Wheelhouse Weekly – January 30th, 2018

January 31st 2018

Volume 23… Number 5… Jan. 30, 2018


In This Issue:

Coast Guard Information:

MM&P Members:

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The maritime authorities have issued U.S. Maritime Advisory 2018-004, which updates and supersedes U.S. Maritime Advisory 2017-005.

The advisory regards the threat of piracy, armed robbery and kidnapping for ransom in the Gulf of Guinea (GOG).

It notes that there is a continuing threat to U.S.-flagged operators with vessels transiting or operating in the area. The advisory states in part:

Almost 100 reported incidents of piracy and armed robbery at sea occurred in the GOG region in 2017. Kidnappings for ransom (KFR) attacks, and boarding to steal valuables from ships and crews, are the most common incidents.

While there were 29 kidnapping incidents in 2017, no tankers were hijacked for cargo theft (refined petroleum products) during this period.

U.S.-flagged operators with ships operating in or through the GOG Voluntary Reporting Area designated on Maritime Security Chart Q6114 at should transit with extreme caution and vigilance.

Most KFR operations occur around the Niger Delta with vessels (tankers, tugs, offshore supply vessels and cargo vessels) frequently being targeted due to their high-value foreign crewmembers.

Motherships have been used to support operations up to 150 nautical miles offshore.

Criminals/armed KFR groups have been known to fire on targeted vessels prior to attempting to board them. KFR groups generally kidnap two to six high-value crewmembers to include the master, chief engineer and any Western crewmembers.

Kidnapped crewmembers are normally taken ashore in the Niger Delta region where KFR groups demand ransom payments in exchange for their safe return.

For additional information, including specific recommendations for vessels transiting the area:

For questions about this advisory, contact the MARAD Office of Maritime Security at:

Supplemental information may also be found on the MARAD Office of Maritime Security website at:

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Maritime authorities have issued a new advisory regarding the risk of piracy, armed robbery and terrorism in the Sulu and Celebes Seas.

U.S.-flagged vessels are advised to remain vigilant and adhere to the counter-piracy annex of their approved Vessel Security Plan when transiting the Sulu and Celebes Seas, in light of recent boardings and kidnappings for ransom that have taken place in those areas. The advisory states in part:

In 2017, there were at least 15 reported boardings, attacks or kidnappings in the Sulu and Celebes Seas. All five kidnapping incidents were reportedly linked to the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), a violent Islamic separatist group operating in the southern Philippines. Specific case details are available at the Office of Naval Intelligence’s “Worldwide Threat to Shipping” and “Piracy Analysis and Warnings” website at

From March 2016 through November 2017, a total of 59 crewmembers were abducted in this area.

Of these, six were killed and 10 are still in captivity. Thus far, no U.S.-flagged vessels have been involved.

All ships should avoid anchoring outside port limit areas and should exercise enhanced vigilance, maintain strict look-outs (particularly in darkness) and report all incidents to the relevant authorities immediately.

Additional information, including specific recommendations for vessels transiting the area, is available at

For questions about this advisory, contact

Supplemental information may also be found on the updated MARAD Office of Maritime Security website at:

Back to Stories Covered


Los Angeles Times newsroom employees in January voted by an overwhelming margin to join in union.

This is a first for the California-based news organization, which for much of its 136-year history was known for its opposition to organized labor.

The pro-union vote at The Times is being seen as a reflection of the tensions the industry is experiencing, with intense downward pressure on wages and working conditions, and a lack of job security.

As a result, journalists and online media staff nationwide are flocking to unions.

The union drive at The Times was launched publicly in October and culminated in an election earlier this month.

The results, which were tallied by the National Labor Relations Board, show workers voted 248 to 44 to be represented by the Washington, D.C.-based NewsGuild-Communications Workers of America.

“This was a long time coming, and we’re all thrilled that it has finally happened,” said one copy editor.

“The newsroom has put up with so much disruption and mismanagement, and this vote just underscores how much of a say we need to have in the decision-making process. The newsroom is demanding a seat at the bargaining table.”

Organizers said the vote followed years of corporate turnover, advertising declines and cutbacks that have reduced the staff from more than 1,000 in the late 1990s to fewer than 400 today.

The newly unionized workers say they will bargain for job protection, salary increases and equal pay for men and women.

They also argue that top managers at the Chicago-based owner, Tronc Inc., are overpaid.

Besides The Los Angeles Times, Tronc owns the San Diego Union-Tribune, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun and other daily and weekly newspapers.

The union vote affects only workers at the Los Angeles Times and local Times Community News publications.

The NewsGuild, formed in 1933, represents 25,000 journalists, including reporters and editors at the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal.

The Los Angeles Times was one of the few major U.S. newspapers where journalists were not part of a union.

Workers at digital news outlets Vox Media, Huffington Post and Vice Media have all organized recently and are now represented by the Writers Guild of America, East.

Back to Stories Covered


NMC has two permanent positions open in Martinsburg, W. Va.

One is for a person with a shipboard deck officer background to assist with the evaluation and approval of training courses and programs, qualified assessors, designated examiners and instructors.

Additional information, including specific qualifications and application instructions, can be found on the USA Jobs website under announcement numbers 17-2094-SE-WS-D and 17-2094-SE-WS-M.

The second position is for a person with a shipboard engineer officer background to serve as a subject matter expert for the development and revision of engine officer and rating examinations.

Additional information for this position, including specific qualifications and application instructions, can be found on the USA Jobs website, under announcement numbers 18-1010-SE-BK-D and 18-1010-SE-BK-M.

Back to Stories Covered


The Coast Guard has issued a notice stating that the calendar year 2018 minimum random drug testing rate is 25 percent of covered crewmembers.

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Using a provider who is contracted with CIGNA/MULTIPLAN minimizes your out-of-pocket costs and saves both you and the MM&P Health & Benefit Plan money.

Here are some examples of potential charges to you and the Plan of contracted providers versus non-contracted providers (in these examples, the Major Medical Deductible and the Non-PPO deductible have already been met):

1) Primary care physician (PCP) visit to non-contracted provider: Charges $275; Plans Allowance $100 payable @ 90% = $90. Your responsibility is $185.*

Same visit to a contracted provider: Charges $275; Contract Amount $125 payable @ 100% after $15 co-pay, which is your responsibility.


2) Visit to a non-contracted specialist: Charges $300; Plans Allowance $175 payable @ 70%=$122.50. Your responsibility is $177.50.*

Same visit to a contracted specialist: Charges $300; Contract Amount $275 payable @100% after $25 co-pay, which is your responsibility.


3) Surgery for arthroscopy of knee performed at a non-contracted ambulatory surgical center: Charges $14,768.87; Plans Allowable $3,342 payable @ 70%=$2,339.40. Your responsibility $12,429.47.

Same procedure performed at a contracted provider: Charges $14,768.87; Contract Amount $3,000 payable @ 90%=$2,700. Your responsibility is $300.00.


4) Inpatient stay at non-contracted hospital: Charges $123,000; Plans Allowable $62,000 (minus $3,000 out-of-pocket and $150 admission deductible); Plan reimburses $58,850. Your responsibility $64,150 (the difference between charges and what the Plan reimbursed).

Same hospital stay at a contracted provider: Charges $123,000. Contract Amount $50,000 (minus $3,000 out-of-pocket and $150 admission deductible). Plan reimburses (100%) $46,850. Your responsibility $3,150 (the difference between the contract rate and what the Plan reimbursed).


If you have questions about these examples, please contact the Plan Office at: 410-850-8612.

*Your responsibility would increase by $250 if your $250 major medical deductible had not been met for the year and by $150 if your non-PPO deductible had not been met for the year.

** In example 4, your responsibility would increase by $3,000 if your out-of-pocket deductible had not been met for the year and by $150 if your admission deductible had not been met for the year.

It pays to go to a CIGNA/MULTIPLAN contracted provider! To find a provider in your area, go to:

Also: If you have a provider you like who is not contracted with CIGNA/MULTIPLAN, contact the Plan Office for a nomination form which you can bring to your provider to complete and mail to CIGNA.

Back to Stories Covered


All MM&P union halls, the MM&P Federal Credit Union and MM&P headquarters will be closed on Monday, Feb. 12, for Lincoln’s Birthday.

All MM&P union halls, the MM&P Federal Credit Union, MM&P headquarters and the MM&P Plan Office will be closed on Monday, Feb. 19, for Presidents Day.

Back to Stories Covered


There will be a union meeting for members of the MM&P Great Lakes & Gulf Group at the Sachsenheim Hall, 7001 Denison Ave., Cleveland, Ohio, on Wednesday, Jan. 31, at 1800.

All members in the area are encouraged to attend the meeting.

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The Offshore Orientation Course will be held at the MM&P Newark Hall on Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 6 and 7, beginning at 0930.

There is no sea-time requirement to take the course.

All Offshore applicants, potential transferees from other membership groups and other interested Offshore members are encouraged to take the course as soon as possible.

If you are interested in taking the course, please contact the Newark, N.J. Hall: 201-963-1900 or e-mail

Back to Stories Covered


An Offshore meeting will be held in the Newark hiring hall on Wednesday, Feb. 7 at 1100.

All Offshore members and applicants are encouraged to attend.

The hall is located at 570 Broad Street, Suite 701, Newark, N.J. 07102.

Back to Stories Covered


A group of offshore weather experts will discuss the factors that drive weather and the tools available to professional and recreational mariners at a Feb. 10 symposium at MITAGS.

The session starts at 0830 and ends at 1730, followed by a reception.

The cost is $175. Registration by Feb. 5 required.

To view the agenda and to register, go to:

Back to Stories Covered


Each year, many Americans add a new furry family member to their household.

If you find yourself with a new pet this year, make sure you’re protected with pet health insurance.

Unexpected vet visits can be expensive. But that’s where pet insurance can help, by reimbursing you on veterinary bills.

Union Plus Pet Insurance is powered by Pets Best, and offers plans to fit all budgets and coverage needs.

Check out the Accident Only Pet Insurance Plan at only $6/month for cats and $9/month for dogs.

Enroll today and after the short, 3-day waiting period, you could have accident coverage.

Remember, the Accident Only Plan doesn’t cover disease or illness, so select the comprehensive BestBenefit Accident and Illness Plan if you want to include illness coverage.

For a free quote, go to:

Back to Stories Covered


MITAGS needs your current address! Have you moved recently? Did you remember to send MITAGS your new address for communications regarding courses? Please send your current contact information to or to the fax number below. New dedicated fax line for Admissions only: 1-443-568-1928. For all other MITAGS business, please continue to use: 410-859-5181.

For class availability or information on MITAGS courses and programs, contact Amanda Meadows, Admissions Coordinator, toll-free at 866-656-5568 or by e-mail:

Why not try our on-line calendar to register for class:

For Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC) processing, MMC problem resolution advice, STCW compliance and VA GI-Bill questions, contact MITAGS-PMI Student/Instructional Services Manager Jennifer Pitzen at 206-739-0720 (direct line); (888) 893-7829 (toll free); or by e-mail: Please include your Mariner Reference Number, date of birth and the last four digits of your social security number in all emails.

Please note the special addition to our on-campus schedule of MSC classes marked with an asterisk (*), which are not normally scheduled to be held at MITAGS.

AB – 4/16/18, 8/27/18, 10/15/18

AIS-1 – Automatic Identifications Systems Orientation: 5/23/18, 8/29/18

ARPA-OIC – Automated Radar Plotting Aids: 4/3/18, 9/25/18

AZIPOD 2-Day – 5/21/18, 10/15/18

BRM-35 – Bridge Resource Management: 2/26/18, 6/18/18, 9/24/18, 10/29/18

BRMP –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots: 2/22/18, 3/29/18, 5/21/18, 7/16/18, 12/19/18

BRMP-EMR –Bridge Resource Management for Pilots with Emergency Shiphandling: Contact Admissions

BRMP-Refresher – 3/26/18, 5/23/18, 7/18/18, 9/11/18

BT – Basic Safety Training: 4/9/18, 8/13/18, 10/22/18

BT-Revalidation (2-day) (Must have 1 year of seatime in last 5 years) – 2/7/18, 3/6/18, 4/2/18, 4/30/18, 6/18/18, 7/31/18, 8/27/18, 9/26/18, 10/31/18, 12/18/18

BT-Refresher (3-day) – 2/7/18, 3/5/18, 4/29/18, 7/30/18, 9/26/18, 12/17/18

CHS-OIC – Cargo Handling Basic: 5/7/18

[CMM – Chief Mate and Master Courses]

ADVSTB-CMM – Advanced Stability: 4/2/18, 6/11/18, 7/30/18, 9/24/18, 12/10/18

ADVWX-CMM – Advanced Meteorology: 3/12/18, 6/4/18, 8/6/18, 9/17/18, 12/3/18

CHS-CMM – Advanced Cargo Operations (2 weeks): 4/9/18, 10/1/18

CM-OPS 1 – Chief Mate Operations – Week 1: 3/5/18, 6/4/18, 8/6/18, 10/1/18

CM-OPS 2 Maersk – Chief Mate Operations II Maersk Specific: 3/12/18, 6/11/18, 8/13/18, 10/8/18

ECDIS – Electronic Chart Display Information Systems: 3/26/18, 6/25/18, 8/13/18, 11/12/18

LMS – Leadership and Managerial Skills (Management Level – Formerly MCL-CMM): 2/19/18, 5/14/18, 6/18/18, 8/20/18, 11/26/18

MPP-CMM – Marine Propulsion Plants: 3/5/18, 10/15/18

SEC-APPS – Practical Defense Tactics: 3/12/18, 10/1/18

SHMGT-CMM- Ship Management (2 weeks): 4/23/18, 10/29/18

SHS-ADV-I-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 1): 2/5/18, 3/5/18, 3/19/18, 4/9/18, 4/23/18, 5/7/18, 6/4/18, 6/18/18, 7/16/18, 7/30/18, 8/13/18, 9/10/18, 10/1/18, 11/5/18, 11/26/18

SHS-ADV-II-CMM – Advanced Shiphandling (week 2): 2/12/18, 3/12/18, 3/26/18, 4/16/18, 4/30/18, 5/14/18, 6/11/18, 6/25/18, 7/23/18, 8/6/18, 8/20/18, 9/17/18, 10/8/18, 11/12/18, 12/3/18

**SHS-ADV-I & II now approved to include SAR-CMM assessments at MITAGS effective immediately**

VPEN-CMM – Voyage Planning & Electronic Navigation: 3/19/18, 10/22/18

WKP-CMM – Advanced Watchkeeping: 5/7/18, 9/10/18

CNAV-OIC – Celestial Navigation: 4/23/18

CONT PLNG – Contingency Planning Workshop: Contact Admissions

CRISIS-COMMS – Crisis Communications: 2/19/18

CRSMGT – Crisis Management and Human Behavior – 7/12/18

CDMGT – Crowd Management – 7/13/18

CSE – Confined Space Entry: 7/23/18

CSE-AWR – Confined Space Entry Awareness: 5/24/18, 7/26/18

DDE – Great Lakes: 6/4/18

DPA – Contact Admissions

ECDIS for Pilots – 2/20/18, 5/24/18, 8/27/18, 12/17/18

ERM – Engine Resource Management: 4/23/18, 7/9/18, 11/26/18

FF-BADV – Fire Fighting Combined Basic & Advanced: 4/9/18, 8/13/18, 10/22/18

FF-ADV-Rev (1-day) (Must have 1 year of seatime in last 5 years) – Advanced Fire Fighting Revalidation: 2/6/18, 3/8/18, 4/4/18, 5/2/18, 6/20/18, 8/2/18, 8/29/18, 9/25/18, 10/30/18

FF-ADV-REF (2-day) – Advanced Fire Fighting Refresher: 2/10/18, 3/3/18, 4/27/18, 7/28/18, 9/29/18, 12/15/18

FSM – Fatigue, Sleep, & Medications: 4/17/18, 9/11/18

GL-Pilot – Great Lakes Pilotage Familiarization: Contact Admissions

GMDSS – Global Maritime Distress and Safety System: 3/5/18

HAZ – Hazardous Materials (5 day): 5/21/18, 8/20/18, 12/10/18

IEN – Integrated Electronic Navigation – Contact Admissions

LAP – 2/26/18, 7/9/18, 9/17/18

LAP-Great Lakes – License Advancement Program – Great Lakes: Contact Admissions

LAP-ORG3rd – License Advancement Program for Original 3rd Mate, Oceans, Any Gross
Ton License: Contact Admissions

LEG – Legal Aspects of Pilotage: 3/28/18, 4/18/18, 5/8/18, 9/12/18

LNG-TPIC – 12/3/18

LTS –Leadership and Teamworking Skills (Formerly MCL-OIC): 5/21/18

MEECE – Management of Electrical and Electronic Control Equipment (Assessments not included): 2/12/18, 4/30/18, 7/16/18, 12/3/18

MED-PIC – Medical Person in Charge: 3/19/18, 5/7/18, 7/9/18, 10/8/18, 11/26/18

MED-PIC-REF– Medical Person in Charge Refresher: 4/23/18, 6/25/18, 8/20/18, 9/17/18

MED-PRO – Medical Care Provider: 3/19/18, 4/16/18, 5/7/18, 10/8/18, 11/26/18

MED-DOT-DA – Dept. of Transportation Drug & Alcohol Testing: 2/5/18, 3/9/18, 4/5/18, 5/3/18, 5/12/18, 6/21/18, 7/14/18, 8/30/18, 9/24/18, 10/13/18, 10/29/18, 12/1/18, 12/21/18

MSA –Maritime Security Awareness: Contact Admissions

[MSC – Military Sealift Command Courses]

MSC-CBRD-1 – Military Sealift Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defense Orientation (Basic): 2/23/18, 5/24/18, 6/8/18, 8/8/18, 9/12/18, 11/14/18

MSC-DC – Military Sealift Command Damage Control: 2/21/18, 5/22/18, 6/6/18, 8/6/18, 9/13/18, 11/12/18

*MSC-ENVPRO – 2/25/18, 6/3/18, 8/5/18, 11/4/18

*MSC-FF-HELO – 6/4/18, 8/13/18, 10/31/18

MSC-SMA – Military Sealift Command Small Arms Qualifications: 2/26/18, 5/14/18, 6/11/18, 7/16/18, 8/12/18, 9/17/18, 11/5/18

*MSC-Security Watch Basic – 2/24/18, 5/13/18, 6/9/18, 8/9/18, 9/15/18, 11/2/18

*MSC-Security Watch Advanced – 3/2/18, 5/18/18, 6/10/18, 7/15/18, 8/10/18, 9/16/18, 11/3/18

*MSC-Ship’s Reaction Force – 3/3/18, 5/19/18, 6/15/18, 7/20/18, 8/17/18, 9/21/18, 11/9/18

NSAP-MMP – Navigational Skills Assessment Program-MM&P – 3/29/18, 4/23/18, 4/25/18, 6/25/18, 6/27/18, 7/31/18, 8/2/18, 8/28/18, 8/30/18, 11/12/18, 11/14/18, 12/17/18, 12/19/18

ROR-1 – Radar Observer Renewal: 9/24/18

ROR-1N – Radar Observer Renewal Evening Classes: 2/7/18, 2/21/18, 3/7/18, 3/21/18, 4/4/18, 4/18/18, 5/2/18, 5/9/18, 5/16/18, 6/6/18, 6/20/18, 7/11/18, 7/25/18, 8/8/18, 8/22/18, 10/3/18, 10/17/18, 10/31/18, 11/7/18, 11/14/18, 11/28/18, 12/5/18, 12/12/18, 12/19/18

ROU-OIC – Radar Observer Program – Unlimited: 9/17/18

SAR – Search & Rescue – (Now with OIC and CMM assessments): 5/22/18, 12/17/18

SHS-BAS-OIC – Basic Shiphandling: 5/14/18, 8/27/18, 10/22/18

SHS-EMR5 – Emergency Shiphandling-5 Day – 2/19/18, 3/12/18, 4/2/18, 5/21/18, 7/23/18, 9/24/18, 10/29/18, 12/10/18

SMS – Contact Admissions

STB-OIC – Ship Construction and Basic Stability: Contact Admissions

TCNAV/CO – Terrestrial Navigation and Compasses: Contact Admissions

TPIC – Tankerman Person in Charge: 2/12/18, 4/16/18, 7/9/18

TRAC-TUG-2: Contact Admissions

TTT – Contact Admissions

VPDSD – Vessel Personnel with Designated Security Duties: 4/12/18

VSO – Vessel Security Officer: 2/14/18, 4/9/18, 7/9/18

WKP-OIC – Watchkeeping (Operational Level): 2/19/18

WX-OIC –Meteorology (Operational Level): 3/19/18

Back to Stories Covered


Winter-Spring 2018

For registration, please contact our registrar, Mary McGhee, at 206.838.1126 or You can also view our schedule and enroll online at

February 2018
6th Hazwoper Refresher
8th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
9-10 Basic Training Revalidation
12th Radar Renewal
12-14 Security Officer – Vessel, Company, and Facility
12-16 Basic Training
12-23 GMDSS
19-21 24-Hour Hazwoper
20-23 Advanced Firefighting
23rd Medical DOT
24-26 Basic Training Revalidation (no class on Sunday)
26-2 Medical Care Provider
26-9 Medical Person-In-Charge
27th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
27th Vessel Personnel w/ Designated Security Duties (VPDSD)

March 2018
5-9 Engine Resource Management
7th Hazwoper Refresher
8th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
9-10 Basic Training Revalidation
12th Radar Renewal
12-16 MEECE
12-16 Tankerman PIC
13-16 Advanced Firefighting
19-21 24-Hour Hazwoper
19-23 Basic Training
19-23 Leadership & Managerial Skills
23-24 Basic Training Revalidation
26th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
26th Medical DOT
26-30 Able Seaman
27th Vessel Personnel w/ Designated Security Duties (VPDSD)

April 2018
3-6 ARPA
9-13 Basic Training
9-20 GMDSS
9-20 Watchkeeping (Operational Level)
9-27 Terrestrial & Coastal Navigation
11th Hazwoper Refresher
13th Radar Renewal
13-14 Basic Training Revalidation
16th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
16-18 24-Hour Hazwoper
16-20 Medical Care Provider
16-27 Medical Person-In-Charge
23rd Vessel Personnel w/ Designated Security Duties (VPDSD)
23-4 GMDSS
23-4 Watchkeeping (Operational Level)
26th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
27-28 Basic Training Revalidation
30-4 Leadership & Managerial Skills

May 2018
7-11 Radar Observer Unlimited
7-18 License Preparation
9th Hazwoper Refresher
11-12 Basic Training Revalidation
11-14 Basic Training Refresher (no class on Sunday)
14th Radar Renewal
14-18 Basic Training
14-18 Ship Construction and Basic Stability
15th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
21-23 Search and Rescue
21-25 ECDIS
23-25 24-Hour Hazwoper
25th Vessel Personnel w/ Designated Security Duties (VPDSD)
29-31 Security Officer – Vessel, Company, and Facility
29-1 Advanced Firefighting

June 2018
2-4 Basic Training Revalidation (no class on Sunday)
4th Radar Renewal
4th Leadership & Teamworking Skills
4-8 Medical Care Provider
4-15 Medical Person-In-Charge
5-8 ARPA
11-14 Advanced Firefighting
11-22 GMDSS
11-22 Watchkeeping (Operational Level)
18-22 Engine Resource Management
22-23 Basic Training Revalidation
22-24 Basic Training Refresher
25th Advanced Firefighting Revalidation
25-29 Meteorology (Operational Level)
25-29 Leadership & Managerial Skills
26th Medical DOT

Back to Stories Covered

The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly is the official electronic newsletter of the International Organization of Masters, Mates, & Pilots, ILA, AFL-CIO, 700 Maritime Blvd. Suite B, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090-1953. Phone: 410-850-8700; Fax: 410-850-0973. All rights reserved. The MM&P Wheelhouse Weekly © 2017. Articles can be reprinted without prior permission if credit is given to The MM&P WheelhouseWeekly. For subscriptions, address changes or messages to the editor or to MM&P headquarters, e-mail Back issues of The Weekly are posted on