Lagrangeville, Jul 13 (AP/UNB) — A man who kept sharks in a pool in his upstate New York basement has been convicted of trafficking wildlife.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation and the attorney general's office say Friday that Joshua Seguine, of LaGrangeville, pleaded guilty to illegal commercialization of wildlife. He'll be sentenced in September.
The 38-year-old Seguine was stopped by authorities in Georgia in July 2017 when he was transporting five live sharks in the back of his truck. Investigators found Seguine had offered sharks for sale online under the name Aquatic Apex Life.
Investigators searched Seguine's home and found an 18-foot-diameter (5.7-meter-diameter) pool containing seven 2- to 4-foot-long (half-meter- to 1.2-meter-long) sandbar sharks, a protected species. They also found three dead sharks.
The rescued sharks are now at the New York Aquarium in Coney Island.
Dhaka, July 12 (UNB)- From bachelor parties to family reunions, group trips are opportunities to explore the world with the people you love. They also have the potential to be planning messes, with scheduling, decision-making and sorting-out finances coming together in a seemingly endless and possibly disappointing snarl. But they don’t have to be. We’ve rounded up tips, tricks and tools to help plan your next group getaway, hopefully allowing everyone to focus on the fun, not the logistics, reports The Indian Express.
— Understand your group dynamic
The first step in planning a successful trip: Ensure the travellers will get along well together. “Is it a group of friends, or is it a couple of families travelling together? Is it a multigenerational trip with a big age range?” said Kate Doty, managing director of premier access at the adventure travel company, Geographic Expeditions (GeoEx). “These factors all come into play with activity level, comfort zones and rooming.”
Understanding individual roles within the group is big, too. “There will be someone in the group who will be the natural leader,” Doty said. “Be candid about this! Find opportunities to talk through these topics with humour and lightness.”
Group dynamics can play a big role in determining where to stay. Families might prefer the ease and facilities of a hotel or resort. Big groups of friends might opt to search through home rental sites like VRBO and Airbnb. Ali Killam, Airbnb’s consumer trends expert, recommends creating a shared wish list and inviting group members to add listings and vote on favourites.
“Determine what’s most important to the group when it comes to accommodations — a pool, a big kitchen, proximity to town, the beach — and filter the search accordingly,” she said.
— Shared apps are vital
Once you’ve decided on the group, figure out when everyone is available. Doodle allows users to create a poll online of possible travel dates and then vote on preferred options. Tried and true Google Sheets is a decent way to organize options for destinations, housing and more in a spreadsheet and track when and how people will be travelling.
Katrina Kagan, the partnerships and marketing associate at the weekly newsletter Girls’ Night In is the designated planner in her group of friends, who try to take group trips at least once a year. She created a trip planning spreadsheet that gathers travel details, expenses, meals and more for the purpose; her colleagues were so impressed that they shared it with the newsletter’s 150,000 subscribers.
“If you’re a planner like I am, this spreadsheet is a way to get organized enough that you can feel personally at ease during your trip. Why not take half an hour beforehand to get organized?” she said. “If you’re not a natural planner and are looking to step into that role, this can be a starting point.”
Beyond the spreadsheet, TripIt is an itinerary-building app that allows you to collect details for flights, hotels, car rentals and more into a master itinerary — the app’s Inner Circle feature allows you to share your itinerary with other members of your group.
Other ways to communicate, beyond unwieldy email chains: set up a private Facebook or WhatsApp group to send messages both while planning and when travelling. Google Docs make for a shared repository of events and suggestions and other vital information. And, if you plan on Instagramming your travels, a fun group hashtag is a nice way to keep track of the memories.
— Figure out finances
Tracking expenses is doable via spreadsheet, but still requires a fair amount of work to properly divvy up shares and figure out who owes what. Splittr and Splitwise are popular mobile free apps for tracking, prorating and ultimately balancing expenses, available offline and in multiple currencies.
“I was travelling a lot with friends, and I was the one who did the spreadsheet after the trip. I thought, ‘This should be easier!’” said the Splittr founder and developer, Raphael Wichmann.
Splitwise was originally created with roommates in mind, but translates to the travel space — it also integrates directly with the payment app Venmo, allowing you to make payments and receive money directly.
“We’re looking to helps reduce stress and awkwardness when it comes to finances,” said Jon Bittner, the Splitwise chief executive. Bittner suggests creating a group as soon as the first big expense, like a house or hotel rooms, has been booked, and continue adding expenses as you go.
Looking to treat your friends or family to free rides during your trip? Uber Events allows you to set up a code to cover transportation for your crew, with options to customize the time window, location and pickup radius (we particularly like this option for weddings and family reunions).
— Getting group deals
Investigating group deals may be a bit time-consuming but the research can save you money. Amtrak recently launched Share Fares, which earns you greater discounts on tickets the more people you travel with. If booked at least three days in advance, this program can reduce ticket prices up to 35% for groups of four.
Brian Kelly, The Points Guy, has made a career out of understanding the intricacies of airline and credit card loyalty programs. On his site, he published a free article, the “Ultimate Guide to Points, Pooling and Sharing,” for applying airlines miles and credit card points to group travel.
To begin with, he warns about transferring points and suggests instead on combining them.
“Airlines will generally charge you one cent per point or mile to transfer, which negates the value,” he said. He also suggested savings could be had by taking a “look at your trip in terms of one-ways instead of round-trips, and look at it based on availability.” If flying together is a priority, consider letting members of your group with the most available points purchase individual legs of the trip. This allows for booking through multiple airlines, too.
Some domestic airlines offer perks for groups booking together, including discounted fares and flexible ticketing options (while other apps and services for booking group flights exist, we found they were neither streamlined nor consistently well reviewed).
— In doubt? Leave it to the professionals
Kelly may be a points expert, but he decided to use a travel agent for a recent group trip to Iceland. “The number of options when planning a trip can be overwhelming,” he said. And when one of his friends left a piece of luggage at the airport, the tour company was able to have it delivered to the group.
Not being responsible, he said, “felt like an actual vacation!” Others are making similar decisions: A return to travel agents and advisers is on the rise. A recent report from the MMGY Global marketing agency noted a growing number of millennials, especially millennial families, planned to use travel agents for trip planning during 2018 and 2019.
Cece Drummond, the managing director of destinations and experiences of Virtuoso, a global travel adviser network, noted that VIP treatment, better value and free benefits are some perks of using travel agencies.
“They can easily be frustration because there’s too much information available,” she said. “Our advisers can help sort and sift through that.”
Dhaka, July 12 (UNB) - When Lisette Sand-Freedman, 42, took a four-day family trip to the Dominican Republic in February, she chose her out-of-office email message carefully. “In case of emergency, please call 911” was what rolled into the inboxes of chief marketing officers, publicists and celebrities who were trying to reach Sand-Freedman, chief executive of Shadow, a marketing and communications agency with offices in New York and Los Angeles. Her goal had been to offer a moment of levity and remind her contacts to pause and rethink their definitions of urgency, reports The Indian Express.
The short note triggered responses like, “You go girl!”, “It’s about time” and “This made my day.” (Because Sand-Freedman is always on call — she said she receives “hundreds” of emails daily — her staff even posted the out-of-office message on their Instagram accounts.)
But not everyone feels so bold and free. The flexibility of email personalisation is dictated by one’s career, institution and job title.
“It depends on the company, the culture and who their customers are,” said Vivian Garcia-Tunon, owner of VGT Consulting Group, an executive coaching business in midtown Manhattan. Garcia-Tunon has worked as a human resources leader in financial services, private equity and investment banking, and noted that the communication differences at creative and conservative businesses are vast. Her client Brunch, a web design and development studio in Washington, D.C., can be sassier than banks she works with, such as Capital One. “They can’t be too edgy because that’s when people get scared,” she said.
It’s important for individuals to remember their audiences and what the implications are, Garcia-Tunon said: “If they’re trying to be a smartass, they need to make sure they’re comfortable in the risky approach and the consequences of their messages.” To avoid drama, she advises asking the office what it considers appropriate.
Or employees can simply follow the leader. Erich De Oliveira, 41, of Marlborough, Massachusetts, first encountered custom vacation memos 2 1/2 years ago when he began working for Simply Business, an online business insurance brokerage in Boston.
“Some of the out-of-office messages were really around ‘Hey, I’m going to be at the beach with my family and my children, so unless you’ve got something more important than that, I’m probably not going to be available for you,’” said De Oliveira, recalling a C-suite executive’s out-of-office email. “It highlights the value of what’s important to each person. For that person, it just happened to be their family.”
Since then, De Oliveira, a chief customer officer, has crafted original, quirky greetings to indicate he is not available. Within days of this year’s “Game of Thrones” season premiere, his contacts received a timely notification:
“Thanks for your email but I’m out of office. My family is headed up north with a supply of dragonglass for our friend, Jon Snow. If we have time, we’ll likely go beyond the wall, but not sure yet. So while we go and do that, I will not have my phone or computer with me (terrible reception beyond the wall anyway).”
Regardless of attitude and approach, many businesses develop templates to keep the tone consistent among automated emails. Organisations can hire consultants to construct these, too. “We’ll create canned responses for everything, and then the team members can pull what’s appropriate. It’s the company’s fingerprint or the leaders’ fingerprint,” said Susie Carder, a profit and business coach in San Diego whose clients include doctors, attorneys, salons and advertising companies. “What they’re saying in their communication affects their brand in a positive or negative way.”
Sand-Freedman knows this all too well, and she dialled it down a bit from her emergency message for a trip with her girlfriends to Miami this past April.
“Spring Break. Until Monday, April 8th. In case of emergency, please call one of the 50 other SHADOWS that work here,” read her out-of-office message, neatly conjuring an image of attentive colleagues. “Every form of communication should truly serve a purpose,” Sand-Freedman said.
Bretton Woods, Jul 12 (AP/UNB) — It seems bears enjoy a good view just like any other visitor to the White Mountains in New Hampshire.
A photo snapped June 29 by an employee at the Omni Mount Washington Resort shows a black bear holding onto a rail on the veranda and looking out. The photo was taken around 5 a.m. and the employee, Sam Geesaman, said he had only wanted to get a photo of the sunrise.
Instead, he caught the bear as it climbed stairs in search of a trash can. The bear moved on after Gessaman loudly clapped and stomped.
New Hampshire routinely has reports of bears finding their way into homes, campgrounds and even apartment complexes.
Last year, food shortages were blamed for a sharp increase in bear-human conflicts and the highest numbers of bear killings since 2014.
Atlanta, Jul 11 (AP/UNB) — A white Georgia couple evicted a white tenant because she invited a black family to the home she was renting, according to a federal lawsuit that says the landlords violated civil rights and fair housing laws.
The housing discrimination lawsuit filed Wednesday says Patricia and Allen McCoy used racial slurs when telling Victoria Sutton to leave the home. Reached by phone, Patricia McCoy said she hadn't seen the lawsuit but said they didn't kick Sutton out over black visitors.
"I kicked her out because she was so nasty," McCoy said. "It was because of nastiness, tearing up everything and having a cat in the house when I told her she couldn't have no animals."
The lawsuit, filed on Sutton's behalf by the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, says Sutton recorded Patricia McCoy repeatedly using a racial slur when she told Sutton she had to leave.
Sutton and her family moved into the house in Adairsville, about 60 miles (97 kilometers) northwest of Atlanta, in August 2017.
As a black co-worker with a young child was leaving after a playdate with Sutton's daughters on Sept. 30, 2018, the co-worker hugged Sutton goodbye. Later that day, Allen McCoy came to the house and called Sutton a "(racial slur) lover," the lawsuit says.
He told her he would call Child Protective Services for having a black person on the property and told Sutton she had two weeks to move out, the lawsuit says. When Sutton protested, McCoy told her to call his wife and threatened to call the police if Sutton's black friend came onto his property again.
Sutton called Patricia McCoy and recorded the call, during which McCoy repeatedly used a racial slur, the lawsuit says. Patricia McCoy told her, "I don't put up with (racial slurs) in my house and I don't want them in my property."
When asked Wednesday whether she'd said she didn't want black people on her property, Patricia McCoy said, "I told her I didn't want nobody out of the trailer park on my property because they're drug pushers."
Asked if she used the racial slur, she said no.
When Sutton said she had the right to invite anyone to the home, Patricia McCoy said she would evict her, the lawsuit says. When Sutton said she'd done nothing wrong and would tell a judge that, Patricia McCoy threatened to "stomp the (expletive) out" of her, the lawsuit says.
The McCoys served Sutton with an eviction notice the next day, the lawsuit says. A judge told Patricia McCoy she couldn't evict Sutton without giving her a letter of intent, which would initiate a 60-day period for Sutton to leave. The McCoys left a letter on Sutton's doorstep about two weeks later.
The federal Civil Rights Act and state and federal fair housing laws prohibit landlords from discriminating because of race, whether of the tenant or the tenant's guest, the ACLU said. The lawsuit asks for a jury trial and seeks damages for diverted resources and emotional distress, as well as punitive damages and attorneys' fees.