Nature: Red head is feather in birds cap – The Columbus Dispatch

A bird that serves as the catalyst to pique someones interest in the feathered world is termed a spark bird. The red-headed woodpecker was the spark that launched Alexander Wilsons career. Wilson was a contemporary of John James Audubon, and has been overshadowed by the much better known frontiersman.

Although Audubons bird paintings clearly outshine those of Wilson, the ambitious Scotsman was probably the better ornithologist. His legacy is commemorated by several honorifics such as Wilsons plover, Wilsons storm-petrel and Wilsons warbler.

I suspect he would have traded them all for Wilsons woodpecker.

Small wonder Wilson or anyone else would be captivated by the red-headed woodpecker. Adults are clad in a tuxedo of sorts bold black and white plumage. But, oh, that head! It appears that the well-named bird wears a hood of fine velvety scarlet.

On May 1, I found myself social distancing in the depths of southern Ohios 65,000-acre Shawnee State Forest. As luck would have it, I encountered a very cooperative pair of red-headed woodpeckers in a regenerating clear-cut with scattered snag trees that were tall and dead.

Thats perfect red-head habitat, and the birds were in full courtship mode. There were frequent energetic chases between trees punctuated with loud calls, mutual head-bobbing displays and other evidence of amorous behavior.

Best of all was the hide-and-seek game. Each bird would perch opposite of the other on a tree trunk, then slowly hitch around until they spotted each other. Then, quick as a wink, theyd duck out of sight, only to immediately repeat the game.

Red-headed woodpeckers are quite diverse in diet. Theyll frequently grab large flying insects in aerial sorties from tall snags and glean insects from bark. Like other woodpeckers, they use their chisel-like bill to excavate grubs, ants and other goodies from wood.

Most interesting is their fondness for acorns and other mast. Come fall, the red-heads embark on an ambitious agenda of acorn caching. A productive individual might cache hundreds of acorns daily. The birds typically stuff these nuts into tree crevices, and heavily used cache trees are sometimes called granaries.

This woodpecker also has a fondness for various soft fruit, and this habitat made it a reviled bird in the early days. The aforementioned Audubon wrote: I would not recommend to anyone to trust their fruit to the Red-heads; for they not only feed on all kinds as they ripen, but destroy an immense quantity besides. I may safely assert, that a hundred have been shot upon a single cherry tree in one day.

Today, of Ohios six widespread breeding woodpecker species, the red-headed is easily the scarcest. There are an estimated 26,000 birds in the state. For comparison, the most common species, the downy woodpecker, has an estimated population of 375,000 birds. The red-heads overall uncommonness is tied to its need for open woods with plenty of mast-bearing trees and standing dead snags. Such woodlands are not common these days.

Some of our local metro parks support red-headed woodpeckers. Good parks to seek them include Battelle Darby, Glacier Ridge, Prairie Oaks and Sharon Woods.

Naturalist Jim McCormac writes a column for The Dispatch on the first, third and fifth Sundays of the month. He also writes about nature at http://www.jimmccormac.blogspot.com.

Continue reading here:

Nature: Red head is feather in birds cap - The Columbus Dispatch

North Branford 4th-Grader’s Bright Idea Heads to National ‘Invention Convention’ – Zip06.com

Quinn Cook, a fourth grader from Totoket Valley Elementary School (TVES), will be representing North Branford at the Invention Convention 2020 U.S. Nationals presented by Raytheon Technologies.

This prestigious event was scheduled to be held at the Henry Ford Museum in Michigan, but will now be held online. Quinn is joining an elite delegation of inventors representing our state. He received his special invitation after advancing through the judging process at the Connecticut Invention Convention with distinction.

Quinn invented The Tent Finder, a ground mat that lights up through remote control: "It's night. It's dark. And you have to use the bathroom. Made with LED lights for low heat and set to red, The Tent Finder will guide you back to your tent without leading the mosquitoes to you."

Quinn explained that LED does not emit much heat and that red is the farthest color away from the ultraviolet and the visible light spectrum thereby reducing the amount of bugs around your tent. Out of nearly 10,000 Kindergarten-Grade 12 students from across the state who competed locally, approximately 600 finalists participated in this year's state finals. From those finalists, 107 inventors were selected to present their ideas at the upcoming national forum.

Nine other TVES students were chosen to represent North Branford at the 2020 Connecticut Invention Convention (CIC).

Although this year's event was hosted virtually due the COVID-19 pandemic, talented students from across the state showcased their ideas and presentations for judging and corporate awards. Results from the state competition will be available on the CIC website in June, visit http://www.ctinventionconvention.org.;

Inspired by his great-grandmother, TVES student Louie DeFelice invented the Pill Pal, an automatic pill dispenser that reminds people to take daily medications and releases pills at the correct time. Cole Minnocci created the Air Quality Sensor, a device that children around the world can wear to detect poor air quality. Lilah Gambardella created the Zipper Whipper 2000, an insert that prevents material from getting caught in a zipper during use. Donato Cappetta was selected for his Sand Elimination design. The invention uses a yoga mat with pool noodles as a barrier to keep sand off towels and other beach items. Antonio Pearson developed The Cleat Clapper, a repurposed cleat equipped with a brush and wooden handle that allows athletes to clean muddy spikes before stepping into cars or homes.Addy Wyatt was recognized for her Speedy Drying Scrunchie, a hair tie that uses a quick drying material to avoid those annoying times when a wet Scrunchie drips down your back. Shelby Chittenden created the Shelby Shoe Sav'r which incorporates the use of a brake on a skateboard so riders don't ruin shoes. Ellie Budd invented The Reach, a tool with various removable attachments that can be used for cleaning and doing everyday tasks, and Ryan Sickenger developed the Sip Saver which catches hot liquids when they drip from a cup preventing people from getting burned.

The state Invention Convention, traditionally held in Storrs, is the culmination of a year-long learning program designed to develop, encourage, and enhance students' critical thinking skills through invention. The CIC process follows all the steps involved in inventing a product and bringing it to market. The students define a solution to an everyday problem, design and build a prototype, research the market for similar products to prove originality, track their progress in written inventor's logs, and document everything in a detailed display board. Winners from each school are selected by a team of judges.

TVES has a long-standing history of participation in this event. In 2015, the school was honored as a "School of Distinction" for creating the inventors and innovators of tomorrow.


North Branford 4th-Grader's Bright Idea Heads to National 'Invention Convention' - Zip06.com

Dow Jones Heads Lower as IBM Cuts Jobs, Apple Stock Holds Its Ground on Podcast Plans – The Motley Fool

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) was down Friday morning ahead of the Memorial Day holiday. While many U.S. states are in the process of reopening after imposing lockdowns to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, the full scope of the economic impact is still unknown. The Dow was down about 0.45% at 11:40 a.m. EDT.

Many companies are turning to layoffs to adjust to depressed demand. International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM) has joined that club, with reports indicating that the tech company has let potentially thousands of employees go. Meanwhile, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is taking steps to grow its services business amid a slump in iPhone demand. The company is reportedly looking to use exclusive podcasts to promote its Apple TV+ streaming service.

The pandemic has wreaked havoc on the U.S. economy, leading to more than 38 million unemployment insurance filings since the crisis began. Industries that took a direct hit, like restaurants and travel, bore the brunt of the job losses early on. But as the ripple effects permeate through the broader economy, companies of all stripes may be forced to pare down their headcounts.

Image source: IBM.

Bloomberg reported late Thursday that IBM has cut an unspecified number of U.S. jobs across at least five states. The tech giant did not disclose the number of job cuts, but a source that lost his job said that the cuts were far-ranging and likely in the thousands.

"IBM's work in a highly competitive marketplace requires flexibility to constantly add high-value skills to our workforce. While we always consider the current environment, IBM's workforce decisions are in the interest of the long-term health of our business," said IBM spokesman Ed Barbini.

The pandemic has put pressure on IBM's results, particularly in the software business. In the first-quarter earnings call, CFO James Kavanaugh noted a pause in client activity, with deals that would have typically been closed in the last two weeks of the quarter pushed back. IBM also pulled its full-year guidance due to uncertainty.

IBM has been cutting jobs in some areas for years as it's shifted toward high-growth and high-value areas like cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and data analytics. It's unclear how many of the most recent job cuts were part of that process, and how many were the direct result of the pandemic's impact on the business.

Shares of IBM were down about 0.7% Friday morning. Before the pandemic, 2020 was shaping up to be a solid year for the century-old tech giant, driven by a recently launched mainframe system and the acquisition of Red Hat. But with the U.S. likely already in a deep recession, a return to growth will have to wait.

With the iPhone no longer much of a growth business for Apple, the company is relying on services to drive sales higher in the coming years. Services generated $26 billion of revenue for Apple in the six months ended March 28, bigger than all other product categories except for the iPhone.

Part of Apple's services push is content. The company launched its Apple TV+ streaming service late last year, giving away a free year of the $4.99 monthly service to anyone buying a new iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV, or Mac. While that offer brought millions of users onto the service, Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi noted earlier this year that no more than 10% of those eligible for the free trial had bothered to activate it.

Compared to services like Netflix or Disney's Disney+, Apple TV+ is light on content. Disney+ has been the streaming success story of the past year, with its vast catalog of TV shows and movies driving the subscriber count beyond 50 million. Apple TV+ has tens of millions of subscribers as well, but only because of the free trial.

On Friday, Bloomberg reported that Apple has plans to use exclusive podcasts to promote its Apple TV+ service. The company is reportedly looking for an executive to lead the initiative, and it's started buying original podcasts that are spinoffs of current Apple TV+ content, as well as podcasts that could be adapted into future Apple TV+ content.

Podcasts may never produce much of a profit for Apple, but the company can use podcasts to drive adoption of Apple TV+, which could eventually become a big moneymaker. However, Apple remains at a disadvantage to other streaming services that already have vast troves of content. Competing effectively will likely require many billions in content spending annually.

Shares of Apple were roughly flat Friday morning. The stock is less than 4% below its 52-week high.

Read more from the original source:

Dow Jones Heads Lower as IBM Cuts Jobs, Apple Stock Holds Its Ground on Podcast Plans - The Motley Fool

Red Sox first baseman Mitch Moreland named 2020 Jimmy Fund Captain – BoSox Injection

BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 20: Torin, Jameson, Sandra Fenwick, CEO, Boston Children's Hospital, Brody, Mitch Moreland, Trace, Susannah Moreland, and Claire at Champions for Children's Gala at Seaport World Trade Center Boston November 20, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images for Boston Children's Hospital)

This weekend was supposed to be filled with a heated series between the Astros and Red Sox with Houston making their way to Fenway Park. As we all know, that isnt happening and were still without baseball in 2020. Though we have the sadness of no season there is still some good news for Boston and that surrounds Mitch Moreland.

Ol Mitchy Two-Bags was officially named the 2020 Jimmy Fund Team Captain. The Red Sox infielder will be taking over the mantle from former Boston fan favorite Brock Holt. If youre anything like me then youre still trying to recover from Holt leaving for Milwaukee this offseason but this is some awesome news.

If youve followed the Red Sox for any amount of time then you know about their relationship with Dana Farber and The Jimmy Fund. The Dana Farber Cancer Institute is one of the leading locations for cancer research and treatment and The Jimmy Fund focuses on the different forms of childrens cancer.

Their relationship with the Red Sox goes back to 1953 and has been strong since day one. Throughout the season there are often different promotions based on game-related stats that can lead to donations as well as a slew of charity events.

The biggest of those events each year is the WEEI-NESN co-promoted radio telethon that spans just 36 hours. During this time Red Sox Nation gets treated to amazing stories from cancer survivors from all walks of life.

Brock was the dictionary definition of being an ambassador, the things he did for Dana Farber and The Jimmy Fund while in Boston were astronomical. Luckily for all parties involved, Mitch is going to be one hell of a representative as well. Moreland does more than just smack dingers while eating steak and potatoes, he also gives a lot of his time to charity.

This past November he and Holt participated in the annual Champions for Children, event that was held by the Boston Childrens Hospital. If youve ever heard Mitch speak about the game, his charity efforts, or just life in general, he never once gives off the vibe of being a superstar athlete. Some guys youll hear talk, and youd think their heads were on Mars.

Not Mitchy. With him, its clear that he wants to use his position in the game and life overall to make things for those around him as best as they can be. Thats just the kind of guy he is, a hard-working everyman that wants to support those that support him.

Moreland re-signed with the Red Sox this past offseason via free agency. He spent the first seven years of his career with the Rangers before finding a home in Boston. His big power and defensive prowess were key in the Red Sox winning the 2018 World Series. His leadership on and off the field will be vital with Bostons current youth movement in the lineup.

I cant think of anyone with the Red Sox that would be a better fit as Holts successor as Jimmy Fund Captain. With a fresh deal inked for the 2020 season and an option for 2021, we may see Mitchy Two-Bags giving back to the community for quite some time. As we await the beginning of the season, its safe to say that Mitch Moreland is already hard at work. Not just preparing for the looming campaign, but to give his absolute all to Dana Farber and The Jimmy Fund.

See original here:

Red Sox first baseman Mitch Moreland named 2020 Jimmy Fund Captain - BoSox Injection

Red Cross aid agency warns against any move to limit vaccine access – Reuters

FILE PHOTO: President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Francesco Rocca, makes statements to the media, at Greece's Kastanies border crossing with Turkey's Pazarkule, in the region of Evros, Greece March 5, 2020. REUTERS/Alexandros Avramidis/File Photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) appealed on Wednesday for the world to work together toward a coronavirus vaccine, warning against any unilateral action that could prevent access for poor countries.

The reality is that there is this risk, Francesco Rocca, who heads the worlds largest disaster relief network, told Reuters. Everyone must have access to these lifesaving treatments.

On Tuesday, the United States rejected language in a World Health Organization resolution that was designed to ensure poor countries can have access to medicine, arguing that it sends the wrong message to innovators who will be essential to the solutions the whole world needs.

The novel coronavirus, which causes the respiratory illness COVID-19, has infected more than 4.9 million people globally and caused almost 324,000 deaths, according to a Reuters tally. tmsnrt.rs/3bQxbz5

If someone would say this is the intellectual property of this company ... and putting high prices on the vaccines, so making it impossible or very difficult to have access, this of course can have an impact on the most vulnerable, Rocca said.

We want to prevent some unilateral decision that can effect the opportunity to have treatments and vaccines for everyone, said Rocca, who is also president of the Italian Red Cross.

Rocca spoke from Rome shortly after meeting virtually with U.N. chief Antonio Guterres. He said they discussed the importance of multilateralism during the pandemic. The IFRC has 14 million volunteers in 192 countries.

In this moment, some countries are not giving enough importance to the role of mulilateralism and this is a concern, Rocca said.

The United States has suspended funding for the World Health Organization, accusing the U.N. agency of promoting Chinese disinformation about the outbreak. The WHO denied the accusation and China said it was transparent.

Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Peter Cooney

Read the original:

Red Cross aid agency warns against any move to limit vaccine access - Reuters

What Are Your Freckles Trying to Tell You? – ELLE.com

Talia Ali / EyeEmGetty Images

First things first, freckles are normal. Along with hair makeovers and baby bumps, the barefaced freckle reveal has become an Instagram moment. Christina Aguilera, Lady Gaga, Kylie Jenner, and Bella Hadid have all shared theirs to fanfare. Kesha even used her reveal to send a message of self-love in the new year.

This content is imported from Instagram. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

A smattering of freckles feels youthful and sweet, like the signature of a pretty make-under, but, one wonders, where do they come from? Freckles are a result of melanin overproduction as your skin tries to protect you from the sun, explains Los Angelesarea dermatologist Annie Chiu, MD. When cells called melanocytes absorb UV light, they produce more melanin as a defense mechanismhence, tanning. Within freckles, melanocytes are more active, making these areas even darker. Why do some people have freckles while others dont? Usually its due to a specific gene common in redheads, according to New York City dermatologist Carlos Charles, MD, but they can appear on any skin tone, even those without the gene. Below, Dr. Charles and Chiu break down all your freckle-related questions, including how to spot a cancerous growth versus a sun spot.

This is key: Freckles themselves are not unhealthy, but they are a signal that your skin may be at risk. People with freckles tend to have lighter skin, and those with lighter skin tend to be more prone to skin cancer because they have less natural protection from UV, Chiu explains. Of course, using sunscreen is important for any skintone; the presence of freckles just ups the ante.

No matter your genes, spots at risk for cancer could be mistaken for harmless freckles if you dont look carefully. The average freckle is reddish brown and fades in the winter, when skin gets less sun exposure. "Marks called sunspots, similar to freckles, are flat and pop up in areas where skin is most exposed, usually later in life," Chiu says. And moles, the spots most susceptible to turning cancerous, tend to be darker and raised, and can show up anywhere on the bodyeven in areas you cant see easily. If youre unsure, make an appointment with a dermatologist. Chiu recommends an annual skin check of your entire body. But as long as you protect yourself, do not fear the freckle, Charles says.

While freckles and sunspots dont generally become cancerous, moles can, and it can be hard to distinguish between them. Keep an eye on all your spots, and if you notice any of these five signs, see a dermatologist.

When the halves of a spot dont match up, it may be a sign of irregular cells.

Malignant moles tend to have uneven, notched, or bumpy edges.

Inconsistent color in the mole signals a possible issue.

Anything bigger than 1/4 inch could be cancerous.

Its important to report any changes in size, shape, color, or elevation to a doctor.

This article first appears in the June 2019 issue of ELLE.

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io

This commenting section is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page. You may be able to find more information on their web site.

Continued here:

What Are Your Freckles Trying to Tell You? - ELLE.com

Get out in the sunshine and explore the Ash Valley with Jono’s Nature Notes walk – Bishop’s Stortford Independent

Striding out on a different day for his Nature Notes wander pays off for Jono Forgham as he spots birds, butterflies, bees and plenty of other insects exploring the Ash Valley in the sunshine...

I usually do my Nature Notes wander on the Monday of the week before publication, but a look at the weather forecast over the weekend informed me that Tuesday would be a far better day. Glad I changed my mind as Monday was cold and windy, Tuesday sunny, warm and still. Perfect day to be out and about.

I set off from home, walking up Chapel Lane and then on to Ash Valley Golf Course, deserted apart from the green keepers going about their work as usual. A fox ran out from a hedge with a rabbit in its jaws, gone before I could even reach for my camera. However, soon afterwards a superbly plumaged male yellowhammer burst into song from an open branch. I fired off several shots and moved a little closer, using the overgrown hedge as cover. Eventually I was able to get some relatively close shots. Fantastic colours!

I arrived at the footpath that takes a route over the golf course. The obligatory red kite and common buzzard circled overhead whilst crows and rooks probed the neatly mowed fairways for insects and leatherjackets. Upon checking some long grass, I disturbed a small heath butterfly that I followed until I managed a reasonable photo. Blackcaps and whitethroat warbled from the willows and hawthorns.

After crossing the lane, the path heads down to the clubhouse. On the 18th tee was a stand of meadow cranesbill and upon the broad, slightly hairy leaves a small black hoverfly, Platycheirus albimanus. Down the 18th fairway and a chiffchaff "zip zapped" his monotonous and repetitive call and a kestrel headed over the small copse by the 18th green.

The path continued around to the road between Little and Much Hadham and on a corner by a cherry orchard was a good stand of lilac bushes, in full bloom. I stood by some particularly scented flowers and didn't have to wait long until an early bumble bee (Bombus pratorum) and white-tailed bumble bee (Bombus lucorum) came along to collect nectar.

Having wandered a few 100 yards along the lane I picked up the footpath adjacent to Lordship Farm House. Honeysuckle was just coming into bloom as was, all along the path to the bridge over the River Ash, common comphrey. Plenty more insect activity here, but I knew where it was going to be most productive.

Over the bridge and a left-hand turn brings the wanderer on to The Gallops. Here there has been a huge patch of common nettles and white dead nettle for many years, perfect habitat for many insects. I put down my rucksack, large-lensed camera and binoculars and searched the vegetation for insects, hoping to get a few macro shots of some. I was not disappointed and after 45 minutes had over 150 photos to sift through upon my return.

Most obvious were the ladybirds, sitting on top of nettle leaves in the sun. Both seven-spot and 14-spot here, the latter being a tiny yellow and black beetle, easily half the size of the common seven-spot variety. A dark bush cricket nymph hopped over the leaves just as I caught sight of one of my target species: scorpion fly. This was a female with just a red tip to the end of the abdomen. The male shows a fierce looking, yet harmless, sting-type appendage that curls up giving this colourful fly its name. Plenty more bees here, too, with a new species for the walk, a small black bee with grey hair: ashy mining-bee (Andrena cineraria).

I could have stayed here for the day, such was the amount of insect life but there were other habitats I wanted to check whilst it was still warm and sunny. A red and black froghopper lurked on a leaf as I crossed another bridge into a field that hasn't been farmed for many years. Consequently, it is full of flowers: teasels, buttercups, daisies and, later in the year, knapweeds. Always a good site for butterflies. Firstly, a male orange tip sailed by, then, in quick succession, large white and green-veined white before I noted my second target species for the walk: small copper butterfly. Not a particularly common species in East Herts so good to see three on the wing at the same time. One kindly posed on the ground for a photo before thinking it could improve on that and generously alighted on a buttercup.

Over a stile and through two sheep fields, where I added a second hoverfly species to the walk, a colourful Myathropa florea which was feeding on hawthorn blossom. This hoverfly is one of the easier yellow and black ones to identify as it has a Batman-like logo on the thorax. The path here emerges back on to the lane by a farm and there follows a slightly risky walk along the road for a few hundred yards. Fortunately, today there was little traffic and I managed to get to watch a green woodpecker feeding upon an anthill before picking up the footpath opposite South Cottages and crossing the Ash again. A stand of wild marjoram grows along the banks here, but not yet in flower. When it does it attracts large numbers of butterflies, particularly skippers, so I shall be checking on it in July. Also here is a stand of horseradish growing wild, its large, vibrant green leaves just poking up taller than the nearby grasses.

Pleased with what I found I headed home to process the numerous photographs and make some quick notes before lunch. A really productive wander and, now that travel restrictions have been lifted, I plan to move away from Little Hadham for my next walk in a fortnight where I hope to record better butterfly numbers and species.

Whilst at home I continue to run my moth trap nightly, but the overnight temperatures have been very poor for mothing, apart from the previous Friday and Saturday night where I took several new species for the year, including the imposing lime hawkmoth. I have also continued to monitor all wildlife in the garden on a daily basis, beating the shrubs and trees to see what falls out as well as sweep net the ivy and hawthorn hedge that runs alongside the chapel graveyard at the bottom of the garden.

I find many new species each day, with the total now in excess of 260. Of this, 49 are birds whilst another 56 are moths. The rarest thing so far has been a small bug, Stictopleurus albutilon, that has extended its range over the south east in the last five years. A first sighting for me.

Also, I have spent time watching the mason bees inspecting the drilled holes in the brickwork from a long since removed piece of trellis. Most pleasing to watch was the hairy-footed flower bee (Anthophora plumipes) checking out one particular hole. Once inside she excavated a small amount of mortar before shovelling it out with her back feet. She then flew out, reversed in and presumably laid an egg. Following this she flew off, to return with some pollen that will be placed next to the egg for the hatched larva to feed upon. Great to watch this very clever process.

Hopefully, the temperatures will soon pick up during the night and I shall be counting good numbers of moth species before my next article. A full record of everything I have encountered in the garden can be found at https://littlehadhambirding.blogspot.co.uk and search for garden self-isolation list.

Finally, thanks to readers who have contacted me regarding identification issues. I was sent a photo of a large bird of prey that may have been the white-tailed sea eagle that was recording over Sawbridgeworth and Stortford on May 9. This will undoubtedly have been one of the recently released birds from the Isle of Wight. You can't mistake them, they are seriously huge with a wingspan of over 2.2 metres, compared to our regular buzzards that have a wingspan of 1.1 metres!!

The rest is here:

Get out in the sunshine and explore the Ash Valley with Jono's Nature Notes walk - Bishop's Stortford Independent

Turkey Time | Sports – Murray Ledger and Times

I remember the moment like it is etched in stone. My back to a large oak, decoy in front of me, I sent a few yelps into the forest. I hadnt heard a turkey all morning, but that was about to change.

Instead of hearing him, I felt him. The vibrations hit from behind, and I could feel as well as hear the gobbler strutting. Suddenly, he let out a monstrous gobble, and it was so close and deafening that my body jumped off the forest floor.

In retrospect, I probably should have turned and sent a load of #2 shot his way. But I was too stunned, and was hoping he would walk right by me, his focus on the decoy. He didnt. He evaporated back into the woods, as only turkeys can do. One moment, they are the loudest thing in the forest; the next, they are ghosts. Its why they are so fun to hunt.

Forget television reruns. If you want a real show, now is the time to watch wild turkeys. Males are strutting their stuff, gobbling, and fighting each other. Females are choosing mates and starting to nest. And the result is some of the best entertainment of the year.

Mature males, called gobblers, can stand three feet tall and weigh 25 pounds, although most average 16. Gobblers have bright blue and red heads, long hair-like feathers called beards that hang from their chest, and sharp spurs used to fight other gobblers. Young males, called jakes, are smaller, have short beards and almost no spurs. Hens are even smaller, about 10 pounds, with bluish-gray heads, lacking spurs and beards (usually).

Once a gobbler has attracted hens, he will jealously guard them from other males. The daily routine starts with a gobbler calling from his tree roost at first light. After flying down, the gobbler will strut and gobble some more, attracting hens for breeding.

After mating, females sneak off to their nesting site, and each day lay a single egg within a leaf-lined nest. Hens lay until they have produced 8-15 eggs, covering the nest each day with leaves. After she has laid her last egg, she will incubate for 28 days. Just a few hours after hatching, the downy poults are following the hen into the woods. By the fall, they are self-sufficient.

Hunting turkeys is fun, but part of attraction of turkey time is the bonus nature. Graceful swallowtail butterflies flutter up the trail, while the flute-like melody of wood thrushes, the incessant peter peer peter of a tufted titmouse, and numerous other bird calls fill the air. The beautiful white blooms of dogwood trees light up the forest edges. A hairy woodpecker taps his bill against a tree as a territorial display, and the cadence sets off two grey tree frogs, hidden only a few feet away. And it is always fun to watch other predators, like a red-shouldered hawk swooping at my decoys.

Having the opportunity to hunt wild turkeys is a privilege, but we only have turkeys to hunt because of conservation. Once extirpated throughout much of its range, turkeys were reintroduced using trap and transfer efforts by KYDFWR and other state agencies. This work paid off, as turkeys have been restored throughout North America, and their current range is now larger than it was when the first Europeans arrived. In some places, particularly urban environments, turkeys have even become pests. The restoration of wild turkeys is one of the great conservation success stories in North America, and is a testament to the continued efforts that wildlife biologists, led by state agencies and the National Wild Turkey Foundation (NWTF), have made to preserve this iconic American species.

Famously, the wild turkey was Benjamin Franklins choice for our national symbol. I cannot argue with his logic. They are regal birds that never cease to entertain. They are now more abundant than when Franklin was alive, showing the same resilience that our nation has had during multiple conflicts. And, they taste delicious. I wont trade in the bald eagle just yet, but the wild turkey is definitely a close second, and deserves our respect and attentionespecially during this time of year.

Read this article:

Turkey Time | Sports - Murray Ledger and Times

Clothing colour guide to suit greys, redheads, blondes and brunettes! – RSVP Live

Stylist to the stars Laura Mullets gives us her top tips.

As we edge in to brighter and warmer weather its important to make clothing choices that suit our style, reflect our mood, make us feel confident and that embrace the season.

Conventionally, when it comes to colour theory, blonde hair and lighter eyes go hand-in-hand with fair skin and tend to co-ordinate with either subdued pastel colours or the opposite. Think baby pinks, lavender, blue hues, sands, beige, mint, sage and jewel-toned bluish greens, purples and red as the contrasting tones. Its the middle spectrum ones and wheatier colours that can be complexion draining.

When it comes to clothing tones for brunettes, more saturated shades work particularly well. Opt for deep pinks and violets, vibrant blues and greens with a yellowish undertone. Warm greens are commonly called names like olive, khaki, pear, lime, pistachio etc and work with multi-tonal highlighted brunette hair.Cool greens are often called names like forest, bottle green and emerald. Ruby red, burgundy, plum tones are enhancing on brunettes. Purples are extremely flattering on women with dark hair and sallower skin too. A stylish way to enhance your features if youre a more minimal person is opting for a singular piece that really brings out your eye colour. Repeating and reflecting your eye colour in a top, tailored blazer, scarf or statement jewellery draws attention to your face and intensifies the colour of your eyes. Its a styling trick of the trade that packs a punch.

If you've got ginger-red or strawberry-blonde hair, it can be incredibly versatile when it comes to dressing. So if you're a redhead who feels constricted to a mundane colour palette, think again! Navy, cobalt and blue tones look regal but green is famously favoured as a quintessential wow factor complimentary tone. My expert advice is to layer your greens. Muted khaki-colours,jadetones and sage or pistachio can look incredibly sophisticated when you play with textures. Unlikely pairings lend versatility.

For example, a camo-style neutral sage jacket paired with a vibrant emerald slip skirt, soft green linen tee tucked in underneath and a snowy sneaker or washed out earthy green flat boho sandal to finish if youre exuding Summer styling. Opposites attract - luscious meets subdued. Relaxed glamour is the go-to vibe for SS20.

I think sunshine tones like buttery yellow can be gorgeous but not so much lemon sorbet which can be wishy washy. Also mustard can make a redhead look withdrawn so find the mid-point of the colour spectrum thats richer. Something that enhances and co-ordinates rather than being excessive or bland.

When it comes to clothing colours to go with grey hair think bold tones and contemporary tailored styles. Monochrome, navy, pure snowy white as opposed to creamier ivory and jewel tones like ruby, sapphire, cobalt, magenta and violet.


Clothing colour guide to suit greys, redheads, blondes and brunettes! - RSVP Live

Murder Hornets Are The Latest Horror of 2020: Excruciating Stings, Ripping Heads Off Bees – Mediaite

Asian giant hornet. Photo by t-mizo, via Flickr.

Just when you thought 2020 couldnt get any worse or weirder, we now have to worry about murder hornets, a variety of giant hornets native to Asia that have recently been spotted in Washington State, according to a report by the New York Times.

Vespa mandarinia, better known as the Asian giant hornet, can grow up to two inches long with a stinger of nearly one-quarter inch. That stinger delivers a venom that is described by those who have had the misfortune of experiencing it as excruciating and like having red-hot thumbtacks being driven into my flesh.

Multiple stings can be fatal to humans, and the hornets are known to aggressively attack in groups when defending their hives. In Japan alone, the hornets kill about 50 people a year.

The Times article paints a colorful-yet-terrifying profile of the insects, describing them as having mandibles shaped like spiked shark fins and a cartoonishly fierce face featuring teardrop eyes like Spider-Man, orange and black stripes that extend down its body like a tiger, and broad, wispy wings like a small dragonfly.

The hornets also pose a significant risk to honeybees, which the hornets target as a food source, decapitating the bees and flying away with the thoraxes to feed their young. The Times interviewed one beekeeper who described how the hornets had decimated his bees:

In his decades of beekeeping, Ted McFall had never seen anything like it.

As he pulled his truck up to check on a group of hives near Custer, Wash., in November, he could spot from the window a mess of bee carcasses on the ground. As he looked closer, he saw a pile of dead members of the colony in front of a hive and more carnage inside thousands and thousands of bees with their heads torn from their bodies and no sign of a culprit.

Scientists are now in a battle against time to track down these hornets and eradicate them before they establish themselves in North America. So far, they have been spotted in Washington State, as well as White Rock and Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.

Have a tip we should know? [emailprotected]

Read this article:

Murder Hornets Are The Latest Horror of 2020: Excruciating Stings, Ripping Heads Off Bees - Mediaite

Learning to read the room is key to kindergarten success – Sydney Morning Herald

So Wayne Bailey, if youre listening, you are my hero.

As luck would have it some mates of Baileys were listening, got in touch with him and he called the program.

You rescued me from this bully, Sandra got to tell him. Every time she saw a little red-headed boy thereafter, she thought of her knight in shining armour, Wayne.

I'm a ranga, Wayne said, then continued self-effacingly: Thats what us rangas do.

He added that, back in the 1960s, redheads were known as carrot tops.

Sandra then got to tell him: You were the sweetest well-mannered young man. You had a huge impact on the way I raised my children.

You could tell Wayne didnt know what to say. He was humbled. I was raised mainly by my grandmother who was an upstanding sort of a woman and shes rubbed off onto me in many ways.

And you rubbed off on me, and for that I am ever grateful, Sandra said.

Presenter Sarah Macdonald said she was moved to tears. It was what they call in radio a driveway moment a story that keeps you in the car after youve reached your destination just to listen.

I was moved by the story too because for many years, in the 1940s and 50s, my grandmother, Ettie Aiken, was the kindergarten teacher at Rosehill Infants.

Coincidentally, as I was listening I found her 1948 edition of the childhood classic Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, which shed read to generations of Rosehill Public kindergarteners, including my cousin. I was responding to one of those Facebook challenges from an Aiken relative to find seven books I love and post them on social media (Ive finally succumbed thats what prolonged isolation does to you).


While thumbing through this well-worn and well-read book, out fell some old unsent Christmas cards, painted by Athol Thompson, an armless Tasmania artist whose work featured in the Mouth and Foot Painting Artists Christmas card collection. Our family always bought and sent these Christmas cards, and simply seeing them was like receiving a message from beyond the grave from my grandmother.

She died 50 years ago, just before I started kindergarten. But my favourite memory is of her reading aloud from this book and her other May Gibbs classics. I still have them all and consider them old friends: Mr & Mrs Bear, Scotty in Gumnut Land, Ragged Blossom and my personal favourite, Little Obelia, who lay asleep in a pearl at the bottom of the ocean. While she slept a wonderful wisdom grew in her, which she would dispense only after going into her thinking room and counting up her pearls.

Like Little Obelia, Ive been going into my metaphoric thinking room a lot these days.

Retreating into the world of the gumnut babes and the bad banksia men was such a nostalgia trip like I think we're all taking at the moment because somehow the past is comforting. I even found, in some more recent editions of May Gibbs classics on my bookshelf, clippings from this newspaper about the fight to save Nutcote Cottage, her former home.

I was reminded of some precious pearls passed down Little Obelia-like - from my grandmother via my mother to me. When a child is cruel or a bully in the class or playground, theyre simply scared and testing the waters about how to navigate social situations. She felt that while learning to read was important, learning to read the room was more so.

"The key to kindergarten is learning kindness," she'd say.

So just as Wayne Bailey said his grandmother rubbed off on him in many ways, Ive vowed to let my own grandmother rub off on me since hearing his story. I think shed retired from teaching by the time Sandra and Wayne made it to kindy in 1960s Sydney. But the kindness ethos prevailed at Rosehill Infants. Wayne Bailey would have passed the kindergarten test with flying colours.

Helen Pitt is a journalist at the The Sydney Morning Herald.

Go here to read the rest:

Learning to read the room is key to kindergarten success - Sydney Morning Herald

TONY MELTON: Bringing the country to the city – SCNow

Florences City Center Farmers Market at 200 Sanborn St. is alive and well, open from 4 -7 p.m. Tuesdays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

I have been blessed throughout my life to enjoy the fruits of both country and city lives, and today many farmers have enjoyed and learned the need of both. It appears that the dream of just about every city dweller is to someday have a farm in the country and supply produce back to the city folks. Through the years I have found a few differences between country and city-based farms. I have always thought of the country-farm as a means of survival to feed local families, and the city farm as providing luxury to city folks. However, today the role of the different farms has drastically changed because people are moving and changing, and most farms depend on both the country and city markets to stay in business.

First, on an early spring country-based farm, the selection of crops is usually a little limited. We usually grow the necessities on a country-based farm like plain white Irish potatoes, green cabbage, collards, mustard, and turnips. On a city-based farm, I have seen an endless variety of spring vegetables. For instance, Irish potatoes come in all shapes, types, and colors including banana (Russian Banana), round, and oblong shapes; red, pink, gold, yellow, orange and purple skins; red, pink, gold, yellow, orange, blue, purple, and white flesh.

Next, cabbage can be found in all shapes, types and colors including round, oval, flat, open, lettucy, and pointed heads; red, white, green, blue, and purple colors; smooth, savoy, semi-savoy, Napa, and Michilli types. If you get my drift, we could go on forever with Next and never get to Finally because there are thousands of colors, shapes, and varieties.

People wonder why I have given up trying to remember all the varieties. However, these are a few of my favorites: red, purple, and white carrots; orange, green, and purple cauliflower; endives and escarole; radicchio; arugula; orange, golden, white, and candy-striped beets; pac choi; broccoli raab; kohlrabi; and hundreds of different types and colors of lettuce. You may find many of these at your local seed/hardware store, but if not, you can order from catalogs, but you will pay a price.

Next, many country-based farms depend on rainfall, planting in wetter areas, or maybe a sprinkler to water, and crops are spread over a large area. However, on city-based farms, trickle irrigation is the rule. With trickle you dont wet the leaves of the crop; therefore, you dont encourage disease, you can water anytime day or night, and you put exactly the amount of water the plants need. Also, you can add fertilizer through the irrigation water, called fertigation. This allows the farmers to give the perfect environment for plant growth, crop yield, and use a very limited space.

Finally, the country-based farm is using less inputs including seed, irrigation and fertilizer costs and relying more on nature and the soil. The city-based farm has more inputs, but intensively produces more on a smaller plot of land.

The Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to people of all ages, regardless of race, color, gender, religion, national origin, disability, political belief, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or family status and is an equal opportunity employer.

The Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to people of all ages, regardless of race, color, gender, religion, national origin, disability, political belief, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or family status and is an equal opportunity employer.

Read more:

TONY MELTON: Bringing the country to the city - SCNow

Texas is right to take baby steps toward reopening the economy, but we have far to go – The Dallas Morning News

Less than seven weeks ago, Dallas introduced the first restrictions related to COVID-19, limiting gatherings to fewer than 50 people. Doesnt that feel like a lifetime ago?

Since then, life has been turned upside down. In a matter of weeks, gatherings of any size were banned, nonessential businesses, day cares and schools closed, and people were encouraged to stay at home.

Ours was flagged as a city of concern. Id be worried about Dallas, the American Enterprise Institutes Scott Gottlieb told Politico in March, citing the lack of testing in Texas leading to a likely undercount of infections. Our hospitals had the eerie feeling of calm before the storm. Infections started rising. We braced for the worst.

Just two week ago, Dallas County began requiring people to wear masks in public. At the time, my family had two paper masks given to us by a friend, which we started recycling. Like most millennials, I do not own a sewing machine and remember little from eighth grade home economics except for making a sinful macaroni and cheese from scratch.

Takeout margaritas from struggling restaurants and walks with loved ones spaced 6 feet apart became bright spots amid an otherwise depressing landscape of neighborhood stores with closed signs, stories of lost jobs and illness, runs on food pantries, and an emergency homeless shelter set up at the convention center. Thankfully, the curve in Dallas has largely flattened, likely in part from the restrictions in place, though we had one of our deadliest days last Tuesday, suggesting we are not yet out of the woods.

This is why reopening Texas however necessary, however measured feels like a seesaw. Its been a lot. A lot of us are still shellshocked by it all. Almost everything has changed in a short period of time. Then just as soon as it all began, a way out appears.

This will be the first full week that Gov. Greg Abbotts order to reopen Texas takes effect. A selection of industries, including restaurants, malls and movie theaters, are allowed to reopen at 25% capacity. But it wasnt that long ago that the federal government recommended people keep 30 days of food and self-care supplies on hand in case they couldnt be readily accessed. These changes take a level of mental gymnastics. We should be gentle and gracious with ourselves for coming to terms with it all.

In general, Texas reopening strategy strikes the right balance of economic and health risks. While the coastal elite may shake their heads at another red states venture into the wild west, the order appears cautious and measured, unlike the plans in, say, Georgia. It makes sense to stagger the industries that can open based on those that involve the least human contact, and to open at smaller capacities to see if outbreaks are triggered before opening more broadly.

Encouragingly, the businesses being allowed to open first are mostly in line with the Johns Hopkins Public Health Principles for phased reopening during COVID-19, which ranked sectors by contact intensity. Low-contact interactions were defined as being brief and from a distance, and high-contact interactions being prolonged exposure at close proximity. Not surprisingly, retail is relatively low (and thus opening first) compared to gyms, public transit or places of worship. Many businesses and consumers are likely to take a wait-and-see approach, so capacity is likely to be below that which is allowed.

It would inspire more confidence if the testing were in place for assessing if new outbreaks occur. This is not just nice to have, its the linchpin for the entire strategy to work. In the Gottlieb American Enterprise Institute report on the road map to reopening, the trigger for reopening businesses of any type and schools, includes being able to test everyone with COVID-19 symptoms and active monitoring of patients and their contacts. Thats in addition to a sustained reduction in cases for at least 14 days. Texas is not there. It appears that Abbott is taking a bit of a divide-and-conquer strategy, instead of reopening with full testing, to partially reopen with partial testing. The spacing of Abbotts phases (on May 18, gyms open, among other businesses, and capacity increases to 50%) feels far too short to fully understand the impact of reopening on infection rates, given the testing gaps.

After the economic destruction from the last two months, its clear we need a more calibrated approach than what weve been living before a vaccine is developed. That said, the hope of normal must be marked with a dose of realism. This is not getting through a series of reopenings without spikes in infection and we are in the clear come July. The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently said its not a question of if coronavirus will return in the fall; the virus most certainly will. This time must be used to get ready.

Even with reopening, the economic damage is far from a one- or two-quarter blip with a swoosh on the back end. The Congressional Budget Office released a report last week showing that unemployment would likely stay elevated above 10% until sometime in 2021. The impacts of the pandemic, even upon reopening, will be with us for some time.

The reopening should be thought of as baby steps on a long road. The challenge before us is to balance hope and recovery with reason and protection in the continued threat of illness. Texas has taken a first step in that direction.

Abby McCloskey is an economist and founder of McCloskey Policy LLC. She has advised multiple presidential campaigns. Website: mccloskeypolicy.com

View post:

Texas is right to take baby steps toward reopening the economy, but we have far to go - The Dallas Morning News

Heads up: Stars and planets you can see from your backyard – WSPA 7News

April has some amazing astronomy activities you can do in your own backyard. Venus will shine at its brightest on April 27 and the moon can be seen with the dazzling star cluster Messier 35.

When one looks toward the southwest just after dark, Venus is the most prominent object in the night sky after the moon, said Physicist Andr Bormanis to the Los Angeles Times. Venus is currently about 60 million miles away from the Earth. Which means it took the light from Venus about six minutes to hit your eye. Youre seeing Venus six minutes in the past.

Bormanis has a masters degree in science, technology, and public policy from George Washington University.

If youre preparing to view the night sky remember to bundle up, according to Space.com.

Also in the southwest sky the Pleiades are inside the constellation of Taurus the Bull. Just after dusk, look a bit below and to the right of the waxing crescent moon. Thats an open star cluster 440 light-years away. said Bormanis. The light that youre seeing left that star cluster 440 years ago, which, if Im correct, is 1580 30 years before Galileo first turned a telescope toward the night sky.

Give your eyes 15 to 20 minutes to adjust to the night sky which will even make a difference in light-polluted areas. If you need to use a flashlight to view a star map or adjust equipment, try to tape something red over it like construction paper or foil. Download a red filter app for phone screens to reduce glare.

Orion is very prominent low in the southwest. It is facing Taurus the Bull. Orion is trying to slay Taurus the Bull, in fact

Orions hunting dogs, Canis Major and Canis Minor, are to his left.

The brightest star in Canis Major is Sirius, the dog star, and its the brightest star in the sky. To find it, look low in the southwest sky, to the left of Orion.

Betelgeuse marks Orions right arm and has been behaving strangely in recent months. Its been dimming. It is a red supergiant star, destined to end its life in a supernova explosion. We dont know when. It will be sometime in the next few hundred thousand years, most probably.

Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn are all easily visible without any special equipment, but with a telescope, you can even see Saturns rings or Jupiters moons.

If you go out under the predawn sky, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter are doing a little dance in the southeast. And if you watch them from morning to morning, you can watch their relative positions changing. Were all orbiting the sun in the same direction. Mars is the next planet out from Earth, then Jupiter, then Saturn. So it takes Earth one year to go around the sun. It takes Mars a little over two years. It takes Jupiter 12 years. And Saturn, 30 years.

If you have binoculars, look beneath the belt of Orion at his sword sheath. One of the stars in that sheath will look a little fuzzy. Thats the Orion Nebula, a huge complex of gas and dust where stars are being born. Its a stellar nursery about 1,500 light-years from Earth.

On April 29, a feature on the moon known as Lunar X will be visible with binoculars and backyard telescopes. This is an X-shaped feature that is created when the craters of Parbach, la Caille, and Blanchinus are lit up by sunlight from a certain angle.

Also on the 29, the asteroid 1998 OR2 will safely pass by Earth at a distance 3.9 million miles. This asteroid wont hit Earth but will make a great target for advanced skywatchers with telescopes.

Read the rest here:

Heads up: Stars and planets you can see from your backyard - WSPA 7News

Military helicopter missing in sea between Italy and Greece – 95.7 News

Rogers Media uses cookies for personalization, to customize its online advertisements, and for other purposes. Learn more or change your cookie preferences. Rogers Media supports the Digital Advertising Alliance principles. By continuing to use our service, you agree to our use of cookies.We use cookies (why?) You can change cookie preferences. Continued site use signifies consent.Military helicopter missing in sea between Italy and Greece

by The Associated Press

Posted Apr 29, 2020 3:48 pm ADT

Last Updated Apr 29, 2020 at 3:54 pm ADT

ATHENS, Greece A military helicopter operating off a Canadian frigate taking part in a NATO operation in the Mediterranean has gone missing in the sea between Greece and Italy, Greek state TV reported Wednesday.

ERT said an Italian and a Turkish frigate that were also part of the operation were searching for the helicopter, which was believed to be carrying three people.

Greek authorities said they have not been asked to help as the area is far off the Greek mainland and outside the area where the country has responsibility for search and rescue operations.

The Associated Press

We've sent an email with instructions to create a new password. Your existing password has not been changed.

{* backButton *}{* forgotPassword_sendButton *}

Subscribe to NEWS 95.7 newsletters

I understand that I can withdraw my consent at any time

Loading newsletters

{* mergeAccounts *}

{* public_profileBlurb *}

{* public_displayName *}

Updating your profile data...

You have activated your account, please feel free to browse our exclusive contests, videos and content.

You have activated your account, please feel free to browse our exclusive contests, videos and content.

An error has occurred while trying to update your details. Please contact us.


{* traditionalSignIn_signInButton *}


{* backButton *}{* traditionalSignIn_signInButton *}

Please confirm the information below before signing up.

Subscribe to NEWS 95.7 newsletters

I understand that I can withdraw my consent at any time

By checking this box, I agree to the terms of service and privacy policy of Rogers Media.

{* backButton *}{* createAccountButton *}

We didn't recognize that password reset code. Enter your email address to get a new one.

Sorry we could not verify that email address. Enter your email below and we'll send you another email.


{* loginWidget *}

See the original post:

Military helicopter missing in sea between Italy and Greece - 95.7 News

‘Heads stuck in the sand’ – fury over warning not to offer coronavirus rates relief – Stuff.co.nz

A prominent developer whose tenants have been hit hard by the coronavirus lockdown has accused ministers of being "divorced from reality" over a warning to councils not to cut rates.

Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford issued a blunt threat last week that any move by local authorities to reduce rates to relieve financial pain for residents and businesses could jeopardise the Government's willingness to invest in any proposed partnerships.

Rates freezes or reductions were also "unlikely to be effective", Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta told Stuff.


Riverside Market developer Richard Peebles, left, feels ministers are clueless about the impact of the coronavirus lockdown on small businesses.

But Richard Peebles, the developer behind Christchurch's Riverside Market and Little High food venues, accused them of being clueless about the lockdown's effect on small businesses and urged them to "get their heads out of the sand".

READ MORE:*Coronavirus: Councils warned not to cut rates to ease Covid-19 pain*Hundreds of Christchurch ratepayers ask to defer rates payment for six months*Coronavirus: Auckland Council may lower rate rises and suspends hotel rate*Christchurch rates rise expected to be shelved as council looks to save $23m*Wellington City Council reveals proposed coronavirus economic recovery plan

"They must live in some sort of vacuum," he said. "They don't understand the impact of their decisions on small businesses, and I suggest they actually take time to talk to [them] if there's going to be any left."

The anti-rates relief rhetoric comes at a time when councils nationwide are already looking to tighten their belts to ease the burden on ratepayers.


Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford warned councils not to cut rates or risk the Government reconsidering its funding of infrastructure projects.

Some have introduced rates payment holidays, while others are considering slashing planned rates increases, cutting pay for senior staff and re-examining staffing levels.

In Christchurch, mayor Lianne Dalziel is "laser-focused" on eliminating rates rises next year, while council chief executive Dawn Baxendale said savings were being sought from every part of the organisation: "There are no 'no-go' areas'."

Auckland Council is also looking at reducing rates rises and laying off large numbers of temporary workers, while Wellington's council is slashing increases and considering deferring payments.

But such moves could come at a cost and not only for councils' income.

Last month, local authorities bid for $4 billion of Government money $1b for Canterbury alone being earmarked to fast-trackinfrastructure projects to reboot the economy.

Twyford told civic leaders they would have to do their bit financially, and that cutting rates would hamper that.

"If you deliberately cut your revenue by scaling back rates increases, or going for zero rates, or cutting rates, how can I stand up with my colleagues and make the case that we should be investing alongside you," he said. "I can't do that."

Mahuta said rates freezes or reductions would likely be ineffective, do not target those with the greatest need and could create significant financial challenges for councils later.

Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel is "laser-focused" on eliminating a rates rise this year.

"What I am urging councils to do is take some time to gather information, talk to their communities and carefully consider any major financial decisions like this," she said.

But Peebles, who has already seen tenants succumb to the lockdown and his business lose 70 per cent of income, said he was "speechless" at what he saw as a "threat" from central to local government.

A rates reduction would be a major boost for businesses, many now with no income, as rates were thebiggest expenditure for most behind rentand wages, he said.

"It's ignoring the fact that they're assuming all councils are running at best practice, as efficient and lean as they can be, which is obviously just not the case...

"I just don't understand surely a minister should be advising councils to look at all costs and contracts and cut them back so they can actually reduce the burden on their ratepayers.

"You don't need to be a rocket scientist to work out that it's going to be armageddon. Those ministers just need to get their heads out of the sand."

But Dalziel said councils should listen carefully to the ministers' messages that there are no one-size-fits-all solutions to help those in greatest need, that blanket decisions about rates could undermine the ability to invest in recovery and that the council should have to be able to pay its fair share if the Government is to fund extra investment.

"It is vital that we partner with the Government on a cost sharing basis to increase our investment capacity as a city and a region.


Dave Cull, president of Local Government NZ, says many councils have been left with little choice but to re-examine rates just to provide essential services.

"Neither of these messages contradicts the need for the chief executive to shape the council for the future - it's not just about numbers, it's about effective delivery of focused priorities...

"We need to rise above the 'noise' the rants from those who think that as long as we cut expenditure there is nothing more to be done."

Wellington mayor Andy Foster said the city council was "very conscious" of the pressure on ratepayers but that Twyford's point around councils paying their share was "not unreasonable".

But former Christchurch council finance chairman Raf Manji said while councils should be looking at their books, local government "does not have the ability to magic up $50 billion of new funding".


Former Christchurch councillor Raf Manji believes the government should consider removing GST from rates to help ratepayers.

"Its funding options are limited and its funders, the ratepayers, are going to be under major financial pressure from the current economic shock.

"If central government is so keen to see projects go ahead, they can fund them directly, and at a much lower cost than local government.

"Whilst they have their chequebook open, they could also remove GST from rates, thus returning $750-800m back to ratepayers."

Councils have fewer financial options at theirdisposal than the Government to help with the economic recovery.

Non-rates revenue such as dividends, investment income, charges for facilities and development contributions, which account on average for 45 per cent of local government income, have taken the biggest hit from the lockdown, forcing councils to review costs.

The situation has left many with little choice but to look at rates increases just to ensure they can provide essential services, Local Government New Zealand president Dave Cull said.


Authorities in Auckland are considering a range of measures to help ease the financial burden on ratepayers.

"Of course councils, as collective owners of $120 billion in infrastructure, have a potentially significant role to play in any stimulus investment. But that will take balance sheet capacity, which is where Minister Twyford's comments seem to be aimed."

"We are conscious that there is a fine balance that has to be struck here, and we need to be very careful around income decisions, because there's a lot riding on us being able to help communities get back on their feet."

Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce boss Leeann Watson also said councils should look at "all options" to deliver services and support businesses, and that the chamber had urged the Christchurch authority for years to look beyond rates for funding, such as recycling assets.

Christchurch commentator Mike Yardley has warned that reducing the rates burden"is pivotal to saving distressed businesses from the scrapheap". However, he has alsocalculated that a zero rates increase is "a hell of an ask", equivalent to cutting$100m from the council's $500m annual operational budget.

Despite the warning from Twyford, councils across the country are looking at ways to tighten their purse strings:


The city council is looking for savings from "every part of the organisation", said Baxendale, who will have a 10 per cent salary cut next financial year. A planned rates rise looks likely to be scrapped, while some ratepayers can receive an extra six months to pay their bills. Spending will be reviewed, and the public will be consulted on significant changes to levels of service.

Some council-controlled organisations are reviewing costs. Christchurch City Holdings' board and chief executive, along with ChristchurchNZ's board and chief executive, have taken pay cuts of 20 per cent for six months.Christchurch Airport's 200 full-time staff have agreed an 18-month pay freeze, there is a pause on recruitment and "senior remuneration, capability retention and talent strategies" will be reviewed.

Red Bus is carrying out a full business review, while Lyttelton Port has this week reviewed pay for senior staff.


Dunedin City Council chief executive Sue Bidrose has taken a pay cut of 15 per cent for six months, other senior leaders doing similar. Staff at Dunedin International Airport have had 80 per cent pay, reduced hours considered for staff at infrastructure agency Delta and City Forests if they cannot resume work shortly after lockdown, and Dunedin City Holdings has asked its companies to freeze wage and salary reviews.


Councils in Queesntown, like many around New Zealand, are scouring their books for ways to save money.

Some consultants at Otago Regional Council have taken a 10 per cent pay cut, while Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) has cut hours for consultants and is aiming to cut rates. Queenstown Airport, owned largely by QLDC, stopped all capital works other than critical ones under the level four alert and is reducing costs and reviewing all expenditure, while staff have taken pay cuts of between five and 20 per cent.

Destination Queenstown, which is not a public organisation or CCO but an incorporated society member, is reviewing its budget.


The council is cutting many of up to 1100 temporary or contract staff and consultants, with 450 having already gone.

Executives across the council and its agencies, along with mayor Phil Goff have agreed six month pay cuts of 20 per cent for chief executives and 10 per cent for the second tier.

The chairs of the CCO boards and directors will take 20 and 10 per cent cuts respectively.Four of the five CCOs have frozen recruitment and are reviewing spending.

A budget rethink asks residents to choose between a previously proposed 3.5 per cent annual rate rise, and a lower 2.5 per cent option.


Wellington City Council is looking to cut rates and defer payments to help ratepayers, but mayor Andy Foster said Phil Twyford's arguments over funding were "not unreasonable".


Wellington City Council has proposed cutting its previously approved7.1 per cent rates increase for this year to5.07per cent rates, and offered adeferral ofrates paymentsfor commercial property owners. Aforecast $48 million in lost revenue, partly due to reduced use of community facilitiesand a $14m loss in its airport dividend, will be fundedthrough debt, if approved.

This draft annual plan will be openfor public feedback fromMay 8 until June 8.

A separate pandemic response plan has also been drafted.

Greater Wellington Regional Council is also reviewing "all activities and budgets", while Porirua City Council has identified savings around contractors and consultants.


Invercargill City Council staff who cannot work under the level three alert will receive 50 per cent of their pay, while Gore District Council is making 17 part-time staff redundant.

Additional reporting by Todd Niall, Debbie Jamieson and Mandy Te.

Here is the original post:

'Heads stuck in the sand' - fury over warning not to offer coronavirus rates relief - Stuff.co.nz

Red Bulls soccer: Holmdel native Sean Davis eager for ‘day we can all be together again’ – Asbury Park Press

Sean Davis, Guest columnist Published 5:00 a.m. ET April 30, 2020

Sean Davis, a 27-year-old midfielder from Holmdel, was named captain of the New York Red Bulls on Thursday. Morristown Daily Record

This guest column is from Sean Davis, a star soccer player at Holmdel High School and Duke University playing professionallyin New Jersey for theRed Bulls. Davis, 27, is a midfielder and the teamcaptain.

As our car headed onto the Garden State Parkway via Exit 117 to our northbound destination - Red Bull Arena - a true sense of excitement and emotion came upon my family. That December afternoon in 2014 would be that tangible moment where I held up a professional jersey with my name across the back, and proudly, the New York Red Bulls crest on the front.

Joined by my first coach ever, my mother, alongside my father, we stood inside the beautiful 25,000-seat soccer stadium, which became my next home. With the sun shining, General Manager Marc de Grandpre handed me my No. 27 jersey indicating the beginning of my professional journey, which had begun 17 years earlier in the Central Jersey town of Holmdel.

HAT TRICK: 'They treat me like a brother': hockey player with cerebral palsy scores big

MARATHON MAN: NJ teen runs marathon on home treadmill, raises $6k

Like most young boys and girls throughout the state, it all started with the innocence of recreational soccer. Lynn Davis, a true novice to the sport, volunteered to serve as coach for the seven-year old team. Her role on the sidelines is still ingrained as one of the highlights of my time in soccer.

Sean Davis #27 of New York Red Bulls during a game against FC Cincinnati at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ on Sunday March 1, 2020.(Ben Solomon/New York Red Bulls)(Photo: Ben Solomon, (Ben Solomon/New York Red Bulls))

The next year, I was invited to join the Holmdel Bulldogs travel club who played on the old SS White Fields, adjacent to County Road 520. The team was led by Coaches Jay and John, both from my hometown, who played incredible roles as people who truly crafted my love for the game. Most importantly its where I made some lifelong friends that I later attended high school with.

Holmdel native Sean Davis celebrates his first MLS goal in the second half of last Sunday for the New York Red Bulls against the LA Galaxy.(Photo: USA TODAY Sports)

Looking back, Holmdel was the place that granted me so many key people in my life who ended up shaping me - as a soccer player, student and the person who I have become today. Kristin Elfner Savare, my 2nd grade teacher at Holmdel Elementary School, is someone who had a major impact on my life in the classroom. Along with Coaches Jay and John, I am still in touch with Kristin and her family today. They have all come to Red Bull Arena to watch me play; its funny how life comes full circle.

I later attended Holmdel High School, where I had the opportunity to play on the varsity team during my freshman year. At the conclusion of that season, head coach John Nacarlo awarded me the team MVP. I distinctly remember getting the Asbury Park Press on our doorstep and seeing my name in print as an All-Division player. I always loved opening the newspaper to see who appeared on the All-Shore teams.

My journey led me to Durham, North Carolina, where I had the privilege of playing at Duke University. My parents always prioritized education and stressed the importance of graduation, despite my ambition to one day play soccer on a professional level.

Following my collegiate years, I would train with the Red Bulls club with some of their reserves. I caught the eye of club legend Thierry Henry, considered one of the greatest players in the history of the sport, who encouraged the organization to sign me to a professional contract. I was simply honored and blown away by his endorsement.

Having the privilege to play in front of my family and dearest friends has been my favorite part about playing for the Red Bulls over the last six years. The people that have supported me from such a young age - back on the fields of Holmdel - still support me today at Red Bull Arena. I can look in the stands and see them at every home match we play.

During this pandemic, New Jersey has been one of the hardest hit areas both medically and economically. I dont get to play soccer during these times, but that is not a priority in the grand scheme of things. Due to the current situation, there are people dealing with serious health issues as well as those trying to put food on their table and keeping a roof over their heads. Those are the problems and issues we have to understand and empathize with.

My mother has been an EMT for over ten years. When I think back to my childhood, I think of my mother waking up at all hours of the night (in addition to her full-time job) anytime her pager rang to help support the Holmdel EMT squad. The people on the front lines are the true heroes as they continue to sacrifice their health and wellness for the sake of others.

Holmdel native Sean Davis, now playing for the New York Red Bulls, as a 6-year-old with his mother, Lynn.(Photo: Courtesy Sean Davis)

As team captain of the Red Bulls, my pride and commitment to the community is stronger and deeper than ever before, especially during these trying times. I am truly indebted to my family, friends, coaches and teachers from my hometown of Holmdel, as they all provided me the roadmap for my journey as a professional athlete.

My sincere thoughts are with those impacted during these difficult times and I look forward to the day we can all be together again.

Visit link:

Red Bulls soccer: Holmdel native Sean Davis eager for 'day we can all be together again' - Asbury Park Press

David Seaman reveals why there was no ill-feeling towards David Beckham after red card against Argentina in – talkSPORT.com

David Beckham was one of the most hated men in England after his red card against Argentina at the 1998 World Cup.

Early in the second-half of the clash in Saint-Etienne, Beckham was given his marching orders for kicking out at former Argentina midfielder Diego Simeone.

Getty Images - Getty

Getty Images - Getty

England went on to lose the last-16 tie and their World Cup campaign was brought to a heart-breaking end.

The former Manchester United winger bore the brunt of the nations criticism for Englands defeat, with effigies of him even being made in some parts of the country.

However, Beckhams teammates didnt see him as the reason for Englands World Cup exit, according to David Seaman, who also played in that match.

The former goalkeeper joined Sports Breakfast this morning to reveal what the mood in the England camp was like after that defeat.

AFP - Getty

When asked by Ray Parlour if Beckham felt hed let down the country, Seaman said:Yeah, a little bit.

But for me it was a really severe red card so I think the atmosphere was one of disappointment because we were out of the World Cup.

But then youve got Michael [Owen] who had an unbelievable game and there wasnt a massive amount of focus on Becks because we just felt it wasnt a right decision.

It was a yellow card all day long, it wasnt a red card. We felt it had been unjust.

The match went to penalties with the teams drawing 2-2 after extra-time.

AFP - Getty

Seaman managed to save a spot-kick from Hernan Crespo but misses from Paul Ince and David Batty saw England lose 4-3 in the shootout.

And Seaman also revealed his method, albeit a surprisingly basic one, when facing penalties.

He added:What I used to do was just take it on the run-up. Coming off the back of Euro 96 where I saved a few penalties, I always did it on the run-up.

I rarely looked at videos because good penalty takers change their sides so as soon as their heads went down, I would go one way. It was a calculated guess I called it!

Give COVID-19 the red card

The quicker we work together to stop coronavirus spreading, the sooner we can get back into the pubs, the gyms and stadiums and arenas to see live sport again

STAY AT HOME. Only leave for the following purposes:

For more info and tips, visit theNHS website.

The government has alsoissued further detail on what we can do during lockdown.

Everyone should do what they can to stop coronavirus spreading.

View original post here:

David Seaman reveals why there was no ill-feeling towards David Beckham after red card against Argentina in - talkSPORT.com

Who Will Inherit the Queen’s 100 Million Stamp Collection When She Dies? – Showbiz Cheat Sheet

Queen Elizabeth II is known for her love of racehorses, breeding dogs (she once broke royal protocol to honor her Corgis), and indulging daily in a slice of chocolate cake. But what some may not know about the queen is that shes a big stamp collector. In fact, she owns a seriously impressive stamp collection experts say is worth 100 million, according to The Telegraph. Keep reading to learn more about her stamp collection and who will likely inherit it upon her death.

As the royal familys website says, philately is the study of stamps. The Royal Philatelic Collection is the British royal familys name for the queens stamp collection which is made up of hundreds of boxes and albums filled with rare, valuable, and historic stamps. The albums are color-coded by monarch; red for King George V, blue for King George VI, and green for Queen Elizabeth.

King George V started collecting stamps in the late 1800s when hed still been the Duke of York, according to the Smithsonian National Postal Museum. When he took up the hobby, he enlisted the help of his uncle, Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, who had originally started the royal stamp collection in 1864.

Over time, King George V became very interested in the hobby. Whenever he visited London, the king reportedly spent up to three afternoons a week working on the collection, once remarking he wanted the best stamp collection not just one of the best.

After King George V, King George VI took up the hobby and grew the stamp collection even more. Then came Queen Elizabeth who made it what it is today.

The collection isnt housed at Buckingham Palace. Instead, its kept in vaults at St. James Palace. However, certain stamps within the collection have gone on display as part of museum exhibitions.

As The Sun reported, the queen is the fifth monarch to inherit the royal stamp collection. While we dont know for sure, if Queen Elizabeth were to keep with royal tradition, she would leave the Royal Philatelic Collection to her oldest son, Charles, Prince of Wales, who is first in the royal familys line of succession. However, we wont know who will inherit the stamp collection until the queens demise.

The queen is said to be partial to giving guests a look at her stamp collection when they stay at Buckingham Palace.

According to The Sun, royal expert Phil Dampier told Fabulous Digital the queens stamp collection is one of her pride and joys and she loves showing it to visitors.

The Queen loves showing her stamp collection to visitors, say heads of state who stay at Buckingham Palace, he said. It is one of her pride and joys, not only because she owns some of the worlds most valuable stamps, but also because she has built on a family treasure and feels she has done her father and previous monarchs who owned it proud.


Who Will Inherit the Queen's 100 Million Stamp Collection When She Dies? - Showbiz Cheat Sheet

Are redheads more emotionally sensitive? – The Ginger Philes – ChicagoNow

We already know that redheads are more sensitive to hot and cold, and need more anesthesia, and have a higher pain tolerance.

But could redheads also be more emotionally sensitive? At some point, I realized that I noticed a lot of autistic people happen to be redheads. And as we know, people with autism tend to be very sensitive! I've even heard that it's often a misconception they that don't have empathy; instead they are profoundly empathetic and feel way more than us normies do -- they actually can't handle how much they're feeling on many, many different sensory and emotional levels.

Anyway, several months ago, I was listening to one of the How to be a Redhead sisters' podcasts, and they happened to mention that they had noticed that along with having sensitive skin, redheads also tend to be more emotionally sensitive.

I felt like it was a breakthrough moment for me. I'm a redhead, and I've also always been told I'm too sensitive. I've found ways to explain it -- I identify as an HSP, or highly sensitive person, an actual biological trait that is meant to be a genetic advantage for the tribe (and is also found in animals). And if you're into astrology, I just happen to have a Pisces moon (and the majority of my chart is water).

I've spent years trying to work on "not being so sensitive" until finally I realized that's just who I am, and that it's actually a gift. Even if nearly everyone in America and the rest of the Western world tells me differently. Cue Jewel's 1996 hit, "I'm sensitive, and I'd like to stay that way..."

But the thing is, we live in this world, in America at least, where sensitivity isn't valued. So I often carried this shame and what felt like a burden alone, trying to hide it and pretend I was tougher, until I met my friend Rita. Rita's a psychology PhD, and one day mentioned that she loved this one woman's research on love and sensitivity.

And that's when I discovered that I now knew another HSP, for certain! But...

The most interesting thing about all this is that...

Rita also happens to have red hair! So I started noticed this, and then other redheads started to notice this and...

I'm thinking that we're onto something! But the question is...why!?!? What, praytell, was the genetic advantage, when homo sapiens started moving north out of Africa, to evolving to have tons of allergies, super sensitive skin and even more sensitive emotions???

I know that the HSP research says that in the tribal sense, those blessed with sensitivity are the ones meant to spot the predators, to see them before they are coming, while the other 80 percent of the population are meant to be the warriors who go into battle with the lions.

But why would redheads need to evolve to be like this? If most redheads are in Scotland, where we know we evolved to need less melanin for obvious reasons (less sun), then, why did we need more sensitivity? Emotionally and physically?

And...on another, more NSFW note...I've had many a men tell me that one of the main reasons they "had a thing" for redheads was because it felt like redheads had more of a spiritual type of experience during sex and were more reactive to what was happening in the moment.

So what do you think? Are redheads more emotionally sensitive? Why do you think that might be? Why did we evolve to be this way? Also...could this partially be why redheads get bullied more often? Besides obviously having something different about us, the those perceived as "weak" get picked on the most...

Continued here:

Are redheads more emotionally sensitive? - The Ginger Philes - ChicagoNow