Custom Search

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Environment activists in Rajkot mourn felling of trees

Rajkot, Mar 3 (ANI): Environment activists mourned rampant felling of trees by holding a condolence meeting in Rajkot.

The activists owed their allegiance to Rajkot Nature and Adventure Club. They assembled on the premises of a residential complex housing government employees. They held a condolence meeting to mourn the loss of trees in their city.

The activists also held a prayer ceremony and garlanded the cut trees playing devotional songs. They wanted the culprits to be brought to book. read more...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Ikes offer scholarships

Austin Chapter 10, Izaak Walton League of America plans to renew two popular efforts this year to introduce youth to environmental issues.

Starting in 2006, Austin Chapter 10 has provided scholarships for area students to attend summer camps at Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center outside of Lanesboro.

In 2009, Chapter 10 will provide four scholarships to Eagle Bluff. Scholarships range from $215 to $250 depending on the summer camp selected. read more...

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Early Word: Budget Blueprint

This morning, President Obama presented the broad outlines of his first budget, which projects a huge deficit number — $1.75 trillion — as well as a combination of cuts in government spending as well as tax increases.

The Times’s Jackie Calmes and Robert Pear point out that wealthy Americans will face tax increases to help pay for the Obama administration’s health care proposals. They write:

The tax proposal, coming after recent years in which wealth has become more concentrated at the top of the income scale, introduces a politically volatile edge to the Congressional debate over Mr. Obama’s domestic priorities.

The combined effect of the two revenue-raising proposals, on top of Mr. Obama’s existing plan to roll back the Bush-era income tax reductions on households with income exceeding $250,000 a year, would be a pronounced move to redistribute wealth by reimposing a larger share of the tax burden on corporations and the most affluent taxpayers. continue reading...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

California paid for top officials' free rides

Reporting from Sacramento -- John Cruz, the appointments secretary for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, lives hundreds of miles from the state Capitol, where his staff scrutinizes candidates for California's many boards and commissions.

When Cruz works there, he goes by plane. He has charged taxpayers for his flights and for hotel bills of up to $382 a night on regular trips between his Orange County home and Sacramento, records show. continue reading...

Monday, March 23, 2009

About 6,000 travel to Orlando to oppose budget cuts

ORLANDO - About 6,000 teachers, support personnel, administrators and public school supporters stood together Saturday to share ideas about the importance of education with a statewide "Make Our Schools A Priority!" rally at the University of Central Florida.

Whether their intended audience, the Legislature, heard the message remains to be seen. But organizers from the Florida Education Association and attendees said they were pleased by the turnout and tone of the event in the UCF Arena.

At issue are potential budget cuts to public education in wake of an economic crisis that has Florida facing a shortfall approaching $6 billion in general revenue. These cuts would be on top of $3.9 billion in reductions that have occurred the past two academic years.

"I really wish we didn't have to be meeting here (Saturday)," FEA president Andy Ford said. "I wish we didn't have to state something so simple: Make our schools a priority. If we have massive layoffs, that will continue the downward spiral in our economy. Let's send a message to Mr. Politician: Make our schools a priority."

The rhetoric played well to this crowd, which included about 250 who traveled from Lee County, 150 on three charter buses and another 100 on their own.

"I'm here to bring a voice to a better solution," said Drew Coffman, a fourth-grade teacher at Veterans Park Academy for the Arts in Lehigh Acres. "We need to find ways to build revenue instead of making cuts. There's got to be a better way." read more...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Top Schwarzenegger staff travel on taxpayer's dime

SACRAMENTO—Despite a ban on nonessential travel, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's top administrative officials charged taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars for airfare, hotel stays and meals with virtually no oversight, according to a published report.

Expense reports and calendars for 10 high-ranking staff members from Southern California—including three cabinet members—show many of the expenses were incurred after the governor issued an executive order a year ago requiring state agencies to reduce travel costs due to California's budget crisis, the Los Angeles Times reported on its Web site late Friday.

John Cruz, the governor's appointments secretary, charged for flights and hotel bills of up to $382 a night on routine trips between his Orange County home and Sacramento. Carrie Lopez, the director of the Department of Consumer Affairs, billed the state transportation costs to attend a Justin Timberlake concert with her daughter.

And Rosario Marin, head of the State and Consumer Services Agency, reimbursed the state $582 after the newspaper inquired about her flight to Washington to speak at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, an appearance for which she received $1,000.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A College Baseball Team, Always on the Road

Two days after leaving the Canadian border town of Presque Isle, Me., the bus with 14 players, 2 coaches and a manager pulled into a lot at the baseball field of Ferrum College in western Virginia. The drive had been 22 hours, but for this baseball team, the journey was finally over.

Or was it just beginning?

This February day’s doubleheader against Ferrum would be the first of 37 successive away games scheduled for the University of Maine at Presque Isle team this year.

Because winter can last until May in northern Maine, Presque Isle routinely plays its entire season on the road. With their campus 400 miles north of Boston, the Owls have not played a home baseball game since 2005, when there were two. continue reading...

Recession-friendly travel: Seeing Philadelphia on a budget

Recessions make you rethink traveling. And the current economic downturn has brought about the revival of both the staycation and the day trip.

One of the best day trips to take from the Lehigh Valley and northwestern New Jersey is to Philadelphia. And when you look into it, it's amazing how many things you can do for free or little money there.

Admission to see the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall are both free. You can jump up and down like the movie character Rocky Balboa on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art for free too. And there are bargain places to eat and drink ranging from cheesesteak stands to beers at Monk's Cafe. continue reading...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Mayor Kenoi submits first budget proposal, down 4.2%

The proposed operating budget for Hawaii County's fiscal year ending June 30, 2010 was submitted in writing to the county council by Mayor Billy Kenoi on Friday.

The proposed balanced budget, the first to be drawn up by the Kenoi administration,
estimates "revenues and appropriations of $386,279,510, which is 4.2% less than the current year's budget" according to the mayor's message to the council.

The message says there will be no increase in property taxes.

"Today we are confronted with a worldwide economic downturn that has hurt the tourism and construction industries," Mayor Kenoi wrote. "There is a consensus that this is the most severe economic upheaval in decades. In this environment, the County is forced to consider all options for balancing the budget in a way that maintains essential public services such as police and fire protection."

Departments were asked to cut 10% of their budget, targeting costs like overtime expense, travel and training, contract services, and equipment purchases.
continue reading...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Meeting Your Personal and Business Travel Needs The Travel Bug

The Travel Bug American Express has been meeting your personal and business travel needs since 1978. As an American Express Representative Travel Office, choosing the perfect getaway has never been so easy. Let the professionals at The Travel Bug get you started with a customized itinerary that will save you time and money, and make your vacation getaway unforgettable.

The Travel Bug/AMEX Business Travel Services is able to offer you programs that will help maximize savings. “We can cater to our customers’ own individual needs and demographics as well as take advantage of all the Global services American Express provides,” states owner Geri Jacobs. “We take the stress out of business travel planning, from the minute you call us until the point you return.” Enjoy the advantages of an independently owned and locally managed company providing their customers with personalized care and attention while benefiting from the extensive business travel resources that American Express has to offer.

The Travel Bug is able to provide you with major discounted hotel and car rental rates, as well as a 24 hour, 7 day a week emergency phone service, where corporate travelers have immediate assistance to help facilitate them with possible changes in travel plans such as accommodations and reservations. Management reports are also provided to corporate accounts to help businesses budget their accounts and itemize money spent. This allows your business to help budget and control expenditures on car rentals, hotel accommodations, airfare and more. Let the highly trained professionals at The Travel Bug provide you with corporate travel solutions that give you the positive results. continue reading...

Friday, March 13, 2009

Spano travel, credit card expenses down

Like many Americans, Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano isn't using his plastic as often - he cut his taxpayer-funded credit-card expenses by thousands last year.

The county executive and members of his office - then Deputy County Executive Larry Schwartz and chief adviser Susan Tolchin - spent $18,569.67 on county-issued credit-card purchases, cell phones and gas bills in 2008.

That's less than the nearly $34,000 the three spent in 2007.

"In 2008, there was a lot of things cut from the budget in every department, and the county executive is no exception," said Tolchin, now the deputy county executive following Schwartz's move to the governor's office. "Everything was looked at and everything was eliminated. We continue to do that this year."

All told, Tolchin said, the County Executive's Office slashed $13 million in 2008, which included some travel, meals and other expenses. read more...