Pigeons Playing Ping Pong Announce AdultSwim Debut On ‘FishCenter’

first_imgPigeons Playing Ping Pong have a lot going on at the moment. The popular rock quartet from Baltimore has kept a busy schedule in being on tour since the start of the new year, and are gearing up for a run of shows leading up to their return to Red Rocks Amphitheatre with Twiddle and the Kitchen Dwellers on May 2nd following their appearance at SweetWater 420 Fest in Atlanta this weekend. On Friday, the band gave their fans an early weekend surprise when they announced they will make their AdultSwim debut when they appear on FishCenter next week.Related: Watch Pigeons Playing Ping Pong’s NPR Tiny Desk Contest Submission Featuring Miniature Ric Flair [Video]The announcement, which came in the form of a video and shared to the band’s social media outlets, features a computerized voice talking over a video of fish swimming around before graphics appear on screen with episode details. The band’s appearance on the show will take place this Monday, April 22nd, at 4 p.m.For those who may be unfamiliar, FishCenter is AdultSwim’s daily marine-themed call-in game show, hosted by Dave Bonawits, Andrew Choe, Matt Harrigan, and Max Simonet. The show features discussion over footage of various fish swimming in a fish tank, where they are ranked according to their points.Fans can tune in and watch Monday’s episode live on AdultSwim.com or via the AdultSwim app. Fans will also get the chance to watch the band’s late afternoon set from SweetWater 420 Fest on Sunday via the event’s free webcast going on all weekend. Head over to the band’s website for tickets to their upcoming performances.last_img read more

Leaders address winter break safety

first_imgKeeping students and their belongings safe before and during winter break are priorities for student government, student body president Patrick McCormick said Wednesday at the Community/Campus Advisory Coalition (CCAC) meeting. “We’re trying to do everything we can to make sure students aren’t soft targets,” McCormick said. Detective Sgt. Dominic Zultanski of theSouth Bend Police Department (SBPD)said police have been working with students to prevent crime and have had some recent success. “In the area alone just in the past three weeks, midnight patrol and afternoon patrol actually have caught two different guys that we thought had been pretty active in burglaries,” Zultanski said. “We’re doing what we can to keep them in jail, finding more cases.” As the holiday season hits its stride and parties abound before finals, Zultanski said to watch out for unknown people who claim they are cleaning up yards after parties or shoveling driveways. “What they’re actually doing is they’re just casing places out,” Zultanski said. “You’re going to see it now especially because of the cold months after parties, that doors are left unlocked because friends leave and people go to bed. “You have the people coming over to clean up the yards and the cups and what they’re doing is they’re actually knocking on the door to see if anybody comes to the door and that’s when you’re going to have a lot of your thefts — when they walk in and steal the laptops, right when people are sleeping on the couch.” If a situation arises where unknown persons knock on students’ doors or offer to clean their yards, Zultanksi suggested calling police officers to patrol the area to prevent potential theft. Zultanski also suggested noting the serial numbers on personal belongings so police officers can track them if stolen. Officer Scott Ruszkowski, also with the SBPD, said that even just marking belongings with the last four digits of a phone number in permanent marker could help police track and recover the items. He also suggested taking pictures of the items with camera phones. “You can show it to the officer when he or she arrives to take a report and then it gives Dominic and the other burglary guys something to look at,” Ruszkowski said. Once students leave South Bend for break, local community officials suggested leaving blinds closed, valuable possessions locked in bedrooms and house alarms on to prevent theft.  Ruszkowski suggested putting timers on lights and televisions to give the illusion that residents are around. “People think, ‘Oh my gosh. Somebody’s home,’ because there’s a TV on,” Ruszkowski said. “Believe it or not, that’s more huge than it isn’t.” Ruszkowski also recommended students ask friends or neighbors to shovel their sidewalks and driveways over break to make it look like people are home. “While you’re gone, if you can make arrangements to have your sidewalk or driveway plowed or shoveled to give at least the appearance that somebody is still there … it looks like somebody’s staying there,” Ruszkowski said. “I know it seems trivial, but believe it or not, that’s a big issue.” McCormick thanked the police officials for their suggestions and noted how valuable their support has been. “We’re just so grateful on the student side for the partnership that has been built in the sense that we can be partners in the effort to try to keep the community safe,” McCormick said. Notre Dame will also provide free storage options for students who want to leave their valuable possessions on campus over break, McCormick said. “[NDSP’s] Sergeant Keri Shibata is coordinating that, so we’re going to be in touch with the students before the break just making recommendations just to let people know that there is actually a safe room available on campus free of charge,” McCormick said.last_img read more

Walorski keeps U.S. House seat

first_imgIncumbent Republican Congresswoman Jackie Walorski defeated Democrat Joe Bock by about a 20 percent margin in the race to represent Indiana’s second Congressional District.The AP reports Walorski earned 85,119 votes, or 58.9 percent. Bock won 55,331 votes, or 38.3 percent.“It’s so humbling to stand here and see what just happened,” Walorski said in an acceptance speech delivered around 8:40 p.m. Tuesday in South Bend, WSBT reported. “I want to thank every single one of you because I’ve told you so many times — it’s your seat, it belongs to you — it’s not mine, it’s yours.”Sophomore Louis Bertolotti, director of political affairs for Notre Dame’s College Republicans said Walorski’s victory was the group’s “main success this year.”“We were very, very, very content with people able to get Jackie Walorski in for another term,” he said Tuesday night. “She did a great job down in Washington, and she’s going to keep doing it.“Joe Bock was not a very exciting candidate. People understood that, they really want what’s best for the county, for the district, and it’s all thanks to hard work and dedication, which is great.”The South Bend Tribune reported Bock expressed disappointment over the outcome, especially the impact of campaign finances. Walorski outraised him by more than $1 million and outspent him by a 2-1 margin, according to the Tribune.“Money is so dominant now in our political system it’s pathetic,” Bock said, according to the Tribune. “I can say I wish I would have had a better message or that I would have shook more hands, but the bottom line is I needed more money.”The AP reported Indiana re-elected all nine incumbent U.S. House representatives for the first time since 1986.“I’m just a small part in helping to turn this nation around, but I care so much — I love this district,” Walorski said, according to WSBT. “I said when I went to Congress I would take hard-working, Hoosier common sense and values, and I did. And I’m going to go back there with the same kind of passion and conviction that I carry on behalf of the greatest district in the United States of America. I’m going to go there and continue to fight for Hoosiers, fight for jobs, fight to get the government off the backs of our companies and to do what you elected me to do.”College Republicans officers and members involved with Election Day attended the victory celebration for Walorski. Senior Mark Gianfalla, president of College Republicans, said they were happy to see her success.“It just goes to show you that she’s doing a great job in the House, and they were rewarded in this district, which we’re happy to see,” he said Tuesday night. “The House leadership … had a lot of great things to say about her.“She’s done a lot for the local residents. … She goes to both sides of the aisle in voting and getting bills passed, which is fantastic.”Volunteers from the Bock campaign were less exuberant, but still expressed pride in Bock’s effort.“I think the Bock campaign put on a good fight,” College Democrats co-president junior Michelle McCarthy said. “I think this district has been real hard for a democrat to win … but I think Joe Bock tried to get at issues that are really important to a lot of Americans.“Jackie Walorski had a lot of money — you know, campaigns these days are so expensive … and that’s how politics works nowadays. But overall, I think it was a good campaign, and I’m really proud to have worked on it.”Tags: College Democrats, College Republicans, Election, Jackie Walorski, Joe Bocklast_img read more

Brooklynite ‘Poster Boy’ Matt Doyle on Spring Awakening College & More

first_img View Comments And what about the new guys in the cast? Nicolette Robinson is about to explode. She’s playing Astrolass, and there’s that sparkle and star quality about her as soon as she’s onstage. Everyone in that room has so many ideas—Ann Harada, Nick Cordero, they are so inventive and throwing things out there and it’s always funny. It’s a very silly, high-energy show, it’s a lot of fun and it’s highly stylized. We have a group of actors that are fearless and are ready to jump in and be clowns, which is remarkable. Who’s that guy sprinting all over the city in khakis and a cape? It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Matt Doyle! The Spring Awakening and Book of Mormon favorite is headlining Peter Lerman and Michael Mayer’s new pop-rock musical Brooklynite at the Vineyard Theatre, and after starring in numerous workshops and readings, Doyle couldn’t be more excited to soar off-Broadway beginning January 30. Broadway.com chatted with the self-proclaimed comic book nerd in rehearsal to get the scoop on the new superhero show. Tell me about your character. Who is Trey? He’s a hardware store clerk in Park Slope in Brooklyn. His parents died in a robbery, and his goal is to become a superhero. 10 years prior, an asteroid hit Brooklyn, and an element called Brooklynite turned six people into superheroes. So Trey, being a mad genius scientist, is dead set on recreating that element, Brooklynite. If you could have one superpower, what would it be? I love the idea of having healing power because so many things can come with that, it’s such a practical and cool superhero power to have. You can be fearless with that power. Were you ever like Trey, stuck in a day job you didn’t like? I was a production assistant for music videos and commercials at a production company, and I was so awful. I don’t have stage fright but I’m terrified of making phone calls to strangers, and that was mainly my job. I was on set when I got the job offer for Spring Awakening, and left. I just left! I was so bad, they were all like, “OK great, leave!” What’s it like to reunite with director Michael Mayer and a couple of your Spring Awakening buddies? Michael hired me eight years ago to do Spring Awakening, when I was 19, and I’ve changed so much as a performer since then. I have so much respect for him and he’s one of my favorite people to work with. And getting to work with Gerard Canonico and Remy Zaken again, it’s just amazing and emotional because we were kids together. For a lot of us during that time, Spring Awakening was our college experience. See Matt Doyle in Brooklynite at the Vineyard Theatre beginning January 30. Related Showscenter_img Brooklynite Have you always been obsessed with comics? When I was 11, I started writing a comic with a friend called “Superdude and Googolplex,” and I have volumes of them. My mom dug them up the other day. I’m a nerd, through and through. I love Star Wars, I love video games, I love comic books and I’m not ashamed of it! So this show is my greatest dream come true! OK, time for a lighting round of superhero questions. Ready? Hell yes! What music makes you feel like a superhero? I’m listening to Queen a lot right now—“I Want to Break Free” is my anthem, and I love “Under Pressure.” Hey, poster boy! What’s it like to see yourself flying all over NYC? It’s nuts! I hopped off the subway the other day with my sister and the poster was right in front of us and she flipped out. I’ve never been the poster boy, by any means. It’s cool because this show has been a long time coming. Peter [Lerman] wrote the first demo for this musical about four years ago, so just to see it finally happening, it’s overwhelming. Who’s your favorite superhero? I’m a big comic book nerd, and Rocket Raccoon from Guardians of the Galaxy is one of my favorite characters ever written. He’s an experiment gone wrong where he’s a raccoon with a human personality. He’s awesome, he’s my favorite guy. Show Closed This production ended its run on March 29, 2015last_img read more

Gloria & Emilio Estefan’s On Your Feet Begins B’way Previews

first_img Show Closed This production ended its run on Aug. 20, 2017 View Comments Related Shows Ready to “Conga?!” The upcoming bio-musical On Your Feet! will start performances on October 5. Directed by Tony winner Jerry Mitchell and starring Ana Villafañe as Gloria Estefan and Josh Segarra as Emilio, the tuner is scheduled to officially open at Broadway’s Marquis Theatre on November 5.On Your Feet! will feature a book by Alexander Dinelaris. Both well-known tunes and new music penned by the Estefans will be used to tell a story inspired by their life and musical legacy. Their hits include “The Rhythm is Gonna Get You,” “Conga,” “Words Get in the Way,” “1, 2, 3” and the Oscar-nominated “Music Of My Heart.”The cast will also feature Andréa Burns as Gloria Fajardo (Gloria’s mother), Alma Cuervo as Consuelo (Gloria’s grandmother), Alexandria Suarez as little Gloria and Noah Johnston as little Emilio.On Your Feet made its world premiere at the Oriental Theatre in Chicago this past summer. On Your Feet!last_img read more

Merchants Bancshares announces record results, net income up 51 percent

first_imgMerchants Bancshares, Inc (NASDAQ: MBVT), the parent company of Merchants Bank, has announced net income of $4.59 million and $8.42 million, or diluted earnings per share of $0.74 and $1.37 for the quarter and six months ended June 30, 2010, respectively. This compares with net income of $2.06 million and $4.97 million or diluted earnings per share of $0.34 and $0.82 for the same periods in 2009. Merchants previously announced the declaration of a dividend of $0.28 per share, payable August 12, 2010, to shareholders of record as of July 29, 2010. The return on average assets was 1.29% and 1.19% for the quarter and six months ended June 30, 2010, respectively, compared to 0.61% and 0.74% for the same periods in 2009. The return on average equity was 19.40% and 18.02% for the quarter and six months ended June 30, 2010, respectively, compared to 9.87% and 12.14% for the same periods in 2009.”This represents another record quarter for our company. Absent the net impact of securities gains and losses, net income is up 51% compared to the first six months of 2009,” commented Michael R. Tuttle, Merchants’ President and Chief Executive Officer.Merchants’ taxable equivalent net interest income was $12.90 million for the second quarter of 2010, and $25.32 million for the first half of 2010, compared to $12.41 million for the second quarter of 2009 and $24.77 million for the first half of 2009. Merchants’ taxable equivalent net interest margin was unchanged at 3.81% for the second quarter of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009, and decreased by seven basis points to 3.77% for the first half of 2010 from 3.84% for the same period in 2009. The margin for the first half of 2010 was negatively impacted by three basis points by the accelerated premium amortization related to the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac delinquent loan buy back program discussed in our first quarter earnings release.Merchants’ earnings for the second quarter and first half of 2010 were positively impacted by security gains and improvements in asset quality. Merchants recognized $503 thousand and $1.13 million in pre-tax security gains during the second quarter of 2010, and during the first half of 2010, respectively. As a result of improved overall credit quality Merchants reduced its provision for loan losses to zero for the second quarter of 2010, and $600 thousand for the first half of 2010, compared to $2.00 million for the second quarter of 2009 and $2.90 million for the first half of 2009. Merchants’ quarterly average loans for the second quarter of 2010 were $911.21 million, an increase of $15.23 million over the second quarter of 2009, and ending balances at June 30, 2010 were $895.82 million, a decrease of $22.72 million from 2009 year-end balances. The majority of the decrease at June 30, 2010 was driven by the seasonal influence of municipal cash flows; municipal loan balances increased to $54.25 million on July 1, 2010.The following table summarizes the components of Merchants’ loan portfolio as of the periods indicated: June 30, March 31, December 31, (In thousands) 2010 2010 2009 ———— ———— ————–Commercial, financial and agricultural loans $ 109,805 $ 109,352 $ 113,980Municipal loans 31,940 48,862 44,753Real estate loans – residential 435,070 433,579 435,273Real estate loans – commercial 279,958 281,135 290,737Real estate loans – construction 30,864 27,864 25,146Installment loans 7,387 7,276 7,711All other loans 795 801 938 ———— ———— ————–Total loans $ 895,819 $ 908,869 $ 918,538 ———— ———— ————–“Loan demand remained soft during the first half of 2010; in addition, many of our existing customers are continuing to pay down debt. At the same time we have also chosen to reduce our exposure to certain credits. However, the new business pipeline is at the highest level we have seen for the past several quarters. We have added five experienced people to the commercial division this year. We expect this to produce added activity and increased loan balances in the second half of 2010,” commented Mr. Tuttle.Merchants’ investment portfolio totaled $421.43 million at June 30, 2010, an increase of $12.62 million from the December 31, 2009 ending balance of $408.81 million. Merchants has been working to redeploy excess cash into the investment portfolio, but has found it challenging to find high quality investments at an acceptable yield in the current environment. Merchants took advantage of very favorable pricing and sold two of its mortgage backed securities and one callable agency bond during the quarter with a total par value of $9.63 million for a pre-tax gain of $503 thousand.Both ending and quarterly average deposits were essentially flat at approximately $1.04 billion for the second quarter of 2010 compared to the fourth quarter of 2009. Since the end of 2009, there has been some migration from time deposit categories, which have decreased $20.77 million, into Savings, NOW and money market accounts, which have increased $15.42 million. Relationships continue to be added across all business lines, with notable growth within government and business banking. Average short-term repo balances were $13.50 million higher for the second quarter of 2010, compared to the fourth quarter of 2009.As mentioned previously, Merchants did not record a provision for credit losses during the second quarter of 2010 and recorded a $600 thousand provision for credit losses during the first quarter of 2010 compared to $2.00 million for the second quarter of 2009 and $2.90 million for the first half of 2009. Merchants recorded net recoveries during the second quarter of 2010 of $195 thousand. Additionally, Merchants’ non-performing loans decreased to $8.33 million at June 30, 2010 from $14.48 million at December 31, 2009, and Merchants’ classified loan totals have been steadily decreasing over the course of 2010.Total loans 30 to 89 days past due at June 30, 2010 were $2.29 million or 0.26% of total loans. Although this represents an increase over prior periods, Merchants’ delinquency levels remain very low.Quarter Ending: 30-89 Days————– ———-June 30, 2010 0.26%March 31, 2010 0.14%December 31, 2009 0.09%June 30, 2009 0.09%Merchants’ residential mortgage loan portfolio has continued to perform well throughout the recent and continuing economic turmoil. Residential loans 30 to 89 days past due at June 30, 2010 totaled 13 basis points as a percentage of residential mortgages, consistent with prior periods and total past due residential loans, including non-accruing mortgages, were 49 basis points as a percentage of residential mortgages.”The positive trend in asset quality continued during the second quarter. Total nonperforming assets have been reduced $6.36 million from December 31, 2009 with $920 thousand of the reduction in the second quarter of 2010. Current trends are very encouraging and our outlook on credit quality remains positive based on recent developments. We were also pleased to receive a $419 thousand recovery on a previously charged off loan shortly after the quarter closed, which will be recorded in the third quarter,” stated Mr. Tuttle.Total noninterest income increased to $3.16 million and $6.07 million for the second quarter and first six months of 2010, respectively, from $2.41 million and $4.34 million for the same periods in 2009. Excluding net gains (losses) on security sales and a first quarter other than temporary impairment loss, noninterest income increased to $2.65 million and $4.93 million for the quarter and six months ended June 30, 2010, respectively, compared to $2.41 million and $4.54 million for the same periods in 2009. Trust Company income increased to $1.05 million for the first half of 2010 compared to $814 thousand for the first half of 2009, and net debit card income increased to $1.42 million for the first half of 2010 compared to $1.09 million for the first half of 2009.Total noninterest expense decreased slightly to $9.62 million and $19.09 million for the second quarter and first half of 2010, respectively, compared to $10.34 million and $19.88 million for the same periods in 2009. There were a number of increases and decreases that contributed to this overall decrease. Salaries and wages increased to $3.91 million and $7.61 million for the second quarter and first half of 2010, respectively, compared to $3.20 million and $6.63 million for the same periods in 2009. Merchants’ strong results for the first half of 2010 have lead to a higher incentive accrual for 2010 compared to the accrual at June 30, 2009. Additionally, loan origination fees, an offset to salary expense, have been much lower in 2010 compared to 2009 as residential loan originations and refinancing activity have slowed. Merchants’ FDIC insurance expense for 2010 is less than 2009 as a result of the $625 thousand special assessment recorded during the second quarter of 2009. Additionally, Merchants booked expense recoveries and gains related to the sale of OREO property of $234 thousand for the second quarter of 2010, and $552 thousand year to date, leading to a net year to date expense recovery of $390 thousand. This compares to $84 thousand in OREO expense for the second quarter of 2009, and $218 thousand for the first six months of 2009. During 2009 expenses were negatively impacted by a $304 thousand prepayment penalty on Federal Home Loan Bank debt.Michael R. Tuttle, Merchants’ President and Chief Executive Officer; and Janet P. Spitler, Merchants’ Chief Financial Officer, will host a conference call to discuss these earnings results at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, July 29, 2010. Interested parties may participate in the conference call by dialing (800) 230-1085; the title of the call is Earnings Release for Merchants Bancshares, Inc. Participants are asked to call a few minutes prior to register. A replay will be available until noon on Wednesday, August 4, 2010. The U.S. replay dial-in telephone number is (800) 475-6701. The international replay telephone number is (320) 365-3844. The replay access code for both replay telephone numbers is 143117.Vermont Matters. Merchants Bank strives to fulfill its role as the state’s leading independent community bank through a wide range of initiatives. The bank supports organizations throughout Vermont in addressing essential needs, sustaining community programs, providing small business and job start capital, funding financial literacy education and delivering enrichment through local sports activities.Merchants Bank was established in 1849 in Burlington, Vermont. Its continuing mission is to provide Vermonters with a statewide community bank that combines a strong technology platform with a genuine appreciation for local markets. Merchants Bank delivers this commitment through a branch-based system that includes: 34 community bank offices and 42 ATMs throughout Vermont; local branch presidents and personal bankers dedicated to high-quality customer service; free online banking, phone banking, and electronic bill payment services; high-value depositing programs that feature Free Checking for Life®, Cash Rewards Checking, Rewards Checking for Business, business cash management, money market accounts, health savings accounts, certificates of deposit, Flexible CD, IRAs, and overdraft assurance; feature-rich loan programs including mortgages, home equity credit, vehicle loans, personal and small business loans and lines of credit; and merchant card processing. Merchants Bank offers a strong set of commercial and government banking solutions, delivered by experienced banking officers in markets throughout the state; these teams provide customized financing for medium-to-large companies, non-profits, cities, towns, and school districts. Merchants Trust Company, a division of Merchants Bank, provides investment management, financial planning and trustee services. Please visit www.mbvt.com(link is external) for access to Merchants Bank information, programs, and services. Merchants’ stock is traded on the NASDAQ National Market system under the symbol MBVT. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.Some of the statements contained in this press release may constitute forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements relate to expectations, beliefs, projections, future plans and strategies, anticipated events or trends and similar expressions concerning matters that are not historical facts. The forward-looking statements reflect Merchants’ current views about future events and are subject to risks, uncertainties, assumptions and changes in circumstances that may cause Merchants’ actual results to differ significantly from those expressed in any forward-looking statement. Forward-looking statements should not be relied on since they involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that are, in some cases, beyond Merchants’ control and which could materially affect actual results. The factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations include changes in general economic conditions, changes in interest rates, changes in competitive product and pricing pressures among financial institutions within Merchants’ markets, and changes in the financial condition of Merchants’ borrowers. The forward-looking statements contained herein represent Merchants’ judgment as of the date of this release, and Merchants cautions readers not to place undue reliance on such statements. For further information, please refer to Merchants’ reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Merchants Bancshares, Inc. Financial Highlights (unaudited) (Dollars in thousands except share and per share data) 06/30/10 12/31/09 06/30/09 12/31/08 ———– ———– ———– ———–Balance Sheets – Period EndTotal assets $ 1,390,956 $ 1,435,248 $ 1,355,583 $ 1,341,210Loans 895,819 918,538 896,087 847,127Allowance for loan losses (“ALL”) 10,157 10,976 10,605 8,894Net loans 885,662 907,562 885,482 838,233Securities available for sale 420,475 407,652 372,876 429,872Securities held to maturity 955 1,159 1,425 1,737Federal Home Loan Bank (“FHLB”) stock 8,630 8,630 8,630 8,523Federal funds sold and other short-term investments 5,270 10,270 260 111Other assets 69,964 99,975 86,910 62,734Deposits 1,037,072 1,043,319 1,015,398 930,797Securities sold under agreement to repurchase and other short-term debt 136,461 179,718 83,787 124,408Securities sold under agreement to repurchase, long-term 54,000 54,000 54,000 54,000Other long-term debt 31,177 31,215 83,129 118,643Junior subordinated debentures issued to unconsolidated subsidiary trust 20,619 20,619 20,619 20,619Other liabilities 13,682 15,365 13,900 13,046Shareholders’ equity 97,945 91,012 84,750 79,697Balance Sheets – Quarter-to-Date AveragesTotal assets $ 1,418,983 $ 1,412,900 $ 1,353,776 $ 1,320,845Loans 911,211 920,846 895,981 825,395Allowance for loan losses 10,132 11,510 9,985 8,596Net loans 901,079 909,336 885,996 816,799Securities available for sale and FHLB stock 422,988 371,059 385,715 436,712Securities held to maturity 1,005 1,224 1,511 2,187Federal funds sold and other short-term investments 22,188 63,553 23,082 2,420Other assets 71,723 67,728 57,472 62,727Deposits 1,043,813 1,037,955 1,000,914 946,534Securities sold under agreement to repurchase and other short-term debt 163,362 148,282 83,949 96,736Securities sold under agreement to repurchase, long-term 54,000 54,000 54,000 54,000Other long-term debt 31,203 46,097 96,223 117,996Junior subordinated debentures issued to unconsolidated subsidiary trust 20,619 20,619 20,619 20,619Other liabilities 11,426 14,999 14,474 9,845Shareholders’ equity 94,560 90,948 83,597 75,115Interest earning assets 1,357,393 1,356,682 1,306,289 1,266,714Interest bearing liabilities 1,190,525 1,180,087 1,149,207 1,110,612Ratios and Supplemental Information – Period EndBook value per share $ 16.75 $ 15.65 $ 14.65 $ 13.89Book value per share (1) $ 15.89 $ 14.82 $ 13.90 $ 13.15Tier I leverage ratio 8.02% 7.67% 7.43% 7.42%Tangible capital ratio (2) 7.04% 6.34% 6.25% 5.94%Period end common shares outstanding (1) 6,164,006 6,141,823 6,098,608 6,061,182Credit Quality – Period EndNonperforming loans (“NPLs”) $ 8,334 $ 14,481 $ 13,650 $ 11,643Nonperforming assets (“NPAs”) $ 8,778 $ 15,136 $ 14,452 $ 12,445NPLs as a percent of total loans 0.93% 1.58% 1.52% 1.37%NPAs as a percent of total assets 0.63% 1.05% 1.07% 0.93%ALL as a percent of NPLs 122% 76% 78% 76%ALL as a percent of total loans 1.13% 1.19% 1.18% 1.05%(1) This book value and period end common shares outstanding includes 315,738; 326,453; 314,520 and 323,754 Rabbi Trust shares for the periods noted above, respectively.(2) The tangible capital ratio is a non-GAAP financial measure which we believe provides investors with information that is useful in understanding our financial performance. For the Six Months Ended June 30, 2010 2009 ————– ————–Balance Sheets – Year to-Date AveragesTotal assets $ 1,414,721 $ 1,348,751Loans 913,378 881,054Allowance for loan losses 10,650 9,613Net loans 902,728 871,441Securities available for sale and FHLB stock 418,418 404,312Securities held to maturity 1,055 1,589Federal funds sold and other short-term investments 21,134 14,127Other assets 71,386 57,282Deposits 1,036,538 974,844Securities sold under agreement to repurchase and other short-term debt 166,520 98,654Securities sold under agreement to repurchase, long-term 54,000 54,000Other long-term debt 31,203 105,099Junior subordinated debentures issued to unconsolidated subsidiary trust 20,619 20,619Other liabilities 12,448 13,650Shareholders’ equity 93,393 81,885Interest earning assets 1,353,985 1,301,082Interest bearing liabilities 1,188,447 1,144,919 For the Three Months For the Six Months Ended ended June 30, June 30, ———————- ———————- 2010 2009 2010 2009 ———- ———- ———- ———-Operating ResultsInterest incomeInterest and fees on loans $ 11,602 $ 11,944 $ 23,091 $ 23,712Interest and dividends on investments 3,855 4,769 7,598 10,036Total interest and dividend income 15,457 16,713 30,689 33,748Interest expenseDeposits 1,422 2,680 2,986 5,516Short-term borrowings 381 47 790 132Long-term debt 1,013 1,611 2,007 3,384Total interest expense 2,816 4,338 5,783 9,032Net interest income 12,641 12,375 24,906 24,716Provision for credit losses — 2,000 600 2,900Net interest income after provision for credit losses 12,641 10,375 24,306 21,816Noninterest incomeTrust Company income 533 413 1,051 814Service charges on deposits 1,395 1,489 2,634 2,727Gain (loss) on investment securities, net 503 — 1,212 (205)Other-than-temporary impairment losses on securities — — (80) –Equity in losses of real estate limited partnerships, net (421) (461) (855) (924)Other noninterest income 1,145 965 2,103 1,923Total noninterest income 3,155 2,406 6,065 4,335Noninterest expenseSalaries and wages 3,906 3,200 7,607 6,625Employee benefits 1,103 1,334 2,373 2,594Occupancy and equipment expenses 1,621 1,563 3,231 3,202Legal and professional fees 664 657 1,255 1,346Marketing expenses 366 438 681 779State franchise taxes 295 302 574 600FDIC Insurance 340 942 720 1,256Other real estate owned (196) 84 (390) 218Other noninterest expense 1,522 1,815 3,036 3,257Total noninterest expense 9,621 10,335 19,087 19,877Income before provision for income taxes 6,175 2,446 11,284 6,274Provision for income taxes 1,589 383 2,869 1,305Net income $ 4,586 $ 2,063 $ 8,415 $ 4,969Ratios and Supplemental InformationWeighted average common shares outstanding 6,161,934 6,094,912 6,156,798 6,081,497Weighted average diluted shares outstanding 6,162,437 6,097,571 6,157,300 6,084,156Basic earnings per common share $ 0.74 $ 0.34 $ 1.37 $ 0.82Diluted earnings per common share $ 0.74 $ 0.34 $ 1.37 $ 0.82Return on average assets 1.29% 0.61% 1.19% 0.74%Return on average shareholders’ equity 19.40% 9.87% 18.02% 12.14%Net interest rate spread 3.69% 3.63% 3.65% 3.65%Net interest margin 3.81% 3.81% 3.77% 3.84%Net recoveries (charge-offs) to Average Loans 0.02% (0.07%) (0.19%) (0.11%)Net recoveries (charge-offs) $ 195 ($ 631) ($ 1,697) ($ 979)Efficiency ratio (1) 59.63% 59.03% 60.39% 60.32%(1) The efficiency ratio excludes amortization of intangibles, equity in losses of real estate limited partnerships, OREO expenses, gain/loss on sales of securities, state franchise taxes, and any significant nonrecurring items.Note: As of June 30, 2010, the Bank had off-balance sheet liabilities in the form of standby letters of credit to customers in the amount of $4.02 million.Source: SOUTH BURLINGTON, VT–(Marketwire – July 26, 2010) – Merchants Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ: MBVT),last_img read more

It’s Always Playtime on the Virginia Creeper Trail

first_imgThe Virginia Creeper Trail owes its unusual name to the way locals referred to the old steam engines laboring up mountain grades with heavy loads of lumber and iron ore. This 34-mile scenic trail beginning in Abingdon, VA is filled with charm, scenery and a few surprises.The multi-purpose trail runs along a railroad right of way that dates back to the 1880s. Today, it is widely considered one of the finest rails-to-trails examples in the east. The trail is used by walkers, runners, horseback riders and lots of bikers.The trail has a gentle grade, and most bikers prefer to start at Whitetop Station near the NC line, and cruise downhill for more than 15 miles. Bike rental shops in Abingdon will shuttle riders to the top for a modest fee. The easy downhill ride and awesome views of Mount Rogers make the Creeper Trail a family favorite.After a ride on the Creeper Trail, visitors can take in a show at the famous Barter Theatre, Virginia’s most famous stage, with a history dating back to the Great Depression. The trailhead is located in the heart of Abingdon’s historic downtown district, offering shopping and dining.To plan your visit:www.visitabingdonvirginia.comCall (276) 676-2282 or (800) 435-3440 for more information.last_img read more

Fake Money Copies Drug Trade Patterns

first_img Criminal organizations are learning new ways to launder millions of dollars of drug money profits. One way is by counterfeiting. Today it is easier to create counterfeit bills and launder them by having several people pass them off to product and service providers. Over the past two years, Colombia has been surpassed as the world’s no. 1 distributor of counterfeit currency by Peruvian counterfeit rings that use the same tactics as drug traffickers. Counterfeiters in South America employ human “mules” to smuggle their fake bills in luggage. Other tactics include concealing the counterfeit currency on their bodies, in items like greeting cards, and in packages sent through the local postal service or via international couriers with hidden fake bills, reported the National Geographic Channel website. These distribution methods mimic those used to traffic drugs, and the profits derived from forged currency approximate $160 billion, according to InSight, a Washington, D.C.- and Bogota-based project that monitors organized crime in Latin America. Recent interdiction efforts, reported in the Peruvian newspaper El Comercio, show the various types of currency being counterfeited in Peru include bolivianos, Chilean pesos, euros, Peruvian nuevos soles, U.S. dollars, and Venezuelan bolivares. The fake currency is printed with offset printers, and primarily sent to Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, the United States and Venezuela. The counterfeit money trade in South America has a parallel history to the region’s illicit drug trafficking. Colombian criminal networks, which made Colombia the leading counterfeiting country in South America for decades, use the same routes as cocaine shipments northward through Central America, according to a 2006 U.S. Treasury Department report. Although government interdictions continue to shut down these operations, tougher laws are needed to prosecute the offenders according to the Lima Bar Association. “There needs to be more control, and sentences need to be dissuasive. This is not about having lax laws or applying an iron fist but having a penalty that is just and fits the crime,” said José Antonio Ñique, president of the Lima Bar Association in an interview with Time magazine. By Dialogo July 01, 2011last_img read more

‘Hear ye. Hear ye. Hear ye . . .’

first_img June 15, 2005 Senior Editor Regular News ‘Hear ye. Hear ye. Hear ye . . .’ ‘Hear ye. Hear ye. Hear ye. . . ’ The well-deserved retirement of Wilson Barnes is now in session Jan Pudlow Senior Editor During the contested 2000 presidential election, Florida Supreme Court Justice Charles Wells remembers being startled on a Sunday afternoon to find “the Japanese media had already set up a beachhead up there on the lawn of the court!“There were tents, and then, by golly, the next day there were three blocks of satellite trucks. There were hundreds of people. There were jugglers out there, juggling things up and down! There was a lady who brought her pet skunk! It was unbelievable!”On top of that, the Rev. Jesse Jackson wanted to speechify on the court’s front steps—but was diplomatically nudged back onto the lawn.As Wells, then chief justice, tells it, it was the high court’s able marshal, Wilson Barnes, who would come to him each morning of the 36-day media, politico, and high-powered lawyers siege, and calmly say with a smile: “You know, today presents just another opportunity to excel.”Not only did Barnes excel during his 15 years of service as marshal, he surpassed all expectations in making the courthouse secure throughout Bush v. Gore, after 9/11, and during the anthrax scare. And he did it with collegiality and professionalism learned during 29 years in the U.S. Army, where he retired as a colonel after serving as director of military and civilian personnel in 16 countries.Never before has the court held a ceremonial session for the retirement of anyone but a justice—but they made an exception May 5 for 67-year-old Barnes, a beloved member of the court family.“Unlike the Army.. . we don’t have medals to honor our heroes, so we honor our heroes the way we know best: with our words, with our thanks, and with this ceremony,” Chief Justice Barbara Pariente told the courtroom filled with lawyers, judges, law-enforcement officials, and friends made during Barnes’ extensive community service work.To a worldwide audience of court sessions via the Internet, television, and in-person visitors, Barnes booming oyez—“Hear ye, hear ye!”—has “become the voice of the Supreme Court,” Pariente said. “And what a golden voice it is.. . . After he is long gone from here, that voice, his golden tones, will join the great baritones of this country.”When former Justice Stephen Grimes came to the podium, he began, “Well, I am going to try it. ‘Hear ye. Hear ye. Hear ye.’ That is not going to cut it. Nobody can do it like Wilson Barnes.”Unlike the sitting justices, Grimes said, he was on the court when Barnes was hired as marshal in 1990.“At that time, the maintenance of this court was in disarray, basically shabby,” Grimes said. “I had just come up from the district court of appeal a couple years before, and when I got up here, I thought I had been demoted.”More distressing, he said, was the lack of security.“There were actually doors to the court that were unguarded and left open. I had remarked at the time that I thought a kid with a bomb could walk around and nobody would ever notice it. All that changed when Wilson came aboard.”Under Barnes’ direction, the courthouse became equipped with a metal detector at the front door and scanners at the doors. Mail is screened before it arrives at the courthouse. Positive relationships were forged with law-enforcement at the local, state, and federal levels. Barnes made sure his guards with guns actually learned how to shoot them. And during the tense times of the 2000 elections, Grimes noted, “He had deputies watching and guarding the homes of justices.”No celebration of Barnes’ dual careers could be complete without remembering from where he came, raised in segregated Richmond, Virginia.Linda Wells, wife of Justice Wells, noted that, “The folks in Wilson’s neighborhood were not very far from slavery.. . . His maternal grandmother.. . could not read or write, but the parents and grandparents would make very sure that their offspring would read, write, and more.”Justice Harry Lee Anstead paid tribute to Barnes as a “colleague, friend, brother, and patriot.”“I want you all to know that, as a colleague, Wilson Barnes has a passion for justice that equals the passion of any justice on this court. And that passion comes from his own life,” Anstead said.“Wilson Barnes was born into an unjust society, but unlike a lot that might react to those circumstances by being bitter.. . that experience has caused Wilson to fight injustice wherever he sees it.”Barnes fought against pay inequities of members of his staff, Anstead said. When he visited an inferior facility at an elementary school in Tallahassee, Barnes spoke loud and clear at school board meetings until the school was refurbished.After Anstead’s tribute, Chief Justice Pariente noted with a smile, “We are going to have to watch, because the marshal is getting teary.”Looking up from his seat at the marshal’s desk, Barnes said, “No, ma’am. I am not a wimp.”Chief Justice Pariente presented him with a golden gavel, an autographed photo of the justices, and special resolution. On behalf of the court’s historical society, Dexter Douglass gave him the first volume of the history of the Florida Supreme Court. Justice Wells put a cap on Barnes’ head and christened him an honorary University of Florida Gator. Everyone stood to applaud after watching a slide show of Barnes’s life, accompanied by a recording of Ray Charles singing “America the Beautiful.”And then it was Barnes’ turn to speak.“I may turn into that wimp that I said I wasn’t,” Barnes said. “This ceremony today represents a most significant event in my life. It represents the end of an almost 45-year career that has spanned not one but two great institutions, the United States Army, which is my first love, and the Florida Supreme Court. This era has, for me, represented a total commitment to the security and defense of the United States of America and service to the citizens of the great State of Florida, as marshal of the Florida Supreme Court.”He began by saying, “Given my emotional state, I suppose I should take the suggestion of the chief justice and describe my three most important thoughts, which are thank you, I will miss you, and thank you all again. And then sit down. However.. . . ”And then Barnes thanked everyone by name who helped him do his job, as well as remembering the 58,000 brothers who never made it back from the Vietnam War.He also thanked his father, a laborer in a paper bag factory, and his mother, who sorted tobacco leaves, who were most proud when Barnes made the football team at Virginia State University and graduated with a pair of master’s degrees in science education and personnel management.“Without their love, their faith, their hope, their protection, their support, their courage, their survival skills, their hard work, their motivation, and their inspiration to me, I don’t think I would be here today, being recognized in the main courtroom of the Florida Supreme Court. I would venture to say that I would be dead or maybe I would be a statistic in a Virginia state prison system,” Barnes said.“I know today that my ancestors are up there in heaven, and they are very proud and looking down today, smiling and saying.. . . ‘Boy, you have done a good job. We are proud of you. You have made something of yourself.’”last_img read more

Record-Shattering Numbers Of Long Island Students Opting Out Of Common Core Testing

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York With day one of three controversial Common Core ELA (English Language Arts) examinations for grades three through eight completed in New York State, the total score of students refusing to take the tests continues to rise exponentially.Compiled by Jeanette Deutermann, founder of anti-Common Core Facebook group “Long Island Opt Out” and a founding member of New York State Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE), a coalition of 50 parent and teacher organizations who oppose the standardized tests, Long Island school officials—including Board of Education members, administrators and educators, she says—are reporting an astounding number of test refusals.As of press time, her preliminary unofficial count from more than half the 124 school districts on Long Island had already tallied more than 82,000 students opting out—more than last year’s total figure for the entire state and double the 30,000 students from across Long Island who refused the tests last year—according to a Google Drive spreadsheet on Long Island Opt Out’s Facebook page. Comsewogue School District, home base of vocal public education advocates including Dr. Joe Rella, its superintendent, and Beth Dimino, an eighth grade science teacher and president of the Port Jefferson Station Teachers Association, who stood as a “conscientious objector” earlier this year and vowed to refuse to administer Common Core exams to students, saw 82 percent of their eligible students refuse the test–a new record for that district.Sisi Wong Townson, co-president of the Plainedge Middle School PTA, reports that a record-shattering 74 percent of Plainedge students opted out of the test yesterday, including an entire third-grade class. A vocal opponent of high-stakes standardized testing, she testified against Common Core before New York State legislators two years ago drawing upon her personal experience as a student in Hong Kong.It’s stories such as these that resonate loud and clear with Deutermann.“Each time another number comes in, it validates all the work we’ve been doing,” she tells the Press Wednesday morning in between phone calls with school administrators for the latest figures. “Two years of work to advocate and educate. It makes you feel like all this work—people appreciate it, they’re grateful, and they understand. It means the information reached through in a way that inspired them to action.”Renowned education historian, policy analyst and New York University Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development research professor Diane Ravitch, in a blog post Tuesday titled “Long Island: This Will Be The Biggest Opt Out Ever,” estimated more than 100,000 students statewide would opt out of taking the exams this time around.“Last year, 50,000-60,000 students opted out in New York. The figure will be more than double that this year,” she writes. “Parents are reacting against the overuse and misuse of tests. They are reacting against Governor Cuomo’s harsh and punitive education legislation.“In a democratic society,” she continues, “parents can’t be pushed around by public officials who are more interested in politics than in children. It makes parents angry.”Parents across Long Island have spoken in an unmistakable roar of defiance, determined to disrupt what they believe to be an unacceptable system delivered by government officials they do not trust—with Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the top of the list.Parents and school officials have been rallying against the Obama administration’s education reform program since the Common Core’s botched roll-out two years ago. Parents were alarmed by the detrimental effects they said the implementation had on their children, among other gripes, but since Cuomo’s State of the State address earlier this year—in which he announced his plan to ramp up what many education activists believe was already an overly aggressive and vindictive teacher-evaluation plan—opponents say they felt compelled to raise their voices even louder.The test refusals are their megaphone, amplifying a collective rage against Common Core.“I’m realizing, ‘Wow—there are some really angry parents out there,’” says Deutermann. “It gives a clear picture of how parents are feeling about the direction the state is taking public ed.”The idea is to “starve the beast”—a common refrain among dissenters—to withhold students’ test data from the state in order to collapse a system that has become increasingly test preparation-based, with a myopic focus on testing subjects ELA and math, at the expense of other subjects and art, gym, music, and recess, opponents say. Parents and education experts demand a more holistic approach to teaching and learning.“The current teacher evaluation system is demoralizing,” Richard Willis, a North Babylon teacher, tells the Press. “Non-ELA and math teachers are evaluated by a test in a subject that they do not teach. Special education teachers who work with children below grade level are doomed to always be developing or ineffective when judged on tests that are actually above grade level. Many of the teachers in my building are demoralized and defeated. It is sad because I work with some truly great teachers who love their students but no longer love the profession.”Parents and teachers hope the message of refusal reaches the ears of government officials and that the standardized tests are invalidated, once and for all.Calls to the New York State Education Department and Nassau-Suffolk School Boards Association for final official opt-out tallies and verification for this story were unsuccessful, with a spokesperson for the latter telling the Press: “We don’t have that info, and whatever we have is sporadic.”State Education Department spokesperson Jeanne Beattie tells the Press in an emailed statement the official number of test-takers and those who refused the exams will be available “over the summer when we release test scores.”last_img read more