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200 Degrees opens second coffee shop in Birmingham

first_imgSpeciality coffee roaster 200 Degrees has opened a second shop in Birmingham.The opening of the new store, which is situated on Lower Temple Street, follows the success of its coffee shop and barista school on Colmore Row in 2016.As well as speciality coffee roasted at 200 Degrees’ Nottingham HQ, the store will serve deli-style sandwiches, baguettes and a range of salads, soups, cakes and pastries, with vegan and gluten-free options available.“The decision to open a second coffee shop in Birmingham was an easy one for us. With the Colmore Row shop being so well received, we knew it was the right time to open another and its location near Birmingham New Street is ideal for everyone,” said Tom Vincent, co-founder and director.“Birmingham is only the second location in which we’ve opened a second coffee shop and I think that’s down to the fantastic support we’ve had from our customers and the wider business community in the city. We’re very excited to contribute further to the fantastic food and drink scene here.“We look forward to welcoming those who know us, as well as new faces, whether they’re looking to swipe a coffee, or stay a little longer and enjoy a brew and a bite to eat in a relaxed, comfortable setting.”The opening is the tenth for 200 Degrees since 2014, its most recent being in Liverpool’s Metquarter centre.last_img read more

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Simit sandwich bread launched JJ Foodservice

first_imgLondon-based JJ Foodservice has extended its bakery range with simit bread.Available for 99p for a pack of four on a limited basis, the bread can be used to add interest to traditional sandwich menus, said the company.The circular bread, found predominantly in Turkey and the Middle East, typically contains sesame seeds. Less commonly, it is made with poppy, flax or sunflower seeds.JJ Foodservice is backing the launch with a #SimitSmiles campaign that encourages consumers to share how they eat simit bread by posting images to Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.“We want consumers to send us their favourite fillings to help celebrate simit. The new range is perfect for picnics and sharing occasions at home. In foodservice, they also add interest to café and sandwich shop menus,” said Sezer Ozkul, chief product officer for JJ Foodservice.JJ Foodservice has also rolled out a range of Turkish-style savoury pastries named boreks in cheese, potato and spinach & cheese variants.And the wholesale supplier has added baklava to its own-label range. The Turkish sweet dessert is made with chopped nuts and filo pastry, and is traditionally served with ice cream.All products are available frozen, can be oven-baked and are suitable warm or at room temperature.Interest in Middle Eastern-style breads has been growing in the UK, with Turkish bakery brand Simit Sarayi now operating 13 sites in London, for example.For more on Turkish pastries and how UK bakers could make more use of filo pastry, see the British Baker feature here.last_img read more

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Umphrey’s McGee Continued Their Jake-Less Run With A Wild Performance With Joshua Redman And Spafford [Recap / Setlist]

first_imgUmphrey’s McGee soldiered on with their Jake Cinninger-less run of shows through the northeast with a strong two-set performance at the Palace Theatre in Albany, NY. They were joined once again by modern jazz saxophonist Joshua Redman, who would perform huge chunks of both sets with the band, as well as opening act Spafford, who delivered another lights-out set to start things off.Spafford’s opening set was short but sweet. Hitting the stage at 7:30 pm, the band weaved three songs into their 40-minute support slot. Kicking things off with “Funkadelic”, the real improvisational fireworks came during “Salamander Song”, which featured a lengthy sit-in from Joel Cummins of Umphrey’s McGee. Spafford finished their set with an energetic take on “Lonely”.Umphrey’s McGee opened their first set with a trio of classic tunes dating back to their early days. “Divisions,” “Prowler,” and “2nd Self” were all debuted between 1998 and 2000, continuing Umphrey’s feature of older songs while Jake Cinninger continues to be on the sidelines with the flu. Joshua Redman emerged in time for a rare “The Weight Around,” which was performed for the first time since September 2016, and only the thirteenth time since it’s debut in 2010. Redman would remain on stage for the rest of the set. “Gone For Good” followed, a relatively newer song that has been making its way into regular rotation after its debut on New Year’s Day in 2016. The set was brought to a close with two of the band’s biggest multi-sectional progressive songs, the reggae-tinged “Higgins” and an out-of-this-world version of “Ocean Billy”.To start set two, Redman joined the band for an interesting “1348”. The song contains one of the most famous duel-guitar moments in Umphrey’s McGee’s catalog, but Redman slotted into Cinninger’s empty spot to complete the harmony and make the song whole. It’s been an adventure watching Umphrey’s navigate their catalog without Cinninger, making the best out of a situation that’s out of their control, and perhaps this performance of “1348” found them fully comfortable on stage. “1348” then wandered off into a “Jimmy Stewart”, another segment typically led by Cinninger’s hand signals.The organized improv segment then transitioned into a fun and jazzy version of “Intentions Clear”, which was followed by the completion of “1348”. Redman stuck on stage for one more song, an epic “Walletsworth”, before taking his bow and finishing off his guest appearance. The band then hit a wild version of “40’s Theme”, which is typically sung by Cinninger, but was taken over by Cummins for a truly unique version of the song. Umphrey’s then brought the set to its conclusion with a version of “In The Kitchen” that slowly moved into “Don’t You Forget About Me” by Simple Minds. For the encore, Umphrey’s busted out a song written by Cinninger and his band Ali Baba’s Tahini, “Resolution”, which then moved back into the closing stanza of “In The Kitchen”.Joshua Redman finishes his guest spots with Umphrey’s McGee tonight with a show at Anthology in Rochester, NY. Umphrey’s and Spafford will continue their tour together next weekend with three shows in Michigan. See below for full setlists from Umphrey’s McGee and Spafford from the Palace Theatre. Umphrey’s McGee | Palace Theatre | Albany, NY | 1/28/17Set One: Divisions, Prowler > 2nd Self, Weight Around[*], Gone For Good[*], Higgins[*], Ocean Billy[*]Set Two: 1348[*] > Jimmy Stewart[*] > Intentions Clear[*] > 1348[*], Walletsworth[*], 40’s Theme, In The Kitchen > Don’t You Forget About Me[#]Encore: Resolution > In The Kitchen* with Joshua Redman on Saxophone# Simple Minds coverSpafford | Palace Theatre | Albany, NY | 1/28/17Funkadelic, Salamander Song[*], Lonely* w/ Joel Cummins of Umphrey’s McGee on keyboardlast_img read more

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Holidaze Is Taking A “Siesta” In 2019

first_imgCloud 9 Adventures has announced that their annual Holidaze event will not be returning in 2019.The Holidaze tradition started back in 2007 with host bands Umphrey’s McGee and The Disco Biscuits, creating what would be the first concert vacation of its kind. The “Holidaze family” eventually expanded with STS9 as another host band, along with a reliable rotation of up-and-coming bands, thousands of loyal fans, and various locations, including the Caribbean, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic.According to the company’s announcement, Holidaze is taking a “siesta in 2019,” but will return the “following winter” for what will be the “best Holidaze experience yet”. Read the full message:In related news, yesterday, Cloud 9’s Jam Cruise detailed their plans for their 18th-annual voyage, setting sail January 7th–12th, 2020. Returning to the MSC Divina for the first time since 2016, the boat will make port stops in Ocean Cay, Bahamas and Costa Maya, Mexico after embarking from Miami, FL. In addition, after expanding to six days and three port stops for Jam Cruise 17, this year’s cruise will return to its previous 5-day, 2-port schedule.For all Cloud 9 Adventures news, head to their website.last_img read more

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To the heart of a movement

first_img“I really wrestled in a whole new way with American history as I see it and teach it and study it,” said Jill Lepore, in a talk Wednesday night (Oct. 27) sponsored by the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History, “and American history as it was being preached on the streets and on Fox News.”The David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History and a writer for The New Yorker, Lepore was speaking of the challenges she faced in reporting her latest book, “The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party’s Revolution and the Battle over American History,” published this month to positive reviews.The book is something of a departure for Lepore in that it deals with contemporary politics, but it is also in some ways a logical progression from her previous work, which, as Warren Center Director Nancy Cott said in her introduction, tries to bring history to a broader audience and examines “how the public is absorbing or failing to absorb” that history. Lepore began working on the book, she said, shortly after the election of Scott Brown as the state’s junior senator, which made her realize, “Wow, the tea party is really a pretty powerful political force right here in Massachusetts” — a traditionally liberal state, home of the original Tea Party, and the birthplace of the Revolution. After hearing the movement’s arguments, she added, “It led me to wonder where these people got their ideas.”The several passages she read from the book were engaging, exhibiting humor, immediacy, and, for many in the intimate crowd in Robinson Hall’s history library, a disconcerting picture of an increasingly influential slice of 2010 America, an America that considers Fox News commentator Glenn Beck its “history professor.”The tea party, which appeared on the scene about six weeks after Barack Obama’s inauguration — a large part of it driven and funded by what were once anti-Obama campaign organizations, Lepore said — is more disparate than some may think, representing, according to Lepore, a range of views. But many of its adherents have a few things in common. They share the “widespread belief among people in the far right that our profession [historians] consists of socialists who are indoctrinating America’s schoolchildren.” They tend to use “religion as history,” thus rendering it “incontrovertible.” They emphasize the American Revolution as an attempt to establish free markets and the Constitution as a document that enshrines the United States as a Christian nation. And they are unified in an idea that “collapses time” between past and present.While reporting the book, Lepore said, she would often imagine the ghosts of Crispus Attucks and other figures of the American Revolution drifting by as she talked to tea partiers. She said she empathized with many of those she interviewed, and conceded that it was sometimes difficult to “think historically while being a participant-observer at a moment of American history.” And she wondered whether historians carry some responsibility for the many misperceptions that seem so rampant in the United States today.“But scientists have done a very good job of explaining global warming,” she said during the question-and-answer session, “and these people don’t believe them, either.” She said she was gratified, on the other hand, when she spoke to a group of tea partiers, several of whom came up after her talk and said they wished they could take her classes. “Some of them don’t love Glenn Beck,” she said, “they just love history” — though many seem to have read little of it from a scholarly perspective. She also disputed the notion that the tea party rests on a foundation of racism stemming from Obama’s election as president. “The people I met were deeply wounded by the idea that they were racist,” she said. But disproportionate to non-tea partiers, she added, those in the movement believe the United States has moved beyond racism.“The election of Barack Obama kind of rips a tear in the fabric of time,” she said. “Everything is sort of set loose.”last_img read more

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Seeing brain activity in ‘almost real time’

first_img Science at the speed of ‘light-sheet’ Study reveals way that scans can track rapid oscillations previously unseen Spotting speedy brain activity The speed of the human brain is remarkable. Almost immediately upon being exposed to stimuli, neurons are activated, prompting subconscious reactions and, a fraction of a second later, thought. But the speed at which we can noninvasively follow brain function using an MRI is not as impressive. Functional MRI (fMRI), which measures changes in blood-oxygen levels, has revolutionized neuroscience by revealing functional aspects of the brain, but the vascular changes fMRI measures can take up to six seconds in humans — a veritable eon in brain time.In a paper published in Science Advances, investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in collaboration with colleagues at King’s College London, the French human-health research organization Inserm, and elsewhere, have discovered a fundamentally new way to measure neuronal function using a technology that can pick up changes in the brain as much as 60 times faster. The team presents data from preclinical studies indicating that the technique can track brain activity within 100 milliseconds of stimuli being applied.Magnetic resonance elastography (MRE), which creates maps of tissue stiffness using an MRI scanner, was developed in 1995 by researchers at the Mayo Clinic and was initially applied to studying liver fibrosis. “MRE has been applied to a number of things, including, more recently, the brain,” said Sam Patz, a physicist in the Brigham’s Department of Radiology and a professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School. “But no one had observed regional changes in brain-tissue stiffness in relation to neuronal activity. We didn’t even know that happened in the brain on a scale that would be reflected in an MRI scan.”Initially Patz, a co-corresponding author of the paper, was just trying to get MRE working at the Brigham, and had planned to study scar tissue in the lungs. “But using this type of imaging technology to look at the lungs involves subjects breathing a special gas that’s made in the lab with a laser, and it’s a logistical nightmare to get both of the technologies going simultaneously,” he said. “So we decided to start with the mouse brain instead because it didn’t involve using a special gas. We skipped the lungs and went right to the brain, and because of this exciting result we’ve stayed there ever since.”Since it was Patz’s first foray into MRE scans, he teamed up with a colleague, co-corresponding author Ralph Sinkus, who is a pioneer in the technique. Sinkus, a physicist and professor at King’s College London, played a key role both in getting the MRE research program started for preclinical testing in Patz’s Boston-based lab and in carrying out the research being reported. The work is the culmination of the five-year collaboration between the two men and other colleagues from Boston and Europe.The exciting result the team saw was that the anesthetized mouse’s auditory cortex — a part of the temporal lobe that processes information that comes in through the sense of hearing — was stiffening, and initially no one knew why. “There was no reason in the beginning to think a stimulus would cause a change in brain stiffness,” said Patz. “We were just looking to use normal MRE scans to measure the elasticity in a fixed state. In fact, we expected that all cortical regions of the brain would have the same stiffness and hence we wondered why that particular part of the brain was stiffer.”Patz had a hunch that the loud noise from the MRI scanner was causing the auditory cortex in the anesthetized animal to stiffen. He then did an experiment where he plugged one of the mouse’s ear canals with a gel. Sure enough, when he took another “elastogram” of the mouse’s brain, he could see that the auditory cortex on the hemisphere that processed sound from that ear had begun to soften. “That’s when I knew we were onto something that was potentially revolutionary.”“The results were so unexpected that we had to pursue them,” said Sinkus, “and this observation is what sparked everything else.”The work, which started out as an intuition and is now being borne out by rigorous experiments, represents the collaboration of an international team dedicated to pursuing this new way of imaging brain function. “This work is the result of a very strong collaboration with the Sinkus group,” said Patz. “In fact, Professor Sinkus right now is in Oslo getting more human functional elastography data.” The team is currently studying the technique in human participants both in Boston and Europe.In preclinical studies, this initial observation has been replicated, showing which regions of the brain stiffen or soften under various types of stimulus timing. For example, the team also used the new protocol to compare the stiffness of the brain in two different functional states that correspond to a stimulus applied or not applied to the hind limb in mice. The researchers present data showing that modulating the stimulus influenced the location, phase, and intensity of the elasticity changes seen in the brain, meaning that scientists can visualize regional responses in the brain as they unfold at high speed. “The intriguing novelty of this approach is that the stiffening and softening of specific brain regions persists even when stimuli as short as 100 milliseconds are presented to the mouse,” said Patz.For these experiments, the Patz group developed a new apparatus to apply tiny mechanical vibrations to the mouse brain. The Sinkus team developed a new mathematical approach to calculating functional elastograms from the raw data, as well as an elastography device for humans about the size of a pack of cigarettes. It’s held up to the head using a swimming cap during the MRI to create mechanical waves that travel through the brain. “It’s a little more aggressive than a nice head massage but no one has really complained,” said Patz. Related Sinkus and Patz agreed that the changes in stiffness parallel neuronal activity, allowing one to “see the brain thinking,” in Sinkus’s words, in almost real-time. The new technique is expected to have implications for diagnosing and understanding conditions in which neuronal activity may be slowed, disrupted, or rerouted, such as multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, and even psychiatric disorders. “The data we are publishing was obtained in mice,” said Patz, “but translation of this technology to humans is straightforward and initial studies are currently underway.”The new technology has shown neuromechanical changes in the brain that link to neuronal activity as fast as 100 milliseconds but, said Patz, “We now have preliminary data that can test neuronal changes much faster, as fast as 24 milliseconds.” He expects, too, that elastography will become much more commonplace. “We look forward to working with clinicians to applying the technique to various diseases,” he said.Funding for this work was provided by the National Institutes of Health, the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program under grant agreement No 668039, German Research Foundation, Brigham and Women’s Hospital Department of Radiology and Boston University Department of Engineering, the Wellcome/EPSRC Centre for Medical Engineering, and the European Union Seventh Framework Programme. New technique enables subcellular imaging of brain tissue 1,000 times faster than other methods last_img read more

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Tony Winners LaChanze, Alice Ripley & More Headline Living for Today Benefit Concert

first_img The event will also feature The Skivvies (Lauren Molina and Nick Cearley), DeQuina Moore, Eric Anderson (who is set to appear in the upcoming Rocky), Tituss Burgess, Tony Yazbeck, Hannah Elless, Autumn Hulbert along with more special guests to help defy the frozen weather outside! LaChanze Past performers who have offered their talents to Living for Today include Emmy winner Candice Bergen, Tony winner Stephen Spinella, Tony nominee Kerry Butler, Paige Davis, Kate Shindle, Jim Walton, Aaron Lazar, Max Von Essen and Stephanie D’Abruzzo. View Comments We never get tired of seeing a bunch of divas singing their hearts out for a good cause! Tony winner LaChanze (who is readying to return to Broadway in If/Then), Tony winner Alice Ripley, Julia Murney, Tony nominee Kerry Butler and Tony nominee Vanessa Williams will perform in Living for Today, the sixth annual benefit for Gilana’s Fund. The concert, which provides funding for educational programming promoting acceptance and understanding of our communities, each other and ourselves, will take place on January 19 at Joe’s Pub. Star Files Click below to see David Alpert, the producer and director of Living for Today (and Gilana’s brother), talk about the history of the benefit concert and show some exciting footage from previous years!last_img read more

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Legislature, business scuffle over Yankee, health, housing

first_imgLegislature, business scuffle over Yankee, health, housingby Art EdelsteinA variety of issues emerged from the 2008 legislative session of particular interest to Vermont’s business community. The cost of workers’ compensation, energy and the decommissioning of Vermont Yankee, health care, the declining quality of roads and bridges and the cross border passport issue are among several that came up in discussion with members of the Legislature and business leaders.Legislators must also pass some parts of the governor’s $214 million economic stymulus plan, which he announced April 19, 2008. (see www.vermontbiz.com for complete details of the plan)Workers’ compensation and its high cost in Vermont was an issue raised by Steve Adams, R-Hartland, the House minority leader. As of this writing Senate bill S345 has the best chance of passing both houses. Adams said the bill aims to reduce cost of workers’ compensation by addressing fraud, deductible policies, and calculation of the weekly wage. The bill House Republicans introduced, H831, said Adams, “won’t go anywhere.”According to Adams, S345 “won’t really reduce rates.” He said Vermont has the highest workers’ compensation rates in the nation, which “stymies economic development.” H831, he said, “would in fact lower rates but that bill won’t be taken up.”The Vermont Chamber of Commerce in its legislative update report, said it wants “greater cost savings from benefit realignment, which includes setting the minimum compensation rate at 15 percent of the average weekly wage (currently at 50 percent) and setting the maximum weekly compensation rate at 100 percent of the average weekly wage (currently at 150 percent); and offsetting wage replacement benefits for injured workmen who are not permanently disabled once they become eligible for certain governmental benefits.”Adams is not sure S345 will pass. According to him, “the bill doesn’t help but it doesn’t hurt.”Another issue of concern to House Republicans and the Vermont State Chamber of Commerce is the cost involved in the eventual decommissioning of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon.”I’m hearing a lot about S373 and the decommissioning fund,” said Adams. Entergy, the company that owns the plant, he explained, wants to spin off some of its other nuclear facilities, ones that are currently stand alones, into a new company called Newco (ultimately, the name would change to something less generic).Adams said this plan is “about economies of scale, they save money and rate payers would save money through economy of scale.” The thrust of S373, according to him, is that the Legislature would let Entergy “spin off plants into Newco.”Tony Klein, D-East Montpelier/Middlesex, serves on the House Natural Resources and Energy Committee and has a very different view of the bill and this issue. He said Vermont Yankee had already submitted an application for relicensing on March 2. According to him, the fund set aside for decommissioning the plant needs to be assured to reach the estimated $700 million decommissioning cost.While the fund is currently at $440 million, Klein said, those who want more control over the funding of decommissioning do not think the current fund, and the money it earns, will be enough to meet expected expenses should the plant be relicensed for 20 more years beyond the current date of 2012 to the year 2032.Klein said that those who oppose the decommissioning bill “assume that decommissioning in 2032 will cost the same as in 2012.” He believes the cost will be much higher and the state has to assure that Entergy will be able to cover the costs, not Vermont ratepayers.Adams said the decommissioning fund is not a fund Vermont ratepayers should contribute to.”It’s a fund by federal law administered by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. It’s managed by Mellon Bank.”According to Adams, if the bill passes requiring Entergy to assure there will be enough money in the fund, “then Entergy will pass on to local rate payers the cost of raising the additional money for the decommissioning fund.”In Adams’ view, “If Vermont Yankee shuts downs in 2012 and there is the five-year cool down time, there will be enough money in the fund.” He did not address the 2032 date.Adams said there is a greater issue with S373.”It does something not done before, it has the Legislature interfere with a public docket item the Public Service Board is currently working on.””That alone,” warns Adams, “ought to cause us to stop working on this bill. This isn’t the Legislature’s area to work on.””The business community is very suspicious of the regulatory process here if the Legislature is going to interfere in the process,” said Adams. “When is a deal a deal? they are asking.”Duane Marsh at the Vermont Chamber of Commerce said his group’s position on energy and Yankee is that “all energy alternatives need to be part of future energy mix, including nuclear.””We want to see that it doesn’t become so difficult for Yankee’s renewal that they do not continue toward renewing their license in 2012.”The actions by the Legislature, in his view, will “make it difficult to comply and give the sense to Yankee that it is so difficult to stay here and that they decide not to.”In another issue of concern to the business community, Adams said, was the cross border passport issue which deals with the federal government’s Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. That legislation requires passports for all those crossing the US Canada/Mexico border. Business, he said, supports the creation of the enhanced drivers license rather than requiring everyone to have a passport. S358 addresses the issue, one he sees as a tourism initiative.”Vermont businesses,” he noted, “rely on tourism.”The bill passed the Senate and as of this writing was in the House Transportation Committee. The bill creates the enhanced drivers license.The issue of the declining quality of the state’s bridges and roads came up in discussions with Adams, Klein and Marsh.While the Douglas Administration has decided to put $3 million into Operation Smooth Ride, to fix potholes this year, there is a legislative push for the state to sell bonds to raise money for a more significant effort to improve the transportation infrastructure.Adams said the state had “done the best we can with the funds we have.”He attributes part of the problem to previous administrations, including the administration of Howard Dean.”It’s coming home to roost,” claims Adams, of the borrowing from the Transportation Fund in previous years.Adams said he favors bonding, which Douglas generally opposes.”We can’t afford to do what we have to do, it will cost a couple million to keep up.”He justified his position saying, “It will cost us less to pay for the bond today than to just purchase materials outright in the future. I’ve said interest rates will never be lower, we have a AAA bond rating.”Bonding beyond the $50 million accepted by Douglas, “will not happen this year,” said Adams.Klein said the Legislature “didn’t take from the Transportation Fund for unrelated activities.”According to him, the Douglas Administration’s transportation budget “had a deficit to begin with. They were making up the deficit by cutting across the Transportation Agency budget.”He sees Operation Smooth Road as a reaction to all the media interest in potholes. He called this program “operation road aspirin.”The House passed a requirement for looking into bonding which the governor doesn’t like, said Klein. According to him, “This governor is going to hold fast to not increasing taxes and he is betting the infrastructure while he is in power, but we all know the infrastructure will fall apart sometime.”Marsh said there has been too much diversion of funds from the transportation trust fund over the years. He said the figure was “close to $500 million in the past 20 years.”His answer to the problem was “to find ways to look at current spending levels to see what can be done from current levels to overcome the situation created.”The Chamber opposed a gas tax increase in the previous session.”Our policy is to stop diversions, and see what we can do,” said Marsh. “We want to look carefully at bonding, an alternative that needs to be considered.”Health care is an important issue for business this legislative session.Andrea Cohen, the Public Policy Coordinator with Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility, said her organization wants the Legislature to begin exploring public financing for health care as “a more equitable system than we currently have.”VBSR members gripe about “the great expense members incur to insure families.”According to Cohen, under Catamount Health, competitors who don’t provide insurance pay $1 a day per worker to that program. As a result some VBSR employers spend $8,000 to $110,000 a year to insure workers and they do not see a level playing field “when our businesses spend so much money and the cost increases by 10 percent a year.”According to Cohen, “we have an equity issue, our employers pay so much and others pay $1 a day.”She gave the example of a construction company paying for health care at bidding time is unable to compete with a company paying $1 a day under Catamount Health rules.She sees premiums increasing yearly, while “the quality of insurance and benefits they can provide is decreasing and includes higher deductibles. We have a system relying on employer-sponsored insurance and it is crumbling,” notes Cohen.VBSR “wants to separate insurance from employment. We want to decouple health care. We have goals like public financing to pay for this.”The Vermont Chamber of Commerce supported a no vote on H887, which, according to Marsh, would shift more cost onto private sector premiums, while enhancing the access and thus cost of Catamount Health. He said “the bill does contain some good provisions, but amendments to eliminate the problems failed on the House floor.”The Chamber doesn’t like new mandates placed on insurance policies. An example is post-divorce coverage where a divorced person has the right to stay on their ex spouse’s policy with any extra cost paid by two parties. “It still makes a business a partner in a divorce settlement,” argues Marsh.The provision for coverage for adult children up to age 23 is unacceptable to the Chamber. Marsh said the cost to private insurance payers would be $16 million to $32 million a year because these health insurance costs are being born by businesses that pay a portion of the policy. The current coverage provisions end at age 19.Marsh said upping the coverage age “sends a wrong message to a child not attending college who should be seeking employment. If coverage is not available they are eligible for Catamount Health, a subsidized policy. By staying on a family policy the Catamount product isn’t available to them.”The Chamber wants to see elimination of the 75 percent rule where currently an insurance carrier doesn’t have to sell to a business unless 75 percent of employees sign up.Marsh said the new Catamount provisions would eliminate that completely, which will lead to “adverse selection. Which means business can have multiple carriers within their company.” The Chamber is concerned about the ramifications to insurance rates.”You have to balance good risk with bad risk,” said Marsh.The Chamber wants to study what a single-payer system would look like and how it would be funded. It also wants to study what the system would look like if it were government intervention free.”We want a cost comparison, structural comparison and we want the information to go forward.”We think Catamount Health should work and be sustainable before we expand it,” said Dawn Francis at the Greater Burlington Industrial Corp. “We oppose the cost implications of the bill as currently drafted.”Klein was blunt in discussing the current legislative initiatives on health care.”Nobody likes what we have now for health care in terms of cost and coverage,” he admitted. “Most reasonable people would agree we can’t get universal coverage in one step. Anything that we can do to move forward on an incremental basis is better than nothing I believe. I think that is what the Legislature has attempted to do this session. The Legislature wanted to go further but there is no money.”There is considerable discussion about H863 “AN ACT RELATING TO CREATION AND PRESERVATION OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND SMART GROWTH DEVELOPMENT.”The governor advanced an alternative, The Vermont Neighborhoods Bill. Marsh said the problem with the bill passed by the House “is it doesn’t allow for construction of needed homes to increase supply and reduce overall costs.”He said under this legislation “500 homes would be produced and the need is in the 12,000 home range, we need to balance demand and supply and control costs.”The Chamber said the Legislature “wants to contain housing to contiguous areas. We think there are areas of development that can be made without impacting the character of Vermont. We want to make it easier for more homes to be built.””What I heard on the floor of the house from developers,” said Klein, is “less regulation means more housing. That is a discussion most Vermonters don’t approve of anymore. We are well beyond that.”He said the Vermont Neighborhoods Bill, was a gut of Act 250. “What it did,” he explained, “was it took language from other programs tightly designed around their location. The program the administration offered was to let them build what they want where they want with no guaranteed of any affordability.””We are following H863 housing bill very closely,” said Francis with GBIC. Her group opposes the bill in its current form. “It offers very little gain for a lot of pain. We’re concerned the bill is too restrictive for the amount of land area that could be considered for regulatory relief and fee reduction. We would like to see more land area included for consideration of permit relief. It could be for commercial as well.”The current bill, said Francis, won’t result in any significant expansion of workforce housing. “This bill doesn’t have any money. It does have some tax credits for VFHA. There are no incentives for municipalities or the for-profit community to build.”Sam Matthews at Central Vermont Economic Development Corp has concerns with the bill. She is concerned the bill “doesn’t encourage new housing starts outside of state designated growth centers, meaning rural areas, which leaves the rural municipalities out of the equation.”Art Edelstein is a freelance writer from East Calais.last_img read more

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Naval Aviation Ascends with P-8A Poseidon for Maritime Patrol

first_imgAccording to the U.S. Navy, the Poseidon’s “highly reliable airframe and state-of-the-art open architecture mission systems are a significant technological leap forward and provide commanders with a reliable platform hosting advanced technology sensors.” This combination, they say, coupled with next-generation sensors will dramatically improve ASW and ASuW capabilities. On January 22, the Tridents, the Navy’s Patrol Squadron VP-26 initiated their last deployment with the P-3C Orion from the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida. Two of the 10 aircraft representing the last operational P-3 squadron on the United States’ East Coast took off to El Salvador and Bahrain with 300 men and women onboard. “The replacement to the P-8A Poseidon is designed to secure the Navy’s future in long-range maritime patrol capability, while transforming how the Navy’s maritime patrol and reconnaissance force will man, train, operate, and deploy,” said a U.S. Navy fact file on the P-8A multi-mission maritime aircraft. “The P-8A will provide more combat capability from a smaller force and less infrastructure while focusing on worldwide responsiveness and interoperability with traditionally manned forces and evolving unmanned sensors.” While the P-3 has performed combat roles during the Vietnam War and the Cold War since 1966, with a primary mission in anti-submarine warfare, its mission set was expanded to include joint maritime and overland intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance flights, such as those it performs at the U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (NAVSO)/U.S. 4th Fleet’s Cooperative Security Location (CSL) in Comalapa, El Salvador. One of the types of missions the aircraft supports from Comalapa is Operation MARTILLO, an international operation with Western Hemisphere and European partners in an effort to curtail illicit trafficking routes on both coasts of the Central American isthmus. While the P-8A Poseidon also conducts anti-submarine warfare (ASW), it additionally conducts anti-surface warfare (AsuW), and shipping interdiction along with a role in electronic signals intelligence, which involves carrying weapons such as torpedoes, cruise missiles, bombs, and mines. It also has the ability to drop and monitor sonobuoy sonar systems. But the P-3, the Navy’s four-engine turboprop anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft is now being succeeded by a newer maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon. While the P-3 has performed combat roles during the Vietnam War and the Cold War since 1966, with a primary mission in anti-submarine warfare, its mission set was expanded to include joint maritime and overland intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance flights, such as those it performs at the U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (NAVSO)/U.S. 4th Fleet’s Cooperative Security Location (CSL) in Comalapa, El Salvador. Maritime Patrol Air is a critical capability for NAVSO. Having realized that, “the Navy provides our CSL with aircraft and crews on a rotating basis from both coasts,” said Lewis Preddy, Strategic Communication and Training Support Specialist for NAVSO/4th Fleet. Now, these will be performed by the P-8A Poseidon. “The replacement to the P-8A Poseidon is designed to secure the Navy’s future in long-range maritime patrol capability, while transforming how the Navy’s maritime patrol and reconnaissance force will man, train, operate, and deploy,” said a U.S. Navy fact file on the P-8A multi-mission maritime aircraft. “The P-8A will provide more combat capability from a smaller force and less infrastructure while focusing on worldwide responsiveness and interoperability with traditionally manned forces and evolving unmanned sensors.” After more than 50 years since having introduced a new aircraft, the U.S. Navy’s Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force (MPRF) is moving forward with a new aircraft for Naval Aviation. It last introduced the P-3 Orion as its latest and greatest in 1961, launching it to be operational in 1966. Named after the “God of the Sea” also known as “Earth-Shaker” in Greek mythology, the Poseidon measures 39.4 meters in length, is 12.83 meters tall, and has a wingspan of 35.72 feet, all within a 188,200-pound body. It can hold a crew of nine and reach 490 knots of airspeed with a range of 1,200 nautical miles radius with four hours on station. The P-8A model is a specific model designed for the U.S. Navy. Named after the “God of the Sea” also known as “Earth-Shaker” in Greek mythology, the Poseidon measures 39.4 meters in length, is 12.83 meters tall, and has a wingspan of 35.72 feet, all within a 188,200-pound body. It can hold a crew of nine and reach 490 knots of airspeed with a range of 1,200 nautical miles radius with four hours on station. The P-8A model is a specific model designed for the U.S. Navy. For U.S. Navy Commander Greg Smith, VP-26 Commanding Officer, who has flown the Orion for 15 years, the aircraft has been good to him and his fellow sailors, but he’s ready to transition to the Poseidon, according to news4jax.com. “You’re looking at some of the latest technology we can put in an airplane, so it’s very capable.” By Dialogo March 03, 2015 One of the types of missions the aircraft supports from Comalapa is Operation MARTILLO, an international operation with Western Hemisphere and European partners in an effort to curtail illicit trafficking routes on both coasts of the Central American isthmus. But the P-3, the Navy’s four-engine turboprop anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft is now being succeeded by a newer maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon. On January 22, the Tridents, the Navy’s Patrol Squadron VP-26 initiated their last deployment with the P-3C Orion from the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida. Two of the 10 aircraft representing the last operational P-3 squadron on the United States’ East Coast took off to El Salvador and Bahrain with 300 men and women onboard. The CSl in Comalapa serves as a forward operating location for maritime patrol, reducing transit times and increasing on station effectiveness to support multi-national counter illicit missions. It was developed by the U.S. navy and Air Force to provide support for deployed forces and aircraft conducting these operations under the auspices of SOUTHCOM. The CSL provides the detection and monitoring capability required by the Counter Illicit Trafficking mission. The CSl in Comalapa serves as a forward operating location for maritime patrol, reducing transit times and increasing on station effectiveness to support multi-national counter illicit missions. It was developed by the U.S. navy and Air Force to provide support for deployed forces and aircraft conducting these operations under the auspices of SOUTHCOM. The CSL provides the detection and monitoring capability required by the Counter Illicit Trafficking mission. While the P-8A Poseidon also conducts anti-submarine warfare (ASW), it additionally conducts anti-surface warfare (AsuW), and shipping interdiction along with a role in electronic signals intelligence, which involves carrying weapons such as torpedoes, cruise missiles, bombs, and mines. It also has the ability to drop and monitor sonobuoy sonar systems. According to the U.S. Navy, the Poseidon’s “highly reliable airframe and state-of-the-art open architecture mission systems are a significant technological leap forward and provide commanders with a reliable platform hosting advanced technology sensors.” This combination, they say, coupled with next-generation sensors will dramatically improve ASW and ASuW capabilities. After more than 50 years since having introduced a new aircraft, the U.S. Navy’s Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force (MPRF) is moving forward with a new aircraft for Naval Aviation. It last introduced the P-3 Orion as its latest and greatest in 1961, launching it to be operational in 1966. For U.S. Navy Commander Greg Smith, VP-26 Commanding Officer, who has flown the Orion for 15 years, the aircraft has been good to him and his fellow sailors, but he’s ready to transition to the Poseidon, according to news4jax.com. “You’re looking at some of the latest technology we can put in an airplane, so it’s very capable.” Maritime Patrol Air is a critical capability for NAVSO. Having realized that, “the Navy provides our CSL with aircraft and crews on a rotating basis from both coasts,” said Lewis Preddy, Strategic Communication and Training Support Specialist for NAVSO/4th Fleet. Now, these will be performed by the P-8A Poseidon. last_img read more

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What will your tombstone say?

first_imgI don’t mean to be morbid but pretend for just a minute that your credit union closed up business today – it’s the end – tomorrow it ceases to exist. What would your community say about that? What would your members say? What would your employees say? Would anyone attend your “funeral”? What would your epitaph say in tomorrow’s newspaper? What would be inscribed on your tombstone?I know this is a pretty depressing way to start an article but it’s an important consideration when assessing the current state of your credit union. Think today about what your community, members, and employees would say tomorrow about your passing … and let that drive your actions today to become the absolute best credit union possible.As a leader of your organization (regardless of your title!) your goal every day should be to do something bigger, better, or different to become a better version of yourself – both individually and collectively. That requires two vital steps: 1) take an honest look in the mirror and identify your strengths and weaknesses; and 2) be bold and brave and do things in a proactive way to take those strengths and weaknesses to a higher level.To tackle step #1, you will need a variety of outside perspectives on your strengths and weaknesses. It doesn’t matter what you’ve been told in the past and it certainly doesn’t matter what you think about it; the only thing that matters is what others feel about you right now. Talk to your members every day (not just once a year in a survey), talk to non-members, talk to ex-members, talk to employees, talk to ex-employees, talk to competitors (whenever realistic), talk to other businesses in the community (even if they have no affiliation with you) – get the perspective from as many sources outside your executive offices as possible to get a true and honest read on your current state.Tackling step #2 is largely dependent on the outcome from step #1 but there are some fundamental aspects you should probably count on addressing, including: Solidify your brand – why are you in business? The textbook answer is to make money or serve members but, in your heart, why are you in business? What’s your just-cause and what’s your passion for being in existence? Simon Sinek instructs us to start with our “why” every day – on a business and personal level. Solidifying your brand means being about defining and clearly articulating “why you do what you do” and answering it from the heart.Be different – what makes you different? There are so many financial institutions in the world, what makes you standout? And be specific in describing your difference – saying you give good service isn’t enough; what is it about your service that no one else can deliver? Everyone else has the same product, generally similar rates, and comparable delivery channels. So what makes you different and why should someone chose you for their financial business?Be visible – as a credit union, be open about your differentiation. Speak proudly and openly about your brand and vision and passion. Invite your members, and future members, to join in. As a leader, share these things with your staff on a consistent basis – don’t leave it in the strategic planning folder, weave it into the fabric of your culture. If you don’t make it visible, no one else will.Everyone plays a part – if you claim your people are your most important “asset”, then why aren’t you including them more in setting the direction of the credit union? They can be an incredibly valuable meter for both the internal process as well as the member journey. Tap into them; leverage that perspective; and, most importantly, make them feel ownership in making the credit union successful. Put them on stage and let them play their part.Say thank you – think about making mom proud – at every turn, challenge yourself to find a way to say “thank you” to someone. Thank your members in your onboarding efforts, on a banner on your home page, and in every direct conversation. Thank you to your employees in every team meeting, in a pop-in visit to someone’s office, and in reviewing their performance appraisal. Say it with sincerity and passion and back it up with action, whenever possible.In a nutshell, your effort to be the best version of yourself every day is to ask yourself what you need to do each day to create the most outstanding employee culture and most awesome member experiences. In the morning, ask yourself: what will I do today to impact these two areas; and before leaving at night, ask yourself: what did I do today to improve in these two areas. Simple, yes; but only if you make it your highest priority every day.Now, back to that tombstone thing: it really becomes quite paradoxical that if we focus on what our epitaph might say, we’ll never have to worry about it because our credit union will never die. In fact, focusing on it will lead our credit union to thrive and reach greater levels of life, relevance, and vibrancy than you could ever imagine. Plus it makes for a much greater and more enriching environment to build our business existence around the employees and members instead of that textbook definition. And it’s more fun!While the solution to this challenge resides at home, with you and your leadership, you will need some outside assistance, to some extent. My firm is here to help … and our passion to do just that. We truly want to help every credit union create the optimal employee and member experience culture. Shoot me an email ([email protected]) or give me a call (636-578-3280) and let’s talk about creating the best version of yourself and composing the most positive epitaph for your tombstone. 1SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Paul Robert Paul Robert has been helping financial institutions drive their retail growth strategies for over 20 years. Paul is the Chief Executive Officer for FI Strategies, LLC, a private consulting company … Web: fi-strategies.com Detailslast_img read more

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The sequential test: more carrot, less stick

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

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PREMIUMGarlic, onion import licenses temporarily removed to stabilize soaring prices

first_imgTopics : Facebook Forgot Password ? Log in with your social account Google LOG INDon’t have an account? Register here Linkedin The government has temporarily removed licensing requirements for imports of garlic and bawang Bombay (brown onion) to increase supply and suppress the soaring prices of the two commodities amid a shortage of supply in the domestic market.Trade Minister Agus Suparmanto said that importers would no longer need import permit letters (SPI) from the Trade Ministry and import recommendations for horticulture products (RIPH) from the Agriculture Ministry. The new policy will be effective from March 19 until May 31.With the new policy, Agus expected new garlic and onion imports to enter Indonesia within one to two weeks.”This [decision] aims to relax import policies like RIPH and other [permits] that take a long time to process. Given the current situation, we are simplifying import processes, particularly for commodities with unstable prices,” Agus said in a tel… Indonesia imports onion garlic permits removal fasting-month Idul-Fitri COVID-19last_img read more

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Dutch minister satisfied with pension fund-fiduciary manager contracts

first_imgWouter Koolmees, the Dutch minister for social affairs, has indicated he was satisfied with the current contracts between pension funds and their fiduciary managers.Answering questions posed by Pieter Omtzigt, MP for the Christian Democrats (CDA), he said the type of contract questioned by the politician was no longer used.Omtzigt argued that pension funds were hardly able to hold their managers liable for losses caused by fraud, saying the situation was “detrimental” because some asset managers had been involved in “almost any kind of market abuse”. He had hinted that they still concluded secret contracts with pension funds.He cited nine examples of fraud and market manipulation, including Libor, Euribor and swaps, in which the provider had paid damages or had been convicted. Koolmees, referring to information provided by the Dutch Pensions Federation and Dufas, the industry body for asset managers, said the disputed contract was no longer in use.He added that it was anyway impossible to legally exclude damages caused by deliberate action or gross negligence, even under the old contract model.The minister emphasised that the arrangements in a contract were the responsibility of both players involved.“I am convinced that pension funds are scrupulous on this. Moreover, the supervisor also pays attention to liability clauses.”Wouter Koolmees, Dutch social affairs minister“I am convinced that pension funds are scrupulous on this,” he said. “Moreover, supervisor De Nederlandsche Bank also pays attention to liability clauses.”Before Koolmees was able to respond to Omtzigt’s questions, a pensions lawyer had told IPE’s Dutch sister publication that the regulator referred pension schemes back to their managers if contracts were not up to scratch.Addressing other questions posed by Omtzigt, Koolmees said the financial markets watchdog monitored market abuse by asset managers as well as conflicts of interest in the derivatives trade.In his opinion, a pension fund’s accountability body (VO) should not have the automatic right to examine all contracts, and it was up to a scheme’s board to decide case by case which documents the VO reasonably needed.“A pension fund could weaken its negotiating position if it releases all its information,” he said.last_img read more

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Offshore worker dies on Gulf of Mexico platform

first_imgImage: BSEEAn offshore worker has died on a Gulf of Mexico offshore platform operated by Energy Resource Technology (ERT), a subsidiary of Talos.The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) said on Tuesday that it was conducting an investigation into the fatality.The third-party construction worker died in an area of the Gulf of Mexico known as West Cameron 215A, about 64 miles south of Lake Charles, Louisiana.ERT reported that the fatality occurred at approximately 10:30 am on February 17, 2018.According to the BSEE, the deceased worker was involved in removing firewater piping at the time of the incident. No other personnel were harmed, and there was no pollution as a result of the incident.The BSEE added that its Gulf of Mexico Region investigators and inspectors began conducting a thorough investigation into the cause of the fatality over the weekend.It is worth mentioning that ERT was sentenced to three years of probation, and had to pay a $4 million fine and $200,000 community service payment for violations on its Gulf of Mexico facilities in 2012.The company pleaded guilty in April 2016 to two felony counts of violating the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and two felony counts of violating the Clean Water Act related to conduct on its offshore oil production facilities in the Gulf of Mexico.Offshore Energy Today Stafflast_img read more

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Everton boss Ancelotti wants to build local core

first_imgEverton boss Carlo Ancelotti has hinted he’s seeking to build a local core at Goodison Park. Loading… Promoted Content8 Superfoods For Growing Hair Back And Stimulating Its Growth7 Universities In The World With The Highest Market ValueInsane 3D Spraying Skills Turn In Incredible Street ArtA Hurricane Can Be As Powerful As 10 Atomic BombsBirds Enjoy Living In A Gallery Space Created For ThemWhich Country Is The Most Romantic In The World?9 Facts You Should Know Before Getting A TattooThis Guy Photoshopped Himself Into Celeb Pics And It’s Hysterical6 Best Natural History Museums In The WorldArchaeologists Still Have No Explanation For These DiscoveriesThe Very Last Bitcoin Will Be Mined Around 2140. Read MoreA Guy Turns Gray Walls And Simple Bricks Into Works Of Art “I believe in this. Read Also:Ancelotti’s training is bringing out the best in me–Iwobi “It is better to work for your family rather than a company.” FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 Ancelotti hopes to draw a lesson from his past by having a core of players who identify with Everton and feels it is a key to glory. He said: “Some of the most important teams in the history of football, like Barcelona and Milan, built their success on having some players with a really strong sense of belonging.Advertisementlast_img read more

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Wenger dismisses Draxler reports

first_img “That is an illusion. There is nothing happening, honestly no,” Wenger said. “We don’t need to take players on the flanks – we have 17 players on the flanks.” The Gunners are said to have made a renewed bid for German international Draxler as they seek to complete a deal before the transfer window closes. But Wenger, speaking after Friday night’s 4-0 FA Cup fourth-round victory over Coventry, denied a deal will happen. Arsene Wenger has described reports that Arsenal are closing in on a £37million move for Schalke attacking midfielder Julian Draxler as an “illusion”.center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

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