• Goodbye, LA: Barrack’s Colony packs bags for Florida

    first_imgTagscolony capitalCommercial Real EstateHotels Share via Shortlink Colony Capital chairman Tom Barrack (Getty, iStock)Tom Barrack has relocated Colony Capital’s corporate headquarters to Florida from Los Angeles.The real estate investment trust moved to Boca Raton Jan. 1, according to Bloomberg. The decision brings the main office to the home turf of its CEO, Marc Ganzi.Still, the company plans to keep its L.A. location to “support its investment and corporate operations,” according to a statement to the news site. Colony’s digital infrastructure operation has been based in Boca for more than 10 years.Read moreHewlett Packard Enterprise leaves Silicon Valley for TexasGoldman Sachs plans move to South Florida“Sad day” in LA: CBRE’s corporate exit latest blow to dented office market Companies seem to have increasingly been eyeing Florida and certain other parts of the country since the pandemic struck.Goldman Sachs Group is considering moving its asset management division to South Florida, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise has abandoned Silicon Valley for Texas. CBRE has shifted its headquarters from LA to Dallas, and Oracle last month announced it would move from Silicon Valley to Austin, Texas.Colony Capital has had a rough time since the coronavirus crushed the travel and hospitality industries in the early spring.[Bloomberg] — Sasha Jones Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlinklast_img read more

  • Liquidator of old Emoov says ‘pay up front’ customers are owed £1.5m

    first_imgThe liquidator of the company behind the former Emoov business has revealed that the thousands of estate agency customers who had paid the company in advance for its sales service prior to tist demise are collectively owed £1.5 million.Liquidator James Cowper Kreston says it has received claims from these customers for payment but, because they are deemed to be unsecured creditors, it is unlikely they will receive much or any of the funds they lost when Emoov Ltd when into administration two years ago.The company went down owing nearly £15 million in total and its ‘secured’ and ‘preferential’ creditors are ahead of unsecured creditor as the liquidator attempts to redistribute the cash left over.FundsThis totals some £456,000 approximately half of which has come from the money paid by Mashroom Ltd for the former Emoov’s website, IT and goodwill.Mashroom has since relaunched the business with a newly-designed website, business model and management team.It has also been revealed that the purchase of the old Emoov’s database agreed to pay additional fees to the liquidator although so far this has only generated £500.James Cowper Kreston also says it has enough funds to pay preferential creditors, who include the many staff made redundant. These are to be paid £800 each plus any outstanding holiday pay, later this year.But the true amount owed in pay, bonuses and other payments to former staff totals some £373,000, which has been covered by the government’s Redundancy Payments Service.James Cowper Kreston Emoov January 14, 2020Nigel LewisOne commentAndrew Stanton, CEO Proptech-PR Real Estate Influencer & Journalist CEO Proptech-PR Real Estate Influencer & Journalist 14th January 2020 at 9:02 amAs many will know the Advertising standards and Emoov have reneged on an agreement that false Trust Pilot reviews will be taken off the current Emoov website.What the property community and vendors may not be aware of, is that at present Emoov (2) on their website are advertising the fact that they can save potential vendors thousands of pounds in commission as it did (?) in 2018. Which I have also asked the ASA to be removed.Specifically, the current wording on the official Emoov (2) website as of today 14/01/2020 states that on average a vendor can save £3,050 by using their services.The exact wording is …‘* emoov charges a fixed fee of £895 (inclusive of VAT), instead of a % of your sale price. According to HomeOwners’ Alliance website, high street estate agents usually charge between 1-2.5% for a sole agency and 2.5-3% for a joint agency (plus VAT in both cases) of your sale price.Our savings calculations are based on our £895 (inclusive of VAT) flat fee. Our 2018 figure is based on an estimated traditional estate agent charge of 1.5% plus VAT based on sales values facilitated by emoov in comparison with our flat fee of £895 inclusive of VAT. Please note that these numbers predate our acquisition of emoov, but the price range differentials remain as stated.’Given the stark reality that over 5,000 vendors lost all their money in 2018, I am at a loss how the new Mashroom/Emoov company headed by Naveen Jaspal can have a website displaying what it does.A more accurate wording would be – in 2018, the original Emoov ceased trading with losses in excess of £5.6M and all vendors at the time of the company closing, some of whom were migrated from Tepilo, lost all monies they had paid in good faith upfront to Emoov.Whilst the current company Emoov is in no way connected in any financial way with the former company Emoov, please be aware that paying an upfront fee may lead to financial loss, should the present company cease trading.Log in to ReplyWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Hong Kong remains most expensive city to rent with London in 4th place30th April 2021 Home » News » Agencies & People » Liquidator of old Emoov says ‘pay up front’ customers are owed £1.5m previous nextAgencies & PeopleLiquidator of old Emoov says ‘pay up front’ customers are owed £1.5mLegal firm James Cowper Kreston also says former staff are to be paid £800 each, although this is much less than many are owed in back pay and bonuses.Nigel Lewis14th January 20201 Comment1,067 Viewslast_img read more

  • Royal Navy’s Minehunters Join American Counterparts in Major Minehunting Exercise

    first_img View post tag: American View post tag: major View post tag: News by topic October 8, 2013 Six Royal Navy and RFA ships, plus specialist dive teams and Fleet Air Arm squadrons joined their American counterparts in a major minehunting exercise in the Gulf. The joint workout – billed as the most extensive of its kind in several years – saw the two allies work together to clear a path through a practice minefield for a large cargo ship, fending off any surface threats as they went.Royal Navy minehunters cleared a 1,000-yard-wide ‘path’ through the Gulf for a cargo ship in one of the largest Anglo-American exercises of its kind.Eleven ships, plus specialist dive teams, miniature robot submarines, fast patrol boats and helicopter squadrons joined forces for several days. US and UK naval forces work side-by-side in the Gulf region on a daily basis, and combined minehunting exercises are reasonably commonplace.But the scale of the latest joint link-up and the variety of ships, aircraft and other assets available took things to the next level.Three of the Royal Navy’s four minehunters based in the region – HMS Ramsey, Shoreham (which specialise in finding mines in shallower waters) and HMS Atherstone (designed to hunt mines in deeper seas) – joined three of their American counterparts, plus support ships (RFA Cardigan Bay and Diligence from the UK, the USS Ponce from the USA), Fleet Air Arm surveillance Sea Kings and Lynx, American Sea Dragon minehunting helicopters, clearance divers, and British and American teams operating Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (small remote-controlled submarines equipped with sonar to scan the seabed).For added realism, the threat of surface ships attacking the slow-moving mine force was thrown into the fix.On hand to fend off this threat were frigate HMS Montrose, destroyer USS Bulkeley and fast US Navy riverine combat boats, plus helicopters directed from the operations rooms of the Bulkeley and Montrose.Rather than clear an entire minefield, the principal aim of the exercise was to clear a route through a stretch of sea sown with mines sufficiently wide – about 1,000 yards – for a very large cargo ship to pass safely with her escorts.“This is the largest scale UK-US MCM exercise in recent memory – partly for its sizeable inventory and partly for its complexity,”explained Capt Richard Hayes USN, directing the exercise with his Anglo-American staff aboard the command ship USS Ponce.“It is a very busy picture.”The Royal Navy minehunters used their sonars to scour the seabed and water column for any suspicious items – and once a ‘contact of interest’ was located, the ships launched their disposal system Seafox to identify it, courtesy of the live TV feed the small robot submersible sent back to the mother ship.In the operations room mine warfare ratings such as Able Seaman Josh Batty monitored the contacts.“The exercise has been a really good experience.“This is my first ship and I only arrived on the Wednesday, we sailed on Friday and so it has been a real baptism of fire.”If the contact turned out to be a mine, a Seafox armed with an explosive charge is sent in – or the ship’s clearance divers – to neutralise the threat. In the case of practice mines, it fell to the divers to recover them and bring them back to the ships.“We identified and recovered several suspicious contacts,”said HMS Shoreham’s Leading Diver Ian Rowe.“When you see the mine coming up – even when it is a dummy, designed for training use only – it makes the job worthwhile.”As well as conducting mine clearance, one of the key tests was the ability to sustain the minehuntings for sustained periods by berthing next to larger ships – such as Cardigan Bay – for fuel, water, ammunition, supplies and food, a process known as ‘rafting’.“It has been a good learning experience, with plenty of training benefits as we continue to practice our routines with the UK mine counter-measures vessels – and refreshing similar procedures with the US ships,”aid Cardigan Bay’s navigator 1st Officer Gordon Peebles from Falkirk.“Rafting with the Americans was a real highlight.”Built as an amphibious ship to support Royal Marines’ operations, Cardigan Bay is acting as the mother/command ship for the Royal Navy’s Gulf minehunters.She’s home to the UK Mine Warfare Battle Staff, led by Commander Neil Marriott, which directed activities on the surface of the Gulf for this exercise, including dictating the search patterns for the minehunters.Also using the Bay-class ship as a base were the US riverine boats and a Lynx of 815 Naval Air Squadron which carried out security patrols, while Airborne Surveillance and Control Sea Kings looked down on the waters of the Gulf and monitored traffic with their radar.Completing the British presence on the exercise was floating repair ship RFA Diligence was on hand to meet the day-to-day engineering requirements of the mine force, bolstered by a specialist team of minehunter engineers: Fleet Support Unit 2, which is normally based in Bahrain, the hub of Royal Navy operations in the Gulf.“We work closely with the marine and weapon engineer officers on the ships to identify any issues,”explained PO Matt ‘Waggy’ Wagstaff, support unit team leader.“Our primary role is to ensure the ships are at their full capability, be it through maintenance support or defect repair.”Lieutenant Commander Simon Rogers, HMS Atherstone’s Commanding Officer said,“Overall the Anglo-American workout had been challenging for my ship’s company and offered a chance to develop our skills with the US.”He continued,“The exercise has been extremely valuable – long periods of mine hunting to test the equipment and my personnel.“This allows us to improve continuously our skills, to ensure the Royal Navy remains at the forefront of global mine counter measure performance.”[mappress]Press Release, October 08, 2013; Image: Royal Navy View post tag: Minehunting View post tag: Defence Back to overview,Home naval-today Royal Navy’s Minehunters Join American Counterparts in Major Minehunting Exercise View post tag: Royal View post tag: Minehunters View post tag: join View post tag: Naval Training & Education Royal Navy’s Minehunters Join American Counterparts in Major Minehunting Exercise View post tag: Counterparts View post tag: Navy View post tag: Exercise View post tag: Defense Share this articlelast_img read more

  • Graduate colleges to merge into Green Templeton

    first_imgPlans to accommodate hundreds of additional graduate students to meet new University targets will be realised when Green and Templeton Colleges merge next year.The new college, to open in October 2008, will be based at the Radcliffe Observatory site where Green College is currently located. Templeton College will cease to be situated at the Egrove Park campus in Kennington, south of Oxford. Green Templeton will contain around 450 students and 80 fellows. The merger is designed to combine Green College’s focus on medical and life sciences with Templeton College’s strengths in management and business studies. The Warden of Green College, Professor Mike Bundy, said that the move was part of the University’s plan to increase provision for graduates.”The main benefit to Green College is that the new College will have greater capacity. In particular, it will be more able to respond effectively to the University’s new policy emphasising graduate studies and requiring higher levels of support for graduates,” he said.Green College, founded in 1979, contains 300 students and 50 fellows. Templeton College, originally ‘the Oxford Centre for Management Studies’, became a graduate college in 1995 and has 130 graduates and 30 fellows. The new college will continue Templeton’s emphasis on management and maintain links with Oxford’s Said Business School. Anuj Jhunjhunwala, Templeton’s GCR President, said that these links would benefit graduates. “Green Templeton College would specialize in management and medicine and thus the students with an interest in management would continue to be a part of SBS.”The Green College students would be benefiting by getting a chance to interact with more and more management professionals,” she said. Extensive consultation with students took place at both colleges throughout 2006, with authorities holding both formal and informal meetings for staff and students.The merger was approved by the University Council and Vice-Chancellor John Hood.Professor Michael Earl, Dean of Templeton College, said in a press release, “Green Templeton will be well equipped to explore policy and define agendas in its professional specialisms. It will continue to bring practitioners, graduates and academics together, and to explore the interrelations between its major academic areas.”last_img read more

  • Photos: Little Steven & The Disciples Of Soul At PlayStation Theater In NYC, 5/2/2018

    first_imgOn Wednesday, May 2nd, Little Steven & The Disciples of Soul hit New York City’s PlayStation Theater. Little Steven, also known as Steven Van Zandt, is a guitarist and mandolinist for Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, though also is known as an actor—most famously, for his role on The Sopranos as Silvio Dante. Since the 80s, in addition to these other endeavors, Little Steven has headed Little Steven and The Disciples of Soul, which sees Van Zandt joined by a huge cast of other musicians to make up a fiery band including three backing vocalists, a horn section, and more. You can check out photos from Wednesday’s show below, courtesy of Lou Montesano. Photo: Little Steven & The Disciples Of Soul | PlayStation Theater | New York, NY | 5/2/2018 Photo: Lou Montesano Photo: Lou Montesanocenter_img Photo: Lou Montesano Load remaining imageslast_img read more

  • Writing her way back

    first_imgSara Bareilles always knew she was destined for the stage. Cast albums from “Les Misérables,” “Chess,” “Miss Saigon,” and “The Secret Garden” filled her childhood soundtrack. She performed in choirs and school musicals, and sang duets from hit shows with her sister.Her future — she was certain — involved musical theater, maybe even Broadway.But in college, Bareilles got her “feet wet as a jazz singer.” Later, she performed her own music in clubs, perfecting the soulful melodies, clever lyrics, and catchy choruses that would launch her career. Soon her musical stage morphed into the recording studio and a life on tour.“The fact that my career kind of developed in another realm was sort of a surprise to me,” said Bareilles, who has released four albums and had a number of hits, including “Love Song” (2007) and “Brave” (2013). “So it feels really nice. It feels like a homecoming in some ways to come back toward the theater.”Bareilles is behind the music and lyrics for the American Repertory Theater’s new musical, “Waitress,” which opens Sunday and runs through Sept. 27. Adapted from the 2007 movie directed by Adrienne Shelly and starring Keri Russell, the musical centers on Jenna, a waitress trapped in a small town and a loveless marriage who dreams of a better life.Unsurprisingly, it was the show’s director, Diane Paulus, who engineered Bareilles’ return to musical theater. Since her arrival in 2008, Paulus, the A.R.T.’s Terrie and Bradley Bloom Artistic Director, has embraced the musical in her programming, energizing the stage with ballads, song-and-dance numbers, live bands, and seasoned singers belting it out in leading roles.“For me, the theater is music,” Paulus told an Oberon audience during a discussion in 2010 with the lyricist and composer Stephen Schwartz. In Cambridge she has stayed true to that ethos, animating through song everything from baseball to the Bard.Now baking — the lead character makes mouthwatering pies — is being added to the mix.“I knew immediately that it had a heartbeat as a musical,” said Paulus of her reaction to watching “Waitress” on DVD. “There was something about both the humor and whimsy and intimacy of it as a film and [its] emotional heft.”Paulus’ only remaining question: Who could write a score that would evoke the story’s humor and heartache? Her instincts turned her from traditional theater to the world of pop. Her intuition locked on Bareilles for her ability to tell “personal and deeply emotional stories” with her songs, and for her talent with witty, “often ironic lyrics.”“I thought she could capture the right tone,” said Paulus.In 2012 the two had lunch in New York. “Just watch the film,” Paulus told her, “and see what happens. See if it starts to flow.”Soon, a song appeared in Paulus’ inbox. Nervously, the director clicked it open. Then she breathed a sigh of relief.“My heart melted. I was so unbelievably moved by how she captured the point of view of this waitress,” said Paulus of Bareilles’ “She Used to Be Mine,” which would eventually become the centerpiece for the musical.“She completely put herself into that title character, and then it just felt [like] destiny. She was born to write this.”Like Paulus, Bareilles was struck by the story’s emotional depth and the “relatable concept” of waking up one day like Jenna, reflecting on your life, and wondering how you got there.“We can all end up in positions in our lives where we don’t recognize ourselves anymore,” said Bareilles of the inspiration for “She Used to Be Mine.” The song, she said, was “the inroad into finding my voice on behalf of these characters.”Still, turning from the studio to the stage has been a learning process for the young composer. While writing a song for a musical, like creating a song for an album, involves “trying to express part of the human condition,” ultimately a song for the stage involves much more. A piece in a musical always must advance the storyline, said Bareilles, or offer the audience insight into a character’s mindset or background.Writing for the stage, she said, means not luxuriating “in your own self-indulgence.”“There’s plenty of songs that I’ve written where I am just wallowing in something and it’s cathartic for me as an artist and as a person to get to kind of revel in my state of being. But with the musical … the story and character remain king.”Actress and singer Jessie Mueller, a recent Tony award winner for her performance as Carole King in “Beautiful,” said it’s been a joy to watch Bareilles embrace the process.“As an actor it’s so satisfying, because she writes what you need,” said Mueller, who plays Jenna. “Not only is it so melodically satisfying and on a completely different note, so fun to sing, but lyrically what she’s done is so informative … so much is revealed about the characters through the song.”Much of what’s revealed — broken dreams, broken marriages — covers difficult emotional terrain. Jenna is trapped in an abusive marriage and her husband’s rage bubbles over on stage. But Paulus has never backed away from charged narratives, instead often using theater to open a dialogue about issues such as same-sex relationships (“Witness Uganda”), human-rights abuses (“Prometheus Bound”), and the psychological effects of war (“Ajax”).For “Waitress,” the A.R.T. is partnering with Harvard’s Office of Sexual Assault Prevention & Response and will host a discussion following the matinee performance on Sept. 12 with representatives of the office.“Artists have a unique opportunity to frame the subject in a way that maybe gets people to look at it … in powerful, unique ways,” said Paulus. “And I am hoping this musical will do that.”last_img read more

  • Optimize Your Infrastructure for Critical Business Workloads

    first_imgAs we look ahead to the next decade of digital business, our teams at Dell Technologies are focused on providing you with full solutions to help your organization. That of course means that we are working to arm you with cutting-edge technology solutions that you need – but we also want to provide you with solutions to the issues that keep you up at night as an IT leader. While we help you navigate the technology challenges that your organization is facing, we also want to help keep your IT staff relevant to the business.As your organization works to maintain or gain competitive advantage, we understand that you need to provide the agility required to support the creation of strategic differentiation. While the business dictates the application and workloads essential for success, your IT staff must serve as an active partner and meet the new “as-a-service” standard. That leaves you balancing several priorities as you continue modernizing your infrastructure: You need the right technology to support the transformational activities going on within your organization. And wherever data is gravitating from edge to core to cloud, you need to be sure that you are investing at the right place across your IT ecosystem to ensure that you can achieve your desired business outcomes.The best way to prioritize your future investments is to ensure that you are emphasizing support for the critical business workloads that will lead the transformation of the business. Dell Technologies is an experienced leader in delivering solutions for critical business applications and databases such as SAP, SQL and Oracle – as well as other high value workloads such as Artificial Intelligence (AI). Whatever the key workloads are for your organization, Dell Technologies provides you with the power and simplicity you need to get IT complexities out of the way and accelerate business growth. Our portfolio of Dell EMC infrastructure solutions allows your business to run critical workloads with ease, allowing you to focus on supporting transformative innovation. We can enable end-to-end optimization to help tune for your workloads’ placement across your organization’s hybrid IT infrastructure. Our modern Dell EMC infrastructure can lead your IT staff to become more responsive to the development of new business capabilities and to take insightful action with advanced data management and real-time intelligence.Create new value by optimizing your infrastructure for your critical business workloads with Dell Technologies – with the right technology, in the right place, for the right outcomes. Allow me to break down exactly what that looks like:The right technology…Our powered-up portfolio of infrastructure solutions enables your business to run its critical workloads with ease, allowing you to focus on business innovations. By delivering the performance, scalability and resiliency required across your infrastructure, we help ensure your IT investments will support the workloads that your business depends on to grow.Dell EMC brings you Power & Simplicity to get IT complexities out of your way and accelerate innovation and growth – through cutting-edge performance, trusted simplicity, and our Future-Proof Loyalty Program. Our sales team will work with you to determine what is the right technology for your workload needs. Plus, our integrated full stack solutions (hyperconverged/converged infrastructure) and validated designs offer your team further simplicity.… In the right place…Once you have the right technology in mind, your Dell EMC specialist will turn the conversation to the topic of workload placement. This is where the breadth and flexibility of our Dell EMC offerings shine – no matter where data is gravitating across your environment from edge to core to cloud, Dell EMC can work with you to identify the appropriate hybrid cloud infrastructure to best support the high-value applications and databases critical to your organization.Cloud-enabled offerings across the full Dell EMC stack help you optimize your infrastructure based on the ideal location of your critical workloads. By supporting your business processes wherever they live, we can store, run and protect databases and applications consistently across your distributed environment to cut data sprawl. And with Dell Technologies Cloud, you can deliver the right environment for all cloud native and traditional workloads with consistent infrastructure and operations across public, private, and edge clouds.Dell EMC brings you End-to-end Optimization to help tune for your workloads’ placement across your hybrid IT infrastructure – through data mobility and placement, a seamless cloud experience, and choice with control.Plus, our ProConsult Migration Services can help you migrate those applications and workloads to their optimum platform. … For the right outcomesUltimately, you can only be sure that you have the right technology in the right place when you have the right goals in your sight. The investment decisions you make in your IT infrastructure can make a real impact on your business, if you can adopt this outcome-oriented way of thinking in your decision making. As your IT organization works to uncover the power that resides within data, are you all rallying behind an approach that will bring your desired outcomes?Advanced data management, automation and intelligence in Dell EMC infrastructure empowers your organization to create strategic advantage. By enabling continuous application innovation and real-time analytics at any scale, we help your users create new capabilities which leverage all of your data to generate value for your business.This is how Dell EMC prepares your organization to take Insightful Action – by helping you achieve responsive application development and begin to leverage advanced data management and real-time intelligence. Our kinetic infrastructure and advanced data management offerings help you support the creation of new business capabilities by allowing your staff to become more responsive to cloud native application development needs.Optimize your infrastructure for your critical business workloadsA core responsibility of your team is to be supportive of the development of new capabilities – whether that development is cloud-native or otherwise. Wherever that critical activity is taking place and data is gravitating across your environment, optimize your infrastructure for it by taking advantage of our simply powerful Dell EMC products and our consulting service experts. Let us help you tune workload placement in this complex multi-cloud world, so that you can build a successful hybrid infrastructure based on the criticality of your workloads. Through this optimized infrastructure that embraces automation and orchestration, you will enable your IT staff to become more responsive to development needs and to take insightful action with advanced data management and real-time intelligence. Our Dell Technologies Consulting Service experts will help you create a strategy aligned with the business outcomes that you are being asked to support. Benefit from faster deployment, fewer support calls, and by gaining a partner to work with as you determine the optimal infrastructure for your critical business workloads.As your users work to leverage data capital and unlock new opportunities for the business, have confidence that you can support their needs consistently by trusting Dell Technologies as your continued technology provider. Stay tuned to this space for as we expand on the examples outlined in this post and continue to highlight how our Dell EMC products and Dell Technologies consulting services are helping customers around the globe modernize IT and transform their business.And for more information on how optimizing infrastructure for workloads can benefit your business and how Dell Technologies can help with industry-leading workload solutions, visit our new page.last_img read more

  • Long-awaited babies.

    first_img“It’s a beautiful tree with silver leaves,” she said. “The firsttwo years, it looked great in our Southern climate. But the thirdyear, all my specimens developed disease. If the tree had beenreleased after the second year of evaluation, consumers wouldn’thave been happy with the long-term results.” Breeding a “perfect” plant is probably impossible. But by makingthe right crosses and growing enough seedlings, scientists oftencome up with improved cultivars, she said. You can’t rush and release too soon “Consumers want an abelia that’s smaller and more compact; hasbrightly colored flowers, year-round appeal and attractivefoliage; and is cold-tolerant and heat-, drought- andpest-resistant,” Robacker said. “Basically, they want the perfectplant. And they want it in a cute, little, meatball shape.” Robacker’s new abelia varieties will head to commercial nurseriesfor evaluation this summer. They should be released to the publicin two years. That is, if they pass her high standards. By Sharon OmahenUniversity of GeorgiaAmong the garden set, a new plant variety is almost as excitingas a new baby’s arrival. After all, a new plant is a new baby ofsorts. What most home gardeners don’t know, though, is how longthat new “baby” took to be born.Carol Robacker, a horticulturist with the University of Georgia,has been working for the past seven years to breed a new azaleavariety resistant to lace bugs. Azalea lace bugs are major pestsof azaleas.”We’ve found resistance in wild plants,” she said. “But tocombine that quality into a plant that’s attractive to consumersisn’t easy. From seed to flowering takes about three years. Andthe cycle has to be repeated several times to obtain our goals.” For the past three years, Robacker has been evaluating a new treevariety for a northern grower. Less pesticides, more appealA resistant plant would reduce the amount of pesticideshomeowners and landscapers apply, and the new variety would lookbetter and live longer.”Though it’s important to develop pest-resistant cultivars,breeding for pest resistance is usually much more difficult thanbreeding for aesthetic qualities,” Robacker said.As a plant breeder working with the UGA College of Agriculturaland Environmental Sciences, Robacker focuses her breeding effortson woody ornamental plants in home and commercial landscapes.Besides the azalea project, she’s working on new abeliavarieties. Abelia is a hedge-type shrub typically used forfoundation planting around commercial buildings and homes. “Ideally, these cultivars should be evaluated over several yearsand locations,” she said, “to determine their adaptability toheat, drought and cold, and to improve the chance of detectingany pest problems.”last_img read more

  • Kudzu Bug Decline

    first_imgOnce a nuisance for soybean farmers in the Southeast, kudzu bug populations appear to be declining in the U.S. “We can’t positively say it’s due to their natural enemies, but kudzu bug populations are decreasing,” said Ian Knight, a graduate student in the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. The lack of kudzu bugs forced Knight to change the focus of his dissertation. Instead of studying the effects and management of kudzu bugs, he now studies their ecology and natural enemies. Through his research on the UGA campus in Tifton, Georgia, Knight hopes to uncover reasons for why kudzu bug numbers are decreasing. The decline began in 2014 and is believed by Knight and Michael Toews, UGA research entomologist, to have been brought on by two of the kudzu bug’s natural predators: a fungus and a wasp. The fungus, Beauveria bassiana, affects insects of all types throughout the Southeast. However, the wasp, Paratelenomus saccharalis, was found in America after the kudzu bugs were discovered here, Toews said. By laying its eggs inside the egg case of the kudzu bug, the wasp has stopped a large number of kudzu bugs from developing and producing a new generation, Knight said. The fungus affected Knight’s attempt to study kudzu bugs during their overwintering stage. It reduced the population so that Knight could not find any live kudzu bugs to research. Knight did find an abnormally large number of kudzu bugs that were killed by the fungus. Over the course of his research, Knight may find other kudzu bug predators. “It is very likely that there are native predators besides the wasp and the fungus, but nothing seen yet suggests that others are primary factors,” Toews said. No matter the outcome of Knight’s research, the decrease in kudzu bugs in recent years has saved soybean farmers time and money. “Before this decrease, some growers were spraying three times a summer for kudzu bugs,” said Knight. “In Tifton in 2012, it was hard and miserable to work in soybean fields.” Kudzu bugs suck on the main stem and branches of soybean plants, which weakens and stresses the plant. Without a natural predator in place, kudzu bugs caused major damage to the soybean crop in the southeastern U.S.“This was a major production challenge for us because this invasive insect pest had no natural controls in the United States. The kudzu bug is native to Asia, China and Japan, specifically,” Toews said. “In those lands, there are parasitoid wasps that manage these populations. In fact, they’re not considered crop pests in their native land. But when it was introduced into North America and the Western Hemisphere, the parasitoid did not come with it, so that bug was able to expand very, very rapidly.”Knight’s research will continue into the summer and fall. He hopes to know more about these predators by the time he graduates from UGA in 2017. Until then, farmers should still keep an eye out for kudzu bugs because, according to Knight, there is no guarantee the kudzu bug population will not return in large numbers. (Kenzie Kesselring is an intern with the UGA Tifton Campus.)last_img read more

  • John Bramley to retire as head of Windham Foundation

    first_imgDr John Bramley, President and CEO of the Windham Foundation, Vermont’s largest private foundation whose mission is to promote Vermont’s rural communities, today announced his pending retirement on May 31, 2011.Bramley joined the Windham Foundation as President/CEO in January 2008. Under his leadership, the Foundation has celebrated many successes, including strengthening local community relations and fostering local businesses within Grafton. He worked with several colleagues to help establish the Southern Vermont Business Leaders Council and the UVM Lecture Series in Windham County. The Old Tavern, under new leadership, once again became a centerpiece of the Grafton community with its new pub, music and events. Bramley oversaw the completion of the new Grafton Village Cheese production facility in Brattleboro, which has expanded the company’s award-winning cheese inventory by two million pounds. Two new Grafton Village Cheese retail stores which promote a myriad of Vermont products and foods have become centerpieces in Brattleboro and Grafton.‘We have been privileged to have John Bramley leading the charge for the Windham Foundation over the past three years,’ said Ed Zuccaro, Windham Foundation Board of Trustees Chairman. ‘Among his long list of accomplishments, he generated a long-term vision for the Foundation and its subsidiaries and generated a substantial amount of renewed energy and vitality amongst the staff and the community. The trustees and staff all wish John and his wife Janet many years of well-deserved recreation and travel as they embark on this new phase of their lives.’Prior to the Foundation appointment, Bramley served as a professor at the University of Vermont (UVM) in Burlington, teaching animal science and microbiology and molecular genetics. Over the past two decades, he has held several notable positions with the University including serving as Acting President in 2006 as well as Senior Vice President and Provost from 2001 to 2006. Prior to those positions, Bramley was the Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Science; and the Chair of the Animal Sciences Department. His visionary work at UVM played an integral role in advancing the University’s 10-year vision. A native of England, Bramley launched his career in the dairy and environmental fields in the UK.‘It has been a privilege to lead the Foundation at such an important time of change and evolution,’ said Bramley. ‘I am very proud of the Foundation and what has been achieved over the last three years. Janet and I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of Grafton and Windham County and working with many individuals and groups. We are excited about opening a new chapter in our lives in retirement, but we plan to maintain contact with the many friends we have made.”An executive search led by the Windham Foundation Board of Trustees is underway for Bramley’s replacement.‘While we have a difficult task in finding a successor to John, we are confident our search will bring forth many strong candidates for the opportunity to take the Foundation and its businesses even further in promoting Vermont’s rural communities,’ continued Zuccaro.About the Windham FoundationHeadquartered in Grafton, Vermont, the Windham Foundation is an operating foundation engaged in philanthropic, charitable and educational activities. Since its inception in 1963, its mission is to promote the vitality of Grafton and Vermont’s rural communities through its philanthropic and educational programs and its subsidiaries whose operations contribute to these endeavors. The Foundation is the owner of Grafton Village Cheese Co., The Old Tavern at Grafton and the Retreat Farm.last_img read more