Category Archives: qjkitutntfqn

Quick Hits: Polar Bears invade Russian Town

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first_imgA remote archipelago in northern Russia has declared a state of emergency after an invasion of polar bears has sparked fear among residents. Novaya Zemlya, located in the Arctic Ocean, has been swarmed with polar bears since December. The region’s largest settlement, Belushya Guba, has reported more than 50 polar bear sightings. Local administrators say that the polar bears have attacked people and entered buildings and that parents are afraid to send their children to school. Polar bear and human interactions are increasingly likely as climate change reduces the sea-ice habitats of polar bears, forcing them onto land for longer periods of time. Maryland Land Preservation and Recreation Plan open for comment Hurricane force wind sets new record atop North Carolina’s Grandfather Mountain Residents terrified as dozens of polar bears invade Russian towncenter_img The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is seeking public comment on the draft 2019-2023 Land Preservation and Recreation Plan, which identifies essential issues impacting outdoor recreation and natural resource protection in the state. The plan represents a vision and strategy to provide public outdoor recreation opportunities in Maryland and receives federal funding from the National Park Service’s Land and Water Conservation Fund. Public input is welcome on any part of the plan and can be submitted via the online comment form. The public comment period closes on March 8. A new record has been set atop WNC’s iconic 5,946-foot Grandfather Mountain. Around 4 a.m. on Wednesday, a three-second gust of wind hit 121.3 miles per hour on top of the mountain, breaking the previous record set on December 21, 2012 of 120.7 miles per hour. In comparison, North Carolina’s Mount Mitchell, the highest peak in the eastern United States, saw a gust of wind that reached 77.6 miles per hour at the same time. Grandfather Mountain commonly sees high winds and other extreme weather events. In 2018 the mountain received 10 feet of rain. The park sustained no damage from the record-setting gust of wind.last_img read more

New Ecuadorean Ambassador to Colombia Looks to the Future

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first_imgBy Dialogo January 10, 2011 The new Ecuadorean ambassador in Bogotá, Raúl Vallejo, promised “to look to the future” in the bilateral relationship, now fully reestablished following the crisis that broke out in March 2008 due to a Colombian attack on the FARC guerrilla group on Ecuadorean territory. “The Ecuadorean government, with the full reestablishment of relations (…) wants to strengthen the historical ties that have united us, stanch the wounds of the past, and look to the future,” Vallejo said in his first remarks to Colombian journalists after taking up his post on 6 January. He added that “Ecuador’s policy is not to permit any irregular group to establish itself on its territory, whether they are paramilitaries, drug traffickers, or guerrillas of any persuasion and under any name.” Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa broke off diplomatic relations with Bogotá in March 2008, in reaction to the Colombian army’s bombardment of a Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) camp on Ecuadorean territory, which left twenty-five dead, including Raul Reyes, the guerrilla group’s second-ranking leader. Ties between Colombia and Ecuador were reestablished at the chargé d’affaires level in November 2009, and a year later, on 26 November, Correa and his Colombian counterpart, Juan Manuel Santos, fully reestablished relations. Vallejo also said that the fight against drug trafficking along the bilateral border should be pursued separately. “The counternarcotics police in Colombia, the counternarcotics police in Ecuador: we each want to work in our own country, fighting drug trafficking,” he declared in a tacit allusion to the border crop fumigations rejected by Quito in the past. In addition, he announced that he will stress improving the binational trade balance, which is unfavorable to his country at the moment. Between January and October 2010, Ecuadorean sales to Colombia amounted to 651.8 million dollars, and purchases to 1.6826 billion, according to the Central Bank in Quito. Vallejo affirmed that “our neighbors are absolutely welcome in our country,” expressing his confidence that “at some point” Ecuador will cease requiring police records from Colombians wishing to enter.last_img read more

One Year After Boston Marathon Bombing, Long Islanders Embrace Chance to Race

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first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A couple of days before last year’s Boston Marathon, Barbara Stagnari came down with an ailment that zapped her strength.The 52-year-old veteran marathoner from Mineola was unable to regain the energy lost from a darned bug that arrived at the most inopportune time, but she ran the marathon anyway.Unfortunately, the sickness was too much to overcome. Stagnari was lagging, and eventually found herself well behind her personal best of 3:38 when she decided to slow down and take in the atmosphere. Less than five minutes from the the Boylston Street finish line, she began snapping photos of the crowd, capturing the breathtaking view of the city, the giddy—and drunken—revelers, the joy of Patriot’s Day.Then, the ground shook. Strange, she thought.With her view of the finish line obstructed, Stagnari was unable to see the thin white smoke billowing over the race’s endpoint.“You heard this loud boom and you automatically think it’s thunder,” she tells the Press, one year later.Then, a second intense sound pierced the tense air.Neither she, nor many of her fellow runners, knew what had just transpired. Moments later, authorities barricaded the course, cutting off the route to the 26.2-mile Boston Marathon finish line about a block away. Stagnari and dozens of others waited in the cold, confused. Cramps began to set in.At that point, she recalls, “You knew something was up.”Her husband and daughter, standing together on the corner of Boylston Street near a firehouse, sent separate text messages notifying her that they were unharmed. Although she was only about a block away from her loved ones, Stagnari couldn’t reach them by foot. Attempts to reach them via text were also unsuccessful.She eventually ended up at a Sheraton hotel, where the staff warmed her with towels and offered her tea. A lobby TV blaring breaking news revealed multiple explosions. It was the first successful terrorist attack on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001. She later rejoined her family.On Monday, Stagnari will return to the Boston Marathon, almost exactly one year to the day when two pressure cooker bombs killed three and injured 260 others—mutilating several spectators, ripping limbs from bodies. Many have yet to fully recover from their gruesome injuries—many others never will.One of the alleged attackers, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is awaiting his trial, which is slated to start Nov. 3. The government is pursuing the death penalty. His older brother and alleged accomplice, Tamerlan Tsarnev, was killed in a shootout with police several days after the April 15, 2013 bombings.But before the younger Tsarnaev brother gets his day in the court, Boston gets the opportunity to reflect, celebrate and cheer—perhaps with more enthusiasm than ever before. And at least 40 Long Islanders will be right there by their side, running.Michael Fernandez of Farmingdale will be competing in his first Boston Marathon. The 45-year-old is excited about racing in this year’s event, despite heightened security.“We’re Going to Keep Running”This will be Michael Fernandez’s first Boston Marathon.On Dec. 31, 2013, the 45-year-old Farmingdale-native started a 16-week training program that incorporated speed workouts and longer runs to build endurance—all of which occurred outside during this year’s brutal winter. “Nothing on a treadmill,” he boasts. At his peak, he ran 73 miles in one week.He ran along the North Shore to prepare for the infamous downhills along the famed course, often beginning his training sessions at Syosset High School. Other days he would run along River Road in Smithtown. He sometimes sought areas with more spectacular views: Prospect Park in Brooklyn and Manhattan’s Central Park. In the weeks leading up to the race he continued running all but one day a week, but has tapered off since then so he could rest his legs and focus on nutrition and getting a good night’s sleep. He never diverted from the program.“Boston is going to be historic for me this year,” Fernandez says. “To me, Boston, if you’re a runner, that’s the spot. That’s the holy grail. That’s like the Super Bowl.”Fernandez has been driven by competition all his life. He played football and baseball as a kid and is a self-proclaimed “gym rat.” But he only started running five years ago. This will be his third marathon.While he oozes with enthusiasm discussing his inaugural Boston Marathon, Fernandez gets equally amped while reflecting on his unlikely journey to Beantown—a journey born from the desire to pay tribute to the great city, those affected that tragic day one year ago, as well as the country he loves so dearly.“Never in a million years did I think I’d be at the starting line of the Boston Marathon,” he admits. “If you asked me four years ago I would’ve had said, ‘Never.’ Now here I am.”He won’t be alone.Kathy Dormer would love to eclipse her previous marathon best of 3:34. But then again, this will be her first-ever Boston Marathon so “I’m just happy to be there,” she says.The 44-year-old Williston Park mom works part-time at the Greater Long Island Running Club, a fitness organization which has approximately 4,500 members. She races home after her morning shift, changes into comfortable running gear and sneaks in a run before it’s time to pick up her kids from school.The weekends are less frenzied. That’s when she gets to enjoy longer runs at a more relaxed pace. It’s cathartic.“My weekdays are kind of hectic,” she says.The city of Boston has rallied behind the slogan “Boston Strong” ever since the marathon bombings. Last year, Bostonians laid down hats and erected a banner at Copley Square in memory of those killed and injured in the attack. (Photo credit: Barbara Stagnari)This will also be Dormer’s third marathon, but promises to be the most poignant.“Boston Marathon has so much history and I think all runners really would love to be a part of that, especially this year with all that happened and the tragedy that took place at the finish line,” Dormer says. “I think it means even more just to be a part of it and support those who can’t run, and just celebrate running.”“Marathons could be really emotional anyway, you know, because you put so much time and effort into it, you work so hard and you want to do well,” she adds. “When you hear people cheering it does get very emotional no matter what the race is.”Stagnari, the Mineola woman returning to the marathon after last year’s tragedy, will be competing in her 30th marathon. Yet, her athletic prowess extends far beyond the asphalt.She’s also competed in 13 Iron Man competitions, an exhausting tour-de-force that includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike trek and a marathon for good measure. She typically partakes in about three marathons each year. Her best mark was five, if you count the Iron Man triathlon.A natural swimmer, Stagnari transitioned to running after she had four kids in a five-year span.“There was no way I was getting to the pool,” she says.But swimming remains part of her training regimen. On certain days she will both swim and run. On Tuesdays she does a track workout with a local triathlon group, she bikes on Thursdays and runs on weekends.While initially lamenting coming down with an ailment just before last year’s race, Stagnari now considers herself fortunate. “Luckily I decided to take my time once I wasn’t having a great race,” she says.“I missed the bomb and all that probably by three or four minutes,” she adds. “So I was lucky that I stopped and took pictures.”Stagnari never hesitated when it was time to decide if she’d return to Boston this year despite heightened security because of last year’s attack.“You really want to do it now,” Stagnari says.Fernandez, one of the first-time runners, echoes that sentiment.“This year makes it even greater, because it’s bigger than all of us this year,” he says with pride. “For me, going back to Boston it’s about showing up in the face of adversity and here we are, we’re still here, we’re going to keep running. When those bombs went off last year I would’ve run the next day if they let me. I would’ve gone to Boston and run the next day. The worst thing that people can do in this scenario is not run a race because you’re afraid, that is the worst thing, that sends the wrong signals.”“I’m going to be thinking about those people as I come down Boylston Street,” adds Fernandez.Along with the rest of America, most of whom will be watching from their couches.last_img read more

New year, new data breach woes: Three trends to watch

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first_imgThe New Year is here — and that means this a good time to take stock of how your organization handles the security of its data.As an earlier post noted, 2014 will likely go down as “The Year of the Data Breach.” And all indications suggest that the problem of securing confidential information won’t be going away any time soon. Indeed, the challenge of managing and preventing cyber hacks and information loss will remain a top business priority in the coming year, according to Experian’s 2015 Data Breach Industry Forecast (registration required to view).“It has been an explosive year with an increase in the number of data breaches and identity theft cases over last year,” said Michael Bruemmer, vice president at Experian Data Breach Resolution, in a statement. “It is more important than ever for companies to prepare for a data breach and stay ahead of the game.”Experian’s white paper highlights six data breach trends that every top executive should prepare for in the coming year. The nation’s largest credit bureau based its predictions on interviews with security leaders and its experience helping companies manage more than 3,000 breaches in 2014.What to Watch For in 2015 Experian’s findings identify ongoing challenges such as increasing attacks on services and data in the cloud, and growing legal and regulatory scrutiny of corporate executives following a major data breach. However, there are three new trends to watch for in 2015, according to IT News. continue reading » 12SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Hurricane relief for credit unions, people and families continues, and you can help

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first_imgOur thoughts are with everyone impacted by the recent hurricanes across the U.S. mainland and Caribbean. So are our people, who care about helping those in need.To support recovery efforts for credit unions, our disaster response team members have been in the regions affected by hurricanes Harvey and Irma in recent days. And, since Saturday, they’ve been in Puerto Rico, where we have both staff and customers.We’re relieved to confirm that all 12 of our San Juan-based employees are accounted for, despite the island’s devastating conditions. We’re flying them critical emergency supplies, including satellite phones, solar chargers, ready-to-eat emergency meals, drinking water filtration systems, first aid kits, flashlights and batteries. continue reading » 14SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Starbucks vs Dunkin Donuts

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first_img 212SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,John San Filippo John is the co-founder of OmniChannel Communications, Inc., a company that specializes in B2B marketing to community financial institutions. He started out in the savings and loan industry, but wisely … Web: www.omnichannelcommunications.com Details I give my granddaughters a ride to school three days each week – Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. They get to my house too early to have already had breakfast, so it’s always fallen to me to get them fed in the morning. I realized early on that I’m far too lazy to prepare their breakfasts, so I buy them breakfast instead.On Wednesday, we have a nice full breakfast seated at the counter at Bonnie’s Café, a popular local breakfast/lunch spot not unlike most of the diners you’ve probably been to. Our regular waitress Karen has our usuals memorized, as does the cook. It’s an experience I hope the girls never forget.Tuesdays and Thursdays are drive-through days. On Tuesdays, we drive through Dunkin Donuts and on Thursdays we drive through Starbucks. In this post, I’m going to compare my Tuesday user experience to my Thursday user experience.Both days start about the same. The three girls and I load into my Ram 1500, with 11-year-old Cali in the front. She gets the front because she’s the oldest, but she understands that comes with responsibility. Among other things, she’s responsible for ordering from the appropriate app and for food distribution once the order is received. Anyhow, as soon as we’re in the truck, I hand Cali my phone with the appropriate app already running. She confirms what each person wants and places the order as we’re driving down the road.App-wise, I have to believe both places are comparable. Cali’s a pretty tech-savvy kid and she’s never had any problem navigating either app – even when the Dunkin app was brand-new. One gripe about the Dunkin app though: It sometimes reports the wrong account balance, presumably my balance from prior to my last order, so I need to remember to refresh that each time.As for their respective menus, I’m only going to consider food items here. The Starbucks favorite in our vehicle is the bacon-gouda sandwich, which not surprisingly consists of bacon, gouda and a square slab of scrambled egg white on some sort of ciabatta roll. I once asked if I could get a different type of bread. The answer was no, because all their sandwiches are premade.At Dunkin, you’re able to customize your sandwich. Bacon, cheese and egg on a toasted bagel is the group favorite at Dunkin, but the girls get theirs with regular egg, while I get mine with egg that has minced veggies cooked in. This leads me to believe that the sandwiches are only partially premade, if at all.Order pickup at Starbucks literally only takes a matter of seconds. I identify myself at the speaker and when I get to the window, a smiley millennial hands me my order. Done. There’s just one problem. Depending on traffic, we live 10-20 minutes from the Starbucks near the girls’ school. That means it’s not unusual for our hot food to be not so hot. This seems like an easy tech fix. The app already knows where I am and it knows how long it should take me to get to the store. So it seems to me that somewhere in that process, Starbucks should be able to account for that delay.At Dunkin, it appears like they don’t put the order together until I get there. This is actually fine with me. Yes, I spend a couple of extra minutes at the window. And yes, that’s not as cool as being handed my order almost while my truck is still moving. But that also means that our hot food is always hot.In the end, the girls like Dunkin food better and that’s what matters to me. As Cali commented to me about her Dunkin sandwich, “This tastes like something my dad would make me.” And btw, my son is damned good cook.Are there any lessons for credit unions in all this? Perhaps.Starbucks was founded in 1971 and generated $22B in revenue in 2017. On the other hand, Dunkin Donuts was founded in 1950 and generated only $829M in 2016. So Starbucks proves you can make a lot of money with a mediocre product and good marketing. Maybe that’s a lesson you don’t want to learn.Look at your credit union from the member’s perspective. There’s simply no reason I should ever get a cold bacon-gouda sandwich from Starbucks. Yet, it happens all the time. One little technology tweak could fix that forever.Finally, there’s something to be said for good, old-fashioned quality and attention to service. Before Dunkin opened near us, we went to Starbucks twice a week. Based on their love for Starbucks, I thought selling the girls on Dunkin would be tough. However, once they tasted those hot, delicious sandwiches, Starbucks became the also-ran.Don’t be the also-ran.last_img read more

Q: When should your credit union start planning for possible M&A activity? A: Yesterday

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first_img 2SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Steve Comer Steve Comer, Director of the Financial Services industry at Hyland Software.For the past 13+ years, Steve has been dedicated to helping the financial services industry transform their business through … Web: www.hyland.com Details For most credit unions, industry mergers and acquisitions is more than water cooler talk. It’s an everyday topic of conversation. After all, in the first nine months of 2018, an average of 15 credit unions merged per month. Whether you are the acquired or acquirer, there are always big personnel – and personal – questions, of course. Will a larger institution absorb your smaller organization? Will your smaller organization merge with another to level up? How will staff merge? Will there be overlap? Are our business philosophies compatible? How will we manage change? Questions abound.Layer in another level of change management for IT. While merging business practices presents a challenge, it often pales when compared to merging technology. IT staff dealing with an older, outdated legacy imaging systems with poor taxonomy will face numerous challenges integrating it with a newer or similar system. If one system is still paper-based or a hybrid solution? Add a few more headaches to the mix. I sometimes think of it as two rally race teams merging. Both come in with a driver, navigator and a team of mechanics – business and IT – and a race-ready vehicle – the company’s technology solutions. How do you get those teams working together? Even though the decisions might be hard, it’s easy to decide who will drive, who will navigate and the mechanics best suited to the job. It’s another to decide which vehicle to race, especially when it might not take the fuel available from the other team.When credit unions merge, ultimately, you may have two entities coming together within entirely different core line of business applications. To be successful, they need an effective strategy to standardize technology and blend processes.  How do you do that? Plan ahead.Put together your acquisition strategy yesterdayRegardless of your credit union’s size, or whether you are buying or selling, the industry will eventually deliver the gift of M&A to your door. To better poise your organization for the transition, it’s best to plan now. Your employees and members will thank you. As will your new employees and new members.I like what Info-Pro Lender Services suggests as the best way to get started. Info-Pro is a leading provider of real estate tax tracking, flood determination services and property insurance monitoring services. They advise:Creating a strategic plan as early as possible. Make sure employee communication and training, client communication and cultural change management are top of mind. Ensuring all data is correct and up-to-date in your portfolio, and that there are no real estate tax delinquencies.Working with a third-party vendor to ensure a smooth transition with all the complicated components and moving parts. For me, that last one rings true, especially when we’re talking about core systems and how best to merge and maintain critical processes. There is no better time than now to review your stack and see how you can best prepare technology for the merger process.While you are taking another look at your core, also consider how you might evolve your content management strategy. The right content services solution will allow you to:Connect information, processes and systems Improve departmental productivity by breaking down information silos, supporting collaboration and streamlining processes Deliver critical content in context and giving employees visibility into the information they need, when they need itEmpower users with complete information to make quick and accurate decisionsOne way or another, M&A equals growth and evolution. Your core and your content services solutions should work in tandem, growing and evolving with you, so that when the time comes, technology disruption is minimized, if not eliminated.  last_img read more

Field of membership expansions can set the stage for mergers

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first_imgField of membership expansion can set a credit union up for a successful merger—or a merger can set up a credit union to expand its field of membership.One example of the former is VyStar Credit Union, Jacksonville, Florida.The $8.2 billion completed a 22-county FOM expansion in northeast to central Florida in November and then won approval from the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance and the Florida Office of Financial Regulation to serve four Georgia counties, with the goal of serving members who cross the state border regularly for work and play, Wolfburg says. The credit union’s new FOM encompasses 12 million people, about double its former base.Its expanded service area also cleared the way for VyStar CU to pursue the acquisition of Citizens State Bank, a state-chartered bank based in Perry, Florida, with more than $280 million in assets and four branches in Gainesville, Perry and Steinhatchee. The proposed merger would, in essence, “double our presence in the important market of Gainesville, where the University of Florida is located,” notes CUES member Brian E. Wolfburg, president/CEO of the credit union. “We would go from 10,000 members to 20,000 there immediately.” continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Top US surveying firms join up for e-alliance

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first_imgWould you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week.last_img

Cambridgeshire retail

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first_imgWould you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week.last_img