Florida Keys hotels (Credit: iStock)Hurricane Dorian never made landfall in Florida, but the near miss still had a sizable impact on Florida’s hospitality industry around Labor Day weekend.Demand for hotels in the Florida Keys fell by 50 percent and revenue per available room dropped by 59 percent during a seven-day period from Aug. 30 through Sept. 5, according to a report from the hotel data company STR.Daytona Beach’s hotel industry took the second biggest hit. Demand for hotels fell 37.4 percent, while revenue per available room in Daytona Beach dipped by 47 percent.In Fort Lauderdale, hotel demand dropped 26 percent and revenue per available room fell 34 percent. Similarly, hotel demand in Miami fell 28.5 percent and revenue declined 38 percent, according to the report.The hospitality industry is critical to the Florida Keys economy, especially during the winter season when snowbirds flock to the island chain. After Hurricane Irma, room demand in the Florida Keys dropped 44 percent in September 2017 from the previous year, according to Visit Florida.ADVERTISEMENTAlison Hoyt, STR’s senior director of consulting & analytics, said Hurricane Dorian should not have a significant impact on hotel revenue or occupancy in Florida in the months ahead.“Fortunately with Dorian, reports suggest that most U.S. markets avoided large-scale destruction, especially when you consider the devastation in the Bahamas, so we don’t expect an extended impact in the U.S. data,” Hoyt said in statement.However, the hospitality industry in the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama will likely be decimated for years, according to industry experts. The Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama have a total of about 2,250 hotel rooms, which equates to 15 percent of the total hotel inventory in the country, according to Rick Newton of Resort Capital Partners, which tracks the hospitality industry. This content is for subscribers only.Subscribe Now
A research collaboration lead by Harvard Stem Cell Institute researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) has found a subpopulation of hematopoietic stem cells, which generate all blood and immune system cells, that reproduce much more slowly than previously anticipated. Use of these cells may improve the outcome of stem cell transplants – also called bone marrow transplants – for the treatment of leukemia and other marrow-based diseases. The report has been published on line by the journal Nature Biotechnology to coincide with a similar study in the journal Cell.“Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation saves many lives every day and is the most established therapeutic application of stem cells, but ironically we know very little about the cells that have made this clinical success possible,” says Harvard Medical School assistant professor Hanno Hock, MD, PhD, of HSCI and the MGH Center for Regenerative Medicine, who led the study. “If we can improve our understanding of the biology of these cells, we should be able to offer our patients more therapeutic options.”It has been believed that the entire population of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) in the bone marrow reproduce at a rate of about 7 percent per day, with each cell dividing every two weeks. But previous investigations of stem cell proliferation appear to have missed the fact that some cells divide much less frequently. The MGH team developed a mouse model in which HSCs could be induced to express a green fluorescent label for a limited period of time. Tracking how long cells retained the label after its expression was halted would indicate how long a cell remained in a resting phase between cell divisions. While 80 percent of the labeled HSCs were observed to proliferate at the expected rate, 20 percent of cells reproduced much more slowly, dividing once every 100 days or longer. Another experiment found that a gene believed to keep HSCs in a resting state was not required to maintain the reduced rate of cell division in these slow-cycling HSCs, and a mathematical model of HSC proliferation only matched what was actually seen in the labeled mouse model if it assumed two populations of HSCs with differing rates of cell division.To test whether the rate of proliferation changed the cells’ ability to repopulate bone marrow, stem cell transplants were conducted using HSCs that had been labeled several months earlier and retained varying levels of the green marker – with higher label intensity signifying the slowly proliferating cells. The best results were achieved with cells maintaining the most label, which would signify the slow-cycling population, while cells in which the label was weakest were least able to repopulate the animals’ marrow.“Our results suggest that we understand a lot less about HSCs than we thought,” Hock says. “If we can find more markers for these slow-cycling cells and identify them in human bone marrow, we may be able to make more of them and find additional clinical applications.” Co-lead authors of the report are Adlen Foudi, PhD, and Konrad Hochedlinger, PhD, of the MGH Center for Regenerative Medicine and Cancer Center. Additional co-authors are Denille Van Buren and Jeffrey Schindler, MGH; Rudolf Jaenisch, MD, Whitehead Institute, and Vincent Carey, PhD, Harvard Medical School. The study was supported by grants from the Ellison Foundation, the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, the American Society for Hematology, the National Institute of Health, the Kimmel Foundation and the V Foundation.
Caledonia Spirits, Inc,Vermont Business Magazine The American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA), announced the winners of its Third Annual Judging of Craft Spirits on March 3, 2016. Caledonia Spirits, the Hardwick-based producer of Barr Hill, submitted three products to the competition. All three products earned awards. The leader of the pack, Barr Hill Gin, was awarded a gold medal with an additional “Best in Category” designation. Barr Hill Vodka received a silver medal, and a bronze medal was awarded for the category-bending Tom Cat Barrel-Aged Gin. The event was hosted at the Palmer House Hotel, in downtown Chicago. Winners were hand-selected among a record-breaking pool of nearly 450 entrants – up more than 30 percent over last year.Left: Back to Front, Left to Right: Justin Bergeron – Packing Assistant (black long sleeve), Ryan Christiansen – President and Head Distiller (Blue long sleeve), Andrew Pinault – Production Manager (Green plaid button down), Scott Emery – Apprentice Distiller (holding barrel on his knee), Krzysztof Krysztoforski – Bottling Line Supervisor (wearing black Barr Hill t-shirt). Top, from Left to Right: Barr Hill Vodka (silver medal) distilled entirely from raw honey, Barr Hill Gin (gold medal and “Best in Category”) distiller with juniper berries and finished with raw honey, Barr Hill Reserve Tom Cat Gin (bronze medal) Tom Cat is made by aging Barr Hill Gin in Oak Barrels. The bottles are pictured on our barrels that are custom made by Bob Hockert of US Barrel in Wilmington, NY. He uses American White Oak that we source in Vermont.Barr Hill has won medals in the last three competitions entered (American Craft Spirits 2016, San Diego Spirits Festival 2014, New York International Spirits Competition 2012). Caledonia Spirits photos.“This is a great accomplishment for our company. We have a devoted team who works hard to keep product quality as a top priority in our distillery,” Said Ryan Christiansen, President and Head Distiller at Caledonia Spirits. “It’s a great honor to be recognized, and to share the stage with great distillers from across the nation.” Barr Hill Gin is no stranger to recognition and gold medals. This is actually the third gold medal for this honey-inspired gin. Barr Hill Gin won Gold and “Gin of the Year” at the 2013 Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Competition, and ”Double Gold” at the 2012 New York International Spirits Competition. The American Craft Spirits Association is the only registered non-profit trade association representing the U.S. craft spirits industry. The judges know the industry and know it well. All eyes are on the award winning spirits and distillers who push the envelope every day with innovation and quality.Hardwick, Vermont (March 10, 2016) – Caledonia Spirits. On facebook Barr Jill is listed as “Barr Hill by Caledonia Spirits” and on Instagram and Twitter it is @caledoniaspirits
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Premier Helen Zille delivers her Sopa In her State of the Province address last week, Premier Helen Zille earmarked Manenberg as one of the areas that would be included in the City’s mayoral urban regeneration programme. Manenberg residents, however, feel their voices are not being heard in the planning.Ms Zille said the urban design programme would be used to transform neighbourhoods plagued by gang violence, drugs and alcohol abuse. She also said, since 2015, the Province, City of Cape Town and community partners had been working together towards the vision of a youth lifestyle campus in Manenberg – a network of education and after-school facilities, linked by safe promenades and upgraded lighting and infrastructure.Ms Zille said: “We have been helped every step of the way in Manenberg by the VPUU (Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading) not-for-profit organisation, that provides the interface between community and government. “All partners recently participated in the annual community action plan review. Integral to implementing this vision – from a provincial perspective – is a schools upgrade programme,” she said.The provincial education department receives funding for the upgrade of “plankie” schools in Manenberg, through the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Development Initiative (ASIDI).The funds are transferred from the national Department of Basic Education, and have been used to replace the buildings of Silverstream and Red River primary schools in Manenberg.“The Western Cape government, through the provincial education department, will fund any further replacement of schools in the area,” she said.Ms Zille added that funding would be made available to replace schools with inadequate infrastructure with three new school buildings in the community. She said the City had also agreed that it would benefit the youth of Manenberg to include a school of skills within the upgrade programme. “This unique schooling model was designed by our education department to provide young people an alternative pathway into apprenticeships and jobs,” she said.A request for proposals would also be issued by the provincial Department of Transport and Public Works this year to use all or part of the former GF Jooste Hospital site on Duinefontein Road for skills and community development use.The City of Cape Town was also investing in various upgrades to public infrastructure in the community, including lighting, roads and parks, said Ms Zille.“In order for the vision to become a reality, the current spatial landscape in Manenberg will obviously also be required to change. “Each proposed step will still have to follow its own legislated process, including the public participation that is required. “It is bureaucratic and time consuming, but we have to work within the law with every sector involved,” she said.However, Roegchanda Pascoe, chairwoman of the Manenberg Safety Forum, said the City should not present finalised plans and expect the community to accept it without question. It was essential, she said, for the City to engage with the community to properly understand their needs and wants.“The City comes with their finalised plans and expects the community to just run with it. You have to listen to the plans of the people. “Beatrix Lane is so small but also has a stronghold by the Hard Livings gang. “What better way now to say here’s the money and redesign Manenberg to control the gangs, (but) they are not interested to listen to the people,” she said.Ms Pascoe said the City should use Manenberg as an example of how change was possible in struggling communities.“They use this top-down approach. They tell you to dream big and give your dream, but if your dream doesn’t fit into their plan, you can kiss it goodbye. “They are using this as an opportunity to campaign for elections. We are tired of the liesand misleading that happens,” she said.Echoing her views on the importance of residents’ involvement, Ward 45 councillor Bonita Jacobs said the community and the City should work as a team to upgrade the area. “The community is waiting on improvement and development in the area and they are waiting on the City to assist in changing their lives, but they also need to work with the City – they need to work as a team. With the programmes there will be an opportunity for job creation, which will eradicate gangsterism and unemployment,” she said.Ms Jacobs said the upgrade could help remove the stigma associated with Manenberg.Jonathan Jansen, chairman of the mayoral urban regeneration project, said they hoped to sign an action plan for the area by the end of March “but that document first needs to go to the community to see if that’s what they want”.
Kate BriscoeRegulators have long sought to encourage legal services comparison sites and have sought to make data available to further that ambition. The SRA’s proposes to compel firms to publish prices, and also plans to publish firms’ complaints data history.Meanwhile, oversight regulator the Legal Services Board says new research proves consumers benefit from shopping around for legal services. Market studies of prices for conveyancing, wills, divorce, lasting power of attorney and estate administration show fixed fee offerings generally led to reduced consumer costs.Firms based in the south-east were on average a third more expensive than those based elsewhere. Of the 32% of firms which reported increasing their prices this year, 29% cited an increase in the cost of overheads or staff as the main reason, while 26% were responding to increases in other providers’ prices. Investors have agreed to pump almost £1m into a new comparison site that pledges to ‘democratise’ access to legal services.Consumer information platform LegalBeagles today announced the creation of JustBeagle, allowing prospective clients to compare the sector expertise, price and independent rankings of law firms. The site is the company’s second attempt at a legal comparison offering, having previously pitched LBCompare at the beginning of 2016. That site no longer exists.Since then, the Competition and Markets Authority has endorsed greater access to information about legal services. LegalBeagles says it has created a broader model integrating its online forum and digital marketing capability. The new venture raised £970,000 in seed round funding from investors sourced from crowdfunding platform SyndicateRoom, which will receive equity in the business.Kate Briscoe (pictured), chief executive of LegalBeagles, said consumers now demand more information about law firms and want the ability to search for one that best suits their needs. The company says law firm members can post enhanced personal profiles, content and blogs, and can reach more than 1.7m consumers through the shared platforms.‘It was clear there was significant pent-up demand which was not being met for consumers and equally law firms have not had access to a neutral platform to showcase and benchmark their services,’ said Briscoe.
Juan Cuadrado’s arrival at Chelsea for an initial £23.3m adds another attacking weapon to Jose Mourinho’s side.The Colombian, 26, was one of Europe’s most talked-about players last summer after eye-catching performances at the World Cup, and he had been linked with a move to Barcelona.Willian has been Mourinho’s first-choice right-winger this season, but Cuadrado’s arrival suggests the pair will go toe-to-toe for a place on the right.The Brazilian took a while to settle into English football, but now he has, Stamford Bridge is seeing the best of him.Who will Mourinho choose as his first choice right-winger, talkSPORT takes a look…Possible Chelsea line-up with Cuadrado in the starting XI:Cuadrado’s favoured position would be on the right wing of Mourinho’s 4-2-3-1 formation, where it’s a straight shoot-out between the Colombian and Willian.The right-hand side is Cuadrado’s strongest position and that is where he excelled at the World CupCuadrado is quick, skilful, and his ability to track back and offer protection to his full-back makes him the ideal player for Mourinho.Cuadrado or Willian?Cuadrado registered more assists than any other player at the World Cup with four, and the Colombian is more effective than Willian in terms of goals and assists – he scored 11 goals in Serie A last season and four this campaign.The former Fiorentina man also completed more take ons than any other player in Italy last year and combined with his pace, it makes the Colombian a consistent threat, with or without the ball.While Cuadrado’s arrival may make Chelsea more expansive going forward, the team could lose some of its solidity if Willian makes way.The Brazilian’s ability to get back into position enables the likes of Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas to express themselves, ensuring the defence is rarely left exposed in wide areas.The former Anzhi man is arguably more consistent and his defensive work is invaluable against stronger opposition.Nonetheless, Mourinho now has two top-quality options on the right and the competition should bring the best out of both of them. It could also see Willian compete with his compatriot, Oscar, for a place behind Diego Costa in the no.10 role.What do Chelsea fans think of the competition between Cuadrado and Willian? See some reaction here…Watch some of Cuadrado’s best highlights from Serie A:Chelsea fans, who would you prefer in the starting XI – Juan Cuadrado or Willian? Comment below… Juan Cuadrados arrival at Chelsea for an initial £23.3m adds another attacking weapon to Jose Mourinhos side. 1