A new digital product, Vouch, has been created to ‘revolutionise the tenant application process for letting agents’.Vouch uses technology to simplify and improve the efficiency of the application process, helping letting agencies to save time and money, claiming that it will help letting agents to save between 65 – 85 per cent against typical referencing costs.The app is an initiative of Simon and Jaime Tillyer, alongside Jaime’s sister Lynsey and husband Kevin Gaskell, who run a Sheffield property agents Shefflets and initially came up with the concept for use within their own business.Director of Vouch, Simon Tillyer said, “Having spent years building a strong growing agency in the North, we are delighted to bring Vouch to the market. We have the experience to know that this will be of real value to agencies across the UK.We look forward to seeing other agencies across the U.K. benefit from using the technology, which we hope can help increase profit margins without the need for customers to bear the brunt of the costs.”A subscription to Vouch costs £100 PCM, regardless of the size of agency, and includes full use of the system and the first 15 applications. Additional applications cost £5 each.http://vouch.co.uk proptech lettings new technology app digital products Vouch December 21, 2017The NegotiatorWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles Letting agent fined £11,500 over unlicenced rent-to-rent HMO3rd May 2021 BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Home » News » New app will ‘revolutionise’ tenant application process previous nextProptechNew app will ‘revolutionise’ tenant application processThe Negotiator21st December 20170638 Views
Canvassers Charged In Fake, Fraudulent Voter RegistrationsIL for www.theindianalawyer.comTwelve employees of a Democrat-linked group focused on mobilizing black voters in Indiana are accused of submitting fake or fraudulent voter registration applications ahead of last year’s general election in order to meet quotas, according to charging documents filed Friday.Prosecutors allege that 11 temporary workers employed by the Indiana Voter Registration Project created and submitted an unknown number of falsified applications. According to a probable cause affidavit, a supervisor for those canvassers, Holiday Burke, was also charged, as was the group.Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said State Police found no evidence of voter fraud or voter suppression and that the charges against the workers arose from “a very bad, ill-advised business practice” of setting canvassers what appears to be a daily quota.The Indiana Voter Registration Project’s effort to register primarily black voters was overseen by Patriot Majority USA, which has ties to the Democratic Party, including Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and former President Bill Clinton.Patriot Majority has denied any wrongdoing. Spokesman Bill Buck on Friday declined to comment.State Police began investigating the group in August after a clerk in Hendricks County near Indianapolis flagged about a dozen registration forms that had missing or suspicious information. That investigation expanded to 56 counties where Patriot Majority said it had collected about 45,000 voter registration applications before last November’s election.All 12 defendants face one count each of procuring or submitting voter registration applications known to be false, fictitious or fraudulent. Eleven of them face one perjury count each, while the 12th — their supervisor — faces one count of counterfeiting.If convicted on all the charges each defendant faces up to 2 ½ years in prison.The Indiana Voter Registration Project faces the same charges as the supervisor. If convicted, the group could face a fine of $10,000.During the campaign, then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, raised the possibility of a “rigged” election. They offered no proof. Patriot Majority meanwhile asked the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights division to determine whether the police investigation was an attempt to suppress black voters.In October, Curry, a Democrat, urged all sides to tone down the rhetoric.The investigation found workers had submitted bogus applications on behalf of nonexistent residents, submitted new applications for people who were already registered, and at least one application was submitted on behalf of a minor, he said.A search warrant unsealed on Nov. 14 says some workers admitted to falsifying registrations, saying they faced the possibility of losing their temporary job if they didn’t register at least 10 new voters a day.The probable cause affidavit says supervisors told canvassers “to obtain their quota by any means necessary.” Canvassers were paid $10 an hour and worked five-hour shifts.“By giving someone a financial motive to (meet a quota) is what caused these canvassers to cut corners and do things that not only undermined the goal of having legitimate registered voters but led to a situation where we allege it bled over into criminal conduct,” Curry said.Patriot Majority President Craig Varoga said last year that canvassers weren’t paid according to a quota system and had been instructed that it is illegal to provide false information on voter registration forms.The search warrant indicates that Patriot Majority submitted several hundred voter registration applications that included false, incomplete or fraudulent information. The warrant’s contents allowed State Police to raid the Indianapolis offices of Patriot Majority USA in October.Curry said it’s unclear how many problematic applications were submitted, but that it was “a relatively small number.”FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmail
A memorial service celebrating the life of Paul Doty, founding director emeritus of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School and Mallinckrodt Professor of Biochemistry Emeritus, will be held on May 4 at 3 p.m. in the Memorial Church, with a reception immediately following at Loeb House. Visit the memorial website.
Read Full Story In sub-Saharan Africa, the burden of HIV/AIDS and malaria is disproportionately high and co-infection may be as high as 30 percent among HIV-positive populations in some African settings. Now, a new study by Harvard School of Public Health researchers and their colleagues working in Tanzania finds that HIV infection greatly increases children’s risk of developing malaria, and amplifies the frequency of the disease.“This study captures the most up-to-date association between HIV and the development of malaria among HIV-exposed children in sub-Saharan Africa,” said lead author Amara Ezeamama, a research fellow at HSPH. “Our findings support the need for a high level of adherence to malaria prevention measures by caregivers of HIV-exposed children. In addition, such children will benefit from proactive evaluation for malaria, and timely treatment when needed, as part of their routine healthcare.”By recruiting subjects in the community, the researchers were able to access a wider segment of Tanzanian society. They enrolled 2,387 newborn children of HIV-infected Tanzanian mothers in the study and followed them for two years at antenatal clinics in Dar es Salaam between 2004 and 2008. All babies received the drug cotrimoxazole for six months to protect against malaria infection, with children who were breastfeeding or HIV-positive continuing on the drug. All children presenting symptoms consistent with malaria were evaluated by study physicians and treated where necessary over the course of the study.The study will appear in the May 15, 2012 edition of The Journal of Infectious Diseases. Read abstract.The findings show that despite the use of cotrimoxazole to prevent malaria infection, and widespread breast feeding, which also has been demonstrated to be protective, HIV-positive children in the study population were 67% more likely to develop malaria than HIV-negative children. Among children who suffered at least one bout of malaria, HIV-positive children developed a second episode of malaria sooner than HIV-negative children.One limitation of the study was that the researchers were not able to control for the use of bed nets, which protect against bites from malaria-spreading mosquitos.The study’s findings show that HIV is a risk factor for the development of malaria. “Pro-active malaria disease prevention and treatment is needed for all children in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly those exposed to HIV in-utero in regions with substantial HIV and malaria overlap,” said Ezeamama. She and her colleagues call for future research to further evaluate the use of malaria-preventing drugs versus placebo among HIV-positive individuals using a randomized controlled trial.Other HSPH authors include Donna Spiegelman, professor of epidemiologic methods, Ellen Hertzmark, biostatistician, Ronald Bosch, senior research scientist, Christopher Duggan, associate professor in the Department of Nutrition, Rolan Kupka, adjunct assistant professor of nutrition, James Okuma, biostatistician, and Wafaie Fawzi, Richard Saltonstall Professor of Population Sciences and professor of nutrition.—Amy Roeder
They’re here. Native to East Asia, the so-called murder hornets were spotted in North America for the first time late last year and just again in May. The presence of the predators, which can grow as much as 2 inches in length, drew media attention because their frightening prowess at killing honeybees means they could adversely affect the supply of foods we consume that require pollination. Known officially as the Asian giant hornet, the species is capable of wiping out an entire hive in a matter of hours, decapitating bees with powerful mandibles and hauling away the thoraxes to feed their young. The hornets are less of a direct threat to humans, although they do kill about 50 people a year in Japan, where they are most prevalent. The Gazette spoke with Benjamin de Bivort, the Thomas D. Cabot Associate Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and James Crall, a postdoctoral fellow working in de Bivort’s lab. Both researchers study pollinators, like bees, and they shared their views on how much we should worry about the sightings in Washington state and British Columbia.Q&ABenjamin de Bivort and James CrallGAZETTE: Remind us, why should we care about what happens to honeybees?CRALL: Bees are incredibly important for human well-being, including both managed honeybees and wild bees. Put simply: About one in three bites of food comes from crops that depend on animals for pollination, and bees are the most important group of pollinators. The parts of our diet that depend on pollinators — including many fruits, nuts, and vegetables — are really nutritious. Losing pollinators means less healthy food and worse health outcomes for humans. Of course, beyond their role in food production, bees are incredibly important for preserving biodiversity, more generally.DE BIVORT: From a basic science perspective, honeybees are particularly interesting because they live in societies of tens of thousands of individuals. This high level of sociality offers advantages and challenges for them as a species. For example, they have evolved an extreme form of division of labor and behave in ways that are highly altruistic. At the same time, each individual honeybee is highly dependent on her sisters, so when the colony as a whole is unwell, it is very bad news for all the individual bees.GAZETTE: What were your initial reactions on hearing about the emergence of the Asian giant hornet here?CRALL: My first reaction was that I’m really glad entomologists in Washington state have been so proactive in setting a monitoring system to look for these hornets. My second thought, though, was that I wish people reacted this strongly to all the other threats that we know full well are wreaking havoc on bee populations, like climate change, and many aspects of industrialized agriculture, including pesticides.DE BIVORT: Yes, much depends on whether the wasps actually become established, meaning they reproduce to a stable, self-sustaining population size. I believe it’s rarely the case that an invasive species becomes established but is later eliminated through deliberate control measures. But if they do become established, then the honeybees will experience strong evolutionary pressures over the next years as they adapt to this new ecological interaction.,GAZETTE: What do you mean?DE BIVORT: If bees end up facing the hornets as a recurring threat, then any bees that happen to have comparative advantages against hornet attacks — like tougher exoskeletons or more sensitive olfactory systems to smell the hornet as it approaches — will have an evolutionary advantage and may outcompete more vulnerable bees. It’s even conceivable that bees here could evolve similar social defenses as bees that have been in ecological contact with the hornets for a long time.GAZETTE: So, what could this all mean for bees in the U.S.?CRALL: The hornet has been found just twice in North America — once in British Columbia and once in Washington state — in late 2019 and, so far, one has been found in 2020 so it’s likely at least some individuals survived through the winter. It’s not clear yet whether they have become established. And even if they become locally established where they were introduced, it’s not really clear how widespread they could become in the U.S. based on the kinds of climates they inhabit in their native range. So, at this point it’s really important to be monitoring — as is happening in Washington state — but I wouldn’t say they pose an imminent threat to bees.GAZETTE: Why more of a remote threat for wild bees?CRALL: Well, it’s not that I think honeybees are any more affected per se, it’s just that I think we know less about to what extent they prey on wild, native bees — of which there are 4,000 species in North America. Unlike domesticated honeybee colonies that usually have a beekeeper keeping close watch who may notice if a giant hornet comes to wipe out the colony, nobody is reporting when a solitary bee nest gets eaten. “Both wild bee populations and managed honeybees face a slew of critically important threats. … I think the giant hornet ranks well below all of these in terms of what keeps me up at night.” — James Call DE BIVORT: Another thing it could mean centers around stressors. Colony collapse disorder is the well-known phenomenon of colonies suddenly failing, which has both commercial and ecological impacts when it comes to domestic honeybees. It’s likely the result of many simultaneous stressors, each one of which is survivable, but in combination push a colony to the breaking point. These stressors include mite parasites, viruses, environmental contamination, and pesticides. Adding a predatory wasp would likely contribute to this stressor load.GAZZETTE: Bees in Japan have a defense against these so-called murder hornets. What is it and why don’t ours?CRALL: The Asian honeybee has a remarkable defense against these hornets: Worker bees will collectively ball up around the hornet and heat their bodies up to a temperature — around 122 degrees Fahrenheit — that is lethal to the hornet, as well as to the bees themselves. This is, however, a different species of honeybee — Apis cerana — that is native to the same range as the giant hornet, so it has had time to evolve defense mechanisms. The common European honeybee — Apis mellifera — that is introduced and widely managed in the U.S. has not co-evolved with this hornet, however, and so hasn’t evolved effective defenses.DE BIVORT: To me this reiterates how the strong sociality of bees is so relevant to their evolution and ecology. It isn’t possible for solitary bees to mount this particular defense. At the same time, a nest with just one bee isn’t nearly so tempting a prize for a predator as a colony of tens of thousands of bees.GAZETTE: What are other threats the bee population has been facing and where do those rank with murder hornet threat?CRALL: Both wild bee populations and managed honeybees face a slew of critically important threats, including diseases and pests, land-use change, habitat loss, exposure to pesticides and other agrochemicals, and climate change — all of which can act together to exacerbate impacts on bees. I think the giant hornet ranks well below all of these in terms of what keeps me up at night.DE BIVORT: I agree, particularly since it remains uncertain if the hornets are a permanent addition to our North American ecology. The hornets themselves may very well be subject to similar environmental threats as the bees, considering the population declines seen broadly across insect species.Interviews were edited for clarity and length.
The Broadway-bound Oscar winner Cate Blanchett, along with six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald and more have been tapped to present at the 2016 Tony Awards. Broadway’s biggest night will take place on June 12 at the Beacon Theatre, hosted by Lion King favorite Tony winner James Corden.Other big names enlisted for the occasion include Oprah Winfrey, Steve Martin, Edie Brickell, Carole King, Audra McDonald, Saoirse Ronan, Patina Miller and Nathan Lane. Additional presenters will be announced soon.This year, Hamilton has broken the previous record for Tony nominations held by The Producers and Billy Elliot by one, picking up 16 nods. Eclipsed and The Humans have garnered the most nominations of new plays with six. Stay with Broadway.com for all the scoop from inside the room where it’s happening on June 12! Cate Blanchett(Photo: Steven Chee) View Comments Star Files Cate Blanchett
Urban trees tend to have shortened lives, some living no more than 50 to 80 years. Urban forests in many metro areas have started to mature and decline, and are very susceptible to trunk-rotting and buttress root-rotting organisms.Wood-rotting organisms can slowly nibble away at trunks and buttress roots. Trees often regenerate new, nonstructurally supportive feeder roots that mask the signs of structural root loss. Many trees that topple look perfectly healthy before they fall. Afterward, it becomes clear that there were absolutely no structural roots remaining for support.As a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agent in Rockdale County, I have seen many trees in Conyers, Georgia, with fungal conks (a sign of fungal infection) growing at their bases. The best time to scout for these symptoms is just after a long period of cool, wet weather.Buttress rootsThe “root collar” is where the roots meet the tree trunk. This area is critical in its function as the main link between the upright trunk and lateral roots. Trees are load-bearing structures and are designed to support great stress. Trees operate under the same physical principles of weight distribution as skyscrapers. Stress from wind on the aerial portion of the structure is transferred down to the foundation. Just as buttresses on medieval churches are an architectural feature designed to support the walls, the buttress roots of the root collar are designed to support the tree. The decay of root collar wood reduces the structural integrity of the tree.Adventitious roots are roots that arise from latent buds in wood in response to stress. As a tree slowly loses its main roots, it makes new feeder roots. Over the course of years, a tree can supplement root loss due to rot by creating these new, nonsupportive roots. Many fungi rot trees at the soil line. The following diseases are the most common and virulent in Southern hardwoods, especially oaks.Inonotus buttress rotThe most common buttress and root collar-rotting fungus of water oaks is Inonotus, Inonouis dryadeus or “the weeping conk.” It mostly affects oaks, but can affect conifers, too.Inonotus enters trees when a lack of tree vigor weakens the tree. In oaks, rot doesn’t occur much above ground level. Massive fruiting bodies start out as large, white, softball- to bowling-ball-sized “marshmallows” that ooze clear, yellow liquid containing spores. Wind and rain spread the spores in November and February.Scouting for Inonotus requires a sharp eye. After the “marshmallows” dry, they turn into woody structures that are difficult to discern from tree bark. The fruiting bodies can be seen when they are fresh, but once they dry, they become camouflaged. The fruiting bodies are perennial and grow to astonishing sizes.Ganoderma root rotOne of the most common buttress rots of Southern hardwoods is also one of the most beautiful native fungi of Eastern forests. Ganoderma lucidum is a fungus with fruiting bodies found on buttresses or exposed roots. It is active, aggressive and can seriously undermine tree integrity.Affected trees usually show rapid decline. The symptoms include shortened twig growth, off-color foliage and branch dieback. Signs of the disease first appear as reddish-colored varnished stalks emerging from the soil around infested trees. These fruiting bodies eventually flatten out on the top into a half moon-shaped bracket.Ganoderma invades physically damaged trees. Soil compaction, lawnmowers, vehicles, herbicides and other damage can expose trees to infection. Spores infect wounds and fungus spreads through the root collar and into roots, and it can spread through root grafts.Armillaria root rotArmillaria mellea, or the “shoestring root rot” or “oak root fungus,” is an aggressive tree pathogen. It causes 35 percent of tree deaths in North America. It is easily recognizable when it is fruiting by big bunches of 12-inch-tall, honey-colored mushrooms that grow from shallow roots or the root collar.Armillaria causes reduced tree growth, undersized chlorotic leaves and death. The fungus attacks in conjunction with other pests, like wood-rotting fungi in the main trunk and wood-boring insects. It kills trees and makes them more susceptible to invasion by buttress-rotting fungi.TreatmentInonotus, Ganoderma and Armillaria are preventable but not curable. Stressed, damaged and weakened trees are more susceptible, so prevention is key.Avoid planting trees in undersized spaces. Consider the ultimate size and choose trees that will not overgrow their space. Do not plant trees so close to structures that the roots will become restricted.Use care to prevent trees from suffering wounds, which become the entryways for fungi. Finally, care for mature trees properly and try to avoid poor tree vigor. Symptoms of decline include leaf drop, bark shedding, limb falls, poor leaf production, and size and cavities in the trunk. Proper fertility and water management will do more for tree health than any pesticide.If you find buttress-rotting fungal conks on your trees, call an International Society of Arboriculture-certified arborist and ask to have the tree evaluated for safety.
Civil Commitment Prevents the Release of Violent Sexual PredatorsMontpelier-Governor Jim Douglas has called on the legislature tocreate an end of sentence review process for sex offenders designed tothoroughly review the offender’s offense history, involvement and progressin sex offender treatment, and mental health status.The Governor said the review would include the possibility of involuntarycivil commitment to the Vermont State Hospital for those who have failedto complete treatment and who meet a legal definition of a sexuallyviolent predator to be established in the legislation.The sex offender registry bill championed by the Governor and victim’srights advocates in the last legislative session included a provisionsponsored by House Republicans requiring a committee to study civilcommitment and other enhancements of Vermont’s sex offender laws.”In June, we were all delighted when the bill passed and the legislaturejoined us in reaffirming and strengthening the rights of families all overVermont to protect their children and neighborhoods,” Douglas said. “Atthat time, Vermont took an important and necessary step in strengtheningits sex offender registry. Stronger sex offender laws give tools toparents and concerned citizens so they can be more aware of the locationof convicted sex offenders, especially sexually violent predators.”Governor Douglas added that an end of sentence review to evaluateconvicted sex offenders is a reasonable step that must be taken.”Last spring, we took an important step,” Douglas said. “Vermont must takeanother important and necessary step by ensuring that the most dangerousand violent sex offenders are not released into our communities until, andunless, there has been a determination that the offender does not pose adanger to the public. That is exactly what a civil commitment statutewould do.”
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享By Duncan Adams for the Roanoke Times:One partner in the controversial Mountain Valley Pipeline project informed investors that “competition for pipeline infrastructure within the Appalachian Basin is intense” and warned that lack of access to such infrastructure could drag down company earnings.EQT Corp.’s annual report, filed Feb. 11, said investments in affiliate EQT Midstream, one partner in the 301-mile Mountain Valley interstate pipeline, should help yield the infrastructure desired.Yet a study by a Cleveland-based think tank that promotes renewable energy contends that natural gas pipelines out of the Marcellus and Utica shale formations in the Appalachian Basin are being overbuilt.David Messersmith, an educator with Penn State Extension’s Marcellus Education Team, said he believes the truth resides somewhere in the middle.“There is clearly a need for additional pipeline infrastructure, although perhaps not as much as is currently proposed,” he said. “This is a market-driven process, and we are perhaps beginning to see the market correct itself regarding pipeline capacity.”He cited a recent decision by Kinder Morgan and subsidiary Tennessee Gas Pipeline to suspend the Northeast Energy Direct interstate natural gas pipeline project. A statement from Kinder Morgan said it decided to suspend the 420-mile, $3 billion project because not enough customers had signed on to ship gas through the pipeline.“It wouldn’t surprise me to see additional projects in the Marcellus-Utica basin canceled or put on hold,” Messersmith said.The study suggesting that pipelines are being overbuilt was published by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis at the request of Appalachian Mountain Advocates and Appalachian Voices, two nonprofit organizations opposed to both the Mountain Valley Pipeline and the separate Atlantic Coast Pipeline.Full article: http://www.roanoke.com/business/news/debate-over-overbuilding-raises-questions-about-pipeline-projects/article_8f5c9cec-447f-521e-b580-c9869e746723.html Will Pipeline Market Correct Itself to Address Overbuilding?
There are about 55,000 grizzly bears living in the wild in the United States. Most of those grizzly bears live in Alaska; only about 1,500 grizzlies total are left in the continental United States, mainly in Wyoming and Montana. But one bear is expanding his range into the Bitterroot ecosystem in Idaho and it’s the first time a grizzly has been documented in the region since 1932 (though in 2007 a hunter killed a grizzly on the outskirts of the Bitterroot recovery area.) The Asian long-horned tick is on the move The single grizzly bear has made his way down from Montana’s Cabinet Mountains, where it was released in 2018. He is wearing a tracking collar and has been spotted on wildlife cameras in remote areas of the Bitterroot recovery zone. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan designated this area a key grizzly population recovery zone and think it could support a population of up to 300 grizzlies. The Asian longhorned tick was first discovered in the United States in New Jersey in 2017, though it is suspected the tick has been in the United States since 2010. Since it was first discovered, the tick has spread to 12 states, including Pennsylvania and Maryland. The tick is native to regions that are similar to the northeastern United States, allowing it overwinter and survive in the region. More than 200 search and rescue personnel combed the dense, steep mountainsides where Lynch was last seen. Just hours before he was found, a searcher found Lynch’s hat and sunglasses about 1,600 feet off the Catalooche Divide Trail. A few hours later, Lynch responded to a searcher’s yells and was located. He was taken to Haywood Regional Medical Center and reunited with his family. Kevin Mark Lynch, the New Jersey man with dementia who disappeared from the grounds of his resort on the border of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, was found “alert and responsive” five days after he went missing. Lynch was located just ¾ of a mile from where he was last seen on the Catalooche Divide Trail, which connects the property of the Swag, the resort where Lynch was staying with his family, to the park. A lone grizzly bear returns to Idaho’s Bitterroot ecosystem for the first time in 80 years Man found in Smokies 5 days after he went missing The Asian longhorned tick has been found for the first time in the state of Delaware. The tick is known or suspected of carrying a number of pathogens or diseases that can affect humans, wildlife and livestock in other countries, where bites from the tick have made humans seriously ill. In the United States, there have only ever been two reported incidents of the tick attaching to humans and no disease transmission to humans or animals has yet been reported.