Sen. Jewel Howard TaylorThe naming of a street in honor of Bong County Senator Jewel Howard-Taylor in the provincial capital of Gbarnga has created intense confusion as some eminent citizens are now distancing themselves from the decision, which they said was not reached by consensus. The move to honor Sen. Taylor has backfired with council members differing with former Mayor Melvin Cole.In a mobile phone interview with the Daily Observer, one of the council members, Ansu Sesay, said he was a member of the council when Cole was serving as mayor, “but I don’t know how the renaming of the street in honor of Mrs. Taylor came about.” Cole is now Representative-elect of Bong County Electoral District #3.Sesay said the decision to name the street did not come from the council, but was a unilateral decision by Cole, “because I heard about the development only in the media.”He said there are a lot of streets in Gbarnga that bear names dating back to the beginning of the existence of the city, which were neither given by current Mayor Viola Cooper, nor then mayor, Cole.“There was no meeting held among the stakeholders to arrive at a consensus to name or rename any street in honor of anyone,” he said.Sesay said if Rep. Cole confirmed that the naming of the street in Sen. Taylor’s honor met the agreement of the council, “then he will have to provide evidence, because they have a secretary that can take down minutes of every meeting.”He accused Cole of misleading the public that they all agreed to name the street in honor of Sen. Taylor, “because during a recent meeting with Sen. Taylor she only told the body of her intention to bring sign posts for streets in Gbarnga that will be placed at the various intersections to direct visitors.”Sesay said in that meeting, Sen. Taylor informed them that funding for the project was provided by authorities of the Liberian Agency for Community Empowerment (LACE), “so we all agreed to her suggestion not to name the street in her honor.”In his reaction, Cole said Sen. Taylor did not name the street in her own honor, but the decision was through an agreement reached by the Gbarnga City Council.“We always made mistakes to put people who don’t know how to read and write to a position of trust in this country,” the former mayor, now Representative-elect, said.Cole said it was based on an agreement between the city council and administration that they named the street in honor of Sen. Taylor for her “immense contributions to the county,” and to demonstrate to that the county respects her for the level of development she spearheaded in the county.He said it was through Sen. Taylor’s effort that the streets in Gbarnga were named, “so they decided to name one of the streets in her honor.” Most of the streets in Gbarnga did not have names, he said, “but with the intervention of Sen. Taylor with financial aid, the naming of the streets took effect.”Cole said they named other streets in honor of people that have been actively working for the growth and development of the county. If Mayor Cooper removes the sign posts to the street, she will be resisted, he added, “because we are not going to take it from her.”Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Among the many parents who keep dropping in daily at the Commonwealth Games Village, Prakashi Tomar is very special. You may not realise it when you meet this ‘grandmotherly’ 73-year-old from Johri village in Baghpat district (Uttar Pradesh), but she took up shooting as a sport when she was 60 and went on to win district and state honours.Seema Tomar (right) with her mother Prakashi Tomar (left) and a villager.The spunky mother of eight has been the inspiration for her daughter, Seema Tomar, who became the first Indian woman to clinch a shotgun medal (silver in her case) at the ISSF World Cup in Dorset (UK) in June this year.The performance of the world No. 7 in the women’s trap event hasn’t matched up to her billing in the 2010 Games. But Prakashi Tomar was glowing with maternal pride as her daughter took her around the Games Village.Johri (population 12,000) made national headlines when its Rifle Club, set up in 1998 by local marksman Raj Pal Singh, gave the village women a chance to take a shot at shooting.Prakashi was the first to bring home a gold medal, which she lifted at the 10m air pistol event in the veterans group of the national shooting championships in Chennai. That was in 2001. In the same year, sister-in-law Chandro Tomar, then 66, became the star of 67th Rural Olympics at Qila Raipur in Punjab.Seema Tomar did not have to look far for a role model, but it wasn’t easy for Prakashi and Chandro to enter what was entirely a man’s domain in a village where conservative mindsets still prevailed. “Women in our village generally do household work,” Prakashi said. “But seeing our dedication they let us try our hand at shooting.” At this point, the normally reticent Seema chipped in.advertisement”At the village we are treated like royalty and everything is taken care of,” she said, adding that her inspiration was her mother. Seema started shooting in 2001 at a 10m range with a pistol that Rahul Gandhi had donated to the village.She moved on to the air rifle in 2004 – her favourite event in the double trap – and her performance in the sport got her a clerk’s job in the Corps of Signals. “Without the army’s support,” Seema says, “I couldn’t have come this far because shooting is a very expensive sport.”But both Prakashi and Seema have a complaint. “The government has done nothing for us,” they say in unison. “This year, after the shooters won medals (at the ISSF World Cup), they sent us to international camps. Before that we had to even pay for food at training camps.” Seema was also not happy with the sanitary conditions in the Games Village.”The level of hygiene could have been better,” she says. “The toilets in other countries I’ve been to are much cleaner.” Seems like the Games organisers have a lot of cleaning up to do.
After helping define the 1980s new wave aesthetic with her band Scandal, singer-songwriter and performer, Patty Smyth, continued her triumphant run throughout the 1990s, writing and performing chart-topping and award-winning singles. But since 1999’s greatest hits package, Patty hasn’t issued any albums. Now, just in time for the holiday season, Patty is gifting her fans with her first release in 16 years with the Christmas album, Come On December.Patty Smyth – Come On DecemberThe eight-track album puts Patty’s signature pristine and emotive vocals front and center within this cozy, elegant, acoustic pop-rock collection of cherished standards and spirited originals. Patty’s eloquent, signature sense of phrasing and melody make this album both a holiday classic and unmistakably a Patty Smyth record.On Come On December, she sings defining modern versions of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” “The Christmas Song,” “Do You Hear What I Hear,” and “Auld Lang Syne.” Her newly minted originals, “Come On December,” “Walk With Me” and “Broken” exquisitely conjure up feelings of instant nostalgia and heartwarming emotionality brought on by the cherished canon of holiday music.In conjunction with the album, Patty has launched a PledgeMusic campaign that runs from Friday, Oct. 23rd thru Thursday, November 19th. One hundred percent of the money from the campaign will benefit Headstrong, a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide cost-free, stigma-free, and bureaucracy-free mental healthcare to post-911, and Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans.Come On December will be available on Patty’s online store and digital stores (via Tunecore) Friday, November 20th. In December, Patty and band will be performing in both New York and Los Angeles. Currently, Patty is in the studio working on her 2016 release.