first_img Previous Article Next Article Research has found that many staff are struggling to takethe first step on to the housing ladder. Employers are warned if they do notact now, the economy will suffer. By Karen HigginbottomSpiralling house prices are causing severe skills shortages in the SouthEast. A report by think-tank the Institute for Public Policy Research shows thatemployees on salaries of up to £25,000 per year are struggling to buy homes(News, 31 July). They are not eligible to apply for social housing and arefaced with either renting accommodation or moving away from the area – and manyare leaving. The IPPR report, Squeezed Out, warns that if employers continue to ignorethe problem then skills shortages will intensify and economic growth willsuffer. It is calling for employers to help their staff with the additional propertycosts through wage additions, imaginative work-based saving schemes andinterest-free loans for a home deposit. But some public and private-sector employers are already starting to tacklethe problem. One of the few private-sector employers that already runs an initiative tohelp its employees make their first step on the housing ladder is IT firmLogica. It contributes to a staff saving scheme to help employees build up adeposit to buy a house, or provide a six-year mortgage subsidy. Logica matchesstaff contributions over a two-year period. Glenn Connell, director of compensation and benefits at Logica, explainsthat 15 per cent of the firm’s 5,000 full-time staff have opted to participatein the scheme, which is offered as an alternative to the company pension. “We believe we are benefiting as it helps us attract and retain thebest people,” he said. “The scheme is mainly aimed at our younger members of staff to givethem more choice in terms of their lifestyle. It will help them get on theproperty ladder. I haven’t come across anything like our schemeelsewhere.” Public-sector employers are suffering the most severe skills shortages,however. The Government has recognised the problem and is launching a £250mscheme in September to boost public sector recruitment. It hopes to help 10,000 nurses, teachers and police to buy their own homes.Staff in areas experiencing the worst recruitment problems will be able toapply for subsidies of up to £25,000 to get on to the property ladder. The scheme will include grants that can be used as deposits, interest-freeloans and shared ownership deals, under which an employee might own half theproperty and pay rent to a local authority or housing association. It is not just a London problem, either. Skills shortages due to increasinghouse prices are hitting many towns in the South East. Another report, Counting the Cost of Housing, shows that house prices were30 per cent higher in the South East than the UK average last year. Author AlanHolmans, who was commissioned by the Chartered Institute of Housing and theNational Housing Federation, claims that earnings have only increased by 4 percent above the UK average. Surrey Police Force has already introduced a housing assistance scheme forits 2,000 police officers and 1,000 civilian staff. Initiated last year, the scheme lets staff participate in shared propertyownership, explained Martin West, head of training and development at SurreyPolice. West said, “The shared ownership scheme means that staff can identify ahouse on the open market and enter into the scheme with a housing association.They can get a larger mortgage from the mortgage provider which we haveidentified to assist us.” He admits that the force is limited in the amount of financial assistance itcan offer. “We are hidebound by statutory police regulations such asnational pay scales, which means that we can’t offer staff additionalwages.” He believes spiralling house prices affect retention rather thanrecruitment. “So far, we have not had huge difficulties in recruits comingforward,” said West. “The bigger problem is with staff joining us after two years’ probationwho want to start a family and get on to the property ladder. We then find theywant to transfer to other forces in the UK where property prices arelower.” Escalating property prices in the Thames Valley has prompted MPs to lobbythe Government over introducing a wage supplement similar to London weightingfor public-sector workers. Martin Salter, MP for Reading West, said, “It’s ridiculous thatpublic-sector workers can get London weighting in Walthamstow, but you can’tget wage supplements in Reading, which is just as expensive. “You get a qualified teacher on £22,000 a year who can’t afford to buya £70,000 property. These kind of workers need the ability to bridge the gapand access the housing market.” Salter suggests that employers should offer interest-free loans to employeesas a possible solution. He has been meeting with local private-sector employersto encourage them to act. “I advised them to buy up existing housing stocknow so that they can house key workers,” he said. The health sector is a particular area of concern. The Department of Healththis month set aside funds to set up three staff hotels in London, which willprovide cheap accommodation overnight or between shifts. The first one has beenestablished near Moorfields Eye Hospital. John Adsett, secretary of the Association of Healthcare Human Resource Management,believes that this scheme needs to be extended. He said, “The only problemso far is that it has been concentrated in London. It needs to be cascaded outto the South East and other cities in the UK experiencing staffshortages.” The IPPR is calling for employers to embrace the problem. Back-officefunctions should be located away from high housing demand areas, andhot-desking outposts could be created nearer to employees’ existing homes toavoid long-distance travel. It believes only a broad approach such as this willeffectively combat rising skills shortages. Skilled staff squeezed out of the South East by house pricesOn 21 Aug 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. 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first_imgShould County Taxes Be Increased To Renovate Jail?By Bryan FoxMost citizens, by and large, will oppose any kind of a tax imposed on them. However their are some  exceptions that benefit education, roads, law enforcement safety, etc.  Recently, a bill was quietly introduced in the Indiana State House that would give Vanderburgh County the option of raising the income tax on its residents by 1.25% This bill,  pushed by the County Commissioners, would bypass the Evansville City Council completely and give the County Council the final decision making authority to approve this increase if the bill was ever to become law.CCO attempted to reach out to all three County Commissioners. Of the three Commissioners, Cheryl Musgrave, Bruce Ungethem, and Ben Shoulders, only Shoulders responded to CCO directly.  Shoulders, the only democrat of the three Commissioners says, “Jail overcrowding is a serious issue, and we are working together as Commissioners, and as a community, to explore EVERY option possible in order to uncover the necessary funding.” Shoulders also went onto say he would “ask for the same opportunity given to previous administrations in order to carefully evaluate all options, discuss with my constituents and dive deep into any and all financial resources possible before committing to any type of local tax increase.” What Shoulders is essentially saying is raising the income tax wouldn’t be the first option but it would be an option.The other Commissioners, Musgrave and Ungethem, had a Indy Public Relations firm respond to CCO on their behalf. According to this firm, the County Commissioners are responsible for the upkeep of the county jail and basically reiterated what Commissioner Shoulders said about only having the tax increase as an option. We are puzzled why Ungetheim and Musgrave needed a Public Relations firm from Indy to answer our question about the jail and Mr. Shoulders didn’t.The one huge government entity left out of this equation is the Evansville City Council.  This bill was written by State Senator Veneta Becker and filed with the Indiana State Legislature Ways and Means committee by State Rep Hollie Sullivan.  When members of the Evansville City Council found out that a bill was written and filed without their knowledge they vehemently opposed it.Responding to CCO, 5th Ward Councilmen Justin Elpers says, “Any decisions to raising LIT should be shared between city/county reps not solely by county.” If there was any better argument to support city/county consolidation, which the county voted against in the 2012 election, that would be it. Considering that roughly 70% of county residents live within the city limits, having both city and county reps making tax decisions seems like a good option to CCO.Musgrave’s and Ungetheim’s Indy Public Relations firm did provide CCO with a list of 16 other Indiana counties that also has this option of raising the income tax to support jail funding. Of these 16 counties, with the exception of Elhart and Monroe, all of them are rural counties where the cost of living is cheaper. None of the 16 counties are even close to Vanderburgh County. population wise. Of course the overall crime rate in Vanderburgh County is by far larger then the other rural counties.With public employees Healthcare premiums on the rise, the Evansville sewer and water rates going up, increase in property because of the 2% reduction the Homestead Tax Credit passed by City Council, State of Indiana gas tax increasing this coming year and increases in City/County fees and permits will cause Vanderburgh County taxpayers to bulk at anymore taxes leveled on them.its time that Evansville City Council, County Commission and County Council stop playing political games concerning the possible funding for the renovation plans for the Vanderburgh County jail? …its time for members of all three elected bodies to sit down like reasonable adults and address the overcrowding and understaff issues concerning the jail and to come up with reasonable solutions to how to correct the problems? …if they agree that building an addition to the jail is the answer then they should build the jail for future needs and not for the current needs?FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

first_imgWhat is your education agenda? Local control in choosing from among diverse tests (Indiana does not need a unique ever changing test). Local control over grading for rapid turnaround. Funding for remediation: immediately. State government rolls back multiple mandates, and as per the new Every Child Succeeds Federal Law, reduces mandated testing to one test. Approved School Choice and SGO tax credit schools must accept 30 percent low income or complex students. Report data for teacher and school assessment by tracking per student and not groups of students. Include complexity score in reporting test results.Are you prolife?Yes. As Roman Catholic Archbishop Wenski of Miami said at Nativity Church in Evansville last fall, “No man should be seen as being a problem.” Pope Francis has said that getting rid of a person cannot be a solution to any problem. I stand pastorally with the Roman Catholic Church and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.Do you support the Second Amendment?Yes. The Constitution secures the right of the people to keep and bear arms. It is an obvious and popular right. I advocate for better training for all Americans on gun safety, and tax credits for persons who buy gun security devices like owner recognition locks and safes.Do you support Freedom of Religion and RFRA?The First Amendment assures religious liberty, which for perceived good or ill, does gives religion a right to discriminate. For example, despite getting public money from vouchers, religious schools can refuse children whose parents are not married. The questions can be big: Can religious hospitals or a nurse of a particular faith refuse to treat an atheist or an adulterer? These are difficult questions. With the Catholic Church, I am for mercy and inclusion.Are you a “friend of coal?”Yes. My father drilled exploratory wells all over northern Vanderburgh and Gibson counties mapping coal seams. Coal is the least expensive source of energy we have. As a daughter of a drilling contractor, I will not turn my back on coal, oil, or miners and roughnecks. That said, the future of a coal miner’s 11-year-old is best served outside the mine and job growth is best served in new energy technologies. Questions Proposed To Ann Ennis By The CCOWhy did you decide to run for State Representative?For more than 10 years I have been a tireless advocate for open admission public education as the key to our American democracy. Our representative has voted time after time to stymie local control and over-rule parents by mandating big government rules on education: well beyond what federal law demanded. He supported five years of constantly changing assessments, standards and tests that have been flawed at best and a money-wasting fiasco in reality. He represents testing companies, out-of-state charters and Indianapolis rather than his district. After three years of no response to a call, email or letter, I said he did not deserve the role of representative.Our representative is weak on stopping meth production. Meth and now heroin are killing our nieces and nephews, children and grandchildren. Working against law enforcement in drug crimes is not SW Indiana leadership.Our local county officials want long-term solutions to road and bridge funding problems. Opposite of our current representative, I will listen to what the counties want and work to provide adequate and ongoing funds to care for our bridges and county roads .Why should I vote for you?I am tireless and steadfast in supporting local control. I say what I will do and do what I will say. My words are clear and in direct. (I will not write a blog or a speech one month and turn around the next with the opposite vote.) If you support local direction for your kids’ education and government letting our schools alone, then I am your representative. If you support community direction rather than taking orders from big government or out-side the state interests, then I am your representative.My commitment is to local decisions on schools and testing, to open up infrastructure funds so counties can make their decisions on infrastructure maintenance and improvement, and to listen to the local voices of everyday citizens when battling illegal drugs and their manufacture. FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailShare Do you support making pseudoephedrine a prescription medication?I support Indiana’s prosecutors and police. I support stopping substance abuse and making it hard for meth makers to exist. No one is half-way addicted to meth. There is no half-way solution to the problem of addiction. We will be judged if we take half- hearted measures for dubious reasons. If it inconveniences us to keep one young woman from becoming a meth-slave to an abuser, then we need to accept the inconvenience.Do you support higher taxes for roads and bridges?I support a long-term funding plan for our roads and bridges that are approaching 50 or more years of age. We cannot only repair bridges when we have a budget surplus. Cigarette and Gas taxes must be considered.Citations for my positions.Legislative agenda of the SW Indiana Chamber of Commerce: Support legislation that provides schools and teachers in Indiana communities with more freedom and flexibility to structure education to better fit the needs of students and employersInfrastructure agenda of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce: House Bill 1001 originally provided means to address Indiana’s $900 million+ annual transportation funding shortfall. We deserve and need a real plan rather than a stop-gap proposal. House Bill 1001 (was a) plan to best meet both immediate and future needs for federal, state and local roads and bridges. This included support for to increasing the amount of our seven-cent sales tax on gas used for transportation infrastructure. The Chamber also viewed HB 1001’s original increase in cigarette taxes as an option to fill hole left by increase in percent for roads from gas tax.FOOTNOTES:  You can reach Ann Ennis at 812 483-5671 or e-mail her at [email protected] FOOTNOTES: Our next “IS IT TRUE” will be posted on this coming Wednesday ?Please take time and read our newest feature article entitled “HOT JOBS”. Jobs posted in this section are from Evansville proper.If you would like to advertise in the CCO please contact us at City-County [email protected] “Readers Poll” question is: Do you feel that the Evansville Brownfields Corp should provide the general public with annual audits and copies of their meeting agenda?Copyright 2015 City County Observer. 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first_imgBY LESLEY GRAHAMThe city hosted its annual Sept. 11 remembrance ceremony Friday evening at the headquarters of the Ocean City Fire Department. The message was one of unity and togetherness, drawing on the patriotism that was felt by all in the days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.The ceremony began with a welcome by Michael Allegretto, aide to the mayor, who thanked the crowd for attending. A presentation of colors by the Ocean City Boy Scout Troop 32 followed his remarks.(Video courtesy Martin Fiedler of Just Right TV Productions)Julia Mary Wilson, former Junior Miss Ocean City, sang the National Anthem, followed by remarks from Mayor Jay Gillian.Mayor Gillian spoke to the crowd, talking about the importance of honoring and remembering all those who lost their lives 19 years ago.“We have had to cancel a lot of events over the past couple of months due to the ongoing pandemic, but we wanted to hold this one for its importance and meaning,” Gillian said.The mayor spoke of the divisiveness that permeates the country today and reminded everyone that in the days that followed Sept. 11, 2001, Americans were united and worked together to help neighbors, friends and strangers alike.“Be nice, be kind. Never forget those that we lost on 9/11 and never forget the good that followed,” Gillian said.Mayor Jay Gillian recalls that Americans were united in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks.Ocean City Fire Chief Jim Smith spoke about remembering the day while teaching the younger generations – of firefighters as well as his own children – how that day felt when he heard the news.He discussed the necessity to explain to younger generations the gut-wrenching feeling of that day.“It’s a day where you remember where you were and what you were doing the moment when you heard the news, much like Pearl Harbor and the assassination of JFK,” Smith solemnly told the attendees.“It’s equally as difficult to explain the amount of patriotism that was on display by all Americans,” Smith continued. “The anguish we felt or the pride and unity that we had as a nation. As a nation I hope we strive to bring back that pride and unity.”To those who paid the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives 19 years ago, Smith said honoring their bravery through our own action is paramount.“We must remember their bravery and dedication and do our best to emulate that every day to our fullest for this wonderful community,” he said.A memorial wreath bears the words, “Always Remember.”The ceremony also contained the striking of the four fives, a series of bell tolls. When a firefighter died in the line of duty, headquarters would transmit five bell strikes, repeated in four series, with a slight pause between each series, followed by the announcement.This tradition dates back to 1865 when the New York City Fire Department informed its members of the death of President Abraham Lincoln. It is a tradition that continues to this day.A wreath was laid by members of the Ocean City Police and Fire Departments and the flag was returned to full staff by members of the American Legion Post 524.Sofia Farrell closed the ceremony with a beautiful rendition of God Bless America.A large American flag flaps in the breeze while flying from an Ocean City Fire Department ladder truck.Police officers and firefighters stand at attention in front of a fire truck during the ceremony. Fire Chief Jim Smith tells the crowd that Americans will always remember 9/11, much like they did during the attack on Pearl Harbor or the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.last_img read more

first_imgBorder Biscuits has been recognised for its contribution to the local area with its win at the Lanarkshire Business Excellence Awards 2016.The biscuit manufacturer scooped the Lanarkshire Food & Drink Award in Glasgow. Dee Scott, chief operating officer at Border Biscuits, said: “We are proud of our Lanarkshire roots, and the majority of our staff are from the local area, so to be recognised in our local business community is wonderful.“We are family-owned and, over the past 30 years, we have strived to bake exceptional biscuits that people love. We feel the award is recognition of the hard work put in by our fantastic team.”The bakery market scored another win during the night as JUST: Gluten Free Bakery won the Best New Business Award.Border Biscuits produces a range of premium sweet biscuits for retailers, including supermarkets and foodservice clients. It recently launched a major rebranding and marketing campaign.last_img read more

first_imgYANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Hundreds of members of Myanmar’s deposed ruling party have declared themselves to be the sole legitimate representatives of the people and asked for international recognition as the country’s government. Protests against the military takeover also swelled Friday. Nearly 300 politicians from ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party announced they had named a committee to carry out the functions of Parliament, according to a party Facebook. In a letter to the United Nations and the international community, the party also asked for targeted sanctions and for businesses to cut ties with the military. The lawmakers had been set to take their seats Monday in a new session of Parliament, when the military announced it was taking over for a year.last_img

first_img During his visit, Desch, chair of the Political Science Department at Notre Dame, got a V.I.P tour of the Pentagon and witnessed a head of state visit from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “I was literally the only person that wasn’t part of the security details there for that visit,” Desch said with a laugh. “Netanyahu’s security people couldn’t figure out who I was. They kept eyeing me.” The two former colleagues will reunite again in May — this time at Notre Dame. Gates, who took office in December 2006, will deliver the University’s 166th Commencement on May 22 at Notre Dame Stadium. Desch — who held a chaired position in Gates’ name at Texas A&M while Gates was president of the university — knows the Commencement speaker on a personal level, and has invited him to speak at Notre Dame in the past. “I could have planted that seed for the idea of inviting Gates to be Commencement speaker,” Desch said. But Desch wasn’t part of the selection process for the speaker, and was pleasantly surprised when he heard his old colleague would come speak at the University. Desch said Gates was well-respected by faculty and students during his tenure as president of Texas A&M from 2002-2006. His appointment as university president was controversial, Desch said, because of his governmental ties to the administrations of Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. The Aggies, or A&M alumni, also saw him as an outsider. “But Gates was so effective as president that the Aggies quickly decided he was an Aggie all along, even though he had never gone to school there,” he said. While leading Texas A&M, Gates displayed qualities similar to what Desch said appeared later in his leadership style as defense secretary. “People say what makes him so influential in Washington these days is that he’s careful, he picks his fights, is smart about how he goes about things and doesn’t get up and pontificate,” Desch said. “Bob is not somebody whose ego gets in the way of getting what he wants.” Desch said the qualities that helped Gates win over the Aggies at Texas A&M made him ideal to serve as defense secretary under both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama. “The fact that he served as secretary of defense in two different administrations, one Republican and one Democrat, is a pretty powerful indicator of where he stands as an American statesman,” Desch said. Gates has also served as director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and was a member of the Iraq Study Group, a bipartisan commission that examined the Iraq War. Desch said he is looking forward to seeing the former Texas A&M president speak at Notre Dame. Desch said he believes Gates is the “perfect” choice for Commencement speaker because of his position as a crucial statesman in the U.S. government. But perhaps, he said, what makes Gates the right choice is his record with students at Texas A&M. “The students loved him,” Desch said. The last time Professor Michael Desch saw Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was in Gates’ office in the Pentagon in 2009. The two had been colleagues at Texas A&M, and Desch was in Washington seeking the defense secretary’s help in a project to reconnect academia and military policy.last_img read more

first_imgOil price crash pushing independent U.S. producers to the brink of bankruptcy FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):When the 2014 to 2016 oil and gas price collapse took hold, a large number of independent producers found themselves in dire straits. If prices do not rebound quickly in 2020, the industry could be facing a similar situation, or worse.During the two-year price downturn, producers who had overspent in an effort to expand were faced with suddenly overloaded balance sheets and high breakeven prices. That left many dealing with the prospect of bankruptcy, and at least 70 filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2016 alone. Producers now have far lower breakeven costs, but a number still have damaged balance sheets dating back a half-decade. Prolonged exposure to prices in the low- to mid-$30 per barrel range could push many over the edge.“If prices remain depressed below $40 per barrel for more than a few weeks, we will likely see a repeat of 2016,” Haynes and Boone LLP Partner Buddy Clark said. Haynes and Boone has kept a tracker of producers that have filed for bankruptcy since 2015, a total that stood at 208 in December 2019. The 2019 total of 42 was the highest in three years, and Clark said the number had already increased in the opening months of 2020 even before the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia sent prices crashing March 9.There could have been more bankruptcies in 2015 and 2016, but there was a saving grace: banks and other funding sources were willing to pump capital into the sector, keeping a number of producers above water. Those sources have now dried up, leaving independents with fewer options.“For those producers still standing and faced with near-term debt maturities, there is less access to capital now than there was in 2016, with fewer options to restructure, other than filing for bankruptcy court protection,” Clark said.A possible exit route for struggling companies — being acquired — appears to be blocked by the price crash. Producers that have made acquisitions were frequently punished by investors before prices lost double-digits per barrel overnight; now, very few expect to have the free cash flow to make such a move.[Mark Passwaters]More ($): Oil price collapse driving more producers to brink of bankruptcylast_img read more

first_imgThe 23rd Annual Wilderness Road Ride takes place Saturday May 24.This awesome event is a scenic and historical adventure through southwest Virginia’s beautiful New River Valley.The ride follows part of Daniel Boone’s Wilderness Road. This year will feature a kids bike rodeo and fun ride in the park.It’s a ride the whole family can enjoy, with something for everyone— 4 routes to choose from ranging from a 29 mile relaxed journey for novices, to a 79-mile challenge for the fittest cyclist.All routes start and finish in Radford, at the Dedmon Center and Bisset Park. Non-riders can enjoy Bisset Park, the New River, and downtown Radford, while their families and friends are out riding.Fully supported aid stations will be positioned at regular intervals along the course and the start/finish location. Aid stations will be supplied with Heed Hammer Nutrition fuel, as well as water and plenty of other snacks.Visit their website for more information!DSC07785last_img read more

first_imgAnother gathering of the tribe, another exchange of information on all things #vanlife.We built out our current van swiftly (less than 4 weeks) in April 2018, with the help of Timbr Basecamps in Golden, Colorado. Working with Devon from Timbr was wonderful and if you have any dreams of #vanlife, we highly suggest reaching out to him. Timbr installed our flooring, insulation and wall panels, electrical system, cut the hole and installed the fan, the track system, and bed platform. You can check the video tour of our van to see it all in person.After five months of living in our new build out, we have come to terms with the fact that our van is NEVER finished. This leads me to believe no van is ever finished. The Instagram #vanlife is all a facade, we promise. There is always something broken that needs fixing, something old that need replacing, and something new that still doesn’t work. We are currently dealing with:Sink issues- the sink never worked in the first placeBattery issues- because we’ve let ours drain too low too many times and now they don’t function as well as they should, making it dangerous to run our fridge off themSolar issues- the issue is we don’t have solarThe impending cold of winter and trying to find solutions for heating (super expensive) and showering (can’t be outside) when it’s below freezing.All that being said, it is SO WONDERFUL to gather the tribe and ask 1000 questions to those that have already faced these issues or are also working on their build-outs. Check out the vans below that joined us at the UpaDowna Vanlife Rally in Colorado Springs on Tuesday, August 7th. If a van has an instagram, the picture will link you to it. Happy exploring!We paired with UpaDowna for the event, here Steve is giving some info on their Turbo Diesel 2006 e350 6.0l 4×4 with all the added features!Thanks for a great event UpaDownaInside the UpaDowna vanScott Woerner shared his van AND motorcycle. Great seeing you again Scott!Twyla Surritte and Dan Rodriguez (not pictured) brought their 2002 Ford f450 with a big red box on back.Clifford the big red van.Kyler Hasson is still working on his Blue Ram 350, trying to keep the build under $3,000Kristen Ezalovich brought her 1982 Chevy conversion van G20 named Luna.Inside LunaSteve and Debbie Tragesser are selling their 1988 Toyota Van for $5,000Up next we have Mountain Town Music Festival at Keystone. It will be a day of all things Colorado. Warm summer days, free live music from national acts and the harvest season for our colorful state. See you there!There is one way for this tour to be a reality, our sponsors! Sending a thank you shout out to our title sponsor Nite Ize, and all of our other awesome sponsors that make this happen: Crazy Creek, National Geographic, Sea to Summit, Mountain House, Lowe Alpine, Old Town, Leki, HydraPak, UCO Gear and Wenzel. If you like the gear that keeps us groovin’ click here to enter for a chance to winlast_img read more