Joe Russo’s Almost Dead Honors Aretha Franklin, Radiohead, & Phish At Red Rocks [Video]

first_imgLast year, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead’s Red Rocks performance was rescheduled to the end of August, falling the Thursday before Phish‘s annual run at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park kicked off on the Friday of Labor Day Weekend. In honor of the Phish-y festivities, JRAD offered up a Phish-laced performance, and this year, the group again gave their nod to the Vermont quartet. With many folks still stunned at Curveball‘s last-minute cancelation, Joe Russo and company offered up teases of “Wilson” during “Slipknot!”, with the audience cheering out “Wilson”, making for a cathartic moment for many of the fans who were previously scheduled to be flying out to New York for the festival earlier in the day.From there, Tom Hamilton led the band through a cover of Radiohead‘s “The Bends”, off the British rock act’s similarly named sophomore album, which was released in 1995. From there, to close out the second set, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead offered up a heartfelt, crowd-pleasing take on “Not Fade Away”, which also featured teases of fan-favorite “Throwing Stones” and hilariously, The Strangeloves’ “I Want Candy”, which was largely made popular in the ’80s with Bow Wow Wow‘s smash-hit cover.To close out the night in full, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead performed a take on Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London” before ending the night with “Franklin’s Tower”. Notably, for the last song of the night, the group paid tribute to the Queen Of Soul, Aretha Franklin, who had died earlier in the day, laying out teases of “R.E.S.P.E.C.T.” during “Franklin’s Tower”.Setlist: Joe Russo’s Almost Dead | Red Rocks Amphitheatre | Morrison, CO | 8/16/2018Set One: Jam > Playin in the band+ > Bird song > Eyes of the world > Black throated wind > Jack straw (reprise) > Mississippi Half Step > The Other OneSet Two: The Other One (jam) > I Need a Miracle > Estimated Prophet* > St. Stephen# > Help on the way > Slipknot=^ > The Bends (Radiohead), Not fade [email protected]+$Encore: Dr John song?+ > Werewolves of London, Franklin’s tower%+piano solo*dub version# Slipknot tease=Wilson (Phish) teases^ Feel like a stranger [email protected] I want candy tease$ Throwing Stones tease% Respect teaseJoe Russo’s Almost Dead | Red Rocks Amphitheatre | Morrison, CO | 8/16/2018 | Photos: Conrad Meyer Load remaining images Interestingly, to start out set two, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead picked up where the first set left off, returning to “The Other One” through a rockin’ jam that highlighted Joe Russo and Dave Dreiwitz’s rock-solid rhythm section. From there, the band segued into “I Need A Miracle”, making for a triumphant, crowd-pleasing transition, before moving into a dubbed-out take on “Estimated Prophet”. Fan-favorite “St. Stephen” was up next, which featured “Slipknot!” teases, foreshadowing the placement of “Slipknot!” after the group moved through the rest of “St. Stephen” and “Help On The Way”.“The Other One”center_img On Thursday night, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead headed to Red Rocks Amphitheatre, marking the second time the band has headlined the iconic venue and the first time the group has headlined Red Rocks with all its members—last year, Oteil Burbridge subbed for bassist Dave Dreiwitz, who was on tour with Ween during the band’s rescheduled show in August following a snowed-out April date.After starting the show off with a formless jam, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead quickly settled into a rendition of “Playin’ In The Band”, which housed a stellar solo from Marco Benevento right off the bat. A breathtaking “Bird Song” came next, gracefully transitioning into “Black Throated Wind” and through to the reprise of “Jack Straw”. From there, the group laid out a groovy take on “Mississippi Half Step” before closing out the first set with “The Other One”.Opening Jamlast_img read more

New hope for sensory calm

first_imgOTD: For people who are born with this, developmentally, how does it play out over the long term?OREFICE: This is, I think, a really important aspect of what David and I do in our labs, and what we continue to ask questions about. We’re trying to understand how an abnormal sense of touch impacts the brain and ultimately complex social behaviors.GINTY: We think that touch is the first sense to develop. The first social exchange between a baby and her parents occurs through the sense of touch. You might say that touch is where social development begins. It’s fascinating that a number of studies in humans, nonhuman primates, and other animals have suggested that normal touch is required for the development of normal cognitive processes.In our own mouse studies, we found that if a genetic lesion that causes tactile overreactivity is introduced developmentally in the peripheral nervous system, the animals also exhibit behavioral alterations — a fairly profound anxiety-like behavior, for example, and some aberrant social-interaction behaviors. On the other hand, if the very same genetic lesions are introduced in young adult mice, the animals still exhibit the tactile overreactivity, but they don’t exhibit anxiety-like behavior. So there’s a profound link between developmental touch and tactile reactivity and the acquisition of normal behavior.OTD: So the hope and the hypothesis is presumably that if you can address what’s happening in the peripheral nerves at the right developmental window, you may be able to prevent these kinds of things from appearing down the road.OREFICE: Exactly. We think there’s a critical need for normal tactile input during an early period in development. We’d like to be able to identify that critical window, to treat tactile overreactivity in young children.GINTY: Our thinking is that, even in adulthood, preventing touch overreactivity and thus tactile avoidance and defensiveness would be highly beneficial. But we hypothesize that if we could treat it developmentally, then it might also have a long-term consequence of improving anxiety and possibly even social-interaction behaviors later in life.Professors Lauren Orefice and David Ginty are working to identify possible treatments for the touch hypersensitivity. Caroline Perry/OTD file photoOTD: Do you think a treatment to reduce tactile overreactivity would be taken lifelong, or during critical periods of development?GINTY: We don’t know. Long-term treatment beginning early is a good thing for the animal models of ASD. So, based on our mouse studies, we might speculate that the greatest benefits would come from treating tactile overreactivity over the long term. But that’s really up in the air, because human studies have yet to be done.OREFICE: If we’re speculating, we can imagine that in addition to developmentally improving the sense of touch, a future treatment could also improve acute symptoms in people who are beyond this critical period. Supposing a person knows they’re going to be engaged in a particularly stressful situation, like a cocktail party, perhaps we could dampen these external inputs a little bit for the tactile domain. But we’ve got a long road ahead of us.OTD: As a researcher, how do you know when it’s time to engage with a corporate partner?GINTY: For me, it’s pretty easy. My lab, my postdocs and Ph.D. students, are interested in understanding the basic biology and developing new ideas or principles that emerge from that work, revealing new opportunities. Drug development and all that it entails is not our focus, nor is it our strength. Medchem [medicinal chemistry] to identify chemical variants and drug candidates, testing their activity, doing pharmacodistribution analysis, pharmacodynamics, defining optimal modes of delivery and safety measurements, are all labor-intensive and expensive. Those really specialized details of drug development and optimization are best addressed, at least in our case, by a dedicated company that does this for a living.This is the first time my lab has been able to move something this far that’s this promising. And it took a very talented postdoc in the lab — Lauren — to make it happen. Now, it’s the perfect time for us to move this work out of our labs and the basic biology and discovery realm and move it toward clinical utility with Lab1636.OTD: What else needs to happen to develop your lab’s insights toward benefiting patients?GINTY: Well, there’s a lot of space between identifying a pathophysiological mechanism in a mouse model and understanding whether it’s relevant in a human. This presents a strong case for collaborative efforts between clinician-scientists and basic scientists.If this work is going to be translated, and we’re going to move toward clinical trials, we need to have reliable measurements in humans, especially young kids, so that’s another piece we’re hoping to achieve, with our clinical collaborators.OREFICE: We don’t assume that every person with autism has profound touch overreactivity. So part of what we’re doing now with our collaborators at Beth Israel and Boston Children’s Hospital is trying to find a quantitative, objective metric of somatosensory overreactivity. If we can do that in adults, and also earlier ages, it will help us identify which patients exhibit touch overreactivity and therefore may benefit from this type of treatment.OTD: How did the relationship with Deerfield’s Lab1636 come about? GINTY: The Office of Technology Development here at Harvard is superb. This group was key for moving our project forward because they’re the ones with knowledge of who would be interested in translating the work. They understood what needed to be done to make a compelling case and who, in industry, would have an interest in the work and have the capabilities of moving it forward at a larger scale. They were amazing in terms of making connections and conveying the message of our findings. So in many ways, the technology development office really — it shines here, I’d say.OTD: From your perspective, how has the trajectory looked, from discovery to translation?GINTY: The reason we were able to bring our work to this point is that we have developed a strong capability in genetics, electrophysiology, and using the mouse as a model system, which has allowed us to ask about the locus of dysfunction accounting for touch overreactivity in ASD models: Is it a spinal-cord disorder? Is it a peripheral-nervous-system disorder? Does dysfunction in the brain account for touch overreactivity? What nerve cells or neurons are the ones affected, and why? We’re uniquely poised to ask these kinds of questions. And that’s something we’ve been building toward for 20 years.About three years ago, work by Lauren and her colleagues in the lab made it clear that there may be ways of targeting the peripheral nervous system to reverse touch overreactivity in ASDs. Because of this new therapeutic opportunity, the Blavatnik Biomedical Accelerator and the Q-FASTR funding mechanisms became quite compelling. There was a real translational opportunity arising from the work, which we were excited to pursue. And we were, again, uniquely poised to ask about the potential translatability of the findings. Financial support from the Blavatnik Accelerator and Q-FASTR, and a grant from the Simons Foundation, were critical for helping us define a proof-of-principle pharmacological approach aimed at treating touch overreactivity. These funds allowed the project to move to a point where it became compelling for an outside company to invest the additional resources and capabilities needed to take the work forward. “There are also millions of people with chronic pain, with limited treatment options. Our dependence on opioids has been highly problematic for obvious reasons. Going forward, my lab is taking a deep dive into understanding the molecular biology of all sensory neuron subtypes.” — David Ginty Deerfield commits $100M to create alliance with Harvard Harvard University and Deerfield Management announced today the selection of a first project for funding under the Lab1636 R&D alliance that aims to advance promising innovations from labs across the University toward the clinical development of novel therapeutics. The project arises from the lab of David Ginty,  the Edward R. and Anne G. Lefler Professor of Neurobiology in the Blavatnik Institute at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. Lauren Orefice is a former postdoctoral researcher in the Ginty Lab and now assistant professor of genetics at HMS and Massachusetts General Hospital. In a question-and-answer session, Ginty and Orefice discuss their recent progress toward identifying possible treatments for the touch hypersensitivity that often occurs in people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and their hope for further innovation in neuroscience.Q&ADavid Ginty and Lauren OreficeOTD: How do people experience touch hypersensitivity?GINTY: Well, the truth is we don’t really know how they experience it. We do know that in certain disorders, including autism, light touch can be highly aversive. In fact, there are several examples of disorders where we see touch overreactivity; a person will react abnormally to what you and I would consider innocuous touch stimuli. For a large number of people with autism, light touch can be aversive, and normal, developmental nurturing touch may also be aversive. We refer to this phenomenon with terms like “tactile avoidance” and “tactile defensiveness.”OREFICE: People with ASD often describe that certain types of clothing can be itchy or difficult to wear. Haircuts can even be really difficult for people to deal with, and there are certain barbers or hairstylists that they’ll go to. Things like inclement weather, heavy rain, can be really overwhelming or frightening for some people. For most of us, we are not typically aware of the fact that we are sitting in a chair, wearing a sweater, and the air conditioning is on, etcetera. But for some people with autism, some of these tactile aspects of their environment feel more present, or more profound, as though the volume is turned up.GINTY: Interestingly, we don’t only see this tactile sensitivity in ASD. In other disorders such as neuropathic pain, which can be caused by chemotherapy, diabetes, or damage affecting the somatosensory system, light touch can also be aversive. It can be painful. “We think there’s a critical need for normal tactile input during an early period in development. We’d like to be able to identify that critical window, to treat tactile overreactivity in young children.” — Lauren Orefice R&D alliance will enable ‘promising innovations to advance beyond their laboratory roots’ Created with $20M gift from K. Lisa Yang and Hock E. Tan, initiative aims to unravel the basic biology of autism and related disorders Harvard to launch center for autism research Related OTD: What are you hopeful about, both for this project and more broadly?GINTY: Well, it’s simple. It would be a dream come true if we could help improve quality of life for people with autism, and for their caregivers as well.OREFICE: It’s difficult, when you’re a basic scientist, to know when you’ve found something that might actually be beneficial for human health. But when you realize that you might be able to help people and improve the way they experience the world, it’s so rewarding. It motivates me to continue the basic research. So as our project moves into Lab1636, my lab and David’s lab will continue to ask more of the basic biological questions to understand the mechanisms through which tactile overreactivity occurs.GINTY: There are also millions of people with chronic pain, with limited treatment options. Our dependence on opioids has been highly problematic for obvious reasons. Going forward, my lab is taking a deep dive into understanding the molecular biology of all sensory neuron subtypes. I’m optimistic that over the next few years, in addition to the strategy for reducing tactile overreactivity, new druggable targets on peripheral neurons will be revealed that will allow us to think of new ways to treat chronic pain. Maybe, over time, this approach will help us move away from our clinical reliance on mu opioid agonists.OTD: Is your perspective any different now having been through this kind of translational experience? David, I hear you talking about finding new druggable targets — is that something that you would have been thinking about five years ago in the same way?GINTY: For me, yes, I think it would have been. But a difference now is that technology has advanced to the point, especially with deep sequencing, that new potential drug targets are made clear for us to see. My experience with this project makes me excited about the possibility of harnessing our knowledge of peripheral-nervous-system biology, and druggable targets on sensory neurons themselves, to define new therapeutic approaches. That feels compelling to me. I think there’s going to be a lot of room for additional partnering over the next five to seven years for parallel approaches, or complementary approaches, not just for treating disorders involving light-touch overreactivity, but for pain sensation too.OREFICE: It has changed my perspective in a lot of ways. When we started these projects in mice about five years ago, we had no idea what we would find. And we’ve been very surprised and encouraged by the findings, the robust observations we’ve made.What it’s taught me most of all is to follow your science, listen to the data, and surround yourself with really intelligent, capable people, including the folks in the Office of Technology Development, who can see your research from different perspectives than how you might normally see it. That can transform everything you’re doing and elevate your work into an entirely new arena.There’s something really special about being at Harvard for this type of work. Being here, in the right environment, and with great collaborators, we’ve been able to find some really interesting biology that we hope will ultimately help humans.last_img read more

The Curious Incident Opens on Broadway

first_img About the Artist: With a desire to celebrate the magic of live theater and those who create it, and with a deep reverence for such touchstones as the work of Al Hirschfeld and the wall at Sardi’s, Squigs is happy and grateful to be among those carrying on the traditions where theater and caricature meet. He was born and raised in Oregon, lived in Los Angeles for quite a long time and now calls New York City his home. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time celebrates its official opening on October 5 at the Barrymore Theatre. Written by Simon Stephens and based on the novel by Mark Haddon, the show stars Alex Sharp in his Broadway debut as Christopher. Marianne Elliott directs the production. Congratulations to the cast of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time! A-stars all around. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time View Commentscenter_img In honor of the Olivier Award-winning play’s Great White Way bow, resident artist Justin “Squigs” Robertson penned this sketch of Sharp, accompanied (left to right) by Francesca Faridany as Siobhan, Enid Graham as Judy and Ian Barford as Ed. You can also keep an eye out for Toby the rat and a slew of emotions and numbers (both prime and composite) in the portrait. Related Shows Show Closed This production ended its run on Sept. 4, 2016last_img read more

Laurie Metcalf & More to Bring A Doll’s House, Part 2 to B’way

first_img Emmy winner and Tony nominee Laurie Metcalf and Oscar winner Chris Cooper will star in A Doll’s House, Part 2 on Broadway. Lucas Hnath’s revisiting of the Ibsen classic, which will mark the playwright’s Broadway debut, will begin performances on April 1, 2017 at the John Golden Theatre. The Sam Gold-helmed production will also feature Tony winner Jayne Houdyshell and Condola Rashad.Scott Rudin will produce the Broadway engagement—a decision made before any previous staging of the play. A Doll’s House, Part 2 was commissioned at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, California, where it is still scheduled to run simultaneously beginning April 9.Metcalf earned a Tony nomination earlier this year for Misery. The Roseanne Emmy winner’s additional Broadway credits include The Other Place and November. Cooper, who won an Oscar for Adaptation, returns to the Great White Way after making his Broadway debut in 1980’s Of the Fields, Lately. Houdyshell took home a Tony in June for her current performance in The Humans; she was also nominated for Follies and Well. Rashad, who last appeared on Broadway in Romeo and Juliet, earned Tony nominations for The Trip to Bountiful and Stick Fly.In the final scene of Ibsen’s 1879 ground-breaking masterwork, Nora Helmer makes the shocking decision to leave her husband and children, and begin a life on her own. This climactic event—when Nora slams the door on everything in her life — instantly propelled world drama into the modern age. In A Doll’s House, Part 2, many years have passed since Nora’s exit. Now, there’s a knock on that same door. Nora has returned. But why? And what will it mean for those she left behind? Hnath’s previous works include The Christians and Red Speedo, both of which have recently played off-Broadway.The production will feature scenic design by Miriam Buether and costume design by David Zinn.A Doll’s House, Part 2 will open officially on April 27 and is set to play a 16-week limited engagement. The Golden Theatre is currently home to The Encounter, which will end its run on January 8. Related Shows A Doll’s House, Part 2 Laurie Metcalf(Photo: Gary Gershoff/Getty Images)center_img View Comments Show Closed This production ended its run on Sept. 24, 2017last_img read more

Healthy Transplants

first_imgIn the late-winter chill in south Georgia, many of this spring’s tender young plantswere nestled in the warm embrace of greenhouses.”Greenhouses provide a protected, warm place for farmers to get a strong, earlystart on their crops,” said Danny Gay, a plant pathologist with the University ofGeorgia Extension Service.Commercial farmers and home gardeners alike depend on greenhouse producers to supplyyoung plants for transplanting into fields or garden plots. Cabbage, peppers, tomatoes,watermelons and cantaloupes may be transplanted crops.”Producers who provide greenhouse space to start those crops off,” Gay said,”work hard to make sure the young plants stay healthy.”Of the transplant crops, south Georgia is best known for its melons. In 1995, Georgiafarmers grew almost 9 million pounds of watermelons and cantaloupes, nearly all of themstarted in greenhouses.Many home gardeners count on greenhouses, too, for early tomato and pepper plants.But greenhouses can be as hazardous as they are protective, Gay said. The problem isthat the best conditions for growing healthy seedlings are also perfect for plantdiseases.”Pathogens include disease-causing bacteria, fungi or viruses,” Gay said.Many of these pathogens can virtually destroy an entire crop.Greenhouse producers start protecting their fragile crops even before planting bybuying certified disease-free seed.The Georgia Department of Agriculture certifies seeds and transplants based onlaboratory examination and inspection of growing sites.Once seed is selected, greenhouse growers sterilize or sanitize every surface in thegreenhouse. That includes walls, tables and ceilings.Each planting tray, if it’s not new, gets the same treatment to kill anydisease-causing organisms that could be present.”Everything is either sprayed with a bleach solution or steam-sterilized,”Gay said. “These plants get the best chance at starting out disease-free.”However, due to the nature of greenhouse conditions and the methods producers must useto grow transplants, Gay said, the danger still lurks.Many disease-causing pathogens are so small and light, he said, that even a lightbreeze can carry them into a greenhouse and onto the seedlings in it.Greenhouse operators carefully water the tender young plants with fine water sprayersand then run fans to dry the foliage. If plants stay wet for 12-14 hours, Gay said, thechances of a disease outbreak increase dramatically.”It’s exactly the moisture and temperature combination these pathogens thrivein,” he said.In other, less humid areas, greenhouse growers can open doors or vents to circulate airover the plants to dry the foliage fairly quickly. In Georgia, though, humid outside airmay bring in the deadly organisms that cause the damage the grower was trying to prevent.Greenhouse operators try to keep diseases from taking hold by applying protectivefungicides to the young transplants. Frequent, thorough inspections tell the grower if adisease is present.”I know no greenhouse operator in Georgia would knowingly sell diseasedtransplants,” Gay said. “Some of these diseases are 100 percentdestructive.”Commercial farmers and home gardeners do have a way to know if their transplants aredisease-free. Just look for a label that indicates the transplants are certified by theDepartment of Agriculture as disease-free.But Gay said transplants aren’t required to be certified.”Farmers and gardeners usually rely heavily on cultural control of viruses, fungior bacteria, no matter what their transplant source,” he said.Even certified disease-free transplants could be infected by pathogens carried on thewind just after planting.Gay cautions growers to use disease-control practices from the first day theytransplant seedlings.The county Extension office has more information about controlling diseases intransplanted crops.”In this instance, prevention is not only much more effective than control,”Gay said, “it’s much less expensive, especially when growers consider that the entirecrop could be destroyed by these pathogens.”last_img read more

Nassau Lobbies Feds for More Bay Park Sandy Aid

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Bay Park Sewage Treatment PlantThe good news is Nassau County recently learned that the Sandy-ravaged Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant will get $730 million from the federal government for much-needed repairs and storm-hardening work. The bad news is that officials now say the plant needs twice that amount.Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano joined U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) in Washington D.C. on Wednesday to lobby federal officials for another $117 million on top of $730 million already approved because they say the cost of repairing and hardening the plant is now $847 million. They’re also lobbying for another $600 million to extend the plant’s outflow pipe from Reynold’s Channel into the Atlantic Ocean, bringing the total requested amount to $1.4 billion.“This project may be the single most important thing we can do to protect homeowners and the environment,” Mangano, a Republican, said in a statement. “We all remember the sewage crisis we had in the wake of Sandy and we need to avoid that again at all costs.”If approved, construction of a new outflow pipe, which would connect to the sewage treatment plant in nearby Long Beach, would be funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a spokesman for Schumer said.It’s unclear when HUD secretary Shaun Donovan will make a decision on the county’s new proposal, but it could come in the “not too distant future,” Schumer’s spokesman said.Officials have lobbied for federal aid since Sandy pounded the plant with nine feet of saltwater, causing a catastrophic failure that spewed sewage into local streets and homes, and spilled nearly 200 million gallons of treated and untreated sewage into Reynolds Channel and Hewlett Bay. Bay Park serves about half a million residents across the county.Wednesday’s meeting with federal officials came one day after Schumer penned a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Donovan, noting that the plant is “one of the largest and most difficult undertakings in the efforts to rebuild after Superstorm Sandy.”The trip also came less than a week after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that FEMA officially approved $730 million to repair and mitigate the wastewater treatment plant. Part of the funding will go toward building a large dike around the entire plant as protection from another major storm surge and elevate equipment.There’s also plans to repair Bay Park’s power system, harden 57 pump stations as well as harden and replace the sludge dewatering equipment and building that was damaged during the storm.In his own letter to FEMA, HUD and Department of Homeland Security, Mangano said additional funding is necessary to pay for the cost of temporary systems needed to maintain plant operations during the construction, which is expected to take years to complete. The county executive is also requesting that FEMA provide $37.3 million to support sewage clean-up efforts for 2,000 local families that had sewage back up into their homes when the plant failed.Mangano also described the $600 million “Ocean Outfall/Long Beach Conversion Project,” which would convert the Long Beach plant to a pump station, as vital to “greatly reduce the possibility of damage to the sewage treatment systems from future storms.” The project would also free up about 20 acres of land for economic development, Mangano said.Long Beach City Council President Scott Mandel said in a statement that the city supports the outflow pipe proposal, calling it a “game changer for the south shore.”The Nassau County Legislature in November approved the second half of $722 million bonding proposed by Mangano after months of intense bickering. That borrowing will be repaid by the recently announced federal aid sooner than expected instead of the county waiting to be reimbursed after completion of the project, officials said. Nassau Bay Park Plant Letterlast_img read more

When disaster strikes

first_img 14SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Ken Agle Ken Agle, President of AdvisX, brings more than 25 years of experience covering almost all facets of financial institution risk management operations. He has conducted more than 350 compliance reviews … Web: Details If disaster struck your community right now, would your institution be ready? While no one wants to see the circumstances that would cause an institution to have to activate its business continuity and disaster recovery plan, the last time you would want to find out that yours is inadequate or hopelessly outdated is in an actual emergency.For larger disasters, a financial institution’s ability to withstand the calamity and recover its ability to conduct operations quickly can be crucial to the larger community’s efforts to get back on its feet and to ensure continued confidence in the banking system. But just having a disaster recovery plan on the shelf isn’t enough.In a recent episode of Risk Watch, we reviewed three key characteristics we’ve observed of a strong business continuity and disaster recovery program. They were: 1) testing, 2) customization, and 3) formalized system of notification. We’d like to analyze that first characteristic—testing—a little deeper.BUSINESS IMPACT ANALYSISTesting begins with a business impact analysis. This kind of analysis focuses on how disasters would affect your departments, overall business operations, membership or customer base, reputation, revenue, and so forth. It is important to know the unique circumstances that affect how much disaster affect your institution.The main goal of the business impact analysis is to determine the basic recovery requirements of critical department activities. Critical activities may be defined as primary business functions that must continue in order to support various departments within your organization.For the BIA, you will need to identify:Critical business activities that occur in your department.What the impact to your department would be in the event of a disruption of each activity.How long your department could survive without performing this activity.For that last one, you’d assign recovery time objectives (RTO) to each function. The RTO is the time from which a crisis/disaster is declared to the time that the critical business function must be fully operational in order to avoid serious financial loss or other meaningful risks.TABLETOP TESTINGAfter preparing the BIA, it is vital to periodically subject your business continuity plan to tabletop testing, where key members of each department come together and talk through potential disaster scenarios and how the institution would respond. This process of “role playing” through a disaster allows your financial institution to see how well your personnel, systems, and variables perform on a hypothetical level so that any needed changes can be made well before any actual disasters strike. This testing should accomplish four goals:Determine the feasibility of contingency plans and procedures.Identify areas in the plan that may require modification.Provide training opportunities for BCP committee team members and financial institution employees.Evaluate the impact of the disaster on critical functions identified in the business impact analysis (BIA) and whether there is a “domino” affect related to those functions. You may find that departmental functions have inherent dependencies to complete crucial functions and these are frequently identified during tabletop exercises when incorporating the BIA.During your tabletop testing, youwould want to includescenariosthatare likely to happen in your area. Youmayalsowishtouseone or more different scenarios over the course ofseveralteststohelpensurethatyourBCPiswell-roundedandappropriateformanykindsofpotentialdisasters. It’s important to include natural disasters—earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, fires, etc.—as well as man-made disasters, like riots, viruses, and data breaches.Because tabletop exercises and business impact analyses involve so many departments, many institutions ask for third-party assistance in orchestrating the effort leading up to it, conducting the exercise itself (including the selection of scenarios), and preparing the summary report and accompanying recommendations.By thoroughly analyzing the impact of disasters on your institution and thoroughly testing your disaster recovery/business continuity plan, you’ll be well on your way to being ready when disaster strikes.For more information on AffirmX’s business continuity and disaster recovery plan services, including its tabletop exercises assistance, please visit read more

Credit Union Growth Series [Part 1]: How to propel your lending programs through challenging times

first_img This post is currently collecting data… ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Learn what other credit unions have done to keep their loan, deposit, and member growth thriving throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Also in this episode, hear about strategies you should consider to future-proof against risks yet-to-come, such as a resurgence of the pandemic.Key Takeaways:[04:01] What used to be strategic planning has turned into strategic adjustments because you have to stay fluid.[12:55] One safeguard is diversifying lending channels.  Start reaching out to alternatives channels now.[19:39] Start leveraging some of those alternative lending channels, driving opportunities at an accelerated pace, and using technology to bring efficiency to the process.center_img This is placeholder text continue reading »last_img read more

Candidates express concern over single polling site in Chenango County

first_imgThat location is the Chenango County Sheriff’s Office in Norwich. They’ll be open for voting from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday. With only one location in the nearly 900 square mile county, candidates running for office are voicing their concerns. Furman says some residents are facing an hour drive to the Chenango County Sheriff’s Office, making it difficult for voters to make their vote count. “We have Wal-Mart open, we have Lowe’s open, all at capacity, the lumber stores, the liquor stores, the barber shops are all open. Why can’t we have open poll places for the convenience of the voters?” Said Victor Furman, Republican candidate for the 122nd District state assembly seat. “They’re not going to vote at all, and I don’t think that’s fair to any of the candidates,” said Furman. For more information on how to vote in Chenango County, head over to their website. Despite the distance, candidates say they’re hoping residents make the trek to make their voices heard. According to the Chenango County Board of Elections, locations and staff were widely unavailable due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, all New York State residents were mailed absentee ballot applications, with a deadline to return those by June 16. Early voting in Chenango County continues through Sunday, June 21. Some candidates are still calling for a change on the state level. “It’s our American right, and if you want to vote, then you should absolutely have the opportunity to,” said Nick Libous, Republican candidate for the 122nd District state assembly seat. “We’re going to have a lot of support in Chenango County, and I think anybody who doesn’t have the opportunity to vote in Chenango County, that’s a lost vote for us and that’s unfortunate,” said Libous. (WBNG) — If you live in Chenango County, you will only have one polling location to vote at for this year’s primary elections on June 23. last_img read more

Why travel hundreds of miles to your tourist destination?

first_imgYes, it’s that simple.Why travel hundreds of miles to your tourist destination? A very simple question, and the answer to this question must evoke a good enough motive to travel and come.What’s your story? What can I see and experience? For which experience will I be richer? How can you delight me? Answer these questions and you are already far ahead of other tourist destinations. What matters is the content, the authentic and unique content and the memorable experience, not the form.What should a travel agency put in a catalog about your destination? What to sell? Accommodation? Certainly not, because the hotel is not a motive for arrival, but an authentic, diverse and quality content of a tourist destination. You have to sell the story and the content, not the form.Let’s be what we are – Croats. It’s a story we have to pack up nicely and tell. Tourism consists of emotions, experiences and stories.We tell stories, our authentic stories. One of the main issues for every tourism worker: Why do people travel at all? last_img read more