Exports Markets Aren’t Likely to Ease Long-Term Pressures on U.S. Coal Producers FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence:With the domestic coal market saturated and analysts forecasting a continued secular decline for thermal coal, producers have been pinning their hopes on overseas buyers.The strong export market the industry has enjoyed this year should continue at least through the first half of 2018, one analyst said, but its long-term viability is less certain.Coal advocates in the industry and the current administration have cited the export market as a vital and necessary area for coal industry growth, including a recent initiative announced by the White House intended to bolster coal use and demand for U.S. coal abroad.Exports have surged this year, with year-to-date shipments from the Hampton Roads port facilities in Virginia up 65.8% through November. September’s total U.S. exports were the highest since March 2014.The U.S. Energy Information Administration is forecasting a slowdown in 2018. In its most recent Short-Term Energy Outlook, released Dec. 12, it predicted a 17% decline in exports, from 89 million tons in 2017 to 74 million tons.Ever-shifting geopolitics plays a role in those forecasts, along with a global movement away from coal-fired generation and pressure from natural gas and renewables.More ($): Relief from global market far from certain for US coal
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Utility Dive:The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Board of Directors approved a 1.5% rate hike on Wednesday, along with a $10.5 billion budget for the upcoming fiscal year, but most importantly announced they would review its generation fleet with an eye towards shutting down older coal plants.According to S&P Global, the review will first focus on two older, low-efficiency coal plants: the 950 MW Bull Run unit and 1,150 MW Paradise Unit 3.TVA has six coal plants in operation, with 26 units. Coal makes up about 25% of its generation fleet capacity, down from almost 60% a decade ago.Although the utility is working to close less-efficient plants, coal will remain a significant part of its operations for at least the next decade. Looking out to 2027, based on the 2018 budget, the utility expects coal to still make up more than 20% of its portfolio.More: TVA to raise rates, will consider closing older coal plants TVA to consider closing two more coal plants
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享CNN:Kenya has launched Africa’s largest wind power farm in a bid to boost electricity generating capacity and to meet the country’s ambitious goal of 100% green energy by 2020.The farm, known as the Lake Turkana Wind Power (LTWP) will generate around 310 megawatts of power to the national grid and will increase the country’s electricity supply by 13%, President Uhuru Kenyatta said at the launch of the project on Friday.The project is powered by the Turkana corridor wind, a low-level jet stream originating from the Indian Ocean and blows all year round, according to a government statement.An international consortium of lenders and producers, which includes the African Development Bank, came together to install the 365 wind turbines, which cost around $700m, the largest private investment in Kenya’s history, President Kenyatta said.In the past years, Kenya has made progress in investing in clean sources of energy. According to the Renewables 2018 Global Status Report, the country is 9th in the world for its geothermal power generating capacity of up to 700 megawatts. Around 70% of Kenya’s national electricity comes from renewable sources like hydro power and geothermal.State-owned power company KenGen produces approximately 80% of electricity consumed in Kenya, and of that, 65% comes from hydro-power sources, which it sells to Kenya Power, the country’s main electricity transmission company,More: Kenya launches largest wind power plant in Africa Kenya officially opens 310MW Lake Turkana wind farm, Africa’s largest
Germany’s largest offshore wind farm begins full commercial operation FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renewables Now:The 609-MW Hohe See and Albatros offshore wind farm complex in the German part of the North Sea is now fully operational, EnBW Energie Baden Wuerttemberg AG announced on Friday.With a total of 87 turbines, the offshore wind complex is now Germany’s largest facility of its kind, capable of meeting the power consumption of all homes in Munich. The full completion of the complex came with the grid-connection of the 112-MW Albatros wind farm, which is powered by 16 Siemens Gamesa turbines. Hohe See, its sister wind park, has been generating electricity with its 71 machines since October 2019.The construction of the two power plants was finalised in September last year, according to the schedule.German utility EnBW is the majority owner of the two power plants with a 50.1% stake in each of them. Its partner is Canada’s Enbridge Inc, which owns the remaining 49.9%.[Veselina Petrova]More: Germany has 609-MW offshore wind farm up and running
The Originals from Dave otto on Vimeo.It’s summer! Let’s head down to the beach and do some surfing, Trauma Tuesday style.Shipsterns Bluff is a point of land that juts out from Tasmania, Australia – it is also known as Devil’s Point, so you get the idea. This is footage from surfing photographer Dave Otto from what appears to be long ago according to the video information on Vimeo. Shipsterns is considered to be one of the gnarliest, most remote, and most dangerous surf spots on the planet, and as you can see from the video, these waves are about as heavy as they get. Just the spray exploding out of the tubes is enough to make the pros weak in the knees. The video starts slow, and even has a shot of a guy getting barreled while chugging what I have to assume is a PBR, but then the action heats up. These wipeouts vary in their causes but the results are the same, getting crushed into the reef. Keep in mind that the guys on the boards are not weekend warriors, but seasoned veterans of the surfing grind: guys like Kelly Slater, Mike Brennan, Richie Vas, and more. There are some wins sprinkled into the carnage, but mostly it’s a wipeout supercut.Oh, yeah, there are also Great White Sharks. Like, a lot of them.Bonus: Here’s a video of pro surfer and native Tasmanian, James McKean talking about his greatest wipeout of all time, which of course occurred at Shipsterns and is pretty epic.Double Bonus: This video of divers almost getting inhaled by some Humpback Whales, Jonah-style.
The Skinny on Jesse TerryWhen most independent roots musicians hit the road, they do it in fits and starts; a weekend here, a couple of weeks there. Simply put, life on the road is tough and the money often isn’t great. But when singer/songwriter Jesse Terry decides to take his music on the road, he didn’t let that deter him. He hit the road. For real. In 2010, he once toured for eight straight months. Back in June, after wrapping up his latest record, Jesse decided to do it all again. He and his wife, Jess, packed all of their stuff in a storage unit, hopped in the car, and started piling on the miles.Months later, Jesse has played shows across the United States, and he recently took a 23-date jaunt to Europe, playing in a medieval church in Lancaster and to half a village in Dorset, both in the United Kingdom. This “life is the highway” lifestyle has afforded Jesse and Jess the opportunity to take off -road diversions like castle hopping and hiking the Swiss Alps outside Interlaken, Switzerland on off days. And did I mention that his wife is from New Zealand? Yeah, he gets to play there, too.Ahhhhhh, the life of the wandering minstrel. Sounds like a good gig if you can get it.For Fans OfScott Miller, Ray LaMontagne, Paul SimonOutside Looking In“Jesse is a troubadour in the classic sense. His songs and voice remind me of James Taylor, Dan Fogelberg, and even Ryan Adams. He writes with true craft, and his melodies linger with you long after just one listen. I have had such pleasure working with Jesse on two albums now. We have gotten to collaborate on arrangements and even do some co-writing. He sings the melodies with passion and believability every time. Each time we start working on the vocal of a song, I am struck by how great the songs are and how Jesse delivers them with such ease.— Neilson Hubbard, producer and songwriter, on Jesse TerryOn StageTurns out that the one place you can find Jesse Terry is on the road. Take a look at his tour calendar and you’ll see that his Toyota RAV-4 is chewing up the miles. Out on the road in support of his new record, Stay Here With Me, you can find him in November gigging across the Northeast, with shows in New York and Connecticut. By mid-month, Jesse will be back in the Southeast, with dates in Alabama (Birmingham and Huntsville), Tennessee (Nashville and Franklin), and Georgia (Dahlonega and Decatur).In His Own Words“I wrote that tune with my producer and good buddy, Neilson Hubbard. My wife and I had recently decided to hit the road full time together – no address, just a storage unit in Nashville – and I think I was talking to Neilson about the giant leap of faith were were about to take. My wife quit her job and we took off together right after I finished recording my new album. It’s the second time we’ve done that in the last three years. For me, the song is about taking that huge leap of faith in your life and believing in yourself, even when it scares you right down to your core. Sometimes folks will call you crazy when you blaze your own trail. And they may be right.”— Jesse Terry, on “Feel That Way Again”On The WebFor more information on Jesse Terry’s new record, Stay Here With Me, or when Jesse will be hitting a stage near you, surf over to www.jesseterrymusic.com. Be sure to check out “Feel That Way Again” on this month’s Trail Mix.
Yarn is the band I always wish I had found. Out of context, that doesn’t make much sense. To make it clearer, you should know that I help book a music festival in Bristol, TN/VA, and Yarn is a band that someone else on the music committee found. Someone else discovered them and brought them to the table.That still sticks in my craw. How could a band this good miss my notice? How could someone else bring them to the table before I did? This reality is particularly loathsome, considering how quickly I became a very big fan of Yarn.Brooklyn-based Yarn combines the dusty country sounds of Texas with the bluegrass pickin’ of these Appalachian Mountains. Their music is equal parts Gram Parsons and Bill Monroe. At the center of it all is Blake Christiana, the band’s singer, principal songwriter, and guitarist. I caught up with Blake to chat about the band’s upcoming appearance at Rooster Walk, outrageous demands in the band’s rider, and wet dreams.Yep. You read that right.BRO – Yarn is the only band playing two nights this weekend. What kind of dirt do you have on the Rooster Walk guys?BC – Even if I did have the dirt, I would never share it. Their secrets are safe with me. They’ve just been so damned supportive of Yarn. I love those guys so very much. We are working on something together for 2015, and I really hope we can get it off the ground. It’s going to be fun, so stay tuned!BRO – This a return trip to Rooster Walk for you guys. Fondest memory of your first go ‘round?BC – Our Sunday night set was amazing. I particularly remember playing “When The Summer Ends” and getting to the sing along part. I would bet ninety percent of the audience had no idea who we were, but they were singing “Glory, glory, hallelujah” about as loud as any group of people could. It was a moment.BRO – What band at Rooster Walk are you most excited to see?BC – James Justin, of course. He’s my boy and I love everything he does. Stephen Wrembel, Tim O’Brien and Darrell Scott, and Kings of Belmont. It’s a great line up. The entire weekend is a musical wet dream. Just hurry up, May 22nd . . . . I’m ready.BRO – Tell me a bit about your collection of acoustic tunes, Shine The Light On.BC – It’s all about the songs. I just wanted to release something very raw, like our first two records, and hopefully people enjoy it and can relate to it a little bit. It’s time for the next one.BRO – If you could add one outrageous item to your rider and demand the Rooster Walk guy comply, what would it be?BC – There’s a doctor in Las Vegas who parks his medical truck on the strip and sells IV drips of this vitamin cocktail that pretty much cures a hangover within an hour. I want that.You can catch Blake Christiana and the rest of Yarn at Rooster Walk Music & Arts Festival on Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday at 10:00 p.m.If you’d like to make it out for Yarn’s sets – along with everything else going on between Friday and Sunday of this weekend’s Rooster Walk – take a shot at our trivia question below. The Rooster Walk folks are letting us give away a weekend pass (Friday thru Sunday) with a camping permit!Email your answer to the trivia question below to [email protected] A winner of the passes and camping permit will be chosen from all correct answers received by noon tomorrow – Thursday, May 22.Also, be sure to surf over to www.roosterwalk.com for more information on the line up, set times, and all around good fun going on at this weekend’s festival.Question . . . . What famed New Bohemian provided background vocals on Yarn’s Empty Pockets?
Check out more of Randy’s SUP exploits by following his YouTube channel. You can also learn more on the river surfing community in Fayetteville by reading this exclusive article and tuning in to this BRO-TV episode. Have a suggestion for our next Backyard Badass feature? Send us a name and a description to [email protected]! We’d love to meet the people that inspire you to #gooutsideandplay! Don’t let Randy Fisher’s crisp National Park Service uniform and shiny badge fool you — our next #BackyardBadass plays just as hard as he works. And with a backyard like the New River Gorge, how could you not?Meet Randy Fisher of Fayetteville, W.Va. When he’s not pulling long shifts (sometimes until midnight) as a ranger for the New River Gorge National River and the Gauley River National Recreation Area, he’s firing up some local surf on a stand-up paddleboard (SUP). And by “local surf” I’m not talking board shorts and hanging out barefoot all day. Sometimes, when the surfing’s good in the New, the weather’s shit…like, 30-degrees-and-snowing, shit.Check out what Randy has to say on work and play in the New River Gorge in this month’s Backyard Badass feature.BRO: How did you get into your job as a park ranger?RF: I decided I wanted to be a park ranger in college. I went to Penn State and enrolled in their criminal justice program.BRO: Did you have an outdoorsy upbringing?RF: I’m originally from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, which is a very rural, cornfields-and-Amish type of place. But as a family we always traveled to do canoe trips, sailing, snowboarding out West, which kinda led me to an adventurous lifestyle. We were always visiting national parks, too.BRO: Canoeing and sailing isn’t quite surf SUPping. How did you get into whitewater?RF: I got a call from Zion [National Park] in Utah and went there to work as a seasonal park ranger. Someone gave me an old Perception Dancer kayak that happened to be laying around. I paddled in a reservoir and immediately, I knew what I wanted to do was get to more water.BRO: So I’m guessing that’s how you ended up in Fayetteville?RF: I moved to Fayetteville in 2005. About 4 years ago, the same thing that was happening to kayaking in the ’80s and ’90s was happening to stand up paddleboarding. I ended up getting on a board and just knew that I enjoyed the freedom of it and that that was what I wanted to do. Since then, I try to surf every wave in every way I can whether on a SUP or a river short board.BRO: So why SUP? What do you like about it?RF: I love just the freedom of movement, and being completely free of having to sit down in a boat or a raft. The view from standing up and seeing down into the water at the bottom of the river and seeing all the wildlife in the river is stuff that I’ve always missed in the past.BRO: What are your favorite rivers? Favorite waves?RF: It’s really convenient here [in Fayetteville]. I have two destination rivers right in my backyard. Surfing the Gauley is my favorite closely followed by the New. My favorite waves? Diagonal Ledges and the New River Dries.BRO: Surfing the New River Dries is pretty full-on. What’s it like?RF: There’s nothing else to compare to it…the amount of water and the volume of water that’s around you. My first time I spent about half the day just trying to catch it.BRO: How often are you out on the water?RF: Almost every day.BRO: Wow. How do you make that work with your long hours on the clock?RF: It’s something I need to do to unwind. I live right where I play, there’s no commute to the river, and I try to keep a nice simple life. You get so caught up in your work with the same people and after hours you hang out with the same peole and your only friends and your only life tends to be work, whereas being on the river has allowed me to bridge that gap and build relationships with the boating community.BRO: Being in law enforcement and surfing big waves makes me think your fearless. Are you?RF: I have a fear of heights, even though I perform high angle rescues and regularly walk across the catwalk of the New River Gorge bridge.BRO: What’s your favorite post-paddle refreshment?RF: Heineken. My fridge if full of the little green cans.BRO: Favorite post-paddle eats?RF: Secret Sandwich Society.BRO: Ever broken any bones?RF: Right collar bone by skateboarding, left collar bone by snowboarding, facial fracture, my eye socket, from mountain biking…thank goodness, though, so far I’m injury-free in water sports…knock on wood.BRO: Obviously adventure sports are inherently dangerous. So why do it? Is the risk worth the reward?RF: Definitely worth the risk. You do your risk management, you know where the line is and you know the line can be crossed. Now, sometimes you end up there accidentally, but most of the time you know where that line is.BRO: Any words of wisdom for people inspired by your SUP adventures but who respond with, “Gee I wish I had the time”?RF: It’s so easy for people just to say they don’t have time, but with a little bit of time management, there’s always time in that you just gotta make it a part of your lifestyle.BRO: What’s your go-to SUP gear?RF: Depends on the conditions. I paddle Boardworks, either their ocean long board, ocean short board, or SUP. Then of course helmet, PFD, wetsuit or drysuit, and a leash.
It’s actually hard to type this right now because my forearms are so sore. My forearms, my fingers, my elbows…all sore. This is what I get for trying new things. It was raining during Tequila Tuesday, that beautiful night of the week when a bunch of dads get together to drink booze and ride bikes. We try to be socially minded mountain bikers, so when it rains, we don’t ride. So we went climbing. Fortunately, there’s a new climbing gym in town seems to have been built specifically for a rainy Tequila Tuesday, the Smoky Mountain Adventure Center. Not only does it have a plethora of bouldering and sport routes, it has a bar with half a dozen local taps hovering above all of those color-coded holds. You couldn’t create a better rendezvous for a group of dads looking to burn some calories and crush some beers while talking about falconry (more on that later).I used to climb quite a bit, but I’ve been so caught up in skiing through the winter, and biking now that the weather has turned, that I’ve neglected rock entirely. So yeah, I’m sore. I don’t care how much I run, or hit the gym, or bike, the only way you can get into climbing shape is by climbing. There’s nothing else like it. The action uses muscles I didn’t’ even know I had. I believe Tony Horton, the trainer from those P90X tapes, calls it muscle confusion.Consider my muscles confused.We took turns knocking out the easiest bouldering routes on the walls, while shirtless dudes crawled their way up inverted sport routes 30 feet above the padded floor. None of us are good climbers, but we had a blast trying and failing on V2 routes that pushed us to our limits. Then we played a game of tag, where one person traversed a section of the wall, and a second person chased after him after a 15 second head start. Then we drank beers in the bar above the action and talked about how much fun it was to do something different. Maybe we should keep trying new things each week? Mountain biking one week, climbing the next. Maybe skeet shooting and falconry. That seems cool. We could train falcons to run errands for us and retrieve beers. We could buy matching leather mitts and name our birds after ‘80s cartoons, like Voltron and Thundercat. Like Tony Horton says, it’s all about Muscle Confusion.
BRO scratches beneath the greenwashed veneer to uncover the most environmentally conscious outdoor companies, including the brands that are most active in protecting public lands.The announcement blasted through the Salt Palace Convention Center’s speakers at a level that was hard to miss. By the third warning, it was clear what Outdoor Retailer and the Outdoor Industry Association wanted—everyone needed to be out in the streets, signs in hand, starting the march through Salt Lake City to the Utah state capitol a few blocks away.In about 2,500 ways, they got what they wanted—that’s the number of Outdoor Retailer attendees that made the march uptown on a July day in 2017 in a pissed-off farewell to a city and state that the industry decided didn’t care about public lands, or by extension, them.But even as the large, boisterous crowd made its way up State Street toward the end of a week filled with impassioned speeches decrying the state of Utah and worshiping Bears Ears, despite the happy hours benefiting the Access Fund and Conservation Alliance, despite the buildup for the march and the palpable excitement to leave Utah in Outdoor Retailer’s dust en route to the more politically-hospitable Denver, the show floor of the Salt Palace seemed remarkably…unchanged.Showgoers hustled through the narrow corridors between booths en route to afternoon meetings, happy hours kept their taps flowing, and business continued as if the public lands debate weren’t even on their radar. For some, it wasn’t—they inexplicably didn’t even know about the march. For others, their explanation of playing hookie on what seemed like required group advocacy time was as simple as a shrug. “It’s business as usual. Someone has to keep the lights on.”For some brands, it’s just that simple: Sure, without public lands, selling outdoor gear gets harder, but if we can’t sell gear because we’re too busy saving public lands, then what’s the point?Not everyone took that line, though. Scarpa’s entire booth was vacant, chairs blocking the entrance and a white sign with “GONE MARCHING” scribbled in marker. Other brands made their statements before the show, like Patagonia and Arc’teryx (a Canadian company), which quit the trade show months earlier over the Trump Administration’s decision to reverse President Obama’s designation of Bears Ears National Monument. Their goal? Pressure Emerald Expositions, the organizers of the Outdoor Retailer show, into fighting the state or leaving it. Their plan worked.But the march laid out in stark contrast the difference in environmental and political action across a seemingly (or at least, that’s what OIA would like you to think) united industry. On one end of the spectrum, Patagonia actively attempts to limit growth and profit. The idea is that by making their products last longer, repairable, or reusable, they’ll sell fewer and create less waste, put less in landfills, etc. Not to mention taking legal action against the government over environmental deregulation and bailing out of the industry’s biggest meeting in an effort to hijack the show from a state (and the economy of that state) that they don’t believe has the industry’s best interests in mind.Before the decision was made to leave Utah, the OIA would have had brands and consumers believe the biggest change would be made by brands sticking around the show—fighting—marching—raising their voices. The majority of brands apparently agreed, and most would probably say they stuck around for those same reasons. “Now more than ever, we need to act together to advocate and find a common voice to protect our most important asset—our public lands,” REI CEO Jerry Stritzke wrote in a letter posted on the company’s website just after Patagonia dropped out, explaining why his company wouldn’t be following suit.But if you were standing on the show floor while the seminal act of outdoor advocacy was organizing just outside the Salt Palace’s not-very-thick walls, you would be fair to think fighting for the outdoors is vital to the industry, so long as you didn’t already have a sales meeting scheduled.Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard told GreenBiz in 2013 that companies calling themselves “green” is just a buzzword that carries little weight, a marketing ploy targeted toward making consumers feel good about their purchases. Instead, he argues, brands should simply be making less product—“green” or not. That’s the basis of Patagonia’s environmental philosophy: encouraging their customers to buy less and create less waste.On the other end, The North Face looks to capitalize on that “green” idea in an effort to grow their piggy bank for environmental use on the back end. Last year, TNF launched its “Walls Are Meant For Climbing” campaign, donating $1 million to a trust dedicated to preserving public lands.And the fight for public lands might be the biggest window into brands’ motivations yet. Rather than universally supported causes like using recycled materials in product, supplying clean drinking water, or picking up trash, causes like the public lands fight and climate change are politically and culturally polarizing. While brands were, in the past, hesitant to endorse a single position on topics like this for fear of alienating a segment of their consumer base (especially for brands like Patagonia and The North Face whose customers extend far beyond the often politically homogeneous outdoor athlete), they’re more willing to take that potential hit in favor of the cause.Patagonia made headlines last winter for suing the Trump Administration over its delisting of Bears Ears National Monument, potentially the most effective yet riskiest method of securing America’s public lands. The listed defendants: Donald Trump, Ryan Zinke and a collection of other administration bureaucrats. While the statement was applauded by many of the brand’s customers, the hashtag #BoycottPatagonia began circulating online, an obvious sign that at least some potential customers were displeased.If a brand was willing to skip the march at Outdoor Retailer in favor of meeting with buyers, they likely wouldn’t be willing to sacrifice becoming the butt of a Twitter war with the Interior Department. Patagonia clearly didn’t care, pushing ahead with the suit. But then again, they want to sell fewer products anyway.PatagoniaWhile bringing out the big guns themselves, Patagonia also has a big belief in smaller, grassroots organizations, giving 1 percent of their sales (that’s more than just their profits) to these tiny, local groups annually. Grant winners include organizations demolishing dams, working on forest and waterway restoration, fighting climate change on a local level, protecting marine habitats, endangered plants and animals, and supporting local, sustainable agriculture. Over $89 million has gone out to groups like this since 1989. Plus, a new program called Patagonia Action Works gives everyday people who want to help out the resources to find local grant winners, encouraging more of their customers to give back too.ObozFor Oboz, the activist philosophy is simple: For every pair of shoes sold by the Bozeman, Montana boot manufacturer, they plant a tree. Since it was founded, the company has partnered with Trees for the Future to give a boost to biodiversity, food, crop windbreaks, mudslide control, and even tree-sourced medicine. As of August 2018, Oboz has spearheaded the planting of over 1,931,000 trees. At many Oboz retailers, you’ll walk out of the store with a sapling for simply trying a pair of boots on. “Like Dr. Seuss’ Lorax, I believed Oboz could speak for the trees,” said John Connelly, president and founder of Oboz. “The story was my favorite to read aloud to my kids and the tale has always stuck with me. So when we started Oboz, we could put the Lorax’s story into action and it was the right fit for our brand. People love trees.”Aspen Skiing CompanyWho has more to lose from climate change than the ski industry? Sure, pushing for renewable energy, funding climate change advocacy groups, and lobbying for political policy that acknowledges the risk of climate change does make good business sense for a brand like the Aspen Skiing Company (also known as Skico, which owns a collection of mountains primarily in Colorado), but they go above and beyond. The company has worked hard to diminish their own internal environmental impact, supported the advocacy group Protect Our Winters (POW), testified for the closure of two of Colorado’s coal power plants, filed legal briefs to the Supreme Court arguing that the EPA is required to regulate carbon dioxide emissions, and even boycotted Kleenex-brand products in their resorts over environmental concerns. “When it comes to sticking their neck out politically, [others] might not be as far out…Aspen Ski Co. has definitely been a leader in the industry,” POW’s executive director told the Denver Post.prAnaAnyone who has worked in retail knows the waste that is shipped into each store from retailers. On days new shipments of apparel arrive, plastic “poly bags” used to package individual garments pile up in garbage cans until they overflow. prAna decided to do away with the simple yet often-overlooked waste, instead rolling their garments and wrapping them in twine for shipment, a move the brand claims had kept 10.6 million poly bags out of landfills between 2011 and 2016—roughly the weight of 25 adult blue whales. But the brand doesn’t stop there. Sustainability is close at heart, with prAna making an effort to stick to organic cotton, recycled wool, hemp, recycled polyester, and responsibly-sourced down in as many of their products as possible.The North FaceTNF co-founder Doug Tompkins was a close friend of Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, and their environmental habits made that apparent, even if the brands utilize slightly different methods of advocacy today. Tompkins and his wife Kristine McDivitt Tompkins started spending their fortune (a total of $345 million) by buying large swaths of South American lands. Tompkins was killed in a kayaking accident in 2015 but earlier this year his wife finished the deal, donating 1 million acres to the government of Chile in exchange for the government designating another swath of land (they ended up adding another 9 million acres) to expand the country’s national parks and create a handful of new ones, growing the system by 40 percent.Hometown HeroesFarm to Feet SocksThese guys keep the sock business local by relying entirely on American materials (i.e. American sheep) and manufacturing done exclusively in the Carolinas. They claim to take “Made In the USA” one step further than most.Recover Brands This Hickory, North Carolina company makes shirts and other apparel entirely out of recycled materials. Post-consumer plastics (some of their shirts are made from water bottles—roughly 8 per shirt) and post-industrial cotton help keep these materials out of area landfills.ENOAsheville-based Eagles Nest Outfitters is, alongside Patagonia, part of One Percent for the Planet, giving 1 percent of their sales to environmental nonprofits. Plus, early this year, they announced that for every hammock sold, the brand would commit to planting two trees—one for each end of the hammock.Half-Moon OutfittersWith eight stores scattered across Georgia and South Carolina, the specialty outdoor retailer puts a high priority on sustainability. The chain’s second oldest shop is en route to being completely net-zero, meaning it produces roughly as much energy from rooftop solar panels as it uses. Another store features a large “tree” with metal limbs and solar panel leaves, aimed at powering a large part of that location.REPREVEWith aforementioned brands like Patagonia, prAva, Recover Brands, and more using their recycled fabrics, Greensboro, North Carolina’s REPREVE is a leading player in sustainable textiles. They’ve transformed over 13 billion plastic bottles into fibers and fabrics that then make technical wicking, cooling, and water-repellent materials popular within and without the outdoor industry.
By Dialogo May 18, 2009 Cantona is great in that Rennolt advert as well. His part in Elizabeth, I think, has given him a foothold as an actor. Temperamental but lavishly talented French footballer Eric Cantona — about to play film-star at Cannes — is still worshipped in part of northwest England 12 years after leaving Manchester United to retire abruptly at 31. So strong is his abiding love for Manchester that Cantona has formed an unlikely alliance with gritty British director Ken Loach, putting himself and the city at the heart of Cannes film festival contender “Looking for Eric”, which screens there Monday. Cantona, who has acted in a handful of films, plays himself, appearing like a vision to help a Manchester postman, also named Eric, a devoted United fan whose life is spinning out of control. “I like the way it’s so real, like documentary. And I like how you don’t know if you have to laugh or cry,” Cantona told the Guardian newspaper this month. While film critics have been lukewarm about Cantona’s acting career so far, in Manchester at least the mention of his name is still enough to stir emotion in United fans. Twelve years after his sudden departure, red, white and blue French Tricolores still fly in the roads leading to United’s imposing Old Trafford stadium. In fish and chip shops, Cantona’s photograph hangs alongside yellowing pictures of the club’s legendary players like George Best and Bobby Charlton. T-shirts proclaim 1966 as a “great year for English football” — not because it was when England won their first and still their only World Cup, but because it was the year “Eric was born”. “We still sell this T-shirt and we still sell the flags,” said souvenir seller Craig Ashton. Cantona, with his trademark turned-up collar on his jersey and his willingness to defy referees and football’s London-based authorities, was different. “He brought his arrogance to the game,” Ashton said. Characteristically, Cantona moved to England after falling out with French football authorities. He made his mark with Leeds United, another club in northern England, helping them to win the then First Division before a 1.2 million pound move to Manchester United in November 1992. In his first season, United won their first league championship for 26 years as they triumphed in the inaugural Premier League. The Frenchman helped them retain their title in 1994 but missed a chunk of the 1994-1995 season after infamously leaping in to the crowd during a match at London club Crystal Palace and launching a ‘kung fu’ kick at an abusive fan. But rather than alienating his fans, Cantona’s moment of madness in 1995 endeared him to them — even after he was handed a lengthy suspension. “We loved him even more,” recalls Steven Rose, who sells the “United We Stand” fanzine. In his comeback game, Cantona scored a penalty and United’s fans broke into a chorus of: “We’ll drink a drink a drink/ to Eric the King the King the King. “What a friend we have in Jesus/He’s a saviour from afar/What a friend we have in Jesus/And his name is Cantona/Ooh Aah Cantona”. When Cantona chose to walk away at his peak in 1997, he won fresh respect by depriving any other club of his services. “Even in the last days, he decided to retire. He just decided that was it. He walked away from the game. You have to admire him for that,” said Ashton. Or, as Ivan Ponting, the author of a handful of books on Manchester United, put it, Cantona was “an uncontrollable free spirit, a capricious bird of passage who would never linger.”
By Dialogo June 13, 2011 Mexican military personnel found a weapons stockpile of 204 long guns, used by Los Zetas to train personnel, hidden in a truck in a municipality in the state of Coahuila (in northern Mexico), on the border with the United States, the Secretariat of the Navy announced. The stockpile was made up of “204 long guns, 11 handguns, 29,621 useable cartridges of various calibers, and 778 ammunition clips for firearms of various calibers, as well as fifteen hand grenades and two 40-mm grenades,” said José Luis Vergara, a spokesperson for the Mexican Secretariat of the Navy. The arms were discovered when the military personnel stopped a vehicle carrying five men who had weapons and military-style camouflage uniforms with them, in the municipality of Villa Unión, 70 km from the border with the United States, Vergara indicated. The men, between eighteen and thirty-three years old, confessed to working for the Los Zetas cartel, a criminal organization created by military deserters that is responsible for multiple murders in several Mexican states. The detainees also confessed that a truck in which they were keeping weapons was near an abandoned house and hidden in the underbrush, while the weapons “were presumably used for training personnel belonging to the Los Zetas criminal organization in that area,” Vergara explained. Another stockpile of 157 rifles and a rocket launcher was found buried last week in another municipality in Coahuila’s neighboring state of Tamaulipas (in northeastern Mexico), a stronghold of Los Zetas, where they are engaged in a bloody war against the Gulf cartel, with thousands of dead. More than 102,000 handguns and high-powered rifles have been seized by the Mexican authorities in a little over four years, according to official figures. Mexico is experiencing an unceasing wave of violence due to clashes among drug traffickers and law-enforcement operatives, with a toll of least 37,000 homicides since December 2006. Very goodâ€¦! This is news of public interest!
Diálogo: Beyond Central America, how are you working with other countries in our hemisphere to counteract transnational organized crime? Brig. Gen. Adolfo Zepeda Martínez: Nicaragua has developed an idea that we’re putting into practice and that we call the “Containment Wall.” It’s not a wall of stone and concrete; it’s an idea. By means of this idea, we’re trying to keep drug-trafficking elements away from the coasts, so that they don’t spread across our borders. What we’re trying to do [with this idea] is to have controls along the coasts, at the border, and in our airspace, so that drug-trafficking elements or criminal elements remain as far as possible from our territory, because Nicaragua is neither a producer nor a consumer. Nicaragua is like a bridge that drugs cross through any of its routes, by land, by sea, or by air. So we’re trying to do our part. How can we do it? By isolating them, so that they don’t penetrate Nicaragua, and that way other authorities with more resources, such as the United States, for example, can have more control at sea, in the air. Brig. Gen. Zepeda: We share quite extensive land borders with our sister Republic of Honduras, along the Coco River to the Cape of Gracias a Dios, and on the south with our sister Republic of Costa Rica, from Naranjo to San Juan de Nicaragua. We also have two broad coastlines, on the Caribbean and the Pacific. In the framework of the relationship that we have with Honduras, we’ve moved forward with regard to land during meetings between border commanders. These take place periodically. Every two or three months, the commanders of Honduran border units and the commanders of Nicaraguan border units meet in a specified location of common interest to both, sometimes in Nicaragua, other times in Honduras. There they exchange information, agree on coordinating some of the operations at a given location, and establish lines of communication that have proved to be important for greater control of these borders, which happen to be porous borders in some ways, due to their length, to the small number of personnel the Armies have available there, and the few means of transportation. Brig. Gen. Zepeda: Well, the commander in chief and the president have decided to create new units. Among them, we have created a battalion of Marines, who are going to have their base in Puerto Sandino. We’ll possibly inaugurate it in the course of this year. This battalion is going to be in charge of developing a Marine force that can have better results along the coasts, on lakes and inland waters. Nicaragua is a country of lakes and volcanoes, and we also have inland waters. We have two large lakes: Lake Managua (Xolotlán) and Lake Nicaragua (Cocibolca). We’ve found that drug-trafficking elements penetrate our southern border through the waters of Lake Cocibolca to permeate our national territory. The Marine battalion is going to support the inland-waters detachment, which is the one responsible for covering the lakes, to also confront the threats, not only along the coasts and at sea, but also on our inland waters. There’s going to be a force of approximately 500 personnel. The subject of the land border is still pending, but we’re already developing the corresponding controls along the border. We believe that as the fight against drug trafficking is waged in Guatemala, in Honduras, in El Salvador, in Belize, these elements may want to shift to other territories. So we’re paying attention to that phenomenon and building our strength in some places to prevent these elements from coming into our territory from the north and from the south. Diálogo: In practical terms, what measures are you taking to implement this idea? Brig. Gen. Zepeda: The Nicaraguan Army is part of the Conference of Central American Armed Forces (CFAC, for its Spanish acronym), in which we have different levels of cooperation. We also collaborate in different areas with the U.S. Southern Command, especially in the area of training for our officers, through CNIES [the Cooperating Nation Information Exchange System], in the transmission of information about the tracking of illegal movements by air and by sea, which can enable the interception or seizure of drugs along the coast, and following up on the possible illegal incursion of planes into our territory, among others at the country-to-country level. This collaborative effort stems from the document that the Nicaraguan president signed with corresponding U.S. authorities, a document called “Fighting Illicit Trafficking at Sea.” This is a legal document, through which Nicaragua receives the support of the U.S. Coast Guard, by radio, or in whatever way may be already established. Information is given to the Nicaraguan Navy, or vice versa. Diálogo: In protecting its borders, what kind of collaboration does Nicaragua have with its Central American neighbors? Brig. Gen. Zepeda: For me, it’s been a very positive experience. I’ve been able to listen to military leaders, all the experiences that they have, first hand, in person. We believe that if we’re successful with operations conducted at the national level, we can succeed in building a good synergy that can make it possible to improve regional results. We hope that this effort doesn’t end at the national level, but that it transforms into a regional effort. General Douglas Fraser [commander, U.S. Southern Command] has said the same thing, that he hopes that this strategy will become a regional strategy to fight these illicit activities and improve the results. Of interest. Diálogo: Could you cite an example of joint operations with military forces from other countries? By Dialogo October 01, 2012 Diálogo: During CENTSEC 2012, there were references to Nicaragua’s implementation of a homegrown initiative for the fight against drug trafficking. Could you explain to us what this is about? When Brigadier General Adolfo Zepeda Martínez speaks about Nicaragua, he does so in an almost poetic tone. The head of the Intelligence and Counterintelligence Directorate of the nation’s Army tells of a “land of lakes and volcanoes” and traverses its geography, mentioning locations by name, as if he were enjoying an imaginary trip through each part of his country. In April, during the Central American Security Conference (CENTSEC 2012), sponsored by the U.S. Southern Command, Brig. Gen. Zepeda traveled to El Salvador to represent Nicaragua. On that occasion, during an interview granted to Diálogo, the military officer talked about the “Containment Wall,” a national strategy that seeks to keep drug traffickers within bounds, far from Nicaragua’s lakes, coasts and borders. Brig. Gen. Zepeda: At this time, we’re participating in Operation Martillo, which is being led by the Southern Command and JIATF–S (the Joint Interagency Task Force–South). Practically all the Central American countries and others, even European ones, are participating in that operation. We’ve also been participating in that effort with the Southern Command when they invite us to take part in military exercises, such as Panamax, for example. Diálogo: What concrete benefits do you take away from participating in conferences like CENTSEC 2012?
The Peruvian Congress passed a bill on December 13 that prohibits teachers that have been prosecuted for terrorism, drug trafficking or sexual abuse to teach in educational institutions for police and Armed Forces, informed the Secretariat of the Legislative Power. “Teachers or administrative staff that have been sentenced or involved in terrorist activities, sexual crimes or drug trafficking will be permanently removed from their positions or disqualified to teach in schools, police and Armed Forces academies,” the resolution stated. The bill was approved by Congress, and it will be submitted to the Presidential Palace to be enacted by President Ollanta Humala. The law also allows for the creation of a judiciary record of convicted or prosecuted individuals for terrorist crimes, terrorist advocacy, sexual violation and/or freedom, and illicit drug trafficking. During the debate, it was stated that the project, supported by all political groups, is aimed at preventing teachers who have been prosecuted and sentenced for these charges from returning to educational centers, the Secretariat added. In this respect, it was mentioned that so far, there was no impediment for people convicted for these crimes to return to positions in schools. By Dialogo December 17, 2012
São João Fort, the location where the city of Rio de Janeiro was founded in 1565, was also the place where physical education took shape in the country. For example, Lieutenant Guilherme Paraense won the first Olympic medal for Brazil in the Antwerp games of 1920, after having trained at the Army Physical Training Center (CCFEX). The Brazilian soccer team who won the 1970 World Cup in Mexico also trained there. Nowadays, the Brazilian Army wants to turn the CCFEX into a center of excellence that will also provide support to the Brazilian Olympic Committee (BOC) in preparation for the 2016 Olympic Games. Major General Décio dos Santos Brasil, president of the Army Sports Committee, was assigned to assist with the task and welcomed a visit from Diálogo for the following interview. Diálogo: Brazil had a successful performance in the V Military World Games. What lessons-learned do you expect to apply to the upcoming events that the country will host? Major General Décio dos Santos Brasil: In fact, the V Military World Games were a milestone for military sports around the world. We were too focused on the internal preparation, especially on our professional audience. Everything was the result of research work performed by other countries which used their high performance athletes to represent the country, and who were also military members of the Armed Forces. This way, there was an effort made to bring awareness and to show how important it was to project the country in the international scenario. Therefore we adopted this new system to handle the high performance athletes, who would also take advantage of our monitoring system, healthcare facilities, and sports infrastructure, which at times were not being used because we were not able to keep our teams constantly focused. With this high performance athlete program, we were able to allow them to train in their original bases, as military members, in their original states, their original clubs. Periodically they would come to the CCFEX for refresher training, and to participate in military competitions as they are also in better shape, which is a result of this effort, anticipating the upcoming World Cup and the Olympic Games. This program worked very well for the 2011 Military World Games. Diálogo: Indeed, it worked so well that Brazil ranked first place in the V Military World Games. What do you expect at the upcoming competitions? Major General Brasil: Our preparation for the 2011 Military World Games was very specific, very focused. We wanted to prove to the country that our military sports can compete on equal terms with others. We were surprised by the first place win. We anticipated a third place. There was great dedication from the three forces to train their teams. The results paid off. Perhaps it will be difficult to replicate, because we are aware that South Korea, who will host the next games, built a high level military training center as well. Therefore, our first objective is to perform well in Korea 2015. Then of course, our high performance athlete training program will contribute for good results in the 2016 Olympic Games. Diálogo: Major General Brasil, what happened to the high performance athletes who entered the Armed Forces with the purpose of participating the 2011 Military World Games? Were they dismissed once the games were over? Were they invited to remain as members of the military service? Major General Brasil: The military service law is evergreen. It does not change nor adjust to meet specific situations. It is a set law for all segments, from the soldier who joins the service annually and leaves, to those temporary members who serve for a limited time, such as soldiers, corporals, sergeant majors, and officers. The contract is renewed annually and they may remain in service for up to eight years because if they go beyond the eighth year, in addition to the prior public service job, the accrual may surpass the ten-year limit, which would constitute full-time employment. Therefore, the military law allows for the military members of certain areas of interest to remain in the service for up to eight years. The same law applies to the high performance athletes who are in the Armed Forces, although this law is specific for each service. Currently, we have almost 130 high performance athletes, hired as reserve technical sergeants. They may renew their contract annually, if we have interest in them; they are volunteers and it should be in the force’s interest to renew their service each year, for up to eight years. In other words, those who were admitted in 2009 will reach their eighth year of service in 2017, covering the Military World Games in Korea and the Olympic Games in Brazil. They may remain enlisted and participate in both events. These athletes are constantly in training and maintenance and once in a while will come here to be updated on military matters, because they all went through military training to be part of the service: they learned physical education, how to march, to salute, to shoot, and all activities in the instruction program that soldiers joining the mandatory military service must go through. At times, they come here to our center, under the coordination of the Army Sports Committee, get updated, and acquire new knowledge on military legislation, then return to their workplaces, to train in their modalities. Diálogo: What is the attitude regarding the use of military facilities for future competitions in Brazil? Major General Brasil: We can serve as a support and training center for the World Cup. The same applies for the Confederations Cup this year. Our facility is well regarded, not only because of the location, but also for the technical and operational conditions that we offer: the field, the locker rooms and, if needed, the nutrition, as we have proper facilities for it. We also have all the equipment necessary for weightlifting and physical therapy … Even the BOC wants to install a clinical analysis lab to evaluate the physiological evolution of national athletes, and some modalities would come here to the CCFEX for training. By Dialogo March 20, 2013
The Colombian Army dismantled a drug lab that belonged to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and seized 3.9 tons of alkaloids in a rural area at Cauca department, a military source informed on March 16. “The joint operation with the Prosecutor’s Office was carried out in a rural area near the village of El Zanjal, in Timbiquí jurisdiction (Cauca). We were able to seize 3.9 tons of cocaine, as well as other supplies,” Colonel Jorge Mora, who commands the Army’s Special Brigade against drug trafficking, said. The drugs, seized on March 13 and valued at $22.2 million, were shown to the press at an Air Base in Tumaco Port, located in the department of Nariño on the Pacific coast. The lab had the capacity to produce over a ton of cocaine per day, serving as financial support for the FARC’s Joint West Command. Furthermore, the premises had the capacity to lodge at least 70 people, with two warehouses in which to store the cocaine. Before finding the lab, military troops engaged in combat against guerrillas from FARC’s Front 60, according to Mora. “This big production center was used for funding the 6th, 8th, 29th, 30th, 60th and Manuel Cepeda Vargas fronts, which operate in the departments of Valle del Cauca and Nariño, (on the border with Ecuador),” he stated. The Prosecutor’s Office said that the drug was sent through the Pacific to the United States. “There, some of the drugs are exchanged for weapons, ammunition, and explosives, presumably for the FARC.” According to the U.N., Colombia is the main cocaine producer worldwide, along with Peru. Every year, local authorities seize hundreds of tons of drugs from guerrillas, criminal paramilitaries and drug trafficking gangs. These cargos are mainly transported to Europe, Central America, the Caribbean and Mexico, where cartels such as Tijuana, Juárez, Los Zetas and Sinaloa operate. In February, President Juan Manuel Santos ordered the local authorities and the Prosecutor’s Office to investigate the alleged presence of Mexican cartel members, especially the Sinaloa, in Nariño and Valle del Cauca. By Dialogo March 20, 2013
By Andréa Barretto/Diálogo July 27, 2016 Brazil, Colombia, and Peru have agreed to join forces tocombat unlawful activities through the Memorandum of Understanding to CombatUnlawful Activities on Border or Shared Rivers, signed by the three countriesin 2008 and promulgated by Brazil in March of 2016. “Operations are conducted individually (by each of theArmed Forces on its own), jointly (with the other Brazilian Armed Forces), orcombined (with the other border countries, including Colombia and Peru),”explained Rear Admiral Flávio Augusto Viana Rocha, director of the Center ofSocial Communications for the Brazilian Navy. “One of the farthest-reaching operations conductedperiodically is the so-called Operation Ágata, coordinated by the Joint Staffof the Armed Forces (reporting to the Ministry of Defense), in which the Navy,the Army, and the Air Force act jointly with multiple agencies like the FederalPolice Department and the Federal Revenue Service,” Rear Admiral Vianaadded. The latest iteration of Ágata took place June 13th to 22nd and covered the full length of Brazil’s border – nearly17,000 kilometers, including the 9,523 kilometers of borders formed by rivers,lakes, and canals. During the 11 days of the operation, 720 inspections weredone on vessels. Navy conducts daily prevention and enforcement actions The 9th Naval District Command, headquartered in Manaus inthe state of Amazonas, is the Brazilian Navy unit responsible for Brazil’sborder rivers as well as those shared with Colombia and Peru. Its coverage areaalso includes the states of Acre, Rondônia, and Roraima. There are 768 service personnel involved every day inpreventive and penal activities aimed at monitoring the enforcement of laws andat fighting crime on river borders, which are coordinated by the 9th Naval DistrictCommand, according to Rear Adm. Vianna. Five patrol ships are used during these activities, alongwith speedboats from the port authorities, police stations, and agenciesdistributed throughout the military unit’s jurisdiction, which extends throughouta 26,000-kilometer waterway network. The Army employs 6,340 personnel on the borders with Peruand Colombia The Army has already deployed around 6,340 service personnel in the border regions with Peru and Colombia who are subordinate to the military organizations of the 2nd, 16th, and 17th Jungle Infantry Brigades. “The Brazil-Peru-Colombia border has 19 Special BorderPlatoons that stop vessels every day, seeking to combat transbordercrimes,” the Amazon Military Command (CMA, for its Portuguese acronym)explained through its communications office. “These platoons also do at least one borderreconnaissance operation in their areas of responsibility along the borderrivers, citing anyone who commits a crime,” the CMA added. Less lethal weapons and munitions are employed during theseactions, in addition to standard-issue weapons and munitions (pistols and lightautomatic rifles), as well as Army vessels and helicopters. The Federal Police keep watch on the Solimões River The Federal Police is the main agency tasked with combating narcotrafficking in Brazil. In September 2015, the agency reopened the Anozl Base on the triple border with Colombia and Peru, a set of two floating check points set up on the banks of the Solimões River. “Since waterways are the primary method of transport inthe region, nearly all the illicit drugs produced in Peru and Colombia aretransported along the Solimões River,” stated Alexandre Silveira deOliveira, Regional Executive Officer of the Federal Police Administration in Amazonas,in a report published by Diálogo on November 23, 2015, concerning the AnzolBase. Federal agents work at one of the floating check points,inspecting boats and passengers, while Army solders remain on alert on theother, ready to intercept any vessel that threatens to flee the scene. In addition to this ongoing action, the Federal Police alsoparticipates in operations with the Armed Forces, such as Operation Ágata. Example of operations among the three countries The most comprehensive operation ever done by joint forcesfrom Brazil, Peru, and Colombia was Operation Traira, which ran April 4-8, 2016. Traira covered a total area of 1,426 kilometers, equal insize to the state of São Paulo.
By Kay Valle/Diálogo April 18, 2018 Paratroopers took over the skies of the central Honduran region of Comayagua for a multinational jump. More than 100 paratroopers came together at Soto Cano Air Base, headquarters of U.S. Southern Command’s (SOUTHCOM) Joint Task Force Bravo (JTF-Bravo) for the annual jump dubbed Flying Iguana 2018. The U.S. Army 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), in cooperation with the Honduran Army, through its 2nd Air Transport Infantry Battalion, hosted the February 24th event. Flying Iguana counted with 102 expert paratroopers from the United States, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Panama. “Each person was selected for this training at least a month ahead of time,” Honduran Army Colonel Jesús Jeovanny Moreno Cruz, spokesperson for the 2nd Air Transport Infantry Battalion, told Diálogo. “[They were chosen] abiding by the standards and regulations of a good paratrooper: discipline, judgment, and courage.” The purpose of the training is to enhance participants’ skills, share new techniques, and improve the field of jumping. The multinational event, which paratroopers look forward to, is also an opportunity to strengthen bonds of cooperation and camaraderie among partner nations in the Americas. Essential training Over the course of four days, participants trained for the event through various exercises, including physical training and mock jumps. “Even though participants were chosen for their experience, pre-jump preparation was essential, as soldiers had not previously worked together,” explained Honduran Army Lieutenant Colonel Carlos Fernando Torres Menjívar, deputy director of the Honduran Armed Forces Parachute School, who participated in Flying Iguana 2018. The colonel counts with 250 jumps throughout his career, including several international jumps. “[We reinforced] training for free fall to prevent fractures, jumps from 34 feet and practiced techniques to exit the aircraft,” Lt. Col. Torres explained. “[We practiced making] a good exit, checking the canopy of the chute, always looking around during descent, and preparing for landing—and also taking emergency actions inside the aircraft.” Participants also received academic instruction to complete the jumps safely. Service members studied different types of parachutes, the aircraft to be used for the jump, and jump zones, among other information. “All the training we received was given in a briefing in the jump zone, getting to learn about the helicopter for the jump and the voice commands lead jumpers use,” Lt. Col. Torres said. “In addition, [the training included] emergency actions before, during, and after the exercise.” The Flying Iguana jump Participants used round, static-line T-10 and MC1 parachutes manufactured in the United States. The exercise had logistics support from JTF-Bravo’s 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment, which not only facilitated the location but also provided a Boeing CH-47 Chinook helicopter for the jumps. Paratroopers completed their jumps from 07:00 to 11:00 hours, jumping from an altitude of more than 900 meters. Depending on weather variables, the weight of each jumper, and the type of parachute being used, the descent took between 2 and 4 minutes. “It’s important to mention that this kind of military training helps the Central American region forge brotherly bonds of cooperation,” Col. Moreno said. “[The exercise] reinforces those capacities, as parachuting is used to get to remote areas in support of humanitarian aid operations.” The multinational exercise was first held in 1997. In 2002, the exercise took on the name Flying Iguana in honor of a tree-borne lizard species at risk of extinction in the Central American region. The 2008 event saw the highest level of participation, with experts from 17 nations across the Americas (Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the United States, and Uruguay). According to Col. Moreno, the 2019 edition will include for the first time female personnel from the Honduran Army. The elite paratrooper exercise ended with a wing exchange between partner nations in affirmation of their brotherhood. The experience, Lt. Col. Torres said, left behind “a good training and work relationship with the nations of Central America. We need to spread that for future training events.”
By Eduardo Szklarz/Diálogo November 20, 2020 The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) deployed a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to respond to the destruction caused by two consecutive hurricanes in Central America.Hurricane Iota made landfall in Nicaragua on November 17 with winds of 250 km/h, less than two weeks after Tropical Storm Eta left at least 200 people dead and missing in the region, in addition to displacing thousands.“The United States, through USAID, was already providing assistance after Hurricane Eta made landfall, and is now allocating an additional $17 million in vital aid for people affected by both hurricanes in Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua,” USAID said in a statement.The Guatemalan Army’s 6th Infantry Brigade supported the evacuation of families affected by the constant rains caused by Hurricane Iota. (Photo: Guatemalan Army)This new funding includes up to $8.5 million for Honduras, $7 million for Guatemala, and $1.5 million for Nicaragua to provide shelter, food, hygiene supplies, relief items, and protection for the most vulnerable people, USAID said.In Honduras, the Armed Forces’ Peacekeeping Operations Unit (UOMP, in Spanish) distributed more than 25,000 gallons of water to citizens affected by the hurricanes.“The UOMP has also led preventive evacuations, street cleaning, and damage assessment,” the Honduran Armed Forces reported.For its part, the Guatemalan Army intensified assistance in devastated and at-risk areas.“We have approximately 7,000 men and women members of the Army involved in response tasks that include searching for people, evacuation, and logistics to move humanitarian aid to the affected communities,” Rubén Téllez, spokesman for the Guatemalan Ministry of Defense, told Agencia Guatemalteca de Noticias.The United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO) warned of the catastrophic consequences of Hurricane Iota, this year’s 13th tropical storm in Central America.“We are running out of superlatives for this Atlantic hurricane season. It’s a record in every sense of the word,” WMO spokesperson Clare Nullis said in a statement.According to Nullis, the number and strength of hurricanes in 2020 are due to several causes, such as the absence of an El Niño event, ocean temperature, and atmospheric patterns — all factors that occur in an era of climate change.
ABA presents merit award to Clearwater’s Rose August 15, 2003 Regular News ABA presents merit award to Clearwater’s Rose The ABA honored Clearwater attorney Donna K. Rose with the annual Sole Practitioner Merit Award August 8 in San Francisco in conjunction with the 2003 ABA Annual Meeting.The annual award, sponsored by the ABA General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Section, recognizes practitioners throughout the country who through their leadership and service to the local and legal communities have shown outstanding dedication to the practice of law.Rose, whose practice centers on family law and federal criminal law, is community outreach chair for the Clearwater Bar and past president of the Pinellas County chapter of the Florida Association for Women Lawyers. Rose is actively involved through many and varied volunteer efforts since joining The Florida Bar in 1998. During that time, Rose initiated both the Clearwater Bar community outreach reading program and the PCFAWL scholarship program.Rose has served on the board of directors for the Young Lawyers Division of the Clearwater Bar, PCFAWL, and the Clearwater Bar Foundation. She served on the Civil Advisory Group as liaison to the chief judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit. Rose serves as an assistant editor of the Clearwater Bar’s Res Ipsa, is Civil Practice chair for the Clearwater Bar and co-chaired the Silent Auction for the Clearwater Bar Foundation/Young Lawyers Division. She also participates regularly as a speaker in the Great American Teach In and for Law Day, as a legal services volunteer at the Tampa Campus of University of South Florida, as proctor for the Florida bar exam, in various mock trial competitions, and with Judgement House Halloween activities at Calvary Baptist Church.
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York CVS Pharmacy is requesting that employees disclose their weight or pay a surcharge.CVS workers using the company’s health care plan will have to disclose their weight or pay up.The company’s new health care plan, which CVS is touting as a way to encourage workers to be healthier, tells employees to visit their primary care physician and have their height, weight, body fat percentage, blood pressure and pulse recorded, among other personal data, or risk paying $50 a month for medical coverage.“Avoid the $600 surcharge!” CVS wrote on its employee benefits website.The health screening form, which the Press obtained from a CVS employee, must be completed and signed by the employee seeking medical coverage as well as the worker’s physician.“Forms will NOT be accepted without both parties’ signatures,” it states.“We want to help our employees to be as healthy as they can be, which is why we decided to implement this plan,” CVS said in an emailed statement. “In fact, we have been working for a number of years on ways they can improve their health through preventive measures. Health care programs that incent employees to be healthier are not new. Many companies around the country already have plans similar to the one we are implementing.”The statement goes on to say that 79 percent of “large employers have health assessments incorporated into their programs,” according to the National Business Group on Health.“To encourage a higher level of participation in our wellness review, we reviewed best practices and determined that an additional cost for those who do not complete the review was the most effective way to incent our colleagues to improve their health care and manage health costs,” CVS added.One CVS employee still steaming over the new health care plan told the Press that this is just another ploy for the company to pad its pockets.“I don’t want anybody knowing my personal information,” said the worker, who asked to remain anonymous. “It’s not going to change people’s lifestyle.”The six-year CVS employee said she feels “violated” and noted that her fellow employees are complying with the new plan out of “fear that they’re going to lose their jobs.”“It’s none of their business!” she blasted.CVS’ plan was also criticized by one patient privacy advocate who described it as “coercive and blunt.”“Many employers want to do something for their workers, but very few of them are stupid enough to say give us the information and sign this form and say it’s voluntary,” Dr. Deborah Peel, founder of Patient Privacy Rights, told NBC.
FLASHBACK: In this November 2012 aerial shot of a Long Beach side street in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, vehicles were buried in sand. (Kevin Kane/Long Island Press) Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Long Island will be the site of New York State’s first Strategic Gasoline Reserve as part of a pilot program designed to prevent a crisis at the pump if gas stations lose power for an extended period of time like many did after Superstorm Sandy.The reserve is expected to hold 3 million gallons of fuel for drivers and first responders, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday.“The gap in gasoline supplies during Superstorm Sandy was incredibly disruptive to the daily routines of New Yorkers who needed to get to school and work as well as the operations of businesses during an already difficult time,” Cuomo said.The state’s Fuel NY initiative was created in response to long delays at gas stations battling power outages brought on by Sandy. Drivers across the Island were met with long lines at gas stations, and some were forced to sit on line for several hours only to discover that pumps dried up.About a week after the storm, both Nassau and Suffolk counties implemented odd/even days in an effort to ration fuel. Drivers were only allowed to pump gas if the last number of their license plate corresponded with the day of the month.The state is hoping to prevent a similar crisis in the future.The Strategic Gasoline Reserve will use capacity owned by Northville Industries on Long Island, the state said. The reserve, which will cost $10 million, could also be used to deliver fuel to other areas in the state.“By putting in place a fuel reserve on Long Island it will help relieve stress on the supply of fuel in a time of crisis,” Kevin Beyer, president of Long Island Gasoline Retailers Association, said in a statement.
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Suffolk County police are looking for a pair of gunmen who assaulted a man during a home invasion in Coram over the weekend.The assailants, who were both armed with handguns, broke down the front door of a Harrison Court home, confronted the occupants inside and struck the victim in the face at 1:48 a.m. Saturday, police said.The duo stole an iPad, iPhone, jewelry and car keys before they ran away.The victim was treated for a laceration at Mather Hospital in Port Jefferson.There were neither any arrests nor description of the suspects in the case.Sixth Sqaud detectives are continuing the investigation.
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A prominent civil liberties group wants the federal government to open up about a controversial anti-extremism program it fears disproportionately targets Muslim Americans.Officially established in 2011, the so-called “Countering Violent Extremism (CVE)” initiative has been criticized for unfairly targeting Muslims, which has the adverse effect of stigmatizing an entire community based on their religion, activists say. Now the American Civil Liberties Union is suing the government in Washington, DC federal court to get some answers.The free speech group said it was compelled to act because the government has so far refused to release information about funding, training, and whether important privacy safeguards are in place to act as a firewall against civil liberties violations.“For well over a decade, programs and policies like these have sent a very powerful message: When it comes to American Muslims, our nation’s actions often do not match the principles of equal treatment and religious freedom enshrined in our Constitution,” said Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU National Security Project, in announcing the lawsuit.In its lawsuit, the ACLU argues that there’s been “scant information” made public about the program.“The premise of federal CVE programs is that the adoption of extreme or ‘radical’ ideas places individuals on a path toward violence, and that there are observable ‘indicators’ to identify those who are ‘vulnerable’ to ‘radicalization’ or ‘at risk’ of being recruited by terrorist groups,” the group notes in the suit.The government, the suit adds, has not “publicly disclosed any scientific or other evidentiary support for this premise.”Under the Obama administration, the government has implemented several CVE-related initiatives over the years, including a highly publicized summit last year to discuss the issue, a recently unveiled anti-extremism website, and pilot programs in three major US cities intended to target radicalization.The ACLU argues the pilot program in particular—which was first installed in Boston, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis—is aimed “almost exclusively” at Muslim American communities, a potential infringement on residents’ freedom of religion rights.Among the defendants are the Department of Homeland Security, FBI, Department of Justice, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.What has some activists so concerned is the government’s apparent outsourcing of law enforcement duties to the general public by asking community leaders, social workers and even teachers and students to identify potential hallmarks of extremism and report perceived radical behavior to authorities. “Our best defenses against this threat are well informed and equipped families, local communities, and institutions,” the government argued in its “Strategic Implementation Plan” published in December 2011. Screenshot from the FBI’s CVE “Don’t Be A Puppet” Website.Some of the purported signs of radicalization established by the government resemble normal human behavior, such as isolation and falling into a state of hopelessness. Essentially, communities are being taught to identify those factors in people—presumably Muslims—and notify law enforcement, the ACLU argues.“These are all hallmarks of the human experience, and include constitutionally protected speech and conduct,” the ACLU said. “But CVE programs view them as suspicious. In effect, these programs police Americans’ ideas and beliefs.”The suit comes a week after President Obama visited a US mosque for the first time in his presidency. The president used the platform to condemn the rise in Islamophobia and attacks on mosques and Muslim citizens.But, as the Press noted at the time, Obama’s policies—including promoting CVE—reveal a complicated relationship with the Muslim community.Obama last March held a CVE summit at the White House that advocacy groups said skewed toward Muslim radicalization despite studies that showed law enforcement expressed as much concern with right-wing extremists than it did with Islamist radicalization. These groups also pointed to stats that showed more people having died as a result of right-wing extremism than Jihadist violence since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.But in recent months the perceived threat posed by Muslims Americans has increased after the rampage in Paris that killed 130 and the December shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. that killed 14 people. Anti-Islam sentiment has been one of the storylines of the presidential primary race thus far, and has, at least in the Republican field, reignited the debate around torture and spawned chest-pounding remarks about the extent to which candidates would go to destroy groups like ISIS. Eight months after the White House CVE summit, the FBI was supposed to unveil a long-awaited website dubbed “Don’t Be A Puppet,” dedicated to countering violent extremism, but delayed its release. It has since been published.The site, which depicts a mannequin dangling on a stage, allows a user to explore five sections, such as “What is Violent Extremism?” with the prize at the end being an FBI certificate. The site was reportedly designed as a tool to help teachers and students in American schools identify people vulnerable to extremist ideology.Five years removed from CVE’s unveiling, “The American public has a compelling need to understand how CVE plans and policies are being implemented, who and what they target, and what consequences they have for Americans’ privacy and civil rights,” the ACLU says.
by: Dan BergerDo you like to use to-do lists? I do, but like most people, I rarely complete all my list items. However, I don’t feel that bad about it – at least not now: According to an article in Forbes, 41 percent of the items on the average to-do list are never finished.That means that to-do lists often turn into more of a source of stress than satisfaction. “It’s no wonder we feel so overwhelmed in the day, but fight insomnia at night,” Forbes notes.Also – when you pick items to finish from the list, are you picking the most important items or just focusing on what can get done fast? That can leave important issues – like regular check-ups with your doctor – unaddressed because of that never-ending list of more “urgent” (but less important) tasks.Forbes contributor Kevin Kruse says that in his more than 200 interviews with billionaires, Olympic athletes and entrepreneurs, no one has mentioned a to-do list. Instead, he says, they “live and work from their calendar.” Calendars show you how much time you’re spending on each issue, allow you to prioritize and keep things balanced. When you’re not trying to race through a list but are working to balance your week, you might find it helps you focus on what you need – and what your team needs. continue reading » 7SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
The NCUA Board will vote next Thursday on its proposed rule to eliminate the 5 percent limitation on federal credit union investments in fixed assets, according to the agency board’s July 23 open meeting agenda released yesterday.NAFCU has long urged relief for federal credit unions from the fixed-assets limitation and welcomed the board’s proposed rule, released for a 30-day comment period this March in a vote of 3-0. If made final in its current form, not only would the limit – which currently applies to federal credit unions with $1 million or more in assets – be removed, but so would provisions relating to waivers from the cap.Other provisions would:move oversight of federal credit union fixed-assets ownership from regulation to the supervisory process; andsimplify the rule’s partial-occupancy requirements by establishing a single six-year period and removing the current 30-month requirement for partial-occupancy waiver requests.While supporting this proposal, NAFCU maintains that true regulatory relief also requires elimination of the rule’s partial-occupancy requirements. continue reading » 4SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
41SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Black Friday 2015 is beginning to look a lot like Black Friday 2014.Big box retailers are pulling out all the stops to entice holiday shoppers this Thanksgiving Day and the day after, but many deals being packaged as something shiny and new may actually be year-old deals with a 2015 bow on top, according to a new study.Personal finance website NerdWallet analyzed 21 Black Friday advertisements and found that 20 retailers listed at least one product for the exact same price in 2015 as in their 2014 ad. That translates to an overwhelming 95% of retailers repeating Black Friday deals this year.Repeat dealsIn the study that proclaims “many Black Friday deals are a bust,” NerdWallet uncovered repeat Black Friday deals in nearly every product category — from major purchases such as a vacuum cleaner or an elliptical trainer to smaller items like a Bluetooth speaker or a sewing machine. continue reading »
8SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr The top leaders of the National Credit Union Administration said Tuesday that they support an alternative option that would allow credit unions to merge some operations.The agency’s general counsel issued a legal opinion last week that said credit unions are allowed under the Federal Credit Union Act to merge by forming a Network Credit Union.Under the concept, credit unions could achieve economies of scale by merging some functions such as IT or a call center while maintaining their own names and some level of autonomy.Speaking at the Credit Union National Association’s Government Affairs Conference, NCUA Vice Chairman Richard Metsger said giving credit unions that option was one of his 2016 priorities.“Building on the Network Credit Union concept…I will work to remove roadblocks to credit unions who wish to come together under the umbrella of one stronger charter, but who continue to operate under their own identities in their communities, seamless to their members, but now with added resources and reduced compliance and regulatory burden at the local level,” Metsger said.Speaking to Credit Union Journal at the conference, NCUA Chair Debbie Matz said “it is something that can be tried, so now the ball is in the court of the credit unions that are interested.” continue reading »
President Obama’s final fiscal year budget proposal is a record $4.1 trillion package that includes provisions to increase access to retirement plans and portability of retirement benefits.Many of the President’s retirement plan provisions in his final budget proposal were included in previous budget proposals but were not acted upon, reflecting the difficulty that the Obama administration has had in moving retirement plan legislation through Congress. The Obama administration included two new provisions in its final budget proposal, both aimed at increasing access to retirement plans.One proposal would allow for the creation of open multiple employer plans that would permit unaffiliated employers to offer benefits through a single plan. Under current law, employers that participate in multiple employer plans are often employers that have some type of affiliation, such as belonging to the same trade or business association. The administration’s proposal would eliminate this “common bond” requirement.Allowing unaffiliated employers to participate in a single multiple employer plan, which would be treated as a single plan under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), would make it easier and less costly for small employers to offer tax-qualified retirement benefits to their employees. The administration believes that if it can reduce the complexities and costs associated with maintaining a retirement plan, small businesses will be more willing to offer retirement plans to their employees.The administration’s other new proposal is intended to encourage state retirement savings initiatives, such as the Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program. The Department of Labor (DOL) has recently proposed regulations and guidance to move forward with state-based retirement savings initiatives consistent with ERISA regulations. To further encourage these initiatives, the administration proposes to set aside $6.5 million to allow a handful of states to pilot and evaluate state-based 401(k)-type programs and automatic enrollment IRAs.All of the other retirement plan provisions in the President’s final budget proposal were included in previous budget proposals. Following are the major provisions that would affect IRAs.Required Minimum Distributions for Roth IRAs Roth IRAs would be subject to the same required minimum distribution (RMD) rules as Traditional IRAs. The proposal would require IRA owners to begin receiving RMDs from Roth IRAs in the year that they attain age 70½ and would no longer permit Roth IRA contributions after reaching age 70½.Automatic IRA Program Employers in business for at least two years that have 10 or more employees would be required to offer an automatic IRA option. Employers sponsoring a qualified retirement plan, simplified employee pension (SEP) plan, or savings incentive match plan for employees of small employers (SIMPLE) plan would not be required to offer an automatic IRA option. Under the administration’s proposal, annual contributions would be made to the IRAs on a payroll deduction basis. Employers would facilitate employee contributions using their existing payroll deduction systems, but no employer contributions would be required.Deductibility of Retirement Savings Plan ContributionsAnother administration proposal would limit the tax value of specified deductions or exclusions from adjusted gross income and all itemized deductions.The tax value of the exclusion for employee contributions would be reduced to a maximum of 28 percent for defined contribution retirement plans and IRAs instead of allowing taxpayers to exclude the contributions from the full 33 percent, 35 percent, or 39.6 percent that they would otherwise owe. Taxpayers in the 28 percent and lower brackets would be unaffected. This same provision also would limit the tax value of contributions made by these upper-income taxpayers to health savings accounts and Archer medical savings accounts.Limited Payout Options for Nonspouse BeneficiariesNonspouse beneficiaries of retirement plans and IRAs would be required to take distributions over a period of no more than five years. Under current law, depending on the original IRA owner’s date of death and whether there is a designated beneficiary under the plan, a nonspouse beneficiary may be able to take payments over his or her own life expectancy.Nonspouse Beneficiary Rollovers to Inherited IRAsThe options available to a nonspouse beneficiary under an employer-sponsored retirement plan or IRA for moving inherited plan or IRA assets to an inherited IRA would be expanded to allow 60-day rollovers (i.e., indirect rollovers) of such assets.No RMDs for Some TaxpayersRMDs would be eliminated if the aggregate value of an individual’s IRA and other tax-favored retirement plan accumulations does not exceed $100,000 on a measurement date. The RMD requirements would phase in ratably for individuals with aggregate retirement benefits between $100,000 and $110,000.Other ProvisionsOther provisions in the administration’s budget proposal would cap tax-advantaged retirement savings plan accumulations, expand penalty-free withdrawals from tax-qualified plans and IRAs for long-term unemployed individuals, limit Roth conversions to pretax dollars, and modify the cost-of-living adjustments to prevent deflationary adjustments.Chance of Becoming LawThe prospect for passing any of the President’s retirement savings proposals looks dim. The general consensus is that the Obama administration budget was dead on arrival on Capitol Hill, but the White House has expressed hope that it can obtain bipartisan support for a number of the President’s initiatives.That may be difficult with Republicans in control of both houses of Congress and the President’s lame-duck status, and given that many of his retirement savings proposals were included in previous budget packages and were not acted upon. Add that it’s a presidential election year with a highly polarized electorate, the prospect of a long drawn-out primary season for both parties with potential implications for down-ballot races, and a Supreme Court vacancy thrown in for good measure and it may be nearly impossible. Stay tuned. 24SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Dennis Zuehlke Dennis is Compliance Manager for Ascensus. Mr. Zuehlke provides clients with technical support on tax-advantaged accounts (including individual retirement accounts, health savings accounts, simplified employee pension plans, and Coverdell education … Web: www.ascensus.com Details
58SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Lacey Yasick Lacey is the Communications Manager for the National Credit Union Foundation. She works to develop and execute all communication efforts that support the Foundation’s national programs and engagement strategy.Lacey … Web: www.ncuf.coop Details “He told me how he was getting frustrated from having a good amount of money, to barely having $20 at the end. He told me he can see how hard it is for his dad and myself…raising four children and both working full-time jobs. I was happy, and proud that he got to experience a little of what being an adult is and what comes with it,” said the mother of a child who attended High Plains Federal Credit Union’s Reality Check Day.This was the reaction of a parent whose 9th grader just attended a special experiential learning event put on by their local credit union in collaboration with the United Way of Eastern New Mexico, and over 2o community partners. Through the combined efforts of the community partners, High Plains Federal Credit Union (HPFCU) created a “Reality Check Day” at a local high school. What is a Reality Check Day you may ask?Through an Experiential Learning Grant distributed from the National Credit Union Foundation, HPFCU was able to host a day-long event called “Reality Check Day” that placed high school students into the shoes of their future selves, and sensitized them to the financial hardships that some American families experience every day.HPFCU utilized CUNA’s Mad City Money program, a hands-on experience that allows students to learn some of the financial challenges they will face when they start life on their own. Students identify their career and starting salary, and are required to complete a budget sheet requiring them to live within their monthly means.Throughout the fair, there are many temptations for additional spending, helping students learn to balance needs versus wants. This experience helps students to learn about finances, budgeting, and how hard it might be for their parents to provide for their families.In addition to the Mad City Money program, the Reality Check Day also included a Poverty Simulation/Life Simulation, in which the students learned what it might be like to live in a typical low-income family, struggling to survive month to month. This simulation helps students to be more aware of the daily realities that many families face each day, and the emotions that come from money stress and making financial decisions.“Reality Check Day made an impact on over 580 freshman students plus their parents, teachers, community leaders and over 60 volunteers,” said Veronica Barnard, MSR Manager at HPFCU. “It was an eye opener for the students. They learned about debt, cash flow, budgeting and life as a low income family. In addition to new knowledge, they also took away valuable skills such as completing employment applications, time management, the use of a financial institution, how to find community resources, and the importance of saving for unexpected expenses. They now have a sense of how important finances are in their family’s day to day life. They have also created a relationship with their parents about finances that they never understood before.”This Reality Check Day made a lasting impact on these 9th grade students, who are now better prepared for their financial future. Through the hard work of their local credit union, and valuable community partners who volunteered their time, these students were given a dose of reality.You can see a video highlighting the Reality Check Day here.
5SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr As the child of Mexican immigrants, I grew up in a household that was unique in many ways from those of my friends and peers. One of the differences was that my parents paid bills, saved money and accessed credit outside the traditional financial system. Hindsight being what it is, I can now see how much of an influence those financial choices had on my eventual career path.Although it came with challenges, my non-traditional American childhood absolutely empowered me. Today, I feel so fortunate to be living out my passion – introducing more Hispanic consumers to the life-changing benefits of becoming a credit union member.What’s equally exciting to me is introducing more organizations to benefits of serving Hispanic consumers. As I travel the country, talking with credit unions, colleges and other consumer-centric organizations, I’m learning so much about how perceptions continue to shape reality.One of the perceptions that Coopera colleagues and I are working hard to reshape is this idea the Hispanic market is homogenous. In fact, there are many nuances to the culture. Let’s take a look at a few… continue reading »
Study after study have revealed that consumers are abandoning new account opening processes because of frustration with poorly designed online and mobile applications. The challenges range from asking for too much information, to not being able to complete the entire process using a single digital channel.In one study, it was found that 40% of all online applications that consumers start never get finished. What’s worse, those who applied for a product in the last 12 months digitally were found to have abandoned the process significantly more than those who last applied more than a year ago (45% vs. 26%) … indicating an increasing lack of patience.DBR 243 Cover 180x234You would think this would prompt progressive financial institutions to quickly respond to this opportunity by improving online and mobile account opening processes, capturing new business from these frustrated consumers. Unfortunately, research indicates that this call to action is being ignored, impacting customer satisfaction and, more importantly, account opening metrics.In an extensive research report, ‘State of the Digital Customer Journey,’ sponsored by Kofax, it becomes clear that the industry is falling significantly behind consumer expectations for offering a seamless digital account opening process. Not only does the research find that the majority of banks and credit unions do not provide an online or mobile new account opening option, but even those that do provide these options require branch-based engagement to complete the process. continue reading » 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
9SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading » A fundamental tenet of doing business is that effective communication between co-workers, departments and customers is essential—and occasionally challenging.On the list of the many responsibilities of credit union managers and executives, facilitating open and productive communications with members and among employees lands near the top. We all accept that human beings have different and unique ways of communicating, speaking and interacting, and we all have had the experience of struggling to connect because of those differences. Recent scientific research is revealing how and why we are different and building a better understanding of what we can do to better connect with each other.You Say Potato…New medical imaging technologies allow scientists to monitor how different parts of the human brain are activated when people speak and listen to each other. This research suggests that the different ways people communicate may be related to our unique brains, which develop in response to our singular life experiences and learning. Thus, we are “wired” to think, speak, listen and act in highly individual ways.These findings may be at odds with the way we have been teaching communication skills—as if there is one right way to communicate. In reality, there may be many right ways, but problems arise when people process communication in different ways. If we continue to attempt skills-based training that fails to recognize these biological differences, these problems will persist and perhaps even become more deep-rooted and serious.
6SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr When Heidi Macpherson, Ph.D., was working at a college in the United Kingdom, she had a colleague named George who had something of a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde thing going.When you ran into George, you never knew if you were going to get “good George” or “bad George,” Macpherson told the group gathered July 18 at the Danielle Downey Credit Union Classic Women’s Executive Forum in Rochester, N.Y., a three-hour event that brought together female executives, golf pros and high school students served by the Hillside Family of Agencies around the theme of “Paths to Success.”Now president of the State University of New York at Brockport, Macpherson talked about George while describing her path to success to a room of female executives from credit unions–including event sponsor $859 million The Summit Federal Credit Union, Rochester, N.Y.–and other companies, golf pros and high school students.Why remember George? continue reading »
Social Media has become a mainstay in the way we communicate today. Recent statistics on SocialMediaToday.com, states that there are 1.9 billion unique monthly users on Facebook; 1 billion on YouTube; 600 million on Instagram; 317 million on Twitter; 106 million on LinkedIn and millions of users joining many other channels monthly. With these numbers, there are very few people who would argue against the fact that social media has become an essential means of communicating. The magnitude of this is emphasized when we experience the impact of information “going viral”. In seconds, the world is watching.There are still some people, however, who are not sure of the impact and role that social media plays in business. Many are sold on the fact that it is necessary to be involved in the space but they have not committed to investing the time and the energy that is required to make it work for their brands. This is due in part to them not knowing where to start and the fact that it all seems so costly and high maintenance.The power of social mediaWith small marketing budgets and limited human resources, why should a credit union get involved in social media? Based on recent statistics from the Pew Research Center “seven-in-ten Americans use social media”. So, there is a big chance that your members, prospective members, partners, competitors and vendors are all there and that’s where you need to meet them. Many companies have used these channels to not only build awareness but gain insights from their engagement with existing and prospective customers that have allowed them to build brand loyalty and ultimately, brand equity. In a survey conducted recently (found on smartinsights.com) to find out how social media ranks in comparison to other channels for B2B companies; social media ranked as the most effective channel for strengthening thought leadership (88%); deepening customer relationships (79%); raising brand awareness (91%) and developing brand positioning (94%). If these are some of your business goals, it’s hard to build a case for not being a part of it. continue reading » 35SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
6SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Have you read a book that was the foundational piece for your career? Most of you are probably thinking, yes, absolutely. The book that has been by my side since 1996 is called The Strategy of Preventive Medicine by Geoffrey Rose.The following quote by Geoffrey Rose has framed my career: “Medicine has indeed delivered effective answers to some health problems and it has found the means to lessen the symptoms of many others, but, by and large, we remain with the necessity to do something about the incidence of disease, and that means a new partnership between the health-services and all those whose decisions influence the determinants of incidence. The primary determinants of disease are mainly economic and social, and; therefore, its remedies much also be economic and social.”My personal mission in my career is to help create healthy communities throughout the nation. Specifically, I’m interested in learning about and creating solutions related to the social determinants of health. So, the natural question that you may be asking yourself is: “Why are you, Angela Russell, working at an insurance company?” continue reading »
17SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading » When consumers talk, it’s always a good idea to listen. And right now, they’re talking about voice banking. In response, you should ask an important question: Is our credit union ready to meet those expectations?The popularity of voice banking—or conversational banking, which includes chat messaging functions—is evident across multiple market indicators, including the most recent quarterly consumer trends survey by Fiserv. The Expectations & Experiences: Channels and New Entrants survey found that half of consumers used a voice-activated device in the past year, with 79% doing so through their smartphones. The research, surveyed adults who used their checking accounts to pay a bill or make a purchase in the 30 days prior to the survey, also found that 8% of consumers used a hands-free voice-activated device, such as Amazon Echo or Google Home in the past year. That percentage doesn’t seem so small when you consider the product category was not even widely available until mid-2015.A multigenerational appealThe growing interest in voice banking is also compelling for credit unions constantly in search of ways to enhance consumer experiences to spark deeper and broader engagement.
Since the beginning of time, older generations have been claiming that “kids these days” are somehow in worse shape than their elders ever were — don’t let your credit union fall into that same dismissive mindset!If you haven’t thought much about bringing young people into your credit union or incorporating younger generations into your financial institution’s marketing strategy, it’s time to reconsider. First things first, let’s clear up some popular misconceptions about young people and finance:Myth #1: Young adults aren’t a very valuable market for credit unions. It’s true that teenagers and twenty-somethings haven’t yet reached their prime borrowing years — but it’s also true that much of the current credit union market has passed that stage of their financial lives! Finance experts will tell you that prime borrowing years fall between the ages of 30 and 50. The average credit union member is nearly 50 years old.By beginning to build relationships and recruit young members now, you can set your credit union up for success in the future. If you bring Gen Zers or young millennials into your organization now, your credit union can expect to thrive for years to come. continue reading » 2SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Sen. Chuck Schumer has just come up with another way to fund the badly needed ocean outfall pipe at Nassau County’s Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant in East Rockaway but it’s still at least a quarter of a billion dollars short.New York’s senior Democratic senator proposed that $210 million come from the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program award, which was approved for New York State by the Federal Emergency Management Agency last month. But the entire project is estimated to cost more than $550 million.“The Bay Park Outfall Pipe is the last piece of the puzzle when it comes to rebuilding the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant from Sandy and making it more resilient against future storms,” Schumer said in a press release Monday. “It is sorely needed to help prevent another environmental disaster from happening in Nassau County.”The pipe would be an addition to the sewage treatment plant that is already being rebuilt after being flooded by 9 feet of water during Superstorm Sandy in 2012. The outfall pipe, which would redirect treated waste many miles into the Atlantic Ocean instead of being dumped in the vulnerable Western Bays, is needed in order for the new plant to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water regulatory standards. According to the governor’s office, the Bay Park plant currently treats about 50 million gallons of sewage a day, discharging the treated water into the back bay north of Long Beach.Scientists have said that nitrogen from the effluent discharged into the bay is harmful to marshland that protect the shorelines from erosion.READ ABOUT NASSAU COUNTY’S TROUBLED BAY PARK SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANT AND ITS DISASTROUS EFFECTS ON THE ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC HEALTH HEREWhile Schumer’s proposal has drawn support from both Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and local environmental groups, the final decision about where this grant money will go lies in the hands of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office of Storm Recovery.“We have not been formally notified of this additional formula-based funding,” said Barbara Brancaccio, a spokeswoman for the storm recovery office. “If New York is to receive additional FEMA money, we will discuss all potential uses of the funding, including for the outfall pipe.”Last year the governor announced that the state had secured an agreement from the federal government to provide $810 million to repair and upgrade the plant, which serves a half-million county residents, as well as ensure that the new facility could “withstand a 500-year storm event.” But since no FEMA money was given to constructing a new outfall pipe, the governor said they’d be “requesting additional funding for this important project.”Schumer has proposed that the state tap into FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program because New York has some discretion over how it is allocated.“The state decides what projects they want to fund with that,” said FEMA representative Ray Perez to the Press. “It doesn’t have to be used in an area that was part of the disaster declaration.”Adrienne Esposito, executive director of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment said that Schumer’s idea could be a big step forward.“We’ve worked on solving this crisis for eight years,” she told the Press. “[Schumer’s plan] makes an ocean outfall possible.”Long before Sandy flooded Long Island, environmentalists have wanted to prevent treated sewage waste from washing ashore and polluting the marsh lands of the Western Bays.But this $210 million would provide less than half of the outfall pipe’s total estimated cost of more than $550 million. Esposito is hopeful that cooperation between the state and county governments will help finance the entire project.Esposito claims New York State has an additional $800 million that could be used for Long Island projects. She said some of this money could go toward the pipe construction, while the rest of the cost could be covered by Nassau County, but it would require a balance between state and local governments.“A partnership between all levels of government is very, very doable,” Esposito said.So far, the state has only committed to spending $150 million on the nitrogen removal system, which the outflow pipe would facilitate. Meanwhile, Nassau County has not said what, if any, level of support it would contribute to this vital environmental project.After Schumer floated his idea of using hazard mitigation funds, Mangano called his proposal a “potential game-changer” because it could bring the county “one step closer” to making the outfall pipe a reality.“I thank Senator Schumer for his partnership and leadership in working to secure funds to protect our bays, marine life, marshlands and local environment,” Mangano said in a statement Monday.But until the county and the state actually have all the money they need to fund the outfall project, it will remain little more than a “pipe dream.”
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A 26-year-old Kings Park man was killed when his motorcycle collided with another vehicle in Commack and the other driver was charged with driving without a license over the weekend.Suffolk County police said Christopher Colella was riding a Suzuki GSX-R600 southbound on Indian Head Road when his vehicle struck a northbound Chevrolet Venture that was making a left turn onto Somers Lane at 6:50 a.m. Saturday.The victim was pronounced dead at scene. The driver, 57-year-old Marino Guillen of Brentwood, was treated for minor injuries at Saint Catherine of Sienna Medical Center in Smithtown.Guillen was charged with unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. Fourth Squad detectives impounded the vehicles and are continuing the investigation.
“Staff from the MTA and the LIRR are on the scene and will work around the clock to determine the cause of this derailment and restore service as quickly as possible,” Cuomo said in a statement. Photos on social media showed a mangled train car and twisted metal as a result of the crash. A brief video posted by a Twitter user showed people in relative calm and emergency lights blaring in the background. Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York More than two dozen people were injured when a Long Island Rail Road train derailed in New Hyde Park Saturday night, officials said. Luckily, there were no fatalities and the most serious injuries—29 in total—were related to broken bones and lacerations, officials said. “The good news here is no fatalities,” Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano said. The county executive said an LIRR train was traveling eastbound when it crashed into a work train. It was unclear if the work train was idle. The derailment is currently under investigation, he added. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said approximately 600 passengers were on board at the time of the derailment, which spawned service disruptions on the Ronkonkoma, Oyster Bay and Port Jefferson branches. Service was also suspended between Jamaica and Hicksville—one of the railroad’s busiest branches. LIRR riders were advised to use Montauk, Babylon and Hempstead lines. The Long Island Rail said uninjured passengers were being taken to New Hyde Park Village Hall on Stewart Avenue.
PAUL LOREN’S HOLIDAY CHEERSThis New York-based singer, songwriter, and soulful crooner performs a virtual event to bring fans holiday tunes in the comfort of their own homes. My Father’s Place, 1221 Old Northern Blvd., Roslyn, myfathersplace.veeps.com $10-$15. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3. RACHEL FEINSTEIN This nationally touring comedian’s credits include three Comedy Central specials, as well as appearances on HBO’s Crashing, Bravo’s Odd Mom Out, and Adult Swim’s Venture Brothers. The patio at Governor’s Comedy Club, 90 Division Ave., Levittown, govs.com $22. 8 p.m. Dec. 4, 5. THAT MOTOWN BANDThis tribute act will livestream while playing all the hits you know and love – from “Rescue Me” to “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” along with classic holiday favorites. Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center, 76 Main St., Westhampton Beach, whbpac.org $15. 8 p.m. Dec. 17. Sign up for Long Island Press’ email newsletters here. Sign up for home delivery of Long Island Press here. Sign up for discounts by becoming a Long Island Press community partner here. JAMES PATTERSON AND NELSON DEMILLEThe two bestselling authors will virtually discuss via CrowdCast Patterson’s new releases, Deadly Cross and The Last Days of John Lennon. Book Revue, 313 New York Ave., Huntington, bookrevue.com Free. 7 p.m. Dec. 14. DAN ABRAMS & DAVID FISHERThe ABC News legal correspondent and bestselling author will virtually discuss via CrowdCast their new book, Theodore Roosevelt For The Defense: The Courtroom Battle To Save His Legacy. Book Revue, 313 New York Ave., Huntington, bookrevue.com Free. 7 p.m. Dec. 1. ELVIS: SEEN/UNSEENPriscilla Presley and long-term Elvis associate Jerry Schilling will be sharing intimate stories, personal photos, and rare home movies. One of the most unique concert experiences of recent years has returned with all-new, never-before-seen footage and amazing live onstage performances. NYCB Theatre at Westbury, 960 Brush Hollow Rd., Westbury, thetheatreatwestbury.com $100-$151. 8 p.m. Dec. 12. Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York From (virtual) music and comedy to book readings and history exhibits, check out these 10 Long Island cultural events this December. F-14 50TH ANNIVERSARYThis new special exhibit celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the F-14 Tomcat, one of the most iconic Navy fighter jets ever built on Long Island and of all time. Cradle of Aviation Museum, Charles Lindbergh Blvd., Garden City, cradleofaviation.org $14-$16. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Thurs.-Sun. M. WARDCatch the virtual album release concert for this Portland-based singer, songwriter, and guitarist, whose latest American record is titled Think of Spring. Landmark on Main Street, 232 Main St., Port Washington, landmarkonmainstreet.org $16. 9 p.m. Dec. 11. JEN ATKINThe celebrity hair stylist will virtually discuss via CrowdCast her new memoir, Blowing My Way To The Top, in conversation with Hillary Kerr, co-founder of WhoWhatWear. Book Revue, 313 New York Ave., Huntington, bookrevue.com Free with purchase of book. 6 p.m. Dec. 8. ART ON THE MARQUEELong Island’s first digital marquee exhibition is a rotating series of artist-created videos, GIFs, animations, and digitally created still works that will be presented on the marquee of the theatre building. Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts, 71 East Main St., Patchogue, patchoguetheatre.org Free. 8:20 p.m.-12 a.m. daily through Dec. 31.
“This year one weekend we had 68 degrees, the next weekend five degrees with a mini snow squall and then yesterday almost a monsoon up here but every weekend has worked out,” said founder Tytus Haller Organizers tell 12 News that this year’s festival was a success despite some wild weather. CHENANGO FORKS (WBNG) — Sunday was the last day of the Binghamton Pond Festival at Chenango Valley State Park. Haller tells 12 News that the plans for next year’s pond festival will mirror this year’s setup. It was the third weekend of the festival which culminated with the championship game for the adult four on four tournament. This comes after two weeks of tournaments including youth and adult games.
Violating these restrictions come with a 15,000 dollar fine. Individuals in attendance of the event who additionally are not wearing face coverings are subject to an additional 1,000 dollar fine. OTSEGO COUNTY (WBNG) –The Otsego County Department of Health said Saturday that after a cease and desist order was issued to cancel a non-essential event in Mount Vision, it was told the event is still happening. The department said it issued the order on the NY Harvest Festival & Freedom Fair on Thursday. Officials said this violates two executive orders which state businesses and events must limit all gatherings which are nonessential to 50 or fewer individuals if they’re being held lawfully. The department says citations will be issued to the events proprietors for violating public health laws and executive orders. The department says it is in the public’s best interest to avoid the event.