Santa Clarita Calendar

first_imgInternational Reading Festival, 10 a.m. at the Valencia Library, 23743 W. Valencia Blvd., Valencia. Call (661) 259-8942. Holiday movie, 3:30 p.m. at the Newhall Library, 22704 W. 9th St., Newhall. Call (661) 259-0750. Pros Networking Group will meet, 7 a.m. at Mimi’s Cafe, 24210 Magic Mountain Parkway, Valencia. Call (877) 242-9384. Santa Clarita Sunrise Rotary Club will meet, 7:10 a.m. at IHOP, 24737 W. Pico Canyon Road, Stevenson Ranch. Call (661) 250-1023. Santa Clarita Valley Rotary Club will meet, 12:10 p.m. at Marie Callender’s, 27630 The Old Road, Valencia. Call (661) 259-7701. Santa Clarita Valley-Newhall Optimist Club will meet, 7 p.m. at La Rumba, 27600 Bouquet Canyon Road, Saugus. Call (661) 252-7313. Valencia Toastmasters will meet, 7 p.m. Call Kim Dickens at (661) 259-8567 or visit for location. Karaoke night, 7:30 p.m. at VFW Post 6110, 16555 Sierra Highway, Canyon Country. Call (661) 252-9989. Special Olympics offers athletic training and competition for athletes with learning disabilities during the evenings at various locations in Santa Clarita. New athletes or volunteer coaches can call (661) 253-2121. Santa Clarita Noon Kiwanis Club will meet, noon-1:30 p.m. at El Torito, 27510 The Old Road, Valencia. Call Janie Choate at (661) 296-8260. Youth Chess Club will meet, 5:30-8 p.m. at 25864-G Tournament Road, Valencia. Call Jay Stallings at (661) 288-1705. Evening Kiwanis Club will meet, 6:15 p.m. at Mulligan’s, 25848 Tournament Road, Valencia. Call Amy Spencer at (661) 255-6714. Santa Clarita Runners Club will meet for tempo runs, 6:15 p.m. Call (661) 294-0821 or visit for location. THURSDAY Daybreak Toastmasters will meet, 7-8 a.m. in Council Chambers at City Hall, 23920 Valencia Blvd., Valencia. Call Dan Jordan at (661) 296-9891. Moms Mixer, 7-9 p.m. at a private home in Valencia. Call Liz Hodson at (661) 255-6044 for directions. SCV Quilt Guild member trunk show, 7 p.m. at Santa Clarita United Methodist Church, 26640 Bouquet Canyon Road, Saugus. Call Adva Price at 9661) 298-1385. All Valley Le Tip Network will meet, 7 a.m. at Mimi’s Cafe, 24201 Magic Mountain Parkway, Valencia. Call (661) 297-3333 or visit Nonaerobic workout in a heated pool for joint and muscle conditioning, 10:30 a.m. at the Santa Clarita Valley Family YMCA, 26147 McBean Parkway, Valencia. Call (661) 253-3593. Karaoke night, 7:30 p.m. at VFW Post 6110, 16555 Sierra Highway, Canyon Country. Call (661) 252-9989. FRIDAY AARP Driver Safety class, 2-6 p.m. at the SCV Senior Center, 22900 Market St., Newhall. Call (661) 259-9444. Karaoke night, 6:30-9:30 at Vincenzo’s, 24504 Lyons Ave., Newhall. Call (661) 259-6733. SATURDAY AARP Drivers Safety class, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the SCV Senior Center, 22900 Market St., Newhall. Call (661) 259-9444. SCV Jaycee Holiday boutique, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at 28055 Smyth Drive, Valencia. Contact Dawn Abasta at [email protected] Author Frank Wright will sign and discuss “The Ultimate Basketball Book,” 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Barnes & Noble, 23630 Valencia Blvd., Valencia. Call (661) 254-6604. Grand opening, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at Elite Dance Studios, 29439 The Old Road, Castaic. Call (661) 295-7774. SCV Historical Society lecture, “Ramona Memories: Tourism and the Shaping of Southern California,” 2 p.m. at the Saugus Train Station at Heritage Junction, 24101 San Fernando Road, Newhall. Call (661) 254-1275. Santa Clarita Runners Club will meet for a morning run, 7 o’clock in the parking lot at Starbucks, 26415 Bouquet Canyon Road, Valencia. Call (661) 294-0821 or visit Free wellness workshop will present research about stubborn weight, fatigue and hormone imbalance, 10-11:30 a.m. at the office of Dr. Larry Cart, 24868 Apple St., Suite 101, Newhall. Call (661) 284-6233. Saugus train station will be open, 1-4 p.m. at Heritage Junction in William S. Hart Park, 24151 Newhall Ave. Call (661) 254-1275. Karaoke night, 8 o’clock at VFW Post 6885, 16208 Sierra Highway, Canyon Country. Call (661) 252-6885. Special Olympics offers athletic training and competition for athletes with learning disabilities throughout the day at various locations in Santa Clarita. New athletes or volunteer coaches can call (661) 253-2121. SUNDAY Workshop titled “Creating Win Win Relationships,” noon at the Masonic Lodge, 19310 W. Avenue of the Oaks, Newhall. Call (661) 904-1322 to R.S.V.P. Artist Judy Larson will make an appearance, 1-4 p.m. at B & R Gallery, 17726 Sierra Highway, Canyon Country. Call (661) 298-2038. Santa Clarita Runners Club will meet for marathon training, 6:30 a.m. in the parking lot at Granary Square, 25930 McBean Parkway, Valencia. Call (661) 294-0821 or visit Bingo will be played, 10:30 a.m. at Mint Canyon Moose Lodge, 18000 W. Sierra Highway, Canyon Country. Call (661) 252-7222. Saugus train station will be open, 1-4 p.m. at Heritage Junction in William S. Hart Park, 24151 San Fernando Road, Newhall. Call (661) 254-1275. Karaoke night, 7:30 p.m. at VFW Post 6110, 16555 Sierra Highway, Canyon Country. Call (661) 252-9989. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! TODAY Cultural Bridges will hold an orientation for families interested in hosting a student from India for three weeks in January, 7 p.m. in the Orchard Room at City Hall, 23920 W. Valencia Blvd., Valencia. Call (661) 259-3845. Nonaerobic workout in a heated pool for joint and muscle conditioning, 10:30 a.m. at the Santa Clarita Valley Family YMCA, 26147 McBean Parkway, Valencia. Call (661) 253-3593. Santa Clarita Runners Club will work out, 6:15 p.m. at the College of the Canyons track, 26455 N. Rockwell Road, Valencia. Call (661) 294-0821 or visit AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’Sierra Hillbillies Square Dance Club will offer a beginners class, 7-9 p.m. at Mitchell Community School, 16821 Goodvale Road, Canyon Country. Call Cathy at (661) 257-4801 or Tammy at (661) 297-4463. Karaoke night, 7:30 p.m. at VFW Post 6110, 16555 Sierra Highway, Canyon Country. Call (661) 252-9989. Barbershop Harmony Singers will rehearse, 7:30-9:30 p.m. in the multipurpose room at Valley Oaks Village Apartments, 24700 Valley St., Newhall. Call (661) 259-6109 for security-door information. WEDNESDAY Good Morning SCV networking breakfast, 7:30 a.m. at HomeTown Buffet, 23154 Valencia Blvd., Valencia. Call (661) 702-6977. last_img read more

Raphoe tractor run raises money for two Donegal charities

first_imgThe Donegal Hospice and The Multiple Sclerosis Donegal Society received €3575 each from Derek Glenn and Marcus Doherty and members of Raphoe Masonic lodge.The cheques’ were presented after this year’s successful Raphoe tractor run, organised by members of Masonic lodge.A spokesperson said: “These (charities) were chosen as we believe most families in Donegal have been helped or may be helped at some time by these fantastic organisations. “We are lucky in this county to have them and we must do all we can to support them.”You can see official photos from the presentation below.The Donegal Hospice receiving a cheque for €3575The Multiple Sclerosis Donegal Society receiving a cheque for €3575Raphoe tractor run raises money for two Donegal charities was last modified: September 7th, 2018 by Shaun KeenanShare 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)last_img read more

NC Hunters Support Land Conservation

first_imgDeer hunting season is in full swing across the state, and while it may surprise some, conservationists point out that folks involved with the sport are supporting land conservation in their hearts and with their wallets.Walter Clark, executive director of the Blue Ridge Conservancy, says hunting bucks and other wildlife is raising bucks to advance land conservation.“A lot of our funding sources are from entities that support the Wildlife Resources Commission in support of these game lands,” he points out. “So by protecting land on which some hunting might be allowed in some cases, we’re able to receive funds to protect more land.”In North Carolina, the sale of hunting and fishing licenses provided 26 percent of the annual revenue for the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission.The federal Pittman-Robertson Act provides funds from the sale of guns, bows, ammunition and fishing tackle to purchase land.Ducks Unlimited alone has conserved more than 13 million acres nationwide through fundraising and advocacy.John Culclasure, land protection manager with the Land Trust for the Little Tennessee, Inc., says historically hunters are the individuals who have led the charge for protecting land, including President Teddy Roosevelt and John Audubon.“Hunters have a long history and hunters are the original conservationists in the country,” he states. “They were instrumental in the creation of our large public land bases and supporting the wildlife conservation initiatives that are the reasons we have strong wildlife populations today.”Clark says for many hunters, it’s about more than just the act, it’s the ability to acquire organic, free-range meat, and the purity of the land is a part of that.“Hunters and the fishing community, both are recreational uses that are highly dependent on a clean environment and also available land,” he points out.According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, there are more than 330,000 hunters in the Tar Heel state.last_img read more

Extending Your Trip to Clearwater Beach

first_imgShare This!Let’s face it, sometimes there is so much to do on a Walt Disney World vacation that you need a vacation when it’s over. Thankfully, its central location in Florida means Walt Disney World is only a short drive from beaches on both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. There are a great many beaches and popular destinations throughout Florida’s gulf coast including St. Petersburg (“St. Pete”) Beach, Dunedin’s picturesque Honeymoon Island, Madeira Beach and John’s Pass Village & Boardwalk, Fort De Soto Park, and Sand Key Park.Located just a short drive from Walt Disney World, just outside of Tampa, also lies arguably the best among them: Clearwater Beach. Consistently voted among the top beaches in not only Florida but America as well, Clearwater Beach offers something for everyone including restaurants, beach bars, watersports, shopping, nightlife, fishing, and of course miles of beaches along the Gulf of Mexico. With everything in both Clearwater and surrounding areas, Clearwater Beach provides the most “bang for your buck” for tourists making the trek from Walt Disney World, be it for a day, a weekend, or a few days tacked on to the end of a vacation. For those who want this “vacation from a vacation” relaxation to those who still need to “always have something to do,” Clearwater Beach could please all.GETTING THEREUnless Florida actually builds the long rumored high speed rail between Tampa and Orlando, you will need a rental car to visit Clearwater Beach. If you don’t wish to rent one for the entirety of your stay, rental cars are available from the Alamo and National Car Care Center near the Magic Kingdom. Walt Disney World Resort guests can contact their concierge desk or front desk for more information.Clearwater Beach lies roughly ninety minutes west of Walt Disney World, accessible by following Interstate 4 westbound to I-275 and then Florida Route 60 (signed in some spots as Gulf to Bay Blvd.) En route to the beach you will pass by Tampa International Airport, over the Courtney Campbell Causeway (flanked by palm trees and Tampa Bay on both sides of the road,) and eventually over another causeway above the bay and onto the island that makes up Clearwater Beach. A roundabout sends drivers to the north or south beach. It is important to note that with one road in and out, the beach causeway gets very congested at peak travel times, especially during the peak spring season. If you are only planning on visiting the beach as a day trip from Walt Disney World, plan to arrive in Clearwater by 10am. A shuttle called the Jolly Trolley serves the beach community as well as surrounding areas.Parking can sometimes be in short supply at popular times of year or on weekends. Nevertheless, there are many public lots and metered parking spots. The largest lots are right off Pier 60 on Coronado Drive, adjacent to Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill and Palm Pavilion between Bay Esplanade and Rockaway Street, near the city pool and public library on Bay Esplanade, and adjacent to the marina and causeway (although this latter lot is reserved for marina activities only.)Captain Memo’s headturning vesselWHAT TO DOThe big draw is, quite obviously, the roughly 2 ½ miles of sandy beaches, but there is more to do than swimming and sunbathing in Clearwater to fill a weekend. Aside from watersports, dinner cruises, and fishing that all take place on the water, Pier 60 is the central spot on the beach for various other family friendly activities including free nighttime moves, festivals, a playground, and an evening marketplace for local vendors and artisans. Pier 60 is located just off the roundabout on Coronado Drive and is accessible by walking the beach sand or the Beach Walk, a pedestrian pathway just off the sand through most of the beach area.Shopping is everywhere from traditional beach shops like Surf Style, Wings, and Ron Jon Surf Shop to Island Dog Outfitters for pet souvenirs and Hulk Hogan’s Beach Shop for pro wrestling souvenirs and Hulkster branded tchotchkes. The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is the home of Winter the eponymous dolphin from the film Dolphin Tale. The little pirate in your group might enjoy Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise, a two-hour cruise on an honest-to-goodness mock pirate ship with a little something for all ages (by which we mean both face painting and a full bar.) Cruises can be reserved in advance (suggested but not required) just off Causeway Blvd. on the marina. Bikes, scooters, and Segways are all available to rent adjacent to Shephard’s Beach Resort on South Gulfview Blvd.The sunsets along Clearwater Beach are legendary and it is often said that “no two are the same.” Regardless of if you view a sunset from the beach, the pier, a restaurant, or your hotel room: a Clearwater Beach sunset is a must-see while in town.WHERE TO EATFrenchy’s Clearwater Beach restaurants offer fresh seafood and family friendly dining at five locations throughout the area including Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill, directly off the beach on Rockaway Avenue. Specialties include grouper sandwiches, she crab soup, ceviche, and garlic crab fries made famous by Alton Brown and cable television. Much of the fresh seafood comes from the restaurant’s own fishing boats that dock behind one of their other restaurants, Frenchy’s Saltwater Cafe on Poinsettia Avenue. All locations include monthly features, daily drink specials, and most have live entertainment. Across the parking lot from Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill is The Palm Pavilion on Bay Esplanade. What began as a snack stand is now a full service restaurant and bar with sweeping views of the ocean and breathtaking sunsets. Palm Pavilion is known for relaxed island/local specialties and live entertainment during happy hour.Another beach institution is The Brown Boxer. Across the street from the beach on Mandalay Avenue, “the Boxer” is a popular nightlife spot with a full menu and large bar. Cooter’s, a block away near the bay, is also known for grouper, wings, and the Pittsburgh Steelers fans who congregate inside on Sundays in the fall. Other popular establishments in the area range from the fresh seafood, prime steaks, and fine wine at Bob Heilman’s Beachcomber, on Mandalay Avenue & Papaya Street, to authentic Detroit-style “coney dogs,” french fries and bottled beer served in a brown paper bag at Detroit Coney Island, a literal “hole in the wall” with sidewalk service just off the beach on Mandalay Avenue & Kendall Street.WHERE TO STAYRecent years have brought a boon of high-rise hotel and resort construction in the Clearwater Beach area. Among the biggest are the centrally located Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa, Shephard’s Beach Resort, Hilton Clearwater Beach, and the brand new as of February 2016 Opal Sands Resort. There is no shortage of smaller motels with smaller price tags in the area as well, including Frenchy’s Oasis Motel, with bay views, Jimmy Buffett music at the pool, and kitchenettes in every room (and, yes, owned by the same people who own the restaurants.) Many condos and vacation homes are available to rent for longer stays.OTHER AREA ACTIVITIESBeyond Clearwater Beach itself, lies the rest of the Tampa Bay Metropolitan area. While there is certainly much to do in Tampa Bay, including Busch Gardens theme park, professional and college sports, and the Lowry Park Zoo, we will stick to a few other spots easily accessible on the route between Walt Disney World and Clearwater Beach.The Florida State Fairgrounds is located right off Interstate 4 and, in addition to the yearly fair in mid-February, is home to the MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre that houses big-name concerts year-round and nearby Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.Dinosaur World, off Exit 17 of Interstate 4 in Plant City, features over 100 life sized dinosaur statues including a Tyrannosaurus Rex emerging from the trees off the interstate to entice/frighten drivers like a scene left on the cutting room floor of Jurassic World.The World’s first Hooter’s restaurant is located on Route 60 in Clearwater and features wings, oysters, and waitresses of – a’hem – a certain demographic.Cigar City, one of the country’s most renowned microbreweries, operates a tasting room and brewery tours on West Spruce Street in Tampa. Sample the Jai Alai IPA, Maduro Brown Ale, and on one special date in March, join uber-beer enthusiasts from around the country for the special ticketed Hunahpu’s Day and buy from a limited supply of this Imperial Stout. FINAL THOUGHTSAdding a few days for the beach onto the end of your trip is a great idea to get some extra relaxation out of your vacation. It’s not something I would suggest everyone do but for those families who visit Walt Disney World yearly or even more than once in a year, adding some extra sights helps fight the Disney fatigue that some members of the family might feel. Plus the drive to Clearwater is an extremely easy one. Aside from traffic concerns at rush hour, the drive is a mostly straightfoward and stress-free one. It avoids the traffic snarls of International Drive and Orlando (since both Disney World and Clearwater are south of this part of I4.) In fact, if you are planning to rent a car anyway, flying into and out of Tampa International Airport could be worth considering if you are going to end your trip in Clearwater. (Also, for those who fly the budget carriers like Allegiant into Stanford, consider flying into Clearwater/St. Pete instead.)With some of the best beaches, seafood, and sunsets in all of Florida a literal stone’s throw from Walt Disney World, checking one out should be on every Disney fan’s bucket list.last_img read more

Hiring Discrimination Isn’t Getting Better

first_imgAccording to a new study there has been little to no progress in reducing racial hiring discrimination since 1989. Researchers from Northwestern University, Harvard, and the Institute for Social Research in Norway looked studies on resume and interview discrimination in the past 28 years, looking for trends in the data. And boy did they find one – little to no progress. Hard data on hiring discrimination is incredibly important because it’s too common for organizations, and even HR departments, to dismiss the issue based on the feeling that they’re working hard to reduce hiring discrimination. This sort of meta-analysis provides context for in-house or industry programs to reduce hiring discrimination, but even more importantly, it shows that hiring discrimination is systemic and endemic – it’s everywhere. On average, white applicants receive 36% more callbacks than equally qualified African Americans (95% confidence interval of 25–47% more), based on random-effects meta-analysis of data since 1989, representing a substantial degree of direct discrimination. White applicants receive on average 24% more callbacks than Latinos (95% confidence interval of 15–33% more). If you’re curious about their methodology (yes, they did account for differences in methodologies over time) or want to learn more about their results, you can find their full report here.center_img Originally published on Workology blog. The researchers analyzed studies on resume discrimination – where resumes with randomized ethnic names are submitted – and interview discrimination – where candidates with identical credentials but different demographic backgrounds go for in person interviews – and found that what was true in 1989 is still true today: white candidates get more callbacks and get further in the hiring process. They say thatlast_img read more

eBay’s GAP Team Helps Arrest Vehicle Purchase Fraud Suspects

first_imgeBay’s Global Asset Protection (GAP) team recently worked with law enforcement in Romania to investigate a vehicle purchase protection (VPP) fraud case. The criminals reportedly posted fake ads for vehicles, sent fabricated eBay invoices to victims, and used Polish bank accounts to transfer stolen funds online. Romanian authorities arrested 41 suspects in connection with the fraud case on Thursday, November 5. During their collection of evidence, police recovered two bank tokens, 10 credit cards linked to Polish bank accounts, 24 computers, 25 memory cards, and more. Total loss to the victims thus far is about €500,000.GAP’s Global Technical Investigations team assisted the law enforcement partners throughout the investigation. To learn more about eBay’s Global Asset Protection team, visit Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

Craigslist and the Potential for Gift Card Fraud

first_imgOrganized retail crime (ORC) is not a new challenge to the retail environment, but it is a criminal element that continues to grow and evolve at a rapid pace. With thieves and the supporting criminal market urgently seeking new and creative ways to pilfer goods and maximize their profits, it becomes increasingly important for retailers to keep pace. A big part of this involves keeping current with both the means and the methods of the professional theft enterprise.In order to maximize profits, organized retail crime networks have long attempted to return stolen merchandise back to the retailer as a “no receipt” return. With many retailers previously providing cash back for returns under a designated dollar amount, this well-known criminal approach basically resulted in criminals selling back the stolen merchandise to the retailers for substantial profit.Most retailers have since changed their return policies, and typically issue a gift card or store credit for the amount of the merchandise, including sales tax, for returns made without a receipt. However, this still offers the thief a lucrative opportunity for gift card fraud; instead of fencing the merchandise for 30 percent of its value on the streets or selling it on the secondhand market for 60-70 percent of its value, they can sell the gift card for on average 80 percent of its market value. Factoring in the sales tax portion of the return—which can bring an additional 5-10 percent in most states—the thief can be looking at an 85-90 percent return on the retail value of the stolen merchandise.- Sponsor – Online sales currently provide the best mechanism for thieves to sell these gift cards. With various e-commerce “buy it now” options that enable a quick turnover of a gift card, eBay has been a popular auction site for the sale of these cards. However, the cost of auction listings and Paypal fees eat into profits. Furthermore, with retail loss prevention teams now working closely with eBay investigators, the thief may also risk exposure to the criminal paper trail and the increased potential for detection and prosecution.As a result, Craigslist has become a preferred option for the sale of these gift cards—and potential gift card fraud. This free classifieds site is popular in the United States, with most transactions completed with an in-person meeting that is almost always cash-based and untraceable. The seller can quickly eliminate the paper trail by deleting the Craigslist ad once the gift card is sold.Below is an example of a $3100 department store credit being advertised on Craigslist for $2570. While the sale of gift cards at these highly discounted rates is not in itself proof of criminal intent, the brazen solicitation of high-valued store credits such as these only further underscores the need to raise awareness of the magnitude and severity with which the secondhand gift card marketplace has grown, and the need for retailers to monitor and investigate these listings on Craigslist and similar online classifieds sites for gift card fraud.In order to validate the potential impact of this secondary selling market, we’ve compiled some statistics to support these concerns. While definitive conclusions cannot be made on the origin of these cards and/or the intentions of the seller based simply on the available data, there are some clear trends that warrant our attention.Data AnalysisFigure 1The statistics documented in this article are taken from the following data analysis:1. All Craigslist “For Sale” ads from Jan. 20 – Oct. 30, 2014 throughout the United States that contained the keywords “gift card,” “store credit,” or “prepaid debit card.” About 95,000 ads were pulled that matched this criteria.2. Obvious duplicates (ads with the same title, location, and price) were eliminated and irrelevant content (offers to purchase gift cards, gift cards in combination with merchandise, bartering offers, gift-card-making machines) was cleaned up. About 65,500 ads remained after this cleanup effort, which is labeled Part I data.3. The retailer name, asking price, gift card value, location and phone number were extracted from these ads. Gift cards that did not contain both a value and an asking price were eliminated. About 33,000 ads remained at this stage of the analysis, which is labeled Part II data.The chances of a store credit being legitimately obtained typically decrease the higher the value of the gift card. However, we must also consider the average purchase price of merchandise in some retailers is lower than the prices at brand-name boutique stores, so comparisons can’t be made unless the retailers are of the same industry or class. That is why gift card values need to be presented in a segmented manner.Overall, the secondhand gift card marketplace on Craigslist totaled about $7 million over the nine-month period and did not include a potential spike during the busy November and December shopping periods. Figure 1 indicates the total values of the gift cards advertised for the top 100 national retailers.20,453 of the 59,578 ads where the store credit’s value was explicitly mentioned were for gift cards that are not considered national retailers, and were eliminated from this analysis.From the Part I data, Figure 2 indicates the top 15 industries appearing in the ads for gift cards and store credits. Ads were categorized by gift card value (1) all amounts, (2) values of $100 and up, (3) values of $500 and up, and finally (4) values of $1000 and up. The retailers that were ranked high in all dollar classes were home improvement and electronics. Some retailers that contained high volume of gift cards below $100 had very few at high volumes, such as specialty apparel and restaurants. Some retailers that were low volume below $100 are high volume at $500 and above, such as jewelry and department stores.Figure 2Figure 3 indicates the top metropolitan areas for gift card ads. Generally speaking, the ranking of each metropolitan area on Craigslist correlates with population rankings, except for Seattle/Tacoma, which is ranked #21 in population, yet is ranked #4 on gift cards.Figure 3Furthermore, the state-wise geographic breakdown generally correlates with population rankings. The largest anomalies of the top 10 states indicated are Oregon (rank #27 in population), Washington (rank #13 in population) and Arizona (rank #15 in population).Figure 4The Part II data was used as the basis for Figure 5, which indicates the gift card price as a percentage of the value. Sometimes the ads contained bogus prices on the listing title, like $1, to help draw in the customer, but when you look at the details of the ad, their asking price is much higher. Any ad where the asking price in the title was less than 10 percent of the value or above 100 percent of the gift card was thrown out.Figure 5The peak in the distribution is at 80 percent, with a longer downward tail towards 10 percent. It is unclear to the author whether a low price / value implies that the gift card was obtained via some type of fraud, or whether a legitimate seller is simply desperate to liquidate his/her gift card. If the gift card’s price is below 50 percent of its value, that corresponds to the lowest 3 percent of this distribution.If this is further combined with a high value of $500 or higher, it also could turn into a potential store robbery situation. Many holdups or robberies are triggered by a Craigslist ad where the seller is offering something too good to be true, and where the seller agrees to meet the buyer in a remote location . In many of these gift card ads, the seller offers to meet the buyer at the retailer in question to check the value, or to pay for the merchandise the buyer picks directly with the gift card.Active SellersRepeat sellers of gift cards would also have a higher correlation to illegally obtained gift cards or gift card fraud. About 80 percent of the Craigslist ads are single ads for a single gift card, while the remaining 20 percent of Craigslist sellers have multiple ads for potentially multiple gift cards. Due to the potentially broad nature of the Craigslist postings, it is difficult to determine whether a seller is posting a duplicate ad, a second gift card is available, or a single ad with multiple gift cards. Therefore some margin of error is expected with this particular analysis.Figure 6Among the sellers with fifteen or more multiple gift card offerings, only two of them were offering gift cards from one retailer exclusively, and one of them was offering gift cards from the same group of companies. The majority were offering from multiple retailers, which eliminates the likelihood of an internal theft issue.ConclusionsBased upon the findings of our study, it is clearly worthwhile for retailers and their loss prevention staff to monitor and review the second-hand gift card online market such as those found on Craigslist and similar sites in order to mitigate the opportunity for thieves to exploit the “return with no receipt” method of liquidation.Big-box stores are particularly exposed with seven of the top ten retailers in gift card value sold on Craigslist today. However, a broad spectrum of retailers are represented as part of our statistical pool, whether based on the type of retailer, the size of the stores, the products sold, and other distinguishable characteristics.The average selling price of a gift card found on the Craigslist classified listings is typically 80 percent of its value. California is the biggest single sales state by value and by volume of ads, being three times higher than for Texas, which has the second-highest numbers.The use of gift cards has opened many opportunities for retailers to expand sales options, attract additional business, and serve the needs of their customers. However, this has also opened up doors to store card fraud. As retailers strive to explore new and better ways to serve the customer, it’s important that we always keep our eyes open to the potential opportunities, and use our available tools and technology to protect our goods, our customers, and our profitability.This article was originally published in 2014 and was updated December 8, 2016.1. White paper by the GAO 2. US city and state population data courtesy of Wikipedia. 3. Online news 4. Online news Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

Physical Safety Barriers: Low Tech Can Be Highly Effective

first_imgAtlanta-area cellular retailer: 28 storefront break-ins in the first two years of business at that location. The city would not allow security shutters as typically installed by this retailer. Physical security barriers were added after the retailer discussed leaving the location with that city. Zero burglary attempts in last six years to that same store since adding shutters on the interior of the storefront.Chicago cellular retailer: 4 storefront break-ins in first four months of this branch opening. That cellular retailer installed rolling security shutters eight years ago and has not incurred a single attempted break-in to that storefront since.Physical security barriers such as bars, rolling shutters, side folding grilles, and scissor gates add time to a would-be intruder’s smash and grab. The visual deterrent alone of these products is proven to reduce burglary attempts. The average smash and grab is under three minutes in duration. A burglar knows that if they break the glass and the alarm goes off, the stopwatch begins. Defeating internally mounted bars, gates, or shutters will make that three-minute deadline nearly impossible.- Sponsor – Case Study: National Pharmacy Chain, Houston TX2013: National pharmacy chain store incurred several break-ins through unprotected storefronts in Houston-area locationsInstalled security rolling shutters at eighteen storefronts in the Houston market immediately following the break-ins.2018: Chain has reported one attempted break in at these roll-shutter protected storefronts since the 2013 shutter installations, with no losses reported.Cost vs. AestheticsSteel bars are the least expensive barrier, but they often do not maintain the desired retail shopping environment.Next in line by price are scissor gates and side folding grilles. Both could be considered medium-level security. Scissor gates can be climbed over or pried upwards for access. Side folding gates are pinned to the floor and could be levered out. Nevertheless, both are barriers that will add some time to an intruder’s effort.Security window film offers nearly zero changes to the aesthetic, but since it isn’t seen, burglars will still attempt (and often succeed) to break the glass.Rolling security shutters disappear into a top housing or can be mounted above a drop ceiling. The shutter curtains often have an end-retention screw at the end of each slat, captured into a channel in the side rails to prevent prying or pushing the curtain out of the side rails. While rolling shutters are typically at the higher end of the physical security barrier lineup, they offer significant protection and less aesthetic disruption.Product Ratings and Security LevelsIn the United Kingdom, there are Loss Prevention Standards (LPS) “to evaluate the resistance to unauthorized access offered by various physical security products.” The LPS 1175 continues,”The standard specifies eight grades of security according to the tools and time likely to be used by a criminal. Specifiers can therefore select products/systems that provide the levels of security matching their needs.”Similarly, most of continental Europe uses a DIN 1627 standard for grilles and shutters for burglar resistance. Similar to the LP standards, they both outline a set of tools that may be used, and the amount of time allowed to attempt to bypass the security barrier product. DIN offers five classes instead of LPS with eight, but the test methodology is similar.A level-one test uses manual hand tools such as a screwdriver, hammer, and pliers. A level two adds a pipe wrench, hacksaw, and wedges. Level three includes a crowbar and hand drill. Level four includes cordless drills, an axe and chisels. Level five allows additional power saws and an angle grinder.Further, the levels increase the amount of time allowed by the testers. The test concludes when time is exceeded or a test block (sized 16 in. x 10 in.) can be passed through the shutter or gate.Since there is no standardized and accepted security level testing in North America, it is difficult for a loss prevention professional to verify and understand which physical security barrier products are best for their retail locations. Companies like QMI Security Solutions, however, have voluntarily conducted the European tests. The QMI products pass a level two or three, depending on the product and the LP tests.“Many products look similar, but some types of shutters are defeated with one hit with a sledgehammer, while others take 100 hits before a small hole is breached,” said Steve Miller, VP of sales at QMI. “We wish there was standardization and certification in our security industry. We also have hurricane shutters, and at least there, we have Florida Building Commission testing and certifications to separate the different manufacturers and products.” In order to pass higher LP and DIN levels, the materials used become thicker and heavier, increasing the costs as well. A level five shutter will typically cost three to five times a level two shutter, as the materials needed to achieve the higher security levels are significant.Level five and above in the UK are typically only needed for sensitive government and military applications. Levels one through three are typical for retailers.Choosing the Right Protection SolutionFinding the right manufacturing partner is as important as the right product. Delivery times are critical. Proper service/installation in the geographical areas of your retail locations will be important. Good communications about a company’s deadlines are needed. Knowing the product is packaged such that it does not show up damaged the day before your grand opening is important, too.Retailers also need to find a product that fits your budget and your aesthetic environment. Then determining how the barriers will operate and ensuring they will all meet code (there can’t be a standard motorized shutter across an exit door due to egress). A loss prevention person needs a physical security barrier manufacturer that listens to what is needed to protect the assets and offers solutions to exceed those requirements.When the retail design changes, the security product may need to also change. A side-folding grille can have a curved track to protect a curvilinear, open design. An external motor with a special egress release may need to cover a newly designed entrance. A good partner will grow along with you and your retailer’s security concerns. Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

“Internet’s Own Boy”: The Life & Legacy of Aaron Swartz

first_imgEditor’s note: This post was originally published by our partners at bio.Aaron Swartz started computer programming at a very young age. First it was a Star Wars trivia game he made with his brother, but soon it was more than just kid stuff. At 12 years old, he created the Info Network, a website where people could share information – think Wikipedia before there was Wikipedia. By 13, Swartz was part of a committee that drafted the RSS web feed format, he was one of the early authors of Creative Commons and was a co-founder of Reddit. But he was a computer whiz kid whose goals were loftier than conquering Silicon Valley – he wanted to make the world a better place.Aaron Swartz Photo Fourteen-year-old Aaron Swartz with Internet pioneers Ted Nelson and Doug Engelbart. (Photo: E E Kim)Swartz turned his computer genius to political organizing and he became a champion of information sharing and online freedoms. But his activism didn’t come without a cost: he faced 35 years in prison and $1 million in fines for downloading scholarly articles from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, leading to a two-year legal battle with the federal government that ended when Swartz took his own life on January 11, 2013.Soon after Swartz’s death, director Brian Knappenberger, whose previous film was We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists, began filming a documentary about his life. Although Knappenberger didn’t know Swartz personally, he was “inspired, infuriated and frustrated” by his suicide, and saw his life not only as a compelling film, but a call to action to continue the work Swartz had started.Bio talked to Knappenberger as he prepared for today’s nationwide release of The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz.Do you think Aaron was largely a victim of circumstance? Or would the crack down on “computer crime” have inevitably snared him at some point, given his determination to push the envelope on matters of open access?I think you can’t separate Aaron’s story from the climate or the landscape in which it happened. Within a couple of weeks of Aaron’s arrest, WikiLeaks had released the diplomatic cables and the Afghan War logs and the PayPal 14 had conducted denial of service attacks against MasterCard, Visa and PayPal when those companies cut off financial services to WikiLeaks. It was also the beginning of the Arab Spring, and that year saw unprecedented hacker and hacktivist activity that ended with the Occupy movement. Time magazine’s Person of the Year was “The Protestor.” The year after that was the year of the crackdown and I do think Aaron got caught up in that. There was a kind of storm that happened with prosecutors being overzealous and a broken criminal justice system. He walked into that system where once that machinery got moving, it could never turn back.In the film, Aaron’s lawyer is confident he would have won the criminal case. Do you think he’s right?I think he genuinely had reasons to believe that they were going to win, and that a lot of the main evidence that they were going to use against Aaron was going to be thrown out. Obviously this was very tough for Aaron because there was never going to be another plea deal. He had turned down all of the pleas, the trial was looming and the pressure was on. Aaron ended up committing suicide within a few days of the two-year anniversary of his first arrest, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence.He was only 26 when he died, but he accomplished so much in his brief life. What do you feel were Aaron’s greatest contributions?I think a lot of people are inspired by his early years when he was in his mid to late teens and was such a substantive contributor to the early Internet. That legacy will live on. But then he made a turn from a very rich, post-Reddit sale 19-year-old who was in this build-to-flip, money machine start-up culture to being a crusader for social justice. He started using Internet tools to build grassroots political movements that really put his skills toward the public good. And I think ultimately that is what a lot of people will take away from his story. Certainly, there are bigger problems to focus on too, problems with our criminal justice system, problems with the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, outdated computer laws.Why isn’t there more of a push to reform the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the 1986 law the feds used to prosecute him? Who benefits from keeping the law in its current form? Specifically, who in the technology industry benefits?There was big movement to change the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act after Aaron died. One effort was called Aaron’s Law and honestly back at that point it looked like it was going to be pretty easy. Anybody who looks at this law can see that it’s nonsense. You don’t have to be technically inclined to know that we live in a different world now than we did in the 80s. The problem is that it is being stalled and a lot of tech companies have put up these hurdles that were unexpected. One of the [companies] that argued in those committees against changing the law were the representatives from Oracle. They liked that the law is kind of broad and vague and can be used for almost anything. You’d expect a little more support from the tech community, but in fact it’s quite the opposite.You’re releasing your film under a Creative Commons license. What kind of free distribution, copying, and remixing will that allow? How will that affect your ability to recoup the investment in your film?The way were going to do this is the movie is going to be in theaters in 25 cities nationwide on June 27th. It’s also going to be on video on demand and there is going to be a Vimeo version that is Creative Commons that can be shared, but it can’t be shared commercially. We’ll see how it affects our ability to recoup. It was important to do for a lot of reasons, but principally for Aaron. I had a lot of offers at Sundance, but they had to comport to this or else I wasn’t going to take them even though they were, let’s just say, distracting.What issue or issues do you think Aaron might be focused on these days, were he alive?Well, who knows? You can look at Demand Progress [the Internet activist organization Aaron founded] to get a clue about that. But there are two issues where I wish we had his energy. The NSA overreach and these revelations of mass suspicion-less surveillance of American citizens. A lot of people see it as a huge overreach and encroachment on constitutional rights and civil liberties. I have a feeling that Aaron would have been a warrior in that battle. The other area is net neutrality – it is clear he would have been involved with that. It really looks like net neutrality might be going the way of the Atari system.What suggestions might you have for people who would like to honor and help further his legacy?I think you can get up to speed about Internet issues and why it’s important. The Internet isn’t just a realm of geeks and hackers. It’s the place where we live now, and so we have to import into this world all of the things that we think are important from traditional notions of civil liberties, freedom of speech and protection from being searched by our government without due process. I think people can get informed about that and take their Congress folk to task to learn about these issues before they legislate these issues. But in a broader personal sense think of what you can do for the public good. We all have skills. You don’t have to be a genius hacker. What can you do for public service and how can you make things better? leanne french Tags:#Aaron Swartz#Contributed#Documentary#Entrepreneur#film#Hack Programming Language#Internet’s Own Boy#Reddit Related Posts 7 Types of Video that will Make a Massive Impac…center_img How to Write a Welcome Email to New Employees? Growing Phone Scams: 5 Tips To Avoid Why You Love Online Quizzeslast_img read more

India vs South Africa: India set a 308 run target for South Africa

first_imgShikhar Dhawan and Ajinkye Rahane powered India to a score of 307/7 in a match which was held  at the MCG ,Cricket ground.The Indian innings started slowly as Rohit Sharma was dismissed for a duck but Kohli and Dhawan held together the innings by sharing a 127 run stand, with Kohli scoring 46 runs of 60 balls before being caught by Tahir.  Ajinkye Rahane stepped on to the pitch and  along with Shikhar Dhawan shared a 125 run stand in 99 balls. He scored a quick fired 79 of 60 balls before being adjudged leg before the wicket by a Dale Steyn Deliver.Apart from two big partnerships the tailenders couldn’t continue the onslaught and lost their wickets cheaply, Dhoni in the end did smash three boundaries consecutively and scored 18 runs of 11 balls before being caught behind the wicket by De Kock on a Morne Morkel delivery. As per the latest reports the South African innings are underway and they have lost their first wicket in Q de Kock who scored 7 runs of 15 balls. The South African score cards reads as 108/3 in 23 overs with D Milller and F du Plessis on the crease.last_img read more