Incite Creative Shines the Spotlight on Flickering Treasures

Upcoming Photo Book Receives a $10,000 Matching Grant

Baltimore, MD, September 29, 2012 – We remember stars like Clark Gable, Will Rogers, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, whose names appeared on the marquees of our local movie houses, but what about the theaters that made these stars larger than life? The neon signs proclaiming the Stanley, Century, Royal, Forest, Arcade and Broadway are long gone, and the experience of seeing a movie in a gilded setting with velvet curtains is but a fleeting memory for most Baltimoreans. Photographer Amy Davis is bringing our beloved cinemas back to life in her upcoming photo book, “Flickering Treasures: Rediscovering Baltimore’s Forgotten Movie Theaters,” to be published in the fall of 2014.

Flickering Treasures” combines rare black and white pictures with Amy’s fine art photography to tell the story of these motion picture meccas where movie-goers flocked to escape their daily lives. The quality of Amy’s photos reflects her award-winning work as a photojournalist at The Baltimore Sun. Reminiscences from Barry Levinson, John Waters and others prove that our magnificent movie palaces and humble nickelodeons have vanished from our lives, but not our imagination. These photos and stories celebrating 50-plus theaters tell a fresh story of Baltimore City in the 20th century.

Amy has partnered with Creative Alliance, Inc, a 501(c)3 nonprofit arts organization, to be the financial sponsor for “Flickering Treasures.” Thus far, they have raised over half of the $45,000 required to get the book to print. To help further raise awareness, donations, and inspire advocacy, Amy contacted Incite Creative, a marketing and graphic design firm.

Incite took a multi-channel approach by creating a direct mail design for postcards that can be delivered as printed copies, as a PDF file for electronic distribution, or converted into a poster-size print. Additionally, Incite designed a Facebook fan page that includes additional information and photos.

“I love going to the movies,” says Dina Wasmer, President of Incite Creative. “After a long workweek, there’s nothing better than grabbing a friend, a big bag of popcorn and settling into a comfy seat in front of a big screen. And no, I’m not talking about a TV. I mean the real big screen! And it’s sad that so many of our city’s theatres have only their marquee left to signify their existence. We all need to escape from reality sometimes and when we learned about Flickering Treasures’ initiative to keep movie screen memories alive, we were excited to play a role.”

Since the campaign began, a local foundation has awarded “Flickering Treasures” a matching grant of $10,000. Now is the ideal time to become a sponsor and share our theater memories with future generations in this high-quality photo book. Contributions for “Flickering Treasures” are tax deductible. Flickering Treasures will also spark a dialogue about how to re-invent our old movie houses so that they can once again become a vibrant part of the community. Be a part of this change by supporting “Flickering Treasures.”

For more about “Flickering Treasures,” please visit the Facebook fan page at: Parties interested in donating to this worthy cause can download a PDF form by clicking on the “Support” tab on the fan page.

About Incite Creative (
Now in its twelfth year in business, Incite Creative is a marketing and graphic design firm that specializes in strategic positioning, brand development and creative implementation services for Mid-Atlantic, small-to-mid-sized companies and organizations that have regional, national and international reach. For more information, log onto or contact Dina Wasmer at 410-366-9479 ext. 101 or

Dina Wasmer
Incite Creative, Inc
1501 St. Paul Street, Suite 113
Baltimore, MD 21202

Spotlight on Entrepreneurship Meeting Aligns with Chicago’s Economic Growth Plan

People 50+ Are Invited to Learn About the Benefits and Opportunities of New-Business Creation

Boulder, CO, September 27, 2012 – The Center for Productive Longevity (CPL), which serves as the bridge between older people and opportunities for them to continue in productive activities, is holding its third meeting in the “Spotlight on Entrepreneurship Opportunities for Baby Boomers” series on Thursday, October 11. The meeting will be held in Wieboldt Hall on the Chicago campus of Northwestern University/Kellogg School. To register, view the agenda and its outstanding speakers, visit Participants must be 50 and older and register by October 5.

The meetings are designed to contribute to a national momentum for new-business creation, which will help Baby Boomers 50+ to remain productively engaged and to continue adding value. In fact, the event aligns with Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s ten strategic objectives to achieve economic growth for Chicago.

In February, Mayor Emanuel included entrepreneurship in his regional economic growth plan, which was created to articulate clear, actionable strategies to stimulate economic growth and job creation in Chicago. The plan contains ten strategies to advance the city’s economy and to make it a better destination for families and businesses.

World Business Chicago, which is leading the steering committee for Mayor Emanuel’s vision, published “A Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs” in March 2012. The report outlines strategies that have a direct effect on economic prosperity and lead to initiatives that will improve the overall quality of life in Chicago. One critical strategy focuses on the importance of entrepreneurship.

It states, “We should build on recent entrepreneurial momentum by expanding the networks that connect entrepreneurs with customers, venture capital, and mentorship opportunities. We should implement new, targeted initiatives focused on promising clusters. And we should facilitate stronger connections between academic research and private industry to promote higher rates of innovation in our firms and to increase industry-driven research, development and commercialization at universities.”

CPL’s meeting helps to meet those objectives and will include presentations from three successful entrepreneurs. It will also include two rounds of interactive breakout sessions on topics relating to new-business creation and on how to become an entrepreneur.

The featured speakers include:

* Dr. Paul Magelli is senior director of the Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He has held a number of positions at the University of Illinois, including assistant dean of the MBA program and assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Magelli has also just completed his second climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro at age 80.

* James Shein is professor of entrepreneurship at Kellogg School’s Larry and Carol Levy Institute for Entrepreneurial Practice and an academic director of the Successful Corporate Renewal executive program. He previously spent four years as president and CEO of R.C. Manufacturing, and ten years as president and chief executive officer of Northbrook Corporation.

* Larry Levy is founder and chairman of Levy Restaurants and chairman and CEO of The Levy Organization. He co-founded Levy Restaurants in 1978 and served as CEO until December 2003. Levy Restaurants’ diverse portfolio includes a network of acclaimed restaurants throughout the country and abroad. They also pioneered the concept of catering in sports and entertainment facilities, including stadiums and convention centers, in every major U.S. market. Levy has served as a chairperson and board member for a wide variety of organizations and has received numerous awards.

* Carol Levy is co-founder of Material Possessions, a home décor store that has proven to be successful for nearly 30 years. With her combination of entrepreneurial spirit and imaginative thinking, she helped expand Material Possessions to a downtown Chicago location. In 2004, she and her husband, Larry, founded the Larry and Carol Levy Institute for Entrepreneurial Practice at the Kellogg School. They took the venture a step further in 2007 by establishing the Carol and Larry Social Entrepreneurial Lab.

* Nancy Rodriguez is founder and president of Food Marketing Support Services (FMSS), which she started in 1985. FMSS is a contractual research and development company that services both the retail (supermarkets) and food service (restaurants) industries.

The “Spotlight on Entrepreneurship Opportunities for Baby Boomers” meeting is limited to 125 participants. The charge of $35 per person covers a spouse, if desired, and a post-meeting workshop on the “how-tos” of creating a new business. The Kellogg School, AARP, the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) and CPL are among the meeting sponsors.

The first meeting in the series was held at the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, MO on March 27, and the second was held at Babson College in Wellesley, MA on September 14; the fourth and final meeting in the series will be held at the University of Denver on November 15.

For more information on CPL and these meetings, visit or Facebook at

Company Contacts:
William Zinke or James Hooks
Center for Productive Longevity
303.499.3939 or

Media Contacts:
Jenny Foust or Alicia Hassinger
Communications Strategy Group
303.433.7020 or

About the Center for Productive Longevity
The mission of CPL is to stimulate the substantially increased engagement of people 55 and older in productive activities, paid and volunteer, where they are qualified and ready to continue adding value. Visit for more information. Follow us on Facebook at

Alicia Hassinger
Communications Strategy Group
3225 East 2nd Avenue
Denver, CO 80206

FRA Welcomes Olympic Spotlight on Brazil

FRA has welcomed reports of a booming Brazil economy, as the Olympic flame is officially passed from London to Rio de Janeiro, the next host city of the Games.

Bainbridge Island, WA, September 28, 2012 – Forestry Research Associates (FRA) has welcomed reports of a booming Brazil economy, as the Olympic flame is officially passed from London to Rio de Janeiro, the next host city of the Games.

Stats from wire reports show that not only will the Games increase interest in the South American region, they will also highlight investment opportunities in Brazil.

FRA recommends sustainably managed timber plantations, such as those operated in Brazil by firms like Greenwood Management, to take advantage of not just the Brazilian economy but also the growing popularity of alternative investments.

Timber prices have beaten inflation consistently and small investments of around $10,000 can secure you a part of this booming industry. Greenwood manage the plantation and support the local community. As the population of Brazil become empowered by regular work, they are investing back in timber for homes and furniture. And Greenwood will start paying returns to investors as soon as money starts coming in from any mature trees on the entire plantation.

Reports show that 53 per cent of the Brazil population now classify as middle class and expect a higher standard of living than previously. The Presidential Office of Strategic Affairs report last month found that as many as 35 million Brazil nationals have climbed out of poverty over the last ten years.

FRA’s analysis partner, Peter Collins, said: “Alternative investments are a popular choice for those looking to diversify their portfolio and protect themselves from the Eurozone crisis and a volatile stock market.”

As well as the Olympics, Brazil also hosts the World Cup in 2014, providing more jobs for the community. The region is famed for its commodities and investments such as timber are bound to grow in popularity as the country comes under international spotlight over the next four years.

Peter Collins
Forestry Research Associates
620 Vineyard Lane
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
(206) 316 8394

FRA Supports Kenya Campaign against Illegal Logging

A move in Kenya to strengthen laws that prohibit illegal logging has been praised by Forestry Research Associates (FRA). The Kenya Forestry services is arranging for timber and charcoal dealers across the globe to work together to outlaw the illegal practise. The Kenya Forestry Services Act stipulates that anybody engaging in cutting timber or burning charcoal unlawfully will be fined Kshs 50,000.

Seattle, United States, September 28, 2012 — A move in Kenya to strengthen laws that prohibit illegal logging has been praised by Forestry Research Associates (FRA). The Kenya Forestry services is arranging for timber and charcoal dealers across the globe to work together to outlaw the illegal practise. The Kenya Forestry Services Act stipulates that anybody engaging in cutting timber or burning charcoal unlawfully will be fined Kshs 50,000.

FRA advocates sustainable forestry in all its forms and supports environmental conservation and the international requirement of ten per cent tree cover, which Kenya is working towards.

Africa has made great improvements in its green policies in recent times and this latest campaign encourages local people to work with Kenya Forest Services (KFS) and Community Forest Associations (CFA) to embrace conservation.

Busia County Forestry Services Coordinator James Were points out that the Forestry Act amendment of 2005 requires formation of registered groups to deal in charcoal and timber. “Anyone caught masquerading in the timber business without a license of origin from KFS, will face the law non-selectively,” he said.

The Kenya government policy supports commercial forestry either by individuals or groups as long as green measures are adhered to. Timber investment is growing in popularity across the globe and FRA recommends sustainably managed plantations, such as the Greenwood Management scheme operated in Brazil.

Here, investors can strengthen their portfolio and snap up a piece of forestry land for as little as $10,000, which is a lot less than is involved when buying forestry independently. Greenwood manage these plantations and support the local community by offering jobs.

“Demand for timber is rising and this is an investment that can help you beat inflation,” said FRA’s analysis partner, Peter Collins. “Alternative investments are becoming more popular and the Kenyan government’s green policies prove that it is essential to work with companies that actively advocate sustainable forestry.”

About Forestry Research Associates

Forestry Research Associates is a research and advisory consultancy that focuses on forestry management, sustainability issues and forestry investment around the globe.

Media Contact:
Peter Collins
Forestry Research Associates
620 Vineyard Lane
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
(206) 316 8394

Nova Southeastern University Launches $50 Million Coral Reef Research Center in Hollywood, Fla.; saves thousands with FPL’s Economic Development Rate

FPL offers discounts off its already-low business rates that are among the very lowest in the state and well below the national average as part of the company’s ongoing effort to support Florida’s future by helping businesses power economic growth.

Juno Beach, FL (September 28, 2012) — Nova Southeastern University (NSU) opened its new $50 million Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Ecosystems Research, the largest facility of its kind in the country, on Sept. 27 in Hollywood, Fla.

The Center qualified for Florida Power & Light Company’s specially discounted economic development rate new or expanding businesses that meet certain minimum requirements in terms of jobs created and added energy usage, which will save tens of thousands of dollars on electric bills over four years.

At a price tag of $50 million, the Center has created 22 new academic jobs and 300 construction jobs, and it will employ 50 graduate students as well as preserving 22 existing academic jobs.

“Reefs across the world are under extreme threat from both global and local stressors. Research is urgently needed for improved understanding, management, and conservation. Our research is funded by grants and contracts, and conducted in a state-of-the-art facility right here in South Florida,” said NSU President George L. Hanbury II, Ph.D. “We are grateful for this discounted rate because savings in operational expenses translates into an increased ability to keep our tuition competitive for our students and conduct research activities that help benefit society.”

Protecting coral reefs also helps to protect the livelihoods of thousands of South Floridians. Florida is home to 84 percent of the nation’s reef ecosystems. These ecosystems contribute more than $6 billion annually to South Florida’s economy and contribute to a total of roughly 71,000 tourism, government, academic and research-related jobs, according to NSU.

“We are very pleased that our economic development rate was able to help support NSU’s efforts to grow their program and create jobs while also helping to protect the coral reefs that are crucial to the environment and Florida’s economy,” said Pam Rauch, FPL’s vice president of development and external affairs.

FPL offers discounts off its already-low business rates that are among the very lowest in the state and well below the national average as part of the company’s ongoing effort to support Florida’s future by helping businesses power economic growth. Businesses eligible for FPL’s economic development rate receive a discount on their standard base energy and demand charges over four to five years. Visit for more information.

For more information on the Center, visit or contact Ken Ma, NSU associate director of public affairs, at or 954-621-7961. For more information on how to support the Center, contact Wendy Wood-Derrer, NSU-OC assistant director of development, at or 954-262-3617.

About Florida Power & Light Company
Florida Power & Light Company is the largest electric utility in Florida and one of the largest rate-regulated utilities in the United States. FPL serves 4.5 million customer accounts in Florida and is a leading employer in the state with approximately 10,000 employees. The company consistently outperforms national averages for service reliability while customer bills are below the national average. A clean energy leader, FPL has one of the lowest emissions profiles and one of the leading energy efficiency programs among utilities nationwide. FPL is a subsidiary of Juno Beach, Fla. – based NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE). For more information, visit

Media Contact:
FPL Media Line
Florida Power & Light Company
700 Universe Blvd.
Juno Beach, FL 33408
Visit for more information.

ChemBlend Int’l’s (CBI) Partner Seatex LTD. Set to Introduce Problend® at ISSA Interclean Chicago for Qualified Service Providers

ChemBlend Int’l (CBI) facilitated by Seatex LTD. will introduce their innovative brand “Problend®” program at this year’s ISSA Interclean Conference in Chicago October 17-19th. The Problend brand promises to provide new value added program for qualified service providers and distributors.

Houston, Texas, September 27, 2012 – Based in Houston Texas, ChemBlend Int’l (CBI) facilitated by Seatex LTD. is an industry leader providing turnkey chemical compounding, and private label packaging services. The company is a registered blending facility for the EPA, FDA, NSF, Kosher, UL, Green Seal, DfE, and CRI that maintains the highest standards to meet various industry product certifications. The new Problend Brand Program is designed to partner with service providers who already service the following target markets: Warewash, Hand Care, Housekeeping, Laundry and Floor Care.

ChemBlend Int’l is set to attend ISSA Interclean North America in Chicago this October 16-19th, and will roll out their new innovative Problend Brand marketing partnership with established service providers. Service providers are invited to stop by and meet CBI at their booth #1938 at the ISSA Interclean conference. Problend CBI representatives will help assess the future marketing and sales support requirements for qualified service providers, who want to compete on name recognition, innovative solutions, value added benefits and unmatched product quality as opposed to just solely on price.

According to Scott Childers, Vice President of Sales for Commercial Services, “we are excited to meet and introduce our CBI Sales and Marketing Program to service provider companies who are emerging and already have services in place and ideally are looking to expand their market in one of the 5 target areas. We are looking to uncover candidates for our Problend Program, which is poised to launch in the 4th quarter of 2012.”

Childers goes on to say about their new branding program, “We believe our support system and customer centric approach is what will set this program apart from other providers within the industry. There are a number of service providers for example that aren’t as familiar with selling solids. This is an area that the Problend Program specializes and excels. Our goal is to help our service providers win and bring in new sales opportunities and diversify their growing book of business while at the same time using the service provider or distributors company name and identity with a brand, ProBlend.”

The Problend Partnership Program also helps service providers negotiate contracts and better rates for vendors and products by offering the services of a General Purchasing Organization (GPO).

According to Childers, this innovative program provides two competitive advantages for service providers:

1. It provides a turnkey solution for service providers to market with a custom brand built starting day one.

2. Help service providers gain better penetration within their markets and expand their existing services and sales with ChemBlend Int’l innovative products and Co-branded products. This is revolutionary in the industry.

Kelly Aimes President of Seatex says, “our ideal candidate for our Problend Program are service providers who are already well structured, service oriented, have available warehousing and are ready to grow and expand their existing book of products and services. At ISSA Interclean, we are looking to interview select service providers and who would then qualify to become a candidate for the Problend brand system. We plan to pre-qualify, interview, assess and then introduce to the right candidates how we can help them grow with the appropriate products, support and tools.”

Aimes invites providers to their booth #1938 while at the ISSA Interclean Chicago event to determine whether they are a good candidate match for the Problend Program.
Tom, VP of New Business Development, had this to say about the Problend Brand Program, “Most service providers just compete on price and although price is a factor, we also believe that in order to grow one’s business you must also offer innovation.” Innovative products that help service providers sell, diversify and penetrate new markets, means that service providers do not only have to compete on price, adds Tom.

To learn more about ChemBlend Int’l partner Seatex LTD and its’ Problend Brand please click here now:

Also, register to dine with the Problend Team while at the ISSA Interclean in Chicago:

On Wednesday evening, Oct. 17th. for qualified candidates attending the ISSA Interclean event and who would like to learn more about the Innovative ProBlend Commercial Series Marketing Program, there will be a special dinner held to meet with the Problend team.

In order to attend, registration is required. Visit the link, complete the form and then stop by Booth #1938 to pickup your reservation ticket!

Media Contact:
Scott Childers
Seatex LTD., Problend®
445 TX-36,
P.O Box D
Rosenberg, TX 77471 
P: 713.357.5300

Bryant & Stratton College Online Named as Military Friendly School

Only 15 Percent of American Higher Education Institutions Awarded This Distinction in the 2013 List Released by Victory Media and G.I. Jobs Magazine

Buffalo, NY, September 26, 2012 – Bryant & Stratton College Online, a premier online school, is once again on the list of Military Friendly Schools published annually by Victory Media and G.I. Jobs Magazine. Only 15 percent of U.S. higher education institutions were named to the 2013 list, which honors the colleges, universities and trade schools that are doing the most to advance the education of America’s military service members, veterans and families and their academic success. The list highlights schools with world-class programs and policies for student support on campus, academic accreditation, credit policies, flexibility and other services for students that are active duty, veterans or family members of military.

“We are honored to once again be on the list of Military Friendly Schools and to be recognized for our efforts to serve military students, military spouses and their families,” said Scott Traylor, Associate Campus Director for Online Education at Bryant & Stratton College. “We are dedicated to maintaining a high level of academics and services for all our students, but recognize that often military families have unique circumstances that require additional support. Through support groups, online resources and staff dedicated to the needs of military families we strive to address their specific needs.”

Bryant & Stratton College has a strong reputation with military service members, veterans and their families, including:

Salute to Spouses:
Salute to Spouses is a scholarship program that allows military spouses to receive up to $6,000 toward online degree programs at Bryant & Stratton College. Since its launch, Salute to Spouses has expanded, launching a career and education resource website for military spouses, written and edited by military spouses. For military spouses pursuing an associate’s degree, the scholarship can be combined with MyCAA benefits, or the scholarship can be applied toward an online bachelor’s degree program at Bryant & Stratton College as well as at selected campuses. Additionally, eligibility is not limited by pay grade. More information, including the application form, is available at

Military Relations Manager:
MAJ (Ret.) Ed Dennis serves as military relations manager at Bryant & Stratton College Online. Ed’s primary role is to provide assistance to service members seeking information about higher education and to work with branches of the military to help students understand the opportunities that are available to them through Bryant & Stratton College Online. Ed started at Bryant & Stratton in July 2010 after recently retiring from the Army with 21 years of service. His extensive knowledge and first-hand experience with the armed forces brings invaluable expertise to Bryant & Stratton about what active-duty and veteran military students need.

Bryant & Stratton College has 18 campuses across New York, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin and offers programs nationwide through its Online Education division. For information about the specific resources and programs available to active duty service members, veterans and family members of the military at each of its campus locations, visit for contact information.

The list of Military Friendly Schools was compiled from research and a data-driven survey of more than 12,000 VA-approved schools nationwide. The rankings also incorporate a survey from more than 3,000 student veterans. This is the fourth year for the list, and each year, schools taking the survey are held to a higher standard over the previous year. The survey results were independently tested by Ernst & Young LLP based upon the weights and methodology established by G.I. Jobs.

To learn more about the Military Friendly School designation visit

About Bryant & Stratton College Online:
Bryant & Stratton College is a private career college delivering outcomes based education and training through a flexible, contemporary curriculum in a personalized environment.  The College is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, which is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, and has locations in New York, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin, as well as an Online Education division, and a Professional Skill Center. For over 155 years, Bryant & Stratton College has been providing real world education leading to bachelor’s and associate’s degrees and professional certificates. Bryant & Stratton College Online offers five online bachelor’s degree programs, eleven online associate’s degree programs and eleven online certificate programs in a variety of fields including business, criminal justice, financial services, healthcare, human resources and information technology. Some online programs are not yet available in all states. For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of graduates and other important information, please visit  General information about Bryant & Stratton College and its online degrees can also be found at

Kavitha Thimmaiah
Communications Strategy Group
3225 East 2nd Avenue
Denver, CO 80206

SearchCatalyst Highlights Why Duplicate Web Content is Bad for Small Businesses

Duplicate web page content is bad for any website because it greatly affects SEO, but SearchCatalyst, an SEO agency dealing exclusively in small business Internet marketing, says it is particularly bad news for small businesses.

Aside from negatively impacting on a user’s online experience, duplicate content is particularly disastrous for SEO. It affects the site’s credibility, which is one of the most important ways a site can rank highly, organically, on search engines like Google. Google ranks sites based on several criteria, each of which is built into its complicated search algorithm. Relevancy is the most important – does the site list content relevant to the search query? – but credibility is a close second.

However, this issue affects all businesses, big and small. An issue that is more likely to affect small businesses, or expanding ones in the processes of upgrading their websites and online presence comes down to duplicate content on developer sites. Quite often web developer domains – where developers work on websites – are indexed by Google. Developers can be completely unaware they have created duplicate content but as websites take a few months to develop they can sit on developer domains for a while and the duplicate pages will negatively affect search rankings on Google.

This generally impacts small businesses to a greater extent than larger companies because they don’t have the scope and finances to implement new pages quickly.

Google’s algorithms are highly sophisticated and can filter out sites that have duplicate content. Some may be labelled as spam as a result, whilst others will just be listed much lower down on the SERPs. Google has become much better at detecting duplicate content since the Panda algorithm update, which all small businesses and developers should be aware of.

SearchCatalyst offers affordable SEO services to small businesses looking to boost organic search rankings and gain greater online exposure at minimal cost.


SearchCatalyst contact details:
Brendon Johnson
Level 14, The Broadgate Tower,
Primrose St,
London, EC2A 2EW
+44 (0)20 3326 1800

Employment Law Reforms Announced to Shake Up the Work Place and Encourage Businesses to Hire Again, reports Thomas Mansfield

Business Secretary Vince Cable has announced reforms to the UK’s employment laws that make it easier for employers to dismiss under-performing employees. The amended laws include settlement agreements which will give employers the opportunity to pay-off under-performing staff to prevent future claims of unfair dismissal. Although workers are not obliged to accept a pay-off, if they do so it will be legally protected and as such cannot be brought up as evidence in a future court case or tribunal.

At the same time, the maximum limit for a pay out for unfair dismissal is being reduced. It currently stands at £72,300, but MPs want this reduced to a maximum of 12 months’ salary. The aim is to encourage employers, particularly small and medium sized firms, to employ more people.

Critics say the proposals only benefit employers and remove rights from workers, but many employers, particularly smaller firms, should find some benefits, including savings of time and resources, and greater security.

Thomas Mansfield, employment solicitors London based, points out these new settlement agreements are pretty much the same as the existing compromise agreement system. Currently employees and employers can come to a specific agreement over a financial pay out from the employer in return for the employee bringing no claims against the employer in the future. Free legal representation is offered as part of this package, and Thomas Mansfield predicts it will be included in the new settlement agreements too.

The UK’s legal system is a confusing one and often beyond the reach of the ordinary worker. Thomas Mansfield is well placed to provide advice, support and representation on matters relating to employment law, including unfair dismissal and employment tribunals. It predicts the new rules are bound to cause further confusion among both employers and employees and advises anyone confused by the new laws to seek out legal advice when necessary.

– Ends –

Thomas Mansfield contact details:
Neill Thomas
35 Artillery Lane,
E1 7LP
020 7377 2829

FRA Welcomes New of Major Russia-China Forestry Investment

FRA has welcomed news that a fund jointly run in Russia and China is to invest some $200 million in a Russian forestry company.

Bainbridge Island, WA, September 27, 2012 – Forestry Research Associates (FRA) has welcomed news that a fund jointly run in Russia and China is to invest some $200 million in a Russian forestry company.

The deal has been struck off the back of an initiative launched at a summit intended to promote Asia-Pacific regional cooperation, from an economic perspective.

The deal involves an investment in Russia’s second-largest forestry products business, called Russia Forest Products, while the Chinese/Russian fund is simply called the Russia-China Investment Fund. The investment means that Russia Forest Products will now be able to produce forestry products with higher values and of better quality.

The forestry business is allowed to fell some 4.5 million cubic metres of timber each year and controlled some 6.4 million hectares of forests under a long-term lease deal.

The news that the investment has taken place was welcomed by FRA, which advocates investment in forestry management projects – particularly sustainable ones, such as the Greenwood Management plantations in Brazil and Canada. “Investing in sustainable forestry schemes is one of very best ways to ensure that you not only see a great return on your alternative investment, but that you can help to reduce deforestation in some of the most vulnerable regions of the world,” commented Peter Collins, the analysis partner at FRA.

The returns seen by forestry investors over the past decade or so are often better than the average returns for those investing in stocks and bonds. In addition, the plantation projects run by Greenwood Management can help to produce charcoal for the steel industry in Brazil, which helps steel firms avoid using charcoal produced by burning native timbers.

“Sustainability is the key to forestry investments and anyone considering investing in forestry should look for plantation schemes that are run on a cycle system, so that older trees are cut down when new trees are being planted,” added Mr Collins.

Peter Collins
Forestry Research Associates
620 Vineyard Lane
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
(206) 316 8394