The Story of the Fourth of July


We celebrate American Independence Day on the Fourth of July every year. We think of July 4, 1776, as a day that represents the Declaration of Independence and the birth of the United States of America as an independent nation.

USA - WIH Resource Group

But July 4, 1776 wasn’t the day that the Continental Congress decided to declare independence (they did that on July 2, 1776).

It wasn’t the day we started the American Revolution either (that had happened back in April 1775).

And it wasn’t the day Thomas Jefferson wrote the first draft of the Declaration of Independence (that was in June 1776). Or the date on which the Declaration was delivered to Great Britain (that didn’t happen until November 1776). Or the date it was signed (that was August 2, 1776).

So what did happen on July 4, 1776?

The Continental Congress approved the final wording of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. They’d been working on it for a couple of days after the draft was submitted on July 2nd and finally agreed on all of the edits and changes.

July 4, 1776, became the date that was included on the Declaration of Independence, and the fancy handwritten copy that was signed in August (the copy now displayed at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.) It’s also the date that was printed on the Dunlap Broadsides, the original printed copies of the Declaration that were circulated throughout the new nation. So when people thought of the Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776 was the date they remembered.

In contrast, we celebrate Constitution Day on September 17th of each year, the anniversary of the date the Constitution was signed, not the anniversary of the date it was approved. If we’d followed this same approach for the Declaration of Independence we’d being celebrating Independence Day on August 2nd of each year, the day the Declaration of Independence was signed!

How did the Fourth of July become a national holiday?For the first 15 or 20 years after the Declaration was written, people didn’t celebrate it much on any date. It was too new and too much else was happening in the young nation. By the 1790s, a time of bitter partisan conflicts, the Declaration had become controversial. One party, the Democratic-Republicans, admired Jefferson and the Declaration. But the other party, the Federalists, thought the Declaration was too French and too anti-British, which went against their current policies.

By 1817, John Adams complained in a letter that America seemed uninterested in its past. But that would soon change.

After the War of 1812, the Federalist party began to come apart and the new parties of the 1820s and 1830s all considered themselves inheritors of Jefferson and the Democratic-Republicans. Printed copies of the Declaration began to circulate again, all with the date July 4, 1776, listed at the top. The deaths of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams on July 4, 1826, may even have helped to promote the idea of July 4 as an important date to be celebrated.

Celebrations of the Fourth of July became more common as the years went on and in 1870, almost a hundred years after the Declaration was written, Congress first declared July 4 to be a national holiday as part of a bill to officially recognize several holidays, including Christmas. Further legislation about national holidays, including July 4, was passed in 1939 and 1941.

Regardless, Happy Independence Day America from your friends at WIH Resource Group !!!

U.S. Pocket Constitution Book To learn more about the Constitution — the people, the events, the landmark cases — order a copy of “The U.S. Constitution & Fascinating Facts About It” today!  Call to order: 1-800-887-6661 or order pocket constitution books online.
Information provided to you by WIH Resource Group, Inc

Contact WIH Resource Group
For more information, Visit our website by CLICKING HERE and contact us today to see how we can best serve you by phone at 480.241.9994 or by e-mail at admin@wihrg.com

Visit our new website!   www.wihresourcegroup.com

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ABOUT WIH RESOURCE GROUP

Celebrating a decade in business, WIH Resource Group is a global provider of professional technical and management support services to a broad range of markets, including waste management, recycling, financials, transportation, M&A due diligence and support, alternative fuel fleet conversions, facilities, environmental, energy for private sector business and government clients.

WIH Resource Group is a leader in all of the key markets that it serves. WIH Resource Group provides a blend of global reach, local knowledge, innovation and technical excellence in delivering solutions that create, enhance and sustain the world’s built, natural and social environments.  WIH Resource Group serves clients in more than 175 key markets internationally.

WIH Website logo

More information on WIH Resource Group and its services can be found at www.wihrg.com.

Click on an image below to take you to WIH’s other sites!

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Top 5 Reasons Why an Expert Witness Will Help Your Case


While there are plenty of respectable reasons why experts can make or break a court case, the most convincing benefit has to be the expert witness testimony they will provide. We have broke down the top five reason why expert witnesses are truly invaluable to a trial in ways that other methods simply cannot be merit the effectiveness of an expert witness.

WIH Resource Group - Expert Witness Services.pngAn expert witness, professional witness or judicial expert is a witness, who by virtue of education, training, skill, or experience, has expertise and specialized knowledge in a particular subject beyond that of the average person, sufficient that others may officially and legally rely upon the witness’s specialized (scientific, technical or other) opinion about an evidence or fact issue within the scope of his expertise, referred to as the expert opinion. Expert witnesses may also deliver expert evidence about facts from the domain of their expertise.

Reason One – Expert Witnesses Have Historically Worked in Similar Cases.

It’s absolutely true – in courtroom jury trials, testimony from an expert witness almost always helps represent the facts in an accurate, clear way that the jury will understand. Sometimes, such as with complicated toxicology cases, getting the facts across and proving the point is especially difficult because of complex medical jargon and technical speak. Expert witness testimony is convincing and persuasive because it gets through to the jury.

Reason Two – An Expert Witness Can And Does Achieve Settlements.

If the ultimate goal of the legal proceedings is to achieve a fair and reasonable settlement rather than drag the case through years of litigation and complicated court proceedings, then it is probably worth consulting with an expert witness in this scenario too. Many times, just the knowledge that a true expert professional will be testifying in court is enough to convince the other party to settle the case out of court.

Reason Three – Expert Witnesses Help Either Side Of The Case.

The common perception is that only defense legal teams choose to work with expert witness testimony by hiring expert witnesses. Unfortunately, this is nothing but a misconception. Both defense and prosecuting legal teams should be aware of the benefits an expert witness is able to provide to either a Defendant or Plaintiff case. Anytime a certified professional can make the facts speak more clearly, there’s a strong argument for using expert witness testimony.

Reason Four – An Expert Witness Can Offer More Than A Simple Testimony.

Receiving expert witness testimony is only one part of hiring an expert witness. Or in other words, the testimony itself is extremely valuable, but an experienced, professional expert witness also understands how to explain complex issues in a clear and scholarly founded manner.

If the ultimate goal of the legal proceedings is to achieve a fair and reasonable settlement rather than drag the case through years of litigation and complicated court proceedings, then it is probably worth consulting with an expert witness in this scenario too. Many times, just the knowledge that a true expert professional will be testifying in court is enough to convince the other party to settle the case out of court.

Reason Five – Qualified Experts, like WIH Resource Group, Offer Insight.

Even if expert witness testimony in and of itself will not be necessary, qualified expert witnesses can indeed provide the insight and vision needed to ensure a positive outcome through litigation, due diligence, expert witness report, arbitration and mediation support. Consulting with the witness to understand their point of view, as well as to benefit from their experiences with similar cases can be invaluable.

Source: WIH Resource Group

Contact WIH Resource Group
For more information, Visit our website by CLICKING HERE and contact us today to see how we can best serve you by phone at 480.241.9994 or by e-mail at admin@wihrg.com

Visit our new website!   www.wihresourcegroup.com

wihwebsite

ABOUT WIH RESOURCE GROUP

Celebrating a decade in business, WIH Resource Group is a global provider of professional technical and management support services to a broad range of markets, including waste management, recycling, financials, transportation, M&A due diligence and support, alternative fuel fleet conversions, facilities, environmental, energy for private sector business and government clients.

WIH Resource Group is a leader in all of the key markets that it serves. WIH Resource Group provides a blend of global reach, local knowledge, innovation and technical excellence in delivering solutions that create, enhance and sustain the world’s built, natural and social environments.  WIH Resource Group serves clients in more than 175 key markets internationally.

WIH Website logo

More information on WIH Resource Group and its services can be found at www.wihrg.com.

Click on an image below to take you to WIH’s other sites!

Drones Sought for Landfill Surveying


Ada County, Idaho is applying to use a small commercial drone to collect valuable geographical data, starting with the region’s landfill. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Drone for Landfill Surveying - WIH Resource Group

Using drones in military, law enforcement and agriculture has become the new normal in daily life even in the relatively short period unmanned aircrafts have become available to the public.

Now a county in southwestern Idaho says drones belong in the trash.

Ada County officials have recently submitted an application to the Federal Aviation Administration to use a small commercial drone to collect valuable geographical data, starting with the region’s landfill.

Currently, the county spends hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to fly manned aircraft just to gather information about land use, said Stephen O’Meara, Ada’s information technology director.

For example, the county can only afford to take aerial photos of the 2,700-acre landfill once a year because manned-aircraft can cost as much as $700 an hour to rent.

But at the same time, the county is under pressure to keep an eye on the region’s landfill considering it collected 440,000 tons of waste from four cities and four separate local government agencies in 2014.

O’Meara said using a drone could provide an easy way to learn how quickly the area is expanding not only in sprawl but also in height.

“We have high hopes,” O’Meara said. “We feel this could be very beneficial that does not cost a lot of money to the taxpayer.”

According to the FAA, it’ll take 60 to 90 days to process the county’s application barring any delays stemming from legal questions and agency response.

Larry Maneely, the county’s chief of staff, said the county will post online when and where the drone flies to help prevent fears from those who may distrust governmental agencies using drones.

 “Nothing will happen in secret,” he said. “These things have to fly below 400 feet so they will be in eyesight and every flight has to be pre-approved.”

Overtime, Maneely and O’Meara would like to see drone use help collect data to pinpoint spraying pesticides to kill mosquitoes and invasive weeds.

O’Meara added that he doesn’t know of any other similar drone efforts in other Idaho counties or cities. Instead, drone use in Idaho has been much more traditional.

In 2012, Canyon County — which neighbors Ada County — used a $34,000 grant from U.S. Homeland Security to buy a 2-pound drone for aerial surveillance and public safety. County deputies say the drones help with investigations, barricaded subjects and rescue missions.

In January, Advanced Aviation Solutions — located in Star, Idaho — became the first agriculture-based company to receive a FAA exemption for commercial use. Meanwhile, scientists at Boise State University deployed drones in western Idaho with three different cameras to study sagebrush, a critical landscape that is playing a key factor if the federal government will list a football-sized bird found in 11 states.

Source: Tucson.com – Arizona Daily Star

Published by: WIH Resource Group, Inc.

You Tube: Click HERE to visit WIH Resource Group’s You Tube Channel

ABOUT THE FOUNDER of WIH RESOURCE GROUP
Bob Wallace, MBA is the Founder and a Principal of WIH Resource Group, Inc. and has over 27 years of experience in waste and recycling collections programs management, transportation / logistics operations, alternative fuels (CNG, LPG, RNG, LNG & biodiesel), Fleet Management, Operational Performance Assessments (OPAs), Waste-by-Rail programs, recycling / solid waste operations, transfer stations, landfills, planning and development. Mr. Wallace has extensive experience in working with clients in both the private and public sectors. Prior to WIH Resource Group, Mr. Wallace served as the Director of Transportation & Logistics for Waste Management, the largest provider of waste management and recycling services in North America. He can be reached at bwallace@wihresourcegroup.com or 480.241.9994. For more information visit http://www.wihrg.com

Contact WIH Resource Group
For more information, Visit our website by CLICKING HERE and contact us today to see how we can best serve you by phone at 480.241.9994 or by e-mail at admin@wihrg.com

WIH Resource Group’s Diversified Client-Specific Services include:

  • Waste Management Consulting
  • Recycling Programs Optimization
  • Alternative Fuels for Truck Fleets
  • Research & Polling – Customer Satisfaction Surveys
  • Landfill Operations Consulting
  • Business and Assets Appraisals & Valuations
  • Collection, Processing, Transfer & Disposal Procurement
  • M&A Due Diligence
  • Waste to Energy & New Technology Evaluation Environmental Services
  • Expert Testimony/Litigation Support
  • Facility Planning & Design
  • Finance and Economic Analysis
  • Mergers, Acquisitions and Divestitures
  • Operations & Performance Assessment (OPAs)
  • Planning – Solid Waste, Recycling and Program
  • Program Management & Capital Project Planning
  • Rates, Financial Analyses & Appraisals
  • Rates and Regulatory Support
  • Recycling Program Design
  • Renewables / Clean Energy Technology

Click here to request more information about these services & WIH Resource Group

RELATED LINKS: http://www.wihrg.com

Clean Green Renewable Energy

ABOUT WIH RESOURCE GROUP
WIH Resource Group is a global leader and provider of comprehensive waste management consulting, recycling, transportation / logistical and business solutions, specializing in, among other services, waste management operational performance assessments, financial analysis. transportation / logistics, alternative fuel solutions, solid waste planning, waste and recycling market studies, business development, business valuations, due diligence and Mergers and Acquistions (M&A) transactional support and environmental services.

WIH Resource Group’s experience includes the oversight of operations, maintenance, finance, human resources, business development, sales, safety and environmental compliance while maintaining responsibility for multi-million dollar publicly and privately held assets including: a variety of collection operations, Sub-title D and hazardous and Class II landfills, transfer stations, intermodal facilities, recycling centers, buyback centers, material recovery facilities, vehicle and container maintenance operations, call centers and payment processing operations.

Based in Phoenix, Arizona, the company serves both private companies and public sector Agency clients throughout North America and internationally.  To learn more about WIH Resource Group, Inc. visit http://www.wihrg.com .

For Additional information on WIH Resource Group, Inc. contact:
Bob Wallace, Principal & VP of Client Solutions
WIH Resource Group – Waste Management, Recycling and Logistical Solutions
Email: admin@wihrg.com Phone: 480-241-9994

Website: http://www.wihrg.com
Daily News Blog: http://www.wihresourcegroup.wordpress.com
Follow WIH Resource Group on Twitter: http://twitter.com/wihresource

WIH Resource Group’s White Paper on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Fuel Use in Refuse Collection Vehicles Industry is Available for Purchasing:   The entire 65-plus page report and Appendices: $299.00 US Funds – Visa and Mastercard Accepted.

CLICK HERE to Order Your Copy today!

Phone: 480.241.9994 ~ E-mail: admin@wihrg.com

Should you have any questions about this news or general questions about our diversified services, please contact Bob Wallace, Principal & VP of Client Solutions at WIH Resource Group and Waste Savings, Inc. at admin@wihrg.com

Feel free to visit our websites for additional information on our services at: http://www.wihrg.com and our daily blog at https://wihresourcegroup.wordpress.com

Follow Bob Wallace and WIH Resource Group on Twitter: http://twitter.com/wihresource

Be sure to check out Invigorated Solutions, Inc.

  1. Follow @invigorsolution on Twitter
  2. Visit our website: http://www.invigoratedsolutions.com/
  3. Like our Facebook Page
  4. Follow Invigorated Solutions on Tumblr

About Invigorated Solutions

Passionate about life, learning, love and sharing their experiences of life, Bob & Tracy Wallace enjoy sharing their invigorated (energizing) solutions / advice and useful life tips for living life to the fullest on their popular life development blog, “Invigorated Solutions”.  Click HERE to visit our website for more valuable information.

Invigorated Solutions Logo - 3d picture format

10 Shocking Facts About Your Garbage


It’s easy not to think about garbage. You throw away your empty cartons, bags, and cups, and once a week the trash collector comes and takes it all away. Out of sight, out of mind… except that it’s not really gone.

Most US garbage is simply relocated from your garbage can to a landfill or incinerator, both of which are fraught with problems:

  • Incinerators: Emit toxic dioxins, mercury, cadmium, and other particulate matter into the air, and convert waste into toxic ash (which is sometimes used to cover landfills).
  • Landfills: There are more than 3,000 active landfills, and 10,000-old landfills, in the US.1 While the number of landfills in the US has been decreasing in recent decades, they have, individually, been increasing in size.

garbage-wihresourcegroup

Along with being a major source of methane emissions, landfills produce “leachate,” a toxic fluid composed of pollutants like benzene, pesticides, heavy metals, endocrine-disrupting chemicals, and more, which come from the compressed trash.

Although landfills are technically supposed to keep garbage dry and are lined to prevent leachate from contaminating nearby soil and groundwater, the landfill liners are virtually guaranteed to degrade, tear, or crack eventually, allowing the toxins to escape directly into the environment.

10 Shocking Facts About Your Garbage

MSN compiled 10 facts about garbage that are likely to surprise you.2 You may never look at your trash the same way again…

  1. More Than 100 Tons of Waste for Every American: The average American throws away more than 7 pounds of garbage a day. That’s 102 tons in a lifetime, more than any other populations on Earth.
  2. Bottled Water Is the “Grandfather of Wasteful Industries. Edward Humes, author of the book “Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash,” counts bottled water among the most wasteful of industries. In the US, Americans toss 60 million water bottles daily, which is nearly 700 each minute.
  3. Food Waste Is a Problem Too: Americans throw away 28 billion pounds of food a year, which is about 25 percent of the US food supply.
  4. Disposables Are a Drain: Ten percent of the world’s oil supply is used to make and ship disposable plastics – items like plastic utensils, plates, and cups that are used just one time and thrown away.
  5. Trash Is Expensive: Most communities spend more to deal with trash than they spend for schoolbooks, fire protection, libraries, and parks.
  6. Carpet Waste Alone Is Astounding: Americans throw away 5.7 million tons of carpet every year.
  7. Paper Waste Is a Shame: Americans waste 4.5 million tons of office paper a year. Ask yourself… do I really need to print that?
  8. Opting Out of Junk Mail Makes a Difference: According to Humes, the energy used to create and distribute junk mail in the US for one day could heat 250,000 homes. You can opt-out of junk mail by going to CatalogChoice.org.
  9. Too Many Toys: Only 4 percent of the world’s children live in the US, but Americans buy (and throw away) 40 percent of the world’s toys. Buy less toys, opt for second-hand versions, and pass down the toys you do purchase to others.
  10. Plastic Bags: On average, Americans use 500 plastic bags per capita each year. Such bags make up the second most common type of garbage found on beaches. Stash reusable shopping bags in your purse or car so you’re not tempted by plastic or paper.

Bottled Water: One of the Worst Offenders

US landfills contain about 2 million tons of discarded water bottles, each of which will take more than 1,000 years to biodegrade. Recycling is only possible for a small number of these bottles, because only PET bottles are recyclable. In all, only one out of five plastic bottles ever make it to a recycling bin.3

You might think re-using the bottle is an option, but commercial water bottles tend to wear down from repeated use, which can lead to bacterial growth in surface cracks inside the bottle. This risk is compounded if you fail to adequately wash the bottle between each use, using mild soap and warm water.

But even with washing, these microscopic hiding places may still allow pathogenic bacteria to linger. Perhaps more importantly, the plastic chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) and phthalates lurk in plastic water bottles and can pose serious health hazards, especially to pregnant women and children.

Fortunately, the use of bottled water is one of the easiest habits to change. Simply put a filter on your tap and use a reusable glass water bottle to carry with you.

Why You Should Consider Ditching Plastic Bags

Plastic bags are so wasteful and polluting to the environment that many US cities have already banned them outright. For a succinct and entertaining introduction to the waste that is the plastic bag, I highly recommend the film “Bag It.”4

It is a truly eye-opening look to the vastness of the problem, and the immense waste that could be spared if more Americans toted a reusable bag with them to the grocery store. As their website reported:5

“In the United States alone, an estimated 12 million barrels of oil is used annually to make the plastic bags that Americans consume. The United States International Trade Commission reported that 102 billion plastic bags were used in the US in 2009.

These bags, even when properly disposed of, are easily windblown and often wind up in waterways or on the landscape, becoming eyesores and degrading soil and water quality as they break down into toxic bits.”

On a worldwide scale, each year about 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide. At over 1 million bags per minute, that’s a lot of plastic bags, of which billions end up as litter each year, contaminating oceans and other waterways.

Food Waste Is a Serious Issue

You might not think throwing a banana peel or apple core in your trash is a big deal, but organic waste is actually the second highest component of landfills in the US. Organic landfill waste has increased by 50 percent per capita since 1974, as illustrated in this infographic.6

One solution to this problem is to cut down on the amount of food you waste by planning your meals carefully (and shopping according), vacuum packing produce to help it last longer, eating leftovers and knowing when food is still safe to eat (versus when it’s actually spoiled).

Composting Can Help Reduce Organic Waste in Landfills

Another solution lies in creating a backyard compost pile. Composting food scraps recycles their nutrients and can reduce their ecological impact. It benefits soil, plants, and the greater environment, and it’s not as difficult as you might think. Compost can be created with yard trimmings and vegetable food waste, manure from grazing animals, egg shells, brown paper bags, and more.

This can be done on an individual or community-wide level. For instance, in California, The Sonoma County Waste Management Agency operates a regional compost program in which they accept yard trimmings and vegetative food discards that are placed in curbside containers by local residents.

The organic material is then converted into premium quality organic compost and mulches, along with recycled lumber, firewood, and biofuel used to generate electricity. Since 1993, 1.6 million tons of yard and wood debris have been converted into these beneficial products.

Sonoma Compost, which operates the Organic Recycling Program on behalf of the Sonoma County Waste Management Agency, estimates that nearly 1.5 million tons of yard and wood trimmings have been diverted from landfills since 1993 as a result of the program.7

The Consequences of Living in a ‘Throwaway’ Society

Your parents and grandparents likely used products in reusable, recyclable, or degradable containers made from glass, metals, and paper. But today, discarded plastics and other waste are circling the globe at a significant human and environmental cost. It’s a problem of convenience – choosing a plastic disposable water bottle instead of using a reusable glass container, for instance – as well as one of overconsumption.

Even durable items like electronics, toys, and clothes are often regarded as “throwaway” products that we use for a short period and quickly replace – often without recycling, donating, or re-using them for another purpose.

Of course, you are living in a society that makes you feel behind if you do not buy the latest model of this or that, or update your wardrobe with the latest fashions. We’re also increasingly living on the go, where food in throwaway packages is by far the rule rather than the exception.

Contrast that to a couple of generations ago when frugality and resourcefulness were highly valued, and food came fresh from the farm, butcher shop, or baker, and you begin to see where the real problems with excess waste are springing from. The sheer amount of waste that is generated needlessly on any given day is quite mind-boggling. For instance, according to the Clean Air Council:8

  • The average American office worker uses about 500 disposable cups every year.
  • Every year, Americans throw away enough paper and plastic cups, forks, and spoons to circle the equator 300 times.
  • The estimated 2.6 billion holiday cards sold each year in the US could fill a football field 10 stories high.
  • Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, an extra million tons of waste is generated each week.
  • 38,000 miles of ribbon are thrown away each year, enough to tie a bow around the Earth.

Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle!

You’ve probably heard of The Three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Committing this into practice in your home can significantly reduce the amount of waste your family generates while also saving you money. You can do your part by taking the following action steps that reduce your plastic consumption and generation of waste, which will benefit your health as well as the environment.

Reduce your plastic use: If at all possible seek to purchase products that are not made from or packaged in plastic. Here are a few ideas… Use reusable shopping bags for groceries. Bring your own mug for coffee and bring drinking water from home in glass water bottles instead of buying bottled water. Store foods in the freezer in glass mason jars as opposed to plastic bags. Take your own leftovers container to restaurants. Request no plastic wrap on your newspaper and dry cleaning. Avoid disposable utensils and buy foods in bulk when you can. These are just a few ideas — I’m sure you can think of more. Recycle/Repurpose what you can: Take care to recycle and repurpose products whenever possible, especially ones that are not available in anything other than plastic. This includes giving your clothes or gently used household items to charities and frequenting second-hand stores instead of buying new. Make use of online sites like Freecycle.org that allow you to give products you no longer need away to others instead of throwing them away. Choose reusable over single-use: This includes non-disposable razors, washable feminine hygiene products for women, cloth diapers, glass bottles for your milk, cloth grocery bags, handkerchiefs instead of paper tissues, an old t-shirt or rags in lieu of paper towels, and so on.
Compost your food scraps and yard waste: A simple bin in your backyard can greatly cut down on your landfill contributions while rewarding you with a natural fertilizer for your soil. Support legislation: Support legislative efforts to manage waste in your community; take a leadership role with your company, school, and neighborhood. Be innovative: If you have a great idea, share it! Your capacity to come up with smarter designs and creative ideas is limitless and many heads are better than one. Innovations move us toward a more sustainable world.
Assist recovery: Return deposits on bottles and other plastic products, and participate in “plastic drives” for local schools, where cash is paid by the pound.

ABOUT THE FOUNDER
Bob Wallace, MBA is the Founder and a Principal of WIH Resource Group, Inc. and has over 27 years of experience in waste and recycling collections programs management, transportation / logistics operations, alternative fuels (CNG, LPG, RNG, LNG & biodiesel), Fleet Management, Operational Performance Assessments (OPAs), Waste-by-Rail programs, recycling / solid waste operations, transfer stations, landfills, planning and development. Mr. Wallace has extensive experience in working with clients in both the private and public sectors. Prior to WIH Resource Group, Mr. Wallace served as the Director of Transportation & Logistics for Waste Management, the largest provider of waste management and recycling services in North America. He can be reached at bwallace@wihresourcegroup.com or 480.241.9994. For more information visit http://www.wihrg.com

Published by: WIH Resource Group, Inc.

For More Information, visit WIH Resource Group’s You Tube by Clicking HERE

SOURCE: WIH Resource Group & Mercola.com and MSN.com

You Tube: Click HERE to visit WIH Resource Group’s You Tube Channel

Contact WIH Resource Group
For more information, Visit our website by CLICKING HERE and contact us today to see how we can best serve you by phone at 480.241.9994 or by e-mail at admin@wihrg.com

WIH Resource Group’s Diversified Client-Specific Services include:

  • Waste Management Consulting
  • Recycling Programs Optimization
  • Alternative Fuels for Truck Fleets
  • Research & Polling – Customer Satisfaction Surveys
  • Landfill Operations Consulting
  • Business and Assets Appraisals & Valuations
  • Collection, Processing, Transfer & Disposal Procurement
  • M&A Due Diligence
  • Waste to Energy & New Technology Evaluation Environmental Services
  • Expert Testimony/Litigation Support
  • Facility Planning & Design
  • Finance and Economic Analysis
  • Mergers, Acquisitions and Divestitures
  • Operations & Performance Assessment (OPAs)
  • Planning – Solid Waste, Recycling and Program
  • Program Management & Capital Project Planning
  • Rates, Financial Analyses & Appraisals
  • Rates and Regulatory Support
  • Recycling Program Design
  • Renewables / Clean Energy Technology

Click here to request more information about these services & WIH Resource Group

RELATED LINKS: http://www.wihrg.com

Clean Green Renewable Energy

ABOUT WIH RESOURCE GROUP
WIH Resource Group is a global leader and provider of comprehensive waste management consulting, recycling, transportation / logistical and business solutions, specializing in, among other services, waste management operational performance assessments, financial analysis. transportation / logistics, alternative fuel solutions, solid waste planning, waste and recycling market studies, business development, business valuations, due diligence and Mergers and Acquistions (M&A) transactional support and environmental services.

WIH Resource Group’s experience includes the oversight of operations, maintenance, finance, human resources, business development, sales, safety and environmental compliance while maintaining responsibility for multi-million dollar publicly and privately held assets including: a variety of collection operations, Sub-title D and hazardous and Class II landfills, transfer stations, intermodal facilities, recycling centers, buyback centers, material recovery facilities, vehicle and container maintenance operations, call centers and payment processing operations.

Based in Phoenix, Arizona, the company serves both private companies and public sector Agency clients throughout North America and internationally.  To learn more about WIH Resource Group, Inc. visit http://www.wihrg.com .

For Additional information on WIH Resource Group, Inc. contact:
Bob Wallace, Principal & VP of Client Solutions
WIH Resource Group – Waste Management, Recycling and Logistical Solutions
Email: admin@wihrg.com Phone: 480-241-9994

Website: http://www.wihrg.com
Daily News Blog: http://www.wihresourcegroup.wordpress.com
Follow WIH Resource Group on Twitter: http://twitter.com/wihresource

WIH Resource Group’s White Paper on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Fuel Use in Refuse Collection Vehicles Industry is Available for Purchasing:   The entire 65-plus page report and Appendices: $299.00 US Funds – Visa and Mastercard Accepted.

CLICK HERE to Order Your Copy today!

Phone: 480.241.9994 ~ E-mail: admin@wihrg.com

Should you have any questions about this news or general questions about our diversified services, please contact Bob Wallace, Principal & VP of Client Solutions at WIH Resource Group and Waste Savings, Inc. at admin@wihrg.com

Feel free to visit our websites for additional information on our services at: http://www.wihrg.com and our daily blog at https://wihresourcegroup.wordpress.com

Follow Bob Wallace and WIH Resource Group on Twitter: http://twitter.com/wihresource

Be sure to check out Invigorated Solutions, Inc.

  1. Follow @invigorsolution on Twitter
  2. Visit our website: http://www.invigoratedsolutions.com/
  3. Like our Facebook Page
  4. Follow Invigorated Solutions on Tumblr

About Invigorated Solutions

Passionate about life, learning, love and sharing their experiences of life, Bob & Tracy Wallace enjoy sharing their invigorated (energizing) solutions / advice and useful life tips for living life to the fullest on their popular life development blog, “Invigorated Solutions”.  Click HERE to visit our website for more valuable information.

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New York Mayor Unveils Environmental Plan on Earth Day 2015


The nation’s biggest city, under the direction of Mayor Bill de Blasio, marked Earth Day on Wednesday by linking a sweeping effort to limit its impact on the environment with its fight against income inequality by pledging to lift more than 800,000 people out of poverty.

WIH Resource Group Mayor of NYC Earth Day 2015

De Blasio unveiled his ambitious OneNYC plan as a comprehensive strategy to improve New Yorkers’ lives by providing affordable housing, shortening commute times and preserving the environment.

“The way forward is to create a vision for one city where there’s opportunity for all, sustainability for all and fairness for all,” de Blasio said. “So many people who have fought for economic justice have also fought for environmental justice because these challenges go hand in hand.”

The waste reduction proposal — first reported Tuesday by The Associated Press — is central to the plan. New York, home to about 8.5 million residents, aims to reduce its waste output by 90 percent by 2030 from its 2005 level. The plan, the biggest undertaken by a city in the Western Hemisphere, would eliminate more than 3 million tons of garbage by overhauling the city’s recycling program, offering incentives to reduce waste and embracing the City Council’s plan to dramatically reduce the use of plastic shopping bags.

The waste reduction plan is part of an update to the sustainability project created by de Blasio’s predecessor, Michael Bloomberg. But even changing its name from PlaNYC to the loftier OneNYC: The Plan for a Strong and Just City, which invokes de Blasio’s campaign promise to combat the “tale of two cities” created by income inequality, makes clear that the updated plan would grow in scope.

The mayor pledged to lift 800,000 New Yorkers out of poverty or near poverty in the next decade, one of the largest anti-poverty efforts in the nation’s history. De Blasio said it would “change the reality of this city.”

He also reiterated his lofty housing goals — he aims to create 500,000 units of affordable housing by 2040 — and said he wants to end racial and ethnic disparities in premature mortality. He pledged to explore new capital expenditures — including the feasibility of a new subway line to serve central Brooklyn — to improve the city’s aging infrastructure and to reduce the average New Yorker’s commuting time to 45 minutes.

But de Blasio declined to discuss the cost — or source of funding — for the projects, saying much of that would be revealed in next month’s budget presentation.

Some resiliency advocates applauded the lofty goals, but others, including Jordan Levine of the New York League of Conservation Voters, chided the plan for not providing specifics on funding and warned that “implementation is where rubber meets the road.”

For decades, the city’s trash has been exported to South Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania or upstate New York. The amount of waste produced by the city has fallen 14 percent since 2005 because of an increase in recycling, and a key component of the plan is to bolster that output by simplifying the process and consolidating all recycling into one bin by 2020.

Organics — such as food scraps and yard waste — make up nearly a third of the city’s residential waste stream. A program to collect that material directly from residents’ homes is expanding to nearly 200,000 residents by year’s end, and city officials want to serve every home by the end of 2018. The city also will offer economic incentives to participate, including potentially a property tax rebate for homeowners.

The city also aims to reduce commercial waste by 90 percent by 2030 by adopting a program that could mean tax incentives for participating businesses and fines for nonparticipants.

The de Blasio administration stopped short of endorsing a City Council bill that proposes a 10-cent fee on plastic bags, but officials said that reducing their use is a priority and that they would coordinate efforts with the council.

SOURCE: WIH Resource Group & US News & World Report

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10 Climate Trends That Will Shape Business in 2010 – WIH RESOURCE GROUP


As 2010 begins, there are looming questions about climate change action: Will the political agreement made in Copenhagen in 2009 be developed by the next “COP” meeting to include detailed targets and rules? Will those targets and rules be binding?
Climate Changing Earth

Save the Earth

What will happen with the U.S. Senate’s vote on cap-and-trade? Will U.S. public opinion about climate change — which has a major impact on how the Senate votes — ever begin to converge with science?

There’s no doubt that the year’s most interesting stories could turn out to be “black swans” that we can’t currently foresee. But even amid the uncertainty, there are some clear trends that will significantly shape the business-climate landscape.

1. A Better Dashboard

Carbon transparency isn’t easy — it takes science, infrastructure, and group decisions about standards to allow for more accurate information. We have started moving in that direction. Web-based information services provide illustrations: country commitments needed for climate stabilization, indications of where we are now, and the critical path of individual U.S. policymakers.

Meanwhile, more attention is being paid to real-time atmospheric greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations, remote sensing technology that tracks atmospheric GHGs, and a new climate registry for China. As these data tools become more available, business leaders should begin to see — and report on — a clearer picture of their company’s real climate impacts.

2. Enhanced Attention to Products

There are signs that more consumers will demand product footprinting — that is, a holistic, lifecycle picture of the climate impacts of products and services ranging from an ounce of gold to a T-shirt or car. Fortunately, a new wave of standards is coming. The gold-standard corporate accounting tool, the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, aims to issue guidance on footprinting for products and supply chains late in the year, and groups like the Outdoor Industry Association and the Electronics Industry Citizenship Coalition plan to publish consensus-based standards for their industries in the near future.

3. More Efforts to Build Supplier Capacity to Address Emissions

With more attention on products comes an appreciation of product footprinting’s limitations. Many layers of standards are still needed, from the micro methods of locating carbon particles to time-consuming macro approaches defining common objectives through group consensus. Accurate footprinting that avoids greenwashing requires statistical context, especially related to variance and confidence levels, that companies often think stakeholders don’t want to digest.

Progressive companies such as Hewlett Packard, Ikea, Intel, and Wal-Mart are therefore pursuing partnerships with suppliers for carbon and energy efficiency, and they are focusing their public communications on the qualitative efforts to build supplier capacity–as opposed to pure quantitative measurements, which can imply more precision than really exists.

4. Improved Literacy About the Climate Impacts of Business

The bulk of companies’ climate management falls short of directly confronting the full scale of effort required to address climate change. That’s partly because organizational emissions accounting tends to treat progress as change from the past, as opposed to movement toward a common, objective planetary goal. But companies are becoming more aware of the need to be goal oriented. Firms such as Autodesk and BT have begun bridging this gap by illustrating that there is a common end–which is measured in atmospheric parts per million of emissions–and that company metrics can be mapped to their share of their countries’ national and international policy objectives toward them.

5. More Meaningful Policy Engagement

Related to the previous item, more companies realize that pushing for the enactment of clear and durable rules to incentivize low-carbon investment is one of the most direct things they can do to stabilize the climate. Therefore, more companies are engaging earlier — and in more creative ways — in their climate “journey.” There is growing realization that you don’t have to “reduce first” before getting involved.

There is also a general awakening to the fact that strong climate policy is good for jobs and business. Already, more than 1,000 global companies representing $11 trillion in market capitalization and 20 million jobs (PDF) agree that strong climate policy is good for business. There has never been a better time to get involved, especially in the United States, where the Senate is expected to vote on domestic legislation by Easter. Effective corporate action can help fence-sitting senators (PDF) gain the support they need by educating the public in their districts about the importance of strong climate policy.

Environmental Stakeholders

6. Higher Stakeholder Expectations

As climate management enters the mainstream, stakeholders expect companies to do more, and watchdogs will find new soft spots. Companies should be prepared for new stakeholder tactics, such as the profiling of individual executive officers, who are perceived as having the greatest impact on company positions, and heightened policy advocacy efforts. The media’s role in promoting public climate literacy will continue to rank as an important part of stakeholder expectations. Currently, the U.S. public, which plays an important role in the critical path to a global framework, has far less confidence about the importance of acting on climate than scientists do, and the media can help educate them.

 

7. Increased Power of Networks

Economists see energy efficiency as a solution to 40 percent or more of climate mitigation, and with the technology and finance already available globally, companies can play a significant role in accelerating progress. While the price makes the energy market, and policy helps to set the price, companies like Walmart have shown that creating expectations for performance improvement, while providing tools and training, can help suppliers and partners clear the economic hurdles they need to get started. After this initial “push,” experience shows that suppliers take further steps on their own. As more companies take on supply chain carbon management, watch for lessons on how to do it effectively.

8.    More Climate Connections

Energy efficiency, which constitutes the core of many companies’ climate programs, offers a platform for broader resource-efficiency efforts. We expect to see many companies expand their programs this year to address water. Given that this is the “Year of Biodiversity,” we can also expect more movement related to forestry and agriculture. The nexus between climate change and human rights is also likely to become a hot topic, building on momentum developed during the run-up to Copenhagen.

Finally, watch for the climate vulnerability of mountain regions to gain attention, due to increased environmental instability, disruption of natural water storage and distribution systems, and stress on ecosystem services in regions near human populations.

9. Greater Focus on Adaptation

Climate management has already broadened to include adaptation, and this will receive increasing attention in 2010. This is already evident in company reporting, as evidenced by responses to the Carbon Disclosure Project (see answers to questions 2 and 5 about physical risks and opportunities). Companies are addressing many adaptation-related issues, including insurance, health, migration, human rights, and food and agriculture. It is important to note that adaptation efforts can–and must–also support mitigation, as in the case of resource efficiency.

10. More Political Venues Up for Grabs

The Copenhagen Accord (PDF) was produced only during the last few hours at COP15, as part of a last-ditch “friends of chair” effort involving around 25 countries. This nontraditional process proved to be an effective way to move swiftly in getting broad support, yet still failed to achieve consensus in the general assembly, with a small handful of nations vetoing due to a few apparently intractable disputes. In consideration, there are growing calls for additional forums beyond the regular United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change process, to offer more responsive action in developing the global climate agreement needed.

Most notably, attention is on the G-20 countries, a group that comprises the vast majority of emitters and has shown that it can move efficiently, even while avoiding the troublesome distinction between developed and developing nations. Country associations are also changing. For example, instead of “BRIC” (Brazil, Russia, India, and China), we are more often hearing about BASIC  (BRIC minus Russia plus South Africa) and BICI (BRIC minus Russia plus Indonesia). The point is, before Copenhagen, most thought updating Kyoto meant developing a global treaty through the formal U.N. structures. Now there is growing appreciation of the opportunity for complementary efforts, and new countries are coming to the fore in multilateral engagement.

In 2010, business leaders will be considering their best next steps after Copenhagen. At the same time, while an overall framework agreement is important, we need to look beyond forums like Copenhagen for real results on climate — and that means looking to business. Business is important for two reasons: By engaging in policy, business can help increase the likelihood that policymakers will develop a strong framework. And by innovating and committing to progress, business will help a treaty achieve desired results.

[Editor’s note: This article was authored by BSR, a global business network and consultancy focused on sustainability.]  Source: WIH Resource Group, Greenbiz.com and Ryan Schuchard who is BSR’s manager of environmental research and innovation.  The Image CC licensed by Flickr user James Jordan.

About the Blog Author:  Bob Wallace, Principal and Vice President of Client Solutions, WIH Resource Group, Inc. (WIH) and Waste Savings, Inc. (WSI), former Boardmember SWANA ~ State of Arizona Chapter (Solid Waste Association of North America), APWA (American Public Works) ~ National Solid Waste Rate Setting Advisory Committee and Member of WASTEC (Waste Equipment Technology Association) NSWMA ~ Phoenix, Arizona USA. (bwallace@wihresourcegroup.com).
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Trends to Watch in 2010 – Local Governments Redefine the Economy, WIH Resource Group


Local Governments Redefine the Economy

It’s a new year and, some would say, a new era. The steep economic downturn has collided with major demographic changes and shifting tides in core businesses that once defined our work, our revenue streams, and our understanding of world events. Although local governments may feel they are in white water without a raft, in fact they could well drive the recovery and redefine the economy.

Public services are always more important when a large number of people are out of work or struggling financially. All levels of government face major policy issues that are constrained by economic realities and an aging workforce. At the same time, there is a growing sense of energy at the grass roots as local government leaders forge new partnerships, harness technology, and leverage resources and ideas.

For every pundit, there are many more civic-minded individuals who are ready to serve or who want to build bridges with private sector or nonprofit organizations. One of the challenges is to find them and develop effective ways to engage them in solutions.

This article gives an overview of the economic downturn and how the financial picture is affecting local governments. It looks at promising local government initiatives to enhance retirement security and improve health care while controlling costs during a time when employee compensation and benefit packages are under increasing scrutiny. Complicating the situation is that the public sector expects many seasoned managers to retire soon, and replacing them will be a challenge.

 

Economic Predictions

“You have substantial challenges to address in local governments and the opportunity to do all of those efficiencies that you’ve thought about but that lacked sufficient political support,” suggested Dr. Alice M. Rivlin, senior fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution, at the ICMA Annual Conference in September 2009.

Dr. Rivlin noted that because of aggressive federal government actions by Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke the United States will not suffer a great depression. She also observed that federal programs, including the establishment of Social Security in the 1930s, have protected seniors from income loss and have helped to keep spending up.

Although Rivlin expects modest growth in 2010, she predicted that the recovery will take years. Even as the private sector begins to recover, state and local revenues will keep falling in 2010 and 2011, as they always lag in a recovery. Unlike other recessions, this one has hit all sources of local government revenue: income, sales, and property taxes.

Rivlin observed that the recovery will vary across the United States. Communities that depend on the auto industry or financial services will take longer to recover than places that are energy producers, are state capitals with universities, or have had stable housing prices.

Some local governments with healthy finances have already borrowed money to invest in infrastructure and have created their own jobs programs. Others have been hit hard by the loss of manufacturing or a steep decline in housing values. They are doing all they can to maintain the social fabric in their communities, sometimes keeping valued cultural amenities up and running even as they make other painful service cuts.

Although inflation is unlikely for some time, Rivlin said, the huge federal deficit is a major problem. “We made overly generous promises on entitlements (Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid). These increasing health care costs are unsustainable.” At the same time, she said that it is relatively easy to fix Social Security: “Raise the retirement age, change the indexing of benefits, especially at the higher end, and raise the cutoff where the payroll tax applies.”

A particularly painful aspect of this economic downturn is the growing number of unemployed. “Unemployment will rise and peak in 2010. It won’t hit 25 percent like it did in the Great Depression, but it will be the worst since World War II,” she said.

As state and local governments trim their budgets and their staffs to deal with the precipitous drop in revenues, they will add to those unemployment figures. California alone is projected to eliminate 60,000 public sector jobs by mid 2010. The state has furloughed 238,000 employees to avoid a $42 billion deficit. Pennsylvania has targeted the elimination of 2,000 positions to fill a $2.3 billion gap.

The list of fiscal challenges is daunting: pension liabilities have grown, and local governments also now must disclose their unfunded retiree health care liabilities. The times call for discipline, an examination of which compensation structures are fair and competitive, and a recognition that it will take years to work through the challenges. Business as usual is not an option.

As the recession drags on, it might be tempting to stop hiring new employees. But that could exacerbate the brain drain that is anticipated as a greater number of local government employees reach retirement age and leave the workforce. In the 1980s, local governments found they did not have enough talent in the leadership pipeline after the economic recovery. This time, because of the aging workforce and an extended period of economic constraints, it could be substantially more challenging to compete for the highly educated specialists who are needed for many local government positions.

By Elizabeth Kellar, president and chief executive officer, Center for State and Local Government Excellence, and deputy executive director, ICMA, Washington, D.C. (ekellar@icma.org).

Demographic Trends and Competition for Talent

During the past decade, average local government employees were five to seven years older than their private sector counterparts. There is nothing that suggests this will change soon, especially as some individuals are delaying their retirements because of stock market losses in 2008 and portions of 2009.

Also, while one-third of private sector workers require some formal training or education to carry out their jobs, more than two-thirds of local government employees need this level of education for their positions.

Regional differences are also significant, particularly for the age of the workforce. As regions, New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont) and the eastern portion of the Midwest (Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin) employ the oldest local government workforces. The states of the South Central and Mountain regions (Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Montana, Utah, Nevada, Wyoming) have the youngest local government workforces.

Finally, during the first half of the coming decade, state and local governments are expected to have the greatest need for employees with skills and training in the areas of finance, health care, information technology, management, and education, among others. These labor requirements will be driven by factors ranging from general population attributes such as an older population requiring more health care and an increasing population requiring larger education networks, to the evolution of new issues of increasing importance such as the expansion of transit systems as part of environmental and regional planning.

Managers, councils, and department heads should be aware of these trends in 2010 as they will affect the ability of governments to fulfill their responsibilities and manage their budgets efficiently. In 2009, less than half of all state and local governments had a formal workforce development plan even though having a workforce plan can help local governments evaluate the skills of their employees and plan for the skill development they will need in the future.

By Joshua Franzel, vice president, Center for State and Local Government Excellence, Washington, D.C. (jfranzel@icma.org).

Local Government Leaders Initiate Health Care Reforms

Whatever health care reform is adopted nationally, local governments know they cannot wait to address rising health care costs.1 They are already targeting chronic health problems among employees and retirees, rapidly rising insurance rates, and lack of access to health care for residents. Local initiatives have improved health care and overall wellness while also helping the bottom line.

Comprehensive wellness in Gainesville, Florida. Founded in 1992 in response to escalating employee and retiree health care costs, Gainesville, Florida’s LifeQuest program promotes health, nutrition, and fitness at no cost to city employees, retirees, and their families through five key elements:

  • Diet and nutrition workshops.
  • One-on-one counseling.
  • Health screenings.
  • Physical fitness programs.
  • Seminars on health-related issues.

LifeQuest operates 15 fitness centers within walking distance of every city facility and conducts health assessments and on-site screenings. To encourage employee participation, LifeQuest offers an incentive program that awards cash to employees and retirees who take part in program offerings. As a result, approximately 90 percent of the city’s 1,800 employees participate in LifeQuest. A study of Gainesville claims data between 1992 and 2006 shows that Gainesville’s insurance premiums are among the lowest in the nation.2

Community health in Hillsborough County, Florida. The Hillsborough County Health Care Plan (HCHCP), established in 1992, created a dedicated funding source to ensure access to health care services for low-income, uninsured county residents. Here is what the program is built on:

  • Health education, prevention, early intervention, and disease and case management.
  • Coordination among health and social service agencies.
  • Empowering participants to take responsibility for their health.
  • Information technologies to support effective management and service delivery.

And the results?

  • Aggregate medical and drug cost per member increased only 2 percent between 2005 and 2008 thanks to pharmacy controls and improved coordination with other government programs.
  • Pharmacy cost per covered member fell from $112 to $91 per month between 2005 and 2008 as a result of relying on generic drugs and using pharmaceutical manufacturers’ drug assistance programs.
  • Records for medical claims, prescriptions, and specialty referrals were converted to an electronic format; records now provide immediate access to members’ health history and costs.

Chronic disease management in Asheville, North Carolina. The Asheville Project® relies on a collaborative approach among patients, pharmacist care managers, and physicians to improve care and reduce costs for employees and retirees with diabetes, asthma, cardiovascular disease, and depression. In this program:

  • Local pharmacists are trained to provide patient counseling.
  • Employees and retirees participate in one or more disease modules, learn about managing their diseases, and are assigned to a certified pharmacist care manager.
  • Individuals meet monthly with pharmacist care managers, attend regular visits with physicians, and have laboratory tests done regularly.
  • Patient co-payments for medications and supplies are waived as long as patients are in the program.

Here are the results that have been achieved over six years:3 4 5

Average medical expenses for diabetic patients dropped by 40 percent in the first year of the program, and they remain nearly 60 percent less than the national average.

  • Number of sick days taken by diabetic patients dropped from more than 12 days to 6 days per year; sick days for asthma patients dropped from 11 days to 3 days per year.
  • Cardiovascular events, related visits to the emergency room, and hospitalizations were reduced by half.
  • Cardiovascular medication use increased almost threefold, while cardiovascular medical costs decreased by 46.5 percent.
  • Average annual cardiovascular-related medical costs decreased from 30.6 percent to 19 percent of total health care costs.
  • Asthma patients making emergency room visits decreased from 9.9 percent to 1.3 percent, and hospitalizations dropped from 4 percent to 1.9 percent.

These examples highlight just a few of the local governments leading the way in improving the health and well-being of employees, retirees, and citizens while reducing the financial burdens of health care costs. For more information about these and other innovative programs, visit the website of the Center for State & Local Government Excellence, http://www.slge.org.

By Danielle Miller Wagner, local government consultant, Washington, D.C. (daniellejmw@yahoo.com).

Addressing Retirement Security

The past two years have been unsettling, particularly for those of us who care about retirement security. Concerns about the sustainability of public sector pension plans and market volatility affecting retirement savings are shared by employees, employers, and the general public.

Local government employees have already made some choices that give us a glimpse of the future. Some employees nearing retirement age have put their retirement plans on hold so they can save more, even though they qualify for a pension. Over a third of public sector human resources directors recently surveyed by the Center for State & Local Government Excellence indicated that at least 25 percent of their retirement-eligible employees were delaying retirement.

Younger employees also are learning from this economic downturn and may become more disciplined about saving. There is growing awareness that people are living longer and will need multiple sources of income in retirement.

These life lessons and decisions may pay dividends for future retirement security and for our nation. If older workers postpone retirement, they will pay into pensions and Social Security systems longer, which will likely bolster those systems. In addition, policymakers are looking at a range of measures to get funding on track, none of which will be easy fixes.

In the meantime, employers can do a great deal to invest in their employees and their financial security:

Create more opportunities to save and make it easy for employees to get started. ICMA-RC is seeing positive enrollment results using its new, simple, and easy to understand “quick enrollment” form. It allows employees to designate a contribution rate and to opt into an age-appropriate target-date fund, as compared to the typical opting-out procedure common in auto enrollment.

In plans that have offered quick enrollment since the form’s launch in February 2009, it has accounted for 15 percent of enrollments. In some limited instances, ICMA-RC is seeing local governments consider an auto-enrollment feature as an option for their defined contribution plans to promote retirement savings for their employees.

Provide financial education to all employees tailored to their age. Encourage employees to attend workplace sponsored seminars on retirement savings and to seek advice from independent financial advisers for their retirement planning needs. ICMA-RC offers many such services to participants and employers.

Helping employees gain a better understanding of personal finances helps them make better financial decisions throughout their lives. And when they do retire, they will have confidence that they have the resources and knowledge to enjoy their retirement years.

By Joan McCallen, president and chief executive officer, ICMA Retirement Corporation, Washington, D.C.

Endnotes

1 “Prefunding Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB) in State and Local Governments: Options and Early Evidence,” Center for State & Local Government Excellence, September 2009.
2 Wellness Council of America, Well Workplace Award, City of Gainesville, Platinum Award, September 2009.
3 Cranor et al., “The Asheville Project: Long-Term Clinical and Economic Outcomes of a Community Pharmacy Diabetes Care Program,” Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association 43, no. 2 (March/April 2003).
4 Bunting and C. Cranor, “The Asheville Project: Long-Term Clinical, Humanistic, and Economic Outcomes of a Community-Based Medication Therapy Management Program for Asthma,” Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association 46, no. 2 (March/April 2006).
5 Bunting et al., “The Asheville Project: Long-Term Clinical and Economic Outcomes of a Community-Based Medication Therapy Management Program for Hypertension and Dyslipidemia,” Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association 48, no. 1 (January/February 2008).

By Bob Wallace, Principal and Vice President of Client Solutions, WIH Resource Group, Inc. (WIH) and Waste Savings, Inc. (WSI), former Boardmember SWANA ~ State of Arizona Chapter (Solid Waste Association of North America), APWA (American Public Works) ~ National Solid Waste Rate Setting Advisory Committee and Member of WASTEC (Waste Equipment Technology Association) NSWMA ~ Phoenix, Arizona USA. (bwallace@wihresourcegroup.com).

Source:  ICMA & WIH Resource Group

Should you have any questions about this news or general questions about our diversified services, please contact Bob Wallace, Principal & VP of Client Solutions at WIH Resource Group and Waste Savings, Inc. at admin@wihrg.com

Feel free to visit our websites for additional information on our services at: http://www.wihrg.com and http://www.wastesavings.net and our daily blog at https://wihresourcegroup.wordpress.com

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