ProfNet Experts Available on Energy Storage, Dash-Cam Videos, More

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Mar 12, 2014, 13:35 ET from ProfNet

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  • Innovative Approaches of Pairing Energy Storage With Renewable Resources
  • Offshore Liability Affected by New Oil Regs
  • Workplace March Madness Pools Are a Sure Bet
  • Prairie Chicken Conservation Controversy
  • Dash-Cam Videos Serve as Great Equalizers
  • State's Gay Marriage Debate Headed to Supremes


  • Blogger/Editor (Speakeasy) - The Wall Street Journal (NY)
  • Food Editor - San Antonio Express-News (TX)
  • Local Government Reporter - The Daily Republic (CA)


  • Faster Fact Checking: Tools for Journalists Reporting Breaking News
  • How to Keep Your Blog Readers Engaged
  • Media 411: TV News Segments That Make a Difference


Innovative Approaches of Pairing Energy Storage With Renewable Resources
Tom Leyden
Solar Grid Storage
"People are increasingly aware of the vulnerability of our electrical grid. New Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) orders require grid operators to develop and adopt programs aimed at creating and delivering fast-reacting services that help balance and stabilize the grid."
Leyden is an energy industry veteran, and expert on renewable energy, solar, and innovative approaches of pairing energy storage with renewable resources such as solar power. An innovator in the energy storage arena, Solar Grid Storage, is partnering with solar project developers and utility grid operators on a new renewables/energy storage approach that provides grid stability and emergency power backup. They're delivering and maintaining electricity in the event of power interruptions due to extreme weather and other natural disasters.
Media Contact: Susan DeVico,

Offshore Liability Affected by New Oil Regs
Glenn Legge
Legge, Farrow, Kimmitt, McGrath & Brown LLP in Houston
"Regulations continue to tighten on the offshore oil industry since the massive 2010 spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The recently proposed increase in liability limits under the Oil Pollution Act from $75 million to $133.65 million is just one of many new challenges facing offshore oil companies and contractors. The more stringent rules affect not just drilling and development, but also apply to oil companies as their wells go through abandonment and the 'decommissioning,' or removal, of non-producing offshore structures. The past two years have seen judicial opinions barring contractual indemnity for regulatory fines and voiding pollution liability limits when regulations have been broken. As a result, the industry is seeing significant changes in contractual risk allocation between operators and contractors, and insurance is often a central focus as companies adapt to the 'new normal.'"
Media Contact: Kit Frieden, 

Workplace March Madness Pools Are a Sure Bet
Tony Campiti
Thompson & Knight in Dallas
"An estimated 25 percent of employees at U.S. businesses will be wagering large sums of money in NCAA March Madness basketball office pools. While some employers worry about lost productivity as workers complete and track their brackets, others embrace the madness and even sponsor their own office pools. But is this activity legal? The answer lies in the legal meaning of 'bet.' As long as employees don't have to pay an entry fee to participate, the contests shouldn't involve illegal 'betting,' at least under Texas law. Because office-sanctioned pools that involve pay-for-play would appear to violate state law, a safer course is not to require anything of value to participate even though distributing prizes to the winners would be OK."
Media Contact: Barry Pound, 

Prairie Chicken Conservation Controversy
Chris Smith
Thompson & Knight in Austin, Texas
"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will announce by March 31 whether it plans to list the lesser prairie chicken as 'threatened' under the Endangered Species Act. That designation would bring restrictions on land use and penalties for killing or injuring the bird, a species of grouse found in the grasslands of the Texas Panhandle and parts of five surrounding states. The growth of oil and gas drilling, as well as agricultural uses in this region prompted the concerns of federal and state wildlife agencies. However, a voluntary conservation program has already resulted in financial donations for mitigation efforts and the preservation of millions of acres by owners of farms, oil field properties, wind turbines, and similar uses. Those industries fear a listing could curtail their ability to operate, so these efforts may be mutually beneficial for both businesses and the birds."
Media Contact: Barry Pound, 

Dash-Cam Videos Serve as Great Equalizers
John R. Teakell
Criminal Defense Attorney
The Law Offices of John R. Teakell in Dallas
"The recently publicized dash-cam video of a traffic stop in Electra, Texas, illustrates the growing importance that video and audio surveillance play in law enforcement. The Electra dash-cam video has gone viral with more than 200,000 views on YouTube already. The police officers in the video used coarse language and ordered the person they were investigating to be silent, and they refused to answer his questions. The prosecutor had to consider how that behavior looked and the case likely was dropped for that reason. In this traffic stop, the dash-cam became an equalizer. The case wasn't going to be about the word of two police officers versus the man they were questioning. It was about what the camera captured."
Media Contact: Dave Moore, 

State's Gay Marriage Debate Headed to Supremes
Jeffrey O. Anderson
Family Law Attorney
McCurley Orsinger McCurley Nelson & Downing, L.L.P. in Dallas
"The recent decision by U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia declaring Texas' ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional is symptomatic of a nationwide attitude change on gay marriage. The federal government has said states can have their own laws on marriage, but the tide of the country is moving toward acceptance of gay marriage. This issue is going to depend on how deeply into state business the federal government is going to be willing to get. Right now, we have a federal judge making the decision, which is an indication of the federal involvement we may see coming very soon. Once the appeal at the U.S. 5th Circuit is completed, we will likely see the U.S. Supreme Court rule on the subject. That won't happen overnight, but the ultimate decision is going to have far-reaching effects."
Media Contact: Amy Hunt,



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  • FASTER FACT CHECKING: TOOLS FOR JOURNALISTS REPORTING BREAKING NEWS. With the ability to post anything on social media at any time, our news cycle – previously hastened by online news sites and 24-hour cable news – has become instantaneous. As we've repeatedly seen, this can lead to mistakes -- sometimes with serious consequences. Check out some of the tools that can aid in fact checking information:
  • HOW TO KEEP YOUR BLOG READERS ENGAGED. If you have ever wondered if there is a science behind running an engaging blog, then you will want to read this recap of our #ConnectChat with Clarissa Silva, a behavioral scientist, clinician, and blogger:
  • MEDIA 411: TV NEWS SEGMENTS THAT MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Local newscasts are full of segments designed to help their audience -- whether it's a regular health segment from a medical reporter (usually a doctor) or one of those popular "On Your Side" segments, they all try to make a positive difference in the lives of those who watch them. Check out this clip from a reporter who got an emotional surprise visit from a child she helped:

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