Category: phodrthr

Combination PET/CT Scanner Could Improve Breast Cancer Treatment

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMore A new type of scanner that combines the qualities of a  PET (positron emission tomography) scan and the qualities of a CT (computed tomography) scan could lead to improved breast cancer imaging. This imaging will allow doctors to identify the stage of breast cancer in patients that have already been diagnosed. In turn, this knowledge can lead to more specific treatment methods and better planning of surgeries. (read the full story at Science Daily) AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMorelast_img read more

Vermont ranks in top 10 states with largest ‘Rainy Day’ funds

first_imgVermont Business Magazine In a new study, SmartAsset analyzed data to find the states with the largest rainy day funds as of 2019. Vermont ranks among the top 10 states. Vermont had the highest ranking in the Northeast. SmartAsset is a national, personal finances assistance firm.The coronavirus pandemic(link is external) has drastically impacted the budgets(link is external) of not only individuals, but also states. State revenues have declined due to delays in income tax collections along with decreases in revenue brought in from sales tax. Meanwhile, state expenses are rising as unemployment claims(link is external) have spiked. Because of these changes and the growing mismatch between revenues and expenses, many states have revised their 2020 fiscal projections to reflect potential budget shortfalls. Though some states may receive aid from the federal government to cover deficits, many may still need to dip into reserve accounts, commonly referred to as rainy day funds.In this study, SmartAsset uncovered the states with the largest rainy day funds. Specifically, they ranked all 50 states based on the number of days’ worth of general fund expenditures saved in their rainy day funds in 2019. They also looked at rainy day funds as a percentage of each state’s general fund expenditures. For details on data sources, check out the Data and Methodology section below.Key FindingsWestern states have the largest rainy day funds. Five of the 10 states with the largest 2019 rainy day funds relative to general fund expenditures are located in the West. They are Wyoming, Alaska, New Mexico, California and Oregon. In 2019, all five of these states had more than 45 days’ worth of general fund expenditures saved in a rainy day fund.The average state has less than one month’s worth of expenses saved. Data from the Pew Charitable Trusts shows that across all 50 states, the median rainy day fund is 7.7% of state general fund expenditures. This means that the median number of days’ worth of general fund expenditures saved in a rainy day fund is 27.9.Some states may be able to access rainy day funds more easily than others. State withdrawal limits and restrictions vary. A 2017 paper(link is external) from the Pew Charitable Trusts shows that the conditions for withdrawal from a rainy day fund span four categories: volatility (either revenue or economic), forecast error, budget gap or no conditions. Six states have more than one of the four categories as withdrawal conditions, 11 have only volatility as a reason, 11 require only a forecast error, 16 require only a budget gap and six have no set conditions.1. WyomingIn 2019, Wyoming had close to $1.70 billion saved in a rainy day fund, according to data collected by the Pew Charitable Trusts. This amount exceeded general fund expenditures in 2019. In fact, last year, Wyoming’s rainy day fund could cover close to 400 days’ worth of general fund expenditures, the longest period of time for any state.While Wyoming has the largest rainy day fund of any state, it is one of six states – along with Kentucky, Maryland, Nebraska, North Carolina and Ohio – that does not have specific conditions for withdrawing money from the fund. As noted by the Pew Charitable Trusts, with no set conditions to use the money, Wyoming has grappled with the question of when to use the money and how bad conditions need to be before tapping into its large balance.2. AlaskaThe price of oil recently fell below $0(link is external), creating significant revenue headwinds for Alaska, whose economy heavily depends on the petroleum sector. In the state’s most recent forecast(link is external) from the Department of Revenue, analysts predict a $527 million shortfall in general fund revenues for the 2020 fiscal year from previous projections. Luckily, Alaska has a large rainy day fund – totaling close to $2.30 billion in 2019 – that may help cover expenses. Data from the Pew Charitable Trusts shows that Alaska’s rainy day fund could cover about 171 days’ worth of general fund expenditures. Moreover, Alaska is one of the eight states that can use rainy day funds if there is revenue volatility.3. North DakotaOf any state in our top 10, North Dakota saw the biggest growth between its 2018 and 2019 rainy day funds. In 2018, its rainy day fund amounted to about $113.30 million, a figure that covered fewer than 20 days’ worth of general fund expenditures. In 2019, North Dakota’s state budget office reported that it had about $659 million saved in a rainy day fund. As there were about $2.21 billion general fund expenditures in 2019, rainy day funds made up close to 30% of general fund expenditures, meaning that savings would last almost a third of the year (about 109 days).While North Dakota Legislative Council’s April 2020 report(link is external) does not indicate an overall budget shortfall from expected forecasts, it does show a 59% and 31% decline in individual and corporate income tax collections, respectively, in March this year compared to original predictions. This decline would qualify as a forecast error, the condition for withdrawal for North Dakota’s rainy day fund.4. New MexicoLike North Dakota, New Mexico added to its rainy day fund between 2018 and 2019. In 2018, its rainy day fund totaled almost $527 million, and in 2019, it was worth more than $1.87 billion. With that increase and general fund expenditures remaining relatively stable between the two years, New Mexico’s rainy day fund could cover about 60 more days’ worth of expenses than it could in 2018 (about 31 days in 2018 vs. about 90 days in 2019).5. TexasTexas(link is external) does not collect income taxes, but its average state and local sales tax rate is 8.19%, the 12th-highest in the U.S. More than half of Texas state revenues come from sales tax collections, which have been hit hard(link is external) by store closures and social distancing measures. Texas’ rainy day funds may be able to aid in budget shortfalls during 2020. In 2019, it had more than 70 days’ worth of general fund expenditures saved in its rainy day fund. Moreover, Texas is able to withdraw money from the fund under two conditions: economic volatility and budget gap.6. West VirginiaWest Virginia is one of 18 states in which a budget gap is a condition for withdrawal for rainy days funds and has the sixth-largest rainy day fund of all 50 states. In 2019, West Virginia had about $753 million saved in a rainy day fund, according to data collected by the Pew Charitable Trusts. With $4.60 billion in general fund expenditures during that same year, West Virginia’s rainy day fund would cover about 60 days’ worth of state spending.7. CaliforniaCalifornia had the largest rainy day fund in terms of gross size of any state in 2019. However, as general fund expenditures in California are also high, California ranks seventh on our list of states with the largest rainy day funds relative to general fund expenditures. Its rainy day fund made up approximately 14% of general fund expenditures in 2019 and would be able to cover almost 53 days’ worth of spending. Withdrawals from California’s rainy day fund must happen under the condition of revenue volatility.8. VermontVermont bolstered its rainy day fund between 2018 and 2019. In 2018, its rainy day fund could cover about one month’s worth of expenses in the case of a budget cap, but in 2019, it could cover more than 50 days’ worth of expenditures. In gross terms, Vermont’s rainy day fund totaled almost $133 million in 2018 and more than $224 million in 2019.9. ConnecticutIn 2019, Connecticut’s rainy day fund could cover about 47 days’ worth of general fund expenditures. The state had more than $2.51 billion saved in its 2019 rainy day fund, and general fund expenditures were less than $20 billion.10. OregonThough Oregon’s rainy day fund was created in 2007, the fourth-most recent of any state – behind only Arkansas, Kansas and Montana – it is the 10th largest in the U.S. In 2019, its rainy day fund made up 12.66% of general fund expenditures, 5% more than the national median across all 50 states. Additionally, Oregon’s rainy day fund could cover about 46 days’ worth of expenditures and is tied to economic volatility. According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, this condition can be used by Oregon’s legislature to justify withdrawal from the rainy day fund if there has been a decline for two or more consecutive quarters in the last 12 months in nonfarm payroll employment – a definition that closely aligns with that of a recession(link is external). Data and MethodologyData on 2018 and 2019 rainy day funds along with general fund expenditures comes from the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Fiscal 50: State Trends and Analysis(link is external). We ranked states with the largest rainy day funds according to the days’ worth of expenses each state had saved in a rainy day fund in 2019. Research on state withdrawal restrictions and limits of rainy day funds also comes from the Pew Charitable Trusts. Its 2017 paper “When to Use Rainy Day Funds(link is external)” describes the withdrawal policies across states.Finally, information on revised state revenue projections during COVID-19 comes from the National Conference of State Legislatures. Its page here(link is external) tracks the revised estimates to state revenues due to the economic consequences of coronavirus.Tips for Building Up Your Personal Rainy Day FundCommit to a budget. Dedicating yourself to keeping a detailed budget(link is external) can help you avoid spending more than you are able and avoid future stressful financial situations. By putting away money in a savings account(link is external) every month you can begin to build up your own rainy day fund and be better prepared to handle unexpected financial situations.Get trusted personal finance advice. A financial advisor can help you make smarter financial decisions such as being in better control of your money. Finding the right financial advisor that fits your needs(link is external) doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool(link is external) matches you with financial advisors in your area in five minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now(link is external).Source: SmartAsset 5.20.2020 The full report, including the methodology and key findings, can be found here: (link is external)https://smartasset.com/checking-account/states-with-the-largest-rainy-day-funds-2020(link is external).last_img read more

North Overland Park neighborhood rocked by third killing in a week

first_imgThe duplexes at 61st Street and Robinson have seen three murders in less than a week.For the second time in a week, a north Overland Park neighborhood is coping with an act of violence that left someone dead.Police confirmed Monday night that a woman in her 30s died after a shooting in the same block where two young men were killed last Tuesday. The cul-de-sac that makes up the 7800 block of 61st Terrace in Overland Park dead ends at the eastern edge of the Crestview Elementary School property.An 11-year-old girl was injured in the shooting as well, and was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.Police are looking for a suspect who left the scene in a grey Pontiac Grand Prix. The suspect used a semi-automatic rifle to fire multiple shots into the duplex where the woman was hit around 6:30 p.m.Police say they are investigating whether Monday’s incident had any connection to the shooting last week that killed former SM North student Velik Henderson and Trevon D. Anderson.“We haven’t confirmed anything as far as a connection but it’s certainly the first thing we’re looking at,” said Overland Park Police spokesman Gary Mason.last_img read more

Senate panel supportive of court funding plan

first_img December 1, 2011 Managing Editor Regular News Senate panel supportive of court funding plan Senate panel supportive of court funding planMark D. Killian Managing EditorAnother Senate panel has embraced a plan to stabilize funding for the state’s courts and clerks.The Senate Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations November 15 had high praise for the Revenue Stabilization Workgroup’s recommendations to rely more heavily on general revenue sources to fund the branch’s core functions. The full Senate Budget Committee had expressed general support for the plan earlier in the month. “The important thing for me is the judicial branch of government is a third branch of government, and we owe an obligation to the citizens who use that branch of government to make sure there is stability,” said Sen. John Thrasher, R-Jacksonville, adding that it is untenable that the courts currently have to “come back begging us to fund their operations on behalf of the citizens who use them.”Chair Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, agreed, and said he would include the workgroup’s recommendations in the committee’s proposed budget.Fasano said while the courts and the Legislature are often at odds, “that should play no role in the importance of funding our third branch of government and making sure that when we do give you a budget that the dollars are there for you to appropriate and to allocate through that fiscal year.”“We will make sure that happens this year,” Fasano said.The workgroup was set up in reaction to a shortfall in the collecting of filing fees and other court costs, which in turn has led to courts and clerks not receiving enough money to fund their authorized budgets. Both have needed loans from the executive branch to get through their 2010-11 budgets and again in the current budget year. The courts needed loans of almost $100 million this year to function through next March.Tenth Judicial Circuit Judge John Laurent and Sarasota County Clerk of Court Karen Rushing, co-chairs of the workgroup, presented its findings.The workgroup recommended that Florida courts and the court-related functions of clerks should be considered as a single budget entity — called the Core Court System — and more of the $1 billion raised last year through court filing fees, fines, and other costs should be reserved for court activities.In the current budget year, the court-related functions for clerks are budgeted from all sources at approximately $450 million while the court system is budgeted at around $436 million.Of the $1 billion collected last year, $438 million went to clerks, almost $228 million to the courts, $196 million to the state’s general revenue fund, $116 million to trust funds for other state agencies, and $38 million for other noncourt purposes.“Over 30 distinct state trust funds in approximately 18 state agencies receive Article V revenues,” the workgroup report said. “For instance, in dissolution of marriage cases, the filing fee is distributed to 10 different entities, the fine for speeding 15-10 mph [over the speed limit] is distributed to 12 different entities, and the statutory base fine portion is parceled out to an additional 14 entities.”State general revenues should pay for judges, court reporters, court interpreters, and some other expenses to avoid the appearance of “cash register justice,” the workgroup recommended.The workgroup also recommended that a reserve fund be established so courts and clerks have sufficient money to begin each budget year and smooth out month-to-month cash flows. And on a smaller point, the workgroup said appellate court filing fees and service charges and mediator certification and licensing fees should be handled like other court revenues and ultimately deposited in the State Courts Revenue Trust Fund.“To continue the system the way it is, I’d be very concerned about it going forward, and I hope we could look at a system that is reflective of the third branch of government and reflective of stability in the funding of that branch of government,” Sen. Thrasher said.Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, said it is “ridiculous” that a branch of government has to “come hat-in-hand begging us” for adequate funding.“I think we are all on the same page today, and this is going to be a good session for the courts,” Joyner said.last_img read more

The price of sadness

first_imgThe Boston Globe: Just as you wouldn’t let a friend drive drunk, you might not want to let a friend make financial decisions while sad. In several experiments, people who were put in a sad mood—by watching a sad video and writing about a sad experience—sought more immediate gratification, preferring smaller, immediate rewards over larger, delayed rewards.Read the whole story: The Boston Globe More of our Members in the Media >last_img

Cultural Affairs Department Continues To Offer Educational And Inspirational Programming For All Ages Online

first_imgAnxious to get back into nature? Learn the proper way to identify trees with help from a new series called Quick Trips on the Sandia Mountain Natural History Center YouTube channel.Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all state museums, historic sites, and cultural institutions are currently closed to the public but continue to operate virtually during this time of social distancing.More information related to social media and online resources for each division of DCA is available upon request. State Historian Rob Martinez shares his Top 5 books on New Mexico history in a video posted on the Fray Angélico Chávez History Library Facebook page. The official music video for Albuquerque musician Ron Crowder’s song “Liberty,” featuring poet Hakim Bellamy, can be viewed on the New Mexico Music Commission Facebook page. The track was named Best Song at the New Mexico Music Awards in 2018.center_img The virtual exhibit Alexander Girard: A Designer’s Universe. Screenshot/ladpDCA News:SANTA FE — The museums, historic sites, and cultural institutions of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) each week offer a series of online educational and inspirational programs designed for all ages to be enjoyed at home.Listen to the newest installment of the podcast “La Hilacha: Words and Memories,” produced by the National Hispanic Cultural Center. In this episode, History and Literay Arts Director Valerie Martinez interviews six members of the Barelas Youth Art Team collective known as “Sunset Mix,” whose latest community art project has been interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The virtual exhibit “Alexander Girard: A Designer’s Universe” is now available for viewing on the Museum of International Folk Art website. This tour opens a door to the creative universe of Girard, who was regarded as one of the most influential interior and textile designers of the 20th century, and shows his close relationships with contemporaries such as Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen, Andy Warhol, and Rudi Gernreich.Also, the Museum of International Folk Art will host the ninth performance of the virtual concert series “Our Fair New Mexico,” featuring Joe and Archie West. Watch the concert on Facebook at 7 p.m., Friday, May 22.  Here are more great programs from across the Department:Did you know the building now called the Santiago E. Campos U.S. Courthouse in Santa Fe was originally designed to be the territorial capitol for New Mexico? Learn more about this and other buildings across the state listed in the National Register of Historic Places through weekly posts on the Historic Preservation Division Facebook page.last_img read more

Census Troubles Are Really Nationwide

first_imgThe U.S. Census Bureau rolled out a new advertising campaign for the 2020 Census this week. Gone is the “spread the word” slogan, with “it’s not too late” taking its place.The reality of COVID-19 and the resulting state-by-state shutdown of all nonessential businesses and activities struck the nation at the exact moment the ground operation of the decennial Census was set to begin in late March. The U.S. Census Bureau did send out a massive mailing of invitations to most residences in America that month. Those invitations gave respondents three options: complete the census online, by phone, or by requesting a physical form to fill out and mail back.But the Census Bureau has a different operation in place for some sections of the country, including parts of the East End, called Update Leave. That operation, which requires a census-taker to hand-deliver paperwork to a home, never got off the ground this year. Last week, the bureau announced it would attempt to reach those homes mail. However, the whole point of the program is to reach those who use post office boxes or seasonal homes.The national response rate to the Census Bureau’s initial mailing stood at 47.9 percent as of April 11. On the East End, the combined rate was just below 22.2 percent.David McMillen of Cutchogue, was a demographer and statistician for the U.S. Census Bureau before going on to work as an advisory staff member for the congressional committees charged with overseeing the census, first in the Senate, and then in the House of Representatives. He said last week that he has not received any word from the Census Bureau, which divides areas up into tracts.McMillen’s neighborhood is tract 1700.5, which, as of April 11, had a response rate of 26.1 percent. Tract 1700.5 is not part of Update Leave. McMillen does not get mail at his home, but, rather the Cutchogue Post Office box, though his residence was not designated for Update Leave. He was told the post office had received census literature, but that it had not been distributed. The postal system, McMillen pointed out, is under extreme pressure working through COVID-19.“The post office does not necessarily know the physical address associated with the post office box,” he said.It is not clear why Cutchogue was not included under Update Leave, which is designed for such situations.Besides suspending the program, the Census Bureau has also suspended its Nonresponse Follow-Up operation, known by the acronym NRFU. NRFU is the boot- on-the-ground operation that, every 10 years, closes the massive gap between those who respond to the Census Bureau’s initial efforts, and those who don’t, which number in the tens of millions.Kenneth Prewitt headed the Census Bureau under President Bill Clinton and was in charge during the 2000 decennial. He said the response rates should be at least 55 to 60 percent, and when questioned about when those figures should be achieved, he answered, “As soon as possible, but early May will still work.”Currently, daily response rates are 0.4 percentage points, but that number is decreasing, slightly, every day. If the daily returns can continue at 0.4 percent, Prewitt’s early May target is within reach.The odds on extending the December 31 deadline are quite low, Prewitt said, and will become even lower if Democrats take over the White House.“Republicans would fear, with reason, that a Democratic administration would keep counting as long as it took to reach a 100 percent” response rate, he said. “No matter what happens there will be lawsuits: by states, cities, and political parties, probably by both, depending on where the numbers hurt or help.”COVID-19 presents the most existential challenge the Census Bureau has ever faced, although it has overcome its own challenges, like during the 1850 Census, when California formed. At the time, there was no direct overland route from the new state to the eastern seaboard, so the results were put on a ship to go around Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America, then up the East Coast. That ship, and the California census numbers, were lost at sea. The decision was made to grant the new state two seats in the House of Representatives, without having an actual statistical basis for the decision.Margo Anderson, a professor at University of Wisconsin-Milwauke who is leading scholar of the decennial process and author of “The American Census: A Social History” asked, “Where is the country going to be in July?” She agrees the results are going to be the object of many, many court battles.“Both parties are already crunching the numbers,” she said. T. E. McMorrow has worked on three decennial Census’ and was a field operations supervisor covering a large swath of Manhattan during the 2010 Census. “The Census, Then and Now” is an ongoing series in The Independent. Because it includes breaking news, it’s running in flexible week-to-week format. The next part of the series will appear in two [email protected] Sharelast_img read more

Ballard celebrates opening of FCvelocity-9SSL

first_imgGet instant access to must-read content today!To access hundreds of features, subscribe today! At a time when the world is forced to go digital more than ever before just to stay connected, discover the in-depth content our subscribers receive every month by subscribing to gasworld.Don’t just stay connected, stay at the forefront – join gasworld and become a subscriber to access all of our must-read content online from just $270. Subscribelast_img