O.C. Board of Realtors Food Drive in Full Swing to Help the Needy

first_imgDottie Cianci, coordinator of the Ecumenical Council’s Food Cupboard, and Dave Carter, former president of the Ocean City Board of Realtors, inspect donated items during a food drive. By Donald WittkowskiMultimillion-dollar beachfront homes, trendy downtown boutiques and upscale sailboats traversing the waterways provide a decidedly affluent backdrop in Ocean City.But there are lesser-known parts of town where people are suffering, where poverty and hunger exist, said Gloria Votta, chairwoman of the Community Services Committee for the Ocean City Board of Realtors.“It would surprise people. It’s very surprising,” Votta said of the city’s poor population.For those people, the Board of Realtors is lending a helping hand through its annual community food drive in partnership with the Ocean City Ecumenical Council, an association of local churches that helps needy families.Food is given away for free to Ocean City residents by the Ecumenical Council’s Food Cupboard at St. Peter’s United Methodist Church, Eighth Street and Central Avenue. The hours are 1-3 p.m. Monday through Friday.Dottie Cianci, coordinator of the Food Cupboard, said more than 100 families will benefit from the food drive. It will help all demographic groups, including people who live in low-income housing, senior citizens and homebound residents. The Food Cupboard makes deliveries to senior citizens and homebound residents.“There are some people who simply can’t get out. I’m just so proud of this, because we just started it,” Cianci said of the delivery service.In addition to food, the Board of Realtors is also collecting household items, including detergent, paper products, soap and toothpaste.Originally scheduled to end on Feb. 28, the “Food is Love” drive has been extended through March 15 to give the Board of Realtors more time to collect items donated by the public. Votta said the food drive underscores the level of compassion the community has for needy families and senior citizens.“There is nothing this community will not pull together to do,” she said. “I think it’s one of the best places to live as far as a caring community is concerned.”Now in its seventh year, the food drive is among a series of charitable events organized by the Board of Realtors. The organization also holds clothing drives and a Toys for Tots campaign throughout the year.Food donations may be dropped off at the Board of Realtors office at 405 22nd Street. To arrange for food pickups, people may call the office at (609) 399-0128. The office is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.In addition to nonperishable food donations, the board is also seeking household items, including liquid laundry detergent, dish detergent, paper towels, toilet paper, shampoo, deodorant, soap and toothpaste.Dave Carter, president of the Board of Realtors, noted that some people choose to donate cash, which in turn is used to buy gift cards at local grocery stores. So far, about $500 in cash has been donated for the food drive, he said.Already, dozens and dozens of food items and household goods have been collected at the Board of Realtors office. The board’s conference room has been turned into a makeshift pantry – crowded with cans of soup, microwaveable dinners, canned goods, cereal and jars of peanut butter and jelly.“What you see here is only part of it. There are a lot of boxes we still have to pick up,” Carter said.Donations may be dropped off at the Board of Realtors office at 405 22nd Street.last_img read more

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Home comforts again for Donegal as 2018 Championship draw is made

first_imgDeclan Bonner’s Donegal have been handed a home draw in the 2018 Ulster SFC.Donegal have been drawn to face Cavan in the preliminary round.The draw, conducted this evening live on RTÉ, has been kind to Donegal, given that they are on the opposite side to Tyrone and Monaghan – who are paired together in a quarter-final. The winners of the Donegal-Cavan game will face Derry in a quarter-final with a semi-final against Down or Antrim the reward.The draw also means that there won’t be a renewal of rivalries with Rory Gallagher unless both Donegal and Fermanagh reach the Ulster final.Gallagher, who stepped down as the Donegal manager after this year’s Championship, has taken over his native Fermanagh, who have been drawn against Armagh.This evening’s draw, giving Donegal a home game in Ballybofey again, continues a remarkable sequence of home ties. In the last 20 years, Donegal have played 24 Championship games in Ballybofey.Donegal have played a home Ulster SFC game in ten of the last 11 years, the exception being in 2014 when they defeated Derry at Celtic Park in a quarter-final.Donegal reached six consecutive Ulster finals from 2011-2016, winning the Anglo Celt three times (2011, 2012 and 2014).This year was the first time since 2010 that Donegal didn’t reach the Ulster final.Their Ulster hopes evaporated following a nine-point loss to Tyrone in a semi-final that finished 1-21 to 1-12, while they bowed out of the All-Ireland SFC following a 4-17 to 0-14 hammering by Galway in a round 4 qualifier at Markievicz Park. 2018 sees the Super Eight series come into being, when the All-Ireland SFC quarter-finals will be played off in a new grouped format.The Ulster and Leinster champions will be in group two, along with the Connacht and Munster runners-up or the teams who beat them in round four of the qualifiers. The Ulster runners-up will be in Group Two alongside the Munster and Connacht champions and the Leinster runners-up.“Our ambition is to be competitive and we have to aim for the Super Eight,” Bonner said following his appointment.“The easiest way to get in there is by winning the Ulster Championship. Ulster will be a minefield again. It’s going to be a tough one.” 2018 ULSTER SFCPreliminary roundDonegal v CavanQuarter-finalsDerry v Donegal/CavanFermanagh v ArmaghTyrone v MonaghanDown v AntrimSemi-finalsFermanagh/Armagh v Tyrone/MonaghanDown/Antrim v Derry/Donegal/CavanHome comforts again for Donegal as 2018 Championship draw is made was last modified: October 21st, 2017 by Chris McNultyShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:2018 All-Ireland SFC2018 Ulster SFCDeclan Bonnerlast_img read more

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Voting rights for Greeks abroad take centrestage on political debate

first_imgOne of the longest-standing unresolved political issues, the right of Greeks abroad to participate in elections, has gained new relevance recently, during a parliamentary debate in Greece, regarding legislation to change electoral divisions – and particularly to break the country’s largest electorate, that of the outer suburbs of Athens, into three divisions.The opposition proposed an amendment to the legislation (which also regulates municipal elections, linking them to the ones about the European Parliament), suggesting that every Greek citizen, registered in the electorate catalogues, should be able to vote at Greek embassy or consulate offices of their place of residency (the same right should be reserved for sailors, at the place where their ship is docked on election day).This draft legislation was rejected by government MPs, leading Nea Dimokratia to issue a strongly worded statement, noting that this is the third time in two years that the opposition has raised the issue of voting rights for Greeks abroad, asking: “Is the government afraid of Greeks?”The same accusation was expressed in parliament by Stavros Theodorakis, leader of the centrist party ‘To Potami’ (‘The River’), who submitted his own proposal in parliament, that includes provisions for a postal vote and an electronic vote for Greeks abroad, but also sees that these votes would add to the ones that each party would get throughout Greece, instead of being counted to specific electorate divisions.In his response to Stavros Theodorakis’ speech, the Minister of Interior, Panos Skourletis, expressed the government’s commitment to present a draft bill to resolve the issue, by the end of 2018. The leader of Potami went on Twitter to celebrate this “victory for Greeks living abroad”.The issue of voting rights for Greeks abroad has been looming for 43 years. The 1975 Greek Constitution, written after the fall of the dictatorship, and marking the start of what is known as the ‘Third Hellenic Republic’, clearly states that every Greek citizen has the right to vote. Specifically, Article 51. 4 states: “Parliamentary elections shall be held simultaneously throughout the State. Matters pertaining to the exercise of the right to vote by persons living outside the Country may be specified by law.” However, such legislation is yet to be presented, largely due to reluctance from a series of governments, including five led by Nea Dimokratia, which now claims that ‘the Greeks abroad’ vote has always been a high priority for the party.WHO, WHERE AND HOW TO VOTEDespite polemic rhetoric and accusations being exchanged between parties, the difficulty to regulate it is believed to be multi-faceted – any law regulating this issue would have to address three questions: who is allowed to vote, where and how voting takes place and how are these votes counted.The first question is the only one answered in the constitution; all Greek citizens can vote. Constitutional and civic law experts have long called for this to be further specified. According to the Hellenic Citizenship Code, “any child born to Greek parents acquires citizenship rights by descent. This would include children of migrants throughout the diaspora, provided they have declared births to the specific registry, or that they can prove descent – which might mean tracking back records dating back decades, and there are many cases in Greece where authorities are unable to unearth or locate documents, sometimes due to them being destroyed. This means that the actual number of voters who would effectively get to take part in the elections would be much smaller than what many in Greece imagine, confusing the Greek citizens abroad with the whole of the Hellenic diaspora as a whole. Another issue that constitutional law experts raise has to do with how long has someone lived abroad, as a factor that would determine whether they should have the right to vote, as opposed to everyone carrying a Greek passport automatically given this right.As for the voting process itself, this reflects to systemic problems of the Greek state – and the overall efficiency of the public sector. All parties participating in the current debate have said that voting should take place in embassies and consulates, but many Greeks who have the right to vote, do not live in proximity of diplomatic missions. Best practice, based in international experience, has shown that the most efficient and reliable method would be the postal vote, but Greece remains averse to this voting method. International experience could also point to the most practical way to count these votes. Greek politicians have yet to decide whether these votes would count to the electorate division each voter is registered under, or if they should be added to each party’s overall performance. Some point to what applies in other countries, calling for specific electorate divisions to be created, catering for the representation needed of Greeks abroad.Analysts largely dismiss the theory that Greek governments are afraid of Greeks abroad, because they would affect the outcome; what most see as a real problem is the country’s ability to set up a mechanism that would ensure a successful process. Which means that Mr Skourletis has a lot of work – and consultation – awaiting, if he really means to live up to his commitment. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

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