Prosecutor: Bayonne man sexually assaulted 13-year-old girl he was acquainted with

first_imgBayonneCrimeNews By John Heinis – August 29, 2020 12:24 pm 0 Bayonne CarePoint Health reaches deal for Cigna Health Insurance to join their network Facebook Twitter TAGSbayonne policeeric fischeresther suarezhudson county prosecutor’s officesexual assault SHARE Share on Facebook Tweet on Twitter Bayonne Prosecutor: Bayonne man sexually assaulted 13-year-old girl he was acquainted with RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR A Bayonne man has been accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old teen girl in two separate instances dating back to November of last year, Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez announced.Eric Fischer. Photo courtesy of the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office.By John Heinis/Hudson County ViewYesterday, members of the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit arrested Eric Fischer, 38, of Bayonne, on charges that he sexually assaulted a 13-year-old female acquaintance on August 18th, Suarez said in a statement.Fischer was charged with sexual assault, endangering the welfare of a child, terroristic threats, hindering, and providing false statements.He was arrested at the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit just after 1:00 p.m. Friday without incident.Fischer was also charged with a prior incident of sexual contact with the victim on or aboutNovember 1, 2019.That incident led to the additional charges of sexual assault by contact and endangering the welfare of a child.Suarez credited the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit for theinvestigation and arrest.Anyone wishing to report a sex crime should call the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit (SVU) at 201-915-1234. Bayonne Bayonne man pepper sprayed, arrested after punching cop in the face, authorities say Bayonne man busted with cocaine, heroin, semi-automatic handgun after fleeing from cops Previous articleMcKnight bill to require AG to collect & report use-of-force data clears full AssemblyNext articleRetired Jersey City Police Det. Regalado loses weeks-long battle with COVID-19 John Heinis last_img read more

EIB boosts SMEs in South Africa

first_imgThe loan – which will be operated by the state-run Industrial Development Corporation – will target ‘high value added’ projects in the manufacturing, agro-industry, tourism and mining sectors.The latest loans are part of a €825 package targeting South African projects between 2000 and 2006. Between 1995 and 2000, the bank invested €675 million in the country.last_img

Trump gets trade win with new NAFTA deal

first_imgEven without congressional approval, having the preliminary deal in hand will give the administration and vulnerable Republicans up for reelection at least the skeleton of a policy achievement to use on the trail.Officials have said that changes made to automotive rules to increase the amount of content that must be sourced from within NAFTA countries should play well in manufacturing states concerned about the offshoring of jobs.Meanwhile, leading congressional Democrats say they’re not yet convinced that the new deal represents a significant shift from past trade policies that have rarely earned their support.“The bar for supporting a new NAFTA will be high,” said Representative Richard Neal (D-Mass.), the ranking member on the House ways and means committee.Democrats and their backers in labor unions and environment groups will be looking for a deal they feel can be adequately enforced in terms of upholding worker rights and environmental protections.Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said the ability of the deal to enforce those provisions will be a “crucial test” for a new agreement. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in late August that officials are planning to sign with their Canadian and Mexican counterparts by the end of November — a date that would also satisfy Mexico, which is eager to have current President Enrique Peña Nieto sign the deal before his successor takes over December 1.“It’s a great win for the president and a validation for his strategy in the area of international trade,” a senior administration official said on a call with reporters late Sunday.People briefed on the outlines of a revamped deal described changes in language governing dairy imports, dispute resolution between countries, limits on online shopping that can be done tax-free, and limits on the U.S. threat of auto tariffs.“It’s a good day for Canada,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said as he left the office late Sunday night. He said he would save other comments for an official announcement on Monday.A formal vote in Congress won’t be held until 2019, and it is still an open question whether lawmakers — including members of the president’s own party who have often clashed with him on trade — will fall in line to support the deal.Republicans are expected to pay close attention to the final details regarding dispute settlement and intellectual property issues, while Democrats will likely be looking for stricter labor and environmental standards. Now, depending on the outcome of November’s midterm elections, control of the House of Representatives may well turn over to Democrats, who may have little incentive to work with a president from the opposite party to ratify a deal that they may not like.One strategy that circulated earlier this year was a plan to force a vote by withdrawing from the existing NAFTA agreement before the new one takes effect — thus forcing members of Congress to choose between the renegotiated deal or no deal at all.Trump indicated last month that he would pursue such tactics, telling reporters in the Oval Office that he would “be terminating the existing deal and going into this deal.”Several prominent lawmakers, however, expressed cautious optimism with the new pact.“Maintaining a trilateral North American deal is an important prerequisite to preserving and extending those gains and the Trump administration has achieved that goal,” said Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), chairman of the Senate finance committee. “I look forward to reviewing this deal to confirm it meets the high standards of Trade Promotion Authority.”Under the TPA, Congress will take a straight up-or-down vote without amendments. Those rules also have a series of other steps that also must be followed before the deal can be passed. The country’s largest organized labor group also stressed that it will be studying the labor language closely.“The text we have reviewed, even before the confirmation that Canada will remain part of NAFTA, affirms that too many details still need to be worked out before working people make a final judgment on a deal,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in a statement.It remains unclear at this point what the preliminary deal means for the steel and aluminum tariffs the Trump administration has put in place as well as the retaliatory duties Canada and Mexico imposed. Many industry sources and others close to the talks have long expected that reaching a deal would lead the U.S. to lift the tariffs, a move that would lead Canada and Mexico to follow suit.A senior U.S. administration official said a possible exemption for Canada remains on a separate track from the broader trade negotiations and there was no agreement yet on that issue.Mexican Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo said in late August that those tariffs — as well as Mexico’s retaliatory duties on $3 billion in U.S. products like agricultural goods — would be enforced until the countries are closer to signing an agreement later this year.Sabrina Rodriguez and Megan Cassella contributed reporting. Trade ministers from the U.S., Mexico and Canada have reached a deal to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Trump administration announced late Sunday night.The new pact, which is being called the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, is a major step toward completing one of Trump’s signature campaign promises and gives the president a concrete policy win to tout on the campaign trail this fall. It also sets the stage for what is sure to be a high-stakes fight to get the agreement passed by Congress before it can become law.The Trump administration formally notified Congress at the end of August of its plans to sign a new pact and faced a deadline of the end of September to provide a draft of the agreement. Also On POLITICO Trump versus the killer asteroids By Bryan Bender History Dept. The world America made — and Trump wants to unmake By Robert Kagan Lawmakers from both parties, along with powerful business and industry groups, are also examining whether new provisions, such as stricter automotive rules, may end up making life more difficult for domestic companies rather than easier.A senior administration official highlighted the “great result” on dairy issues that was achieved. The pact opens up the Canadian dairy market to U.S. exports at a level higher than the 3.25 percent market share the Obama administration negotiated under the Trans-Pacific Partnership.The official also said that Canada agreed to eliminate a recent milk-ingredient pricing program that U.S. farmers complained has dried up demand for their exports of the product.In exchange, Canada was able to preserve dispute settlement language. Canada has historically insisted on an international panel to judge whether the U.S. improperly uses duties as a commercial weapon.Canada also agreed to an “accommodation” to its auto exports in response to tariffs Trump is expected to impose on vehicle imports for national security reasons, the senior administration official said. That arrangement will likely involve Canada agreeing to a side deal that would restrict its auto exports to a level well above the current volume of trade that flows south of the border, sources close to the talks said.Lighthizer had hoped to reach an agreement by the end of 2017, a timeline that was extended until the end of March. The three nations failed to make that deadline but have been meeting almost continuously in Washington since as they sought to reach compromises on issues that have been both technically and politically challenging for all three countries.last_img read more

Dr Mariko Silver named Bennington College president

first_imgBennington College,Dr Mariko Silver has been selected as the 10th president of Bennington College. A leading educational, public policy, and international strategist, she has held prominent roles at Columbia University, at Arizona State University, in the administration of Arizona’s governor Janet Napolitano, and in the Obama administration. She will succeed Elizabeth Coleman, Bennington’s president for 25 years, who retires this month.‘Mariko Silver embodies a new model for the American college president’someone who sees the world not as a set of givens but as a collection of resources to be harnessed,’said Alan Kornberg ‘74, chairman of the Bennington College Board of Trustees. ‘She has an extraordinary intellectual and imaginative vitality, an outstanding track record, and a deep commitment to the College’s pedagogic traditions and values. Dr. Silver’s appointment also signals Bennington’s ambitions to expand the influence of the College’s founding ideals and contemporary practices in a world that is rapidly changing, that is simultaneously fragmented and interconnected, and that is, in every dimension, increasingly complex and global.’‘I am thrilled and honored to lead Bennington, one of the nation’s most innovative liberal arts colleges,’Silver said. ‘Bennington stands as a unique and essential voice in the higher education landscape. In its emphasis on the essential role of creativity throughout the curriculum, its developing focus on public service, its commitment to the teacher-practitioner model, and through its most fundamental organizational design element, which places students’and graduates’at the center of what matters, Bennington is distinctly positioned to engage head-on many of the challenges and opportunities facing higher education in the coming decade.’Silver comes to Bennington from Arizona State University (ASU), where, as senior advisor to President Michael Crow, she was a key strategist in what Newsweek called ‘one of the most radical redesigns in higher learning since the origins of the modern university.’She designed and led campus, community, and international initiatives focused on student engagement and accomplishment, on cutting-edge science, and on economic development. Silver also served as Professor of Practice in ASU’s School of Politics and Global Studies and established international research and teaching partnerships, including the international University Design Consortium.‘Mariko Silver’s ability to build programs and projects in collaboration with faculty, university leadership, and diverse community stakeholders is extraordinary,’said ASU President Michael Crow. ‘Both Bennington and ASU, while obviously of different institutional scale, place extraordinary value on innovative institutional architecture, push pedagogical boundaries in service of the best educational experience for students, and pursue the best teaching and thought leadership outcomes to improve the global trajectory. Strategic, visionary, collaborative, Mariko is an innovative thinker steeped in the challenges and opportunities for organizational change in higher education and an outstanding choice to lead Bennington into the future.’Silver served in the Obama administration as Acting Assistant Secretary for International Affairs and Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Policy of the US Department of Homeland Security where she created the first department-wide international strategy, managed the Department’s international engagements, and co-developed a global initiative to enhance aviation security. Prior to that, she served as Policy Advisor to Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, with responsibility for the state’s public and private universities, community colleges, and vocational institutions; the Arizona Department of Commerce; and Science Foundation Arizona. In these capacities she has worked with multiple communities and constituencies around the world and very close to home.”Whether balancing the needs of diverse communities, championing projects that serve both public and private needs, or understanding the role that education, science, and technology play in economic development, Mariko Silver has the ability to develop and advance big ideas,’said US Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.Silver holds a BA in History from Yale University, an MSc in Science and Technology Policy from the University of Sussex (UK), and a PhD in Economic Geography from the University of California at Los Angeles. She and her husband, musician Thom Loubet, have one child.last_img read more

Rosehill Elementary 3rd graders host annual Alex’s Lemonade Stand to raise money for cancer research

first_imgThird graders at Rosehill Elementary School on Wednesday served up 25-cent cups of lemonade as the culmination of a unit on economics — and helped a good cause in the processThe third graders hosted the school’s 5th annual Alex’s Lemonade Stand — associated with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, an organization started by parents who lost a daughter to childhood cancer. The foundation raises money and awareness for childhood cancer research and treatment. Assistant Principal Dustin Springer said the third grade teachers are creative with approaches to curriculum in an effort to find ways to involve philanthropy.“[The teachers] have such huge hearts,” Springer said. “I think when they have an opportunity to tie their economics lesson into being able to give back — and especially to give back to something like childhood cancer — they were all for it. They jumped on it.”Meghan Spalding, one of the three third grade teachers at the school, said the students created their own businesses last week and tried to make as much money as possible by selling products to second graders. The conversation shifted this week to businesses with the sole intention of helping others, not making money: foundations and nonprofits like Alex’s Lemonade Stand.There were many jobs available to the students including lemonade pourer.Students ran the lemonade stand from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and again from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., and raised $559.36 yesterday. Spalding said the students from the three classes had shifts, and were assigned one of the following jobs: pourer, money handler, photographer, runner and host. Other students made greeting cards and decorations for children currently at Children’s Mercy Hospital, she said.Additionally, the students and their families donated the cups and lemonade for the stand. Spalding said this helps show the kids that when everyone comes together for a greater purpose than yourself, “something so much bigger can be accomplished.” Acts of kindness intended for others, and not just focusing on yourself, was one of the main lessons of the lemonade stand, she said.“The organization is something that the kids really connect to, because Alex was their age when she passed away,” Spalding said. “She started lemonade stands and decided she wanted to give the money to hospitals so other kids didn’t have to be sick like her, and it really resonates with the third graders.”last_img read more

Women hope to finalize roster at Jack’s Open

first_imgWomen hope to finalize roster at Jack’s Open Derek WetmoreOctober 20, 2010Jump to CommentsShare on FacebookShare on TwitterShare via EmailPrintIn whatâÄôs becoming a weekly battle, the womenâÄôs cross country team is searching for resolution to its roster. The fourth annual JackâÄôs Co-Ed Run will help put rest to that indecision, presumably for the remainder of the season. The team can have nine runners at the Big Ten Championships on Halloween, and head coach Gary Wilson said they are set on eight. SaturdayâÄôs meet in Falcon Heights will help determine who receives that final spot. The JackâÄôs Run is named after longtime team equipment manager Jack Johnson, who died of liver cancer in February 2006. Upon his death, Johnson donated $25,000 to endow a scholarship in his name. One-third of the proceeds from the weekendâÄôs meet go to fund that scholarship. The remaining money is split between the Angel Foundation of Minnesota âÄî which supports cancer patients and their families âÄî and the Tesfa Foundation, supporting rape victims in Ethiopia. As for the GophersâÄô roster situation, the eight runners with secured spots will have the weekend off. Among those competing for the final spot are Claire Rindo, Maggie Bollig, Kathryn Ritter, Katie Salvatore, Kelly Wilson, Katie Dyson and Cassy Opitz. Wilson said it may be RindoâÄôs spot to lose after she impressed coaches with her progression following a two-meet absence. Those arenâÄôt the only candidates for the final spot, Wilson said, but they are the ones in the best position based on previous meets. The problem with the run-off âÄî and the several supposed run-offs in the past âÄî is that it isnâÄôt just a matter of who finishes first one day. Coaches said they look at a composite of the last few races and focus on how a runner is progressing recently. The winner of the final roster spot for the Big Ten championships may well not be the runner who finishes first at JackâÄôs run. SaturdayâÄôs meet isnâÄôt the only race in memoriam of Johnson, a former close friend of WilsonâÄôs. There is also a race in the Griak Invitational and an indoor meet carrying his namesake. Johnson, who started at the University in 1961 and worked here for nearly 40 years, didnâÄôt have much remaining family when he contracted the disease, Wilson said. âÄúWhat we try to do is just honor him with JackâÄôs run and the other [races],âÄù Wilson said. âÄúHe loved the team. This team was like his family.âÄù Related: – U students welcome to compete in cross country meet (blog)last_img read more

MS Ostfriesland completes first LNG fueling

first_imgThe car and passenger ferry MS Ostfriesland, owned by AG EMS, was fuelled with liquefied natural gas for the first time ever in Bremerhaven.The initial fuelling of the approximately 94 m long Borkum ferry was conducted by Bomin Linde LNG.After completing safety checks, 40 cubic metres of the chilled gas were transferred into the Borkum ferry’s tank within a short period of time, Bomin Linde LNG said in a statement.AG EMS Managing Director Bernard Brons said that this first activity will bring the company closer to starting scheduled LNG operations of the MS Ostfriesland in June.After the successful initial fuelling, the passenger ferry which was retrofitted to run on LNG by Brennund Verformtechnik Bremen, will need to perform several dry runs and marine tests during the next weeks.By the middle of the year, the first LNG vessel under German flag can initiate its daily service between Emden and the North Sea island of Borkum, the statement said.According to the statement, by using LNG the MS Ostfriesland will save more than one million litres of marine gas oil per year. Image: AG EMSlast_img read more

Women’s breakfast

first_img Liezel Coetzee and Margaret Jane from Heideveld attended the event. 1 of 3 Michell Mubaiwa, Amina Adams, Roxanne Mshuari and Hazla Niyonzina from Heideveld. Women from all over the city attended a Women’s Day breakfast, at the V&A Waterfront’s Den Anker restaurant on Saturday August 10.  Candice Brache, Tania Dette and Shamar Martin from Heideveld. Michell Mubaiwa, Amina Adams, Roxanne Mshuari and Hazla Niyonzina from Heideveld.last_img read more

Seeing the lights

first_imgCreating a ‘virtual railway’ allows signal locations to be optimised with minimal disruption to traffic, simultaneously reducing costs and producing better results,Ted Stephens, Chris Angus and John Bryant, Bentley Professional ServicesAN EFFECTIVE signalling system must bring together a number of different elements: electrical and electronic components, software and logic, the signal layout, and the interactions with drivers.Years of study and analysis of hardware and logic have delivered very reliable signalling equipment. More recently, events such as the 1999 collision at Ladbroke Grove in west London have highlighted the need to focus on signal location, sighting distances and the way in which signals are interpreted by drivers. This is challenging, as traditional techniques for choosing the positions of signals have become harder to use. Safety regulations make it difficult for staff to gain access to the track, and increasing traffic means operators wish to minimise disruption. Route learning is difficult because a new layout cannot be driven until it is completed, and even then it may not be possible for a driver to pass along every possible route. Virtual railway modelThe rail industry has thus had to devise new ways of establishing signal sighting, and communicate final designs to train drivers. An approach which has been used on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, Manchester South project and the current Portsmouth resignalling uses a three-dimensional computer model of the railway, which can be used to place signals by parametric design rules and then perform objective assessment of sighting, aiding subjective assessment within the real environment. The models are generally based on a number of datasets. A static element consists of the terrain, buildings and earthworks, which rarely change. There is also a semi-static model, comprising the rails, overhead line and other features that can be updated on an intermittent basis, requiring some data changes. Finally, there is a dynamic model, which holds the signals themselves and is automatically updated by the signal-sighting software as each signal is placed and design decisions evolve.These elements combine to form a complete model of the railway, which can be analysed and viewed at will. The output can be generated in a variety of forms depending on the user’s needs, including drawings for design engineers wire line diagrams, static images and animations for external users and interactive viewers for subjective assessment.The most important feature is that this should be a seamless process, using a single data model generally known as a virtual railway. This requires a variety of software components: a three-dimensional string modeller for terrain, track geometry, earthworks and overhead line a solid modeller for structures and buildings a rendering engine to create high-quality still images and animations a signal placement and sighting tool a viewer for quick visual assessment of the design a simulation system for communicating the design to the drivers. All of these components should work from a single data source to guarantee precision and currency of information. The models are built in a manner that simplifies the change process, but there is still the problem of obtaining all the data needed to build the models. A wide variety of sources can be tapped, depending on the precision required.It is reasonable to use data from a national mapping agency as the basis for the terrain model. While this has known limits of precision, it has the advantage of being available for the whole rail network. It can be used for an objective analysis of signal sighting if suitable tolerances are allowed. Where greater precision is required, more detailed data can be obtained using aerial or ground surveys.Overhead electrification models can be constructed from as-built records or from on-train measurement systems, and the shapes of tunnels and bridges can be established from gauging records or scanning surveys. Information on the existing signalling layouts is generally derived from records or from survey data.Sighting requirementsA number of different software tools are used to meet the signal-sighting requirements, including placing signals, performing calculations, creating ‘flight lines’ for the driver’s eye position as the train moves along the routes, and interaction with the viewer. The placement tool allows the designer to create signal objects in the 3D model and configure them. The tool allocates an identity, composes the signal from components, places the signal in the model, and sets signal direction and dip. Once these have all been assigned, the signal can be placed into the model for immediate viewing.The user can change the signal or any of its attributes at will, immediately seeing the effect in the viewer. It is simple to adjust the placing of the signal to avoid any problems such as read-through or obstruction by other equipment.The performance calculations tool allows the user to perform intervisibility calculations based on the location and direction of signals, obstructions, and the driver’s eye flight line. The tool creates rays for line of sight, calculates obstructions and the 7 sec and 4 sec positions required for first glimpse and continuous sighting. It can also identify possible read-through locations, establish a reserved signal volume, and create signal-sighting forms. The line-of-sight calculations take into account the conicity of the signal lamp lens and the viewing angle for the driver’s eye, constrained by the viewing angle of the cab window. An obstruction calculation is performed for features rising from the terrain (typically buildings and masts) or dropping from above the line of sight (bridges, tunnels and electrification). The view of each lamp within each signal is checked for each point along the flight line for the driver’s eye, typically every 10 m.Lines showing the rays from the signal to the driver’s eye position are generated in 3D and can be viewed in plan or wire-line perspective. Based on the 3D rays, a reserved volume can be established for the signal, into which no obstruction can be placed without reference to the signalling engineer. The final product of this process is the signal-sighting form, with the basic details for the signal filled in automatically. Rendering engineIn normal operation, the static model of the surrounding buildings and the semi-static model for track and overhead equipment are read into the viewer, and the signal design model is then passed dynamically. As signals are created, modified, or deleted in the 3D model, the interactive view is automatically updated.Passing the data to a full rendering engine can create still images and animation. A ray-tracing functionality allows the user to generate images with shadow and reflectance, producing realistic images which are suitable for presentations to regulatory authorities and the public, as opposed to the engineering-assessment quality output from the interactive viewer. The downside of this is the computing power required. Each frame of an animation can take a minute to generate, and a smooth animation requires a minimum of 25 frames per second a 30 sec animation sequence can take many hours to generate, and any changes will usually require a re-run of the animation. So although this method does not lend itself to the interactive assessment of signals, it is ideal for display of the completed work.High-quality still images can be generated using the rendering engine. It is possible to include shadow, reflectance, fog, cloud, bright sunlight, and many other characteristics. Each of these added features requires additional computing time, but a very complex still image will only require a few minutes to render, rather than hours.One of the key features of this approach is the speed with which it is possible to achieve results. The interactive viewer allows the immediate display of anything that has been built to date, and it is possible to start building models around a local area of interest and then to expand this at will, unlike animation where the modelling of the whole project must be completed before any animation can occur.The data is generated in an industry-standard format widely used for visualisation and simulation systems, so it is possible to upload the models into a simulator for route familiarisation. Alternatively, the interactive viewer can be used in stand-alone mode, which allows the user to select various train paths and set the signals as required. Either approach builds on the same base dataset used for the design of the signals, without the need to reconstruct the data in a new system. The benefits of this approach are many. From a practical and safety perspective, it will reduce the number of site visits, and thus possessions, required and the need for staff to go onto the track. From a quality assurance point of view, this approach gives a continuous and traceable source for the data on which any decisions are based, helping to eliminate the possibility of out-of-date information being used.From the cost side, the benefits are substantial not only in time saved by reduced site visits (though these will still be necessary to confirm that the computer model is correct), but also from reduced reworking as most of the location problems will have been resolved during the design phase. This approach to signal sighting has proven to be a great success. For the first time it is possible to link the design process and objective analysis with the subjective analysis and route learning available through the interactive viewer. CAPTION: A wide array of objects is brought together to produce a virtual model of Stockport in the UK CAPTION: A virtual model of Heaton Chapel was used to plan signalling work near Manchester CAPTION: Software tools show designers a driver’s sight lines to the signallast_img read more

Recipe: Christmas Fruit Cake – Have you soaked your fruits yet?

first_imgChristmas Fruit Cake – Have you soaked your fruits yet?By: Shakira ThomasWho is baking this Christmas? I know all the yearly bakers already have their containers of mixed fruits soaking and ready for the biggest baking time of the year. Good stuff!If you didn’t know, soaking your mixed fruits in advance before baking your Christmas fruit cake is the key to that moist, rich and tasty texture. The flour, sugar and other ingredients are just props; it’s really the fruits and nuts that are the star of this delight.Can you remember that time you had the best Christmas cake ever and the first bite brought happy tears to your eyes? You remember thinking that there must be a secret ingredient in this Christmas fruitcake? Well I’m here to tell you that the secret is fruit soaking in advance. When you soak the mixed fruits it gives you that rich, moist texture with bursting flavors.There are different timelines you can choose to soak your mixed fruits, I will inform you of the different ways but the rule of thumb is the longer you soak the fruits the better the taste. It’s like the wine aging concept the older the wine the better the taste, well it’s the same for soaking your mixed fruits, the longer you soak your mixed fruits in alcohol the better the taste of your Christmas fruit cake.  Yearly bakers start to soak their mixed fruits the beginning of the year and bake first week in December and feed the cakes with alcohol once a week up to Christmas. Some say the traditional way is to soak fruits three months before Christmas that would be first/second week of September and then bake approximately five weeks before Christmas. The easiest timeline is to soaking your mixed fruits overnight just three-four weeks before Christmas, bake the next day and brush alcohol once a week until Christmas. This is probably the best option for busy moms on the go. The key here is to give your fruits adequate time to marinate in alcohol to get that rich, scrumptious taste you want.If you are planning on baking this year for the first time, have no fear we will be your guide to the process. We have the same recipe and method that ‘Grandma’ and ‘Aunt Mae’ used when you were a child, so you’re in good hands. To start the baking process right, I want you to first get rid of the fear that baking a Christmas fruit cake is hard.  It’s really easy; once you have good directions (we got you!) and all the ingredients the process is effortless.This week we will start with the simplest step in the process, and that is to soak your mixed fruits.Items you will need:FruitsGlazed cherry – 100gApricot – 120gDate – 180gPrune – 100gCranberry – 100gFig – 50gRaisins:Black current – 150gRaisin – 100gSultana – 150gNuts:Almond – 50gWalnut – 50gCashew – 50gOther:Brandy: 700ml (sherry, whisky or dark rum)Orange zest of 1 large orangeEquipment:Large glass bowl with lid or large glass jar with air-tight lidSpatula/Wooden serving spoonChopping boardSharp knifeDirection made simple:Chop all the fruits and nuts in bite size pieces. It will increase the total amount of fruits present in your cake. This will ensure that fruits and nuts are in every bite of your cake.Place the chopped fruits and nuts in the clean and dry containers (as listed above) and pour the brandy (or alcohol of your choice) over the fruits. Make sure fruits are completely covered with the liquid.Stir gently with the wooden spoon and cover with the lid. The glass container should be air tight.Place the container in a dry and dark place, may be in your kitchen cupboard.Stir (or shake) the fruit mix with a wooden spatula/spoon on each day or at least on alternate day until the baking day.How easy was that?!Cooking tips:It’s best to use a glass container, as alcohol could have a reaction to other types of material.Depending on the sizes of the fruits, cut is quarters and halves. The bigger pieces of fruits cut in quarters, and the smaller cut in halves.Look out for the follow-up article on this topic – closer to baking time. I will give you the list of items, best brands you need to shop for your cake; in the meantime get those fruits soaking.Shakira Thomas is the creator and founder of Caribbeanchick.com. The official internet destination for Caribbean women worldwide.– See more at: http://www.caribbeanchick.comlast_img read more