Jun 5, 2012

Florida, Nevada pubstations join to live-stream today's transit of Venus

WPBT2’s Star Gazers, in partnership with KNPB, will live-stream today's historic transit of Venus from Reno, Nev., starting at 6 p.m. Eastern. The stations, based in Miami and Reno, have previously partnered on other celestial events.

During the transit, Venus will pass directly between the Earth and the sun. This will be the last transit of Venus to occur in this lifetime.

Viewers can join the conversation here. Bill Dishong, series producer, will provide commentary, and Star Gazers host Marlene Hidalgo will answer questions from the online audience as the transit unfolds.

Paul Bartishevich, longtime radio producer, dies at 53

Radio producer Paul Bartishevich, head of Finger Lakes Productions International, died June 1 at his home in Trumansburg, N.Y., of an apparent heart attack. He was 53.

FLPI produced and distributed daily radio programming to NPR affiliates nationwide as well as more than 120 countries and territories via the Voice of America and American Forces Radio. Popular titles, which reflected Bartishevich’s interest in science, nature and technology, included Bird Watch, Nature Watch, Animal Instincts, Ocean Report, Our Ocean World, EnvironMinute and Microbeworld.

In 1998, FLPI founded and launched the Radio Voyager Network (RVN), which became the first English-language commercial radio network to broadcast throughout Europe. In 2010, it launched, to “educate citizens, young and old, about the importance of science and environmental research and discovery.”

Bartishevich was also known for mentoring young people. Each of his interns was given a copy of Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich, an inspirational business text. He also served as a guest lecturer at Cornell University and Ithaca College.

He was born in Lyons, N.Y., the son of Charles and Ruth (Austin) Bartishevich. He began his “lifelong love affair with broadcast radio at Lyons High School,” his obituary in the Ithaca Journal said, “where he learned to modulate a sonorous authoritative presence behind the microphone reciting the school's morning announcements.” He married Karen Youngs, his high school sweetheart, in 1984; she survives him.

Also surviving are four children, Benn, Jay, Alec, and Anna Bartishevich; his mother, Ruth Bartishevich; brother, Sergei (Paula) Bartishevich; sister, Lynne (Loren) Maslyn; five nieces and nephews and numerous cousins.

He was preceded in death by his father and brother, Richard Bartishevich.

A memorial service begins at 1 p.m. Thursday (June 7) at the First Presbyterian Church of Ulysses, 69 E. Main St., Trumansburg, with burial following in Grove Cemetery. The family suggests memorial donations to the American Red Cross, 201 West Clinton St., Ithaca, N.Y., 14850 or the American Cancer Society, 13 Beech St., Johnson City, N.Y., 13790.

U.S. terminates support of $20 million Pakistani "Sesame Street" project

Following reports of corruption, the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan has terminated $20 million in funding for to develop a Pakistani version of Sesame Street, according to the Associated Press, citing a report in Pakistan Today.

The USAID money was funding the Rafi Peer Theater Workshop, a local group working on the program with Sesame Workshop. Embassy spokesman Robert Raines confirmed that the funding was terminated but declined to provide details.

Pakistan Today, citing unnamed sources close to the project, said "lack of proper planning, mismanagement and financial irregularities have all been rampant throughout the project, leading to an initial delay of a year and a half and finally the suspension of aid."

Rafi Peer has denied the allegations, and said the U.S. government ended its participation after providing $10 million due to lack of funds.

UPDATE: Sesame Workshop provided this statement to Current.

“Sesame Workshop was surprised and dismayed to learn about the serious allegations made against Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop. Beyond what we have read in the press, we do not know the specific details of these allegations. We trust that the facts will be fairly and fully assessed, and we will wait for the full report.  It is our hope that the achievements of Sim Sim Hamara, and the gains we have made in the lives of children in Pakistan, will carry on. 

"When Rafi Peer was selected by USAID in 2010 to work on Sim Sim Hamara, a multi-platform children’s educational media program, Sesame Workshop was selected independently by USAID as one of the sub-award recipients on the project. We are grateful for USAID’s initial investment which has allowed Sesame Workshop to provide its expertise in children’s media to help Rafi Peer reach three million children, many of whom otherwise would not have access to any early childhood education.

"Sesame Workshop will continue to work to improve the lives and futures of children in Pakistan and elsewhere around the world.”