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Q & A: Russ Anderson

December 30, 2020 | By admin | No Comments | Filed in: oysnvzlet.

first_imgRuss Anderson at the southern terminus of the A.T.On his quest to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, Russ Anderson of Linville, N.C., has endured hypothermic conditions, Army rangers with machine guns, and bears that know how to get food bags out of trees. Not bad for a 71-year-old retiree who’d never spent a night on the A.T. before deciding to hike it from end to end.How much of the A.T. have you hiked so far? I’m 178.5 miles in. I started in Springer, made it to the Nantahala Gorge, then skipped the Smokies and hiked into Damascus. This summer, I hope to start in Damascus and head north, then come back to do the Smokies in the winter.Is it as tough as everyone says? It’s like six or seven hours of extreme manual labor. Even if you’re 25 years old, it’s difficult. Those first days in Georgia were tough. Foggy, drizzling rain, cold, hail, sleet, freezing winds. Once I arrived at a shelter, I stripped off my rain gear and got into my sleeping bag. It took two hours to get warm again. But it’s worth it. The trail itself, the people I’ve met…it’s worth it.What does your wife think about you thru-hiking the A.T.? She doesn’t like it. A person my age is supposed to be the leader of a family. I’m not supposed to disappear for six months. In a sense, I feel like I’m cheating the people in my lives. My wife and I are empty nesters, so she’s alone when I’m out there hiking. Even my friends think I’m crazy. They say I’m going to get eaten by a bear or fall off a cliff.What made you decide to undertake this hike? I’m a retired naval officer. My life has been filled with unusual adventure. I just need more of that. Only 11 people over 70 have ever thru-hiked the A.T. And none of them had tried hiking it for the first time over 70. So that got me interested.What’s been your most memorable moment on the trail so far? My second night out, I was sleeping in a shelter with 10 other people. All of a sudden, I hear a big explosion. Then machine gun fire. Then I hear yelling and shouting. None of us knew what was going on. Everybody was wicked scared, thinking the Russians were coming or something. Turns out, we were in the middle of an Army Ranger training exercise. We sat there for two hours while things blew up all around us. 1 2last_img read more

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Bar panel encourages minority attorneys to get more involved

December 19, 2020 | By admin | No Comments | Filed in: zuwmcftfp.

first_imgBar panel encourages minority attorneys to get more involved Bar panel encourages minority attorneys to get more involved Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Florida Bar officials and representatives from minority and speciality bar associations agreed recently that more needs to be done to draw a broader cross- section of the Bar’s membership into its activities.The best ways to do that occupied much of the discussion at the recent meeting of the Membership Outreach Committee. The panel, chaired by Bar President-elect Alan Bookman, was created by President Kelly Overstreet Johnson to work on recommendations from the Bar’s Diversity Symposium held last April.The symposium made recommendations pertaining to the judiciary, law schools, the legal profession, and the Bar, and set an overall goal of having the Bar membership reflect the state’s diverse population by 2014.“What I’d like this committee to do is review this report [from the symposium], see how it fits within this committee’s structure, and make recommendations on what other sections and committees should look at this,” Bookman said at the start of the meeting.Johnson noted that the Bar’s Student Education and Admissions to the Bar Committee and the Law Related Education Committee will be studying part of those recommendations, as will the Equal Opportunities Law and the Public Interest Law sections.Bookman added he saw the committee’s role as looking at the symposium recommendations affecting the Bar, and coordinating the work of the other sections and committees.Johnson reiterated her frustration — expressed in other venues — with not getting enough minorities to apply for Bar positions.“I basically put a minority on every committee that I could, but I had to go out and recruit people,” she said. “We have to have people willing to volunteer and then we have to have people actually willing to come and participate.”Committee member Allison Bethel, who works in the Ft. Lauderdale Attorney General’s Office, suggested the Bar compile a list of minority and speciality bar meetings, including their special functions such as scholarship dinners. Then Bar leaders, including Board of Governors members, should be encouraged to attend as many as possible.“Make your presence known,” she said. “You need to know what’s going on. It’s got to be a concerted effort where you see white people from the Bar at all of the events you have. People then say, ‘Hey, you’re really sincere.’”Bookman agreed, adding, “This applies to all bar associations, not just black bar associations.”Johnson noted she and Bookman are already attending as many speciality Bar functions as they can as a show of their commitment to improving diversity in Bar operations. She also said she wants to reach out to other segments of the Bar, such as rural, small town, and government lawyers.Among suggestions made at the meeting:• Leon County Judge Judith Hawkins noted that African Americans have had trouble winning contested elections to the Board of Governors. She said having “protected” spots on the board would encourage more minorities to run and participate.• After Johnson said the Bar has had trouble attracting minority applications for judicial nominating commission openings, National Bar Association Florida Chapter President Ben Crump agreed with the president that communication needs to be improved from both sides. He said the NBA would arrange for applicants from every circuit where it has members. Added committee member Ardyth Walker of the Equal Opportunities Law Section, “A lot of the problems and hurt feelings on both sides came from a lack of communications. If you really want to be serious about increasing diversity, this is the sort of miscommunications you cannot afford.”• There is a need to get better demographic information about Bar members. Bar Executive Director John F. Harkness, Jr., said Bar information indicates that membership on its committees generally reflects the ethnic and gender makeup of the Bar membership as a whole. But he noted that the Bar does not have demographic information on more than 23,000 of its members, and those are mostly younger members who tend to be more diverse in gender and ethnicity.Several committee members said they would like to get that information, but Harkness noted it’s not an easy process. He said the Bar sent e-mails requesting that data to about 30,000 members without demographic information. About 9,000 members sent the info, but several expressed hostility that the Bar would ask for such data, he reported.The Bar is also considering asking the Supreme Court to allow the Bar to get the information from the Florida Board of Bar Examiners, something the court has rejected in the past. Harkness noted that if the Bar did get some demographic information, it would be public record. That would mean anyone could request the gender and ethnic background of any Bar members, or ask for a list of all Hispanic or African American members, he said.As of September 30 the Bar’s data showed 62 percent of its membership are white males; 25 percent are white females; 4 percent are Hispanic males; 3 percent are Hispanic females; 2 percent are African American females; and 1 percent are African American males. On committee memberships, 57 percent are white males; 30 percent are white females; 4 percent are Hispanic males; 3 percent are Hispanic females; 3 percent are African American females; and 1 percent are African American males.Both Johnson and Bookman said they plan to hold follow-up diversity symposiums during their presidential years, but also that they want to do more than just repeat the discussions of the first one earlier this year, convened by immediate past Bar President Miles McGrane.Bookman also said the committee will meet again in January at the Bar’s Midyear Meeting, and may hold a teleconference meeting before then. November 1, 2004 Senior Editor Regular Newslast_img read more

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