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  • Thu, March 12, 2020 6:24 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    From the desk of Vanessa Gagne:
    ANIMAL ISSUES LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

    March 12, 2020

    UPDATES

    The City of Chicago is still considering a carriage horse ban.  The ban passed committee and is headed to City Council for a full vote.  The Cavalry Group has an excellent website for talking points and contact information:  Stop Chicago Carriage Ban

    CO SB125 which has passed the Senate and will now be heard by the environment committee of the Colorado House next Monday, the 16th.  The bill would ban traveling exotic animals.  Please help our Colorado friends and those that do business in the state.  Thank you, NAWA, for the contact information.  Oppose CO SB125

    IN THE NEWS

    Executive of Ky. equine company indicted in horse racing drug scam

    Mystic Aquarium urges lawmakers to reject bill prohibiting whales, dolphins from being kept in captivity

    Are your elected officials working for you or animal rights activists?

    Parents, exhibitors react over Houston Rodeo & Livestock Show cancellation

  • Thu, March 12, 2020 1:19 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)
    U.S. On-Highway Diesel Fuel Prices*
    (dollars per gallon) full history XLS
    Change from
    02/24/20 03/02/20 03/09/20 week ago year ago
    U.S. 2.882 2.851 2.814 -0.037 -0.265
    East Coast (PADD1) 2.931 2.898 2.860 -0.038 -0.263
    New England (PADD1A) 3.061 3.023 2.990 -0.033 -0.193
    Central Atlantic (PADD1B) 3.117 3.081 3.045 -0.036 -0.270
    Lower Atlantic (PADD1C) 2.779 2.748 2.709 -0.039 -0.272
    Midwest (PADD2) 2.756 2.725 2.689 -0.036 -0.322
    Gulf Coast (PADD3) 2.654 2.627 2.577 -0.050 -0.304
    Rocky Mountain (PADD4) 2.849 2.826 2.803 -0.023 -0.136
    West Coast (PADD5) 3.459 3.424 3.399 -0.025 -0.106
    West Coast less California 3.072 3.054 3.026 -0.028 -0.136
    California 3.778 3.728 3.705 -0.023 -0.073
    *prices include all taxes


  • Thu, March 12, 2020 12:37 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    Dear Members and Friends,

    Please help the SLA extend our condolences to the family of Kitty Luehrs.

    It is with great sadness that we share the passing of Kitty Luehrs. Kitty lost her battle with cancer on March 6th.  Kitty possessed a vibrant personality and had a smile that would light up the room. She was the magnet that brought family, friends, neighbors and colleagues together.

    Kitty and her husband Jim co-owned Smile-A-While Amusements, providing carnival games and rides to many summertime fairs throughout Illinois and Indiana with Luehrs Ideal Rides. She was the quintessential “Happy Camper”.

    Funeral Arrangements:
     Wake is Sunday, March 15th from 3-7pm
     Funeral is Monday, March 16th at 10:30am
     Both will be held at St. Clare of Assisi
     1411 Cross St. O’Fallon, IL
     62269


  • Thu, March 05, 2020 4:11 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    From the desk of Vanessa Gagne:
    ANIMAL ISSUES LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

    March 5, 2020

    UPDATES

    Westchester County, New York banned traveling exotic animals after the Hanneford show over President’s Day weekend.  Circus animals banned from Westchester County Center
    Hanneford will still play that spot but will not bring animals.
    County Exotic Animal Ban Won't Affect Hanneford Circus

    A new Connecticut law has been introduced that would ban captive breeding of cetaceans.  Learn why that would have a negative impact on the conservation of whales and dolphins for the future.

    Why Whale Bans Are Bad For Conservation 

    More animal news here >>>

  • Thu, March 05, 2020 3:06 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    Today, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it will take necessary anti-fraud and abuse measures to protect the integrity of the H-2B visa program and also make available 35,000 supplemental H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas for the second half of fiscal year 2020. The allocation also comes with new conditions to protect American workers, provide relief to seasonal employers who truly need it, and reduce fraud and abuse in the program.

    New to the program this year is an allocation that will also complement DHS border security initiatives. The program will offer an opportunity for nationals of key Central American partner nations to work lawfully in the United States. Of the released H-2B visas, 10,000 are specifically designated for nationals of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, in support of these countries' efforts to work with the U.S. to stem the flow of illegal migration in the region and encourage lawful migration to the United States.

    While the Department is taking this action, long term reforms need to be made by Congress to this program going forward. In the interim, the Department is taking significant steps to promote integrity in the program, combat fraud and abuse, and ensure the supplemental allocation aligns with the national interest.

    Reform measures include:

    • Requiring matching start dates on an H-2B petition and the employer’s start date of need;
    • collaborating with the Department of Labor on increased employer site visits; and,
    • generally limiting the supplemental visas to returning workers, who are known to follow immigration law in good faith.

    This year’s supplemental allocation was determined after extensive consultation with stakeholders—including members of Congress and the Department of Labor—and is intended to strike a careful balance that benefits American businesses and American workers.

    The supplemental visas will be made available in two batches to prevent a small handful of employers from using all the visas: 20,000 for start dates beginning April 1, and 15,000 for start dates beginning May 15. Adding a second batch will address specific congressional concerns about late-season filers.

    DHS is committed to ensuring that our immigration system is implemented lawfully and that American workers are protected. If members of the public have information that a participating employer may be abusing this program, DHS invites them to submit information to ReportH2BAbuse@uscis.dhs.gov and include information identifying the H-2B petitioning employer and relevant information that leads them to believe that the H-2B petitioning employer is abusing the H-2B program. Individuals are also encouraged to report allegations of employer fraud and abuse to the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Wage and Hour Division by contacting 1-866-487-9243 or visit www.dol.gov/whd  to locate the nearest office for assistance.

    Further details regarding this year's H-2B allocation will be contained in a Temporary Final Rule that DHS aims to complete and publish as soon as possible.

  • Thu, March 05, 2020 2:50 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    Click here for printable pdf

  • Wed, March 04, 2020 5:14 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)
    U.S. On-Highway Diesel Fuel Prices*
    (dollars per gallon) full history XLS
    Change from
    02/17/20 02/24/20 03/02/20 week ago year ago
    U.S. 2.890 2.882 2.851 -0.031 -0.225
    East Coast (PADD1) 2.940 2.931 2.898 -0.033 -0.221
    New England (PADD1A) 3.070 3.061 3.023 -0.038 -0.154
    Central Atlantic (PADD1B) 3.123 3.117 3.081 -0.036 -0.220
    Lower Atlantic (PADD1C) 2.793 2.779 2.748 -0.031 -0.237
    Midwest (PADD2) 2.757 2.756 2.725 -0.031 -0.289
    Gulf Coast (PADD3) 2.658 2.654 2.627 -0.027 -0.243
    Rocky Mountain (PADD4) 2.858 2.849 2.826 -0.023 -0.113
    West Coast (PADD5) 3.468 3.459 3.424 -0.035 -0.079
    West Coast less California 3.081 3.072 3.054 -0.018 -0.101
    California 3.774 3.778 3.728 -0.050 -0.051
    *prices include all taxes

    https://www.eia.gov/petroleum/gasdiesel/

  • Thu, February 27, 2020 2:59 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    From the desk of Vanessa Gagne:
    ANIMAL ISSUES LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

    February 27, 2020

    UPDATES

    The city of Charlotte, NC has deferred a ban on traveling exotic animals in the circus and restructured the language of their ordinance that would ban the use of elephant guides. 
    'This is not fair at all’: City Council defers decision on exotic animal ordinance

    IN THE NEWS

    Judge Wishes She Could Rule Elephant a “Person”

    USDA: Commerfords kept proper vet records in wake of elephant death

    ASHLOCK: Hollywood's skewed image of American ag

    No more elephant rides? Bill moving forward could impact Natural Bridge Zoo

    There is still time to help oppose this bill and let your voice be heard.  There is only 1 elephant in the entire state of Virginia and this law is targeting her and her facility.
  • Thu, February 27, 2020 2:02 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    By Don Carrington
    Carolina Journal

    SPRING HOPE — Part of a train once owned by the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is sitting on an abandoned rail line in the Nash County woods.

    The N.C. Department of Transportation bought the circus train about three years ago, and before Carolina Journal got a tip about the train’s location, few people seemed to know it existed.

    Markings on the train cars — deep into the woods and not easily visible from any road — indicate it’s part of “The Greatest Show on Earth.” There’s no locomotive.

    The cars, nine in all, sit on tracks about 4,000 feet from the town limits of Spring Hope. Ringling Bros. closed in 2017.

    NCDOT spokeswoman Katie Trout told CJ as part of a strategic transportation initiative in 2017, NCDOT bought the nine rail cars for $383,000. The cars rest on state-owned track due to limited space at the active rail facilities in Raleigh.

    After buying the circus train, NCDOT applied for and was awarded a $77 million federal grant to purchase new rail cars.

    “At this time, NCDOT is evaluating its rail fleet and will make recommendations on the department’s rail fleet future needs, including the disposition of nine rail cars purchased in 2017. The assessment should be complete by the end of this calendar year,” Trout told CJ.

    Spring Hope Mayor Buddy Gwaltney said the train has become the talk of the town, though he isn’t sure why it’s there. He first heard about the lonesome train last week.

    “We haven’t seen any elephants or giraffes running around … monkeys swinging in the trees yet, but we’ve got our eyes open,” he joked.

    This story was reprinted with permission from the Carolina Journal, the John Locke Foundation’s newspaper covering North Carolina government and public policy.

  • Thu, February 27, 2020 12:35 PM | Sue Gallup (Administrator)

    by Timothy Herrick
    Monday, February 24, 2020
    Carnival Warehouse

    The largest California-based carnival company turns 50 in 2020 and the outlook is positive, if the economy remains as strong as it was in 2019 and the weather follows 2018 patterns.  As Sean Butler,  Chief Operating Officer & Unit Manager of Butler Amusement explains, “2018 was very dry and with the economy starting to boom we had a stellar 2018.  In 2019 we had a very wet spring but luckily the summer had some big hits and we set records at most of our fairs from June onward.  All in all, a great year.  Overall our fair season either matched 2018 or was up slightly.”

    Butler Amusements is unique, even among the cadre of the largest carnival companys.  The company has a ride inventory upwards of 150 rides and for much of the summer, the company runs three main units, although  the units merge for the larger fairs during the summer.  The company consistently ranks 4th on Carnival Warehouses' annual list of Carnival Companies playing the Top 50 Fairs, which in 2019 included : Big Fresno Fair, the California State Fair, Alameda County Fair, Kern County Fair, and the Evergreen Fair.  

    Typically, the seasons begins in January and concludes in mid-October, followed by a coda of two Christmas events in  December.

    Tough Start, Good Finish

    The second decade of the 21st century was not always as positive as its final years, especially on the west coast, which was ravaged by the Great Recession, and for California especially, plagued by a drought that negatively impacted the state's agricultural industry. “This region was hit pretty hard by the recession a few years ago and it seemed to linger longer,” said Butler.  Now, the economy is very strong in California, there are still some cities in the central valley of California that are struggling to recover from the recession.  All of our fairs, except for one or two are done with drought restrictions in California, but most of our fair partners have tried to keep control of water waste.”

    But as the season begins, like most carnival companies, workforce issues cause the most apprehension.  In the 2020 season, the company will employ “340 H-2B employees and around 75 American employees for our rides,” said Butler. “We had to start our 2019 & 2020 season a full month earlier than we ever had in the past in order to secure the employees we need for our season.”

    As finding and hiring qualified personnel becomes more challenging, the company has also geared up training and retention programs, realizing that the company growth requires a stable and skilled workforce.  “ Our employees are the lifeblood of our company and industry; we have been very lucky to get them,” he said. “Just like any company that has been around for over a generation, we have to train more people to learn positions that some of our core employees have been in for decades.  We have had many great new additions to our staff in the last couple of years and we will have to continue to add more as time goes on.”
    Read complete article and find photos here
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