Energy innovations

first_imgFarmers want to do things efficiently. It makes sound business sense. Ground was ceremonially broken in Tifton, Ga., May 3 for a center to help show them how to produce and use energy more efficiently on the farm.“The Agriculture Energy Innovation Center is about innovation, development and demonstration of new systems for agriculture to develop and integrate techniques and technologies that will improve agricultural energy efficiencies,” said Craig Kvien, a UGA crop and soil sciences professor and the center’s leader. “The initiative builds on past and on-going programs.”Center partners include private farms looking to use bio-energy crops or solar technology instead of propane to produce heat and electricity for farm use, and UGA and U.S. Department of Agriculture plant breeders who develop crops that require less energy and time to grow. Wireless technology to control and monitor farm equipment will also be developed and tested at the center.Energy: Mission CriticalThe main mission of the center, Kvien said, is to find ways to create energy-saving strategies or technologies that can be applied in a real-world way on a farm.The center will be funded through a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture.The research and education activities in the initiative will take place in Georgia, said Congressman Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), who attended the groundbreaking and garnered the funding for it, but the results can be applied to other parts of the nation. “This will be the only one of its kind in the nation, but we hope the nation will benefit from its experiments,” Kingston said.Model homeThe first building on the site will be a net-zero energy farm house and lab. It will be constructed using environmentally friendly or refurbished materials. It will be positioned for the solar panels in the roof to capture the most sunlight, which will provide electrical power. Water will be heated from heat captured under the roof. The house will need only one-third of the power of a normal home of similar size. It was designed by Cadmus Design-Build. The house’s landscape will include edible plants and fruit trees.Students enrolled in the Green Technologies program at Moultrie Technical College will build the farm house, using it to learn construction techniques. Graduate students and scientists visiting the UGA Tifton campus will live in the house. It will also be open for educational tours to showcase ways to conserve and produce energy in the home.Construction for the farm house will begin early next year.last_img read more

January 15, 2004 Letters

first_imgJanuary 15, 2004 Letters Judicial Appointments With interest one notes the thought- provoking criticism of judicial appointments bespoken in a letter published in the December 15 News. Perhaps the letter writer is unaware of the salutary developments in Central Florida, wherein the governor has, among other circuit appointments, given us the first African American circuit judge in the history of Seminole County (a Columbía graduate not fitting the profile suggested by the correspondent) whose colleagues recently elected chief judge, and a skilled and widely regarded female criminal defense attorney who has spent a professional lifetime defending individuals against acts of government.No one with a mind closed to Ecclesiastes’ “time and circumstance,” by the sort of agenda depicted by the writer, would ever have appointed such independent professionals.The folks appointed were not media stars; it is unlikely that these (and other) appointments could have occurred without diligent effort by judicial nominating commissions, follow-up exhaustive investigation (including innumerable hours of personal contacts) by the governor’s general counsel and staff, as well as expected reflection by the governor.One wonders if the hundreds of hours (including those of interested private citizens) the undersigned is aware were expended in the searches culminating in these appointments, included any of the correspondent’s time. Was it Pericles who observed well over 2000 years ago that, “We do not say that a man who takes no interest in politics is a man who minds his own business; we say he has no business here at all”?T.W. Ackert Winter ParkIn response to a December 15 letter to the editor commending Gov. Jeb Bush’s judicial philosophy, I have two words: Terry Schiavo.Marc A. Falco Sarasota Setting a Precedent? Does an electric company have a legally recognized obligation pursuant to the “undertaker’s doctrine” (Restatement (Second) of Torts §324A (1965)) to maintain street lights for the benefit of streetside pedestrians? Yes, according to the Florida Supreme Court in its split December 18, 2003, decision overturning defendants “no duty” summary judgment in Clay Electric v. Johnson. Senior Justice Shaw, joined by Justices Quince, and Pariente, Anstead and Lewis (who also specially concurred), followed what reads like a modernist trend in tort law that “reasonable care is not beyond the reach of any enterprise.” Citing Weinberg v. Dinger, 5 24 A.2d 366 (N.J. 1987) . Pariente’s concurrence stresses that economic cost-benefit analysis is not traditionally employed to decide “whether to impose a duty on an entity who negligently injures a foreseeable third party.” She tempers the majority opinion by highlighting defendant’s failure to put facts bearing on “reasonable under the circumstances” in evidence, noting that where the record supports it such policy issues may be submitted to the jury. Justice Cantero (joined by Justice Wells) opines that the majority misapplies the undertaker doctrine and intolerably broadens enterprise liability beyond Florida ( Union Park Memorial v. Hutt (670 So.2d 64 (Fla. 1996) and McCain v. Florida Power (593 So.2d 500 (Fla. 1992))as well as age-old common law (H.R. Hoch v. Rensselaer Water, 719 N.E.2d 520 (N.Y. 1928), Justice Cardozo for the majority) by extending public undertakers’ duty of care beyond merely primary and immediate benefits to include secondary and incidental benefits, as well.overlooking the fact that the street was no more dangerous with a light out than if the lights had never been installed, Cantero highlights several questions the majority opinion logically leads to: do local governments have to light all streets; are negligent placement of lights or too few watts or failure to immediately replace burned out bulbs viable causes of action? The decision rationally applies to all providers of public services, which given the degree of privatized public services, encompasses a host of entities. Do cellular phone companies have an obligation to provide 911 service now that they know people are using their products as their primary means of communication? Stay tuned.Nick W. Stieglitz, Jr. Miami January 15, 2004 Regular Newslast_img read more

Why are you paying incentives?

first_img 27SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Paul Robert Paul Robert has been helping financial institutions drive their retail growth strategies for over 20 years. Paul is the Chief Executive Officer for FI Strategies, LLC, a private consulting company … Web: fi-strategies.com Details In recent years, many credit unions have implemented incentive programs as a way to motivate their employees to sell more products and services to members. I would wager my son’s college savings account that most of those credit unions are paying for the same level of production they could get with a much better understanding of basic human motivation.You may remember studying Herzberg’s theory of motivation in school. It taught there are a defined set of “motivators”: achievement, recognition, challenging work, responsibility, advancement, and personal growth. Notice what’s missing? No reference to money! Sure, money is a “hygiene” factor in Herzberg’s theory but it’s represented as part of the salary we need to survive, not motivate us to accomplish more.Most employees, including your most productive sales people, do not consider money as their primary motivator. Focusing on those other motivators listed above will allow most credit unions to realize equal or greater production from your staff … without paying a dime in incentives! Motivators like recognition from the CEO; solid, consistent coaching; and investing in employee development aren’t easy or cheap but they can have an equal or greater impact on sales production as paying a monetary incentive.I know someone who recently went rock climbing in Wyoming. Hundreds of feet up the face of a piece of granite, twelve-thousand feet in the air, with no safety net … no thanks, I’ll wait in the bar and look at your photos when you get back. Seriously, I don’t care how much incentive you’d pay me- it’s not worth it to me to put my life in danger like that. But my friend didn’t do it for any “incentive”; she was motivated by the challenge and personal growth.For some of your employees, expecting them to sell or refer is like climbing the Grand Tetons – it’s like putting their life in danger. And I don’t care how much incentive you pay, they will NOT be motivated to do it on a consistent basis. Your employees need to know why they’re doing it; they need to know how to do it; and they need to believe that their efforts will be recognized and rewarded by the credit union. A financial incentive does not need to be part of that equation.I’m not saying incentives are completely unnecessary. In fact, I believe they play a very important role if developed and deployed properly. Following are three vital components to successful incentive programs: 1) pay only for incremental performance; 2) pay for team AND individual production; and 3) pay as frequently as possible.In spite of what I said in the opening paragraph, there are some credit unions using incentives in very successful and prosperous ways. My firm would be happy to introduce you to the steps that can make them successful at your credit union. Please contact us at www.fi-strategies.com/about/contact-us.last_img read more

NAFCU-sought relief in House-passed highway bill

first_imgA multi-year transportation bill (H.R. 22) overwhelmingly approved by the House Thursday includes an amendment from House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, that advances some NAFCU-supported credit union regulatory relief measures.The transportation bill passed the House on a vote of 363-64 and is headed to a House-Senate conference, where lawmakers will seek to resolve differences between that and the Senate-passed bill.Hensarling’s amendment includes H.R. 601, the “Elimination Privacy Notice Confusion Act,” which addresses a part of NAFCU’s five-point plan for regulatory relief by clarifying that consumers will receive privacy notices after opening a new account and when their provider’s privacy policies change; this would be a change from the current requirement for annual notices. This measure was approved by the House Financial Services Committee by a vote of 57-0; it cleared the full House this April on a voice vote.The amendment from Hensarling, and included in the House-passed transportation bill, also includes H.R. 299, the “Capital Access for Small Community Financial Institutions Act”; it allows privately insured, state-chartered credit unions to apply for membership in the Federal Home Loan Bank System. The Financial Services Committee approved the bill by a vote of 56-1. The bill passed the House with a voice vote in April. continue reading » 13SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

​Italian pension fund Solidarietà Veneto to add infrastructure, real estate

first_imgItalian pension fund Solidarietà Veneto has announced plans to broaden its asset allocation to include infrastructure and real estate for the first time.Reporting on developments in the first half of this year, the €1.36bn pension fund said that because of the experience it had gained in private debt and private equity, it was now ready to further develop its alternatives investment, but also to introduce two new asset classes: infrastructure and real estate.In doing this, the fund — which covers staff of companies based in the Veneto region — said it would ideally try to “neutralise the environmental impact”.Paolo Stefan, director of the pension fund, described this approach as: “highly innovative for our country, but one that is almost normal if we look beyond the Alps”. The pension fund reported that environmental considerations were increasingly mentioned in meetings by some members. Solidarietà Veneto said that in the January-to-June period, financial markets had remained hostage to the policies and announcements of the central banks, which meant that attempting to diversify via quoted investments alone was likely to prove partially ineffective.This, it said, was the reason the pension fund had planned, in its last strategic asset allocation review, gradually to increase its allocation to alternatives.Since 2013 the fund had been leading the way in Italy in this area, it said, citing the start of its investing in private debt and private equity. Fresh sub-fund tweaks The pension fund also said it made changes to some of its sub-funds at the beginning of July, including to the asset allocation mix of the ‘Dynamic’ fund. The equity weighting for this sub-fund has been ramped up to 54% from 50%, with the bond weighting falling to 46% from 50%.“The intention is to compensate for the greater volatility arising from the increase in equities through deeper diversification and a more effective risk/return ratio, which will benefit the young people associated with this sub-fund,” the pension fund said.Meanwhile, benchmarks for the ‘Prudent’ and ‘Income’ sub-funds are changing to lengthen the bond duration, which the pension fund said should result in higher expected returns over the next few years.Solidarietà Veneto’s total assets rose to €1.36bn at the end of June from €1.26bn at the close of 2018.“The new wave of expansive monetary policies announced by the ECB and the FED has driven the performance of almost all the asset classes in the first part of 2019,” the pension fund said.The Dynamic sub-fund made a 6.09% return in the six-month period, it reported, while the Income, Prudent and Guaranteed TFR sub-funds posted returns of 3.93%, 3.59%, and 1.03% respectively.last_img read more

HydraWell Grabs UK Frame Deal

first_imgHydraWell has been awarded a frame agreement by an undisclosed supermajor to provide technology and services for plug & abandonment (P&A) and well repair operations on the UK continental shelf.HydraWell’s HydraHemera second generation high pressure Perf, Wash & Cement, PWC jetting system has been chosen as technical solution for wells that will be plugged and abandoned or for re-establishing the integrity of wells that do not have sufficient barriers. The technology can be applied in both single and multiple casings.The frame agreement is valid for three years, with two additional one-year options. The operator also has a contract option to extend the use of HydraWell’s technology to all of its operated assets worldwide.“Last year, the client in question utilised our technology on three wells. Afterwards they approached us about entering into a frame agreement. We cannot think of any better endorsement from a client. The fact that another supermajor gives us their seal of approval makes this agreement even more special,” says Mark Sørheim, CEO of HydraWell.HydraWell has developed the patented PWC technology (perforate, wash and cement) that reportedly plugs offshore wells in 2-3 days, compared to the traditional method of section milling.“The essence of our technology is to enable operators to save huge amounts of rig time as well as to reduce their HSE risk and environmental footprint from not having to bring swarf cuttings topside,” says Sørheim.HydraWell UK will manage the contract out of its office and workshop in Dyce, Aberdeen, UK.last_img read more

For mental health, bad job worse than no job

first_imgWith unemployment still high, job seekers who have been discouraged by a lack of work might be inclined to take the first opportunity they’re offered. That will help pay the bills, but it could cause other problems: A new study suggests that some jobs are so demoralizing they’re actually worse for mental health than not working at all.The findings add a new wrinkle to the large body of research showing that being out of work is associated with a greater risk of mental health problems. In the study, which followed more than 7,000 Australians over a seven-year period, unemployed people generally reported feeling calmer, happier, less depressed, and less anxious after finding work, but only if their new jobs were rewarding and manageable.“Moving from unemployment to a poor-quality job offered no mental health benefit, and in fact was more detrimental to mental health than remaining unemployed,” says the lead author of the study, Peter Butterworth, Ph.D., a senior research fellow at the Centre for Mental Health Research at the Australian National University, in Canberra. The study was published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine.Butterworth and his colleagues analyzed data from an annual survey in which participants described their mental state, their employment status, and — or those with a job — details of the working conditions that they enjoyed (or didn’t enjoy, as the case may be). The survey respondents were asked how strongly they agreed with statements such as “My job is complex and difficult” and “I worry about the future of my job.”The researchers focused on four job characteristics that are closely linked with mental health: the complexity and demands of the work, job security, compensation, and job control (i.e., the freedom to decide how best to do the job, rather than being ordered around).Unemployed people who found a job that rated well in these areas reported a substantial improvement in their mental health. By contrast, newly employed people who felt overwhelmed, insecure about their employment, underpaid, and micromanaged reported a sharp decline in their mental health, including increased symptoms of depression and anxiety. Even those who couldn’t find a job fared better. This last finding was “striking,” Butterworth says. “This runs counter to a common belief that any job offers psychological benefits for individuals over the demoralizing effects of unemployment.”Although certain types of jobs — such as working in a customer-service call center — are more likely to be downers, the working environment tends to have a greater impact on mental health than the job description itself, Butterworth adds. Managers are especially important to employee well-being, says Robert Hogan, Ph.D., an expert on personality in the workplace and a former chair of the department of psychology at the University of Tulsa. “Bad bosses will make anybody unhappy,” Hogan says. “Stress comes from bad managers.”Policy-makers should address the impact that the workplace has on mental — and not just physical — health, Butterworth says. “In the same way that we no longer accept workplaces that are physically unsafe or in which employees are exposed to dangerous or toxic substances, there could be a greater focus on ensuring a more positive psychosocial environment at work.”By Matt McMillen, CNN Health Tweet HealthLifestyle For mental health, bad job worse than no job by: – March 15, 2011 Sharing is caring! 58 Views   no discussionscenter_img Share Share Sharelast_img read more

Spurs battle back for victory

first_img Press Association Former Arsenal man Samir Nasri looked as if he was going to inflict another damaging defeat on Andre Villas-Boas’ men when he put City ahead in the first half. Despite the return of Gareth Bale, Spurs struggled to get in to the game. They lacked cohesion and spirit for most of the game, but they scored three goals in eight minutes through Clint Dempsey, Jermain Defoe and Bale to claim a famous victory which means Manchester United will win the title on Monday night if they beat strugglers Aston Villa. The early signs were good for Spurs. Amid a vibrant atmosphere in north London, Bale jinked past two defenders and fired a swirling shot which Joe Hart needed two attempts to gather. The atmosphere soon turned sour though when City opened the scoring. With just over four minutes on the clock, Carlos Tevez stretched the Spurs back four and picked out James Milner, who fed Nasri and he slotted home with a cushioned volley. Hugo Lloris had to be at his best to deny Edin Dzeko and Tevez in quick succession, but Spurs then went up the other end and thought they should have had a penalty when Michael Dawson’s header struck Gareth Barry’s arm, but referee Lee Mason waved play on. Dempsey had a golden opportunity to equalise just before the break but he headed over from Gylfi Sigurdsson’s corner. Tottenham’s push for an equaliser looked destined for failure until the 75th minute. City backed off Bale and he whipped a low teasing cross which Dempsey converted from close range. The goal lifted Tottenham’s spirits and they threw everything at City. The tactic paid off when Defoe, who had been on the pitch for just seven minutes, latched on to Lewis Holtby’s through-ball and curled a brilliant shot past Hart. A carnival atmosphere broke out inside White Hart Lane and the roof nearly came off moments later when Bale killed the game off by lifting the ball over Hart after a brilliant through-ball from Tom Huddlestone. center_img Tottenham’s Champions League hopes received a huge shot in the arm after they staged a stunning comeback to win 3-1 which left Manchester City on the brink of relinquishing their Barclays Premier League crown.last_img read more

Pardew demands flair men step up

first_img The on-loan France international will be missing with a calf problem once again as Palace arrive at St James’ Park, denying Pardew his 13-goal leading scorer. Remy’s absence at Fulham last weekend coincided with a toothless display in a 1-0 Barclays Premier League defeat, with Papiss Cisse passing up two glorious chances to end his personal drought. However, Pardew is hoping the likes of Cisse, the fit-again Hatem Ben Arfa, Luuk de Jong and Yoan Gouffran can take up the slack this time around as he contemplates a summer overhaul of his striking department with Remy only on loan from QPR. Pardew said: “It’s a major point for us because obviously Loic Remy is not our player and he has scored most of our goals, and we are struggling to score goals without him, especially since [Yohan] Cabaye left as well. “It really is a process where we are looking for somebody to step up and get the goals. “There will be no Loic this weekend, so we really need Papiss, Hatem, Luuk and Gouff to come up with the goals.” Newcastle have become increasingly dependent on Remy’s goals – the last game they won in which he did not score was at Palace on December 21 – and with the frontman likely to miss the next two at least, they need to find a solution. However, Pardew is adamant the Magpies have quality throughout their ranks. The 52-year-old said: “We are definitely not a one-man team, but he has given us a little bit of a spark. That’s what was missing at Fulham, that spark, and we need it to come from other areas. “We have some real flair in the squad. When we were on the terrific run, some of our flair players were not involved so much, like [Sylvain] Marveaux and Hatem, but now might be an opportunity for them.” Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has challenged his flair players to plug the yawning gap left in his team by Loic Remy’s injury, starting against Crystal Palace. Meanwhile, Palace manager Tony Pulis also wants his side to become “ruthless” in front of goal to secure their Premier League status. The Eagles are just three points above the relegation zone and having played more matches than Sunderland, where they drew 0-0 last weekend. Palace have managed just two goals in their last four matches and will be without striker Dwight Gayle, who picked up an ankle injury in training this week, while Morocco forward Marouane Chamakh is still troubled by his hamstring problem. Pulis accepts if the Eagles are to stay clear of being dragged back into the drop zone over their final nine games, then they need to put that statistic right. “We have to take our chances when they come along,” Pulis said at a press conference. “The two away games recently, Glenn Murray had a fantastic opportunity at Swansea to put us 2-1 ahead, and then KG [Kagisho Dikgacoi] misses a great chance at Sunderland. “They are big chances and you have to take those in the Premier League. “When they come along, you have to be really ruthless and take them. “We have got to maintain being a very hard-working team and be an organised, disciplined side but we have got to have the breaks in front of goal.” Palace midfielder Barry Bannan could be included in the squad again following illness, while defender Danny Gabbidon is another hoping to be involved after working on his match fitness. Press Associationlast_img read more

State Takes Custody of Teenager After Parents Chain Her to Bed

first_imgA teenager in southwest Florida is safe and in state custody, after using her watch to save herself from her own parents.According to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, 35-year-old Jose Samuel Gonzalez and 37-year-old Yessica Sabala Funes are each charged with cruelty toward a child.Officials say the Bonita Springs couple allegedly chained their 17-year-0ld daughter to her bed to prevent her from running away again.Responding deputies reported that the teen was left with just a bucket to use to relieve herself.Courtesy: Lee County JailHowever, she used her Apple Watch to alert one of her friends about the situation, which led to authorities responding to the scene.Luckily, the child only sustained some chain marks that did not need medical attention.Her parents were released from jail Friday evening, after each posted a $5,000 bond.The Department of Children and Families was notified of the incident and currently has custody of the child.last_img read more