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Top Farmer

first_imgCrawford County peach farmer Robert Dickey has been named the 2019 Georgia Farmer of the Year.A fourth-generation farmer, Dickey manages approximately 1,000 acres of peaches and 3,000 acres of timberland with the help of his 90-year-old father, Bob Dickey, his wife, Cynde Dickey, and their son and daughter-in-law, Lee and Stacy Dickey.After high school, Dickey’s father encouraged him to pursue a business degree, so Dickey enrolled at the University of Georgia, graduating in 1976 with his bachelor’s degree. However, banking jobs were scarce, so Dickey returned to the farm with a new perspective.“Although I had worked on the farm through my high school and college years, I did not fully appreciate the value and significance of my family’s heritage until I came back full-time,” Dickey said. “There are no words to fully express the feeling of working alongside my father on the land my great-grandfather, and namesake, initially planted in peach trees in 1897.”Dickey has made many changes on the farm while honoring his family’s farm history.When he noticed other peach farmers were planting more acres, and Dickey Farms’ production volume left the farm’s packinghouse sitting underutilized during the season, Dickey began to offer packing services to meet other local farmers’ packing needs and to generate additional income.“When I first started working at the farm, we were packing about 75,000 packages a year,” he said. “This year, we expect to pack around 400,000 half-bushel boxes.”To deal with drought conditions, Dickey invested in irrigation equipment and added lakes, wells and piping which “helped immensely,” he said.Over the past 10 years, the farm transitioned to low-volume drip irrigation from high-volume reels of irrigation hose to increase efficiency and lower the farm’s water and energy use. Peach yields are up and disease pressure is low.The peach trees are still planted in traditional rows, but the areas between the rows are intentionally maintained in sod. This environmentally friendly practice prevents soil erosion, provides traction for farm equipment, adds organic matter to the soil, improves soil moisture and provides habitat for beneficial insects.Following recommendations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Dickey reduces scale on his peach trees by using oil instead of a chemical treatment. The farm engages in crop rotations with a local row crop farmer to improve soil fertility and structure and reduce compaction.Dickey manages the family’s timberland with the help of a registered forester and the Georgia Forestry Commission, and they continue to plant new and improved second- and third-generation loblolly pine seedlings.“Dickey Farms is deliberate in our planting of wildlife habitats,” Dickey said. “Although we don’t want deer and other animals in our (orchards), we welcome wildlife in our forests and timber areas. Hunting and fishing leases are an important part of our farm.”The farm business recycles all of its cardboard, newspapers, plastic and glass through the local recycling center and makes a point to also recycle all pesticide containers, oil and tires.Dickey’s father continues to be a part of the farm business. “He’s the farm’s biggest cheerleader, encourager and mentor for both me and my son,” Dickey said. “His memory is amazing, and he has witnessed some of the biggest changes in the industry.”Dickey has taken the farm into new areas with ideas from his children and insight from his wife,  Cynde Dickey, the farm’s chief financial officer. She was instrumental in starting the farm’s retail business and mail-order operation, which began 25 years ago.“She realized how much friends and families who no longer live in Georgia would love to have our juicy Georgia peaches arrive at their doorstep,” Dickey said. “Our retail operation has increased dramatically over the last five years as customers realize the value of purchasing their peaches and produce straight from the grower. The sales are steadily increasing in our non-peach production months and our ice cream is famous in these parts.”Dickey’s peach crop is marketed through the Genuine Georgia Group, a sales and marketing team with an interest and deep roots in the peach business.“This gives them a deeper understanding of production, quality, harvesting and marketing concerns,” Dickey said. “We want our peaches to be known as Georgia peaches — the sweetest peaches in the country.”Daughter-in-law Stacy Dickey promotes the farm’s market through social media, employee training and advertising. The Dickeys’ daughter, Marjie, a 2013 graduate of the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, develops new recipes for the farm’s bakery. School groups often visit the farm for educational field trips, which are now in high demand.Son Lee Dickey manages the farm’s food-safety program and the installation of new peach trees and new crops, like 100 acres of pecans and 2 acres of strawberries. The farm plans to expand its vegetable acreage to meet the local school system’s demand for Georgia-grown produce.“When Crawford County lost its only grocery store in December 2016, Dickey Farms stepped up and provided fresh produce in season to meet the county’s needs,” said Sarah Greer, the UGA Cooperative Extension Agricultural and Natural Resources agent in Crawford County.Greer nominated Dickey and his farm for the Farmer of the Year award.“Dickey Farms exemplifies all that it means to be a steward of the land. They are innovative and progressive,” she said. “Not only are they an amazing farm that has persisted over generations, but they are outstanding community members.”In addition to his work on the farm, Dickey is serving his fourth term in the Georgia House of Representatives for District 140, which covers Crawford County and parts of Bibb, Houston, Monroe and Peach counties. He represents his fellow farmers on the House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee. He is also a board member and past president of the Georgia Peach Council, has served as president and treasurer of the National Peach Council and is a member of the Georgia Agricultural Commodity Commission for Peaches and the Georgia Agribusiness Council.Dickey will now compete against farmers from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia for the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year Award.last_img read more

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Metro Markets

first_imgWhen the summer heats up in metro Atlanta, it’s time for the staff of metro Atlanta University of Georgia Cooperative Extension offices take to the streets, spreading the word about healthy eating and delivering access to fresh, healthy produce.UGA Extension’s mobile produce stands in Fulton and DeKalb counties launched their seasons early this summer and will be sharing recipes and a rainbow of vegetables at community centers, churches, libraries and apartment complexes across the two counties.In Fulton County, the Fulton Fresh mobile market — the original mobile produce market in metro Atlanta — will be visiting 12 neighborhoods per week during two five-week sessions, the first running through June 27 and the second from July 9 to August 8.“The Fulton Fresh mobile farmers market is a one-stop shop vehicle that provides citizens with fresh produce, nutrition education and food demonstration in one hour or less,” said Von Baker, county Extension coordinator for Fulton County. “Residents benefit from the program by utilizing and sharing information gained at each market and sampling the market recipes.”As it has in the past, the Fulton Fresh truck will crisscross the county, and at each stop, participants will be given a bag of locally produced vegetables. UGA Extension nutrition educators will provide a class and recipes for how to prepare the veggies and why healthy eating is important.UGA Extension and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) educators use the “Food Talk: Farmers Market” curriculum, and each demonstration includes short, stand-alone lessons on nutrition and tactics for feeding a family on a budget.”While participants do receive a large bag of produce, our main goal is to educate residents on the importance of eating a healthy, well-rounded diet,” said Kristen Sumpter, Fulton County Extension Family and Consumer Sciences agent. “Every year, our data shows that after participants attend the class, the majority plan to make healthy changes and eat more fruits and vegetables every week. Several participants either email us recipes they’ve created or show us pictures of the meals they’ve created with the past week’s vegetables. It’s inspiring to see people excited about healthy lifestyle changes.”This year the Fulton Fresh program will run from June 5 through Aug. 9. Visit the UGA Extension Fulton County Facebook page at www.facebook.com/UGAExtensionFultonCounty for a full Fulton Fresh schedule.Just a little further east, UGA Extension agents, volunteers and nutrition educators in the DeKalb County Extension launched their fifth market season on June 4 with their Fresh on DeK bus. It will continue to provide a wide variety of affordable produce from their mint green bus. They’ll also be conducting nutrition lessons and recipe demonstrations for individuals at the market stops.The program is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and sponsored by UGA Extension, the DeKalb County Board of Health and the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners.The complete Fresh on DeK schedule is posted at www.freshondek.com.last_img read more

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El Salvador sets post-war murder record in 2011

first_img Since late 2009, the government has cracked down on gangs, sending a 4,000-strong contingent of troops onto the streets to reinforce police. Some 18,000 people are believed to be members of Salvadoran gangs notorious for extorting money from traders and transport companies, and organized crime groups that traffic drugs, weapons and people. National police announced the figure, saying it topped the 2009 rate of 4,223 murders, making 2011 the deadliest year in recent memory for a country still struggling to recover from a devastating civil war. El Salvador saw a post-civil war record number of murders in 2011, with at least 4,308 people killed in a crime epidemic in the country of 6.1 million, police said. The latest number reflects a 9.3 percent increase in homicides from the previous year, according to national police director Carlos Ascencio. El Salvador has one of the highest murder rates in the world. The country suffers from a brutal gang culture that leaves on average 12 people murdered each day, along with dozens of cases of armed robbery. Ascencio said Salvadoran security forces had dismantled 297 gangs, including 124 belonging to the transnational Mara Salvatrucha cartel. Some 75,000 people died and more than 7,000 went missing in the country’s 1980-1992 civil war between leftist guerrillas and government forces. By Dialogo December 28, 2011last_img read more

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Ex-Nassau Police Chief Admits to Burglary Coverup

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York John Hunter, the Nassau County police former Deputy Chief of Patrol.A former Nassau County police commander has admitted to helping cover up a burglary for his friend’s son in a conspiracy that another ex-police brass member was convicted of two months ago.John Hunter, a retired Deputy Chief of Patrol, pleaded guilty Wednesday at Nassau County court to misdemeanor counts of conspiracy and official misconduct. The 60-year-old Oyster Bay man initially pleaded not guilty to those charges last year.“I apologize for any embarrassment to the police department that I have loved and served for 35 years,” Hunter told the court. He later declined to comment to reporters while leaving the courtroom.Judge Mark Cohen sentenced Hunter to three years of probation, 500 hours of community service and gave him a week to pay a $250 surcharge.“It is fundamental to our democracy that the police…must treat all citizens fairly,” Cohen told Hunter after accepting the plea. “By your actions today…[you] have finally taken responsibility.”Hunter will also be required to produce a Nassau police academy training video aimed at dissuading police cadets from committing misconduct by learning from his case. His Rockville Centre-based attorney, William Petrillo, said Hunter proposed that idea himself.“If we wanted to, we could have filled this courtroom and courthouse with his supporters,” Petrillo said in court while noting only a small group of Hunter’s friends and family were among the two dozen in the gallery. “He is genuinely sorry for his actions.”The plea comes after William Flanagan, the former second deputy police commissioner, was convicted of conspiracy and misconduct charges in February. A jury acquitted the 55-year-old Islip man of receiving reward for official misconduct, a felony.Prosecutors alleged that Hunter, Flanagan and a third suspect—retired Det. Sgt. Alan Sharpe, 55, of Huntington Station, who’s due back in court May 15—conspired to quash the arrest of Zachary Parker, a 21-year-old Merrick man, for stealing $11,000 in electronics from his alma mater, John F. Kennedy High School in Bellmore, in 2009.Will Fallout From Flanagan Conviction Strain Nassau Police Relations with the DA?Parker’s father, Gary, had been affiliated with the Nassau County Police Department Foundation that is fundraising to build a new police academy in a public-private partnership. The younger Parker later pleaded guilty to burglary and was imprisoned upstate after he violated the terms of his probation sentence.Gary Parker had been identified in court during Flanagan’s trial as an unindicted co-conspirator for using his connections among the police brass in an attempt to keep his son out of jail, but was not arrested himself. Prosecutors also cleared the foundation of wrongdoing.Zachary Parker is on track for a July 18 completion of the Shock Incarceration Program, a six-month prison boot camp in which graduates become eligible for early release, according to a spokeswoman for the New York State Department of Corrections. His start was delayed a month after he got into a fight his first day, but he faced up to three years in prison.Flanagan has vowed to appeal his conviction. His next court date was adjourned to June 26.The Nassau County district attorney’s investigators launched a probe into the case and later secured a grand jury indictment against the trio following a 2011 Press expose.“We brought these cases to make sure that there isn’t one set of rules for the rich and connected and another for everyone else,” District Attorney Kathleen Rice said. “John Hunter violated his oath and the law when he gave special treatment to a wealthy friend’s son, and today’s guilty plea ensures that he will face serious consequences for his conduct.”last_img read more

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Seven steps for smarter electronic channels

first_imgMembers are increasingly dependent on electronic channels to research financial topics and conduct transactions.And savvy credit unions know it’s critical to leverage the time members spend on their screens to drive deeper relationships and increase sales.These seven steps can help you do both.1. Make good use of your home pageAlthough topic-specific search can give visitors a “side door” into your site, the home page is still considered prime real estate. Deliver effective navigation and design that takes advantage of the space offered by today’s larger monitors.For example, ensure your home page supports the top tasks that your customers perform on your site. Customers come to a site to complete tasks. They have a low tolerance for searching for what they want to do. continue reading » 21SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

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PR Insight: Make the most of your news release

first_img continue reading » News releases are a great way for credit unions to get the word out about what they offer, what they are doing and to differentiate themselves. Unfortunately, many credit unions may not have staff familiar with the preparation and distribution of releases, and as a result, they either do not bother to produce them or the release fails to achieve any significant results. By following these five tips, credit unions can revitalize the way they are communicating with the media and enhance the way they are perceived by the public.1. Selecting a Newsworthy TopicThe first thing your credit union needs to do is determine the topic of a release. Common topics include the release of new financial products, announcing the credit union’s position on a relevant issue that is important to members or a credit union’s charitable role within the community.It is very important to avoid drafting a self-promotional news release. A release is supposed to inform the public rather than act as a piece of marketing collateral. Releases that are most often republished by the media feature topics that a segment of the public is passionate about and are open to learning more about. 11SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

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Nassau Pols Pitch Dueling Lobbying Disclosure Bills After Skelos Report

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Republican and Democratic Nassau County lawmakers proposed competing lobbying disclosure bills this week, days after news broke that federal authorities are investigating New York State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) and the business dealings of his son, Adam.On Monday, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, a Republican, was first out of the gate with a press release announcing a bill that would require lobbyists for entities seeking contracts with Nassau government to register with the County Attorney “for the first-time in history.” The next day, Nassau Legis. Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport), the county legislature’s Democratic minority leader, held a news conference to tout his party’s own lobbying disclosure legislation.“This new law will bring additional transparency by requiring contractors and vendors to disclose their lobbying activities—by registering with the County Attorney and Clerk of the Legislature—and file annual and quarterly reports, which will be available on the county website,” said Mangano in a statement.Under the current law,  contracts require approval by the county attorney, the county legislature, the comptroller and the Nassau Interim Finance Authority. But Nassau does not have any lobbying disclosures like that of neighboring Suffolk County, New York City and the state.The Democrats said their proposal is more thorough than Mangano’s.“Although any disclosure is a helpful start, what we really need, that our bill provides today, is clarification that will force clear disclosure of relationships and communications between consultants and lobbyists, County employees and elected officials,” Legis. Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D-Glen Cove) said in a statement. “The administration’s bill only requires lobbyists, a term which is hard to define… Each contract has to clearly delineate any relationship between the County and the prospective participant in said contract.”The focus on lobbying reforms stems from a report in The New York Times that Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, was looking into the actions of Sen. Skelos and his son, Adam, who had been hired as a consultant to an Arizona company, AbTech Industries, that was awarded a lucrative storm-water treatment contract by the Nassau legislature with no questions asked.No charges have been filed and the federal investigation is ongoing, sources say. AbTech said in a Facebook post the day after the Times story broke that it “is a company of integrity and transparency, from its executive officers to its field employees.” Also a day after the report, the Nassau County district attorney’s office announced an overall review of the county’s contract bidding process.The dueling proposals come despite the fact that Mangano spokesman Brian Nevin said in a statement last week  that “Nassau County has the most transparent process known to government” in response to a request to confirm reports that the county executive had testified before the grand jury.But the approval process of the AbTech contract has since raised concerns, because Adam Skelos’ connection to the company was not disclosed before lawmakers approved it.“Our hope is that this legislation will avoid another ‘AbTech’ and clearly inform the public and County Legislature who exactly is influencing the award of hundreds of millions of dollars of County contracts annually,” said Abrahams. “We have been calling upon the County to take further steps to bring real disclosure measures for some time and it has fallen on deaf ears. It’s time County lawmakers work bi-partisanly to bring transparency measures that will bring public integrity back to governing here in Nassau.”last_img read more

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Terryville, Garden City Park Armed Home Invasions Probed

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Nassau and Suffolk county police are investigating a pair of armed home invasions that occurred a week apart in Terryville and Garden City Park, authorities said.In the first case, two masked assailants entered a Superior Street home in Terryville at 10:30 p.m. Friday, July 15, flashed a gun and demanded jewelry from a victim, whom they then punched, Suffolk police said. The suspects fled with jewelry and a phone.In the other incident, two men forced their way into a Garden City Park home on Hillside Drive South at 8:05 p.m. on Thursday, July 21, after one of the men engaged a 61-year-old woman in small talk about her dog, and then grabbed her in a bear hug as she entered the side door of her home, Nassau police said.The suspects pushed her to the floor of a bedroom and threatened to kill her if she turned around and looked at them, police said. Once the house was quiet, she called 911 and discovered money was stolen from an upstairs closet, police said.Third Squad detectives released sketches of the suspects in that case. They were described as 5-foot, 10-inches tall and in their early 20s. One was Hispanic and the other was black. Detectives are continuing the investigations.last_img read more

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China passes security law for Hong Kong giving Beijing sweeping powers

first_imgBeijing is expected to set up a national security office in Hong Kong to “supervise, guide and support” the city government. Beijing could also exercise jurisdiction on certain cases.Judges for security cases are expected to be appointed by the city’s chief executive. Senior judges now allocate rosters up through Hong Kong’s independent judicial system.It is still unclear which specific activities are to be made illegal, how precisely they are defined or what punishment they carry.The South China Morning Post, quoting an unnamed source, said Xinhua will publish details of the law on Tuesday afternoon and Hong Kong officials will gather at Beijing’s top representative office in the city later in the day for a meeting on the legislation.Authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong have repeatedly said the legislation is aimed at a few “troublemakers” and will not affect rights and freedoms, nor investor interests.The law comes into force as soon as it is gazetted in Hong Kong, which is seen as imminent.Police banned this year’s July 1 rally on the anniversary of the 1997 handover, citing coronavirus restrictions. It is unclear if attending the rally anyway would constitute a national security crime if the law came into force by Wednesday.The South China Morning Post, citing “police insiders”, said about 4,000 officers will be on stand by on Wednesday to handle any unrest if people defy the ban.Hong Kong is one of many developing conflicts between Beijing and Washington, on top of trade issues, the South China Sea and the coronavirus pandemic.But the United States has been joined by others in condemning the new security legislation.Britain has said it violated China’s international obligations and its handover agreement, which promised Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy for 50 years under what is known as the “one country, two systems” formula of governance.The European Parliament earlier in June passed a resolution saying the European Union should take China to the International Court of Justice in The Hague if Beijing imposed the law, also calling on the bloc to use economic leverage to dissuade China.Foreign ministers of the Group of Seven countries have called on China not to follow through with the legislation.China has hit back at the outcry from the West, denouncing what it called interference in its internal affairs.Topics : China’s parliament passed national security legislation for Hong Kong on Tuesday, setting the stage for the most radical changes to the former British colony’s way of life since it returned to Chinese rule almost exactly 23 years ago.Cable TV, citing an unidentified source, said the law was passed unanimously by the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress.The legislation pushes Beijing further along a collision course with the United States, Britain and other Western governments, which have said it erodes the high degree of autonomy the global financial hub was granted at its July 1, 1997 handover. In response to the legislation, the United States began eliminating Hong Kong’s special status under US law on Monday, halting defense exports and restricting the territory’s access to high technology products.Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, speaking at her regular weekly news conference, said it was not appropriate for her to comment on the legislation as the meeting in Beijing was still ongoing.A draft of the law has yet to be published. Beijing says the law, which comes in response to last year’s often-violent pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, aims to tackle subversion, terrorism, separatism and collusion with foreign forces.This month, China’s official state agency Xinhua unveiled some of its provisions, including that it would supersede existing Hong Kong legislation and that the power of interpretation belongs to the Chinese parliament’s top decision-making body, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee.last_img read more

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Labor Day Crash In Moores Hill Results In Fatality

first_imgA Moores Hill man lost his life after a single vehicle accident on Labor Day.Robert Campbell, 69, was driving a 1996 Jeep Cherokee on Chesterville Road on Monday evening around 6:00 p.m. when police say his vehicle went off the right side of the road.According to police, his vehicle rolled resulting in Campbell being ejected from the vehicle.AirCare was called onto the scene however Campbell was pronounced dead shortly after.The accident is currently being investigated by the Dearborn County Sheriff’s Office.No word on if he was wearing a seatbelt.last_img read more

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