Furniture Manufacturers Smell Recovery

furnituremanuAnd even as exhibitors conceded that March had been a little slow and that the future was questionable, the fact that some of the larger furniture players had just posted better than expected sales was a high point on opening day. In fact, furniture makers such as Furniture Brands International, La-Z-Boy, Bassett, Natuzzi, Hooker and Stanley have all reported sales increases in the past few months. Retail giant Havertys reported the day before High Point opened that its March sales rose 2% compared to year-to-date figures, reaching #42m.

This is evidence that industry analysts are on track in their observations: that Americans will continue to look homeward when it comes to spending disposable income.

Michelle Lamb, founder and chairman of Marketing Directions, which publishes The Trend Curve, notes: `Consumers are …

9/11 Hit The South, Too

911hitIt goes without saying that no one in the Southwest went untouched by the events of September 11. Add an assortment of regional disasters, both natural and man-made (Enron, for starters), to the lingering economic and psychological effects of 9/11, and it’s a wonder that anyone in the area remains confident about the future. Yet design professionals in this region are determined to keep their chins up–even if it has only been to keep their heads out of the flood waters in south-central Texas last summer or to look for rain in drought-stricken states. In Dallas, Jon Flaming reports, “The only design trend I’ve noticed is the minimalist trend: no work. It will get better, though.” Of Oklahoma City, no stranger to terrorism, Amy Johnson of Walker Creative says, “My …

Japan’s Disaster Relief Team Helps The World

jdrt“In areas that have experienced a natural disaster, hospitals have often been destroyed and doctors themselves may have been injured. There is a kind of medical vacuum in such areas,” says Dr. Kondo Hisayoshi, a member of the medical team. “We focus on filling the vacuum, alleviating the disastrous situations and saving as many lives as possible.”

Dr. Kondo, who now works for the Research Center for Radiation Emergency Medicine of the National Institute of Radiological Sciences, has had a great interest in the activities of the JDR ever since he was a medical student. He registered with the medical team soon after becoming a doctor. Dr. Kondo has been dispatched to Nicaragua after a hurricane in 1998, to Taiwan after an earthquake in 1999 and to Mozambique after floods …

Hotels Make Safety The Top Priority During Disasters

hduringdEnsuring the safety of their guests and employees is the top priority for hoteliers. Whether operating a beachside hotel, ski resort in the Rockies, or urban skyscraper, natural disasters and emergency situations are a reality. Hoteliers who display a heightened approach to crisis management and communications are better prepared for such frightening scenarios.

Hosting hundreds of travel writers this past September for the Society of American Travel Writers convention, Bermuda’s Fairmont Southampton and Fairmont Hamilton Princess hotels were not going to let a looming hurricane dampen the annual conference. As Hurricane Erin prepared to bear down on Bermuda with winds up to 85 miles per hour, hotel employees readied to execute an expeditious plan for the safety of the employees and guests. All team members assumed specific duties from locking …

Hurricane Andrew Destroyed Many Lives

hurricaneIn the early morning hours of August 24, 1992, a wicked hurricane ripped through southern Florida. By lunchtime, 15 people were dead and 250,000 were homeless. Ten years after one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history, witnesses remember Hurricane Andrew’s scariest moments and the struggles of starting over.

“If Our Marriage Survived This, We Can Get Through Anything.”

Leslie Case, then 27, was relaxing with her husband, Brad, at the family’s Florida Keys beach house when the first warnings about Hurricane Andrew flashed across the TV screen. Together the Cases stored away the deck furniture–“just in case the wind was bad”–and decided to head back to their avocado and lime farm in Homestead, 60 miles away. Leslie, three months pregnant with her first child, was a rookie when …

CEO Compensation Issues – Never Will Be Settled

ceocomThe New York Times recently reported that Mr. Weill received over $1 billion during the last decade.

If it weren’t for the Times’ report, no one would know Mr. Weill’s true compensation, nor its significance. No Securities and Exchange Commission report or Citigroup annual report gives any hint of this billion-dollar compensation package. No official report compares this with corporate philanthropic giving; for example, Mr. Weill’s annual compensation has generally exceeded Citi’s corporate philanthropy by a ratio of three to one.

No official report provides any data on the ratio of Mr. Weill’s or any other CEO’s pay to that of the average American worker or a company’s average employee. At Citigroup, the CEO compensation package is generally in the area of 3,000 times that of the typical bank teller.…

When The Unthinkable Happens

unthinkablehWhat happened on September 11, 2001, was unthinkable, the terrorist attacks of that day so unimaginably monstrous they boggled the mind and still threaten to defy comprehension. And no wonder, for how do you think about the unthinkable? How do you imagine the unimaginable?

Well, if you’re like me, you start with reading. For you believe that books–by offering information, ideas, and, in the case of fiction, opportunities for empathy–can stimulate thought, provoke discussion, and, ultimately, provide understanding, reassurance, and even comfort.

It was this belief that prompted the creation of 911: The Book of Help, which I had the privilege of coediting with Marc Aronson and Marianna Carus. This anthology contains stories, essays, and poems by 25 prominent writers for young readers who share their highly individual, deeply personal, …

Mapping From Space!

forestmapperForestMapper, a high-precision, airborne visible imaging system manufactured by Space Instruments, Inc. (Encinitas, CA), is hard at work sweeping across the South American sky, gathering digital data about the Amazon basin for Brazil’s national forest service, Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renovaveis (IBAMA).

IBAMA employs images collected with ForestMapper to generate regional vegetation indices, study the ecological impact of pollution, track natural disasters such as floods and fires, and even pinpoint active sites of illegal logging operations that practice selective harvesting of high-value hardwood trees such as mahogany. In Brazil, for instance, the radiometric device is helping detect the unique spectral signatures of various forms of florae, as well as find the fresh skid trails of loggers.

ForestMapper incorporates a pair of high-speed MegaPlus 1.6i CCD