VSECU: 2015 Holiday spending not resulting in significant debt for Vermonters

first_imgVermont Business Magazine VSECU, a statewide credit union based in Montpelier, today released new data detailing 2015 holiday spending trends amongst Vermonters, finding that Vermont consumers were more likely to finance holiday spending with cash than with credit. VSECU’s analysis showed that 2015 holiday spending via cash and debit increased compared to 2014, while credit card spending decreased by 8.8 percent. Analyzing more than 5.6 million anonymized account transactions in 2015, VSECU also found that both number of purchases and average monthly spending increased in the months of November and December, compared to all other months. However, the majority of those spending increases were financed with consumers’ cash on hand, rather than amassing greater debt on credit cards. Average monthly debit spending increased nearly 10 percent in November and December, while average credit card spending rose only 5.9 percent for those same months.“At VSECU we’re always working to help members and Vermont communities improve financial literacy, from debt management to proper budgeting, so we’re glad to see a decline in holiday debt this year,” said Yvonne Garand, Senior Vice President Marketing & Business Development for VSECU. “But with holiday gifting, charitable giving, college tuition, and property taxes, the end of the year continues to pose a significant budgeting challenge for most consumers.”Though credit card spending was down this year, paying off any end-of-the-year debt is a critical step for financial health, and VSECU is offering the following tips to help Vermonters manage debt in the new year.Assess the damage – Determine your collective debt across credit cards and what you can afford to pay on a monthly basis. Personal finance calculators are available online, including one from VSECU(link is external), and can help you determine how long it will take to pay off your balance.  Develop a plan – It’s always easier to accomplish goals when you have a plan in place, and written plans are even more effective. Write down a list of actions you can take to pay down your debt, from payment schedules to enlisting a professional financial planner, and reference the plan frequently.Set milestones – Set milestones to help you achieve your goals, and think positively, believing you can achieve those goals. When you achieve a goal, recognize your accomplishment and set a new one. With every achievement, you will feel more and more confident, which will give you energy to continue.Pay off your balance before your savings account – Regularly adding to your savings account is financially smart, but if you’re carrying credit card debt, paying that off before putting money into a savings account often results in higher savings. Current interest rates on savings are typically less than 1 percent, compared to the average variable credit card rate of 15 percent. By paying off your credit card balance, you are essentially earning a 15x greater return on your money.Learn and adapt – As your 2015 holiday debt dwindles, acknowledge the holiday spending habits that put you in debt and how you can plan for 2016. Using credit can cause you to overspend and result in costly interest charges. By saving for holiday expenditures throughout the year, you will have the funds available to you and can avoid credit card spending over the holidays. This approach will start you off on strong financial footing for 2017.For more budgeting strategies and financial tips, visit the VSECU Blog at http://blog.vsecu.com/(link is external).  MONTPELIER, VT, JANUARY 13, 2016 – VSECUlast_img read more

Read More →

General Parts Inc. Names Dale Ward EVP, Marketing and Merchandising

first_imgRALEIGH, N.C. – General Parts Inc. (GPI) has named Dale Ward executive vice president, marketing and merchandising reporting directly to President Temple Sloan, III.   AdvertisementClick Here to Read MoreAdvertisement Prior to joining GPI, Ward was executive vice president of operations for CSK Auto in Phoenix, Ariz. During his time with CSK, he held executive positions in marketing, store operations, commercial operations, merchandising and marketing. He drove strategic improvements at CSK including Pro-shop design and implementation, divisional layout and expansion and the company’s core structure. Prior to CSK, Ward served as executive vice president and chief operating officer for Orchard Supply Hardware in San Jose, Calif. From 1993 to 1995, he was president and chief executive officer of F&M Super Drug Stores headquartered in Warren, Mich.   “Dale’s experience makes him the right person for this key leadership position,” said Sloan. “With more than 35 years of experience, he has headed numerous acquisitions, reorganizations and negotiations and has held senior executive level positions in retail store operations, commercial operations and sales and merchandising and marketing.”  For more information about CARQUEST, visit: www.CARQUEST.com.last_img read more

Read More →

Midyear football signing day updates

first_imgWednesday is national signing day for junior-college football transfers who are enrolling midyear at NCAA Division I schools. It’s an especially busy day for the University of Louisville, which is expected to sign at least five juco players. Plus, it has announced the midyear addition of a high school senior. The University of Kentucky is in the final three for three-star junior-college defensive tackle Maurice Swain. This file will updated as any news occurs.3:40: U of L’s biggest remaining juco target on this day, four-star cornerback Rasul Douglas, tweeted that he’s committed to West Virginia. The Cards had been in his final three, along with the Mountaineers and Rutgers. It’s not a terribly surprising decision as WKU was thought to be well-positioned for Douglas for some time, although he did enjoy a recent official trip to U of L. He visited Rutgers last week.Douglas is a first-team NJCAA All-American out of Nassau Community College in New York. He would have been U of L’s highest-ranked juco transfer.WVU here I come — Underrated Sul (@rd20_era) December 17, 20142:55: Big Louisville recruiting news not related to the midyear signing day: The Cards have picked up a commitment from Prattville (Ala.) High offensive tackle Kenny Thomas, who has a been key target at that position of need. He’ll be a traditional February signee. Read a little more about him here, and I’ll try to update that story later.1:59: Had to take a break to cover Damien Harris at the Paul Hornung Award luncheon, but Eastern Arizona running back Tim Cook texted to say he has signed with Louisville. That would leave just Khalil Hunter for Louisville, as well as a Rasul Douglas decision.12:10: Offensive tackle Justin Sandifer of Hinds (Miss.) CC texted that he won’t be signing anywhere today because he still must complete an online course. Sandifer, who visited U of L last weekend, wants to play at Louisville but can’t sign with U of L until he finishes the coursework necessary to enroll midyear.He said he believes he’ll finish his course in three weeks, which would be soon enough to still get in at U of L. He said the Cardinals have told him they can’t accept him after Jan. 7. Sandifer (6-5, 315 pounds), who is rated the nation’s No. 106 junior-college player and No. 17 tackle by 247Sports.com.If Sandifer can get in at U of L, he would figure to be a candidate to play in 2015 as U of L looks to replace tackle Jamon Brown11:58: UK high school commitment Kengera Daniel (6-6, 250) tweeted that he has signed his paperwork to be an early enrollee in Lexington. He’s a three-star defensive end from Raleigh, N.C., who committed in early October.#official#BBNpic.twitter.com/vRwE6nDO77— Kengera Daniel (@WYWH_Daniel22) December 17, 201411:47: U of L tweeted that it’s received a letter of intent from Fresno (Calif.) City running back Jeremy Smith, who committed on Monday night.Smith, a big back at 6-1, 225 pounds, rushed for 1,735 yards and 17 touchdowns and led all California juco rushers with a 157-yard per game average this season. Khalil Hunter and Tim Cook are U of L’s only two juco commits we’re still waiting on.Let’s make it #4! #CardNation please welcome from Fresno City College, stud running back, Jeremy Smith!— LouisvilleFootball (@ULFBRecruiting) December 17, 201411:22: One storyline for today – and the coming days – will be if U of L signs Hinds (Miss.) CC offensive tackle Justin Sandifer. Sandifer officially visited Louisville last weekend, and it seems certain that he would sign with the Cards if they have an offer for him to do so. I haven’t been counting him as a commitment at this point.Sandifer did not answer a text message today asking about his plans.10:45: UK missed on its big target of the day.Three-star Mississippi Gulf Coast defensive tackle Maurice Swain is signing with Auburn, he announced. Swain visited UK last weekend. He also considered Mississippi State, which landed his teammate, top offensive lineman Martinas Rankin.And after… MGCCC DL Maurice Swain chooses #Auburn. @SunHerald#SigningDay#HailState#UKhttp://t.co/EUckTwBHHc— Patrick Ochs (@PatrickOchs) December 17, 201410:41: Lakota West High near Cincinnati recognized UK offensive line commit George Asafo-Adjei on Wednesday morning as a midyear signee. That’s been Asafo-Adjei’s plan since he committed to UK over the summer. UK has not officially announced any midyear additions, but probably will sometime soon.Lakota West linebacker C.J. Stalker also has signed to enroll early at Virginia. He was a target of UK and U of L before he pledged to the Cavaliers.Congratulations to our 2 winter enrollees George Asafo-Adjei (UK) and CJ Stalker (UVa) – Best of luck and #WestPride! pic.twitter.com/IQgL0m66wO— Lakota West Football (@LWHSFootball) December 17, 201410:29: U of L has announced that it did receive that letter of intent from Drew Bailey.#3 is official! #CardNation please welcome the versatile D-lineman, Drew Bailey from Pearl River CC! @Drew_Foreal— LouisvilleFootball (@ULFBRecruiting) December 17, 201410:23: Remember Michael Mathis, UK fans? The defensive back was committed to the Cats for a long time in the 2014 class but never signed with UK out of Kilgore College in Texas.Well, he has signed this morning with Kansas, where’s been committed for several months.Mathis is rated the No. 103 juco player nationally by 247Sports.com.9:53: As was mentioned a little earlier, U of L target Rasul Douglas made the NJCAA All-America first team on Tuesday. U of L commitment Khalil Hunter, an offensive lineman from Eastern Arizona College, made the second team. Hunter and teammate/running back Tim Cook are expected to sign with Louisville at some point today.9:46: Unsurprisingly, East Mississippi Community College four-star offensive tackle Jamal Danley has signed with Oklahoma, where he’s been committed. U of L invited him for an official visit this past weekend and was hoping he would flip before signing day.9:39: Here’s a more formal announcement of Alexander’s signing by U of L football’s Twitter account.The Cards will play the Belk Bowl on Dec. 30 in Alexander’s hometown.Cards sign CB Jaire Alexander from Rocky River HS in Charlotte, N.C. @CoachPetrinoULpic.twitter.com/Eih874vg66— LouisvilleFootball (@UofLFootball) December 17, 20149:35: Pearl River (Miss.) College defensive lineman Drew Bailey, who committed to Louisville on Sunday night, tweeted that he’s signed his letter of intent to the Cards.Bailey (6-4, 280), No. 61 in 247’s juco rankings, can play both tackle and end and will compete to replace B.J. Dubose on the Cards’ on defensive line. He had 10 sacks this past season.Just signed my LOI Time to fax off the goods let’s get it #BirdGang#L1C4 pic.twitter.com/4vSKR8thcz— DREW BAILEY 6’5 © (@Drew_Foreal) December 17, 20149:32: Perhaps U of L’s top target today is four-star cornerback Rasul Douglas of Nassau (N.Y.) College. He’s down to the Cardinals, West Virginia and Rutgers. Douglas is rated the No. 26 junior-college player by 247Sports.com and was named an NJCAA first-team All-American on Tuesday night. He’s not set a specific time to announce his pick, but it’ll come today.Good morning World — Underrated Sul (@rd20_era) December 17, 20149:26: UK’s top juco target on this day is Swain, a 6-foot-4, 300-pound player for Mississippi Gulf Coast College. He’s down to UK, where he visited this past weekend, Auburn and Mississippi State, and he’s supposed to announce his decision about about 10:30 a.m. EST. Auburn has been seen as the team to beat, although UK and Mississippi State probably offer a bigger opportunity to start right away.Swain’s Twitter account [email protected] He’s rated the No. 40 juco by 247Sports.com.8:35: U of L’s official recruiting Twitter account has announced a couple additions to the team. Three-star wide receiver Paul Harris of Iowa Western College has sent his paperwork in to the Cardinals.Harris, a 6-foot-3, 206-pound player from Maryland, was a four-star recruit out of high school who played his freshman year at Tennessee. He transferred to Iowa Western after the 2013 season, then sat out this year while recovering from a leg injury. He could have returned midseason, but U of L coach Bobby Petrino, having already accepted his commitment and guaranteed his scholarship advised him not to.Here’s a story on Harris that ran in today’s paper. He figures to be an important recruit for Petrino, who will lose five senior receivers, including DeVante Parker after this season.#2 in the bag! #CardNation please welcome WR Paul Harris from Iowa Western CC! @HollaAtchGwolla— LouisvilleFootball (@ULFBRecruiting) December 17, 2014Before the announcement about Harris, U of L announced that it has received midyear enrollment paperwork from three-star Charlotte cornerback Jaire Alexander. Alexander committed to U of L on Dec. 7 following his official visit to campus, switching a commitment from South Carolina. He’s the second high school player the Cards have announced as a midyear enrollee; they welcomed four-star multipurpose back/slot receiver Traveon Samuel several weeks ago.#CardNation please welcome the newest Cardinal to the family! Lockdown Corner Jaire Alexander from Rocky River HS! #[email protected]_pariah— LouisvilleFootball (@ULFBRecruiting) December 17, 2014last_img read more

Read More →

The current climate of World of Warcraft esports

first_imgThis is the second instalment of a three-part series that explores the past, the present, and the future of World of Warcraft esports. Read about the past here.As we explored in first part of this series, World of Warcraft has had an interesting history with esports. The Arena World Championships (AWC) has been a staple of the scene since the start and remains the cornerstone of the scene to this day. However, in recent years, the Mythic Dungeon International (MDI) has joined the AWC and offered fans an alternative to the player-vs.-player focused esports that most people know of. Instead, it offers fans the chance to watch professional players tackle timed dungeons in a head-to-head battle.The two other key aspects of World of Warcraftt esports that we’ll touch on in this article are the Race to World First, the streams, the events themselves and what they’ve done for the title. Lastly, we’ll look at the community events, including the Rated Battleground community which has been offering something Blizzard hasn’t in the esports space.The aim of this article is to provide you will a brief overview of what each of the esports disciplines World of Warcraft is and what makes them different from the others.AWC: The original, and best?Cloud9 was the latest big organisation to enter WoW – Image credit Cloud9The AWC is a core element of World of Warcraft esports. In 2019 ,it got the biggest support it’s ever had as Blizzard looked to invest heavily into esports. The AWC is World of Warcraft’s core player-vs.player, three-vs.-three esports. Two groups of three battle it out in a small arena with a number of unique elements, depending on the map, which can change play style and team composition. The AWC enforces a ‘one tank & one healer’ max on compositions, though most tend to use one healer and two DPS. The latter, however, depends heavily on the map, meta, and a variety of other factors.For the 2019 schedule, the AWC was first split into four regions. North America & Europe featured two full splits made up of six cups and one final per season with five teams advancing from each. The two regions have separate weekend cups but share the same end-of-split finals.  Latin America uses an open qualifier system, leading into a round-robin and season final with one side advancing to the AWC finals at BlizzCon. Asia-Pacific follows in the style of Europe and North America by having cups, but they only have the one regional final with one side again advancing. China works in the same way as Asia-Pacific, except it has its own final with one team advancing. Once all of the cups and finals are out the way, the victorious eight sides then headed to BlizzCon for the finals.A look at the in-game store items – image credit Blizzard WatchThe 2019 season also saw Blizzard add in-game store items for players to purchase, increasing the overall prize pool of the 2019 AWC and MDI Grand Final. The two items available were a Transmorpher Beacon – which allowed the user and their group to change into a large selection of World of Warcrafts’s previous dungeon and raid bosses – and a Horde and Alliance theme firework set, which could be used to create a faction-specific firework in-game.Since originally written, it has now been confirmed that the community provided the entire BlizzCon World of Warcraft prize pool. The toys still remain on the store.The MDI: PvE esports?A look at the MDI stream UI – Image Credit – WarcraftThe Mythic Dungeon Invitational is the pinnacle of World of Warcraft player-vs.-environment esports right now, at least officially from Blizzard. The event was first introduced back in 2017 and was similar in 2018, but things started to change in 2019. The event got a slight name change to the Mythic Dungeon International, while keeping the MDI acronym in the process. The event would see a similar seasonal structure as we have seen in the AWC and was also subject to the increased prize pool thanks to the inclusion of the in-game toys.MDI works in the same way that the ‘Mythic Plus’ system works in live World of Warcraft: players race to finish the objectives before a timer expires, while killing all the bosses on the way. Players are awarded loot based on the speed of completion and the level of the dungeon, with the team’s who complete the keystone in time receiving a new key for another dungeon at a higher level. These affixes would add a range of buffs to instance mobs, from increasing the density of mob packs, spawning pools of healing blood when an enemy was killed, to ones that caused mobs to enrage when hitting 20 percent HP. MDI has recently given fans the chance to vote on the weekly affix that teams will face if the event goes to a tiebreaker. With the 2019 season now over, Blizzard must continue to improve the format for both players and spectators alike.?MDI is back and for the first time ever, YOU get to pick the affixes for our wildcard dungeon Atal’Dazar in West Cup #1!In addition to Tyrannical & Beguiling, which affixes do you want to see the teams tackle this weekend??Sat & Sun – https://t.co/nwgNlvoAvT— World of Warcraft (@Warcraft) August 7, 2019One of the community’s biggest complaints about MDI in 2019 was been the stale team compositions. With almost every team using one of three compositions, with Warrior Tank, Healing Druid, and at least one Rogue being a staple of each configuration. The worrying news ahead of the latest series is that the situation looks to have gotten worse.As you can see from the image below, some teams are opting to use upwards of three rogues. Prior to the cup, the Rogue class – more specifically Outlaw – was subject to a number of nerfs. However, apart from a few major roster changes, Rogues continue to be a key factor in MDI. Though, with patch 8.3 and the new Mythic Plus season, Blizzard could be looking to change the scene’s reliance on Rogue by offering the Corrupted affix that allows players to skip section of the dungeon by fighting a mini-boss.A look at the pre Western Summer Cup #1 metaRace to World First: The community event that made it bigImage credit: MethodThe first of our two community-focused esports events comes in the form of the World First Race, otherwise known as the Race to World First. This event has been going on since World of Warcraft raiding began; guilds have always raced each other to down the final boss of whatever the latest raid might be. In 2018, with the release of Battle for Azeroth and the Uldir raid, the Race to World First would change forever.It all started with a partnership between Method, the leading esports team and top guild, and Red Bull. The partners would host an event out of the Red Bull Gaming Sphere in London, with Red Bull providing commentary for the live stream and a venue for a number of the key Method raiders. The organisation would go on to claim the first place ahead of American guild Limit (who we interviewed just after the event). Method and Red Bull would repeat the partnership for the second raid, Battle of Dazar’alor, and the third raid, Crucible of Storms.In the most recent raid, the Eternal Palace, however, Method would split from Red Bull and partner with German provider TakeTV whilst Red Bull would also host an event with Limit and Crucible of Storms raid winners Pieces. Method went on to win the race, with Limit claiming a close second.Outside of BFA, Method also launched an event in partnership with WSOE for the Classic World of Warcraft launch. Method and a team of streamers raced to hit 60 and clear the two raids first. Ultimately, Method was beaten to both goals, but the event offered great coverage of the Classic game and gave fans something different to enjoy.Moving forward, no one knows what will happen with the Race to World First, though we’ll touch on that more in our final article in this series. What’s clear though is that the streams have been great for the community and have involved more guilds than ever. We’d predict that the event continues, be that community-run again or with official Blizzard involvement.A star is born?Community is what drives the early esports scene for a game. At least, it used to. For an esports title to have a long life, the community needs to get behind it. In recent years, we’ve seen an increase in games launching as an esport without any real community to speak of. While a game like Overwatch or Teamfight Tactics can launch and have an esports scene forced upon them, for the long-term health of an esports title you need to build the foundations of a scene; something a strong community allows you to do.World of Warcraft has a 15-year history, plus an added 10 years for Warcraft as an RTS. Even with that in mind, the title’s esports scene has never captured its core player base in the same way other titles have, partially due to a lack of in-game promotion and connectivity. While in recent years World of Warcraft has embraced its esports scene, the community is still driving to improve aspects of the game that are often forgotten about.We’ve spoken already about the Race to World First and how that has had a huge impact on World of Warcraft, especially when it comes to Twitch, but another aspect of the community is the Rated Battleground scene. Essentially, it’s a more competitive take on the standard World of Warcraft battlegrounds that we spoke about in the prior instalment. The RBG community is looking to get Blizzard’s attention with another side of World of Warcraft player-vs.-player that has community groups, much like Resurgent Esports Broadcasting which started out hosting its own events and now works with Blizzard to broadcast the Korean AWC in English.The final current community events come in the form of the Classic Dueler’s League. Right now, Classic has not had its Honour System added, but that’s not stopped a community popping up to support a grassroots esports scene in the form of one-vs.-one duels. The league got underway on October 14th and has been drawing in decently-sized crowds ever since. Blizzard is unlikely to flesh out any official support for Classic World of Warcraft esports, but events such as this just add more layers to an already-loaded esports offering.Your Classic Dueler’s League champions have arrived!!!Later today, October 14th, at 3:00 P.M. EST, we will be drawing our groups for the CDL Season I Qualifiers! Tune in live at https://t.co/39ahTnOvgI to watch the draw with the community!#wowclassic #community pic.twitter.com/pTiFWiIIJv— Tips Out (@TipsOutBaby) October 14, 2019World of Warcraft esports is in a stronger place in 2019 than it’s ever been. With continued support, more community engagement, and continued Twitch growth, the future looks bright.In the final part of this series, we’ll take a closer look at just that: the future. We’ll see what changes could be made to help engage the player base more, the potential of Blizzard taking control of the World First race, and plenty more.Subscribe to ESI on YouTubelast_img read more

Read More →