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$65,000 USDA grant finances strategic marketing for two Randolph companies

first_imgLEDdynamics hired a new employee this week – and they hope to hire more. Despite the economic downturn, this Randolph business, a national leader in energy efficient LED lighting technology, is growing. In part, they credit their success to marketing efforts funded with Recovery Act dollars.Through a $65,000 USDA Rural Development Rural Business Enterprise Grant backed with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, the Randolph Area Community Development Corporation (RACDC) was able to finance marketing services and technical assistance for two Randolph companies – LEDdynamics and the Randolph Farm Stand.LEDdynamics developed the first true LED replacement bulb that fits in a standard fluorescent light. Unlike the billions of fluorescent bulbs in use around the world, the EverLED tubes contain no mercury or lead.  They also last up to five times as long as fluorescent tubes and use 33-percent less power. These and other innovations have put the company on the cutting-edge of the green energy business. What they needed was a way to get the word out.“It’s hard for a small Vermont business to get things out in the tech world,” said Cheryl Gilbert, Chief Financial Officer for the company.With RACDC’s assistance, they were able to work on marketing efforts, which included the creation of a new logo, targeted campaigns, an updated website, and the addition of a marketing manager. Since the grant was obligated in September 2009, the company has seen an uptick in business and added five employees.“To grow at all in this economy is amazing,” said Gilbert, whose company supports 28 technical jobs in this agrarian based rural community.The Randolph Farm Stand has also begun to make changes due to the strategic marketing funding.  One of the big transformations the company made was the adoption of a new name – Chef’s Market – to better reflect their products and services.Chef’s Market is a full service small grocer connecting producers of high quality local produce with consumers who value local agriculture and high quality food. It has established itself as an important community institution in a town with fewer than 5,000 residents. Owners Scott and Tammy Aronson have also recently added a kitchen, deli and dinners “to go,” prepared by Scott, a French chef, whose grandfather once owned a French restaurant in Randolph. The couple hopes to serve a need in the community and bring their offerings to a larger audience.“We’re doing great,” said Tammy Aronson.  “Even with the economy, we’re running really well.”President Obama signed The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 into law on Feb. 17, 2009.  It is designed to jumpstart the nation’s economy, create or save millions of jobs and put a down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges so our country can thrive in the 21st century. The Act includes measures to modernize our nation’s infrastructure, enhance energy independence, expand educational opportunities, preserve and improve affordable health care, provide tax relief, and protect those in greatest need.”President Obama’s Recovery Act has helped create jobs and lay a new foundation for economic growth during the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.  “USDA has used Recovery Act funding to create badly-needed jobs and stimulate local economies, help farmers and rural businesses make it through tough times, ensure that struggling families can put food on the table, and build and revitalize critical infrastructure in rural communities across AmericaFor more information about USDA Rural Development’s * Program in Vermont/New Hampshire contact the *Name Office at *number or visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/vt(link is external), and for information about USDA’s Recovery Act efforts visit www.usda.gov/recovery(link is external).  More information about the Federal government’s efforts on the Recovery Act is available at www.recovery.gov(link is external).             USDA Rural Development’s mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural residents. Rural Development fosters growth in homeownership, finances business development, and supports the creation of critical community and technology infrastructure. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA Rural Development’s web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/vt(link is external).Source: USDA. Randolph, VT, February 17, 2010 —#last_img read more

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‘All we have left is to hope and pray’: Travellers stranded in airport by coronavirus

first_imgTopics : Malaysia has banned foreigners from entering since March 18.”They said ‘you’re going to have to stay here’. We thought maybe they are not being serious, in the beginning,” Azure told Reuters via WhatsApp.Azure said people from Vietnam, Pakistan, and the Philippines were stranded alongside her. Airline staff bring them three meals a day of rice or noodles, and some water. They sleep on makeshift beds fashioned from cardboard and fabric.Azure, who has lived in Thailand for the past seven years and runs a hostel on Koh Tao island, said she cannot afford to buy a $3,000 ticket to Russia, where she has no friends or family. Russian hostel manager Valerie Azure has spent the past three nights sleeping on the floor of a Malaysian airport along with her young son, after Southeast Asian nations sealed borders and cancelled flights in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.Azure, 31, said more than a dozen people were stranded with her in the international airport in Kuala Lumpur, among hundreds marooned across the globe, according to media reports, as the virus plays havoc with travel plans.After several weeks volunteering in a community center for Afghan refugees in Malaysia, Azure said she and her nine-year-old son boarded an AirAsia flight for Thailand on Monday but were sent back after officials asked for blood tests proving they were free of the virus.center_img They were planning to stay until the end of Malaysia’s ban on foreign entries, on March 31, but it has since been extended until April 14. The Russian embassy told her they may be taken to an immigration detention center, she said.Taken care of A Malaysian airport spokeswoman said AirAsia had informed them Azure was working with her embassy to find a solution.”Please be rest assured that AirAsia is taking good care of their welfare and providing them sufficient meals during this difficult period,” she said.AirAsia did not return a request for comment by Reuters.Immigration department director-general Khairul Dzaimee Daud said in a text message they were looking into the case.Azure said her son had been despondent since security officials confiscated his only toy, a ball.”They said ‘This is an airport and not a playground’. It was his only entertainment… Now he’s just sitting there, I’m trying to keep him busy, to play games.”She worries about them falling sick in the airport.”I don’t know how safe it is… All we have left is just to hope and pray.” last_img read more

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Delta Lloyd pension fund cuts swaps to reduce couterparty risk

first_imgThe €2.8bn pension fund of insurer Delta Lloyd has reduced its interest swap holdings, as their increasing value posed “substantial counterparty risk” to the scheme.Director Theo Krekel, delivering the pension fund’s 2014 annual report, said: “As interest rates continued to slide, the swaps’ value at year-end even exceeded their level in January.”As a consequence, he said the scheme was still looking for the “right long-duration bonds” to further reduce the size of its swaps holdings, which accounted for approximately 8% of assets, as of the end of last year. Initially, the Delta Lloyd Pensioenfonds increased government bonds while extending the duration of its existing holdings in government paper, to offset the hedge reduction following the divestment of swaps. Last year, the pension fund switched from a fixed 90% interest hedge to a dynamic one – covering 85-95% of the interest risk drawn from the swap curve – through a combination of fixed income investments and swaps.Delta Lloyd attributed the annual return of 27.7% in 2014 chiefly to the effect of falling interest rates on its 71% matching portfolio.This portfolio, which produced a return of nearly 34%, outperformed its benchmark by 5.6 percentage points. By contrast, the scheme’s return portfolio, consisting of equities and real estate, returned 8.8% over the period, underperforming its benchmark by 2.1 percentage points. Equities returned 10.2%, underperforming by 2.3 percentage points. The pension fund cited depreciation in investments funds covering parking garages, offices and retail property as the cause of the 2.2% loss on its 2% property allocation. Delta Lloyd reported asset management and transaction costs of 0.12% and 0.10%, respectively, and attributed the 7-basis-point increase in the latter to the reduction of its swaps holdings.Because the pension fund’s contracts for pensions provision and reinsurance are due to expire at year-end, it indicated it was “considering its future”.It suggested that extending its reinsurance contract was likely to be an “unattractive” option, given the expected high costs resulting from low interest rates. The official policy funding at the Pensioenfonds Delta Lloyd stands at 130.1%, equating with a coverage in real terms of 95%.At year-end, the pension fund had 4,310 active participants, 5,495 deferred members and 3,380 pensioners.last_img read more

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IMCA Late Model national crown and rookie award go to Dumpert

first_imgHe’s the third Nebraska driver to win the national IMCA Late Model title, following Kyle Berck (1996) and Jason Friesen (2000) to the top of the podium. Starts 22                   Wins 9                Additional Top Five’s 11 Video sharing platform YouTube helped Dumpert prepare for first-ever outings at all four Iowa speedplants. Dumpert won nine of 22 starts in becoming the first driver in division history to achieve those feats in the same season. HIS SPONSORS: Safranek Racing of Merna; Donrich Machine and Driveline of McCool Junction; Extreme Automotive of York; Audie with Swartz Race Cars, Minford, Ohio; Trotter Fertilizer, Trotter’s Tire Pro, Arrow Aviation and LB Thoroughly, all of Broken Bow; Doran Post and Associates Inc. of Lexington; Progressive Fertilizer of Callaway; LG Pumping LLC of Osmond; Spanel Engines of Lincoln; ACG Ag Consulting Group; Channel; DeKalb Hybrids; and BSB Manufacturing of Wellington, Kan. “I want to race with 20 other cars. I like the challenge. That’s the fun part,” he continued. “I got second the next night racing against a lot of good drivers. That was my favorite weekend of the season. We raced the best of the best and came out decent.” Dumpert won four times at Boone County and five times at Junction, venues that rank among his favorites, along with U.S. 30 Speedway in Columbus because of their respective configurations and predictably well prepared racing surfaces. “We raced to have fun. We weren’t really trying for the national deal until there was about a month to go in the season,” he added. “Then we looked at the points and thought ‘Holy cow, we might have a chance.’” “Picking a highlight of the season is tough,” Dumpert said, before settling on the weekend that took him to Marshalltown and Davenport. “I made the trip with my girlfriend for the first time, started 18th (at Marshalltown) and finished second. That was the most fun I had in a race all year.” Dumpert was a fan of Friesen during his racing career and credits Berck with getting him into a Swartz Chassis. The York, Neb., driver found success on the road as well in 2019, and earned both national championship and rookie of the year honors as a result.center_img Cory Dumpert drove to both IMCA Late Model national championship and national rookie of the year honors this season. He is pictured with Speedway Motors President Clay Smith at left and IMCA President Brett Root at right. (Photo by Bruce Badgley, Motorsports Photography) He’ll bring first-hand experience with him when he returns in 2020. YORK, Neb. – New IMCA Late Model sanctions close to home meant new opportunities this season for Cory Dumpert. He won at both Albion and McCool Junction on the final weekend and finished outside the top five just twice all season. Dumpert ventured east to battle his Iowa competition four nights on their home tracks, running second at Marshalltown and Davenport, then posting third and fourth-place finishes later in the season at Dubuque and Maquoketa. “Next year the plan is to do Thursday-Saturday and Friday-Sunday swings in Iowa and race with that good competition over there,” he said. “We’re gearing up to make racing in Iowa a more frequent thing.” Dumpert had started racing go-karts, working his way up to hobby stocks and street stocks before moving into a Late Model in 2012. HIS CREW: Parents Cary and Debbie, brother Kyle, girlfriend Lindsey Roan, Kevin Safranek, Adam Fowler, Evan McIntyre and Edward Pritchard. “I thought we were pretty successful for never having been to any of those tracks before,” he said. “We did a bunch of YouTubing on the way there. You can learn who’s who, what’s what and how the track goes.” “We had started traveling last year and were successful in Kansas. We talked about racing IMCA this year because it was right in our back yard. It definitely turned out better than we expected and it means a lot to us to have accomplished what we did,” said Dumpert, also the track champion at Boone County Raceway and Junction Motor Speedway, and the top driver in E3 Spark Plugs Nebraska State standings.last_img read more

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