A CEO Shows His Heart, Avoids Lay-offs

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore When Paul Levy needed to decide who to lay-off, he walked through his hospital corridors and saw that no one deserved it. When he reported his feelings to the auditorium filled with staff, he received thunderous, sustained applause. The workers at Beth Israel Medical Center don’t want any of the 8,000 staff members to get laid off — and are willing to give up pay and benefits to make sure no one does.  (Read the inspiring story in the Boston Globe) Thanks to cc, who also submitted this story!  Image courtesy of Sun Star  AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMorelast_img read more

Initial Review: Volagi Liscio Disc Brake Road Bike

first_imgThe Liscio is available in several trims and a frameset (frame, fork, wheels, post) but all use the same basic frame. It’s a monocoque carbon frame with nano-carbon particles in the resin and smooth wall construction. All Liscio frames are a blend of 30t and 24t carbon, even though their website initially stated that only the Dura Ace model had the 30t. They decided that making one frame would be less expensive than two different models, and decided that all bikes would benefit from the higher end carbon.Our test bike is the 57cm Ultegra build with alloy FSA stem and handlebar, Carbon FSA SL-K compact crankset and Volagi’s own VE7 Ignite EL carbon-rimmed wheels. Actual weight w/o pedals: 17lbs 5oz. MSRP for this model is $3,595.00.There’s no denying the curvy good looks.Maybe it’s me, but the Liscio (which means ‘smooth’ in Italian) has a the visual flair of the boot-shaped country. The lines are nice accentuated by the paint scheme. On a group ride, it received plenty of compliments.The fork is their own design. It’s tapered 1-1/8″ to 1-3/8″ with aero shaped legs. Both it and the seatstay bridge have holes for mounting traditional brakes. The top tube has mounting holes for cable stops should you regress to calipers. The headtube is tall, putting the rider in a more upright position. The handlebars have a very shallow drop, too, keeping the rider more comfortable.The brakes both use internal cable runs with mechanical Avid calipers. Front rotor is 160mm, rear is 140mm. Hub spacing is 130mm on the rear. Internally mounted rear brakes keep a very clean aesthetic. Near both are mounts for pannier racks, which is a nice touch that adds versatility to match the frame’s long distance design. In fact, cofounders Robert Choi and Barley Forsman are avid distance cyclists and made the bike to fit their riding style.Braking performance was solid, on par with quality calipers, but somehow felt better on long descents.The top tube’s gentle arc continues through the ovalized “Longbow Flex” seatstays, but part of it shoots straight back to reinforce the top of the seat tube. The stays don’t touch the seat tube at all, providing “5.5mm/kN” of flex. Translation: It’s damn comfortable over the rough stuff.The seat tube maintains the seatpost’s aero shape most of the way down, rounding off around the front derailleur mount.The downtube is aero shaped, too. Brake line runs internally, shift cables externally with a criss cross halfway down.The BB30 bottom bracket area is fairly stout. The downtube makes full use of the width and the chainstays are thick and tall as they exit. The result is a pedaling platform that’s stiff enough for most riders, particularly those that like to ride long distance. Sprinters might want a bit more, but this bike’s not really targeted at them.Ignore the decal, these are the “SL” version of their E7 Ignite wheels. The UD Hi-Mod carbon fiber rims were designed specifically for disc brake use, meaning there’s no braking surface required. Volagi made the most of it with the rim profile, and they made it wide: 25mm outer width and 30mm depth. This let them mate it with a 25C Continental Ultra Race tire.HOW’S IT RIDE?With all the talk about long distance, endurance riding you’d be forgiven for thinking this is a bike that’ll struggle on those fast paced group rides. You’d be wrong…I managed to hang onto one for as long as my legs would allow. It’ll put the power where you want it, and some initial creaking when standing to hammer was fixed by tightening the crankset. Under loads of standing and stomping there’s a bit of chain rub on the front derailleur cage, but not obscenely more than with racier bikes. I took it through some tight downhill corners and parking lot “emergency” turns to test it out, and the Liscio went where it was pointed with nary a complaint.That stuff’s just for kicks and grins, though.Under real world conditions – just riding for fun or with a few friends – the Volagi has really shone. It gobbles up rough roads, pavement cracks and bridge transitions like they’ve been milled smooth. While the fork doesn’t claim to have any specific damping characteristics, between it and the wide rim and tire, I’m actually OK with the alloy FSA bar. Normally alloy bars vibrate my hands to pieces, but I haven’t had any issues thus far.On a group ride I hit 48+ mph on a downhill and ran out of gearing. The Liscio was ultra stable. As in, I probably could have taken my hands off the bar and eaten a gel.My best ride on it so far has been the roads around Mt. Rushmore. The climbs could kill you, but the descents took me to heaven. Seriously – Best. Road descents. Ever. I’ll post video when I get back to civilization. The roads were mostly smooth, but a couple of dips, bumps or bridge transitions could have shooken a twitchier bike off course. Not the Liscio. And on rougher pavement, it’s perfectly content to soak up the crud while you remain comfortably seated and pedaling along. It’s not that you feel disconnected – far from it – just free from harsh bumps or road vibes. The bike shone while descending high speed corners. It tracked confidently, smoothly and predictably. Any mishaps would have been user error.So far, I’m pretty enthralled with it. I am on the fence as to whether I could use the larger (60) size – I’m 6’2″ – but the bike does have a long-ish top tube, and a jump from 57 to 60 is pretty big. Look for a longer term review in a few months.ANY ISSUES?Aside from the fixed BB creaking, the stock Volagi saddle didn’t meet with my approval. I’ve swapped it for the new Bontrager Team Issue road saddle and am much happier. I also had to tighten the seatpost clamp slightly more than recommended to keep it from creaking or slipping, but only at Choi’s suggestion. He said they’ve changed the mold slightly to improve the interface and that it shouldn’t be an issue anymore. (we got a really, really early production bike in for testing)CHRIS’ COMMENTSEditor’s note: We had another local rider spend a week on the Volagi. Separately, he’d contacted Volagi about demoing a bike and they put us in touch. Here’s his unedited review:The Volagi Liscio was designed with one thing in mind: riding long distances comfortably. To ride long distances means the rider must be able to ride safely under changing road conditions and to be able to stay in the saddle for hours without undue discomfort. To this end, a couple of major innovations were incorporated into the design: disk brakes for all-weather stopping power, and a light, aerodynamic fatigue-reducing full-carbon frame. I recently rode the Volagi on several short and long group and solo rides, and came away with a very favorable impression.Disk brakes on a road bike are long overdue. They stay free of road gunk, maintain power in wet conditions, and eliminate the risk of overheated rims producing blowouts. The lack of rim heating from heavy brake usage allows Volagi to achieve the current holy grail of cycling: carbon clincher rims. Carbon heats up and can delaminate when regular caliper brakes are used, but there is no risk of that with disk brakes, so you can enjoy the weight and performance characteristics of carbon wheels without fear of ruining them on long descents. I found the Avid BB-7 mechanical brakes to be very well modulated, with stopping power roughly equal to that of calipers. The weight difference is negligible when compared to the advantages of carbon rims and all-weather braking confidence.The frame design is among the first things you notice when you first see the bicycle. Volagi has split the seat stays and brought them past the seat tube to join the top tube in front of the seat cluster, effectively taking bumps and vibration from the rear wheel and dissipating it into the frame, rather than into the rider’s seat. The test bike I rode was 57cm, smaller than the 59 or 60 I usually ride, so I had to extend the seat post out to near its maximum in order to get my legs properly angled. The seat tube angle combined with the extended length gave the bike a very springy, almost boingy feel when going over rolling bumps. The seat stays are also bowed convexly, meaning that the top tube is angled down to meet it, further lowering the seat cluster (and lengthening the seat post above it). This also yields a step-over that makes the bike easy to mount. The bike eats up rough roads, encouraging the rider to hold his line and roll over the bumps. The bike retains good road feel while minimizing deleterious vibration effects, and feels quite stiff when you need to rise up out of the saddle and stomp. I felt no wobbles or shimmies on descents.One of the most important features is that the bike looks fabulous. Everybody I rode with commented favorably on its appearance, which features shiny cherry-red paint offset by exposed black carbon fibers, with neat white blazes inside the fork and chain stays. The pleasing curves and artful color combinations look sharp without being overly flashy. Surprisingly, any discomfort I felt from the bike being too small faded with each ride, to the point where I could ride 60 miles and still want more. I heartily commend this well-thought-out bicycle! Since seeing the production versions ready Sea Otter, we’ve been awaiting our test bike from Volagi (Voe-LAH-Jee). Since hitting our office, two different riders have put a bit over 150 miles on the Ultegra-equipped Liscio, most recently on Highway 16a near Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.The Volagi Liscio is probably best known for being one of the first disc-brake specific road bikes, but there’s a lot more to it than that. It’s a really great bike! Designed for long ride comfort, its frame uses long seatstays that split around the seat tube and connect further up in the top tube, providing a good bit of vertical compliance. Climbing through the Black Hills and descending the winding, corkscrewing, s-curving downhill treat toward the monument, the Liscio proved all that cush doesn’t come at the expense of performance.The Volagi Liscio’s got a lot going for it. Make the jump for frame details and more first impressions…last_img read more

Clerks encountering e-filing storage problems

first_imgClerks encountering e-filing storage problems Clerks encountering e-filing storage problems When you file a document through the Florida court system’s statewide electronic filing portal, how are you preparing it?Are you converting a Word or WordPerfect document with an electronic signature to a PDF and then filing?Or are you printing out a copy, signing it, and then scanning the document in preparation for filing through the portal?According to information presented to the Florida Courts E-Filing Authority, many, if not most, lawyers are doing the latter.The result is causing electronic storage problems for clerks who receive the filings.Authority member Don Barbee, Hernando County clerk, said his office had already been converting paper files to electronic ones by scanning for five years before e-filing started.But since e-filing became mandatory in April, his computer memory requirements have doubled from the previous five years.Barbee attributed it to the scanning habits of filing attorneys.At the authority’s February meeting, Melvin Cox, director of information technology for the portal, said an analysis of filed documents supports Barbee’s contention.“Basically, in the paper [filing] world, clerks used commercial grade scanners and they had total control over the scanning process so there was uniformity in how things were scanned and over the [scanning] standards,” he said.Now it’s up to each law office whether to use an electronic signature and directly file a document or to print out the document, sign it, and then scan and file the scanned documents.“A large majority of the [e-filed] PDFs were not searchable when they came into the portal, which tells us they were scanned using a low-quality scanner,” Cox said.He noted that scanners may also use a higher resolution than needed, which results in a larger digital document. (Portal standards call for 300 dpi for scanned documents.)“The result is we’re getting different types of documents and that increases the [clerks’] storage costs,” Cox said.Portal staff members are looking at solutions, he said, but they are somewhat restricted because they don’t want to do anything that discourages electronic filings or causes documents to be rejected.One thing that could help, Cox said, is educating lawyers about using electronic signatures, which are allowed by court procedural rules and which, in turn, could reduce the need for scanning.The authority offers training manuals at its website, including help with electronic filing and using electronic signatures.Information can be found at www.myflcourtaccess.com. Look for training manuals under the “Help” button on the top right of the page. Rules of Judicial Administration 2.515(a) and (b) gives information about electronic signatures.center_img March 1, 2014 Regular Newslast_img read more

Gophers athletics will outsource ticket sales

first_img“In today’s economy and with pressures from increasingly better entertainment across the board, it’s more challenging for schools to sell tickets,” Giangola said.IMG College — a company that provides similar services as The Aspire Group — jumped into the outsource-ticketing business as recently as 15 months ago, Giangola said.Since expanding on its marketing and multimedia rights business, IMG has provided ticketing services for Duke University, Penn State and Tennessee University, among others.Athletics departments like Minnesota’s outsource many things, from multimedia rights like advertising and sponsorship to radio broadcasts for various sports.Minnesota hired Learfield Communications in the early 2000s to take over corporate sponsorship, signage and radio broadcasting for Gophers athletics. IMG College announced its partnership with Learfield in March to provide a more comprehensive ticketing solution, Giangola said.“In the past, we did it all in-house,” Joel Maturi, Minnesota’s athletics director since 2002, told the Minnesota Daily in December. “But none of us were experts, so Learfield has taken over and been one of the real positive partnerships that we’ve established.”But with ticket sales stagnating in recent years, Minnesota sought to make the change in ticketing that many other athletics departments across the NCAA’s Division I have already made.“It gives you a lot more flexibility,” LaFrenz said about partnering with The Aspire Group. “More so than the flexibility is the expertise. We could do it, but telemarketing is a pretty unique skill set, and the group we hired are experts in it. For us, it’s a way to get in and test how this works without hiring 12 full-time employees.”Gophers athletics will implement preferred seating — a system that reseats all nonstudent fans and forces them to pay an additional donation — in men’s basketball and men’s hockey next season. LaFrenz said The Aspire Group could help with that.“We’ll evaluate [our ticket sales] at the end to see if there’s any attrition,” LaFrenz said. “If there are any holes in the end, [The Aspire Group] will help work to fill those.” Gophers athletics will outsource ticket salesMinnesota’s athletics department announced Monday a partnership with The Aspire Group to sell tickets by calling or contacting potential customers. Andrew KrammerApril 17, 2012Jump to CommentsShare on FacebookShare on TwitterShare via EmailPrintThe University of Minnesota’s athletics department announced Monday it has hired a group to outsource its ticket sales. Starting this summer, The Aspire Group will proactively sell season or group tickets to Gophers athletics events by calling or contacting potential customers.It’s a method traditionally employed by professional sports teams, but Gophers athletics needed additional help to sell tickets, associate athletics director Jason LaFrenz said.“We need to put more butts in seats,” he said.Gophers athletics will pay the Atlanta-based sales group 10 percent of the ticket revenue it helps generate — the standard arrangement for The Aspire Group’s clients, LaFrenz said.Starting in June, 12 sales associates and one manager will work from the University’s Minneapolis campus to sell tickets.Since 2010, at least 20 of the 120 programs in the NCAA’s top-tier Football Bowl Subdivision have tried their hand at proactive sales, either on their own or by hiring a third-party company, USA Today reported in August.The Aspire Group has worked with athletics departments at the University of Miami (Fla.), Rutgers University and Texas Tech as well as professional sports teams like the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Minnesota Wild.“Aspire is thrilled to be joining forces with Minnesota Athletics and to connect and communicate with Gopher fans,” Bill Fagan, general manager of fan relationship management at The Aspire Group, said in a release. “Our main focus is building the fan base and providing a great fan experience when communicating about future athletic events.”Even as college sports grow in popularity, schools look to hire outside partners that help sell tickets and professionalize aspects of sales, said Andrew Giangola, vice president of strategic communications at IMG College.last_img read more

Use Your Incentives Wisely

first_imgMark StappArizona Advisory Board Member, Urban Land Institute ; Executive Director, Masters of Real Estate Development; Fred E. Taylor Professor of Real Estate, W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State UniversityThe use of incentives has become a routine issue in economic and real estate development and their use to attract desired projects such as Tesla or Apple is frequently questioned. Often, people ask if officials are simply helping private parties make bigger profits at the expense of the general public. This is a legitimate question.Government has several roles in controlling behavior of market participants – one is to restrict or control by regulation and another is to incentivize. Markets prefer incentives. Incentives are many things, but they need to be used to implement public policy and not just to secure development of disparate projects. They should be tied to where we want to go and what we want to be as a community. This implies a need for a vision or a brand. It’s too broad to say, without a brand, we want a skilled workforce, quality transportation infrastructure, quality places to live, a wide range of housing, a favorable business climate, quality education and other considerations. What are the critical economic drivers that will make us a player in a dynamic global economy? Answering that question helps us create a brand and that is how we should define incentives and how to apply them. This will also help create a trust earned when public officials are clear about the purpose of, and approach to, incentives — and are transparent in their granting and reporting of results that are used to achieve brand promise.It is critical to monitor the effectiveness of an incentive program and to do this transparently. This is about outcomes. One of those outcomes is impact on the area, neighborhood and overall community. Not just answering the question “did the project work?” but did it have the desired impact?Remember it is not City/Town Councils, Planning and Zoning Commissions or neighborhood groups that build communities – it’s private developers. Incentives are an important part of shaping growth but they need to be looked at in the context of community investment and creating a desired place and focusing the development community to help deliver a brand promise.last_img read more

Researchers help map future of precision medicine in Parkinson’s disease

first_imgShare on Facebook Share Pinterest Email LinkedIn Share on Twitter Two landmark publications with one or more co-authors from the University of Cincinnati Gardner Neuroscience Institute outline a transformative approach to defining, studying and treating Parkinson’s disease. Rather than approaching Parkinson’s disease as a single entity, the international cadre of researchers advocates targeting therapies to distinct “nodes or clusters” of patients based on specific symptoms or molecular features of their disease.Alberto Espay, MD, associate professor in the Department of Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine at the UC College of Medicine and director of the James J. and Joan A. Gardner Family Center for Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders, is lead author of the publications, which recently appeared online in the journals Nature Reviews Neurology and Movement Disorders.“The time has come to ask what we should be doing differently,” Espay says. “Medical science has made a global investment of $23 billion in therapies with the promise to slow down the progression of Parkinson’s disease, and the 17 completed phase III clinical trials have yielded little more than disappointment. We need to ask whether the growing number of failed trials might be explained by our single-target and single-disease approach to drug development.”Espay and his colleagues theorize that Parkinson’s is not one disease but rather several diseases when considered from genetic and molecular perspectives. They acknowledge that viewing Parkinson’s as a single disorder that predominantly involves dopamine-neuron degeneration has been useful in the development of treatments for symptoms, such as tremor and unstable walking, that touch the vast majority of patients. At the same time, this view has yet to deliver a therapy that is effective in slowing, modifying or curing Parkinson’s. One important reason, Espay says, could be that promising molecular therapies have been tested in large clinical trials of people who share the diagnosis of Parkinson’s, but not to the specific disease subtype most likely to benefit.The researchers advocate a “precision medicine” approach that is rooted in systems biology, an inter-disciplinary study that focuses on the complex interactions of biological systems.“Looking at the disease from a systems biology perspective allows us to recognize that our patients can be divided into subtypes based on genetic, biological and molecular abnormalities,” Espay says. “As a result, they will respond differently to different therapies.”Neurologists have long observed the many faces of Parkinson’s in their patients. Some progress rapidly in their disease, some slowly. Some develop dementia relatively early, while others do not.Tests have also revealed that patients develop deposits of alpha-synuclein, a protein, to varying degrees in the brain, colon, heart, skin, and olfactory bulb. But while these deposits have been thought to be common denominators in most individuals with Parkinson’s, they may represent byproducts of a range of biological abnormalities and may not be the best targets of therapy. “Chasing this tail could prove an elusive target,” Espay says.Toward an Ideal Set of BiomarkersEspay and his colleagues say the field must work to develop an ideal set of biomarkers. Their sobering conclusion comes after an investment of $45 million by the Michael J. Fox Foundation in the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI). Espay, the site leader for Cincinnati’s portion of the 33-site study, had hoped the effort would help researchers discover biomarkers that would pinpoint underlying disease processes.The ideal approach, Espay and his co-authors write, would start with “an assessment of biological processes” in large populations of aging individuals. The assessments would capture brain scans, genetic profiles and other biological measurements of healthy and unhealthy individuals over time. Abnormal signals within each of these biological measurements would then be traced to the group of people from which they emerge. In so doing, the field would develop “unbiased biomarkers” that drive the creation of specific disease subtypes.“This process is the reverse of what we have today, with biomarkers being validated by anchoring them to the patient’s observable clinical features, or phenotypes,” Espay says.Espay has likened the situation to an earlier period in oncology, when researchers sought “the cure for cancer.” Over a period of decades, cancer researchers evolved away from that blanket focus to an understanding of cancer’s profound complexity. They learned to assess a cancer’s molecular profile and to target its unique mutation or vulnerability. In so doing they ushered in the age of precision medicine – the matching of drugs to disease subtypes.“The neurologist of the future would look very much like the oncologist of the present,” Espay says. “The diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease will be complete only when a biomarker profiling is capable of identifying the molecular subtypes of disease and suggest a disease-modifying treatment to apply.”Co-authors of the Nature Reviews publication are Patrik Brundin, MD, PhD, of the Van Andel Research Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Anthony Lang, MD, of the University of Toronto. Co-authors of the Movement Disorders article include Aristide Merola, MD, PhD, assistant professor of neurology and a member of the UC Gardner Center, and Daniel Woo, MD, professor of neurology and a member of the UC Comprehensive Stroke Center.Espay and co-investigator Hilary Perez, PhD, clinical instructor and research coordinator at the Gardner Center, will lead UC’s future efforts in biomarker development in collaboration with the Parkinson Study Group, the largest not-for-profit scientific network of Parkinson centers in North America.last_img read more

Spotty data suggest slow start to US flu season

first_imgThe United States is seeing little sign of rising flu indicators, though some areas are reporting sporadic activity, according to health groups that are working this week to fill gaps in national flu surveillance because of the government shutdown slated to end today.At this point in the flu season, public health workers are looking over their shoulders to see if the disease is bearing down on their cities and states, as they launch their flu immunization campaigns and ready their efforts to respond to outbreaks.Flu activity is already unpredictable from year to year, but it can also vary dramatically between regions within a single flu season—not only in intensity, but also in the strains that are circulating. States do their own monitoring and testing, but local and state health officials depend on federal weekly flu surveillance reports as a central repository for the most recent information on flu hot spots and to learn if there are notable changes in disease severity.Last week Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials said that during the shutdown, respiratory patient specimens that would normally be sent to the CDC for testing would be diverted to three state public health laboratories, in Utah, California, and Wisconsin.Charla Haley, a public information specialist with the Utah Department of Health, said today that the Utah lab has seen no influx of samples suggesting an increase in flu activity. “We’re not seeing anything out of the ordinary for this time of year,” she told CIDRAP News.No information was available at this writing from the state labs in California and Wisconsin concerning their volume of samples for testing.With flu surveillance activities at the CDC shuttered by the lapse in federal funding, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) this week conducted a scan of state influenza Web sites to provide its members with some situational awareness to share with states.Paul Jarris, MD, MBA, ASTHO’s executive director, told CIDRAP News that there are low numbers of lab-confirmed flu illnesses being reported across the country. “States are reporting ‘no’ to ‘sporadic’ activity as of October 15th,” he said, adding that the group has asked states to share any additional information they have so that ASTHO can fine-tune its information. The organization is also compiling news reports describing local flu activity to share with its members.”We cannot begin to replace or replicate the depth of surveillance and analysis that CDC provides and remain hopeful that they will return soon to provide this critical information,” he said.Claire Hannan, MPH, executive director of the Association of Immunization Managers (AIM) said the group has also queried its members about flu activity in their areas in an effort to gauge current flu activity. So far there’s not a lot of activity, she said. AIM compiled the results of its queries and sent a report to its members today.Responses indicate that Tennessee isn’t seeing any signs of notable flu activity, and Rhode Island saw no flu activity for the previous week, which a state official there said was consistent for the same time last year.Kentucky and West Virginia health officials told AIM that those states have no confirmed flu cases so far this year. Illinois reported no activity as of last week.An official from the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) pointed to its surveillance report for the week ending Sep 27, which showed sporadic activity, with four confirmed cases reported from two counties. Flulike activity at sentinel schools showed a slight decrease from the previous week.New Hampshire officials told AIM that its status for the week ending Oct 12 will be “no activity,” with no lab-confirmed flu and no increase in acute respiratory illness.A health official from Louisiana told AIM that for the week ending Oct 5, which marks the first report for the 2013-14 season, the state is reporting sporadic activity.FluTrackers, an international infectious disease message board that has been operating since 2006, has about 30 regular volunteer contributors who spend part of their time routinely monitoring flu activity in all 50 states, plus US territories.Sharon Sanders, FluTrackers editor-in-chief, told CIDRAP News that Web traffic to the group’s site has been running a little above average for this time of year. She said interest in novel coronavirus and H7N9 is driving some of the spike in activity, but interest about flu in the United States is also higher than normal.Sanders said FluTrackers analysts, who sift through state health department reports and news stories, are in a good position to offer an assessment of current US flu activity. “Both Texas and Florida are starting to trend up for influenza in weeks 39 and 40, respectively,” she said, adding that volunteers are also following up on flu statuses reported by California and Florida.She noted that the government shutdown has also affected some of the group’s state coverage; the team usually uses information from CDC’s FluView and Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) to form the baseline of its US coverage.Other groups have also stepped forward to help fill some of the flu surveillance void. A private company called athenaResearch, a unit of a firm that provides electronic health records, is posting its own weekly flu reports based on insurance claims filed by about 15,000 primary care providers in 49 states. It uses cloud-based software to monitor trends in the practices.For the week ending Oct 13, the company said in a blog post today that it sees no signs of a flu outbreak and that the number of patients getting vaccinated continues to increase. The current report shows that 4.9 in 10,000 patients were diagnosed with flu by primary care providers, a very slight increase from 4.8 per 10,000 reported the previous week.Direct Relief, a nonprofit charitable group that distributes prescription medications to all 50 states, on Oct 12 issued a report that it produced on current flu patterns, based on information from open-source tools such as Google Flu Trends and information from nonprofit community health centers and clinics.The report says flu activity is slightly lower than at the same point last year, but with risks higher in Southern states from New Mexico to Arkansas and Louisiana, with Nevada also showing higher levels of activity compared with this time last year.Direct Relief also issued a list of 10 cities that may be at higher risk, considering current flu activity and populations of younger and older people that might be at higher risk of flu complications.  The first five metropolitan areas on the list are Dallas-Ft Worth, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Tulsa, and Albuquerque.Looking north of the US border, Canada saw flu levels remain at interseasonal levels for the week ending Oct 5, according to an Oct 11 update from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). Though doctor’s visits for flulike illness have increased over the past 3 weeks, few flu viruses have been detected, according to the report.South of the border, Mexico has reported a recent rise in respiratory virus activity, according to an Oct 9 update from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). Of 240 samples testing during epidemiologic week 38, 10.4% were positive for influenza. About 58% of those were H3N2, and 29% were the 2009 H1N1 virus.Meanwhile, the Oct 14 flu surveillance update from the World Health Organization (WHO) offered few clues about flu activity in the United States, aside from what the CDC had already reported before the government shutdown.Gregory Hartl, a spokesman for the WHO, said member states are required to report unusual events or novel influenza viruses to the WHO under International Health Regulations, but there is no obligation to report seasonal flu activity.News editor Robert Roos contributed to this story.See also:ADHS flu activity reportOct 12 Direct Relief press releaseOct 16 AthenaHealth blog postOct 11 PHAC weekly flu reportOct 9 PAHO flu surveillance updateFluTrackers US seasonal flu forumOct 11 CIDRAP News story “Suspension of CDC flu tracking raises concern”last_img read more

Ride Control LLC Names Two New VPs

first_imgTROY, Mich. – Ride Control LLC has announced the appointment of Michael “Mike” Lipski to vice president, sales and marketing.AdvertisementClick Here to Read MoreAdvertisement Lipski joined the company in 2008 as director, aftermarket sales. In his new capacity he will be responsible for aftermarket and original equipment sales, as well as business strategy and marketing for Ride Control LLC in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. “Since Mike joined our team, he has led many actions to help us realign customer channels, attract new customers and improve customer relations,” said Lisa Bahash, president, Ride Control, LLC. “We look forward to his leadership and focus as we move forward to achieve new sales targets, execute business strategies and drive our marketing to the next level in this new role.” Lipski brings a wealth of experience to his new role, including two years as director of sales for D&M Holdings, a supplier of branded and unbranded OEM audio systems, two years as the OEM and aftermarket recreational sales and new business development manager for River Park, and 11 years with Ford Motor Co. with a broad range of experience focused on aftermarket electronics including sales, product development, product management and special projects. Lipski holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Mich. The company also announced that James “Jim” Neelley has been appointed vice president, finance, assuming responsibility for all the company’s financial and accounting functions.Advertisement In this position, Neelley supervises the management of all financial transactions related to Ride Control LLC aftermarket and OE businesses for the U.S., Mexico and Canada, as well as forecasting and budgeting future results.   Neelley brings more than 25 years experience to his new role having joined the company in 1982. Most recently, he was director, finance where he guided the company through its recent acquisition and restructuring. “Jim’s integrity and dedication are critical to the company’s success, and we know that he will continue to deliver the highest standards of excellence in his a new role,” said Bahash. ”His business knowledge and financial expertise will be key to the company’s success moving forward.” Neelley holds a bachelor of science degree in accounting and business management from Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn.last_img read more

What’s Out There Montauk

first_imgWhats out there Montauk“What’s Out There Montauk” is a new art photography book that celebrates creativity and women’s bodies. The project was created by Kristen Walles and includes photography by Audrey Amelie Rudolf and Grant Monahan.“I’ve been working on this project for about five years,” said Walles. “We went around town to local bars and restaurants as well as used the beautiful scenery Montauk has to offer and shot topless women with giant mascot heads on.”The limited-edition coffee table book, printed by Hatteras Printing, retails for $98 and is now available for pre-order. The photos place women everywhere in Montauk, including The Surf Lodge, the Montauk Lighthouse, and The Dock.“There are body types of all shapes and sizes and we wanted to find a way to celebrate not only the community of Montauk but also celebrate and embrace our bodies that were given to us and have fun while doing it,” Walles continued. “There is something special about hiding your identity, and allowing the girls to do something that they otherwise might not feel comfortable doing, while also being a fun way to spotlight many places people would not expect to see topless women — or the mascot heads.” A launch party will be held at Georges Lighthouse Café on Saturday, June 22, from 5 to 10 PM. To RSVP for the launch or pre-order the book visit www.whatsoutthere.co. For more, follow on Instagram @whatsout_there.jessica@indyeastend.com Sharelast_img read more

LLPs – an acquired taste

first_imgAre LLPs going strong or not? Is it now firmly established that they are a ‘good thing’? The main reasons for not converting have not changed. There are doubts in the minds of partners in some law firms that public exposure to their accounts creates a number of problems which have nothing to do with accounting treatments. Equally, the advantages so often expressed for LLP status, for example in respect of tendering and partners’ liability, send out a commercial message about being ‘up to date’, quite apart from the accounting advantages of conversion. Other issues which seem to occupy the minds partners include: Statistics confirm only a gradual move toward LLP status. Why hasn’t the vehicle been seized more enthusiastically? What is it that makes firms take the plunge? Surely it can’t be lethargy holding people back, can it? Any insight into readers’ experiences would be most welcome. Clients (and the firm’s competitors) may not have realised how small the firm is and will therefore take their business elsewhere; The bank may ask for a debenture as security to replace personal liability as a partner, therefore making the transfer pointless.last_img read more