Ocean City’s Black Friday Delivers Old-Fashioned Holiday Experience

first_imgCarolers from Fox Vocal Arts add to the festive charm during Ocean City’s downtown Black Friday celebration. By Maddy VitaleAlayna and Nick Pagano, of Lafayette, Pa., walked with their children, Maci and Dominick, along Asbury Avenue in Ocean City on a brisk, but sunny Black Friday.As they strolled down the avenue holding hands, the family stopped to look at merchandise outside of the downtown shops, as a horse and carriage rode by.“We came last year and thought we had to do this again,” Alayna Pagano said. “We like the small-town feel. This has become our tradition.”Nick Pagano noted that the family has had a second home in Ocean City for a decade.Ocean City gives the family an alternative place to buy holiday gifts while enjoying the old-fashioned charm of the city on one of the busiest shopping days of the year, Nick Pagano noted.“It is such a magical experience after Thanksgiving,” he said. “And the kids had a really good time last year.”Alayna and Nick Pagano with their children, Dominick, 4, and Maci, 6, make shopping in downtown Ocean City their holiday tradition.The Paganos’ 6-year-old daughter, Maci, enjoyed Santa Claus last year and hoped to get her photo taken with him again this year.Dominick, 4, liked the carriage ride.This year, the Paganos said they would stick to the same game plan as last year during the shopping event that goes from Sixth Street to 11th Street.They planned to browse a couple of stores, pick up some gifts, take a horse and carriage ride and get their photos with Santa at Mark Soifer Park, across from City Hall.“We will grab lunch in between,” Alayna Pagano said with a laugh.The relaxed downtown shopping experience is in contrast to the hustle and bustle of the malls or big-box stores.City Hall is decked out in all its holiday splendor.Fake snow filled the air, coming from a machine at City Hall. A stilt-walker entertained crowds waiting in line for carriage rides.Carolers wearing Victorian-style clothing strolled down Asbury Avenue, stopping on corners to sing favorite holiday classics.Wreaths with big red bows and garland wrapped around lampposts completed the festive atmosphere for the aptly named “Our Miracle on Asbury Avenue, an Old-Fashioned Family Christmas.”Holiday tunes added to the festivities, just loud enough to be background music for shoppers who filled the streets and stores.Stefanie Henwood, of Philadelphia, looks at ornaments in Mia’s Christmas Gallery at 755 Asbury Ave.Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michele Gillian said the event began in 2008.“It went from a few hundred people to a few thousand,” Gillian said of the growth over the decade. “It is really a great economic energizer for the downtown. It is a community event.”Gillian said many year-round residents enjoy the shopping extravaganza. She added that many of the customers, like the Paganos, are second homeowners in Ocean City.“There are 14,000 second homeowners in Ocean City. That is the biggest number in New Jersey,” she pointed out.Gillian said there are many reasons why people love coming to Ocean City to do their holiday shopping.The old-fashioned feel and quaintness, to photos with Santa in a lifeboat, add to the city’s unique and special qualities.Ilana Bohm, of East Brunswick, and her daughter, Avital, 9, browse shops along Asbury Avenue.As Gillian spoke, a little girl slipped a letter into a red mailbox with the words “Santa’s Mailbox” painted on it.“We answer all of the letters,” Gillian said with a smile as she looked out along the avenue at Mark Soifer Park where shoppers lined the sidewalks.“It is great to see this grow. It really is a magical holiday weekend,” she said. “Ocean City is all about tradition.”And the festivities have just begun. Throughout the weeks leading up to Christmas and First Night, there are events, shopping specials, entertainment, photos and breakfast with Santa and a host of other activities to keep the shore town hopping when the temperatures drop.Families line up for carriage rides. Brian and Colleen Horcher, of Philadelphia, wait with their son, Liam, 6, and 4-year-old daughter, Adalyn.Brian and Colleen Horcher, and their children Liam, 6, and Adalyn, 4, along with their grandmother, Beth Anne Hampson, all of Philadelphia, waited in line for a carriage ride.The family already saw Santa Claus and had bags from a shopping spree. Now it was time to enjoy the ride.“It will be exciting,” said Liam.The Horchers said they enjoy the holidays in Ocean City.“We vacation down here every summer,” Colleen Horcher said.People whizzed in and out of shops. Mia’s Christmas Gallery manager Carol Phillips said business was exceptional.“It is super busy. We have been busy since “Earlier Than the Bird” last week,” Phillips said of the city’s kick-off event to begin the holiday shopping season. “We try to carry things that you just can’t get at big-box stores.”Ocean City Special Events Coordinator Michael Hartman with Junior Miss Ocean City Julia Wilson (white scarf) and other members of the Ocean City Theater Company, take a break from practicing for a performance later on in the day on City Hall’s steps.Later in the evening, beginning at 5 p.m., the crowds were wowed by Santa’s arrival on the roof of City Hall and special guest, singer Jackie Evancho. Mayor Jay Gillian, members of City Council and other dignitaries were also in attendance.Ocean City’s Special Events Coordinator Michael Hartman, who emceed the night festivities, said, “Christmas in the downtown is an amazing way to kick off the holiday season. It is a full-on, grand scale, festive event, featuring talent from within and outside of the community.”The sales and festivities continue through the holidays. On Saturday, the Chamber hosts “Small Business Saturday,” which will feature shopping specials all day in the downtown along Asbury Avenue from 6th Street to 14th Street.For information about the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce call (609) 399-1412, visit www.oceancityvacation.com or download the new Ocean City Vacation mobile app on your smart phone. Santa appears on the roof of City Hall. (Courtesy Ocean City Chamber of Commerce)From left, Special Events Coordinator Michael Hartman and Director of Community Services Michael Allegretto with singer Jackie Evancho, who receives a warm welcome from Mayor Jay Gillian and other city dignitaries. (Courtesy Ocean City Chamber of Commerce)last_img read more

No. 1 burden falls on freshman back

first_imgBEN CLASSON/Herald photoFacing the nation’s top-ranked team and best-scoring defense on the road in a hostile environment is no small task.Doing so while relying heavily on a true freshman to carry the bulk of the load rushing the ball makes things even more difficult.Yet that is exactly what Wisconsin will likely be faced with when the Badgers (7-2, 3-2 Big Ten) take the Ohio Stadium field Saturday against the No. 1 Ohio State Buckeyes (9-0, 5-0 Big Ten).“It doesn’t come around very often, it’s definitely special and unique to have them in both polls too,” UW head coach Bret Bielema said of playing the nation’s top-ranked team.With starter P.J. Hill still nursing a left leg bruise sustained last week against Indiana, there was talk all week that Zach Brown could very well start in the backfield for Wisconsin Saturday.“I really like the way he handles everything,” Bielema said. “I think he’s got the right frame of mind.”Bielema added fuel to that speculation when he told reporters after practice Thursday that Hill didn’t practice at all that day and was also being bothered by a sore Achilles tendon on the same leg.According to Bielema, Hill is a game-time decision to face the nation’s eighth-best rushing defense.“Earlier in the week we had him in a boot, now he’s out of the boot and walking and doing things,” Bielema said. “The biggest thing for him is what he’s going to feel confident in going out there on the field.”Earlier this week, Brown said he would be ready to take the role as Wisconsin’s featured back if the situation presented itself.“This week I’m going hard, putting in a little more work,” Brown said. “It’s basically the same, … just when the time comes you have to take advantage.”The task facing Brown will be a tall one. Led by middle linebacker James Laurinaitis, the Ohio State defense allows only 70.9 rush yards per game.“They’re very aggressive, they like to move around a lot and they’re physical,” Brown said. Along with establishing a running game, Bielema believes getting off to a fast start will be crucial to the Badgers’ chances.“I think it is, for our team especially, just the way I’ve seen them respond,” Bielema said. Getting off to a fast start would also help keep the 100,000-plus fans who pack “The Horseshoe” quiet, at least for a while.“It’s crazy, that’s probably the loudest stadium I’ve ever been in,” wide receiver and Ohio native Kyle Jefferson said. “Their fans scream, they scream from kickoff to the end of the game and even after the game they’ll still be screaming.”So far this season, those fans have had a lot to scream about, especially when the Buckeyes are on defense. Ohio State has forced 16 turnovers on defense and scored three defensive touchdowns.“For us to have success Saturday, we have to take advantage of every opportunity and we can’t give opportunity,” Bielema said. “We can’t give opportunities to them. … They really never hurt themselves, and they really take advantage of opportunities that people give them.”Suspension choice confirmedBielema confirmed Thursday that, as first reported in The Badger Herald, he and running back Lance Smith chose the five road game suspension over alternatives.According to Bielema, after choosing to take a suspension over facing expulsion from school or appealing the decision, Smith was given the option to miss either the first five games of the season or the five road contests.“We took the five games, and had the choice of a variety of different things: either have the five up front or five road games,” Bielema said. “That’s something I actually threw out there as a bargaining tool.”The decision to take the five road game option was made with one eye on the present and another on the future.“Just early in the year we felt it was important to get those other guys reps,” Bielema said. “I would have been more nervous going into the Washington State ballgame if I didn’t have a guy who had taken any reps. Really the road games allow Lance to stay here and be focused on his academics.”Bielema also noted he was hopeful at the time that the back end of Smith’s suspension would be able to be reduced as new information came out.“I really did it with the understanding and the thought that as we got more information, … the situation might change,” Bielema said.last_img read more

10 months agoChelsea boss Sarri on Brighton win: We could’ve played better

first_imgChelsea boss Sarri on Brighton win: We could’ve played betterby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveChelsea boss Maurizio Sarri felt they weren’t at their best for victory at Brighton.Eden Hazard set up Pedro’s opener and then scored the second in a deserved victory at Brighton, which ended in a closer game than it looked like it would for much of the afternoon after Solly March pulled a goal back.”We could have won better because we played very well for 60 minutes,” said Sarri.”We conceded a goal in a moment in which we were in full control of the match. My mind was clear in that moment that we had to suffer in the last five minutes with long balls into our box. We are not a physical team.”With the substitutions I tried to have more physical impact in the last five minutes, but it was clear it was really very difficult in the last five minutes. But we could have won better.”Sarri added: “When we have the feeling of being in full control of the match, we are dangerous to ourselves. We know that we suddenly lowered the level of application and attention.”Their goal was the first situation in our box for 30 minutes. We were a bit unlucky, but the feeling when we have confidence and are sure we are in control of the match, is that we are dangerous to ourselves.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

a month agoSheffield Utd manager Wilder leaps to defence of McGoldrick

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Sheffield Utd manager Wilder leaps to defence of McGoldrickby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveSheffield United manager Chris Wilder has leapt to the defence of David McGoldrick.The 31-year-old was criticised for his wastefulness in front of goal during last weekend’s loss to Southampton.He missed Saturday’s win over Sheffield United with a groin strain, and Wilder stuck up for the 31-year-old when speaking after the game.He said: “So what does he do? He has a finishing session on his own and then goes back out to have another finishing session, because he’s trying to improve his skills and get that aspect of his game out of his system. It was then, he tweaked his groin. “But that tells you what kind of boy he is. An international player. Any sort of negativity or criticism towards him is ridiculous, because he gives everything for this football club and is brilliant for us.”I think we’ve got to be careful as a football club, because of the results and the way we’ve played, that we don’t put too much pressure on our players.”A couple of things got flagged up to me (after losing to Southampton). This team, where they’ve come from, they don’t deserve 70 per cent report. They deserve 100 per cent support.” last_img read more

16 days agoChelsea send Makelele to check on Gallagher at Charlton

first_imgChelsea send Makelele to check on Gallagher at Charltonby Freddie Taylor16 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveChelsea have been stunned by the form of Conor Gallagher at Charlton.The midfielder was shipped out on loan after featuring for the Blues over preseason.He has starred for the Addicks since then, having added four goals and one assist to his name.The Sun says youth loan coach Claude Makelele has been making regular visits to watch the 19-year-old in action.Manager Lee Bowyer has confirmed Makelele’s presence at the Valley and believes he is one to watch for the future. About the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

Former Florida State RB Karlos Williams Doesn’t Like Desmond Howard’s Take On J.T. Barrett vs. Cardale Jones

first_imgKarlos Williams tweets shows he disagrees with Desmond Howard.Twitter/@Karlos_SrDuring a College GameDay segment about Ohio State’s high profile quarterback battle, Desmond Howard made it very clear who he believes will come out on top. Citing Cardale Jones’ Twitter antics, which he does not appreciate, Howard thinks that J.T. Barrett is a lock to win the job. Desmond Howard on J.T. Barrett: “He’s not really about the foolishness” Tell us what you really think— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) September 5, 2015Desmond Howard just called Cardale Jones’ tweets to Ronda Rousey “foolishness” and cited it as a reason J.T. should start. So there’s that.— Ben Axelrod (@BenAxelrod) September 5, 2015Former Florida State running back Karlos Williams, of all people, was very upset with Howard.Desmond Howard is a hater.— Karlos Williams Sr. (@Karlos_Sr) September 5, 2015He don’t know nun bout what players do in the personal time. He just talking.— Karlos Williams Sr. (@Karlos_Sr) September 5, [email protected] Bruh be hating.— Karlos Williams Sr. (@Karlos_Sr) September 5, 2015We probably wouldn’t have guessed that Karlos Williams would be a Cardale Jones defender this morning, but here we are.last_img read more

Jamaica Hosts Regional Conference on Intellectual Property in Sports

first_img Director for Sports Policy Development in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Suzette Ison, told JIS News that the conference will promote conversations on intellectual property rights in sport, the infringement of rights relating to sport, the sport marketing industry and athletes support framework. Story Highlights Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, will deliver the keynote address at the opening ceremony at 9:00 a.m. Jamaica will host a two-day regional conference on the ‘Strategic Use of Intellectual Property in Sports’, at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Jamaica will host a two-day regional conference on the ‘Strategic Use of Intellectual Property in Sports’, at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown, Kingston, beginning on September 19.The conference, organised by the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, is being held in collaboration with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the Jamaica Intellectual Property Office (JIPO).Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, will deliver the keynote address at the opening ceremony at 9:00 a.m.Other presenters will include President of the Jamaica Olympic Association, Christopher Samuda; Executive Director of JIPO, Lillyclaire Bellamy; Vice-President of the Calgary Flames of Canada, Mr. Jim Bagshaw; Head of the Caribbean Section, Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean and representative of WIPO, Carol Simpson; Head of Copyright and Content Affairs at the International Olympic Committee, Carlos Castro; and Jamaican Olympian, Veronica Campbell-Brown.Director for Sports Policy Development in the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Suzette Ison, told JIS News that the conference will promote conversations on intellectual property rights in sport, the infringement of rights relating to sport, the sport marketing industry and athletes support framework.The conference will also look at strategies for developing sponsorship and merchandising agreements, and how athletes’ support personnel and business advisors can manage their brand.Miss Ison said the Ministry is seeking to enhance and leverage the sport component of brand Jamaica, listed as one of the priorities of the country’s National Sport Policy.“As a country, we don’t want to be left behind with what is happening in sport and the economic benefits to be derived in sport. The Ministry is staging this conference as one of the activities that we believe will achieve the required outcomes,” she said.The Director for Sport said that although a few Jamaican athletes have been benefitting from Sport, it does not necessarily mean that the country is benefitting.“What we want to do is to be able to provide opportunities to facilitate discussions at this point, bringing all stakeholders together in the sport sector and talking about how we can make sport an important contributor to what we call brand Jamaica,” she added.last_img read more

Doctors continue protest some relief for patients as emergency services resume

first_imgNew Delhi: Healthcare services remained affected at several government hospitals in the national capital as resident doctors continued their strike on Saturday against the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, even though they resumed work at emergency departments in some relief to patients.Police force was deployed outside AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital in south Delhi as the protesting doctors came out on the streets agitated after authorities threatened punitive action against them on Saturday. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderFollowing the health ministry’s directive, the administration of AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital issued memorandums to their resident doctors to resume work at their respective departments and warned them of termination of services if they do not join duty immediately. Emergency services, however, resumed at almost all government hospitals in Delhi. Officials said from Saturday, some of the Delhi government-run hospitals resumed all the services. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsAIIMS resident doctors resumed emergency services around midnight Friday but non-essential services, including OPD services, remained suspended. At Safdarjung Hospital, the doctors did not join duties in any department, including the emergency department. “All members of RDA and student union are hereby directed to resume their duties in their respective departments with immediate effects, failing which strict disciplinary action like suspension/termination of services, vacation of hostel accommodation etc may be taken,” AIIMS administration said in the memorandum. “I have been asked by the ministry to inform you that if the doctors do not resume duties immediately, strong punitive action like suspension/ termination of service, evacuation of hostel accommodation will be initiated against all doctors on strike,” Dr Sunil Gupta, medical director at Safdarjung Hospital, said in the memorandum addressed to the hospital’s Resident Doctors Association president. Striking doctors from Safdarjung Hospital marched towards the arterial Ring Road after the Medical Superintendent warned of strict action against them if they failed to resume work. They later returned to the campus and sat on a dharna at the Gate No. 2 of the hospital. The striking doctors of AIIMS protested outside its Gate No. 1. Extra police forces were called in to ensure the situation remained under control. Meanwhile, several faculty members and HODs at AIIMS had a meeting and heard the grievances of the students and resident doctors and expressed concern about the bill passed in a hurry without taking stakeholders into confidence. Many of them extended support to agitating doctors and will have a GBM on Monday to decide future course of action. One of the senior faculty members doubted the intention of the government in breaching the autonomy of institutions of national importance through this bill, said sources.last_img read more

32 weather temperature records were broken Monday

first_imgVANCOUVER, B.C. – Environment and Climate Change Canada says 32 weather temperature records were broken yesterday, March 18th in B.C and the Yukon.When looking at the Environment of Canada’s website, FSJ’s highest recorded temperature for March 18th was documented between 1942-2012 as 11.8 C and yesterday the temperatures reached 13.5 C. Areas close to FSJ that also saw record-breaking temperatures were;  Chetwynd’s new record is 15.5 from 13.9 in 2015, records started in 1970  Fort Nelson’s new record is 16.6 from 10.6 in 1960, records started in 1937Bobby Sekhon, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, says we can expect to see this warm trend in temperatures to continue all this week and into next week.For more information on FSJ warm weather trend; CLICK HERElast_img read more

Stuck in reverse gear

first_imgOne step forward, two steps back. That seems to be the story of reforms in India’s forest sector. The forest departments (FDs), like irrigation and revenue departments, were originally created to serve the interests of colonial power. After Independence, the designers of a democratic India overlooked the crying need to redefine the goals and restructure the governance of this sector. States simply cut-pasted the Indian Forest Act (IFA) into state acts. Thus re-sanctified, the FDs have successfully resisted or co-opted all subsequent attempts at reform. Also Read – A special kind of bond Continued control and exclusion The Chipko Andolan in the 1970s demanded rights for people over their forests, including timber. Instead, they got a green-felling ban in the name of environmental conservation. The National Forest Policy, 1988 (NFP88) demanded people’s participation, a demand echoed by donors in the ’90s. After initially resisting the idea, FDs co-opted it into joint forest management (JFM), wherein they tightly control the extent, location, form, and ambit of so-called decentralised decision-making. When the green felling bans drastically reduced revenues from forestry, the FDs attracted international donors in the name of biodiversity conservation and climate mitigation. Also Read – Insider threat managementWhen the World Bank gave up on forest sector lending, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation was inveigled into almost single-handedly sustaining India’s forest sector. More recently, India’s forests have been peddled as potential sinks for carbon, so as to attract REDD+ funds. REDD+ turned out to be a mirage, but the Rs 60,000-crore Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) funds have become the new gravy train. Foresters themselves sit in CAMPA committees that disburse funds to themselves. Just as foresters run the Forest Survey of India that monitors India’s forests. The Forest Rights Act (FRA) of 2006 is perhaps the biggest threat to the FDs. Not just because it sought to free cultivators from the harassment they faced as ‘encroachers’ because of the mislabelling of their land as forests. Not just because it sought to free the 4,000-odd ‘forest villages’ from the yoke of the FDs, but primarily because it introduced Community Forest Resource (CFR) rights that would give forest-dwellers the right to manage their forests autonomously. So FRA has been resisted tooth and nail. Retired forest officers’ associations have filed writ petitions challenging its constitutionality. Serving foresters have, by and large, obstructed the granting of forest rights, especially CFR claims, and continued to promote (non-statutory) JFM as an alternative to CFRs. Going backwards As if this was not enough, the draft National Forest Policy of 2018 attempts to reverse key elements of NFP88 by promoting production forestry at the cost of local livelihoods, and ignoring the FRA. And the latest draft amendment to the Indian Forest Act is an attempt to translate this (non-approved) NFP2018 into law! The blatant disregard for due process is only matched by the shocking attempts in this amendment to undermine the FRA, to increase the power and immunity of officials, and to arrogate control to the Centre. I would not be surprised if eventually, we end up with ‘National Forests’ controlled by a National Forest Service. Rationale for reform What is wrong with such an idea? Aren’t forests a national treasure, to be managed for national and global public goods like biodiversity, watershed protection, and carbon? Such thinking misses the fundamental social-ecology of South Asia’s forests — a landscape historically populated by a variety of Adivasi and non-Adivasi communities, with complex dependence on the forested and non-forested landscape. Thus, local livelihood needs have to be the first goal of forestry, as important as regional and global benefits. And these needs cannot be met by a bureaucracy, just as agricultural livelihoods cannot be organised by agriculture department officers, and industries cannot be run by bureaucrats. Worse, giving forest officers police powers in a landscape populated by marginalised and illiterate communities that continue to be forest-dependent, allows for serious abuse of these powers. Of course, local forest-dependence is uneven and changing, possibly declining. But that brings us to the core rationale for reform: democratic governance requires recognition of the fundamental right of forest-dwelling or forest-fringe communities to govern their immediate environment, just as city-dwellers (ought to) have substantial control over theirs. This does not mean that regional or national interests are to be ignored in decision-making about forests. But that does not justify making foresters into managers, policemen, regulators, funders and policy-makers rolled into one. Reform is therefore needed at multiple levels: a change in goals of forest management, a corresponding change in how forests are categorised, a devolution of day-to-day management to forest-dwellers, separation of monitoring and managing from funding and policymaking, and introducing much greater transparency and accountability in all of this. Cure worse than the problem The proposed Amendment to the IFA, unfortunately, reveals that the mindset of policymakers regarding India’s forest sector has not changed. The IFA created two main legal categories of forests — Reserved Forest (RF) and Protected Forest (PF) — and empowered the FDs to manage and protect them. Manage for what? Implicitly, for meeting colonial (later national) needs of production. Single goal, two levels of protection, single manager-cum-protector. The third category — Village Forest — was never seriously activated. The Wild Life Protection Act of 1972 added another goal — conservation — and created additional categories — national parks (NP) and wildlife sanctuaries (WLS). The manager/protector remained the same. But if production is no longer the primary goal, and if local livelihood needs have ‘first charge’ (at least outside NPs), and if forest-dwellers are rights-holders, then what sense do the old categories and roles make? What is the role of RFs and PFs in the new (post-1988) dispensation? What role does the FD have in the post-FRA dispensation? All reasonable estimates of the potential CFR area (area used by local communities) suggest that PFs and most RFs should simply be replaced by CFR Forests, which should be recognised as the main legal forest category. If any RF outside of NPs and WLSs remains unclaimed as CFR, it could be re-designated as a ‘Conservation Forest’. Correspondingly, the CFR Gram Sabhas should be recognised as the main manager/custodian for the CFR Forests by the forest law, and an agency (possibly hived off from the current FDs) created for providing technical and protection support to them. Even in NPs and WLSs, communities can have the first charge on tourism benefits and can become co-managers, with technical and protection support from a Wildlife Service. The task of regulating CFR Gram Sabhas is also important — not all of them may be oriented towards sustainable use or equitable management. But given the FDs’ conflictual history with local communities, a different regulatory structure with adequate transparency, accountability, and voice for local communities will have to be created. And funding decisions such as the deployment of CAMPA funds must be made by independent bodies, not by the forester managers. The Joint Committee of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and the Ministry of Tribal Affairs constituted in 2010 to examine the implementation of the FRA was also asked to define a new role for the Forest Department post-FRA. After months of intense discussions among members, which included senior foresters, the Joint Committee articulated a new vision on the lines above. The waning of interest in environmental issues in the government at that time led to the shelving of these ideas. It is high time we resurrected them and developed a new vision for the forest sector, rather than rushing backwards with a ‘more-of-the-same’ IFA amendment. (The author is Distinguished Fellow in Environmental Policy & Governance at the Centre for Environment & Development, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment. The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more