Full House Musical Parody to Play Off-Broadway

first_imgEverywhere you look, everywhere you go, there’s…a Full House musical? A musical parody of the ’80s/’90s sitcom is heading off-Broadway this fall. The new tuner comes from National Lampoon, who also created the long-running Bayside! The Musical!, now running at Theater 80. Bayside! will play its final performance on August 8, with Full House! The Musical! launching from September 7.The tuner will feature book, music and lyrics by Bob and Tobly McSmith (the co-creators or Bayside! The Musical and Showgirls! The Musical!). The two will also direct the show, which follows patriarch Danny after he loses his super power of solving problems with “sensible Dad Speeches.”The musical will feature such tunes as “This House it Too Full,” “Our Family is Better Than Your Family” and “Kimmy Gibbler Don’t Give a F*ck.” Casting will be announced later.Choreography will be by Jason Wise, scenic design by Bryan Hartlett, costume design by Shamira Clark, lighting design by Adam Lash and sound design by Lauren Vargas. View Commentslast_img read more

Berkshire Hills Bancorp reports 40 percent growth in Q2 core EPS

first_img— Interest expense 5,7156,121 CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME – UNAUDITED Total interest and dividend income    32,053 Total net revenue32,371 Sept. 30, 1,027887 (In thousands, except per share data)2011 520 2010 Other1,628 816 Loans$ 28,607 $ 24,606$ 25,005 – Interest and dividend income     Securities and other    3,446 1,432 $     0.25 Net interest income24,201 1,373 19,684 7,611 Diluted$     0.11 1,090 Non-interest income Insurance commissions and fees    2,782 Income before income taxes2,248 6,787 Supplies, postage and delivery507 2,0522,153 5911,125 20112010 13,893 7,7678,274 609184 549 $     0.20$     0.26 – 1,708426 $     0.25 – $ 24,917 3,473 7,912 3,4353,043 Marketing and professional services    1,557 2,5412,871 $   3,454 Technology and communications1,531 1,1921,051 (301) — 13,856 454453 Other real estate owned700 2,819 Loan related fees780 2,305 13,865 1,116 FDIC premiums and assessments741 6,563 100 26,482 10,870 80234 $     0.20$     0.26 Gain on sale of securities, net    6 – Non-recurring gain124 23,18921,415 20,14620,095 3,7302,150 8,1347,431 4,153 1,140 2,963 June 30, Total fee income    8,317 2,267 2,988 June 30, 1,6002,000 Provision for loan losses  1,500 (122) Berkshire Bank,Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ: BHLB) reported second quarter 2011 core earnings per share totaling $0.35, increasing by 40 percent compared to $0.25 in the second quarter of 2010.  This increase resulted from strong ongoing organic growth together with the benefits of the acquisition of Rome Bancorp, which was completed on April 1, 2011. Diluted earnings per share was $0.11 for the second quarter of 2011 compared to $0.25 in the second quarter of 2010.Berkshire also completed the acquisition of Legacy Bancorp on July 21, 2011.  This event will be reported in Berkshire’s third quarter financial results. Berkshire incurred non-core merger related expenses in the second quarter for both the Rome and Legacy transactions.  Net of these expenses, which totaled $0.24per share after-tax, GAAP earnings per share were $0.11 during the quarter.  Including the Legacy acquisition in July, Berkshire’s total assets have now grown by more than 40% this year to over $4 billion, and Berkshire’s total common shares outstanding have increased by about 50% to approximately 21.1 million.  Based on the $23.06 closing price of Berkshire’s common stock on July 20, 2011, Berkshire’s total market capitalization exceeds $480 million.SECOND QUARTER FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS (Revenue and expense comparisons are to the prior year second quarter, unless otherwise noted.  Second quarter results include the operations of Rome Bancorp.  Organic growth numbers exclude acquired Rome balances.)40% increase in core earnings per share16% organic annualized commercial loan growth9% organic annualized total loan growth3% organic annualized deposit growth3.52% net interest margin, improved from 3.30% in the first quarter of 201122% increase in wealth management fee income0.52% non-performing assets/total assets0.24% annualized net loan charge-offs/average loans0.62% accruing delinquent loans/loansBerkshire President and CEO, Michael P. Daly, stated, “Our solid core earnings growth reflects strong organic growth and sensible bank acquisitions that are improving the strength of our franchise and shareholder value.  We have completed the Rome and Legacy acquisitions as planned.  We fully expect to achieve the cost savings and earnings targets that we have previously set out for these mergers and for our overall operations, and we are also benefiting from a higher net interest margin.  Our tangible book value per share at mid-year improved from where it was before we announced these acquisitions, reflecting our financial disciplines to produce strong earnings accretion while carefully managing any impact on tangible equity.”Mr. Daly continued, “All major business lines produced solid organic growth in the second quarter.  Growth has been led by the commercial lending teams recruited in recent years, as Berkshire continues to increase its market share in supporting business activity in our regional markets.  Our annualized organic core earnings per share growth continues to exceed 25%.  Our core return on assets has increased by 41% over 2010, and we are moving strongly towards our medium term goal to produce an annualized return on assets exceeding 1%.  For the quarter, our marginal core return on equity exceeded 10% on the additional capital that we utilized in the second quarter, which is consistent with our investment objectives.  Our asset quality metrics continue to be favorable and our capital ratios are strong and have improved during the year.  We continue to take advantage of the opportunities to take our company to the next level in serving our markets and in our attractiveness to the investment community.”DIVIDEND DECLAREDThe Board of Directors maintained the cash dividend on Berkshire’s common stock, declaring a dividend of$0.16 per share to stockholders of record at the close of business on August 11, 2011 and payable onAugust 25, 2011.   This dividend equates to a 2.95% annualized yield based on the average closing price of Berkshire’s common stock in the second quarter of 2011.FINANCIAL CONDITIONChanges in financial condition in the second quarter reflected the Rome acquisition at the start of the quarter, together with the ongoing benefit of organic loan and deposit growth.  Total assets increased to$3.2 billion, including the addition of $0.3 billion in Rome assets.  Total loans increased by 14% during the second quarter, including the benefit of 9% annualized organic loan growth.  Commercial business loans increased at a 16% annualized organic rate in the second quarter, including the benefit of higher asset based loans.  Residential mortgage balances increased at a 6% organic annualized rate, offsetting the impact of planned runoff of indirect auto loans.Second quarter asset quality metrics remain favorable and continue to improve.  Non-performing assets decreased to 0.52% of total assets, and annualized net loan charge-offs decreased to 0.24% of average loans.  Accruing delinquent loans also remained favorable, decreasing to 0.62% of total loans.  Total deposits increased by 11% in the second quarter with the benefit of the Rome acquisition.  Annualized organic deposit growth was 3% for the quarter.  The loan/deposit ratio was 99% at mid-year, reflecting the Bank’s ongoing strong liquidity.Berkshire issued 2.7 million shares for the Rome acquisition at an average value of $20.83 based on the closing price of Berkshire’s stock prior to the acquisition.  Total shareholders’ equity increased by $54 million primarily due to the benefit of this stock issuance.  Total intangible assets increased by $20 millionas a result of the Rome purchase accounting.  Tangible book value per share was $15.07 at mid-year, declining slightly from $15.35 at the start of the year.  Total book value per share decreased to $26.61from $27.61 during this period, primarily reflecting the $20.83 per share book value of the new shares issued.  The ratio of tangible equity/assets increased to 8.3% from 8.0% during the first half of the year including the benefit of the Rome acquisition.  RESULTS OF OPERATIONSThe second quarter of 2011 was the first period including the benefits of the Rome operations acquired at the start of the quarter.  As a result, most categories of income and expense increased due to the Romemerger.  Most core profitability measurements improved due to the benefit of this merger.  Results in the most recent quarter include an estimated $0.03 per share accretive core earnings benefit from the Romeacquisition.  Earnings per share were affected by the issuance of additional Berkshire common shares related to the Rome acquisition.  Second quarter core earnings increased by 69% to $5.8 million in 2011 compared to 2010, and core earnings per share increased by 40% to $0.35 (including the impact of the newly issued shares).  Excluding the $0.03 estimated Rome-related core EPS accretion, core EPS grew at a 27% organic annualized rate compared to the prior quarter.  This ongoing organic growth in core EPS reflects the benefit of positive operating leverage resulting from revenue growth and disciplined expense management.  GAAP income results in 2011 included the impact of merger related non-core items listed on page F-9 of the accompanying tables, adjusted for tax accruals.  Second quarter 2011 GAAP earnings per share were$0.11, net of $0.24 per share in net after-tax merger related non-core items.  Including the benefits of theRome merger, the core return on assets improved to 0.72% in the most recent quarter.  Net of merger related charges, GAAP return on assets measured 0.23%.  The efficiency ratio improved including the benefits of the merger and organic growth.  Second quarter total net revenue increased by 22% in 2011 compared to 2010.  The net interest margin improved to 3.52% from 3.30% in the prior quarter and 3.25% in the second quarter of 2010.  This improvement was primarily due to the higher margin of the acquired Rome operations, along with the continuing benefit of disciplined pricing of loans and deposits.  Second quarter wealth management revenue increased organically by 22% in 2011 compared to 2010, including the benefit of new business development at a 13% annualized rate for the first half of the year.  Including the wealth management business acquired after mid-year with the Legacy acquisition, Berkshire’s total assets under management now exceed $900 million for its combined wealth management business.  Second quarter insurance commissions increased 4% year-to-year, including the benefit of commercial account growth.  Second quarter revenue included the impact of a $0.5 million year-to-year reduction in insurance contingency income as a result of lower payouts from major carriers due to industry conditions.The provision for loan losses decreased in the most recent quarter compared to the prior quarter and to the second quarter of 2010, reflecting the continuing strong performance of the loan portfolio.   Under current accounting standards for business combinations, the Rome loan loss allowance was not transferred to Berkshire along with the Rome loans.  Estimated losses inherent in Rome’s loan portfolio were recorded as charges against the fair value of Rome loans on the merger date.  Berkshire’s loan loss allowance remained unchanged at $31.9 million during the second quarter.  The ratio of the allowance to total loans was 1.30% at mid-year 2011, and the ratio of the allowance to nonperforming loans was 212%.  Second quarter non-interest expense totaled $28.6 million, including $5.5 million in non-core merger related expenses.  Core non-interest expense totaled $23.2 million, which was a 16% increase over the second quarter of 2010.  This increase includes the impact of the core Rome operating expenses.  Berkshire is proceeding with its plans to achieve cost savings related to this merger, which are expected to be further realized in upcoming quarters.  FDIC insurance expense decreased due to the benefit of new FDIC industry assessment rates which became effective at the beginning of the second quarter.  This partially offset a write-down on a foreclosed property in anticipation of its sale.  Second quarter income tax expense decreased in 2011 compared to 2010 due to the lower pre-tax earnings as a result of the merger related expenses recorded in the most recent quarter.UNAUDITED SELECTED FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS OF LEGACY BANCORPIncluded in the financial exhibits to this news release are unaudited selected second quarter financial highlights of Legacy Bancorp.  This information does not include all items which will affect the final financial statements of Legacy as of the acquisition date.  Activity in the second quarter was in line with the Company’s expectations and transitioning in anticipation of the merger.  Additional financial information about Legacy Bancorp will be provided in the notes to the financial statements of Berkshire as of September 30, 2011, which will reflect the acquisition of Legacy as of July 21, 2011.  In conjunction with the acquisition of Legacy, a deposit divestiture agreement was entered into with NBT Bancorp to divest four Berkshire County Legacy branch offices with deposits totaling approximately $158 million.  It is anticipated that this divestiture will be completed by October 31, 2011.NOTE ON ACCOUNTING CORRECTIONBased on a review of its tax credit investment limited partnership interests in the most recent quarter,Berkshire determined that its net income had been understated by an immaterial amount in prior periods.  These interests primarily relate to low income housing, community development, and solar energy related investments.  The Company has corrected its accounting for these interests, including adjustments to non-interest income to reflect book losses in these interests, which are more than offset by the reduction of income tax expense resulting from federal income tax credits.  The enclosed financial statements include the impact of the correction of these immaterial errors to current and prior period financial information presented.   Compensation and benefits12,027 28,463 9,092 756 1,244 2,000 27,963 3,546 Income tax expense371 1,4661,519 8,0547,197 2,316 2,730 Amortization of intangible assets    935 Merger related expenses    5,451 1,4101,572 Basic16,580 Wealth management fees    1,389 26,247 Mar. 31,Dec. 31, Deposit related fees3,366 6,685 2,200 28,28027,526 Quarters Ended Basic$     0.11 Total non-interest expense    28,623 768 768 $     0.25 20,028 – $   2,835$   3,600 Borrowings and junior subordinated debentures2,084 Other(277) 3,3073,364 2010 Occupancy and equipment    3,546 Non-interest expense 3,197 $ 24,490 8,779 13,94313,890 1,2131,520 10,960 3,4914,111 13,98113,934 4,254 Total non-interest income      8,170 656511 699 $   3,438 Net income$   1,877 1,253 – 1,458 716718 Weighted average shares outstanding:       BACKGROUNDBerkshire Hills Bancorp is the parent of Berkshire Bank, America’s Most Exciting Bank(SM), and now has more than $4 billion in assets after the Legacy acquisition.    The Company has more than 60 full service branch offices in Massachusetts, New York, and Vermont providing personal and business banking, insurance, and wealth management services.  Berkshire Bank provides 100% deposit insurance protection for all deposit accounts, regardless of amount, based on a combination of FDIC insurance and theDepositors Insurance Fund (DIF).  For more information, visit www.berkshirebank.com(link is external) or call 800-773-5601.  FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTSThis document may contain forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  There are several factors that could cause actual results to differ significantly from expectations described in the forward-looking statements. For a discussion of such factors, please seeBerkshire’s most recent reports on Forms 10-K and 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and available on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov(link is external).  Berkshire does not undertake any obligation to update forward-looking statements made in this document.NON-GAAP FINANCIAL MEASURESThis document contains certain non-GAAP financial measures in addition to results presented in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (“GAAP”).  These non-GAAP measures provide supplemental perspectives on operating results, performance trends, and financial condition.  They are not a substitute for GAAP measures; they should be read and used in conjunction with the Company’s GAAP financial information.  A reconciliation of non-GAAP financial measures to GAAP measures is included in the accompanying financial tables.  In all cases, it should be understood that non-GAAP per share measures do not depict amounts that accrue directly to the benefit of shareholders.  The Company utilizes the non-GAAP measure of core earnings in evaluating operating trends, including components for core revenue and expense.  These measures exclude amounts which the Company views as unrelated to its normalized operations, including merger costs and restructuring costs.  Similarly, the efficiency ratio is also adjusted for these non-core items.  The Company also adjusts certain equity related measures to exclude intangible assets due to the importance of these measures to the investment community.  Non-GAAP adjustments in 2010 and 2011 are primarily related to expense charges related to the Rome and Legacy mergers.  These charges consist primarily of severance/benefit related expenses and professional fees.  Tax adjustments are based on an analysis of tax accruals for core income and for GAAP income, with the net difference included with non-core items and reflecting the timing impacts of tax expense estimates.PITTSFIELD, Mass., July 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — $     0.25 874 11,15111,093 542 18,871 27,91328,369 BERKSHIRE HILLS BANCORP, INC. 893 Deposits5,768 Diluted16,601 Earnings per share: 6,512 – 20,094 13,894 Total interest expense    7,852last_img read more

U.S. renewable sector investments topped $55 billion in 2019, a new record

first_imgU.S. renewable sector investments topped $55 billion in 2019, a new record FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:The U.S. renewable energy industry doesn’t seem to take much notice of President Donald Trump’s views on green energy and climate change as investments surged to a record last year.New investments were buoyed by wind and solar companies rushing to qualify for federal tax credits being scaled back this year. A total of $55.5 billion were spent in the sector last year, an increase of 28%, second only to China and beating Europe, according to research by BloombergNEF.“It’s notable that in the third year of the Trump presidency, which has not been particularly supportive of renewables, U.S. clean energy investment set a new record by a country mile,” said Ethan Zindler, head of Americas for BNEF.Global money flowing into the industry totaled $282.2 billion last year, up 1% from 2018. Despite the modest rise in investment, falling costs of wind and solar power ensured a healthy increase in capacity to 180 gigawatts, an annual increase of 13%.China maintained its global dominance even as investments fell 8% to $83.4 billion, or the lowest since 2013. European renewable energy investments also slid, down 7% to $54.3 billion.Brazil, which also has a climate-skeptic President in Jair Bolsonaro, boosted investments by 74% to $6.5 billion.[Akshat Rathi, Jeremy Hodges]More: Even under Trump, U.S. renewable investment hit a record in 2019last_img read more

Sustainable Furniture

first_imgThanks to increased consumer awareness and demand, there are more “green” choices in furniture available than ever before. Pictured: A Savvy Rest organic crib mattress distributed by Furnature. Photo cred: Savvy RestEarthTalk®E – The Environmental MagazineDear EarthTalk: Are there certain brands or retail stores where sustainable furniture options can be had? And what should I look for when shopping for greener furniture?  — W. Cary, Trenton, NJWhile we now opt often for greener cars, appliances, household cleaners and food to up the sustainability quotient of our lifestyles, the furniture we spend all day and night in close contact with is often far from eco-friendly. The vast majority of sofas, chairs, beds and other upholstered furniture we love to lounge on contain potentially carcinogenic formaldehyde and/or toxic flame retardants and stain resistors that have been linked to developmental and hormonal maladies. And much of the wood used in desks, chairs, tables and the like (as well as in the frames of upholstered furniture) comes from unsustainably harvested lumber which contributes to the deforestation of tropical rainforests.But today, thanks to increased consumer awareness and demand, there are more “green” choices in furniture available than ever before. A good place to start the search for that perfect couch or chair is the website of the Sustainable Furniture Council (SFC), a non-profit formed in 2006 to help develop solid standards and certification processes within the home furnishings industry. The organization has become a leading information source and network of some 400 “green” furniture makers and related retailers, suppliers and designers as well as other non-profits. Consumers looking for greener furniture can browse SFC’s membership list which features contact information and website links accordingly. Buyers beware: Just because a furniture maker is listed with SFC doesn’t mean it eschews all chemicals or unsustainably harvested wood entirely, but only that it is making strides in that direction. Consumers should still be knowledgeable about which green features they are looking for and/or which kinds of materials to avoid.Of course, with something like furniture you really need to see and feel it in order to decide whether it will work in your space. Eco-conscious consumers making the rounds at local furniture stores should keep a few key questions in mind for salespersons. Does the piece in question contain formaldehyde, flame retardants or stain resistant sprays? Is the fabric used certified under the Global Organic Textile Standard program (GOTS, which mandates that at least 70 percent of fibers are derived from organic sources and do not contain chemical dyes or other additives)? Is the wood used certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) as sustainably harvested? Does the piece contain any parts or pieces that come from bamboo or reclaimed wood or recycled metal or plastic? And is it easy to disassemble into reusable or recyclable parts if it needs to be replaced down the line?If the salesperson doesn’t know the answers, chances are the piece does not pass environmental muster. Limiting your search to brick-and-mortar and Internet-based retailers that specialize in green products is one way to reduce the amount of research and self-education needed, especially because salespersons in such stores are usually up-to-speed on the latest and greatest in sustainable furnishings. Some leading national furniture chains that carry a sizeable inventory of sustainable goods include Crate and Barrel, Room and Board and West Elm, but many more single store eco-friendly furniture stores exist across the country. Some leading online green furniture retailers include Eco-Friendly Modern Living, Furnature, InMod, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, SmartDeco, Southcone and Viesso.CONTACTS: SFC, www.sustainablefurnishings.org; FSC, www.fsc.org; GOTS, www.global-standard.org; Eco-Friendly Modern Living, www.eco-friendlymodernliving.com; Furnature, www.furnature.com; InMod, www.inmod.com; Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, www.mgbwhome.com; SmartDeco, www.smartdecofurniture.com; Southcone, www.southcone.com; Viesso, www.viesso.com.EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E – The Environmental Magazine (www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: earthtalk@emagazine.com. Subscribe: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial.last_img read more

Bluegrass, Bikes & Beer | Round 1 Recap

first_imgTravis Book of the Infamous Stringdusters reflects on the first leg of our Bluegrass, Bikes & Beer Tour. Stay tuned for the next round of tour dates starting next Friday, May 13 at Oskar Blues Brewing in Brevard, North Carolina.Pale Fire Brewing, Harrisonburg, VA—4/237am departure from home in Brevard with almost 6 hours to drive. I had ample time to catch up on phone calls and have a listening party of one, road-trip style. I arrived in H’Burg under cloudy skies with rain threatening. I needed to install a new drivetrain on my singlespeed (once a year, every year), so I stopped in at Shenandoah Bike Company and dropped off the bike.BBBDevilsBackbone2016-48They were concerned about the rain and trail conditions, but we waited it out and once the rain cleared and everything dried out a bit, 13 of us rode from the brewery to the Hillandale Trails. The rocks were greasy, the riding techy and fun. Returned to brewery by 6pm, parking lot shower, chicken salad sandwich… I played for a solid hour before turning things over to The Hot Seats who tore it up from note one.BBBDevilsBackbone2016-21Attendance peaked during their set, raffle was really solid, happy winners, place started to empty out after the raffle ended, but got a late surge as the local crowd filled the tables. I played a few, joined The Hot Seats on Bass, then drank (excellent) beer and listened to Waylon Jennings with Tim, the owner, until well after midnight. Day 1 in the books.Devils Backbone Brewing, Nelson County, VA—4/24After rising early (kids schedule is hard to shake) I took the leisure route following the foothills highways before a quick detour on miles 1-14 of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Setup went smoothly and the sky cleared and wind died down just as I took the stage. It being a gorgeous day in the Blue Ridge, the beer garden at Devils Backbone was already filling out at 2pm. BBBDevilsBackbone2016-19I played for about 80 minutes, sticking to mostly favorites of mine, the crowd filling out and filling all the beer garden benches by the time The Hot Seats took the stage. I grabbed a pint of Trail Angel Weiss (what else?) and caught up with old friends and new acquaintances.BBBDevilsBackbone2016-31I used to live literally on the grounds of Devils Backbone; I personally laid out, hand cut, and maintained the 3 mile trail network we were riding that day, so it was, in many ways, a homecoming for me. After about an hour, I joined the Hot Seats and played some old-time rhythm guitar (my favorite) before raffling off the goods from our sponsors.BBBDevilsBackbone2016-7The four of us rolled through a handful more tunes and our time was up. The early group rides had been well attended, but when I rolled out to lead the evening ride, it was just me. I welcomed the opportunity to revisit my trails in the evening light, alone, at my own pace without having to wrangle riders or shoot the breeze.BBBDevilsBackbone2016-39It had been a labor of love, laying in those trails, and to see how CAMBC has picked up the maintenance torch, and how they’re being embraced and bedded-in by the local community made all of that work worthwhile. Post-ride I finished tear-down, grabbed another pint of Trail Angel and saddled up to the bar for a meal and some socializing with the bartenders. Eventually, Carey had to send me to bed before I fell asleep on the bar. It was only 10pm.BBBDevilsBackbone2016-3Soaring Ridge Craft Brewery, Roanoke, VA—4/25Dawn came early and I had breakfast with some old friends overlooking the Rockfish River before jumping in the 4Runner to get a head start on the day. Last year at Soaring Ridge had been a barn-burner and I couldn’t wait to get down there.I listened through The Hot Seats record twice on the drive, picking out tunes I wanted to play with them that day, and gassed up in preparation for that evening’s quick exit post-show. The group ride was, again, the best attended this year.BBBSoaringRidge-8RIMBA has a really great thing going in Roanoke, with huge support for cycling. Despite our late start and cramped time-line, I squeezed in 9 miles before dashing back to Soaring Ridge, dumping a half-gallon of water over my head, putting on my shirt, pants, and boots, and taking the stage. BBBSoaringRidge-19Roanoke has always been a great place to play. I have a surprising number of fans there, and they were out in force. My set flew by and The Hot Seats took over, taking the packed house on an old-time/ragtime journey while I socialized, answered questions, and generally tried to fuel the stoke. By the time the raffle went down, the place was bursting at the seams, but due to a lack of food trucks (they bailed… and missed out on a banner day, I’m sure) as soon as the raffle ended, the bar started to empty out.BBBSoaringRidge-20No matter; the bar had sold a ton of beer (on a day they’d otherwise have not been open), we’d raised a bunch of money for RIMBA, and the music had been the best of the weekend. The Hot Seats and I ripped through another 30 minutes of old-time standards, then we said our goodbye’s. I picked up a couple 6 packs to go (no drinking before a late 4+ hour drive, so they insisted I try their beers on my own terms and it’s fantastic, by the way), and hit the road. The trip home was easy; Waylon Jennings and Bob Wills were the soundtrack, the 4Runner purred like a kitten, and I landed head down on my pillow at exactly 1am. Success. Can’t wait for North Carolina in May/June!Travis Book is bass player for the Infamous Stringdusters, an amazing solo artist, and one hell of a mountain biker. If you’re going to be in North Carolina this summer be sure to catch Book at one of the three remaining Bluegrass, Bikes & Beer tour stops listed below. Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 12.41.22 PMlast_img read more

Evidence of Murder of Former Venezuelan Police Officer Introduced at International Criminal Court

first_imgBy Voice of America January 13, 2020 On December 9, Venezuelan lawmakers presented at the International Criminal Court evidence of what they qualify as a “massacre,” which resulted in the death of former police officer Óscar Pérez and other agents at the hands of State security forces nearly two years ago.Former National Assembly representative Wilmer Azuaje and member of the Permanent Commission on Security and Defense, Franco Casella, introduced more than 400 pictures, videos, and other documents about the incident to the court.The material the lawmakers introduced is part of a series of documents Spanish daily El Mundo presented in a December 8 report about the extrajudicial execution of Pérez and his six companions.The journalistic work reveals that the former Venezuelan Police officer had 40 bullet wounds in his body. The lawmakers hope the proof delivered will be included in the open file against Nicolás Maduro.“Not only did we bring all those pictures and videos of Óscar Pérez, we also emphasized the systematic violations many youth experience in the prisons,” said Azuaje to the national media.“We’re aware and understand that these images cause pain to the family. But we’re also aware that the last minutes of these brave [men] were broadcast live with one purpose: that the world learns what was happening and understands the human rights violations that were taking place,” added Casella.On December 9, Interim President Juan Guaidó addressed the case, recalling that crimes against humanity can never be justified. “We will continue to fight for justice for our martyrs, their sacrifice will not be in vain,” he added.The representatives said they would deliver the same documents to the United Nations. “We refuse to accept that a person such as Nicolás Maduro, who has committed such terrible human rights violations, was granted a position,” said Azuaje.last_img read more

Corelation Conference: How to stand out in a sea of sameness

first_img 130SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr To be successful in today’s marketplace, you must do more than just sell things. That’s the powerful message acclaimed speaker, author and success coach Dr. Jackie Freiberg delivered Wednesday morning to open the 6th annual Corelation Client Conference.Credit unions and vendors alike must create an experience, Freiberg stressed. That applies to members, customer and employees; in short, anyone you engage with.Freiberg began her address by telling the story of Tim Ciasulli, the former president and CEO of Planet Honda, a car dealership. Recognizing that a) he was in a commodity business and b) that consumer pain points were generally the same no matter where the consumer shopped for a car, Ciasulli set out to create a different car-buying experience.For example, upon arrival, buyers were directed to a kiosk. If they told the kiosk attendant that they just wanted to look, they were presented with a large “just looking” sticker to wear around the lot. As long as the consumer displayed the sticker, no salesperson would approach them. If the consumer wanted to engage with a salesperson, they removed their sticker.According to Freiberg, this approach was a huge success. Planet Honda got 70 percent of its business from customer referrals. What’s more, on average, Planet Honda charged about $1,000 more per vehicle, a premium consumers were willing to pay for the improved experience.Freiberg went on to share the stories of other organizations that had figured out how to, as she put it, “stand out in that sea of sameness.” However, she made it clear that it all starts with employee engagement, noting that even though it’s unrealistic to expect to have employees for life, those employees can still be advocates for life.“When we engage our people, we create people who want to work with us for a long time and who strive to improve the member experience,” she said, “not because they have to, not because they’re told to, not because they’re trained to, but because they want to enrich your members.”“Credit unions are here to enrich the communities they serve,” she said in closing. “How will you enrich, how will you engage, and even more important than that, where do you need to show up to make a difference to your employees and your members? That’s the question of the day.”last_img read more

Reuters wins Pulitzer for photography, Alaska newspaper public service prize

first_imgThe Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica won the Pulitzer Prize for public service journalism for revealing one-third of Alaska’s villages had no police protection, while the photography staff of Reuters won the breaking news photography award for documenting last year’s violent protests in Hong Kong.The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky, took home the breaking news honor for its coverage of hundreds of last-minute pardons issued by former Governor Matt Bevin. The prize for investigative reporting went to the New York Times’ Brian Rosenthal, who exposed how thousands of New York City’s taxi drivers had their lives ruined by predatory lending.The Pulitzer Prize for Reuters, a unit of Thomson Reuters , was the newsroom’s eighth since 2008, and fifth in the last three years. The Pulitzer Prizes, the most prestigious awards in American journalism, have been handed out since 1917, when newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer established them in his will. Monday’s announcement had been postponed for two weeks because some journalists on the Pulitzer board are covering the coronavirus pandemic and needed additional time to evaluate the entries.In normal years, the prizes are announced before a crowd at Columbia University in New York. On Monday, Dana Canedy, who administers the Pulitzers, delivered the news from her living room, after the 18 board members hashed out the finalists and winners in “virtual and digital debate.””Ironically, the very first time the Prizes were presented was June 1917 — less than a year before the 1918 outbreak of the Spanish Flu pandemic,” she said. “During this season of unprecedented uncertainty, one thing we know for sure is that journalism never stops.”The Anchorage Daily News series, which included contributions from the investigative site ProPublica, found rampant sexual abuse in rural villages that are largely populated by indigenous people, where law enforcement was effectively nonexistent.The public service award is generally seen as the most coveted Pulitzer. The 2020 prize winners were in 15 categories of journalism and seven book, drama and music categories. Topics :last_img read more

How Catholic order from the Philippines set up orphanage where sexual abuse occurred

first_imgThe Catholic Church, in this particular case Bogor Diocese, had washed its hands of the case, reiterating to the public that Angelo was not a Catholic brother. The diocese holds a letter dated Sept. 19, 2019 to be the basis of their claim. The letter said the BSMC was not a Catholic order and that Angelo should not wear a robe. But Angelo continues to wear the brown robe of a brother and along with other brothers from the BSMC, set up another orphanage after he walked free in December. He has continued these activities without any hindrance, collecting money from individual Catholic donors while Bogor Diocese has turned a blind eye.Obscure orderThe Jakarta Post investigated the BSMC and has found that it is an obscure Catholic order based in the Philippines. It has yet to receive any official acknowledgement from the Indonesian Catholic Church, although the BSMC has managed to convince several clergymen to recommend them. On Sept. 7, the Indonesian Bishops Conference (KWI) issued a circular to all bishops informing them about Angelo and the BSMC and to be careful in making decisions regarding anything related to the subjects.Yet, despite all this, the BSMC brothers including Angelo continue to woo donors and operate under a religious guise. How has this obscure order managed to do this for so long? How does the Indonesian Catholic Church verify whether an order is legitimate or not? Angelo, a native of Tanimbar, an island in Maluku, is still at liberty. He has changed his name to Brother Geovanny, and set up a new orphanage a few months after his release, living among vulnerable boys again, as well as a few other BSMC brothers. In spite of all the allegations, which have never been dropped, he has requested that the BSMC be given a permit to work under the supervision of the parent institution from Palangkaraya diocese in Central Kalimantan so that he can conduct missionary work using the name of the BSMC in the area after being rejected by Bogor diocese.On Sept. 19, 2019, five days after Angelo’s arrest, the Bishop of Bogor Paskalis Bruno Syukur issued an internal announcement declaring that BSMC was a questionable congregation because of a lack of legal documents and decrees required by the Catholic Church. Thus, according to Bogor diocese, Angelo was not a Catholic brother and therefore was banned from carrying out work on behalf of the church, emphasizing that any legal action against Angelo was solely related to him as an individual.The decision made by Bogor diocese was kept internal until Angelo’s story became known to the public through an investigation undertaken by The Jakarta Post in collaboration with Tirto.id. This prompted the KWI to issue its Sept. 7 circular.The Bishop of Palangkaraya Aloysius Maryadi Sutrisnaatmaka confirmed that he received the circular on Sept. 7. He told the Post that he had a meeting two days later to talk about Angelo’s request for recognition and supervision, which had been submitted to Palangkaraya diocese under the name of Geovanny.“We have decided to reject the BSMC,” Sutrisnaatmaka told the Post on Sept. 10.Apparently, Angelo’s notoriety exceeds that of his congregation reputation as very little is known about the BSMC, including among priests and leaders of the Catholic Church in this country. KWI executive secretary Ewaldus, for example, spoke very briefly about the congregation in response to the Post‘s question about the BSMC. “You must find other priests who know about it [the BSMC] because I am totally in the dark,” he said via a text message on Sept. 9.The BSMC has no official website that provides comprehensive information about its history, spirituality or its work either in the Philippines, where it is based, or elsewhere including in Indonesia, unlike other religious orders that are officially recognized by the Catholic Church.  The very limited information about the congregation is available only through old blog posts that seem to be individually crafted, and through the congregation’s Facebook page that mostly presents photos of the members and their activities.BSMP or BSMC?According to two posts available on internet sources that were accessible as of Sunday, the BSMC was originally called the Blessed Sacrament Missionaries of the Poor (BSMP). It draws on the compassion and charitable works of Mother Theresa of Calcutta in serving the poor. Headquartered in Binan City, the congregation has Brother Anthony Bautista as its leader. Angelo once claimed that Bautista was the “superior general”, the most senior leader of an order globally.The website, which is said to relate to the diocese of Malolos in the Philippines, says that Bautista, who was then a “temporary professed member of the Missionaries of Charity”, a religious congregation established by Mother Theresa in 1950, started to develop a community that later became the BSMP in around March 1990.It is unclear whether the Malolos diocese has recognized the BSMP or approves of its work in the area as the information available on the diocese’s website only mentions “though there was no formal declaration of the bishop’s affirmation of the suggestion [to build the BSMP community in the diocese], Bro. Anthony was instructed by the monsignor [Aguinaldo, a priest from a local parish, the first person whom Anthony met to seek approval to set up the intended religious community] to begin their aspirations already”. The diocese’s website also puts the BSMP in the category of “charitable institution” rather than “religious order” category. The Post could not reach the Malolos diocese for further clarification.Brother Angelo BSMC (second left, back row) poses with children in his orphanage. (Courtesy of Kokon Production YouTube Channel/-)It is also unclear when the BSMP changed its name to the BSMC. According to a blog post, the congregation was still called the BSMP until 2015 when it first came to Indonesia.BSMC leader Bautista, claimed to the Post via Skype call on Aug. 23 that the congregation had never been named the BSMP. “It [the BSMC] is the original name [of the congregation]. It has been the name [of the congregation] since the beginning,” he said.Traces of BSMC in IndonesiaAs an order for Catholic brothers, Angelo claimed the BSMC was introduced to Indonesia for the first time on March 10, 2015, when Angelo arrived in Depok. He told this story to Jakarta Archdiocese magazine, Hidup, last year. The website version of the two articles has been taken down since Angelo’s alleged crimes became public last month.An article about an orphanage in Depok, West Java, published by Catholic magazine Hidup. It includes a photo depicting the head of the orphanage, known as Brother Angelo Ngalngola, and Bogor Bishop Mgr. Paskalis Bruno. (Courtesy of/www.hidupkatolik.com)Angelo claimed to a Hidup journalist that he met Bishop Paskalis to seek his approval to carry out charitable works within the diocese’s territory also in March, but failed to obtain it as he was required to first provide documents in regard to his congregation, which was then called the BSMP. Angelo met Paskalis again for the second time three months later on May 18, during which meeting he was granted three-month probationary status to work. In a recent interview with the Post, Paskalis said that he only approved of Angelo helping teach English to children.Angelo’s leader, Bautista, flew from the Philippines to Depok five months later to meet Paskalis on Oct. 10, according to Angelo. That was the only meeting between the two leaders. Shortly after that, Angelo set up the Kencana Bejana Rohani foundation on Dec. 14.Still BSMC brotherBautista told the Post that Angelo was still a brother in the BSMC congregation despite the allegations and the legal process he had gone through. Bautista however provided contradictory statements regarding Angelo’s religious life throughout the interview. He for example told the Post that he had advised Angelo not to continue his religious life and drop his identity as a Catholic brother, and instead focus on serving the poor after he was informed about Angelo’s alleged sexual abuse against minors. But later he defended Angelo’s membership of the BSMC congregation and repeatedly emphasized that Angelo was still a BSMC brother.“If he wants to continue serving God, well that is no longer my business but his. It’s his decision. If he is using the name of the religious order, well it depends on him. I cannot stop him,” Bautista said.In an apparent insistence on marking the presence of the BSMC among other Catholic religious orders in Indonesia despite the controversies surrounding him and his congregation, Angelo fled to Palangkaraya recently to meet Bishop Sutrisnaatmaka to seek approval to carry out charitable works in the area.Sutrisnaatmaka told the Post that he had not discussed Angelo’s proposal with other priests in the diocese until he received the circular from the KWI on Sept. 7.BSMC sistersOther than the proposal for acknowledgment submitted by Angelo, the Palangkaraya diocese also received a similar request from sisters of the BSMC led by Sister Yulia on April 18, 2018. Unlike the proposal from the BSMC brothers, the Palangkaraya diocese is processing the BSMC sisters’ intention to carry out missionary work in the area as they could provide administrative documents required by the diocese including, among other documents, a constitution and a structure of the congregation.Recalling his conversations with Yulia and her fellow BSMC sisters during their first meetings, Sutrisnaatmaka told the Post that the sisters had undertaken their formative years to become Catholic sisters under the supervision of the BSMC congregation in the Philippines, but later declared separation from the BSMC community of brothers to ease their work in Palangkaraya, where the sisters have set up the Taman Fioreti orphanage.“They told me that they had separated themselves from the BSMC congregation in the Philippines and set up an independent BSMC congregation of sisters with a new constitution,” Sutrisnaatmaka said.He further explained that he did not care about what had happened with the BSMC congregation in the Philippines as his focus was only on supervising the BSMC sisters in obtaining church recognition.Palangkaraya diocese plans to make the decision on the fate of the BSMC sisters next year if they can fulfil all the conditions required by the diocese. As Bogor diocese has thrown doubt on the authenticity of the BSMC, Palangkaraya diocese might possibly dissolve the existing BSMC congregation of sisters and ask Yulia and five other sisters to join other congregations that have been officially recognized by Palangkaraya diocese.“But please bear in mind that the process is still ongoing. We haven’t made any decisions,” Sutrisnaatmaka stressed, adding that the process could take longer than expected.Topics : The Philippines-based Catholic religious order the Blessed Sacrament Missionaries of Charity (BSMC) was largely unknown to the Indonesian public until one of its members, Lukas Lucky Ngalngola, calling himself Brother Angelo and later Geovanny, put the congregation on the map, and for all the wrong reasons.Angelo allegedly abused orphanage boys under his care, sexually and physically. While the abuse against the boys who lived at the Kencana Bejana Rohani orphanage that Angelo set up in 2015 in Depok, West Java, was reported to the police in September last year, the crime was revealed to the public only very recently after victims and child protection activists spoke out in the media.Collective efforts coordinated by the state-sponsored Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) are being made to prosecute Angelo after a lack of action taken against him brought state institutions in charge of child protection, including the KPAI, as well as the Catholic Church, into the spotlight. He was arrested by the Depok Police in September 2019 but was released three months later as the police failed to complete the dossiers for the prosecutor’s office to bring the case to court.last_img read more

PLSA shrinks board in overhaul of governance structure

first_imgChris HoggGregg McClymontLaura MyersEmma Douglas, head of DC at Legal & General Investment Management (chair)Zoe Alexander, director of strategy at NESTAdrian Boulding, director of policy at NOW: PensionsRachel Brothwood, director of pensions at West Midlands Pension FundMel Duffield, pensions strategy executive at Universities Superannuation SchemeTeresa Fritz, member representative at Croydon Pension FundBrian Henderson, director of consulting at MercerChris Hogg, chief executive at National Grid UK Pension SchemeJamie Jenkins, head of pensions strategy at Standard Life AberdeenNicola Mark, head of the Norfolk Pension FundNeil Mason, head of pensions at Surrey County CouncilGregg McClymont, director of policy and external affairs at The People’s PensionLaura Myers, head of DC at Lane Clark & PeacockJackie Peel, UK and international benefits director at Mars UKAnna Rogers, senior partner at ARC Pensions LawMichael Watkins, head of proposition development at Smart PensionCarol Young, head of group pensions at Royal Bank of ScotlandJulian Mund spoke to IPE editor Liam Kennedy earlier this year about how the PLSA was changing and broadening its approach to representing the UK’s pensions industry. The UK’s pension scheme trade body has reduced the size of its main board and named 17 people to a new policy group as part of a major overhaul of its governance structure.The changes were announced last year at the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association’s (PLSA) annual conference. In May the association named Legal & General Investment Management’s head of defined contribution (DC) Emma Douglas as chair of the new policy board .The three new members of the PLSA’s main board are: Alison Hatcher, global head of corporate sector at HSBC Global Asset Management; Patrick Heath-Lay, chief executive officer of B&CE, the provider for DC master trust The People’s Pension; and Catherine May, a corporate affairs specialist who has worked at several FTSE 100 companies.Seven people have stepped down from the board, including former chair of the PLSA Lesley Williams, National Grid pension chief Chris Hogg, and Royal Bank of Scotland’s pension scheme manager Carol Young. The main board now has eight members, down from 12. Emma Douglas, chair of the PLSA’s new policy boardHogg and Young have joined the newly established policy board alongside other former PLSA board members Nicola Mark, head of the Norfolk Pension Fund, and Jamie Jenkins, head of pensions strategy at Standard Life Aberdeen.The policy board includes representatives of pension providers, lawyers, asset managers, consultants and pension fund executives from both the public and private sectors.Emma Douglas highlighted the diversity of the appointments: “The make-up of the policy board not only reflects the breadth of the PLSA’s membership, but we also have a range of ages and backgrounds represented and over 50% are female, which unfortunately can still be rare within our industry.”The proposed membership – which will be confirmed following a vote at the PLSA’s annual general meeting next month – is as follows:center_img Julian Mund, chief executive of the PLSA, said: “The changes to our board are part of wider reforms we have been making to ensure we have the right governance for our association and are able to fulfil our mission of helping everyone achieve a better income in retirement.“Alison, Patrick and Catherine will bring a fantastic mix of skills to the table and I am excited to work with them to deliver our strategic goals in the years to come.”last_img read more