States Struggle to Close Their Own Gender Pay GapsStateline News by Teresa WiltzCalifornia has the most stringent equal pay laws in the nation. But among its own workers, the state is still struggling to close the pay gap between men and women.Women who work for the state earn 79 cents for every dollar that men earn, according to a 2014 report by the California Department of Human Resources. That’s a wider gap than that faced by women who work in the private sector or for the federal government in the state.California isn’t alone. While nationwide data is not available, male state workers earn more than their female counterparts in many states, including Idaho, Maryland and Texas.An assessment last year by the online salary data firm PayScale listed the gender pay gap in public administration the fourth-highest among 21 professions and industries across the economy, with women making less than 75 percent of what men make — an average of $16,900 less. The gap in public administration trailed only finance and insurance, professional services and mining.Many cities, including Alexandria, Virginia, New Orleans and Sacramento, have spotted the gap and tried to address it, just as some states have.Late last year, the California Senate gave 10 percent raises to 71 state employees in an effort to address disparities in pay between male and female workers employed in the state Legislature.In January, lawmakers in South Carolina — where women who work for the state earn 87 percent of what men earn — introduced a bill that would guarantee equal pay for equal work and prohibit gender discrimination for private sector and state employees. In Missouri and New York, lawmakers have introduced legislation that would commission studies of wage disparities among state workers.In Minnesota, which has tried for decades to address the issue, Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton announced plans in November to grant state employees up to six weeks’ paid parental leave. The plan applies to all workers, but Edwin Hudson, deputy commissioner of the state’s management and budget office, said because women often lose wages when they take time off to care for children, it could help close the wage gap. Women in Minnesota state government earn 89 percent of men’s wages on average, up from 69 percent in 1976.In general, state jobs around the country are subject to stringent transparency rules, anti-discrimination laws and standardized pay rates. Despite these safeguards, disparities at the state level persist, though they are generally smaller than the pay gap in the private sector.Advocates for women such as Kate Nielsen, state policy analyst for the American Association of University Women (AAUW), said “occupational segregation” is partially to blame.“We need to look for ways to support women in nontraditional jobs and overcome implicit bias to make sure that women are being hired at all levels,” Nielsen said.For women to break into male-dominated fields in the state workforce, states need to step up recruitment efforts and work to ensure that entrance exams are not biased, said Ariane Hegewisch, the program director for employment and earnings at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, which focuses on policies that affect women.And once they’re on the job, women need to be protected from sexual harassment and discrimination, Hegewisch said. “Even if women get into these jobs, they may not decide to stay.”Women typically need more accommodating work arrangements, such as flex-time or telecommuting, to handle family obligations. As a result, Minnesota’s Hudson said, they often gravitate to lower-paying occupations that make it easier to meet the obligations. To close the gender gap among state workers, lawmakers need to pass flex-time legislation, Hudson said. Some jobs dictate strict schedules, but state government has to be creative, he said.“We’re going to have to be more competitive, particularly as the labor market shrinks,” Hudson said.Flurry of LegislationNationwide, women experience a persistent pay gap in the public and private sector, earning 80 percent of what men do. For women of color, the gap is even larger. At the current rate of wage growth, the AAUW projects that women will not reach pay equity with men until 2152.In the absence of legislation by the U.S. Congress, bills to address the gender pay gap have been introduced this year in at least 18 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.Typically, equal pay legislation covers both private and public sector employees, the AAUW’s Nielsen said. One exception is Louisiana, whose equal pay law protects just public sector employees, who account for 6 percent of the workforce in the state.And it seems to be effective. Women who work in Louisiana’s private sector earn 57 cents for every dollar men earn, while women working for the state earn 78 cents for every dollar their male counterparts make.Louisiana lawmakers introduced legislation this year that would amend the state’s 1950 pay protection law to include private sector employees. It also would require government contractors to verify equal pay practices.In Texas, women and minorities working for the state consistently earn less than white men — a gap that has grown over the past decade, according to data analysis by The Dallas Morning News.And in Maryland, an investigation last year by The Washington Post found that the pay gap among state employees was largest in Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s office, where men hold more senior positions and women earn 68 percent of what men earn.The wage gap among Maryland state workers “tells me that there is still some discrimination out there,” said Maryland state Sen. Susan Lee, a Democrat who sponsored a 2016 law aimed at combating the gender pay gap in the state and proposed a related bill this year. “Any kind of pay gap is not only unequal, it’s unacceptable.”State EffortsIn the 1970s and ’80s, many states made a concerted effort to tackle pay inequities between male and female government workers. They required employers in the public and private sector to pay men and women equal pay for the same work.By 1989, 20 states had implemented programs to boost the pay of lower-paid female government workers. These programs are no longer in place, but a 1994 study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and the Urban Institute found that the pay adjustments helped close the gap among state workers. Another 23 states had studied their wage gaps by the early ’90s.Today, a Minnesota commission monitors wages for state and local employees and reports on pay inequities to the Legislature every two years. According to a 2016 report by the state, an 11 percent wage gap persists among state workers largely because women are clustered at the lower end of the wage spectrum. The study found that if office, clerical and skilled craft jobs were held equally by men and women, the wage gap would decrease from 11 to 2 percent.California has several steps in place to try to prevent the wage gap between men and women. For example, the state outlines specific job classifications with corresponding pay rates for state workers, according to Joe DeAnda of the California Department of Human Resources. The state’s merit-pay system is also codified, with a specified range of pay raises. Sometimes this can work against managers seeking to remedy pay disparities. But it also means that managers can’t give male employees bigger raises, he said.Nationwide, the pay gap persists for a complex variety of reasons, from the stubbornness of the “pink collar ghetto” to “mommy tracking” to the fact that men typically occupy more senior positions in state government, equal pay advocates say.In short: Men and women continue to do different work — a phenomenon that plays out in state workforces around the country. In California, for example, the 20 percent pay gap persists partly because women work in lower-paying, clerical jobs, while men overwhelmingly work in male-dominated fields such as engineering, state police and fire departments, DeAnda says.“We’ve got more men in the higher-paying job classifications,” DeAnda said. “For the state, our job is to encourage more women to seek those higher-paying jobs.”The size of California’s pay gap has been decreasing, and DeAnda said he expects the state to continue to see improvements. But, he said, “this is a process that will take time, and perhaps require structural changes [i.e. legislation], to ultimately close the gap.”In its 2014 report, California’s Department of Human Resources recommended that state agencies step up efforts to recruit women, increase internships and job-shadowing opportunities for women, increase career development and professional training opportunities, and improve leadership development and succession planning efforts so the next generation of female workers is ready to step into upper-level positions.Closing the pay gap helps women and families to get ahead, said the AAUW’s Nielsen. And when states give female workers “a fair paycheck and a seat at the table, it means more women’s voices are represented, which means that there are more policies that will represent the population,” Nielsen said.To close the gap, states need to first do an audit, looking at pay and gender department by department, job by job, and ferret out what’s causing the inequities, said Emily Martin of the National Women’s Law Center, which advocates for legal and public policies that benefit women and families.“Only then can you close the gap,” Martin said.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmail
The Band’s The Last Waltz is arguably one of the greatest recognizable concerts and live albums of all time. On Thanksgiving day of 1976 in San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom, the group ended their tenure with an all-star cast of musicians, celebrating an enormous musical legacy with one final performance. Throughout the night, The Band hosted musical guests like Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Dr. John, Neil Young, Neil Diamond, Ringo Starr, Emmylou Harris, Joni Mitchell and so many more over the course of the night. Adding to the legacy of The Last Waltz is the accompanying concert footage, as it was captured in documentary form by the great Martin Scorsese and first released in April of 1978.Today, we’ve learned that The Last Waltz will soon be re-released as a massive box set, going deeper into The Band’s final show than ever before. Rhino Records will put out the release in a number of formats, including a remastered two-CD version, four-CD/Blu-ray Deluxe Edition and six-LP Deluxe Edition vinyl on November 11th. That will be followed by a massive four-CD/2-Blu-ray Collector’s Edition on December 9th.The initial Deluxe Edition releases will feature complete concert audio, with rehearsals and outtakes, and the vinyl version will feature 180-gram records in an ornate life-top box. These editions include songs that were not featured in the classic Last Waltz film, including “Furry Sings the Blues” with Joni Mitchell and “All Our Past Times” with Eric Clapton.Meanwhile, the limited Collector’s Edition includes the complete audio, as well as a full Blu-ray of the film and a second Blu-ray with a rare interview from Scorsese and Robbie Robertson from the 1990s. This also features a full 300-page book with Scorsese’s shooting script, and previously unseen photos from the night. Scorsese himself has penned the foreword for this collector’s item, and only 2,500 will be released worldwide.Check out the full tracklisting for The Last Waltz Collector’s Edition, below.Disc One1. “Theme From The Last Waltz” (with orchestra)2. “Up On Cripple Creek”3. “The Shape I’m In”4. “It Makes No Difference”5. “Who Do You Love” (with Ronnie Hawkins)6. “Life Is A Carnival”7. “Such A Night” (with Dr. John)8. “The Weight”9. “Down South In New Orleans” (with Bobby Charles)10. “This Wheel’s On Fire”11. “Mystery Train” (with Paul Butterfield)12. “Caldonia” (with Muddy Waters)13. “Mannish Boy” (with Muddy Waters)14. “Stagefright”Disc Two1. “Rag Mama Rag”2. “All Our Past Times” (with Eric Clapton)3. “Further On Up The Road” (with Eric Clapton)4. “Ophelia”5. “Helpless” (with Neil Young)6. “Four Strong Winds” (with Neil Young)7. “Coyote” (with Joni Mitchell)8. “Shadows And Light” (with Joni Mitchell)9. “Furry Sings The Blues” (with Joni Mitchell)10. “Acadian Driftwood”11. “Dry Your Eyes” (with Neil Diamond)12. “The W.S. Walcott Medicine Show”13. “Tura Lura Lura (That’s An Irish Lullaby)” (with Van Morrison)14. “Caravan” (with Van Morrison)Disc Three1. “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”2. “The Genetic Method/Chest Fever”3. “Baby Let Me Follow You Down” (with Bob Dylan)4. “Hazel” – with Bob Dylan5. “I Don’t Believe You (She Acts Live We Never Have Met)” (with Bob Dylan)6. “Forever Young” (with Bob Dylan)7. “Baby Let Me Follow You Down” (Reprise) (with Bob Dylan)8. “I Shall Be Released”9. Jam #110. Jam #211. “Don’t Do It”12. “Greensleeves” (From Movie Soundtrack)Disc Four: “The Last Waltz Suite”1. “The Well”2. “Evangeline” (with Emmylou Harris)3. “Out Of The Blue”4. “The Weight” (with The Staples)5. “The Last Waltz Refrain”6. Concert Rehearsal7. “King Harvest (Has Surely Come)”8. “Tura Lura Lura (That’s An Irish Lullaby)”9. “Caravan”10. “Such A Night”11. “Rag Mama Rag”12. “Mad Waltz” (Sketch track for “The Well”)13. “The Last Waltz” (Instrumental)14. “The Last Waltz (Sketch)Disc Five: Blu Ray1. “Theme From The Last Waltz” (with orchestra)2. “Up on Cripple Creek”3. “The Shape I’m In”4. “It Makes No Difference”5. “Who Do You Love” (with Ronnie Hawkins)6. “Life Is A Carnival”7. “Such A Night” (with Dr. John)8. “Down South In New Orleans” (with Bobby Charles)9. “Mystery Train” (with Paul Butterfield)10. “Mannish Boy” (with Muddy Waters)11. “Stagefright”12. “Further On Up The Road” (with Eric Clapton)13. “Ophelia”14. “Helpless” (with Neil Young)15. “Coyote” (with Joni Mitchell)16. “Dry Your Eyes” (with Neil Diamond)17. “Tura Lura Lura (That’s An Irish Lullaby)” (with Van Morrison)18. “Caravan” (with Van Morrison)19. “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”20. “Baby Let Me Follow You Down” (with Bob Dylan)21. “I Don’t Believe You (She Acts Live We Never Have Met)” (with Bob Dylan)22. “Forever Young” (with Bob Dylan)23. “Baby Let Me Follow You Down” (Reprise)24. “I Shall Be Released” (Finale)25. “The Well”26. “Evangeline” (with Emmylou Harris)27. “Out Of The Blue”28. “The Weight” (with The Staples)29. “The Last Waltz Refrain”30. “Theme From The Last Waltz”[H/T Rolling Stone]
Today, jamgrass quintet Greensky Bluegrass has released their seventh studio album, All For Money, via the band’s own label, Big Blue Zoo Records.The follow up to 2016’s Shouted, Written Down & Quoted, the new twelve-track record was recorded at Echo Mountain Recording in Asheville, NC alongside co-producers Dominic John Davis (Jack White’s longtime bassist) and Glenn Brown.From the instant you hit play, you know this Greensky record is a new thing. “Do It Alone” is brought to life with the slight feedback of an instrument being plugged into a hot amp, giving way to an ethereal swirling of energy that Paul Hoffman quickly fills with a slippery, staccato beat, and distorted, dream-like vocals that draws the listener in. Greensky’s effortless slipping back and forth between a whisper and a howl is a fan favorite weapon in their arsenal, and it never fails to enchant. Guitarist Dave Bruzza quickly launches the second track, “Murder Of Crows,” with his nasal vocal counter point to Hoffman’s histrionics to great effect. Aided by dobro wizard Anders Beck‘s first break out moments of the new disc, the track’s frenetic pace gets the blood pumping in a way that only bluegrass can.The confidence that Greensky Bluegrass has in themselves is well earned and on full display with this new release.”What You Need” isn’t overtly braggadocios, just self sure and fearless. Having established their strength, the band allows themselves a moment of introspection with “Ashes” that showcases not only Hoffman’s talent for vulnerable lyrics, but the delicate string work the band is more than capable of.Fans love when Greensky stretches things out onstage, and “Courage For The Road” shows them ready to go that route in the studio as well. Clearly this nine-minute masterpiece, with its epic lyrical narrative and swirling solos, is destined to become a show centerpiece for decades to come. After scaling such heights on early tracks like “Collateral Damage”, “Like Reflections” could be overlooked by dazed listeners if it wasn’t for the amount of sheer heart the band gives each note. “Like Reflections” stands tall as the most entrancing Bruzza lead yet recorded by the band, and his bandmates aid in making the song an unforgettable experience.“Wish I Didn’t Know” evokes other Hoffman tunes with it’s vulnerability and echoing sincere humanity, which perfectly counterpoints the mechanical precision of Michael Arlen Bont‘s deft banjo fretwork. Never a band to shy away from the darkness that lies within us all, Greensky gets scary with “It’s Not Mine Anymore.” The track’s soaring fills from Beck and the distorted, overlapping vocals, brings a nightmare element to the song, which lasts with the listener long after the last note fades. Luckily for the easily scared, Hoffman has a perfectly conceived and presented ode to the feeling we feel when in the presence of the one who lights your life, and the fear we feel when we have to part to wash away the lingering doubt.The album’s title track “All For Money” feeds off the quickened heartbeat that bassist Mike Devol imbues it with, to ask a rather poignant philosophical question, “Why do we do the things we do?” Over its nearly eight-minute run time, the band posits the fact that life is better when we do things for personal growth not financial gain. It’s a remarkably astute observation and one that is clearly born from the success that Greensky has achieved.All For Money is a significant step forward for Greensky Bluegrass. The sheer advancement in every facet of their collective whole, including string work, lyrical thought, vocal presence, and sonic diversity, is astounding and inspiring. Greensky Bluegrass hasn’t just created an album to be proud of, they’ve charted a path to success through hard work, dedication, and inspiration that all bands would do well to follow.Greensky Bluegrass – ‘All For Money’ All For Money Tracklisting: 1. Do It Alone2. Murder of Crows3. What You Need4. Ashes5. Courage for the Road6. Collateral Damage7. Like Reflections8. Cathedral Eyes9. Wish I Didn’t Know10. It’s Not Mine Anymore11. Do Harm12. All For MoneyView TracklistingFans across the country have the remainder of January and the first week into February to catch the band on their winter tour, before they begin their presumable spring and summer concert runs, which will include stops at High Sierra and Telluride Bluegrass Festivals. Fans can click here for tickets to the band’s upcoming shows.Greensky Bluegrass 2019 Winter Tour Dates:January 18 – St. Louis, MO – The Pageant *January 19 – Atlanta, GA – Tabernacle *January 22 – St. Petersburg, FL – Jannus Landing Terrace ^January 23 – Charleston, SC – Charleston Music Hall ^January 24 – Knoxville, TN – The Mill & Mine ^January 25 – Raleigh, NC – The Ritz ^January 26 – Charlotte, NC – The Fillmore Charlotte ^January 27 – Charleston, WV – Mountain StageJanuary 29 – Portland, ME – State Theatre #January 30 – Boston, MA – House of Blues #January 31 – Jim Thorpe, PA – Penn’s PeakFebruary 1 – Washington, DC – The Anthem #February 2 – Washington DC – The Anthem #February 5 – Cleveland, OH – House of Blues #February 6 – Columbus, OH – Express Live! #February 7 – Pittsburgh, PA – Stage AE #February 8 – Detroit, MI – The Fillmore DetroitFebruary 9 – Detroit, MI – The Fillmore Detroit*w/ Circles Around the Sun#w/ Billy Strings^Cris Jacobs BandView All Tour Dates
On Sunday, Feb. 22, Saint Mary’s sophomore and student government association (SGA) sustainability chair, Mikhala Kaseweter, held a viewing to watch Greenpeace USA executive director Annie Leonard host a live streaming party. During the live stream, Leonard expanded upon reasons why we must prevent Shell from drilling in the Arctic and how we can stop this from happening.Caitlyn Jordan According to their website, Greenpeace USA is the leading independent campaigning organization that uses peaceful protest and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and to promote solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future.Leonard kicked off the live stream by describing her experience on her voyage to the Arctic and detailing the unspeakable beauty and complex ecosystem of the vast region.“Just from the natural perspective, it is a gorgeous place,” Leonard said. “It is the air conditioner of the planet. The melting of the ice caps not only threatens habitats and releases the major fossil fuel, methane, into the atmosphere, but it also opens up space for oil companies to drill.”The major oil company, Shell, plans on obtaining permission from the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Obama Administration to begin drilling for oil in the Arctic this summer. However, Leonard explained that the stakes for this are extremely high.“The Arctic is treacherous and dangerous place in general, let alone a difficult place to drill for oil,” she said. “The government has estimated that there will be a 75 percent chance of an oil spill. The effects of the British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico would be minuscule compared to an oil spill in the Arctic.”Leonard also brings to attention that Shell has attempted drilling in the Arctic before, referring to “The New York Times” article published on Dec. 30, “The Wreck of the Kulluk.” According to Leonard, the article emphasizes that The Kulluk, Shell’s previous oil rig, could not handle the arctic conditions and ran aground, putting the entire crew and the surrounding ecosystem in imminent danger.“I always get asked, ‘What can we do to stop the drilling?’ The reality is that science and economics are on our side,” Leonard said. “It is looking like the government is going to give Shell the green light to drill. We must turn the volume up on this issue.”Leonard continued her live stream by noting that drilling in the Arctic is a worldwide issue, sharing that her colleagues in Germany have noticed that every single politician in Germany agrees that climate change is one of the most crucial issues of today’s world. For example, in October of 2014 in Copenhagen, Denmark, the 40th session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was held, she said. One result of this session was an agreement among nations that the Earth’s climate cannot raise more than 2 degrees Celsius or there will be drastic consequences. According to the IPCC, among the many circumstances that must be abided to achieve this, one is that the Arctic must remain untouched by fossil fuel companies, she said.“People ask me if it’s hard [to be an activist]. I say it would be hard not to — to just sit by and not do anything to save the planet,” Leonard said. “We can never compete with Shell on the money front, but we have more people. Our next move is happening from March 16-20, and we are aiming to get over 10,000 people calling the White House. We want you all to call the White House. We are going to bombard the White House with calls to save the Arctic.”At the end of the viewing, Leonard held a question and answer session.Upon being asked by Kaseweter, who is also a member of Greenpeace USA, whether other organizations have united to help protect the Arctic, Leonard responded that others are indeed working towards this goal.“…however, Greenpeace does have some unique tools that they bring to the table — we actually own ships we bring into the arctic,” she said.Kaseweter said it is important to recognize the issues that the earth faces.“I care about the environment and I believe in civil obedience even in this Democratic government today,” Kaseweter said.Kaseweter said she put this viewing together because it was “Annie Leonard and GreenPeace coming together, my two loves. And I also cannot wait to call the White House.” According to Greenpeace’s website, the very latest news on the subject is that the Obama Administration has proposed ideas to expand the protections of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; however, the U.S. Department of Interior has also proposed its new drilling plan for 2017-2022, which includes Arctic drilling. Tags: Ann Leonard, Climate change, drilling in the arctic, Greenpeace, Greenpeace USA, Mikhala Kaseweter, news, obama administration, Shell, U.S. department of interior
3. She Can Hit the Field if Need BeWe know Idina Menzel can do it all, from defying gravity to conjuring ice storms. Let’s just throw NFL player into the mix. If something happens to Perry’s beloved Wilson, Menzel could absolutely step in as quarterback. Here she is with Access Hollywood’s Kit Hoover showing us how it’s done. Hut, hut, ah-ah-ah-ah-ahh! 1. She Might Pee Her PantsMenzel spoke with The Buzzer’s Andy Nesbitt, who called her out on her tendency to break character. Menzel brushed aside the prospect of laughing in the middle of her big televised performance, but then suddenly quipped, “What if I peed in my pants?” Uh, please don’t, girl. Oh, and if you’re one to gamble on the national anthem, it looks like 2:04 is the magic number. But don’t quote us on that. Star Files 4. She Doesn’t Know About BallsMenzel is spectacular at many things, including playing quarterback. Probably. But let it be known: Idina Menzel is no ball weight expert. When chatting with The Today Show’s Savannah Guthrie about Tom Brady and #Deflategate (this doesn’t feel like the site to go into any further detail than that), Menzel admitted, “I’ve given it much thought, actually. And I’ve decided that I’m not really qualified to comment on the weight of anyone’s balls.” That’s fine—just stick to belting your face off and looking fierce in blazers. 2. She & Katy Perry Are Both the 12th ManBoth Menzel and Perry have announced that they are rooting for the Seahawks this Sunday. Perry’s decision is rooted in her text message communiucation with quarterback Russell Wilson, while Menzel admitted that she’s cheering for Seattle “because I’m a New Yorker and I cannot in good faith root for the Patriots.” Whatever the reason, we have no doubt the two will contribute to another Guiness World Record-breaking crowd. Have you heard them belt? Or roar? Idina Menzel Look out: A supernova is heading to the Super Bowl! Idina Menzel will sing the national anthem at the big game on February 1—the latest in a string of major television appearances for the Tony winner. “It’s the pinnacle. It’s the milestone in my career,” she told the Associated Press. The If/Then star is in Arizona gearing up for the big day, and we’ve already learned a lot from her many press appearances. “I love to perform live,” she said, and rest assured: There will be no lip syncing for Menzel on the big day. Here are some of the very important factoids we’ve gathered recently as we prepare for the Menzel’s performance. Er, the big game. Well, mainly her performance. View Comments 5. She’s Running This Damn ShowMake no mistake. Sure, the game itself is between the Seahawks and the Patriots. Yes, Katy Perry is performing at halftime (with Missy Elliott?!). But we know the real reason our readers are tuning in: to watch what is merely the latest step in Idina Menzel’s mission to take over the world, one major televised event at a time.
“It takes individual, family and community action to change these practices,” Gibson said. “Each person taking baby steps will add up. If every parent waiting in line to pick up their children turns their car off, it helps.” For more information on EPA’s National Idle-Reduction Campaign, visit their website at http://epa.gov/cleanschoolbus/antiidling.htm .To calculate the savings from not idling, check out the calculator at www.epa.gov/cleanschoolbus/idle_fuel_calc.htm . Schools can take simple steps to reduce risks and save money. “Today’s bus engines don’t need to be warmed up for long periods of time,” Turner said. “They should be warmed for less than five minutes.”Idling wastes fuelAccording to an idling calculator on the EPA website, reducing idling to just 10 minutes a year saves 300 gallons of gas. Turner estimates reducing the warm-up time for just 20 buses will save more than $1,200 per year.Changing policies isn’t easy, Gibson said. But, she offers these suggestions to get the discussion going at local schools.Look at the EPA’s National Idle-Reduction Campaign website and learn the facts. “Once people know the facts, they can start a movement in the community or the school’s parent organizations to show the risks and benefits if the practices are changed,” she said. Take the ‘walking bus’Start a “walking school bus” in your neighborhood. “If your neighborhood has adequate sidewalks to the school, a walking school bus is an excellent idea,” Gibson said. The idea is to arrange a group of parents who walk to school and pick children up along the route. “The kids are escorted to school safely by adults,” she said. “They benefit from the exercise, no fuel is used and no emissions are put into the air.”Gibson also said this concept builds community among parents and children.Some parents say they choose carpooling over buses because they are concerned about bus safety or enjoy the extra time with their children. “They get both of those benefits in the walking bus, too,” she said.Make these changesAmerican school buses travel more than 4 billion miles a year. While EPA agrees that school buses are the safest way to transport children to and from school, the agency offers these suggestions to school systems to reduce the impact of buses on the environment: The sign in front of Fulton Science Academy Middle School is clear: “No Idling. Little lungs at work.”As cars line up to drop children off at the Alpharetta, Ga., school, the rule is strictly enforced. Monitors walk along the carpool line and tap on windows to remind drivers to turn off their engines. Dispelling the myth“You can sit and idle in a carpool line for 30 minutes,” said Sharon Gibson, a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension specialist and director of the Children, Youth and Families at Risk – Sustainable Communities Project. “There is a myth out there that it’s cheaper to keep your car running and it’s better for your car. It’s a total myth.”According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, idling uses more gas than turning your engine off and restarting it. “Idling your car for 30 minutes in a carpool line causes more wear-and-tear on your engine that driving the same amount of time at low speed,” Gibson said.Saves money and the environmentThere are even bigger savings when it comes to school buses. The EPA warns that idling buses increase air pollution, cause wear-and-tear in bus engines and waste gas and money. “A line of idling school buses doesn’t just pollute the air around the buses,” said Pamela Turner, a UGA Extension housing specialist. “They also pollute the air in the bus and can emit particulates that can enter the school, reducing the air quality inside, too.” Asthmatic children suffer mostAccording to Gibson and Turner, pollution from idling buses is particularly problematic for children with chronic respiratory problems like asthma.“Diesel exhaust has particulate matter that can cause health risks,” Turner said. “Thousands of them can fit on the period at the end of this sentence. They easily pass through the nose and cause real problems for children.”Most at risk, they said, are those who have existing heart, lung or respiratory problems. The particulates are most dangerous to children and the elderly. Polluted air drifts into schools“And, where do we idle?” Gibson asked. “In front of schools.”The particles can even contribute to creating more haze. “Idling buses aren’t just a health risk, they’re an environmental risk and can cause long-term damage,” she said. Use cleaner fuels.Upgrade bus engines to reduce emissions.Replace older buses with less polluting buses.
Battery Firm Sonnen Gets Big Cash Infusion From Shell FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:FRANKFURT—German solar battery maker sonnen has secured 60 million euros ($71 million) in funds from Shell Ventures and existing shareholders to expand at home and abroad. Shell Ventures, a unit of the Anglo-Dutch oil major that has been boosting its investments in solar and other renewables, was a lead investor in the latest funding round, sonnen Chief executive Christoph Ostermann told Reuters. “With this money, we can get started on important investment plans, especially in the United States and Australia,” he said, adding that existing shareholders also contributed extra cash.“We also want to invest in broadening our sonnen community and our virtual power plant (VPP), and expand our offering of grid-related services,” the sonnen CEO said, adding that the firm aimed to turn a profit in Germany in two years.The company provides battery storage systems to households with rooftop solar panels and links up home-produced electricity to other solar users in Germany, Europe’s biggest solar market. The company — which also operates in Italy, France, Australia, Austria, Britain and the United States — provides hardware and software to customers seeking more independence from power markets dominated by big utilities generating most of their electricity from fossil fuels.So far, sonnen has sold 30,000 batteries worldwide with combined capacity for 210 megawatts. This only equates to a small fossil-fuel power plant but it has potential to expand as storage becomes cheaper and generation becomes less centralized.In 2016, sonnen received 76 million euros from investors, including China’s Envision. Other sonnen investors include Germany’s eCapital and MVP, Dutch firm SET Ventures, Czech company Inven Capital, and GE Ventures, a unit of U.S. firm General Electric.More: German Solar Battery Maker Sonnen Secures Shell Cash to Expand
By Dialogo July 30, 2012 LONDON – Here’s what you might have missed from this past weekend’s action in London: Colombian cyclist Rigoberto Urán: The 25-year-old native of Urrao became the 12th Colombian to medal all-time at the Olympics when he took second in the 249.5 kilometer road cycling race behind Alexander Vinokourov of Kazakhstan. Urán and Vinokourov broke away from the pack, setting the stage for a fantastic finish. As the two neared the finished line, Vinokourov pulled away in the final 200 meters to take the gold. “I didn’t lose my concentration. We’d done the last 10 kilometers at full speed,” Urán told reporters. “I looked to my right and suddenly Alexander took off. I didn’t have anything left for a sprint. It was a very long day.” Honduran men’s soccer team: Jerry Bengtson’s goal off a header seven minutes into the match lifted his team to a huge, 1-0 win over Spain in Group D play that knocked the Spaniards out of medal contention. Bengtson also scored both of Honduras’ goals in a 2-2 draw against Morocco to open the Olympics. Honduras can advance to the quarterfinals by tying Japan in its final game of pool play. Brazil’s men’s basketball team: Leandro Barbosa scored 16 points to power his team to a 75-71 win over Australia in the first game of pool play for both teams. After Brazil led by 11 points in the third quarter, Australia pulled to within 73-31 with five seconds left, but Brazilian captain Marcelinho Huertas made two free throws with five seconds left to secure the win. Huertas finished with 15 points. Here’s what you should keep an eye on July 31: Men’s volleyball: Brazil, which opened pool play with a 3-0 win over Tunisia on July 29, looks to remain undefeated in Group B against Russia. Women’s field hockey: Argentina looks to improve to 2-0 in Group B when it faces the United States. Argentina opened group play with a 7-1 win over South Africa on July 29. Women’s soccer: Colombia looks for its first win in its final game in pool play when it faces France. Colombia fell to North Korea and the United States in its first two matches.
Do a quick Google search for credit unions in your hometown. Notice the signs for businesses as you drive to and from work that offer loans. Quickly you’ll notice that your financial institution is not the only choice for consumers in your marketplace.Differentiation is key. Your bank or credit union must give consumers a reason to choose you over the competition. Otherwise, you risk slipping from a valued brand to just another commodity amongst a cacophony of other unremarkable choices.When working with banks and credit unions on branding plans, one of the key questions we like to ask goes something like this: “What is the one thing that only your financial institution can provide to consumers?” This is also sometimes referred to as a value proposition.When answered honestly, it’s is a difficult and soul-searching exercise. I say “honestly” because too many financial institution executives tend to default to the all-to-easy “it’s our people” or “it’s our service” answers. While you probably do have terrific employees and a great selection of services, guess what? Every other financial services provider in your marketplace is saying the same thing. Friendly employees and product/service selection are no longer valid marketplace differentiators. They cannot support a brand, let alone make it different/valuable enough for consumers to choose you. continue reading » 8SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
Jan 23, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – Canadian officials are investigating the possibility of an avian influenza outbreak at a turkey farm in British Columbia (BC), a day after animal health officials in Bangladesh reported the H5N1 virus struck three more sites.The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) imposed a 3-km quarantine around a turkey producer in Abbotsford where avian influenza antibodies were found in some 12-week-old birds, the Canadian Press (CP) reported today. Calvin Bruekelman, spokesman for the BC Poultry Association, told the CP that the farm has 50,000 turkeysMonika Mazur, a spokeswoman for the CFIA, told the CP today that initial testing performed at a laboratory in BC suggest an H5 virus, but further testing is under way at the CFIA’s facility in Winnipeg to determine the strain.Ray Nickel, the poultry association’s president, speculated that the strain might be low-pathogenic, because of the low mortality seen among the birds at the farm, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported today.The area of southwestern BC where the farm is located, called Fraser River Valley, experienced a large outbreak of highly pathogenic H7N3 avian influenza in March 2004, which affected as many as 40 commercial farms and led to the culling of 17 million birds, according to previous reports.Elsewhere, veterinary officials in Bangladesh yesterday reported three more H5N1 outbreaks, including a commercial farm near the country’s capital, Dhaka, according to a report from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).The outbreak on the farm near Dhaka started Jan 7 and killed 112 of 5,341 poultry, the OIE report said. The remaining birds were culled to control the spread of the virus.Authorities reported another outbreak that began on Jan 11 and struck backyard birds in a village in Rajshahi division in the northwestern part of the country near the border with India, killing 11 of 736 susceptible birds, the OIE reported. Animal health workers destroyed the rest of the flock.Another outbreak at a commercial poultry farm, this time in Chittagong division in the southernmost area of Bangladesh, began on Jan 15, killing 80 of 1,800 birds, the OIE report said. The remaining birds were destroyed.Bangladesh has had several outbreaks since October, when the virus reemerged in late September 2008 after a 4-month lull. Two states in western India that share borders with Bangladesh—Assam and West Bengal—have also battled recent H5N1 outbreaks.See also:Apr 5, 2004, CIDRAP News story “Canada to kill 19 million poultry to stop avian flu”Jan 22 OIE report