Letters

first_img Comments are closed. This week’s lettersA tipping point for reward?The decision of the CIPD to create a certificate in reward management (News,17 February) marks a watershed in the development of the UK personnel function.It recognises that reward has established itself as a discrete specialism andacknowledges a responsibility to populate the marketplace with competentprofessionals. Unlike the US, with separate professional institutes serving trainers, generalists(SHRM) and compensation practitioners (World at Work, formerly the AmericanCompensation Association), UK reward practitioners have felt bereft ofcontinuing professional development. For organisations, the exponential growth in demand for capable rewardpractitioners has merely exhausted the talent pool and created significant paydifferentials. By extension, this talent pool is increasingly replenished bythose without a background in personnel, such as accountants and actuaries. I am passionate about re-stocking the reward talent pool with seasonedpersonnel practitioners – those with the breadth and insight to be the‘guardians of motivation’. Effective reward managers of the future will not be ‘back office’compensation and benefits specialists. They will be those who understand thecircumstances in which employees deliver discretionary effort and who are ableto deploy a body of knowledge to create and sustain employee engagement. Thisis a much higher calling than the mediocre ambition to deliver compensation andbenefits solutions designed to ‘recruit and retain’. Recent developments withinthe CIPD invite generalists into this arena. They also create a chance forreward practitioners to develop a depth of insight and capability sufficient tomake a seismic difference in the places they work. Mark Childs Vice-president, Reward, CIPD Employee is the final arbiter for pensions I bristled at the quote from David Yeandle of the Engineering Employers’Federation (News, 17 February). If HR is to be encouraged to lead, it must question received wisdom aboutpensions, which have failed a large swathe of the working population. I question the quote from the EEF: “As members are the ultimatebeneficiaries of these insurance arrangements, it is only reasonable thatemployers should be able to share the cost of financing the PPF by recoveringat least part of the levy from members”. Broadly true, except for thephrase “ultimate beneficiary”, as though employees were the solebeneficiaries of the operation of a pension scheme. Take time to consider howemployers have benefited from pension schemes. – In recent years, companies have been taken over for the value of theirpension surpluses – Some employers have reduced their own pension costs by running offsurpluses over many years and/or taken pension holidays – Employers running contracted out pension schemes have paid lower NI costsfor many years – Are there not tax exemptions on corporation tax for contributions intopension schemes? – For schemes that close for insolvency, the company has to make up the fundto the minimum funding requirement level if it can, not to the accrued benefitlevel – The winding up of a final salary scheme in insolvent companies can fall onthe members for administration costs, often running into millions of pounds – The shortfall in the fund is met by the active members – The debt to maintain retired members is met by the active members – Pension funds are now taxed more heavily by the exchequer. Approaching this business as though it is garnished in favour of theemployee is a false start. Many employees are going to fall outside thecompensation scheme and may have lost much of their life’s pension with noredress. Rancour on this issue will be deep and long lasting. It is good to have a compensation scheme but it has unfairly divided theworking population. How many still in final salary plans appreciate they are nolonger the gold standard in pensions and can still pose great risks to members?It was confirmed by the Goode Commission that the surplus belonged to theemployer because it was the final arbiter in making the fund good. Experiencein many schemes has demonstrated that the employee has been the final arbiterfor pension schemes and that he or she had no pension holiday or contributionreduction in most cases. Christopher Hore Personnel manager, Crest Packaging Key is understanding membership’s role I have been reading the ongoing debate in Personnel Today about thenecessity of being fully CIPD qualified to enter the tough HR market. I havebeen in a role for five years with a wealth of experience and am partly CIPDqualified. Studying via flexi-learning, and funding myself, has been enormouslychallenging along with the busy hours of an HR role. I recently started looking for a new role commensurate to my abilities andexperience, which would also offer me greater room to continue with my CIPDstudies. I have been shocked by the ineptitude and arrogance of the HRrecruitment agencies I have tried to use. I have not dealt with a single agencythat has offered anything resembling a service. If anyone is responsible for the impossibility of finding a role withoutbeing fully CIPD qualified, it is not the CIPD but the HR agencies and theirdaft sculpting of an employment market that insists on all candidates beingfully CIPD qualified. Are our colleagues in the HR departments that we seek to enter so deluded ormyopic that they will only accept chartered members of the CIPD for their positions,often offering salaries that ought to be considered for entry level roles letalone positions demanding three to five years experience and full CIPD? I have worked long enough in the field to know that many of the HR openingscould ably be filled by new entrants to the CIPD field, albeit with sometraining and mentoring. The solution to this problem is not to berate the CIPD or its standards, butto encourage our colleagues to talk to their recruitment consultants abouttheir vacancies and to explain to them what CIPD qualifications mean alongside,and in relation to, experience. Details supplied No qualification can prepare you for HR In my experience, many employers ask for a CIPD qualification without reallyknowing what it means. They think it will guarantee they get someone capable.In my 22 years in HR, I have found no qualification that can prepare you forthe real world of HR. Michelle Bailey Interim HR manager, The Rubicon Corporation Ltd CIPD of little benefit to the experienced… I empathise with Gina Patterson’s criticism of the CIPD qualification(Letters, 17 February). I graduated with a business and law degree six years ago and I am now anexperienced HR adviser, looking to take the next step in my career – into HRmanagement. I have already stumbled at the first hurdle, as I do not have theCIPD qualification. I too found the course commitments difficult while workingfull-time, and the fees are expensive. In my experience, the CIPD qualification is often the only ‘essential’criteria in job ads, even for positions requiring minimal experience. The onething that really annoys me is that, on the occasions I have challenged arecruiter’s specific requirement of the CIPD qualification for a role, they areoften unable to even tell me what the content of the course is, let alone whatits benefit would be to a particular position. I have no doubt that to someone starting out on the career ladder, with noexperience, the CIPD course would be beneficial, but to a seasoned professionalwith references backing up a solid work career, I can find little benefit. Tamasine Hickey Details supplied … But you won’t get far in HR without it I am very surprised by Gina Patterson’s comments (Letters, 17 February). Itmust be frustrating to find you have studied the wrong degree and will have tostudy some more. But don’t blame the CIPD or undermine its reputation andvalue. If you knew that you wanted a career in HR, you should have done yourresearch and chosen a post-graduate course that was CIPD accredited in HRmanagement. It is tough holding down a full-time job and studying at the sametime, but many of us chartered members have done it. The benefits of being part of the CIPD are too many to mention here. Take alook at the CIPD website and the recruitment pages of Personnel Today. Youwon’t get far in your HR career without CIPD membership. Lorren Price Details supplied LettersOn 2 Mar 2004 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Air Products and Haldor Topsoe sign global alliance agreement

first_imgThe agreement is for collaboration on large-scale ammonia, methanol, and/or dimethyl ether projects around the world The two companies will collaborate, using their extensive market network outreach. (Credit: Frauke Feind from Pixabay) Air Products (NYSE:APD), a global leader in industrial gases and megaproject development, and Haldor Topsoe, the world leader in high-performance catalysts and proprietary technology for the chemical and refining industries, today announced the signing of a global Alliance Agreement. The two companies will collaborate, using their extensive market network outreach for developing potential projects and the combination of their expertise on large-scale ammonia, methanol and/or dimethyl ether plants to be developed and built globally.The Alliance Agreement provides Air Products access to Topsoe’s technology license(s) and the supply of certain engineering design, equipment, high-performance catalysts and technical services for ammonia, methanol and/or dimethyl ether plants to be built, owned and operated by Air Products. The collaboration allows for the integration of Topsoe’s technology into many Air Products’ technologies including gasification of various feedstocks, and synthesis gas processes.“The global agreement with Haldor Topsoe is very important to Air Products as we continue to expand our scope of supply to customers in developing large-scale projects around the world. We have built a reputation for successfully executing megaprojects. Having this Alliance and access to Haldor Topsoe’s technology-leading capabilities will serve to strengthen both our offerings and customer confidence in the reliability and quality of project development and performance,” said Dr. Samir J. Serhan, executive vice president at Air Products.“We are extremely satisfied to enter this Alliance. Air Products is an industry leader, and we share their commitment to providing customers around the world with excellent, innovative, and more sustainable solutions. This alliance forms the foundation for integrated large-scale projects that will benefit from the close collaboration and combined strengths of our two companies,” said Amy Hebert, deputy CEO and executive vice president at Haldor Topsoe.Topsoe’s technology enables companies in the chemical and refining industries to get the most out of their processes and products, using the least possible energy and resources. On the forefront of developing sustainable technologies, Topsoe’s solutions enhance food production for the world’s growing population and help protect the environment. Half of all the ammonia used to make artificial fertilizer is produced using Topsoe catalysts.Topsoe’s technology will be incorporated into Air Products’ recently announced world-scale coal-to-methanol production facility in Bengalon, East Kalimantan, Indonesia. In addition, Topsoe technology will also be part of the previously announced world-scale Gulf Coast Ammonia production plant in Texas. Air Products will supply hydrogen and nitrogen for the ammonia production in part from its largest-ever steam methane reformer.Air Products’ involvement in these world-scale projects will capitalize on the alliance and deliver substantial sustainability benefits. These kinds of projects can serve as carriers of renewable hydrogen molecules as the world’s interest hydrogen for mobility and energy transition continues to grow. Source: Company Press Releaselast_img read more

New online club plans to revolutionise networking within the property industry

first_imgHome » News » New online club plans to revolutionise networking within the property industry previous nextProptechNew online club plans to revolutionise networking within the property industryThe Eighth Door smartphone app will connect agents, developers and other professionals across the market and hopes to be a property-specific alternative to LinkedIn.Sheila Manchester18th November 201901,162 Views A new app for the global property industry, launches later this month.The Eighth Door is, the founders say, a web and app-based, members-only club for property professionals. It aims to connect people so they can do business directly, wherever they are, 24-7.Founder Andre Mansoori-Dara has been in the property industry for 25 years and runs his own investment company, Mayfair-based AMD Property Consutlancy.“There are professional networking apps, none are dedicated to property people. Everyone wants to do more business, but as the other platforms work across all industries, it’s difficult to connect to the right person, unless you have a referral. This is where the Eighth Door comes in,” he says.Members may search or be contacted by an individual, company, location, category or sector. The concept is to connect with like-minded professionals. Members include architects, interior designers, developers, investors, sales agents, lawyers, funders, planning consultants. Members can showcase their companies, employees and locations so they can be found by other members.Relationships growAndre says, “Business is more and more challenging but with the right network and connections, relationships grow – thus successful business is created.”The search option provides members with companies and people that match the chosen criteria. Once that person is found, members can send a request to meet or call them. With the app members can manage meetings with a sophisticated calendar integration system, and notifies them in advance of meetings or conference calls.Registrations opened in September ahead of the official launch in November. Potential members may apply and are subject to an approval process. For further information or to register your interest visit www.eightdoorclub.com or call 0333 9872 888.Read more about networking apps.  Eighth Door Club LinkdeIn Andre Mansoori-Dara November 18, 2019Nigel LewisWhat’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 2021last_img read more

Vanderburgh County Commissioners September 4, 2018 Meeting Agenda

first_imgThe Arc of Evansville:June & July 2018 Monthly ReportsJune & July 2018 Meeting Minutes  County Prosecutor: Adult Protective Services: Professional Services Contract with the Indiana Family & Social Services Administration Division of AgingCounty Health Department: Business Associates Agreement with Evansville Christian Health ClinicContract with the Evansville Christian Life Center for Nurse Practitioner Services Public CommentAdjournmentFacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailShare civic center AGENDA of Vanderburgh County Board of CommissionersSeptember 4, 2018, at 3:00 pm, Room 301Call to OrderAttendancePledge of AllegianceAction Items Torian Insurance UpdateArc of Evansville Presentation  Consent ItemsContracts, Agreements and LeasesCounty Commissioners: Professional Services AgreementsTermination of Agreement with the YMCA of Southwestern Indiana, Inc. center_img Approval of August 21, 2018 Meeting MinutesEmployment Changes County Auditor: 8/20/18-8/24/18 & 8/27/18-8/31/18 Claims Voucher ReportsSuperior Court: Letter Requesting CASA Funding County Engineering: Department ReportPay Request #44 U.S. 41 Expansion T.I.F. for the sum of $6,846.27Claims Old Courthouse Event Rental Fee Reduction Request for the Preserving Historic Places Conference  Department Head ReportsNew BusinessOld BusinessWarrick County Commissioners Resolution No. 2018-16 in Opposition to Current Lloyd Expressway Corridor Management Planlast_img read more

Somers Point Sprinter Wins Annual Pamper Scamper

first_imgLucas Cuthbert, 10 months old, of Somers Point, took top honors in the annual Pamper Scamper on Wednesday in Ocean City. He appears with his parents and Miss Ocean City Shannon Wallace. Lucas Cuthbert, a 10-month-old sprinter from Somers Point, crawled a blazing 13-second path to take top honors in the annual Pamper Scamper in Ocean City on Wednesday.For about four decades, the good-natured competition has challenged parents to leave their infant children in the center of a parachute spread out on the beach … and has challenged the infants to crawl back to the perimeter of the parachute and the welcoming arms of their parents.The event had originally been scheduled for Tuesday but was postponed due to rain.The event includes about heats of infants divided into three age categories: 9 months and younger, 9 months to 12 months, and 12 months to 15 months.The category winners crawl-off in a heat of champions.Wednesday’s championship heat included second-place Emma Rydzewski, 9 months, of Lafayette Hill, Pa. She finished in 20 seconds. Mabel Donnino, 12 months, of Columbia, Md., took third place in 22 seconds.The Pamper Scamper is a prelude to Ocean City’s 106th annual Baby Parade, which takes place 5:30 p..m. Thursday (Aug. 13) on the Boardwalk between Sixth and 12th streets.last_img read more

Performance of the Living Last Supper at the Ocean City Tabernacle

first_imgMembers of St. Peters United Methodist Church, the Ocean City Tabernacle, First Presbyterian Church and Calvary Chapel will portray the disciples and Jesus at two performances of the Living Last Supper at 7pm on April 13th and April 14th at the Ocean City Tabernacle.The performance is an interpretation of what the disciples may have been thinking after Jesus’ shocking revelation that one of them would betray Him. The performance is modelled after the Leonardo Da Vinci masterpiece of the same name.The public is invited to experience an evening of drama, music and worship in the intimacy of the Upper Room as Jesus shares his last meal with His disciples, followed by a unique communion service. Admission is free.Located at 550 Wesley Avenue in Ocean City, NJ, the Ocean City Tabernacle is an inter-denominational Christian worship and event center open to all. The Tabernacle is the historic center of the City of Ocean City which was established as a “Christian Seashore retreat” in 1879. This year will mark the organization’s 138th year of ministry.last_img read more

Sourdough September confirmed for 2020

first_imgBakers are encouraged to get involved in the annual, international celebration of real sourdough – which the campaign defines as made without processing aids and additives.This year has seen interest in sourdough increase as many ‘lockdown loafers’ bought or baked it for the first time. As such, Sourdough September 2020 plans to build on this surge of enthusiasm, particularly encouraging those who have only tried one type of bread made using a sourdough starter to buy or bake more types.The Real Bread Campaign is calling on businesses to finalise and share the events and activities they have planned for the month to help raise awareness.Ideas for bakeries, baking schools, mills and other bakery-related business and organisations include:Giving away (or making a small charge for) pots of sourdough starterShowcasing a different genuine sourdough bread each week and offering tastersRunning a sourdough baking class or Q&A / troubleshooting sessionOrganising a social event for people who’ve attended a sourdough baking classes in the pastJoining forces with a local brewer, charcutier, pickler and cheese maker to run a feast of fermentation, create a local food box for people to order online, or lay a local food trail between shops.Sourdough September 2019 saw more than 5,600 social media posts from at least 57 countries. Those taking part this year are encouraged to share a photo of themselves and real sourdough loaves they’ve baked or bought using the hashtag #SourdoughSelfie, while other posts should use #SourdoughSeptember.last_img read more

Mountain Mama: Charleston Marathon Recap

first_img“This sucks,” says a female with disgust. I glance around, trying to identify the body associated with the voice. I spot her over my left shoulder – a tall, lean runner, her blonde hair pulled back in a high ponytail.I study her, wondering what could possibly be wrong. The sun shines in a cloudless sky after a malaise of rainless grey-skied days, visibly buoying the spirits of the thousands of runners at the start of the Charleston Marathon (and the half, which is what I’m running).Her elbow digs into my rib as she darts ahead. I stare as she pushes and weaves her way through the pack of runners. She doesn’t apologize or glance backwards. She either doesn’t realize she’d bumped me. Or she doesn’t care.She’s too weighted down by expectations, glued to the device around her wrist telling her pace and heart rate, reminding her that she’s alive. She’s so determined to reach her goals that she’s missing out on what’s right in front of her – the race itself.I know because I’ve been that runner. I’ve pushed my way toward a PR so aggressively that I don’t recall many details of various races.Not today. I have no race plan, trusting myself that it will all work out. For once I run without music, wanting to hear the runners around me and participate. Without music there’s no barrier between my ears and complainers, like the woman who elbowed her way past me.It also means hearing all the kind words exchanged between runners, and all the encouragement from bystanders. The crowd tells us how great we look, making me pin my shoulders back and run a little taller. Turns out I’m quite a vain runner.Without music to distract me or a time goal taking all my focus, I spend a lot of time soaking up the views. We run by vistas of the bay, sunlight dancing on the water as paddle boarders glide by and leave a wake of glittering water-diamonds. Then we pass columned houses in salmon and mint green, flanked by rows of palm trees.The course veers around a corner and we’re running through a crowd of supporters, some holding signs. A cute twenty-something brunette holds a sign, “Why do the cute ones always run away?”Her friend holds one with fluorescent lettering, “Worst parade ever.”A nerdy looking male holds up a whiteboard that says, “Only inches to go.” Below he’s calculated exactly how many inches remain for the marathoners, who still have 18 miles ahead of them.The course turns down another road, spilling us out into an industrial wasteland, dilapidated warehouses and mounds of dirt. I run by mile marker eight and for the first time my legs feel heavy. My thoughts turn to anticipating the miles ahead and I’m nattering doubt to myself. Then I remind myself about joy. My body unclenches a little.The half marathon is made up of moments, and I am trying to pay attention to each one that comes my way. While forcing fun is an oxymoron, bounding ourselves with unpleasant thoughts guarantees we won’t experience joy. Engaging in the present allows us to be open and spontaneous and seize all the happy moments that come our way.Half8A man flies by me. A spectator calls out, “Top ten marathoner.” The half and full courses overlap for the next mile of the course. I gape at the speed at which his legs turn over, the pure grace of his body propelling him forward. I can’t see his face, he sped by so quickly, but he is beautiful and my heart flutters from witnessing his raw energy. Then another marathoner speeds past me. My own running feels light and effortless.The marathon course takes a turn and the half marathon continues the last couple miles toward the finish past a waterfront park. I drink up the scenery, the gradations of blue and green a relief on my eyes after the bleak miles behind me. I run with my eyes glued to the horizon. Some say staring at the horizon releases endorphins. Others swear that salt in the air cures ailments. Whatever it is, I’m feeling great.The crowds get thicker. Someone yells, “nice pace,” which gets me to wondering if there can be a “mean” pace. Thinking about the woman elbowing past me in oblivion, I decide there can be, it’s the pace that pushes us so hard that we stop noticing and caring about the world around us. I high-five everyone with a hand extended and thank them for coming out to support us, trying to exemplify what running a nice pace is all about.A friend sent me a text before the half, reminding me to smile at the finish, but he didn’t need to. A drummer beats loudly and the crowd cheers. It’s impossible to do anything else but smile. I stretch my arms out in victory.last_img read more

Revamped Vanderbilt Planetarium Educates and Illuminates

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York [dropcap]A [/dropcap]hundred thousand light years or a hundred yards, give or take a few, are all that separate the Milky Way Galaxy from a pair of Peruvian shrunken heads at the Vanderbilt Museum in Centerport.The distance is relative, because it doesn’t take that much time to travel the space between the new, state-of-the-art Vanderbilt Planetarium, which just underwent a multi-million-dollar upgrade, and the eccentric collection of William K. Vanderbilt II, whose majestic mansion epitomizes the glory days from Long Island’s Gold Coast when American millionaires pursued their passions—both private and public—on their once-secluded North Shore estates.Surprisingly, few visitors to the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum today make the connection at what was once his 43-acre Eagle’s Nest estate. They either come for the uplifting planetarium show—now greatly enhanced by the $3.2-million Konica Minolta GeminiStar III projector—or visit Vanderbilt’s Spanish Revival manor house with its marble bathtubs, medieval furniture, decorative arts and stunning views. Not to mention the Jivaro Indian tsantsas (shrunken heads)—their eyelids and mouths sewn shut—eerily silent in a glass display case in the Memorial Wing by the courtyard.“People come to the planetarium and they have no idea what’s on the other side of the wall,” says Lance Reinheimer, the museum’s interim executive director, during a recent Press special preview of the refurbished planetarium. “And, vice versa: People go to the mansion and have no idea what’s in here.”This spring centerport’s vanderbilt museum has a new star attraction: a state-of-the-art planetarium projector that can span the milky way in seconds. visitors will also want to stroll through vanderbilt’s spanish revival style mansion, the gold coast at its best. All photos courtesy of Vanderbilt Museum.Vanderbilt had a long relationship with Long Island. He began building the “bachelor” wing of his mansion in 1910 because he was then separated from his first wife and he completed it in 1936 after he was married to his second wife. In 1904, to promote sports-car racing in America, he had sponsored the Vanderbilt Cup—and spearheaded the creation of the Long Island Motor Parkway in 1908 (the museum pays homage to his love of the automobile, too).Tragically, his 26-year-old son, returning to New York from the family’s palatial Florida estate, died in a car crash in South Carolina in 1933 and the Memorial Wing was named in his honor.Over the years Willie K., as his friends called him, had assembled an eclectic collection of marine life, exotic insects, shrunken heads, an Egyptian mummy, dueling pistols, a 19th century surgical kit, a Nile crocodile, antelopes, a cobra, a tiger, a polar bear, a leopard, an ostrich and even a warthog, to name a few of the thousands of specimens. He also hired experts from the American Museum of Natural History to create the wildlife exhibits for his Diorama Hall, which he’d show to his weekend guests. Hanging menacingly overhead in the Habitat Room is an open-mouthed 32-foot whale shark caught off Fire Island in 1935, which was restored a few years ago thanks to matching grants from Save America’s Treasures and Suffolk County.Vanderbilt’s spanish style mansion, the gold coast at its best. (Photo courtesy of Vanderbilt Museum“We’re the stewards of his collection as he left it,” says Reinheimer. “It doesn’t give us a lot of latitude to move things around.” But, he adds, “We have the mummy in the mansion.”Vanderbilt, who died in 1944 at the age of 65, had kept the preserved body in his Marine Museum, separated from the mansion by his three-hole golf course (now just rolling grass lawn), because he thought it was “bad luck” to bring it inside his house. The 3,000-year-old Egyptian is one of the star attractions today at the museum, which Suffolk County acquired in 1950 after Robert Moses reportedly turned it down.The Vanderbilt family fortune had come from the New York Central Railroad and international shipping enterprises—Cornelius Vanderbilt was the precursor—and Willie K. circumnavigated the globe twice in his 264-foot custom-made yacht, the Alva, named after his mother, which fed his interest in celestial navigation. Inspired by the NASA moon landing in 1969, the museum board of trustees believed that a planetarium would be consistent with his vision and rededicated his tennis court to that purpose, although it wasn’t completed until 1971.“If Vanderbilt were alive today, this is where he would want to go!” remarks Reinheimer. Upgrading the planetarium is vital to ensuring the museum’s survivability, he explains, since it is the main revenue generator, drawing almost 60,000 school children annually. It’s not the only planetarium in the region, but in its scope and technical ability, the Vanderbilt rivals the Hayden Planetarium with its ultra-high-definition video, advanced computer system and ability to quickly upload the latest NASA imagery.“We’re one of the best planetariums in the country,” Reinheimer says.Weeks before the planetarium’s official reopening, workers were mounting shiny metal letters above the dome entrance that would eventually spell out “The William and Molly Rogers Theatre,” in honor of their generous donation that helped the project reach fruition. All told, considering the advanced equipment, the new plush seats and the redone lobby, the renovation will have cost the museum some $4 million.Only a few years ago, the museum was about to go dark for good. The stock market collapse had shrunken its endowment, which funded 53 percent of its operating budget. The rest came from programs, membership, site use (for weddings and the like), grants and donations.Suffolk County was also facing a serious shortfall. In January 2009, the museum payroll fell $35,000 short, and Carol Ghiorsi Hart, then the executive director, told The New York Times, “If we can’t raise that, we’ll have to shut down.”But with a combination of changing hours, cutbacks, fee hikes, budget austerity, legislative largesse through a hike in the county’s motel and hotel tax, and successful philanthropic fundraising, the night lights stayed on. And now the Vanderbilt Planetarium is entering the space age with a brighter future than ever before. The three-ton “star ball” projector can recede soundlessly into a central pit—where Vanderbilt once had the net on his tennis court—which allows for an array of special presentations that the previous design didn’t.The view outside the Vanderbilt Museum. (Photo courtesy of Vanderbilt Museum)Just as the planetarium has gone high-tech, some fans of its past are going to have to get with the times.“No more laser shows!” says Reinheimer, with a grin, referring to the site’s former hosting of projected galaxies choreographed to the music of Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, among other classic rock acts. He insists that “they’re lame” compared to what this new system at the Vanderbilt can do.Dave Bush, the planetarium’s technical and production coordinator, and Lorraine Vernola, the assistant director of public planning, make the star ball work its magic inside the dome. Bush handles the Friday night live show, letting the audience learn what constellations and planets can be seen overhead. If the sky is clear, he’ll take them to a powerful 16-inch telescope housed nearby in its own observatory with a retractable roof so they can see for themselves. Vernola handles the educational programs, which can be tailored to the curricular needs, age-group and scientific aptitudes of school visitors.With the new star ball come new programs for children, adults and families, in conjunction with Sky-Skan, a specialized producer in this area, and planetariums in Britain, China and the United States. During our preview we sampled three trailers. One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure, a Sesame Street production featuring Big Bird, Elmo and his friends, is geared to the pre-kindergarten set. Solar System Odyssey is modeled more like a video game adventure for middle school kids (“Hang onto your breakfast!” a space commander tells his teenage companion). Families and adults are the target audience for Stars, which is narrated by Mark Hamill and accompanied by the Nashville Symphony. With body-slamming sound and breathtaking special effects, it depicts the fiery birth and light-snuffing death of these vital celestial bodies.Exploring what the new GeminiStar III can do has been exciting for Bush because the old projector was 42 years old.“The whole universe is in this system!” he says. “Just working with all of this stuff time flies—it’s easy to get lost in this.”With the dome darkened, we sat back as Bush took us on a quick spin around the solar system, pointing out where Pluto, the “king of the dwarf planets,” crosses Neptune’s orbit—a planetary “no-no” in astronomical circles—and then, just like that, he zoomed out to the far reaches of the Milky Way, which is 100,000 light years across, reducing our sun to a shiny speck in one of the galaxy’s spiral stellar arms.At the touch of a button he can send the stars swirling, heads spinning and stomachs reeling. He admits he used to get vertigo himself but he’s been doing this for more than 13 years so, not unlike a sailor at sea, he says, “You get dome legs!”On tap for the Vanderbilt are a summer Shakespeare festival, a clam bake, concerts, children’s theatre, and a classic-car show. So the museum is making a big push to appeal to new generations of visitors willing to space out through the solar system and beyond—or take a look back at the opulent lifestyle and interests of one of Long Island’s most curious millionaires.The Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum is at 180 Little Neck Rd., just a couple of miles north of the Centerport Fire Department off 25A. The new planetarium, which formally re-opened to the public on March 15, is operating its winter-spring schedule from now until June 16, featuring two shows on Friday evening, at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., Saturday afternoon and evening, and Sunday afternoon. For more information call 631-854-5579 or visit www.vanderbiltmuseum.org.last_img read more

Three negative first impressions your website can help avoid

first_img continue reading » If your credit union or bank’s website were a dating profile, what first impression would you be giving prospects?Are you the hip, attractive guy who runs five miles a day with his golden retriever, or are you the disheveled old guy with a broken tooth?First impressions are everything…in dating and in banking.Here are three negative first impressions a good website can help your credit union or bank avoid.SlowA slow website immediately tells consumers, “These people can’t meet my needs when I need them to be met.” If your website has a long load time, then consumers—regardless of whether they’re already your member or customer—will get impatient and simply go somewhere else for what they need. No one likes a date that shows up an hour late. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more