first_imgThe end of the year is usually a time seniors scramble to make decisions on post-graduation opportunities, but Saint Mary’s senior and accounting major Meghan Flanagan finally knows what awaits her.Flanagan was awarded a Fulbright U.S. Student Program scholarship to Germany and an acceptance into the U.S. Teaching Assistant Program of the Austrian Ministry of Education and Women’s Affairs. After comparing the two opportunities, she confirmed her acceptance to the Austrian Program over the weekend.“I chose the one in Austria because the location is better [and] there’s less of a risk,” Flanagan said. “For the program in Germany, I wouldn’t have known where I was living until after I committed. People that I have talked to said to go with the Austria program because the one in Germany could either be in a university city or in the middle of nowhere, and I wouldn’t know that until I was already in.“The dates work out a lot better too because I have to take the CPA exam this summer,” Flanagan said. “My orientation for the Germany program would have begun September 12th. … It just seemed like everything was pointing to Austria as the better option.”Flanagan said many students are chosen as alternates for the program and do not find out if they can teach until late summer. She said she believes her eight years of learning German benefited her in gaining acceptance into not one, but two language related programs.“I was pretty proud of myself when I found out,” Flanagan said. “It’s really rewarding because I feel like the past four years I’ve been working really hard and now it’s finally starting to pay off. It was really nice to have the option between the two countries. I’m really thankful that I heard right away, and that I was accepted as a candidate for both rather than an alternate.”During her time at Saint Mary’s, Flanagan studied abroad in Innsbruck, Austria. She said this time she is excited to return as a teacher rather than a student.“It’s not so much about teaching English, but it’s more so a really good way to spend time abroad long term,” Flanagan said. “I’m not just traveling and I’m not just seeing a big city for a few days but I’m actually living there, and I’ll be immersed into the culture. It’s kind of like a post grad study abroad, but I’m not the one studying.“It’s more about pushing myself out of my comfort zone.”Tags: Austria, foreign language, fulbright program, germany, post-graduation, saint mary’slast_img read more


first_imgBRO: Where did your first backpacking trip take place?CG: I car camped a lot with my family growing up, but the first real backpacking trip I can remember happened in my freshmen year of college when I joined an outdoor program trip to Joyce Kilmer forest in Western North Carolina. We hiked among the old growth trees and up onto a ridge that was shrouded in storm clouds. It rained on us all night, and we hid in our tents playing cards. There was a lot of misadventure on that trip, but it proved to me how quickly close friendships can form during those shared adventures. I came away from that trip with a couple of good friends who became my camping buddies during college.BRO: What was the main lesson you took away from the AT?CG: Whenever I go to the trail I feel like it’s teaching me to slow down and pay attention. I usually set out from the trail head over-loaded and at break-neck speed, but after a couple of days I begin to settle into the pace of the forest and walking the trail. Time on the trail always helps me to get in touch with what really matters in life, and it refreshes my imagination and creative capacity.BRO: What is the main lesson that you want viewers of this film to come away with?CG: I hope that people are inspired to get out and spend time on their local trails (and also to be invested in protecting and stewarding wild places in our communities). It’s easy to forget about and overlook the heritage of wild places that we’re blessed with as Americans–I need fairly constant reminding myself about how good the wild places are for us and how important it is for me to spend time in them. The legacy of wilderness in America is ongoing, and there are still so many important ways for people to get involved in stewarding and protecting our trails, forests, and streams. So that’s my hope: 1) that people watch the film and immediately want to go out and spend time on a trail or a river, and 2) that through that they are led to a deeper engagement with environmental conservation and stewardship in their community.Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 11.59.09 AMWhere & When: Saturday, May 30 – Asheville Community Theatre, 7:30PMTickets are $7 and available at the theater box office (35 East Walnut Street, Asheville, NC 28801), by phone (828-254-1320), and online http://qrs.ly/k74otdb.There will be a raffle of outdoor gear and prizes to benefit the Appalachian Trail Conservancy in celebration of the ATC’s 90th anniversary. Facebook event page:  https://www.facebook.com/events/878363225571811/Online ticket sales link: www.tinyurl.com/ATmovie Photos Courtesy of Chris Gallaway Former BRO dispatcher Chris Gallaway has completed his long awaited documentary about the trials and tribulations of his Appalachian Trail thru-hike. The film is photographically stunning and emotionally compelling, but it also weaves in interesting tidbits about the long-standing history of the Appalachian Trail. Check out an exclusive, six minute sneak peak of the film below, and don’t miss Chris’ next screening at the Asheville Community Theater this Saturday at 7:30 p.m in Asheville, North Carolina.Chapin from Horizonline Pictures on Vimeo. We recently caught up with Chris to get an inside look at what drove him to complete this long-awaited project.BRO: When did you begin contemplating an AT Thru-hike?CG: I had casually toyed with the idea of doing a thru-hike for much of my 20’s, but I didn’t get serious about it until I met Sunshine, my then-girlfriend and now-wife. Sunshine had done two thru-hikes on the AT in 2004 and 2005, and hearing her stories really lit up my imagination and started me thinking about what it would be like to do it myself. A month after my 30th birthday in 2013 I started on the trail in Georgia with hopes of reaching Mount Katahdin in Maine.Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 11.58.54 AMBRO: What was the hardest thing about the journey?CG: There were plenty of physical challenges, from deep snow and sub-zero temperatures in the Smoky Mountains to horrible mosquito swarms in New England. One of the things I struggled with most on the trail was learning how to slow down and pace myself. I’m a fairly competitive person; so the challenge aspects of the trail easily get a hold of me. In Virginia, when the terrain leveled out some, I charged hard for two weeks walking long miles each day under a heavily-loaded pack, and I ended up with deep blisters and nerve damage in my feet. That pain was so depressing and defeating. I was determined to go on, but I was emotionally depleted and miserable as I limped down the trail each day. Thankfully, Sunshine met me on the trail for a few days near Daleville, Virginia and helped me to slow down and recover. My feet healed up, and I resumed my hike with a more patient, steady outlook.BRO: Tell us about your outdoor background. What kind of activities were you into growing up?CG: My parents had us out hiking, fishing, and camping as kids. Those early adventures in the woods developed an explorer’s imagination in me—I am happiest and most engaged when traveling a trail or a river and anticipating what will be revealed around the next bend. After college I delved into whitewater kayaking and spent several years exploring the class V rivers of the Southeast. Then in my later 20’s a backpacking trip with my older brother Ben reawakened me to the excitement of life on the trail (and also the intriguing culture of the AT). That trip put me back on a track towards many more hiking trips and eventually the AT thru-hike.Screen shot 2015-05-27 at 12.27.05 PMlast_img read more


first_imgCredit unions entered the health savings account (HSA) market early and have seen successful growth, but the number of credit unions in this business is still low–an estimate of  just over 14 percent. With recent studies showing rapid growth in the HSA market, this is an opportune time for credit unions to consider joining in.HSA growth continued at a rapid rate last year as credit unions offering HSAs recorded a more than 17 percent increase in HSA deposits. As of year-end 2016, credit unions held $1.38 billion in HSA deposits, up from $1.17 billion as of year-end 2015, according to call report data analyzed by the Economics and Statistics Department of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA).These findings are consistent with the results of the 2016 Year-End Devenir HSA Market Survey, which is a survey primarily of the top 100 HSA providers. The results of this survey show a 22 percent increase in HSA assets from 2015 to 2016, with the number of HSAs now exceeding 20 million. Ascensus® partners with Devenir to offer the Devenir myHSAinvestments® solution and private-label HSA investment platform to banks and credit unions.HSA Growth Tied to Health Plan Coverage The growth in the number of HSAs results primarily from the growth in consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs) that are paired with an HSA or health reimbursement arrangement (HRA). The 2016 Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI)/Greenwald & Associates Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey reported that 14 percent of privately insured adults were enrolled in a CDHP. And, while more than half of CDHP enrollees (56 percent) opened an HSA, the survey reported that 25 percent of CDHP enrollees were enrolled in an HSA-eligible plan but had not opened an HSA. The other 19 percent of CDHP enrollees were enrolled in an HRA and were not eligible to open an HSA.Employer Contributions Help Drive HSA Deposit GrowthCDHP enrollees are frequently opening HSAs in part to take advantage of employer contributions. Employers initially made contributions to their employees’ HSAs as an incentive for employees to choose CDHPs over traditional medical plans. Even as CDHPs have increasingly become the only plan option at larger employers, most employers still make contributions to their employees’ HSAs. And, the percentage of employers making contributions and the dollar amount of employer contributions continues to rise. The EBRI survey found that 78 percent of CDHP enrollees reported that their employer contributed to their HSA, up from 67 percent in 2014. The survey found that 20 percent of CDHP enrollees reported an employer HSA contribution of $2,000 or more in 2016, and 42 percent of CDHP enrollees reported an employer HSA contribution of $1,000 – $1,999 in 2016, up from 10 percent and 36 percent, respectively, in 2014. The Devenir survey found that in 2016, employer contributions accounted for 26 percent and employee contributions accounted for 46 percent of all HSA contributions. Among employers making contributions, the average employer contribution was $868, and among employees making contributions, the average employee contribution was $1,786. The other 19 percent of all HSA contributions came from individuals and were made to accounts not associated with an employer. The average contribution made to these HSAs, for individuals making contributions, was $1,713, according to Devenir’s findings.HSA Usage Continues to EvolveAs the number of HSAs and the dollars held in them continue to increase, so does the average account balance. And as CHDP enrollees become more familiar with the advantages of an HSA, their usage of the account begins to evolve. Many HSA owners still use their HSA primarily as a transactional account to pay for qualified medical expenses. However, more HSA owners are starting to treat their HSA as an investment account to pay for future medical expenses. As their account balances grow, these HSA owners increasing look to invest a portion of their HSA assets in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. More than 15 percent of all HSA assets at year-end 2016 were held in investments—rather than traditional deposit products—and with an average total account balance of $14,971 (deposits and investments). An HSA investment holder’s average account balance is seven times larger than a non-investment holder’s average account balance, according to the Devenir survey. HSA Market Opportunities Abound for Credit Unions Those credit unions that have entered the HSA market are finding great success. But HSA penetration in the credit union space is low. As of year-end 2016, less than 15 percent of credit unions (838 out of 5,906) offered HSAs to their members. And, while HSA deposits at credit unions increased nearly 170 percent over the last five years—from $512 million at year-end 2011 to $1.38 billion at year-end 2016—the number of credit unions offering HSAs increased by less than 13 percent, from 745 to 838, according to CUNA’s analysis of call report data. Clearly, credit unions that are offering HSAs are seeing success. The numbers alone should be a message for those credit unions that are not offering HSAs. 58SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Dennis Zuehlke Dennis is Compliance Manager for Ascensus. Mr. Zuehlke provides clients with technical support on tax-advantaged accounts (including individual retirement accounts, health savings accounts, simplified employee pension plans, and Coverdell education … Web: www.ascensus.com Detailslast_img read more


first_imgALL eyes might be on Galway this week, but Donegal jockey Martin Harley has been the toast of the biggest meet in England this week – Glorious Goodwood.He helped Bungleinthejungle, a 14-1 shot, produce a storming late rally to nail 2-1 favourite Morawij right on the line.His chances appeared bleak after Morawij kicked three-quarters of a length clear inside the final furlong, but the Mick Channon-trained colt refused to be denied and Harley battled back in the most valiant fashion to get the verdict by a head. It was a third Molecomb success for Channon, and a long overdue Group success in Britain for part-owner Christopher Wright, who used to regularly dine at racing’s top table.“That’s my first Group winner in England for an awful long time,” he said. “I’m thrilled.”Martin Harley, who is enjoying a magnificent season as stable jockey to Channon, said: “They went very fast early on, but Bungle Inthejungle sees out five furlongs very well. He’s tough, with a big heart, and battled on really well.“This year is going great, and big thanks to the boss, who hassupported me with plenty of rides.” From what we hear, there’s a fair few punters around Letterkenny celebrating – having put a few quid on the 14-1 shot.  GLORIOUS GOODWOOD FOR DONEGAL JOCKEY was last modified: August 1st, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:GLORIOUS GOODWOOD FOR DONEGAL JOCKEYlast_img read more