The Last Waltz officially ended The Band’s career in November of 1976, though the performance would ultimately spark the musical flames of an entire subsequent generation. There is perhaps no greater evidence of that than the recently announced The Last Waltz 40 tour, which began in Florida last night as a celebration of the show’s 40th anniversary.Granted, it’s technically been 41 years since the show was played, but when you recruit musicians like Warren Haynes, Don Was, Michael McDonald, Terence Higgins, Jamey Johnson and more or the occasion, any time all of their schedules are clear is an appropriate time to honor The Band. And honor they did, pulling out all the punches for hours upon hours of great music.Opening night took place at the Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, FL, featuring the unmistakeable songs that propelled The Band into the spotlight, like “Cripple Creek,” “The Shape I’m In” and countless more. Fortunately, there are a number of fan shot videos of the performance to capture the essence of the night.“Up On Cripple Creek”“The Shape I’m In”“Stagefright”“Life Is A Carnival”“It Makes No Difference”“Way Down South In New Orleans”The Last Waltz 40th tour continues throughout the end of January into February. See the tour schedule below.January 23 – Clearwater, FL @ Ruth Eckerd HallJanuary 24 – Atlanta, GA @ Woodruff Arts CenterJanuary 25 – Nashville, TN @ Ryman AuditoriumJanuary 27 – Red Bank, NJ @ Count Basie Theatre (Jamey Johnson not scheduled to appear)January 28 – Boston, MA @ Orpheum Theatre (Jamey Johnson not scheduled to appear)January 29 – Philadelphia, PA @ Verizon Hall/Kimmel CenterJanuary 31 – Toronto Canada @ Sony CentreFebruary 2 – Albany, NY @ Palace TheatreFebruary 3 – Westbury, NY @ Theatre at WestburyFebruary 4 – Washington DC @ The Theater at MGM National Harbor
By Brad HaireUniversity of GeorgiaJapanese climbing fern climbs plants and chokes them. Cogongrass forms a toxic mat. And they’re just two of many foreign plant invaders that threaten Georgia’s forests and natural areas.Cogongrass grows thick foliage about 4 feet high, said Chris Evans, an invasive species and natural resource specialist with the University of Georgia Bugwood Network.The Bugwood Network is a Web-based system used to collect, promote and distribute educational materials in entomology, forestry and natural resources. Forming thick clumps and releasing toxins that smother all other plants, cogongrass can hurt natural wildlife and forestry production. “It’s considered one of the worst weeds in the world,” Evans said.It’s already infested several southwest Georgia counties, including a 20-acre site in Mitchell County. It has caused major problems for some pastures and forests in Mississippi and Florida. “We want to find and suppress it before it becomes a problem in Georgia,” he said.The light fluffy seeds of cogongrass are easily carried by wind. They also catch rides on vehicles. As a result, the plant fills many roadside ditches in Mississippi, he said.A native of southeast Asia, it was introduced into the Gulf states early last century as packing for cargo shipments. Others later tried it for livestock forage and erosion control.Japanese climbing fern grows quickly over small trees and shrubs, shades them out and kills them, Evans said. It grows up taller trees, too, where it becomes an easy path for fire to reach treetops.”Just in the past year,” he said, “we’re seeing more of it in pine stands in Georgia and natural areas.”The Asian and Australian native has made it hard for some south Georgia pine straw farmers to rake their straw, which they bundle and sell as landscape mulch, he said. Alabama and Florida officials regulate pine straw that enters their states for this fern.The plant was introduced into the United States in the 1930s as an ornamental. It grows as fast as kudzu. If left unchecked, kudzu can quickly take over a local area. But the Japanese climbing fern can spread faster over greater distances, he said.It takes time for some invasive species to become problems, he said. A population may be slow to establish. But once it does, it can explode.Invasive plant species like the Japanese climbing fern and cogongrass may have been introduced decades ago, Evans said, but they could now have the foothold they need to cause ecological and economic damage.Exotic invasive plants are found in almost every state. Georgia has about 20 major ones, he said.Many people think some common plants in Georgia are native species, he said, but they’re exotic and potentially invasive plants.Privet, for instance, is a small bush usually found growing under trees. It has white flowers and purple berries and can outcompete native shrubs.Wisteria is a popular landscape plant that sometimes escapes to become wild and unchecked in wooded areas. Its showy purple blooms can be seen growing on trees along some Georgia roadways in spring.The Georgia Exotic Pest Plant Council and the Bugwood Network are sponsoring the Invasive Plant Control Workshop April 13 at the UGA Rural Development Center in Tifton, Ga.Participants will learn how to identify exotic, invasive plant species, find out what measures are being taken to control them and how they can help. For more information, call (229) 386-3416. Or go to the Web site (www.ugatiftonconference.org).
The University of Guyana has confirmed that its second Diaspora Conference, which was rescheduled in 2019, is now set for May 28 to June 1, 2020.The theme will be “Investing in Guyana’s emerging business, Indigenous, women and youth leaders”. This theme has been chosen in recognition of the need for all Guyanese at home and abroad to work together with inclusion, tolerance and cooperation for national and regional growth and development.The University of Guyana remains committed to Diaspora engagement and facilitating a positive enabling environment and discussion on ways in which Guyanese can best work together to accomplish joint goals towards creating prosperity for all our people.The conference will feature a mixture of academic and non-academic experiences and will host a number of panels, forums, roundtables and multimedia presentations on key thematic areas.To meet the challenge of Diaspora engagement, and to ensure the strategic integrity and sustainability of the University’s Diaspora project, the University of Guyana has appointed Dr Mellissa Ifill, Lecturer in History at the University of Guyana, and Dr Wazir Mohamed, a member of the Diaspora and Associate Professor of Sociology at Indiana University East, as Co-Chairs of the second University of Guyana Diaspora Engagement Conference.In addition, the following key individuals from UG and the Diaspora along with others still to be named will play key roles in the planning process for the conference: Gillian Williams (Toronto), Chet Bolling (Moscow), Lear Matthews (New York), Brandon Cheong (Toronto), Adeti DeJesus (Guyana), Mellissa Bess (UG), Arlene McLean (UG), Denise Braam (UG) and Leisa Somrah (UG).The University’s Transition Management Committee (TMC) will maintain oversight of the project. The TMC wishes to thank the new conference Coordinating Team for their sterling work over the last few months in ensuring an excellent event for 2020.The University of Guyana also specifically values and welcomes the support from the Diaspora, State and non-State actors, Government, the Private Sector, civil society, the public at home and abroad, and all stakeholders as it builds out the project of Diaspora engagement.Since it is a well-documented fact that Diaspora engagement is one of the major building blocks for national development, submissions and registrations will be accepted from January 30, 2020, at the University of Guyana’s Conferences website www.uog.edu/conference and also on the Diaspora Conferences dedicated website https://diaspora-entrepreneurship.uog.edu.gy or email: [email protected] or call: 592-222-3583.