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Vermont’s conservative financial ethos spares state, so far

first_imgVermont’s conservative financial ethos spares state, so farBy Kevin KelleyThe conservative financial practices of Vermont banks and of many individual Vermonters appear to have spared the state, so far, from the full impact of the financial crisis besetting much of the country.Banks doing business in Vermont have “no liquidity problem,” says state Banking Commissioner Thomas Candon.”For qualified borrowers, there’s no difficulty in obtaining credit in Vermont now.”Rather than pulling their money out of the state’s financial institutions, some Vermonters are funneling more funds into their local bank accounts, Candon notes. That can be seen as an expression of public confidence in Vermont banks’ record of prudent management.Their continued stability amid the storms buffeting many financial firms reflects most Vermont lenders’ avoidance of the subprime mortgage market. Its collapse is seen as the prime catalyst of the turmoil on Wall Street.”I’m impressed with how Vermont banks have adhered to traditional practices,” says Middlebury College economics professor Scott Pardee. “They didn’t engage in the same kind of sleaziness and excesses we’ve seen elsewhere.”Pardee is well acquainted with US banks’ performance and with financial markets generally, having worked for many years as a foreign-exchange manager at the Federal Reserve in New York prior to taking a teaching post at Middlebury in 2000.The Vermont state employees’ pension funds are also in sound condition, says Treasurer Jeb Spaulding. The three retirement funds with a combined $3 billion in assets have suffered a loss of about 8 percent of their value over the past 15 months, Spaulding notes. But he adds that they had grown by about 9 percent annually over the previous few years.A number of states have filed lawsuits against banks and other financial institutions on the grounds that some of the losses of public employees’ pension funds can be traced to malfeasance or dishonesty on the part of the money managers. Vermont has an arrangement whereby it automatically becomes a party to certain class-action suits initiated by other states, Spaulding says. But he adds that he’s unaware of Vermont having so far joined any of those actions.The pension funds that cover 40,000 current and retired state employees are “big and diversified,” Spaulding says. “I think they’re going to be fine.”He says he’s actually more concerned with the financial situation of individual Vermonters than with the state pension funds he oversees.Those who had invested substantial amounts in Lehman Brothers or AIG have already been hurt, and additional Vermonters could experience major losses in the coming weeks if other once-steady financial institutions collapse. Candon says his office has received several calls from worried Vermonters whose pensions are managed by AIG.The state is being affected by events on Wall Street in other ways as well. About half of the mortgage lenders operating in Vermont a year ago are no longer doing business in the state, Candon notes. That outgrowth of the subprime debacle is making it harder for some Vermonters to obtain mortgages, while the loss of competition could also cause rates to inch upward, Candon says.Vermont’s status as the state with the second-oldest population means that its economy could take a disproportionate hit from a steep and sustained drop in investment income, notes St Michael’s College economics professor John Karvelas.The actual effects on individual Vermonters will depend on how they have responded to the financial crisis, Spaulding says. And Pardee adds that state residents and businesses alike will probably not experience much pain if they haven’t gotten caught in the credit squeeze. Farmers, however, have long been dependent on lenders, which could cause Vermont’s agricultural sector to contract at an even more rapid rate, Pardee points out.Vermont’s entire economy will certainly suffer if the country as a whole slides into a recession. And would it likely be a long and deep downturn?Karvelas commented in mid-September that two weeks earlier “I would have said any recession would be fairly mild. Now, neither I nor anyone else has any idea of where the bottom might be.”Kevin Kelley is a freelance writer for Vermont Business Magazine from Burlington.last_img read more

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Champlain College consolidates services at Lakeside Avenue in Burlington

first_imgChamplain College,Champlain College has consolidated eight of its administrative departments under one roof at a new building located at 175 Lakeside Ave. Departments began moving into the new open office space in early February.The new three-story facility, built by REM Development of Williston, offers 36,000 square-feet of office, meeting and classroom space bringing together employees from the College’s Continuing Professional Studies, Human Resources, Campus Planning, Finance, Marketing, CRM and Graduate Admissions, Information Systems and a new Digital Forensics student lab. The Emergent Media Center, currently located at the Champlain Mill in Winooski, is slated to move to Lakeside later this year.”Our new administrative building will house more than 70 employees on the first two floors and will provide more than 270 parking spaces for staff and faculty,” explained David Provost, Champlain’s senior vice president. The move consolidates departments formerly housed at 212 Battery St. and in various buildings on campus.”The vision of this project was to create a collaborative and flexible space for more than 40 percent of our administrative staff. That vision has been realized by the completion of an open office environment that encourages dialogue and colleague collaboration,” he said.The core of the Lakeside building provides numerous closed meeting spaces ranging from private working cabins, to 10-person meeting rooms. In addition on the first floor, there are two seminar rooms for 18 people that can be converted into one large classroom for 36.The third floor of the building is currently unoccupied and will be used in the future to accommodate expansion and new programs at the College. The building was designed by Gardner Kilcoyne Architects of Winooski, Vt.Lakeside also serves as the main hub for shuttles to campus, with a heated waiting room, a 50-seat cantina/kitchen area for special events and employee lunches and breaks. The shuttle will run every 15 minutes to and from campus for staff, faculty and students who park off- campus. Security for the area, including the adjacent Gilbane parking lot used by students, has also been increased.”Providing additional off-campus parking will help ease the effect of vehicle traffic on the streets surrounding the campus and will address one of the major master plan objectives to reduce parking and cars on the Champlain College main campus,” he noted. “It is a major step forward toward our goal of a car-free campus.”The four-acre site was purchased in 2009 for $1.5 million and the total project came in at $5.5 million according to Provost. “The construction budget came in at about $100 per square foot and was completed in a third of the time it usually takes us to build a building thanks to the accelerated building schedule by Bobby Miller and his REM crews. Mr. Miller’s commitment to the College and willingness to build this building at his cost is a gift that we will forever be grateful for.””To put it into perspective,” he noted, “Champlain’s new Roger H. Perry Hall Welcome Center’s construction budget was $400 a square foot. That project, completed this past summer is located in the heart of the campus and involved extensive historical preservation and extensive energy conservation practices.”Champlain has a fiscal responsibility to carefully manage its investments, Provost said, “We were looking for ways to be frugal with the Lakeside Avenue building without shortchanging our employees, but with an overall goal of keeping our costs affordable,” Provost said.New Home for Continuing Professional StudiesThe new Lakeside building will have a major impact on the Champlain College Continuing Professional Studies programs, making it easier for prospective and current students to meet with admissions and service staff and to have the on-site facilities to meet for seminars and training sessions delivered through the Workforce Development Center.The Lakeside building, located across from the former General Dynamics facility, is located on the Pine Street CCTA bus line, offering easier access to the building along with ample parking for visitors.Champlain College has offered online courses for 20 years, and the Division of Continuing Professional Studies (CPS) now offers 30 degree and professional certificate programs entirely online to more than 700 students every semester.Additionally, recognizing that adult students are different than traditional aged undergraduate students, CPS includes an admissions staff as well as a student services staff who understand that the work/life/school balance can be elusive, and a student’s success can be directly impacted by how well those balance challenges work out.The new location in the South End of Burlington fits into the role Champlain College has played with the annual South End Art Hop sponsored by the South End Arts and Business Association. Officials expect to be able to use the new space for art exhibits and special events related to the fall arts weekend.The Lakeside facility offers a full range of flexible space, Provost noted, allowing the College to adapt to changing needs quickly and to free up classroom space on the main campus.ABOUT CHAMPLAIN COLLEGESince 1878, Champlain College has provided career-focused education to students from its hilltop campus in Burlington, Vt. Champlain’s distinctive educational approach embodies the notion that true learning only occurs when information and experience come together to create knowledge. Champlain offers traditional undergraduate and online undergraduate courses, along with eight master’s degree programs. Champlain offers study abroad programs in Montreal, Quebec and Dublin, Ireland. Champlain was named a “Top-Up-and-Coming School” by U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges. It is also ranked in the top tier of 2011 Regional Colleges in the North by U.S. News & World Report.www.champlain.edu(link is external).last_img read more

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Joan Jett & The Blackhearts Rock Eisenhower Park [Concert Review & Videos]

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Local hellraiser, 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and punk rock legend Joan Jett rocked Harry Chapin Lakeside Theatre in Nassau County’s Eisenhower Park Aug. 22, delivering a passionate, high-octane performance with The Blackhearts spanning her four-decade career as a singer, guitarist, songwriter and all-around rebel.Presented by WCBS-FM 101.1’s annual “Saturday In The Park” music series, the free concert drew an estimated 22,000 fans—with many packing the surrounding parkland atop blankets and lawn chairs or just simply dancing in place along to hit after hit. It was so crowded, in fact, that parks employees had already closed off access to the outside lakeside theater’s main section with fencing by Jett’s 7:30 p.m. start time, resulting in hundreds, if not thousands of fans rocking out to her music in adjacent fields and lots.Jett, clad in a black leather jacket and strumming her infamous signature white Gibson Melody Maker in front of her band’s giant black heart-shaped logo, kicked off the gig with a fiery “Bad Reputation” from her 1980 self-titled debut (re-issued as Bad Reputation in 1981), sparking a chorus of cheers and applause that continued throughout the night.An explosive “Cherry Bomb” was next—the supercharged bullet from Jett’s former all-female supergroup The Runaways’ self-titled 1976 debut. “Hi everybody!” she waved to the roaring audience afterward, shedding her skins. “All you out there—hey! Long Island, we’re The Blackhearts. It’s good to be here.“Need to know—I think I know the answer—but do we got any singers out there?” Jett asked, to resounding cheers. “Okie I hope so. How ’bout some dancers, we got some of them?” she inquired, again to an avalanche of applause and cheers. “Beautiful. All right, don’t be shy here. Just, show it off!” Jett shouted.“This first song’s easy, two words, that’s it,” she added as her bandmates led the audience on a call-and-response singalong “Yeah, Oh Yeah, Oh Yeah” intro to Gary Glitter’s “Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah),” included on Jett’s 1980 debut. Jett’s vocals were crisp and clear and her guitar was vicious. Dubbed “The Godmother Of Punk” by the music press, she hopped about the stage during guitar breaks, periodically strutting along its edges and smiling out at an equally boppin’ and smiling crowd. The Blackhearts—drummer Thommy Price, guitarist Dougie Needles, bassist Hal B. Selzer and Jett’s longtime songwriting and business partner, collaborator, producer and keyboardist Kenny Laguna [Thanks, reader Rob!]—absolutely killed it, playing the more-than-two-hour show with an intensity and ferocity that compelled thousands to uncontrollably stand up, dance, shake, and overall just rock out.Their set list was all-encompassing, comprised of tracks encapsulating her entire career—resurrected gems from her time with The Runaways and early solo career all the way up to her latest firebomb with The Blackhearts, 2013’s Unvarnished. There were covers as well as cult favorites—such as “Light Of Day,” a Bruce Springsteeen-penned number originally performed by Jett and Michael J. Fox with their band The Barbusters in the 1987 film of the same name—and another Runaways song, introduced by Jett as “actually the very first song I ever wrote,” the bluesy “You Drive Me Wild.” Among the aforementioned [from what I recall]: “Love Is Pain,” from 1982’s I Love Rock ’n Roll, and Unvarnished’s “TMI,” “Soulmates to Strangers,” “Any Weather,” “Fragile,” “Hard To Grow Up” and “Make It Back”—the latter song inspired by the resilience Jett witnessed among residents in her hometown of Long Beach following the devastating aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. [Check out the full crowd-sourced set list at setlist.fm.]Legions of fans across myriad age groups sang out in rabid chorus during standout favorites “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” (a cover of The Arrows’ classic that Jett made famous), the slow-burning Roman Candle “Crimson & Clover” (repossessed by Jett from Tommy James & The Shondells) and the infectious jaded-romantic anthem “I Hate Myself For Loving You” (which featured an extended call-and-response singalong with the audience).“Thank you so much Long Island for coming and hanging out with us today,” she told the roaring crowd just before ending the number. “This has really been special. Really special. We’re The Blackhearts. Thank you.”Jett closed the stellar night with Unvarnished’s “Different”—a track she performed with fellow “bad reputation” singer/twerker Miley Cyrus in May to raise money for her nonprofit The Hippie Foundation, which supports LGBT youth [Watch It Here]—Johnny O’Keefe & The Dee Jays cover “Real Wild Child (Wild One),” from 1998’s Flashback, and Sly & The Family Stone’s “Everyday People,” off her cleverly named 1983 album Album.The East Meadow, NY concert was the latest on Joan Jett & The Blackhearts’ current North American tour, tearing it up on select stops as openers for The Who. [Read A Review Of The Who Rocking Nassau Coliseum Here] Joan Jett & The Blackhearts are must-see live. This local high priestess of punk embodies all the fire, fury and attitude that defines the heart and soul of pure rock and roll. Proclaim it loud: All hail, Joan Jett!For more information about Joan Jett & The Blackhearts’ tour, merchandise and music, check out: joanjett.com.last_img read more

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Key trends in relationship banking

first_imgThe relationship between credit union and member will look very different in the coming years, says Neff Hudson, vice president of corporate development, USAA. He addressed the AXFI Conference in Minneapolis.Some of the key trends in consumer interactions, according to Hudson, include:• Personalization: Users are in control and their preferences are respected. This helps them make better decisions.• Embedded experiences: Context is king. Experiences are greater than products. Partnerships are critical in this regard.• Conversational user interfaces: Interfaces use natural language and are powered by artificial intelligence. They’re hardware-independent.Hudson rolled through some of the reasons for these trends, including: continue reading » 24SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

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Home lending drops as investors retreat from Sydney, Melbourne property markets

first_imgAn aerial image of waterfront properties in Sydney. Image: AAP/Joel Carrett.HOME buyers are heading for the exit in Sydney and Melbourne with housing finance falling for a fifth straight month, led by the cooling of Australia’s two biggest property markets. Housing finance fell 1.4 per cent in April and the value of home lending slipped 0.2 per cent, driven by another drop in investor demand, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.The value of home loans to investors slumped 15 per cent in the past year to hit its lowest level since the start of 2016. GET THE LATEST REAL ESTATE NEWS DIRECT TO YOUR INBOX HERE In Queensland, the number of new housing finance commitments fell 1.5 per cent during the month of April.But the downturn is most prominent in Sydney where house prices slid 4.2 per cent in May from a year earlier, when they were rising at an annual pace of 17 per cent. The value of home loans to investors slumped 15 per cent in the past year. Image: AAP/Lukas Coch.Housing Industry Association principal economist Tim Reardon said investor lending had fallen by more than 27 per cent since its peak in mid-2015.“The fall off in investor participation has been caused by a number of factors including tighter financial regulations and the targeting of certain loan products favoured by investors,” Mr Reardon said. HOW TO FLIP UNITS LIKE A RICHLISTER “Less investor involvement in the market is one of the reasons why we have seen a slowing in new home building and why we are expecting this slowdown to continue over in the next couple of years.” Sydney’s housing market is cooling, partly due to a drop in investor demand. Image: AAP/Dean Lewins.ANZ senior economist Daniel Gradwell said the housing market had materially softened in recent months and weaker finance was another indication of that.“New South Wales and Victoria have seen the sharpest declines, consistent with the rapid cooling in their respective housing markets in recent months,” he said.“Looking forward, tighter credit conditions are likely to continue to bite, suggesting that housing finance will remain soft for some time yet.”More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus18 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market18 hours ago BRISBANE HOUSE PRICE TIPPED TO HIT $2.2M center_img Melbourne’s housing market has seen a drop in demand among investors. Image: AAP/Sam Mooy.RateCity spokeswoman Sally Tindall said the figures were further evidence of the cooling of the Sydney and Melbourne housing markets, fuelled by the tightening of banks’ lending criteria.“APRA has been very clever in motivating the banks to improve their serviceability policies,” she said. WOULD YOU PAY $3M FOR THIS? “Findings from the Royal Commission have also had a major impact on loan application processes, with increased scrutiny on paperwork at every step in the process.”Nationally, the average home loan is $418,700 — 9 per cent higher than it was just one year ago.last_img read more

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Highlights of the Week

first_imgMTCC Wins K. Huraa Land Reclamation ContractThe Government of Maldives’ Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure today signed a contract with the Maldives Transport and Contracting Company Plc (MTCC) for the K. Huraa land reclamation project. Prins Hendrik Dike Work UnderwayJan De Nul yesterday kicked off the works for the reinforcement of the Prince Hendrik Sand Dike over a distance of 3 km. Colombo: TSHD Xin Hai Feng Rescues Drowning FishermenThe trailing suction hopper dredger (TSHD) Xin Hai Feng, owned by CHEC Dredging Co., Ltd., conducted a rescue mission in the Port City Colombo’s outer breakwater area last week. Event Celebrates the Launch of Dredging for Sustainable InfrastructureThe event comprises a conference and speaker program organized by CEDA and IADC as well as a networking area complete with exhibitors organized by Dredging Today.center_img Dredging Today brings you an overview of the most popular stories from the past week (July 23-29, 2018). PHOTO: Keel Laying Ceremony of JDN’s New TSHDKeppel Singmarine Pte. Ltd. last week held a keel-laying ceremony for the medium-sized 6,000m³ trailing suction hopper dredger which is being built for Jan De Nul Group.last_img read more

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IOG hires Petrofac for well management job in North Sea

first_imgPetrofac’s Engineering & Production Services business (EPS) has secured a well management contract for Phase 1 of Independent Oil and Gas’ (IOG) Core Project located off the UK. A week later, Subsea 7 was awarded a SURF contract by IOG for the UK North Sea development. The five-well contract scope covers the planning, execution, and closeout phases of the Phase 1 drilling programme. “The IOG drilling and subsurface teams have already established a strong working relationship with the Petrofac team in recent months and this will deepen further as Phase 1 drilling preparations ramp up“. Petrofac is intended to act as Well Operator on behalf of IOG. Extensive work has already been undertaken so far this year between the IOG and Petrofac teams under a letter of limited commitment to ensure all preparations for the 2021-22 Phase 1 drilling campaign proceed to plan. Phase 1 comprises the development and production of the Southwark, Blythe and Elgood fields in the UK Southern North Sea (SNS) through a total of five wells, with gas transported onshore via the Thames Pipeline. In an update on Monday, Petrofac said it will support IOG’s development of the Southwark, Blythe and Elgood fields. IOG’s Core Project Phase 1 was approved by UK authorities a month ago. The planning phase includes detailed well design, risk assessment, and management of well-related regulatory requirements. Nick Shorten, Managing Director for Petrofac Engineering and Production Services West, said: “Through the deployment of our extensive asset and well management expertise, we will work closely with IOG to assure the integrity of the wells and deliver a safe and cost-efficient drilling programme to support the advancement of their development”. Andrew Hockey, CEO of IOG, commented: “Petrofac has demonstrated that they have the right credentials and expertise to execute what will be a critical role in helping IOG to deliver a safe, productive and cost-effective five-well Phase 1 drilling campaign kicking off in the first half of next year. During the execution phase, Petrofac will manage well engineering, procurement and logistics, assure well construction and integrity, and provide onshore and offshore personnel to support the drilling campaign.last_img read more

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Boys Soccer Sectional Pairings Released

first_imgIndiana High School Boys and Girls Soccer Tournaments Set for 20th Year.A field of 299 boys teams, a record for the 20th consecutive year, and 258 girls teams are entered as pairings for the 20th Annual IHSAA Soccer State Tournaments were announced this morning by the Indiana High School Athletic Association.Boys sectional action at 64 sites – 32 in each class – will be played Monday, Oct. 7 through Saturday, Oct. 12. Sixteen regional sites – eight in each class – will host two rounds each on Thursday, Oct. 17, and Saturday, Oct. 19. Semi-states will be played at four sites on Saturday, Oct. 26 in a two-round format with the survivors squaring off in the state championship matches on Saturday, Nov. 2 in Indianapolis.SectionalsDates: Oct. 7, 9, 11, 12, 2013.Admission: $6 per session or $9 all sessions.Class 2ASectional 26 at Madison.Monday  (10-7):  East Central vs. Madison.    6 PMWednesday  (10-9):  Batesville vs. South Dearborn.    5 PM.Jennings County vs. Winner of Game 1.   Following.Saturday  (10-12):  Championship.  Noon.Sectional 25 at Richmond.Game 1:  Richmond vs. Connersville.Game 2:  Rushville vs. Franklin County.Game 3: New Castle vs. Winner of Game 1.Championship: Winner of Game 2 vs. Winner of Game 3.Class ASectional 56 at Waldron.Game 1:  Greensburg vs. Oldenburg Academy.Game 2:  Hauser vs. Waldron.Championship: Winner of Game 1 vs. Winner of Game 2.Sectional 57 at Jac-Cen-Del.Game 1:  Milan vs. Lawrenceburg.Game 2:  South Ripley vs. Jac-Cen-Del.Championship: Winner of Game 1 vs. Winner of Game 2.Sectional 58 at Switzerland County.Game 1:  Austin vs. Switzerland County.Game 2:  Shawe Memorial vs. Southwestern (Hanover).Game 3:  Rising Sun vs. Winner of Game 1.Championship: Winner of Game 2 vs. Winner of Game 3.Courtesy of The IHSAA and Batesville AD Mark Ferguson.last_img read more

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John Moody

first_imgRecently John Moody of Batesville High School signed a letter of intent to continue his track career at Thomas More College in Northern Kentucky.  John has been running track at Batesville since the 6th grade.  His specialties are the 400m, 200m, 4 x 400m relay, and the long jump.John is the son of William and Barb Moody.  Good luck, John, as you continue your track career.last_img