Savannah, Georgia, lost hundreds of trees when Hurricane Matthew hit in October 2016, followed less than a year later by Hurricane Irma in September 2017.University of Georgia Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant is helping restore lost green space to decrease flood risk and to beautify barren spaces while training Savannah residents in landscape design and infrastructure improvements.The “Green Infrastructure to Green Jobs” initiative, funded by the Southeast Sustainable Communities Fund, will create urban tree nurseries in the city’s low-lying, flood-prone neighborhoods.“We’ve been looking at how much Savannah’s urban tree nursery had been lost over the decades,” says Nick Deffley, sustainability director for the city of Savannah and lead on the project. “We were losing a lot of trees to development, some were just getting old, and we had two hurricanes in the last three years that took a toll as well.”The hurricanes caused significant damage to Savannah’s tree canopy, with Hurricane Matthew costing over $13 million in tree debris removal and unknown losses in water storage from mature trees. The city of Savannah owns more than 350 flood-prone Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) lots that are underutilized community assets. As coastal Georgia experiences extremes in weather, municipal governments are looking to green infrastructure, such as tree canopies, to improve their resilience to major storm events.Deffley is working with a team of experts, including land-use and resiliency specialists at UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant, to engage community members in the project, helping them to understand the risks they face and recognize the benefits of implementing green infrastructure, such as tree canopies.Over the course of the project, more than 500 trees will be planted by trainees in the Landscape Management Apprenticeship Program, an innovative workforce-development program that trains residents in arbor care, plant identification, installation and maintenance.Twelve employees are currently in the training program, all recruited through two events hosted by the city of Savannah and WorkSource Coastal, a federally funded program designed to assist coastal residents in job training and career placement.“I’ve always stayed in a box as far as administrative work, and I just wanted to branch out,” said Ni’Aisha Banks, 27, a mother of three who is expecting her fourth child.Banks is studying business administration at Savannah Technical College and plans to own her own business one day. She decided to sign up for the landscape-management program because she wanted to try something new. After two months in the program, she was able to help her peers install an irrigation system at a planting site in downtown Savannah.In December, participants attended a four-day training modeled after the Georgia Certified Landscape Professional (GCLP) program, developed by UGA Cooperative Extension’s Center for Urban Agriculture in Griffin, Georgia. They heard from experts in green infrastructure and landscaping and took a field trip to the UGA Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens, where they practiced planting trees and installing irrigation systems.UGA Extension specialists taught participants fundamental landscaping skills, including plant identification, planting practices and maintenance.The experience exposed them to green industry careers and helped show the pathway to employment and advancement through skill development and professional certification.During the year-long program, Deffley will guide participants through more than 200 hours of hands-on training in landscape maintenance. They’ll also learn how to set up an email account, build a resume and create business cards, all tools that will help them get ready to enter the job market.“The whole intent is to not only introduce all of these folks to potential employers in this field, but to do everything we can to get them placed in jobs that are much more sustaining,” says Deffley.All of the programs’ trainees live in neighborhoods where plantings will take place. While gaining new skills that are vital to implementing green infrastructure in Savannah, they are also educating other community members about the project.“We’re out here three days a week, and every day people ask, ‘What are you guys doing?’ ” said Robert Hartwell, one of 12 participants in the program. “People need to know about this stuff, you know? It starts with the community.”Like Banks, 24-year-old Hartwell wants to own his own business. He plans to apply his new landscaping skills in his uncle’s backyard, helping him raise his walkway and put in a flower bed, before tackling his own lawn.“I’m building my portfolio,” he says. “You’ve got to start somewhere, right?”Additional project partners include the Savannah Tree Foundation, Victory Gardens, Work Source Georgia and the Chatham County-Savannah Metropolitan Planning Commission. The Kendeda Fund is also providing support for the initiative.
continue reading » 8SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr How far would you go to make sure that the less fortunate or those fighting overseas has a better holiday? Going all out for the community is something that credit unions relish, as a vast number have a multitude of outreach programs this holiday season.Beyond the typical toy drive, U.S. credit unions look for many ways to help those in need or the many brave Americans serving our country during the season.Support for the TroopsLetters and care packages for the troops during the holidays has become a priority for many credit unions as a smattering of institutions serve the country’s military.For example, DuPage Credit Union (Naperville, IL) wants to ensure the active duty military living overseas know that the country is thankful for their service. “Our Christmas card drive is especially well supported at the credit union,” says Amy Brandt, vice president of business solutions. “We distribute a few hundred holiday cards to our employees and either on their own or with their family, they write a heartfelt message of thanks to a member of the military.” Cards are mailed early in December for arrival by Christmas.DuPage also adopts a platoon. Brandt says that credit union employees fill oversized, large stockings with items like different snacks and toiletries, and then send them overseas. “Last year we filled and sent 100 stockings,” she says. “We don’t know exactly where they are going, as the mission is top secret, but have heard that the stockings receive an overwhelming response.” read more
If you work for an employer who offers an optional High-Deductible Health Plan, you could enjoy a list of potential benefits and advantages that just won’t quit. How so? Because you can have a Health Savings Account – an HSA! The contributions you make to your HSA are pre-tax, (aka tax-free)If you make your contributions via payroll deduction, you don’t have to wait for a tax refund. The money starts to work for you right away. That can be up to a 20% savings when you compare it to post-tax dollars. The funds in your account roll over from one year to the nextUnlike an FSA, there’s no use-it-or-lose-it provision. Your money grows tax-free whenever your annual health care expenses are less than your contributions. (In 2017, the contribution limits are $3,400 for an individual and $6,750 for a family.) Any interest you earn within your HSA is also tax freeThat’s right! The money in your account, and the interest it can earn based on the type of account you have, isn’t subject to taxes as long as you keep it there. Money invested inside your HSA also grows untaxedThis can be a big deal. If the balance in your account grows large enough, you can start to invest a portion of it rather than leave it in a savings account. And, your investments grow tax-free just like your interest is tax-free. Over time, you could wind up with a significant investment balance as protection against possible future healthcare needs. Once you reach age 65, withdrawal penalties disappearIf there ends up being something you always wanted to do, but simply never got around to it, this may be the ticket. Once you turn 65, you can use funds for things that aren’t qualified medical expenses – the 20% penalty goes away. (You’ll still have to pay taxes, though.) You can use money in your HSA to pay for long-term careThis could turn out to be an important benefit, especially if your family history suggests long-term care is likely to be an expense you’ll face. HSAs are arguably the best retirement vehicle out thereYour 401(k) may take a hit every now and then, thanks to the market’s ups and downs. But, if you have a good balance in your HSA, moving some of your balance to a self-directed HSA investment platform* could be your key to a more comfortable retirement.If you don’t need the money to pay for qualified medical expenses at the time of the expense, just save your receipts. The rules allow you to reimburse yourself at any later time. It’s kind of like paying yourself first – twice!Then, once you reach age 65, you can withdraw your funds without penalty. You just pay the income tax (at the tax bracket you’re in at the time – not the one you’re in now during your “earning” years). It works pretty much the same way the tax-deferred provision of a regular retirement account works.Finally, HSAs aren’t subject to required minimum distribution rules – meaning you aren’t required to start taking withdrawals from this account at age 70 ½, as with other retirement products or pension programs.Where to Get More InformationThis article is a quick review of the benefits and advantages of an HSA. Financial Center First Credit Union offers a free Health Savings Account and an HSA investment platform to members with higher balances. Financial Center’s HSA comes with a free, convenient-to-use debit card. It makes it simple to track all your health-related expenses. To learn more and open your own HSA, contact Financial Center’s dedicated HSA Team by calling 317.916.7705 or by emailing them at MET@fcfcu.com. *For specific tax advice, please consult a tax professional. Devenir, LLC, is a registered investment adviser chosen by Financial Center First Credit Union to research and select the Financial Center First Credit Union HSA Investment Account mutual fund investment options. Investments are not guaranteed or insured and may lose value, including the loss of principal. Please consult your tax advisor for information about how investments may affect you. 51SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Barbara Wood Barbara Wood has worked for Financial Center First Credit Union as a Business Development Specialist for 5 ½ years where she is focused on working with employers and employee benefit advisors … Details read more
Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week.
In a position paper, the association recommends that all member states automatically recognise pension funds in an effort to reduce the administrative costs and timescale involved in the WHT refund process, which in some instances has spanned a decade.The paper states: “If a pension fund, according to the law of its home country, qualifies as a pension fund – or other privileged entity or tax-exempt investor – it shall automatically get recognition as a pension fund, according to statutory terms or categories in the host country.”It also notes that, in a number of cases, member state practices have been found to be discriminatory by the ECJ.Matti Leppälä, chief executive at PensionsEurope, argued that the current system was too complex.Pension funds, he said, avoid requesting refunds to which they are entitled due to bureaucracy and uncertainty surrounding outcomes.Dutch healthcare fund PFZW has previously called for harmonised tax rules for pension funds across the EU, and the EU itself vowed to review potentially discriminatory tax policies when it published its CMU Action Plan.PensionsEurope also called for action on “inadequate” double taxation treaties to allow for mutual recognition of pension funds, an area recently examined by the OECD when it proposed a new tax framework.,WebsitesWe are not responsible for the content of external sitesLink to PensionsEurope paper on withholding tax Countries across the European Union must do more to remove tax barriers hampering the pension industry’s ability to invest cross border, according to PensionsEurope.Janwillem Bouma, chair of the industry association, said obstacles stemming from withholding tax (WHT) refund procedures were a major barrier to the establishment of the European Commission’s Capital Markets Union (CMU).“To boost economic growth in the EU, PensionsEurope calls on the EU member states and the European Commission to remove all the WHT barriers to cross-border investments,” said Bouma, who is also managing director of the Dutch pension fund for Shell employees.“This means the EU member states shall respect the case-law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ), reciprocally and automatically recognise pension funds and simplify their WHT processes.” read more
The International Financial Reporting Standards Interpretations Committee (IFRS IC) has provisionally ruled that the right to receive a discount following an earlier overpayment of contributions to a defined contribution (DC) pension scheme does not mean the plan is a defined benefit (DB) scheme.According to the committee’s official decision wording: “The existence of the potential discount would not in itself result in classifying the plan as a defined benefit plan.”Eight committee members voted in favour of the agenda decision earlier this month.The ruling came despite warnings from some committee members that their actions could open the door to structuring by plan sponsors. IFRS IC member Robert Uhl said: “The notion of the circumstances in which the employer is exposed to downside risk in my view requires a bit of a broader assessment of the substance of the overall arrangement.”He argued it was possible to design a DC benefit promise that was exposed to downside risk “because the amount of refund you’re going to get in the future is dependent on future actuarial experience [and] investment return”.The query concerned schemes classified as DC in which the sponsor had an obligation to pay fixed annual contributions to a separate fund – but also had the right to a discount if it paid any excess contributions. The discount would apply if the ratio of plan assets to plan liabilities exceeded a certain level, meaning it could fluctuate as a result of changes in actuarial assumptions or the return on plan assets.At issue was whether the existence of the possibility of receiving a discount would mean that the plan had to be classified as a DB plan.The decision also restated a principal within International Accounting Standard 19, Employee Benefits (IAS 19), namely that a DC plan was a pension plan into which a sponsor paid a fixed amount of contributions with no further obligations. Under the standard, any plan that is not a DC plan is automatically a DB plan. This means that a DC plan is one where there is “no possibility that future contributions could be set to cover shortfalls in funding employee benefits relating to employee service in the current and prior periods”.The committee added that IAS 19 also specified that “actuarial risk and investment risk fall in substance on the employee” with a DC plan, in contrast to a DB plan where the same risks fell on the sponsor.Not all committee members, however, were convinced that sponsors would structure benefit promises in order to achieve a particular accounting outcome. Bertrand Perrin said internal control processes made it unlikely that an entity would accept paying “more on a yearly basis just to structure the plan to become a defined contribution plan”.However, he urged the committee to make it clear that additional future contributions related to past service cost meant a plan was DB, whereas future contributions in respect of future service cost made it DC. Interested parties have until 15 May to comment on the draft agenda decision. Meanwhile, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) has published an opinion piece by vice-chair Sue Lloyd dealing with the timely implementation IFRS IC agenda decisions. The IASB explained last December that companies should have “sufficient time” to implement changes to their accounting policies arising from the committee’s decisions. Since then a number of preparers have approached the board for further clarification.Lloyd said that the IASB would normally expect preparers to implement accounting policy changes within “a matter of months rather than years”. read more
OECS Heads at a meeting earlier this year in St LuciaKINGSTOWN, St Vincent — The recently concluded 55th Meeting of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Authority held in St Vincent and the Grenadines last week focused for the most part on the status of implementation of the OECS economic union as well as related administrative and budgetary issues.On the issue of international relations, the Authority discussed, among other things, the application by Guadeloupe and Martinique for associate membership of the OECS and agreed to a declaration of intent, which expresses the continued interest of the Authority in pursuing the matter of closer cooperation between OECS member states and Martinique and Guadeloupe.The meeting, which was presided over by Dr Ralph Gonsalves, prime minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, who assumed the chairmanship of the Authority from the former chairman, prime minister of St Lucia, Dr Kenny Anthony, was of the view that this meeting, which was one of the two sessions held annually, had been quite productive.It resulted in decisions on issues that would advance the integration of the member states as they seek to strengthen their sphere of collaboration, coordination and information sharing which are critical to achieving a more sustainable economic union. On the issue of the pharmaceutical procurement services (PPS) the heads committed to liquidate their current debt to the PPS so as to sustain the financing of medical products.Meanwhile, the OECS Secretariat agreed to provide technical assistance in assessing the overarching issues such as developing a policy framework for managing the use of medical supplies to avoid pilferage and the misuse of prescribed drugs and the adoption of an electronic management information system for inventory control.The Authority agreed on the operationalisation of an economic affairs council as a new organ of the OECS Revised Treaty and decided the OECS Commission should give further attention to the issue and provide recommendations by its November 2012 meeting.The meeting also approved activities leading Share Share Share NewsRegional OECS tackles administrative and budgetary issues by: – June 19, 2012 Sharing is caring! Tweet 82 Views no discussions read more
Robert William Schwegmann, 82, of Aurora, passed away on August 20, 2016.He was born on July 8, 1934 to Herman and Marie Filter Schwegmann in Cincinnati, Ohio.He was a 1954 graduate of Versailles High School. Robert worked as a Printer for the Cincinnati Enquirer for 34 years before retiring after a 52 year career in the printing trade.He was a member of St. John Lutheran Church and the Tri State Print Craft Bowling Association. Robert also enjoyed fishing.Robert is survived by his sons, David L. Schwegmann of Aurora, IN, Gary W. Schwegmann and James R (Annette) Schwegmann; Grandson, Trenton Wayne Schwegmann.He was preceded in death by his parents and his loving wife of 47 years, Esther Woliung Schwegmann.Visitation will be held Friday, August 26, 2016 from 11:00 am – 12:00 pm at Rullman Hunger Funeral Home in Aurora, Indiana.Funeral services will be held immediately following visitation at 12:00 pm.Burial will take place in the St. Paul’s Cemetery in Olean, Indiana.Memorials are suggested to the St. John Lutheran School. If unable to attend services please call the funeral home office at 812-926-1450 and we will notify the family of your donation.Online condolences can be given at www.rullmans.com. read more
Dave “Neary” Schuman, 57 years old, passed away the evening of Wednesday, November 20, 2019. Dave’s passion was his family and friends and loved spending time with them, including family vacations at the beach. He was always smiling and was loved by all including his nieces and nephews who considered him their favorite. Dave was selfless and to describe him best, he had a heart of gold. Dave loved playing softball, golfing, and fishing. He had a sweet tooth and was particularly fond of his mom’s cheesecake. The story behind Schuman Flooring began in the late 1980’s when Dave began helping to install flooring and in the early 90’s he began installing it on his own. In 2005 Dave and Susan became a one stop shop and was selling and installing carpet for the local community. Dave was an active and devoted member of Sons of the American Legion and All Saints Parish.Dave will be greatly missed by his wife of 18 years, Susan, and his parents Joseph and Martha. Also sharing in this great loss are his siblings Theresa (Doug) Norman, Mary Jayne (Don) Cull, Sharon (Putt) Bischoff, Sue (Marvin) Hartman, Dale (Kathy) Schuman, Donna (Dave) Smith, Lawrence (Mari) Schuman; his in-laws who were always a huge part of his life, Bob Schaeffler, Karen (Ralph) Schaeffler-Geis, Phyllis (Chris) Dealy, Robyn (Daniel) Kirchgassner, Bobby (Jenna) Schaeffler, Sarah Schaeffler; his 21 nieces and nephews and 9 great nieces and nephews. And, we can’t forget his beloved dog Bailey.Visitation for Dave will be held on Sunday, November 24 from 2:00-5:00 at All Saint’s Parish Life Center in St. Leon. Visitation will be preceded by the Rosary at 1:45. Mass of Christian Burial will be on Monday, November 25 at 10:00 at St. Joe’s Campus with Father Jonathan Meyer presiding. Burial will immediately follow. Memorials can be made to Family Wishes, Sons of the American Legion, All Saints Parish, and Masses. To offer online condolences please visit www.andres-wuestefeldfh.com. read more
Webber, who produced, wrote and directed her film, spoke about the importance of including a story of sexual assault in this year’s lineup. The theme of this year’s festival is “defining blackness.” CBCSA Assistant Director Theo Fowles said he created the festival last year in honor of the center’s 40th anniversary. The Center for Black Cultural and Student Affairs is kicking off Black History Month Friday evening with F.R.O. Fest, which stands for “Films Reflecting Ourselves.” The festival is the second annual student film screening hosted by CBCSA at the Fisher Museum of Art. “Having learned recently about all the allegations, I felt charged to continue the conversation and raise awareness about sexual assault,” Webber said. “In the film, it sort of explores how she is offered a settlement as well, and she has to grapple with taking it as a way to … erase the damage that has been done to her.” Rhayme Spencer, a senior majoring in theatre, will be one of the co-hosts, along with Saphia Jackson, a senior majoring in public policy. Spencer, who is pursuing a cinematic arts minor, said he asked to host after Fowles approached him for help with the festival. “I felt like her message [was] so powerful that it needed a visual component to it,” Devons said. “As a [School of Cinematic Arts] alum, I thought [F.R.O. Fest] would be an amazing opportunity for us to highlight … students of color, specifically black students that were writing, directing and producing here on campus,” Fowles said. Fowles said the festival received an increased number of submissions from last year, and he hopes F.R.O. Fest continues to grow. He said next year, submissions may open up to recent alumni in addition to current students. “It’s always nice to see people of color on screen doing literally anything,” Spencer said. “I think it’s nice to have this festival, so people who show up and watch these films can relate to something.” “We will have one representative from each film to talk about the process and how much work and dedication … went into every single project,” Spencer said. “[We want to] open … a dialogue between creators and the audience.” “What I want people to consistently get … through F.R.O. Fest is that blackness looks different ways to different people,” Fowles said. “It’s oftentimes what people don’t expect it to be … so I wanted to be able to highlight those stories … through film.” Jabree Webber, a third-year graduate student studying cinematic arts, film and television production, is one of this year’s filmmakers. Her film, “It Happened One Night,” follows the story of a woman who has been sexually assaulted in a future where Roe v. Wade, the landmark abortion rights case, has been overturned. Fowles said CBCSA received 12 film submissions this year. Six films spanning a variety of topics from gang rivalries to online dating were named “official selections,” and four other films received honorable mentions. Following a presentation of the six films, audience members will have an opportunity to hear from the creators in a panel discussion hosted by two students. “As a black woman, I feel like we are often not included in the conversation when it comes to assault,” Webber said. “I really think that this film is important to include … It shows us being vulnerable.” Brianna Devons, a junior majoring in communication, co-wrote and directed a music video to “Fireworks in Tha Hood,” a 2015 song by singer and rapper Ventage about her experience growing up in Inglewood. The short film explores the rivalry between the Bloods and Crips gangs, set in a hunter-gatherer-like society in the woods. Devons, who is currently in Rome and unable to attend the festival, said she hopes F.R.O. Fest will bring the USC community together. Last year’s panel, hosted by then-senior Tyreece Santana, discussed the creative processes and themes of the five films chosen for F.R.O Fest. (Photo courtesy of Theo Fowles/CBCSA) “I feel like at USC … there’s a secondary space for the black community,” Devons said. “Hopefully the people that attend the festival will not just be black people, but people that are interested in hearing these stories.” This story is part of the Daily Trojan’s special coverage for Black History Month. It will run periodically throughout February. Webber said she was inspired to make the film after she heard about sexual misconduct allegations against former campus gynecologist George Tyndall. She said she set a budget of $2,500 for the film because that was the minimum amount allocated to former patients of Tyndall’s in the University’s $215 million settlement last October. Spencer said he also helped select this year’s films, which cover a variety of styles, from feature-length shorts to music videos. He said he thinks the festival is an important platform for black creators to see their work recognized, especially during awards season. read more