Upper Proterozoic rift-related rocks in the Pensacola Mountains, Antarctica: Precursors to supercontinent breakup?

first_imgSedimentological and structural studies in the Pensacola Mountains, Antarctica, suggest that upper Precambrian clastic sedimentary rocks of the Patuxent Formation and associated bimodal volcanic rocks formed in an intracontinental rift setting. The turbidites of the Patuxent Formation are part of a large depositional system, derived from a continental source. Interbedded pillow basalts and basaltic sills have trace and rare earth element signatures enriched relative to mid-ocean ridge basalt and similar to some rift-related tholeiitic suites. Nd and Sr isotopic values are compatible with derivation from a lithospheric mantle source in a continental setting. Associated felsic volcanic rocks have crustal trace element and isotopic characteristics. The rifting may have been a prelude to the fragmentation of a supercontinent and, according to recent hypotheses, the separation of Laurentia from Antarctica. Comparisons between the late Precambrian and Cambrian records of western North America and Antarctica suggest that, if these were conjugate margins, separation must have been Neoproterozoic rather than Cambrian in age.last_img read more

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Inter Link’s rollercoaster ride

first_imgA timeline on supplier Inter Link’s website charts its phenomenal growth since it was founded in 1994. It has not been updated since 2005.That year, Inter Link became the UK’s number two cake supplier, with the £12.25m purchase of the Yorkshire Cottage Bakeries Group. The deal was its ninth and largest acquisition and gave it annualised turnover of £125m, putting it ahead of Northern Foods’ annual £110m cake turnover, but still behind RHM on £300m cakes turnover.Inter Link was then one of the brightest stars of the Alternative Investment Market with shares trading at 770p. In the 18 months since, its fortunes have turned, hitting rock bottom last week as it suspended trading of shares (then at 106p), an admission that they could be worthless. Inter Link’s market capitalisation was £88.6m in early 2006, now it has only debts of £63m. What happened? And where does this rollercoaster go next?Impending troubleAnalysts agree that five major issues plunged the company into chaos, but that there was a whiff of impending trouble around it all along. Inter Link had over-expan-ded and did not consolidate fast enough. It had high debts, market dynamics changed and then its senior managers left en masse.In something of an understatement, Shore Capital analyst Andy Blain suggests that Inter Link has been “the victim of an unfortunate series of events”. He says: “We were concerned two years’ ago about Inter Link and its debt levels and performance in the underlying business. Management was starting to run out of room to manoeuvre.”Another analyst echoes these views: “It was growing rapidly through acquisition and should have put the investment in place to pull the business together. Customers did not want 12 lorries from different Inter Link bakeries turning up at their back doors, so Inter Link came under pressure to centralise distribution. Supermarkets are more tolerant of smaller sup- pliers, but once it was on the radar, it needed to reach higher standards. So the emphasis changed from acquisition to consolidation and organic growth.”Inter Link began to pull the company together. It spent £1m on a central IT system. And in early 2006, it announced plans for a 189,000sq ft central distribution depot in Warrington, Cheshire, run by logistics company Christian Salvesen. Commissioning that site took longer than expected and there were major issues in integrating Inter Link’s systems. All that lead to major cost duplications and exceptional costs of £1.3m in the six months to November 2006. Service levels for its customers also became simply “unacceptable”, it has since admitted.At the same time the company closed its smaller Newton House Bakery, in Herne Bay, its Crossfield site in Blackburn and Hoppers in Kent, centralising production.And it announced two new 30,000sq ft production sites in Trafford Park, alongside the existing Soreen plant. The first, which doubled its capacity for Soreen branded products, opened in August 2006. The second, the company’s first pudding site, is just opening now.Meanwhile, it was working towards ambitions to expand in Eastern Europe, starting by doubling production capacity at its new Polish factory to 150,000sq ft.This frenetic schedule overstretched management. Inter Link has since admitted it failed to bring in proper outside expertise.Market dynamics were also changing. Following its flotation on the stock exchange in 2005, RHM, which owned Manor Bakeries and branded cakes businesses including Mr Kipling, decided to focus on an aggressive fight-back with a promotional campaign for its Mr Kipling brand.One analyst suggests: “The supermarkets like to encourage smaller suppliers to grow. RHM was dominant, but when Inter Link became a large supplier itself things were different.”Another issue was management churn. Late last year, Inter Link, then valued at £59.6m, was approached by a private equity house. The talks led to nothing, but prompted chief executive Paul Griffiths to review his priorities. He left to restore a monastery in Manchester, a project he had been pursuing part-time.Finance director Chris Thomson was promoted to CEO, leaving the finance position unfilled. Chairman and founder Alwin Thompson was forced to resign due to ill health in February. Former chairman Jeremy Hamer, who had scaled back his role to non-executive director, took over. Inter Link has still not recruited a new finance director.Inter Link had always had always run a volume business on unforgiving margins. It could not absorb unexpected costs on all sides. Its efficient low-cost volume production model did not work without the ’efficient’ bit.The company now has £63m debt with the banks, led by Barclays. They are looking for a sensible offer from a buyer, perhaps as low as £30m to £40m, according to analysts’ estimates.Potential buyers circling are tipped to include Vision Capital to run alongside its Park Cakes business, Premier Foods, Finsbury Food Group and Greencore. Irish company McCambridge, which this month withdrew a bid when banks would not agree to write off any debt to seal the deal, is expected to re-enter the fray.Inter Link is unlikely to attract much interest from venture capitalists though, an analyst sugges-ted. With its need for restructuring it is not what they would look for.The irony is that despite its troubles, Inter Link is back on the up. The firm still has sales of £120m a year and service levels have stabilised, according to latest trading updates. With new IT systems in place, better-quality management information is available.Jeremy Hamer is impressively calm and effective in keeping the business going in this crisis, and the new MD, Ian Croxford, has a strong operations background, useful in a disparate business which needs welding together.And any buyer can be sure there is still plenty of retailer support for the company, which is fortunate for the 1,800 staff it employs. Analyst Andy Blain puts it in simple terms: “When you think how many mince pies it makes – 100 million plus a year – if it went under we would have no mince pies at Christmas.” nlast_img read more

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Five month streak of sports betting records ended in Indiana

first_imgIndianaLocalNewsSports (“Online-Poker – Chips und Karten auf dem Notebook” by Marco Verch, CC BY 2.0) Hoosiers only made $273 million in sports wagers in February, ending a five-month streak of the state breaking new records. For comparison, Indiana set a new monthly high in January with nearly $350 million in bets.Jessica Welman with PlayIndiana.com says a lackluster Super Bowl was the main cause for a drop in numbers last month.“There’s not as much going on in February,” Welman said. “You have a big falloff, going from a bunch of football games to just one.”However, Welman believes the state will bounce back this month, especially with all of March Madness being played in Indiana.“The fact that there is going to be 25% capacity at these games means people will travel for it,” she said. That includes people from states that might not have legal sports betting, which might entice them to try it in Indiana.“You get to go to the games and you know sports betting is an option, plus downloading that app on your phone and setting up an account only takes five minutes, really.”Add those group of curious people to the Hoosiers who are already placing bets on college basketball, and Welman says March could be the best month ever when it comes to Indiana sports gambling, saying $400 million in wagers isn’t out of the question. Facebook WhatsApp Pinterest WhatsApp By Network Indiana – March 15, 2021 1 143 Google+ Google+ Five month streak of sports betting records ended in Indiana Twitter Pinterest Twitter Facebook Previous articleKansas Point Of No Return Tour at The Lerner rescheduledNext articleBeware of ticket scams as March Madness approaches Network Indianalast_img read more

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John Medeski, Chris Wood, Nikki Glaspie, Skerik Connect As Fiya Bomb For NOLA Late-Night [Watch]

first_imgOn Tuesday night, the all-star team of Medeski Martin & Wood‘s keyboard wizard John Medeski and bass virtuoso Chris Wood, The Nth Power’s amazing drummer Nikki Glaspie, and sax demon Skerik gathered together as Fiya Bomb at the Maison on New Orleans, LA’s Frenchmen Street for a late-night that will go down in the record books of unforgettable after-Fest performances!Virtually every relevant musician in the country descends on the Crescent City during the ten-day stretch spanned by Jazz Fest, during which special one-time-only gatherings pop up all over town after the fairgrounds close. Of course, some of these one-off collabs work better than others. Fiya Bomb, however, had no trouble connecting. Medeski and Wood communicate on a near-telepathic level thanks to their decades of making music together. Skerik serves as a member of one of Medeski’s numerous side projects, DRKWAV, in addition to countless other outfits. And the ever-versatile Glaspie is a can’t-miss anchor for any band.The players wasted no time establishing their blueprint for the evening…let Skerik and Medeski run wild while Glaspie and Wood create a splashy but rock-solid platform for their cohorts. That’s not to say that the stellar rhythm section didn’t have plenty of opportunities to take the spotlight themselves taking full advantage of their opportunities to shine. Skerik and his sardonic stage demeanor served as host for the evening, bantering with the audience about fashion and music between tortured peels and smooth jams on his sax. Medeski, as is always the case, astounded with his trademark fanning style of organ playing and his impeccable, innate sense of melody and style.Couldn’t make it out to see Fiya Bomb? We’ve got the entire show lined up for you in the five clips below, with an amazing front-row view and soundboard audio for you folks to check out, including a monumental 40+ minute improvisational jam that simply has to be seen to be believed! After you finish watching the clips below, click here to check out our first batch of 2018 NOLA Late Night videos, including some excellent reimaginings of Led Zeppelin and P-Funk favorites.Special thanks to Fiyawerx Productions for the audio assistance and The Maison staff for their help in making our filming efforts the best they can possibly be. Enjoy!Fiya Bomb – “Improv 1”Fiya Bomb – “Improv 2”Fiya Bomb – “Improv 3”Fiya Bomb – “Improv 4”Fiya Bomb-“Improv 5” Even during the daze between Jazz Fest weekends, Live For Live Music has plenty of fantastic music in store for everyone down in New Orleans (and even for everyone sitting at home wishing they were there). See below for a list of our remaining NOLA Late Nights. For more information, or to purchase your tickets, head here.last_img read more

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Creatures of habit

first_imgWhen he set out to understand how the motor cortex changes with learning, Bence Ölveczky, the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Natural Sciences, assumed, like nearly all other scientists, that unique learned motor behaviors originate in the motor cortex.What he found, however, was the opposite.To their surprise, Ölveczky and his colleagues learned that while the brain’s motor cortex is critically important for learning new skills, those skills, once learned, can be executed without any input from the motor cortex. The study is described in a paper published today in the journal Neuron.“The thinking has always been that the more primitive subcortical circuits are there to support innate, instinctive behaviors, while sophisticated, learned behaviors require the motor cortex,” Ölveczky said. “Our assumption was that … when you perform a learned skill you sequence or coordinate it from the motor cortex. But in our experiments we found that even if the motor cortex was missing, there was no effect on complex learned motor sequences, so we have to conclude that subcortical circuits have the capacity to store and execute them.”For many creatures, the ability to learn unique motor behaviors is a crucial adaptation. That’s what allows humans to walk and talk, songbirds to sing, and predators to outsmart their prey. Virtually all of these behaviors are learned the same way, through trial and error.“Essentially, you learn something by varying different aspects of your behavior and learning what works and what doesn’t,” Ölveczky explained. “With time and much practice, the nervous system can select the actions that lead to good outcomes.”As an example, Ölveczky pointed to tennis players. While beginners often show large variation in their serves, the motions of experienced players are nearly identical from one serve to the next.To better understand the role that the motor cortex plays in the mastery of such skills, Ölveczky and his colleagues developed a simple task that rewarded rats for pressing a lever, and then pressing it again 700 milliseconds later.Just as in any other trial-and-error learning scenario, the rats were initially rewarded for a wide range of lever presses. Over time, the contingency for success narrowed until only lever presses that were exactly 700 milliseconds apart were rewarded. Eventually, over 10,000 to 15,000 trials, each of the dozen rats in the experiment learned motor sequences equal to the task.Just as each player’s serve in tennis is different, the rats solved the task in idiosyncratic ways, using precise sequences of seemingly arbitrary actions — from scratching the wall to a motion similar to a DJ spinning a record — to stick to the proper timing between lever presses. Two rats that have learned the timed lever-pressing task are seen performing it before and after lesions to the motor cortex. To the left are two examples taken before the lesion; on the right are two examples from the first day of training after the lesion. Note the stereotyped idiosyncratic behaviors and how they are not affected by motor cortex lesions. Videos are slowed down by a factor of 2.5.  Courtesy of Bence Ölveczky“I assume that they didn’t know it was an interval timing task, but through trial and error the rats learned that if they produce a particular sequence of movements they will get a nice big drop of water,” Ölveczky said. “And, importantly, once they have this figured out, the behavior is very stable and it’s very hard to change because they would be changing from something that works.”When Ölveczky and colleagues lesioned the rats’ motor cortices and returned them to the experiment, they were surprised to find that the rats were able to complete the task just as they had earlier, using exactly the same movements.“We were very puzzled, since we all thought that these learned behaviors should require the motor cortex,” Ölveczky said. “So we thought, what have we been missing?”To find an answer, Ölveczky and his colleagues began sifting through the literature on the motor cortex and discovered that the widely held assumption that learned motor skills are stored in the motor cortex was largely based on studies that had focused on fine motor skills.“If you lesion the motor cortex in those cases, performance is affected, often quite severely,” Ölveczky said. “In many mammals, including humans, we need the motor cortex to produce fine dexterous movements and skills.“The problem was that many people, including us, were generalizing from these studies, leaving us convinced that the motor cortex is important for all kinds of skills.” he continued. “But no. It’s not that the motor cortex is necessary for executing learned motor sequences, per se. It’s important for dexterity, but that’s a different aspect of motor skill than the one we were interested in.”While the evidence suggested that the motor cortex is not necessary to perform the learned behaviors, Ölveczky and his colleagues set out to test whether it was needed to learn them in the first place by lesioning rats’ motor cortices before exposing them to the task.“Initially, they were no different than the other rats,” Ölveczky said. “They pressed the lever the same, they had the same sort of movements, but lesioned rats never got there. We kept training them for many months, but their variability remained high. They never learned the task.“Rats that have already learned the task don’t need the motor cortex,” he added. “But to learn it initially, the motor cortex is absolutely necessary. It suggests that the motor cortex is a tutor that uses its superior knowledge to instruct subcortical circuits how to perform new tricks. And when these circuits get to the point where they can do the same thing every time, then the motor cortex becomes dispensable.”While the study sheds new light on the role of the motor cortex in learning and performing motor skills, it also serves to highlight the previously unrecognized power of subcortical motor circuits, Ölveczky said.“Lizards and other non-mammals are all capable of extraordinary motor feats, but none of them have a cortex,” Ölveczky said. “One way of thinking about this is that when mammals evolved a cortex, there was already a very impressive motor infrastructure in place, one that had been refined over millions and millions of years. But it was adapted for specific scenarios and lacked flexibility.“To increase the flexibility of the animal’s behavior and allow it to learn new skills, the cortex had basically two options. It could integrate itself into what was already there, or it could reinvent everything and take full control over the animal’s movements. Our results suggest that the cortex was smart and found ways to use the subcortical motor controllers to its advantage. There are now pathways in the brain that allow the motor cortex to influence and reprogram subcortical circuits to increase their utility and flexibility. Offloading the execution of stereotyped motor behaviors to these lower-level circuits frees up the motor cortex to do more sophisticated things.”last_img read more

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Bird flu protection

first_imgBy Sharon OmahenUniversity of GeorgiaUniversity of Georgia food microbiologist Mike Doyle says “thelikelihood is pretty low” that the harmful strain of avianinfluenza will enter the United States food supply. Two types”There are two types of avian flu H5NI viruses: a highlypathogenic virus and a low-pathogenic virus,” said Doyle,director of the UGA Center for Food Safety in Griffin, Ga. “Thelow-pathogenic virus has been around for more than a decade. Thehigh-pathogenic virus is the one linked to the deaths in Asia.”Doyle says the cases in Asia have been tied to people who livenear or handle live poultry.”The difference is that the United States has fire walls in placeto prevent such a virus from entering our food supply,” Doylesaid. “If infected birds were found in this country, they wouldbe quickly detected, quarantined and destroyed.”The virus is known to be spread by coughing and inhaling, Doylesaid. “It can also be spread if you touch something that has thevirus on it and then rub your eye,” he said. “There’s no clearevidence that it’s transmitted by the oral route.” Cook poultry thoroughlyDoyle says if an infected bird were to enter the U.S. foodsupply, consumers can protect themselves by always thoroughlycooking poultry products and washing their hands after touchingfresh poultry meat.”If it enters the food supply through poultry meat or eggs,” hesaid, “research shows that cooking to 160 (degrees Fahrenheit)will inactivate the virus.”Georgia, which produces more poultry than any other U.S. state,tests every flock for avian influenza, said Mike Lacy, head ofthe UGA poultry science department. So far, the state’s 1.4billion chickens are avian-flu-free.”Low-pathogenic avian flu is much like regular human flu,” Lacysaid. “The chickens stop eating, decrease activity and haverespiratory symptoms like sneezing and coughing.”center_img Poultry industry safe-guardTo be on the safe side, chicken flocks in the U.S. areslaughtered even if the low-pathogenic strain of the virus isfound, Lacy said, because of the remote chance that these fluviruses can evolve into the highly pathogenic strain.A world-renowned expert in foodborne pathogens, Doyle comparesthe issue to that of mad cow disease.”Mad cow is a minor issue in this country,” he said. “We haven’thad anyone get sick from acquiring it in this country.Contracting it is a rare event and, again, we have fire walls inplace in the U.S. to prevent infected beef from entering the foodsupply.”last_img read more

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Adversity sparks innovation in self-service technology

first_imgThis is placeholder text This post is currently collecting data… There’s no doubt about it—2020 has been a chaotic year. Businesses and individuals across the country have had to adjust to a barrage of unprecedented circumstances, including a global pandemic, nationwide shelter-in-place orders, massive unemployment, an economic recession, and social unrest. It’s been tough—but here’s the great thing about humans—we adapt. We turn obstacles into opportunities and meet challenges with creativity. We find the best things about our new circumstances and take them with us into the future. For credit unions, that future will likely include more self-service options. Consider the fact that members who never adopted technology tools have had no choice but to adopt and use them since March. For the past several months, your members have been checking their balances online, making payments online, responding to business-driven text messages and virtual communication, and much more. According to Healthline, “It takes an average of 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic.” This means that, by now, members are used to and expect to be able to interact with their credit union online via self-service channels. As the pandemic continues to drag on, financial institutions also need to be able to generate non-interest income. With branches either closed, operating within limited hours, or requiring an appointment to meet with lenders, there must be other ways to introduce products and services. The pandemic has forced those financial institutions that previously took a minimal passing glance at self-service technology to now focus on it for survival.  Self-Service Trends In our new world of social distancing, online shopping, self-servicing, and curbside pick-up have become a normal part of almost all of our daily “interactions.” Your members are not only looking for a more convenient way to pay—they’re now considering which options will keep them safe. With branch lobbies closed or operating in a limited capacity and many employees and members still working from home, credit unions have had to evolve and adapt their businesses. This means that self-service payment channels are no longer a convenience—they are now a necessity. The continuing trend toward self-service has been apparent for years, particularly among younger consumers. According to SuperOffice, “Today, 67% of customers prefer self-service over speaking to a company representative. Furthermore, 91% of customers would use an online knowledge base, if it were available and tailored to their needs.”For credit unions, jumping too far into the self-serve deep end can be particularly daunting, since the differentiating factor in the credit union model has always been member service and the human connection. Unfortunately, with social distancing measures in place, this human element is harder to incorporate—but your members still need to interact with your institution in a safe and convenient way.This means every digital channel you make available to your members provides value. Self-Serve Product OfferingsDue to the pandemic, demand for self-service channels and the ability to purchase financial services online has exploded. In the past, loan officers were able to convey directly to their members in face-to-face settings the features and benefits of all add-on services to an auto loan. Adapting to the new reality of COVID-19-related disruptions, SWBC recently developed a new Digital Consumer Experience (DiCE) platform that allows your members to purchase Major Mechanical Protection (MMP) online through a simple quoting and application process. With fewer members entering the branch, DiCE allows credit unions to take advantage of the expanding utilization of digital channels, and provides vehicle service contracts through a self-service experience—directly from your website.The pandemic has challenged all of us rethink our member interactions and support. For SWBC, it has inspired us to think outside of the box and find a way to help our clients drive revenue and provide stellar service while remaining at (slightly more than) arm’s length from their members. Although 2020 has been a year of many trials and setbacks, we will all continue to meet those challenges with ingenuity and resilience. In the words of the American author Napoleon Hill, “Every adversity carries with it the seed of equal or greater benefit.” By offering more self-service options to your members, you will set your credit union up for success in 2021 and beyond. To schedule a demo of SWBC’s new self-service DiCE platform, call 866-316-1162 or visit our website today.center_img 2SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Tony Streeter As SVP of Marketing for the Financial Institution Group, Tony Streeter is responsible for product marketing across all lines of business (predominantly auto and mortgage risk management) geared toward the … Detailslast_img read more

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Letters to the Editor for Wednesday, August 7

first_imgMore from The Daily Gazette:Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motorists Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionSantabarbara not who he says he is Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.In public view, he helps families with disabled children, but away from the public, he supports the Reproductive Health Act and denies medical care to babies who survive abortion. For unwanted babies who survive abortion, Santabarbara removes their legal rights. He takes away their right to a doctor. He takes away their right to an advocate. He takes away their right to a witness. He leaves these babies alone with an abortionist who tried to kill the baby and with a mother who paid to have the baby killed. In private, these babies were stripped of their legal rights and they have no one to protect them. I’m sure Assemblyman Santabarbara provides his family with great doctors and superior medical care, but for unwanted babies, he takes their only doctor away. In public view, Santabarbara turns to our local churches to legitimize his position and his political career. He participates in important services and gives awards to our pastors. He then plasters pictures and videos of these events all over social media, creating a huge spectacle for himself. Santabarbara, a “Catholic” who passed intrinsically evil legislation, tries to portray himself as having church approval. Santabarbara takes advantage of our pastors and the congregation, and he uses the church to get exactly what he wants: a public slate wiped clean, while the innocent victims of his policy pile up in private.Jennifer RichardsBurnt HillsGrateful to workers for storm effortsWe are writing to offer our expression of gratitude to the workers in the Schenectady city Department of Public Works and the fire department for their outstanding efforts on our behalf.On July 29, a very short but powerful storm came through our neighborhood. It brought down a tree across the street and tore off limbs on the trees in front of our house. That evening, a representative of the fire department came to the house to warn us about conditions on the street. The following morning, workers for National Grid came through and trimmed the trees so our wires would be safe. The result was that our front lawn and trash barrels were covered with broken limbs. The trash collectors were not able to do their job in our part of the street. However, they came back later in the day and completed their task. They even delivered our barrels to our front steps so we would not have to struggle to retrieve them.Later in the day, another crew came to the street and removed all of the downed limbs. They were incredibly efficient and friendly in going about their work. Not only was the street cleared and usable, but they did not leave a leaf on our front lawn.They did an excellent job and the citizens of Schenectady should be proud of their service. Certainly we are most grateful for their excellent work.William and Susan SchultzSchenectadyPeople need to be more considerateI was drawn to my neighborhood because it had so many beautiful trees. Cars are constantly speeding down our street. Once they turn onto St. David’s, you hear the gas pedal hit the floor. This is evidenced by telephone poles being run into, mailboxes being damaged and the numerous tire tracks across many lawns, as these idiots cannot even stay in their own lane. They never stop to remediate the damage they cause. On their way through, they throw their litter out of their car windows. God forbid, they just throw it away when they get home.This brings me to my next point: The garbage caused by negligent homeowners who fail to pick up leaflets, telephone directories, flyers and other random advertisements left under the flag or beneath their own mailbox.When the neighborhood was developing, it might have been ideal to have an extra box on the same side of the road. But, some of these posts hold up to 3-4 mailboxes and are not part of an apartment complex. The burden of unwanted junk mail sits on my lawn. Do you know who I can contact to have all mailboxes on this road placed on the homeowner’s property? I can certainly assure you that I’m not the only homeowner who is tired of picking up everyone else’s garbage.Gloria DickinsonNiskayuna Many alternatives to declawing catsThis is in reply to Lorraine VanDerWerken’s August 2 letter (“Cat-clawing bill was not well thought out”). As someone who has had multiple cats in my home (usually three or more at a time) since the late 1950s, I have never had to have a cat declawed. Since the 1970s I have kept the majority of my cats as indoor only. If you outfit your home with climbers, if possible two or more depending upon the number of cats, and scratching posts (spray catnip on them), you will usually not have a problem. If you still have a problem with scratching, there are products on the market that are nail caps for cats that are adhered to each claw. These caps are a painless, non-surgical cover for each claw. The cat’s claws are clipped short and the cap is filled with some adhesive and slid on each claw. The caps last for approximately 4 to 8 weeks, depending on how fast the claws grow. You can either apply them yourself or have your vet or vet tech do this for you. Since these products exist in the marketplace, there is no need to declaw or have anyone surrender their pets.Carol DeMeolaCobleskillStop diverting from our military needsThe U.S. Air Force recently announced that the number of its mission-capable aircraft is at an all-time low. Perhaps this fact was missed by the president, who chose to have a “flyover” on July 4th, stating that “we own the planes.” More serious is the recent Supreme Court decision to permit the president to divert billions of dollars from the Pentagon budget to build his wall. Our country has always prided itself in its commitment to defense and security. In fact, the Republican Party has always championed national defense. We have lost our way. Spending any money on a wall and diverting soldiers to build it is blatantly wrong. People must speak up now.Bruce CastkaCanajoharieEvent designed to help kids at borderLike many of your readers, I was very disturbed to learn about children being held in cages at the Texas border. It is disgusting that our political process is so broken that we have to resort to this type of behavior, which is directed against the poorest and most needy of our neighbors. It’s racist and wrong.I was also frustrated that it seemed like there was nothing that I could do to help. That all changed when we decided to organize a fundraiser. We are holding a “close the camp” event at Great Flats Brewery in Schenectady on Tuesday, Aug. 13, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. We will have several speakers who have first-hand experience with the detention camps and helping immigrants. Come join the fun and learn more about what you can do to help, and participate in a great cause.Please reserve your spot by making a donation directly to the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), a non-profit which provides legal services for immigrant children and adults at the Texas border: www.classy.org/fundraiser/2192657. Or you can make a donation at the door.Jon LemelinNiskayunalast_img read more

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How brands are cooking up a storm in OOH

first_imgIt’s not hard to understand why. Where once a supplier could rely on the big four to deliver growth, that meal ticket can no longer be taken for granted. So, in addition to the discounters, and online sales via the likes of Amazon, foodservice is an obvious hunting ground, holding big opportunities, if you know where to look. Growth across the sector as a whole might have been sluggish, with value expected to creep up only 1.7% this year, according to MCA Insight, a slowdown from 2% in 2016. But there are plenty of pockets of potential, particularly in-store food to go and the booming casual dining sectors. What MCA Insight terms the ‘branded contemporary fast food’ sector (the likes of Itsu, Wasabi and Chilango), has forecast 13.8% growth to £1.3bn in 2017, it says, closely followed by street food, branded coffee shops and branded delivered food from the likes of Uber Eats and Deliveroo. “Food to go is just popping up everywhere. Who would have thought a few years ago you would get cafés in hardware stores?” says Tom Price, the newly appointed commercial manager of food and out of home at craft yoghurt maker Nomadic of its own foray into foodservice, with plans to target workplace caterers, venues, airlines, and coffee chains. “We’ve had great interest, probably more than we expected.”“We are seeing much more emphasis on provenance and local sourcing in foodservice”Crucially “we are seeing so much more emphasis now on provenance and local sourcing in foodservice, people wanting natural food that they can get a sense of where it has come from and who it was made by.” As a result, old stereotypes like giant tubs of generic coleslaw or nondescript coffee behind counters no longer ring true. The role for high-quality, even premium brands is becoming more important, believes Andy Leslie, MD of soft drinks supplier Sunmagic which launched its new freshly squeezed juice brand The Village Press into foodservice in August. Outlets “don’t always show the brands in their establishments, sometimes they will dispense the brand behind the counter, but know they can rely on the quality,” he says. It’s helped by how fragmented the sector is, split across 328,670 outlets according to MCA Insight, leaving small business owners needing a recognisable brand to fall back on. Convenient formats of branded offers that require time or skill to prepare are sought after, adds Nomadic’s Price. “We make some things even a very foodie operator can’t, because they don’t have the time or the particular skills, and there is also deskilling going on in some areas of foodservice, so some of our more convenient products work really well for higher volume operators. Niche products like our lassi are really difficult to make well consistently, for example. Something like our bircher muesli would be fairly easy to make, but for high volume operators it makes more sense to buy it in from us in a convenient format.”Return on investment for brands that make a success of foodservice can be lucrative too. “Foodservice is normally a more premiumised occasion so there’s opportunity for brand holders to premiumise their offer and its return,” adds Mike Faers, CEO of Good Sense Research. Margins are better too, believes Simon Peacock, director at Catalyst Corporate Finance. “Get it right on innovation and you can get margins of 30% supplying into it. These are not public companies and they do not have to produce numbers every quarter and keep shareholders happy.” If they can strike the right relationship with foodservice business owners, brands can even wrestle back some power on the look and feel of the brand for consumers too, adds CCEP GB marketing director Simon Harrison. “We work on the principle of following the ‘shopper’ – so the start point is identifying the environment where the consumer is most likely to encounter our brand for the first time and then ensure we build distribution where those customers are first. “For some brands that could be the supermarket or c-store but for other brands it could be the pub, restaurant or workplace. The advantage of selling a new brand in a foodservice environment is that if you work closely with the operator you can jointly agree how the product is served and therefore how the consumer first experiences your brand.”Venturing into foodservice comes with plenty of challenges, though. Not least, that eating out is a relative luxury, one consumers can quickly cut – a trend that has already kicked since the Brexit vote. “Pre-May 2016 we were forecasting 3.1% growth but post-referendum consumer confidence has plummeted and that negativity has a real impact on the foodservice market,” says MCA’s Stenning. Brands may also find the opportunities within foodservice do little to promote their identity to customers. “Growth for retail brands to develop in foodservice is not necessarily around branded products but solutions to support foodservice,” adds Stenning. Unilever Food Solutions is one example, with the platform selling 16 of its household brands in dedicated formats into foodservice, alongside tailored promotions, reward programs, and insight for chefs.“There are a lot of small niches that can be secured with persistence. The challenge is to find the right niche for your brand”Brands do face erosion, agrees Providence Deli MD Adam Bass, which plans to target foodservice with its new dippers and pretzels product. “Nearly every brand owner in foodservice will want to make your product appear under their brand so, unless you have something unique they can’t duplicate, then you’re probably going to see your brand erode at some point.“It’s a more complicated, fragmented market but there are a lot of small niches that can be secured with persistence. The real challenge is to find the right niche for your brand. It may be that, to begin with, pricing is reduced as a way of delivering exposure.”Ultimately brands will have to fight hard to win over the competitive foodservice market, warns Peacock. “Targeting foodservice over supermarkets is not an easy win,” he says. “It is hard, with much less shelf space and more impulse buying. It is actually more ruthless than in the grocers where you get the shelf space and if you help them manage the category you are in a good place.“You have to be quick and innovative. Your brand has to be in different size formats and in different packaging. It is a great place to be and there are lots of opportunities and lots of growth but to stay in there you have to be very forward thinking.”10 brands breaking into foodservice ArlaLast month brand owner Arla launched Arla Pro, a brand new foodservice division that it hopes will generate £100m in sales within the next three years. Bringing together the likes of Lurpak, Anchor and Castello, the initiative follows months of testing the functionality and performance of some of its best known brands in busy foodservice kitchens in partnership with the Craft Guild of Chefs. Cawston PressIn April premium soft drinks brand Cawston rolled out its sparkling range across all 110 UK Eat restaurants. Its Sparkling Apple and Sparkling Ginger Beer SKUs will now sit alongside a range of sandwiches, smoothies and breakfast items – the vast majority of which sit under its own brand. The move was “a major leap from retail to restaurants” sas new MD Steve Kearns. FentimansFentimans is defying the slowdown of the traditional soft drinks sector on many fronts, exporting its nostalgic range to 60+ global markets and growing UK retail sales too. But it has also made a concerted push into foodservice with the launch of a seven-strong range of premium mixers for the off-trade in 2016, and has a growing presence in numerous cafés, bars and restaurants worldwide.Little MoonsJapanese ice cream brand Little Moons forged a lucrative partnership in February, joining forces with sushi kiosk brand Sushi Daily to supply 500 of its outlets in the UK. Products will be co-branded, and feature two special edition flavours developed exclusively for foodservice. And Little Moons will gain a foothold in retail at the same time, with Sushi Daily the brand behind Waitrose sushi counters. NomadicAlready available across the big four and a plethora of convenience retailers, craft yoghurt maker Nomadic is now looking to extend its market share in foodservice too. It plans to target everyone from universities, to caterers, to venues, airlines, and coffee shop chains. And only three months ago it created a brand new dedicated foodservice role within the business to lead the charge. PieministerManufacturer Pieminister capitalised further on its unique position as a direct-to-consumer brand in 2016, adding to its own estate of branded UK restaurants and cafés to bring the total to 12, while strengthening its ties in other areas of foodservice. Its Moo, Moo & Blue and Free Ranger pies are now available to students at branded university outlets on campuses, while 20-plus pubs stock the range.Pipers CrispsPremium crisp maker Pipers continues to eschew the supermarkets to build a keen following in the foodservice and leisure sectors. Though packs can be picked up in some independent retailers, the brand focuses its efforts on delicatessens, food-to-go outlets, restaurants, cafés, coffee shops and bars, with dedicated marketing materials for these outlets, from clip-strips to stands.Providence DeliProducing premium pestos, harissa pastes, and mayos sold in the mults, Providence Deli is now looking to venture into foodservice with its new chilled dippers. After exhibiting at trade fairs it says it “has had interest from a number of foodservice channels” already and feels the sector “offers broader distribution channels and greater opportunities for impulse purchase” says MD Adam Bass. Schweppes As part of its plan to take on premium mixer rival Fever-Tree, Schweppes launched its slick 1783 range in October. And though much of the six-strong range will be sold in retail, its Golden Ginger Ale SKU will be rolled out exclusively to the on-trade in a 200ml format. Its posh new look will also be backed by a £6.6m marketing effort including TV sponsorship, cinema, experiential, OOH and digital. SunmagicAlready supplying foodservice with concentrates and juices, Sunmagic targeted the sector again with the August launch of freshly squeezed juice brand The Village Press. Via wholesale the brand is now reaching a diverse set of outlets, from independent sandwich bars to big casual dining chains like Carluccio and Pizza Express, and expects annual sales to reach £4m.Making your own mark in foodservice?There’s still time to enter the Chefs’ Choice Awards 2018. Launched in 2017 the awards recognise the high calibre of foodservice suppliers across the sector, including product manufacturers, wholesalers and own-label or branded suppliers. There are 27 category awards up for grabs spanning cheese and dairy, free from, meat, vegetarian, desserts, cakes and biscuits.The rigorous judging process is conducted by Food Innovation Solutions and Good Sense Research and includes preparation of products in a professional kitchen using chefs based on serving suggestions. A specially selected panel of nutritionists, food technologists and development chefs then judge participants on their innovation, innovation, value and creativity.Winners, finalists and those highly rated will be able to display the Chefs’ Choice logo on their products free of charge as an official endorsement of their quality, taste, nutrition and value, as well as providing a platform to promote innovation and credentials.Entries for the Chefs’ Choice Awards are open until Monday 20 November. Those interested in participating can enter via chefschoiceawards.co.uk. Entrants pay a fee of £475 + VAT. The award ceremony will take place on Tuesday 27 February 2018 at London’s Haymarket Hotel and individual tickets for the event cost £80. If supermarkets are the wizened generals ordering attacks amid a bloody price war, brands are the unlucky privates caught in the crossfire. Household names have disappeared from supermarkets overnight. Furious spats over costs have spilled into the public arena. No-one is safe. A survey of Britain’s Biggest Brands showed prices were brutally slashed for 49% of these mega power players in 2016, while two-thirds (62%) lost value, as growth at the big four continued to stall. But far from accepting defeat, some have sought a battlefield where the odds look more favourable. Worth an estimated £87.9bn, according to MCA Insight, the sprawling foodservice market – encompassing everything from school dinners, to in-flight meals, sandwiches on the go and high street coffee – is holding an increasing allure for suppliers that once lavished all their attentions on the supermarkets. Only last month the new ‘distinguished’ Schweppes 1783 range rolled out SKUs exclusively into the on-trade. It followed the launch by brand owner Coca-Cola European Partners of Honest Tea into Caffè Nero and other foodservice outlets in 2016, an acknowledgement of the power and reach high street coffee outlets. A fortnight later Arla Foods announced the launch of its new foodservice division, bringing together the likes of Lurpak, Anchor and Castello alongside a new targeted back-of-house range, which will go live in 2018. And there are countless more examples, from Pieminister’s move into UK university canteens to Cawston Press launching in EAT restaurants.last_img read more

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First Lady Highlights Wolf Administration Commitment to Investing in Public Education During Visit to S.S. Palmer Elementary School

first_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitter Education,  First Lady Frances Wolf,  Press Release,  Schools That Teach Palmerton, PA – First Lady Frances Wolf today visited S.S. Palmer Elementary School in the Palmerton Area School District where she met with students and teachers, toured classrooms, and read to third-graders. During her visit, she emphasized Governor Wolf’s commitment to increasing funding for public education at all levels, from Pre-K to higher education.As part of a writing assignment last September, students from the third-grade “inclusion” class at S.S. Palmer wrote personal letters to Governor Wolf inviting him and the First Lady to visit the school and read to students.“I was delighted to meet with such talented and bright young people at S.S. Palmer Elementary School today,” said the First Lady. “We owe it to these students, and all students in Pennsylvania, to ensure we are giving them the resources they need to succeed. That is why investing in education from preschool through higher education has been a top priority for this administration since day one.”Governor Wolf’s recently-announced 2018-19 budget proposal for education includes:$100 million increase in Basic Education;$40 million increase in Pre-K Counts and Head Start;$20 million increase for Special Education;$15 million increase for the State System of Higher Education; and$10 million for Career and Technical EducationSince taking office, Governor Wolf has made modernizing and improving Pennsylvania’s education system a priority, and under his leadership, Pennsylvania has seen real results, including:Fully restoring the one-billion-dollar education cut made in the previous administration that led to teacher layoffs, larger class sizes, and program cuts.Enacting a fair funding formula that provides equitable, fair funding for all school districts.Increasing the number of children able to attend pre-kindergarten by nearly 50 percent.Increasing high school graduation rate to 86.1 percent, placing Pennsylvania above the national average.Establishing standards for computer science education in all Pennsylvania schools, joining fewer than a dozen states to endorse such standards.Increasing the number of career and technical education (CTE) students earning industry-recognized credentials by 32.2 percent and increased the number of credentials earned by students enrolled in CTE programs by 28.4 percent.Advancing Pennsylvania to third in the nation in the number of nationally-recognized STEM ecosystems and made the commonwealth the fifth largest producer of STEM graduates.Expanding enrollment in AP courses by 10 percent.Reducing the length of PSSA tests by 20 percent, condensed the exam timeframe from three weeks to two weeks and shifted it to later in the school year for students in grades three through eight. February 21, 2018center_img First Lady Highlights Wolf Administration Commitment to Investing in Public Education During Visit to S.S. Palmer Elementary Schoollast_img read more

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