IMCA Stock Car and Hobby Stock Division Director and Marshalltown High School art teacher Kirk Niehouse accepted the Western Region Secondary Art Educator Award from the National Art Educators Association earlier this month in New York City. Niehouse is pictured with Cindy Todd of the NAE.MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa – Kirk Niehouse has helped present awards to IMCA drivers at countless banquets during his 20-plus years as director of the Stock Car and Hobby Stock divisions.He was the recipient of a regional award at the most recent banquet he attended, however, early this month in New York City.An art instructor at Marshalltown High School, Niehouse received the Western Region Secondary Art Educator Award from the National Art Educators Association. He’d been nominated for the regional award after receiving the Outstanding Secondary Art Educator award from the Art Educators of Iowa.“It was just ‘Wow!’ I never expected to get an award like this,” said Niehouse, who teaches pottery and graphic design to students in grades 9-12. “I didn’t get into teaching for this kind of thing. A lot of my fellow teachers helped me get to this point. It’s not something you accomplish by yourself.”He had been nominated for the state award by another teacher. A Marshalltown High School graduate himself, Niehouse has taught in the district since 2001.Both his work in the classroom and at the race track are about education.“I’ve been with IMCA since 1995,” said Niehouse, a former Stock Car driver. “My job as a division director is about educating track officials and racers about our rules and following them.”His Art Educators of Iowa award is on a bulletin board at school. Niehouse is mulling putting the national award in a china hutch at home where his best of show award from the Iowa State Fair is already on display.“When I started teaching, I never dreamed I’d win a national award like this. It was an honor just to be nominated,” he said. “I’m all for kids and helping people learn about art. Getting this award is just about as good as winning Super Nationals is how I feel about it.”“Not a lot of our drivers realize that Kirk is an art teacher or that he taught driver’s ed. Not everyone who works for us is full-time,” IMCA President Brett Root said. “Kirk has been a great part of our staff. He’s very knowledgeable about the divisions and very good on rule enforcement.”“I think his teaching parleys well into his teaching drivers about our rules,” added Root. “Our Stock Car and Hobby Stock drivers are very fortunate that Kirk has been involved with IMCA for as many years as he has.”
Story Highlights Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz, says the Government is working to alleviate some of the problems being faced by the commuting public as a result of ongoing road works in sections of the Corporate Area. Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz, says the Government is working to alleviate some of the problems being faced by the commuting public as a result of ongoing road works in sections of the Corporate Area.“We understand and we are working assiduously to try and better it. It won’t be perfect, and what we need to do is to see if we can shorten the time. So, we are also looking at working hours and the possibility of night working, so that we can reduce the eight months (in the Three Miles area) to a lesser time, based on what we know and, of course, with Christmas coming,” he said.The Minister was speaking at today’s (September 12) post-Cabinet press briefing, held at Jamaica House in St. Andrew.He said additional measures such as the dissemination of real-time information, installation of additional signs and alternative routes will be critical in minimising the prolonged delays that are being experienced. This, he said, will be achieved through a multi-agency partnership.Mr. Vaz said the Government is fully aware of the concerns of the motoring public and commuters, and although it is a vexed issue, the benefits will far outweigh the negatives.“It is not only about the improvement of roads and, of course, transportation – and time is critical to any growing economy – but most importantly, what you will be able to get in terms of improved sewerage, improved water supplies, improved telecommunication… There is a whole raft of benefits to road infrastructure improvement, so I ask for your patience and I ask for your sensitivity,” he added.Mr. Vaz said the improvement projects that are being undertaken simultaneously are based on several conditions with the lending agency.“That loan had timelines, it had performance clauses, and what we found is that a number of the projects were not as advanced as they should have been, especially the major projects that were to be carried out by China Harbour Engineering Company. I speak specifically to Mandela Highway, Constant Spring Road, Hagley Park Road and… the Three Miles Bypass. We have a timeline in which to complete it. If not, the loan will be withdrawn and what we will have is unfinished infrastructure which we cannot afford,” he said.
zoomlllustration. Image Courtesy: Pixabay under CC0 Creative Commons license Shipping confidence has increased in the last three months despite ongoing geopolitical uncertainty, shipping adviser and accountant BDO said. “It is encouraging to begin the year with a small uptick in confidence,” Richard Greiner, Partner, Shipping & Transport at BDO, commented.“Despite continuing doubts and fears about trade wars, China’s GDP, uncertainty over exchange rates, President Trump’s decision-making, Brexit and general political instability in many parts of the world, shipping can still find reasons to be cheerful,” he added.The average confidence level rose to 6.2 out of a maximum score of 10 this quarter compared to 6 in Q4 2018.Confidence was up in Europe, from 6.1 to 6.3, and in North America, from 5.2 to 5.6. In Asia, meanwhile, there was a drop in overall confidence levels to 5.8 from the 12-month high of 6.3 recorded in the previous quarter.According to BDO, brokers were behind much of the increase in confidence. Their score was up from 5.2 to 5.9. On the other hand, the rating for owners and managers was down slightly from 6.4 to 6.3 and from 6.0 to 5.8 respectively. Charterers’ confidence was also down, from 6.8 to 6, although this still compared favourably with the rating of 5 returned 12 months ago.The survey was launched in May 2008 with an overall rating for all respondents of 6.8 out of 10.Survey analysisThe BDO quarterly survey found that the likelihood of respondents making a major investment or significant development over the next 12 months was down from 5.5 to 5.3 out of 10.What is more, charterers’ confidence in this regard reached a record high of 7.3. Brokers’ confidence was also up, from 4.1 to 4.9. However, owners recorded a fall from 6.3 to 5.4 while managers’ ratings were unchanged at 5.6.Expectations were up in Europe from 5.2 to 5.3, but down in Asia from 6.2 to 5.2.The number of respondents who expected finance costs to increase over the coming year was down from 67% to 48%, the lowest figure since August 2016. The figures for all categories of respondent were down, in the case of charterers from 80% to 33%.Demand trends were cited by 26% of respondents as the factor most likely to influence performance over the next 12 months. Competition and finance costs featured in second and third place respectively in this context.Freight marketsNet freight rate sentiment was positive in all three main tonnage categories identified in the BDO survey, with 51% of respondents expecting higher rates over the next 12 months in the tanker market. Respondents expecting lower tanker rates fell from 9% to 6% this quarter.In the dry bulk sector, expectations of rate increases were up strongly from 38% to 52%, while the numbers anticipating lower rates climbed slightly to 13% from 11%.The numbers expecting higher container ship rates rose by one percentage point to 26%, whilst those expecting lower container ship rates increased to 25% from 23%.“Net freight rate sentiment remains positive in all three main tonnage categories, and there is a growing recognition that shipping is emerging from an extremely difficult period as a leaner and greener industry,” Greiner continued.“A number of respondents noted that the financial difficulties faced by many companies in recent years have changed the dynamics of the industry, with an increase in consolidation, restructuring and mergers & acquisitions.”“At the same time, there appears to be general recognition that the likes of the IMO 2020 and Ballast Water Management regulations will help rid the industry of poorly maintained tonnage and increase both the viability and the pedigree of the world fleet.” “This will also appeal to potential investors looking to back environmentally compliant and technologically savvy industries. It seems that the shipping industry must prioritise achieving the benefits of regulatory compliance and technological innovation over the coming years,” he concluded.