6 marketing myths credit unions should definitely rethink

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading » Search Google for “marketing myths” and you could easily spend hours sifting through the results. One of the first you’ll see is one of Google’s own blogs.. When the big cheese of digital marketing weighs in on misguided marketing practices and beliefs, bank or credit union have to pay attention.The blog, by Joshua Spanier, Vice President of Google’s Media Lab, focuses on three marketing myths that the lab “busted” in the past year. The Media Lab manages the media strategy for all of Google’s advertising campaigns. The Financial Brandsupplemented Google’s thoughts with input from several other expert marketing sources, adding three other myth categories in the process.The comments below may assist financial marketers to correct misunderstandings, which could improve marketing results.last_img read more

Civil groups refuse to ease pressure on pandemic response law

first_imgThree civil society groups have already tried challenging the emergency provisions at the Constitutional Court, vowing to continue pushing back on what they see as “malicious intent”.Read also: Perppu on COVID-19 aid puts graft fight at stakeThey include the Alliance of the Nation’s Children (AAB), the Indonesian Anticorruption Community (MAKI) and an unnamed group comprising 24 plaintiffs, including public figures Din Syamsudin and Amien Rais.The groups insist that the order shields state officials responsible for fiscal and monetary measures from legal charges behind the argument that they acted in good faith, as explicitly stipulated in Article 27 of the law. Any fallout would be considered an “economic cost” and not “state losses”, possibly absolving the officials of any corruption charges. But the judicial reviews they filed last month might be aborted, with the court set to drop all challenges once President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo signs the law and legal scrubbing is complete.“The Perppu will turn into a law, so the court can no longer proceed with our previous lawsuits. We would like to, therefore, file another judicial review against the upcoming law,” AAB leader Damai Hari Lubis told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.“We find Article 27 to be evil, and it must be removed because it undermines antigraft efforts in the country.”Damai said the provision needs to be challenged because it fails to define what indicators for state budget allocation fall within the criteria of “goodwill”, arguing that it violates Article 79 of the 2014 Government Administration Law, which calls for the state to uphold accountability and transparency.The article is open to interpretation and could even override the 2001 Corruption Crimes Law, he added.Read also: House grills govt over ‘unconstitutional’ PerppuMAKI coordinator Boyamin Saiman said he would file a new judicial review to the court, having prepared a 53-page lawsuit document to support his group’s case.The unnamed group of plaintiffs will be doing the same, said Ahmad Yani, one of the collective’s defense lawyers.Constitutional Court spokesman Fajar Laksono said the court was still processing the previous challenges to the Perppu because the President had yet to sign it into law.“But once the legal scrubbing is complete, the public can [take it back] to the court,” he said.The court resumed trial over the Perppu case on Thursday, two days after the House passed the Perppu as a Law.Despite increasing pressure on the incoming provision, the government was adamant that the law does not intend to grant impunity to state officials caught misappropriating state funds.Read also: Indonesia’s COVID-19 stimulus playbook explainedLaw and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly said anyone who under any circumstances misappropriated the state budget would still be charged under the 2001 Corruption Crimes Law.“Article 27 only provides a legal guarantee for state officials to promptly issue a policy to mitigate the negative impacts of COVID-19 on the economy,” Yasonna said in a statement.“We should not forget that Article 1 of the 2001 Corruption Crime Law stipulates that those who have embezzled from state funds relating to disaster relief can face the death penalty.“Since the President declared the pandemic a national disaster, state officials who [commit any such act] can be charged with the aforementioned article.” Topics :center_img Even after convincing lawmakers to enact an executive order on the country’s pandemic response, the government still faces scrutiny from civil groups claiming the order gives officials the opportunity to embezzle state funds.A contentious regulation in lieu of law (Perppu), which the House of Representatives endorsed on Tuesday, allows the state to increase spending for programs related to the national COVID-19 response.The resulting law will justify any state move to extend the budget deficit beyond the legal cap of 3 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), alerting critics to possible misappropriation.last_img read more

Opera House and Sky Tower light up for Australia-NZ World Cup bid

first_imgReports that some council members from Europe’s governing body UEFA might be leaning towards Colombia have caused some late jitters Down Under, however, and triggered memories of Australia’s ill-fated bid to host the 2022 men’s World Cup.”I am nervous to be honest,” Australia captain Sam Kerr told the Sydney Morning Herald. “I am just nervous.”If successful, the opening ceremony of the ninth Women’s World Cup would take place on July 10, 2023 at Auckland’s Eden Park with the final at Sydney’s Stadium Australia a month later.New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her Australian counterpart Scott Morrison will lead the bid’s final charm offensive ahead of the vote, which will take place by video conference because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Sydney Opera House and Auckland’s Sky Tower were lit up in blue and green to celebrate the joint Australian-New Zealand bid to host the 2032 Women’s World Cup on Thursday, just a few hours before FIFA makes its decision.The “AsOne” bid is up against Colombia in a vote by 35 members of FIFA’s ruling council with a result expected at around 1600 GMT, which will be 2 a.m. on Friday on the east coast of Australia and 4 a.m. in New Zealand.The Australasian bid was installed as a strong favorite to bring one of FIFA’s showpiece tournaments to the region for the first time after a bid evaluation report rated it 4.1 out of five to 2.8 for Colombia’s proposal. Topics :last_img read more

Korger: Meyer’s recruiting, coaching necessary for strengthening of B1G

first_imgIn one of the final scenes of “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope,” Darth Vader’s spacecraft is shot by Han Solo and spins out of control into the bleakness of space. Ohio State football was largely in that same situation of an out-of-control ride this past year, quickly trying to right ship after a year in which the school recorded its highest total of losses since 1897 and faced scrutiny amid NCAA investigations.The Buckeyes have answered the turmoil of the recent year with wrath, righting the ship like Vader did in “The Empire Strikes Back” to strike back at the rebels. All nerdy Star Wars references aside, one of the historical dominant powers in the Big Ten is very much basking in the sunlight after a year shrouded in darkness. Recovering from a 6-7 season in which the Buckeyes lost their last four games, including a Gator Bowl appearance against Florida, athletic director Gene Smith generated a whirlwind of change at Ohio State and in the conference with the hiring of Urban Meyer as the new head coach.If trends hold true, it looks certain that Meyer will lead the Buckeyes to success. Meyer took two lower-tier programs in Bowling Green and Utah at the start of his career and turned them around instantly. In a sport where winning is everything, Meyer’s combined 104-23 coaching record speaks for itself, including two wins in the national championship game and a 4-0 record in BCS bowls overall. Besides the stellar coaching record at different universities, an immeasurable part of Meyer’s aura as a recruiter and coach is the amount of NFL players he turns out every year. While Tim Tebow may be his most famous alum to date, Meyer has coached more than 30 players that currently play on Sundays.With a resume like that leading a program, it’s understandable why the Big Ten is recovering in shock from an odd set of recruiting circumstances. Meyer first played the role of vulture in his recruiting timeline after his hire, scooping up recruits out of the turmoil at Penn State, including one-time PSU commit defensive tackle Tommy Schutt (ranked No. 9 at his position by ESPN) and 5-star defensive end Noah Spence, who was once considered a lock to go to the Nittany Lions as well. Meyer ended up stealing away four potential PSU commits, but the Meyer effect wasn’t felt just in University Park, Pa.Wisconsin, unfortunately, felt the bumps and bruises of Ohio State’s new coaching addition with the de-commitment of four-star recruit Kyle Dodson. The 6-foot-6 offensive tackle originally gave a verbal commitment to Wisconsin, turning down an offer from Ohio State in June of 2011, before Meyer was announced as the new leader of the Buckeyes. Now, Dodson is just one of many recruits to spurn a former commitment to join the Meyer wagon train.The talk about Meyer violating some “gentlemen’s agreement” pertaining to recruiting in the Big Ten is irrelevant. Even if there is some unwritten rule in the conference about ceasing to pursue players after they verbally commit, it’s probably broken time and time again behind the scenes. It also doesn’t fit the situation of this year’s recruiting period. Many of the kids Meyer “recruited” had committed to other programs before major events occurred, i.e. Meyer’s signing as head coach. It’s hard to blame kids who didn’t want to play at Ohio State before he was hired; the Buckeyes had an interim head coach, ongoing NCAA investigations and a shabby record.Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema was upset about the style of recruiting Meyer brought to the Big Ten this offseason, which is understandable. In a span where the Badgers looked to finally have a recruiting edge in the conference, Bielema endured a hectic recruiting stretch mired in uncertainty due to an exodus of assistant coaches and Meyer’s aggressive recruiting tactics. But eventually, far more aggressive recruiting tactics like that experienced in Meyer’s heyday in the SEC was bound to spill over into the Big Ten. The only reason it was so public was because of the large scale of commitment switches by recruits to Ohio State after Meyer’s signing and the media’s widespread publication of Bielema’s comments.Barry Alvarez went on record saying to ESPN, “Recruiting is recruiting until they sign. If we had somebody who changed their mind and came to us, that’s OK. Urban (Meyer) was very aggressive, but there is no pact within the conference not to continue to recruit. It’s open season until they sign.”It seems that any unspoken agreement on recruiting in the Big Ten has evaporated for the time being, especially since Bielema claiming the situation with Meyer was rectified.Meyer’s negative effect on recruiting for the rest of the Big Ten may yield fruits for the conference in the long haul. While the regional pull of Ohio State suddenly has become magnetic, the national recruiting appeal of a coach like Meyer could elevate the overall strength and prestige of the conference.For multiple years it has gone without question that the SEC is the dominant conference in college football. But if Meyer can rebuild Ohio State into the Ohio State University, the best players in the nation will come to play in the Big Ten, eventually bringing an exodus of talent away from the South and toward the Midwest and the conference as a whole. Conferences may rise and fall in power, but one of the best things for the Big Ten is the rebirth of Michigan and Ohio State from their ashes to solidify and increase the competition and overall strength of the conference. And playing the best players and coaches in the country can only make a team better.As for Wisconsin, the Badgers will have plenty of chances to prove their own prestige in the upcoming years against a premier coach like Meyer. The Badgers, and Bielema, need to focus on building their program to a level that will cast a large shadow on the Buckeyes and Meyer. The first step will come Nov. 17, when Meyer will get his first taste of Wisconsin and the Saturday hell-house that is Camp Randall. Is Wisconsin the new perennial power in the Big Ten, or will Ohio State unseat them to reclaim the throne and title it once held? Only time will tell, but it’s an offseason story line so thick and exciting that George Lucas and Steven Spielberg could make a movie out of it … or at least a teaser for ESPN to play before the game.Nick is a senior majoring in history and english. Think Urban Meyer is a dirty, filthy, recruit-stealing mongrel who wants nothing more than to pillage Wisconsin recruits unfairly? Think Nick’s “Star Wars” references were terrible? Let him know at [email protected] or look for him in the sunless maze that is Humanities, where he usually writes his columns and has all his classes.last_img read more

Hackers target teleconferencing and online classrooms

first_imgWith the transition to online course work for students and the use of teleconferencing for those working from home, authorities are warning the public about hackers now targeting the online platforms.FBI Cyber Security Agent Doug Domin says there has been an uptick in the amount of VTC hijacking cases:“Others have used the term Zoom-bombing. We refer to it as VTC hijacking. It’s essentially when an intruder joins a meeting whose not invited” Domin said.In one case, a teacher in Massachusetts was targeted while using Zoom to conduct her class. According to the report, the hacker logged to the feed and began yelling profanities before shouting out the teacher’s full name and address to the class.In another case, an unidentified person logged into a Zoom meeting classroom and used the camera to display swastika tattoos.The FBI is recommending that those choosing to use platforms like Zoom change the screen sharing setting to “Host Only,” make their chatrooms private, and to not share the link to the meetings on accounts in which the general public has access to.last_img read more

Schenley routs Punxsutawney, Westinghouse falls to Bedford

first_imgON THE SIDELINES —Legendary Westinghouse head coach George Webb (1978-2001) shows support for his beloved Bulldogs. VICTORY CELEBRATION—The City Area All Stars celebrate their 28-0 win over the WPIAL North All Stars. Schenley (10-1) has been on an absolute tear since their week three loss against Brashear. Since then they have won seven in a row, including an impressive 34-32 double-overtime win against an Oliver team who had won eight of their previous nine. Not fazed by the task, Schenley traveled north of Pittsburgh to DuBois, Pa. last Friday to take on Punxsutawney High School in the play-in round of the PIAA state playoffs. Schenley took care of business by shutting out the Chucks, 54-0. They advanced and will play Cathedral Prep High School at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Erie, Pa., Nov. 27. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.“We have a different group of kids here,” said Schenley head coach Jason Bell. “They understand what it is that they’re doing and (most importantly) why they are here. Our guys are confident and prepared for many different situations and also recognize how make the best of them.”Schenley’s Jaron Brown began the assault on special teams with a 22-yard punt return for a touchdown in the first quarter. Then, DeAndre Black went the length of the football field with a season-long 100-yard interception return for a touchdown. To cap off the first half, senior running back Jerome Mathews scored on 7-yard run to send the Spartans into the locker room with a 20-0 halftime lead. “We’ve got our fair share of athletes on this team,” said Bell. “We can run with just about anyone and our goal is to continue to prove that in our play from week to week.”Schenley showed the same amount of intensity as what they went in with as they continued to pound away at their opponent.Mathews scored on a 31-yard run and added on the two-point conversion. Then, one of the heroes of the City championship game, Darren Jackson, scored on a four-yard run to add to the embarrassment of the favored Punxsutawney team.Shawn Davis showed up from Schenley’s defense to take a fumble recovery 45 yards into the end zone for the Spartans’ second score on that side of the ball.But once again, Mathews would prove why he is such important part of this Schenley team. He scored for the third time on a 69-yard run in the forth quarter to solidify the largest margin of victory for the Spartans all season. He finished the game with 16 carries for 166 yards.“They’re really shocking people,” said Bell. “We have a lot of seniors on our team that are making an impact and really carrying the load and teaching our younger guys how to win.”Brown would add the exclamation point for Schenley in the final minutes on a four-yard touchdown run. In scouting Cathedral Prep the Spartans plan to do nothing out of the ordinary.“It will be nothing different for our team this week,” said Bell. “We will work hard and get ready to play a tough team. Cathedral Prep has a great program that is (cohesive) due to the fact they start playing together since middle school. Their methods are something in which I wish the City would take after just to give our students the same familiarities of one another as well as our system as a whole.”Bedford 29, Westinghouse 6Despite having two players with more than 100 yards, Westinghouse was only able to muster one score in this game. Ron Tyler provided the Bulldogs’ lone points on a 56-yard run in the second quarter to make the score a manageable 14-6 deficit going into halftime.Westinghouse, however, had problems with Bedford’s running back Paul Detwiler who got two of his three scores in the second half on touchdown runs of seven and 17 yards.Darrel Cosby ended his high school career as the Bulldogs’ signal-caller in which he completed four of 12 passes for 114 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions.(Follow our continuing coverage and add your comments of City League football to our website at www.newpittsburghcourieronline.com.)(D.W. Howze can be reached at [email protected])last_img read more

WWE star Darren Young: ‘I’m gay’

first_imgby Nick Valencia(CNN) — WWE superstar wrestler Darren Young publicly came out as gay during an unplanned interview with the news entertainment website TMZ late Wednesday.He is thought to be the first openly gay wrestler in the organization –which is the premier professional wrestling company — according to a tweet by WWE Executive Vice President Stephanie McMahon.Young made the statement while at a baggage carrousel in Los Angeles after being asked if “a gay wrestler could be successful within the WWE.”“Absolutely. Look at me. Ya know. I’m a WWE superstar and to be honest with you, I’ll tell you right now, I’m gay. And I’m happy. I’m very happy,” Young said in response to the question.The revelation, which is not thought to be part of the wrestler’s onscreen character, apparently caught the cameraman off guard. He stumbled over his response.“Man, that’s in … that’s … sorry. I’m kinda’ of flabbergasted man. I think … I didn’t know and obviously I think that’s just … I commend your bravery,” the cameraman said.“I don’t think it matters. Does it matter? Does it matter to you?…Does it change what you think about me?” Young rhetorically asked after making the statement.“Not an iota,” TMZ’s cameraman said. “In fact I commend you even more that you would share something so beautiful and personal with me.”“We’re all adults. All sports are physical. When I come to work, I come to work,” Young said. “Business is business.”He added, “Some people might not like it, and some people will like it.When contacted by CNN for comment, World Wrestling Entertainment Inc., said, “[The] WWE is proud of Darren Young for being open about his sexuality, and we will continue to support him as a WWE Superstar.”On Thursday, Young was expected to participate in an anti-bullying event in Los Angeles “to teach children how to create positive environments for everyone regardless of age, race, religion or sexual orientation,” WWE added in its statement.While Young’s public disclosure made headlines, he is not the first wrestler to come out. In a posthumously released 2011 book, WWE and WCW star Chris Kanyon wrote about being both a gay man and pro wrestler. He committed suicide in April 2010 after battling with mental illness.last_img read more

Money woes, declining talent plague HBCU football

first_imgIn this May 2, 2014 file photo, Jackie Slater is introduced before the inaugural Pro Football Hall of Fame Fan Fest at the International Exposition Center in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan, File)JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Years before Jackie Slater was a Hall of Fame offensive lineman, he was playing for Wingfield High School in Jackson, Mississippi, and hoping to attract the attention of college scouts.This was in the early 1970s — about the time Southeastern Conference football teams were just beginning to recruit black players — so this massive teenager was mostly ignored by the big schools. But Jackson State welcomed him.“It was where I was wanted,” Slater recalled. “And it’s where I could excel.”Slater was one of many players who thrived at the nation’s historically Black colleges and universities, particularly from the ’60s through the ’80s. NFL superstars Jerry Rice and Walter Payton were part of that wave.But HBCUs have slowly turned into an afterthought on the college football landscape.For the first time in the NFL’s common draft era, which started in 1967, not one player from the Southwestern Athletic Conference or Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference was selected this month. The two conferences combined to produce at least 20 NFL draft picks every year from 1967 to 1976, according to research by STATS. That output has slowly declined since.Now storied programs like Grambling, Southern, Florida A&M and Mississippi Valley State are known more for crumbling facilities, player boycotts and struggles to meet NCAA academic standards than for what happens on the field.College sports revenue and spending have become increasingly unequal over the past three decades, and HBCUs have hard time keeping up.The lack of money is especially pronounced for schools in the SWAC, which have yearly athletic budgets as low as Mississippi Valley State’s $3.6 million.That’s about half the salary coach Nick Saban earns at Alabama, where the school’s total athletic budget is well over $100 million. Even other Football Championship Subdivision schools have athletic budgets twice as large as many as those at HBCUs.In this Nov. 8, 1999 file photo, Eddie Payton, older brother of the late NFL Hall of Fame runningback Walter Payton, thanks the audience attending Walter’s memorial service at their alma mater, Jackson State University, in Jackson, Miss. (AP Photo/Rogelio Solis, File)Like his late brother Walter, Eddie Payton played football at Jackson State, where he is now the golf coach.Payton says bringing HBCUs back to some level of prominence is possible, but it will be difficult. As TV contracts for college football have grown, the bigger schools have been able to pour money into facilities and programs that make it nearly impossible for HBCUs to compete for elite athletes. And, as recruiting has grown more sophisticated, schools from around the country have been taking star football players out of the South, the main talent base for the HBCUs.“It’s not that we’re getting less money — it’s that everybody else is growing while we’ve basically stayed the same,” Payton said. “We haven’t cultivated our fan bases and now the quality has gone down. It’s going to be hard to get those people back.”Payton traced the SWAC’s downfall back to the 1980s and 1990s, when programs started playing “Classic” games on the road in places like Chicago and Indianapolis. Payton said in an effort to spread the HBCU brand and earn a little extra money, leaders focused too much on the schools’ popular marching bands and the parties surrounding the games instead of the football.“When you go to a steakhouse, the thing that makes or breaks your meal is the steak,” Payton said. “It’s not the salad or the baked potato. We haven’t been focusing on the most important issue — and that’s the quality of the football.”But the lack of money makes it hard to compete on and off the field.Shoddy facilities at Grambling led to last fall’s player boycott. Mississippi Valley State’s football stadium was deemed so unsafe it was temporarily closed in 2010 and the team had to play at a high school 45 miles away while repairs were made.Five of the SWAC’s 10 football schools were recently declared ineligible for the NCAA’s postseason after failing to meet requirements for the Academic Progress Rate.Schools like Alabama and Texas have sprawling academic facilities with dozens of tutors and advisers committed to helping athletes stay eligible. Athletes at most HBCUs don’t have the same support. Teams in big conferences fly charters to games while HBCUs still take long interstate bus rides.But officials at HBCU schools say things can improve quickly.HBCUs still attract the biggest crowds at the FCS level. The SWAC has led the division in attendance 35 times in 36 years, drawing more than 12,000 per game last season.A little extra money for the academic side can help. Jackson State had APR problems a few years ago, but has recovered in part because of a $900,000 grant from the NCAA. The funds were part of $4.3 million the NCAA has spread to six schools to help boost APR performance.SWAC Commissioner Duer Sharp said he hopes it’s the beginning of leaguewide improvement that can start in the classroom and carry over to the field.“Our goal is to be a progressive Division I conference,” Sharp said. “Jackson State is a perfect example of how these problems can be turned around. They worked along with the NCAA, got some grant money and now have improved tremendously.”_____Follow David Brandt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/davidbrandtAPlast_img read more

Venus tops Serena in all-Williams semifinal

first_imgVenus Williams celebrates after beating her sister Serena 6-7, 6-2, 6-3 during semifinal play at the Rogers Cup tennis tournament Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014 in Montreal. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson)MONTREAL (AP) — Venus beat Serena in an all-Williams semifinal in the Rogers Cup.Venus topped Serena 6-7 (2), 6-2, 6-3 on Saturday in the hard-court event for her first victory over her sister since 2009 in Dubai.The 32-year-old Serena, ranked No. 1 in the world for the 200th career week, leads the series 14-11 and had won the last five matches. The 34-year-old Venus is ranked 26th.In the second semifinal, third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska faced Ekaterina Makarova.Unseeded Venus started the match strong on her serve and took a 3-1 lead, but Serena rallied to tie it at 3 and went on to take the set in a tiebreaker.Venus dominated the second set, breaking Serena’s serve twice and taking advantage of unforced errors.Serena made two errors and dropped serve to fall behind 4-2 in the third set. Venus, who dropped serve only once in the match, served for the win at 5-3. Venus hit a rocket serve on her third match point that Serena returned into the net. Serena had 19 aces and nine double faults, and Venus had six aces and two doubles faults.Serena was coming off a victory last week in Stanford, California, in her first tournament since withdrawing from a doubles match at Wimbledon because of equilibrium problems.last_img read more

Lessons Learned to Be ‘Stronger than the Storm’

first_imgBy John BurtonIn the more than seven months since Sandy battered the area, local officials have been learning a variety of lessons and incorporating them into policy and procedures for the future.Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long has taken away quite a few lessons since the super storm devastated the oceanfront community which still has a sizable number of residents – including Long and her family – figuring out how to get back into their homes.“In particular, what Sandy taught us is that having plans on the shelf in no way prepares you to deal with a true emergency,” she said.Like every town, Sea Bright has an emergency management office and plan. But, that plan didn’t prepare the borough for the magnitude of what it faced, “like having the gas main badly damaged” and unable to be repaired for weeks afterwards, she said.Officials now are re-evaluating plans, “to make them living documents as opposed to plans that sit on the shelf,” Long said.Officials also are taking a look at all planning and zoning ordinances to ensure they help – and not hinder – people rebuilding homes and businesses. A major component of that rebuilding in Sea Bright is sustainability, elevating structures where possible and flood-proofing those that can’t, she said.“It’s no news flash that Sea Bright is vulnerable to flooding and clearly there is an opportunity to mitigate risk as we go forward,” Long said.That goes with the borough council adopting the advisory base flood elevations as recommended by the Fed­eral Emergency Manage­ment Agency (FEMA), a requirement to build.“We want to mitigate the risk to property owners. We want to rebuild the infrastructure to sustain a super storm,” as part of the agenda to move forward, she said.However, all this costs money, a lot of it. One of the major challenges to planning is obtaining funds to accomplish these goals, Long said.“There are just so many challenges,” she said. “For me, personally, going forward, the most valuable lesson has been that of self-reliance,” she said. “You can’t wait for somebody to come and help you. I learned we have to help ourselves.”The ribbon was cut at an early morning ceremony on Friday, May 24 by Monmouth Beach Mayor Susan Howard officially opening the Monmouth Beach Bathing Pavilion.While neighboring Mon­mouth Beach had damage from flooding, it sustained less than other waterfront communities. “We definitely believe in doing the right thing here,” said Mayor Susan Howard, noting her town has been adopting changes in long-term strategy for years, certainly since the 1992 storm that inflicted considerable damage.“If you’re going to live here – and it’s a great place to live – we need to be prepared. So we are,” she said.The borough’s bathing pavilion, damaged by the storm surges, survived relatively well, due to renovations that were previously done to the structure. Following the storm, if one looked at the buildings along Ocean Avenue/Highway 36, “the Monmouth Beach bathing pavilion is the only one that still looked the same,” she said.“It’s clear, if you build to current construction standards for hurricanes, then you will withstand the storm,” Howard said.The borough governing body, like Sea Bright’s, has adopted the FEMA advisory elevation standards for future building. It required builders to raise structures 3 feet above the base flood level, she said. While the town has built previously to accommodate a 100-year storm, “we are building to the 500-year storm.”There are about 250 structures that will have to be raised in the town to meet those standards.Howard said she is committed to “helping people who’ve been hurt to do the right thing,” helping them apply for funds recently made available through the state’s Communi­ty Block Grant funding as well as look for other resources.On average it costs about $100,000 per home to raise it. But doing it, “in the end, saves every taxpayer in the country money,” she believes.Monmouth Beach officials are also looking at town-owned structures. All of them – the police station, borough hall, firehouse, first aid squad, library and cultural center – “went under water” with the storm, she said. They are looking at available funding to rectify that situation.“We will develop a comprehensive plan of where we’re going to do when we know what assistance we’re going to get,” she said.Middletown, the county’s largest municipality with 42-square miles and more than 66,000 residents, had pockets of real devastation, primarily along the Bayshore waterfront, in areas of Port Mon­mouth, Belford, Leonardo and North Middletown.“One of the things we really learned is that communication is key,” said Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger.Initially the township website and phone alerts were very effective, but as the storm resulted in loss of power and Internet connections, it exposed some gaps that officials are looking to address.One way is updating police communication equipment; another will be to use volunteer corps to a great effect to respond to the needs brought on by Sandy, he said.Probably the most important lesson learned was establishing what will now be a permanent volunteer corps, Scharfenberger said.After the storm, many residents came forward to offer assistance. Now with the permanent group in place to draw from, that means a quicker response time to help those in need, he said.After the storm, officials realized a need for additional emergency equipment and were able to acquire some things, including U.S. military-surplus Humvees that will come in handy, especially for getting to flood-prone areas, Scharfenberger said.Atlantic Highlands was spared the worst of it, because much of the community sits a little higher than some surrounding towns and because of plans put in place in response to Hurricane Irene a little more than a year before, Mayor Frederick J. Rast III said.The borough was not entirely unscathed. Three homes needed to be demolished and another five or six had significant flooding. Because of the storm’s intensity, the municipal harbor sustained millions of dollars in damage and needed a complete rebuilding and overhaul.The harbor manager and borough council are making changes with FEMA recommendations, including instal­ling movable structures and floating docks, which are better able to survive such storms.The harbor, however, will not be ready for boaters until probably sometime in July, Rast said. Officials had hoped to have it operating by now for the busy summer season.Ultimately, it comes down to planning, Rast said. “It went smoothly because we did a lot of preparation,” with the assistance of county and local state officials who stepped up, Rast said.last_img read more