Contact: C. Brylski/D. Johnson (504) 897-6110 /firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Operations conducted at Portsmouth site expelled radioactive material into air and environment for decades without informing nearby schools, homes, businesses
(PIKETON, OHIO) The winds have blown radioactive materials from the Portsmouth Site in Pike County, Ohio at such levels that on May 13, 2019, Zahn’s Corner Middle School was forced to close. The school is approximately two miles from the plant, but hardly the only populated area impacted by the enriched uranium and neptunium-237 that has been detected in the area.
Residents within a seven-mile radius of the plant are now seeking remediation for the radioactive and metal contamination found on their properties and have hired an internationally-renowned group of attorneys and scientists responsible for the largest verdict in legal history for radiation contamination.
The lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court/Southern District of Ohio Eastern Division notes that no nuclear incident has ever been reported at the site, nor did any of the named defendants, private companies tasked with performing work in and around the site, have a license to dispose of said materials on the plaintiff’s property.
According to the suit, the United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC) assumed uranium enrichment operations at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in 1993. Over the following years, operations related to the processing, enrichment, conversion, and disposal of uranium and uranium byproducts were executed by USEC and other named defendants Centrus Energy Corp., Uranium Disposition Services LLC, BWXT Conversion Services, LLC, Mid-America Conversion Services, Bechtel Jacobs Company, LLC, LATA/Parallax Portsmouth, LLC, and Fluor-BWXT Portsmouth, LLC. Plaintiff’s experts have stated that since defendants processed recycled uranium at this site, the waste would more likely than not contain plutonium.
Lead Counsel Stuart H. Smith, one of the attorneys in the newly filed class action, has more than 30-years of experience documenting the radioactive shelf life of these nuclear activities, as well as the extensive procedures often taken by corporate entities to conceal the environmental impact upon neighboring properties, as well as human, animal and plant life.
The biggest problem for the community and workers is that unlike a petrochemical or plastics plant, the radioactive materials cannot be detected by the human senses. The team of scientists working with Mr. Smith have already documented elevated levels of radioactive particles in the properties surrounding the Portsmouth facility.
“Evidence indicates that properties and persons living near the site were exposed to toxic substances which will negatively impact their health and property values,” said Mr. Smith. “Worse, they were never informed of the contamination and its impact.”
Environmental evidence gathered so far has shown radioactive materials, including very dangerous alpha-emitting radionuclides, on and around Plaintiff’s properties and are consistent with those expected to be found at uranium enrichment sites such as the Portsmouth Site.
Exposure to the type of toxins released into the environment by this plant may have physical and genetic damages to those so impacted, said the filing, including cancers and birth abnormalities.
“The reckless and careless conduct of the defendants and their decision to put profits over the safety of the families and children of Pike County will not be tolerated,” said Stuart Scott, Partner at Spangenberg Shibley & Liber LLP in Cleveland and one of the attorneys in the class action. “We will hold the defendants accountable in Ohio courts for needless harm they have caused by their careless mishandling of the most dangerous material on earth.”
The class action is on behalf of all current and former property owners within a seven-mile radius of the plant, all residents who lived within that radius for more than one calendar year, and on behalf of all current and former students of Zahn’s Corner Middle School as well as their parents.
Mr. Smith has been the nation’s leading litigator on radiation contamination cases since 1992, when he litigated against Chevron for six-and- a-half solid months of trial in federal court in Mississippi for exposing its workers and property owners to radioactive oil pipe residue, becoming one of the longest civil jury trials in U.S. history.
Mr. Smith,in 2001, won the largest verdict in legal history for radiation contamination which had been concealed by ExxonMobil in Harvey, Louisiana. He has also represented the residents and businesses impacted by St. Louis’ 75-year corporate history of irresponsibly transporting and storing radioactive waste.
Mr. Smith leads a team of legal, medical, and environmental experts. “I have tried radiation cases against ExxonMobil and Chevron that have lasted months in court. The Portsmouth defendants are either going to remediate their actions or we will see them in court. These actors must take responsibility for their reckless actions,” he said.
Mr. Smith is the author of Crude Justice, a book documenting his history of radiation litigation staring with the 1992 Street v. Chevron case which pitted the family owners of a pipe-yard located in rural southeastern Mississippi against a multinational oil conglomerate. The Mississippi Division of Radiological Health found radiation from radium on the Street property 500 times the natural level. In 2001, Smith was lead counsel in an oilfield radiation case that resulted in a verdict of $1.056 billion against ExxonMobil for contaminating private property it leased from the Grefer family in Harvey, Louisiana. He is the founder of the Stuart H. Smith Law Clinic and Center for Social Justice at Loyola University New Orleans. Find more information here: http://www.stuarthsmith.com/about/
Contact: LPIC M. Bronfin (504) 228-0988; Jeff Chamber C. Marino (504)835-3880; United WaySWLA K.Nagle (501) 697-0415; S. Berthelot,LAUW; or C. Brylski/D. Johnson (504) 897-6110
More than 60 business, early education and United Way organizations and providers will send advocates to Baton Rouge on Tuesday, May 21, to ask the governor and legislators to budget sustainable state funding for improved access to quality early child care and education options for working parents
BATON ROUGE (MAY 21, 2019) Once again, a coalition of business, education and civic groups, and statewide United Ways are meeting with Governor John Bel Edwards and legislators about increased and sustainable investments in high-quality early education and care (ECE) in Louisiana, but this year, they say they want action.
They are armed with the legislature’s own Early Childhood Care and Education Committee’s report, LA B to 3,which calls for an $86 million investment this year in the state’s ECE program for children under age four. So far, a line item for just under $5 millionis the best that has been offered.
“Just over 10 years ago, the state-funded program for young children of working parents served almost 40,000 children, and today we are serving only 15,000,” said Melanie Bronfin, Director, Louisiana Policy Institute for Children. “Just to meet the current waiting list of 5,500 children requires an additional $31 million now, and even that won’t address all the needs of working parents who are desperate for access to affordable, quality child care and education centers.”
The coalition will meet with the governor during a luncheon at the Capitol on May 21, and then visit their individual legislators. They are armed with the following facts and resources:
In Louisiana, more than 40% of kindergartners start school behind their peers — and those who start behind are more likely to stay behind. However, quality ECE can close this gap by developing cognitive and character skills when it matters most. Ninety percent of brain development takes place between birth and age four, wiring a child’s brain for future success or failure in school, work and life.
The state’s lack of access to quality, affordable ECE is responsible for significant economic costs to Louisiana employers and working households, including:
“Investing in early care and education is an investment in Louisiana’s economy,” said Committee of 100 Chief Executive Officer Michael Olivier. “By investing in early care and education, we are ensuring every child has access to high-quality education programs, preparing them for success in school. At the same time, this investment allows working parents the ability to remaining in the workforce and the children are better prepared to enter the workforce.”
“Almost half of households in Louisiana fall below an income threshold that allows for the cost of quality ECE,” said Michael Williamson, United Way of Southeast Louisiana President and CEO. “The research is clear. The state is suffering. Parents and children are suffering. And we cannot continue to afford to allow families and business to face the consequences of inadequate high-quality care and education options,” added Sarah Berthelot, President and CEO, Louisiana Association of United Ways.
“Aside from the known academic benefits to our children, establishing and maintaining robust early childhood education is a critical workforce issue in Louisiana,” said Dr. Timothy Magner, President of the Greater Shreveport Chamber. “For too many working parents in Louisiana, child care presents a barrier to meaningful employment.”
“This is a bi-partisan issue,” said Tony Ligi, Executive Director of Jefferson Business Council, “There has been enormous support shown by the general public to expand access for quality early care and education in order to prepare our youngest citizens for success. This investment is a sound fiscal strategy that also allows parents to work and support their families.”
“If Louisiana is serious about addressing its criminal justice issues and raising public school achievement — all proven results for children attending high quality care — as well as giving its businesses a greater economic advantage to their out-of-state competitors, the return on investment in quality child care funding becomes very clear,” said George Swift, President/CEO of the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance.
For more information on Ready Louisiana, contact Christy Marino with the Jefferson Chamber at Christy@jeffersonchamber.org or Melanie Bronfin with the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, May 17, 7 pm
Annual Collegiate Scholarships of Up To $4,000 awarded to students
Angel L. Bernard of Abramson Sci Academy
and St. Aug Baseball Star Jordan Vidato
The Major League Baseball Urban Youth Foundation, New Orleans MLB Urban Youth Academy and the “Each One Save One” mentoring program are proud to announce Abramson Sci Academy Senior Angel L. Bernard and St. Augustine Senior Jordan Vidato as the recipients of the 2019 Jack Fielkow Scholarship Program.
Each scholarship winner receives $2,000 for demonstrating academic achievement, community participation, leadership skills and financial need.
Ms. Bernard will enter Southern University Baton Rouge or Grambling State University this fall, seeking a Bachelor of Science degree in Business. She has been a leader at Abramson Sci Academy, serving as President of the Student Council, a peer mediator, as well as member of the school flag team and basketball squad. She hopes her business degree will prepare her to start her own catering company. She was recommended by Each One Save One for her strong leadership skills, exemplified by maintaining a high grade point average while being a school leader and working part-time since the 10thgrade.
Mr. Vidato has been a five-year member of the MLB Youth Academy, and Manager Eddie Davis said the St. Augustine Senior’s leadership on and off the field earned him the scholarship. Mr. Vidato is a three-year varsity star player for the St. Augustine High Baseball Team, where he served as outfielder/infielder. He will attend Panola College in Carthage, Tx.
“Jordan has provided service hours to the Academy and represents what a MLB Youth Academy Member should be,” said Director Davis. “Off the field, Jordan finished with a GPA over 3.0 and his application essay communicated why he deserved the award. On the field Jordan was a varsity at St. Augustine High School and he also participated in several high-profile MLB Academy events.”
The Jack Fielkow Scholarship, awarded annually, will assist these two high school graduates with room and board cost as well as tuition. Both students were selected by a committee including Arnie Fielkow, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, and the former New Orleans City Council President and Executive Vice President of the New Orleans Saints.
Mr. Fielkow made a $40,000 donation in his father’s name via the Jack Fielkow Scholarship Fund which local banks matched to establish the fund. “My family and I are very proud to have once again partnered with MLB Urban Youth Academy and Each One Save One for this wonderful program,” said Mr. Fielkow.
“It gives us great pleasure to present these two outstanding students and athletes with the Jack Fielkow Scholarship”, said MLB Manager Davis. “We know that Mr. Jack Fielkow had a passion for sports and a passion to promote better citizenship. We believe that these students have the same passion and have demonstrated the desire to excel!”
“The Jack Fielkow Scholarship provides our young people with an opportunity to pursue their dreams,” said Each One Save One Founder Cathy Harris. “We are thrilled for the great achievements of Angel and Jordan. We eagerly anticipate their success at the college level.”
Visit www.eachonesaveone.org for more information.
ABOUT JACK FIELKOW SCHOLARSHIP
The Jack Fielkow Scholarship Program was created in 2011 and is named after the late Jack Fielkow, the father of former New Orleans City Council President Arnie D. Fielkow. The Jack Fielkow Scholarship program funds two $2,000 college scholarships annually, one awarded to a participant from the MLB Urban Youth Academy and one from the New Orleans-based mentoring program, Each One Save One. Jack was an avid sports enthusiast and had a great love for the City of New Orleans. Arnie played an instrumental role in the building of the MLB Urban Youth Academy in New Orleans and has a baseball background in serving as the President of Minor League Baseball’s AA Southern League. Arnie also previously served as Executive Vice President of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints and President & CEO of the National Basketball Retired Players Association and is currently the CEO/President of Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans.
ABOUT NEW ORLEANS MLB URBAN YOUTH ACADEMY
The New Orleans MLB Urban Youth Academy at Wesley Barrow Stadium opened in 2012, replacing a 55-year-old facility that was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. The facility operates in coordination with the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission to offer a dynamic youth program that provides free, year-round baseball and softball instruction as well as educational and baseball vocation programming for more than 2500 young people from underserved and urban communities throughout southern Louisiana.
ABOUT EACH ONE SAVE ONE
For 25 years, Each One Save One has been helping to change the lives of thousands of area children by recruiting, screening and training volunteer mentors who encourage and empower them to reach their fullest potential. Read our mentee success stories at www.eachonesaveone.org
Lusher Charter School Senior Amaris Lewis Accepted into
Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford and MIT
When Lusher Charter School Senior Amaris Lewis won the Grand Prize Award in Cellular and Molecular Biology at the Greater New Orleans Science and Engineering Fair last fall, it was obvious great things were in store for her. In her research, Amaris investigated “the utility of a biomarker called CD-264 for identifying human stem cells that were more likely to proliferate, and thus be better candidates for use in therapeutic applications.”
In plain English: she’s a genius who seeks to save lives.
Lewis’ high school career Is impressive: She is a National Merit Finalist and was nominated as a U.S. Presidential Scholar Candidate, all while maintaining a 4.40 GPA.
But when it came time to apply to colleges, Lewis like any high school senior, was nervous. She aimed high and applied to a dozen extremely competitive schools: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, MIT, Vanderbilt, Emory, Rice, Tulane, USC, Carnegie Mellon and LSU.
And she got into all of them.
“Amaris represents the paragon of hard work, dedication, and love for knowledge,” said Lusher Charter School CEO Kathy Riedlinger. “She is not only a brilliant and progressive thinker, she is a kind and generous person with a great future ahead of her, who really will make a difference in medical research.”
Amaris was sent “likely letters" from Harvard and Yale before her official acceptances. “Likely letters” are only sent to a few hundred applicants of the thousands who applied as a way for colleges to notify the top candidates early of their acceptance.
Eventually, Amaris was awarded an outstanding $2.675 million in scholarships, including the QuestBridge National College Match scholarship to attend Stanford University for the full cost of attendance; The Gates Scholarship, which is full cost of attendance at any U.S. college or university along with any study abroad or summer programs; and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship which covers any remaining cost of attendance up to $40k.
She also was recently awarded the only gold medal for the 2019 Emmy Noether Awards by the Joe W. and Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation and will be awarded $25,000 for each year she is in a graduate level research program up to 3 years ($75,000) and will be inducted as a 2019 Emmy Noether Scholar. The Emmy Noether Awards seek top aspiring female research scientists in any STEM (science, technology, engineering, or math) field to help realize their potential careers through financial and networking assistance.
"I owe an incredible amount of my success so far to my school community, teachers, and mentors for not only instilling a sense of academic drive and self-advocacy in me but also for encouraging me to be my most authentic self,” said Lewis. “By encouraging individual thought and creativity, Lusher made me even more excited to pursue thought-provoking concepts through lab research and to become involved in extracurricular projects and outreach activities that promote my genuine curiosity and interests.”
This summer, Lewis will be participating in the Bessie F. Lawrence International Summer Science Institute (ISSI) at the Weizmann Institute for Science in Israel. As one of 19 American students representing the United States at the all-expense paid program, she will be completing laboratory research alongside Weizmann scientists as well as interacting with other young scholars from all over the world.
Amaris plans to attend Stanford University in the fall to study either Bioengineering or Biomedical Computation.
Lewis said, “Although I think it's very easy to get caught up in numbers, statistics, and test scores when applying to colleges, I feel fortunate to be in an environment that values intellectual vitality because it reminded me to showcase my own unique interests and experiences above all else and to hold those passions at the core of my identity as I presented a cohesive image of myself through my essays and interviews. I believe that these endeavors are what really helped me to stand out when applying to such competitive schools, and I hope to inspire this same quality of original inquiry in my new communities when I begin college in the fall."
Lusher Charter School, a National Blue Ribbon School (1988 & 2018) in partnership with Tulane University, has a renowned arts-integrated academic program that engages students and challenges them to think critically, analytically and creatively. Lusher offers a unique program that inspires imagination and intellectual curiosity. It provides an environment which fosters the social-emotional development of students and values the unique combination of talents and interests in each of our students.
LOUISIANA’S BUSINESS, LAW ENFORCEMENT AND MILITARY LEADERS DEMAND ACTION TO CLEAR WAIT LIST FOR CHILD CARE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Chris Beakey 302 448 0253
WHAT: A panel discussion around the release of Infant-Toddler Child Care Increases Louisiana’s Success, a report demonstrating how solving Louisiana’s child care crisis will improve the workforce and support future public safety and military readiness.
WHO: Michael J. Olivier, CEO of Committee of 100
General Ronald Richard, USMC, (Ret.)
Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul, Jr
Sonjia Joseph, Owner of Clara’s Little Lambs Preschool Academy
Stephanie Riegel, Editor of the Baton Rouge Business Journal, who will moderate the panel
WHEN: Tuesday, May 7, 2 – 3 p.m.
WHERE: The Ellender Room, Louisiana State Capitol
This report is from Council for a Strong America, a non-partisan, non-profit organization representing five sectors of society working together to prepare children for productive lives. Based on new research, it found the infant and toddler child care crisis is costing the nation $57 billion annually in lost earnings, productivity and revenue – which amounts to $1.1 billion for the state of Louisiana. The report is among the first to spotlight how the crisis impacts employers and taxpayers as well as working parents.
The panelists will discuss the need for prompt action to clear Louisiana’s child care waitlist, which includes more than 5,000 children, and how expanding the availability of affordable high-quality child care will strengthen the workforce and improve future public safety and national security.
Learn more about Council for a Strong America at www.strongnation.org.