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Machine learning tool helps prioritize plants for conservation

first_imgArtificial Intelligence, Big Data, Conservation Solutions, GPS, Mapping, Open-source, Plants, Research, Technology, Wildtech Article published by Sue Palminteri Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredcenter_img In a first global plant conservation assessment, a multi-institutional research team used the power of open-access databases and machine learning to predict the conservation status of more than 150,000 plants.They paired geographic, environmental, climatic, and morphological trait information of plant species of known risk of extinction from the IUCN Red List with information on plants of unknown risk in a machine learning model. The model calculated the likelihood that a given unassessed plant species was actually at risk of extinction and identified the variables that best predicted conservation risk.More than 15,000 of the species–roughly 10 percent of the total assessed by the team—had characteristics similar to those already categorized as at least near-threatened by IUCN and thus at a high likelihood of extinction.The protocol could provide a first cut in identifying unassessed species likely at risk of extinction and suggest how to allocate scarce conservation resources. If you know the animals in your neighborhood but not the plants, you’re not alone.Scientists have documented nearly 400,000 plant species and expect to identify many more. But unlike well-known endangered animals, such as elephants, tigers, and parrots, we don’t currently understand the conservation status of more than 90 percent of the world’s plant species. Plant growth and communities drive the ecosystems, food chains, and agriculture on every continent, yet we don’t know the conditions that what causes them to thrive or disappear.Unique desert plants, as well as giant redwood trees, help make California a region of globally high plant diversity. Image by Sue Palminteri/Mongabay.Understanding how threatened a specific plant species is requires broad information on where it lives and what it looks like. But finding plants in the wild to determine where they are and where they aren’t requires time, money, and expertise.A multi-institutional research team used the power of open-access databases and machine learning to predict the conservation status of more than 150,000 plants. In their study published last month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team tested whether their machine learning algorithm could track patterns in plant locations, climatic patterns, habitat features, and morphologies – their form and structure – and use that information to identify species that were likely at risk of extinction.“There is an urgent need for more efficient methods of identifying at-risk species,” the authors said in their paper. “To meet this need, we developed and evaluated a predictive protocol that permits a rapid initial assessment of conservation status for understudied plant taxa.”“The basic habitat that all species rely on”As humans convert grasslands, forests, and even deserts to food crops, plantations, and grasses for livestock, populations of native plants diminish, and species disappear. Scientists estimate that more than 20 percent of all (land) plant species are likely threatened with extinction. But this figure is still a guess.The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s Red List of Threatened Species, which inventories threatened species and serves as a tool to prioritize species for conservation action, has so far assessed less than 10 percent of the more than 390,000 recognized plant species. As comparison, it has assessed all recognized bird and mammal species.“Plants form the basic habitat that all species rely on, so it made sense to start with plants,” co-author Bryan Carstens, a professor of evolution, ecology and organismal biology at Ohio State University, said in a statement. “A lot of times in conservation, people focus on big, charismatic animals, but it’s actually habitat that matters. We can protect all the lions, tigers and elephants we want, but they have to have a place to live in.”Flowers from southwestern Australia, a plant diversity and endemism hotspot. Image by Sue Palminteri/Mongabay.The Red List assesses species’ likelihood of extinction and uses specific criteria to categorize them as of Least Concern, Near Threatened, Vulnerable, Endangered, Critically Endangered, Extinct in the Wild, and Extinct. Data Deficient species are potentially at risk but are too poorly studied to be categorized.Scientists consider these IUCN Red List categories in setting conservation priorities and conducting environmental impact assessments used by industry. However, evaluating the conservation status of each additional species takes time and money, as well as expertise, resulting in many species with a high risk of extinction not being listed.Plants typically receive less attention and support than large charismatic big cats and colorful birds, despite their importance to agriculture and ecosystems and their particular sensitivity to loss of habitat.“Not having plants in those analyses means that people are working with incomplete datasets,” Anne Frances, a botanist who coordinates Red List efforts in North America, told Wired. “We’re determining key biodiversity areas without a big chunk of the biodiversity being taken into account.”Scientists expect the loss of plant species, due to direct elimination or climate change, will lead to bottom-up cascading losses of the animals that depend on them.Scientists succeed in describing roughly 2,000 new plant species every year, according to the “State of the World’s Plants” report, which just intensifies the problem of assessing their conservation status.Random forests for plantsThe researchers wanted to find a way to use new data processing technology to speed up the assessment process and make it more cost-effective.They compiled open-source data collected by scientists over decades from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) and the TRY Plant Trait Database on the location, climate, environment, and appearance of 150,000 plants from across the world. These represent the nearly 95 percent of plant species in the GBIF for which we have data but have never been evaluated on by IUCN Red List.The huge data base included observations of plants for which location coordinates were available in the GBIF but which had not yet been assessed by the IUCN Red List.Many plants make their home in a prairie and adjacent tree hammock in the background in Kissimmee, Florida. Image by Sue Palminteri/Mongabay.The researchers built a machine learning model to determine the traits associated with different levels (categories) of extinction risk, using the relatively small number of plant species already categorized by the IUCN Red List (so their conservation status was known) to “train” it. They then applied the model to predict the extinction risk of the 150,000 unassessed species, for which risk was unknown.The researchers built their model using the Random Forest (RF) technique (perfectly named for plant assessments!). RF is a supervised machine learning algorithm, meaning it must be taught relationships between object attributes and outcomes; once it understands the relationships, it can predict outcomes using new input data.In the case of plants, the model tested whether a given attribute — such as the plant’s latitude or longitude; elevation; soil type; rainfall; temperature; or distance from a road, town, or protected area — was associated with plants that were endangered. Based on the outcome (how endangered is the plant?), the researchers could decide which characteristics best predicted a plant’s risk of disappearing.By comparing characteristics of the IUCN Red Listed plants having a known risk of extinction with characteristics of plants of unknown risk, the model calculated the likelihood that a given uncategorized plant species was actually at risk of extinction and thus in need of more in-depth evaluation. It also identified the variables that are the most important in predicting conservation risk.Thousands of species at riskThe model indicated that more than 15,000 unlisted species, roughly 10 percent of those in the analysis, were at some risk of extinction and thus of conservation concern.Globally, spatial characteristics, such as the size and extent of latitude in the species’ range, were better predictors of extinction risk than climatic or morphological ones, such as height or woodiness. Species with smaller ranges, for example, typically have smaller populations, which are more likely to go extinct than larger ones. Nevertheless, no one single global variable predicted conservation status.Southwestern Madagasar’s spiny forest supports a variety of endemic plants. Image by Sue Palminteri/Mongabay.The researchers used the results to identify areas with large numbers of at-risk plant species and suggested tools to help conserve these areas. For each observation in the analysis, they related the plant’s probability of being at some risk of extinction with its GPS coordinates. They calculated the average probability of risk for all GPS coordinates within each cell of a 1° × 1° grid covering the world and gave each cell a risk value.Mapping the plant data revealed several major geographical trends in their model’s predictions. At-risk plant species tended to cluster in regions already known for their high plant diversity, including California, Central America, Madagascar, the southeastern U.S. and southwestern Australia. Several of these also harbor many endemic species, those that naturally occur nowhere else.It also identified a few lesser-known areas for biodiversity, such as Tasmania and the coastal fog desert of the southern Arabian Peninsula. According to According to co-author Anahí Espíndola, an assistant professor at the University of Maryland, some of the most imperiled regions have received very limited attention, but the new method could help identify regions and species in need of further study.The map shows predicted levels of extinction risk to more than 150,000 plant species. Warmer colors denote areas with larger numbers of potentially at-risk species, while cooler colors denote areas with low overall predicted risk. To inform conservation on a global scale, the researchers associated the probability of plants in the analysis being at some risk of extinction with their GPS coordinates. They calculated the average probability of risk for all GPS coordinates within each cell of a 1° × 1° grid covering the world. Image by Tara Pelletier and Anahí Espíndola.In a statement, Espíndola said that the machine learning predictions couldn’t replace formal assessments from on-the-ground observations but could help identify at-risk species and regions for more in-depth study.“This isn’t a substitute for more-detailed assessments,” Carsten echoed in a statement, “but it’s a first pass that might help identify species that should be prioritized and where people should focus their attention.”“When I first started thinking about this project, I suspected that many regions with high diversity would be well-studied and protected,” Espíndola said. “But we found the opposite to be true.”The researchers hope the model will help target limited resources for habitat protection. And the map can assist future researchers in locating regions needing conservation efforts by pairing GPS coordinates with map’s risk probabilities.“The model can be adapted for use at any geographic scale,” Espíndola said. “Everything we’ve done is 100 percent open access, highlighting the power of publicly-available data. We hope people will use our model–and we hope they point out errors and help us fix them, to make it better.”CitationPelletier, T. A., Carstens, B. C., Tank, D. C., Sullivan, J., & Espíndola, A. (2018). Predicting plant conservation priorities on a global scale. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115(51), 13027-13032.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the editor of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.last_img read more

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Holmwood set to extend winning run

first_imgDefending senior champions Holmwood Technical and junior champions Denbigh High will be seeking to extend their winning records when quarterfinal action in the Inter-secondary Schools sports Association (ISSA) rural schoolgirls netball competition gets under way today at Manchester High. After a dominant season so far where they have overwhelmed all their opponents, the Carlene Graham Powell-coached Holmwood will come face to face with home team Manchester High at 12:30 p.m. Despite winning all their matches so far this season, the home team will find the defending champions very hard nuts to crack. Holmwood were outstanding in second-round action, where they defeated York Castle 72-21, Herbert Morrison 58-21, Anchovy 40-12, and Frome 61-14 . Denbigh, who are also all island junior champions,look set to get the better of Hampton when they meet at 11 a.m. in junior action. Today’s matches JUNIORS Holmwood vs Glenmuir – 10:30 a.m. Porus vs May Day – 10:30 a.m. Denbigh vs Hampton – 11 a.m. Manchester vs Green Pond – 11:30 a.m. SENIORS Holmwood vs Manchester – 12:30 p.m. STETHS vs St Thomas – 12:30 p.m. Denbigh vs Knox- 1:30 p.m. Glenmuir vs Anchovy – 1:30 p.m.last_img read more

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NIS begins process to recoup funds

first_imgThe National Insurance Scheme (NIS) has begun what it said is a “restructuring” process that could see it being able to recover the funds it invested in the Berbice River Bridge Company.The Berbice River Bridge tool boothNIS Chairman, Dr Surrendra Persaud, who is also the new Chairman of the Berbice Bridge Company Inc (BBCI), said the insurance scheme is the largest investor in the Bridge project, and has taken up the responsibility of “leading the bridge management through a restructuring process,” to enable it to hopefully get back its monies.He said as it is now, the money received from NIS and other investors cannot service the Bridge since it also started functioning a few years later.“So right now the Bridge is in a position where it is unable to satisfy itself. So the NIS is leading the Bridge management through a restructuring process and while it is somewhat challenging, it is hoped that it is done and within the first quarter of next year…. NIS is able to receive its funds from its investments,” Persaud said on Thursday at the celebration to mark NIS’ 47th anniversary.Reports from a forensic audit conducted into the operations of the NIS earlier this year, showed there were two particular “major high risk investments” that were said to be potential losses to the scheme; the $5.1 billion investment into CLICO and the $2.5 billion investment in BBCI.The ownership structure of BBCI is made up of ordinary share capital of $400 million owned by private investors and preference shares of $950 million owned by NIS.last_img read more

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Manvir wins June Sports Personality Award

first_img0Shares0000Manvir named StarTimes/SJAK June’s Sports Personality. Photo/SJAKNAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 19 – Two-time reigning African Rally Champion Manvir Baryan was on Wednesday named the StarTimes Sports Personality of the month of June.Navigated by his British partner Drew Sturrock, the Multiple Racing Team Skoda Fabia R5 speedster racked up the coveted award following exhilarating cockpit displays which saw him sweep the ground with all and sundry on the prestigious Gomes Zambia International Rally. The Zambia rally -synonymous with the legendary Muna Singh rally dynasty of Lusaka- counted towards the fourth round of the FIA African Rally Championship (ARC) 2018.Prior to a career second Zambia triumph, Manvir entered his name in the annals of continental rallying history in April by being the first ever non-South African competitor to win ARC 3 York Rally (formerly Sasol Rally) in Nelspruit.Flanked by Kenya Motor Sports Federation General Manager Mwaura Njuguna, the MRT ace driver said;“It’s such a great feeling to be considered for any award alongside Kenya’s world beating middle and long distance runners. I’m overly excited to lay my hands on this award and the fact that the rally sport is finally regaining the recognition it has held for donkey’s years.”Africa Rally champion Manvir Baryan receives award from Startimes Branding and marketing manager Japheth Akhulia as KMSF Gen Manager Mwaura Njuguna looks on. Photo/SJAKKMSF General Manager lauded Manvir for putting the country’s name on the continental arena.“On behalf of KMSF, I would like to salute Manvir for his exceptional driving lines and uncanny knack on the continental area which has seen his race adversaries trail in his dust.”SJAK President Chris Mbaisi congratulated Manvir for his consistency over the past two seasons.“The award cuts across all sports from athletics to table tennis. We have been doing football for a while now and we felt it was also good to get something for other sports,” Mbaisi said.StarTimes Kenya Marketing Director, Japheth Akhulia stated that;“StarTimes has endeavored to recognize and reward excellence in major sports genres, this award is a true testament of our diversity where in the past 12 months, it’s the very first time we are awarding a rally champion.”In winning the June award, Manvir savored a cash award of Sh100,000, a personalized trophy and a StarTimes 43-inch LED TV.Africa Rally champion Manvir Baryan with his June Sports personality of the month award. Photo/SJAKManvir beat three other nominees to a cutthroat awards procedure conducted by a battery of SJAK scribes’ panel.The nominees were Gloria Mulei who set a new Triple Jump record of 12.97 meters at the AK National Championships, Sheil Kotecha who won all his singles rubbers at the Davis Cup Africa Group III Championship where Kenya earned promotion to the Euro/Africa Group II and Dominic Abuda who set a new national record of 62.45 metres at the AK National Championships.The previous record of 59.93 metres was set in 1993 by Patrick Njoroge. Another nominee for the June award was Mathew Sawe who improved his National High Jump Record to 2.30 metres also at the AK National Athletics Championships.And it was a pleasant surprise for Manvir who is shaping up for the iconic ARC 7 Rwanda Mountain Gorilla Rally after clinching the FIA continental rally diadem.The 2017 Kenya Motor Sports Personality-of-the-Year equally sealed the coveted ARC title after winning the ARC 6 Oryx Energy’s Rally of Tanzania in Bagamoyo region. Manvir became the fourth ever Kenyan driver to lay his hands on the coveted ARC title after Shekhar Mehta and David Horsey in 1980s and Jaspreet “Jassi” Chatthe in 2015.Manvir becomes the fifth winner of the award this year after Telkom women’s hockey club goalkeeper Cynthia Onyango (January), KPA’s basketball forward Felmas Adhiambo (February), three-time World Half Marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor (March), Wycliffe Kinyamal (April) and boxer Judy Waguthii in May.Other winners of the award incepted last year include World Boxing Council (WBC) female’s super-bantamweight champion Fatma Zarika and Deaflympian Simon Cherono.0Shares0000(Visited 2 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

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Rooney scoffs at Scholes criticism

first_img0Shares0000MIAMI, June 6- Wayne Rooney says he is ready to play – and in any position – for England as he shrugged off critics of his recent form.Rooney scored the opening goal in England’s 2-2 draw against Ecuador after starting in a wide left role that he had expressed unhappiness with during his time under Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. But the England forward was quick to deal with any suggestions that he might have had to be coaxed into that role by England manager Roy Hodgson.“Obviously pleased to score and get another 60-65 minutes. I felt good you need game time, I was delighted to start the game,” Rooney told reporters.“I know how to play that role, I’ve played that role many times and I have no problem doing that, he (Hodgson) didn’t have to explain nothing to me,” he added.“I can play in different positions Ive proved that over the years, its down to the manager. If the manager wants to play me up top, in behind, left, right, I’ll do that.”Former Manchester United team-mate Paul Scholes recently questioned whether Rooney had peaked already in his career and whether he might face a struggle to start for England in the World Cup but Rooney made it clear that he was not concerned about opinions from outside of the England camp.“I’m not really interested in what anyone else has to say, I am interested in what Roy Hodgson and the coaching staff here and people around me say, people have their opinions but I don’t agree with them,” he said.Regarding Scholes he added: “He has been a team-mate and he has been away from the first team for a long time so he hasn’t seen us….I have seen a lot of people (writing) that he has coached me and been around the team but he hasn’t. I am not really going to react,” he said.The 28-year-old Liverpudlian was also quick to deal with the suggestion that a late season injury had left him short of full match fitness.“I’ve come in and trained hard, had no recurrence of the groin strain I had at the end of the season. As I’ve said I would always would have needed the game time. I am ready to play. I am sure the manager will have a tough decision but I am ready,” he added.England face Honduras on Saturday in their final warm-up game before heading to Brazil where they will open their Group D action against Italy in Manaus on June 14th.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

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Oprah back on top of Forbes celeb list

first_imgOprah Winfrey continues to take over the world. The media mogul is back on top of Forbes’ annual “Celebrity 100 Power List,” which ranks the rich and famous based on earnings and buzz. Winfrey, who came in third last year, was the top celebrity money-maker with an estimated income of $260 million over the past 12 months. She last topped the list in 2005. “The woman is making history every single year,” said Lea Goldman, a Forbes associate editor who oversaw the list. “It’s not as if she’s sitting on her laurels enjoying the show.” Winfrey’s Harpo Productions is a partner on celebrity chef Rachael Ray’s popular syndicated daytime talk show, which debuted last September. Harpo is launching its first prime-time series, “Oprah’s Big Give,” a reality contest in which contestants compete in philanthropy. Winfrey also produced the Broadway show “The Color Purple.” Golf tycoon Tiger Woods, who pulled in $100 million, ranks second. Madonna, absent from the list last year, is No. 3. The pop star’s “Confessions” world tour – the highest-grossing tour by any female artist in history, Goldman said – and her adoption of a baby boy in the African country of Malawi put her back in the spotlight. The Rolling Stones dropped from No. 2 to No. 4. Brad Pitt, who secured $35 million in earnings, ranks fifth – up 15 spots from last year – in part because of his status as one of the most talked-about celebrities in the world, Goldman said. (Girlfriend Angelina Jolie is No. 14.) Another handsome father, Johnny Depp, placed sixth and was the year’s highest-paid actor with his take of $92 million. Not bad for a pirate. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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Everton defender could make France switch amid Bournemouth interest

first_img1 Sylvain Distin during his time with Everton Everton defender Sylvain Distin could turn down the chance to stay in the Premier League and instead move back to France, according to reports in his homeland.The experienced centre-back came on as substitute to make his farewell appearance for the Goodison Park club in Sunday’s home defeat against Tottenham and is out of contract in June.The 37-year-old, who has made over 500 appearances in the top-flight of English football for Newcastle, Manchester City, Portsmouth and the Toffees, reportedly fell out with Roberto Martinez this term and has turned out for the under-21s side for the most of the second-half of the season.Premier League new boys Bournemouth have been linked with the French star but sources close to the FA Cup winner have suggested he favours a return back to Ligue 1, where he previously played with Paris Saint-Germain.last_img read more

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People have spoken: Best in L.A.

first_imgMarco Zapien, a professional chef who cooked at Edison International Field, home of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and at other stadiums throughout the country, had roots in Pico Rivera. Raised in the city, he even began his career after culinary school at Del Rae Restaurant, not far from where the Salsa Grill is located today. After several years in the sports and entertainment side of the food industry, Zapien decided to work at the family restaurant full time. He left his position as executive chef at The Pond of Anaheim in 2003 and took over as head chef at the family’s more casual eatery, where most dishes cost between $6 and $11. He also founded Black Tie & Blue Jeans Catering as an auxiliary to the restaurant. “It’s a great change because not only am I doing what I love to do, but then I can be creative,” Zapien said. For Zapien, creativity means using his family’s old recipes and providing a light, modern twist to traditional Latino dishes. That means having traditional enchiladas on the menu, along with a mango and jicama salad with grilled chicken. Jess Zapien said his son’s expertise has been a huge boon to the business. “Can you imagine how many fathers are restaurant owners and would like to have a son like that?” Jess Zapien joked. The restaurant’s signature breakfast menu, lunch specials and light flavors are coupled with a commitment to service, manager Bertha Albarran said. After 11 years at the restaurant, Albarran said she sees a lot of repeat business as well as a steady stream of new customers, many of whom become regulars. “We treat them like this is our house,” Albarran said. “And they tell their friends.” Many of the Salsa Grill’s regulars come from miles away to sample the cuisine. Mario Matavesco, Jason Wooler and Chris Fields said they come from Cerritos at least once a week for lunch. The three men said they come back for the warm, casual atmosphere and especially for the excellent menu. “They go out of their way to try and create a unique experience,” Matavesco, 40, said. Fields, 35, said he comes to the restaurant from his home in Chino Hills, and that it’s worth the drive. “We drive all the way out here, because what you’re getting, the quality of food and the price, you just can’t beat it,” Fields said. airan.scruby@sgvn.com (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3029160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champZapien, 41, said he received the news on Nov. 29. The contest rates hundreds of businesses in different categories. Winners receive spots on television and can use the honor on advertisements and business cards. But Zapien and his father, Jess Zapien, who co-owns the restaurant, said they already knew their place was the best around. “Everybody comes here,” Jess Zapien, 68, said. He said the restaurant is ready to expand, and he plans to open as many as three other locations next year. The restaurant was founded 14 years ago by the Zapiens using family recipes. Meanwhile, Marco Zapien began gaining notoriety for his cooking, ironically away from the restaurant he co-owned. One Pico Rivera Mexican restaurant has been declared officially hot. Zapien’s Salsa Grill and Taqueria, a longtime landmark in the city, was named the “Best Mexican Restaurant in Los Angeles” in a viewer-voting contest called the Hot List through the Fox L.A. television station, KTTV (Channel 11). Restaurant chef and co-owner Marco Zapien said he thinks the award will mean increased business for his family. “It’s a popular program,” Zapien said. “It’s great for us.” last_img read more

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‘The old man has lost the plot!’ Arsenal fans furious over team to face Chelsea

first_img Arsenal star Lucas Perez Arsenal fans have been left bemused on Saturday after they found out Lucas Perez wasn’t in their squad to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.Gunners fans have taken to the summer signing, even though he isn’t a first-team regular in Premier League matches.His cameos have made an impression and after the defeat to Watford, many wanted to see the Spaniard in action against the Blues.Instead, he is neither in the starting XI or on the bench for the clash, and Arsenal fans haven’t reacted well on Twitter.See what they had to say below… 1last_img

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Nation’s volunteer rate up

first_imgFueled by nationalism and a need to reconnect with their community, volunteerism among adults in the United States has increased by 32 percent over the past 30 years, though almost one-third of all Americans have yet to donate their time, a recent study has found. Results from the federal study, which is based on records from 1974 to 2005, found that older teenagers have more than doubled their time volunteering, that the volunteer rate for Americans 65 and over has surged to 64 percent, and the number of baby boomers who volunteer has doubled since 1989. “Americans help their nation, their communities and themselves when they mentor at-risk youth, care for seniors, respond to disasters, and meet a wide range of critical needs,” said David Eisner, CEO of the Corporation for National & Community Service, the agency that conducted the study. The agency is launching a campaign to add 10 million more volunteers by 2010. An increase in the formation of nonprofit agencies since the 1970s also is a factor, researchers said. Despite the good news, some local nonprofits said they are struggling to hold onto volunteers year round. Others said small budgets and lack of time hinder marketing efforts to advertise volunteering opportunities. “We’re actually kind of in a crisis right now because we are very low on Meals on Wheels volunteers,” said Cambria Smith, president for the Valley Interfaith Council. “Some of our volunteers are older themselves and are sick.” And Meals on Wheels volunteers have to be available in the middle of the day, Smith said. The North Hollywood-based Village Family Services, a foster family and mental health agency that works with abused children and teens, is looking for retirees who can help supervise children at local events, as well as serve as youth advocates and employment counselors, said Hugo Villa, president of the organization. “This is a country that has very generous people in general, but the problem is time,” Villa said. “Our staff pretty much works 24/7, so we need more manpower.” Levinson said because the need for volunteers during the holidays tends to surge, he has compiled a list of more than 50 organizations on the Web site www.bigsunday.org. And next year, Big Sunday will take place over two days, Levinson said. “My goal for Big Sunday is no one has an excuse to not volunteer,” he said. “This is a day when we only ask people for their time and talent. If everyone helps, then everyone wins.” susan.abram@dailynews.com (818) 713-3664 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’“This study points to a once-in-a-generation opportunity to get more Americans engaged in making their communities stronger,” Eisner said. That volunteerism is on the rise doesn’t surprise David Levinson, founder of the annual Big Sunday events held citywide each spring. This year, 32,000 volunteers took part in the daylong occasion, donating time in everything from stuffing envelopes and cleaning graffiti, to visiting shut-ins and building houses. “It’s empowering for people to volunteer because the world is moving so fast, and it’s so overwhelming at times that this is the way for many to do something,” Levinson said. “When you volunteer, a beach is cleaned, a homeless person is fed and a house is built.” Schools that encourage volunteer requirements, as well as national events – such as the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, Hurricane Katrina, and the Iraq War – all may be contributing to the drive to donate time, the study found. last_img read more

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