5 Online Resources to Help Chemistry Students ace This Year’s C-SEC Exams

The Caribbean Secondary Examination Council (C-SEC) Exam season has started.

It’s a season that many students along with teachers and parents approach with some trepidation, some optimism, and others with much skepticism. Especially when it has to do with Mathematics and hardcore science subjects such as Physics and Chemistry.

And one can hardly blame them. Over the last decade or certainly in the last three years, Math and Science CSEC pass rates from year to year have shown little improvement. Exam results show a consistent decline in student performance in these subject areas.

Look at these stats.

For the purpose of this post, I’ve lifted these quotes about performance in the Science subjects from the 2016 report posted by the Caribbean Examinations Council, the examining body that sets C-SEC exams for Caribbean students. On their website,www.cxc.org, the examination body reported “a mixed performance in the science subjects this year” with results recorded as follows:

Chemistry saw a three per-cent decline in performance this year when compared with 2015 with 56 per cent achieving acceptable grades this year compared with 59 percent in 2015.

There was a seven-point decline in performance on Integrated Science this year when compared with that of 2015, sixty-four per cent of entries achieved acceptable grades this year compared with 71 per cent in 2015.

Physics and Human and Social Biology improved marginally, the exam body reported.

It noted, “Performance on Physics improved marginally with 63 per cent of entries achieving Grades I-III this year compared with 61 per cent in 2015,” and  an “eight-percentage-point improvement in performance on Human and Social Biology this year, 53 per cent of entries achieved acceptable grades compared with 45 per cent in 2015.”Though a specialist area, Agriculture Science students performed best overall in this area of science,  with CXC.org reporting as follows:

“Both Agricultural Science Double Award and Agricultural Science Single Award recorded very good performance this year with slight improvement in the Single Award and slight decline in the Double Award. Ninety-two per cent of entries for Agricultural Science (Double Award) achieved acceptable grades this year compared with 94 per cent in 2015. Eighty-nine per cent of entries for Agricultural Science (Single Award) achieved acceptable grades this year compared with 87 per cent in 2015.”

Following the release of the results each year, the media has put a spotlight on the issue. The ensuing discussions have brought some insight into the reasons why the majority of Jamaican candidates are failing the Science subjects. C-SEC students have complained that the questions are challenging while some STEM educators here believe this is because students here are not making the necessary connections with real life and chemistry. One Ministry of Education STEM consultant who shared her views

One Ministry of Education STEM consultant who shared her views on a TVJ produced panel discussion, convened in 2015 to discuss the concerns over the declining pass rates in Math and Science, believes that the root of the student’s difficulty in addressing these ‘application’ level questions on exams stems from poor classroom preparation.hat same discussion, Math and Science teachers were challenged to integrate more high-level thinking and deeper learning strategies in their classrooms.

Out of that same discussion, Math and Science teachers were challenged to integrate more high-level thinking and deeper learning strategies in their classrooms.

Of course,  these are strategies that will benefit students right across the national curriculum, but Science and Math subject requires a stronger push at this time if we are to see an uptick in the C-SEC Math and Science pass rates. The Ministry of Education has also launched campaigns like the observance of National Mathematics Week and a

The Ministry of Education has also launched campaigns like the observance of National Mathematics Week and a Math Counts Expo to help primary school children engage in the subject.

To address the inherent fear for Math among citizens said to be the Ministry also embarked on television advertising to encourage Jamaicans to embrace Mathematics instead of fearing it. An emphasis on STEM in the school system and an e-Learning portal where students can freely access learning resources for Science and other subjects form part of the government’s plan to turn around the attitudes of Jamaican students and their parents to the Sciences.

One may argue that in this age of information and the world wide web, finding resources should never have been an issue for any student or teacher seeking supplemental material to expand on topics.

As a parent and teacher, I have found that there are enough free resources online to draw on, but it appears that many of us, especially our students, are not doing the needed research or maybe do not know where to start looking. Hence, the purpose of this post is to show you a few resources that will help prepare your child or student, if you’re an educator, tackle the C-SEC Chemistry curriculum. If your child is in lower school, these resources will also give them a head start in their Science studies.

The resources I’ve listed here are engaging and will help the Chemistry student learn the concepts faster as well as help them make those important real world connections. This is not a complete list, but you’ll find some interesting content to get your student or child interested. Here they are.

1. Science 360

Web page: (http://science360.gov/topic/Chemistry)

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation, Science360 is an up-to-date view of breaking science from around the world. The Science360 Video Library is a curation of the latest science videos which immerses visitors in the latest wonders of science, engineering, technology and math. The videos are provided by scientists, colleges and universities, science and engineering centers, the National Science Foundation and more. According to the site developers, Science360’s mission is to engage the general public, science junkies and students alike in the cutting-edge discoveries and big science stories of the day.

2. Ted-Ed video lessons

Web page: (http://ed.ted.com/periodic-videos)

Kids wishing to learn the entire periodic table can view a full TED-ed Lesson on each and every element in the Periodic table created by the team at Periodic Videos. Choose an element from the table found here: lessons allow kids to watch a video hosted by scientists on the element. Videos include demonstrations and explanations of the element. Students and teachers can Watch the video. For a short quiz on what was learned, click on THINK. To learn more, use DIG Deeper to find additional resources that will help your child/student see how the science is applicable in the universe. Join open and guided discussions through the Discuss button. All the videos are created by video journalist Brady Haran, featuring real working chemists from the University of Nottingham.

3. Nature Chemistry

Web Page: nature.com

Nature Chemistry is an open access monthly journal dedicated to publishing high-quality papers that describe the most significant and cutting-edge research in all areas of chemistry. Select from any of the free open access articles and blogs available on nature chemistry to tap into a comprehensive and rounded perspective of “applied” chemistry that will enable the deeper thinking required by the CXC Chemistry curriculum.

Follow the site’s Sceptical Chymist blog (http://blogs.nature.com/thescepticalchymist/) and in particular the Your Element Round Up post found at http://blogs.nature.com/thescepticalchymist/2012/09/in-your-element-round-up.html for a round-up of essays done on elements in the periodic table. To access the series of essays, click on each non-faded element tile and it will links out to the essay about that element in the journal. These are currently free to access, the website informs.

Nature Chemistry also publishes review articles, news and views, research highlights about important work reported in other journals, commentaries, book reviews, correspondence, and analysis of the broader chemical picture beyond the laboratory — including issues such as education, funding, policy, intellectual property, and the impact chemistry has on society. In this way, the journal aims to be the voice of the worldwide chemical community. Use this subject index to find what you are looking for.

4. Khan Academy

Web Page: (https://www.khanacademy.org/science/chemistry)

Khan Academy is among a growing number of sites called open education resource sites which offer learning resources to the public free of cost. Khan Academy offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study a range of subjects at their own pace in and outside of the classroom. “We tackle math, science, computer programming, history, art history, economics, and more. Our math missions guide learners from kindergarten to calculus using state-of-the-art, adaptive technology that identifies strengths and learning gaps. We’ve also partnered with institutions like NASA, The Museum of Modern Art, The California Academy of Sciences, and MIT to offer specialized content,” the website declares on their About page. The site owners tout the site as a global classroom, noting that resources are available in more than 36 languages in addition to the Spanish, French, and Brazilian Portuguese versions of the site.

5. Slow Motion Science films

Free! Slow Motion Science videos deliver as advertised: explosive methane bubbles, water rockets, Coke+Mentos bombs, and microwaved CDs– all in super-slow motion. The videos are a labour of love from the U.K.-based creator, Sam Hankin who recorded science experiments, a total of 30GB worth of video footage, in high resolution at 400 frames per second to 3000 frames per second. The videos were then compressed into a web-friendly format for our viewing pleasure. Physics and chemistry teachers will find among the collection, great lecture supplements and topics for inquiry-based learning. For students, the videos will be a treasure trove that you can use to demystify those abstract chemistry concepts.

So, there you have it. Five links to Chemistry resources which will help lift your child/students Knowledge, comprehension and application profiles in the next Chemistry examination.

This is certainly not an exhaustive list, so feel free to share any additional resource that you’ve come across and that you could recommend.

Wish you every success in your upcoming exams.

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Why I Almost Lost My Lunch Today

police-tape

I nearly lost my lunch today. Someone in my Facebook news feed decided it was nice to post a photo of a woman’s body chopped into pieces and neatly arranged beside each other on the ground.

Well, let me tell you, it was not amusing. I didn’t lose my lunch after all, although I came close, but I lost my temper, and I left the poster a piece of my mind.

In short, I told her to take it down as it was nauseating and dark and evil and unconscionable.

I’m not the only one revolted by this newfound appetite some people have for death images. The complaints on and off air have been getting louder, with even the Minister of National Security using a Nationwide news interview yesterday to appeal to people to stop sharing fake pictures on social media.

stop-sharing-crime-pics

There are three possible sources of these photos that are circulating chiefly on Facebook and WhatsApp.

  • The killer himself or herself.
  • A police officer on the crime scene
  • A member of the public

 Killer with a Camera?

Let’s say it is the killer. Far-fetched? Not if you watch cop shows or read the studies I shared in this post.

I find it disturbing that someone could stand over a person cut to pieces and calmly take a photo then go and post that on social media. I don’t get that kind of sadism. Am I the only one who has wondered who could be holding that camera?

When civilians are posting photos of bodies they discover and voice notes which indicate they know much more than the police about a murder or can say where a missing girl is found before reporting it to the police, it begs common sense for the police to summon these persons and interrogate them. As long as it doesn’t breach the rights of the person, I can see no harm if the police trace individuals who post such updates, summon them and find out where and when such photos were taken, what time they arrived on the scene and what they saw. This kind of collaboration could help to find any connection with the killer.

Inside the interrogation room, the police should be able to check cameras and phones to see the date and time said photos were taken.

If it can be proven that the image was sent to that person, the police should follow the Fcebook Shares trail until they find that person.

There are other recent activities I noticed on WhatsApp that could warrant some attention from the police as well. Let me say first though that the channel could be a useful tool which citizens are using to identify criminals, but only if it’s being done responsibly.

People are sending around photos of persons they deem “rapists” and abductors” without providing any evidence. This is a dangerous practice. Anyone –someone I offend or someone who has a vendetta against me — could very well decide to tarnish my reputation on social media by posting my photo and things about me that are not true. With the society in an angry mood over the recent spate of murders involving women and young girls, that “suspect” could find himself lynched by an angry mob jungle justice style, no questions asked.

The public should be warned and educated about the dangers of this and using the App to help rather than harm.

Facebook, the owners of WhatsApp should also monitor the spread of fake news which came under the spotlight during the American election campaign, and continues to thrive on WhatsApp spreading conspiracy theories about people. This kind of culture can only serve to incite more violence and contribute to the growing crime problem in Jamaica.

Police Sharing Crime Scenes

My reason for pointing fingers at the police as a possible poster lies in previous media reports about officers being chided by the Police Commissioner for sharing crime scene photos on social media. It’s a practice the American police have had issues with as well.

One such notorious offense occurred in 2006 (before Facebook’s preeminence). As was reported in US media, photos of an 18-year-old woman killed in a car accident went viral after two highway patrolmen shared them via email. The young woman’s family suffered years of torment from morbid pranksters who spread the photos, posted them on a MySpace memorial page and sent emails that either contained the photos or derogatory comments.

The Los Angeles Times reported that four staff members were fired and three disciplined at St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach, Calif. after photos of a victim with multiple stab wounds showed up on Facebook — despite federal laws and growing zero-tolerance hospital policies.

In the United States, the practice evoked the public’s wrath and calls for such postings by law enforcement officers and hospital emergency workers to be made a felony.

With no law to punish those public servants who choose to join the crime paparazzi here in Jamaica, it’s hard to bring those who practice the act to justice. But the cries from citizens who are sickened by the practice will no doubt get louder.

In the image I saw today, the photo shows no one else at the scene. Now, I don’t know if this could be based on the angle the photo was taken from, but this photograph appeared to be taken from close range. I just hope it didn’t come from one of our law officers.

Civilians on Crime Scenes

It would come as no surprise to learn that this photo was taken by a member of the public who was on the scene.This is a typical, almost cultural scenario in Jamaica.

Recently, someone was shot by gunmen in my area. After about half hour I heard activity and voices outside my gate. When I went outside, I saw that a crowd had gathered in the vicinity where the man had been shot.

Curiosity got the better of me and I went to a nearby shop where some officers were standing. I enquired who had been killed. The lady who turned out to be an officer in plain clothes told me she did not know. People had gathered on the periphery on the street where the man was killed.

I stood there in the crowd for a while and was there for about half an hour before an officer came over and told us to disperse as they were going to cordon off the area with police tape. This to me was a redundant decision taken too late as the area surrounding the scene where people stood would have been contaminated, and any possible clues disposed of by the shooters already trampled on.

Grief Porn

But back to this nauseating photo that nearly made me lose my lunch earlier. All I can say is this shooting and then sharing of homicide scene photos by crime scene paparazzi is a vile practice.

I understand it goes by the name grief porn, which is defined as hyper-attentive, intrusive, and voyeuristic activity engaged in by people when there is a disaster.

The practice did not originate in Jamaica. Most of us would recall the early presentations that we oohed and aahed over when that woman fell into the tiger’s lair at the zoo and was speedily snatched by the animal, never to be seen again, or most recently the famous shooting of that baboon trying to drown a small boy who had fallen into his bathing pool. The one that left me shell-shocked by far though was a stomach turning, horrifying gaslighting video showing a Pakistani lady who supposedly had converted to Christianity that someone thought I’d want to see. I said that left me shell-shocked? How can I get the vision out of my mind of the charred bodies of that family (children included) whose house was allegedly razed by a family member in Spanish Town last year. It was a close up that left me imagining the deceased’s torturous final moments. It left me traumatised and depressed.

So it seems to me we are feeding a morbid and unhealthy fascination with death and suffering in this country. The way I see people falling over themselves to shoot a video or photo of victims at an accident scene while someone bleeds out unassisted is inhumane. It sort of reminds me of same vultures congregating around roadkill and fighting for the first pick at the entrails.

It’s an underbelly of Jamaica that makes me want to gag, and one must be careful not to get caught up in it’s demonic and barbaric tentacles.Having to view it in my newsfeed as I did today leaves me feeling tainted.

Feeding a Killer’s Ego

I can’t help but wonder whether the sharing of photos of these murdered women is not stroking the ego of her killer somewhere and egging him on to go after another defenseless woman or girl. Recently, the police expressed similar sentiments about their reservations in sharing too much crime data. These monsters get their rocks off people’s grief and suffering. As shared in this post What We Must Start to Stop Jamaican Femicide (See Census Idea) , the psychodynamic elements of the perpetrators of these mutilations must become a subject for analysis as one of the priorities of the security minister as he prepares to release another raft of crime measures.

Do you really want to be used by this blood-sucking villain?  

Ready for Your own Body Shots?

Every time we create and share fake death photos of girls gone missing, reduce human bodies to roadkill, collect crime scenes and accident scenes as though we are collecting tokens, we become a little more inhumane; we traumatise our souls and our psyche; we breed fear and paranoia in the population; we make it more difficult for people in real danger to get help and for the police to solve cases. Finally, collectively we break down the last vestiges of civil society.

Soon it won’t be the chickens but the John crows who will come home to roost. And the worst part is that we may be the twitching mutilated roadkill on pieces of plastic paper whose remains these paparazzi will plaster all over the internet. Is that the last memory you’d want your loved ones to be left with? Is it your job to help further the grief of these people who did you nor the killer any wrong?

Would you want to see your body parts framed on some sick person’s wall? Because that’s kind of what we are doing here, only that the frame on our wall is our social media screens. 

One last thing . . .

The Minister of Security has to do more than appeal to people to stop this horrible business of posting homicide crime scene photos and fake photos on social media.

I believe that the force of law and a zero tolerance policy for public servants who are guilty of this must be implemented, and it must have sharp teeth.

I understand that Facebook is quite cooperative and willing to work with law enforcement officers to get these photos down so I would recommend that the Police Commissioner initiate that request to Facebook.

The use of cameras by people at crime scenes should also be banned, even if it means that the police obtain technology to jam any phones in the area of the crime scene until the body has been removed and the crime scene processed.

Anyone who is seen on a crime scene when the police arrive should be arrested.

Sounds harsh? Order must be returned to our communities. It will help the police solve more murders and help us live longer. And I will be happy not to lose my lunch when I check my newsfeed in the near future because of shock and disgust.

Your Turn

What do you think would help stop this crime scene paparazzi behaviour and sharing of such scenes on Facebook and WhatsApp? Do you agree with my recommendations?

 

Council’s Greater Portmore “Cactus Garden” in Dire Need of Attention

On Monday, Portmore Citizens News took these photographs of the area outside the Greater Portmore Civic Centre Complex designated and landscaped as a green space by the Portmore Municipal Council several months ago.

As seen in the photos below, the current state of the once attractive cactus stone garden is not being regularly maintained, judging by the litter composed of plastic, debris and household garbage now piling up in the area. Bundles of cut dried grass which was never removed by the weeder have become litter mounds. The once aesthetically pleasing landscape details featuring cacti plants, boulders and rocks and a walkway is now hidden under a brown, dirtier, untidy version of what it was.

Who are responsible?

So who is responsible for this? These are several possible culprits. This vicinity is a frequent hangout spot for students from nearby schools. Across the road is the bus stop where commuters also await the JUTC buses as they enter the Greater Portmore bus bay which is just behind the complex.

Across the road is the bus stop where commuters also await the JUTC buses as they enter the Greater Portmore bus bay which is just behind the complex. Vending activity takes place in close proximity. Someone has also decided this was the best place to dump their old clothes and household garbage, so some illegal dumper (s) need to be exposed as well.

The area also gets a lot of foot traffic from commuters who make their own shortcut pathways to get to the Junior Centre, Library and Post Office housed on the Civic Centre Complex after disembarking from the route buses and taxis that travel along the busy West Henderson Boulevard adjacent to the park. It is not fenced.

Maintenance Staff and Schedule

The area is now in need of attention. We hope the Mayor will see this and send the relevant authorities to clean up. A better idea would be to put a regular maintenance schedule in place for the area. If the Council can harness community volunteers to do some of this maintenance work, it could probably curb the littering from residents.

Litter Campaign addressing Users

An on-site litter education campaign to directly address the frequent users of the area like students and commuters who may be responsible for the high numbers of plastic drink bottles in the area would be a practical move. Get the schools involved. Maybe the Junior Centre’s children can put a programme together to get the message across in an entertaining but serious manner.

Finally, may I also recommend that the Council put in garbage containers or attendants to pick up garbage daily and fence off the area as well. As for the persons dumping garbage, it may be ambitious but necessary to install some security cameras in the vicinity to see if we can catch these culprits as well as criminals.

 

growing garbage heap in middle of Greater Portmore green space

In need of maintenance. This photo taken on Monday shows the growing pile of litter and plant debris that now defaces the landscaped oval, a project done by the Portmore Municipal Council months ago.

household garbage now litters landscaped space in Civic Centre Complex, Greater Portmore

Someone decided to dump their household garbage in plastic bags smack dab in the middle of the recently created green space in the Oval at the Greater Portmore Civic Centre Complex across from the Shopping Centre.                                                                                          – PCN Photo

 

neglected-stone-gardengrportmore

Cactus plants and grass appears untended.                                                           – PCN Photo

 

Cactus stone park Greater Portmore defaced

This created green area which was landscaped by the Portmore Municipal Council in the months leading up to the National elections is in dire need of attention. The area which is in front of the Greater Portmore Civic Centre Complex is now littered with drinking bottles, debris and even bags of old clothes someone dumped there.                                     – PCN Photo

The Mack Said What? ‘Hope-Full’ Quote of the Week

Image of Desmond McKenzie, Local Government Minister

Portmore Citizens NewsMaker This Week: Hon. Desmond McKenzie, Jamaica’s Minister of Local Government and Community Development. Photo credit: jis.gov.jm

The Words

Extracted from CONTRIBUTION TO THE SECTORAL DEBATE 2016-2017 by Hon. Desmond Anthony Augustus McKenzie, Minister of Local Government & Community Development, June 22, 2016

Source: JIS

“Emerging from the recently published findings surrounding the Hanover Parish Council in particular, I have taken note of opinions by some commentators that the Local Authorities, generally speaking, should be shut down. That is not the policy of this Administration.

I am a son of Local Government. I have served as Councillor and Mayor, and I know first-hand, the positive impact that good representation can have on people’s lives at the community level.

Local Government touches lives in a real way, every day, whether it is well or badly run. I will use my talents, experience, and the collective talents of the partners within Jamaica and internationally, to make local government an efficient, accountable organ of service to every Jamaican.

Let me admit however, that the image of Local Government and that of the Local Authorities in particular, has been shaken and battered by the very serious revelations in the Special Reports of the Contractor-General, which have been tabled in this Honourable House.

The public is aware of the actions I have taken in relation to the Hanover Parish Council. They are a clear signal, Mr. Speaker, that this Administration, and this Minister, will not stand aside and allow breaches of the public trust to occur, under the banner of “autonomy”. The Local Authorities are accountable to the Minister under law, and I intend to lift the standard of accountability and of service that they are to provide.”

Why I like this Quote?
Positive sentiments such as his faith in local government representation, commitment to returning accountability to governance and the value he seems to place on building public trust comes across clearly in the Minister McKenzie’s speech. While it may all be good speech-making rhetoric, he’s saying it publicly, and will be judged for those words publicly too if he fails to deliver.

That said, his past role as Mayor of Kingston, I think, has showed that he is a man who stands for law and order and that he is fearless in achieving it. If there ever is a man who walks his talk, it’s Desmond McKenzie. He may not be the most likeable fellow, his tone and language is too astringent for some folks, but the Mack is convincing as a politician who takes his public office seriously.

As an preamble to his Presentation in the Sectoral debate on Wednesday, these launching words were priceless. . . and hope-full (mispelling fully intended).

Get out the way Tuk-Tuks, the Mack is ready to rumble.
Read the full speech here: June 22 Sectoral Presentation by Hon. Desmond McKenzie

Can the Minister deliver on his potent words? Leave a comment below.

 

Bio

Karen Taylor is a Portmore-based blogger and freelance writer. Contact her at taylor-karen@hotmail.com

Community Faithfuls in Portmore Rally to Spirit of Labour Day ; Safety and Aesthetics the focus of Projects

Labour Day Community Roundup

Men painting pedestrian crossing (Not actual photo)

Men painting pedestrian crossing (Not actual photo)

Labour Day was observed on Monday, May 25 this year and in the true spirit of the day community faithfuls across Portmore turned out to contribute their labour and time to various projects, many of which it seems were devoted to beautification of their communities and the creation or restoration of community parks.

Here is a round- up of activities and outcomes I observed in the general Portmore area from Labour Day 2015.

Thanks to the efforts of the 2 East Sabina Citizens association, students of the Greater Portmore Primary school can now safely cross the Braeton Parkway main road that separates the 2 East and 2 West communities. On Labour Day, a group of citizens painted a brand new pedestrian crossing at the entrance to the school. They also painted the sidewalk and cleaned debris and garbage from the community park. According to Selvin Hemmings, president of the 2 East Citizens Association, the aim for creating the school crossing is to make students more visible to motorists, thus increasing the children’s safety.

Another citizen, Brian Canaan expressed hopes that the Labour Day project might instigate greater involvement of community members and the rebuilding of a community vibe.

The garbage-free community park, which was closed briefly due to the lack of maintenance, is again now open to children and adults who want to access its recreational and walking trail facilities, Mr Hemmings revealed.

Paint for the pedestrian crossing was donated by the Portmore Municipal Council.

A trek around other Portmore communities as Labour Day progressed also saw more activities unfolding. The 4 East Kensington area now has a newly constructed bridge to mitigate against flooding which according to residents at the project site, generally affects residents during heavy rains. Cement, steel and refreshment for this activity were provided by the Portmore Municipal Council.

In the true spirit of Labour day, a few Labour Day faithfuls in 3 West  also wielded their machetes and weed blowers as they attacked overgrown foliage and weeds in the community park.

The community entrance at Newton, Braeton area is looking much brighter after citizens applied a fresh coat of paint, while the folks in Bridgeview turned out in small pockets to sweep and paint curbs, and plant flowers in efforts to beautify the entrance to that community.

It was also a labour of love for the parents and teachers of the Christian Gardens Basic School who delivered on the Labour Day theme which this year focused on “Labour of Love: Nurturing Our Children.”  The perimeter walls of the school received a facelift and other beautification work was done on the property  creating a clean and stimulating learning space for the little ones.

Waterford rewarded with Recreation Park

portmore mayor

The official Labour Day Project led by the Portmore Municipal Council took place in the Waterford community this year and saw the creation of a  recreation park which will serve children and the elderly in that community. The park will also offer a green oasis to the community.

Some $2 million of the local government and municipal funds will be spent to develop the Waterford project. The Jamaica Information Service (JIS) reported that the day was spent carrying out preparatory work such as the fencing of the area, laying of topsoil and irrigation work.The project included the planting of grass, trees and construction of swings, slides, jungle gym and benches.

Safeguarding the welfare of the nation’s children was the focus of activities for National Labour Day 2015, under the theme: ‘Labour of Love, Nurturing Our Children’

The Waterford community was favoured this year because of the outstanding tax compliance of property owners in the Waterford division. It was reported elsewhere that residents turned out in their numbers, along with Acting Mayor Leon Thomas and other council officials to beautify the park that was established by the municipal council to reward Waterford for paying their property taxes. “The community of Waterford was very responsive in paying their taxes, so we reward them with this park where they can take their kids to play and have fun,” Thomas told The Gleaner.

Quiet Day

Overall, it was pretty quiet in Portmore with little traffic or persons on streets except for the few persons working in pockets at various sites.  In the Gregory Park area, the most movement seen were of young men and a few girls heading towards Caymanas Track, my taxi driver informed me, to see horses race.  In Waterford, a resident told me that the music I was hearing was a private cookout party in progress.  People treated Labour Day this year as a holiday, and  from all indications (I didn’t get to tour Hellshire to see what was happening on  the beach) spent much of the day at home.

How do we explain the unenthusiastic support for Labour Day activities this year among Portmore residents, and especially the nonchalance towards community building amongst the youth? And who or what is responsible for this? Share your comments below.

Overgrown Canals in Greater Portmore pose Health Threats

This week we had some rain in Portmore, and with a recent notice by the Ministry of Health that Jamaica is again on high alert for another another mosquito borne disease, this time the Zik-V, it is understandable why we in Portmore would be happy but concerned whenever the rain falls over here.  Rain tends to bring with it swarms of mosquitos.

With this threat making residents in 2 West Sabina and  3 East Chedwin and surrounding communities nervous, we are wondering when the Council will get around to cleaning the canals that extend from the bridge at the 2 West entrance and extends along the front of 3 West community.

The conditions for mosquito breeding are increasing everyday as there is now a build-up of sludge and water lilies in the canals creating a stagnant pit. In the 2 West section of the canal that runs between the Greater Portmore Primary and Greater Portmore High school there are now thick rushes growing 10 feet tall that needs to be cleared so the water in the canal can run freely.

I hope the Portmore Municipal Council will attend to this pronto. Those of us who got the Chik V would prefer to avoid its unwelcomed and equally dreaded cousin, the Zik-V.

People Mentions

Before I go, let me wish a speedy recovery to my good friend, Mr. Ellis, Hellshire Estate resident and a serving elder at Hellshire who is in the University hospital at this time. I hope he is listening because the entire Hellshire family is praying for him.

To his wife, Sis Ellis, daughters, Andrea and Andrene, and grand children who are missing Grandpa terribly, chin up. God is in control. Bro Ellis is a founding member, and may I say the longest serving member of the Hellshire Seventh Day Adventist church and is such a sincere and humble servant of God that you can very well understand our sadness that he is not well at this time.

Shout out and  Birthdays

Happy belated birthday to his grandson, Malique Morgan who celebrated his 7 year birthday on Wednesday last week. Special hello also  to my little friends from Newland SDA who may not have heard my shout out last week: Jevaughn Wallace, the little 11 year old fireball preacher who set the place ablaze last Sabbath at the Newland Children’s Day, Giselle Sappleton, my 96 friend Evelyn Boodal, all the children of Newland and the Merene Stanley Brown led team.

Salute  to frequent listener to this programme, Mrs Maiselyn Harris of Portmore SDA Church. Good morning Sis Harris. To all of Portmore, have a fantastic week, and keep listening.

Blogger, Karen Taylor takes you out and about the town of Portmore to get a first hand view of what and where things are happening and help you learn the culture of this young city. Go to the About Page to read more about what to expect from the blog.

Do you have an upcoming community event, citizens association meeting  or concern in your sector you’d like me to cover? Need a professional blogger to help you engage your customers? Leave a comment in the box below. Otherwise email me your advisory or request at outnaboutportmore@hotmail.com.