Vermont Castings and Huntington gas grills took the top spots in the medium and large categories in Consumer Reports’ latest tests, beating out models from larger, more well-known brands such as Char-Broil and Weber. Consumer Reports’ June issue features test results for 85 large, medium and small gas grill models. Six of those models for under$350 were Recommended for their impressive cooking. The complete report on gas grills, which highlights Ratings for almost 140 models, including some portable grills and three additional Recommended models, can be found online at www.ConsumerReports.org(link is external).Vermont Castings’ mid-sized Signature Series VCS300SSP and its similar model, the VCS322SSP,$1,000, earned the highest score overall, while Huntington’s Patriot 658184, $700, was the finest performing large grill in the Ratings. These models were excellent overall and produced nicely seared steaks and moist chicken and salmon over low heat. Other models on Consumer Reports’ Recommended list include gas grills from Char-Broil, Weber, Brinkmann and Kenmore.”These days grills are coming equipped with an abundance of features, giving consumers more opportunity to find a model in their price range that suits their cooking needs,” said Celia Kuperszmid Lehrman, Deputy Home Editor at Consumer Reports. “However, we are seeing some trade-offs with these newer features such as smaller cooking areas, thinner shelves, more painted metal and less stainless steel.”For the 60 percent of Americans recently surveyed by Consumer Reports who said they always or sometimes would rather buy U.S.-made goods than those made elsewhere, Vermont Castings, Huntington Patriot, Weber’s Genesis and Summit were all made in the U.S.While some companies may claim to offer the ultimate grilling experience, Consumer Reports advises buyers not to be drawn in by sleek appearance and packaging alone. Three grills tested from Saber, Char-Broil’s upscale sister-brand, were very good performers though other models including some less expensive models from Char-Broil performed better. Saber models did offer a more upscale appearance and are made with a premium grade of stainless steel. Choosing a Gas GrillConsumer Reports recommends taking advantage of summer holiday promotions or end-of-season sales to find the best deals available on grills. Also, keep the tips below in mind when buying.Consider the cooking area. Use Consumer Reports’ Ratings to find a cooking surface that matches the usual needs of the grill, not one for the blow-out barbecue party that only happens once or twice a season. Consumer Reports categorizes grills based on measurements of the main cooking area, but be aware that some companies might also count warming racks and searing burners in their claims.Think beyond Btu. They tell how much fuel a gas grill uses and the heat it can create, but Consumer Reports’ tests have found that more Btu’s doesn’t guarantee faster preheating or better cooking.Keep infrared claims in perspective. Infrared burners typically emit intense heat to sear and cook food, though designs differ by manufacturer. Consumer Reports has yet to find one infrared burner design that’s better than other infrared designs or better than standard burners.Put safety first. Test a grill’s sturdiness with a gentle nudge in several places. Check for sharp corners and edges. Press down on the side shelves to see how well they support weight. And while some flaring is normal, typically the greater the distance between the grates and the burners or flavorizer bar, the fewer the sustained flair-ups.Consumer Reports’ gas grill Ratings, along with a list of features to consider when buying and more can be found online at www.ConsumerReports.org(link is external) and in June issue of the Consumer Reports.Consumer Reports is the world’s largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website and other publications. Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.SOURCE Consumer Reports 5.15.2012
We all feel the strain of keeping up with the changing times. Many credit union CEOs agree that attracting and retaining members is one of the top three challenges that credit unions face. In order to meet the ever-evolving needs of members, credit unions should rely on innovative solutions to add to their product portfolio. Innovation plays a crucial role in the credit union industry, which is why we recognize ingenuity and inventiveness through the NAFCU Services Innovation Awards. This year’s winners have created outstanding innovations that help credit unions thrive in an increasingly saturated financial services market. They are:Insuritas. The InsureNOW™ product was designed for credit unions with large member bases, big data CIF/CRM capabilities, and high member affinity levels. InsureNOW™ allows credit unions to provide highly customized, concierge-level insurance offers to their indirect borrowers at the very moment when the member intends to shop for insurance. The most innovative part of InsureNOW™ identifies insurance policy renewal dates for each member and generates targeted, automated pre-populated e-engagement communication to these indirect borrowers 30 days before their insurance policy renews.DDJ Myers. The Board Performance Assessment was developed to meet the need to support credit union boards. The assessment is designed to guide boards in reaching their highest level of performance, and create a high standard of excellence between board and CEO, one of the most critical interactions within the credit union. The innovation lies in the assessment’s ability to make boards more cohesive and pinpoint critical areas where improvements could be made.Burns-Fazzi, Brock. Their Executive Benefits Learning Series helps credit unions understand effective methods for executive compensation and benefits to help recruit, retain, and reward their executive team. Complex topics in executive benefits and compensation are broken down into tax, accounting, legal, regulatory compliance, funding, and administrative concepts allowing credit unions to increase their knowledge and gain free practical advice. The innovative series consists of monthly, free live webinars which are recorded and archived for future reference. continue reading » 1SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
FRANCE: Described as ‘a new shop window’, the voyages-sncf.com website was rebranded as ‘oui.sncf’ on December 6.The rebranding marks the third and final pillar in SNCF’s revamp of its passenger operations, which has also seen its TGV business marketed under the premium Inoui brand and the low-cost offering Ouigo.The revamp of its web distribution platform is intended to ‘make full use of emerging digital opportunities’ to achieve SNCF’s aim of gaining 15 million more customers by 2020. Oui.sncf is intended to become the leading French e-tourism web platform by the end of the decade, offering a full range of the group’s ‘mobility options’, including urban car sharing, taxi booking and bus services. While oui.sncf is targeting the domestic market, it will continue to support international booking on SNCF-affiliated services including Eurostar and Thalys.Key innovations offered by oui.sncf include a more advanced customer relationship function, with a ‘oui.bot’ chat tool embedded directly within the homepage. SNCF also reports that oui.sncf will be the first French e-tourism outlet to provide telephone contact centre access ‘on a 24/7 basis’.The creation of oui.sncf has taken eight months and necessitated the creation or modification of 500 000 webpages, SNCF says.
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to LinkedInLinkedInLinkedInA large wildfire which spread across 15 square kilometres of countryside over five days in Dumfries and Galloway has now largely been extinguished.At its height, more than 60 firefighters, 10 fire appliances, two helicopters and various support resources were in attendance at the incident in Mossdale, New Galloway.Dry conditions and high winds caused the fire to spread aggressively, affecting approximately 4,000 acres / 1,500 hectares of gorse, grassland and forestry.The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) was first mobilised to the area at 1.15pm on Thursday, April 23, and one fire appliance remains on scene today [Monday, April 27] to monitor the area and check for any remaining hotspots.Area Commander Craig McGoldrick, SFRS Local Senior Officer for Dumfries and Galloway, said: “First and foremost, I would like to highlight the efforts of our crews who worked tirelessly and professionally to contain and extinguish this fire.“This incident was a notable example of the incredible speed that wildfires can travel when fanned by the wind in dry conditions.“It also required a large amount of resources, from within Dumfries and Galloway and beyond, and we have called upon the resilience of our national service to tackle it.“While the fire is largely extinguished, we will continue our presence in the area to monitor and deal with any remaining hotspots.”Area Commander McGoldrick also thanked partners, emergency service colleagues and the local community for their support over recent days.He said : “We have received invaluable support from our partners – this included two helicopters, from Skyhook and PDG, which worked alongside our crews to tackle the fire in difficult to reach areas.“In addition, continued support and generosity of the local community has also been humbling, and our sincere thanks goes to them.”
She added that residents need to wait for technicians and not try to relight appliances themselves. Hobson: “They should call us right away, the number to call is 1-844-SMELLGAS.” Lindsay Hobson with ENSTAR said they received authorization to turn on residents’ gas. The technicians will be conducting safety checks to ensure their top priority of safety throughout the area. FacebookTwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享ENSTAR is planning to restart the natural gas systems in the Kenai Keys area affected by the Card Street Fire this afternoon. That number is 1-844-763-5542. Hobson said as far as she knows, ENSTAR’s system was not compromised by the Card Street Fire but they shut the lines off as requested by the Kenai Peninsula Borough. Hobson: “We will have six techs in the field, we brought some down from Anchorage and one up from Homer and they will be going around today, door to door in the affected area along Fueding Land and the Kenai Keys and they will be knocking on doors and meeting with folks to relight natural gas appliances.” If anyone in the area smells gas…
School concert stabbing…for court on MondayThe two suspects who are in custody for the murder of a 16-year-old Covent Garden Secondary School student are scheduled to be arraigned in court on Monday.According to the Police Public Relations Department, the two young men, respectively aged 17 and 20, have already been charged with the capital offence, and will be arraigned before a city magistrate at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.Dead: Brian YearwoodThe dead teen, Brian Charles Yearwood of Lot 69 Grove Public Road, East Bank Demerara (EBD), was fatally stabbed in the region of his chest, allegedly by a 17-year-old resident of Kaneville, EBD.The incident occurred in the compound of the Covent Garden Nursery School, EBD, where the lad had gone to attend a concert held by the Covent Garden Secondary School.Initial police reports had disclosed that a policeman who had attended the concert with a relative responded immediately to the incident, and with the assistance of other persons, had rushed Yearwood to the Diamond hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.Investigators have since arrested the two suspects, who currently in custody. Guyana Times was told that police have recovered the suspected murder weapon at the home of one of the suspects.When this publication visited the dead lad’s family, his grieving mother, Beverley, related that she was told that her son was sitting on a bench with a few other boys, and another group of boys sitting opposite them was teasing them. She said the boys with whom Brian was sitting subsequently got up and moved away, but he remained seated.Upon seeing him alone, the other group of boys went over to his bench and began teasing him as well. The mother said she was not told exactly what happened after – whether or not her son had retaliated and angered the group of boys — but the group allegedly began pelting him with bottles, and so he escaped.“He got away from them and run up to the guard hut. There were some teachers standing there, so he run and he stop in front of the teachers. Maybe he was thinking that he was safe, but in the presence of the teachers, these boys just run up and one of them stab him. He plunge the knife into my son’s heart and pull it out. Brian then run from there and he fall down at the fence,” the grieving mother informed this publication.Yearwood had been a former Central High School student, and had only transferred to the Covent Garden Secondary School in September last year.
Bastian Schweinsteiger and Pep Guardiola 1 Manchester United target Bastian Schweinsteiger must choose whether to leave Bayern Munich or not, according to manager Pep Guardiola.The midfielder is wanted by United boss Louis van Gaal and Bayern boss Guardiola would like to keep him.Ultimately, however, it is down to the player to decide what he wants to do.At his press conference on Thursday, Guardiola said: “If Schweinsteiger wants to stay here then that’s perfect. He’s a top player.“Of course I am planning to work with Basti next season. Basti has to decide.“Basti has managed a great career. He must decide what he does alone.“I told him, the future depends on you.”