Friday, May 31, 2013

London's V&A Museum names Sophia George as first-ever Game Designer in Residence

DNP  London's V&A Museum names Sophie George as firstever Game Designer in Residence

Considering that video games are the focus of many an exhibit these days, the following news shouldn't be too shocking. The Victoria and Albert Museum in London has appointed Swallowtail Games founder Sophia George as its first-ever Game Designer in Residence. George, who won a BAFTA for her iOS title Tick Tock Toys, will be tasked with creating an interactive game for museum visitors. The first six months of the residency will involve researching the V&A Museum's extensive collection of 16th- to 20th-century art, and game production will kick off in mid-2014 at Abertay University. You know it's only a matter of time before the Met commissions a digital interpretation of its own massive sculpture gallery.

[Photo credit: Paul Farmer]

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The Best How To Advice In Home Improvement - Green Home ...

There are many home improvements that require only basic planning rather than years of experience to pull off. With the right information, most homeowners can complete these home improvements. If you are considering making improvements around your home, read through the following article to find tips to help you complete your projects.

If you are purchasing a house, have your home inspected by a professional. By doing this, you will know exactly what needs to be replaced or fixed. Having a professional who is an objective third party is a good way to keep any findings civil as well.

Prioritize the home improvement projects you would like to do and pick the most important room to work on first. Remember, you don?t have to improve your whole house at once; you can just do a room at a time to manage your time and funds. Plan your remodeling ahead of time and watch out for bargains that can save you a bundle. A good way to save money while improving your house is to plan ahead.

To stop air from going through your door, buy sealant strips and draft excluders. Draft excluders fit underneath a door and stop hot air from leaking out and cold air from leaking in. Put some sealant strips on your door frames too. They can be found at any hardware store.

Brighten your kitchen up by installing elegant cabinet handles and knobs! Installing cabinet knobs is easy and can really add a great look to a kitchen that is getting outdated. After you have removed the dated hardware, use that time to thoroughly clean the surfaces of your cabinetry and drawers. All that?s left is to install the new hardware!

Now that you?ve seen these ideas and tips, you should be more prepared to start off your own home improvement projects. Make your renovation and home improvement ideas a reality through the use of your creativity and keep disasters at bay with the aid of the provided tips.


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'Under The Dome' On TV: What You Need To Know About CBS' Summer Mystery Series

What is "Under the Dome"? After reporters were treated to an early look at the first episode of CBS' new summer TV series -- adapted from the bestselling Stephen King novel of the same name -- executive producers Neal Baer and Brian K. Vaughan (who wrote the first episode) attempted to answer that question and many more.

Luckily, the premiere speaks for itself, offering a gripping, handsomely-produced hour laden with mystery, a slew of creative (and disgusting) special effects, and a number of intriguingly ambiguous characters, lead by "Breaking Bad's" Dean Norris, "Pan Am's" Mike Vogel and "Twilight's" Rachelle Lefevre.

The show revolves around the fictional town of Chester's Mill, and explores what happens to its inhabitants after an impenetrable dome of unknown origin cuts them off from the rest of the world.

Baer described the series as "the new 'Twin Peaks,' in a way. You know how everyone was stuck in that little place but you really got into the characters, and mysteries were unfolding? I felt like that's what resonated [here]. This is very different from that show, but it takes that element and the roots of CBS with 'Twilight Zone' and puts it together in a new, fresh way."

Read on for more from the producers, including their strategies for solving mysteries, how dark the show will get and the major differences between the series and the book.

Stephen + Steven = Gold
Both EPs agreed that one of the show's main strengths is having Stephen King and Steven Spielberg on board as producers. "Steven Spielberg sees the best in humanity and Stephen King has always seen the worst, but there are a lot of similarities, in that they're both aggressive humanists; that they just love people so much, and throwing them in extraordinary situations and seeing what happens," Vaughan explained.

Since the show is based on his novel, King is said to be very hands-on, without being precious. "Stephen King sees everything from all the shows," Baer said. "We're on Episode 10, and he's been really wonderful to us, supporting us; giving us notes; letting us take it to different places but really embracing many of his original characters ... It's been a fantastic collaboration with him."

"He's given us plenty of creative freedom but we also love having him involved," Vaughan agreed. "He said, 'If this comes back for a second season, can I write [an episode] next season?' I said, 'We should be so lucky -- you can write 13 of 'em if you want to!' He's been super involved, but Stephen's first love has always been writing novels so I think he's very grateful to get to write this book and feel like his baby is being taken care of. He said, 'To quote Elvis, it's your baby -- you rock it now.' And I think he likes the way we've been rocking it."

If You Think You Know How It Ends, Think Again
If you've read the book, you're probably assuming that you have a good idea about how the story ultimately concludes, but Vaughan admitted that they had no interest in recreating the novel's plot verbatim.

"[The book] takes place over a relatively short amount of time, but when we first started talking with Stephen, he said, 'when I came up with this idea, I envisioned a town potentially being trapped for years at a time, and that's something that you guys could get to do that I didn't.' And that might necessitate a different ending," he said. "So we pitched Stephen a far-out, big swing idea for it -- if we're lucky enough for this to go several years -- a different ending, and he was really excited by it and so generous, to say 'I wish I'd thought of that, that's killer.' He's been so supportive, and I think he knows that the book is its own thing and it would be boring to translate the book exactly to the screen -- he wants to see something new that hopefully still has the theme and the heart of the book in it."

Baer agreed, "We're on Day 10 now, so we've already passed where the book goes and we think that this can go much beyond a week's worth of time, because we're just beginning to explore all of the ramifications of being caught under a dome ... how the citizens of Chester's Mill deal with it on a personal basis and on a sustainability basis."

We're Staying Under The Dome
Don't expect too many glimpses of the world outside the dome -- the producers want to keep the viewers trapped along with the characters.

"It's not post-apocalyptic, this is the first day after this life-altering tragedy, and we really didn't want to leave these people for a moment. We want to see each step -- how is society going to change as Chester's Mill is cut off from the rest of the United States?" Vaughan said. "We wanted to challenge ourselves and set it in this one location and find all the different things we can do under there."

Lessons Learned From "Lost"
The show has one overarching mystery -- where did the dome come from? -- but plenty of smaller subplots and questions waiting to be answered, and the producers promised that there would be pay-offs in the first season.

"You'll get lots of answers from things in the pilot, and some new questions will be coming up. I think we've done a pretty good job not stringing everyone along. We've made a conscious decision that if we present a mystery, we will solve it for you before we start introducing new ones," Vaughan promised. "We will learn a great deal about the dome by the end of the season, but maybe not all of the answers. Having worked on 'Lost' a little bit, I realized that if your show is only about one central mystery ? I think there have been a lot of shows after 'Lost' that have been about that, but I think 'Lost' succeeded because people cared about these characters so deeply. The mythology is an added bonus, but it's about revealing character, so I'm not too concerned that people will tune out if they're not getting the biggest answer [yet], as long as they love the people that we're putting up on screen."

Dark Days Ahead
Fans of King's work know that the writer isn't afraid to go to some dark and twisted places, but the rules are a little different on broadcast network TV. Or are they?

"This was originally developed for cable first, but when it came to CBS that was one of my concerns: 'It is a Stephen King story, it's dark, it's edgy, it's adult -- can we still do that?'" Vaughan admitted. 'And [CBS president] Nina Tassler was so excited like, 'yeah, we really do want to do something different and we're not going to cede the summer to cable, we want to challenge them!' So I think the script changed so little between coming to cable and coming to CBS. They've been really supportive about letting us do something that's different and dark."

"It gets pretty dark, they're in trouble -- big trouble," Baer confirmed. "Human nature rears its beautiful and ugly head in the course of the season. People do things they probably wouldn't have done if they weren't under so much pressure, and they do things they may not have thought they were capable of in a positive way, as well."

The Times They Are a-Changin'
Along with potentially reworking the ending, Vaughan and the other writers haven't shied away from making some other (slight) alterations to the novel. This mostly relates to the show's characters, some of whom have been cut out or given reduced roles for the sake of timing or clarity, and some of whom are completely new or composites of other characters to deepen connections between the inhabitants of Chester's Mill.

Two completely new characters are a lesbian couple played by Samantha Mathis and Aisha Hinds, who were added to offer a little more diversity and realism to the town.

"King was really encouraging when he heard the idea of a Los Angeles entertainment lawyer and a shrink being stuck in small-town Chester's Mill and they've been really fun characters," Vaughan said. "There are tourist characters in King's book but the book is set in Maine which is pretty homogenous, so I think we made a conscious decision of 'let's not be so specific, it's Anytown, USA' so we can get a little more diversity in the cast and a little more diversity in the climate and what kind of town this is."

Less Is More
Despite some reports that "Under the Dome" is a miniseries, it was always conceived as an ongoing series, with a 13-episode first season much like the cable model. Vaughan declared that 13 episodes is "heaven," because it allows them to make every episode the best it can be.

"I'm sure if the show's successful, maybe CBS will say 'how about 22?' but right now, 13 allows us to do 'all killer, no filler,' to really get to work on making each episode perfect," he said. "With 22, some might get away from you, it's the nature of the beast, but so far we're really proud of every episode."

"We really tried to make it like the pilot [every week]," Baer agreed, praising the broadcast networks' newfound willingness to explore cable methods of greenlighting series, as demonstrated at the networks' recent upfronts presentations with limited episode orders for series such as CBS' "Hostages" and Fox's "Rake."

"I think 13 is really doable," he continued. "And I did 25 [episodes per season] of 'SVU' ? it's just insanity. I love being able to focus on this one episode and not have to worry about 3 at once ? There's going to be various approaches with seven episodes on broadcast networks and various combinations of things and miniseries coming back, it's a great time to be experimenting. The sky's the limit."

"Especially during the summer when you don't have to take any breaks, you just get to do 13 in a row," Vaughan pointed out. "I think as an audience member that's what I love, it's fun to get to do that one dense chapter a week."

Appearances Can Be Deceiving
Although King's book had plenty of well-defined characters with questionable motives, the show seems even more concerned with exploring the moral ambiguities of its central players. Just because you recognize a name, the producers caution you not to assume that you already know a character.

"They're complicated -- the people you think are bad may not be so bad, and the ones you think are good may not be so good," Baer teased. "Don't believe everything you see at the beginning."

Spectacular SFX
The premiere episode has plenty of impressive visual effects, but once the dome's down, does that mean the end of the action? Completely the opposite, Vaughan promised: "Jack Bender had the same concern -- we can't go from 60 to zero and have a big explosive pilot and then it becomes a nighttime soap with the second episode, so I think you'll see with the second, it's almost bigger than the first ... It's explosive, quite literally."

"Under the Dome" premieres Monday, June 24 at 10 p.m. ET on CBS.

Will you watch "Under the Dome"?

  • "Family Tools" (ABC)

    <em>Series premieres Wed., May 1 at 8:30 p.m. ET.</em> <strong>What To Know</strong>: Starring J.K. Simmons and Kyle Bornheimer, "Family Tools" centers on a guy who returns home to take over his dad's hardware business when he finds himself jobless.

  • "MythBusters" (Discovery Channel)

    <em>Season 10 premieres Wed., May 1 at 9 p.m. ET.</em> <strong> What To Know</strong>: This season there will be a "Breaking Bad" themed episode and the crew will tackle myths such as "Are women better than men at multitasking?" and "Which is more sanitary: drying your hands with a hand dryer or a hand towel?"

  • "The Big Brain Theory" (DSC)

    <em>Series premieres Wed., May 1 at 10 p.m. ET.</em> <strong>What To Know</strong>: Hosted by Kal Penn, this reality competition show will give contestants 30 minutes to solve a daunting engineering challenge.

  • "Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous" (MTV)

    <em>Series premieres Thurs., May 2 at 10:30 p.m. ET.</em> <strong>What To Know:</strong> The series follows Zach (Bo Burnham), who hires a camera crew to film him throughout his daily life as a part of his quest to become an overnight celebrity ? even though he possesses no real talent. From Zach?s attempts to become a celebrity chef or a ring-tone recording artist to purposefully going missing, he?ll try any avenue to get noticed and stop at nothing until he reaches fame.

  • "The Show With Vinny" (MTV)

    <em>Series premieres Thurs., May 2 at 10 p.m. ET.</em> <strong>What To Know:</strong> For the legions who can't say goodbye to "Jersey Shore" just yet, the legacy continues as we follow GTLer Vinny into his sure-to-be-scintillating home life. The premise has random "celebrities" dropping by his house for impromptu interviews -- and Vinny going to visit their homes, too.

  • "Newlyweds: The First Year" (Bravo)

    <em>Series premieres Mon., May 6 at 10 p.m. ET.</em> <strong>What To Know:</strong> Bravo's new eight-episode docu-series follows four newlywed couples and their most personal moments, from their wedding day to their first anniversary. There's bi-coastal Christian couple Kimberly and Alaska; domestic partners Jeff and Blair, who are 16 years apart; Indian pop star Tina and her modeled-turned-tech-geek husband Tarz; and suburbanites Kathryn and John.

  • "Million Dollar Listing: New York" (Bravo)

    <em>Season 2 premieres Wed., May 8 at 10 p.m. ET.</em> <strong>Where We Left Off:</strong> Because we're all so fascinated by real estate that we could never realistically afford, this show is returning for a second season. C'mon, it's fun to live vicariously.

  • "Wipeout" (ABC)

    <em>Season 6 premieres Thurs., May 9 at 8 p.m. ET.</em> <strong>Where We Left Off:</strong> With Season 5 episodes titled "Hillbilly Wipeout," "Gorillas In Our Midst" and "Hotties vs. Nerds 2.0," there can only be more magic in store for Season 6. Viewers of all stripes love watching people hurt themselves in new and remarkable ways.

  • "Family Tree" (HBO)

    <em>Series premieres Sun., May 12 at 10:30 p.m. ET.</em> <strong>What To Know:</strong> "Bridesmaids" funnyman Chris O'Dowd stars in Christopher Guest's ("Best in Show") new documentary-style series about a hapless thirtysomething trying to find meaning in his life by tracing his heritage.

  • "Long Island Medium" (TLC)

    <em>Season 4 premieres Sun., May 12 at 9 p.m. ET.</em> <strong>Where We Left Off:</strong> We were hoping that those nails and that hair would be around for another season -- and our wish came true! Theresa Caputo is back, communicating with the dead, for at least another 30 episodes.

  • ?Breaking Amish: Brave New World? (TLC)

    <em>Season 2 premieres Sun., May 12 at10 p.m. ET .</em> <strong>Where We Left Off:</strong> Speculation and accusations about the show?s ?reality? aside, ?Breaking Amish? was a hit for TLC. Now, the five Amish and Mennonite rebels, who moved to New York City in the show?s first season, are headed south to Florida ... but trouble seems to follow them wherever they go.

  • "Small Town Security" (AMC)

    <em>Season 2 premieres Thurs., May 9 at 10 p.m. ET.</em> <strong>Where We Left Off: </strong> In Season 1, we met the owners and employees of JJK Security in small-town Ringgold, Georgia, and Season 2 will offer more insight into the unscripted lives of this unusual group, including Dennis' ongoing journey in his gender transition from female to male.

  • "So You Think You Can Dance" (Fox)

    <em>Season 10 premieres Tues., May 14 at 8 p.m. ET. </em> <strong>Where We Left Off:</strong> After a season of intense competition, Eliana Girard and Chehon Wespi-Tschopp took home first place wins, both for ballet, while Tiffany Maher was the female runner-up for jazz and Cyrus Spencer was the male runner-up for popping/animation.

  • "Motive" (ABC)

    <em>Series premieres Thurs., May 23 at 9 p.m. ET.</em> <strong>What To Know:</strong> Billed as a unique, original approach to the typical cop drama, "Motive" operates backwards. Each episode starts off showing the victim, and then works its way towards finding the perpetrator and his/her motivations by the end of the episode.

  • "The Goodwin Games" (Fox)

    <em>Series premieres Mon., May 20 at 8:30 p.m. ET.</em> <strong>What To Know: </strong> The Fox comedy centers on estranged siblings Henry (Scott Foley), Chloe (Becki Newton) and Jimmy (T.J. Miller) as they attempt to "rediscover their lives" with the money their father left them.

  • "MasterChef" (Fox)

    <em>Season 4 premieres Wed., May 22 at 8 p.m. ET.</em> <strong>Where We Left Off:</strong> The home cook competition crowned its third consecutive female winner last season, Christine Ha. Cool fact: She is legally blind. No telling what twists they'll have this season.

  • "Rookie Blue" (ABC)

    <em>Season 4 premieres Thurs., May 23 at 10 p.m. ET.</em> <strong>Where We Left Off:</strong> The last time we saw the cops at 15 Division, they were all in the midst of making some serious decisions about their lives -- including career calls, a possible transfer and, for Andy, a major emotional choice.

  • "Save Me" (NBC)

    <em>Series premieres Thurs., May 23 at 8 p.m. ET.</em> <strong>What To Know:</strong> After a near-death experience, Beth (Anne Heche) is revived only to realize she now has a direct line to God. Of course, her husband Tom (Michael Landes) is skeptical and dismissive -- but when inexplicable things begin to happen, everyone?s beliefs are tested.

  • "The Bachelorette" (ABC)

    <em>Season 9 premieres Mon., May 20 at 9 p.m ET.</em> <strong>Where We Left Off: </strong> Emily Maynard of North Carolina thought she'd finally found love in Jef Holm, but after only being engaged for a short time, they broke up. Here's to hoping "Bachelor" contestant Desiree Hartsock has better luck!

  • "Arrested Development" (Netflix)

    <em>Season 4 premieres Mon., May 26 at 12:01 a.m. PT.</em> <strong>Where We Left Off:</strong> The Bluths are finally back, but there's no telling where and how we'll actually find them. One thing we do know: Each of the nine main characters will have their own episode in this season's 15-episode order, chronicling what they've been up to the last seven years. Some may cross over, but they'll all be complementary -- and they're all meant to set up an eventual "AD" movie. Considering the season will all be available the day it premieres, it sounds pretty perfect for a marathon viewing.

  • "The Glades" (A&E)

    <em>Season 4 premieres Mon., May 27 at 9 p.m. ET.</em> <strong>Where We Left Off:</strong> In the Season 3 finale, Jim (Matt Passmore) proposed to Callie (Kiele Sanchez), even though she passed her board exam and may move to Atlanta. But she didn't respond yet ...

  • "Longmire" (A&E)

    <em>Season 2 premieres Mon., May 27 at 10 p.m. ET.</em> <strong>Where We Left Off:</strong> Did Walt Longmire murder his wife's killer? Season 1 saw flashbacks of the Sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming, that would support the theory, but when the FBI asked him in the Season 1 finale, he simply said, "No."

  • "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition" (ABC)

    <em>Season 3 premieres Tues., May 28 at 8 p.m. ET.</em> <strong>What To Know:</strong> As in the seasons before it, "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition" will center on a group of people losing large amounts of weight over the course of a year through diet and exercise.

  • "Brooklyn DA" (CBS)

    <em>Series premieres Tues., May 28 at 10 p.m. ET.</em> <strong>What To Know</strong>: The six-part series takes viewers behind the scenes of the Brooklyn District Attorney's office. ADA Kathleen Collins (pictured) is just one of the profiled attorneys. "When you?re on trial, there?s never a day that you really go home and don?t feel stressed," she said.

  • "The American Baking Competition" (CBS)

    <em>Series premieres Wed., May 29 at 8 p.m. ET.</em> <strong>What To Know:</strong> Based on a popular British reality competition, this new Jeff Foxworthy-hosted show features 10 home cooks vying for the title of best amateur baker in America, as well as a contract to publish their own cookbook and a $250,000 grand prize. Not bad for a couple of pies work, huh?

  • "Melissa & Joey" (ABC Family)

    <em>Season 3 premieres Wed., May 29 at 8 p.m. ET.</em> <strong>Where We Left Off:</strong> Joe married Russian businesswoman Elena, but then she received a call that prompted her to fly back to Russia to testify for one of her innocent colleagues. The Season 2 finale ended with Mel -- who officiated the wedding -- and Joe toasting to the next "Mrs. Longo," wherever she may be.

  • "Baby Daddy" (ABC Family)

    <em>Season 2 premieres Wed., March 29 at 8:30 p.m. ET. </em> <strong>Where We Left Off:</strong> Ben and Riley's friend Katie faced some major drama when they found themselves in bed together after a night of partying. The only problem with their little tryst was that Katie was supposed to get married (to someone else) the next day. Luckily, they soon find out that nothing happened, and Riley and Ben share a romantic dance.

  • "Dancing Fools" (ABC Family)

    <em>Series premieres Wed., May 29 at 9 p.m. ET.</em> <strong>What To Know: </strong> The half-hour comedy clip show, hosted by "Baby Daddy" star Melissa Peterman, features the funniest, most outrageous and memorable dances caught on camera. The dancers from the top two clips of the week compete on stage for a chance to win $10,000.

  • "The Killing" (AMC)

    <em>Season 3 premieres Sun., June 2 at 9 p.m. ET.</em> <strong>Where We Left Off:</strong> Season 2 ended with Rosie Larsen's Aunt Terry being arrested for her murder. Detectives Linden (Mireille Enos) and Holder (Joel Kinnaman) got a call about a new case, but Linden wanted no part of it. Season 3 picks up a year later, with Holder searching for a runaway girl and discovering a string of murders connected to one of Linden's old cases. Though Linden is no longer a detective, she inevitably gets pulled back in.

  • "The Real Housewives of New Jersey" (Bravo)

    <em>Season 5 premieres Sun., June 2 at 8 p.m. ET.</em> <strong> Where We Left Off</strong>: The "Housewives" were fractured -- to say the least -- but the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy brings new beginnings for the first ladies of the Garden State. Of course things could certainly go sour yet again.

  • "Princesses: Long Island" (Bravo)

    <em>Series premieres Sun., June 2 at 9 p.m. ET.</em> <strong>What To Know</strong>: The reality series follows six college-educated women from affluent areas of Long Island who are still living with their families.

  • ?Keeping Up With the Kardashians? (E!)

    <em>Season 8 premieres Sun., May 20 at 9 p.m. ET.</em> <strong>Where We Left Off:</strong> Kim and Kanye?s relationship was just breaking the Internet, and now we?ll see it all on screen -- including their baby drama. Khloe?s fertility issues continue, but new ?castmember? Brody Jenner -- Bruce?s son from a previous marriage who is no stranger to reality TV -- looks to be this season?s biggest diva.

  • "Mistresses" (ABC)

    <em>Series premieres Mon., June 3 at 10 p.m. ET.</em> <strong>What To Know:</strong> Soapy drama "Mistresses" stars Alyssa Milano, Yunjin Kim, Rochelle Aytes and Jes Macallan as four friends all struggling with different issues in their love lives, with men (including Jason George) and other women complicating matters. And as the title suggests, some of them are flirting with disaster and becoming mistresses themselves.

  • ?The Fosters? (ABC Family)

    <em>Series premieres Mon., June 3 at 9 p.m. ET. </em> <strong>What To Know: </strong>This new one-hour drama from executive producer Jennifer Lopez follows a multi-ethnic, blended family, being raised by two working moms, as they welcome another troubled child into their home.

  • "Teen Wolf" (MTV)

    <em>Season 3 premieres Mon., June 3 at 10 p.m. ET.</em> <strong>Where We Left Off:</strong> At the end of last season, Allison broke up with Scott, Peter warned Isaac and Derek that a new pack made up entirely of Alpha werewolves was coming, and said Alphas trapped Boyd and Erica in the woods, leaving viewers uncertain of their fate. Season 3 will pick up four months later, and focus on the introduction of the Alpha pack and the havoc they wreak.

  • "Push Girls" (Sundance Channel)

    <em>Season 2 premieres Mon., June 3 at 10 p.m. ET.</em> <strong>Where We Left Off: </strong> Throughout Sesaon 1 we got to know Auti, Mia, Tiphany and Chelsie, four women living in Hollywood who also happen to all be in wheelchairs. Season 2 will follow the foursome's new loves and new adventures, including 21-year-old Chelsie's decision to move out of her parents' home.

  • "America's Got Talent" (NBC)

    <em>Season 8 premieres Tues., June 4 at 9 p.m. ET</em> <strong>Where We Left Off:</strong> Last season, traveling dog act Olate Dogs was crowned the winner. This year, a new crop of performers will compete for the $1 million prize. Spice Girl Mel B. and Heidi Klum join the judging panel with Howie Mandel and Howard Stern.

  • "Burn Notice" (USA)

    <em>Season 7 premieres Thursday, June 6 at 9 p.m. ET.</em> <strong>Where We Left Off:</strong> In an effort to get more information on Riley, Michael sent Bly to tail her to a meeting with the cartel kingpin, but a cartel member disguised as security blew up Bly's car, killing him and destroying the evidence they collected on Riley. Michael later incapacitated Riley and got her to agree to confess. Then, Fiona, Madeline, Sam and Jesse were released from their prison cells. Michael explained he "did what [he] had to do," but Fiona corrected him, saying, "You did what you wanted to do."

  • ?Graceland? (USA)

    <em>"Graceland" premieres Thurs., June 6 at 10 p.m. ET.</em> <strong>What To Know:</strong> This cop drama, starring Daniel Sunjata and Aaron Tveit, follows a special group of law enforcement agents from the FBI, the DEA and U.S. Customs who all live under the same roof in sunny Southern California. Like frat guys (and girls), but with badges.

  • "The Hero" (TNT)

    <em>Series premieres Thurs., June 6 at 8 p.m. ET.</em> <strong>What To Know:</strong> Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is producing this competition series to test the strength, courage and integrity of a diverse group of nine individuals. Each week, the contestants will be challenged physically, mentally and morally as they try to prove that they truly deserve the title of "The Hero" and the life-changing grand prize that goes with it.

  • "72 Hours" (TNT)

    <em>Series premieres Thurs., June 6 at 9 p.m. ET.</em> <strong>What To Know:</strong> Contestants on this "Survivor"-esque reality show are dropped into the wilderness with only a bottle of water and a GPS device on a mission to find a briefcase filled with $100,000.

  • "Continuum" (Syfy)

    <em>Season 2 premieres Fri., June 7 at 10 p.m. ET.</em> <strong>Where We Left Off:</strong> According to series lead Rachel Nichols, Season 2 is all about responsibility. Kiera, Alec and even the terrorists at Liber8 all have to make intense choices that could change the very fabric of their worlds.

  • "Dexter" (Showtime)

    <em>Season 8 premieres Sun., June 30 at 9 p.m. ET.</em> <strong>Where We Left Off: </strong> Deb finally learned the truth about Dexter's dark secret, and took a page out of her step-brother's book in the shocking season finale. Can she live with what she did? And can Dexter escape the series without being brought to justice in this final season?

  • "Being Human" (BBC America)

    <em>Season 5 premieres Sat., June 8 at 10 p.m. ET.</em> <strong>Where We Left Off:</strong> Our favorite supernatural threesome is back from across the pond for their fifth and final season where they'll finally confront the Devil, once and for all. No biggie.

  • "Sinbad" (Syfy)

    <em>Series premiere Sat., June 8 at 9 p.m. ET.</em> <strong>What To Know:</strong> The 12-episode British series follows the epic sea journey of the flawed hero Sinbad (Elliot Knight), who embarks on a quest to rid himself of a curse and embrace his destiny. Look for "Lost" alum Naveen Andrews as Lord Akbari.

  • "Primeval: New World" (Syfy)

    <em>Series premieres Sat., June 8 at 10 p.m. ET.</em> <strong> What To Know</strong>: The 13-episode first season follows a team of animal experts and scientists that investigate paranormal events.

  • "Falling Skies" (TNT)

    <em>Season 3 premieres Sun., June 9 at 10 p.m. ET.</em> <strong>Where We Left Off:</strong> Last season ended with the arrival of a new species of alien, and Anne became pregnant with Tom's child. Season 3 will explore whether the new alien is on the side of the humans or has another dark purpose in mind. We'll also learn what happened to Hal while he was unconscious, and what that might mean for the rebellion.

  • "Switched At Birth" (ABC Family)

    <em>Season 2 summer premiere Mon., June 10 at 8 p.m. ET.</em> <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: "Switched At Birth" left on a big cliffhanger: Daphne struggled to keep the Carlton School for the Deaf open, John's campaign for office came to a startling halt and Emmett told Bay about Daphne and Noah's kiss.

  • "Major Crimes" (TNT)

    <em>Season 2 premieres Mon., June 10 at 9 p.m. ET.</em> <strong>Where We Left Off</strong>: Rusty became a ward of the state to the delight of everybody, and Captain Raydor continued to gain the trust and respect of the Major Crimes unit.

  • ?King & Maxwell? (TNT)

    <em>Series premieres Mon., June 10 at 10 p.m. ET.</em> <strong>What To Know:</strong> Based on author David Baldacci?s bestselling private eye series, Rebecca Romijn and Jon Tenney star as the titular former Secret Service agents now working as private investigators who aren?t always by-the-books.

  • "Pretty Little Liars" (ABC Family)

    <em>Season 4 premieres Tues., June 11 at 8 p.m. ET.</em> <strong>Where We Left Off:</strong> Red Coat, who looked a whole lot like Ali, saved Emily, Aria, Hanna and Mona from a fire, while Spencer looked on in shock. The first episode of Season 4 is titled "A Is For A-L-I-V-E" and <a href="" target="_hplink">E! News reports that viewers will meet Marion, Toby's mother</a>, who was <a href="" target="_hplink">revealed to be dead in Season 3, Episode 18, "Dead To Me."</a> "All of the questions fans have will be answered," <a href="" target="_hplink">star Sasha Pieterse told Wetpaint Entertainment recently</a> of Season 4.

Related on HuffPost:

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Thursday, May 30, 2013

More at-risk bird species in Brazilian forest than previously thought

May 29, 2013 ? In a study published today in the journal PLOS ONE, a team of researchers led by NJIT Associate Professor Gareth Russell has applied a novel method for linking large-scale habitat fragmentation to population sustainability.

"Our goal was to assess the extinction risk for bird species in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil, a global 'hotspot' of bird diversity," said Russell. "Based on elevation restrictions and forest type requirements, as well as ongoing tropical deforestation, we already knew that most species have access to far less habitat than typically assumed. But what habitat remains is also highly fragmented. Looking at area alone is not enough."

Other researchers included Stuart Pimm, Doris Duke Professor of Conservation Ecology, Duke University; Grant Harris, chief of biological sciences (Southwest region), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and Jessica Schnell, recently graduated, now at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Germany.

More accurate habitat maps show the extent of fragmentation, but researchers still must link the particular habitat distribution of a species to its extinction risk in an objective and consistent manner.

In a recent, more technical publication in the journal Conservation Biology, the same authors showed that a modified version of a metric called meta-population capacity has the right characteristics to assess the impact of fragmentation. Meta-population capacity takes information about the sizes of fragments and the distances separating them and summarizes the influence of these geographic factors on long-term population persistence.

The current study applied this metric to 127 forest-dependent passerine birds inhabiting the Atlantic Forest of Brazil, an area that has lost over 90 percent of its original forest. There were two key results:

First, the species fell into two distinct groups: those where the fragmentation impact was severe, and those where it was relatively mild. There were few species in the middle. This immediately suggests a straightforward way in which fragmentation patterns can contribute to threat assessment.

The authors also found that out of 58 species that have severely fragmented habitat, 28 are not currently considered to be threatened, according to the latest red list published by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Taking these results into consideration, the authors recommend that the classification of these species be reexamined.

Russell also hopes this work will have a broader impact. "Assessing extinction risk is enormously challenging, and the dedicated teams that do this work are faced with many unknowns," he said. "The most endangered species are often the most rare, and therefore also the hardest to find and study. Our approach requires only basic knowledge about a species, but optimizes that information by linking it to the recent flood of data about the environment."

The researchers believe that their work could be applied widely, helping to identify at-risk species from many different groups and from many regions of the planet.


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Simple And Effective Online Home Business Ideas For Starters ...

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Police: Maine man staged kidnap that killed girl

FILE - Nichole Cable is seen in an undated photo provided by the Penobscot County Sheriff?s Department. The man suspected of killing Cable has been indicted on charges of murder and kidnapping on Wednesday, May 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Penobscot County Sheriff?s Department, File)

FILE - Nichole Cable is seen in an undated photo provided by the Penobscot County Sheriff?s Department. The man suspected of killing Cable has been indicted on charges of murder and kidnapping on Wednesday, May 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Penobscot County Sheriff?s Department, File)

This June 2012 photo provided by the Penobscot County Jail via Maine State Police shows Kyle Dube, of Orono, Maine. A Penobscot County grand jury Wednesday, May 29, 2013 formally charged Dube in the death of Nichole Cable. (AP Photo/Penobscot County Jail via Maine State Police)

BANGOR, Maine (AP) ? A man used a fake Facebook account to lure a teenage girl out of her house in an attempt to stage her kidnapping and rescue so he could look like a hero but ended up killing her, a state police affidavit released Wednesday said.

Kyle Dube was indicted Wednesday on charges of murder and kidnapping in the death of 15-year-old Nichole Cable, whose body was found in a wooded area of Old Town this month a week after she went missing.

In an affidavit released after Dube was indicted, Detective Thomas Pickering outlined the scenario leading to the high school sophomore's death. He wrote that Dube told his brother that he used Facebook to trick her into going out of her house in Glenburn, not far from Old Town, while he waited in the woods wearing a ski mask.

When Nichole came along, the 20-year-old Dube jumped out and snatched her, duct-taped her and put her in the back of his father's pickup truck, the affidavit said. Dube later discovered that she was dead, so he dumped her body and covered it with branches, it said.

The affidavit doesn't go into details about how Nichole was duct-taped, and the cause of her death is still being determined by the medical examiner's office.

Dube told his brother that he "intended to kidnap Nichole and hide her; that he would later find her and be the hero," Pickering wrote.

Dube's attorney, Stephen Smith, did not immediately return a phone call left at his office Wednesday evening. He had argued for the affidavit to be withheld, citing threats against Dube in jail, concerns about whether he could get a fair trial and fears for the privacy of his relatives.

Earlier Wednesday, Justice William Anderson had denied a motion by The Associated Press and the Portland Press Herald to unseal the affidavit on First Amendment grounds.

The judge's original order had sealed the affidavit only until Dube was indicted. When the indictment was handed down, the affidavit was made public.

Nichole was reported missing on May 13 by her mother, who said she had left the night before to meet a friend at the end of the driveway but hadn't returned.

Police interviewed a friend of Nichole's named Bryan Butterfield, who said somebody had set up a fake Facebook account in his name and he suspected Dube. Butterfield told detectives that Dube wanted to have sex with Nichole but that she had rejected his advances, the affidavit said.

Investigators determined that Nichole had frequent contact with the fake Butterfield on Facebook and that the person posing as Butterfield repeatedly requested to meet with her before she agreed to meet with him at the end of her road to get some marijuana the night she went missing, the affidavit said.

Police asked Facebook officials to produce records to identify the owner of the fake Butterfield account, which was traced to Dube and his parents' home in Orono.

When a detective interviewed Dube's girlfriend, Sarah Mersinger, she reported that Dube told her where he left Nichole's body. Dube's brother, Dustin Dube, then told police what he knew.

Dozens of law enforcement officers, using aircraft and dogs, and hundreds of civilian volunteers had spent days searching for Nichole, whose body was found on the night of May 20. About 300 people turned out for her funeral.


Canfield reported from Portland, Maine.

Associated Press


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U.S. soldier accused of killing Afghans reaches deal to avoid execution : lawyer

By Eric M. Johnson

SEATTLE (Reuters) - A U.S. soldier accused of killing 16 Afghan civilians in two rampages from his Army post last year has reached a plea deal with prosecutors to avoid the death penalty, one of his lawyers said on Wednesday.

Robert Bales, a decorated veteran of four combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, is accused of gunning down villagers, mostly women and children, in attacks on their family compounds in Kandahar province in March 2012.

Lawyer Emma Scanlan said in an email that Bales would plead guilty to premeditated murder charges and would then go before a military jury for sentencing to determine whether a life sentence for his crimes would include the possibility of parole.

"There will be a jury for the sentencing phase beginning in August," Scanlan said.

Army prosecutors, who had sought the death penalty, have said Bales acted alone and with chilling premeditation when, armed with a pistol, a rifle and a grenade launcher, he left his base twice in the night, returning in the middle of his rampage to tell a fellow soldier: "I just shot up some people."

The shootings marked the worst case of civilian slaughter blamed on a rogue U.S. soldier since the Vietnam War and further eroded strained U.S.-Afghan relations after more than a decade of conflict in that country.

Defense attorneys have argued that Bales was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a brain injury even before his deployment to Afghanistan.

During a nine-day pre-trial hearing in November, witnesses testified that Bales had been angered by a bomb blast near his outpost that severed a fellow soldier's leg days before the shootings.

Prosecutors presented physical evidence to link Bales to the crime scene, with a forensic investigator saying a sample of blood on his clothes matched a swab taken in one of the compounds where the shootings occurred.

Bales is to enter a guilty plea on June 5 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, a military installation in Washington state. The presiding judge, Army Colonel Jeffery Nance, and a commanding general must still approve the deal.

The Ohio native and father of two from Lake Tapps, Washington, is to provide a full account of the attacks, notwithstanding his patchy memory, to demonstrate that he understands and accepts his guilt. Nance will then decide whether to accept his plea.

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson, Writing by Cynthia Johnston; Editing by Cynthia Johnston, Tim Dobbyn and Lisa Shumaker)


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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A place where graduates overcome addiction

Elisha GahaganFor Elisha Gahagan, it was the day she lost custody of her kids. She?d been using since she was 12 years old ? first wine coolers and pot, then cocaine, eventually heroin ? but she had always promised herself that she would not turn out like this, just like her own mother, an opiate addict who spent her days chasing pain pills. Gahagan was supposed to be the June Cleaver mom she?d always wanted in her own life, but when the time came she found that she could not pull her head above water. The physical addiction had her in its grasp, and every move she tried to make toward a normal life was thwarted by a need she could not control.

Her quest to get clean took her through rehab and methadone clinics and a string of ever more desperate situations, until finally even the detox center turned her away because she'd been there too many times. That?s when she found TROSA.

Tucked into a quiet neighborhood in Durham, N.C., TROSA ? Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers ? is an outpost for addicts who have run out of options. The people who come here are among the hardest cases in the substance abuse world. They?ve been battling addictions for years ? sometimes decades ? and have burned through whatever support networks they once had. They come with tragic pasts and mental health issues and criminal records. Some lived comfortable middle-class lives until their addictions drained everything away; others have been camping out in cars and under bridges for years. They come in their 20s and in their 50s. Many are high school dropouts. Some don?t know how to read.

But more remarkable than the people TROSA takes in are the ones it turns out. Unlike typical treatment centers, which run for a few weeks or months and focus mostly on getting clean, TROSA is a two-year, live-in program that helps addicts rebuild their lives from the ground up. People come here to get off the drugs but also to dig deep, to discover who they really are and what they?re capable of doing. Those who didn?t finish school will earn GEDs; others can attend college classes. Everyone who graduates from the program will leave with a job. And everything they need along the way, from toiletries to interview coaching, will be provided. For free.

This is the other unusual thing about TROSA: It costs nothing to attend. Instead of paying for housing or meals, the people who come here work. Nearly half the money needed to fund the program comes from businesses run by the residents themselves, including a moving company, a lawn care service, and a frame shop. Residents also take jobs in the offices, kitchens, and garage on campus. This model has earned TROSA a reputation among some on the streets as a ?work camp,? but staff and residents insist the work is a central piece of the recovery process. It helps people build job skills, resumes ? and most importantly, a work ethic. That work ethic, combined with the program?s overall mission, has generated a lot of good will and repeat business in the community. The moving company regularly pulls in ?best of? awards, and locals are quick to praise the drive and discipline of TROSA crews. As Marge Nordstrom, who has used the lawn care service for several years, explains, ?These are men [and women] who are trying to get their lives back together and learn a trade so they stay out of trouble. And if I can help them to do that, I?m game.?

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For Ashley Hill, it was the day she sat in a holding cell in a Georgia jail, waiting to be led off to prison. She was 21 years old and had been in and out of trouble ever since an arrest for possession at 17. She?d even done a six-month stint in rehab for cocaine addiction but had come out ?cross-addicted? to opiates; her peers in the program talked up the high so much she was hooked. By the time she was busted for her fourth or fifth probation violation, her lawyer told her there was nothing he could do. She watched the guards come to take her away, but by some lucky mathematical error in court ? a twist of fate she still can?t explain ? they led her out to her family instead. ?I got a second chance,? she says, ?so I knew I had to do something. I wasn?t getting any better.?

Her parents suggested TROSA, but to Hill it seemed extreme. She didn?t want to be so far from home for so long. She dragged her feet and found reasons to put off leaving. Finally, one night, she nearly overdosed. Her parents stood firm: If you don?t go now, we?re done. She went.

A lawn care worker outside the gymNewcomers to TROSA learn quickly that they?re not just along for a ride. For the first 30 days they?re put on ?internship,? tasked with emptying trash cans, sweeping the halls, and attending therapy sessions as they come down off the drugs. Their days are scheduled from 6:30 a.m. until 11 p.m. The rules are many and strict: No cursing. No talking back. No makeup. No dating. No unmade beds. And no contact with family members for the first several months. Comings and goings around campus are tracked with sign-in logs and monitored by leaders. People caught breaking the rules are called into a place known as the ?Blue Room? and confronted about their behavior. Then they?re punished with ?contracts? ? extra work duty ? and sent back out stinging.

Later, the people who make it through the program will thank the staff and senior residents for this ?tough love,? but at the time it can be hard to swallow. For Hill, it was like nothing she?d ever known. At other programs, she says, ?you could fail drug tests, and your punishment was that you couldn?t go lay out at the pool that weekend.? Here, on top of the physical torment of withdrawal, she found herself being called out again and again ? sometimes for things she didn?t even realize she was doing. No one had ever held her so accountable for her behavior. She panicked. More than once she called her parents from the Blue Room to beg them to come pick her up. She didn?t know if she could make it.

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? * * *

In 1993, Kevin McDonald was working at a gang parolee program in Los Angeles when a group from Durham called. The city needed his help, they said; the drug situation was taking a steep toll. They knew he had set up a treatment program in Greensboro, N.C. ? could he do the same here? Eventually he accepted, and with just $18,000 and a four-burner electric stove, he set up shop in an abandoned elementary school in a ?transitional? part of town. The school was in shambles, the basement so flooded he thought it was a swimming pool. He paid the neighborhood kids a dollar a week to stop throwing rocks through the windows. He had no written marching orders ? just an understanding of how addicts think and a determination to give them another chance at life.

Dorms on the main TROSA campusToday the main campus of TROSA is a cluster of more than a dozen buildings on land that was once a Flav-O-Rich dairy. What started as a 30-bed program now houses 431 residents ? here and at a number of smaller properties around the city. Aside from the old dairy structures, everything on campus has been built by the residents themselves. The two-story dorms line meticulously landscaped quads. Inside, shoes are arranged under the beds in pairs, clothes hung neatly in closets. Against the walls stand scuffed wooden dressers. ?Donated by Duke,? McDonald points out.

The word ?donated? figures prominently in a tour of TROSA ? if something wasn?t built by residents, chances are it was donated. ?This kitchen? Donated.? Conference table? Donated. Blue-and-white diner booths? You guessed it. An entire department is devoted to reaching out to companies across the country to ask for things the program needs; McDonald estimates their efforts saved the organization up to $3 million last year. Residents even drive to local bakeries each day to pick up unwanted pastries for the snack bar.

??You?ve got to hustle,? McDonald says with a wink, and this seems to be one of the keys to the program?s success over the years: seeing opportunity where others don't. As the organization has expanded, it has snapped up run-down buildings in overlooked parts of town and transformed them into useful spaces ? a pattern Durham Mayor Bill Bell says has had a ?very positive effect.? Instead of walling itself off, TROSA has made its presence felt throughout the city.

As he crosses the campus, McDonald calls out to every resident he passes: ?Hey, man, how you doing?? and ?Good to see you, man.? They clasp hands; sometimes they hug. This, too, is part of the therapy: to be recognized as visible, a human being.

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? * * *

One thing recovering addicts will tell you about themselves is that they are self-centered. That after being driven by their own needs for so long, they have forgotten how to care about other people.

Vinicent? Alexander came to TROSA after he looked up on Thanksgiving Day 2010 and realized he was sitting alone in his apartment with a bag of drugs. He had waded so far into his ?obsession? that he?d pushed everyone away. ?Something?s got to change,? he thought.

Because Alexander had run his own tailoring business for decades, the structure and discipline at TROSA weren?t so jarring; for him the hard part was being held responsible for other people's recovery. The proverb ?each one, teach one? is a core philosophy here, emblazoned on signs and repeated in the hallways. It means, essentially, that one day you come in and learn how to sweep the floors, and the next you?re showing someone else how to do it.

But Alexander ended up teaching far more than one. At the end of his first 30 days, instead of being sent out to train at the moving company or one of the other businesses, he was named intern crew boss, which meant that he was on call around the clock, serving as a mentor, enforcer, and father figure to new waves of people coming in. For more than a year, as he counseled the interns through various crises, he found himself reliving his own intense transition to recovery again and again. Soon he realized that helping others was doing more than anything else to change his way of thinking. It had awakened something in him. He had really started to care.

For this reason, even residents assigned to other training schools during the day are given a ?people business? to manage on the side ? a handful of more junior residents to monitor and guide. Often ?guiding? means laying down the law. Strict as the program is, it runs largely on the honor system ? so it?s up to the residents to blow the whistle when someone screws up. ?That?s a really hard thing,? Kevin McDonald says, ?because you want people to like you. And you don?t know how to get people to like you without [drugs]. ... But if you really care about somebody and they?re doing something wrong, you?ve got to say something.? Speaking up makes residents more invested in the whole process ? and reminds them what they?re here to do.

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? * * *

As visitors approach an office, the word ?Tour!? ripples through the room and instantly everyone rises. The men wear crisp button-down shirts and ties. The women are in slacks and business-casual blouses. One by one they introduce themselves.

My name is Krystal. Robert. Tyrone.

I?ve worked in this office five months. Eighteen months. Twenty-one months.

I started drinking alcohol when I was 11.

I?ve been using since I was 15, and my addiction was crack cocaine.

My addiction was opiates ? pills and heroin.

I started out using crystal meth, and then it was pretty much anything.

I was in my addiction for 13 years. It tore my life apart.

At TROSA this is an everyday part of the culture: owning your addictions, putting your story front and center, talking about the darkest chapters of your life in the same tone someone else might use to lament a bad investment they made years ago. This openness is also one of the main points of departure from programs that emphasize anonymity. McDonald appreciates what those organizations have done to help people, but to him the thinking is backward. ?You have to educate people,? he says ? which means sharing what you?ve done in the past and who you are now.

A common frustration for those who work in the substance abuse world is the belief that addiction is a choice, that addicts go back to using because they are weak. ?The perceptions haven?t caught up with the science,? says Paul Nagy, a clinical associate in Duke?s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences who serves as an adviser to TROSA. ?The science is very clear that it is a brain-based disorder.? A person may choose to use drugs at the beginning, but then the drugs create physical changes in the brain, disrupting the normal communication and reward systems in ways that inhibit the user?s self-control and drive more and more compulsive behavior. Some people are more susceptible to this than others, thanks largely to their genes. Recovery is a complex and ongoing process.

TROSA founder and president Kevin McDonaldBut for McDonald, it?s important to show the world that it?s possible ? that addicts are people ?who can get healed.?

?We?re not lepers,? he says. ?We?re not society?s garbage. We?re not people who shouldn?t be around people.? TROSA members interact with the community through the moving company and other businesses, but they also go on speaking engagements around Durham in the hopes that their stories will inspire others to get help and shed light on the larger issue of substance abuse.

?People can?t ? from the top down ? acknowledge what a serious problem this is in our country today,? McDonald says. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, an estimated 21.6 million Americans needed special treatment for a drug or alcohol problem in 2011 ? but only 2.3 million received it. Many won?t admit they have a problem unless they?re pressured by loved ones or caught in the criminal justice system. Meanwhile they're out on the streets, posing a danger to themselves and possibly others.

Cumulatively, the effects of addiction are staggering. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that substance abuse costs the U.S. more than $600 billion annually ? factoring in health care, lost productivity, and crime ? and emphasizes that even that number doesn?t reflect the full destructive effect on society: the disintegration of families, domestic violence and child abuse, and failure in schools. More than 10,000 people are killed in alcohol-related driving accidents each year.

?Why wouldn?t we be doing more?? McDonald asks. By more, he means not just getting people into treatment, but also funding research and development into better ways to stop the destructive cycle of behavior. Over the years he?s seen so many people conquer their addictions only to suddenly relapse. ?Why does that moth go to that flame?? he says. ?That?s what we?ve got to figure out.?

In the meantime, he?s doing what he can to put a human face on the issue and raise awareness beyond TROSA?s gates. He hopes that among the dozens of groups that tour the center every year ? including students from Duke and other schools ? there are future leaders who will have a better understanding of what?s at stake, thanks to what they?ve seen and heard.

?That?s what we have to think about,? he says. ?Not just TROSA, but this whole field. Until somebody?s directly affected by [substance abuse], they don?t get it.?

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? * * *

Kevin McDonald started using alcohol when he was 13 years old. He was living in Germany, where his dad was stationed in the Air Force. He was a shy kid. His mother was abusive. He had trouble connecting with people. When the family moved back to California, McDonald tried to fall in with the hippie crowd ? ?weed, hash, regular stuff? ? but he didn?t quite fit there, either. Soon he turned to heroin and the rougher scene that came with it. The heroin took over his life and kept him from holding down a job. He overdosed multiple times but kept going back for more. His father didn?t understand why he couldn?t just quit. Eventually, McDonald began robbing pharmacies to feed his addiction. That?s when he landed in jail.

From there McDonald caught a lucky break ? after a few months, he was released into the Delancey Street Foundation, a therapeutic community in San Francisco that inspired the underlying model of TROSA. Hardened by years of abuse and paranoid from his time behind bars, McDonald was skeptical of these people who wanted him to share his feelings. He was in his early 30s then and hadn?t cried since he was a teen. ?I was thinking, ?I don?t know if I can handle this,?? he says. ?I was burnt, you know. I was crisp.? He spent his days and nights on edge, half-waiting to get jumped. But eventually the anxiety subsided, and he learned to open up. Here were people who truly wanted to know how he was doing every morning. Who wanted to give him tools he could use in the world. ?All I knew when I got there was anger and hate,? he says, ?and to change that around was life-saving.?

At TROSA, McDonald has borrowed many of the core elements of the Delancey Street model ? most importantly peer mentoring and job training ? but he?s also added other pieces over the years. Unlike Delancey Street, TROSA has a paid staff. They use evidence-based therapy and Seeking Safety (a program geared toward post-traumatic stress disorder) in their work with residents. McDonald has also brought in psychiatric support through Duke, which allows TROSA to help more people with mental health issues.

That mental health component has become increasingly important, says adviser Paul Nagy. In recent years he?s seen more and more residents come in with co-occurring disorders, especially depression and anxiety, and with histories of PTSD ? not from war but from ?life trauma? and abuse.

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? * * *

Behind a set of blacked-out glass doors a ?dissipation? is in full swing. Here, residents who have been at TROSA long enough to build a solid foundation gather for 24 hours to unleash whatever demons still need freeing. Some come to purge deep-seated guilt over the things they?ve done in the past ? to confess and seek forgiveness. Others come to work out anger at their families or fellow residents. ?It?s very raw,? McDonald warns, and indeed when the door opens the air is charged. A group of 15 to 20 residents sit facing one another on couches arranged in a square, the lights so dim their expressions are barely visible. A man is gesturing and shouting at his neighbor.

One of the old dairy structures ?The stories I?ve heard in dissipations for 30 years...? McDonald says. ?What people will do to each other and what people will do for dope is just mind-blowing. Nothing comes before it, when you get to a certain point. It?s just horrific.?

Equally horrific is what some of the residents have endured before coming here. Nearly everyone has been abused in some way, McDonald says. He tells the story of a recent graduate who grew up with a schizophrenic mom, was adopted by a violently abusive aunt, and then molested by her own father. He tells the story of Susan, who jumped off a bridge and broke her neck but survived ? only to be attacked with a claw hammer in an attempted rape.

Upstairs, in the intake office, resident Dawn Sakowski hears stories like these every day. Before she came to TROSA, Sakowski spent years on the streets of Philadelphia, living in abandoned cars and turning to prostitution and theft to fund her crack cocaine habit. From the calls she makes as she?s screening applicants, it?s clear: ?It?s still the same out there.? This week the reality of that hit home in a much more personal way, when her 22-year-old daughter was admitted to the program. Sakowski is glad she?s here, getting the help she needs, but ?it?s hard to see,? she says. She fights off tears as she speaks.

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? * * *

At TROSA, time is measured in days and months. At 30 days, residents can write and receive mail. Ninety days until phone privileges. Six months to a wristwatch and an MP3 player. At 12 months, they?re called onstage to receive a medal, and new worlds begin to open up: They?re allowed to date. Families can come to campus to visit and, soon after, they can visit their families at home. At 21 months, they go on ?work-out,? taking a job in the community.

Not everyone finds success at TROSA. The graduation rate hovers around 30%, and the average stay is 11 months. Most of those who leave do so in the first two months, when emotions are running high and the transition is most difficult. Some leave later, after six or 12 or 18 months, because they think they?ve healed enough to strike out on their own. Others are sent away ? for breaking the rules too many times, for health issues TROSA can?t accommodate, or for making threats. (Violence ? even the threat of it ? is not tolerated at TROSA; the program won?t accept rapists and certain other offenders for this reason. ?There are wolves and lambs in the substance abuse world,? McDonald explains. ?You?ve got to equal the playing field. There has to be a safe feeling.?)

Elisha Gahagan quit TROSA at six months. She thought she had everyone fooled into believing she was a ?goody-goody addict,? but then she broke a couple of rules and was presented with a contract. Suddenly she realized that these people were just like her; they could see through the manipulations and weren?t going to fall for her ?crap.? She decided she didn?t need their help ? she was off the drugs, she could handle herself now ? so she called her ex to pick her up. The kids were thrilled to have her home, but within hours she realized she hadn?t thought it through. She had nothing ? no change of clothes, no way to get to and from a job. Intense anxiety kicked in, and she found herself reaching for a beer. The kids watched her in disbelief. The next day she called TROSA and begged to return. When she came back, she started the program all over again.

?It was the best thing that could have ever happened to me,? she says, ?because at that point I realized what I was doing. Everything hit me. I?ve got to really dig deep. I?ve got to take advantage of this opportunity and find out who I am and why I do the things I do. And to try to change and be a different person.?

Those who stick it out through graduation receive jobs and diplomas, but also continued access to inexpensive TROSA-owned housing and transportation to and from work. When donations allow, they?re given a car. Some stay on to finish their studies or train for full-time positions on staff (more than half of the 50-person staff went through the program). As the rest venture out into the world, they can stay connected to TROSA through group activity nights and, if they need them, free meals. They?re still not ?cured,? Paul Nagy points out, even after two years ? because there is no permanent cure for addiction. They?ve started on the total life change required for recovery, but they will be working at it every day for the rest of their lives. And they?ll need all the help they can get.

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? * * *

It?s Sunday afternoon ? Mother?s Day ? and a group of black-robed graduates is gathering for a picture under a concrete awning. ?Everybody say, '1, 2, 3 ... sh-t!'? McDonald jokes. ?It?s a special occasion.?

Less than two miles away, Melinda Gates has just finished addressing 5,000 graduates on the campus of Duke University, and celebratory horns can still be heard in the distance. Here, as the crowd files into the TROSA gymnasium, there?s a different kind of energy: excitement mixed with relief, wariness, and hope.

Ashley Hill with her parents Ashley Hill is here, adjusting her cap and gown. It?s the day after her 24th birthday and two years since the near-overdose. In the end, all that trouble she got into early on paid off ? she got tired of losing her free time to extra duty and started focusing on the future. ?I proved to myself my strength,? she says. ?I?m really proud of myself today.? She?ll be staying on at TROSA to finish her associate degree so she can transfer to a four-year college. She waves to her parents as they arrive.

As the ceremony begins, a static recording of ?Pomp and Circumstance? leads the graduates to the stage, where one by one they collect their diplomas and rings and stop in front of the microphone to address the audience. They offer variations on refrains one hears a lot at TROSA: ?This place saved my life? and ?I don?t know where I would be.?

?You talkin? 'bout a miracle?? asks Robert Murphy. ?You?re looking at it. Right here.?

TROSA is not a religious program, but nearly everyone thanks God. They thank the staff for that ?tough love? and ?extra therapy? they hadn?t known they?d needed. They assure the interns in the crowd that it will all make sense in the end.

Then they turn to the families, who are the other stars of this day. ?I?d like to ask my family to rise.? Each time, the crowd turns and erupts in applause.

Ashley Hill looks out at her parents: ?I apologize for the things I put you guys through. I can?t imagine what it was like for you to watch me go through that.?

Vinicent Alexander on graduation dayVinicent? Alexander promises his family: ?I am a better man and will be a better man until the day I die.?

Men of all ages speak to loved ones they left behind:

?You?ve got your son back.?

?You?ve got your brother back.?

?Y?all got your Daddy back.?

Will Crooks points out his brother, who graduated from law school the previous day: ?I am so proud of him.? He tells the crowd about his mother, who passed away when he was 19. ?I had to watch her as she slipped away,? he says, ?and I sat there and promised her, ?Mom, I?m going to change. I?m going to be a different man.? And today, I am changed. This is for my mother. Happy Mother?s Day, Mom.?

After the ceremony, Elisha Gahagan mingles with the graduates and staff. She shares a text message she just received from her 11-year-old daughter. ?Happy Mother?s Day,? it reads. ?I love you more than words can express.?

Gahagan finally collected her ring and diploma last year; today she works at TROSA as one of the president?s assistants. She still lives on campus but has reconnected with her kids and sees them regularly. Her life, she says, is complete: ?I look at everything, day in and day out, and it is so perfect right now that I wouldn?t change a thing. I wouldn?t change my past. I wouldn?t change the experiences that I had. This is how I had to get here. I?m just glad I got here.?


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Fatherhood | Pulling Down the Moon

This is an interesting moment for me to reflect on fatherhood. In a little under two months
we are expecting our first child. I find myself in a bit of limbo. I reflect on how my father was and?how I want to be and the understanding that I won?t truly understand fatherhood until that day. I?remember how my father acted, taught me, and grew by being a father to my brother and I.

I?remember learning lessons from his learning and how he showed a dedication to family and?providing for us. He put family first even above his own needs. He showed strength through?some very difficult times. He learned and grew through his experience of fatherhood.?There are other father figures to consider too: the kindness of my grandfather, how much?my uncle always accepted his step children as his own, the advice my sensei gave me to treat?children like adults and remember that they are not, and how you have to be firm with children but?willing to compromise.

What I understand most is what I don?t understand. When I?m asked if I?m ready for this, I?respond the only way that is truthful, no. I don?t understand the strength that will be required. I?don?t understand the weight of responsibility that is coming. I don?t understand how much I?ll be?overwhelmed by love for this little life that is coming. At certain points in your life, the only thing?you can understand is what you don?t understand.

Jonathan Walton, L.Ac

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Today&#39;s menu - - May 29, 2013


Stateline Speedway: Wednesday Night Fever,?6?p.m.


Junior American Legion: Gonzaga Prep at West Valley, Ferris at University, North Central at Shadle Park, all?5:30?p.m.

All-State feeder games at Jackson Field: 2A/1A All-Stars vs. 2B/1B All-Stars, 4 p.m.; 4A/3A All-Stars vs. 2B/1B All-Stars,?7.


High school girls: Jack Blair Memorial game at Post Falls HS, 7:30?p.m.


College men: Washington at NCAA Championships (second day), Capital City Club,?Atlanta.


Greyhound Park & Event Center: Dog racing, 10 a.m.; horse racing,?10:15.

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Stateline Speedway: Wednesday Night Fever,?6?p.m.


Junior American Legion: Gonzaga Prep at West Valley, Ferris at University, North Central at Shadle Park, all?5:30?p.m.

All-State feeder games at Jackson Field: 2A/1A All-Stars vs. 2B/1B All-Stars, 4 p.m.; 4A/3A All-Stars vs. 2B/1B All-Stars,?7.


High school girls: Jack Blair Memorial game at Post Falls HS, 7:30?p.m.


College men: Washington at NCAA Championships (second day), Capital City Club,?Atlanta.


Greyhound Park & Event Center: Dog racing, 10 a.m.; horse racing,?10:15.


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