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News Article | May 13, 2017
Site: www.prlog.org

New Jersey State Police and New Jersey National Guard Host 10,000 Boy Scouts at Sea Girt's National Guard Training Center -- Nearly 10,000 Scouts, adult leaders and VIP guests will be attending one of the largest Boy Scout Camporees of its kind in the United States on May 19-21 at the New Jersey State Police Training facility in Sea Girt. Sponsored by the New Jersey State Police and the New Jersey National Guard, this will be the fifth such camporee to be held there.This year's theme is STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. All aspects of the Camporee have been geared around the STEM theme.  From fingerprinting to welding, robotics to insects, and more, Scouts will be able to enjoy a wide range of STEM-related activities."Fostering a strong STEM education is our best opportunity to boost the spirit of innovation and to help all Scouts be prepared for life," said Jim Gillick, Scout Executive & CEO of the Jersey Shore Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the host council of the event. "By showing Scouts that STEM is fun, we can encourage them to enter STEM fields and achieve success."For the Scouts in attendance, Camporee is an exciting weekend of camping, watching thrilling police and Guard demonstrations, participating in interactive displays and working toward merit badges."This Camporee is a great way for the Scouts to meet and speak with New Jersey State Troopers to see what it is we do on a daily basis. During this event we can show the Scouts how STEM is put to use each and every day during the performance of our duties," said New Jersey State Police Lieutenant Archer Jones, President of the New Jersey State Troopers Eagle Scout Association and an active volunteer.Scouts will see science come to life through fascinating demonstrations such as a "vortex cannon" – using a trash can, fog machine and some engineering, they'll create awesome smoke rings that can travel the length of a small field.  Scouts will also be able to tour the Forensic Lab where crime scene evidence is processed, learn about fingerprinting, watch a K-9 unit demonstration, see helicopters fly overhead, visit with Marine Police, and learn about the new STEM Scouts program now available in parts of New Jersey.The weekend adventure begins Friday even as Scouts and their leaders arrive and  set up camp in 1,000-plus tents covering acres of fields. Throughout the day on Saturday, Scouts will have the opportunity to meet and learn from hundreds of NJ State Troopers and members of the military who will be on hand to introduce Scouts to the variety of activities the State Police and military do in their jobs.Following the Opening Ceremony at 9 a.m. on May 20, the Scouts will spend much of the day learning from a wide variety of STEM-themed demonstrations and exhibits, as well as view demonstrations of the equipment and operations of the State Police and National Guard.  The State Police will have vehicles on display including an underwater operations truck, helicopter and Arson Unit truck with robots. There will also be interactive displays involving the equipment used by State Police personnel, including the Crime Scene Investigation Unit, Composite Artist Unit and Electronic Surveillance Unit. The NJ National Guard resources on display will include two helicopters, a Humvee and an armored security vehicle. Scouts will also have the chance to see a Howitzer, MK19 grenade launcher and sniper rifle. (There will be no live fire of any kind during the Camporee.)At the Camporee, Scouts will also have opportunities to earn requirements towards Fingerprinting, Wilderness Survival, Crime Prevention and Personal Fitness merit badges. At each of these stations, after an explanation or demonstration from a State Police officer or National Guardsman, the Scoutswill gain firsthand experience with fingerprinting with ink, constructing an emergency shelter, using a visual impairment device to simulate the experience of navigating a walking course under the influence of alcohol, acting out a scenario in which they report a crime and performing a strength test.In attendance at the event will be Boy Scouts of America Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh, Adjutant General of New Jersey National Guard Brig. Gen. Michael L. Cunniff and New Jersey State Police Superintendent Col. Rick Fuentes.  The event concludes on Saturday evening with a spectacular stage show and laser light display.Through its programs and events like the Camporee, the Boy Scouts of America helps prepare our nation's youth to lead and be prepared for success in life. The adventures of Scouting develop young people's knowledge, skills and character so they understand the importance of service to others and good citizenship.


News Article | May 8, 2017
Site: www.businesswire.com

SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Cubic Corporation (NYSE:CUB) today reported its financial results for the quarter and six months ended March 31, 2017. “We are particularly pleased with our improved operating cash flow and the critical, strategic investments we made in all of our businesses during the quarter. These investments will contribute significantly to the growth of the company,” said Bradley H. Feldmann, president and chief executive officer of Cubic Corporation. “Our strategy remains sound and we continue to expect increased order intake in the near term that will drive expanded sales and Adjusted EBITDA going forward.” Sales for the second quarter and first half of fiscal 2017 would have been $6.2 million higher and $14.9 million higher, respectively, absent the negative impact from changes in foreign currency rates compared to last year. Sales from recent acquisitions for the first half of fiscal 2017 were $40.8 million compared to $13.7 million for the same period last year, but were not significantly different between the second quarter of fiscal 2017 and the second quarter of last year. The decreases in operating losses for the second quarter and first half of fiscal 2017 were primarily driven by the reduction in acquisition-related expenses from businesses acquired in the Cubic Global Defense Systems (CGD Systems) segment. The decreases in Adjusted EBITDA(1) for the second quarter and first half of the year are primarily attributable to increases in research and development (R&D) activity, a $3.0 million loss incurred in the second quarter of 2017 on a transportation tolling project due to learning curve-related cost growth, and an adverse impact of foreign currency exchange rates of $1.1 million for the quarter and $2.3 million for the first half of the year. The change in net income was primarily caused by a change in the effective tax rate between quarters. In the second quarter of fiscal 2016, a discrete net tax benefit of $16.3 million was recorded related to an acquisition. Presently, guidance for the current fiscal year is highly dependent on the order intake for our short order cycle businesses (primarily in Cubic Mission Solutions). Until Congress succeeds in funding the government through regular order budgets rather than continuing resolutions, the company's ability to precisely forecast order intake and, consequently, backlog, revenue and EBITDA(1) on a quarter-by-quarter basis will continue to be inherently limited. We are slightly lowering and narrowing our sales guidance range with a net effect of lowering our midpoint by $10 million. We are lowering our operating income, EBITDA(1) and Adjusted EBITDA(1) guidance ranges by $15 million. These adjustments reflect continued pre-contract award engineering spending on the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) contract and the impact of Department of Defense related timing delays. (1) EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA are non-GAAP financial measures - see the section titled “Use of Non-GAAP Financial Information” for additional information regarding these non-GAAP financial measures. Key foreign exchange rates (full-year average estimated rates) used in the forecasts of sales, EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA compared to the U.S. dollar were as follows: British pound — 1.25; Australian dollar — 0.76; New Zealand dollar — 0.70. (2) See the section below titled “Use of Non-GAAP Financial Information” for a description of the composition of these items. Cubic Transportation Systems (CTS) sales were lower primarily due to the adverse impacts of foreign currency exchange rates. CTS operating income was lower due to increases in R&D expenditures, including $2.2 million and $3.4 million of costs incurred in the second quarter and first half of fiscal 2017, respectively, for the development of technologies that will be used on a transportation contract that is expected to be awarded later in fiscal 2017. CTS incurred a $3.0 million loss in the second quarter of 2017 on a transportation tolling project due to learning curve-related cost increases. CGD Systems sales were affected by the sales from acquired businesses. Revenues from businesses acquired in fiscal years 2017 and 2016, all within the CGD Systems operating segment, were $15.3 million and $40.8 million for the second quarter and first half of fiscal 2017, respectively, compared to $13.7 million for both the second quarter and first half of fiscal 2016. The change in CGD Systems operating results was primarily driven by the effects of accounting for business acquisitions in fiscal 2016 and 2017. Including the impacts of business acquisition accounting and amortization expense, the businesses acquired in fiscal years 2017 and 2016 had operating losses of $5.6 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2017 compared to $20.9 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2016. Acquired businesses incurred operating losses of $7.4 million in the first half of fiscal 2017 compared to $22.7 million in the first half of fiscal 2016. In addition, CGD Systems increased R&D expenditures primarily in the development of innovative ground live and virtual training technologies. Cubic Global Defense Services (CGD Services) sales for the second quarter and first half of fiscal 2017 were lower primarily because of decreased activity on U.S. Army contracts, excluding the contract with the Joint Readiness Training Center, as well as lower activity supporting Special Operations Forces training. The decrease in CGD Services operating income was primarily driven by the decreased activity on the U.S. Army and Special Operations Forces training contracts noted above. In addition, certain contracts that were retained after re-compete were won in the first quarter of fiscal 2017 at reduced pricing due to an extremely competitive bid environment. Cubic management will host a conference call to discuss the company’s second quarter and first half of fiscal 2017 results today, Monday, May 8 at 4:30 p.m. EDT/1:30 p.m. PDT, which will be simultaneously broadcast over the Internet. Bradley H. Feldmann, president and chief executive officer and John “Jay” D. Thomas, executive vice president and chief financial officer, will host the call. Financial analysts and institutional investors interested in participating in the call are invited to dial: Please dial-in approximately 10 minutes prior to the start of the call. A live webcast of the conference call and presentation slides will be accessible on our website under the “Investor Relations” tab at www.cubic.com. Please visit the website at least 15 minutes prior to the call in order to register, download and install any streaming media software needed to listen to the webcast. A replay of the broadcast will be available on the “Investor Relations” tab of Cubic’s website. Cubic Corporation designs, integrates and operates systems, products and services focused in the transportation, defense training and secure communications markets. Cubic Transportation Systems is a leading integrator of payment and information technology and services to create intelligent travel solutions for transportation authorities and operators. Cubic Global Defense is a leading provider of live, virtual, constructive and game-based training solutions, special operations and intelligence for the U.S. and allied forces. Cubic Mission Solutions provides networked Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) capabilities for defense, intelligence, security and commercial missions. For more information about Cubic, please visit the company’s website at www.cubic.com or on Twitter @CubicCorp. This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that are subject to the safe harbor created by such Act. Forward-looking statements include, among others, statements about our expectations regarding future events or our future financial and/or operating performance; our strategic investments contributing significantly to the growth of our company; increased order intake in the near term driving expanded sales and Adjusted EBITDA going forward; limitations on the company’s ability to forecast order intake until Congress succeeds in funding the government through regular order budgets rather than continuing resolutions; and our expected award of a transportation contract in fiscal 2017. These statements are often, but not always, made through the use of words or phrases such as “may,” “will,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “plan,” “project,” “continuing,” “ongoing,” “expect,” “believe,” “intend,” “predict,” “potential,” “opportunity” and similar words or phrases or the negatives of these words or phrases. These statements involve risks, estimates, assumptions and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in these statements, including, among others: our dependence on U.S. and foreign government contracts; delays in approving U.S. and foreign government budgets and cuts in U.S. and foreign government defense expenditures; the ability of certain government agencies to unilaterally terminate or modify our contracts with them; the effect of sequestration on our contracts; our assumptions concerning behavior by public transit authorities; our ability to successfully integrate new companies into our business and to properly assess the effects of such integration on our financial condition; the U.S. government’s increased emphasis on awarding contracts to small businesses, and our ability to retain existing contracts or win new contracts under competitive bidding processes; negative audits by the U.S. government; the effects of politics and economic conditions on negotiations and business dealings in the various countries in which we do business or intend to do business; risks associated with the restatement of our prior consolidated financial statements, including our identification of material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting; competition and technology changes in the defense and transportation industries; the change in the way transit agencies pay for transit systems; our ability to accurately estimate the time and resources necessary to satisfy obligations under our contracts; the effect of adverse regulatory changes on our ability to sell products and services; our ability to identify, attract and retain qualified employees; our failure to properly implement our ERP system; unforeseen problems with the implementation and maintenance of our information systems; business disruptions due to cyber security threats, physical threats, terrorist acts, acts of nature and public health crises; our involvement in litigation, including litigation related to patents, proprietary rights and employee misconduct; our reliance on subcontractors and on a limited number of third parties to manufacture and supply our products; our ability to comply with our development contracts and to successfully develop, introduce and sell new products, systems and services in current and future markets; defects in, or a lack of adequate coverage by insurance or indemnity for, our products and systems; and changes in U.S. and foreign tax laws, exchange rates or our economic assumptions regarding our pension plans. In addition, please refer to the risk factors contained in our SEC filings available at www.sec.gov, including our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q. Because the risks, estimates, assumptions and uncertainties referred to above could cause actual results or outcomes to differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statements, you should not place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements. Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date hereof, and, except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof. Use of Non-GAAP Financial Information We believe that the presentation of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) and Adjusted EBITDA included in this report provides useful information to investors with which to analyze our operating trends and performance and ability to service and incur debt. Also, we believe EBITDA facilitates company-to-company operating performance comparisons by backing out potential differences caused by variations in capital structures (affecting net interest expense), taxation, variations in organic vs. inorganic growth (affecting amortization expense) and the age and book depreciation of property, plant and equipment (affecting relative depreciation expense). We believe Adjusted EBITDA further facilitates company-to-company operating comparisons by backing out items that we believe are not part of our core operating performance. Items backed out of Adjusted EBITDA are comprised of expenses incurred in the development of our ERP system and the redesign of our supply chain, business acquisition expenses including retention bonus expenses, due diligence and consulting costs incurred in connection with the acquisitions, expenses recognized related to the change in the fair value of contingent consideration for acquisitions, restructuring costs, gains and losses on disposals of fixed assets, and income and expenses classified as other non-operating income and expenses which may vary for different companies for reasons unrelated to operating performance. In addition, EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA are key drivers of the company’s core operating performance and major factors in management’s bonus compensation each year. Management has excluded the effects of these items in these measures to assist investors in analyzing and assessing our past and future core operating performance. In addition, we believe that EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA are frequently used by securities analysts, investors and other interested parties in their evaluation of companies, many of which present EBITDA, Adjusted EBITDA and/or other adjusted measures when reporting their results. EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA are not measurements of financial performance under GAAP and should not be considered as alternatives to net income as a measure of performance. In addition, other companies may define EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA differently and, as a result, our measures of EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA may not be directly comparable to EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA of other companies. Furthermore, EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA have limitations as analytical tools, and you should not consider either of them in isolation, or as a substitute for analysis of our results as reported under GAAP. Because of these limitations, EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA should not be considered as measures of discretionary cash available to us to invest in the growth of our business. We compensate for these limitations by relying primarily on our GAAP results and using EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA only supplementally. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on EBITDA or Adjusted EBITDA. The following table reconciles EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA to net income (loss), which we consider to be the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure to EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA.


A new study by University of Washington, state and federal researchers analyzed sage grouse in Eastern Washington and showed a surprisingly large benefit from a federal program that subsidizes farmers to plant year-round grasses and native shrubs instead of crops. Although the program was adopted for many different reasons, the study finds it is probably the reason that sage grouse still live in portions of Washington's Columbia Basin. "Without these lands, our models predict that we would lose about two thirds of the species' habitat, and that the sage grouse would go extinct in two of three subpopulations," said first author Andrew Shirk, a research scientist with the UW's Climate Impacts Group. The study will appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Wildlife Management. The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) was established in 1985. It is a voluntary federal program that pays farmers to plant agricultural land with environmentally beneficial vegetation for 10- to 15-year contracts. The program's goals include improving water quality, reducing soil erosion and boosting wildlife habitat. Of the roughly 24 million acres planted through the program in the United States, about 1.4 million acres are in Eastern Washington. The fields are planted with native shrubs and perennial grasses that provide cover for sage grouse and other animals. "From the outset, it was envisioned that the CRP program would be good for wildlife," Shirk said. "But I don't think anyone expected that it would be this valuable. Our results show CRP isn't a substitute for native sagebrush, but mature CRP fields nearby augment native habitat and have had a tremendous positive impact—it's a wildlife conservation success story." In Eastern Washington, the sage grouse population has declined by 77 percent since 1960, and only about 8 percent of the birds' historic habitat remains. The population stabilized at about 1,000 birds in the early 1990s—about when the fields planted as part of the Reagan-era CRP program first reached maturity. Washington sage grouse live in three main areas: the Yakima Training Center in the southern part of the state; Moses Coulee in the center of the state; and Crab Creek to the east. The Yakima Training Center is a U.S. Army training area where the native sagebrush habitat is mostly intact. But the other two areas are heavily agricultural, with irrigated farmland around the Columbia River and wheat fields farther from water. Sage grouse in other Western states are threatened mostly by oil and gas exploration and other types of development. "Eastern Washington is a unique landscape. It's a patchwork of irrigated agriculture, dryland agriculture and CRP land," Shirk said. Previously, studies of sage grouse across their range in the United States suggested Eastern Washington agricultural areas would not be hospitable for the birds. Indeed, Washington's habitat is a relatively small island separated from the broader sagebrush seas in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon and Nevada. "The other studies generally predicted that Eastern Washington was a place that shouldn't support sage grouse because most of the habitat was converted to agricultural lands. Everything suggested that the historical populations should be extinct," Shirk said. "And yet they're still here." The authors' results show that without the federally-subsidized CRP lands dominated by native grass and big sagebrush, sage grouse in Eastern Washington would only have about one-third the amount of usable habitat, and the two subpopulations in agricultural areas would become so small that they would likely go extinct. "When populations get too small, and too disconnected from other populations, they become very fragile," Shirk said. A harsh winter, for example, could decimate a small population. On the flipside, the analysis shows that if Washington's CRP lands were reallocated to be near existing sage grouse populations, to maximize benefit to the birds, their habitat could be increased by as much as 63 percent. "Increasing the habitat by two-thirds by reallocating CRP fields to be near native sagebrush habitat demonstrates the potential for this program to be used as a conservation tool," Shirk said. "There was anecdotal evidence that this program was important for sage grouse, but I don't think anyone suspected that the magnitude would be this big." Co-author Michael Schroeder with the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife has been monitoring Washington sage grouse for decades. His data of sage grouse sightings from 1992 to 2014 allowed the researchers to model how much various factors matter for the population's success. The authors looked at each season, including winter, when agricultural fields are bare, and spring, when sage grouse are nesting. In Washington, big sagebrush tends to grow taller than in other places, and the higher branches leave ground-level nests more exposed to elements and predators. "Many people focus only on the presence and amount of sagebrush," Schroeder said. "While native sagebrush is clearly important, perennial bunchgrass provides cover for many species, including sage grouse." Schroeder's research shows that the CRP also benefits other sagebrush dwellers, including sage thrashers, Brewer's sparrows, savannah sparrows, vesper sparrows and sagebrush sparrows. These lands could become more valuable to wildlife in a changing climate. "As the climate changes, species need to be able to move across the landscape to track their habitat," Shirk said. "Sage grouse habitat is likely to shift under climate change, and yet barriers like major roads and power lines may limit the ability of this species to migrate accordingly. If there was a strategic vision for how CRP land was allocated, some of it could be used to facilitate the movement of sage grouse and other species over time to track their climate niche." More information: Andrew J. Shirk et al, Persistence of greater sage-grouse in agricultural landscapes, The Journal of Wildlife Management (2017). DOI: 10.1002/jwmg.21268


News Article | May 8, 2017
Site: www.prnewswire.com

The center will also be the training ground for the Swiss International Hearing Academy's full hearing care professional course which is a blended learning program consisting of web based learning, face to face workshops, practical sessions and assessments which is expected to start enrolling students in 2018. Co-operations with local and international government and academic institutions open the center facilities to learners in the wider community and international key opinion leaders in the field of Audiology. "The establishment of the Sonova Audiology Training Center in China is one of the important strategies for the development of Sonova in the Asia Pacific region and reflects our commitment to China and the Asia Pacific market," Vice President of Sonova Asia Pacific Leonard Marshall said. "Through this initiative we create a state of the art practice space for current and future hearing care professionals, and continue to meet customer needs, create a win - win cooperation model for Asia Pacific, and even for the global hearing care industry".


The sage grouse is an exceptionally showy bird and an icon of the American West. But its sagebrush habitat is disappearing, and there is debate over how best to protect the populations in an increasingly developed landscape. A new study by University of Washington, state and federal researchers analyzed sage grouse in Eastern Washington and showed a surprisingly large benefit from a federal program that subsidizes farmers to plant year-round grasses and native shrubs instead of crops. Although the program was adopted for many different reasons, the study finds it is probably the reason that sage grouse still live in portions of Washington's Columbia Basin. "Without these lands, our models predict that we would lose about two thirds of the species' habitat, and that the sage grouse would go extinct in two of three subpopulations," said first author Andrew Shirk, a research scientist with the UW's Climate Impacts Group. The study will appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Wildlife Management. The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) was established in 1985. It is a voluntary federal program that pays farmers to plant agricultural land with environmentally beneficial vegetation for 10- to 15-year contracts. The program's goals include improving water quality, reducing soil erosion and boosting wildlife habitat. Of the roughly 24 million acres planted through the program in the United States, about 1.4 million acres are in Eastern Washington. The fields are planted with native shrubs and perennial grasses that provide cover for sage grouse and other animals. "From the outset, it was envisioned that the CRP program would be good for wildlife," Shirk said. "But I don't think anyone expected that it would be this valuable. Our results show CRP isn't a substitute for native sagebrush, but mature CRP fields nearby augment native habitat and have had a tremendous positive impact -- it's a wildlife conservation success story." In Eastern Washington, the sage grouse population has declined by 77 percent since 1960, and only about 8 percent of the birds' historic habitat remains. The population stabilized at about 1,000 birds in the early 1990s -- about when the fields planted as part of the Reagan-era CRP program first reached maturity. Washington sage grouse live in three main areas: the Yakima Training Center in the southern part of the state; Moses Coulee in the center of the state; and Crab Creek to the east. The Yakima Training Center is a U.S. Army training area where the native sagebrush habitat is mostly intact. But the other two areas are heavily agricultural, with irrigated farmland around the Columbia River and wheat fields farther from water. Sage grouse in other Western states are threatened mostly by oil and gas exploration and other types of development. "Eastern Washington is a unique landscape. It's a patchwork of irrigated agriculture, dryland agriculture and CRP land," Shirk said. Previously, studies of sage grouse across their range in the United States suggested Eastern Washington agricultural areas would not be hospitable for the birds. Indeed, Washington's habitat is a relatively small island separated from the broader sagebrush seas in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon and Nevada. "The other studies generally predicted that Eastern Washington was a place that shouldn't support sage grouse because most of the habitat was converted to agricultural lands. Everything suggested that the historical populations should be extinct," Shirk said. "And yet they're still here." The authors' results show that without the federally-subsidized CRP lands dominated by native grass and big sagebrush, sage grouse in Eastern Washington would only have about one-third the amount of usable habitat, and the two subpopulations in agricultural areas would become so small that they would likely go extinct. "When populations get too small, and too disconnected from other populations, they become very fragile," Shirk said. A harsh winter, for example, could decimate a small population. On the flipside, the analysis shows that if Washington's CRP lands were reallocated to be near existing sage grouse populations, to maximize benefit to the birds, their habitat could be increased by as much as 63 percent. "Increasing the habitat by two-thirds by reallocating CRP fields to be near native sagebrush habitat demonstrates the potential for this program to be used as a conservation tool," Shirk said. "There was anecdotal evidence that this program was important for sage grouse, but I don't think anyone suspected that the magnitude would be this big." Co-author Michael Schroeder with the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife has been monitoring Washington sage grouse for decades. His data of sage grouse sightings from 1992 to 2014 allowed the researchers to model how much various factors matter for the population's success. The authors looked at each season, including winter, when agricultural fields are bare, and spring, when sage grouse are nesting. In Washington, big sagebrush tends to grow taller than in other places, and the higher branches leave ground-level nests more exposed to elements and predators. "Many people focus only on the presence and amount of sagebrush," Schroeder said. "While native sagebrush is clearly important, perennial bunchgrass provides cover for many species, including sage grouse." Schroeder's research shows that the CRP also benefits other sagebrush dwellers, including sage thrashers, Brewer's sparrows, savannah sparrows, vesper sparrows and sagebrush sparrows. These lands could become more valuable to wildlife in a changing climate. "As the climate changes, species need to be able to move across the landscape to track their habitat," Shirk said. "Sage grouse habitat is likely to shift under climate change, and yet barriers like major roads and power lines may limit the ability of this species to migrate accordingly. If there was a strategic vision for how CRP land was allocated, some of it could be used to facilitate the movement of sage grouse and other species over time to track their climate niche." Other co-authors are Leslie Robb, who is based in Bridgeport, Washington, and Samuel Cushman at the U.S. Forest Service in Flagstaff, Arizona. The research was funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife. For more information, contact Shirk in Olympia at ashirk@uw.edu or 360-556-9067 and Schroeder in Bridgeport at Michael.Schroeder@dfw.wa.gov or 509-686-2692.


News Article | May 8, 2017
Site: www.prnewswire.co.uk

The center will also be the training ground for the Swiss International Hearing Academy's full hearing care professional course which is a blended learning program consisting of web based learning, face to face workshops, practical sessions and assessments which is expected to start enrolling students in 2018. Co-operations with local and international government and academic institutions open the center facilities to learners in the wider community and international key opinion leaders in the field of Audiology. "The establishment of the Sonova Audiology Training Center in China is one of the important strategies for the development of Sonova in the Asia Pacific region and reflects our commitment to China and the Asia Pacific market," Vice President of Sonova Asia Pacific Leonard Marshall said. "Through this initiative we create a state of the art practice space for current and future hearing care professionals, and continue to meet customer needs, create a win - win cooperation model for Asia Pacific, and even for the global hearing care industry".


News Article | May 9, 2017
Site: www.businesswire.com

ARLINGTON, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Texas Trust Credit Union has completed the renovation of its new corporate headquarters. The 37,000-square-foot building, which Texas Trust purchased in 2012, was completely overhauled to create a state-of-the-art facility for the growing credit union. The two-story building is conveniently located at I-20 and Little Road. It is part of the former Cordovan Office Park, which is fully owned by Texas Trust, and has been renamed Texas Trust Business Park. The new headquarters unites the credit union’s executive staff, member contact center, marketing, training, mortgage and investment services and other departments that had been dispersed at various locations. Currently some 110 employees occupy the building, which has the potential to accommodate up to 150. A second building within the office park is an investment property and is 85 percent leased to a range of commercial tenants. Texas Trust’s new headquarters includes an array of high-tech features, including a nine-screen video wall in the executive boardroom, the ability to link conference rooms together for common presentations, and video displays throughout the hallways and offices for live broadcast coverage or company simulcasts. Employees can also reserve meeting space anywhere in the building using an advanced online tool. The renovated headquarters also hosts Texas Trust’s newly launched Constellation Training Center, equipped with the latest learning and presentation technologies. The Center easily accommodates all headquarters staff when set theatre-style and up to 65 team members when set classroom style. The center is used for new employee training and for leadership development and sales and member services workshops. It is also used to host Texas Trust’s monthly all-hands briefings, which are broadcast to employees at headquarters and at the credit union’s branches. The renovation turned a building constructed in the 1980s into a highly-functional, modern, colorful, and inspiring workplace. The facility offers a mix of open work spaces to foster collaboration and team huddles with offices that offer visual and acoustical privacy. The design reinforces Texas Trust’s mission and brand through bold graphics and bright colors. The corporate boardroom was designed with a barrel vaulted ceiling, reminiscent of an airport hangar, to pay tribute to Texas Trust’s beginnings as Vought Aircraft Employee Credit Union. “The interior of our headquarters creates a bright and energetic atmosphere to inspire and motivate employees and generate a positive workplace,” said Jim Minge, president and CEO of Texas Trust Credit Union. “We also wanted the space to reflect our core values and mission as a member-owned financial cooperative.” Texas Trust hosted a community-wide open house May 6, with dignitaries Michael Jacobson, President of Arlington Chamber of Commerce; Tony Rutigliano, President of Downtown Arlington Management Corporation; Bill Coppola, President of the TCC Southeast Campus; David Cook, Mayor of Mansfield; and a number of ambassadors from the Arlington Chamber. Patrick Tyler, an ambassador of the Arlington Chamber presented Texas Trust with a Commendation from the U.S. Senate recognizing the occasion, signed by Senator Ted Cruz. Attendees toured the building and enjoyed family-friendly activities that included a rock climbing wall, a cash cube, free food and a ceremonial cake, and entertainment. Interior design, space planning, construction management, and furnishings were managed by Mary Beth Clark and Carol Holley with the Interior Design Group. Wall graphics and the framed artwork throughout the building was designed internally by the Texas Trust marketing department. Photos of the new headquarters and from the grand opening can be viewed here. Texas Trust Credit Union was created in 1936 when a group of Chance Vought Aircraft Corporation employees pooled their savings so they could help each other achieve financial goals. Today, more than 84,500 members are served through checking and savings accounts; loans (personal, mortgage, auto, and small business); credit cards; insurance products; and investment services. Texas Trust Credit Union supports local students through its “Spirit Debit Rewards” program. With every eligible swipe of an SDR card, funds are donated to the school or district of the member’s choosing. To date, Texas Trust has donated over $1.4 million since August 2011. Texas Trust serves members in Dallas, Tarrant, Henderson, Ellis, and Johnson counties through 17 locations in Mansfield, Arlington, Grand Prairie, Cedar Hill, Midlothian, DeSoto, Hurst, and Athens. With assets of $1 billion, Texas Trust is one of the largest credit unions in North Texas and the 17th largest in Texas. For more information, visit TexasTrustCU.org or follow us on facebook.com/texastrustcu or Twitter at @texastrustcu.


News Article | May 8, 2017
Site: en.prnasia.com

Sonova officially opened its first Audiology Training Center in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China. The Sonova Global Hearing Institute is a state of the art training center for current and future hearing care professionals. The Hearing Institute has been established to provide current and future hearing care professionals with the latest theory in hearing rehabilitation practice  and the relevant practical experience to promote best practice in China and the Asia Pacific Region. There is a severe shortage of audiology experts and hearing care professionals in China and Sonova hopes to improve awareness and enhance the training of clinical practitioners in China. The training facility hosts the latest in Audiological assessment equipment for testing of babies through to adults, as well as the latest innovations in educational technology. The center will also be the training ground for the Swiss International Hearing Academy's full hearing care professional course which is a blended learning program consisting of web based learning, face to face workshops, practical sessions and assessments which is expected to start enrolling students in 2018. Co-operations with local and international government and academic institutions open the center facilities to learners in the wider community and international key opinion leaders in the field of Audiology. "The establishment of the Sonova Audiology Training Center in China is one of the important strategies for the development of Sonova in the Asia Pacific region and reflects our commitment to China and the Asia Pacific market," Vice President of Sonova Asia Pacific Leonard Marshall said. "Through this initiative we create a state of the art practice space for current and future hearing care professionals, and continue to meet customer needs, create a win - win cooperation model for Asia Pacific, and even for the global hearing care industry".


News Article | May 11, 2017
Site: www.prnewswire.com

"We are very happy to partner with Vivid Seats for the third consecutive year at the historic Preakness Stakes," said Sal Sinatra, President and General Manager of the Maryland Jockey Club. "Vivid Seats continues to engage fans of sports and entertainment by being a leader in customer service for the greatest live events. The Maryland Jockey Club and Vivid Seats are excited to bring fans an incredible entertainment and sports experience come Saturday, May 20 at the Preakness." "Attending a world-class sporting event like the Preakness Stakes is something fans will never forget," said Eric Vassilatos, co-founder of Chicago-based Vivid Seats. "It is an honor to work with the Maryland Jockey Club for the third consecutive year to offer a safe and convenient ticket buying and selling experience for Preakness fans interested in being part of this time-honored event." As with all tickets purchased from Vivid Seats, Preakness tickets will be covered by the company's 100% Buyer Guarantee. For the Preakness, the Vivid Seats-Maryland Jockey Club partnership has made possible an added service for fans. A dedicated team of Vivid Seats customer support representatives will be on-site on race day to deliver "will call" tickets and assist with any other customer needs. ABOUT PIMLICO RACE COURSE Historic Pimlico Race Course, home of the Preakness® Stakes, the middle jewel in horse racing's famed Triple Crown, first opened its doors on October 25, 1870, and is the second oldest racetrack in the United States. Pimlico has played host to racing icons and Baltimoreans have seen the likes of legendary horses such as Man o' War, Seabiscuit, Secretariat, Affirmed and Cigar thunder down the stretch in thrilling and memorable competition. For more information on Pimlico, visit www.pimlico.com. Pimlico Race Course is a Stronach Group company, North America's leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida and is one of North America's top race horse breeders through its award-winning Adena Springs operation. The Stronach Group is one of the world's largest suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services. Its companies include AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology; Xpressbet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service; and Monarch Content Management, which acts as a simulcast purchase and sales agent of horseracing content for numerous North American racetracks and wagering outlets. The Stronach Group is also a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry. ABOUT VIVID SEATS  Vivid Seats is the largest independent secondary marketplace for tickets to live sports, concert and theater events. Founded in 2001, the Chicago-based company offers industry-leading affordability across one of the widest selections of premium tickets and event packages. Vivid Seats supports all confirmed orders with a 100% Buyer Guarantee and an in-house customer service team to ensure the safest and most convenient purchase experience. Fans that want to sit closer and see more of their favorite live events can order directly on vividseats.com or by phone at 866.848.8499. Follow Vivid Seats on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Be in the know. Find out about the hottest sporting events, concerts and theater shows through the Vivid Seats blog. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/vivid-seats-named-official-ticket-reseller-of-2017-preakness-stakes-300455777.html


HERNDON, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--As part of its 5 Million Voices reporting project, NPR analyzed U.S. Department of Education data to determine the achievement of English Learners (ELs) across the country. In Utah, the average high school graduation rate for ELs is 62 percent, while the average for their native English-speaking peers is 83.9 percent. In an effort to close this achievement gap for its EL students, the Utah State Board of Education (USBE) implemented the online English Learners solution from Middlebury Interactive Languages, now part of Fuel Education® (FuelEd®). Starting this spring, approximately 1,000 secondary students spanning 12 high schools, eight middle schools, five charters schools and the USBE’s Refugee Educational Training Center will use the online solution as part of a blended learning model. “We wanted to use an EL solution that allowed for blended learning in order to highlight our excellent teachers,” said Dr. Christelle Estrada, Education Specialist for Title III and Refugee & Immigrant Programs at the USBE. “Additionally, we wanted a solution that focused on academic content vocabulary and inquiry based learning in core content areas, and aligned to assessment standards.” In addition to helping students learn academic English and hone their literacy development, the supplemental curriculum connects to students’ cultural backgrounds to build a context for the content. Students work on a combination of individual activities in English language arts, math, science and social studies to reinforce their listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. The activities can be modified for students of all proficiency levels. The curriculum also includes project-based learning activities during which students work in small groups. Allowing the groups to develop their projects’ topics and forms of delivery empowers them to take ownership of their learning while also reinforcing collaboration and English proficiency. The curriculum aligns to the English Language Proficiency Assessment for the 21st Century (ELPA21) standards and the Common Core State Standards, and is correlated to the World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WiDA) standards. “The curriculum’s best feature is its alignment to the four WiDA standards for speaking, reading, writing, and listening,” said Matthew Emerson, Secondary Specialist for Title III at USBE. “The curriculum gives students an excellent base of language skills while simultaneously allowing teachers, the true pedagogy experts, to deepen instruction based on students’ needs when necessary. It's an ideal marriage of complete curriculum and teacher input, and I believe it’s going to bridge the gap between engagement and focused language development.” To watch a video and learn more, visit fueleducation.com/ell. Fuel Education® partners with school districts to fuel personalized learning and transform the education experience inside and outside the classroom. The company provides innovative solutions for pre-K through 12th grade that empower districts to implement successful online and blended learning programs. Its open, easy-to-use Personalized Learning Platform, PEAK™, enables teachers to customize courses using their own content, FuelEd courses and titles, third-party content, and open educational resources. Fuel Education serves more than 2,000 school districts, offering one of the industry’s largest catalogs of K–12 digital curriculum, certified instruction, professional development, and educational services. To learn more, visit fueleducation.com and Twitter. ©2017 Fuel Education LLC. All rights reserved. Fuel Education, FuelEd, and Summit are trademarks of Fuel Education LLC or its affiliates. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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