Share This!The Roaring Fork quick-service restaurant at Disney World’s Wilderness Lodge is featuring a new seasonal cupcake topped by a cinnamon roll. The cupcake is priced at $5.99.The cake itself is a slightly dry spice cake, a mild blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Within the cake half of the cupcake is a whipped cream cheese filling that is dotted with a few chopped pecans for texture. Together, the cake and the filling make a pleasant snack.Much more problematic is the heap of heavy frosting on top of the cake. I found the frosting akin to slightly sweetened shortening, so heavy that it coats your teeth. My initial bite of the frosting was just after a cast member brought the cake out of the cooler, it improved at bit as it warmed up, but that first bite was cloying.The garnish is some crunchy candy pearls and half a mini cinnamon roll. Both are yummy, but they feel like they’re just stuck onto the frosting, not integrated with the cake at all.Overall, if you take off the thick layer of frosting, this is a nice treat. With the frosting, it’s a brick of fat and sugar.
Imagine a quiet, shady space in the downtown area of a city where you can take a break, sit down near a fountain, relax, and read a book. On a book. That’s what I found when I walked about downtown Ypsilanti, Michigan this weekend. Tucked away next to the Ypsilanti District Library is their park plaza, featuring a beautiful landscaped space with evergreens, shade trees, brightly colored flowers, potted vegetables, and a fountain along with several tables and chairs.As you walk to the back of the park, you’ll find a semi-circle of child seating in the shape of colorful stacked books. Dedicated in 2006, the park plaza was:developed as a downtown oasis, a place where Ypsilanti residents might linger, play chess on game tables, drink coffee, read library materials, and generally enjoy the feel of YpsilantiThe book-shaped seating was created for the special outdoor storytime for children. Only one other person was at the park when I visited; I sat down and enjoyed the shade and the quiet sounds of the fountain. I imagine the plaza is a popular place during the week for downtown workers, residents, families, and children for lunch, games, and reading.If you’ve visited Ypsilanti, have you found your way to the park plaza next to the library?Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like Loading…RelatedPhoto of the Week: 2017 Great Race Rally Race in Ypsilanti, MichiganA sunny Thursday summer evening usually finds me birdwatching at a nearby marsh or park. But not last Thursday when I found myself parking my car on Cross Street in Depot Town and joining hundreds of people gathered to look at classic cars. “Do you know anything about the race?”…In “Car show”Photo of the Week: Backroad Adventure in YpsilantiThis weekend was the perfect fall weekend for people in northern United States who love fall colors, clear blue skies, and warm temperatures. I caught this shot as we were approaching a bend in the road on a backroad in Ypsilanti, Michigan, a nearby city in southeastern Michigan. It was…In “Michigan”Photo of the Week: Muskegon’s Hackley Public LibraryIf you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know I love libraries. Whether to find a new book to read, attend local events, or buy books at the library friends’ used book sale, you can’t keep me away from the library. And when I travel to a new…In “Michigan”
South Africa’s Department of Education is set to launch a Teacher Laptop Initiative that will make teachers permanently employed by the state eligible for a monthly allowance to buy a laptop computer from 1 July. SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material ICT in teaching, learning Minimum specifications A monthly allowance will be paid to qualifying teachers – selected by provincial education departments based on their seniority – for a period of five years, renewable every five years, upon proof of acquiring the computer. The department says in a statement that the initiative is part of its strategy to improve information communication technologies (ICTs) in teaching and learning in South Africa. 1 June 2009 In return, teachers will have to make the laptop available for inspection by education department officials, e-mail the department each month, and allow the principal to verify that the laptop is being used and take a register. Software loaded on the laptop will include Windows XP or higher, Microsoft Office 2007, anti-virus software, school administration and national curriculum software, and teacher development materials. According to minimum specifications set by the department, available in the Government Gazette of 8 May, the laptops must have a 160 GB hard drive, 1 GB of memory, a DVD reader/writer, wired and wireless LAN and a voice-fax modem for internet connectivity. The allowance prices a laptop with the minimum required specifications at about R11 750, comprising R4 000 for the hardware, discounted software at R350, insurance at R1 200 and internet connectivity at R6 000 per annum, which equates to a stipend of about R195 per month.
After a tumultuous 2016 and on the cusp of some major changes in regulations and protections for employees, your workers are undoubtedly looking for some stability from their employer. One of the best ways to demonstrate that is to ensure effective outreach and interaction with employees by being exceptionally responsive, thorough and clear.Whether it’s face to face meetings or written policies in your digital handbook, the quality of the HR team’s communication with employees is one of the main indicators of stability and adaptability. And for many employers, the importance of getting that communication style right raises an absolutely crucial HR question for 2017: to centralize or not to centralize?Rest assured, there is no right answer and there are certainly pros and cons to both approaches. Interestingly, this question is playing out in Silicon Valley, where tech giants like Apple and Amazon are using polar opposite approaches.Apple has a very “unitary” or centralized business strategy, which requires all products, enhancements and software to be approved by various departments before they are rolled out. This results in a clearer, more consistent vision for the company and its strategy, but also substantially limits Apple’s agility and response time. That’s why improvements to the iPhone and the MacBook have been so miniscule in recent years and why Siri, Apple’s artificial intelligence, hasn’t evolved much. Things can move slower when you need buy-in from lots of people.In this regard, Apple’s approach to product development resembles an HR “shared services” platform, in which a central HR department serves many different business units. This can certainly benefit the company in terms of the consistency and/or clarity of its message but without artificial intelligence, the human limitations of the shared services model mean that response times can suffer for sheer lack of bandwidth.So the trend is very much to automate shared services by infusing it with data analytics, “bots” and blending it seamlessly with the Internet of Things (IoT). In other words, your future wellness programs might be run by robots that can track the physical well-being of your employees, and help identify optimal times to assign them creative or analytical work based on predictive productivity.Amazon, on the other hand, uses an entirely different approach to business development, which can best be described as corporate compartmentalization. Rather than require all products to flow through a central product or marketing team – like Apple – Amazon’s different businesses are maintained separately, each with its own managerial hierarchy and balance sheet. That enables product teams to be more flexible and responsive, to develop leadership skills faster and to take ultimate responsibility for the success or failure of their own initiatives.That also enables Amazon to move quickly into new markets and create products like the Echo and services like drone-delivery or an online grocery store without the corporate bureaucracy holding it back. For HR, Amazon’s approach is a lot like having Human Resources Business Partners (HRBPs) to support individual business groups. They know their own people better than shared services would and the HR-to-employee ratio is lower, so their response times should be better. What may suffer is the lack of consistency in approach and nature of responses from different HRBPs depending on location, among other factors.Obviously, which structure works best for your organization is a very personal decision, but choosing the right approach for your business has never been more important. We’re right on the verge of perhaps the biggest sea-change in employment regulations in recent history, meaning there is lots of anxiety and uncertainty out there. And when uncertainty rears its ugly head, the stability of the company and the clarity of its vision for the future will help your employees sleep well at night.International ComplianceIf you ever have trouble “disconnecting” after work ends, you may consider moving to France. A new law in France requires employers with more than 50 employees to establish new procedures to ensure that work does not spill over into days off or evenings. That might involve setting a time each night beyond which employees are no longer expected to reply before the next morning and may also involve negotiating the parameters of after-hours communication with employee unions. The goal of the new law is to mitigate against corporate burnout, which seemingly affects a growing number of individuals in France, despite their 35-hour work weeks and (minimum of) five weeks of annual vacation.Employee burnout is a global issue, evidenced by the recent resignation of the CEO of a Japanese company, Dentsu, after an allegedly over-worked employee committed suicide. Japan’s business culture is extremely pro-employer, so stories of employee burnout are fairly commonplace in Japan. What is notable is the idea of personal responsibility for both children and employees that both parents and business leaders in Japan seem to assume in times of crisis.Domestic DisturbancePresident-elect Trump has threatened General Motors with a “big border tax” if the company proceeds with plans to manufacture the Chevy Cruze in Mexico. Chevy doesn’t actually make the Cruze in Mexico, it makes the Cruze Hatchback in Mexico, which is mostly meant for international markets, but let’s put facts aside for a moment. It’s unlikely that Trump can take unilateral action against GM in the form of an Executive Order, but there actually is some political precedent here. In 1985, President Reagan placed a quota on the import of Japanese cars in order to benefit US automakers. As a result, those same US automakers hiked prices by about $1,000 per car because they knew they wouldn’t face as much foreign competition for their business. The takeaway is that American consumers are going to pay for this one way or the other, regardless of Trump’s threats.On the other hand, Ford is now foregoing plans to build a plant in Mexico, and will instead invest $700 million in a preexisting factory in Michigan, where it will also add about 700 jobs. This is viewed as a vote of confidence in President-elect Trump, and the decision was also hailed by the United Auto Workers union, which has increasingly seen jobs for its workers move overseas.Brick and Mortar BloodbathMacy’s is laying off 10,000 workers and closing 68 retail locations around the US. Sales during the holiday season were disappointing, having fallen by about 2% per year. Macy’s pointed to “changing consumer behavior” (ya think?), and will restructure parts of its business to adapt. Some of the expenses saved will be reinvested into what Macy’s describes as a growing digital business. The layoffs will account for about 7% of Macy’s workforce.Wal-Mart has acquired Zappos competitor ShoeBuy for a cool $70 million in order to bolster its newest online retail offering, Jet.com. ShoeBuy’s catalogue was so large and appealing that Wal-Mart simply couldn’t replicate it at a cost-effective number. Wal-Mart is likely to pursue more of these types of deals, particularly where recreating a business unit would be difficult or where high-margin products or “hard-to-crack” brands prove to be an obstacle.In the ultimate rub-it-in-your-face move, Amazon is opening a brick and mortar bookstore in Manhattan in the exact same location where a Borders Books store (RIP) previously existed. Amazon also has other plans for brick and mortar retail locations including Amazon grocery stores and a new concept store called Amazon Go, which will be devoid of checkout or cashiers. So perhaps it’s not simply that brick and mortar is dying. Perhaps it’s just that Amazon is the apex predator of 21st century retail.How is this song related to HR?In the last edition of HR Intel, we asked you how “You Can Call Me Al” by Paul Simon is related to HR. The story behind this song always cracks me up, but there’s an important HR lesson baked into it as well. In 1986, Simon and his then-wife Peggy were introduced to French composer and conductor Pierre Boulez, who may or may not have been hard of hearing at the time. Upon meeting Paul and Peggy, Boulez called them “Al” and “Betty” respectively, and the social faux pas stuck with Simon enough to write a song about it. Eventually, he blended the perceived slight and embarrassment with a healthy helping of mid-life crisis and produced perhaps his most recognizable solo song.For HR, remember that every interaction with employees, even the seemingly mundane ones in which you mispronounce someone’s name by accident, can come back to haunt you. So choose your words carefully out there. It’s a brave new world.We leave you with “Manic Monday” by The Bangles.Tell us how you think this song is related to HR in the comment section below. Originally published on the XpertHR blog.
Structure is one of my favorite conferences of the year simply because the leading drivers of data center innovation come together for very substantive discussion on how customer use of technology changing. This year, Intel shared its latest assessment of today’s data centers ability to meet the emergence of what has been coined the data services economy and how today’s data center models are insufficient. We charted a new vision of data center disruption and committed to lead, starting with ourselves, the disruption needed to plan for next generation data centers.As the general manager of the cloud service provider business, my goal is to make it easier, cheaper and more efficient for CSPs to build new infrastructure and services. The foundation of our work is ensuring that we’re delivering industry leading products to market that address an expanding set of data center workloads and custom unique use cases. Our work also extends to working with providers to differentiate services based on underlying infrastructure capabilities and creating transparency in service selection and new revenue streams through our Powered by Intel Cloud Technology program.This week at Structure we announced SoftLayer, an IBM company and one of the world’s leading IaaS providers, as one of the newest members of the program. Our collaboration is aimed to expedite cloud service delivery by providing customers the knowledge of underlying Intel platform characteristics running their services to provide insight of the workload performance, along with the ability to access a consistent HW infrastructure for recreating predictable workload performance at any of their datacenters around the world in minutes.We have worked with other providers to optimize the use of our platform features for their targeted workloads leveraging underlying infrastructure capabilities offered by Intel Architecture. For instance, Intel Cloud Technology partner CenturyLink offers Hyperscale high performance server instances designed for web-scale workloads, big data and cloud-native applications. These instances utilize the latest Xeon E5 2600 v2 processors with Intel SSDs, to deliver a superior experience for web-scale architectures built on Couchbase, MongoDB and other NoSQL technologies. Users of the service will consistently see performance at or above 15,000 I/O operations per second (IOPS), significantly better performance than the standard instances offered by CenturyLink, resulting in a measurable increase in time to results.SoftLayer and CenturyLink are just two examples of Cloud providers in the program offering workload-optimized service delivery that yield excellent value to enterprises and differentiation of services to providers.We are happy to expand our global reach with 9 new service providers who recently joined the program: Atea (Norway), beyond.pl (Poland), Chief Telecom (Taiwan), CloudDynamics(US), IDC Frontier(Japan), iLand (US), iWeb (US), and SoftLayer, an IBM company(US) and Techgate, PL (UK). Since January the program has grown to include 35 participants and represents about 65% of IaaS market share.We plan to discuss additional collaborations in more detail later this summer. In the meantime, connect with us for more information about the Powered by Intel Cloud Technology program.
YouTube/CSU Rams AthleticsColorado State guard Antwan Scott’s college career has taken a long, winding road, but he’s not quite done yet. Today Scott, who only played in four games for the Rams last season before missing the rest of the year with a broken foot, received a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA. The reaction from his teammates to the news is absolutely priceless. Scott began his college career at JuCo Ranger College, where he played two years before transferring to Idaho. Before playing for the Vandals, Scott transferred to Grambling State to be closer to family, and averaged 15.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.3 steals for the Tigers in 2013-14. Scott was immediately eligible for Colorado State last season after transferring post-graduation.
zoomIllustration. Image Courtesy: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license Saudi Ports Authority (Mawani) entered the 2019 with a number of major developments taking place at the 9 ports it manages.Mawani has recently launched the integrated shipment scheduling system at King Abdul Aziz port, part of the electronic clearance service. Meant to reduce dual time at Saudi ports, the system includes electronically scheduling an appointment and choosing a carrier, which can save time down to only 17 minutes at the port.Additionally, in line with the pursuit to keep up with new updates and services, Mawani sponsored a cooperation agreement for shipbuilding and repairing at King Abdul Aziz port in Dammam. The agreement was held alongside the Ministry of Transport, between Al Blagha Industrial and International Maritime Industries, a joint venture between a number of leading maritime companies.Among its operational decisions targeting 2030 vision, Saudi Ports Authority has issued the first unified foreign investor permit in the Saudi Ports to carry out the business operations of maritime agencies.The move was made after Mawani’s Board of Directors adopted several regulations licensing. Operating a shipping agency in addition to ship chandlers would “open the door for big business opportunity for foreign companies to establish their owner shipping agencies and serve their ships in all Saudi ports,” the company said.
Nearly a half million people marched in Montreal’s climate strike rally on Sept. 27. Climate change was top of mind in a new Environics poll commissioned by APTN News. Photo: Robbie Purdon/APTNKathleen MartensAPTN NewsA new Environics Research poll shows Indigenous peoples have serious bread-and-butter concerns leading up to the federal election on Oct. 21.They worry about the quality of their drinking water and whether they will have jobs, according to the survey conducted for Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) between Sept. 4 and 12.“More than six in 10 agree their household is struggling economically; this is especially pronounced among Inuit,” says the poll.This is the first Indigenous-specific snapshot of voters in the 2019 campaign, said Sarah Roberton of Environics, which surveyed 1,024 people self-identifying as First Nations, Inuit or Métis.The pollster employed a “mix-mode” of questioning using online and telephone methods. But, because an online survey is not a random probability sample, a margin of error cannot be reported.Most First Nations people live off-reserve, according to 2016 census results. Inuit are mainly in Nunavut and Ottawa, while the Métis are scattered throughout urban and rural Canada.“Indigenous peoples are more pessimistic than optimistic about the economy – a view that is more pronounced in rural areas,” says the poll.Within their own families, there is a lack of consumer confidence (70 per cent say it is a bad time to buy things) and their household is struggling to make ends meet (63 per cent).(Iqaluit, Nunavut where Inuit says the high cost of living and air fare are issues that must be addressed. Photo: Charlotte Morritt-Jacobs/APTN)Among Inuit, who are hamstrung by sky-high rent, air fare and food prices, the biggest concern is cost of living.Those surveyed said the environment and climate change were their top national concerns, followed by government leadership and the economy.The majority (72 per cent) said they intend to vote in the election. But that’s fewer than observed in general public surveys (80-90 per cent).Liberal collapseNotable is the collapse in support for the Liberal party.“One in five are planning to vote Liberal, down from half who reported voting for the Liberals federally in 2015,” says the poll.“A higher proportion (26 per cent) now plan to vote Conservative; the NDP (17 per cent) and the Green Party (16 per cent) are tied for third, while four per cent will vote for another party and one in six (16 per cent) are undecided.”Environics says, considering those who say they could still change their minds, more than half (58 per cent) of Indigenous votes are up for grabs.(Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses the national media in Ottawa to discuss SNC Lavalin. Photo: Mark Blackburn/APTN)Those surveyed placed their change of heart squarely on the shoulders of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.“Indigenous peoples are twice as likely to disapprove as approve of him. Conservative leader Andrew Scheer is also unpopular.”Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh were viewed more favourably, but Scheer was considered the best choice for prime minister (29 per cent), slightly ahead of Trudeau (26 per cent).“The choice of Scheer, May or Singh as best PM tends to be motivated by a dislike of the other options, while Trudeau supporters are more apt to say they really like him.”The survey found the Liberals attract most of their Indigenous support from voters who live on-reserve, while the NDP performed better among First Nations (regardless of location) and women, and less well in rural areas.(Children play in Shoal Lake #40, a community on the Manitoba-Ontario border. Photo: Martha Troian/APTN)Intention to vote Conservative is higher among men and older Indigenous peoples (echoing voting patterns in the general public), but also among Métis and rural residents, the latter of whom are among the most likely to express concerns about the direction of the country and the Canadian economy.For more on the federal election click here: #vote2019APTN commissioned the survey to gather opinions and identify issues most important to Indigenous voters.Environics surveyed 822 Indigenous peoples in the provinces and 202 in the northern territories. The margin of error for the smaller group, it said, is 6.9 percentage points, at the 95 per cent confidence level. (At the analysis stage, provincial and territorial data were combined and weights applied by region, identity, location – urban/rural/reserve – gender and age, to correct for any shortfalls as well as to weight the territories back to their correct population proportion within the national sample of three per cent.)Read the entire poll here: Environics APTN National News Federal Election Poll The poll found opinion divided on whether the country is headed in the right or wrong direction.There was no consensus on the country’s economic outlook, but there was more pessimism (43 per cent say the economy is getting weaker) than optimism (16 per cent say stronger)[email protected]@katmarte
PARIS — Airbus delivered more planes than ever to airlines around the world last year, but orders for new aircraft slumped.In a statement Wednesday, the company said it handed over 800 planes to customers in 2018. That was up from 718 a year earlier, and just behind the 806 delivered by rival Boeing in 2018.However, Airbus said it sold 747 aircraft last year, down from 1,109 the year before — and well below the 893 Boeing planes sold in 2018.Most Airbus deliveries and orders were for single-aisle planes, especially its workhorse A320 family, instead of more lucrative wide-body jets.The head of Airbus’ commercial division Guillaume Faury acknowledged “significant operational challenges” in 2018, without elaborating.Airbus went through a management overhaul last year and is facing multiple corruption investigations.The Associated Press
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The amount of outstanding property taxes in Fort St. John has dropped slightly compared to last year, though the City is still owed over $7.7 million.According to the City’s Finance Director Shirley Collington, the City was due to collect $50.6 million from the 9,323 tax notices that were mailed out in May.At the July 3rd deadline, the City had received 84.7 percent of the taxes owing, leaving $7,731,337.79 still owing. Collington said that the unpaid taxes don’t have a negative financial impact at this time, with the current outstanding taxes having been issued a 10 percent penalty.Any taxes still outstanding after January 1st, 2019 are charged daily compound interest.Collington said that while the $7.7 million in outstanding taxes is lower than last year’s nearly $8.7 million, it is far higher than the amount in 2015 when just under $5 million in property taxes weren’t paid by the City’s deadline.