Space Plasma Exploration by Active Radar (SPEAR): an overview of a future radar facility

first_imgSPEAR is a new polar cap HF radar facility which is to be deployed on Svalbard. The principal capabilities of SPEAR will include the generation of artificial plasma irregularities, operation as an ‘all-sky’ HF radar, the excitation of ULF waves, and remote sounding of the magnetosphere. Operation of SPEAR in conjunction with the multitude of other instruments on Svalbard, including the EISCAT Svalbard radar, and the overlap of its extensive field-of-view with that of several of the HF radars in the SuperDARN network, will enable in-depth diagnosis of many geophysical and plasma phenomena associated with the cusp region and the substorm expansion phase. Moreover, its ability to produce artificial radar aurora will provide a means for the other instruments to undertake polar cap plasma physics experiments in a controlled manner. Another potential use of the facility is in ‘field-line tagging’ experiments, for coordinated ground-satellite experiments. Here the scientific objectives of SPEAR are detailed, along with the proposed technical specifications of the system.last_img read more

Statement to Parliament: Universal Credit and National Audit Office report

first_imgPoint of order: Mr SpeakerWhilst speaking in Parliament, in answer to questions on the National Audit Office (NAO) report into Universal Credit, I mistakenly said that the NAO had asked for the rollout of Universal Credit to continue at a faster rate and to be speeded up.In fact the NAO did not say that Mr Speaker, and I want to apologise to you and the House for inadvertently misleading you. What I had meant to say was that the NAO had said that there was ‘no practical alternative to continuing with Universal Credit’.We adopt a ‘test and learn’ approach to the roll out of Universal Credit, which the NAO says ‘mainly follows good practice’ and therefore the point I was trying to make was that calls from the Party opposite to pause it seemed to fly in the face of those particular conclusions.As you know Mr Speaker I asked you yesterday if I could come to the House to correct the record. I believe it is right that as a Minister I should come and correct the record, and I therefore hope you will accept my apology.Whilst I am here, Mr Speaker, with regard to the other issues raised in the letter sent today by the NAO. The NAO contacted my office at the end of last week, and we are working on setting up a meeting.And with regards to the NAO report not taking into account the impact of the recent changes to Universal Credit, I still maintain this is the case – such as Housing Benefit run on, and 100% advances and the removal of waiting days – the impact of these changes are still being felt and therefore by definition couldn’t have been fully taken into account by the NAO report.I hope that clarifies the position.last_img read more

Finding HARMONY

first_img 5Ninth-grader Mariah Goldsmith is framed by a water lens in the Science Center while discussing an upcoming performance with her tutor, David Armenia. 8Mariah Goldsmith practices saxophone with volunteer David Armenta. 3Volunteer Lucy Nam ’17 works with Alex Sadock from the Cambridge Street Upper School inside a Paine Hall practice room. 7Lucy Nam works with eighth-grader Alex Sadock inside Paine Hall. 6Lucy Nam unpacks music scores inside a Paine Hall practice room. 1Mariah Goldsmith, a ninth-grader at Cambridge Rindge and Latin, discusses practice in the Science Center before a lesson with HARMONY volunteer David Armenta ’17. 2Mariah Goldsmith heads to a saxophone lesson with David Armenta (behind). 4Mariah Goldsmith practices saxophone with David Armenta, who strikes a piano key. 9Cambridge Rindge and Latin ninth-grader Mariah Goldsmith practices her saxophone skills. Walking through a labyrinth of orange hallways to a practice room in Paine Hall, saxophonist Mariah Goldsmith, a ninth-grader at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, fine-tunes the details of her upcoming performance at Ryles Jazz Club in Cambridge with David Armenta ’17, a volunteer with Harvard and Radcliffe Musical Outreach to Neighborhood Youth (HARMONY), which provides instrumental and vocal instruction for children in the Cambridge Public Schools.“I was teaching Mariah a new concept, but it didn’t really feel like it was sinking in. I tried explaining it a new way, and then tried to get her to explain it to me, and as she worked through an explanation, I saw the slow look of realization and awe sneak across her face. She got it!” explained Armenta. “That moment is great motivation for me to continue teaching. I’m glad that I am able to teach someone through HARMONY — teaching Mariah has taught me about my own limitations and strengths, and not just as a teacher. I learned more about myself as a student.”HARMONY — one of Phillips Brooks House Association’s more than 70 volunteer programs — targets children who would especially benefit from individual or group musical instruction because they would otherwise be unable to afford private music lessons. In addition, HARMONY runs an after-school program to give younger students exposure to music of all genres.Volunteer Lucy Nam ’17, who tutors eighth-grader Alex Sadock from the Cambridge Street Upper School, echoes Armenta’s joy: “I would say that teaching my student is one of the many things I look forward to every week and I love the chance to hear my student improve from week to week. Every year, we put on a final recital and it is amazing to hear a compilation of music from students taught by other Harvard teachers. HARMONY is a great organization and I am happy to see that the program has increased many students’ interest in music.” 10Framed by the arches of Austin Hall at the Harvard Law School, Mariah Goldsmith practices saxophone with volunteer David Armenta.last_img read more

People, mice head indoors for winter

first_imgWhen temperatures drop, Georgians scurry indoors to keep warm. Unfortunately, so do mice. A University of Georgia expert offers tips on keeping unwanted furry house guests from hoarding heat.“Mice can occasionally venture in this time of year looking for warmth,” said Jim Crawford, the UGA Cooperative Extension agent in Jefferson County. “It only takes a small crack or an open door to get an uninvited house guest.”Mice want to be warm, tooMice normally nest in grass, brush or woody areas around homes. But when it gets cold outdoors, they leave these nests and search for warmer habitats, like inside homes, offices or other structures, he said.Most homeowners don’t know they’re harboring mice until they see mouse droppings, which resemble black grains of rice. Another sure sign is chew marks on food containers and packages.Get rid of their food sourceCrawford says the first step to ridding your home of mice is to take away their food source. Keep garbage cans covered and food items stored in tightly sealed containers. This includes pet food.Next, remove any weeds, trash, boards, firewood or other debris near the exterior of homes and buildings. “These objects provide excellent cover for mice in the winter and snakes in the summer,” Crawford said.Make sure doors seal tightly and window and door screens are in good shape. Apply caulk to seal cracks around pipes and utilities where mice can squeeze their ways indoors.Baits work, but they can cause a stinkIf possible, don’t use poison baits. “Baits can pose a threat to small children and pets,” he said. “Besides, mice will consume the poison and die behind walls and in other unreachable places and cause a terrible odor.”The old-fashioned mouse trap is still the best method, Crawford said. Place traps next to walls, under furniture, in the pantry or behind the stove.“Always position a trap so the trigger is next to the wall,” he said. “This way you get them from either direction if they’re running along the baseboard.” Use cheese or peanut butter as bait and check and reset traps often.Cats are truly the oldest method of controlAmanda Omahen uses an even older method of mouse removal: A cat.“Luckily, our cat is a mouser,” she said. “We had a mouse in our house, I shrieked and pointed, and my cat took over from there.”last_img read more

Council Honors Employers for Wellness Programs

first_imgCouncil Honors Employers for Wellness Programs Burlington — 48 Vermont work sites will receive awards October 7 from the Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. The awards honor employers that support staff access to physical fitness activities and promote good health on and off the job. The council and Governor Jim Douglas will present the awards in a ceremony at a Work Site Wellness Conference at the Hilton Hotel in Burlington. The following work places will receive honors:1-25 EmployeesOtter Creek Conservation District – RECOGNITION Employees recorded the number of steps they walked each day for a “Walk Around Hawaii,” and they try to make healthy food choices.Rutland Housing Authority – BRONZE Nine of 12 employees participated The Vermont League of Cities and Towns “Keep It Off Challenge,” weighing in weekly for six months with a goal of losing pounds and keeping them off through the winter. Three days a week, all employees are allowed to use the last half-hour of the day for exercising.26-75 EmployeesBurlington Schools Food Service – RECOGNITION Food service employees attend trainings on cooking with whole, fresh foods and report a better understanding of eating healthy. Several partnered on a share at a CSA farm, and others say they now are more likely to purchase from farmers’ markets.Milton CAT GOLD STANDARD Each morning, Milton CAT employees, including managers, participate in a 10-minute stretch to limber their muscles and warm up for their workday. A wellness coach visits Milton CAT each week to provide biometric screenings and help employees set personal health and fitness goals.Stantec, South Burlington – SILVER Stantec encourages employees to track their own daily physical activity in return for reduced insurance premiums. The South Burlington site includes shower facilities to make it easier for people to bike, walk or run to work or during breaks. A summer golf league, hiking program, group ski days and office relay teams for the Vermont City Marathon entice employees to participate in sports year-round.Stantec, North Springfield- SILVER In addition to tracking their physical activity for reduced insurance, Stantec’s Springfield employees participated in a company-wide Bike To Work challenge, a friendly competition between offices. The company is flexible when workers need to adjust their schedules to accommodate coaching, officiating or other sports-related activities.Vermont Housing Finance Agency – BRONZE More than half the staff participated in a walking program, using complimentary pedometers and keeping walking logs for eight weeks. Each participant’s steps were charted on a map showing the route from VHFA to the coast of Maine. The map was posted on a bulletin board for all to observe. During Health Awareness Day, employees enjoy healthy meals, seminars, chair massages and health screenings.Vermont League of Cities and Towns (VLCT) – GOLD The VLCT Health Trust offers a health promotion incentive program to its member organizations. The program, called Leader Program, gives members a monetary credit on their health insurance for encouraging and promoting healthy behaviors among their employees. VLCT participates in the Leader Program, encouraging its own employees to get health screenings, do 30 minutes of exercise four times a week, quit tobacco and participate in community fitness events. The League received a credit of $24,662 over two years, which it shared 50 percent with employees.Town of Milton, Vermont RECOGNITION The town’s participation in VLCT’s Leader Program resulted in a $9,017 health insurance credit. Some of the money was used to purchase pedometers for an employee walking challenge and to pay for flu vaccinations. Monetary incentives motivate staff to join health clubs, participate in town recreation programs, enroll in weight loss and smoking cessation classes and attend confidential health.76-150 EmployeesCathedral Square Corporation RECOGNITION The company offers free monthly class on healthy living and also provides employees and their family members discounted memberships to health clubs. In a summer walk challenge, employees choose a course based on their fitness level and record their steps each week. Those who complete 12 weeks are entered into a prize drawing.Town of Colchester RECOGNITION More than half of the town’s 115 employees and their families joined a Hawaiian pedometer challenge, keeping track of their steps during a 12-week period. They celebrated their success with a healthy luncheon Luau. The town distributes wellness newsletters, provides health screenings and flu shots. It received a $16,296 insurance credit through participation in VLCTs Leader program. The money went to new exercise equipment and employee rewards.Town of Hartford RECOGNITION About one-quarter of the towns 116 employees participate in VLCT programs promoted by the town Wellness Coordinator, who distributes weekly wellness newsletters. Many employees maintained their weight through the VLCT Keep It Off Challenge. The town is building a gym and pool to which employees will have access, and nutrition and smoking cessation programs are planned.Peoples Trust Company of St. Albans BRONZE Employees are reimbursed up to $50 annually for gym memberships, weight management or smoking cessation programs. They also may participate during work hours in the Cardiovascular Health Improvement Program (CHIP), where a nurse provides health screenings and helps create health improvement plans. A nurse also checks customers’ blood pressure each month in the lobby. Nearly half of the employees participate in a walking club, committing to walk at least 3 hours a week. An after hours exercise class meets onsite.Ben & Jerry GOLD Onsite fitness rooms with state-of-the-art equipment, free weights and space for fitness classes make it easy for employees to exercise. Employees have flexible schedules so they may participate in fitness classes or meet with personal trainers or massage therapists. In a “Zen Den” a television with exercise tapes is always available. The company purchased a wii game to get employees moving. A community shared garden space encourages outdoor exercise and healthy eating. The company covers membership costs of employees at local health clubs and reduced rates for spouses and children.Rhino Foods – SILVER Rhino rolled out a new debit card program that provides cash incentives to employees to achieve specific health results. The funds can be used for health-related expenditures, thus allowing rewards for healthy behaviors to be reinvested to promote and maintain good health. Company meetings frequently feature wellness topics and employee newsletters always include wellness articles. A wellness team develops a calendar of wellness themes and events to keep employees motivated and informed. Four of Rhino Foods seven leaders have lost a lot of weight during the past year, which has energized many employees to take advantage of company-subsidized health club memberships, nutritional and smoking cessation programs.Huber + Suhner North America – RECOGNITION An onsite gym, massage therapist and yoga and Pilates classes make participation in physical fitness activities easy. To help employees eat nutritiously, the company provides a subsidized healthy lunch in which local restaurants cater a weekly company meal with healthy soups and salads. Employees who participate in a year-long ScoreHealth program receive $10 gas cards after their first two visits with the nurse, followed by a raffle for prizes that encourage activity: snowshoes, camping gear and certificates for sporting goods.Northfield Savings Bank- RECOGNITIONThe banks Recreation & Health Committee develops activities and disseminates health news, tips and recipes. Activities include an exercise challenge, fruit and vegetable puzzle and walking program. Participants earn Virtual Health Bucks or scratch-off cards with winners receiving $50 gas cards, $25 grocery certificates and hand-sanitizing soap. A wellness library at the bank’s main branch provides all employees with access to books, magazines, videos and pamphlets on health topics.Rock-Tenn Company: Missisquoi Mill – RECOGNITION Health club memberships and sports classes are fully funded by the company. Monthly telephonic wellness seminars provide a wide range of wellness topics such as alternative medicine, personal fitness and dealing with stress. An online health risk assessment gives employees continual access to health information and resources. Medical insurance is reduced for those who do not use tobacco. An annual health fair provides biometric screenings and wellness education to employees and their spouses.151-500 EmployeesTivoly Inc – RECOGNITION Tivoly pays for any program or product to help an employee stop smoking and pays half for employees and their family members to join a gym, take swimming lessons, going skiing and other exercise. Posters with wellness messages hang prominently.Green Mountain Power – SILVER Money and free water bottles entice employees to join onsite yoga and nutrition classes, biometric testing and wellness workshops. A 1% health insurance discount rewards employees who exercise three times a week and have a physical exam. An additional 1% discount rewards tobacco-free lifestyles and maintenance of healthy weight. Interest-free bike loans, gym discounts and free healthy snacks round out the wellness program. Weekly scorecards track accidents and sick time use, with analysis of causes and proactive corrective actions.Vermont Composites, Inc. – RECOGNITION A nurse and a physical therapist visit the workplace biweekly to do health screenings, present wellness information and assess employee ergonomics. The company sponsors employee teams in the Southwestern Vermont Medical Center 8 Week Trek for Health pedometer tracking event and local volleyball, softball, basketball and ski leagues. Gym memberships are subsidized and all employees receive a $25 per month bonus for a workplace free of lost time accidents.Engelberth Construction, Inc. – GOLD STANDARDEmployees and spouses receive free health screenings and complimentary coaching, and those working at construction sites also receive free on-site physical therapy sessions. A new online health risk appraisal system helps workers track their health. Employees receive discounted health insurance for participating in wellness initiatives.Trapp Family Lodge – SILVER The resort followed the Six Steps to a Worksite Wellness Program from the Vermont Department of Health, resulting in a methodical needs assessment, goal creation and evaluation. Employees may use all exercise facilities, equipment and classes at the resort, including ski trails and rentals, water aerobics, meditation, rock climbing and fitness center. Awards are given for using the fitness center. Smoking cessation classes and health screenings are provided. The employee dining room includes healthy food choices.Franklin County Home Health Agency, Inc – GOLD Employees receive up to $100 per year for fitness equipment, gym memberships, wellness classes and ski passes. A staff library includes myriad resources on health topics. Speakers at staff meetings give wellness tips. Rehab staff evaluates workspaces, including vehicles, for proper body mechanics. The agency regularly updates employees on opportunities to be active, eat better and stop smoking.Husky Injection Molding Systems – BRONZE Husky’s cafeteria, catered by New England Culinary Institute, provides nutritious meals. Husky subsidizes 50% of food costs to encourage employees to dine healthfully. The chef teaches healthy cooking sessions. An onsite fitness center is open 24 hours daily for employees and spouses. The campus includes running/walking trails, volleyball and basketball courts. A weekly newsletter provides healthy lifestyle information.Simon Pearce, US – RECOGNITION For six months prior to becoming tobacco-free, Simon Pearce provided smoking cessation programs for employees and spouses. A focus group addressed employees concerns. The result: Now 22% of employees smoke, down from 53%. A monthly newsletter informs on wellness news. Employees receive onsite biometric screenings and a wellness reimbursement of up to $100 for gym memberships, classes or wellness products.Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont – GOLD Employees may earn $50 each time they complete a wellness program component, up to $250 total. A regular schedule of wellness events includes lunchtime speakers, random rewards placed inside healthy snacks in vending machines and subsidized fitness classes. Onsite facilities include a fitness center with showers, a lactation room for nursing moms and a wellness library. Maps illustrating walking routes and fresh apples are available in the HR office. An online wellness center provides customized health assessments. Flexible work schedules allow participation in wellness activities.Northwestern Counseling & Support Services, Inc. – RECOGNITION The center uses ScoreHealth to identify and address employees’ health risks. Employees may participate in a walking challenge and join a team in the Vermont Corporate Cup Challenge and State Agency Race. To bring support healthy lifestyles in the community, the agency partners with the Center for Health and Wellness and with area health clubs to offer wellness workshops and group exercise.Champlain College – RECOGNITION Employees may use the on-campus fitness center and take fitness classes. The wellness center leads a weekly summer walk series and noontime wellness seminars and discounted massages are offered year-round. Subsidized gym memberships, ski passes and Weight Watchers programs are provided.Community Care Network / Rutland Mental Health Services – GOLD STANDARD A regular series of workshops and classes for employees includes line dancing, cardiovascular health, stress reduction and strength training. It partners with UVM to offer employees VTrim, a behavior modification weight loss program, at a reduced cost. Data from free onsite health and fitness screenings are analyzed to track and evaluate wellness programs. Employees who meet fitness requirements receive financial rewards.America’s Gardening Resource, Inc. – RECOGNITION Monthly visits with physical therapists and weekly chair massages help employees avoid full-blown injuries. A Preventative Body Maintenance program allows employees to discuss health issues and make lifestyle changes. An active “Bod Squad” of employees trained in ergonomics helps employees maintain proper body mechanics.Mack Molding Company – BRONZE All three Vermont sites are equipped with fitness facilities including weight rooms, racquetball courts, group exercise studios and showers. Financial rewards helped encourage 58% of employees to join in a walking program. Participants included the company owner, CFO, president and senior managers. Monthly blood pressure screenings are offered to all shifts. The company pays entry fees for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, and this year it fielded the largest team in that event.Greater Burlington YMCA. – RECOGNITION Free YMCA memberships for all staff encourage the use of fitness facilities and programs. YMCA leaders participate in Y programs, maintain healthy weight and do not smoke. A full-time Wellness Educator works with local companies to help them start and manage work site wellness programs.The Vermont Country Store – GOLD STANDARD A Marathon Health For Life nurse splits 20 hours per week among each VCS location, providing free health screenings and coaching. A record 85% of employees participated last year. One employee says the program saved her life, by the nurse encouraging her to schedule an exam that turned up a life-threatening issue. Company owner Gardner Orton, a certified Holistic Health Coach, provides educational forums to employees. Staff may use onsite fitness facilities or receive $25 quarterly for gym memberships. VCS realized a healthcare savings of $150,000 in 2007 for lowering medical care usage.Brattleboro Retreat – RECOGNITION Employees are informed about health and wellness topics via email, posters and a newsletter. At Employee Quick Clinics, staff can be seen by nurse practitioners for illnesses and injuries. Wellness workshops last year focused on hearth health with sessions on nutrition, exercise and medical treatments. A schedule of fitness activities for staff includes snowshoeing clinics, hiking, biking, skiing, sing-alongs and noontime meditation sessions.General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products – RECOGNITION Free cholesterol screenings are given at an annual health fair and employees may complete free health risk assessments. Seminars, workshops and newsletters educate about healthy eating and smart exercising. Employees and spouses use an onsite fitness center equipped with cardio machines, weights and a group exercise studio. A personal trainer and a nutritionist are available for one-on-one counseling. Work schedules allow for participation in wellness activities.Northeast Kingdom Human Services, Inc. – RECOGNITION Walkathons, pedometer challenges and a Biggest Loser contest pushed employees to join fitness activities, and participants were rewarded with prizes and mentions in a staff newsletter. Biweekly nutritional lunches are provided on site, and two free heath club memberships are given by lottery. Staff may use work time to partake in health screenings, chair massages and flu shots.501-999 EmployeesDept. of Exercise Science & Dept. of Intramurals, Lyndon State College – RECOGNITION A campus-wide initiative provides undergraduate majors with opportunities to serve as health and fitness promoters, providers and managers. Faculty, staff and students participate in health screenings and fitness activities with weekly self-reporting. Guest speakers motivate and educate. Bulletin boards, newsletters and radio announcements keep everyone informed.Northwestern Medical Center – GOLD STANDARD Free wellness workshops, free counseling with a dietician, nutritious food “tasting” events, newsletters, email tips and a wellness website are among the resources that educate employees about their health. “ScoreHealth” provides health risk assessments and one-on-one counseling and allows NMC to track outcomes. Employees receive $130 per year health insurance discount for participating, and free sneakers, magazine subscriptions, sports equipment and cash for additional wellness activities. Indoor and outdoor walking paths and free loans of Nordic walking poles and snowshoes encourage daily physical activity.Green Mountain Coffee Roasters – SILVER Employees who completed four activities last year received a discounted health insurance premium this year: They had to walk 10 miles in 30 days, track food intake for 5 days, try a new physical activity and take a health risk assessment. In addition, employees are reimbursed 50% for fitness activities including ski tickets, gym memberships, horseback riding and rental equipment such as skates, skis and kayaks. An onsite physical therapist treats and educates employees. Yoga is offered onsite. Plant and distribution staffs participate in daily mindful stretching sessions at the beginning of each shift.National Life Group – RECOGNITION Participants in the Life Program have access to an onsite exercise room with cardio and strength equipment, group fitness classes and showers. Points are earned for attending brown bag luncheons on health related topics and for physical exams, dental visits, weight loss and smoking cessation. The employee cafeteria promotes healthy, local foods. Executive staff participates in the Vermont Corporate Cup and Vermont City Marathon, and sports and fitness successes are shared in a company newsletter.Goodrich Corp, Fuel & Utility Systems – GOLD Employees who complete an online Health Risk Assessment earn $100, and $50 more if their spouse does so. Three days each week, a physical comes onsite to evaluate workstations for ergonomic safety. Each employee receives personal recommendations for stretching and strengthening, with encouragement to participate in work area stretch classes. Wellness prizes and cash are given for participation in stretching sessions, onsite monthly wellness seminars, Weight Watchers and group walks. Employees, spouses and the community may use an onsite fitness center with cardio and strength equipment and group exercise studio. Discounted memberships to outside gyms are provided, and the company subsidizes fees for the Vermont Corporate Cup Challenge.1000+ EmployeesRutland Regional Health Services (Medical Center) – SILVER Employees earn $50 for meeting each of five health goals for a possible total of $250. ScoreHealth provides health risk assessments and one-on-one counseling and allows for tracking outcomes. Educational resources include a Health Library stocked with books, videos and journals, a display board in the food court and email blasts with healthy tips. RRMC pays registration for community running and walking events and team sports. Tobacco cessation, weight control, strength training, health seminars and walking programs are offered onsite. The Biggest Loser competition created a healthy buzz throughout the organization, with 46 teams and 204 competitors.Hannaford Bros. Co. – GOLD 85 percent of eligible employees participated in a healthy behavior incentive plan, each receiving $20 weekly for completing a health risk assessment and meeting with a health coach. Company-wide wellness initiatives include walking challenges, preventative care and nutrition campaigns. Nurses and dieticians are available to all employees and dependents, providing personal advice, motivational coaching and steerage to community resources. Programs are targeted to stores whose employees experience greater incidence of heart disease and illness. Healthy snack options are available in employee break areas and regular “health huddles” keep employees informed on wellness topics.Vermont Automobile Dealers Assoc. – GOLD STANDARD More than 90 auto dealerships across the state are eligible for onsite wellness screenings for employees and spouses. Participants receive counseling at the screenings, followed by a health report with recommendations for follow-up. Employees that complete 8 of 10 wellness criteria receive a fleece jacket and are entered into a drawing for 20 $500 cash prizes. Each year, dealerships compete in physical activity challenges to motivate employees and their families. Last year, 20 dealerships competed in a 354-mile virtual walk through New Hampshire during a 10-week period. 69 % of participants said the challenge motivated them to continue walking after the challenge period.IBM Burlington – BRONZE A wellness website promotes physical activity with activity logging, progress tracking and professional support, with webcasts on health topics and live chats with exercise coaches. Online tools also include food tracking, meal planners, quit smoking tips and health risk assessments. Onsite initiatives include health screenings, chair massages and wellness coaching. Vending machines are stocked with healthy options, with icons identifying low fat, sugar free and organic items. A $150 Children’s Health Rebate helps families aid children in the maintenance of healthy weight.Fletcher Allen Health Care – SILVER Fletcher Allen’s comprehensive wellness program includes tobacco cessation incentives, 10,000 steps pedometer program, “Get Moving!” calendar, nutrition/weight management resources and free depression screenings for employees and family members. The “Know Your Numbers” campaign provides biometric screening with one-on-one counseling and motivational interviewing to encourage stress management, weight loss, smoking cessation and lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. Incentives to participate include gift certificates, wellness products and subscriptions to Eating Well magazine.State of VT, Dept of HR, Div of Workforce Development and Wellness – SPECIAL RECOGNITION State employees and retirees receive onsite wellness screenings including a one-on-one appointment with a nurse and completion of a health risk assessment. An annual Activity Program provides a free pedometer and materials to log steps over an 8-week period. Participants are encouraged to team up for the Vermont Corporate Cup Challenge and State Agency Race. At the end of the 8-week program, a closing ceremony is held to recognize and reward participants. Raffle prizes are drawn and award winners have their picture taken with Governor Douglas. Healthy living workshops and CPR classes are offered to employees, and a web-based tracking tool allows employees to monitor their physical activity and engage in friendly competition with coworkers. The Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports is a physical activity promotion and advocacy group, comprised of volunteers appointed by the Governor to represent a broad spectrum of Vermonters. The Council’s mission is to promote wellness through physical activity for people of all fitness and ability levels.###last_img read more

Daily Dirt: Great Outdoor Provision Co. Opening, Epic Antarctic Trek, and the End of Snow?

first_imgThis week’s Daily Dirt for February 12th, the day Mattel announced that “Barbie” and “Ken” were officially breaking up:GREAT OUTDOOR PROVISION CO. TO OPEN IN CHARLOTTESVILLECharlottesville outdoor enthusiasts: get excited.This spring, Great Outdoor Provision Co. will bring their first Virginia store to Barracks Road Shopping Center. Founded in 1972, the independent retailer is known for their unique brand of active outdoor retail.“We’re flatted to join this community with its incredible history and appreciation for the outdoors,” said co-owner Chuck Millsaps. “Charlottesville was a natural choice for our first location in Virginia. We share this region’s love for the active outdoor lifestyle along with the commitment to protecting the open spaces that make adventure possible.”The company’s seven other locations in North Carolina frequently partner with local organizations to support youth, trails, and local conservation initiatives. The recipient of Backpacker Magazine‘s 2010 Retailer of the Year Award for Conservation, Great Outdoor Provision Co. prides themselves on conscious conservation efforts while servicing their customer’s drive for adventure. We look forward to their arrival in Charlottesville.TWO EXPLORERS COMPLETE SCOTT’S ANTARCTIC TREKOver 100 years ago, Sir Robert Falcon Scott and his team set off on a frigid journey through Antarctica. The five men reached the South Pole on January 17th, 1912, but all died of hunger and exhaustion on their return.On Monday morning, Ben Saunders, 36, and former rugby player Tarka L’Herpiniere, 32, became the first people in history to ever complete the nearly 1,800-mile trek that Scott attempted years ago. Pulling sleds with more than 440 pounds of gear, the men hiked through wind chills as low as -50 degrees Fahrenheit.The two frosty explorers were suited in modern gear from Intel and managed a blog throughout the tundra. You can read their blog here.THE END OF SNOW?On Sunday, Porter Fox posted an editorial to the New York Times outlining some of the most recent estimates of worldwide snowmelt in the wake of complaints about slope conditions in Sochi. Due to high temperatures last year, 16 million cubic feet of snow was stored under insulated blankets to ensure decent levels for Olympics this month. Snow-making guns have been firing non-stop to maintain courses.These facts, coupled with long-range estimates that project dwindling snow-averages, certainly raise an alarm for skiers and boarders.  The planet has warmed 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit since the 1800s, leading to greater snow melts. Over the past 47 years, the northern hemisphere has lost over a million square miles of spring snow cover.While you may be one that hesitates about long term predictions and figures, the daunting idea of closing ski resorts would bum out any powder aficionado. Some estimates project that Europe will lose two-thirds of its resorts by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced. In the United States, more than half of the 103 resorts in the Northeast may be unusable in 30 years.Fox raises some interesting notions. No skier wants to see brown peaks. We all want our kids to experience the same joy of deep powder, long runs, and beautiful landscape. We’ve just got to figure out a way to make it happen.last_img read more

Trail Mix | Beth Snapp

first_imgI’ll come clean and fess up.This week’s blog post is dripping with bias. My journalistic integrity has been dashed. There is no way I can approach this week’s subject, Kingsport, Tennessee, singer/songwriter Beth Snapp, without any notion of prejudice.That being said, rest assured this blog post is not fake news. It’s true in every sense of the word.Last weekend, my writing world happily collided with my music promotion world. After a week or so of listening to Snapp’s second album, Write Your Name Down, which she just released, I helped host a concert with Beth at The Inn at Wise, an iconic hotel here in my hometown. Some seventy patrons turned out for our listening room show, and Beth and her band didn’t disappoint. Her quartet ripped through songs off of both her records and some choice covers, including a wonderful renditions of the traditional “I’ll Fly Away” and Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together.”This was our first time putting on a show at the Inn, and it proved to be a magical evening. Beth and her band were tight, the room sounded wonderful, and we all had a delightful time.Some five days later, I am still basking in a bit of a post-show buzz, so forgive me my bias. Beth Snapp and her new record have been heavy in my CD player lately, and I might be her new #1 fan.I was happy to catch up with Beth to chat about the new record, creative outlets, and her favorite outdoor adventures.BRO – Do you remember the first song you wrote?BS – Yes, and it was horrible! However, I also remember being 23 and writing “That Can’t Be Me,” from my first album, and being pleasantly surprised that it seemed like a fairly well written piece! It was one of the first songs I sang in public, and other singer/songwriters seemed to enjoy it and be interested in me as the “new kid.” If fed my desire to see if I could do it again.BRO – You worked with Tim Stafford, noted bluegrass guitar player from Blue Highway, on this record, How’s your flat picking?BS – My flat picking is, well, absent. Ha! That’s why it pays to have fabulous friends like Tim to do such an amazing job. I can do a little cross picking, but I guess I’ll stick to rhythm, which is just fine with me.BRO – We are featuring “Write Your Name Down” on this month’s Trail Mix. What’s the story behind the song?BS – I was driving to Kentucky to see the last leg of the Eagle’s concert tour, incidentally on the same weekend that was supposed to be my wedding reception. It wasn’t, and that’s okay, but I was not in the mood to write a story that ended in a marriage proposal. The idea took itself in that direction, however, so there we went.BRO – Aside from songwriting, what are your other creative outlets?BS – I used to do ceramics in earlier days, and I was just talking with a friend about signing up for a wheel class. I would like to revisit that hobby soon.BRO – What’s your favorite outdoor adventure in Northeast Tennessee?BS – I do like hiking a lot, especially to waterfalls. This past year, I went to several in Southwest Virginia, and I plan to explore Tennessee more this year, but Laurel Falls never disappoints. I also enjoy paddle boarding and hope to get my own board soon. We are blessed to be surrounded by so much water and gorgeous scenery, and I like to take advantage of that.Beth has a live session at the Birthplace of Country Music in Bristol, Virginia, scheduled for Friday afternoon. After that, show dates throughout Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee are on tap.For more information on Beth Snapp, the new record, on when you can catch her live, surf on over to her website.Be sure to take a listen to “Write Your Name Down,” along with other great tracks from artists like Otis Taylor, Nicki Lane, Annabelle’s Curse, and more on this month’s Trail Mix.last_img read more

Banned crutch words for 2018

first_img continue reading » 5SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Every bank or credit union has its own unique way of handling internal communications. How well you communicate with staff has far-reaching implications, including your culture and brand. However, there are good ways to communicate and not-so-good ways to communicate.With that in mind, there are a few horrific words and phrases you should absolutely avoid in your content marketing strategy. These clichéd, hackneyed and over-hyped roadkills of the communications world are definitely to be avoided. Please keep an attentive eye open for the following and delete from your vacabulary this year (and every year).Synergy. Or synergize. Or synergistic. Or any other variation of this corporate bizspeak abomination.Touch base. Just say “let’s visit” or “let’s meet.” Or even “can we set up a time to talk?” This isn’t second grade and we’re not playing tag with someone stuck being “it.”last_img read more

Keeping your website compliant

first_img 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Jennifer Adkisson As Compliance Officer, Jennifer assists credit unions with their marketing and website reviews. Her expertise in advertising compliance helps credit unions reach their marketing goals while staying compliant with the … Web: www.policyworksllc.com Details Websites have become a crucial part of credit union member service. In addition to providing an entry-point for online banking services, members can use the credit union website to find helpful information, open new accounts, apply for loans, and contact credit union representatives. As technology continues to evolve, simple websites have turned into complex structures. Keeping them updated can pose a challenge, as they may contain hundreds, if not thousands, of pages of content. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter if your website is small or large, it is still subject to the same regulatory scrutiny as other marketing materials. That is why it is important to maintain your website and frequently audit the content for accuracy and relevance.If you are reviewing your website for compliance, here are two items that should be considered.NCUA Official Advertising Statement/SignThe National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) official advertising statement shows members that the credit union is insured by the NCUA. The NCUA requires credit unions to post their official advertising statement – or the NCUA official sign – on the main webpage of the credit union’s website and on every page that advertises federally insured deposit account products. The official sign must be clearly legible and included on all pages where accounts can be opened or deposits are accepted, such as online banking. The official NCUA advertising statement is also required to be clearly visible on the page in a size and print that is no smaller than the smallest font size used on the related webpage. Equal Housing LogoThe Equal Housing logo is used to display commitment to fair housing compliance. Specifically, the logo represents fair housing without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, handicap, or familial status.The Equal Housing logo must be on all pages that advertise real estate-related loans. State-chartered credit unions should use the Equal Housing Opportunity logo, not the Equal Housing Lender logo. Both logos must be in a size and print that is clearly legible and – specific to the Equal Housing Opportunity Logo – in a size that is at least equal to the largest of the other logotypes included in the ad. If no other logotypes are used, the logo should be bold, and the display should be clearly visible.Maintaining ComplianceThere are a number of ways to ensure your website is compliant. One is to establish a formal review process and follow compliance checklists. Our best tip is to stay on top of all rules and regulations and to be proactive when ensuring your website is compliant with the guidelines the NCUA has in place. Your compliance officer or someone from the compliance team should review all website pages and content to ensure your credit union is covered from a regulatory perspective.Websites are widely accessible, creating a window into the credit union’s products and services, which is why it is important that they remain up-to-date and compliant. Just as easily as members visit the credit union’s website, so too can examiners. Does your credit union have a strategy for keeping your website up-to-date?Refer to the “Credit Union Website Compliance Checklist,” a handy tool that highlights key compliance items to consider on any credit union’s website. This checklist is a great starting point to ensure your credit union is compliant with the NCUA rules and regulations.last_img read more

Gov. Wolf Signs Bipartisan Criminal Justice Reinvestment Initiative Bills

first_imgGov. Wolf Signs Bipartisan Criminal Justice Reinvestment Initiative Bills SHARE Email Facebook Twitter December 18, 2019center_img Criminal Justice Reform,  Government That Works,  Press Release Governor Tom Wolf, surrounded by legislators and criminal justice advocates, today signed two Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI 2) bills, hailing them as yet another successful bipartisan effort to make the state’s justice system fairer while keeping communities safe.“I am here today to recognize the passage of the second part of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, or “JRI 2,” Gov. Wolf said. “These important pieces of legislation will cut red tape, reducing bureaucracy will result in savings of time and money, and we will reinvest those savings into criminal justice programs that reduce recidivism, increase public safety, and better serve victims of crime.”JRI 2 includes two bills – Senate Bills 500, sponsored by Sen. Lisa Baker, and 501, sponsored by Sen. Tom Killion – addressing the high cost of incarceration in the state; strengthening support for county probation programs and fixing inadequate sentencing guidelines; and reforming the post-trial criminal justice system to ensure work towards rehabilitation of individuals and preparation to reenter society, rather than creating further risks for recidivism.“This set of measures follows other important legislation we have approved,” Sen. Lisa Baker said. “Our course on correctional law is toward smarter sentencing, reduced recidivism, and cost containment.”“Emphasizing drug treatment and punishments other than incarceration for those convicted of non-violent crimes is the right thing to do for taxpayers, our communities, and the offenders themselves,” said Sen. Tom Killion. “Breaking the cycle of addiction by streamlining the placement of offenders in drug treatment will make our criminal justice system more efficient, improve public safety and reduce the burden we ask taxpayers to bear.”“With several components of JRI 2 now on their way to the governor’s desk, we’ve shown that the General Assembly can work across party lines to pass meaningful criminal justice reform,” Rep. Joanna McClinton said. “With much compromise, this package of bills will generate significant savings for the Department of Corrections and lead to much-needed probation and parole reform in the commonwealth by creating a County Adult Probation and Parole Advisory committee.”“I am delighted that Pennsylvania will join the ranks of other states which are identifying a smarter way to address criminal justice,” Rep. Paul Schemel said. “The reforms built into these bills have proven successful in other states at reducing both recidivism and cost. This is truly a win-win, which enjoyed broad by-partisan support. Thank you to the leadership of the House, Senate and Governor’s office for this substantial reform.”The original JRI 2 package also included Senate Bill 502, the Crime Victims Bill, sponsored by Sen. Camera Bartolotta and supported by the governor, which is awaiting consideration in the House. However, the two bills passed contain the bulk of the reforms touted as reinvestment initiatives.In 2016, Pennsylvania leaders established the Justice Reinvestment Working Group, a bipartisan, interbranch group of state policymakers and criminal justice system stakeholders chaired by Attorney General Josh Shapiro and charged with analyzing the state’s justice system and developing recommendations to help manage the continued growth in the state’s corrections budget and to reinvest savings in strategies that can reduce recidivism, increase public safety and better serve victims of crime.“I am pleased that much of the work I led, along with our bipartisan collation when I was the Chairman of the PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency, is reflected in today’s vote and these bills being signed into law by Gov. Wolf,” said Attorney General Shapiro. “While there is still a massive amount of work to be done on criminal justice reform in our Commonwealth, today is an important step forward to more efficiently use taxpayer resources, improve public safety and make our system more fair.”The working group goals are reflected in the savings estimated for JRI 2 as passed today. Efficiencies in expediting presumptive parole and simplifying the process for entry into the state’s drug treatment program, which has impressive outcomes for enrollees, results in the funds necessary to reinvest into county probation, to victims, and to sentencing commissions. Total savings are estimated at $45 million.The passage of JRI 2 traveled a path started in the 2017-18 legislative session when then-Sen. Stewart Greenleaf introduced a package of bills to address the criminal justice system challenges based on data from The Council of State Governments’ Justice Center and the recommendations of the working group.Those bills passed the Senate in April 2018 and were referred to the House Judiciary committee where no further action was taken until this session. The original JRI bills were reintroduced in March as Senate bills 500, 501 and 502 and passed the Senate in March. They were referred to the House Judiciary Committee in June.The list of criminal justice reforms in Pennsylvania is long and revolutionary:Announced a Fair-Chance hiring policy for state agencies that removes the criminal conviction question, otherwise known as “banning the box,” from non-civil service employment applications for agencies under the governor’s jurisdiction.Signed the “Clean Slate” bill, the first of its kind in the nation, to help those who have committed low-level offenses and have paid their penalty get back on the path to a blemish-free record, removing potential roadblocks to jobs, housing, health care, and education.Signed Act 95 of 2018, eliminating driver’s license suspensions for non-driving infractions.Signed Act 146 of 2018, extending the time a convicted individual has to file a post-conviction relief action to one year, from what was 60 days under current law. Signed Act 147 of 2018, updating Pennsylvania’s DNA testing law to reflect significant advances in technology and the lessons learned by criminal justice professionals since 2002. The legislation removes the supervision requirement that only people serving a sentence can apply for DNA testing.Signed Act 148 of 2018, a victim protection bill regarding housing options and emergency transfers.“The passage of JRI 2 has been a long process that began back in 2016 with the Justice Reinvestment Working Group,” Gov. Wolf said. “I am proud that we are bringing this across the finish line today. We have passed yet another criminal justice reform that will improve the lives of all Pennsylvanians.”last_img read more