Vermont Electric Cooperative announces annual meeting election results

first_imgVermont Electric Cooperative, Inc,Results of Vermont Electric Cooperative’s (VEC) director elections and proposed bylaw amendments were announced during the Cooperative’s Annual Meeting held in Derby on Saturday, May 21, 2011. Incumbent District 1 Director Don Worth of Island Pond won re-election with 307 votes; challengers Ken Mason received 208 and Paul King received 75. Incumbent District 6 Director Dan Parsons of Richford ran unopposed and received 366 votes. Incumbent West Zone Director Dan Carswell of Franklin won re-election with 764 votes; challengers Robert Pearl received 262 votes, Caleb Elder 211 votes and Naomi Shaw 186 votes. Two proposed amendments to the bylaws also passed. An amendment to add conditions and processes for removing Directors passed with 2,293 votes in favor and 314 opposed and an amendment to eliminate a requirement that regular meetings of the board of directors be held within the VEC service territory passed with 2,296 votes in favor and 325 opposed.  Featured speakers at the meeting included Vermont Public Service Department Commissioner, Liz Miller, who spoke about Vermont’s energy future. Chief Executive Officer Dave Hallquist reported on VEC’s successful smart meter deployment and discussed the tough choices faced when choosing power suppliers. About 300 VEC members and guests attended the meeting. During a question and answer session there was a lively discussion about power supply options, including the proposed Kingdom Community Wind project in Lowell, Vermont. Members also raised questions about rising electricity costs and expressed concerns about state and national energy policy issues.Soruce: VEC. 5.22.2011last_img read more

Ski Highway

first_img At the top, ready to drop. Will Fanning of Brazenhead Mountain State Brewing Co Snow in the Potomac Highlands of West Virginia and Maryland has been known to fall anytime from October through April, and in several spots the annual snowfall has averaged nearly 200 inches. So load up the four-wheel-drive vehicle of your choice and hit the highway. Starting near Linwood, W.Va. and running north to McHenry, Md., Highway 219 passes five ski resorts and nearby towns loaded with great restaurants, bars, and music. You can even get a dose of backcountry skiing in along the way. This is ski highway.Day One: SnowshoeGrub, Drinks, Music Highway 219 drops into Linwood, W.Va., at the base of Snowshoe Mountain Resort. There you’ll find Elk River Touring Center, including the Elk River Inn, Restaurant, and Ski and Snowboard rental gear shop. Last month, they expanded their operations to include the Fiddlehead Bar and Restaurant located smack in the foothills of Snowshoe Ski Resort. The Fiddlehead is brand spankin’ new and already offers a steady schedule of live music. New Year’s Eve weekend featured the Davisson Brothers Band and Vern’s Pot of Chili, two great acts out of the West Virginia mountains.The Fiddlehead offers upscale bar food and great beers, both of which are a worthy accompaniment to a night of friends and live music. The locally-supplied trout sandwich is delicious, but you just can’t go wrong with three-dollar Mahi Mahi fish tacos. The brew highlights are their three featured taps from West Virginia’s own Mountain State Brewing Company. Try the crisp, hoppy deliciousness of the Seneca Indian Pale Ale.The Place to CrashIn 1998 Will Fanning and his two sons began working on a pine-log structure that would become the Brazenhead Inn in Mingo, W.Va., named for the oldest pub in Fanning’s hometown of Dublin, Ireland. It’s just seven miles north from Snowshoe up Highway 219.  Brazenhead is old-school; if you’re looking for flatscreens and shot-skis, you’ve come to the wrong place. But the inn is truly steeped in charm and features a traditional Irish-style pub and a dense musical heritage reflecting on the Fanning’s family background. Guinness and Smithwicks are always on tap, along with traditional Irish Whiskies behind the bar for a nightcap. But the highlight sits just alongside the bar. While they regularly house live music, they also stock a piano, fiddle, banjo, accordion, guitar, and a handful of other instruments already set out in a small bar corner with a few stools for anybody to sit down for a jam session anytime. Fanning and his wife will join you if you ask.The cozy rooms boast a cabin feel, with old-timey pictures and paintings on the wooden walls and not much more than a bed, a place to wash up, and a dresser with some select reading material. No cable here, fellas. If you’re coming here, you’re coming for music, character, skiing, and the Brazenhead spirit.Snowshoe BackcountryWhen Snowshoe resort is lacking snowfall, there’s usually snow along the stretch of the Highlands Scenic Highway, the highest major roadway in West Virginia, which runs through the Monongahela National Forest. The road remains unplowed for the winter and is a popular spot for cross country skiers, but downhill adventure-seekers drive up the scenic byway as far as possible. About three miles up the highway, just off Highway 219 and east of the Cranberry Wilderness, there are some north-facing stashes that hold snow all winter long, just waiting to be shredded.“You can hit Shearers Run Loop, the Warming Hut, or Red Lick, which is four miles and pops back out onto the Scenic Highway,” says local mountain bike and cross-country ski guide Greg Moore.If you’re more likely to stick to the resort area, you’ve got options there too. From the Top of the Mountain area at Snowshoe there is a stash of backcountry playland locally known as the Old Hawthorn Slopes (named for the previous name of the golf course) that run all the way down to the base of Snowshoe. They are steep, extreme, and often shrub-covered, but on the right day, there’s some serious terrain waiting to be carved. Leave a car at the bottom, head back to the parking lot at the Top of the Mountain area, and access it next to the heli-pad.For more information about Snowshoe Mountain, check out from the Ski Highway: Day Two: The Valley (Timberline, Canaan, White Grass resorts)Grub, Drinks, MusicIf you’re heading to any of the three ski resorts that surround this area (Timberline, Canaan, or White Grass), look no further than Davis and Thomas, W.Va. Highway 219 will drop you right into Thomas, the northern town of the two sister towns, which are only a couple miles apart. The tourism industry has been good to these old mining and logging towns, and today there are almost too many great places to hang out.For a brewpub hop, start in Davis at the Blackwater Brewing Company. They feature Italian and German cuisine, the latter of which features generational family recipes handed down by the mother of the original owner, Rosalinde Benson. Get some quality grub into the ol’ belly before the night begins, then dig into the beers. Blackwater features six beers all brewed behind the bar in their three-barrel micro-brewing system, including a wheat beer, a gold ale, a marzen, an Indian pale ale, a porter and a stout. Try the stout (arguably their forte). It’s bold and smoky with almost a hint of a chocolaty body that goes down quite smoothly. The place has been taken over by brewer Lincoln Wilkins, a man who has returned to his native home for good. A traditional Belgian/German style brewer, Wilkins plans to expand the reach of Blackwater beer here beyond the pub and experiment with new brews.Make your hop from Davis up into Thomas to find Mountain State Brewing Company. Grab a homemade pepperoni roll—a traditional snack reminiscent of the early West Virginia mining days when the rolls were introduced and made famous in the state. They are a West Virginia staple made by, well, baking pepperoni into a yeast bread roll; simple, yet truly satisfying and a perfect prelude to a beer brewed in-house. If you’ve already tried their IPA, perhaps now is the time to go for the Miner’s Daughter Oatmeal Stout. There’s no better way to enjoy an oatmeal stout than perched on a saw-horse converted into a barstool in a small, dark, timber-raftered pub with a beautiful copper bar top and a warm, down-to-earth vibe. Check their schedule: if you arrive on the right night, you’ll be treated to live music in the dance-hall connected to the bar.The Place to CrashThe Douglas Falls Bed and Breakfast, located just a mile or so outside of Thomas, is a quaint B&B and as peaceful a place as you can ask for. It’s fairly luxurious (on the inside, which is what counts, right?), for the price. Walk out the front door to take a stroll down the Blackwater Canyon Trail along the river. About a quarter mile up from the inn is the 35-foot Douglas Waterfall on the North Fork of the Blackwater River—not a bad way to spend a morning.Back at the inn, enjoy the clawfoot tub in your room for a hot bath after a day on the slopes, or just step outside and make use of the jacuzzi. In the morning you’re served fresh, homemade breakfasts: apple pancakes or freshly baked quiche, coffee, sausage, freshly sliced fruits. After breakfast hit the road and you’re only 15 minutes from Timberline, Canaan, or White Grass ski areas.White Grass BackcountryWhite Grass Ski Touring Center is the cross-country mecca for Nordic skiers in West Virginia, or even the whole Southeast for that matter. Owner Chip Chase has created something unique in the small-time, easygoing atmosphere that White Grass embodies. He’s a cross-country ski bum at heart, but feels there is a growing scene between alpine-touring skiers, Nordic skiers, telemark skiers, downhill skiers, and snowboarders alike.“White Grass creates this little energy field of trust, love, independence and just an affection for the outdoors without being pretentious or rule-oriented or grumpy or expensive,” says Chase.White Grass is known for its fantastic cross country skiing and technique of snow farming (special fences are used to gather excess snow for cross country skiing), but there’s interest for adventure seekers looking for downhill backcountry as well. On the mountain behind the small lodge is a stash of impressive glades hand-carved out of the forests coming down towards the lodge. These glades boast 900 vertical feet of playland just waiting for ambitious skiers or snowboarders to hike it. With the lodge right at the bottom renting snowshoes and serving delicious food, you’re set.“A lot of volunteering goes into clearing this backcountry out here,” says Chase. “All the best spots coming down from the trails on the top of the mountain have been cleared out.”Day Three: Canaan Valley Grub, Drinks, MusicThe Purple Fiddle has housed The Avett Brothers four times and continues to book great bands from all around the region, drawing lively crowds every single weekend. They’ve got a large selection of food and a noteworthy selection of beer (featuring Mountain State Brewing Company on tap), but here the beer, the food, the picker’s décor, the foot-stompin’ knee-slappin’ music, and the good-natured people are all muddled into one big scene, and the only way to truly experience it is just to go. It’s truly a special experience to be standing on the worn, creaky, century-old wood floor with a mason jar full of cold beer in your hand watching bands that should probably be playing larger venues jamming away on the store-front-window stage.Upcoming shows include Trees on Fire (Feb. 8); Dangermuffin (Feb. 18); Caravan of Thieves (March 12); and Bryan Elijah Smith & The Wild Hearts (March 17).The Place to CrashNext door to the Fiddle is a turn-of-the-century duplex named the Fiddler’s Roost, which has been converted into a cheap place of lodging for those on the lower end of the road-budget.  They have five private rooms, which share bathroom facilities, as well as a communal lounge area and small kitchen area for everybody to use. It’s all part of the magical atmosphere that exists at the Purple Fiddle. The old Victorian buildings that line the streets of Thomas were once run-down, but now house packed storefronts and thriving businesses. Stop into one of the art galleries like The White Room. If you’re hungry, you’ve got options like The Flying Pig, a quaint and attractive dog-friendly breakfast and lunch eatery featuring locally grown farm-to-table produce. Or swing over to Davis for dinner at Sirianni’s Café, a local staple—a must-do on the pizza list. At the Fiddler’s Roost, look for rooms starting at $45 during the week, or head up on a weekend and catch some foot-stompin’ tunes with rooms starting at $65.Canaan / Timberline BackcountryCanaan Valley Ski Area has a long black diamond called the Dark Side of the Moon, which veers way out to the west side of the mountain. It also guards a stash of old runs that now lay dormant where the resort once existed.Keep going beyond the Dark Side of the Moon and you’ll get into what they call The Spoon. On powder days, work your way across the flats and through the woods, then bust out to the headwall where the old ski lift was. When you get to the bottom, follow an access road and walk a quarter mile back up to the functioning lift. “It’s really fun. It’s a combination of old ski areas that were never connected but get linked by adventuresome alpine skiers,” says White Grass owner Chip Chase.Another spot for backcountry action is the gas pipeline off the back of Canaan Resort. The pipeline runs both north and south of the resort, but the southeast area is where you want to hit it. Ride down a narrow, open gap in the trees as it drops about 2,000 feet in elevation all the way down to Laneville where you’ll hit a field that opens back up to County Route 45. Plan ahead and leave a car there. There are some steep bowls in there that can hold a lot of snow if the conditions are ripe.At Timberline, there’s some good sidecountry where you can get out into the woods and come back around to the runs again to reach the bottom and still catch a lift ride back up. If you take Salamander Run from the top, you can sneak back into the woods for some good riding, but you’ve got to be careful not to go too far out or you’ll end up in the Dolly Sods Wilderness. If you ski to the right side of Salamander, work your way around the bend, loosely following the curvature of the run through the woods to ride down some woody terrain, eventually popping yourself back out on the steeper part of Salamander to get back to the bottom.For more information about Canaan Valley Resort, check out Four: WispGrub, Drinks, MusicThe last stop on Ski Highway is Wisp Resort, situated just next to the small town of McHenry and right beside Deep Creek Lake. Whether you’re up on the slopes of Wisp or on a backcountry mission, time is well spent here.Mountain State Brewing Company has their second location here, but you’re not necessarily going for just the beer and pepperoni rolls. Walking into the place, you’ll notice the toasty, cabin-fire feel of the place given off by the home-made natural soapstone hearth pizza oven, where they produce hand-thrown artisan pies. The best seller is the Fire on the Mountain pizza, a chipotle hot sauce and sausage masterpiece. If you’re really diggin’ the slope-side campfire spirit of winter ski life, you can try the Smores: nutella, marshmallows, and graham crackers toasted in the wood-fired oven.Afterward, mosey on over to the Blackbear Tavern and Restaurant, the highlight of nightlife in McHenry, especially if you’re looking for a big sports-bar-style tavern, large crowds of partygoers, and the option for tavern-based or club-based live music. They’ve got a huge wrap-around bar in the center, pool tables and other bar games to keep you busy, and a bunch of great taps including the rich Old Dominion Bourbon Barrel Stout, which fits the surf-and-turf menu. The motto here is “Eat, Drink, Dance.”The Place to CrashThe Lake Pointe Inn Bed & Breakfast is right off Highway 219 in the heart of McHenry and boasts an outdoor fire pit and wraparound porch with views of the lake. They’ll pamper you with complimentary snacks and drinks, available massages, and Egyptian-cotton towels and Italian linens. They offer discounted lift tickets to Wisp and lend out their own outdoor gear, including snowshoes for winter trail hikes. Sure, they get over 100 inches of snow per-annum and it’s going to be cold out on the slopes, but what’s cold got to do with it when your room has a fireplace waiting to warm you when you get back?Wisp BackcountryIf you’re heading up to Wisp, there are plenty of places within the resort where you can sneak off the trails and get some woods-runs in, allowing the luxury of a lift ride back up. Or you can always scout the endless gas and power lines that run the mountains surrounding the area.Just 20 miles east from Wisp on the south end of the Savage River Reservoir in the Savage River State Forest, there’s a huge, straight, perfectly northwest-facing ridgeline that plateaus at just under 3,000 feet elevation. The ridgeline is host to five wide-open bowls, each averaging about 1,000 feet of steep vertical, perfect for hike-to adventure seekers. Worried about access? Park at the boat launch: there’s a railroad that runs right along the bottom of the entire set.“We typically either bootpack or skin up,” says Eric Recker, a local fly-fishing guide and ski instructor. “You can ski all five of those bowls. When you’re at the bottom you just hit the train tracks whichever way you need to go.”Recker recommends waiting for a decent snow base followed by a good freezing rain layer to avoid tearing up your gear.“It’s steep. Steep steep. We’ve triggered slides back there before. But that’s why we go there,” Recker says. “They’re northwest facing, have huge mature timber and no low growth. Everything’s wide open. There’s no brushy stuff that you’ll hit. We haven’t cleared anything. It’s just naturally like that.”For more information about Wisp Resort, Ski Highway The instruments of Brazenhead. Fiddler's Roost Shredding the backcountry Purple Fiddle White Grass Blackwater Brewery's Lincoln Wilkins Brazenheadlast_img read more

Op-Ed: Pit Bulls Make Great Outdoor Companions

first_img“Aggressive breed,” a dangerous misnomer, has caused unnecessary deaths for pit bulls all over the nation.Breeds like Pit Bulls, Boxers, Rottweilers, and Doberman Pinschers are more likely to cause fear and harsh judgment from passersby. This is because of a long history of dog fighting and fake news.Pit Bulls, however, have gotten the worst of it. Likely you, without a second thought, steer clear; apartments and rental homes won’t allow them; even shelters are reluctant to take them in.Many will argue that these dogs are bred for fighting.They’ll cite recent dog attacks to credit themselves, but what we tend to ignore is why these dogs are known to attack in the first place.In an interview with Bronwen Dickey, author of Pit Bull the Battle over an American Icon, Simon Worrall asks her about the aggressiveness of the breed, to which she replies, “it’s not one breed, it’s four. There’s the American Pit Bull terrier; the American Staffordshire terrier, which was the American Kennel Club conformation breed…. There’s the Staffordshire bull terrier, which has been a conformation breed since the 1930s; and the newer breed called the American bully, which was derived from the American Staffordshire terrier in the 1990s.”While the first, the American Pit Bull terrier, was known to be a fighting dog, the other three were show dogs.However, many people will put any dog with a big head and short hair into the “Pit Bull” category. Therefore, creating the myth that many dog attacks are the responsibility of this breed.During WWI and the Depression, these dogs were popular with blue collar workers. They were all-American dogs, easy and average. However, in the 1950s, kennel club breeds became the American favorite, and Pit Bulls were mostly forgotten.Later, in the 1970s, a social movement to end illegal dog fighting caused a media boom where dogs made the front page of every paper.Unintentionally, they created wild myths about fighting dogs, like their extremely powerful jaw pressure. As the American public became more frightened and intrigued, the reputation of Pit Bulls became worse and worse.Today, dog fighting is still a problem but is slowing significantly.Nevertheless, the national fear of Pit Bulls persists. Many shelters reject them, cops will shoot them onsite regardless of what they’re doing, and many are too afraid to adopt them. In order to fight this stigma and offer a home to these sweet dogs, local Asheville shelter, Brother Wolf, has not only taken in “aggressive dogs,” but kept them in their care until they are rehabilitated and adoption ready.Carissa Collinge, the volunteer manager at Brother Wolf, explains that since BWAR’s foundation in 2007, the live release rate for Buncombe County went up exponentially, from 36% to its current 95%. Brother Wolf’s anti-euthanasia policy has helped it achieve its 95.7% live release rate.They are known for taking in the “top 10%” of the most challenging dogs: the ones who need the most behavioral correction, rehabilitation, and socialization. They typically have 50-80 dogs in the shelter at a time, and 400-500 dogs in their foster system. They can house and rehabilitate so many dogs because of their volunteers and foster parents.Collinge estimated they have about 2,000 volunteers who were active within the last 6 months, and BWAR couldn’t have supported so many animals without them. They help change the reputation of dogs by putting their volunteers through extensive training in order to handle their most difficult dogs. Many of the dogs that come into their care are traumatized or nervous. Abandoned dogs can lose trust in people and become aggressive. In order to change this behavior, the dogs have to be resocialized and rehabilitated through positive reinforcement. The purpose of these shelters and programs are to never give up on a dog, regardless of breed.According to the Save-A-Bull Rescue website, Pit Bulls are not only the most euthanized breed but also the most bred in America.This means they not only are they getting killed at alarming rates, they’re experiencing extreme overpopulation. There are an estimated 3-5 million Pits in America, 33% are in shelters. “About 75% of municipal shelters euthanize Pit Bulls immediately upon intake, without them ever having any chance at adoption,” that’s 1 million Pits per year. Only about one in 600 Pits born in America will ever have a loving home.So what can we do?Spay, neuter, educate, and volunteer. Many shelters don’t have the ability to be no-kill because of overcrowding and the pet trade– people would rather get pet store or purebred puppies than shelter dogs. However, shelters like Brother Wolf who have a complex network of volunteers, takes advantage of foster parents in order to have enough space for all of their dogs.What many people don’t realize is that all dogs share about 99.8% of their DNA, they’re all the same species. Meaning, the slight differences that make them either a Pit Bull or a Chihuahua, doesn’t make them more or less aggressive.Likely, you have a local No-kill shelter too. In order to save the precious lives of our beloved best friends, spread the word. Fight stigma and help out your local shelter.last_img read more

Explosive Found at Brazil Shrine before Pope’s Arrival

first_img A homemade explosive device was discovered in the bathroom of the parking garage of the Brazilian shrine that Pope Francis would visit the week of his visit, the Military said. A São Paulo Military Police spokesman said that the explosive was “insignificant, of low power” and that it was not in an area that the pope or pilgrims would have gone to. By Dialogo July 24, 2013 Some 5,000 security forces have been mobilized for the pope’s visit to Aparecida in São Paulo state.center_img The explosive was found during a security training session. The Military said the device was destroyed after its discovery on July 20, at the Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida between Rio and São Paulo, which the pope was due to visit on July 24. last_img read more

Trafficking in Persons 2013: Antigua and Barbuda

first_img According to the Trafficking in Persons Report published by the U.S. Department of State in June 2013, Antigua and Barbuda is a destination and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor, but the country is making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s standards. Legal and undocumented immigrants from the Caribbean region, notably from Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, as well as from Southeast Asia, reportedly comprise the population most vulnerable to trafficking, said the report. According to several sources, forced prostitution occurs in bars, taverns, and brothels. Incidences of forced labor have occurred in domestic service and in the retail sector. Despite severe budget limitations, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda demonstrated a proactive approach to identifying trafficking victims and providing them with quality services. The report noted that both the minister of national security and the director of gender affairs continued to be leaders in the prevention of human trafficking during the reporting period. For another year, the government did not report any convictions or punishments of trafficking offenders. Antigua and Barbuda’s Trafficking in Persons (Prevention) Act 2010 prohibits forced prostitution and forced labor, including bonded labor, and prescribes punishments of 20 to 30 years’ imprisonment with fines. These penalties are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape. The law is comprehensive, and includes extensive victim protection measures, though several local officials have expressed concern that the law requires trafficking crimes be heard in lower court, which appears to treat trafficking as a less serious crime. During the reporting period, the government provided in-kind support to International Organization for Migration (IOM)-led capacity building and technical skills training workshops for government officials. The Trafficking in Persons (Prevention) Act 2010 protects identified victims from punishment for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of their having been trafficked, and authorities collaborated with IOM to repatriate foreign victims safely and voluntarily. The government demonstrated significant trafficking prevention efforts during the reporting period. By Dialogo July 25, 2013last_img read more

Contract signed for construction of Peljesac bridge

first_imgAn agreement on the construction of the Peljesac Bridge, worth over 2 billion kuna, was signed today in Dubrovnik between Hrvatske ceste and a Chinese consortium led by China Road and Bridge Corporation, as well as an agreement for construction supervision with a community of bidders including the IGH Institute, engineering.The agreement was signed by the President of the Management Board of Hrvatske ceste, Josip Škorić, and the authorized representative of the Chinese consortium, Zhang Xiaoyuan. Škorić also signed a contract with the President of the Management Board of the IGH Institute, Oliver Kumrić, on professional supervision over the execution of works on the construction of the bridge.The Peljesac bridge will be 2,4 kilometers long and 55 meters high, will have four lanes, and its construction will take 36 months from the start of work. The opening of the Peljesac Bridge addresses a long-term strategic issue of road connections between southern Croatia and the rest of the country.Chinese Ambassador to Croatia Hu Zhaoming he said that the signing of the agreement opened a new chapter in the relationship between Croatia and China. “Our political relations are turning a new page, and the project also shows political trust between our countries. Chinese investments in Croatia have increased more than a hundred times, and last year 60 percent more tourists arrived. It is no coincidence that the Chinese consortium got the job of building the Peljesac Bridge, most Croats believe that China should be the biggest economic partner in the next ten years. “, said Hu Zhaoming.HGK is interested in mediating in bringing domestic production and services closer to the Chinese partner”The Croatian Chamber of Commerce will gather Croatian companies in a consortium that will negotiate with a Chinese consortium to obtain part of the work on the construction of the Peljesac Bridge. The Chamber is interested in mediating in bringing domestic production and services closer to the Chinese partner. Contact with the Chinese ambassador’s advisers has already been made, and in the talks it was pointed out that this is currently the largest Croatian project of exceptional strategic importance for the Republic of Croatia, which should enable better and easier cooperation between Croatian and Chinese companies not only in the construction sector.”, Said the Vice President for Construction, Transport and Communications of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce Mirjana Cagalj during the signing of the contract for the construction of the mainland-Peljesac bridge between Hrvatske ceste and the Chinese consortium China Road and Bridge Corporation.According to previous experiences with Chinese contractors on European construction sites, it is estimated that domestic companies could earn up to 40 percent of the share in the implementation of the project worth 2,08 billion kuna without VAT, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce concludes.</p>
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Plitvice Lakes National Park is working on a “zero waste” strategy. What does this mean in practice?

first_imgPlitvice Lakes National Park, the very word and symbol is at first associated with green and sustainable development. Although the opposite was true until a few years ago, things have started to change. Some of the significant problems have been solved, such as congestion of visitors to the case of a septic tank, and today the situation is much better than several years ago. “The management plan sets basic goals in achieving the vision of the National Park, according to which a good way of managing the protected area and cooperation with the local community are the foundation of sustainable development. In achieving these goals, special attention should be paid to preserving the unique universal value of the Park, preserving the tradition and cultural identity of the area, sustainable development of the local community and building a partnership in which the local community recognizes the Park as part of its identity.”States Tomislav Kovačević, director of the Plitvice Lakes National Park. “As a national park under UNESCO protection, the importance of the impact on nature conservation and raising awareness of waste reduction is an important determinant of action for us. As we manage a number of catering and accommodation facilities, we are faced with the great challenge of reducing our environmental impact. Through the numerous activities and projects we have started, we strive for a “zero waste” strategy”States from the Plitvice Lakes National Park. USE OF LOWER ENERGY CONSUMABLING LIGHT AND FAVORABLE FOR THE FAUNA . In this way, the Plitvice Lakes National Park procures electricity from certified hydropower plants, with special attention paid to evidence of the harmlessness of the power plant’s impact on the environment and the disposal of hazardous waste, according to the Plitvice Lakes National Park. In 2018, Plitvice Lakes National Park introduced new lighting that uses LED technology that consumes up to 50% less electricity and is more favorable for wildlife because the light is not scattered in all directions but is directed only to the narrower area around the trail. The lighting is also programmed to work at 40% intensity for most of the night when there is no need for intense light. Today, more than ever, the focus is on sustainable development and ecology, and destinations that go that route will certainly benefit. Tourism, if well managed, can support nature conservation while contributing to sustainable development and providing opportunities for income and a better quality of life for local people, the WWF said, adding that caring for natural heritage through protected areas is key to sustainable development and foundation. is socio-economic well-being. A more efficient and ecologically oriented form of tourism or ecotourism. SUSTAINABLE DISPOSAL OF FOOD RESIDUES IN HOTEL JEZERO But let’s go in order… the story for this article attracted me to the news that the Plitvice Lakes National Park uses electricity from renewable sources. It is for this reason that together with the Jezero Hotel of the Plitvice Lakes National Park, it has joined forces in a food waste reduction project. Crowds of tourists coming to the Adriatic beaches, islands, towns and cities are the cause of enormous pressure on both infrastructure and natural resources. In response, WWF points out our protected areas are looking for new, commercially viable alternatives in the form of ecotourism. However, they have been using it for the last two years, and this week, for the second year in a row, they received a certificate from the holder of the ZelEn certificate, which confirms that 6.351 MWh of electricity from renewable sources was delivered. You can download the management plan of the Plitvice Lakes National Park until 2028 here The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has been the leading voice for nature for more than half a century, and they also operate in Croatia. WWF: Mass tourism is not sustainable for nature Unfortunately, Croatia does not lag behind global data. We throw away about 400.000 tonnes of food a year, contributing to European figures of around a staggering 90 million tonnes, which is about 20 per cent of total food production. i.e. 173 kilograms per capita. The value of the food thrown away is 143 billion euros. Also, natural resources are consumed for food production, distribution and storage and further increased ecological footprint. That is why the World Conservation Organization (WWF) has recognized food waste as one of the most important programs of its work. “It is extremely important to us that the flora and fauna feel the presence of man and his technologies as little as possible, so this project was of great importance.” states from Plitvice Lakes. By the way, this is green energy obtained exclusively from renewable sources, which is delivered by HEP through the ZelEn certificate. Also, the buyer of ZelEn acquires the right to use the protected stamp ZelEn – Friend of nature for promotional and marketing purposes, which is already an imperative today, then a big trend. Otherwise, green electricity, at least according to HEP, is more expensive, ie an additional 20 euro cents or about 1,5 kuna / MWh. Of course, there are, and will be more and more, various green sustainable certificates or certificates on the market that a company cares about the environment by using energy from renewable sources or encourages sustainable development. Green is the new “black” in today’s modern business, and the world of consumers about sustainable development is getting bigger and bigger. And that is exactly the key to transforming our business from “black” to “green” as much as possible. Photo: With the introduction of biodegradable packaging in 2015, the process of removing plastic from the business began, and all generated waste in the hotel is separated, while bio waste is used for the production of bio fuel and animal feed. Food waste is a big challenge today. Due to its huge amount, but also the use of soil, water and energy for the purpose of producing excessive amounts of food, our footprint on the planet is extremely large, and analyzes indicate that as much as 70% of biodiversity is lost by deforestation to agricultural land. Photo: NP PJ Promotional materials are printed on eco paper, food is procured through green procurement and cooperation with WWF. “With proper internal communication, communication with guests in our hotels through informative and educational messages and excellent cooperation with WWF on this commendable project, we believe in excellent results and we are proud that our largest hotel Jezero was among the first hotels in Croatia with this project. ”conclude from the NP of Plitvice Lakes. Sustainable tourism is defined by the UNWTO as tourism that fully takes into account current and future economic, social and environmental effects, takes care of the needs of visitors, sectors, environment and destination Therefore sustainable tourism should make optimal use of environmental resources which are a key element of tourism development, retaining essential ecological processes and helping to protect natural heritage and biodiversity. Respect socio-cultural authenticity destinations, to preserve their built and living cultural heritage and traditional values, and to contribute to intercultural understanding and tolerance, and to ensure that economic activities sustainable and long-term. Sustainable tourism as an imperative In response to these key issues in Croatia, WWF focused on four components in its work on tourism: the project should have a positive impact on the environment and contribute to nature protection and conservation, commercial sustainability, local community development and respect for culture. Local circumstances, traditions and values, as well as human rights and gender, must be respected. Read more about the work of WWF HERE Plitvice Lakes National Park finally has a clear Management Plan, visitor counters, online ticket purchase, electric vehicles as well as electric boats are used, products from local family farms are encouraged and used, and they received the green light from UNESCO, which has just monitored all protection processes and even threatened to remove Plitvice Lakes from the UNESCO list. What is a fact, the situation today is much different than 5 or more years ago. Mass tourism is not inclined to care about nature – and the consequences are disastrous. Tourism is one of the main causes of ecological collapse in the region. Some once untouched places can no longer be rebuilt today. Unsustainable tourism activities also have a negative impact on protected areas. We also know the negative effect of Instagram destinations, where they suddenly become so popular that they ruin an entire destination that simply cannot accommodate so many tourists. last_img read more

Grab lays off 360 employees, cites pandemic

first_imgGrocery shopping service GrabMart and courier service GrabExpress orders rose by 22 percent and 21.5 percent year-on-year (yoy) respectively from February to March, the company previously said.Tan pledged that the layoff would be the last for this year.“I assure you that this will be the last organization-wide layoff this year, and I am confident as we execute against our refreshed plans to meet our targets that we will not have to go through this painful exercise again in the foreseeable future,” Tan added.A Grab Indonesia spokesperson told the Post that the layoffs would affect Grab globally and did not specify the proportion of the layoffs in the Indonesian office.Grab is offering laid off workers severance pay, enhanced separation payments, waivers of annual cliffs for equity vesting so employees can leave as shareholders, outplacement support and other forms of assistance.Bhima Yudhistira, a researcher from the Institute for the Development of Economics and Finance (Indef) said that while Grab had enjoyed an uptick in its delivery services, it still relied heavily on the ride-hailing business especially outside of Indonesia.“Even in Indonesia where Grab has diversified its business, their profit might not make up for the losses during the social distancing period, when some of Grab’s partner restaurants and merchants have been affected,” he said.Bhima added that the pandemic had shocked Grab’s business model of “burning money”, or the practice of putting more money into a business than the expected immediate return in order to build a customer base in an effort to earn larger profits later.“I think funding for ride-hailing companies will be more difficult to access as investors will become more skeptical,” he said. Southeast Asian ride-hailing firm Grab announced on Tuesday that it would lay off 360 employees, just under 5 percent of its total employees in the region, as the company felt the economic pressures of COVID-19.In a note to Grab employees published on the company’s website, Grab CEO and cofounder Anthony Tan said the company had felt “the stark impact of COVID-19” since February and that it was expecting the pandemic to lead to a prolonged recession. “Please know that we did not come to this decision lightly. We tried everything possible to avoid this but had to accept that the difficult cuts we are making today are required because millions depend on us for a living in this new normal,” he said in the note on Tuesday. Grab, which has been valued at US$14 billion and operates in eight countries, including Indonesia, cut its senior executive salaries by 20 percent in March and offered no-pay leave and reduced working hours in April prior to the layoffs.The pandemic has taken a heavy toll on ride-hailing services because of social restrictions enforced to contain the COVID-19 virus.The company, backed by SoftBank Group Corp., said that in addition to the layoffs, it would also be eliminating non-core projects, consolidating functions and “right-sizing” teams. It would also redeploy its employees to cater to the growing demand for deliveries.A Grab Indonesia spokesperson told the Post in April that its package and food deliveries had seen increased business as people stayed at home during the pandemic. This coincided with a slump in demand for passenger services.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Norway’s oil fund lifts exclusion as Raytheon exits cluster bombs

first_imgNorway’s sovereign wealth fund has revoked its exclusion of US defence firm Raytheon from its investment universe, after blacklisting its shares back in 2005.Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), which manages the oil revenue-funded the NOK7.4trn (€827bn) Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), said it had excluded the company from its investment 12 years ago due to the company’s involvement in the production of cluster munitions.NBIM said: “The executive board’s decision to revoke the exclusion was made on the basis of a recommendation from the Council on Ethics, which regularly shall assess whether the basis for observation or exclusion still exists.“The Council on Ethics has received confirmation from Raytheon that the company no longer has any activities associated with production of cluster munitions.” The council said in its recommendation, dated 22 August 2016, that Raytheon has issued a statement on its website saying it did not manufacture or sell cluster munitions — nor did it make or sell land mines, nuclear warheads, or biological or chemical weapons.In 2008, a number of Nordic pension funds blacklisted Raytheon because of its involvement in the making of cluster bombs along with other companies involved with the controversial munitions.The four Swedish national pensions buffer funds AP1, AP2, AP3 and AP4, Industriens Pension and Danica Pension in Denmark were among those divesting from Raytheon and other companies and removing them from their investment universe.The Council on Ethics for the GPFG exists to evaluate whether the fund’s investments are consistent with the fund’s ethical guidelines.The Convention on Cluster Munitions was signed in December 2008 in Oslo, prohibiting all use, stockpiling, production and transfer of the weapons, and so far it has been signed by 119 states. These weapons are considered a danger to civilians in a conflict both during war and for years afterwards, since the ‘bomblets’ can wander off course and remain unexploded, like landmines.last_img read more

UK roundup: Royal Mail pension costs, Standard Life-Aberdeen merger latest

first_imgThe company added that it would “continue to work closely with our unions on a sustainable and affordable solution for the provision of pension benefits after 31 March 2018”.The Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) proposed an equity-heavy risk-sharing scheme in March. Royal Mail rejected this plan but retained some elements of it in another proposal, which formed one of several options being considered for a replacement pension arrangement.Both the CWU and Unite unions have threatened industrial action, including strikes, in relation to the DB scheme’s closure.‘Standard Life Aberdeen’ to cut 800 roles post-mergerThe planned merger between Aberdeen Asset Management and Standard Life Investments – which would create one of the biggest asset managers in Europe – moved a step closer this week as the two companies issued official documents.The two companies said in the scheme documents for the merger that they expected to remove roughly 800 roles from their combined workforce of approximately 9,000 during the integration process.The companies said they aimed to achieve annual savings of up to £200m.The combined entity would be called Standard Life Aberdeen, the companies announced.Aggregate DB shortfall climbs in AprilThe combined deficit of UK corporate DB pension funds rose by 8.4% in April to £245.6bn, according to data from the Pension Protection Fund (PPF).This was the highest figure recorded by the PPF’s 7800 index of DB schemes since October 2016.Total liabilities rose during last month, while assets fell.Andrew Tunningley, head of UK strategic clients at BlackRock, said many schemes were “underhedged”.“UK index-linked gilt yields – crucial to determining pension liability values – are driven by a powerful force that is sometimes underappreciated: supply and demand,” Tunningley said. “The proliferation of liability-driven investing among the pension community has caused demand for linkers to grow at a much faster pace than supply.”He added: “We estimate that over the next five years demand for index-linked bonds could be around four times the projected supply available to pension schemes… In our view, this persistent imbalance could act as a powerful anchor preventing a sustained pick-up in yields. Today’s low real yield environment will prevail for some time, meaning that materially better market levels at which to hedge liabilities may not arise any time soon.” Royal Mail’s pension scheme contributions will reach £1.3bn (€1.5bn) from next year, higher than initially expected, according to its latest valuation.The company, which runs the UK’s postal network, announced the closure of the Royal Mail Pension Plan (RMPP) to future accrual earlier this year. This is due to take effect from 31 March 2018.In a statement to the stock exchange on Monday, Royal Mail said the defined benefit (DB) scheme had a surplus of £1.7bn as of 31 March 2017. However, combined employer and employee contributions to the scheme were estimated to be higher than the £1bn the company estimated when it announced the closure of RMPP. The company currently pays £400m a year into the scheme.“Accordingly, we expect that the actuarial funding surplus would be exhausted during 2018 if the plan had remained open in its current form,” Royal Mail said. “After this time, the annual cost would be more than double the current contributions, which, as we have pointed out to plan members in a number of communications, is unaffordable for the company.”    last_img read more