Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York More than a dozen rare sightings of venomous Portuguese Man-O-War on Long Island beaches have surfaced since the jellyfish-like creature stung two boys on Fire Island this week, officials and eyewitnesses said.At least 18 have been spotted from Jones Beach State Park to Montauk and many ocean beaches in between. That number may rise this weekend when beachgoers flock to the shore in what is forecast as the first fully rain-free weekend of summer.“Beachgoers should be vigilant,” said John Stewart, chief law enforcement ranger of the Fire Island National Seashore (FINS). “If visitors observe a Portuguese Man O’ War…they should alert lifeguards, park rangers or law enforcement officers.”Aside from the two man-o-wars that stung two children Tuesday in Kismet and Davis Park, FINS officials said one was also spotted in Fire Island Pines and four more were found in Sailor’s Haven. Lifeguards buried those in the sand.New York State parks officials confirmed that two more were found in Montauk area state parks, one was found at Robert Moses State Park and one was found at Jones Beach on Thursday, a day after FINS officials said a visitor three more at Jones Beach.The Long Island Coastal Conservation Research Alliance (LICCRA), a nonprofit environmental group, confirmed some of those sighting and said another was found at Tiana Beach in Hampton Bays.And a reader who emailed the Press with a photo of a man-o-war she said that she found on the beach in Bridgehampton on Thursday added that she also saw two more on the beach in Wainscott.“If you do see them in the water you do want to give them a really wide birth,” says Joe Yaiullo, curator/co-founder of Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead. “They’re pretty much going to go wherever the wind or currents take them.”RELATED STORY: 6 Hazards to Beware of at Long Island Beaches This SummerPortuguese Man-O-War sightings in local waters are unusual since they are usually found in warmer waters in the Caribbean, Pacific and Indian oceans. The last reports of Portuguese Man-O-War washing ashore on Long Island was two years ago in the Hamptons.The creatures are technically a floating colony of organisms that form a pink or purple gas-filled pouch that sails on the surface of the water with numerous tentacles that can grow up to 30-feet or longer, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).Aside from an intense, painful sting, contact with its tentacles can also result in welting and blistering, NOAA said. In rare cases, its sting has reportedly proven deadly.If stung, swimmers should rinse the affected area with salt water and vinegar, FINS and Suffolk County health officials said. If a severe reaction occurs, seek immediate medical attention.“Running hot water, as hot as you can take it for 10 or 15 minutes, that will break down a lot of the toxins,” Yaiullo said, adding that he’s heard “mixed results” about using vinegar. “When you look at some of these people who’ve been stung, it almost looks like they’ve been whipped.Yaiullo and LICCRA warned that the man-o-war can still inflict their painful sting even after they’re dead.–With Timothy Bolger
Switzerland County, In. — The former principal of South Ripley High School Rod Hite has been introduced as the new superintendent of the Switzerland County School Corporation.Hite is a 1993 graduate of Switzerland County High School. In 2014 he was named the “Middle School Principal of the Year” for his service at the South Ripley Junior High School. “When I came to South Ripley, they were a ‘D’,” Rod Hite said of the state’s grading system for schools. “We were able to get that to an ‘A’, Four Star School with above 50-percent free and reduced and almost 20-percent special education population. When the results come out again this May, they should be a three-time Four Star School in Indiana, which is being in the top 25-percentile in every category. We’re pretty proud of that.” Hite has held positions in the North Decatur School District and the Richland Beanblossom School Corporation as well.
For several months, students and faculty from USC Games, the joint video game design program facilitated by the Viterbi School of Engineering and the School of Cinematic Arts, have been working to create video games to exhibit at the third annual USC Games Expo May 12. Recognized as the world’s largest university-sponsored gaming and esports show, the Expo brings together students, faculty and industry professionals to check out the latest developments in gaming. “I’m actually really happy because that means the people on my team get a way to showcase their work still,” Xu said. “My goal was to make a good game as a byproduct and make sure “I feel like the reason why my project’s still been going smoothly is because of everyone’s individual accountability — showing up to the meetings and the Zoom calls and just holding themselves responsible,” Xu said. “[We reacted] very quietly and somberly,” Huntley said. “As things were evolving on the pandemic in other parts of the world, we were talking to each other, going, ‘OK, we have to [make a] parallel path, we have to plan for both the physical Expo, and there might be an online Expo, and it might be a combination of both.’” Even with the online adjustment, the major elements of the Expo will remain the same. Namely, the event will feature more than 90 exhibitions displaying tabletop, mobile, PC and console games. USC Games will sponsor this year’s Expo alongside Jam City Games, a Los Angeles-based video game development company. Unlike previous years, the 2020 Expo will not be held on the University Park Campus due to the coronavirus pandemic. Before California issued its stay-at-home order, event organizers decided to shift the event online and stream it on various platforms, such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitch. Jim Huntley, an adjunct assistant professor of SCA’s Interactive Media & Games Division who helped organize the event, said they began planning the Expo in February but made plans for an online switch if the situation with the coronavirus worsened. One of the major focuses of this year’s Expo will be the games created by students participating in the Advanced Games Program, the capstone class that brings them together to work on the production of a major game. Overseen by Viterbi and SCA, AGP gives students the opportunity to use their skills in composition, programming and design to make a game for exhibition. Last year’s USC Game Expo was held at the School of Cinematic Arts and hosted students and faculty to showcase gaming developments. Although held online this year amid the coronavirus pandemic, the event looks to expand his audience by streaming on various platforms including Twitch, Youtube and Facebook. (Photo courtesy of Jim Huntley) The coronavirus outbreak resulted in Xu and her team finishing the game remotely, in three different time zones. In fact, one of the external artists on the team worked directly from Taiwan. Despite this, they managed to collaborate online and completed beta testing April 23. Twelve AGP games will be featured at the 2020 USC Games Expo, including “ShortStacked,” a PC game that follows the adventures of two children disguising themselves as an adult using a trench coat to carry out shenanigans such as watching R-rated movies. Christie Xu, a senior majoring in computer science (games), said although she was unsure of the transition of an in-person Expo to a digital event, she looks forward to presenting her team’s work to fellow students, faculty and the average livestream viewer. Because the team’s final product is a physical board game, Spiridonov said the switch from an in-person event to an online one required them to make changes to their game presentation such as switching from interactive play to gameplay footage for the stream. With the game centered around player interaction, Spiridonov and his team planned to have a table and chair set up where people could walk by and play during the original Expo. With the transition to an online event, they made the necessary adjustments to the game’s presentation. Bilson said although the gaming industry has to adjust, it can easily transition because of its digital nature. As people look to video games for recreation and an escape from present uncertainty and isolation, Huntley sees gaming gaining more legitimacy as an art form due to a lack of other events, such as sports. “What we’ve always known is that everything we’re doing for this is what we wanted to do for phase two of our Expo anyway, which is to get it beyond our walls,” Bilson said. “Hopefully by the time we’re back on campus, we’ll be able to literally share, broadcast in interactive ways through all these streams out from USC physically because we’ll have learned it and tuned it through these socially distanced times.” “We’re getting a lot of people who are willing to help out because they all see how important this is to the program and how important it is to the students,” Huntley said. “It’s been very uplifting seeing the support from [the entertainment industry] and everybody else.” “I think the video game industry is going to be more important than it’s ever been in the next few years for its ability to connect people who are separated through play,” Bilson said. “So I think you’re going to see a little bit of a flourishing of creativity around connected games and ways to play and communicate and be together when we can’t.” “All we have to show is the gameplay video in the trailer, and then some b-roll video, which is just [an] uncut version of gameplay video,” he said. “So we’ll show that off to whoever wants to see or not. Yeah, it’s not the best, obviously. But it’s the right thing to do, to move [the Expo] online.” that everyone had a good experience … and making people smile at [the] Expo.” “I’m looking forward to seeing the content go live and the viewers and the fans and the students’ reactions to seeing it,” Huntley said. “I’m feeling really excited and positive about seeing everything on the screen come together … because we’ve never done it before.” Tournaments and video game presentations still make up a large part of the scheduled Expo. However, Huntley and Bilson said the virtual event would be promoted differently with the help of celebrities and volunteers. The list of these individuals will be announced in an upcoming press release. The USC Games Expo will also hold a scheduled esports tournament, which comprises matches from various universities across Southern California competing in games such as Overwatch, Hearthstone, Super Smash Bros and Rocket League. Even with the decision to transition the Expo to a virtual format, Danny Bilson, chair of the Interactive Media & Games Division and director of USC Games, said he and the other organizers looked to branch out beyond their campus audience to a general audience with a passion for video games. Organizers of the event originally thought of the possibility of streaming the actual in-person event, and the shift to complete virtual mode gave them the opportunity to experiment with this. Colin Spiridonov, a freshman majoring in computer science (games), will present his team’s game called “Ghosted: Battle Royale,” a physical card game that adds a competitive feature and implements a theme of high school popularity. Spiridonov and his team completed the game in Fall 2019.
With ‘burden’ of secrecy lifted, USA’s Ali Krieger, Ashlyn Harris ready for unlikely World Cup experience together
But the reward for that struggle has become clear: a World Cup experience together that so few couples will ever get to share.“It feels so good and it feels so light,” Harris said. 🔗A post shared by ashlynharris24 (@ashlynharris24) on May 20, 2019 at 7:54am PDTLess than a month later, that unlikely call from Ellis did come for Krieger.After two years away from the team, Krieger was back with the U.S. one month ahead of the World Cup roster being named. Plucked out of the wilderness, Krieger all of a sudden had a real chance to impress in the team’s final games before the squad for France was named.Krieger took that chance, earning a World Cup roster spot that would have seemed nearly impossible only a couple of months prior.“She absolutely deserves to be here,” Harris said. “This isn’t a gift for her. This isn’t, ‘Oh because she’s a veteran player.’“She deserves to be here, she’s an unbelievable teammate and person and fiance and all these great things, and that’s just a testament to the person she is and the strength that she carries.”Krieger’s spot on the roster means as much, if not more to Harris, who was there with her every step of the way as she continued to cling on to some shred of hope.“I know a lot of people didn’t get to see how hard it was for her – you can only imagine,” Harris said.“I think the last two years have probably been the hardest time in her life, and, quite frankly, mine.” View this post on Instagram At the U.S. women’s national team media day last month, Megan Rapinoe was asked if her girlfriend, pro basketball player Sue Bird, would be joining her at the World Cup in France.Carli Lloyd was also quizzed about her husband’s attendance, and several other USWNT players were asked the same question about their significant others making the trip to Europe. There were a range of answers. Rapinoe said Bird might be able to join for the latter stages. Lloyd was unsure if her husband would make it. Their other halves, of course, all have their own lives in the U.S., with their own commitments to meet.For two USWNT players though, the answer was much less murky. Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris and defender Ali Krieger, who went public with their relationship in March and announced their engagement, will be there together every step of the way.“This is such a cool journey and we’re really taking it in to be able to say we’re doing this together,” Harris, the team’s backup goalkeeper, said.Harris spoke with a carefree nature, reiterating several times how happy she and her fiance were. When examining the pair’s journey over the past several months, it’s easy to see why Harris felt so upbeat.Just three months ago, the relationship between Harris and Krieger was still an open secret. While the pair kept their status hidden from public view, Krieger struggled with an unfathomable exile from the USWNT that was nearing two years.“I’d be so emotional and so tough at times to be around because I was so angry at times and just really struggling,” Krieger admitted.All the while though, the team’s starting right back at the 2015 World Cup continued to work out daily, hoping that an increasingly unlikely call from U.S. head coach Jill Ellis would come.“What people don’t realize is when she was left off roster after roster after roster, she still woke up at 8 a.m. with me to grind and to push herself,” Harris said.“She had no light at the end of the tunnel, because nothing was guaranteed for her.”In March, things began to change for the couple.Krieger and Harris, who are also teammates at the club level with the Orlando Pride, went public with their relationship and announced their engagement in an article in People magazine. Katharine Lotze https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/GOAL/ed/d0/ali-krieger-uswnt_1r0t771jlolgl1f4pwe4zx5mu7.jpg?t=-22425431&w=500&quality=80 “For so long we felt this burden and it was so heavy because we couldn’t tell people. Now that it’s out there and it’s open we can just genuinely be ourselves and be the best version of ourselves for our teammates and for our family and for each other.”Krieger, 34 and Harris, 33, will try to soak up every moment together over their upcoming journey, knowing that this World Cup will likely be a once-in-a-lifetime event for them.“It’s really good for us to share this,” Krieger said, “because I’m pretty sure this is our last big tournament together.”