A traumatised child abuse victim has branded the D

first_imgA traumatised child abuse victim has branded the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) “shameful” for trying to force him to attend a benefits reassessment, when he is waiting to give evidence at an institutional abuse trial.David* has severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), caused by the horrific child abuse he suffered as a child, and which has led to several suicide attempts.He is a key witness in a trial that he hopes will bring the perpetrators of that abuse to justice, but he says that the “abhorrent” actions of DWP and its contractor Atos are putting that at risk.He has been told that he cannot discuss the abuse with anyone or allow DWP or Atos access to his medical records because the court proceedings are now live and the case is sub judice.And he fears that if he attended the personal independence payment (PIP) assessment, he would be breaking the law and putting the trial at risk.Even though the toll of the criminal investigation on David’s mental health has been harrowing, resulting in a series of self-harm episodes, DWP has continued its attempts to force him to submit to a PIP reassessment, even though it has been told repeatedly that the case is sub judice.DWP civil servants have approached the police force investigating the allegations to ask about his evidence, and – he claims – even told a police officer investigating the case that they believed his claims were not genuine and that he was “trying it on”.Disability News Service (DNS) has seen an email from one of the force’s police officers which proves that a colleague had to tell DWP at least twice that its actions were causing David “considerable stress and distress”, and had to remind the department that he was a witness in their investigation.David said DWP have made “multiple” contacts with the police force, and with his mental health consultant.A DWP spokeswoman said the department had “no record of any contact with the police”.David said his consultant wrote to DWP on several occasions warning of his “severe PTSD”, the impact of the criminal case on his mental health, that removing his benefits would be devastating and life-threatening, and that none of the health professionals could discuss his case any further until the legal process was over.David said the DWP harassment had caused his PTSD to worsen.He said that losing his benefits could result in the court case collapsing, because he would “not be in any fit mind to give evidence”.He told DNS: “It’s as if human life, human dignity and justice mean nothing to the DWP.“Their crude bullying is inept and invasive. This is a truly horrendous ordeal. They are humiliating me and their irrational behaviour is causing me real mental anguish.“I see them as no different to those who harmed me as a child.”David currently receives PIP and employment and support allowance, and was originally told that he would not be reassessed until the end of the trial.But he has now been told by DWP that he will lose his PIP for being “non-compliant” if he does not attend the reassessment. Atos sent him a letter on Friday (20 May) telling him that he had to attend an assessment on 1 June.He said: “Being told I will be non-compliant and will be punished is just the same as when I was a child, refusing sexual advances and being humiliated and punished.”He added: “My case is before the courts, and nothing must be done to interfere or hinder that.“Everything must be done to support me, not what they are currently doing with no regard for the consequences.”Other victims in the case have already taken their own lives, and he fears he will not be in a psychological state to give evidence if his benefits are ripped away by the government.He said: “I am at a loss what to do. It is causing me undue alarm and distress when I am going through a very, very stressful process.“It is destroying what dignity I have left. The treatment is humiliating and degrading.”He has now asked for a meeting with work and pensions secretary Stephen Crabb.The DWP spokeswoman made it clear that if David wanted to continue to receive PIP he would need to be reassessed.She said: “We are sorry for any distress our contact may have caused the claimant.“PIP reviews ensure that people are receiving the right levels of support and where possible assessments are carried out in a way that is most convenient for the claimant.”She said it was important that David had a PIP reassessment because he had also been awarded points for a physical injury, so he needed to be reassessed to see if he still required the same level of support.And she said that he had been told that DWP did not need to discuss his court case or the history surrounding it, but only how his impairment affected his ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.*He cannot be named for legal reasonslast_img read more

Summer Fun for Kids in SFs Mission District

first_img Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% Founded in 2014, Little Mission Studio offers quality musical education with private lessons, classes and workshops.  This summer they are offering musical theater, acting, piano, guitar, and many more!  Plus, if you sign up two months ahead of the program you get 10 percent off the tuition!Jamestown. a local community center that offers resources to help youth realize their full potential, has a slew of summer programs on the  Jamestown website.Established in 1921, the Community Music Center’s mission is to make musical opportunities to those from all different financial backgrounds.  With options ranging from western classical music to Chinese and Latin music, Community Music Center offers summer programs for youth ranging from 8-18 and financial aid is available.Although The Butterfly Joint summer programs are all sold out, keep watching the site for upcoming classes!If we have missed any opportunities, send us an e-mail and we will add! 0%center_img It’s getting close to that time of year again where the kids are out of school!  Below are a list of summer programs offered in the Mission District.  Sign up now, spots go fast!The Mission Cultural Center is offering various activities for youth (ages 6-13) in their summer program.  There are two, four-week long sessions that include Capoeira, drumming, and printmaking.  Students will get hands on experience with their chosen art discipline and at the end of the session will collaborate for a final exhibition/performance!!!  Priority registration will be given to San Francisco residents.  For dates and pricing details visit their website!There are 80 different summer youth programs offered with Parks and Recreation.  Registration started on March 19th.Marsh Youth Theater provides youth (2-21) with quality theater arts experience and every year puts on a full musical production with youth elementary, middle, and highschool/college students.last_img read more

Queer Activist Collective Under Threat of Eviction Fights to Save Home

first_img Tags: displacement • evictions • housing • John O’ Connell High • landlords • LGBT • protests Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% Members of a queer activist collective threatened with eviction gathered August 11 and sharply protested their co-founder’s attempt to sell his Bernal Heights home where they have lived for nearly a decade.Current residents of the Holly Park Collective, located at 150 Highland Ave. near Holly Park, accused their former housemate Adan Luevano of acting as a “pro-eviction” landlord motivated by greed. Luevano is suing his former partner, Sahee Kil, to force a sale of the house where members of the collective have lived for years.Kil and Luevano both own the home and founded the collective in 2008. Kil said the couple’s conflict began when the market started “getting hot” in the years since the tech boom.“That’s when I noticed changes in Adan in relation to how he saw our home as not a home, but as real estate,” said Kil. They purchased 150 Highland as a couple in 2007 with the intention of creating a home for queer and minority activists.   Kil said that the couple split in the midst of adopting a transgender teenager in 2015.When Luevano first proposed selling the home and moving the collective to Oakland in late 2014, its members reacted with disbelief.“I said wait a minute – this is a project to have queer people of color stay in the city in the midst of gentrification and that’s what I signed up for,” said Reverend Israel Alvaran, an organizer with the Reconciling Ministries Network and a resident of the house. “By selling, you’re losing this spot. Who will buy this house given the market? It will be a white yuppie couple or person.”Luevano has since left the collective and split with Kil. Some 15 queer activists have lived with the collective since its inception, though only four people currently live in the three bedroom and two bathroom house. Members of the Holly Park Collective have paid as little as $400 in rent over the years, according to Kil.“From the beginning, we were specifically looking for activists who did intersectional work along the lines of race, class, gender, sexuality, immigration,” said Kil. “This is a home for a certain type of progressive, radical activist.”Rooms in 150 Highland Ave. were not advertised and could only be obtained through queer activist circles, explained Alvaran. “Since moving to the city the collective has been my home,” he said, adding that members share chores, expenses, and grow much of their own food. When Alvaran lost his job in 2012, the collective cut his rent in half. Luevano and Kil enlisted former members of the collective to engage with them in a mediation process, but Luevano moved out of the home before the issue of the property could be resolved. “Now, he is suing me because I am refusing to sell the home,” she said. On Thursday, members of the collective and their supporters gathered in front of John O’Connell High School where Luevano is employed to protest the eviction.Holding up signs that read “Greed Kills Homes,” they hoped that community pressure would persuade Luevano to accept a buyout offer of $200,000 for his share of the property.A recent appraisal valued the home at $1.1 million, and a real estate agent working with Kil earlier this year estimated that selling the home in the current market would leave her and Luevano with $225,000 each after paying off their $580,000 mortgage. They bought the home in 2007 for $799,000. “My offer is very close to a fair market buyout,” she said, adding Luevano is no longer contributing to the mortgage. “It’s the best I can do to save our home.” When reached by phone, Luevano said that he did not think this deal was fair at all because he believes the house to be worth more – and that the sale in the context of gentrification and displacement has been portrayed “really inaccurately.”“I have the right to move on with my life,” said Luevano, adding that he previously agreed to accept the buyout offer under the condition that the property be willed to his adopted child, or if sold, that Luevano receive 18 percent of the selling profit. “This percentage is only if she sells the house in the future – she’ll make a killing off of it,” said Luevano.Kil responded by calling this demand “an extortion plan.”“This guy has goldrush fever,” she said. “He won’t recognize that he’s causing the context of two people’s eviction.”Luevano did acknowledge that he could play a part in the displacement of the collective, but contended that he had no other options.  “It’s a horrible situation and it does impact people,” said Luevano, who now lives in Oakland and says he himself has been displaced from the city since leaving the collective. “But I need to sell my portion of the house so I can assure that my child and I have housing security in the future,” he said, adding that he is still willing to negotiate with the collective.The collective has created a GoFundMe campaign to cover the legal fees of $6,200 that they say the ongoing negotiations have incurred.Alvaran, who has been living in the collective since 2010, and Gilbert Villareal, a tenant since 2015, fear that a sale of the home at market value would mean an eviction notice by subsequent owners. “Evictions are happening left and right in the city and while I am not faced with eviction just yet, that is likely to happen once our home is place on the open market,” said Villareal.Even though no eviction has been initiated, Housing Rights Committee organizer Tommi Avicolli Mecca, who stood with the protesters on Thursday, said that the tenants’ “clocks are ticking.”“If this place gets sold, especially at market value, someone is going to come in there and want to throw everybody out,” he said. center_img 0%last_img read more

Fresh Legacies — feminism and food

first_imgMy mother’s pesto. Photo by Viola Buitoni.Minestrone al pesto. Photo by Viola Buitoni The even weight of leaves and nuts is a technique I acquired during my own professional growth in the kitchen. I have used it successfully in many a version of pesto.It is important to stir in the cheese after processing, or the blades will clump it into fat globules that can throw off both balance and texture. Garlic should not be a defining flavor of pesto, more a sensation. But if you are a fan of it, feel free to add more. Store this in a glass jar, topped with a little olive oil to prevent oxidation. To use, drop a heaping tablespoon per every two people in a warm bowl and dilute it with some of the pasta cooking water right before tossing the cooked pasta in it.Before putting away, re-top with fresh olive oil. I keep my pesto up to a month in the refrigerator. My mother used to freeze it in manageable-sized jars.Pesto can complement things other than pasta. In my childhood home, it was a staple on minestrone. It is great with gnocchi, you can use it on a spring lasagna or spread it on bread. I love it with anchovies, but I love anything with anchovies.As always, feel free to comment or email with questions and constructive observations. Subscribe to Mission Local’s daily newsletter Things I learned from my mother: And, up until I didn’t have a uterus, manage it I did, in the same way I have handled other misbehaving parts of my body: with full agency and the support of doctors and the occasional acupuncturist. It was a happy, if fraught, relationship with a piece of me that, albeit so tiny, critically defined my womanhood. My uterus and I went through a lot together, but we always had each other’s back and the right to decide what was best, including interrupting an unwanted pregnancy when we were in our teens. I loved it and respected it. I mourned its loss, even as I sanctioned it. I have my mother to thank for this rich experience. In the ’70s, scores of Italian women took to the streets chanting “L’utero é mio e me lo gestisco io” — loosely translatable to “I can manage my own uterus, thank you very much.” She made sure my siblings and I were familiar with the slogan and the hand gesture that went with it; that we understood the significance and the impact of the struggle. My mother was part of an unstoppable force that would lead to the 1978 decriminalization of abortion in Italy. From that tumultuous, exciting time, I remember the elation of being allowed to eschew the ingrained good manners of my rearing. It was liberating to dress down the insidious brand of small-minded Catholicism that affected many in my small hometown. PE classes were girls-vs.-boys screaming matches, and meal times easily became battlefields. I like to think my mother tolerated my antics because she was relieved to watch the suffocating mold of societal expectations slowly shatter for her daughters.My mother was my mother, though, and even as she marched for women’s rights, she continued to comfortably inhabit her traditional role of homemaker, organizing that next rally while picking fabric for a new curtain or gathering signatures while preserving whatever came from our garden. I don’t know if her life would have been more fulfilled with a profession in it. What I know is that watching her be who she was indelibly kneaded the feminist core I still hold today.While in the kitchen, she especially had my full attention when grinding her own version of pesto, with herbs beyond basil, and nuts beyond pine. My mother, like her pesto, was made of non-conforming flavors that people did not expect, yet talked about for days. Today, after a week of watching my rights recede, I stand in my own kitchen, an enduring testament to maternal strength, re-creating those very flavors as a rallying cry to shed politeness and join the fight to preserve every woman’s right to her own unforgettable relationship with her uterus.My mother’s pestoFor 1 pint (Download a printout here.)3 packed cups fresh basil leaves 1 loose, scant cup parsley leaves8 to 10 marjoram sprigsraw pine nuts and/or peeled lightly toasted unsalted almonds1 garlic cloveolive oil2 to 3 tablespoons grated parmigiano2 to 3 tablespoons grated pecorinosalt and pepper to tasteRinse the basil and parsley leaves carefully in the basket of a salad spinner. Place the basket in the spinner and spin as you would a salad. Pour out the water that has gathered on the bottom and fluff the leaves. Spin, pour and fluff again 4 or 5 times. Tilt the leaves onto a clean cloth and pat dry. Remember that oil and water do not mix and there is quite a bit of oil in pesto.Pluck the marjoram leaves and add to the basil and parsley. Weigh the total of the greens then measure an equivalent weight in nuts. You can mix the nuts evenly or have more of one kind or the other. The proportion should be dictated by taste and availability.Smash and peel the garlic and toss it in the food processor with the nuts and a teaspoon of salt. Run the processor to give the garlic and nuts a first rough chop.Stop the processor and add all the herbs and use a spatula or wooden spoon to push them towards the bottom while also lifting the garlic and herbs to mix everything. Turn the motor back on and after about 30 seconds, start slowly streaming in olive oil. You will end up using about 1/2 a cup of oil, but keep in mind that pesto should not be floating in oil, so err on the side of less. You can always add more later. Keep the processor running until you have a fairly dense mixture with very minced leaves. Sample the mixture, if it tastes grassy, continue mincing until it tastes herby and fresh but not raw. When ready, drag all the pesto into a bowl with a silicone spatula. Adjust salt and pepper, slightly lagging on salt as you have yet to add the cheeses.Now, stir in the cheeses and taste again to verify that your taste buds are happy. You may have to add more cheese or salt or pepper. Sometimes, though my mother would probably shrug this off as modern treachery, I find that a few drops of lemon juice can bring balance to the final product. A few things of note: center_img Making great pestoBeing almost always polite Email Address Managing my own uteruslast_img read more

ROYCE Simmons says he was always confident Saints

first_imgROYCE Simmons says he was always confident Saints would grab their first win of the season over Wigan.His charges beat their closest rivals 26-18 to earn a week off and a home tie in the Semi Finals.“I always thought we had that performance in us,” he said. “We have had a draw and three defeats to the Warriors but on two of those occasions we have been close.“On one they beat us in the final 20 seconds and in the cup game the stats said we could have won but a couple of great individual tries beat us on the say.“So I came here confident we could do the job and we did.“Our combinations have been training well together and getting on a bit of a roll and that is beginning to show.“Today, our half backs were terrific. They played square and took the line on too. It is hard to defend against a team that does that.“I thought they kicked well too. They hit the grass a lot in the first half but in the second the wind made it tougher.“I said to them at half time that we needed to keep on playing and not just survive and we did that – but in the last 15 minutes went away from that gameplan.“We started to run a bit one out and weren’t making good ground as a result. We were thinking about drifting and covering up. We can’t do that in the play offs as quality sides will come and get you. We need to play positive.”He continued: “At times though I thought we had ‘hit me’ on our foreheads. We must have copped several high tackles during the game and when Sam Tomkins got one we got penalised. I was very disappointed with the referee’s performance.“We know they are great side in terms of contact and their work on the ground in – I’m not criticising that – slowing the ball down. But, I was telling the players to make sure they got up quicker and we were getting penalised for that and the high shots.“The blood bin wasn’t great either. Sia came off and put his jumper on and they scrum down and within two plays score. That might be the right call but I will look into that. I thought the performance was very poor. “Simmons says his side will enjoy the weekend off and the rest could see Gary Wheeler, Chris Flannery, Kyle Eastmond and Leon Pryce return to the fold… if selected.Mega Sale! Saints Superstore and www.saintssuperstore.com are holding a Mega Sale with hundreds of items now reduced in price.As the Saints look ahead to the challenge of reaching another Grand Final, why not take this chance to deck yourself out in official merchandise to show your colours.Retro shirts priced from just £5, T-shirts from just 50p and polos and jackets from just £5, are just a few of the lines that have been flying out the door.ISC Trainingwear reductions of up to Half Price, plus Kooga Training wear and protection all at half price are certain to be snapped up fast. Get yourself down to the store and grab yourself a bargain today. Whilst stocks last!last_img read more

Ice keeps trash trucks off Wilmington roads another day

first_imgIce and snow covers 3rd St. in Wilmington on January 5, 2017 (Photo: Jenna Kurzyna/WWAY) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Trash service has one again been canceled for Friday because of hazardous roads.The City of Wilmington says while some roads in town are passable, most neighborhood streets remain very icy, making it difficult for the large trash trucks to safely navigate. It also poses safety problems for workers on the back of trucks.- Advertisement – There will be limited pick up in the Commercial Business District downtown after noon today.Crews may work Saturday to try and make up some of the pick up for Thursday and Friday routes, if ice on the roads has melted enough.The city says all trash/recycling will be picked up as quickly as possible in the next several days. The city asks residents for patience until the roads are passable and appreciates their cooperation.Related Article: Wilmington neighbors lose battle to stop ‘inappropriate’ constructionThe city will pick up all extra trash at no charge, customers are just asked to place the extra bags next to the trash cart. Yard waste & bulky item pickup will take a little longer to catch up, but the city expects to be back to a normal schedule by Thursday of next week.last_img read more

Mumps virus postpones away game for UNCW basketball team

first_imgWILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — An upcoming away game for the UNCW men’s basketball team at James Madison University has been postponed due to suspected cases of mumps.The game was scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 8 on the Harrisonburg, Virginia campus.- Advertisement – The Seahawks and Dukes were slated to square off at 7 p.m. at the JMU Convocation Center before league and school officials decided to postpone the contest. UNCW edged JMU, 71-68, in the first pairing between the two teams on Jan. 25 in Wilmington.“It’s unfortunate, but we certainly understand, and send along our best wishes to all those who are affected,” said UNCW Head Coach C.B. McGrath. “Our foremost concern is the health and well-being of the student-athletes at JMU. We look forward to getting back on the court Saturday with our Homecoming game vs. Hofstra.”Brought on by the mumps virus, Mumps is a viral disease whose initial symptoms include fever, muscle pain, headache and feeling tired.Related Article: Mind-altering breast milk? New pot study poses that questionThe last time the Seahawks had a game postponed was Jan. 22, 2016, when UNCW’s game at Drexel was delayed one day due to a crippling snowstorm in the Philadelphia area.last_img read more

Alan Cutler set to file seeking Pender County Sheriff position

first_img “I am humbled and blessed to be in the conversation for Pender County Sheriff,” Cutler said in a campaign press release. “I would be lost without the love and support from my family, friends, and neighbors.”Cutler has served for thirty years in law enforcement.Cutler’s campaign says he hopes the voters will concentrate on the experience and integrity each candidate brings to the table. PENDER COUNTY, NC – Alan Cutler plans to make his candidacy for Pender County Sheriff official when filing begins Monday, February 12.Current Sheriff Carson Smith has served for 16 years in the position. He plans to not seek re-election in order to run for a State House district position.- Advertisement – last_img

Brunswick Co man faces child porn charges

first_imgBRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A Brunswick County man faces a slew of charges for child pornography after an investigation involving the Department of Homeland Security, according to District Attorney Jon David.Justin Brochure, 36, was arrested Thursday.- Advertisement – The District Attorney said Brochure was originally booked on a $1 million bond, but bonded out on a $100,000 bond.Oak Island Police were involved in the investigation before the District Attorney said Brochure moved to Leland after the investigation began.The District Attorney said Brochure is facing charges for downloading images of child porn.last_img

Crowd skates into Wilmington indoor ice rink to get relief from heat

first_img The Wilmington Ice House is the perfect place to cool off.Ice House Skating School Director Karen Butler and Former Competitive Skater Marilyn Barstow agree that skating is a perfect way to cool off on a hot day.“The rink is actually very popular with summer camp a lot of boys and girls camps and other camps in in town so during the summer months every day we have a public skate session and we’ll have camps out here and it gets very busy,” Butler said.Related Article: As weather warms take steps to stay safe in sun“We’re just so fortunate to have this place and it’s fun any time of year but especially when it’s hot out this is a wonderful place to come,” Barstow said.On a day like today the rink isn’t too busy due to school still being in session, but Butler expects an increase of skaters in the weeks to come. Wilmington Ice House on May 29, 2019. (Photo: WWAY) NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — While many of us are trying to beat the heat and will continue to have to find ways to stay cool for the next couple of days, some in the area have the perfect way to keep themselves nice and cold.Ironically, summertime is actually a very popular time of year for ice skating whether it’s free skate, private lessons or camp.- Advertisement – last_img read more