It’s hard to ignore that today is Valentine’s Day. To me Valentine’s Day is an excuse to eat more chocolate than I should and buy myself some flowers. So whether you enjoy or despise Valentine’s Day, or fall somewhere in between like me, I can only repeat the old saying, Love is so much more than a four letter word. Whatever you do today, I hope it’s enjoyable.

It has been a fairly quiet week. I think everyone is hunkered down working on projects and the day-to-day stuff of our jobs. ASCLD through CFSO has been working hard on getting favorable funding from the Justice For All Act (JFAA) if the federal budget is ever passed. This is the time of year that I start contemplating new projects for grant proposals and agency budget requests that will hit in the spring and summer. The ASCLD Forensic Research Committee has put out a new list of research priorities. I see a few items on there that my lab would be interested in collaborating with research partners. Don’t forget for those labs who have participated in FRC projects, there are three awards you can apply for. The ASCLD FRC Award Submission Deadline has been extended to February 25th. Award categories are: Innovation Award, Outstanding Evaluation/Validation Award, and the LEAP Collaboration Award
This is your opportunity to highlight the great work your lab has completed. For more information:

COVID numbers are dropping around the country and hopefully like last year the spring and summer months will feel closer to normal with many of the restrictions and mandates lifted. Our Reno Symposium planning is in high gear. Are you wondering what the RISEN reception is? We decided to combine the various specialty welcome receptions into one. It includes the Retirees, International, Students, Emeritus, and New attendees. We couldn’t find a good name for the reception so I used an acronym. (I really wanted to use SIREN since it is a bit more fun but maybe too alarming.) In past meetings, the Board of Directors had to scatter to try to pop into the individual receptions for very brief moments and we wanted more time to spend with these attendees. Combining them all in one group gives us the opportunity to spend quality time with the attendees and welcome them to the symposium. So if you meet one of those categories, please attend. I might pin a letter on you and see how many times I can spell SIREN in a group photo.

Thanks to some help from the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Lab, we will have a contingency of therapy dogs arriving off and on throughout the symposium. With that concept in mind, new to the symposium this year is the “Breakfast Club”. (I don’t know if I violated any copyright laws with that one or not.) We will have the North Carolina State Crime Laboratory Forensic Scientist Supervisor Matt Wood introduce participants to NC SCL Therapy Dog, Lady. He will provide information and suggestions on how you might be able to get a similar program in your laboratory. It’s free but you do need to register to attend.

One Technical note that I would like to bring to your attention. The SWGDAM lineage marker committee asked that we draw your attention to their letter posted here regarding the Y chromosome Haplotype Reference Database (YHRD) changes to its search capabilities. This notice serves to provide laboratories the most up-to-date information about the approaching YHRD changes and how laboratories can prepare.

And one note for Ramona in the ASCLD office. Have you paid your dues? We have the option to pay by credit card now. It’s a breeze!

I hope you all have a great week. I could handle another quiet one.