0715-ta-book_review

‘Fully Connected’ won’t help cure information overload

“Fully Connected: Surviving and Thriving in an Age of Overload” by Julia Hobsbawm, 2017, Bloomsbury, $28, 256 pages

Your phone will not stop ringing. It chimes constantly, too, letting you know that you’ve got mail. Facebook announces itself with a “thwock,” and another noise works as a calendar notification. On one hand, it’s nice to be needed. On the other hand, you’d like to throw everything into a nearby river and walk away.

0715-ta-ubl

Women struggle to balance student debt, life goals

After the grueling pace of graduate school, obtaining that advanced degree and finding a great professional career path, many women can finally turn their attention to other life choices. One choice they’ll be faced with is what to do with the substantial student loan debt. More importantly, how do they balance enjoyment of life while paying off those looming loans, as well as all the other pressures women face? Women hold nearly two-thirds of the current student loan debt in the United States, and “women working full-time with college degrees make 26 percent less than their male colleagues” according to a study by the American Association of University Women. That means that as a busy professional woman, you are not alone in feeling the challenge of trying to balance career, life and your loans.

Bikers take off from the foggy Killington peak Friday afternoon during a round of practice.
ROBERT LAYMAN / STAFF PHOTO

Enduro race boosts Killington region’s mountain biking mojo

KILLINGTON — The creation of mountain bike parks at seven Vermont ski resorts and the building of bike trail networks by dedicated enthusiasts and volunteers throughout Vermont attest to the sport’s growing popularity. Providing places to learn, ride and compete, the trails are becoming a significant source of summer business. Green Mountain Trails, a grassroots 25-mile hiking/biking trail network in Pittsfield, and Killington Resort’s Bike Park became the first Northeast venues to host a two-day Clif Enduro World Series Qualifier on July 1 and 2. The eight-stage race was also a Vittoria Eastern States Cup and Enduro East event. All welcomed male and female amateurs and pros.

0701_TA_BookReview

An advertising revolution is brewing

“The End of Advertising” by Andrew Essex, 2017, Spiegel & Grau, $27, 240 pages. Say goodbye to your money. You need that new gadget, so adios. New bling is too irresistible, so ta-ta. Upgrade that device; see ya later, salary.

Patrick Chikoloma, 18, of Zambia, who is a member of Circus Smirkus' current traveling troupe of performers, demonstrates his juggling on the Greensboro campus of the 30-year-old Vermont youth circus. DAVID W. SMITH / STAFF PHOTO

STORY AND VIDEO: In uncertain times for circuses, Smirkus thrives

 
GREENSBORO — Ringling Bros. Circus may be gone, but for many in Vermont’s homegrown Circus Smirkus, the circus is still the greatest show on earth. The year 2017 marks some important milestones in circus history, both nationally and locally. This year marks Smirkus’ 30th anniversary, and also when its longtime executive director, Ed LeClair, will step down. “It’s very much like the politicians say, ‘I’m going to spend more time with my family,’” said LeClair, who has overseen 15 annual seasons of the Greensboro traveling troupe.

When to diversify, and when to consolidate

You have probably heard that diversification is a key to investment success. So, you might think that if diversifying your investments is a good idea, it might also be wise to diversify your investment providers. After all, aren’t two (or more) heads better than one? Before we look at that issue, let’s consider the first half of the “diversification” question — namely, how does diversifying your investment portfolio help you? Consider the two broadest categories of investments: stocks and bonds.

Project aligns education with Vermont employers’ needs

It’s a problem being repeated by employers around the state with increasing regularity: a shortage of qualified workers. That problem has grown more acute as the state — with an unemployment rate of 3.1 percent — is at or near what’s considered full employment. It’s a serious issue, and one the Vermont Business Roundtable has taken on. Made up of CEOs from around the state, the organization has created the Vermont Talent Pipeline Management Project to tackle the problem from the employer’s perspective. The idea is to expand the role of the employer as the “end customer” of the education and training pipeline, said Lisa Ventriss, president of the Vermont Business Roundtable.

Donny Chan throws darts at his apartment, one of a growing number of tiny, upscale units known as “microflats” in Hong Kong.
KIN CHEUNG / AP PHOTO

Hong Kong’s mini apartments boom as property prices soar

The Associated Press
HONG KONG — With its marble-clad lobby, sweeping balcony views and sleek, modern decor, Donny Chan’s apartment building would seem the kind of upscale tower most young Hong Kong professionals aspire to live in. But not for Chan, 39, who avoids spending time in his 19th-floor apartment because it measures just 193 square feet (about 14 feet by 14 feet). His parking space-sized studio in the grandly named High One building is part of a growing trend for so-called micro apartments that are diminutive even by the standards of space-starved and densely built Hong Kong. “Every time that I step back into this (apartment) I kind of feel like a cat squeezed into a box,” said Chan, an art director at a medical equipment maker. To avoid returning to his cramped and claustrophobic apartment before bedtime he plays basketball or badminton, goes to the movies or karaoke bars, and gets together with friends and family.

Is nonmonetary compensation the same as wages?

For most injured employees, the calculation of the workers’ compensation wage replacement benefits is straightforward: They will receive two-thirds of the average of their earnings over the 26 weeks prior to injury. If you are an employer who provides some form of nonmonetary compensation as part of a remuneration package, however, the calculation can become much more complicated. Vehicles, ski passes, cellphone service, cows, and food and lodging, to name a few, can all factor into the calculation of what your carrier pays out in weekly wage replacement benefits. Most recently, the commissioner of the Department of Labor ruled in Haller v. Champlain College that tuition-free college credits Champlain College offers to all full-time employees should also be included in the calculation as a form of nonmonetary compensation. Champlain appealed that decision to the Vermont Supreme Court, which heard oral arguments in February.

0617-ta-bookreview

Big motivation hides behind ‘Small Data’

“Small Data: The Tiny Clues that Uncover Huge Trends” by Martin Lindstrom, 2016, Picador, $16, 244 pages. It’s always the little things. A chocolate on the pillow or slippers beneath a turned-down bed. Stickers for a customer’s kids. A lagniappe in the box to make a baker’s dozen: all things to ensure a speedy return of buyer or client.