The unexpected joys of bird-watching

first_img You have entered an incorrect email address! Please enter your email address here The UCF Forum is a weekly series of opinion columns presented by UCF Communications & Marketing. A new column is posted each Wednesday at http://today.ucf.edu, republished on The Apopka Voice, then broadcast between 7:50 and 8 a.m. Sunday on WUCF-FM (89.9). The columns are the opinions of the writers, who serve on the UCF Forum panel of faculty members, staffers and students for a year. TAGSBirdwatchingUCF Forum Previous articleApopka Police Department Arrest ReportNext articleLake Apopka Natural Gas District honors employees on fourth annual Natural Gas Utility Workers’ Day Denise Connell RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR The Anatomy of Fear Please enter your name here Share on Facebook Tweet on Twitter Free webinar for job seekers on best interview answers, hosted by Goodwill June 11 center_img LEAVE A REPLY Cancel reply By Michele Gregoire Gill/UCF Forum columnistFeed the birds, tuppence a bag, Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag“Feed the birds,” that’s what she cries While overhead, her birds fill the skies – From the movie Mary Poppins, song by Sherman & ShermanAs I write this, there’s a male goldfinch pecking at the feeder outside my home office window. A cardinal perches nearby, cracking safflower seeds. And tiny chipping sparrows dart in and out of my cage feeder. Earlier, a red-bellied woodpecker selected a whole peanut and flew off across the yard with its prize.Watching these birds brings such light and joy to me and my family. My boys have become birding enthusiasts. Ryan, my 10-year-old, diligently checks off what birds we’ve seen in his favorite bird guide. Aaron, now 15, became interested in photography last year due to his love of watching birds flock to our many feeders. He now asks me to take him to walk birding trails on the weekends. These are boys who are generally obsessed with playing video games.I am so grateful to see how this newfound love of watching birds has led to them wanting to go outside more and to a love and appreciation of the natural world. Their delight in seeing a new or rare bird come to our feeder is unparalleled.When I woke one day recently, Ryan couldn’t wait to tell me about the pileated woodpeckers he saw before we all got up. Aaron sometimes sets his alarm early on the weekends to lie in the chaise lounge by the front bay window and watch the birds flock there.It’s amazing to me that birds even come to these feeders. It feels like pure grace, especially because when we first started with one lonely feeder hung from a metal shepherd’s crook, no birds immediately came. I thought my boys would quickly grow bored waiting and waiting for something to show up at our little feeder.We did get a lizard living inside our birdhouse, which entertained for a little while. Still, no birds. Until one day, there were! A titmouse came to the feeder and quickly darted away. We marveled at it, sneaking outside to see it closer. We laughed at its mechanical bark that seemed to yell at us. We waited by the window every morning to see if one would come back. And it did!And then cardinals popped by. And the ever-present mourning doves.Last year, we got to see a whole cycle of life at our feeder. First, the summer birds came: cardinals, mourning doves, titmice, and sometimes flocks of blackbirds and grackles. Due to our study of birds and their food preferences, we now had a variety of bird food and feeders which we changed with the seasons.As the late fall approached, chipping sparrows clustered on our millet feeder, and goldfinches congregated on the nyjer seed cylinder. We were sometimes graced with the rare bird, a downy woodpecker, a sharp-skinned hawk, a house finch. Chickadees and wrens visited too.The boys marveled at how at first the goldfinches didn’t look very gold, and female cardinals were dull indeed. And then, the seasons subtly changed, and the birds’ color became more vibrant. We watched as the goldfinches became more and more yellow until the males were absolutely radiant with color. We watched cardinals feed each other (“They are mating!” my youngest son exclaimed, as he correctly identified the early stage of bird courtship behavior.) We saw birds dance together in midair. And then, a month or two later, juvenile birds appeared at the feeder, with coloring different than their parents.I learned all of this through my kids’ eyes, and now I reap the benefits as I type this with birds as my companion and continual entertainment. But it didn’t come easy, this birding life. We waited months before any birds came to our feeder. We had to experiment and try new seed and different feeders.The boys peppered the owner of the local birding store with questions. We bought a bird bath. We changed out the seed every time it became moldy. We cleaned the feeders regularly; well, that was mostly me. But the boys helped install the feeder systems and did much of the bird research for us.And we waited. And hoped. And kept learning. And now we have a variety of birds at our feeders; birds that change with weather, the time of year, and their stage of life.It’s so easy for me to get caught up in the world of instant gratification. Birding has taught me the joys of being still. Of watching and waiting. Of getting outside with my kids. Of the rhythms of the seasons. And of the miraculous beauty and grace of the natural world.So, I encourage you to join me in feeding your neighborhood birds. It’s more than a tuppence a bag nowadays, but the rewards are priceless.Michele Gregoire Gill is program coordinator of the University of Central Florida’s education doctorate in curriculum and instruction and is a professor of educational psychology in the Department of Learning Sciences and Educational Research. She can be reached at [email protected] Please enter your comment! Support conservation and fish with NEW Florida specialty license plate Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.,By Michele Gregoire Gill/UCF Forum columnistFeed the birds, tuppence a bag, Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag“Feed the birds,” that’s what she cries While overhead, her birds fill the skies – From the movie Mary Poppins, song by Sherman & ShermanAs I write this, there’s a male goldfinch pecking at the feeder outside my home office window. A cardinal perches nearby, cracking safflower seeds. And tiny chipping sparrows dart in and out of my cage feeder. Earlier, a red-bellied woodpecker selected a whole peanut and flew off across the yard with its prize.Watching these birds brings such light and joy to me and my family. My boys have become birding enthusiasts. Ryan, my 10-year-old, diligently checks off what birds we’ve seen in his favorite bird guide. Aaron, now 15, became interested in photography last year due to his love of watching birds flock to our many feeders. He now asks me to take him to walk birding trails on the weekends. These are boys who are generally obsessed with playing video games.I am so grateful to see how this newfound love of watching birds has led to them wanting to go outside more and to a love and appreciation of the natural world. Their delight in seeing a new or rare bird come to our feeder is unparalleled.When I woke one day recently, Ryan couldn’t wait to tell me about the pileated woodpeckers he saw before we all got up. Aaron sometimes sets his alarm early on the weekends to lie in the chaise lounge by the front bay window and watch the birds flock there.It’s amazing to me that birds even come to these feeders. It feels like pure grace, especially because when we first started with one lonely feeder hung from a metal shepherd’s crook, no birds immediately came. I thought my boys would quickly grow bored waiting and waiting for something to show up at our little feeder.We did get a lizard living inside our birdhouse, which entertained for a little while. Still, no birds. Until one day, there were! A titmouse came to the feeder and quickly darted away. We marveled at it, sneaking outside to see it closer. We laughed at its mechanical bark that seemed to yell at us. We waited by the window every morning to see if one would come back. And it did!And then cardinals popped by. And the ever-present mourning doves.Last year, we got to see a whole cycle of life at our feeder. First, the summer birds came: cardinals, mourning doves, titmice, and sometimes flocks of blackbirds and grackles. Due to our study of birds and their food preferences, we now had a variety of bird food and feeders which we changed with the seasons.As the late fall approached, chipping sparrows clustered on our millet feeder, and goldfinches congregated on the nyjer seed cylinder. We were sometimes graced with the rare bird, a downy woodpecker, a sharp-skinned hawk, a house finch. Chickadees and wrens visited too.The boys marveled at how at first the goldfinches didn’t look very gold, and female cardinals were dull indeed. And then, the seasons subtly changed, and the birds’ color became more vibrant. We watched as the goldfinches became more and more yellow until the males were absolutely radiant with color. We watched cardinals feed each other (“They are mating!” my youngest son exclaimed, as he correctly identified the early stage of bird courtship behavior.) We saw birds dance together in midair. And then, a month or two later, juvenile birds appeared at the feeder, with coloring different than their parents.I learned all of this through my kids’ eyes, and now I reap the benefits as I type this with birds as my companion and continual entertainment. But it didn’t come easy, this birding life. We waited months before any birds came to our feeder. We had to experiment and try new seed and different feeders.The boys peppered the owner of the local birding store with questions. We bought a bird bath. We changed out the seed every time it became moldy. We cleaned the feeders regularly; well, that was mostly me. But the boys helped install the feeder systems and did much of the bird research for us.And we waited. And hoped. And kept learning. And now we have a variety of birds at our feeders; birds that change with weather, the time of year, and their stage of life.It’s so easy for me to get caught up in the world of instant gratification. Birding has taught me the joys of being still. Of watching and waiting. Of getting outside with my kids. Of the rhythms of the seasons. And of the miraculous beauty and grace of the natural world.So, I encourage you to join me in feeding your neighborhood birds. It’s more than a tuppence a bag nowadays, but the rewards are priceless.Michele Gregoire Gill is program coordinator of the University of Central Florida’s education doctorate in curriculum and instruction and is a professor of educational psychology in the Department of Learning Sciences and Educational Research. She can be reached at [email protected]last_img read more

Jacobson Carriage House / Robert Gurney Architect

first_imgArchDaily CopyHouses•Mineral, United States Jacobson Carriage House / Robert Gurney Architect Houses Photographs:  Hoachlander-Davis Photography Manufacturers Brands with products used in this architecture project “COPY” United States ShareFacebookTwitterPinterestWhatsappMailOrhttps://www.archdaily.com/159987/jacobson-carriage-house-robert-gurney-architect Clipboard Save this picture!© Hoachlander-Davis Photography+ 12 Sharecenter_img Projects CopyAbout this officeRobert Gurney ArchitectOfficeFollow#TagsProjectsBuilt ProjectsSelected ProjectsResidential ArchitectureHousesResidentialHousesMineralUnited StatesPublished on August 24, 2011Cite: “Jacobson Carriage House / Robert Gurney Architect” 24 Aug 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 12 Jun 2021. ISSN 0719-8884Read commentsBrowse the CatalogAluminium CompositesTechnowoodWood Siding in KSR Villa BodrumWindowsMitrexSolar WindowMetal PanelsAurubisCopper Alloy: Nordic RoyalVentilated / Double Skin FacadeSTAC BONDAssembly Systems – GluedLightsLouis PoulsenLamps – LP Slim BoxUrban ApplicationsIsland Exterior FabricatorsPublic Safety Answering Center II Envelope SystemPodsTrimoModular Space SolutionsHanging LampsAxolightPendant Lights – HoopsStonesFranken-SchotterFlooring and Wall Tiles – Dietfurt LimestoneVentilated / Double Skin FacadeULMA Architectural SolutionsPaper Facade Panel in Nokia LibraryCabinetsburgbadWall Cabinet – Sys30AcousticUnika VaevAcoustics – Ecoustic® Foliar TileMore products »Read commentsSave世界上最受欢迎的建筑网站现已推出你的母语版本!想浏览ArchDaily中国吗?是否翻译成中文现有为你所在地区特制的网站?想浏览ArchDaily中国吗?Take me there »✖You’ve started following your first account!Did you know?You’ll now receive updates based on what you follow! Personalize your stream and start following your favorite authors, offices and users.Go to my stream Jacobson Carriage House / Robert Gurney ArchitectSave this projectSaveJacobson Carriage House / Robert Gurney Architect Manufacturers: Recla MetalsText description provided by the architects. As the first phase of a client’s planned move to Lake Anna, Virginia, this guest house and garage becomes the starting point for further development of the site. Its design sets a precedent of economy thru selection of material and simple methods of construction. Save this picture!© Hoachlander-Davis PhotographyThese methods also allowed the client to construct the building himself and become familiar with each material and the most sensible way to use it providing for minimal future maintenance. These materials, such as concrete block and rusted corrugated metal siding, also ground the building with their timeless sensibilities and embed it to the site. Save this picture!© Hoachlander-Davis PhotographyThe interior spaces retain this sense of essential materiality. Plywood, off-the-shelf millwork, cement board panels and porcelain tile bring the richness of the exterior inside. The living spaces were designed to be light-filled and generous to allow the client to engage the site. Save this picture!© Hoachlander-Davis PhotographyThe processes of design and construction became a consistent exchange between the client and the architect to experiment with materials and develop methods that would satisfy both parties’ desires for composition, functionality, and longevity.Save this picture!© Hoachlander-Davis PhotographyProject gallerySee allShow lessNew Taipei City Museum of Art Competition Proposal / INFLUX_STUDIOArticlesPower in Space ConferenceArticles Share ShareFacebookTwitterPinterestWhatsappMailOrhttps://www.archdaily.com/159987/jacobson-carriage-house-robert-gurney-architect Clipboard “COPY” Architects: Robert Gurney Architect Photographslast_img read more

Social enterprise category in annual Startups Awards

first_img AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis Social enterprise category in annual Startups Awards  19 total views,  1 views today AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis Howard Lake | 12 June 2008 | News New social enterprises are encouraged to enter the annual Startups Awards, organised by startups.co.uk, to be in with the chance of winning £5,000.The 16 award categories include Innovative Business of the Year, Retailer of the Year, Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Female Entrepreneur of the Year, Green Business of the Year, Silver Fox Award and Social Enterprise of the Year.The winners from each category will compete to be named the Startups Business of the Year for the £5,000 prize.The closing date for entries is 4 July 2008.www.startupsawards.co.uk Tagged with: Awards Trading About Howard Lake Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world’s first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp and co-founder of GoodJobs.org.uk. Researching massive growth in giving.last_img read more

U.S. out of Syria, Yemen, Iraq!

first_imgOct. 24 — In a period of less than two weeks, the United States has expanded its military intervention into three major areas of conflict in Southwest Asia: Yemen, Iraq and Syria.The Workers World Party 2016 Presidential Campaign opposes all three imperialist military interventions and demands that the U.S. withdraw all military forces from the region.No matter how Washington explains its role and whatever pretext it gives for the intervention, the Pentagon’s role in the region and in each country is reactionary, harmful and dangerous. U.S. imperialism is incapable of making a “humanitarian” intervention.The Pentagon intervenes to impose the economic and strategic dominance of the transnational corporations and the 0.01% of capitalists who rule the United States. It is no more capable of bringing peace to the world than it is of eliminating racism and police brutality at home.Let us be precise about these three ­attacks:The Navy destroyer USS Nitze fired Tomahawk cruise missiles on Oct. 13 against the Ansrullah movement in Yemen — also called the Houthis. Prior to this Washington supplied weapons and logistical support to the monarchy in Saudi Arabia that has been slaughtering civilians in Ansrullah-controlled areas of Yemen for more than a year.The U.S.-coordinated coalition, including U.S. air attacks, U.S. Special Forces, the Turkish army, the pro-U.S. Kurdish peshmerga, the Iraqi army, police and sectarian militias, opened a full-fledged attack on Oct. 18 on Mosul in the country’s northeast. Mosul is Iraq’s second most populous city and has been under control of the Islamic State group (IS) for the past two years.Since Sept. 16, when the Pentagon sabotaged a U.S. agreement with Russia by bombing Syrian government forces near Deir Ezzur, Washington has stepped up its anti-Syria and anti-Russia propaganda campaign. It has especially targeted the Syrian government and Russia for their offensive aimed at freeing Aleppo, Syria’s largest city. Parts of Aleppo are still held by the so-called rebel forces, which are mainly IS and other reactionary sectarian armies.U.S. weapons wreak terrorIn Yemen, Iraq and Syria, Washington’s intervention over the past 25 years has destroyed the infrastructure, killed more than 2 million people in total and, according to the Pew Foundation, made internal or external refugees of 15 million people out of a total population of 85 million in the three countries. Whether fired by U.S. troops and pilots or by U.S.-NATO client forces in the region, like Saudi Arabia, U.S. weapons have wrought terror.The biggest battle is now unfolding to take Mosul. The Pentagon admits to not only giving air support but having 100 Special Forces troops on the ground. A total of 5,000 U.S. troops are now — once more — inside Iraq. This means the Pentagon is directing a coalition force of 100,000 in the attempt to conquer Mosul.Prior attacks on a smaller scale carried out by a similar “coalition” flattened the smaller Iraqi cities of Ramadi and Fallujah, leaving hardly a building intact. The battles not only drove out IS fighters, who fled to IS-controlled areas in Syria, but terrorized the population. Some analysts argue that one object of the attack on Mosul is to drive IS fighters to Syria to create problems for the Syria-Russia alliance.Support petition against U.S. role in SyriaThe U.S.-led war against Syria raises the possibility of a direct confrontation between the U.S. and Russia, two states armed with thousands of nuclear weapons. Anti-imperialist activists in the United States, to their credit, have begun a process of mobilizing anti-war movements worldwide against U.S.-NATO intervention there. WWP presidential candidate Monica Moorehead, a signatory, urges all to support the petition circulated at handsoffsyriacoalition.net.Not only in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, but wherever U.S. imperialism intervenes, whether in Afghanistan, Libya, Korea, Somalia, Pakistan and Ukraine or by subversion in Latin America, it brings misery to the people, squanders wealth better used at home and turns U.S. youth into cannon fodder for the capitalists.The WWP 2016 Presidential Campaign demands the U.S. remove its bloody hands off the world’s people and end Pentagon interventions everywhere.WWP vice presidential candidate Lamont Lilly visited Syria in February 2015 as part of a solidarity delegation from the International Action Center.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Vote for schools patronage closed

first_imgNewsVote for schools patronage closedBy Bernie English – June 8, 2016 694 Limerick Artist ‘Willzee’ releases new Music Video – “A Dream of Peace” WhatsApp Linkedin VOTING for the future patronage of Limerick two new secondary schools closed yesterday (Wednesday)But the results of the votes cast by local parents will not be known for some time.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up The two schools will cater for the entire city with 1,200 additional secondary school places.Nominations for the schools in Mungret and Castetroy include the Educate Together group. The Educate Together mission statement is to “establish inspirational schools for children in Ireland. Schools that teach to the highest standards of education through an ethos that guarantees every child equality of esteem, regardless of their social, cultural or religious background”.Ina statement, the Department of education confirmed that voting has closed.“The arrangements for patronage in the establishment of new post-primary schools due to open in September 2017 and 2018 are published on the Department’s website at  http://www.education.ie/en/Schools-Colleges/Information/Establishing-a-New-School/New-Post-Primary-Schools/2017-2018/Arrangements-for-Patronage-in-the-Establishment-of-New-Post-Primary-Schools-September-2017-2018.pdf“The arrangements outline the key steps in the process .  The deadline for receipt of written applications was Wednesday June 8.  Upon receipt, the Department will  consider each application for patronage of the new school and in that regard, prepares a draft assessment report for consideration by the independent New Schools Establishment Group .  The assessment process is detailed and rigorous.“In the interests of conducting a fair process, the Department does not engage in any commentary concerning any application and all applicants are made aware of this from the outset .“The final assessment reports along with the report of the New Schools Establishment Group to the Minister are published on the Department’s website after the Minister has made the final decision and the patronage of the new schools is announced.Every effort will be made by the Department to expedite the assessment process so that the patronage of the new schools in Limerick is known to enable them be considered by parents as part of the common applications system that operates for post-primary education in [email protected] Previous articleGAA – The Lidl Ladies Team of The League Awards NightNext articleBrexit could drive travel costs sky high Bernie Englishhttp://www.limerickpost.ieBernie English has been working as a journalist in national and local media for more than thirty years. She worked as a staff journalist with the Irish Press and Evening Press before moving to Clare. She has worked as a freelance for all of the national newspaper titles and a staff journalist in Limerick, helping to launch the Limerick edition of The Evening Echo. Bernie was involved in the launch of The Clare People where she was responsible for business and industry news. Twitter Predictions on the future of learning discussed at Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival Limerick’s National Camogie League double header to be streamed live Printcenter_img Billy Lee names strong Limerick side to take on Wicklow in crucial Division 3 clash Advertisement Facebook TAGSCastletroyEducate TogetherlimerickMungretpatronageSecondary schoolsvote WATCH: “Everyone is fighting so hard to get on” – Pat Ryan on competitive camogie squads Email Limerick Ladies National Football League opener to be streamed live RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHORlast_img read more

What is Driving the GSE Default Rate Down?

first_imgHome / Daily Dose / What is Driving the GSE Default Rate Down? Related Articles Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago Brian Honea’s writing and editing career spans nearly two decades across many forms of media. He served as sports editor for two suburban newspaper chains in the DFW area and has freelanced for such publications as the Yahoo! Contributor Network, Dallas Home Improvement magazine, and the Dallas Morning News. He has written four non-fiction sports books, the latest of which, The Life of Coach Chuck Curtis, was published by the TCU Press in December 2014. A lifelong Texan, Brian received his master’s degree from Amberton University in Garland. Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago The credit quality of loans purchased by both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has greatly improved since 2008, thus leading to cumulative defaults for both GSEs on a pace to fall below pre-2003 levels, according to data released by the Urban Institute.The composition of loans purchased by both GSEs has shifted toward higher FICO scores; for loans purchased by Fannie Mae, 69.2 percent of loans originated from 2011 to early 2015 were to borrowers with FICO scores higher than 750. For loans originated at the height of the housing bubble in 2007, the share purchased by Fannie Mae featuring 750-or-higher FICO borrowers was only 40.7 percent. From 1999 to 2004, it was even lower, at 36.7 percent.Freddie Mac has experienced similar trends with the single-family residential loans it has purchased since 2008. About 64.8 percent of loans purchased by Freddie Mac that were originated between 2011 and 2015 with 750-or-higher FICO borrowers. That share shrank to 38.9 percent for loans originated in 207 and 33.3 percent for loans originated from 1999 to 2004.“While the composition of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans originated in 2007 was similar to that of 2004 and earlier vintage years, 2007 loans experienced a much higher default rate due to the sharp drop in home values in the recession,” the report stated. “Originations from 2009 and later have pristine credit characteristics and a more favorable home price environment, contributing to very low default rates.”The result has been much lower rates of default on GSE-backed loans in the last seven years. For loans guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with 1999 to 2003 vintages, the cumulative default rate was only 2 percent as of the end of March 2016, according to the Urban Institute. Conversely, the cumulative default rate on loans backed by the GSEs that were originated in 2007 was about 13 percent.The cumulative default rate for both is on pace to fall below 2003 levels, according the Urban Institute. That rate for Fannie Mae-backed loans originated from 2009-10 is 0.76 percent, while the rate on loans originated from 2011 to the first quarter of 2015 is only 0.17 percent, compared to 0.77 percent on GSE-backed loans originated from 1999 to 2003.For Freddie Mac, the cumulative default rate on loans insured by Freddie Mac that were originated from 2009-10 is 0.71 percent, while the rate is 0.10 percent for loans originated from 2011 to Q1 2015. For loans originated from 1999 to 2003, the cumulative default rate is 0.73, according to Urban Institute. Sign up for DS News Daily What is Driving the GSE Default Rate Down? Governmental Measures Target Expanded Access to Affordable Housing 2 days ago The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago Tagged with: Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Mortgage Defaults  Print This Post Previous: A2Z Field Services Welcomes New Director of Sales Next: Congressional Grants to Aid More Struggling Borrowers About Author: Brian Honeacenter_img Subscribe Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Demand Propels Home Prices Upward 2 days ago Data Provider Black Knight to Acquire Top of Mind 2 days ago The Week Ahead: Nearing the Forbearance Exit 2 days ago Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Mortgage Defaults 2016-05-31 Brian Honea The Best Markets For Residential Property Investors 2 days ago May 31, 2016 3,689 Views in Daily Dose, Featured, News, Secondary Market Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days ago Share Save Servicers Navigate the Post-Pandemic World 2 days agolast_img read more

NY police, prosecutors under investigation for handling of Harvey Weinstein allegations

first_imgiStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK CITY) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has formally directed New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to investigate the way the NYPD’s Special Victims Unit and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office handled sexual assault allegations against disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein. The formal referral comes a month after Cuomo first called for a review at the request of Time’s Up, the movement created in part from the myriad accusations against Weinstein meant to counter sexual harassment or related retaliation in the workplace.“Sexual assault complaints must be pursued aggressively and to the fullest extent of the law,” Cuomo said in a letter to Schneiderman. “Yet increasing scrutiny of how society responds to this scourge has raised questions about the manner in which these cases are pursued.” The NYPD has said there is sufficient evidence to charge Weinstein with sexual assault. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has, to date, filed no charges but says its investigation continues.“We will cooperate fully with the AG’s inquiry, as we have said previously, said Danny Frost, the spokesman for Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance. “It is important to note that, as specified in the governor’s letter, the review will not interfere with any active, ongoing investigation of Mr. Weinstein.”Weinstein has denied all allegations of sexual assault. Cuomo’s referral pointed to “questions” raised about the working relationship between the police and the prosecutor’s office.“The NYPD and DA’s Office are fully committed partners in the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault,” Frost said. “We look ahead to further enhancing this strong partnership.”Cuomo’s formal referral is dated April 23. Schneiderman said he will soon appoint a special deputy to lead the inquiry.“We are committed to pursuing a comprehensive, fair and independent investigation,” a statement from Schneiderman’s office said.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Watching brief

first_img“Employees’ privacy needs more protection from Big Brother employers.”  This was the motion for an unprecedenteddebate between the Employment Lawyers’ Association and the Institute of Personneland Development recently.  The vote wassplit, perhaps unsurprisingly, with lawyers going with the motion and employersagainst.  (The lawyers won).  Here are the argumentsFor the motion: Robin Allen QC and Rory Murphy, joint generalsecretary of finance union Unifi. Against: Jose Pottinger, director of the US diesel enginemanufacturer Cummins and Dr Clive Morton, independent HR consultant. Robin Allen QC Parliament has failed to take a lead in the question of privacy at work. TheHuman Rights Act will come into effect on 2 October. It introduces intodomestic law article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which says,”Everyone shall have the right to respect for his private and family life,his home and his correspondence.” But it is not an absolute right; it permits interference by a publicauthority in the exercise of this right in certain well-defined circumstances.That seems sensible but our staff want to know if this means they have a rightto privacy and a remedy when it is breached. The short answer is that right now they do not. In that respect the Act isreally a tease. It imposes duties on the state and public authorities.Employees of public authorities will be able to enforce article 8 against theiremployers. Of course, employment tribunals are also public authorities and will beunder a duty under section 6 of the Act in the way they carry out their work torespect article 8. They may recognise the duty on them to respect the privatelife of employees who bring their cases before tribunals, but there will be noindependent course of action for breach of privacy that an employee of aprivate employer will be able to assert. So article 8 will have only anindirect impact on the private workplace. The striking conclusion is that employees’ privacy is the most importantpart of the work relationship that remains without any specific comprehensiveprotective legislation, whereas dismissals, payment of wages, health and safetyat work, whistleblowing, redundancy, trade union rights, sex and racediscrimination and, of course, Tupe are all expressly covered. Employees’ privacy does not even have a specific common law protection.Employer and employee are free to contract on any terms they like. So if thereis no express prohibition or limitation on the e-mails an employer can read orthe monitoring it can carry out, it is not obvious how such a restriction canbe read into a contract. After all, there may be good reasons why an employermight wish to see a specific e-mail or listen to a specific voicemail. What we need is a statutory code to steer us all through that conflictbetween an employer’s property interests and the individual’s dignity. Indrafting such provisions the employer’s property interests in the workplace arenot to be ignored for a moment, but it is equally important that neither shouldthe dignity of the individual be forgotten. This is both an employee’s rightfulexpectation of a fundamental human right and good business. The need fordignity at work is paramount. If we conclude that we are merely here as wage slaves crawling through therush hour to our technologically controlled workplace where each minute of ourlives can be counted as productive or non-productive, each conversationrecorded and assessed on the basis of its contribution to the bottom line, ourdignity is lost. Remember, if you take away your employees’ dignity, it willonly be a matter of time before some bigger fish in the corporate pond treatsyou in the same way. The best employers are already beginning to recognise that there has to beconsultation and agreement about what is on and off limits at work. Thefundamental right to privacy is so important, however, that the state cannotleave it to ad hoc decisions. The relationship between employer and employee isnot one of equality. Some employers will not see the need to respect theindividual and will be interested only in their own property rights. So here the rule of law is as important in the workplace as in any otherpart of society. Article 8 will not work without more. In my view Parliamentmust grasp the nettle and legislate a key code for protection of privacy. IfParliament does not grasp the nettle, the judges will. Rory MurphySurveillance is the antithesis of privacy and is widespread throughoutsociety. Closed circuit television is a part of everyday life in our towns andcity centres. There is no absolute right to privacy in this country.Consequently, as the technology becomes more available, it will be open to thestate and employers to use it with few limitations. Employers use surveillance in an overt way to monitor performance and deterwhat it deems to be unacceptable activities. As layers of management have beenremoved from most organisations, surveillance has enabled control to be pushedever further downwards to lower levels. This has added to the effect ofcreating division between team leaders and other employees. Some employersinclude trade union business in the category of unacceptable activity – onetried to discipline a Unifi member for contacting an official from theworkplace. Covert surveillance is used with the specific intention of catching staffout – entrapment. Where reasons are given for surveillance, employers do notthen ignore other information that comes to light. For example, LeedsMetropolitan University installed cameras to try to catch a drug dealeroperating in its grounds. It failed to catch anyone but did get on record acleaning supervisor making remarks about her line manager. She was disciplinedas a result. Employers would justify the use of surveillance on the grounds of deterringcriminal activity but this alone, in my view, cannot justify the extent towhich surveillance is used. A major supplier of surveillance equipment has more than 2,500 clients, ofwhich 95 per cent are employers. In 1998, more than 250,000 covert cameras weresold in the UK. There is also an unpublished survey of 103 heads of security,from big multinationals to small companies, which reveals that 63 per cent hadexperienced bugging in their organisations; 73 per cent could foresee asituation which would justify the use of bugging and 93 per cent said usingbugs for solving crime is legitimate. Although there is some legislation coming into force this year which willgive employees greater rights, it is not clear whether this will stop employersusing surveillance. The Data Protection Act gives employees the right to know what informationis held in their personal file, why that information is being held and who hasaccess to it. It also states that employees must give their consent forpersonal calls to be recorded and for e-mails to be accessed. Telecoms watchdogOftel has already issued a code of practice for employers which calls forseparate telephone lines to be made available to employees which are free frommonitoring. Little notice, to our knowledge, has been taken of this. The code of practice also states that where call monitoring exists, both thecaller and the agent should be informed that the call could be monitored. The Telecom Data Protection directive, due to come into force in October,will introduce a clause aimed at limiting an employer’s ability to record anemployee’s personal telephone conversations and will, we hope, apply to e-mailsas well. But the best protection for employees against intrusive surveillance remainsa strong unionised workplace. Unifi can use the new pieces of legislation to supportthe negotiation of collective agreements on surveillance in the workplace. Dr Clive Morton It would be almost impossible for legislation to address all the issues towhich surveillance gives rise; forms of surveillance which are justified andsensible in one kind of work may be oppressive and unwarranted in another.CCTV, for example, may be desired by some employees, such as train workers, asprotection against the risk of assault, yet detested perhaps by others.Basically what that gives us is a potential nightmare – or perhaps employmentfor employment lawyers. There is, I believe, a better solution. It has been suggested that ratherthan pinning hopes on new legislation – which no political party has muchenthusiasm to enact – or on incorporating the European Convention on HumanRights’ right to privacy, a better means of regulation is through an expandedscope of collective bargaining or workplace agreements backed by legalguarantees and incentives. So the solution should be: employer policies, openness, consultation andworkplace agreements. Of course there is a draft code of practice from the DataProtection Registrar on the way, which is actually about informing orconsulting over new technology or monitoring; why new methods are being introducedand how the results will be used; consulting trade unions, where they arerecognised; and limiting undeclared or covert surveillance to crime or seriousmisconduct. The key issue is not to damage trust. By having more legislation trust willbe damaged. Let us look at some recent cases which have been raised in Labour Researchin 1998. Some brewery workers were sacked for drinking beer at work and a bankemployee was sacked for gross misconduct for bringing the employer intodisrepute when a computer print-out showed that a customer on the telephone hadbeen repeatedly cut off. And there are concerns about mystery shoppers employedby banks or retailers to check on customer service. What is this issue? Is it perhaps that white-collar staff are suddenlycoming under scrutiny in the way their blue-collar colleagues always have been?Perhaps some people are realising that performance has to be achieved. My summary is simple: there is already enough legislation and protection; itis not practical to extend. The law – and even all lawyers must agree – is ablunt instrument; the best solutions are there through good employer policiesand perhaps a draft code of practice. The key issue is one of trust andlight-touch monitoring. Jose PottingerMy instinct is to support steps which will inhibit the Big Brother factor.But this is an emotional rather than a rational reaction. Properly managed,surveillance is at best a replication of a form of supervision and, in moreacute circumstances, a way of protecting both employee and organisationalinterests. Contrary to the myth of “trigger-happy” employers who set out tospy on their workforce, they often have other functions in mind, for example controllingwork flow where the capacity to monitor individuals’ work is simply aby-product of the system. Systems capable of surveillance include expert decision, support tools,computerised databases and reporting systems, e-mail monitoring, swipe card accesscontrol and monitoring systems. In some cases, managers make no use of thecapacity to use such systems to monitor employees’ behaviour. In the absence of a specific problem, it is unlikely that employers willspend time and resources on monitoring staff simply because they have thecapability to do so. Why would they seek to jeopardise rather than nurture thatvery critical and crucial relationship? Sometimes these types of technologies, appropriately deployed within theworkforce and communicated in a suitable way, can be helpful to the businessand the employees. Many employers, for example in call centres, routinely monitor incomingtelephone calls. The reason is they want to keep a check on the quality ofservice being offered to customers. The whole purpose of setting up callcentres is, in many instances, to ensure high levels of customer service whileminimising costs. There is nothing reprehensible about that. Monitoring calls can also of course be a useful way to train employees andprotect them against abusive calls – this is a two-way street. Take also themonitoring of employees’ e-mail and use of the Internet. Some employees aremisled by the speed and ease of access of e-mail communication and regard it asinformal, anonymous and transient. This is not so. Offences to which employees’use of e-mail can give rise include sexual harassment and defamation. When we are trying to create a working environment where there is nodetriment to particular groups of people then, as employers, we have aresponsibility for the actions of our employees and we must have methods whichenable us to control unacceptable activity. Employers do not monitor employees in the workplace because they want togain some kind of advantage; they are generally doing no more than managershave to if they are to take responsibility for the service they are offeringand protect the interests of customers and employees. It is sometimes assumed that employees resent being monitored and see it asan intrusion of their privacy. There is some but not a lot of evidence tosupport this view. The most detailed and objective study of which I am aware isbeing undertaken by researchers at the University of Plymouth as part of theVirtual Society Research Programme funded by the Economic and Social ResearchCouncil. The study has found that privacy, or a decrease in privacy in relationto their work, does not seem to be an issue for employees. Employers monitor not just to improve work output but to understand some ofthe root-cause issues that impact on productivity in the workplace. If we aregoing to create high performance cultures then we need not to pry intoemployees’ personal lives but to have some empathy for the experiences thatthey may be going through outside work. Privacy is not a concept that is easy to interpret or give practicalexpression to in many workplaces. When we are talking about monitoring, we arenot talking about employers passing on sensitive information about employees topeople outside the organisation, we are talking about the way in which work ismanaged. Companies in the information society cannot inspect quality as in aphysical product – they have to maintain standards of service by other means. If there is an issue here it is not about the application of newtechnologies but about how managers use it. If managers view performance dataobtained by electronic means to demand unrealistic performance standards orsupport soul-destroying and repetitive work, then employees will vote withtheir feet and leave. This is not good management and I do not seek to defendit. Watching briefOn 1 Jun 2000 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

News story: Surveillance camera system buyers’ toolkit launched

first_img The launch of the toolkit is a significant milestone in the life of the National Surveillance Camera Strategy. I’m very grateful to the British Security Industry Association and everyone who has been involved in developing the toolkit. This guidance will be extremely useful for any organisation thinking about installing a surveillance camera system to really consider if surveillance cameras are needed and if they are giving them the knowledge they need to buy, install and maintain an effective system. Tony Porter, the Surveillance Camera Commissioner, has launched a buyers’ toolkit – a key deliverable of the National Surveillance Camera Strategy for England and Wales.The toolkit is an easy-to-follow guide for non-experts who are thinking about buying a surveillance camera system and want to ensure they buy an effective system that does what they want it to do.It’s aimed at small and medium sized enterprises (up to 250 staff) and micro-businesses (up to 9 staff) but the toolkit is valuable for any organisation considering using surveillance cameras.Following the guidance in the toolkit will help people make informed decisions about whether surveillance can be justified as a solution to their problems. If surveillance cameras are necessary, then the toolkit is full of advice and tips on how to get the best out of your prospective suppliers.Tony Porter said:last_img read more

M&S launches Colin the Caterpillar cupcakes

first_imgSource: M&SM&S has launched birthday favourite Colin the Caterpillar in cupcake form.The latest twist on the original roll cake features the signature chocolate sponge topped with chocolate buttercream and sprinkles alongside the familiar white chocolate face. The cupcakes are priced at £5 for a pack of six.Sister product Connie the Caterpillar has also been given a makeover with the launch of a special Mother’s Day edition. The female version of the popular chocolate roll cake has been decorated with flowers and ‘trendy pink trainers’ (rsp £10).The product joins a host of NPD launched especially for Mother’s Day 2021.Iconic ColinM&S’s Colin the Caterpillar first went on sale over 30 years ago as a result of a collaboration between the retail chain and Park Cakes, which continues to produce the cake today.“Back in 1989 our product developers and Park decided to come with a brand new concept,” said Natalie Tate, M&S baker product developer. Source: M&SThe original Colin the Caterpillar cake from 1990“Back in the ’80s out cake collection was made up of round cakes, the kind that were typically seen at children’s birthday parties, topped with icing and character faces. M&S and Park wanted to create something different, that could be easily portioned and would have wide appeal,” Tate added.While the recipe has changed little, the design has been adjusted slightly.“When he launched, he had no feet and a fondant face,” Tate said. ”Over the years Colin has got six white chocolate boots and a white chocolate face.”Connie the Caterpillar was launched in 2016 and Colin’s form has been adapted for special versions aimed at different occasions such as wedding cake range launched in 2017, a 25th anniversary cake released in 2015 and Count Colin the Caterpillar, a ‘creepy’ version introduced for Halloween in 2018.last_img read more