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SALEM, Mass. Hard cider is fermenting a rebirth in Massachusetts, but its makers say they’re being squeezed by hefty taxes that are stifling competition and making it difficult to expand.

Under state law, cider with less than a 6 percent alcoholic content is taxed at 3 cents per gallon. But if the brew’s alcoholic content exceeds 6 percent, it’s taxed at the same rate as champagne and sparkling wine, at 70 cents per gallon.

Cider makers say that’s keeping them from growing and competing against craft beer brewers who are expanding into the niche market. Cider houses are backing a Beacon Hill plan to let them make more potent brews without paying the higher tax rate.

“To be taxed like champagne is unfair and nonsensical,” Jessica Henry, a representative from Far From the Tree Cider in downtown Salem, told a legislative committee on Wednesday. “Our cider sells like, and is consumed like, a beer and not a champagne.”

Far From the Tree, which produces ciders from apples ranging in alcoholic content from 6.9 percent to 8 percent, expects to pay $59,000 next year on taxes to produce about 70,000 gallons.

While some companies water down cider concoctions or use “inferior apples” to avoid the higher taxes, Henry says Far From the Tree does not.

“Taxes should not encourage businesses to lessen the quality of our product,” she said. “Leveling the tax playing field would allow us and other cider makers to invest more in our business and stay competitive with states like New York, which has also lowered its tax.”

New York state’s cider tax rate is just over 3 cents a gallon.

‘It’s a real burden’

Sen. Joan Lovely, D Salem, who co sponsored the bill, said increasing the allowable alcoholic content from 6 to 8.5 percent will ease the tax burden on 18 existing cider makers in Massachusetts, most of which are small craft operations.

“It’s a fledgling industry and we want to see it grow here in Massachusetts,” she said.

Lovely said a loss of about $277,000 in tax revenue to the state is minimal compared to the economic impact of cider makers.

Rep. Paul Tucker, D Salem, sponsored a House version of the bill.

“It’s a real burden for these start up cideries,” he said. “These are mostly small businesses that could use the help to get going.”

The bill must be approved before the end of the legislative session Dec. 31, otherwise it will have to be re filed next year. Lovely said she’s “confident” about its chances.

Last year Congress lowered federal excise taxes on many cider products. The changes, which go into effect on Dec. 31, increase the allowed alcohol content of apple and pear ciders from 7 to 8.5 percent. Under the change, most ciders will be taxed as beer at 22 cents per gallon.

Currently ciders with alcohol content exceeding 7 percent are taxed as wine, on a sliding scale with rates as high as $1.07 per gallon. Association of Cider Makers and owner of Uncle John’s Cider Mill in Michigan.

“These changes will be a huge step forward for the cider industry,” he said.

An uptick in popularity

The new federal law also updates an arcane section of the Internal Revenue Service code, dating to the end of Prohibition, which taxes cider at a higher rate applied to champagne if its carbon dioxide content, or carbonation level, exceeds a certain level.

Cider was the beverage of choice during colonial times, but it was trampled by New England Puritans who cut down and burned apple orchards used to make the brew. In the early 1900s, the temperance movement stamped out production ahead of the Volstead Act.

“There’s been a huge uptick in the popularity of hard cider in recent years, which has grown alongside with the craft beverage industry,” said Miranda Russell, co owner of Russell Orchards and Winery in Ipswich, which has been making and selling hard cider since the 1980s.

“It’s a big draw,” she said. “People might come to check out our ciders and wines, but pick up other items that we grow at the farm.”

Russell’s hard cider has an 8 percent alcoholic content, so the orchard pays the higher state and federal taxes imposed on sparkling wines.

“Taxes are a burden but that’s the cost of doing business,” Russell said. “And Massachusetts loves to get its tax money.”

While cider is still a niche market, the rise in sales in recent years has been eye catching.

Big brewers such as Anheuser Busch and Boston Beer Co. have taken notice, introducing cider brands of their own.
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mulberry stockist Chorus director former students surround him in song on death

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Weeks later, it brought his hospice nurses to tears and again surprised no one who knew Mr. Rainer when about 20 of his former students filled his room at Good Samaritan Hospital to serenade the man with those holiday tunes for hours as he lay unconscious and not far from death.

sang for a little bit and took turns staying and talking to him and just being present, said Karista MacRostie, now a chorus teacher herself. think he really felt our presence.

Rainer, an intensely private man who stood well above six feet tall and wielded a clipboard like no other, was not married and had no children, but he had built a family none the less among students and staff.

the only chorus teacher we had in the history of this school. He such a major part of the culture and tradition here, said Seminole Ridge Principal James Campbell. wrote the music and lyrics for the alma mater.

would come early and stay well into the evening hours. He come to school during the weekends for his students. He absolutely loved them. He attended every fund raiser, every concert, every trip. He created such respect and discipline within the chorus department even the substitutes said, students are amazing, recalled Ryan Lee, head of the school drama department. (Principal Campbell estimates that no one clocked as many hours on the campus as Rainer did.)

On Monday, the school had counselors on hand to help comfort Rainer students. And yet they brokered their own comfort, showing up to an after school faculty meeting to pay the man tribute by singing for his colleagues, said Lee, who often collaborated with Rainer when drama and music intersected.

Rainer was a task master a perfectionist on everything but the piano, said MacRostie. (Rainer instrument was the clarinet. He played in the band at the University of Wisconsin, according to Houchins.)

had long rehearsals, but you never felt overworked. He bring in pizza, and he bring in different types of people so we could see different techniques, MacRostie said.

He taught music, but he built character.

taught us 10 minutes early is on time and if you not going to give it everything, why are you even bothering? MacRostie said.

When MacRostie decided to become a teacher, she credited Rainer. He, on the other hand, joked that he should not be blamed. put that on me, said MacRostie, now 26 and director of chorus at Jeaga Middle School.

By the very nature of the job, high school chorus directors get to know their students well, over the course of four years of class and rehearsals.

But Rainer cast an even wider circle of influence.

His students consistently performed at the top levels in regional and state competitions. He organized events for the Florida Vocal Association and the Florida Music Education Association.

had people from all over band directors, chorus directors not only here in the state but across the country contact me about him. I never heard an unkind word said about him, Houchins said.

At least one valedictorian has given him a shout out from the graduation podium. And many parents have espoused his efforts to see their children successfully land in college. If they ever chaperoned for him, they got of taste of his organizational skills when he handed them a printed and bound set of guidelines and itineraries right down to room assignments, Houchins said.

Rainer loved a good barbershop quartet and was a Michael Jackson fan as well, said Houchins, choral director at Palm Beach Central High. He appreciated jazz and classical. But his iPod was filled with choral and band music, Houchins said.

It was Houchins who first took him to the hospital. Houchins who after taking his own chorus to Epcot to perform for the month long Christmas concert returned to make the trip with a weakened Rainer and 25 of his students.

The performance went off smashingly and Rainer returned and checked back into the hospital.

When MacRostie first got the call that Mr. Rainer he told her to call him Wes, but for so long that felt wrong she went armed with a recording of her own students singing. were laughing and joking. The next time she visited, the nurses said he had been unresponsive, but he could see and hear. I played for him, tears ran down his face. sang some of the Candlelight songs because he always brought us to the Candlelight concert at Disney. We also sang You Raise Me Up and the Alma Mater, she said.
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Discount mulberry leather jacket Outlet City grant funds resource network for workers

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Employees facing conflicts in their private lives sometimes become problems at work, sabotaging productivity and creating headaches for supervisors, fellow staffers and themselves.

That in mind, Prosper Waco has created the Waco Employer Resource Network, a local version of a national cause championing the needs of low income workers who may face legal, transportation or child care issues, or may simply need someone to serve as a sounding board.

The goal is keeping people on the job, since it costs $8,000 to replace one person making $8 an hour, said Katy Schulz, who serves as liaison between the newly minted network and local businesses.

A formal kickoff for the Waco Employer Resource Network unfolded Wednesday at the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce headquarters downtown, where about 50 business people and representatives of social service agencies heard a report on what the initiative has to offer employers and their workforce.

A $390,000 grant from the city of Waco will allow the program to offer services free of charge for three years, after which officials hope local businesses see the program as an asset and worthy of private funding, Schulz said in an interview.

“Our hope is that employees can continue supporting their families and are prevented from being pushed down further into poverty,” the network’s “success coach,” Spike Burt said.

Since the program started informally late last year, Burt, 35, has visited 14 local employers, including the Cargill poultry processing plant, the Mars candymaking facility, and Waco Independent School District.

“At my facility, Spike was called in to see an employee who wanted to cash out his retirement to pay rent,” Cargill human resources director Daniel Bennight said.

Bennight, who attended Wednesday’s kickoff, said the new initiative’s rapid response and resources to find rental assistance in a pinch allowed the employee to remain on the payroll.

Burt said his experience includes counseling drug addicts, performing pastoral duties and working with social service agencies.

Many companies, especially larger ones, provide emergency assistance or counseling to employees, Burt said. But staffers often fear the programs and prefer to air their problems to someone without direct ties to their employers,
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he said.

The network’s interactions will be confidential and on a one on one basis, he said.

Buddy Edwards, executive director of Caritas of Waco, which offers services including a food pantry and assistance with utility payments, said the agency is providing Burt with office space paid for by the $390,000 city grant.

“When crises arise that impact an individual’s ability to focus on the job, or which create job absences, WERN will come up with a plan of action to remove the impediments,” Edwards said. “WERN will work directly with local businesses, and will mobilize our partners.”

Groups involved in the program include the Salvation Army, Neighborworks Waco, Caritas, the Christian Women’s Job Corps, the Christian Men’s Job Corps, Compassion Ministries, Mission Waco, the Economic Opportunity Advancement Corp., the Texas Workforce Commission, MHMR of Central Texas, and the Cenikor Foundation, among others.

“It will very much be owned and managed and driven by employers,” Schulz said. “They will decide if it is worthwhile.”

Keri White, supervisor of personnel services for Waco ISD, said the district applauds the initiative.

“We are proud to have this resource and love the concept of a success coach,” White said. “Spike is wonderful, and it’s great that those taking part can remain anonymous.”

Waco businessman Bill Clifton, a founding director of Prosper Waco and an advocate of the new network, said calls for such a program grew from a meeting in recent years at Baylor University that attracted about 200 people.

“These worker bees have a servant’s heart. They want to help. But until something gets organized, nothing gets done,” Clifton said after Wednesday’s meeting. “We have to move from talking the talk to walking the walk, and we believe WERN offers a way of measuring results. We can determine if this is or is not an effective solution.”
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Discount mulberry alexa chung bag Outlet Christmas in Delphi will not be the same this year

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would want us to have Christmas. She would hope we kept moving and going and she will be there, said Abby mom Anna Williams.

Because for the first time in 14 years Abby and Libby will not be home for the holidays.

morning was waking up and the kids get their gifts and the story was always that someone had to start the coffee before the came and got us up, said Libby grandpa Mike Patty.

The girls were murdered while walking on a Delphi trail in February.

can somebody continue to walk around out there for ten months and we do not have them yet?” asked Patty.

Ten months later and the police are still trying to track the killer down. Investigators know what he looks like and what he sounds like but have not found him yet.

I frustrated with the police and their work activity? Absolutely not. They are working as diligently as u have ever seen somebody work on something, said Patty.

Last Christmas is still on Anna Williams mind.

was Christmas morning and we got through all of the presents and they started going through their stockings and Abby just had this look on her face I said Abby what is wrong? She looked at me and said I did not have a stocking and I said honey I sorry! I will make this up to you then you do not always get that chance. That was a really hard moment to think about after the fact that here it was, the last one, and it was not perfect, said Williams.

The family hopes that someone out there who knows this killer speaks out and closes this chapter in their life.

you want to give the girls a Christmas present, call it in. Call that information in so that one last chapter in this story of the life that we are now living can be closed, said Patty.
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Discount mulberry somerset Outlet cigarette industry needs global regulations

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The e cigarette industry has been increasingly viewed as one of the most disruptive changes in the tobacco market, with vapes now commonly perceived as an alternative to traditional tobacco products.

In my own survey of 781 adult vapers, 83 per cent of whom were vape enthusiasts, I found that about 90 per cent were ex smokers and viewed e cigarettes as a tool to help them quit smoking a habit that, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), is one of the biggest causes of preventable deaths worldwide.

Given the explosion of e cigarettes, the increase in the unregulated manufacturing of e liquids in China and their questionable impact on health, there has been mounting pressure to regulate them just as traditional tobacco products are.

Regulations similar to those for cigarettes

Suggested regulations include restrictions on their sale to minors, a ban on vaping in public places, testing and labelling requirements and restrictions on advertisements and online selling. Compliance with many of these regulations would take several years and would be costly.

And so Big Tobacco has been lobbying against these regulations and the independent players are anti regulation as well. Interestingly, while Big Tobacco and independent companies fight it out for market share, little emphasis has been placed on what the actual consumer prefers in terms of regulations. Vape enthusiasts, after all, are among the most active consumer segment in this industry.

My survey of vapers primarily from Canada and the United States reveals a predominantly negative perception of Big Tobacco owned e cigarette brands (73 per cent) among adult vapers.

About 80 per cent of the vapers surveyed are brand aware. Yet, the negative bias towards Big Tobacco persists even in case of consumers who are not aware whether a specific brand of e cigarette is owned by Big Tobacco.

One key reason for this persistent negative bias is that a large proportion of vapers blame Big Tobacco companies for their past smoking addictions. The proliferation of tobacco companies within the e cigarette arena perpetuates the feeling of hostility among the vapers.

I also found that vape enthusiasts are widely supportive of specific regulations, such as those related to ethical packaging requirements (72 per cent). Furthermore, up to 90 per cent of the vapers surveyed care about manufacturers’ quality standards on e liquids, and 84 per cent check quality disclosures before purchasing e liquids.

The WHO suggests that although independent e cigarette companies have no interest in encouraging tobacco usage, this may not be the case for Big Tobacco, with its interests in electronic nicotine delivery systems. Overall, there is a complementary relationship between vaping and smoking practices for Big Tobacco.

Vapers’ preferences being ignored

Regulations on e cigarettes are likely just a matter of time. And when more stringent regulations are introduced, Big Tobacco will be better able to comply given their resource base and their experience with similar regulations on tobacco products.

Independent manufacturers are likely to be pushed out of the market because of associated cost implications. Therefore,
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regulations are likely to act as a barrier to entry into this highly price elastic industry, while bolstering the positions of Big Vape/Tobacco.

Amid these dynamics, the active resistance to regulations by independent e cigarette players could prove harmful both to their own public image and for the industry as a whole.

By resisting regulations, independent players are not taking into account the regulatory preferences of vapers, especially enthusiasts, who are their avid supporters. This could end up creating a negative image of independent players as hostile rather than developmental.

Also, the emergence of e cigarettes has been the result of innovations by smaller start ups, and is often considered to be a consumer led revolution.

Working together on regulations

Big Tobacco was forced to innovate to compete in this space. It’s therefore going to be more productive if these innovators engage in research aimed at reducing the potential harmful effects of e cigarettes rather than resisting regulations that are almost certainly inevitable.

One possible way forward for the e cigarette industry is to develop a transnational private regulation (TPR). A TPR is a coalition of non government actors, including a variety of business interests, industry associations and special interest groups.

It involves developing a systematic approach to codify, monitor and certify compliance with specific accountability standards.

Several such TPRs exist today, including Responsible Care (RC), which tackles employee and environmental issues in the chemical industry. The Fair Labor Association (FLA) and Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) deal with sweatshops and child labour practices in the clothing and footwear industry.

While these regulations do not involve governments, they are weightier than simply self regulation. They work particularly well in the case of consumer oriented companies that sell controversial products, and in situations in which it’s difficult for individual governments to regulate activity spread out across global supply chains.

Following this lead, the e cigarette industry, specifically e cigarette associations, must engage in deeper research and collaboration with stakeholders.

They must include manufacturers and suppliers, consumer groups, pharmaceutical companies and health practitioners with the aim of developing private regulations that carefully take into account the risks e cigarette products pose to the health and safety of vapers and those around them.

When independent manufacturers proactively support such a move, it will enable improvements in quality. It will also secure the support of consumers and governments, paving the way for flexible regulation and maintenance of healthy competition in the industry.
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It’s not the most ideal schedule, but enjoying what you do and the people you work with really helps.

I have lived in Kansas my entire life. I grew up in the town of Basehor, then moved to Topeka in 2002 to take my first full time job in media at KTPK 106.9 Radio.

In 2004, I was named the station’s Program Director and Morning Show host. I moved to a Late Afternoon air shift on Country Legends 106.9 in 2010 before leaving for WIBW TV in October 2011.

When I’m not at work, I’m usually doing something outside as I am an avid fan of the great outdoors. I love to fish, hunt and look for critters you might not see in the city every day.

Every year in August I host an annual benefit shoot called the “Sporting Clays for Kids.” In the past four years, the event (along with my justabuck campaign) has raised nearly $90,000 for Children’s Service Programs at TARC. I am truly humbled to live in a community that is so supportive and generous when it comes to supporting a worthy cause.

A few other items worth mentioning would be that I’ve been a member of the Civitan Club of Topeka since 2008, I serve on the board of directors for the Kaw Valley Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation and Visit Topeka, Inc, and I’m on advisory boards for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Shawnee County and Shawnee County Parks and Rec . I’m also a 2013 graduate of the Leadership Greater Topeka program and was named one of Topeka’s “Top 20 Under 40” in 2014 by the Boy Scouts of America, Jayhawk Area Council.

I have a 10 year old son Blake, who is a chip off the ‘ol block as they say and he enjoys most of the same things his father does. Although, he tends to get a little bit dirtier than I do during the process.

My absolute favorite thing about being a member of the local media has been, and will always be the people. I have built so many wonderful relationships with listeners and viewers over the past several years and I hope that never ends.
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Rob Lyons(Photo: DNJ photo by Jim Davis, DNJ photo by Jim Davis)Buy PhotoA post on a local advocacy group’s Facebook page suggesting that Murfreesboro City Manager Rob Lyons lost his job is false, Mayor Shane McFarland said Wednesday.

“I have not heard from any council members who have been dissatisfiedwith Mr. Lyons’ performance,” said McFarland, who will join the elected council in evaluating Lyons in August.

Councilman Eddie Smotherman agreed. Both Smotherman and McFarland have been asked by residents if Lyons had been fired, and both said he has not. Readers have contacted the Daily News Journal with the same question.

Only the majority of the council could fire the city manager, the mayor confirmed.

If the council members ever wanted to fire Lyons, they’d either have to call for a special meeting and put the issue on the agenda, or wait until a regularly scheduled meeting to bring up such an idea under other business.

The post, created around noon Wednesday by the Tennesseans Against Corruption’s Facebook page,suggested that Glen Godwin, director of the Human Resources Department for the city, had been fired along with Lyons. The post was taken down a short time later.
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While checking out everything likely won’t be possible, here are some events to keep in mind.

Williamsburg Christmas Parade Close to 100 participating units present their interpretation of this year’s theme: “The Night Before Christmas.” The parade starts at Brooks Street and Richmond Road, continuing along Richmond Road through Merchants Square onto Henry Street. It then splits, with some floats continuing along Henry Street and others turning left onto Francis Street. Free.

Christmas Homes Tour The annual tour by Green Spring Garden Club allows a look inside historic homes, all decorated with floral arrangements appropriate to the period. Darlington House, Plumeri House and The President’s House. $35/tour, $10/single house.

Holiday Pops The Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra’s annual Christmas concert this year features the vocal stylings of Brett Cahoon of Good Shot Judy. At one point, a member from the audience will step to the stage to conduct. Kimball Theatre, 424 W. Duke of Gloucester St. $30.

Ford’s Colony Model Railroad Club display The club’s 12th annual display includes seven operating layouts of G, O, HO and N scale model trains. James City County Library, 7770 Croaker Road. Free.

A Colonial Christmas Experience holiday traditions from the 17th and 18th centuries at Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown’s American Revolution Museum through demonstrations and decorations. Admission required. when the Historic Area opens. at four stages: Palace Green, Market Square, Gaol and Capitol.
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Millions of Americans are trading smoking cigarettes for e cigs, but some experts say both forms of the vice come with risk. Researchers examined more than 800 scientific studies, reaching several conclusions about the health impacts of using e cigarettes.

Scottie Freeman, owner of Hippie and the Hound Vape Shop, was a cigarette smoker for 40 years, but he says he now, thanks to the device. “I haven had a cigarette in over four years and I was never gonna quit smoking cigarettes, ever.” Now, Freeman sells e cigs at his shop to help others quit smoking. “For some people, it the nicotine, for other people it the hand to mouth thing, for others it the combination.”

But, a study from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine indicates e cigarettes contain and emit numerous potentially toxic substances. The study concludes using e cigarettes may lead youth to start smoking while they can help adults to stop smoking.

Pulmonologist Dr. Kenneth Chinsky says the devices are not risk free. “Probably electronic cigarettes are not as bad as combustible tobacco, but still have significant health risks.”

And while for some people e cigs could be a way out of smoking, for others, vaping could be a way in. Chinsky warning, “People who have never smoked that start e cigs may be more likely to end up smoking combustible tobacco as well.”

Data proves these devices contain lower levels of toxic substances than conventional cigarettes, but doctors advise smokers to proceed with caution before picking up a vape and non smokers to steer clear altogether.

There is little evidence to indicate the long term effects of using an e cigarette. However, there is data saying e cigarette use increases the risk of transitioning to smoking conventional cigarettes.
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Mardi Gras with Gumbo le Funque Join a real Mardi Gras celebration with Gumbo le Funque, a band so dirty, so funky, so dangerous. La Rue Bayou food truck will be serving up authentic New Orleans specialties. Come with Mardi Gras attire. Hertell discovers a time capsule, actually a vast time cavern full of people who’ve lived beneath the pet cemetery since 1963.Comedians’ Power Hour The wildest comedy show/drinking game/game show in the country returns to Boulder Biergarten. Comedians’ Power Hour is a touring comedy show that pits two comedians in head to head competition telling jokes and taking shots of beer on a journey to be crowned Power Hour Champion. With Elliot Woolsey vs.An Evening with Common The Cultural Events Board is hosting Common in Macky Auditorium.Font ResizeReturn to TopWe reserve the right to remove any comment that violates our ground rules, is spammy, NSFW, defamatory,
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rude, reckless to the community, etc.We expect everyone to be respectful of other commenters. It’s fine to have differences of opinion, but there’s no need to act like a jerk.Use your own words (don’t copy and paste from elsewhere), be honest and don’t pretend to be someone (or something) you’re not.Our commenting section is self policing, so if you see a comment that violates our ground rules, flag it (mouse over to the far right of the commenter’s name until you see the flag symbol and click that), then we’ll review it.
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