William Byron takes home $100,000 bonus in Dash 4 Cash finale at Dover

first_imgRELATED: Full race results | Kyle Larson wins at DoverDOVER, Del. – Somewhere out there, there’s a 19-year-old still accepting a weekly allowance from his parents.At Dover International Speedway on Saturday, 19-year-old William Byron raced his way to a $100,000 bonus.The JR Motorsports driver’s sixth-place finish in the OneMain Financial 200 at the Monster Mile propelled him to the fourth and final XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash prize, earning himself a cool hundred grand in the process. Thankfully, Byron has a good head on his shoulders and has no immediate plans to visit the Dover Downs casino located on site, but instead joked it could buy “a good education.”“I don’t know (what my plans are for the money),” Byron said following the race. “It’s definitely a good thing for our race team. Good run for us; we needed that. Just really proud of all the guys on the JRM team and hopefully this is something we can keep building on.”Byron was the highest-qualifying Dash 4 Cash driver in the final stage, topping a final group of qualifiers that included teammate and points leader Elliott Sadler along with Darrell Wallace Jr. and Brennan Poole.RELATED: XFINITY Series standings | Byron’s career statsThe young driver set the Camping World Truck Series on fire in 2016, turning heads on his way to a series-record seven wins in 23 races by a rookie. While still winless this year, his XFINITY Series career got off to a stellar start through the season’s first six races with an average finish of 7.67.Things have stalled a bit since, with the next four seeing a pair of finishes 30th or worse and zero top 10s. He’s hoping Saturday’s finish and earning the Dash 4 Cash prize — which he deemed “for sure the highlight” of his XFINITY career thus far — are signs that his team is starting to put things together to perform.“To see the execution in the race and get there at the end … I know we got off cycle there and didn’t necessarily get the finish we wanted, but we were still able to charge up through there on new tires and that was exciting. It was fun to race with Elliott and Justin (Allgaier) and everyone that was battling for it,” Byron said.JRM won three of four Dash 4 Cash prizes, with Allgaier taking Phoenix and Richmond, sandwiched by Richard Childress Racing’s Daniel Hemric taking Bristol.“For JRM, I think it just shows the strength of our team to execute. I think we keep building and keep getting more speed. We’re executing really well in the race and our teammates are as well. That’s helping everyone get these Dash 4 Cashes and we’ll just keep building on that.”last_img read more

US Cracks Down on Mountaintop Coal-mine Permits

first_img “The administration pledged earlier this year to improve review of mining projects that risked harming water quality. Release of this preliminary list is the first step in a process to assure that the environmental concerns raised by the 79 permit applications are addressed and that permits issued are protective of water quality and affected ecosystems,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “We look forward to working closely with the Army Corps of Engineers, with the involvement of the mining companies, to achieve a resolution of EPA’s concerns that avoids harmful environmental impacts and meets our energy and economic needs…” According to the EPA, based on studies of over 1200 stream segments impacted by mountaintop mining and valley fills the following environmental issues were noted: an increase of minerals in the water — zinc, sodium, selenium, and sulfate levels may increase and negatively impact fish and macroinvertebrates leading to less diverse and more pollutant-tolerant speciesstreams in watersheds below valley fills tend to have greater base flowstreams are sometimes covered up wetlands are, at times inadvertently and other times intentionally, created; these wetlands provide some aquatic functions, but are generally not of high qualityforests may become fragmented (broken into sections)the regrowth of trees and woody plants on regraded land may be slowed due to compacted soilsgrassland birds are more common on reclaimed mine lands as are snakes; amphibians such as salamanders, are less likelyvalley fills are generally stable cumulative environmental costs have not been identifiedthere may be social, economic and heritage issues Reuters quotes one analyst as saying the move would “likely benefit mining companies, like Consol Energy Inc, that have low-cost underground operations as opposed to mountaintop mining.” (Read more from Reuters) AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreThe Environmental Protection Agency announced Friday it will put the brakes on 79 pending permits for mountaintop removal coal mines in Appalachia because they likely pose environmental problems in violation of the Clean Water Act. Also called surface mining, the technique often results in the burying of streams with blasted debris from mountaintops, and high levels of toxic metal runoff into adjacent valleys and community watersheds. EPA’s initial review concluded that all of the projects would likely cause water quality impacts and require additional scrutiny under the Clean Water Act. last_img read more

Understanding How Statutes of Limitations Apply to Student Loans

first_img Reviving the Statute of Limitations on DebtsAdditionally, making a payment on a debt can serve to revive a statute of limitations. For instance, suppose you stop making payments on a debt in a state where there is a five-year statute of limitations for such debts. The timeline for the statute of limitations ceased when you stopped making payments. In the event you never make another payment or take any other action that would otherwise extend the statute of limitations, the creditor’s option to sue you would end five years later. Should you make a payment at any time during that five-year period, however, the statute of limitations would begin again and not end until another five years had passed.Some creditors purchase old debts for a small amount of money and then attempt to collect the debt using aggressive collection tactics. In and of itself, this practice is not illegal, as you are still responsible for the debt. It is illegal if the creditor attempts to harass you, tricks you into renewing the statute of limitations, or threatens you in any way.Fortunately, most courts will not accept a renewed timeframe if you were unaware that the statute of limitations was being renewed. In the event a creditor attempts to sue you or even threatens to sue for a debt on which the statute of limitations has expired, it’s important that you contact your lawyer or file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. By Drew Cloud, The Student Loan ReportStudent loans present a convenient option for many students who either do not qualify for financial aid or who need to supplement their scholarships and grants. Even so, it’s important to understand your rights prior to taking out those loans, including the methods lenders can use for collecting debt if you should fall behind on your loan payments. You should also understand the statutes of limitations that apply to student loans.What Is a Statute of Limitations? In terms of debt collection, a statute of limitations refers to the amount of time the lender has to sue for outstanding debt. This time limit does apply to private student loans but is not applicable to federal student loans, including the Perks, Stafford, and Parent PLUS loans, as well as federal consolidation loans. There has not been a statute of limitations for federal student loans since 1991. The specific amount of time for a statute of limitations also varies from one state to another.In some states, the statute of limitations is capped at three years, while it’s as long as 10 years in other states. Many times, consumers make the mistake of believing that simply because a statute of limitations has expired, the lender cannot continue attempting to collect the debt. This is not the case. The statute of limitations only prevents the lender from suing you. It does not eliminate the debt. If you are not clear about the statute of limitations as it applies to a specific debt, it’s important to consult with an attorney. You should also be aware that collectors are bound by law to inform you if the statute of limitations on your debt has expired, if you ask.Given this, it’s important to be aware that you also have the right to extend the statute of limitations. Depending on the situation, you may be able to either waive or extend the existing statute of limitations by agreeing either verbally or in writing to repay the debt or agree that the debt is valid. This is only applicable in situations in which the lender is allowed to sue you for the debt. Most creditors will not do this if you are making payments in a satisfactory manner.center_img It can be relatively easy to settle a loan with an expired statute of limitations. Once a creditor knows it’s no longer an option to force you to pay back the debt using legal action, it is often much more agreeable to settling the debt for less than what is actually owed.There is no statute of limitations on federal student loans. Regardless of whether the loan is several decades old, if you have failed to make payments, you can still be sued for payment by the federal government. In the interim, collection costs and interest will likely continue accruing, which will make the amount owed even greater. For this reason, it’s a good idea to try to work out a solution with your loan holder. Doing so will usually be far less expensive than simply ignoring the issue.Other factors can also affect the statute of limitations behind state laws. Among those factors are whether the school was accredited at the time you attended and how the loan was used. These two factors alone can have a significant impact on which part of a loan and even whether the loan can be collected.The Difference Between Credit Reporting and Statute of Limitations on DebtBorrowers should also be aware that the length of time that information regarding loan payments, including collection accounts and late payments, can remain on credit reports differs from the statute of limitations for being sued for collection. The Fair Credit Reporting Act governs negative information reported on credit reports. Simply because the statute of limitations has expired on a loan, it does not mean that negative information will no longer appear on a credit report. Likewise, just because there is no information regarding a debt on your credit report, it does not mean the creditor can longer attempt to collect the debt.Remember, when researching student loans, it’s vital to understand the collection rules as they apply to such loans. Furthermore, never borrow more money than you realistically expect you will be able to repay and carefully consider the impact it could have on your life if you experience financial problems in the future and are not able to repay your loans.he Student Loan Report is a content partner of The Port Arthur News providing news and commentary. This content is produced independently of The Port Arthur News.last_img read more

Final 2017 Tony Awards Eligibility Rulings: David Hyde Pierce as Leading Actor & More

first_img Hello, Dolly! Related Shows Show Closed This production ended its run on Aug. 25, 2018 The Tony Awards Administration Committee met on April 28 for the fourth and final time this season to decide the eligibility of Broadway productions for the American Theatre Wing’s 2017 Tony Awards, presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing. The Committee met regularly throughout the 2016-2017 Broadway season to make eligibility determinations.The Committee confirmed the eligibility of 16 Broadway productions for the 2017 Tony Awards. Other shows will be discussed at future meetings. The shows considered are Sweat, The Play That Goes Wrong, Amélie, Present Laughter, War Paint, Oslo, Groundhog Day, Indecent, The Little Foxes, Hello, Dolly!, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Anastasia, Six Degrees of Separation, Bandstand and A Doll’s House, Part 2.The Committee announced the following:Jon Jon Briones and Eva Noblezada will be considered eligible in the Best Performance by an Actor/Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical categories for their respective performances in Miss Saigon.Henry Shields will be considered eligible in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play category for his performance in The Play That Goes Wrong.Phillipa Soo will be considered eligible in the Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical category for her performance in Amélie.Jefferson Mays and Jennifer Ehle will be considered eligible in the Best Performance by an Actor/Actress in a Leading Role in a Play categories for their respective performances in Oslo.Andy Karl will be considered eligible in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical category for his performance in Groundhog Day.Peter Darling and Ellen Kane will be considered jointly eligible in the Best Choreography category for their work on Groundhog Day.Laura Linney will be considered eligible in the Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play category for her performance in The Little Foxes.David Hyde Pierce will be considered eligible in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical category for his performance in Hello, Dolly!Warren Carlyle is not eligible for the Best Choreography category for his contributions to Hello, Dolly!Larry Hochman will be considered eligible in the Best Orchestrations category for his work on Hello, Dolly!Christian Borle will be considered eligible in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical category for his performance in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.Christy Altomare will be considered eligible in the Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical category for her performance in Anastasia.Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty will be considered eligible in the Best Original Score category for their work on Anastasia.Alexander Dodge and Aaron Rhyne will be considered jointly eligible in the Best Scenic Design in a Musical category for their work on Anastasia.John Benjamin Hickey will be considered eligible in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play category for his performance in Six Degrees of Separation.Corey Cott and Laura Osnes will be considered eligible in the Best Performance by an Actor/Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical categories for their respective performances in Bandstand.Jayne Houdyshell and Condola Rashad will be considered eligible in the Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play category for their respective performances in A Doll’s House, Part 2.All other eligibility rulings were consistent with opening-night billing.center_img View Comments David Hyde Pierce(Photo: Emilio Madrid-Kuser)last_img read more

Gaz Metro to recover CVPS acquisition costs through ratepayer savings

first_imgby Anne Galloway April 9, 2012 vtdigger.org As lawmakers hotly debated last week whether they should have a say in the CVPS and Green Mountain Power merger, the quasi-judicial body that ultimately will decide whether to approve the marriage between the stateâ s two largest utilities held hearings on the deal.Green Mountain Power CEO Mary Powell. VTD/Josh LarkinThe controversial merger case is now before the Vermont Public Service Board, and many of the same issues legislators have been exercised about over the last few weeks are undergoing deliberative scrutiny from the three-member panel.Gaz Metro, based in Montreal, which owns Green Mountain Power and Vermont Gas, beat out rival Canadian company, Fortis, in a bid for CVPS in July 2011. If the merger is approved, eight in 10 Vermonters will get their electricity from Green Mountain Power.While lawmakers made political hay out of the revelation that the $21 million owed to ratepayers for bailing out CVPS in 2007 would be paid for by raising rates, the board delved into the painstaking process of examining the merger deal in a series of hearings over the last several weeks.More details of the complex financial arrangement have come to light as a result of the proceedings.Here are a few of the findings from recent documents about the merger:Green Mountain Power projects total 10-year efficiency savings to be $226 million, and the company proposes to pass on $144 million of those savings to ratepayers.Gaz Metro would retain $82 million in savings over the first six years, most of which would be achieved through labor reductions of $110 million in the first five years. The $82 million would go toward the $524 million acquisition costs the Montreal-based corporation incurs (the total price, including CVPS debt is $702 million).The savings passed on to ratepayers in the first three years is $15 million and $144 million after 10 years;Green Mountain Power ratepayers will realize at least half of the savings;The board questions whether changes to the $21 million windfall distribution is a dealbreaker.The $82 million savingsThe Vermont Public Service Board has never before allowed a utility to recover an acquisition â premium’from merger savings that would ordinarily be passed on to consumers. If the three-member panel approves the arrangement, it would set new precedent, according to documents from the proceeding. The board says the utility would have to meet a heavy burden of proof to justify returning $82 million to the for-profit company from expected ratepayer savings.In the past, the board has not allowed utilities to recover acquisition costs from ratepayers and 100 percent of merger savings have benefited customers. In its questions for Gaz Metro, the board says of the $82 million sharing proposal that it â has not previously approved any similar arrangement.âThis deal is different, company officials say: It is historic in nature because of its size and the potential benefits it offers for customers.Green Mountain Power representatives wrote in a written response that the companyâ s offer would return 59 percent of the overall merger savings to consumers (net present value). Mary Powell, CEO of the utility, told the board in testimony last week that the sharing arrangements with ratepayers have been done in other jurisdictions and pointed out that the ratio is typically 50-50. The companyâ s offering, she said, is generous by comparison.â I think this is a really strong value proposition for customers because not only are we proposing the 59/41, but again as I view what weâ re proposing, you know, weâ re taking all the risk and customers are taking none of the risk,’Powell told the board. â Weâ ve guaranteed. We have guarantees in the first few years of savings for customers.âGMP officials argued in writing that the board should â follow the precedent of other jurisdictions’and approve the plan. One of those out-of-state precedents Green Mountain Power used as an example in expert testimony was the largest utility merger in U.S. history, involving Entergy Corp. and Gulf States Utilities in Texas.In a response to written questions from the board, Gaz Metro officials said they were committed to not pursuing â a more customary Wall Street-style merger, in which increased returns for shareholders are obtained through layoffs and accelerated consolidation of facilities and systems, at the expense of customer service impacts. It is also important to remember that in non-utility mergers, shareholders would expect 100 percent of synergy savings.âUnder Vermont law, utility companies are strictly regulated and must show regulators they are operating in the public interest.The board asks why it should make an exception for Gaz Metro and deviate from its precedent in order to approve the arrangement â considering, among other things, the effect such precedent might have on future rate-making proceedings involving any utility.âThe answer? Gaz Metro says â the proposal is consistent with precedent, including Vermont precedent.âThe board has approved three recent acquisition cases, involving the recent CVPS acquisition of the Readsboro and OMYA/Marble Valley power companies and the 1997 Nynex/Bell merger, in which all benefits from the transactions accrued to the ratepayers.In the Readsboro case, the board told CVPS the facts â do not support a deviation from longstanding Board precedent to exclude acquisition premiums from rates.âThe NYNEX/Bell merger savings over a three-year period were expected to run between $850 million to $900 million nationwide. Vermont customers were to receive $4.3 million in savings, and according to a summary of the merger from Westlaw, all of those savings were required to flow to ratepayers.Gaz Metro paid a $62 million premium to buy Green Mountain Power in 2007. The acquisition cost, as in the cases cited above, was not recouped in rates, according to a lawyer familiar with the case.A breakdown of the $226 million savingsThe $226 million in savings over a 10-year period includes $82 million in savings over the first six years that would go directly to Gaz Metro to cover acquisition costs.Under the original merger plan, ratepayers wouldnâ t have seen any of the $144 million in savings until year seven. The Vermont Department of Public Service pressed for more money up front for ratepayers, and agreed, in a recent memorandum of understanding, to a guarantee from the utility of $2.5 million in savings in year one; $5 million in year two; and $8 million in year three. Half of the savings would be made available between years four and eight, and 100 percent in year nine and 10. After that, the savings would continue â forever into the future,’according to Dotty Schnure, communications director for Green Mountain Power.The ratepayer savings of $144 million would be divided between Green Mountain Power and CVPS customers. Based on VTDigger calculations derived from the number of ratepayers and the per customer â net present value,’more than half of the reduction in rate increases over a 10-year period would go to CVPS ratepayers.The â net present value,’or the amount in todayâ s dollars CVPS’135,000 residential customers would receive as a result of the 10-year operations and energy efficiency program is $167.89. Green Mountain Power customers would receive about $175 each through the savings.If savings are distributed proportionally to the distribution of NPV to a typical residential customer, then CVPS ratepayers will see $70.5 M in savings over 10 years, according to VTDigger.org calculations. The windfall sharing agreement is $21 million. Figures for the net present value of the $144 million in savings were not available at press time.Rep. Cynthia Browning, D-Arlington, has proposed an amendment that would force the company to issue a cash payback of the $21 million owed to residential customers for the bailout of CVPS in the early 2000s. She says the full value of the bailout was $98 million, and CVPS shareholders have retained the other $77 million.â Green Mountain Power has told the Public Service Board that the net present discounted value of those savings for an individual CVPS customer will be about $167, total,’Browning wrote in a comment on VTDigger. â That doesnâ t sound as good as $144m does it? And it makes the residential bailout payback of $76, which has been so sneered at as inconsequential, look a little better.âBrowning alleges that using ratepayer money to fund investments is â business as usual for Gaz Metro.’She points to the Vermont Gas proposal to expand a pipeline into Addison County as another example. The Public Service Board recently approved the rate setting mechanism for Vermont Gas, which is also owned by Gaz Metro.â That cost shift is how they are financing the natural gas pipeline: raising rates so that customers pay for the investment, then charging them higher rates after it is built,’Browning wrote.The $21 million questionBoard members also questioned key players in the merger about whether returning the $21 million windfall directly to ratepayers is a deal breaker. They also wanted to know whoâ s responsible for repaying customers ‘shareholders or the purchaser. Both Gaz Metro and CVPS say the purchaser must pay for the windfall. AARP, an intervenor in the case on behalf of ratepayers over 50, says both companies knew about the obligation, which included the possibility of a direct payout.The big question is: Would Gaz Metro have grounds to back out of the deal if the merger is conditioned on a cash payment of the $21 million or changes to the 10-year saving plan?Larry Reilly, the CEO of CVPS, testified that the implementation of a 2001 Public Service Board order was baked in to the CVPS Green Mountain Power merger deal from the beginning. He said the windfall was assumed in the purchase price and had Gaz Metro not agreed to compensate ratepayers in some fashion, the pricetag would have been $21 million higher.In Reillyâ s estimation, the implementation of the order would likely not have a adverse material impact on the deal, though it could lead to delays and litigation.Powell has maintained that a payback would kill the deal.Elizabeth Miller, commissioner of the Department of Public Service, told the board under cross examination by Jim Dumont, a lawyer for AARP, that she was not aware that implementation of the sharing order would not have a material adverse on the merger agreement. Miller made her comments on April 4; the state agreed to a memorandum of understanding with Green Mountain Power regarding the use of the $21 million for weatherization and energy efficiency programs in March.In his testimony before the board, Reilly explained how the order was originally included in the contract with Fortis, the original CVPS buyer. Gaz Metro had offered more money for the company, but it included a â regulatory out’clause that CVPS thought was too onerous and could scuttle the deal because if regulators didnâ t accept the contract â as-is’Gaz Metro could walk away. The company sweetened its bid by removing that language and proposing $144 million in savings.April 9, 2012 vtdigger.org Carl Etnier contributed to this report.last_img read more

Pearce predicts $150 million savings on retired teachers health care costs

first_imgby Anne Galloway August 11, 2013 vtdigger.org The state expects to save $150 million in long-term health care costs for retired teachers, thanks to a new program that maximizes use of government subsidies and pharmaceutical discounts for prescription drugs.The state will received enhanced Medicare subsidies for low-income retirees, which will help to lower overall expenditures for prescription drugs through the state health insurance plan for retired teachers.Meanwhile, the state’s 7,000-plus retired teachers will not see a change in prescription drug benefits as a result of the new program, according to State Treasurer Beth Pearce.The Vermont State Teachers’Retirement System board approved the plan last week. The state treasurer’s office, the Vermont-NEA, the Vermont Health Educational Initiative and BlueCross BlueShield of Vermont created a partnership to develop the new waiver plan, which will go into effect on Jan. 1.‘When we can lower the cost to taxpayers without making benefit reductions for retirees, it’s a win-win,’Pearce said in an interview. ‘When we’re working together we can get good things done.’Jon Harris, chair of the board, said in a statement that the waiver plan will ‘financially bolster the retirement system and help ensure important benefits remain intact for retirees.’The new Employer Group Waiver Plan for retirees who qualify for Medicare will save the state about $2.3 million per year on top of $1.5 million in other annual government subsidies. Over time, the $3.8 million in annual savings will result in long-term savings for the pension fund for retired teachers.‘Less money has to go out of our system, that’s how it reduces the unfunded liability,’Pearce says.The state’s unfunded obligations for long-term health care costs for retired teachers is $827 million over a 25-year period. According to the latest actuarial analysis from the treasurer’s office, the new waiver plan will reduce that liability by 18 percent $150 million, based on actuarial calculations for fiscal year 2012.Harris compared the savings to paying down a 30-year mortgage. Paying down the principal ahead of schedule lowers costs over the long haul.‘It’s almost too good to be true, we kept wondering where’s the shoe going to drop, but as we researched it, it made sense,’Harris said. When all the parties studied the fine print, it became apparent that as long as BCBS could handle the administrative details, the waiver plan would work.Health care plans for retired teachers have long been underfunded by the state and the annual expense has eaten into funding for pensions. The teacher retirement system is currently funded at about 67 percent.Even though the Vermont-NEA and the Douglas administration reached a deal in 2010 to increase the contribution from teachers through a variety of concessions, the unfunded portion of the pension system has continued to increase. The Vermont Legislature set aside $4.75 million in fiscal years 2013 and 2014 to help stem the erosion of the fund, but that amount plus contributions from employees hasn’t been enough to cover the growing cost of health care for retirees.Pearce has long been an advocate for increased state funding for the pension system, and her office will ask lawmakers this legislative session to make a larger investment in the retiree system. She says money invested now will have a big payoff down the road. If the state invested $20 million in the pension this year, for example, it would save taxpayers $58 million over the life of the program, Pearce says, though she declined to say just how much she will ask lawmakers to set aside for teachers’pensions this legislative session.Her sales pitch could meet with a less than enthusiastic reception this coming legislative session. Budget-writers will be faced with a $50 million gap right off the bat (the hole was filled with one-time funds in fiscal year 2014), plus an assortment of pending cuts to a wide range of federal programs. Tax revenues, meanwhile, have stayed flat.‘We need to balance all of our priorities and recognize that paying now rather than down the road is a good bang for the buck for taxpayers,’Pearce said.The state treasurer is also pursuing cost-saving programs offered by the federal government. Her office recently received $4.5 million in one-time reimbursement funds for retiree health care expenditures.‘Over the years, we’ve been very proactive in Vermont in terms of looking at our long term liability and working with the Legislature to make sure the pension program is secure,’Harris said.The new Employer Group Waiver Plan is a program of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The Affordable Care Act and other changes to federal law have made the program easier for insurance companies and administrators to implement and more cost-effective for employers, according to a press release from the treasurer’s office.Vermont is the only state that has a third party administrator that is a partnership between a teachers’union and a school boards association, according to Harris. VEHI works with BCBS to keep costs down, he said.last_img read more

Robot takes on Ironman lava fields in Kona!

first_imgAfter scaling the cliff walls of the Grand Canyon and driving the Le Mans racetrack for 24 hours, a tiny Japanese robot is after a new challenge – the 2011 Ironman World Championships this October in Hawaii.Fitted with three different bodies and three rechargeable batteries, the hand-sized ‘Evolta’ from electronics firm Panasonic will swim, bicycle and run its way through one of the world’s toughest triathlon routes, the company said today.The robot’s triathlon challenge begins on 24 October, after the dust has settled on this year’s Ironman World Championships. The robot will continue non-stop for seven days and nights. The actual Ironman World Championship takes place on 8 October.The batteries the robot bears on its back, which go on sale in Japan on 21 October 2011, can be recharged up to 1,800 times by being placed on a recharger pad. Aligning the robot’s staying power with the iconic race in Kona should add further marketing power to the new batteries!“This is very tough even for a sportsman, but I think it is worth a challenge,” said Tomotaka Takahashi, who created the green-and-white toy-like robot.“The robot will encounter a lot of hardships on its way, but I hope it will overcome the all and succeed in the end.“Evolta’s height is just one-tenth of a grown man, so we figured out that it would take it 10 times more time,” Takahashi added.Of the three bodies, which include one mounted on a tiny bicycle and another in a round hoop with a supporting rear wheel, the 51 cm (20 inch) high swimming robot – mounted on a curved, fin-like blade with its arms stretched out – presented special challenges.“I had to think of the ways to make it water-proof and protect it from mould as much as possible,” Takahashi said.Among its other achievements, Evolta has also walked the 500K from Tokyo to the old Japanese capital of Kyoto.www.panasonic.com Relatedlast_img read more

Roeland Park marks 75th anniversary of St. Agnes Parish church building

first_imgSt. Agnes Catholic Church in Roeland Park.A proclamation commemorating St. Agnes Parish church’s 75th anniversary was unanimously approved last week by the Roeland Park city council. The proclamation was introduced by Mayor Mike Kelly.Mayor Mike Kelly presented the proclamation to Father Porter last week.“It is a pleasure to extend this expression of the City’s esteem and best wishes to the members of this parish on such a memorable occasion,” Kelly said.St. Agnes Pastor Father Bill Porter thanked the council for the proclamation.The church was dedicated on November 25, 1943 after several delays caused by World War II. It was built at the intersection of Mission and 53rd Street on 5 acres of land donated by Katherine C. Roe.While the church building is celebrating its 75th anniversary the parish has been operating for 95 years.St. Agnes Parish has been home to a school, former convent, and rectory.“Parishioners have been, and continue to be, some of the most active and dedicated Roeland Park citizens, donating their time and talents on various committees, special projects, and in elected office,” the proclamation reads.last_img read more

How smaller institutions can digitally “Get In” with young consumers

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr by. Brian RamosMany credit unions have struggled to attract younger consumers.  Has that been the case for you?  It’s understandable considering just how much money the big banks have put into technological innovations.  If you feel as if you’re just too far behind the curve, don’t.  There are advantages to being small but you have to have an overall marketing approach to break through to this audience.Having marketed quite a few smaller credit unions to this audience, it’s been our experience that you have to be willing to have focus, have a cohesive plan for what makes your credit union unique and make sure that all of your communications efforts align with that.  Do you do Online Advertising? You should.  How about Search Engine Marketing? It provides the ability to closely track campaign success with strong analytics.  What about your website?  Does it tell your story effectively or is it a “me too” site that looks and acts just like nearly every other banking website?  When we talk to most credit union executives, they feel confident that they can convert a new member if they come into a branch, but do not feel the same way about their ability to convert a member through their website.  Why?  Many times, the content on their site was never designed to tell a story or lead someone down a path.  Pages were written as silos defining a specific product, without considering how they might relate to other products and services offered.  Even worse, most credit union websites have many pages without a clear call to action: Chat with a Representative, Email to a specific department or individual based on the product, Open an Account Online (provided you have this), Call one of our Member Representatives with the phone number clearly displayed.  Too many times these calls to action are simply placed under “Contact Us” rather than being prominently displayed on every product and service page.The good news is that all of the steps you need to take are reasonably simple, as are the investments to implement much of them.  It simply comes down to a focused effort and commitment to garner traction with them.  Are you ready to take the steps?  If you don’t know where to start, the Pod can help.  We’re always willing to provide advice to credit unions.  Isn’t that the mantra: “People helping People”? continue reading »last_img read more

Two-Factor Fraud: Threat of the Week

first_imgby. Robert McGarveyThe threat report from Japanese security company Trend Micro was blunt. Two-factor authentication was successfully compromised by criminals and the victims were customers of 34 different financial institutions in Japan, Switzerland, Austria and Sweden.No U.S. institutions were  known to have been compromised in this attack that Trend Micro  dubbed Emmental because, the company said, digital banking protections are “full of holes.” continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more