The Vermont Teddy Bear Company, a leading provider of direct-to-consumer gifts, today announced that John Gilbert, 52, has been named president and chief executive officer.John Gilbert most recently served as executive vice president and chief marketing officer for The TJX Companies, Inc., where he was responsible for marketing functions worldwide including brand management, advertising, and comprehensive consumer strategies. Mr. Gilbert has extensive experience in the consumer product industries, having held senior marketing positions with such companies as Dunkin’ Donuts, YUM ! Carlson Restaurants Worldwide, and PepsiCo, Inc.In his new role, Gilbert will manage the Company’s significant position in the direct-to-consumer gift market, including the flagship Vermont Teddy Bear brand as well as PajamaGram and Calyx Flowers.”At TJX, Dunkin’ Donuts, KFC, and Friday’s, John demonstrated that he is an expert at building great consumer product businesses and brands,” said Bob Crowley, chairman of Vermont Teddy Bear’s Board of Directors. “John is a natural choice to help lead Vermont Teddy Bear’s next chapter of growth and innovation.”Gilbert stated, “I am delighted to join The Vermont Teddy Bear Company with its great brand and position as a leader in the gift business. I look forward to working with the team in taking the company to its next level of growth. It is an exciting time for the Company and we have many opportunities to expand in all aspects of our business.”The Vermont Teddy Bear Company has been handcrafting Bears in Vermont for more than 25 years (www.VermontTeddyBear.com(link is external)). Along with its sister companies The PajamaGram Company (www.PajamaGram.com(link is external)) and Calyx Flowers (www.CalyxFlowers.com(link is external)), Vermont Teddy Bear has grown to become one of the most recognizable direct-to-consumer companies in the world.SHELBURNE, Vt., March 2 /PRNewswire/ –SOURCE The Vermont Teddy Bear Company
Then there’s the cost of filtering muddy water. Many of these streams are sources of drinking water in towns throughout Western North Carolina. For example, Catheys Creek in Pisgah Forest is the sole water source for Brevard. Sediment that enters this creek from nearby Forest Service roads requires additional filtration at the treatment plant before it is safe for consumption. These increased costs at water treatment facilities are paid for by state taxes. As a result, we find ourselves paying for the impacts of sedimentation in more ways than one. What YOU Can Do As for recreational access roads that outdoor enthusiasts frequently find themselves on, regular inspections occur. Barry Jones, the Engineering Staff Officer with the National Forests in North Carolina states, “major culverts and bridges are on an inspection cycle every two years”. However, much damage can occur to road infrastructure between inspections. Culverts can become clogged with debris and soil in a matter of days if the conditions are right. When you’re driving to your next adventure, take a moment to notice potential sources of sedimentation and the condition of your favorite streams. Sedimentation issues are a priority for the Forest Service, and reporting this information can be the difference between thousands of pounds of soil entering our waterways or effectively conserving our aquatic natural resources. As travelers on gravel roads nearly every time we venture into the forest, we can serve as the eyes and ears for the USFS through these simple actions. Nick Holshouser, a local in the Brevard area, has had success in contacting various organizations regarding sedimentation from a logging operation in Pisgah National Forest. “You could clearly see brown water flowing off the site and into the river. Just above that, the North Fork was running clear.” Holshouser contacted the Southern Environmental Law Center, who then contacted the U.S. Forest Service. The Dirt on Sedimentation Working Culvert Some culverts are so damaged or buried that they can be overlooked during inspection. Additionally, with an estimated 1.7 million recreational vehicles traveling USFS roads daily, degradation can occur much more rapidly than on logging roads. So, in addition to the USFS monitoring, Jones continued, “early reporting [by citizens] of road damage is always helpful.” As demonstrated by Holshouser, keeping an eye out for these issues while visiting recreational areas of the National Forests can make a huge difference. This is bad news for wildlife in the streams. By reducing sunlight and clouding up the water, sedimentation disrupts the aquatic food web. Plants are unable to photosynthesize, while insect, fish and amphibian eggs are smothered. Many fish, including our native brook trout, can’t find food in the murky waters. In short, the impacts of sedimentation are felt throughout the aquatic food web and cause some of the most treasured species in our region to suffer. He also posted pictures to social media which were picked up and featured in a story by the Transylvania Times. “From there, the Forest Service reached out to me, and I went to the site with them several times. I continued monitoring throughout the logging, and they continued to address my concerns.” The Forest Service’s role Citizens Can Play a Key Role in Improving the Health of Streams Soil enters our waterways through a process called sedimentation. It isn’t well-known, but sedimentation is the primary water pollutant in our region. The main source of sedimentation in the clear streams of Western North Carolina’s National Forests is gravel roads managed by the United States Forest Service (USFS). Holshouser’s story also indicates that while the USFS works hard to prevent sedimentation issues, instances occur where a single site can have a large impact. Although the USFS has drastically increased the amount of recreational areas in recent decades, logging has historically been their focus and its impacts continue to be more well monitored and studied. The report, conducted by North Carolina Forest Hydrologists Brady Dodd and Dick Jones, concluded that 97% of the USFS practices resulted in streams with no visible sediment. While demonstrating promise that the USFS is effectively mitigating many potential sources of stream sedimentation during logging operations, logging roads make up only a portion of the total USFS roads and are not used by the public. Many of these roads, which in total stretch 380,000 miles nationally, are the gateway into some of our favorite natural areas. The proximity of these roads to streams, paired with damaged culverts, causes excess soil to enter our water. Many of us are called outdoors by the sound of rushing water. In Southern Appalachia, there is no shortage of clear, flowing streams back-dropped by the beautiful hardwood forests and rolling mountains that define our region. Damaged Culvert We’ve all noticed these same streams rushing rapidly after a hard rain, now characterized by a light brown cloudy appearance caused by soil erosion. After several dry days, the water regains its typical character, yet the questions still exist: where did all that soil come from, what are the impacts, and how can I help? Think like a scientist. Collect information as you travel along forest roads that will help inform the proper authorities of what you notice. Take GPS coordinates with your smart phone and write notes so the responders have the right equipment to fix the issue. Document what you see with photographs. Scientists and engineers in our area have known that forest roads are a major source of sedimentation for almost a century. Since the Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory in Otto, NC, was established in 1934, experts have been conducting research to assess the impacts of these roads on local streams. In 2018, a ten-year assessment was released on the condition of logging roads in Croatan, Uwharrie, Pisgah, and Nantahala National Forests. Send the information you collect to multiple authorities. Sometimes federal or state agencies can be slow to respond. When you notice an erosion issue on a USFS road, you can contact local environmental organizations such as MountainTrue, the Forest Keepers Alliance, the Southern Environmental Law Center, Trout Unlimited, or Conserving Carolina in addition to the appropriate Ranger District. Consider bringing a “tool kit” along when you hike, bike, climb, or fish. This can include a small shovel, a handsaw, and flags. The shovel and handsaw can be used to clear built up soil, leaves, and other large debris from the entrance of a blocked culvert. The flags are useful to mark the location of a damaged culvert or other potential issues so that the responding authority knows the location of the site.
MORE: Full NFL playoff picture entering Week 14If the Bills beat the Ravens, they then would need some help from the Raiders, Texans and Colts in the form of losses or ties. Below is the scenario in which Buffalo would clinch a playoff berth in Week 14:Bills beat Ravens ANDRaiders lose or tie against Titans ANDTexans lose or tie against Broncos ANDColts lose or tie against BuccaneersFor what it’s worth, the Colts and Raiders are three-point underdogs in their respective games, with Indianapolis playing at Tampa Bay and Oakland playing at home against Tennessee. The Texans are 9 1/2-point home favorites over the Broncos, but as we noted in our Week 14 NFL picks and predictions, that game could be a trap for Houston.If the Bills beat the Ravens, their clinching scenario for a playoff berth in Week 14 would become more likely than that of Baltimore, which would need a Raiders-Titans tie specifically in addition to a Texans loss and a Colts loss or tie.MORE: All clinching scenarios for Week 14The other AFC teams that have chances to clinch playoff berths this week, the Patriots and Chiefs, play each other in the late Sunday afternoon window after the Bills and Ravens play early. While New England technically can clinch a playoff spot before it even plays (Texans loss AND Colts loss or tie AND Raiders-Titans tie), it also would need that unlikely Oakland-Tennessee tie.Though the Bills would lose their shot at clinching a playoff berth in Week 14 with a loss to the Ravens, they would maintain at minimum a full game advantage in the wild-card race. If that happens, they might as well pull for the Raiders to beat the Titans and knock Tennessee back a game. The other 7-5 wild-card team, the Steelers, will play in Arizona this week. Below is the full AFC playoff picture going into Week 14.Ravens (10-2)Patriots (10-2)Texans (8-4)Chiefs (8-4)Bills (9-3)Steelers (7-5)In the hunt: Titans (7-5), Raiders (6-6), Colts (6-6), Browns (5-7)This clinching scenario for the Bills in Week 14 is unlikely, of course, but it’s possible. SN picked the Ravens to beat the Bills this week in both our picks against the spread and our picks straight up for Week 14.Yet we figured the Cowboys would beat the Bills on Thanksgiving, too. Don’t be completely surprised if the NFL’s quietest playoff contender makes the loudest statement this week. Despite their 9-3 record and strong standing in the NFL playoff picture, the Bills are not generating the same level of national hype that surrounds their Week 14 opponent. The 10-2 Ravens, after all, are the hottest (and arguably best) team in the NFL, and Baltimore simply needs to beat Buffalo on the road Sunday to clinch its spot in the postseason.Yet, if Buffalo pulls off an upset this week as a six-point home underdog, there is one Week 14 playoff clinching scenario in which the Bills — not the Ravens or the Chiefs or the Patriots — would become the first AFC team to reach the postseason.