Most of Indiana in Stage 3 of Back On Track plan

first_img Twitter Google+ Google+ Most of Indiana in Stage 3 of Back On Track plan Pinterest WhatsApp Twitter By Jon Zimney – May 20, 2020 2 1311 CoronavirusIndianaLocalNews Facebook Facebook Pinterest (Photo supplied/State Of Indiana) Governor Eric Holcomb announced that because health indicators remain positive, most of the state will advance to stage 3 of the Back On Track Indiana plan on Friday, May 22.Indiana Back On Track has five stages. For Cass, Lake and Marion counties – which started Stage 2 after other counties, stage 3 may begin on June 1. Local governments may impose more restrictive guidelines.“We continue to remain vigilant about protecting Hoosiers’ health while taking responsible steps to further open our state’s economy,” Gov. Holcomb said. “Moving to stage 3 is possible because Hoosiers across the state have worked together and made sacrifices to slow the spread.”Gov. Holcomb has used data to drive decisions since the state’s first case of the novel coronavirus in early March and he will continue to do so as the state contemplates a sector-by-sector reset. The state will move to reopen while continuing to monitor and respond to these four guiding principles:–          The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients statewide has decreased for 14 days–          The state retains its surge capacity for critical care beds and ventilators–          The state retains its ability to test all Hoosiers who are COVID-19 symptomatic as well as health care workers, first responders, and frontline employees–          Health officials have systems in place to contact all individuals who test positive for COVID-19 and expand contact tracingAs the state lifts restrictions and more people return to work, visit a store or restaurant, and participate in more activities, the number of COVID-19 cases will increase. If these principles cannot be met, all or portions of the state may need to pause on moving forward or may need to return to an earlier phase of the governor’s stay-at-home order.In Stage 3, Hoosiers 65 and over and those with high-risk health conditions – who are the most vulnerable to the coronavirus – should remain at home as much as possible. Face coverings in public places are recommended. Hoosiers who can work from home are encouraged to continue to do so.Social gatherings of up to 100 people will be permitted following the CDC’s social distancing guidelines.Retail and commercial businesses may open at 75% capacity. Shopping malls can open at 75% capacity with indoor common areas restricted to 50% capacity.Gyms, fitness centers, yoga studios, martial arts studios, and similar facilities may open with restrictions. Class sizes should be limited. Equipment must be spaced to accommodate social distancing and cleaned after each use. No contact activities are permitted.Community pools may open according to CDC guidance. Community tennis and basketball courts, soccer and baseball fields, YMCA programs, and similar facilities may open with social gathering and social distancing guidelines in place.Community recreational youth and adult sports leagues may resume practices and conditioning while adhering to social gathering and social distancing guidelines. Contact sports, such as lacrosse and football, are prohibited, but conditioning and non-contact drills may take place.Youth summer day camps may open on June 1.Raceways may open with restrictions and no spectators.Campgrounds may open restrictions, including social distancing and sanitation precautions. State park inns will reopen.Restaurants and bars with restaurant services may continue to operate at 50% capacity, but bar seating must remain closed. Personal services such as hair salons, barber shops, nail salons, spas and tattoo parlors may continue to be open by appointment only and must follow social distancing guidelines.Movie theaters and playgrounds, which had been projected to open in stage 3, will remain closed. Movie theaters are now projected to open along with other entertainment facilities and venues during stage 4. Playgrounds are to be determined.If health indicators remain positive, the state will move to stage 4 in mid-June. To learn more about the different stages and the associated dates to get a better understanding about where we’re going as a state, click here to see the full plan: BackOnTrack.in.govThe Governor has signed an executive order implementing stage 3 of the Back on Track Indiana roadmap. The executive order can be found here: https://www.in.gov/gov/2384.htmThe Critical Industries Hotline continues to be available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday to respond to business and industry questions about whether a business is considered essential. The center may be reached by calling 877-820-0890 or by emailing [email protected] to frequently asked questions and instructions to file for COVID-19-related unemployment are available at Unemployment.IN.gov.More information may be found at the ISDH website at coronavirus.in.gov and the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html. WhatsApp Previous articleDeadline to request a vote by mail ballot is Thursday at noonNext articleTrump threatens to withhold federal funds for Michigan over vote-by-mail Jon ZimneyJon Zimney is the News and Programming Director for News/Talk 95.3 Michiana’s News Channel and host of the Fries With That podcast. Follow him on Twitter @jzimney.last_img read more

Belles create holiday cheer

first_imgStudents and faculty will be able to celebrate Christmas with members of the South Bend community through crafts, food and movies at Saint Mary’s Winter Wonderland on Dec. 1. Senior Megan Woodring, co-chair of the Traditional Board within the Student Activities Board (SAB), said Winter Wonderland is an opportunity to combine service and celebration “Winter Wonderland is a really good reminder of what the holiday season is all about, which is giving back and giving to others,” Woodring said. The Traditional Board and Co-Campus, a group with representatives from other area universities, have worked together to plan holiday activities for the event, SAB president senior Liz Kraig said. “There will be crafts, like making Christmas trees out of cones and making snow out of cotton balls,” Kraig said. “People can also take pictures with Santa or decorate their own cookies. I think we’ll also be showing Christmas movies in Vander Vennet, but most of the events will be held in the Student Center so the people can participate in as much as they want.” Woodring said she believes Santa Claus will be a big draw this year. “Talking with Santa will probably be the most popular activity. The kids get really excited,” Woodring said. “We have our event really early in December and for most of them, it’s the first time they get to see Santa during the holiday season, so it gets them excited for the rest of the season.” Senior Elizabeth Robbins, co-chair of the Traditional Board, said the biggest difference between this year’s event and last year’s Winter Wonderland is the involvement of Co-Campus. Kraig said the partnership with Co-Campus enables more students to get involved with Winter Wonderland. “Last year, there were a bunch of activities around South Bend for the families in the community that we didn’t really get involved with,” Kraig said. “This year, students can directly be involved with the community and get into the spirit.” Robbins said she expects about 150 families to participate in this year’s Winter Wonderland, which is double the amount of families that attended last year. So far, 15 organizations on campus have signed up to help with the event, including Education Club, Rotaract and Bellacapella. Woodring said the organizers of Winter Wonderland hope to publicize the event by sending flyers to local community groups. “We’re going to have flyers distributed to the Robinson Community [Learning] Center, the Center for the Homeless and the South Bend schools,” Woodring said. “Also, we’ll be sending emails out to the faculty and staff here because this is also an event for them and their families.” To volunteer for Winter Wonderland contact participating organizations. The event will take place Dec. 1 from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Student Center.last_img read more

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: [email protected] 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