Trump eliminates funding for program honoring Ambassador Stevens, who was killed in Benghazi

“The Trump administration has zeroed out of the State Department budget a request from a nonprofit entity set up in honor of J. Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador killed in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012 terrorist attacks,” The Washington Post is reporting.

“The agency’s fiscal 2021 budget proposal cuts $420 million from its educational and cultural programs, including $5 million for the Stevens Initiative, an organization created to memorialize the late ambassador’s dedication to cultivating international exchanges.

“This appears to be at least the third time that dedicated funding for the program has been removed by Trump’s budget officials. For the past two years, Congress has restored it.

“A State Department official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss official matters, defended the suggested cut, saying that even if it isn’t included in a final budget, it doesn’t necessarily mean the Stevens program will lose funding.

“’The flexibility of the ECE [Educational and Cultural Exchange] budget allows for programs to continue under other line items, such as ‘Professional and Cultural Exchanges,’ even when they do not have a separate budget line item,” the official said in an email.

(Ambassador Stevens was laid to rest in Grass Valley. He was born in GV, and his senior thesis was about Cornish miners. A walkway in Downtown Grass Valley is dedicated to the fallen hero).

The rest of the article is here.

KFC And Crocs debut "Bucket Clogs"

“Kentucky Fried Chicken®, purveyor of world-famous fried chicken, has partnered with Crocs, the creators of the world’s most delightfully comfortable shoes, to introduce this spring’s hottest shoes – Kentucky Fried Chicken® X Crocs™ Clogs,” the companies announced.

“Featuring a realistic Kentucky Fried Chicken pattern and a nod to the iconic red-striped bucket, they’re sure to fulfill all your finger-lickin’ fashion dreams. And don’t forget the sides – this clog also comes with two removable, chicken-scented Jibbitz™ charms that look like a fried chicken drumstick. This tasty collaboration of American icons is truly an Original Recipe® for success.”

McClatchy, which runs The Bee, files for bankruptcy

“McClatchy, the publisher that operates The Miami Herald, The Sacramento Bee and other newspapers, filed for bankruptcy protection on Thursday, another sign of a collapsing local news industry,” as the New York Times is reporting.

“In a Chapter 11 filing in New York, the company, one of the largest news publishers in the United States, said it planned to restructure its pension obligations and the more than $700 million in debt it has struggled with for years as it tried to strengthen its digital business. It said its 30 newsrooms in 14 states would continue operating as usual during the case.

“The hedge fund Chatham Asset Management, its longtime creditor, would operate McClatchy, a 163-year-old family-controlled business, as a private company, under the plan laid out in the filing.

“If the plan is approved by the court, McClatchy would become the latest in a string of local news brands propped up by hedge funds, an unlikely relationship that has become the norm as the finance industry swoops in to wring profits from an ailing industry.

“Journalists and industry groups have expressed grave concerns about the future of news and jobs in the hands of private equity, but there are few solutions for the growing crisis in the industry. A 2019 report from PEN America warned that the shuttering of hundreds of local newspapers would damage democracy.”

The rest of the article is here.

Our Karate Kid

This weekend our son Mitchell was among two students who were awarded their second-degree black belts at Gold Country Kuk Sool Won, where those from grade school to adults learn the traditional Korean martial art. Others who were present received their first degree black belt, or advanced in rank (there are set requirements from white belt through black belt).

Chief instructor and Gold Country Kuk Sool Won owner Tony Reyna — who is currently training for his 7th degree black belt — operates a first-class program at his studio in the Seven Hills business district in Nevada City. It is a shining example of a successful small business in the foothills. The schools are located throughout the world.

Our son began as a “Turtle Tot” in kindergarten. (“We incorporate animal stretches, and exciting exercises on the mat and with pads. Children will be introduced to the three most important aspects of Kuk Sool Won: Etiquette, Patience, and Practice. Practicing these principles will enhance their focus and self-discipline.”)

It has been a wonderful experience, from kindergarten through high school. Along the way, our son has made new friends; visited with Hyuk Suh, the founder and grandmaster of the world Kuk Sool Won Association; attended a “destination” training session on the beach in Fort Bragg; and been a regular counselor at the summer day camp.

We celebrated with an ice cream cake:

Dave McCoy, founder of Mammoth Mountain, dies at 104

“Dave McCoy, a towering pioneer of the California ski industry, who with vision, hard work and a knack for the mechanical transformed a remote Sierra peak into the storied Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, has died. He was 104,” as the Los Angeles Times is reporting.

“’McCoy was part of a post-World War II cohort of pioneers who had an extraordinary sense of what they could do, which is why we have a place like Mammoth Mountain today,’ said Hal Clifford, executive editor of Orion, a nature and culture magazine. ‘It’s a unique creation that wasn’t hatched in corporate planning room, or a focus group.”’

We paid tribute to Dave in our Sierra FoodWineArt magazine in 2004 with text and a vintage photo (see bottom of article).

A video about Dave from the L.A. Times, is here: