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The verdict is in: Phoenix voters will soon get to decide the fate of light rail.

On Wednesday, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that Proposition 105 - the citizen initiative that seeks to block all future expansion of the city’s light rail system - will remain on the special election ballot in August. 

The decision lays to rest a months-long court battle over the legality of Prop 105. In January, the state chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America sued to keep the measure off the ballot, arguing that its organizers had collected signatures unlawfully and that the language in the initiative’s description was misleading. Both the Maricopa County Superior Court and court of appeals had rejected the plaintiffs arguments before the high court affirmed their decisions this week.

That means on August 27 - for the second time in five years - you the voter will get to weigh in on one of the city’s most contentious issues. 

A “yes” vote on Prop 105 will effectively halt all future light rail extensions in Phoenix and redirect funding to roadway and other transportation needs. Prop 105 supporters, led by City Councilman Sal DiCiccio, consider light rail a fiscal extravagance that benefits a relative few commuters. 

A significant coalition has formed to oppose Prop 105, and includes Mayor Kate Gallego, the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce and other local business and political heavyweights. Passage of Prop 105 will prevent light rail from keeping up with Phoenix transportation needs, they say, and hurt the economy.

A mechanical and aerospace engineer and highly awarded academic has been named the new chancellor of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s campus in Prescott, Arizona.

New Chancellor Anette Karlsson, the first woman to hold the position in the aviation and engineering school’s 41-year history, said she is excited about carrying on its mission to lead research and prepare future leaders for military and private industry.

“I’m honored to join the dynamic Prescott Campus of the world’s leading aviation and aerospace university,” said Karlsson, a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineering who has a Ph.D. in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Rutgers University.

Karlsson said her leadership style will be “highly collaborative.”

[...] Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University was founded in 1931 and is the largest accredited university system specializing in aviation, aerospace engineering and aeronautics. It has two campuses including its Daytona campus in Florida and its Worldwide Campus with more than 135 locations across the United States, Europe and Asia.

Embry-Riddle researchers develop solutions for industry and government partners to support the nation’s future air transportation needs with new technology. Its graduates are courted by military branches, and companies like Boeing, Northrup Grumman and major U.S. airlines.

Read about Embry-Riddle’s recent partnership with Korean Airlines to address a pilot shortage at: Embry-Riddle partners with Korean Airlines.

The House passed a two-year budget deal Thursday that lifts the debt ceiling and boosts government spending by $320 billion.

The legislation would suspend the debt limit through July 2021 and increase spending caps for the next two years, putting the U.S. on track to add an estimated $1.7 trillion to the deficit over the next decade when compared with the billions in automatic spending cuts that would otherwise kick in.

Lawmakers passed the package in a 284-149 vote. Sixty-five Republicans voted against the measure, as did 16 Democrats.

The legislation now heads to the Senate, which is expected to pass it next week before senators leave town for the August recess.  [...]

veridus clients in the news

Universal Technical Institute Inc. is launching a first-of-its-kind program in the transportation sector.

The Early Employment Initiative will allow 30 students on the school’s Avondale campus to apprentice with several of UTI’s employer partners for on-the-job training while they learn hard and soft skills in the classroom.

The program was developed to meet the high demand for graduates from UTI’s automotive and diesel programs.

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that there will be 1.2 million job openings in the transportation sector by 2026.

The initiative will reduce some of the competition for UTI graduates and put them on a career path at an early stage.

“These students will be ready to hit the ground running when they graduate,” said Jody Kent, UTI’s vice president of communications and public affairs.

Kent called it a “win-win” for both students and the companies that hope to hire them.

[...] The initiative is another sign of growth for UTI. the company announced in November 2018 its first year-over-year growth in student starts in nearly a decade.

The Tohono O'odham Nation celebrated the inauguration of Chairman Ned Norris Jr. and Vice Chairwoman Wavalene Saunders Friday.

Leaders from other tribal governments, United States government officials and members of the Tohono O'odham Nation gathered together at Sells Recreation Center to welcome the pair into their new roles. Cissimarie Juan, former Miss Tohono O'odham Nation and former Miss Indian Arizona, sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" in O'odham.

Norris served as chair from 2007-2015, and Saunders served as vice chair from 2011-2015. They lost the election to Edward Manuel and Verlon Jose in 2015.

They were re-elected in May and will serve a four-year term.

Norris and Saunders identified many things they hope to improve during their administration, including road conditions, health care and climate change. Norris addressed President Donald Trump on the subject during his inauguration speech.

[...] The event included a blessing by Manuel Havier and performances from Marissa Valentine and Shania Manuel. Norris and Saunders closed the ceremony with a song — an O'odham prayer.

It appears everywhere industries are being upended by the rise of “disruptive technology.” Our ability to harness all manner of technological change and the “Internet of things” is changing the way we communicate, work, shop, manage our home, travel and recreate. It is also impacting how consumers are making choices about their food.

Agriculture has been at the forefront of adopting technology for decades. We raise crops and livestock much differently now than we ever thought possible. Satellite technology has made us more precise and efficient, new plant varieties have allowed for increased mechanization and lower pesticide and fertilizer application all while providing higher yields. We raise livestock that exhibit more desirable traits and productivity through the adoption of selective breeding and increasingly better genetics through AI. We can also track animals, crops, and commodities in real-time.

But now, with the rise of plant-based and cell-cultured protein products, we are faced with our own form of disruptive technology that makes us uncomfortable. The rise of plant-based proteins meant to mimic the taste and texture of meat and the growing of meat cells cultured in labs gives us pause. It is not the technology that concerns us. We have adopted new technologies in our production practices for decades and even these new technologies have the potential to provide benefits for agriculture.

What is concerning to us is yet an additional product in the seemingly endless stream of marketing which will be used as an attack to vilify conventional agriculture to gain market share. What we have all seen is an endless attack on the current production systems that are the bedrock of the safest and most abundant food supply the world has ever known.

We are already seeing it related to these new plant and cell-based protein products. Just a few examples include Meatless Monday’s, cow farts causing climate change, dietary recommendations that promote more plant-based diets (which are more propaganda than sound science), advertisements for humane meat, clean meat, etc. These attacks on our current production systems are not just a war between two brands, they are attacks on the bedrock of the safest and most abundant food supply in the world. Worse, for agricultural producers, they are an attack on our livelihoods, our lifestyle and our reputation as stewards of our precious natural resources.

The question is…. How will we respond to the latest attack? We clearly need to ensure that these new products are clearly labeled, and consumers know what they are buying. However, if we stop there we will have won the battle and lost the war. As the current marketing suggests, labeling these products will be seen by their proponents as a benefit, not a detriment. They will use those labels to advertise their products as the superior alternative at the expense of the current products on the market. They will say that they are safer, cleaner, have a lower carbon footprint and use less water to produce. We will need to think beyond the labels and fight marketing with marketing.

The good news is that we can benefit from other trends over the last several years. Our beef producers are the natural, traditional and minimally processed alternative to these products. Why would you want a product grown in a lab when you can have a product that is grown on the land by real people. We also have the benefit of iconic history and the advantage of showing our products in a natural setting. I don’t know about you, but a herd of cattle on the range is much more appealing than a grouping of cells in a Petrie dish. We also have the benefit of a segment of the public who is much more interested in where their food comes from and how it is produced…. we need to tell them.

London-based Diageo PLC has broken ground on a new $130 million distillery in Lebanon, Ky., about 66 miles south of Louisville.

The Diageo Lebanon Distillery is expected to be fully operational in 2021, according to a news release. This is a facility that was first announced in December.

The facility will sit on an approximately 144-acre property and will include a 72,000-square-foot distillery and dry house, as well as 12 barrel warehouses, the news release said. The site will have the capability to distill a variety of Diageo bourbon and American whiskey brands.

[...] “Today marks a significant moment in Diageo’s continued commitment to the Kentucky spirits industry, as we officially begin construction on the Diageo Lebanon Distillery and become a member of the Marion County community,” Erik Snyder, president, North America supply and procurement for Diageo, said in the release.

Once open, the Diageo Lebanon Distillery will employ approximately 30 full-time employees.

Since 2014, Diageo has invested more than $300 million in Kentucky. This facility will supplement the company’s other Kentucky operations: Stitzel-Weller in Louisville and The Bulleit Distilling Co. and Visitor Experience in Shelbyville, which collectively employ more than 100 additional people.

CHANDLER, Ariz., July 22, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Zovio (Nasdaq: ZVO), an education technology services company that partners with higher education institutions and employers to deliver educational programing and benefits, has teamed up with Delta Air Lines to broaden their tuition assistance benefit program. The partnership kicked off in April with Zovio and Ashford University's sponsorship of the Delta Care and Scholarship Fund's 9th Annual 5K Run and Walk, and will continue with Ashford's Forbes School of Business and Technology participation in Delta's "June Week of Learning."

"We are excited to partner with Delta Airlines and to offer Ashford's academic programs to their employees and their immediate family members," said Michael Rolnick, Senior Vice President of Employer Services at Zovio. "We want to help each employee find the right academic program through our varied offerings."

The partnership between Zovio and Delta allows eligible Delta employees to pursue associate, bachelor's and master's degrees at Ashford University at a discounted rate. Delta Care and Scholarship Fund, coupled with the tuition assistance benefit offered by Ashford University, enables these students to minimize the cost of earning a degree. [...]

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