2011年5月29日 星期日

Larger home for HEARTS Peer Support Center increases needs

Less than a year since clients, guests and dignitaries gathered to celebrate the grand opening at the HEARTS Peer Support Center in Nashua’s Millyard, there’s more grand news.

A growing membership using services and activities offered at the center have already made the present location a bit crowded, prompting a move scheduled for July, as well as a request to the Mailbag.

The new, much larger center will be located just a few doors away!

Support support center

“Here are some items we are looking for in preparation for our upcoming move to the new HEARTS Peer Support Center of Greater Nashua location,” writes Executive Director Ken L., of Nashua (LTR 2,663).

“Donations of a standard-size electric stove, standard-size electric dishwasher and two kitchen tables with eight chairs would be greatly appreciated. This would be a major start.

Furnishing needs

“I am a single mom of two boys, ages 19 and 12, and I am in desperate need of twin beds and dressers, and since my living room is very small, I could also use a sectional couch, if possible,” says Brandie K., of Nashua (LTR 2,801. “I make too much income to get help from anyone, but barely enough to get along.

“This is my last resort. I do not have transportation to pick up furniture, and have no beds to sleep on or a couch to sit on.

“My days off are Tuesdays and every other weekend. I was given your e-mail and would greatly appreciate any help you could send my way.”

How council bureaucrats brought misery to a Welsh family farm

Over four generations the family farm had grown to 4,000 ewes, plus 2,000 lambs and 450 cattle grazing on more than 1,600 acres of north Wales countryside.

His dedication had won Henllys Farm in Abergele the respect of the agricultural community and a string of awards.

But the 52-year-old farmer's life was plunged into turmoil when council trading standards officials came calling in September 2008.

They scoured the farm and, among the huge flock of sheep, they found two that were dead.

Nothing unusual about that. But, to Mr Williams' horror, the council officers concluded from the state of the carcasses that the animals had been dead for a long time, possibly weeks, and that Mr Williams had failed to dispose of them within a "reasonable" period of time, usually a day or two after they had died.

Mr Williams strenuously denied their claims, saying that he made regular checks and the sheep could not have been dead for more than 48 hours. But he was charged under the 2006 Animal Welfare Act with failing properly to dispose of the carcasses.

The farmer's expert witness, a leading vet, told the court that foxes, crows, magpies and other predators could reduce an animal's corpse to little more than bones within hours of its death. The local authority finally admitted defeat and dropped the case in October 2009 before local magistrates delivered a verdict.

But Mr Williams' battle with the bureaucrats was not over: he still had to fight two charges of causing unnecessary suffering to lambs in a separate prosecution.

The trading standards officers had found one lamb with an eye infection and another with flystrike, a common condition in which flies lay eggs on a sheep's body.

Mr Williams explained that he knew about the infections and was treating both animals in a separate "hospital field". But the officers ignored his protestations and he was charged and found guilty at Prestatyn magistrates court in June last year.

The farmer appealed and the case dragged on until the council decided last week not to contest the appeal - finally clearing Mr Williams' name. His battle for justice had taken nearly three years.

Mr Williams, who runs the farm with his wife Edna and sons Berwyn, 27 and Selwyn, 29, said: "I've been farming all my life and I've never seen anything like this.

"We found ourselves being pursued on totally groundless charges and the cases have brought a lot of stress and heartache to my family for nearly three years.

"We work hard and are proud of what we do here but we have suffered because trading standards don't understand farming.

"Hopefully this case sends out a signal that families such as my own are not willing to roll over but instead will fight for our basic rights and freedoms."

Mr Williams said the council should "look into the background of the people who make these allegations against farmers".

His delight at finally gaining justice was marred by the fact that his father Douglas did not see his victory as he died in March aged 84.

Mr Williams' solicitor said the case was "one of the worst abuses of the law I have seen by a council against a respected and award-winning farming family".

David Kirwan, a farming specialist with Wirral-based Kirwans solicitors, said: "There was never any justification for bringing this case and it is a scandal that it has been allowed to drag on as long as it has.

"The Williams family has lived in fear for almost three years of the potentially catastrophic impact these groundless allegations could have on their financial well-being and on their reputation as sheep farmers."

"Councils like Conwy seem hell-bent on criminalising the hard-working farming community.

"Invading people's privacy and marching round with their clipboards, these officious people forget how vital the farming community is to the economy of this country."

The case sparked anger in the farming community, with the Farmers' Union of Wales calling for the resignation of Phil Rafferty, head of Conwy council's regulatory services.

Mr Williams is not the only farmer to find himself being prosecuted by "meddling and vindictive" officials under relatively new legislation, only for cases to be dropped after drawn-out and expensive proceedings which put farmers' livelihoods at risks.

Mr Kirwan said the case was just the "tip of the iceberg" of "pointless prosecutions". A series of cases have been brought then dropped in similar circumstances to Mr Williams' ordeal, including several in north Wales in the past few weeks alone.

The cases have cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of pounds.

They include:

- Major Tom Smith, a deputy-Lieutenant of Gwynedd, his wife and son, who were prosecuted for seven alleged animal welfare offences by Conwy trading standards over the management of his flock of Welsh mountain sheep, tended by an experienced shepherd.

A trial date was set but, after more than six months and many expensive court appearances, the case against all three defendants was dropped this month (MAY) because it was not in the public interest. The case is estimated to have cost the taxpayer £75,000.

- Tomos (CORR) Bryn Jones, a farmer from Denbigh, was prosecuted for breaching cattle movement restrictions after he sold a young heifer for slaughter because it "went berserk" and attacked anybody who came near it or its calf. Cows are always protective of their calves but this animal was considered to be dangerous.

The defence argued that the case was exempt from the restrictions. The case went on for nearly nine months before the prosecution dropped the charges this month (MAY), a few weeks before the trial date. Mr Jones, who accepted a caution, was awarded costs.

- John Davies, a fourth-generation cattle and sheep farmer from Llanrwst, Conwy, was cleared by magistrates last October, and won costs, after being prosecuted for failing to provide his cattle with "fresh, golden-coloured straw" for dry bedding.

The defence said that the farmer would have to be with his animals every minute of the day to ensure such pristine straw. The court was asked: "Are farmers expected to stand behind cows in the barns with a 'pooper scooper' and replace the straw every time the animal defecates or urinates?"

Gallantly Streaming: The National Flag Code

Did you know that there were no federal or state regulations about the display of the United States Flag before 1923? That was the year that the National Flag Code was adopted by the National Flag Conference. And it wasn't until 1942 that Congress passed Public Law 829 with exact rules for the use and display of the American flag.

Here are a few important considerations from the code:

    It is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flagstaffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed twenty-four hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness.
    The flag should be hoisted briskly and lowered ceremoniously.
    The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all weather flag is displayed.
    When carried in a procession with another flag or flags, should be either on the marching right; that is, the flag's own right, or, if there is a line of other flags, in front of the center of that line.
    The flag should not be draped over the hood, top, sides, or back of a vehicle or of a railroad train or a boat. When the flag is displayed on a motorcar, the staff shall be fixed firmly to the chassis or clamped to the right fender.
    No other flag or pennant should be placed above or, if on the same level, to the right of the flag of the United States of America
    The flag of the United States of America should be at the center and at the highest point of the group when a number of flags of States or localities or pennants of societies are grouped and displayed from staffs.

    When flags of States, cities, or localities, or pennants of societies are flown on the same halyard with the flag of the United States, the latter should always be at the peak. When the flags are flown from adjacent staffs, the flag of the United States should be hoisted first and lowered last. No such flag or pennant may be placed above the flag of the United States or to the United States flag's right.

    When flags of two or more nations are displayed, they are to be flown from separate staffs of the same height. The flags should be of approximately equal size. International usage forbids the display of the flag of one nation above that of another nation in time of peace.

    When the flag of the United States is displayed from a staff projecting horizontally or at an angle from the window sill, balcony, or front of a building, the union of the flag should be placed at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half staff.

    When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag's own right, that is, to the observer's left. When displayed in a window, the flag should be displayed in the same way, with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street.

    When the flag is displayed over the middle of the street, it should be suspended vertically with the union to the north in an east and west street or to the east in a north and south street.

    When used on a speaker's platform, the flag, if displayed flat, should be displayed above and behind the speaker. When displayed from a staff in a church or public auditorium, the flag of the United States of America should hold the position of superior prominence, in advance of the audience, and in the position of honor at the clergyman's or speaker's right as he faces the audience. Any other flag so displayed should be placed on the left of the clergyman or speaker or to the right of the audience.

    The flag should form a distinctive feature of the ceremony of unveiling a statue or monument, but it should never be used as the covering for the statue or monument.

Respect for the flag of the United States of America

    The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.

    The flag should never touch anything beneath it, such as the ground, the floor, water, or merchandise.

    The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.

    The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery.

    The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.

    The flag should never be used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever. It should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper napkins or boxes or anything that is designed for temporary use and discard.

    No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.

    The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.

Although the code gives us a guide for the handling and display of the flag, it does not impose penalties for violations. Penalties for misuse are determined by each state, and each state has its own flag law.

Unfortunately, mistakes are often made in the proper display and handling of our "star spangled banner."  Flag code violations in the news and the wall of shame on the ushistory.org website show and explain some notable flag code violations.

2011年5月25日 星期三

Aspen Gold: Lowering Costs for Stable Owners, Retailers With New Product and Promotion

Aspen Gold Premium Wood Pellet Bedding, being released to market in June 2011, is a pelletized bedding product manufactured by Indeck Ladysmith, LLC of Ladysmith, Wis. The unique cost-reducing advantages of Aspen Gold bedding and the company's first promotion can save stable owners and retailers thousands in 2011.

Specifically formulated to keep horses healthy and comfortable in a low-dust, low-moisture environment, Aspen Gold Premium Wood Pellet Bedding is made of 100 percent aspen wood.

"We are excited about the launch of our new bedding material," said Jeffrey Schultz, Plant Manager, Aspen Gold. "We are committed to providing a superior product that will reduce bedding and disposal costs over the long term; and we are committed to offering that product at a discounted, introductory price."

Aspen Gold Premium Wood Pellet Bedding is offering two tons of its bedding product free with any 20 ton order, for a limited time.

Created to increase efficiency and reduce costs, highly absorbent Aspen Gold Premium Wood Pellet Bedding causes liquid waste to clump together, allowing for easier clean-up. In addition, the product only needs to be removed when it is completely saturated, requiring as few as one to two bags per week to be added to the stall -- saving time and labor.

Additionally, the unique, highly absorbent properties of aspen wood result in less bedding material being contaminated with waste and needing to be discarded during clean-up, causing manure piles grow at a slower pace -- as much as 50 percent slower than with other bedding options.

"When it comes to managing my horses, anything that saves me time is saving me money," said Diane Logue, Tizmar Equine, Cannon Falls, Minn. "Aspen Gold is a new product, different from others that I have tried. During the pilot test program, mucking my stalls was less work. I was raking out less bedding material and my waste pile was growing more slowly."

Expert Warns Bedding and Laptops Don't Mix

Fire officials say the flames that destroyed a Fishersville home earlier this week were likely caused by a computer on a bed in a second story bedroom.

Computer experts say they aren't surprised that a computer could be the cause of a fire.

In fact, Jimmy Jones of LCC Computers says he's surprised it doesn't happen more often.

Jones says, the minute you turn your laptop computer on, the temperature inside rises to 120 degrees. That's when the fan kicks in to keep the inside cool.

However, more often than not, that fan is located on the bottom of the computer.

If the computer is sitting on a hard surface, enough air is getting in, but if it's on something soft, like a bed, all that heat keeps building.

"If you accidentally leave it at home all day, and it's sitting there on the bed and not breathing and on, it can definitely cause a fire, especially if it's on bedspread material like that. It's going to get hot enough to ignite that eventually," says Jones.

He says full-blown fires starting because of this is pretty rare, but Jones does perform a lot of repairs to motherboards that have warped inside because of the same heat issue.

He says those people are lucky to have only damaged their computer, not their home.

2011年5月22日 星期日

Show of speed

Maybe you don’t care to wear his clothes or use his cologne but, hey, surely you’ve gotta appreciate and applaud his taste in cars?

I’m referring, of course, to Ralph Lauren, the bloke who has literally made a billion out of foisting polo shirts to preppy types. (Actually, in addition to clothing, he designs home decorating products such as furniture, bedding, drapes, towels, rugs, china, and silverware).

The American fashion designer has put his cash to a good cause: He owns a remarkable collection of cars.

The common link is competition; speed is really the main topic. Every one of the 60 machines he owns, and regularly drives – because they’re kept in full working order – has a fantastic pedigree and some are very rare.

Sounds like the sort of stuff you’d love to see? Well, that hasn’t been possible in the past, because Ralph’s garage, on a country estate near New York, has been off-limits to public gaze.

But now 17 of the premier cru machines have come out, as it were. They’ve been shipped to Paris for display at a small museum specialising in decorative arts.

The ‘Art of the Automobile’ show at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs runs until late August, and would be worth a gander for any Kiwis touring France’s capital during the northern summer.

Lauren, who famously described cars as" 2004 tastes.

The collection reminds that all cars are not equal; for a major name in the fashion world just a relatively small number of brands makes the cut. Bentley, Alfa Romeo, Mercedes-Benz, Bugatti, Porsche, Jaguar, Ferrari and McLaren (he owns two F1s, the limited edition Le Mans versions) comprise the chosen.

The cars sent over for exhibition are from the late 1920s to the 1960s, considered by many to be the golden age of car design. The display is themed as an evolution of style and design.

Don’t worry. The oldies are all goodies; some the rarest, most expensive vehicles in the world.

Among the exhibits is the Bentley Blower of 1929, a unique Mercedes-Benz SSK from 1930 owned by racing driver Count Carlo Felice Trossie and a Bugatti 57 SC Atlantic Coupe, one of only four ever made (and only two that remain).

Ferrari fans are well catered for - there are four in the collection - with a 375 Plus from 1954 (designed under the direction of Pinin Farina himself) and a Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa from 1957 by automotive legend Sergio Scaglietti. The last car in the exhibition is a 250 LM from 1958, which is viewed just after a Jaguar XKD, also from that year.

While it’s obviously not possible to see them running in the museum, there are films showing Lauren driving his cars as well as archive films showing some in competition.

Taylor column: Tips and tricks to catch more fish

Watching competitors on the B.A.S.S. Sunshine Showdown at the Harris Chain in Florida last March was an eye-opener in technique and style. Shaw Grigsby won the tournament sight-fishing in a small pond attached to the chain. He shared the water with two other competitors whose technique and style was similar to his.

They relied on their ability to see into the water to locate bedding bass, then to hold their boats in perfect position and finally, to present their baits in a manner that provoked strikes.

Each relied heavily on Polaroid sunglasses to see into the water and JL Marine’s Power Poles to hold their boats absolutely stationary once fish were located. Each used their favorite soft plastic bait, casting beyond the bedding fish and then jiggled it back into the bed.

Each had an array of rods, pre-rigged with wacky, drop-shot, Texas and Carolina-style soft plastics. When they found a bedded bass, each would start with their ‘confidence lure’ and switch until the fish either struck the bait or spooked.

Another competitor, Greg Hackney, pitched jigs into lily pads and along grass lines with incredible finesse. Each pitch placed the jig within an inch or two of its target, entering the water without a splash to avoid spooking nearby fish. His technique was flawless; shallow water anglers could benefit significantly by mastering his technique.

Carolina or Texas-rigged soft plastics can be a nuisance by working their way down the hook but Grigsby has a tip to help prevent this. Wrap an orthodontia rubber band around a straw twice then roll it off the straw onto the plastic worm 1/8 to 1/4 inch from the nose. The band helps to keep it from sliding on the hook down.  

In the spring, Brad Wiegmann from PRADCO’s pro staff likes to wacky-rig straight worms like Yum’s F2 Dinger by placing an ‘O’ ring around the middle of the worm then run a circle hook through the worm under the ‘O’ ring. If the worm becomes torn, the O ring holds it on the hook.

Some anglers are reluctant to use braided line because it is so visible. A mono or fluorocarbon leader would be the ideal solution but tying either to braid is tricky because knots tied by the two dissimilar lines are usually very weak.

Topwater baits like buzzbaits and Heddon’s Zara Spook are producing along shorelines now. Tournament pro, Charlie Campbell, likes to add a split ring to the Spook’s nose-eye and then tie the line to the ring for a better ‘walk-the-dog’ action.

Campbell also removes the original hooks and attaches new ultra-sharp hooks with split rings, believing he boats more fish with the free-swinging hooks. He swaps front and rear hook sizes until the nose of his Zara Spook rides slightly higher in the water than its tail, convinced this improves walk-the-dog action.

Many anglers dip the tail of watermelon-colored soft plastics in chartreuse dye, like Spike-It, to create color contrast. Some also peg their Texas-rigged bullet weight to the line, believing it doesn’t hang up as much as a free sliding weight.

Retired professional angler, Roland Martin, is known for his deep water fishing skills and the belief that Solunar tables help predict peak activity levels for fish and wildlife. He often said, “It’s not the only factor in fishing, but count on me being on my best spot during Solunar time.”

In the 1970s, a friend and I were using plastic worms for bass in a pre-tournament practice. We discussed how good and bad scent on lures might attract or repel fish.

Since the fish were biting with abandon, we experimented by touching the gas tank then our plastic worms. Bass were definitely turned off by the odor.

Then we washed our hands with anise soap and re-rigged. The uncontaminated worms always caught more fish. Today, manufacturers offer a plethora of soft plastic lures with built-in tastes or smells, reducing the need to use external scents for cover-up or attractant.

Some anglers insert a glass rattle into soft plastics like worms or lizards to add a little noise. Many also peg the weight on Texas rigged plastics one inch above the hook with a rubber strip made especially for that purpose and then place a red bead that slides freely between a red hook and bullet weight for attraction.

They inspect every crankbait for flaws before purchasing it. Also, each is tested and adjusted to run true before leaving the dock or launch ramp.

Some anglers rely heavily on pre-programmed watches to provide the Solunar tables or ‘Best Fishing Times’, believing they should be on their honey hole during those best times. These tips won’t guarantee fish but they should help put the odds in your favor.

2011年5月18日 星期三

When to plant bedding plants in Central Alberta

Is it safe to plant yet? That has to be one of the most asked questions in garden centres in May. Generally spea=king, most gardeners plant out at the end of May or beginning of June. However, Albertans are familiar with the old adage: "If you don't like the weather, wait a minute!" In other words, the weather in Central Alberta is not always predictable and can change drastically from one week to the next. So even though the weather for the past several days has been great and there seems to be no risk of frost, that doesn't mean we won't get frost later in the month. On the other hand, we may not have any more frost this spring. So what is a gardener to do?

One rule of thumb is that once the poplar trees have begun to leaf out, there is usually less risk of a hard killing frost. However, there may still be a risk of light frost and some plants are better able to survive temperatures 1 or 2 degrees below zero. These include pansies, violas, snapdragons, dracaena, dianthus, Swiss chard and flowering kale.

On the other hand, some plants are very sensitive not only to frost but also to cold nights even a few degrees above zero. These include the immensely popular new varieties of ipomoea (potato vine), and coleus as well as basil, impatiens, fuchsias and begonias. Do not plant these out until the nights are consistently a few degrees above freezing.

Many gardeners like to get a start on the season by planting their flower pots early. These folks are also prepared to bring their pots in at night if there is a risk of frost. Garages and covered decks are great for this: do not bring your pots into the house for any length of time unless in a very cool location. Homes generally do not have the necessary humidity and outdoor plants will suffer in this environment.

Plant lovers need to pay faithful attention to the weather forecast throughout the month of May and early June. Know your own area: if the Edmonton forecast is for 2o or 3o, it might mean below zero temperatures in low lying rural areas. If there is a risk of frost after you have planted out your bedding plants, do not fear. Save your old sheets and blankets and cover your plants on these nights and your plants will be protected. If you forget to cover, another solution is to get outside early before the sun hits your plants and water off the frost before it damages the plants.

Finally, a word on "hardening off" your plants. It is important to acclimatize your plants to the outdoors after taking them home from the greenhouse. Place your bedding plants in a shady area for a few days before moving them into the sunshine and planting them. This greatly reduces transplant shock. It is better to plant on cloudy days. On really hot and sunny days, it is best to plant in the evening or to cover your plants with a light sheet after planting.

Father, son bring supplies to tornado-ravaged town

Bob Bostic and his son, Bobby, 20, drove a 26-foot truck packed full with 10,000 dehydrated meals, bottles of water, clothing, bedding and furniture to Alabama last week, eager to provide relief efforts to folks struggling in the aftermath of the April 27 killer tornadoes.

Yet, the sight of leveled towns was more destructive than the images the Tavares pair had seen on television; the devastation was more heart-wrenching then they imagined.

"People literally have nothing," Bob Bostic said. "In 2007 we had the tornadoes that went through Lady Lake and Lake Mack, but nothing compares to what happened up there."

As executive director for the local satellite for Kids Against Hunger, Bostic received calls after the deadly tornadoes, asking if KAH could provide any assistance.

"We received requests for any help that we could provide -- any food, clothing, bedding and furniture that we could provide," he said. "And that is what inspired us to go. It's part of what we do."

Bostic coordinated with Word Alive in Oxford, Ala., which was on scene in the first 72 hours of the disaster as a first responder, setting up distribution facilities to provide emergency workers, food, water and supplies to the hardest-hit areas of Alabama.

Once the father and son team arrived in Oxford, they were surrounded by volunteers who quickly unloaded their truck. There was no time to snap photographs, Bostic said, adding the trip to Alabama was not a photo opportunity, but one of providing a need.

"We received lots of comments from people how appreciative and thankful that they were," Bostic said. "They were thankful that there were people responding to their needs."

The Bostics said it felt good to hand over water, food, clothing and furniture.

They intend to travel back to Alabama.

"We will be making more trips," Bostic said, adding Kids Against Hunger also is partnering with The Barn in Sanford, a country music club, to provide more relief supplies to Florida's panhandle neighbor.

"The Barn did a fundraiser and sent two more trucks up there," Bostic said, adding the last truck left on Monday, also packed with food, water and supplies.

2011年5月15日 星期日

Leggett & Platt Announces Dividend and Annual Meeting Results

Leggett & Platt's Board of Directors announced a dividend of $.27 per share for the second quarter.  The dividend will be paid on July 15, 2011 to shareholders of record on June 15, 2011. 

The company has increased its annual dividend for 40 consecutive years, at an average compound growth rate of 14%.  A member of Standard & Poor's Dividend Aristocrats, Leggett & Platt knows of only one other S&P 500 company that has achieved as long a string of consecutive annual dividend increases at the growth rate Leggett has sustained.

Annual Meeting Results

The annual meeting of Leggett & Platt shareholders was held this morning in Carthage, Missouri.  Shareholders elected as directors the 12 nominees proposed by the Board; ratified the selection of PricewaterhouseCoopers as the company's independent registered public accountant for 2011; approved the compensation of the company's executive officers; recommended an advisory vote on executive compensation every year; and rejected a shareholder proposal regarding the company's written non-discrimination policy.  No other proposals were presented at the meeting.

COMPANY DESCRIPTION: Leggett & Platt (NYSE: LEG) is a diversified manufacturer (and member of the S&P 500) that conceives, designs and produces a broad variety of engineered components and products that can be found in most homes, offices, and automobiles. The company serves a broad suite of customers that comprise a "Who's Who" of U.S. manufacturers and retailers. The 128-year-old firm is comprised of 19 business units, 19,000 employee-partners, and 140 manufacturing facilities located in 18 countries.

Leggett & Platt is the leading U.S. manufacturer of: a) components for residential furniture and bedding; b) office furniture components; c) drawn steel wire; d) automotive seat support and lumbar systems; e) carpet underlay; f) power foundations; and g) bedding industry machinery.

David M. DeSonier, Senior Vice President of Strategy and Investor Relations
Susan R. McCoy, Director of Investor Relations

The Sunday service makes believers of us all

TIPPING POINT: It’s a sign of summer to get that familiar feeling back, the shared experience of a season of championship Sundays stretching out in front of us, writes MALACHY CLERKIN

YOU LIKELY don’t know who Eric Torpy is. Really and truly, you have no cause to so don’t feel bad about it. He’s currently bedding down for year six of a 33-year jail sentence in the Davis Correctional Facility in Holdenville, Oklahoma. Pulled an armed robbery in 2004, during which he fired off a few rounds that whizzed just past a few heads and bought himself three charges and 30 years in the pokey.

Except when the judge handed down the sentence to the then 27-year-old, Torpy had a request to make. If he was going to get 30 years anyway, could the judge possibly see his way clear to giving him 33 instead? That’s the number Larry Bird wore, see. And since Torpy is a Celtics fans with a “3” tattooed on both elbows and a green shamrock tattoo beside his right eye, he figured 33 years would be a fitting tribute to his favourite player. The judge was happy to oblige.

Torpy was interviewed in the Boston Globe last week, not feeling especially clever about life. “I’m pretty sure Larry Bird thinks I’m an idiot,” he said, not at all unreasonably. “I mean, truthfully, most people do. My own family does, so I’m pretty sure he does too. I kind of wish that I had 30 to do instead of 33. Recently, I’ve wisened up.”

Oh, Eric. Old too soon and smart too late, as Mike Tyson would say. Further proof that sport truly is the broadest church, with room for every wit and halfwit around. In a world where you need a licence to walk a dog or catch a fish or turn the key in a car, sport just exists. An ever-chugging train that we can all get on or off at any time. The Celtics were smoked in the play-offs last week by Miami and although they inhabit different worlds entirely, Larry Bird and Eric Torpy would have felt more or less the same mixture of anger and sadness at the result.

We share sport amongst ourselves, just by reflex. Last night was the first Sunday Game of the summer and even though there could scarcely have been a less enticing championship opener than Donegal v Antrim, Des and the boys still wrung nearly an hour and a half out of the first show. It was the now-traditional invited audience giving their now-traditional thoughts and theories on the year to come.

We eat the first show of the year up each time not because folk give a solitary one about the preliminary round of the Ulster championship but because it feels right to huddle in corners at this time of year, to play games of verbal conkers back and forth and get the summer up and running.

And because it feels good to get the routine back. The games will thread their way through our weeks and weekends from here on out. We’ll share them like we share the weather, like we share Jedward.

Sunday night for the next 18 weeks will involve The Sunday Game in some shape or form. We’ll be on a couch or in a pub or at the very worst on the receiving end of a flurry of texts if we’re taking the night off from it. Did u c wat Anthony Toolkit said? Stupid predictive text.

A friend of mine is a Rangers fan. He has enjoyed a fine couple of weeks, for along with glorying in yesterday’s Scottish title success, he is also a Manchester United fan and a Linfield fan. He grew up on the Shankill Road in Belfast, where the only game in town was soccer and where Linfield and Rangers came as part of the package. If you were given a choice, it was between United and Liverpool. He chose the former and the weekend just gone has only made him happier in that choice.

He moved to Dublin in his early 20s and married a Dublin girl. We were flatmates for a few years and one of the few arguments we ever had happened on the day of the 2001 All-Ireland football final.

As I settled into the chair for the game, he wondered aloud where the football was, by which he meant Tottenham v Southampton or some variant on it.

An entreaty to the effect that this was one of the great days in Irish sport was met with a firm, “I’m not paying Sky Sports every month to watch that shite!”

On Sunday, he and his seven-year-old boy will head to Portlaoise bedecked in Kildare jerseys. What happened? Life happened. Irish life happened. Their son was born and we moved out of flatland, with them eventually settling in Kildare.

The kid has grown up an incorrigible sports nut and his dad has had no choice but to try to keep pace. The more he got into it, the deeper it stuck its claws in.

A couple of summers ago, he brought a few cousins to a qualifier against Wicklow in Portlaoise. They couldn’t understand how they were allowed to stand beside the Wicklow fans, literally right beside them all through the game. That didn’t happen at Windsor Park.

He’s one of those supporters now – a league man, a championship man, hell even an O’Byrne Cup man. He still says that Kildare were robbed blind against Down in last year’s semi-final, but tells a lovely story of how a Down fan sitting in front of them comforted his heartbroken son after the final whistle, whispering in his ear that she’d never heard anyone support their county better through a match.

Sometimes we can take this thing of ours for granted. We give out about the fact that only five or six teams have a shot at winning it each year, as if that’s not the case for pretty much every sports competition on earth from the World Cup to the SuperBowl.

We decry the style of football or the standard of referees, scream bloody murder at the sight of a melee, spit out the phrase “blanket defence” as though it was a disease worse than leprosy.

But in the end, that’s all part of it. The rows, the rage, the rapture. A shared experience between friends and foes, between the famous and the felons, between fathers and sons and everyone else.

It’s great to have it back.

2011年5月10日 星期二

Leggett & Platt Announces Webcast of Investor Breakfast on May 19, 2011

Leggett & Platt, Incorporated (NYSE: LEG), a diversified manufacturer of engineered products serving several major markets (and member of the S&P 500), will be webcasting its New York meeting with analysts and investors on Thursday, May 19, 2011, at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time (7:30 a.m. Central Time).  David S. Haffner, President & Chief Executive Officer, and Matthew C. Flanigan, Chief Financial Officer, will be presenting.

Leggett & Platt is North America's leading independent manufacturer of the following: a) components for residential furniture and bedding; b) components for office furniture; c) drawn steel wire; d) automotive seat support and lumbar systems; e) carpet underlay; f) power foundations; and g) bedding industry machinery.

Woman bashed for bedding her next door neighbour's husband

RESIDENTS in Glen Norah C Extension were treated to free drama yesterday when a woman was thoroughly bashed by a gang of relatives for bedding her next door neighbour's husband. Delani Dhlakama was thrashed by her neighbour only identified as Mai Taurai Junior of House No. 9226 Glen Norah after she was caught red-handed having sex with the latter's husband, Taurai Kaitano.

It was said that Taurai sneaked out of his house on Saturday night and visited his girlfriend's house. "Rumours about the two's relationship had been doing rounds for sometime. Taurai's wife had been also suspecting that her husband was cheating on her with their next door neighbour.

"It was on Saturday night that the relationship came to light when Taurai sneaked out of his house and went straight into his girlfriend's arms next door. "He spent a long time there which forced his wife to track him and she caught them having a nice time between the sheets.

"We heard that the two were watching porn and it appears as if they were getting sex lessons from the video clips," said Taurai's close relative who preferred anonymity. Irked by what she had seen Mai Taurai Junior is reported to have walked out of her matrimonial home that night and went to her parents' house in the same neighbourhood.

"Mai Taurai Junior just walked out without saying a word. She just told other relatives what she had witnessed and her intentions to quit the marriage. "It was today (yesterday) when we decided to confront Taurai's girlfriend and ask her about her relationship with Taurai.

"Plus what annoyed us is the fact that this Delani lives just next door and we never expected such behaviour from her. "We then ganged up and beat her up. She was lucky that she managed to board a kombi and escape from us. We could have beaten her to death," said the relative furiously.

The unfortunate Delani is said to have been half-naked by the time she dived into the kombi. It was said that Taurai's relatives had stripped her naked tearing her clothes as they beat her. "She was almost naked when she jumped into the kombi," an onlooker quipped in. But her friend who tried to restrain Taurai's rioting relatives bore the brunt of the livid mob.

"Delani's friend was stoned on the eye when she tried to intervene and she fled the scene of the incident bleeding profusely," said the relative. The spineless Taurai took to his heels when his wife and other relatives went to confront Delani.

He was reported to have gone into hiding after the soup hit the fan! Taurai's father in-law barred Mai Taurai from entertaining reporters. "We gain nothing from talking to you. We are busy looking for my son in-law so that he will explain this mess and you want her to talk to you. "No. I won't allow her to talk to you," he said with finality.

2011年5月8日 星期日

Rest assured by smart textile bedding

More than 1 million people develop pressure ulcers each year, according to the National Decubitus Foundation, an organisation committed to eradicating bedsores. The UK's National Health Service found that up to 20% of patients in acute care, 30% of people in the community, and 20% of people in nursing and residential care suffer pressure ulcers.

In October 2008 the US Medicare and Medicaid services implemented rules that meant hospitals would no longer be reimbursed for treating pressure ulcers, as they are considered reasonably preventable.

As a result, treatments can prove to be a burden on the US healthcare budget: a market study in 1991 estimated that the overall cost of treating pressure ulcers in US healthcare totals more than $5 billion (€3.6 billion), at $2,000-5,000 each. A 2004 study of costs for UK healthcare put the cost at around $2,500-$12,500, depending on complications in the condition.

Accounting for the cost and prevalence of the bed sore issue, as well as the level of suffering involved, it is reasonable to assume there is an urgent need for innovation: the sort of situation that plastic electronic technologies like smart textiles aim to address.

Smart fabric producer Eeonyx has been developing a range of technologies to offer functionality including thermal and sensing capability. Through a partnership with sensor supplier Vista Medical, the smart fabrics have been applied to bedding that would be suitable for monitoring patients and identifying areas of pressure.

In September 2010 Vista Medical secured an exclusive agreement to supply the pressure sensing bedding technology to Stryker Medical, a supplier of hospital beds. The technology will become available by the end of 2011, according to Jamshid Avloni, CEO +Plastic Electronics volume 3, issue 5of Eeonyx, and Rob Golden, president and chairman of Vista Medical.

Roundup: Hypoallergenic hotel rooms a gimmick

In most cases, higher priced "hypoallergenic" rooms are overkill and just an excuse to impose higher room charges. Cheap alternatives to allergy sensitive bedding in regular priced rooms would usually be all that's needed to fix the problem. For example, many chains consider offering feather down pillows and comforters to be providing luxury and do not offer inexpensive and simple alternatives, such as synthetic pillows and comforters.

Asthma sufferers like my wife face possible severe breathing attacks at such hotels. Even when we request polyester bedding during booking, most hotels rarely pay attention or do not stock such inexpensive alternatives, and we typically face a crisis at check-in.

If down feather pillows and bedding were eliminated, it would be far more useful, and less costly, than having air purifiers, carpet and upholstery scrubbed with special solutions, and other pricey gimmicks.

Commentary writer Lewis Simons misses the boat on Libya in his piece "Obama's America: No bullying" (The Forum, April 27).

Interfering in Libya is a form of bullying. To suggest that "no foreign army can (successfully) hand" freedom or democracy to others ignores the democratic orders we imposed on postwar Germany and Japan, and now Iraq.

If Iraqi democracy fails "the test of time," sectarianism and other ideological factors will likely be the cause, not a missing sense that "victory was theirs." Does Simons truly believe Iraq or Afghanistan has been "remade" in our image?

A superpower cannot expect to be admired or liked by everyone. Granted, the U.S. often lacks finesse and a long-term orientation, but policymakers' primary responsibility is to pursue American interests, not others' good feelings toward us.

The international system is accelerating toward multiple regional power centers and away from U.S. dominance. Irrespective of the merits of a Libyan intervention, pushing European NATO members to take primary responsibility in their own region might be more important longer term than having "absolutely critical cover" vis-a-vis Muslim or Arab perceptions.

Not all the animosity directed toward the U.S. is the result of its actions. Not everyone shares, respects or aspires toward our values or ways of life.

It was instructive for USA TODAY to remind readers that Republicans voted in "unanimous opposition" to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a necessary agency to protect Americans from predatory banks and their nefarious credit card and mortgage practices ("House Republicans prepare to gut new consumer protection bureau," Our view, Financial regulation debate, May 2).

How unsurprising it is that Republicans are now threatening to "defang" this agency. It is difficult to remember in recent history when the GOP placed the interests of ordinary Americans over their corporate pay masters.

Opposing view writerShelley Moore Capito and her ilk should realize that working Americans are not so easily hoodwinked and that 2012 is just around the corner.

2011年5月5日 星期四

Mathis Brothers to build mattress stores in Norman, Edmond

Mathis Brothers plans to bring its Sleep Studio concept to Edmond and Norman with new stores specializing in mattresses.

The furniture giant in December purchased a former Golden Corral in Edmond at 401 Comfort Drive and a piece of land in February in Norman’s University North Park shopping center, 1200 24th Ave. NW, for the projects. The properties cost $850,000 and $1.1 million, respectively, according to county records.

Rit Mathis, son of Bill Mathis, said the current Sleep Studio at Reno and Portland Avenues has been popular with customers, who like its quieter environment away from the hustle and bustle of the mega furniture store at 3434 W Reno.

“It’s been really successful, so we decided to do more of these free-standing bedding shops,” he said.
Both projects are in the very early stages and there is no timeline for completion, he said. In Norman, an architectural firm has been hired to begin designing the store. In Edmond, the old Golden Corral was torn down but the company hasn’t moved beyond that.

Mathis said his father was anxious to secure the Edmond property because the street name “Comfort Drive” was appealing. But the Norman store likely will open first.
The current Sleep Studio is 7,800 square feet. About two-thirds of the bedding sold is made in Oklahoma City at the Mathis Brothers-owned Lady Americana factory. It has enough floor space to showcase the entire line of Tempur-Pedic products.

“That’s something we’d never have the space to do at 3434 West Reno,” Mathis said.
Both new stores will be larger and could be up to 15,000 square feet, he said.

Wash. Senator Seeks End To Tax Breaks For Bull Semen, Chicken Bedding

 Lawmakers meeting in special session in Olympia took up the issue of tax breaks for big banks, chicken farmers and cattle breeders Wednesday. Some Democrats want to end those exemptions to avoid deeper budget cuts. But it would take a two-thirds vote.

Who knew? Washington provides a sales tax exemption for chicken bedding and bull semen used for artificial insemination.

Democratic Senator Tracey Eide wants to end these agricultural tax breaks. She says they amount to putting livestock ahead of kids.

Tracey Eide: "It's not time for us to continue to give away the farm. We have to start letting nature take its course."

Another proposal from Democrats would sunset a tax break multi-state banks get on first mortgages.
But without Republican support Democrats can't muster the two-thirds requirement to repeal these so-called tax preferences.

Now, Senate budget chair Ed Murray wants to put the question to Washington voters this fall: should ending tax breaks take the same super-majority threshold required to raise taxes?

That drew a sharp rebuke from anti-tax activist Tim Eyman.

2011年5月2日 星期一

HOM Furniture to open first bedding shops

HOM Furniture is planning to enter the freestanding sleep shop arena with the opening of as many as six HOM Sleep Express stores over the next 12 months.

The stores will be in the 4,000-square-foot range and will be around the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul market, where the retailer can use additional bedding penetration, said Rod Johansen, president and CEO of the Top 100 company.

The standalone stores will be in addition to existing Sleep Express shops within HOM's six full-line stores in the market. The stores' size will enable the retailer to show its complete assortment of Tempur-Pedic and Serta bedding, Johansen said.

HOM has been marketing its in-store bedding departments as HOM Sleep Express for years - to the point where the name has developed its own brand recognition outside of HOM. Sleep Express is the strongest brand for mattresses in the market next to Slumberland, Johansen said.

Other competitors in the area include Mattress Giant, Original Mattress and several local sleep chains.

Johansen would not disclose HOM's expected investment in the rollout but said he projected the stores would have annual sales comparable to top industry bedding stores - in the $1 million to $1.25 million range. That's significantly less than the HOM Sleep Express departments in its full-line stores, but should be enough to make the venture pay off, he said.

"We're just trying to capitalize in areas where there is a distance between (HOM) showrooms," he said. "It's a convenience play.... We're trying to be more convenient to (consumers) if they want to business with us."

He would not identify the exact locations or timing of the openings, noting that HOM is still negotiating on leases, but he said the company plans to have all stores open within 12 months.

Queen sets at HOM Sleep Express start at $299 and run up to about $6,000 for a topof- the-line Tempur-Pedic.

HOM's furniture, bedding and accessories sales rose about 5.4% last year to an estimated $193.4 million at 15 stores, including Dock 86 and Gabberts Design Studio & Fine Furniture. This year, the retailer already has expanded Gabberts with the opening of two new stores in Sioux Falls, S.D., and Sioux City, Iowa, and has opened a replacement HOM store in Sioux Falls.

Execs say bedding poised for growth after market

Bedding producers showing at the High Point Market said the mattress industry has recovered from a downturn earlier this year and is poised for growth in the months to come.

     And those producers are hoping that business they picked up in High Point will help spark solid gains on retail sales floors. Recent retail reports are positive, they say.

     The latest figures from the International Sleep Products Assn. show the bedding industry mired in an unexpected downturn, with unit sales slumping 3% in February and registering a 0.1% decline for the first two months. The dollar value of bedding shipments, on the other hand, grew 4.9% in February and is up 4.1% for the year.

     Those ISPA figures, released on the eve of the High Point Market, reported the first monthly decline in units in four months, fueling fears that bedding's rebound could be short-lived.

     But bedding producers showing here noted that the industry is up against strong comparables from the first quarter last year, and faced significant challenges with bad weather in key markets earlier this year. And, more importantly, they said business in March was good.

      "When you factor in March, the industry will be up," said Jim Nation, president of Five Star Mattress. "We were up strongly in March."
     "I bet that March was positive for the industry," said Gary Fazio, CEO of Simmons. "It was a good month for many retailers."

     Noting that the average unit price is up 4.2% through February, according to the ISPA sample of leading producers, Fazio said retailers are selling a better mix of beds and better beds - good signs for growth this year.
     Serta President Bob Sherman said he believes the industry shook off its slow start in March.

     "I think the industry had a good first quarter," he said. "I'm guessing that sales were up 6% to 7% in the first quarter, with units up 1% to 2%."

     "March has been good," said Dan Hige, president of International Bedding. "It was a better month than I had expected. The feeling at retail was more upbeat than downbeat."

     Some producers said their business this year hasn't shown the declines seen in the ISPA figures.

     "We've seen unit and dollar increases for the last 10 months," said Dave Roberts, president of Comfort Solutions.  "I'm still very optimistic about business. We are going to keep doing what we are doing."

     Added Jamie Diamonstein, president of Paramount Sleep: "We are not seeing downturns in our business. Consumers are definitely buying again."

     Therapedic President Gerry Borreggine put the industry's ups and downs in context.

     "We haven't experienced a legitimate recovery," he said. "A one-month unit decline in February doesn't indicate we are in a recession. Business has been sporadic and inconsistent in the recovery. It's a compromised recovery."

     Bedding execs said they see a number of positives this year, including the return of consumers interested in higher end goods. Those consumers are buying better beds, helping boost sales tickets, the execs said.