continue reading » The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to hear American Bankers Association v. National Credit Union Administration is a huge win for credit unions. It not only means that credit unions will be able to help more Americans through expanded fields of membership, but also could embolden the National Credit Union Administration to take steps to advance credit unions that they might have otherwise shied from.Instead of formal rules that prevent credit union expansion, credit unions will now face a different obstacle: demonstrating their ability and intent to serve larger markets.Despite Jim Nussle’s recent argument, NCUA is not going to eliminate or effectively eliminate field of membership anytime soon. Rightly or wrongly, doing so could jeopardize credit unions’ tax-exempt status—an unnecessary risk. Instead, NCUA’s new field of membership rule offers something better. It provides room for long-term continued growth and bolsters credit unions’ tax-exempt status by stipulating that the largest fields of membership require a greater commitment to a mission of meeting the credit and savings needs of persons of modest means.The Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the case leaves the vast majority of NCUA’s 2016 field of membership modernization rule, which the ABA challenged before it was even implemented in early 2017, intact. The case was first decided largely in ABA’s favor by Judge Dabney L. Friedrich of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Friedrich found that two key provisions contained in the rule exceeded the regulator’s statutory authority: ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr
‘Highly opaque’ Two widows, a Nigerian and an Egyptian working in the kingdom, furiously speculated whether they had been denied the chance to attend the ritual because they had not registered a male guardian to accompany them.Others wondered if several slots had been reserved for diplomats and business and royal elites.The ministry, which did not respond to AFP’s request for comment, said Saudi pilgrims were selected from a pool of health practitioners and military personnel who have recovered from COVID-19.One man, who said he had survived the disease, tweeted: “I am a health practitioner and I had contracted coronavirus… I don’t understand why I was not chosen.”The government invited online applications from foreign residents, saying they would make up 70 percent of the pilgrims, but did not explain how many applied or how they were picked.”Saudi authorities kept the selection process highly opaque since it is a sensitive matter,” Umar Karim, a visiting fellow at the Royal United Services Institute in London, told AFP.”Keeping it hidden from public scrutiny is meant to generate less noise about who got selected and who didn’t.”Just a week before the haj, an annual global media event, it remained unclear whether it would be open to the foreign press. A Jordanian couple in Saudi Arabia burst into tears of joy to be among the chosen ones for next week’s scaled-down haj pilgrimage, but countless rejected applications have stirred resentment.For the first time in modern history, millions of pilgrims outside Saudi Arabia have been barred from the haj — a key pillar of Islam and one of the world’s largest mass gatherings — because of a coronavirus surge.But even the dramatically curtailed ritual in the holy city of Mecca has drawn a huge rush of applicants. Saudi officials said residents from 160 countries competed in the government-run lottery that many described as an opaque selection process — bringing elation to up to 10,000 people while leaving the vast majority disappointed.”With so many applicants, we hardly had a one percent chance of being selected,” said a Riyadh-based Jordanian engineer, 29, selected for the pilgrimage along with his 26-year-old wife, a health worker.”We were shocked and overjoyed.”Also among the chosen few is Nasser, a Riyadh-based Nigerian expat, euphoric at winning what he called the “golden ticket” to haj. Health hazard For Saudi Arabia, curtailing the haj was a decision fraught with political and economic peril.Selecting a few from a vast pool of contenders risks further roiling public sentiment.To be among the chosen ones adds an aura of religious prestige to this year’s pilgrimage, applicants say.Despite the pandemic, many pilgrims consider it is safer to participate in this year’s ritual without the usual colossal crowds cramming into tiny religious sites, which make it a logistical nightmare and a health hazard.Even in a regular year, the haj leaves pilgrims exposed to a host of viral illnesses.”A lot of people want to do the haj this year as it will likely be less burdensome and more organized due to a smaller crowd,” said Karim.Authorities said pilgrims will be tested for coronavirus before arriving in Mecca and are required to quarantine before and after the ritual.Pilgrims will be provided with bottled holy water from Mecca’s Zamzam well and sterilized pebbles for a stoning ritual, they added.”The only consolation,” said Farah Abu Shanab, a Riyadh-based Palestinian whose haj application was rejected, “is that the government is pressing ahead with the pilgrimage, even if in a limited way.”Topics : “This feeling cannot be described,” he told AFP.But the Jordanian engineer, who declined to be named, said he felt compelled to delete his social media post announcing his selection, fearing he and his wife would attract the ire and envy of rejected applicants.Pilgrims typically wait for years to be chosen through a strict quota system for haj, which last year drew some 2.5 million people.Saudi authorities initially said only around 1,000 pilgrims residing in the kingdom would be permitted for haj, but local media reports say as many as 10,000 will be allowed.The haj ministry has fielded a deluge of anguished queries on Twitter.”Why reject me without giving a reason?” a woman asked the ministry, posting a screenshot of her rejected online application.”Everyone around me has been declined.”
“I’m doing more shows this year,” said Gould, who’s found that her loyal clientele is visiting regularly both in person and online. She adds that she sold a number of the paintings included in both exhibits online before she even had a chance to hang them.The “Midsummer” show is populated by a number of artists who have been represented by the gallery for some time, as well as two newcomers – Susan Cabral and Murray Taylor.Cabral creates quiet scenes of Island life in oil. The work on view at Louisa Gould’s includes a handful of paintings of unoccupied rowboats at rest on the water and two scenes of ocean surf. Her images speak of solitude and peace. “Menemsha Morning,” oil on canvas, 38 in. x 60 in. — Nick Paciorek Taylor has also contributed Vineyard scenes to the show, although his work represents a slightly different perspective. For the show the artist has captured the rugged quality of the Island in views of the Aquinnah Cliffs and the Gay Head Lighthouse.“Midsummer” also features new paintings by John Holladay, Nick Paciorek, Teek Eaton-Koch, and Rick Fleury, as well as botanical prints from Peggy Turner Zablotny and ceramics by Suzanne Hill.For “Summer Stories,” Gould selected three artists whose work, as she sees it, represents the look and feel of summer. While ceramicist Jennifer McCurdy works in abstracts, all of her intricate, curvilinear forms mimic nature in some way. During the long quarantine months, McCurdy has used the downtime to work out new forms and designs, many of which are on display at the gallery. Paul Beebe’s seascapes capture the majestic nature of the Vineyard in all of its ripe summer glory. 1 of 13 “Fog Lifting,” original oil, 8.5 in. x 12 in. — Linda Besse “Dry Docked,” original oil, 25 in. x 18 in. — Linda Besse “Osprey,” original oil, 7.5 in. x 10 in. — Linda Besse “Freedom,” oil on canvas, 20 in. x 40 in. — Susan Cabral “The Song,” oil on panel, 16 in. x 12 in. — Linda Besse “First Light,” oil on linen, 22 in. x 28 in. — Paul Beebe “Waters Edge,” original oil, 9 in. x 12 in. — Linda Besse “Summer Reading,” original oil, 20 in. x 16 in. — Linda Besse “Hydrangea Breeze,” oil on canvas, 40 in. x 54 in. — Nick Paciorek While Louisa Gould may be facilitating safe social distancing practices at her Main Street gallery in Vineyard Haven, that doesn’t mean that the walls and shelves aren’t fully stocked with a variety of work by dozens of artists. Currently the spacious gallery is hosting two shows concurrently. One — “Midsummer” — features work by eight artists representing a variety of media. The other – “Summer Stories” – is a three-person show of work by two of the gallery’s most popular painters and one ceramicist. “Gilded Torch Vessel,” fine porcelain sculpture, 16 in x 11 in. x 11 in. — Jennifer McCurdy “Walker Bay,” oil on canvas, 36 in. x 48 in. — Susan Cabral “Beach House,” oil on canvas, 36 in. x 48 in. — Susan Cabral Photorealist painter Linda Besse loves animals so much that she has traveled to all seven continents to observe all types of species up close. “If you’re going to be painting wildlife, it really helps to see animals in their natural habitat,” she says. The artist is the daughter of Alden Besse of Grace Episcopal Church in Vineyard Haven. The elder Besse was a beloved figure on the Vineyard for many years, and the Besse family’s Island roots go back many generations. Linda spent summers as a child on the Vineyard, and has continued to travel back and forth from her home in Washington State several times a year.While on Island, Besse often chooses shorebirds as subjects for her work. Among her recent contributions to the show are remarkably lifelike images of turnstones, oystercatchers, plovers, and other birds captured, appropriately, foraging for food against impressive backdrops of sparkling ocean waves. In these paintings, the artist manages to depict both the majesty of the ocean and the delicate nature of the creatures who depend upon it.One of the most impressive of Besse’s new paintings is an image of an osprey returning to its nest after a hunt: Every branch of the massive structure atop a pole is meticulously rendered in the artist’s photorealist style.All of the bird paintings were done from onsite sketches and photos taken on Chappaquiddick. Besse notes that she was fortunate to have access to nesting areas along the shore during the spring and early summer. “My husband loves to fish,” she says. “He always gets beach passes for Wasque. It’s been great going out there before the crowds arrive. It’s a fantastic area for shorebirds.”Both “Midsummer” and “Summer Stories” will be on view simultaneously through Sept. 8, when the latter will be replaced by a very special exhibit featuring work from the annual Mystic International Group show. With the Mystic Museum of Art in Mystic, Conn., temporarily closed due to COVID, Gould will be exhibiting the work of a dozen or so of the country’s foremost maritime painters in her gallery throughout September and October. Work by nine of the featured artists is currently available online at louisagould.com.“Midsummer,” an exhibit of work by Nick Paciorek, Teek Eaton-Koch, Murray Taylor, Rick Fleury, Peggy Turner Zablotny, John Holladay, Susan Cabral, and Suzanne Hill, will be on display through Oct. 1. “Summer Stories,” featuring new work by Linda Besse, Jennifer McCurdy, and Paul Beebe, will hang through Sept 1. The Louisa Gould Gallery at 54 Main St., Vineyard Haven, is open daily from 11 to 5, and by appointment for private viewing.
Facebook5Tweet0Pin0 A recent study at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Summer Learning found that teachers spend approximately 22% of the school year re-teaching forgotten information – forgotten mostly over summer vacation. Olympia’s Club Z! tutoring can help minimize this loss through stress free, one-on-one sessions.Some of the summer issues addressed are skill maintenance, building a foundation for future success in the case of a class failure/repetition, test preparation, confidence building, and school transition help. They provide an educational alternative to summer camps and can even include a Summer Writing Improvement Program designed for grades pre-K through 12. This program is designed to “develop writing skills, perfect writing mechanics and write effective narratives and essays that will benefit students the rest of their lives.” Summer programs can also foster success in a child’s interest area, like art, music, and languages.“It’s not too late to take advantage of the last weeks of summer to ensure a fabulous start to the school year,” encourages Club Z! owner Angela Grant. “A little time spent reviewing math concepts, reading and writing, as well as getting organized can mean a confident start and set the student up for success.”“Club Z! can ensure that this review includes the topics most relevant to each teacher or school district,” adds Grant.With 66% of high school graduates entering college, the need for summertime entrance exam preparation is crucial. Club Z! offers help with the more common exams like the SAT and ACT but can also provide assistance on any test required. Their Z-Prep SAT Test Program guides students and their families through the process and includes not only the sessions but an “Essential Guide to The SAT” book. They utilize official practice tests in their session, which helps minimize test-taking anxiety.Having a team of over 50 tutors with a tremendous range of experience, skills, and education, all subjects, academic levels, and personality quirks can be addressed and conquered! Special summer programs are often offered at a discounted rate, with classes and 11 week timetables tailored around the break from school.Enrollment with Club Z! is a simple process, with no contract required. Billing is done on an hourly basis and all work is performed one-on-one with the student. The initial consultation with their staff can help establish what expectations, steps, and timeframe might be called for, and lay the groundwork for progress.For questions or to arrange a private consultation, Club Z! can be found online or by calling 360.436.6615.