The Ocean City High SchoolThe Ocean City School District is starting to prepare its budget for the next school year.The administration on Wednesday reported to the Board of Education on requests for new classes and programs.The following new initiatives include costs for equipment, supplies or training:Elective Class in Video Game Design: $1,800Elective Class in Sports Medicine: $1,500Advance Placement Environmental Science: $7,000 (including $6,100 for books)Honors American Sign Language III (only I and II exist now): $3,000Progressive Science Initiative: $2,700New Spanish Textbooks: $11,500New K-3 Reading and Writing Series: $10,000District-Wide Technology Upgrades (including wireless routers in every classroom, message archiver, replacement of teacher computers, etc.): $217,500The $10,000 for the K-3 reading and writing series and $152,500 of the technology budget will be requests for new funding. All other expenses fall within last year’s budget numbers.One central component of the new Progressive Science Initiative is a new sequence for science courses — with students taking algebra-based physics as freshmen, chemistry as sophomores, biology as juniors, and Advanced Placement physics, chemistry or biology as seniors.“Physics is the foundation of all the sciences,” Mikenzie Helphenstine, the district’s curriculum director, told the board on Wednesday.And she said it’s applied in the other science classes (even biology) in ways that it never was for older generations.***At the same meeting, the board accepted the Comprehensive Annual Finance Report (CAFR) and Auditor’s Management Report (AMR) from independent auditor Ford-Scott & Associates.The CAFR included no findings.“I’m very impressed with how well this district is run financially,” Bob Swartz of Ford-Scott said.The AMR included five minor findings that Swartz characterized as “nothing of any great concern and easily fixed.” The corresponding recommendations were related to procedures in payroll and reporting.Swartz noted the district’s relatively low level of debt and its excess in surplus funds.
Since officially breaking onto the scene a little over two years ago with his debut album Soul Insight, guitarist Marcus King has become highly regarded as the heir apparent to the southern blues and rock throne. With the endorsement and support of veteran axe men like Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes (both artists appear on 2016’s The Marcus King Band, and the latter produced every track), King’s ascension through the ranks of the live music community has been swift. The young guitarist plays with maturity well beyond his years and a keen sense for showmanship that simply can’t be taught. With a well-oiled and polished machine backing him, The Marcus King Band will be making their way to Boulder, CO’s The Fox Theatre for a special Dead & Company pre-party on Thursday, June 8th, with Tom Hamilton’s American Babies rounding out the bill (purchase tix here).The Marcus King Band Reintroduce Themselves With Stellar Self-Titled Second Album [Review/Stream]While Soul Insight gave the masses their first taste of Marcus’ abilities, The Marcus King Band’s self-titled 2016 album (the first with their current lineup) serves as a bold mission statement for the band. King’s natural ability to take deeply personal experiences from his own life and put them out into the universe in song form is on display throughout the LP. Take a listen to tracks like “Devil’s Land” and “Guitar In My Hands” and you will quickly realize the vivid storytelling abilities of this young musician. Backed by Jack Ryan on drums and percussion, Stephen Campbell on bass, Matt Jennings on keys and organ, Dean Mitchell on saxophone, and Justin Johnson on trumpet, trombone and backing vocals, The Marcus King Band is truly a force to be reckoned with, and for many years to come at that.Joe Russo’s Almost Dead guitarist Tom Hamilton could very easily be described as one of the hardest working musicians in the scene today. With Almost Dead taking on a life of its own since its initial inception, Hamilton’s own American Babies is the project that allows the former Brothers Past lead man to showcase his own uniquely creative songwriting side. The group’s latest album, An Epic Battle Between Light and Dark, sees Hamilton backed by Justin Mazer (guitar), Al Smith (drums), Raina Mullen (acoustic guitar, vocals), and Mark Sosnoskie (bass), and taking on everything from Americana, to prog-rock, to indie-rock (think The War on Drugs). The band sounds tight and cohesive, and the material feels primed to breathe and take on new life onstage.Tickets for the show are $10 in advance, currently on-sale and can be purchased via the venue website. For show updates and additional information, join the Facebook Event page. You can also check out the other Dead & Company pre-shows and post-shows presented by Boulder Theatre and Fox Theatre here, which will also see performances by Easy Star All-Stars (performing Radiodread), White Denim, Circles Around The Sun, Shakedown Street, Boombox, Dopapod, and Hudson (featuring Jack DeJohnette, Larry Grenadier, John Medeski, and John Scofield).[cover photo courtesy of Emily Butler Photography]
In March, Google will begin formally enforcing a new set of rules for ticket resale sites—both independent broker sites and well-known and largescale marketplaces like StubHub—and how they’re advertised on the company’s web-search platform. Given the high volume of complaints from both venues and promoters, Google’s new rules for ticket scalpers, as detailed by Billboard, will require that sites “complete a certification program and agree to a number of transparency requirements about how tickets are procured, priced and marketed to boost their search engine results through paid advertising and keyword buying on AdWords.”Google is also banning a number of deceptive practices used to manipulate consumers into believing that scalping sites are the legitimate primary ticket sellers, rather than secondary markets. For example, scalping sites that have purchased deceptive URLs like RogerWatersTickets.com will no longer be allowed, and all scalping sites must clearly explain at the top of their website that they are a secondary market. The sites will also no longer be able to use words like “official” or “box office” in their advertising.The group is also taking on the common practice of ticket resale sites marking up the price of tickets without consumers being aware. As such, resellers must prominently display when ticket prices are higher than face value. In reaction to this, larger ticket marketplaces like StubHub have added disclosures stating “prices may be higher or lower than face value” at the top of their sites. Google is also requiring that a price breakdown—including taxes and additional fees and a comparison to the face value of the ticket—be present during checkout and before the customer provides any payment information.To ensure that secondary markets are following these new rules, companies must submit an application showing compliance and get an official Google certification, which takes around a week, as noted by Billboard. However, in the fall, Patrick Ryan with Eventellect, a ticket pricing and distribution company, told Amplify, why disclosure of face value might ultimately be difficult for Google to monitor accurately:It will likely be impossible for Google to sell keywords to resale sites if they remain strict about the disclosure of face value. … It’s just impossible to properly define face value because some tickets resold were bought at a lower season ticket price, some at a single event price, and some at an inflated premium price.Regardless, these new rules have been widely praised since their announcement last year, with Ryan noting that the enforcement of these new policies “could be the biggest news in ticketing.” As David Graff, Google’s Senior Director for Trust & Safety and Global Product Policy noted in a blog post in early February, “Transparency, trust and safety for our users will always be top priorities for Google. We remain dedicated to ensuring that the ads our users see are helpful, relevant and trustworthy.”While these rules mark a step in the right direction, we’d like to respectfully remind all of our readers of the existence of CashorTrade.org, a website dedicated to “embracing the face” when purchasing or trading for tickets.
If predictions of increasing Amazonian drought come true, the vast rain forest will be replaced by trees adapted to seasonal dryness in some places, while in others the land will be taken over by a mix of trees and grasses that will make up a savannah.That was the message from South American botanist Guillermo Goldstein, a professor at the University of Buenos Aires and the Robert F. Kennedy Visiting Professor in Latin American Studies at Harvard. Goldstein, who has spent his career studying the plants and ecosystems of South and Central America, delivered the Robert F. Kennedy Lecture at the Center for Government and International Studies on March 22. The talk, called “From the Amazon to Patagonia: An Ecological Journey through Latin American Ecosystems Facing Human Intervention and Climate Change,” was sponsored by the Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies.Goldstein’s remarks touched on a wide range of South American ecosystems, including the Amazon rain forest; the endangered Atlantic tropical forest; the cerrado, or savannah; high-elevation tropical ecosystems; montane cloud forests; coastal mangroves; grasslands; and the Patagonian desert.Many of those ecosystems are under some kind of threat, from climate change, invasive species, or development and land use change brought on by humans. Global computer models of climate change see increasing drought in the Amazon. If those models are true, Goldstein said, changes will largely be dependent on the level of nutrients in the underlying soil. Trees adapted to seasonal droughts will grow on rich soils, while nutrient-poor soils will convert into savannah.Another threat to the rain forest is slash-and-burn agriculture. Though the forest can reclaim abandoned plots, it can take decades to restore the soil nutrients used by agriculture.Even more endangered are the Atlantic tropical forests, which lie along the continent’s coast. Those forests have been heavily fragmented and cleared, Goldstein said, now covering just 5 percent of the land they did 100 years ago. Restoration of these forests is inhibited by the growth of bamboo grass, which keeps trees from re-establishing themselves on areas that have been logged and abandoned.Savannahs are marked by a mix of grasses and trees, though the proportion of each varies from place to place. Fire is a factor in maintaining the ecosystem. In some places, farmers are replacing savannah with soybean farms and cattle ranches. One potential problem is that as trees are cut down, the ability of roots to pull water and nutrients from deep in the earth is lost, meaning soil may have to be fertilized artificially.Mangrove ecosystems, which grow along the coast, are threatened by coastal development and logging.Goldstein said the region’s political transition to democracy in recent decades has led to economic growth. While that has been beneficial to society, it has increased pressure on the ecosystems. He said that more knowledge is needed to inform management decisions. Some ecosystems, for example, won’t readily grow back if disturbed for agriculture. Others, like the forests inhibited by bamboo grass, need help through actions, in this case, clearing the grass.“I hope our Latin American countries can continue improving their economies, closing the gap between rich and poor, developing more egalitarian societies with equal access to education, health services … while at the same time preserving natural resources and the environment for future generations,” Goldstein said.
I spend a lot time in the air traveling to customer meetings around the globe. I hear first-hand about their frustrations and challenges in getting started with IT transformation. They are beyond the point of questioning the need to transform; they are asking, “How do I get started?” And I repeatedly hear a common story around the headwinds they face. So as I contemplated at 30,000 feet what I had just heard from customers, I found myself comparing their headwinds with the headwinds my flight encountered.Headwinds don’t have the power to stop you dead in your tracks; you power through or navigate around them and eventually make it to your destination, albeit a bit delayed and with some bumps along the way. Here are the top three headwinds I encounter.Headwind #1: RESISTANCECIOs often face stiff resistance from their engineering organization when moving from a developer of IT services to a broker of services. Many feel threatened and believe they could develop better apps in-house. My response to CIOs: “Yes, perhaps they could. But what if…” And I paint a vision of reduced costs and increased agility. My advice is to take a fact-based approach, look at the real costs and benefits of IT transformation objectively, and then deal with any resistance.I’ve found that once you share that vision with developers – specifically, what’s in it for them – they come around. If you are willing to help them build their own next-gen skills, they get excited about their role in the future state.Headwind #2: INERTIAWhen EMC loses a transformation deal, it’s typically not to the competition. It’s to “doing nothing.” CIOs are often overwhelmed with the enormity of transformation. Among the many challenges to sort through is how to make any progress while all resources are tied up in “keeping the lights on.” They don’t know where or how to start.A good first step is to gain consensus on desired business outcomes, followed by creating an IT roadmap of achievable building blocks. Prioritize these and identify an initial quick win that can demonstrate the value and show early momentum. With each step toward building an IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) model, you free up more time and money — resources that can be redeployed to your transformative efforts. In our experience, moving to an ITaaS model has saved companies 20 to 25 percent over legacy IT costs, and has substantially increased their agility to meet their business demands.Headwind #3: MISALIGNMENTThe IT department has an identity issue to overcome, and some of it is fueled by the IT team itself. They often engage in technical conversations with their business partners when they should be engaging in business conversations. The IT leaders and business leaders are often flying on different levels. My advice to IT: change your altitude! Think business outcomes first; then think about how IT can help. Understand what’s important to your business and what digital-age opportunities you can bring to the forefront.Agreeing upfront on what “good” looks like for your specific business and what business applications will be required to power success takes a lot of turbulence out of transformation. Decisions (like, which apps to replatform or retire, which to move to the cloud, and which to develop yourself or broker from a third party) will be easier to make with an aligned vision. For those who need help gaining alignment or getting started, EMC offers the IT Transformation Workshop (ITTW), facilitated by our subject matter experts; customers have told us the third-party facilitation has made a huge difference.Reverse the Headwinds!I hope this has given you some ideas on how to navigate the headwinds of IT change. And if you need extra help getting started, we’d love to conduct an ITTW with you. Part of the workshop is assessing your organization’s IT maturity level and providing you peer comparisons; this may help you get the attention of your business partners, as well.To learn more, check out these 15-minute video interviews on IT transformation from theCUBE’s coverage of EMC World 2015:Me & Mike von Slomski, IT Senior Director at Markel (insurance industry customer)Tom Roloff & Paul Conway, EMC Global ServicesHere’s to turning your headwinds into tailwinds that accelerate your IT transformation! Please share your experience in getting started and how we could help.
By Sharon OmahenUniversity of GeorgiaWhen the holiday guests depart, make sure the leftovers from theholiday feast safely do the same.”Four days is the rule-of-thumb when it comes to leftovers,” saidMichael Doyle, a food microbiologist with the University ofGeorgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.”After that, you should eat them, toss them or freeze them.”Doyle, director of the UGA Center for Food Safety in Griffin,Ga., is a world-renowned expert in foodborne pathogens. CFSresearchers work to develop methods to detect and control harmfulmicrobes in the U.S. food supply. Two-hour limitTo keep foodborne illness away from your holiday parties, Doylerecommends refrigerating or freezing holiday meals two hoursafter serving.”It’s great to spend time with family members after a holidaydinner,” he said. “Just take the time to put away food dishesfirst.”Whether you’re making leftover ham or turkey dishes, be sure toreheat leftovers to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit, Doyle said. Cooking, storing temperatures key”Temperatures are critical when it comes to keeping food safelystored and cooking food,” he said. “Refrigeration is so critical,and many home refrigerators are way out of the safe zone of 41 F.A refrigerator set at 50 F is what we microbiologists call anincubator. That’s where we grow bacteria for research.”Doyle says home freezers should be set at zero degrees orbelow.”Setting the refrigerator a little higher is no way to savemoney,” he said. “Your family’s health isn’t worth the energysavings.”
US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has published a proposed rule that could save US businesses more than $23 million over the next 10 years by establishing an advance registration process for US employers seeking to file H-1B petitions for foreign workers in specialty occupations. The proposed electronic system would minimize administrative burdens and expenses related to the H-1B petition process’including reducing the need for employers to submit petitions for which visas would not be available under the statutory visa cap. Vermont has made much use of the H-1B program, especially in the travel and tourism sector.USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas today announced the opening of a 60-day comment period that will allow businesses and the general public to provide input on the proposed system in order to ensure it best meets the needs of employers that rely on H-1B visas to bring in foreign workers for specialty occupations.‘The proposed rule would create a more efficient and cost-effective process for businesses interested in bringing workers in specialty occupations to the United States,’ he said. ‘Improving the H-1B petition process is part of USCIS’s ongoing efforts to leverage new ideas and innovation to streamline our operations and enhance customer service.’Under the proposed rule, employers seeking to petition for H-1B workers subject to the statutory cap would register electronically with USCIS’a process that would take an estimated 30 minutes to complete. Before the petition filing period begins, USCIS would select the number of registrations predicted to exhaust all available visas. Employers would then file petitions only for the selected registrations. The registration system would save employers the effort and expense of filing H-1B petitions, as well as Labor Condition Applications, for workers who would be unable to obtain visas under the statutory cap.The proposed rule, which posted to the Federal Register today for public viewing, contains complete details about the registration system and estimated cost savings. USCIS encourages formal comments on the proposed rule through www.regulations.gov(link is external). The comment period runs for 60 days, beginning March 3, 2011, and ending on May 2, 2011.For more information on the proposed H-1B rule, please see the USCIS Fact Sheet. For more information on USCIS and its programs, visit www.uscis.gov(link is external).
Casella Waste Systems Inc,Casella Waste Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CWST), based in Rutland, VT, a regional solid waste, recycling and resource management services company, announced today that it intends to convert the interest rate period on, and remarket, $21.4 million aggregate principal amount of Finance Authority of Maine Solid Waste Disposal Revenue Bonds (Casella Waste Systems, Inc. Project) Series 2005 (the “Bonds”). The Bonds were originally issued on December 28, 2005 and have a final maturity of January 1, 2025.Following a mandatory tender for $21.4 million of the $25.0 million aggregate principal amount of Bonds currently outstanding, and the satisfaction of certain conditions, the tendered Bonds are expected to be converted from a weekly interest rate period to a 5 year fixed term interest rate period and will include additional covenants and credit support for the benefit of holders of those converted Bonds, including guarantees by certain subsidiaries of Casella. Upon conversion to a 5 year fixed term interest rate period, the converted Bonds will not be secured by a letter of credit. The converted Bonds will be remarketed on February 1, 2012. The remaining $3.6 million of outstanding bonds, the proceeds of which were used to finance assets at Casella’s Maine Energy Recovery Company, will remain in a weekly interest rate period and will remain secured by a letter of credit issued by Bank of America, N.A.The Bonds are being offered only to qualified institutional buyers as defined in Rule 144A under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”).The Bonds have not been and will not be registered under the Securities Act and will be offered and sold pursuant to an applicable exemption from the registration requirements of the Securities Act and other applicable securities laws.This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy the Bonds, nor shall there be any sale of the Bonds in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to the registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such jurisdiction. This notice is being issued pursuant to and in accordance with Rule 135c under the Securities Act.Certain matters discussed in this press release are “forward-looking statements” intended to qualify for the safe harbors from liability established by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements can generally be identified as such by the context of the statements, including words such as “expects,” “will,” “intends,” and other similar expressions. Among the forward-looking statements in this press release are statements regarding the conversion and remarketing of the Bonds. All of these forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and estimates and management’s beliefs and assumptions. Casella cannot guarantee that it will complete the conversion and remarketing will be completed on the terms disclosed in the forward-looking statements or at all. Such forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties, including, among other things, market conditions, potential changes in credit rating and Casella ‘s ability to successfully consummate the remarketing of the Bonds. Casella expressly disclaims any obligation to update such statements to reflect change in its expectations whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required.RUTLAND, VT– Marketwire, January 11, 2012
The dibble bar is a strange little tool, a half-shovel, half-spade hybrid that could pass as a medieval torture implement. But in spite of its weirdness, the dibble is a wonderful tool for planting trees, capable of digging a hole in the soil and sealing a seedling into it in three easy moves: jab, pull, and push.I’m planting trees with a woman I’ve never met from Kingsport, Tenn., on a former surface mine. “Feels weird, doesn’t it?” the woman says.It does. For starters, the chestnut seedlings we’re planting aren’t really a part of our modern-day Appalachian forests. Ever since odd cankers first appeared on trees at the Bronx Zoo in 1904, American chestnuts have been decimated, the victim of a fungal blight from Asia. American Chestnuts can still be found in our woods, but they usually only grow a few feet before dying. Intentionally planting what should be a doomed hardwood seems at first glance like a waste of time and energy.And then there’s the mine itself. To think of a coal mine is to conjure any number of descriptors—desolate, devastated, and poisoned, to quote several recent news articles—that speak to these lands’ environmental liabilities. Old coal mines are places for strip malls and industrial parks, not nature preserves. Why are we there planting trees?Coal companies are supposed to restore mine sites to something resembling the terrain that existed prior to mining, but bankruptcy and legal loopholes often result in abandoned, denuded mine sites. The use of heavy equipment to stabilize former mines creates compacted soils where young forests have difficulty taking root. The removal of topsoil and use of non-native plants as ground cover just exacerbates that issue.Tree shelters housing American Chestnuts and other native hardwoods cover the floor of a former surface mine in Wise County, Virginia.“There’s no mechanism left allowing most reclaimed mines to regrow a native hardwood forest,” says Chris Barton, professor of forest hydrology and watershed management at the University of Kentucky.That’s where our volunteer planting group factors in. Our planting has been arranged by the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative, a group established in 2004 to not only aid in reforestation efforts but to link the expertise of scientists like Barton and colleagues to industry and community partners. “Here’s an issue that is very polar,” Barton says of surface mining, “but you can get both sides to come together and work side-by-side.”The Initiative has planted over two million trees on more than 3,000 acres since 2009. In addition, Barton says that industry groups are now using the same approach to jumpstart forest restoration on their own mines. The Initiative hopes to have 100,000 new acres reforested in the next ten years—a goal that includes planting over 60 million trees.That work includes the ridgetop mine where we’ve gathered on that winter morning. Our volunteer group is just one step in the reforestation process, which involved removing invasive plants and prepping the soil well before we arrived. But this particular mine has an added wrinkle: among the trees we’re planting are those American Chestnuts, a new generation of trees selectively bred by the American Chestnut Foundation to be resistant to the fungus that all but killed off the species. If they’re successful, the trees will be among the first in a century to grow to maturity in the Appalachian woods.It’s not an overstatement to say that using the region’s most looming environmental liability to resurrect a forest is packed with symbolism—something that comes up frequently as my planting partner and I figure out how to use the dibble bar. Her father used to talk about chestnuts, she says, but she’s never really seen them up close until now. Over the course of the morning, we develop a rhythm: open up a pit in the soil, cradle a chestnut into it, and then seal it beneath the surface of the mine. “This feels like I’m giving something back,” she says.Much has been made in recent years of the divisions Appalachia exemplifies: a rift between rural and urban cultures, the battle for the survival of the coal industry, contrasting reds and blues on electoral maps. But those contrasts don’t change the fact that our mountains are home to 1.5 million acres of former mines like the one where we’ve gathered that Saturday morning—an area nearly three times the size of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As Barton and colleagues are showing, rehabilitating that landscape might be the one uniting factor in a part of the country that’s often defined by its differences.During the planting, for example, there are about as many industry supporters present as there are members of environmental groups. But nobody asks me where I’m from or how I vote. I never even get my planting partner’s full name, and there are no contentious arguments about environmental policy or the future of the Appalachian economy. Should there be? Absolutely; some of our best solutions can grow out of conflict. But our most important lessons about what it takes to move the mountains forward can be found in something as simple as spending a day on an old coal mine getting to know someone we’ve never met, learning how to plant a tree.
One of the most effective starting points for organizational change is creating a new branch business model and prototype. The reason it is so effective is that it requires engaging all elements of your organization.Most staff work in the abstract world of information technologies, financial products, regulations, forms, processes and metrics. Creating a branch is building something tangible together that can be experienced in a uniquely visceral way. The process of creating a new branch model creates a common language and set of physical brand goals that all involved touch and experience together. The process breaks down silos and forces all sectors to cooperate toward a tangible mutual goal.Branch transformation of the sort that can support organizational transformation includes seven key considerations:Branch audits – Most branch networks are composed of a variety of legacy, acquired, freestanding, in-line, in-store branches and offices built and remodeled at different times over the past 30 years. They do not provide a standard operating model, consistent experience for customers and staff or a strong brand image. Auditing all branches provides foundational information about image, size, condition and opportunities. continue reading » 10SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr