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Top 3 Philanthropists in America: Warren Buffett, Alice Walton, and Melinda Gates

Top Philanthropists Warren Buffett, Alice Walton, Melinda Gates

Philanthropic initiatives focus on promoting the welfare of others, usually through the donation of money to charitable causes. In America, numerous groups focus on improving the quality of life for those who are less fortunate. However, when it comes to philanthropy, three names are heard more often than others – Warren Buffett, Alice Walton, and Melinda Gates. These individuals have taken advantage of their success by reinvesting their wealth into the communities that surround them, bettering the lives of countless families.

Warren Buffett

Referred to as the “Oracle of Omaha,” Warren Buffett is an investor, business magnate, and world-renowned philanthropist who has served as chairman of Berkshire Hathaway since 1970. Forbes reports that, at one point, Warren was the world’s richest man. Still, he never let this title define him. He has done as much as possible to give his money to those who can best utilize it to help the society around us. Also holding the fitting title of the world’s most successful investor, he decided to take the money he earned and reinvest in what matters most – the various philanthropic needs of the U.S.

In 2006, Warren committed to gradually giving away 99% of his Berkshire Hathaway stock to philanthropic foundations. He stands firm in this commitment and has already donated approximately half of his wealth. In 2009, he partnered with Bill and Melinda Gates, becoming co-founder of the Giving Pledge. This pledge was created to inspire rich Americans to pledge at least 50% of their wealth to charity. Two years later, he was listed in Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. In 2010, he was named one of the most influential global thinkers. The following year, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.

Warren Buffett has demonstrated many times that he values his philanthropic work over his net worth. He continues to actively support his family’s individual foundations, including Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, Sherwood Foundation, Howard G. Buffett Foundation, and NoVo Foundation. Yet, he has also made it clear that he won’t be leaving his children a lot of money. He has seen how wealth can impact a family and believes it is more important that he share with his children and grandchildren his desire to help others than to give them a large inheritance. Warren also participates in auctions where the winning bidder receives a luncheon with him, and the proceeds are used to fund different philanthropic foundations. [Wikipedia]

Recent News:

Warren Buffett announces he will be donating $4.1 billion to various charitable foundations

Warren Buffett Hits Halfway Mark of Donating 99% of Net Worth

Alice Walton

Heiress to the Walmart fortune and second richest woman in the world, Alice Walton, has dedicated her life to philanthropic works. She believes in bettering the world by increasing access to arts, supporting education, and enhancing economic opportunities. Much of her work so far has been dedicated to the arts, but her goals for the future continue to expand her efforts into other important areas. Much of her philanthropic work focuses on her local community of Bentonville, Arkansas.

Alice founded the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in 2011, a 120-acre park with galleries, classrooms, a gathering hall, a library featuring over 50,000 art reference volumes, and a five-mile walking trail of sculptures. This Museum’s permanent collection contains five centuries of American art, including works created by Indigenous people and other artists who traditionally have been underrepresented in most museums. She is also a member of the Walton Family Foundation and the founder of the Alice L. Walton foundation.

In 2017, Alice founded Art Bridges, a nonprofit foundation that partners with a wide variety of institutes to provide greater access to American art. This foundation supports several projects geared towards creating deeper engagement within communities. Recently, she led the formation of the Whole Health Institute and is deeply involved in the development of the Whole Health School of Medicine and Health Services, both based in Bentonville. The goal is to create an arena where health and well-being are both affordable and accessible.

Alice Walton is passionate about outreach in her community and beyond. She became the first chairperson of the Northwest Arkansas Council, which played a major role in improving the transportation infrastructure of the area. She also established Camp War Eagle, a summer camp available to children of all different socio-economic backgrounds. She has received The Archives of American Art Medal from the Smithsonian Institute and the John Cotton Dana Medal for Visionary Leadership in Museums from the American Alliance of Museums. In 2018, she was inducted into the International Women’s Forum Hall of Fame. [Wikipedia]

Alice Walton Steps Down as Chairperson: Expanding Horizons

Alice Walton has long been known for her philanthropic work and her love of the arts. Much of her work focuses on her hometown of Bentonville. Her desire has been to create a place rich in art and other forms of social connection. She is most well-known for helping make Bentonville, Arkansas an art destination. This museum offers both in-person and virtual art events in the hopes of reaching a larger community and bringing people together.

She is known for her vast collection of art, and her commitment to making the art world more accessible for those less fortunate. Alice Walton recently announced that she would be stepping down as the board chairperson for the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

Stepping Down

Walton has led the board of the Crystal Bridges Museum since opening its doors in 2011. This nonprofit museum was a major component of economic and artistic growth in Northwest Arkansas. This museum has been a cultivation of her passion for the arts, and her desire to make art accessible. She will continue to stay involved, transitioning to the function of a board member of Crystal Bridge, which she first created as a non-profit in 2005. A close family member Olivia Walton, is taking the role of leading the board as chairperson.

Alice Walton couldn’t be happier to have a family member take her place. In a news release, she had nothing but praise for Olivia Walton, extolling her lifelong passion for the arts and acknowledging what an excellent museum board leader she will be now into the next decade. While Alice Walton will continue to be a part of the museum, she also wanted to free more of her time to focus on additional artistic and philanthropic work.

Expanding Her Focus

Alice Walton continues to dedicate her life to philanthropic work. Her step down as chairperson is largely due to her desire to work on other projects. Along with her passion for art, she also has a passion for health and well-being. She is deeply engaged in the Whole Health Institute, as well as the Whole Health School of Medicine and Health Sciences, that she founded recently. The goal of these new projects is to create an arena where health and well-being are both accessible and affordable. She also helped to establish Camp War Eagle, which is a summer camp for all socio-economic backgrounds. Alice Walton had often expressed her desire to branch from the art world to continue helping those in need in other areas. This move highlights her desire to continue her philanthropic work outside of the art world. She is excited to see how new, fresh leadership will continue to inspire and shape the projects of the Crystal Bridges Museum.

Recent News:

Philanthropist Alice Walton discusses her interest in healthcare reform

How Alice Walton is Bringing the Art World to Bentonville, Arkansas

How Alice Walton Is Doubling Down on Her Mega-Museum in Arkansas

Alice Walton Envisions the Future of American Art

Melinda Gates

Former computer scientist and general manager at Microsoft, Melinda Gates is an American philanthropist who consistently ranks as one of the world’s most powerful women. During her career in the technological industry, she witnessed first-hand the struggles of being a woman in a male-driven industry and became passionate about achieving greater gender equality in such fields. Her passion for empowering women can be seen through much of her philanthropic work.

Melinda is best known for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which she co-founded in 2000. She is responsible for shaping and approving the foundation’s strategies, reviewing the results of their charitable efforts, and setting the organization’s overall direction. This foundation continues to be one of the world’s largest private charitable organizations. Her philanthropic work has been acknowledged for quite some time, going back to 2002, where she received a Jefferson Award for Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged. In 2016, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her philanthropic efforts from President Barack Obama.

Although Melinda and Bill are separated, she continues to serve as co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, where she focuses on helping people achieve healthy, happy, and productive lives. She helped found The Giving Pledge, which consists of the upper society of America committing at least half of their wealth to the betterment of society. In 2015, she founded Pivotal Ventures, an organization that strives to identify problems affecting woman and their families in the workplace and implement creative solutions to solve them. [Wikipedia]

Recent News:

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation To Donate $120M To COVID-19 Pill ‘To End This Pandemic’

MacKenzie Scott and Melinda French Gates donate $40 million to gender equality projects

Benefits of Philanthropy

Warren Buffett, Alice Walton, and Melinda Gates have all committed to using their success to benefit others. They all believe that the richest individuals should not simply hold onto their wealth but share it with the greater population. Through the philanthropic endeavors of people like them, the lives of countless Americans have been enriched with funding, education, and programming opportunities.

Seattle’s City Council Votes to Decriminalize Psychedelics

Seattle Psychedelic Laws

The Seattle City Council voted on Monday to legalize non-commercial use of a wide range of psychedelic substances, including psilocybin mushrooms, ayahuasca, ibogaine, and mescaline that is not derived from peyote.

To safeguard the growing and sharing of hallucinogenic plants and fungi for “religious, spiritual, healing, or personal growth practices,” the groundbreaking bill expands Seattle’s policy of not arresting or prosecuting persons for personal drug possession.

As a result of the legislation’s unanimous passage, the city of Seattle’s police department is being asked to “work toward the formal codification and implementation of that practice as departmental policy.”

Seattle now joins a growing list of American cities, including Denver, Washington, and Ann Arbor, Michigan, in taking such measures. Oregon was the first state to approve the therapeutic use of psilocybin in 2020.

Using “entheogens,” such as psilocybin and ayahuasca, which are commonly taken for spiritual or religious purposes, will be among the lowest priority for municipal police.

The federal government classifies psilocybin, a mind-altering chemical often known as magic mushrooms or shrooms, as a Schedule I narcotic, the most restrictive classification.

Councilmember Andrew Lewis of Seattle, who spearheaded the initiative, called it a “first step” in changing the city’s drug regulations. During a phone interview just before the vote, he stated, “Our overarching goal is to follow Oregon’s lead.”

“These chemicals have a big demonstrated promise for cutting-edge therapy for substance misuse, healing from brain injuries,” Lewis said. “I want to ensure that our policies for regulating these chemicals are based on sound science.”

Benefits to the Economy and Mental Health

Psilocybin and other substances are becoming more popular as an alternative to established mental health therapies among academic researchers and the general public.

There are also economic benefits to consider especially since the Canadian Securities Exchange has raised $277 million for such companies since 2020 through listings, and many investors have already jumped in.

High-profile scientists are asking for federal action now, according to reports. A Harvard Law School professor, Mason Marks, argued for a loosening of restrictions on the use of psychedelic drugs on Monday, hoping to spark new developments in mental health care.

Since federal money for psilocybin research is difficult to come by due to the current status of the drug, private companies are doing the bulk of the work and helping to impact public policy as a result.

Calls for Reclassifying Psilocybin

Psilocybin is in the same category as heroin and other hard narcotics as a Schedule I controlled substance. Reclassifying the drug will allow for “more inclusive clinical studies and unbiased regulatory scrutiny,” according to Marks.

The general view is that postponing is the best course of action in this case in the hope that it will fix a slew of issues, Marks further stated.

Even while plant-based psychedelics like LSD, ketamine, and MDMA are becoming popular with users, investors, and academics, the Seattle law would not apply to them. When it comes to living, fresh, dried, or processed plant or fungal material (including teas or powders), a municipal spokeswoman in Seattle says most of these substances don’t fit the bill. The decriminalization of natural psychedelics could be the start of further legalization.

Washington State previously, announced they will be restricting police pursuits. Gov Inslee has stated that it is an effort to fight racial injustice. Police officers stated their concerns with the restrictions and many do not agree with Gov Inslee. Some officers have resigned because they feel they cannot do their jobs and in some cases that requires using force.

Photo: “Psychedelic 070707” by move-at-light-speed is licensed with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Staying Safe on the Road as Seattle’s Wet Season Returns

Seattle Rain Wet Roads

Whether this is your first or umpteenth season driving in Seattle rain, be warned that, according to the Washington State Patrol, collisions are most prevalent on Western Washington roads following the first rain after a long dry spell.

The region’s wet season has begun, with up to 2 inches of rain anticipated between Friday and early Monday on 21st September in the Seattle area.

The first fall rain sends a summer’s worth of lost oils and fluids to the road’s surface, making the road slippery and traction tricky. People seem to have forgotten how to drive in the rain after a long dry spell, says Trooper Rick Johnson.

He noted that it is not uncommon for traffic collisions and disasters to occur all across the region once the rainy season arrives for the first time.

Winter Forecast: How About Some Rain and Snow?

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced its updated winter prediction for the country on Thursday 17th September and offered some excellent news for those who enjoy cool, wet – or possibly even snowy – winters.

Long-range forecasts are increasingly confident that a large portion of the Pacific Northwest – particularly Western Washington – is on track to see a cooler and wetter than average winter season.

For the Seattle area, analysts believe there is a better than 40% likelihood of the overall temperature ranging about 0.75 degrees below usual, a roughly 33% possibility of temperature averages falling within 3/4 of a degree, and a 20% chance of a warmer than average winter. There is a similarly high degree of certainty that rainfall will exceed normal — at least 2 inches or more than the standard 3 inches of winter rainfall.

When these two factors are combined, the likelihood of lowland snow events increases-though the danger is still relatively low, just not as low – and this provides an optimistic picture for the ski season. The estimates are based on the rising evidence that the world will experience La Nina conditions for the second consecutive winter, dubbed a “Double Dip” La Nina, with an 80 percent probability of La Nina arriving by winter.

La Nina occurs when the central Pacific Ocean’s waters become colder than usual, initiating a cascade of global weather conditions. One result is that the jet stream is shifted northward to suck up cooler air, which is then pushed into the Pacific Northwest, keeping us chilly and wet during the winter.

Last winter saw above-average precipitation, a healthy snowpack coupled with a lowland snowstorm. While the La Nina prediction does not ensure a similar outcome, the odds are stacked in favor of it.

Keeping Yourself Safe on the Road

After a rainstorm, rainwater can form large puddles and a slick road surface. This makes the slightest error, or even momentary hesitation, lead to a total loss of control.

“We’re lousy drivers in general and things get a lot worse in the rain,” says the Chief Executive Officer of the Driver Training Group, Joe Giammona.

To stay safe in Seattle’s rain, the Washington State Department of Transportation reminds drivers to reduce speed even while driving a 4-wheel SUV, maintain a longer following distance, use headlights at all times, inspect tire treads and ensure that your windshield wiper fluid is fully charged before the rainy season officially begins.

You can also leave early and provide enough travel time to avoid feeling rushed. If you’re annoyed or angry, pull over and take a break, as this is frequently when people are tempted to make a poor decision.

Photo: “After the rain” by user kewing is licensed with CC BY-NC 2.0.

Construction Projects Expected to Slow Down After Seattle Carpenters Go on Strike

Seattle Construction Strike 2021

On Thursday, hundreds of Washington carpenters took to the streets for the first time in almost 20 years to protest over low wages and poor working conditions.

Members of the Northwest Carpenters Union voted to approve the strike over the weekend, rejecting a tentative contract agreement by a margin of 56% to 44%. Early Thursday morning, pickets were scheduled across the city.

Hundreds of construction projects could most likely be affected by the strike, including both small projects with just a few carpenters and large projects with hundreds of carpenters. Both Eastside Microsoft office projects and Vulcan’s Block 38 will be impacted by this issue.

The ordinary population, on the other hand, may see little impact from the strike. Most of the city’s largest projects, such as the Sound Transit rail project and the Climate Pledge Arena, already have agreements in place that prevent a strike. Union carpenters will continue to work and contribute a portion of their earnings to a strike fund to help those who choose to walk out. According to the union, about 2,000 of its 12,000 members work at locations where they can go on strike.

To keep up with inflation, the carpenters said they’ll demand higher wage rises in their next contract. The walkout also highlights the divides inside the organization, whose members have voted against four tentative deals so far this year.

There were some rank-and-file members who campaigned against the idea while others urged a “yes” vote in the last ballot. Not long before the strike, a number of union members challenged why the union had not scheduled additional pickets while some union leadership expressed concerns about illegal wildcat strikes and sick-outs.

“Under this agreement, we were not able to come together as a team. The time has come for us to unite under a general strike.” stated the union’s executive secretary-treasurer, Evelyn Shapiro. The carpenters’ employer group, the Association of General Contractors of Washington, claims to have offered a “solid package” of salary increases to their members. The organization informed employers this week that contractors “plan to continue operating their companies.”

The AGC said in a statement released after the strike began on Thursday that it was “disappointed and mystified the union is going with this strike after such a comprehensive and competitive package offer.” The AGC warned that high building prices could “drive developers to other markets, cause loss of Union market share, and possibly cut carpenter hours.” It’s unclear when the two parties will meet again.

Total package increases amounting to $13.25 were all but rejected in a four-year plan recently voted down by union membership. The current hourly wage ranges from $46.92 to $48.42. In the last 4 years, the union said the salary would have climbed by $9.40 per hour. To be fair to retirees, the union had proposed a four-year rise in pension contributions from $8.60 to $11.15 per hour.

Carpenter Joe Sosa, who voted against the most recent contract proposal, said that union members who rejected it are calling for just a $15 increase in a period of 3 years and improved parking pay.

They want to gain millions, but refuse to share the money with the rest of the workforce, says Sosa. The pandemic and its resultant economic impact have brought to the fore the tough conditions workers face in almost every industry from meatpacking to construction. If labor is critically necessary for keeping the economy going through a crisis such as the present pandemic, then workers will be more emboldened to exercise their rights and power to demand better pay.

Photo: “Seattle Construction” by Rob.Bertholf is licensed with CC BY 2.0.

Danny Strong Biography & Career

Danny Strong

Danny Strong is a popular actor, writer, and producer in the American entertainment industry. With roles in notorious TV shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Gilmore Girls, as well as helping to write screenplays for critically acclaimed films like Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Strong has demonstrated his effortless flexibility throughout the entertainment industry. His latest project, a Hulu miniseries known as Dopesick, depicts the opioid crisis in America while showing the perspective not only of doctors but of the people who produce Oxycontin. With many opportunities still to come, Danny Strong’s career has the attention of many. Danny Strong is engaged to producer and actress Caitlin Mehner.

Early Life

Daniel Strong, most commonly known as Danny Strong, was born on June 6, 1974. He grew up in southern California (Manhattan Beach, California) where he knew he wanted to be an actor from a young age. He comes from a Jewish family and mix of Lithuanian, Russian, and Polish. By the time he was 10, Strong was sending his photo to agents all over and becoming infatuated with the world of film. He went to Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach, CA.

During this time, Strong spent a lot of his spare time at a video store near his house called Video Archives. He would talk to the clerk who worked there often, sharing opinions on his favorite movies, and getting recommendations from him. Ironically, the clerk that worked there was Quentin Tarantino. Strong told interviewers he used to talk about films with Tarantino after school for hours, just discussing different scenes and what they thought of them. As Danny Strong grew up, he quickly took an interest in theatre and drama in school. And by the time he got to college, he knew that he wanted to study film and theatre for his degree.

The Beginning of Danny Strong’s Career

Strong finally made his acting debut in the 90s television hit Saved by the Bell. Quickly afterward, in 1995, he appeared in his first full-length feature film, titled Dangerous Minds. Within the next few years, Strong scored role after role in popular films and television series. By 1998, Strong not only got his iconic role as Jonathan Levinson in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but he appeared in the popular sitcoms Boy Meets World, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Seinfeld, and the cult classic film Clueless.

After his acting career jumpstarted in the late 90s, Strong’s part in the entertainment industry only continued to grow. He landed his next notable character as Doyle McMaster in the series Gilmore Girls in 2003 and ended up staying on the show for the next 4 years. After his time on Gilmore Girls, he continued to be featured in popular series like Grey’s Anatomy and How I Met Your Mother into the early 2010s. This was when he decided to start slowing down his appearances in front of the camera to focus more on his writing.

Scripts, Screenplays, and Achievements

Strong had always been interested in writing his own script or screenplay. When he was just 25, he tried writing his first film, which was a dark comedy. The film was based on two men that kill an old man so they can move into his rent-controlled apartment. Unfortunately, the film never was put into action and it stayed on paper forever. Regardless, creating this helped Strong realize that he wanted to write much more in the future.

And that’s exactly what he did. Danny Strong’s first written piece to come to fruition was a film called Recount. Released in 2008, the film depicted the 2000 elections and the chaos that ensued when the recount was ordered in Florida. The political drama ended up being a great success and was ultimately nominated for 11 Emmys, one of which was for best writing, as well as 5 Golden Globes. Not long after, Strong found himself writing for another political drama entitled Game Change. This time, Strong wrote the screenplay that earned him an Emmy award for outstanding writing.

Gaining more experience in the world of writing and producing, Strong began to work on multiple different popular projects over the years. He found success in his screenplays that were written for the two-part ending films of the popular trilogy The Hunger Games. Both Mockingjay Part 1 and Mockingjay Part 2 were films that brought their audiences to the edges of their seats.

But perhaps one of Strong’s most popular works is the screenplay he wrote for Lee Daniels’ The Butler. The film was based loosely on a real butler named Eugene Allen, who served the White House presidents for decades. In Strong’s screenplay, the trials, tribulations, and injustice that the butler endured demonstrate the hardships of the African American community during this time.

The film is a touching story of a hardworking, kind African American man who served white presidents for years, despite not always being treated well. In the end, he finally is able to see a Black man take presidential office. With stars like Oprah Winfrey and a strong screenplay, the film soared to great heights and reached larger audiences than Strong ever imagined.

Latest Work

Some of Strong’s most popular recent works include the hit television series Empire. Created with Lee Daniels, Strong’s previous partner on The Butler, the musical drama highlighted a family battling each other for control of their entertainment company. Empire quickly became popular and even was one of the most-watched shows on Fox at the time it aired. It went on for six drama-filled seasons, where Strong even stepped in as director before it came to an end in 2020.

Strong’s latest piece of work is the miniseries entitled Dopesick. Based on research by Beth Macy, as well as her book Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company, Danny Strong wanted to create a series that focused on the devastation created by the opioid epidemic in America. Dopesick highlights the focal point of the opioid epidemic — the creators. Showing different perspectives like a small-town doctor versus the twisted mind of Oxycontin owner Richard Sackler, the audience gets a much better understanding of the corruption taking place underneath the surface of the epidemic. A recent interview with Danny Strong.

Though Danny Strong’s career is nowhere near over, it has already been full of accomplishments and successes that can last a lifetime.

You can follow Danny Strong on Twitter and Instagram.

Awards: 2 Emmy Awards, 2 Writers Guild of America Awards, Producers Guild of American Award, NAACP Image Award, and nominated for a DGA Award as well as a Peabody.

Danny Strong Honored with Prestigious Pioneer Award

It can be difficult to make a name for yourself in Hollywood. It often involves a lot of hard work, dedication, and a bit of luck. Danny Strong is one individual who was able to take Hollywood by storm. Danny Strong is a well-known actor, screenwriter, and director. His work spans all different mediums and genres, offering the audience something new each time. He is an artist who isn’t afraid to take on a project no one else would.

His most recent success, “Dopesick,” was a gamble that paid off well for everyone involved. Danny Strong continues to inspire individuals who want to make it in Hollywood. He is a trailblazer both on and off-camera. Though he has been in the industry for some time, he shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.

Danny Strong was born and raised in Manhattan Beach, California. He developed his love for acting and film early in his life. As a boy of 10, he was renting movies from a local video store. He would spend hours discussing movies with the clerk, who helped shape and develop his artist tastes. That clerk is known by many now as the famous director Quentin Tarantino. Strong attended high school at Mira Costa High School. His love for acting carried through high school and into his college career at the University of Southern California where he studied film and theatre.

Danny Strong was able to secure successful roles in TV shows now considered cult classics. He took on the role of Jonathan Levinson in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. The character appeared in five seasons of the show, playing an active role in 30 episodes. Strong also played Doyle McMaster in “Gilmore Girls.” Doyle is a recurring character in the later seasons of the show, appearing in 20 episodes. Strong also appeared in several different films such as “Pleasantville,” “Seabiscuit,” and “Dangerous Minds.” He also had a role in the hilarious spoof, “I Know What I Did Last Friday the 13th.” He has also held guest roles in popular sitcoms such as:

  • “3rd Rock from the Sun”
  • “Grey’s Anatomy”
  • “Seinfeld”
  • “Boy Meets World”
  • “How I Met Your Mother”

He had a recurring role in “Mad Men” as Danny Siegal, too. He is currently starring in “Billions” as the character Todd Krakow. While acting has always been a large part of his career, he found himself drawn to behind-the-scenes work early in his career.

Danny Strong has experienced a rich, diverse acting career. He always wanted to branch into larger, more significant roles. This inspired him to write his own dark comedy in hopes of acting in the lead role. The project never fully materialized, but it did pave the way for a new, bright path in Strong’s future. This project awakened a passion in Strong to become a full-time screenwriter.

Screenwriting helped launch Danny Strong’s career to a whole new level. His first successful script was for the movie “Recount,” which depicts the events of the 2000 U.S. election. This movie reached number one on Hollywood Blacklist and would go on to become an award-winning HBO film. Written in 2007, it enjoyed well-received reviews from critics and fans. It won two awards and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award. It would win the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Made for Television Movie and was awarded Best Original Screenplay for a Television Movie by the Writers Guild of America. This first instance of success helped solidify Strong’s place as someone quickly gaining momentum as a talented screenwriter.

Strong would go on to write the screen adaptation for the movie “Game Changer” in 2012. This film would go on to be awarded a Peabody, as well as winning Strong his second Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie, or a Dramatic Special.

His success continued to grow with his next screenplay for the film “The Butler.” This movie would make over $100 million at the U.S. box office. Following the success of these screen writes, he went on to co-write “Mockingjay,” which is the two-part final installment of the “Hunger Games” franchise. Strong also played a role in both writing and directing for the hit TV drama, “Empire.” The show has been nominated or won several different awards for best series. Even though Strong was seeing much success through his work as a screenwriter, he wanted to continue to grow. He next set his eyes on directing.

Strong started to move into directing while working on “Empire”. He directed several episodes of this highly popular show. His work on “Empire” would earn him the NAACP Image Award. Strong made his first full-directing debut with his movie “Rebel in the Rye” which is a biographical film about author J.D. Salinger. This film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

Danny Strong recently received praise from fans and critics for his work on “Dopesick.” This Hulu miniseries is an examination of the opioid crisis that stars hit actor Michael Keaton. Strong worked as co-creator, executive producer, writer, and director for this dramatic TV series. Danny Strong is set to receive this year’s Pioneer Award at Sun Valley Film Festival. This award is to honor his work as an industry innovator. Strong was also honored to be nominated for this year’s Directors Guild Awards for his part in creating, co-writing, and directing the final two episodes of the show.

Photo: “Danny Strong” by Mirka23 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Meet Billy Walters: The Pro Gambler Donating $1M to Harry Reid Airport Rebrand

Las Vegas Airport Renamed

Recently, it was revealed that the McCarran International Airport would be renamed (to the support of many Las Vegas residents), and it’s thanks to Billy Walters, along with his wife Susan.

So, who is Billy Walters? For those who are unfamiliar, Walters is a retired professional gambler, who has made a big name for himself over the years both in and outside the scope of his career.

Growing up, Walters didn’t quite have the easiest arrangement in the books. In fact, his upbringing had been difficult in a number of ways. Walters grew up in poverty, and his father had passed when he was just an infant. His mother’s alcoholism only complicated the situation further, leading Walters to be raised by his grandmother, without indoor plumbing and running water.

Given his upbringing, Walters has devoted a good portion of his career to giving back. As someone who has been so dedicated to philanthropy, it’s no surprise that Walters has befriended Harry Reid, the former Nevada Democratic senator.

Reid is a “personal friend,” in Walters’ own words. He also described Reid as a “man of integrity,” and this is exactly why Walters is using his donation to help rename the McCarran International Airport after Reid, rather than the infamously anti-Semitic Pat McCarran. Really, this rebranding was a long time coming.

About Harry Reid: Behind the Renaming Effort

In particular, Harry Reid was a strong candidate for the airport’s rebranding. Over the lengthy course of his career in office, U.S. Sen. Reid has had an enormous charitable impact on the people of Nevada.

Notably, Reid is an avid supporter of Opportunity Village. This nonprofit organization is based in Las Vegas and is dedicated to offering vocational training, employment, and recreational opportunities to those with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

This hits close to home for Walters, given his own experience raising and caring for his son. At the age of seven, Walters’ son underwent brain surgery to remove a tumor. However, the surgery resulted in brain damage. Due to these complications, Walters’ son, who is now an adult, has only a limited ability to care for himself.

According to Susan Walters, “We didn’t hesitate to show our gratitude when we learned of the privately funded rebranding effort.”

Walters has made quite a contribution to Opportunity Village himself over the years. He has advocated for and supported the charity for over two decades. In that time, Walters has managed to raise a remarkable fifty million dollars for the nonprofit. He also encourages all of his professional contacts, whether they’re at Las Vegas casinos, hotels, or resorts, to employ the clients of Opportunity Village.

Not only that, but Reid is an individual who puts genuine passion and effort into all that he does. This is another characteristic that Walters admires. Reid’s parents were a high school dropout and a miner, and he wasn’t born into the coziest conditions to grow up in, much like Walters, himself. In fact, according to Walters, “As someone who also grew up in less-than-ideal conditions, I can appreciate the grit and determination it took for Harry Reid to accomplish all that he did.”

Then, Walters went on to add that Reid “appreciated and empathized with people from all walks of life.” As such, the airport renaming will be a “fitting tribute that visitors to our great city and state will be reminded of that legacy when they travel here.”

The Effort to Rename McCarran: Gathering Private Contributions

Of course, Walters was far from being alone in his belief that the McCarran International Airport is due for a new name, one that better reflects the beliefs and integrity of Las Vegas residents.

Earlier in 2021, the Clark County Commission voted to rename the airport. Unsurprisingly, it was unanimous. They decided that Reid would be a fitting individual to draw the new name from, given his status as Nevada’s longest-serving senator. When Reid retired from office in 2017, he’d been serving for three decades.

Although Walters’ one-million-dollar donation was generous, it wasn’t all that was needed to spur the renaming process into action. As it turns out, quite a bit more is projected to be needed, to cover all the necessary expenses.

Currently, it is predicted that around seven million dollars will be needed, for all costs to be covered. Even still, it could be more. This is only the estimate, and at this early stage, it’s impossible to say the exact financial requirement.

As per the original agreement, none of this money will be coming from public funds, Instead, all the money will be coming from private donations, such as Billy Walters.’ Although the airport’s renaming is still at a relatively early stage, the process is looking promising. It seems that we’re just about set to see the McCarran International Airport receive a new name, and the generous donation of Billy Walters has played a significant role in that.

Seattle Sounders Break the MLS Unbeaten Record and Still Going Strong

Sounders Soccer

In the entire MLS history, no team had ever begun the season with an unbeaten record of 13 consecutive games.

That was until last Wednesday on July 7th, 2021 when Seattle Sounders shattered the record when they trampling Houston Dynamo FC by 2 goals to nil at Lumen Field in their midweek Western Conference match.

The victory meant that Seattle Sounders moved their record to 8 wins, 0 losses, and 5 draws, which is a new unbeaten runs record at the start of an MLS campaign.

Seattle Sounders Top Form on Wednesday

From the start of the game, Seattle Sounders showed no signs of letting go of their winning streak on Wednesday. The night’s goals were scored by Seattle’s Kelyn Rowe and Raul Ruidiaz. Rowe struck Houston Dynamo’s net to earn Seattle their first goal of the match in the 62nd minute.

It just happened to be his first MLS goal since 2018. It was a perfectly executed goal after Alex Roldan sent an accurate cross that that met Rowe at the right point and the right time to place an easy score.

The second and last goal of the night came from Ruidiaz in the second half of stoppage time. Just like Rowe, Ruidiaz simply sent home a well-executed cross from Brad Smith to confirm Seattle’s 13-match unbeaten record.

So far, Seattle has beaten Houston in the last 8 matches, which is also another record of the longest winning streak against a single opponent. The 13-match unbeaten record means that Seattle has broken the tie held with LA Galaxy for their 1996 and 2010 streak marks as well as Kansas City (2000) and Real Salt Lake (2014) streak marks.

According to Brian Schmetzer, Seattle Sounder’s coach, in the days leading to the game, the team had done its best to focus less on the unbeaten streak and more on simply winning the match.

However, while speaking on a post-game video, the coach, acknowledged the sheer magnitude and significance of the milestone record. He called it an impressive record and couldn’t hold back the fact that the entire team was proud of their accomplishment.

The coach further stated that his goal was for the team to perform well by playing up to their best potential because after all, they have been winning more games than those they lost in previous seasons.

“At some point,” coach Schmetzer admitted, “The streak is going to end but we are glad that it didn’t happen tonight in front of a loud crowd.” It was indeed a great evening for Seattle Sounders fans too.

Going Strong Despite Injuries and Absences

The most remarkable thing about Seattle’s winning streak is their resilience. The team has managed to keep the winning streak going despite the many injuries and absences they have suffered along the way.

For instance, some of the team’s regular players including Nicolas Lodeiro, Cristian Roldan, Will Bruin, Stefan Frei, Shane O’Neill, Nouhou, and Jordy Delem were missing from last Wednesday’s squad.

Seattle’s performance will still be tested in the coming matches especially since Lodeiro and Frei are still nursing long-term injuries and Cristian Roldan is away with the US national team in preparation for the Concacaf Gold Cup. However, Seattle is still in top form and confident of maintaining the winning streak in the next 5 to 10 matches.

7 Outdoor Dining Restaurants You Must Visit In Seattle

Seattle Restaurants You Must Visit

Outdoor dining is taken very seriously in the beautiful city of Seattle, especially when the weather is warm and the sun shines. There are many popular places throughout the city, including patios, rooftops, and decks where you can take your dose of vitamin D while enjoying the beautiful views, delicious food, and refreshing beverages. Here’s our list of the top 7 outdoor dining restaurants in Seattle you must visit.

#1 Westward

As Washington state fully opens, you can enjoy the gorgeous outdoor ambiance and delicious food, starting with this fantastic restaurant located on the northern shore of Lake Union. It’s impeccably designed and focused on seafood. It has a boat-shaped bar and a light-colored dining room perched on a pier. The lake wind blows a fresh breeze, so this place is always pleasant in summer. During the winter, there is a fire pit and blankets to make all guests cozy. Mediterranean flair is slightly present in the meals, from starters to larger dishes. The house specialty is Wood-Roasted Whole Trout. For the dessert, you can try Chocolate Loukoumades – Greek Donuts or a Chocolate Olive Oil Cake. There’s a selection of the finest wines from around the world and cocktails tailored to echo the taste of the sea.

#2 Terra Plata

Terra Plata’s rooftop deck has a unique rustic-urban charm. It looks like an uplifting Capitol Hill oasis, with a lot of greenery that’s used in their kitchen. As you sit, you can smell fresh parsley, mint, rosemary, and thyme. There is a seasonal menu, and all the dishes are made with local and organic ingredients and tantalizing flavor combinations.  The portions are generous and easy to share. You should try the Spicy Green Chili Pork, Crispy Brussels Sprouts, and the House Made Potato Chips sprinkled in truffled sea salt with pecorino-chive cream dip. Some unique desserts which you can try here are Apple Empanada with popcorn ice cream and Churros with a chili-chocolate ganache.

#3 Manolin

Manolin looks like a beach retreat, only without sand. The pergola-shaded patio is just perfect for enchanting dining and relaxation on a hot summer day. In addition to multiple types of ceviche, the most popular dish here is the steak with caramelized anchovy sauce. You can find many refreshing cocktails with rum and all kinds of exotic ingredients. Each one is named after a beach in the Puget Sound region. Desserts are creative and innovative, and if you’re a chocolate lover, Panna Cotta with bitter chocolate stands out as best.

#4 2120

2120 is one of the best outdoor dining restaurants in Seattle, located downtown near many shopping locations. The beautiful patio overlooks the Amazon Spheres. If you come here, you’ll enjoy every single bite. Everything is well seasoned and cooked to perfection. The service is also what makes this restaurant a 5-star experience. The ambiance is classy, so you can expect one completely stellar experience. Our recommendation would be to try Pork Chop and Potato Gnocchi. If you’re more into seafood, then Octopus or Scallops might be the best choice.

#5 Mbar

Mbar is an epic rooftop patio, open year-round. It’s located on the 14th floor of the 400 Fairview building, where you can soak up the sun with views of the Space Needle. Mbar has a memorable Middle Eastern menu with mezze and kebabs and some thoughtfully crafted cocktails. Snacks draw inspiration from around the world, so there’s something for everybody’s taste. The restaurant also features the work of local artists on their doors and various small details.

#6 Citizen

Citizen is a gathering place in the Queen Anne neighborhood where you can chill outside on a spacious patio. If you’re in the area, this is the perfect place to grab a bite or a sip. It has a wide selection of breakfast and brunch items and a beer garden. Food is constantly changing according to season and creative new ideas, but it’s always fun and delicious. The most popular items on the menu are varieties of Waffles (sweet and savory), Crepes, Tacos, and Burritos.

#7 Anthony’s Pier 66

Anthony’s Pier 66 is one of the best outdoor dining restaurants in Seattle, with stunning waterfront views. You’ll also enjoy views of the Seattle skyline, Mt. Rainier, the Olympic Mountains, and Elliott Bay. If you want to have the best possible experience, come during the sunset hours. The restaurant looks gorgeous, like one giant cruise ship with golden wood accents and soaring ceilings. It’s family-owned, and it supports local farmers, ranchers, wineries, and fishers. There are many seafood specialties, such as a Tempura Seared Ahi, the Pan-Seared Alaskan True Cod, Chinook Salmon, and the Dungeness Crab Salad. Meat dishes are also available and consistently well prepared. Desserts are seasonal, and local berry shortcakes seem to be everybody’s favorite.

Moving to Seattle

If you have decided to move to Seattle and begin exploring it, you have a lot to look forward to. Seattle will amaze you not only with great food from around the world but also with lots of variety. The city is famous for:

  • Beautiful architecture
  • Abundant career opportunities
  • Lush greenery and picturesque landscapes
  • Plenty of outdoor activities
  • Thriving art scene
  • Overall safety

When moving to Seattle, don’t forget to find adequate help. If looking to become a resident here and relocating from another part of Washington state, reliable movers can make the relocation process quick and efficient. You just need to decide which moving services you need, from professional packing to storage services. That will ensure the moving day without the stress. You’ll be able to adapt quickly and discover the food scene and some of the popular places in the city in no time.

Final thoughts

We hope you can visit all of these outdoor dining restaurants in Seattle because each of them offers a great atmosphere and extraordinary food. Whether you’re a current or future resident of Seattle or just a visitor, you should try as many creative dishes and visit as many restaurants as you can, since they are highlights of this dynamic, innovative city.

Champlain Towers Collapse Timeline: A Deadly Structural Engineering Failure

Champlain Towers South

At exactly 1:23 AM on June 24th, 2021, one section of the residential condominium building, Champlain Towers South, located in Surfside, Florida, collapsed.

The following day, President Biden issued an Emergency Declaration which authorizes federal assistance to state and local resources.

Several federal agencies mobilized immediately to support a search and rescue operation and provide assistance to the survivors while an investigation was conducted for the cause behind the tragedy.

What Took Place Before the Champlain Towers Collapse

Most of the condo’s residents were already asleep.

There were night owls, but those who were awake did not stand a chance as it was over in just a few seconds. However, the tragedy’s timeline did not start at the exact moment that the building fell.

There were already a number of signs and warnings for a weakening building, which began many years before – even 10 years after the condo’s first residents had moved in. The collapse at Champlain Towers is truly a tragedy that killed 98 and disrupted the lives of many others. Many have argued the collapse at Champlain Towers was due to flawed designs, poor construction, and the failure to make building repairs.

Here is what we know so far about the ill-fated, 40-year-old Champlain Towers South:

Late 1990s

Just after a decade or so of Champlain Towers’ completion, it was reported that at least 1 ft of saltwater rushed into the garage, most especially during high tides.

Although the maintenance personnel would seek the management’s attention, it was ignored as the water was already coming into the area for years.

March 2018

Fast forward to March 2018, an inspection report was issued, giving no hint of danger. The report was from the city’s annual check for “minimum building standards.”

It, however, mentioned peeling paint, water in the building’s underground garage, and holes in the stairwell wall. All these didn’t raise any flags.

October 2018

An alarming report of engineering warns about the concrete slab that’s beneath the entrance drive and the pool. The concrete slab wasn’t sloped, which allowed water to pool.

Standing water significantly deteriorates concrete, according to the report. The consulting firm which was hired by the board of the condo association estimated repairs to cost millions, as per the documents obtained by the Miami Herald.

The company which made the report said previous attempts to repair the cracks in the underground garage done by contractors were ineffective, and they did not fix the issue.

According to the company’s president, Frank Morabito, failure to replace the waterproofing will cause concrete to deteriorate and expand exponentially.

November 25th, 2018

Residents are told that the condo tower was in good condition by the chief building inspector of Surfside, Florida during a condo association meeting.

April 9th, 2021

The damage in the underground garage worsened since the engineering report from 2018.

The president of the Champlain Towers South’s condo association, Jean Wodnicki, warned the residents. A 7-page letter was sent to all residents, outlining the major repairs that the building needed.

When you see the concrete apparently spalling, it means the rebar that is holding it together has corroded and deteriorated beneath the surface.

Spring 2021

The same engineering consulting firm which conducted the inspection in 2018, Morabito Consultants, recommended significant repairs for the pool area of the tower, as well as the foundation, as part of its 40-year recertification process.

June 22nd, 2021

A pool contractor took documentation for the issues in the tower and put together a bid for the tower’s possible restoration work.

The contractor took photos of the cracking concrete, as well as the corroded rebar that was beneath the pool deck of the building.

June 24th, 2021

Witnesses of the tragedy said they heard alarms going off, strong wind, and some jarring booms like a military aircraft’s sonic boom.

At 1:20 AM, emergency response teams were dispatched to Collins Avenue and 88th Street of Surfside to investigate the report of an underground garage collapsing. At 1:24 AM, the second phase of the tragedy happened, which was much of the south tower collapsing in on itself.

A rescue unit, Engine 76, arrived on the scene at 1:30 AM and called for different government agencies to respond. One firefighter counted the total number of floors that fell off the building. “This seems like an entire building. One, two… nine,” the firefighter radioed the dispatcher. “11, 12 or 13… most of the condominium building is gone.”

An incident commander at 1:34 AM declared the scene to be a Level 5 incident of mass casualty. This is done when there’s a possibility of over a thousand victims or if the local resources available are likely to be exhausted or overwhelmed. “Begin the setup for an area for those that walk out wounded,” a responder calls out on the radio.

By 1:38 AM, the rescue workers were told to keep some distance from the building by the appointed incident commander as there is a report that the remaining portion of the unit that still stood was at risk of collapsing further.

The rescue units that arrived at the location reported seeing people who were on their balconies from the remaining part of the condo without any way to escape. “Just stand your ground, and keep within a safe spot. We’ll get to the individuals – notify them,” the incident commander calls out on the radio.

At around 2 AM, there was a man who walked his dog around the perimeter and heard a boy’s cries from the rubble. His name was Nicholas Balboa. “Just keep yelling, and I’ll follow your voice,” Balboa said to Jonah Handler, a 15-year-old boy. Balboa saw Handler as the boy waved from the debris.

The unit of Jonah Handler’s family was on the 10th floor of the building and Balboa pulled the boy away from the rubber along with the rescuers. A firefighter then carried him to a safe location. The mother of the boy, Stacie Fang, unfortunately, died on the scene.

The last missing person was positively identified on the 26th of July 2021. The final death count is 98 people from the Surfside condominium collapse.

The Investigation of the Champlain Towers Collapse

The investigation of the cause behind the tragedy started with data collection about the building which already existed in the past, including the studies about the buildings that are within the area which are potentially sinking, the Champlain Towers South’s building design, and the construction. Reports related to them are very helpful as well.

The most immediate action was search and rescue. Following the operation, debris is looked into on the ground. This is to try to put the puzzle pieces together, which is exactly what the commissioned forensic engineers do.

Careful reconstructions of the pieces will provide some clues over what happened. Portions of the condo building will be examined, specifically the ones that are still standing.

The analysis will be done on how they behaved and how the separation from the rest of the building that collapsed occurred. Things such as this help to identify the root cause of the tragedy.

Potential Cause Behind the Surfside Tower Collapse

As the tragedy that is the Champlain Towers South collapse is still currently under investigation, there’s a limited number of potential causes, which include a foundation failure due to soil liquefaction and a construction defect.

The condominium that collapsed was in a beachfront property along Miami Beach. All beachfront condominium buildings require specific kinds of pilings for support to their structural integrity. Pilings are vertical structures drilled into the ground in order to create a strong foundation for a building.

Pilings, however, can be disturbed and fail from soil liquefaction. Because the soil density changes from liquefaction, pilings shift.

Although minor shifts only have a slight impact on the foundation of a building which doesn’t result in a foundation failure, decades of structural shifts can affect the majority of the pilings. This is what results in a catastrophic failure.

Underwater Earthquake on the 18th of June

A foundation failure from soil liquefaction often occurs from a triggering event e.g. earthquakes that cause rapid shifts with soil density.

The US Navy performed an experiment involving 40,000 pounds of underwater explosives in Volusia County, Florida on June 18th, 2021. This could be the triggering event.

But, soil liquefaction isn’t always due to a triggering event. It can also be due to high-water tables. Miami’s sea levels continue to rise, which increases groundwater levels.

Although the collapse’s root cause hasn’t been determined yet, it’s definitely plausible that the rising sea level has caused high-water tables which led to the soil liquefaction and Champlain Tower’s eventual collapse.

Conclusion

Various parties are to be found liable for the tragedy according to the news. This can include the condo owners association of the Champlain Towers Condominium along with a number of engineers, contractors, subcontractors, and architects.

Federal lawmakers have already allocated USD$22 million in order to support the probe. The investigation will take months or even years to complete.

It’s important that engineers, officials, and associations take warnings more seriously to prevent such devastating events from happening again in the future. There are also much-needed changes that need to be implemented in condominium audits and other relevant procedures.

With that being said, there are discussions about building a memorial site to honor the 98 lives taken that day. Over 2000 signatures have been gathered already on Change.org.

Seattle Heatwave: Is This the End of Seattle’s Fun Summers?

Seattle Heat Wave

Seattle is nationally renowned as the city with the best summers but the end of June 2021 and the start of July tell a different story. Seattle’s temperature hit an unprecedented 108F or 42.2C degrees as a record-breaking heatwave continues to scorch the entire Pacific Northwest.

At present, Seattle’s neighborhood streets are totally deserted, cracks are starting to appear on roads, and summer schools are closing as hospital admissions due to heatwave-related cases rise.

The previous highest record was 104 degrees in the summer of 1941. Over the weekend and Monday, the city logged an unprecedented three days of over 100 degrees.

The heatwave is also being felt in other areas of the Pacific Northwest. Temperatures in the city of Portland hit a record high of 115F on Monday afternoon after a sweltering 112 degrees Sunday. The last time Portland saw highs of 107 degrees was way back in the summer of 1981.

Heatwave Fatalities

There have also been reports of heat-related deaths in Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. The casualties are mainly from stifling apartments, overheating cars, workplaces with insufficient air conditioning, older homes, and homeless encampments.

These are areas that face the highest risk of extreme heat as climate change continues to increase normal temperature fluctuations.

Just 16 miles from Seattle in Puget Sound, Washington, Kiro7 News reported that over 30 people had been killed by the heatwave scorching the region.

In Oregon and Washington alone, over 90 deaths have been linked to the temperatures spike. In British Columbia, the chief coroner reported at least 486 deaths in a 5-day period from Friday to Wednesday.

What’s Driving the Temperature Hikes?

The usual suspect is, without doubt, climate change but to be more precise, the record temperatures in the Pacific Northwest are being driven by the emergence of conditions typically associated experienced in Southwest cities such as Arizona and Phoenix.

According to Justin Pullin, a National Weather Service meteorologist, states that the temperature hikes are also due to warm winds from the Cascades getting trapped under the region’s high atmospheric pressure to create a heat-dome effect.

Pullin states that high temperatures of 100s and 110s are common in Phoenix at this time of the year but the weather pattern is expanding further into areas not used to such high temperatures, such as the Northwest.

Does This Mean the End of Seattle’s Fun Summers?

Well, until recently, Seattle summers were renowned nationally in terms of comfortability. Seattle typically had highs of around 70s with blue skies after morning clouds and pleasant breezes in the evenings.

Things have changed dramatically in 2021. The streets, normally filled with happy sounds of children laughing, have gone quiet and deserted. The city neighborhoods are starting to feel like ghost towns with deserted parks and empty trailheads.

The stifling heat blankets the entire city as everyone with a working air conditioner takes refuge indoors. Getting out feels like getting into a sauna. It’s like you have been magically transported to Sacramento overnight.

The good news is that Seattle is known for its resilience. Mother Nature did the same in 1941 but Seattle still bounced back. Climate change is real but there is still hope for the return of the famed Seattle fun summers in the years ahead.

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