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Say it with cake

first_imgLooking ahead to spring, although Easter will be flagged up as the main event in the bakery calendar, it’s important not to overlook another potential sales opportunity Mother’s Day. Falling on Sunday 3 April this year, Mother’s Day is traditionally a gift occasion and a time when your products may not sell on taste alone. Thought needs to be given to the presentation and packaging of your goods for example, the addition of a gift box could turn a selection of your brownies into a present rather than an afternoon snack. Inviting window displays are also key to reminding consumers they needn’t say it with flowers, or chocolates, but with biscuits and cakes instead.Mike Holling, retail and sales manager of craft chain Birds of Derby, says developing Mother’s Day products for your customers is a great way for craft bakers to bring in incremental sales to their business. “Last year we achieved sales in excess of £8,000; our target in 2011 will be to increase this by 15-20%,” he says. “We simply adapt some of our regular products, such as biscuits and novelty lines, adding inscriptions in order to generate sales. Strawberry and lemon cupcakes were a particular success last year.”Established in 2007, Biscuiteers is an example of a bakery and gift business at its best. Its strapline ’Why send flowers when you can send biscuits instead?’ says it all. Founder Harriet Hastings says people are prepared to pay for beautifully made premium products, especially when buying them as a gift. She says Mother’s Day is a very big occasion in Biscuiteers’ trading calendar, second only to Christmas. It sells its handmade iced biscuits, including the likes of ’I love you mum’ biscuit cards, in gift tins.”Biscuits are wonderful because they are so adaptable and have limitless design possibilities,” says Hastings. “We do launch new Mother’s Day collections every year, but we also sell a lot of the Flower Power, Cooks Tins and Cupcakes tins. We also offer personalised biscuit card teapots, which we can ice with customers’ messages. Those are popular.”With adequate packaging essential for sending biscuits through the post, Hastings says its packaging has been designed to “withstand the rigours of Royal Mail”, with its biscuits delivered in tins in custom-made outer packaging.The trend for elaborately iced biscuits appears to be gathering steam, with Juliet Stallwood, of Juliet Stallwood Cakes and Biscuits, experiencing a busy Mother’s Day last year, the first in her businesses’s trading calendar. The small family-run business, based in Semley near Shaftesbury in Dorset, offered three cupcake designs for Mother’s Day, along with handmade biscuits, and Stallwood says the business has since expanded really quickly, with enquiries from her website flooding in.Flower powerIf consumers want to say it with flowers, they can always do it with a cupcake bouquet. Victoria Forward, owner of Portsmouth-based Let Them Eat Cake discovered that her cupcake bouquets were an instant hit for Mother’s Day last year, making it ones of her busiest trade weekends to date, and will be offering them again this year. Forward also runs cake decorating workshops and plans to host a special one the Saturday before Mother’s Day in order to teach people how to make the cupcake bouquets for their own mums.She came across the idea of the bouquets after a spot of internet research, which showed they were gaining popularity in the US and, in just two weeks, she trialled the designs and marketed them, using her Facebook page, word-of-mouth and, interestingly, through free community ad site Gumtree. “The cupcake bouquets are something a bit different to giving flowers and chocolates,” she says. She offers a range of different styles: buttercream rose swirls, which were the most popular; hand-piped roses; chrysanthemums; and gerbera daisies, and says she plans to branch out and offer a more premium service this year with messages in icing and gift cards as options.last_img read more


House panel hears Art. V bill

first_imgHouse panel hears Art. V bill House panel hears Art. V bill Associate Editor Fending off legislation that would dramatically politicize the judiciary and gut The Florida Bar, President Herman Russomanno came to the House Committee on Judicial Oversight armed with the firepower of legal luminaries with the combined experience of 462 years. Former Florida Supreme Court Justices Alan Sundberg and Stephen Grimes stepped up to the podium March 14 to register grave concerns about several bills that would dramatically change the way courts are run and how justices get their jobs, as well as strip the Bar of its unified role in fully regulating lawyers and eliminate its role in the judicial nominating commission process. They were joined by former Bar presidents Ben Hill III and John Frost, Florida Bar Board of Governors lay members Dr. Alvin Smith and Vivian Hobbs, Eighth Circuit Judge Stan Morris,Virgil Hawkins Florida Chapter of the National Bar Association President Craig Gibbs, Cuban American Bar Association President Michael Diaz, Kelly O’Keefe of Florida Association for Women Lawyers, and lawyers Barry Richard and Thom Rumberger. (see story, page 9) All echoed the sentiments of Russomanno, who said: “Simply stated, The Florida Bar takes the position that this bill, as written, is an assault on the independence of the Bar and an assault on the independence of the court. It would politicize the process and set back our system of justice well over 100 years.. . . We want to bring our case to the people, because if you understand the role of the Bar and the role of the court and the separation of powers, you will see the flaws, the fatal flaws, in this legislation.” Drastic changes to the courts and Bar, as proposed in joint resolution HJR 627 by Rep. Fred Brummer, R-Apopka, would strip the Bar of its authority to comprehensively regulate Florida’s 68,000 lawyers; create by statute “Super District Courts of Appeal” with exclusive statewide jurisdiction on any issue; require a two-thirds vote, rather than the current majority, to retain appellate judges; and would eliminate judicial nominating commissions, giving the governor the sole authority to nominate and appoint judges, with advice and consent of the Senate. Other aspects of Brummer’s bill eliminate the distinction between substantive law and procedural rules, require that all court rules conform to statutes, and authorize the legislature to repeal rules by a simple majority, rather than the current two-thirds vote. Members of the Judiciary Oversight Committee also heard briefly from Rep. Carey Baker, R-Eustis, on HJR 655 that would require lawyers to run for statewide election to serve as justices of the Supreme Court and would limit their terms to eight years, as well as Rep. Randy Johnson, R-Winter Garden, on HJR 783 regarding electing justices and district court of appeal judges, with eight-year term limits. And Rep. Jerry Melvin, R-Ft. Walton Beach, promised he would once again file a bill to put the regulation of lawyers under the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Rep. Brummer said he is just trying to level the playing field between lawyers and other professions. He said he wants to end the special privilege he views lawyers are enjoying because the Bar is interlocked with the Florida Supreme Court. “Attorneys practicing law have special treatment under the Florida Constitution that no other profession has, where the integration of the Bar and the courts permits a relationship nowhere else seen,” said Brummer, a certified public accountant. “Back in the ’60s and ’70s, CPAs used to regulate CPAs. Back in the ’60s and ’70s, the real estate association used to regulate Realtors. Those practices were set aside and were replaced by regulation by the legislature through the executive branch. So retaining the Bar interlocked with the courts, I think, establishes an elitist situation for attorneys.” Speaking in support of portions of the proposed legislation dealing with revamping the JNCs was attorney George Meros, Jr., who represents the complainant in the recent First District Court of Appeal JNC inquiry. Meros also represents 300 businesses, individuals, and associations in a coalition to change tort laws. Also voicing his approval of the proposed legislation was Ted Hires, the complainant in that JNC controversy who is also the founder of the Justice Coalition, a Jacksonville victims’ advocacy group, who wants judges elected, and Terry Kemble, executive director of the Florida Christian Coalition, who wants candidates for judge or sitting judges to be free to give their views on positions. “To think a judge can sit on the bench and make decisions on important cases without taking into account that judge’s upbringing, philosophical beliefs, religious belief, it’s ludicrous to think that that can happen,” Kemble said. “So if judges are going to make decisions based on those beliefs, it seems to me that we ought to be able to know before we vote for them what those beliefs are.” But Grimes warned: “If judges go very far in expressing their views, then how will a litigant feel coming before the judge on the opposing side? It’s a dangerous area to open up too far.” At the end of the four-hour workshop in which no vote was taken, Brummer said more time was needed to hear from more supporters of his bill, and he requested another workshop. The committee must set a date for another meeting at which it will vote on whether to send Brummer’s proposed amendment to the constitution to the House floor for a vote. To succeed, Brummer’s resolution requires a three-fifths vote from both the House and Senate, which in turn would authorize an amendment to the state constitution for a vote in the November 2002 election. Most of the workshop was filled with the voices of those who think the Bar is doing a good job regulating lawyers and rose to defend the current system of how appellate judges are chosen and the way the courts are run. Some of those voices came from the lawyer members serving on the Judicial Oversight Committee, in the form of questions they asked: • Rep. Dudley Goodlette, R-Naples: “I formerly served proudly on the Board of Governors of The Florida Bar. I think the Bar does an outstanding job of regulating lawyers, and so I have a very significant problem with this portion of the bill, as well as other portions.. . . I’m troubled by this notion, Rep. Brummer, and I have to be careful, because I don’t mean for this comment to be a criticism of the DBPR in the role they serve in regulating cosmetologists and engineers and CPAs and others. But I’m quite proud of the fact that I know that when a colleague of mine happens to go astray and steals money from their clients’ trust account, they don’t have a license to practice law two days later. I am concerned that public policy would be most well-served to preserve that kind of system, rather than to destroy that kind of system.” • Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Dania Beach (regarding proposed legislation that would allow the judge in a civil case to assess the full cost of services on the nonprevailing party): “You are a certified public accountant, Rep. Brummer, and that’s why I think it’s fair to pose this question to you. In your own mind, what costs have you anticipated being taxed against the nonprevailing party in a civil action? And how do you reconcile this provision on assessment of costs with Article 1, Section 21 of our constitution, which says the courts shall be open to every person for redress of any injury and justice shall be administered without sale?” Brummer answered: “Keep in mind that the way we structured this is that it does not apply if the judge so decides.” • Rep. Larry Crow, R-Dunedin: “You’re talking about the two-thirds vote for the retention of judges. That basically amounts to a one-third veto of a judge. Correct? Doesn’t that fly in the face of a theory of a republican democracy and the rule of the majority?” Brummer answered: “We’re talking about running against no one. And if you are running against no one, and you’re only pulling 40 percent of the vote, you’ve got serious, serious problems regarding accountability.. . . That two-thirds number comes from this House. If you want to roll over our bills without a third reading, for instance.. . There’s so many things that we do based on two-thirds of the vote. In order to modify, for instance, our Death Penalty Reform Act, we had to get two-thirds of the vote. That’s as simple as it comes.. . . Two-thirds is a real benchmark that we have to reach. So I don’t see when you’re running against no one, I don’t see that it’s unreachable at all.” • Rep. Jack Seiler, D-Ft. Lauderdale, (directed to Meros, who criticized the way the Bar handled the First DCA JNC complaint and inquiry): “You say you are trying to improve the Bar. This bill guts the Bar. This doesn’t improve anything. This clearly, plainly, and simply guts The Florida Bar. And I feel it infringes on the separation of powers. I don’t know how that can be deemed as improving the system.” Meros answered: “First of all, obviously, it takes away the integrated Bar. I would respectfully disagree with you that that is a separation of powers issue.. . . The JNC issue is very symptomatic of the fact that the Bar is showing that it is not willing to evaluate itself. And if it is not willing to evaluate itself, without it appearing to be an attack, then perhaps that arrogance means that it is becoming destructive.” • Rep. Jeff Kottkamp, R-Cape Coral, (directed to Meros): “I recognize that in the zealous advocacy of your client, you are very concerned about this one instance [1st DCA]. But there are thousands of instances where this [JNC] process has worked very well. I want to ask you about changing this process of how we regulate the Bar. There has been a movement in our state to deregulate. It’s been downsizing government and reducing the size of government. Do you really believe in your heart of hearts that government is better to regulate the legal profession than The Florida Bar?” Meros answered: “I will be absolutely honest with you. I don’t know. I know that what has happened, to some extent, is that The Florida Bar has become a government. It is an entity with its own life. I think The Florida Bar has done fantastic things in some disciplinary areas. With regard to trust accounts, they have done a fantastic job. I think with regard to solicitation rules and advertising, they have done a horrible job.” • Rep. Joe Pickens, R-Palatka (directed to Sundberg): “Can you tell me the standard the judge would apply if he knew what the costs were in determining whether a nonprevailing party would be assessed costs, which is discretionary? How do I tell my client in assessing the case what the prospects of their being assessed costs are if they are a nonprevailaing party, if I can’t see the standard which the judge will be applying in any particular case?” Sundberg answered: “What guidelines? What signposts do they use? I have no earthly idea, and I don’t think most trial judges would either. But you know, there is a more important issue here, and that has to do with due process. Under our system, except for fee-shifting statutes in particular instances, people don’t run the risk, in order to try to vindicate their rights, they don’t run the risk that if they lose they have to bear the cost of the proceeding. That is perceived to be a cost of government and that we afford our citizens to come into court. That’s what Article 1, Section 21 is all about.” • Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland, (directed to Grimes): “Is there any part of this bill, any provision being proposed, that you may find favorable?” And Grimes answered there was only one portion worth keeping: doing away with the requirement that justices on the Supreme Court come from each judicial district. “But it’s not important enough to have a constitutional amendment about,” Grimes concluded. In his remarks to the committee, Russomanno said: “Yesterday, [in the House Council for Smarter Government] some of us had the opportunity to talk to Rep. Brummer on House Bill 627, and he made a quote when he closed on that piece of legislation that he salutes The Florida Bar for doing a fine job in serving the public. He went on to compliment the leadership of the Bar in the strides that have been taken. On behalf of the 68,000 lawyers in this state, I thank Rep. Brummer for those kind words, because I take his sincerity to heart. The Bar does an excellent job. So let there not be any misunderstanding: The Bar regulates itself well. We want this committee to know that The Florida Bar works fine. It’s a model for other states. We have people who serve on the Board of Governors of the ABA that look toward this state as a model. It’s one of the leading bars — if not the leading bar — in this country on attorney regulation. And there are no facts to controvert that.” April 1, 2001 Jan Pudlow Associate Editor Regular Newslast_img read more


Wisconsin, Minnesota geared up for round 2

first_imgAlthough Paul Bunyan’s Axe will not go to the winner, this weekend’s men’s hockey series between Wisconsin and Minnesota has a great deal at stake.Trailing Minnesota by 10 points in the Big Ten standings, the third-place and 12th-ranked Badgers (14-8-2 overall, 5-4-1 Big Ten with 16 points) are looking to climb back into the conference title chase with six points on the line Thursday and Friday night at the Kohl Center with 10 games remaining in the regular season.As if the battle for the first title in the inaugural year of Big Ten hockey wasn’t enough to add to the rivalry, the fact that the Golden Gophers (18-2-5, 8-0-2 with 26 points) are the No. 1 team in the country coming into Madison should certainly spark a higher level of intensity in a series that has been fairly quiet in recent years.“In the games we’ve played them since I’ve been here as a coach, we haven’t had any big brawls. When I played them as a player we had brawls, so it was a little different,” Wisconsin assistant coach Gary Shuchuk, who played for UW from 1986-1990, said. “But it’s just one of those great rivalries where it’s bragging rights. Right now, they’re up two games on us and playing in this Big Ten. We have a chance to redeem ourselves.”Those two games Shuchuk referred to were the first two games played this season between the Badgers and Gophers, which saw the Gophers sweep Wisconsin in Minneapolis Nov. 29 and 30.However, the new alignment in the Big Ten that has only six teams allows the member schools to play each other in home-and-home series, giving Wisconsin a shot at revenge, something that often didn’t happen in the old Western Collegiate Hockey Association.Though the teams did already play this season, it was the first conference matchup for both teams and early on in the season, meaning the two squads will have a different look about them come Thursday night, as Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves explained.“The way they would have changed is the details in their systems play. It’ll be harder to find plays in their defensive zone coverage because they’ve had more reps and more game experience. Every part of their game their details will be better,” Eaves said, adding his team will be better in its systems play as well.For Wisconsin, the changes are not just limited to the play on the ice, as there will be several changes to those who are on the ice, too. The biggest of those alterations will be the absence of Tyler Barnes, who sustained a shoulder injury two weekends ago against Ohio State. With Barnes on the sidelines for the second consecutive week, Eaves will have to shake up his forward lines once again.Fortunately for Eaves, the changes in the lineups this week are due to getting Nic Kerdiles back from his shoulder injury after he missed six games and part of the game against Alaska-Anchorage when he initially got hurt.“He’s high-level, skill player. He can skate like the wind. He has a great shot. He has great vision,” Shuchuk said. “Just inserting him into the lineup gives us a different dimension as a team as a whole. I like it when he’s playing because of that. He’s one of those hockey players that at any given moment he can score or cause a penalty with his speed, so he brings a different element into our lineup.”Kerdiles will play wing on the first line with Mark Zengerle at center and Sean Little on the other wing, bumping Morgan Zulinick to the second line with Michael Mersch and Jefferson Dahl, encompassing the key line changes.Despite the changes and the injury to Barnes, Wisconsin still has a great deal of experience with seven seniors in the starting lineup.Minnesota, on the other hand, has a very balanced roster and a youthful one at that, with eight freshmen comprising the Gophers’ biggest class of players, freshmen who have been key to their success and top rank.“I think that as a whole, how they’re having success is based on their freshman group. Their freshman group came along and they’re scoring a lot of goals for them. If they didn’t, I think they would have struggled,” Shuchuk said.The eight Gopher freshmen have combined for 89 points including 36 goals, which is the second best mark in the country for a freshman class behind only Boston College. The Gopher offense has received contributions from all throughout the lineup, which has helped make Minnesota the fourth-best offensive attack in the country with a 3.65 goals per game average.But the big reason why the Gophers are currently the top-ranked team in the country is that they’re not limited to relying on their offense. Minnesota allows the third-fewest goals per game in the country at 1.96, as sophomore goaltender Adam Wilcox ranks in the top 10 nationally in goals-against-average and save percentage.With refined play through all three zones, the Gophers will certainly pose a big test for Wisconsin this weekend, but the intensity of the series in the past should hold up this weekend and make for two very competitive games.“When you’re chasing the No. 1 team, there’s always a little extra fun to it,” Zengerle said.“They’re No. 1. It’s on our ice, students are back and it’s just got every degree to be an exciting weekend. Our whole locker room just wants it to be [Thursday] night at 7:30 right now.”last_img read more