The Pooch Is In the Heel! Westminster Dog Show Winner Debuts in Kinky Boots

first_img View Comments Show Closed This production ended its run on April 7, 2019 Related Shows Kinky Boots Everybody bark yeah because Westminster winner Sky, who took home the coveted Best in Show prize at the 138th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, made her Broadway debut in Kinky Boots on February 13. Audience members at the Tony-winning musical were playfully surprised by the pup’s guest appearance, and Tony winner Harvey Fierstein even wrote new lines for Sky’s debut. During his curtain-raising “turn off your cell phone” announcement, Don, the disgruntled factory worker played by Daniel Stewart Sherman, said, “I don’t care if you did win the Westminster Best in Show—pick up after your dog! And congratulations!” Luckily, photographer Bruce Glikas snapped Sky’s center stage cuddle session with Sherman when the adorable Wire Fox Terrier came up for the curtain call, where she received a standing ovation! It’s true what they say: Theater’s gone to the dogs.last_img read more

Port Washington Man Threatened to Shoot Town Hall, Cops Say

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A Port Washington man has been accused of threatening to shoot out the windows of North Hempstead Town Hall with a shotgun in retaliation for town workers removing trees from his property.Port Washington and Nassau County police arrested Michael Olson at his Revere Road home Wednesday on a charge of making a terroristic threat.Third Squad detectives alleged the 59-year-old suspect was irate when he called the town’s 311 call center and made the threat that prompted the deputy town supervisor to temporarily evacuate the building.Investigators apprehended Olson at his home two hours after the call was made, police said.Olson will be arraigned Thursday at First District Court in Hempstead.last_img read more

Cross-generational marketing strategy

first_img 2SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr by: Amanda LoweryIf you’re like most credit unions, you have a lot of Baby Boomer members. Your most high-value current audience is the smaller Gen X crowd, because they are in the peak earning, spending and borrowing years of their lives. And you’d like to attract more Millennials, because you know that without them your organization can’t survive or grow. Three different age groups with different sets of financial needs, media habits, and expectations. But are they really so different after all?MoneyBaby Boomers are the wealthiest generation, controlling about 70% of U.S. disposable income. But by 2018, Millennials will pass Boomers in terms of annual spending power. Both groups are better spenders than savers. The majority of Boomers (60%) have less than $100,000 saved for retirement and most plan to work well past 65. More than half of Millennials consider themselves “savers” even though they spend 82% of their income. And what about Gen X? They’re a smaller generation, but they represent your greatest borrowing potential at this stage of their lives.MediaAt one end of the spectrum, you have a group for whom black and white TV was once high tech. At the other end, you’ve got a demographic that never knew a world without the internet and smartphones. Yet all three of these age groups have made technology an integral part of their lives. Today, Boomers tend to be active in social media and social networking; their mobile use has skyrocketed in the past 3 years. Millennials average 35 hours per week on digital channels, consuming a wide variety of content. And Gen X constitutes the largest online video audience and watches more TV than any other group. They’re also more likely to use their smartphones for payments than any other age group. continue reading »last_img read more

NCUA budget $290.9M in 2016, $302.9M in 2017

first_img 10SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr NCUA’s board voted 2-1 Thursday to approve a 4.1 percent budget increase for 2016 to $290.9 million and another 4.1 percent increase to $302.9 million in 2017 – for a total increase of $23.4 million over the next two years.NCUA Board Member J. Mark McWatters, who argued that the agency has numerous options for reducing its budget, voted against the package.NAFCU continues to press the agency to find cost savings wherever possible to mitigate costs for credit unions.“While NAFCU and our members appreciate the NCUA Board’s continued commitment to increasing budget transparency, we firmly believe that more can be done to ensure that credit union dollars are being spent efficiently and effectively,” said NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger. “The agency has not held a public hearing on its budget in six years, and credit unions deserve the chance to be a part of the process that they ultimately fund.” continue reading »last_img read more

Implications of the loan-to-share ratio for the credit union industry

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading » The loan-to-share ratio can be deceiving. It’s calculated by dividing the total amount of outstanding loans by the total amount of share deposits. While this ratio serves as a good indication of a credit unions liquidity, it also shows the level of risk a credit union is willing to take on. Generally speaking, credit unions with a high loan to share ratio are taking on more risk to increase their profits. At the end of Q2 this year, the national loan-to-share ratio reached an all-time high since 2008. On December 31, 2008, it was 83.2% but continued to decline from that point on until it bottomed out in 2013. Since then, the loan-to-share ration has been climbing, and 10 years later it’s finally back up to 82.9% as of June 30, 2018. While things are looking up for the nation as a whole, the loan-to-share ratios actually differ by state, with a few standouts:Maryland: One of the ways loan-to-share ratios can be deceiving is that high ratios do not necessarily mean that credit union has large loan and share balances. It’s possible for a credit union to have the largest loan-to-share ratio in their region while also having the lowest loan and share balances. The state with the biggest increase in their loan-to-share ratio right now is Maryland. Their loan-to-share ratio has increased 13.6% over the past 3 years, which is more than any other state in that same period.last_img read more

Hybrid avian-human flu virus didn’t spread in lab study

first_imgJul 31, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – In an experiment designed to mimic events that could launch an influenza pandemic, a synthetic influenza virus made by combining an H5N1 avian flu virus with a human flu virus turned out to be no more contagious in an animal model than the natural H5N1 virus, US scientists are reporting this week.Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made two hybrid viruses and infected ferrets with them, according to a report to be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The viruses failed to spread from infected ferrets to healthy ones in neighboring cages.”We found that they [the viruses] were not able to transmit efficiently,” said CDC researcher Dr. Jackie Katz, speaking at a Jul 28 teleconference. “In fact, they were also not as able to cause severe disease as the original H5N1 virus.”The deadly H5N1 virus has infected 232 people and killed 134 since late 2003, but it has not yet found a way to spread easily from person to person. But scientists fear the virus could pick up that ability if it combined, or reassorted, with a human flu virus, which could happen if someone became infected with both types simultaneously. The CDC set out to create such a hybrid and test it in ferrets. The animals are considered good models for flu virus research because their susceptibility to flu viruses is similar to that of humans.CDC officials cautioned against taking much comfort from the experimental results. Although the synthetic hybrid didn’t spread among the ferrets in the experiments so far, that doesn’t mean the scenario couldn’t happen in nature, they said. (Also, experts say the H5N1 virus could become transmissible through accumulated small mutations, without reassortment.)”These data do not mean that H5N1 cannot convert to be transmissible from person to person; they mean it’s probably not a simple process and more than simple genetic exchanges are necessary,” CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberdng said at the teleconference.The H5N1 virus used in the study was a strain collected in 1997, when the pathogen first infected humans in Hong Kong. The human flu virus used in the study was an H3N2 strain, which has been common in recent decades. The research involved four steps, according to Katz.First, investigators assessed whether the H3N2 and H5N1 viruses would spread in ferrets, whose cages were arranged so that viruses could spread via respiratory droplets. The human virus did spread efficiently, whereas the avian virus didn’t, which signaled that the ferrets were serving as good models for human infection, Katz said.The next step was to generate reassortant viruses. “We made two viruses that contained surface protein genes from the H5N1 virus and internal genes from the human H3N2 virus,” Katz said. “We found we could make these viruses and that some of them were viable.”Third, the scientists infected some ferrets with the hybrid viruses and waited to see if they would spread to healthy ferrets. The hybrid viruses caused less severe illness than the original H5N1 strain, and they failed to spread.Finally, the investigators wanted to know if the hybrid viruses would naturally mutate to become more transmissible if they were passed through several ferrets in succession. So the researchers infected ferrets and, after the ferrets showed symptoms, took nasal secretions and used them to infect other ferrets, repeating this step five times. Further, the researchers assessed whether the virus could spread more easily after all these generations or “passages.””We found that the virus did not acquire any additional capacity to transmit efficiently from infected ferrets to healthy ferrets,” Katz said.Katz didn’t explain why the CDC used a 1997 strain of H5N1 instead of a more recent strain, but said more recent isolates will be used in further experiments. Later versions of both H5N1 and H3N2 will be used to make further hybrids for testing in ferrets, she said. Scientists have identified a number of mutations in the H5N1 virus since 1997.”We did test the more recent strains [of H5N1] for their ability to transmit, and like the 1997 strains, they could not transmit efficiently from one animal to the next,” she said. “We need to continue to study this.”The CDC officials were asked whether reassortment “dumbs down” or weakens the virus. Katz replied that the hybrids were less virulent than H5N1, but cautioned that the results apply only to the 1997 strain.Gerberding commented, “The pandemics of 1957 and 1968 were caused by reassortant viruses. Those were not dumb viruses.”In answering other questions, Katz said some scientists believe the 1918 pandemic virus, unlike the 1957 and 1968 viruses, arose through slowly accumulating mutations in an avian virus rather than through a reassortment event. “We’re looking at the approach of the 1957 and 1968 pandemics where there was a more sudden change,” she said.The most important lesson of the research so far, according to Katz, is “the knowledge that this process isn’t simple, the procedure for the virus to acquire the properties of transmissibility.”She said the CDC also created a hybrid that involved H3N2 virus surface proteins and H5N1 internal genes—the reverse of the hybrid she first described—and “that was not sufficient for transmissibility either. . . . That points to the fact that it’s a complex interaction of the surface genes and the internal genes.”Gerberding warned that the findings shouldn’t lead to complacency.”I’m not reassured from the public health perspective,” she said. “This virus is still out there, it’s still evolving, and influenza is always unpredictable. . . . So let’s not use the word ‘reassuring’ with respect to what might happen with H5N1.”Because of the risk that the reassortant viruses could spread, the research was done under stringent containment, involving Biosafety Level 3 with extra precautions, Katz said.Maines TR, Chen LM, Matsuoka Y, et al. Lack of transmission of H5N1 avian-human reassortant influenza viruses in a ferret model. Proc Natl Acad Sci 2006 (published online Jul 31) [Abstract]See also:Jan 14, 2005, CIDRAP News story “CDC to mix avian, human flu viruses in pandemic study”last_img read more

Health group urges overhaul of US food safety system

first_imgApr 30, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – Calling the US food safety system antiquated and disjointed, a public health advocacy group today urged a major overhaul to make the system stronger, more coherent, and better attuned to today’s major threats. Among near-term steps to address the problems, the report calls for doubling the FDA’s food safety funds over the next 5 years and putting one person in charge of the agency’s food safety programs. For the long term, the nation should move toward consolidating all federal food safety programs in one agency, the group recommends. For example, said Levi, “FSIS agents are required to visually inspect every single one of the 8 billion chickens slaughtered each year. Given that the major threat is Salmonella, an invisible microbe, it’s clear that these expensive procedures are outdated.” Imbalanced fundingWith the divided responsibilities comes imbalanced funding, according to TFAH. It is estimated that 85% of foodborne illness outbreaks involve FDA-regulated products, but the FDA receives much less food safety money than the USDA. This year, for example, FDA’s food safety allocation is $619 million, compared with $1.07 billion for the USDA, the report says. Finally, TFAH recommends that states should be encouraged and given incentives to comply with two voluntary sets of food safety standards, the FDA Food Code and the National Retail Food Regulatory Program. “While it’s very important to look at the system as a whole, it’s really FDA’s program that’s in most dire need of help, due to its dwindling resources,” said Taylor. The agency has lost 20% of its science staff and 600 food inspectors in the past 3 years, the report says. Taylor said existing laws focus mainly on reacting to safety hazards rather than preventing them, and they have promoted the fragmentation of responsibility. The fundamental split is between the USDA, which regulates meat, poultry, and processed egg products, and the FDA, which regulates everything else. Other agencies involved are the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which monitors foodborne illness outbreaks, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which deals with pesticides and toxic chemicals. Besides boosting FDA funding, the nation needs to raise the profile of food safety programs within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), TFAH advises. Further, the FDA has received no additional funds to combat deliberate contamination of the food supply since the Bush administration called for a national food-defense effort in 2004, whereas the USDA has received $150 million, according to the report. Further, it says the government should work toward assigning all food safety functions to a single agency for the sake of effectiveness, responsibility, and accountability. The agency should oversee not only regulation and inspection but also research and surveillance. A first step toward those goals is to at least double the FDA’s food safety funding in the next 5 years, the report says. Apr 30 FDA news release about plan to hire more staff TFAH officials also said food safety generally takes a back seat to drug and medical device safety at the FDA. Outdated lawsOutdated laws are to blame for many of the kinks in the food safety system, according to TFAH. Taylor said the basic principles for regulating animal slaughtering were established in 1906, and the tools for addressing microbial pathogens in food and regulating food imports were set in 1938. Shift from “limited end-product and processing plant inspections” to an emphasis on preventing illnesses throughout the food production process and supply chain. The single agency should include the FSIS; the food functions of the FDA, including CFSAN, CVM, and the FDA’s field staff; and the food safety aspects of the EPA’s pesticide program. To make imported food safer, give food safety agencies the authority and resources to educate foreign regulators and producers about US food safety standards, to require food importers to show the standards are being met, and to inspect foreign establishments and food shipments. TFAH offers several general recommendations for building a “modern food safety system”: Commenting on the FDA announcement, Levi told CIDRAP News, “It appears that a significant portion of those are going to food safety, and that’s very good. The question is whether the budgetary resources will be there to sustain those positions over time, because FDA hasn’t received increases that would sustain those.” Report coincides with FDA hiring planThe TFAH report happened to coincide with today’s FDA announcement that it plans to fill more than 600 new positions and “backfill” 700 others over the next several months. The new staffers, including biologists, medical officers, statisticians, and investigators, are needed to implement the FDA Amendments Act of 2007 and the Food Protection Plan and Import Safety Plan announced last November, the FDA said in a news release. The announcement didn’t say how many of the positions are related to food safety. Apr 30 TFAH news release “FDA’s food functions should be brought together under unified leadership, with a single official, reporting to the [HHS] Secretary, focusing full time on, and being responsible and accountable for, providing food safety leadership nationally and internationally,” the report states. Levi said various bills now in Congress address parts of the TFAH recommendations, but passage of major legislation in this session is unlikely, in his view. Frozen pizza offers a prime example of how responsibilities are oddly divided, the report notes. The FDA regulates frozen pizza—unless cooked meat or poultry toppings make up 2% of the ingredients or more, in which case the FSIS is responsible. The FSIS inspects plants making pepperoni pizza every day, whereas the FDA inspects cheese pizza plants an average of once every 10 years. Taylor said food safety responsibilities are also fragmented within the FDA, in that the Office of Regulatory Affairs, which manages inspectors in the field, is not accountable to the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) and the Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM). “We really haven’t paid attention to giving the food safety agencies, the FDA and USDA [US Department of Agriculture] in particular, the tools to do the job we expect them to do,” said Michael Taylor, research professor of health policy at George Washington University and former administrator of the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). See also: In addition, the placement of the CDC’s foodborne disease surveillance program should be reviewed, the report says. The surveillance program needs to be better aligned with other federal, state, and local efforts in the interest of more timely reporting and improved detection and control of outbreaks. “I’d say the first and most important thing Congress can do is address the funding shortfall at FDA, and that doesn’t require legislation,” he said. Conduct research on emerging threats and up-to-date ways to contain them. Full text of TFAH report The Trust for America’s Health (TFAH), a nonprofit, nonpartisan group based in Washington, DC, issued a report citing a long list of problems, including severe underfunding at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), obsolete laws, a largely reactive approach to safety problems, and the spreading of food safety responsibilities among 15 different federal agencies. “The major problem is that no one person is in charge,” said Jeff Levi, PhD, at a news conference about the report, titled Fixing Food Safety: Protecting America’s Food from Farm-to-Fork. Dec 5, 2007, CIDRAP News story “Report says stingy funding has put FDA in crisis” Nov 6, 2007, CIDRAP News story “US food safety plan calls for FDA recall power”last_img read more

Shell, Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP take acreage offshore Brazil

first_imgOil majors Shell, Chevron, ExxonMobil, and BP were among successful bidders for offshore acreage offered in Brazil on Friday as part of the 5th Production Sharing Round.5th Production Sharing Round in Brazil (Image source: ANP)The Brazilian ANP had offered four blocks Saturno, Titã, Pau-Brasil e Sudoeste de Tartaruga Verde. All blocks were acquired. The Round raised R$6,82 billion in signing bonuses and R$ 1 billion in planned investments on the exploration phase.In the bids under the production-sharing regime, the winning companies are those who offer the Brazilian State, from a minimum percentage set in the tender protocol, the largest portion of oil and natural gas produced (i.e., the largest portion of profit oil). The signing bonuses, also defined in the tender protocol, are fixed.According to the law in force, Petrobras has the right of first refusal to act as the operator in blocks of the pre-salt and those considered strategic. The company opted to be the operator, with a 30% share, in the area of Sudoeste de Tartaruga Verde.See below the results and the winners of the round: Shell and Chevron won a 35-year production sharing contract for the Saturno pre-salt block located off the coast of Brazil in the Santos Basin for a signing bonus of 3,1 billion Brazilian reals, or around $780 million.Andy Brown, Upstream Director, Royal Dutch Shell said: “We are pleased to add another material, operated exploration position to our leading portfolio in one of the world’s most prolific deep-water areas.”Shell said that with the addition of the Saturno block (Shell 50% operating, Chevron 50%), Shell increased its total net acreage off the coast of Brazil to approximately 2.7 million acres.U.S. major ExxonMobil teamed up with Qatar Petroleum, and won the Titã exploration block for the same fee as the one paid by Shell and Chevron, however, the split here is not even; its 64% for Exxon who will be the operator and 36% for Qatar Petroleum.According to ExxonMobil, the block awarded added more than 71,500 net acres to the ExxonMobil portfolio, expanding the company’s total position in the country to approximately 2.3 million net acres.Steve Greenlee, president of ExxonMobil Exploration Company said: “With the acquisition of this block, we continue to increase our holdings in Brazil’s pre-salt basins, which are high-quality opportunities that enhance ExxonMobil’s global portfolio. These resources will benefit from ExxonMobil’s considerable capabilities, which we will employ as we explore and develop them with our co-venturers and the government.”ExxonMobil subsidiary ExxonMobil Exploração Brasil Ltda. has interests in a total of 26 blocks offshore Brazil and is the operator of 66 percent of its net acreage.BP partnered with Colombia’s Ecopetrol and China’s CNOOC for the Pau Brasil block, offering in total around $123 million for the acreage.last_img read more

Questions over name suppression

first_imgNewstalk ZB 13 Nov 2011There are questions as to why a man found guilty of organising underage sex tours to Thailand has been granted name suppression. Lobby group Family First says the community has a right to be aware of his identity in order to protect themselves from him. It points out earlier this year Christchurch judge David Saunders said that the ‘naming and shaming’ of offenders has a real deterrent effect. Family First says the protection of the community should always outweigh the rights of an offender to be able to mask their crime, especially in a case like this involving the exploitation of highly vulnerable people. read more

Fake News: Spike in transgender suicide rates after Trump elected

first_imgThe Federalist 6 February 2017Family First Comment: This one example is stunning enough, but there’s 15 (!!) other examples of lies lies lies told by the media since Trump was elected. As the writer concludes..“Why are our media so regularly and so profoundly debasing and beclowning themselves, lying to the public and sullying our national discourse—sometimes on a daily basis? How has it come to this point? Perhaps the answer is: “We’ve let it.” The media will not stop behaving in so reckless a manner unless and until we demand they stop.”After Trump’s electoral victory on November 8, rumors began circulating that multiple transgender teenagers had killed themselves in response to the election results. There was no basis to these rumors. Nobody was able to confirm them at the time, and nobody has been able to confirm in the three months since Trump was elected.Nevertheless, the claim spread far and wide: Guardian writer and editor-at-large of Out Zach Stafford tweeted the rumor, which was retweeted more than 13,000 times before he deleted it. He later posted a tweet explaining why he deleted his original viral tweet; his explanatory tweet was shared a total of seven times. Meanwhile, PinkNews writer Dominic Preston wrote a report on the rumors, which garnered more than 12,000 shares on Facebook.At Mic, Matthew Rodriguez wrote about the unsubstantiated allegations. His article was shared more than 55,000 times on Facebook. Urban legend debunker website Snopes wrote a report on the rumors and listed them as “unconfirmed” (rather than “false”). Snopes’s sources were two Facebook posts, since deleted, that offered no helpful information regarding the location, identity, or circumstances of any of the suicides. The Snopes report was shared 19,000 times.At Reason, writer Elizabeth Nolan Brown searched multiple online databases to try to determine the identities or even the existence of the allegedly suicidal youth. She found nothing. As she put it: “[T]eenagers in 2016 don’t just die without anyone who knew them so much as mentioning their death online for days afterward.”She is right. Just the same, the stories hyping this idea garnered at least nearly 100,000 shares on Facebook alone, contributing to the fear and hysteria surrounding Trump’s win.Maybe It’s Time to Stop Reading Fake NewsSurely more incidents have happened since Trump was elected; doubtlessly there are many more to come. To be sure, some of these incidents are larger and more shameful than others, and some are smaller and more mundane.But all of them, taken as a group, raise a pressing and important question: why is this happening? Why are our media so regularly and so profoundly debasing and beclowning themselves, lying to the public and sullying our national discourse—sometimes on a daily basis? How has it come to this point?Perhaps the answer is: “We’ve let it.” The media will not stop behaving in so reckless a manner unless and until we demand they stop.That being said, there are two possible outcomes to this fake news crisis: our media can get better, or they can get worse. If they get better, we might actually see our press begin to hold the Trump administration (and government in general) genuinely accountable for its many admitted faults. If they refuse to fix these serial problems of gullibility, credulity, outrage, and outright lying, then we will be in for a rough four years, if not more.No one single person can fix this problem. It has to be a cultural change, a kind of shifting of priorities industry-wide. Journalists, media types, reporters, you have two choices: you can fix these problems, or you can watch your profession go down in flames.Most of us are hoping devoutly for the former. But not even a month into the presidency of Donald J. Trump, the outlook is dim.READ MORE: read more