The National Ophthalmology Centre at Port Mourant, Berbice, has the capacity to perform hundreds of cataract surgeries but currently because of poor budgeting, the Centre had not conducted any for the past three years.The $140 million facility at Port Mourant was commissioned in July 2009 and was the first specialised Ophthalmology centre in the Caribbean and Latin America.Head of the Regional Health Committee Zamal Husain admits that the institution is operating way below its capacity. In fact, there are no cataract surgeries done over the past three years.In May, Public Health Minister Volda Laurence announced that shortly the Centre will recommence cataract surgeries. Five months after, nothing has happened.Hussain, who was addressing the issue at the RDC said the institution has the capacity to carry out hundreds of cataract surgeries.Relating to figures, Hussain noted after its first 10 months of operation, there were 21,074 persons seen at the Centre.He noted that 8932 were seen for refractive errors of the eye. One thousand five hundred and thirty-six surgeries were done, of which 316 were cataract surgeries.“This hospital had the capacity to do about 10,000 surgeries and if we leave this very important Ophthalmology hospital nonfunctional, imagine what will happen to the people of Guyana.”The National Ophthalmology Centre has been out of kits to perform cataract surgeries for more than two years. Region Six Chairman David Armogan says that is so because of poor budgeting.However, Director of Regional Health Services, Jevaughn throws the blame on Central Government, saying it does not fall under the regional administration. He added that it is the Public Health Ministry that is tasked with providing drugs and medical supplies and also to ensure that the national ophthalmology hospital is up and running.The Cuban Government had funded the facility for nationals of the Caribbean Community (Caricom). Armogan, who was at that time the head of the Regional Health Committee and also the President of the Rotary Club of New Amsterdam which was instrumental in arranging and facilitating some of the surgeries of the Centre, says the National Ophthalmology Centre at Port Mourant should be up and running.He recalled that an Indian national was brought to the Ophthalmology hospital and was performing 40 surgeries per day.Armogan also noted that another surgeon, who is currently attached to the New Amsterdam Hospital, performs 10 cataract surgeries per day. (Andrew Carmichael)
City officials said a hearing officer was appointed to review the case and listen to public comments and decide whether the rescue kennel is a public nuisance. Assistant City Prosecutor Gina Aguirre said the meeting is expected to be held sometime this month. Connie Kramer, owner of Beagles & Buddies, said the rescue kennel has housed about 150 dogs in three kennels for 14 years and said the pet-friendly facility is not a public nuisance. “We have done everything we said we’d do, from putting up sound-buffering materials to putting in more trees to help the buffering to putting the dogs in the kennels at night,” Kramer said. “We are doing all we can to help address the complaints and be good neighbors.” Kramer said she is also planning to extend the property’s 6-foot block wall to 10 or 12 feet to help alleviate the noise and keep the dogs safe. Aguirre said at the upcoming meeting the hearing officer will be presented with evidence for and against the rescue kennel and will forward recommendations to the city’s permit committee. Martina Bernstein, an attorney for Beagles & Buddies, said earlier if the city decides the rescue kennel is a nuisance, many of the dogs may be put to death. firstname.lastname@example.org (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2109160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! • Photo Gallery: 03/07: Beagles and Buddies EL MONTE – The owner of an El Monte-based rescue kennel said ever since some residents complained about her property she has attempted to lessen the noise. The city held a public hearing in June to address complaints accusing the Beagles & Buddies, a rescue kennel at 2661 Strozier Ave., of excessive dog barking. Residents said while they are not against what the group does for animals, they were upset that the late night and early morning barking was unbearable and disturbing their peace and quiet.
By Denise Nix STAFF WRITER A former Northrop Grumman Corp. employee and his wife have been arrested on federal charges that they bilked the El Segundo defense contractor out of $2.6million, authorities said Friday. Michael and Susan Crabtree were taken into custody Thursday night at their son’s home in Irvine after eluding agents who were preparing to arrest them at their home in Buckeye, Ariz., authorities said. On Thursday, they picked up their 10-year-old son from school and drove 330miles to their older son’s Irvine apartment, authorities said. Agents were there waiting and arrested them when they arrived. The Crabtrees will return to court Wednesday for a detention hearing. Meanwhile, they remain in jail. email@example.com 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The Crabtrees appeared Friday in the Santa Ana federal courthouse to face their seven-count indictment, which accuses them of conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering. Michael Crabtree, 47, began working at the El Segundo plant in August 2004. He was responsible for ordering material and supplies for various government programs, including the F-18 Hornet and the F-35 Joint Strikeforce Fighter. He and his 44-year-old wife are accused of directing bogus material supply contracts to a shell company they controlled so they could collect money for orders that were never delivered. Federal prosecutors said Crabtree left the company after suspicions were raised about the size of the orders he placed. The Crabtrees were placed under surveillance by federal agents.
Proposed cruise terminal and resort development (artist impression) Picture: Gold Coast BulletinSingaporean company Sembawang has withdrawn their bid to develop the controversial Gold Coast cruise terminal following an announcement by Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate indicating that the development would not incorporate a casino. In a statement to ABC News on the weekend, Sembawang chief Ric Grosvenor said that the council knew from the outset that the Wavebreak project his company had expressed an interest in required a casino in order for it to be viable. “I got hit in the face with this yesterday via a press release,” Mr Grosvenor said to the ABC. “It would appear that Sembawang is being used as a stalking horse for some pot of gold in the tender process. “Well we’ve got a completed projects portfolio of over 500 projects around the world and we underwrite these things and know what we’re about, so good luck to anyone else who is speaking to the mayor along those lines.” Gold Coast Tourism CEO Martin Winter spoke to ABC Radio and expressed his disappointment at the withdrawal but said that he expected many hurdles in a project of such magnitude. “I think it’s a pity that one of the projects is now not in the race but this is a huge project and there were going to be a lot of hurdles along the way.” The AUD$4.8 billion development has also fired up surfers and the local community who are banding together to oppose the project. Two-time world champion surfer Mick Fanning has weighed in on the debate, joining community group ‘Save our Spit’. Mr Fanning told The Gold Coast Bulletin that he believes the cruise ship terminal would kill wildlife, destroy the Gold Coast lifestyle and ruin local breaks which would negatively impact the city’s AUD$3 billion surfing industry. Save Our Spit alliance boss Steven Gration has expressed his delight at Mr Fanning joining their cause but the Gold Coast Bulletin reported that he is yet to contact the surfer. “The terminal potentially negates or destroys South Straddie as a surf break,” Mr Gration said. “It would have a huge impact on the image of the Gold Coast as a desirable place for people to have a beachside holiday.” Mayor Tate responded that he was not concerned by Mr Fanning’s comments. “He’s a good surfer, but I tend to listen to people with qualifications and information to add,” Mayor Tate told the Gold Coast Bulletin. “Every Mick Fanning that comes out I can find a high-profile surfer to say it’s a fantastic idea.” Whilst Save Our Spit may not condone the cruise terminal development, they have made it clear that they support the push for growth in the Gold Coast tourism sector. Save Our Spit vice president Kate Mathews told e-Travel Blackboard in August that they would like the Gold Coast City Council to look at the options available for local tourism operators to leverage off the cruise ship visitors calling into Brisbane instead. “Only 15 per cent of the Brisbane on-shore excursion market has been captured by the Gold Coast. “We believe this represents a real and tangible opportunity for Coast tourism operators to attract Brisbane ship visitors in a way that is sustainable and beneficial to our local economy, but without the extraordinary social, environmental and economic costs associated with attempting to put a ship terminal within the Broadwater or offshore. “It’s the ultimate win: win.”Carnival Australia CEO Ann Sherry was pleased to meet with Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate regarding his goal of developing port facilities to host cruise ship visits.“We applaud Cr. Tate’s embrace of the economic benefits of cruising,” a Carnival Australia spokesperson said in a statement to e-Travel Blackboard today.“However, the local debate over the proposal is a matter for the community to resolve in its own time and on this basis we don’t believe it is appropriate for us to comment.” e-Travel Blackboard was awaiting response from Royal Caribbean managing director Gavin Smith at the time of publishing. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.A