Related Shows Old Jews Telling Jokes Show Closed This production ended its run on Sept. 15, 2013 The laughs are over for the off-Broadway production of Old Jews Telling Jokes. The long-running comedy will close on September 15 after 22 preview performances and 552 regular performances at the Westside Theatre. A regional production begins at Chicago’s Royal George Theatre on September 24. View Comments Created by Peter Gethers and Daniel Okrent, Old Jews Telling Jokes is directed by Marc Bruni and showcases five actors in a revue that pays tribute to and reinvents classic jokes of the past and present. The show also features comic songs — brand new and satisfyingly old – as well as tributes to some of the giants of the comedy world. The closing cast includes Dara Cameron, Chuck Rea, Marilyn Sokol, Todd Susman and Steve Vinovich.
‘Low-tech and high-touch’ Pet Therapy in the Courts is a new tool for victims Senior EditorA chain of traumatic events landed a 5-year-old boy and his mom in a homeless shelter, where things turned even more tragic. The little boy was sexually abused by another kid staying at the shelter.Thinking about how best to prepare her young client for the intimidating court process looming ahead, Helene Potlock, victim/witness assistance program director for the state attorney of the Second Judicial Circuit, was ready to try something completely new. “I talked to his mom and said, ‘What do you think about bringing in a dog? Do you think your son would like that?’”As it turned out, the little boy was heartbroken that he’d been forced to give up his own beloved small dog when they’d moved into the shelter.“So to bring in the dog was the just the best thing in the world,” Potlock recalled. “His face just lit up when we even mentioned it.”On the day of the deposition, here comes Tallahassee lawyer Bobbie Jo Finer on one end of a leash and her little dachshund Piper Laurie on the other.Piper immediately pads over to the little boy sitting on the floor in the state attorney’s children’s play area and covers his face with licks and kisses.The little boy flashes an ear-to-ear grin.“So, you know, on a day that could have been very traumatic and tense and awful, he couldn’t wait to come back to the courthouse if he got to see Piper again,” Potlock said. The Pet Therapy in the Courts Program is unique in the Second Circuit, where 15 teams of volunteers and their specially trained and certified Companions for Therapy (ComForT) dogs help victims of violent crimes and children in dependency court feel less scared about testifying or talking to the judge.“Our role is to spend time with the victim while they are either waiting to do a deposition or go into court and testify, knowing they are going to have to see the abuser,” said Finer, recently retired after 22 years as assistant general counsel for the Department of Community Affairs.The owner of five dachshunds and foster mom to four others, Finer employs Piper, the frisky one who can’t hold her licker, and Honey Girl, the mellow one with the wiggly tail, as therapy dogs for the courts.She’ll never forget the deposition of a 14-year-old girl testifying about sexual abuse.“She sat there with Honey Girl in her lap, and I sat quietly nearby holding Honey’s leash. The young woman stroked her the whole time she was giving testimony. This little dog helped her relax. It helped her get through it.”And the defense attorney didn’t object.“People see they are getting better testimony, and it’s a good thing for both sides,” Finer said.In the Tallahassee area, 146 ComForT dog teams have long been used to cheer up the elderly in nursing homes, help motivate stroke victims at the hospital learning to walk again, and even encourage school children to read.But it was a new trick to bring the dogs to court, making the most of what dog lovers already know: Petting a dog has a soothing effect; hugging a dog is a pleasant distraction. Going to court is intimidating for anyone, and especially so for young child victims. So why not use dogs in court? Dog Day at Dependency Court Wakulla County Judge Jill Walker seized the opportunity to bring dogs to dependency court in December.“Dogs are working the halls, so to speak,” Judge Walker said of her emphasis on family-centered hearings. While waiting for their cases to be called, children and their family members wait in a grand jury room with a guardian ad litem. Children are given free books and their own quilt handmade by elderly volunteers. And a dog wags a tail nearby, ready for petting and hugs.“The dogs really, really help relax the kids and give them something to have fun with and occupy them while they are waiting to come into the courtroom,” Walker said. “The result is that when I get people coming into court, they are not loaded for bear. It makes my job easier. It gives me an entryway, and we talk about the dogs. I’ll ask: ‘Which dog do we have in the hall today? Did you like the dog?’ And they see I’m not the judge from the old-timey movies that they need to be afraid of.” The easier it is for children to talk to her, Judge Walker said, the more information she can gather to make better decisions. One thing she’s learned being on the bench for 20 years is that it’s futile to wait for more funding to arrive to improve the courts.“The money is never going to arrive,” she said. “How do we make things better? The pet therapy costs zero money.”The Pet Therapy in Courts Program was launched in 2007, after Susan Wilson, director of research and data for the Second Circuit, read a newspaper story about a victim advocate with a service dog in Polk County who noticed children bonded with her dog.Wilson, who has a therapy dog of her own (a white miniature schnauzer named Lacey) struck up a conversation with Potlock about the article. They were gung-ho to give therapy dogs a try.First, Wilson asked Chief Judge Charlie Francis, who said, “I thought it was interesting from the start. We already had teddy bear therapy that we use with children who have gone through traumas. I thought it could work, right off the bat, if the dogs were properly trained and properly controlled. I have no problem. I think it’s a wonderful thing.”Francis said he hasn’t heard any negative comments and the dogs have not yet come inside the courtroom during a trial, but Francis said he thinks that would work, as long as it is done in an unobtrusive way. But he is quick to add the trial judge has control of his or her own courtroom, and it is that judge’s call.Potlock said her staff attends every first appearance hearing, and they let each victim of a violent crime know about the option of the Pet Therapy in the Courts Program, but so far it has only been used with child victims.On her desk, she keeps a little booklet of pictures and profiles of the pet therapy teams — such as the 180-pound canine described as “a big goofball.”Stephanie Perkins, volunteer services program coordinator for ComForT, does her best to match up teams with the right victim/witness. Perkins said she thinks the dogs are especially suited to their new courthouse roles “because they help provide an atmosphere of acceptance and support to the victim. They do not judge, and I feel that is very important to the victims. I certainly only have anecdotal evidence due to the sensitivity of these cases and the victims involved, but I do believe it works.”State Attorney Willie Meggs admitted when he was first asked about using the dogs: “My first blush was typical of me: ‘What?’” But any skepticism was swept away by positive results in prosecuting cases.“These are well-trained, well-mannered dogs. What little kid, abused or not abused, doesn’t like a dog? And it apparently is working,” Meggs said. “Anything that helps the child victim that has to go through the trauma of a trial, I’m for it.”Wilson jumped through a few hoops getting OKs from courthouse facilities management and legal staff. Risk management signed off after learning the program is registered with the national Delta Society, a sanctioning organization for more than 10,000 pet partner teams around the world, and insurance is provided through them. Rescued Dog to the Rescue Therapy dogs are a completely different breed than service dogs that help the blind get around, sniff out drugs or skin cancer, or find buried earthquake survivors. As Chuck Mitchell, a volunteer with ComForT, said: “Ours are there to touch and mess with. That’s what makes it unique. Our program is low-tech and high-touch.”Mitchell teams up with Rikki, a golden retriever mix scooped out of Lake Pontchartrain as a 10-week-old puppy after Hurricane Katrina blew through the New Orleans area. Together, they have done more than 100 pet therapy visits to a variety of settings, but it’s the experiences at courthouses that have brought big guy Mitchell to tears.He tells the poignant story of a 7-year-old girl who had been brutally sexually abused by a day-care worker when she was 4. At first, she was able to tell only a little of what had happened to her mother and in front of a video camera, but then completely shut down. Months and then three years had gone by.Mitchell and Rikki were called to the courthouse, where they sat on the floor with the little girl, who fed Rikki her favorite treat of baby carrots and stroked her silky golden fur. The prosecutor leaned over and gently asked, “Do you know what happened between you and Mr. ____?” Without looking up, the girl kept petting Rikki and began telling new details. She was able to make a statement, Mitchell said, and law enforcement had enough to arrest the man.When it came time to give a deposition, the girl had her hand on Rikki’s leash as they walked down the courthouse hallway. And Mitchell, who tried to be as unobtrusive as possible, actually curled up under the table, holding Rikki’s leash and feeding her carrots.Rikki rested her head on the lap of the little girl, who cried into the dog’s fur and spilled out her testimony.“I wanted to bite the defense attorney’s ankles myself, and blame it on Rikki,” Mitchell said about the painful questions asked of the child victim for more than an hour.Once back at the state attorney’s victim/witness room, Mitchell said, they received a call from the defense attorney, who basically said now that he realized the victim was able to testify, his client was ready to cut a deal.Currently, Mitchell said, plea negotiations are underway.“If this case goes to trial, we may be in the courtroom,” Mitchell said. “We will not be sitting in or near the witness box. I believe if we put a dog in a witness box with a child, it would create an overly sympathetic witness. I think we would sit behind the defendant in the courtroom spectators’ seats. The jurors will look at the victim. And the victim will be able to look past the defendant and watch me petting Rikki. And when she is through testifying, she’ll know Rikki will be there.”Why does Mitchell, formerly the owner of a construction company and now a director of Premier Bank, do this kind of volunteer work?“When I get to see my dog make a connection with somebody, and help relieve some of their pain or stress even for a few minutes, and light up their face, who wouldn’t want to be Santa Claus giving out a bag of smiles? And you have somebody tell you, ‘But for your dog, my child wouldn’t be able to get through this.’ This is the best giving back to the community I’ve ever done.” ‘Low-tech and high-touch’ March 15, 2010 Jan Pudlow Senior Editor Regular News
If you cover golf long enough, you’re bound to cover an event where the player who loses is a bigger story than the player who wins. As I prepare to cover my 125th major championship, The Open Championship at Carnoustie, I can’t help remembering what occurred in 1999. The loser was, and still is, a much bigger story than the player who won.Please join me on a trip back in time to July 18, 1999 . . .Early in the week, a friend introduced me to a colorful player from France by the name of Jean van de Velde. I was instantly impressed both with his swing and his flair. Betting on golf is legal in Scotland, so after our chat on the range, I made a 50-pound wager on van de Velde to win at huge odds. Going into the fourth and final round van de Velde led by five strokes over Justin Leonard and Craig Parry, by eight over Greg Norman, and by seven over Tiger Woods.Members of the media seemed to be divided into two camps. Some of my media pals were trying to buy a portion of my wager on van de Velde, while others were looking to bet with me that van de Velde would not win. So, what do you think I did? I refused to sell any portion of my ticket, plus took on more wagers that van de Velde was indeed going to win. Yes, as the story unfolds, you’ll see that made me a loser on both counts!As the fourth and final round unfolded, everything was going right for the Frenchmen. Additional media from France were dispatched to cover firsthand this breakthrough for French golf, as it had been 92 years since the last Frenchman, Amaud Massy, had put his name on the Claret Jug.To say that I was already planning how I was going to spend my pending windfall would be highly accurate. As Jean van de Velde stood on the last hole, he was in possession of a three-shot lead. Media members who wagered with me against van de Velde were already streaming into my radio booth to pay off. I made a big mistake by taking their money before it was over. To this day, I regret doing that.One hole to go leading by three strokes, I swear to this day that the engraver had already started carving Jean van de Velde onto the Claret Jug. Then, the unthinkable started to happen and unfolded like a really bad nightmare.Van de Velde, bursting with confidence, opted to use a driver on the 18th tee, when, with a three-stroke edge, using an iron would have been a far more prudent option. His lack of judgment by not playing safe would prove to be his undoing as he found his ball in a terrible lie off the tee. And then, to make matters worse, instead of just chipping back into the fairway, he threw caution to the wind and decided to go for the green and the unthinkable continued to happen. His second shot flared way right, hit a railing on the grandstand, and bounced back into the water. The resulting triple bogey meant he at least managed to get into a three-way playoff with Justin Leonard and Paul Lawrie.Paul Lawrie will always be known as the 1999 Champion Golfer of the Year and has notched his place in the history books for his 10-shot comeback resulting in victory, but Jean van de Velde was still the star of the story.Jean van de Velde and I both learned valuable lessons from that July 18, 1999 Open Championship. Van de Velde will never again hit driver on the last hole when leading by three and for me, I learned never except a wager that might have to be paid back. Share
President Luis Guillermo Solís said he would meet with leaders from Intel in Palo Alto, California, during his first trip to the United States since taking office in May. The president will travel to Palo Alto on Monday, June 9 before flying to New York.Soon after Solís won an April 6 runoff election in Costa Rica, the microchip giant Intel announced the closing of its manufacturing facility here, which employed some 1,500 people. Intel said it would maintain its design and engineering facility in Heredia, north of the capital.“I hope that these meetings can give me a more complete understanding of the decision [to leave Costa Rica] and any future activities this company could have in this country,” Solís said Tuesday during his weekly press conference at Casa Presidencial, in southeastern San José.CINDE, a private organization dedicated to attracting foreign investment to Costa Rica and organizing the president’s U.S. trip, told The Tico Times that it could not yet confirm the meeting in Palo Alto, but that the schedule was still being finalized.Solís added that CINDE and the Foreign Trade Ministry were in talks with Intel to explore other opportunities for the company to expand its presence in Costa Rica.Intel’s manufacturing facility accounted for nearly 20 percent of Costa Rica’s exports in 2013.CINDE said the Costa Rican delegation had a confirmed meeting with Hewlett Packard among other U.S. companies in life science, manufacturing and corporate services while in New York.Solís then will travel briefly to Washington, D.C., to attend a business event at the Organization of American States. The president said it is unlikely he would meet with U.S. President Barack Obama, but he didn’t rule out the possibility.The president will return to Costa Rica on Friday, June 13. Facebook Comments Related posts:Bank of America, Intel announce thousands of layoffs in Costa Rica President-elect Solís announces upcoming US trip to court investors President Solís claims quick victory in first US tour Costa Rica’s Solís hits the road again, this time to Canada