Employee Benefits Live 2016: Siemens promotes shared parental leave to all of its employees.With a largely male employee population, representing 78% of its 14,000 UK employees, the introduction of shared parental leave (SPL) in Siemens was quite a cultural challenge.Addressing delegates at Employee Benefits Live 2016, Wendy Jepson, HR policy and compliance partner at Siemens, explained that the organisation used SPL as an opportunity to further develop and support its working families policies to make them more inclusive and gender neutral.For Jepson, part of the challenge was to break down what can be seen as a fairly complicated process in order to appeal to employees.Jepson said: “We try to unpick all the processes, and get it to be a simple policy with simple processes, in a simple form that employees can understand so that it doesn’t discourage them.“One of the big things I did was I introduced the policy way ahead of time, and I started communication to line managers, and then we targeted expectant parents, male or female, adoption leave, maternity leave. We also did training for line managers through webinars, which covered the whole topic of family leave.“Flexible and agile working in the workplace is something that we are all going to have to switch on to, because it is becoming far more prevalent in terms of working practices.”Jepson noted that Siemens now has success stories of employees taking up SPL, including a married couple who both made use of the leave.She added: “Communication is key; promotion is key. I’m going to be doing a lot more work in this area, just to show we’re serious about it.”
Tata Steel UK has confirmed that it will close its defined benefit (DB) pension scheme to future accrual.The organisation will close the British Steel pension scheme (BSPS) to future accrual from 31 March 2017. From 1 April 2017, the DB scheme will be replaced with a defined contribution (DC) pension scheme.The closure follows a consultation process, which collected feedback from over 4,000 employees during more than 90 face-to-face briefings across the UK, in addition to feedback from trade union representatives.In February 2017, employees who are members of trade unions GMB, Unite and Community voted to accept a pension proposal that includes the closure of the DB scheme to future accrual and the establishment of a new DC scheme with a maximum employer contribution of 10% and employee contributions of 6%.The proposed DC pension scheme will also provide employees with death-in-service benefits at four times qualifying earnings; income protection of 50% of qualifying earnings for up to two years; and a one-off payment of up to £10,000 could be made to compensate members of the DB pension scheme over the age of 50 that want to retire from the age of 60.The accepted proposal followed the rejection of a previous proposal put forward by Tata Steel UK, where the DC pension scheme would have employer and employee contributions of 3%.A Tate Steel UK spokesperson said: “Tate Steel UK continues to be deeply engaged with the pension scheme trustee, the trade unions and relevant regulatory and government bodies to identify the best prospects for the future sustainability of its UK operations, and a fair and practical outcome for the members of the British Steel Pension Scheme.“The [organisation] believes that finding a structural solution to address the risks from the pension scheme to the viability of the business is a crucial part of its ongoing UK transformation plan.”Allan Johnston, chairman of the trustee board of the British Steel pension scheme, added: “The trustee of the British Steel pension scheme welcomes the conclusion of the consultation between Tata Steel and its employees over future pension provision. The closure of the scheme is an important step in securing its future outside of the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) and making available the choice of better pension benefits for the vast majority of members than would be available to them following freefall entry into the PPF.“We continue to have constructive discussions with Tata Steel, HM Government, the Pensions Regulator, the Pension Protection Fund and other stakeholders about how to secure a better outcome for the BSPS membership. These discussions are ongoing and the membership will be kept informed of developments.”
Retailer Tesco is the first business to be accredited by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) as part of its new People Development Partner initiative.The scheme, launched in August 2019, recognises employers that commit to continually raising the level of expertise and influence that their people team has, both internally and externally; it further acknowledges businesses that develop their people teams as a function, as well as supporting individual HR and learning and development professionals.To achieve People Development Partner status, employers must work in active partnership with the CIPD to develop staff. Criteria for the new accreditation include aligning HR practices to the CIPD’s profession map, committing to ongoing professionalism through people qualifications and CIPD membership, championing the HR profession by providing entry-level jobs, participating in CIPD research and policy work, and working with the CIPD to support professionals through training and development opportunities.Adam Stanbury, head of employer solutions at the CIPD, said: “Tesco’s achievement of Partner status is a terrific reflection of the work that we have done together and the commitment that they have made to the individuals in their people team and right across the business.“People teams are tasked with delivering workforces that are fit for purpose and ready to meet the future and fast-changing needs of businesses. To do this, it’s important that they continue to invest in their own capabilities and practices.“We’re excited that the People Development Partner status will recognise this ongoing commitment to excellence in HR and we look forward to working in partnership with more organisations to help them achieve this.”Emma Taylor, UK people director at retailer Tesco, added: “The development of the partnership and the focus that we have been putting on it reflects how critical we see the role HR can play within Tesco. Our people team often diagnose areas of the business that can benefit from learning and development, but it’s equally important that we look to ourselves and our own development.“Our colleagues in the people team have benefitted hugely from our partner journey with the CIPD. They have further developed their passion, energy and confidence, and by being engaged themselves, they have become ambassadors for continuous improvement and learning across Tesco. There’s been a real galvanising effect which is helping the team to work better together and develop stronger partnerships with the wider business.”
NORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) – Weekend traffic along Interstate 95 in Northwest Miami-Dade became even more congested than usual after, officials said, a Miami-Dade Police cruiser and three vehicles crashed into each other, Saturday afternoon.According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the accident occurred on the northbound lanes near the Northwest 95th Street exit, just after 2:15 p.m.7News cameras captured the squad car on the northbound express lanes with rear end damage, as well as the other vehicles involved in the collision.Paramedics transported the occupants of a Mercedes-Benz SUV and a Chevrolet Cruze that were involved in the crash to North Shore Hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening. The police officer was not hurt.This was one of two crashes that took place in that section of I-95, Saturday afternoon. Less than an hour later, officials said, a City of Miami Police motorcycle officer was transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital after being involved in a crash on the southbound lanes, also near the Northwest 95th Street exit. That officer sustained injuries that were not life-threatening.Traffic cameras captured large traffic backups along the northbound lanes. Crews cleared the scene at around 5 p.m.Officials have not provided further details as to what led up to either crash. Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
SUGARLOAF KEY, Fla. (WSVN) — A woman was attacked by a shark in the Florida Keys, Saturday.The attack happened off Sugarloaf Key.The U.S. Coast Guard said the 40-year-old woman was bitten on her foot and airlifted to the hospital.Earlier this month, a man was attacked by a bull shark off Haulover Beach.Related: Man hospitalized after shark attack off Haulover BeachThe 46-year-old man suffered bites to his legs. He was treated at a hospital and released.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Vanda Vivian Gonzalez is now available at R.F. Orchids in Homestead, FL. Thank you for the honor. It is absolutely beautiful! @wsvn pic.twitter.com/rdOnc4zbUm— Vivian Gonzalez (@VivianGonzalez7) October 7, 2018Robert Fuchs, the president of R.F. Orchids, said they try naming the flowers after people who are special to them.“It takes six years for a seed to bloom a plant, and when they bloom out, we try to name plants in honor of special people that we have met in our lives,” he said. Gonzalez’s flower is being registered in the American Orchid Society.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. HOMESTEAD, FLA. (WSVN) – 7Weather meteorologist Vivian Gonzalez was honored with her own flower in Homestead.The unveiling took place Sunday at R.F. Orchids as part of the 22nd annual Orchid Show and Sale, organized by the East Everglades Orchid Society.They revealed a new orchid hybrid, called Vanda Vivian Gonzalez, in honor of the meteorologist.
According to a post from NES they responded with Utility-1 and ATV-1 with 3 personnel. Responders were able to finally access the beach from the Hilcorp pad and determined that the slick that was observed from the top of the bluff was only a 300′ wide by miles-long patch of sea slush, according to NES. No petroleum was found in absorbent materials or in water samples that were taken. All equipment and personnel returned to service nearly 3 hours after being dispatched. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享Ninilchik Emergency Services responded to a report of an oil slick off the beach north of Ninilchik on Sunday. An initial attempt to reach the location by taking the beach access off Autumn Gold was unsuccessful due to large boulders and extreme ice.
But Hanley Wood is driven by the clear and new need to serve the information requirements of the audience on a daily basis, Goldstone says, and the challenge in making it happen in a meaningful way are enormous. “It’s clear that when we come out of this recession ad pages aren’t going to come back in the way they were before,” Goldstone says. “We want there to be a complete cultural shift by the end of the year. It will take longer for it to be fully accepted and for the change in structure to be completed.”‘Squeezed,’ or ‘Picked Off’Goldstone says the costs of this move—and the implications on the organizational structure—are huge. Hanley Wood is spending $7 million in capital expenditures this year, Goldstone says, covering a new content management system as well as adding staff, particularly in two areas. First are people to drive the infrastructure—IT, Web development, business development and Web support. And then there are the people to drive the brands. Goldstone says HW is moving to a model where a specific e-media general manager is fully responsible for the e-media side of the HW brands. The e-media GMs report to the publisher. This year, three magazines—Builder, Architect and Remodeling—are being structured this way. Part of the motivation to move in this direction is the knowledge that for many marketers, b-to-b print magazines are not at the top of the value chain—and just as important, a whole new set of online competitors have emerged in virtually all markets. “The number ones and twos in terms of marketshare are being squeezed,” Goldstone says. “And the number threes and fours are being picked off.”FOLIO:’s Spring Meeting Coverage:Nielsen’s New Corporate Values: ‘Integrated, Open, Simple’The New Must-Have Skills for B-to-B Media: Project ManagementPublishers on Redefining the Role of Print NOTE: FOLIO: editors are in California this week, filing reports from American Business Media’s annual Spring Meeting.LA QUINTA, California—The leading publisher serving the residential construction space has embarked on a year-long transformation intended to change its culture and corporate structure to convert it to a Web first company. “Every one of our editors and every publisher has to think about this as a core point of entry that comes first,” says Hanley Wood magazine president Peter Goldstone. “We’re thinking about how to reinvent the company.”It’s noteworthy that Hanley Wood is making this move now for several reasons. First, e-media revenue still accounts for only about 10 percent of HW’s overall revenue. Second, the housing market is in what HW executives describe as the worst downturn in history, meaning that the company has been hit extremely hard, and almost certainly faces a significant decline in revenue for 2008, even as it invest millions of dollars in this initiative.
Consumer magazines have not fared much better in 2009. Ad pages in consumer titles plunged 25.9 percent while ad revenue fell 20.2 percent in the first quarter, according to figures released last week by the Publishers Information Bureau.“It is not a time for any of us to shirk the responsibility we owe our end users,” Hughes added. “What our industry does, and has always done, is provide information that makes business better and stronger. We will come through this period as a stronger industry, a more creative industry, and maybe even a more dedicated industry.” Disclaimer: If you are looking for some positive magazine industry news, stop reading now.Ad pages for b-to-b magazines fell 28.6 percent in February, according to the latest report from American Business Media’s Business Information Network.Through the first two months of the year, ad pages are down nearly 29 percent. All 21 advertising categories tracked by BIN experienced declines during the period.“It is clear that our industry is facing the toughest period since the Depression,” ABM president Gordon Hughes said in a statement.
News Twitter EMI Music Publishing To Become Sony Subsidiary emi-music-publishing-become-sony-subsidiary-23-billion-deal EMI Music Publishing To Become Sony Subsidiary In $2.3 Billion Deal Who owns what, and how, after the deal won’t alter Sony/ATV administering the rights catalog and will result in Sony’s indirect ownership of 90 percent of EMI Music Publishing, making it into a consolidated subsidiary.Consolidation is the theme in this switch and a case of the biggest getting bigger. However, new song publishers are born frequently and, with Sony’s market leadership, the business could grow more efficient and remunerative.Getting The Latest Music News Just Got Easier. Introducing: GRAMMY Bot. Find it On KIK and Facebook MessengerRead more Email Facebook https://twitter.com/AFP/status/998733496049848320 Mubadala Investment Company will transfer all of its holdings to Sony CorporationPhilip MerrillGRAMMYs May 22, 2018 – 3:32 pm EMI Music Publishing has had a complicated story in some ways — for example, its rights are now administered by Sony/ATV. But one thing that is simple is the scale of its high-quality catalog. It publishes over 2 million songs with classics including Carole King, Motown and Queen as well as contemporary repertoire including works by Drake, Alicia Keys, Pink, Sia, Sam Smith, Kanye West, and Pharrell Williams.As announced on May 22, Sony Corporation will acquire the stake in EMI Music Publishing currently held by Mubadala Investment Company with the expectation of eventual cash outlay at close-of-deal to equal $2.3 billion. It also equals a strong statement of belief in the business of songwriting.”The music business has enjoyed a resurgence over the past couple of years, driven largely by the rise of paid subscription-based streaming services,” said Sony Corporation President/CEO Kenichiro Yoshida. “In the entertainment space, we are focusing on building a strong IP portfolio, and I believe this acquisition will be a particularly significant milestone for our long-term growth.”
15 things you need to qualify for NASA’s astronaut program (pictures) NASA taps SpaceX, Boeing to bring space travel back under… Now playing: Watch this: Boeing NASA Space SpaceX 6:19 NASA turns 60: The space agency has taken humanity farther than anyone else, and it has plans to go further.What NASA’s Kepler telescope sees: It’s helped amateurs spot an unusual new planet in a “Goldilocks zone.” Share your voice SpaceX Crew Dragon and Boeing’s Starliner are looking to become the next rideshare providers to space. NASA We’re going to have to wait a bit longer to finally see astronauts take a ride aboard new spacecraft from SpaceX and Boeing.NASA announced Wednesday that the first uncrewed test launches of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spaceship and Boeing’s Starliner have been pushed back yet again. This is the third month in a row that NASA has announced a further delay for the first major test flight of Crew Dragon.The uncrewed demonstration launch of Crew Dragon is now set for March 2 and Starliner will perform a similar launch no earlier than April. Both craft will then have to perform abort tests and a test mission with crew aboard. If all goes well, the first time we could actually see humans in a Crew Dragon might be July, followed by a crewed test flight for Starliner in August. 15 Photos 2 Comments Tags Sci-Tech If those crewed demos go smoothly, SpaceX and Boeing could become the first commercial American companies to send people to the International Space Station. Since the end of the Space Shuttle program, NASA has relied on Russian Soyuz spacecraft to bring astronauts to and from orbit. Bringing crewed launches back to US soil is a major goal for NASA under the leadership of new administrator Jim Bridenstine and the Trump administration.NASA said that work toward the commercial crew test launches continued during the month of January and was not affected by the record-setting shutdown of the federal government that lasted from Dec. 22 to Jan. 25.The space agency says the extra time will be used to complete necessary testing and reviews as well as train flight controllers and mission managers.
Share your voice Companion robots 0 18 Photos Meet Boston Dynamics’ weird and wonderful robot family Robot companions are just what the doctor ordered ElliQ at CES 2019 is a smart robot and display to keep Grandma company Sci-Tech Robots Tags Post a comment There are plenty of questions to ask about the eventual finalized production design. Tombot doesn’t know yet how cleaning the battery-powered robot will work. The fur may be removable, or it may have to be cleaned in place. The final product will also have to undergo durability testing, since the robots may not always be treated gently.Tombot hopes to deliver the robots in 2020. If the project succeeds, the robopups will join a new wave of furry therapy robots designed to provide comfort, stress relief and companionship. Enlarge ImageThe Tombot robot puppy is designed for seniors with dementia. Tombot Tombot looks at you with soulful eyes. It wags its tail and makes an “arf” noise, raising its eyebrows as you pet it. The fact that Tombot could almost pass at a glance for a real dog is a testament to the work of Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, which provided the artistic design for the bot.Tombot is an intriguing Kickstarter project. It wants to turn out affordable, adorable robot puppies to help soothe seniors with dementia, and to act as companions to anyone who can’t have a real pet. As with all crowdfunding efforts, keep in mind that not all projects deliver on time or as expected.Enlarge ImageA Tombot prototype. Tombot Tombot co-founder Tom Stevens was inspired to create the robo-pup after having to rehome his mother’s dog when her Alzheimer’s became too severe for the beloved pet to safely stay with her. He hopes Tombot will provide a sense of emotional support and affection and improve the quality of life for seniors with dementia.The Kickstarter project has so far exceeded its modest $20,000 goal, to the tune of over $35,000 with two weeks left to run. While early-bird pledge prices for the robot are set at $299 (£225, AU$420), the eventual sales price is expected to be $449. Tombot has a very different skill set, but it costs way less than a $2,900 Sony Aibo.Tombot’s primary purpose seems to be to hang out and interact with people as a robotic lap dog. Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, famous for building Muppets and developing creatures for Labyrinth and Where the Wild Things Are, provided the artistic design services for the Tombot prototypes.Tombot says the puppy will use a companion smartphone app for upgrading the robot’s software.
The substantial camera on the OnePlus 7 Pro could see a few more upgrades. Juan Garzon/CNET The OnePlus 7 Pro smartphone is getting a couple of improvements to its camera system, according to a report.HDR and Nightscape mode will both be improved in an update, TechRadar said, citing a OnePlus staffer.Other changes will also make “photos look substantially better,” TechRadar quoted the source as saying.The OnePlus 7 Pro, which CNET reviewers have called the best Android phone value of 2019, already has a substantial camera system with 48-megapixel standard, 8MP telephoto and 16MP ultra wide-angle cameras on its rear. The phone has 3x telephoto zoom and 10x digital zoom.It also has a 16-megapixel front-facing camera embedded in the top, which pops out of the handset.OnePlus didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.Read: OnePlus 7 Pro: 9 tips and tricks you need to know $787 Tags Share your voice CNET may get a commission from retail offers. See it Comment News • OnePlus 7 Pro confirmed to launch May 14 Review • OnePlus 7 Pro is the best Android phone value of 2019 How To • OnePlus 7 Pro: 10 essential tips you need to know Mentioned Above OnePlus 7 Pro (256GB, Mirror Gray) OnePlus 7 Pro 1 Phones Mobile OnePlus
After weeks of an impasse, House Republicans have a new message for Democrats: Take our latest budget package, or we’ll go around you.Download Audio:The proposal Republicans unveiled Wednesday addresses two key sticking points for Democrats. It restores education spending to Gov. Bill Walker’s proposed levels, but keeps a reduction of one-time funding that Democrats had hoped to counteract. Their proposal also maintains the cost-of-living increases guaranteed in state employee union contracts. It balances those add-ins by directing the governor to make a $30 million cut to agency operations.While explaining the new bill, Republicans on the committee talked a lot about compromise, including Dan Saddler of Eagle River:“I just want to make the observation that any budget is a compromise and that there are unlimited needs and desires in state government. We are in the unfortunate situation of having less money than we’d like to have and so you can’t have everything be a number one priority, it’s necessary to make compromises, accommodations and allocate.”But Democrats, like Rep. David Guttenberg of Fairbanks, do not think that ‘compromise’ accurately describes the new bill.“When we talk about compromise, usually we have two people talking or two parities talking face to face, talking about what the compromise is. I just want to make sure- from my caucus’s perspective that didn’t happen. One side decided what the compromise is and asking or telling the other side here’s what your compromise is.”If Democrats do not support the legislation, the Republican majority has found a way to circumvent them. While they currently need a three-quarter vote to access the state’s rainy day account, they are able to reduce that threshold by shifting money around in the Permanent Fund so that it can’t be spent.If the Legislature does not find a way to plug its multi-billion-dollar deficit through its savings, the state government could partially shut down on July 1.
What resources are available to people when they near they end of their lives? That was the subject of a community meeting last week between the Qawalangin tribe and the Aleutian Pribalof Islands Association.Download AudioCommunity meeting last week betweenthe Qawalangin tribe and the Aleutian Pribalof IslandsAssociation. (Photo by Zoe Sobel, KUCB – Unalaska)Verla Robinson is 76 years old and she’s thinking about her future.“When it comes time for me to die, I’m going to take a hike because I’m not going to leave my home to die just because for the last 20 years people have been dragging their feet about everything or passing the buck,” Robinson said.She means literally taking a hike. That’s because in Unalaska, there are not many services for people as they age. There’s the Father Ismail Gromoff senior center, which offers housing, lunches, and shuttle services, but if someone needs more care, the burden is on their family to provide it. And if that becomes too much, then the next stop is assisted living in Anchorage.Robinson said she’d like to see an assisted living facility on the island with a full time registered nurse and a pool of people who can give daily care.“Not everybody needs real drastic physical care, you know. I’m 76 years old,” Robinson said. “I still do everything. You know, I don’t need someone to take care of me. I do that. It takes me a little longer, but so what I’m older. You know there’s going to be a time where I may need it or may not, but there are people who direly need it.”APIA has a program for Personal Care Attendants or PCA’s who can relieve family and care for qualified elders on Medicaid.But at last week’s meeting, everyone agreed the problem is finding help. Even with the PCA program, the cost of living on the island is too high and the pay – estimated to be around $14 to $16 an hour – would not be enough to attract people to the job. Plus, there’s not the infrastructure to house more people.Robinson says Unalaska should have a facility that serves all the villages – False Pass, Akutan, King Salmon, and Nikolski, all the way to the end of the Aleutian chain.“It’s not just the people of this community. I’m sure that people in other villages would rather come here than anchorage. That’s a foreign country as far as I’m concerned.”Robinson has lived all of her life on the island – save a brief stint away to attend college, to get married and to have kids. And she wants to stay here.“I am not here because I’m forced – I’m here because I love it here. This is where I was born,” Robinson said. “This is where I want to die.”
A creek in Anchorage started break-up in December. (Photo by Brian Brettschneider)December has been remarkably warm across the state. Temperatures in Fairbanks have felt more like Anchorage, Anchorage more like Juneau, Juneau more like Ketchikan. You get the idea.Listen nowBrian Brettschneider, with our Ask a Climatologist segment, says the state as a whole is likely to have the warmest December on record.Interview Transcript:Brian: From south to north, east to west, everyone has been much above normal. And we’re talking now: the numbers are in through the first 18, 19 days of the month. So we’re talking from Utqiagvik, Barrow, down to Ketchikan and then from Nome all the way to Fairbanks and Eagle. Again, way above normal for everybody.Annie: Have we set any records?Brian: Many, many stations, perhaps even most stations in Alaska, are on track to have, or at least through the 19th, have had the warmest first 19 days of December. Many of those places are solidly on track to have their warmest December on record. And as a state we’re looking really good for having perhaps our warmest December on record as a statewide value.Annie: It’s not unusual to have warm ups in Alaska. What makes this one exceptional?Brian: It’s really the persistence. A few places that have had their warmest single day, like Juneau had their warmest high temperature, Bettles did, a couple other places did as well, like Kotzebue. Anchorage had their warmest single day if you average the high and the low and we had a run of four days in a row of 45 degrees which had never happened in any winter month. But it’s the persistence. From December 2nd onward it’s been much, much above normal across basically the entire state. And then if you look at the extended forecast, out 8, 10 or 14 days, which takes us through the end of the year, it’s really looking quite warm, way above normal.Annie: And what’s causing this?Brian: We talked a few weeks ago about this upper level pattern, these Rossby waves. We’ve had this wave, this upper level area of high pressure that’s been anchored along the western part of North America and we’re on the western side of that and the flow has been from the south. So it’s been this unrelenting transport of air from lower latitudes. The flip side of that has been in the central part of North America, Canada’s been below normal, the lower 48 is about to go into an extended period of below normal. But here in Alaska we just have been stuck in that sweet spot for southerly flow and warm temperatures.Annie: And you said we’re on track for this to continue for at least another two weeks?Brian: Yes, so specific forecasts out more than four or five days, we really start to get into broad brush strokes. But the brush strokes are for extremely warm temperatures, much above normal. What the values are is too hard to tell. But there’s really no end in sight, until you get to January, for these remarkable conditions.
Cari Bowhay stands in front of her favorite decorated tree at Glacier Gardens Nursery, dubbed the “peacock tree.” (Photo by Elizabeth Jenkins/Alaska’s Energy Desk)This year, the Governor’s Mansion is decorated for the holidays with a Sitka spruce tree from the Tongass National Forest. But Alaskans in the capital city aren’t just decking the halls with local greenery.Listen nowCari Bowhay has worked through nearly 16 holiday seasons at Glacier Garden Nursery. And although it’s busy, she thinks there’s something special about being here this time of year.“It always smells like Christmas,” Bowhay said. “It’s better than smelling like dirt the rest of the year and everybody seems to be 90 percent happier this time of year.”Outside the nursery, a variety of fir trees are leaned up against posts separated by type in different corrals. These evergreens were barged up by the thousands from tree farms in Washington state. Most of them have sold. There’s only about 40 left.Bowhay gestures to a Grand Fir that looks like a perfectly symmetrical cone.“The tree farms definitely prune and shape all the trees to where they have that … nice tapered look,” Bowhay said.Southeast Alaska has no shortage of trees growing outside. In fact, the City and Borough of Juneau and the Tongass National Forest allows people to harvest their own, within certain guidelines. You can cut hemlock or Sitka spruce, although you might poke yourself carrying it out of the woods. Spruce has sharp needles.Due to a national Christmas tree shortage this year, the price of trees at Glacier Gardens Nursery did go up. (Photo by Elizabeth Jenkins/Alaska’s Energy Desk)But that classic-looking commercial Christmas tree, typically fir, has a hard time growing in the state.“Well, Douglas Fir doesn’t grow up here, presumably because it’s a little too cold for it,” Brian Buma, an ecology professor at the University of Alaska Southeast, said.There is a tree farm in Kodiak growing non-native Fraser firs.But Buma says typically fir trees do well in places with dry, hot summers. It’s not exactly that they can’t handle the cold. They grow in the mountains of Colorado, for instance. But access to sunlight and a long growing season is important for the tree’s competitive survival.Still, Buma says fir trees growing wild in Alaska isn’t out of the question.“That’s something we’re actually thinking about,” Buma said. “There’s things like silver fir that will presumably be moving north as the climate warms.”And Buma says they already have. Silver firs have been spotted in parts of Southeast. Even so, he says it can take decades for that type of tree to make a natural migration north.“But the climate may be warming fast enough that people will start planting them in their yard far sooner you see them grow up naturally,” Buma said.Buma says he likes the tradition of tromping through the woods and cutting down his own tree. His home is decorated with a Sitka spruce.“I’m looking at it right now. It’s a very sad looking spruce,” Buma said with a laugh. “The only spot we can put it in our house is right in front of our heater.”Back at the Glacier Garden Nursery, Cari Bowhay says everyone has their own holiday tradition. Hers includes buying fir trees barged up from Washington state.“So we started coming here as a kid to get our Christmas tree. So I’ve been coming here a long time, and now I work here,” Bowhay said. “I get to enjoy the joy of seeing people coming in with their kids and bringing them in to see Santa and all that fun stuff.”Bowhay says spending time with family and friends — no matter where you get your tree — is what the holiday spirit is all about.
The Haines Borough Manager was directed to order the police to stop responding to calls outside the townsite unless assistance is requested by the state troopers. (Photo by Emily Files)The Haines Borough has ordered the police department to stop providing service outside the townsite unless assistance is requested by the state troopers. The decision follows over a year of uncertainty about the local police department’s role in providing service to areas within the borough but outside the townsite.Listen nowAccording to the town charter, the Haines Borough Police Department is only allowed to serve within the boundaries of the townsite.In the past, areas outside of the townsite have been policed by the Alaska State Troopers. But in 2017, the agency withdrew its sole “blueshirt” officer from the Chilkat Valley, leaving residents outside the townsite without any regular police service.Since then, Haines police have been responding to calls from outside of the townsite even though it is a violation of the town charter.During the municipal election in October, residents living out Mud Bay Road, Lutak Road and the Haines Highway rejected a proposal to create on-call police service areas outside of the town limits by increasing property taxes.After certifying the results of the municipal election at a meeting Tuesday, the Borough Assembly had a decision to make. Would the borough continue to violate town charter by authorizing police responses to calls outside the townsite, or would the police be ordered to stop responding to those calls?Assembly member William Prisciandaro said he believed the no vote was not necessarily a rejection of local police responses outside the townsite.“I think a lot of the vote was the funding mechanism for this, not that people didn’t want the response out there in an emergency,” Prisciandaro said. “I’ve had complaints from first responders and concerns that there are certain instances that they feel like they need the police there. They won’t volunteer to go out there if the police presence isn’t there.”Ordering the Haines Borough Police Department to stop responding to calls outside the townsite does not prevent them from assisting other agencies if requested. Haines residents could still contact the Alaska State Troopers who could relay the call to the Haines dispatch. Assembly member Sean Maidy said he didn’t think this would work in practice.“We’re asking them to do something that is just not going to work. If there is an actual emergency we’re gonna have them call somebody who will not respond or transfer the call. In an emergency, seconds count,” Maidy said.Borough Manager Debra Schnabel noted that correspondence with the Alaska State Troopers has made it clear they do not recognize the Haines Borough as their jurisdiction.Assembly member Heather Lende recognized that the borough was in a frustrating situation. the results of the election were clear and the town charter must be upheld.“The charter of the Haines Borough is really clear,” Lende said. “We provided people outside the townsite with an option for subscribing to protection from the townsite police department through property tax, and they voted no.”Assembly member Stephanie Scott agreed that the police cannot continue to violate the town charter. She said if residents disagree with the rules limiting police service to the townsite then the charter can be amended to expand police service borough-wide.However, Assembly member Brenda Josephson said that providing urban level police service across the borough is unrealistic.“This borough cannot afford townsite level police service borough-wide. It is cost prohibitive. We’re a massive, massive borough,” Josephson said. “People who want urban-level services live in urban areas. You don’t move to a rural area if you expect urban-level services.”During the public comments period of the assembly meeting, several residents expressed disappointment about the decision to stop providing service to Mud Bay, Lutak and the Haines Highway Corridor. Haines resident Krista Kielsmeier said that it is just a matter of time before this issue comes up again.“It seems inevitable that you’ll be changing your decision. My question would be what will it take for you to change your decision. Who will have to be hurt, who will have to die before you change your mind,” Kielsmeier said.The order to stop providing service outside the townsite unless assistance is requested by the state troopers was approved by the assembly in a 4 to 2 vote with assembly members Sean Maidy and William Prisciandaro opposed.