Lightning in a Bottle is not merely a music festival, but instead an unparalleled gathering where people congregate to experience open-minded community, and concepts for living a brighter tomorrow. The instructions are quite simple, and the LIB Thrive Guide says it best: “Lead by example. Pack it In and Pack it Out. Honor the land. Respect others and their journey. Practice good citizenship. Own your actions. Go above and beyond.”LIB is unique for each person who attends the affair; no two LIBs are the same. Some focus on seminars and workshops, listening to ideas and inspirations from a cavalcade of gurus, experts, healers and leaders. Others seek out the litany of visionary installations and collaborative art projects evolving each year. People go to LIB for the diversified yoga programs, the learning kitchen, the spirituality, the tea houses, the improv troupes, the fashion, and the dozens of thriving subcultures. This year, The DoLab is unveiling The Compass; an evolution of educational workshops and content offerings. The Compass will bring a renewed focus on connecting activism and grassroots organizing to our core ethos of education, healthy living, environmental stewardship, and cultural respect. Families, loners, and longtime festival crews come back to LIB to experience what is among the most engaging, socially conscious, and interactive music festivals on the planet. The word “transformational” is thrown around a lot these days, but there is no irony, sarcasm, or tongue planted in cheek here; Lightning in a Bottle is a life affirming endeavor that can fundamentally change somebody, if they are willing and able to surrender to the flow.Lightning in a Bottle 2017, taking place over the long Memorial Day weekend holiday May 24-29, is shaping up to the best and most vibrant yet. Maybe the most amazing part of LIB is the wide-ranging blend of progressive music, across numerous genres and beyond! Below you will find a short list of B.Getz’s “Can’t Miss Musical Magik!”, you can check out his L4LM coverage from last year’s LIB revelation HERE.Have a gander at LIB 2017’s mammoth schedule right here!You can still cop tix to LIB 2017 HERE….but before we get to the epic tunes, a quick homie plug for Fest300’s Eamon Armstrong and his Thursday afternoon workshop. I feel this topic is extraordinarily relevant in this space and time, and encourage both sexes and all peoples to attend and engage.EAMON ARMSTRONG: HOW TO DISMANTLE TOXIC MASCULINITY 12:45 – 1:45 Thurs. BeaconThursday May 25thBeaconAabo- Thursday 9:15pm (and Fri. 3pm at Pagoda)Ultimate Fantastic-11:15pm Brian Hartman – 12:30am- (and at Favela Bar 2:30pm Sunday) PagodaAn-ten-nae- 12am (midnight) Friday, May 26thLightning StageClimbing Poetree (w/Lydia Violet) -5pmNicola Cruz 7:45pmThunder StageCharlesTheFirst- 2:45pmTroyBoi- 12:30amGrand ArtiqueElephant Revival 5:45pmOrgone- 7:15pmBootleg Sunshine 9:15pmDirtwire 2amPagodaSaqi- 7pm (and Beacon 2:30 am Friday)GoldRush 9pmBeaconMark Farina 7:30pmLodgeElisa Rose 10pmPavilionRyan Herr 10pm Saturday May 27thLightningBob Moses 11:15pmKaytranada 12:30amThunderSpacegeishA 12:15pmKalya Scintilla 7:45pmDimond Saints 9:30pm Kraddy 12 midnightFavela BarZach Walker 8pmSaand 12:30amPatricio 2amBeaconDJ Nadi 6:45pmLodgeMigaloo 8pmPavilionYaarrohs 1amwords: B.Getzfestival images: Jacob Avanzato Crossroads PavillionSun Hop Fat 8pmSabo 9:45pmSunday May 28thLightningBonobo Live Band 10:30pmBassnectar 12:30amThunderMaddy O’Neal 1pmPaper Diamond 9:30pmIvy Lab 11pmWoogieKLMN 2:30pmMonolink 6:30pmGrand ArtiqueGene Evaro Jr. 5:45pmPagodaNaughty Princess 6pm Morillo 9pm WoogieHernan Cattaneo- 12 midnightPagodaSmasheltooth vs. The Pirate 3pmAndreilien 3amFavela BarMUSICIS4LOVERS PRESENTS: SUNSET SPANKING FT. FAT BITCH AND THE BOOTY BOSS (JIMBO JAMES B2B DADON) PLUS DINK! & HYLAS- 5pmBeaconStellamara 2:30amThe LodgeDELPHI 5:15pm
Far from the beaten path of Harvard Square, with its austere libraries and scurrying students, Valerie Nelson is freezing food.Not just any food, but some of the University’s food, which is kept for an undisclosed amount of time in an unidentified location, all in the interest of safety and public health.Nelson is a safety ninja. You might’ve seen her, though most likely not. She’s one of a group of clandestine food inspectors who show up unannounced at some of Harvard’s most publicized events, including Commencement. She was there, sampling the catering trays while using individually wrapped tongue depressors — “Much to the dismay of people serving wonderful things like filet mignon,” she revealed — and was in and out before anyone could stop short, exiting into a haze of fog.“Ninety percent of what I do is under the radar,” said Nelson, whose office is on the outskirts of campus. “It’s a part of the protection of the health and safety of the community that people are not aware of, but it’s happening behind the scenes all the time.”Food samples are refrigerated for three days (most food-borne illnesses emerge during that time, Nelson said) before being frozen, or “archived” for later testing should a need arise.A registered sanitarian, Nelson is public health manager for Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) at the University. She has a litany of responsibilities, but mostly oversees food safety. She’s on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Her program consists solely of her and one part-time staffer.“We’re a one-and-a-half-person team,” she said, though she regularly enlists the help of EHS colleagues who are industrial hygienists, chemists, and biologists.Her team conducts unannounced food safety audits, and her coverage includes the campus’s residential and retail dining spots, Crimson Catering, the Harvard Faculty Club, FAS student grills, and the Dudley House Co-op. “We provide feedback and training based on the results of those audits,” she said.The inspections are less scary than they might seem. Nelson ensures that food is correctly prepared, stored, and served. She works with outside caterers, makes sure they are properly credentialed, and monitors food recalls by the Food and Drug Administration. “We bounce that information out to others so they can check their products and not serve a food that may be potentially unsafe,” she said.But Nelson acknowledges that even outside the office her job has its occupational hazards.“I’ll go to a potluck supper, look at the potentially hazardous foods, and determine which ones I think are safe to eat,” she said with a laugh.Before coming to Harvard, Nelson worked as a city health inspector. “People always asked me where they shouldn’t eat,” she said. “Due to confidentiality, I could never reveal that, so instead I just told them to watch where I go to eat on Friday night and follow me there.”An avid swimmer, Nelson relishes Massachusetts’ lakes, though she sometimes considers the transmissibility of influenza via waterfowl. “I don’t think most people worry about those things,” she joked. “My job does affect me. It’s hard for it not to.”Her advice to those of us cooking today: “It’s important to keep food refrigerated at 41 degrees or below, and to wash your hands before you start. My motto is: Prevent.”
Stories of learning, teaching, and turning points, in the Experience series.Kathy Delaney-Smith never planned to be head coach of Harvard women’s basketball. In 1982, she was perfectly content at the helm of the girls’ basketball team at Westwood High School, where she’d excelled over 11 years: a 204-31 record, six undefeated seasons, and a state championship.“I just loved teaching and wasn’t climbing any ladder. I just needed to be better at what I was doing, not better in the eyes of the world.”But after a friend persuaded her to interview for the Crimson job, her plans changed.Thirty-four years later, Delaney-Smith has posted more wins than any coach in Ivy League history (322 in the Ivy, 546 career). Her teams have captured 11 league titles, and finished in the top three in the standings 14 straight years.The coach doesn’t back down from a fight on or off the court. At Westwood she filed four lawsuits seeking equal treatment for her female players. In 1999, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The support of her team and an irrepressible sense of humor helped to carry her through treatment.Delaney-Smith, 66, is quick to note her job is above all about education. “I have always viewed coaching as teaching. I believe it can be a very important part of your education — like a nontraditional classroom. If you educate the whole person, then that enhances performance.”Q: Where did you grow up?A: I grew up in Newton, the fifth of six children with incredible parents. They took the approach that boys and girls can do anything that they want. My mother was a woman ahead of her time. My dad was a law school professor at Boston College. He was brilliant, but not a big fan of stereotypical roles. We all had our choices growing up, but the girls did the dishes and the boys took out the trash. No choices there.Q: Were you athletic right from the start?A: We were very sports-oriented. We lived near Crystal Lake in Newton, so we were all good swimmers. We spent our summers teaching swimming and being lifeguards. I went to a Catholic school from Grade 1 through 12 and there were no gym classes. We did have basketball courts across the street, so I would spend hours shooting and became a pretty good shooter.Q: When you were young you played basketball for your mother at Sacred Heart High School. Did she inspire you?A: Not consciously, but looking in the rearview mirror, yes, she had a huge impact on me. She was really good for her time and, yes, she was harder on me than probably the other players. I was the first girl in Massachusetts basketball to score 1,000 points, but the joke was, “Your mother was the coach — she made everybody pass you the ball.” I think I was a good athlete for back then, but there was not a lot of support for girls. There were no camps, no youth teams, etc. In fact, there were not a lot of good coaches, probably because it was a very different game than men’s basketball. We had six players — three on each side of half court — and we were not allowed to dribble more than once.When I graduated from high school — I can’t figure out why — I wanted to be a physical education major. My school had no gym classes, I was just a good swimmer and a good shooter, so my transition to college was a tough one. I truly was out of my element because I had never played any of the sports I was now being graded on. I remember being on the phone with my mom and telling her I wanted to come home. She said to me, “Kathy, time to grow up!,” and then she hung up the phone.‘Work ethic, toughness, discipline, drive, resiliency, leadership — I could go on forever — these strengths have to be who you are all the time. You usually cannot turn them on and off when you want them.’Q: Did you plan to play sports in college?A: I was intending to play basketball in college [Bridgewater State], but there was no team for women in 1964, just a club. Everyone got to play an even amount of time and who won didn’t seem important. I didn’t join because I was looking for something more competitive, or so I thought. I researched joining the swim team, but there was no competitive team for women at that time. The big program was synchronized swimming, so I joined and swam for four years. I ended up loving it in spite of the fact that it was not competitive.Q: How did you get into coaching?A: I wanted to be a swim coach. I didn’t play basketball in college. I ended up coaching and reffing basketball to make money to pay for college. I got my certification as a basketball official and, in fact, refereed games with my mother. In 1971, when I was interviewing for my first jobs, I had chosen high schools that had swimming pools. Westwood had just built a swimming pool and I wanted to be a swim coach and wanted a teaching job. The superintendent said, “Our girls’ basketball team is terrible.” His daughter played, and he asked, “Can you coach them and can you win?” I said, “Yes, of course I can.”I am famous for this mantra “Act as if,” and as I look back on my life, it’s my mother who taught me that, when she told me to grow up and hung up on me. She made me act as if, which is how I was raised as well. If you are sick, act as if you’re not. I had no awareness that that’s how she was raising me, but looking back, that was how we lived in my family. I wanted that job and I knew if I didn’t know how to coach them, I would learn how to coach them. I would figure it out. I got the job and became the head swimming coach (where I had to start the program) and the head basketball coach (where I had to coach all three teams — freshman, JV, and varsity), as well as teach. I learned very quickly that things were not the same for girls and boys at that level.Q: You filed a number of lawsuits seeking equal treatment for your girls’ teams while you were at Westwood. What was it like to have to fight right from the start for equality?A: They never went to court. At the time, they were described to me as level one, level two, level three, and level four. Level four is basically mediation. And at level four, I got everything that I wanted. We got new uniforms, equal gym time, I got some assistant coaches. Title IX allowed for all of that to happen in Westwood and that’s why Westwood became the premier girls’ program in the area and got a lot of media coverage. We would have up to 1,500 fans at our games. It was a really big program for girls because of Title IX. I was very happy being a teacher and a high school coach. I kept thinking there was still more to do because at the time we didn’t even have night games, we still had afternoon games. I had kids being recruited for college and often parents and college coaches couldn’t get to afternoon games. We needed night games, like the boys had.Q: How did you get the Harvard job?A: Before I took the job, people kept saying: You’ve been at the high school level now for 11 years. You’ve been very successful. You’ve now got to be a college coach. Everybody thinks it’s the next step. I never thought it was. I just loved teaching and wasn’t climbing any ladder. I just needed to be better at what I was doing, not better in the eyes of the world. A friend of mine had gotten the Brown job, loved it, and convinced me to take the interview. I was quite relaxed about it because I didn’t know much about Harvard and had never played college basketball. And I fell in love with this place that day.Q: What happened?A: Harvard was everything I didn’t think it was. It was one of those daylong processes. Marlyn McGrath Lewis was on the committee, Floyd Wilson, Jack Reardon, a lot of really wonderful academic people, and then the two captains. I met the team and fell in love with the energy here. I found myself wishing I had done a better job preparing for the interview.Q: Was it also appealing to you that Harvard was really embracing Title IX?A: That was huge. When local college basketball positions opened, I would always get a phone call and I would say, “What’s your men’s salary and what’s your women’s salary?” And then I would say, “No thank you.” The inequity was astronomical, and that just didn’t interest me. The salary here was a full salary with a staff. And I could tell in conversations with [Director of Athletics] Jack Reardon that Title IX was something that Harvard was going to pay attention to. In my early years here, that was true. No place is perfect, but they were far better than any college maybe in the country and definitely in the Northeast. I thought Harvard was very conscientious and tried to make the situation here as good for women as it was for men.Q: How did you balance having a family with a career?A: I only have one child, so that’s easier. My husband and I sat down and I told him I loved my job. He didn’t love his job, so he quit his job and stayed home with our son, Jared. Jared could come here and I could still be a good coach and have him play in the gym or have him in the office. Traveling was really hard, but that’s where my husband filled in. I think there are lots of creative ways if you really want to work at it. In the ’80s, Harvard Business School had a panel discussion that explored the four different choices women had. They were: Don’t get married; get married and keep your job; have children and make it all work; don’t have children. I kept my job, got married, and had a child. But I was struck by the conversations that I heard with the women from HBS and from medical schools, who said they were competing with men who had found a partner willing to care for all their needs —take care of the car, take care of the laundry, take care of the home, take care of the baby. Women are just starting to speak up, share responsibilities, and have choices.Q: Can you describe your coaching philosophy? What does it mean to you to be a coach; what’s your role?A: I have always viewed coaching as teaching. I believe it can be a very important part of your education — like a nontraditional classroom. If you educate the whole person, then that enhances performance. You cannot be part time in any of the qualities that it takes to win.… Work ethic, toughness, discipline, drive, resiliency, leadership — I could go on forever — these strengths have to be who you are all the time. You usually cannot turn them on and off when you want them. This is what we strive for.Q: Do you have a weakness in your coaching?A: I am too nice. I don’t know if my players would say that [laughs]. I know that I can be a little tougher. I would love to develop toughness, especially in this crazy, un-tough world — the helicopter parenting and everyone gets a trophy. I think we are missing the boat a little bit. We talk about facing adversity and handling conflict a lot. This doesn’t seem to be happening much anymore because parents are doing it for them. I feel many come without the skill set to handle disappointment and the drive and resiliency to move forward. Body language, facial expressions, and a positive attitude are very important components to being on a team.I think coaching is one of the most powerful but difficult professions. When I talk to people about going into coaching, I tell them: Be prepared. Most coaches are high energy and happy. But it’s brutally hard; it’s very complicated. I was not prepared to be in these young people’s lives at Westwood and here at Harvard. I just thought I was going to coach a little basketball. But I ended up being their counselor, their mom, and, oh by the way, their coach. So I had to educate myself and I became aware of who I am in their lives. I’ve always had very young coaches. When I mentor my staff, I tell them: “You are going to have an incredible impact on these lives. You have to pay attention to make sure that you connect with every single player.” I don’t want my starters to be more important than my last player on the bench.Q: What’s your greatest piece of advice?A: “Act as if.” When I got the Harvard job I thought, “OK, I am not going to have the best basketball players, but they are going to be really, really bright.” I am a big believer in sports psychology. I feel performance is 80 percent mental, and if that’s true, I realized early on that I better learn how to develop the Harvard players mentally, their confidence, their visualization skills, their concentration, etc. I decided to read about it and took transcendental meditation courses with Jon Kabat-Zinn [of the University of Massachusetts Medical School]. I had this awareness that that’s what I was going to do when I came here. Some of my early Harvard players would make fun of me because we would do relaxation drills and visualizations. I’m sure I wasn’t very good at it. But I was reading the book or I had taken the course. It evolved into “Act as if.” Act as if you love this practice, act as if you’re not hurt. You just fell down, I know that hurt, but don’t show it. To this day, I get calls from my former players, women who are doctors or lawyers who tell me, “Kathy, I acted as if.” It’s funny that that piece of information has been a lifelong mantra for so many people.Q: You are known for having a wicked sense of humor. Where did that come from? And how has it been important in your life and your work as a coach?A: No one believes that as a child I was extremely shy and lacked confidence. There are photographs of me where you can tell by my posture I am trying to hide from the camera. At some point, I realized it was exhausting to be so shy and so insecure. I just decided to relax and accept myself as is. In order to do that, I tried to interject humor wherever I could. Coaching is a very intense environment, a perfect place to laugh. It helps to handle the highs and lows.Then I got breast cancer. I had never even known anyone with cancer except my dad, who died suddenly of lung cancer. So, cancer was this scary thing. The thought of going bald and telling people I had cancer was scary to me, because I knew nothing about it. I had a wonderful support system, including my staff and players, and it just seemed easier to use a little humor.Q: Did you tell the team right away?A: That was the hardest thing. Oh my God. Telling my son and the team was really, really hard. I had to make jokes. I had long hair at the time, so I let the team cut my hair. It was all humor. Poor kids. If I was 18, I wouldn’t have been able to handle it myself. I told them and I tried to say it was OK. Then the next day, when I came down for practice, no one would come near me. They were scared to death of me because they didn’t know what to say, they didn’t know what to do, they didn’t know how to treat me. I told them it was not contagious, and I made them do a group hug.Q: Why did you decide to go so public with your diagnosis?A: I had made the decision not to and then I just blurted it out, which is probably just like my personality. There was no forethought to it. It was right in the middle of my season and I had a biopsy and then I had surgery. My whole right side was very sore and I had to shake hands with my left hand and I was tired of explaining why. I just blurted it out to a media person.Then, when it was public, I realized I could help others suffering from cancer. There was a woman I sat with when I was getting infusions in the hospital and she was a teacher and she continued to teach part time. She helped me believe I could still coach. And I thought: She helped me. I can help people. In the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, I was able to talk to people suffering with cancer about the choices they had. People think they have to stop working. I often think, if you love your job, stopping work is scary, because then you sit around and think about it. It’s very tolerable if you can be distracted, but if you are not working or not doing something, then it gets harder.Q: What is your favorite thing about being a coach?A: I love watching young women grow over their four years, both as athletes and adults. Our alumni events are so fun … everyone comes back, older ones bring their children, and it is amazing to see the lifelong memories and relationships they have with each other. Most of them stay in touch and always share something they learned and how they are using it in their lives. I am very proud.Delaney-Smith’s still-strong love of coaching keeps the thought of retirement at a distance. File photo by Jon Chase/Harvard Staff PhotographerQ: What have you gotten better at in your coaching career?A: I am better at putting losing in perspective and using it as a learning experience. I am better at helping to develop leadership and different styles of leadership. I am more aware of the power of being on a team in college … how important it can be in total development.Q: You have had such a successful career. Can you talk to me a little bit more about what it’s like to lose?A: No one likes to lose. I am pretty disappointed that it has been several years since the last title. Even though there have been other levels of success, I won’t be satisfied until we get back to the top.Q: Your greatest win?A: There really isn’t one. People will want me to say Stanford . I would say the first Ivy League title because it was in my third year and [Harvard president] Derek Bok came to the game. All of them are huge. It’s funny; I live more in the moment rather than what happened last year or what’s going to happen in the future. I think that was something my mother taught me. And that is part of sports psychology. If you can stay present, that’s a better place to be.Q: You have such an incredible win-loss record. Do you have a set system for such success, or is it something that changes year to year based on the new crop of players?A: I am evolving with who is on my team. Last year, we had injuries to guards and we weren’t deep in the guard spot. We had an incredible frontcourt but you can’t play without guards. So we weren’t able to get to the top because you need guards. Now, I have a huge amount of guards and I don’t have a lot of forwards. So I have to adjust and tweak my system. I moved two guards to a small forward spot and they very unselfishly are learning new skills for the team. It’s hard for them, but I am so proud of both of them. I have to tweak it to my personnel.Q: Do you think about retiring?A: Not as often as I should. I do get asked that question all the time. My answer is that I will stop when I don’t love it or if I feel I am not doing a good job. I have come close and done a lot of reflection, but I always come back to: “I love it.” I don’t have the right temperament to retire just yet.Q: Do you have a post-coaching plan in mind?A: I have this dream that when I retire, I am going to go to rural South Africa and help girls who don’t have the same thing we have in this country. I want to go help people, but girls in particular. The Harvard Center for African Studies has a South Africa Fellowship Program. I’ve had several basketball players go. There’s so much work to be done. I hope I can do that. It couldn’t be full time but three weeks here, a month there. I keep thinking about it.Interview was edited for clarity and length.
Five years ago, Jonathan Noble, director of Notre Dame’s Beijing Global Gateway, heard the Notre Dame Handbell Choir perform before a group of senior Chinese education officials. With plans underway to open a new location, Noble decided the handbells would play at its dedication, Karen Schneider-Kirner, director of the Handbell Choir, said. This weekend, 14 members of the Handbell Choir will travel to Beijing to play for the long-anticipated dedication, followed by a week of concerts before Chinese audiences.“For the staff that works there, it’s a big deal to highlight why they’re there,” Schneider-Kirner said. “They want to introduce more Chinese students to Notre Dame, but also provide a space where American students can go and learn more about Chinese business practices or get involved in other universities over China.”The new center is located in Genesis Beijing, a state-of-the-art building offering filtered air and access to cultural events, lectures and an art museum. After the Gateway’s dedication ceremony, the choir will play several more concerts in Beijing before traveling to Chengdu.“The bells originated in China. It’s one of the oldest musical instruments we have, but Chinese people in general know nothing about what we know as a handbell choir today, with the smaller brass bells playing different tunes and intricate patterns,” Schneider-Kirner said. “It will be something very unique to the people we’ll be playing for.”In addition to the cultural connection, the bells offer a means of avoiding the censorship of China’s atheist government, Schneider-Kirner said.“With the bells, it doesn’t involve lyrics. As more of a sacred music group, I think we can translate better since China overall is a pretty atheistic country,” she added.The Handbell Choir will, however, be able to participate in Catholic services at South Cathedral in Beijing and Pinganqiao Cathedral in Chengdu.“This is a pretty groundbreaking trip because we’re also doing things within the Catholic Church,” Schneider-Kirner said. “About a year ago, a Fr. Matthew, the rector of South Cathedral in Beijing, came to meet with [University president] Fr. John [Jenkins] as a way to open up doors for collaboration. He’ll be saying a Mass with us and then we’ll be doing a concert at the Cathedral for a hundred seminarians.”The Handbell Choir will play several more concerts in and near Beijing over the next few days: three at an international school, one in collaboration with a Chinese instrument orchestra at Peking University and one on the Great Wall.“We’re just stuffing bells in our backpacks and bringing portable music stands,” Schneider-Kirner said. “Apparently it’s nothing we can ask permission for; we’re just going to do it and see what happens.”After a few days in Beijing, the choir will fly to Chengdu, where they will play two more concerts in collaboration with Szechuan University.“We’ll combine with different groups: There’s a Chinese instrument orchestra, a 25-member erhu orchestra, a 50-member choir and a symphony orchestra from the school,” Schneider-Kirner said. “Some of these pieces we’re doing together; in order to bridge the gap, I’ve arranged a bunch of traditional Chinese music pieces that I think will work well on the bells, just so we’re not bringing completely unfamiliar music.” About one third of the music the choir will play on the trip is traditional Chinese music, while the other two thirds are drawn from their usual repertoire, Schneider-Kirner said. The choir will finish their tour playing at a Mass and concert at Pinganqiao Cathedral in Chengdu and sharing a dinner with the parents of a former choir member. Schneider-Kirner explained that the purpose of the trip is to convey a message of welcome from Notre Dame to the students at the various universities they will perform at and to bridge the cultural gap.“We thought it would be a great opportunity … to do things within the Catholic church, which is pretty phenomenal. I don’t know if any other Notre Dame groups, particularly religiously affiliated, have ever done anything in China. It’s definitely groundbreaking in that way,” Schneider-Kirner said. “Primarily, it’s a great opportunity to promote peace and understanding and building bridges with our sisters and brothers in Asia.”Tags: China, fall break, Handbell Choir
For immediate release: April 9, 2007Treasurer Announces New Economically Targeted Investment ProgramMontpelier – Vermont State Treasurer Jeb Spaulding announced today that his office will soon be soliciting investment proposals for a new pension fund program intended to support economic and community development in Vermont. This initiative stems from a policy on economically targeted investments adopted by the Vermont Pension Investment Committee, which oversees more than $3 billion in retirement funds for Vermont teachers, state employees, and municipal employees.“Our pension fund trustees work hard to protect the workers and retirees who depend on our retirement funds and this initiative will not reduce our obligation in that regard. However, to the extent that we can support economic and community development in Vermont without sacrificing performance, it makes sense to do so,” Spaulding explained.Economically targeted investments are intended to generate market rate returns while providing collateral benefits that enhance quality of life and promote economic activity in a targeted area, in this case Vermont. Economic or social benefits do not justify lower returns or inappropriate levels of risk.Spaulding stated that the kinds of investment opportunities that may be appropriate for the pension funds include affordable housing, energy efficiency, venture capital, or timber. “Actually, we don’t want to limit the field of investment possibilities. We are hoping that creative minds will look over our policy and come up with some innovative proposals that meet our criteria for investment,” Spaulding explained.The program was developed to clearly articulate the criteria by which proposals will be judged and to solicit investment proposals from qualified managers once a year. The first request for proposals window will be May 1 – June 15, 2007. In order to be considered, proposals must, at a minimum:Target risk-adjusted, market-rate returns equivalent to or higher than other available investments in a similar asset class, andProvide a substantial, direct, and measurable benefit to economic or community development within the State of Vermont. Any investments will be placed with an experienced and capable manager in an applicable asset class; no direct investments will be considered.Parties interested in receiving more information on the program should go to the State Treasurer’s Web site at www.vermonttreasurer.gov(link is external) or call 802-828-1452.# # # # #Barbara F. AgnewAssistant to the Treasurer109 State Street, 4th FloorMontpelier, VT 05609-6200Tel: 802-828-1452Fax: 802-828-2772
Women members of the “Mothers of April” association attend mass in honor of their children killed during the protests against the government of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega on mothers day celebration in Managua on May 30, 2019. (Photo by INTI OCON / AFP) security and stability of countries throughout the region,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the press. “The Cuban regime has for years exported its tactics of intimidation, repression, and violence.”On November 13, 2018, the Nicaraguan Congress authorized the entry of boats, aircraft, and military personnel from Cuba, Russia, and Venezuela in the second semester of 2019 to train and exchange experiences. The Nicaraguan Army will also be able to deploy military personnel in nations that will send their officers with the same purposes. Every six months, the Nicaraguan government renews the entry of foreign troops and military equipment to the country.“The diplomatic support Nicaragua receives from Russia, Venezuela, and Cuba severely undercuts international efforts to apply pressure on the Ortega regime,” said the U.S. Center for Strategic and International Studies in its December 2018 report “Lessons from Venezuela for Nicaragua.”“Although Cuban advisers openly intervene in Nicaragua posing as tourists or covertly, the international community should join efforts to confront and block the Ortega-Murillo regime’s authoritarian actions,” Serrano concluded. By Julieta Pelcastre/Diálogo August 10, 2019 According to the Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism, more than 5,000 Cubans arrived in Nicaragua during the first five months of 2019, an increase of almost 900 percent compared to the 566 who arrived in the country in 2018. Far from being attracted to the country’s touristic landmarks, most Cubans are there for covert activities to help President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, remain in power.On May 30, Nicaraguan newspaper La Prensa reported that 200 advisers from the Cuban Intelligence Directorate operate regularly with the Nicaraguan Armed Forces and provide training to police and Customs and Prison System Directorate officials. Some advisers arrived in the country in 2007, but that number increased exponentially after the April 2018 uprising, which left hundreds of protesters dead, missing, and imprisoned, and led thousands of Nicaraguans to go into exile.“Cuban strategists are capable of neutralizing internal dissidents in the most brutal way and maintaining the dual Ortega-Murillo dictatorship,” said Jorge Serrano, an academic at the Peruvian Center for Higher National Studies. “Cuba deploys political and military intelligence and counterintelligence advisers in military bases and in key situations for political and economic power in Nicaragua,” Serrano told Diálogo.Aníbal Toruño, head of Nicaraguan Radio Darío, told Panamanian newspaper Panam that service members fly into the country on commercial flights among Cuban migrants who seek to escape the island and head to the United States. “This is a covert way of sending intelligence agents and advisers allied to Ortega’s service, at a time of increased fear over the idea that sandinismo will remain in power,” he added.Although the Cuban regime considers Venezuela the crown jewel of resources, Nicaragua is in a strategic geographical location for the interests of the coalition that China, North Korea, Cuba, Iran, Nicaragua, Russia, and Venezuela comprise, Serrano said. “The Caribbean country is the strategic head of an ‘international-continental plan’ that seeks to defend the presence of leftist forces in Latin America to the very end,” he said.He pointed out that socialist leader Raúl Castro and Cuban Interior Minister Julio César Gandarilla run and operate the political advice strategy of radical, violent, systematic, and selective repression in Nicaragua. He also added that this is the same maneuver Cuban political leaders, military, and intelligence institutions use to support Nicolás Maduro internally. “These strategists do not advise from a distance, they do so onsite.”During the May 29 forum the Cuba Justice Commission held in San José, Costa Rica, Nicaraguan exiles denounced the increase of Cuban military personnel in repressive operations by the Ortega regime. During this event, former Nicaraguan service member Carlos Zamorán told the commission that the Cuban presence among the Nicaraguan military dates back to 1980. “The military were supposed to be advisers, but they were prepared to torture and kill farmers.”“Cuba’s behavior in the Western Hemisphere undermines the
ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Members who receive member advocacy messages are more loyal.It’s a mantra for credit union advocates: Credit unions have members. Banks have customers. And credit unions’ best weapon in the fight to stand up to banks is their 100 million-plus members.At GAC, Tony Budet, president/CEO of University Federal Credit Union, Austin, Texas, shared information on an extensive research project launched to better understand the power of credit union membership and advocacy.CUNA partnered with credit unions on the project to better understand the impact of advocacy-related communications. Surveying more than 70,000 credit union members in 2014, CUNA found that advocacy communications not only succeeds in activating credit union members but also increases members’ loyalty bond with their credit union.CUNA’s Member Activation Program (MAP) research project proved credit union members trust and value their individual credit unions. The study found 82% of members who receive member advocacy messages from their credit union want to do more of their banking with their member-owned financial institutions. continue reading »
5SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Scott Butterfield Scott is the Principal of Your Credit Union Partner, PLLC.Your Credit Union Partner (YCUP) is a trusted advisor to the leaders of more than 100 credit unions located throughout … Web: www.yourcupartner.org Details Organic loan growth is a popular phrase these days. Today, an increasing number of credit unions are looking for ways to attract more loans directly. Direct loan growth (vs. indirect) can be more attractive, cutting out the middle man to improve yields, and leveraging direct member contact to increase cross-sells and higher products per member.Direct loan growth is easier said than doneOrganic loan growth can be difficult for credit unions operating in a competitive “red ocean.” W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne of Blue Ocean Strategy argue that companies succeed by creating “blue oceans” of uncontested market space, as opposed to “red oceans,” where competitors fight for dominance – the analogy being that an ocean full of vicious competition turns red with blood. When it comes to consumer loans, credit unions operate in a very red ocean. Organic loan growth is difficult because literally everyone else is using the same product, pricing, promotion, criteria, process and delivery to attract the same group of people. The auto loan marketplace is crowded and cutthroat.To successfully achieve organic direct growth, you must do something different. We get to work with a lot of credit unions, and we hear (see) what works and what doesn’t. The purpose of this article is to share a best-practice organic loan-growth model to help your team find greater results. Setting the stageFive years ago, a mid-sized ($250-$500 million) credit union (let’s call it Best Practice CU) decided to shift its focus away from an indirect auto program. As stated above, Best Practice CU wanted to increase loan yields, and it wanted to interact more with new loan members to build deeper relationships. The credit union’s leadership believed that cross-selling results would be higher for direct versus indirect new loan members.Best Practice CU identified that prime and near-prime credit consumers who had existing auto loans would make for the ideal target. If you’re thinking this sounds like a common auto loan “recapture” program, read on.The credit union worked with its partner, Experian, to identify specific auto trades that had interest rates high enough to warrant an effective refinance offer. Common recapture programs frequently fall flat, because the promo rate offered is not that much lower than the consumers existing rate and because credit unions typically limit criteria to a static credit score range. Static credit scores, without trended data, can be tricky. I’d rather finance a “C” tier loan for someone with an improving profile than for someone with a deteriorating credit profile. Best Practice CU wanted to find prime borrowers who could have qualified for better rates at the time, but were just overcharged. It also wanted to find near-prime consumers who have improving credit profiles. The credit union used Experian’s Trended Data to find consumers with improving credit profiles. This allowed them to lend a little deeper, at higher rates, and better manage risk (i.e., profiles are improving). Next, Best Practice CU leveraged the interest rate data provided by Experian to customize rate offers to each target group. This way, the credit union only targeted people with rates high enough to result in a refinance offer. The data played a critical role: it increased offer acceptance, and Best Practice CU didn’t waste its time or money targeting people with low rates and less incentive to go through the refinance process.Best Practice CU went through many changes and adjustments, but it remained committed to the new process and used it monthly to find new consumers and recapture their auto loans.Finally, to support the regular target marketing, Best Practice CU utilized its Call Center to make outbound calls to follow up on the offers. The customized rate offer made the refinance opportunity more attractive for the consumer (e.g., the refinanced payment went down a lot), and that made it easier for the Call Center to close the deal – and to cross-sell other opportunities.Measuring successDuring the past five years, Best Practice CU has migrated nearly $50 million from indirect auto pool to a direct auto loan pool. That is a more profitable loan portfolio, and it represents new members who have more than one relationship at the credit union.“Experian’s Trended Data enables credit unions to identify members who are improving their financial situation by lowering their debt and paying on time. Further, our interest rate data can then be used to help those members by offering better interest rates than they are currently paying,” said Paul Desaulniers, Senior Director – Trended Data, Scores & Collections at Experian.Why it mattersIf you want to consistently compete and win, you must do something different (and better).In this case, Best Practice CU took a run of the mill auto loan recapture process (such as the one so many credit unions are pursuing), and designed a better way. In the midst of a very red ocean of consumer auto lending, they found blue water.If like Best Practice CU, you want to do a better job with organic direct loan growth, I encourage you to consider the red ocean your team is currently swimming in. Invest the time to identify opportunities where you can more effectively compete. Invest the time and resources to build something successful. Don’t skimp on the technology, data, and human resources needed to create a best practice. Best practices are rarely “one and done.”
2SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Greg Crandell Greg Crandell provides strategy, market planning, business development, and management consulting to financial technology firms and their clients – Credit Unions and Banks. For more years than he wishes to admit, … Web: queryconsultinggroup.com Details WFH initiatives heighten security concernsAs discussed in the article “Is Digital Transformation a Victim of Covid-19” the “Covid-19 pandemic is putting growing pressure on organizations to expand their digital transformation efforts to include work from home (“WFH”) processes to allow for continued operations in a “social distancing” environment.”As well, “WFH means many more endpoints and many more inadequately secured network access points (“endpoints”). With the use of video conferencing tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet growing, and with the use of less secure network connections growing, there are security implications that CISOs are rushing to address — especially for these remote employees; because an increase in collaboration application usage, and remote access, means a larger attack surface for threat actors to target.”Digital transformation demands better endpoint securityHowever, it’s not just the security response to COVID-19’s impact on daily business with which we should concern ourselves. Credit unions’ digital transformation efforts (designed to tap the power of mobile, internet of things (IoT) and other edge technology to improve business results) are also rapidly expanding the threat vector within which security people must contend. And if we don’t successfully address the security issues generated by digital expansion, our efforts to transform will suffer, maybe implode.The endpoint revolutionDigital transformation is driven, in part, by the dramatic increase in computing power built into endpoint devices such as tablets, smartphones, laptops, IoT sensors, operational technology (e.g. transformers) and other endpoints. To optimize digital initiatives, we are pushing computing outward from centralized or cloud-based servers to these endpoints, to leverage their growing capability and to empower our end users. It’s true that many critical enterprise assets and resources remain behind your credit union’s network firewalls; but access to these resources is needed for endpoint applications and devices to deliver on their promise to end users – employees, members and more.More endpoints, more risks, more lossesAs described by John Aisien, CEO of Blue Cedar, “the growing number of devices and applications presents significant security challenges. Cybercriminals understand well the growing number and power of endpoint devices, and their vulnerabilities. Attackers are exploiting weaknesses in devices, apps, networks, back-end servers and other assets, even gaining access to corporate IT resources or bringing down systems and halting business.” Malware, hacks and data or infrastructure breaches are derailing digital initiatives, violating customer and user privacy, exposing enterprise assets and undermining brand trust.Mr. Aisien tells us “to mitigate these risks, enterprises are fighting back by implementing access controls, user authentication, device status monitoring, data protection and other security measures but, in the face of these actions and investments in security solutions and services, malicious malware attacks continue to grow and continue to do significant damage.” And financial services organizations lead the way in the size and severity of attacks directed at them, with more to come. If all the work being done and dollars being spent isn’t successfully securing our endpoints and protecting our investments in our digital transformation initiatives, what are we to do?To secure the endpoint, one must secure the application running on it“The true security perimeter is actually enforced by each application running on an endpoint,” according to TJ Tajalli, CEO at OnSystem Logic. And it is within “each application’s memory, including those applications implementing the various functions of all modern operating systems of today, where data is manipulated as directed by the application’s instructions inside its memory.” The credit union technology leaders I’ve spoken with would agree when Mr. Tajalli says “today’s endpoint security defenses have been built around observation and potential enforcement of visible operations OUTSIDE of the applications. This is true regardless of the technology being used by state-of-the-art endpoint security products. However, ALL attacks, including ransomware, data theft, data modifications, endpoint software and data destruction, etc., run inside known applications or benign looking applications without being noticed by current endpoint security products — until it is too late.” All of this leads to the conclusion that “despite billions of dollars spent on endpoint security the endpoints are truly not safer than before.”App-centric security is the forward step we must takeGiven the growth of both managed and unmanaged endpoints, including bring-your-own-device (“BYOD”) scenarios, credit unions must look beyond current endpoint security solutions. Not only are these solutions failing to provide the “certainty” needed by our organizations as we work to digitally transform them, but these solutions too often impact negatively the end user experience we fight so hard to improve.Unfortunately for all of us, it appears current endpoint security products have largely given up on trying to stop the execution of unwanted code and have instead moved toward POTENTIALLY detecting and responding, but only after the damage has been done. None of us should accept this as the best that we can buy or the best that we can deploy.How to deploy app-centric securityI have come to understand that in most applications, there are operations that have a security impact on the application. One such operation that impacts all applications is the ability to change its data into executable code. Most applications don’t use this operation; however, it is the most destructive and effective method attackers use to take full control of applications. Controlling self-modification is the first and most important universal problem that must be solved. Another example of an important universal operation to control is the ability of the application to create and/or manipulate other processes. In addition to the universally important operations to control, selecting other operations to control is based on the functionality of an application. For example, a database server’s critical operations include directly manipulating backend data files, its privilege implementation mechanism, etc. In practice, important security operations are seldom used within an application. Learning which part of an application uses those operations during its normal operation is what is required. So, this is doable. In fact, it’s being done. There are firms pursuing and delivering solutions to this problem. They need our attention. And if we are going to succeed at digital transformation, we need their solutions. If you agree and have ideas to share or questions to ask, feel free to ask me.
Oct 8, 2009Lack of paid sick leave could spread fluA lack of paid sick leave could force working parents either to report to work sick with flu or to send their children to school sick, at the risk of sacrificing either income or their jobs, ABC News reports. Up to 54 million Americans, many of them self-employed or employees of small businesses, have little or no paid sick leave, an issue that advocates hope to bring before Congress.http://abcnews.go.com/Health/SwineFluNews/unpaid-sick-days-leave-parents-tough-choices-flu/story?id=8775513Oct 7 ABC News reportSpring wave may have given NYC some protectionNew York City and a few other cities that had big H1N1 outbreaks in the spring are seeing little activity now, leading to suggestions that the spring wave spawned a significant level of population immunity, the New York Times reported today. City health officials believe that perhaps 20% to 40% of the population were exposed to the virus in the spring and gained immunity. But city officials and other experts agreed it would be unwise to assume that New Yorkers don’t need the H1N1 vaccine.http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/08/health/08flu.html?ref=healthOct 8 New York Times storyThird of parents may say no to kids’ vaccineConcerned over the new H1N1 vaccine, or unconcerned about the seriousness of the disease, 38% of parents say they are unlikely to permit their children to be vaccinated during school programs planned by many states, according to an Associated Press (AP)-GfK poll. Federal health officials vouched for the vaccine’s safety, urging widespread inoculation. Among concerns are the newness of the vaccine and potential side-effects.Oct 7 AP storyNew Web resources for individuals, familiesThe federal government’s www.flu.gov Web site has two new features, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced yesterday. A self-evaluation section for adults offers a click-through assessment aimed at determining whether flu is or is not present, followed by guidance on self-care, preventing transmission, and warning signs of serious disease. “Flu Myths and Facts” provides accurate refutations of common misconceptions about vaccinations and the disease itself.http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2009pres/10/20091007a.htmlOct 7 HHS news releaseCDC unveils system to gather data on flu-like illnessThe CDC today announced the launch of a system to gather data about influenza-like illness (ILI) from syndromic surveillance systems run by health departments in cooperation with hospital emergency departments. The system, called Distribute, enhances existing flu surveillance by providing more details on geographic- and age-specific trends, the agency said. The system involves a partnership of the CDC with the International Society for Disease Surveillance and the Public Health Informatics Institute.http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5839a5.htmCDC announcement in Oct 9 MMWRCanadian H1N1 vaccination to lag US by weeksCanada’s national campaign to vaccinate residents against the H1N1 flu is likely to begin in early November because attempts to move up the shots’ delivery have not been successful, according to the Canadian Press. The US campaign uses multiple suppliers and began with a roll-out of aerosol vaccine; Canada uses only one manufacturer, and aerosol vaccine is not approved for sale there.Oct 6 Canadian Press reportMichigan man recounts 7-week H1N1 battleA Michigan man who barely survived a battle with the H1N1 virus is expressing support for the vaccination campaign, according to ABC News. Jim Shrode, 53, was in excellent health before he fell ill with the virus in May. He was hospitalized for 7 weeks, required mechanical ventilation, and lost 37 pounds. “People need to know that the risks of the vaccine are minimal compared to the risks if you get ill with it,” he said.http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/surving-swine-flu/story?id=8777207Oct 8 ABC News report