By Sharon OmahenUniversity of GeorgiaWhen it comes to black flies, most people would prefer them destroyed. In the U.S., their bites cause pain and welts. In Africa, they can cause blindness. But to help find ways to control the tiny pests, University of Georgia scientists maintain the world’s only research colony.Often described as gnats, black flies are small, dark, stout flies about half the size of mosquitoes. Like gnats, they swarm around people’s faces and eyes. The big difference is that their bites hurt.Causes welts, blindness“We’re spoiled in the South as our species doesn’t usually bite,” said Elmer Gray, a medical and veterinary entomologist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “In Canada and northern states like Maine and Massachusetts, they bite and leave a bloody welt.”In Africa, black flies carry a nematode that can move to the cornea of a bite victim and cause what is called river blindness. It affects 30 million people in Central and South Africa each year, Gray said. To fight the fly, a bio-control agent called Bti, or Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis, was developed. “It’s not a chemical pesticide,” he said, “so it doesn’t pollute streams or damage water quality.”Testing control formulationsBti is a strain of a soil-dwelling bacteriuim that occurs naturally. It is considered safe to people and wildlife. The World Health Organization has approved it for drinking water treatment in some countries, he said.With funding from Valent Biosciences, Gray and a team of 10 UGA students and technicians work every day, year-round to maintain the colony’s 2.7 million black flies. Keeping a healthy colony alive and thriving is an essential component of testing the Bti effectiveness in controlling the pest, he said.Housed, fed and harvestedThe researchers house the fly colony in Athens, Ga., in lobster tanks and modified salt water aquariums, a system developed at Cornell University to replicate a river habitat. The fly colony is fed soybean meal and rabbit chow. “Our flies are larger than the flies found naturally in streams because they’re fed well,” Gray said.Every Tuesday, the team harvests 18-day-old larvae to use to test Bti formulations. “Only 10 percent are used for research purposes,” he said, “but we have to keep a large population to ensure a healthy colony.”Knowing how much Bti to apply to black fly populations will enable groups like the WHO to control the flies instead of treating people for the problems they cause, he said.“Bti can be applied on a large scale using helicopters,” Gray said. “It typically costs about $25-27 a gallon in liquid form.”Just the right amountThe UGA researchers are also working on Bti quality. “The particles have to be the right size and must be stable and disperse in water to be effective,” Gray said. Flies from the UGA colony are being used by other UGA researchers and in research programs at Kansas State University, University of Alabama, Clemson University and Brock University in Canada. “We share samples with anyone we can help,” Gray said.
THE Malteenoes Sports Club will play host to the Guyana Darts Association tournament on Friday September 2. The tournament is sponsored exclusively by Trophy Stall and is scheduled to begin at 19:30hrs.The tournament is opened to all registered members of the G.D.A. and registration will commence on the day at 19:00hrs.There are two categories and will comprise a Male and Female Singles and Luck of the Draw Doubles. Prizes will be awarded to the top three performers in each category.
[This story has been updated. See below for details.]The Los Angeles Police Department has detained two suspects following a shooting that injured four people near the Ronald Tutor Campus Center at approximately 11:45 p.m. on Wednesday, according to campus authorities.A gunshot victim is loaded into an ambulance at the scene of Wednesday’s shooting. Four people sustained gunshot wounds and two suspects were later detained. Joseph Chen | Daily Trojan Only one of the four victims is in critical condition and as of approximately 2 a.m. was undergoing surgery at California Hospital Medical Center, according to LAPD. Three others were injured and immediately transported to California Hospital as well. Neither the suspects, whom LAPD identified as approximately 19-years-old, nor the victims were affiliated with USC.Classes across the university are scheduled to continue as normal Thursday. The shooting occurred about 100 yards from a Halloween costume party, “Freak or Greek,” which was held in the Ronald Tutor Campus Center’s ballroom. The event, which began at 9 p.m., was hosted by a USC student organization and LA Hype, a night life and entertainment group. The party drew a crowd of about 1,500, according to the Dept. of Public Safety.“We were waiting outside to get into the party, and we were waiting for a while — maybe 20 or 30 minutes,” said Olivia Gordon, a freshman majoring in psychology. “And all of the sudden, as soon as people started going inside, there were multiple gunshots and everyone who was in line for the party ducked and we all ran.”A confrontation occurred between two unidentified males, which led one to shoot the other, inadvertently injuring three others in the process, according to DPS Capt. David Carlisle. The intended victim was shot three to four times in the torso, according to LAPD Cmdr. Bob Green. The other three victims did not sustain life-threatening injuries.“I heard three gunshots … there might have been more than that,” said Christina Nour, a freshman majoring in civil engineering building science. “Then I ducked. It didn’t feel real. It felt like it was a movie because I really haven’t experienced anything like this before. I was running as fast as I can, trying to make sure I didn’t get trampled or tripped. I just ran as fast as I could, as far as I could.”Michael Jackson, vice president for student affairs, released a statement on the university’s website, saying DPS had been monitoring the area near the party. He also noted the importance of ensuring safety.“This incident reminds us that we must look out for ourselves and be particularly vigilant about the personal safety of friends and guests at our social events,” Jackson said.After the shooting, officers at the scene identified the shooter as well as an unidentified male who was fleeing the scene with him. Officers followed the two to Parking Lot 6 and detained them; they also retrieved the handgun used in the shooting from the ground at the lot.DPS issued a Trojan Alert at 12:02 a.m. on Thursday, asking students to take “shelter in place and avoid opening doors for unknown persons.” DPS and LAPD also immediately cordoned off the area near the shooting, including from Bovard Auditorium to Mudd Hall and from the Campus Center to the eastern edge of Hahn Plaza. The entire University Park Campus was locked down soon after.Despite the lockdown, LAPD said the event in the Campus Center continued even as the shooting and its aftermath unfolded outside.“Music continued to play, and they continued to party,” Green said.At approximately 2 a.m., DPS and LAPD opened the campus to students, faculty and staff with USC identification. The entire campus was reopened at 4:52 a.m.Asst. DPS Chief John Thomas said that the incident was not indicative of the overall level of safety in and around USC.“[USC has] a great partnership with the Los Angeles Police Department. We are one of the safest campuses in the country — we make sure that we have the necessary resources at the event, we do necessary planning and unfortunately [the shooting] happened outside,” he said. “These are individuals that unfortunately came here and decided to disrupt what otherwise would have been a very peaceful event, like all of our events on campus.”[Update #1: Victims recovering from Halloween shooting]Geno Hall, a former Crenshaw High School football star and 2009 L.A. City Football Player of the Year, was recovering from seven bullet wounds in critical but stable condition Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reported.Eugene Hall, Geno’s father, told the Times that his son was recovering from a three-hour surgery in the intensive care unit of California Hospital Medical Center. The younger Hall sustained bullet wounds to the left thigh, back of leg, buttocks and arm, according to his father.“The doc says he’ll pull through but they’re keeping him up there,” Eugene Hall told the Times.Geno Hall was the intended victim of the shooting that occurred outside the Ronald Tutor Campus Center late Wednesday night. Three others were also admitted to California Hospital with minor injuries. None of the victims or suspects were affiliated with the university, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.LAPD officials said they expect the other three victims to make a full recovery.[Update #2: President Nikias addresses Halloween shooting]In a statement posted Thursday, USC President C. L. Max Nikias addressed the shootings that occurred on campus and assured parents and students of USC’s continued safety.Nikias wrote that the individuals involved in the shooting were not affiliated with the university. USC’s policy allows student parties to be open to USC students and students from other colleges with a college ID.Nikias did, however, say that the university will review this policy in light of Wednesday’s incidents.“We are now carefully assessing and reviewing all of the university’s policies regarding visitors and events held on campus,” he wrote.He continued to say that USC is still a safe campus, calling the risk of on-campus crimes like the shooting “very low.”“I want to personally assure you that the university mobilized all its resources in responding to this incident, and worked closely with Los Angeles Police Department in ensuring our students’ safety,” Nikias wrote.Nikias also acknowledged safety concerns stemming from Wednesday’s shooting and other incidents, such as the off-campus shooting last year that killed international graduate students Ying Wu and Ming Qu.“All of us have been shaken by serious incidents this year,” Nikias wrote. “Despite these events, or indeed because of them, we must continue to support each other as members of the Trojan Family.”Joey Kaufman, Eddie Kim, Annalise Mantz, Daniel Rothberg and Yasmeen Serhan contributed to this report.
Overtaking giants like Keith Gardner and Maurice Wignall wasn’t easy, but now Hansle Parchment is the best Jamaican 110-metre hurdler of all time. Gardner and Wignall were so accomplished that Parchment had to be especially good to get past them, but his recent World Championships silver medal has completed his ascent to the top. It is a fine achievement. Coached by Fitz Coleman, Parchment has done what those notables were unable to do by winning medals at the highest level. His 2011 World University Games gold medal probably matches the Commonwealth gold medals won by Gardner, Wignall and Andrew Riley; and the Pan-American Games by Andrew Parker in 1987. He became the first Jamaican to win an Olympic medal in the 110-metre hurdles in 2012 when he surged to third. Gardner set high standards by winning at the 1958 Commonwealth Games and with a fifth place finish at the 1960 Olympics. Wignall connected the dots from Gardner to the 21st century by reaching the Olympic final in 2004, placing a close fourth. Now retired, Wignall won a World Indoor bronze in 2004 and time-warped the national record to 13.17 seconds. Wonderfully consistent, he matched Gardner’s Commonwealth win in 2006 and returned to the Olympic final in 2008 and was a three-time finalist at the World Championships. In addition, he took Richard Phillips with him to the 2008 Olympic final. Dwight ‘Bigga’ Thomas, who would lower the national record to 13.15, joined Wignall in the 2009 World Championships final. That record is now 12.94 seconds. Parchment set that mark last year to be the first Jamaican to break the magical 13-second barrier. He doesn’t yet have the repeat World Championships appearances that Wignall has. Sadly, a freak accident in the prematurely dark confines of the National Stadium East field left him injured in 2013. That caught up to him in the World Championships semi-final. That’s behind him now. A fine run earned him a silver in Beijing in this summer’s World Championships behind slick Russian Sergey Shubenkov. His national record may not last long. Twenty-one-year-old Omar McLeod beat him this year at the Jamaican National Championships with a pluperfect run of 12.97 seconds. Astute observers believe the younger man can tackle the world record of 12.80 seconds held by reigning Olympic champion Aries Merritt of the United States. Parchment may move the Jamaica record himself because he has a knack of running his best when it counts the most. The records show he set a personal best – 13.24 seconds – to win his World University Games gold; a Jamaican all-time best of 13.12 for his Olympic bronze; and a seasonal best of 13.03, the third-fastest time by a Jamaican, to take second at the recent 2015 World Championships. That’s an indicator for the future. For now, Parchment’s medals make all the difference. Simply put, the tall man from Port Morant is the best 110 hurdler Jamaica has ever produced. – HUBERT LAWRENCE has made notes at track side since 1980.