The sublime theatrics and pacing of Metal Gear Solid 4 | Why I Love

first_imgThe sublime theatrics and pacing of Metal Gear Solid 4 | Why I LoveNomina Games co-founder Darrel Wijaya talks about Hideo Kojima’s interactive cinematic blockbusterDarrel WijayaTuesday 28th July 2020Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareWhy I Love is a series of guest editorials on GamesIndustry.biz intended to showcase the ways in which game developers appreciate each other’s work. This entry was contributed by Darrel Wijaya, Co-Founder of Nomina Games who are currently developing the PC old-school RPG adventure The Revenant Prince.I’ve always adored games that are extremely theatrical. Subtleties of camera, movement, and dialogue can make all the difference, yet most games don’t treat this filmic minutia with much care. Yet as a kid growing up in the PS3 era, there was one game that blew my mind open with how games could adopt the language of film: Metal Gear Solid 4. It was one of the first games I really sunk my teeth into, that inspired me to become the game developer I am today. Metal Gear Solid 4 was a masterpiece in fully fledged dynamic storytelling that seemed as well crafted as any film I’d experienced.Lengthy single-player games have always been a mainstay in the medium and Metal Gear Solid 4 utilized this type of game to flex its narrative components to their maximum effect. Player character Old Snake, being a rugged aging soldier, tries to make do with his impaired physicality and fulfill his mission as perhaps the world’s greatest soldier. The premise, albeit simple, is littered with breathtaking experiences and interesting gameplay mechanics that make it a remarkable title to this day, and maybe the pinnacle of director Hideo Kojima’s work.”What’s so brilliant about MGS4 is that its gameplay meshes so well with the narrative, that it’s almost as if the game itself was authored to play out like a classic film” On the surface it might seem rather silly. The characters can be cheesy. The dialogue, although nicely written, can be a bit wordy, and nonsensical for new players. However, its scenes don’t hold anything back when it comes to futuristic action and wartime melodrama. What’s so brilliant about MGS4 is that its gameplay meshes so well with the narrative, that it’s almost as if the game itself was authored to play out like a classic film.For example, the final boss utilizes the UI as well as camera movements to pay homage to the series’ history. As it shifts from the top-down perspective of old Metal Gear titles to a more contemporary behind-the-shoulder view, it signifies how both the characters and the series itself has evolved over the course of a decade.In other words, it uses the language of film to get its themes across, even while you’re actively engaged in a battle. Hideo Kojima is known for making his games play out cinematically like this, making his directorial style completely distinguishable. There are many games especially in the current era attempting to adopt such a style, however MGS4 was one of the pioneers that attempted to accomplish such a feat.Kojima’s cinematic leanings are evident in the gameplay as wellBut aside from its stylistic flourishes, there was MGS4’s gameplay. While heavy on story, it wanted players to feel like an active participant in the adventure. One way it did this was by allowing the player to maneuver cameras or freely switch angles during a cutscene, giving a degree of player agency and freedom to what would normally be a non-interactive exposition dump.The meshing of gameplay and cutscenes is further blurred through an ingenious use of UI. Throughout the game Old Snake must manage a psych meter determining his mental state. So when something upsetting happens to him in a cutscene the psych meter, which is usually reserved for gameplay, pops up so we can both visualize his pain and feel it a bit ourselves, as we know we’ll have to re-enter the game’s survival and stealth gameplay in a weaker state.Gameplay does feel linear at times, where players are only meant to traverse through certain prescribed paths, but this allowed Kojima tighter control to implement his cinematic flourishes.For example, each boss fight is a uniquely crafted set piece, built around a bespoke setting that suits their lore. In one scene your AI companion Raiden is fighting antagonist Vamp atop a Metal Gear, while you must fend off incoming threats as Old Snake. To add a cinematic flair to this, the game suddenly opts for a split-screen perspective where we watch the Vamp/Raiden battle play out on one half of the screen, while we control Old Snake in the other. It can be overwhelming and difficult to pay attention to, but that’s on purpose as it captures the climactic chaos of this multi-person battle.Related JobsSenior Game Designer – UE4 – AAA United Kingdom Amiqus GamesProgrammer – REMOTE – work with industry veterans! North West Amiqus GamesJunior Video Editor – GLOBAL publisher United Kingdom Amiqus GamesDiscover more jobs in games The music also is worth mentioning, as its bombastic score feels more akin to blockbuster films of the late 2000s than a typical video game. Kojima is an ardent film buff, and his games are littered with movie references as well as thematic settings that may as well scream, “I love Western media!” Yet while the earlier games in the series had triumphant, heroic scores, MGS4 opts for something more somber and melancholic to reflect the protagonists age. At the time it was very unusual for an action game to wallow in sadness, but MGS4 took its often cheesy story seriously, and that sincerity comes across in its unwaveringly epic soundtrack.Metal Gear Solid 4 still has a place in my heart as one of the most captivating futuristic games of its era. It tackled story and gameplay divinely on their own accord, but also cohesively as a whole unified piece. We see many games like this today, but none feel as inventive or influential to me as Metal Gear Solid 4 did all those years ago.Developers interested in contributing their own Why I Love column are encouraged to reach out to us at [email protected] employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Daily Update and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesSuper Metroid knew how to tell a story and set a mood | Why I LoveDecemberborn Interactive’s Eric Lavesson explores what keeps bringing him back to the Super Nintendo sequel decades laterBy Eric Lavesson 3 months agoPokémon Crystal keeps us interested by telling us less | Why I LoveOcean’s Heart developer Max Mraz digs into the enduring mysteries of the classic Pokémon adventureBy Max Mraz 3 months agoLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.last_img read more

Another Grand Prix victory for Hugh Graham at the Ottawa International

first_img Email* Hugh Graham of Schomberg, ON, scored a major grand prix win for the second week in a row, claiming victory in the $132,000 CSI3* Grand Prix on Saturday, July 21, at the CSI3* Ottawa International Horse Show, held at Wesley Clover Parks in Ottawa, ON. With the same mount, Knock Out 3E, Graham won the $50,000 Brookstreet Grand Prix on Saturday, July 14, during the Ottawa National Horse Show.“When you knock ’em dead two times in a row, you’ve got to be smiling!” said Graham who, at the age of 69, has already been inducted into the Jump Canada Hall of Fame. “Obviously winning back-to-back is a big deal, because there are a lot of people in this class, a lot of good horses, and a lot of good riders.”A veteran of Olympic, World Championship, and Pan American Games competition, Graham was one of eight riders from the original 29-horse starting field to jump clear over the first round track set by Ireland’s Alan Wade, who will also be the course designer at the upcoming FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon, NC. Graham was joined in the jump-off by seven other horse-rider combinations including 10-time Canadian Olympian Ian Millar and 2016 Olympic team silver medalist Lucy Davis of the United States.As the fifth rider to return for the jump-off, Graham was cheered on by the crowd as he sliced and diced his way around the course. Stopping the clock in 38.06 seconds, Graham took over the lead from Ottawa International Horse Show debutant Vanessa Mannix, 29, of Calgary, AB, who had posted a time of 39.29 seconds with her new mount, Hey Jude, a nine-year-old grey Belgian Warmblood gelding (Ugano Sitte x Mr. Blue).Three more would challenge Graham, with only Davis managing to leave all the rails in place with Caracho 14, a nine-year-old bay Holsteiner gelding (Dobel’s Cento x Acodetto) owned by Old Oak Farm. Their time, however, of 41.80 seconds would leave the pair in fourth place. Hyde Moffatt, 39, of Brantford, ON, took a gamble by leaving out a stride with his new ride, Ariel Grange’s Grafton, a 12-year-old chestnut selle francais stallion (Calvaro x Vondeen). While it paid off on the clock with a time of 38.82 seconds, a rail down left the pair in fifth place overall. When the final jump-off challenger, Courtney Vince, 38, of Burlington, ON, dropped a rail with Valetto JX, a 16-year-old grey Scottish Sport Horse gelding owned by Ashford Farm, Graham claimed the grand prix victory for the second week in a row.“I watched a couple go, and I saw what everybody was doing,” said Graham of his jump-off strategy. “I know my horse’s strengths, and I capitalized on them. He’s got a big stride, and he can motor. I’ve had lots of jumpers in my career, and all of them have had different strengths. I try to win with their strengths.”As for the secret to his longevity in the sport, Graham noted, “I ride every day and have fun. If it stops being fun, I won’t do it. Of course, when you have great horses, it gets you excited, and I think this is one of my best horses ever. I get excited when I get up in the morning to go ride.”Bred by his long-time supporter, KingRidge Stables of King City, ON, Graham has ridden Knock Out 3E for the duration of the horse’s career.“He’s a winner,” said Graham of the 12-year-old bay Canadian Sport Horse gelding (Jamestown x Class Action). “He’s been a winner his whole life. He won when he was a six-year-old; he won when he was a seven-year-old; he’s won about 10 grand prix so far, and now he’s won two here. This horse has got it all!”The CSI3* Ottawa International Horse Show culminates on Sunday with the $15,000 National Grand Prix beginning at 2:30 p.m.Admission to the CSI3* Ottawa International Horse Show is free, with donations to Wesley Clover Parks’ retired horse program gratefully accepted. Spectators are encouraged to come out and enjoy all of the family-friendly activities that the Ottawa Equestrian Tournaments have to offer.Visit www.OttawaEquestrianTournaments.com for more information on the CSI3* Ottawa International Horse Shows.$132,000 CSI3* Ottawa International Grand Prix – Saturday, July 21Rider/Horse/Faults/Time1. Hugh Graham, Knock Out 3E 0:0-38.062. Vanessa Mannix, Hey Jude 0:0-39.293. Beth Underhill, Count Me In 0:0-41.224. Lucy Davis, Caracho 14 0:0-41.805. Hyde Moffatt, Grafton 0:4-38.826. Ian Millar, Truman 0:4-40.337. Courtney Vince, Valetto JX 0:4-42.128. Jonathan McCrea, Aristoteles V 0:8-38.629. Jonathon Millar, Dublin 110. Keean White, Leilani 4 Tags: Beth Underhill, Hugh Graham, Vanessa Mannix, Knock Out 3E, $132000 CSI3* Grand Prix, We’ll send you our regular newsletter and include you in our monthly giveaways. PLUS, you’ll receive our exclusive Rider Fitness digital edition with 15 exercises for more effective riding. Horse Sport Enews Subscribe to the Horse Sport newsletter and get an exclusive bonus digital edition! More from Horse Sport:Christilot Boylen Retires From Team SportAfter an exemplary career as one of Canada’s top Dressage riders, seven-time Olympian Christilot Boylen has announced her retirement from team competition.2020 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair CancelledFor only the second time in its history, The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair has been cancelled but plans are being made for some virtual competitions.Royal Agricultural Winter Fair Statement on 2020 EventAs the Province of Ontario starts to reopen, The Royal’s Board and staff will adhere to all recommendations put forward by government and health officials.Government Financial Assistance for Ontario FarmersOntario Equestrian has recently released this update of several financial assistance packages available, including those for farm business. SIGN UP last_img read more

London is not a panacea

first_imgWhile local authorities are facing bus subsidy cuts, Manchester is poised to spend a massive £11.5m on working up a business case for franchisingLast week I was highly complimentary about Nusrat Ghani, the new buses minister, based on feedback from those who have met her since she took up office.Andy Burnham has ordered spending £11.5m to write a franchising business caseNow I’m getting quite complimentary reports about Matt Rodda, the new buses spokesman for the Labour Party. I’m told that, in private at least, he is keen to come up with sensible and pragmatic ideas and solutions that benefit passengers.Party lineIn public, of course, he will have to tow the party line that buses outside London must be re-regulated, but if in private he talks a more pragmatic talk, then there is some encouragement to be had.Meanwhile, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) is budgeting a cool £11.5m to prepare a business case for bus franchising.The Authority is well within its rights to prepare such a case and these things clearly don’t come cheap. Especially, when you take into account the need to have a case audited, consulted on and all the rest.But I am startled that it would cost this much.Then I recall being told that the GMCA was busy assessing the case for franchising even while the Bus Services Act was going through parliament, so what’s happened to all of that work?To be budgeting for £11.5m on top of all that historic work makes this whole exercise even more expensive.Then I wondered how many extra buses could be bought for £11.5m; I’m told at least 60. More importantly, I wonder how many tendered bus services could be subsidised by GMCA for £11.5m?I expect there are quite a few local authorities around the country who look enviously at the GMCA’s ability to budget £11.5m just to assess the case for franchising, let alone actually run a franchise system.But it’s hard to be too critical of the GMCA.It is within its rights to develop a case for franchising – or rather, to assess whether such a case exists and stands up to scrutiny.But it just strikes me as an incredibly expensive process especially if, having spent the £11.5m the Combined Authority concludes that the case for franchising doesn’t exist or is at best marginal.Andy Burnham, Greater Manchester’s Mayor has been quoted as saying that “London’s regulated system is light years ahead” of Manchester’s.London’s factsExcept, Mr Burnham, bus patronage in London is falling, and its regulated system costs an awful lot of money.Andy Burnham is a sensible politician. I just hope that, rather like Matt Rodda, what he says in public is not a true reflection of what he says behind closed doors.I hope he isn’t going to expose the taxpayers of Greater Manchester to the risky costs of franchising, when London shows that it is not a panacea.last_img read more

Earphunk Calls On The Main Squeeze For Super Jam In Sold-Out Atlanta Throwdown

first_imgProg-funk group Earphunk hosted a sold out performance at Atlanta’s Terminal West last night, September 12th. The show was filled with high energy, incredible improvisation, and a super jam to remember supported by an unexpected sensation, The Main Squeeze.Opening with a dark rendition of “Imperial March”, Earphunk seamlessly transitioned into a four song improvisational joy ride of phunk-tastic tunage. Following that up with a filthy cover of Billy Idol’s “White Wedding”, Earphunk displayed their versatility by segueing into the title track of their most recent studio album, Sweet Nasty. Earphunk came to play for keeps at Terminal West cementing stellar performance with a phunkified “Cantina Band” ditty and super jam with members from The Main Squeeze. Joining on stage was Ben “Smiley” Silverstein (keyboards) and Max Newman (guitar). This jam easily eclipsed the 10 minute mark while Newman and Earphunk guitarist, Paul Provosty, went toe-to-toe for a dueling guitar match of the century.From first note to the last sound fading away Earphunk put on a great one for the ATLiens in attendance. They’re showing a constant hunger, exploring the depth of improve that phunk phans crave. An impressive band night after night.Check out the full gallery of photos below, courtesy of Benjamin Adams PhotographySetlist: Earphunk at Terminal West, Atlanta, GA – 09/12/15Set One: Imperial March > Drove > Recoil > Laura, White Wedding > Sweet Nasty > Saura, (Cantina Band), Phine > Get Down 9—5 (Super Jam), MoshimoE: Omega, Species Load remaining imageslast_img read more

Nominations for Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award to close March 23

first_imgDAYTONA BEACH – The caution is out. Nominations for The NASCAR’s Foundation 2018 Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award will close on Friday, March 23, at midnight.The award honors the philanthropic ideals and vision of the late Betty Jane France, who started the foundation in 2006. The award is annually presented to a NASCAR fan who embodies those ideals through service in their community to help improve the health and wellbeing of children. This is the eighth year for the award; the winner will be decided through an online fan vote this fall.RELATED: Nominate someone todayThe Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award has produced nearly $1.23 million in donations to charities represented by each year’s four finalists. This year’s finalists for the award will be guaranteed a minimum $25,000 donation toward their efforts, with the winner receiving a $100,000 donation from The NASCAR Foundation to the children’s charity they represent.“We have received some outstanding nominations, but we want to be sure our fans know there is still time to nominate,” said The NASCAR Foundation Executive Director Nichole Krieger. “Already, it looks like we are going to have a tough job deciding who our four finalists will be, but that’s a great ‘problem’ to have.MORE: Catch up on Speediatrics Fun Day“The quality of nominees and their accomplishments each and every year is inspiring. There is so much good work being by NASCAR fans on behalf of children. We are proud to have a chance to honor some of those people doing that work.”To submit a nomination for the 2018 Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award, go to NASCAR.com/Award.last_img read more

New York City’s Blue Note To Launch Virtual Performance Series With Maurice “Mobetta” Brown

first_imgBlue Note New York has announced a new virtual concert series initiative that will feature live performances (without fans in attendance) streamed in real-time from the stage of the famed New York City jazz club.Branded as, Blue Note Streaming Live, the new series will debut this weekend with a performance from trumpet player Maurice “Mobetta” Brown and his backing band faturing Chelsea Baratz, James Francies, Joe Blaxx, Parker McAllister, and Nir Felder on Friday, July 24th at 8 p.m. ET. Fans will be able to watch and listen to the performance taking place inside the empty venue for an affordable fee of just $10 per show. Fans who would like to purchase a ticket but can’t tune in to the Friday night webcast will be able to watch the re-stream on Saturday, July 25th at 2 p.m. ET.Blue Note executives are hoping that this new series provides the struggling venue with simply any form of long-term financial sustainability, as there is currently no clear return date for traditional indoor concerts in New York City on the horizon.Related: Live Nation UK, MelodyVR Announce ‘Live From O2 Academy Brixton’ Virtual Reality Concert Series“I don’t anticipate opening Blue Note New York anytime soon. In the meantime, we are going to present live shows from the Blue Note’s stage to our international audience using the streaming format,” Steven Bensusan, President of Blue Note Entertainment Group added in a press statement with last week’s announcement. “The quality of the livestream experience is important to us, both in audio and video production and we will be working with a professional team using a multi-camera set-up to produce the series. We hope jazz music fans around the world will support our efforts to continue presenting the high quality, live music experiences that the Blue Note is known for.”Click here for more info on the first episode of Blue Note’s new virtual performance series.last_img read more

CDC Releases Motor Vehicle Crash Deaths Report

first_imgA CDC study released today compares motor vehicle crash death rates in the fifty most populous areas of the country with overall national rates. Read the Report: Motor Vehicle Crash Deaths in U.S. Metropolitan Areas – 2009Researchers analyzed 2009 data from the National Vital Statistics System and the U.S. Census Bureau and calculated rates for two groups – people of all ages, and young people 15 to 24 years old. They looked at 15-24 year olds separately because motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for this age group.Some key findings:The motor vehicle crash death rate for all ages in the 50 MSAs was 8.2 deaths per 100,000 residents, lower than the national rate of 11.1 deaths per 100,000 residents. The motor vehicle crash death rate for 15-24 year olds in the 50 MSAs was 13.0 deaths per 100,000 residents, lower than the national rate of 17.3 deaths per 100,000 residents.Motor vehicle crash death rates in the 50 most populous U.S. metropolitan statistical areas varied widely, from 4.4 to 17.8 per 100,000 residents.last_img read more

U.S. Army Soldier Support Institute

first_imgThe Soldier Support Institute, on the corner of Hampton Parkway and Lee Road, has the mission to train, educate and grow professional human resource and financial management leaders.The institute also develops complementary concepts, doctrine, organizations and materiel in order to strengthen the U.S. Army to win in complex environments.The institute is a premier training and education center dedicated to:• Preparing Soldiers for their first assignment as human resources or financial management specialists within the Army.• The continual professional development of Soldiers, commissioned and noncommissioned officers, and civilians in the core competencies of human resources and financial management.The institute is an accredited Institute of Excellence and is a subordinate organization of TRADOC, Combined Arms Support Command and the Sustainment Center of Excellence (headquartered at Fort Lee, Virginia). The institute is fully integrated into the sustainment war-fighting function. The institute is the headquarters for the Army’s Adjutant General School and Financial Management School, the Fort Jackson Noncommissioned Officer Academy and the 369th Adjutant General Battalion.SCHOOLSThe adjutant general and financial management schools are “home” to their respective Army branches, the Adjutant General Corps and the Finance Corps. The two branch schools offer the Basic Officer Leadership Course for newly commissioned lieutenants and the Captains Career Course for officers in their third or fourth year of commissioned service. The school commandants are the proponents for their branches and oversee the development of doctrine, organizations, training, leader development, material and personnel within their corps (active and reserve components). The Soldier Support Institute’s Concepts Development & Integration Directorate and Training Development Directorate assist the commandants with these tasks. Both schools frequently assemble mobile training teams to go to specific geographical regions to train Soldiers.The Adjutant General School also includes the Army Bands Program and Army School of Music, currently located at Little Creek, Virginia. The Interservice Postal School, also an element of the Adjutant General School, trains enlisted Soldiers and NCOs from all of America’s military services in modern postal operations. The Adjutant General School also conducts basic warrant officer and advanced warrant officer courses within human resources management.The Noncommissioned Officer Academy is in Building 10,000. The academy provides enlisted leadership training for Soldiers holding human resource management, financial management or recruiting and retention military occupational specialties in the Army.369TH ADJUTANT GENERAL BATTALIONThe 369th Adjutant General Battalion is a subordinate command under the U.S. Army Soldier Support Institute at Fort Jackson. It is headquartered at Anderson Street and Magruder Avenue. The location of the AIT complex ranges from Sumter Avenue to Magruder Avenue and Long Street to Ferguson Street.The 369th Adjutant General Battalion and conducts AIT for the adjutant general and financial management courses. It conducts AIT for enlisted Soldiers striving to achieve technical and tactical competence in the personnel, administration, finance and legal MOSs.Soldiers of the 369th Adjutant General Battalion trace their unit’s lineage back to the Pacific Theater of Operations during World War II. Activated as the 74th Replacement Battalion in November 1943 at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, the unit comprised a headquarters, headquarters detachment and four replacement companies.Processing replacements and casualties, the 74th supported combat divisions during the Army’s island-hopping campaigns in the South Pacific. For its support of 10th Army operations during the invasions of the Ryukyu Islands and Okinawa, the 74th was awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation with battle streamer. After the cessation of hostilities, the 74th was inactivated in March 1946. In June 1947, the unit was redesignated as the 369th Replacement Battalion, Organized Reserve Corps, and assigned to the Third Army.In July 1947, the 369th was activated at Fort Jackson and remained in that status until June 1950, when it was inactivated again. On May 30, 1987, the unit was reactivated as the 369th Adjutant General Battalion.last_img read more

IBM disaster preparedness workshop with the Vermont FoodBank wraps up $150,000 IBM grant

first_imgGlobalFoundries,On Thursday, June 5, IBM specialists will deliver a disaster preparedness workshop to Vermont FoodBank members from flood-prone communities to ensure that organizations caring for some of the state’s most vulnerable people have strategies in place before the next disaster strikes. The outcome will be plans that outline how several organizations providing food for Vermont residents can maintain its mission during periods of extreme emergency. This workshop is the last in a series of six sessions provided by IBM in partnership with the Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) to help support the state’s recovery from Tropical Storm Irene.”At each session over the past year, IBM has helped us focus on building resiliency – not only through improved disaster preparedness, but also through the increased use of digital tools to disseminate information, mobilize community volunteers, and attract donations, ” said Sharon Combes-Farr, VCRD’s Vermont Digital Economy Project Director. “IBM’s commitment of $150,000 in Impact Grants provided a significant share of the matching funds for the federal Economic Development Administration disaster relief grant that funded this important VCRD project.”When Tropical Storm Irene tore through the state in 2011, all Vermonters suffered, and those depending on food banks and other services of the social safety net were among the hardest hit. As a result of the disaster preparedness workshops that IBM has conducted, service providers from many vital segments of Vermont’s nonprofit spectrum are now able to visualize their missions more clearly and have developed effective strategies and tactics to help ensure continuity of service during future times of crisis, Combes-Farr continued.”More and more, today’s nonprofits must be technologically savvy in leveraging digital tools – both for operational resilience and also to maximize their message reach, extend their mission, do more good work with less, and raise funds, ,” she said. “This is why the Vermont Digital Economy Project was delighted when IBM made their expert consultants available to us in these important areas.”According to Cathleen Finn,  IBM Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs Manager for New England, IBM Impact Grants provide consulting expertise specifically designed for nonprofit organizations so they can better serve their communities.”IBM wanted to help Vermont in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene. When we became aware of the Vermont Digital Economy Project, we came to the conclusion that providing IBM experts to conduct in-depth analysis and workshops on a number of topics related to disaster preparedness would help many of the state’s most essential nonprofits build effective strategies ahead of the next disaster,” Finn said. “We have been extremely impressed by how committed Vermont’s organizations are in adopting new ways to carry out their missions and better serve the people who depend on them.”Last year, IBM consultants delivered a workshop on disaster preparedness to executives of the Vermont FoodBank, who share responsibility for distributing food to its network of 270 food shelves throughout the state. A similar workshop was held for the 26 members of the Vermont Access Network, who work on the front lines of communication as highly localized media outlets. Though both organizations are very different, both shared the same starting point when preparing a disaster plan.”The IBM consultants explained that the first step for both organizations during times of disaster is to uphold their missions,” Combes-Farr said. “Knowing the most important thing you do helps to guide exactly what you must do in an emergency and what you must protect from risk.”In addition, the portfolio of grants also included a “Strategies for Social Media” workshop hosted by the Vermont Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security for the state’s emergency managers and their extended nonprofit partners. The end result was a roadmap designed by the IBM consultants which will enable these disparate groups to leverage grassroots volunteers by communicating more seamlessly during times of disaster. A Strategies for Social Media grant was also delivered to the directors of 10 public libraries across the state, and a Web User Experience workshop was given to help Vermont 211 create a strong, more user-friendly website to meet the needs of people who access their website for information about healthcare, childcare,  emergency food and shelter, and more.On Thursday, the IBM Impact Grants will wrap up with the final workshop for about a dozen member organizations of the Vermont FoodBank network from across the state.“Everyone at VCRD and our partner organizations is extremely proud of the work we are doing in Vermont’s flood-impacted communities and throughout the state,” said Combes-Farr. “Without the Impact Grant donations by IBM, much of this great work would not have been possible.”About The Vermont Digital Economy ProjectThe Vermont Digital Economy Project was created by the Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) to address vulnerabilities of Vermont business and communities that are not fully utilizing online tools. The project offers free support to speed flood recovery, spur economic development and job growth, and improve community resilience to disasters. The project is working directly with more than 40 of the towns that were affected by flooding to help businesses, nonprofits, and municipalities expand their innovative use of online tools. It is funded by a disaster recovery grant from the Economic Development Administration and from the donations and expertise of its partners (IBM, Microsoft, the Snelling Center for Government, the Vermont Department of Libraries, the Vermont Small Business Development Center, and the Vermont State Colleges) to provide grant services.  More information can be found online at: http://vtdigitaleconomy.org/(link is external).last_img read more

Capitol Update: Clayton says it will ‘take time to mend’ damage done the past several years

first_imgRep. Stephanie Clayton says “Kansas has yet to achieve complete stability. Tremendous damage was done in the past several years, and that which has been torn takes time to mend.”Each legislative session, we provide the Shawnee Mission area’s elected officials with the chance to share their thoughts about what’s happening in the state capitol. We’re kicking off this year’s Capitol Update columns a week ahead of the start of the legislative session. Rep. Stephanie Clayton, Rep. Jarrod Ousley and Sen. Barbara Bollier are scheduled to send updates this week. Here’s Rep. Clayton’s filing:Good morning. A week from today, the 2019 Kansas Legislative Session will begin. As is always the case, the first week of the legislative session will start slowly. Monday will begin with the inauguration of the new Governor, Laura Kelly, followed by the swearing-in of the new legislators in the House, as well as a handful of new Senators. Legislators will have their first committee meetings, where committee rules, goals, and expectations will be laid out by the committee chairs. Some changes to committee structure in the House have taken place, most notably the elimination of the water and environment and technology committees, and the creation of a new Rural Revitalization committee. This term, I am pleased to continue my work on the Federal and State Affairs Committee, and to serve on two new committees: Education, and Taxation. The Governor will also present her budget to the legislature. This budget will be used as a baseline for legislators to approve, and, if necessary, amend. Past Johnson County legislator Larry Campbell has been retained as budget director by the Governor-elect; this bipartisan approach bodes well for our state, and I hope to see more positive appointments to the executive team as the legislative session progresses. The legislature has the opportunity to continue along the course of stability that was solidified with the partial repeal of the Brownback tax plan in 2017. The new plan that was put into place allowed the legislature to develop and fund a school finance plan that, with a few very minor changes, will finally put the state in compliance with our constitution after nearly a decade of chaos. Kansas has yet to achieve complete stability. Tremendous damage was done in the past several years, and that which has been torn takes time to mend. The legislature needs to establish an impenetrable funding source for transportation. Waiting lists for services for our most vulnerable citizens need to be reduced, or eliminated entirely. Legislators across all parties and factions campaigned on reducing or eliminating the sales tax on groceries, as our grocery tax burden is among the highest in the nation.The people of Kansas made it clear that they support a strong school funding system, a fully funded transportation plan, safety net programs that care for our most vulnerable Kansans, a Medicaid program that allows for hardworking Kansans to seek preventative care, and tax relief that is beneficial to all Kansans, regardless of income. I look forward to working with my colleagues and our new governor to bring these wishes of Kansans to fruition. I work for you! I enjoy hearing questions, thoughts, and ideas from constituents. For real-time updates from the House Floor, including all of the votes that I take, follow me on Twitter @sscjocoks. Find me on Facebook, or email me at [email protected] My first town hall of the session will be at Foo’s Café in Leawood at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 26.last_img read more