Environmental Gardeners.

first_imgGeorgia gardeners want lush lawns and award-winning vegetables.But they also care about the damage pesticides and fertilizerscan cause the environment, says a University of Georgia survey.Researchers in the UGA College of Agricultural and EnvironmentalSciences are crafting guidelines to help homeowners choose gardenand landscape practices that don’t harm the environment. But theyneeded information.What Are Georgia Gardeners Doing?”Before we can develop guidelines, we need to know howGeorgia gardeners use pesticides and fertilizers,” said SusanVarlamoff, the survey coordinator. “The survey results arehelping us determine the level of information we need to put intothe homeowner best management practices manual.”The survey was funded by the Pollution Prevention AssistanceDivision of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. The BMPmanual will be developed with a federal Environmental ProtectionAgency grant.Both projects are part of a five-year program aimed at educatinghomeowners on reducing the environmental effects of improper gardening.”Our goal is to reduce nonpoint-source pollution, whichis a result of runoff from landscapes containing pesticides andfertilizers,” said Varlamoff. “We’re also searchingfor ways to provide correct gardening information to homeowners.”During the summer of 1999, 400 Georgians took part in the survey,which was designed by a team of CAES researchers and implementedby the UGA Survey Research Center.The survey asked gardeners about general and specific practices.It asked, too, where they get their gardening information.Gardeners Want to Use Environmentally FriendlyProducts”We were surprised to find that people are already gardeningto protect the environment,” Varlamoff said. “Of thepeople we surveyed, 67 percent are choosing products they believeto be environmentally friendly.”The survey showed that 45 percent of Georgians are compostinghousehold and lawn waste for use in their home landscapes.But where do they learn about gardening? “Most of thepeople we surveyed said they get their information from neighbors,”Varlamoff said. “Their second-largest source was television.”The study also showed that they prefer to get their informationwhere they buy their gardening supplies.”We need to know where our efforts need to be directedand how people want to receive this information,” Varlamoffsaid. “Our goal is to educate the gardening public for everyone’sbenefit.”People need to know, for example, not to apply fertilizerswhen a heavy rainstorm is expected,” she said. “Thechemicals won’t have time to be absorbed into the soil beforethey’re washed away. They also need to apply only as much as thegrass or plants can use.”Open to AlternativesAnother key question was whether Georgia gardeners are opento using nonchemical ways to control pests.”It’s one thing for our college’s researchers to developand test nonchemical methods of control,” she said. “Butthis can only be effective if people are willing to adopt thesemethods.We needed to know if people are open to planting pest-resistantplant varieties or applying insecticidal soaps instead of sprayingchemicals.”The answer? Most are very willing to try.Of the people surveyed, 69 percent said they want to learnmore about alternative ways to control pests, and 72 percent arewilling to plant pest-resistant varieties.”People are becoming more and more aware of alternativemethods because they’re becoming more available in gardening centers,”Varlamoff said. “You can even buy lady beetles over the counternow.”Weed-free Lawns a Top PriorityBut the quest for the perfect, weed-free lawn is also a toppriority. The survey found that:* 67 percent rated a weed-free lawn as very important.* 41 percent use herbicides to control weeds.* 23 percent apply fungicides to control diseases.* 63 percent apply insecticides to control insects.”All these chemical controls can be contributing factorsto runoff pollution,” she said.Varlamoff is confident a BMP manual would help Georgia gardenersand the environment.”Now that we know the kinds of information Georgian gardenerswant and need, we’re developing our best management practicesmanual,” she said.”The manual will first be used to train people who enrollin the University of Georgia’s Advanced Master Gardeners Programthrough the county extension offices,” she said. “Theinformation will eventually be available through all media: newspapers,television, radio, fax newsletters and the Internet.”last_img read more

Vermont Nut Free Chocolates expands offerings with MetaBall

first_imgVermont Nut Free Chocolates,Vermont Nut Free Chocolates, makers of nut free, gourmet specialty products, is now offering MetaBall, a new product line of energy snacks that are safe for those with peanut and tree nut allergies, to select retailers in New York. Made from the finest, all-natural ingredients, MetaBall is manufactured in a completely nut free environment by Vermont Nut Free Chocolates under license from Beyond The Mirror, LLC. MetaBall is designed for athletes and active individuals looking for a healthy, great tasting and convenient snack alternative. The unique round shape provides portion flexibility (Portion Flex) enabling people with different energy needs to ‘eat ‘em as they need ‘em’.  The fact that MetaBall products are nut free opens up a new world of nutrition alternatives for those who live with nut allergies. Made from the finest ingredients, MetaBall is designed to deliver lasting energy, consisting of slow-burning carbohydrates, healthy fats and pure whey protein isolate. MetaBall is available in tri-packs or Buy The Bucket which contains 24 individually-wrapped servings.‘We are thrilled to partner with the team at MetaBall to introduce the first round energy snack made specifically for those with nut allergies. These great tasting and will deliver lasting energy to health-conscious individuals who are looking for an all-natural alternative to the usual, sugar-laden bars,’ said Gail Elvidge, president of Vermont Nut Free. ‘As the mother of a child with peanut allergies, I know what it is like to have an active child that is looking for a quick snack to provide energy for the next soccer game or after-school activity.’ Each MetaBall three-pack has 15 grams of protein and a 3:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio, offering energy going into a workout as well as aiding in lean muscle development as a post-workout nutrition alternative. The complete nutritional combination found in MetaBall is great for business people that need that mid-day boost, and convenient for busy families. It provides fussy eaters with a delicious way to get additional protein and complex carbohydrates into their diets and the built-in portion control makes it a healthy choice for everyone.‘We embarked on the laboring process of creating the perfect nut-free, high-energy food that is fun to eat, tastes great and everyone can feel good. We are thrilled to introduce our MetaBall product line to an even wider audience through our licensing agreement with Vermont Nut Free Chocolates,’ said Neal Abramson, President of Beyond The Mirror, LLC, brand owner of MetaBall.MetaBall comes in a variety of flavors including:Bashin’ Berry ‘ This no-nut version of the best peanut butter and jelly sandwich you never had combines the flavors of raspberry and blueberry with the ‘nutty’ flavors of sunflower butter and oats. Chompin’ Chocolate ‘ This flavor is for the chocolate lovers and captures a true chocolate experience with real milk chocolate, combining flavors of chocolate, vanilla and the ‘nutty’ taste of sunflower butter. Mocho Loco ‘ A coffee lover’s treat, mixed with real espresso and then covered in just the right blend of creamy chocolate and espresso.Raisin The Roof ‘ This is an all-time favorite, developed to remind you of homemade oatmeal raisin cookies ‘ just delicious!  Safe from cross-contamination concerns that often arise with similar, mass-produced products, people with nut allergies can feel comforted by the nut-free guarantee on these healthy snacks. To learn more about MetaBall visit www.metaballnutrition.com(link is external).  MetaBall is now available to order online at http://www.vermontnutfree.com(link is external).About Beyond The MirrorBeyond The Mirror, based in New Jersey, is responsible for product innovation and marketing of the MetaBall brand.  As is the case with great products, MetaBall was born out of need ‘ the husband and wife team of Beyond The Mirror developed MetaBall in 2008 to provide a high protein energy food for their peanut and nut allergic son, who is active in sports.  There was simply not a product on the market that was safe for him, natural, and nutritious.  With a unique combination of expertise in biochemistry and marketing, the founders of Beyond The Mirror were able to develop a product that was scientifically and nutritionally sound while remaining consumer relevant. As time went on, friends and teammates began asking for MetaBall.  Word spread, and MetaBall Nation was born.About Vermont Nut Free ChocolatesEstablished in 1998, Vermont Nut Free Chocolates specializes in handmade gourmet treats that are safe for individuals with peanut and tree nut allergies. Its product line includes fudge, truffles, caramels, chocolate bars, granola bars and novelty items. All products are made in small batches with only the finest nut free ingredients available. To learn more or order products, please visit, http://www.vermontnutfree.com//index.shtml(link is external). Source: Vermont Nut Free Chocolates Grand Isle, VT, May 2010last_img read more

Developers begin work on 500MW, $2.2 billion wind farm off the French coast

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renewables Now:The developers of the 500-MW Fecamp offshore wind project today announced the launch of the construction process, having closed financing deals between them and the financial partners.EDF Renewables and Canada-based Enbridge Inc each hold 35% stakes in the project, while the offshore wind unit of Wpd has the remaining 30% interest. They said that the total project capital cost amounts to EUR 2 billion (USD 2.23bn) and that most of it will be covered with non-recourse project level debt.The parties also confirmed they have awarded a wind turbine supply contract to Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy SA, which yesterday said it will deliver 71 units of the SWT-7.0-154 model for the project. SGRE plans to start building works on a new turbine manufacturing plant in Le Havre this summer.The Fecamp wind park is expected to be commissioned in 2023, when it will start selling electricity under a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) that was awarded to the consortium in June 2018. The output of the plant will be enough to meet the annual consumption of about 770,000 people.[Ivan Shumkov]More: Developer trio kicks off construction of 500-MW Fecamp offshore wind farm Developers begin work on 500MW, $2.2 billion wind farm off the French coastlast_img read more

WanderLove: A Road Trip through Southwest Virginia

first_imgGeneral Francis Marion Hotel—Historic boutique hotel remodeled with modern amenities. The Martha Hotel & Spa—Upscale hotel in downtown Abingdon that was originally built in 1832. Creeper’s End Lodging—Colonial-style cottages at the base of the Virginia Creeper Trail.Hungry Mother State Park Cabins, Yurts, & Campsites—Cabins, yurts and campsites available for rent. And while travel may look a little different these days, you can still explore Virginia’s endless beauty from the comfort of your own car – with plenty of fresh-air stops along the way. Restaurants, Breweries, Wineries, & More **Know before you go! Please wear a mask or face covering when indoors and observe Virginia’s current safety guidelines when you travel. Before visiting, be sure to contact individual businesses for the most up-to-date hours and info. Wanderlust is defined as a strong desire to travel, but here in Virginia, we call that feeling WanderLove. Claytor Lake State Park, photo by Sam Dean Begin your trip in Roanoke with a bike ride along the Roanoke Valley Greenway, which has over 30 miles of paved trails; rent bikes through Roanoke Mountain Adventures. Or head to the trails of Mill Mountain Park where a hike or ride to the top leads to spectacular views from the Roanoke Star, one of the most iconic sites in Virginia’s Blue Ridge.  The Virginia Creeper Trail, photo by Sam Dean Return to Abingdon for your overnight stay and catch a play at the Barter Theatre Moonlight Drive-In, a drive-in live theater opened in response to COVID-19.  Restaurants, Breweries, Wineries, & More Thrill-seekers will love the zipline tour at Hungry Mother Adventures, the longest, highest and fastest zipline in Virginia that provides a bird’s eye view of the Park. Another worthwhile detour off Route 11 is a stop at Draper Mercantile & Trading Co., a dining/shopping village that also offersbike rentals and is conveniently located beside New River Trail State Park. Continue south on Route 11, driving to the Big Walker Lookout Tower & Country Store. Climb the 100-foot tower for breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and spend some time perusing the country store. Hotels, Resorts, & Other Lodging For more road trip ideas, check out Virginia’s WanderLove getaways! ROUTE 11: FROM WYTHEVILLE TO ABINGDON For waterfront outdoor adventure, detour off Route 11 to Claytor Lake State Park. Rent paddleboards or kayaks through Mountain2Island Paddleboard Company and head out on the water. Looking to soak up some sun on the shoreline? The park also has a beach area with a snack bar and bathhouse.  Next, stop by Iron Heart Winery, located about twelve miles south of Draper. While the tasting room is currently closed due to COVID-19, you can enjoy a private cabana rental, which includes a bottle of wine, a tent, two chairs and a table, and a cooler with ice, all set up before your arrival.  Hotels, Resorts, & Other Lodging The River & Rail Restaurant—Southern bistro featuring locally-sourced, seasonal cuisine.Farmburguesa—Roanoke farm-to-table burgers.Al’s on First—Casual full-service restaurant serving Southern homestyle dishes. Skeeter’s Hot Dogs—Historic diner known for its “Skeeter Dogs”.7 Dogs Brew Pub—Brewery/restaurant serving burgers, sandwiches and a wide range of light bar fare. Graze on Main—Southern food with a twist in the historic Bolling Wilson Hotel.West Wind Farm Vineyard—Pet-friendly winery on a fourth-generation homestead. Follow Route 11 to Abingdon and rent bikes from the Virginia Creeper Trail Bike Shop. The shop will shuttle you and your bikes further down the Virginia Creeper Trail, a 34-mile trail that runs between Abingdon and Whitetop Station. If biking the entire trail, stop through Damascus, an enchanting mountain town, to peruse outdoor-centric shops and grab a bite to eat.  Wolfe’s BBQ—Classic smoked cuts and delicious sides in Marion. Abingdon Vineyards—Pet-friendly winery on the South Holston River.White Birch Food & Juice—Health-centric juice/smoothie bar in downtown Abingdon.The Pakalachian—Abingdon-based food truck that blends Southwest Virginia cuisine with South Asian flavors.Wolf Hills Brewing Co.—Craft brewery that often hosts live music acts and trivia nights.  Before heading home, stop by the Southwest Virginia Cultural Center & Marketplace to peruse goods made from local artisans. Don’t miss the stunning LOVEwork, a prime spot for a photo opp.  Depart Wytheville, continuing along Route 11 to Hungry Mother State Park. With a 108-acre lake and picturesque woodland surroundings, it’s the perfect spot to enjoy the water – whether unwinding on the lake’s sandy beach area or renting a boat to head off-shore. ROUTE 11: FROM ROANOKE TO WYTHEVILLE Follow along through the mountains of Southwest Virginia, as we turn a simple road trip into an unforgettable outdoor escape!  A can’t-miss destination in the Wytheville area, the 45-acre Fort Chiswell Animal Park, offers a petting zoo and a Safari Bus ride that lets you get close to exotic animals such as zebras, antelopes and ostriches.  For another cycling opportunity, head to Christiansburg on Route 11. Reserve bikes from the ROAM New River Valley hubs and pick them up from their Christiansburg Recreation Center to bike the paved Huckleberry Trail that runs from Christiansburg to Blacksburg. Bolling Wilson Hotel—Pet-friendly boutique hotel with a rooftop bar and outdoor dining. New River Retreat—Cabin and cottage rentals on the New River, Claytor Lake, the New River Trail, and in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Trinkle Mansion Bed & Breakfast—Renovated historic bed and breakfast. last_img read more

International Relief for Haiti

first_imgBy Dialogo January 01, 2010 Despite its own financial turmoil, Africa responded with search and rescue teams, security and relief funding. All together, African countries pledged more than $10 million in aid. Benin vowed to enhance security assistance to the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti, and Senegal offered free land to Haitians wishing to move there. China, which lost eight peacekeepers in the quake, contributed professional expertise in dealing with natural disasters through a 60-member rescue team, which included detection dogs and seismological experts. Japan sent a 24-member civilian medical team and a 110-member military team of medical and other personnel. Shortly after the quake, Israel provided a high-tech field hospital with an emergency room, two operating rooms, and a maternity and children’s ward. Jordan also established a field hospital. The 27 European Union member states approved $575 million in aid and a police force of 300. France dispatched the Francis Garnier, a ship that specializes in humanitarian missions, and three military transport planes. Norway earmarked $17.5 million for the World Food Program, Doctors without Borders, the Red Cross and other organizations. Haiti’s tragedy led to $39 million in private contributions from Canada. The country also deployed two warships, 2,000 military personnel and hosted the Ministerial Preparatory Conference of the Group of Friends of Haiti on January 25. Delegations from 13 countries, as well as international entities such as the United Nations, the European Union, the Organization of American States, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund convened at the conference to coordinate humanitarian aid and reconstruction efforts. U.S. Department of State, AP, Reuterslast_img read more

Long Island State Legislative Primary Results

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York John DeVito, a 25-year-old law student from Mastic Beach, won a three-way Democratic primary Tuesday, earning a spot on general election ballots to challenge freshman New York State Sen. Tom Croci (R-Sayville), according to unofficial results from the board of elections.That race was one of five Democratic primaries for state Legislative seats on Long Island. In the other four—two state Assembly seats each for Nassau and Suffolk counties—challengers were unsuccessful against three incumbents and a party nominee to fill a vacancy, results show.DeVito, a first-time candidate, won 40 percent of the vote over attorney Joseph Fritz of Brentwood, who got 31 percent, and former Suffolk County Legis. Rick Montano (D-Brentwood), who placed third with 28 percent out of 3,109 votes cast in the 3rd State Senate District, according to the early returns.In the 6th Assembly District, seven-term Assemb. Phil Ramos (D-Bay Shore) trounced publicist Giovanni Mata of Bay Shore, 72 to 27 percent out of 2,701 votes cast, results show. In the 11th Assembly District, freshwoman Assemb. Kimberly Jean-Pierre (D-Wyandanch) beat perennial candidate Jordan K. Wilson Jr. of North Babylon 78 to 21 percent out of 1,622 votes cast, tallies show. Republican challengers have yet to emerge in either of those races.In Nassau’s two races, 14-term Deputy Assembly Speaker Earlene Hooper (D-Hempstead) won 59 percent of the vote over challenger Carmen Piñeyro, a Freeport village trustee who got 40 percent of the 3,514 ballots cast in the 18th Assembly District, results show. Hooper will face perennial Republican challenger Cornelius Todd Smith on Election Day.And in the 20th Assembly District, Long Beach City Councilman Anthony Eramo won 71 percent of the vote over former Nassau County Legis. Jeffrey Toback (D-Oceanside), who got 28 percent of 3,968 ballots cast, according to the elections board.Eramo is running for the state Assembly seat vacated by state Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach), who replaced disgraced ex-Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) this spring.Eramo faces Republican candidate Michelle Miller of Atlantic Beach and Green Party hopeful Joseph Naham of Long Beach on Nov. 8.last_img read more

Two deaths fan avian flu fears in Indonesia

first_imgSep 21, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – The death of a 5-year-old girl and a 2-year-old girl from suspected avian influenza fanned worries in Indonesia today as the government promised to destroy infected poultry flocks, according to news agencies.The Associated Press (AP) reported that nine people were hospitalized in Jakarta for treatment of suspected avian flu. Authorities were awaiting test results for them and the two deceased girls, the report said. Indonesia has had four deaths attributed to H5N1 avian flu so far, including that of a 37-year-old woman on Sep 10 (though the World Health Organization [WHO] has recognized only two cases as laboratory-confirmed).The 5-year-old died at Jakarta’s Sulianti Saroso Hospital for respiratory disease after being admitted Tuesday, according to an Agence France-Presse (AFP) report. Indonesian Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari said the girl “most likely” died of avian flu, the Jakarta Post reported. But she also said an initial local laboratory test on the girl was negative, according to a Reuters report.An AFP report said the 2-year-old girl died at Jakarta’s Christian PGI Hospital after suffering a high fever and respiratory problems. A hospital spokeswoman named Rosiana said the girl’s illness should be considered a suspected case.Sardikin Giriputro, deputy director of the Sulianti Saroso Hospital, said the hospital had three new patients with suspected avian flu this afternoon, according to AFP. One was a 9-year-old girl who visited Ragunan Zoo in Jakarta just before it was closed this week after 19 captive birds there tested positive for avian flu. The other two patients were teenagers who had had contact with birds before they fell ill, the story said.The government promised today to destroy infected poultry flocks, something it has been reluctant to do until now because of cost concerns, according to the AP. Indonesia has many small backyard poultry flocks.Agriculture Minister Anton Apriyantono said mass slaughters would be carried out in areas found to be “highly infected,” meaning infections in 20% of the poultry, according to the AP and USA Today.Meanwhile, the ministry’s director of animal health told news services she had been fired for allegedly failing to control avian flu.A WHO official said today the agency is prepared to provide the antiviral drug oseltamivir (Tamiflu) if signs of a flu pandemic show up, according to a Voice of America (VOA) report. Shigeru Omi, director for the WHO’s Western Pacific Region, said the agency is prepared to send doses to Indonesia “if and when a pandemic starts.”A five-member team of US officials is in Indonesia to find out how the United States can help the country battle avian flu, AFP reported today. The team includes officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other agencies, according to the information from US embassy spokesman Max Kwak.The team, which is on a regional fact-finding mission, arrived Sep 18 and will leave Sep 24, the story said.Earlier this week, WHO Director-General Lee Jong-wook said the agency would not push for a generic version of oseltamivir to increase the supply for people in poor countries, according to a Sep 19 AP report.The story said some countries have suggested that Roche, the Swiss-based manufacturer of oseltamivir, should relinquish its patent so that other companies could produce cheaper versions of the drug. Roche announced in August it would give 3 million treatment courses of the drug to a WHO-managed international stockpile.Lee told the AP that with Roche “doing its part,” pressuring for a generic form of oseltamivir is not a good way to encourage the company to do more.In other news, 37 Asian countries represented at the WHO’s Western Pacific annual conference in New Caledonia approved a strategy for combating emerging diseases such as avian flu, according to an AFP report. The story didn’t spell out what the strategy involves.At the conference, Omi said the strategy cannot be implemented without the help of richer nations. He called on Asian countries to change their farming practices to prevent the spread of avian flu, the report said.According to a VOA report, Omi said it would cost $250 million over the next year to prepare for a possible flu pandemic.In the same story, Georg Petersen, the WHO representative in Indonesia, warned against complacency about the threat of a flu pandemic. “We need to prepare—every country—for an eventual massive influenza pandemic that puts up to 30 percent of the workforce in bed,” he was quoted as saying.last_img read more

Krešimir Herceg, Bicikademija: The potential of cycling tourism in Slavonia is huge

first_imgImagine having so much cultural richness at just a few pedal turns! Imagine that there are so many natural resources at just a few pedal turns…. Imagine what it would be like not to have to imagine. These are the words from the promotional video of the innovative cycling product – Bicycademies. A project that awake dreams and imagines the whole of Slavonia, as a cyclo region. The development of cycling tourism in Slavonia is not a matter of potential, but of a “butterfly” screaming to get out of its shirt and start flapping its wings. But let’s go in order, meet another great tourist story.It is a Bicikademija product that represents an innovative and interactive approach to the promotion of a certain area as a desirable cycling tourist destination. The bicycle academy consists of a web platform and a mobile application to which the user (Bike Student) registers, who receives a virtual index after this process. The index consists of studies that represent specific areas. Each Study consists of an exam (location). The Student’s task is to register and log in to the system, tour the locations by bicycle, check and take photos and thus take the exam. Exams do not have to be taken in a certain order, and currently the Bicycademy takes place in five Slavonian counties and the Istrian region. However, what makes the Bicikademija different and unique is that all locations, ie exams, represent the cultural and natural heritage of the given areas, ie a complete tourist product. Great story, isn’t it?I talked about the development of cycling tourism in Slavonia as well as the Cycling Academy with the passionate cyclist Krešimir Herceg from Slavonski Brod, who came to Slavonia by bicycle and came up with the idea of ​​the Cycling Academy. The whole product is developed step by step, in accordance with the possibilities, but what is certain, and which Herceg itself emphasizes, Slavonia has a huge potential for the development of cycling tourism. Proof of this thesis is certainly the reaction of various cyclists who have just used the Bicycademy as a great bike platform and a blend with an authentic tourist story.The reactions of cyclists are excellent, both domestic and foreign, points out Krešimir Herceg, the originator and leader of the Bicycademy. “Cyclists accepted the whole idea and story of the Bicycle Academy very well. From the locals, who got a new challenge to drive to the given areas, because many did not know that such natural and cultural riches are at hand and at short distances, and foreign, who again in addition to these riches praise the hospitality of this area and gastronomic offer. They are also interested in the concept of the interactive approach of the BicycademySays Herceg.The whole product has been alive since 2014, and the most important thing has passed the main test – and that is the users / tourists. The bicycle academy has been used by over 500 cyclists for three years, which is just another proof of a successful concept, and it is a big wind in the back for future plans, which are certainly not lacking. “The plans are numerous. We are already in negotiations for the opening of new studies, in Croatia, but also abroad. The second segment is the redesign of the application and web platform that will become more attractive and easier to use for Bike Students, but will also provide us with new marketing tools. We will definitely increase the volume of marketing campaigns (like the Ideas campaign) with various goals. And the ultimate goal is to become a recognizable cycling brand. ” Herceg pointed out.It is estimated that there are over 60 million active cyclists in Europe, generating over 50 billion euros in consumption. Also, cyclists in the destination spend about 30 percent more than “classic” tourists, about 53 euros a day, most often travel in pairs or in a group of several people and are logically mobile and do not stay long in one place. Croatia, as well as Slavonia, certainly have a great opportunity in the development of cycling tourism, especially outside and after the “peak” tourist season, because the hot summer months are not ideal for cycling.Also, when we talk about the development of cycling tourism in Slavonia, we can certainly dedicate ourselves to weekend travel, especially because Slavonia is well connected by road and rail. Herceg agrees that Slavonia has great potential in cycling tourism, emphasizing that the cycling tourism potential of Slavonia is huge. “Primarily, I say this from the angle of many low-traffic roads on which Slavonia is networked, so for a start you do not need so much investment in road infrastructure. Slavonia also offers a hilly area for cycling and lowlands. It abounds in cultural and natural content that attracts cyclists, but also a rich eno and gastronomic offer. We have shown all this in the Imagine campaign, how it is all at our fingertips. Slavonia and Baranja are bordered by two EuroVelo routes, which are largely unused, and a third is being prepared, which would pass approximately along the Sava route.”Says Herceg and emphasizes that all these things should be in the service of tourism, and therefore cycling, and we have more than an excellent starting position.I constantly emphasize that we need to turn to branding tourist regions, from Slavonia to Istria, and the Bicycademy is another positive example of this thesis because it connects all Slavonian counties through bike tours, ie exams. Slavonia should be branded as one tourist product, ie the Slavonia brand, and not five separate tourist products. We currently have five Slavonian county tourist boards (Brod-Posavina, Vukovar-Srijem, Osijek-Baranja, Požega-Slavonia, Virovitica-Podravina counties) which each tell their own story, without such an important synergy.Osijek-Baranja or Brod-Posavina County means absolutely nothing to foreign tourists, but as a tourist brand Slavonia, certainly yes. Especially when we talk about cycling tourism, where the average cyclist travels at least 30 kilometers a day without any problems, and thus passes without being aware of one county to another, and we do not have a unique cycling tourism map or a complete tourist product. “It is aggravating that Slavonia consists of 5 entities that are subject to state organization and currently we cannot do too much there. I am definitely of the opinion that Slavonia, as far as tourism is concerned, must act as a whole, as one destination, especially in marketing appearances. At this point, it’s a little harder to do. And it’s not just about the maps, but about the entire offer of the destination. We were too small for a tourist to stay in one place for seven days”Points out Herceg and adds that the destination Slavonia can offer its existing content several unforgettable days to the most demanding tourist. Personally, I think that Slavonia has at least seven days of dense and rich tourist content that it can offer to tourists. And it has authentic content with different motives for coming.The entire platform should have the support of cities, counties and tourist boards because it gives them a tool that unites everything in one, from bike trails to tourist attractions, and in the synergy of forces can complete the development of cycling tourism. Of course, the serious development of cycling tourism requires a development strategy and investment in infrastructure, connecting all stakeholders in tourism, from cultural institutions to family farms, and ultimately to create a complete tourism product. Unfortunately, the whole project is not sufficiently recognized in Slavonia by cities and tourist boards, they simply did not even try to “use” it, and they should in any case because Slavonia has a huge potential for cycling tourism. “I can’t say there isn’t any progress, but negotiations and talks with the public sector are going slowly, often without communication, honoring the exceptions. What I can say is that we have achieved great things with some people and I think things are slowly moving from a stalemate as far as cycling tourism is concerned, but also the Cycling Academy. The good thing is that the Ministry of Tourism encouraged the counties to focus a little more on cycling tourism, so that this segment began to gain in importance in Slavonia as well. Strategies began to be worked out, examples of good practice applied. And thus the communication between the stakeholders improves. Although, experientially, in these areas there is always something better on the outside than a domestic productSays Herceg.If I were personally in the position of director of the tourist board (although I do not have those ambitions), I would immediately embrace this and all other tourist innovative stories, because I am offered a great finished tourist product that I need, and thus raise the quality of the tourist product. and eventually picked up the “icing on the cake”. This is exactly one of the missions of tourist boards, to recognize such individuals and ideas and to give them the wind in their backs, a win-win for everyone, and most of all for tourists.But to tell a story, it takes at least two. It is unfortunate that such ideas and products, ie individuals, cannot realize their ideas and visions in Slavonia, but must seek their “happiness” elsewhere. And again, Istria has recognized the potential of this whole story, and it is certainly no accident. And it’s not about money, it’s about people and the desire for quality development. Capital goes where it is desired, and so do all other projects and ideas. Until some new winds blow in Slavonia, the project is spreading to Istria who know very well what are the potentials and benefits of cycling tourism.In any case, Bicikademija is a great innovative and interactive product that, in cooperation with partners, could be a great story. The first and most important step has been made, the project is alive and well, and now it is up to others to give support both financially and logistically to bring the project to life on the ground in full glory as a rounded tourist story.Otherwise, tourist destinations are interested in it, they have almost a product, embrace it and tell stories together.last_img read more

Gold Coast property market starts to slow – good news for those looking to buy

first_imgMore from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa16 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag2 days agoREA Group research shows the Gold Coast property market might be slighting slowing.“I don’t think this is necessarily bad news, I don’t think it’s a sign that things are necessarily going to get bad,” Mrs Conisbee said.“(In terms of) views per listing, the Gold Coast is actually the strongest performer of all the regions in Queensland.”While demand may have softened, new figures released by the Real Estate Institute of Queensland showed the median house price on the Gold Coast continued to increase.The Gold Coast median house price was down by 0.3 per cent in the quarter, but grew by 6 per cent in the past 12 months to $620,000 – the highest growth in the state“Local agents indicated that the sales and rental markets were very quiet in the weeks ahead of the Commonwealth Games,” the report said.“This may have had an impact on the quarter’s performance as quarterly median sale prices fell slightly in March 2018.”The Gold Coast median house price grew six per cent in the past year to $620,000 – the highest growth in the state. SIGNS of a Gold Coast property market slowdown are starting to show but there is no need to panic just yet.Research by REA Group showed demand for units was down eight per cent across the city in the six months to April 30 compared with the same period last year.Housing demand also dipped but only slightly at less than one per cent.The findings were based on property views per listing.Nerida Conisbee, realestate.com.au chief economist, said the findings were no cause for concern as it was relatively normal to see ebbs and flows in the market.Nerida Conisbee, realestate.com.au chief economistlast_img read more

Hurricane Harvey deepens Noble’s 3Q loss

first_imgOffshore driller Noble Corporation on Thursday reported a net loss for the third quarter of of $97 million, on revenues $266 million.According to Noble, the result includes a pre-tax charge to operating expenses totaling $14 million relating to damage sustained by two of the company’s cold-stacked semisubmersibles during Hurricane Harvey.Excluding the charge, the net loss attributable to Noble Corporation in the third quarter of 2017 would have been $87 million, or $0.36 per diluted share.In comparison, in the third quarter of 2016 Noble Corporation reported a net loss attributable to the Company of $55 million on revenues of $385 million.Commenting on results for the third quarter, David W. Williams, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Noble Corporation plc stated, “Our premium fleet continued to attract the attention of top-tier customers around the world, as demonstrated by the more than $200 million of new contract awards in the quarter, further bolstering our excellent contract coverage. Also, we continued to generate positive free cash flow, despite the challenging industry environment, while maintaining our traditional high standards of operational performance.”Fleet op days downContract drilling services revenues for the third quarter of 2017 totaled $260 million compared to $272 million in the preceding quarter of the year, which included a $6 million write-off of a derivative instrument relating to contingent customer payments.Fleet operating days in the third quarter declined six percent due primarily to the jackup rig fleet, which saw three rigs complete contracts during the quarter, in addition to downward dayrate adjustments and reduced bonus revenues. These items were partially offset by higher mobilization revenues and one additional calendar day in the quarter.Contract drilling services costs in the third quarter totaled $165 million, and included the $14 million charge relating to the rigs damaged during Hurricane Harvey. Excluding the charge, drilling services costs for the third quarter would have been $151 million.Jack-up utilization dropsUtilization in the third quarter of the Company’s 14 jackups was 81 percent compared to 93 percent in the preceding quarter, with the decline due primarily to fewer operating days for the Noble Regina Allen, Noble Houston Colbert and Noble Mick O’Brien, as all three units completed contracts over the quarter.The decline in operating days was partially offset by the Noble Tom Prosser, which in September commenced a contract offshore Australia following an idle period. The contract for the Noble Tom Prosser contributed to an increase in average daily revenues in the third quarter to $127,200 compared to $121,300 in the preceding quarter. Following the close of the third quarter, the Noble Houston Colbert was awarded a three-well, estimated one-year contract for work offshore Qatar.The contract, which is expected to commence in February 2018, increases to 13 the number of jackups currently under contract in the Noble fleet, with five units expected to complete contracts during the fourth quarter of 2017.Floaters utilization at 39 pctThe Company’s floating rig fleet, comprised of eight drillships and six semisubmersibles, reported utilization in the third quarter of 39 percent compared to 37 percent in the preceding quarter of the year. The slight improvement was due to an increase in operating days on the drillship Noble Bob Douglas.Average daily revenues for the third quarter were $253,300 compared to $273,700 in the preceding quarter.The decline followed lower revenues on the drillship Noble Globetrotter I, partially offset by higher average revenues on the Noble Globetrotter II and Noble Don Taylor. At the close of the third quarter, five of the Company’s eight drillships were under contract, including the Noble Bob Douglas, which in July was awarded a three-year primary term contract for work offshore Guyana, with an expected contract commencement date of first or second quarter of 2018. Also, following the close of the third quarter, the rig was awarded an estimated 80-day drilling assignment in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, with an expected contract commencement in late November 2017. With this latest award, the Noble Bob Douglas, which in late-October completed a drilling assignment offshore Suriname, is now expected to remain under contract into early-2021.The Company’s contract backlog, which totaled approximately $3.2 billion at September 30, 2017, has remained essentially flat throughout 2017 following the addition of more than $800 million in contracts through the third quarter. Of the $3.2 billion total, which extends beyond 2022, an estimated $2.0 billion relates to the floating rig fleet, with $1.2 billion associated with the jackup fleet.Approximately 54 percent of the available rig operating days remaining in 2017 are committed to contracts, including 36 percent for the floating rig fleet and 73 percent for the jackup fleet. For 2018, 40 percent of available operating days are committed to contracts, including 34 percent and 46 percent of the floating and jackup rig days, respectively.Early stages of recovery have begunAddressing the outlook for the offshore industry, Williams stated, “We believe our industry continues to demonstrate that the early stages of recovery have begun. Discussions with customers about their future rig needs have intensified throughout the year and have resulted in contract awards across numerous regions.“As we sharpen our focus on 2018, we expect these early signs of recovery to yield measurable benefits to Noble. Our current contract backlog of $3.2 billion is expected to provide revenues in 2018 that exceed $860 million, with revenues of over $700 million in 2019, and these estimates exclude contract awards since the conclusion of the third quarter and any future awards. Also, our current expectation for 2018 is to generate positive free cash flow, as we have demonstrated in 2017.”last_img read more