Governor Wolf has declared that UPMC's cancellation of its Medicare Advantage with Highmark was the "last straw" in the ongoing battle between the two health care giants. The state is seeking arbitration to resolve the issue.
It might be worth a visit to our neighbors in Ohio this fall to check out a project to bring the Violins of Hope to Northeast Ohio. The 45-plus instruments were played by Jews imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps and have been restored by an Israeli violin-maker. The project includes a collaboration between various institutions, including the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Cleveland Orchestra and Facing History and Ourselves. More details about concerts and other events will be announced at a later date; until then, here is the press release:
CLEVELAND – More than a half dozen organizations across the community have come together to bring the historic Violins of Hope to Northeast Ohio this fall. Played before and during the Holocaust, the instruments have been painstakingly restored and serve as testaments to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of music to lift hearts in even the most horrific of circumstances.
Among the organizations inspired to partner on a project combining performances, educational programs and a major exhibition are: The Cleveland Orchestra, Case Western Reserve, the Cleveland Institute of Music, Facing History and Ourselves, ideastream, the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, and the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage.
“The opportunity to bring these extraordinary instruments to greater Cleveland immediately united organizations and individuals across the region,” said Richard Bogomolny, Musical Arts Association Chairman of the Board and one of the leaders of the Violins of Hope Cleveland effort. “A profound personal story lives within each violin, and together they possess the potential to leave an indelible impact on every person who sees and hears them.”
Details about all of these programs and events, including ticket information, will be available this summer. More details about the project and associated activities can be found at violinsofhopecle.org. Amnon Weinstein, a second-generation violin-maker based in Tel Aviv, Israel, has collected and repaired more than 45 Holocaust-era violins from around the world, some with the Star of David on the back and others with names and dates inscribed within the instrument. The violins have been played in concerts around the world, most recently by the Berlin Philharmonic in late January of this year.
The Cleveland visit will mark the violins’ second trip to the U.S. The violins first came to this country in the spring of 2012, when the University of North Carolina Charlotte hosted a two-week visit. UNC Charlotte musicology professor James A. Grymes published Violins of Hope: Violins of the Holocaust – Instruments of Hope and Liberation in Mankind’s Darkest Hour last year and is curating an exhibition of the violins at the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage that runs from Oct. 1 through Jan. 3, 2016.
Among the highlights of Violins of Hope Cleveland will be a September concert featuring The Cleveland Orchestra, under the direction of Franz Welser-Möst, which will dedicate newly renovated Silver Hall, part of Case Western Reserve’s Milton and Tamar Maltz Performing Arts Center at The Temple – Tifereth Israel.
“These violins carry extraordinary meaning across generations,” said Milton Maltz, one of those who catalyzed the effort to bring the instruments here. “To have members of one of the world’s finest orchestras play them in the newly renovated Silver Hall, and also have them available to view at the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, represents a remarkable opportunity for education of people’s hearts and minds.”
Members of the Cleveland Orchestra will play the restored violins, while the Israeli violin virtuoso Shlomo Mintz also will perform with one of the instruments. The hall is named for The Temple’s longtime leader, Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver, who also was among the leaders in the effort to establish the nation of Israel after World War II.
“We can think of no more fitting way to mark the opening of Silver Hall than this extraordinary concert,” Case Western Reserve President Barbara R. Snyder said. “We also look forward to hosting extensive public programs featuring our faculty and collaborating with the rest of the organizations involved.” ideastream, the region’s nonprofit public media organization that includes WVIZ/PBS, 90.3 WCPN, and WCLV 104.9 Classical, will record September’s Violins of Hope Cleveland Concert live for broadcast by WVIZ/PBS and WCLV Classical 104.9 radio. ideastream also will develop a half-hour documentary highlighting Northeast Ohio’s experiences with the project as well as individual stories involving the instruments.
“This is a once-in-a lifetime event for the Greater Cleveland community, and it’s essential to record and document the series of Violins of Hope events and exhibitions,” said Kit Jensen, ideastream chief operating officer. ”The live broadcasts and recordings will amplify the amount of people who can participate in this uniquely historic project, both today and in the future.”
Case Western Reserve faculty already have begun planning lectures and programs that will provide students and the broader Cleveland community opportunities to learn more about the complex role of music in concentration camps and the larger religious, cultural and historical contexts involved. The university’s Laura and Alvin Siegal Lifelong Learning Program will play a pivotal role in outreach across the region, and also will join with the Department of Judaic Studies to bring internationally renowned Jewish scholars to speak in Cleveland.
Local students also will have ample opportunity to participate in public programming, and to consider the violins within their classrooms. The Cleveland regional office of Facing History and Ourselves has scheduled teacher workshops and is developing lessons and other materials for Northeast Ohio educators to use. Facing History is an international non-profit education organization dedicated to using lessons from history to encourage students to consider how their own choices can make a positive impact on society.
“These violins are a dramatic memorial to the lives lost in the Holocaust,” said Mark Swaim-Fox, Director of the Cleveland office of Facing History. “Learning about their story is an emotional lens that allows students to experience the many ways that Jews in Europe used music to survive and to resist the Nazis.”
The Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) Orchestra, meanwhile, will present Music of the Violins of Hope, a free concert for the community at Severance Hall on October 14 in which CIM students play the restored violins from the Holocaust. In addition, CIM will present several faculty and student concerts featuring chamber music of the time, including music written by composers held in concentration camps. CIM's Distance Learning program will support the project's education efforts with offerings that prepare students and area residents for their visit to the exhibition and concerts.
“The Violins of Hope will serve as a reminder to us all of the timeless power of music over adversity,” said Joel Smirnoff, President and CEO of CIM. “The Cleveland Institute of Music is proud to partner in bringing these historic instruments to Cleveland and in bringing their sound back to life for our community.”
The breadth of activities planned for Violins of Hope Cleveland touches multiple elements of the mission of the 112-year-old Jewish Federation of Cleveland – perhaps most significantly in the organization’s commitment “to promote the well-being of our community.”
“The Jewish Federation of Cleveland is thrilled and proud to be a partner in bringing the Violins of Hope to Cleveland. Through this program, our entire community will have the opportunity to learn about the enduring lessons of the Holocaust–not only the tragedy brought about by baseless hatred but also the resilience of the Jewish people,” said Hedy Milgrom, Chief Development Officer at the Federation. “One manifestation of that resilience is embodied in the violins owned and played by thousands of Jews, most of whom perished, but some of whom survived. These violins were played throughout the years of the Holocaust–because where there was music, there was hope. And through these violins, the Jews who perished are immortalized and serve as an inspiration for us today.”
To learn more about programming and events, please visit the Violins of Hope Cleveland website, www.violinsofhopecle.org.
Violins of Hope Cleveland is a community-wide collaboration that aims to inform, educate and inspire people throughout the Midwest. Played by Jewish prisoners in Nazi concentration camps, the instruments have been collected and restored by Israeli violin maker Amnon Weinstein for more than two decades. The historic violins have been played in concerts from Jerusalem to Berlin and Charlotte, NC, and provide a rare opportunity to explore unique stories behind each instrument and the individuals who owned them. Throughout the fall of 2015, a diverse range of nonprofit organizations will sponsor performances, lectures, an exhibition and other public programming. The partners are: The Cleveland Orchestra, Case Western Reserve, the Cleveland Institute of Music, Facing History and Ourselves, ideastream, the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, and the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage. For more information, please visit violinsofhopecle.org.
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Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford held his season-ending press conference today. He touched based on a variety of subjects including the power play, head coach Mike Johnston, right winger Beau Bennett and the team's discipline.
Here is a partial transcript:
On the trade deadline:
"We got to the trade deadline. We decided that our team was pretty close. We wanted to make a few changes on our defense. We wanted to add a little more experience. We made the two deals bringing Cole and Lovejoy in. I believe that those deals helped us on the short term. It didn't turn out exactly the way we planned because both of those guys fit into certainly slots playing a certain amount of minutes. But that would have been if [defenseman Christian] Ehrhoff was playing and [Kris] Letang was playing. So then we had to lean on them to play a lot more minutes. I think Lovejoy played a couple of games where he played 27 minutes and Cole was playing 24 minutes. But that being said, I think our defense played reasonably well down the stretch an in the playoffs."
On injuries to the defense:
"Ehrhoff (right) went out with 10 games left. Letang went out. And those were huge losses for our team that we couldn't overcome down the stretch. Both those guys were puck movers. We missed that on the back end. I think it affected our goals for because our transition game was affected and it affects our forwards when they're not getting the puck when they should."
On the playoffs:
"I like what our players did in the playoffs. I know it was only five games but we competed hard and we gave everything the Rangers could handle. I know we can talk about injuries – I'm not trying to make excuses – we can talk about breaks in games. You make your own breaks but we could have easily got some breaks that those games against the Rangers could have gone the other way. So it's disappointing that we're out as early as we are and we didn't reach our goal."
On the power play:
"I don't believe our power play shoots the puck enough. When you look at the successful power plays in this league and they have good players, I don't believe as good of players as we have … too often we try to make the perfect play. If you look at earlier in the year when we were clicking along at a much higher pace than we knew we were going to, we shot the puck a lot and we worked off rebounds and worked off of breaking up the box. Based off of talking to the players yesterday, I think the players are aware of what changes need to made on the power play. But as the season went along, I agree, our power play was disappointing and unperformed but it can be fixed because we have the players that are capable of doing it."
"I think Mike did a really good job. He has really good communication with the players. And based on my meeting with the players yesterday, I have that confirmed. I like to have exit meetings with the players separate with the coach so if they want to say something, they're comfortable saying it. I feel very comfortable that we were going in the right direction. Some players really had terrific years. I don't want to give Mike necessarily the credit for Marc-Andre Fleury. That's really [goaltending coach] Mike Bales and Fleury himself. But that's two years in a row. That was before there was any changes. I thought Fleury had a very consistent good year two years ago and again this year. He had a terrific year. But part of that can be attributed to Mike [Johnston] because I don't believe we gave up as many quality scoring chances this year. We tightened that up and even Fleury talked about it in my meeting. He liked out we tightened things up. We reduced our goals against."
"Our penalty killing was good. We just talked about our power play. It wasn't as good as it should be but we have the guys that can fix that and make it better. Same thing. Mike (right) is getting used to these players and how they work and he's dealing with superstar players and things like that. But overall, he made adjustments when necessary. He dealt with tough situations at times. I think that when you look at the playoffs and the adjustments that needed to be made ... albeit we didn't score but we played in a low-scoring series. They didn't [score] either. Unfortunately, they scored one more than we did in some games. But we played in a series that had great goaltending for both teams. But for the most part, we created some pretty good scoring chances and I think overall Mike and his staff did a good job."
On forward prospects Kasperi Kapenen and Oskar Sundqvist:
"They will put themselves in a position that they'll have a chance to be here. The one thing I don't want to do is lock into one-way contracts going into training camp that it blocks these guys out. So it's not just them. You've got some younger guys there that have put themselves into position … [left winger Scott] Wilson and [right winger Bryan] Rust. [Center Andrew] Ebbett isn't as young but he's a good player. [Center Jayson] Megna. And I'm just talking about forwards now. But I just want to see especially Kapanen and Sundqvist adjust to North America, adjust to the North American style. Kapanen has a really good first game then he dropped up for a couple of games. He got hurt. Now he's back on track and he's playing really well. … Let me say this, they will be given a very good opportunity to make the Penguins next year."
On the team leading the league in penalty minutes:
"There was a long period of time, and I think we got better at this in the last month when Mike [Johnston] clamped down on the discipline, but this team wasn't a disciplined team at times. Whether it was taking penalties at the wrong time or too many penalties in a game or the talking back to the officials and things like that. But I think when Mike [Johnston] really clamped down on it with about a month left in the season, our players really responded to it. They were much more disciplined. That's something we have to be much, much better at next season."
On center Sidney Crosby (right):
"I'm so proud of what he did in becoming that all-around player coming back in his own end deep and helping out and also getting his points. If he hadn't of had the mumps and went though that three-week period [in December] he still wold have won the scoring race and played an all-around game. And that's the kind of game and leadership you need to ultimately win championships. So that was a big step forward."
On miscommunication between the coaching staff and players regarding the power play:
"I think both the coaching staff and the players have to take some of that responsibility. It's like all of us. We don't get 100 percent of the things right. But overall, I'm saying Mike [Johnston] did a good job. But yeah, some of that responsibility falls back on the coaches and the players. You can only tell them so many times and show them so many times how other power players are working until the players need to do that. We have two of the best players in the game. And I believe our defenseman in Letang should be in the voting for Norris [Trophy]. He's not in the top three but he's certainly right there with those guys. He had a great year. So we have the players that can do it. The downside is they're so talented they're trying to make those perfect goals and perfect plays. And in order to do that, you have to shoot the puck, you have to break up the box and then you're going to have your perfect goals. And I think that's where the adjustment has to be made."
On right winger Beau Bennett:
"We made a mistake on Beau Bennett as far as development-wise. I'll take the responsibility for that. When it was getting closer for him to become a [waiver-eligible] player, I felt we should have sent him to [Wilkes-Barre/Scranton] and let him play a lot. He's a guy that hasn't played enough over the years. So we kept him around. Actually, the game he became a [wavier-eligible] player, he had the big game in Montreal. He's not consistent enough. He's not strong enough. But he's a very talented player. And I do think down the stretch, probably about the last three weeks, he was starting to move in the right direction. So we just have to keep working and developing him. But I believe he's going to be a good NHL player. I hope it's starting next year and not the year after. But at some point in time, he's going to get it."
On trying to add more top-six wingers:
"It's not a great free agency crop. I do believe we have to continue to look for these players. Hornqvist is one. Whether he plays with [Crosby or Malkin], he's a guy that can help those players. But to try to get a little more skill and maybe get maybe one or two more wingers that are more complimentary to those players is something that's been a goal of this franchise for a while and continues to be. We will start looking and see what's out there trade-wise. It think it's going to be more apt to be in a trade than it will be in free agency. But I'm well aware that that's something we have to continue to look for and that's something we will do."
On potentially using buyouts on contracts for veteran players:
"I have full support from the ownership to do what is necessary moving forward to give this team a better chance to win. I think we'll keep all options on the table in that regard. But I don't want to suggest I'm giving up on some of these older players because the can still contribute. But everything will be in the mix in trying to make the team better."
On center Evgeni Malkin (right):
"[Malkin is] the type of guy that's not going to use excuses but he sprained his ankle. He came back sooner than most players would and he continued to play on an ankle that was not 100 percent. Hornqvist was the same. He played with a broken rib. He came back and he played with it. And of course Letang and Ehrhoff there at the end on top of [defenseman Olli] Maatta and [right winger Pascal Dupuis]. I do believe [Malkin is] going to go and play for Russia [in the IIHF World Championship tournament]. He told me yesterday he isn't sure if he's going to play all the games but he's committed to his country. He didn't want to say no to them. So he will go over there. I think he'll kind of play it by ear but I suspect he will play some games, not at 100 percent."
On what the presence of young defensemen such as Brian Dumoulin, Scott Harrington, Derrick Pouliot and Maatta could mean to the futures of unrestricted free agent defensemen Paul Martin and Christian Ehrhoff:
"They have come of age. They're development has come along very nicely. At some point, we have to put some of these defensemen in or their development is going to go the other way. That's what we have to weigh now. We will have hockey meetings here for the next 30 days. I already started this morning. I'm going to meet with the coaches this afternoon. Try to get a consensus on where we're at and we'll have to make a decision. I feel pretty confident Letang and Dupuis will recover 100 percent and be with us in September. But with the type of injury, especially Letang being we're talking about defensemen, you always have to keep that in the back of your mind as to how many veteran defensemen you have and how many young guys you have. But we have very good young defensemen that have shown signs are ready to play."
On the team's lack of scoring late in the season:
"We'd like to get more speed in our lineup and we'd like to get some of these younger players started. I do think that's going to help, that young energy in our lineup. How many of those guys are going to go in? I can't answer that at this point but we have guys that are ready to go. The scoring, the scoring seemed to be fine for a long period of time then we ran into that real bad drought the last month of the season. The game do tighten up the end of the year. Obviously, the playoff games are even tighter. There's not a lot of room to move out there so that's part of it. But we have guys that are capable of scoring, can probably score more. In Chris Kunitz (right) alone, his goal production dropped off dramatically. I don't think his play dropped off as much as his production. I just went through that with him. He can still contribute to this team. … But the league is changing. There's a lot more parity and you're playing a lot more lower-scoring and tighter games."
On trading defenseman Simon Despres for Ben Lovejoy:
"The one move I question and we questioned it at the time is we traded a young defenseman for a veteran defenseman. But the reason we did that is we wanted a right-shot defenseman and a veteran defenseman at the time to take a long run. We weren't healthy enough to do that. And the other part is we have a lot of other young defensemen. We can only put so many in the lineup."
(Photos: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images, Bruce Bennett/Getty Images, Drew Hallowell/Getty Images, Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press, Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images and Matt Slocum/Associated Press)
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The spring garden changes daily and it's a chance to see flowers getting ready to put on a show. Sometimes they might be more beautiful before they completely open.
I love tight budded tulips, they hint at what they will look like when the sun warms them up to bloom. 'Suncatcher' and 'Moulin Rouge' are both varieties from Longfield Gardens. They both are spectacular at this point and will look wonderful when blooming too. Both of these varieties pair well with grape hyacinths.
It's been fun to watch a pink flowering crabapple grow over the last 16 years. It's right outside the kitchen window and was a scraggly little tree when we first moved in, but with yearly fertilizing it's become a healthy specimen. I even dug out a sprout a few years ago and it's blooming in the other side of the garden. For a week the buds are rose colored and when open a soft pink. I love them just before they open.
This is the first year for 'Stolwijk Gold' clematis (alpine clematis). I found a couple plants at Hahn Nursery at the end of the year they were selling cheap. It's my new favorite clematis with chartreuse foliage, purple stems and blue flowers. The buds are deep purple and are set off by the leaves.
Take a close look at the plants in your garden. Azaleas, mountain laurel, viburnums and more all put on pretty buds. Even a big hosta like 'Empress Wu' is beautiful as it emerges. The texture of the leaves in morning and afternoon light is spellbinding.
Enjoy every day in the spring garden, because tomorrow it will look different.