Archive for December 30th, 2014

UCCI observatory captures the sun, moon and stars

| 30/12/2014 | 1 Comment

(CNS): Since it open in February 2012, the star gazers at UCCI, led by Observatory Director Dr Bill Hrudey, have been documenting the sun. Producing some important observations, Dr Hrudey is keen to encourage more people to get involved in astronomy. In addition to working towards the STEM conference at the UCCI next spring, he will also run an astrophotography course every Tuesday evening, starting 6 from January, with a solar session to be scheduled on a Saturday morning. A comprehensive course for beginners and intermediates, it will be held in the observatory classroom and cover star trails, wide field, solar, lunar, planetary and deep sky objects. Hundreds of school students, from pre-K to seniors, have toured the observatory and been impressed with images taken through the various telescopes.  

A number of service clubs have also visited, in addition to guests of the university from off-island. 

Dr Hrudey is onsite almost every day capturing solar images in the hydrogen alpha band with the Lunt 60 double stacked solar scope.  This telescope is specifically designed for solar observations and captures many of the impressive details on our very dynamic sun. In the last year, two of the largest sunspots on record have been imaged and are included in the massive library of solar images.

Although it does not have the biggest telescope in the Caribbean, it is one of the most sophisticated collection of computerized and imaging equipped facility capable of research level activities.

Anyone interested in signing up for the astrophotography course should contact Dr Hrudey as soon as possible as seats are limited to 15 people only. Tuition is $150 for the entire semester and students should bring an 8 gig thumb drive to the first class to download software and practice files. They should, if possible, have a DSLR with interchangeablelenses and be fluent in Windows.

For further information, please contact Dr Bill Hrudey, at 327-1892 or

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Volley ball society to develop beach game in 2015

| 30/12/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Volleyball Federation (CIVF) recently held board elections under the auspices of the NORCECA board of administration, the regional governing body for all national volleyball federations of North America, Central America and the Caribbean. Four NORCECA delegates attended the elections along with observers and voting members. Seven people were elected for a four year term and members have been assigned their roles and responsibilities for 2015. With a permanent facility for hosting beach volleyball events, NORECA President Cristóbal Marte Hoffiz, tasked the board to continue the development and promotion of the game in Cayman by hosting a minimum of two beach events during the coming year.

He also urged CIVF to hold additional tournaments for indoor volleyball. As President of NORCECA, he pledged his full support and commitment to the new board and extended an opportunity for CIVF to facilitate the construction of a Sport Court free of cost to further develop volleyball in the Cayman Islands. NORCECA will continue to support CIVF with an annual grant of up to USD $8K for volleyball sporting equipment, technical, and financial support.

The new Board will establish a timeline and strategic plan for their term of office in the coming weeks, officials said with several key areas in discussion including local tournaments, community access to equipment and participation in club volleyball, general membership and advocacy for the sport. The board is also committed to standardizing all aspects of the Federation’s functioning while raising its profile.

“These efforts will include players at all levels, voting members, non-voting members, coaches, officials, referees, friends of volleyball, fans, as well as volunteers who may wish to contribute to the excellence of the sport and the philanthropy of the Federation,” said in a release.

See full release and the names, titles, responsibilities and contact information of the new Board.

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Queen talks reconciliation in Christmas message

| 30/12/2014 | 27 Comments

(CNS): The British monarch’s annual broadcast to the Commonwealth on Christmas Day focused on reconciliation. Although talking mostly about holding the UK together, following the Scottish referendum on independence, in her message Queen Elizabeth II spoke of the first Christmas of the First World War where “without any instruction or command, the shooting stopped and German and British soldiers met in No Man's Land,” and the possibility of reconciliation, even at the worst of times. “Sometimes it seems that reconciliation stands little chance in the face of war and discord,” she said. “But, as the Christmas truce a century ago reminds us, peace and goodwill have lasting power in the hearts of men and women."

Among a number of other themes, she revealed how she had been "deeply touched" by those who treated victims of Ebola.

The Queen, who is one of the richest women in world, also spoke about her faith. She said the life of Jesus Christ has been an "inspiration and an anchor” in her life.

"Christ's example has taught me to seek to respect and value all people, of whatever faith or none," she added.

To see the broadcast in full visit the British monarchy’s website here.

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No backers for NYE bus

| 30/12/2014 | 43 Comments

(CNS): The National Drug Council will not be running the Purple Ribbon Bus this year because they could not get sponsorship for the free service which is credited with helping to keep Grand Cayman’s roads safe on New Year’s Eve. With the police urging people not to drink and drive as they press ahead with Operation Dasher, the lack of a free service to take people home after the end of year celebrations will increase the likelihood of more drunks behind the wheel. The NDC has been organising the service for many years but with a limited budget the government agency depends on the private sector to help. This year, however, there was no one willing to back it.

A spokesperson for the RCIPS said that they were disappointed to hear that the service would not be running as the NDC reported that more than 1,200 people along the West Bay Road alone used it for the 2013 celebrations between 11pm and 2am.

“The Purple Ribbon bus programme historically has been an asset in the NYE celebrations,” the police spokesperson said. “In its absence this year RCIPS urges the public to car pool, use designated drivers or other means to safely travel in and around parties this season. It only takes one drunk driver to disrupt the socio economic standings of a family.”

The police said that they support the additional safety that a free bus service can bring for revellers and that the season "is here to be enjoyed – and not one for sorrow.”

Over the years the NDC has managed to raise the cash to pay a local tour operator to run a number of buses from 10pm on 31 December until around 3am on New Year’s Day between West Bay and Bodden Town as part of a campaign to reduce the number of potential alcohol-related car smashes and to keep drunk drivers off the roads. Llocal restaurants and bars usually also offer free soft drinks to designated drivers.

Despite the eleventh hour, however, there is still a chance that some local company or wealthy sponsor could help to get the free buses on the road before the party starts tomorrow night, as it could be done for as little as $4000.

Anyone who can help can contact the NDC on 949-9000 or

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Runway walk reveals debris under control

| 30/12/2014 | 22 Comments

(CNS): Officials from the Cayman Islands Airports Authority (CIAA) said they were pleased to find very little debris on the runway at Owen Roberts International Airport recently when it conducted its annual Foreign Object Debris (F.O.D) Walk. CIAA’s senior manager, safety management systems, Andrew McLaughlin said that the lack of foreign objects demonstrates that the authority is doing a good jobgetting the message out to all the agencies at the airport about the dangers of debris. The end of year event was organized by CIAA’s Safety Management Team and it encourages all the airport partners to do their part to keep the runway clear.

As well as raising awareness about the dangers of foreign debris, clearing debris from all Airport Operating Areas the exercise also helps various airport agencies learn more about what type of foreign object debris to look out for at the airport.

“We were very pleased with the outcome since very little debris was found,” said McLaughlin. “This is a good indicator that we are doing a good job in keeping the runway free from foreign objects.”

Participating agencies included the Airport Rescue Fire Fighting Services (ARFFS), Flowers Air Dispatch Services (FADS), Cayman Dispatch Services (CDS), United Airlines, Air Agencies, Island Air, Blue Skies Airlines and CIAA. The agencies were split into teams that covered different sections of the airport to identify and remove any debris

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