The Co-op Bank puts pay-day lenders, irresponsible gamblers and tax avoiding firms on its naughty list as it updates its ethical policy

first_img whatsapp The Co-op Bank puts pay-day lenders, irresponsible gamblers and tax avoiding firms on its naughty list as it updates its ethical policy Share Tuesday 20 January 2015 4:31 am More From Our Partners LA news reporter doesn’t seem to recognize actor Mark Currythegrio.comAstounding Fossil Discovery in California After Man Looks Closelygoodnewsnetwork.orgKansas coach fired for using N-word toward Black playerthegrio.comRussell Wilson, AOC among many voicing support for Naomi Osakacbsnews.comMan on bail for murder arrested after pet tiger escapes Houston homethegrio.comBrave 7-Year-old Boy Swims an Hour to Rescue His Dad and Little Sistergoodnewsnetwork.orgFort Bragg soldier accused of killing another servicewoman over exthegrio.comPolice Capture Elusive Tiger Poacher After 20 Years of Pursuing the Huntergoodnewsnetwork.orgNative American Tribe Gets Back Sacred Island Taken 160 Years Agogoodnewsnetwork.orgFans call out hypocrisy as Tebow returns to NFL while Kaepernick is still outthegrio.comA ProPublica investigation has caused outrage in the U.S. this weekvaluewalk.comColin Kaepernick to publish book on abolishing the policethegrio.comFlorida woman allegedly crashes children’s birthday party, rapes teennypost.comPorsha Williams engaged to ex-husband of ‘RHOA’ co-star Falynn Guobadiathegrio.comUK teen died on school trip after teachers allegedly refused her pleasnypost.comI blew off Adam Sandler 22 years ago — and it’s my biggest regretnypost.comKiller drone ‘hunted down a human target’ without being told tonypost.comInside Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis’ not-so-average farmhouse estatenypost.com Tags: The Co-operative Group whatsapp Catherine Neilan Irresponsible gambling firms, pay day lenders and companies “which do not responsibly pay tax in the UK” have been put on the Co-operative Bank’s new naughty list of firms it will not finance.  As part of an extended ethical policy, the bank will also detail how it operates, covering everything from the products and services it offers to its relationship with external stakeholders and suppliers, as well as its workplace and office culture.  The troubled business has been clawing back its own ethical reputation after the fall out from former chairman Paul Flowers, whose shocking appearance before a Treasury Select Committee kicked off a chain of events which led to him being filmed taking crack cocaine and crystal meth. Last year the bank launched a marketing campaign featuring an ethics tattoo to symbolise the permanence of its commitment to ethics.  It also reported a £1.3bn loss in 2013, £76m losses in 2014 and failed the Bank of England’s stress test in December. Today’s update is based on findings from a survey of 74,000 customers and staff, which suggested 80 per cent of people wanted it to stop lending to “businesses which go against our ethical concerns”.  Other ethical issues include human rights, the environment and animal welfare, as well as transparency and honesty when it comes to responsible banking. The expanded policy will also include a commitment to campaign for social and economic change. Chief executive Niall Booker said: We know that we still have much more to do to get the Bank back on track and we know we have made our share of mistakes in the past, but the re-launch of this policy is an important step in rebuilding The Co-operative Bank as we listen to our customers and rebuild trust. The Co-operative Bank was the first bank to introduce an ethical policy in 1992 and as a result has turned away £1.4bn-worth of business.  Laura Carstensen, chair of the Co-operative Bank’s values and ethics committee, added: Major global issues still sit at the heart of what our customers care about, but they also want us to address issues closer to home. During a period of sustained austerity, it’s no surprise that customers have given greater weight to supporting economic and social development in the UK. Customers want us to support communities and businesses that improve the fabric of society. We have already written co-operative values and ethics into our constitution to ensure that this vital aspect of our heritage is maintained. The Values and Ethics Committee will oversee, challenge and enforce the Ethical Policy and later this year we will be publishing a report on the progress we are making. Show Comments ▼last_img read more

Lower Canadian dollar likely to boost exports: Russell

first_imgIE Staff However, they say declining job growth and high household debt may curb domestic consumption and may offset the benefits of a lower dollar. At the same time, Russell strategists are monitoring business investment. “Meaningful business investment has largely been absent over the last several years when our dollar was hovering at parity with the U.S.,” says Shailesh Kshatriya, associate director, client investment strategies at Russell Investments Canada. “The question is: will business feel confident enough in domestic and global growth trends to spend now that our dollar has declined by roughly 10%?” In terms of the direction of the loonie, Kshatriya believes the Canadian dollar’s descent has run its course for the time being, and predicts a band of roughly 89 to 94 cents U.S. for the balance of this year. Despite alarm bells over the affordability of Canadian housing for the average Canadian, the housing market has not experienced the meltdown some have been expecting. Kshatriya believes the market is in for a period of stagnation rather than outright devastation -— until the Bank of Canada introduces rate increases — which are not expected for at least 12 months. Headquartered in Seattle, Russell Investments is a global asset manager with more than $286 billion (Cdn.) in assets under management. Stagflation is U.S. economists’ biggest fear, SIFMA says The Canadian economy, like its housing market, continues to surprise doubters, and is expected to grow between 2 and 2.3% this year, according to Russell Investments latest Strategists’ 2014 Global Outlook, Second Quarter Update. Russell strategists say that with the lower Canadian dollar and an improving U.S. economy, Canadian economic growth should accelerate as the year progresses. Keywords Economic forecasts Economy lost 68,000 jobs in Maycenter_img OECD raises outlook for Canadian economic growth this year Related news Share this article and your comments with peers on social media Facebook LinkedIn Twitterlast_img read more

Disaster Mitigation High on Agenda at Parish Review in Clarendon May 31

first_imgRelatedDisaster Mitigation High on Agenda at Parish Review in Clarendon May 31 RelatedDisaster Mitigation High on Agenda at Parish Review in Clarendon May 31 Disaster Mitigation High on Agenda at Parish Review in Clarendon May 31 UncategorizedMay 26, 2006 RelatedDisaster Mitigation High on Agenda at Parish Review in Clarendon May 31center_img FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail Director General of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), Dr. Barbara Carby is to address matters relating to disaster mitigation in Clarendon, on Wednesday, May 31.She will be part of a panel of eight persons who will make presentations on disaster preparedness at the annual Parish Review of the Clarendon Health Department.The review is to be held at the St. James Methodist Church Hall on Sevens Road in May Pen.Carlissa Pearson, Health Educator at the Health Department, informed JIS News that the one hour panel discussion is aimed at dealing with and correcting problems peculiar to Clarendon concerning disasters, and in particular, the roles and responsibilities of the various agencies.This, she said, was significant as Clarendon is noted to be one of the parishes in the island, which usually suffers severe damage from flooding during hurricanes and tropical storms.“The panel discussion will be in the form of a live outside broadcast and the various presenters will have five minutes to discuss their roles and responsibilities when it comes to disaster in this area. We also want to look at how best each agency or organization can partner with each other to get the maximum positive results in a disaster situation. Dr. Carby will also address a national response and how Clarendon fits into the scheme of things,” she said.Other panelists will be Mayor of May Pen, Councillor Milton Brown; Delroy Palmer, Parish Manager of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security; Ripton Vickers, Red Cross Co-ordinator; Errol Hope, Deputy Superintendent of the Fire Department; Noel Kennedy, Water Production Manager at the National Water Commission (NWC); Dr. Sonia Copeland, Medical Officer of Health at the Clarendon Health Department, and Superintendent of Police, Derrick Knight, Commanding Officer for Clarendon.The review will be held under the theme: ‘Promoting a culture of Excellence’ and will also feature displays from the Health Department on ‘Disaster Preparedness’, ‘HIV/AIDS Prevention’, and ‘Rodent Control’.“The review will look at the performance of the health team in terms of achievements, successes and challenges and it seeks to share information with all our key stakeholders such as our staff, various agencies, the business community and all those who want answers. We are bringing our stakeholders in as part of our intention to be accountable and transparent,” Mrs. Pearson said.Dr. Orville Taylor, Sociologist and Lecturer at the University of the West Indies, will be the guest speaker at the session Advertisementslast_img read more

Opinion: Give parents options to decide the best education for their children

first_imgOpinion: Give parents options to decide the best education for their childrenPosted by ClarkCountyToday.comDate: Wednesday, December 9, 2020in: Columns, Opinionshare 0 Rep. Vicki Kraft believes now is the perfect time to discuss providing parents additional educational choices for their childrenBy Rep. Vicki KraftIt’s been a very difficult year as we’ve had to address new hardships, including the closing of businesses, public gathering places and public schools. We have had to adapt to an unprecedented way of life with social distancing. More people are working from home than ever before. And most school children are at home adapting to online classes and a new remote schooling model.Rep. Vicki KraftRep. Vicki KraftGiven these events, now is the perfect time to discuss providing parents additional educational choices for their children. Parents should be able to use K-12 funding that would normally follow their child to a public school, to continue home-based learning for their children in the form of homeschooling or allowing them to attend a private school.Before the 2021 session in January, I will pre-file legislation to give parents the power to decide the best education for their children in Washington state. It will build upon House Bill 2933, a measure I introduced last year that proposed the Education Choice Scholarship Program. Under this program, the education money allocated to a child in a public school (about $12,000) could instead be used by the parent for a private school or homeschooling instruction of their choice.Many parents are frustrated with the teachings of public schools and curricula, such as the new sex education mandate and new vaccination requirements, do not reflect their values. This year, more than 32,000 Washington families have already pulled out of the public-school system as they find that traditional zip-code assigned schools are simply not working for their children. A recent poll by the American Federation of Children shows 40% of parents are more likely to pursue homeschooling or online school after the COVID lockdown ends.Some children are visual learners, and some are auditory. The problem is parents and kids are locked into a one-size-fits-all K-12 system in Washington that doesn’t work for all students and is not delivering the best results – especially in the current remote learning format. Isn’t that what we want for our kids – the highest quality education possible?The time has come to look at new and better ways to help our children get the best education possible. Many states are heading in this direction. In fact, more than 30 states, including Arizona, Florida, and Indiana, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, offer school choice options, such as school vouchers, tax credit scholarships or education savings accounts, to help parents pay tuition at private schools.No one knows better than parents what is best for their children. Parents are also taxpayers. Therefore, it makes sense they should be able to use the same funding that would follow their student to a public school for an education at a private school or for homeschool learning. Parents should be able to decide how and where their children are educated – not government or teachers’ unions who have vehemently opposed parental school choice options.The U.S. Supreme Court also ruled this past June (Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue) that families can use tax credit scholarships to send their children to private religious schools. The decision reaffirms the constitutionality of school choice programs and provides hope for parents who want to use public funds to send their children to a better school.And why shouldn’t they be allowed to do that? If the student who uses public dollars is getting a quality education in a private school or homeschool learning, and they are doing better in this format than in a public-school setting, why wouldn’t we all encourage this? The teachers’ unions may not welcome this, but if the public education system is really a good option for kids, it seems logical that adding other choices should prove the merits of that option – and create healthy competition that would improve education in every venue.Nobody should feel threatened by education options. The alarms sounded by teachers’ unions that charter schools in Washington would threaten public schools never materialized after the Legislature allowed them. Instead, charter schools simply offered more flexibility to meet the needs of various children. Ideally, all education options would benefit through school choice scholarship options and would get better as a result – like an education free-market scenario. All education tides would rise as parents make the best schooling choices for their children.This COVID shutdown has shown us that homeschooling can be a viable educational option for our children when it’s on parents’ terms, along with other educational choices. It’s time to look outside of the box when it comes to making sure every student has the highest quality education possible. Parents and students deserve the ability to decide for themselves. It’s time the Legislature enacts school choice legislation.EDITOR’S NOTE: Rep. Vicki Kraft, R-Vancouver, represents the 17th Legislative District, and serves on the House Appropriations Committee.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textTags:Clark CountyLatestshare 0 Previous : Business profile: Sadie and Josie’s Bakery a big part of La Center Next : Ridgefield families rally for in classroom educationAdvertisementThis is placeholder textlast_img read more

Commissioner Says Police Determined To Arrest Coke

first_imgAdvertisements RelatedCommissioner Says Police Determined To Arrest Coke Commissioner Says Police Determined To Arrest Coke National SecurityMay 29, 2010 RelatedCommissioner Says Police Determined To Arrest Cokecenter_img FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail Commissioner of Police, Owen Ellington, has voiced the determination of the police to serve the arrest warrant on Christopher Coke, who is wanted on drug and gun charges in the United States.“We will catch him, we will execute that warrant and he will face justice,” he told a press conference at Up-Park Camp Friday (May 28). Mr. Ellington said that police intelligence has suggested that Mr. Coke is still in Jamaica.A warrant has been out for Mr. Coke since Friday (May 22), the signing of which triggered unrest in downtown Kingston and led to the security forces moving in to take control of the situation.Commissioner Ellington said that the unrest broke out, as many of Coke’s supporters perceive him as being above the law and believe he should not be extradited to face the charges.The unrest has led to attacks on 14 police stations, with two of them being destroyed by fire. Three members of the security forces were killed, while the number of civilian deaths now stands at 73. The police also detained 700 persons as a result of the operation.The media was today, presented with graphic evidence of the preparations criminals in Tivoli Gardens had made to wage an all-out assault on the security forces, with videos, as well as photos of improvised explosive devices, guns, strategic barricades and sniper posts set up by the criminalsA total of 22 firearms and about 7,000 assorted rounds of ammunition, were recovered. RelatedCommissioner Says Police Determined To Arrest Cokelast_img read more

Celebrating Sparky

first_imgInquiries at a few of the resort town’s watering holes helped them find the locals from the previous evening, and an enduring love of the community was born. “We hadn’t even been in Whitefish for 24 hours and it seemed like all of our plans for the future had just melted away. Everything changed on that trip,” Mah said.After Sparky graduated with honors from Spokane Falls Community College, where she obtained a degree in web design, she made an immediate beeline for Whitefish and quickly found work and made a glut friends.Sparky and Whitefish were perfectly suited for one another, but despite the ease with which she acclimated to her new home, much of her time here would be characterized by her long battle against cancer. After her initial diagnosis, Sparky beat the disease and was in remission for five years before it returned, spreading to her lymph nodes.Still, she flooded the hearts of friends and family with joy and energy, never yielding to the cancer and doggedly seizing every day.In her obituary, which Sparky composed herself, she wrote about the richness of her life’s adventures, including travels to places like Ecuador, competing in three triathlons, participating in the Park-2-Park Montana, a multiday bicycle ride from Glacier to Yellowstone National Park, kayaking and rock climbing, attending a First Descents Cancer Camp and touring the country in her RV when the Whitefish winters became too draining on her energy reserves.“I always had someone patting me on the back saying ‘good job’ and ‘you can do it no matter what!’” she wrote. “I have accomplished and beaten many great things in my life, but like all things, they must one day end. It was my time to move on.”Sparky spent her final days living with a friend in Whitefish, accompanied by another loyal companion, “Wonder Dog Jake.” Numerous friends describe her as “feisty,” which helps explain the affectionate nickname, including her friend Niki Glynos-Wolford, who welcomed Sparky into her home and family those last days, as she grew increasingly weak. Still, Sparky held out hope that it was merely a rough patch and that, with the same grit she’d always displayed, she would ride it out.“We had the most amazing eight days. We laughed, we cried, we made plans for the future. She wanted to go to Italy when she turned 40. We were still living every single day and she was never alone,” Glynos-Wolford said.On the final day of her life, several friends paid Sparky a visit, as did her favorite local musician, Brent Jameson, arriving just as her breathing pattern began to slow.“At that point I knew she was taking her last breaths. We handed Brent a guitar and the whole house filled with beautiful music,” Glynos-Wolford said. “It was a beautiful experience. It was beautiful but sad. The life was gone but she was free of pain and she was comfortable. She expressed deeply the love of everyone who had come into her life. She felt so blessed in this world.” On Oct. 19 at Grouse Mountain Lodge, the story of Sparky will continue to blossom when her community of friends and family members gathers to celebrate a life defined by stubborn, unyielding joy.Sparky didn’t want a funeral, but she did want a party. Friends and family have asked that people arrive between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m., at which time there will be an opportunity to share stories. Jameson and the Sordid Seeds, her favorite local act, will tak the stage at 10 p.m.In lieu of flowers, Sparky’s last wish was to have her own bench and garden at WAG Dog Park in Whitefish. Donations can be made to: Kristy “Sparky” Olson, First Interstate Bank, 306 Spokane Ave., Whitefish, Mt 59937, (406) 863-8888. Kristy Olson. | Courtesy photo Email WHITEFISH – The story of how Kristy Renee “Sparky” Olson discovered Whitefish could have been born of an old love letter, its worn, champagne-colored pages chronicling the intrigue of a chance encounter, an instant bond, a dash of caprice and the eternal romance between person and perfect other.The story of how she stayed here, embraced by a community of friends teeming with kindness, all of them drawn instantly and forcefully to her charisma and compassion – traits that endured and grew stronger as she battled breast cancer for more than a decade – has an even more mythic provenance.And the story of how she passed, surrounded by a small clutch of loved ones, swaddled in the dulcet guitar notes and mellow-throated crooning of her favorite local musician as she inspired her final, accepting breaths, that story is still being written.The day that Sparky, 38, died at a friend’s home, on Sept. 28, there wasn’t a corner of Whitefish that was untouched by the sudden void. Few of her friends knew the extent of the toll cancer had taken – she hadn’t wanted to reveal how aggressively the disease had accelerated, hadn’t wanted to believe that, after fighting so long, it could possibly be time to concede. And so, to ward off the shock and temper the pain of their sudden loss, the Whitefish community continued to tell the story of Sparky, her strength and bright smile reanimated in the jokes and anecdotes, the tears and the laughter, the music and the prayer.There were boisterous meals at her favorite Whitefish restaurant, Wasabi Sushi Bar, and somber, tear-drenched vigils among friends. “Sparky” bumper stickers began appearing around town and Montana Coffee Traders introduced a namesake hazelnut soy latte, “The Sparky,” advertising the decadent treat in bright colors on a sidewalk sandwich board. Boxes of photographs and their accordant narratives emerged, chronicling an arc from Shepherd, the Billings suburb where Sparky attended high school, to Whitefish, the place that unapologetically stole her heart when she visited on a whim in 2001. On that visit, which began as an impulsive camping trip to Glacier National Park with her friend, Heather Mah, Sparky began what would evolve into a lifelong romance with Whitefish and the Flathead Valley, a nurturing community that buoyed her through difficult periods of treatment and recovery, and which she, in turn, nurtured.As Mah remembers, the trip led them from East Glacier to Frida’s West Glacier Bar, where they met a charming band of locals who joined their riverside camp and, in the morning, took the friends kayaking. Sparky and Mah, who were en route to Spokane, Wash., to help Sparky settle into her digs at Spokane Falls Community College, reluctantly declined an invitation to Whitefish for another day of fun.But as they drove in silence and approached the intersection of Montana Highway 40 and U.S. Highway 93, where a left hand turn leads south to Spokane and a right hand turn into the heart of Whitefish, a tacit understanding emerged and veered them north.“We didn’t say anything. We just exchanged glances and she turned right into Whitefish,” Mah said. “We started making plans to move here right away.” Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup. Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox. Kristy “Sparky” Olson. | Courtesy photolast_img read more

2019 Holiday Gift Guide

first_img Email Welcome to the Flathead Beacon’s annual holiday gift guide, which we designed to help ease local shoppers into the giving season by highlighting an array of offerings carried at and often manufactured by local businesses.Ranging from specialty spirits to cooking essentials, outdoor adventure gear to home décor, and toys for tots to custom jewelry, this guide catalogs the Flathead Valley’s unique inventory of goods that capture the essence of Northwest Montana.The Beacon’s editorial staff scoured the valley for gift ideas to populate this year’s edition guide, taking care to include businesses new and old, as well as their freshest products to keep your loved ones flush with the latest and greatest.Despite our annual efforts, the gift guide never comes close to covering every storefront or shopping destination, but by spanning the region’s northern tier to its lower reaches we hope holiday shoppers will keep a curious eye open for retailers we overlooked.On behalf of the Beacon, enjoy this season of giving.Happy Holidays!<<<<<<<<<<<<•>>>>>>>>>>>>Interior DecoratorHoney Home & DesignKalispell1 Hand-knitted Stocking — $502 Star Garland — $23Sage & CedarKalispell/Whitefish3 Frasier Fir Diffuser — $364 Lafco Votive Candles — $17 eachFlair Gifts & CardsKalispell5 Handmade Down-filled Cabin Pillow — $85Montana Modern Fine ArtKalispell6 Stephen Ruby’s Creature Teapot — $195Frame of ReferenceWhitefish7 Doug Swinton Oil Painting — $800<<<<<<<<<<<<•>>>>>>>>>>>>Stocking StuffersMurdoch’s Ranch & Home SupplyKalispell/Columbia Falls1 Lace Teardrop Earrings and Necklace — $47 2 Fireside Lodge Socks — $14.99 Flair Gifts & CardsKalispell3 Total Eclipse of the Fart Lavatory Mist — $124 Fowl Language Bird Mug — $125 Happy Campers Wallet — $30Great Northern Brewing CompanyWhitefish6 Knit Beanie — $267 Can Cooler — $25Max’s MarketBigfork8 Alaska Salt Co. Sea Salt — $14.509 Raw Organic Honey — $6.39<<<<<<<<<<<<•>>>>>>>>>>>>FashionWestern OutdoorKalispell1 Montana Silversmiths Jewelry — $50-$70Harlette/HarlowWhitefish2 Large Travel Bags — $403 Choker Necklace — $34SappariWhitefish4 Hand-strung Necklace — $190Keenan’s JewelryKalispell5 Montana Sapphire Ring — $2,300<<<<<<<<<<<<•>>>>>>>>>>>>Montana ObsessedToggeryKalispell/Whitefish1 Wear Your Roots T-Shirt — $352 Wear Your Roots Trucker Hat — $30The Montana SceneKalispell/Whitefish3 Montana Bear Unisex Hoodie —$48The BookshelfKalispell4 Song of the Summer King By Jess E. Owen — $155 Down from the Mountain By Bryce Andrews — $256 A Woman’s Way West By John Fraley — $17Glacier ConservancyColumbia Falls7 Wild Tribute Moose T-Shirt — $278 Parks Project Grinnell Crew — $55Backslope BrewingColumbia Falls9 Sweatshirt — $28<<<<<<<<<<<<•>>>>>>>>>>>>ExplorersSportsman & Ski HausKalispell/Whitefish1 Backcountry Access Tracker 3 — $334.95Great Northern Cycle & SkiWhitefish2 Technica Zero G Touring Ski Boot — $799.953 Flylow Baker Bib — $4204 GN Buff — $23.99Wheaton’sKalispell5 Bontrager Daytime Running Lights — $179.996 Bontrager WaveCel Helmet — $299.99Rocky Mountain OutfitterKalispell7 Skida Hat — $328 Snowline Chainsen Pro Winter Traction — $50<<<<<<<<<<<<•>>>>>>>>>>>>Aspiring ChefsGreat Northern Gourmet & GiftsBigfork1 Goat Cheese — $92 Specialty Salami — $15/lb3 Sparkling Rose — $25Max’s MarketBigfork4 Alaska Salt Company Sea Salt — $14.505 Oregon Olive Mill Basil Flavored Olive Oil — $24.80MontavinoKalispell6 Holiday Gift Baskets — Prices VaryGenesis KitchenColumbia Falls/Whitefish7 Huckleberry Balsamic — $15.50 – $21World Spice MerchantsColumbia Falls8 Lotus Spice Box — $42.95 (spices sold separate)TrovareWhitefish9 Parmesano Reggiano — $37.6010 Mackerel Fillets in Olive Oil — $14.9511 Rainbow Pasta — $15.9512 Carciofi Artichoke Pasta Sauce — $7.9513 Raspberry Jalapeno — $10.95<<<<<<<<<<<<•>>>>>>>>>>>>Toddlers and TykesImagination StationKalispell/Whitefish1 The Polar Express Train Set — $100SproutsWhitefish2 Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site Pajamas and Book — $483 The Nutcracker Pajamas and Book — $48The BookshelfKalispell4 Montana for Kids by Allen Morris Jones — $13Mady and MaxBigfork5 Build a Mega-Bot — $11Nature Baby OutfitterKalispell6 Tegu Magnetic Wooden Blocks — $120 Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup. Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.last_img read more

GPIA’s Fall Passenger Numbers Show Continued Recovery

first_img Email Glacier Park International Airport (GPIA) is continuing to recover following a sharp pandemic-caused decline in the airline industry in the spring, said Airport Director Rob Ratkowski.Autumn airport numbers are comparable to two years ago, with 56,046 total passengers this September compared to 59,733 in 2018, although still well behind last year’s September passenger total of 70,643. Those numbers built on the trend of improvement in summer, when the airport saw 68,064 total passengers in August after only 1,802 total passengers in April.“It seems like in the tourism community that people extended the season this year,” Ratkowski said. “Whether people are working or doing school remotely, there’s kind of this general sentiment that some of our typical summer traffic pushed into September and October.GPIA is also leading the state in recovery based on percentages, Ratkowski said.The pandemic stalled the airport’s $100 million expansion project, which was originally scheduled to begin this summer. When airport numbers began dropping precipitously after the pandemic hit in the spring, officials decided to wait until they started seeing numbers consistent with their benchmark year of 2017, which saw 270,451 boarding passengers for the entire year.Since September’s passenger numbers are recovering, airport officials are talking about potentially scheduling the airport’s expansion once again for the spring or summer of 2021.“We are going to wait to see how we perform in the fourth quarter and make a decision after the first of the year,” Ratkowski said. “We’re still watching all the indicators.”Once officials make a decision, GPIA will expand to 210,000 square feet from its current 75,000 square feet, including more passenger space, larger checkpoint and circulating areas and holding rooms.Prior to the pandemic, GPIA was seeing record boarding numbers, with 356,297 boarding passengers in 2019, up from 307,281 in 2018.Now airline officials will keep their eye on the holiday season’s numbers at the end of November and into December.“We’re just waiting,” Ratkowski said. Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup. Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.last_img read more

Georgia Aims To Make Its Websites Accessible For All

first_img Related Stories An audio version of this story3:50One in every eight Georgians – more than 12 percent – identifies as having a disability. Whether it’s a physical or learning disability, it can be difficult for those people trying to access the internet.Like us on FacebookWhile a 1998 law known as Section 508 requires the federal government to make information technology accessible for everyone on all platforms, states don’t have the same legal responsibility.Despite that, developers with the state of Georgia have been redesigning its websites to make it a little easier for people with disabilities to access information.“States at this point are not really required to be accessible or to meet any standard like the federal websites are,” said Nikhil Deshpande, director of GeorgiaGov Interactiv, which oversees Georgia’s website and publishing platforms. “But this is something within Georgia, we decided we wanted to do.”A Blind ExperienceHere’s how a blind person using assistive technology like a screen reader and keyboard would experience Georgia.gov.As a beginner: Georgia.gov at one of the slowest speed using a JAWS screen reader0:10As an advanced user:Georgia.Gov at one of the fastest speeds using a JAWS screen reader0:08Georgia.gov is coded so a screen reader makes sense for people with visual impairments and other disabilities. The fonts are larger, there’s a strong color contrast and the links and photos are descriptive.Greater DemandJohn Rempel, a quality control and training specialist, performed audits of the state’s website at the AMAC Accessibility Solutions and Research Center at Georgia Tech.“We’re looking at a larger senior population. The need for accessibility is greater than it’s ever been,” Rempel said. “We’re all going to have some disability at some point in our lives – whether it’s a temporary disability like a sprained or broken arm or reduced vision as we get older, reduced hearing.”Rempel has low vision, so changes he recommends to state agencies and universities benefit him personally. He said AMAC recently grew to 50 employees and has a growing international clientele.“The need for accessibility is greater than it’s ever been,” Rempel said. “I think the business community is starting to realize that there’s a profit share here that they’re missing out on as well. It’s not only the right thing to do but also profitable thing to do.”Barriers To AccessRempel said many websites are not very accessible. He shows off a link on a website that ends in “/2853299570343119981.”“It’s a series of numbers, and that might not make a lot of sense for a person who’s blind accessing it using a screen reader,” Rempel said.Part of the problem with making sites more accessible, Rempel said, is that it’s hard to tell when they’re not.“It’s very challenging to determine whether a website is really truly accessible unless you’re using similar tools that people with disabilities use,” Rempel said. “For example you would never know that an image doesn’t have an alternative tag that’s read by a screen reader unless you’re actually using a screen reader.”Alternative tags are like audio captions that describe a picture on a website.John Rempel explains how the state incorporates accessibility features on Georgia.gov1:30Kendra Skeene, director of product at GeorgiaGov Interactive, said adding things like alternative tags is actually a simple task, but most developers often only have the general user in mind.“They’re thinking of how they experience a website and that must be how everybody experiences a website,” Skeene said. “And I’ve even heard people say, ‘Well if they can’t see my advertisement, then I don’t need them on my site.’ Or this idea that someone can have someone else browse a website for them. They’re cutting off a huge percentage of people. That’s pretty short-sighted.”It could also be illegal.Discrimination LawsuitsBecause of the Section 508 amendment to the 1973 Rehabilitation Act, all federal government websites have to be accessible. But even private companies and states can be forced to comply through lawsuits.MARTA, the city of Atlanta, and four Georgia counties (Stewart, Glynn, Randolph and Lumpkin) have been sued for not having accessible sites.Rempel said these lawsuits rely on the Americans with Disabilities Act.“We think about physical accessibility: we’ve got the wheelchair ramps and railings, braille signage on elevators and whatnot,” Rempel said. “And although the ADA actually was enforced prior to the internet even having been created, the Department of Justice is quite actively taking the ADA and applying that in the electronic arena as well.”State ImprovementsSo far, the state has upgraded more than half of the 130 state agencies websites to federal standards. And, last fall, Deshpande’s team won a national accessibility award for Georgia.gov.“Eighty percent of what you would do to make a website accessible is not hard,” Skeene said. “If you have the education of ‘Hey, if I make this choice, it’s accessible to a wider range of people.’ It’s within reach, right?“And so that’s one thing we’ve been focused on. Making sure our team is educated – like if I make this color a little darker it’s going to make a huge impact.”Many of the state of Georgia’s websites now have a sharper look, filled with larger font sizes, descriptive headings, strong color contrast and cleaner drop-down menus. This makes it easier for a person with disabilities to navigate information using a screen reader.Skeene said after the design stage, retrofits can become more time- and labor-intensive, but it’s mostly simple changes involved in increasing accessibility.“On the code side, we did a lot of adjusting on how links are read off to people with a screen reader so they don’t get a whole list of things that just say ‘read more,’ ‘read more,’ ‘read more,’”  Skeene said. “Well, read more, what?”The state’s web team is now looking to improving accessibility on smartphones of its mobile apps and sites. Legal Advocate Discusses Medical Abuse At Shut Down Georgia ICE Facility 3:50 | Play story Add to My ListIn My List For Whom The Bell Rings Share ‘It’s Fractured’: Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan On Healing Republican Partylast_img read more

PayGo tech company launches award for inspirational women in Kenya

first_imgSimon Bransfield-Garth, CEO of Azuri, also commented: “Brighter Lives was created to encourage full and active participation of women in the Azuri workforce. On this first anniversary of the launch of the programme, I am delighted to see the impact that has been achieved and its effect on encouraging more women into the workplace.” TAGSKenyaPAYGOsolar powerwomen in power Previous articleMozambique’s economy to rebound in 2022, reaching about 4%Next articleWind: Best practices for gender diversity in talent recruitment Nicolette Pombo-van ZylAs the Editor of ESI Africa, my passion is on sustainability and placing African countries on the international stage. I take a keen interest in the trends shaping the power & water utility market along with the projects and local innovations making headline news. Watch my short weekly video on our YouTube channel ESIAfricaTV and speak with me on what has your attention. Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Energy, Hon. Charles Keter, said: “On this International Women’s day, I would like to offer my congratulations to the winners of the Inspiring Women’s Awards. I trust this public recognition will inspire even more women to join the renewable energy industry and support Kenya’s transition to clean energy for all.” She added: “Businesses for the future need diverse workforces at their heart, so I’m delighted to see this initiative from Azuri. The UK is proud to support gender equality in Kenya and across the world, which is more vital than ever as we build cleaner, greener societies for future generations.” Nominations for the awards included recommendations from agents inspired to join Azuri from seeing female role models in their jobs, team leaders impressed by their colleagues’ work ethic and appreciative new-starters looking to celebrate their female mentors. Featured image: 123rf Based on peer feedback, the 10 most inspirational female staff, including field agents and customer care representatives of the solar company’s Kenyan network, have been recognised for their outstanding contributions. Have you watched?Morning coffee with ESI Africa – Solar cells need to get more energy from sunlight AFD and Eskom commit to a competitive electricity sector UNDP China, CCIEE launch report to facilitate low-carbon development The programme is designed to help women build success together, learning from role models and creating powerful bonds to improve business success. Jane Marriott, the British High Commissioner in Kenya, said: “Congratulations to the wonderful women recognised by this award on International Women’s Day, a chance to celebrate those women who deserve our recognition and gratitude all year round.” Sign up for the ESI Africa newsletter The award is part of Azuri’s Brighter Lives initiative, which works to empower rural women in sub-Saharan Africa through access to technology, in-depth commercial and technical training and equal opportunities employment. Generation The PayGo company’s Brighter Lives initiative was launched in February 2020 and features a programme of tailored recruitment, training and mentoring specifically targeting rural women who are largely under-represented in the workplace. International Women’s Day in the PayGo arena Have you read?Talking points: Solar home system company aims for utopia in CameroonSix new climate finance ideas for a sustainable recovery RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Finance and Policy Dynnah Pesa, one of the winners, said: “I am so grateful to hear that I am inspiring to my peers. I was the first one to begin selling the items in Kakamega and so happy to now be a team leader. I strive to encourage my team so that they can succeed and in turn provide for their families. I am so happy to see that they voted for me. This has given me a push to keep on encouraging my team.” Low carbon, solar future could increase jobs in the future – SAPVIA BRICS Today we celebrate all the inspiring women in Azuri’s world helping to empower others every day, especially on International Women’s Day.Hear more from our ambassadors here: https://t.co/NWD9GbUNPv#IDW2021 #LifeChangingTechnology #WomensDay— Azuri – Life Changing Technology (@Azuri_Tech) March 8, 2021 Azuri Technologies, a pioneer in pay-as-you-go (PayGo) solar home solutions for off-grid Africa, has announced its inaugural Inspiring Women’s Awards to celebrate women’s empowerment and influence in rural communities.last_img read more