THE DIRT is a weekly look at some of the most pressing outdoor news issues from around the Blue Ridge and Beyond.26-Mile Loop Trail Nears CompletionThe proposed Fonta Flora loop trail in North Carolina’s Burke County is one step closer to completion after a bill supporting the project was ratified in the N.C. Senate. According to a report in the Morganton News Herald “the bill says the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources would support and encourage establishing trail segments on state park lands and on lands of other federal, state, local, and private landowners.” When finished the trail will wrap around Lake James, starting at Harris Whisnant Road and ending at the Bridgewater trailhead.Multiple Shark Attacks on North Carolina CoastTwo North Carolina teens suffered severe injuries including loss of limbs after being attacked by sharks while swimming on the same North Carolina beach. The attacks occurred on Oak Island, a beach on the state’s southernmost coast. Though shark attacks are extremely rare in North Carolina, the recent incidents took place only ninety minutes apart. The beach was subsequently shut down and evacuated. Read more here.Ultra Runner Scott Jurek Reaches Halfway Point of Appalachian TrailScott Jurek, who embarked on a quest to set the Appalachian Trail speed record back late May, has now passed the halfway point of the 3,000 plus mile foot path. According to Jurek’s Facebook page, he also completed the ‘The Four State Challenge’, traveling through Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania all in one day. Juke’s recent success comes on the heels of a torn quadricep sustained in the Smoky Mountains. Follow his journey here.
From September 19 to 27, Richmond’s population will triple in size as cycling fans from around the world crowd the city for the UCI Road World Championships. The event is a milestone not just for Richmond but the United States as well—the last Worlds to be held on U.S. soil was nearly 30 years ago at the 1986 event in Colorado Springs.“That was before I was born,” says Team Cannondale-Garmin rider Ben King, a contender for Team U.S.A. “It’s a good opportunity for Richmond and especially good opportunity for me. I’m a very proud Virginian.”For King, who grew up riding the back roads surrounding Charlottesville, this year’s Worlds will literally be in his backyard. It’s a welcome change for King, who’s used to flying halfway around the world or across the country to get to any of the cycling industry’s premier races.“Most of my European teammates and colleagues in the sport have been to California and Utah and Colorado, but the East Coast hasn’t had a big race for years. Richmond is putting itself on the map of cycling history.”“We’re all kinda looking forward to the fact that we don’t have to deal with the jet lag and the things we normally deal with over in Europe, like do I need to bring my own French press? Do I need to bring my own coffee? Do they even drink coffee? What about creamer?”That’s Andrea Dvorak, a Crozet, Va., local and rider for Team Exergy TWENTY12. Both Dvorak and King have home turf advantage going for them, and with impressive racing resumes to back it up, these two cyclists have high chances of representing their teams at the very least, if not their country, too.More Than Just a RaceThough Richmond prevailed in the bidding process over candidate hosts like Muscat, Oman, and Quebec City, Canada, the city has some big shoes to fill. As the host for 2015 Worlds, Richmond will join the company of notable cities like Copenhagen, Florence, Melbourne, and Salzburg where cycling is as popular as football is in the States. So how will Richmond’s Worlds compare?“I think Richmond is going to stack up very well and far better than anyone realizes,” says Tim Miller, an avid cyclist, former road racer, and Richmond native. As Chief Operating Officer for Richmond 2015 Inc., the official organizing committee for Worlds, Miller has been involved with the event planning since the city placed its bid five years ago. “The Worlds event is not just about the bike race and we’re not building an event that’s just about the bike racing fans.”Between daily live entertainment, kid-friendly activities, VIP party zones, and chances for the public to run or ride like the pros in “Conquer the Cobbles,” Miller says there will be plenty of ways for spectators to occupy their time in Richmond. What’s more, the region’s burgeoning craft beer and food scene is sure to satisfy even the most exquisite of palates.“In a lot of ways we have a great blank canvas to work with here,” says Lee Kallman, vice president of marketing and development for Richmond 2015. “People all over the world are coming with their plane ticket and hotel reservation, but they couldn’t tell you where Richmond is on the map. They are going to come here with, at worst, a neutral expectation, and we’re gonna just blow them away.”Since age 16, King has raced all over the world, and he even spends half of the season training in Tuscany, Italy. But there is no place like home.“This is my favorite place to train,” he says. “It’s beautiful, first of all, and there are so many roads to explore that I can train 30-hour weeks and never ride on the same roads.”“You can ride for six hours and [not] go through a stop light or a stop sign,” Dvorak adds. “The only thing that stands in your way might be a cow that’s gotten loose.”International competitors likely won’t encounter any cows on the course, but they will face a technical 10-mile circuit (which elite men will have to ride 16 times, elite women eight) with sharp switchbacks and two steep climbs just two miles from the finish. Fast, furious, and contained completely within downtown Richmond proper, the 2015 Worlds course will be one for the spectators.“It’ll definitely be a game of who has the best team plan and who can execute that plan the best on that day,” says Dvorak. “It’s a chess match of which nation has the best strategy.”Until then, Dvorak spends as much time in the saddle as she can, training with her Miller School students and Brazilian Worlds cyclists Marcio Oliveira and Pedro Martins. Though King did not return to this year’s Tour de France, he has been busy racing at the Tour de Suisse, the Tour of Austria, and the Vuelta a España and performs maintenance training in between travels to prepare for Worlds.Here’s to Team U.S.A. saying “Checkmate, World!” Josh Lopez Photography
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A New York City firefighter from Floral Park was killed while battling a five-alarm blaze in Manhattan, officials said.Michael R. Davidson of Engine Company 69, a 15-year veteran of the FDNY, died after suffering critical injuries after being separated from colleagues while operating the hoseline to fight a fire in the basement of a five-story building on Nicholas Avenue in Harlem around 11 p.m. Thursday, officials said. He was taken to Harlem Hospital, where he died early Friday morning.“Firefighter Davidson bravely battled many fires and responded to countless calls for help from New Yorkers throughout his 15 years of dedicated service,” said Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro. “Our department and our entire city mourn this tragic loss of a very brave Firefighter.”.Davidson, who was appointed as a firefighter in May 2003, was cited for bravery and life-saving actions on four different occasions. He is the 1,150th FDNY member to die in the line-of-duty.His death comes eight days after the deaths of Lt. Christopher J. Raguso and Fire Marshal Christopher T. “Tripp” Zanetis, two of four members of the Westhampton Beach-based 106th Rescue Wing that died in an American military helicopter crash in Iraq.Davidson is survived by his wife, Eileen, and their four children; three daughters, ages 7, 3, and 1 and a son, age 6. He is the son of retired FDNY firefighter Robert Davidson, who served for 26 years, mostly in the same firehouse as his son, and the brother of FDNY firefighter Eric Davidson, an 11-year veteran, of Engine Company 88 in the Bronx.Funeral arrangements are pending.
As understanding of basic mobile banking applications increases and the differentiation between mobile banking apps becomes less defined, the importance of mobile design takes center stage. The key is to combine functionality with simplicity.by: Sandeep SoodAsk people about their favorite apps, and you’ll get a slew of answers: Instagram, Yelp, and Google Maps. What you aren’t likely to hear is, “my bank’s app.”A study from the Federal Reserve shows that there are untapped markets waiting for mobile banking. Millions of consumers are going to start banking on mobile in the next twelve months. But millions more aren’t interested.Financial institutions have done a fairly good job at getting their applications onto their customer’s phones. They’ve done a far worse job at generating enthusiasm around their mobile offerings. A big reason for this lack of enthusiasm comes down to bad design: clunky UX, confusing UI, difficult logins, unattractive graphics and an overload of information frustrate many customers, and keep others away. continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
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The invested capital run by PPIs – low-cost defined contribution schemes – in the Netherlands amounted to €9.7bn at the end of the first quarter of this year, marking a growth of 20% compared to the fourth quarter of 2018.According to data from Dutch regulator De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), the number of active members increased by 11% in the same period to almost 44,000. Almost half of the capital increase, €814m, was from returns on investment, while 30% (€503m) was attributed to newly transferred pension plans. More than a quarter of the increase (€429m) was from contributions.The growth of 20% compared to the previous quarter was the largest increase since the end of 2015. Compared to a year earlier, the PPIs saw their combined assets under management grow by 40%. This was more than the 32% increase recorded for the same period a year earlier, but a lot lower than previous annual growth, with data showing increases of 64% in 2017, 107% in 2016 and 202% in 2015. This concerns the total amount of invested capital at members’ risk. PPIs still manage only a fraction of the capital invested across all workplace pension plans in the Netherlands. According to DNB, the invested capital at the end of the first quarter amounted to €1.4trn in defined benefit and similar schemes, while defined contribution-type schemes managed €6.2bn. Meanwhile 770,000 members have their pension assets housed at a PPI. The number of active members grew in the first quarter to almost 440,000, an increase of 11% compared to a quarter earlier. In addition, there were 330,000 deferred members, 7% more than three months earlier.
RelatedPosts EPL: Gunners gun for West Ham scalp EPL: Red Devils attack Palace Leeds host first Premier League game after 16 years English Premier League clubs will be able to use five substitutes rather than the usual three when the season resumes on June 17, it was announced on Thursday.The changes will be temporary so as to mitigate the packed schedule clubs will have after a three-month suspension to the season caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. There are 92 outstanding fixtures with the majority of teams facing nine matches in a six-week period.“For the remainder of the 2019/2020 season, the number of substitutes that can be used during a match will increase from three to five players,” a Premier League statement said after a meeting of shareholders on Thursday.“This is in line with the temporary law amendment made by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) last month.”Clubs will be able to have nine substitutes on the bench, up from the usual seven.Reuters/NAN. Tags: English Premier LeagueRulesSeason RestartSubstitutions
Authorities have charged a teacher with grand theft after they say, they believe she may have stolen prescription drugs from a coworker.According to the report, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office received a call on February 19th from an employee at Duval Charter School at Southside.The victim told authorities that she had three Adderall pills in her purse but when she went to take the prescription, the pills were no longer there and she believes they may have been stolen.Investigators viewed the security tape at the school and found that Megan Mary Jones who also teaches at the school, was the only one who went in and out of the classroom while the victim’s things were left unattended.Jones has since been charged with grand theft of a controlled substance.
THE Surinamese competitors are here and have sent an ominous message ahead of this weekend’s Reaction drag race meet, organised by the Guyana Motor Racing and Sports Club (GMR&SC).Chronicle Sport caught up with Raul Van Zichem, one of the members who promised dominance from the team, which includes eight cars and three motorcycles.“We are very excited for the race on Sunday. To the Guyanese fans, I’m saying, check us out on the 19th for the reaction drag. We are going to give a great show and we are fully prepared.”He continued, “We have brought eight cars and three bikes and they are going to be fast. There is our surprise Honda that’s always improving; it does 10 seconds in the quarter-mile but what’s under there (the hood) is a big secret and it gets faster and faster.”Meanwhile, preparation work at the track has been ongoing all day yesterday with reports indicating that all is set for free practice and test and tune tomorrow.According to a source, the lights and sensors were tested earlier today and are ready for action this weekend.Official free runs for the event start at 09:00hrs with Qualifying set for an hour after and Knockout set for 11:00hrs. Admission is $1 000 for adults and kids under 12 years of age will pay $500.