The Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) Department of Education on Tuesday presented its leg of the biennial Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) Fair, under the theme, “Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics, paving the way for a green and sustainable society”.This year, the Arts have been incorporated into the event, which showcases the innovative skills of students and teachers from schools at every level. Region 10’s exhibition was hosted at the Wisburg Secondary School, Wismar, Linden and featured a host of presentations by students.Linden Foundation presenting their project entitled, “Green Town New Age Eden”Speaking during the opening ceremony for the event, outgoing Linden Mayor Carwyn Holland said he was impressed with the quality of work displayed by the various schools, as he encouraged students to continue to be creative ,”dream big”, step out, invent, and achieve great things.“I believe that your inventive ability should not be confined to this event, but it should be actively utilised…don’t let your creativity be dormant. Dream big and achieve big. If you look around your community you will see many opportunities to be creative,” Holland encouraged.Holland, in sharing his own experiences, further gave encouragement to all to inspire young creative minds to “think outside the box” and become active trailblazers.In an overview of the ever-evolving event, District Education Officer (Nursery) Shivon Greene-Brewster said the objective of the exhibitions has always been to stimulate young minds to analyse and evaluate situations with the aim of exposing students to critical thinking skills.Meanwhile, District Education Officer (Primary) Lashanna Anderson said the activity formed part of the strategy to promote Science and Technology, provide the opportunity for students and teachers to showcase, disseminate and share knowledge relating to these fields.District Education Officer (Secondary) Sonia Fraser-Pearce said the Fair provided an opportunity for creativity as well as the showcasing and sharing of knowledge and skills. The national STEAM Fair will be hosted in Georgetown from April 3- 6, where the winners from Tuesday’s event will be given an opportunity to participate. read more
SANTA CLARA — 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said Monday he hopes Reuben Foster can straighten out his life but reiterated that there was no way the organization could keep him on the team after he was arrested over the weekend on one count of first-degree misdemeanor domestic violence battery at the team’s hotel in Tampa, Fla.“Hopefully for Reuben’s sake, I thought rock bottom was last time, and I thought it’d be very simple that that would be his wakeup call, and I think it was in a lot of …
OAKLAND — In the wake of the team’s worst home loss in the five-year Steve Kerr era, the Warriors gathered Wednesday to discuss what ails them and clear the air.When you lose 128-95 to a team that had lost five of its previous six games, it can’t all be chalked up to the absence of Klay Thompson and Shaun Livingston.Kerr said his team didn’t compete, and he got no argument from Draymond Green.“I don’t think we came out with the right intensity, the competitive spirit we need to play with,” …
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Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Matt ReeseBecky Worley was a single parent in search of the right job for her skill set and her situation. She saw Nachurs Alpine Solutions in Marion had a position open at their corporate office in Marion.“I inquired about the benefits at Nachurs. I knew a couple of people who worked there. They told me the benefits were top notch, better than most employers. It made employment there more desirable,” Worley said. “That was a real positive for me coming in the door. It made me feel a lot more comfortable and more at ease. I have since had other people ask me and that is something I tell them — the benefits at Nachurs are just amazing.”Worley has now been with Nachurs for seven years and serves as the marketing coordinator for the company. She said the great benefits the job provides for her and her daughter have been extremely valuable for her situation.“It played a large role for me. I know how quickly medical costs can escalate. I had a twin brother who was unfortunately paralyzed and I know how quickly that debt racked up. It can take you from the top of the world to bankrupt in just a matter of a few weeks,” Worley said. “Being competitive as an employer is important and the benefits make Nachurs stand apart from everyone. When you hire on here you are not just an employee or a number, you are part of a family. There is a reason we have multiple employees in our Marion office who have worked at this company for 40 years plus. We have multiple employees in that 30-year bracket. You know you are not just a number here because they go above and beyond.”Of course, the top benefit of concern for many employees and employers is health insurance coverage, particularly as costs have escalated in recent years. James Smith with Association Benefit Planners in Dublin outlined some of the changing options available.“In the small employer market things have changed a lot with the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in March of 2010. Many small employers, especially with less than 50 full time employees, have seen fewer or more restrictive plan options and are seeing continued increases in cost. Some employers have also benefitted from the law,” Smith said. “Prior to the ACA, group health plans used location, age, gender and medical conditions to determine the premium rate that was charged to an employer. They also had the ability to impose pre-existing condition clauses to avoid coverage for previously diagnosed health conditions. The ACA removed the ability for insurance carriers to use pre-existing exclusions and rating factors for ongoing medical conditions to develop the group’s premium rate.”Now insurance carriers must provide a community rate for ACA compliant plans. “Because of this change, employers that had employees with high cost medical conditions and may have been paying very high insurance premiums were able to reduce their costs as those conditions were no longer considered in the rating process,” Smith said. “On the other hand, employers that have employees with little to no medical conditions and had lower health insurance premiums are seeing the potential for significant increases in their insurance costs. The law has not yet been fully implemented due to government delays and employers are still seeing significant changes in their insurance costs and the options that are available.“As costs for the lower risk population rose sharply, it changed the dynamics of health insurance. Employers and Healthcare providers began looking for alternatives to the ACA marketplace to control and potentially reduce costs.“There are fully insured options available that are ACA compliant that employers can seek out with the major insurance carriers like Medical Mutual, United Health Care, and Anthem to name a few. Another option for a small employer to consider that may reduce healthcare costs is a MEWA. A MEWA is a Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangement that offers a self-funded plan option to small employers with one to 50 and sometimes up to 100 full time employees,” Smith said. “It allows small employers to have their medical risk considered in their premium rating, which could offer a more affordable option than the ACA marketplace. MEWAs are association or chamber sponsored plans that allow employers to band together to obtain more flexible health plan options, and also leverage cost reductions and network access for its participating employers. A MEWA is not insurance, but a health benefits plan. It is fully compliant with the self-funded requirements of the ACA and has strict oversight by the Ohio Department of Insurance to protect the participating employers.”The Ohio Farm Bureau, for example, recognized the need for small employers in the Agriculture Industry to have additional health coverage options and has sponsored their own MEWA called the Ohio Farm Bureau Health Benefits Plan.“MEWAs have provided a great alternative to employers that recognize the value in offering health coverage to their employees but have been struggling with the cost. There is not a one size fits all when it comes to group healthcare, so we recommend that employers work with a licensed benefit consultant to determine the best fit for their specific employee benefit needs,” Smith said. “Our agency works with small employers on a daily basis to assist in developing a quality employee benefits package to obtain and retain valuable employees.”At Nachurs, there are more than 50 employees in the corporate office and at the several manufacturing facilities around North America. Worley really appreciates the health coverage options she has as a single parent employed there.“Nachurs offers a variety of health care packages. We offer a traditional 80-20 HMO-type coverage where you have a little more per paycheck that comes out but you know when you go to the doctor you only have to pay that $15 to $20 co-pay. They also offer a high deductible health savings account where the cost is much less per paycheck. For people who are lower risk like myself it is an option. I have not hit my deductible of $3,500 but I have had zero money that has had to come out of my pocket for claims. For the plan I have, it is less than $100 a month for the medical plan and Nachurs puts over $200 a month into my health savings account for me to offset the money I pay for it and offset my deductible. Their goal is for you to not have to pay out of pocket but to use the money you are accumulating in your account to pay all of those co-pays and deductibles. It really is fantastic. You also have the option of contributing additional money because it is a pre-tax savings,” Worley said. “Then, after you retire, that money is yours to keep for medical expenses. And it rolls over if you were to change jobs. I also can use that money for other expenses that are not covered by our insurance. For example, I was able to pay for LASIK for my daughter with the money left in my health savings account. She just finished her undergraduate work and is going to medical school. All she does is study and work with microscopes and that is hard to do with glasses. It has changed her life. If it wasn’t for Nachurs and what they offer, that wouldn’t have been possible.”Health care is certainly important, but there are other valuable benefits to consider as well.“One thing that helps Nachurs benefits stand apart from the competition is that No. 1 you don’t have to wait for benefits. When I started, it was important to me that I didn’t have to wait the traditional 90-day waiting period. At Nachurs your insurance starts on your very first full day of your first full month with the company. That is something that definitely stands apart from many employers today,” she said. “Another thing is paid vacation. It is next to impossible to get two weeks paid vacation with some jobs. We just changed our policy earlier this year at Nachurs and now you start earning three weeks of paid vacation a year from day one. If you are an over-worker like me you tend to have a lot of vacation time left over and you can carry over up to four weeks into the upcoming year. That is wonderful if you know you have an event coming up where you are going to take a lot of time off. We actually earn vacation time every paycheck verses a lot of people who get so much per year.”A good retirement plan and additional insurance options are also increasingly important.“Pensions have mostly gone to the wayside but we have a 401(k). Most all retirement plans are self funded these days and unlike most companies, at Nachurs you are fully vested day one,” she said. “Short-term disability is also 100% paid at Nachurs. I have not had to deal with that, but I do know from other co-workers how important this can be. They also offer a whole portfolio of different policies and supplemental insurances. They pay for a term life insurance policy for all employees as well, 100% paid, automatic.”Small things too including direct deposit of checks so employees do not have to take paychecks to the bank and holiday flexibility can also make life easier for employees.“They make it a point to bring someone in every year to go over the options we have with our benefits to make sure questions are answered. I could just go on and on about the benefits they offer that go beyond what other employers offer,” Worley said. “Benefits are really important for me. It is hard to walk away from a job that gives you so much. Another employer may offer you a carrot saying they are going to pay more. But if the benefits don’t add up, what are you really gaining? That is a really big reason so many people stay put for such a long time here. It is a way of life and not just a job. Employees here know Nachurs is going to have their back in the end and the people who work here go above and beyond because of that.”This is the fourth of a series of five stories in cooperation with the Ohio AgriBusiness Association highlighting human resource management solutions in Ohio agribusinesses. read more
Senior BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Thursday accused Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath of spreading lies over the loan waiver issue and deceiving farmers. The former Chief Minister hit out at Mr. Gandhi over his claim at a rally in MP on Wednesday that his brother was among those who received loan waiver. Showing the panchayat’s documents pertaining to farmers of his native village Jait (in Sehore district), Mr. Chouhan said the records showed his brother was not eligible for loan waiver scheme. “He is an income tax payer and it’s written (in records) that my brother Rohit hasn’t even filled the application for farm loan waiver,” he said.
India were batting on 190/2 with Rahul Dravid (28) and night watchman Ishant Sharma (7) in the middle at close on Day 3 of the first Test against South Africa at the SuperSport Park in Centurion on Saturday.South Africa’s Jacques Kallis celebrates his double century against India in Centurion on Saturday. Photo by APThe situation could have been grimmer, but for the South African fielders who helped India’s cause, giving them as many as five lives.Ideally, a cautious approach would have been justified considering that India had to chip away a massive 484-run lead amassed by the South Africans.But, they were far from cautious. First Gautam Gambhir threw caution to the winds and took a risky single in the very first over of the innings, then it was Virender Sehwag’s turn to show his antics. He nearly got run out in the third over.But, Sehwag hadn’t finished yet. After hitting Lonwabo Tsotsobe for a six, he decided to go after the relatively inexperienced bowler. While attempting an aerial stroke, he failed to get desired elevation and could have been warming the benches had Hashim Amla been a little agile.There was more to come, as Alviro Petersen, standing at point, dropped Gambhir on 43 off Dale Steyn and then on 62 in the same position off Morne Morkel.After missing two run outs and three catching opportunities, South Africa managed to cling on to one. And it was Sehwag, who finally bid adieu on 63.An aerial shot off Paul Harris that wasn’t perfectly timed landed in skipper Graeme Smith’s safe hands in the deep.advertisementSteyn too was rewarded for his efforts. But this time round he did not take any help from the fielders. He kept the ball low and rammed it into Gambhir’s pads to see him off on 80 as the India score read 170/2.Earlier, South Africa put on a massive 620/4 in the first innings in reply to India’s measly 136.Jacques Kallis scored an unbeaten double ton and AB de Villiers hit a fast-paced century.In fact, his century was so quick, that it entered the record books as the fastest century in Tests by a South African.He scored it off 75 balls hitting two consecutive sixes off Suresh Raina when batting on 93. He went on to make 129.Like second day’s play, Saturday too saw India claim two wickets. Only it wasn’t the veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh but medium pacer Ishant Sharma, who came to the fore.First Ishant got better of Amla on 140 and then claimed AB de Villiers on 129 with skipper M.S. Dhoni performing the final rites behind the stumps on both occasions. read more
Ever since Amitabh Bachchan tweeted on Tuesday night that bahu Aishwarya is expecting her first child, the film industry has sat up to take note of how the film trade could be affected because of the superstar actress’s current condition.Ash has two films in motion right now, Madhur Bhandarkar’s Heroine and Rajkumar Santoshi’s Ladies And Gentleman. While work on Heroine has already started, Santoshi is yet to start pre-production of his film.Madhur has said he had signed Ash for Heroine last month, and the film went on floors earlier this month. Reports suggest that Madhur had come to know of the pregnancy a while back, and had accordingly chalked out a plan to wrap up the film in a single schedule of 45 days.Madhur is anyway known to finish shooting his films in a war footing.”Only 15 days’ shoot of Heroine is left. It is not a very high budget film, so it won’t be affected in any major way. Producers Madhur and Ronnie Screwvala of UTV have invested around Rs 18 crore in the project,” says a source in the unit of the film.Click here to EnlargeAccording to the source, Ash’s character is shown to be a depressed alcoholic, so her bloated look over the past few weeks suited the role. “Plus, Madhur chose to shoot Ash with wide angle shots with a second camera to do the close-ups so that she did not have to shoot variations of the same scenes again. The post production work involving Aishwarya mainly features dubbing. It will be done as per her convenience,” said the source.The big problem for Madhur could happen when it comes to promoting the film before its release in the year-end, by when Ash would be closer to her due date.advertisement”Madhur will probably have to work his way around Ash’s possible absence during the publicity campaigns of the film. Anyway, she has a ready fan base who will go to watch the film. On the other hand, the good news could actually have a positive effect on the film,” said the source.The project that could actually come under pressure is Santoshi’s Ladies And Gentleman. The film, starring Ash with hubby Abhishek Bachchan, will obviously be delayed now and Santoshi will probably have to focus on another project.” Santoshi will have to wait for at least 10 months before Ash can resume work on a fresh project. He will have to shelve the film for now,” said trade analyst Komal Nahta.Normally, Santoshi’s films are ambitious and his budgets range from anywhere between Rs 40 crore to Rs 60 crore. As of now, starting work on Ladies And Gentleman and then waiting for Ash to start shooting would bloat the budget excessively.Most in the industry, however, are sure that Ash will retain her position among the top heroines whenever she comes back.”If we look at current box office trends, the Indian audience has become mature and have started accepting heroines who return after marriage and motherhood. Kajol has thrived even after motherhood, while Karisma Kapoor, Sridevi and Raveena Tandon are all set for a comeback. Aishwarya should have no problems whenever she returns,” said Nahta.Meanwhile, a section of the media is floating reports that Big B deliberately timed announcing Ash’s pregnancy on the eve of the IIFA Awards in Toronto – from June 23 to 25 – to deflect attention from the gala.The veteran actor was dropped last year as the brand ambassador of the annual event after a decade’s association, when he refused to attend the Colombo IIFA.For more news on India, click here.For more news on Business, click here.For more news on Movies, click here.For more news on Sports, click here. read more