New IRA claims responsibility for Oxford bomb threat

first_imgThe ‘New IRA’ has claimed responsibility for the bomb threat caused by a “suspicious” package which was sent to Oxford’s Army Careers Office in St Giles’ on Thursday. Packages were also sent to offices in Canterbury, Brighton and Slough.Whilst the origins of the packages could not be identified on Thursday, Downing Street said that they bore “the hallmarks of Northern Ireland-related terrorism”. David Cameron chaired a COBRA meeting in order to analyse the situation.A spokesperson for Scotland Yard said, “We are aware of the claim of responsibility for the devices that were sent to Army recruitment centres in England last week.“The claim was received on Saturday February 15 by a Northern Irish media outlet using a recognised codeword. The claim was allegedly made on behalf of the ‘IRA’.“The public is urged to remain vigilant and report anything suspicious to the Anti-Terrorist Hotline, 0800 789 321.”Whilst the IRA disbanded following the end to its armed campaignin 2005, the ‘New IRA’ was formed in the summer of 2012 after the Real IRA merged with two other dissident groups. Their latest victim was David Black, a Northern Ireland prison officer who was killed in November 2012.A statement reported by The Irish News and attributed to the New IRA reads, “The IRA claims responsibility for the explosive devices that were sent to British armed forces recruitment centres in England. Attacks will continue when and where the IRA see fit.”last_img read more

Burger bun bakers faced with redundancy

first_imgWorkers at the Hemel Hempstead plant of East Balt Guenther Bakeries are facing redundancy, six months after the Buncefield blast badly damaged the premises and made it inoperable.The factory had been making burger buns for McDonald’s for over 20 years. It was formerly known as Golden West and owned by RHM before being bought by its current owner in April last year. Since the blast, most of the Hemel Hempstead employees have been working at the firm’s plant in Heywood, Lancashire. Others have been at the Olen factory in Belgium. The firm has continued to meet all McDonald’s requirements under the new arrangements, but says it cannot continue to meet workers’ travel and accommodation costs. Hemel Hempstead employed over 100 staff. East Balt Guenther Bakeries hopes to build another bakery in the Hemel Hempstead area, but has yet to decide on a location.last_img read more

No contact? No contest

first_imgSmartphones: the 21st century idle fidgeter’s time destroyer of choice. Whether you spend your free minutes tracking commodity prices or, more likely, playing Angry Birds, soon there will be another opportunity to flash your widget and wave it about in public. And this time, it’s all about saving time rather than wasting it.The latest buzz in electronic point of sale (EPoS) technology is around using mobiles to pay for low-value goods. Completely new technology to the UK, Barclaycard and Orange are putting their money where their mouthpieces are, having just launched a Quick Tap phone. This does the same as the contactless credit card you swipe your credit-loaded mobile handset over a terminal freeing customers of the usual faff of typing PIN numbers and fiddling with loose change.This is supposed to make it easier to quickly grab a coffee and a croissant on the move. “It’s called Quick Tap, because it allows money to run out of your account like water,” joked one online sceptic when the story broke. Which, let’s be frank, is exactly what you want to see happening in your shops.While paying by phone may be a leap in the dark for the unfamiliar consumer, it’s a question of ’when’ and not ’if’ the technology becomes mainstream; with most of the major phone manufacturers planning to fit near field communications (NFC) chips as standard, it is tipped to take off in 2012.Starbucks has signed up with Barclaycard to introduce contactless and NFC mobile payments to its UK coffee shops from spring 2012, subject to a successful pilot. Meanwhile, consumers are gradually familiarising themselves with contactless card payments, with Pret A Manger, Eat and Subway notable adoptees. The number of contactless transactions has grown 150% year-on-year, with 50,000 terminals in the UK the vast majority of which are independent shops. At the moment, there are 12.9 million contactless cards out there.Barclays’ research into consumers’ attitudes to queueing suggests people are unwilling to wait more than two minutes in a queue. The average contactless transaction takes 12.5 seconds twice as fast as a cash transaction. Meanwhile, research by Mastercard suggests they cut queues by 20%, and up to 40% where there are express queues.”During bakers’ peak times at lunchtime or on Saturdays, if you can reduce the queue, there’s less chance of people looking in the shop, seeing the queue and abandoning the purchase,” says Richard Armstrong of Barclaycard. “It is a technology that is specifically targeted at low-value transactions (beneath £15), so people with contactless cards will have a greater willingness to use their cards for those types of transactions. We have seen the average transaction value increase by around 6%, where people use contactless cards instead of cash.”Barclaycard terminals feature contactless payment technology at no extra cost. And as people start seeing the technology in bigger retailers for example, The Co-operative is rolling it out this year the indies are set to gain.There are other benefits from the shift away from cash. A WorldPay survey of retailers showed one-in-five said that card payments decreased the number of disagreements with customers over change; it also reduced the amount of cash held at the till. What’s more, low-value contactless payments mean consumers can buy what they want rather than being limited by the amount of cash in their wallet, says Matt Rowsell of Epos firm Streamline.”Historically, payments on cards have been slower than cash,” he says. “Now contactless technology is starting to become popular, it is a viable payment option. Many bakeries and cafés are still missing opportunities, both to up-sell and to get customers who don’t carry cash, by ignoring card payments.”And what of the future? Last week, Google launched its ’Google Wallet’ NFC service, piloting in major US cities, with coffee, bagel and sandwich chains among the first to adopt. This mobile phone app even has the function to store loyalty cards in one place on your phone. With Google putting its considerable weight behind NFC, it’s worth planning ahead for. EPoS-sibilities Of course, EPoS is about so much more than customer transactions. It can enable a business to better control stock, speed up tills and tighten fraud controls.”Every night it’s important that you get the information that you need to reassess your business going forward, so you can take decisions on tomorrow’s trading. It’s all about the immediacy of decisions. In bakery it’s about getting the right balance between availability and waste,” says Roy McDougal, head of IT at Greggs.Is the cloth cut to fit?The difference between a good and a bad EPoS system is whether it’s designed for your needs. For example, options are available for retail such as clothing and others for restaurants. Aim for one that is designed for tracking bakery goods, controlling stock and waste. “Some bakeries use hospitality software with additional pieces of software stuck on,” says Trevor Claybrough of AlfaRichi, which has developed EPoS solutions specifically for bakers. “It can be complex and can go wrong. We advise that bakeries take a package that has everything they need the EPoS part and the ordering part.” New EPoS technology is also giving bakeries greater control over stock and sales. Bakery technology specialist RSA Systems creates EPoS solutions to help bakery businesses handle a wide range of management tasks, including controlling recipe costs and reducing wastage. The company is using Partner Tech UK’s EPoS terminals as a platform for its tailored Daybreak software.”Our solutions are helping bakeries cost recipes more accurately and decide which products to prepare depending on the day of the week or even the weather,” says Jon Measures at RSA Systems. “They can measure the exact volume of each ingredient they will need on any day, and then identify which ingredients are in stock before generating orders for new stock with suppliers direct from their EPoS system. We’re seeing how this alone can dramatically reduce wastage.”Meal deals and promotionsAre promotions increasing overall sales and profits? It’s important to have a report that shows whether you’re losing or gaining money, compared to if you were running no promotion.”The AlfaRichi system we use has a lot to offer the retail baker, particularly in the way of sales and promotion evaluation, improved ordering, stock control, cash management and theft prevention,” says Robert McIlroy, retail estates director at 89-shop Cooplands of Doncaster. Also, if you’re promoting heavily, make sure your processor speeds can cope. “We’ve moved to the J2 615 model the big change we’ve gone for is processor speed, because we’re doing more and more at the till point such as meal deals,” says Greggs’ McDougal.If you can’t stand the heat…”Bakeries are relatively harsh environments to host technology, especially if baking takes place on site,” says Tim Van den Branden of EPoS firm Partner Tech UK. “A fanless EPoS terminal is essential in a hot and humid bakery where moving parts would attract and circulate machine-clogging flour and grease.”Another easy win in the shop is having bigger screens, says McDougal at Greggs, which traded up from 15-inch to 17-inch screens in recent years. “The shop staff love that because it’s easier to use. Having enough space on your screen to get all of the products in is the most efficient and effective way to serve the customer.”Space is also at a premium in a shop. J2 came up with a space-saving solution for 52-shop Birds of Derby: a new bracket which could be pushed back 45 degrees, to allow the J2 615 tills to be recessed into a more EPoS checklist When choosing EPoS for a bakery or coffee shop, a system that only gives takings and sales information is not enough. Ask your supplier if it:l allows orders, waste declaration, overs/shorts and stock to be entered on the tills and then immediately available at head officel has reports that will highlight any loss by automatically reconciling everything that goes into the shop (products, ingredients) and everything that goes out (sales, ingredients used for sales, damage, waste, samples)l shows you at any time what is the current stock in all shopsl has pertinent management reports including promotions, gross margins and comparative sales. New in EPoS l AlfaRichi now offers functions for mobile sales, such as sandwich vans, using touch tablets with mobile broadband. The firm also just added solutions for processing wholesale orders and deliveries; customers place orders directly online, which can be seen and adjusted at head office before being integrated into the overall production figures.l Partner Tech UK recently launched the PT-6215 the latest in its series of compact all-in-one terminals, which combine customer display, magnetic card reader and thermal printer in one machine. The terminal was designed to save valuable retail space.l J2 Retail Systems’ new J2 630 is tipped to dramatically extend till life beyond the normal 5-7 years. A new motherboard can be slotted into the tens of thousands of J2 580s in use worldwide, to maximise end-user investment. EPoS in action: Woods Pies, Stoke-on-Trent Stoke-on-Trent bakery, Woods Pies, has found using its EPoS system to continually monitor sales and daily buying trends has given the company better control over stock and reduced wastage.Woods Pies uses Partner Tech’s PT-6200 all-in-one EPoS terminals to manage sales transactions and gather data in its four busy town-centre shops. The system was provided by bakery technology specialist RSA Systems and uses its Daybreak operating software. Sales data gathered in each shop is transmitted to a back-office system, where it can be displayed in the form of management reports and used to assess performance.Woods Pies director Neil Wood says having the tools to see exactly what each shop is selling throughout the day has helped him make daily buying decisions based on trading patterns.”Our EPoS system is constantly gathering and transmitting data from our shops to head office where we can track performance and refine our product offering,” he says. “Simple management reports mean we can easily see the times of the day when we need to bake to be prepared for peak selling periods, such as lunchtime and after school, and when we need to time our last bake-off in order to maximise sales and minimise wastage.”We can also plan promotions and record them on the system so that price reductions and multi-buys are automatically applied in-store, and end on the right day, without staff having to re-programme their tills.”Another positive is ease of use, he says: “For example, hot and cold products are clearly identified and the right VAT rates applied, which makes our monthly accounting duties much more straightforward.”last_img read more

Finding creative ways to maintain campus bonds remotely

first_img Harvard faculty and staff talk about how they’re spending their time when there’s nowhere to go and no one to see Related Notes from the new normal Campus friend groups remain close, even if not geographically. So they’ve had to make adjustments to keep in touch. For some it was merely a matter of going remote with their regular weekly gathering; others discovered whole new reasons to get together. This is how three groups did it: one adapted, one reimagined, and one very recently crafted.An event adaptedSiva Emani ’21, a co-president of Harvard Dharma, began the Hindu group’s Zoom session with a check-in question, the typical starting point for their Friday evening social and worship gathering: “What’s the place you wish you could be at right now?”Of the more than 25 participants, many named spots on campus — the second floor of Cabot Library, IM soccer on Cumnock field. But several mentioned one in particular: the Dharma prayer space in Canaday Hall.,On Friday evenings during the school year, Harvard Dharma gathers in Canaday Hall for aarti, a worship session where light is offered to various deities, represented by physical idols. It begins with a member lighting a candle (diya), placing it atop a tray, and briefly circulating the flame before the idols, while the group sings “Om Jai Jagdish Hare.” The tray is passed to other members, each of whom can take a turn presenting the light to the idols and receiving a blessing.The challenge? How to turn aarti into a virtual ritual. Co-presidents Emani and Mit Patel ’21 pondered the options. Having each participant work with their own tray and candle might detract from the central, community focus. They decided that the members should take turns hosting aarti from their homes.,On April 3, Pranati Parikh ’21 sat in front of her family’s designated shrine. Her mother, Purvi Parikh, offered the aarti, while Pranati sang and her brother, Parth, played the drum (tabla). Once the devotional chant ended, Parikh’s mother walked the candle to the camera and waved her hand over it to direct the flame toward the screen, blessing the students tuning in.,Harvard Dharma has continued to tweak the ceremony. After the first Zoom aarti, for instance, it became apparent that it would sound much less chaotic if only the host’s singing was projected.Patel says that a silver lining to the new arrangement has been the chance to see the home traditions of Dharma members, and the specific idols that their families possess. And, Patel says, “It must be cool for parents to see their children continue their traditions in college.”After aarti, the group either does an activity or breaks up into small group discussions. A recent conversation focused on community and faith during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lowell House’s Varun Tekur ’22 expressed his gratitude for two values that Harvard Dharma and Hinduism encourage: “Calmness and community. Those values are emphasized in this time.”An event reimaginedEvening tea is a longstanding Thursday tradition at Lowell House. With residents scattered back to their hometowns, senior Meredith Pong came up with a plan to fill the void: In place of tea, she would serve up a baking tutorial.As assistant manager of the tea, Pong was the ideal candidate for this. In that role she led a handful of student bakers in preparing savory and sweet confections to feed 200 people each week. Last summer she interned at Ovenly bakery’s kitchen in Brooklyn, N.Y. She has taken Harvard’s “Science and Cooking” course, and binges on New York Times recipes and Bon Appétit videos.,And her reputation is sterling. Nina Zipser, a Lowell Faculty Dean, has emailed her with baking questions, most recently to ask why her custard curdled. (Pong suspects that “the heat was too high, causing all the water to evaporate and make the proteins curl up.”) She also has the endorsement of Beth Terry, Lowell House Administrator, who told Pong, “If I ever get married again, I want you to make that chocolate cake at my wedding.”Pong emailed the Lowell House list with her plan and received more than 30 enthusiastic responses. In her note, she suggested some flavors for an upcoming scones session: rosemary and currant, chocolate chip, blueberry and lemon, honey, cheddar chive, cheddar mustard — “really whatever people had in their pantry or could get their hands on.”Pong is conscious of choosing recipes that don’t require complex ingredients, since many students across the world are following stay-home guidelines. The first week she made chocolate chip cookies but went beyond basic recipe instructions. She discussed the importance of salt, how to properly cream butter and sugar, how to butter a pan, and how to achieve the desired chewy or crispy texture.On a recent Thursday, she convened a group for scones. Within minutes, Pong was fielding questions from Lowell peers on Zoom:“I don’t have heavy cream. Would replacing it with Greek yogurt or condensed milk work?” (Yogurt!)“For the rosemary, do I want the whole leaf or chopped pieces?” (Whole pieces!)Pong instructed viewers to squish butter between their thumbs and forefingers to a lima bean size. Then, let the dough rest in the refrigerator. “You want the flour to have time to hydrate and let all the gluten that’s been formed by the mixing relax. That way it’s less chewy.” Someone asked: “Can I see what your dough looks like?” prompting Pong to hold her bowl to the screen.,During tasks, the conversation went from upcoming housing day ideas to surveying how many people use TikTok. At one point, students brainstormed what they should bake in upcoming weeks. Someone suggested black bean brownies — not only healthy, “it’s the perfect apocalypse food.”Click here for the Ovenly Currant Rosemary Scones recipe.An event fully craftedBeyond those activities that have spun off existing ones, some have emerged on their own. Pforzheimer House residents have created many new online groups, and one of them caters to a very specific interest: Chinese costume dramas.Tutor Daniel Frim and senior Ying-ke Chin-Lee first began talking about East Asian cinema while eating Zinnekan’s waffles. Frim had hosted a final study break in Pforzheimer before students left campus — and the conversation they’d struck up seemed like the perfect interest to explore amid the pandemic diaspora.Frim and Chin-Lee emailed the Pforzheimer list inviting any and all to join them for Friday afternoon Zoom viewings. For the first week, Chin-Lee selected the first episode of the TV series “The Eternal Love” to share with her peers. In Zoom’s chat box, Chin-Lee mentioned that the drama is pretty cheesy, and knows it, to which Frim responded, “Cheesy is just what I need these days!”,To ensure coordinated viewing, Frim used the very high-tech method of a verbal countdown to signal when all viewers should press play on their YouTube video links.For a contrasting second viewing, Chin-Lee chose “Ashes of Love,” a more fantastical example. In the Flower Realm, a goddess gives birth to a daughter who is supposed to be prevented from falling in love. The plot thickens as this daughter is caught in a love triangle.,Afterward, Frim questioned Chin-Lee about elements that viewers not versed in Chinese costume dramas might miss. Before the discussion ended, she named a few favorites, including adaptations of two classic novels, 1994’s “Romance of the Three Kingdoms” and 1987’s “Dream of the Red Mansion.” Anyone looking for entertainment suggestions while at home should take note. A remote ‘Doctor of Philosophy Dance Party,’ laughter yoga, crowd-sourced altruism, and tweet to remember Bits of the socially distanced lives of staff and faculty, from a LEGO model of the Music Building to Gov. Andrew Cuomo as Henry V to cereal for dinner — in the shower Dispatches from socially distancing students and faculty So what have you been up to? The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news.last_img read more

SCC to host inaugural Dance-a-Thon

first_imgJust a few weeks after the Holy Half, Notre Dame will see another kind of marathon come to campus — this time, a dance marathon.From 7 p.m. Friday night until 7 a.m. Saturday morning in South Dining Hall, the class of 2017 Sophomore Class Council (SCC) will host Notre Dame’s first annual Dance-A-Thon, the proceeds of which will benefit Memorial Children’s Hospital in downtown South Bend.SCC Treasurer Neil Joseph said the idea for the fundraiser was derived from the example of a number of universities, including Penn State and Ohio State, which have raised thousands of dollars through month-long campaigns that culminate in massive dance parties.“A lot of other colleges have been doing dance-a-thons to raise money for hospitals in their area, and we just really wanted to do something where we had an impact on our community specifically,” he said.Joseph said all proceeds from the Dance-A-Thon will help to fund the the estimated $10 million expansion of Memorial Children’s Hospital in South Bend, which, according to its website, “treats children with a wide variety of medical and surgical diagnoses from more than 20 referral hospitals throughout Southwestern Michigan and Northern Indiana.”“They [Memorial Children’s Hospital] were really in dire need of this new addition for their pediatric unit, and so we met with them, and they were really excited,” Joseph said. “We were just thinking big.”SCC President Noemi Ventilla said the Dance-A-Thon will be the second major event hosted by the SCC this year; their first was the Great Gatsby Dance in September.“We did Gatsby in the fall, and we realized that having campus-wide events, bigger events has a lot bigger impact and durability than a lot of the events that class councils do,” she said.But bigger events entail greater commitments of time and resources, and Joseph said organizing the Dance-A-Thon has proved “a huge learning process.”However, Ventilla said the combined efforts of all SCC members — which have fueled a large-scale promotional campaign extending across social media, YouTube and the event’s brand new website — have transformed what began as a distant vision of a dance marathon into an imminent reality.“There are 37 of us [on SCC], so there are 37 people working on it,” she said. “Before then, we had committees, and they did their own thing, but because this is such a huge process, we all came together.”Ventilla said their promotional efforts have already generated a lot of excitement in the community. A variety of sponsors has contributed to the event, and even more organizations have indicated their interest in participating in coming years.“We’re going to have a ton of really great things, but the real potential for this is in the future,” she said.Included in the festivities lined up for this year’s Dance-A-Thon are live performances by student organizations, an inflatable obstacle course, music, free food and, of course, dancing.“It’s an all-night thing, so if you’re coming back to campus at 3 a.m. and don’t have somewhere to go, instead of Taco Bell, come to us,” Ventilla said.Both Ventilla and Joseph said their eventual hope is to create a club which will take over organizing future Dance-A-Thons.For the present, however, Joseph said the SCC’s primary objective is to encourage participation among the student body, both in terms of donations and attendance at the actual event.“We really want people to come out and have fun, and that will set the tone for coming years,” he said.Joseph said students can support the event by donating through a link on the event website (,or by texting “Beacon ND” to 20222, which will make an automatic donation of $5 to Memorial Children’s Hospital.He said the SCC will also be collecting donations in person throughout the night.“Every little bit counts,” Joseph said. “It’s kind of corny, but it really does.”Tags: Dance-a-Thon, Memorial Children’s Hospital, SCC, THONlast_img read more

Student government candidates discuss diversity, inclusion initiatives

first_imgClaire Rafford | The Observer A student government election debate was held on Wednesday evening in DeBartolo Hall. The event provided candidates the opportunity to share their plans for addressing diversity and inclusion at Notre Dame.The candidates running for student body president and vice president this year are junior Noble Patidar and freshman Connor Patrick, junior Connor Whittle and sophomore Jack Rotolo; junior Zachary Mercugliano and freshman Gavriella Lund, freshmen Henry Bates and Thomas Henry, juniors Michael Dugan and Ricardo Pozas Garza and juniors Rachel Ingal and Sarah Galbenski.The Bates-Henry ticket was not present at the debate. (Editor’s note: Dugan is a former systems administrator and news writer for The Observer)Senior and Diversity Council chair Tiffany Rojas moderated the debate and asked the candidates how they plan to create diversity in participation in organizations like student senate.   Galbenski said that in addition to promoting multicultural events in administration, she plans to work on allocating funding to create a multicultural center at Notre Dame. “This is something a lot of our peer institutions have,” she said. “It’s really a place where people of diverse backgrounds to come together and celebrate what makes them, them. And so we really want to start that dialogue.”Dugan said his ticket would focus on providing increased club funding to multicultural groups.“We plan to increase club funding by $95,000,” he said. “We want to promote organic, you know, grassroots creation of these events and initiatives and facilitate them at a higher level and bring it to the whole campus community.”Patidar said the Patidar-Patrick ticket would focus on implementing diversity training for students involved in leadership positions on campus. “It should be for student union leaders,” Patidar said. “It should be for … all Welcome Weekend ambassadors and … it should be for anybody else at a high-up position, in my opinion. Hall staff — make the RAs train with diversity.”Whittle said their campaign believes that diversity starts in the dorm communities and that his ticket is advocating for greater diversity among Resident Assistants and hall staff.“When students first come to campus, they really self-select into their own groups,” he said. “And if they feel like they are represented by hall leadership, they’re probably more likely to engage in leadership down the road in hall government, in student senate. And so we’re calling for residential life to really up their recruiting strategy.”Mercugliano said that should he be elected, his team would work to personally attend as many multicultural events as possible. “One of the things that I think we’ve all witnessed here is that a lot of clubs at Notre Dame, actually, a lot of a lot of groups in general, right, the majority voice gets heard first, it’s just the loudest,” Mercugliano said. “And you really, you really have to shout loud … just to be heard if you’re down at the bottom.”Rojas asked the candidates a question about the 2020 debate elections how their campaign plans to improve political discourse on campus and welcome opposing views.  Ingal said she would partner with BridgeND to host events to improve dissenting political discourse on campus leading up to the elections.“Before we really get into the height of the election, amplifying and elevating these types of programs and working with these clubs and people of all political ideologies and backgrounds just so we can mitigate any tensions that might arise,” Ingal said.In addition to partnering with BridgeND, Whittle said the Whittle-Rotolo ticket would implement an event called Share Your Story Week, where video booths would be placed across campus to help students share their unique life experiences.“It’s a great way for students to record themselves and then these videos [will] be shared with the student body so that we have a greater understanding of what makes each of us here unique,” he said.Patidar said that partnering with Converge — an initiative that pairs students with differing political beliefs together to have a conversation over a meal or coffee — is one of the best ways to facilitate discourse on campus. “That is actually what I believe to be the most practical way to set up organic conversations with individuals,” he said.Dugan said that working with clubs to facilitate discussions about important issues facing people, especially during elections years, is a priority for the Dugan-Pozas Garza ticket.“What student government can do is raise issues of human dignity, raise issues of human rights, because at a fundamental level, what our government is going to be doing something that is supposed to be good for all of us,” he said. “These are things that I think student government can really do well, but you can’t do it alone. We have to work with the clubs.”Mercugliano said the most important tenet of creating a conversation about politics on campus is committing to civil discourse and putting people first.“I mean, the very fact of us all sitting here means we’re committed to the idea of civil discourse on all fronts,” he said. “And so that means you have to make sure, each and every one of us here at Notre Dame, to look out for the people. Every single one of us does that.”Tags: Debate, diversity council, Student Body Election Diversity Council hosted its fourth-annual student government election debate on Wednesday evening in DeBartolo Hall. The debate asked the candidates to address issues of diversity and inclusion on Notre Dame’s campus. last_img read more

3 branding lessons for 2019

first_imgBy now your credit union or community bank’s strategic plan is ready for the New Year. Hopefully, it’s a plan to help you close the gap and hold you and your team accountable – where you don’t find yourself overwhelmed by the day-to-day. What we don’t want to see is a plan that mimics that of the chronic resolution-taker.When you examine what’s holding you back right now, does your brand come to mind? Too often branding is left out of the mix when developing a strategic plan, or it becomes the first thing to blame when things don’t go according to plan. If you believe as I do, that a brand is at the center of your organization, are you heading into the New Year confident or just waiting for the wheels to fall off?Here are three conversations about your brand that can led to powerful change. Put these in context with your strategic plan for 2019. If you seek meaningful progress, don’t defer on your brand. Take a leap.Shifting to Future TenseJust behind low rates and great service, most financial institutions tout their long history. You know what else has a long history? Bankrupt Sears. Wells Fargo was established in 1852, and in 2018 they launched a “re-established” campaign in an effort to earn back trust following some very public account scandals. continue reading » 6SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Howe school needs its own parking lot

first_imgGarner and Baker avenues, near the Plum Street intersection, have cars parked in front of our houses all day long.Wintertime creates an even bigger problem, with snowbanks making parking on the street more difficult.  There’s a fire hydrant in front of my house. Just about daily, I’m telling someone not to park there; it’s illegal.Some people argue. Most move. One man told me he had to park there because he had to talk on his phone. I do believe parking in front of hydrants is something that only emergency vehicles are permitted to do.  The school should provide adequate parking for all it employees. We want our streets back.Winifred BalzSchenectadyMore from The Daily Gazette:Schenectady police reform sessions pivot to onlineEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusSchenectady man dies following Cutler Street dirt bike crashSchenectady High School senior class leaders look to salvage sense of normalcySchenectady’s Lucas Rodriguez forging his own path in dance, theater, music Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionRegarding the Howe Magnet Elementary School parking issue: What were they thinking?  Last year, the school was shut down for major renovations.The one thing they didn’t do was to make a bigger parking lot for their staff and support personnel. So the staff (and support staff) park all over our neighborhood. They park on Plum Street — so it’s not a two-way street most of the day, as it becomes too narrow for cars to pass.  last_img read more

Gardermobanen on track to open next year

first_imgINTRO: Rails are going down on 66 km of new line that will put Oslo’s Gardermoen airport within 19min of the city’s central station when it opens on October 4 1998BYLINE: Arne SvensøyNSB Gardermobanen ASAS CIVIL WORKS approach completion on the new railway being constructed between Norway’s capital and the new national gateway airport at Gardermoen, tracklaying is in full swing using Plasser’s recently developed SVM1000 machine. This self-contained unit carries with it all the track components and machinery necessary to place assembled track on the sub-ballast, ready for ballasting, lifting and tamping to the final level and alignment.When the Storting (Parliament) decided in October 1992 to build a completely new airport almost 50 km north of Oslo, an integral part of the plan was a dedicated high speed rail link that is expected to carry 50% of air passengers and 40% of staff working at Gardermoen, amounting in all to some 25 000 rail journeys per day.Both projects are scheduled to open on October 4 1998. In fact, the railway is due to be completed by April 1 1998, allowing six months for commissioning and trial running so any problems can be sorted out before the opening.The new railway is 66 km long and is electrified at 15 kV 162??3Hz, and double track except for 3·5 km close to the junction at Eidsvoll with the existing Norwegian State Railways trunk line to Lillehammer and the north. The tracklaying contract was awarded to Banverket Industridivisionen, a subsidiary of Sweden’s state-owned rail infrastructure authority. It covers a total of 130track-km and allows the contractor to chose the method of working within guidelines covering quality and tolerances.Construction and subsequent operation of the airport line has been entrusted to NSB Gardermobanen AS, an NSB subsidiary, which was established in November 1992. NSB Gardermobanen supplies rail and other material to Banverket at no cost, and specifies time windows within which each section of track must be laid to fit the overall programme.High quality trackThe 16 three-car EMUs ordered from Adtranz Norway for the dedicated airport service will operate over much the new line at 200 km/h, but the track, signalling and catenary are designed to allow speeds in the 220 to 230 km/h range and must therefore be laid – and maintained – to high standards.Each EMU has 175 seats, and six-car trains carrying 350 will run in peak hours. They will run at 10min headways between Gardermoen and the rail-air terminal at Oslo Sentral, with alternate trains calling at the important junction of Lillestrøm. The non-stop trains to Sentral will continue for a further 27 km to Asker, west of the city, calling at four stations on the way. This will widen the range of destinations linked directly with the airport to cover 70% of the air passenger market. After 19.00 and at weekends, airport trains will run at 20min intervals between Gardermoen and Asker calling at Lillestrøm. The time from Gardermoen to Sentral will be 19min non-stop (156 km/h average), or 22min with one stop at Lillestrøm. In addition, there will be at least one inter-city train every hour calling at Gardermoen. These will run the full length of the new line including the 19 km between the airport station and the junction with the northern trunk line at Eidsvoll.The new line starts at Etterstad, 2·5 km to the east of Oslo Sentral, and takes a direct course in tunnel through a mountain barrier to Lillestrøm, where a major transport interchange is being constructed around the existing station. Lillestrøm is the only intermediate station between Etterstad and Eidsvoll where trains will be able to switch between the old and new lines. Among other benefits, this connection will allow Oslo – Stockholm services to use the shorter route through the 13·8 km Romeriks tunnel, which is due to be holed through this month.North of Lillestrøm the new railway follows the same general route as NSB’s main line through Kllast_img read more