs (eg residential care), rather than offering community-basedplacements (eg supported living) by default”.This means anew “assumption that new clients are placed in cheaper accommodation settingswhere appropriate”.MichaelNolan, a trustee of the disabled people’s organisation Inclusion Barnet, told Disability News Service yesterday (Wednesday): “TheInclusion Barnet board are extremely concerned about these proposals, which wefear could leave some disabled people confined to residential care when theymight otherwise have been able to live independently. “We believethat this could impact people least able to self-advocate, and is also againstthe spirit of the Care Act.” InclusionBarnet wrote to the council in January to warn that the “misconceived” plansrisked “disabled people with high support needs being confined to residentialplacements against their will” and breached article 19 (on independent living) ofthe UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.The councilhas failed to reply to the letter.A council document [PDF] also shows that it has notconsulted on the plan and will only discuss it with disabled people as part of the“assessment and support planning process”.It admits that“some clients” and their families “may consider this change unfavourable ifthey have a preference for a community placement”, which it says “could have animpact on customer satisfaction”.The council –long seen as a flagship Tory local authority – has carried out an equalityimpact assessment of the new policy, which concludes that “it is possible thatnot having the option of a council-funded community placement will be seen asnegative”, but claims that the negative impact on “some equality strands” willbe “minimal”.Cllr ReemaPatel, who leads on adult social care for the Labour opposition in Barnet, andis a former member of the executive committee of Disability Labour, said: “Dueto austerity, there is more incentive for councils to offer people with highsupport needs residential placements because it is cheaper. “However, thisruns counter to established principles around disabled people’s rights, principlesthat support the right to independent living, choice, agency and control.”Fleur Perry,a disabled campaigner who raised concerns about similarpolicies in NHSclinical commissioning groups two years ago, said: “This policy seems to bedesigned to push disabled people into residential care, putting financialpressures above people’s own choices about where and who they live with. “Theyhighlight that people may consider this ‘unfavourable’; I’d be livid! “Placingsomebody into residential care against their wishes without exploring how theycould be supported to stay in their own home may be unlawful under the HumanRights Act 1998 (article eight: private and familylife).“I’d askBarnet council not to put themselves in a position where they could be legallychallenged, and instead follow a policy that respects the right to independentliving and for people to have choice and control over their own lives.”The Equalityand Human Rights Commission claimed it had “concerns about the erosion ofservices and support to enable disabled people to choose where they live andwho they live with” but has so far declined to look at what is happening inBarnet.Barnetcouncil refused to say how it justified putting people in institutional carewhen they wanted to live independently in the community; and refused to say howmany extra disabled people were likely to end up in residential care in 2019-20as a result of its policy.It evenrefused to confirm that the new measure was now council policy.But Cllr Sachin Rajput, chair of the council’sadults and safeguarding committee, claimed in a statement that his localauthority remained “firmly committed to delivering high standards of care andsupport for those in need across Barnet, particularly our most vulnerableresidents”.He said: “We will carefully consider the rangeof accommodation options available to meet the particular needs of ourresidents, whilst also considering the limited resources that will be availableto us as a council.“Every person will be assessed individually,with their views and the impact on their wellbeing carefully considered. “For the small number of people that will beoffered a residential care placement, satisfaction levels and outcomes will becarefully monitored. “Barnet council will continue to comply with all of its duties under the Care Act (2014).”Picture: Barnet council’s Hendon town hallA note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS…
0% Tags: balmy alley • community Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% Low riders, thumping beats, and curious bystanders set the scene for a music video filmed Saturday starring three Mission girls.Sarahi Yannacone, 11, Eliseana Hernández, 13, and Ana Diosdado, 15, perform in the video that will accompany a song that they and other Mission Girls have composed and produced with the help of hip-hop artist A-Plus to counter negative messages they see in mainstream media. The Mission Girls are young participants in a nonprofit program of the same name that gives girls growing up in the neighborhood a safe place to spend time off the streets and explore new skills.Ana, Sarahi and Eliseana record the lyrics of their song in a close-up shot. Photo by Laura Wenus“My lyrics are about how women aren’t really shown to be successful,” says Ana. “Women are also innovative!” Eliseana helped compose the chorus, which is supposed to be a little less heavy and complex than the rest of the lyrics. The song is mostly a rap, but the chorus is sung, and meant to be more positive and encouraging.“They do the really deep stuff,” she says. “I’m supposed to be the uplifter.”On an overcast San Francsico morning, they’re waiting for the shoot to start. Particularly Sarahi, who is bent on riding in the low-rider provided and driven by neighborhood organizer Roberto Hernández.“I wanna sit in the low rider. Right behind the seat, like they do in they do in the movies!” Sarahi says.And that’s exactly what she does. Hernández takes the girls for a spin around the block, with two videographers in the front seat and another following in a second lowrider following close behind as the girls recite their lyrics.Taking a spin. Photo by Laura Wenus“I’ve met a lot of famous people, and I’m like…so star struck right now,” says filmmaker and animator Justin Herman to a bystander as the girls come back around in the car. Herman will add animations that react to the girls to the final video.“It used to be, ‘rap music is putting down women.’ It’s so much more, it’s a media wide problem,” Herman says. “It has nothing to do with rap. It has everything to do with the mall, and with mall culture.”The Mission Girls lead a small crowd down Balmy Alley for a shot in their music video. Photo by Laura WenusDawn Rosales, a firefighter, joins the small crowd of almost exclusively women who volunteered to join the girls in the video, dressed in her firefighting gear.“We’re stronger than just who the media makes us out to be,” she says. “And we can cook and bring home money.”“It’s about empowerment,” says Shikha Prasad, another volunteer. “We’re so bombarded with what’s out there and what’s supposed to be normal that we forget that it’s not normal.”Gloria Romero, the youth services director at Mission Neighborhood Centers, says the song and video are the girls’ own words and their chance to send their own message.“I’ve seen the girls, and how powerful they felt,” she says. “They’ve been able to develop a sense of power, sharing their voices.”The video will be released October 24.
Tags: SFPD Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% 0% “This program was presented to us as a tool,” said Elia Lewin-Tankel, an officer from Mission Station. But with restrictions, “it will create a divisiveness that I don’t think is necessary. There’s enough division at this point.”“When I was just a little baby police officer, I was told that I shall, I must review every available evidence before making a report,” said SFPD Officer John Evans. He said reversing that stance indicated a lack of trust in police officers.“If you don’t trust me, I’ll go.” Evans said. “It’s patently ridiculous not to review evidence.”An SFPD police officer addresses the Police CommissionDeputy Chief Hector Sainez said that current policy is to allow officers to review available evidence and footage before writing their reports.“It helps trigger something where they actually provide more facts,” Sainez said.Commissioner Thomas Mazzucco echoed Sainez and many police officers when he said that officers could not be expected to give complete and perfectly accurate reports after traumatic situations because stress narrows their focus and inhibits memory.“I know what takes place during an [officer-involved] shooting,” Mazzucco said. “Their perception narrows. Their vision narrows to about 17 percent…Unless you’ve been there, you can’t understand what they’ve been through.”Commissioner Petra De Jesus maintained that officers should not be able to review footage before writing their reports.“People are saying, ‘Well, that’s not the way we do it.’ Well, things need to change,” De Jesus said.Public Defender Jeff Adachi joined several members of the public in asking that the commission restric officers’ ability to watch body camera footage. He and others argued that an officer who is confronted with a reality on tape that differs with his or her recollection of an incident might be inclined to fabricate a justification for their actions.“What we are after here is the pursuit of truth by examining the discrepancies between what’s in a video and what’s in the report,” said Tracy Rosenberg of the Media Alliance.As Adachi pointed out in a Chronicle editorial, it’s unclear whether body camera footage from Alameda County Sheriff’s deputies will be released in the case of Stanislav Petrov, the man who was severely beaten in a Mission District alley.Deputy Public Defender Rebecca Young commended the commission on their legislation, but recommended that officers also be barred from viewing their body camera footage after incidents with a “reportable use of force.” That clause was not added.“In a situation like with Mr. Petrov…these officers would be allowed to view that video [before making a report],” Adachi pointed out at the hearing.“No teacher would let you view an exam before the test,” said former mayoral write-in candidate John Fitch during public comment.“It’s a loophole waiting to be exploited,” another commenter said.The decision, not officially final, will send the body camera policy to the Department of Human Resources and a police union for review, after which it will be returned to the commission for final adoption. The draft policy also includes a requirement that footage be retained by the SFPD for at least 60 days and not be otherwise deleted without prior approval. Under the policy, footage will also be subject to periodic and random audits. Officers must also document the reason for turning off their body camera, and, where feasible, notify members of the public that they are being recorded. The San Francisco Police Commission voted today to allow police officers to view footage from their body cameras before writing their incident reports unless the officer is the subject of an investigation or the footage captures an officer-involved shooting or an in-custody death.In those cases, the police chief or someone of his choosing must decide whether to allow the officer to review his or her footage before making a report. Body cameras will be rolled out sometime in 2016, but a date has not yet been chosen.Even as the Commission deliberated and heard public comment, much of which concerned cases of police brutality and officer-involved shootings, Police Chief Greg Suhr was responding to a scene in the Bayview, where police officers had shot and killed a man.Police officers at the meeting universally argued that officers should have access to footage before writing reports, calling it a tool to improve the accuracy of their reports.
0% Tags: police • SFPD • tasers Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% As the San Francisco Police Commission decides whether to equip the SFPD with Tasers, two national experts reforming traditional police training see a place for Tasers on an officer’s tool belt – but one also viewed them as less than critical. However, both agreed that training was key to using Tasers effectively. Sue Rahr, the director of the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission, and one of the leading experts in retraining and changing police culture, said Tasers have a role to play. Foremost, however, is the importance of equipping officers with “emotional intelligence,” which she sees as a tool to avoid the use of force. Rahr’s organization is like few police training models in the country, in that it is designed to move officers away from a warrior culture to one that promotes a guardian mentality. To do so, it uses an approach called LEED, which stands for “listen and explain with equity and dignity.”“We’ve moved away from the boot-camp model of training officers like we do soldiers, and we’ve moved to a model of training officers to see themselves as leaders, as critical thinkers,” Rahr said, referring to her organization’s training methods.When she was sheriff of King County, Washington, Rahr — who has 33 years of experience in law enforcement — required all of her officers to carry the stun-gun devices that San Francisco is now considering. “I don’t know what the reasoning is in San Francisco,” she said, referring to the Police Commission’s long history of rejecting their use. “But I would not want to be the leader of a police agency that doesn’t have Tasers as an option for their officers.”According to a 2013 report by the Department of Justice, an estimated 85 percent of police departments that serve a population of at least 2,500 have approved the use of conducted energy devices, or Tasers. “I’m surprised San Francisco doesn’t have Tasers already,” said Rahr.Rahr said that after she introduced Tasers in King County, “the number of officer-involved shootings plummeted, because officers were able to use Tasers instead of their firearms.”Others, however, argue that equipping officers with Tasers actually led to more use of force because they escalated intense situations. A Taser, a gun-shaped object with a trigger, shoots two darts into its target and releases electrical shocks at varying levels to stun a suspect.A study by Reuters found that 1,005 deaths in the United States have resulted from people being stunned with a Taser, and other studies show that an earlier model of Tasers have a high failure rate. Axon, the largest manufacturer and seller of Tasers, is in an ongoing lawsuit with the Houston Police Department over the ineffectiveness of a Taser model introduced in 2011 with a reduced charge.While the effectiveness of Tasers is under review, Seth Stoughton, an associate professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law and a former law enforcement official, was cautious about police officers’ reliance on deploying Tasers.“The thing about a Taser is, they’re very easy to use,” Stoughton said. “You just pull them out, point them at someone and pull the trigger.”“Because it’s such an easy tool to use, and because the benefits can be very clear, officers may be tempted to use the Taser in situations … where they should, instead, be trying to verbally de-escalate,” Stoughton said.The issue of de-escalation has come up several times at the Police Commission’s public meetings on Tasers. Sheryl Davis, the executive director of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, which is sponsoring the hearings on Tasers, said at Tuesday’s meeting that the device’s impact on the SFPD’s new de-escalation training was the community’s No. 1 concern.When asked about the implementation of Tasers in San Francisco, Stoughton said, “It’s complicated, as is almost everything with policing.”“It kind of depends on what the alternative to a Taser would be. If instead of using a Taser, an officer would have spent an extra five, 10, or 15 minutes, or longer, trying to verbally de-escalate a tense situation, then the use of a Taser is problematic,” Stoughton said.Stoughton notes, however, that de-escalation isn’t always easy, and officers often have a brief period to evaluate a situation and act. “The best way to think about de-escalation, is that it’s a force option, it’s hanging on the officer’s toolbelt just like a baton, or pepper spray, or a Taser, or a firearm,” Stoughton said. “It is appropriate in some circumstances, it is plausible in other circumstances, it is a bad idea in other circumstances; some of it depends on imminence.”Rahr said she supports using de-escalation tactics first, but wants the public to know how difficult it is for an officer to de-escalate an intense circumstance.“One of the things that I think is often misunderstood by the public is that, when we talk about de-escalation, we’re talking about some special kind of verbal skills or techniques that are going to calm somebody down,” Rahr said. “That’s only a piece of the concept.”The most important aspect, she said, is how an officer responds to stressful situations. “We refer to it in this way: De-escalation is 90 percent proper control tactics,” Rahr said, referring to the training she gives her officers.“In my opinion, that is one of the most important things officers need to possess, is the ability to manage their own stress and their own emotional reaction to the things that they encounter in the field,” she added.Two local law enforcement officers agree with the use of de-escalation tactics and are adamant about their support for Tasers.Park Station Captain John Sanford said he has spent all 32 years of his law enforcement career with the SFPD, and has seen proposals to adopt Tasers fail three times.He thinks the time has come to start using them.“I believe that it’s a necessary tool for police officers to do their job, and do their job more effectively,” Sanford said.“We often talk about public safety and trying to bring any situation to as peaceful of a resolution as possible,” he said. “If the officers are required to use Tasers under these circumstances, I believe it’s a much better option than a lethal option.”Haight-Ashbury beat cop Elizabeth Prillinger shared Sanford’s sentiments. “Whenever you’re taking non-lethal tools away from officers, by virtue of that, you present them with opportunities to maybe have to go to lethal options sooner.”“That’s me just speaking as a human being, because I’d rather not have to take any serious form of force against anyone,” Prillinger said.Still, getting the public to trust officers with Tasers will be a tall task.According to the San Francisco Chronicle, between 2000 and 2015, there have been 95 reported shootings involving the SFPD, including 40 fatalities. Speakers at the Police Commission’s public hearings have made clear that people of color and the homeless are too often the victims of these killings.Captain Sanford sees SFPD’s relations with the community as part of a national dilemma.“If we speak candidly, I think we all know that it’s going to be very difficult regaining the community trust simply because of what has happened around the nation,” Sanford said.Some who spoke at the Police Commission’s public hearings oppose the implementation of Tasers on the basis that they run counter to SFPD’s progressive reform efforts. Those efforts just got tougher as the Department of Justice announced Tuesday that it would cut federal funding to collaborative reform programs with law enforcement agencies, like the SFPD. Despite the cut, SFPD Chief Bill Scott told Mission Local he will continue with the 272 recommendations the Department of Justice made in 2016. As for Tasers, the debate will continue on Oct. 2 at SFPD headquarters, where a working group, comprising several local organizations, will work on crafting the Taser policy that the Police Commission will later vote on. The Police Commission will meet at least once more before a final decision is made.Stoughton urges the San Francisco community to fight for reform — regardless of the Police Commission’s decision on Tasers.“The real question for a location, a locality, a city and its citizens isn’t just, ‘Should officers have it?’ he said. “It’s, ‘How should officers use it, and how should they not use it?’”
MOSE Masoe spoke to the In Touch Podcast last week about his move to St Helens.The 24-year-old put pen to paper on a two year contract from 2014.“St Helens is one of the best clubs in Super League and I was stoked when I was approached by them,” he said. “It was great that such a strong team would want me to play for them.“I know a couple of players who have played there and that talk highly about the team and coach so I am excited to come over.“I had another year to run on my contract but I was excited when I got the offer and my manager said Nathan Brown wanted me to play for them.“I’m looking forward to playing in the Challenge Cup and the big games like Wigan. I love those rivalries and the passion that comes from the fans. The Roosters versus the Souths, Penrith-Parramatta those teams hate each other and that gives an extra five to ten per cent in the game.”Mose describes himself as an impact player who does the simple stuff.“I like to run and tackle hard,” he added. “It will be good to measure up against some of the best players in the world.”Joining him is teammate Luke Walsh – a scrum half the club snared a few weeks back.“I have been playing with Walshie this year so there is a combination there. When I come to St Helens I will know what kind of plays he does and it will be good to see how we gel as a team. He’s a little general on the pitch and will boss his players around.”You can hear the full interview on the In Touch Podcast. Details on how to listen are here.
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Darius Williams was sentenced in federal court to more than 18 years in prison for drug distribution and firearm charges. (Photo: Vinelink) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A Wilmington man was sentenced in federal court Thursday to more than 18 years in prison for drug distribution and firearm charges.Darius J. Williams, 38, will spend the nearly two decades in prison followed by 6 years of supervised release.- Advertisement – On September 27, 2017, Willams pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute a quantity of heroin, cocaine base and marijuana, and possession of a firearm by felon.According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office FBI agents saw someone using heroin in a restaurant parking lot in Wilmington on February 21, 2017. The man, who allegedly had 87 dosage units of heroin in in his lap, told agents he was on federal supervised release. The man then said he was living in a federal halfway house, where he had previously purchased heroin from Williams, who was also on federal supervised release and living in the same house.Just two days later, the man was instructed by FBI to purchased 351 dosage units of heroin from Williams’ house. On June 26, 2017, agents coordinated with federal probation to arrest Williams at the Wilmington probation office.Related Article: Nearly 10,000 pills collected during Operation Medicine CabinetWhile Williams was detained, deputies say he directed associated through monitored phone calls to where drugs were stored. Law enforcement officers watched the associates park their vehicle near the address identified as belonging to Williams’ mother.Cordelia Ross and Rynell Solomon dug up drugs that were buried in a backyard of a residence on Grathwol Drive, according to New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office.The associates were detained upon leaving. Inside the car, law enforcement recovered two plastic bags containing 91.78 grams of MDMA, 33.68 grams of cocaine, 62.78 grams of marijuana, and a loaded .380 pistol which was later determined to be stolen.
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Big changes could soon be coming to a section of the Northside part of the City of Wilmington.Wednesday night the Wilmington Planning Commission voted to approve a proposal to rezone several acres in that area.- Advertisement – “It won’t be long before they be coming in here trying to put anything they want to here,” Northside resident, Gladys Hardy said.Many residents are upset with the planning commission’s decision to approve rezoning for nearly 10-acres.“Well my reaction is like they didn’t hear what what I said,” Hardy said. “It was like the plans were already made and regardless of what I say the plans are going on.”Related Article: Dashcam video shows Wilmington man point gun at officerThe plan rezones parts of Anderson, Fanning, Hanover, and 10th Streets from office and residential use to an urban mixed-use zone.The rezoning aims to preserve existing and vacant buildings, create more non-profits like Dreams of Wilmington and the Community Boys and Girls Club which are already in that area, and create the possibility for affordable housing. Now that is something many say is far overdue.“Affordable housing is really where the focus should be. And it needs to be where people can live, work and play. And so I would also like to emphasize the need for jobs here in Wilmington,” upset resident said.For decades many have complained about wanting their own grocery store but say they do not see that happening. To see what could be developed under the rezoning, click here.Despite what may come to the area, some are worried about the affects it would have on those already living in the community.“I feel like I’m going to lose the value on it trying to keep it up,” Hardy said. “And when they start building eventually they’re gonna come in and want to, you know, force me out too.”As for the Wilmington Planning Commission they hope the rezoning helps to clean up and improve that area of the Northside of the city.Although the planning commission approved the rezoning request, it ultimately comes down to the city council.The city council has the final vote and they would also have the final decision on what would be developed in the area.