JT enters uncharted territory after dominant win

first_imgMEDINAH, Ill. – Thanks to a dominating weekend performance at Medinah Country Club, Justin Thomas will head to the Tour Championship as the man to beat. Thomas started the final round of the BMW Championship with a six-shot lead after shattering the course record with a third-round 61, and while things got a little more interesting than he would have preferred he still managed to win the season’s penultimate event by three shots over Patrick Cantlay. It means that Thomas, not Player of the Year frontrunner Brooks Koepka, will tee off at East Lake with a two-shot lead at 10 under using the Tour’s new staggered scoring format. Thomas bogeyed the opening hole Sunday, and he nearly found disaster on the par-5 10th when a double-crossed 3-wood was kept in bounds only after bouncing off a boundary fence. But the former world No. 1 steadied his nerve from there, curling in four birdies over his final eight holes to keep at bay the charges of Cantlay and third-place Hideki Matsuyama, who closed with a 63. The win was the 10th of Thomas’ career, and his first since the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational more than a year ago. “It’s been awhile,” Thomas said. “It’s always easy when things are going well. When your back is up against the wall, or when you get pressured or put a little heat on you, I think how you respond is sometimes a little bit better or shows a little bit more.” BMW Championship: Full-field scores | Full coverage | FedExCup standings Thomas won the FedExCup two years ago to cap a remarkable season that included five wins and his maiden major. Now he’ll begin the 30-man event with a quantified advantage, two shots clear of Cantlay, three clear of third-place Koepka and 10 shots ahead of Nos. 26-30 in the standings. “Definitely beats the position I was in at the beginning of this week,” Thomas said. “I can certainly say, a thousand percent, I’ve never slept on a Wednesday lead. But I’m definitely excited for that, and I’m just going to try to win the golf tournament as if everybody starts at zero.” Thomas suffered a wrist injury earlier this year, one that led him to withdraw from both the Wells Fargo Championship, where he won his PGA title, and the PGA Championship at Bethpage. Thomas expressed at the time that those decisions were made out of an abundance of caution, and that strategy appears to have paid off based on the torrid stretch with which he has closed the season. Thomas has channeled his 2017 form in recent weeks, finishing T-12 or better in each of his last four starts. And that was before he bent Medinah to his will, shooting 15 under par over his final 36 holes on a course with a major pedigree. “I just kept telling myself I was beating everything by six through three rounds with a very mediocre Friday,” Thomas said. “I felt I was playing better than everybody else, and I felt that I was and I felt that I was good enough that I was going to be just fine. You’re going to have bogeys.” Now Thomas will make the trek south to Atlanta, where two years ago he won the season-long prize but not the Tour Championship title. With the two trophies now unified under the Tour’s new scoring format, he’s eager to head into uncharted waters equipped with an enviable position at the top. “I truly have no idea. There’s nobody in the history of this sport that has experienced it, so nobody knows,” Thomas said. “I don’t know if it’s going to be weird. It’s going to be different, I know.”last_img read more

Mild air reaches East Coast as busy weather pattern develops

first_imgABC NewsBy DANIEL MANZO, ABC News(NEW YORK) — The mild air continues to build across the Central U.S. and will expand into the parts of the East Coast on Tuesday.On Monday, many cities across the Central U.S. were nearly 20 degrees or higher above average. Chicago hit 62 degrees — a full 19 degrees above their average — while Kansas City hit 73 degrees, which is 21 degrees above average for the city. Denver reached 69 degrees, which is 17 degrees above average, and Sioux Falls made it to 66 degrees, just shy of their record of 69 degrees.Record highs are possible Tuesday across the upper Midwest and into parts of the high Plains from the Texas Panhandle to northern Minnesota.Afternoon temperatures could be up to 30 degrees above average with widespread temperatures in the 70s and even the 80s expected in the Central U.S. and even northern locations like Minneapolis and Chicago will be in the 60s.On Tuesday, the mild air expands into parts of the East and there is a forecast high of 62 in New York. The last time New York was in the low 60s was in December.For the Northeast, however, this is only the beginning. Temperatures will head into the upper 60s, and maybe even some 70s, on Thursday and Friday making this easily the warmest air since November for the region.Unfortunately, the stretch of mild and relatively calm weather across the U.S. is about to end as a Pacific storm will bring much needed rain and snow to California on Tuesday.Locally, over 1 inch of rain will be possible in Los Angeles through Thursday which could cause some flooding and debris flows in the area.In the Southern California mountains, locally up to foot of snow will be possible.As this storm slowly moves inland, it will spread snow into other parts of the intermountain West with locally over a foot of snow possible across the mountains.Meanwhile, on Wednesday and into Thursday, a new storm will quickly develop and race north in the Central U.S.This storm will bring snow to parts of the northern Plains, including places that are in the 60s and low 70s Tuesday. All snow should stay north and west of Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Minneapolis.The storm will also set off some severe weather across parts of Kansas and northern Oklahoma on Wednesday evening and gusty winds and hail will be possible.Then on Friday and Saturday, the storm from California will move into the southern Central U.S. and likely become a wide ranging impactful storm.The impacts include a potential major snowstorm for Colorado where temperatures Tuesday are well into the 60s across the front range.Additionally, there will likely be a multi-day severe weather threat in the southern Plains, including the threat for tornadoes while more rounds of rain will spread across Oklahoma to Indiana which could cause flooding.Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Homeland Security Has Aides Immunized Before Attending NASCAR Events

first_imgThompson said the immunizations are commonly recommended for people working in hospitals, holding centers and similar locations. I have never heard of immunizations for domestic travel, and as the representative for Concord, N.C., I feel compelled to ask why the heck the committee feels that immunizations are needed to travel to my hometown, Hayes said in an Oct. 5 letter to Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., who chairs the Homeland Security panel. I might have been a little skeptical about this visit coming in, but these folks worked, Walker said. Staff who organized the trips advised the NASCAR-bound aides to get a range of vaccines before attending hepatitis A, hepatitis B, tetanus, diphtheria and influenza. The four aides were asked to explore public health issues at events involving large masses of people, such as how law enforcement and medical personnel would respond to an act of terrorism or other emergency involving so many people. Lawmakers weren t part of the trip. Lauri Wilks, vice president of communications for Speedway Motorsports, which owns Lowe s and other tracks, said Wednesday immunizations aren t needed for the race. Getting a hepatitis shot is standard procedure for travelers to parts of Africa and Asia, but some congressional aides were instructed to get immunized before going to Lowe s Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., and the racetrack in Talladega, Ala. (c) 2007, The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.). The House Homeland Security Committee planned a fact-finding trip about public health preparedness at mass gatherings and decided to conduct the research at two of the nation s most heavily-attended sporting events, NASCAR s Bank of America 500 event this weekend and the UAW-Ford 500 last weekend. The staffers traveled to Talladega last weekend, and are scheduled to be at Lowe s Motor Speedway this weekend. There s no health risk that we know of, she laughed. We have never had any disease outbreak during one of our weekends. Since committee staff members are visiting hospital and other health-care facilities available at or near these venues, including areas where groups of people are detained before being transferred to other off-site facilities, I believe that the recommendation (not requirement) that our congressional staff receive these same immunizations was sound, Thompson said in a letter responding to Hayes issued Wednesday. Rep. Robin Hayes, a Republican from Concord, took umbrage when he heard about it. WASHINGTON NASCAR fans might seem rabid, but are they actually contagious? He said the aides went on patrols with law enforcement, toured facilities and interviewed first responders, hazardous materials teams and other operations officials. I am sure you would agree that providing immunizations to personnel involved in public safety is good public health policy, and there is no need to exclude staff from taking the preventative measures that the public health community recommends – regardless of why and where mass gatherings are taking place, Thompson said in the letter. Walker said he hadn t recommended the immunizations, nor were they necessary. He suggested a possible health risk to them was the voluminous notes they took. I have been to numerous NASCAR races, and the folks who attend these events certainly do not pose any health hazard to congressional staffers or anyone else, Hayes added. Jim Walker, Alabama s director of homeland security, said the Congressional committee aides who visited Talladega worked hard. He said they were trying to determine whether the state and federal emergency response system was equipped to handle weather-related, public-health or terrorist incidents at a sporting event that draws more than 300,000 people, many of them camped out for days. I m sure they needed to soak their wrists, they wrote so much, he said. Visit The Charlotte Observer on the World Wide Web at http://www.charlotte.com/last_img read more

Woman Starts Angel Factory in Basement Raising $1Mil for Cancer Research

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore29 years ago a woman made a stained glass angel for a friend battling cancer. Now, her home has become a stained glass factory, with 90 volunteers producing tens of thousands of hand made angels for patients around the globe.More amazing, one million dollars in proceeds from these angels has gone to Johns Hopkins cancer research, buying intricate equipment and funding studies.WATCH the Making a Difference video from NBC News… AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMorelast_img

Watching This Hummingbird Mama With Her Newborns is Just What We Needed on Mother’s Day

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreJust as the quarantine was starting to drag down Angela Elsey, she noticed a hummingbird nest right outside her kitchen window and was able to watch the babies grow from eggs to hatchlings—being fed by their mom—and then leave the nest as fledglings.Normally, the San Jose, California woman enjoys interacting with human newborns—as a volunteer in the neo-natal intensive care unit at Good Samaritan hospital. Her “cuddlers group” has not been able to volunteer for a couple of months now, so Angela began eagerly sending periodic video updates of the cute and teeny baby hummingbirds so they could get their “tiny baby fix”.“We were all missing the preemies—and a lot of the cuddlers wrote to say how much they enjoyed seeing the hummingbird babies. One woman wrote, ‘Can we come to your house to cuddle your baby birds?’ and it was hard to resist the temptation!”In this video, the mama is feeding hatchlings that are a few weeks old. The nest opening is about the size of a quarter.– Angela ElseyAngela referred to the hatchlings as “the twins”—and even named them.“I named the babies after the characters Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth in the Jane Austen novel Persuasion.”“Watching them was a break from worrying about the current situation, since they were oblivious to the pandemic raging around them. And it was such a joy to see those little eggs, then those tiny babies and watch them grow.”(WATCH the video below…)SEND These Hummingbirds to Fly From One Social Media Friend to Another…AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMorelast_img read more

Husband tried to hang me with bedsheet, Trinidad teen alleges

first_imgA 25-year-old Barrackpore man who allegedly battered his teenage wife, then attempted to hang her with a bedsheet, appeared in court yesterday charged with attempted murder. Darren Mohammed, a painter and labourer, of New Colonial Road, appeared before Senior Magistrate Debra Quintyne in the Princes Town First Magistrates’ Court. The charge, laid by Constable Tambie of Barrackpore Police Station, alleges that on November 21 Mohammed beat Amanda Mootilal, 18, and threatened to kill her, said police prosecutor Sergeant Krishna Bedassie. Bedassie told the court that the alleged incident occurred at the couple’s home, where he allegedly cuffed and slapped Mootilal. Mohammed is alleged to have tied a bedsheet around her neck and attempted to hang the teenager. Mohammed’s attorney, Ravi Bunsee, applied for bail on the grounds that his client had no previous convictions. However, the prosecutor objected to the application because of the violent nature of the offence and for fear that the victim would be interfered with. Quintyne upheld the objection and denied bail. Mohammed was remanded into custody until December 10. Attorney Petronilla Basdeo also informed the magistrate that she is seeking a fiat to prosecute the case against Mohammed. Basdeo also appeared on the teenager’s behalf in an application for a protection order against Mohammed. The application was heard before Magistrate Avason Quinlan in the Second Court.An interim order was granted and the case was adjourned to December 2. Basdeo has also arranged for Mootilal, the mother of a two-year-old, to meet with a counsellor.Meanwhile, the National Self Help Commission has confirmed receiving an application for assistance for Mootilal.The Commission’s chief executive officer Reynold Baldeosingh said Mootilal has been invited to apply to the Commission for a grant and, once she qualifies, she will be assisted in building a home.Trinidad Express 282 Views   no discussions Share Sharing is caring! Sharecenter_img Share Tweet NewsRegional Husband tried to hang me with bedsheet, Trinidad teen alleges by: – November 26, 2013last_img read more

Western Michigan Christian boys soccer team blanks Holland, finishes season with 17-2 record

first_img Displayed poorly Share Inappropriate / Offensive Report a problem This item is… Other Bestseller Shop Now × Other Not relevant FOX Sports: Stream live NFL, College Footbal… Twelve × × Other Bestseller 0 $22.99 Displayed poorly Inappropriate / Offensive ENDS IN (35309) Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Special… Add Comments (Max 320 characters) Report a problem This item is… Bestseller Inappropriate / Offensive Inappropriate / Offensive ENDS IN DEAL OF THE DAY ENDS IN Add Comments (Max 320 characters) Thank you! This will help us improve your ad experience. We will try not to show you such ads again. Not relevant $0.00 Report a problem This item is… Thank you! This will help us improve your ad experience. We will try not to show you such ads again. (8133) $14.99 Not relevant × Report a problem This item is… Add Comments (Max 320 characters) $9.99 Shares $19.29 $20.00$233.61 (32825) DEAL OF THE DAY Not relevant Not relevant Thank you! This will help us improve your ad experience. We will try not to show you such ads again. × Bestseller Inappropriate / Offensive Other DEAL OF THE DAY Thank you! This will help us improve your ad experience. We will try not to show you such ads again. DEAL OF THE DAY Share ENDS IN ENDS IN Report a problem This item is… Thank you! This will help us improve your ad experience. We will try not to show you such ads again. Thank you! This will help us improve your ad experience. We will try not to show you such ads again. × (3879) Inappropriate / Offensive DEAL OF THE DAY (1445) Other Displayed poorly Add Comments (Max 320 characters) Displayed poorly Bestseller Bestseller Thank you! This will help us improve your ad experience. We will try not to show you such ads again. Report a problem This item is… × Sports Illustrated Add Comments (Max 320 characters) $0.00 Other Inappropriate / Offensive Report a problem This item is… Mail Not relevant Bestseller Bestseller (975) Displayed poorly (832) Add Comments (Max 320 characters) DEAL OF THE DAY ENDS IN ENDS IN Ads by Amazon Nuun Sport: Electrolyte Drink Tablets, Citru… Inappropriate / Offensive Add Comments (Max 320 characters) Lemedy Women Padded Sports Bra Fitness Wo… Report a problem This item is… DEAL OF THE DAY (5153) DEAL OF THE DAY ENDS IN × Add Comments (Max 320 characters) Other Displayed poorly NBC Sports Not relevant Other Displayed poorly Displayed poorly $0.00 LocalSportsJournal.comThe Western Michigan Christian boys soccer team continued its successful season, defeating Holland on the road Thursday night by a score of 3-0 to capture the Lakes 8 title.Brandon Fles, Tommy Tencate and Tyler VanBeek each netted a goal while Owen Alfree and Evan Fles each contributed an assist.The Warriors finish their season with a record of 17-2 overall and 8-0 in conference play. Not relevant Fox Sports Go Thank you! This will help us improve your ad experience. We will try not to show you such ads again. Ads by Amazonlast_img read more

Mission Driven

first_imgAfter a long career in loss prevention, including twenty-six years at Best Buy, Paul Stone, CFE, LPC, is now experiencing unparalleled results. Tempted out of semiretirement six months ago, Stone joined Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin as its vice president of security. “We have zero shrink,” he said, a smile in his voice. “It is, by far, the lowest I’ve ever had in my career.”Paul StoneHe’s joking. When you’re accepting and selling donated items, it’s impossible to know, really, how much diversion is going on. Traditional inventory tracking doesn’t exist. Valid shrink figures can’t be calculated. But while a standard performance metric may not apply, the importance of successful loss prevention is the same for a nonprofit as it is for any retailer—and perhaps more so. When LP leaders work for a cause-driven organization, revenue protection truly is “mission critical.”“Whether you’re at a big box store or a place like Goodwill, all of us in LP are trying to do the right things for our companies,” explained Larry Hartman, director of risk management, loss prevention, and safety at Goodwill Industries of Central Florida. “Usually that protection of assets is helping our companies’ sales. In our case, it’s providing the revenue we need to carry out our missions.”- Sponsor – Goodwill is a big operation. It has 161 member organizations, comprises 3,250 North American stores, and has approximately 130,000 employees. It’s the second-largest nonprofit in the US, serves 36 million people annually, and has helped put people to work since 1902. It is both ubiquitous and well regarded; yet, it can be oddly misunderstood.People typically know that there is charity going on behind the scenes—that good works are the driving force lurking behind its model—but the face of Goodwill is its retail locations. Its thrift store business is at the heart of its public image. So, for many people, there may not be much consideration of Goodwill beyond it being a good place to shop and a convenient way to get rid of clothes that no longer fit for a tax write-off.Mike KeenanUntil he got involved with Goodwill, Mike Keenan, CPP, CFI, LPC, said he had a very rudimentary picture of it. “But when you learn about all that they do and how they help people in need, it really blows you away,” said Keenan, who has led LP at Macy’s, Ross, and Gap and is now president of Mike Keenan and Associates, a retail loss prevention consulting company. Goodwill organizations routinely provide job training opportunities and job placement free to disadvantaged individuals. “I found it really fascinating, and I have been moved by the people whose lives I’ve seen changed,” he said.He was so moved, in fact, that his volunteer commitment to his local chapter has expanded significantly, and since April 2018 he has served as the chairman of the board of Goodwill Industries of the Greater East Bay, which serves Alameda, Contra Costa, and Solano counties in Northern California.Before his involvement, however, “I mostly thought of it as a donation drop-off place,” said Keenan. “I didn’t know much about the mission or what it did.”Regardless of geography or size of Goodwill territory, LP leaders we interviewed cited awareness and perception as a primary determinant of LP’s success. Theft depends significantly on the extent to which employees and members of the public equate Goodwill’s mission with its thrift-store items. If that connection doesn’t exist, then the items on store shelves or at donation drop-offs are someone’s unwanted items or junk—and, to many, freebies for the taking.“Philosophically, when you’ve got donated product coming in, people see it as free. And because of that ‘free’ notion, they are certainly tempted to take it,” explained Keenan. “The ‘free’ attitude permeates everything about inventory loss. When people think it’s free, they don’t treat it as carefully. You can get in nice glassware, and someone will just throw it in a box.”The “free” attitude toward donated items underlies risk for a nonprofit retailer. And it is partly why some struggle financially even though inventory truly is, well, free. “Every Goodwill on the planet should be profitable, but some struggle because they lack efficiency and execution—and because of theft,” said Keenan, who is taking aim at exactly those items in an effort to solidify the unsure financial footing of Goodwill of the Greater East Bay.Trying to alter the “free” mindset is at the core of Goodwill LP programs, but implementing culture change is in addition to—it does not replace—typical retail risks. Resellers pose a problem. Stores get hit by organized retail crime (ORC) gangs. Price switching—yes, price switching—is a common scheme. Goodwill stores also face other unique risks, such as the fact that store associates are often individuals who would never pass a background check at a major retail chain.Carlos GarciaIn short, Goodwill offers LP leaders a rewarding place to apply their talents, but it’s not easy work. “Thrift stores are a billion dollar business,” said Carlos Garcia, director of loss prevention for Goodwill Industries of South Texas. “But it’s also a million-dollar LP nightmare.”Southeastern WisconsinGoodwill Industries International (GII) provides its 161 member territories with consultation services, but they operate independently. Each one has its own leadership and decides for itself how best to run its business. There is support in the form of leadership seminars, including a summer conference that offers loss prevention leaders from the different territories an opportunity to learn from one another, but each decides the extent to which loss prevention is a priority and how to go about it. “Each territory decides for itself whether or not to have a security team or a safety team and determining what size those departments should be in order to best support the mission in that community,” explained Paul Stone.The core mission of empowering people through employment is at the foundation of all Goodwill organizations, but the mission services in support of it vary widely. Job training and placement services are common, but a Goodwill region may operate a laundry, a military-base cafeteria, a car wash, or a stenography college. The result is that Goodwill loss prevention operations—including risks, technology, and controls—vary significantly. Some take time to put UPC codes on merchandise, while some try to put goods on the floor within the hour. Some territories have mature LP departments, with all the bells and whistles of any major retailer. Some don’t have an LP department at all.Stone now leads LP for one of the largest Goodwill organizations, a twenty-three-county territory that includes southeastern Wisconsin and metropolitan Chicago and has over 100 locations, including sixty-nine retail stores and more than 6,100 employees. He heads the retail asset protection and corporate security programs, operates a traditional safety operation, and oversees a medical services team. He leads business continuity and crisis management, and he’s starting a fraud management unit. As part of asset protection, he has security responsibilities related to supply chain, warehousing, and e-commerce.While they do purchase some after-season goods from retailers, the bulk of items it sells online and in retail stores come from donations—and that’s where the potential for loss starts. Employees sort the items, get them ready for sale, and direct merchandise appropriately, either to the secondary market, stores, online, or waste. “The goal is to preserve the revenue. We embrace the total loss concept and try to contribute in other ways, and cost control is certainly one,” said Stone.Six months in, Stone thinks they’re off to a good start. “We’ve worked with a number of our vendors and have gotten them to sharpen their pencils a little bit and have had some early success,” he said, noting that he’s looking for opportunities where LP can add value to an already-effective operation. “Our Goodwill team had already done a terrific job of maximizing donations. Very little ends up being waste.”Although electronic article surveillance isn’t seen as viable—slowing down operations too much—Stone has other LP technology tools in play, including point-of-sale (POS) systems with exception reporting and video surveillance. LP agents rotate throughout the territory’s retail locations, and Stone is looking at increasing their visibility to improve customer satisfaction and retention and to prevent theft. “We’re looking at more visible security agents versus undercover agents, and having them there at critical times, to further stop ticket switching.”While the reward for thieves is generally lower, they employ price switching at Goodwill just like they do at for-profit retailers, said Stone. What’s often different is that after they are caught and banned from a store for a time, they come back as honest shoppers. Such is the loyalty of a Goodwill customer. “We see a number of customers switching price tags and taking a chance to save one, two, or three dollars,” said Stone. “If it was me, and I was caught, I’m not going to go back to that store. But they love to come in, so they come back as shoppers looking for that great find.”Because getting donations to the sales floor is mission critical, employee training and awareness take on heightened meaning, said Stone. “We let them know that revenue we generate drives our mission and that to provide folks with work we need to safeguard those donations.” They drive the point during new employee orientations, in-store training, town hall meetings, morning store safety meetings, and with visuals reminders like emails and break room posters. “It can be difficult for employees and customers to view a donation as valuable because it didn’t cost anything. But there is a cost to process it, store it, and move it. There is a cost to accepting it into the system,” Stone said. “Many Goodwills have incredible safety programs and have done a terrific job of opening communication channels and providing consistent messaging on a continual basis.”Southern PiedmontGreg HawesInternal communications also plays an important role in preventing theft and protecting workers at Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont, which covers Charlotte and an eighteen-county area in North Carolina. Most recently, for example, the LP department ran a campaign to warn and instruct staff on the upcoming “cold, flu, and robbery season,” according to Greg Hawes, its loss prevention services manager. Without LP agents positioned in its twenty-five retail locations, every team member is taught that he or she is part of the loss prevention program and that safeguarding the mission depends on them to observe and report loss. “They are the eyes and ears of the LP department,” explained Hawes. “Retail store members have developed and maintain a good rapport with our regular customers, who report suspicious activity to store management, who in turn report it to loss prevention.”External education also serves an important loss prevention function, according to Hawes, who was hired in 2003 when the LP department was in its infancy. “A lot of people know we have stores, but one of our challenges has been to let everyone know what our mission is and how our donations fund our mission.” Promoting the message to the community and educating shoplifters has been part of that effort.Still, Hawes said they have shoplifters every day, including instances of individuals running out with carts full of merchandise. And robberies committed by gang members are a real, ongoing threat. Without LP staff in the store to provide deterrence, Hawes said they rely significantly on technology and are in the midst of a five-year plan to transition to HD cameras, so they can better secure evidence for prosecutions that will stick and to reduce civil liability claims. They’ve also successfully tested and have begun installing cameras equipped with license plate recognition capabilities, with a plan to expand its use at retail locations to solve cases and hit back at gangs and individuals that repeatedly target Goodwill stores. “This captures the license plate of the vehicle involved. Then we investigate how the suspect is associated with the owner of the car, and give the information to police to follow up on and move the investigation forward.”At donation drop-off points, Hawes said he is trying out two-way talking cameras. Triggered by motion detection, a pre-recorded message plays to engage individuals and to discourage after-hour “drop and shop,” where people leave one donation bag and take home three. This aggressive implementation of security technology has been critical to the LP department’s success, as has support from his senior leadership, for prosecuting offenders and technology resources, Hawes added.Although an uptick in internal theft has been noted recently, Hawes said they’ve been able to reduce employee theft 60 percent from its high watermark and, thanks to enforcement of strict cash handling procedures, have had only one case of a manager taking cash. Hawes credits education for preventing theft by store associates. “We focus a lot on personal decision-making in our presentations and strive to hit hard the importance of making ‘mission-minded’ decisions.”It helps, but LP also relies on deterrence through internal investigations. Using exception reporting tied to stores’ video surveillance systems, LP staff has the ability to flag unusual activity, such as lower-than-average cash intake by a certain cashier, and to review associated footage to see if it’s because he or she is engaging in sweethearting or other fraud.With a shrink metric unavailable, the LP department looks at its number of reported thefts, store performance/sales, and the number of donations recorded to monitor its performance. “Our company looks at loss as anything that takes resources away from our mission, whether it’s a slip-and-fall or negligence that results in damaging our property,” said Hawes. “If it takes away from delivering on our mission, it’s a loss.”South TexasBefore he accepted his job in 2011 as director of loss prevention for Goodwill Industries of South Texas, Carlos Garcia remembered one occasion when he dropped off a donation. “I left the item, and in my rear-view mirror, as I’m driving away, I saw someone else putting it on their truck,” he said. “I knew that dilemma was something I was going to have to deal with.”Although he knew of some challenges that awaited him, Garcia said he did not exactly realize what he was signing up for. In the Goodwill’s forty years of operation, it never had a loss prevention department. Stores had museum-grade cash registers, no POS systems, and no video surveillance.That’s changed significantly, however. In addition to a new POS system, they embarked four months ago on a new UPC product labeling process that provides visibility into the merchandise stores sell. “We don’t know exactly what brands are sold, but it does tell us, for example, that we sold 150 blouses on this day,” said Garcia. “At least we now know what type of items we’re selling.”Like other Goodwill LP directors, Garcia has focused on education to drive down theft. His message is amplified by the fact that the Texas penal code enhances a theft offense by one level when the victim is a nonprofit. “If someone steals a $10 pair of shoes, they still have to post a $3,500 bond,” said Garcia. The agency has used social media to get the word out to potential shoplifters and backs it up with a willingness to prosecute. Employees also are warned during orientation. “The hardest part I’ve had is changing the culture and public perception of donated goods as something they can take because someone else is giving it away,” said Garcia. “It’s changing but gradually.”Data reflects the progress. They’ve increased sales, for example, and internal theft, which resulted in ninety employee apprehensions during Garcia’s first year, has trended down to thirty or forty per year. Still, two recent theft cases involving cashiers—caught failing to ring-up merchandise—had values over $7,000. “Unfortunately, it’s a really tough thing. Even with orientation, training, and prosecutions, some employees still take the bait knowing that we’re limited in [our ability to track inventory].” External theft is equally stubborn. “A lot of the issue I have is with resellers, other thrift businesses, flea markets. We’re a prime target of those type operations,” said Garcia.Working with law enforcement has been extremely beneficial, but cooperation was hard earned. Even with his law enforcement background, Garcia said he found police initially unreceptive to requests for help in stemming after-hours donation theft. “At the beginning, they felt like if it was outside on a public sidewalk, then it was property that was open for whoever wanted to take it.”Area law enforcement is more supportive now and regularly works hand-in-hand with Garcia on sting operations. It has helped that they took law enforcement’s suggestion to improve signage at donation points to make it clear that left property is the property of Goodwill. It also helped to provide law enforcement with access to HD store cameras via a website and mobile app. “They can set up in our parking lot and dial in to see our cameras. It helps them if they’re working on a credit card fraud case or following someone, for example.” Finally, it doesn’t hurt that he has a law enforcement background and that the sheriff in Corpus Christi is a former Goodwill board member, Garcia acknowledged.For all its progress, LP at Goodwill of South Texas remains a small operation. Garcia carries the title of director, but he is a loss prevention department unto himself. Strictly limited in manpower, he leverages hotline tips from the public to focus his investigations. “We have a lot of good customers who are very protective of our mission,” he said.Central FloridaLike several others, Larry Hartman was attracted to the idea of using his LP experience to support a good cause. Also like others, his respect for Goodwill Industries is growing as he gains exposure to the full range of charity work it performs.Larry Hartman“As I am learning about the inner workings here and what they do to help people in need…it really is a very special organization,” said Hartman, who joined Goodwill Industries of Central Florida in August after a long stint at Burlington Stores, and Home Depot and Kmart before it. “And this was the right time in my career for this and the right fit for me personally.”Hartman sees a grassroots, bottom-up approach as the best path forward for loss prevention. “Theft undercuts the mission to help those in need. I’m focusing on trying to remind employees that every donated item is designed to help people overcome challenges,” he said. “We’re really trying to drive that emotional connection between our donations and our mission.”Included in its culture change initiative are employee awareness campaigns and a tip hotline, so employees have an avenue for reporting suspicions of theft. “That was something I saw that could be more active, and it’s something that I’ve had success with in the past.”He is also visiting stores and conducting focus groups with employees to offer them an opportunity to share concerns, frustrations, and ideas. His goal is to help the new campaign gain traction. “We’re trying to form partnerships with employees by being responsive to their concerns and having associates feel that they have a voice and an impact on the program. We’re asking them right out of the gate, ‘What are your frustrations? What can LP do to get your buy in?’”Without some other traditional LP tools, such as EAS, employee engagement becomes even more central to LP strategy, suggested Hartman. “My goal is to work with retail store employees on providing great customer service, which will help us protect assets and also drive sales,” he said. “We’re trying to get there through awareness and by getting workers to take great pride in their work.”Knowing that some employees may be tempted regardless, the organization has controls to prevent theft of higher-end items, which are typically sent to a central facility. There, merchandise is kept under lock and key until it is sold through its e-commerce platform, where it typically fetches a higher price. “There is always a risk of theft, so we are sure that work is very well supervised,” said Hartman. “But if someone is thinking about taking jewelry or something like that, we want to get them to think about the lives they’re going to impact with their decision. We want them to understand that anyone can face the same uncertainty that the people we help are facing-that this could be you or someone you love.”Greater East BayAs the new chairman of the board of Goodwill Industries of the Greater East Bay, LP veteran Mike Keenan is, not surprisingly, directing the organization to make theft prevention a greater priority. The goal is to boost its profitability. “The number one profit drain is theft,” he said.With nearly 50 percent of sales going to resellers, Keenan sees substantial risk from collusion with employees. “It’s very easy for an owner of a store that sells collectibles to tell the guy behind the counter that if any Stars Wars items come in to let him know, and that he’ll buy it on the side from him.”These items are exactly the ones that can make or break a Goodwill’s financial fortunes. If sold in an online auction, they can command a substantial price. “You can’t measure success with shrink or loss, but what I’ve told my group is that with effective LP, we will see an increase in sales because more of the best product will be available,” said Keenan. “But many of the most expensive donations never make it to the store or on e-commerce. The most valuable stuff has gone right into people’s pockets.”Training employees to funnel donations to the platform where they can fetch the best price is important, and so is addressing theft at the point of donation, including video surveillance and integrity shops to assess if valuable donations make it into the sales pipeline. “I’m a firm believer that you publicize the program so that people have to wonder when something comes in if it might be a test and worry that they’d be caught if they didn’t turn it in.”To reduce temptation, Keenan is trying to attach a value to every donation in the minds of employees; for example, each donated item contributes $5.33 to providing services. Identifying a specific value—calculated by a finance team and promoted to employees—helps workers make that critical connection. “It can be two dollars or five dollars, but you want to put some value to every donation, so people can understand that it is what funds the mission,” he explained.Attaching a monetary value to donations creates a deterrent and helps drive a successful shrink-reduction program. It also avoids other problems. When employees don’t equate a donation with a value, Keenan explained, they’re more likely to send a good product to salvage, less likely to protect it from damage, and may simply throw it away. Keenan also believes in expanding avenues for employees to report loss control issues, including the ability to provide confidential tips and offering incentives for doing so. He also sees store leaders as critical for driving loss control into the organizational culture and believes store visits have to include questions on loss control issues.Keenan acknowledges that he sees everything through an LP lens, but he believes it is serving him well as he steers his Goodwill organization in a more profitable direction.“I was always involving myself in the entire retail experience and tried to understand how LP fit into the entire picture, so I felt well prepared with my experience to direct the entire enterprise,” said Keenan. “Plus, if you don’t pay attention to LP, then you’re going to get hammered from a business point of view.”What Keenan was unprepared for, however, was the extent to which Goodwill was going to sink its hooks into him. “I initially joined back when I was with Gap because they were encouraging people to serve on local boards,” he said. “I thought about Goodwill and figured, ‘I’m a stores guy. They have stores. It’s probably a good fit.’”He didn’t expect his commitment level to grow so substantially. But when you see lives being completely transformed, it’s easy to get pulled in, he suggested. Plus, it has been a chance to show that an LP guy can make a positive difference when given the chance to run the entire operation. That the organization is already on the path to profitability, after just six months, is nice validation. “That’s been kind of fun,” he said. Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

Posterous Adds Custom Domains

first_imgInstead of mucking about in the guts of your personal branding engine, this push-button domain machine avers to do it all for you. A big deal? Just a deal of modest proportion, in keeping with the simplicity the service emphasizes. Tumblr, Posterous’ biggest competitor, also offers custom domains but not through its own site and not integrated with Google. Posterous, the integrated small blogging platform, announced the debut of one-stop custom domain registration today. A new “domain purchasing feature” provides a one-click on-site way to avoid what Posterous’ Vincent Chu called “the geeky details” of securing and applying a personal domain to your account. “After you’ve purchased your own domain, we also make it super easy to set up your own personalized email boxes, calendars, and wikis using Google Apps.” Tags:#Blogging#Google#web A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting curt hopkins Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…last_img read more

Guidance Issued Regarding User Fee Exemption for Employee Plans Determination Letter Applications (Notice 2017-1)

first_imgCCH Tax Day ReportThe IRS has provided guidance on the circumstances under which the IRS will treat an application for a determination letter as being filed within a qualifying open remedial amendment period. The guidance reflects changes made to the determination letter program and remedial amendment period rules in Rev. Proc. 2016-37, I.R.B. 2016-29, 136.The IRS will treat an application for a determination letter as being filed within a qualifying open remedial amendment period if the plan was first in existence no earlier than January 1 of the tenth calendar year preceding the year in which the application is filed (10-year rule). Further, an application that satisfies the requirements for the user fee exemption, but does not meet the requirements for the 10-year rule, may be filed without a user fee; however, the application must include a statement describing how the application satisfies the exemption under Code Sec. 7528(b)(2)(B).The guidance generally applies to all applications for determination letters that are filed on or after January 1, 2017. Notice 2002-1, 2002-1 CB 283, is amplified. Notice 2011-86, I.R.B. 2011-45, 698, is obsoleted.Notice 2017-1, 2017FED ¶46,203Other References:Code Sec. 7528CCH Reference – 2016FED ¶42,816Y.10Statement of Procedural Rules Sec. 601.201CCH Reference – 2016FED ¶43,360.031CCH Reference – 2016FED ¶43,360.205CCH Reference – 2016FED ¶43,360.2112CCH Reference – 2016FED ¶43,360.2113Tax Research ConsultantCCH Reference – TRC RETIRE: 51,400last_img read more