Tags: Christian Wood/Coronavirus/COVID-19/Detroit Pistons/NBA/Utah Jazz FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailChristian Wood of the Detroit Pistons has tested positive for the coronavirus, a person with direct knowledge of the situation said Saturday night.Wood is feeling fine, according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither the Pistons nor Wood had confirmed the diagnosis publicly.Wood’s diagnosis was revealed one week after he played against the Utah Jazz — spending much of that night matched up with Rudy Gobert, who was the first NBA player known to test positive for the virus.Utah’s Donovan Mitchell has also tested positive for the virus. Associated Press Written by March 14, 2020 /Coronavirus (COVID-19) related news and sports stories, Sports News – Local AP Source: Pistons’ Christian Wood tests positive for virus; played the Jazz recently
Dr Karen Patricia Heath, who organised the event, said: “This is going to be a fantastic interactiveevent for all the family, as we celebrate 50 years since the Moon landing. Frommeteorite handling and 3D printing to live music and talks from Oxford Universityexperts, there will be something for everyone.” This Saturday, the Bodleian Libraries is holding an event tocelebrate the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing. There will also be talks from academics on themes such as ‘TheOrigin of the Moon’, ‘Art in Outer Space’,‘Contested Meanings of Lunacy in Nineteenth Century Asylums’ and ‘The Moon isFeminist Art’. The Lunar Activity Day, which will be held in Blackwell Hall, is intended to be a family-friendly event involving arts and crafts, object handling and live performances. A team of academics from the Rothermere American Institute, the Department of Physics, and the Oxford Internet Institute’s Cabinet team have created a display about the moon landings, which will be in the Proscholium of the Old Bodleian Library until 15 September. The exhibit explores ‘humanity’s fascination with all things lunar’through selected items from the Bodleian collections.
All money raised from the brunch will be donated to the Drama Guild’s graduating seniors in the form of scholarships or to help bridge the gap between production costs and school budgets. Ocean City High School Drama Guild BoostersSeeking Donations and Sponsorships for “Broadway Brunch by the Beach” Fundraiser March 3 at Avalon Links Restaurant & Golf ClubThe Ocean City High School Drama Guild Boosters are seeking donations and sponsorships from local business owners for its “Broadway Brunch by the Beach” fundraiser. The fundraiser will take place Sunday, March 3 at the Avalon Links Restaurant & Golf Club, 1510 U.S. 9, Cape May Court House, NJ from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. The Ocean City High School Drama Guild Boosters are seeking assistance from local business owners to donate gift basket items and live auction items for its upcoming “Broadway Brunch by the Beach” fundraiser. Last year, nearly 100 gracious business owners donated items such as restaurant gift certificates, winery/brewery tours, beauty treatments, fishing gear, rounds of golf, theater tickets and tickets to sporting events. Business owners may also sponsor the event at the Bronze ($100), Silver ($200) or Gold ($300) levels.Donations and sponsorships will assist in raising money for the Drama Guild, which will either be presented to the Guild’s hardworking seniors in the form of scholarships or will be dedicated to covering production costs. Business owners who donate will be recognized in the playbill of the upcoming OCHS Drama Guild Production, The Wizard of Oz, taking place April, 4, 5 and 6.This year, the fundraising event is expected to host 250 lucky guests who will enjoy a beach-themed brunch, a live auction and fabulous gift basket raffles. The event will also feature exciting entertainment performed by the talented and enthusiastic members of the Ocean City High School Drama Guild.The Ocean City High School Drama Guild Boosters will happily make arrangements to pick up donations at any business owner’s convenience or items can be mailed or dropped off at an established location.Please contact booster club member Francine at [email protected] or Tara at [email protected] if you would like to donate an item or be a Bronze, Silver, or Gold sponsor. For more information about the Ocean City High School Drama Guild, please visit www.ochsdramaguild.org.
A director of Coventry-based Windmill Bakery risks going to prison if he continues to breach an injunction to not use Bakers Basco’s bread baskets.At Walsall County Court on 10 July, Akhlaque Ahmed admitted three allegations of unlawfully using equipment belonging to Bakers Basco, which broke the terms of an injunction originally imposed in February 2013 and amended in July 2015, preventing him from using baskets and dollies belonging to Bakers Basco and its membership without written permission.He has also appeared in the County Court at Coventry in August 2016, where he was order to pay a £2,000 fine to the Crown for breaching the order and was ordered to pay £3,330 in damages and costs to Bakers Basco.At this month’s hearing, Ahmed was ordered to pay £3,000 to the Crown and £5,664.50 in damages and costs to Bakers Basco. The judge made a custodial sentence of six weeks, which was suspended for an indefinite term, for three breaches of the existing injunctions.Ahmed could face a minimum of six weeks’ imprisonment if he breaches the injunctions again.Steve Millward, general manager of Bakers Basco, said he hoped Ahmed had finally got the message that you can’t keep taking other people’s equipment without their consent.“It has been a costly lesson – he has had to pay nearly £14,000 in fines, damages and costs in the last year alone, and he has been given a suspended jail sentence,” Millward said.Windmill Bakery declined to comment when approached by British Baker.
Editor’s note: This is the final installment in a two-part series about Kramer Properties and Campus Apartments, which both lease off-campus housing to students in South Bend. Local landlord Mark Kramer said selling a portion of his portfolio to Gross and Cohen Real Estate Investors has benefitted his business. “I believe that it’s impacted my business in a positive way,” Kramer said. “I’m able to continue with the personal service.” Kramer finalized the deal two years ago but continued to manage the properties until the national chain Campus Apartments, hired by Gross and Cohen, took over management last spring. Maintaining personal interactions with students motivated Kramer to sell, he said. “You get to a point where you get too large, and then you need to bring in more staff, and I’m a hands-on person,” Kramer said. “When I was approached by Gross and Cohen to sell a portion of the portfolio, I just thought it was a good idea so that I could continue to maintain that personal level of business with my clientele, the students of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s.” Kramer gave no advanced notification to students who had signed a lease with Kramer Properties. “It’s a sensitive process, but I did notify them once the process was complete via e-mail and expressed to them that please feel free to call me so that I could help them with any transition situations, which many of them did,” Kramer said. Kramer said he would not hire a national chain to manage his properties, including 75 houses, Lafayette Square Townhomes and 20 apartments. “If I decided someday that I wanted to retire, I would not bring a national chain to manage my company,” Kramer said. “I would hire my family and that’s why we have succession plans in place.” Living in South Bend his whole life, Kramer has been in the student housing business for 20 years. Kramer said Kramer Properties is a “family business” where his wife manages the front office at 812 East LaSalle Street in South Bend. “That’s not a company name on my building,” Kramer said. “That’s my name. It’s not a big corporate name that’s sort of a shield, and that’s why I use my name.” Kramer said his personal service makes him unique in light of his competitors. “My students can call me directly,” Kramer said. “I’m the owner of the business, but I’m totally approachable.” A security firm patrols Kramer’s properties from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily. Each property has a security system, peepholes in every door and motion sensors. Kramer said incidents concerning security have decreased. “We’ve had less incidents than we’ve had in past years,” Kramer said. “I think that has something to do with student awareness.” Kramer said he is “actively” leasing for next year. “To me, it’s business as usual,” Kramer said. “My business is active as it’s ever been and popular as it’s ever been.” According to Kramer, houses lease for $425 per month, and Lafayette Townhomes lease for $325 unfurnished and $395 fully furnished. Kramer has no plans to retire or sell any more properties. “I still have the desire to continue on and have fun in my business,” Kramer said. “Students make me young.” Senior Deirdre Murdy lives in a house on South Bend Avenue. Murdy said she and her roommates approached Kramer about installing additional motion sensors the morning after a security incident. According to Murdy, the house’s security system was not on, and a burglar crawled through an open window and allegedly stole an iPod and some speakers. “He was there later that afternoon and fixed it all for us,” Murdy said. Murdy said students should communicate with Kramer. “He’s really easy to get in touch with,” Murdy said. Senior Eileen Bingle lives in a five-person house managed by Kramer on Saint Louis Boulevard. “It was a little disconcerting that he had dropped some of the people that had originally signed with him, but as far as what I’ve experienced personally, I have no problem being under Kramer management,” she said. Bingle said Kramer has responded to the “few” issues she and her roommates had in a prompt manner. “We had mice, which was a little scary, but he came over and had an exterminator come in right away and took care of the problem,” Bingle said. Bingle said she values off-campus living. “It’s really a real-world experience dealing with paying bills, and things like that will help me in the future,” Bingle said. “It’s a lot of fun living with your friends in your house.”
Like the other 46 states in the country, Tuesday is Election Day for Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington. But for voters in those four states, casting a ballot does not just mean choosing a new president – it also determines whether or not gay marriage will be legalized. In Maine, Washington and Maryland, ballots feature referendums that would legalize same-sex marriages in the states. In Minnesota, a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage will be put up for a vote. For senior Maura Newell, a native of Seattle, the fight is personal. With a gay brother, uncle and aunt, she says gay rights issues are “very much so” a consideration next Tuesday. “It is probably one of the deciding factors for me,” she said. Just as voters in these four states will cast their ballots differently, the two presidential candidates stand in opposition on many gay rights issues. Democratic candidate President Barack Obama voiced support for same-sex marriages earlier in the year, the first sitting president to do so. During his term in office, Obama also signed a repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and announced the Department of Justice would no longer uphold Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) against equal protection constitutional challenges brought by same-sex couples married under state law. In comparison, his Republican opponent Gov. Mitt Romney, supports a constitutional ban on gay marriage, in addition to a ban on same-sex civil unions if they differ from marriage in name only. Romney has said he would not seek to overturn the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Newell said she is pleased with the increased discourse on gay rights, saying the issue is a “hot topic” right now. “I just think it is going to be one of those things that we’re going to look back and be [like], ‘What were people even thinking?’” A ‘big deal’ when casting the ballot? Senior Pat Adams, who already has cast his ballot for Romney, said he does not support same-sex marriage because it conflicts with his faith. “As a practicing Catholic – I am a theology major – I look to the Catholic Church to help me form my conscience on issues like this,” he said. “The Catechism is pretty clear there is a distinction between orientation and action.” Gay rights issues were “relatively important” but not the most prominent issue in casting his ballot for the Republican candidate, Adams said. He said the issue of same-sex marriage and other gay rights have not been prominent in either candidate’s campaign. “To be totally honest, neither campaign talked about it a whole lot,” he said. “I think it is a pretty good strategy on both sides because the focus of the election has overwhelmingly [been] on the economy.” Senior Carson Kirkpatrick, who is gay, said gay rights issues are a “big deal” for him in the upcoming election. “And I think for my friends, it is too, even some of my straight friends have expressed concern whether or not they should vote for Obama or Mitt Romney,” he said. “The ones that are more moderate or on the fence. … I think where their split is their economic views and social views.” Kirkpatrick said he thinks there is a struggle for voters in choosing between candidates that may appeal to different issues at stake. “There is no middle ground between the two candidates,” he said. “You can pick Mitt Romney … but he’s going to do something you don’t believe in the social area, and with Obama, some people have argued he’s had a chance to fix the economy, and the economy is not fixed, but then he is on the right track socially.” Newell said she recognizes much of popular support for Romney stems from his successful business career and his economic policies. However, she said this is just one issue in determining a candidate. “As much as that of course is important, people are people. We’re not just members of this country where we work every day,” Newell said. “So that is what concerns me, that he may make progress in some arenas – but I can definitely see him putting that on the back-burner.” Senior Lauren Peartree, whose older brother is gay, said there is a momentum of support for same-sex marriage among younger generations, something she does not see totally stopping even if Romney is elected. “I hope it will [continue],” she said. “I think it has a lot to do with our generation growing up, and how we view things.” But if Romney is elected, Peartree said she hopes the Republican candidate becomes more moderate in his views on gay rights. “I think [a lot of what he says] is to get the conservative vote,” she said. “I don’t think he is necessarily close-minded. I don’t know if it is me being idealistic, but it’s what I would like to think.” However, she said the fact gay rights issues are an integral component of political discourse is to not be taken lightly. “I personally don’t think it is an issue to be ignored,” Peartree said. Hitting home With several gay relatives, Newell said she sometimes forgets others may not be as personally invested in supporting same-sex marriage. “For me, I can’t imagine telling my brother or my uncle or my aunt they can’t marry the person they love,” she said. “I think a lot of people don’t have that because they are removed from it, and they never even talked to someone that is gay. For me it is just something that is just so in-my-face, I guess I am just emotionally charged.” Most of Newell’s friends are “totally on board” with Referendum 74, which would allow for same-sex marriage in Washington while also preserving the right to refuse to perform, recognize or accommodate any marriage ceremony. “I think with most people I know from Seattle, maybe because it is more liberal, it kind of is just like, ‘Why are we even talking about this any more?’” she said. Senior Molly Millet, a native of Maryland who has a gay relative, said one of the main reasons she registered to vote is to vote on Question 6, a state referendum that would legalize same-sex marriage in the state. She said while she would still be voting for same-sex marriage regardless, having a gay relative makes the fight important to her. “I would still hold the same beliefs,” Millet said. “I just think seeing it on a more personal level and having the exposure to the fact that there are people close to me I think should be able to get married. “I think they are some of the most healthy, normal couples I have ever seen. The fact that I have had the personal exposure to it makes it that much more important to me.” Like Newell, Millet said she sees similar sentiments of support among her friends back home. “Because it is something that a lot of young people care about and I think are a little more unanimous on than older generations, I see a lot of my friends getting a little more involved because of this issue that might not otherwise be as politically involved,” she said. Opposing viewpoints At Notre Dame, Adams said he feels his views are shared by many – but not the majority -because it is a Catholic university. “Other people are coming from the same spot,” he said. “I would say definitely in terms of being a 21-year-old male in the context of other universities, I don’t think it is a normal position at all. But for Notre Dame, I think it is fair to say there is a pretty conservative base on campus.” Going to Notre Dame, Millet said she has come into contact with other students who do not share her beliefs on same-sex marriage. “I’ve been in conversation with people who are vehemently against it,” she said. “I am not a confrontational person and I don’t want to start an issue that doesn’t need to be brought up, but the arguments I have heard that are against gay marriage don’t make sense to me.” For Newell, those who make a decision to not support same-sex marriage based on religious beliefs without exposing themselves to the gay community is “really scary.” “It’s just like they don’t know it, they make no effort to know it, so that’s it, their mind is made up,” she said. “I don’t get how other people can choose how other people’s lives are determined … It’s so archaic to me.” Political ‘give and take’ Senior Tom Temmerman is gay – but he also has already cast his vote for Romney. While he said gay rights issues are “really important” to him, he has to engage in a “give and take” with respect to whom he votes for. “I’m voting on all of the issues,” he said. “I’m not super pleased with either of the candidates.” Temmerman said he feels he can vote for a candidate without agreeing with every facet of his platform. “It’s hard,” Temmerman said. “It’s one of those things where people are like, ‘How can you even support that? They say terrible things about [gay rights], but at the same time … if they did say positive things, they would lose a lot of people who support them. As far as I’m concerned, I don’t support that, I’m not pleased when [Romney] says stuff like that.” Temmerman said he does not take Romney’s opposition on same-sex marriage personally, but he is worried if elected, Romney may slow the momentum of the gay rights movement. “That’s my only concern … but I don’t think he has the power to stop it from happening,” he said. “I don’t think the amount of power he has to slow it down is that great, just because it has become such a predominant issue. I think there are a lot of people who will rally in support of it and keep it moving forward.”
Modernity, in both style and theme, has infiltrated the Moreau Center for the Arts at Saint Mary’s. The College’s spring exhibits feature pieces by Matthew Kluber, professor of art at Grinnell College, and Megan Vossler, professor of art at Macalester College.Tiffany Bidler, director of Moreau Art Galleries, said the works of both artists represent a modernist, minimalist style.“Both Vossler and Kluber’s work is quite minimalist,” Bidler said. “What I enjoy about Kluber’s watercolors is that they give the impression of being something produced in multiples by a machine, like a digital print, and yet they are each hand-painted.”Kluber’s exhibit features a combination of painting and digital technology and is available for viewing in the Hammes Gallery, Bidler said.The linear, geometric elements featured in his paintings reference the colorful horizontal bands of data one finds on a piece of compromised technology, Kluber said.“The thn horizontal stripes refer to that imploding data, while the picture plane alludes to the computer screen, resulting in a carefully edited version of a visual phenomenon associated with the breakdown of a system,” Kluber said.By manipulating the timing and fades of the projector while simultaneously playing multiple different layers of video and motion graphics on the pre-painted canvas, Kluber said he is trying to facilitate a seamless intersection between traditional media and new media. Although the Grinnell professor uses custom software written in C++ and OpenGL, Kluber said he draws inspiration from the age of psychedelics.“Reference points for this work come from interest in the historic changes brought about in art by the social and cultural upheavals and rapid developments in science and technology in the 1960s and 1970s,” Kluber said. “These changes compelled a new generation of artists to address emotional disengagement, formal rigor and anonymity of authorship in order to escape the art that had reached its height of influence in the form of Abstract Expressionism.”Vossler’s drawings, located in the Little Theatre and Sister Rosaire galleries, are less colorful and the borders are more defined. Bidler said she first saw Vossler’s work in an exhibition in Minneapolis.“We have two drawing courses in the art department and I thought students would enjoy the work of a contemporary artist working in a traditional medium,” Bidler said. “However, she uses the medium in a contemporary way. The drawings are somewhat minimalistic, making interesting use of negative space and dealing with contemporary subject matter.”Vossler said she meant for her graphite drawings to explore the relationship between human beings and the natural world. The exhibit features two bodies of work, one created in 2010 and the other in 2013, which Vossler said reveals how she has begun to hone her focus on the small details. The Macalester professor usually depicts northern landscapes dotted with human figures and caribou, shadowed by images of trees and hovering helicopters.“[The subjects] all are negotiating their positions within an environment that has been indelibly changed,” Vossler said. “The landscape through which these figures move is vast and overpowering, a silent backdrop to a host of migrations.”Her more recent pieces zoom in on the effects of human engineering, modification and control, she said. Octodrone I and II depict an octopus whose tentacles’ suction cups look more like loud speakers. Other graphite drawings depict loud speakers coming out of a dying tree’s trunk.“Both flora and fauna are affected by the interplay between natural process and human desires,” Vossler said.Bidler said that artists may find the relationship between humans and their ecosystems pertinent in order to explore their own medium of art.“Students in the art department are very interested in exploring questions relating to the environment by way of their artistic practice,” Bidler said. “We have, for example, a sustainable fibers course taught by Professor Julie Tourtillotte.”Bidler said the exhibit will be open until March 14, 2014.Tags: Moreau Center for the Arts
ABC FORECASTS DOWNTURNIN 2009 CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITY December 3, 2008WASHINGTON, D.C. – Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) today released its 2009 economic forecast for the commercial and industrial construction industry. “While the industry experienced a mixed bag in 2008, do not expect the same story in 2009,” said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu.”For more than a year, economists have been discussing how weak the overall economy has been. The ongoing credit crunch began in earnest in August 2007 and the U.S. economy shrank during last year’s fourth quarter,” said Basu. “Because commercial construction typically lags the overall economy by one to two years, the weakness that has pummeled other segments of the nation’s economy has not been as apparent in commercial construction performance.”However, that is about to change in 2009,” added Basu. “One of the most telling signs that we will see a downturn in commercial and industrial construction activity is the dramatic fall of the Architecture Billings Index (ABI), produced by the American Institute of Architects. In October, the ABI rating reached a historic low not seen since the rating system was established in 1995.”While nonresidential construction employment was down 4.7 percent on a year-over-year basis in October, this level of job loss pales in comparison to what is likely to emerge over the next twelve months,” added Basu.”ABC expects that the reversal in industry fortunes will be increasingly manifested in the 2009 and 2010 data. It is worth noting that producer prices also will begin to decline more forcefully in the months ahead due to the deflation in key commodities, including copper, steel and oil. However, this will help accelerate the sector’s eventual recovery.”The following table provides year-to-year performance from 2007 through 2008. For the most part, the industry has held up well, with total nonresidential construction put in place rising in every industry with the exception of the commercial segment. As the forecast after the table indicates, the story will not be the same in 2009.Year-to-Date Performance, 2007 – 2008*Indicator2007200812-month% ChangeConstruction Put in Place – (millions, seasonally adjusted annual rate) U.S. Census BureauTotal NonresidentialLodging32,21638,70020.1Office68,26375,0009.9Commercial88,67880,600-9.1Health Care44,49945,4502.1Educational100,606105,9505.3Power58,04767,25015.9Manufacturing51,57668,20032.2Private NonresidentialLodging31,22538,50023.3Office56,10358,2003.7Commercial85,14377,500-9.0Health Care36,01436,5001.3Educational18,61219,0002.1Power46,03956,50022.7Manufacturing51,19367,70032.2Public NonresidentialOffice12,16016,80038.2Commercial3,5353,100-12.3Health Care8,4858,9505.5Educational81,99586,9506.0Power12,00810,750-10.5Construction Employment – (thousands, seasonally adjusted) U.S. Department of LaborNonresidential809.8780.0-3.7Residential951.2845.5-11.1Producer Price Index – (base date of June 1986 = 100) U.S Department of LaborInputs to Construction Industries – Index Value181.4196.18.1*2008 data contain projected fourth quarter dollar valuesThe 2009 OutlookCommercial building, such as retail and restaurants, will be off between 10 percent and 20 percent next year in dollar terms compared to 2008.Lodging will be negatively impacted by both a general decline in new construction activity and a reduction in personal and professional travel. This segment has been one of the leading engines of construction starts, but value put in place may decline 20 percent or more next year.Office construction will be off between 15 percent and 25 percent in 2009 due to ongoing difficulties in the financing environment, as well as waves of job losses in key office segments, such as financial services.Manufacturing will see a sharp decline after registering massive gains during the past several years. With domestic and global demand for manufactured products now falling decisively, expenditures on manufacturing-related buildings will fall in the neighborhood of 25 percent to 35 percent next year, with declines likely to persist into 2010.Institutional construction, such as hospitals, prisons and schools, will also soften due to a combination of state and local fiscal duress and the ongoing turbulence in the municipal bond and similarly situated financial markets. As a result, institutional building construction will slip more than 5 percent next year in terms of dollars expended.Power construction investment, especially in the alternative energy-related segment, will continue to trend higher even as electricity utility construction declines (down 30 percent in 2009) in the face of financing difficulties and retreating energy prices. Alternative energy investment will receive a boost from the incoming administration, which has committed to supporting segments such as wind, solar and biofuels.Conclusion: As 2009 looks to be a challenging year for the commercial and industrial construction industry, the next federal stimulus package being discussed in Washington, D.C., which will likely include a significant infrastructure component, may emerge as a countervailing force. While it will take some time to implement such a program, an infrastructure-based stimulus package may address both issues of short-term economic weakness and longer-term competitive needs. Moreover, investment in infrastructure represents a way for the federal government to take advantage of now declining construction input prices, allowing it to purchase more infrastructure for each dollar spent.####Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) is a national association representing nearly 25,000 merit shop construction and construction-related firms in 79 chapters across the United States. Visit us at www.abc.org(link is external)
12SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Joe Winn What do you get when you mix auto loan programs with a desire to help others? Well, approaches that make a difference, of course. So what do you get when … Web: credituniongeek.com Details The topic for this post emerged while I was at a vendor expo prior to a major run. Ok, you got me. It was at Disney. Readers, “every mile is magic”!One of the vendors was a title sponsor you may have seen mentioned on this blog: Misfit. They are an activity tracker/watch/smart device company owned by Fossil. I’ve used their original device since release: basic but functional. Since then, they have released a number of more advanced wearables. The evolution of the device I have now interacts with your phone as a camera remote, a “get me out of this awkward situation by calling me” feature, ability to control music, and even turn on/off smart lighting. And I thought mine was cool when it knew I was sleeping!Their other devices range from a full-fledged smartwatch (like an Apple Watch) to one called the Phase. It’s marketed as a “hybrid smartwatch”. If you’re being honest (and isn’t that why we’re all here?), you don’t know what that means. It’s ok, I didn’t, either. Does it run on two power sources? Can I make it a normal watch, then flip a switch and have a screen turn on? Is it a tiny Autobot? I even picked up a brochure, and the only guidance it gives is that “it’s more than time”. Luckily, the company had representatives at the event to explain. Us charlatans were all off the mark. A “hybrid smartwatch”, as you obviously should know, is a device with a normal watch face, physical moving hands and all, yet inside, it has all the computers you’d expect out of something much more impressive. Instead of using a power-hungry screen, the watch moves the hands around in different patterns, which you have to remember their meaning. It’s like morse code for the tech world. (Was 10 o’clock Mom or Steve texting? Oh, it’s actually just 10:00.)Now we are all on the same page when it comes to hybrid smart watches. They’re normal watches that can do some “smart” things. Couldn’t you figure it out from the name? No? Psh, what are you, a normal person or something?Misfit did that little thing we all fall victim to sometimes; they assumed. If you make up a new term, it needs to be repeatedly explained until it becomes common knowledge within your target audience. Otherwise, all you’re doing is confusing your readers and maybe even scaring them out of making a decision. “I don’t know what they’re talking about, but since it’s not explained, I bet everyone else does. If I ask, I’m the dumb one, so I’m not saying anything.” I’m sure within the industry, “hybrid smartwatch” is a common term with broad understanding. But did anyone check the real world?There’s a possibility your own credit union is making this same mistake. As with most industries, we do love our proprietary terms and acronyms. VSC, GAP, CPI, PPI, AD&D, and more. You’re right, some have general understanding in the public, but not all. And aren’t you about educating your members to make better financial decisions (which may involve you making more money)?All of your member-facing services should be presented in a simple, easy-to-grasp way. If a member wants the full details, that’s fine, but initial encounters must be instantly understandable. Take, for example, PPI (Payment Protection Insurance): “Get hurt or sick and can’t work for 30 days or longer? This pays your loan.” Everyone will get what it offers. GAP: “Totaled your car and insurance didn’t pay the whole loan? This pays the rest.” VSC (or Warranty for some CUs): “Car breaks? This pays to get it fixed.” In the latter example, you need to be offering a top-tier warranty service to say something so simple.And that brings up a good point. Besides missing member purchase opportunities due to a lack of clarity, you could also be making things difficult for everyone by partnering with a challenging provider. Remember, my business works with CUs. No matter what we offer, we aim for it to be easily digested by staff and members, without lots of exclusions, loopholes, or other places where relationships break down. Your MSRs want solutions which can be quickly presented to members. Once you have to start clarifying where it does and does not apply, the sale opportunity is gone.Ok, there was a lot in this piece. Let’s bring it all home.Hybrid smartwatches are normal-looking watches which do cool stuff. They show you by spinning their physical hands.Assuming often gets you in trouble.Every member service should be instantly understandable (if only at a, “that sounds useful, tell me more” level).All offered products, in-house and partnered, must be top-quality to ensure you don’t need to start presenting where they don’t apply (ie. A warranty which doesn’t cover sales tax).Credit unions exist to help members make smart financial decisions. If we’re stuck with industry jargon, assuming everyone understands, while presenting complicated solutions, are we really fulfilling our mission?This leads me to a future post which will discuss the idea of selling. Yes, you should be selling to your members. Why? And how? You’ll just have to wait and see!
continue reading » One of the sessions during the 12thAnnual Mid-Atlantic Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Conference that I recently attended was on current compliance topics. Panelists from the FDIC, OCC, FINRA, FinCEN and the Federal Reserve Board discussed some of the issues they had noted during financial institution examinations for Bank Secrecy Act (BSA)/anti-money laundering (AML) compliance. Under the current landscape, as institutions merge, they obviously grow but also get more complex. An institution’s risks therefore increase and make internal controls even more important. This increases the importance of independent testing performed by a qualified entity.The panelists indicated some financial institutions had been cited for lax review procedures. These included:Insufficient reviews of accounts;Conclusions inadequately supported; ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr