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DUFFY'S CULTURAL COUTURE
Thursday, 7 January 2016
Promoting the Wrong People Creates Disaster
Topic: COMMUNITY INTEREST


 

 
 
 
Promoting the Wrong People Creates Disaster
 
 
 
 There is a huge amount of focus on hiring the right people in most organization, but an area that is just as important yet often gets little attention, is promoting. Time and time again leaders who may be great at hiring, marginalize their leadership by promoting the wrong people. In fact, promoting the wrong person can result in even worse repercussions than hiring the wrong person. The main reason?

It’s effect on the team

Hiring the wrong person generally impacts a small part of the organization. You also have ways of recovering from it through extra training, flexibility in duties, or just hiring someone else if it comes to that. When you promote the wrong person into a leadership role, it has a far wider effect on the organization and can have disastrous effects. Nowhere is that more apparent than the effects it has on your team:

Insulting – Your best people generally want to move forward in their careers. They want the recognition, the development and the money that goes along with it as well. They have a lot invested in seeing that promotion from a practical and emotional perspective. When you promote an inferior candidate over them that emotion can easily take over and result in them being insulted. The feeling is that you do not recognize, appreciate or care about their efforts.

Lack of Trust – If they feel that you have made the wrong decision on something as important as selecting leaders, then how many other poor decisions have you made? This may put the first crack in the foundation of trust and as they take a closer look at past and present decisions from the emotional standpoint noted above more cracks are likely to be created (rightly or wrongly).

Productivity – With the demoralizing feeling of being insulted and the creation of a lack of trust it opens the door to sometimes dramatic productivity decreases. If they feel that their hard-work isn’t being recognized or rewarded, then they may wonder why they should bother to put forth the effort. Couple this with the fact that you now have an inferior leader in your department and you have the worst of both situations: a poor coach and poor players.

Turnover – The final and costliest result of poor promoting is when team members decide to leave because they feel they have better prospects elsewhere or they have lost faith in your leadership. This costs you in losing their expertise, shaking up the team dynamic, the time and money to hire a new person, and the time and effort to train the new person

The first key to stopping this is of course to promote the right people. Focusing on getting a clear understanding of the role you are promoting into, the skills required to be successful, and not bowing to outside pressure from people who aren’t as informed as you. The second, and most important thing, is to talk it through with each of the candidates who did not get the promotion. You may be lucky enough to have several great team members who would do well in the role, but you could only choose one. It’s important that they know what went into your decision and where they need to improve so that they get the next promotion. You don’t need to justify your decision; you simply want to be transparent with them so that they don’t mistakenly go down the road noted above.

So take your promotions just as seriously, if not more seriously, than your hiring decision. Their impact on your existing operation can be immense.


Posted by tammyduffy at 7:24 PM EST
Monday, 4 January 2016
Acts of Kindness Gone Awry in 'Arsenic and Old Lace' at MCCC’s Kelsey Theatre Jan. 22 to 31
Topic: ART NEWS


 

 
 Acts of Kindness Gone Awry in 'Arsenic and Old Lace' at MCCC’s Kelsey Theatre Jan. 22 to 31
 
 

Introducing the Brewsters, from left, Aunt Abby (Linda Cunningham), Teddy (Kevin Hallam), Jonathan (Eric McDonough) and Aunt Martha (Liz Wurtz)

 

 
 
Never take candy from strangers. Or, as is the case in “Arsenic and Old Lace,” beware of elderberry wine offered by sweet, little old ladies. M&M Productions brings this American comedy classic to the stage at Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC’s) Kelsey Theatre on Fridays, Jan. 22 and 29 at 8 p.m.; Saturdays, Jan. 23 and 30 at 8 p.m.; and Sundays, Jan. 24 and 31 at 2 p.m. 

Kelsey Theatre is located on the college’s West Windsor campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road. A reception with the cast and crew follows the opening night performance on Jan. 22. 

Welcome to Brooklyn circa 1940 and the warped, wacky world of the Brewster family. Aunt Abby and Aunt Martha, who are known throughout the neighborhood for their many acts of kindness, are a bit misguided, while their nephew, Teddy – a.k.a. Teddy Roosevelt – is downright batty. Enter Mortimer – the “normal” nephew – an author who has just gotten married and is hoping to announce his good news to the family. Before long, Mortimer is caught up in the craziness with no clear exit plan. 
First a hit on Broadway, this fast-paced black comedy became an instant classic when the film version was released in 1944. It was directed by Frank Capra, with Cary Grant in the role of Mortimer.

Starring as the Brewster clan are: Linda Cunningham of Yardley, Pa., as Abby Brewster; Liz Wurtz of Levittown, Pa., as Martha Brewster; Kevin Hallam of Hamilton as Teddy Brewster; Tim Moran of East Windsor as Mortimer Brewster; Eric McDonough of Point Pleasant as Jonathan Brewster; and, as the family’s newest member, Stephanie Moon of Pennington as Elaine Harper. 
Also featured are Matthew Cassidy of Morrisville, Pa., as Dr. Einstein; Dennis Hagen of Pennington as Lieutenant Rooney; John Hughes of Burlington as Rev. Dr. Harper/Mr. Witherspoon; Chris Schmalbach of Palmyra as Officer O’Hara; Stephen Stern as Mr. Gibbs; Tristan Takacs of Trenton as Officer Klein; and Shan Williams II of Trenton as Officer Brophy.
 
The production team includes producers Michael Almstedt and Mike DiIorio, director Sheldon Bruce Zeff and stage manager Chris Vorel Szemis. Costumes are by Louisa Murey.
 
Tickets are $18 for adults, $16 for senior citizens, and $14 for students and children. Free parking is available next to the theater. Tickets may be purchased online at www.kelseytheatre.net or by calling the Kelsey Box Office at 609-570-3333.  Kelsey Theatre is wheelchair accessible, with free parking available next to the theater. 
 


Posted by tammyduffy at 7:14 PM EST
Updated: Monday, 4 January 2016 7:14 PM EST
Sunday, 3 January 2016
TRENTON NJ: 15 Miles of bike trails
Topic: COMMUNITY INTEREST

 

TRENTON NJ: 15 Miles of bike trails 

 

 

Did you know that there are 15 miles of marked bike path in the city of Trenton. There is a wonderful gravel/paved/dirt path that takes you behind the scenes in Trenton. Then you enter the city. The city does a GREAT job of marking the trail, keeping riders safe from vehicles, keeping pedestrians safe as well and giving one a great tour of the city at the same time. Trenton has done an outstanding job of developing this trail system and focusing on pedestrian/runners and bikers safety. WAY TO GO!!

 

Photos of trail 

 

 https://www.facebook.com/Duffyculturalcourture/posts/536468199849088

 

Video of trail

 

 https://www.facebook.com/Duffyculturalcourture/videos/536468426515732/?theater

 

 


Posted by tammyduffy at 5:05 PM EST
Friday, 1 January 2016
WEED WORLD: Open 420 Days a Year
Topic: COMMUNITY INTEREST


 

 
 
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!   2016
 
 
 
First story of the year for DUFFY's Cultural Couture
 
 

 

WEED WORLD: Open 420 Days a Year

 


 

 

In 1970, the US Congress placed marijuana in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act because they considered it to have "no accepted medical use." Since then, 23 or 50 US states and DC have legalized the medical use of marijuana.

Proponents of medical marijuana argue that it can be a safe and effective treatment for the symptoms of cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, pain, glaucoma, epilepsy, and other conditions. There are dozens of peer-reviewed studies, prominent medical organizations, major government reports, and the use of marijuana as medicine throughout world history.

Opponents of medical marijuana argue that it is too dangerous to use, lacks FDA-approval, and that various legal drugs make marijuana use unnecessary. They say marijuana is addictive, leads to harder drug use, interferes with fertility, impairs driving ability, and injures the lungs, immune system, and brain. They say that medical marijuana is a front for drug legalization and recreational use.

 

In 2012, when Colorado voted to legalize recreational marijuana, statehouse debates on the subject were mainly confined to enforcement, criminality, and addiction. How would the state avoid becoming a destination for drifters, addiction, and cannabis-related crime? And how would the budding industry look to conservative outsiders? Lobbying groups spent significant money on arguments for and against legalization, fueling endless disagreement. But absent from all of the mudslinging was a conversation about what would happen if THC in Colorado proved a rousing success—if the nation embraced the product as a health and recreation option and came to Colorado in droves.

 

Three years later, the initiative has, by most accounts, proven to be an economic boon. In 2014, Colorado marijuana sales totalted $700 million, and the state expects to collect $94 million annually in cannibas taxes by 2016. But economic analyses about weed’s success never mention skyrocketing housing prices in Denver, a city that’s rapidly becoming unaffordable for all but the wealthy.

 

When one enters Denver, is a bit like flying into a dystopian wasteland—but not the addict-ridden zombieland marijuana opponents imagined in 2012. Instead, enormous development projects rise out of the ground in all directions, wood and metal scraping against the eternally blue, big west sky. Denver smells green. Like weed—and money. Lots of money. And its residents are in trouble.

 

In the first six months of this year, recreational income from cannabis totaled over $253 million in Colorado. Denver, which has housed regulated marijuana operations since 2009, when Colorado codified its medical marijuana practices and nearby cities said no to cannabis business in their jurisdictions, now hosts around 4.5 million square feet of marijuana grow space in its industrially zoned areas. So, should residents worry if companies are coming into their towns primarily focused on creating large warehouse spaces?

 

The city plans to use most of its weed tax revenue on enforcement and drug education efforts. The effects of the green growth on housing, however, have been nothing short of controversial: Few can agree on the cumulative effects of legal cannabis on community and city development. But Denver residents are solid on one thing—that the rent is too high.

 

The city, for its part, is finally taking measures to protect affordable housing, although some say it's too little too late. In mid-September, Denver’s City Council voted through another measure to preserve rapidly disappearing affordable housing —the city will now require owners of affordable units to give at least a year’s notice if they plan to convert their property to market rate rentals or sell it. This means that the city will have more time to negotiate or raise funds to buy properties, ostensibly keeping them as affordable units instead of market-rate ones. This is a clear example of poor planing by politicians, planning councils, etc. This unfortunately is the typical behavior demonstrated by these groups throughout the USA. They lack the ability to think about the big picture and how all aspects are effected until its too late. 

 

This latest measure is part of Michael Mayor Hancock’s affordable housing strategy, which seeks a steady revenue stream of $15 million a year to subsidize building new affordable units. Affordable housing is usually defined as income-qualified housing available to people who make less than 80 percent of the area median income.  In Denver, 80% of area median income (AMI) is $43,000 per year. Together, this indicates that Hancock’s plan is meant to serve middle income folks—not to preserve or expand housing for people in poverty.

 

J.P. Speers, a real estate broker at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, believes that legal marijuana has pushed the housing market up. Between millennial's who are influenced to move by the idea of legal access to the drug and out-of-state entrepreneurs looking to establish themselves in the industry, Speers says people want to be in Denver. “I do believe that there has been a huge amount of individuals who have moved out here specifically for the marijuana industry, and it has affected the housing market,” he said. 

Speers started finding real estate for marijuana industry folk after a fellow realtor friend helped find space for Denver’s first medical cannabis dispensary in 2002. Now, having become a broker for marijuana industry workers himself, he gets three or four calls a week from clients interested in finding space for grow operations. Because banks still won’t work with the industry (which is, again, illegal in most parts of the U.S.), many of these entrepreneurs pay in cash. Speers also said he has noticed a significant number of out-of-staters from Florida, Arizona and California buying houses in cash and (he presumes) establishing extralegal grow operations.

 

Carrie Makarewicz, an urban planning professor at the University of Colorado Denver, on the other hand, doesn’t think the presence of the marijuana industry has a lot to do with the current housing crisis. High costs of living in coastal cities like Boston, New York, San Francisco, and L.A., Makarewicz says, have prompted higher-paid workers to leave oceanside homes for second-tier cities like Denver, And millennials are also moving in droves—for jobs in tech, oil and gas, and other industries, perceived high quality of life, and “recreational opportunities.”

 

At a time of massive mimgration, Denver also faces a shortage of low to mid-price housing. For Makarewicz, Colorado's condo defects legislation, which says that condo owners can due the developers over construction deficits, has deterred builders from creating anything but luxury condos. Housing costs continue to soar, and wages for workers remain stagnant. Colorado’s minimum wage is just $8.23 per hour,  while in 2014 the average Denver resident needed to earn at least $35 an hour to afford to live in the city, according to a Zillow study. 

 

While prices and populations are up in Colorado cities that aren’t as friendly to the cannabis business, the change is far more dramatic in Denver. Colorado Springs, the second-most populous city in the state, experienced 6.8% population growth from 2010 to 2014, compared to Denver’s 10.6 percent. And in Colorado Springs, housing prices increased 5.4% in the past year, while they soared by 17% in Denver. 

 

Mike Elliott, executive director of Denver’s Marijuana Industry Group, said it’s hard to measure the impacts of retail cannabis, because neither the state government nor academics have done serious studies. And it doesn’t seem like either group plans to. Andrew Goetz, chair of the Geography department of the University of Denver, told me he doesn’t know anyone planning studies on the effects of retail cannabis on development in Denver, but said that someone should do the research soon. “If you were to talk to any of the tourism groups, they would say that our record tourism has nothing to do with retail marijuana,” Elliott said. “I think every day that goes by—that sounds more and more ridiculous.” State tourism records may not even accurately capture Colorado’s boom because they don’t record data from non-formal tourism giants like Airbnb.

In a neighborhood dubbed RiNo—short for River North, a cutesy and rather recent appropriation of New York’s penchant for shortening neighborhood names into two brand-able syllables—developers and marijuana growers have engaged in bidding wars for industrial warehouses, and the big losers are the artists who used to make work in them. Cannabis cultivation needs square footage, but it can make use of subpar industrial warehouses—the same type of uninsulated, undeveloped space artists and small nonprofit or creative projects thrive on. As a result, industrial vacancies are at an all time low, and warehouse rent is much higher than it has ever been.

 

Brian Freeland, founder of the LIDA Project—an experimental theater company that was once housed in a warehouse in RiNo, before the owners flipped the building and sold it to a law group—said that interest in development and a pro-growth, pro-business city council increased real estate profits. In his opinion, the legalization of marijuana was a kind of death knell for arts space in Denver. “When you have an almost overnight boom industry, as you see with marijuana, it’s looking for space. And it’s an industry that is making money, so that industry can pay premium for space,” Freeland said. “When you put that against another industry that is historically underfunded and historically not supported by the same kind of city government and mayor’s office, you get a very unfair balance in which the arts are competing in a market economy.” As a consequence, many artists are now looking outside the city of Denver—to nearby Aurora and other suburbs—for a climate more affordable and amenable to the arts. In the end, it doesn’t seem to matter whether legal marijuana increased the value of real estate in the city, or if it’s the result of the Denver city council’s priorities; on the ground, the artists are fleeing anyway.

 

Other economically vulnerable residents are also feeling pushed out. Benjamin Donlon, 27, an organizer working with Denver Homeless Out Loud, a homelessness rights organization, said that many factors in Denver’s economic boom lead to higher housing prices. It’s caused more homelessness in the past year. “I will say that the marijuana industry is driving a lot of development here… there’s definitely a big drive from people from California coming here to start developing the models for the future, which is driving prices through the roof,” Donlon said.

 

Freeland, for his part, wonders if the cannabis rush is just another point in the history of the West’s all or nothing economy—it’s an area of the country that’s historically prided itself on creating profit from wide open space, on colonizing land in the spirit of property and new industry.

 

“The West loves its individual spirit, but we’ve never really planned for the successes or for the failures of our boom and bust economy,” Freeland said. “From the gold rush through the oil boom, through the tech booms to marijuana production—we’re ultimately going to pay the price of not having the foresight of planning.” 

Freeland is right. Denver is treading water: trying to regulate growth it didn’t plan for, and reaping the benefits of cannabis sales without studying their long-term effects. If history is any indication, we’ll go on madly lurching toward expansive profits in this gold rush, the cost to Denver’s long-term residents and culture be damned.

 

The other thing to be concerned about is how these "treats" are manufactured. During a run in NYC on New Year's eve we came across a decorated truck. 

 

Weed World Candies launched in 1999 with the goal to get Marijuana & Hemp legalized and industrialized. They tour the country in a fleet of "loud" vehicles promoting the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana. 


Their product strains include Bubble Kush, O.G Kush, Strawberry Cough, White Widow, SkyWalker Kush, Purple Urkle, and A.K 47 to name a few.

 

Watch this video on you tube that demonstrates the manufacturing processes utilized by Weed World. 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCcH6iPGNWc

 

One word can describe their process.....Filthy. As you watch this video take notice of how dirty the equipment is, mounds of grease that can easily fleck off into the product. The employees are wearing gloves, work gloves that are filthy. They are touching the product with their filthy gloves. Again, instilling the possibility of adding horrific contaminants to the product. 

 

Those we spoke to about these products also commented that they are selling "fake pot".  Those who purchased the "pot pops" did not get stoned. They were annoyed. What is their "special ingredient?" Weed World makes the claim they are adding pot powder to their treats, however there is nothing that actually proves that. They could be putting anything into their product. How does anyone know going into any of the dispensaries in Colorado that they are not following the same manufacturing processes seen in this video by Weed World, you don't. That is the scary part. 

 

Weed World could be viewed as a group that is not helping the cause of "weed awareness" but actually helping those opposed to build their case against legalization. The Weed World Street sales team will say anything to get a sale, according to those we spoke to.  They are selling food in NYC without a permit. Mayor DeBlasio I think would not be happy about this.

 

This is a very complicated issue. The laws on marijuana possession all over the map. Some states/towns allow you to have less than 60 pounds, yes pounds of grass before they would arrest you. Whereas others a few grams will get you arrested.

 

NY Marijuana laws: For a first offender, possession of up to 25 grams of marijuana is punishable by a fine of $100.  If an additional offense occurs within three years of the first offense, possession of up to 25 grams of marijuana is punishable by a fine of $200. For the third or subsequent offense(s) within a three-year period, possession of up to 25 grams of marijuana is punishable by a fine of $250 and/or imprisonment of 15 days or less. Possession of marijuana in excess of 25 grams but less than 2 ounces is a class B misdemeanor and is punishable by no more than 3 months imprisonment. Possession of marijuana in excess of 2 ounces but less than 8 ounces is a class A misdemeanor and is punishable by no more than 1 year of imprisonment.

 

New Orleans Marijuana laws: For first offenders, possession of less than 60 pounds of marijuana is punishable by a fine of up to $500 and/or up to 6 months of imprisonment.  Second offenses are punishable by a fine of $250-$2500 and/or up to 5 years of imprisonment. Both first and second offenders may be eligible for probation, which will include 32 hours of community service and a substance abuse program, the cost of probation will be paid by the defendant. Third and subsequent offenses are punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and/or up to 20 years of imprisonment. *Conviction of any crime involving controlled substances results in denial of driving privileges for not less than 30 days but not more than 1 year.

 

Texas Marijuana Laws: Possession of 2 ounces or less of marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days imprisonment and a fine not to exceed $2,000. Possession of between 2 and 4 ounces of marijuana is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment of up to 1 year and a fine not to exceed $4,000. Possession of between 4 ounces and 5 lbs. of marijuana is a state jail felony, punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 180 days imprisonment, a maximum of 2 years imprisonment, and a fine not to exceed $10,000. 

 

Atlanta Marijuana Laws: Possession of 1 ounce or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months imprisonment and/or a fine up to $1,000. Possession of over an ounce is a felony punishable by a minimum of 1 and maximum of 10 years imprisonment. * Any conviction of a marijuana possession, sale, or cultivation offense results in suspension of driving license.

 

 Miami Marijuana Laws: Possession of 20 grams or less is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of 1 year imprisonment and a maximum fine of $1,000. Possession of more than 20 grams is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $5,000. Possession of 25 or more plants is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 15 years in jail and a fine of $10,000. Possession of less than 25 plant is a felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $5,000.  *Conviction causes a driver’s license suspension for a period of 2 years. 

 

Weed World states that they are open 7 days a week, 420 days a year. I realize 2016 is a leap year....but that does not add an additional 55 days to the year. What is that "special ingredient" that they add that adds 55 days to our year?

 


Posted by tammyduffy at 10:58 AM EST
Updated: Friday, 1 January 2016 11:16 AM EST
Wednesday, 30 December 2015
Ending Down's Syndrome
Topic: COMMUNITY INTEREST


 

 Treating Down's Syndrome In Utereo
 
 
 Currently there are no therapeutic interventions that can prevent or reverse the intellectual disability or brain pathology found in individuals with Down syndrome. Down syndrome affects 400,000 people in the United States alone. However, scientists are getting closer to finding a way to treat DS.
 
Some researchers are working to develop drugs that could be used to treat Down syndrome in uteroTen years ago, they were attempting to identify a pharmacological intervention that could improve cognitive functioning in mice with a condition mimicking Down syndrome. They looked at increasing the mother’s intake of the essential nutrient choline during pregnancy and lactation, on the basis of impressive cognitive benefits seen with this intervention in normal rats during research done at Duke.  A nutritional intervention was also appealing because it could be relatively easily tested in humans if our studies looked promising.
 
 

What was found was that by supplementing the maternal diet with extra choline during pregnancy and lactation markedly improved spatial cognition, attentional function, and emotional reactivity in the mouse offspring with a model of Down syndrome. It also normalized the formation of new neurons in the hippocampus and protected basal forebrain cholinergic neurons, which normally atrophy in this disorder by midlife—part of the brain changes related to the onset of Alzheimer’s.

How to explain these results? The answer might be found in studies done over the past few decades, showing that choline stores become depleted during pregnancy in both rodents and humans. A developing fetus may need more choline than previously realized.

Although clinical trials are needed to determine whether similar effects are seen in humans, anecdotal reports of women increasing their choline intake during a Down syndrome pregnancy are encouraging. The reports suggest that these infants reach milestones on a schedule more similar to that of typically developing babies than infants with Down syndrome whose mothers did not take extra choline. There’s growing evidence to support a recommendation for all women to increase choline intake during pregnancy and breastfeeding—a change that could benefit all fetuses with Down syndrome from the earliest stages of development, regardless of whether the mom had prenatal testing.

Today, women who learn that they are carrying a fetus with Down syndrome are often advised to terminate the pregnancy. But for a variety of reasons, ethical and otherwise, that’s not an option for all women. Some 5,000 infants with Down syndrome are born in the U.S. every year. It’s imperative that we find a way to help them achieve their highest potential.


Posted by tammyduffy at 12:14 PM EST
Sunday, 27 December 2015
No Longer Science Fiction
Topic: COMMUNITY INTEREST


 

 
 No Longer Science Fiction
 

 Car-to-x communication makes traffic in general more efficient.

 

 

What would it be like if you could see past the next bend in the road to the bend after and even farther? You could adjust your driving behaviour and defuse dangerous situations. You would not have to brake so much and could drive more efficiently. 

 

Mercedes-Benz seeks to realise this vision of tomorrow’s intelligent mobility with a revolutionary technology which enhances safety, comfort and efficiency even further. As the first motor vehicle manufacturer in the world, the brand with the star will be presenting Car-to-X communication in production vehicles by the end of this year. This will reaffirm the Stuttgart-based group’s standing as a pioneer in the field of safety. The sophisticated technology establishes networked links among vehicles and between vehicles and the traffic infrastructure.

 

Expressed in simple terms, Car-to-X communication is the “radio-based exchange of information between vehicles, as well as between vehicles and traffic infrastructure,” declares Dr. Christian Weiss, responsible for Car-to-X communication at Mercedes-BenzDevelopment.

 

“This has the advantage that we are also able to obtain information from points far outside the driver’s field of vision, which is not the case with conventional sensors.” This information provides the basis for a number of new assistance functions which complement the existing systems. “Car-to-X communication helps us let the driver know of hazardous situations early on.

 

 For example, we can warn of wrong-way drivers, but also of the end of a tailback which we are approaching; we can warn of emergency vehicles approaching from behind, or from the side, for example in a junction.” The safety network originates from a simple principle: every vehicle with Car-to-X technology can simultaneously and autonomously receive and send warnings.

 

 When the vehicle receives a hazard warning, the technology compares the vehicle’s position with the location of the hazard, says Dr. Christian Weiss, explaining the way the warning works. As soon as the vehicle approaches the danger spot, the driver is audibly and visually warned. This enables the driver to prepare for the situation, adjust his or her driving behaviour and avoid accidents.

 

Networking makes traffic not only safer, but more efficient as well, the Mercedes-Benz development engineer explains. Because when accidents are avoided, no traffic back-up occurs and traffic flows more freely and efficiently. Car-to-X communication can contribute to efficient mobility also by networking with the traffic infrastructure, for example traffic lights.

 

 In order to realise the future vision of safe and efficient mobility, developers are seeking to cooperate with other vehicle manufacturers. “Very clearly, the aim is to have the entire automotive industry jointly pursue Car-to-X communication.” The tighter the information network, the more effective the technology will be. The engineers do not want to wait too long before they introduce this intelligent networking, the developer reports. “We are getting started on Car-to-X communication at the end of this year with the so-called Drive Kit Plus, with which we integrate the customer iPhone in the vehicle architecture.

 

 

 https://www.mercedes-benz.com/en/mercedes-benz/innovation/car-to-x-communication/


Posted by tammyduffy at 3:26 PM EST
Saturday, 26 December 2015
Laser Holiday Magic at State Museum
Topic: ART NEWS

 

 

 Laser Holiday Magic at NJ State Museum
 
 
 
 The NJSM Planetarium invites you to celebrate this magical holiday season with its most spectacular show ever! Our new full-spectrum laser beams dance along with dazzling animated laser effects set to popular holiday music such as Winter Wonderland, Frosty the Snowman and many more. Enjoy a unique, festive experience under the stars at New Jersey’s largest planetarium.


Suitable for general audiences.

 

See trailer link below 

 
 
 http://www.state.nj.us/state/museum/dos_museum_programs_planetarium-holiday-laser.html
 
 December 22, 23, 24, 29, 30, 31


Laser Holiday Magic! - 11:00 am NEW (See description above)

Laser Holiday Magic! - 1:00 pm NEW (See description above)

 
 

Posted by tammyduffy at 9:14 AM EST
Monday, 21 December 2015


 

 
 
 Hamilton's Ethics Policy, Not Worth the Paper It's Written On

 

 


 

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP LIST OF DOUBLE DIPPERS: WHAT IS THIS COSTING TAXPAYERS.....ADD IT UP

 

 

What does it take to get fired in Hamilton township as a township employee?  The ethics policy in Hamilton needs a set of dentures. It lacks any teeth.

 

 

Hamilton Township Ethics Policy: Not Worth the Paper its written on

 

 

In September 2014, Trentonian crime reporter, Penny Ray wrote: http://queys3.rssing.com/browser.php?indx=3391586&item=7502

 

This article focused on the arrest of a Hamilton Township employee (worked in the planning and compliance department of the township) who was growing marijuana plants in his backyard and in his home.  The Mercer County Narcotics Task Force apprehended 52-year-old Joseph Fratticcioli, last year. while he was working at the Hamilton Township Municipal Building.  The police performed a search of the employees home. They found six large marijuana plants in the backyard. In their search they also found three additional marijuana plants and a vacuum sealer in the mudroom.  There was also seven large glass jars containing marijuana, a triple beam scale, a plastic container of marijuana, $910 in cash, a rifle and two shotguns in his bedroom. Police seized the drugs, the cash and a Dodge pickup truck as suspected proceeds from drug sales.

 

According to public records, Fratticcioli has been employed by the township since 1985, and his salary last year was $83,288.  Fratticcioli is a Supervisor Drafting Technician with the Department of Community Planning and Compliance. As of today, he is still employed by the township of Hamilton in his position.  A recent OPRA request of a list of employees in the township, clearly demonstrates Fratticcoli's employment. You can also call his office at the township and speak to him. 

 

Fratticcioli was charged with two counts of possession of marijuana, two counts of possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, possession of a firearm while committing a narcotics offense and possession of drug paraphernalia. His bail was set at $75,000.  During this drug raid police estimated the street value of the seized marijuana plants is $25,000. The estimated street value of the marijuana that was found in containers is $13,500.  How is it that this gentleman, is still employed with the township, if the township has such a touch ethics policy?The residents of Hamilton want to know.

 

Another two recent ethical incidents also have residents baffled in the township.  During an OPRA request one resident found that all digital files and emails have been destroyed, prior to 2010,  by the leadership in Hamilton.  There was no certification done with the destruction of these records. 

 

Federal agencies are usually very careful with recordssometimes even preserving unnecessary or redundant tweets, blogs, Web comments and email. Why? Often, they fear losing valuable data among the inconsequential prose or worse yet, being accused of “hiding” information. Still, records are at risk from human error or even malicious intent. (That famous 18 ½-minute gap in the Watergate tapes, which eventually brought down a presidency, comes to mind.)

 

But even accidentally wiping out the wrong files can have equally dire consequences. Without those files your agency may not be able to properly meet the needs of the public, operate efficiently, meet regulatory or compliance obligations or even fulfill Freedom of Information requests. When a record is inadvertently deleted, federal guidance requires agencies to recreate as much of the lost information as possible from bits and pieces or earlier documentation stored elsewhere—a time-consuming and sometimes fruitless endeavor that most often results in an incomplete record.

 

Wouldn’t it be better if that information hadn’t been destroyed at all? Setting up a good records management program may seem daunting, but our government leaders have responsibilities that are manageable. A little effort in the short term will save an office trouble in the long term. Document accessibility will save government employees the headache of sorting through vast amounts of paperwork, dramatically improving efficiency. 

 

Local town leadership’s involvement with records management began the first day they became a part of the public office or employed for local government. 

 

The law defines public records very broadly. All records must be managed properly. Most records will be destroyed according to established policies and procedures. The small percentage of records deemed to have permanent value need to be deposited at the State Archives. When the policies are not followed, and records are willfully destroyed, criminal prosecution is in order. A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding 3 years or a fine not exceeding $1,000 in many states. 

 

What is the role of a public official? Whether you were voted into office, appointed by an elected representative, or hired by a government agency, you are responsible for your organization's records.  Records must be maintained correctly to facilitate the transparency that the public expects of public office-holders.  To deliberately delete or allow deletions to occur and do nothing about it, is illegal. This clearly does not meet the ethics policy of any state or municipality.

 

State law makes all public officials responsible for making sure that records no longer needed are either offered to the Archives or are destroyed according to procedures that are spelled out in the states regulations. 

 


Transparency of government is only possible through records management. Continuity of records is an integral piece of public officials' responsibility to their constituents. Though it may sound challenging, adhering to good records management practices will be beneficial in the long-term. An office with easy and reliable access to its records will operate efficiently. 

 

Upon entering the place where many of the townships documents are stored, a normal person would be stunned at the condition of the room. There was visqueen plastic draped throughout the room clothes pinned to the ceiling. There were puddles of brown water laying within the visqueen.  When we asked one of the township employees what was the cause of having all this plastic hanging from the ceiling. Their response,” the roof has been leaking for quite some time so we have this up to protect the file cabinets.  Last year, I was in the tax office in the municipal building and saw this same dramatic visqueen plastic set up due to the leaking roof.  

 

One of the record  rooms at the townships municipal building is filled with numerous file cabinets. These file cabinets house important government records. All of the cabinets in this room had this plastic visqueen above them. There were extensive puddles of brown water scattered throughout the visqueen, above the cabinets. Obviously mold growing from the continued wetness.  Is this how our government documents should be safeguarded? This is also not an optimal work environment for the employees as well. 

 

The mess does not end with the cabinets. There are numerous old, collapsed unlabeled boxes of records. One would have to leaf through to evaluate the documents.  The boxes are not labeled just stuffed with numerous amounts of paper.

 

Governments are bound by law to protect all records; which includes emails.  which are in their custody.  The law defines the roles laid out in the Annotated Code in an effort to protect records considered essential to the continuing operation of government, guarantee the integrity and preservation of permanent records, ensure the legal admissibility of the permanent record, secure the rights and privileges of citizens, assure public access to the records of government, promote agency legal and fiscal accountability, provide a means to document agency administrative history.


The law also further states that a person may not willfully alter, deface, destroy, remove, or conceal a public record except under proper authority. Exploring the regulations makes it clear that records management is important to the management of your government's responsibilities.

 

The Division and the State Archivist have adopted regulations to define the character of records of archival quality; determine the quantity of those records;  set standards for the development of record retention and disposal schedules; and provide for the periodic transfer to the State Archivist or disposal of records, in accordance with the schedules. 

 

Each unit of the government shall have a program for the continual, economical, and efficient management of the records of the unit. The program needs to include procedures to ensure the security of the records; to establish and to revise, in accordance with the regulations, record retention and disposal schedules that ensure the prompt and orderly disposition of records that the unit no longer needs for its operation; and to facilitate compliance the law. One can only imagine if this program exists and if it does how does the leadership ensure its being followed.

 

In the event government documents are in danger of being destroyed  alternative solutions must be made to ensure the integrity of the government documents. (i.e. rent equipment, storage space, or services for records, including microfilming or photocopying, and, as appropriate). 

 

The State does not under any circumstances authorize any local government to perform destruction of a permanent book of account; the destruction of a land record of a clerk of a circuit court; the destruction of any record that relates to the financial operation of a unit of the government or to collection of State , the destruction of any record until the expiration of the period that a statute expressly sets for that record to be kept; the destruction of any public record that a statute expressly requires to be kept permanently.

 

In accordance with the record retention and disposal schedules, a public officials must offer to the Archives any public record of the official that no longer is needed, such as: an original paper; a book;  a file;  a record of a court of record for which an accurate transcript is in use; or  a record that relates to the internal management of or otherwise is a housekeeping record. 

 

Unless a government has received written approval from the State Archivist, a public official may not destroy any public record. If a record is destroyed there will be a record of approval of the destruction and how it was destroyed.  

 

The custodian of records shall, at the expiration of the custodian's term of office, appointment, or employment, deliver custody and control of all records kept or received in the transaction of official business to the custodian's successor, supervisor, or records officer, or to Archives. 

Public officials shall notify the Archives of any actual, impending, or threatened unlawful removal, defacing, alteration, or destruction of records that shall come to the agency's attention.  The State Archivist may request the Attorney General to seek appropriate relief. 

 

When nonpermanent records are destroyed in accordance with the terms of an approved schedule, the agency or Records Center have to submit a certificate of records destruction to Archives. In the township of Hamilton, no certification in the past 34 years has ever been done. The lack of focus on ensuring the integrity of sacred government documents in the local government of Hamilton is very disturbing. 

 

Upon further discussions and follow up with the Hamilton Municipal Clerk, who has been in her position for 35  years we learned from the clerk:

 

"Emails just "disappear

All servers just "disappear" when people leave office

No email or digital file was ever saved prior to July 2010, they were all deleted

In the past 35 years there has never been a certification (this properly documents what documents or emails have been deleted or sent to the state archive) done ever in the history of Hamilton township in Mercer County. All certifications come through the clerk and she has never processed one

The Hamilton clerk is well aware of the shenanigans going on with the deletion of files and emails, her own have just disappeared, but nothing has ever been done to rectify the situation or document this behavior is going on."

 

How does the destruction of public records in Hamilton support the towns "touch ethics policy?" How is it that the clerk and the leadership all know this goes on and there are no ramifications for this behavior? The residents of Hamilton want to know?

 

Since Sept 2010, Susan Sternberg has been the executive director of the Hamilton Township library. In August of this year, the executive director of the Hamilton township library presented to the Friends of Hamilton (a nonprofit group that helps financially support the library) the need for new computers. The estimated cost was $9,000 for the new computers. Sternberg presented this need to the Friends of Hamilton Library and the Trustees of the library approved the purchased.  What happened next with this, clearly does not meet the sniff test of the Yaede administrations ethic policy.

 

Sternberg used her personal credit card to make the purchase of the computers for the library. She bragged to staff that she did this so she could get frequent flyer miles.  This is not the normal process that happens for purchases for the library. The normal process entails the library getting an invoice and the Friends of Hamilton will either pay the vendor directly or reimburse the township for whatever was purchased. It is not the process to use ones own personal credit card to make purchases to reap the rewards of airline mileage.

 

The trustees of the library were very disturbed by this behavior, so they have placed Scott Chianese in the role of executive director at the library, an interim role they are saying.  

 

According to sources at the library, Sternberg is on family leave to take care of her father who recently had orthopedic surgery in California. They were told this by Hamilton Township's business administrator John Ricci and Mayor Yaede, according to sources. They state she is out until the end of this year, and into 2016 as well.

 

However, sources at the library clearly have seen Sternberg out and about in Hamilton, clearly not in California according to sources. Sternberg is still on the Hamilton township payroll collecting a paycheck.

 

How do these above three examples meet the "tough ethics policy" of the township. Well, clearly they do not. The residents of Hamilton want to know why this behavior is the accepted normal? 

 

 

Response to Residents

 

Mayor Yaede touts an open and accessible government with her "open-door policy" for residents. The reality of the matter for residents is there is a bolted door, lack of response from her and her directors, and lack of response even through the HAMSTAT system. Several residents for over a year have been trying to contact the township via phone, letters, emails, etc in regards to the negative effects of their poorly planned economic development. All of the communications have been ignored and unresponded to.  How is this behavior demonstrated by the township leadership meeting the "open door policy" the mayor touts? This clearly demonstrates a town that has something to hide.

 

 

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP LIST OF DOUBLE DIPPERS: WHAT IS THIS COSTING TAXPAYERS.....ADD IT UP

 


 

Double Dippers

 

Public service is supposed to be enriching work, and by now you know why: Many public servants turn this calling into a double-dipping obscenity, then justify it as an accepted Jersey tradition.

 

Hundreds of state employees simultaneously collect high salaries and retirement pay, gaming the pension system with impunity by exploiting a loophole in the law. The only way this ends is if taxpayers – assuming they resist the impulse to drive their heads into a wall – voice their intolerance for charades .  There are 15 employees on the Hamilton township payroll who are collecting two incomes for one job.  They have tricked the system and are taking advantage of the "special retirement provision" of their public pension plans: They cash out after 25 years, then return to a similar post that is covered by a different pension plan.

 

Few legislators are interested in prohibiting the practice, because at last count, 18 of them also double-dip. Senator Jennifer Beck has made this her passion to change. Her bill when passed will suspend pensions for workers who resume public employment with a salary higher than $15,000 – no exceptions.

 

As for those pensioners who think about challenging it in court, they'll have two choices: They can cease their double-dipping voluntarily, or they can prepare for it to be a campaign issue.

 

No one begrudges a public employee's comfortable retirement – especially cops, who spend their lives on the front lines of violence. But as New Jersey's pension deficit grows more onerous each year, state employees concede they have to make sacrifices. Now it's time for the legislature to do its part, starting with a look in the mirror – the only way to prove that its desire for comprehensive reform is earnest.

 


 


Posted by tammyduffy at 8:08 AM EST
Sunday, 20 December 2015
Lord and Taylor Hosts BCI for 3 Day Fur Trunk Show
Topic: COMMUNITY INTEREST


 Lord and Taylor Hosts BCI for 3 Day  Fur Trunk Show

 

 

Lord and Taylor hosted BC International Group, Inc at the Quaker Bridge Mall this weekend and their first ever fur trunk show. BCI was established in February of 1993. Since its inception, BCI has become the world's largest fur retailer with over 120 full service fur salons nationwide. BCI operates as a leased space retailer within major department stores including Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy's, Bloomingdale's and Lord and Taylor.
 
Customers who attended this trunk show got to see some of the newest styles in fur fashion.  Prices ranged from $300 to $10,000 at the event. Fox, Sable, Mink, Rabbit coats, vests, reversibles and accessories were among the types of fur and styles at the event.
 


 

 

Posted by tammyduffy at 7:28 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, 20 December 2015 7:45 PM EST
Saturday, 19 December 2015
Sizzling Dialogue Takes Family Dysfunction to New Levels in ‘August: Osage County’ at MCCC’s Kelsey Theatre Jan. 8 to 17
Topic: COMMUNITY INTEREST


 

 
 
 
 Sizzling Dialogue Takes Family Dysfunction to New Levels in ‘August: Osage County’ at MCCC’s Kelsey Theatre Jan. 8 to 17
 
 


 

 
 
 
 Kelsey Theatre kicks off the new year with a serious family drama that finds humor in even the most fraught moments.  PinnWorth Productions presents Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play, “August: Osage County,” on Fridays, Jan. 8 and 15 at 8 p.m.; Saturdays, Jan. 9 and 16 at 8 p.m.; and Sundays, Jan. 10 and 17 at 2 p.m.  Kelsey Theatre is located on the college’s West Windsor Campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road.  A reception with the cast and crew follows the opening night performance on Jan. 8. 

The Westons are, simply put, a dysfunctional family: parents who have given up on each other, siblings with long simmering resentments, and a whole range of communication problems with just about anyone related to their clan. 
“It’s one part ‘All in the Family’ and one part ‘Medea’ [the ancient Greek tragedy],” said PinnWorth Productions’ LouJ Stalsworth, the show’s producer and director.  “I’ve been fortunate to cast some of Central Jersey’s best talent as the Weston family – a group of women who puts the fun into dysfunctional.” 
The cast stars Sari Ruskin of Princeton as Violet, the acid-tongued, pill-popping mother to sisters Barbara, Ivy and Karen, played by Laurie Hardy of Hamilton, Sally Page of Princeton, and Kyla Marie Mostello Donnelly of Levittown, Pa., respectively. 
According to Stalsworth, the script won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for good reason. “It has the best dialogue since ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf.’  With equal parts deep anger and shocking bluntness, it’s laughable dark humor.  And while it translated wonderfully to the big screen with a cast that included Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, I think the stage version is even better,” he said.
The cast also features Joe Comengo of Moorestown as Bill Fordham; Jaci D'Ulisse of Trenton as Johnna Monevata; Rachel Lemos of Lawrenceville as Jean Fordham; Jon Heron of Monroe as Charles Aiken; Roman Sohor of Manalapan as Little Charles Aiken; Zach Abraham of Highland Park as Sheriff Deon Gilbeau; and Sean McGrath of Churchville, Pa., as Bev Weston. 
In addition to Stalsworth, the production team includes set and costume designer Kate Pinner, and sound and lighting designer Robert Terrano. Nicole Schulnick is stage manager. 
Tickets are $18 for adults, $16 for senior citizens, and $14 for students and children. Free parking is available next to the theater. Tickets may be purchased online at www.kelseytheatre.net or by calling the Kelsey Box Office at 609-570-3333.  Kelsey Theatre is wheelchair accessible, with free parking available next to the theater.  For a complete listing of adult and children's events, visit the Kelsey website or call the box office for a brochure.


Posted by tammyduffy at 7:15 AM EST

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