Vermont House passes consumer protection bill

first_imgThe Vermont House of Representatives yesterday passed H. 254, a bill to protect Vermonters against deceptive business practices. The practices outlawed in H.254 include, misleading consumers into authorizing on-going credit card charges, adding unwanted charges to residential or business phone bills, and out-of-state companies masquerading online as a Vermont florists.‘Businesses actively attempting to perpetrate scams on Vermonters is simply unacceptable,’ said Speaker Shap Smith. ‘This bill will outlaw a number of the unscrupulous strategies some out-of-state companies use, as well as strengthen the security of the state’s personal information database.’The key components of H. 254 include:Protection against Misleading Business Practicesâ ¢ Phone Bill Cramming: The bill makes it illegal to charge consumers for goods or services in a phone bill unless they are explicitly authorized; legitimate supplemental phone bill charges are still protected.â ¢ Discount Membership Charges: The bill requires that consumers be notified of their right to cancel membership, requires periodic reminder notifications that the consumer is subscribed and prohibits membership programs lasting longer than 18 months.â ¢ Masquerading: The bill will make it an unlawful and deceptive act to advertise as a ‘local’ or ‘Vermont’ florist if the business isn’t currently located in Vermont. This will protect both consumers and the Vermont florist industry, which is threatened when revenue is siphoned to out-of-state online-order flower businesses.Notification of Security Breachesâ ¢ In the event of a security breach’when consumers’ personal data is lost or stolen’the bill requires the data collector to notify the Vermont Attorney General. Consumers already receive mandatory notification, but notifying the Attorney General will improve law enforcement’s capacity to act on the security breach.Information Technology Securityâ ¢ Strengthens the security of data held by state-level agenciesâ ¢ Clarifies that the Agency of Administration is responsible for Information Technology Security regimens.The bill passed the House unanimously. It now heads to the Senate for consideration.Source: Speaker’s office. 3.30.2011last_img read more

8 signs you have a credit card problem

first_img 17SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr by: Kimberly J. Howard, AdviceIQCredit troubles often begin inconspicuously, yet there are signs all along the way before they become unmanageable. Being alert to these warnings allows you to make the necessary changes to prevent a future of financial worries.Having a credit card isn’t bad when you use it for the right reasons. It serves as a bridge to better things and establishes a credit history, which helps you make big purchases such as a home or a car.Unfortunately, the “spend first, pay later” option is a slippery slope that leads to serious credit problems. They can happen to people of every age, income level and social status.Many signs are obvious to conscientious consumers, but life can sometimes become so hectic that you push them aside for later. Only later never comes.The sooner you admit that you have credit problems, the sooner you are able to fix them. Neglect the issue and you may end up with accounts in collections, purchases repossessed, eviction and bankruptcy. continue reading »last_img read more

Use it or lose it marketing budget: It’s not over til the ball drops

first_imgThe clock is ticking on 2019 and there are a few things that should be top-of-mind within your organization. If you’re not strategizing about how to use what’s left of your 2019 budget, start redirecting your awareness now.We get it, strategizing around budget might not be your favorite meeting to rally. There’s a chance you’re unsure of the smartest and most impactful way to invest those dollars. There’s a genuine sense of urgency, though. If you leave money in your budget on the table, you risk having your budget reduced for 2020 because, hey – you didn’t need it.But you do need it, so let’s talk about how to use it rather than lose it.Starting to make a plan is simple, look at what you’ve actually got. Get clear on what you have left to spend.Then, ask yourselves where those funds would have the biggest ROI as you make the final push. Don’t be afraid to think ahead, though. This doesn’t mean that the best usage of those funds is in 2019. The smartest way to spend might be for a 2020 initiative, but you can make the payment now.For the end of 2019, the name of the game is to maximize. Now is the time to check back in with the vendor relationships you resourced this year and see what specialty programs they have to offer that could make a bang out of your buck. Capitalize on the fact that everyone has a quota to meet and every company wants that last bit of growth spurt that places their year-end higher than the previous year.We see a lot of Credit Unions encounter some common pitfalls when it comes to the year-end budget. Here’s what to be careful and aware of:Don’t leave funds on the table. This tells the C-Suite that you may not need as high of a marketing budget next year and you risk having your resources slashed. Because let’s be honest, marketing is always the first thing to go – so let’s not provide more ammunition.Be smart about your investments. Don’t spend your remaining budget on purchases like promotional items when it could be spent on getting you a pre-pay discount on print, design, or strategy, or used to build a foundation for your 2020 marketing (i.e. turnkey data platform) – something that will actually give you a return on your investment or set you up with tools and future resources for years to come.Stay focused. It’s easy to get lazy in the home stretch. Fire up those engines and do some research. Data is a phenomenal place to invest your budget so that you can make informed choices and build strategies from that priceless insight. Use what you have left – time, money, energy – to arm yourself with knowledge. Consider spending unused marketing dollars on building/obtaining a Member Insights Report to summarize your members wants needs and behavioral trends. Or perhaps you can utilize funds to develop a member journey map or conduct a consumer segment analysis.Bottom line – it’s not over till the ball drops. Rally your team, put your heads together, and approach the rest of 2019 + budget with the same enthusiasm as when the year is new. 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Hilary Reed Hilary Reed, founder of EmpowerFi, is an innovative thought-leader who has been involved in various aspects of strategic sales and marketing for 15 years. Her career began in 2000 when … Web: www.empowerfi.org Detailslast_img read more

Stacey Abrams draws credit and praise as Biden inches ahead in Georgia.

first_imgStacey Abrams, who earlier this year was on a short list of potential vice-presidential candidates, was ultimately not chosen by Joseph R. Biden Jr. But on Friday, as Mr. Biden took a narrow lead in Georgia, it was Ms. Abrams who was celebrated, a sign of her remarkable ascent as a power broker since her failed bid for governor of that state two years ago.Celebrities, activists and voters across Georgia credited Ms. Abrams with moving past her loss — she came within 55,000 votes of the governor’s mansion — and building a well-funded network of organizations that highlighted voter suppression in the state and inspired an estimated 800,000 residents to register to vote.- Advertisement – Still, Democrats in the state were jubilant.- Advertisement – “You have to build the infrastructure to organize and motivate your base, and you have to persuade people,” said Jason Carter, a Democrat who was the party’s candidate for governor in 2014. “Stacey built that infrastructure, and Donald Trump’s presidency energized that infrastructure, and it opened up voters to persuasion who were previously not open, particularly in the suburbs.”Mr. Biden pulled ahead of President Trump in Georgia, a state that has not elected a Democratic presidential candidate in nearly three decades, and maintained a slight lead throughout Friday. He was up about 4,100 votes Friday evening with more than 98 percent of the ballots counted. Because of the small margin, the secretary of state confirmed there would be a recount. Ms. Abrams declined to comment on Friday. But in a tweet, she wrote, “My heart is full.” And she cited the work of other activists. “Georgia, let’s shout out those who’ve been in the trenches and deserve the plaudits for change.”If Mr. Biden holds onto his slim lead in Georgia, her profile is likely to grow. – Advertisement –last_img read more

Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot on ‘Covid fatigue,’ stay-at-home advisory

first_imgChicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot told CNBC on Friday that she understands people are growing weary of coronavirus restrictions, but she urged the city’s residents to comply with her stay-at-home advisory in order to prevent additional deaths from Covid-19.A day earlier, Lightfoot issued a 30-day advisory for the country’s third-largest city, which asks residents to leave their homes only for work, school and essential trips such as seeking medical care and grocery shopping, for example. It also called on people to avoid having guests in their homes and avoid traveling, especially for Thanksgiving. The city also imposed restrictions to limit gatherings to 10 people. Both announcements go into effect Monday.- Advertisement – Illinois on Thursday set a record for average daily cases, with 11,829, according to a CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins University data. That is up roughly 55% compared with a week ago. Illinois is one of 30 states that currently have a record-high average of daily cases.In Chicago, its rolling case average is just over 2,000 per day, which is up 40% compared with a week ago, according to the city’s website. Its seven-day average of positive tests — a key indicator of whether a local outbreak is intensifying — is now 14.5%. A week earlier, it was 11.1%.Illinois’ seven-day average of Covid-19 hospitalizations is 4,585, per CNBC’s analysis of data from the COVID Tracking Project, which is run by journalists at The Atlantic. While that is not an all-time high, hospitalizations are up 32% compared with a week prior.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – “Really, the most startling piece of information that motivated us to issue this advisory and the other components is, if we do nothing between now and the end of the year, we’re likely to lose 1,000 Chicagoans to death,” Lightfoot said Friday on “Closing Bell.” “That’s not acceptable.”Lightfoot’s advisory comes as state and local officials across the United States take steps to ramp up public health restrictions in response to the country’s worsening Covid-19 outbreak. Public health experts have warned the epidemic will only get worse without interventions to slow transmission.“We’re saying to folks, ‘Look, we know you’ve got Covid fatigue. We know that you’re tired of the different restrictions, but we must do this for you, for your family, for your loved ones and the entire city of Chicago,’” Lightfoot said.- Advertisement – Rush University Medical Center in Chicago is so far “doing OK” at managing hospital capacity during the current uptick and can take on more Covid-19 patients, its CEO, Dr. Omar Lateef, told CNBC earlier Friday. However, Lateef cautioned that health-care systems can become overwhelmed “so rapidly and so dramatically,” a problem being experienced in some parts of the United States such as Utah.“For today, we feel good. We have capacity. We have the ability to surge,” Lateef said on “Squawk on the Street.” “We have the ability to increase beds as our community dictates, and we have the experience of the past to make sure that we’re ready to do that.”If coronavirus transmission in Chicago does not slow, Lightfoot said, additional measures may have to be taken. “We may have to get to a point where we do a stay-at-home order as opposed to an advisory,” she said. “But psychologically … that’s a big step for folks. They’re tired. They’re angry. They’re frustrated, so we’re hoping we can educate them into compliance.”She stressed the importance of avoiding indoor congregate settings, where the virus can transmit more easily.“Where we’re seeing a lot of our case growth is in these private settings. People let their guards down at homes. They’re going to weddings and funerals, and they’re also still having parties,” Lightfoot said. “Now, don’t get me wrong, we’re seeing it really across the board everywhere, but these private settings is really the toughest thing to regulate.”— CNBC’s Nate Rattner contributed to this report.last_img read more

Former UK regulator clashes with TPR over trustee qualifications

first_imgTitcomb defended the regulator’s current approach to trustee education, which sets out a minimum level of knowledge required from all trustees, and distanced herself from the notion of greater training.“We would run the risk of struggling even more to attract good lay trustees if we were to introduce mandatory qualifications for everybody,” she said.The new chief executive, however, did highlight TPR surveys that found schemes chaired by professional trustees were better administered and asked whether that warranted closer inspection.Galvin, for his part, likened the tasks facing trustees to decisions made by the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee and said they faced the challenge of dealing with “complex” financial engineering and capital structure problems.“That’s a meaty role, isn’t it?” he asked. ”The qualifications for that role must be enormous. The bar must be set very high, [and] that role must have a very high status.“Well, I guess in some places it does, but in a lot of places it’s well-meaning amateurs, time-conflicted, without adequate training, put together with some utterly conflicted and time-limited executives, sprinkled with a few professionals and a regulator looking over the shoulder.”He said the industry dealt with the problem by outsourcing responsibility to the consultancy industry.“If we want DB done properly,” he said, “it should be about putting responsibility into the hands of people who can make these judgements and run these institutions as they should be run, and that’s what members are due.”The Irish regulator’s suggestion that greater training would be required was not warmly received by the Irish Association of Pension Funds, which warned that it risked “group think” among trustees. The Dutch regulator, meanwhile, has imposed a number of rigorous checks for members of pensions boards that the industry previously warned could require the sector to draw on foreign experts to meet requirements. The former head of the UK’s pensions regulator has clashed with his successor over the need for professional trustees on pensions boards.Bill Galvin, now chief executive of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), spoke of the need for greater professionalism on trustee boards when asked which single change he would force through to improve outcomes for defined benefit (DB) schemes.Speaking at the National Association of Pension Funds annual conference, Galvin said the result of the industry being honest about the level of knowledge required from trustees would be “revolutionary” and questioned why “well-meaning amateurs” were still members of boards.His comments come the day after Lesley Titcomb, Galvin’s successor as chief executive of the Pensions Regulator (TPR), questioned whether the UK should follow the Netherlands and Ireland in setting or considering mandatory training and qualification standards.last_img read more

Programmed, Atlas form Australia, New Zealand JV

first_imgOffshore workforce providers Programmed and Atlas professionals have formed a marine services joint venture in Australia and New Zealand.Programmed, which provides staffing, maintenance and facility management services, on Monday said the execution of agreements relating to the formation of a 50/50 marine services joint venture in Australia and New Zealand with Atlas Professionals, a Dutch provider of global staffing services to the offshore oil and gas industry, had been completed.As part of these agreements, originally announced in May, Programmed has sold Atlas 100% of its international marine activities and 50% of its Australian and New Zealand marine services business for $7.5 million cash up-front and $21.5 million in a vendor finance arrangement (value of transaction is $29 million). Programmed’s vendor finance will carry 5% interest.“Atlas will bring to the Australia and New Zealand joint venture, opportunities with its global customers, which will enable the marine business to enjoy the benefits of operating as a global enterprise,” Programmed said in a statement.In a separate statement on Monday, Atlas Professionals said business would operate as usual for the Programmed Marine teams in Houston, Aberdeen, Singapore and Dubai, as well as the joint venture for the Australian and New Zealand marine manning services, and that all recent points of contact in those offices would remain the same.last_img read more

Critic and Seabass impress

first_img The Willie Mullins-trained Make Your Mark was the 4-6 market leader for his seasonal reappearance on the strength of some smart novice form last term, with Dermot Weld’s Rock Critic next best at 9-4 after winning on his hurdling bow at last year’s Galway Festival. The two disputed the running, but it was clear before the home turn that Robbie McNamara was travelling far better and Rock Critic eased clear once straightened up for home, safely negotiating the last couple of obstacles to seal victory by three-and-a-quarter lengths to make it two from two over timber. Rock Critic was an impressive winner of the Racegoer’s 25 Euros Package Hurdle at Fairyhouse as last year’s John Smith’s Grand National third Seabass made a fine return to action in second place. Ted Walsh’s Seabass ran a tremendous race on his first appearance since his superb Aintree performance last spring. The 10-year-old was predictably outpaced over this two-mile trip, but stayed on strongly in the straight to grab the runner-up spot from a rather disappointing Make Your Mark. Rock Critic was cut to 12-1 by Stan James for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, but Weld warned he was not a certain starter at Cheltenham. The trainer said: “He did what I thought he would do. He knows his job and he jumps well. He would much prefer better ground. “We’ve no definite plan – we’ll speak to the owners. He’s entered in Cheltenham but at the moment I see him as a Punchestown/Fairyhouse horse. “We didn’t plan to get there so soon, but his jumping took him there – he jumped like a stag.” center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

Zebo shines in Munster win

Simon Zebo and Ger Slattery scored two tries apiece as Munster defeated Zebre to move back to the top of the RaboDirect PRO12. Press Association Irishman Zebo will hope his first-half brace convinces Joe Schmidt to give him an RBS 6 Nations call-up, while Slattery’s maiden PRO12 scores sandwiched Tommy O’Donnell’s 70th-minute bonus-point effort. Zebre’s first ever visit to Musgrave Park was marked by Tommaso D’Apice’s try in the 12th minute, but Munster built a 15-5 half-time lead despite a stop-start performance. Hanrahan converted and Felix Jones was called back for a forward pass from Zebo, who was on his toes throughout as he looked to impress the Irish management. There were a couple of near misses as marauding forwards Stander and Billy Holland were hauled down in the visitors’ 22, and Zebo then evaded Kameli Ratuvou’s grasp to glide over in the right corner. Hanrahan missed the difficult conversion, ending his run of 19 successful place-kicks in a row, but Munster were beginning to find some rhythm at 15-5 up. Former All Black Leonard raced into Munster territory to set up an early Palazzani penalty which closed the gap back to seven points. There were few incidents of note during a substitution-filled third quarter, and it was only after Van Schalkwyk saw yellow for infringing close to the Zebre line that Munster zoned in on the bonus point. A powerful lineout maul did the trick as Slattery was driven over in the 62nd minute and Keatley converted for a 22-8 scoreline. South African Stander, the man of the match, then took a quick tap in the 70th minute and a swift recycle from the ruck saw his back-row colleague O’Donnell squeeze in for the bonus-point try. Keatley again added the extras and his final and most difficult kick of the night was also on target, as he converted after Duncan Williams put fellow replacement Slattery over by the corner flag. A Guglielmo Palazzani penalty kept the Italians in the hunt before Munster touched down twice while Zebre captain Andries van Schalkwyk was in the sin-bin. Rob Penney’s league leaders added a fifth and final try when replacement hooker Slattery crossed in the right corner with a minute left. Munster took a while to get going and the Italians stunned the Cork crowd with a high-quality opening try. Giovanbattista Venditti, a late inclusion on the left wing, slipped past two tacklers and handed off CJ Stander before passing for hooker D’Apice to dive over in the left corner. The conversion was put wide by Palazzani, who donned the number 10 jersey due to the pre-match withdrawal of Ruggero Trevisan. Munster closed the gap to 5-3 on the quarter hour when JJ Hanrahan punished Zebre lock George Biagi for a side-entry call. Donncha O’Callaghan had an earlier-than-expected introduction on a night when he overtook Ronan O’Gara’s appearance record for the club. The lock’s 241st appearance arrived in the 18th minute when he came on for the injured David O’Callaghan. The hosts began to click into gear in the second quarter and following an Ian Keatley-inspired break in the middle, there were numbers wide on the left where Zebo spun away from Brendon Leonard to score in the corner. read more

MDI boys endure long wait, beat Ellsworth behind 3-point shooting

first_imgELLSWORTH — After a six-day wait that included a weather postponement, the Mount Desert Island boys’ basketball team was ready to play. Unfortunately, the ceiling wasn’t.It was 6:45 p.m., and MDI’s road game against Ellsworth was scheduled to be starting in 15 minutes. Instead, the custodial staff at Ellsworth High School was busy putting a giant tarp over the southeast corner of Katsiaficas Gymnasium. The ceiling was leaking water everywhere, and the junior varsity game hadn’t even started yet.All Justin Norwood’s Trojans wanted to do was take the floor. After a rough stretch in which the former Class B North leaders had lost three out of four games, MDI was desperate to show it could bounce back in time for the playoffs.It took 90 minutes of JV ball and another 20 for Ellsworth’s Senior Night ceremony, but MDI finally got its chance and made the most of it.This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textMDI shot 12 of 23 from 3-point range to beat Ellsworth 74-37 in the regular season’s final game Friday. The win gave the Trojans a season sweep of the Eagles.“The past two weeks or so, they’ve certainly challenged our team,” Norwood said. “We needed to get our step back for the playoffs, and with a crowd like this in a big rivalry game, this was the time to do it.”Riley Swanson had the hot hand for MDI (15-3) in the first quarter. The senior made three 3-pointers, and Russell Kropff, Derek Collin, Aaron Snurkowski and Graham Good also scored to give the Trojans an eight-point advantage. MDI’s Andrew Phelps and Gus Reeves scored six each for MDI in the second to help them to a 33-15 lead at the break.The second half was much of the same, though Ellsworth’s injuries caught up with it. The Eagles were already missing Trent Mahon after an ankle injury last Wednesday, and star senior Bryce Harmon, who suffered one Tuesday but was not about to miss his chance to start on Senior Night, had to sit out the second half with ice on his leg.On the court, the third and fourth quarters belonged to MDI’s Mac Shea, who scored each of his 11 points in the second half to put the game out of reach. Seven of Shea’s points came in a fourth-quarter run that saw MDI score 22 to send the green half of the gymnasium wild.Shea and Swanson both scored 11 points for MDI, and Phelps added nine. Zach Harris led Ellsworth 11 with points.Even though the Trojans had to wait five days, one additional day because of Thursday’s snowstorm and another hour and a half to get the bad taste of the previous two weeks out of their mouths, a shooting performance like this made the wait worth it.“It was a complete game from us all around, and we kept it up even as it was late in the fourth quarter,” Norwood said. “We had been ready to get back out on that court because we knew we were better than we’ve playing. The players out there, every single one of them delivered tonight.”The win gives MDI the No. 2 seed in the Class B North tournament. Depending on what happens in the preliminary round, MDI will face either Belfast or Houlton in the quarterfinals.“Both of those teams are teams who can beat us if we’re not on our game,” Norwood said. “They’re probably a bit better than their records show, and it’s the playoffs now. Everyone you face is going to give it everything they got.”Ellsworth faced Presque Isle (13-5) on the road Tuesday. Presque Isle won both games against the Eagles in the regular season. MPA approves golf, XC, field hockey, soccer; football, volleyball moved to spring – September 10, 2020 Latest Posts Mike MandellMike Mandell is the sports editor at The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander. He began working for The American in August 2016. You can reach him via email at mmandell@ellsworthamerican.com. Ellsworth runners compete in virtual Boston Marathon – September 16, 2020center_img Latest posts by Mike Mandell (see all) Bio Hospice volunteers help families navigate grief and find hope – September 12, 2020last_img read more