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News story: New digital service to minimise disruptive roadworks

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first_img Media enquiries 020 7944 3021 Drivers will soon be able to plan their journeys better to avoid roadworks, thanks to an innovative new digital system funded by the government.The Department for Transport is investing up to £10 million in Street Manager, a digital planning service due to launch next year, to replace a costly and ineffective system that will make more consistent, accurate data on street works available to motorists.Unlike current data on roadworks which is often out of date and incomplete, Street Manager will generate real time data and will be free for technology companies and app developers to use. This will allow existing apps and providers, such as Waze and Google maps, to enhance their services making them even more accurate and allow other firms to create new products to help drivers avoid jams. It could see the latest data being shared via satnavs and app ‘push’ notifications to help motorists choose a new route.Roads Minister Jesse Norman said: Video about the street manager applicationStreet Manager will replace an out-of-date and ineffective system currently in use by local authorities and utility companies, allowing them to accurately record and share data better on the 2.5 million roadworks that take place in England each year. It will support them to collaborate on joint works and better coordinate timings so that drivers don’t get caught up in multiple works.It will also support local businesses across the country by helping stop delivery vehicles from getting stuck in traffic jams caused by roadworks.Alongside this, the government is today (Sunday 2 September 2018) publishing new bidding guidance on lane rental schemes, which enable councils across England to charge utility companies up to £2,500 a day for carrying out roadworks on the busiest roads at peak times.The guidance informs local authorities as to how they can develop a lane rental scheme, and includes a new calculator for assessing the costs and benefits of schemes.It will also help utility companies to work with local authorities to avoid charges by co-ordinating works, or working at quieter times – benefitting all road users, especially those travelling at peak times. Pilot lane rental schemes in London and Kent saw congestion on the busiest roads drop by half, saving drivers time and boosting the economy.It also comes after Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, called on companies to carry out works on pavements, where possible, instead of under roads to avoid disruption to motorists.Street Manager is just one example of how technology is transforming transport. With the development of self-driving vehicles and other technological travel solutions, the government has published a ‘Future of mobility call for evidence’.This kicked off the ‘Future of mobility grand challenge’, which aims to make the UK A world leader in the movement of goods, services and people. This work is part of the future of mobility in the government’s modern Industrial Strategy, which is building a Britain fit for the future. Out of hours media enquiries 020 7944 4292 Image: © Crown copyright [and database rights] 2018 OS Licence Number 100039241center_img Roadworks can often be frustrating for motorists, especially when they cause hold-ups at busy times and delay journeys. We want to reduce this disruption and delay, and Street Manager is just one of a number of actions we are taking so that local authorities and utility companies can better plan and manage their roadworks. The data opened up by this new digital service should enable motorists to plan their journeys better, so they can avoid works and get to their destinations more easily. Roads media enquiries Switchboard 0300 330 3000last_img read more

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New packaging for Holland’s

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first_imgLancashire baker Holland’s Pies will remarket its food-to-go (FTG) hot counter range with new packaging.Due to hit the shelves in Tesco and The Co-op’s north-west stores later this year, the packaging will be seen across seven frozen baked goods lines including Potato & Meat Pie and the award-winning Peppered Steak Pie and Guinness Steak Slice.The new packs boast a number of updates, including the use of oven-proof printed film. The advanced film will replace the clear plastic and sticker combination on previous packs, allowing for branding, nutritional information and ingredients to be printed directly onto the pack.This will save time for store teams previously using stickers to label goods, but will also mean the products can be heated from frozen within the pack, making them more convenient to prepare.Bill Smith-Coats, sales and marketing director at Holland’s Pies, said: “FTG pastry is a £1bn market and our new FTG packaging solution allows this large number of consumers to enjoy Holland’s Pies on the go, baked fresh every day.“This latest design has seen us invest in consumer insight, technology and design to increase convenience and visual appeal. We look forward to seeing it hit the shelves.”In July Holland’s Pies teamed up with AB World Foods to launch a new on-pack promotion to celebrate the success of its Guinness range.last_img read more

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Keller Williams’ PettyGrass Leads Suwannee Roots Revival Lineup

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first_imgKeller Williams’ PettyGrass will headline Suwannee Roots Revival when the event returns to Live Oak, FL’s Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park from October 11th to 14th. Other acts on the bill include Donna the Buffalo, The Seldom Scene, Samantha Fish, Peter Rowan Free Mexican Airforce, and Jim Lauderdale, among many others.Suwannee Roots Revival will once again feature multiple stages as well non-musical activities like yoga, biking, hiking, disc golf, kayaking, and a kids’ tent. There will also be impromptu campground pickin’ sessions hosted by Sloppy Joe and Quartermoon, and attendees will be able to take in the natural beauty of Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park.As previously reported, PettyGrass is a new bluegrass tribute to the late Tom Petty from Keller Williams and The Hillbenders. Williams noted earlier this year, “With his untimely passing, these songs have been pushed to the forefront of my mind and it seems like as good a time as any to celebrate, publicly, the music of Tom Petty. Luckily, The Hillbenders share my passion for this music and it just so happens that they are kick ass pickers who have amazing attention to detail. These Petty songs lend themselves quite easily to bluegrass and by the end of the night, the audience will more than likely be singing in harmony.”Early bird tickets for Suwannee Roots Revival are currently on sale.last_img read more

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An entrepreneurial approach to ‘possibility government’

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first_imgGAZETTE: Don’t public agencies have real constraints to acting in an entrepreneurial way?WEISS: There are barriers to taking risk in the public sector. However, all of that gets distilled to this encapsulation, which is that “government is risk-averse.” There are many problems with that argument. Ken Arrow, a Nobel Prize winner, and Robert Lind argued that governments in many ways should be risk-neutral. They can absorb risk. I observe that, yes, many people in government are risk-averse, but that’s not mainly because they are in government. It’s because they are people. Humans everywhere are risk-averse. Yet we still manage to pursue innovation. We should be able to do so in government. And it’s false to say in many instances that for governments to do nothing is less risky than doing something. Look no further than this pandemic to see how doing nothing in the lead-up around public health infrastructure left us vulnerable.GAZETTE: Can those who work in government agencies be motivated to engage in creative problem-solving?WEISS: Yes, there are a great number of people inside government at all levels at all sorts of agencies who are waiting for the invitation to share their ideas and try new things. Maybe they’ve been holding back because they haven’t been told that we as an agency, we as an administration, are open to new ideas. If we show public workers that we want your ideas, that we want you to try them, so long as you promise to learn as much as possible while wasting as few resources as possible, they will respond in spades, and they are.GAZETTE: What role does sharing of best practices play in this? You suggest that even this approach may be too confining.WEISS: Right, if there are solutions to the problem you’re facing, whether it’s the high cost of housing or environmental degradation, and you are not employing those solutions in your jurisdiction, you should be. But I would argue in many instances we don’t have the solution and that best practices are just the best yet, and they’re not good enough. So I think we should absolutely scale what’s working. We would help humankind. But if we just do that, it will absolutely not be enough.GAZETTE: Where should we be looking for new ideas?WEISS: I think we can look for ideas from the public. Innovation has often been sourced from users directly. So the people who use government are going to be full of ways of making it better. We can look for the way our users experience government, and their work-arounds, and try to respond to them. We can also look to nonexperts, to people who aren’t in government and don’t work on these issues day to day, for new ideas. Studies have shown that if you go to nonexperts and ask them for ideas on solving public needs, their ideas on average are worse than those from inside experts, but that you will get some ideas that are transformative. So we have to look to outsiders. And we can look to the crowd. There have been now many occasions of sourcing questions and finding solutions from the crowd.GAZETTE: You also say we should welcome even bad ideas.WEISS: There can’t be a more controversial time to suggest a more controversial idea than to say right now what we need is more bad ideas. But that is the argument I make in the book. To get more new good ideas we’re going to have to get more new bad ideas. If we’re going to open ourselves up to users, to nonexperts, to the crowd, of course much of what they suggest is going to be ultimately not usable. But if we close ourselves off to new voices, we’re also not going to get those few novel solutions we desperately need. At the same time, we don’t want to invest public time and public money amidst all these urgent crises on bad ideas. So part of the book is about how do we quickly address the uncertainties in an idea, begin to sort out the good from the bad.GAZETTE: What are the limits to public entrepreneurship? Are some risks best avoided?WEISS: We need in more places to move from probability toward possibility, but we don’t want to move past possibility toward delusion. Some of the novel solutions we witnessed last year in response to COVID-19 have been possibility government, and some of it has been delusion — swallowing Lysol, hydroxychloroquine. We need to be able to sort out the difference between possibility and delusion. In the book I share a list of some two dozen guardrails. For example, we shouldn’t be trying efforts where the returns mainly go to one group of people and the risks fall on another. We shouldn’t be introducing systemic risks in a system that can’t withstand them. If we have the wrong motives, that is a strong sign that what we are doing is not possibility but something more dangerous. You might have strayed from possibility toward delusion if you promise success at the outset; we need to be candid with the public and ourselves about the unlikelihood of new things succeeding — promising that all of them will succeed is going to undermine trust.GAZETTE: How do you entice private entrepreneurs or young people who aspire to become entrepreneurs to bring their skills to government?WEISS: Entrepreneurs want to solve problems, and that is so much of what being in public life is about, especially these days. You want to work on the most important stuff? That’s what government officials are doing all around the world. In addition, you don’t have to choose whether to go into public life forever or not. You can try it out, spend some time, learn about the complexities and nuances of government. At the end of the day, we all get the government we invent. If you don’t like what you see in your community or in your country, then help fix it.This interview was edited for length and clarity. Many despair of government’s ability to tackle difficult issues after a year of pandemic, economic collapse, and civil unrest — and that’s in addition to such chronic problems as education, health care, and the environment. But there may be grounds for optimism, believes Mitchell Weiss, professor of management practice and the Richard L. Menschel Faculty Fellow at Harvard Business School. In a new book, “We the Possibility: Harnessing Public Entrepreneurship to Solve Our Most Urgent Problems,” Weiss argues that by embracing an entrepreneurial spirit, public agencies can bring creative solutions to even seemingly intractable challenges. The Gazette recently spoke to Weiss, a former chief of staff to the late Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, about the potential for innovation in government and how to foster it.Q&AMitchell WeissGAZETTE: Many who have served in government leave discouraged about its potential to solve difficult problems. What makes you hopeful?WEISS: First, it’s what I witnessed. When I was in government, I found many instances of great public servants coming together and making progress on the biggest challenges they saw. I’m not saying that we always did in Boston, but I saw that it’s possible. In addition, since I left government and since I had the chance to study episodes of public entrepreneurship all around the world, I’ve seen other public leaders also pursuing these solutions with bravery and skill. And I see in my students a rising generation of leaders committed to solving problems. I’ve already seen some go out and do just that, and I know that others are on the doorstep.GAZETTE: You use the term “possibility government” to describe the innovative spirit you are promoting in government. How would you describe that and what does it look like?WEISS: Possibility government is the pursuit of new programs and services by public leaders and their partners that, by virtue of their novelty, are unlikely to work. They only possibly might work. And that’s the nature of entrepreneurship — most new ventures fail but those that succeed are ultimately transformative. Possibility government stands in stark contrast to what we normally have, which is probability government — the pursuit of programs that will probably “work” but lead to middling or mediocre outcomes. They feel safe, but they’re not really because they’re not getting the job done. I think that, not in every instance but in more instances, we need to move to possibility government. We would recognize possibility if we saw governments opening themselves up to new ideas, if we saw more public leaders trying new solutions instead of old ones, if we saw the public encouraging them in that, and ultimately if we saw governments scaling up those that worked so they helped everyone.GAZETTE: What are some examples you like to cite of successful public entrepreneurship?WEISS: I’ve met amazing public entrepreneurs over the course of researching and writing the book and teaching my course on the subject. One is Mayor Melvin Carter from St. Paul, Minn. He gets elected to office promising to deliver on a giant equity agenda and goes about it in all sorts of new ways with lots of courage and skill. I feel energized whenever I talk to him. I feel his commitment to bringing about a new future. Another is Biobot Analytics, a company founded by Mariana Matus and Newsha Ghaeli, and their work around wastewater epidemiology, essentially turning sewage into a public health database. They’ve now been turning to sewage to help provide information during the COVID epidemic. What’s striking about these two examples — Melvin Carter on the public side, Mariana and Newsha on the private — is that when they began most people thought they wouldn’t succeed. That’s true of so much of possibility government — at the beginning it looks unlikely, and it is. “To get more new good ideas we’re going to have to get more new bad ideas.”last_img read more

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KeyBank supports 130 Vermont organizations in 2010

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first_imgFrom a transitional housing program for the homeless in St. Albans and a summer concert series in Barre, to a women’s film festival in Brattleboro and a youth mentoring program in Rutland, KeyBank provided grants and sponsorships totaling $300,000 to 130 Vermont organizations in 2010.Funds from the KeyBank Foundation supported programs helping Vermonters achieve economic self-sufficiency, including a job skills program offered by Milton Family Community Center, a computer literacy program for non-native English speakers at Burlington’s  Fletcher Free Library, and a literacy volunteer training program at Central Vermont Adult Basic Education.KeyBank also sponsored community events such as the KeyBank Vermont City Marathon,  Key4Women Forum, Vermont Maple Festival,  Vermont History Expo and Strolling of the Heifers.In addition to providing financial support, KeyBank encourages and supports employee volunteerism.  KeyBankers serve on boards and volunteer committees for more than 60 Vermont organizations.KeyBank N.A. is one of Vermont’s largest financial services companies. A strong proponent for local economic growth, Key companies provide investment management, retail and commercial banking, retirement, consumer finance, and investment banking products and services to individuals and companies throughout the United States and, for certain businesses, internationally. The company’s businesses deliver their products and services through branches and offices; a network of approximately 1,500 ATMs; telephone banking centers (1.800.KEY2YOU); and a Web site, Key.com, that provides account access and financial products 24 hours a day.Source: KeyBank (Burlington, VT  January 25, 2011) ‘ # # # ‘last_img read more

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Trauma Tuesday: Nighttime Red Hook Crit Edition

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first_imgI know, I know. Last week’s Trauma Tuesday also featured road riding road rash, but this video from the Red Hook Crit at the Brooklyn Navy Yard was too good to pass up. This footage was apparently taken during the finals, and you can see most of the riders are going gangbusters around this hot corner. The first wreck may be the worst in terms of numbers as multiple riders fly into the fence/crowd, but the guy who barrels headfirst with no speed check into the railing at 1:06 and the ass-over-tea-kettle face plant at 1:20 seem to result in the most bodily harm, with the second eliciting “MEDIC!” calls from the spectators.What I love about this video – besides the carnage, which is great – is that most of these riders jump back on their bikes after plowing into each other and the pavement. They are still in a race after all. I would probably quit riding a bike, or going outside for that matter, if any of these crashes happened to me. I’d be done with biking, walking, running, or anything else that would result in my taking another spill even remotely as traumatic as these guys, and yet there they are jumping back on their bikes to ride around another circuit, which they know will result in them having to navigate that same turn, only with even more urgency because they will be deeper into the race.Also, they are riding fixed gear single speed bikes. So, yeah..with no brakes, the pile-ups are fast and furious. Although, to be fair, there is a very nice, crowd pleasing save at the 1:45 mark. Speaking of the crowd, kudos for being so lively and supportive/informative to riders and casualties alike.Here’s a bonus vid of one of the wrecks in suuuuuperr slllooooooow moooooooo.last_img read more

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Colombia Neutralizes Third Leader of the Gulf Clan

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first_imgBy Myriam Ortega/Diálogo April 20, 2018 Aristides Manuel Meza Páez, alias El Indio, third in command of the narcotrafficking group Gulf Clan, was neutralized on March 28, 2018, in Montelíbano, Córdoba, a rural area in the north of Colombia. The Armed Forces of Colombia’s Deployment Forces Against Transnational Threats (FUDAT, in Spanish) took down El Indio. FUDAT works within the framework of Operation Agamemnon II (Agamenón II), a joint campaign launched in February 2015 to neutralize organized crime leaders and target their finances. El Indio had an arrest warrant for terrorism, homicide, threats, and obstruction of public roads. The criminal handled the finances of the Gulf Clan, supporting it with illicit drug trafficking, extortion, money laundering through shell companies, and the purchase of real estate and other property, according to a Colombian National Army press release. “With [this mission], we dealt a strong blow to the strategic and financial component of the Gulf Clan, to the head of the organization,” Army General Alberto José Mejía, general commander of the Colombian Military Forces, said during a press conference. “We were able to disrupt the hierarchical criminal structure and to fracture the group’s relationship with international crime [structures].” El Indio established criminal alliances with narcotrafficking groups in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Panama, where cocaine was sent by sea and land to reach the United States and Europe. In Colombia, he also implemented the pistol plan, a tactic criminals use to reward their members for each law enforcement officers killed—almost always shot in the back and in public places. Operation Oriana “The National Police has been [looking for] this criminal for more than five years [since 2013],” Army Brigadier General Jorge Eduardo Mora López, FUDAT commander, told Diálogo. “On March 15, 2018, we received intelligence that was our starting point to plan Operation Oriana. Preparations happened quickly because we knew where the criminal would go, and like with other leaders, he would be in the same place for a maximum of 48 to 72 hours.” During the planning, authorities concluded it would be necessary to use eight special Army reconnaissance teams. “They were infiltrated by land and air, on routes Army, Navy, and Police terrain analysts selected,” explained Brig. Gen. Mora. “They were able to infiltrate the location where they could not be detected, where there is no civilian population. The area is the Paramillo Massif, one of the most rugged places in Colombia, making the infiltration quite difficult.” The teams arrived on site and waited 12 days for the criminal to come. “By March 25, [2018], reconnaissance teams already begun reporting [the presence of] armed gangs in different residences,” Brig. Gen. Mora said. “By [March] 28th, we already had several teams in place to observe the residences, and we started to see the arrival of about 15-20 gang members armed with machine guns, and that led us to believe the leader was about to arrive.” At the same time, six helicopters from the Immediate Reaction Forces were at the ready. The helicopters have fast-rope insertion capacity to support the ground troops that would enter into combat with the criminals. “With the Colombian Air Force Arpía helicopter and two Army attack helicopters, we simultaneously did the closures and the assault,” said Brig. Gen. Mora. During the maneuver, authorities took down El Indio. Agamemnon’s other achievements By the second week of April 2018, authorities carried out more than 71 exercises and 25 air assaults against the Gulf Clan within the framework of Operation Agamemnon. “In addition to El Indio, second level leaders Cobra and Chunga were neutralized. Soldado was arrested and 16 members [of the Gulf Clan] were delivered to justice,” Brig. Gen. Mora said. In the past, organized crime leaders remained in command for years before being caught. “With [Operation] Agamemnon, leaders’ turnover has to be in months,” Gen. Mejía said. “People with less and less experience reach leadership positions within terrorist and narcotrafficking groups because they’re losing their top bosses.” “The command and control of the Gulf Clan is falling apart,” said Brig. Gen. Mora. “Many of the third and fourth level leaders no longer obey the first and second level leaders, and there are shortage issues in some of the structures.” For General Jorge Nieto Rojas, director of the National Police, “It is precisely this joining of efforts and capacities that makes it so that this organization’s only way out is to stop illegal activity and turn themselves in.”last_img read more

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CONJEFAMER: A Knowledge and Experience Sharing Platform

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first_imgBy Geraldine Cook/Diálogo July 30, 2018 Commander Belsio González, general director of the Panamanian Air and Naval Service* (SENAN, in Spanish), served as master of ceremony to the LVIII Conference of Chiefs of the American Air Forces (CONJEFAMER, in Spanish)—Panama’s first time as a host. The conference took place June 19 to 21, 2018, in Panama City, Panama. At his inaugural address, Cmdr. González welcomed air force chiefs and representatives with optimism about CONJEFAMER’s progress in forging cooperation to promote disaster relief, humanitarian aid, and dismantle transnational threat networks. Cmdr. González spoke with Diálogo about the importance of hosting the conference, and SENAN’s strategic advances to develop its capabilities, among other topics. Diálogo: Why is it important for Panama and SENAN to host CONJEFAMER? Commander Belsio González, general director of the Panamanian Air and Naval Service: Being CONJEFAMER’s host is important for our country and SENAN, as we’ve tried to host it since 2000, and now after 18 years we can say our dream came true. It’s also important because it allows us to share knowledge and experience with commanders of the different air forces of the continent. It’s essential that these meetings take place within the scope of the System of Cooperation Among the American Air Forces (SICOFAA, in Spanish), as CONJEFAMER is our forum to exchange opinions and experiences, and share other countries’ cultures. Diálogo: Why is it important for Panama to be a part of SICOFAA? What are the benefits? Cmdr. González: Panama joined SICOFAA in 1970, and since then we’ve been training pilots and aircraft maintenance technicians through mutual assistance programs with member nations of SICOFAA. As a SICOFAA member, Panama was able to see the importance of this organization for humanitarian assistance when natural or man-made disasters occur. We actively took part in humanitarian operations. We were there for Ecuador and Mexico’s earthquakes, as well as Costa Rica’s floods. I hope a natural disaster won’t strike Panama, but if it happens, we can request support from our partner nations air forces. Diálogo: SENAN turns 10 in August 2018. How has the organization grown since its founding? Cmdr. González: SENAN was created on August 20, 2008, when the National Maritime Service and the National Air Service merged. In the 10 years since, the sustained growth of this institution has been relevant and important due to our units’ training, bonds of friendship with air forces of the continent, and the acquisition of equipment. In the last four years, under President Juan Carlos Varela Rodríguez’s leadership, the institution strengthened its naval and air operational equipment. We acquired two [series] 400 Twin Otter aircraft, and will soon purchase a maritime patrol aircraft to strengthen the fight against narcotrafficking. Diálogo: SENAN increased its patrols and illicit maritime traffic controls. How does this strategy help reduce the activities of transnational drug trafficking organizations? Cmdr. González: The strategic operational approach we’ve had since 2008 dealt serious blows to narcoterrorism and transnational criminal organizations that funnel illicit drugs through our Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean. The recruitment, training, and instruction we received, especially from the United States, were beneficial and provided positive results. With each blow dealt to these criminal organizations, we reduce their financial and logistics power. Another strategy is the national policy to reduce homicides, carried out through the hard work of our security forces, such as the National Police (PN, in Spanish), the National Border Service (SENAFRONT, in Spanish), and our institution. We carried out several joint task force operations. We conducted operations such as Homeland (Patria), Shield (Escudo), Darién, and soon Trident II (Tridente II) with support from the Colombian Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard, which join our public force’s components, such as the National Police and SENAFRONT. Diálogo: The United States donated some naval and technological equipment to SENAN. Among those are two interceptor vessels to boost the Panamanian Special Boat Unit’s operational capacity to combat illicit drug trafficking. How does this donation help in the fight against drugs in Panama? Cmdr. González: These two interceptor vessels provided a greater nautical mile range in our seas, which is essential when chasing criminals more than 100 nautical miles. Due to their capacity, autonomy, and speed, the two interceptors allowed us to deal strong blows to narcotrafficking. Next December or January, we’ll receive two more speedboats. Diálogo: SENAN’s Fisherman Watch program is part of the 2017-2030 National Security Strategy. How does this program help improve security levels in Panama’s coastal areas and seas? Cmdr. González: This program was created because we realized that many artisan fishermen used their boats for drug trafficking. We devised this program—similar to PN’s Neighborhood Watch—and decided to carry out a census to enroll fishermen, get to know them, and let them experience the government’s helping hand. The census allowed us to create a database. We enrolled more than 10,000 people in small-scale fishing, and coordinate with the Panamanian Maritime Authority to help fishermen legalize boating licenses and registrations. This program allowed us to conduct social programs and give prevention talks, so that fishermen learn about narcotrafficking and its threats. Diálogo: How does SENAN prepare for humanitarian aid and natural disaster relief? Cmdr. González: Humanitarian aid and natural disaster relief is SENAN’s second pillar. We recently acquired a barge to conduct humanitarian and medical assistance. It can supply potable water because it has a desalinization device, and can generate electricity in case of a disaster. So far in 2018, we’ve conducted more than 170 humanitarian assistance operations. Diálogo: What’s the importance of international cooperation to defeat transnational criminal organizations? Cmdr. González: It’s fundamental to strengthen trust in organizations whose mission is to counter narcotrafficking. Help from the United States, Colombia, and Costa Rica is key because of the partnerships for information exchange, communication, and mutual trust. The positive results prevent drug traffickers from navigating through our waters. Panama already has the capacity to train partner air forces, and we continue to grow to hone our pilots. For air forces to maintain this active communication to mutually benefit our institutions and strengthen our aircraft and mission security is crucial today. *Cmdr. González retired in July 2018, two weeks after his interview with Diálogo.last_img read more

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FAMU breaks ground on its new law school

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first_imgThe Florida A&M University College of Law has come full circle with the recent groundbreaking for its permanent campus in Orlando. More than 300 FAMU alumni, supporters, community leaders, law students, and faculty attended the celebration.Dr. Fred Gainous, president of the university, addressed the crowd and thanked them for their ongoing support of the school, which he said will provide opportunities for many future generations of Rattlers.The law school was established in 1949 in Tallahassee but was closed by the state in 1966, and the last class graduated in 1968. After years of lobbying by FAMU supporters, the Florida Legislature passed a bill to reestablish the law school and Orlando was chosen as the campus site.The FAMU College of Law reopened in 2002 and there are 201 students now enrolled. The $27 million permanent campus will be built on land donated by the City of Orlando and the new building is scheduled to open in August 2005.Percy R. Luney, Jr., the founding dean of the re-established law school, told the crowd about the building plans, including an outdoor wall that will be inscribed with the names of the original 57 graduates of the FAMU law school.“We are poised to make history as we build for the new millennium,” Luney said.Rep. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, a 1968 FAMU law graduate, shared the experience of the last class at the original law school, which took its final exams thinking those would be the last days of the FAMU College of Law.“My law school has come full circle,” Joyner said.Other alumni from the original law school in attendance included Henry Latimer, a member of The Florida Bar’s Board of Governors, and Benjamin Lampkin.Dr. Gainous applauded the support the law school has enjoyed in Orlando and described seeing the institution restored in Central Florida as “breathtaking.”As part of the event Tom Yochum, president of SunTrust Banks of Florida, announced a $50,000 gift to the law school. Dr. Gainous accepted the donation, which will be used to create an emergency loan fund for law students. J.W. Mitchell, of Executive Office Supply, Inc. in Tallahassee, also gave the school a $5,000 donation as part of a $25,000 multi-year agreement with FAMU. FAMU breaks ground on its new law school FAMU breaks ground on its new law schoolcenter_img December 15, 2003 Regular Newslast_img read more

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Under contract: Committing to the millennial market

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first_imgLast month I talked about How I Met My Lender, where I suggested that advertising, a true online, interactive application and web portal, and regular follow-up are essential lures for the millennial market. My credit union focused on technology and communication, cementing them as my lender.December’s article was about origination. This month’s focus is on lessons learned in getting to the closing table. Lenders and borrowers alike know this is a complex process, one that requires a great deal of interaction, and one that is largely in the lender’s control. Yet throughout the process I wanted to help. And, throughout the process, I also wanted to know exactly where my loan stood at all times.The first lesson in retaining millennial borrowers is this: Increased borrower education – undertaken before the process begins – about financial literacy in general, and the mortgage process in particular, improves the experience for both parties in the transaction. While I was relatively well-prepared with statements and W2s, I was probably the exception rather than the rule. Working in the mortgage industry, surrounded by lots of people with extensive experience helped enormously. The vast majority of millennials are not lucky enough to be associated with so many mortgage geeks. My credit union worked to explain the process when I seemed confused. This was helpful, as was the first-time homebuyer education class I had to take in order to qualify for the first-time homebuyer program I was using. Our credit union answered every question, talking me through everything they needed and why they needed it.Still, I do wish my lender had been more transparent from the outset as to what they needed and why. Receiving a high-level schedule and overview of the process from the moment the contract was signed would have helped me understand the progression of the loan and also would also have helped me help them. While major deadlines such as inspection and appraisal were outlined in the contract, the contract did not say when my credit union would need my tax returns.It would have been helpful to get a list of documents that would be needed, and the reason they would be needed. I would also like to have known what was happening with the loan, beyond posting the loan status of “processing” or “underwriting” on the online portal. These terms mean something to me, but may not mean much to many millennials. It would be more informative to know what, specifically, is happening with the loan, and in greater detail.My questions were always answered quickly and in a friendly way. I know, though, from the team I work with, that the fewer questions borrowers have, the more efficient the lending process. To put it another way, a more informed, educated borrower yields a more profitable loan.My lender’s online portal is wonderful. It is one of the reasons I chose them and closed my loan with them. Yet it could be even more useful in at least two ways. First – and I was warned about this by my colleagues – every mortgage loan requires documentation, lots of it. I happily complied, of course, though uploading the paperwork directly to the portal would have made it faster and easier for everyone. Second, millennials do everything with their phones. Why not utilize smartphone image capture, as we do, to deposit the rare paper check we still receive? Mobile capture is sure to be one of the next innovations in mortgage lending – it’s a feature that will lure millennials and increase market share. It will also result in higher overall customer satisfaction as well as greater lending efficiency. This is the second lesson: Millennials want instant, online access from their phones from the beginning of the process to its end, including document upload and real-time, detailed loan status. The communications standards set during the application process continued throughout the mortgage cycle. However, proactive communication – not just waiting until I asked a question – would have provided for a smoother and easier process. Providing an overview of what the process would look like, from start to finish, would have made me more confident and comfortable along the way. Anticipating common questions, or even developing a First Time Home Buyer FAQ document, would also help the millennial borrower stay engaged with minimal stress. Finally, utilizing technology to the fullest extent possible, by offering robust loan status updates via an online portal or even via text message, would close the loop on proactive communication with borrowers.Today’s millennial borrowers demand transparency; it is no longer acceptable to keep your borrowers in the dark and expect them to be agreeable. The final lesson is this: Stay proactive from application to closing, without waiting for the borrower to ask a question. From initial education, to responsiveness and transparency, to advanced mobility, millennials expect a high degree of lender involvement to get through the mortgage process with ease. By staying proactive and offering advanced technology, you can be sure you’ve done your part to attract and retain your millennial borrowers.Next month, I’ll end this series with my experience in closing the loan. 12SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Michelle Oliphant Michelle Oliphant is a member of the marketing department at Accenture Mortgage Cadence, a position she has held since 2012. She focuses primarily on product marketing, helping to shape the … Web: www.accenture.com Detailslast_img read more

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