Massive Grateful Dead Tribute Album To Be Played At Listening Parties Nationwide

first_imgAfter years of work, Day of the Dead, a massive, multi-artist tribute to the Grateful Dead curated by Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National is almost ready for the world to hear. The brothers brought together more than 70 artists from a wide range of eras and genres to reinterpret the Dead’s music for a new generation, and the result is nothing short of impressive: a 59-track, 5+ hour compilation featuring performances from Béla Fleck, Bob Weir, Bruce Hornsby, Charles Bradley, Flaming Lips, Joe Russo, Kurt Vile & The Violators, Mumford & Sons, The National, The War On Drugs, Wilco and more. Proceeds from the album’s sales will support the Red Hot Organization‘s mission to fight HIV/AIDS.In conjunction with SweetWater Brewing Company, the band has planned a series of listening parties across the country for fans to come together and experience the project ahead of its May 20th release. See below for the full list of Day of the Dead listening parties (NOTE: All events will take place on May 19th unless noted otherwise):Get out to the listening party closest to you to enjoy a truly unique Grateful Dead experience! You can listen to some of the grooving new tracks here.last_img read more

Tackling childhood obesity with a text message

first_imgTwo interventions that link clinical care with community resources helped improve key health measures in overweight or obese children at the outset of a study, as reported in JAMA Pediatrics.Developed by investigators at Harvard-affiliated MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) and Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, a practice of Atrius Health, both programs not only improved body mass index (BMI) in participants but also increased parents’ sense that they had the information and resources to address their child’s weight problem.“More and more we recognize that, if we don’t assist families in tackling the social and environmental conditions that impede their ability to make changes to their obesity-related behaviors, we will not be successful in pediatric weight management,” said Elsie Taveras, chief of general pediatrics at MGHfC, who led the study.“To help us create our interventions, we looked to families with children who had managed to improve their BMI, often under challenging environmental and social settings. These ‘positive outlier’ families provided guidance on the content of health coaching, available resources in the community, language to use in motivating other families to change, and the importance of building parents’ confidence in taking on the challenge of reducing their child’s excess weight.”The Connect 4 Health trial was conducted from June 2014 through March 2016 at six Harvard Vanguard pediatric practices in the Boston area and enrolled 721 children, ages 2 through 12, with a BMI in the overweight or obese range. Participants were randomly assigned to one of two interventions — enhanced primary care (EPC) or enhanced primary care plus coaching (EPCPC).Parents of those in both groups received educational materials focusing on key goals — decreasing screen time and consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, improving diet quality, increasing moderate or vigorous physical activity, improving the quality and duration of sleep, and promoting social and emotional wellness. The EPC intervention — incorporating practices introduced at Harvard Vanguard in recent years — included a monthly text message to parents with links to publicly available resources to support behavioral change and a Neighborhood Resource Guide listing supportive facilities in their communities.Parents of children in the EPCPC group were contacted every other month by specially trained health coaches by telephone, via videoconference, or in person. The health coaches provided individualized support through motivational interviewing, discussion of strategies for addressing and managing obesity risk factors, and identification of supportive resources in families’ communities. Parents in the coaching groups also received additional educational materials after each coaching session and twice-weekly text messages or emails. Families were offered a free, one-month family membership in local YMCAs and invited to attend a program on healthy grocery shopping.“If we don’t assist families in tackling the social and environmental conditions that impede their ability to make changes to their obesity-related behaviors, we will not be successful in pediatric weight management,” says Dr. Elsie Taveras, professor of pediatrics at HMS. Credit: MGH Photography Department“Combating obesity is an enormous challenge in pediatrics and identifying tools that are proven to make a difference in the health and well-being of our patients is essential,” said co-author Daniel H. Slater, chairman of pediatrics at Atrius Health. “Our collaboration with Dr. Taveras’ team and Connect 4 Health has been extremely rewarding and builds on the work that we have done together for more than a decade. Improvements — which include the electronic health record flagging of children with an unhealthy BMI, clinical decision support tools to help clinicians provide high-quality care, and educational materials for parents to support self-guided behavior change — have all laid the groundwork for the two interventions tested in this study. It is gratifying to see that we can make a difference and improve our patients’ health as well as their quality of life.”Along with comparing participants’ BMI z-scores — an age-specific measure used for children — at the beginning and end of the one-year study period, the investigators surveyed parents regarding their child’s health-related quality of life and their own sense of empowerment in managing their child’s weight. At the end of the study parents were asked whether they had received and were satisfied with study messages and materials and how their participation in the program affected their satisfaction with their child’s health services.In general, participants in both groups had improved BMI z-scores at the end of the study period, with slightly greater improvement among those in the EPCPC group. Comparisons with measurements taken a year before the outset of the study indicated that these reductions did not reflect previous trends towards a lower BMI; in fact, both groups had showed trends toward increasing BMI in the year before the study.Parents of children in the EPCPC group reported significant improvements in the child’s health-related quality of life, and parents in both groups reported an increased sense of empowerment. Most parents reported receiving and being satisfied with text messages and the Neighborhood Resource Guide, and satisfaction with the additional services provided to the coaching group was also high. Overall, 63 percent of parents in the EPCPC group and 48 percent of those in the EPC group felt their participation in the program increased their satisfaction with their child’s health care services.Study co-author Earlene Avalon, who chaired the Youth and Parental Advisory Board that helped create the two programs, said “This is such a relevant and important study because it takes a multipronged approach, not only looking at what the experts in the field are saying, but also asking people who walk the walk and deal with this daily to be architects of interventions and programs to tackle obesity. It is essential to consult people who have been successful and help them feel empowered to contribute and share best practices. To promote the diversity of opinions we seek, we have to go above and beyond solely consulting the literature for true creativity and innovation to occur.” Avalon is on the staff of Boston Children’s Hospital and is an assistant professor of health management and health science at Northeastern University.Taveras, a professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, said, “Our findings are pretty conclusive that there are three aspects of interventions for childhood obesity that work: improving clinical practices for obesity management; engaging and supporting families in behavior change; and linking families to community resources for further support. We’re now testing a family-based intervention that starts working with mothers in pregnancy and their children ages 2 and under to support prevention and developing more aggressive weight management approaches for children with the most severe obesity, for whom the interventions in this study were not successful.”Additional co-authors of the JAMA Pediatrics study are Lauren Fiechtner, Christine Horan, Monica W. Gerber, and Sarah N. Price; Richard Marshall, Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates; Mona Sharifi, Yale University School of Medicine; John Orav, Brigham and Women’s Hospital; and Thomas Sequist, Partners HealthCare System. Support for the study includes grants from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute and National Institutes of Health.last_img read more

Samantha Barks to Headline JRB’s The Last Five Years

first_img View Comments Samantha Barks(Photo: Bruce Glikas) Samantha Barks has moved on from the Broadway-bound Amelie and will instead lead The Last Five Years in London. The Les Miz movie standout will star opposite Jonathan Bailey (Broadchurch) in Tony winner Jason Robert Brown’s tuner, which is set to play a limited engagement October 27 through November 26. Opening night is scheduled for November 2 at the St. James Theatre.The Last Five Years is an intimate musical telling the story of Jamie (Bailey) and Cathy (Barks), two New Yorkers in their twenties who fall in and out of love over the course of five years. As aspiring author Jamie gets the book deal of his dreams, actress Cathy struggles to get work and make sense of the way her career has turned out. Can a couple once united by their dreams stay connected as their paths begin to divide? Known for its unique structure, The Last Five Years sees their stories told in opposite directions; Jamie moving forwards and Cathy backwards through their relationship, meeting only briefly for a moment in time as their stories cross.The Last Five Years premiered off-Broadway in 2002 and has since been seen all over the world. A film adaptation was also released in 2014 starring Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan. This major revival production, directed by Brown, was first seen in a record-breaking off-Broadway run at New York’s Second Stage Theatre in 2013.last_img read more

Feeding the World

first_imgGale A. Buchanan, retired dean and director of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and former U.S. Department of Agriculture undersecretary for research, education and economics, has penned his second book, “Feeding the World: Agricultural Research in the Twenty-First Century.”His latest book, published by Texas A&M University Press, details his ideas on how increased agricultural research can lead to a more efficient food production system, one that can provide food for a projected population of more than 9 billion people by 2050.Agricultural economists have shown that the sum total of land, labor and capital inputs employed in agriculture has hardly changed since 1948. However, by 2009, the output of crops and livestock had risen over two-and-a-half times,” Buchanan said. “That increase in output, then, is almost entirely due to knowledge-based productivity gains. Agricultural research is essential to increasing output while holding inputs constant. This is, indeed, a challenge, but it is possible if we maintain robust support of agricultural research.Buchanan’s book covers the grand challenges he sees that, if successfully addressed, would bring about a “new paradigm” in agricultural productivity. These challenges include improving soil quality and energy efficiency, eliminating animal diseases and breeding crop plants that are productive in unpredictable climates and have “greater water, nitrogen and other nutrient efficiencies.”Almost a billion people do not have adequate food, and many more do not consume the proteins, fats and minerals necessary for normal human development, he said.“For a secure and peaceful planet, all people must have a reasonable level of food security. We are fortunate to live in a country with an abundant food supply. All people on this planet are not so lucky,” Buchanan said. “Our system has been phenomenally successful with even meager funding for agricultural research. However, to meet the challenges that lie ahead, agricultural research must be better supported.”Buchanan sees agricultural research in the future that is adequately funded, internationally cooperative and based on research that involves scientists, administrators, educators, farmers, politicians and consumers.Agriculture has been an integral part of Buchanan’s life since childhood, when he hoed weeds in peanuts on his family’s farm in Madison County, Florida. He left the farm to earn undergraduate degrees in agronomy from the University of Florida and traveled to corn country to earn a doctoral degree in plant physiology from Iowa State University. He then focused on research related to the reduction of weed pressure in agronomic crops.In 2013, Buchanan co-authored “Leadership in Agriculture: Case Studies for a New Generation.”“Feeding the World: Agricultural Research in the Twenty-First Century” is available through Texas A&M Press, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.last_img read more

Peabody, Arch form joint venture for their Powder River Basin coal assets

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):A new joint venture rolled out by two U.S. coal giants will consolidate mining assets that produce more than a quarter of all the coal produced in the United States.Several industry observers have long called for the consolidation of the U.S. coal industry to help miners compete with the natural gas and renewable energy sectors. Peabody Energy Corp. and Arch Coal Inc. announced June 19 that they are merging their Powder River Basin and Colorado assets into a joint venture of mines that produced 26.5% of the coal produced in the U.S. in 2018.The joint venture will combine the operations of five of the 10 most productive coal mines in the nation, including the two largest: Peabody’s North Antelope Rochelle mine and the adjacent Black Thunder mine owned by Arch. Those two mines alone produced about 169.5 million tons of coal in 2018, accounting for about 22.4% of U.S. coal production. Both companies had announced they were scaling back production at those mines.In a note to investors, B. Riley FBR analyst Lucas Pipes called the deal “highly positive for both companies” given the current low-price environment for coal. Thermal coal producers, particularly those in the Powder River Basin, have struggled with depressed pricing due to cheaper natural gas and an oversupply of coal production. Cloud Peak Energy Inc., a pure-play Powder River Basin coal producer that was recently forced to file for a bankruptcy reorganization due to weakness in Powder River Basin coal demand, is expected to sell its three mines in the region.“Thermal coal markets have been intensely competitive in recent years and are almost certain to remain so,” Eaves said. “Given that market outlook, it’s essential that we take every step possible to increase efficiencies, drive down costs and reduce our future capital requirements. It’s hard to envision a better opportunity to achieve such reductions, or a better fit quite frankly, than Arch and Peabody’s western coal assets.”The new joint venture is expected to unlock synergies with a pretax net present value of about $820 million, with an annual average of $120 million in joint venture synergies over the initial 10 years. Peabody will own 66.5% of the joint venture, while Arch will own the remaining 33.5%. The mines are being operated independently until the transaction is closed, which could be a “multi-month process,” Kellow said.More ($): Peabody exec: ‘Stars have aligned’ for major consolidation of U.S. coal assets Peabody, Arch form joint venture for their Powder River Basin coal assetslast_img read more

Piedad Córdoba, the Woman Devoted to FARC Releases

first_img With a long career in the Colombian Congress, Piedad Córdoba became known around the world thanks to her work to arrange the release of the political, police, and Military hostages held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a task she judged complete with the handover of the last ten hostages on April 2. “We brought a cycle to a close,” Córdoba said as she looked back on her work together with the group Colombians for Peace, shortly after leaving six police officers and four Military personnel in Villavicencio, south of Bogotá, following their release by the guerrilla group at the end of over 12 years in captivity. “We obtained it through dialogue, without shedding a drop of blood, with respect for the other, and with the conviction that Colombia wants peace. War has to be a shame for this country; peace is democracy,” she added upon reiterating her desire to collaborate in the search for a political solution to the armed conflict that has lasted almost half a century in Colombia. Over four years, Córdoba participated as a facilitator in the release of 30 hostages held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC, a communist group), earning her the recognition of their families and also removal from office as a senator two years ago, after she was disqualified by the Attorney-General’s Office, which considered that she had overstepped the bounds in those activities and maintained ties with the guerrilla group. Córdoba was born in Medellín on January 25, 1955. At a very young age, she joined the Liberal Party, within which she now promotes the formation of a more leftist current. On the Liberal Party ticket, she was elected to Congress for the first time in 1992, as a representative to the lower house. Between 1994 and 2010, she was a senator for the same party. At the same time, she founded the civil-society movement Colombians for Peace, which brings together community and leftist leaders, and on which she has drawn for support in promoting hostage releases. She also created the group Women of the World for Peace, which includes the Guatemalan Rigoberta Menchú, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, the Argentine founder of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo Mirta Acuña, and the writers Elena Poniatowska and Isabel Allende, from Mexico and Chile, respectively. Córdoba began these activities in 2007, when she was formally named a mediator, together with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, to obtain an exchange of hostages held by the Colombian guerrilla group for imprisoned guerrillas. At that time, she toured various countries in Latin America and Europe, while the international press published photos of her both alongside FARC commanders and accompanied by the late former Argentine president Néstor Kirchner or former Brazilian presidential advisor Marco Aurelio García. Córdoba is the mother of four children who live abroad. By Dialogo April 06, 2012last_img read more

High performance credit union mortgage lending: Productivity and cost-to-close

first_img 8SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Dan Green With the objective of building a strong, cohesive and recognizable brand, Dan Green oversees all marketing and communications strategies through his work with customers, partners, industry organizations and the Mortgage … Web: Details Credit union mortgage lending takes on many shapes. Every credit union has a unique set of processes, products and supporting technology, so what are the unifying factors that all mortgage lenders should watch to determine their performance?Last month we talked about mortgage member share and mortgage employees per 1,000 closed loans.  Among a dedicated group of credit union mortgage lenders we surveyed, the former is down — an indicator of opportunity — and the latter is up.  Because mortgage lending is changing in ways we still do not fully understand, it is too soon to know what the increasing number of employees per 1,000 closed loans means. While the original mortgage performance indicators remain valid, their new levels are currently unknowable.So what do we know? The two most important mortgage performance indicators, productivity and cost-to-close, worsened from 2013 to 2014.  The tide has shifted from refinance to purchase, and we all know purchase loans take more effort.  TILA-RESPA’s regulatory tidal change plays a part, too, as we mentioned in last month’s article.  As a result, productivity decreased while the cost-to-close increased.  These two indicators have a very strong inverse relationship; when one goes up, the other goes down.In fact, the relationship is so strong that when productivity is known, cost-to-close is highly predictable.  All that is needed is a large body of data covering several years, as well as some careful, thoughtful analysis.  And productivity is easily knowable; it should be almost automatically quotable by every mortgage operations manager.  The ratio of closed loans per mortgage employee per month is a powerful metric.Cost-to-close is also a powerful metric, some would say the single most important piece of information every mortgage lender should have.  This is so, the wisdom goes, because it is the only variable in the formula used to calculate the rate presented to the borrower that is in the lender’s control.  Every other factor — such as servicing value, hedging cost, and servicing revenue — is established externally. Knowing cost-to-close opens the possibility of controlling both profitability and competitive positioning.  Productivity is so important because it represents labor, the largest component of cost-to-close, which takes us right back to employees per thousand loans closed, the focus of last month’s article.Labor makes up 45% to 65% of the cost of closing a mortgage.  Highly productive lenders typically operate on the low end of that scale; lower productivity lenders can count on their labor component being much higher.  We are asked all the time about ways to reduce the cost of mortgage manufacturing.  The answer that delivers the biggest bang for your buck is to increase productivity. Direct and indirect costs, the other two main cost-to-close components, are much harder levers to pull.  At some level, corporate overhead is what it is.  Many direct costs are often hard to adjust, at least in the short term.  Focus on closing as many loans as possible per mortgage employee and your costs will decrease.If this sounds like we’re saying ‘cut your head count’, we are not.  There are two variables in the productivity equation — mortgage employees and closed loans –which lead us to member share, the other subject of last month’s article.We simply do not know, given the evolutionary phase of the mortgage market, exactly what mortgage staffing levels optimally could or should be.  Rather, what we are suggesting is focusing on member share.  We know it dropped 25% between 2013 and 2014.  We also know credit union membership grew at a pace more rapid in 2014 than at any time since 1995.  This spells opportunity.  The way to increase productivity is to increase mortgage production.Right now we have a purchase market overall with many geographies reporting strong, if not over-strong demand.  Boomers are right-sizing as well as positioning themselves to age in place.  Millennials are forming households with an eye towards first-time homeownership.  Both segments need financing assistance, though Millennials represent the single biggest opportunity, in terms of size, that our industry has ever seen.  Help a first-time buyer and create a borrower (and a member) for life.Productivity did indeed decline while cost-to-close increased.  The former dropped 32% to 3.32 closed loans per employee per month while the latter increased almost 60% to $4,398.  Substantial changes such as these are common when significant market shifts occur.  This may not be ideal, but it is the reality of the situation.Our take on this is that credit unions are built for growth and are now in the perfect position to leverage their decade-long work of building mortgage infrastructure, expertise and the single best reputation for residential mortgage lending service in the industry.  The way to increase productivity and decrease cost-to-close is to increase mortgage production and market share.That leaves us with the unanswered question: what are the optimal levels for employees per thousand loans closed, member share, productivity and cost-to-close?  We will have a much better idea one year from now and, we think, a solid answer this time in 2017.  In the meantime, concentrate on the remarkable opportunity this market represents!last_img read more

CFPB proposes Oct. 3 as TRID effective date

first_imgThe Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced Wednesday it is proposing to delay the effective date of the Know Before You Owe integrated mortgage disclosure rule until Oct. 3, a Saturday, instead of Oct. 1.The bureau originally had proposed an Aug. 1 effective date of the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) integrated disclosures (TRID) rule.CUNA, while welcoming the delay, indicated it would continue to strongly advocate for a safe harbor period through Dec. 31 to protect credit unions and other financial institutions from liability under enforcement of the new rule as they acclimate to the new TRID requirements.The rule requires updated forms that lay out the terms of a mortgage for the borrower.In announcing the changed date, CFPB said an administrative error would have delayed the original Aug. 1 effective date to Aug. 15 at the earliest. Then the bureau said it would extend the date to October. continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Credit union loan zone: Collections emails

first_img 13SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Reach Federal Credit Union has had great success emailing members regarding loan collection issues. We think the reason these emails have been effective is largely that they are different from the collection letters members get in the mail.If we were to email the member the collection letter we send in regular mail, or if we gave up mailing collections letters and sent them only through email, we might not find email so effective. A benefit of sending collection letters via regular mail in addition to emailing collections notices that are different from what comes in the mail is that we have an additional chance to establish contact with our member.We have automated collection letters that our system sends to members via email in addition to the formal “final demand” letters that go out via regular and or certified mail when applicable. The collections emails we send to members address late payments, delinquent payments, and collateral protection insurance issues.An example of a letter we are sending via email is: continue reading »last_img read more

CUNA continues to monitor CFPB rulemaking agenda

first_img continue reading » The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) newly released spring rulemaking agenda contains a number of items of importance to credit unions, including many that could add to the already heavy regulatory burden.CUNA has advocated that certain rulemakings should be narrowly tailored to focus on less-regulated participants in the financial services marketplace and those who caused the financial crisis, and will continue to do so as they evolve and move through the rulemaking process.Some highlights of the rulemaking agenda include:Pre-rule activity on debt collection. The CFPB is working on proposed rules to regulate debt collection process. CUNA recently met with the CFPB to raise credit union concerns about a potential rulemaking; 6SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more