Revitalising the North East

first_imgTheCIPD’s North East branch has played a vital role in the economic regenerationof the region, providing solutions to develop the skills of the local workforce. By Ross WighamThenorth east of England has endured such a period of economic and social changeover the past few years that certain parts of the region are almostunrecognisable from just a decade ago.Regenerationhas been the watchword as the area struggled out of an industrial decline and amoribund economic framework towards a more vibrant, modern and high skillsenvironment.Alongwith other parts of Northern England the area is still in the midst of majorchange but for the first time recently, the North East attracted more talentthan it exported – a feat not achieved for many years.Suchmassive transformation requires careful management and from a peopleperspective the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s (CIPD) NorthEast branch is one of the country’s busiest.MoiraRankin, the CIPD’s North East branch chair has played an important role inshaping the region’s workforce, which is varied in terms of job type and spreadover a large geographical area.Atlast month’s AGM, Rankin was elected to serve a third year and, along with 20committee members, will continue to head up one of the busiest and mostchallenging branches in the country.Thebranch has around 2,500 members and because of the large number of universitiesin the catchment area is also very popular with HR students.”Wemeet on a monthly basis and we’ve had a very busy year. Every member receives amonthly newsletter, access to two events every month and we’ve really tried toencourage continuous personal development – that’s been a real drive for thisyear,” she said.Rankinexplained that the branch is taking an increasingly proactive role in the area’schange process and although much has been achieved, there are still manychallenges ahead.”TheNorth East differs from many other parts of the country in at least tworespects. First, it’s a very complex area that contains vibrant and successfulcommercial areas but also places of social deprivation and rural isolation,where job opportunities and skills development can be limited.”Westill have the legacy of heavy engineering and manufacturing and therefore needto attract and sustain new industries. The development and progression fromlow, through medium, to high-level skills in all areas is crucial to the area’seconomic success,” she said.Radicaland high profile projects like the Sage music centre and the Millennium Bridge,both part of the rebuilt Newcastle-Gateshead quayside, have been potent symbolsof the area’s rebirth, but rising employment levels and better quality jobshave been of more substance.Rankinbelieves her focus on skills is fundamental to future success when it comes toattracting the best employers to the North East and ensuring they are properlyserved by the local workforce.”Wewere one of the first branches to develop a training and development group,which helps our members network and share best practice and the latestmanagement thinking. The feedback from the profession has been really positiveand we’re hoping to do more work in this area,” she adds.Accordingto recent statistics, 28 per cent of people in the region suffer from numeracy problems,compared with 24 per cent across the rest of the country, and the CIPD is keento tackle the issue, as it is widely thought to contribute to productivityproblems.Aswell as her branch chair role, Rankin is also an official skills champion for theGet On North East Campaign, which is designed to help employers in the areadrive up numeracy and literacy levels. This involves spreading the word aroundthe HR community, promoting skills development and explaining the trainingavailable through the campaign, which is paid for by the Learning and SkillsCouncil. Rankinwants to continue this direct approach and believes that by working with othergovernment organisations HR can really contribute to the local skills agenda.”Oneof the key challenges will be working with other government agencies such asthe LSC, the Government Office and Business Links to develop the skills of theregion’s workforce. We can do this as a branch by corresponding with ourmembers on skills issues,” she said.Thebranch also hopes to establish a skills strategy group to work with majoremployers on improved training and development. This would utilise the skillsof senior HR committee members within the group who are already members ofbodies such as the LSC, the engineering sector skills council and enterpriseagencies.Anotherjoint campaign with the LSC, Young People Mean Business, is now in its secondyear and is designed as an awards ceremony for employers that actively recruitand develop youngsters in the region.Speakingat the branch’s AGM, Frances Pett the CIPD’s branch development manager, saidother regions should follow the more pro-active approach. “The North Eastis one of the busiest and most proactive branches we have. We want the branchnetwork to be of practical use to our members, really supporting people andhelping students through their qualifications,” she said.http://branchwebs.cipd.co.uk/neastHRNorth East–The CIPD’s North East branch has 2,500 members–The branch covers the counties of Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, County Durhamand the Tees Valley–The area has a workforce of around 1.1 million–Unemployment is currently around 5. 3 per cent Revitalising the North EastOn 15 Jun 2004 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

West Erregulla receives Western Australian Government support

first_img West Erregulla receives Western Australian Government support. (Credit: John R Perry from Pixabay) Strike Energy Limited (Strike – ASX: STX “Company”) is pleased to announce that the West Erregulla Gas Project has been awarded Lead Agency Status in WA by the Premier & Minister for State Development, Jobs and Trade. Lead Agency Status is awarded to major resource and infrastructure projects where the proposed investment is significant or of strategic importance to Western Australia.Under the Lead Agency Framework, the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation will provide the West Erregulla Project with case-management for government interfaces, and the coordination of approvals across a range of Government departments. This will assist Strike in navigating the approvals processes, expediting timeframes and ensuring efficient communication between Government agencies. Ultimately, this assistance will support the West Erregulla Gas Project to remain on track to deliver its critical domestic gas volumes into WA within the timeframe required.The West Erregulla Gas Project including the regional resources of the Greater Erregulla area may contribute up to 20 per cent of WA’s domestic gas supply. Due to the field’s size, quality and proximity to the market (300km to the North of Perth), West Erregulla is likely to be one of the lowest cost sources of large-scale available gas to feed the WA market.Development of the West Erregulla Gas Project will contribute significantly to economic growth, employment and infrastructure development and will positively benefit regional Western Australia, specifically the Mid-West region. Fundamental to West Erregulla’s projected impact will be the increase in affordable and competitive gas to ensure that the domestic market remains well-supplied.Strike Energy Chairman John Poynton AO CitWA, said:“The West Erregulla Gas Project is poised to deliver vitally important, low-cost gas supplies to WA’s major manufacturing and industrial users. This supply is particularly valuable given the announced delays and deferments of other gas projects in the State. We warmly welcome and appreciate the support of the Western Australian government.”Strike Energy Managing Director & CEO Stuart Nicholls, said:“The Lead Agency Status award from the Premier is recognition of the important role that the Perth Basin will play in the States energy security. This framework will help Strike meet the permitting and approvals timelines required to deliver gas under Strike’s aspired schedule.”“West Erregulla is one of the largest and lowest cost onshore conventional gas resources in Australia. Gas is an important driver of job and revenue creation to the Western Australian economy, and is an enabler for a rapid reduction in the carbon intensity of our energy system by displacing coal and diesel fired electricity generation which remains widespread throughout the State. When coupled with renewables, gas makes a reliable, sustainable and efficient partnership which can support Australia’s aspired emissions reductions.”West Erregulla is within EP469 of which Strike Energy Limited is Operator and holder of a 50% interest in joint venture, with Warrego Energy Limited, which holds the remaining interest. Source: Company Press Release West Erregulla Project awarded Lead Agency Status by Premier & Minister for State Development, Jobs and Tradelast_img read more

£30k fines for rogue landlords… says Brandon Lewis, Minister for Housing

first_imgGood news for good letting agents and landlords! Brandon Lewis, Minister for Housing and Planning, took to facebook and Twitter on Sunday 20th December, to say, “We are determined to crack down on rogue landlords and to ensure a high quality, private rented sector. Good for tenants and good for the majority of excellent landlords.”Oddly, though, the launchpad for this latest package of measures was The Sun newspaper.The Sun reported:“Landlords who let out filthy or unsafe homes will face fines of up to £30,000 under new laws to be unveiled this week.Housing Minister Brandon Lewis will announce the biggest package of measures to drive out rogue property owners and agentsCouncil chiefs will be able to slap a new civil penalty notice on offenders to provide an instant deterrent for criminal operators.Fines will be upped for failing to take action on overcrowding, hazardous conditions, poor sanitation, electrical faults, damp and vermin infestation.Measures to be introduced in the Housing and Planning Bill will go further to ensure landlords and agents who repeatedly break the rules will be banned for at least 12 months.A database of rogue landlords and letting agents will also be available for council staff to access. Civil penalties can be up to £5,000 as the law stands, but the average is £1,500.Mr Lewis said: “The private rental sector is still afflicted by too many rogues, who rent dangerous, dirty and overcrowded properties without a thought for the welfare of their tenants. We are determined to crack down.”There are 4.4million rented households in England.”Need to know more? The Housing Bill 2015-16 is currently working its way through Parliament, the provisional date for the first day of the remaining stages is Tuesday 5th January 2016.You can download the full Bill at:http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2015-2016/0108/15108.pdflandlords Brandon Lewis rogue landlords The Sun unsafe homes filthy homes fines for rogue landlords December 22, 2015The NegotiatorWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Hong Kong remains most expensive city to rent with London in 4th place30th April 2021 Home » News » £30k fines for rogue landlords… says Brandon Lewis, Minister for Housing previous nextRegulation & Law£30k fines for rogue landlords… says Brandon Lewis, Minister for Housing“It’s all in the Housing Bill,” he says… and in The Sun.The Negotiator22nd December 20150561 Viewslast_img read more

Ocean City’s South End Beach Project to Start in Late November

first_imgThe eroded beaches at the southern end of Ocean City, NJ, are scheduled for an Army Corps of Engineers beach replenishment project expected to start in late November 2014. The southern end of Ocean City will have to survive another full hurricane season before a massive project to restore dunes and rebuild eroded beaches begins.At low tide, the beaches at the south end appear healthy, but high tides push the crowd back against and onto a protective berm at the back of the beach.The work is expected to begin in late November, Richard Pearsall, spokesman for the federal Army Corps of Engineers, said on Wednesday.The $70 million project is out to bid, but no contract has been awarded, Pearsall said. A contract should be in place later this summer.The project will end a long waiting game for property owners in southern Ocean City, where the ocean met the bay during Superstorm Sandy in October 2012 and flattened protective dunes. Since then, the city used sand recovered from streets and trucked in from the mainland to rebuild a sand berm and to elevate beaches between 49th and 59th streets.A view from the water shows a terraced wrack line, “towel area” and protective berm.Beaches on that part of the island disappeared during some high tides even before Sandy hit in 2012. The temporary sand berm has held since Sandy, and the south end beaches have accommodated the usual crowds all summer.But property owners and regular beachgoers fear that one strong storm could eat the beach and berm, leaving properties as exposed as they were after Sandy. Earlier this spring, city officials announced that they anticipated the project to begin shortly after Labor Day.Hurricane season typically peaks in September and officially extends through all of November.The Army Corps has approval to complete a multi-town project (with Strathmere and Sea Isle City) to rebuild beaches and restore dunes. The federal government will pay 100 percent of the $70 million price tag as part of Sandy disaster relief. The southern part of Ocean City would then be on a regular maintenance cycle for federal Army Corps beach restoration as the northern part of the island is.The entire project will include the dredging of 4.2 million cubic yards of sand from a harvest area off the coast of Ocean City. It will bring 1.6 million cubic yards to Ocean City alone — in the area between 34th and 59th streets, with the other 2.6 million going to Strathmere and Sea Isle City.Pearsall said the contractor will determine where the project will start — which of the three towns gets sand first.The funding and permits are in place.The city has signed easement agreements from the owners of all but seven properties, and the city has taken the easements from the seven by eminent domain. The easements allow the work to proceed on portions of the beach that are privately owned (but unbuildable).The Army Corps is reviewing draft appraisal reports from the City of Ocean City to the owners of the seven properties. The city will offer compensation for the taking of the easements, but it will not release the appraised values until the Army Corps completes its review and the appraisals are sent, according to City Solicitor Dorothy McCrosson.The city has said it will continue to monitor the health of the south-end beaches until the Army Corps project begins. It is prepared to harvest and move sand from other parts of the island and to bring in more sand from off the island, if necessary.last_img read more

Why Are Ocean City Water and Sewer Bills So High?

first_imgDivide that figure by 12 for your monthly service charge. Multiply the total water used by the rate per 1,000 gallons. The Cape May County Municipal Utilities Authority sewerage plant on the bayside at 45th Street in Ocean City.Ocean City property owners — including second homeowners who use little or no water during the offseason — have long been frustrated by water and sewer bills that seem exorbitant.Ocean City’s Utility Advisory Commission — a volunteer group charged with advising City Council on issues related to public utilities — compiled the following “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) to help owners understand their bills and some of the factors that go into setting rates. As owners know, the problem is not new, but the working FAQ document has been updated for 2015.Fewer than 20,000 property owners in Ocean City are paying for a sewerage system that was built in 1979 to handle a peak summer crowd of 175,000 people. The new plant was built at a time when the limited capacity of the old facility led to summer beach and bay closings, according to Commission member Joe Clark. About 68 percent of sewer payments go to the Cape May County Muncipal Utilities Authority for running, maintaining and updating the plant, which serves only Ocean City.Ocean City is also one of only three towns in which New Jersey American Water Company owns the sewer lines. The high cost of maintaining a system capable of handling peak summer usage is passed on to users.Year-round sewer service charges are determined by the volume of (incoming) clean water used at any address during July, August and September. An additional sewer usage charge is based the volume of the current month’s clean water usage.The following FAQ feature is expected to be updated again soon with information on the process for water and sewer bills and rebates after a property transaction settlement.I have a problem with my water or sewer bill, whom should I call?New Jersey American Water Company makes every attempt to provide accurate monthly billings for their services. If you have questions related to either your water or sewer bill charges, please contact New Jersey American Water’s Customer Service Center directly at 1-800-652-6987 between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Why is this year’s sewer service charge based on last year’s summer quarter (July, August & September) usage?The CMCMUA designed and built the 45th Street Waste Treatment Plant in the mid-1970s to handle the tremendous peak flows Ocean City generates during the summer months. The CMCMUA develops its annual user charge based on the previous year’s sewage flows to the treatment plant during the summer quarter (July, August & September). New Jersey American Water Company utilizes the same methodology as the CMCMUA, where they bill their customers in the current year based on the prior year’s summer consumption. This approach attempts to match the charges from the CMCMUA with the revenues received from its Ocean City customers. Their Sewer Service Charge is structured on the same basis, and ensures that everyone will share proportionately in the CMCMUA’s actual costs of owning, maintaining and operating their Ocean City Waste Treatment Facility. Why does New Jersey American Water Company charge for sewer service in Ocean City?New Jersey American Water Company owns and maintains the waste collection system, pumping stations and pipelines that are utilized to collect sewage from homes and businesses in the city. The sewage is transferred to the Cape May County Municipal Utilities Authority (CMCMUA) sewage treatment plant located at 45th Street & West Avenue in Ocean City. The CMCMUA owns and maintains the treatment plant, pumps and pipes necessary to treat and dispose of the collected and treated sewage. Approximately 68 percent of your sewer payment covers the costs New Jersey American Water Company pays to the CMCMUA to treat and dispose of the sewage generated within Ocean City. Each municipality using the CMCMUA plant is required to pay for the volume they send to be processed. The remaining 32% percent covers New Jersey American Water’s expenses to collect sewage; maintenance of the collection system; pay local, state and federal taxes and to invest in the aging infrastructure of the waste collection system. How is my water rate determined?The cost of delivering high-quality, reliable water depends on a number of key factors, including the following:Required capital investments and the expense of operating and maintaining the city water supply system.Electricity utilized to pump the water from its source in the ground to the homes and businesses within the community.Standards of quality and quantity, pressures and service set by federal and state officials as well as New Jersey American Water Company’s standards to protect the health and welfare of their customers.Staffing costs, including salaries and benefits, for its service technicians, water quality specialists, meter readers, administrative personnel and others who help run the water utility on a day-to-day basis.Note: The rates charged by the New Jersey American Water Company are annually reviewed and approved by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU). Traditionally, public hearings are held in Ocean City after petitions have been filed with the NJBPU for any rate increases or decreases. At that time the public & City representatives are afforded an opportunity to speak on the proposed changes in rates. Additional information can be found on the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities website @ http://www.state.nj.us/bpu/ What are the current sewer rates for wastewater in Ocean City? Sewer Service Charge (including PSTAC): NJ American Water Company provides sewer (wastewater) services in Ocean City, the Adelphia section of Howell Township and Lakewood Township only. All other communities in the State of New Jersey are either with another water company or have their own municipal water authority. Like the PWAC, the Purchased Sewerage Treatment Adjustment Clause (PSTAC) is a pass-through charge for the sewage treatment costs. The PSTAC reflects the costs that NJAWC pays to the CMCMUA for treating & disposing of wastewater in areas such as Ocean City, where they operate and maintain the sewer pipelines and collection system. Each year, the PSTAC is reset and may increase or decrease depending on many different factors, including the amount of wastewater sent to the sewage treatment plant and the authorities’ costs associated with treating & disposing of the sewage. The current charge is $35.1121 per 1,000 gallons of water usage billed at the property during the prior year’s summer quarter (July, August & September), but not less than $262.64 per year. This sewer service charge is then divided by 12 and is billed equally over the period of January through December each calendar year. The sewer service charge includes the PSTAC charge. The PSTAC rate is $24.0083 per 1,000 gallons, which is included in the above Sewer Service Charge. The total PSTAC charge represents approximately 68% percent of the overall Sewer Service Charge. The service charge includes the capital investment in the wastewater collection system pipelines and service lines and the majority of the costs for the operation and maintenance of those systems within the City. What is the purpose of the PSTAC?The PSTAC reflects the costs that New Jersey American Water Company pays to the CMCMUA for the treatment and disposal of the wastewater. Each year the PSTAC is reset and may increase or decrease depending on many different factors, including the amount of wastewater sent to the sewage treatment plant and the CMCMUA costs associated with treating and disposing of the sewage. The current rate is $24.0083 per 1,000 gallons. The total PSTAC fee is included within the Sewer Service Charge on your bill. The PSTAC currently represents approximately 68 percent of the Sewer Service Charge. Volume Charge: In addition to the above monthly Sewer Service Charge there is a charge of $1.8698 per 1000 gallons ($1.39861 per 100 cubic feet) of water consumed for the current month. This is based on the amount of water utilized since your last meter reading and represents all of the costs not included in the sewer service charge.center_img Why am I being billed for sewer services when I am not there or utilizing the property?Sewer service charges are billed to all customers regardless of the volume of water utilized that month. You may only be a seasonal resident and do not utilize the water service or experience any water volume during certain months of the year, but you are still being billed for the sewer service charges monthly. The annual Sewer Service Charge is based on the water usage billed during the prior summer quarter (July, August & September) and covers the fixed costs associated to provide the sewer service. New Jersey American Water Company realizes that this annual charge could be burdensome to some customers, if full payment were to be required on a once a year basis. Thus the City and the water company agreed on a billing plan that would spread the payments out equally over a 12-month period, so that customers are billed 1/12th of this charge each month throughout the calendar year. The Sewer Service Charge represents New Jersey American Water Company’s fixed costs to operate and maintain the waste collection system and the actual cost to collect the sewage, as well as the fee billed by the CMCMUA to treat, and dispose of the sewage. Over the years there has been much controversy concerning these set charges and how they are billed out annually. What must be understood is that in the end the water company will be entitled to recover their actual cost and that the charges will remain the same no matter if they are billed in one lump sum or spread out in 12 equal payments. For the average property owner it appears to be more desirous to have the payments spread out equally and to afford them the opportunity to budget the cost over the entire year. In a way, it is a type of budget plan, similar to what is currently being offered by other public utilities for the services that they provide. The only difference is that the entire City is on the same plan and that it was negotiated on your behalf by City representatives at the time the new processing plant was built in the mid 1970’s. [table caption=”Sample Sewer Charge Calculation” width=”450″ colwidth=”50|50″ colalign=”left|left”]Month,Usage (in thousand gallons)July,10August,12September,9Total, 31 (thousand gallons for summer quarter)[/table]31 x $35.1121 (rate per 1,000 gallons) = $1,088.48$1,088.48 / 12 months = $90.71 per month(Revised: UAC01/1/2015) What are the main components of my water bill?Fixed Service Charge: The purpose of the monthly service charge is to recover the full cost of providing meter reading and billing services, as well as the capital costs for providing the meter and related service lines. The rate is based on the size of the meter that was installed at the billing address. For residential customers who have a 5/8” meter, the service charge is $10.60 per month. I called New Jersey American Water Company about my water and sewer bill, and they told me to call the city. Why?We have worked diligently with the management of the New Jersey American Water Company on this issue, and they have informed us that they have instructed their Customer Service Center representatives to answer questions from Ocean City customers and not to refer them back to the city itself. If a customer service representative mistakenly tells you to call the city about your concern, please ask them if you may speak with a supervisor. Unfortunately, this system is not always sure-fire and there are occasional glitches that occur with misinformed service representatives at the water company directing your inquiries in the wrong direction back to the city. The Sewer Service Charge Calculations for the Calendar Year 2015Add up your total monthly water usage recorded during the prior summer quarter (July, August and September). If that total is less than 48 thousand gallons the minimum service charge of $262.64 or $21.89 per month will be billed to your account. Purchased Water Adjustment Clause (PWAC): The current PWAC rate $0.4525 per 1,000 gallons. New Jersey American Water Company purchases water from a number of water service providers to supplement its own surface water and groundwater supplies. While they take steps to minimize the amount of water purchased, these supplies are critical to providing a reliable source of water supply for their customers. The PWAC enables New Jersey American Water to recover the costs related to purchasing water from other water suppliers and to supplement their own ground and surface water supplies. The PWAC is reset on an annual basis (generally in August) and is adjusted to reflect current costs. Because the NJ American Water Company is regulated water utility, they are required to file with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) each time they wish to increase the PWAC to recover costs associated with the water supply. Subsequently, the NJBPU performs a thorough review of the petition and after various required public hearings either denies, changes the amount proposed or approves the fee increase. Volumetric Charge: Based on your water consumption or $5.9405 per 1,000 gallons since the last meter reading. These costs are related to operating and maintaining the source of supply, treatment and transmission facilities, as well as other general operating expenses.last_img read more

O.C. Education Foundation, School District Shows Seniors “Sign” of Appreciation

first_imgThis year’s socially distant graduation will be much different than the 2019 commencement pictured here, but will still honor graduates for their achievement. By MADDY VITALEThe Ocean City New Jersey Education Foundation (OCNJEF) ordered yard signs for each member of the 2020 graduating class to proudly display on their lawns, as well as to give them out in the community to celebrate an important time in the students’ educational lives.“We ordered about 100 extra signs in case teachers, businesses, or other members of the community wanted to hang a sign to show some support as well,” explained President of OCNJEF Jennifer Shirk. “There are a bunch of parents willing to help with distribution.”She added that the signs were not expensive because they purchased a lot at one time.Shirk also pointed out that Schools Superintendent Dr. Kathleen Taylor was instrumental in offering the district’s support to assist with the signs. JASM Consulting designed the signs.“Dr. Taylor offered the high school as a place for distribution,” Shirk noted. “Some moms of seniors have offered to help out as well.”This most recent endeavor by the OCNJEF and the district came at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the closing of schools countrywide, leaving students to learn through virtual instruction.On Wednesday, Dr. Taylor emphasized in an email the importance of providing some positivity for the students in an important time in their student career — graduation, which is scheduled for June 16.“This year, the pandemic crisis and the Governor’s order to close our doors changed everything that is typical and traditional for the Ocean City School District,” Dr. Taylor said.She continued, “It is upsetting that we may not be able to hold end-of-year events on-site in our schools, particularly for our graduating seniors. Collectively, we empathize with the OCHS Class of 2020, as this is not the senior year that they or any of us dreamed of or could have anticipated.”Each member of the Class of 2020 will receive a lawn sign to display their accomplishment thanks to the Ocean City Education Foundation and the school district. (Image designed by JASM Consulting)Dr. Taylor added that it is “incredibly important to myself, the Board of Education, administration and faculty that our seniors, who have grown up in the Ocean City School District hallways, receive a special and meaningful celebration of who they are, what they achieved and the incredible impact they are leaving on our Ocean City High School.”She noted that providing seniors with yard signs celebrating the Class of 2020 is just one way that the district will honor this “unbelievable class.”The superintendent also said she was thankful to the education foundation.“We are most appreciative of the Ocean City Education Foundation for sponsoring the Class of 2020 yard signs. These signs would not have been possible without OCEF help,” she explained.Each year, the OCNJEF, which is comprised of about 30 members, hosts two fundraisers and accepts donations from the community. The money goes to teachers in the form of mini-grants to purchase items used in the classroom.Because of the coronavirus outbreak, however, any future fundraising is up in the air, Shirk explained.“As a result, we are being a little stricter with our budget and since the school went virtual, the board decided to temporarily suspend the teacher grants for 2020,” she said. “We’re not sure what’s going to happen to our annual Red & White Night Social, which is usually in October, if social distancing still needs to be in effect.”Shirk said the foundation is prepared to get creative.“We will manage,” she said. “All charitable organizations are in the same boat.”Ocean City New Jersey Education Foundation members donated $10,000 to the Intermediate School’s new wellness center this January.For now, OCNJEF is focused on something positive, in a time that is unprecedented and difficult. The yard signs will hopefully bring some joy to graduating seniors, she added.“The OCNJEF board felt it was something positive we could offer our students and a great way to show a supportive effort from OCNJEF and the community.”She said she believes it will be appreciated not only by the seniors, but by the families of the seniors as well.“I have a senior graduating from Ocean City High Scholl this year and she was really happy to learn of the signs. The first couple of weeks of quarantine were tough on her, but we’re all managing,” she noted.Shirk said, “She’s been a real trooper about everything. I am proud of her and all the seniors. Obviously, this was not how they pictured their high school career would end.”If the signs are well received, Shirk said OCNJEF may provide them, with the school’s support, for all future graduating classes going forward.For more information about the Ocean City School District visit www.oceancityschools.org. For more information about OCNJEF visit: https://ocnjef.com/Ocean City schools went to virtual learning last month in the wake of the coronavirus in an effort to maintain social distancing.last_img read more

Saint Mary’s choir prepares for five-state tour

first_imgWhile many students are packing up their bags for trips home or to tropical locations, the Saint Mary’s College Women’s Choir is gearing up for a five-state performance tour. Sophomore Claire Stewart, a member of the choir, said she’s looking forward to sharing some of the group’s latest pieces with audiences. “I’m really excited for the tour, I think it’s going to be one of the highlights of the semester for me,” Stewart said. “We’re singing a lot of interesting music, and in a lot of interesting cities that I’ve never been to.” The choir’s director, Dr. Nancy Menk, said the tour is an opportunity to improve the quality of the group’s performance. “It’s great for the choir,” Menk said. “We always sound a million times better when we come back. Mainly it’s the refinement of the music that takes place from constantly performing it. That’s why our homecoming concert is always a really good one.” The choir will leave Friday and will stop in cities in Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida. “We are singing with another choir in every city,” Menk said. “It’s goodwill, it’s exchange – they get to sing with us. They’re all high school choirs, so they get to hear the more mature voices. The teachers usually like to bring us in to sing for the kids because they think we’re a good model; something they can aspire to.” Sophomore Nia Parillo said pairing with high school choirs is an opportunity to put the group’s performance skills to the test. “I think it’s going to be really cool to work with each other,” Parillo said. “It’s kind of a test to see how professional we are. If they’re doing the same things we are, or if they are like, ‘Oh my gosh, they’re so good, I can’t wait to go to a collegiate level choir,’ that’s going to make us feel good and [let’s us] know that our hard work is paying off.” Menk said she is looking forward to hearing the choir perform in the various venues. “I’m looking forward to singing some of our a cappella pieces in some of the spaces we are going to be singing,” Menk said. “I’ve heard they have very good acoustics, especially in Atlanta, Florida and Louisville. I know some of our music will sound really great there.” Menk said the frequent performances won’t consume all of the choir’s time. “We get to do some fun sightseeing stuff too; it’s not just work,” Menk said. “In every city we try to get to the main attraction in that city. There’s plenty of fun built in. And we are going to end up in Florida, so they are going to have a beach day.” Stewart said the enjoyable performances and recreational aspects of the trip make the hard work worthwhile. “We’re definitely giving up a lot of time for it, and it’s going to be really intense in terms of the amount of work we have to put into singing, but I think I’m going to have way more fun on this trip than I would at home, because none of my friends have the same break,” she said. First-year Carrie Dubeau said she is excited to both represent Saint Mary’s to unfamiliar audiences and to experience some locations for the first time. “We get to go places that I would never actually go,” said Dubeau. “I would never get to visit these cities otherwise, in one week.” Stewart said she is also excited to visit a few of the destinations for the first time. “The only place I’ve been is Indianapolis, out of all the places we’re going, so I’m really excited to get to see different places,” said Stewart. “It’s kind of a cool dynamic. We get to sing a lot, but on the other hand we get to have some fun.” Soon after they return to campus, the choir will perform a homecoming concert on March 22 at 7:30 p.m. “It’s the result of the tour and [students will] hear a really polished performance,” Dr. Menk said.last_img read more

Disbarred Attorney Admits $4M Thefts

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York James KalpakisA disbarred attorney from Old Westbury has admitted to stealing more than $4 million from clients and banks he represented in real estate deals—including his own wife—over a four-year period.James Kalpakis pleaded guilty Thursday at Nassau County court to grand larceny.Prosecutors said the 52-year-old thief obtained a $1.1-million loan to refinance a mortgage on a home his wife owned by submitting a forged power of attorney in her name, allowing him to sign the forms in her absence in 2008—four years after he was disbarred.The following year, Kalpakis stole $1.3 million from a victim that he sold two homes to using forged deeds from banks that were not actually the owners and another $500,000 from the same victim in an oil, gas and mineral lease investment scam, authorities said.In 2010, he stole a $750,000 mortgage from a private investment firm, $150,000 from another victim he fraudulently sold property to and $45,000 from a victim for the purchase of a home, prosecutors said.And in the most recent scheme, Kalpakis twice scammed the same victim by promising to settle a pair of nonexistent lawsuits.Judge Philip Grella is expected to sentence Kalpakis on Dec. 3 to 3-1/3 to 10 years in prison.last_img read more

Hensarling eyes Dodd-Frank, CFPB reforms next year

first_img 4SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, indicated he plans to do more Dodd-Frank Act and CFPB reform work next year.Reportedly, Hensarling is planning to focus on “too big to fail” and the designation of nonbank financial institutions as SIFIs, or systemically important financial institutions. continue reading »last_img

Good Governance: A quality CEO-board relationship

first_imgThe CEO of an organization we’ve been working with recently resigned. Unfortunately, a good deal of finger pointing followed. Some suggested a lack of strategic focus. Others questioned her leadership qualities. And there was the inevitable discussion of “fit” or “chemistry.”This outcome ultimately came down to the relationship between the CEO and the board. And it’s not the first time we’ve seen this set of circumstances. In fact, a member of our team has resisted taking on a chief staff position for this very reason—because the relationship between a CEO and the board can either make or break effective organizational leadership. As such, we spend a great deal of our time at Quantum Governance talking about the importance of building a constructive partnership between the CEO and the board. But what does that really mean?We can start with the basic definition of these words. Constructive, as defined by the Oxford Dictionaries, is “serving a useful purpose; tending to build up.” Partnership refers to “taking part in an undertaking with another or others, especially in a business or company with shared risks and profits.” There’s a lot of meaning embedded in those definitions, but let’s just call out a few of the most important words: “useful purpose,” “tending to build up,” “undertaking with another” and “shared.”When we ask board members what their most important role is vis-à-vis their CEO, a common response is “to hire and fire.” That’s a very limited view of the relationship. Yes, recruiting and dismissing the CEO are formal powers vested in a board. And, yes, these decisions are among the most important a board typically makes. But these formal powers do not speak to the quality of the relationship, whether it is constructive and how it functions as a partnership between the board and the CEO. Yet, therein lies the real key to leadership success in the vast majority of credit unions. continue reading » 2SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more