Abandoned Getty and BP gas stations greet visitors coming over the Ninth Street Bridge into Ocean City. Across the street is a vacant former Exxon Station.City Council on Thursday will consider an ordinance that would allow the city to take control of abandoned properties that become a nuisance to the community.Council passed the first reading of the ordinance in a 6-0 vote on April 23, and the second and potentially final reading is scheduled for council’s public meeting 7 p.m. May 14 at City Hall.The proposed ordinance would authorize the mayor to assign an officer to create an abandoned properties list based on a variety of criteria (see full documentation in PDF below). The city would then have the right to take control of properties, borrow money to rehabilitate them, then recover costs through liens on sale of properties.Read more: Council moves to take control of eyesore gas stations and other nuisance properties.Other items on Thursday’s agenda that might be of interest include:Honoring Don and Susan Doll: Council will pass a resolution honoring the Dolls, who were recently honored as recipients of the Ocean City Exchange Club’s 50th Book of Golden Deeds Award.Racquet Court Facilities: Council will consider a resolution to advertise for bids on improvements to “various racquet court facilities.” The agenda packet does not specify which facilities, but a growing group of Pickleball devotees has been lobbying for dedicated courts, and the city has budgeted money to accommodate them.10th Street Bulkhead: City Council will vote on awarding a $254,545 to Walters Marine Construction of Ocean View to replace the bulk on the bayfront at 10th Street and to install a 40-by-40-foot fishing pier (the pier is structured as a $101,840 alternate bid).Boardwalk Reconstruction: City Council will vote on awarding another contract to Walters Marine Construction of Ocean View — to rebuild the boardwalk between Plaza Place (just north of Seventh Street) and Eighth Street. Walters underbid the contractor for the first two phases of a multiyear boardwalk reconstruction project, Fred M. Schiavone Construction, and eight other companies with a winning bid of $1,888,347. The project will include adding two more access points for the disabled. (In a separate resolution, Council will vote on approving a change order to Schiavone’s most recent contract — the project came in almost $34,000 under budget.)Shuffleboard and Basketball Courts: Council will vote to pay the contractor rebuilding the track at Carey Stadium an extra $66,000 to rehabilitate 16 shuffleboard courts at Fifth Street and to overlay and restripe the basketball courts at the Sixth Street Civic Center.Dredging Spoils Agreement: The City of Wildwood lowered its price to accept Ocean City’s dredge spoils from $14 to $10 per cubic yard. Ocean City had found another site that offered a better deal. Council will vote on a new shared services agreement with Wildwood. Download (PDF, 4.67MB)
Muntons has launched Maltichoc a new ingredient designed to enhance chocolate baked goods, while reducing raw material costs.Andrew Fuller, Muntons product development technologist, said a reduction of 50% in cocoa powder was achievable with the inclusion of Maltichoc, while seeing no loss of product quality. “In fact in our sensory panels many tasters preferred products made using the Maltichoc recipe,” said Fuller. The ingredient is a blend of roasted malt flours and dried malt extracts, which has a bitter/roasted flavour, with a sweet background flavour, according to the firm.Fuller added: “The addition of this new ingredient to a value product or to a core recipe instantly enhances the product, providing a richer chocolate flavour, and dark chocolate colour.” The clean-label ingredient is available in 25kg sacks, with samples available on request.
As the intense conflict between Russia and Ukraine continues, and talk of a return to Cold War-style politics heats up, top world leaders, including President Vladimir Putin and President Obama, are slated to meet later this month to discuss how best to contain what all agree is a significant and growing international threat: nuclear terrorism.While nuclear arms control and disarmament talks between nations have long been a cornerstone of diplomacy, making sure nuclear materials don’t fall into the hands of individuals or groups bent on harm has not received that same level of attention from the international community until recently.“Unfortunately, the global … framework for nuclear security is quite weak,” said Matthew Bunn, professor of practice at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) and co-principal investigator for the Project on Managing the Atom, a nuclear research and policy program at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.“It’s not like nuclear verification, where countries have signed treaties that allow the International Atomic Energy Agency legal rights to come and inspect. There’s nothing like that on nuclear security. It is considered a sovereign matter for each country to make up its own mind about what kind of security it should have.”According to the first survey of nuclear security experts around the world, co-authored by Bunn and published this month by HKS, nearly all of the respondents said their nations’ policies and practices had become “much more stringent” in the last 15 years. The biggest catalyst for tightening up, they reported, was a major terrorism incident like 9/11, followed by reviews conducted either internally or by the International Atomic Energy Agency that revealed security inadequacies.The survey is among several on the state of nuclear security made available on a comprehensive new website from HKS, as authorities prepare for the third Nuclear Security Summit to be held March 24-25 in The Hague, Netherlands.Started at Obama’s urging to bring greater attention to the danger of nuclear terrorism, the summit convenes every two years, bringing together presidents and prime ministers from 58 invited countries to discuss ways to reduce the amount of nonmilitary caches of separated plutonium or highly enriched uranium that are vulnerable to terrorists; to improve security at sites where such nuclear materials are stored; and to develop better cooperation and accountability among nations to reduce the likelihood of nuclear terrorism.“Nuclear terrorism is a combination of motivation, capability, and opportunity,” said Laura Holgate, senior director for weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, and threat reduction at the National Security Council, during a March 3 panel at HKS about this year’s summit. Holgate and Gary Samore, the Belfer Center’s executive director for research, organized the first summit, held in 2010. “The only term in this equation that states have control over is the opportunity. It is the material. If you don’t have the material, you don’t have nuclear terrorism.”Nuclear terrorists would be expected to pursue three goals: making a crude nuclear bomb that could decimate an entire city; sabotaging a nuclear facility to cause a meltdown or other tragedies; or building a dirty bomb that spreads radiological material that may not necessarily kill a large number of people, but would cause panic and massive disruption, and prove costly to clean up. All require surprisingly minimal nuclear expertise to accomplish.“Unfortunately, it doesn’t take a Manhattan Project to make a nuclear bomb. More than 90 percent of the work in the Manhattan Project was actually about making the nuclear material. Once you have the nuclear material, making the actual bomb is not as difficult,” said Bunn.Thus far, 27 countries have eliminated all of the nuclear material on their soil, while almost all the remaining countries participating have taken meaningful steps to improve the security of their nuclear stocks, a development Bunn called “dramatic progress.”“The reality is that nuclear security isn’t an on/off switch,” said Bunn. “It’s not something where it was vulnerable and now it’s secure. Rather, it’s a spectrum, and it’s a continuing process of always trying to look for vulnerabilities, find them, fix them, looking for ways you might be able to do things better, looking for ways to adapt to changing circumstances or changing threats.”Participating countries are expected to arrive in The Hague prepared to deliver on their own security promises, referred to as “house gifts,” or to join a small group of nations that have reached consensus on certain security measures, known as “gift baskets.”“Certainly, the countries with the largest stocks of material have taken fairly significant action to improve security, including the United States, including Russia, including the United Kingdom, France, China, etc.,” Bunn said. “It is true, however, there’s a lot more to be done. We did not succeed in four years in making sure there wasn’t any vulnerable nuclear material in the world anymore. We succeeded in making a lot of progress toward that objective, but we didn’t cross the finish line.”How countries balance the need to assure each other that they have taken the appropriate steps to effectively secure their nuclear materials with the desire to maintain secrecy over which threats they’re targeting will be a key topic of discussion during the summit, said Bunn.“Everyone has an interest in making sure all the other countries are fulfilling their responsibilities, and we don’t really have an international mechanism for countries to be able to exercise that interest,” he said. “One concern I have is we may end up with agreement on the principle of assurances, and may end up with assurances that don’t provide any assurance,” he said.In the United States, the sometimes-tenuous state of nuclear security was dramatically tested during a 2012 protest against the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn. Three anti-nuclear protesters, including an 82-year-old nun, breached layers of security at the complex, then spray-painted slogans and smeared blood on the walls of a storage facility that held weapons-grade uranium. Eventually captured by a guard, the protesters were sentenced to prison last month.Bunn says the event was a “profound breakdown” of security culture, proof that human failure can undermine even the most sophisticated equipment.“It was a real wake-up call for the United States, and I think it’s a real wake-up call for the nuclear community in general, that you can spend a lot of money on fences and alarms and cameras and so on, but if the people aren’t motivated to pay attention, you’re going to have a problem,” said Bunn.“That suggested that even in countries like the United States, which probably has tougher rules and spends more on nuclear security maybe than any other country, there’s still more to be done.”A new report by Bunn and HKS faculty Martin B. Malin, Nickolas Roth, and William H. Tobey on the progress countries have made to secure nuclear materials, weapons, and facilities found that while many countries have made noteworthy strides since the 2010 summit — including 13 nations that have eliminated highly enriched uranium or separated plutonium on their soil entirely — “significant gaps” remain. Many nations still have no on-site guards to protect nuclear sites, conduct no background checks before allowing access to facilities or materials, and have limited protection from insider theft. Few adequately test their security measures or have programs to assess and strengthen security culture, the report said.
Being a person of color in America is bad for your health. That’s the theme of a new op-ed written by David Williams, Florence Sprague Norman and Laura Smart Norman Professor of Public Health at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Writing in U.S. News and World Report, Williams and Lavizzo-Mourey say that acknowledging the links between racism and poor health will be critical to closing the health equity gap.In the U.S., health disparities between blacks and whites run deep. For example, blacks have higher rates of diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease than other groups, and black children have a 500% higher death rate from asthma compared with white children. Williams and Lavizzio-Moruey write that geography plays a large role in all of this because, “where we live determines opportunities to access high-quality education, employment, housing, fresh foods or outdoor space — all contributors to our health.”The authors write that some cities have been successful in reducing health inequities. In Philadelphia, a focus on prioritizing physical activity in schools and improving access to fresh foods has helped childhood obesity rates fall by 6.3% in the last seven years, with the biggest drops among black and Asian children.According to Williams and Lavizzo-Mourey there is no single solution to the societal racism and poverty that contribute to poor health, but they write that, we now know enough to improve the situation. Read Full Story
Notre Dame announced plans regarding COVID-19 testing, contact tracing and daily health checks in an email sent to the campus community Friday.According to the email, all students who reside outside of St. Joseph County, as well as St. Joseph County residents who will live in Notre Dame residence halls will undergo testing prior to the start of fall semester. The University has partnered with a third-party test provider to distribute tests to students, and for University Health Services to receive said results prior to students arrival on campus.Additionally, any students who test positive for the virus are asked to delay their return to campus until being medically cleared to do so.The University is developing a COVID-19 Response Unit — consisting of medically-trained and administrative personnel — which will be fully operational by July 20. This team will oversee the daily health checks required of all students, faculty and staff, in addition to operating the on-site testing center “for those with symptoms of COVID-19 or for those who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive.”The testing will be free for all currently enrolled students, all faculty teaching or conducting research and all staff members.In regard to contact tracing, the COVID-19 Response Unit will be able to do so through the daily health check system. The email said Bluetooth-enabled electronic notification systems will not be used in the contact tracing process.Tags: 2020 fall semester, contact tracing, COVID-19, covid-19 response unit
SBA Administrator Karen Mills announced today the U.S. Small Business Administration’s support for 10 regional economic development and job creation efforts through a new pilot program, ‘Innovative Economies.’The pilot program supports small businesses participation in regional economic ‘clusters’ ‘ collaborations between small businesses, the public sector, economic development and other organizations.‘Maximizing a region’s economic assets is one of the best ways to create long term job growth, and that’s what SBA’s new Innovative Economies pilot initiative is doing,’ Mills said. ‘Today we are announcing funding support for 10 regional economic clusters. SBA’s support will help expand the opportunities and the role small businesses play in these regional collaborations, which are enhancing the ability to create jobs locally and compete on a national and global scale.’The 10 ‘Innovative Economies’ awardees selected from among 173 applicants to participate in the pilot program represent a wide range of diverse geographic areas and industries. From urban to rural and clean energy to robotics, the applicants focused on leading research and commercializing new products.SBA’s funding will be provided to each cluster’s organizing entity to strengthen opportunities for small businesses within the cluster. The funds can be used to provide services, including mentoring and counseling small businesses, as well as to attract more small business participation.SBA is supporting two types of innovative economies: Regional Innovation Clusters and Advanced Defense Technologies. The seven Regional Innovation Clusters focus on providing business training, commercialization and technology transfer services, counseling, mentoring and other services that support the growth and development of small businesses in the cluster region.The SBA also worked with the U.S. Department of Defense to identify areas around the country where regional innovation clusters can help meet critical defense technology needs. Three Advanced Defense Technology awardees will focus on providing business training, counseling, mentoring, matchmaking and other services to small businesses that focus on critical DoD technologies.The 10 Innovative Economies Include: Agriculture Innovation Cluster (Monterey ‘ Santa Cruz ‘ San Benito, Calif.) The AIC focus is on agricultural innovation, including production, related physical and human capital infrastructure, and leading-edge agriculture research.Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster (N.C., S.C.) The Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster provides strategy, structure, and on-the-ground execution to grow the North and South Carolina businesses that serve the nuclear energy industry locally, regionally, and multi-nationally.Connecticut Hydrogen-Fuel Cell Coalition (Conn., N.Y., Mass., Maine, Vt., N.H., R.I.) The Connecticut Hydrogen-Fuel Cell Coalition/Cluster, administered by the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology, works to enhance economic growth by developing, manufacturing, and deploying fuel cell and hydrogen technologies and associated fueling systems.Enterprise for Innovative Geospatial Solutions (Miss., La.) EIGS organizes complimentary geospatial businesses, government agencies, and educational institutions in Mississippi and the Louisiana Gulf Coast to help create a trained workforce, transfer geospatial technology from public institutions into the market, and foster new business growth. Geospatial technology is the combination of GPS (global positioning systems), GIS (geographical information systems), and satellite or aerial image-based remote sensing.Illinois Smart Grid Regional Innovation Cluster (Ill.) The ISG-RIC is a collaboration of more than 100 entities (including 70 businesses) in the Chicago region, focused on the acceleration of Smart Grid innovation, deployments, and new market development. The Smart Grid is a convergence of technological and investment interests across multiple sectors, focused on using advanced technology to improve inefficient and outdated electric transmission infrastructure.NorTech (Ohio) NorTech focuses on technology-based economic development in 21 counties of Northeast Ohio. Funds will help small business development within NorTech’s FlexMatters initiative, which focuses on advanced energy and flexible electronics. Flexible electronics, which are electronic devices printed on flexible substrates, are emerging as a newly commercializable science, and a growing manufacturing opportunity.Upper Michigan Green Aviation Coalition (UMi-GAC) (Mich.) The Upper Michigan Green Aviation Coalition is a public-private partnership with 41 active members, focused on expanding the green aviation industry.Defense Alliance of Minnesota (Minn., N.D., S.D., Wis.) The Defense Alliance of Minnesota connects high technology innovation to defense industry opportunities and accelerating technology transfer of R&D and into commercial markets.San Diego Advanced Defense Cluster (San Diego, Calif.) The San Diego Advanced Defense Cluster focuses on autonomous systems and cyber security, as well as other technologies applicable to defense needs.Von Braun Center for Science and Innovation (Huntsville, Ala.) VCSI’s primary focus is Aero-Space technology with applications for NASA, DoD, and NOAA. Its projects have included robotics for the detection of Improvised Explosive Devices, supporting spacecraft launches and building new micro satellites.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, the Vermont Occupational Safety and Health staff members were directed and authorized to operate in an ‘advisory capacity’ to assist and facilitate with clean-up and recovery across the State. This included answering questions for employers and workers, and following up with employers that may have been working unsafely. Many health and safety hazards were, and continue to be, present in the clean-up and recovery work. The Department’s goal was to help recovery efforts to proceed in a safe manner, avoiding accidents or injuries during the work. During the time from the date of the storm until today, VOSHA did not conduct enforcement inspections of storm-related activities, but rather, worked with the affected groups to minimize hazards and risks. VDOL announced that effective today, October 21, 2011, VOSHA will now shift from the advisory capacity to full compliance and enforcement. VOSHA Inspectors will engage in their regular duties which include worksite inspections, and will issue appropriate citations and penalties for violations of the safety and health standards in Vermont. VOSHA has special emphasis programs in trenching and excavation and falls. VOSHA Inspectors that encounter workers exposed to these hazards at a worksite are required to stop and conduct an inspection. Vermont employers and workers are encouraged to learn more about safety and health trainings, protocols and laws by visiting the Vermont Department of Labor website.
Your daily outdoor news bulletin for July 29, the day National Aeronautics and Space Administration was formed in 1958, proving that anything Russia can do, the U.S. can do better, only a year later and after Congress approves:This is Your Parkway on CrackThe Blue Ridge Parkway crack is making headlines again this week. Since July 12, the parkway has been closed to motor vehicle traffic between milepost 376 and milepost 355 due to the large crack in the roadway. Throughout the past week, the crack has grown to its current size of 300 feet long, several inches wide and several feet deep. As we all know, people love crack, so the gash in the road became something of a tourist attraction, drawing curious onlookers who trekked the two miles from MP 376 to take a look since the closed section was still open to foot and bicycle traffic. Until Friday that is. Rangers have now closed the section of road to all traffic due to the heavy equipment being used in the area to fix the crack, and there are also some concerns about the general safety of a mountain side highway that is coming apart at the seams. Parkway officials an the Federal Highway Administration continue to work on finding the cause of the slope failure and hope to have at least a temporary solution soon.Bald Eagles Love the James RiverBursting through all the depressing environmental reports and news coming out of the U.S. over the past couple of years comes the success story of our national symbol on one of the great historic waterways in the country. According to a new survey taken by scientists at the Center for Conservation Biology at the College of William & Mary and Virginia Commonwealth University, the number of bald eagle pairs on the the James River topped 200, more than triple the 56 pairs found in 2000. This is a success story for both the eagles and the James River as a whole. There were no eagles on the river – and only 33 pairs in the whole state – in 1977, having been decimated by DDT and Kepone pollution. But today, the tidal freshwater James from Dutch Gap to Charles City County – a 40 mile stretch – holds one of the country’s top concentrations of eagles, herons and other aquatic fowl.Madison County Denied SNP EntranceThe Shenandoah National Park gave Virginia’s Madison County a big stiff arm, denying them an entrance to the park today. In May, Madison County officials sought to have Rapidan Road upgraded and to allow private vehicles to access the park via the road. Currently, the road is divided into the lower portion that allows access to the park boundary, and the upper portion which is in disrepair and closed to car access. The interesting twist in the story is Madison County’s ‘special relationship’ with former President Herbert Hoover who built his presidential retreat, Rapidan Camp, on the banks of the Rapidan River and visited the area frequently. There is also a story of Hoover promising Madison County an entrance to the new park, but the county’s efforts to cash in on that claim have fallen short yet again – similar proposals were advanced in 1939, 1947, and 1985. As a consolation prize, Shenandoah National Park says they will look into improving the lower portion of the road and contributing to Madison County’s “Hoover Days” celebration that was once a big draw in the area, but has recently seen waning interest.
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Four men carjacked a man at gunpoint in Flower Hill and then rammed a Nassau County police car as they fled the scene over the weekend, authorities said.A 51-year-old man was driving a Land Rover on Stonytown Road when an SUV crashed into his truck, he pulled over to inspect the damage and was confronted by the four men, two of whom were armed with handguns at 9:45 p.m. Sunday, police said.The gunmen stole the victim’s wallet, jacket, cash and key to his truck before pushing him to the ground and driving off in the Land Rover, police said.An officer spotted the Land Rover on Northern Boulevard in Manhasset, where the robbers rammed the patrol car to evade apprehension, police said.The officer was not hurt, but the assailants got away by fleeing westbound on the Long Island Expressway.The Land Rover was found at the corner of Queens Boulevard and 62nd Street in Woodside, police said.Nassau County police and the NYPD searched the area but did not find the suspects. The vehicle was impounded and the victim treated for a minor back injury.Third Squad detectives request anyone with information regarding this crime to contact Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS. All callers will remain anonymous.
A couple of weeks ago I read a CUInsight article written by Chuck Fagan, CEO of PSCU, called “Data drilled down: Choosing a credit union toolset”. In the article was a quote that did a great job of summarizing the consequences of not having a strategy for Big Data (and Analytics). The quote read, “Without big data, you are blind and deaf and in the middle of the freeway.”It is a fact that the credit union industry is facing into a “perfect storm” of Big Data, Analytics, and technology that will change the landscape of retail financial services forever. If recent history provides an accurate picture of where things are headed, retail financial services will look very different within the next 3 years than it does today. Many of the existing players will not be able to make the transition. The last 10 years has already witnessed massive cross-industry disruption resulting in the disappearance of giants like Borders (replaced by Amazon) and Blockbuster (replaced by Netflix). The trend continues with newcomers like Air BnB and Uber disrupting the hotel and taxi industries.In his book, The Innovators Dilemma, Harvard Professor Clay Christensen explores the question of how companies, once dominant in their industries, just disappear. One reason for this is the annual strategic planning process failed to pick up the writing on the wall. As organizations become internally versus externally focused, boards and CEOs become prisoners of the very business models they created. They were blinded to the warning signs of the tsunami headed towards them.One very notable victim of the Innovators Dilemma was the Eastman Kodak Company. In the late 70’s Kodak was the leader in photographic film technology. What many people don’t know is they were also inventors of digital camera technology. They failed to leverage their own innovation and missed the world-wide transition to digital camera technology.Disruption has been occurring within business back to the dawn of civilization but the pace at which disruption occurs is increasing rapidly. The pinball industry was vibrant right up until the early 90’s when Sony introduced the PlayStation. Within 10 years, sales of pinball machines plummeted while PlayStation sales skyrocketed. We are now in the 21st century and the pace of this disruption has doubled. Disruptors are taking significant market share within 5 years from the point when they enter the market.As credit unions dive in to strategic planning for 2016, they need to pay attention to some early signs of disruptive threats to the industry:Mobile banking – This is quickly becoming the new “Branch.” How do you retain the loyalty of members?Mobile Payments – Apple and Google have figured out there is money to be made by “monetizing” merchant payment transaction data. Credit unions sit on mountains of such data today but do very little, if anything, with it.Lending Clubs – Lending clubs are emerging on the internet and have found a way to use an expanded set of criteria to support Character Based lending strategies. They are using analytics to lend money to millennials, borrowers who may not look so good now based on traditional underwriting criteria but have potential to be great customers in the future.Fortunately, credit unions have two advantages. First, they possess huge volumes of data and, second, they know how to collaborate when faced with difficult challenges. Credit unions need to place a much higher priority on figuring out ways to turn data into valuable information that can be used to create high value relationships with their members. Data is the Holy Grail of the 21st century. Those that recognize this and move quickly will emerge as the market leaders.One great example of the value of Big Data and Analytics is the ability to use loan payment data to predict the probability that a member’s loan will charge off in the future. A credit union CUSO has developed a vintage based, loan level, predictive model that is pointing them to new opportunities to sell loans members that would normally be overlooked because of their FICO score. The predictive model, revealed that this lower tier category of credit score was actually less risky than the marketing was pricing for. The model also determined how much should be allocated for loan loss when loans are originated. This was a huge win/win for both the credit union and the member.The credit union industry is on the cusp of significant change. If you would like to be part of the movement that is committed to making this industry stronger, here are some immediate opportunities:Plan to attend the 2015 Credit Union Big Data/Analytics conference, next month, in Minneapolis – October 20th thru 22nd. 158SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Paul Ablack Paul started OnApproach to specialize in leveraging data to support better decision making and drive profitability at various organizations. Prior to starting OnApproach, Paul was Vice President/General Manager of … Web: www.onapproach.com Details Read an excellent white paper on analytics in banking here.