Financial Affairs – Mental X http://mentalx.org/ Fri, 28 May 2021 20:05:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.7.2 https://mentalx.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/default-150x150.png Financial Affairs – Mental X http://mentalx.org/ 32 32 Everything You Need to Know About Long-Term Personal Loans https://mentalx.org/how-to-manage-family-finances/ https://mentalx.org/how-to-manage-family-finances/#respond Mon, 17 May 2021 02:03:38 +0000 https://mentalx.org/?p=567 Most people think of a personal loan as a short-term financing method with terms typically ranging from two to seven years. Borrowers use these versatile loans to fund home remodels, pay for medical expenses or even to consolidate credit card debt. You can always find tips and resources for learning how to manage money on this address. But […]]]>

Most people think of a personal loan as a short-term financing method with terms typically ranging from two to seven years. Borrowers use these versatile loans to fund home remodels, pay for medical expenses or even to consolidate credit card debt. You can always find tips and resources for learning how to manage money on this address.

But did you know that long-term personal loans also exist? Here’s what you should know about this type of loan, including when it might be the right option for you.

What Is a Long-term Personal Loan?

A long-term personal loan has repayment terms lasting at least five years. Many personal loan providers cap terms between five and seven years, but some lenders offer terms as long as 12 years.

Most long-term loans have higher interest rates than short-term loans. This is one of the biggest drawbacks when it comes to long-term vs. short-term loans. The main benefit, however, of a long-term loan is a lower monthly payment, which can make it easier for borrowers to afford.

For example, let’s say you apply for a $20,000 personal loan and receive two offers: The first has a four-year term with 5% APR and a $461 monthly payment. The second option has an eight-year term, 10% APR and a $303 monthly payment. This lower payment fits your budget better, so you go with the eight-year loan. Keep in mind that although you would have a lower monthly payment, you would also pay more interest over the life of the loan.

Borrowers can always pay extra on the loan, but some lenders charge a prepayment penalty for paying off the loan early.

When Should You Get a Long-term Personal Loan?

Long-term personal loans may be appropriate for borrowers who need more flexibility in repaying their loans and prefer lower monthly payments.

If you have a variable, seasonal or commission-based income, you may opt for a lower minimum payment with the option of paying extra when you can afford it. If you can find a lender that doesn’t assess a prepayment penalty, you won’t owe a fee if you repay the loan ahead of schedule.

Where to Get Long-term Loans

Banks, credit unions and online lenders often provide long-term personal loans. Here are our top picks.

SoFi

SoFi’s long-term loans have a maximum term of seven years and limits up to $100,000. Interest rates for SoFi’s long-term loans range from around 10% to 15%. Unlike other lenders, SoFi doesn’t charge any prepayment penalties, origination fees or late fees. The minimum credit score requirement is 680.

Lightstream

Lightstream has the longest payoff terms among the providers on this list, with terms as long as 12 years. Borrowers need to have a credit score of 660 or higher to qualify. High-qualified applicants can borrow up to $100,000. Interest rates for long-term loans range from around 6% to 20%.

If you’re looking for the longest term personal loan with the highest total loan amount, Lightstream may be the best fit for you.

Marcus

Marcus has the shortest terms available compared to the other lenders, with a six-year cap. The minimum credit score needed is 660, and the APR tops out at around 20%. Borrowers can take out up to $40,000. It takes about 24 hours to be approved and between one to four days for the money to reach your bank account.

Borrowers who don’t need an exceptionally long term and high loan amount can stick with Marcus.

Long-term Loans for Bad Credit

If your credit score is below 660, you may find it more difficult to qualify for a long-term personal loan with a traditional lender.

Lenders like Upstart and Lending Club specialize in personal loans for consumers with bad credit. If you don’t meet the minimum credit score requirements of one of the three lenders listed in the section above, consider Upstart or Lending Club.

Pros and Cons of Long-term Loans

Long-term loans have several benefits and drawbacks. Here’s what to know before you apply for a long-term personal loan.

Pros of Long-term Loans

  • Monthly payments are often lower than short-term personal loans.
  • It’s easier for a borrower to manage a long-term loan payment on top of other bills and debts.
  • You can still borrow large amounts with a long-term loan.

Cons of Long-term Loans

  • Interest rates are higher for long-term loans, which increases the total interest paid.
  • Applicants need to have good credit.
  • It may be harder to find a lender offering long-term loans.
  • You may be assessed a prepayment penalty if you repay the loan early.

Long-term Loan Alternatives

Borrowers wary of long-term loans can explore one of the following options:

Home Equity Loans

Home equity loans borrow against the built-up equity in your house. Your equity is your home’s current market value minus the remaining mortgage balance. You generally need to have between 15% and 20% equity in the home to qualify.

The terms last between five and 30 years, so you may receive a longer term than what a personal loan lender could offer. Interest rates on home equity loans are generally lower than rates for long-term loans because the lender uses the home as collateral—something of value that the lender can repossess if you fail to repay. A long-term loan is typically unsecured, which means there’s no collateral for the bank to repossess if you default.

That’s also the main downside to a home equity loan. If you default on the loan, the bank can seize your home. This makes a home equity loan riskier than a long-term loan, so it’s only a good option for responsible borrowers with a stable income and a substantial safety net.

Credit Cards

A credit card is an example of revolving credit, which means you can reuse your limit as you repay your balance, and there’s no fixed repayment term. As long as you make the minimum payment every month, you can take your time repaying the balance. Credit cards are much more flexible than personal loans and also let you pay extra on the credit card balance with no extra fee.

The average total limit on a credit card is about $8,000, which is lower than most long-term loans. What’s more, interest rates on a credit card may be comparable to a personal loan, but those with excellent credit will usually save more with a personal loan.

401(k) Loans

You can borrow money from your 401(k), up to 50% of the vested balance in your account or $50,000, whichever is lower. The interest charged will be repaid directly to your account, so it’s like paying interest to yourself instead of the bank. To avoid early withdrawal penalties—a 10% penalty when you file your taxes—you need to be at least 59 ½ years old or fall within the rule of 55 IRS guidelines.

Any money you borrow will not be invested during the repayment period, which means you may miss out on stock market gains. Also, some providers make investors wait a certain period of time before resuming contributions to a 401(k) after repaying the loan.

The maximum repayment term for a 401(k) loan is five years. If you change employers, however, you’ll have to repay the money immediately. If you can’t afford that, it will count as an early withdrawal with a 10% penalty. You will also have to declare the amount as income on your taxes.

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OBITUARIES for Thursday, April 8, 2021 https://mentalx.org/obituaries-for-thursday-april-8-2021/ https://mentalx.org/obituaries-for-thursday-april-8-2021/#respond Thu, 13 May 2021 07:37:02 +0000 https://mentalx.org/?p=471 BETTY K. MASON ALBION – Betty K. Mason, 102, passed away on Thursday, March 25, 2021. Betty Knowlton Mason was born, in Albion, on July 11, 1918, the daughter of Cleve and Gladys Knowlton, of Albion. She graduated from Besse High School, in Albion, with the class of 1937. She married Robert Mason; they were […]]]>

BETTY K. MASON

ALBION – Betty K. Mason, 102, passed away on Thursday, March 25, 2021. Betty Knowlton Mason was born, in Albion, on July 11, 1918, the daughter of Cleve and Gladys Knowlton, of Albion.

She graduated from Besse High School, in Albion, with the class of 1937. She married Robert Mason; they were married for 61 years and raised two children, David and Valerie.

Betty was the cook for many years at Albion schools. Later she was cook at Bethany Nursing home until she retired. Betty was famous for her pies and biscuits. Meals without homemade biscuits were rare at the Mason home. She was all about family and her happiest times were family gatherings at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and whenever the family could get together.

She was predeceased by her parents; her husband; and her brother, Robert Knowlton.

She is survived by her son, David and his wife Margaret, her daughter, Valerie; her grandchildren, Monica Bennett and her husband Paul; her great-grandchildren, Noah and Elizabeth; her grandson, Andrew Mason and his wife Caralee and daughter Kaley; and her sister-in-law, Joanne Knowlton.

She held the Boston Post cane as Albion’s oldest citizen for nine years.

Burial will be at No. 4 Cemetery, in Albion. A celebration of her life will be held in July.

Arrangements are in the care of Lawry Brothers Funeral & Cremation Care, 107 Main St., Fairfield, where condolences may be shared with the family on the obituary page of the website at http://www.familyfirstfuneralhomes.com

GWENITH N. GEE

WASHINGTON – Gwenith Neal Gee, 91, passed away Thursday, March 25, 2021, at Pen Bay following a period of declining health. She was born October 19, 1929 in Dexter, to Joel Neal and Doris Martin Neal; she was the youngest child.

After graduating from Hartland Academy, class of 1948, she married her high school sweetheart, Thomas B. Gee. Devoted wife, wonderful mother to her five sons and adoring grandmother to her five grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Gwen and Tom moved to Marblehead, Massachusetts, and raised their young boys. During the 20 years they lived in Marblehead, Gwen enjoyed playing softball with the women’s softball league and bowling with the women’s bowling league.

Gwen and Tom returned to Maine and operated their own business, Gee’s Egg Farm, in Washington, for many years. Family and home were the loves of her life and she took many family photos.

Monthly, she made sure to decorate her home for holidays, especially for Christmas with extensive decorations and lots of presents for all.

In her retirement, Gwen took pleasure in living on the lake, feeding birds, watching wildlife, and the arrival of ducks every spring. She enjoyed watching her grandson, Cale, playing in basketball games and watching many dance recitals of her granddaughter, Curry, and great-granddaughter, Avery Wing.

She is survived by her sons, Timothy Gee, of Union, Scott Gee and Julie Sells, of Rockport, Douglas Gee and his wife Joy, and Brian Gee, all of Washington; sister-in-law, Kitty Gee, Chesterville; five grandchildren, Thomas Gee, Adam and his wife Dawn, Katie Wing, Curry Jo Gee, and Cale Gee; five great-grandchildren; many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

She was predeceased by her husband, Tom Gee; son Randall Gee and daughter-in-law, Cindy Gee; infant brother, Harland, and three sisters, Velma “Binga” Sawyer, Geraldine Plummer and Pauline Stark.

a private graveside service will be held in the spring.

Arrangements are entrusted to Hall Funeral Home, 949 Main St., Waldoboro.

Condolences may be shared with the family at http://www.hallfuneralhomes.com.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to American Cancer Society or the American Heart Association.

MARGARET A. MARDEN

BELGRADE – Margaret Ann Bowzard Marden, 83, passed away on Saturday, March 27, 2021.”Miss Ann”, was born December 11, 1937, to Lee Bowzard and Mae Bowzard, in North Charleston, South Carolina, where her father was employed in the Charleston Naval Shipyard.

At the end of World War Il, the family moved to Holly Hill, South Carolina, for Lee to become a dairy farmer and Mae to become an inspector in a sewing factory providing inventory for J. C. Penney. After graduating from Holly Hill High School, Ann entered the Or­ange­burg County Regional Hospital School of Nur­sing, acquiring her Registered Nurse diploma in 1958. Invited by Ann’s roommate’s mother, a German National, and her stepfather, a U.S. Army Major, to come to Germany and work as nurses for the Department of the Army, the girls moved to Wurzburg. During the few months to find clinical nursing openings, they organized and managed the first Army dependent Wurzburg Day Care on the military base. They then became employed at the U.S. Army’s 97th General Hospital, in Frankfurt, Germany.

During her service at the 97th, she had the pleasure of caring for Elvis Pressley, a victim of tonsillitis. At the Hospital Officer’s Club, Ann met Lt. Don Marden where they “Carolina shagged” the evenings away. She married Don in December 1961 during his first year in Boston University School of Law.

While in Boston, Ann continued her career as an operating room and ICU nurse at the US Public Health Service, Brighton Marine Hospital. They moved to Waterville upon Don’s graduation from law school where she spent the next nine years caring for the family of four sons. In June 1976 she acquired her BS degree, (summa cum laude) in Professional Arts, from Thomas College, in Waterville. Ann was a State Nursing Supervisor, Sales Representative and Nurse Examiner for Hooper Holmes/Portamedic during 1982-87. She was an agent for Dennis and Beedy Real Estate in 1987-89. In 1990 she was appointed Director of the Governor’s Office of Volunteer Services by Governor John McKernan. In 1993 she became Director of the Edmund N. Ervin Pediatric Clinic of the Thayer Hospital, located at the former Seton Hospital, in Waterville, a position from which she retired in 2003.

Along the way she, along with a group of friends, formed an Antique Club, a group which continues to meet, subject to the pandemic, on a regular basis. Ann was active in Republican Party activities working to support her husband’s successful campaigns for Mayor of Waterville and then Kennebec County Attorney.

She organized the first governor’s inauguration ball for Governor McKernan. While serving as a member of the Board of Directors of the Waterville Area Boy’s/Girl’s Club, she established a thrift shop to increase revenue. While her husband was a member of the Board of Directors of Good Will-Hinckley School, she originated the Festival of Trees as a Christmas celebration.

For many years Ann was a Docent at the Colby College Museum of Art. Her book Personal Records: The New York Times Book of Lifetime History, was published in 1979. In 1981, DownEast published her Shopper’s Guide to Northern New England and in 1983 her Shopper’s Guide to Southern New England.

She conducted extensive research on “coin silver” but was not published. Commencing in 2003, she fabricated and sold women’s jewelry under the name of Classic Jewelry by Ann Marden, primarily using imported and domestic beads.

Through it all, she was a true “southern lady.”

Ann was predeceased by her parents and brother, John Bowzard, of Holly Hill, South Carolina.

She is survived by her husband, of Belgrade; sons Lee, of Chelmsford, Massachusetts, Don, Jr., of Marblehead, Massachusetts, David, of McLean, Virginia. and Ken, of Arlington, Massachusetts; grandchildren, Sean, Josh, Hannah, Jamie, Lindsey, Courtney, Milica, Mateja and Bailey; sister Carolyn, of Vance, South Carolina; sister-in-law, Libby; and daughters-in-law, Bonnie, Kristen, Mirjana and Laurie.

Private family graveside services will be held when appropriate. Memorial activities at the Pleasant Street Methodist Church at a later date.

An online guestbook may be signed, and memories shared at www.familyfirstfuneralhomes.com.

Arrangements are by Wheeler Funeral Home & Cremation Care, 26 Church St., Oakland.

MARGARET F. STRAFFIN

WATERVILLE – Margaret Frances Doherty Straffin, 79, of Waterville, passed away peacefully on Saturday, March 27, 2021, at Country Manor Nursing Home, in Coopers Mills, following a long illness. She was born in Brockton, Massachusetts, on December 2, 1941, the daughter of John Henry Doherty and Alma A. Moquin Doherty, both deceased.

Marge leaves behind her husband of 45 years, Norman I. Straffin, who shared a long and happy marriage. Marge also leaves behind a sister Kathleen Ann Bunar, of Bridgewater, Massachusetts, and a brother, John Michael Doherty, of Carver, Massachusetts; and many nieces and nephews.

Marge attended schools in Abington, Massachusetts, and at Massasoit Community College, in Brockton, Massachusetts, where she earned a degree in the field of accounting. This accounting degree served Marge well as she moved up the ladder from clerk to accounting and management. Marge used to kid around and say that she never met a job she did not like and this was the truth.

Marge met her future husband, Norman Straffin, at his Straffin’s Coffee Shop, located in Brockton, Massachusetts. This is the coffee shop she visited each morning for her coffee to sip on her drive to Boch Motors where she was employed as office manager. Prior to that Marge was employed in Boston, Massachusetts, by Industrial Finance Corporation.

In 1975, Marge and Norm left Brockton, Massachusetts, in a 31-foot Holiday Rambler travel trailer and traveled for several months extensively throughout the United States and Canada before settling in Hemet, California.

In Hemet they opened a restaurant called the “Bostonian” which became one of the busiest at that time in Hemet. After a few years of operation the property came for sale and they purchased the property which also included another fast food restaurant. They resided in Hemet for a few years while building their scenic mountain home in Idyllwild, California.

Marge loved to cook and over the many years many friends and family dinners were held at their mountain home in Idyllwild. They almost lost their mountain home in 1996 from one of the many wildfires that strike California during the dry and windy months. The home was evacuated for five days until the fires were brought under control. The fire came within one half mile of their home.

After operating the restaurant for several years the Bostonian Restaurant was sold and leased.

Marge obtained her California real estate license and sold real estate in Idyllwild for years. Meanwhile, Norm obtained his general contractor’s license from the state of California and was building homes in the Palm Springs/Coachella Valley area. Marge worked for a local broker in the Palm Springs area for a while until Norm obtained his broker’s license. A mortgage company was formed under Norm’s broker’s license which was called “Inland Cities Mortgage,” which provided new purchase loans and re­financing and this office was located in San Jacinto, Caliornia. This worked well for Norm and Marge and provided the buyers of homes with in-house financing. Over the years real estate holdings were acquired.

In 1999 Norm and Marge decided to make changes to the commercial property in Hemet. The Bostonian Restaurant was modernized and the fast food restaurant was taken down and rebuilt as a modern restaurant called “Frogs”.

This restaurant was set and operated by Norm and Marge for a short time before selling the business. This restaurant had a large assortment of ice cream products and a fast food restaurant with a drive-through. This became one of the most attractive restaurants on Florida Avenue, in Hemet. In 2004 the entire property was sold to a San Diego real estate broker who owned the property where the new San Diego Stadium now stands.

Between 2003 and 2004 Norm and Marge started to sell out of California and returned to the New England area, settling in Maine. A state they long cherished. This was accompished by 1,031 real estate exchanges of like kind properties. Rental properties were acquired throughout the Kennebec and Androscoggin counties. Marge was a member of “CAHA,” Capital Area Housing Association.

Norm and Marge loved boating and were active members of the Wiscasset Yacht Club. Marge was not a lover of the open ocean but with the yacht club located on Wiscasset Harbor and adjacent to the Sheepscot River, traveling the river and visiting Boothbay Harbor was always enjoyable. A common trip throughout the summer was going to Five Islands near the mouth of the river and ocean and enjoying the food from the Five Islands Lobster Company. A Five Islands yacht club mooring always seemed to be available when arriving. After taking a short dingy ride to the wharf a delightful meal was always enjoyed. If after a nice meal and watching the local lobstermen and other boaters coming and going sometimes they just spent the night there. Another ride they enjoyed was traveling the Sheepscot River and a narrow waterway over to the Kennebec River and a nice meal at the Kennebec Tavern, with docks on the river for tying up.

Norm and Marge owned time shares at the “Winner’s Circle”, in Solana Beach, California, and traveled throughout the United States, Hawaii and Canada with trading of their time share. An annual trip to the Lake Tahoe area every fall was most enjoyable. Which always included a little gambling on the Nevada side.

After returning to Maine, Marge became a licensed realtor in the state of Maine.

A private memorial service will be held later and burial will be in Melrose Cemetery in Brockton, Massachusetts.

Cremation services have been entrusted to Brookings-Smith, in Bangor, Maine.

RONALD L. ALBAIR

OAKLAND – Ronald Lee Albair, 65, passed away Monday, March 29, 2021, at his place of work. He was born November 8, 1955, in Waterville, the son of Levi W. Sr. and Mona E. (Higgins) Albair.

He graduated from Messalonskee High School, in Oakland, in 1975. On May 17, 1986, he married Nettie Albair, in Skowhegan.

He worked the last 17 years for Hammond Lumber, at the Belgrade sawmill. From 1996 to 2004, he worked at Lucas Tree Company and from 1990 to 1996 he was at Tukey Brothers Sawmill, of North Belgrade.

Ronald enjoyed hunting and fishing. Whenever there was a family gathering, he would enjoy playing corn hole. When his wife was alive, they enjoyed camping. Every Sunday he looked forward to having coffee with his sister, Connie. He also enjoyed 4-wheeling and just using his side-by-side for yardwork.

He is survived by his daughter, Sara Borelli and husband James, of Oakland; three sisters, Connie Hartsgrove, of Oakland, Debbie Koss, of Newport, Trudy Albair, of Oakland; two brothers, Levi “Sonny” Albair Jr. and wife Lorraine, of Corinna, Bruce Albair, of Oakand; many nieces and nephews.

A graveside service will be held at the South Side Cemetery, in Skowhegan, at a later date.

Arrangements under the direction and care of Dan & Scott’s Cremation & Funeral Service, 445 Waterville Road, Skowhegan ME 04976.

In lieu of flowers, friends wishing may make donations in Ronald’s memory to the American Cancer Society New England Division, One Bowdoin Mill Island, Suite 300, Topsham, ME 04086-1240.

NICHOLAS S. DUDLEY

SOUTH CHINA – Nicholas S. Dudley, 33, passed away on Thursday, April 1, 2021, at Maine­Gen­eral Medical Center, in Au­gusta, due to a severe case of pneumonia. He was born on April 5, 1987, in Augusta, the son of Raynold L. Dudley, of Vassalboro, and Suzanne J. Dudley, of South China.

He loved listening to music, drawing (very talented) and junking (metal) like his uncle Roger. He loved hanging out with his friends. Mostly, he loved running the roads – he could never sit still. Nick had a huge heart and was very passionate of those he loved.

He is survived by his mother and father; his brother Joshua Dudley; nephew Conner; and many aunts, uncles, and cousins.

A gathering in his honor will be held in late spring.

 

 

 

 
 

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Last Taste of Home: Caicedo’s hot arrival, academy kids continue to impress, and other Vancouver Whitecaps training notes ahead of Utah departure https://mentalx.org/last-taste-of-home-caicedos-hot-arrival-academy-kids-continue-to-impress-and-other-vancouver-whitecaps-training-notes-ahead-of-utah-departure/ https://mentalx.org/last-taste-of-home-caicedos-hot-arrival-academy-kids-continue-to-impress-and-other-vancouver-whitecaps-training-notes-ahead-of-utah-departure/#respond Thu, 13 May 2021 07:36:56 +0000 https://mentalx.org/?p=468 The Vancouver Whitecaps began their last week of training in Vancouver on Monday, as they get set to head down to Utah on Friday. In a surprise twist, they also were able to get clearance for the media to attend those last sessions, as well, so here’s some of what stood out from a viewing […]]]>

The Vancouver Whitecaps began their last week of training in Vancouver on Monday, as they get set to head down to Utah on Friday. In a surprise twist, they also were able to get clearance for the media to attend those last sessions, as well, so here’s some of what stood out from a viewing of Wednesday’s session, in particular. 

It’s the last bit of normalcy before everything gets turned upside down. 

As the Vancouver Whitecaps get set to travel down to Utah to begin their 2021 American adventure this Friday, April 2nd, they’ve continued to train at UBC this week, allowing them to get a few final sessions out of their home practice facility before relocating for what’s expected to be at least a few months down in the US.

With just under 3 weeks until the start of the 2021 season, a sprint towards April 18th begins now, as the ‘Caps will look to get their campaign off to a strong start with a big game versus their rivals, the Portland Timbers. 

The road up to this point has been far from easy, as the ‘Caps have been missing a good chunk of their roster these past few weeks, with the combination of visa issues and international absences wreaking havoc on head coach Marc Dos Santos’s roster. 

After a long few weeks with a depleted roster, however, that’ll change next week, as he’ll get a chunk of his team back together in Utah, allowing them to prepare as a big group together during this final sprint to the start of the MLS season. 

But while Dos Santos will lament not being able to work with some of his top players these past few weeks, that doesn’t mean training camp has been useless so far. He’s gotten a chance to audition some academy players, some of which who will travel down to Utah with the team, while also working with some first-team players that lacked a proper preseason in 2020, such as Erik Godoy, who was injured, or Leonard Owusu and Janio Bikel, who were late arrivals. 

So he’ll look to extract those sorts of positives now, as he’ll embark on a tough journey, one that his team does have some experience of dealing with, having faced a similar situation down last year in Portland. They have made a few changes this time, making Utah more of a ‘home-away-from-home’ than Portland was, but at the same time, this won’t be easy for everyone to battle through. 

Despite all that, the ‘Caps will feel positive that they can have a solid start of the season while on the road, paving the way for a fun summer return to Canada, health protocols permitting. 

Before we dive into all of that too deep here, though, let’s look at some of what has stood out in Whitecaps land during the past few weeks, as things remained relatively quiet during a hectic international break. 

‘Caps for Canada:

And speaking of international duty, there were a few Whitecaps players who got stuck in for Canada these past 2 weeks, putting up good performances for the Maple Leaf. 

With 5 ‘Caps players down in Mexico with Canada’s U23 team at Olympic qualifiers, and another 3 up in Florida with Canada’s senior team, Dos Santos certainly had to keep his eyes busy in order to keep up with the play of his players who were away. 

Overall, it proved to be a solid camp for all 8 players as well, at least for different reasons, as all but 1 of them played minutes, and even the lone who didn’t, left back Cristian Gutierrez, got to relish being called up to his senior team for the first time at a competitive level. 

As for the others, however, they all got stuck in for Canada, playing a combined 22 games across these past 2 weeks. The U23s didn’t have the Olympic qualifying tournament they would have dreamed of beforehand, losing in their “win and you’re in” semi-final versus Mexico, but the senior team did well, winning a pair of first-round World Cup qualifiers by a combined score of 16-1.

For Dos Santos, it gives plenty for him to ponder ahead of the start of the season, as his players certainly put in shifts for his country. 

But while most ‘Caps will be mostly content with their play for Canada, there were two players that really improved their stock while away internationally – midfielders Michael Baldisimo and Patrick Metcalfe, who played a big role for Canada’s U23s down in Mexico. 

There were other several standout performances, such as Derek Cornelius’s herculean effort at the heart of Canada’s defence at U23 qualifiers, or Lucas Cavallini’s 16-minute hat trick off of the bench for the senior team against the Cayman Islands, among others, but in contrast to the breakout performances of Baldisimo and Metcalfe, those were expected performances from two Canadian regulars. 

Obviously, Baldisimo’s strong play was less surprising, as he’d already broken out last year for the Whitecaps, but Metcalfe’s performances were a welcome sight for ‘Caps fans, as he looked like a whole different player to the timid one that only saw the field a handful of times last year. 

“When it comes to the performance of (Michael) Baldisimo and Pat(rick Metcalfe), I think that they were, and this is my opinion, they were two of the most consistent players throughout the tournament for Canada,” Dos Santos told reporters on Wednesday. “Two players that were reliable, that played in every game, and I’m sure (Canada U23 Head Coach) Mauro (Biello) enjoyed having them. And I liked how consistent they were with their game and how they went about things.”

Now, all 8 players will try to bring that valuable game experience they got to a squad that is yet to play its first official preseason game, giving them a slight edge in the sharpness department over their teammates. 

They’ve already made the trip to Utah, where the team will meet them later this week, as the quarantine rules rendered a trip to Canada nearly useless for them, so they’ll be excited to rejoin their teammates in training early next week. 

Recovery will be a bit of a worry for a few of the players, no doubt, but on the other hand, they’ll be excited that they got the chance to get a few minutes under their belts, doing so while also representing their country. 

“There’s a recovery part for some of the players, all different cases,” Dos Santos explained. “You have (Cristian) Guti(errez) that was there but didn’t participate in any games, and then you have Pat(rick Metcalfe) and (Michael) Baldi(simo) that accumulated a lot of minutes. So, there’s a plan that is player by player, but they’re all going to be in Salt Lake already.”

“They’re all gonna train in one group, until they’re able to join the team, so again there’s a COVID protocol for them to train in groups before they train with the team. I think that everyone’s going to be able to be together as of Monday, I think training on Monday we’ll have everybody from the roster together, but before that, no, it’s still groups.”

Caicedo leaves an early impression: 

But over in Vancouver, the team continues to train before heading down to Utah, and this week proved to be a special one, as the club was finally able to open up training to the media for their last sessions before departing. 

While there was the obvious benefit of seeing where the team was at in terms of fitness and the tactics they were working on, the timing ended up being pretty good in another way, as new signing Deiber Caicedo finally made his full team training debut on Wednesday. 

And what a debut it was from the winger. Obviously, it’s just training, and you don’t want to read too much into that, but he quickly stood out among his peers as a player to keep an eye on. 

The physical tools stand out right away, as he’s both quick and powerful for a smaller player, but his technique and IQ also were immediately noticeable, helping him do some damage in some team drills. 

He’s left-footed, and he wasn’t shy in trying to use that foot whenever possible, but he had a few instances where he cut onto his right foot to make plays, keeping defenders honest. There was one little dink to fellow Colombian Cristian Dajome at the back post for a headed goal, as well as a play where he cut in to score a goal that sailed in after grazing the area where the upright meets the crossbar at the near post, showing off his diverse skill set as a winger. 

There’s a lot of work to be done tactically, as Dos Santos and his brother (and assistant) Phil spent plenty of time giving Caicedo those instructions in Spanish, but from an individual standpoint, there was a lot to be happy about there. 

You don’t want to read too much into training, but it was encouraging to see that from a player who hadn’t played much over the past few months as he dealt with administrative issues, showing glimpses of why the ‘Caps spent upwards of $2 million on the 21-year-old. 

Dos Santos was quick to pump the brakes on hyping up Caicedo too much after the session, but as he even admitted, those flashes were quite positive to see right off of the hop. 

“What I saw from so many hours of scouting and recruiting with the staff, (Caicedo’s) an explosive player, very fast attacking the space, very aggressive in 1v1 situations, trying to pass by the fullback, but a very good technical ability to combine, a good mindset, a good energy,” Dos Santos said on Wednesday. “That’s what we felt when we spent so many hours with everybody looking at him, studying him, looking at his numbers.”

“So he kind of confirmed in the first training what he’s about. But again, it’s a young player that’s going to need time to develop, but of course, the first flashes that he showed in training were exciting, for sure.”

Deiber Caicedo doing what he does best – take on defenders 1v1. Here he is up against Jake Nerwinski (Keveren Guillou)

Youth movement continues to progress: 

Elsewhere at training, the big storyline remained on the continued integration of youngsters, as there continues to be a heavy academy presence on the pitch during sessions. 

And while a few players still looked quite raw, several looked like they belonged, putting up good shifts in drills and scrimmages against the first team players. The first team players didn’t play them easy, either, so it was good to see that several of these youngsters were up to task against them. 

A few names that stood out from Wednesday’s session were wingers Keishean Francois and Kamron Habibullah, forward Alan Camacho and defender Matteo Campagna, but even if you look down the list of academy players who trained, there wasn’t a single one who seemed all that out of place. 

It does help that Dos Santos is already typically not shy to integrating young players into his session normally, so this isn’t anything new, but it was certainly unique to see him coach a group that was nearly 50-50 in terms of academy players to first-team ones. 

Obviously, that’s due to all of the absences, but at the same time, it sounds like a few are impressing the coaches enough to see them get kept around to audition longer than this Vancouver stint, so clearly Dos Santos likes what he’s seeing, as well. 

As was confirmed by the Whitecaps on Wednesday, it sounds like some of the academy players will travel to Salt Lake with the team, allowing them to continue their fight to try and earn a pro contract.

Asked if they were close to signing any players to a first-team deal, Dos Santos elected to remain quiet, however, but he did confirm that he had an interest in a few of them. 

“Yeah, there’s players on track to eventually in the right moment get an MLS contract,” he said. “I believe that.”

But with Sporting Director Axel Schuster suggesting back in November of last year that the club was keeping 2 roster spots open for 2 academy players to sign first-team deals ahead of the start of this season, could that ‘right moment’ be within the next 3 weeks for Dos Santos?

According to him, he’s not under any pressure to do so, making him noncommittal on the matter, but it seems like it’s only a matter of time until there’s some movement on that front. 

“I don’t know if it’s a need now to register or to sign players before the start of the season, we don’t want to do it too fast, there’s still the possibility of loans, there’s still the possibility of moves,” Dos Santos said. “So, to tell you that one of the Academy kids is going to sign an MLS contract now before the season, no, I don’t know why there’s so much rush to that.”

“But there are guys that are on track, and we’re following and talking about them as future players for this club.”

The loan part is interesting to note, as the ‘Caps got the ball moving on that front last week, loaning out Jasser Khmiri to San Antonio in the USL, freeing up both a roster slot and an international spot, and it sounds like there’s more to come on that avenue. 

It’s anyone’s guess as to who the next name to be sent out on loan might be, as Khimiri was a loan favourite due to his roster status and spot in the roster, but it sounds like he won’t be the only one finding temporary digs to start this new season. 

Seeing Dos Santos also mentioned that the ‘Caps aren’t done making moves, both in terms of signing homegrown players and bringing in new transfers, it just makes the loan conversation one that will certainly heat up in the next week or so. 

Academy product Keishean Francois warms up with an academy teammate at training Wednesday (Keveren Guillou)

Schedule drops: 

To round off Whitecaps news from the past few weeks, it’s also worth noting that MLS released its full schedule during the international break, giving each team an idea of what their 34-game 2021 slate might look like. 

For the ‘Caps, there’s plenty of interesting nuggets in there, especially in terms of how their home schedule is structured, as they’ll play 7 of their first 11 games on the road, before finishing with 13 home games in their last 23 games. 

That’s because they want to keep the door open to play games in Vancouver starting in the summer, where they’ll hope that vaccination rates on both sides of the border will allow for them to return home. Obviously, the hope is for them to have fans, but at the very least, this rise in immunizations could at least allow for intra-border travel for sports teams at the beginning of the process, before opening up games to fans down the road. 

Plus, they’ve made sure that those rush of home games comes not long after a month-long break at the end of May and beginning of June due to an international window, with the plan being that they’ll stay in Salt Lake until the end of June before returning to Vancouver in July. 

The timeline remains very fluid, so that’s far from set in stone, but that’s the plan they have in place, so now it’ll all be about seeing how feasible that ends up being down the road. 

Otherwise, there are a few interesting hitches in the schedule, as the ‘Caps will play all 12 other Western Conference 2 to 3 times for a total of 32 matches, with their only 2 games against non-conference rivals coming against their Eastern Canadian rivals, Toronto FC and CF Montreal. It’s an improvement on last year’s regional-based schedule, as COVID forced teams to play teams around them 5 to 6 times in some cases, but it’s not yet as balanced as you’d hope it one day is again. 

Finally, there’s also the hitch that the Gold Cup will provide, as the ‘Caps will play 5 games during the Gold Cup, meaning that they could be without a few of their Canadian regulars for some key games in the summer, testing their depth. 

Luckily for them, however, that’s the only international headache that they’ll have to deal with, as they don’t play through any other scheduled international windows, which isn’t a luxury that all MLS teams are able to have, as some have chosen to play through those breaks, anyways. 

So all-in-all, it’s a pretty solid schedule for the ‘Caps, one they’ll be pretty happy with as a whole. 

Finally some exhibition games: 

Lastly, there was the news that the Whitecaps had finally come up with an exhibition game schedule, as they’ll play USL’s Real Monarchs on April 6th in Utah, before travelling to Chicago to take on the Chicago Fire and USL’s Indy Eleven in a doubleheader on April 10th. 

It’s going to be interesting to see how the ‘Caps manage that double-header on April 10th, in particular, but aside from that, there’s plenty to be happy with in terms of the fact that they’ll be able to play any sort of preseason games before the start of the year. 

With most other teams situated in Florida, California or Arizona for training camp, including their hosts, Real Salt Lake, it wasn’t going to be easy to find many games close by to where the Whitecaps were situated in Utah, so they did pretty well for themselves here. 

Now, the other big question will be to see how full-strength this team ends up being in all 3 of these games, as they continue to work on getting some new signings into the team’s camp ahead of then due to visa issues. 

They’ll have a good chunk of their returning players back in time for all 3 games, but you do wonder if some of their new signings will be able to make it in time to show Dos Santos and the fans what they’re capable of. 

Looking Forward: 

Ultimately, it proved to be an interesting last few weeks in Whitecaps land, even though it was mostly overshadowed by a busy international window, both from a global and ‘Caps perspective. 

Now that we’re back into the swing of things, however, it promises to be a busy next few weeks, as the team gets set to start off the season on the front foot. 

It won’t be easy, but things are looking up again, and after a few tough weeks, that’s all they can ask for. 

After a long wait, they’ve finally got their first transfer of this offseason onto the pitch in Caicedo, so they’ll be hoping that’s just the start of the wave of arrivals that allows them to complete their squad ahead of April 18th. 

Until then, however, they’ll continue to work hard, preparing them to start as well as possible – with or without their new arrivals. 

Up Next: Vancouver Whitecaps vs Real Monarchs, 12:00 PDT, 15:00 EDT (Zions Bank Training Center, Herriman)

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From Laundress to Business Mogul https://mentalx.org/from-laundress-to-business-mogul/ https://mentalx.org/from-laundress-to-business-mogul/#respond Thu, 13 May 2021 06:56:02 +0000 https://mentalx.org/?p=384 Wikimedia Commons One hundred years ago this May, a white mob massacred hundreds of Black people in the Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, Oklahoma. The 35-square-block district had been a thriving Black business center—so much so that it became known as Black Wall Street. Black entrepreneurs, locked out of other parts of Tulsa by Jim Crow […]]]>

One hundred years ago this May, a white mob massacred hundreds of Black people in the Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, Oklahoma. The 35-square-block district had been a thriving Black business center—so much so that it became known as Black Wall Street. Black entrepreneurs, locked out of other parts of Tulsa by Jim Crow laws, ran luxury hotels, insurance companies, grocery stores, transportation services, newspapers, and theaters in the community. A wealthy Black landowner, O. W. Gurley, gave loans to residents who wanted to start their own businesses. Black prosperity begat more Black prosperity.

Madam C. J. Walker:
The Making of an American Icon
by Erica L. Ball
Rowman and Littlefield Publishers,
166 pp.

But it also led to white resentment. A false allegation that a Black man had raped a white woman activated white locals. They surged through the streets, shooting Black people on sight, looting Black homes, and bombing more than 600 Black-owned businesses. Over the course of two days, nearly the entire district was burned to the ground. 

Entrepreneurship has fueled progress for Black Americans, growing the middle class and funding the fight for racial equality. But it has also been met with waves of devastation. Black farming languished in the 20th century, in part because the U.S. Department of Agriculture discriminated against Black farmers when assessing loan applications. The construction of the interstate system in the 1950s and ’60s wiped out Black business districts in cities across America. The federal government’s retreat from enforcing antitrust laws starting in the late 1970s led to the collapse of small Black-owned firms across the country. The Great Recession in 2008 set back another generation of Black entrepreneurs. 

Now, Black business owners are being wiped out again, this time by a virus. Black entrepreneurs disproportionately run businesses in retail or hospitality, two sectors that immediately took a hit when states implemented social distancing measures. Between February and April 2020, 40 percent of Black-owned firms closed, according to analysis from Robert Fairlie of the University of California, Santa Cruz. Seventeen percent of white-owned companies closed during the same period. 

The current struggle for Black entrepreneurship makes a new book chronicling the life of Madam C. J. Walker especially relevant. Walker, a Black woman who built a beauty product empire in the early 1900s, became one of the richest businesswomen in America. The Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company sold hair and skin products and, at its peak, employed nearly 25,000 agents to sell them throughout the Americas. 

Entrepreneurship has fueled progress for Black Americans, growing the middle class and funding the fight for racial equality. But it has also been met with waves of devastation.

The lingering question for scholars—and, more urgently, for Black entrepreneurs—is how Walker managed to do it. Her life is the subject of several biographies, academic lectures, children’s books, and even a Netflix miniseries. The most recent addition to that literature comes from Erica Ball, the department chair of Black studies at Occidental College, with Madam C. J. Walker, a deeply researched book that situates Walker’s story just one generation removed from chattel slavery, in turn-of-the-century America, when Black people sought to renegotiate their contract with society. It also illuminates her business strategies. Walker built her empire in coalition with other Black institutions and used her working-class background and her philanthropy to connect with the Black masses, not just the Black elite. What she may have lacked in pedigree, she made up for with brazen determination.

Walker was born Sarah Breedlove on December 23, 1867, a few years after the Emancipation Proclamation, in a one-room cabin on a cotton plantation in Delta, Louisiana. Both of her parents, who had been enslaved on the plantation, died before she was 10. As the Reconstruction era was ending and racial terror spiked, Sarah and her older sister moved to Vicksburg, Mississippi. She arrived without the extensive training that would have allowed her to work as a cook, and as a newcomer she lacked the referrals necessary to be a maid or a nurse for a white family. So she worked as a laundress—a position that was thought to be on the lower end of the socioeconomic ladder but enabled her to develop her own client base as an independent contractor. At the age of 17 she gave birth to her daughter, Leila, and in a few more years she moved on to St. Louis, where three of her brothers lived. (Much of what is known about Sarah’s early life is sourced from the subject herself.)

In St. Louis, Sarah began suffering from severe scalp ailments, including hair loss. This was common at the time, especially among working-class Black women, who often used harsh products like lye soap on their hair. In 1903, she was introduced to Annie Pope, a Black hair care entrepreneur. She gave Sarah a treatment of her “Wonderful Hair Grower,” and it impressed Sarah enough that she became one of Pope’s sales agents. 

Soon, Sarah moved to Denver, bringing with her a charming and entrepreneurial newspaper-man named Charles J. Walker, whom she had begun dating. Perhaps, Ball speculates, Sarah saw opportunity in a market with few Black beauty professionals. She made connections quickly by joining the local African Methodist Episcopal church, securing work as a cook in a boarding house, and selling Pope’s products. She married Charles in January 1906, and within six months she had decided to become an independent beauty culturist, severing ties with Annie Pope. 

Sarah’s entry into the beauty industry came at an opportune time. For much of the 1800s, most women could only access a limited range of cosmetic products. But by the 1890s, stage actresses like Sarah Bernhardt were challenging long-held ideals of natural beauty and helping bring beauty culture into the mainstream. Soon, department stores and advertisers began targeting women as consumers. As demand rose and suppliers increased, Black women also began to embrace beauty culture. In 1893, Mary Church Terrell, a prominent Black activist, wrote in Rigwood’s Journal, a leading Black women’s publication, “Every woman, no matter what her circumstances, owes it to herself, her family, and her friends to look as well as her means will permit.” Opportunity was expanding for beauty entrepreneurs like Walker. Now 38, she started making, marketing, and selling her own product line in Denver. 

In early 1906, Sarah began referring to herself as Madam C. J. Walker. “Madam” sounded more European, and many white beauty culturists used the title in their marketing. Walker began traveling to other towns in Colorado to sell her products, and in the summer of 1906 she opened a salon in Denver. Leila, now 20, joined her mother to help expand the business. Once Leila was able to run the Denver salon on her own, Sarah and Charles set out on a seven-state tour of the Southeast. 

While traveling, Walker established several procedures and marketing strategies that would drive her success. The first was to rely heavily on local Black institutions. When she arrived in a new city, Walker would start by identifying a Black hotel or family that would take in travelers. In the Jim Crow South, this was both a practical necessity and a way to make local connections. She would also reach out to Black church and community leaders, who could introduce Walker to their constituencies. 

Her second strategy was to offer a demonstration of her hair care system to groups of local women. The demonstrations were intimate, step-by-step tutorials of the hair care process. They were also social events that drew together women who could readily identify with Walker’s life experience as a domestic worker. 

Her third strategy was to sell her own story, which made her both relatable and an aspirational figure. During the demonstrations, Walker forged trust with the audience by marketing herself as a hair “grower” and a healer of sorts, which linked her to a long tradition of Black women who served an essential function as natural healers. She would tell her listeners that when her hair began to fall out after years of working as a washerwoman, help came in the form of divine inspiration: A “big black man” or an “African” appeared in a dream and provided her with a list of ingredients, which she ordered and used to remedy her problem.

Whether it was true or not, the narrative was savvy. Many Black reformers and ministers at the time railed against the dangers of beauty culture and thought cosmetics gave credence to the misguided belief that Black women were hyper-sexual and immoral. Further, Walker’s system of hair care involved elements that could be characterized as hair straightening, a trend that was heavily criticized by reformers as an effort to imitate white people. Walker’s preferred origin story helped ameliorate those concerns.

As customers placed orders, Walker sent them back to Denver for fulfillment, where Leila mixed, packaged, and shipped the products. With a salon out west and a growing customer base in the South, Walker and her husband decided to relocate twice more, first to Pittsburgh, where she opened another salon, and then to Indianapolis. Her willingness to pick up and move, combined with her intuition about which cities had a business community and a customer base that would be receptive to her products, was key to her successful expansion. Indianapolis, for example, was a railway hub that served as a gateway to the Midwest, Northeast, and South. It had a Black population of more than 20,000 and two Black newspapers in which Walker could advertise her products. She purchased a 12-room house and soon began work on a new state-of-the-art factory steps away from her home. In 1910, Walker earned more than $260,000 annually in today’s dollars. 

Although she had agents and customers scattered across the country, her company was not yet a household name. The beauty industry was becoming a strong force in America—product offerings were growing, as was consumer spending—but there was still a strong bias against it, especially among elite Black men. Booker T. Washington, a leading intellectual and champion of Black entrepreneurship, was generally opposed to Black women’s beauty culture. Winning his backing, Walker thought, was a prerequisite for growing a national brand. 

But when she reached out to Washington repeatedly for help in expanding her business, he showed no interest. In letters, Walker pressed Washington for an invitation to a 1912 farmers’ convention that his Tuskegee Institute was hosting, and got no response—but she decided to go anyway. After petitioning conference leaders, she was given permission to speak briefly at an evening chapel service, separate from the regular activities. She also gave demonstrations and treatments to more than 80 customers, including members of Washington’s own family. Walker secured so many contacts and customers during her time at Tuskegee that she decided to open an agency near the campus. 

Her mission to win Washington’s support didn’t stop there. She attended the 1912 National Negro Business League conference in Chicago, but Washington didn’t allow her to address the assembly. When another delegate requested that Walker be allowed to speak, Washington remained firm. Walker rose to her feet and said to him, “Surely you are not going to shut the door in my face!” She gave an impromptu speech defending her occupation, telling her now-perfected washtub-to-boardroom story, and tying her business to dignity and uplift for the race. With that speech, Walker won over the audience and, finally, Washington. He invited her to speak at the following year’s conference, and agreed to be her guest during his next visit to Indianapolis. As Walker had suspected it would, Washington’s official endorsement instantly elevated her national profile. Later that year, The Freeman, a Black newspaper, published a profile of Madam C. J. Walker and the Walker Manufacturing Company, describing her as “America’s Foremost Colored Business Woman.” 

As Walker’s business empire grew, she became more involved in Black politics, always prioritizing the perspective of the working class. Their views dictated many of Walker’s branding initiatives, including her charitable giving. She made a public pledge of $1,000 toward a new “colored branch” of the YMCA in Indianapolis, a sum that put Walker in league with the wealthy white men who had initially organized the fund-raiser. Walker’s immense contribution expanded her celebrity and earned her a good deal of press, including coverage in The Crisis, the official magazine of the NAACP. Walker also supported projects at Black colleges, and, in exchange, the schools were happy to teach the “Walker method” in their curriculums, creating a direct talent pipeline for the Walker Manufacturing Company. When non-Black companies began creeping into the Black hair care space, Walker convened Black beauty manufacturers, inviting many to her home to discuss the development, which led to the organization of the National Negro Cosmetic Manufacturers Association. Toward the end of her life, she would join the executive committee of the New York NAACP. 

By the early 1900s, Walker’s beauty product empire employed nearly 25,000 women as agents to sell hair and skin products throughout the Americas. She offered her agents dignity, flexibility, and help adjusting to working outside the domestic sphere.

Walker also offered thousands of Black women independent employment with dignity. She offered her agents flexibility, and helped them adjust to working outside the domestic sphere. She took that opportunity beyond American borders when she traveled to the Caribbean and Central America to expand her business and recruit new sales agents. By 1918, the Walker Manufacturing Company was a global enterprise, and that year Walker earned $275,000, or roughly $4.7 million in today’s dollars. By 1919, her net worth was $600,000, more than $9 million in today’s dollars. 

Unfortunately, as her empire rapidly grew, her health declined. She suffered from hypertension for years, which ultimately damaged her kidneys. On May 25, 1919, Walker died at her estate. The following Friday, Ball writes, 1,000 mourners came to her home to pay their respects, including officers from the NAACP, the National Association of Colored Women, and the National Negro Business League. 

Madam C. J. Walker would face a different set of challenges if she tried to launch her business today. One force crushing contemporary Black-owned businesses—the kind Walker relied on when growing her company—is economic consolidation. As the federal government retreated from enforcing antitrust and antimonopoly laws in the late 1970s, larger white-owned corporations began buying up successful, small Black-owned businesses. White-owned chain stores expanded, undercutting smaller Black-owned grocers and pharmacies wherever they went. Large banks acquired Black-owned community banks, replacing pillars of the Black business community with distant corporate entities who weren’t inclined to give loans to Black entrepreneurs. In its 1989 ruling in City of Richmond v. J. A. Croson Company, the Supreme Court essentially stalled any progress Black mayors had made in increasing Black entrepreneurs’ access to municipal contracts. These forces and others widened the racial wealth gap, and financial redlining compounded the problem. Black entrepreneurs trying to launch their businesses today face an extremely inhospitable landscape. 

Ball’s breadth of knowledge is abundantly clear. But writing a biography about the great Madam C. J. Walker posed some research challenges. As the author points out, scholars “rely heavily upon the tightly scripted narrative that Madam Walker created for herself as she built her business empire.” 

Ball has done a masterful job reconstructing the context in which Walker grew her company. That strength is also a liability. Rather than fueling the narrative of Walker’s life, Ball’s research on regional migration patterns and the individual personalities associated with various civic organizations generally comes across as the primary narrative. Often, the reader is left craving a return to the person of Madam Walker. 

But the book shines a light on the world Walker lived in, the structural barriers she overcame, and the barely traveled pathways she utilized to arrive at icon status. If one wishes to learn marketing strategies from a true pioneer, Ball meticulously documents Walker’s playbook—one that Black entrepreneurs would do well to read at this moment in history. If one chooses to draw inspiration from Madam Walker’s commitment to  Black institutions, Ball provides plenty of examples of it. As so many Black-owned businesses close up shop, Walker’s story is evidence that triumphant success is possible—and a reminder to support the Madam C. J. Walkers of the future.

]]> https://mentalx.org/from-laundress-to-business-mogul/feed/ 0 Topps Is Going Public, Tapping Craze for SPACs, NFTs and Trading Cards https://mentalx.org/topps-is-going-public-tapping-craze-for-spacs-nfts-and-trading-cards/ https://mentalx.org/topps-is-going-public-tapping-craze-for-spacs-nfts-and-trading-cards/#respond Thu, 13 May 2021 06:47:02 +0000 https://mentalx.org/?p=362 Here’s what you need to know: Mickey Mantle’s 1952 Topps rookie card is one of the most sought-after cards. While a Mantle with a rating of SGC 7 like this one is valuable, a version of the same card rated PSA Mint 9 recently sold for $5.2 million.Credit…Jeenah Moon for The New York Times Topps, […]]]>
Credit…Jeenah Moon for The New York Times

Topps, known for its trading cards and Bazooka gum, is going public by merging with a blank-check firm in a deal that values the company at $1.3 billion, the DealBook newsletter was the first to report.

The transaction includes an investment of $250 million led by Mudrick Capital, the sponsor of the special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, along with investors including Gamco and Wells Capital. Michael Eisner, the chairman of Topps and former chief executive of the Walt Disney Company, will roll his entire stake into the new company and stay on.

“Everybody has a story about Topps,” Mr. Eisner said. That’s what initially attracted him to the trading card company, which he acquired in 2007 via his investment firm, Tornante, and Madison Dearborn for $385 million. Buying Topps was a bet on a brand that elicits an “emotional connection” as strong as Disney, the company Mr. Eisner ran for 21 years.

In the years since Mr. Eisner’s initial purchase, Topps has focused on a shift to digital, starting online apps for users to trade collectibles and play games. It also created “Topps Now,” which makes of-the-moment cards to capture a defining play or a pop culture meme. (It sold nearly 100,000 cards featuring Senator Bernie Sanders at the presidential inauguration in his mittens.) And it has moved into blockchain, too, via the craze for nonfungible tokens, or NFTs.

The pandemic has driven new interest in memorabilia, especially trading cards. Topps generated record sales of $567 million in 2020, a 23 percent jump over the previous year.

The secondhand market is particularly hot, with a Mickey Mantle card recently selling for more than $5 million. “Topps probably made something like a nickel on it, 70 years ago,” said Jason Mudrick, the founder of Mudrick Capital. NFT mania will allow Topps to take advantage of the secondhand market by linking collectibles to digital tokens. Topps is also growing beyond sports, like its partnerships with Marvel and “Star Wars.”

It continues to see value in its core baseball-card business, as athletes come up from the minor leagues more quickly. “The trading card business has been growing for the last several years,” Michael Brandstaedter, the chief executive of Topps, said. “While it definitely grew through the pandemic — and perhaps accelerated — it did not arrive with the pandemic.”

That resilience is part of the bet that Mudrick Capital is making on the 80-year old Topps. It’s a surer gamble, Mr. Mudrick said, than buying one of the many unprofitable start-ups currently courting SPAC deals. “Our core business is value investing,” he said.

Jeff Bezos in 2019. He said in a statement on Tuesday that he applauded the Biden administration’s “focus on making bold investments in American infrastructure.”
Credit…Jared Soares for The New York Times

Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and chief executive, said on Tuesday that he supported an increase in the corporate tax rate to fund investment in U.S. infrastructure.

President Biden is pushing a plan to spend $2 trillion on infrastructure improvements, in part by raising the corporate tax rate to 28 percent, from its current rate of 21 percent.

Mr. Bezos said in a statement on Amazon’s corporate website that he applauded the administration’s “focus on making bold investments in American infrastructure.”

“We recognize this investment will require concessions from all sides — both on the specifics of what’s included as well as how it gets paid for (we’re supportive of a rise in the corporate tax rate),” Mr. Bezos said.

For years, Amazon has been a model for corporate tax avoidance, fielding criticism of its tax strategies from Democrats and former President Donald J. Trump. In 2019, Amazon had an effective tax rate of 1.2 percent, which was offset by tax rebates in 2017 and 2018, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a left-leaning research group in Washington. In 2020, the company paid 9.4 percent in taxes on U.S. pretax profit of about $20 billion, the group said.

The company has said in the past that it “pays all the taxes we are required to pay in the U.S. and every country where we operate.”

Companies employ varied strategies to reduce their tax liabilities. In 2017, the same federal bill that lowered the tax rate to 21 percent expanded tax breaks, including allowing the immediate expensing of capital expenditures. The goal was to lift investment, but the change also caused the number of profitable companies that paid no taxes to nearly double in 2018 from prior years.

The global economy is on firmer ground one year into the pandemic thanks to the rollout of vaccines, the International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday. But the recovery will be uneven around the world because of persistent inequality and income gaps.

“Emerging market and developing economies are expected to suffer more scarring than advanced economies,” the I.M.F. said in its World Economic Outlook report, which projected 6 percent global growth in 2021. Here are projections for the growth of some individual countries:

  • The United States economy will expand 6.4 percent this year, after contracting 3.5 percent the year before, while Britain will grow 5.3 percent this year, after shrinking 9.9 percent in 2020.

  • China, the world’s second-largest economy after the United States, is expected to grow 8.4 percent this year, after expanding 2.3 percent in 2020.

  • India’s economy is expected to see the biggest jump among major economies and climb 12.5 percent this year, after contracting 8 percent last year.

United Airlines is the first major U.S. carrier to run its own pilot academy.
Credit…Chris Helgren/Reuters

United Airlines said on Tuesday that it had started accepting applications to its new pilot school, promising to use scholarships, loans and partnerships to help diversify a profession that is overwhelmingly white and male.

The airline said it planned to train 5,000 pilots at the school by 2030, with a goal of half of those students being women or people of color. The school, United Aviate Academy in Phoenix, expects to enroll 100 students this year, and United and its credit card partner, JPMorgan Chase, are each committing $1.2 million in scholarships.

About 94 percent of aircraft pilots and flight engineers are white and about as many are male, according to federal data. United said 7 percent of its pilots were women and 13 percent were not white.

Airlines have had more employees than they needed during the pandemic, when demand for tickets fell sharply, and they have encouraged thousands, including many pilots, to retire early or take voluntary leaves. Since September, nearly 1,000 United pilots had retired or taken leave. Last week, the airline said it would start hiring pilots again after stopping last year.

But the industry is facing a long-term shortage of pilots because many are nearing retirement age and many potential candidates are daunted by the cost of training, which can reach almost $100,000 after accounting for the cost of flight lessons.

United is the first major U.S. carrier to run its own pilot academy, although many foreign airlines have run such programs for years. The company said it hoped the guarantee of a job after graduation would be a draw. In addition to the 5,000 pilots it plans to train, United said it would hire just as many who learned to fly elsewhere.

United Aviate is meant for people with a wide range of experience, from novices who have never flown to pilots who are already flying for one of United’s regional partners. A student with no flying experience could become a licensed pilot within two months and be flying planes for a living after receiving a commercial pilot license within a year, the airline said. Within five years, that person could fly for United after a stint at a smaller airline affiliate to gain experience.

The airline said it was also working with three historically Black colleges and universities — Delaware State University, Elizabeth City State University and Hampton University — for recruitment. The first class of 20 students is expected to start this summer.

Air France is considered too big to fail in its home country, but the company’s debt has ballooned during the pandemic.
Credit…Christian Hartmann/Reuters

Air France on Tuesday said it would receive a new bailout from the French government worth 4 billion euros ($4.7 billion) to help the beleaguered airline cope with mounting debts as a third wave of pandemic lockdowns around Europe prolong a slump in continental air travel.

The support comes on top of €10.4 billion ($12.3 billion) in loans and guarantees that Air France and its partner, the Netherlands-based KLM, received from the French and Dutch governments last year.

Air France-KLM chief executive, Benjamin Smith, citing an “exceptionally challenging period,” said the funds would “provide Air France-KLM with greater stability to move forward when recovery starts, as large-scale vaccination progresses around the world and borders reopen.”

Bruno Le Maire, France’s finance minister, said Tuesday that the new aid is taking the form of a state-backed recapitalization, which involves converting €3 billion in loans the government granted the airline last year into bonds with no maturity, as well as €1 billion in fresh capital through the issuance of new shares.

The French government is the airline’s largest shareholder, at 14.3 percent. The agreement could allow the government to raise its stake as high as 30 percent, Mr. Le Maire and Air France said, by buying some of the new shares. China Eastern Airlines, also a large shareholder, will also participate, Air France said.

Air France-KLM lost two-thirds of its customers last year, and its debt has nearly doubled to €11 billion. It expects an operating loss of €1.3 billion in the first quarter.

As vaccinations speed ahead in the United States, air travel has started to recover, fueling a return of ticket sales. Delta Air Lines announced it would add more passengers and start selling middle seats for flights starting May 1.

By contrast, Europe’s vaccine rollout has faltered and variants of the virus have gained ground, prompting renewed travel restrictions. That has left major flagship air carriers, including Air France-KLM, Lufthansa of Germany, and Alitalia of Italy, struggling.

The French government recently cut its economic growth forecast for 2021 to 5 percent, down from 6 percent.

Air France’s board approved the deal on Tuesday after the French government and European regulators agreed on the terms.

The Dutch government is holding separate talks with European regulators over converting a €1 billion loan to KLM into hybrid debt in return for slot concessions at the Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam.

Air France employs tens of thousands of workers in France and is considered too big to fail. Still, Mr. Le Maire said the aid was not a “blank check,” adding that the company would have to “make efforts on competitiveness” in exchange for the support and must continue to reduce its carbon emissions.

To conform to European competition rules, Air France was forced to relinquish 18 slots per day, representing nine round-trips, to competing airlines at Orly, Paris’ second-largest airport after Charles de Gaulle.

Tucson is building on a five-year growth plan that predated the pandemic. “We’re working together as a region,” Mayor Regina Romero said.
Credit…Rebecca Noble for The New York Times

Some midsize cities — like Austin, Texas; Boise, Idaho; and Portland, Ore. — may be poised to rebound faster than others because they have developed strong relationships with their local economic development groups.

These partnerships have established comeback plans that incorporate a number of common goals, like access to affordable loans, relief for small businesses and a focus on downtown areas, Keith Schneider reports for The New York Times.

In Tucson, the revitalization plan, which goes into effect this month, calls for assessing the effect of the pandemic on important business sectors, including biotech and logistics. Other provisions advocate recruiting talented workers and preparing so-called shovel-ready building sites of 50 acres or more.

City leaders are building on a five-year, $23 billion growth plan in industrial and logistics development in the Tucson region that resulted in 16,000 new jobs before the pandemic, according to Sun Corridor, the regional economic development agency that sponsored the recovery plan. Caterpillar and Amazon moved into the region, while Raytheon, Bombardier and GEICO were among the many prominent companies that expanded operations there.

Other cities are struggling to recover after pandemic restrictions emptied their central business districts. The question is how much these downtowns will bounce back when the pandemic ends.

“The number of square feet per worker has declined really dramatically since 1990,” said Tracy Hadden Loh, a fellow at the Brookings Institution. Couple that with recent announcements from companies like Google, Microsoft, Target and Twitter about remote work, and some cities could see less office construction activity.

A Starbucks cafe in Seoul.
Credit…Ed Jones/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Starbucks says it plans to eliminate all single-use cups from its South Korean stores by 2025, the chain’s first move of this sort as it seeks to reduce its carbon footprint.

The coffeehouse chain plans to introduce a “cup circularity program” in some stores beginning this summer, in which customers would pay a deposit for reusable cups that would be refunded when the containers are returned and scanned at contactless kiosks, the company said in a statement on Monday. The arrangement will be expanded to cafes across the country over the next four years.

“Starbucks Coffee Korea is a leader in sustainability for the company globally, and we are excited to leverage the learnings from this initiative to drive meaningful change in our stores and inform future innovation on a regional and global scale,” Sara Trilling, the president of Starbucks Asia Pacific, said in the statement.

South Korea has in recent years tried to cut back on disposable waste in cafes, banning the use of plastic cups for dine-in customers in 2018. Legislation introduced last year would require fast food and coffee chains to charge refundable deposits for disposable cups to encourage returns and recycling. Last year, the environmental ministry said it planned to reduce the country’s plastic waste by one-fifth by 2025.

The increased use of plastic packaging and containers amid the coronavirus pandemic has been a setback for initiatives aimed at reducing single-use plastic waste. In March 2020, Starbucks and other chains said they would no longer offer drinks in washable mugs or customer-owned cups to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Investors have been focused on the Biden administration’s infrastructure spending plan, which includes money to encourage investment in renewable energy, including wind turbines.
Credit…Mike Blake/Reuters

U.S. stocks dipped on Tuesday, a day after Wall Street’s major benchmarks climbed to records.

The S&P 500 dipped 0.1 percent, and the Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.3 percent.

Last week, the S&P 500 climbed above 4,000 points for the first time amid signs that the economic recovery was strengthening, with manufacturing activity quickening and the biggest jump in jobs since the summer. The United States is administering three million vaccines per day on average, but the number of coronavirus cases has started to tick up again because of the spread of new variants.

That said, many investors have focused on the vaccine rollout and the potential impact of the Biden administration’s large spending plans, including the $2 trillion American Jobs Plan, intended to upgrade the nation’s infrastructure and speed up the shift to a green economy.

“Investors should not fear entering the market at all-time highs,” strategists at UBS Global Wealth Management said in a note on Tuesday, recommending stocks in the financial, industrial and energy sectors. The reopening of economies because of the vaccine rollout also favored small and medium-size companies, they wrote.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index rose 0.7 percent to a record in its first day of trading since Thursday because of the long Easter weekend. In Britain, mining companies led the FTSE 100 up 1.3 percent. The DAX in Germany rose 0.6 percent

Asian stock indexes were mixed. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong rose 2 percent and the Nikkei 225 fell 1.3 percent.

The yield on 10-year Treasury notes slipped to 1.65 percent.

Oil prices rose. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. crude benchmark, rose 1.2 percent to about $59.33 a barrel.

  • Disney Cruise Line will suspend departures through June after reviewing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the company said Tuesday on its website. The C.D.C. recommends that people avoid travel on cruises worldwide because of the high risk of contracting the coronavirus aboard ship. The cruise line also canceled sailings in Europe through Sept. 18. Guests who have paid their reservations in full can choose either a credit with Disney Cruise Line for a future sailing or a full refund.

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CreditCredit…By Jinhwa Oh

In today’s On Tech newsletter, Shira Ovide explains why the technology industry was relieved by the Supreme Court’s ruling siding with Google over Oracle, and the ways this might be relevant for artists, writers and archivists.

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Chester County man arrested for stealing $ 1.25 million in SBA loans after $ 1.4 million theft conviction https://mentalx.org/chester-county-man-arrested-for-stealing-1-25-million-in-sba-loans-after-1-4-million-theft-conviction/ https://mentalx.org/chester-county-man-arrested-for-stealing-1-25-million-in-sba-loans-after-1-4-million-theft-conviction/#respond Wed, 07 Apr 2021 23:16:33 +0000 https://mentalx.org/chester-county-man-arrested-for-stealing-1-25-million-in-sba-loans-after-1-4-million-theft-conviction/ The Chester County Attorney’s Office has announced the arrest of William C. Huyler III, 42, of West Chester, on charges of deceitful theft, forgery and related charges of fraudulent obtaining Small Business Administration (SBA) loans totaling $ 1.25 million from the Wilmington Savings Fund Society. . Huyler has previously been convicted of stealing $ 1.4 […]]]>

The Chester County Attorney’s Office has announced the arrest of William C. Huyler III, 42, of West Chester, on charges of deceitful theft, forgery and related charges of fraudulent obtaining Small Business Administration (SBA) loans totaling $ 1.25 million from the Wilmington Savings Fund Society. .

Huyler has previously been convicted of stealing $ 1.4 million in another case being pursued in Chester County.

In December 2020, the defendant pleaded guilty to stealing $ 1.4 million from eight homeowners associations (HOAs) located in Chester County, Montgomery County, New Jersey and Delaware. He’s awaiting sentencing in Chester County.

District Attorney Deb Ryan said, “The greed of the accused is unprecedented. He took advantage of a multitude of victims and betrayed their trust for his own financial gain. Our detectives have worked tirelessly over the past two years to report on all of his illegal activities. My office will hold him accountable for every dollar and prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law.

As of May 2017, Huyler, the principal owner of East Hill Property Management, LLC (EHPM), applied for an SBA loan from WSFS for $ 750,000 which he secured with a life insurance policy in the amount of equivalent. The defendant falsely portrayed EHPM as a successful property management company serving HOAs in the area who wanted to expand. The defendant projected first year profits over $ 500,000 and second year profits over $ 900,000.

The defendant submitted false financial documents and income tax returns in support of his claim. These documents have shown significant past and future growth for EHPM. In fact, the business had become so unprofitable by early 2017 that the defendant embezzled nearly $ 1.4 million from its HOA clients.

The terms of the $ 750,000 loan specified that the funds were to be used to refinance existing First Home Bank debt, building improvements and nearly $ 300,000 in working capital. The loan was approved on August 29, 2017.

The next day, the defendant applied for a second SBA loan to finance two new businesses, East Hill Real Estate and Creighton Financial. Since both were start-ups, no earnings reports were included in the app, only projections.

Huyler secured this loan with a second lien on his residence in West Chester. The residence already had a lien of $ 845,000 against it, and the defendant was successful in securing another mortgage of $ 155,000 with the BOFI Federal Bank after WSFS completed its title search.

The SBA $ 500,000 loan was approved on April 12, 2018.

According to the Chester District Attorney’s Office, Huyler was arrested and then released on unsecured $ 250,000 bail. Its preliminary hearing is set for March 17 at 11 a.m. Chester County Detective Lt. Robert Dougherty handled the investigation. Prosecutors Ron Yen and John McCaul are assigned to the case.

Anyone with further information regarding this investigation is asked to call Chester County Detectives at 610-344-6866.

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Wisconsin businesses concerned about possible PPP tax https://mentalx.org/wisconsin-businesses-concerned-about-possible-ppp-tax/ https://mentalx.org/wisconsin-businesses-concerned-about-possible-ppp-tax/#respond Wed, 07 Apr 2021 23:16:17 +0000 https://mentalx.org/wisconsin-businesses-concerned-about-possible-ppp-tax/ HAYWARD, WI – Wisconsin business owners fear a hefty tax bill is coming their way. Mike Covelli is the Managing Director of the Northern Lakes Co-operative in Hayward, Wisconsin. “The co-op is a group of six different retail businesses in Hayward, an organization of around $ 15 million,” Covelli said. Like many other businesses during […]]]>

HAYWARD, WI – Wisconsin business owners fear a hefty tax bill is coming their way.

Mike Covelli is the Managing Director of the Northern Lakes Co-operative in Hayward, Wisconsin.

“The co-op is a group of six different retail businesses in Hayward, an organization of around $ 15 million,” Covelli said.

Like many other businesses during the pandemic, Covelli had to use federal P3 loans to help the co-op stay afloat. He received approximately $ 400,000.

“Extremely helpful. We needed it because COVID had just started to unleash its terror. The business was down,” Covelli said.

Covelli and other business owners felt that PPP loans would not be taxed.

“This whole revelation is a shock to us,” Covelli said.

The shock came last month, when the Wisconsin Department of Revenue announced it wanted to tax P3 loans companies had received.

“It surprises thousands of Wisconsin businesses,” said Chris Ruckdaschel, president of the Hayward Chamber of Commerce.

Ruckdaschel said this sudden news did not allow business owners to make an informed decision on whether to take PPP money.

“Part of the problem here is that PPP has been presented to businesses as tax-free money and a help to them during these tough times. Business decisions have been made with that in mind,” Ruckdaschel said.

In total, if the P3 money is taxed, the Wisconsin DOR will raise $ 430 million from Wisconsin businesses. Covelli has said he will owe $ 30,000. This will affect its operations.

“Definitely cut back a few hours, and then probably have to go to our line of credit at the bank,” Covelli said.

Ruckdaschel said he hopes lawmakers will give it some thought.

“We just hope the logical heads prevail and hope they say wait a minute, the whole CARES law in the first place is meant to help businesses,” Ruckdaschel said.

Tuesday evening, the State Assembly voted not to tax PPPs.

It’s now in the Wisconsin Senate and potentially the Governor.

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KYRGYSTAN Russia and China compete for loans from Kyrgyzstan https://mentalx.org/kyrgystan-russia-and-china-compete-for-loans-from-kyrgyzstan/ https://mentalx.org/kyrgystan-russia-and-china-compete-for-loans-from-kyrgyzstan/#respond Wed, 07 Apr 2021 23:16:07 +0000 https://mentalx.org/kyrgystan-russia-and-china-compete-for-loans-from-kyrgyzstan/ Putin has pledged anti-Covid vaccines and $ 100 million. Rail and air communication routes with Moscow are multiplying. Beijing is extending terms for repaying $ 5 billion in debt and seeking licenses for the Dzhetim-Too iron mine. Moscow (AsiaNews) The first overseas trip of the new Kyrgyz head of state, Sadyr Zhaparov, was in Moscow […]]]>

Putin has pledged anti-Covid vaccines and $ 100 million. Rail and air communication routes with Moscow are multiplying. Beijing is extending terms for repaying $ 5 billion in debt and seeking licenses for the Dzhetim-Too iron mine.

Moscow (AsiaNews) The first overseas trip of the new Kyrgyz head of state, Sadyr Zhaparov, was in Moscow to pay tribute to Vladimir Putin. The Russian president congratulated his new colleague and promised to visit him with a trip to the former Soviet country which, according to Zhaparov, “is always ready to collaborate with the Russian Federation”.

The meeting, which ended on February 24, discussed the supply of Sputnik-V vaccines to Bishkek, and a $ 100 million credit from the Kremlin to the Kyrgyz ally.

Zhaparov also met with a large representation of Kyrgyz emigrants in Moscow, promising them to be excluded from the “blacklist” of migrants in Russia, in order to obtain normal residence visas. The Kyrgyz president urged his compatriots to respect Russian laws, and announced the agreement on the strengthening of communication routes, rail and air, which will facilitate relations between the two countries.

Russian loans and investments are particularly necessary for Kyrgyzstan, so as not to succumb completely to the growth of the national debt, which is partly preponderant vis-à-vis China. In total, the Kyrgyz foreign debt reaches 5 billion dollars, of which more than 40% depends on the Import-Export Bank of China. Over the past decade, China has built a series of infrastructure in this Central Asian country as part of the Belt and Road Initiative.

The Kyrgyz economy is in crisis, also due to the Covid-19 tragedy. In 2020, the country’s GDP collapsed by 8.6%, which casts doubt on the possibility of paying not only debts, but also interest. Many members of the Kyrgyz administration offer to sell part of the state’s assets as a means of payment. Zhaparov himself, in an interview with Kabar Agency on February 13, said that “if we do not pay at least part of the debt on time, we will lose many parts of our national heritage.” He blamed his predecessors for this situation, “but God willing, we will get rid of these debts in time, we have plans to do it.”

So far, Beijing has shown a great willingness to extend the terms of some credits of Kyrgyzstan, as well as other countries in a similar situation, not in the form of charity, but by imposing rather complex forms of negotiations in this regard. According to experts, one of the objects of the latter would be the Kyrgyz iron field of Dzhetim-Too, from which Beijing would like to obtain exclusive extraction rights.

Zhaparov is therefore called to a difficult task, in the implementation of the economic reforms which he promised during the electoral campaign of recent months, and in the success of the campaign also announced against corruption. Unsurprisingly, before his visit to Moscow, Zhaparov had a telephone conversation with Xi Jinping, in which limits the freedom of initiative of the Kyrgyz president, who was elected in the name of nationalist pride and also denounces the policies of his predecessors subordinate to Chinese interests.

Beijing and Moscow are now awaiting a return of the Central Asian country to greater political and social stability, with a view to ordering the spheres of influence and the sectors of economic and geopolitical interest of the two giants, between the roads of the silk and Eurasian unions. .

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Smoking and vaping ban now in effect for all parks in Grand Rapids https://mentalx.org/smoking-and-vaping-ban-now-in-effect-for-all-parks-in-grand-rapids/ https://mentalx.org/smoking-and-vaping-ban-now-in-effect-for-all-parks-in-grand-rapids/#respond Wed, 07 Apr 2021 23:15:52 +0000 https://mentalx.org/smoking-and-vaping-ban-now-in-effect-for-all-parks-in-grand-rapids/ GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Smoking, vaping, and all types of marijuana and tobacco products are now banned in all city parks and playgrounds. The ban, approved 6-1 by city commissioners at the end of October, entered into force on January 1. Those who violate the ban can be fined $ 25 in civil matters or […]]]>

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Smoking, vaping, and all types of marijuana and tobacco products are now banned in all city parks and playgrounds.

The ban, approved 6-1 by city commissioners at the end of October, entered into force on January 1.

Those who violate the ban can be fined $ 25 in civil matters or participate in a smoking cessation program.

City officials have previously said that enforcing the ban, which is an amendment to the city’s air quality ordinance, is not a high priority and that verbal warnings from quitting smoking or leaving the area will take place before a fine is imposed. Park ambassadors are responsible for enforcing the ban.

The ban also prohibits the disposal of tobacco products and wastes like cigarette butts on sidewalks, grass and other areas not designated as a disposal receptacle for tobacco products.

The city-owned Indian Trails golf course is excluded from the ban, which has been a sticking point for Commissioner Jon O’Connor, the only vote against the ban.

O’Connor called the government’s last-minute exemption of golf courses from picking “winners and losers,” and said the ban flies in the face of the city’s previous talks about fairness and the desire to decriminalize minor charges.

Related: Grand Rapids bans smoking in parks, but not on city-owned golf courses

City officials hope the ban will reduce cigarette butt waste and create healthier park environments. In an explanation of the ban, city officials advised people who see someone smoking in parks to “politely let them know that the parks are now tobacco-free” and to thank them for creating the spaces. more healthy parks.

The parks will be equipped with signage to inform people that smoking is prohibited.

According to Grand Rapids officials, nearly 60 Michigan jurisdictions have tobacco-free park policies, including Greenville, Sault St. Marie, Traverse City, Escanaba, Grand Haven Township, Howell, Ottawa County, Portage and Michigan State Parks.

Read more:

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Michigan coronavirus in 2020 numbers: list of cases and deaths per capita in UP counties

Trump repeats false claims about Michigan election in Georgia phone call

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The Climate Challenge and China’s Belt and Road Initiative https://mentalx.org/the-climate-challenge-and-chinas-belt-and-road-initiative/ https://mentalx.org/the-climate-challenge-and-chinas-belt-and-road-initiative/#respond Wed, 07 Apr 2021 23:14:54 +0000 https://mentalx.org/the-climate-challenge-and-chinas-belt-and-road-initiative/ The following is a guest post from Jennifer hillman, principal researcher for international business and political economy, and Alex tippett, associate researcher in international economics, at the Council on Foreign Relations. Jennifer hillman and David Sacks are co-chairs of the CFR-sponsored independent task force on a US response to the China Belt and Road Initiative, […]]]>

The following is a guest post from Jennifer hillman, principal researcher for international business and political economy, and Alex tippett, associate researcher in international economics, at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Jennifer hillman and David Sacks are co-chairs of the CFR-sponsored independent task force on a US response to the China Belt and Road Initiative, which is co-chaired by Jacob J. Lew and Gary Roughead.

Safer:

Climate change

Belt and Road Initiative

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United States

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During the debt negotiations between Bangladesh and China in February 2021, China informed Bangladesh’s finance ministry said it “will no longer consider high pollution and energy intensive projects, such as coal mining. [and] coal-fired power stations. It remains to be seen whether this represents a real change in China’s approach to financing and building coal-fired power plants, or whether it is just a one-time initiative.

As our new CFR sponsored bipartisan Report of the independent working group shows that since the creation of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), billions of dollars in Chinese funds have been spent on fossil fuel projects around the world. These investments promise to make climate change mitigation much more difficult.

To curb Chinese investment in fossil fuels, the United States must offer developing countries an alternative way to acquire clean energy. He should also work with his allies and partners to push China to keep its promise to “green” the BRI. To gain the necessary credibility to put pressure on China, however, the United States should also be prepared to take aggressive action at the domestic level.

The BRI of China is a large-scale infrastructure project, intended to link China to Africa, Asia and Europe. Although expenditure estimates vary, Morgan Stanley anticipates that BIS spending could reach $ 1.2 trillion to $ 1.3 trillion by 2027. To date, the energy and transport sectors have been main objective of the BIS investment, with energy valued to make up 44 percent of all BIS expenses.

Most of China’s energy funding goes to non-renewable sources. Between 2014 and 2017, 91 percent energy sector loans by six major Chinese banks to BIS countries were for fossil fuel projects. In 2018, 40% of loans from the energy sector went to coal projects. In 2016, China participated 240 coal-fired power stations in the BIS countries, a number that has probably increased.

Safer:

Climate change

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Large-scale investments in coal and other fossil fuels can lock in carbon emissions for years, with modern coal-fired power plants having a operating life over thirty-five years old. Environmental groups to suggest that coal must be completely phased out by 2040 – in less than 20 years – if the world is to meet the goals of the Paris Agreements. Continued investment in fossil fuels will make responding to climate change much more expensive – and politically difficult.

Domestically, China is in fact the world’s leading producer renewable energy. Generous subsidies and protection, as well as foreign demand, help China’s wind and solar industries are becoming world leaders. In 2019, China too engaged to make its investments in the BRI “open, green and clean”.

Despite this commitment, the BRI remains dominated by fossil fuels. China’s refusal to consider new coal projects in Bangladesh is a promising sign, as is the fact that renewable energy constituted the majority new energy investments by the BRI in 2020. Still, from 2020, non-hydroelectric renewable energies explained only 11 percent of the capacity of Chinese power plants abroad, compared to forty percent for coal.

The BRI’s focus on coal is driven by China’s excess capacity and demand from developing countries. China is the world’s largest producer of coal, representing 46% of world production in 2019. China’s BRI investments in coal-fired power plants help create new markets for Chinese coal. They also allow Chinese companies, constrained by national environmental regulations, to recover certain losses abroad. In a notable case, an unprofitable Chinese coal-fired power plant was completely dismantled, then shipped and reassembled in Cambodia.

The Import-Export Bank of China and the China Development Bank, the BIS’s main backers, are also often skeptical that renewable projects suit their partners. These institutions have helped promote the adoption of renewable energy in China, and their mistrust is likely influenced by the various challenges – from expensive subsidies to struggle with a inflexible Grid– which China itself has faced.

Developing countries, for their part, tend to consider fossil fuels are cheaper and more reliable than renewables. In Bangladesh, India and Indonesia, for example, state development plans explicitly call for the construction of new coal-fired power plants. Restrictions imposed by the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and the Obama administration have made China the world’s primary source of financing for coal.

To address the climate threat from the BRI, the United States, along with its partners, will need to provide developing countries with a viable alternative that meets their demands for affordable electricity and addresses technical concerns. USAID Power Africa Program, which has provided technical support for the purchase of clean energy and helped mobilize private capital for clean energy projects, should serve as a model.

The United States is also expected to make larger investments in clean energy at home. Domestic investments can help make renewables even more price competitive, while accelerating the growth of US companies capable of meeting the energy needs of developing countries.

The United States and its allies should also insist that China lives up to its green belt and road promises. Beijing should be urged to be more transparent about investments and encouraged to set binding standards for what constitutes a green BRI investment. Holding China accountable, however, will require significant US action at home.

The Biden administration has already braked US government funding of overseas fossil fuel projects. Next steps should include a focus on lending to the private sector. While Chinese institutions have piloted the financing of coal projects, four American banks – JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citi and Bank of America – remain the the biggest financiers fossil fuel projects in total, having collectively funded more than $ 800 billion of such projects around the world since 2016. If the United States wants China to strictly adhere to its Principles of green investment—Developed to create common standards for what constitutes a green project — it should push US financial institutions to adopt similar guidelines.

BRI’s investments in fossil fuels will make tackling climate change more difficult. To avoid a new carbon lock, the United States should offer alternative sources of energy to developing countries while taking measures at the national level that give them the technological and institutional capacity, as well as the moral authority, to insist that China’s actions in Bangladesh become the norm.

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