Essex Junction woman wins Ralph Nading Hill writing contest

first_imgJane C Graiko of Essex Junction, Vermont, is the winner of the 2010 Ralph Nading Hill, Jr. Literary Prize awarded annually by Green Mountain Power and Vermont Life magazine.Graiko’s winning story, titled “Heart Sounds,” is a first person account of a woman in a coma, struggling to understand her situation through brief periods of perception. “My head throbs, neck aches, toes tingle. My fingers feel solid and unbending like lower branches on a 60-year-old oak. Bits and pieces of conversations float around me and I discern that I — builder of rock walls, planter of vegetable gardens, and gatherer of winter’s wood — have for days or weeks been considered touch and go. But what did I touch and where did I go?”The reader slowly learns what has happened through her confused memories of a car, a deer and walking in the woods, with a disastrous result.Mary Hegarty Nowlan, one of the judges and editor of Vermont Life, commented, “Ms. Graiko’s submission was selected as the winner because it was a very moving tale not only of a woman’s struggle to emerge from a coma, but ultimately of the love between a grandmother and granddaughter. Ms. Graiko’s creative approach to telling her story caught the attention of all the judges.”At the University of Vermont, where she has worked since 1986, Graiko coordinates an academic-based scholarship program for first generation college students with limited financial resources. She has been writing since age 10 and has extensive non-fiction credits, but this is her first published fiction. Graiko began her career as a reporter for the Syracuse Post Standard and also worked for Stone & Webster, writing newsletters and press releases. Graiko began her life in Rhode Island, but has lived in Vermont longer than any other place.”Heart Sounds” appears in the fall issue of Vermont Life, which is now available in bookstores and on newsstands.Graiko will receive a $1,500 prize for the short story. The literary prize is named for the late Ralph Nading Hill, Jr., a Vermont historian and writer and long-time member of Green Mountain Power’s Board of Directors.This is the 21st year that the Ralph Nading Hill Literary Prize has encouraged writers in Vermont and it is now considered by Vermont writers to be one of the state’s premier literary prizes. Entries may include essays, short stories and poetry.The selection was made by an independent panel of judges: Mary Hegarty Nowlan, editor of Vermont Life; Tom Slayton, past editor of Vermont Life; Tony Marro, retired executive editor of Newsday; Alison Freeland, a 1994 winner of the Ralph Nading Hill, Jr., award for her story, “Shadbush”; Brian Vachon, retired vice president of communications at National Life of Vermont and a former Vermont Life editor; and Steve Terry, retired Green Mountain Power senior executive.The deadline for entries for this year’s contest is November 15, 2010. The contest is open to all Vermont residents, including seasonal residents and college students enrolled in Vermont colleges. Entrants may be amateur or professional writers. The focus of the work must be “Vermont — Its People, the Place, Its History or Its Values.” Entries must be unpublished and less than 1,500 words long. Staff of Vermont Life or Green Mountain Power and previous winners are ineligible. Send entries to the Corporate Relations Department of Green Mountain Power, 163 Acorn Lane, Colchester, VT 05446.Source: GMP. 9.19.2010last_img read more

Headlines: October 2012

first_imgCows with a Sweet Tooth: Mayfield, Ky. The price of corn is too high for many farmers. To combat the cost, Joseph Watson of United Livestock Commodities has decided to feed his 1,400 cattle chocolate in an effort to help them gain weight. Watson gets second-hand candy at a discounted rate and gives it to the animals with a nutrient mix. In related news, the price of chocolate milk has suddenly decreased.Virginia Asks for Acorns: Richmond, Va. Good people of the Commonwealth, your Department of Forestry needs a favor. Officials are asking residents around Virginia to collect acorns in an effort to preserve native trees. Early October is an optimal time to the pick up ‘corns of the 11 needed species, including Allegheny Chinkapin, White Oak, Northern Red Oak, and Chinese Walnut. Requests of those willing to help include not storing the acorns in plastic bags and not storing the same species together. Collected acorns can be dropped off at the nearest DOF office.Supersized South: Jackson, Miss. The South continued its dominance in the waistline wars. When the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released its state rankings for the country’s highest obesity rates, Mississippi took the top spot for the sixth straight year. West Virginia, Alabama, and Kentucky also cracked the top 10.Make a Grown Man Cry: Gastonia, N.C.First the good news: no one was seriously injured when a car smashed into a tractor trailer on I-85 in late August. The bad news: the truck was carrying 43,000 pounds of beer, which spilled all over the highway.Food to Trash: Washington, D.C.Forty percent of the food in America ends up in the trash. The astounding figure was released in a late August report by the Natural Resources Defense Council that shines a light on domestic food waste. Food has now overtaken paper as the biggest occupier of our landfills. Edibles being tossed by farms, restaurants, households, manufacturers, and grocery stores adds up to $165 billion a year.Beyond the Blue RidgeRUI: Rafting Under the Influence: Fairbanks, AlaskaNext time you float down your favorite backyard river with a cooler full of suds, think of William Modene. The 32-year-old was arrested for DUI after floating down Alaska’s Chena River with a hearty buzz. Authorities responded to calls about a rafter acting intoxicated, and when they pulled Modene from his raft, his breathalizer test spiked to .313—four times the legal limit.MTB Worlds Cancelled: Alberta, CanadaThe 24-hour Mountain Bike World Championships, which was supposed to take place in mid-September, was cancelled due to an insufficient number of entrants. The race, which propelled regional hero and mountain biking endurance pioneer Chris Eatough to fame, was initially scheduled to make a debut in Canmore, Alberta. Eatough won six straight championships at the event that dates back to 1998. His just-short attempt at a seventh was documented in the gritty independent documentary Go Solo.Glacier National Park Needs a New Name: West Glacier, MontanaIs Glacier on your park bucket list? You should probably get there sooner than later. Scientists are predicting the park’s namesake could be gone by 2020 at the rate they are disappearing, thanks to climate change. The park even earned a place on Frommer’s “500 Places to See Before They Disappear.”last_img read more

Why millennials are shunning traditional financial tools

first_imgA rising number of 20-somethings don’t have credit cards, and they want a different kind of relationship with financial advisors, Kimberly PalmerMore than one-third of 18- to 29-year-olds have never had a credit card, according to a survey of 1,000 adults released last month by Thanks to the 2009 Card Act, which put strict limits on how credit cards are marketed and issued to young people, as well as the Great Recession, which seems to have made young adults more hesitant to take on debt, credit cards are no longer a wallet staple.“For college students, it’s a whole lot harder to get a credit card than it used to be,” says Matt Schulz, senior industry analyst for and U.S. News Money blogger. When he was in college 25 years ago, he recalls credit card offers all over campus. “There were tables offering Frisbees and T-shirts for signing up, and that just isn’t happening anymore because of the Credit Card Act,” he says. Now, he adds, college students stick with debit or prepaid cards instead.Those shifting credit card habits are just the beginning of what makes millennials different when it comes to money. Financial experts who work with millennials also say they’re looking for a different type of relationships with financial advisors, including more virtual communication via Skype calls or even social media. They also want to understand their investments and make sure they’re keeping fees to a minimum, which differs from the more hands-off approach favored by their parents’ generation.“Millennials are skeptical toward the financial industry. They lived through the Great Recession and are distrustful of Wall Street, but at the same time, they are engaged in their finances and want to manage their money,” says Silviya Simeonova, a senior analyst at Corporate Insight, a consulting and research firm. continue reading » 15SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

New members in minutes

first_imgA new mobile app gives consumers the opportunity to become members of USALLIANCE Financial and fund their new accounts in just minutes, transforming what has traditionally been a cumbersome process.The enrollment option, which is included as a feature of the credit union’s Apple and Android standard apps, guides prospective members to scan the barcode of their driver’s license. That simple step serves to prepopulate the enrollment application, reduces keystrokes, aids in verifying their identity, and provides key information for qualifying them for membership, notes CUES member Kristi Kenworthy, AVP/e-commerce for the $1 billion+ Rye, N.Y., credit union serving 80,000 members throughout the Northeast.The mobile enrollment process also employs GPS to compare applicants’ physical locations to the address on their driver’s license, adding another layer of security. The native app, developed in partnership with GRO Solutions, Atlanta, offers “a slick user experience with a focus on making it easy, quick, and secure,” Kenworthy says.The onboarding app is also installed on iPads used in new member enrollment at USALLIANCE Financial’s 22 branches, which creates “an opportunity for employees to provide a better member experience,” says VP/Marketing Tori Burton, also a CUES member. “They tell new members, ‘We can open your account in less than three minutes,’ and they also let members know the process is so intuitive they can open additional accounts in the future from their phones.” continue reading » 4SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

How lessons from my mom apply to your credit union

first_img 21SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Mansel Guerry Mansel Guerry is President and CEO of CU24, operator of the country’s largest credit union-owned POS and surcharge-free ATM networks, and also provides a range of other services to … Web: Details Lately, I’ve found myself thinking about my mother a bit more than usual.  Happens every year around this time.It’s funny: most of the time I spent growing up, I didn’t think my mother knew anything!  But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to realize:  the woman’s a genius!I’m sure many of you feel the same way (about your mothers, that is). And, the thing I realize more and more is that so many of the lessons I learned from my mother are directly applicable to the credit union movement; makes perfect sense since us CUSOs are like family.Here are three biggies:COUNT TO TEN BEFORE YOU SPEAKAs a kid, I thought I had all the answers and was always ready to give them. This little trick taught me not only to think before I speak, but that the first answer isn’t always the best one.  The credit union movement is going through rapid changes in this fast-paced age, and with those changes come challenges.  Though the natural inclination is to act quickly, we should be careful not to accept the first answer that comes along, but to find the one that works best for our Credit Unions and their members.HOMEWORK COMES FIRSTGrowing up, I tried pretty much anything and everything to avoid doing homework.  After all, I had friends to hang out with, TV shows to watch…heck, I’d even mow the lawn if it got me out of cracking the books.  But my mother wouldn’t have it. She knew that setting aside a couple of hours to make sure I absorbed what I’d learned at school that day, while preparing for the next day, made a huge difference. Boy, does that theory hold up today.  Our 9-5 is filled with meetings, phonecalls, emails, and the like. Taking some time “after hours” to lock in the lessons from the day and think about how to apply them to tomorrow, is invaluable.STAND UP STRAIGHTI’ve always been a pretty tall guy and I hit my growth spurt before most of my friends. As such, I slouched.  It wasn’t that I was ashamed of my height; I was merely self-conscious.  Mom made me realize that rather than embrace this special part of me, I was actually drawing negative attention to a positive attribute.  We need to stand up straight.  Ours is a movement rooted in service, based on the noble ideas of giving people an opportunity to manage, save, and have a say in their money.  During this time when our target market is clamoring for support, for a voice, and for opportunity, we must embrace who we are, proudly tout our values and beliefs, and welcome everyone into our fine, benevolent Credit Union way of life.Happy Mother’s Day!last_img read more

Govt prepares implementing regulations for omnibus bill on job creation

first_imgBahlil, however, admitted that the bill might not have any significant impact on investment this year, adding that the effects were expected to be felt next year. The government expects to attract Rp 817.2 trillion (US$55.4 billion) in investment this year.“We estimate that growth [in investment next year] could be 2 to 3 percent higher than normal growth. But, we need to adjust the data to take into account [the impacts of] COVID-19,” said Bahlil.Investment increased 12.2 percent year-on-year (yoy) in 2019, much higher than the 4.1 percent recorded in 2018.BKPM reported in late July that Rp 191.9 trillion in investment had been recorded in the second quarter of this year, 4.3 percent lower than the same period last year. Domestic investment fell 1.4 percent yoy and foreign direct investment fell 6.9 percent yoy.However, Bahlil said his office estimated the investment figures in the July-September period would be better than the figures in the April-June period.Topics : The government is trying to revise 79 prevailing laws and more than 1,200 articles with the omnibus bill. The bill, which is more than 1,000 pages long and contains 174 articles in 15 chapters, has faced backlash from labor unions, observers and NGOs that argue it will jeopardize labor rights and weaken environmental protection, among other issues.Read also: Omnibus bill could hurt labor, environmental protections: World BankLawmakers are expected to discuss issues related to the employment provisions in the bill this month to accommodate proposed revisions on wages, severance pay, layoffs and social security, among other things, that were submitted by 18 labor unions in August.The government expects the bill to address many overlapping regulations and help attract investment to support economic growth and create jobs. The government has begun preparing regulations so the omnibus bill on job creation can be implemented within a month after being passed into law, expected to be in October, an official has said.Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) head Bahlil Lahadalia said Tuesday the government had been preparing the implementing regulations for the articles in the bill that had been agreed upon by lawmakers.“We have prepared the concepts of the government regulations,” Bahlil said in a virtual presser on Tuesday. “They will only need some adjustments if there are any changes to the articles.”last_img read more

Governor Wolf Highlights Importance of Medicaid in Letter to U.S Senate Finance Committee

first_imgGovernor Wolf Highlights Importance of Medicaid in Letter to U.S Senate Finance Committee SHARE Email Facebook Twitter Healthcare,  Medicaid Expansion,  Press Release,  Public Health Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Tom Wolf responded to a request from democratic members of the United States Senate Finance Committee with feedback regarding proposals to restructure Medicaid at the federal level. In his response, Governor Wolf highlighted the importance of maintaining quality affordable healthcare for the 2.8 million Pennsylvanians who are currently enrolled in Medicaid and stressed the importance of continuing to treat the 124,000 people who accessed substance use treatment as a result of Medicaid expansion.To read his full letter, click here.“One of my first decisions as Governor was to expand Medicaid. Since that decision was made in February 2015, more than 700,000 individuals have enrolled in Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program,” said Governor Wolf. “That’s 700,000 Pennsylvanians who previously did not have access to quality care, if they had access to care at all. Total Medicaid program enrollment now tops 2.8 million Pennsylvanians. U.S. Census data shows that the commonwealth’s uninsured rate has dropped from 10.2 percent in 2010 to 6.4 percent in 2015, and state General Fund costs have been reduced by more than $500 million as a result of Medicaid expansion.”Governor Wolf also stressed the role that Medicaid plays in addressing the heroin and opioid epidemic in Pennsylvania cannot be understated.“More than 3,500 Pennsylvanians died from heroin and opioid-related overdoses in 2015 and that number is expected to rise again for 2016,” said Governor Wolf. “However, in the first year of Pennsylvania’s Medicaid expansion, almost 63,000 newly eligible Medicaid enrollees accessed drug and alcohol treatment. By the beginning of 2017, that number was closer to 124,000 people. Demands on the treatment system are growing by the day in Pennsylvania but Medicaid expansion has opened the door to treatment that otherwise would not be available, much less affordable, to those without insurance.”Any rollback of Medicaid could also be fiscally devastating to the commonwealth or force us into rationing care for Pennsylvanians.“Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services estimates that if Medicaid expansion was rolled back, the cost to the commonwealth of continuing to cover the more than 700,000 Pennsylvanians who have benefited from this initiative is somewhere in the neighborhood of $3.6 billion per year. Pennsylvania is facing a $3 billion structural deficit, which does not factor in potential shifts or reductions in federal funding for health care. A move to end federal cost sharing relative to Medicaid expansion could quite literally devastate our state from a financial perspective or force us to make impossible decisions about which Pennsylvanians are entitled to quality health care.”Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: February 16, 2017last_img read more

Property comes with an American barn-style guesthouse

first_img1049 Tallebudgera Creek RoadTHE words luxury and barnhouse don’t often go hand-in-hand, but this spectacular property in Tallebudgera Valley has put a spin on the way we see barnhouses. In a cheaper-by-the-dozen like scenario, homeowner’s and newlyweds, David and Cheryl Forbes bought a vacant block 12 years ago and decided to build a place to accommodate their big, new family. 1049 Tallebudgera Creek Road“The kids are all grown up now, the youngest is 21 but they all still talk about the fun they had in the barnhouse when they used to visit from Brisbane.”Mr Forbes said he built the barnhouse in six months and another eight months for the family home. 1049 Tallebudgera Creek Rd“The barnhouse was always a short term arrangement so when we built something a bit more stylish on the block we didn’t need so many bedrooms,” the father-of-three said.“I had always admired American barnhouses so I thought why don’t I just build one myself.“The house is a lot more contemporary, it takes advantage of the cascading block and we used as much glass as possible so we didn’t lose the amazing outlook.” 1049 Tallebudgera Creek RoadMr Forbes said the two-storey barnhouse had five bedrooms but after the family built another house on the property they modified the barnhouse. 1049 Tallebudgera Creek Rd“I had three kids, and Cheryl had two kids from our past marriages so we had five kids between us collectively and when we moved in together we both wanted our kids to enjoy staying together, so we built a barnhouse to put them in,” Mr Forbes said. More from news02:37Purchasers snap up every residence in the $40 million Siarn Palm Beach North9 hours ago02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa1 day agolast_img read more

Swiss longevity ‘massively underestimated’, Towers Watson warns

first_imgHe added that this would lead to further re-distributions of assets from active to retired members, as pension payouts that are already running cannot be adjusted in Switzerland.Zanella said the “mistake” had not revealed itself to date because good returns had helped fill pension funds’ buffers.But now, in a low interest and low-yield environment, he said there was “urgent need for action” – both from pension funds and politicians.A recent pension fund survey by Aon Hewitt found that most Swiss pension funds are still using so-called ‘period mortality tables’, where an unchanging increase in longevity is assumed.At the presentation of the study in Zurich, Marianne Frei, actuarial expert at the consultancy, said only a handful of schemes were using generation mortality tables, allowing for changes in longevity assumptions.Ljudmila Bertschi, pension fund expert at Towers Watson, urged pension funds to adjust their longevity assumptions to better reflect the make-up of their membership.She pointed out that highly qualified males, for example, which have higher pension benefits on average, also had a 20% lower mortality rate than the average Swiss male.Towers Watson argued that reducing the conversion rate and introducing flexible pension payouts would initially burden active members.It has therefore called on the government and pension funds to allow a more flexible approach to asset allocation, enabling a ‘dynamic risk budgeting’ that includes longevity risk.In addition, contributions to pension systems will have to increase to cover the gap, it said. Swiss pension funds are miscalculating their members’ longevity by almost 20 days a year, Towers Watson has warned.According to the consultancy’s calculations, Swiss longevity is increasing by 1.74 months per year – not 1.1 months, as most mortality tables currently estimate.This means a woman aged 65 in 2030, for example, might live for another 32.2 years instead of 25.3 years.Peter Zanella, head of retirement solutions at Towers Watson Zurich, said: “For the delta of almost seven years in this example, Pensionskassen do not have enough accrued assets.”last_img read more

IPE Awards: EU at risk due to ‘national egoism’, former Taoiseach warns

first_imgBruton, who spent five years as the EU ambassador to the US, called on European governments to re-discover the sense of reciprocity – “that you give a little to get a little” – and accept measures that may be detrimental for one country but benefit the Union as a whole.“That sense of reciprocity is what kept the European Union going for 50 years, and I think it’s being lost, progressively, thanks to the national selfishness, the national egoism that has been generated by the financial crisis,” he said.Asked his view on the future of the EU, he predicted a two-tier system splitting those that were part of the single currencies, and those that had stayed outside the euro.“Integration in the euro-zone is not a choice at this stage, unless one is ready to contemplate the collapse of the euro,” Bruton said.The veteran politician, who was first elected to the Dáil aged 22 and stood down as a TD in 2004, took aim at a number of European governments, notably those of Angela Merkel and David Cameron.He said the UK Conservative Party’s desire for a single market without a single set of rules was “impossible” and lamented the loss to the EU were Britain to leave the Union.However, his scorn was reserved for the German government, which he said was least likely to implement structural reforms agreed at European level, despite insisting on them for other countries.Bruton questioned the German approach to fiscal policy and argued it was nonsensical to leave the next generation “a tidy balance sheet if [the] roads are full of potholes”.“That’s not a good legacy to leave your grandchildren,” he said.“Germany is not investing in infrastructure, and if it did, that would benefit Germans, but it’d also […] benefit all over Europe as well.“And it would preserve that great German achievement, the achievement for which the Germans, I think, deserve more credit than anyone else – that great achievement, the European Union.“But without reforms, it won’t happen.”Read all the coverage from the IPE Conference & Awards in Vienna, and watch video interviews with some of its speakers Selfish governments are putting the continued survival of the European Union at risk, Ireland’s former Taoiseach John Bruton has warned, calling for a return to the cooperative approach that initially defined it.Bruton, who headed a coalition government from 1994 to 1997, also said greater integration of the euro-zone was not a choice at this point in time, but inevitable to avoid the end of the single currency.Giving the keynote address at the IPE Conference & Awards in Vienna today, Bruton told delegates they needed to be aware of the risks of climate change and said the issue would impact pension funds’ investment portfolios.“To protect that investment, pension funds have an obligation to contribute to mitigating climate change,” he said, calling for all funds to measure the environmental impact of investments and how investment activity is helping to mitigate climate risks.last_img read more