All photos c. Jean Luc ArmandSpanning three generations of the Lapierre family, Lapierre Bicycles has come a long way since their humble beginnings in 1946. Started by Gaston Lapierre more than half a century ago, the company now has bikes and race teams for anything from DH to Pro Tour Road cycling. Going on their 14th year partnering with the FDJ Pro Race team, Lapierre continues to develop new race bikes for the roads of epic races like the Tour de France.First spinning their legs with the prototype LP 0.9C at the 2002 Tour, the latest additions to the Lapierre road line up have greatly evolved. Building on their Aircode aero road and Xelius race bikes, the new Aircode SL cuts weight while the Xelius SL gets an entirely new frame that makes it lighter and more comfortable as well…Lapierre Aircode SLJust introduced last year, Lapierrer was very happy with its debut – especially the ride by Thibaut Pinot who piloted the bike to a third place finish in the Tour. Not ones to rest on their success, Lapierre’s engineers apparently thought the aero road bike could be mad lighter without sacrificing performance. As a result of a new carbon layup with fewer plies in the seat tube and head tube, the frame is 90g lighter while the fork loses an additional 20g.The Aircode SL still keeps the same Kamm-tail design for aerodynamics, Lapierre’s Power Box carbon construction, and a blend of 24, 30, and 40T carbon to provide the same level of stiffness and wind cheating abilities. Using the same geometry of the Xelius EFI with an additional large size, the Aircode SL will be sold in the top of the line SL700(top), the SL600 FDJ(above), and the SL500.Built with an entirely new frame, the Xelius SL is meant to be a light weight, all purpose race machine. With all of the tubes optimized for the lightest weight, the frame also makes use of a seat stay design that bypasses the seat tube to instead connect to the top tube. The resulting seat tube cluster which seems extremely similar to Volagi’s patented LBFS (Long Bow Flex Stay) design supposedly reduces the weight of the frame while adding additional compliance. Also utilizing the Lapierre Power Box carbon methodology, the lower half of the bike is built to be extremely efficient while the upper half is built to be compliant. Other frame changes include an improved location for the Di2 battery in the downtube for a lower center of gravity, and shorter 405mm chainstays.Again offered in the SL700, SL600 FDJ, and SL500, the SL700 is shown above.Lapierre Pulsium 700Lapierre Pulsium FDJAlso introduced last year, Lapierre continues with their Pulsium frame which is destined for the cobbles. Using their SAT (Shock Absorption Technology) which places an elastomer ring between the top tube and the seat tube as well as specific carbon layups, the Pulsium is Lapierre’s answer to the rebirth of road “softtail” designs.Created with endurance geometry, clearance for 32mm tires, and a fork designed to smooth out the ride in tandem with the seat stays, the Pulsium is built to go fast over the bumps. Sold in three standard models including the 700 and FDJ models shown above, there are also two models in Lapierre’s Ultimate Custom Program, all with compact 11-speed Shimano drivetrains, Shimano brakes, Mavic or Shimano wheels, a Zipp cockpit, and Fizik saddles. For pricing and availability check with your local Lapierre dealer.lapierrebicycles.com
by Andrew Stein June 23, 2013 vtdigger.org Former Massachusetts Republican Sen. Scott Brown delivered one salient message to the Vermont GOP on Friday night: ‘Have tolerance for other people in the party.’If factions continue to divide the Republican Party, he said, candidates will not be successful in Vermont or anywhere else in the country.Former Republican Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown addresses Vermont GOP officials on Friday. Photo by Andrew SteinBrown, in more ways than one, fit the bill for the keynote speaker slot at the Vermont GOP’s spring fundraiser. Although he lost to Democrat Elizabeth Warren in 2012, Brown was the first Republican elected to the US Senate from Massachusetts since Edward Brooke won in 1972. The moderate Republican won the seat, which belonged to liberal Democratic Sen Ted Kennedy, in a 2010 special election after Kennedy died of a brain tumor.In a liberal state much like Vermont, Brown found a way to win ‘if only for a short time. Brown says he still has political ambitions, and he is keeping an eye on Washington while he works as a commentator on Fox News and travels the country delivering speeches and promoting his 2011 book, ‘Against All Odds.’Brown’s call for GOP unity in Vermont is timely. Republicans here have been fighting over the future of the party, which in 2012 only held onto one statewide seat and lost more ground in the state Legislature where a ‘super majority’of Democrats continues to dominate. In April, the Vermont Press Bureau’s Peter Hirschfeld highlighted the rift between the ideological chair of the Vermont GOP, Jack Lindley, and moderate Lt. Gov. Phil Scott who is pushing for more centrist positions on issues.Scott said he and Brown are on the same page.‘I’ve always thought we can disagree with each other, but we need to treat each other with respect and learn how to compromise and agree on what we stand for,’Scott said.Lindley, who dug in his heels earlier this year, seems to have softened his hardline conservative stance. ‘His message is real,’Lindley said. ‘It’s part of what all Republicans are attempting to follow at this point in time.’Still no one on Friday, not even Brown, had a fix-all solution to the Republican’s fundamental problem: attracting enough liberal to moderate Vermonters and residents of Massachusetts to the party in order to gain a better political foothold.The $125-a-head private reception at the Rutland Holiday Inn began with veggies, dip and libations. After small talk and speculations about who might run for governor, the party of nearly 50 moved into the dining room for dinner and Brown’s speech.Lindley led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance and grace before well-wishers broke into a chorus of ‘Happy Birthdays’for former Gov. Jim Douglas, who turned 61 on Friday.At a front and center table, Scott gave Brown a stock car racing lesson. Nearby, Sen. Kevin Mullin, R-Rutland, lobbied his peers to persuade Douglas to run for election in 2014.‘He oozes honesty and integrity,’Mullin said of Douglas, as he leisurely sipped on a gin and tonic.Noticeably absent from the fundraiser were the three Republican candidates who ran for statewide office in 2012 and lost: Wendy Wilton, who ran for treasurer; Vince Illuzzi, who ran for auditor; and Randy Brock, who ran for governor.After the Caesar salads and chicken cordon bleus were devoured, and the plates were cleared, Brown took to the stage.‘Here’s the problem with our party,’he began. ‘We’re fighting against each other.’From Vermont all the way down to Southern states, Brown said, this is a problem. The issue was made apparent to him when he was a keynote speaker at the Republican convention in North Carolina.‘The message is the same,’he said. ‘We have tea party members, fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, moderates and liberals, and we fight against each other, and we give the other side the ability to use that to tear us apart, to divide and conquer us.’These factions of the GOP need to put differences aside for the betterment of the party, he said. Party infighting, Brown continued, is what likely cost him the election in Massachusetts.‘What I didn’t expect was the social conservatives and the tea party members to do and say things so that I had to battle on the left and the right,’he said. ‘Here I am, a sitting U.S. senator in a state with 11 percent Republican enrollment, and I’m battling with the left â ¦ and I’m also battling my flank.’Brown told the Vermont Republicans to hang in there and pull together.‘Don’t give up. I know it’s frustrating,’he said. ‘You’re fighting. You’re doing God’s work.’He then shifted to talking about the state of Vermont’s regulatory climate and its difficulty attracting young, highly skilled workers.‘You have to be competitive on a global basis in order to grow and expand and create jobs, and you’re not going to create jobs by tax and regulatory uncertainty that build barriers to businesses wanting to come to this beautiful part of this country,’he said. ‘It is breathtaking. But the young people aren’t staying; they’re leaving.’Vermont, he said, needs better tax breaks and regulatory relief for businesses.‘That’s your challenge when you run for governor is to make sure that happens,’Brown said, speaking directly to Phil Scott from the pulpit.Who would run for governor on the Republican ticket?Is Scott interested in running for governor?‘No, not at this point in time,’he said. ‘I’m happy being lieutenant governor, and I think I’m effective in that position.’What about in the long run?‘This hasn’t been a lifelong ambition or dream of mine to be in political life,’he said. ‘My lifelong dream was to race cars at Daytona. That didn’t happen, but I got close to it, and that’s my passion. But I’ve found later in life that I have something to offer from a political standpoint.’On Friday, the most frequently mentioned favorite potential 2014 gubernatorial candidate was Douglas.Former Gov. Jim Douglas made an appearance at a Vermont GOP event on Friday. Photo by Andrew Stein‘We need someone who can win. He can win,’Mullin said. ‘I’m encouraging everyone I know to ask Jim Douglas to run. There are some other people who would be strong candidates, but I just think Jim Douglas is the candidate.’Rep. Tom Terenzini, R-Rutland, seconded that motion.‘It would be a wonderful thing if Jim Douglas did run,’he said. ‘He was an inspiration as governor.’But Douglas and his wife, Dorothy, say that won’t happen.‘He’s done that, and it’s time to move on at a slower pace,’Dorothy said.‘That’s the definitive word,’Douglas chimed. ‘If I run for office, it will be re-election as town moderator in Middlebury. That’s it.’Rep. Lawrence Cupoli, R-Rutland, said he asked Douglas to run earlier in the evening. He also said Randy Brock would have made a good governor, but ‘his campaign never got going.’‘There was no spark,’Cupoli said. ‘Randy is a very articulate, well-educated guy, who would have been a good governor â ¦ I don’t see Randy these days. I have not seen Randy at all.’Other prominent Republican names, like the Snelling Center’s Mark Snelling, swirled around the room as possible candidates come 2014, but nothing was definite.‘I think there are a lot of Republicans that are sitting on the sidelines now, waiting for someone to come forward with great leadership skills to bring us back to where we were,’Terenzini said.Lindley is confident that the GOP will field a strong candidate against Gov. Peter Shumlin in 2014, and he says the governor is ripe for another run.‘He [Shumlin] has a personality that does not lend itself to what I would call appropriate leadership of a governor,’Lindley said. ‘He is self-destructing, and we are all sitting and watching it.’
by Anne Galloway vtdigger.org Lawmakers got right to work on opening day of the second half of the biennium. Within an hour of the first gavel fall, senators and representatives were in committee. There they began the work of legislating ‘ of evaluating statutory changes, assessing the effectiveness of programs and listening to the conflicting points of view of state officials, constituents, advocates and lobbyists.By the end of the day, several committees had already voted on draft legislation. A bill to allow child-care workers to unionize passed unanimously out of the Senate Education Committee. A Senate and House conference committee voted out a campaign finance bill that will lift the ceiling on contributions to political parties to $10,000 and allow parties to make contributions in unlimited amounts to candidates.The Vermont Speaker of the House, Shap Smith of Lamoille County, before the start of the 2014 legislative session. Photo by Roger CrowleyOver the course of the next 16 weeks, Vermont’s citizen lawmakers who hail from every corner of the state, will debate and vote on scores of bills addressing issues small and large that affect Vermonters. Everything from whether Burlington can include restrictions on guns in its city charter to regulating police use of Tasers to creating a statewide school calendar. Climate change, an issue that was front and center last year with the appearance of activist Bill McKibben at the Statehouse, doesn’t appear to be a priority. (Rep. Tony Klein urged his colleagues to consider climate change, ‘the most serious problem facing the planet,’ as a factor in every decision they make.)At the top of the list are the state’s annual appropriations for government operations, transportation and capital expenditures. The money issues are the pivot around which all the other legislation takes shape. Without money, it’s hard to pay the state’s bills, let alone launch ambitious programs. And this year will be unusually tight. The difference between the state’s revenues and expenditures is about $70 million this year. Though there have been similar sized gaps in each of the last six years, this year federal and other funds that were previously available have dried up.Click below to listen to Senate President Pro Tem John Campbell’s address.The new mantra in the House and Senate Appropriations committees is ‘results-based budgeting,’ which is shorthand for building more efficiency into state agency budgets. Shumlin has promised to hold the line on new broad-based taxes to support existing government programs, and belt-tightening will likely be part of the equation in the governor’s budget address next week.In an interview, John Campbell, Senate president pro tem, explained how lawmakers will close the gap.‘The priority, of course, is the budget. And what the key is, for me, is to try to balance the budget without raising any revenue. And people say, ‘Well how do you do that?’‘ Campbell said. ‘So, again, you always go back to see how programs are working, whether there are certain costs that are being incurred by certain departments or agencies that may be superfluous or their not getting the result we had intended when we first started the program.’Senate President Pro Tem John Campbell of Windsor County addresses the members on opening day. Photo by Roger CrowleyThe Shumlin administration and the Democratic leadership, which holds a supermajority in the House and Senate, however, will need an infusion of cash or a diversion of resources to address the governor’s top priority this year ‘ addressing the thorny issues of poverty and ‘opiate addiction epidemic.’ Lake Champlain cleanup will also be costly for the state; towns may have to raise taxes to prevent pollution runoff from roads and sewage treatment centers.Money will also dominate the health care reform debate. Gov. Peter Shumlin’s ambitious plans to make Act 48, the state’s universal health care framework, a reality in 2017 will require the Legislature to begin ‘groundtruthing’ (as Sen. Claire Ayer puts it) whether the state can afford to move ahead with the first-in-the-nation ‘single-payer’ medical insurance system.Shumlin made a rare appearance before the House Health Care and Senate Health and Welfare committees to announce that his administration will hire an outside group to analyze the bumpy health care exchange rollout in Vermont. In addition, Lawrence Miller, the secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, will lend his expertise as an entrepreneur to the Vermont Health Connect team, which has struggled with the insurance enrollment technology for the exchange website.Education spending and funding pressures are building and lawmakers will begin to consider whether to recalibrate the property tax system this year, but it’s unlikely that any major changes to the property tax ‘ or income and sales systems ‘ will be made. 2014 is an election year, and the governor has asked lawmakers to hold off on proposals so that his administration has the political elbow room to develop a tax mechanism for universal health care.Marshaling agreement on the wide variety of contentious issues that will come before the House and the Senate will be no small task. House Speaker Shap Smith who is renowned for his disciplined leadership reminded the 150 lawmakers in the House that no matter what party they are affiliated with, they are unified by the same goals for their constituents and for Vermont as a whole ‘ they merely differ on how to get there.‘We want a healthy economy with good jobs,’ Smith said. ‘We want to make sure that our friends and neighbors have the tools necessary to unlock their individual potential.’ And we want strong, lively, vibrant communities that are safe for our kids and for our neighbors.’‘We don’t always share the same views on how to achieve those goals,’ Smith continued. ‘And that’s good.’ That’s okay.’ Because democracy is about the free exchange of ideas. If we were all a big monolith moving in one direction, we would not serve the constituents and the citizens of this great state as effectively as we do.’VTDigger legislative previewsHealth careEducationLabor issuesEnvironmentEnergyBusiness and financeOpiate bill‘
Vermont Business Magazine As spring approaches, maple producers throughout northern Vermont and New Hampshire are collecting sap and producing some of the world’s finest maple syrup. During this exciting period, a national campaign focused on maple producers in Vermont and northern New Hampshire has been under way to raise awareness of maple as a health-conscious alternative to artificial sweeteners. Part of the campaign includes a free online recipe book of locally sourced maple-based recipes.2015 Slopeside Syrup (photo VAAFM)There is great potential for the region’s maple producers, as only 10 states are capable of producing authentic maple syrup. Currently, less than 5 percent of all maple trees in Vermont and New Hampshire are tapped for sap, leaving significant potential for growth as demand for pure maple products continues to rise. In recognition of this opportunity, Northern Community Investment Corporation initiated collaboration among the region’s maple producers thanks to funding from a Rural Community Development Initiative Grant awarded to Northern Forest Center by USDA Rural Development.Several internal focus groups were conducted to identify past efforts, along with future needs and desires within the industry. Research was also executed through social media to survey the public’s knowledge of maple syrup and their awareness of the differences between authentic syrup and other artificial sweeteners. A marketing plan was then developed to efficiently promote the maple products from the region.Thanks to growing recognition of the benefits of eating natural foods, opportunities were identified in promoting convenient avenues for consumers to utilize pure maple syrup. Recipes were collected from the region’s maple producers to produce a free online recipe book. The book consists of 18 simple maple-based recipes ranging from beverages to dinner entrees. The book is currently available for download by visiting nhvtmaple.com(link is external).Other advertising will promote maple weekends that are held in Vermont on April 2nd and 3rd and New Hampshire on March 19th and 20th (NH will host Maple Month from March 12th through April 2nd). On these weekends sugar makers from each state open their doors inviting the public to share in the centuries-old craft of maple sugaring. Guests can talk to the producers and learn firsthand how pure maple syrup is produced.Established in 1975, NCIC is a non-profit, certified Community Development Financial Institution working to address regional economic challenges. NCIC responds to the needs of individual businesses and communities through: expanding high-speed Internet access, promoting tourism, finding affordable energy solutions, and offering businesses of any size financial solutions and support services. NCIC serves New Hampshire’s Carroll, Coos and Grafton Counties and Vermont’s Caledonia, Essex and Orleans Counties. NCIC offices are located in Lancaster, NH and St. Johnsbury, VT. For more information visit: www.ncic.org(link is external).
Challenge Penticton has established its inaugural board of directors, a critical first step to community organization of the Challenge Family’s new long-distance triathlon race in Penticton, British Columbia, Canada.“These community leaders bring a wealth of experience and knowledge in business, tourism and sport to the table that will lead Penticton through a new chapter in triathlon for the region,” said Mayor Dan Ashton.Challenge Penticton 2013 takes place on 25 August 2013.Paul McCann, a local businessman and long-distance triathlon race finisher, has been named chair of the governing Penticton Triathlon Race Society volunteer board. Directors were chosen for their varied background: Chris Hawkins (athlete), Paulette Rennie (finance), Gord Ferguson (tourism), Steve Hardwicke (medical), Annette Antoniak (City of Penticton), Chief Jonathan Kruger (Penticton Indian Band), Andre Martin (community at-large) and Diana Stirling (community at-large).Challenge Family CEO Felix Walchshöfer will also hold an ex officio position on the board of directors.“We are honoured to be part of the inaugural board and are incredibly excited about the opportunity that is ahead,” said McCann.Registrations to date are reported to be incredibly positive, with more than 1,000 people already signed up to take part in 2013. The race organising team has confirmed that a marketing campaign will soon be launched to reach triathletes around the world to be part of history as the Challenge Family expands into North America.Office space has been secured on the second floor of the Penticton and Wine Country Visitor’s Centre at 553 Railway Steet. Those looking to contact the race organizers are also invited to email challenge.penticton[at]penticton.ca.“There is a great deal of work ahead, but knowing the new organization is designed to benefit the community will motivate us to host the best iron-distance triathlon Penticton has ever seen,” said McCann.www.challenge-penticton.comwww.challenge-family.com Related
You would think the forecast would be sunny instead of cloudy. Arizona’s population is growing, Maricopa County is among the national leaders in adding jobs and all signs indicate that the state’s economy will continue to expand.Despite all the positive economic indicators, 2014 housing sales aren’t living up to industry expectations after beginning a robust comeback in 2013 that saw the median single-family-home price rise 27 percent from the preceding year. Unfortunately, the comeback slowed to a halt and the Phoenix area is now observing negative milestones in its housing market.“Unfortunately, I think what happened was that we went through a period where sellers thought their homes were worth more and more and more,” said Sandra Wilken, founder and designated broker of Engel & Völkers Sandra Wilken Partners. “For a while, we were OK. But now we’ve out-priced ourselves again and unless we can get our sellers to be realistic, their homes are going to sit on the market for a long time.”A report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University reveals the latest details about Maricopa and Pinal counties, as of February:* The median single-family-home sales price was $195,000, the lowest since August.* Demand and sales activity were dramatically lower than at the same time last year.* Spring may bring a normal seasonal boost in sales activity, but the market is still on track to possibly have little or no appreciation by the end of the year.Phoenix-area home prices started rising quickly after hitting a recession low point in September 2011. Then, the price increases began slowing down in July, with the market experiencing two monthly drops in the median single-family-home sales price this January and February — totaling about 5 percent.“Home-sales activity was a startling 26 percent below February 2013,” says the report’s author, Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “Despite the large price gains since last year, the total dollars spent on homes dropped 16 percent between last February and this February. This is the weakest February in four years.”The news isn’t all doom and gloom if you look at the complete picture:* The median single-family-home sales price was $195,000 in February, up about 15 percent from February 2013.* Average price per square foot gained 15 percent, from $110.44 to $126.57.* The median townhouse/condo sales price was up 13 percent.Home sales in February (single family, townhouse and condo) were just 1.6 percent higher than January, traditionally the weakest month of the year. They were a startling 26 percent below the total for February 2013. Despite the large increase in median single-family-home sales price between February 2013 and February 2014, the total dollars spent on homes dropped by 16 percent year over year.Though the supply of homes for sale continues to grow, low demand is affecting almost all types of houses. Even at the high end of the market, which had been going pretty strong, the Phoenix area saw 2 percent fewer luxury-home sales this February than last February.“The quietness in the market is spreading from the bottom up, but it hasn’t reached the very top yet,” said Orr. “Homes priced at $2 million and more are still doing OK.”A luxury market report put together by Walt Danley Realty in collaboration with Orr confirms a strong upward trend in luxury home prices over the last two years. The three month moving average has moved from $213 per square foot in August 2011 to reach $267 per square foot in March 2014, a rise of 25 percent. In addition, the supply of luxury homes is 31 percent higher than last year at this time.“We were just in a meeting here about the MRA Custom Homes in the $8 million to $10 million range,” Wilken said. “When we got into the beginning of the season in October, we were having some really nice high-end sales. We felt the momentum really going and anticipated more buyers in this price range. Unfortunately, we have not seen the buyers. The buyers we are getting are primarily from California. They are taking a real hard look at their future and weighing out their options. The California buyers see that they can get so much more for the money here and really improve their lifestyle by making the move to Arizona.”With an increasing number of companies moving to Arizona to escape the crippling California taxes, Wilken said she has seen a surge in property sales at the lower end of the market, but she has not seen a ripple effect in the high-end market.“The period from March to May is almost always the strongest part of the year for demand, and it is highly probable we will see some upward movement in pricing over the next three months,” Orr said.“However, it’s also likely this advance in pricing will be reversed during the hot summer months of June through September. We may be looking at little to no annual appreciation by the end of the year, if prices behave as we currently expect. Still, the Phoenix market is highly volatile, and nothing is certain.”Wilken summed up the industry outlook for the next year with a simple observation.“I was just on a panel,” she said, “and we all agreed that we are optimistically uncertain.”
Share Pinterest Email Share on Twitter LinkedIn More than half of our brains are made up of glial cells, which wrap around nerve fibers and insulate them–similarly to how the plastic casing of an electric cable insulates the copper wire within–allowing electrical and chemical impulses to travel faster. In the past, neuroscientists considered the glial cell an essential yet passive helper of nerve cells. But scientists in Rockefeller’s Laboratory of Developmental Genetics, headed by Shai Shaham, have accumulated compelling evidence that this cell type plays a much more active and dynamic role in the brain than previously thought.Shaham’s lab now reports in Cell that glial cells can control the shape of specific nerve endings by interacting with them through a previously unknown molecular pathway. “In the nervous system, shape is everything,” he says. “The shape a neuron takes dictates which other neurons it connects to and even the strength of those connections. But we know precious little about how that shape is dictated.”Multilingual cells Share on Facebook In this study, Aakanksha Singhvi, a postdoc in the lab and first author of the report, studied a glial cell that encases the nerve endings of 12 neurons in the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans, including one that responds to temperature–called a thermosensory neuron–and some that respond to odors. The investigators wondered how the glial cell appropriately regulates the requisite shapes of these neurons. They discovered that it uses different molecular mechanisms to control the shape of each neuronal cell type it encloses.“The glial cells are, surprisingly, multilingual,” is how Singhvi puts it. “They can interact with different neurons differently.”She and her colleagues found that the glial cell expresses an ion transporter protein, called KCC-3, specifically on its surface near the thermosensory neuron, but away from other neurons. In this way it affects and maintains the shape of the thermosensory nerve ending only, without affecting the other nerve endings it surrounds.The researchers also found that KCC-3 affects the function of the thermosensory neuron in addition to its shape. Normally, worms can “remember” the temperature at which they were raised–and if adult worms are given a choice, they will seek out similarly tepid spots. But when the scientists engineered worms in which KCC-3 can’t work, they found that these animals don’t migrate to their favorite cultivation temperature.“This idea that glial cells may directly mold neural functions is not new,” says Shaham. “Our findings are direct proof that it actually happens.”The researchers found that the local concentration of ions can influence the shape of nerve endings. They showed that KCC-3 modulates extracellular levels of chloride, which then controls the shape and function of neurons. Then they went further and identified the proteins in the neuron whose activity is controlled by chloride ions, which manipulate the cell’s skeleton and give the nerve ending its shape.It was not previously known that glial cells communicate to neurons through specific ions to regulate their shape, and the researchers speculate that glial cells may in fact be able to use ions to mold the shapes and functions of many types of neurons.Clinical implicationsKCC-3 is expressed in our ears, retinas, and Schwann cells–glial cells present throughout our peripheral nervous system. People who carry mutations in the gene that produces it suffer from sensory neuropathy, a condition that causes tingling, pain, numbness, or weakness in the hands and feet. The protein is also present in glial cells in the central nervous system, and other research has indicated its function may be relevant for conditions associated with defects in the shape of neurons, including Huntington’s disease and epilepsy.The formation and maintenance of nerve ending shapes are important for learning and memory, and perturbation in shape is associated with neuronal disorders including dementia, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s disease. In another recent study published in Cell Reports, Shaham and Sean Wallace, a postdoc in the lab, showed that glial cells control the shapes of many nerve endings in worms, suggesting that additional shape pathways remain to be discovered.The finding that glial cells can modulate nerve endings by expressing an ionic transporter only where it contacts a particular type of neuron is one that opens up many new avenues for research. If it turns out to be a widely used mechanism by which glial cells selectively affect particular neurons, it could be manipulated for therapeutic purposes.
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Each summer, many fish species visit the waters along the South Shore and Long Island Sound. Many of these fish are either here temporarily (migratory) or inhabit these waters year-round. They are here to feed on the abundance of food that thrives in our nutrient-rich marine environment. These fish will linger as they see necessary, feeding and accumulating the energy needed in preparation to migrate back to their wintering grounds, or venture offshore to hunker down for the winter.Another unique group of fish is here as well during the summer, and the fish are seldom seen because they hide and are not here on their own willpower. They are tropical fish, but unlike the other fish groups, they will not be able to venture back in the winter to their tropical marine habitats.These tropical fish arrive via the Gulf Stream. The Gulf Stream is a powerful, warm, and swift Atlantic Ocean current originating in the Gulf of Mexico, exiting through the Strait of Florida and flowing in a northerly direction along the southeastern coast of the United States and eventually passing Long Island 150 to 200 miles to our south.This flow of water is part of the greater North Atlantic Gyre, which is one of the five major oceanic gyres found throughout the world. This gyre includes systems of circular ocean currents that stretch across the North Atlantic from near the equator, almost to Iceland, and from the east coast of North America to the west coasts of Europe and Africa. As the Gulf Stream current flows, it influences the climate on Long Island and also brings us an array of tropical visitors.Every year in the Gulf of Mexico many types of tropical fish spawn, releasing free-floating eggs and developing larvae into the water column. As the Gulf Stream whips past these spawning grounds, it draws in anything in its path, especially young, developing fish that eventually find themselves drifting north and away from their home range. As these fish drift unwillingly along the east coast, they are pushed-out of the Gulf Stream current by large swirls of water known as eddies. These fish are then in a “race for time” to find a sanctuary and protection from predatory fish or birds. They dash and swim into our bays, harbors, and inshore waters, where they will stay and develop throughout the summer months.As we enter the summer season here on the South Fork, there is no better opportunity to grab your snorkel gear and flippers and head down to the bay and to try to view these wonderful creatures, such as the lookdown, trigger, banded rudder, Jack Crevalle, spot-fin butterfly, glass-eye snapper, or even a bigeye. I have seen all these fish mentioned many times here on the East End in eelgrass habitats and around bridge and dock pilings.When the local waters become cooler, these fish are triggered through their sensory systems to head back to a warmer environment and away from our inshore waters in search of the warm current that brought them here. As these fish swim offshore in search of this climate, they are preyed upon by migratory fish such as striped bass and blue fish. Those that make it back into the Gulf Stream will be heading in a northerly direction bringing them toward the frigid waters off Nova Scotia and Europe, where they will either perish due to the cold or be eaten by other predatory marine creatures.Before these fish depart on this one-way journey, jump in the water this summer and search for these colorful and temporary visitors here on the East End. “Staycations” are all the rage these days, so living in a beach town is a definite bonus, especially when the beauty of the Caribbean is practically in our own backyard.Frank Quevedo is the executive director of the South Fork Natural History Museum. Share