Austrian artist Arik Brauer dies at 92

first_imgBERLIN (AP) — Austrian artist Arik Brauer, known for his surreal paintings and murals, has died at the age of 92. Austrian public broadcaster ORF reported Monday that Brauer died late Sunday surrounded by his family. Born in 1929 to a Jewish family that had emigrated from Russia to Vienna, he experienced the rise of National Socialism as a child. His father died in a concentration camp while Brauer himself survived the Holocaust by going into hiding. After the war, Brauer studied art and music, dual passions he would pursue throughout his life. While Brauer’s colorful art enjoyed international success, at home he was also widely known for his Austrian-German songwriting. Funeral arrangements weren’t immediately known.last_img read more

My Wife’s Spandex

first_imgA Non-Cyclist’s First Century RideIt wasn’t until I arrived at the starting line that I realized I was wearing my wife’s spandex.Already it had been a rough morning. I woke up to find my bicycle’s back tire was flat, so I hastily patched it with duct tape. Then I spent 30 minutes trying to cram my bike into the car. I didn’t have time to eat breakfast, and in the pre-dawn darkness, I grabbed the first black, stretchy garment I found in the laundry pile. It turned out to be my slender wife’s exercise shorts, which barely made it past my crotch. I ripped a gaping hole along the butt crack as soon as I stepped into them.“You’re really getting mileage out of those shorts, partner,” laughed a pair of cyclists gearing up beside me.I slinked bashfully to the back of the starting area where 350 other century cyclists had gathered. Most of them were wearing brightly colored team jerseys and fancy clip-in bike shoes. Their meaty quads and calves made my legs look like toothpicks. And my clunky, bottom-of-the-line bike seemed out of place beside their slim, streamlined cycles, fully equipped with aerobars, disc wheels and ultra-lightweight titanium frames.But I wasn’t out to beat them. I was trying to join them as a full-fledged member of the century club. Biking 100 miles was on my list of things to do before I die. That list was growing longer—and my life shorter—with each passing day.So I decided to sign up for my first century ride. It was a mountainous course—one of the toughest rides in the South, and also one of the most beautiful. I was looking forward to cruising wide-open country roads without the cars and congestion of city cycling. On the long ride, I hoped to get out of my cerebrum for a few hours and clear away some mental pollution.It was a symphony of sound at the starting line: first the blast of the start horn, then the percussion of thumb-clicking gears and shoes clipping into pedals, followed by the wind instruments spinning down the street.For the first few miles, I chatted with tandem cyclists and tried to keep pace with a pack of blue-jerseyed bikers drafting off each other. Then we hit the long, leg-burning lunge up a mountain, and the blue jerseys disappeared from view. I stood in my stirrups and cranked to the summit, then coasted down the back side of the mountain.Only 88 miles to go. To pass the time, I counted churches (11), tractors (16), and Confederate flags (5). When that got boring, I tried to remember all the girls I’d dated since high school (less than the number of Dixie flags). I sang Christmas carols. Then I thought about this handicapped guy named Brian I’d met the previous day, and how lucky I was to have legs and arms and good health. My mind wandered the apple orchards and lost itself in the green landscape.I felt good until I stopped at mile 40 to refill my water bottle. That’s when I noticed that I’d forgotten to zip up my seat pack. Somewhere in the first 40 miles, all of my food and tire levers had fallen out. I was in trouble. I’d have to rely on two aid stations – and a sliver of duct tape – to make it the rest of the way.Things only got worse as the day heated up. I guzzled down my water only a few minutes after refilling it, and the next water station was still 20 miles away. Waves of hills rolled relentlessly against me, and two hooligans in a red Volkswagen nearly ran me off the road.Then, at mile 65, I began the grueling, granny-gear climb up a three-mile ascent. It was slow going. I stopped halfway up to slurp the last water droplets from the bottom of my bottle. When I reached the top of the mountain five miles later, I was knackered.For the first time all day, I thought about calling it quits. My chafed crotch ached in the stiff saddle, charley horses galloped through my calves, and my hands were bruised and blistered from clasping the grips too tightly. I was completely parched. I hated cycling and vowed never to ride again. But I knew my wife’s I’m-proud-of-you-anyway smile would hurt worse than cramped legs and crotch rot, so I kept on pedaling.I made it to the next aid station at the bottom of the mountain, still feeling a bit nauseous and dehydrated. With 30 miles to go, I’d run out of things to think about, and I sure as hell didn’t feel like singing anymore.The duct tape patch was starting to peel away from my tire as I began the steep, winding climb up Highway 9. My tongue was dragging in my spokes, my heart was about to jump out of my chest, and I was sucking wind like a vacuum cleaner—when suddenly I heard another cyclist clicking into gear behind me.“Mind if I ride with you for awhile?” he asked.We rolled side by side up the sun-scorched highway. Pretty soon, I forgot about how much pain I was in. My new biking buddy—a bronzed thirtysomething with neon shades—distracted me with stories from his first century ride a few years ago. Without noticing it, we were picking up speed and starting to pass people.“You know you got a big hole in the back of those skimpy shorts,” he said.“Yeah. I grabbed the wrong pair this morning.”He smiled. “Press on, regardless.”Those three words got me up the mountain. They got me to the last aid station. When I was alone again on the roads and could think of nothing else to occupy my mind, I repeated that mantra, over and over, mile after mile. Before I knew it, I was spinning toward the finish line parking lot.There was no applause or awards ceremony at the finish—just a bunch of sweaty cyclists huddled around a table of sodas and sandwiches. Saddle-sore and stiff-legged, I hobbled across the parking lot and found a shady oak to lean against. I loved cycling again. I unwrapped a melted peanut-butter sandwich and thought about nothing.Nothing at all.last_img read more

The pros and cons of a credit union versus a bank

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Credit unions can offer higher savings rates compared with traditional Kimberly PalmerIf you’re tired of shelling out money to pay fees at the ATM or for your savings account, then you might be on the hunt for a new bank. If that’s the case, then don’t forget to consider credit unions, too. They tend to offer higher rates of return on savings accounts and lower interest rates on loans. They’re also an increasingly popular choice among former bank customers interested in exploring their options: According to the Credit Union National Association, more than 100 million Americans currently use the 6,900 credit unions in the country.Credit unions hold $1.026 in assets and have 30,000 ATMs spread across the country, CUNA reports. They tend to be much smaller than banks, which can lead to a more personal touch: The average bank is about double the size of a credit union. Unlike banks, they are nonprofits governed by their members, many of whom volunteer to serve as board members, committee members or in other roles. CUNA notes that 86,000 Americans currently volunteer with credit unions in some capacity.Confusion over credit unions abound; many people falsely believe they must belong to the military or work for the government to join them, or that their savings will not be insured the same way they are in bank savings accounts. To help clarify misconceptions, here are answers to five common questions about credit unions:Am I eligible to join a credit union? While membership in a credit union depends on belonging to a particular community, such as a workplace, region or church, most consumers are eligible, though they may not realize it. They might just need to investigate options within their communities. continue reading »last_img read more

Learn how to meet more goals more often–and make your ALCO meetings more fun

first_imgTo help keep balance sheets in tip-top shape, credit unions are turning to optimization experts.It takes a lot of time to manage your balance sheet––to make sure, every day, that each and every line item is doing its job to keep risk and reward optimized. One bad investment can tip the scales the wrong way. Taking on too little risk can jeopardize earnings potential, and the inability to make quick liquidity adjustments can seriously hamper ROI. In today’s world of unpredictable markets, keeping the balance sheet in tip-top shape requires constant number crunching, diligent rate monitoring, sophisticated data analyses, ongoing ALM training, and expert interpretation of reports. It requires a thorough understanding of how an adjustment to one balance sheet component will affect all other components. Most CFOs do not have the time, staff, training, or technology to keep up with all that, which is why credit unions large and small are turning to balance sheet consultation and optimization experts for help. Balance sheet specialists expertly optimize risk, reward, and more.Balance sheet consultation and optimization experts are highly trained in asset, liability, risk, and liquidity management. They have access to high-tech systems that can quickly analyze ever-changing data and generate quick, useable reports that enable managers to make smart, fast balance sheet decisions. Balance sheet specialists can: Run analytics on systems most credit unions cannot afford to keep in-houseRun what-if scenarios that prepare your credit union for unpredictable market fluctuationsDetermine areas of concern before they become major problemsHelp your credit union set appropriate risk parameters Identify not-so-obvious income opportunitiesShow you how to keep risk and reward optimized for peak performanceChoose balance sheet experts that know credit unions.When choosing a balance sheet consultation and optimization service, keep in mind that not all balance sheet specialists have credit union expertise. Many big brokerage firms offer credit union programs, but those programs are still designed to benefit shareholders, not your credit union. Custom balance sheet optimization by highly trained credit union experts can keep your credit union prepared for the unknown, keep risk and reward balanced, help you meet more goals more often––and make your ALCO meetings more fun.To learn more about balance sheet consultation and optimization benefits, contact QuantyPhi Balance Sheet Optimization Services for Credit Unions at (414) 433-0176. 2SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Roberson holiday tours winding down

first_imgTours of the mansion decked out for the Christmas will be offered through Sunday, January 5. BINGHAMTON (WBNG) — Time is running out to learn about what Christmas would have been like at the Roberson Mansion back in the early 1900’s. “They just come year after year and they bring their children, I know I grew up in the area and I came here as a child and then I brought my children here,” Schultz said. Schultz also tells 12 News that while the tours may be winding down for this year the tradition will continue next holiday season. While the Roberson Mansion sets the scene, the tour also focuses on the history of Christmas traditions in general. Senior Museum Educator Cheryl Schultz tells 12 News that the tour is an important holiday tradition in the area, one that has been passed down through generations. last_img read more

Brand new interest

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University staff threaten to boycott Cambridge college over USS withdrawal

first_imgTrinity College officially withdrew from the £64.5bn (€72.2bn) multi-employer pension fund on 31 May after its leadership decided that it did not want to run the risk of picking up costs relating to other USS employers if they go bust.Exiting the scheme will cost 2% of its assets, Trinity said today, amounting to roughly £29m based on data from its 2017-18 accounts. Trinity’s endowment funds were worth a combined £1.5bn as of 30 June 2018.Trinity defends withdrawal decision Credit: Rafa EsteveTrinity College, CambridgeThe college said its academic employees had been transferred to a new pension arrangement “providing the same benefits as USS”. This would affect “fewer than 20” full-time staff, Trinity said, or 0.01% of USS’ total active membership.“This decision to leave USS will remove the remote but existential risk to the college arising from continued participation in USS,” the college said in its statement. “Although the college is a tiny employer, in a worst-case scenario, all of its assets could be transferred to USS.”Rory Landman, senior bursar at Trinity, said the decision followed “substantial legal and actuarial advice” and was “in the best interests of the college”. He added that it would support the college’s ability to provide funding to other higher education establishments.UCU head of higher education Paul Bridge said: “The cost to Trinity’s reputation from a boycott will be far greater than the tiny risk of being left to carry the can for pensions if the higher education sector collapses. Trinity’s overreaction to such an unlikely risk will cost the college millions of pounds and leave it at odds with the rest of the sector when it comes to pension provision.“A boycott is our most serious sanction, but Trinity needs to be clear that we are prepared to implement one there. The sector needs to work together to deliver high quality, guaranteed pensions and it is up to Trinity to now reconsider its short-sighted decision.”Jo Grady, general secretary of the UCU, wrote to Trinity teaching staff last month arguing that the college would “not benefit from the decision to exit”, adding that there was “no plausible scenario in which USS will need to call on Trinity’s assets”. She described the exit bill as “a waste”.USS plays down impact of Trinity exitA spokesperson for USS said the withdrawal would not have a material impact on the scheme’s funding position or covenant strength “in isolation”.“As a multi-employer scheme backed by more than 340 institutions, USS has significant scale and strength which brings several benefits to all of our sponsoring institutions along with our members in the form of lower investment management costs and the pooling of risk,” the spokesperson said.“The trustee’s primary objective is to ensure the valuable benefits promised by USS are secure for all of our members and options for protecting the strength of the collective financial support offered by sponsoring employers are currently under consideration.”Thousands of academic staff went on strike last year to oppose the closure of USS, prompting the establishment of a joint expert panel to scrutinise the valuation and come up with alternative options.The panel concluded that USS could take more risk to lower the level of employer and employee contributions required, arguing that “USS is a large, open, immature scheme which is cashflow positive and can adopt a very long-term time horizon”.The UCU last month demanded that the pension scheme should adopt all the panel’s recommendations, as well as calling for the resignation of USS chief executive Bill Galvin. The UK’s university staff union has called for a boycott of Trinity College, Cambridge after it confirmed its decision to withdraw from the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS).The University and College Union (UCU) censured the college’s leadership after a motion to reconsider its exit from USS, posed at a meeting this morning, was rejected by 43 votes to 76.In a statement, UCU said it would set up a committee to attempt to engage with Trinity College fellows and “press the case for it to reverse its decision before the boycott became necessary”.Should this prove unsuccessful, UCU said it would ask all higher education staff “across the globe” to refuse to speak at, attend or organise academic events at Trinity, not to give lectures there and not to take up any form of employment with the college.last_img read more

Sturridge targets quick recovery

first_img Sturridge has been forced to pull out of the England squad for this week’s friendly against Brazil at Wembley with a thigh problem. The 23-year-old suffered the injury in the 2-2 draw at Manchester City on Sunday, a game in which he also netted his fourth goal since joining Liverpool from Chelsea last month. “I got a knock on my quad and I’m going to get a scan on it,” he told the club’s official website. “Hopefully it’s not too serious and I’ll be okay for next week’s game.” Sturridge was injured in the first half at the Etihad Stadium but played on until being replaced in the 89th minute. He reported for international duty but a decision was made to withdraw after speaking to manager Roy Hodgson. Liverpool now hope victory over the Baggies can keep them in contention for a place in the top four. The point against the champions came after another 2-2 draw at Arsenal – two encouraging results from which the Reds believe they could have claimed even more. Sturridge said: “In our last two games we have played against two great clubs and deserved to win both of the games. “We’ll regroup and get ready for our next game against West Bromwich Albion, which is another massive game for us because they are also challenging for the top places. “We are nine points off the top four so it’s not a massive gap to try and recoup so hopefully we’ll be able to do that – we believe we can.” Press Associationcenter_img Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge is hopeful of being fit for next Monday’s Barclays Premier League clash with West Brom at Anfield.last_img read more

Gov. DeSantis Appoints Appellate Judges for South and North Florida

first_imgIn an ongoing effort to reshape the state’s judiciary, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday filled openings on appeals courts in North and South Florida.DeSantis chose Circuit Judge Robert Long Jr. for a seat on the 1st District Court of Appeal, which hears cases from across the northern part of the state.Long, who will fill a vacancy that was created by the retirement of appeals court Judge James Wolf, has been a judge for the past four years in the 2nd Judicial Circuit, which includes Tallahassee and surrounding areas.Closer to home, the governor also named Circuit Judge Edward Artau to a seat on the 4th District Court of Appeal, which hears cases from much of Southeast Florida.Artau, who fills a spot created by the retirement of appeals-court Judge Carole Taylor, has been a Palm Beach County circuit judge since 2014.The announcements came just a few weeks after DeSantis also named John Couriel and Renatha Francis to the Florida Supreme Court.last_img read more

The top 10 moments in Wisconsin sports this semester

first_img10. Women’s basketball draws big crowdIn its annual “Pink Game” to support the fight against breast cancer, 11,428 fans packed the Kohl Center as the women’s basketball team took on Iowa Feb. 8.Although the Badgers lost 87-75, the crowd was the largest for a women’s basketball game since 2010.9. A sliver of hope for men’s hockey There wasn’t much for the Wisconsin men’s hockey team to be proud of in a season that featured just four wins. But with the season all but lost in late February, the Badgers showed some signs of life with two victories in a row.UW took down fellow Big Ten cellar dweller Ohio State on Valentine’s Day with a 3-2 triumph and followed that up with a 2-1 triumph over Michigan State at the Kohl Center the following Friday. It marked the only time all season that Wisconsin won consecutive games.After the pair of wins, Wisconsin failed to record a win the rest of the season, going 0-7-1 in the final eight games of the season, which included a 5-1 loss to Michigan in the first round of the Big Ten tournament.But the two consecutive wins were the brightest moment for a young, rebuilding men’s hockey team.Thomas Cawrse/Badger Herald8. Chryst era gets underwayThe departure of Gary Andersen as head football coach came as a shock, but that allowed a homegrown Wisconsin product to return to his alma mater.After spending three seasons as the head coach at Pittsburgh, Paul Chryst became head coach of Wisconsin December 17, 2014. Chryst played for UW in the late 1980s as a linebacker, safety, quarterback and tight end. He then returned to Wisconsin in 2002 for a brief one-year stint as tight ends coach, and then came back for a seven-year stay from 2006-2011.Chryst’s name had surfaced in head coach discussions when Bret Bielema left UW after the 2012 season, and his name arose once again the second time around considering his strong ties to the program.The Paul Chryst era at Wisconsin officially got underway this spring with Wisconsin’s spring practices. Chryst partook in his first Wisconsin spring game as a head coach Apr. 25.Jason Chan/The Badger Herald7. Badgers bring home WCHA titleEntering the WCHA tournament as the No. 2 seed, the Badgers women’s hockey team drew St. Cloud State in the first round, who they dispatched in two games by a combined score of 9-2.In the WCHA semifinal, Wisconsin defeated North Dakota 4-1, and on the other side of the bracket, Bemidji State upset Minnesota, paving the way for the Badgers to capture their first WCHA tournament title since 2011.Behind a two-goal performance from Sarah Nurse, Wisconsin defeated the Beavers for the title.Brent Cizek6. Michael Lihrman dominates the field After a breakout season in 2014 in both indoor and outdoor competition, the throwing star from the men’s track and field team continued to impress during his senior season.In the indoor season, Lihrman won the NCAA individual weight throw title for the second consecutive year. That was one of several accomplishments, as he also won the weight throw at the Big Ten championship while setting a new collegiate and NCAA Division I record with his throw of 25.58 meters.The 2014 Big Ten Field Athlete of the Year also holds the school and Big Ten record outdoors in the hammer throw and will try to win his first NCAA outdoor title in the event this season after finishing third a year ago.Walt Middleton/Wisconsin Athletics5. Goodbye, GordonWhen the San Diego Chargers traded up to No. 15 pick in the first round of the NFL Draft last Thursday, it became a real possibility that former Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon would realize his professional dream.Moments later, his phone rang, and Gordon was San Diego bound.The selection came as vindication for an astounding collegiate career. He finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting in 2014, in a season he rushed for 2,587 yards (all-time Big Ten record) and 29 touchdowns and won the Doak Walker award as the nation’s top running back.Gordon averaged 7.8 yards per carry over his career.Joey Reuteman/The Badger Herald4. Women’s hockey goes to Frozen FourAll year, the Wisconsin women’s hockey team held a top-five ranking in national polls.The Badgers proved they deserved that distinction by winning the WCHA conference tournament and earning the No. 4 seed in the NCAA tournament. They then defeated No. 5 Boston 5-1 on their home ice at LaBahn Arena in the NCAA quarterfinals. Freshman Annie Pankowski found the back of the net twice in the Badgers’ win and helped send Wisconsin to the Frozen Four for the eighth time in school history.UW lost to Minnesota 3-1 in the national semifinal to end its season.Erik Brown/The Badger Herald3. Wisconsin wins Big Ten tournamentIt took three straight come-from-behind wins to do it, but Wisconsin made an emphatic statement that its regular season Big Ten title was no fluke.The Badgers took down Michigan in the quarterfinals; then, a massive second-half performance led to a blowout of Purdue in the semifinal. On Selection Sunday, Wisconsin staged a gritty second-half comeback against Michigan State, forcing overtime, when the Badgers went on a 11-0 run to claim Wisconsin’s third conference championship title and the first since 2008. After winning the Big Ten tournament, Wisconsin earned its first No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament in program history.Jason Chan/The Badger Herald2. Back to the Final FourAfter making it to the Final Four for only the third time in school history in 2014, Wisconsin did it again and advanced to Indianapolis and the Final Four for the second straight season.The Badgers got through the NCAA West Regional finals at the Staples Center in Los Angeles with a win over North Carolina in the Sweet 16 and a comeback victory over Arizona, for the second straight season, in the Elite Eight.Sam Dekker played like a man possessed in the second half to send Wisconsin back to the Final Four. Dekker hit all six of his shots in the second half, including five 3-pointers. His final 3-pointer was perhaps the shot of the tournament as Dekker hit a high, arching, 3-pointer as the shot clock expired over Arizona’s Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, which delivered a dagger to the Wildcats and sealed the deal in Wisconsin’s 85-78 victory.Dekker finished with 27 points while National Player of the Year Frank Kaminsky scored a game-high 29 points with six rebounds.Jenna Freeman/The Badger Herald1. Wisconsin topples KentuckyGoing up against the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament — and perhaps one of the best teams in college basketball history — Wisconsin had an uphill climb in its Final Four matchup against Kentucky.The Wildcats came in with a blemish-free 38-0 record and a roster filled with seven players that would declare for the NBA draft a few weeks later.But Wisconsin ended Kentucky’s season at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis with a 71-64 win that sent it to the national championship game for just the second time in school history.The Badgers shook off a more than six-minute scoring drought in the second half to come back and defeat the Wildcats, with Frank Kaminsky leading the way with a team-high 20 points and 11 rebounds.Wisconsin locked down on defense in the waning minutes of the second half, forcing Kentucky into three straight shot clock violations. After the third violation, Wisconsin’s Sam Dekker came down and hit a clutch 3-pointer from the top of the key that gave UW the lead back at 63-60. The Badgers did not trail for the rest of the game and had done what no other team had done all season: take down Kentucky.Michael Reaves/Kentucky Kernellast_img read more