Polar mesospheric clouds observed by an iron Boltzmann lidar at Rothera (67.5°S, 68.0°W), Antarctica from 2002 to 2005: properties and implications

first_imgLidar observations of polar mesospheric clouds (PMC) were made at Rothera, Antarctica, from December 2002 to March 2005. Overall, 128 hours of PMC were detected among the 459 hours of observations, giving a mean occurrence frequency of 27.9%. The mean PMC centroid altitude is 84.12 ± 0.12 km, the mean PMC total backscatter coefficient is 2.34 ± 0.11 × 10−6 sr−1, and the mean layer RMS width is 0.93 ± 0.03 km. The distribution of PMC centroid altitudes over all observations is symmetric (nearly Gaussian), with the most probable altitude (∼84 km) near the center of the distribution. The distribution of PMC brightness is non-Gaussian and is dominated by weak PMC. The observed PMC altitudes at Rothera support the earlier lidar findings that Southern Hemispheric PMC are on average 1 km higher than corresponding Northern Hemispheric PMC, and higher PMC occur at higher latitudes. Significant interannual and diurnal variations are observed in PMC centroid altitude and brightness. Mean PMC altitude varies more than 1 km from one year to another. In addition, 24-hour, 12-hour, and 8-hour oscillations are clearly shown in PMC centroid altitude and brightness. The altitude distribution of PMC brightness peaks at a nearly constant altitude of 84 km, with weaker PMC found on either side of this altitude. The mean PMC altitudes averaged in brightness bins are anticorrelated with the PMC brightness, where weaker PMC occur at higher altitude and the PMC altitudes are proportional to the logarithm of the PMC brightness.last_img read more

UK: HMS Dragon Notches Up Another First as She Conducts Light Jackstay

first_imgBack to overview,Home naval-today UK: HMS Dragon Notches Up Another First as She Conducts Light Jackstay Share this article View post tag: first View post tag: HMS View post tag: conducts View post tag: ANOTHER View post tag: up View post tag: News by topic March 28, 2012 View post tag: Navy View post tag: Notches View post tag: Light UK: HMS Dragon Notches Up Another First as She Conducts Light Jackstay View post tag: Naval In mid March, Type 45 HMS Dragon bagged a first when she conducted and completed a Light Jackstay Transfer – the method of transferring people or light stores from ship to ship.Favoured by a relatively benign sea state and challenged by a brisk wind blowing across the ships, the Type 45 took up position alongside Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker RFA Orangeleaf, with only 40m of water separating the two vessels.The gunline (a fine rope) was then fired across to allow the passing of the distance lines and Jackstay ropes between the two ships.CPO Justin Norton’s usual Replenishment Teams were bolstered by a team of 25 extra hands as a mix of officers, senior rates and junior rates gathered to assist with the task.Under the watchful gaze of the Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) inspectors, the teams tackled the arduous task of keeping the Jackstay taut during transfers – effectively having a tug of war between a 7,000-ton warship and a 17,500-ton RFA tanker.After the successful transfer of the test weight – a 250kg block of metal – Dragon’s Ruth made the first crossing. Ruth’s position within the ship’s company is valued, but unrecognised; Ruth is the affectionate nickname for the Man Overboard Dummy.The final transfer was a weighted canvas bag containing some mementos – a Dragon’s ship’s crest and some bottles of wine to mark the occasion.CPO Norton said:“All teams worked well and are to be congratulated in their efforts in achieving the first successful Light Jackstay.“It was a great honour to set the benchmark and prove that this type of replenishment can be achieved from one of the Royal Navy’s most advanced destroyers.”[mappress]Naval Today Staff , March 28, 2012; Image: royalnavy View post tag: Dragon View post tag: She View post tag: Jackstay Training & Educationlast_img read more

IU Trustee Candidate Profile Of Dennis Dawson Elliott

first_imgProfile of Dennis Dawson ElliottContact: [email protected] My desire to serve Indiana University began while an undergraduate student in the tumultuous 1960’s when protests in Dunn Meadow over the Vietnam War and the diverse political environment demanded a commitment to burrow deep into the reasons and opinion that were to impact my future. The campus environment was stimulating and responsibilities at the Indiana Daily Student and other news organizations created an atmosphere that encouraged personal involvement on many levels.After graduation I began a 22-year career with Bristol-Myers in Evansville, Indiana that placed me on the front lines of premier medical research, working both domestically and internationally. At the time I chose to leave the company 1989 to become executive vice president of a multi-division communications company in New York, I was the director of advertising for the company’s five pharmaceutical and nutritional divisions, a position that honed my administrative and financial management skills, and human capital succession planning.It was during this period I developed an understanding of philanthropy development through the Bristol-Myers foundation.  Concurrently I served on the board and was president of the IU Alumni Club of Southern Indiana for many years and worked to establish an annual scholarship for a deserving high school senior planning to attend IU.Prior to returning to the Bloomington campus in 2007 to join the faculty of the School of Journalism I led and supervised the accreditation of two continuing medical education companies. These organizations provided the opportunity to pursue my continuing research orientation while developing educational programs for physicians in the fields of oncology, central nervous system disorders and cardiovascular medicine. During this period I also served as vice president and senior strategist for a communications organization in New York.Being an officer in these companies did not detract from my ongoing involvement with IU. I returned to campus for career day presentations and discussion panels for students and as a member of the Journalism Alumni Board. In 2006 I was appointed the School of Journalism representative on the executive committee for the “Matching the Promise” $1.1 billion funding campaign.Until my retirement from the Bloomington faculty in 2014 my connectivity to student learning and their concerns was continually evolving. I listened, I counseled, and I was rewarded by observing their development, and today former students frequently keep me informed of their career successes. I served on a number of campus boards and committees including the Dean of Students Advisory Committee, the IU Cinema Board of Advisors, as a Faculty Fellow for the Office of Service Learning, and as a Hutton Honors Resident Fellow. I was also the faculty advisor for a student professional organization, advisor for a campus wide honor society and was a sponsor of student athletes as they began their academic studies.As a research committed university IU’s reputation is strong. My orientation to research as the precursor to informed action continues to this day as I continue research on the use of technology as a communication tool for the education and management of HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa.I support the multi-discipline research collaboration approach that uses the strongest attributes of these disciplines to work toward robust and innovative outcomes. I support research as the catalyst for documented insight across initiatives that will reflect positively on the university.I look to the university to lead attitude change on all of our campuses and be a leader nationwide in addressing the issue of sexual assault. Process and policy must be preceded by student education and student commitment to change the assault paradigm.As a candidate for the Board of Trustees my awareness of the Board’s purpose, priorities and accomplishments has been developed through informed observation, discussions with alumni and fellow faculty members and reviewing Board meeting agendas and administrative actions.  My desire to serve on the Board of Trustees is a reflection of my full-circle commitment to the university. My knowledge and perspective from my time as a faculty member will help guide meaningful personal contributions in the form of discussion and insightful proposals while fulfilling committee assignments and collaboration on new initiatives important to the university pursuit of excellence.I look forward to active involvement in a fashion that will effectively apply my experience from management positions in corporate America and from time on the Bloomington campus as a faculty member. My career has been rewarding, with profound recognition of the solid foundation from my IU education.  I believe my skills and insights developed through the years will complement the competencies of fellow Board members as we work collaboratively for immediate benefits as well as the long-term advancement of the university. I appreciate the support of alumni to place me in a position to represent them and I welcome contact through email at [email protected] LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

OCPD Weekly Activity Report October 8-14

first_imgCalls for Service: 582      Daily Average: 83October 8, 2017: SundayCalls for service: 74 Vehicle Stops: 12 Accidents: 3 Checks: 24  Alarms: 1The Police Department assisted with 9 Fire and 8 EMS callsVehicle accident, 11th St. & Asbury Ave., at 9:09amVehicle accident, 9th St. & Asbury Ave., at 11:01amTheft, 900 block Boardwalk, at 11:32amvehicle accident, 13th St. & Asbury Ave., at 11:56amOctober 9, 2017: MondayCalls for service: 59Vehicle Stops: 18 Accidents: 1  Checks: 19  Alarms: 3The Police Department assisted with 8 Fire and 4 EMS callsVehicle accident, 5th St. & Asbury Ave., at 10:30amTheft, 5500 block Bay Ave., at 3:02pmWarrant, 900 block Central Ave., one in custody, at 9:50pmDomestic violence, 900 block Wesley Ave., at 11:30pmOctober 10, 2017: TuesdayCalls for service: 91Vehicle Stops: 16 Accidents: 0  Checks: 36  Alarms: 3The Police Department assisted with 5 fire and 5 EMS callsThreats, Roosevelt Blvd., at 11:16amTheft, Dory Dr., at 6:37pmOctober 11, 2017: WednesdayCalls for service: 94Vehicle Stops: 21  Accidents: 1  Checks: 36  Alarms: 5The Police Department assisted with 6 fire and 6 EMS callsTheft, 700 block Atlantic Ave., at 1:50pmVehicle accident, 300 block West Ave., at 3:10pmCDS, 500 block 6th St., at 3:52pmOctober 12, 2017: ThursdayCalls for service: 64Vehicle Stops: 22  Accidents: 2  Checks: 18  Alarms: 6The Police Department assisted with 3 fire and 3 EMS callsVehicle accident, 800 block Ocean Ave., at 11:12amVehicle accident, 600 block Ocean Ave., at 12:47pmOctober 13, 2017: FridayCalls for service: 116Vehicle Stops: 48  Accidents: 0 Checks: 43  Alarms: 1The Police Department assisted with 8 fire and 2 EMS callsTheft, Bay Rd., at 9:11amOctober 14, 2017: SaturdayCalls for service: 81 Vehicle Stops: 22  Accidents: Checks: 36 Alarms: 0The Police Department assisted with 5 fire and 2 EMS callsAssault, 1800 block Bay Ave., at 8:00amFraud, Edinburgh Rd., at 7:14pmPUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS:Just a reminder that it is a violation of a City Ordinance to have dogs on the boardwalk anytime during the year.Bicycle riders must obey all motor vehicle laws similar to that of a motor vehicle. They must stop at stop signs, traffic lights and ride with the flow of traffic.       Bicycle riders are not pedestrians and do not have the same right of way as a pedestrian when crossing the street at an intersection.When traveling on Route 52, remember that New Jersey State Law requires vehicles to KEEP RIGHT and pass left. The speed limit is 45 mph for the causeway. Ocean City Public Safety Buildinglast_img read more

Measles outbreaks worrying, but ‘on-time’ childhood vaccination remains norm in U.S.

first_img Read Full Story The recent measles outbreak that spread through 17 states brought the issue of childhood vaccination into the headlines, leaving some with the impression that a growing movement of parents is questioning this cornerstone of public health. But there is good news, said K. “Vish” Viswanath, professor of health communication at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. As chair of a working group charged by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to look into national vaccine confidence, he found that the overwhelming majority of parents (80%-90%) are vaccinating their children on the physician-recommended schedule. The group will release recommendations for further boosting vaccination rates — and confidence in their safety — to HHS in July. Key among them: spreading the message that vaccination is the norm.“Parents who do vaccinate their children want to be supported,” Viswanath said. “Some have questions and doubts that they want to have clarified. They care for their children, and when they hear on the news that other parents are declining or delaying vaccinations, they wonder if they are making the right decision.”Howard Koh, professor of the practice of public health leadership, convened the vaccine confidence working group, which is part of HHS’s National Vaccine Advisory Committee, in 2013 when he was then serving as assistant secretary for health for HHS.last_img read more

Unveiling the ancient climate of Mars

first_imgThe high seas of Mars may never have existed. According to a new study that looks at two opposite climate scenarios of early Mars, a cold and icy planet billions of years ago better explains the water drainage and erosion features seen today.For decades, researchers have debated the climate history of Mars and how its early climate led to the many water-carved channels there now. The idea that 3 to 4 billion years ago Mars was warm, wet and Earth-like, with a northern sea — conditions that could have led to life — is generally more accepted than the concept of a frigid, icy planet where water was locked in ice most of the time and life would be hard put to evolve.To see which early Mars model better explains the planet’s modern features, Robin Wordsworth, assistant professor in environmental science and engineering at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and his colleagues used a 3-D atmospheric circulation model to compare a water cycle on Mars under different scenarios 3 to 4 billion years ago, during what are called the late Noachian and early Hesperian periods.One scenario looked at Mars as a warm and wet planet with an average global temperature of 10 degrees Celsius (50 Fahrenheit), and the other as a cold and icy world with an average global temperature of minus 48 degrees Celsius (minus 54 Fahrenheit).The study’s authors found that the cold scenario was likelier to have occurred than the warm one, based on what is known about the history of the sun and the tilt of Mars’ axis long ago. The cold model also did a better job of explaining the water erosion features that were left behind on the Martian surface, which have puzzled and intrigued scientists since they were discovered by the Viking orbiters in the 1970s.A paper presenting the results has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets.The colder scenario was more straightforward to model, Wordsworth said, because Mars only gets 43 percent of the solar energy Earth does, and early Mars was lit by a younger sun believed to have been 25 percent dimmer than it is now. That makes it very likely that early Mars was cold and icy, he said. An extreme tilt of Mars’ axis would have pointed the planet’s poles at the sun and driven polar ice to the equator, where water drainage and erosion features are seen today.More importantly, under a thicker atmosphere, equatorial highland regions get colder and northern lowland regions get warmer. This is the “icy highlands effect” that accounts for snow-covered mountain peaks on Earth today. Despite a number of warming factors — including a thicker atmosphere filled with climate-warming carbon dioxide — Mars still would have been quite cold, Wordsworth added.Creating a model for a warm and wet Mars took more work. Previous studies had shown that even when the effects of climate-warming clouds, dust, and carbon dioxide were taken into account, climate models still didn’t show early Mars developing any warm and wet periods, Wordsworth said.But the conditions on early Mars may have been different than scientists thought, he said. The study’s authors added to their model various climate effects to force Mars into a warmer, wet state. Even then, however, a warm and wet early planet does not explain the patchwork of water erosion features and valley networks observed on Mars today, and why these features tend to be concentrated near the planet’s equator, Wordsworth said.Under the warm and wet model, rainfall rates varied a lot with longitude and latitude. The warm and wet model predicts that on early Mars, rain was greatest in an area called Arabia and around the Hellas basin, including in the west and southeast areas of the basin, where few water drainage features are found now. At the same time, several regions with many water-carved valleys, such as Margaritifer Sinus, received one-tenth to one-twentieth as much rain as Arabia and the Hellas basin under the warm and wet scenario.In the warm and wet scenario, mountains also create rain shadows, like those that wring water from clouds to help create deserts on Earth. On Mars, the bulge of Tharsis would have caused more rain to fall on the windward western side of the volcanic plateau, where few water features are seen. To the east, downwind of the bulge, drier air would flow over Margaritifer Sinus, causing less rain to fall — a situation that doesn’t match the drainage features observed there.The cold and icy scenario isn’t perfect, , Wordsworth said. While this scenario accumulates frozen water closer to the drainage features on Mars, something had to melt the ice that carved the valleys, he said. Under this scenario, the climate is cool most of the time, and then short-lived events like meteor impacts and volcanic eruptions caused the necessary melting.“I’m still trying to keep an open mind about this,” said Wordsworth. “There is lots of work to be done, b.”Proving that a cold climate on early Mars led to the features seen on the planet today would answer a big question, said Bethany Ehlmann, a planetary scientist at the California Institute of Technology and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., who was not involved in the study.The new paper answers part of that question by showing that locations with snow in the cold and icy scenario roughly correspond to valley network locations seen today, Ehlmann said. Furthermore, the model of the cold early Mars shows that some ice melting would occur, she said.“We know from Rover and orbiter-based data that there were lakes on ancient Mars,” she said. “Key questions are: How long did they persist? Were they episodic or persistent? And does the feeder valley network demand rain, or is snow and ice melt sufficient?”The 3-D climate modeling used in the study begins to address these questions with a new level of sophistication by investigating how specific locations might have accumulated rain or snow, she said.last_img read more

‘One for the ages’

first_imgIt was the moment when gay marriage nationally went from being a cause to a fact.“This is one for the ages,” wrote Noah Feldman, Harvard’s Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law.After a generation of legal wrangling, and just two days shy of the 46h anniversary of the Stonewall riots that accelerated the gay rights movement, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Friday that states cannot ban same-sex marriages and must recognize such rites performed in other states. Denying the validity of same-sex unions, the majority opinion said, “works a grave and continuing harm, serving to disrespect and subordinate gays and lesbians.”At Harvard, where some University affiliates have been involved in arguing the legal issues since 1983, officials were quick to confirm the deep import of the 5-4 ruling that made the United States the 21st nation to recognize same-sex marriages.“Justice Anthony Kennedy’s opinion for the court announcing a right to gay marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges will take its place alongside Brown v. Board of Education and Loving v. Virginia in the pantheon of great liberal opinions,” said Feldman.Brown was the 1954 decision banning racial segregation in American public schools. Loving was the 1967 decision overturning laws banning interracial marriage.“The Supreme Court today affirmed what many in the Harvard community already understood,” said Harvard President Drew Faust in a statement. “Marriage equality is a civil right to which everyone is entitled. While there is still much to do, the decision represents a historic moment in our nation’s generations-long struggle to secure equal treatment and opportunity under the law for all Americans.”Michael Klarman, Harvard’s Kirkland & Ellis Professor of Law and author of “From the Closet to the Altar: Courts, Backlash, and the Struggle for Same-Sex Marriage” (2012), called the ruling “the Brown v. Board of the gays rights movement. It’s obviously a great day for gay rights and for those who favor a more equal, inclusive America.”“Under the Constitution, same-sex couples seek in marriage the same legal treatment as opposite-sex couples, and it would disparage their choices and diminish their personhood to deny them this right,” Kennedy wrote in his majority opinion.That opinion included acknowledgement of the role that historians played in establishing the legal argument for gay marriage. Nancy F. Cott, Harvard’s Jonathan Trumbull Professor of American History, was cited repeatedly, based on her book “Public Vows: A History of Marriage and the Nation” (2000). Cott also took the lead in an amici curiae brief on behalf of the petitioners by the American Historical Association and leading historians.Four justices wrote dissents from the majority, based largely on their contention that tectonic cultural shifts should be left to the ballot box and not to a court. Some of the dissenting language was blistering.Chief Justice John G. Roberts accused the majority of “stealing this issue from the people.” Associate Justice Antonin Scalia said the “pretentious” majority opinion exceeded the bounds of the 14th Amendment, and he called the ruling a “judicial Putsch.”Both Feldman and Klarman saw a dark side to the tone of the dissents, and to the close vote. Brown and Loving were decided by 9-0 majority rulings, said Feldman, a fact that he said stands in “tragic contrast” to the split decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. “Today’s gay rights opinion went 5-4, with each of the court’s conservative judges writing a dissent of his own,” he said. “Eventually, legal equality for gay people will seem just as automatic and natural as legal equality for blacks. But history will recall that when decided, Obergefell didn’t reflect national consensus, much less the consensus of the court itself.”Polls show that about two-thirds of Americans favor marriage equality. On the eve of the decision, 37 states already recognized gay marriage. Massachusetts led the way with a 2003 ruling. Writing the majority opinion was Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Margaret Marshall, who is now a senior research fellow and lecturer at Harvard Law School.As for Friday’s ruling, “I doubt American democracy is greatly threatened by a decision allowing people who love each other to get married,” said Klarman, “and especially not when 60 percent of Americans support that decision.”The high court dissents reflected an argument that was mildly and logically outlined in “Modern Liberty and the Limits of Government” (2007) by Charles Fried, Harvard’s Beneficial Professor of Law and a former solicitor general of the United States (1985-1989). There is a difference, he wrote, “between courts in the name of liberty protecting gays from prosecution and persecution no matter what the population feels about them, and requiring this extension of the institution of marriage.”The spirited dissents roused Klarman, who once clerked for Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, before she moved to the Supreme Court. Ginsburg voted with the majority. “These are extraordinary statements from justices who refuse to allow democratic decision-making to triumph on a huge range of issues,” Klarman wrote in the email, “from campaign finance reform, to gun control, to race-based affirmative action, to actions by local school boards to foster racial integration in schools, to federal statutes protecting the voting rights of racial minorities.”Though the Obergefell decision institutionalizes gay marriage in the legal arena, there are plenty of cultural hurdles ahead.Mark D. Jordan, the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Christian Thought at Harvard Divinity School, called the decision “momentous” and emotional, particularly for same-sex couples because the decision provides a broader sense of social acceptance. “It is a historic day,” he said. “This is a big decision.” But the rapid spread of same-sex marriage’s legal acceptance has not been mirrored in most religious communities, added Jordan, who has written on the subject’s religious aspects.Churches cannot be forced to accept same-sex marriages, of course, he said, but pressure will grow for them to review their practices. That’s because of same sex-marriage’s increasing civil acceptance, said Jordan, and because younger church members will be less likely to share their institutions’ objections.There is a widespread sense “that the pace of change has been swift,” particularly regarding marriage equality, said Timothy P. McCarthy, director of the Sexuality, Gender, and Human Rights program at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS). But the speed of change has to be tempered by the fact that such struggles go back “more than half a century,” he said, with Stonewall a cultural marker.Marriage equality is only part of the picture, said McCarthy. “Even with today’s ruling,” he said, “there are still 30 some-odd states … where, despite one’s marital status, if you’re an LGBT, you can be fired or you can be denied housing or accommodations. We still have big struggles ahead of us [to get] full rights of citizenship — not just in the realm of marriage.”“There are still a lot of cultural battles,” said Jordan Weiers ’16, past political co-chair of Harvard College Queer Students & Allies. The decision is a major step forward in legal acceptance, he said, and will allow the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer community to focus on other issues. Weiers said those issues include workplace discrimination, fostering religious acceptance, and dispelling misunderstandings among the public.Still, the decision surprised him because of how firmly the majority came down on the side of same-sex marriage. “I was expecting a positive ruling,” said Weiers, “but I didn’t think the court would go so far so fast.”It’s clear that the Obergefell decision will have cultural fallout, but the ruling also has political implications that could affect the 2016 presidential race, said Steve Jarding, a political strategy expert and lecturer in public policy at the Shorenstein Center at HKS.Not long ago, opposition to gay rights and same-sex marriage was one of the social issues that some Republican political candidates could rely on to help rally conservative voter turnout, he said, but the court’s ruling wipes this wedge issue “off the table.”“It puts them all in a box,” said Jarding of conservative presidential candidates, whose constituents are likely to press them to say the Supreme Court made the wrong decision.“They do not want this presidency to hinge on issues like gay marriage,” he said. “They can’t win” that way.Explore a timeline of Harvard Law School affiliates’ participation in anticipating, shaping, critiquing, and analyzing the path to marriage equality.last_img read more

Senate considers restructuring student government

first_imgIn a Zoom meeting, the Notre Dame student body senate discussed the possibility of reorganizing the entire student body government, a topic which has been extensively discussed in the past as well. To begin, junior student body president Rachel Ingal delivered her state of the union address, in which she recognized the hard work and sense of community practiced not only by the student government but also the general student body. “We have begun this term in what is truly unprecedented times in all of our lives, and we are grateful for your adaptability and spirit through it all,” Ingal said. “If anything, this time has reinforced what I already knew, that Notre Dame is filled with good people.” Although hallmark student government programming events — such as Back the Bend, an initiative to volunteer in South Bend, and Take Back the Night, an initiative to support sexual assault survivors — can no longer occur in person, the executive cabinet is eager to create new programming as well as find solutions to ensure such programming is implemented in the fall. “We were excited to launch our #stayhomend initiative this weekend, starting with our student taught yoga and dance athletics class over Zoom,” Ingal said. She said the executive board looks forward to expanding this virtual programming in the coming weeks with online cooking classes, additional mental health resources and more. Wednesday’s meeting saw the swearing in of many student executives as Henry Jackson was sworn in as senator of Keenan Hall and seven individuals were approved serve as 2020-2021 Student Union Board (SUB) executives. The board approved is as follows: junior Cameron Lucas, Co-Director of Programming; sophomore Matthew Luneburg, Co-Director of Programming; sophomore Katherine McLaughlin, Co-Director of Programming; junior Megan Baumbach, Director of Finance; freshman Nicole Campbell, Director of Art; junior Jesse Bordallo, Director of Publicity; and junior Elizabeth Soller, Director of Operations.Sophomore Matthew Bisner, newly appointed Judicial Council president for the 2020-2021 term, then presented a case to the senate suggesting a thorough reordering of the Notre Dame student body government. An argument which stemmed from research conducted on peer institutions, years of identical requests from Bisner’s predecessors and a particular concern about the efficiency of the student body government. “Just looking at what our peers do, we are ages behind,” he said. “Our constitution is filled with minutiae that are more detail oriented than the purpose that we were put here to do, which is to serve the student body.” Bisner’s research analyzed the student government systems of peer institutions such as Washington University, Baylor University, the University of Mississippi and Duke University. Of all these institutions, Notre Dame is the only one to have a unicameral system chaired by the student body Vice President and has the longest constitution, which is 34 pages longer than the United States federal constitution. Additionally, Bisner also noted the ND Judicial Council has no published or constitutional rights which allow students in hearings, which is unprecedented in his research. Bisner had several suggestions on how to reorder the ND student body government including: integrating the ten branches of government into three, simplifying the constitution through the publication and expansion of bylaws, considering the position of a separate chair of the senate and creating a bicameral system with one chamber responsible for financial affairs, which is precedented at other universities. “This is coming out of a term in which we spent seven to 10 entire senate meetings dedicated to just club funding, and yes that is an important issue to talk about, but it bogged down the senate to an extreme extent. If we can empower a financial body to handle those debates then the senate can get back to looking at student needs in a more policy driven way.” Bisner said he is not the first Judicial Council president to make these recommendations. “I think we are at a turning point,” he said. “This is not the first time that these recommendations have been brought up in the Notre Dame Student Union.” Bisner offered three routes the senate could undertake to address the problem of governmental efficiency. The first would be a formal, legalized route involving a full constitutional overhaul led by a constitutional convention. The second would be a less formal route involving moving parts of the constitution to bylaws through a gradual process. The third option he said is to do nothing, “I call this the Groundhog Day approach,” Bisner said. “Because for the past decade, everyone holding my position has made these recommendations.” The new Chief of Staff, junior Aaron Benavides, put forward that an overhaul of governmental structure could be difficult to achieve in the time of the pandemic, “I do think this process might not be as favorable right now,” he said. Benavides expressed the concern other policy efforts could fall behind in such procedures. Additionally, a number of senators expressed concern over the ability to successfully be engaged in conversation with students since the senate is not on campus and many expressed concern about not returning for the fall semester. Bisner recommended that the senate brainstorm and conclude on a path forward either through committee, resolution or convention before the end of the academic term. Tags: Senate, student body government, Student Union Boardlast_img read more

Fitch rates Vermont Housing Finance Agency’s $30 million 2010A & 2009A-1 Bonds ‘AAA’

first_imgFitch Ratings has assigned ‘AAA’ ratings to the $30,000,000 Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) mortgage revenue bonds (Mortgage Backed Securities Program) as follows:–$12,000,000 series 2010A;–$18,000,000 subseries 2009A-1.The Rating Outlook for the bonds is Stable.RATING RATIONALE:–The $18 million 2009A-1 subseries is the first release from the $102 million 2009 A escrow bonds from the December 1, 2009 indenture. The bond proceeds were initially held in an escrow account and secured solely by amounts on deposit in the escrow account and investment earnings from the account;–The $12 million 2010A bonds will be the second offering issued under the December 1, 2009 indenture. The 2010A mortgage revenue bonds are being issued under a mortgage backed securities program that pledges revenues and federal agency certificates as security for the bonds.KEY RATING DRIVERS:Removal of funds from the program below minimum 100% asset parity.SECURITY:Proceeds will be used for the financing of single family mortgage loans in the State of Vermont through the purchase of GNMA Certificates, Fannie Mae Certificates, and Freddie Mac Certificates (collectively Federal Agency Certificates), as well as to make deposits in various funds and accounts. The Trust Indenture pledges revenues of the Indenture, Federal Agency Certificates deposited in the Indenture, and funds and accounts created in the Indenture to secure the bonds (other than the escrow fund where deposits are secured solely for the payment of bonds related to the proceeds in the escrow account).CREDIT SUMMARY:The ‘AAA’ rating reflects the legal document provisions for the single family mortgage program upon the purchase of Federal Agency Certificates. The Trust Indenture requires that, once funds are released from escrow, mortgage loans be pooled and financed through the purchase of guaranteed mortgage pass-through Federal Agency Certificates, which are fully guaranteed for timely payment regardless of the actual performance of underlying loans. GNMA mortgage-backed securities are guaranteed by the U.S. government; Fitch rates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage-backed securities ‘AAA’ (see Oct. 9, 2009 press release). The rating also reflects the Trust Indenture requirement that the program’s minimum asset parity be maintained at 100% (net of cash flow stress test scenarios). In addition, the rating accounts for VHFA’s successful history of administering its single family programs. Fitch reviewed the bond documents, stressed cash flow runs, and other pertinent documentation.The 2009 Trust Indenture was created, in part, so that VHFA could take advantage of the New Issue Bond Program (NIBP) established by the United States Treasury with the assistance of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Under the terms of the program, Treasury purchased up to 60% of the Program Bonds sold by state and local housing finance agencies with the remaining 40% to be sold to private investors as Market Bonds. The interest rate for bonds sold to Treasury will be based on the investment earnings of the escrow fund for the pre-conversion period, and for the remainder of the period, will be based on the 10-year Constant Maturity Treasury (CMT) plus a defined spread based on rating category of bond program.Because Treasury’s authority to complete these transactions under the Housing Economic Recovery Act of 2008 was due to expire on Dec. 31, 2009, all NIBP related transactions were to be completed prior to year end. However, the expiration date was extended for one more year and the program now allows issuers to close prior to the Dec. 31, 2011 deadline. The funds remain in escrow until they are converted to long-term bonds, in conjunction with the sale of Market Bonds, over the course of 2010 and 2011. The funds may be held in escrow up until Dec. 31, 2011 and can be drawn upon and converted to long-term bonds during 2010 and 2011.Additional information is available at ‘www.fitchratings.com(link is external)’Applicable criteria and related research:–‘State Housing Finance Agencies – Single Family Mortgage Program Rating Guidelines (Nov. 26, 2008);–‘Revenue-Supported Rating Criteria’ (Aug. 16, 2010).Applicable Criteria and Related Research:State Housing Finance Agencies – Single-Family Mortgage Program Rating Guidelineshttp://www.fitchratings.com/creditdesk/reports/report_frame.cfm?rpt_id=4(link is external)…Revenue-Supported Rating Criteriahttp://www.fitchratings.com/creditdesk/reports/report_frame.cfm?rpt_id=5(link is external)…ALL FITCH CREDIT RATINGS ARE SUBJECT TO CERTAIN LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS. PLEASE READ THESE LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS BY FOLLOWING THIS LINK: HTTP://FITCHRATINGS.COM/UNDERSTANDINGCREDITRATINGS. IN ADDITION, RATING DEFINITIONS AND THE TERMS OF USE OF SUCH RATINGS ARE AVAILABLE ON THE AGENCY’S PUBLIC WEBSITE ‘WWW.FITCHRATINGS.COM’. PUBLISHED RATINGS, CRITERIA AND METHODOLOGIES ARE AVAILABLE FROM THIS SITE AT ALL TIMES. FITCH’S CODE OF CONDUCT, CONFIDENTIALITY, CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, AFFILIATE FIREWALL, COMPLIANCE AND OTHER RELEVANT POLICIES AND PROCEDURES ARE ALSO AVAILABLE FROM THE ‘CODE OF CONDUCT’ SECTION OF THIS SITE. Source: NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Fitch Ratings. 10.1.2010last_img read more

Understanding key metrics vital to healthy credit card portfolio

first_imgAlthough a credit card portfolio can be a financial institution’s (FI’s) most lucrative asset, generating up to 25 percent of an FI’s net income, it is often overlooked. Community FIs can easily slip into a status quo position when it comes to running what could otherwise be a huge earning asset.In my recently released white paper, “Getting the Most Out of Your Credit Card Program,” I explain how even small tweaks to a credit card portfolio can produce big results.Below is an excerpt from the white paper.“An important first step to producing big results is to gain an understanding of goal metrics for a profitable portfolio. This serves as a basis for monitoring the success of your own accounts as compared to industry averages and best practices. What follows are a few guidelines for helping you gauge how your portfolio is performing today. continue reading » 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more