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September Quick Hits: News from the Blue Ridge and Beyond

first_imgOutdoor Expo in the Mountains – Abingdon, VirginiaNeed a primer on all of the outdoor action in the Southwest Virginia Mountains? The Southwest Virginia Outdoor Expo is taking place on September 13-14 at Heartwood, a cultural center and artisan gallery in Abingdon. On the first day, local outdoor clubs and organizations will share information on the region’s best recreation spots for hiking, biking, paddling, and climbing. The expo will offer a chance to grab beta on favorite spots in the area, including the Mount Rogers Recreation Area, High Knob Recreation Area, the New and Clinch Rivers and the Appalachian Trail. Day two includes the opportunity for guided trips.Scenic Trail Honors for North Carolina and TennesseeWell-respected mountain biking website recently polled its readers on the Top 5 Scenic Mountain Bike Trails in the Eastern USA, and the South was well represented on the recently unveiled list. Tennessee’s Raccoon Mountain, a fat-tire favorite for riders in Chattanooga, was ranked second, just ahead of North Carolina’s Dupont State Forest. The classic route at Tsali, also in western North Carolina, came in at number five. The most votes for top-ranked ride in the East went to the Piedmont Trail in Duluth, Minnesota. Last time we checked, Duluth was a few clicks away from the Atlantic, but hey, the people have spoken.Follow the A.T. Bricks – Damascus, Va.Damascus, Va., is known as Trail Town U.S.A. for a reason. The Appalachian Trail runs right through its small downtown. Officials in Damascus have decided to mark the trail’s route with commemorative bricks, which will replace sidewalks that currently hold a small portion of the famous footpath. To give A.T. enthusiasts a piece of trail lore and raise funds for both Damascus revitalization and trail upkeep, donors can purchase a limited number of bricks that will be engraved with names and dedications. In total, 2,180 bricks will be sold (to mark each trail mile) and proceeds will be split between the town, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and the Mount Rogers Appalachian Trail Club. Bricks can be purchased at to Build Third Solar Farm in North Carolina – Claremont, N.C.In July, Apple announced plans to build a new solar farm in North Carolina, after the city of Claremont approved an agreement to annex land for the 100-acre, 17.5-megawatt operation. The farm will be used to power Apple’s data center in Maiden, N.C., and the project will create 75 jobs that the tech company has agreed to source locally, if possible. If all goes according to plan and the farm is completed in a projected five years, it would become Apple’s third solar farm in the state—all in Catawba County. One is already located at the Maiden facility, and last year the company also obtained rights to build a 20-megawatt farm in Conover.New Record at Hardrock – Silverton, ColoradoIn July, a new speed record was set at the infamous Hardrock Endurance Run. Ultrarunner Kilian Jornet completed the rugged 100.5-mile course that winds through Colorado’s San Juan Mountain range in an impressive 22:41:35. The time bested Kyle Skaggs’ previous course record (23:23) that was set in 2008. Hardrock is a relentless slog through the Rockies, featuring a total elevation change of 67,984 feet as it travels through some of the state’s most remote backcountry. The Hardrock record marks another impressive feat for Jornet, an endurance mountaineer currently in the midst of his “Summits of My Life” project—an effort to set speed records on some of the world’s most notable peaks.Tube to Work – Boulder, Colo.Creative commuting has reached a new level in Boulder. This summer, the city celebrated the 7th Annual Tube to Work Day, a slowly growing initiative to get locals to head to work via the cold waters of Boulder Creek. Approximately 40 people jointly took the plunge on July 15 and decided they didn’t mind getting a little wet on their way to work. Upon takeout, the alternative commuters were rewarded by the city with a free breakfast. As one participant told the Daily Camera: “It was the most Boulder thing ever.” Indeed.Raining Ping Pong Balls – Blackfoot, IdahoImagine you’re driving along a highway in rural Eastern Idaho, scenic mountain views in the backdrop, when suddenly it starts raining ping pong balls. Fortunately, when this happened in early July, it wasn’t the Plague of Blackfoot. Instead, it was the error of a pilot, who was supposed to drop the balls from a plane on attendees at the Blackfoot Pride Days event, where they could’ve been redeemed for prizes. The pilot released the balls a little early and a nearby interstate received an unexpected plastic shower.last_img read more

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Best (brand) day of my life

first_img 14SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Mark Arnold Mark Arnold is an acclaimed speaker, brand expert and strategic planner helping businesses such as credit unions and banks achieve their goals with strategic marketing insights and energized training. Mark … Web: Details In 2012, the rock band American Authors released the hit song Best Day of My Life. A catchy tune with fun lyrics, the song popped up in television commercials, movie trailers, video games and even as a Maltese election anthem (yes, Malta does more than falcons and cute dogs!).  The song starts off with the following:I had a dream so big and loudI jumped so high I touched the clouds… and goes on to point out this is gonna be the best day of my life.How great would it be if we approached taking care of our credit union brand with this kind of positivity? That every day, regardless of challenges you might be facing, you’re going to contribute to the best brand day of your life?If you haven’t already read the book Fish: A Proven Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results, grab a copy. While not a terribly long read, the book does present a series of compelling inspirational messages when it comes to our work lives. Set against the backdrop of Seattle’s world-famous Pike Place Fish Market, the book details the learning relationship between an area bank executive and her friend, a fishmonger at the market. The bank executive is downtrodden, crushed by a combination of personal setbacks and a depressing, dreary and altogether unpleasant work environment.Lonnie, the fish market character, shares the following message: “We can bring a moody attitude and have a depressing day [to work]. We can bring a grouchy attitude and irritate our coworkers and customers. Or we can bring a sunny, playful, cheerful attitude and have a great day. We can choose the kind of we will have. … In fact, we get so excited about our choices that we also chose to be world-famous.”How cool is that? Even if your job is slinging smelly, slimy fish all day in front of tourists, if you do it with the right attitude, you can create a place (and build a brand culture) which consumers will come to call “world-famous,” all on their own.The lyrics in the song and the message from the book plug directly into your credit union brand. The brand enables your credit union to grow and establish its own unique identity in the crowded financial services marketplace (plugging this into the example above, the Pike Place market is just one of scores of fish markets in the greater Seattle area — but it’s the one people think about and talk about more than any other). For it to work, however, every employee must be fully devoted to not just living but loving the brand. This takes energy, training and, above all, commitment.Think about it in terms of time. Odds are, you spend eight to ten hours a day (and perhaps more) working. It just makes sense that you work in and contribute to an environment in which you are happy. Compellingly, a recent study indicates people that report being happy at work are more satisfied with their jobs, perform better than their peers and are physically healthier. Embracing your credit union brand like every day is the best brand day of your life can make this happen for you.I’m not going to mislead you and say this is going to be easy. We all have bad days, challenging situations and difficult seasons in life. However, by approaching every day like it’s going to be the best brand day of your life and working with a positive brand attitude that makes your credit union look, sound and feel world-famous, you can better bridge those dark waters. I’m a frequent Chick-fil-A customer and love their food and brand culture. I’m willing to bet not every employee was having a great day when he or she said “my pleasure” in response to something from me. But they say it. Every day, every time. That’s building a positive and memorable brand around which employees can unite and consumers can relate. Again, the same formula for branding success in this example also applies to your credit union. Living and loving the brand means we live up to what it calls upon us to do, every day, regardless of the situation. Not always easy, but definitely worth the time and effort, both personally and professionally.Dare to have a brand day that “is so big and loud you jump so high and touch the clouds.” No matter what your position at the credit union, live your brand every day like it’s world-famous. Dig deep to rally your coworkers and members around your brand elements. And most importantly, bring love to what you do. You’ll be surprised how positively your fellow employees and members respond to this kind of awesome and catchy positivity. Go ahead — have the best brand day of your life (and if you need a little help, cue Best Day of My Life when you’re headed to work). last_img read more

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How Elements Financial took on data transformation

first_imgElements Financial, a $1.4 billion credit union based in Indianapolis, is tackling the challenge of data transformation head on. In recent years, Elements has evolved from a single SEG credit union for employees of Eli Lilly and Company to one that serves 90,000+ members throughout Indiana and even nationwide with an increasing focus on digital excellence. Underpinning that effort is a transformational approach to data that will enable Elements to make smarter strategic decisions, shape future product and service offerings and provide a member experience that is both fast and personalized.“Five or six years ago, we really started to think about bringing all of our disparate data into one place,” says Chris Sibila, EVP & chief information officer. “We didn’t begin by building a data warehouse, but we built data repositories, so that we could collect our data from transactions, our core system, mobile and online banking. By taking these steps, we knew where that data was and could use it to run analytics.”At the same time, the digital experiences members were having made a serious impact on expectations. “Our competition out there is not banks,” says Sibila. “It’s Uber, Netflix and Amazon. They’re continuing to refine their data processes and strategies to look even smarter for their customers. That makes doing the same an imperative for us.” continue reading » 6SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

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The travel experience: 3 tips to help your members enjoy their vacations

first_imgSummer is the season for travel. With warm weather comes the feeling of freedom to explore and go new places. Every year brings new ideas for travel experiences. Recently, I have heard about people finding green ways to travel and taking more solo trips. The possibilities are endlessWhatever form it takes, travel is about the experience. Help your members get ready to enjoy their vacation time this year by offering these three tips.   1. Don’t Follow the CrowdWhile crowds can be energizing at times, they may add stress and even spoil your members’ best laid plans. (Just ask anyone visiting Nashville during the April 2019 NFL Draft.) Less-traveled destinations offer the chance for experiences (and pictures) that stand out from the crowd. Your members can spend less time waiting in line and more time having fun and exploring.2. Don’t Get Weighed Down by PackingWhy escape the burdens of daily living only to be brought down by overloaded luggage? Below are some tips to help your members pack for the experience they want. Bring only necessities. Avoid items that are easily lost and expensive to replace, like jewelry.Check the weather forecast so you can pack the right clothing and accessories. If flying, bring a few outfits in a carry-on bag in case your luggage is delayed or lost.Don’t forget converter plugs for international destinations. Bring snacks and a refillable water bottle to save money and time. Be prepared for small emergencies with a travel-sized first aid kit and medicines. Consider the environment when choosing luggage. A backpack could be useful for trips that involve hiking while a wheeled suitcase may not be worth the extra weight for locations without many paved roads.Bringing a reloadable prepaid card like the CUMONEY® Visa TravelMoney® prepaid card by LSC can help budget spending while providing the flexibility to add more funds if needed.3. Planning for FunVacation is the time to have fun and escape rigid schedules and to-do-lists. Good pre-trip planning helps make the trip more relaxing.  When traveling someplace new, taking the time to research the geography and culture is a good way to feel more at ease. Downloading helpful apps, like those that assist with language translations or mobile banking, can help prepare for unexpected adventures. For international travel, remind your members to get their money exchanged before leaving so they’re ready to start having fun as soon as they arrive at their destination.Wherever your members travel this summer, these tips can aid them in having a great experience. With the right planning they can be prepared for a unique adventure all their own. 52SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Naomi Anderson Naomi Anderson is Vice President of Prepaid for LSC. In her current role, her team manages the day to day program support, customer service functions and implementations as well as … Web: Detailslast_img read more

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Rocky Point Woman Killed in Crash

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A 29-year-old woman was killed when the car she was driving crashed into a truck in hometown of Rocky Point on Friday morning.Suffolk County police said Michelle McDonald was driving a Mercedes sedan eastbound on Route 25A when her vehicle collided with a Mack dump truck that was backing out of a driveway at 6 a.m.The victim was taken to John T. Mather Hospital in Port Jefferson, where she was pronounced dead.The truck driver, 43-year-old Brad Parnell of South Setauket, was not injured.Motor Carrier Safety Section officers inspected the truck and impounded the Mercedes.Seventh Squad detectives are continuing the investigation and ask anyone with information on the crash to call them at 631-852-8752.last_img read more

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As of today, seasonal toll prices are valid

first_imgFrom today (Friday, June 15) to September 14, seasonal toll prices are being introduced on motorways operated by Hrvatske autoceste (HAC) and Autocesta Rijeka-Zagreb (ARZ), which bring 10% more expensive tolls.Seasonal toll prices are introduced for IA, I. and from this year and for II. group of vehicles, and on III. and IV. vehicle group does not apply. In the seasonal period, the unit price of toll for vehicles IA, I. and II. groups increases by 10%.The model of seasonal toll prices, which was introduced last year, during the 3 summer months in a period of increased traffic intensity, is one of the accepted measures of financial restructuring of companies in the road sector. “The introduction of seasonal toll prices for certain categories of vehicles stems from the fact that about 40% of the total annual traffic is realized in the summer months, and on some motorways the number of vehicles increases up to three times in summer compared to the rest of the year. Consequently, the costs of maintenance, safety, monitoring and traffic management in the summer months increase significantly.”They point out from Hrvatske autocestelast_img read more

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Letter about the care of dairy cows was misleading

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionAs a dairy farmer for more than 20 years, I’d like to respond to claims made in the Jan. 29 letter to the editor [“Stop abuse of dairy cows, calves”].My most important priority is the health and well-being of my cows. In order to produce milk, cows must be kept comfortable and content. Our barns provide shade and protection from wind, cold, rain and snow – a necessity in the Northeast. Inside, my 200 cows have clean, dry bedding which is replenished at regular intervals, and access to food and water 24 hours a day.Calves are the future of our herd, so it’s crucial to get them off to a healthy start. That includes protecting their fragile immune systems by placing them in clean, dry individual pens, which protect them from older (larger) members of the herd and bad weather. Calves are also bottle-fed in their first few days of life to ensure they are getting adequate nutrition.I’m proud of the work my fellow farmers and I do every day to ensure our communities have access to an affordable, safe, and nutritious milk and other dairy products. I invite you to learn more about dairy farms, dairy farmers and dairy products by visiting or BrockSchaghticokeMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusGov. Andrew Cuomo’s press conference for Sunday, Oct. 18EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsCuomo calls for clarity on administering vaccinelast_img read more

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Top brands accused of using forced Chinese labor

first_imgTop global brands such as Apple, BMW and Sony have been accused of getting supplies from factories using the forced labor, an explosive allegation that could reverberate in boardrooms across the world.The Australian Strategic Policy Institute said the Chinese government has transferred 80,000 or more Uighurs out of camps in Xinjiang and into factories across the country.”Uighurs are working in factories that are in the supply chains of at least 83 well-known global brands in the technology, clothing and automotive sectors,” the think tank said. “Some factories across China are using forced Uighur labor under a state-sponsored labor transfer scheme that is tainting the global supply chain.”The brands, it added, included Adidas, Apple, BMW, Gap, Huawei, Nike, Mercedes-Benz, Puma, Samsung, Sony and Volkswagen.”Companies using forced Uighur labor in their supply chains could find themselves in breach of laws which prohibit the importation of goods made with forced labor or mandate disclosure of forced labor supply chain risks,” the report said.Such firms “should conduct immediate and thorough human rights due diligence on their factory labor in China, including robust and independent social audits and inspections.” ‘Indirect suppliers’ When asked about the report Volkswagen spokesman Nikolas Thorke said: “We are committed to our responsibility in all areas of our business where we hold direct authority.””None of the mentioned supplier companies are currently a direct supplier of Volkswagen,” he added.Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler likewise said none of the companies mentioned were “direct suppliers”.Huawei said it requires all its suppliers to comply with international standards as well as applicable laws, adding it has seen the report and is looking into the matter.BMW said it “cannot comment regarding the content” of the report, but told AFP it does a survey for sustainability standards of direct suppliers in its allocation process.It also poses questions, including those on human rights and working conditions in its purchasing conditions, and direct suppliers are “required to implement our policies with their own suppliers”.Apple referred AFP to an earlier statement, which said the firm was “dedicated to ensuring that everyone in our supply chain is treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.”German sportsgear maker Adidas said it had instructed suppliers last year “not to source products or yarn from the Xinjiang region”.Rival Puma said it was aware of the controversy and had “raised this issue with partners” tasked with monitoring fabric suppliers further down the supply chain. Crackdown China’s foreign ministry slammed the ASPI report as having “no factual basis”, and accused the institute of attempting to “smear China’s efforts to oppose terrorism and fight extremism in Xinjiang.”The Xinjiang measures have “achieved good results” and “all participants undergoing anti-extremism education have graduated and achieved stable employment,” foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijiang said at a regular press briefing.An estimated one million mostly Muslim ethnic minorities have been held in internment camps in Xinjiang.After initially denying their existence, Beijing cast the facilities as “vocational education centers” where “students” learn Mandarin and job skills in an effort to steer them away from religious extremism, terrorism and separatism.Rights groups and witnesses accuse China of forcibly trying to draw Uighurs away from their Islamic customs and integrate them into the majority Han culture.Officially, the Chinese government says it is transferring “surplus” Xinjiang labor to other regions in the name of poverty alleviation.According to official news agency Xinhua, more than 25,000 workers from Xinjiang were slated to be transferred “inland” in 2019. Topics :last_img read more

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Jokowi calls for regional spending as economy contracts

first_imgTopics : President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has called on local administrations to accelerate their regional budget spending to help boost the economy after Indonesia’s gross domestic product (GDP) contracted in the second quarter. About Rp 170 trillion (US$11.5 billion) in funds from local administrations were left sitting in banks, waiting to be disbursed, he said.“I am optimistic [the economy in] the third quarter will be better than in the second quarter,” Jokowi said during a coordination meeting in Bandung on Tuesday. “We want to grow positively but we need to work hard.” The President expressed hope for spending to occur between July and September to prevent a recession in the third quarter.The Indonesian economy shrank 5.32 percent year-on-year in the second quarter, the worst since the first quarter of 1999, as pandemic restrictions hit economic activity hard. Government spending, which was expected to anchor the economy and boost people’s purchasing power amid cooling private sector activity, plunged 6.9 percent during the period.Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati expected the economy to grow at no more than 0.5 percent or even contract further in the third quarter, which means the country could fall into recession.A recession is typically defined as an annual economic contraction in two consecutive quarters.center_img Jokowi further noted that Indonesia’s economic contraction of 5.32 percent was still better than that of other countries, such as Germany, France and the United States at 11.7 percent, 19 percent and 9.5 percent, respectively.“Local administrations must prioritize their spending in the third quarter as the sooner the spending happens, the better our chance of returning to a positive economic trajectory,” he said.The government has earmarked Rp 695.2 trillion toward its pandemic response, including economic, social and health needs.However, it has only spent Rp 145.4 trillion, dominated by social aid and a micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) stimulus, while the disbursement of stimulus funds for health care and corporate financing lagged behind.West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil said at the same meeting that 10.7 million families had received social aid as of Tuesday because only 25 percent of West Java’s population of 50 million were eligible for the assistance. He claimed that, in actuality, 72 percent of the population needed social aid.The West Java economy contracted 5.9 percent in the second quarter, shrinking further than the national contraction over the same period.The province reported 2.73 percent economic growth in the first quarter but the pandemic had brought its manufacturing industry down, resulting in a deep contraction the following quarter, Ridwan added.Around 40 percent of West Java’s regional GDP is sourced from the manufacturing industry.Ridwan said his administration would employ people affected by the pandemic in its projects and asked the government to buy consumable goods from local manufacturers in West Java, adding that some companies, such as state-owned weapons manufacturer PT Pindad and state-owned aircraft maker PT Dirgantara Indonesia, had pivoted their business toward health needs by producing ventilators as a way to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.“The central government can buy uniforms and other consumable goods from our manufacturers, so this can be a win-win solution,” he said. (eyc)last_img read more

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Protests against jobs law continue across the country, with some turning violent

first_imgRallies to protest against the contentious Job Creation Law have continued across the country three days after it was passed on Monday, with some turning violent as protesters clashed with police.Hundreds of protesters in Malang, East Java pelted the Malang Legislative Council (DPRD) office with firecrackers and flares, setting fire to the front gate of the office.Some protesters were seen climbing over the fence to further attack the property, as can be seen in a video tweeted by Persatuan Buruh’s (Labor Unions) Twitter account on Thursday. According to a report, the police managed to disperse the crowd by firing tear gas. The protesters, however, opted not to surrender by continuing their orations in front of nearby Tugu hotel.Similar scenes occurred in at least two other regions, namely Medan, North Sumatra and Jambi, where rally participants threw stones and plastic bottles at the local DPRD buildings, as well as the police officers who guarded the demonstrations.Thursday’s protests were part of a three-day national strike against the Job Creation Law, which started on Tuesday.Clashes between police and protesters also occurred in the previous two days, with dozens of rally-goers detained by police across the country At least nine people were arrested in Bandung, West Java, and 14 others in Banten on Tuesday. Police also briefly detained 17 Manado State University students on Wednesday before releasing them.Some protesters were also detained in Medan on Thursday for allegedly injuring at least three police officers. “Please, don’t be anarchistic. Some police personnel have fallen victim [to the violence],” Medan police officer Comr. Martuasah Tobing, told the crowd.All the protesters demanded that the law, which many experts and activists have said is detrimental to labor rights and environmental protections, be revoked immediately. The government, meanwhile, has insisted that the law is necessary to improve bureaucratic efficiency and cut red tape, particularly in regard to business permits and investment.Topics :last_img read more

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