Striking species has golden webs, snacks on some stink bugs.

first_imgChances are, if you live in northeast Georgia you’ve come across an East Asian Joro spider this fall.  At almost 3 inches across when their legs are fully extended, they’re hard to miss. While they’re roughly the same size as banana spiders and yellow garden spiders, the distinctive yellow and blue-black stripes on their backs and bright red markings on their undersides are unique. Their enormous three-dimensional webs are a striking golden color and tend to be located higher off the ground than those of other spiders. “We’ve been getting lots of calls and emails from people reporting sightings,” said Byron Freeman, director of the Georgia Museum of Natural History. “They seem to be really common in riparian areas and in urban areas around people’s houses, but they’re also in the deep woods.” Joro spiders have spread widely since they were first spotted in Hoschton, Georgia, in 2013. They probably arrived by hitching a ride in a shipping container from China or Japan, according to Freeman. He and Richard Hoebeke, associate curator of the museum’s arthropod collection and a research professional in the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Department of Entomology, confirmed the identity of those early arrivals based on genetic analysis in 2015. Now, five years later, Joro spiders appear to have successfully established themselves in the area, with recent confirmed reports from as far afield as Blairsville, Georgia, and Greenville, South Carolina. But there is still much that remains unknown about them. One important question is how they might affect the local ecosystem. Will they outcompete other orb weaving spiders? Will they reduce insect populations through predation?  “We don’t know what the impact is going to be,” said Freeman, a faculty member in the University of Georgia Odum School of Ecology. “Right now, we’re trying to learn as much as we can about them.” So far, early observations indicate that Joros are coexisting with the area’s other orb weaving spiders, with webs close to, and in some cases even attached to, one another.  And Joro spiders also appear to be able to capture and feed on at least one insect that other local spiders are not: adult brown marmorated stink bugs, an invasive pest that can infest houses and damage crops. In turn, Joro spiders are vulnerable to predators like mud dauber wasps and birds.   Freeman noted that dewdrop spiders, a kleptoparasite—as the name implies, they steal food from others—have been spotted in Joro webs. “They may be switching from what we thought was their principal host, the banana spider, to this new kind of orb weaver,” he said. He pointed out that banana spiders, a relative of the Joro, are native to the Caribbean and Central America. They were first recorded in the U.S. in 1862 and have since naturalized.  “My guess is that this will be no different than the banana spider, and I don’t know that we can assess what the effect of the banana spider has been at this point,” he said. Another question Freeman hopes to answer is how the males find their mates.  Joro spiders travel by ballooning, letting the wind carry them on a strand of gossamer.  “The male has to drift in and find the female,” Freeman said. “Sometimes there’ll be four or five males on a web, sometimes there’ll be one, so the males are moving between webs. When you have a large population it seems feasible that a male could just drift from one spot to the next, but when you don’t have a lot of webs around, how does the male show up?”    Freeman is also conducting further genetic analysis to determine what causes some Joro spiders to have a different color pattern. While most have distinctive black and yellow striped legs, some have legs that are solid black. These black morphs have other physical differences that are only apparent when viewed under a microscope, and Freeman has determined that they are genetically distinct members of the species.  Despite their size, Freeman said that Joro spiders don’t pose a threat to people. “All spiders have venom that they use to subdue prey,” he said. “If you put your hand in front of one and try to make it bite you, it probably will. But they run if you disturb their web. They’re trying to get out of the way.”  Freeman said that Joros can be shooed away with a broom if they’re in a location that puts them too close for comfort. But as for removing them permanently, he compared such efforts to shoveling sand at the beach. “Should you try to get rid of them?” said Freeman. “You can, but at this point, they’re here to stay.” If you spot a Joro spider — especially if you can provide a photo tagged with date and location — please contact Hoebeke at rhoebeke@uga.edu.last_img read more

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What Town Meeting Means

first_imgIndulge me for a moment while I share with you one of the best Town Meeting Day stories ever written. Dorothy Canfield Fisher told the story in her 1953 tribute to Vermont, called Vermont Tradition. Fisher (1879-1958) was one of the country s most popular novelists, but her heart was deeply rooted in Arlington. This story the story of Patrick Thompson s speech at an Arlington Town Meeting is one of the great Vermont classics.From Vermont Tradition: This was no academic discussion group debating the abstract proposition: Resolved that every child has the right to four years schooling beyond the eighth grade. This was a fight over action to be taken now going into debt for an ideal, an ideal which is almost the only primal urge for which humanity need never blush sacrifice by the old, to give the children a better chance.Those voters who believed the town could never raise the extra money required for building and upkeep, they were sincere in their mournful admission that, what with wretched train service, hardly any automobiles, the nearest existing public high school might almost as well be fifty miles off as the actual twelve miles of unplowed winter snow drifts, and spring mud-holes. But with even more bitter sincerity, they listed our community s urgent material needs one after another. The hill roads should be resurfaced, or they would wash out to stony trails. Care for the sick poor was more costly every year. But above all the bridges.In a mountain town with flash floods roaring over the banks of its water courses after hard rains, bridges have an imperious priority. Our bridges need reinforcement, not only from recurring high water, but against the great tonnage of modern traffic. It would be dangerous not to rebuild them. It would take all of the resources of a poor mountain town to keep our bridges in repair. To add to that expense the enormous cost of a new school insane!The tangible needs of the body and the impalpable needs of the mind and spirit stood up to see which was the stronger. The material needs outshouted the ideal. They sounded real and actual. The little flickering flame of responsibility for the future of the town s children died down to a faint glimmer in the hearts of the men and women whose voters would in a few minutes make the decision. Those who had longed and worked for the school sat silent, disconcerted by the predicted crashing of the bridges, loud in their ears. What could be said against that?Then up sprang Patrick Thompson yes, you are right in guessing from his name that he was Irish, was Catholic, was only one generation away from those who drank stinking water from the ship s barrel, long strings of green slime hanging down to the floor, as they struggled on towards the New World and Vermont. He had worked his way up to partnership in one of our two grocery stores. What education he had it was sound he had received in our public schools. We usually saw him in a white apron, standing behind the counter, selling sugar and tea. We have never forgotten and we will never let our children forget how he looked that day, his powerful shoulders squared, his hands clenched. We still remember his exact words, intense as the flame of a blowtorch: We are being told that our town cannot afford to keep its bridges safe and also to provide for its children a preparation for life that will give them a fair chance alongside other American children. That s what we are being told. Not one of us here really believes it. We just can t think what to say back. But suppose it were true Then I say, if we have to choose, Let the bridges fall down. What kind of town would we rather have, fifty years from now a place where nitwit folks go back and forth over good bridges? Or a town with brainy, well-educated people capable of holding their own in the modern way of life? You know which of those two is really wanted by every one of us here. I say, Let the bridges fall down!He took his seat in silence, the American citizen, the Celt, whose grandparents had lived in enforced ignorance.It was a turning point in the life of our town. We knew it was. So we spoke not a word. We sat silent, thinking. And feeling. What we felt, with awe, as though we saw it with our physical eye was in all our human hearts, the brave burning up to new brightness of the ideal.Presently, the Moderator said in the traditional phrase, Any further discussion? The silence was unbroken. Then Forward your ballots. In a silent line the grave faced voters moved slowly towards the ballot box, each hand holding a white paper.The school was built. Years later it burned, and was replaced, almost without opposition, by an even better one. The first battle had been conclusive. As we old timers look at the building, our hearts bursting with thanksgiving, we can see clearly as if actually carved on the lintel, LET THE BRIDGES FALL DOWN!*****The story of Patrick Thompson comes to mind each March, as we gather in town halls and schools for town meetings.This year, though, the story resonates even deeper. Vermont faces incredibly difficult choices. Sure, there is still a division over whether money should go to schools or bridges, but the choices are much more nuanced than that. And there are so many choices to be made.Our resources are limited; our needs are great. And the choice still boils down to the way Fisher described it more than a half century ago: The tangible needs of the body and the impalpable needs of the mind stood up to see which was the stronger. The material needs outshouted the ideal.In our debate this year we must be careful to weigh the merits to seek the balance and not be swayed by who shouts the loudest.Chris Graff, a former Vermont bureau chief of The Associated Press and host of VPT’s Vermont This Week, is now vice president for communications at National Life Group. He is author of, Dateline Vermont: Covering and uncovering the newsworthy stories that shaped a state – and influenced a nation.last_img read more

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Dealer.com ranked number 214 fastest growing company on Deloitte’s 2009 Technology Fast 500

first_imgDealer.com,Dealer.com, based in Burlington, Vermont, the global leader of online marketing solutions for the automotive industry, today announced that it ranked number 214 on Technology Fast 500, Deloitte LLP s ranking of 500 of the fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and clean technology companies in North America. Rankings are based on percentage of fiscal year revenue growth during the five year period from 2004 2008. Dealer.com grew 629 percent during this period. Dealer.com s CEO, Mark Bonfigli, credits employee dedication and the company’s advanced technology platform with the 629 percent revenue growth over the past five years.He said, “We are honored to again rank in this prestigious competition. We continue to grow because everyone at Dealer.com focuses on helping our automotive customers succeed, even through challenging times. Our dedicated and talented work force drives our business and ensures our clients’ success. Further, our comprehensive online marketing platform keeps our clients two to four years ahead of the competition.” Technology Fast 500 ¢ recognizes innovative companies that have broken down barriers to success and defied the odds with their remarkable five-year revenue growth, said Phil Asmundson, Vice Chairman and U.S. Technology, Media and Telecommunications leader, Deloitte LLP. “We congratulate Dealer.com on this accomplishment.” With its impressive five-year growth, Dealer.com has earned its position among the fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and clean technology companies in North America, said Mark Jensen, Managing Partner, Technology and Venture Capital Services, Deloitte & Touche LLP. Deloitte is proud to honor Dealer.com for its achievement.Dealer.com previously ranked 236 as a Technology Fast 500 ¢ award winner for 2008.Overall, Technology Fast 500 ¢ award winners for 2009 had growth rates ranging from 212 to 146,050 percent over five years, with an average growth rate of 2,486 percent.Technology Fast 500 ¢ Selection and Qualifying CriteriaTechnology Fast 500 ¢ provides a ranking of the fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and clean technology companies in North America. This ranking is compiled from nominations submitted directly to the Technology Fast 500 ¢ website, and public company database research conducted by Deloitte. Technology Fast 500 ¢ award winners for 2009 are selected based on percentage fiscal year revenue growth during the five year period from 2004 to 2008.In order to be eligible for Technology Fast 500 ¢ recognition, companies must own proprietary intellectual property or proprietary technology that contributes to a significant portion of the company’s operating revenues. Using other companies’ technology or intellectual property in a unique way does not satisfy this requirement. Consulting companies, professional service firms, etc. are not eligible unless they have proprietary technology that contributes to a significant portion of their operating revenues.Technology Fast 500 ¢ award eligibility requirements also include base-year operating revenues of at least $50,000 USD or CD, and current-year operating revenues of at least $5 million USD or CD. These revenues must have more than doubled between 2004 and 2008. Additionally, companies must be in business for a minimum of five years, and be headquartered within North America.About Dealer.com (www.dealer.com(link is external))Dealer.com is the global leader in online marketing solutions for the automotive industry, providing award winning e-marketing solutions to OEMs, auto dealers and media companies.  More of the nation’s top 125 auto groups use Dealer.com for their online marketing than any other provider. Recent national and international accolades include: The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, top ranking in The Net Promoter® Score Survey of customer satisfaction, Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 and the Web Marketing Association’s Automobile Standard of Excellence. In addition, Dealer.com was the 2008 top rated web provider on leading online rating websites, as well as the Gold Award winner from the Dealers’ choice awards for best dealer website solutions.About Deloitte As used in this document, Deloitte means Deloitte LLP. Please see www.deloitte.com/about(link is external) for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries.Source: Dealer.com. BURLINGTON, VT – October 20, 2009last_img read more

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WHINSEC Leads Interagency Crisis Action Planning course in Honduras

first_imgBy By Maria Pinel | Joint Task Force-Bravo Public Affairs January 21, 2019 Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC) instructors partnered with representatives from Joint Task Force-Bravo and Honduran contingency organizations for an Interagency Crisis Action Planning course in Tegucigalpa, December 10-14, 2018. The subject matter exchange was held at the COPECO headquarters, a Honduran emergency response agency, with the intent of bringing different organizations together to learn about each other’s capabilities. Participants included the Honduran Fire Department, Red Cross, Humanitarian Rescue Unit, Armed Forces representatives, and 911 responders. “The exchange was of great importance because we shared each other’s functions, we now know which areas we are supporting and what to do not only during a crisis but before, during and after, and how we can support each other in coordination with all participants,” said Honduran Navy Captain Heidy Baquedano, a participant in the course. WHINSEC facilitated the exchange of ideas and best practices to better prepare for a potential joint response. It also promoted the importance of coordination and relationships to consolidate effective operations. “What we hope to achieve is to have interoperability, standardization, and also transparency among processes,” said Edwin Roldan, director of WHINSEC’s Civil Military Studies Department. “The more we share information and the more we establish relationships the better. Instead of having different directions we can join efforts and join forces to have interoperability and shared knowledge.” U.S. Army Sergeant 1st Class Raul Molina, the course director, emphasized that having these exchanges makes it easier for organizations to cooperate during a disaster and enhances their readiness, a key element of U.S. Southern Command’s lines of efforts. He also highlighted how JTF-Bravo plays an important role in regional emergency response by cross training with firefighters from all across Central American during events such as Exercise CENTAM SMOKE. The exercise focuses on interoperability and partnership by bringing different units together to work as a unified team. “I spoke to the JTF-Bravo firefighters and they mentioned they train with firefighters in Honduras so that they can work with them, and how beneficial it is for them and for us. You’re building capacity, but you’re also building or reinforcing a partnership that already exists, so I think the benefit overall is establishing those relationships that are going to have long term benefits for everyone,” said Sgt. Molina. The course was the first of its type WHINSEC conducted in Honduras. The goal is to enhance it and involve senior leadership to share ideas and create a discussion on how to improve current procedures, policies, and programs as well as to develop the exchange into a regional multinational exercise. “I think that the way it could evolve could be to involve more partner nations and neighboring countries; that would be ideal!” concluded Sgt. Molina. “If we can make it not just interagency but multinational, I think would be great, the same way that CENTAM SMOKE involves multinational firefighters and builds their capacity and capabilities”.last_img read more

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Property market to bounce back next year: MarkPlus

first_img“The future demand may not be as strong, but we expect demand to bounce back next year as customers already have plans to buy [a house],” the firm’s senior associate, Irfan Setiawan, said in a virtual discussion on Friday.To anticipate the recovery, Irfan said, he expected the current situation to have implications for the pricing strategy for residential property sellers and developers.Currently, the combined sales of small, medium and large houses fell by 43.19 percent year-on-year (yoy) in the first three months of the year due to the unfolding pandemic, according to a recent survey by Bank Indonesia (BI).However, the MarkPlus survey shows that 10 percent of the customers were still buying houses during the pandemic, signalling remaining demand despite the economic downturn. While house sales are expected to be slow this year due to the pandemic, some consumers are merely delaying purchase and planning to buy a house next year, according to a survey by marketing consulting firm MarkPlus.MarkPlus, which surveyed 100 respondents living mostly in Greater Jakarta, found that consumers were currently saving their money to maintain personal financial stability amid the COVID-19 pandemic that affected the country’s economy.However, half of the surveyed respondents still expect to buy a house next year. Similarly, a survey by online property marketplace 99.co and rumah123.com found that 76 percent of the surveyed respondents were still looking for residential property this year.“Now the consumers are searching and browsing [for homes] online,” 99.co chief executive officer Ming H. Chong said in the same virtual discussion. “They are also more picky.”Based on the marketplace survey, a quarter of the respondents, most of whom are millennials living in Greater Jakarta, look for houses within the price range of Rp 250 million (US$17,069) to Rp 500 million or Rp 1 billion to Rp 2 billion.Housing developers have also seen a positive trend in sales through online platforms.Developer Ciputra Group reported Friday that it booked sales valued at Rp 130 billion for houses with an average price of Rp 250 million in its Citra Maja Raya project in Lebak Regency, Banten, between April 18 and 26 via its newly developed online platform.Meanwhile, through its Citra Garden Puri project in West Jakarta, the developer booked Rp 55 billion in sales for houses with an average price of Rp 2.5 billion on May 9.“We have tried online sales with the low-to-middle [customer] segment, and it worked,” the developer’s marketing director, Yance Onggo, said in the same online discussion. “The online sales turned out to go well with the middle-upper segment, too.”Real estate firm Summarecon Agung reported it still managed to sell houses with prices above Rp 6 billion from its project in Bekasi in West Java, according to Adrianto Adhi, the president director.“We could survive between January and March, but we recorded a correction in April sales,” Adrianto said in the same discussion.According to the marketplace survey, consumers expect a 10 percent decline in house prices.In the first quarter of the year, house prices grew at a slightly slower pace of 1.68 percent compared with growth of 1.77 percent in the previous quarter, according to a survey by the central bank.Topics :last_img read more

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Launch of Dutch mortgage-financing vehicle delayed by EC ruling

first_imgIn addition, he said the Dutch Treasury was still waiting for clarity from Eurostat, the EU’s statistical bureau, on whether the NHI would be counted as national debt.In the past, Van Rutte has estimated that the NHI could potentially attract €25bn of investments over the next five years. The introduction of the Netherlands’ proposed National Mortgage Institution (NHI) – a vehicle for mortgage financing – has been delayed yet again due to new conditions set by the European Commission.The NHI’s purpose is to tempt Dutch pension funds to invest in prime residential mortgages by issuing home loans, purchased from banks, as state-secured bonds.The European Commission, however, has demanded that the banks pass on the full benefits achieved through NHI financing to their customers, according to Jan van Rutte, responsible for setting up the institution.Dutch news daily FD quoted Van Rutte as saying: “Otherwise, the European Commission would consider this as state support.”last_img read more

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Oregon Inlet Dredging Plan on the Table

first_imgImage source: Sea Tow Oregon InletThe U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Wilmington District has received an application from Dare County seeking Department of the Army authorization to perform year-round maintenance dredging of the federal project within Oregon Inlet and associated connecting channels, located in the Town Nags Head, Dare County.The 2,500-acre project near Nags Head includes the waters between the southern tip of Bodie Island and the northern portion of Pea Island, the ocean bar channel extending offshore and the connecting channels and waters on the Pamlico Sound side of the existing Bonner Bridge, according to a public notice from USACE.Comments received from the public, agencies and officials, Indian Tribes and other interested parties will be considered by USACE to determine whether to issue, modify, condition or deny a permit for this proposal.Maintenance dredging is currently performed by the Wilmington District dredge fleet and the county plans to operate under the 2004 Finding of No Significant Impact, or FONSI, to utilize the new dredge on a year-round basis at Oregon Inlet.The annual volume of dredged material from the Oregon Inlet bar, as well as the connecting channels, is expected to be 900,000 and 1 million cubic yards. Nearshore disposal sites under this authorization would be the same as what is currently authorized by USACE.The deadline for submitting the comments on this project is March 6, 2019.last_img read more

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EnBW Baltic 2 service team homeports in Klintholm

first_imgLocated in German territorial waters with depths ranging from 23 to 44 metres, the Baltic 2 wind farm is about 40 kilometres east of Møns Klint, close to the meeting point of the Danish, Swedish and German maritime borders. “We expect noticeable savings and synergies as the journey from Klintholm harbour only takes just over an hour.” A hotel and a service building are now being constructed in Klintholm, from where the employees will be ferried to the wind farm in the mornings and evenings during their two-week duty roster. The 288 MW EnBW Baltic 2 offshore wind farm in the German Baltic Sea will be serviced from the Danish port of Klintholm on the island of Møn from August 2020, EnBW said. The company will consequently be relocating a large part of its operating team from Rostock to Møn. Until now, the company’s service team of up to 25 has travelled from Rostock to a hotel vessel close to the wind farm. The wind farm continues to be controlled by a remote data link from the control room in Barhöft, Mecklenburg, Germany.center_img From August onward, the technicians will commute from the port on Sun Light and Moon Light, two crew transfer vessels (CTVs) chartered from a Dutch shipping company. Klintholm in Denmark is nevertheless better situated for servicing the turbines than any German port, EnBW said. “The proximity to our wind farms offers us unique opportunities here,” said Kent Hougaard of EnBW Offshore Services Danmark (EOS). The Baltic 2 wind farm’s 80 Siemens SWT-3.6-120 wind turbines have been supplying some 340,000 households with renewable electricity since 2015. The hotel to accommodate the service team is scheduled to open in August. The service building in the port area is scheduled for completion as early as July when the first spare parts will be taken into storage there. Both buildings are rented out under contract for at least ten years.last_img read more

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DA discourages consumers from eating imported rice

first_imgThus the most sensible thing to do ispatronize locally produced rice, he said at the side lines of the National RiceAwareness Month celebration’s kick-off on Nov. 4 at SM City Iloilo. National Food Authority (NFA) Iloiloagreed. As of Oct. 31, it was able to procure from local farmers over 600,000bags of palay (unhusked rice). Patronizing locally-grown rice alsohelps local farmers who are facing stiff competition from the entry of importedrice, Ogatis added. “Local rice is of good quality, we aresure of that, so we know it’s safe to eat,” said James Earl Ogatis, informationofficer of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Western Visayas. Pat Espinosa, information officer ofNFA-Iloilo, said their target procurement this November is 150,000 bags of palay./PN One way inspiring local farmers isbuying their produce, said Ogatis. There are around 800,000 rice farmersin Western Visayas, he said. “We couldn’t be sure of rice grownabroad. We don’t know their farming practices, how they grow rice and whatpreservatives they put in the rice being shipped to us,” said Ogatis. ILOILO City – Why preferlocally-produced rice over the imported ones? He could not say the same thing forimported rice. The National Rice Awareness Monthcelebration aims to, among others, highlight the importance of rice farmers andinspire them to continue producing the staple.last_img read more

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Lady Bulldogs Netters Defeat Lady Lions

first_imgThe Batesville Girls Varsity Tennis team defeated Rushville 5-0 on Thursday.Alana Pinckley, Rachael Rose, and Audrey Weigel won in singles. Winners in doubles were the teams of Julia Hunter & Anna Kick at #1 doubles and Baylee Rohlfing & Corinne Stone at #2 doubles.Batesville JV also won 5-0.Sophie Brown won in singles while Maggie Walsman and Kate Poltrack won two doubles matches and the doubles teams of Maggie Schwettman & Jenna Ertel and Jenna Ertel and Sophie Brown won.The Varsity and JV are now 4-1 and 4-0 in the EIAC. They will travel to Greensburg on Tuesday at 5:00.Courtesy of Bulldogs Coach Mike McKinney.last_img read more

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