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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

President Obama Grants 'Christmas' Commutations and Pardons

President Obama, in his last few weeks in office, granted commutation of sentence to 153 individuals and pardons to 78 individuals. To date, under his presidential power, Obama has granted clemency to nearly 1,200 individuals for mostly drug-related offenses.


President Obama greets inmates during a visit to El Reno Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, Okla., July 16, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama greets inmates during a visit to El Reno Federal Correctional Institution
in El Reno, Okla., July 16, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza).
It has been no secret that the United States imprisons more citizens, namely African American and other people of color, with longer sentences than than any other group (the stain of racism) for the same drug-related offenses.  President Obama has said that his commutations and pardons have been “another step forward in upholding our ideals of justice and fairness.” 


President Obama has commuted 1,176 sentences, more than the last 11 presidents combined.
White House graphic.

White Counsel Neil Eggleston wrote in a White House blog post that, "Today’s grants signify the President’s continued commitment to exercising his clemency authority through the remainder of his time in office.

Here are his latest pardons and commutations. Sadly, none are from this state.

·       Kendrick Tyshawn Akins – Coppell, TX
Offense: Conspiracy to manufacture, distribute, or possess with intent to manufacture or distribute cocaine, cocaine base, and marijuana; Eastern District of Texas
Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (April 30, 2012)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to a term of 240 months' imprisonment, conditioned upon enrollment in residential drug treatment.

·       Dale Wayne Aldridge – Unionville, MO
Offense: Conspiracy to distribute at least 500 grams of a mixture or substance containing methamphetamine; Southern District of Iowa
Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (January 28, 2011)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to a term of 240 months' imprisonment.

·       Demetri D. Alexander – Kansas City, KS
Offense: Conspiracy to manufacture cocaine base "crack" and to possess with intent to distribute cocaine base "crack"; possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; District of Kansas
Sentence: 180 months' imprisonment; five years' supervised release (July 24, 2007)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on April 18, 2017.

·       Billy Mel Alford – Terrell, TX
Offense: Importation of a quantity of marijuana (three counts); possession with intent to distribute a quantity of marijuana (three counts); Western District of Texas
Sentence: 480 months' imprisonment; five years' supervised release; $200,000 fine (July 22, 1997); amended to 480 months' imprisonment; five years' supervised release; $150,000 fine (July 27, 1998)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to a term of 360 months' imprisonment, and unpaid balance of $150,000 fine remitted at the time of his release.

·       Antonio Jose Alonzo – Pelican Rapids, MN
Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute controlled substances; District of North Dakota
Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (January 7, 2005)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to 292 months' imprisonment.

·       Maurice Anderson – Fort Worth, TX
Offense: Possession with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of a mixture or substance containing cocaine; Northern District of Texas
Sentence: 360 months' imprisonment; five years' supervised release (October 20, 2006)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to a term of 240 months' imprisonment.

·       Orasama Andrews – Jackson, GA
Offense:         1. Distribution of more than five grams of cocaine base; distribution of
                        more than 50 grams of cocaine base; Middle District of Georgia
2. Supervised release violation (Distribution of cocaine base); Middle District of Georgia
Sentence:       1. Life imprisonment (December 17, 2009)
2. 24 months' imprisonment (consecutive); 10 years' supervised release (December 17, 2009)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to a term of 188 months' imprisonment, conditioned upon enrollment in residential drug treatment.

·       Darrell Atkins – Detroit, MI
Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to deliver cocaine and crack cocaine; distribution of crack cocaine (three counts); Eastern District of Michigan
Sentence: 360 months' imprisonment; five years' supervised release; $10,000 fine (July 23, 1996)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on April 18, 2017.

·       Hilario Avila – Whittier, CA
Offense:         1. Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine;
                        Central District of California
2. Supervised release violation (Possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine)
Sentence:       1. 240 months' imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (March 6,
2006)
2. 33 months’ imprisonment (concurrent) (May 9, 2005)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on December 19, 2018, conditioned upon enrollment in residential drug treatment.

·       Handy Bailey, Jr. – Orlando, FL
Offense: Possession with intent to distribute cocaine base (two counts); Middle District of Florida
Sentence: 360 months' imprisonment; eight years' supervised release (April 24, 1998)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on April 18, 2017.

·       Darryl Jerome Baker – Seffner, FL
Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and 50 grams or more of cocaine base; Middle District of Florida
Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (May 22, 2003)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to 360 months' imprisonment.

·       Johnny Ray Basham – Tulsa, OK
Offense: Possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine; possession of a firearm during drug trafficking crime; possession of a firearm after former conviction of a felony; Northern District of Oklahoma
Sentence: 324 months' imprisonment; five years' supervised release; $1,000 fine (January 11, 2001)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on December 19, 2018, conditioned upon enrollment in residential drug treatment.

·       Rodney Bates – Milan, TN
Offense: Possession with intent to distribute 24.1 grams of cocaine base; Western District of Tennessee
Sentence: 188 months' imprisonment; four years' supervised release (August 10, 2006)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on July 31, 2017.

·       Roger Jerome Baylor – Montross, VA
Offense: Conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base; distribution of cocaine base; Eastern District of Virginia
Sentence: 360 months' imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (March 23, 2007); amended to 292 months' imprisonment (December 13, 2010); amended to 240 months' imprisonment (February 14, 2013)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to a term of 168 months' imprisonment.

·       Lee Henry Berry – Bay City, MI
Offense: Possess with intent to distribute less than five grams of cocaine base; possess with intent to distribute five grams or more of cocaine base; possess with intent to distribute less than 500 grams of cocaine; felon in possession of one or more firearms; Eastern District of Michigan
Sentence: 360 months' imprisonment; six years' supervised release (December 20, 2007)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to a term of 180 months' imprisonment.

·       Peter Christian Boulette – Hattiesburg, MS
Offense:         1. Possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of
methamphetamine; possession with intent to distribute a mixture and substance containing methamphetamine (two counts); possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime (two counts); felon in possession of a firearm; Northern District of Alabama
2. Possession of a firearm by a convicted person; possession of an unregistered firearm; Eastern District of Arkansas
Sentence:       1. 600 months' imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (March 13,
                        2007)
2. 87 months’ imprisonment (concurrent); three years’ supervised release (March 3, 2008)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to a term of 300 months' imprisonment.

·       Gregory R. Boyd – Oakley, CA
Offense: Possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine; possession of a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking offense; felon in possession of a firearm; District of Montana
Sentence: 420 months' imprisonment; eight years' supervised release (July 18, 2007)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on December 19, 2018, conditioned upon enrollment in residential drug treatment.

·       Willie Brazile – Pensacola, FL
Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine base; possession with intent to distribute cocaine base (two counts); Northern District of Florida
Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (September 10, 1996)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to a term of 240 months' imprisonment.

·       Jason C. Brown – Chicago, IL
Offense: Possession of more than 50 grams of cocaine base "crack" with intent to distribute; Central District of Illinois
Sentence: 324 months' imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (February 11, 2004)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on April 18, 2017.

·       Jermaine Brown – Hampton, VA
Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute cocaine, cocaine base, and marijuana; possession with intent to distribute cocaine; possession with intent to distribute cocaine base; possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime (two counts); distribution of cocaine base; Eastern District of Virginia
Sentence: 548 months' imprisonment; five years' supervised release (July 8, 2011); amended to 511 months' imprisonment (June 13, 2016)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to a term of 211 months' imprisonment.

·       Reuben Bullock – Rochester, NY
Offense: Possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine base; Western District of New York
Sentence: 210 months' imprisonment; six years' supervised release; $1,000 fine (October 30, 2006)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on December 19, 2018, conditioned upon enrollment in residential drug treatment.

·       Amilcar Butler – Nashville, TN
Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine; attempt to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine; Middle District of Tennessee
Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (July 26, 2004)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to a term of 240 months' imprisonment.

·       Arthur Lee Butler, Jr. – Greenville, NC
Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of crack cocaine; District of South Carolina
Sentence: 120 months' imprisonment; five years' supervised release (November 18, 2009)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on April 18, 2017.

·       Jonathan Rodrico Carter – Anniston, AL
Offense: Possession with the intent to distribute a mixture and substance containing cocaine base; Northern District of Alabama
Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (January 19, 2006)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on December 19, 2018, conditioned upon enrollment in residential drug treatment.

·       Maurice Davon Cawthon – Milton, FL
Offense: Possession with intent to distribute five grams or more of a mixture and substance containing cocaine base; possession of a shotgun in relation to a drug trafficking offense; possession of a firearm by a convicted felon; possession of an unregistered firearm with an overall length of less than 26 inches, including a barrel of less than 18 inches; Northern District of Florida
Sentence: 240 months' imprisonment; eight years' supervised release; $600 fine (December 17, 2004)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on December 19, 2018, conditioned upon enrollment in residential drug treatment.

·       Emilio Chase – Baltimore, MD
Offense: Distribution of cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school; Northern District of West Virginia
Sentence: 210 months' imprisonment; six years' supervised release; $1,100 fine (June 22, 2005)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on December 19, 2018, conditioned upon enrollment in residential drug treatment.

·       Calvin Lavan Clark – Garner, NC
Offense: Possession with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of cocaine base (crack) and a quantity of cocaine; possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; Eastern District of North Carolina
Sentence: 354 months' imprisonment; five years' supervised release (September 17, 2008)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on December 19, 2018, conditioned upon enrollment in residential drug treatment.

·       Leonard A. Clement – Cooleemee, NC
Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a quantity of cocaine and cocaine base and possessing with intent to distribute marijuana; Western District of North Carolina
Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (November 6, 2006)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to a term of 240 months' imprisonment.

·       Troy V. Cleveland – Forestville, MD
Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of "crack," use of persons under 18 years to distribute, and distribute "crack" to persons under 18 years of age; distribute 50 grams or more of "crack"; Eastern District of Virginia
Sentence: 360 months' imprisonment; five years' supervised release (March 18, 1994)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to a term of 328 months' imprisonment.

·       Keith O. Cobb – Waco, TX
Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute cocaine; conspiracy to violate 18 U.S.C. § 1956 (a)(1)(B)(i) -- money laundering; Western District of Texas
Sentence: 400 months' imprisonment; five years' supervised release (April 7, 1995)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on December 19, 2018, and unpaid balance of the $10,000 fine remitted at the time of his release, conditioned upon enrollment in residential drug treatment.

·       Gregory Anthony Collins – Greenville, IL
Offense: Engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise; employing a person under 18 in drug trafficking; money laundering; Southern District of Illinois
Sentence: Life imprisonment (April 10, 1992)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to a term of 360 months' imprisonment.

·       Jeremy Conner – Tarrant, AL
Offense: Possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine base; possession of firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; felon in possession of a firearm; Northern District of Alabama
Sentence: Life plus 60 months' imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (December 10, 2008); amended to 240 months' imprisonment (October 26, 2011)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to a term of 180 months' imprisonment, conditioned upon enrollment in residential drug treatment.

·       Adrian Lyndell Cook – Murfreesboro, NC
Offense:         1. Possess with intent to distribute cocaine base; Eastern District of
                        Virginia
2. Supervised release violation (possession with intent to distribute cocaine base); Eastern District of Virginia
Sentence:       1. 240 months' imprisonment; 10 years’ supervised release (October 6, 2008); amended to 168 months’ imprisonment (October 24, 2013)
2. 60 months' imprisonment (concurrent) (August 5, 2009)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on December 19, 2018, conditioned upon enrollment in residential drug treatment.

·       Richard David Courville – Alpine, TX
Offense: Conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine; manufacture of methamphetamine (two counts); Northern District of Alabama
Sentence: 262 months' imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release; $4,000 fine; $6,146 restitution (April 23, 2002)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on December 19, 2018, conditioned upon enrollment in residential drug treatment.

·       Theartis Daniels – Punta Gorda, FL
Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine; possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; Middle District of Florida
Sentence: Life plus 60 months' imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (June 1, 2006)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on April 18, 2017.

·       Michael Leroy Darity – Arden, NC
Offense: Conspiracy to unlawfully manufacture and distribute cocaine base; Western District of North Carolina
Sentence: 384 months' imprisonment; five years' supervised release (January 29, 1998); amended to 308 months' imprisonment (January 18, 2016)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on April 18, 2017.

·       Larry Lamont Davie – Oak Grove, KY
Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing cocaine base; aiding and abetting possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing cocaine base; possession of a firearm in the furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; Western District of Kentucky
Sentence: 180 months' imprisonment; five years' supervised release (January 8, 2007)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on April 18, 2017.

·       Travis Davis – Galesburg, IL
Offense: Possession of more than 50 grams of cocaine base (crack); Central District of Illinois
Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (August 31, 2007); amended to 280 months' imprisonment (March 13, 2009)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on December 19, 2018, conditioned upon enrollment in residential drug treatment.

·       Milton DeJesus-Bones – Philadelphia, PA
Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine; attempt to possess with intent to distribute cocaine; Southern District of Florida
Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (January 30, 2001)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to 360 months' imprisonment.

·       Terrance Terell Dendy – Seneca, SC
Offense: Possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine; felon in possession of a firearm; possession of a firearm in connection with a felony; District of South Carolina
Sentence: 180 months' imprisonment; five years' supervised release (May 25, 2010)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on December 19, 2018, conditioned upon enrollment in residential drug treatment.

·       Marcus Louis Diaz – Amarillo, TX
Offense: Conspiracy to distribute more than 500 grams of a mixture of methamphetamine; Western District of Texas
Sentence: 262 months' imprisonment; five years' supervised release (February 21, 2001)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to December 19, 2018, conditioned upon enrollment in residential drug treatment.

·       Anthony Timothy Dodd – Davenport, IA
Offense: Conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine; Southern District of Iowa
Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (May 25, 2006)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to 240 months' imprisonment.

·       Curtis Drayton – Prattville, AL
Offense: Engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise; distribution of cocaine base (four counts); possession with intent to distribute cocaine and aiding and abetting; Middle District of Alabama
Sentence: Life imprisonment; five years' supervised release (May 22, 1995)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on April 18, 2017.

·       Enoch Edison – Baltimore, MD
Offense: Possession with intent to distribute cocaine base, cocaine, and marijuana; District of Maryland
Sentence: 240 months' imprisonment; five years' supervised release (December 7, 2007)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on December 19, 2018, conditioned upon enrollment in residential drug treatment.

·       George Ralph Ellis – Birmingham, AL
Offense: Possession with intent to distribute a mixture and substance containing marijuana; carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime; possession with intent to distribute fifty (50) grams or more of a mixture and substance containing cocaine base; Northern District of Alabama
Sentence: 180 months' imprisonment; five years' supervised release (July 18, 2005)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on April 18, 2017.

·       Korell Ellis – Fairmont, NC
Offense: Possession with the intent to distribute cocaine base; use or carry a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime; Eastern District of North Carolina
Sentence: 295 months' imprisonment; five years' supervised release; $14,330 fine (March 12, 2002); amended to 248 months' imprisonment (October 7, 2015)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on April 18, 2017 and unpaid balance of the $14,330 fine remitted.

·       Samuel Stevens Farmer – Madison, FL
Offense: Conspiracy to distribute more than 50 grams of cocaine base; possession with intent to distribute more than five grams of cocaine base (four counts); Northern District of Florida
Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (June 15, 2001)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on April 18, 2017.

·       Travis Nathaniel France – Marion, VA
Offense: Possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine base; Western District of Virginia
Sentence: 262 months' imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release; $450 fine (December 8, 2009)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to a term of 188 months' imprisonment, conditioned upon enrollment in residential drug treatment.

·       Tammie Twyone Francis – Lee’s Summit, MO
Offense: Possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine base; possession with intent to distribute cocaine; Western District of Missouri
Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (June 28, 1996)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to a term of 360 months' imprisonment.

·       Marcus Emile Franklin – Chester, SC
Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute 50 grams or more of crack cocaine; District of South Carolina
Sentence: 240 months' imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (April 21, 2006)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on December 19, 2018, conditioned upon enrollment in residential drug treatment.

·       Paul Free – Coronado, CA
Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of marijuana; Eastern District of Michigan
Sentence: Life imprisonment (June 14, 1995)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to a term of 360 months' imprisonment.

·       Cecil Ray Frye, Jr. – Saraland, AL
Offense: Conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine; possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking felony (two counts); Southern District of Alabama
Sentence: 548 months' imprisonment; five years' supervised release; $9,546 restitution (December 4, 2003); amended to 300 months' imprisonment (September 11, 2007)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to a term of 211 months' imprisonment, conditioned upon enrollment in residential drug treatment.  

·       Angel Garcia-Bercovich – Phoenix, AZ
Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 100 or more kilograms of marijuana; possession with intent to distribute 100 or more kilograms of marijuana; Northern District of Florida
Sentence: 360 months' imprisonment; eight years' supervised release (April 7, 2008)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on December 19, 2018, conditioned upon enrollment in residential drug treatment.

·       Anthony DeWayne Gillis – Supply, VA
Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute cocaine base; possession with intent to distribute cocaine base; false statements (three counts); possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking (six counts); possession of a sawed-off shotgun; Eastern District of Virginia
Sentence: 1,748 months' imprisonment; five years' supervised release (October 14, 2005); amended to 1,711 months' imprisonment (November 2, 2010); amended to 1,681 months' imprisonment (December 28, 2015)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to a term of 240 months' imprisonment.

·       Aaron Glasscock – Lebanon, KY
Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute cocaine; Northern District of Florida
Sentence: 360 months' imprisonment; five years' supervised release (February 17, 2000); amended to 292 months' imprisonment (November 1, 2015)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on April 18, 2017.

·       Alpidio Gonzalez – McAllen, TX
Offense:         1. Violation of the Federal Controlled Substance Act; Eastern District of
                        Louisiana
2. Supervised release violation (Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana)
Sentence:       1. 360 months' imprisonment; eight years' supervised release (March 12,
            2008)
            2. 37 months’ imprisonment (concurrent) (May 16, 2008)         
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to a term of 240 months' imprisonment.

·       Franklin Goodwin, Jr. – Leavenworth, KS
Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine base or possess with intent to distribute or distribute cocaine; use of a communication facility to facilitate the offense of possession with intent to distribute cocaine and cocaine base; District of Kansas
Sentence: Life imprisonment; one year's supervised release (October 28, 2009)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on April 18, 2017.

·       Gary Lee Gordon – Laurel, MT
Offense: Possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine; District of Montana
Sentence: 290 months' imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (January 25, 2008); amended to 220 months' imprisonment (October 1, 2009)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on December 19, 2017.

·       Willie Goudeau – Dallas, TX
Offense: Conspiracy to distribute or possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and 100 kilograms or more of marijuana; Eastern District of Texas
Sentence: 292 months' imprisonment; five years' supervised release; $25,000 fine (September 20, 2006); amended to 235 months' imprisonment (October 27, 2015)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on April 18, 2017 and unpaid balance of the $25,000 fine remitted.

·       Robert James Graves – Nathalie, VA 
Offense: Continuing criminal enterprise; Western District of Virginia
Sentence: Life imprisonment; five years' supervised release (June 8, 2000)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on December 19, 2018,  conditioned upon enrollment in residential drug treatment.

·       Jeffrey Gray – Alexandria, VA
Offense: Conspiracy to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine; attempt to possess with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine; possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime; money laundering; felon in possession of a firearm; District of Delaware
Sentence: 480 months' imprisonment; lifetime supervised release (December 22, 2008); amended to 384 months' imprisonment (December 22, 2015)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to a term of 240 months' imprisonment.

·       John Gronski – Gillette, WY
Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute methamphetamine; District of Wyoming
Sentence: 360 months' imprisonment; five years' supervised release; $4,000 fine (May 14, 2001)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on December 19, 2018, conditioned upon enrollment in residential drug treatment.

·       Joseph Lee Gulledge, Jr. – Chattanooga, TN
Offense: Possession with intent to distribute fifty grams or more of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine base; Eastern District of Tennessee
Sentence: 120 months' imprisonment; five years' supervised release (April 6, 2009)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on April 18, 2017.

·       Gregory J. Hall – Alachua, FL

Offense: Conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute.

It is believed there will more commutations and pardons before Obama's last official day in office. 

In contrast (although not drug-related), it will be interesting to see if incoming president Donald Trump, will follow suit. Trump hasn't minced words when it comes to jailing people he deems 'criminal'. He ran his presidential campaign against Hillary Clinton using the phrase, "Lock her up!"  Trump also played a significant part in having imprisoned five African American teenagers in 1989 who were wrongly accused and convicted on charges of rape.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

My Brother's Keeper: Plans of Action That Help America's Young Boys Attain Success Garners Even More Support

The White House convened a summit today highlighting the work of the Obama administration's My Brother's Keeper (MBK) initiative, announcing even more support from community partners, businesses and governmental entities across the nation. In just three short years since its start in 2014 MBK has amassed more programs directed toward providing young boys of color a direct path to success than any other of its kind.

During today's summit, the final under the Obama administration, several key successes were recognized including new federal commitments that cover the National Student Attendance, Engagement, and Success Center,  Increasing Data Transparency to Understand and Develop Strategies to Improve Youth Outcomes; and New Federal Investments to Meet the Needs of Current and Former Foster Youth.

"It's almost three years ago, we launched the My Brother’s Keeper initiative to give more of our young people the tools and the support that they need to stay on track for a bright future", President Obama said today to MBK supporters and participants.  We knew this couldn’t just be a government initiative.


The MBK initiative received an overwhelming response across the nation with more than a billion dollars invested into the work of MBK from businesses and foundations.

"And I've just got to say, the response was incredible.  Hundreds of you -- mayors, tribal leaders, county executives have created MBK communities in all 50 states, as well as D.C. and Puerto Rico", the president said.

[See also MBK: A Day of Action]

MBK has garnered new support from private sector communities that focus on Expanded Investment in MBK Community Challenge Acceptors in California, Multiplying Commitment to Inspire and Recruit Mentors, Expanding Support for the MBK Community Challenge and a new Data Dashboard Platforms to Support MBK Communities.

More on the support the MBK initiative has received from both private and governmental entities are below:

Recent Federal Commitments in Support of MBK

·         New Regulations and Supporting Documents to Address Racial and Ethnic Disparities in IDEA. Delivering on MBK Task Force recommendations, the U.S. Department of Education published final regulations under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that will address a number of issues related to significant disproportionality in the identification, placement, and discipline of students with disabilities based on race or ethnicity. The Department also released a new Dear Colleague Letter to remind states, school districts, and public schools of their legal obligation to prevent discrimination on the basis of race in special education.

·         Supporting Reentry Pathways for Youth Transitioning from Juvenile Justice Facilities. The Department of Education released new guidance and technical assistance materials that will help State and local leaders provide transition assistance to youth reentering the community from juvenile justice facilities. These resources, which are available at www.ed.gov/jjreentry, can help local systems provide strong support for youth transitioning out of juvenile justice facilities, to ensure that they are able to successfully rejoin their communities, continue their education, and fulfill their potential.

·         White House Report: The Continuing Need to Rethink Discipline. The White House released a new capstone report with updates about projects launched and local progress made in response to the Administration’s Rethink Discipline efforts. Rethink Discipline was launched as part of MBK and aims to support all students and promote a welcome and safe climate in schools. The full report is available HERE. The White House also convened stakeholders and leaders to discuss the progress made and the work ahead to encourage and support local leaders as they work to implement supportive school discipline practices.

New Private Sector Commitments in Support of MBK

·         Expanded Investment in MBK Community Challenge Acceptors in California. The California Endowment announced an additional commitment of $25 million over the next four years in support of healthier outcomes and improved well-being of boys and young men of color in California.  This commitment builds on an earlier pledge by the foundation, bringing the total support to a projected $75 million over seven years from 2013 to 2020.  These resources are supporting partnerships and other activities at the local level across the state of California, and are intended to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline and replace it with a meaningful pathway to health and opportunity for young men of color.

·         Multiplying Commitment to Inspire and Recruit Mentors. In July of 2014, the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) and the National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA) announced a five-year commitment to support My Brother’s Keeper. As part of this commitment, the NBA family partnered with MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership to support their “In Real Life” campaign and set a goal to recruit 25,000 new mentors over five years, with a focus on adult males of color. Less than three years into the partnership, already more than 25,000 Americans have signed up to become mentors and been connected directly to a mentoring program in their community. Going forward, the NBA family is renewing its commitment to mentoring by setting a new goal of increasing sign-ups by an additional 25,000 adult mentors. Find out more and get involved at www.mentoring.org

·         Expanding Support for the MBK Community Challenge. In 2017, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance will launch a wide array of investments available to the nearly 250 cities, towns, counties and tribal nations that accepted the My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge communities, including: a comprehensive online support platform that will house local and national data dashboards, interactive mapping and milestone components, a webinar and events portal, and a curated resource library; a suite of online trainings to build a community of learning and practice around topics such as data and impact, leadership development, collective action management, institutional implicit bias, program design and delivery, and mentoring strategies; and building off of the success of the White House’s My Brother’s Keeper National Summit, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance will host a national summit to explore “what works” in communities across the country, provide in-depth technical assistance to clusters of practitioners, and elevate successes and challenges to inform a national agenda for boys and young men of color in 2017.

·         New Data Dashboard Platforms to Support MBK Communities. In 2017, to help jurisdictions across the country better gather and share their equity data, Bloomberg Associates and PolicyLink will be working in partnership with MBKA to build an open platform for jurisdictions to produce their own MBK dashboards, merging administrative and social media data with national sources of information. The goal will be to provide clear guidance on how to pull data from agencies across city, county and state sources, and present it in a clear and unified way to allow local partners to know exactly how young men are faring in their jurisdictions, and to track progress. The platform will be free and accompanied by strong visualization tools, and the opportunity for comparative analysis across cities and states.

Show Your MBK ImpactShowcase the impact that you have made over these past two years and also to recruit more members of your communities to the work.

Want to start an MBK initiative in your city? Here's how you can get involved. #MentorsWanted


Saturday, November 26, 2016

"Christmas begins!" when the White House Christmas Tree arrives

You know it's the Christmas holiday season in Washington when the official White House Christmas tree makes its arrival.


On Friday First Lady Michelle Obama, accompanied by her two young nephews Austin and Aaron Robinson, graciously accepted the last Christmas tree of her tenure. The tree made its way up to the North Portico of the White House by a horse-drawn carriage flanked with a sign on the both sides that read, White House Christmas Tree 2016, while a military quartet played, O', Christmas Tree.

It isn't an elaborate ceremony by any stretch of the imagination, lasting just under ten minutes, but still delights reporters and guests who get an up close view of the first family and first dogs Bo and Sunny.

FLOTUS walks toward White House after accepting this year's Christmas tree
with her young nephews Aaron and Austin Robinson. Photo/CD Brown.
Past Christmas tree receptions have always featured Obama daughters Sasha and Malia. The girls opted out of this year's reception (and turkey pardoning), leaving a younger Obama generation to experience both White House traditions.

Mrs. Obama referred to her two young nephews as this year's "replacement kids."  The 'replacement kids' took in all the delight of the occasion posing for pictures in front of the tree and along side the horse-drawn carriage before the ceremony; photographs that will likely serve as family mementos as the Obamas wind down their final year in the White House.


"This is what happens when you get teenagers", Mrs. Obama said.

"One is asleep, these two are up", referring to the two handsome, young boys who obviously know a thing or two about Christmas trees.

"It's great", Austin said.

"Should we accept it?" asked the first lady to an approving reply of, "Yes."

It was a unanimous thumbs up to the beautiful 19-foot Balsam fir that will soon be decorated by military Gold Star and Blue Star family volunteers.

"Alright, our work here is done", the first lady said.

In about a week a decorated fir tree will adorn the Blue Room of the White House along with many other delightfully ornate and brightly colored Christmas decorations that are part of a White House Christmas tradition.

A final Obama family White House Christmas tree arrives. Photo/CD Brown.
This tree has history

This year's tree was donated by a tree farm in Pennsylvania and presented to First Lady Obama by Dave and Mary Vander Velden of Oconto, Wisconsin, who are the 2016 winners of the National Christmas Tree Association national tree contest.

Members of the National Christmas Tree Association have presented the official White House Christmas Tree for display in the Blue Room since 1966.

According to the association's web site The National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA) is the national trade association representing the Christmas tree industry representing more than 700 active member farms, 29 state and regional associations, and more than 4,000 affiliated businesses that grow and sell Christmas trees or provide related supplies and services.

Read more about White House Christmas trees here.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Cleveland Cavaliers Make White House Visit; James Makes Three-peat Visit

On Thursday, LeBron James made his third White House appearance as a NBA Champion; twice with the Miami Heat (2012, 2014) and on Thursday with his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. James joined his team on the South Lawn (previous honors took place in the East Room) of the White House as President Obama honored the 2015 Champions after having won their first-ever NBA title in the franchise’s history.

Kevin Love  presents a Cavs jersey to President Obama. Photo/CD Brown.
Said President Obama, "They start winning their first 10 games in the playoffs, setting record after record for three-point shooting.  But obviously what this all comes down to is a team that, for the first time in NBA history, comes back from being down 3-1 in the finals -- the first team in history to dig themselves out of a hole like that."

Obama gave his synopsis of Game 7 calling the comeback, "remarkable."

"The comeback was remarkable, And you learn about people when they’re down against a historically good Warriors team", said the president. "Cavs won Games 5 and 6 by double digits.  You had both LeBron James and Kyrie Irving becoming the first duo ever to score 40 points apiece in a Finals game. And then, in Game 7, the Cavs fall behind on the road, only to fight back and lock up the title with an unbelievable two minutes.  There was “The Block” what LeBron has said was the defining play of his career.  “The Shot” by Kyrie putting the Cavs up five. “The Stop” by Kevin Love... I hadn’t seen defense like that."

Cavs in the Community

The president also commented on the work the Cavs have done in their community.

"And that’s why the Cavs have always given back to their fans and the community that’s been so loyal to them.  Over the last 22 years, they’ve given more than $23 million to local charities. And more than just the money players and coaches made about 200 visits annually to schools, hospitals, food kitchens, and more, including assisting educational programs that reach more than 100,000 kids in Northeast Ohio."

The franchise has also supported the Obama adminstration's My Brother’s Keeper, Let’s Move! and Joining Forces initiatives. James has committed to paying tuition to over 1,100 deserving Cleveland youth.

The 6-1 Cavaliers are in town to take on the 2-5 Washington Wizards Friday at Verizon Center.

In this vid, James talks about meeting their rival Wizards.

See : Cavs visit veterans.

President-elect Trump meets President Obama

President Obama met Thursday with president-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office, the first time the two men have ever met. The pair spoke for nearly two hours in a meeting that Obama described as "excellent."

The president said the pair discussed both foreign and domestic policy and explained  he was looking for a "smooth transition" of political power. Obama said he advised his "team" to ensure that president-elect Trump "has everything he needs to succeed."

WATCH: President Obama meets Trump

Said President Obama, "I just had the opportunity to have an excellent conversation with President-elect Trump.  It was wide-ranging.  We talked about some of the organizational issues in setting up the White House.  We talked about foreign policy.  We talked about domestic policy.  And as I said last night, my number-one priority in the coming two months is to try to facilitate a transition that ensures our President-elect is successful."

Trump met with President Obama Thursday. Photo/ P. Martinez
There have been several anti-Trump protests across the country since he won the election. While the news has reported on protests in major U.S., to include Washington, D.C., smaller cities have also staged protests. Students across the country are also having their say. Students at Virginia Commonwealth Universtiy in Richmond, Va met at the Confederate statue of Robert E. Lee Wednesday at midnight to protest Trump's racism as well as Richmond's racist past.  With chants of "f*8k Trump!", students also chanted "and f*8k these racist statues."


Trump campaigned on what many said were racist ideas and ideology, suggesting he would "build a wall" to keep Mexicans out of the country. He also made disparaging remarks about Muslims to infer all were responsible for ISIS and Islamic attacks on the U.S.

In light of the Trump-inspired divisiveness within the country President Obama is hopeful.

"And, I believe that it is important for all of us, regardless of party and regardless of political preferences, to now come together, work together, to deal with the many challenges that we face."

Trump appeared civil during his visit with Obama saying he had "great respect" and was looking forward to meeting with President Obama in the future.

"So, Mr. President, it was a great honor being with you, and I look forward to being with you many, many more times in the future", Trump said.

While the two men were meeting, First Lady Michelle Obama met with the in-coming first lady to also ensure a smooth transition.

The White House has produced a fact sheet entitled Facilitating Smooth Transition to the Next Administration mapping out the transition planning that includes preparing for the incoming administration, ensuring this Administration’s records are appropriately archived, and facilitating the off-boarding of current Administration personnel.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

White House Staffers on Trump Win

Thanks to White House pooler Jen Bendery of the Huffington Post for providing this report on the mood of White House staffers after President Obama delivered remarks on president-elect Trump's win.

Bendery wrote:

Obama gave remarks in the Rose Garden about Donald Trump winning last night's presidential race.

The event was open press, but here's a little color.

Obama talked for about 10 minutes about the need to unify the country now that the election is over. Biden stood alongside him. Check transcript for exact quotes.



"A lot of Americans are exalted today. A lot of Americans are less so," he said with a slight chuckle. "Don't get cynical. Don't ever think you can't make a difference."

At least 150 WH staffers came out to hear Obama speak. They lined up in the garden behind the press, listening intently. When he was done, they applauded for a solid minute, at least. Your pooler saw three staffers crying, and many others with closed eyes or staring up at the sky.

The mood here is somber and quiet. Your pooler asked one aide in tears what was going through her mind; she said "I'm just sad," before walking away. When it was suggested to another aide that today was bittersweet, the aide replied, "I don't know about sweet."

How The White House Is Dealing With the Trump Win

The individual who made it his business to insult Muslims, African Americans, women, the disabled, his running mates, stated that he could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot someone, and has shown an affinity for Russian president Vladmir Putin (and Wikileaks) has convinced Americans that he is the better choice to be president of the United States of America.

President-elect Donald Trump. Photo/NY Times
In a stunning upset Trump, who was endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan, Tom 'Deflate-Gate' Brady and Deflate-Gate enabler Bill Belichick defeated rivalry (and long-time friend) Hillary Rodham Clinton to become the 45th president.

[Listen to Trump's acceptance speech.]

Supporters came out in mass to support the man that opponents said didn't have the temperament to be president, was a lose cannon on Twitter and bragged about groping women's crouches. In the wake of several women coming forth to claim they were in someway affected by Trump's behavior, Trump subdued and silenced the Democratic party by winning 276 of the electoral votes (270 was needed). Clinton, who struggled to connect with millennial (despite performances from entertainers Jay-Z, BeyoncĂ© and an extraordinary effort by Chance the Rapper) in the same way her boss did in both 2008 and 2012, manged to win only  218.

Trump supporters cheer win. Photo/NY Times
Clinton did manage to win Virginia (a mainly Democractic state) and her (and Trump's) home state of New York. Florida, the battleground state where many hoped would sure up the election for Clinton after Trump attacked the Latina community, favored Trump instead. The 'Latinas for Trump' movement is real. Trump won 29 electoral votes in Florida, the state that has decided every presidential election since 1992.

Reaction to Trump win

Twitter sphere was all abuzz over president-elect Trump's win. Click here to see what world leaders tweeted and what Mexico's president had to say.

Trump's campaign manager Kellyanne Conway (who we expect might be rewarded handsomely by Trump, if he decides to pay her) said the win was "quite delicious" and said the 'undercover' Trump supporters was also "real" in helping Trump win.  The undercovers are those secretly and covertly kept their decision private from friends and family all the while knowing they would cast their vote for Trump.

With Trump basking in his win, promising to "not let you down", both Clinton and President Obama have come to the realization of the current event telephoning Trump to congratulate Trump on his historic win.

Clinton's 2016 concession speech (Remarks at 43:11)

The White House put out this statement earlier this morning.

"From the White House residence, the President phoned Donald Trump to congratulate him on his victory early this morning. The President also called Secretary Clinton and expressed admiration for the strong campaign she waged throughout the country. 

The President will make a statement on Wednesday at the White House to discuss the election results and what steps we can take as a country to come together after this hard-fought election season. 

** Update** 12:35 p.m. - President Obama's speech on Trump win 

The President invited the President-elect to meet with him at the White House on Thursday, November 10th, to update him on the transition planning his team has been working on for nearly a year. Ensuring a smooth transition of power is one of the top priorities the President identified at the beginning of the year and a meeting with the President-elect is the next step."

MUST SEE: More reaction to Trump win

The New York Times apparently had cameras everywhere and has reaction from several demographics responding to the Trump win. Click here to view.

See also: Trump at WHCAS | Trump not running for president | Trump declares run for presidency |
Clinton's 2008 concession speech |  


Monday, September 26, 2016

Funding for climate, transportation and public safety announced today

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 26, 2016

FACT SHEET: Announcing Over $80 million in New Federal Investment and a Doubling of Participating Communities in the White House Smart Cities Initiative

“If we can reconceive of our government so that the interactions and the interplay between private sector, nonprofits, and government are opened up, and we use technology, data, social media in order to join forces around problems, then there’s no problem that we face in this country that is not soluble.” – President Barack Obama

With nearly two-thirds of Americans living in urban settings, many of our fundamental challenges—from climate change to equitable growth to improved health—will require our cities to be laboratories for innovation. The rapid pace of technological change, from the rise of data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and ubiquitous sensor networks to autonomous vehicles, holds significant promise for addressing core local challenges.

That’s why last September the White House launched the Smart Cities Initiative to make it easier for cities, Federal agencies, universities, and the private sector to work together to research, develop, deploy, and testbed new technologies that can help make our cities more inhabitable, cleaner, and more equitable.

Today, to kick off Smart Cities Week, the Administration is expanding this initiative, with over $80 million in new Federal investments and a doubling of the number of participating cities and communities, exceeding 70 in total. These new investments and collaborations will help cities of all sizes, including in the following key areas:
  
·       Climate: The Administration is announcing nearly $15 million in new funding and two new coalitions to help cities and communities tackle energy and climate challenges. For example, one Department of Energy (DOE) campaign has already signed up 1,800 buildings representing 49 million square feet with data analytics tools that could reduce their energy footprint by 8 percent or more, on average.

·       Transportation: The Administration is announcing more than $15 million in new grants and planned funding to evolve the future of urban transportation, including National Science Foundation (NSF) funding for researchers in Chattanooga to test, for the first time, how an entire urban network of connected and autonomous vehicles can automatically cooperate to improve travel efficiency and operate safely during severe weather events.

·       Public safety: The Administration is announcing more than $10 million in new grants and planned funding for public safety, resilience, and disaster response. For example, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is funding the development of low-cost flood sensor-based tools in flood-prone areas of Texas, where predictive analytics will give first responders and local officials new capability to issue alerts and warnings, and the ability to respond more rapidly to save lives when a flood strikes.

·       Transforming city services: MetroLab Network is launching a new effort to help cities adopt promising innovations in social programs, like a collaboration between three counties surrounding Seattle and the University of Washington to use predictive analytics to identify precisely when city services succeed in helping homeless individuals transition into permanent housing, offering the promise of a future of personalized intervention.

Background

The White House Smart Cities Initiative represents an example of how the Administration has worked over the past seven and a half years to develop a smarter, more collaborative approach to working with local communities—putting citizens, community groups, and local leaders at the center of its efforts. The Administration’s approach involves working together with communities to identify local needs and priorities, develop and build upon evidence-based and data-driven solutions, and strategically invest Federal funding and technical assistance.

The Smart Cities Initiative is informed by and builds on the work of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), including its Technology and the Future of Cities report. In the report, PCAST identified several actions that the Federal Government can take to help cities leverage technology, and which the initiative is already beginning to implement.

The initiative has supported a number of breakthrough activities in the last year. Two such examples are:

·       Smart City Challenge: In June, the Department of Transportation (DOT) selected Columbus, Ohio to receive $40 million to prototype the future of urban transportation, out of 78 cities that accepted its Smart City Challenge. The city’s plan, which will also leverage over $100 million in private resources, involves piloting new technologies, from connected vehicle technology that improves traffic flow and safety to data-driven efforts to improve public transportation access and health care outcomes to electric self-driving shuttles that will create new transportation options for underserved neighborhoods.

·       Fitness Tracker for Cities: With funding from NSF and Argonne National Laboratory, the City of Chicago and the University of Chicago last month began installing a “fitness tracker for the city”—500 outdoor sensor boxes called the “Array of Things” that will allow the city and public to instantly obtain block-by-block data on air quality, noise levels, and traffic. This real-time open data will help researchers and city officials reduce air pollution, improve traffic safety, and more. For example, a team is already working to build a mobile application that will alert asthma sufferers about poor air quality based on real-time measurements taken on their city block.

In addition to the initiative, the Administration has also taken several complementary steps that support local innovation, including the newly-announced Advanced Wireless Research Initiative, through which NSF is working with the private sector to invest nearly $100 million to develop four city-scale testing platforms for wireless technologies, including 5G and beyond. Additionally, the Administration’s Opportunity Project is spurring the creation of private sector digital tools based on Federal open data that help communities find information about resources needed to thrive, such as affordable housing, quality schools, and jobs. The Police Data Initiative andData-Driven Justice Initiative are helping local authorities use data to improve community policing and divert low-level offenders out of the criminal justice system, respectively.

The upcoming White House Frontiers Conference, held in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, October 13, will further advance the initiative by bringing together some of the world’s leading innovators to discuss how investing in science and technology frontiers—including smart and inclusive local communities—can help improve lives and keep America on the cutting edge of innovation.

Key Steps by the Administration Being Announced Today

NSF is announcing over $60 million in new smart cities-related grants in FY16 and planned new investments in FY17. NSF is bringing together academic researchers from an array of disciplines with community stakeholders to unlock transformational progress on important community challenges. Examples of this work include an effort by researchers in Chattanooga to test an entire urban network of automatically cooperating connected and autonomous vehicles; and a flood-warning pilot project in several Maryland cities that integrates sensor data and social media posts in a novel way to potentially save lives by providing advance notice of flash floods, which kill more people in the United States each year than tornadoes, hurricanes, or lightning. The investments include:

·       $24.5 million in planned investment in FY17 and $8.5 million in new awards under the Smart & Connected Communities program. The planned investment significantly expands NSF’s research focus in this area and builds on a number of high-risk, high-reward Early Concept Grants for Exploratory Research awards supporting integrative research that enhances understanding and design of our future cities and communities.

·       $10 million in new awards to develop and scale next-generation Internet applications and technologies through the US Ignite program, supporting access to the gigabit-enabled networks and services that bring data and analytics to decision-makers in real time.

·       $7 million in new Partnerships for Innovation: Building Innovation Capacity projects that involve academic-industry collaborations to translate breakthrough discoveries into emerging technologies related to smart communities, ranging from smart buildings to sensor networks that improve transportation efficiency.

·       $4 million in new Cyber-Physical Systems awards focused on Smart & Connected Communities. Collectively, these awards help establish the technological foundation for smart cities and the Internet of Things, which enables connection of physical devices at enormous scale to the digital world through sensors and other IT infrastructure.

·       $2 million in new “Spokes” that extend the Big Data Regional Innovation Hubs and $1.4 million in new Big Data research, which will use data science to improve the smart electric grid, keep bridges safer, grow better crops through the use of drone technology, and allow students to conduct citizen science on air pollution.

·       $1.5 million in new Smart and Connected Health research awards with a focus on Smart & Connected Communities. The awards being announced today will support the development of next-generation health care solutions that leverage sensor technology, information and machine learning technology, decision support systems, and more.

·       $1 million for researchers to participate in the 2016 NIST Global City Teams Challenge, supporting high-risk, high-reward research on the effective integration of digital and physical systems to meet real-world community challenges.

·       $1 million in new research and capacity-building awards supporting lifelong learning that will be critical to cities and communities of the future.

DOE is announcing new coalitions to build cleaner, smarter communities, and more than $15 million in new and planned funding to support smart, energy-efficient urban transportation systems and to unlock distributed clean energy sources.

·       DOE is announcing the launch of the Better Communities Alliance (BCA), a new DOE-led network of cities and counties with the goal of creating cleaner, smarter, and more prosperous communities for all Americans. Through the BCA, which is part of the Better Buildings Initiative, DOE is creating a one-stop shop for cities and counties to plug into DOE resources and AmeriCorps resources from the Corporation for National and Community Service to support them in tackling energy and climate challenges. DOE will gather key stakeholders to promote knowledge exchange and collaboration, while streamlining access to community-focused DOE resources and funding through coordinated assistance across programs and a common digital portal. Initial member communities and affiliate organizations include:
§  Anchorage, Alaska
§  Atlanta, Georgia
§  Boston, Massachusetts
§  Boulder, Colorado
§  Broward County, Florida
§  Chattanooga, Tennessee
§  Chicago, Illinois
§  Chula Vista, California
§  Des Moines, Iowa
§  Dubuque, Iowa
§  Fort Worth, Texas
§  Huntington Beach, California
§  Kansas City, Missouri
§  King County, Washington
§  Knoxville, Tennessee
§  Los Angeles County, California
§  Miami-Dade County, Florida
§  Milwaukee, Wisconsin
§  New York, New York
§  Newark, New Jersey
§  Orlando, Florida
§  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
§  Phoenix, Arizona
§  Portland, Oregon
§  Richmond, Virginia
§  Roanoke, Virginia
§  Rochester, New York
§  Salt Lake City, Utah
§  San Francisco, California
§  Seattle, Washington
§  Sonoma County, California
§  West Palm Beach, Florida
§  Will County, Illinois
§  Alliance to Save Energy
§  American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy
§  Arup
§  C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group
§  Cityzenith
§  Emerald Cities Collaborative
§  Energy Foundation
§  Global Cool Cities Alliance
§  Governing Institute
§  Hatch
§  ICLEI USA - Local Governments for Sustainability
§  Institute for Market Transformation
§  Institute for Sustainable Communities
§  International City/County Management Association
§  Kresge Foundation
§  National Association of Counties
§  National Association of State Energy Officials
§  National League of Cities
§  Natural Resources Defense Council
§  Philips Lighting
§  Smart Cities Council
§  Solar Foundation
§  STAR Communities
§  Surdna Foundation
§  U.S. Green Building Council
§  Urban Sustainability Directors Network

·       DOE is launching a new Better Buildings Accelerator to assist local governments in developing “Zero Energy Districts” within their communities. Through the Accelerator—which will help participants overcome deployment barriers by providing a framework for collaboration among participants as well as technical assistance—DOE will work with city leaders, district developers, planners, owners, and additional key stakeholders to develop the business case and energy master planning documents needed to replicate Zero Energy Districts, which aggregate buildings’ renewable energy sources so that the combined on-site renewable energy offsets the combined building energy usage from the buildings in the district.

·       DOE’s Better Buildings Initiative is launching a Smart Energy Analytics Campaign with an inaugural group of members committing to using smart building energy management technologies to unlock energy savings. Eighteen inaugural members representing 1,800 buildings and 49 million square feet have signed up to adopt data analytics tools—known as Energy Management and Information Systems (EMIS)—that could reduce their energy footprint by 8 percent or more, on average. Some of the campaign participants and their plans include:
o   The Wendy’s Company is piloting software to move all 300 of their company-owned restaurants onto EMIS analytics.
o   Macy’s will leverage its experience using fault detection and diagnostics across their portfolio of over 700 stores to share best practices.
o   University of California, San Francisco will expand its innovative program of “Connected Commissioning” to use fault detection and diagnostics based on a consistent flow of building data analytics to help commission major building renovations and ensure they operate efficiently from the start.
o   Rhode Island Office of Energy is starting a multi-year EMIS project with 18-buildings that will leverage lessons learned through the Campaign to help streamline the rollout of EMIS to a large portion of their portfolio.
The following organizations will also provide technical assistance to the campaign partners: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Building Owners Management Association, International Facility Managers Association, Commonwealth Edison, California Commissioning Collaborative, and the Building Commissioning Association.

·       DOE is announcing $10 million in current and planned investment to expand the DOE SMART Mobility consortium to support the emergence of smart, energy-efficient urban transportation systems and establish a “Technologist in Cities” pilot. In collaboration with the DOT Smart City Challenge, and with an initial focus on Columbus, Ohio, and Detroit, Michigan, DOE’s “Technologist in Cities” pilot will pair national laboratory technologists with city leaders to help cities address critical mobility needs with new capacity, tools, and technologies that significantly improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. The DOE Systems and Modeling for Accelerated Research in Transportation Mobility consortium leverages the unique capabilities of DOE National Laboratories to examine the nexus of energy and mobility for future transportation systems, including through connected and automated vehicles, urban and decision sciences, multi-modal transport, and integrated vehicle-fueling infrastructure systems.

·       DOE’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability is announcing approximately $7 million in funding to support the development of sensors and modeling that allow communities to more effectively integrate distributed clean energy sources into their power grids. Currently, integration of distributed clean energy sources—and the emissions, reliability and resilience benefits they provide—is a challenge for electric grids originally designed solely for distribution of electricity, not local generation. Funding will support research and development at utilities and technology providers to harness new sensor data and improved modeling to allow for integration of these resources with greater efficiency and reliability, while aiming to deliver new benefits, such as improved grid resilience against outages in emergency situations.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is continuing to expand the smart cities movement and support technical progress in the Internet of Things.

·       NIST and its collaborators are announcing a new international coalition dedicated to developing anInternet of Things-Enabled Smart City Framework, with an initial release planned for next summer. Through an open, technical working group studying real-world smart city applications and architectures, the coalition will identify pivotal points of interoperability, where emerging alignment on standards can enable landscape of diverse but interoperable smart city solutions. Coalition members include the American National Standards Institute, the U.S. Green Building Council, the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Science, ICT, and Future Planning, the Italian Energy and Innovation Agency, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute, and the FIWARE Foundation.

·       NIST’s Global City Teams Challenge