Restaurant Fire Ruled Accidental

first_imgStock ImageWESTFIELD — A Wednesday afternoon fire at a local restaurant has been ruled accidental.The Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office Fire Investigation team says a grease fire at KISS BBQ restaurant, 745 Rt. 20, started in the exhaust duct work and spread to combustibles in the attic.Deputies said the restaurant had been closed for renovations but planning to re-open July 2.The Westfield Fire Department and several area fire departments responded to the scene just before 12:30 p.m. There were no injuries reported during the fire. Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Five Rising Stars We’d Love to See Play Dorothy in NBC’s The Wiz Live!

first_imgJENNY MOLLETSince making her Broadway debut in The Color Purple, Mollet graduated from the famed LaGuardia High School and is set to attend University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music. It’s easy to get lost in a YouTube spiral of her performances, from boasting her comedic chops in “Alto’s Lament” to belting her face off to “Let It Go.” But it’s this mash-up of songs from The Polar Express and The Prince of Egypt that have us “believing” in Mollet; that kind of warmth is necessary for bringing such ballads as “Soon As I Get Home” and “Be a Lion” to life. NBC will present The Wiz as its latest live telecast on December 3, but there’s only one problem: We still need a Dorothy! Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, director Kenny Leon, choreographer Fatima Robinson and company are leading a search to find their leading lady, hoping to launch an unknown to stardom. In an effort to help—and as an excuse to listen to some powerhouse vocals—we scoured YouTube (the open casting call of the 21st century) for young actresses whom we’d be thrilled to see ease on down the road. Take it away, ladies! BRYNN WILLIAMSWilliams is by no means a musical theater newcomer, having received the Gypsy Robe at the age of 12 on the opening night of In My Life. Since then, she’s appeared on Broadway in musicals including Bye Bye Birdie and 13. She recently took the NYMF stage in Where All the Rivers Go to Sleep and will reunite with her 13 co-star Allie Trimm at 54 Below. But the live telecast could catapult her to a household name, and after hearing her knock “Home” out of the park, we would certainly not mind discussing her riffs at the dinner table. AUBIN WISEIf you’re not going to nail that high F at the end of “The Dance of the Robe,” don’t bother putting the clip on YouTube. Fortunately, Wise does just that. The recent Berklee College of Music alum’s regional credits include memorable turns in Big Fish and The Color Purple in Boston, but we believe Wise has what it takes to bring her vocal chops from Beantown to the Big Apple (or rather, a Long Island soundstage). And from this rehearsal video, she proves she has an easygoing attitude (look how easy she’d be to work with, Craig and Neil!) and riffs for days. MARLA LOUISSAINTWe sang the praises of Louissaint last month when she took home the top honor at the 2015 National High School Musical Theatre Awards (a.k.a. the Jimmy Awards) for her star turn in Caroline, Or Change. The New York City native demonstrated exemplary maturity and powerhouse vocals in the medley above and her performance of The Color Purple’s “I’m Here” in the finals. We’d be thrilled to see her bring those traits to a (perhaps slightly more age appropriate) role like Dorothy. We have no doubt she’d bring both a requisite complexity and sense of fun to the part. KATHRYN ALLISONAllison first came to the scene in 2014 as the victor of NYMF’s Next Broadway Sensation contest. Since taking the title, she’s joined the cast of Broadway’s Aladdin. She’s an extremely versatile performer, as you can see from her gorgeous classical soprano or her soulful Shirley Bassey tribute. Oh, and she can belt. It’s also come to our attention that she always “absolutely LOVES shoes,” so we suspect she’d have no problem rocking those silver slippers. You can catch her at 54 Below in October; we’ll see what happens after that. View Commentslast_img read more

Congrats to Nina Arianda & Sam Rockwell as Fool for Love Opens

first_imgNina Arianda and Sam Rockwell play two old flames exploring the secrets and desires of their tangled past in Fool for Love, which opens officially on Broadway on October 8. Directed by Daniel Aukin, the production brings a seedy Mojave Desert motel to the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.To celebrate the Great White Way premiere of Sam Shepard’s 1982 play, resident artist Justin “Squigs” Robertson penned this sketch of Arianda and Rockwell as May and Eddie, respectively, along with Tom Pelphrey as Martin and Gordon Joseph Weiss as The Old Man.Happy steamy, sizzling, opening to all! Show Closed This production ended its run on Dec. 13, 2015 About the Artist: With a desire to celebrate the magic of live theater and those who create it, and with a deep reverence for such touchstones as the work of Al Hirschfeld and the wall at Sardi’s, Squigs is happy and grateful to be among those carrying on the traditions where theater and caricature meet. He was born and raised in Oregon, lived in Los Angeles for quite a long time and now calls New York City his home. Related Showscenter_img Fool For Love View Commentslast_img read more

Fighting Narcotraffickers with Staunch Allies

first_img Systematized area registry: so that the dogs learn exactly where to search, how to carry out searches and what to search for and find. Adaptation to extreme situations: consists of familiarizing the canines with loud sounds, textures of different types of terrain, different environments, weather, etc. Collar or leash-restricted tracking: habituates the dog to only obey his master’s orders by use of these tools. Point-to-point tracking: is utilized on the battlefield in front of the entire troop. Association of smells: consists of permeating dog toys with different smells, including narcotics, explosives, etc., and teaching the dogs to recognize these by way of positive stimulation. During a visit to the Colombian Military’s School of Engineers’ (ESING, for its Spanish acronym) Bogotá Canine Training and Re-Training Center, Diálogo talked to the NCOs responsible for the canine program and met many of the teams during their training sessions. Sergeant First Class Rafael Viveros, director of the search and rescue program, explained that the use of dogs for this type of task is not only a logical move, but one that greatly benefits the force because, “[the dogs] have 250 million olfactory cells in comparison to the five million that humans have. In addition to their agility and speed, this makes them an important asset to find a person that may need help.” The Army recruits or purchases the dogs from different breeding kennels, mainly Labradors or golden retrievers, for their agility, intelligence, ease of learning, good-natured disposition and in general, for the positive results gained thus far. But they also work with German and Belgian shepherds. At the same time, the Army personnel look for specific profiles to fit the dogs’ human counterparts. They carry out thorough psychological testing in order to choose personalities that are kindred to animals and the work involving them. The courses for the dogs and their trainers vary in length. For example, the canine guide courses for search and rescue and explosives detection last 14 weeks each, divided into 48 weekly training hours of classes, such as explosives detection techniques, crinology, first aid, canine training techniques, explosives, kennel maintenance and upkeep, and weaponry. Likewise, the courses designed for the dogs last three months in which the pups learn to recognize smells by means of repetition and positive reinforcements. During training the dogs run through a field where they smell out a number of metal containers distributed throughout until correctly identifying the one holding a small amount of explosives. Once they identify it they sit next to it, a passive sign to their trainer that the search was successful. Given the case, the trainer rewards the animal with one of its toys, which in turn serves the dog as a stimulus, and is previously impregnated with the smell of the explosive substance it is being trained to recognize. According to data from the Colombian National Army and statistics from the Presidential Program for Mine Action, 1,079 members of the Armed Forces died between 2000 and 2009, while 3,711 were hurt, most of them mutilated. “The participation of canine-soldier teams has been highly effective for our Army because the percentage of casualties and those injured by explosives –both, to our troops and to the civilian population, has been greatly reduced as a result,” said Captain Eliécer Suárez, chief of the Canine Department at ESING. During the search and rescue of anti-personnel mines in the operational field, the dogs are trained to sniff through a given area until they successfully identify the exact place where the mines are buried. Just like during the narcotics detection course, they know that once their objective is detected, they must warn their trainer of the find through a passive sign. This is done simply by sitting close to the objective. “It’s difficult for a dog to make a mistake,” assures Sgt. Viveros, sitting next to Zeus, his German shepherd specialized in search and rescue. Regardless of each dog’s specialty, or of the place where they develop their specialties, it is clear to all Colombian professionals dedicated to working with dogs that this duty has made them more human. I WANTED TO CONGRATULATE YOU ON WHAT YOU DO WITH THESE ANIMALS. YOU MANAGE TO CONVERT THEM INTO OTHER HEROES AS YOU ARE. I WANTED TO ASK THE FOLLOWING: I DONATED A DOG TO A CANINE CENTER. I WANT TO KNOW IF AT LEAST SOME DAY I WILL KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT HIM. I WANT TO BE CALM BY KNOWING HE IS OK. CAN THEY SEND ME PICTURES OF HIS PROGRESS? I KNOW I TOOK THE BEST DECISION, BUT CAN I SEE THE DOG AGAIN? OR AT SOME POINT THEY CAN GIVE ME PERMISSION TO ONLY VISIT HIM? THANKS IN ADVANCE FOR THE ANSWER YOU CAN PROVIDE ME. Sasha served the Colombian National Army for most of her life; she was one more soldier fighting on the frontlines against the South American country’s terrorist groups. She was trained in explosive and anti-personnel mine detection since the beginning of her military career. Becoming an expert specialist in this area, Sasha served in approximately 3,000 missions during six years of service, in which she detected more than 100 anti-personnel mines, saving innumerable human lives. During Operation Sodoma, the military operation executed by the Colombian Army in September 2010, from which the death of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) leader aka “Mono Jojoy” was produced, Sasha detected eight anti-personnel mines close to the guerrilla leader’s shelter. But the terrorists launched a grenade very close to her, resulting in her untimely death caused by the explosive range. Sasha was the institution’s only casualty during Operation Sodoma. Sasha was a 7-year-old black Labrador retriever, trained by the Colombian Army since her first year of life, and she represented half of her team –a human guide coupled by a dog for life in the Army’s K-9 operations. Her human counterpart, who did not reveal his name during an interview in honor of the black Lab by local television program Vamos Colombia, remembered Sasha as being “a sweet, playful and very smart puppy who was completely devoted to her job.” The Colombian Army’s K-9 Department currently has close to 3,500 active dogs, like Sasha, in 13 training centers distributed throughout the country’s main cities. The units fall under the Directorate of Military Engineers, which has been responsible for training and pairing up teams to confront challenges imposed by rivals as well as by nature since 1997. The dogs are specifically trained in one of five specialties, including: mine and narcotics detection, search and rescue, installation security and agility. Each dog is assigned to a human counterpart for life, and together they make up the teams that only end when one of the team members dies. “He is like a brother in the patrol. He is another soldier,” agree many of the non commissioned officers (NCOs) and soldiers that have trained in the different specialties. The training is carried out in five phases of operational and terrain adaptation, each of them necessary to make the teams fully capable in each specialized field. These begin as games as soon as the dogs reach one year of age. The phases include: By Dialogo January 27, 2012last_img read more

House bill takes up the use of retired judges

first_img December 1, 2001 Regular News House bill takes up the use of retired judges In the midst of a pending Florida Supreme Court case on the constitutionality of courts employing senior judges, the Florida House Judicial Oversight Committee has approved a bill by Rep. Sally Heyman, D-North Miami Beach, which changes the guidelines for their use. At present, Florida statutes require that for temporary judges to receive compensation, they may not have been removed from office as the result of an election or merit retention defeat. Heyman’s bill, which was unanimously approved by the committee, changes the statutes to allow the Supreme Court chief justice to appoint such retired justices or judges, provided they have served on the bench for at least 10 years. However, retired judges who were approved for service prior to July 1, 2002 — the date the bill would take effect — may continue serving even if they did not sit on the bench for the minimum time period. Current Florida statutes also require that retired judges not practice law. Heyman’s bill would allow the judges to continue their law practice, with limitations set forth by the Supreme Court. Rep. Heyman’s bill must now pass through the House Council for Smarter Government in order to reach a full vote in the House. The Supreme Court may make the issue moot, however, when it addresses the constitutionality of using retired judges in February, based on a medical malpractice case brought before the court. The plaintiff in the case alleges that allowing courts to use retired judges is unconstitutional, because citizens have a right to have their case presided over by a “duly elected” judge. Some attorneys in Broward County, where the case originated, argue the local court system relies too frequently on retired judges. Broward Chief Judge Dale Ross has denied the allegations and said that senior judges were elected before their retirement, and there is no constitutional requirement that they be elected in the county where they serve. Heyman’s statutory changes do not address the issue of location. The Supreme Court determined the case “demonstrates a preliminary basis for relief” and asked Broward officials to respond to the plaintiff’s argument by November 19. House bill takes up the use of retired judgeslast_img read more

Ancient Greek Warrior X-Rayed on Long Island

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Researchers rendered this drawing of what the ancient Greek warrior looked like based on his skull.It’s not everyday that an x-ray is done on the remains of a Greek warrior from 4th century BC, but Long Island doctors did just that in an attempt to learn more about how he survived a debilitating war wound.Anagnostis Agelarakis, a professor and chair of Anthropology at Adelphi University, brought the remains, which are on loan from the Greek Archaeological Service, to North Shore Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park the week before Memorial Day.“This is more rare than finding a diamond,” Agelarakis said of the discovery.  Experts estimate the warrior was wounded in the time of Philip the Second, father of Alexander the Great.Greek field surgeons could not remove a bronze arrowhead from the warrior’s left ulna, a bone in the forearm, according Dr. Helise Coopersmith, a radiologist from Noth Shore- LIJ, because it would have caused more damage deep to the surface of the wound.“The X-ray proved the barbed component of the arrowhead that could not have been seen with the naked eye,” Coopersmith noted.According to Agelarakis, the remains were discovered during an archaeological excavation.  He said that the grave was found in the mid 1980s and the remains will be returned to the Archaeology Museum of Kavala in Greece.He plans to later publish his findings.The professor’s wife, Argie Agelarakis, who’s also an Adelphi faculty member, joined with second-year Adelphi student Kimberly Lombardi to create a facial reconstruction of the ancient warrior.The warrior lived with the embedded arrowhead until the age of 58 to 62 years causing him pain similar to severe carpal tunnel.  Argie Agelarakis said that he survived the injury with the care he was given and by keeping the wound clean.last_img read more

Create a connection in Congress: Seven steps

first_imgConducting business with a personal touch is an ethos that has served credit unions well.Taking the same approach on GAC Hill visits can make a big impact on legislators.These seven steps can help credit unions get their message across:Be prepared. Focus on no more than two issues. Do your homework on all sides of the argument, as well as the legislator’s record. Bring concise, engaging handouts.Strategize as a group. Decide a plan of attack and the desired outcomes. Appoint a manager to keep your meeting on topic, and a secretary to take notes.Arrive cool, calm and in control. Show up early to acclimate to the surroundings. Introduce yourself to representative and aides with enthusiasm, intent on forming a personal connection.Put on your game face. Be professional and objective. Do not rant and rave. Let the facts speak for themselves. continue reading » 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

Joan Jett & The Blackhearts Rock Eisenhower Park [Concert Review & Videos]

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Local hellraiser, 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and punk rock legend Joan Jett rocked Harry Chapin Lakeside Theatre in Nassau County’s Eisenhower Park Aug. 22, delivering a passionate, high-octane performance with The Blackhearts spanning her four-decade career as a singer, guitarist, songwriter and all-around rebel.Presented by WCBS-FM 101.1’s annual “Saturday In The Park” music series, the free concert drew an estimated 22,000 fans—with many packing the surrounding parkland atop blankets and lawn chairs or just simply dancing in place along to hit after hit. It was so crowded, in fact, that parks employees had already closed off access to the outside lakeside theater’s main section with fencing by Jett’s 7:30 p.m. start time, resulting in hundreds, if not thousands of fans rocking out to her music in adjacent fields and lots.Jett, clad in a black leather jacket and strumming her infamous signature white Gibson Melody Maker in front of her band’s giant black heart-shaped logo, kicked off the gig with a fiery “Bad Reputation” from her 1980 self-titled debut (re-issued as Bad Reputation in 1981), sparking a chorus of cheers and applause that continued throughout the night.An explosive “Cherry Bomb” was next—the supercharged bullet from Jett’s former all-female supergroup The Runaways’ self-titled 1976 debut. “Hi everybody!” she waved to the roaring audience afterward, shedding her skins. “All you out there—hey! Long Island, we’re The Blackhearts. It’s good to be here.“Need to know—I think I know the answer—but do we got any singers out there?” Jett asked, to resounding cheers. “Okie I hope so. How ’bout some dancers, we got some of them?” she inquired, again to an avalanche of applause and cheers. “Beautiful. All right, don’t be shy here. Just, show it off!” Jett shouted.“This first song’s easy, two words, that’s it,” she added as her bandmates led the audience on a call-and-response singalong “Yeah, Oh Yeah, Oh Yeah” intro to Gary Glitter’s “Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah),” included on Jett’s 1980 debut. Jett’s vocals were crisp and clear and her guitar was vicious. Dubbed “The Godmother Of Punk” by the music press, she hopped about the stage during guitar breaks, periodically strutting along its edges and smiling out at an equally boppin’ and smiling crowd. The Blackhearts—drummer Thommy Price, guitarist Dougie Needles, bassist Hal B. Selzer and Jett’s longtime songwriting and business partner, collaborator, producer and keyboardist Kenny Laguna [Thanks, reader Rob!]—absolutely killed it, playing the more-than-two-hour show with an intensity and ferocity that compelled thousands to uncontrollably stand up, dance, shake, and overall just rock out.Their set list was all-encompassing, comprised of tracks encapsulating her entire career—resurrected gems from her time with The Runaways and early solo career all the way up to her latest firebomb with The Blackhearts, 2013’s Unvarnished. There were covers as well as cult favorites—such as “Light Of Day,” a Bruce Springsteeen-penned number originally performed by Jett and Michael J. Fox with their band The Barbusters in the 1987 film of the same name—and another Runaways song, introduced by Jett as “actually the very first song I ever wrote,” the bluesy “You Drive Me Wild.” Among the aforementioned [from what I recall]: “Love Is Pain,” from 1982’s I Love Rock ’n Roll, and Unvarnished’s “TMI,” “Soulmates to Strangers,” “Any Weather,” “Fragile,” “Hard To Grow Up” and “Make It Back”—the latter song inspired by the resilience Jett witnessed among residents in her hometown of Long Beach following the devastating aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. [Check out the full crowd-sourced set list at]Legions of fans across myriad age groups sang out in rabid chorus during standout favorites “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” (a cover of The Arrows’ classic that Jett made famous), the slow-burning Roman Candle “Crimson & Clover” (repossessed by Jett from Tommy James & The Shondells) and the infectious jaded-romantic anthem “I Hate Myself For Loving You” (which featured an extended call-and-response singalong with the audience).“Thank you so much Long Island for coming and hanging out with us today,” she told the roaring crowd just before ending the number. “This has really been special. Really special. We’re The Blackhearts. Thank you.”Jett closed the stellar night with Unvarnished’s “Different”—a track she performed with fellow “bad reputation” singer/twerker Miley Cyrus in May to raise money for her nonprofit The Hippie Foundation, which supports LGBT youth [Watch It Here]—Johnny O’Keefe & The Dee Jays cover “Real Wild Child (Wild One),” from 1998’s Flashback, and Sly & The Family Stone’s “Everyday People,” off her cleverly named 1983 album Album.The East Meadow, NY concert was the latest on Joan Jett & The Blackhearts’ current North American tour, tearing it up on select stops as openers for The Who. [Read A Review Of The Who Rocking Nassau Coliseum Here] Joan Jett & The Blackhearts are must-see live. This local high priestess of punk embodies all the fire, fury and attitude that defines the heart and soul of pure rock and roll. Proclaim it loud: All hail, Joan Jett!For more information about Joan Jett & The Blackhearts’ tour, merchandise and music, check out: read more

Trump’s national security strategy has real promise

first_imgCategories: Editorial, OpinionIt seems odd that Dean Acheson, one of history’s great diplomats, felt a need to explain why he wrote a memoir of his years at the State Department — the masterpiece “Present at the Creation,” published in 1969. In those pages, Acheson chronicled a dozen of the most consequential years in world history: the wrecking of civilization in World War II and the building, atop the rubble, of an alliance for liberty that has given humanity its longest period of great-power peace since the Roman Empire. A fascinating, chilling report in the new issue of Wired magazine shows how rapidly the Chinese economy has moved to mobile-phone payments — and how easily that change is being leveraged into a network to track every movement and activity of the Chinese people.Vast databases are being compiled, containing everything from DNA to college aptitude tests, shopping histories to social circles.Those Chinese who pursue party-approved lives will be rewarded, while free-thinking dissent meets stern punishment.The BBC reports that China will have more than half a billion surveillance cameras installed by 2020, using artificial intelligence to recognize faces. “We can match every face with an ID card and trace all of your movements back one week in time. We can match your face with your car, match you with your relatives and the people you’re in touch with,” Yin Jun of Dahua Technology told a BBC reporter. “With enough cameras we can know who you frequently meet.”Without doubt, this all-seeing state will use its data to deepen the repression of its people.Among Xi’s first acts upon gaining power in 2013 was a crackdown on non-party civil society. Acheson wrote, he explained, because the 1960s “have brought the country, and particularly its young people, to a mood of depression, disillusion, and withdrawal.”In such a moment, he felt it important to “tell a tale of large conceptions, great achievements, and some failures, the product of enormous will and effort.”We find ourselves in a similar moment, profoundly disillusioned, anxious as well as depressed, apparently eager to withdraw from world leadership into heated discussions of trysting FBI agents and the president’s consumption of diet soda. Yet the world presses in.Even with an economy in tatters (the GDP of Russia is barely half that of France, despite having twice the population), Vladimir Putin rules like a czar while waging a cyberwar on the West, seeding chaos and fomenting division.Worse, Chinese dictator Xi Jinping in October announced plans to tighten his grip on a nation once again leaning toward totalitarianism, and to directly challenge the United States and its allies for global influence. If you like Big Brother, you’re going to love what Xi has planned for China. Arrests and denunciations have followed; in July, writer and human rights activist Liu Xiaobo died in custody, becoming the first Nobel Peace Prize recipient since the Nazi era to die a prisoner. Today, as in the days when Acheson executed the bold decisions of President Harry S. Truman, the world has no good alternative to American leadership.That’s why President Trump’s inaugural address was so disheartening to many of us.Trump seemed to reject the idea of mutually beneficial alliances and partnerships in support of free people and free markets, and against collectivist tyrannies.But glimmers of hope showed from the National Security Strategy published by the White House on Monday.Though it’s not a perfect document, the strategy takes several strides in the right direction, acknowledging Russia’s hostile schemes, identifying the long-term China challenge and beginning to reconcile Trump’s “America first” rhetoric with the imperative to rebuild, renew and expand Team Liberty around the world.“Some of the greatest triumphs of American statecraft resulted from helping fragile and developing countries become successful societies,” the paper declares in a welcome rejection of the zero-sum Bannonism of the early Trump administration. “These successes, in turn, created profitable markets for American businesses, allies to help achieve favorable regional balances of power, and coalition partners to share burdens and address a variety of problems around the world.”The task of bracing ourselves and our allies for the work ahead is more difficult than it might have been without Trump’s impulsiveness and base pandering over the past year.But on the bright side, the president has arrived at a national security team capable of producing a tempered, resolute and wide-ranging strategy on a tight time frame.If Trump will rely on it for information and advice — rather than on the whims and cranks that periodically distract his attention like jangling keys — there is time yet to repair the foreign policy damage of the recent past and start in the right direction.The next volume of our history need not be “Present at the Destruction.”David Von Drehle writes a twice-weekly column for The Washington Post. He was previously an editor-at-large for Time Magazine.More from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censuslast_img read more

Mercer starts master trust for UK DB schemes

first_imgInvestment consultant Mercer has launched its UK Mercer DB Master Trust, which offers defined benefit (DB) pension plan sponsors the potential for “enhanced governance and economies of scale to deliver better outcomes for members”, it said.Under the trust, Mercer will be responsible for providing all services including investment with fiduciary management, journey planning, actuarial services, covenant assessment, scheme management and administration, with trusteeship provided by independent professional trustees.The employer would maintain ultimate responsibility for the funding of the scheme, an announcement stated.This new solution adds to Mercer’s existing advisory and fiduciary offerings and ensures clients can access a full spectrum of approaches to select the best fit for their individual governance needs, it said. Benoit Hudon, leader of Mercer’s wealth business in the UK, said: “Managing employee pension schemes has become increasingly complex and many organisations suffer from time or cost constraints.”He said these challenges are “particularly acute” for smaller or mid-sized legacy DB schemes where often dedicated in-house expertise lacks, while access to best-in-class capabilities can be expensive.He added that the trust will “potentially reduce fees and improve outcomes”, while also giving members access to the largest administration of private sector pensions in the UK.The Mercer DB Master Trust has evolved from the Federated Pension Plan (FPP), an existing and long-established master trust initially set up by Jardine Lloyd Thompson that currently has around £260m (€280m) of assets and 73 participating employers.Additionally, Independent Trustee Services (ITS) and PTL have been appointed as additional professional trustees to work alongside PAN Trustees, which has been FPP’s trustee for more than 15 years.To read the digital edition of IPE’s latest magazine click here.last_img read more