The minister for disabled people has admitted to complete ignorance about the model that lies at the heart of his government’s programme of disability benefit reforms.Justin Tomlinson (pictured) was asked what his thoughts were about the biopsychosocial (BPS) model of disability in a question-and-answer session at a meeting of the all-party parliamentary disability group on Tuesday.Ministers have repeatedly spoken of how the BPS model is central to their disability benefit reform programme, and successive governments have relied on it to justify slashing disability benefits for more than a decade.Ellen Clifford, from Inclusion London, told the meeting – while Tomlinson was out of the room voting – that the BPS model would be “underpinning” the government’s health and work green paper, which will be published later this year.She said that comments by new work and pensions secretary Stephen Crabb earlier in the meeting about the need for closer integration between work and health showed that this green paper would also be based on the BPS model.She said BPS was a “punitive” approach which “locates the problem within the individual” and had been shown to be “not an effective way of supporting disabled people into employment”.In response to her question, which was read to him on his return from voting, Tomlinson said that the BPS name sounded “really impressive”, and added: “I will let somebody much greater than me decide what’s the right thing.”He then added: “I’m afraid I don’t even know what it is.”Earlier this month, new research by three disabled academics concluded that the BPS model “does not represent evidence-based policy”, and was riddled with inconsistencies, misleading statements and “unevidenced” claims.BPS under-pinned Labour’s new out-of-work disability benefit employment and support allowance (ESA) and its work capability assessment (WCA), which was introduced in 2008 and has since been linked repeatedly to health relapses, episodes of self-harm, and even suicides and other deaths, among those who have been assessed and found fit for work.It has also “played a key role” in the tightening of eligibility criteria for ESA and other disability benefits by the subsequent coalition and Tory governments, and the introduction of the new personal independence payment and universal credit.The three academics said in their research that the BPS model argued that it was “the negative attitudes of many ESA recipients that prevent them from working, rather than their impairment or health condition”, essentially branding many benefit claimants “scroungers”.This allows supporters of BPS – including a string of Labour and Tory government ministers – to draw a distinction “between ‘real’ incapacity benefit claimants, with long-term and incurable health conditions, and ‘fake’ benefit claimants, with short-term illness”.Clifford said after the meeting that the minister’s ignorance about the BPS was “really concerning”, because it had been pivotal to the government’s policies on disability benefits and was the “fundamental model on which welfare reform is based”.She said: “Since 2010, that model has not only failed disabled people but caused untold avoidable suffering and harm.“His response suggests that he doesn’t actually know what he is doing.”
The solicitor general has agreed to appeal the allegedly “unduly lenient” sentences handed down to three people jailed for offences connected with the murder of a disabled man who was imprisoned and tortured to death.But the solicitor general, the Tory MP Robert Buckland, has refused to appeal against the sentence handed to James Wheatley, the man who murdered 24-year-old Lee Irving (pictured).His decisions have caused further confusion about the law on sentencing disability hate crimes, and its application by the criminal justice system.Wheatley, 29, from Kenton Bar, Newcastle, repeatedly kicked, punched and stamped on Irving in attacks that took place over nine days, leaving him with multiple broken bones and other injuries.After he died, his body was taken on a pushchair through a housing estate and dumped on a patch of grass near the A1.Wheatley was found guilty of murder and was sentenced to life in prison, and will have to serve at least 23 years.But if the murder had been dealt with by the judge as a disability hate crime, he would have had to serve a minimum of 30 years in prison.Three other defendants – Wheatley’s mother Julie Mills, 52, girlfriend Nicole Lawrence, 22, and lodger Barry Imray, 35 – were also jailed for offences connected with Irving’s death, Mills to eight years, Lawrence to four years, and Imray to three.Northumbria police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had treated Irving’s death as a disability hate crime, but the judge had instead increased Wheatley’s sentence on the less serious basis of Irving’s “vulnerability”, after deciding there was not enough evidence to prove any of the offences were motivated by disability-related hostility.Lee’s aunt, Lisa Irving, told Disability News Service that the family were “immensely thankful that the attorney general has decided to reopen this case”.She joined with the Disability Hate Crime Network (DHCN) late last year to write to the attorney general to ask him to appeal the sentences on the grounds that the offences were disability hate crimes*.She said last night (Wednesday): “The trial was particularly harrowing for our family and friends to endure, though it was important we attended and showed our support.“This concluded with what we believed to be inadequate sentencing, not just for Julie and Nikki, but for James also.”She believes that Imray, who himself has learning difficulties, was probably a victim of disability hate crime himself and was forced by Wheatley to help him cover up his crimes.She added: “To be told the motivation for the murder was not Lee’s disability is hard to comprehend.“Lee was targeted, manipulated and isolated because of his disabilities.“Someone without Lee’s condition would have been able to potentially spot signs of danger, as well as able to remove themselves from any harmful situation.“Make no mistake, this was very much a crime motivated by disability.”She added: “No words will ever portray the hurt and anguish [of] Lee’s death to the full extent, but it is imperative that the correct sentences are handed out for our sense of closure and justice, as well as a deterrent for others, so it is particularly disappointing that James’ sentence has not been re-examined.”CPS also wrote to the attorney general late last year, “to seek leave to appeal the sentences of Barry Imray, Julie Mills and Nicole Lawrence, on the grounds that the original sentences did not adequately reflect the severity of their offending”.But a CPS spokesman had failed to say by 1pm today (Thursday) whether part of its argument was that the offences should have been sentenced as disability hate crimes, and why it did not seek leave to appeal Wheatley’s sentence.Anne Novis, a DHCN coordinator who leads for Inclusion London on disability hate crime, said she was disappointed that the Wheatley sentence had not been referred to the court of appeal, although she welcomed the decision to look again at the sentencing in the other cases.She said the case highlighted the continuing confusion in the criminal justice system about its treatment of “vulnerability” and disability hate crime.She said she hoped that the issue of disability hate crime would be addressed in the appeal hearing, but she added: “Being so disappointed in the past around sentencing, I wouldn’t get my hopes up in respect of a just outcome.”A spokeswoman for Buckland has declined to say whether disability hate crime played any part in the decision to appeal.She confirmed that the sentences for Mills, Lawrence and Imray had been referred to the court of appeal under the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme, with the hearing set for 7 March.She added: “After careful consideration, the solicitor general has decided not to refer the life sentence passed on James Wheatley to the court of appeal. “He concluded that the minimum term of 23 years to be served by the offender before he will be considered for release would not be increased by the court of appeal.”She said she could not comment on “the arguments in respect of the three sentences”, which “will be set out by counsel at the court of appeal hearing”.*Section 146 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 imposes a duty on the court to increase sentences for offences motivated by disability-related hostility, while the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 doubles to 30 years the starting point for sentences for disability hate crime murders
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) failed five times to follow its own safeguarding rules in the weeks leading up to the suicide of a disabled woman with a long history of mental distress, an independent investigation has found.The Independent Case Examiner (ICE) concluded that DWP was guilty of “multiple” and “significant” failings in handling the case of mother-of-nine Jodey Whiting (pictured), who had her out-of-work disability benefits stopped for missing a work capability assessment (WCA), and took her own life just 15 days later.The reportis the latest evidence of the institutional failure of DWP to guarantee thesafety of disabled people – and particularly those with a history of mentaldistress – withinthe “fitness for work” system.DWP hasaccepted the report’s findings.Whiting’smother, Joy Dove, has now called for DWP and those staff responsible to face a criminalinvestigation for the failures that led to the death of her much-loved daughter,who she described as a “lovely, caring, thoughtful” person who adored herchildren and grandchildren.She said herdaughter had died a “martyr” and that campaigners were right to say that theTory government had created a “hostile environment for disabled people”.The42-year-old had been taking 23 tablets a day at the time she died, forconditions including scoliosis and bipolar disorder, and had been takingmorphine twice daily.She had beena long-time claimant of incapacity benefit, and then employment and supportallowance (ESA), and DWP and its assessors had previously noted the severity ofher mental health condition, and the risk that would be posed if she was foundfit for work.When she wasapproached again for another assessment in the autumn of 2016, she told DWPabout her suicidal thoughts and requested a home assessment as she said sherarely left the house. But eventhough a “flag” was placed on DWP’s ESA system to alert staff that she was a“vulnerable” claimant because of her mental health condition, DWP failed torefer her request for a home visit to Maximus, the company that carries out WCAson its behalf.Maximus alsofailed to act on her request, even though it had been included in the ESA50form she had filled out.But this wasjust the first of five serious failings by DWP in the weeks leading up to herdeath, the ICE report has concluded.Whiting,from Stockton, Teesside, failed to open a letter asking her to attend aface-to-face assessment on 16 January 2017, and so missed the WCA.She had beenill with pneumonia and receiving hospital treatment for a cyst on the brain andhad been taking painkillers which affected her ability to cope with correspondence.DWP’ssafeguarding procedures say the department should contact vulnerable claimantsby telephone if they miss their assessment, but the ICE investigation found noevidence that this had been done.It shouldalso consider a safeguarding visit to the claimant’s home, but again there wasno evidence this was done, the ICE report says.Afterreceiving a letter asking her to explain her failure to attend the WCA, Whitingtold DWP that she had not received the letter about the assessment andexplained about her pneumonia and hospital treatment.She said herGP wanted the department to write to the surgery so the doctor could providedetailed information about her health.But DWPfailed to write to the GP, its fourth failure to protect Jodey Whiting fromserious harm.On 6February, a DWP decision-maker wrote to Whiting to say that she had provided noproof of the pneumonia and failing to receive the letter about the assessmentand so her ESA would be stopped.But thedecision-maker appears to have failed to consider her mental health history inmaking that decision, says ICE. This wasDWP’s fifth separate failure to follow its own safeguarding guidance. Whitingphoned DWP to protest the decision to stop her ESA and then an adviser fromCitizen’s Advice wrote to DWP on her behalf on 15 February to explain thesituation and request another assessment, and explained that she had been givena foodbank voucher.DWP claims itnever received this letter.Six dayslater, on 21 February 2017 – two years ago today – Jodey Whiting took her ownlife. Her body was discovered by her mother.The reportby the Independent Case Examiner, Joanna Wallace, says: “In total there havebeen five opportunities for DWP processes to prompt particular consideration ofJodey’s mental health status and give careful consideration to her case becauseof it – none of those were taken.”She concludesthat there were “multiple failings in the handling of Jodey’s case prior to hersuicide”.Wallace’sreport, addressed to Jodey Whiting’s mother, adds: “I find it extremelydisappointing that in investigating the complaints you have raised, we haveseen that DWP have either failed to investigate, or failed to acknowledge, theextent of events in Jodey’s case. “As such thefacts of the case have not been made clear to you and no appropriate apologyhas been made.”DWP hasagreed to the ICE recommendation that it should pay £10,000 to the family as a“consolatory” payment for its “repeated failures to follow their safeguardingprocedures” and other failings that took place after her death (see separate story). Joy Dove, whohas campaigned for justice – including through her Justice forJodey petition – said her daughter had “died a martyr”.She said: “Ihope she has not died in vain.”She said theway DWP had treated her daughter showed that campaigners have been right toaccuse the Tory government of creating a “hostile environment for disabledpeople”.She said shecried when she read the ICE report because she believes it vindicates herbelief that DWP was responsible for her daughter’s death. Now she wantsto see DWP itself and the staff responsible for her daughter’s death face acriminal investigation.She said:“What they have done is criminal. They had all the information in front ofthem. Five times they failed. “I wouldlike to see them charged, all of them who had anything to do with Jodey’s case.“I’m notfrightened of them. They can do what they want.”She said shewas grateful to ICE for its report exposing DWP’s serious failings, and nowwants to see changes by DWP to prevent another death like her daughter’s.She said herown health had suffered because of what happened to her daughter – she herselfis an ESA claimant – and the struggle to secure justice for her, and that she hadfallen into debt because of her efforts to provide a fitting funeral for herdaughter in 2017.Despitethose financial struggles, part of her sees the £10,000 as “blood money” andwants it to go to charity.Jodey’s ninechildren are now aged between 18 and 27. She had six grandchildren at the timeshe died. Another four have been born since she died.She said:“They have been denied their grandmother. She loved her grandchildren and shenever met four of them.”She thankedCitizen’s Advice in Stockton, whose staff have worked on the case for twoyears.She alsothanked all those who have supported the family over the last two years,including strangers who have contacted her through social media and sharedtheir own experiences of other cases in which DWP’s policies and procedureshave led to the deaths of disabled benefit claimants.A DWPspokesperson refused to say if the department accepted that its ownsafeguarding failings had helped cause Jodey Whiting’s death.And sherefused to say if the five separate failings in just one case showed it wastime for DWP to accept that it had a serious institutional problem around thesafeguarding of vulnerable benefit claimants.But she saidin a statement: “We apologise to Ms Whiting’s family for the failings in how wehandled her case and the distress this caused them. “Ourthoughts are with them at this difficult time and we are providingcompensation. “We fullyaccept the Independent Case Examiner’s findings and are reviewing ourprocedures to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”A Maximusspokesperson said: “We offer our sincere sympathies to the family of Ms Whitingat this difficult time. “[Maximus]will examine the ICE report in detail to understand what lessons can be learnt.“We alwaysreview the capability for work questionnaire and any accompanying medicalevidence to establish if a face-to-face assessment is required. “Thisincludes consideration of whether an individual is able to attend an assessmentcentre by public transport or taxi.”Samaritans canbe contacted free, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, by calling 116 123 oremailing email@example.com
Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% The farro here is served porridge-like, with earthy porcini mushrooms, greens, parmesan, and a Meyer lemon pistou (a sauce similar to a pesto), and more grilled bread. Pure comfort food. This and a glass or two of wine on a rainy day would be perfect as a meal.Our final small plate was the brandade gnocchi , another unexpected rendering of a well-known dish. The milky cheese is tarted up with a creamy nettle puree, meyer lemon chili oil, smoked walnuts, and batons of grilled walnut levain. Hit all the right flavor and texture notes.Next up, toasted farro (a wheat grain, often used like rice or pasta) with a slow-cooked egg. Our first small plate was the pastrami-cured beef salad… Hot damn, is all I can say, to a bowl of browned noodles and melty, creamy, drunken Spanish goat cheese. So much for not making pigs of ourselves.I’m sorry we didn’t get dessert, both times. It’s probably fantastic. A girl and her man can only do so much.The service here both times was warm and friendly; it feels like these people are a family, and you’ve just stopped in to have dinner with them. The wine list was obviously made with care (I love that you can get a flight of rosés, or an Oloroso sherry, pre-dinner (both of which I did); and the BF had two glasses of the Spanish Bobal our server recommended to him, which almost never happens.)Blue Plate isn’t cheap eats, but I felt the value in every wonderful bite. Comfort food done well, with quality, locally sourced ingredients, and attention to innovative combinations, shouldn’t be something you don’t pay for.The BF asked me if I felt this restaurant was better than a few of our favorite, comparable spots in the Mission. Honestly? Blew them away. Blue Plate just offers what feel like personal touches, more eye-opening experiences, and more refinement, even in that very warm, down-to-earth setting, than most places we’ve eaten at in a very long time. I haven’t been to Blue Plate in over a decade, and I’m kicking myself for it. This beloved, upscale “diner” has been around for 17 years. Back in 1999, four friends got together and decided to open a restaurant. Their vision of a casual spot with upmarket food has continued to evolve, and there are often surprises on their American comfort food menu.It is very much a neighborhood joint, with a nice, homespun feel to it. You can sit at the counter and watch Chef de Cuisine Sean Thomas and his staff do their little magic dance of delicious things; you can sit in the homey (this used to be a house, after all) dining room, with its burnt-orange walls, artwork and tchotchkes (like your arty, hipster Aunt, who has impeccable but accessible taste, decorated your pad for you); you can sit in the light-filled, enclosed back porch and look out at the beautiful garden; or you can sit in the beautiful garden, with its lush greenery, fruit trees, aqua-tiled fountain, and heat lamps to keep you cozy on a San Francisco summer day. It’s all very, very good. This was one of the delightfully surprising tastes of the night. As Chef Thomas said to us (he chats with customers at the counter – another perk of sitting there – and will recommend his favorites to you if asked), this was like biting into a fresh and light Reuben sandwich, without the actual pastrami. The dish is composed of beets, Gruyere, frisee, a Rangpur lime vinaigrette, and a horseradish-caraway thousand island dressing. The beets were beautifully smoky, and that dressing mimicked a good bite of rye bread. This dish may have stolen the show for me that night, if only by a nose.Our second dish was the burrata: The porchetta, in all its glory. Just look at it! I do believe this was (rather embarrassingly) my first actual porchetta, and it was a wonderful introduction, with its ring of crispy/crackly skin, and meltingly tender pork stuffed with less-sweet-than-I’d-imagined prunes, walnuts, watercress and wild rice. It was just a gorgeous piece of meat, napped in a Seville orange chimichurri and its own juices. But, Oh! That skin!Our second visit we sat on the lovely back porch… The BF and I had an exceptionally wonderful meal our first night, where every dish just sang. We shared four “small” plates (be warned: at least a couple of them could easily have served as an entrée) and split a main dish. While this dish was called a Winter chicory salad, it evoked Fall to me, with its crispy parsnips and apple butter. The cara-cara oranges, definitely a Winter fruit, were their delicious juicy selves, and paired nicely with the slight bitterness of the greens. The creamy pecorino vinaigrette brought all the disparate flavors together.Next, we ordered the house–cured, smoked duck prosciutto. We decided to not be such piggies this time. We started off with a salad. Brandade is the French preparation of salt cod and olive oil, a creamy spread rather like an aioli, sometimes with the addition of mashed potatoes for more substance. It’s a rich, satisfying dish. The gnocchi here were made in the Parisian style, with a pâte à choux – a light pastry dough – rather than the Italian way which uses potatoes or flour. This was the second time I’d run into this preparation for gnocchi in about a week, and I was liking the trend. The gnocchi turn out light yet substantial. The salt cod flavor isn’t as strong as it might be in other preparations, which was good for the seafood-disdaining BF. The gnocchi were paired with finocchiona – thick slices of fennel salami – pickled golden raisins, toasted almonds, and preserved lemon. The assertive bites of salami contrasted nicely, as did the sultanas and almonds, with the silky gnocchi.Finally, our entree: Here’s one of those astonishing moments the restaurant has up its sleeve. The dish was made up of beautifully smoky slices of tender duck, celery that had been marinated in pastis (an anise-flavored French aperitif), cannellini beans, and cocoa nibs, all napped in an orange blossom balsamic. This plate had me wondering throughout, what is that? And that? What IS it?? I knew what the components were, but the tastes and textures were confounding me. The celery had a bitter taste to it, not licorice-y as I expected from the pastis. The cocoa nibs added more crunch and yet another note of bitterness. The beans were a smooth, comforting element, and then every few bites I’d get a taste of something very flowery, perfumey, and finally figured out it was the large leaves of fresh oregano. The BF did not love this, and while I can’t say I’d definitely order it again, this dish more than any other made me think, pay attention to what I was eating. It felt like a puzzle, a mini adventure, right on my plate.We came back down to earth with one of Blue Plates’ most beloved favorites – the fried chicken. Everyone starts off with buttery, house-made focaccia. I’m always a little surprised when a restaurant does boneless fried chicken, but let’s not quibble here. That’s some mighty fine chicken, bones or no. Wonderfully crispy, crunchy, and juicy well-seasoned, and paired with a genius dipping sauce of cool, smoked jalapeño buttermilk dressing (they like to smoke things here, and they do it well) that I would like to swim in. The mac salad that came with it wasn’t my favorite (fried chicken sides rarely are), so it was a good thing we’d ordered the macaroni and cheese… Blue Plate3218 Mission St.San Francisco, CA 94110415-282-6777www.blueplatesf.com 0%
FOR the second week running, viewing figures on Sky Sports scaled new heights for the Stobart Super League when St Helens’ inaugural game at Langtree Park against Salford City Reds attracted the third highest ever average television audience on the Sky platform since the Super League was established in 1996.The average audience for the match surpassed last season’s Grand Final, the highest rated Rugby League programme on Sky Sports in 2011, by an increase of three per cent.It was also the top rated programme on Sky Sports eclipsing amongst others the Aviva Premiership’s match between Sale Sharks and Worcester Warriors by more than 240,000 viewers.“It is a fantastic start to the Stobart Super League season on Sky Sports,” said Super League’s Chief Operating Officer Ralph Rimmer. “The viewing figures are at an all-time high for the sport at the start of the season and it shows how attractive the 2012 season promises to be. We have a tremendous growing audience right across the country. It is a great platform to raise the visibility and profile of our players, clubs and all our partners.”Attendances across the Super League are also up compared to the same period 12 months ago. The average attendance at last weekend’s Round 2 fixtures was 11,213 – an increase of 31 per cent on the corresponding fixtures in 2011.“The majority of our clubs have seen an increase in season ticket holders compared to previous years, which very satisfying in what are financially testing times for the economy,” added Rimmer. “The Stobart Super League is one of the finest sporting spectacles around and every game offers great entertainment at affordable prices compared to other mainstream sports. All the clubs should be credited for their proactive and creative efforts in trying to encourage more fans to watch games live.”
WE preview tonight’s clash with Bradford Bulls on the latest edition of the Saints In Touch Podcast.Nathan Brown and Jordan Turner talk about the match whilst we also hear from Anthony Laffranchi.The Italian international tell us his future plans.The weekly Podcast is the ideal way to keep up to date with the Saints and can be found on iTunes.It is in association with our good friends at Citytalk 105.9.To listen, simply click here or search for St Helens RFC on iTunes – you can also hear past episodes there too.Remember if you want a question answering on the Podcast drop us a line @saints1890 on Twitter or email us here.
SAINTS returned to winning ways with a 34-16 win over local rivals Widnes Vikings.They ran in six tries in a solid performance that included two wonder scores from Matty Fleming and Tommy Makinson.But they also made tackles when it mattered to close the gap to Leeds to four points.Saints began the game well but couldn’t press home their early dominance.Luke Walsh, starting for the first time this season, put up a spinning high ball which was caught on his boot laces by Rhys Hanbury – and then Saints’ had another six right on Widnes’ line.Jon Wilkin almost broke through in the fifth minute and Saints then three sets on Widnes’ line before Walsh’s reverse kick was almost collected by Tommy Makinson.Widnes weathered that early storm and forced two repeats sets of their own, through two drop outs.Saints were up to the task but after all their territorial advantage and chances, it was Widnes who scored first through Kevin Brown.Jack Owens tagging on the extras.Saints hit back as Walsh pinpointed a potential intercept opportunity and snaffled it to go under the posts.Seconds later Saints were ahead and it was thanks to a bullocking run from James Roby.He created the space for Travis Burns to dart over from close range.Saints were on top but a nice pass in the centre of the field allowed Joe Mellor to scamper form distance to level it up at half time.Saints began the second half, like the first, on the front foot.Walsh chipped through to Burns who was clearly taken out on his way to the ball – but nothing was called – and then another high ball from the scrum half caused Hanbury more problems.The hosts were clearly on top and finally got the try their play deserved when Walsh caught Walmsley on a great line.Mark Percival almost sparked a wonder try on 55 minutes before, two minutes later, Makinson stopped a certain Matt Whitley try with a tackle right out of the top drawer. Saints should have scored on the hour mark – the try being pulled back for a knock on that looked harsh – and Widnes duly went up the other end and scored through Whitley.Cunningham’s men hit back in real style.Jon Wilkin found a gap and sent Tommy Makinson on his way down the middle. Hanbury pulled off the tackle but the ball went right through Walsh and Percival for Matty Fleming to scorch over in the corner.Widnes came again but on the last they kicked to Tommy Makinson and he produced a special try right of the top drawer.He collected, stepped, ran on an angle and scampered 80 metres.Wonderful.Mark Percival rounding off the win with a try, under the posts, on his return.Match Summary:Saints:Tries: Walsh, Burns, Walmsley, Fleming, Makinson, PercivalGoals: Burns (5 from 6)Vikings: Tries: Brown, Mellor, WhitleyGoals: Owens (2 from 3)Penalties: Saints: 3Vikings: 6HT: 12-12FT: 34-16REF: Phil BenthamATT: 11,271Teams:Saints: 2. Tommy Makinson; 30. Matty Fleming, 4. Josh Jones, 3. Jordan Turner, 5. Adam Swift; 6. Travis Burns, 7. Luke Walsh; 10. Kyle Amor, 9. James Roby, 8. Mose Masoe, 13. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 12. Jon Wilkin, 18. Luke Thompson.Subs: 14. Alex Walmsley, 17. Mark Percival. 19. Greg Richards, 25. Andre Savelio.Vikings: 1. Rhys Hanbury; 15. Jack Owens, 3. Cameron Phelps, 14. Chris Dean, 4. Stefan Marsh; 6. Kevin Brown, 7. Joe Mellor; 8. Eamon O’Carroll, 9. Lloyd White, 35. Gil Dudson, 28. Matt Whitley, 11. Danny Galea, 24. Macgraff Leuluai.Subs: 10. Manase Manuokafoa, 16. Willie Isa, 25. Alex Gerrard, 33. Aaron Heremaia.
NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — New Hanover County has released its fourth opioid epidemic public service announcement.New Hanover County’s Communications and Outreach Department announced it has produced the fourth of six public service announcements aimed at raising awareness of the local opioid epidemic and its impact on the entire community.- Advertisement – The county said its fourth PSA features a simple message that there is hope and there is help for individuals and families impacted by the opioid epidemic.To view the PSA and find more resources about opioid abuse, click here.
Bladen Community College (Photo: NC Association of Community Colleges) BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Bladen Community College is closing at 5:30 p.m. and cancelling all evening classes due to a nearby standoff.The college is still on lockdown and the buildings are being evacuated one at a time with the help of law enforcement, according to BCC Public Information Officer Cathy Kinlaw.- Advertisement – No buildings will be open after 5:30 p.m.Not far from the college, at the intersection of Paul Brisson Road and Highway 410, a man identified by the Bladen County Sheriff’s Office as Mackenzie Brisson barricaded himself in his home and allegedly began firing at deputies.Several roads were blocked off in the area.Related Article: Trump confidant Stone is arrested, says he’s falsely accusedA negotiator is on scene.Nearby public schools were also placed on lockdown, but that was lifted during dismissal so the students could be sent home.We’ll have an update tonight on WWAY News.
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A former New Hanover County Teacher of the Year who was recently charged with a DWI has resigned.A spokewoman for New Hanover County Schools says Meredeth Kokoski left the job in November.- Advertisement – In October, Kokoski was arrested and charged with DWI after flipping her car on Orange Street in Wilmington. She was also suspended from teaching after an investigation was launched into alleged inappropriate relations with two students dating back to 2016.Kokoski was New Hanover County’s Teacher of the Year in 2014.