The town of Grafton and the Vermont Country Store in Chester are open for business in the wake of Hurricane Irene. Vermont, which sustained infrastructure damage in the millions from Tropical Storm Irene, has made a remarkable and unprecedented three-week ‘comeback’ in time to host an estimated 3 million leaf peepers for fall foliage season, which begins next week. This is an incredible story of overcoming adversity, of communities, private businesses and individuals coming together to put this area back together.The video below includes footage of the Old Tavern at Grafton Inn, Grafton Village Cheese, Grafton Ponds Outdoor Center and other businesses in the village.On September 16, Governor Peter Shumlin and other state officials celebrated the re-opening of picturesque Route 4, one of the state’s major leaf peeping corridors to provide full east-west access for a narrow season that generates $300+ million each year, a quarter of Vermont’s annual tourism revenue. Vermont’s tourism-driven businesses (resorts, inns/b&bs and restaurants) will share in the celebration too, as a large majority were unaffected or sustained little damage from Tropical Storm Irene.‘I toured the road and infrastructure repair areas yesterday with Doug and John Casella, owners of Casella Construction, and was amazed by the determination, hard work and progress made by road repair crews,’ said Bill Shouldice, president & CEO of The Vermont Country Store. ‘It made me proud to be a Vermonter. Thanks to the commitment and selflessness of construction companies like Belden, Casella, Markowski, Mosher, Wilk and many others all working together, Vermont is now open for business and ready to serve the millions of visitors that come to our great state during the fall. Their efforts and those of countless others will help Vermont avoid economic disaster!’Among those ready is The Vermont Country Store, a landmark that attracts nearly 300,000 fall foliage visitors. The business’ two retail locations ‘ the Weston store on Route 100 and the Rockingham store just off exit 6 of I-91 ‘ experienced no storm-related disruption in its operations. Store owners, brothers Cabot, Eliot and Gardner Orton, have seen traffic and sales gradually increasing and are optimistic as visitors have begun returning for the fall. ‘Vermont is open for business and The Vermont Country Store has remained ready to serve the needs of its customers, especially those making the trip to see peak foliage,’ said Eliot. ‘Vermonters are a resourceful and determined people, and we are committed to making this fall’s visitor experience better than ever.’ About The Vermont Country StoreIn 1946, Vrest and Ellen Orton printed their first catalogue’just 12 pages and 36 products’and mailed it to the folks on their Christmas card list and sixty-five years later continues to be Orton family owned. As Purveyors of The Practical and Hard to Find, The Vermont Country Store operates as a multichannel merchant through its mailed catalogs, e-commerce web site and two retail stores in Weston and Rockingham, Vermont. For more information, visit www.VermontCountryStore.com(link is external).The Grafton video shows the world know that Grafton is open for business and is ready to welcome visitors far and wide to the amazing fall foliage season here in Southern Vermont. All main roads to enter Grafton are fully functional; via I-91 through Chester; from the south via Route 30 in Townshend.; and from the East & West via Route 121 from Bellows Fallsand Londonderry. Source: MANCHESTER CENTER, Vt.–(BUSINESS WIRE) Vermont Country Store. Windham Foundation.
By Lorena Baires / Diálogo September 20, 2019 The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL), through the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica, donated four Bell UH-1ST helicopters to the Costa Rican Ministry of Public Security’s Air Vigilance Service (SVA, in Spanish), in the first half of 2019. The aircraft will extend by two more years the Air Training Program, which INL leads since 2009 to counter narcotrafficking and air and maritime criminal activities and to provide assistance in natural disasters and humanitarian crises.“The helicopters will cover the whole territory and will combat narcotrafficking and transnational organized crime. These will also have the opportunity to offer services in emergencies and other situations,” Richard Glenn, INL Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, told the press. “Year after year, we see the efficiency with which they handle the tools and training that we provide. Costa Rica shares with the United States the willpower and sense of collective mission to confront regional problems.”The U.S. investment is valued at $48 million and includes the four helicopters; their refurbishing, maintenance, and spare parts, in addition to training for SVA members. “The training program started with 25 SVA officers, including pilots, co-pilots, and maintenance and logistics technicians,” Captain Juan Luis Vargas, SVA commander, told Diálogo. “We will start a four-month module with the flight crews. When our crew is ready, we will begin executing operations to counter organized crime. The idea is for crews of both countries to merge during the missions.”The program seeks to have SVA fully manage the units after the two years of training. “These capabilities will promote and strengthen state security institutions. We will count on support from both the U.S. and Colombian Armed Forces’ instructors,” said Major Patrick Beville, U.S. Air Force Foreign Affairs officer in Costa Rica.U.S. subject matter experts inspect the donated aircraft. After two years of training, the Costa Rican Air Vigilance Service will manage the units. (Photo: U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica)The helicopters hold 15 people, three crew members and 12 passengers. They have two engines and can reach speeds of up to 127 miles per hour. With a load capacity of 7,303 pounds, they have a coverage range of 209 miles. Another advantage is that they can operate in mountainous terrain and variable conditions, ideal for the country’s geography.“It’s a functional aircraft that will give us great autonomy; we won’t have to ask other countries for help, since its load cabin allows for two configurations: one to carry passengers, and another to transport up to a ton of cargo,” Capt. Vargas said. “If we have to provide emergency assistance, the cabin can become a medical area, where we can put up to six stretchers and arrange a space for medical personnel. They come equipped with cranes for vertical rescue or humanitarian airdrops.”The aircraft cabins are armored on the sides and under the pilots’ seats. They also allow pilots to conduct instrument flights and use night goggles. With this technology, SVA will be able to execute strategies to counter organized crime together with the National Coast Guard Service and the National Police.According to INL, Costa Rica ranked third in drug seizures among Latin American countries in 2018. “In 2018, we seized 33 tons of marijuana, and so far this year , we’ve seized nine,” said Miguel Soto, Costa Rican minister of security. “As this is one of the first stops to smuggle U.S.-bound cocaine, we counter speedboats that operate hundreds of miles off the Pacific coast.”Costa Rica is one of the main and strongest U.S. partners in the fight against transnational threats in the region. “For many years, our countries have been close operational and strategic partners in a variety of security cooperation activities,” said Hakim Hasan, information officer at the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica. “With this combined work, our partnership transforms the country’s capabilities to secure its borders, improve security, and address the causes of crime.”
The former CEO of the now-defunct C B S Employees FCU has agreed to a plea deal with federal prosecutors in which he admits to stealing more than $40 million over the past 20 years.As CUToday.info has reported extensively here, here, and here, Edward Rostohar managed to embezzle more than $40-million from a credit union that had just $21 million in assets at the time it was shuttered and merged into University Credit Union.Prosecutors said the funds were used to pay for expensive cars and watches, private jet travel, gambling, and a number of properties, including his own 4,300-square-foot home in Studio City. According to court documents, Rostohar has agreed to forfeit millions of dollars in assets, as well as properties in California, a café in Reno, Nev., other properties in Nevada, and a resort property in Mexico. The values of those properties was not included in court filings, although his home is valued by Zillow as worth approximately $2.3 million. continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
If there had to be just one silver lining to the pandemic that has swept through most of the world, most people stuck at home would point to an increased awareness of their personal health.Eager to stay fit during these difficult times, millions of people have decided to exercise from the comfort of their own homes.Sports physician Andi Kurniawan said the COVID-19 outbreak had raised people’s awareness of health, as more and more people understand the importance of strengthening their immune system. “People are more aware that it is so important to maintain our immune system so we can’t be easily infected,” he said.For people like Ratna Puspitasari and Marco Puli Sandy, who have been using their spare time sheltering at home for the past two months to get into the habit of exercise, the quarantine has triggered a significant change in their pursuit of health.“Before the quarantine started, I always felt tired of making time to exercise during the weekday. So I just spend 15 to 20 minutes on the weekend to exercise,” said 26-year-old Ratna, who works for a start-up in the Indonesian capital Jakarta.“And now as I work from home, I can exercise every day.” Inspiration doesn’t even have to begin with the individual.After poring through Youtube, Ratna said she found a variety of workout channels that helped her set up a personal exercise regimen to do from the comfort of her rooming house.She even designed a detailed workout program for every day of the week, combining simple and short workouts during the weekdays with longer and more intense workouts on the weekends – all geared to help her stay fit throughout quarantine.“On the weekdays, I do exercises that aren’t too time-consuming, like a 15-minute full body stretch or morning yoga. Whereas on the weekends, I do a combination of practices from yoga to HIIT,” she said, referring to High Intensity Interval Training.“The motivation comes from within. In the beginning, it was more like I forced myself to exercise because I wasn’t feeling healthy,” she said.“Additionally, I started a clean eating program at the end of last year, so I needed to accompany it with exercise.”While Ratna takes pleasure in exercising in her own room, Marco said he likes to jog around his housing complex and play some basketball with his brother once in a while to add some variety into his exercise routine.On the weekdays, the private company employee said he liked to do a 7-minute cardio workout which he combines with strength exercises such as push-ups and pull-ups.“I almost have no social life nowadays because I cannot go anywhere [due to the pandemic]. It’s quite stressful actually. Before the pandemic, I used to go to the cinema or hang out with my friends to destress,” he said.“[Since I can’t do any of those things], I feel like exercising helps me to manage [that stress]. Now I’m used to exercising almost every day.”With millions of people worldwide going into quarantine for months, sheltering in place from COVID-19 has resulted in its own health crisis, as people are forced to stave off social engagement.The uncertainty still lingers for both Marco and Ratna, who admitted that they had been left with nothing to do about creeping anxiety other than to keep a positive mental attitude.“Now, if I feel stressed out I am willing to admit that I’m not in a good condition. But then I am able to focus on resolving [the issues] one at a time,” Marco said.“We do whatever it takes to stay sane.”Both Marco and Ratna have also promised themselves that they would maintain their exercise habits even when the pandemic ends.“I need and must maintain this habit. I used to wake up at 7 a.m. and immediately prepare for work, but now with regular exercise, I can adjust my sleeping time and wake up earlier,” Ratna said.“Without realizing it, exercise has become a habit, even if I just do it for 5 to 15 minutes during weekdays.”As for the current large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) in place, they have limited the number of options to exercise at gyms and other sporting facilities are closed.But Andi suggested that people should not be tempted to just lie in bed or sit in isolation for long hours.“The thing with isolation is people are more likely to lie in bed. But we have to stay active. For instance, every one hour when we sit, we need to stretch for five minutes.“A little stretching or moving our body while in isolation is enough as calories continue to burn. Cleaning the house or following a Youtube tutorial on exercise are also good for beginners,” he said.Topics :
A serial underwear thief was sentenced to nearly six months in jail Monday for breaching Singapore’s strict coronavirus lockdown to sneak into a backyard and steal women’s lingerie. Lee Chee Kin was on bail on similar charges when he snuck out of home last month and climbed into a backyard on the hunt for more underwear. The 39-year-old had stolen underwear from homes on at least 30 occasions since 2018, according to court documents, and police found more than 100 bras during a raid on his home last year. He admitted last month to breaking lockdown rules by leaving his residence without good reason, and failing to wear a mask outside. He also pleaded guilty to theft and criminal trespass, and was sentenced to 23 weeks in jail.Lee’s lawyer told the court that the former part-time actor was a “late bloomer”.A prosecutor previously told the court that Lee “would select bras and panties to steal based on their appearance”, and that he used them “for his own sexual gratification.” Singapore authorities imposed a partial lockdown in early April, with schools and most workplaces told to close, and people only allowed to leave home for essential purposes. Topics :