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Anthropology professor instructs popular tap-dancing class

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first_imgA world-renowned expert on human parenting and infancy with more than 130 published articles in medical, anthropology and psychology journals, professor of anthropology James McKenna boasts a special talent: tap dancing.McKenna, director of Notre Dame’s Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory, is a leading expert on “co-sleeping,” which involves conducting research on the benefits of mother and infant pairs sharing a bed together. However, when he is not knee-deep in his research, McKenna also teaches the Irish American tap class.“I tap danced pretty much all my life in one form or another,” McKenna said. “I started when I was two or three years old watching a Fred Astaire film in black and white in Boston.”McKenna said when he saw Fred Astaire dancing on the screen, his two-year old self ran to the two-foot wide hard wood space between the living room carpet and dining room carpet, looked at the television and “started tap dancing with perfect beats and rhythms and rolls.”“I just could do it,” he said. “I could always tap dance to any music that has a beat. I don’t know why, but it’s been a great joy and a wonderful thing to do. It’s like playing drums with your feet.”After this talent surfaced, McKenna said he pursued it further by taking more formal dance lessons. He taught tap for five years at Pomona College until he was recruited to be a faculty member at Notre Dame. When he arrived in the fall of 1997, McKenna said, he discovered the University did not have a dance department, so he worked on starting a tap class. After a year of preparation, McKenna taught his first tap class in the fall of 1998.Senior Allison Griffith, a current student in McKenna’s Irish American tap class, said she and her friends planned to take the class together. With majors in English and American studies, Griffith said she thought there was no better time than her senior year to try something new.“It is a blast,” she said. “At least for my friends and I, it’s what we look forward to for most of the week.”Initially unsure of what to expect when enrolling in the class, Griffith said she now knows how much time and practice goes into a tap dancing routine.“My expectation before was that it would be a class that people kind of trickled in and out of, and maybe they were just taking it for fun,” she said. “What I’m realizing is that tap is definitely a really difficult skill, and it takes a lot of time and practice to get down.”Previous students have written to McKenna saying they performed their tap dancing routine at their wedding reception with friends who were also in the class, he said. He said he believes the class remains meaningful for the students that take it.“I think Notre Dame students are usually very self-critical,” McKenna said. “There are very few classes where students are able to be non-judgemental of themselves, and to relax and be who they are without the kind of strain and struggles that all of us go through when you care about doing well.”The class has proven a less-traditional, yet still learning-focused environment, Griffith said. McKenna tells his students from the start that they will make mistakes, she said, but that it is okay because they are learning a completely new skill.“A lot of times at Notre Dame, we’re so fixated on making sure we do everything exactly right,” Griffith said. “A lot of us are afraid to make mistakes, and a lot of us are used to not failing — especially in a class setting. It’s very rare to have something to work towards that’s not a paper or an exam. We’re working towards a performance, and that’s really fun.”Griffith said everyone should consider taking the class, regardless of their dancing background.“I had not danced since like first grade,” she said. “Absolutely still take it. Probably a majority of the people in the class had never danced before, or did when they were really little.”A transformation occurs once students put on their tap shoes for the first time, McKenna said, and students should not be afraid to sign up for the class.“It is such a joyful exercise,” he said. “All your troubles blow out Washington Hall windows. It’s done in a very easy, relaxed manner. I have not had one single person — of all the people that have taken this class — that couldn’t do just fine.”The class will present its end-of-the-year recital Tuesday around 8 p.m. in South Dining Hall, McKenna said. It is free to students, and the class performs about six numbers.“It’s very raucous and joyful and really fun,” McKenna said. “These are students that never really saw a pair of tap shoes. I think they’ve all surprised themselves about how much they really learned.”McKenna said he thinks the class is so popular among seniors because they take it for no other reason than their personal satisfaction and joy in tap dancing as an activity.“It really becomes this really absolutely joyful, no-holds-barred experience for the kids, and they let themselves go in there,” he said. “It is one of their truly joyful, restful, self-assuring spaces at the University.”Tags: anthropology, Dance, Irish American tap class, McKenna, recital, tap dancinglast_img read more

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Target Breach Impacted 70 Million Customers

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first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Target store on Black Friday (Photo: Target)Target revealed Friday that the number of people affected by a massive data breach during last year’s holiday shopping season is nearly double the original estimate, and that additional personal information other than credit or debit card accounts have been stolen.The big box retailer, one of the largest in the country, said its ongoing forensic investigation discovered that hackers stole personal information for up to 70 million individuals in a scheme that was broader than originally indicated.Intruders were able to obtain customers’ names, mailing addresses, phone numbers or email addresses, along with credit/debit card information, which was already revealed by Target last month.The retailer noted in a message on its website that “this is not a new breach,” but was uncovered during its investigation, which also includes law enforcement authorities.Much of the data is partial in nature, Target said, adding that the company will attempt to contact customers impacted by the breach of its internal payment systems. The correspondence from Target will include tips to guard against consumer scams.Target Chairman and CEO Gregg Steinhafel acknowledged that the breach is “frustrating” for customers.“We are truly sorry they are enduring this,” Steinhafel said. “I also want our guests to know that understanding and sharing the facts related to this incident is important to me and the entire Target team.”New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, whose office is involved in a national investigation into the breach, called the updated number of 70 million victims “deeply troubling.”“Consumers in New York and around the country expect and deserve companies that protect their personal information when they shop on their websites and in their stores,” he said in a statement.Affected shoppers have no liability and Target will offer one year of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection to everyone who shopped in its U.S. stores, the company said. Customers have three months to enroll in the program.The breach occurred during the busiest time of the year for retailers. Hackers accessed Target’s systems between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15. The company made shoppers aware only after news of the hack leaked on the web.Long Island is home to 14 Target stores, four in Nassau County—Hicksville, Levittwon, Valley Stream, Westbury—and 10 in Suffolk—Bay Shore, Central Islip, two in Commack, Copiague, Farmingdale, Huntington Station, Medford, Riverhead, South Setauket.Target said it will provide another update next week.last_img read more

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NY Hunter Education course being offered online

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first_img“People fall out of tree stands, you would not believe it. Experienced hunters, turkey hunters shoot each other. It’s things that we pick up on and we tell them there’s certain things they can do to prevent incidents,” said Hektor. It’s typically offered in-person, but because of the coronavirus, it’s now being offered online. Hektor says those field lessons are important for one reason. “When we have the training here we do field work. We actually take the students out to the fire range, as you can hear in the background, and we let them shoot state guns,” said Hektor. Hektor says there are things he teaches his students hands-on during a typical eight hour course. The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation says the course will be available online until June 30. For example, loading your vehicle with your firearm or crossing a fence with your firearm. “Most of the instructors are old like myself. My father who is 96 and has been an instructor for 73 years. So we pass on our experiences to the new students,” he said. The online course cost $19.95, a new fee put in place by the software developer, which isn’t required for the in-person classes.center_img “Safety. Our number one concern is safety for the hunter in the field,” he said. Hektor also says the instructors teaching the in-person classes have years of knowledge. Having an instructor in the same room allows them to share some real-life experiences. “We are volunteers, we don’t get paid, the DEC doesn’t get paid, the only money they get paid from is when you go to get their license,” said Broome County hunter safety coordinator Alan Hektor. (WBNG) — The New York Hunter Education course is required to purchase a hunter license in the state. While the online class is convenient, hunting officials are voicing concerns about the course being offered in the non-traditional way. For more information on how to sign up, click here.last_img read more

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Mr. Michael Ray “Mike” Beatty

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Mr. Michael Ray “Mike” Beatty, age 60, of Florence, Indiana, entered this life on January 23, 1959, in Milan, Indiana, the loving son of the late, Ray Francis and Lucy Ellen (Niccum) Beatty. Mike was raised in Switzerland County where he was a graduate of the Switzerland County High School. Mike was united in marriage on November 5, 1988, at the Florence Church of Christ to JoKay Sullivan. JoKay and Mike shared nearly 31 years of marriage together until his death. Mike was employed as a room technician for Belterra Casino Resort & Spa in Florence, Indiana, retiring after 17 years of service. He was a member of the Truth Apostolic Church in Vevay, Indiana and was a former member of the Florence Masonic Lodge No.27. Mike will be remembered for his love of hunting and fishing. Mike passed away at 12:12 a.m., Wednesday, May 22, 2019, at the Mercy Health West in Cincinnati, Ohio.Mike will be missed by deeply missed by his loving wife, JoKay (Sullivan) Beatty of Florence, Indiana and his sister, Donna Mink and her husband, Dewayne of Florence, Indiana.He was preceded in death by his parents, Ray Francis Beatty, died September 17, 1988 and Lucy Ellen (Niccum) Beatty, died May 24, 2015.Friends may call 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Friday, May 24, 2019, at the Haskell & Morrison Funeral Home, 208 Ferry Street Vevay, Indiana 47043.Funeral services will be conducted Friday, May 24, 2019, at 1:00 p.m., by Bro. Anthony Wilks at the Haskell & Morrison Funeral Home, 208 Ferry Street Vevay, Indiana 47043.Interment will follow in the Vevay Cemetery, Vevay, Indiana.Memorial contributions may be made to the Mr. Michael Ray “Mike” Beatty Memorial Fund. Cards are available at the funeral home or online at www.haskellandmorrison.com read more

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