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Grand Re-Opening of Sports & Fitness Edge Essex

first_imgGrand Re-opening Celebration at Sports & Fitness Edge of EssexEssex, Vermont/ September 17, 2007- On September 22, 2007 the Sports & Fitness Edge hosted a GRAND RE-OPENING celebration at their Essex location. All were welcome to attend this event at 4 Gauthier Drive in Essex.This event will showcase the newly renovated facility, which includes a large state-of-the-art fitness space featuring brand new equipment and a cardio theater, in addition to three new studios for group fitness classes. Kids & Fitness, our licensed preschool, has been enlarged and expanded to provide high quality childcare for more local families.A substantial part of this renovation project included the addition of Physical Therapy Center of Vermonts 4th and largest location where patients can take advantage of the innovative Healing Waves Program” as well as the existing physical therapy programs and services. On September 22nd the staff will offer tours of this new center.Other events taking place on September 22nd include the launch of Les Mills BodyPump classes. Trained instructors will be teaching these classes on Saturday at 10 am and 2 pm, and all are welcome to register 879-7734.Sports & Fitness Edge is also hosting a Health & Activity Fair as part of the Grand Re-opening celebration. This community event is free and open to the public, and features a bouncy castle, door prizes, and tables full of information about other health and wellness-related businesses and organizations in Vermont.For more information on the Grand Re-opening and Health & Activity Fair at Sports & Fitness Edge of Essex, contact Mike Feitelberg at 658-0001 or mikef@sfedge.com(link sends e-mail). About Sports & Fitness Edge, Inc. — Sports & Fitness Edge, Inc has provided fitness opportunities to the community since 1966. Members are welcome at any of the five locations that are run by the company. In addition, there are three Kids & Fitness Preschool facilities that provide child care for local families. The Physical Therapy Center of Vermont was founded in 2001 and offers an extensive list of rehabilitation services at four different locations. Go to www.sfedge.com(link is external) for more information.last_img read more

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Natural Assets: How the Outdoor Economy is Transforming Appalachia

first_imgEva Beaule wasn’t sure what might happen when she and her husband, Mike, opened an outfitter in the tiny community of Mendota, Va. several years ago. Their property sits in an ideal location along the North Fork of the Holston River not far from the Tennessee line, but it takes a long, winding route on narrow roads to get there. “There’s no cell phone service out here,” Beaule says, “and we’re seventeen miles from a grocery store.”But geographic isolation hasn’t stopped the Beaules’ shop, Adventure Mendota, from booming. While business started slow—no one came out to Adventure Mendota’s opening day—thousands of customers have since come to float the North Fork. The outfitter is now one of the most popular outdoor businesses in the region.The Beaules aren’t alone in their success. In fact, the story of Adventure Mendota—an entrepreneur growing a dream into a thriving outdoor business—could apply to almost any corner of Appalachia. Outfitters have sprouted from the pastoral banks of the North Fork to urban stretches of the French Broad. Mountain communities are reinventing themselves to attract hikers, mountain bikers, and climbers. Revamped downtowns across the region are complete with microbreweries and Airbnbs. And the region’s national forests and state parks are being reimagined not just as weekend getaways but as economic support systems for small towns and entire states alike.A quick look at the numbers shows just how much of an economic behemoth the outdoor industry has become. In 2017, the Outdoor Industry Association estimated that outdoor recreation accounted for nearly $900 billion in consumer spending and just over 7.5 million direct jobs nationwide—more than the coal and gas industries combined. Those trends hold closer to home in the Blue Ridge. A recent report by the Outdoor Alliance found that the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests—just two of more than ten national forests across the larger Appalachian region—host 4.6 million visitors annually and plug $115 million into local economies each year.As impressive as those figures are, questions remain about what role outdoor recreation has in the region’s economic future. Can recreation replace the extractive industries that have dominated the mountains for more than a century? Are outdoor entrepreneurs really building the base of a new economy, or are their small businesses simply feel-good stories without lasting economic impact? Finding the answers to those questions is one of the biggest challenges currently facing Appalachia—one that may shape the region for generations to come.The Outdoor Economy by the Numbers$9 billion in annual consumer spending on outdoor recreation in West Virginia366 full-time jobs supported by mountain biking in North Carolina’s Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests7,500 unique climbers visiting Kentucky’s Red River Gorge annually. Visitors spend an estimated $3.6 million each year.$13.61 generated for every dollar of tax revenue provided to Virginia state parks in 2016—Outdoor Industry Association, Outdoor Alliance, Eastern Kentucky University, Virginia Association for ParksGrowing an IndustryIt’s impossible to understand the growth of the East’s outdoor economy without first considering the historical arc of land use trends across Appalachia. From early European settlement through the mid-1900s, the predominant force in the Appalachian economy was resource extraction: timber harvesting along the Blue Ridge, coal to the west along the Appalachian Plateau, and agriculture in the Great Valley in between.In fact, many of the region’s national forests and parks were created as a reaction to the ecological devastation caused by those industries decades earlier. President Franklin D. Roosevelt acknowledged as much during his address at the 1940 dedication of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, stating that “we realize now that we committed excesses which we are today seeking to atone for.” That atonement paved the way for public lands that became hubs of outdoor activity across the nation.Outdoor businesses began to capitalize on those assets later in the 20th century, with outlets like Western North Carolina’s Nantahala Outdoor Center leading the charge. The center opened in 1972 at the intersection of the Appalachian Trail and Nantahala River Gorge and has since grown into one of the nation’s leading outfitters, producing Olympic whitewater champions and hundreds of regional jobs. In the decades since its creation, a litany of businesses and communities have followed suit to build a thriving outdoor economy, even as traditional industries have waned.Todd Christensen has watched that transition throughout his career. Christensen, recently retired as executive director of the Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation, has helped lead efforts to revitalize distressed communities throughout 19 Virginia counties. In many ways, Christensen’s region serves as a microcosm for how a decline in extractive industries has catalyzed an increased focus on the outdoors. Over the past few decades, manufacturing employment in Southwest Virginia fell by half, agricultural jobs declined, and coal mining jobs dropped by nearly 70 percent. Those impacts, Christensen says, left many communities looking for new economic options.“The big opportunity I think a lot of people saw was outdoor recreation,” he says. Southwest Virginia’s communities began marketing outdoor assets residents had taken advantage of for decades.“It wasn’t that there wasn’t anybody doing any outdoor recreation. It wasn’t that the assets weren’t there,” Christensen says. “It was about connecting them all to a common theme to brand the region.” Since 2001, the region has added nearly 3,000 leisure and hospitality jobs, along with a more than $300 million increase in travel expenditures.While many communities in Southwest Virginia are just starting to capitalize on the outdoors, other areas, such as Western North Carolina, have had a focus on the outdoors for generations.[nextpage title=”Read on!”]“Outdoor recreation and tourism has been a part of our local economy for over 100 years,” stresses Clark Lovelace, executive director of the Brevard/Transylvania Chamber of Commerce. Lovelace cites the Pisgah National Forest and the region’s history of hosting summer camps—both of which date back as far as the early 1900s—as examples of the region’s outdoor roots. “In more recent years,” Lovelace says, “the addition of DuPont State Recreational Forest and Gorges State Park…has led to tremendous growth in the local tourism industry.”In 1986, the Transylvania County Tourism Development Authority (TCTDA) was formed to promote the county’s outdoor assets—a factor that became important when the area’s largest manufacturing companies left starting around the year 2000. Since then, Lovelace says that outdoor recreation has “gone from an important industry to a leading industry.” The TCTDA reported close to $90 million generated in tourism revenue in 2015 alone, with accommodations revenue—a key tourism indicator—nearly doubling since 2010.Not Just a Numbers GameWhile the revenue figures touted by regional communities paint an encouraging picture, many experts argue that the outdoor economy alone isn’t sufficient to save many areas, especially those suffering from severe economic decline.“Tourism is so important, but we cannot put all of our eggs in one basket,” says Shannon Blevins, associate vice chancellor at The University of Virginia’s College at Wise. Blevins works with rural communities across the Appalachian coalfields that are looking to diversify their economic strategies, and she emphasizes the dangers of putting too much focus on any single industry. For starters, she says, a tourism-based economy isn’t recession-proof. “We don’t want to get back into that same situation where we are single-threaded on one industry,” she says.Blevins also points out that many outdoor jobs pay lower wages than other industries, a discrepancy that is all too real. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers in the recreation industry earn a median income of around $24,000 per year nationwide. Compare that to the median level of $50,000 or so in annual wages taken home by a coal miner, and it becomes easy to see the challenges associated with using outdoor businesses to replace high-wage extractive industries.Still, the intangible benefits of the outdoor industry can enhance other dimensions of the economy. As one example, Blevins stresses the impacts that tourism and recreation can have on a community’s quality of life. “If it’s done right,” Blevins says, strengthening an outdoor economy “increases the impression that people have of the area.” That, in turn, can increase a community’s exposure and draw in new investment.Lovelace agrees. “Outdoor recreation and quality of life for residents are directly tied together” for the Brevard and Transylvania County area, he says. In addition to retirees who move to the area after leaving the labor market, Lovelace points out that many working families who move to Transylvania County are choosing quality of life over the size of their salaries as a determining factor in selecting a new home.In other cases, recreation can also attract new manufacturing sectors altogether. The broader Western North Carolina region is one example, as it now plays home to a burgeoning outdoor gear manufacturing industry that is capitalizing on the region’s outdoor culture. The Outdoor Gear Builders of Western North Carolina, a group of 27 regionally-based companies, estimated in 2014 that manufacturers contributed nearly 500 jobs to the regional economy, with a $6 million impact in local sourcing.Lovelace credits the quality of life provided by the outdoors as helping to bring several manufacturers to his region, citing it as “key” to economic growth. The Transylvania Economic Alliance—the county’s economic development organization—now even lists outdoor gear manufacturing as one of its six target markets, alongside tourism.Building on SuccessIf a single rule has emerged from the region, it’s that the recipe needed to harness the outdoor recreation economy’s benefits may look different from one community to the next.Some communities, like Erwin, Tenn., are looking downtown. Erwin is home to the Appalachian Trail and Nolichucky River, but its economy has historically been grounded on the transport of coal via the CSX railroad. Jamie Rice, an Erwin business owner and president of the community group RISE Erwin, says that economic landscape changed when Erwin’s railyard closed in 2015.“We were really in mourning,” Rice says. In response, residents began strategic planning sessions, where Rice says “the thing we kept identifying with was our geography.” One result of those discussions was a Great Outdoors Festival that links Erwin’s downtown businesses to the trail and river. Rice estimates the event attracted nearly 7,000 people in its inaugural year. “We were thrilled with that number,” she says. “And we know it’s going to continue to grow.”In other areas, taking the outdoor economy to the next level means playing off of existing strengths. Virginia’s Appalachian Spring initiative is doing just that: taking eight popular outdoor “anchors”—recreation meccas like the New River, Mount Rogers, and Cumberland Gap National Historical Park—and tying them together in a regional branding strategy where political boundaries are blurred.“The whole region has developed a spirit of collaboration and understanding that what’s good for one part of the region is good for the other,” Christensen says. Rather than crafting competing economic plans behind closed doors, community leaders are having opportunities to share best practices for engaging visitors with the outdoors. Emerging from the initiative is the recognition that a region’s strength often lies in its diversity.If that diversity is found in the sum of a region’s parts, small businesses like Adventure Mendota play a key role. The outfitter sits between two of Appalachian Spring’s anchor areas, the Clinch River and Mount Rogers, and that sense of community is not lost on its owner. Eva Beaule credits a group of leaders near Mendota—what she refers to as her “posse”—with helping to spur on the outfitter’s success. It’s a relationship that has to go both ways, Beaule says. “A small business owner cannot wait for people to come to them,” she stresses. “You’ve got to go meet with somebody that you don’t know.”In fact, supporting a community of outdoor entrepreneurs is a plan for success that holds from a city with a strong outdoor economy like Brevard to a rural coalfield town just beginning to plot out its economic future. Rice, Lovelace, and Blevins all emphasize the role that entrepreneurial support has played in their respective regions. “If you’re able to give people who are already rooted in the area the ability to start their own jobs that are in alignment with their aptitudes, then that is a huge win,” Blevins says.In that sense, the principles driving the success of Appalachia’s outdoor economy are rooted in the same culture that has supported the region for generations. “The one thing we’ve learned that is so tremendous,” Beaule says, “is that we’ve got a lot of resources in each other.”last_img read more

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The battle for new credit union charters

first_imgWhen there are no startups in an industry, the question has to be raised: is the sector dying?Here’s the worrisome question about the credit union movement: is the comparative lack of new charters a sign that the movement is floundering?  Proof of the difficulty is that since 2008, per NCUA data, just 28 new credit unions were chartered. “That is as close to zero as you can get,” said Paul Stull, CEO of the Credit Union Association of New Mexico.In the years since, eight of the group vanished, either through merger, liquidation, or charter cancellation.The inescapable reality: it isn’t easy to get a new credit union going.But that does not mean it is impossible. It also doesn’t mean people aren’t out there, struggling to launch new credit unions—below we’ll look at two such efforts.First, however, why is it so hard to charter a new credit union? The NCUA’s Federal Credit Union Charter Application Guide is a dense 114 pages. There’s even a 28-page NCUA document on the costs involved in a new charter. Don’t ignore that costs guide. A few years ago, Thad Moore, a longtime Self-Help Credit Union leader and a participant in a number of chartering efforts, told me that in many instances capital is the biggest hurdle. “It’s gotten harder,” Moore told me.NCUA gives the daunting math: “The actual amount necessary [for a charter] will not be able to be fully determined until completion of the pro-forma financial statements and plans for operating independently. However, if you wish to estimate the amount of funding required, we suggest using, at a minimum, the lesser of $300,000 or $100,000 per $1 million in projected assets during the first five years of PFCU’s operation. For example, if you expect the PFCU to grow to $5 million in assets by the end of year five, the organizers should obtain, pre-charter, at least $500,000 in commitments for start-up donated capital.”  It’s not easy to raise that kind of capital for a start up that likely will take years to reach its goal.That’s a big reason why many would-be credit unions—nobody knows exactly how many—wave the white flag of surrender before they get a charter.And yet the intrepid keep trying.Up in Maine, Maine Harvest—a would-be credit union that I first reported on a couple years ago—continues to make steady progress. In mid-March, the Portland Press Herald declared it “a big step closer” to a charter. Maine Harvest, which is intended to serve businesses involved in Maine’s food economy, nonetheless remains $1 million shy of the amount it probably needs to open. But it has now gathered support from many luminaries, including a grand-daughter of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.A key driver for this credit union charter attempt is the need for access to capital by Maine’s small business food producers—blueberry farmers, fishermen, and the rest of the local food producers. No established financial players are tripping over themselves to make these loans, but Maine Harvest believes the loans are good business and good for Maine.Scott Budde, slated to become CEO of Maine Harvest when it gets its charter, recently said, “We are still at it but with significant progress.”Note: a key is Maine Harvest fills a real need that nobody else wants to fill. It’s not alone.In north Minneapolis, a different kind of credit union is coming together, with the hope of winning a charter by 2019. That’s where members of a group called Blexit are working to create a black focused credit union in a neighborhood that activist Me’Lea Connelly told KARE TV is a bank desert. The City Pages newspaper reported that this would be MInnesota’s first black union.Connelly told City Pages: “We have communities that are underserved and also taken advantage of by the most predatory businesses in our state. Regular banks don’t give them chances.”Credit unions aimed specifically at low-income communities have access to grant monies earmarked for that purpose, and Connelly has pursued that funding.A campaign on Facebook also has won a strong response, Connelly told City Pages.Bottomline: both Maine Harvest and Blexit are fledgling credit unions driven forward by people who passionately believe in the need and the mission, and they also believe that credit unions are the only real way to provide the resources the target membership needs.But isn’t that exactly how and why the first credit unions took root? Their founders saw a need, and they also saw nobody else wanted to fill it. And so they did.In New Mexico, Stull said: “Many have forgotten why credit unions exist. They exist to help people, not to serve people with the lowest possible risk.”His point: across large chunks of America, a lot of people are very much in need of the kind of financial services a credit union is intended to provide.At least some look to be in line to be served—farmers in Maine and the underbanked in north Minneapolis.And that’s good news for the credit union movement. 34SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Robert McGarvey A blogger and speaker, Robert McGarvey is a longtime journalist who has covered credit unions extensively, notably for Credit Union Times as well as the New York Times and TheStreet, … Web: www.mcgarvey.net Detailslast_img read more

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India’s Delhi imposes 70% ‘corona tax’ on alcohol to deter large crowds

first_imgThe Delhi state government announced the “special corona fee” in a public notice late on Monday.”It was unfortunate that chaos was seen at some shops in Delhi,” said Arvind Kejriwal, the state’s chief minister.”If we come to know about violations of social distancing and other norms from any area, then we will have to seal the area and revoke the relaxations there,” he added.Other states, such as southern Andhra Pradesh, where people also violated social distancing measures to queue up in their hundreds for alcohol, also hiked prices. Officials in India’s capital imposed a special tax of 70% on retail liquor purchases from Tuesday, to deter large gatherings at stores as authorities ease a six-week lockdown imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus.Taxes on alcohol are a key contributor to the revenue of many of India’s 36 states and federal territories, most of which are running short of funds because of the lengthy disruption in economic activity caused by the virus.Police baton-charged hundreds of people who had flocked to liquor shops when they opened on Monday for the first time in a relaxation of the world’s biggest lockdown, which is set to run until May 17. Topics :center_img The increases come as India reported 3,900 new infections on Tuesday for its highest single day rise, taking the tally to 46,432. The death toll stood at 1,568, the health ministry said.Health experts said the daily increase shows India remains at risk despite a severe lockdown that has confined its population of 1.3 billion to their homes since late March, with all public transport halted and economic activity nearly frozen.”The curve has not shown a downward trend. That is cause for concern,” said Dr Randeep Guleria, director of New Delhi’s premier All-India Institute of Medical Sciences.India’s average daily increase in cases has been 6.1 over the past week, behind Russia and Brazil but higher than Britain, the United States and Italy.The biggest spikes were recorded in the western states of Maharashtra, home to India’s commercial capital of Mumbai, and Gujarat as well as Delhi. These densely populated urban centres drive India’s economy, powered by armies of migrant workers.Government officials said the lockdown had helped avert a surge of infections that could have overwhelmed medical services, however.Now cases are doubling every 12 days, up from 3.4 days when the lockdown began, said Lav Agarwal, a joint secretary in the health ministry.”Lockdown and containment are yielding results, the challenge is now to improve on the doubling rate,” he added.last_img read more

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Vardy set to stay at Leicester – Wenger

first_imgLondon, United Kingdom | AFP |Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger appears ready to give up his pursuit of Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy after saying Sunday he believe the England forward will stay with the Premier League champions.“Jamie Vardy is, at the moment, at Leicester and from what I know, he will stay at Leicester,” Wenger said in an interview with Chinese TV.Earlier this month, Arsenal were reported to have triggered a release clause in Vardy’s contract in a move worth around £20 million ($29m, 25.5m euros).That sparked a counter-offer from Leicester, with the 29-year-old Vardy having signed his most recent contract keeping him at the Midlands club until 2019 in February. Vardy scored 24 league goals as Leicester, 5,000/1 rank outsiders, were crowned champions of England last season, finishing 10 points in front of second-placed Arsenal, one of the Premier League’s established powers.His club form saw Vardy force his way into England’s squad for the ongoing European Championships in France, where he scored in a 2-1 group-stage win over Wales on Thursday.Vardy has been repeatedly non-committal about his club future while on England duty and he is not expected to make an announcement until his involvement at Euro 2016 has ended.When asked ahead of England’s Group B match against Slovakia on Monday, if he had anything to add about his club prospects, Vardy said: “No, nothing at all. I am just here completely focusing on England. That’s all that I want to do at the moment.”Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more

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