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Condos: Your Vote Is Your Voice – however you choose to exercise it

first_imgby Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos I love voting. Going to the polling place to engage in the democratic process alongside family, friends, and neighbors is something I always look forward to. In fact, that is one of the reasons why I got involved in public service and ran to become your Secretary of State.Like so many other aspects of our lives, the COVID-19 pandemic has created significant challenges for our elections process.How you exercise your right to vote is your choice.Many of us, including me, have decided to vote early or by mail in the Statewide Primary Elections this year, while others will be voting at the polls on Tuesday, August 11th. Know that whichever method you choose to vote by, my office and Vermont’s hardworking Town Clerks have done the legwork necessary to ensure a safe, fair, accessible, and secure election.As we rapidly approach Election Day, Vermont voters who have not already returned their ballots to their Town Clerk should know the following:If you plan to mail your voted ballot back to the Town Clerk, I recommend you get your ballot in the mail by Tuesday, August 4th, at the absolute latest. The time to mail return ballots is nearly over.You can also return your ballot directly to the Town Clerk during normal business hours any day that they are open up to close of business hours on Monday, August 10th. We cannot guarantee or predict mail times, so hand delivery to your clerk is the best option right now to ensure your ballot is received on time.Some Clerks have installed secure drop boxes for returning ballots. Check directly with your Town Clerk about office hours and any visitation procedures they may have in place.You can also deliver your ballot to the polls on Election Day. The polls close at 7pm. Check https://mvp.vermont.gov(link is external) to verify your polling location.All polling places will be open until 7pm on Tuesday, August 11th for in person voting.Please wear a mask, and be prepared to follow social distancing guidelines, as well as other polling place procedures the Town Clerks have put in place based on guidance from my office and the Vermont Department of Health.We have supplied the Town Clerks with infection prevention kits for the polling places, which include gloves, masks, hand sanitizer, and surface disinfectant.Remember, your vote is your voice! Make sure that you exercise your right to participate in our democracy in whatever way you decide is best for you. Now get out, or stay in, and vote!https://sos.vermont.gov(link is external)last_img read more

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New Compact courses added to Haute Route three day events in…

first_imgOC Sport has today announced a new feature on all three day Haute Route events in 2019 (excluding Haute Route Oman). Riders will now be able to choose between taking on the Original course or riding the Compact course, which will feature shorter distances and less climbing on each stage.Introduced to allow a broader range of riders to experience Haute Route, the Compact courses ‘will provide the same experience as the Original courses but will allow riders with less training and preparation to complete a ride that is more accessible and less demanding.’Positioned as an introduction to Haute Route, ‘riders will be able to make the most of their experience with the same level of premium services both on and off the bike without having to worry about completing the full Original course if they don’t feel up for it.’Each three day event consists of two classic stages and one uphill time trial. The Original courses will feature between 100-140km with 2,500m+ to 3,500m+ of climbing per classic stage. The Compact courses will feature between 70-100km and 1,500m+ to 2,500m+ of climbing.The Haute Route is the first global series of multi-day cycling events for amateurs. The series now consis of 13 separate events – three 7-day events (Rockies, Pyrenees, Alps) and ten 3-day events (Oman, Asheville, Dolomites, Alpe d’Huez, Norway, Utah, Stelvio, San Francisco, Ventoux, Mexico).Haute Route adds that ‘riders are treated to an unparalleled experience at some of road cycling’s most iconic and visually stunning locations.’With each event featuring timed and ranked stages, riders of all abilities can experience professional-level event organisation including medical teams, mechanical support, rolling road security, film crews and massages… ‘Whether you’re a rookie or seasoned expert, Haute Route aims to help you push your physical and mental limits to experience what it’s really like to ‘ride like a pro’.’Haute Route is supported at the global and/or local level by a number of key partners and suppliers including: Mavic, Tag Heuer, Wattbike, Velosophie and Retul.www.hauteroute.org Relatedlast_img read more

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Entercom radio tower property in Westwood draws complaints from neighbors

first_imgThe Entercom building in Westwood with its two radio towers is surrounded residential neighborhood.Long before Westwood was incorporated as a city, two broadcasting towers made their appearance in what is now a completely residential neighborhood at 50th and Belinder. Over the last several years, residents in the neighborhood have lobbied for improvements at the property.A renewal of the special use permit (SUP) for the towers may soon result in some of those changes being made. The two towers, one 547-feet tall and one 272-foot tower are owned by Entercom Communications and sit on about eight acres of land in the single-family neighborhood. Westwood View Elementary School is a short distance to the southeast.Two AM radio stations, KMBZ and KUDL, broadcast from the site. The property also has a 15,000 square foot broadcasting studio and office building which has been mostly vacant since 2004 when Entercom moved most of its staff to Mission.A November public hearing on the SUP that is up for renewal resulted in a number of comments from neighbors near the property who complained about Entercom’s maintenance of the property and the condition of the fence that surrounds most of the acreage. City staff said the high chain link fence topped with barbed wire may date back 60 to 70 years. The towers and first broadcasting building were constructed in the 1930s. (A history of the property, including toppling of the towers by wind follows at the end of the article.)A plan commission sub-committee toured the property with Entercom representatives and met with neighbors before suggesting several stipulations for renewal of the permit. Among those is that the perimeter fence be removed except sections that have adjoining residential properties and that if Entercom wants to install new fencing, it complies with current Westwood ordinances.The sub-committee report said the current fence makes the property look blighted. “The feeling that we’ve got from residents over time is that the current fence diminishes adjoining property,” Commissioner Cami Savage said at Monday’s hearing.Entercom vice president Dave Alpert told the commission that his company “would have to take issue” if it could not have a perimeter fence because of liability. He said the company could “not allow people to play under the (guy) wires.”The commission forwarded the SUP to the city council with multiple stipulations including the fencing provision, that the company demonstrate a maintenance plan and that lighting be installed to give the appearance of occupancy.The history of the property as contained in the city staff report to the planning commission:History of KMBZ in WestwoodKMBZ, formerly KMBC, traces its ancestry to amateur station 9AXJ, started by Arthur B. Church in 1921. On May 12, 1932, a Federal Radio Commission hearing examiner recommended approval of an application to move the then KMBC transmitter facility from Independence, Missouri, to a site in the northeastern corner of Johnson County, Kansas. KMBC moved to the site at the corner of 50th and Belinder Road in the fall of 1933, and officially inaugurated programming from the site on November 25, 1933.High winds have toppled towers twice at the 50th Street and Belinder Road site. At 5:40 pm on June 6, 1938, a 55-mile-per-hour gust of wind took down a single 256-foot tower. Then on August 25, 1941, a 73-mile-per-hour wind caused both towers in KMBC’s directional array to crumple to the ground. The taller 544-foot tower, erected the year before, crashed into a nearby house on Booth Street with three people inside. No one was injured.The City of Westwood was incorporated in 1949.KMBC-AM/TV was sold to Metromedia Broadcasting Co. on August 29, 1961. Metromedia separated KMBC-AM/FM from KMBC-TV by the sale of the radio stations to Bonneville Broadcasting on May 12, 1967. Bonneville chose the call letters KMBZ for the AM station and KMBR for the FM station. Under FCC rules at the time, either the radio stations or the TV station would have to change call letters because of the ownership split. On January 6, 1997, Bonneville announced plans to trade KMBZ and its other Kansas City stations, along with its Seattle stations, to Entercom (Entertainment Communications) of Philadelphia in exchange for KLDE(FM) Houston and $5 million cash. Entercom assumed control of the Kansas City Bonneville stations on March 1, 1997.A teenager trespassing on the property was killed after a fall from one of the towers at the transmitter site on May 17, 2008.last_img read more

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Consumers are in love with mobile; are you?

first_img 25SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Ron Daly Ron Daly is the president and CEO of Virtual StrongBox, a secure, end-to-end member engagement platform that can be integrated into various workflow processes to provide high-risk Enterprise IT firms … Web: www.virtualstrongbox.com Details A recent Bank of America study showed people really love their cell phones – something that’s obvious to all of us. But did you know they rank cell phones as more important than a morning cup of coffee or favorite TV show? And many say their phones are just as important as their cars and deodorant.In the same survey, mobile banking received high marks, too. More than 60 percent of respondents reported using their cells to try out mobile banking programs, and nearly half prefer using mobile devices or going online to conduct their banking activities.It seems financial institutions that don’t offer mobile banking or enhance their online programs aren’t “feeling the love.”But hold on. The same survey also found that a large portion of Americans – 84 percent – had visited their credit union branch in the past six months. And nearly the same percentage of Millennials – the demographic most attached to their mobile devices – has visited one, too. While just 23 percent of respondents reported using branches as their primary way of banking, brick-and mortar locations continue to play an important role among most consumers, regardless of age or technology know-how.For financial institutions, that means finding the right balance between traditional branch strategies and newer, in-demand technologies.Balancing branch and mobile As the survey indicates, most consumers still count on branch access when conducting some financial business. For activities like securing a home loan or setting up an investment program, they often prefer face-to-face interactions. Branches offer in-person connections that online and mobile don’t – and they’ve been effective at building member relationships over the years. But as the trend shifts toward more mobile and online use, branches are becoming less of a force.To help determine the right direction for enhancing your mobile strategies, review your current digital footprint and consider these questions:How much do you rely on technology to interact with consumers now? Think about how many services your members can access through your mobile channels.How often do your members use technology? It’s important to know the current limits of your communications technology and how it affects consumers’ level of engagement.Is your current communications technology up to date? Technology is constantly evolving – just consider how quickly texting and social media messaging have gone mainstream, in many cases upstaging email. Know where your credit union stands from a communications technology perspective.By understanding your place on the digital spectrum, you can best develop an effective mobile strategy for your institution – one that works for you and those you serve.Making the connectionAs a financial institution, Americans’ love of “all things mobile” can work in your favor.Many credit unions make it a practice to ask users for their communication preferences, and then seek permission to send promotional offers and operational updates. As a result, more mobile users are receiving eStatements, account updates, balance alerts and loan-payment reminders in real time.In addition, more institutions are expanding their online banking programs to include mobile-friendly options like remote deposit, online safe deposit boxes, instant loan approvals, and email/text transaction receipts. And a growing number of tech-savvy institutions have taken mobile technology even further, creating apps that position them as trusted financial advisors. One large institution in Texas offers an app that lets users temporarily deactivate debit cards if they are lost and access their account balances or reward points without having to log in.All of these features share the same basic objective: to bring round-the-clock convenience and service sought by today’s consumers.Mobile is changing the standard for service and accessibility, forcing financial institutions to make key decisions about their digital communication channels. No matter where you fall on the digital spectrum, ignoring mobile’s influence is no longer an option. Today, it’s either share consumer’s love of mobile, or risk them breaking off the relationship.last_img read more

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Judgments and decrees interest rate set

first_imgJudgments and decrees interest rate set September 15, 2015 Regular News J udgments and decrees interest rate setThe Office of the Chief Financial Officer has set the quarterly rate of interest payable on judgments and decrees beginning October 1, 2015, at 4.75 percent per annum or. 000130137 per day.F.S. §55.03(1) requires the CFO to set the rate of interest payable on judgments and decrees on December 1, March 1, June 1, and September 1 of each year for the following applicable quarter. Last quarter, the interest rate was also 4.75 percent.For more information, contact the Bureau of Accounting at 850-413-5511 or visit www.myfloridacfo.com/aadir/interest.htm.last_img read more

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FDA expert: Universal flu vaccine still 5-10 years off

first_imgFeb 13, 2013 (CIDRAP News) – Top federal health officials who testified on Capitol Hill today said the nation has much better influenza defenses today than it had 10 years ago, but one of them predicted that a “universal” flu vaccine is probably still 5 to 10 years away.Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) pointed to increases in flu vaccine production capacity and newly approved flu vaccines as signs of progress, but they also made clear that the goal of a vaccine offering broader, longer-lasting protection is still distant.The hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations focused on the current flu season and flu preparedness generally. The panel heard from CDC Director Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH, FDA Chief Scientist Jesse Goodman, MD, MPH, and Marcia Crosse, PhD, healthcare director for the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The session was webcast.The hearing also featured some questions about the potential effects of the “sequester” budget cuts scheduled to hit in March. Frieden and Goodman vowed that their agencies will do the best they can but gave no specifics on how the cuts will be handled.A lengthy questWhen one panel member asked Goodman how close scientists are to developing a universal flu vaccine, he replied that he is more optimistic than he was a couple of years ago. If some recent developments pan out, he added, “It’s possible we could have some real leads in this direction in the next 5 to 10 years, but it’s not something that’s just on the horizon.”Later, Rep. Michael Burgess, MD, R- Tex., vice chairman of the committee, pressed Goodman further, saying that a universal vaccine was talked about in 2005. “How close are we?” he asked.”Nature is very tricky and as this is a very crafty virus, so I’d be very hesitant to predict,” Goodman replied. “I think the earliest we’d begin to see something with clinical benefit might be 5 to 10 years. . . . There’s some exciting progress, but there’s a ways to go.””This is not for lack of trying, this is because this is a hard scientific problem,” he added.Burgess asked him if a universal vaccine is still a worthwhile goal. “Absolutely,” he replied. “Can you imagine if we had a world where we didn’t have flu pandemics?”Existing flu vaccines target the head of the virus’s hemagglutinin (HA) protein, which evolves constantly, requiring reformulation of the vaccine each year to keep pace with the circulating strains. The holy grail of flu vaccine development is a product that would target a part of the virus that is the same among different strains, so that one vaccination could protect against a variety of strains, including novel strains, for several years or longer.The latest vaccinesIn recent months the FDA has approved vaccines that mark advances in flu vaccine production technology, but they still target the HA head.As Goodman noted in his written statement, Novartis’s Flucelvax, approved in November, is the first US-licensed flu vaccine grown in cell culture instead of chicken eggs. And last month the FDA approved Flublok, made by Protein Sciences Corp., the first US flu vaccine made with recombinant DNA technology. The process uses an insect virus grown in insect cells to make the target HA.Frieden, in commenting on the new vaccines and related developments in vaccine manufacturing, called them “useful tweaks but not breakthroughs in terms of a longer-lasting vaccine.”Goodman observed that Flucelvax eliminates the need for a large supply of eggs and may allow a faster startup of vaccine manufacturing, while Flublok doesn’t require use of the actual virus to start production, which could be very important in the event of a pandemic.Commenting on general flu preparedness, Goodman noted that the number of companies making flu vaccine for the United States has reached seven, versus only three a decade ago. The more than 140 million doses of vaccine produced this year represent “a dramatic improvement from a few years ago,” he said.Along the same lines, Crosse said CDC and global flu surveillance have improved in the past decade. “Across the board we are in much better shape than 10 years ago, but there’s still room for improvement,” she said.But she added that surge capacity is still a big challenge: “Emergency rooms are flooded every winter with people with flu, norovirus, other kinds of infectious diseases. That capacity has not significantly improved.”Flu season past its peakIn an update on the current busy flu season, Frieden said activity has peaked and is beginning to decline, but will continue for several weeks. He added that hospitalizations of elderly people with lab-confirmed flu are about twice as high as usual.”The flu shot is not as effective as we’d like and is less effective for the elderly,” he said. The CDC recently estimated the effectiveness of this year’s vaccine at 62% overall.Noting that A/H3N2 is the dominant flu strain in the US this year, Frieden said that for unclear reasons, such seasons are harder on the elderly. That was the case in 2003-04 and in 2007-08, he added.Goodman told the panel that this year’s vaccine is well-matched to the circulating flu strains. “The issue is the severity of the virus and the number of unvaccinated people,” he said.He didn’t mention recent suggestions that the match between the vaccine and circulating strains may be less important than generally supposed. For example, the 2009 pandemic H1N1 vaccine was very well-matched to the virus, yet its effectiveness was estimated at 56%.Frieden told the panel that overall flu vaccine coverage this season is roughly 40%. “We’d like to see at least an 80% vaccination rate, and obviously higher is better,” he said.Impending budget cutsCommittee members noted that the automatic budgets scheduled to take effect Mar 1—unless Congress agrees on an alternative approach—will be 5.2% for the FDA and CDC. They asked the health officials how the cuts would affect their agencies.Frieden said more than two thirds of the CDC’s budget goes to state and local health departments, so they are likely to be affected. “With fewer resources we’d have less capacity to detect and respond [to outbreaks] and to develop better tools in the future,” he said.Goodman said, “A substantial cut . . . would affect our science and highly interactive review processes for new technologies. It would also affect our user-fee programs.”Burgess advised the health officials that their agencies should be able to adjust to lower budgets, just as businesses routinely do. “I think if you’re not doing that in your agencies, I’d encourage you to do so. I felt obligated to make that editorial statement,” he said.Later, Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., came to the agencies’ defense, saying, “It’s important to remember we’ve already cut the budget of the CDC and FDA. What you’re doing is cutting into their core missions.””We have a responsibility to the American public to get them vaccinated, to get them all the tools to ward off disease,” she added. “It’s just wishful thinking to say, ‘You can accept more budget cuts and more budget cuts.'”White House Office of Management and Budget officials have told senior federal science officials not to discuss budget cuts forced by the sequestration, according to a news story published today in Nature.On another topic, Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., chair of the committee, said the panel is awaiting FDA documents concerning the recent outbreak of fungal meningitis linked to injectable steroids. He said the committee sent a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg 2 weeks ago requesting all the FDA’s relevant documents by Feb 25. He asked Goodman to remind Hamburg of the request.See also: House subcommittee hearing pageJan 11 CIDRAP News story “CDC’s early-season look finds flu vaccine 62% effective”Nature News story on sequesterlast_img read more

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Commissioner Garcia Richard: Holtec International Misrepresentations Raise Serious Safety Concerns For Proposed Nuclear Storage Facility In New Mexico

first_imgHoltec has falsely claimed to have secured agreements from oil and gas operators at or around the site to restrict these activities, specifically assuring the NRC that oil and gas drilling will only occur at depths greater than 5,000 feet. However, there are no such agreements containing these restrictions in place with oil and gas lessees at the site or the State Land Office. One agreement has been made with Intrepid Mining, LLC, a potash mining company, but that agreement has not been approved, as required by lease terms, by the State Land Office. SANTA FE ― Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard sent the attached letter Wednesday to Holtec International President and CEO Krishna Singh. STATE News: Commissioner Garcia Richard released the following statement regarding the letter and the Holtec proposal: “This is not the right site for high-level nuclear storage. Holtec has only provided bits and pieces of information, and what they have provided has been incomplete and at times misleading. We are talking about storing over 120,000 metric tons of nuclear waste in an extremely active oil field without a clear picture of the potential hazards of that combination. For example, I’m not aware of any studies demonstrating the safety of fracking beneath a nuclear storage site. There is no guarantee that high-level nuclear waste can be safely transported to and through New Mexico. There is no guarantee that there won’t be a hazardous interaction between the storage site and nearby oil, gas, and mining activities. There is no guarantee that this site will truly be ‘interim’ and won’t become the permanent dumping ground for our nation’s nuclear waste. I understand that we need to find a storage solution, but not in the middle of an active oil field, not from a company that is misrepresenting facts and unwilling to answer questions, not on our state trust lands.”center_img Given the State Land Office’s mineral ownership of the land and the lack of restrictions on mineral development at the site, any claim that activities at the site have been restricted is incorrect. Holtec’s submissions to the NRC, including the company’s Facility Environmental Report and Safety Analysis Report, include statements that have the potential, intended or not, to mislead federal regulators as they consider the safety implications of the proposal. The letter outlines a number of concerns regarding Holtec’s proposal for a nuclear storage facility in Lea County – specifically safety concerns that have not been addressed and misrepresentations made by the company in its filings with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The surface and mineral estate are split in ownership at the proposed location, with the Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance, LLC owning the surface land and the State Land Office owning the mineral estate. The proposed nuclear storage site is located in the middle of the Permian Basin, one of the world’s most productive oil and gas regions. Nearly 2,500 oil, gas, and mineral wells or sites are operated by 54 different businesses or entities within a 10 mile radius of the proposed site. Locating an interim nuclear storage site above active oil, gas, and mining operations raises serious safety concerns.last_img read more

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Nel ASA launches updated website

first_imgSubscribe Get instant access to must-read content today!To access hundreds of features, subscribe today! At a time when the world is forced to go digital more than ever before just to stay connected, discover the in-depth content our subscribers receive every month by subscribing to gasworld.Don’t just stay connected, stay at the forefront – join gasworld and become a subscriber to access all of our must-read content online from just $270.last_img

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Why government is taking wrong approach to cutting lawyers’ jobs

first_img Government Legal Service facing deep cuts As the Gazette reported this week, the government’s spending review, to report next month, will lead to substantial cuts in the ranks of the 2,000-strong Government Legal Service.The way these cuts are to be made points to future problems in maintaining the effectiveness of the GLS, and highlights problems in the way the GLS is structured and serves government. First, there is a real issue around retaining the most skilled professionals. As is happening across the civil service, there will be many opportunities offered for voluntary redundancy. Those first in the queue tend to be the professionals who can most easily get another position elsewhere. Voluntary redundancy is the politically easy option (in both business and policy terms). But it takes away legal department heads’ ability to design the shape of team they need. That lack of control plays in to a second point. Treasury Solicitor Paul Jenkins has said in the past that his ambition is to outsource the simpler instructions that can be commoditised, retaining in-house more strategic and demanding work. The logic is compelling, and matches the plan of many of the best general counsel in the private sector. But that would point to proportionately more cuts at the bottom of the GLS pyramid than the top – and this won’t happen. For example, on the evidence so far, SCS Grade 5 (deputy directors) will be cut before lower grades, and cut in proportion. The third and most important issue surrounding indiscriminate cuts is a public interest one. A legal department focused on risk management starts not with a shopping list of the lawyers it wants, or the number it needs to lose, but the risks it needs to cover. Inadequate ‘coverage’ increases the risk of litigation, fraud, contracts that fail and so on – whereas adequate coverage can show a return on investment. These points are not special pleading for government lawyers – GLS members don’t expect exemption from public spending cuts. But it’s worrying that no one in government or Whitehall has focused on what sort of reduced GLS would be fit for purpose. As the Gazette reported yesterday, the attorney general, notional head of the GLS, is taking no lead here. And though Tsol is seen as the senior player among the legal departments serving government, it has no role here either. Related articleslast_img read more

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