Employee Benefits Live 2017: Kent-based Medway NHS Foundation Trust has abolished its lowest pay grade in order to improve the financial wellbeing of its employees.Speaking in a panel discussion session titled ‘The financial wellbeing journey’ at Employee Benefits Live 2017, James Devine, executive director of HR and organisational development at Medway NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The organisation genuinely does care about our staff, particularly those who are perhaps lower paid than our nurses or our doctors; 400 or 500 of our staff we know are in the lowest pay bracket in the NHS and I don’t think it’s right that we don’t support them.”As well as removing the pay grade one bracket to increase wages across the board, Medway NHS Foundation Trust also implemented a payroll loan scheme, provided by Neyber. Since July 2017, 300 employees have accessed the payroll loan portal, and 61 staff have applied for loans that total just under £90,000. These are mainly for debt consolidation.“For those who don’t know Medway as an area, it has some very deprived areas in it and we know from our analysis that most of our workforce live within a three to five mile radius of the hospital,” Devine added.In the session, Devine spoke alongside Naomi Austen, head of reward at charity Axis, and Nick Weinel, reward director at logistics organisation DHL.Axis introduced its fairer finance approach, again provided by Neyber, as part of its overall people strategy in order to address the financial wellbeing issues of its workforce. This included changing the workplace culture of certain employees within the business acting as loan sharks for their colleagues. DHL on the other hand brought in its payroll loan benefit in August 2016, after it experienced employees asking for payroll advances on a regular basis. To date, 150 DHL employees have benefited from the introduction of the payroll loans.DHL has additionally placed a heavy emphasis on financial wellbeing education, using monthly webinars to help employees manage their financial health. Furthermore, employees who are refused a loan are given financial education to equip them with the relevant know-how to be eventually accepted for the loan that they require. This process has seen employees that were originally rejected for a loan be accepted six to 12 months later.Weinel said: “Within DHL, the education was just as important as the actual product itself around the loan piece, but the monthly webinars we do are critical to the success of the overall financial wellbeing strategy and we’ve found where we’ve had employees who have been rejected for a loan, they’ve been triaged into the financial education piece where they’ll be able to attend a webinar on improving their credit score, where it could be one of a number of things but ultimately to get them in a better place where actually they can borrow money responsibly. It is that ongoing journey really.”How organisations communicate and promote a financial wellbeing strategy can also have an impact on how it is received by employees. For example, Axis’ Austen described the organisation’s payroll loan benefit as ‘fairer finance’. She said: “We definitely didn’t sell it as a loan product, we sold it as a fairer finance journey because there is a negative association. It’s not just about loans, it’s a whole emotional journey with financial wellbeing.”Communications tools that the panellists use to promote financial wellbeing benefits to staff include information presented with payslips, details posted on the staff intranet, newsletters and face-to-face communications.In addition, the panellists also discussed what data can be collected and used to demonstrate the value of a financial wellbeing strategy to senior leaders. This can include statistics such as employee absence data, as well as engagement survey results, anecdotal feedback and case study results.Devine said: “My question to the executive team was why wouldn’t we do this? […] I think the days of reduced gym memberships, free lollipops at the door are gone. I think staff are looking for stuff that’s tangible that they can really access and say ‘that’s the employee benefit that I’m looking for’.”
UK pensions actuarial, consulting and administration organisation Xafinity is to acquire Punter Southall Group’s actuarial, investment consulting and administration businesses.The proposed merger will see Xafinity acquire Punter Southall, Punter Southall Investment Consulting and Punter Southall Administration for a combination of cash and shares, predicted to total around £153 million. The merger aims to create a new specialist advisory firm with the scale and service capabilities to offer a pensions-focused alternative to global consultancies within the industry.The transaction, which will be subject to regulatory and shareholder approval, will result in the Punter Southall Group becoming the largest single shareholder in Xafinity.The Punter Southall Group will continue to own, operate and invest in its range of specialist businesses across wealth management, workplace saving, and health and protection. In turn, Xafinity’s independent trustee business, HR Trustees, will merge with PS Independent Trustees and become part of the Punter Southall Group to expand capabilities in this field.The merger, which aims to complete in 2018, will enable both Xafinity and Punter Southall Group clients to benefit from a wider range of services and expertise.Jonathan Punter (pictured), co-founder and chief executive officer at Punter Southall Group, said: “This is an exciting development for the clients and employees of our actuarial, administration and pension businesses. They will benefit from increased scale and expertise through the creation of the largest purely pensions consulting firm in the UK market.“As the largest shareholder, we will continue to have a strong connection to this business. At the same time, by combining HR Trustees with our own existing independent pension trusteeship business, we have expanded our offer significantly in this area. For the rest of the Punter Southall Group, the merger provides the resources to invest and drive future growth.”Paul Cuff and Ben Bramhall, co-chief executive officers at Xafinity, added: “We are delighted to announce the merger of Xafinity and the actuarial, administration and investment consulting divisions of Punter Southall Group. The deal will create the largest ‘pure-play’ pensions consultancy firm in the UK market. We both have a personal and long-standing affiliation with Punter Southall Group, and we believe that the addition of its like-minded and high-quality staff will contribute significantly to Xafinity’s position in the market.“This transaction marks another significant step in our strategy towards becoming the pre-eminent mid-tier pensions consultancy firm in the UK, with the combination of these businesses providing an expanded, yet focused, offering for clients that will position us as the primary alternative to the big three global consultancies.”
ELLIOTT KEY, Fla. (WSVN) – A large group of migrants have reportedly come ashore near Elliott Key, Thursday afternoon.7Skyforce HD was over the scene where 18 migrants came ashore. There were boats reportedly seen three miles from the northern tip of Elliott Key.Just after 12:20 p.m., Thursday, the group walked down a trail towards the Ranger Station. Officials have given water to the group.The area near the Ranger Station has been roped off as the investigation remains ongoing.Officials believe the migrants may have been smuggled ashore.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
PLANTATION, FLA. (WSVN) – Rescue crews took five people, including four children, to the hospital after, officials said, a van and an SUV collided in Plantation, Sunday afternoon.Plantation Fire Rescue responded to the scene of the crash along West Broward Boulevard and Southwest 54th Avenue.Crews were forced to extricate the driver of the SUV.Paramedics transported the victims to Broward Health Medical Center in unknown condition.Authorities shut down West Broward Boulevard while they investigated. It later reopened to traffic.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
JERSEY CITY, N.J. (WSVN) — A New Jersey student made history in her high school after she earned full scholarships to all eight of the Ivy League Universities.Anna Rezk now has a difficult decision to make — she must choose between Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton and Yale.“It was very surprising and very surreal at the same time, because I didn’t actually think it was real,” Anna said.But it was real, and it was all because of her hard work. Anna took a host of Advanced Placement classes, earning her a 5.63 GPA. She also scored a 1570 out of 1600 on her SAT.Anna’s parents immigrated to the United States from Egypt, and her father died from pancreatic cancer when she was just 13, so now she wants to find a cure.“She’s just dedicated to doing what she can to find a cure for cancer, and doing — so people don’t have to go through what she went through,” said Anna’s science teacher Bill Goold.Anna said her father would always take pride in his daughter’s accomplishments. “He was always laughing, always bragging about me,” she said. “My mom’s kind of super quiet, but he’d be the one telling all his friends ‘My kid is smarter than yours,’ or whatever.”Anna came to tears talking about her dad, and she said she believes her father is proud of her“I think he’s proud probably bragging to other angels or something, like ‘I knew,’” Anna said.Anna said she is unsure of which school she wants to go to.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
MIAMI (WSVN) – An Uber driver was attacked by a passenger while on the job in Miami.The driver said he picked up a female passenger and then a male passenger shortly after. After arriving at the first stop, the male rider began to hit and slap the driver.Out of fear, the female passenger quickly got out of the vehicle. The driver also managed to get out.That’s when the attacker fled the scene with the Uber driver’s car.If you have any information on this carjacking, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $1,000 reward.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. CUTLER BAY, FLA. (WSVN) – A fiery wreck in Cutler Bay sent one person to the hospital with serious injuries.Miami-Dade Police and Fire Rescue units responded to the scene to the crash near Southwest 221st Street and Old Cutler Road, at around 9 a.m., Saturday.Officials said the driver slammed into a tree, causing the vehicle to burst into flames.Cellphone video captured crews quickly putting out the blaze.Paramedics transported the victim to Jackson South Medical Center as a trauma alert.No other injuries were reported.The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
10 acre brush fire off of turnpike south in MD. 2 FFS and several MDFR units on scene. No structures threatened pic.twitter.com/j0D9n7DRhL— FFS Everglades (@FFS_Everglades) March 26, 20197SkyForce hovered over the scene, where crews could be seen working to put out the fire.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. NORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) – A brush fire making its way through Northwest Miami-Dade burned about 10 acres of land.About 12 Miami-Dade Fire Rescue units responded to the fire near the area of Interstate 75 and the exit to the Florida Turnpike, around 11:25 a.m., Tuesday.
Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享Sixty-seven teams are signed up for the 1,000-mile (1,600-kilometer) trek over mountain ranges, frozen rivers and other dangerous terrain. Defending champion Mitch Seavey was the third Iditarod musher to reach Rohn on Monday evening. Out of Rohn- Top five mushers as of 6 a.m. on TuesdayRyan RedingtonMitch SeaveyRay Redington Jr.Joar Liefseth UlsomJessie Royer The winner is expected to reach the finish in Nome in about eight days. The next checkpoint is Nikolai. Photo courtesy of http://iditarod.com/ The race saw its first scratch on Monday morning. Zoya DeNure dropped out in Skwentna, citing “personal health reasons.” DeNure has finished the race twice in seven attempts.
During this month and week, organizations and individuals across the state will be conducting activities to draw attention to the terrible tragedy of youth suicide. The walk, like many across the country, raises awareness and funds for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, a nonprofit dedicated to research, and supporting families and suicide survivors. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The Kenaitze Indian Tribe will be hosting the annual ‘Walk out of darkness’ suicide awareness walk. In 2015, the State of Alaska’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that 44.2 percent of Alaska Native youth felt so sad or hopeless every day for two weeks or more that they stopped doing some of their usual activities. The ‘Out of the Darkness Kenai Walk’, will take place on September 8 at 1pm. The walk is a fundraiser for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and will take place along the beach off Cannery Road to raise awareness for suicide prevention in Alaska. National Suicide Prevention Week is September 9 through the 15, with World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10.
Bauer and Wenner Media titles are seeing high newsstand sales from an unlikely cover personality.Nadya Suleman—the tabloid-sensation mom of octuplets (along with six other children)—is helping celebrity newsweeklies get back on their feet—even if only for one issue. Celebrity titles took a beating during the second half last year—Bauer and Wenner’s in particular. Bauer’s In Touch dropped 32 percent in single copy sales, Life & Style down 31.3 percent and Wenner’s Us Weekly 20.7 percent. But MSNBC.com reports that sales of Life & Style went through the roof when the magazine put the “octo-mom” on the cover. Us Weekly also stands to up newsstand sales thanks to a photo exclusive with the “octo-mom.” A Bauer spokesperson declined to comment on the exact sales number, but said the company was “extremely pleased with this cover, and we not only met, but exceeded our rate base.”
Grass courts. Tennis whites. Big ratings.I’m writing about Wimbledon, of course.While NBC saw the marathon men’s final between Roger Federer and Andy Roddick draw the contest’s biggest TV ratings since 2000, other media outlets capitalized on the frenzy, too. Tennis magazine’s Web site Tennis.com, for instance, saw 104,022 unique visitors and 994,250 page views during the four hour and 16 minute match. That’s up almost 25 percent and 55 percent from the epic Federer vs. Rafael Nadal final last year, the magazine said.Over the two weeks Wimbledon took place, Tennis.com saw the number of unique visitors increase 25 percent and page views jump 34 percent over last year. Tennis.com editor James Martin attributed the surge to the “quality and quantity of our reporting. Amid our competitors, we’re the first to post on breaking news and big match results.”Tennis.com better bulk up on bandwidth if Federer goes for his sixth straight U.S. Open championship this fall.
Open-Source SolutionsBattles over open source preferences verge on holy war, and opinions on what’s best vary widely. If you want to get a simple blog up and running fast, WordPress has no equal, says Tom Wolf, senior Web developer for Summit Publishing. “It’s the ‘best’ blogging engine available and while it is technically a CMS and can be extended to do things other than blogging, you will see diminishing returns fairly quickly,” he says. “The more heavily you customize it (in terms of functionality; visually, it’s easy to make WordPress look however you want) the more you’ll find yourself ‘fighting’ with the underlying system.”According to Wolf, Joomla! is in the middle of the three most popular open-source solutions, which also include WordPress and Drupal. “Designed to be a general publishing CMS, Joomla! is still oriented toward a very specific set of workflows which pre-suppose a lot about the way your site does and doesn’t work,” Wolf says. “It also takes more work to set up and configure than WordPress (for a simple site), but that work pays off very quickly because you gain power and flexibility down the line.”Drupal is next on the continuum and much more of a CMS programming framework than just a CMS, Wolf says. It’s on par with Joomla! in terms of complexity to set up, but it has more stringent server requirements. “It’s very easy to store arbitrary content in Drupal, not just sets of blog posts or Web pages, and the way the content arrives in Drupal is manipulated and displayed so that it can be controlled at every step,” he says. “Drupal has a very robust set of modules/plugins/add-ons (as do WordPress and Joomla!) which allow you to add tons of functionality with minimal work.” In 2006, Summit relaunched the sites Packworld.com and Automationworld.com the first time using an open-source CMS (Joomla!). Last year it launched a new Web site called GreenerPackage.com in Drupal and is now in the process of redoing Automationworld.com and Packworld.com in Drupal as well. “Drupal is more of a framework than a CMS, especially compared to Joomla,” says David Newcorn, vice president of e-media, Summit Publishing. “If you have the programming talent, you can make it do pretty much anything a publisher would need to do.”Summit prefers Drupal for its ease of use and scalability, which Wolf says strikes a nice “sweet spot.” “It’s easy enough to set up and the requirements are such that you can run Drupal in a shared hosting environment (what a consumer might buy for a vanity site, for instance), but it’s robust enough that as your usage increases, you can slowly scale up the hardware behind it and it will stand up to millions of views monthly—all with the exact same codebase and essentially the same configuration,” he says.TYP03 was one of the first open source CMS options and is used by publishers such as Menswear site Marketplace.com. “It’s very simple to use and we can change edit on the fly,” said publisher Stu Nifoussi. “We’re not spending a lot of time or money going back to our Web partner GCN and asking them to do things because we can do it ourselves.”With SEO a top priority, publishers are looking for their content management systems to be geared toward user searches using semantics without the search function being overly technical to navigate and to program. “Web CMS allow you to structure sites based on the way people like to search and based on taxonomy, relevant to the semantics of your business or affinities,” Bachana says. “That’s the point of open source—it allows you to do information architecture relevant to your business and leverage functions out of the box.” Cost ComparisonsWhile open-source systems are technically “free” compared to a proprietary software or system, their implementation and support are not. So while a publisher may save on the software cost, they could make up for it in manpower and labor. Publishers also end up paying for any customization to the CMS. “A lot of people look at a CMS like an appliance—a washer or dryer—you put it in and it goes. But it doesn’t work that way,” Bachana says. “A lot of companies take open-source products and try to customize them and all of a sudden they get into all these costs. Lots of hours and then they have to maintain those customizations forever. Once you get into that, it’s a world of pain whether it’s open-source or proprietary. The core challenge of implementing an open-source system today is not having the resources to advance a Web platform.”Publishing content, authoring and managing and delivering content costs between $30,000 to $100,000, depending on how aggressive you get, Bachana says. If you have an edit workflow and a print workflow using InDesign and InCopy, and you integrate them with Drupal or Joomla, if you already know the information architecture, it could cost between $50,000 and $75,000 for a pretty credible job. Open-source systems don’t have licensing fees; the cost is just for the services. MarkLogic runs between $500,000 and $750,000 per project and an enterprise CMS such as Documentum or Nstein costs about $1 million, Bachana says, noting that the proprietary costs cover software licensing, software assurance, and services.Many in this market, especially entrepreneurial publishers, are outsourcing their CMS and workflows to third parties, like their printers. Fry Communications offers what it calls ‘Cloud Publisher Services’—editorial and production workflows that publishers can tap into for a fixed fee based on ‘Software as a Service’ solution. The Proprietary SolutionHanley Wood took a different route when it overhauled its CMS, choosing a commercial Web CMS, SDL-Tridion, because the platform could cost-effectively scale across multiple sites. “It’s important to easily share content across our portfolio of sites and automatically construct and publish content pages,” says executive director of e-media Andreas Schmidt. “The system allows us the flexibility of building individual components and easily configuring components to create new or rearrange existing page layouts. The production environment is fairly intuitive, which allows a larger user pool to publish content and improve time to market.” Hanley Wood also worked with DPCI to integrate its workflows. DPCI helped implement K4 publishing system for Hanley Wood as well as built a gateway to automatically publish articles and images from the K4 editorial system over to Tridion.Next up, Hanley Wood is looking to expand the integration of multimedia components and the deeper integration of related content for improved engagement, according to Schmidt. “Each piece of content is tagged within a highly structured taxonomy, which enables quick and flexible contextual content integration.”Hanley Wood would not comment on the investment cost of its proprietary CMS but Schmidt believes they’ve “seen a good pay-back for its investment.”No matter which route a publisher chooses for its CMS, technology is always changing and users have to change with it. As technology moves, people have to invest in new hardware, new systems and the costs begin to mount,” says Rob Brai, co-founder of Superior Media Solutions (SMS), a production services company. “Today, when you buy software, you have to buy a maintenance agreement to get upgrades and ongoing costs are incurred just to keep systems going.” Embracing XMLThough FOLIO:’s recent survey on manufacturing and production trends showed that less than a quarter of the industry used an XML workflow in 2009, many believe that this is where the industry is heading. “Any time you’re considering assets and content management services, an XML work flow and proper tagging at the onset is critically important,” Grande says. “It becomes the common denominator for all forms of data. I think XML will grow exponentially now that we’re looking at mobile devices and the iPad.”Sina Adibi, CTO of SMS, adds that once content is in the XML format, you can “layer on capabilities and enrich that content. You can make it a living object that keeps evolving over time vs. a PDF that was manufactured and is very static and you have to go upstream to modify it.”Another benefit of the XML workflow is the ability to archive and retrieve data much easier than looking for content stored in a Word document or InDesign file, says Brai. “Once content is in the XML format, you can query on that content much more easily than you can query on content embedded in a Word doc or PDF.”There are some challenges with XML too. “The biggest challenge for managing XML is the creation of a process that fits logically into the overall content creation framework,” says Peter Meirs, vice president of production technologies at Time Inc., which uses an XML workflow that involves the conversion of every published Time Inc. magazine article to its PRISM metadata standard. “We have centralized our XML creation process to ensure consistency of element tagging, the application of taxonomy terms and entity identification across all Time Inc. titles.” The converted articles are used in feeds to content aggregators, syndication partners and to its Web sites. The XML files are ‘output format neutral’ so magazine and original Web content can be easily transformed for presentation on platforms such as e-books and other devices, Meirs says. Digital Asset ManagementToday, most publishers have a separate CMS and digital asset management system. “A number of proprietary systems out there don’t really have digital asset management,” says Bachana, noting that a lot of these companies bought digital asset management companies to provide an integrated solution. “There are a few niche players in the marketplace that have a fully integrated solution into digital asset management product, but at the end of the day, digital asset management is separate.” Some open-source systems will also have light DAM functionality, he notes. But over the next two years, there will be a deeper integration of open-source Web CMS and digital asset management. Open-source DAM is maturing more slowly than Web CMS as those move very rapidly because of high return on investment, Bachana says. “A game changer in the DAM space is that open-source products will mature and be integrated more tightly with open-source CMS, and that’s encroaching upon the proprietary systems,” he adds.BACK TO MAIN PAGE EVERYBODY’S GOT SOME form of content management system these days for multichannel publishing. Some are old legacy systems that work in tandem with new digital workflows. Others are made-to-order proprietary systems that incorporate all the bells and whistles of the latest technologies, and others are pulled off the Web using various open-source technologies. What’s different in today’s economy is the rise of Web content management systems over enterprise solutions.“In this economy we’re not seeing a whole lot of companies go out there and get a big enterprise content management system,” says Joseph Bachana, president and founder of Database Publishing Consultants Inc. (DPCI), a tech services provider (and a Drupal advocate). “I’m seeing them look for a good strategic spend on a solid Web content management system that integrates with a publisher’s current workflow systems in place.” Bachana’s firm recently built a bridge for Time Out New York so people working with the edit system could use its K4 publishing system with Drupal as a Web CMS in real-time.There are plenty of solutions available at different price points and with different features and functions. It all comes down to what you want to accomplish. For a small publisher who wants to take article content, images and video and create an interactive experience for customers online, the open-source systems are fine, Bachana says. “If you’re a small publisher of a local magazine or affinity magazine there’s really nothing you’ll not get out of an open-source product today.”
Dan Cohen AUTHOR Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee, does not plan to sign a final agreement for the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill if it permits DOD to spend $38 billion added to its overseas contingency operations account as a way of eluding the statutory spending caps.“You don’t sign a conference report if you oppose the bill,” Smith told CQ. It is not clear if other Democrats will follow his lead.Smith earlier opposed the annual defense policy bill for the first time in his career when it was on the House floor. The GOP maneuver to sidestep the Budget Control Act caps also has been cited by the White House as one of the primary reasons it would recommend President Obama veto the legislation.Negotiations likely won’t be wrapped up soon, Smith said. “I don’t really think we’re quite close yet,” Smith said.What remains, he said, are a handful of “sticky, intractable issues.” Those include restrictions on DOD’s ability to transfer Guantánamo Bay detainees and language governing interrogations.Smith also praised Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) for helping to hash out compromises on several military personnel issues, which slowed negotiations over the summer.
The city of Concord is postponing its selection of a master developer for the former Concord Naval Weapons Station in northern California until next year, to allow its new city attorney to investigate allegations that one of the two competing firms improperly lobbied council members.The city first postponed the city council’s discussion about the competition late last month after Catellus Development Corp. requested the city investigate its accusations that Lennar Urban had violated the negotiating agreement both finalists had signed. Catellus also asked why city staff failed to recommend a preferred master developer as expected.In early October, the Concord city attorney who had been conducting an investigation into Catellus’ charges died.The process for choosing Catellus Development Corp. or Lennar Urban as the master developer for the first phase of the multimillion-dollar base reuse project will resume next year, said City Manager Valerie Barone, reported the Contra Costa Times.The reuse plan for the 5,046-acre weapons station site calls for residential, commercial and office use clustered around the North Concord BART station with greenways and parks separating neighborhood villages. Almost 70 percent of the property would be open space and recreational facilities. Dan Cohen AUTHOR
John Gibson II, DOD’s first-ever chief management officer (CMO), officially submitted his resignation last week, more than two months after it first was reported he was on his way out for a “lack of performance.” His last day will be Nov. 30, when he will be replaced by Lisa Hershman, the deputy CMO, reports Defense News. “His efforts to streamline processes, establish the department’s Reform Management Group and identify significant savings across the department will pay dividends in FY19,” DOD spokesman Lt. Col. Joe Buccino said in a statement. “Our commitment to bringing business reform to the department remains unwavering and will result in the increased lethality of our force,” Buccino added. … In a letter sent to his Democratic colleagues Thursday, Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) formally announced his bid to run for chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Smith is the panel’s ranking member and almost certainly will secure the gavel. He called for Democrats to pursue more vigorous oversight of the Trump administration and the Pentagon. “Specifically, we must look to eliminate inefficiency and waste at the DOD; boost oversight of sensitive military operations and ensure that the military works to avoid civilian casualties; protect our environmental laws nationwide; advance green technology in defense; take substantial steps to reduce America’s overreliance on nuclear weapons; and promote greater transparency in national security matters,” Smith wrote.DOD photo by Tech Sgt. Vernon Young Jr. Dan Cohen AUTHOR
WILMINGTON, MA — The Wilmington High School Varsity Softball team (4-2) defeated Stoneham by a score of 14-2 on Thursday, April 26 at Town Park in Wilmington.The Wildcats rebounded from shoddy defense in their previous game as well as pounding the ball at the plate.Dana Goulet (double, 2 RBI and 3 runs), Adele Burton (double, 3 RBI and 2 runs), Liz Gordon (RBI and run) and Ryan Bailey (2 RBI and run) all went 2-3 in the contest.Antonia Kieran (2 RBI and 2 runs) and Ally Moran (RBI and 2 runs) had back-to-back triples to end the game by the twelve-run rule.Kayla Bourrell batted lead off today going 2-4 with a stolen base. She also made a heads up play by tagging up and scoring on an infield pop up.Ally Moran had 12 strikeouts and struck out the side in the 3rd and 5th innings.Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedWHS SOFTBALL: Wildcats Lose To Melrose By 1 Run, Storm Back With 12-Run Win Over Greater LowellIn “Sports”WHS SOFTBALL: Wildcats Bats Come Alive, Defat Stoneham HighIn “Sports”WHS SOFTBALL: Wildcats Defeat Greater Lowell Tech & Stoneham, Qualify For State TournamentIn “Sports”
WILMINGTON, MA — Last week, the Wilmington Board of Selectmen unanimously endorsed a plan to improve the intersection at Lowell Street (Route 129) and Woburn Street.The project managers — Town Engineer Paul Alunni and Planning Director Valerie Gingrich — along with the project consultant, TEC, were in front of the board seeking its support in order to move the process forward and apply for state and federal funding.The Problem“This is a heavily trafficked roadway corridor. 30,000 cars every weekday rely on this intersection. It’s one of our busier intersections in town,” said Alunni. “Surrounding the intersection is commercial development built out around three corners and a vacant lot with a project in front of the Planning Board for mixed use.”The project managers highlighted several of the intersection’s current challenges:High volume of trafficLack of turn lanesHigh crash rateLow signal visibility“The single lane in all 4 directions results in longer queue time, but my biggest concern is safety. This intersection has one of the higher crash rates in town and is well above the stage average,” said Alunni. “We’re seeing one crash a month there.”“There’s no overhead lights at this intersection — it’s the only intersection in town like it. There’s only pedestrian level lights,” noted the consultant. “There’s a lack of ADA/AAB compliance for accessible ramps…. The head-in parking and backing into Lowell Street is also an issue.”The SolutionThe consultant summarized several of the project’s goals:Improve transportation safety (61 crashes in past 5 years)Improve traffic control visibilityReduce vehicular delays, which results in driver frustration and contributes to accidentsUpgrade multi-modal features (e.g., pedestrian and bike accommodations)Address accessibility issuesEvaluate opportunities to improve or consolidate business drivewaysThe project calls for left-turn only lanes on all FOUR approaches, a right-turn only lane eastbound on Lowell Street, new OVERHEAD traffic signals, new sidewalks, new crosswalks, new ADA ramps, and new bike lanes.The project already has several positive things going for it — it can be done with no takings; there will be no impacts to wetland resource areas; and the project is ready to begin once approvals and funding are in place. Field surveys along the roadway limits have already been completed, as has a road safety audit with town departments. Portions of the project have already been submitted to MassDOT. Documentation has been submitted to Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization for TIP (Transportation Improvement Program) scoring.The FundingThe project’s design costs — $200,000 — will be covered by the Planning Board’s traffic meditation funds. (These funds came from the recent FedEx project on Ballardvale Street and the upcoming Analog Devices expansion.)The project is expected to cost an estimated $3.4 million. The town is looking both at the federal level (through the Transportation Improvement Program/TIP) and at the state level (MassWorks Economic Development Grants) for funding. On the federal track, the project would be funded and constructed as far out as 2024. The state track would likely be much quicker.Next steps in the process include advance design, as well as review impacts related to widening and options for traffic control. The project’s team will continue to coordinate with utility companies and adjacent property owners. A 25% design submission is expected to be complete in early 2019.Selectmen React“Thank you to whoever thought of being proactive here as this is one of the worst intersections in town. The area around it is getting developed tremendously,” said Selectman Ed Loud. “But this might not happen for another 5 years? That’s another 60 accidents. That’s pretty unacceptable. There’s got to be a better way of getting this F-rated intersection done at a quicker pace.”“We can go to full design a lot quicker than some other projects,” responded Planning Director Valerie Gingrich. “It’s possible we can get to full design quickly and if a project falls off of the TIP list, we may be able to take that spot because we’re ready to go.”“This is the worst intersection in the community. It’s daily traffic has doubled from 15,000 to 30,000 over the past 30 years… It’s sad to hear it’s going to take 5 years for this project to happen,” said Selectman Mike McCoy. “I hope the condos being developed [at this intersection] would contribute something to this project.”“I’m pleased to see you’re seeking state and federal funding for this project,” said Selectman Greg Bendel. “I look forward to reaching out to our delegation to help out with MassWorks. I think this is a much needed project, especially with the uncertain future surrounding the nearby Textron property. Textron has made indications they’re going to be around for another 1-1.5 years. Hopefully this project will alleviate any new businesses that move in there.”In response to a question from Town Manager Jeff Hull, the project consultant assured him that the intersection is accounting for future projects in the area. Alunni noted the opening of the Boston Road Bridge in Woburn will certainly have an impact on traffic in the area, as may whatever is eventually proposed for the old Walpole Woodworkers site on Lowell Street.Selectmen Kevin Caira and Mike McCoy expressed initial concern over the positioning of the bike lane in the project.“Riding bikes in the middle of two lanes is crazy!” said McCoy. “Someone is going to get killed there.”Gingrich responded that MassDOT requires a bike lane.“That’s how they require it. If you have cars turning right at the intersection, you don’t want vehicles turning into the bike lane,” said Gingrich. “That’s why you want it in between lanes, even though it’s strange looking.”Selectmen unanimously supported the project. Selectmen also unanimously asked Alunni and Gingrich to explore seeking a waiver on the location of the bike lane. Selectmen did not want to delay the process, however, over the bike lane.Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email email@example.com.Thank You To Our Sponsor:Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE GETS TO WORK: 20 Building Projects Happening In Town RIGHT NOWIn “Business”WHOA! 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SPRINGFIELD, MA — Lindsay Donahue, of Wilmington, has earned a bachelor’s of science degree in Sports Biology from Springfield College for studies completed in 2019.At the undergraduate commencement on May 19, 695 bachelor’s degrees were awarded. Including the degrees awarded at the graduate ceremony on May 18, a total of 1,265 degrees were awarded over the two days. At the graduate commencement, 522 master’s degrees, one certificate of advanced graduate study, five Doctor of Philosophy degrees, 36 Doctor of Physical Therapy degrees, and six Doctor of Psychology degrees were awarded.About Springfield CollegeSpringfield College is an independent, nonprofit, coeducational institution founded in 1885. Nearly 5,000 students, including 2,500 full-time undergraduate students, study at its main campus in Springfield, Mass., and at its regional campuses across the country. Springfield College inspires students through the guiding principles of its Humanics philosophy – educating in spirit, mind, and body for leadership in service to others.(NOTE: The above announcement is from Springfield College via Merit.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedSTUDENT SPOTLIGHT: 2 Wilmington Students Named To Dean’s List At Springfield CollegeIn “Education”Ferreira & Perry Graduate From Springfield CollegeIn “Education”STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Wilmington’s Lindsay Donahue Receives Springfield College Distinguished Senior AwardIn “Education”
WILMINGTON, MA — Below are some of the newest job openings in Wilmington:Part-Time Merchandise Associate at TJ MaxxFull-Time Press Helper at Smyth CompaniesFull-Time Delivery Driver at Auto Body Supplies & PaintFull-Time Contracts Manager at Interstate Connecting ComponentsFull-Time ABA Classroom Counselor at May InstituteFull-Time Field Service Technician at KomatsuFull-Time Delivery Driver at FedExFull-Time Preschool & Infant Teacher Positions at Tender Learning CenterFull-Time VP of Sales & Marketing at Rudolph TechnologiesFull-Time Principal Electrical Engineer at Symbotic(NOTE: Wilmington businesses — Feel free to send me your job postings at email@example.com.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedNOW HIRING: 10 Job Openings In WilmingtonIn “Business”NOW HIRING: 50 New Job Openings In Wilmington (Week of August 18, 2019)In “Business”NOW HIRING: 10 Job Openings In WilmingtonIn “Business”