Waitrose to open first railway store

first_imgWaitrose will open its first railway-based store at London King’s Cross station, creating up to 60 new jobs.The Little Waitrose branch will feature a bake-off oven, and expects to sell hot foods such as wraps and pastries.Waitrose director of development Nigel Keen said: “This announcement underlines the flexibility of our formats today and sets out our ambition to take the Waitrose brand to new customers. The convenience sector will be integral to our growth and opening in King’s Cross Station feels like a natural step for our business as we’ve received so many letters asking us to open stores in stations.”The opening will complement the 21,000sq ft Waitrose supermarket and cookery school, which is currently being built around the station. The 3,000sq ft cookery school will form part of the 67-acre King’s Cross site.The cookery school will offer paid-for courses from ‘Bread Making for Beginners’ to ‘The Art of Michelin Star Cookery’.Waitrose also will work with Camden Council to provide a series of free sessions throughout the year for schools and other priority groups from the local area.The free sessions aim to develop the culinary skills of young people by teaching basic cooking skills. The sessions will cover nutrition, healthy eating and balanced diets.Mark Price, managing director of Waitrose, said: “As a food retailer, we have a responsibility to help educate and inspire people, not only when it comes to their weekly shop but also when it comes to creating and enjoying good food. It’s fantastic to give even more people the opportunity to develop their culinary skills.”Waitrose has been working to establish itself in the convenience travel market by opening 28 stores at Welcome Break service stations in the past five years and supplying food on the Eurostar since last year.last_img read more

Uncertain forecast for Social Security

first_imgA new study has found that the financial health of Social Security, the program that millions of Americans have relied on for decades as a crucial part of their income, has been dramatically overstated.The study compared all forecasts made by the Social Security Administration over the 80-year history of the program with its actual outcome, and found that its forecasts of the health of Social Security trust funds have become increasingly biased since 2000. Current forecasts are likely off by billions of dollars, and the program could be insolvent earlier than expected unless legislators act, the study found.The study, which appears Friday in the Journal of Economic Perspectives, was co-authored by Gary King, the Albert J. Weatherhead III University Professor at Harvard University; Konstantin Kashin, a Ph.D. student at Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science; and Samir Soneji, an assistant professor at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice.These graphs reveal errors in Social Security Administration forecasts of two indicators of the health of its trust funds — the trust fund balance (a measure of inflows into the fund, minus outflows from it) and a measure of the overall cost of the program. Forecasts in the Trustees’ Reports until about 2000 had an error rate of around zero, indicated by a horizontal line. After 2000, the forecasts indicate that the balance in the fund is too high and the cost is too low, meaning that the fund is not as healthy as their forecasts indicate. (Source: Gary King)In a second paper, published on the same day in Political Analysis, the Harvard-Dartmouth team points to antiquated, ad hoc methods for creating the forecasts as the cause for the growing bias. They suggest that otherwise laudable efforts to insulate the forecasts from political influence have resulted, somewhat ironically, in insulating the process from data that could improve their accuracy.“The bias in their forecasts results in a picture that’s rosier than it really is,” King said. “They’re not saying the system is in good health. Pretty much everybody who evaluates Social Security realizes there’s a problem … But the system is in significantly worse shape than their forecasts are indicating.“This is a major problem,” he continued. “Social Security is the single largest government program. It lifted an entire generation of elderly out of poverty, and today affects the lives of almost every American. The forecasts are essential for ensuring the solvency of the Social Security trust fund, as well for Medicare and Medicaid, which together add up to half of the entire budget of the federal government.”While forecasting the health of the Social Security trust funds has long been part of the program — each year, the administration creates forecasts that look one, five, 10, 20, and even 75 years into the future — the study conducted by the Harvard-Dartmouth team is the first by anyone inside or outside of the government to evaluate their accuracy.“It’s typically been difficult to conduct studies that evaluate forecasts, but the Social Security Administration has been around long enough that if they made a 10-year forecast a decade ago, by now we can look to see how they did,” Soneji said. “There’s tremendous scientific value in evaluating real-world forecasts that were made by people who were really trying to figure out what the future was going to be like.”What they found, King said, was that while forecasts were never perfect, they were largely unbiased for quite some time.The Social Security Administration scores all major policy proposals from both political parties, but has never reported margins of error for any. This graph shows that for their 10-year and 75-year estimates, and for the balance in the trust fund or the cost of the program, almost all the public policies the agency scored were smaller than the uncertainty in its forecasts. Only the small number of proposals scores (represented by green triangles at the bottom of the graph, below at dashed line) are statistically distinguishable from zero. This indicates that almost all of the policy scoring the Social Security Administration has done is essentially random noise rather than systematic signal. (Source: Gary King)“On average, they were about right until about 2000,” he said. “Sometimes they were too high, sometimes they were too low, but they were able to adjust quickly enough over time and remained fairly accurate.”Over the last decade and a half, however, those course corrections weren’t made, and the gap between the forecasts and reality has grown steadily. To understand just how wide that gap is, King said, it’s necessary to understand the other key role played by Social Security auditors: evaluating legislation related to the program.“For every major policy proposal that’s put forward by Democrats or Republicans, they do what’s called ‘scoring’ the proposal,” King said. “This is a tremendously valuable service, and they’re the only ones who do it. Unfortunately, because the actuaries making the forecasts do not share all their data and procedures, no one else can.”But when King, Kashin, and Soneji collected every policy score from the past several decades and compared them to the forecasting bias, the result was troubling.“Even if we assume that every one of those policy scores was 100 percent right for today, which is an unrealistically optimistic assumption, when we look at the uncertainty in their forecasts, we find it’s larger than almost all of the policy scores,” King said. “That’s hugely problematic, because it means all the policy debates about Social Security are being informed by something that’s basically random noise.”While there is benefit to Democrats and Republicans coming together to debate how best to reform the Social Security system, King said the simple step of making the data used in the forecasts public would dramatically improve them, and provide the parties with a more solid foundation upon which to have that debate.“No one else can make fully independent forecasts of Social Security because they have the data, and they don’t fully share it with anyone,” King said. “They don’t share it with government; they don’t share it with academics; they don’t even share it with other parts of the Social Security Administration. There’s no reason it needs to be kept secret … And if they were to make the data available to the scientific community, academics would fall over themselves competing to help them make better forecasts, and ultimately that would be better for absolutely everyone in the United States.”This figure plots errors in Social Security Administration short-term forecasts for female life expectancy and male life expectancy at 65 years old. On the vertical axis, zero means the forecast was correct, as it approximately was for most years until 2000. After 2000, the line falls below zero, indicating that the Social Security Administration has been substantially underestimating how long Americans will live. This error means that the trust fund will have to pay benefits longer than expected. (Source: Gary King)While the evidence points to increasing bias in the forecasts produced by the Social Security Administration, it still begs the question of why the forecasts have been skewed in one direction versus another.Ironically, King said, it may be the result of Social Security auditors doing just what the public might want them to do and insulating themselves from the contentious political questions that swirl around the program.“One thing that has happened since 2000 is that people started living longer than expected, which means people are drawing benefits longer than expected,” King said. “But in trying to hunker down and insulate themselves from the politics, they ended up insulating themselves from the data as well.”Among the keys to improving the forecasts, King said, will be bringing the forecasting process into the 21st century.“They’ve been using almost the same methods to generate these forecasts, with few important changes, since the program was instituted,” Soneji explained. “They have committees that try to set some of the parameters for their models, but there is a great deal of informality and a lot of ad hoc decisions. It is an essentially a qualitative process that could be formalized.”In the wider world, the revolution in big data, data science, and statistical methodology of the past several decades has deeply transformed how forecasts are generated, yet relatively little of that progress has been utilized by the Social Security Administration. Ideally, King said, the process should be automated where possible, with humans stepping in when they can add value. As it stands today, with many people making hundreds of informal decisions, the process is rife with procedures that social psychologists have demonstrated can lead to inadvertent biases, no matter how hard individuals try to avoid them.To avoid such problems, King said, the Social Security Administration needs to do two things: develop a formalized, replicable approach to generating forecasts that automates the process as much as possible; and work with social psychologists and other experts to ensure that, when humans do enter the process, their inherent biases are controlled as much as possible.“For example, one thing they do is forecast mortality rates by age,” King said. “We know that mortality rates are lower for a 60-year-old than an 80-year-old. But that’s just one of 200-plus parameters they have to consider in these forecasts. One person can’t remember what those 200 parameters are, much less what their relationships are, all at the same time.“The approach we have now may have been the best method decades ago. But now we have much better methods of automating, not 100 percent of the process, but far more of it. We don’t want quantitative methods to replace human decision-making; we want them to empower human efforts. Similarly, there’s no reason to add up a long column of numbers without a computer these days, but your computer isn’t going to know what column to add up without you in control.”No matter what reforms are put in place, King said, it’s important to understand that the forecasting process will never be foolproof.“The progress that’s been made in data science formalizing, and thus improving, human decision-making has been spectacular, and these developments need to get to Social Security,” King said. “The rest should be dealt with by social psychologists, who can devise procedures to take the human bias out of the process that must remain qualitative. For example, the late Harvard psychologist Richard Hackman showed that if men and women auditioned for violin spots in an orchestra from behind a curtain, men still won most of the spots. But if you took off their shoes first, so the judges couldn’t hear who had on high heels, the gender bias vanished.”Soneji explained: “The combination of modern data science, modern social psychology, and modern data sharing can vastly improve the situation.”Ultimately, however, taking steps to improve the forecasts can’t keep Social Security from becoming insolvent. The debate over how to keep the program afloat must be left to the nation’s elected representatives. But by improving the forecasting process, King said, it is possible to ensure that debate is informed by facts.“I don’t know how the politics are going to come out,” King said. “There certainly are ways to keep the system from going insolvent: You could slightly lengthen the retirement age, increase taxes on the wealthy, or increase payroll taxes. Our results don’t say which of those to choose, or even whether to choose anything. I think the politicians will do something. There have been grand compromises over Social Security over the years. When the parties sit down to negotiate, all we want is for them to have the real facts. That’s all.”last_img read more

NYPD official fired over hateful posts after internal trial

first_imgNEW YORK (AP) — The New York Police Department’s former workplace harassment czar has been fired over allegations he posted hateful messages online. Police Commissioner Dermot Shea’s decision on Wednesday to fire Deputy Inspector James Kobel came about three weeks after Kobel submitted retirement paperwork in an attempt to avoid a departmental disciplinary proceeding. At an internal disciplinary trial last month, Kobel was found to have violated multiple department rules and regulations. Kobel did not attend the trial. A message seeking comment was left with Kobel’s union. Kobel was accused of posting attacks on Black and Jewish people, women, and members of the LGBTQ community on an anonymous message board.last_img

The Most Beautiful Ditch in the East: Tips for Exploring the Linville Gorge Hiking Circuit

first_img“The Grand Canyon of the East,” North Carolina’s Linville Gorge, is located entirely in the Pisgah National Forest. This wilderness area provides a playground for all types of outdoor lovers. Sightseers and day hikers commonly visit the various deep swimming holes and gorgeous waterfalls that mark the Linville River. A wide range of trailheads allows for manageable day hikes to premier climbing routes such as Sitting Bear Rock, Table Rock and Amphitheatre. However, Linville Gorge is probably best known for its hiking circuit. Often said to have the most difficult terrain east of the Rocky Mountains, the Linville Gorge Hiking Circuit attracts visitors from all over the country.5Locals to the area cherish this wilderness gem. In fact, those who so often find themselves wandering the woods of the Linville Gorge Wilderness have earned the prestigious nickname “Gorge Rats.” My husband Joel and I spent many months together in the town of Boone – just 45 minutes from Linville. Living in the area surrounding the Linville Gorge, we put in countless hours exploring the rim of the Gorge – hiking short trails and camping on sites along the access roads. This year we sat on the edge of the Wiseman’s View scenic overlook and peered out over the enchanting wilderness. In that moment we decided it was about time we hiked down into the Gorge, camped by the side of the rushing river, and allowed ourselves to be tested by the strenuous hiking circuit.9A few months later, we loaded our packs and headed into the Linville Gorge for a three-day backpacking trip. We made several crucial preparations before leaving home that I would strongly suggest to anyone planning to hike the trails of the Linville Gorge Hiking Circuit: we researched the route, read online Linville Gorge hiking forums and purchased Phil Phelan’s guidebook, “Linville Gorge Hiking Circuit.” Not all trails on the Linville Gorge Loop are well beaten and often the blazed trail can be difficult to follow, so, it is imperative to be prepared and well equipped. In my opinion, no one should step foot into the Linville Gorge Wilderness without, at the least, a compass and topographic map.untitled11Another important preparation for hiking the Linville Gorge Wilderness is, like with any backpacking trip, to consider your water sources. For shorter hikes, you may choose to carry in your supply of drinking water. However, there are no potable water sources within the Gorge. So, if you plan to hike for an extended time, be sure to bring along a filtering system. Apart from avoiding becoming lost, another great reason to bring along a guidebook is for locating quality spots to replenish your water supply. We had been warned to avoid filtering water from the Linville River as it is polluted with farm runoff. So, we opted to filter water from the springs and streams along our hike. Phil Phelan’s guide was helpful for knowing when and where to fill up our water.7There are loads of trailheads that give you the option to hike shorter portions of the Linville Gorge Hikers Circuit. During our three-day trek we made a few mental notes of killer campsites that would be fun to hike into for an overnight trip. Babel Tower, being one of those, can be reached with a day hike from Babel Tower trailhead. However, to complete the hikers circuit, or even a modified version of it, park in the Pine Gap trailhead parking area. The Gorge Circuit begins from the middle of the parking lot on a trail that can be, at times, unrecognizable. A well-beaten trail to the southern corner of the parking lot marked with a “Linville Gorge Wilderness” sign will be the point of return for the hiker circuit.untitled2If you are up for the challenge, the Gorge will win your heart as it pushes you, wears you out and then rewards you with beauty. Those who have walked its soil before have left behind many scattered campsites, each with a small fire pit assembled from rocks found nearby. The best sites come with an incredible view and level ground to sleep on. Weekend hikers must apply for a required permit through the National Park Service.However, if you go on a weekday (like we did), not only will you not need a permit; but you might just have the whole place to yourself. During the three days we spent in the Linville Gorge Wilderness, we only saw one other couple and their dogs. It was refreshing to find ourselves secluded among the soaring mountains and rushing river.9Completing the Linville Gorge Hikers Circuit entails 16,605 ft. of elevation change and 33.93 miles of scaling several mountains, crawling up and down 70-degree inclines and crossing the rushing river. Be prepared to follow your compass, bathe in the river, be awestruck by flawless views and tango with a few copperhead snakes. Whether day hiking or thru hiking the hikers circuit, anytime spent in the Linville Gorge is a transformative experience. We like to call the seemingly magical effect this wilderness has on those who forge its trails a “gorge cleanse.” It is surly a trip you will not regret taking.In order to maintain the “magic,” the most important piece of advice I can give those planning to hike into the Gorge is, “Play your part in preserving the beauty by leaving no trace behind.”Related:last_img read more

Come for the Skiing, Stay for the Adventure

first_imgFor some, carving down Snowshoe’s signature runs from first chair to last light isn’t quite enough adventure. For others, the thrill of chasing through a snow- covered winter wonderland on tracks, wheels, or even a sleigh takes center stage. But for everyone, winter at Snowshoe offers up a slew of great adventures for goosebumps large and small. Here are a few of them:The Woods Escape Room Looking to satisfy both your thirst for speed and adrenaline and your appetite for a hearty, chef-prepared dinner? This is your ticket. Get in, buckle up, hold on tight, bon appetite! Take a heated Polaris RZR to the backcountry hut underneath a starry sky, and enjoy the peace and quiet of the Backcountry Hut with your company for an unforgettable dinner. About Snowshoe Mountain:This is Snowshoe – part pure adventure, part cushy comfort, 100% contagious happiness. Our three distinct areas all have personalities worth getting to know. With the perfect amount of vertical in all the right places. A slew of kickers, rails, and other flip-worthy features. Plenty of runs groomed with the same attention paid to top show dogs. And enough variety to keep things interesting from first chair to last. Views? Adventure? Yes! Enjoy both the scenic nature of Snowshoe’s Cheat Mountain, and the thrill of commanding a snowmobile or heated Polaris RzR through the backcountry. You’ll find several tour options available to choose from serene to white-knuckle.Coca Cola Tubing Park Sleigh RidesDashing through the snow takes real horsepower. Explore Snowshoe’s backcountry on a horse-drawn buggy or sleigh (conditions permitting). Snuggle up to this is a magical experience.Aprés Adventure Even the most hardened winter adventurers will eventually have to recharge. And at Snowshoe, you’ll have your choice between Yoga, The Spa or the Split Rock Pools. That way, you’ll be ready to do it all over again the next day.center_img If after a day of skiing the quads aren’t barking yet, head over to Silver Creek in the free shuttle to carve some turns under the moonlit sky. State-of-the-art halogen lights illuminate trails from green to black, and terrain parks from small to XXL. Can you solve the infamous riddles of the Backcountry hut? Take an exhilarating ride in a heated Polaris RzR along Cheat Mountain Ridge to the secluded Backcountry Hut. Besides a freshly prepared lunch, a cabin full of mind-twisting riddles awaits, which will test even the boldest adventure seekers.Adventure Dining Enjoy the rush of racing a high-speed inner tube down a 6-story tall tubing park. 8 Lanes of autobahn-like speed limits (or lack there-of) are guaranteed to satisfy the bravest speed demons.Silver Creek Night Skiing Off-Road and Snowmobile Tourslast_img read more

Navy Special Forces Help Honduras Form Counter Trafficking Force

first_img During a recent six-month deployment, a team of U.S. Navy Special Forces worked with Honduran troops to lay the groundwork for a Honduran Special Forces unit capable of countering illicit traffickers in and around their waterways. A team of SEALS used a comprehensive training and maintenance plan – previously used in Guatemala – to build their Navy Special Force into a strong counter-narcotic force. To select members of the newly formed Honduran Fuerza Especial Naval (FEN), the SEALS subjected 110 Honduran Sailors to a rigorous 8-week training course similar to the one used to train SEALS. Of the 110 that began the course, 45 qualified. Other U.S. Navy Special Forces members provided small boat maneuvering and maintenance training, and helped create a team of communication specialists within the FEN to serve as experts in radio technologies. This deployment included members of Naval Special Warfare Task Element-Alpha from Naval Special Warfare Unit-FOUR. The training was in support of Special Operations Command South (SOCSOUTH). By Dialogo January 30, 2013 Thanks to the feared Navy Seals for their support. Thank you brothers, maybe one day Honduras will be united again. I am an admirer of this elite group (US Navy Seals) due to their doctrine, tactics, training, high team spirit, and patriotism. They are surrounded by secrets, I would like to know much more about them, they are a mix of pure knowledge and lots of experience in the military field. I like it and I feel proud. I am a Sergeant, I belong to the FEN group in Honduras and I am proud of it. My name is Justo Naun Lanza Lugo and I want to thank the SEAL team for training me in the Caiman 001 course, better known as the FEN group in Honduras. Thank you, brothers. Hi, I feel very proud thanks to my instructors Lieutenant Patris Milin and Yino Rubio. Thanks to the other Navy Seal brothers for teaching us, someday we’ll see each other again. We’ll wait for you where we were formed in our home FEN Castilla, Honduras, Caiman. See you later. May God give you the strength for more intelligence. Thanks Navy Seal. Hi, so I feel very proud to belong to the FEN group of Honduras and I am grateful to the Navy SEALS fearsome seals for the training they have given me. Maybe someday I would like to be in the United States navy to be closer to my Navy SEAL brothers. Thank you, see you soon brother. Naval infantryman Herlin Lara Martinez well I feel proud to be a member of the special naval force and at the same time I feel proud to be a cayman skilled commando in maritime drug trafficking interdiction and ready for war and thank you to the Navy Seals for giving me this training and we’re here brother Navy Seals for anything you need thank you. I am proud to say I am trained and as I say I am proud to be cayman 06 hurrah cayman Many want to but cannot those of us who are, are here cayman Hi, friend, I’m proud to belong to the FEN group in Honduras and at the same time to have been trained by l Hi, friends, I feel proud for the training given to me by the Navy Seal brothers Hi, good evening. My name is Justo Lanza Lugo and my rank is Sergeant of the Navy in which I belonged to the Honduras FEN group and of which I feel proud to have graduated as Cayman 01 and to have graduated with the Navy Seal group of the United States. Thank you. Lieutenant Meilin, thank you instructors Ginno Rubio for all the support you gave us. I am proud of everyone, you are great instructors. Thank you and truly I would love to continue forward. Thank you, regards to all of you. See you soon. We call on the head of the Armed Forces to know why he let the Navy Special Forces be determined it didn’t have to end like this. The Navy Special Forces have to exist it is a special naval force that belongs to Honduras that is why we want the Navy Special Forces to return. So my name is Maestre Dos Justo Naun Lanzo Lugo always active Caimán 001 hoo yah CAYMAN 001 YOO HOO THANKS TO THAT GREAT TRAINING IT WAS DIFFICULT, BUT A FEW OF US WERE ABLE TO GRADUATE Hi, I hope you answer me, my admirable friend David. Do you know if the seals still train those in the Cayman? course FEN has not disappeared it still exists a group that tries to keep up that spirit and be able to get back on top as we were once and I know that with God’s help we will do itlast_img read more

A great member experience culture can first require internal healing

first_img 9SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Mark Arnold Mark Arnold is an acclaimed speaker, brand expert and strategic planner helping businesses such as credit unions and banks achieve their goals with strategic marketing insights and energized training. Mark … Web: www.markarnold.com Details After many years partnering with credit unions on improving branding and member experience programs, a number of commonalities have emerged. Amongst these is a strongly recurring theme —that in order for a credit union to truly and fully embrace a new brand and member experience program, more than likely it must first go through some internal healing.This is not to say the cultures of all credit unions pre-brand and member experience program implementation are entirely toxic or poisoned. However, experience increasingly teaches credit unions with an eye for an improved brand and a dynamic member experience program must acknowledge and address a number pre-existing communication and cultural conditions first. Consider the following:Healing Status Quo MentalityThe dictionary definition of status quo is ”the existing state of affairs.” Colloquially, the status quo represents an old foe of credit unions large and small — that of doing things a certain way because (for lack of a better reason) “that’s the way we’ve always done them.” This type of sedentary and backwards thinking will cripple your credit union in a number of ways, particularly when it comes to brand and member experience. The retail environment in which we now exist is dramatically different than that of even ten years ago. Credit unions that opt to rest on their laurels and maintain the status quo run a significant risk of backsliding and losing out to a variety of competitors. The strategic planning, initiatives, technology and brand culture that got you where you are today are unlikely to propel you to the growth and heights to which your credit union aspires tomorrow. In the current uber-competitive financial products and services retail environment, there is no such thing as stasis. You are either growing or you are shrinking. Until your credit union is prepared to deal with a status quo mentality and heal beyond it, you are unlikely to develop or launch a successful brand or member experience program.Healing Past Failed InitiativesDepending on how long certain staff members have been with your credit union, it’s likely they’ve seen the executive team trumpet a number of past initiatives including marketing campaigns, cultural realignment, sales and service training and potentially even brand efforts. If every one of your past such initiatives was a total homerun, congratulations – you’re in a minuscule minority. Most credit unions have, at some point, rolled out some kind of staff initiative only to see it dissolve for any number of reasons. Rest assured your staff, especially those with longer tenure, recall these. You can also rest assured these people will readily share stories of past shortcomings when a new initiative like brand or a member experience program is introduced. It is absolutely critical for the success of your brand or member experience program to strongly inform all staff that it has no connection to past failed initiatives and, more importantly, isn’t going away like previous programs may have. You run the risk of staff members thinking (and sharing out loud with their peers) something along the lines of “we’ve all seen this kind of thing before; the leadership team just has another cultural bee in their bonnet; if we can just ride this out for a few months it will go away like all the others, etc.” It’s dangerous enough when tenured staff share such opinions; it’s even more problematic when you allow this type of cynicism to infect the hearts and minds of less-tenured staff. In many ways, your rookies will look to the thoughts and opinions of “old-school” credit union employees for their cues on what works and what does not in your culture. If you allow the negative taint from past failed initiatives to infect your new brand or member experience program, you doom it to failure from day one. The past is the past and you must ensure all staff, regardless of tenure, understand this and approach a new brand or member experience program with open hearts and minds.Healing Interdepartmental AngstEvery retail environment has its own version of the gossip mill, internal communication challenges and cultural obstacles. Credit unions are not unique in this. In some ways, it’s the classic credit union “front line versus back office” clash. In others, there may be unresolved issues between departments and/or individuals that go back for years (think your own version of the famous Hatfield vs. McCoy Feud). Some departments may be tagged, fairly or not, with labels such as “don’t bother calling them, you’ll never get any help” or “they get away with everything so why should we bother trying.” These fractures between departments, branches and even different segments of your organizational chart must be addressed if you expect your brand or member experience program to succeed. Going into such an initiative with unresolved past issues and dissatisfaction between teammates is like jumping into a pool of sharks wearing a swimsuit made of bait fish. In other words, you’re just asking for it. Tackle these challenges head-on rather than putting your faith in a fools gold philosophy like “it will take care of itself.” Without direct intervention, existing interdepartmental angst will most certainly not take care of itself and, if allowed to fester, will begin the slow decay process of a doomed brand. In medicine, some wounds have to bleed a little in order to heal. In house renovations, sometimes termites have eaten away at so much wood that it’s better to replace it. The same principle applies to your credit union. Far better to address the root causes of interdepartmental conflict now than to let it cripple and destroy your brand and member experience program in the future.As retail entities, credit unions striving to improve their brand and member experience must heed these lessons of healing. For any brand to work externally with members, it must first (and successfully) work internally, with staff. They are the standard-bearers and keepers of your brand and member experience. Don’t allow a status quo mentality, past failed initiatives or interdepartmental angst to rot the roots of your fledgling brand or member experience program.last_img read more

At Carwiz, the long-term goals set at the beginning of the year have already been achieved

first_imgLet us remind you that not so long ago in 2017, Carwiz established itself in Croatia in a very short period of time as an equal market player and over time a leader who expanded its business to the European, African, Asian and American markets in just one year. Based on current indicators, there is no reason to doubt that global expansion and strengthening of the position will not continue in the new 2020 year.  In addition to the franchise countries in Carwiz, they also manage thirteen branches in Croatia, and in order for everything to be ideally harmonized, they take care of Ivan Ažić, Director of Development and Željko Županić, director of logistics together with colleagues who work every day to improve the service.  Dobrilović has repeatedly emphasized that all teams and employees are responsible for the growth of Carwiz, but he especially emphasizes his closest team. Sales Director Borko Ribić, who manages sales in twenty countries, advises franchise managers who care about existing franchise partners and negotiate with potential ones.   “Traveling the world and seeing my brand in almost every corner is something I had hoped for and aspired to, but achieving such global success in just one year is more than a vision of one man, for me it is a product of togetherness, a clear goal and the highest level of team motivation.”, Admits Krešimir Dobrilović.  Realized strategic goals in Carwiz rent a car, along with revenue growth and market dominance, once again showed that knowledge, perseverance and vision form the formula for success, namely the success of an incredible 55 million kilometers, which represents 1.400 laps around the planet with Carwiz vehicles. Photo: Carwiz Presence in as many as twenty countries, from Greece and Iceland, through Ireland, Turkey, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Portugal, all the way to the Baltic countries, Morocco, the Caribbean and two branches in the United States is unique success.center_img Although it is the end of the year, Carwiz is working full steam ahead, so franchise managers are negotiating with potential partners from New York, Canada and Austria, while intensive preparations are underway for appearances at international fairs in Istanbul, Berlin and the International Car Rental Show. in Las Vegas to be held in early 2020. In negotiations with potential partners from New York, Canada and Austria Caring for the image and reputation of the Carwiz brand, nurturing internal and external communication and other marketing activities in as many as twenty countries with his team is led by the director of marketing, Barbara Mrkić.  Four continents, twenty countries, more than fifty cities, over sixty branches, 55 million kilometers and 10.000 vehicles – this is the summary of last year’s Croatian rent-a-car, which successfully marketed its business model around the world. “We continuously analyze market events, set goals and raise quality, which resulted in 54% more rent compared to last year and 74% higher revenue than last year, which is why I can say that I am more than proud of my team.” Dobrilovic added. last_img read more

Governor Wolf Honored by Libre, Humane Society for Actions Taken to Increase Animal Protection

first_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitter Animal Welfare,  Press Release Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Tom Wolf joined animal advocates, legislators, and Libre for a rally on the Capitol steps to celebrate exceptional humane leaders in the commonwealth. At the rally, the governor was honored by the Humane Society of the United States with the Humane Legislative Leader Award for his steadfast support for animal issues in Pennsylvania.“I am proud of the bipartisan work that we’ve accomplished during my first term to improve Pennsylvania’s protections for animals,” said Governor Wolf. “Despite these successes, there’s still more we can do to help animals and I look forward to working with the legislature to build on the momentum we have for this critical issue.”Over the past four years, Governor Wolf signed several important laws to increase protections for animals including:• Animal Fighting Paraphernalia (2015): Made it a misdemeanor if someone knowingly owns or possesses animal fighting paraphernalia.• Animal Abuse Statute Overhaul & Libre’s Law (2017): The five key components of the legislation are improved tethering stipulations and conditions for outside dogs, added protections for horses, increased penalties for animal abuse, ensuring convicted animal abusers forfeit abused animals to a shelter, and civil immunity for veterinarians and veterinary technicians.• Animals in Distress (2018): Empowered law enforcement to take action to prevent the needless suffering of dogs and cats left unattended in cars.Because of these efforts, Pennsylvania has received national recognition by the Humane Society of the United States and the Animal Defense Fund for its marked improvements for animal protection laws. April 29, 2019center_img Governor Wolf Honored by Libre, Humane Society for Actions Taken to Increase Animal Protectionlast_img read more

The best Brisbane suburbs to invest in now for long-term growth

first_imgAndrew and Sandy Stylianou recently sold their home of 18 years at 36 Gloucester Rd, Highgate Hill, for $1.3m. Photographer: Liam KidstonMr Kalaja has another house for sale at 60 Gladstone Road, which is also expected to attract a seven figure sum.Owners Tony and Damira Shea have lived in the property for just under a decade and have seen the house’s value grow, along with their children.More from newsMould, age, not enough to stop 17 bidders fighting for this home2 hours agoBuyers ‘crazy’ not to take govt freebies, says 28-yr-old investor2 hours agoBut they’ve decided to downsize now the kids have flown the nest. This property at 91 Falkland St, Pallara, sold for $2.54m. Picture: realestate.com.auAn old house on 16,190 sqm at 91 Falkland Street, Pallara, sold 12 months ago for $2.54 million, while a proposed new four-bedroom home in a new estate called Prominence sold off the plan last month for $609,100. Tony and Damira Shea are selling their house at 60 Gladstone Rd, Highgate Hill. Photographer: Liam KidstonLOOKING for a long-term investment? Then these are the suburbs where you should park your money in property and watch it grow.There are 67 suburbs in the greater Brisbane region where the median house price has grown by more than five per cent each year for the past decade.That’s better than the four per cent average house price growth Brisbane experienced in 2016.The top suburb for long-term housing growth might come as a surprise.According to the latest CoreLogic figures, Pallara, 17km south of Brisbane’s CBD, saw 9.1 per cent growth in its median house price each year on average for the past decade.GET THE LATEST REAL ESTATE NEWS DIRECT TO YOUR INBOXThe little-known suburb is emerging as the next housing hotspot after experiencing phenomenal price growth in the past 12 months of 35.8 per cent.Prices in Pallara have gone through the roof after a recent rezoning, with the median house price now sitting at a cool $1.63 million — the second highest in greater Brisbane after Teneriffe.But you won’t find luxury homes here — not yet anyway.The majority of the sales recorded in the past year have been for proposed new builds in new housing estates or rundown established homes on large parcels of land, which developers including Stockland have snapped up for residential development.From hovel to the HamptonsTardis house — 14 rooms in this!Triple-storey haven to spread out This property at 24 Hayden St, Nudgee, is for sale. Picture: realestate.com.auA little closer to the CBD, Highgate Hill is good investment material.John Kalaja of Harcourts just sold an old brick house at 36 Gloucester Street, Highgate Hill, at auction for $1.3 million. It last sold in 1999 for $290,000. It was an emotional time for owners Andrew and Sandy Stylianou, who had loved living in home for the past 18 years, but they were happy with the sale price. This home at 7 Mitcham St, Gaythorne, has sold within a day of listing. Picture: realestate.com.auMr Smith said an investor from Abu Dhabi paid $20,000 more than the asking price for the property with the intention of keeping it as a long-term holding.He also had a call from someone in China who was keen to buy it, but missed out.“It’s a pretty popular little area,” Mr Smith said.“A lot of investors are buying and landbanking for future developments.”The suburb was also still very affordable, with a median house price of $650,000.Other suburbs which have seen above average annual price growth over the past decade, according to CoreLogic, include West End, Coopers Plains and Holland Park. This home proposed for 40 Ritchie Rd, Pallara, has sold for $609,100. Picture: realestate.com.auNudgee, 7km north of Brisbane’s CBD, has seen the second best capital growth in the past decade of 7.7 per cent annually.A beautiful four-bedroom home at 24 Hayden Street is currently for sale in the suburb, which is within walking distance to public transport and local amenities.Ray White marketing agent Dwight Colbert said the area represented great value and contemporary, architecturally designed houses like this one rarely became available. TOP 10 SUBURBS FOR LONG-TERM GROWTH1. Pallara $1.630,000 9.1%2. Nudgee $650,000 7.7%3. Highgate Hill $1,194,000 7.6%4. Gaythorne $798,500 7.4%5. West End $1,100,000 7.0%6. Coopers Plains $590,000 6.6%7. Holland Park $737,250 6.6%8. Norman Park $880,000 6.5%9. Holland Park West $685,000 6.5% 10. Robertson $1,077,500 6.5%(Source: CoreLogic) This property at 60 Gladstone Rd, Highgate Hill, is for sale. Picture: realestate.com.auHighgate Hill has experienced average price growth of 7.6 per cent each year for the past 10 years. “We weren’t really thinking about it as an investment at the time — we just thought it was a lovely, big family home,” Mr Shea said.“I think it has been a good investment but that wasn’t why we bought it.” This home at 60 Gladstone Rd, Highgate Hill, is for sale. Picture: realestate.com.auThe six-bedroom, four-bathroom colonial home is perched on a hill on a 599 sqm block, offering panoramic views of the city. “It’s a lovely old Queenslander with big high ceilings and we’ve got great views,” Mr Shea said.It’s also just 2km to the CBD, walking distance to Southbank and the University of Queensland and sits within the Brisbane State High Catchment.Highgate Hill has a median house price of $1.194 million.Gaythorne, 7km north of the CBD, has had the next best annual median house price growth in the past 10 years. Zak Smith of Raine & Horne recently sold a post-war home near the train line at 7 Mitcham Street, Gaythorne, within a day of listing it.last_img read more